This and That

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Details on the outfit

I’ve been thinking a lot about this world of blogging lately. If you get the Life as Mom newsletter, you’ve already heard some of my ramblings. I entered “the blog world” when everything was new, bright, and shiny. Most of us were on free blog platforms like Blogger (aka Blogspot). No one had any idea how blogs would change or how social media would evolve.

It’s been a weird, but good ride.

Back in 2008, I posted every day, THREE TIMES A DAY, without a ton of proof reading or worry. I just shared where I was at, what I was cooking, what helped my life as Mom. I didn’t always post pictures. If I did, they weren’t that great.

I met friends in different places, of different faiths, of different schooling choices. It opened my world.

I may not have ever mentioned that when I started this blog I was also coming out of a cult. If not a cult, a very cult-like religious community. Let’s not split hairs. Our family had been part of a very unhealthy spiritual experience, and we found ourselves a little lost afterward. When you leave those situations, you find yourself without a lot of friends.

Blogging helped me heal. Helped me find my way. Helped me find myself again.

Today I was “scheduled” to write about how our son is avoiding college debt. I could say “we” because the government considers higher education to be a joint effort of parents and child until your child is 23. For us, it is a joint effort, but not because the government tells us so.

Cheddar Cheese Soup

I didn’t get around to finishing that post since I’ve been photographing old recipes. I started that project because I know that in this Pinterest-influenced, image-dominated world, the pictures will help the success of the recipes, no matter how good (or bad) those recipes are. You’ve cooked from Pinterest; you know what I’m talking about.

You can read the Amazon reviews on my freezer book. “No pictures!” is a complaint. People can’t cook a recipe anymore unless they see a picture. Weird, though, since our moms and grammas cooked from handwritten recipes on index cards. Remember those? No pictures required.

Turns out, walking down Food Memory Lane has been incredibly fun for me, and I’ve completely enjoyed remaking old family favorites and making pretty pictures of them. It’s also been a great distraction from preparing for my tax meeting tomorrow. How’s that for Productive Procrastination?

Also of note: we’ve been eating incredibly well this past week.

My friend Jules, who I know in real life, but initially met via blogging (of course!), has set a great example in her recent return to old school blogging. I’m inspired. And though I still need to find all those [email protected]&* tax documents for tomorrow, I decided to write an old school post myself. 😉

This is where I’m at. Tired. A little overwhelmed. Not super productive. And behind on some things. Just like in 2008.

I also have people (I’m looking at you) who listen to me, care for me, write to me, and encourage me every day to live a life that blesses my family and stretches me beyond my comfort zone. Some things never change.

Thank you.

Where are YOU at today?

Let’s chat in the comments just like we did in 2008.

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  1. I love old school posts and this one is no exception. They bring back the personal note of blogging. More, more, more please!!!!!!

      1. You got me there! I’m a faithful reader… but I rarely comment. Keep ’em coming and I’ll do the same! Hope you have a great day! 🙂

        1. Several years ago there was a blogosphere-wide drop in comments. Whether that was a symptom or a cause of the change in blogging tactics, I’m not sure. But there’s a correlation there. No one wants to feel like there’s no one listening, you know?

          I think that there was sooooo much content out there all of a sudden that folks had a hard enough time reading, let alone commenting on the blogs they read.

          Regardless which came first, I think that back and forth got lost. We can bring it back. 😉

          1. Same here I miss the “old” style of blogging, where I really got to know the bloggers. Although back then I didn’t comment because I thought of bloggers as untouchable superheroes. I don’t think I could have done my “life as mom” without your blog (and some others). Yours and Money Saving Mom are the ones I have stuck with over the years. I basically came her to say thanks. 🙂

          2. Oh, and where I am at is on the verge of starting my own blog. It’s been a dream of mine for a long time, and my littlest will be in Kindergarten in about a year and a half, and I really truly want to stay home forever, but I need to help bring home the bacon. 😉 I don’t know what’s stopping me. Fear, maybe, of failure, or of taking time away from the kids? I’m not sure, but I need to get my act together.

          3. Only blog if it’s something you would do for fun. It’s incredibly difficult to make an income, though plenty of people SELLING blogging how-to resources will tell you differently. I make about what I would make if I was still a school teacher, but with a higher tax rate. Keep that in mind as you make it a business decision.

  2. Love this! Thanks for sharing. It reminds me that it’s ok to not have it all together all the time, and that sometimes it’s good to throw the schedule out the window. Where I’m at: overwhelmed with trying to figure out how to best parent my six kiddos – all with very different personalities. Our oldest is 13, and I’m not sure how I’m going to make it through the teen years with her (and the next 5!). But, today I’ve taken the day off and my 4 year old and I have gotten the house in order and are enjoying a chick-fil-a lunch before we hit the grocery store. I’m hoping a more relaxed day will translate to a more relaxed mom and a more relaxed/enjoyable evening. 🙂

    1. Good for you in shifting gears! And yes, you’ll survive the teen years. Just know that you’ll need to invest more of your mind and emotion in the kids than you ever have before. A friend warned me that they’d need me more — and she was so right. Prepare your battle station. You can do this!

