For The Love…Of Blogging GIVEAWAY #1

This is it!  The end of the For the Love…Of Blogging Week!

You made it to the end…and as a reward?  GIVEAWAYS!

So let’s get started, shall we?  There are NINE here in Sluiter Nation and they will be posting EVERY hour starting NOW!

We are starting with one of the newest additions to Sluiter Nation’s Sponsor Spots: Peggy Ann Design!

Peggy Ann Design is the result of the sweet and wonderful HANNAH!  And here she is to tell you about her shop:

I am a Navy wife who has a serious fabric addiction! My shop is kind of a random mix of items, with one main focus: FABRIC!!

And yay for US that she loves fabric!  Check out here ADORABLE new clutches:

I know…I know…you are already thinking about how great Hannah is…but WAIT!  There’s MORE!

Check out her shop…she does ADORABLE frames too (I own one…I know of this greatness) and?  She is working on even MORE:

I just added 2 new limited edition clutches – there are only 4 of each of these available! http://peggyanndesign.bigcartel.com/category/limited-edition I also have 2 new products coming out very soon and LOTS of exciting stuff happening Feb 14- March 14. It would be a good idea to become a follower of the blog or on twitter before then (It’s the Month of Hannah – V-Day, my Bday, and our anniversary!)!
People?  Hannah is the AwesomeSauce for sure.
You want some of her goods?  Yeah, you do.
Hannah is giving one of you $25 shop credit to Peggy Ann Design!
You have TWO ways to enter:
1) Tell me what you like best about the blog world…you don’t have to be a blogger to love blogs!
and/or
2) Tweet about the giveaway and then come here and leave a comment that you tweeted.  You can make something up, but if you are all lazy like I am, you can just copy and paste this:

I love blogging and I love giveaways!  Enter to win with @ksluiter and @PeggyAnn_Design http://bit.ly/fuq1QO

That’s it!
Of course you should go browse (and then buy!) in her shop.
You should follow her sweetness on twitter.
You should like LOVE her on facebook
and of COURSE you should follow her blog for all the fun that is coming up next month!
This giveaway ends Sunday, January 30 at noon est.  Winners will be chosen by Random.org and posted that same day.

The fine print:  Peggy Ann Design is providing the spoils for this giveaway.  I have gotten nothing in return other than the joy of giving you something I love from someone I love.

For the Love…Of Blogging Q&A Thursday

We are wrapping up the…uh…”informational” portion of For the Love…Of Blogging today with a Q&A post.  Both Miranda and I are interviewing our husbands about living with wives who are addicted to into the social media world.

My husband, Cortney, has been what I think of as a “tech geek” for as long as I’ve known him. He builds computers (as a hobby.  ok he did it once), and he runs our “network”, AND he has been in and out of the online nerd tech forums longer than I knew they existed.

He got me involved in MySpace (yes, I just admitted that.  No, I don’t still have an account) and eventually persuaded me to join facebook.

So in reality?  I blame Cort for my obsession with social media.

And with that said, I interviewed him about my obsession with social media.

Me: So you’re married to a social media addict.  What’s that like?

Cortney: Well, it has its pros and cons.  Being able to meet and build new relationships with online friends is pretty cool.  I never would have thought that we (you) could know so many people all over the country / world.  I’m pretty sure if we went on a trip and needed a place to crash, there would be someone within reasonable distance that would put us up for the night.  That is pretty cool considering we haven’t met most of those people in person.

A downside is home life sometimes takes a back seat to the tweeps and blog rolls… but since they can be your support structure when I can’t, it can be an even trade at times.

Me: mm.  yes.  my attachment to my laptop.  So you’ve noticed that, huh? Ok, but you are involved in social media as well.  I am sure your interests are different than mine since you don’t seem that excited when I tell what other people are tweeting in regard to Red Carpet fashion.  What do you primarily use social media for?

Cort: I enjoy the use of social media to meet some interesting people all over the world as well… many through your connections… but mostly I use it to ask for advice on technical projects / personal product reviews.

