It's back on

I took a little break from content writing for several reasons, but I am now ready to go back to full time at least for the next 3 months.  I will see how it goes and in the summer when I am done homeschooling my 2nd of 2 kids, will make a more permanent decision.

Here are some of my most recent articles.

Yahoo Contributor Network:
Mugshot Websites Ruining the Lives of Every Day People
Mugshot websites time is limited as lawmakers scramble to stop online extortion

Tips for Getting College Acceptance Letters for Freshmen and Sophomores
College admissions is like a puzzle. If you put the pieces together correctly, you will have great success in finding the right college and getting admitted.

Tips for Getting College Acceptance Letters for Juniors and Seniors
My kids were very successful in applying for college. Yours can be too if you follow these tips.

Don't you wish all signs were this clear?

I came upon an online sign company that supplies hundreds of signs for safety, parking, and informational reasons and thought.  I would all signs were this clear.

Personally, I am at a pivotal moment in my life, as I am now about to graduate my second and last homeschooled child.  I am looking at my life, happy with what I accomplished and looking onto what is to come next.  I thought I already had it figured out.  As of right now, I have been writing content on the internet for 14 years and I thought I would do it indefinitely, but considering I have made no more this year than I did year 1 (thanks economy), it seems that I may have other decisions to make as well.

I'm just not sure where to start.  I there was a traffic sign to help me out... a very specific sign.  I would much rather a No Left Turn sign than one that just ways Buckle Your Seatbelt.  You know what I mean?  Instead, I am left mulling my options over, and over, and over again.  I could get a job, I could follow my passion and stay involved in education.  I could use my expertise of 10 years as a homeschooling mom and counsel other homeschooling families.  I could even explore my talent and take some art classes, and being working as an artist, as was my intention when I was young and childless.  What-to-do?

It's not like I have no idea as to what I want to do, I just don't know where to start.  Just need a very, very specific sign.... kind of like a parking sign that says Customer Parking Only, for this specific restaurant, I need one that screams Andrea, Park Your Butt Here!  All others will be towed.

Am I asking too much?

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Oh My Gosh.... Guest Posts

My homeschool blog has become very popular. I get at least 2 requests a week for guest posts.  I.e. people wanting to promote their own blogs are requesting to write a post on my blog.  They will provide me with a well written post, so I get saved some time, perhaps not needing to write a post that day (saving my already addled brain).  They get exposure.

This past month, I have been really struggling with these guest posts. As I suspected when the rush to write for my blog started, the writers would not be able to capture the voice and intent of my blog.  The guest blogs don't fit well into my blog and they may even be turning off my readers.

Here's the problem.  It is a homeschooling blog.  It is more a journal and encouragement than instructional.  There's a reason for that.  It is my opinion that we homeschoolers didn't break away from traditional schooling to follow instructions.  Yet most guest blogs I get try to give instructions on how to homeschool.  Not only does it not fit into the spirit of my blog, but it is also laughable... you see, most of these people have ever homeschooled, so how are they giving instructions?  I find that borderline insulting.

So I tried to lay out some guidelines. I said I would only take guest posts from people who added real value to the conversation, who preferably homeschooled.  I forwarded each request to my rules and regs and they all came back and said "I can fit your guidelines".  However, when they forwarded my their finished article it screamed "this person knows nothing about homeschooling" even though the blog had a sentence like "I was homeschooled for such-and-such amount of time".

Finally, I had to say no to guest blogs.  So if you want to write a guest posts for my homeschool blog,  (with the exceptions of actual homeschool bloggers) those are my reasons.  And I posted my new rules.

So why am I still waking up each morning guest post requests?  According to what I know about guest blogging, one of the main rules is to GET TO KNOW THE BLOG'S CONTENT.  So if you have visited my blog, you will find a link to my guest blog and ads rules at the top of the page.  You are not getting to know my blog if you are missing that part.  You are also not getting to know my blog if you are submitting potential guest blogs that don't fit the spirit of my blog, and so now we've come full circle.

