Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Year in Review

As a blogger, you never know which posts will strike a chord with readers. Often, I've written something I thought was pure genius and it got very little interaction. Conversely, I have whipped out posts that I felt were barely mediocre and they have turned out to be some of my most popular ones.  It's always fun to look back on the year through the words of my blog, remember events and feelings, and see which posts were the most successful.

The Top Ten Posts According to the Numbers (i.e. the posts that received the most page views)
  1. White Chicken Chili - This one is actually my most viewed post EVER!
  2. Daily Blog Post Themes
  3. What Makes Me Laugh (This was my Tuesday Ten post on April Fool's Day!)
  4. If I Had a Million Dollars ( A Finish the Sentence Friday Post)
  5. Easy Stromboli
  6. Breathe In. Breathe Out.
  7. Advice For Young Moms From a Not So Young Anymore Mom (Another Tuesday Ten post. This one was also featured on Scary Mommy!!)
  8. Ten Superpowers I Would Like to Have (Tuesday Ten again!!)
  9. Hottest Christmas Toys of 2014
  10. 15 Crock Pot Soups
Although those got the most views, these are actually my favorites.
  1. I will agree with Breathe In. Breathe Out.
  2. I also agree with Advice For Young Moms From a Not So Young Anymore Mom.
  3. Little Words  (Profound advice from my middle daughter.)
  4. What Sports Taught Me About Motherhood
  5. What's In Your Purse (We revealed what was in our purses for Tuesday Ten and it was our best linkup to date!)
  6. Ten Parenting Skills I Would Like To Learn
  7. When Is Your Child Old Enough to Stay Home Alone (Loved doing the research for this one and it seemed to fill a gap - something that is not often written about.)
  8. What I Hope They Would Say (A tearjerker!)
  9. Beauty In the Broken (Some sage advice from my youngest.)
  10. The Rarity of the Perfect Game
Some additional highlights from 2014:
Coming up in 2015 . . . . 
  • The Tuesday Ten Linkup I cohost with Rabia will be 1 year old in January!!!! We have a great giveaway planned to celebrate!
  • I will also be hosting my first ever One Word Blog Challenge in January-February. I am pleased by the interest so far, nervous and hopeful that it will be successful, and super excited!!
  • I've been a little slack in posting my Sunday Suppers, but I'm planning to post them once a month in 2015. 
  • I will be submitting pieces for some new anthologies and hoping to be accepted for them! 
  • I will continue to submit to larger sites and hope to have success there as well.
I'm also sending a GIANT Thank You to my readers who made 2014 a great year for The Golden Spoons. I am so appreciative of your support and encouragement!

What would you like to see from me in 2015? I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Happy Holidays!

I'm taking a blog break for the holidays so I can spend time with my family. I'm also going to use the time to do some blog planning for 2015 and write some anthology submissions.

I hope all of you have a wonderful holiday and I'll see you right back here in January!!

**There is still plenty of time to join my One Word Blog Challenge to kick start your writing in 2015!! CLICK HERE for more information!

Monday, December 22, 2014

I'm on Scary Mommy!

I am very excited to have a post featured on Scary Mommy today and it would mean so much to me if you would head over there to read, comment, and/or share! Thanks so much!!!

Scary Mommy

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

10 Things on Every Blogger's Christmas List

Nine days. That's all. Nine days until Christmas. Have you finished your shopping? I haven't and I'm totally stressed about it. It's a crazy, busy week at work and I don't know when the rest of my shopping will get finished. It seems that, every year, there is more and more "stuff" out there yet, somehow, people get harder and harder to buy for. And, some people are nearly impossible to find gifts for. 

As we all make our way through our holiday shopping lists and spend most of our hard earned dollars and brain cells trying to find just the right gifts for others, we thought it would be fun to turn the tables and hear all about what YOU/WE want this Christmas. I decided to help you out just in case, like my hubby, you have a beloved blogger on your list! 

