Archive for June, 2009

When The Skies Are Silent…

June 30, 2009
Happy 4th of July.. A couple days early!

Every Heart Beats True
For The Red White And Blue…
And Forever In Peace May She Wave!

As you may know I now live in a teeny tiny town. Total small town America. Complete with a really weird ‘car show’ last week where they ‘dragged’ main for 2 HOURS? I’m not kidding. 350 very old cars dragging main, over and over and over…

Course how weird are we? We watched most of it!

Also in this tiny town there is a National Air Guard base. And guess what the main thing is they do at this base? They train FIGHTER pilots. I know? Cool huh? At first I was all WHAT the heck is that NOISE!? “Oh just the tandem jets streaking across the sky at various times of day….”

And then later I realized I kind of groove on them… you hear the jets WAY before you can see them and my kids love it, and I keep trying to get a great picture of them.. (so far? completely failed.)

Here’s why I’m telling you all this: (you might want to grab a chair and sit down…)

Apparently this summer they are re-paving the whole tarmac out at the Guard base. And so they have moved the jets over to a base in Idaho for the summer. No jets flying overhead lately. And no jets flying overhead for a few more weeks yet. And I’m afraid no jets for the 4th?

See, we lived thru September 11th, while living in New Jersey. My husband took a train into the city that fateful Tuesday. You can read his story he wrote down for me, and you can read my version as well.

By midday of 9-11 not only were we very freaked out, it was also eerily quiet? They had shut down the air traffic of course, and if you know the area basically there are planes overhead at various elevations all day and all night. This quiet sky was a completely freaky thing. Instead? Every so often you could hear first… and then see… tandem fighter jets flying over.

Talk about a feeling of safety! Just hearing those jets.

Back to my tiny town on the other side of the US.

People here VERY seriously respond to anyone who complains about the ‘noise’ of those jets with:

That is the sound of FREEDOM

I agree.

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Dude! go check out Angie’s New Blog Do… Ain’t she Purty??

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Why Twitter?

June 30, 2009

I get this question a LOT. Here’s my response to a friend who recently asked:

I don’t get Twitter.
Why should I
use it?

My husband doesn’t like Twitter at all, he loves facebook, in fact he basically does stand up comedy over there. But twitter is my main means of conversation online. I use facebook sparingly and CANNOT stand all the bizarre apps and ‘games’. (Please! With all the asking me to ‘Fan’ your page? Huh? I’m already a fan of you, I friended you didn’t I?) My ‘friends’ on FB are mainly from the blogging/twitter world, so I find they overlap anyway, and I happen to stick more to Twitter?

I call it jumping the blog.
Let’s say I write a silly post about what my little boy did or said, and I take a picture. Well.. we all want comments right? So I might send the link to facebook with the picture.. and see if anyone clicks over to my site to read the whole thing… what I find is that as many as 20 or so ppl will comment on that link in my facebook page..(not every time of course). They may or may not have clicked over to the post but they saw the picture…

I will also post a link of that same post on twitter… and I often get 20-30 hits from the link. Again they may not comment on my blog, but often lots of ppl will start a conversation with me about whatever my story was about… my article about Elementary Graduations seemed to strike a nerve and tho there are ‘only’ 15 comments on my actual post.. there were many more who talked to me about the weirdness of preschool graduations/and 6th grade commencements on both Twitter and Facebook…

So is that a totally vain reason to use twitter? Yes. But why are any of us on social media? connections, etc…right?

And like my own articles, I retweet other’s links when I see them, and I also Stumble posts often as well. I call this Internet Karma… helping others only helps you, right? My friend Jyl from Mom it Forward, calls this abundant thinking. If I help you I only help myself eh?
There’s the saving my sanity reason:
I also have twitter on my phone (but I don’t have facebook on it), and when I’m in a waiting room waiting for a Dr. I tweet and catch up with friends… When I’ve been in an airport for 3 hours waiting for flights, I pull out my laptop and tweet then too. I call some of it ‘business’ but mostly it’s plain old conversation.

