Filler

I got sick of seeing those first thing in the morning pictures of myself at the top of my blog so here I am posting a bit of nothingness to fill the void. Truthiness is good for a day, not for a week. :oP

It’s not that I don’t have something of substance to write about. I do – too much, in fact! I was just looking at the posts I’ve started, links I’ve bookmarked, and topics I want to write about and I’m at more than 50! My problem is that I don’t have enough time to write about everything (or anything on some days). Anyone else run into that?

Like right now, I really want to write about the exciting adventure we had this weekend when Ava decided – all by herself – that she wanted to sleep in her own room (after co-sleeping for the first 3 3/4 years of her life). But I don’t have time to elaborate right now, so that post will have to wait for another day.

There’s been a lot going on in the world regarding mommy bloggers that I’d like to blog about. First there was the fiasco with Johnson &Johnson’s Camp Baby (which, based on all the live Tweets I read, actually looks like it turned out to be a pretty good, albeit unusual, time), and then the mommy blogger meet-up with Katie Couric, all the while BlogHer’s Business Convention was going on.

There’s also been some bad news (death, heart attacks) in the blogging world. Stress can kill ya in any job. Bloggers aren’t immune.

I’d also like to write about how to be a better blogger (not by writing posts like this one – LOL), but I have two kids hanging on me and I can’t linger (and all of this news about blogging and stress is stressing me out!).

And then there are a ton of green links, tips, and other minutia that I’d love to share, but again, no time.

So there you have it, a short post full of nothing in particular, but now you don’t have to look at my sleepy face anymore and I know you’re thanking me for it. :)

Getting our green groove on!

Amy’s picHello. :) I’m Amy, also known around the internets as amygeekgrl. Welcome to my groovy green blog party, part of the Ultimate Blog Party hosted by 5 Minutes for Mom! I’m so glad you stopped by. :) Come in, have a seat and let me offer you something to eat.

Brownies with heart -2/7/08

Oat-nut scone with strawberry jam

Can I tempt you with some homemade granola or perhaps an oat-nut scone topped with strawberry jam or maybe you’re in the mood for a Grilled Panini with Provolone and Basil or a brownie baked with love? I have a fair bit to choose from here, as I enjoy cooking and baking a great deal. :) I just wish I had more time to do more of both.

Me and the kids on New Year’s Eve - 12/31/07Now that you’ve got something to munch on, let me tell you a little bit about myself. First and foremost, I’m a mom. I stay at home with my two amazing children – Ava (3 3/4 years old) and Julian (15 months). My husband Jody and I try to raise them with the philosophy of attachment parenting in mind, though we really just follow our instincts and do what feels right for our family.

I have a lot of passions that I like to write about on my blog. Some of them include home birth (my son was a footling breech and born at home), breastfeeding (I’ve shared my experiences of nursing while pregnant and tandem nursing), and informed healthcare decisions (why we delay/selectively vaccinate). I also write a lot about the environment (picking up trash in our neighborhood, composting, and recycling) and do a weekly Green Tip of the Week column with suggestions to make life a bit more eco-friendly. Some would call me a hippie or granola or crunchy, hence my blog title. ;)

One of my favorite quotes is “You must be the change you wish to see in the world” by Gandhi. I try to live by that philosophy both on my blog and in my life.

I also write about maternal health as a contributing editor on BlogHer, write reviews for Green Mom Finds and will soon be joining the team of Blissfully Domestic as the Eco-Diva.

I like to do giveaways here at Crunchy Domestic Goddess. In the past I’ve given away t-shirts, natural cleaners, reusable bags, books, toys, and even a digital camera. I currently have a giveaway going on right now for a bottle of Shaklee Basic H2 natural cleaner. It’s good stuff! The deadline to enter is March 13. Hope you’ll check it out and enter to win!

In addition to my blog, I also have two online stores – Attached At The Hip, featuring AP advocacy wear and more and home to the I make milk. What’s your superpower? shirt, and Cute As A Bug, featuring cute and original designs for babies, kids and adults. I enjoy photography (and love taking part in Best Shot Monday), reading, and hiking.

green balloonsYa know, this is my kind of party, very environmentally friendly – no paper or plastic waste and little carbon emissions! :) I hope you enjoyed your visit and will come back again.
Please feel free to sign up for my RSS feed or follow me on Twitter (amygeekgrl)! And, of course, be sure to leave me a comment so I can try to come check out your party too. :)

Now it’s time for the kids and I to get our party groove on, but feel free to visit the rest of the other party people linked up at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Julian’s got his cape and is ready to party! Ava’s got her cake and is ready to party!

Edited to add: I’ve donated a prize – an I make milk. What’s your superpower? short-sleeved t-shirt – to the Ultimate Blog Party. It is prize #141 on the prize list.