  1. Endless inspiration and vanquishing of any and all writer's block forever.
  2. A completely viral blog post (or 2 or 3!) that gets millions of views.
  3. Thousands upon thousands of social media followers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,  Pinterest, and Google+.
  4. For all of those said followers to actually see our Facebook posts and tweets.
  5. Tons of supportive comments and shares on every blog post.
  6. Time. Uninterrupted time to work on new posts, guest posts, and anthology submissions.
  7. A "YES!" from editors on all of those aforementioned submissions.
  8. A degree in graphic design so we can quickly and easily make lovely, Pinnable graphics for each and every blog post.
  9. Money. Cold, hard cash to pay for promotion, blog conferences, and writing courses.
  10. A long weekend getaway with all of our closest blogging friends!!!! 
A personal blogging wish is to have lots of bloggers join me for my ONE Word Blog Challenge in January!!! READ THIS for more information and to sign up!!!

Now, tell me - what's on YOUR Christmas list this year?

Your Tuesday Ten hostesses are:


The Teacher Wife
facebook pinterest
 If you would like a rundown of all the Tuesday Ten rules and regs, click HERE.

For the next two weeks, Tuesday Ten will be taking a vacation. We'll be back on January 6th sharing our New Year's resolutions and kicking off an exciting birthday giveaway!!!
Happy Holidays!

The Golden Spoons

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Vegetarian Crock Pot Potato Soup

Last month, I shared 15 Crock Pot Soups for Fall and Winter and I've been working to try all of them myself. However, my hubby is not a fan of soup as a meal and working them into my menu plan is tough. Last week, though, hubby was out of town for business and I needed a couple crock pot recipes, so I went to the list and decided to try the potato soup. After taking another look at the ingredients, I realized it would not work for my 12 year old vegetarian daughter because it called for chicken broth and cream of chicken soup. So, I scoured Pinterest and looked at several more potato soup recipes, but I just couldn't find quite the right one. So, I decided to create it myself!

I took components from a couple different recipes, made a few vegetarian substitutions and Voila!! It was delicious, if I do say so myself. In fact, my middle daughter proclaimed, "This tastes just like the potato soup at the restaurants, Mommy!" and then went back for seconds. It was so good, I decided I need to share it with all of you for this month's Sunday Supper. It would be the perfect meal on a cold winter evening! (Even if you aren't a vegetarian.)

Vegetarian Crock Pot Potato Soup

~1 bag (32 oz) Southern Style Hash Browns 
(They are cubed instead of shredded. I used Ore Ida)

~1 can condensed cheddar cheese soup

~1 box (32 oz.) Vegetable Broth
(Can use chicken broth if it doesn't have to be vegetarian)

~1 small onion, chopped

~salt and pepper

~1 block (8 oz) cream cheese 
(you really need to use the whole fat kind so it will melt properly.)

~1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Toss the potatoes, soup, broth, onion, salt, and pepper into the crock pot and cook on low for 4-6 hours. About 20 minutes before serving, add in the cream cheese and shredded cheese so they can melt. Serve topped with additional shredded cheese, green onions, and bacon bits as desired.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Announcing: The One Word Blog Challenge

Every year in January, many of us make resolutions and, for those of us who are bloggers and/or writers, some of those resolutions usually involve our writing. In the past, I've made resolutions to grow my blog, write more often, write less often, and get myself on a writing schedule. Too often, I have failed miserably. At the core of all the resolutions, however, is a desire to be a better writer; to continue to improve my skills and grow my audience. 

Personally, one way I try to improve my writing is by using writing prompts. Writing prompts get my wheels turning and help me get out of situations when I am stuck in a cycle of writer's block. They are also a great way to challenge yourself to think outside the box and discover new ways to convey old ideas. I love the Tuesday Ten linkup I co-host and I really enjoy the Finish the Sentence Friday linkup as well. It is always amazing to see bloggers take the same prompt and go in so many different directions. 

This fall, I had an idea for a new blog linkup, but found that a lot of bloggers are "linkup-ed" out, myself included. We do not have room in our schedules to add another weekly "obligation." Many of those same bloggers, however, also want to continue to hone their skills and find new audiences for their writing. So, I decided that instead of another long-term linkup, I was going to turn my idea into a short-term blog challenge at the beginning of 2015 in hopes of kick-starting my writing and building some new blogging relationships. Sound interesting? Keep reading!

