SITS 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Challenge – Day 4

How to Blog Today’s Task:  Analyze Another Blog

Today’s 31DBBB task was to analyze another blog {one within my niche and one outside it}.  You might think this would be easy, since most of us who blog also read blogs.  Lemme tell you though, it wasn’t!

First, you have to pick one.  It feels like the whole picking your kickball team and inevitably somebody is left sad and lonely, waiting to be picked.  I’m sure given my small existence within cyberspace nobody would even know that I didn’t pick them, but still, it feels weird.

Then you have to sit there and try to analyze, without feeling like an utter failure on your own blog, and attempting to process without stealing.

So what blog did I analyze?

I used a series of tags to narrow down my search on Delicious.  Through this highly scientific process, I decided to analyze Simple Homeschool, a blog within my niche {homeschooling}.

First impressions…

First impressions are that Janice’s blog is clean looking, like a pretty crisp white sheet.  She incorporates a nice amount of color that seems to blend into the page without gouging your eyeballs.

Genius stuff…

I really like the way she has her categories/topics set up.  There are eight; easy to see at once and easy to sort through.  In addition, they change color and have a cute little graphic next to them when you hover over the link.

These are the most important topics I would think a homeschool parent would be interested in when they came to her blog.  She doesn’t blog just within these categories, as she has a tag cloud in her footer.

I also like the fact that her navigation bar is not cluttered with tons of options.  She has the most important up there:  Home, About, Contact, Advertise, Meet the Contributors, and Articles up top.

Everything else {tag cloud, mission statement, disclosure, press page, and the short about the blog blurb} is at the bottom.  She has incorporated all elements you need {archives, categories, press, disclosure, etc.} but has spaced them so there’s not a huge glob of stuff in a sidebar.

Simple Homeschool {well, the whole Simple Living Media conglomerate} has an uber media kit.  I think it’s one of my favorite ones to date.  When my blog grows up, it wants one of those.

These are the basics I took from my analysis.  I’m pretty sure there was more, but I got sidetracked with all the digging and didn’t have a chance to analyze a blog outside my niche.

Fun in the Summer Sun!

Babydoll at the farmer's market

Welcome to the 1st of our Fun in the Summer Sun events!

Each Monday until September 7th, Mama to 4 Blessings along with Adventures of Mommydom, Sweet Diva, Harvest Moon By Hand, and Sweet Phenomena will be hosting Fun in the Summer Sun link-up events.

Here’s the line up:

  • The 1st Monday of each month: link up your “Kid friendly summer activities”
  • The 2nd Monday of each month: link up your “Kid friendly summer crafts”
  • The 3rd Monday of each month: link up your “Kid friendly summer recipes”
  • The 4th Monday of each month: link up your “How to stay cool in the summer heat”

Here’s our “Kid friendly summer activity!”

Babydoll and I have a thing for food. Shoot, so does Vince…  We like to eat it, we like to cook it, and Babydoll and I love to shop for it!

One of our favorite summer activities is going to the farmer’s market!

Babydoll at the farmer's market

My sweet little farmer's market helper!

We have one in particular we go to.  This is partly because I sold cupcakes there last summer {it was fun, the cupcakes were a hit, but man was it hot and a looooong morning}, but also partly because it’s just the right size for the whole family, there’s a great variety of stuff there, and it’s in the cutest little community.

I’m not selling this summer, but we still plan on hitting up the farmer’s market as much as possible.

We love the farmer’s market for many reasons:

  • there is great seasonal produce
  • we’re supporting local farmers and businesses
  • there are great baked goods, gifts, kitchen items, food, farm fresh eggs, etc.
  • it’s a great way to spend time together and teach your child about seasonal eating, supporting local agribusiness and small businesses, and it can quickly become a tradition

Want to know how you can make the farmer’s market a super fun place for your kids?

