A resource list for beginning bloggers

By Moriah on February 28th, 2009

I have several IRL (in real life) friends who have started blogging in the past couple of months. This list is for them. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, only a helpful one.

Both Blogging Basics 101 and Problogger are invaluable for easy-to-understand information, both for the technical and communal sides of blogging. If you’re looking for something specific, use their search boxes and chances are you’ll find it.

A real life friend, Jennifer (Playgroups Are No Place For Children)’s blog tips. Read them all. Seriously.

(One of the tabs is “Developing Your Brand.” One piece of bloggy advice I hear over and over and over is to find your unique blogging voice and to stay true to it. There is only one you, capitalize on it! You should also develop a posting rhythm (don’t post every day and then stop posting for three months). Your voice, rhythm, and design look are all parts of your BRAND. The salt shakers in my header? Part of my brand.)

Jo-Lynne’s tips on increasing comments. And let me just underline one of her points — please, please make it easy for your readers to leave a comment. Those stupid word verification boxes are on my last nerve. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve given up without commenting after getting the letters wrong the first (couple of) time(s).

(Go in your Blogger dashboard, hit the Settings tab, hit the Comments tab, scroll down to “show word verification for comments” and make sure it says ‘no.’ Also, be sure your email address is entered in the comment notification email box below that so that you will be emailed when you get a comment. This is crucial for possible comments left on older posts that you might otherwise miss.)

(Also, in your edit profile tab, you should have checked “show my email address.” This way not only can people reply to your comments left on their blogs, but it also links an email address to your blog. If you’re worried about security, create a free email account just for your blog that doesn’t use information like your first and last name.)

And my best advice on increasing your comments? Leave tons of comments everywhere you go. My perfect example of this is my friend, Mer. She comments on nearly all of my posts. So I comment on nearly all of her posts. We MET because she left that first comment, over a year and a half ago now. “Give and you shall receive.” Oh, and also, be patient.

Velveteen Mind’s thoughts on blogging within her Blissdom recap. I love her thoughts on blog design. There are billions of blogs. The average web surfer looks at a blog for about 4 seconds, and if you have a standard dummy template, the fact of the matter is you’re not going to stop anyone in their tracks. Your design/template is your proverbial book cover. Make it appealing.

And finally, Blogger Buster’s Complete List of Blogger Tutorials and Tips for New Bloggers.

With a side of fries

By Moriah on February 27th, 2009

I know I’ve mentioned it a time or two, but I’ve got a group of girlfriends that always go out for birthdays. We’ve been doing this for YEARS. (What can we say? It’s a great excuse! The hubbies have to honor or they would have some very unhappy wives!)

(And woe would be them. Two words: Dog House.)

(Although yes, technically in my case Andy wouldn’t be home to notice either way. My sisters watched the kids again last night; they’re the best around.)

Anyway, it was my friend Sarah’s turn this time and she changed it up a bit, both in location and attendees. Each birthday honoree is responsible for getting their own dinner together. If you wait for it to be planned, you’ll be waiting a very long time.

And, as always, we shut the place down.

I’m thinking we need to start a Bunco group next.

Totally Not Surprised

By Moriah on February 26th, 2009

Apparently someone thought it’d be fun to take a bite out of poor Mr. Starfish’s appendage.

Any guesses on the perpetrator?

(Hint: it was not me.)

Click Thee Yonder

By Moriah on February 26th, 2009

I’m over at Chic Critique again today, talking about natural deodorants.

There’s a starfish growing on our counter

By Moriah on February 25th, 2009

We used to spend several weeks of the summer growing up at my grandparent’s house in Colorado. Occasionally we’d be treated with a trip to an amusement park in the surrounding mountains, called the North Pole.

Of course we rode rides and ate junk food, touched petting zoo animals and were carried sky-high on the Ferris Wheel. But at the end of the day, one of my favorite things to do was make a stop into the wonderland that is the Gift Shop.

