Our Front Porch and the Swing Effect

1993 daddy's boysI love our front porch.  We tell people all the time it is our family room and counseling center.  We have a porch swing which I recommend to everyone who has a porch with the space to swing.  My grandmother had a swing on her porch and as soon as we got to her house we started swinging.  At our family homestead, we had a swing in our basement.  In the winter when it was too cold to do anything outside we would swing down there.

Do you know that swinging helps create mood calming chemicals in the body?  That might explain why people spend thousands of dollars on baby swings each year.  It really works.

Maybe all the years we’ve spent swinging on the porch explain why we are still married.  In Dec. 2014 we will celebrate 30 years together.  When we’ve had stressful times we would say “let’s swing” which meant we would discuss the issue while swinging on the porch.  I thought it was just a change of environment that helped the discussion but it seems it was more than that. We live on a fairly busy street so we would have plenty of distractions while we were swinging but now I know it was the chemical release we got while swinging that helped us work out many problems.

I use to swing with my boys a lot on the porch in the summer when I would read to them and sing.  Those are some of my sweetest memories and now we swing our grandson and he loves it too.  The picture included is from 1993 with my three favorite guys on the swing.

Here is some information about vestibular input.  What is that? Well, that’s what happens to your brain when you swing.  Most of the time putting a baby in a swing calms them but few people know why.  Sometimes you have babies that have a very stressed sensory system and swinging or rocking have little effect but for most people swinging will cause a calming effect in the sensory system.  I hope this little article will be a help to someone in need of a calming therapy for themselves or their children.  A swing is an inexpensive therapy with known benefits and a great time for the family to spend together.

The information below was taken from  http://www.developmental-delay.com/page.cfm/260 Center of Development, Pediatric Therapies

  • Vestibular input is the strongest of the brain stem sensations and lasts the longest in the brain chemical release. It is the fastest way to calm anyone with slow, gentle, rhythmic swinging from a single hung point. Decreases stress chemicals the fastest.

  •  Getting a swing that is hung from a single point will give her more effective and stronger, longer lasting vestibular input. Swinging on a swing is the ideal source of Vestibular input, and if done for 15 minutes on a swing can last up to 8 hours in the central nervous system, the other types of input only last 2 hours or so, so they must be done more often. I would highly recommend swinging for at least two 15 minute sessions a day one first thing in the a.m. and again in the afternoon. This will help give the calming and organized vestibular input that is needed to help keep an individual  responding to sensory input appropriately. May help to swing and rock gently before bedtime as well if sleeping is a problem. If swinging can be a calming choice throughout the day, then I would highly recommend it above anything else in the home & classroom. You can have a swing hung from the ceiling or from a “hammock swing stand” and let them swing themselves, just make sure it is slow, rhythmical, and not erratic. When on the playground, try to encourage linear swinging, and avoid rotary at this time as rotary swinging may “hype” them up too much.

I hope you enjoyed this slice of my life and maybe it can help you or someone you know.

july 4 ft porch dp3 us small

Our grandson, the newest member of swing time.

Getting Started with your NAIWE Website

We all have to-do-lists that we never finish.  That is the one thing I’m sure of after making a million of them myself.  But I have a “Get Started Now Item”  to add to your list.

With your NAIWE membership you have the opportunity to build a website that is professional and functional.  Here is the first tutorial page you should read through.  The tutorial page has a LOT of information on it but I’ve created posts to take you through many of these things individually with more detail.

First thing I recommend is that you log into your dashboard and then click the tab “Preview Changes” near the top right on the screen. This will open your “actual page” in another tab in your browser.  That will show you what your site looks like as you make changes to it. Be sure to click the Preview Changes button after making any changes to see if you like them and then Update to save your changes. If you don’t like your changes you can go back and try something else.

I hope you will take the time to get acquainted with the many features you have available through your NAIWE site.  Follow my posts for more detailed directions and send me any questions you may have  I’m also available to work with you over the phone. PM me to schedule a time.

Creating Menus on your NAIWE Website

Some of our NAIWE members have been working on their sites and I am excited to see the new pages that are being created.  Don’t be afraid to try new things. Make your site represent you and your work in your own way.

Let’s take a look at Creating Custom Navigation Menus.
Sorry the pictures are blurry.  If you click them they will enlarge.

I’m a list person so to me, navigation menus are lists.  They are nice and orderly.  You can take all your posts/pages about a particular topic and put in a dropdown under a category.  You can create your own categories.  When you make your posts or pages always pick a category before you save and if you forget, just edit and put it in and update.

The MAIN MENU is the bar across the top of my page with the different “categories.” Under the *categories are my pages and posts. Most of my categories across the top have a drop down of pages or posts within them.  If they don’t, that means I only have one page in that category, the “original.”

I watched the video tutorial about creating menus and it will explain a lot but some of the video tutorials lack explaining certain elements.  I find this a regular occurrence when dealing with really “techy” people that put these videos together. (Sorry, but it’s true) It is hard for them because this is their business and they are way past simple details, which you and I need explained because we do other things for our main business. With that said let’s try making some custom menus.