Many times, all it takes is a single word to evoke powerful emotions or spark precious memories. Starting with just one word gives your writing a direction in which to focus without too many limitations. What would you write based solely on the word lost? Based on the word offensive, or wonderful, or truth? Can you see all the different paths a writer could take? Can you imagine the possibilities?
Here's how the challenge will work:

Step 1: Each Friday for 8 weeks beginning in January (Jan. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, Feb. 6, 13, 20), you will receive 3 different single word writing prompts via email. (CLICK HERE to subscribe to the email list. This is NOT a subscription to blog posts from my blog.) Prompts will also be posted in the One Word Challenge Facebook Group and on my Golden Spoons Facebook page.

Step 2: Choose ONE of the 3 prompts and write a post inspired by the word you have chosen. (Bonus points if you use all 3 words in your post!)

Step 3: Link up and connect! The linkup for this challenge will go live on my blog at 6:00am EST the Wednesday after prompts are shared (Jan. 7, 14, 21, 28, Feb. 4, 11, 18, 25). The linkup will remain open until 9:00pm on Thursdays.  Add your post and connect with others by reading, commenting, and sharing. Tweet posts using #1Word!

Step 4: Keep writing!! After the challenge is completed, my entire list of 100 single word prompts will be shared with everyone who has subscribed or joined the Facebook group AND linked up a post at least 2 out of the 8 weeks. 

Simple, right? Get the prompts on Friday, take 5 days to write, link up on Wednesday! Wash, rinse, repeat for 8 weeks.

Are you up for the challenge??

The first set of prompts will be emailed/posted on January 2nd, so sign up today!! 

The Golden Spoons

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

My Birthday Interview with Megan (#TuesdayTen Linkup)

Back in September, we celebrated Ask a Stupid Question Day by choosing 10 random questions from this list and answering them in our blog posts for Tuesday Ten. It was so much fun and we had such a great link up that day, we decided to do it again this week!!!  Since today, December 9th, is my middle daughter's 10th birthday, I decided that, for my post, I would use the questions to interview her!! She loved the idea and was very willing to participate. She chose the numbers (although, we had to try again on a couple because her original picks weren't very kid-friendly). Here are her answers with a little commentary from me added in. 

#1 - Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 18, and find line 4.
"There was not the slightest doubt about it, it was a penguin." (From Mr. Popper's Penguin's) Mom Commentary: Megan has never liked to read very much. She much prefers math and, yes, she absolutely gets that from her father! Lately, however, she has been doing much better about reading and I am very proud of her!

#3 - Before you started this survey, what were you doing?
Getting ready to go outside and ride my bike. Megan is a ball of energy and is rarely found sitting still. She LOVES to go outside and ride her bike even on cold, windy days like today (Sunday).

#93 - Can you close your eyes and raise your eyebrows?
Yes!  No commentary needed on this one, but here's a picture to prove it! 

#32 -What was the last thing you bought?
 Um . .  I don't buy things really. You (mom) bought me the book - Mr. Popper's Penguins. Megan is great at saving her money. We don't give our kids an allowance, but Megan has actually been earning some money for helping with the laundry lately. She also has money from grandparents, etc. but rarely spends it. Hopefully, she will continue that habit as she gets older! 

#61 - What time do you get up?
On school mornings, I get up at 6:30am. On Weekends or days when I don't have school, usually around 7:30am.  My kids are late sleepers which is great on weekends and during summer vacation - not so much on school mornings. Megan has always been the earliest riser, though. She is almost always the first one out of bed on the weekends.

#45 - What did you do for your last birthday?
For my last birthday, I had a hotel slumber party!! 
Since her two sisters both have birthdays in August, they usually do pool parties. Last year, Megan complained that is wasn't fair that she never got to do pool parties because her birthday is in December. My husband came up with the "brilliant" idea to cash in some of his travel points and get a hotel room so she could have a pool party and slumber party. We let Megan invite 3 friends. They swam in the pool, we ordered pizza, had cupcakes, played board games, and it really was lots of fun. This year, we are keeping things a bit more low key.  