I also enjoy the ability to spout off my opinion or random thoughts on whatever floats in to my brain… with the hope of a smart ass reply that hopefully leads to some interesting banter between friends.  On twitter especially, it makes me smile when someone lets me know that my dumb comment made them giggle or put a smile on their face.

Me: Yes, you are a witty fella.  You have a blog, yes?  Tell my lovely readers about it.

Cort: I DO!  My blog is called TastyButteredToast and it’s my own little corner of the internets.  I can honestly say that there really isn’t a theme or specific purpose to my blog other than for the occasional vent, opinion, or thought that happens to move me to write and publish it for the blogosphere.  I’ve posted about the loss of my father, the birth of my son, a rainbow, the difficulties on landing a job, and my adoring wife.  So the subject matter really runs the full gamut.  I’ve even asked twitter what they wanted to know about me… I have yet to find something that I’d rather not post…but I’m sure it’s out there.

So if there’s something you’d like to know my opinion on or something about me, just ask.  I love a good blog prompt…

Me: Nice. Wait.  Why did you name it “Tasty Buttered Toast” of all things?

Cort: Well, when thinking about a name for my blog, I wanted something that everyone could relate to. something that…when you thought about it,  (he is nodding like I should know what he’s talking about here) you’re like….”mmmm…tasty buttered toast.  I like buttered toast.”  And if naturally you like buttered toast, then subconsciously you will like my blog as well.

I’ve actually gained followers because my blog had the word “buttered” in it.

Me: ok.  that is sort of weird.  but whatever.  So anyway, why did you start your blog?

Cort: I had originally thought  the blog would give me something to do while Short Stack (Eddie) was sleeping or between job hunting sessions… and to stroke my massive ego.  Just knowing that millions of readers out there had been patiently waiting to see what my next thought or opinion was finally had a vehicle to get the word out.

It wasn’t until a few days into having a blog that I realized that I actually had very little to say… that was a bit of a bummer considering I’d like to think of myself as a fairly interesting person.  I mean really, if I find myself interesting, why shouldn’t everyone else, right?

It also occurred to me that Sluiter Nation was only telling one side of the story, I wanted an outlet to be able to put my side of the story out there when needed.  To show my massive following that it doesn’t always happen the way you describe and I have a point of view as well.  Little did I know you would get it right more often than not.

Me: You have lots to say, I hope you know that.  And if you would sit and blog it out?  It would be wonderful.  Speaking of wonderful, do you read any of the blogs that your lovely wife authors?

Cort: I read all of my lovely wife’s blogs.  I like to see all the wonderful things she has to say about me… massive ego, remember?

I find her to be a fantastic writer and knowing the sound of her voice, when I read the words I can “hear” them as though she was saying it… and I also think that sometimes she uses the blog to talk about topics that she wouldn’t or would have difficulty talking about in person.  I know she has found a huge support circle out there to get advice and positive vibes when things are low, and to celebrate when good things happen.

Me: Awe.  You are sweet.  Do you think it’s good or bad that we are so into each others social media lives?  that we know pretty much all of each others biz-nas?

Cort: Yes, I do.

Sometimes I think it would be good to have an anonymous slice of the internet pie to voice whatever I wanted without worry or concern about who was offended or what was said… not that I have a lot to say that would be that controversial, but everyone has those days where they want to swear at the world regardless of who is listening.

On the flip side, I think that by being able to put your name to feelings and topics can open up additional dialogue offline that maybe wouldn’t take place otherwise.  The blog can be a great ice breaker for difficult topics, it can give one the ability to get their entire thought out without being interrupted.    A therapy of sorts, with all the readers being unlicensed therapists, giving their support and advice.

Me: I agree with that 100%.  So, do you have anything else you want to dazzle our readers with?

Cort: Did you ever notice that the word therapist is “The Rapist” without the space?  Interesting coincidence don’t you think?  The raping of your brain / emotions / thoughts?  Hmmm… I just blew your mind.

I would like to say that I am genuinely happy for the success that Sluiter Nation has experienced over the last couple years.  Followers, friends, occasional commenters… all these people add a little sanity to our more than insane lives.  It’s good to know we’re not the only ones out there having to deal with strife, loss, joys, and sorrow.