And when I need some help:
How about the times I’ve needed something answered? For example I was looking for an illustrator who could do a small job for very little cashola.. I tweeted it and got about 10 suggestions. I LOVE that. Also a few weeks ago I had a question about how to go about searching and finding your flickr photos when someone has used them on their blog… and I read an article by Chris Brogan (BIG BIG twitterer) -anyway- I tweeted the question to him, and he retweeted it to his 50,000+ followers and TONS of ppl answered my question! How cool is that? (I have the photo link answer btw, tweet me and I’ll tell you :).

They call some of this stuff… your ‘influence’… as measured by your blog stats, your twitter following (and response), your facebook presence etc… And it’s different for everyone.

Is your goal to increase communication and gain a little more traffic for your blog? Then for sure you can get that via twitter and facebook combined. Is it necessary to do all three? No, if facebook is your medium you can have great conversations there and be very happy right?? Or Stick to the blogging world, or yes only play on Twitter. But whatever you chose.. the realm of social media is bringing the conversations down to a personal level. With company representatives (Need a new cookie recipe chat with @DominoSugar?), Dream of a real convo with rockstar bloggers (oh my gosh @JessicaGottlieb just followed me back AND! she tweeted me!), or enjoy some one on one with long time blogging friends (@butlerdiaries hey chicka.. what’s doin’? Did you toss out the 14yrold’s cell phone yet?).

OH crap.. did you expect all that? (I think I overwhelmed my poor friend…)

Next up FriendFeed.

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Kids In The Kitchen: Week 5

June 29, 2009
Welcome to the Summer Series Boredom Busters!
Check out the whole series: Help! My Kids Are Driving Me Crazy!


What could be more fun than Breakfast for Dinner?

My Featured Foodie today is Kate of Cooking During Stolen Moments! She comes up with fabulous baking ideas and I’m excited to share her Breakfast Pizza!? What… you ask, is that?

Well lately my kids have been GaGa over biscuits and gravy. We’ve been eating ’em for dinner for pete’s sake! So when I saw her breakfast pizza idea… I WENT Yippee!

Here’s What Kate said about her recipe:

Breakfast pizza has always been a bit of a mystery to me. I’ve eaten it a few times at restaurants and really enjoyed. So I’ve always wanted to tackle making it myself. However, all of the recipes I’ve seen for it have seemed like they would be too dry.

Today I finally figured out a creative solution and decided to have some fun experimenting. I’m so glad I did because the results were delicious. This recipe is somewhere between a cross of sausage and gravy with biscuits and breakfast pizza. It’s a perfect any-time-of-day meal.

For the recipe and instructions please click over to Kate’s Cooking Blog.. we plan to make it this weekend, and she assures me we can cheat and use store-bought biscuits or crescent rolls to speed up the meal and make it easy for my kids to make it!

And totally check out her other site when you have a chance:
A Simple Walk


1.

I don’t know whether to love this SouthernFairyTale girl or be a little bit jealous of her.. Rachel has come up with two new fab recipes that are great for kids to make! Sunshine Cake and IceCream Cone Cupcakes!

2.

This is more for me than the kids. I HEART banana…ANYthing. So when I saw banana cake with chocolate cream frosting? Okay? Sold. Please meet my friend Mary Beth and her icebox banana cake! I will forever know her as @Cupcakes5… and I mean.. isn’t that better??

3.

Since you can never be too early or too prepared for Halloween… here’s a fabulous Ghosts-On-A-Stick recipe to get you prepared… I love basically EVERYthing from Noble Pig… you will too! Plus here’s the link to her whole Halloween series!

4.
My pal and goto guy for the hard cooking questions like brining a turkey (!)- Mr. Chris Perrin of BlogWellDone fame, has created a terrific kid friendly TACO recipe, including great tips for teaching kids in the kitchen, and safety!

5.

Check out these melon ball appetizers! Wow Prociutto? I’m in! Kate’s blog Tribeca Yummy Mummy is… YUMMY!

6.
One of my newest BFFs on Twitter is @SavorTheThyme, please check out Jennifer’s Egg and Ham Sandwich! Wow… my kids are all over anything eggy lately! I think this is for lunch!

