You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2009.

is not quite as exciting as I thought it would be. Where was the anxious rush to look for houses? The holding of our hands while the agent explained yet again what the difference between living in one area was compared to another? The nailbiting anticipation of getting the loan?

I think we were just way too prepared. Months before we made the final decision to purchase a home, the hubs and I did a lot of Internet surfing searching for information on how to buy a house, get a loan, and what to expect. We attended Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. We had already made the decision two years ago that we would be buying a house even with a bankruptcy on our record.

That’s right: a bankruptcy.

It sucked the life out of us and nearly our marriage but we perservered. We’re stronger now as a couple in the faith we have in God and in each other because of that experience. And it’s taught us a lot about how to manage your money (compared to NOT how to manage it!).

Because we were good stewards, the hubs and I were able to easily procure a loan. Then, we fell for the first house we found (it comes with a tortoise!). It’s been smooth sailing. The loan documents have been signed and we are just waiting for escrow to close next week.

By the 29th, we’ll be first time home owners.

Holy mackeral! That feels good to say. I think I may have a blog party to celebrate…

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What a fun but exhausting day. Our church held it’s first annual car show and what a turn out! And the boys had a blast.

Here they are standing next to our friend Emilio’s car. Notice you can barely see our youngest as he leans against the car. I have no idea how many times we had to tell him, “No! Don’t touch the car!”

Big and Bad in front of Emilio's car

And then we wandered over to the drag racers and all  the admonishments went out the window when the owner let them climb into the racecar and turn the wheels. I thought the kids were going to pee themselves they were so excited!

joracecar

jacobracecar

isaacracecar

Yessirre bob, a fun time was had by all.

By the way, all three boys crashed, i.e. napped, when we got home…..for two whole hours! Yippee!

Have you ever sat down to begin your blog post and then stop because you had no idea what to blog about? I have.

A lot.

It’s a struggle sometimes to find something to talk about because, let’s face it, we want our blog posts to matter.

Whether you are a mom blogger or own a business and using it as a marketing tool, our blog posts are seen by (potentially) thousands of people. We want those people to at least walk away with a sense of respect (hey! she really knows what she’s talking about!).

There is nothing worse than what I imagine a conversation that my potential reader may have after he or she reads my post, “Gosh. That was awful. Why did I waste my time with that?” Whether they do that or not, I have no idea. I’m hoping they don’t.

But how do I keep a steady supply of blog posts that are interesting?

As I thought about it, I came up with three ideas, that when put together, will give you a full monthly/yearly blogging schedule:

  • blogging calendar with a twist
  • alliteration
  • SEO

There are a few blogging calendar’s floating around the ‘net (type in “blogging calendar” with the quotes on Google). However, I don’t like them. Not that I don’t appreciate the time and energy that go into creating them but because they aren’t in depth enough for me.

For those not in the know, most of the blogging calendar’s are just lists of what months celebrate what events and holidays. For example, March is Women’s History Month.

I can see the quizzical look on your face from all the way over here and I know what you’re thinking: what has that got to do with my blog or my readers?

Depends. How many of your readers are female? You have a 50/50 chance. Well, that isn’t the point of my blog. Okie dokie then. Is there anything in common between the “general idea” of your blog and “Women’s History Month”? Anything at all? Oh, well as a matter of fact, I think that….

Ah. Now we start getting somewhere. You don’t actually have to celebrate Women’s History Month (although it would be pretty cool if you did) but if you can come up with 3 to 4 ideas that are related to women’s history and your blog, you have at least 3 to 4 blog posts. You can even take that a step further and give link love, product reviews, or memory posts (I remember when…) based on those 4 ideas that you just brainstormed. All with that general spark of “Women’s History Month.” And, by the way, you don’t have to use those topics in just the month of March!

Onto alliteration. According to Webster’s Dictionary, alliteration is “the commencement of two or more words of a word group with the same letter.”

Now, I’m not trying to toss out some fancy schmancy English terms at you. I bet you alliterate every day or see it every time you read a blog. Stop blushing. You have a seriously warped mind, did you know that?

Follow Friday? Thankful Thursday? Wordless Wednesday? Meatless Monday? Any of these a-ringin’ a bell? (Thank you, Sid the Sloth, for that line!)

If you can come up with an alliterative theme for each day of the week and then brainstorm 3 to 4 sub ideas for each theme, you have LOTS of blog posts ready to go. Let’s look at an example, shall we? Meatless Monday.

Well, the first Monday we can give out a vegetarian menu for the week/month. The second Monday, we can review a vegetarian book (with a recipe thrown in for good measure). Third Monday might be a guest blogger who talks about vegetarianism or something related to it. Fourth Monday might be the health benefits of meatless meals with the accomanying recipes. You can keep doing this til the cows…oops…flowers…nah, cows come home.

The last idea I had for blog post topics came to me from Twitter’s trending topics (although you can use Google Trends or Google AdWords just as easily). It’s pretty simple actually: see what people are talking about and then talk about it too.

