Friday, February 28, 2014

How you can be a better blog reader or follower

As a "Blogger" I generally write posts for the purpose of sharing my thought's, opinions and recommendations that I feel are important or that others might find useful. I write because I want to write and not for the purpose of expanding my blog or to make money as some Bloggers may do. However, just like a graffiti artist who doesn't create a masterpiece on a brick wall somewhere and hope no one will see it... I hope some people out there are reading what I have to say. 

As a Blogger I thrive on interaction! I don't want to tell you how to do your job... read, but for those in the same boat as me which is new to the blogisphere I want to point out some things available on the blog that you may not have noticed before that can help you to interact with me better and in turn help you to become a better blog reader or follower. The very best way for you to interact is to share, follow or comment. Lets start from the top.


On the right hand side of the page just under the photo you will see this picture or button. Most of you will have a Facebook account. By clicking this button you are taking the opportunity to share this post with your friends either by posting the link on your timeline, on a friends timeline, in a group or in a private message to a friend. This potentially allows my post to be read by how ever many people you have in your friends list. Could be hundreds! This also allows you to share your opinion or thoughts with your friends on what I am saying.

Just below that is an image or button that allows you to do the same with your Twitter account. I know not everyone has a twitter account but if you do this is another opportunity to share this post with a lot of people. On twitter your tweets are visible not only to your followers but to anyone who might search for key words or #hashtags your tweet contains.
Next up... a little further down the page is another option for the Twitter users out there, this time instead of sharing my post with your followers this image or button allows you to "Follow" me on Twitter because I too have a Twitter account. It might not be as powerful as sharing my posts but it does allow you to be kept up to date with my latest posts and any personal tweets or "Mini posts" that I make in between the big posts I make on my blog.

Sticking with the following theme next is Follow me on Bloglovin'. If you are a serial blog reader, meaning you read more than one blog or other blogs then this one regularly then bloglovin' is for you. You simply create an account and follow your favorite blogs all in one place. It lists all the new posts that have been made since your last session from all the blogs you follow and gives you the option to like it, share it with other bloglovin' users or even search for new blogs to follow if you enjoy this type of reading genera. 

If you are a busy person, lets face it we all are then you might like the convenience of having all my latest posts being sent straight to your email inbox. You will never miss a post and you can limit how regularly you receive the emails so I don't clog up your inbox. Although lets face it, I don't post that frequently! It really couldn't be easier, simply type your email address into the box and press submit. You don't even have to leave the page!

At the very bottom of each post I would like to draw your attention to something. It's a series of buttons that you may not have noticed before. 
This is a reaction bar, hence the word "reaction" on the left hand side. This is specially designed by me to give you the opportunity to quickly and easily let me know if what you think about what I have written. Did you like it? Would you like to see more or less of that type of post. For example the Fridge Door series. Do you like seeing recipes? I am still going to write about what I want to write about but it lets me know if I am on the right track, or maybe I need to tone it down a little.

Just down from this is another little bar or series of buttons. These buttons are also for sharing. The first gives you the option to email it to a friend, the second is for the blogger readers out there allowing you to post it to your blog. The third and fourth is to share on Twitter or Facebook... we've been through this. Next is if you have a Pinterest account which I must say if you don't, you should!!! I am a big Pinterest fan. This button allows you to pin to one of your boards. This is great for the very few craft projects I have posted about, recipes or even if there is an image you have particularly liked. And on the far right hand side is one of the most important buttons or the most valuable way you can interact as a reader/follower. More information follows.


G+1- Google describes this feature "The 1+ button is shorthand for 'this is pretty cool' or 'you should check this out.' Click +1 to publicly give something your stamp of approval. Your +1's can help friends, contacts, and others on the web find the best stuff when they search." This in turn drives more traffic or readers to my page or it could be said that you might be helping others who might be looking for the information my posts may contain (There... an easy way to do a good deed for the day ;-) This little button shows the world that you recommend the content in that post.


