Real Life, Keeping It Real, Kids Growing up, and A Few Thoughts On the Changing Blog World

Today I am changing it up a little bit and am sharing a few things that have been on my mind and heart lately. This post has actually been swirling around in my mind for weeks and I finally decided it was time to sit down and make it happen. It is a totally random keeping it real, what I have been thinking, type of post.

kids in pond

This is a picture of my kids early is my blogging years. I started this site in 2008 and I believe this picture was taken sometime during the summer of 2008.

They are all now teenagers.

My oldest daughter is driving a car, working part time, and is taller than I am. My second daughter has become quite the baker and is often taking over the kitchen to work on something. My son just turned 13 and is quickly approaching 6 feet tall. And none of them really like me sharing pictures of them now, so you will have to just imagine a new recent picture here.

But oh how they have changed. It makes me kind of sad and kind of happy at the same time. The teen years do that to you don’t they?

3kids

Part of me longs for the simpler times of when they were younger, but part of me is excited to see what they are becoming and what God has planned for their lives.

And that all leads me to some of what has been on my mind.

When I started this site it was totally a hobby. It was something I did in my spare time and it was fun. What it has become is far more than I every imagined it could be.

I have learned so much. Shared so much. And formed friendships with readers and bloggers that I am so grateful for. The amount of online friends that have become in real life friends continues to amaze me.

I am truly thankful for this little spot on the online world that I have.

The online world has changed so much though since I started blogging in 2008. And right now all those changes are what I am struggling with.

When I started blogging no one really had Facebook pages to manage. Yes, there was Facebook, but it was not what social media presence it is today. And although Pinterest and Instagram both have a huge presence in the online world now, they were not even created back in 2008.

And do you know what? I kind of miss life before Facebook pages, Pinterest, and Instagram. Yes, yes I do.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love some of what these things have done. I love interacting with my readers on my Facebook page. I love sharing a look at my everyday life on Instagram. And I totally love much of the DIY lifestyle that Pinterest has created.

But life with all those things has become noisy and for a blogger it has made what we do a lot more time consuming. Keeping up with all that social media can be a job, or two, in and of itself.

And can we talk about how Pinterest has changed pictures for a minute.

three cheese beef enchiladas

This is the photo I used for my Three Cheese Enchilada recipe back in 2008. I cringe at the photo. Really I almost did not put it in this post today. It is that bad of a photo. But the reality is that it is what dinner looks like most nights at my house and probably yours too.

I took that picture quickly as I was serving my family dinner. I then quickly wrote a post about what I made and shared it with my readers.

There was no fancy lighting. No photo editing. No props. Nothing. It was literally a picture of the food on one of our plates right before we ate it. And yet readers loved it. Quite a few of you tried that recipe and really enjoyed it.

Long gone are the days of being able to do that. Readers now expect more than that.

Beef Enchilada Rice Casserole-

This is a picture I shared recently for Beef Enchilada Rice Casserole. Now I will totally admit that the picture is far from perfect. It does not even begin to compare to many you see on some sites and on Pinterest, but it still did take a whole lot more work and thought than the enchilada recipe I shared back in 2008.

The reality of that recent picture is that I was worried about props, lighting, and getting the right angle, while my entire family was waiting behind me, begging me to be done, so that they could just sit down and eat dinner.

They did not really care if I got a good photo or not, they wanted dinner. And in the end I gave up on getting the perfect picture and let them eat dinner. Because the reality is my family has to come before a Pinterest perfect picture. And that is where I am struggling right now.

That balance between keeping up with this site and all it takes to make it work in the online world and keeping up with my family and what it takes to do what I need to do for them. That is what I am struggling with.

It was easy when I felt like I could just quickly snap a picture of dinner or dessert just before we ate it. It was much easier before the days of Pinterest and magazine perfect photos. Before all kinds of props, fancy photo editing, and special lighting.

I totally get why those things are important. I see why they make better photos. I see why that is what everyone loves to see. I see from a business perspective why everyone takes time do that. I really do get it.

What I am struggling with is fitting my life into that edited picture perfect online world. And honestly I am not sure I want to fit into it because my life is far from picture perfect.

