“Camping” in the Backyard

Photo by Goutham Krishna on Unsplash

We are spending some time “camping” at my parents this week. I am not sure how long we are staying for, maybe a few nights here then a few nights back home and just keep doing that for the rest of the summer. I want to maximize the rest of the summer and get as much time “camping” as possible. I say “camping” in brackets because honestly, we are in a clearing in their backyard. Not at a campground or even down at the beach as we were last year. It’s camping all the same and lots of fun.

Last year they had the popup camper set up down at the beach on the same property. This year they decided to have it a bit closer. It’s about a kilometre walk down a wooded path to the beach. It’s a little farther then my Dad can easily walk right now to go all the way down to the beach. Towards the end of last year, he was taking the lawn tractor down. After putting up the pool in the clearing about a third of the way down the path they figured there was lots of room so why not put a camper there. Then they decided to bring the second camper up from the beach and put it there as well.

So we are staying in the second camper, the pop up one for a few days. I am really enjoying it. We spend a lot of time with them and this just lets us spend time camping like we used to without actually having to go to a campground. It’s a good way to chill out and relax and get some pool time in. I am loving the pool. It’s so nice to be able to float around in the saltwater and relax. I have been in it a number of times already and we should be able to enjoy it possibly right into September, depending on the weather. It’s been super hot all summer so far.

We have had heatwave after heatwave all June and July. Hottest June on record and July is pretty hot too. I don’t usually do well in the heat but being outside in the pool, in the shade of the trees and sleeping at night outside in the tent has helped with this a lot. I am doing much better than I usually do. It’s also giving me a nice distraction from worrying about everything else.

Where do I go from here?

seagull-sitting-in-brush
© 2019 Kirsten Corbett

It’s hard to keep up two blogs. I am spending most of my time on the other one and at the moment I am losing interest a little bit in this one. My life’s not all that interesting at the moment. There is stuff going on but it’s all school-related. My last post here was on my 40th birthday 6 days ago and since then not much has happened. Yesterday was Edward’s birthday. He turned 38. I can’t believe I’m 40 and he’s approaching 40! I don’t feel 40.

We’ll be celebrating his birthday today, as he worked yesterday, by going for a drive somewhere, getting ice cream then coming home and I am making him lasagna, or rather heating up a store-bought one since I have never made one and don’t want my first time to be his birthday supper in case it doesn’t turn outright. So I will buy our favorite Superstore one to heat as well as Ceasar salad and garlic bread, one of his favorite meals. Then we are going to have a movie night on Netflix and/or Amazon Prime. Looking forward to it.

I mentioned above that anything going on right now has to do with school. I am frustrated beyond belief with Athabasca University. I am still waiting for help for 2 of my 3 courses and am now stuck and can’t go on further until they reply. I complained weeks ago to them by email and still have heard nothing back from that either. It’s ridiculous and now I am so behind I doubt I’d catch up.

It’s pushed me to the decision of looking into…well, more than looking into, I started the process already… of changing schools. Before I checked into other schools I called Canada Student Loans and advised them of the situation and they told me it’s not the first complaint they have gotten. I asked about switching schools and was advised I could do it. I just needed to withdraw from Athabasca and apply to the new school. They advised me to double-check with Nova Scotia student loans first to ensure I would not be penalized by them and I did and I won’t as it’s the first time I have withdrawn from a course or program.

So started the search last week (even before my last post) for another program and school. There is nothing in my immediate area so I talked it over with my family and Eddie and after searching I found a place called Academy of Learning in Halifax. They offer a web design diploma program that covers some of what I want and they are in the process of getting a second software and web developer diploma program approved which has most of the rest of what I want to take.

So I reached out to the school and spoke to a woman there who sent me all the info. I explained the situation and she had the school’s director (owner) contact me and we did a zoom meeting and I have to say I was extremely impressed. They have both been incredibly helpful. They have been helping me sort things out and giving me advice and help with Athabasca. Sure it could be because they are a private college and just want the money from me, but honestly, I don’t think so. That’s just not the impression I got. The two of them have gone above and beyond to help me.

I finally found a phone line yesterday that was still working and managed to talk to a person over the phone at the university. I am now awaiting a supposed call back from my program advisor at Athabasca (who I didn’t even know existed because she was supposed to reach out to me within the first week and did not). I say supposed because, well nothing has gone to plan so far with Athabasca. She is supposed to discuss withdrawing from the program with me, knows my intent to withdraw, and that I plan to appeal if they say I am not getting my money back. So who knows where that’ll go.

In the meantime, I looked up reviews on the other school and they seem great. People don’t seem to have an issue getting positions with their diplomas and are satisfied with the school and after all the help and the long conversation with the program director who was awesome I am beyond sure that that’s where I want to go. I will have to spend two days in class in Halifax (2 1/2 hours away) so it means spending a few days in the city and staying somewhere overnight. I am going to ask my Aunt I think. The other 3 days I can work from home which is nice. It’s also nice to have it be a local (well within the province anyways) school. I won’t make that mistake again. So that’s school, in a nutshell, a f’*cking mess at the moment.

On top of that today (well late last night early this morning as it is after midnight) I wrote a sponsored post for Life With Kadie, I spent hours researching it and a few hours writing the post and then submitted it. They came back saying they liked the post but then asked me to not disclose it’s a sponsored post. Which is illegal in North America and probably a lot of other places and also against the influencer network’s policy. So I spent a good hour replying back and forth with the person running the campaign resulting in them asking me to delete the post. Just that nothing else.

