#AskAwayFriday with Live By Surprise – Blogging and Mini Me

What is #AskAwayFriday?

#AskAwayFriday was created by the amazing Penny from Real Housewife of Caroline County, as a way to connect with other bloggers with a great Q & A session of 10 questions and 10 answers, between two bloggers!

This is a wonderful opportunity to get to know others while allowing others to get to know you and of course there is also the added bonus of making great friends along the way. Participating in #AskAwayFriday each week is also a great way to build your blogging community.

Drop by and welcome our fabulous #AAF hosts:

Tamara from Tamara Like Camera,
Tiffany from Mrs. Tee Love Life Laughter,
Christy from Uplifting Families,
Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings

and Echo from Domain of the Mad Mommy

This week my buddy is Liv from Live By Surprise. Liv is a mother of three children who has been through divorce and than true love with her current husband. She blogs about her family, being a divorced mom and co-parenting. Make sure you visit her blog to read her answers to my questions.

Below are the questions she asked me.

1. I know that you’ve recently made a big move with your family to somewhere completely unfamiliar.  What do you miss most about your last home?

Leaving Spokane, WA

Actually I am not completely unfamiliar with Chicago. I grew up in a small town outside of Madison, Wisconsin. When I was a kid we took trips to Chicago on occasion. I love the Midwest and have always considered it my home.  The thing I miss the most about our old home was the neighborhood. We lived in a younger neighborhood than the one we are in now.  It was filled with families with small children like mine.  My kids always had friends over to play.  The homes in our new neighborhood were built in the nineties. Most of the neighbors are the original home owners and their children are either in high school or grown. Kitty complains a lot about not having neighbor kids to play with.

2. What do you like best about the new one?

Our New Home in Chicago

It has a basement.  Our old home didn’t have a basement so we had to rent a storage unit for all our extra stuff. When you have five kids junk accumulates quickly.  Now we have all of our junk in boxes in our basement.

3. You are a veteran blogger with a TON of experience.  What advice would you give to someone just starting out?

Great question. I could easily devote five different blog posts on this topic. I’ll try my best to make my answer brief.

Content is key. Make sure you write something that is worth reading. If you wouldn’t read it, than nobody else is going to read it either. Know your audience. If you have a personal diary blog like this one, write your posts like you are having a conversation with your readers. If your audience is looking for answers to questions, make your posts educational so that they go away learning something new.  I have both kinds of blogs. This one, which is a personal diary blog where I share stories about my every day life and my emotions. My other blog is an educational resource.

Create a community with your blog. So you have awesome content, but it’s no good if nobody is reading it.  You need to network with other bloggers who write about the same things that you do. Get them to visit your blog and spark conversation in the comments.  The easiest way to grow your blog community is through commenting. Visit and comment on as many blogs as your free time allows. I went through a period of a couple of years when I just stopped visiting other blogs.  Life happened and I just didn’t have time. That was a huge mistake. My blog’s traffic went way down and so did my comment count. I lost touch with fellow bloggers that I used to have strong online relationships with. When I fit commenting into my schedule again, most of those bloggers quit blogging.  So now I am rebuilding a new community and reading new blogs.  Use a feed reader and make sure you subscribe to blogs that you know the owners will visit yours and leave you a comment.  When I am looking for new blogs to follow I find a blog that gets tons of comments and I visit the links from other people that have commented.  If she is leaving a comment on someone else’s blog chances are she will leave you one too if you visit her blog.

Make sure you have a presence on all the major social media sites. If you are on twitter, use it every single day. If you have a Facebook fan page post to it every single day.  Pin all of your blog posts to pinterest.  Sharing your blog on social media will help you gain new readers and improve your SEO rankings.  I tweet all day long and have 15K followers on twitter.  Interact with people on social media who are interested in the things that you blog about. This is another great way to build your blog’s community.  Also, the bigger your following on social media, the more attractive you are to advertisers.

4. You have FIVE kids!!  As a mother, which of your personality quirks have they each inherited?

Yes I have five kids and they are all a little like me.  I wrote a little bit about this in my previous blog post. A Parenting Failure.  Growing up I was always strong-willed, independent and stubborn.  I also compared myself to my siblings and wanted to do everything that they did. I was the youngest of five. Sometimes I wanted to be my older siblings.  All of my kids except for my oldest are very independent, just like me.  But, Kitty is the most like me.  She is so much like me at times it is scary.

Mini Me AKA Kitty

She is strong-willed, stubborn, independent, throws a fit if she doesn’t get her way, is very creative, talented and entertaining…all of which are my traits too.  Part of me is looking forward to when she is a teenager because I remember what I was like when I was a teen, but part of me is not looking forward to when she hits that age because again, I remember what I was like as a teen. Chris thinks that we are going to get into a lot of fights when she is a teenager. Only time will tell!

5. How do you make sure each of your children has “mommy time”? 

When we lived in Spokane we used to go on mommy child dates once a month. But we haven’t been able to fit that in our busy schedules out here.  My kids get one on one time with me when I tuck them in at night. I make sure I say their prayers with each of them one at a time, give them a kiss and tell them that I love them. Goose gets a good night hug from me every single night before she goes to bed.  Bear has me all to himself all day long when his siblings are at school.

6. I love your Wordless Wednesday pics – you must be taking pictures all the time!  What was your favorite this week?

Thank you! My favorite?? I don’t know. I take photos of my kids nearly every single day with my phone. Most of them are blurry and don’t turn out. But when I do get a good one then I make sure I share it on Wordless Wednesday.  Here are a couple of my favorite photos that I’ve taken recently.

Little Bear

My little Monkey

7. The HealthyMoms Blog has a lot of advice for pregnant women.  What was your favorite part of being pregnant?  And your least favorite?

This is a tough one, that was over four years ago!  Time flies fast.  I can’t find a photo of myself pregnant to share, I’ll add one later when I can find it.  I loved the times when my baby was moving and I could feel it. I loved getting ultrasounds and seeing his/ her tiny features.

What I didn’t like? I hated the heartburn in the third trimester and being on bed rest. I was on bed rest for three of my pregnancies due to preterm labor.  I also found it very uncomfortable to sleep and always had a sore back.

8. HealthyMoms also has a number of fantastic recipes.  Which one was your favorite and why?

Healthy and Delicious Frozen Fruit Cubes  This is a summer treat and I know it’s hard to think about eating frozen fruit when it’s 20 below zero outside.  I love this recipe because I did it with my husband’s help. Chris is always busy with work and doesn’t have free time to make recipes with me. But he is a genius in the kitchen and spoils us with his fabulous cooking.  When he helps me put together a healthy recipe I feel honored.

9. You’ve been on some pretty amazing adventures.  Have you got something planned for this year yet?

When I was a kid we drove down to Florida for spring break every single year.  Now that we are back in the Midwest after being away for six long years, I am excited to be able to share that tradition with my kids next month. We are leaving on March 20 for the sun and sand in Florida. We are not going to Disney because taking five kids to a major amusement park just isn’t in our budget. Instead we are going to relax on the beach.  I can not wait!

10. Fast five favorites
a. Fish (eating)..Um, salmon? Shrimp? Crab? Lobster? Is that what you mean? I love all seafood except for sushi.
b. Monkey (at the zoo) What is my favorite zoo animal? Or do you just want to know what my favorite monkey is?? I don’t have a favorite zoo animal.  They are all God’s creations and they are all beautiful.
c. Flower daffodil
d. Bird cardinal – truthfully, I don’t have a favorite bird either.
e. Last but not least – dog or cat? Cat

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