  3. When I think back to 2008, so much has changed as far as blogging goes. I love your site, and the fact that you are down-to-earth about saving money and raising a family when so much thrown out there in the digital world is just about trendy consumption.

    I had a blog when I wrote my first book in 2013 (which I recently pulled to get to into better shape for a 2nd edition) and now have one again, but sometimes it’s a struggle to update. I’m kind of shy, so even writing down things on topics close to my heart on some days feels too rough. I look around me and see everyone doing it far more successfully with their blogs/businesses and I wonder what I’m doing here. lol

  4. Ah Jessica!
    Take a step back and breathe! It seems that your priority after school and feeding the people should be getting your tax stuff together for your meeting. Bossy mommy moment over! I think I am old enough to be your mother. I’ll be 65 in September.
    Where am I today? At home taking a break from my to do list! I’ve had dust the living room on my list for 3 days and it still hasn’t happened. Can you tell I dislike dusting!??
    On the plus side the laundry is done, my meal plan for the month is still working, and my pantry challenge is still going strong. The fridge freezer and chest freezer are both half empty! My grocery total is $338 for this year versus the budgeted amount of $1350! Winner!! The upright is full but it is all the newest stuff I’ve put up last fall or new stuff so it is good too.
    My bread baking is going well and I’ve made a loaf every week and have only had one fail.
    I haven’t been here since 2008 but have followed both your blogs for a couple years and enjoy them very much. I have and USE two of your cookbooks and use a lot of your recipes and suggestions. Just need Good Cheap Eats.
    Keep moving forward and you will get where you need to be! You can do it!

    1. Thank you, Pat, for your encouragement on all accounts. Writing is good for my soul, and there are such great benefits. Thank you for your support. I’m so thrilled that the pantry challenge is going so well for you and that you’re baking up a storm. Nice job! I know you were timid at first, and now you are a pro!

      1. Haha! I don’t think timid is the right word! I’ve always been a baker of casseroles, cookies, quick breads and cakes. It was the word yeast that scared the daylights out of me! Plus the fear of what if I don’t knead it enough! The bread machine takes care of that for me. Oh and cut out cookies are another nemesis. I should probably try those again at Christmas time. My sugar cookies at the holidays are always flattened with a cup and I told my kids they were ornaments. Ha! Funny thing is they never questioned it!Pat

  5. I’m supposed to be packing to move in two weeks. Hubby has been working his new job 900 miles away. We miss him and can’t wait to get us all back together again. I’m overwhelmed, so instead of packing I’ve spent today getting a haircut and baking buttermilk oat muffins. Productive procrastination indeed.

    A cold snap means my plan to clean windows has been delayed. We are planning an early graduation ceremony for my oldest. He’s 22 and so is aging out of the public school special education system. He is happy to be done, but I don’t think he really gets it.

    We will be warm and well fed and a little topsy turvy.

    1. I’m glad I’m not alone in the productive procrastination! LOL. Congrats to your son — and to YOU. I know that you’ve played a huge role in his success. We moms should get graduation parties, too! 😉

  6. YES! I’m on a solo parenting week (my husband travels for work), and my #win for the day is that I got dinner in the crockpot before leaving for work. The kitchen is a hot mess of dishes, there are clothes and legos all over the living room floor, but the kids and I are all fed, dressed and out the door, and dinner will be waiting when we get home.

    I’m behind on my self-set deadline for a side project, but my day job is on track. We’re transitioning to a “real food” diet (helped by Healthy Eating Made Easy!), and while we’ve eaten super-basic foods this week (I’m looking at you, peanut butter banana rollups for dinner), we haven’t succumbed to fast food or boxes. One day at a time, right?

    1. I am so thrilled to hear that my HEME ecourse is helping you tackle such a GREAT GOAL! Honored to play a part in that. Let me know how I can help you!

      And go you on the crockpot and out the door! Solo parenting is not for the faint of heart. I think you’re going to rock it.

  7. “This is where I’m at. Tired. A little overwhelmed. Not super productive.” I’m right there with you. I received a phone call this morning from my mother’s neighbor. She found my mother on the floor in the hallway unconscious this morning. It appears she was on the floor all night. She fell and hit her head and was a bit incoherent so we’re not sure. I live 1,500 miles from her. I have been vacillating ever since between feeling overwhelmed with worry and feeling overwhelmed with gratitude that my mother has such caring neighbors. Some days it’s all about just getting through it. Get ready for tax preparation and as for everything else, in the immortal words of Scarlett O’Hara, I’ll think about that tomorrow.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear about your mom, but with you in rejoicing that she has good neighbors. I will be praying for you and for her.

      And yes, take care of today’s work!

    2. Prayers for your mom and for you! That would be scary even if you were in the same town!

  8. I love the old school posts, and while I appreciate good pictures, I strongly dislike it when blog posts have tons of highly stylized photos (not something you do, just something I notice in blogland). A few good pictures to support excellent content- I’m all for that! You’ve had a tough run so far this year – I hope you are feeling better and able to work your way toward good health and getting to a place where you don’t feel so behind!

  9. I’m an oldster (60s) who has been cooking without photos forever. I have a whole box of recipes on index cards that have things like a list of ingredients, temperature for cooking, and time for cooking–nothing else (such as step by step instructions). So I’m mystified why people need photographs, unless you are describing a very tricky technique that benefits from illustration. Isn’t food for family and friends all about nutrition, flavor, and sharing a table with people who are meaningful to you? I have used your recipes and find they are very complete and exact. What more could one want from a cookbook?

  10. LOL…why am I loving this post so much??? And I am definitely a fan of Jules as well. =)

    Here is what I want to “add” to the conversation…our family never needed pictures for your cookbooks! But enjoy the fun (and eating) of going down memory lane.

  11. I really enjoy reading your blogs. It is so nice to be encouraged in homeschooling, cooking “normal, everyday” foods, and being a wife and mother. I also enjoy your newsletter, but I seem to get kicked off every other month or so. I sign up again after I don’t receive the newsletter, but it does mean that I only get to read about half your newsletters. I wonder if others are facing this challenge also?

    1. I looked up your account. It looks like you have signed up a couple times for the free downloads. That will kick you over into the new subscribers list where they get a series of intro letters from me before they get a newsletter. Don’t sign up for any more free downloads. I always include them in the newsletter for old timers. 🙂 I bumped you back to the regular list so you should be good to go.

  12. I’ve been following you since then although you might not know it because I’m mostly a lurker and rarely comment. 😉 Blogs these days look much nicer and more streamlined than way back when, but I miss the “realness” of those days. When I started reading your blogs, I was engaged to be married and working full time. I’d catch up on your posts during downtime at work! Then I got married and became a SAHM to two little ones and loved your blog even more because I was living “life as mom!” I still am but now I am a single mom, working and in school. More changes. But I still read. You are one of the few bloggers I’ve kept on my roll over the years. Life changes. People change. The blogosphere changes. But I have always, and will continue to, appreciate your willingness to be open here in this space. I never look at your IG (my fav social media, post more there! 😊) and think you have a perfectly put together life because you share the good AND the bad. Not everyone does that and I appreciate it so much. Anyway, now I’m rambling (ooo remember weekly rambles?!?). But I thought I’d come out of the shadows to say thank you for being you and for keeping this space alive. It’s been a pleasure to be apart of it. Even if I am quiet.

    1. One more thing: I’m on Day 30 of my first Whole30 and GCE has been such a great resource! Thank you for taking the time to document your journey through it over there.

    2. Thanks for delurking, Emily! You have a lived a very full 9 years! I’m honored to have played a small part in it. And so glad you’ve enjoyed the Whole30 stuff. Congrats on finishing!

  13. Thanks for the post. I’ve been starting a new blog and its a hard road. But I know what you mean. While I’ve been there with the religious cult, raised in one!. Mine is coming to terms more after having three kids and a large bout of depression that came with!

    1. Hang in there! Have you talked with your doc about the depression? I’m not saying you need meds, but it’s a good thing to talk it out so you know you’re normal.

  14. Yesterday I cooked oodles – homemade pizza and German chocolate cake. Happy Birthday, hubby!

    Today I went grocery shopping – lots of veggies for salad/veggie bowls. YUM.

  15. Keep being real!!!!!!!!!!! I cook all the time without pictures, most of my cookbooks are without pictures. 🙂 Seen a commenter that was wondering how they were going to survive teen years, they will. Our oldest child will turn 21 tomorrow then we have a 19 and a 16 year old. It actually gets easier in some ways but then you have young adults living at home :)…………………….

  16. I love your freezer cookbook, no pictures and all. Just made the fish tacos from it this week.

  17. I’m in all states of elation (and sleeplessness) with a newborn but due to some unavoidable stress around his arrival, I’ve had to fight the powers that be today a lot more than I care to. Seems things are finally in order, but I’m still a little miffed.

    I too have legos on the floor, dishes piled, and laundry waiting to be folded. And a new tiny person that likes to be held. So precious, he wins every time.

