Taking Stock, Six Years, Two Months of Home Ec 101 Awesome

Heather says:

So. . . hi.

Did you know that Home Ec 101 has been around for more than 6 years?

I had a plan for this post, but it’s taken off on its own tangent, but I felt it was time to share, and I’m just going to hit publish and see what happens.

I have been  in a weird  limbo like place for a while. Earlier this spring, I was working like a crazy person over at my FeedBlitz day job and continually falling behind there and here. I missed the anniversary and that has been bothering me, so as part of this overly-long, navel-gazey look at Home Ec 101, which is bigger than me, but it’s part of my story. To understand, I need to at least talk a little about the last 8 months or so.

Just last fall I was doing everything here and working as a server in a pub. I loved that job, it gave me adult time, something I desperately needed, but it also was serving as an escape from my life. One in which I found myself working 60 – 70 hour weeks to avoid. (Not all at the pub, here, and other projects)

And then, I fell asleep at the wheel.

This is not a euphemism, I literally fell asleep at the wheel.

Less than three blocks from home, I went into a ditch. I remembered thinking at the previous stoplight, you should really get out of the car and walk around. And I told myself it was just five more minutes, I could do it.

I overestimated my abilities. And I got very, very lucky. I was stiff and sore for a while, but no one was hurt and other than a couple of ruts there was no property damage to anything other than my car, and we have insurance for a reason, because sometimes things happen.

I began to reassess. Some things had to give for a while and Home Ec 101 was put on the back burner. I knew I couldn’t do it all and I love my job at FeedBlitz and I knew, with time and some life changes that I’d be able to come back and HE101 itself  could idle for a  while and when I was ready, many of you would, still be here.

In January I quit my job at the pub when I no longer had a full-time sitter. That was really hard to take, it wasn’t about the money and despite already knowing I couldn’t continue on that trajectory. I guess, I just wanted to do it on my terms. (That’s something I’ve been working on, too) I was truly reluctant to give up my contact with people outside of computers and occasional travel, but I didn’t know why. I do now, I was lonely. Yes, introverts get lonely, too. We just sometimes don’t know what to do about it.

Earlier this month, things were crazy busy at FeedBlitz and I had a long talk with my boss -probably should have had it sooner- but that’s something I’m trying to get myself to accept you can’t change the past. So let’s get it together, assess where we are and move on. We looked at the situation and I was able to hire help at my FeedBlitz job and on Tuesday I have another victim, I mean minion, er assistant? (I’m going to start getting a wee bit cocky if this continues.)

So where are we? Well, I admitted last Sunday that I’ve been in therapy for the anxiety I deal with and despite some setbacks related to last week’s post, I really am doing much better. I sat down this morning to look at the Home Ec 101 numbers and to make a plan for the coming year.

Home Ec 101 officially launched March 1 of 2007, but I didn’t start collecting meaningful data on the site until April 1.

Since April 2007 – 5.4 million people have visited. What does that mean? Well it’s pretty close to, according to Wikipedia anyway, having everyone from: Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia stop by and take a peek.

Interesting side note, I’ve been in all 3 of those cities’ airports multiple times since starting this site, because of this site.

These 5.4 million people have looked at 7.7 million pages. That’s a lot of bandwidth, folks. I started out hosting this site on a shared server on DreamHost, I want to say in 2009 I moved to what’s called a Virtual Private Server, and back in January, I had to suck it up and move to something more robust over at RackSpace because we were bigger than that VPS could handle. Traffic has fallen since then, but that’s my fault, see above about back burnering. I’m on a mission, starting today, to reverse that trend.

What do people look at most on Home Ec 101? It’s the weekly chore schedule. Hands down.

Next comes a look at what to do with your musty, mildewy, funky towels. See, you aren’t alone. I’m also rather mortified that that many people have seen my goofy bacteria illustration.

Finally we get to the most viewed recipe on the site. Long time readers will know without even having to think about it, yes, no surprise there, it’s the classic Tomato Pie, baby, yeah.

