Motherhood!

This is a time of enjoyment and discovery.

Motherhood!

While a little daunting, especially for new moms, you will soon realize that you are part of a group of women who have gone through a life-changing episode.

While motherhood is as common as the stars in the sky or the grass that grows outside your door, your experience will be unique.

No two women can claim to have the exact same experience from time of conception to the day that they die.  And yes, you are a mother always, no matter how old your kids are.  No matter if you outlive your children, God forbid!

You have entered the realm of a magical journey.

Some of you are scoffing at this, saying that because becoming a mother is so commonplace, like changing your panties, no one is interested in you.

Quite the opposite.  There is one thing that other fellow mothers love to talk about and that is their kids and how they came to be.

You will find many interesting and some eye-opening stories out there that may just make you want to reverse time and reconsider becoming pregnant.

What you have to do is take it all in but use your mental sieve.  Filter out the nonsense from the useful stuff.

To help you along, our friends over at Hello Baby Bump have put together an informative and thought-provoking list of ways to get through this beautiful experience in one piece.

Enjoy every minute!

Becoming a Mother, Not a Monster

What’s your passion? Find a niche for your blog that matters

What drives you? What inspires you to write? What makes you want to start a blog, and keep at it when the chores pile up and sunny days beckon you outdoors?

Whatever that passion is, that’s where you will find your niche.

A couple of weeks ago, I introduced a writing path discussion series on The SITs Girls forum for bloggers who have mastered blogging basics and who are ready to take their blogs to the next level.

Find a niche for your blog

So far, we introduced the writing path by looking at how some bloggers have leveraged a blog into book deals and freelance writing assignments. And then, to get you started on the path to fame and glory, I listed online classes and conferences where you can learn the skills you need while networking with your tribe – the support network of folks who are committed to your success.

Next, we’ll discuss the interests that might drive your blog, but first, I think we need to tackle one important question.

What’s a niche?

The term “niche” is commonly used by marketers to refer to segments of the internet centered around a product. So, for example, the fashion niche might include the online presence of designers, manufacturers, and the online media devoted to following, discussing, and promoting everything and anything to do with fashion.

But I’m more interested in the way writers use the term; Christina Katz defines a niche as a topic that suits your talents and personality.

What’s your niche?

Even knowing this, it’s not easy to pick the right niche – the one that’s right for you right now. Join me on The SITs Girls Discussion Forums as we tackle finding a niche.

15 Ways That Pinterest Is For Bloggers

pinterest-is-for-bloggers_thumb1Pinterest is the cool new social network. Although it’s been around for several months, suddenly bloggers can’t get enough. Pin addicts are everywhere, and I’m expecting Pinners Anonymous to spring up any moment now.

As Pinterest is still in the Beta stage – admission is by invitation only – there are a number of kinks to be worked out, and bloggers have a ways to go to figure out how to use the medium to their advantage. Luckily, there are a number of blog experts willing to help you learn how to own Pinterest.

But first, a Pinterest Tip

Before I turn to the pros, I have one tip that I want to share. The beauty of Pinterest is that you can create a visual board. So, for example, to keep track of all the blog conferences, I pin an image from the conference website onto my Blog Conferences board. So easy.
Pin-Albany-Kid-Family-Trave_thumb1Or, it would be so easy if bloggers took the time to put an image on their site that is pinnable. You see, it turns out that many sites put their logo – or blog conference information, for example – on the header. And, in many cases, the header is not pinnable.

That’s why I created a pinnable logo – my business card, if you will – on www.AlbanyKid.com. It sits on my sidebar so that anyone who wants to remember what my blog is about, can see do so at a glance.

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Why You Should Be In Pinterest

  1. Pinterest Drives More Traffic Than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn Combined [STUDY] – Traffic stats prove that Pinterest is now the social media darling of “brides-to-be, fashionistas budding bakers” and retailers.
  2. Why Pinterest is 2012′s hottest website – If Pete Cashmore, founder and CEO of Mashable, says Pinterest is hot, then it must be so. Find out why.
  3. 35 Brilliant Bloggers Talk about Pinterest – All the cool kids are doing it. HUGE roundup of smart tips for using Pinterest in a gadzillion niches.
  4. Pinterest for Brands: 5 Hot Tips – Mashable shows how brands are using Pinterest to promote a lifestyle, crowdsource, run contests or a focus group, and inspire a team.
  5. What is Pinterest & Why You Should Optimize For It – Kristi Hines (Kikolani) explains the value of Pinterest for marketers on SEOGadget, but all bloggers will appreciate the visual illustrations.

pinterest-is-for-bloggers1

Pinterest Social Media Lessons

  1. Beginner’s Guide to Pinterest Basics – A good place to start, Allison on BlogWorld, shares tips on how to drive traffic for newbies (and pros too) and she follows it up with 7 Cool Ways to Use Pinterest.
  2. Pinterest and Blogging: The Good, The Bad and The Huh? – The Nester tells us that Pinterest is now a top referrer to her home style blog. She gives the stats, best tips, and pitfalls.
  3. Get the Most Out of Pinterest – Don’t miss these tips from Colleen on www.mommiedaze.com, she makes sense of pins and permalinks and steers you clear of pin errors.
  4. Add Pinterest Pin It Button to Every Post & to GetSocial – The title says it all. This short tutorial from Brittany on www.mommywords.com will help you get your blog posts pinned. End of story.  (Another option is to install the Social Discussions plugin, as seen on www.AlbanyKid.com and explained on 6 Ways To Add Pinterest to WordPress.)
  5. Pinterest How-to: How to See If Your Content is Pinned on Pinterest – A super simple tip to see who has pinned your website content on Pinterest from Momcomm.
  6. Pinterest with Friends: How To Contribute & Curate Boards Together! – Get by with a little help from your friends, oh Amanda shows you how.
  7. Pin It Friday – Link Up Your Favorite Pins – Susan at www.5minutesformom.com hosts a linky every Friday where you can share your favorite pin of the week.