I have always wanted this site to truly be a look into my life in the kitchen. I want it to be what I am cooking and fixing my family. The tips I use and how I balance a busy life and serving my family home cooked meals. That is what I want this site to be, not a perfect, edited, unrealistic view of my kitchen life.

Dinner at my house is not always, in fact it is almost never, beautiful perfectly-plated food. More often than not it is quickly served buffet style, as we struggle to all come together in the midst of a busy day for a family meal where we can share and connect. And if I had to guess that is the reality of dinner at most of your houses as well.

It is far from perfect, but those are the kind of meals that make family important and those are the kinds of meals I want to encourage you to make. The kind of meals where the food is less than perfect, but the moments and memories that are created are perfect because they will last a lifetime.

Yeast Raised Pancakes

Besides feeling all that, after so many years of blogging, there are a lot of behind the scenes things, the tech stuff that readers never see, but that are necessary to keep this website going, that I am so behind on. I have to figure out how to catch up.

I am also trying really hard to take weekends off. Our schedules have gotten a bit crazier as the kids have grown and I just need the weekends to be family only time. This means more planning and scheduling ahead when it comes to posts and social media.

And as our schedules get busier and my focus is a little different, it means that I am not trying as many new recipes and new things. Yes, I am still cooking and serving home cooked meals and recipes, hello feeding three teens, but I find myself relying on old favorites instead of developing new ones.

So if you made it through all my rambling and are still reading this post, you are probably wondering what the point of this post and all this rambling means and why I bothered to share it.

It all means that I right now I am struggling to find the balance between real life and online life. And it means that I am struggling to keep up with what it takes to make it in the online world now, while staying true to the picture of my everyday kitchen life that I want this site to be.

As all too often in life in general, it is all about the struggle to find the balance. The figuring out how to make it all work. And I felt I needed to share that struggle with all of you. I thought many of you would understand.

I do want to make clear that I am not going anywhere. I love this site and the little place on the online world that I have. I am not anywhere near ready to give that up. I am not going anywhere.

What it does mean though is that you may see less of me as I try to balance it all.

You may see a few less new recipes and more simple Ask the Readers, kitchen tips, or Everyday Adventures type posts.

It may also mean that my weekly menu plan and gluten free menu plan look very similar each week because I am relying on tried and true favorites that don’t take much thought or energy to make.

If I go a few days without posting it means that I am working behind the scenes to catch up or I am focusing on family, friends, and real life for a few days. And if I know my readers like I think I do, I think you all will understand exactly why I am doing that.

I can’t leave this post without a giant thank you to all of you! You help make this site what it is. Many of you have been reading for years and others of you have just found my site, but I am thankful for each and everyone of you that come back day after day to read about my adventures in the kitchen. THANK YOU!!

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures

Comments

  1. Love your honesty and realness! I will always look forward to your new recipes and tips no matter how often they come. I pray that you find your balance!

  2. As one of those people that met you through blogging, I just want to say how thankful I am for you! My life is richer because of you. Thanks for being honest and keeping it real. Love you!

  3. i’m not a fan of social media. i don’t facebook, tweet, or instagram. i just don’t understand how so many people have so much to say to so many other people. i have a tiny pinterest board but don’t really look at others. instead of being glued to a device in their hands more people should sit around a table eating, laughing, thinking, and sharing. best of luck with your struggle.

    • Thank you. Social media really has changed so much about life. You are right we all need to step back more and live real life because real life and those relationships are what it is all about.

  4. SarahGrace says:

    I’m glad you aren’t going anywhere! I am also a firm believer in that you need to live life real, not online. That means when you want time off, take time off! I imagine there are a lot of people like me that will be here when you get back. We’ll go live our life and we’ll be back to check in on what’s new. I’m not a Pinterest or Instagram type gal. I either click on your blog because I’m looking to try a new recipe or because I see a new post via FB or email. If you took email and FB away, I’d still come looking and reading. So tone down what makes you frantic and be assured that people will still read you.
    As for the pictures….I honestly don’t expect magazine quality. The meals I put on my table are just basic meals. I usually have about 30 minutes during a weekday to get the main meal going. I use the crockpot a lot. Weekends I spend a little more time, but not magazine worthy! Please, take pictures as is. No need to spruce up for me! If you do, you may make me feel bad that mine doesn’t look as pretty! :) Just kidding. I’ve got more things to dwell upon than whether my wholesome food looks as pretty as the next persons. I’ve found that those that have the time to spruce up don’t have as much going on as I do. I’m happy for them for that and one day I’ll have more time. However, for me right now is spent homeschooling, rearing children, raising some farm animals, and lots of dance classes for the girls. So please post a picture as is so that I know that I’ve at least come close to what it should look like. Don’t worry about taking so much time to stage. Go be with your children. You’ve only got a short time left with them in the house full time.
    Thank you so much for all that you’ve shared here. I look forward to more to come Blessings to you and yours!