The numbers here at Home Ec 101 are not the kind of viral explosions that get talked about as being overnight successes. These numbers are the kind of slow, steady growth that came from the offshoot of what began as a venting session between Ivy and myself. We wanted a website for the things we needed to know, in voices we liked.  Two weeks later we had a domain name, a concept, and a handful of posts.

Six years, 2073 posts, and one book later. Wow.

I’m just going to sit here for a moment and be proud of that and yes, you should know, there’s still a ton of Home-Ec101.com to come.

Thank you.


  1. Sarah R. on June 3, 2013 at 11:21 am

    Happy to hear your site will continue! I recommend your site a lot as I consider you and FlyLady the absolute masters of this whole Homemaking thing. Congrats on 6 years! Here’s to 6 more!

  2. Rebecca on May 31, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    I am so glad that I found you and HomeEc 101. Even though I have been a homemaker for 30 years I learn something from your site everytime I read it! I pass on your recipes and cleaning ideas and other goodies to my girls and daughter in law. Thank you for such great information.

  3. Mia on May 30, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    Actually anxiety could be fixed rather easy.. you can check here to see more on how to. This site also gives a detailed account all about anxiety and panic disorders do i have anxiety

  4. Mia on May 30, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    Actually anxiety could be fixed rather easy.. you can check here to see more on how to. This site also gives a detailed account all about anxiety and panic disorders do i have anxiety

  5. Paisano on May 29, 2013 at 9:08 am

    Congratulations on 6 years which in tech time is like dog years! That’s longer than we’ve been doing Dadomatic.com!
    I’m glad you weren’t hurt in your accident which was literally a wake-up call. I was also happy you made the changes you did regarding the pub job and making more time for yourself. Great move by Phillip giving you some assistance. I loved your book even though I’m a dude, I found a lot of great tips in it because I do a lot of house work. Oh and I thoroughly enjoyed your pithy snarky sense of humor throughout the book. Here’s hoping to many more great things for HEC101, SpinPicks and all of the other great things you will do.

  6. Anna on May 28, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    I’m very appreciative of Home-Ec 101, as well. I’m also from a hoarder home. I’ve been working at it slowly but surely through my child-rearing years, and now that they’re older, I am gaining steam. Sometimes just the posts were encouraging enough to tackle whatever was most troublesome. And you’ve taken a question or two from me over the years, too.

    As for the accidents and the anxiety, I empathize far too much. I ended up in an embarassing situation last week- ok, I got my wedding ring stuck and had to get it cut off- and I felt so bad about going to the jeweler with my husband, about paying to get it fixed, etc. I don’t want to pay to get it fixed, even, because it might be costly and it was all my fault, and… yeah.

  7. Cathie Sue Andersen on May 28, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    Well, dear, i just found you a few weeks ago. Wish i had noticed your blog earlier. I have sent a colleague you way for darning socks and now of course, i NEED to make tomato pie. Carry on. You are appreciated.

  8. kombi on May 28, 2013 at 8:19 am

    I second SoRefined’s kind thoughts, good wishes, and congratulations.

  9. Linda on May 27, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    Heather, so glad you are feeling better. I have learned so much from you.
    I appreciate all your hard work, teaching us things we didn’t learn at home!

    • Heather Solos on May 28, 2013 at 7:13 am

      Linda, a few wonderful things came out of the past year, one of them I need to visit and squeeze before he turns into a toddler. The rest of the year, meh, good riddance. Yes it was experience and yes there were things that needed to be done, but I spent a bit too much of it being resentful. I’m acknowledging that and trying to work on being happy where I am, even if I’m not sure where to start with that. The limbo period is nearly over and I’m ready 🙂
      I’ll be up near you a couple of times this summer. We should definitely plan a thing.

  10. Jenn on May 27, 2013 at 8:53 am

    Congratulations! I’ve loved this site for years and am so glad it’s around! I’m also glad you seem to be on a personal upswing. Thanks for all you do!

    • Heather Solos on May 28, 2013 at 7:09 am

      Thank you, Jenn. I am on an upswing. I got distracted rearranging deck chairs for a while, but my focus is where it belongs and I am actually looking forward to the future and I love that feeling.

