Dear Blog, Where Do We Go From Here?

a notebook, coffee, laptop_dearblog_rockinrandommom

Dear Blog,

The last couple of weeks have been very hectic. I needed a week to unwind but I found myself restless. You give me direction. I also found myself getting some inspiration about changing your name and the direction I want to take you. I even wrote down several different blog names and designs ideas.

Dear Blog,

When I came back, however, I tried to make some minor behind the scene changes but you were not cooperating. I purchased that stupid SSL certificate thing because I want my viewers to see that you are a secure site but all that did was give me a headache and three hours of wasted time talking to two different Host Gator agents. Long story short, I got some security but it’s not complete. This was really stressful and very frustrating.  You almost had me calling it quits. Completely. Bam! Kaput!

Merida frustrated_dearblog_rockinrandommom

Dear Blog,

There was a moment though when I really thought I was going to lose you. It broke my heart. All that we’ve been through together for the past 2 1/2 years – all the frustrations and mistakes we both made – all of our hard work and most important our connection to each other and to other bloggers – I nearly broke down. I thought when I got locked out and it took nearly an hour for the Host Gator agent to figure out what I did, that I would never see you again. That was really painful.

Apparently there is a problem somewhere in the back door of all of this that I still don’t completely understand. Host Gator told me I have to contact my web developer to get it straight. Cue the crickets. *Crickets* *Crickets* *Crickets*. I am an intelligent person but I am not ashamed to admit that this tech crap is way over my head. This shit should not be this complicated for the average blogger who doesn’t know jack about coding and web developing nonsense.

will smith_what?_dearblog_rockinrandommom

I feel like I have to go take some classes in order to understand any of this. Instead, what I did was I walked away for a bit. I grabbed a coffee and binge watched Netflix, all the while thinking of you, my dear blog. I thought of all of the changes I want to make and the new name I know I am getting close to discovering for you.

One example is that  I want to add a book of the month. I don’t think I will be calling it that though. Probably something like what I am reading this month.  I also want to add my favorite artist of the month as well. In music that is. That should go without saying but you never know how the word artist will be interpreted by our lovely readers. Artist can mean someone who draws you know. A writer is also an artist and since I do write, well, you know what I mean.

Of course changing my blog name means changing a whole lot of other things. My tag line in every photo for one thing. It will be a lot of work and that means we will have to take a week or two away from the world but I think it’s time we evolved, you and I, my dear blog. July will be three years for us. It’s been an amazing ride so far. I’m looking forward to another three years of working with you, creating with you, and meeting many others like us.

I will admit though that it is hard for me to part with RockinRandomMom. I have grown fond of the name and I will miss it. The thing is, I want to draw more readers to my blog. I want to bring in more music lovers and those suffering from a mental illness. That is the reason I started writing in the first place. To reach out to those who are suffering and inspire them to see a better tomorrow for themselves.

my quote_reach for the stars_dear blog_rockinrandommom

I also really want to share more of my creative writing with my readers and I want to keep the parents around too. Especially the moms who also suffer from a mental illness while trying to raise happy, healthy, well-adjusted kids. It’s not easy on any parent to meet today’s expectations but it’s even harder on those of us who suffer from depression and other illnesses.

Top dealing with your own shit and try raising one child with Autism and another with ADHD. Yeah it can be rough but again, I want to inspire parents to reach for the stars. There is no limit to what we can achieve if we really want to.

These are the goals I set for myself when I started you my dear blog. And as I’m writing this I know this is still my goal. These are the people I still want to reach out to. It isn’t my goals that have changed but the way I present them.

So that is where I am at. What do you, my lovely readers, think of my plans? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks so much for reading!

myblogsignature_rockinrandommom

I am linking this with:

 

My Random Musings

 

Reflectionsfromme

 

Monday Stumble Linky

 

 

Burnished Chaos

 

3 Little Buttons

 

Pink Pear Bear

 

Motherhood The Real Deal

My New Blog Planner: Free Printables Included

freeprintables_rockinrandommom

For the past two weeks I have thrown myself into my blog. Part of that is the result of my recent break-up but the other part is because I had a goal.To finally make my own blog planner! Free printables at the end of this post.

*Please note that this is for personal use only*

Doing The Research

I haven’t had a planner in over two years and that one was expensive so I wasn’t going to replace it. Then I stumbled upon a blog post on Pinterest of all places (it’s my least favorite social media site) and found free printables of other bloggers’ planners.