Meanwhile, I am kind of happy that so many people are offering to guest post on my blog.  It shows that I am getting attention.  Unfortunately it's not necessarily the attention that I want,

Hmmm... I just had a thought.  Maybe I should offer to trade guest blogs.  You write on mine, I write on yours?

I'd love to hear what others think about this.


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DragonCon and ATCs

I spent the weekend at the Dragon*Con convention in Atlanta.  People tend to see the description of the convention, "the largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the universe!" and ask me WHY? 

Well, first, my teenage daughter turned me on to it. She loves all things anime, and most things video games, and plans to do costuming as well as musical theater, and she got me to look into it and so I went last year.  I liked it so much that I returned this year.... Yes, I'm planning to go back next year.  There are tons  and tons

Something I wrote somewhere else

 Not sure why I have more than one blog... actually I do.  This one is mostly about my writing, the others about homeschooling, hobbies and such.  I may combine them sometime in the future.  In the meantime, I wrote a post today that is more about me and my feelings than anything, so I though any readers of this blog... Hello?  ... might be interested in reading it.

http://nfahm.blogspot.com/2012/08/dragoncon-and-other-news-according-to-me.html




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Safe Glow Dog Collar Review

When I received the Safe Glow dog collar in the mail, I didn't quite know what to make of it. It didn't look like a typical dog collar. Instead it looked like like something I would use to wear my iPhone on my arm during a walk.  It  sat on  my desk for a couple of weeks before I fit it on the larger of my two miniature schnauzers.   It was a size small, and still took several adjustments to get it small enough for him to not slip out of, so I suggest the company add extra small to its sizes because my dog is about 25 lbs.  My other dog is just under 20 lbs. 

I guess I could use it on the smaller dog, but I could not attach the leash to it because he could slip out of it.

All the same, I liked the way it sat on his neck. My dog gets pretty enthusiastic about chasing other dogs and animals and will risk strangling himself by suddenly trying to dart in their direction.  This collar however is wider and the way the ring is placed keeps him from hurting himself when he loses his senses and tries to bolt after something.  He stays restrained, but the pressure is not around his throat but closer to his shoulders.  I'm not surprised about this feature since the company that made it specializes in dog training collars.

Now, since I have two dogs, walking them can be less than exciting.  I have to hold onto two leashes, a pooper scooper, a plastic bag, and at night, a flashlight. I have been known to cut corners and leave some of these items behind. Fortunately, having this dog collar eliminated the need for a flashlight. It turns my dog into a flashlight. Press a button on the collar and it glows enough to light my path. If I get nervous about there being a lack of sidewalk where we are walking, I press the collar again and the light flashes alerting to cars that there is an animal and it's master walking on the side of the road.  It is quite a relief to have this feature, and to also not have to carry a bulky flashlight when I need both hands to control the dogs and clean up behind them.

So here are my pros and cons about the dog collar:

Pros: 
  • Eliminates the need for a flashlight when walking dogs
  • Better fit on the dogs neck than the typical collar because of the width of the collar
  • The large ring makes it easier to get the dog's leash on his collar

Cons:
  • The smallest size is still a little large for the largest of my Miniature Schnauzers.  I'd love to buy one for my other dog, but I don't think I can adjust the collar  small enough for him.
  • Not fully waterproof (according to the maker) so remove before letting the dog get wet. 


 I would like to add that my dog has been wearing the collar for two weeks and it is still in like new condition, so it is very durable.  I expect it to last a long time.



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Recent Examiner.com Articles

 I've been writing for Examiner.com more for the past couple of months and am excited to be given my press credentials to attend education and homeschool related events.  Here are some of my recent articles written for Examiner.com. 

 

 

Planning to send your homeschooler to a Georgia state college

In a previous article, I stated that Homeschoolers can get into GA state colleges without an accredited diploma.  Still, if you are planning on sending your homeschooler to a Georgia state college, you will still have some hurdles to...
 
 



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Still writing

This has been a good week.

I have basically gone on strike from my Yahoo Voices gig as they need to get things sorted out.  I don't like being a test dummy as they iron out all the wrinkles (still) from the Associated Content transition and the Google Panda fiasco.  Sometimes I wonder if they will ever get it straightened out. It seems like a lot of content writing websites are having similar problems.