It’s an easy way to find something to blog about that generates traffic to your blog. I know, it seems kind of underhanded, doesn’t it? And it smacks a bit of  “keeping up with the Joneses.” Well, if you feel that way try staying within the parameters of your blog’s main topic or idea(s).

For example, my blog is about working from home. I do talk about lots of other stuff, mostly because it’s my personal blog and not a professional one. If I was desperate for a topic, I could type in “WAHM” into the Google Trends and voila! Literally hundreds of articles from the past 5 years pop up about WAHMs that can give me some ideas on what to write about.

If I use the trending topics on Twitter, I can find related items about working from home and, say, Star Trek. Maybe. If not, I could probably use it as a segue and then brainstorm. Either way, I end up with a blog post!

Or I could run over to AdWords and do the same thing to see what people are searching for. You can use this as a SEO tool but I like it as an idea generator.

I know what you’re asking. “So what?” Actually, that’s a fabulous question. Use it every time you get a trending topic or search term. Then answer it. Then keep asking “So what?” over and over, answering it every time. Do it enough times, and you end up with a viable list of topics for your blog.

So how does this create a monthly or yearly plan of blogging topics? Well, if you do the above three things, calendar with a twist, alliteration, and SEO, you should have at least one thing every day to talk about for a month.

And then you can do it again and again. Mix it up and keep it fresh. I like doing My Opinion Monday and WAHM Tip Wednesday (alliteration). I also add in some SEO and trending topics in there (check out my post from Tuesday). And, there is the events calendar (Mother’s Day, anyone?). In between I manage to squeeze in some posts that don’t have a defined theme other than they are mine and related to me as a woman, mother, and WAHM.

By the way, some people like to use Google Docs spreadsheets as a way to track what they will discuss on what day. *ahem* It’s a useful tool but don’t be married to it. If you find something that is outside of the “blogging calendar” then by all means blog away about it.

It is, after all, your blog!

Do you have any tips or tricks about generating blog topics? I want to know! And more importantly, so do my readers!

I could not resist the title for this post. It could so easily have been Twitter Tuesday but I thought that was a bit facetious.

*cough*

Anyhoo, I was looking at the trending topics on Twitter today and thought to myself, “What a great way to not only get a blog post in but to talk about some of the things going on in the Twittersphere.”

However, I draw the line at talking about #twitterpornnames and #startrek. Not that I don’t like Star Trek but I do not have the vast knowledge and dedication of true Trekkie to have a decent conversation about it. And I’m not even going to get into why I refuse to talk about porn names. Sheesh.

However, the third trend topic is perfect: #charitytuesday.

What a cool way for Twitterzens to get together and help out others in need. Here are a few of the charities that need your help:

Becca’s Closet – gives prom dresses to low income families so their daughters can participate in an American ritual

Smile Train – a global charity that helps kids with cleft lips

Ride for Heart – A Canadian charity raising awareness of heart and stroke research

Ashraya Initiative for Children (AIC) – a home for street kids and community outreach project located in Pune, India

CaringBridge – free, personalized websites that support and connect loved ones during critical illness, treatment and recovery

Susan G. Komen for the Cure – big charity to help the fight against breast cancer

WaterAid – their mission is to overcome poverty by enabling the world’s poorest people to gain access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene education

And those are just a few of the charities being tweeted about on #charitytuesday. If you have a charity that is near and dear to your heart, go ahead and tweet about it! Just remember to add the #charitytuesday hashtag.

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one ability or quality, what would it be? How would this new-found ability or quality change your life?

A question asked by writefromkaren

Well, I don’t want to fly. I’m not afraid so much of heights as I am hitting the ground.

Stopping time would be nice but I wonder how things would move in a slipstream (I watch way to much Sci-Fi channel).

Or, possibly, the ability to multitask on a guru level. Kids, work, dinner, chores, church all done simultaneously? No problem.

But, since none of those will actually come true, short of a serious technological advancement I’m not sure I’d even want, I’ll settle for accessing the fruits of the Spirit.

Fruits The good Lord gave them to me but I seem to misplace them every once in a while. It’s like losing your keys and then being really happy (and a bit relieved) to find them just when you need them. I think if I could keep love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in one spot that I could easily access, I’d be a superhero. I would be able to right the wrongs and do it with a glad heart.

Or maybe something a bit more realistic like having patience with kids wanting to ask questions while I’m trying to work, denying the temptation of a donut, or even showing the love I know I have to my husband on a daily, hourly, minute basis.

Unfortunately, I’m human which means that there are times when those fruits of the spirit are being blocked by my sinful nature. On the other hand, He loves me enough to be patient with me and keeps on whispering, “You left the fruit in your other pocket.”

Have I mentioned how grateful I am to be His child?

Have a power (human or otherwise) you’d like to have? I want to know!

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