Monday, January 30, 2017

How and Why I Use Scheduled Blog Posts on Blogger

Scheduling Posts in Blogger

Why would a person use Scheduled Blog Posts? 

When I first began blogging, it was October. I knew that my readers would want Thanksgiving recipes soon. And, I also knew that a recipe was pretty well useless for a reader if they found it the day after they needed it. So, I set out to make and photograph my entire Thanksgiving menu early, so that I could publish it before Thanksgiving. And then I made the entire menu again for Thanksgiving Day!

I knew there had to be a better way.

I noticed on the right of my screen a little setting that said "Schedule." 

The "Schedule" Button is about 1/3 down the Right Side of the Blogger Screen
See the word "Schedule" here on the Right hand side of my screen? It's two below the orange "Post Settings," about 1/3 of the way down the right hand side of my screen.

I thought there might be a good idea there!

There are lots of times that I cook a dish, but find that the publishing time is not ideal. 

The Christmas Eve recipe for Fudge that I could publish the day after Christmas? Nah!

The time I feel like making Chili in July - great time to publish that new recipe? Probably not.

A really delicious Watermelon Salad in February? Nope!

It makes a lot of sense to schedule posts for when people want to read them not for when I want to cook them!

But, there were lots of other good reasons to schedule my posts. 

What if I had 10 ideas for a great post one week - and wrote them all and published them all - then NO ideas for a great post for the next three weeks?

What if I needed to be with a loved one at the hospital for a month?

What if I wanted to go on an extended vacation, but wanted my blog to keep chugging?

It's good to have a predictable publishing rhythm for readers! It's also safer for everyone if the entire internet doesn't know when you're away from home for a few days!

But, not only that, I discovered that there is a great resource out there to find out who wants to read what, when! 

 On Google Trends, you can search and see what time of year your topic is likely to attract the most readers - and you can see which title terms will be most effective at attracting readership.  


 For instance, a while back I made a recipe that could either be called "Frosting" or "Icing" (the terms are partly regional, partly technical)

I could do a search on Google Trends and discover not only WHEN to publish the recipe, but also what to title it!

And then there's stress relief. 

I hate having deadlines hanging over my head! With Scheduled posts, I can be weeks or months ahead with my work, and sit back and relax!

I also make a point not to blog on the Lord's Day - but I DO like to publish on Monday Morning at 8. And, to be honest, there are some Monday mornings when my day doesn't even start by 8! I'm covered!

It gives me a long term perspective.

Instead of seeing my blogging efforts as a race to do everything this week, I see them as an integrated part of my life for the long term. This helps me be a "marathoner" instead of a "sprinter" in mentality, and also helps me focus on including posts with an eternal content, as well as those with temporal content. 

So, How does it work? 

When I get an idea for a post, I hit "New Post," type in my Title idea, hit "Save" and "Close!" That's right - I save an empty post with just a title!

This way I have LOTS of ideas to work on, and I'm less likely to hit a "writer's block"

Then, when I perfect the recipe, menu or other concept - usually on a different day, I type it up in that saved, titled post. Then, I hit "Save" and "Close."

When I get a picture of said dish (which frequently is not on the same day that I write the recipe), I add it.

Then, it's time to schedule. I choose my date - sometimes with the assistance of Google Trends.

I hit that "Schedule" button (that I pictured at the top of this page)

That gives me a choice of "Automatic" (which means "now!")  or "Set date and time"

Here you'll want to choose the "Set Date and Time" circle

I choose "Set Date and Time"

That gives me a calendar, like this and a time selection window:

Here you can see the scheduling calendar, time window and Publish, Save & Close buttons

I tap on the desired day of the calendar - which sets that date in the selection window.  I nearly always choose a Monday Morning. Make SURE you chose the right year - You can actually publish posts in the PAST by accident (one of those don't-ask-me-how-I-know sort of moments ; )

Then, I select the time window. I usually scroll and choose 8AM.

then, I hit the "done" button.

Then - and this is very important - I hit the ORANGE PUBLISH Button, then SAVE, Then Close.

And, in case you're wondering - yes, I do sometimes write posts several months ahead of when you see them. Sometimes I even write them more than a year before they're published. Just like print magazines do! 

Then, when I'm all done, I go back to my dashboard - this time to the left side of the screen, and Under "Posts" I find the word "Scheduled" I click on it and make sure that my new post is scheduled to publish as I intended, and that no mistakes were made.

I can check my scheduled posts and make sure everything is planned properly

If you're a blogger, I'd encourage you to try scheduled posts, and see if they don't make your blogging life smoother and less stressful : )

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Monday, January 23, 2017

Chinese New Year Week's Menu

Chinese New Year Week's Menu (Vegan, Mostly GF)
If the coming of Chinese New Year puts you in a mood to try a few Asian-inspired recipes, here are a week's worth to try out. While you're in a mood of cultural appreciation, you could also pick up a few words of Cantonese or Mandarin.

Although it is unlikely that we westerners without much exposure will become bilingual this way, it is a good way to broaden our horizons and learn about things like pictographs and tonal languages, as well as appreciating the great variety of peoples and cultures that God has placed on the earth.
You can even learn to read a few words the fun way, especially if you're a homeschooler!

