Four Years and Counting

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Four years ago today…

We were living somewhere else with our two sons.

We found out we were going to have another child.

I was playing around with recipes and porting them to WordPress, my chosen organizational tool, when I found a comment from a complete stranger. Then it hit me: people were visiting my silly little site that I hadn’t told anyone about. Suddenly I realized I had a blog. Then I panicked.

Three days later on my 40th birthday (bonus points if you can guess how old I’ll be on my birthday this Sunday) I sat down and wrote about my worst failures in the kitchen, My Top Ten Culinary Flops (So Far) post, because I wanted to officially start the blog by laughing at myself. Writing that post helped focus my thoughts on what I wanted to learn, and it also made me wish I’d taken photos of some of those disasters.

The First Year

I was sick. I was so sick during that pregnancy that I couldn’t eat most of what I prepared for my family until I was six months along. I developed a new appreciation for foods I could digest, which wasn’t much.

I shot all my photos in Auto mode because I didn’t know how to do anything else with our little point and shoot camera. There’s a reason why I try to update those photos whenever I get a chance. White balance? What?

We had a bumper crop of tomatoes and basil.

I found a number of the food blogs that I still read today, blogs that continue to inspire me.

Monkey Boy joined our family in September. I took a month long break while trying to recuperate from an emergency c-section and adjust to having three little men under the age of four.

Andrea Meyers - Monkey Boy's foot

The Second Year

We moved to Northern Virginia.

I finally learned about using manual mode on the point and shoot, and my photos improved a bit.

I first heard about BlogHer and the annual conference. I wanted to go so bad but couldn’t that year.

We had a container garden on the deck while trying to figure out what to do about a bigger garden.

We dealt with drought.

I joined The Daring Bakers and for my first challenge made the Strawberry Mirror Cake. My mirror looked more like the lunar surface than a mirror, but I still felt pretty good about tackling something brand new.

Andrea Meyers - Strawberry Mirror Cake

Since we like to grow our own herbs and vegetables, I started looking for a blogging event with a “grow your own” theme. When I couldn’t find one, I started it myself.

We learned that our oldest son has an autism spectrum disorder. We adapted.

The Third Year

Baking better bread was my theme for the third year. I played with starters, killing off several while managing to keep a few alive.

Andrea Meyers - Pain au Levain

We started our new outdoor garden by digging up some really ugly inedible bushes on the south side of the house then planting tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, and herbs. It was a good year for harvest and we put up lots of tomatoes and basil.

I went to BlogHer ‘08 in San Francisco and participated in a panel discussion at the DC Reach Out Tour.

We celebrated the first anniversary of Grow Your Own.

We hosted our first Drop In & Decorate event.

Michael gave me a DSLR for Christmas. I cried.

The Fourth Year

We built four raised beds for the garden and planted fruit trees and bushes, thus growing our edible garden from 48 square feet to over 200 square feet.

Andrea Meyers - Raised beds

We fought wet, cool weather and garden pests (bunnies and insects). The basil hardly did anything, the bunnies ate all the peas, beans, and eggplant seedlings, and insects killed off the zucchini, cucumbers, and pumpkins. It was a frustrating summer.

We celebrated the second anniversary of Grow Your Own.

We discovered we could grow purple tomatillos and that they make a delicious and beautiful salsa. We also found a persimmon tree behind our property.

I tested recipes for Chef Mark and Jennifer as they were writing their new cookbook, The Gilded Fork: Entertaining At Home, and actually got some of my photos published in their book.

Andrea Meyers - Lavender and Honey Sorbet

I went to the first annual BlogHer Food conference in San Francisco, which was literally a dream come true. I remember the email and Twitter discussions among several food bloggers in 2008, trying to advance the idea and see if there was any support for it, and boy was there ever support! In case I haven’t said it enough, thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone working at BlogHer and to all the bloggers who made it a wonderful first conference. And you can bet I’ll be back in 2010!

I started a partnership with the good folks at Springpad.

We learned our second son has ADHD. Once again, we adapted.

What I’ve learned.

I’ve learned that working on a food blog can be hard, but it is one of the most creatively satisfying things I’ve ever done.

I’ve learned that it’s ok to try new things and divert from the path I had set for myself; taking chances can lead to wonderful unexpected surprises.

I’ve learned that the food blogging community is a committed, passionate group of talented people that inspire me every day.

I’ve met some incredible people, a number of whom I consider good friends, because of this little blog. And there are many more of you that I hope to meet someday.

My favorite things on this blog (so far).

We like to have adventures in the kitchen, so we try new things all the time. It’s hard to choose only a few recipes to mention, but these are definitely at the top of our list:

Andrea Meyers - Inside-Out German Chocolate Cake

Michael asks for Inside-Out German Chocolate Cake for his birthday every year.

Andrea Meyers - Ajiaco Bogotano (Colombia)

Ajiaco Bogotano is still my favorite soup.

Andrea meyers - Chicago-Style Stuffed Pizza

Chicago-Style Stuffed Pizza, which really doesn’t require an explanation.

What’s Ahead?

I don’t know. I started this blog as a hobby and it has grown into something more, something I never envisioned, and the biggest reason for that is my readers. Whether you are a blogger or not, your support over the years has always made me smile. Thank you for reading, for leaving supportive comments, for asking questions, for telling me when I had a typo or accidentally left something out of a recipe. I hope you will continue to enjoy this blog and find it a useful resource in the coming years.

Thank you for everything.

Andrea Meyers - name

[Birthday clipart courtesy Vintage Clip Art (http://vintageholidaycrafts.com/). ]

[An original post from Andrea Meyers: making life delicious. All images and text copyrighted, All Rights Reserved.]

[Disclosure: This blog earns a few cents on items purchased through the Amazon.com links in posts.]

Comments

  1. says

    Congratulations on four wonderful years, Andrea! What an amazing adventure you’ve had! It is always a pleasure to come visit. I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us in year five.

  2. says

    I loved reading this. It’s so fun seeing all that’s gone in the four year life of your blog! I was trying to remember when I first discovered your blog, but I can’t remember. Seems like I’ve been reading for many years though, which is why it’s been so fun to get to know the person behind the blog a little! Here’s to many more years of good food, photos, and stories.

  3. says

    Happy Anniversary and Happy Birthday!! We are more or less the same age – you probably being a year older, Then again, since my birthday is in November, that would make you TWO years older!! LOL!! We both joined the DBs at the same time too with the Mirror cake as our first challenge. I wish I had more time to come visit regularly Andrea but I’m glad I came round this time when I did! Much love for this part of the world.

    Dharm

  4. says

    You deserve every dedicated reader, every positive comment, and every ounce of fulfillment your work brings you. Congrats on — and thank you for — giving us such a quality, caring corner booth!

  5. Judy says

    Congrates to you! How time does fly. I have been reading your blog for at least 2 of your 4 years. I have enjoyed the recipes and the comments that you write. The photos are awesome too. I especially like the garden news. Many more years of blogging and Happy New Year.

  6. says

    Congratulations on your 4th anniversary! I enjoyed reading about how you balance blog life with real life and how each influences the other. Beautiful post. Cheers!

  7. says

    Congratulations, Andrea! You inspire so many with your high standards and commitment to your family and your craft. May you have many, many more years getting as much joy out of blogging as you give your audience!

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