I found their ideas and organization interesting and inspiring but I wasn’t too keen on their designs. The creative in me really wanted to make my own planner that was more personal to me but also to my goals and my blog. Naturally, I dived into research mode and started googling away. I found a few tutorials on how to make my own planner but again, none of them fit what I wanted to do.

Enter Microsoft Word

That’s right! I used nothing but Microsoft Word. For most of the pages I only used the blank document. It took a lot of time to figure out how to use a lot of the tools in the program because I’ve never used them before. Like making a table. Wow! Long story short that involved A LOT of trial and error.

I never saw Microsoft Word for more than just writing but I have found that it is a handy tool when creating my own blog planner. Now I’ve read a lot of tutorials and most of them use two or three different programs. They have a lot more experience than I do and I am just starting out on this planner/printable thing.

Making My Own Design

It took some time for me to come up with my own design for my blog planner. It’s still a work in progress for me as I explore more program options and get more creative but for now I have found my design. I grabbed most of it from Microsoft itself but I am proud of what I came up with.

blogplanner_rockinrandommom

 

Organizing My Planner

I had to think about what was most important to me for my planner and organize it to my liking. Before doing that though, I also went back and forth to Walmart and Target searching for the right holder for my blog planner. After buying three different 3-prong folders and discovering they couldn’t hold everything, I finally found what I was looking for at Target.

I found a three ring flexible notebook binder made by Mead. It’s a hybrid of the binder and the folder and it works really well for my planner. Other bloggers choose to go to Staples and have their planner converted into an actual planner. That’s a great idea! I will probably do just that for next year. Meanwhile, with only 5 months left I just wanted to stick to the binder plan.

blogplanner_rockinrandommom

blogplanner_rockinrandommom

I’m really happy with my blog planner! I have a great system in place and by having this planner I am more organized. Something different from other bloggers who make their own planners: I added a writing section. By adding this section to my planner I am scheduling in some of my writing. At least I’m making blocks of time when I know I will be more focused on it.

I also added my daily schedule, which isn’t just about my blog, nor is it about writing. I schedule my daily life in there as well. This way I can keep everything I have to do in one place and won’t get too overwhelmed and forgetful. I’m really proud of my daily schedule. I made two different designs and will include both in the downloads.

blogplanner_rockinrandommom

 

 

blogplanner_rockinrandommom
These pages look much better downloaded. Promise!

As I get more involved with creating planners, I would like to make more designs for people. I want to change things up a bit and work more with my Paint Shop Pro to make better designs. I had so much fun creating this! For now I will leave you with these Free Printables to download.

Cover Page

Yearly Calendar

Yearly Blog Stats

My Yearly Finance Tracker

Monthly Stat Tracker

The Monthly Blogging Goals

Monthly Calendar

Linkies

Advertising Tracker

Affiliates

Blog To Do List

Contacts

Giveaways

Social Media

Sponsers

Weekly to do list

Freelance Work

Writing Ideas

Random Notes

And for the Daily schedule:

Daily Schedule #1

My Daily Schedule #2 page 1

Daily Schedule #2 page 2

I hope you like my first design! I am loving it! Please feel free to download any or all of these and let me know in the comments what you think.

Thanks so much for reading!

myblogsignature_rockinrandommom

 

I am linking with:

My Random Musings
Monday Stumble Linky
Reflectionsfromme
Cuddle Fairy

A Blogging Good Time

Lucy At Home

My Blogiversary and Other Summer Craziness!

blogiversary_rockinrandommom

Whew! I don’t know about you but this summer has been a busy one! With all the summer craziness I haven’t been on for most of July. First, I had my blogiversary that I actually forgot about because I was busy making my second YouTube video. Then my 39th birthday creeped up on me! I finished that day off with strawberry wine and ice-cream cake!

summercraziness_rockinrandommom

 

MY BLOGIVERSARY

July 14th marked my one year anniversary for my blog! I know I should have done something special to mark the occasion, like a giveaway or something. Honestly, I don’t know how to do a giveaway and I didn’t know what I could possibly give away…Wait, maybe I do have something… *has a light bulb moment*

Anyway, I had meant to send Becky from Cuddle Fairy or Trista from Domesticated Momster a message asking them but I forgot. Ladies, how do you do a giveaway? *wink wink* These two ladies are my go-to for all things blog related. They are so helpful! You ladies rock!! Be on the lookout for this post coming soon!