#83 - What are your best characteristics?
I am always happy!  I tried to get Megan to list some more, but she said she couldn't think of any. I can! Megan is smart, funny, silly, loving, and she cares about others. She is also a great big sister  - she and Emily have great friendship.

#73 - What do you do most when you are bored?
When I am bored, I watch TV, but I actually don't get bored very much. That's very true. As I said, Megan has lots of energy. She is rarely still and the only time she complains about being bored is when she has to be still, like in a waiting room or during church.

#41 - What time is bed time?
Mom and Dad make me go to bed at 8:30 on school nights. When it's not a school night I can stay up until 9:00. If I got to pick my own bedtime, I would probably go to bed about 9:30.  And, if anyone comes walking down the hall after all the kids have been put to bed, 9 times out of 10, it's Megan! 

#38 - If you could eat lunch with one famous person, who would it be?
You, Mommy! You're a famous blogger! I told her that just being a blogger doesn't mean I'm famous and she answered,  "Well, you're on Google and in a book. That means you're famous!" Gosh, I love this kid!!! 

Happy, Happy Birthday my sweet Megan!! You keep me on my toes and make me smile every day. You have a good heart and a boundless energy that will take you far in life, I'm sure. I love you bunches and bunches and I hope you have many more happy birthdays!!!

I told her to smile for a birthday pic and this is what I got which pretty much sums up my Megan!!!

The Golden Spoons

Your Tuesday Ten hostesses are:


The Teacher Wife
facebook pinterest
To review all the rules, click HERE.

We are still looking for a little help with our birthday giveaway!! If you are interested in giving $5 for some social media exposure, see more information HERE.
Join us next week on December 16 for our last Tuesday ten of the year and tell us what's really on YOUR Christmas list!!!

(Tuesday Ten is taking a holiday vacation on Dec. 23 and 30 so we can enjoy time with our families. We'll be back on January 6 to kick off our Big Birthday Giveaway!!!)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Real Reality of Motherhood

If they made a reality show about my life, it would probably be called "The Real Mom," or something like that. However, I highly doubt it would be really real.

Maybe you can guess from that statement that I'm not a big fan of reality shows mainly because I don't think they are actually real. For example, the one that started it all was "The Real World" on MTV. Do you remember that one? "Seven people picked to live in a house and have their lives taped . . . . "  Who does that??? That's not reality. Now there are so many from "Survivor" to "Big Brother" to "The Bachelor." Again, I think calling them reality shows is a misnomer because there is very little reality in them. We obviously can't see every minute of the time these people spend "on set" and what we do see is what the producers want us to see. They show us the moments of drama, conflict, or romance to hook us and reel us in. They spin it and twist it to make it more interesting. They don't show the boring, mundane moments because nobody wants to watch that! 

If one of those big networks decided to make a show about my life, I bet you would see . . . . 

  • The morning when I overslept and we had to rush so everyone got frustrated. I yelled; kids cried.
  • The red velvet pancakes I made ahead of time and put in the freezer for my youngest daughter who LOVES red velvet. And, of course, the adorable time we spent together in the kitchen baking them on a Sunday afternoon. 
  • The morning everyone was wearing nice outfits and had their hair combed neatly because it was picture day. 
  • The day I went to the gym with a smile on my face and had a great workout. 
  • The day I got everything checked off my to-do list.
  • The day the school called and said my kid was sick and my whole schedule got turned upside down.
  • The day my children got in the car during carpool line happy and laughing telling me what fun they had at school.
  • The day my children got in the car and immediately started yelling at each other and complaining about how awful their day at school was. 
  • The Indian summer afternoon when nobody had homework and we spent an hour out in the yard playing and laughing together. 
  • The homework meltdown my oldest daughter had over math or my middle daughter had over reading. The meltdown I had because of their meltdowns. 
  • The night we made tacos and everyone was happy.
  • The night I tried a new recipe and everything went wrong, so we ended up tossing it and calling for pizza.
  • The night my husband and I had a glass of wine and snuggled on the couch after the kids went to bed. 
They would show you those moments when there was drama, joy, strife, or romance. 

