Sunday, 1 January 2012

Reflections on 2011

Another year over and what have we done....  New Years Day is the time for reflections, for lists and memories.  It has been a busy year with lots of change.  Life is more demanding than ever and I finish the year feeling the just like this Calvin and Hobbes cartoon:

I started 2011 with a burst of employment transition, settling Sylvia into a new child care centre, planning for kitchen renovations and coping with toothache.  The revamped kitchen has made it so much easier to eat at the table and bake with Sylvia.  Perhaps it is why I baked so much bread this year.  It was the year of developing an intranet at work.  Someone ran into the back of our car.  E had a good year of ukeleles, Tiny Tim and the release of a single.  We all loved our roadtrip to Orange in NSW. By the end of the year I was riding my bike more and baking up a storm for Christmas.

Geelong Botanic Gardens
Sylvia continues to change and have many firsts.  She had a fussy year of eating but we found some child-friendly favourite meals and she loves any food on a stick.  She was diagnosed with a peanut allergy this year.  She also loves playing with water at the bathroom sink, jumping, the local swimming pool and Christmas trees.  The year finished with a farewell to Sylvia's cot.  It was replaced by a new big girl bed for Sylvia.  My toddler is now a little girl.  At home Dolly reigned supreme.  She was everywhere Sylvia went and was often fed the food that Sylvia should have been eating.  Lately she has continued to have firsts - her first pair of scissors, her first walk in the waves at the beach, her first swim without a nappy and her first feature length film on DVD (Mary Poppins).

Best of 2011
    view from The Elephant House at the Melbourne Zoo
    The Numbers:
    • Celebrated 20 years of being vegetarian.  
    • Uploaded 216 posts during the year.  That is a total of 970 posts on the blog to date.  I don't know where I found the time. 
    • Over December I had a spike in my stats with nut roasts being joined by Christmas cupcakes as hugely popular posts.  Just before Christmas Day I had a daily peak of over 1800 pageviews my Blogger statistics, over 1600 pageviews on my StatCounter, and over 1400 pageviews on Google Analytics!!!
    • Ranked #34 on the food blogs on Technorati but #363 on the Very Good Recipes site.  Hmmm... not sure what this means!
    10 most popular posts of 2011:
    1. Nutella fudge
    2. Bean and buckwheat facon 
    3. Marshmallow weetbix slice
    4. Dinosaur farmyard cake 
    5. Royal wedding chocolate fridge cake
    6. Neb at Nut Roast event announcement
    7. Apricot delight
    8. Vegan Christmas nut roast with salad
    9. Cookbook Challenge page
    10. Why does food history matter?  
      Chia olive oil bread with promite and the Rupert egg cup
      Best of blogging
      It was a great year for blogging - full of cake pops, apple cakes and chia seeds.  Here's just a taster of some of the recipes I shared:

        Vegan nutella fudge and Caramel fudge
        Blogging achievements:
        • Completed the Cookbook Challenge - 26 posts on cooking from my cookbooks, using a different theme every fortnight.
        • My blog went vegan for a month and I posted every day in October for Vegan Mofo.
        • Hosted two blog events this year - a second round of my Neb at Nut Roast event and I was a guest host for Helen's Breakfast Club event.
        • Selected by the State Library of Victoria to be archived on the Pandora: the Australian web archive.  I was really pleased to be asked.  It is a great honour to be part of the nation's digital history, and reassuring to know that there is someone backing up my blog every now and again.
        • Overview posts on being vegetarian and food history.

        Blogging changes:

        I wrote a post listing some blog changes back in May so I wont go over them all again but I will note a few other changes and plans since then:
        • Updated design.  I started playing with new design templates to update the look of the blog.  I am much happier with it now but still need to get my banner centred.  I did a post on the evolution of my blog design for those who are interested.
        • Photography - there have been lots of changes to the way I take photos.  The kitchen renovations has changed the space in which I can take photos.  A new camera  in December has made further changes.  It is a Canon EOS 550D (known as a Rebel in America) and has an SLR function that I hope to get to know.
        • Searching my recipes is a constant challenge.  I have been using Delicious to organise my bookmarks for some time but I got a nasty shock later in the year when they changed hands and I couldn't access my bookmarks.  Thankfully I finally got back in and the developments to the site have been useful.  They have just introduced thumbnail pictures of the recipes.  Phew I don't need to open a Pinterest account and have yet another login.  But I do love to browse there occasionally.
        • Follow by email field on the side bar.  I added this field after someone asked about subscribing.  I am not sure if anyone really uses it as I don't know how to check but I was happy to put it there for A. 
        • I have also been tinkering with key pages to keep them updated.  Lots more work needed but I have a few lists in development.  I hope to get up a comments policy and a compilation of child-friendly links.  I also must look into Bloggers Print-a-blog feature that I noticed this week.

