SortaCrunchy has moved!

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Come see me there!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Father's Day Giveaway!

Can you handle one more post from me today? I hope so, because by the end of this week, I am sure to be knee deep in boxes and soaked with sweat . . . not a pretty place from which to write.

I wanted to let everyone know that Jules at Everyday Mommy is honoring both daddies and mamas of boys with a really neat Father's Day Giveaway!! I've already emailed a heads-up on this giveaway to my mama friends here in town who are raising up some amazing young men, but I want to make sure my online community sees this, too. Meghan! Colleen! Karen! Lori! Keara! Amanda! Mandy, Devon, Yan, Nichole, Sara, Lauren . . . and anyone else I left out -- this means you! I have heard stories of your wild boys and been fortunate enough to actually meet a few of them. I so hope you will take a minute to write up something for the masses to read and enjoy. And hey - you just might win what looks to be a spectacular book!

The Blogging Story of SortaCrunchy

Check me out, ya'll! I am on a roll. Three posts in one day! Try to contain yourselves. (Oh, don't worry. I am still getting plenty done on The Great Purge and Pack of 2007. But a mama's gotta take a break, especially when she is besieged by painless but plentiful Braxton Hicks contractions.)

So many of my fave bloggers are participating in Chilihead's Blogging Story Carnival that I just had to add my little story to the fray. Here goes!

How did you start blogging?
I am looking back at my first post and remembering that originally I just wanted a place in which I could write. I am a frustrated, lazy writer, and I think at the time I thought if only I had a space to write, oh surely the magic would just flow forth from my fingers.

I chose Blogger because I am big, fat HTML dummy and even before the New! Improved! Blogger! was rolled out, it was really easy to work with.

Did you intend to be a blog w/a big following? If so, how did you go about it?
Not at all. I don't think I even told anyone about it for months. I think my readership is about ten or twelve people at any given time, but having a big readership is not a goal for me. The handful of readers who do read faithfully are mostly all a part of my mommy boards. I do put my blog address in my signatures on the various and sundry message boards I post on . . . perhaps in hopes of picking up a few readers here and there? At this point, it's not a priority.

What do you hope to achieve or accomplish with your blog? Have you been successful? If not, do you have a plan to achieve those goals?
Such a pivotal question for me right now!

Originally, I just wanted to have an outlet to write and place where I could blather on about how much I love to practice natural family living. But in the past few weeks, I have given much thought to taking SortaCrunchy in a new direction.

So I think I have been successful in doing lots of babbling without any direction or real purpose; however, I am going to need a more concrete, well-thought-out plan to see my new vision for SortaCrunchy actually take shape and come to life.

Has the focus of your blog changed since you started blogging? How?
Not too much, for now. When I got pregnant, I obviously added in more preggo talk than I had expected to, but I've tried to stick to the parenting focus.

Again, I am at a point where I want and need a change of focus and direction . . . just not sure of what that will look like.

What do you know now that you wish you'd known when you started?
One of the most fun and rewarding ways to bring traffic to your blog is to read other blogs and leave comments. Even if that person only stops by once, it's still fun to know someone is reading your posts! And like I said, it's really rewarding to allow yourself to build little friendships in the blogging community. Quite warm and fuzzy.

Do you make money with your blog?
No. I don't understand how all that blogads stuff works and it kind of gets me overstimulated just thinking about it. So no.

Does your immediate or extended family know about your blog? If so, do they read it? If not, why?
My sister and husband both know I have a blog, but I am confident neither has read it. I have sent them the URL, but I think they were probably both bored to tears. Someday I may share the blog with my sister-in-law, but I don't think anyone else would be too terribly interested.

What two pieces of advice would you give to a new blogger?
As I said above, you will find all sorts of fun, thoughtful, witty, and inspiring blogs out there when you just click around. Read all you can and leave comments!

And try to set a reasonable goal for how much you will write. I try to blog at least once a week, but then there are days like today when I can get three posts in! For right now, I don't think daily entries is a workable goal for me - but it's something to work up to. Having a minimum posting goal really helped me give the ol' blog at least a little TLC every week.

Blogging advice, The Momma Code, and a GIVEAWAY!


Somehow, amazingly, I have finally gotten caught up on my blog reading. Thank you, dear Google Reader, for allowing me to skim thoughtfully read and reflect upon all sorts of wonderful posts from the vast array of feeds you deliver so faithfully to me everyday. And WHEW! I feel a great burden has been lifted now that I am caught up. I didn't get to comment as much as I would like to, but please know I have read.

Anyway, a couple of posts stuck out to me as I was reading from the last week:

1) I hope each and every one of you have, by now, added Scribbit to your feeds because she is just the coolest. Last week she published Ten Housekeeping Tips for Your Blog. Definitely check this out! Even if you don't feel you want to or can incorporate everything she suggests right now, this article still offers some great direction and advice!

2) Another treasure from last week was Shannon's republication of The Momma Code. Very much worth the read! Such truth.

3) Finally, SO EXCITED to tell you about Stephanie's latest giveaway!! A $75 gift certificate to MamaKanga!!! Don't ya just love how easy (and generous!) Stephanie's giveaways are?

Now, if the babywearing gods smile gently upon me and I should somehow win this giveaway, oh what would I buy? I have to say I am torn. For wearing Little Sister, I have a trusty pouch and several lovely ring slings. I am thinking with $75 to spend, I would want to go with a Mei Tai. Or maybe a wrap. No, definitely a Mei Tai. But I hear such great things about The Gypsy Mama wrap! But I have never tried wrapping before, and I feel a little intimidated. But look how lovely! Ahhhhhh, the choices. So fun to shop and drool.

So those are my highlights from the week. If I can possibly fit it in, I am hoping to participate in Chilihead's Blogging Story carnival. Such fun to read everyone's blogging stories!

Have ya'll made that chocolate cake yet? Let me know when you do.

No such thing as a bad chocolate cake

I have so enjoyed all the comments on my SortaWhat, Part Two post. It's really surprising to me just how many mamas lean the "sorta crunchy" way . . . we just don't talk about it. I would love to see those conversations taking place on playgrounds and over coffee instead of being limited to LLL meetings and health food stores.

Anyway, speaking of health food . . . I've got a little recipe to share with you. I realize most everyone is doing their Meal Plan Monday for the week. We are still in packing/moving limbo, so my meal plan consists of going through the freezer and pantry and inventing meals out of what I find inside so we can transport as little food as possible to the new hacienda. But over the weekend, the need to bake consumed me once again, and I turned to this scrumptious recipe I had re-discovered last week.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake
(from the Taste of Home 2003 recipe collection; recipe submitted by Elaine Medeiros of Wamego, Kansas)

2-1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1-1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. baking cocoa
1/2 t. salt

1-1/2 c. water
1/2 c. vegetable oil
4-1/2 t. white vinegar
1-1/2 t. vanilla extract

Peanut butter batter:
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. creamy peanut butter
1/3 c. plus 1 T sugar, divided
1 egg
1/8 t. salt
1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. chopped pecans

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Stir in water, oil, vinegar and vanilla, mix well. Pour into greased 13x2x9 baking pan.

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, peanut butter, 1/3 c. sugar, egg, and salt until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoons over cake batter; cut through batter with a knife to swirl the peanut butter mixture. Sprinkle with pecans and remaining sugar.

Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack before cutting. Refrigerate leftovers.

What? That doesn't sound like health food, you say? Au contraire, my friends. It has peanut butter in it and peanuts are an excellent source of protein, ya know. And did you see that it has vegetable oil? Oh, it is surely health food indeed. If nothing else, it's great mental health food, particularly if you are self-medicating from the stress of a move coupled with the tireless demands of an already-needy-two-year-old who is teething those awful molars.

(As the cake finished cooling on the rack, I discovered The Coach hunkered over the pan in the kitchen - in the dark. He stopped forking cake in his mouth long enough to say, "this is awful . . . you probably don't want to eat any of it. Don't worry about it . . . I'll take care of it . . .")