Please contact me if you have a great Kid Friendly Recipe to add!

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Church Chat: Why More Isn’t Better (part II)

June 27, 2009

You might want to hurry and read Part I first? !

People say more is better. But what happens when you get to more? —

Well then.

You’ll simply want more. After all… if more is better, when you get to more— more will still be better, right?

You don’t really get ahead with that strategy, eh?

About 6yrs ago… I. Was. Miserable.

My husband was making more money then he likely ever will again. We loved the terrific town that we lived in. I had great friends. And our house was a charming 100yrold craftsman with parquet flooring and foot high crown molding of now extinct chestnut wood. (I’m talking amazing little home!)

Sounds awful huh?
So, why the misery?

At the same time: hubby was working 14hour days ON TOP of a 2 1/2 hour commute. Weekends were always iffy. I had 2 young children and at the end of just over 3yrs of this I looked at my husband and realized we barely knew each other and we were beginning to live separate lives. We were considering having a third baby and our house, charming or not, was too small. Should we consider a renovation and an additional $100,00 mortgage? Or moving to a larger home and (at the time home prices had increased to the point that our own tiny home had DOUBLED in it’s value..) affording a larger home would have been tight even on our budget. Plus those pesky student loans were still nipping at our heels.

We could keep on like we were:— Increasing our consumption. Forcing Dad to work more and stress about making partner. Yet feeling more and more guilty that he’s spending less time with us.

Right about this time I came across this book:

Your Money Or Your Life
By Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin

It was recommended by a church leader in fact.

I was floored. As in socks completely knocked off.
There in Black and White on page 8:

(from a survey the authors took)

“…not only are most people habitually unhappy, but they can be unhappy no matter how much money they make. Even people who are doing well financially are not necessarily fulfilled.”

It seems when asked how much money people made. Across thevboard EVERYone wanted more. Even those making a substantial amount of money noted that they would only be happier with yet MORE.

Later in the book they ask the question: “Is More Better?”

on Page 12:

“We become habituated to expecting ever more of ourselves and ever more frm the world, but rather than satisfaction, our experience is that the more we have, the more we want—and the less content we are with the status quo.”

Oh my gosh! I think I had the deepest thought of my entire 30-ishyrs on this Earth.

Love the life you’re livin’
Enjoy the Journey
Life is a Highway

All sound cliche? Not to me.

There I was living the Great American Dream.. More Is Better— right? Or is it?
I was living fairly affluent by anyone’s standards. More comfortable than my childhood by a stretch. 401K maxed out each year… So why did I keep feeling like I wanted more? NEEDed more?

Whoa. What if more isn’t better?
What a deep thought.

I began to dream and discuss with my husband the possibility of selling our house, paying off the student loans and moving… somewhere.

Could we do it?
Could we get our lives back?
Could we harvest more out of life with less?

I’ll have to get back to you on that one… cuz I’m too busy living it!

Photos by: BrockBuilders, clspeace, bbaunach

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Of Summer and Sand…Winds of Change?

June 26, 2009

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You know what I really wanted to capture with these photos on the beach? I wanted a great shot of all three kids working together.. in a non-posed shot. Something I could blow up to a poster sized shot you know? Or even better— hire an artist to use that awesome hoped-for photo to create a nice sized image.

I am really liking the ages of my kids right now. I want to catch them in the act of being kids. Cuz… I am starting to feel the winds of change these days.

Oldest is off to Jr. High this fall.

Youngest starts Kindergarten.

Something is in the air? Can you smell it?

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Why Should I Use My Real Name on Twitter?

June 25, 2009

Carissa’s Social Media Branding Strategy:

YOU are your brand as much as your website, logo/photo and/or username!

Most of us ‘regular’ users/moms/bloggers are online for communication and friendship. We are more responsive to a real person vs. a brand (or even a logo.) I suggest you use your real name or a variation of your real name in your profile/bio on your Twitter account, your Ning accounts, etc. In other words, where ever people will click to see more about you: use your real name.

Remember your brand is really as many as four things:
• YOU (as in your real name)
• Your business name/website/logo
• Your username (if you don’t use your real name or your business name)
• The photo you use on all your social media haunts
Mine are: Carissa (CarissaRogers on twitter), GoodNCrazy and my twitter picture.