I don’t remember any of the things we bought in all those years, save one. It was a tiny pink seahorse that was supposed to grow when placed in water. I have no idea if this is accurate, but my childhood memory claims it grew to the size of the bathtub at my grandparents’ mountain cabin.

And I remember it having the most wonderful squishy feeling between my fingers.

Now fast forward twenty years. I took Drew last week to get his 5-year-old pictures taken (nevermind that he turned 5 in January) and afterwards we made a stop in at Michael’s. I told him he could choose a couple of dollar-bin treats for being so good at the portrait studio.

And I’ll be darned if they didn’t have those exact same plastic rubber sea creatures that grow up to 600% in water.

OF COURSE I had to get one. Just to see.

Surely we’re not the only family with odd toys?

Because there’s nothing like grilling when it’s 35 degrees out

By Moriah on February 24th, 2009

While shopping yesterday, I noticed that country-style pork ribs were on sale and tossed a package into my cart. My dad left today, and I thought it’d be fun to have a not-so-ordinary meal together last night before he went.

And BBQ just sounded good.

Drew thought the fire was quite possibly the coolest thing ever. When they walked in with the food-laden platter, I asked him enthusiastically if it was fun to help papa and he said “I didn’t help, I just watched.”

Ever the realist.

(And no, I don’t know why he’s wearing SANDALS.)

Unfortunately, after dinner, I got hit with a 12-hour stomach bug and that’s all I’m going to say about that. I feel much better today, a little weak perhaps, but my kids all still have coughs. Drew sounds like a baby seal (although, no, I’m not exactly sure what baby seals sound like – I’m using my imagination) and he stayed home from school today.

We haven’t been sick in almost a year, so I suppose we were due.

(And we’re good for another whole year, right?)

A beautiful day in the neighborhood

By Moriah on February 21st, 2009

My dad is here! He has a meeting in Atlanta next week so he flew in early to be with us this weekend. My sisters and I talked him into a riveting game of Taboo last night and obviously he’s been playing with the grandkids a lot.

My girls took a bath this morning and almost immediately I heard Madeline yell “MOM! SHE POOPED IN THE TUB!”


It ended up being a CEREAL bar. Who takes a bath with a cereal bar?!

But since it wasn’t poop, I was happy as a clam. Except they had also clogged the tub with huge wads of shredded toilet paper. I spent an unbelievable amount of time straining out dripping strings of tissue paper and soggy bits of wheat product.

I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.

Andy and my dad just took Drew and Madeline to the waterfall and later (meaning naptime), my sisters and I are going to “Marley and Me” at the cheap theater. We also have a dinner invitation from my brother and sister-in-law.

It’s shaping up to being a beautiful Saturday after all.

On Consequences

By Moriah on February 20th, 2009

I watch Nicky’s older boys for about an hour every Thursday so she can teach her music class. Drew’s in school, so it’s just Madeline and James (4 days apart) and Adelaide and Etienne (one week apart).

(No, we did not plan that. Everyone thinks it’s funny to ask.)

Anyway, they usually get along just fine – they’ve played together practically their whole lives. And on the nice days they stay outside mostly, which is great for me.

Yesterday James and Madeline thought it’d be a good idea to pick all my daffodils and come stuff them in the toilet. I didn’t catch them until I had a toilet FULL of stems. Lovely.

I did make James help me pick up three buckets full of toys he dumped out in Drew’s room. But I didn’t think Nicky’d appreciate me having him dig around in my toilet. So I let that slide.

Madeline wasn’t quite so lucky. I got a grocery sack and told her that she needed to help me get all the daffodils she’d picked back out of the toilet bowl. (YES it was clean water. Don’t freak out.)

You may be cringing. But I need my kids to know that we are responsible for our actions and sometimes (usually?) there are consequences in this fallen world.

Of course, Madeline thought it was fun. (And she has no clue what a germ is.) But that’s sort of besides the point. And yes, I changed her shirt and scrubbed her arms down afterwards.

So here’s hoping she doesn’t stuff my toilet full of flowers again.

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