Finally, my most favorite way for you to interact with me. Post a comment. I love, love, love receiving comments! It takes just a few seconds of your time to write a comment on a post but it gives you the opportunity to respond. Offer advice, ask questions, add to what I have said so other readers can benefit, state your opinion, disagree. I often ask questions in or at the end of a post giving you the opportunity to get involved. I have left the option open for you to post anonymously so you shouldn't need to create an account or sign in. But if you are posting anonymously I would love if you left your name, however that is optional.

Anyway how ever you might like to do it, next time you are reading a post, take a second to have a look around the page and make the most of your ability to be a proactive blog reader or follower and interact with me. It really makes my experience as a blogger that much more fulfilling knowing there is someone on the other side of the screen reading what I have to say. I love it!

For those, like me who are new to blogging some terms you might not be familiar with:
Blog= This page you are reading eg The Mumma Next Door.
Post= Each individual topic or story. Each start with a title.
Blogger= Me. The author of the blog and posts.
Blogisphere= The world of blogging. It is huge. There are so many wonderful blogs out there that are worth reading about any and all topics. The deeper you get the more fulfilling but time consuming it can become.
Share= Generally copying the link to to this page and pasting it on another page, usually social media such as Facebook so that your friends can click on the link and view the same page.
Follow= Keeping up to date with me or my blog. Usually through a form of social media. Following means that you get notified in some way when I post something new. You are the first to know and wont miss a thing.
Traffic= Readers.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Fridge Door- Zucchini Slice

This might be the first "Fridge Door" recipe that is actually healthy! Today I made some Zucchini Slice for afternoon tea and lunch box fillers. Please don't let the name scare you off. I personally do NOT like zucchini. But it is kind of hidden in the recipe so you don't really taste it and its sole purpose is to make the dish healthier. I like to think of this recipe as more of a quiche slice.

The wonderful thing about this recipe is that 90% of these ingredients are staples in my house so it is a turn to "throw together" dish for when I need it. Usually in those times of need I am also time restricted so this recipe is perfect as it is pretty much all the matter of throwing everything together and baking in the oven then in half an hour its ready to eat!


Ingredients:

5 Eggs
A small grated carrot
A small grated zucchini
A handful of shredded ham or diced bacon. (Both available prepared at the deli, I have a few portions frozen on stand by).
1 cup self raising flour
1 small onion finely chopped
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Method:

In a large mixing bowl stir eggs until well combined.
Add the self raising flour and mix until smooth.
Add the shredded ham, carrot, zucchini, onion and vegetable oil and mix together.



Transfer into a baking dish or tin and bake for 30 mins at about 180.




Allow to cool slightly before serving. Best eaten warm although perfect cold for lunch boxes.


My very fussy toddler... one happy little camper, even asking for more!!!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Valentine's Day SAH Mum style

Being a stay at home mum in a single income family makes buying gifts particularly tricky, specially when you can sometimes feel like you are spending "His" money to buy "Him" a present. Ben doesn't really buy into Valentine's day just like most "blokes" blokes don't... but I do!

Last year we were on a particularly tight budget, Ben hates chocolates or anything overly sweet for that matter and I wanted to be creative so I took to Pinterest. What did women anywhere do before pinterest? (P.S: If you haven't already checked it out, you should... It's amazing! If you would like to follow me my user name is: tegs6) I happened to stumble across a few ideas I thought were genius and I stopped at the grocery shops and stayed up late the night before the special day after Hannah had finally gone to sleep. Getting to bed pretty close to midnight and utterly exhausted I was pretty happy with my efforts.

The next morning I left a personal hand made card from Hannah and instructions for Ben (who had to work that day) on the counter explaining which of the three parcels were designed for each meal during his day. Each was wrapped in alfoil so he could not see the surprise and he was instructed not to peek before he was ready to eat.