  1. Make farmer’s market time special time – Generally it’s been just Babydoll and I at the farmer’s market {although Vince did help on occasion}.  This quickly became our special time, where we’d walk around leisurely, chat, people watch, and plan meals and gifts for others together.  We look forward to market time with each other.
  2. Start market traditions – One of our traditions is to have tea at the local tea shop.  We don’t do it every time we visit the market {afternoon tea is a tad expensive}, but we enjoy it when we can.  We also choose a lunch or dinner for market day and try to purchase as much of the ingredients as possible from the market.  Traditions make market time even more special.
  3. Give your child some spending money – Many times farmer’s markets are great places to find inexpensive treasures.  Even giving your kid just five dollars can get them a wealth of goodies.
  4. Create a market treasure hunt – Put together a treasure hunting list for your market.  Can your kids find something green?  What about something with butter in it?  How about farm fresh eggs?  There are tons of things they can look for!
  5. Get to know the vendors – Many of the vendors at the local farmer’s market will be there each time the market is open.  Get to know them!  They can be a wealth of information about local products, where and when to get certain items, and they also tend to give free goodies to cute little people!
  6. Give each child a market bag – This doesn’t need to be anything fancy, even a canvas tote would work just fine.  There’s something about carrying your “own” bag of stuff that makes kids feel so big and important!
  7. Visit different farmer’s markets – Our area has quite a few markets, and they each have their own special draw.  Visit different markets and find all the hidden gems!

Not sure where a market is in your area? Check out Local Harvest; you can search for markets, CSAs, co-ops, and other great agribusinesses by city and state or ZIP code.


The Homeschool Mother’s Journal

Babydoll at camp

In my life this week…

I’ve had such a crazy week!  But crazy in a good way.  Vince has had the week off, so we’ve gotten to spend quite a bit of time together.  He treated us to breakfast and Kung Fu Panda 2 on Tuesday, which was nice.  Other than that, there’s been a lot of hanging out around the house, just relaxing.

We haven’t had an “official” end to the school year yet, but we’re pretty much done other than the few things we’ll be working on through the summer {multiplication, reading, etc.}.

My favorite thing this week was...

Spending time with the fam.

Places I’m going…

I’m getting pampered this week!!  Other than that, we don’t have too much going on.

Things I’m working on…

I’ve got so much going on with my blog right now.  I’m participating in my first cross-blog giveaway hop at the end of the month, I’m participating in the SITS 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, I just became a member of Triberr, and I’ll be kicking off a summer series soon.

So much!  But I’m excited.  It’s fun, although a lot of work, and it gives me focus.

Books I’m reading…

I’m supposed to be reading The Wednesday Girls right now…

A quote, video, link, or picture to share…

Babydoll at camp

Babydoll at Daddy/Daughter camp

SITS 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Challenge: Day 3

How to Blog
Today’s Post: Promote a Blog Post

When you take the time to write a really great blog post, you shouldn’t just let it sit there and collect dust.  You should draw readers in!!

There are a number of ways to do this, but the favorites seem to be Twitter, Facebook, and StumbleUpon.  I use all of these, and just today got signed up on Triberr, so we’ll see how that one goes.

In the spirit of promoting blog posts, here are the Day 2 list posts of my SITS 31DBBB group:

Sharing My June Sponsors

7 Reasons I Enjoy Living Between 3 Countries

Top 10 Things NOT to Say to a Pregnant Woman

5 Things People Assume About Theologians

SITS 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Challenge: Day 2

How to Blog

Today’s Task:  Write a List Post

I like list posts.  I like reading list posts.  For some reason, though, list posts throw me for a loop.  I guess I just feel like I have nothing to share in a list post.

I think I put too much pressure on myself to come up with something spectacular that’s never been said before.

*poundsintohead* My unique voice and perspective is enough.

I do know that list posts make the blogosphere go ’round and that readers love them.

The way I approached this assignment was to think about things I’m passionate about, or good at, or are personal to me in some way.  This eventually led to my list post for Day 2, 7 Reasons to Raise Risk Takers.