MY BIRTHDAY

summercraziness_rockinrandommomYep! I just turned 39 years old and I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that in another year I will be 40. What boggles my mind is that I only have one more year left of my thirties and that makes me sad. I have learned so much about myself in the last decade. Probably more  in the last ten years than all of my years put together. I love my thirties and don’t want to leave! This, too, will be another post after the summer craziness!

 

MY BLOG

Did you notice the new setup? The new banner? And my new animated signature? I made that myself with my new program, Paint Shop Pro!  During the process of finding a theme though, I got frustrated! I thought I would buy a theme that looked really nice in the preview. Turns out this theme came with all sorts of directions and things I needed to download. Something I DIDN’T WANT! I just wanted something simple with the feature to make my own banner my own way and design my blog my own way. This theme was anything but simple

Instead of giving up on paid themes I decided to buy a cheaper theme that looked simple enough but that too, proved to be a waste of my money. So, now I am back to a free theme and I have seriously considered learning how to make my own damn themes just so I don’t have to go through this shit again!

 YOUTUBE

My channel started out great! Then I got sidetracked with trying to keep a busy, hyper-active 9 year old from destroying my house and before I knew it my channel had fallen by the wayside. It’s not all his fault though. I want my next video to be perfect (by my standards) but with the summer craziness, I haven’t had time to concentrate. Not to worry though. I will be back to making those videos! In the meantime, you can watch my Game of Thrones review below!

SUMMER CRAZINESS

The summer started out well enough. The boys had a week off from school before starting their camps. I could only afford to pay for 4 weeks worth of camp for Conner so after the first two weeks, he has had the last three weeks off. Three weeks that almost drove me to the brink was packed with so much fun that I can’t contain myself any longer.

As many of my readers know, Conner is my ADHD kid and has lots of energy. He also gets bored REALLY QUICKLY! What happens to me him when he gets bored? Let’s just say he decided to have a Styrofoam battle in my living room… I’m still finding little pieces of the shit in my cushions! When we got all that cleaned up, he found more Styrofoam in my bedroom and decided to build a mini fort with it. IN MY BEDROOM!

summercraziness_rockinrandommomMy solution: Swimming!! Swimming was my favorite past time growing up. There wasn’t a summer without swimming when I was a kid. I love the water! I wanted to share that love with my boys and I was hell bent on teaching Conner how to swim. So almost every single day, we went swimming. One day we would go to the public pool. The next day we would go to the lake or pond. On a few occasions we went with friends.

We also attended a fundraiser for Veterans.  They had bounce house jousting and face painting for the kids!  We also saw not one but TWO double rainbows!! Tomorrow Conner goes back to camp for the next two weeks and I will have more time to focus on blogging and all of you beautiful people!

Thanks for reading!

myblogsignature_rockinrandommom

 

 

 

I am linking this with these rockin’ linkies:

My Random Musings
Pink Pear Bear
Rhyming with Wine
Diary of an imperfect mum
DomesticatedMomster
Cuddle Fairy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Changes are Happening!

changes_rockinrandommom

You may have noticed that I haven’t been as active on my blog lately. There are several reasons for that. I have been involved in a few projects around my house in addition to some writing projects. Changes are happening in my life that have kept me otherwise occupied.

Writing my first E-Book:

A while back I was asked by several of my readers if I would write a book about some of my experiences growing up that lead to my journey to healing, happiness, and forgiveness. I have been struggling with this for awhile because my childhood trauma is intertwined with others that I respect too much to expose their own stories. However, recently, I have been giving this a lot of thought and have come up with a solution – a way to tell my story without telling someone else’s. So, I am going to start working on this project with the goal to have the book finished by Christmas, if not sooner.

Writing my Fiction:

For those of you who have read my fiction on my blog and want to know more, I am still working on this story as well but I will be making some changes. You know how it is. We writers are constantly revising and re-writing. That’s how it has been with The Vampire and The Zombie Hunter. I’m making a few changes because I really want to get this story right before I share it but I will share it so don’t you worry!

YouTube:

I recently spoke of this and basically came up with some pros and cons of starting a YouTube channel. Since then I have done a lottotally_rockinrandommom of research and basically it’s like starting a blog. You have to have your YouTube name that matches what your content will be about. There are banners and thumbnails and gaining subscribers…It was enough to give me a headache. Haven’t I already been through this with my blog?