Here's what they wouldn't show you . . . . .  . .

  • The mornings - e.v.e.r.y. morning - when I feed the kids toaster strudels and yogurt laced with m&m's just so they will eat something, anything before I send them out the door. (This is the reason I made the red velvet pancakes - because it's pretty much ALL she will eat.) They also wouldn't show me scurrying around, packing lunches while commanding, "Eat!" "Put your shoes on and comb your hair!" "Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!"
  • The mornings when, apparently, nobody has any clean clothes to wear and I take their complaints as a personal assault because I haven't had time to do laundry. 
  • The day I was planning to go to the gym, but bailed out and sat at home in my yoga pants typing a blog post instead. 
  • The day I got almost everything checked off my list. 
  • The days when my kids get in the car after school and I ask, "Did you have a good day?" and they reply, "Yeah." Then, I have to drag bits and pieces of information out of them to even get a slight glimpse of what their day was like. 
  • The afternoons we spend scurrying between horseback riding lessons, soccer practice, piano lessons, dinner, homework, bath time, and bedtime. 
  • The nights I make dinner and the kids won't touch it or the nights when my husband is out of town and I let them eat spaghettiO's because I don't have the energy to even dial Dominos - again.
  • The nights when my husband and I each sit in our offices working rather than snuggling or the nights when he is across the country on the west coast and the time difference makes it nearly impossible for us to even chat on the phone for a few minutes. 
Those are the things you would never see because those are the mundane, boring parts of life. But, THAT is the real reality of motherhood. My days are not filled with perfectly constructed Pinterest crafts or Facebook post-worthy family outings. They are also not filled with drama and conflict and tears. However, there are moments - moments I wish I could take back because I lost my cool; moments I wish I could freeze forever because they were so filled with love and joy.  The moments are real, but they are not the whole reality. That's just motherhood. That's just life. The highs are higher and the lows are lower because of the flat, simple path that connects them all.  

This post is part of Finish the Sentence Friday hosted by 
Kristi at Finding Ninee
Stephanie at Mommy, For Real

This week's co-hosts are:

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My Dream House {#TuesdayTen Linkup}

Do you like the house in which you live?? Perhaps you wish it was bigger or had another bedroom? I think houses are kind of like people or jobs - none of them are 100% perfect. If it were perfect, though - if it were the house of your dreams - what would it be like???

My dream house would have . . . . . . 

- An amazing kitchen

- A fabulous master bathroom

- Giant, organized closets

- Incredible outdoor space

Some other things that would be great . . . . .

- All of these design elements would be pretty pricey, right? So, it would be great if this dream house came with NO BILLS!!
- Since I sorely lack an eye for design, I would need the house to come with a DESIGNER to make the spaces look spectacular.
- I would greatly appreciate a CHEF as well a few times a week. After all, it would only be fitting in that wonderful kitchen!
- As long as I'm dreaming, why not add a LIVE IN HOUSEKEEPER as well?!?!?

Also . . . . .

 - To me, every home needs a PET (or two!). Our home wouldn't be complete without our beloved Sophie! 

Finally . . . .

It occurs to me that, as I have been sitting here scouring Pinterest for ideas and pictures of my perfect, dream house, we have just spent the last few days counting our blessing and being thankful. The truth is, any home could be my dream home as long as my FAMILY is there with me. We may not have the fanciest bathrooms or the most spacious kitchen, but our home is filled with love and laughter. It's fun to dream, but, at the end of the day, that's my family is what really matters the most! 

What would you like to have in your dream home?

Your Tuesday Ten hostesses are:


The Teacher Wife
facebook pinterest
We hope you have enjoyed our #TuesdayTen lists! If so, please link up one of your own and share your post using #TuesdayTen!
Link up a post, old or new, pertaining to the TuesdayTen topic for this week and add our TuesdayTen button to your post or sidebar.
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Back in September, we had so much fun answering some random questions, we've decided to do it again next Tuesday, December 9!! CLICK HERE and pick any 10 questions from this list. Then, just answer them in your post!

The Golden Spoons

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