Read through this page, watch the video, and then get creating! 

Take a look at my screen shot. (2nd picture)  See how the category  Website Creation breaks down into a “drop-down menu” list?  We’ll learn how to do this in this lesson. To watch the video go to—Dashboard—Video Tutorials—2nd box on the bottom—Appearance—Creating & Managing Custom Navigation Menusvideo tutorials

Building menus dropdown ex

Everyone may not realize that “Main Menu” for our purposes means the bar across the top where the categories are listed.  When creating your menu you might see a message saying “Your theme only allows one menu.”  Well, what does that mean?  That means you have the one bar across the top of your page or you can put it down the side, if you want, but within that one bar you can have multiple titles/categories.  And this is why it’s important to give your posts and pages a category.  So, before you start making menus make sure you have *categorized your posts and pages in a way that will best organize your work in these different menus.

For example: If you write articles for the medical field you may  want to categorize them by Heart Disease, Diabetes, Cancer, etc. and then your different articles will be listed under each of those categories on your menu for easy locating by your readers.  You can also set your new pages to automatically be added to these menus as long as you give them one of your *categories.

Here’s a screen shot of my back-end page so you can compare it to the front end page you see above.


custom menu whole page


Happy Creating!

More NAIWE Site Building Help-Build Your Profile & Portfolio Pages First and How to do Hyperlinks

Build Your Profile and Portfolio Pages First

Note: You’ll always go to your “DASHBOARD” to work on your site pages.

The first thing you should do when creating your NAIWE website is fill in your profile and portfolio page of information. I should have told you that first but my creative side loves to add pictures and colors and do the “decorating” but you need to be showcasing who you are and what kind of work you do.   See, I’m not really a writer like you, I’m in the background trying to help manage this place for you, so I forgot that was probably the most important part of your site. Your profiles and portfolios are where people can come to learn about your background and take a look at your work.

Here’s Where to Find Your Profile and Portfolio Pages
Go to your “dashboard” on your site.
Click on the “Pages” button on the left and you will see the Portfolio and the Profile pages are already there.  Click on those and fill in your information.  If you want to add links to places where your articles or books can be found on the web, read below about how to embed your links.

HYPERLINKS make pages look sharper and cleaner than long urls.
Do you know how to do a “fancy” link or a hyperlink?  My friend calls it a fancy link when you embed a link into a title like this; Visit My NAIWE Site.  When you click this link you are taken to my site but you don’t see the long url.

To view the Video Tutorial in your dashboard that shows and explains how to create these hyperlinks, click the Video Tutorial button on the left and under “visual editor”  chose “hyperlinks.”  The video is a minute and a half.  Hyperlinks are easy and make pages look so much better than cluttering them up with long urls.  You’ll want to use the hyperlinks when you have articles published on the web and you want to direct people there.

The “link button” that you click to embed urls is found on your email service too. It will work the same way and make your emails look sharper. Try it!

If you have any questions feel free to ask. ~Ann



Creating Your NAIWE Site Appearance With Colors and Pictures

I hope these will help our members build some great sites.  Be creative, try new things but most of all just get started.  It’s fun and creative.  Take these first steps now to chose the colors and pictures to build the Appearance of your site.

Some things to remember as you work on your site.
Preview your changes before you save them.
Save Changes or Save Drafts when you make your changes.
Publish when you are satisfied with what you’ve created.
Remember, you can always edit and edit again until you’re satisfied with your creation.

1. Go to your ”Dashboard” page. (click under your name at the top of your page and you should see the link for the dashboard) Once the dashboard comes up, we’re ready to move on.

2. On the left look for ”Appearance” click, then go to ”Theme Options.” This is where you decide how you want your page to look. You chose colors and how the page is set up with menus on your left, right or one column with no sidebar. This is the basic set up. We’ll add widgets and other things later.

a. Go to Color Schemes to chose your colors for your page backgrounds and header.
Do you want a light background or the dark? Mine is dark. (if you want pictures for header and backgrounds go to d. below)
b. Pick a link color for your links. Anything on your page that links to another page will be in this color. You can see on my page these are yellow.
c. Default Layout; right column, left column, one column no side-bar (pick your choice, try each one and see what happens)
d. Do you want a picture for your headers or background?  Click on those and upload the pictures you want to use to your media files.
SAVE those changes and see what your page looks like. You can use Preview to look and see what changes you made and if you like them or want to change them again. Work on that and see what you come up with. Remember to save changes or save drafts. You can preview your page from your dashboard if you don’t want to keep it open in another tab while working on it.  Each time you “preview” it will refresh the previous preview.

Under Theme Options you will also see Header and Background. The header can be a plain color or you can upload a picture or logo there. If you look at mine I have a picture in my header and background. The background is the area around your main information. This too can be a plain color or an uploaded picture.