All of the following recipes can be made in about 1/2 hour. They're nearly all Gluten Free if you use a Gluten Free Soy Sauce (Kikkoman makes one- it has a blue label). They're all Vegan. And they're all Frugal. It's a win-win-win-win! ; )

So, on to the menu:

Szechuan Green Beans to Serve Over Rice

Philippine Style Fried Rice

Pad Thai, Simple Vegan

Build-Your-Own Rice Bowl with Peanut Sauce

Hot & Sour Soup
Teriyaki Stir Fry Veggies over Rice

Shiitake Rice Bowl

Easy Vegan Sushi

MYO Spring Rolls, Easy Vegan (Freezer Friendly)

Sweet & Sour Dipping Sauce, Three Minute 

This is being shared on:

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Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural
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A Wise Woman
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Monday, January 16, 2017

History & Geography: Fun Homeschool Video Day

Here are my go-to videos for History & Geography in Homeschool. Some days we use them to make a productive day even more productive, by having a "working lunch." Other days we use them to make a down day - like a sick day - productive at all.

Unfortunately, on Youtube the commercials aren't targeted to the audience, and sometimes very inappropriate things are shown. Which means that there are times that I've had a h0rr0r film ad (or other junk I'd rather not see) pop up right before a preschool video with puppets. For this reason, and because I like to be sure that junk in general isn't coming into our school day while I'm folding laundry, I save the videos to a desk top folder for convenience.  And, if a favorite video is "taken down," we still have it. It's also nice if the internet crashes while we're doing school : )

I like this site for saving my videos - it's free and I've never had any trouble from it.  (ETA: as of Oct 2017, I discovered a problem in this site, and no longer recommend it without reservation - use it at your own risk)

If you like this, check out others in this series:
Video Day: Science 
Video Day: English
Video Day: Math

This post is being shared on:
The Art of Homemaking Mondays
Modest Mondays
What'd You Do This Weekend?
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So - here are our favorite History & Geography fun videos (other subjects, God Willing, coming soon!):

 Tour the States


Tour the World

U.S.A. National Anthem

With Lyrics, First & Last Verses


List of the Presidents of US with good info about each



Cyprus National Anthem 

With Lyrics in Greek & English

Timeline Song

History of the World

Continents and Oceans Song


European Rivers Song

  Geography Songs, Classical Coversations

With Missy Wilson


Also, check out my post on fun Homeschool Science Videos

Science Fun Homeschool Video Day 



Monday, January 2, 2017

Grandpa's Last Will and Testament

My Great Grandfather, Samuel Rutherford Davis
My Great-Grandfather Samuel died a long time before I was born. I never met him - I have no memories of him.

I grew up visiting my Grandparents in the house that my Great-Grandfather had helped build, but it has long since been sold.

Most of the physical, tangible memories of "Grandpa" are long since gone. I have some photographs, a candlestick holder (really it was his wife's), a few things like that. Not much.

But, I have two lasting possessions that Great-Grandpa left.

I have the stories of his virtuous life, as told to me by my Mother.

  • He served on his Church Session (like a Vestry, Board of Directors, or Parish Council) for 50 years without a break. 
  •  He taught Church School faithfully for many years. 
  •  He would bring groceries to his daughter (my Grandmother) on the Lord's Day. Gasoline was rationed and it was too long a drive to take twice in a week, but wouldn't accept payment for those groceries on that day - since it wouldn't be right to defile the Lord's Day with business. He was a Grocer by trade.
  •  He got up every Monday Morning and did all the household laundry - by hand! - for my Great-Grandmother before he started his work for the day. Talk about Servant-Leadership! 
  •  As a Grocer he helped so many customers by letting them give an IOU for groceries during the Great Depression. He knew they could never pay for the loans, but didn't want to humiliate them with a "handout."

  •  He read the Bible through from cover to cover every year of his adult life, and said that every time he picked it up, he saw something new.
  • And, perhaps most importantly, he was loved and admired by all of those closest to him.

These are the stories of Grandpa Samuel. This week is his Birthday. He was born on January 7, 1874.

But, the most important thing I have of Grandpa is the words from his Last Will and Testament. Not the paper anymore - just the words that have been copied and handed down:

"I desire to bequeath to my children and their families my testimony to the truth and preciousness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This heritage of Christian faith, received in an unbroken line from [Christian*] ancestors, is of infinitely more value than any earthly possessions that I hereby bequeath or devise to them. As life's sun sinks toward its setting, I want to say to my dear children and grandchildren in this private document: Hold fast to the faith and fellowship and service of Jesus Christ and His Church. They will make life worth living under any conditions." (Author not known, but expresses my thoughts and desires.) (Signed) Samuel R. Davis

 * Scotch Covenanter. Although I am a Greek Orthodox Christian, I still hold my family's Scotch Covenanter Christian heritage in the highest regard.

As my Grandmother noted when she copied these words years later, ". . . he being dead yet speaketh." Hebrews 11:4

For years after I got Grandpa's Will - I thought it was unique.  Then, one day, I happened on this catalogue of Quotes of American Founders. Many of them professed their Faith in their Last Will & Testament. Apparently this was quite a common practice among Believers at one time

If you are a Christian preparing to write a Will or to do Estate Planning - think this over when you decide what legacy you want to leave for your descendants for them to treasure & remember you by. 

Literacy Musing Mondays 
Merry Monday 
Modest Monday 
The Art of Homemaking Monday 
What'd You Do This Weekend? 
Together on Tuesdays 
Tuesdays with a Twist 
Teaching What is Good 
Emmanuel -God is With Us 
Wise Woman 
This is How We Roll 
Encouraging Hearts and Home 
Traffic Jam Weekend