Yeah, which is why I feel more equipped to take this project on. I want to use my channel to do previews of music, TV, games, etc but I also want to leave room for speaking about random things that I don’t really write about on my blog. I wanted to have a different YouTube name but for promotions sake, I’m going to keep it with my blog name because I’m lazy and don’t feel like making other social media accounts just to promote my channel. Haha!

Active Living:

March and much of April really sucked! My boys are I were sick through all of March and the weather for April was just plain depressing which really messed with my mental health. Because I wasn’t getting the physical activity I normally get I was feeling sluggish and lazy and that led to irritability and bitchiness. That needed to change so come May I was determined to get my life back on track. I started back with my hiking, which has been so awesome and my boys made my Mother’s Day really special! I’m back and feeling better than ever with more confidence and thinking more positively.

So the next few weeks at least, I will be less involved in linkies and not writing as often on my blog because I really need to concentrate on a few other things right now but I won’t be gone long and I am sure to make an appearance here and there just so ya’ll don’t forget about me:P

Thank you for reading!

mysignature_rockinrandommom

 

 

I am linking this with:

Domesticated Momster
My Random Musings
Rhyming with Wine
Pink Pear Bear
Reflections From Me
R is for Hoppit
Cuddle Fairy
Mummuddlingthrough
Single Parent Pessimist

 

 

To YouTube or Not to YouTube

toyoutube_rockinrandommom

Lately I have been toying with the idea of starting my own YouTube channel. I have an account but it’s for personal use and I’d like to keep it that way, especially since my youngest uses that one to watch all of his Minecraft videos.

I am considering starting a new channel that would focus on me reviewing – or talking about TV shows, movies, video games, and of course…MUSIC! This would free up my blog to talk more about other topics such as parenting, mental illness, among other things.

However, I am apprehensive and these are the reasons why:

  1. My YouTube Channel Name – I don’t want to expand my blog name to my channel for a few reasons but the biggest reason is because I want to focus on my reviews and won’t be talking about the things I talk about on my blog, including my boys.  I want the name to match the content of my videos. With that being said though, I’m not the greatest at naming things so coming up with a name is going to take me some time.
  2. The Logistics – I love going onto YouTube and watching various music videos and looking up different gaming tutorials when I get stuck at a certain part of a game. I find these videos really helpful but as far as uploading my own videos, adding links to my blog and social media and just all the other little details of running a YouTube channel, I am a newbie.
  3. Internet Trolls – I have been very lucky so far with my blog not getting any internet trolls because I am not a huge blog and I like it that way but expanding myself to YouTube may invite those attention seekers (because we all know that’s what they are) that just love causing drama. I hate drama but I am also very good at ignoring the drama. It’s called the delete button. Starting my own channel would invite this into my life. Am I ready for that?

lifetooshort_rockinrandommom

Now here are some of the reasons I want to start a YouTube Channel:

  1. Time and Desire – I have a strong desire to voice my opinion about my favorite shows, movies, games, and music but  I don’t always want to, or have the time to write about them. Recording videos of me talking about these things would free up time in my schedule and I also believe that those who read my blog regularly might enjoy getting to know me better in this fashion.
  2. New Knowledge – Getting to know the logistics of YouTube and how it works will not only give me a new experience of technology and gain new knowledge but it will also help me to learn all I can about the ins and outs for Conner, who wants very much to have his own YouTube channel to talk about video games like Minecraft and such. He really wants to emulate his favorite YouTube Heroes and his dad and I finally agreed to allow this when he turns 10. This is something he has been asking to do since he was 5. Now, though, I haven’t enough experience with the site or the knowledge to help him and protect him online.
  3. Adding My Voice – There are already so many videos out there that talk about all of the things I talk about and adding my voice to this vast ocean of other voices may be a struggle but I believe that I will add my own unique insights that others may appreciate, plus, I think it will be fun!

While making my own YouTube channel may invite internet trolls and unnecessary drama and haters, I also want to use this outlet to further express myself, as well as learn all I can through my own experience to help my son with his own channel. I still have more research to do on YouTube but I am hoping that this will be a positive experience for me and eventually, for Conner.

What do you think about me starting a YouTube Channel? Any tips you can give me before I decide to embark on this endeavor?

My Random Musings

 

Thank you for Reading!

mysignature_rockinrandommom

 

 

I am linking this with:

 

My Random Musings
Agent Spitback
Cuddle Fairy