Home-Ec101 is turning 10 and it’s about to get personal. If you don’t want to know the back story, we’ll see you next week.
We could just talk about the numbers, more than 16 million people have visited and read more than 30 million pages of this site. I can no longer wrap my head around this. That’s like almost everyone in Mumbai or 3/4 of Mexico City stopping by to say hey.
We could talk about the most popular posts, but does that matter to you?
For me, the important thing has been the journey. (And thank goodness my photography improved along the way.)
Flashing back to 2007, I was working part time for the local newspaper covering the local blog community. Every couple of weeks I had to say, hey, are you going to pay me? Twitter was barely on the radar and Facebook was just for college kids looking to hook-up. My long-time internet friend Ivy and I decided that, hey, we should start a website. What should we write about? I don’t know, we’re both decently educated and are always looking up things how to do things around the house, what if we learned that stuff and explained it in the way we’d like to hear it? And the rest, as they say, is history.
Except it isn’t history when you’re in it every single day; it’s just life.
In 2007, I was pregnant with my youngest child and naively trying to make my life work according to someone else’s standards. (Pro-Tip: That doesn’t work long-term) I was attending a church that may have been a good fit for some but was absolutely poisonous to me. I just didn’t recognize it at the time.
In 2010, Ivy stopped writing for this site and I took it solo.
In 2011 I finally realized the feeling eating away at me wasn’t homesickness. I’d moved home 7 years ago. It was loneliness. It’s funny—not ha ha funny—when you’re constantly busy taking care of everyone else, you can forget how to assess how things are for you. That’s not healthy. That’s not safe.
In 2011, the book Home-Ec101 Skills for Everyday Living came out. The advice was good enough, according to my publisher, to be worthy of publication. Thank goodness I stuck mostly to the how to cook and clean sort and only felt mildly—OK wildly— hypocritical as my personal life dissolved around me.
2012 – 2013 was a hell of a time. I began my current career, there was therapy, and then I asked for a divorce. Shortly thereafter my step-sister died of an overdose. I moved out, began to build a new life and a few weeks later, my baby sister was killed by her husband, and I kind of had a meltdown.
I disappointed a lot of people in a lot of ways.
Slowly I came out of the dark; it wasn’t all at once and it wasn’t easy. Somewhere in there, I met Ray and began the dance of dating with kids. I bought a house that had been abandoned for years and slowly began renovating it, room by room. It’s still not done, but it’s coming along, a lot like me.
Ray proposed in November of 2015 and I surprised him with a small wedding just this Christmas. I know that sounds absurd, but I was pretty confident he’d be happy. You’d think I knew the guy or something. We’re navigating the life of a large, blended family. The other parents of our children have a large impact on our day to day.
And all along, I’ve been writing, mostly regularly, for this site. I know the tone has changed. People change and their websites often come along for the ride. I’ll keep answering questions sent in, but I’ve gained perspective. Some things are worth a lot of effort, making sure you and your family are healthy and happy come well before freaking out over a stain that won’t come out.
Reaching out to those around us who may need help, offering a meal, babysitting, doing a load of laundry matters. Reaching out when we need help matters more. I want, when someone searches about being overwhelmed for them to find a place and a community that understands that being a grown-up is hard. In the last ten years the language has changed, now we jokingly call it adulting. I just bought a refrigerator and I still don’t feel like I know what I’m doing. We’re all in the same boat, I research and hope for the best.
I just finished the first Home-Ec101 ebook. I don’t think I’ll ever go the traditional publishing route again, even if they still cut me a small check twice a year. This is available for $3.99. It’s 20 tried and true recipes. That’s the price of a latte. If you don’t want to pay for it, the recipes are on the site, you can find them with that handy-dandy search bar at the top of the site. If you do, thank you.
Back when I first started Home-Ec101 the idea of earning money for writing a blog was hotly debated. I came to peace with it a while ago. The time and money I put into researching, photographing, writing, and hosting this site are an investment that costs money and time that I could spend with my family. You search Google for how to fix your garbage disposal, see an ad, solve your problem, we all win.
I know a few of you have been around since the very beginning and I am grateful that you keep coming by to see how things are going. Ivy and I are still friends; she’s doing well. My stepdaughter—she’ll always be family— is an amazing young woman, attending college in Utah after spending two years on a mission in Spain. The kids are getting bigger, smarter, and more snarky every day. The curse of may you have a child just like you is coming full circle.
Life is happening and this site is a huge part of who I was and who I am. I’m healthier and we’re all happier.
It’s been ten years and a hell of a ride; thank you for sticking around.