Friday, July 22, 2011

Move in Progress....

Recently, I made the decision to move this blog from Blogger to a self-hosted WordPress site.  What in the world does that mean, and why should you care?

Well, really, you don't have to care.  It just means I'm going to be using different software to publish this blog, and my blog URL (that's it's address) is going to change slightly.  It also means that, during the process, things might be a little wonky on BOTH blogs, due to the risks of, well, the risks of me doing my own reprogramming.  Hopefully, most of the bugs will get worked out quickly, but in the meantime, I hope you'll pardon the dust during my remodel!

Why am I making the switch?  Mainly because I've really enjoyed using WordPress publishing tools when I write for sites like The CSI Project and Infarrantly Creative.  I like the way WordPress handles their media uploads, among other things.  Another reason for the switch was for the added customization that I can get when I publish with WordPress.  I would like A Trip to *Holland to showcase the web publishing skills I've developed, so I want my own site to look as sharp as possible.   WordPress simply offers more freedom to do that.

Hopefully, I'll be able to take all of you nice people who follow A Trip to *Holland along with me.  Just in case, here is my new address:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Fun to Come....

Things are in the works on this ole' blog of mine.  I'm gearing up for a total blog redesign and the move to a self-hosted site.  (In non-geeky language, that means it won't say "blogspot" after atriptoholland when you visit this website.)

Let me tell you what I've learned.  Redesigning a blog and moving it is not easy.  No siree.  It should be handled by professionals.

Do you know how much professionals cost?

No?  I didn't either, until I'd spent two days alternately sweating and crying and learning programming language and telling my children to, "Keep watching movies!  Go ahead, watch as many movies as you want!  Just don't bother mommy while she's trying build a website."  After two days of that, I decided I should find out how much it would cost to hire a professional.

Too much!  Too much for me, that is.  After all, I'm blogging for free, here.  And I'm supposed to be a do-it -herself, thrifty kind of blogger, aren't I?  Hello, I spray painted a lamp!
And that didn't turn out too badly, did it?  So, I took a deep breath, and I've been taking it one day and one code error and one style sheet at a time.  And today I actually think I began to figure out what I'm doing. And instead of sitting at the computer all day, I cleaned house and took my children swimming.  Maybe--just maybe--in a few days or months or years (this is me, remember?) this blog will have a whole new look.  

Any maybe--just maybe--by the time I get to that point, I'll be a professional and someone can hire me to redesign their website.  Because, from what I can tell, that job pays pretty well.

Wish me luck!

Monday, July 18, 2011

I Wasn't Born in the Jungle

This is one of my two big brothers, Bill.
Bill was seven years old when I displaced him as the youngest member of our family.  Despite our age difference, and the fact that he teased me mercilessly, I loved spending time with Bill.  Still do.

Some of my earliest memories of my brother Bill took place on a family vacation, when I was just a little squirt of 2 or 3 years.  My grandparents were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, and took all their posterity on a cross-country road trip.  While I remember very little of any of the sightseeing we did along the way, I do remember sleeping in a pop-up trailer, near my brother, Bill.

This seemingly insignificant detail was made memorable by Bill's whispered revelations of our family's past, before we fell asleep each night in that pop-up trailer.  After all, he told me marvelous bits of family history previously unknown to me.  Until Bill told me all about it, I had no idea that--prior to my birth--our family had lived in the jungle.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Surprise Roadtrip

I've mentioned before that I love to travel with my family.  Roadtrips tend to be our most frequent form of travel.   (You can read about a couple of them here and here.)  Even as newlyweds, the Bionic Man and I used to jump in the car and see how far we could get before it was time to turn around and head back to school.

Since we've had children, the Bionic Man and I don't get into spontaneous roadtrips like we used to.  Generally, we spend months preparing for our roadtrips:  researching routes and destinations, planning stops and activities, putting together detailed itineraries, making reservations.  Often, we depart for vacation with a thick binder that maps out all the details of our trip.

Our 2011 summer trips weren't going to be any different.  We'd been planning a family trip to see our Connecticut friends and East coast sites for weeks.  And Bionic Man had been prepping daily for a special backpacking adventure in Utah's Uintah mountain wilderness.

All that changed when we got the news that Bionic Man's grandmother had passed away.  We made a last-minute decision to change all our vacation plans for the summer.  Within 48 hours we were packed and on the road.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Birthday Breakfast

Today is an important day at our house.  We're celebrating Lily's birthday!  (You can read more about Lily and her birthdays here, here, and here.)  Lily's birthday celebration is traditionally planned by her siblings, Endeaver, Justone, and Superkid.  This year, they wanted to have a special breakfast, and requested a very yummy treat.
I made these chocolate crepes for the first time last week, when we were visiting my sister.  They were such a hit that we all wanted to have them again.  What better day than today? (Recipes are after the pictures, below.)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Sandbox

The final installation of the Bionic Man's work of playscape art was completed earlier this summer.  The long-awaited sandbox is now part of the children's play area.
This is no ordinary sandbox.  For starters, it is part of the Bionic Man's playscape design.  Remember the playscape?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Lazy Summer?

I'm back!  Back to blogging, that is.  This summer has been full of surprises (mostly good) and opportunities.  I'll have to tell you all about it over the next few days.  Here's a picture preview:
I have a couple of good excuses for neglecting my blog.  First of all, school's out.  That means my kids are home during the day.  Guess what?  I love that.  And I've tried to stay off the computer as much as possible during our few days of summer vacation.

Second excuse?  My writing jobs.  If I'm going to spend time on the computer this summer, I might as well get paid for it.  So, the paid blogging gets priority.  Sorry.  By the way, did I tell you I have a new gig?  This July, I started writing for Infarrantly Creative.  I'm writing the weekly Five Ways column.  (Check out my latest, here.)  I'm still writing for The CSI Project, and my task list has grown there.  Admittedly, free-lance writing was easier and more fun when my children were at school.  Lately, it seems I'm putting in some late nights after they've gone to bed.  Oh well, we only have one Summer of 2011 to enjoy together.