I don't usually make Ben his breakfast each morning as he used to leave for work at 4am but today was special, I had pre-cooked a bacon and egg toasted sandwich with a heart cut out of each slice of bread and the egg cooked into it. As it turns out Hannah thought it would be a wonderful idea to wake up at 3.30am that morning so we were able to see him enjoy it and he got to start his day with kisses from his special girl.


Next up was smoko time. I eagerly awaited a text message or something to signal that he had opened his next present. Much to my delight he was working in the workshop that day and all of his work mates were around to witness the occasion. Ben usually has his bigger meal for smoko and his smaller meal for lunch. So today I made him heart shaped pizzas with hand cut hearts made out of the pepperoni and sausage meat.
 

Finally, my favorite of the three parcels was for his lunch. I made for him a dozen bacon roses wrapped up and presented just like a normal flower bouquet. Apparently all of his work mates thought it was a great idea and they all had a good laugh about it. I think after the first 8-9 the animal fat and strong bacon flavor was enough so Ben shared the rest with some eager on-lookers. Hey... they only way to a mans heart is through his stomach and bacon roses is really the only way you can give a man flowers as a gift. When he finally returned home to me that evening he said he really liked the gifts and as a word of warning for any mummies or readers who are thinking of trying this at home he said he "wont be eating bacon for at least a week!" Ha Ha.

 
After all my hard work and effort he "forgot" about Valentine's day that year and hadn't even organised me a card. needless to say I wasn't overly impressed and I endeavour to ensure he doesn't forget again this year. Not that I expect to be spoilt with fancy expensive gifts but a little something with some thought and love is all I ask.

This year I am still fine tuning my ideas with just 1 week to go. I have stumbled across a pin on Pinterest which has printable Valentine's day jokes to pop into his lunch box to serve as a daily reminder not to forget again this year.
 
http://www.couponsaregreat.net/printable-valentines-day-lunch-box-notes-using-valentines-jokes-kids/

Our budget is slightly more flexible this year so I am free to purchase a thing or two to spoil my hard working man. But I would like to include a gift from Hannah now that she is getting old enough to be more hands on and I would still like to come up with a tasty treat or two for his lunch box just to embarrass him in front of his work mates again this year. I wonder if he will allow it to be a surprise or if last years treats have left a scar ;-)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Dummy Diary


With the new baby due to arrive just around the corner, I am trying to have Hannah weaned off her dummy and bottle. I have been meaning to do this for a while, but just like transferring her into a "big girl" bed it has been put off and put off and now she is over two and still has them. I just want it to be clear that I do not judge anyone depending on when they wean their children off dummies and bottles etc. I believe it is up to each parent to make their decision based on their child. I have made the decision based on two things. One that I want to take care of Hannah's teeth the best I can. I have horrible teeth and will do anything for her to not have to go down the same path I am on and secondly I would much rather this ordeal be over and done with long before a newborn is thrown into the works. Yesterday I decided to take the plunge and start making positive steps towards my goal.

Day one:
Time taken to fall asleep: a bit over 2 hours.
For day one I decided to just start "no dummy" with the day time sleep. It was hell! I didn't realise how depended Hannah had become on her dummy. I knew she loved it but I totally under estimated the intensity. I went cold turkey and just told her she couldn't have it until tonight. She cried her little eyes out leaving me to feel broken hearted and a horrible mother. She constantly got out of her bed to play or to come to me crying and I went in to her many times to try and calm her down again enough for her to settle and go to sleep. Through out this process all I could think about was how I regretted not taking those little windows of opportunities that I missed through out her life so far where taking away the dummy would have been not really an issue. When she was 6-7 months-ish she didn't even like it that much but I hung onto it as she would still wake many times through the night. Then again when she was about 18 months I had her in a routine where she didn't need it to fall asleep at all, I gave it to her only when she woke through the middle of the night to get her to go back to sleep again. I tried to focus on the positives and what we would do when she woke up, but she was hardly listening. Eventually I layed with her until she fell asleep. I tried to escape four times but she woke up and demanded I layed back down or she was coming with me. All the while I was thinking "gosh, how do I get rid of this dummy without creating another bad habit!!!"
*Hannah had her dummy that night and fell asleep no problems at all. Hannah only has her bottle for her night time sleep which I have started reducing the amount.

