Carry on

By Moriah on September 16th, 2010

Okay, okay, okay! Yes, we are alive and well but it has been a crazy week and I get to every night and literally fall into bed with no thoughts (or brain cells) left for blogging. Plus I can’t find my camera battery charger. I’m hoping to find that today and if I do I’ll be back with some photos from this week.

(I think it’s in the bin o’ junk still up in the attic from when we pretend-sold our house.)



My decision to switch (I know, finally!)

By Moriah on April 16th, 2009

Several of you have asked me why I decided to switch to self-hosted WordPress. If you were one of those people, well, today is your lucky day!

There were a few major reasons, and then several little ones (icing on the cake) and I’ll get to both. But I need to state up front, if you are a beginning blogger and have no idea what CSS or FTPing is, stick with the training wheels of Blogger.com for now. It is the easiest and most beginner-friendly platform. I was (mostly) happy with it while I was there.

(Except, yes, you can shell out $150+ to have someone switch everything over for you and show you around your new and improved blog. I did not have the money to do that and so I did everything myself. Trust me, it’s INVOLVED. Shout out to Lisa, who helped me with a few tweaks.)

The first major reason was my pesky blog address. It used to be www.pleasepassthesalt1(dot)com. That “1” was a detail that people would have to remember. I wanted to drop it, but pleasepassthesalt(dot)com is unavailable, and has been as long as I’ve been blogging.

The next best option was pleasepassthesalt.net, which I’ve actually owned for over a year but couldn’t use it on Blogger. So there was a time-sensitive issue with my domain name (or “web address” or “URL”) and I decided to take the plunge and have it transferred, so I could actually use it. I can now tell a stranger pleasepassthesalt(dot)net and they can easily remember it. Or at least that’s what I hope.

The second major reason was the clunky photo uploads into Blogger. I HATED how when you upload a photo, it would automatically go to the very top of the post, even if you wanted it down under some text. And if you uploaded more than one photo, they’d usually be all out of order and I’d have to cut and paste several times. WordPress inserts photos how and where you want them. (I was running out of free storage on Blogger anyway, so there’s that (although yes, you can code them in from places like Photobucket OR purchase more storage space from Google).)

After I began writing for Chic Critique, which is run on WordPress, I began to notice how much better the photo uploading system is. There’s also a media gallery where all photos, videos, etc. are stored in a central location (instead of solely within individual posts on Blogger). You can also add or edit photo titles and descriptions. Oh! And you can edit or resize photos, even after they are in the post — no having to delete and start over.

The third big reason was the WordPress Preview feature. LOVE. On Blogger you can ‘preview’ a post but it’s within the posting box and you really don’t know where the text is actually going to fall within a published post. The WordPress preview loads a separate page of the WHOLE BLOG and it looks like a fully-published post. I can see EXACTLY what my words and photos are going to look like.

Now that I’ve been here a little while, I would also say the Dashboard is more streamlined and functional, once I got used to it. I can see recent comments, quick edit posts, add in sidebar links and all that kind of stuff very easily without having to click around much. Drafts also have their own little space.

I like that WordPress lists my permalink to a post, even in draft. Handy. WP gives you details like the word count for your posts. The Categories (like ‘labels’ in Blogger) are also a little easier to apply.

More technically speaking, I like that I can have static pages (i.e. the links under my About section right there to the top right) and WordPress also has thousands of plugins that make the platform even more customizable and functional. You simply have more control with absolutely everything. And it’s MINE. I host myself, Google doesn’t.

(Which brings me to another thought; there IS a difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. WordPress.com is another free platform that uses the WordPress software (but you’ll have wordpress.com in your URL and you have to purchase an upgrade in order to customize your stylesheet, etc). It is hosted (not by the blogger). WordPress.org is where self-hosters download the software to use on their 3rd party server and it’s an open source. However, you also have to pay for the hosting whereas Blogger and WordPress.com are free.)

A good explanation of the difference is here. I chose BlueHost for my server and downloaded WordPress.org onto my server. Then I chose a customizable theme on the internet, downloaded it to my computer, uploaded it to my server, and then made it look like my blog is supposed to look. (It’s a little bit more difficult than that, but I’m sure I’ve bored everyone to tears by now anyway.)

So basically, WordPress is better, more powerful software (“industry standard”), you have total control and ownership, more room to grow and way more options. BUT AGAIN, unless you’re wanting to take your blog to the next level and willing to pay someone to help you make the switch (or are committed to teaching yourself how to do it), I’d recommend sticking with Blogger. Especially if you’re just starting out with this thing they call blogging.



Emphasis on ‘flex’ in flexitarian

By Moriah on January 27th, 2009

Remember this?

I’ve been meaning to write an update ever since Kristin asked me at a day-after-Christmas party if we were still eating Vegan.

That would be a negative, Tower.

Silly as it sounds, the kicker was finding out about the peanut allergy in Drew’s preschool class. I could not think of an adequate send-to-school lunch that was kid AND vegan friendly but did not involve peanut butter & jelly.

And easy. (That’s the operative word.)

So I usually gave him turkey, cheese, crackers, and fruit. I figured it was only twice a week; it wouldn’t hurt anything.

But then Andy also mentioned he sort of felt like the substantial increase of gluten and other grains had possibly been irritating his stomach. He just generally felt less than 100%. So we added back in some dairy and poultry. There is really nothing like a good egg for breakfast.

I still do not buy red meat. I still do not give my children cow’s milk. I do put some half n’ half in my coffee, although I never really stopped doing that. (I mean, I have my limits.) Adelaide drinks rice milk, as do the other kids. And I still use Smart Balance in lieu of butter.