Best Practices for Using your ‘brand’ in Social Media:

1. TWITTER:
Keep your current twitter username if it is one of the above 3 things: Your NAME, Your SITE/business, or the USERNAME you use in a lot of places. If it is not one of those three, consider changing it. This is easy and you won’t lose any followers. Then in your twitter profile give your real name, this will allow people to talk to you like a real person if they choose. It will show up in the DM form. We don’t want to call you ‘fancypants’ when we’re talking directly to you! If it freaks you out to use your real name, use a variation, if your name is Jennifer, try Jen?

2. NINGS/STUMBLEUPON etc.:
Anywhere you need to create a username, USE THE SAME ONE each time and use the same picture too. That avatar FOR SURE is part of your brand, so if you change it, change it EVERYwhere!

If at all possible use your real face. If you want to get your brand/logo in there, simply hold up a product, or stand next to it, or stamp your logo on there below your face. I promise real faces get more response than logos or products. (And IMHO be sure you are wearing regular clothing, often those tiny avatars get cropped in and people look like they are naked, when in fact they are wearing spaghetti straps…causing them to look like a porn queen!)

Take a look at my profile page on MomBloggersClub: Carissa Rogers. I use “Carissa AKA (GoodNCrazy)” in the top ‘Title’ of the page, and I use my real name as my username. I’m lucky though and often Carissa isn’t taken, unlike twitter where I had to use my whole name. (BTW: On facebook it’s basically frowned upon to create an account that is anything but your own real name.)

3. COMMENTING ON BLOGS:
For blogger blogs: Create a blogger/google account and in the profile section add your email address and website. Click to allow people to see your email address. (Create a public email address if you are worried about publishing your account.) Then in the name field use your real name followed by username/business like this: Carissa{GoodNCrazy} —PS: Stay away from the ‘&’, because websites hate it! This way your real name is linked with your blog/brand.

When I am commenting on blogs that have a regular sign in form, I use Carissa, give my public email address, and my website. Another way is to leave your username in the name field and then literally sign your comment with your real name. I often sign a blog comment with my twitter username.

The whole point of social media is social first, business second.
Create a conversation with people keeping it genuine and about them. Let them know you are a real person. Be engaging. Ask questions. If you notice someone asking a question, answer if you know the answer. Even better, connect them with someone who DOES know the answer. You’ll have made two friends out of one!

Can you talk about your own business on twitter/facebook/nings?
The answer is: YES. Remember to keep the 80/20 rule. 80% about other people (tweet out their website, link to a terrific blog post on your facebook stream, STUMBLE stuff you love!), and then go ahead and share your own brand/products/writing 20% of the time.



Was this useful? Would you like to hear more?

Possible Upcoming GoodNCrazy strategies:

• What’s the best way to use Twitter/Facebook/Nings? And who should I follow/friend back on these networks?
• How can I entice additional followers?
• Why should I use Facebook for more than just friends and family?
• Should I use FriendFeed?
• How do I use StumbleUpon? And why? (and what about other social bookmarking sites?)
• Do I get anything out of Flickr, Photobucket, or Twitpic.com?
• Should I care about my website’s Alexa or Technorati rating, or any of those ‘rating’ sites?

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Oregon Lighthouse Love

June 24, 2009


Can you guess where we were this weekend?

What is it about Lighthouses?
I mean:

Apple Pie
Waves of Grain
and
Visiting Yaquina Head Lighthouse on the coast of Oregon

Oh my gosh it was so windy out on the point like that… but holy crazy gorgeous!

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Summer Activities:Week 4

June 23, 2009

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{click to see the whole series}


Can’t Beat The Heat?
Then Join It!

Need a great SUNmer time activity with the kids? One where you’ll be grateful for all that hot sun at the end of the project? Then you’ll love this:

A solar powered toy car from SunWind.ca.
I know… cool huh?

We had a total blast putting this together! The directions were simple and easy and especially my little boy was in heaven ‘helping’ assemble the little pieces. (I totally recommend watching the video on the Sunwind.ca site though… that part about actually USING the sandpaper would have helped out a lot! duh.)

