Administrative Aside: Tuesday Talk, Q-Tips Winners and More

Heather says:

Let’s start with the giveaway winners from the Q-Tips®  Quick Tip Detail Your Car Post.

Commenters 1 aka MariaKunze, 31 RevancheGS (not sure how the heck that happened since it was saying you couldn’t comment, weird!), & 15 CMarie, come on down. Well, actually just email your shipping info to helpme@home-ec101.com. That’d be great! Please put Q-Tips Quick Tip Winner in the subject of your email. I use Random.org to “draw” the numbers.

I have gotten rid of the LiveFyre commenting platform. I really like the people, but too many of you were having issues. Everyone cross your fingers that the spam bots and slaves (yes, there are companies out there that exploit people in poverty stricken areas and pay them teeny amounts of money to comment on websites in an attempt to increase a site’s rankings with the search engines, it’s disgusting and won’t work long term) go nuts. I teach people and companies about Search Engine Optimization -that’s how you tell search engines what your website is actually about, so it can be found by awesome users, like you. There’s no magic, it’s just work and too often people want to take the shortcut and that’s why we end up with spam slaves. (It’s a sore subject, don’t get me started.) Please let me know if you run into any problems. I know a couple of you tried to log in with Facebook and Twitter over the weekend, but I’ve gotten that all straightened out and fixed since then. Why not give it a test run and let me know if things are working? Thank you in advance.

I’m gearing up for the big pre-Turkey Day shindig I have every year. This year I’ll have four turkeys (thirtyish people and and I want leftovers- they will all be brined, fried, and ugly but awesome, as I need the oven space). Other than that, I’m thinking of having the sides that people would riot without and then going with an Italian-American theme. Stephanie, your husband should have said something about this to you (stern look @Jared). Since I’ve covered most of the standard American fare, my plan is to take a different ethnic angle each year. This isn’t set in stone, we’ll see what’s happening next year or how it plays out this year.

Once again, I am working with Butterball, but I won’t be visiting their headquarters this year.

I’m thinking of taking all of the info from the past 5 *gulp* Countdowns and assembling them into an ebook and hosting it either here or on Amazon. It will have the full get ready for T-Day schedule, recipes, etc all in one handy place. I’m thinking of charging a nominal fee just to cover the time I’ll put into it, but anyone will be able to get the info as it is published here on the site, just like always. I’m not taking anything away, just offering a different delivery format.

I got an email from the people I work with at Method and I’m thrilled to say that there are some exciting things coming down the pipe on Monday. /teaser For those of you looking for your dryer spray, the post office is on my schedule for tomorrow. (Errand day, go figure)

Unrelated to anything, I found my pile o’ recipes that have been missing for a year. Don’t ask. I’m not sure how you can lose a pile of paper over an inch tall, but it happened and I’ve got it back, and yay.

I think that brings us all up to speed.

So how you doin? /my Joey Tribbiani voice.

Sink or Swim, State of the Site, Off topic-ish

Heather says:

I don’t talk about my life too much here on Home-Ec 101 because I want this site to apply to all adults (even those who feel like they are pretending) no matter where they are in their life. Whether you have just left college and are trying to figure out what you need to build a pantry (FYI I’m going to revisit this section and improve upon it) or if you have kids and are just trying to figure out how to get the kool-aid out of the grout, to the empty-nesters who are suddenly faced with the option of cooking for one or two instead of what feels like an army. For those that don’t know, I have three children, the youngest of which was born about six months after this site was launched. I’ve gone from potty training and just trying to keep them from offing themselves while my back is turned to trying to help them find their direction and strength.

I am currently visiting my father in Myrtle Beach, SC. I’ve visited Myrtle ever since I was a very young child and my own transition from kid jumping into the deep end, to angst ridden disdainful teen lurking in the deep water, to parent catching the kid jumping off the side is never more apparent than when I am here. I look around and wonder if some of those other moms and dads are the ones I hung out with over the years.

Yesterday my youngest child swam across the deep end all by herself, no floats, no swim-aids, just sheer will power and me treading water beside her just in case she ran into trouble. (Also she did this before either of her older brothers have even attempted.)

For a very long time I have felt like I’ve been treading water, knowing that I’m in way over my head. I rarely look back because I’m scared I’ll lose site of my goal, consequently I frequently lose perspective on how very far I (and Home-Ec101.com) have come. (We already passed 1 million unique visitors in 2012 -early July and July also saw well over 200k unique visitors.) For those who aren’t up on what those numbers mean, let’s just say it’s a good thing, a very good thing.

When I flew home from Minnesota earlier this month I came home to a dead car battery and I complained on Twitter. Of course I was able to get it jumped. (Do you want me to write about how to jump a car? It’s not that hard, it can just feel intimidating if you are unfamiliar with it.) I worked at my other job (at the Irish Pub) on my birthday and a bunch of friends I have met through blogging, Twitter, and all kinds of places showed up to wish me well. Among the completely unexpected gifts was a large, very heavy box. Since I’m somewhat responsible, I put the box in the storage room at work to retrieve the next morning, as I wasn’t going to make my designated driver play bellhop, too. See, I can be considerate at times.

When I arrived at work the next morning, I opened the box, expecting something along the lines of a cast iron pot. Nope, it was a brand new car battery. I burst into tears. -I’m human, shut up already.

Of course I said thank you.

It wasn’t until yesterday as I watched my daughter struggle with sheer determination across the pool that I realized that no matter what happens, I’m going to be okay. Those that care about me are close by and aren’t going to let me sink, but they know how important it is for me to meet these goals on my own.

To meet these goals, I need to know what you want from Home-Ec101.com. I know I need to get back into the habit of getting more recipes on the site.