Sandra-Foyt-on-Pinterest

Pinterest Boards to Follow

  1. 21 Must-Follow Pinterest Users – Mashable offers a lovely of  list who to follow, but I think that who you follow on Pinterest is going to depend on your interests. I started out by following too many people when what I should have done is to be selective about which boards to follow. Otherwise, my incoming stream ends up being full of pins that don’t interest me at all.
  2. Pinterest Top Five Most Repinned Items – The coolest of the coolest, 52,925 repins and counting.
  3. Sandra Foyt on Pinterest – Follow all of me, or some of my boards: Social Media Lessons, Road Trips, Family Travel, Storybook Travel, In the Garden, Photography Lessons, It’s Funny, and many more – including collaborative boards like: Family Travel Inspiration and UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  4. Kelby Carr on Pinterest – Kelby, founder of Type A Parent and author of the upcoming “Pinterest for Dummies” book which will be published by Wiley late 2012, plays show and tell with her boards.

And that’s what Pinterest is all about, after all. Show and Tell. Who do you recommend following on Pinterest? Or which boards?

Psst! Need an invite? Tweet me at @sandrafoyt, and I’ll hook you up.

Power Networking Across Social Platforms–Type-A Conference Liveblogging

typea_thumbI’m in Asheville, NC for Type-A Parent Conference. It’s a three-day affair that promises to enable and empower bloggers to take their sites to the next level. And it delivers!

This being my second TypeA, I’ve come prepared to maximize the gain by sharing coverage of the workshops with friends. Now, I’m not the Liveblogging Queen – that’s Christina at www.CutestKidEver.com, but I’m giving it a shot.

How many of us struggle with juggling Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and way too many other Social Media platforms?

Debba Haupert, of Girlfriendology, shared tips for staying sane and benefiting from these mediums in Power Networking Across Social Platforms:

1. Pick an objective – It’s essential to know what you’re trying to get out from social engagement.

2. Build a list – Know your community so that you tailor the frequency and content of your updates; don’t make it daily if that’s too much. Your list is valuable, one estimate puts it at $80/per person. Make sure that the email subscription opt-in is in a prominent place.

3. Survey your Community – You might think they’re just like you, but often they are not. Ask your community how and where they engage online, ex. might be on Facebook, not Twitter. Don’t be afraid to do ask, you can use SurveyMonkey.com.

4. Plan your updates to fit your community’s schedule & likes. For example, if your audience checks Facebook during lunch, you might want to plan updates to amuse the lunch crowd.  Keep in mind that 47% of population is on East Coast time. Debba’s workflow has Facebook and LinkedIn updates going to Twitter, but not visa versa. Be consistent so audience knows what to expect.

5. Schedule your updates. (Hootsuite, Tweedeck, Social Oomph) Since Debba has a backlog of evergreen blog posts, she pulls those out as “Classic, Favorites, MVP, etc.” and puts them out on Facebook. Her other Facebook updates includes videos and quotes.

6. Make it easy to share content. Add Facebook LIKE buttons and other sharing buttons. Debba recommends the “Suggest This” WordPress Plugin.

7. Engage your community. Ask your community to share the content. Once a week, Debba asks her community to share her blog with others.

8.Share! Share every blog post, guest blog, etc. Make sure to remember to include a link back to your site.

9. Create a conversation. Don’t hog the conversation, listen.

Snow Ice Cream

My son has been dying to make his own ice cream, but I’ve been stalling. It’s messy, and who wants to eat ice cream in the winter? Well, he does, and he isn’t alone. Cold temperatures and even snow are not a deterrent to hardy ice cream lovers. A blizzard may even provide ideal conditions for a childhood favorite, Snow Ice Cream.

kid-making-snow-ice-cream_thumb

With eighteen inches of fresh snow, and more on the way, my son tested out a recipe for Snow Ice Cream that I found on the Albany Mommy blog:

Ingredients:

* 8 cups Fresh Snow (liquid measure)
* 1 cup Sugar
* 1 cup Milk
* 2 tbsp Vanilla

Method:

* Put approximately 8 cups of fresh snow into a large mixing bowl.
* Add the ingredients – first 1-cup sugar, then 2 tablespoons vanilla and finally, 1-cup milk.
* With the help of a wooden spoon, mix all the ingredients well.
* Continue mixing till the ingredients are well combined and snow attains the texture of ice cream.
* Serve immediately, since snow cream does not hold well in freezer.

snow-ice-cream_thumb

The product was disappointing. It was more liquid than expected, and the vanilla gave it an odd taste. I’m not sure if he put in too much vanilla, or if it was the wrong kind of vanilla, but it had an unpleasant, almost bitter, flavor.

With all the snow on hand, I think he needs to try again. I printed out a few alternative recipes that I think look promising.  Too bad we don’t have sweetened condensed milk on hand to try out Paula Deen’s Snow Ice Cream!

More Snow Ice Cream Recipes: