Friday, October 24, 2014

A Blessed Life {This Little Blog of Mine…I'm Going to Let It Shine}


Note: Not interested in reading this part of the blog? Feel free to disregard this post.  If you just want the recipes, check out the recipe index on the top menu bar.

Welcome to the conclusion of A Blessed Life, a series on how my love of cooking and blogging started.  To catch up on previous posts, click here.  

In the last post, I wrote about how I got started with blogging.

In the blog's early days, I was only doing it as a hobby.  I wasn't making money off of it and as a matter of fact, refused to place ads on it.  Husband Man kept trying to get me to incorporate Adsense, but I would constantly turn down his idea, saying that it was fine the way it was.  

Finding a hobby that allowed me to stay home with my babies and use up all the creativity that stewed inside of me was enough to keep me content for ages.

And let me tell y'all….it sure did make for some interesting conversations at the dinner table on some nights:

"Husband Man: Today, I made my guys test this missile out to make sure it's ready for whatever comes our way.  I also ran 3 miles and worked on an EPR for one of my Airmen.  How was your day?
Me:  I tried to subdue our son's temper tantrum after he woke up in the middle of the grocery store, while teaching our daughter how to pick the right apples from the produce bin.  I did 3 loads of laundry, cleaned both bathrooms, and finally had a chance to whip up that apple sour cream pie for dessert tonight…and blog about it.  Did you know that my recipe for butter cookies has gotten 100 views so far??  
Husband Man: No…but that's awesome!"

I knew nothing about food photography or how to plate certain dishes.
All I wanted to do was cook, take a picture of the dish, post it on the blog, and write a paragraph or two about whatever came to my mind.  If you look through the archives, I left some of these early posts up, mostly as a reminder as how far this blog has come.  
(an early picture of our family's butter cookies…post can be found here)

When it came to family and friends, they didn't quite understand the purpose of it.  If you have ever seen the movie, "Julie & Julia" and remember the parts where Julia's mom didn't take her blog seriously, that was how it was for me as well.  No one really understood the purpose of what I was doing and every time I would mention that I wrote another recipe post, their response was, "Oh…that's cool I guess.  Anyway…back to what I was saying earlier…"  For some of them, it took a while to learn that the blog was just like a website or a digital magazine.  

Husband Man on the other hand, was on board with the entire thing…all the way from the beginning (kind of like Julie's husband was in the movie).  He was my cheerleader and the one who kept encouraging me to stick with it, even on the days when I wanted to just delete the entire thing (and there have been plenty of those days).  He did have to adjust to how time consuming it seemed to be, but he always remained supportive.  

I started to realize that with my food blog, I could still create sweet treats and dishes for everyone, I just wouldn't be able to charge them like I would if I worked in my own bakery.  

It was that conclusion that kept me working on it.  I was able to stay home with my children, be there for all of their firsts, and at the same time, pursue a hobby that I really, truly enjoyed.  Life really couldn't get any better ;)  

There were even times when I incorporated my children into the blog posts (mostly my daughter because my son didn't really show an interest in it):
As soon as word got out that I started a cooking blog, I started making friendships within the community….mostly with other fellow military spouses.  We all discussed how fun it would be to have a few cooking classes over at my house one evening.  I loved the idea and after some careful planning and prep work, I hosted a Thanksgiving cooking class (click here to read that post) and a Christmas cookie baking class (click here to read the post).  
One of the lady's I knew informed me that the city's local mommy magazine was looking for recipe submissions.  I contacted the magazine's editor and explained to her that I had a food blog.  She had me submit a few recipes for their November and December issue…and then contacted me for their January issue.  It wasn't long before she contacted me again for their February issue. 

I started noticing a pattern of sorts so I bought the idea up to her about having a food column in the magazine.  Before I could even blink an eye, the Cooking with Libby column for Red River Moms Magazine in Shreveport, Louisiana was born. I wrote for them for 3 years:
Opportunities started coming out of the woodwork after I started with the magazine, including teaching a cooking class for a local children's summer camp program.

Not only this, high end companies started contacting me…asking for product reviews and sponsorships.  After about the fifth company, I finally decided to take Husband Man's advice and incorporate Adsense into the blog to start making a little bit of income.  
The journey has been uphill ever since.  I've been a food columnist for a few national military spouse networks and also recently started writing again for a local magazine here on the base that we are currently stationed at.  

When I look back at all the years past, I can't believe how lucky my family and I have been.  It has been a rocky road, but it's also been a blessed one.  All I really wanted to do was stay home with my children.  As a result of that, I found a hobby that I loved doing that has blossomed into so much more.

My kids are older and are in school full time now, so I figured it's time to pick up where I left off all those years ago when I was working at the library.  Except this time, a career in library science is not what I'm aiming for. 

I'm aiming for an Associates in Culinary Arts with a baking and pastry concentration instead (read more about my journey with that HERE).  Maybe my dream of owning my own bakery/cafe' will come true afterall??  We'll just have to wait and see.  

So there you have it folks….that's how this blog came to be.
It started with a little spark all those years ago…hitting some bumps along the way…that soon turned into a hobby…that, in turn, blossomed into a little career of sorts.  It seems to be the direction my life is taking now…and that is fine by me…and fine by Husband Man as well!

God has blessed us in more ways then one and I am ever so grateful for that!  Thank you for reading along ;)   

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Halloween Recipe Collection


Halloween is almost here!  
I have put together a ghoulish compilation of recipes that the family and I have 
made over the years.
These treats and recipes are guaranteed to make your next Halloween get together
one to remember!

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