As an example:

Would you like me to compile the recipes into a Kindle / eCookbook?

Would a compilation of kitchenware / small appliances with the Home Ec 101 seal of approval have any appeal?

What ideas do you have? I can’t promise I’ll get to them all, I just want to add to my pool of potential projects for those mornings I sit at the computer and draw a blank. (Yes, I always have a few reader questions in the queue, I just know that sometimes we’ve had too many in a row.)

Bring back Fearless Fridays?

What do YOU want?

Winner of the Sierra Mist Giveaway

Heather says:

I’m embarrassed to admit I messed up. I forgot to write up the post notifying commenter ” deneicer1″ won the Sierra Mist giveaway.

Amy and I agreed the Holiday Appletinis were right up our alley.

If you could email me your mailing address / contact info I’ll get it into the proper hands.

Congrats!

2011 the Home-Ec 101 Retrospective

Heather says:

Every year I try to do a look back over what’s happened with the site in the past 12 months and just about a year ago I said:

“If 2011 is half as fun or productive, it shall go down as a win.”

Before I even bring out the numbers, let’s make it official: Total win, hands down, amazing year.

And here are the numbers, as accurate as I can share anyhow:

  • 300 new posts which brings the total to just shy of 1900 posts.
  • 1,070k+ visits. Do you see that? Over 1 million people have seen Home-Ec 101 in 2011. This blows my mind
  • 1,778k+ pageviews Another crazy number.

That’s right around 139% growth. (And unlike most reports, I’m sharing the numbers so you have a concept of scale, but that’s a soapbox I won’t climb on right now)

So on numbers alone 2011 was better than I dared hope.

Events related to Home-Ec 101 and blogging in general:

Home-Ec 101 Skills for Everyday Living came out in late March and then, in November, on one of my best days ever, I was notified that Amazon listed it as one on Home & Garden’s Best of 2011.

In 2011 I spoke in Charleston, Myrtle Beach, NYC, LA, Nashville, Miami (ok it was Palm Beach Gardens), Atlanta, and Asheville. Many, many thanks go to Aliza Sherman and Danielle Smith for including me in part of their MOM, Incorporated book tour, they are both amazing role models and I appreciate their friendship. To those of you who knew me way back when, in college and *gasp* high school, yeah, I’m just as surprised as you.  Topics ranged from blogging how-tos and advice to how life skills are a tool for empowerment.

Ready for the 2011 rundown of the best of Home-Ec 101? (I have altered some of the titles as on a blog, it’s always a work in progress)

January:

A reader wrote in to say: I Am Overwhelmed

Bran shared his Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts

February:

How to Cook with Chicken Thighs

and A Lesson in Using Stainless Steel Cookware

March:

This month we learned that bleach spots can appear from a wide variety of sources in What Causes Bleach Spots

We also talked about Emergency Preparedness after the Japanese Quake

and we can’t forget this recipe for Country Fried Steak

April:

How to Deal with Mildew in a Front Loading Washer

oh and Shrimp Quesadillas? YUM!

May:

Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches *drool* I’ve been craving these lately and to go with that Bobbie shared her Blue Cheese Dressing, which is a perfect accompaniment.

How to Remove Gum from the Dryer

and Vera began contributing posts with How to be a Fabulous Knitter / Crocheter – Introduction

June:

I was apparently on a big grilling kick:

July:

I got to do my first cooking event with Cooking With the Troops and my life would never be the same.

Chipotle Mayonnaise (I really should have eaten before writing this post)

August:

A reader wrote in to say she was Feeling Desperate (and for those who didn’t see the updates, she is doing much better, hurray for happy endings!)

How to Soak Clothes with a Front Loading Washer

September:

How to Scrub a Tile Floor (why can’t I remember writing this, I obviously did) and How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink, Naturally

October:

I also had the very fun opportunity to travel to Chicago and attend Butterball’s Turkey University.

Can I Substitute Chicken for Fish in a Recipe (yep)

Chicken Gumbo

November:

I had an amazing opportunity to visit NYC with CWtT and be part of the NASDAQ Veteran’s Day Event.  (I’m sure some of you are more than tired of hearing me talk about it)

Bobbie shared her recipe for Homemade Substitute for Condensed Cream of Something Soup

And can I just say Shrimp and Andouille Sausage Cornbread Dressing?

And that brings us to December:

A reader felt she was Taken for Granted and wanted advice on getting teens to help around the house.

I also decided to have a little fun and dust off the Sunday Confessional.

And as we head into the new year, why not make a pot of Sue Polinsky’s No Tomato Chili, you won’t regret it.

Thank you all for being a part of Home-Ec 101 in 2011. Thank you for your emails, phone calls, and random texts of support and encouragement. I cannot wait to see what is in store for 2012. Hang on, I think it’s going to be fun!

Happy New Year to all of you!

Quick Off-Topic Break for a Major Milestone Brag

Heather says:

Earlier this week Home-Ec 101 hit a major traffic milestone. Over 1 million unique users visited this site in the past 12 months. (In about a week, I’ll be able to say over a million in 2011).

That, my friends, is a lot of people (there are only 10k in my town).

Want to put it into perspective? That’s getting close to the population of Dallas, TX. You’ve heard of Dallas, right? It’s only the 9th largest city in the US.

I have an analytics addiction. Google Analytics recently released their Real-Time feature and my productivity has plummeted. As I write this, I can see there are between 20 and 25 of you on this site (no, I can’t see who you are, but you might want to put on some pants, Lexington, VA). I’m kidding all I can see are general locations and what brought you to the site -“how to freeze waffles” seems pretty hot this morning.

So if you’ve recently started checking out Home-Ec 101, I can see what brought you hear the first time. What I’d love to know is, what brought you back?