These things won’t take long so I hope everyone will take a few minutes and work on enhancing their page. More to come…..

If something is not clear please message me with your questions.  Taking these steps and writing them out to share is challenging but I’m here to help so please don’t hesitate to ask questions. ~Ann


Editing Images in your NAIWE Site

DSC02751When you want to add a picture to your post click the Add Media button on the top left of where you type in your posts text. Upload from your files and insert into the post.
Here are some directions on how to achieve text and picture placement that’s attractive and uses space efficiently.

Most people will agree that having the words fill in the space beside a picture creates a cleaner, sharper look. Here’s how to get that look.

In your dashboard click ~Video Tutorials and you will see a list of many videos showing how to work on your NAIWE site.  To watch the video about editing images choose the video titled Working With Images. 

Here’s what you will learn. You can change the placement of the picture in relationship to your text and also change the size of the picture.  In the video you will see two icons come up in the left hand corner of the picture.  One is to edit the image, the other is to delete it.  They are on the top of my head in this screen shot.  Click the “mountain” picture to edit.  The “circle with a line” is the delete icon.  Click the screen shots below for full screen images.  All this is shown in the video.

NAIWE site pic instructions

This screen shot below shows the options for None, Left, Center or Right in the placement of the picture in relationship to the text.    You can also add a title, text and caption.

NAIWE site pic advance image
small-fall-2011-pa-oct-81.jpgThis picture is marked “none” and if I continue writing it will hold the text as it appears here.  The first line will be at the bottom right of the picture and continue to fill in below.  If you want to fill in the space to the right of the picture you chose the next option “left.”

This one is marked “left” and the picture will stay to the left of the writing. This picture is one of my favorites.  These are pictures of where I grew up; hundreds of open acres in the mountains of Pennsylvania.

small-fall-2011-pa-oct-8.jpg This one is marked “center.”  The picture will stay centered above your writing.


And this one is marked “right.”  The picture will stay to the right of your text.




I hope this encourages our members to try adding some pictures into their profile and posts to see the different effects that can be achieved with these simple image edits.


Need help building your NAIWE webpage?

anns solo 1 picWould anyone like help building their NAIWE website? I”ll be glad to work with anyone who needs some guidance.  I’m the NAIWE Virtual Assistant and I am here to assist. :-)  We’re not sure if members don’t have time or they just don’t know what to do with the “dashboard.”  Janice and I want to make sure NAIWE members get all the benefits that come with a NAIWE membership and a professional website is one of those benefits.  It only takes a few minutes to spruce up your page and I’ll be glad to help. Create a theme, chose some colors, look around at some of our members sites and see what they’ve designed.

I like how MIchael Golding uses the black background on his site so I decided to try that out on my own site.  For his sport’s theme page, I think the black background looks really sharp.  Do you think the black works on my site too? It was golden yellow before I updated.  Ann Hoopsick  


Just Discovered This is a Long Weekend

Early this morning I realized this was a “long” weekend. That’s an interesting term.  It has no real meaning for me anymore. My husband is self-employed, our son is self-employed and I am self-employed. Minutes, hours, days run together sometimes in a non-stop mode. Sunday is the only day that really helps me keep up with where the week is going or where it went.

I know many of the NAIWE members are self-employed and while sitting at the computer your days run together too. You have your own schedule, if you have one at all and you’re the boss, so you decide if it’s really a holiday or not.

I am going to try and take a break Monday, really. Anyone else going to try and “really” make a holiday of it?

Do you like my updated page?

I’ve been working on my NAIWE site. What do you think? I don’t have a business theme, picture or logo defining me yet so I’m just filling in the blanks while I create “my virtual world.” I will soon be working on my other website for planning educational workshops and counseling parents about home-schooling options. I think I need some productivity tips from Meggin McIntosh.

The fall pictures on my page are from my visit back to the family homestead in the mountains of PA in 2011. My great-grandfather planted the maples on the left side of the background. Can’t wait to go back this Oct.

Some People Still Show Their Thankfulness, Do You?

My husband and I spent last weekend covering a booth at a convention for a friend. Parking in the city is tough on the weekends when the convention center is busy, especially when thereare delivery trucks parked in the turning lanes. As we turned the corner for our parking deck we ran into a backup of cars. We knew we only had about 15 minutes before this deck was full and since it’s connected to the convention center it makes life easier, so it’s worth the wait. As we inched our way toward the entrance to the parking deck my husband kindly let a minivansqueeze in front of us. We watched the lady pull into the garage and get a great parking spot right near the entrance, she wasn’t taking any chances. When we pulled up to pay, the attendant said, “that lady paid for you and said thank you.”

We were in for the longest day of the convention and this little act of “thankfulness”
gave us something to think about for the rest of the day and helped us keep a smile on our faces.Have you ever responded to a random act of “kindness” with a random act of “thankfulness” like that? It can make someone’s day. Try it again if it’s been a while.