Viva Sluiter Nation!

Viva Sluiter Nation, indeed, Cort.

I must plug my husband’s blog here.  He doesn’t post all that regularly, but what he says is wonderful.  I love this post about what makes a lullaby.  Or this post where he tells about why cancer sucks. Or this beautiful post he wrote after his grandpa passed this past Christmas.

And with that said, you all may use the comment section here for comments or more questions on anything we talked about this week.  No linky today…just discuss.  Although if there IS something you would like me to look at, feel free to let me know that in the comments!

I had so much fun here, you guys.  Even with my crazy busy schedule, this was good.  No, it was more than good.  It was amazing!  Thank you SO much for participating.

To thank you?  Tomorrow Miranda and I will have giveaways ALL. DANG. DAY!

Starting at 9am est  until 5pm est, there will be one giveaway per hour here. and Miranda?  Also has a bunch!  just to say THANK YOU to you all!

Because this wouldn’t have been possible without YOU.

For the Love…Of Blogging: Writing Wednesday

Welcome to Day 3 of For the Love…Of Blogging!

Today Miranda and I are going to stretch our English teacher wings on you guys and share some of what we know (and teach) about writing.

My topic is voice.

I used to have a big sign that a student made for me that read “Write Like You” in my old classroom.

And it’s really my mantra when writing any of my blogs.  I don’t want to sound like anyone else except Katie Sluiter.

When I posted my first vlog, someone told me she loved it so much because the way I talked match EXACTLY what she heard in her head when she read my blog.

That?  Was huge for me.

So how do you find your voice.  For me, it’s a combination of things.

1. Show Don’t Tell. Whether I am telling you about my PPD experiences, my miscarriages, my wedding, my job, or my son, I want you to feel like you are there with me.

I do this by closing my eyes and concentrating on the very core of what I am trying to talk about–the few moments that make up the big feeling.

Take this post for instance. I could have just told you about how my father-in-law had cancer and I was there to hear the diagnosis and it sucked.  But TELLING you would make you say, “yeah, that sucks.”  SHOWING you would put you in that room with me.  It would give you the feelings of those around me.  It would make you have the chills and then the sweats.

I want to take you to a place, a time, a moment.  Not just tell you a quick narrative.

Showing you my snapshot of life?

It would help you experience what I did. It would make my writing something you could relate to.  You would start making connections to things that made you feel that way.

I would be real to you.

Bloggers that are so very real (and serve as inspiration?)  to me that you should check out as examples?

Kris and Nichole are good places to start.  They are some of the very best Show Don’t Tellers on the internet.

2. Be honest.

You don’t have to spill all of your family secrets or tell us when your Lady Week is, but showing your readers that you are a real person: flaws and all, is a good thing.

I try to post my fails along with my successes.  Just this past Saturday I confessed that I am not always a good friend. I also let my kid watch TV and I didn’t think being a mom meant living in a state of toy chaos.

Sharing your honest joys AND fears AND fails?  Creates a person.

Some of my favorite REAL peeps?  There is Blair who lovingly puts it out there…ALL out there.  There is also Adrienne for whom I have so much love.  She is real and honest and I love her. And of course there is my etwin, Miranda who pours her heart out to her audience.  Lastly, Casey has always floored me for being so honest that I swear she is in my brain.

3. Seriously…write like YOU.

Once you start creating honest snap shots for your reader, you need to do it using YOUR voice.  Don’t try to imitate others.  Maybe you have your own phrases or a unique writing structure (I tend to do short paragraphs and minimal words) or distinct tone (sarcastic, funny, sensitive…whatever your personality is)…the key is to be YOU and not someone else.

I have been told that this post where I hate on Wal-Mart drips of Katie.  (I also try to show and not tell…even though it’s a story).

Bloggers who amaze me with their unique style?  Who I would totally know out of a blogging line up?

Kimberly might have a bad back, but she has a wicked sense of humor that amazes me.  And I would know CDG from a pile of blogs any day…her writing is AWESOME.   And please?  Lori could hide behind…well…she couldn’t hide from me.