I was a bit shocked, but at the same time, I put a lot of work into it. So I replied back asking if I was going to be paid. Their response was yes, even though you can’t follow instructions. Then they marked it to be paid. I didn’t delete the post though. I deleted the shares to social media and I made it back into a draft. Thinking about it I am thinking that because it was not a post that they provided me but one I researched and wrote and that there is nothing in the contract with them saying it’s not my property that I would just re-write parts of it removing them from it completely and post it later down the road. I am assuming it would be considered my property.

Honestly, I don’t really know the answer to that. I am just assuming, which might not be a good idea. I am going to see what I can find online about it and ask in some Facebook influencer and blogging groups and see what people say. I have never run across this before. Then again it’s only my 4th or 5th sponsored post.  Makes me mad. Kind of annoyed now. I probably should go to bed. It’s after 2 a.m. and hubby is snoring on the couch with the cat (who is also snoring).

Blogging & Monetization

I have been struggling a little bit with The Great Canadian Housewife. Not so much with content, well maybe a little, but more with just knowing where to start. I have exactly 20 posts since my first one in February this year. Most of those in April, May, and June I think, which is when I really started to get serious about it. As I said I am not really struggling so much with content, at least not yet, but I am sure that will come soon enough.

Right now my biggest struggles with it are driving traffic to it. Which I am doing somewhat okay at, but honestly I have nothing to compare it too as this one I never cared a whole lot or paid attention. It was more for me than for anyone else. Maybe that’s a bit selfish to say but it is a personal blog after all (this one).

I don’t care so much about SEO and that with this as I mostly just seek out other bloggers that I enjoy reading and comment on their blogs and probably 8 or 9 times out of ten they then come comment on mine. Which is sort of what I am doing with the other one, but I am not sure if that is the right way to go about it. It seems to be working okay but I am just not really sure.

I am struggling a lot with monetizing it and also with social media. Starting with social media I made a Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram account for the blog. Facebook was not too hard and I already have about 40 people following it but I am more active on Facebook than anywhere and most of those are my personal friends, a few bloggers, and some former work acquaintances. Not all of which are the right audience for the blog I don’t think,

I am unsure if I should narrow down my “niche” for it a bit more. It started as a place for me to share my “learn to be a housewife” kinda lifestyle I am sort of now living. But let’s face it, I suck as a housewife lol. I still love the name though and it still sort of fits so now I am trying to make it a product review (household products, beauty products, cleaning products, etc), book review, crafts, recipes, DIY, etc type of blog which I guess could fall more under “lifestyle” maybe?

I want to do some sponsored posts, mostly about makeup, haircare, skincare, bath & body, and those kinds of products as well as cleaning and household supplies, gardening, etc. So yeah, basically “housewife” type stuff. As well as some book reviews. I found a good site for that where I can get free books (popular newer ones at that) in exchange for reviews. I don’t get paid but I spend a lot on books so it seems a fair trade-off.  I am struggling though on how to start out with getting my first few sponsored posts. I joined some influence/sponsored post networks but they either have nothing, or it’s crap for lack of a better term, or I don’t qualify.

I did get one person email me and ask me to collaborate with her brand (hair wigs) in which she wants me to do 2 posts, shared to social media and a banner for 3 months on my page all for $12 US. I’m not a genius but even I know that’s too low. I am not afraid to reply back and say that but I am unsure even remotely on what to ask for for that. Not to mention I have never worn a wig in my life and will not lie so I am wondering what exactly the post entails. She has not mentioned trying a wig or anything like that and her wigs are expensive so I can understand.

I am okay with doing a post where I do some research maybe and write a post about it and link to her site but I won’t be saying I have tried one of the wigs when I haven’t. She’s not offering up a lot of info and I am not sure where to start to ask. I would love to collaborate but I am just unsure where myself and my blog would fit in in that scenario and don’t honestly really know how to ask.

I know my lack of knowledge and inexperience could become an issue when trying to get a sponsored post but you have to start somewhere right? And I am good at researching and have been trying to gather as much info about monetization and sponsored posts as I can. If anyone has any knowledge I would be more then thankful if anyone wants to share. I need a mentor lol.

I keep getting directed to these online courses that sound too good to be true in the groups and things I am in and I refuse to pay $300 for something that could literally be a flop or “scam”, not to mention I am broke as hell again and we are living off of Eddie’s part-time job and my student loan so I couldn’t afford it if I wanted too.

One last thing I am struggling with is affiliate links/banners. I did not want to go with Google Adsense for one because I want control over the ads I put on my site and only companies I either have dealt with or research and two because I can’t seem to get approved by them for some reason anyways even though I keep following all instructions. So I joined Rakuten Affiliates, CJ Affiliates, and Amazon Affiliates and figured out how to use it as far as banner ads on my site or pointing to specific things with their link codes but I am not getting any clicks, not one single click. Some impressions but no clicks. Not sure what I am doing wrong there either.

Sorry, this post got long, so I am going to end it here. Hopefully, I can figure this all out. And juggle school at as well. I so badly want to make this work in the long run for some additional income, not expecting miracles or anything but just a little extra every few months would be nice.