There are so many great prizes to choose from in this year’s Ultimate Blog Party, but my top fvie choices are: Bead Dangle Photo Tile Necklace by Elemental Memories, Marketing for Entrepreneurs by Lis Garrett, Burt’s Bees Naturally Ageless skin care line by Geggie, Go BPA Free Sippy Sampler Kit by The Soft Landing and Rocking Horse by A Rocking Horse To Love. If my top five picks are already taken, then I’d also love any of the following (in order of preference) #11, 12, 15, 2, 3, 14, 32, 34, 37, 70, 72, 79, 87, and 5 or anything related to a toddler or preschooler. :)

Partying your way to more blog readers

Last week, I wrote a list of things you can do to increase your blog traffic. And now here’s another idea that’s sure to be a lot of fun! Ultimate Blog Party 2008If you haven’t yet heard of The Ultimate Blog Party sponsored by 5 Minutes for Mom, you may be living under a rock. ;) Just kidding. But seriously I’m finally getting on board before time runs out, am planning to get my groove on and be a part of the party. I hope you will join in the fun too! It looks like a great way to find some new blogs and attract new readers to your own blog. Oh, and there will be prizes too. Gotta love prizes! :)

Here’s a bit more about it from 5 Minutes for Mom:

Last year’s Ultimate Blog Party was a blast with almost 1000 participating bloggers. So make sure you don’t miss out on this one. It is a fantastic opportunity to introduce your blog to a bunch of new people and to find new blogs that you will want to read regularly.

As well, The Ultimate Blog Party features tons of prizes.

Increasing your blog traffic – A how to guide from ‘Crunchy’ herself

I was inspired to write about how to increase your blog traffic after reading a friend’s recent post about navigating social media sites. Since I’m not that schooled in social media sites yet, but I do have experience with growing my traffic through other avenues over the years, I wanted to pass on what has worked for me.

bloggingWithout further ado, here are the Crunchy Domestic Goddess’s tips for attracting more readers to your site. (Edited to add that from the time I initially posted this, I’ve since thought of three more things and added tips 6-8.)

  1. Comment, comment, comment – Seriously. To attract new readers you must first share the love by leaving comments on other blog. It’s fine to lurk sometimes, especially when you just don’t have the time to leave a comment (we’ve all been there), but the thing about commenting is that it lets the other blogger know you’ve been to their blog and that you want to contribute to what they are blogging about. It helpful if the blogs you leave comments on are similar in nature to your own or that you at least share something in common, as like tends to attracts like. They will soon notice that they have a new reader (who leaves them comments – bonus points for you!) and will mosey on over to your blog to see what you are all about, and in many cases, return the comment love. I believe this, by far, is the most important thing to do to attract people to your blog. I try to return comment love when someone comments on my posts, or shoot them an email response, but it doesn’t always happen. Regardless of if it happens every time, it is a goal of mine and I do sincerely appreciate your comments. :)
  2. Twitter – A new discovery and obsession of mine. From Wikipedia: Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to send “updates” (or “tweets”; text-based posts, up to 140 characters long) to the Twitter website, via short message service, instant messaging, or a third-party application such as Twitterrific. One of the thing I like about Twitter (other than the ability to mass spam your address book of course) is that you can see who your “followers” have in their lists and then start following them, and your list continues to grow and grow, exposing you to new blogs and potentially exposing them to yours. It’s instant feedback and interaction and just plain fun!
  3. Blog carnivals – A blog carnival is when several people all post about a similar topic on the same day and often link back to other participants in the carnival or the host of the carnival posts the links to all participants. These are a lot of fun and a great way to meet bloggers with similar interests as you. A few of my favorites are Best Shot Monday, Wordless Wednesday, the Motherwear Carnival of Breastfeeding and now Haiku Friday. Some others I’ve seen are Works for me Wednesday, Throwback Thursday, and Make It From Scratch. I’m on the lookout for a good environmental/green carnival too. Anyone have any suggestions?
  4. Giveaways – Consider participating in the Bloggy Giveaways that Shannon from Rocks in my Dryer hosts every few months. It’s a great way to attract a lot of people to your blog in a short amount of time. Chances are some of them will like what they see on your blog and return.
    I also like to periodically hold my own giveaways generally by way of reviewing a product and then offering it or something similar up in a giveaway. Sometimes I ask that people link back to my blog which helps increase my traffic and boosts my Technorati Authority and Google Page Rank. Other times I make it optional. Check your Google page rank or learn more about claiming your blog and finding your authority on Technorati.
  5. Social networking/media sites – Social networking sites are another good way to get your blog “out there” and, again, meet more bloggers. :) Some that I like are BlogHer, Maya’s Mom, and Cre8Buzz, and there are many others out there to choose from.
    Then there are sites like Digg, del.icio.us, Reddit, StumbleUpon, sk*rt, Slashdot and others. The premise here is someone submits a post that they like, then others on those sites can vote for it, increasing it’s popularity. If your post gets enough votes, it could end up on the front page of the site, sending your traffic through the roof and, ironically, often crashing your blog (known as the “Digg or Slashdot effect”)! I haven’t ventured into these sites much yet myself, though I did have hubby Jody help me put the sk*rt button at the bottom of my posts. I have, however, seen my traffic grow as a result of a cool blogger posting one of my blog posts on Stumble Upon. She stumbled Julian’s birth story and my traffic took a big jump for a few days.
  6. Signature – Add a link to your blog in your signature on any message boards you may post on. This gets links to your blog “out there” and will invariably attract people curious to see what you are all about. While I don’t do this on all of the message boards I post on, I do do it on a few. Note: if you don’t want certain people knowing about your blog, then it’s best not to post it wherever you interact with them online.
  7. Post regularly – I think people are more likely to return to a blog if they know it’s going to have new content at least a few times a week. (I’m amending this to clarify that quality matters over quantity. Thank you, Dawn and Jenni for mentioning that. Though I still believe it’s important to post regularly.) On the flip side, I do think you can overdo it. The temptation to post everything all at once can be great, especially when you have a lot of things you want to blog about, but I think it’s best to space out posts to roughly one per day. Personally in the past I’ve been turned off by blogs that update several times a day (which is what I’m doing today – LOL). It just gets too hard to keep up with them then.
  8. Link to others – If another blogger wrote about something that inspired your post, link back to them. Everybody appreciates a little linky love.