4. Write what you know.

You are an expert at your life.  You are an expert at YOU.  Write about that.  Don’t dabble in things you can’t speak of.  I know nothing about breastfeeding or cloth-diappering.  I did neither.  I will be starting zero posts about those things.

I don’t know much about html or SEO or feeds.  I will not be giving you tips on those.

I know about my life.  I know about MY ppd (not yours).  I know about writing.  I know about ME.

That is what I will be writing about.

And you should write what YOU know.

Bloggers who write what they know (and do it well)?  Gigi knows a lot about a lot (I swear…she is like the Cat in the Hat of blogging).  Lindsey is another someone I feel always writes what she knows…her family, her blog, her life…and does it well.  The Empress is also someone I feel like is an “authority” because of her blogging style.  which I dig.

These rules could easily be a series of posts each.  This is just the nitty gritty of what it takes to have a good writing voice/style.

For today’s blog hop (which is located at Miranda’s blog)…I want to encourage you to explode a moment…give your reader a snapshot from your memory. I love the idea of exploding a moment so much, I started a blog just to do that (yes, I am plugging myself here, what?).  So give it a try.  Need ideas?  Look at this or this or this.  All posts where I gave the readers a snapshot through my words.

And don’t forget to head over to Miranda‘s…she will show you some of the more technical stuff about writing that will make it more readable and flowy (she is better at the organizational stuff than I am…by far!)

So what do you think?  Good tips?  Hard challenge?  Did I leave out your favorite bloggers?  Talk to me!

 MommyofaMonster This post was featured!

For The Love…Of Blogging Top Ten Tuesday

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Usually Tuesdays in Sluiter Nation are Top Ten Tuesday…and today is no different!  However today, since it’s our blogging love week, I am going to focus on the Top Ten Reasons I Love to Blog.

Make sure to go check out Miranda‘s Top Ten today too and then link of your own Top Ten Reasons to Blog!

So here I go…

10. My friends and family know what the heck we are up to. I know this one sounds lame, but it is the reason I started the blog back in 2007…so the people I love would know about our lives.  In fact, I always had to email the link once every couple weeks to everyone because I had NO idea how to do RSS or email subscriptions let alone tell people about them.

9. This is MY house. I know it’s been said before, but your blog is your house.  You can have your opinion (not that I do very opinionated stuff, really, but the OPTION is there).   I like that one day I can write a letter to my son and the next day I can talk about my depression.  And I can say what I want because it is MY space in this world.

8. Blogging it out. Time and time again I have come here or to twitter to just pound my feelings out onto my keyboard…into my screen…and out into the interwebs.  And you know what?  You can read or not read, but I feel better getting it out of my head.  That is something I didn’t know my blog could be when I first started it.

7. The Other Blogs. Part of my love of blogging is YOU.  reading YOUR blogs.  Finding women people who I can relate to…whose words touch me.

6. Community. This one is going to be on here twice…because there are two kinds I have found.  There is the community right here…in Sluiter Nation.  You.  You who come here and support me and love me and converse with me (and those of you who don’t, you’ll notice that your comments do not show up…see reason #9: MY HOUSE).

5. Community. I love blogging for the communities that have been formed here.  I have found PPD communities here and here (amongst others).  I have found writing communities like this. And I have found places to safely publish stories that are very sensitive to me with the security that only positive, loving comments will be let through.

4. A Creative Outlet. I had NO idea…NO IDEA…i could write.  I mean, I knew I could write essays and teach the basics of grammar, but to actually put something together with voice?  that could move someone?  No idea.  Blogging has challenged me to be a better writer…something I love.

3. Friends. If you told me a year ago that by February 2011, I would have a whole slew of new best friends…and that i would have only met a teeny tiny few of them in real life?  I would have laughed at you and called you ridiculous.  No one meets people online (no one that isn’t a little weird).  But it’s true.  I have met women here who I consider extremely close friends.  And I have never met them. well, in real life.