  11. Shelly Kaufman-Young on May 27, 2013 at 8:30 am

    Hi Heather Congratulations on having a 5.5 million people view your site that is just awesome!!!! I love your site!

    I am grateful you felt you could share with us about your therapy for anxiety and your car crash and about getting an assistant. Thank you. I hope you really are okay from the car crash! Those are really wake up calls and thank goodness you listened. Bravo and kudos for you!!!

    Hang in there! Stay strong. You are on the right path! I am in the DC metro area. I’d love to meet you if you ever get to this neck of the woods.


    • Heather Solos on May 28, 2013 at 7:06 am

      Thank you, Shelly.

      I’ve been working on that whole shame thing. I was terrified someone would find out about that car accident, because it was my own fault.

      I really am okay. I went ten years between incidents and then had two back to back-ish. In February the kids and I were rear ended in a much worse accident. I briefly thought the car may be cursed. 😉 And Phil, yeah, the one who so nicely commented up there has been giving me, in that oh so polite-ish, dry British way, crap about driving. Hmph. I fully accept my responsibility for the first, but the second I was completely stopped waiting for someone else to turn. Not. My. Fault.

      Hiring Ashley over at FeedBlitz has been amazing. I knew I wanted to hire her when I still worked at the pub and was first thinking about needing someone at FB soon. I told my boss she’s me 11 years ago. Well not exactly, but close enough to where I was fairly certain I was making a good hire. I’m proud to have her on board.

      Some of you may recognize my next hire, but it’s not yet time to make the announcement of who, officially. 🙂 Soon though.

      And here, at Home Ec, Michelle has been great, she took the initiative to email me when I mentioned it offhandedly in the New Year’s post. So hurray!

      I fully believe that if you surround yourself with smart, driven, passionate people, that amazing things will happen. My local friends show me that all the time and I’m starting to be able to implement it in my professional life, too. Great things are on the horizon. 🙂

      • Heather Solos on May 28, 2013 at 7:07 am

        Dear Heather,
        Limit one emoticon per comment, even the lengthy ones. What’s wrong with you?

    • Heather Solos on May 28, 2013 at 7:14 am

      Oh and I may be up that way in a few weeks. However, I will have ALL of the minions with me. We’re going on an adventure. 🙂

  12. Judith on May 26, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    Congratulations………… and thank you so much for all you have done for us Home-Ec’ers! I’ve been reading your blog for a long time (yours and Ivy’s, I guess, to start ……) and I have enjoyed being part of a community of women who try to do the best they can in their homes, with their kids, on their jobs, and with their hubs and friends and communities.
    It’s my 60th birthday today, so I am no longer “in the trenches of mothering”, but I still am encouraged and enlightened by you, your blogging compatriots, and your readers.
    Thanks and blessings to you. Glad you are working on taking better care of yourself …. you are worth it!

    • Heather Solos on May 28, 2013 at 6:56 am

      Judith, Ivy is doing well, we just talked the other evening.

      Happy belated birthday.

      Thank you so much for being a part of the community. I think one of the best parts of Home Ec 101 is that it’s not just newbies with one leader. I love that the community steps in to answer when I don’t know or that they correct me (GENTLY and KINDLY, usually) when I make a mistake. I don’t know it all -even if I can sound like a know-it-all- and I definitely rely on people who have been there already for their advice.

  13. Ruth Easton on May 26, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    So good to hear you’re back on track. ‘Tis a lovely place to be, getting better. Thanks for providing a great book that always serves as a tie-breaker when my husband and I can’t decide who’s right about how to mop the floor. 🙂 Oh, and the chore chart. That rocks too.

    • Heather Solos on May 28, 2013 at 6:46 am

      Your words mean a lot, Ruth. I’m still always a little excited when I find out someone actually read it. 🙂

  14. Michele Newell on May 26, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    I second SoRefined’s kind thoughts, good wishes, and congratulations.

    Can I wax poetic for a second? (If not, skip to the TL;DR at the end.)

