Firstly I want to share a few quicklinks related to blogging:
- James Delingpole - Blogging is not a job, it is an expensive addiction
- Write to Done - 18 tips for writing burn-out
- The Seattle Times - Who needs cookbooks when you have a computer
- Gluten Free Girl - How to cook and bake without dairy (and without eggs), or how to please everyone
- Kalyn's Kitchen - Six lessons I am learning from food blogging
- Sylvia is no longer a baby - Having a 2 year old in the house cannot help but change the food we are eating. As she has grown from baby to toddler, she has become more picky about food. Her presence is felt more at our dinner table (and in my posts). I aim to please. Yet I want to expand her horizons. It is a delicate balance that I don't always achieve. I have stopped labelling food she likes as 'baby food' and wondered about creating a 'children's food' label.
- An allergy diagnosis - With Sylvia's recent diagnosis of an peanut allergy, peanuts and peanut butter are going to be seen a lot less on my blog.
- Hosting blog events - I've just finished hosting a second Neb at Nut Roast event. The time seemed to have come. Most significantly I am midway through hosting Helen's Breakfast Club event in May. It's my first time hosting another's blog event and there may be others in the future, though I am limited as I only post vegetarian dishes on my blog.
- New search field - Finally I have got up a search field on the left hand menu so that you can search my blog and have a list of links rather than having to scroll through each post when you search.
- List of popular posts - I have put a list of popular posts on my left hand menu (drawn from my Google Analytics) because I really like seeing these on other blogs.
- Creating more master posts - I am constantly looking for ways to make it easier to navigate the 800+ posts. My About Me post is embedded with links to useful posts. I have now created master lists on posts about Sylvia, about the garden and of childhood foods.
- Using updated editing tool on Blogger - There were some initial hiccups but I have finally got my head around the updated editing tool on Blogger. The main change seems to be that I upload photos differently, which has advantages and disadvantages.
- Changed ways of editing and organising photos - After problems with iPhoto clogging up the memory on my Mac, I have gone to a more basic way of organising and editing photos. It is mostly adequate but I sometimes miss some of the sophistication of iPhoto.
- New kitchen space - With our kitchen renovations a few months ago, the way we use the kitchen has changed. Sylvia helps me in the kitchen more. we eat at the table more. I can photograph food at the kitchen table.
- New electrical appliances - This year I have obtained a new oven, new food processor and new hand held blender (below). One would hope it would improve my cooking, though sometimes I miss the old faithfuls that have served me well for years.
i. Action on theft of my posts: One issue that has been brought to my attention lately by kind fellow bloggers is that bad people are stealing my blog posts. Brydie even put me onto some useful posts by other bloggers also experiencing the same problems.
I am still not sure what to do about it. I have reported the abuse where I can. I was pleased to see one blog taken offline but others are still up. I have considered shortening my RSS feed and/or putting a copyright message on each post. One of the messages I like most is the one Rachel puts at the end of her feeds requesting people contact her if they are not reading it on her url. Any suggestions are welcome. (Update - this Wordpress post on content theft seems useful.)
ii. Rethinking categories: As my recipe index gets longer, I wonder if I should create some new categories or sub-categories to help find recipes. For example my Other Sweet Treats section bundles up lots of miscellaneous and I would like a section on scones. Similarly I would like to re-organise categories in the Reflections index. I have also thought about rethinking the labels at the bottom of each post and adding a few more anchors on long posts.
iii. More reflective posts: I love doing posts that reflect both on blogging and on ingredients. I have a couple of posts on blogging that have been in draft for about a year. One on rules for blogging and one on what blogging means to me. I hope to get them posted soon. I have long been meaning to do the My Life in 10 Dishes post that AOF did some time ago.
I would also like to write more history of ingredients posts. They have been few and far between lately due to time constraints. I have such fun writing these posts that I would love to be able to find some time for them. It may mean less recipes and more quality.
iv. Develop a comments policy: I am fed up with the silly spam comments that come my way. I want to put up a comments policy to be clear about my boundaries. I love Shauna's message to spammers on her comments field.
v. Back up my blog: Blogger's problems is a timely reminder to back up my blog.
It is heartening to see the list of changes I have achieved to remind me that I am making progress, albeit more slowly than I would like. There just aren't enough hours in the day. I meant to write this post to celebrate my 4 year blogiversary but like most things in my life, I am behind. But I have got there!
Fortunately there are some constants - support from E, companionship from Zinc, sharing food with family and friends, and wonderful connections with other bloggers. One last constant is change. I am sure there will be more of it. Stay tuned...