Whew! So there you have it. If you really want to grow your blog I believe you must put forth some effort other than just writing amazing posts. It takes time and energy, but you will soon reap the benefits of your labor, and meet some great people along the way!

Happy blogging! :)

Oh, and if you’d like to share things that have worked for you, I encourage you to add them in the comments. Thanks. :)

*Cartoon from Base10

Haiku Friday and Mama of the Month

haiku friday

It’s Haiku Friday.
A first for me on my blog.
Thought it looked like fun.

And now for the real Haiku…

Girl Scout Cookies

Oh, Girl Scout Cookies.
Peanut butter, chocolate.
My favorite treat.

Morning, noon and night.
I could eat you ’round the clock.
And sometimes I do.

Oops. Running low now.
I must make the cookies last.
Rationing them out.

But wait! There are more!
Sweet treasure in the freezer.
Sigh. What a relief.

=====================================

Mile High MamasI’m so flattered to have been chosen as February’s Mama Blogger of the Month over at Mile High Mamas. Feel free to check out my interview over there today. That Amber asked some hard good questions and I provided some long-winded thorough answers. ;) Seriously though, it was a lot of fun to ramble about my passions. Thank you for the honor, Mile High Mamas.

Also, there are some awesome bloggers out there who have bestowed bloggy awards upon me over the past couple of months. I haven’t forgotten your kindness and am working on my post for passing those awards on. Hope to have it up within the next week. Thank you. :)

Third Blogiversary and BSM – painted sky

Three years ago today I started this blog without any real expectations, just a need for a space to share my thoughts and passions. And that is what I have done, but not without learning a lot about people, human nature and life along the way.

My blog itself has evolved a lot over the years. It started with Blogger as Musings of a Crunchy Domestic Goddess, changed to WordPress and then, after I registered my own domain, it got a groovy blog makeover and a shorter name – Crunchy Domestic Goddess. In three years, I’ve gained many readers, as well as lost some along the way. I’ve participated in blogging carnivals, theme days, contests, and giveaways – even done a few gift guides. I’ve met (virtually, anyway) so many amazing women (and a few men) through blogging. And I’ve learned a great deal about a variety of things – from photography to composting to vegetarian/vegan cooking, from Waldorf education to making butter (a post on that coming soon) to politics, from honesty in blogging to learning you attract more flies with honey than vinegar.

It’s been a fun, interesting and sometimes exhausting ride and I have enjoyed sharing it with you all. I look forward to another year of learning, laughing, sharing and growing together. Before I get too sappy, I just want to say thanks for being here. :)

I know I said I was going to have a giveaway ready for today to celebrate my 3rd blogiversary but time slipped away from me this weekend, between the beautiful and productive day we had on Saturday and Jody’s birthday (brunch with my sis and her beau, making chocolate banana bread and blueberry bread, grocery shopping, making dinner, etc.) on Sunday. So I didn’t get the details ironed out for the giveaway yet, but it will happen soon, probably later this week. Stay tuned.

And now, onto Best Shot Monday…
While I picked up my point & shoot camera often to take a lot of snapshots this week, I didn’t pick up my SLR much except to capture another beautiful sunset out our office/playroom window. We’re fortunate to get such beautiful skies on a regular basis here in CO. This is my best shot for the week.

Sunset in CO - picture taken from my office window - 2/9/08

You can see more from Best Shot Monday participants over at Mother May I.
Best Shot Monday