        Happy New Year

        Next year promises more dollies and less blogging.  Sylvia seems ready to give up her afternoon nap.  So it seems I may no longer have the time that I have often managed to fit in a blog post.  I would like to see more bike rides, beach trips and bread baking in my life.  I'd like to find time to delve into the pile of books beside my bed but that might be too hopeful.

        Meanwhile I would like to thank everyone who has visited, comments, shared recipes, helped me cook, tasted my food and supported me in so many ways.  It is at this time that I am aware of the lovely food blogging community where I have been able to find great friendship and inspiration.  You keep me smiling and eating such delicious food.

        A special thanks to my mum who continues to share food and cooking tips with me, and to Sylvia my little assistant baker who loves to sample the flour.  As always I send a huge thanks E for keeping the music on the stereo, the dishes done and keeping me company.

        May you have a happy and healthy 2012.  I look forward to sharing it with you.


        1. what a lovely reflection on a wonderful year!! Here's to a 2012 that is even bigger and brighter! Can't wait to follow along :)

        2. Wow, you've been busy!! Happy new year to you, can't wait to see what 2012 holds in store on your wonderful blog.

        3. I second Lisa above - this was a wonderful look back, and you have had an amazing 12 months. I liked hearing about each member of your family and the progression of the blog too. Those page views are well deserved and I look forward to following on in 2012!

        4. Happy new year, Johanna, E & Sylvia! I look forward to your 1000th post in 2012. :-)

        5. I honestly have not the slightest idea how you find the time either! You're incredible. And what a lovely year! So nice to have caught up with you in person during it too :)

        6. Johanna, this is truly amazing--nearly 1000 posts!!! Congratulations on all the blog achievements (and those amazing stats!). I look forward to reading more of your blog in 2012 and beyond. . . however often you post. Wishing you, E and Sylvia a wonderful New Year! xo Ricki

        7. You have had a busy year - I enjoyed the recap, and had mised that E had released a single. Wishing you a Happy New Year filled with baking, blogging and bike rides.

        8. Oh wow Sylvia is getting so big now! And to me she is still the little girl in the pictures that you sent a while back. I'm sure 2012 will be a cracker of a year for you and many! :D

        9. wow, when you see it spelt out like that you achieved so much. I hope you gave yourself a warm and cheery pat on the back :o)

          Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2012 to you and your family x x x

        10. What a lovely, thoughtful round up of 2011, with lots of lovely links and interesting thoughts and musings.

          I hope 2012 is just as good if not better for your family! Happy New Year!

        11. A very happy new year to you and your family. Keep up the awesome work on your blog.

        12. Awww, such a beautiful post! I always adore your gorgeous writing style...
          Congratulations on all of Sylvia's milestones and all the impressive things you've accomplished during your very busy year!

        13. Here's to a wonderful 2012 Johanna!
          2011 looks like it was a busy and successful year for you.
          Enjoy those biking, beaching and baking moments for the year to come.

        14. Happy New Year, Johanna! Continue to enjoy seeing your daughter grow up. :)

        15. Thanks Lisa - love having you along for the journey

          Thanks Chele - lots of ideas for 2012 - just need to find some time

          Thanks Kari - it feels like a full 12 months of blogging and personal stuff - will be interested to see what the next 12 months bring

          Thanks Cindy - I was surprised I am so close to 1000 - will need to keep an eye on it or I might just miss it

          Thanks Hannah - meeting people virtually is such a great thing about blogging but I feel extra lucky to have caught up with a few bloggers this year - esp with you when I was interstate!

          Thanks Ricki - the stats amaze me but it is people like you and those who keep coming back again and again who really mean a lot

          Thanks Cakelaw - the single release was very lowkey so this is the first mention of it - a very small amount released but they were all sold/distributed which pleased E no end!

          Thanks Lorraine - I have to stop myself from calling Sylvia my baby - she is not just a little girl - she is dolly's mum (and as my niece pointed out, if dolly has a dolly does that make sylvia a grandmother) ha ha

          Thanks Nic - it is good to reflect on achievements - imagine what I would have achieved if I wasn't so behind in everything :-)

          Thanks C - glad you enjoyed the recap - it is very hard to pick highlights from 200 plus posts

          Thanks Lisa - such kind words are most welcome

          Thanks Astra - what lovely sentiments - milestones and accomplishments are the stuff of new year aren't they :-)

          Thanks Brydie - fingers crossed that there will be biking, beaching and baking (though not on 40 C days like this week!)

          Thanks Kath - glad to share a little of sylvia with you - esp now that she is loving baking with me

        16. Love this post, such a good recap. :) I wish I had done something like this. It will be so great for you to be able to look back years from now and see what was going on in your life. I too hope for bike rides and more bread baking in 2012. :) And I'm happy to see Matthews delicious tofu was one of your favourite foods!


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