Here my little girl is attempting to screw in the little eyehooks that eventually will be the holders for the front axles… turns out it was a ‘Mommy’ job.. but she felt all big for trying!

How cute is this thing? And does it work? Totally on solar power?


Oh Yeah ya’betcha baby. Talk about the perfect playtoy? No batteries to run out. And they have to get creative with how to run the thing… cuz as soon as it hits shade?
It stops. So they rigged up several ways to set up the photo cells on top so it could be turned around and run in another direction.

Bonus: Great lessons on mechanics, engineering, solar power…and yeah… FUN!


1.

I totally love TodayisFun.com and I get to chat often with @Nordink the creator. Terrific ideas and activities for kids of ALL ages! Try Fun with a 5 dollar bill. Or Creating a Snail City? Or my favorite Make Your Own Placemats! {We are totally doing this one!}

2. I got the inspiration for our Father’s Day Cards from : FreeCraftsForKids.com. It’s a no frills site with FABulous ideas!

3.

Oh my gosh I was totally floored by Amy Platon’s idea for a kid crafting area! You will be too! (Hint: those are spice jars filled with paint…) Amy blogs at ScribbleInkCafe.

4.

Oh my crazy cuteness. This one isn’t a project, but sheesh do we just LOVE the designs on this Monkey See, Monkey Do clothing line? The materials are all organic. And when lined up the images tell a story!

5.

Here’s a whole series of great children’s activities from ConniesView.com
I love the swimming ideas!

Would you like to add your summer activity idea to this list?
Email me your suggestions!

Feel free to:
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Or:

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Church Chat: Living the Dream Part I

June 21, 2009

Do you ever think you are living the American Dream only to wake up and Realize:

Maybe Not?

house for sale on hemlock street in lake oswego, oregon - $420,000 - _MG_0243


When we moved last September. We hired United Moving Co. They sent a driver and he contracted a couple day laborers to load up and drive and then unload as well. This Driver and one of the laborers were a pretty sad sack of beans. They basically lived in the truck (yuck.) I estimated they were both still in their 20’s. And they basically drank themselves into oblivion nightly. {Let’s not think about how safe they were—still are? on the road.} We talked to them a lot while they unpacked our stuff and they were seriously intrigued by our Leave it to Beaver Mormon lifestyle. And yet they could not believe we don’t drink alcohol. Not even a drop. (I mean since they practically worship Jack Daniels..seriously this was shocking to them.)

So which is it? Are they Livin’ La Vida Rica? (as in happy joyful fulfilled?)

Or

Are we?

There was a point about 7 yrs ago.
Where we woke up one day (yes that sudden) and realized we didn’t dream big enough? Huh?

  • We both dreamed of college degrees: check.
  • We both dreamed of leaving small town life and experiencing something bigger: check. (NYC big enough for ya?)
  • We dreamed of having a few kids, buying a home and holding a steady job: check, check and yes check.

Now what?

Does it seem greedy to dream of more….?

Or not?

Next episode: “Why More Isn’t Better.”

And yes I know it’s father’s day today… Happy Happy and lots of plaid shirts and ties to all the loving dads out there! Go see the cards my kids made and know that we are happy in our celebration of father’s day.. I just really needed to get this post started. I’ll finish it next Sunday… See you there.


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A Rose Confession

June 19, 2009
I don’t love Roses.

I hate NOT having any YARD in our yard. Instead we have bushels of thorns. And roses are a pain in the neck to take care of. All that pruning and cutting. And did I mention the thorns? (Try chasing down a ball that has gotten tangled with this bad boy!) And the bugs? Ughs.

I think a grandma would love this yard. And not your sweet everyday bake-you-cookies type either. I mean the type who grows thorns for fun and eats 4yrold little boys with ketchup.

I don’t love Roses.

But Peonies? Oh My.

I have a secret lust affair going on with Peonies.
Peonies in Love.
Peonies in Pink.
Peonies remind me of french kisses and lingerie and a bride’s blushing grin.



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