    I don’t talk about this often, but I grew up in a home that was a level 3 on the hoarding scale. Mold on dishes was a normal thing, pet messes would stay on the floor for weeks, and I routinely had to sidestep trash that was “eventually” going to be loaded in the car and recycled. My childhood environment led to a love for organization and cleanliness. There was one problem: I just didn’t get how to do it.

    Then, in 2007, I accidentally became a homemaker. I was depressed and overwhelmed when, like a shining beacon of awesomeness, Home Ec 101 entered my life and changed everything. After reading and learning from the posts and comments for several years, I accidentally (see a theme?) became a professional organizer specializing in chronic disorganization and–you guessed it–hoarding. Though I enjoyed my job, I often told my husband that I dreamed of quitting and writing for “something like Home Ec 101”. Heh.

    TL;DR: Home Ec 101 taught me everything my mom should have, but didn’t. 😉

    I can’t wait to see the Home Ec 101 community in 2017.

    • Angela England on May 27, 2013 at 10:28 pm

      What a great testimonial.

    • Heather Solos on May 28, 2013 at 6:45 am

      The fact that we can say 2017 and not be talking about a SF book or movie is a wee bit scary in and of itself. (Where’s my flying car, dang it?)

      That said, we have robot minions and self-driving cars are on the horizon. Who knows what the next four years hold? I do know that we’ll still have laundry and we’ll still be cooking -despite them having a concept for printing pizzas with a sort of 3-d printer maker bot kind of thing. So Home Ec 101 will still be a thing. I really do want to include stuff on the technology that makes our home lives easier. It’s just that whole stupid personal bandwidth thing.

      I’m so glad you’re here, Michelle. Thank you for your patience with me the last few months, it was rather a rough point to jump on board.

      • Michele Newell on May 29, 2013 at 1:09 pm

        Aw, Heather, it honestly feels (to me, at least) like I jumped on board at the ideal time. I’d be so sad to see you struggle with keeping up while dealing with important real life problems. I couldn’t be happier to help you out and give you a minute to just breathe. Don’t get me wrong; I love your writing, but after six years you deserve a little break! Plus, dude, my tips and recipes are totally on Home Ec 101!!!!!!!

        P.S. I’m pretty good at techy stuff. I worked as a freelance computer repairperson and “digital media specialist” (AKA Photoshop instructor) in college, so I can (usually) explain computer things in semi-layman’s terms. Maybe we should talk sometime when life isn’t being crazy at you?

  15. SoRefined on May 26, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    Heather, I am so glad to hear that you were not seriously hurt. My best thoughts are with you. Congrats on moving forward on your own terms.

    • Heather Solos on May 28, 2013 at 6:42 am

      Thank you. It’s been a long process with a lot of changes beneath the surface. However, those have to be made first if the visible ones are to last. So here’s to personal growth 🙂

  16. J. Grab on May 26, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Asserting and assessing for continuity are important, and obviously taking care of you is vital to that thriving HE101 we know and love. We are here and awaiting the next exciting chapter.

    • Heather Solos on May 28, 2013 at 6:40 am

      When I think about how much of this site is simply ones and zeroes made out of nothing, it’s kind of fascinating. I’m excited, too.

  17. Amy on May 26, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    The fact more people didn’t come for your tomato pie leaves me quite verklempt.
    And I’m glad you didn’t die; who would I haunt then?

    • Heather Solos on May 28, 2013 at 6:29 am

      Oh it’ll start picking back up soon. It’s nearly tomato season and now there’s Pinterest. I’m glad I didn’t die, too and remember how ashamed I was of it? I can be rather silly at times.

  18. Phil Hollows on May 26, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    Great post, Heather. I know that now you have things more under control at FeedBlitz, where I am profoundly grateful for the difference that you’re making, you’re going to have both more time and personal bandwidth for HE101 — and content at FeedBlitz too. Looking forward to seeing both endeavors thrive, thanks to you.

    Phil Hollows

    • Heather Solos on May 28, 2013 at 6:28 am

      Thank you, Phil. I’m very excited about the future.

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