2. Showing Off. I have made a point of always being honest.  And honestly?  I like to be the center of attention (just ask my mom).  Blogging is like my own personal spotlight.

1. My Life: In Writing. Someday?  I will be old and not so typey typey on the computer.  My children will be grown and gone.  Some day I will be gone.  And my children, my grandchildren…they will have my words.  They will have pictures of us.  They will know what life was like through my eyes.  Think of how precious of a gift that is.  Can you imagine if you had a book handed to you of what your great great grandmother had written?  For the good and the bad?  These are my words.  My experiences.

Now it’s your turn!  What are your Top Ten Reasons to blog or to love blogging?  Share with  us!  Link up!

ps. since this is a blog hop and we are loving on blogging, please try to comment on as many people in the hop as you can…even if it’s just the person ahead of you and after you in the lineup!  WE LOVE BLOGGING!

For the Love…Of Blogging: Meet Me Monday

It’s here!  It’s finally here!

**For the Love…Of Blogging is in no way associated with the blog of a similar name, For The Love of Blogs. We did not know they existed (even though we googled our name first), but they appear to be another lovely way to get involved in the community of blogging.  All content in our event has been thought up by myself and Miranda on our own even though we realize there are probably similar ideas out in the blogging world already since not much out there is totally unique.  We apologize if you ever blogged about blogging and are offended by  us.  That is not our intent.

This is the first annual, For the Love…Of Blogging…um…event!  Yes, we shall call it an event!  A Blogging Event!

So what is “For the Love…of Blogging,” you ask?

It is a week-long commitment by me and my lovely friend, Miranda, to bring you our love of blogging, and give you some tips and fun and conversation all about BLOGGING!

We are starting the week with a meet and greet of sorts.  We are going to give you a little tour of our blogs and ask that you make up a little tour of yours.  Then, come back and link up (and grab the link for yourself to add to the bottom of your post)! This will be a lovely way to meet all sorts of new bloggers!  Hopefully you will add some to your reader and they will add you!

So here we go…at tour of Sluiter Nation.

First, you should check out my Author page to find out a little about me.  You’ll find out that I am a high school English/Spanish teacher and a part-time community college adjunct English instructor.  You will find out that I am a wife.  You will find out that I am a mother to the sweet and cuddley Eddie.

Then you should check out my The Nation page to learn about my little family that I blog about here.  There are some fun pictures there of my husband (Cortney) and I, and of our little man, Eddie.  It also gives you my contact info.

I started blogging back in July of 2007 after Cort and I traveled to Montana for a wedding of a friend.  I realized that my family and friends are all OVER the place and could use a place to keep up with us.  My first year of blogging was a snooze-fest.  Even for family and friends.

I became a mom in June of 2009 and the posts became more interesting.

In spring of 2010 I was diagnosed with postpartum depression and decided to share it with the internet.

Things sort of exploded from there.  I found community in other PPD/A moms and in other working moms.

And suddenly I found tons of blogs.

I started leaving comments.

And suddenly I had readers here!

I was suddenly being asked to guest post and to join groups.

I discovered that I don’t just like to talk a lot…I love to WRITE.

I started a participating in The Red Dress Club and Mama Kat’s Writing Workshop.

I started a meme called Top Ten Tuesdays.

Eventually I started a creative writing blog for my “not mom blog” writing called Exploded Moments, and a reading blog for book reviews called Katie’s Bookcase.

I have been featured here, here, here, and here (among other places).

I was asked to be–and accepted–a hostess spot with The Red Dress Club.

All these things in the last year…because I connected with other bloggers.  Other women like me.

I think the biggest thing I learned…and fell in love with…in the blogging world is the community that is formed here.  And community isn’t created out of me just talking to nobody.  It happens when I connect with others on their blogs and the connect with me here.

So while you get to know me here, remember:  this week will only be as helpful as the level of your participation.  The more you take part, the more you will get out of it.

I hope you learn something this week.

I hope you take risks in your blogging this week,

I hope you WIN something this week (we have a kazillion giveaways on Friday!)

But most of all?  I hope you have fun!

So tell us about YOU…and link up! It’s going to be a GREAT week!

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