So, there you have it. It doesn’t affect the state of the Union but there it is, in case you wondered.



Christmas Trees and Hatching Spiders

By Moriah on December 23rd, 2008

Our very first married Christmas, Andy had this big idea to go chop down a tree himself somewhere near our house. He had a buddy that lived relatively nearby, in a tiny attic apartment in the middle of several acres of wooded land. They decided they’d easily find a suitable tree around there and set out together one day, saw in hand.

The tree Andy brought home looked like a scrawny, if tall, Charlie Brown tree. Apparently it was the best they could find. Ugly, but it smelled wonderfully fresh. Whatever; it was real, and that was the main thing I cared about.

Fast forward several weeks, around New Year’s. We had invited some good friends over for food and fellowship. We were still pretty ‘footloose and fancy free’ in our little circle of friends (i.e. no one had any kids yet), and planned on enjoying an evening together with no time constraints.

And in honor of having guests over, we had turned up the heat.

Big, big mistake.

Remember, our tree came from the woods, organically. It hadn’t been treated like all the other Christmas tree farm trees or the ones at Lowe’s.

All of the sudden, all the creatures hibernating in our tree warmed up and thought winter was over. I think I even heard a little “poof!”

Teeny, teeny spiders coming out, en masse. They moved like a blanket, slowly crawling outwards from the tree, covering everything. We sat frozen for a minute and stared, horrified. I’d never seen anything like it.

The next thing I knew, Andy and Nick had thrown open the front door and yanked the tree out to the porch — ornaments, lights, and all. I grabbed the vacuum and Stef helped me move all the furniture. I continued vacuuming until I thought surely I had gotten them all. (And then vacuumed a little more, for good measure.)

A little bit of a mood-killer, wouldn’t you say?

And yes, every year since then we’ve gotten our tree from Lowe’s. End of story.



Sick

By Moriah on December 2nd, 2008

I’ll get back to blogging when I’m not trying to blow my nose off and my head stops pounding.

I’m sure you understand.



Random and Unconnected

By Moriah on August 3rd, 2008

Happy Sunday to ya!

Couple o’ things. First, if you’re bored interested, you can now follow me on Twitter (note the little linkage on my left sidebar below the ads). It’s like mini blogging. And if you don’t have the time or desire to blog yourself, consider it – it’s quick, painless, and fun. Easy way to keep up. Send me your link if you do (or if you already have one!).

That means you, Dolly. Pressure’s on.

Yesterday as we were discussing possible plans for the day, Madeline asked to do something and I said maybe we would later. She looked up and asked “nexterday?”

I think she just coined a new word.

Nexterday, all my troubles seemed so far away…

And last night I listened to my ipod while I folded all the laundry (that never occurred to me before – what can I say? I’m slow about such things), and I realized I’ve finally come to terms with the laundry and the fact that there’s always more. It used to drive me absolutely crazy. We’re friends now.

Or at least tolerated acquaintances.

And, lastly, I stumbled upon a new food crush. Yesterday I felt like eating a big ol’ yummy sandwich just like the good ol’ days before we got hit by the vegan train. So I toasted two pieces of bread (9 grain), slathered one side with mustard and the other with mayo, and then stacked it with two fat slices of ripe red tomato, dill pickles, a few circles of red onion, and topped it with fresh spinach. SO GOOD! You never even miss the meat and cheese. Seriously, try it. (Make sure the tomato is right next to the mustard and the spinach (or lettuce if that’s what you have on hand) is next to the mayo. Yes, it matters.)

You’re welcome.



Bits of Randomness

By Moriah on May 30th, 2008

Afterall, what’s a blog for?

As I was folding laundry this morning, the thought occurred to me: how many white tank tops does one woman need? Several, apparently.

Madeline has an accent that’s sort of a Bostonian/New Yorker mix. We have no idea where it came from but it provides us with an endless source of amusement.

I had run out of my asthma med. samples two days ago and finally got around to calling for a real prescription last night. No wonder I was so tired yesterday! Today I’m feeling much better. Breathing is sort of, you know, useful.

Did I ever mention we’re going to another cousin’s wedding? This one is in Florida. I KNOW! I feel like the Priceline Queen, too. I used their “name-your-own-price” feature and scored a hotel for $45-a-night and a minivan rental for $25-a-day. Oh, and the Southwest airplane tickets were only $49 per way, per person. So it really has turned into the bargain hunter’s dream vacation. I mean ‘wedding trip.’ Ahem.

Adelaide has taken to using the back of her neck as a napkin. I never know what I’m going to find back there. Spaghetti sauce, anyone? She also likes to hold toys behind her head and drop them behind her back and then she’ll turn around to look and see if they’re still there. She’s an odd one.

And, finally, look what happened to me yesterday, mid-stride:


Yes, in case you’re wondering, those are the same ones that were chewed on. (I had cut off the, uh, ragged part.) They were obviously destined for the trash bin. The same thing happened to me last year with a different brown pair. Good thing they’re so cheap! (Literally.)



My Favorite Things

By Moriah on May 25th, 2008

* homemade sweet tea with real lemon slices (my summertime drink of choice)

* thick slices of ripe tomato right next to the mustard on my sandwich

* freshly painted toenails

* stand up comedy (if it’s clever and mostly clean)

* snail mail (excluding any type of bill)

* BLOG COMMENTS!

* naptime with a good book

* new clothes

* shoe sales

* a tan

* chips and fresh salsa

* impromptu dates with my hubby

* music turned on

* sunshine

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