Day two:
Time taken to fall asleep: Maybe around the 40 mins mark.
Today started off just like yesterday and I decided that the easiest way might be to remove the dummy completely. No dummy at night either. Hannah was a little reluctant to hop into bed once she knew I wasn't going to give her the dummy and insisted on having her water bottle which I allowed. I must say the crying was no where near the scale as yesterday but she was still clearly upset. I decided to tell Hannah I couldn't find the dummy's and removed them from their usual home which I allowed her to check for herself they were gone. She calmed down almost instantly. I then allowed her to have a look around the house for the dummies and then tried to focus on what we would do once she woke up and tried to be positive. For a short time she wanted to go back to sleeping in her cot which was the first time she had requested that since she had been in her "big girl" bed! But I convinced her that she was a big girl now and needs to go into her bed. We read one of her favorite stories to distract her some more and I left her room with her completely settled in which she fell asleep shortly after!
*Today when we were up town I purchased some multivitamins to try for when she is completely weaned off her bottle. I am a little worried she isn't getting all the nutrients she needs from her food as she is a small and fussy eater. This is the main reason she is still having formula bottles at this stage.

Day three:
Today went by in a bit of a blurr. Adding spice into the mix Hannah's daddy was home from work, meaning she didn't want to lay down for a sleep. She was constantly getting up out of her bed and running around the house until I ended up closing her door and after a short time of tears she fell asleep on the floor directly behind her door so you couldn't open it! I am noticing however that her day time sleeps are not as long as they used to be with her dummy. I am hoping this will return to normal when she fully adjusts to the new changes.That night we went out for dinner so it was late to bed. We didn't offer her a bottle and she didn't ask for it yay! She kept getting out of her bed again but after returning her several times she was happy to settle and lay down until she fell asleep. I think we are finally making progress!

Day Four:
Time taken to fall asleep: Maybe 30 mins?
Today I noticed even more progress. Hannah doesn't ask for her dummy any more. One of the biggest battles with getting her down for a nap is trying to get her to hop into her bed. Once she is in initially even if she gets out a few times that is half the battle won at the moment. Today I have started a new positive nap time routine to help with that. I ask Hannah if she would like to read a story. This is no new thing to night time bed routines but I haven't really practiced it much through the day before. Hannah loves reading so she is keen to choose a book before we both lay down on her bed. Then after the story is finished, she doesn't want me to get up but I have been encouraging her to read the story to her dolly and she was happy to go along with this today. No tears and she was asleep in no time! I did need to remind her a few times if she kept getting out of her bed I would have to shut her door and it seems to reduce the offences quite a lot. (Does this make me a bad mother?) This evening We offered her a bottle to try to use up the last of the formula we have brought. Well I didn't offer it to her exactly, just put it where she had access and I noticed she did drink it. I hope this doesn't set us back in the removal of night-time bottle process!
P.S: Hannah loves taking her multivitamins which I have been giving to her once a day.

Day Five:
Time taken to fall asleep: 15-20 mins.
This will be my last "Dummy Diary" entry as I think we are officially weaned off the dummy!!! Still no mention of the dummy from Hannah's part and getting her into her bed with the story time routine is getting easier. The amount of times she climbs out of her bed is reducing each day and the time taking to fall asleep is slowly declining as well. I must say 5 days is much better then I was anticipating on day one when I realised how dependent Hannah had become and how distressed she was when I wouldn't give her the dummy!

It really is a huge relief to have her dummy free, knowing it is much better for her tooth development and she seems happier. I am also finding she doesn't stir through the night now when she would normally be looking for her dummy when it had fallen out. Next step... that last night time bottle and we will have a big girl on our hands!

At what age did you take the dummy away from your baby/child? And do you have any other tips that might help other readers who is looking at tackling this milestone in the near future?