    • Thank you! I really appreciate it. I still plan to post at least a few times a week, I just need to tweak and figure out a new schedule that works. And as far as pictures you will probably get a mix of both. If I have time I will take it to get good pictures, but if I don’t I am going to try not stress about it and just post it as it. And I appreciate my readers like you understanding that. Thank you!

  5. You should cherish those teens! The Internet is definitely not what it used to be. I’m finding myself drawn more and more to the simple old school blogs. I gain so much more from people that I believe are in the trenches like me. The big fancy blogs make me wonder if they are really living this life or having a team of assistants create the life I’m supposed to live.

    • Thank you. I have had the conversation with several lately about missing old school type blogs. I think many of us are feeling a bit this way. Thanks for understanding.

  6. Twyla St Louis says:

    Love the post and I really love your priorities! Take care of your relationship with God first, then family and then others and you will keep a good balance. Don’t let the pressure to keep up derail your priorities. Love your blog.

  7. I really think life is getting more complicated in every aspect. Nothing is simple any more. And I miss simple. I applaud your commitment to keeping your priorities in line. As someone whose children are all adults now (I have 5 and my youngest will be 21 in April), I can tell you that you will never regret putting God first and your family right after that. I love your blog and I’ve always appreciated that fact that you cook “normal” family food. We eat gluten free as well and when I learn of new friends or family members who are new to gluten free and wondering what they can feed their family, you are the first blog I direct them to. Thank you so much for all you do and I will keep coming back for the old stuff, and enjoy the new things you post, even if it is much more infrequent. God bless you!

    • Thank you. I think many of us are longing for the simple again. I am so glad that you enjoy my gluten free recipes. One of the things I love doing here, and why I can’t give it up, is sharing how gluten free can be easy and delicious. So, thank you for recommending my site to others that need to eat gluten free. I really appreciate it.

  8. I absolutely love this blog, and I’m really glad you aren’t leaving!!!!!!!!!!! I personally want real life, my life is far from perfect of fairytale. The blogs that seem perfect { cleaning, recipes, homeschooling, and food pictures} make me wonder how do they do it all and I can’t. I love when bloggers show how real life is!! Kudos to you because no one can do it all, I just really like down to earth and simple.

  9. Kristine says:

    Lynn, I love how real your blog is. Some others that I read occasionally don’t seem as sincere to me, so I keep coming back to yours. My meals are hardly ever picture-perfect, just home-cooked from scratch, with minimal processed foods. Often I serve them straight out of the slow cooker, so nothing fancy. Also, my husband has been suffering from some chronic health problems, and we’ve experimented with many different dietary changes during the past year. Although gluten turned out not to be an issue for him, we tried a gluten-free diet for a couple of months, and your recipes were very helpful for that.

    My kids are all teenagers now, too, and I can relate to what you are saying about being happy and sad at the same time as they grow up.

  10. I love your site and the way you do things. You may think your less than Pinterest-worthy photos shouldn’t be posted. But let me say, you are real. And that’s what I love. When I try new recipes, let me just tell you they never look like those fancy Schmancy pictures. But it’s good. And does my family gather round the dinner table? You bet! I make a killer carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. But a cake decorator I’m not. I warn my guests, if you want a pretty cake, go elsewhere. If you want a great cake, grab a plate!

    The season you are in is busy. Savor it. We’ll understand!

  11. Beautiful post! I love the way you describe family meals and memories. Those are the lasting “pictures” that really matter.

  12. Thank you for not going anywhere!. I came across your blog because of being cooking gluten free for my family. But I have loved your real, simple photos and food. So, thank you for continuing to be true to yourself and your family. That is the most important. And thank you for not getting swallowed up in the internet world of pressures.