    Folks from my church are bringing meals. Tonight baked ziti from a new friend who I’m already so grateful for. We’re blessed.

  18. I love old school “this is me, and where I’m at” bloggers. I’ve found that I’m an extremely transparent person, and I thrive in receiving that from others.

  19. I have really enjoyed your blog!
    Thank you for sharing a bit about the “very unhealthy spiritual experience” you had. Topics like this are hard to talk to others about and I appreciate your openness. I would like to hear more about your experience and how your family healed if you are comfortable sharing.

    1. They are very hard to talk about, particularly when those still in that community don’t see the unhealthy things that you see. I think that’s what’s prevented me from talking about it in the past. It’s been 9 years, though. So…. I’ll talk with my husband to see if there’s anything in our experience “appropriate for public consumption.” Feel free to email me privately if you like.

  20. I was feeling down today and my daughters noticed. They stopped by and didn’t want to leave. It was so nice to spend time with them. After one went to work and another went home, Our younger crew took over . My son read to me and the two youngest girls were reading recipes to me. I am blessed.

  21. Thanks for sharing your story. What culture did you come out of? That is always hard to step out in faith.

    1. Today’s the first time I’ve ever “said that out loud”, so I’m not sure I know what I would want to share. I’ll think about it, though, and talk to my husband about it.

  22. I love old-school blog posts! They’re the best to read! I’ve been a follower of yours for a long time, maybe 6 years? It’s amazing how the Internet has changed in that time. Thank you for sharing today. 🙂

  23. Hi. I’ve been around reading your blog since forever…I just rarely comment. Sorry about that! I love these old school posts. And I think our kids are close to the same age, so I always feel like you are right there with me, from when they were littler and helping in the kitchen and playing, to now going to college. But, I’ve had a few more kids along the way, so I have a 21, 3 teens, a 10, a 3, and new baby is 4 months old. I’m exhausted! And lonely. So this chatty, neighborly post was such a nice surprise…a breath of fresh air! Keep it up, and good luck with your tax meeting tomorrow!

    1. I’m sorry you are exhausted and lonely. Do you have people to lean on or a friend to text randomly during the day? We didn’t have texting when I had little people, but I now find it invaluable — I have a handful of fellow moms to shout out to during the day. It helps the lonely factor.

  24. I love old school blog posts…………but only from bloggers I truly love! I’m trying to limit my time on the pc and in cyber world and your two blogs are really the only ones I check any more unless I’m looking for a specific recipe or something for school or what not. I even go back and read some of your old posts like about chores and allowance and stuff like that. It’s really helped our family as some of your kids are just a bit older than mine so I don’t have to try to reinvent the wheel on things around here.

  25. I love when you are chatty. Yours is a blog I continue to read years after I have stop reading many. I’m sorry I don’t comment more. I often think I don’t have much to add or might sound stupid!
    I am having sciatica pain and tried to rest and ice it this afternoon. Not easy w a 9 mo old and 3 year old beside the bigger kids! But I did sit down for while during their nap time and fell asleep for a bit (unintentionally!)

    1. No apologies. Old friends can pick up wherever they left off. 😉 Hang in their with the sciatica. I’ve had that in the past and it can be debilitating.

  26. I’ve been a long time reader of both of your blogs but like many other people I rarely comment on blogs anymore. I noticed that the drop off in blog comments coincides with the rise in popularity of Facebook pages. I actually miss the conversations on Twitter more than blog comments.

    Updating recipe pictures is something I’m working on myself. I have a few posts with no pictures and two recipes that I have the same picture slapped on.

    I am thankful that I got in when blogging first started getting popular because I’m not sure I would have met the amazing friends I’ve made. The whole landscape of blogging has changed dramatically since I started 8 and a half years ago.

  27. We’ve made it through the children years – ours are 22 and 20. They definitely both need our support at times still though! Jessica, I find your blogs massively inspirational and always look forward to your posts. It seems like blogging has become like everything else, started off with a small group of people doing something different for enjoyment but now has become so widespread, competitive and formal! I can understand why you feel pressured. Just keep doing what you’re doing as there are a lot of us that really love it!!

  28. Hi Jessica-

    I am a long time reader and love these old school posts as well. I miss reading the comments too. Just wanted to say keep it up! I have all of your cookbooks!

  29. I’m a bit slow reading and commenting since I don’t check this site as often and GCE. But, I wanted to add my appreciation for you blogging and admit that while pictures of the finished dish may be nice I still have and treasure many cookbooks without them. Maybe it is because I am older ( in my late 60s) and have enough experience to be able to read a recipe and visualize the results. It seems to me that too many pictures means fewer recipes, but that could just be cynical me.