Meanwhile, I have a few jobs to write articles for smaller companies and indivduals, so I am still getting my

Managing blogs is hopeless (for me)

I really wish I could focus more on my blogs instead of writing for other sites.  I have one major problem though.  I am horrible about blog management.

I had begun to celebrate as the income for my blogs this month is triple what it had been... it hadn't been much, but triple is a good sign.  Then all of a sudden, the earnings stopped.  I watched it a couple of days then investigated.  I finally realized that Google had kicked my ads off my blogger blogs.  It's probably something I did as my blogger accounts are connected to a Google email and my Adsense is connected to a yahoo account and for some strange reason, that I can't fathom, they won't let me put the Adsense on my Google account I think.... anyway, I am hopeless.  I re-linked my yahoo Adsense to my blogger blogs and I have ads again, so I am looking forward to continuing the progress of the month, but it seems like I don't understand the simplest things... and I'm a smart girl, but the inner working of blogs confound me.

Now, you're probably saying, you've been blogging for a good 10 years, why are you still on blogger... easy.  As in... it's easy.  Wordpress scares me to death, and I am no good at site promotion either, I just feel like I have more traffic over here.

It's hopeless, but somehow it's working.  I need a book called "blogging for really really dumb bloggers"..  I don't even know if that will help.

blech!


© WWW.AHERMITT.COM

Content writing to pay for college

Saving for CollegeMy content writing has come to a complete full stop in the past two months.

Reason 1 is that since that Google Panda update a year ago, content writing has become less fun...and profitable, but things are looking up.

Reason 2 is that I am on my last year homeschooling my son and I have been giving him and my daughter (who will graduate next year) a lot more attention.  So, I have been so focused on my baby, i.e. The Gentle Giant, i.e. Tall, Dark, and Handsome, will be going to college.  The college search within itself has been quite the time-sucker.  We searched for colleges all the way from South Carolina to Alabama.  It is a good thing he decided to stay close to home or we would still be looking.

It is very interesting that the college that has been first on my son's list for his ENTIRE high school career, ended up at the bottom of the list when it came time to make a final decision.  It turns out that while a college may have a great reputation as an art school, if it is 10,000 more than everyone else, there is one strike against them.  Also, if their merit scholarships are 1/2 of what other schools offer, that's another strike against them.

In the end, my son chose a college that was not only a good financial fit, but actually had better competition stats than the school that was supposed to be the best in his future field.  In addition to that, he is also getting a liberal arts education... thank goodness.  Balance is good.

Of course once the selection was made, it came time to iron out finances, qualifying for grants and getting financial aid (loans) and such. In the end, it means I need to get back to writing. 


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Discount Shopping in Advance of Need

You'd think that because my finances are no longer strained that I would let up on some of my tightwad-ery. Instead, I find myself spending more time and effort looking for bargains.  For example, once you spend a year or too shopping at Ross Stores and still dressing well, walking into Nordstroms  just doesn't sit well.  The prices seem obscene, and the clothes are of no better quality.

I have also learned that regular bargain shopping, can actually be cost effective.  This doesn't mean buying every. single. thing. that is on sale, but regularly looking through sale flyers and websites like nomorerack.com for items that I know I will need in the next six months, and buying them now while they are one sale.

This takes time and planning, but it's not that hard to anticipate future needs.  Right now I know that there is a shopping list as long as my arm for items my son will need for college the fall.  I can also anticipate the need for new winter boots and a new winter coat for my daughter, not to mention a swim suit, and the usual regular clothing and accessory purchases. By trolling the short term online discounts every morning, I have been able to snag items that I would need in the foreseeable future for pennies on the dollar.  It doesn't hurt that I can do all of this while shopping at home.

 © WWW.AHERMITT.COM

Is Your Senior Ready to Graduate? (Snellville Today)

I wrote the following article for Snellville Today

It is January of your high school senior’s year.  In just a few short months, they will be sure to graduate.  Or will they?  Too often, parents are unaware of the real status of a students record, and are surprised to find that their high school senior will, in fact, not be  ...  Read more here

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(Graduation Illustration www.luxamart.com/creative commons)

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