  13. I think all of us who work and balance family, or just generally are pulled in multiple directions by commitments can appreciate your struggle. At some point hard choices have to be made – I work but I say no to opportunities that may help my career but would impact my family. I refer to it as leaning back vs the popular call to arms of Lean In last year. My family is a priority and will remain so. Your site is wonderful and you’ve built an audience. Scaling back may not build your site in leaps and bounds, but spending weekends with your family seems like a bigger win. I personally hope we see people turn away from all this social media and constant cell phone use. Used to be if you got a text or phone call it was important – now people are constantly looking at their screens because we can’t differentiate. I refuse to get a smart phone – as nice as it would be to get school sports updates instantly on a busy night, I just don’t want further ties to a device that steals my time a little here and there and distracts me from connecting with my kids or other moms and dads at practices and events. I will enjoy your site and your real meals and pictures as long as you continue, but respect your time and priorities less frequent posts, less new recipes and more frequent highlights from a past favorite are welcomed! And real pictures? Bring it on – you will make those of us who can’t reproduce a perfectly plated meal feel much better about our own attempts!!

  14. i love this post and could echo what everyone has said. every recipe i’ve tried of yours we have loved and my husband asks for some of them by name (chile relleno casserole being a major favorite). i totally relate with you on the unedited reality vs what blogging has become…and i have to say that your blog and similar ones like it are my favorites instead of the picture perfect, social media all day everyday sort of blogs. those just feel fake, even if they have pretty pictures. do what seems realistic for you and your family, i think all that other stuff with the perfectly marketed blogs won’t be sustainable forever anyways.

    • Thanks. I appreciate it. Blogging has changed a lot in the last few years and I am glad I am not the only blogger feeling it. And I am glad your husband enjoys the chile relleno casserole. It is a favorite for my family and many readers!

  15. I thank you for your honesty and keeping it real, in a world that thinks perfectionism is the only way to go. I am actually someone who benefits from your site even though I am a vegetarian. I find so many useful cooking and baking tips and you were the one that got me started on the whole baked oatmeal idea. So I say good for you for keeping it real, and I hope you can find the balance you so deserve in your life with your family. Children grow up so fast, and I think it is important to remember that they will soon be out of the house, in college, or whatever, pursuing their dreams. My daughter is graduating college soon, and I was one of those lucky enough to watch her grow up and be a full time homemaker, being present for quality and quantity time with her. Speaking from experience, you will never reqret the time you had with them, only the time you did not have with them! Thanks again for keeping it real and saying what is in your heart…

  16. Lynn, just wanted to chime in and agree with others. Children are grown and gone way too fast. I’m still trying to adjust to cooking for 2 (and most of the time we have lots of leftovers which isn’t bad) but I would rather be serving my “less than perfect picture” meals to a table full! :) I enjoy your blog, love reading about your family. I was born and raised in Oregon too.
    I don’t do any of the social media, can’t be bothered with that. I cook mostly from scratch, using recipes from old cookbooks, making do with what’s in the pantry, canning year round so I know what’s in the food I serve.
    So, when you have time, I’ll be here reading but put your family first!! :)
    Teri

  17. sondra spencer says:

    I am just amazed that anyone can live life and produce a blog also! I have tried to blog since 2009 and have less than 100 posts! I do enjoy others hard work blogging and appreciate real blogs with real people and real food recipes, crafts, etc. I love your tried and true recipes and also the information about cooking and such that you write about.. Thanks! If you only blogged once a week, I would still check in for that!

  18. I also agree with the others. I enjoy your blog and don’t know how you do it all! Family is first, and you need to do what you need to for them first. I love reading your new recipes, as well as the tried and true ones and have tried some myself and enjoyed them. I will be watching for your posts as you do them, and will enjoy them, but you do need to keep your family first!

  19. Phew, I am glad you aren’t going anywhere! I totally understand everything you said and I don’t have a blog. I am trying to make real food for my family and most of the time I recycle tried and true recipes. I often come to your site for some of those tried and true recipes. You were the first person I ever saw make baked oatmeal and now I love oatmeal because of that. I love your muffin recipes and yours is the only pudding I have ever made and it works every time. I can spend hours searching the internet for “new” ideas and I won’t go near Pinterest unless I have too because there just isn’t enough time in my day, I am on the computer way too much as it is. So while all the bloggers like you, have a lot of work to do, there is now a lot more information for those who like to learn and we also have to learn to strike a balance and not neglect our families. Keep up the good work.

  20. Jodi Pavlik says:

    I love your blog! I love your recipes too! Many of us, like you, are also doing the balancing act so we completely understand. Honestly, I don’t care what the pictures look like as long as the recipe is easy to follow and my family will eat it (which they always do with yours)! Keep up the great work, I understand the struggle!

  21. Kim Barrios says:

    I just had to say how much I appreciate your blog. I have always struggled with meal planning, and your weekly meal plans have changed the way I think about it. I have picked up several new family favorites from you that are on a frequent rotation through my kitchen. That in and of itself is a HUGE help.
    I gave up Facebook for Lent for the same reasons you are needing to step back. Life is too short to spend it with our faces in these glowing screens.

    • Thanks. I am so glad that you enjoy my menu plans. Those are not going anywhere. They are one of my favorite features that I do. I love to share how much menu planning makes life in the kitchen easier and how they save money. So even on really crazy weeks, I plan to keep sharing those.

  22. Lynn, I love this post. I just posted one the other day about breaking up with FB. I also started my blog in 2008. I have been reading back through my first posts and you are so right about FB & Pinterest & Instagram. And I’m with you on trying to find the balance. I’m really looking forward to more blogging and less FB, myself. I’ve come to your blog often over the years and will continue to do so, as long as it’s here, no matter how much or little you are posting. My family & I have definitely appreciated your fantastic recipes!

  23. Shirlene says:

    Keeping it real is what we all need to do. God will use you to bless other’s just as he did when you first started all this. Thank you for all that you have done to keep us reading. God bless you and your family for allowing us into your life via the internet. I have to admit there are only a handful of blogs that I keep up with but yours is the one I read the most from start to finish because it is so real.
    ENJOY your family time that is the most important job you have before you. I know there will be many of us waiting for a post when you have time to share.
    Pictures need to be real life in my opinion. I think that is one of the reason’s I chose this site.

  24. Your recipies are so good, so simple and so doable for “real” people. Thanks for blogging amid your real life. And thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  25. This post really spoke to me. I decided a few months ago to blog less frequently and spend less time on photos. Soon, I’ll be invisible online. Not necessarily a bad thing . . .

  26. I honestly don’t know how bloggers can blog, raise kids (and home school them like you are) and have a somewhat normal life! I appreciate all your honesty and really enjoy your blog. I’m glad you’re not leaving but I certainly don’t expect posts on a regular basis or “perfect” pictures. I have found so many great recipes here and also appreciate all the GF recipes since my husband because GF about a year ago.

    Please enjoy your kids while they are still at home and don’t worry about the rest of us too much!

  27. Pinterest is a tough one because it is all about the photo shoot for marketing. But, I know which recipes are tried and true…yours. I use Pinterest for photo perfect ideas only. If people want to waste ingredients on average tasting sweets that looks great, sure we can go the Pinterest route. But, your attention to details in making your cakes and baked goods taste amazing and like the real thing is a true gift. It’s your taste buds that God gifted you that makes you so very special. Only top chefs have this gift. So, please don’t ever take that for granted. At the same time, God may call us to new seasons in life at anytime. Kids need their moms and grow up so fast. So, perfectly understandable.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words! It was a great way to start my Monday blog work. :-) I really appreciate it. I am not going anywhere, just figuring out how to rework my schedule a bit. The comments on this post have been great. I am so glad that I have readers that understand. So thank you for reading and for understanding!

  28. I appreciate that you shared your heart and frustrations with us. I think it is sad how there is so much pressure for bloggers to have Pinterest perfect pictures. I gravitate towards blogs (like yours) where the food looks like something that everyday people make and eat. Thank you for all the work you do so that we can enjoy your recipes. Take time to enjoy your family and life. I have no idea what it takes behind the scenes to make a blog work but I think most of your readers have no problem with less posts or seeing normal pictures of your recipes :) Take care!

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