2015 was a big year both for our family and here on the blog. For our family, there were many changes and happenings including a 22 day road trip to British Columbia, Portland, San Francisco, Monterey Bay, Anaheim (to say hi to Mickey Mouse of course), Arizona to visit my dad, Moab in Utah to finally see The Husband’s “happy place”, and Montana. There was also an emergency appendix surgery, a child starting school for the first time, a few trips to the ER, I turned 40, a trip for The Husband and I to a conference on early trauma and brain development, me speaking at a blogging conference in Virginia, and more of the happenings that go along with having a large family.
Here on the blog, things were equally exciting as what started as a hobby transitioned into a business and a full time income. I experienced my first viral post and then a second! What was more rewarding than the viral posts and the income were the emails from readers who were touched or helped by something I had written. That truly made all the very late nights worthwhile!
The top posts of 2015 were:
Chicken Dump Recipes – It’s no surprise that this was the top post. It went viral twice this year, in January and then again in April. I was seen by millions of people (it’s strange for me to type that number, let alone believe it!) and it spawned two follow-up posts and two cookbooks.
It’s still hard for me to imagine that a method of cooking that I have been using to save time for over a decade is now saving time for people all over the world because I decided to write about it!
Minute to Win It Family Fun Night – This post has been popular for years and I’m glad that the fun we had as a family is helping other families and youth groups and friends to create memories together.
More Chicken Dump Recipes – People just can’t get enough of these recipes!
Beef Dump Recipes – Created after the popularity of the chicken recipes and after many requests for more variety, the beef dump recipes are helping families save time and enjoy dinnertime. This also spread more quickly thanks to being featured by Buzzfeed.
2 Words That Will Transform Your Family – I love that so many people were able to read this because it means that parents and kids are being helped by the addition of these two simple words.
From Freezer to Crock Pot (and Gluten Free) – Once every two or three months, my friend Christie and I get together and make freezer meals. We have gotten very efficient at it because we’ve been doing it for a long time. These are a few of the recipes we use.
Create an Anti-Anxiety Kit for Children – The anti-anxiety kit that I created for Dancing Queen was a game changer for her in terms of helping her to calm down and teaching her strategies that she can use and I’m so happy that it’s helping other families as well.
Resources to Teach Kids About Their Emotions (and How to Manage Them) – It took a lot of work to teach this skill to our kids because of their specific needs and it is something I continue to work on. I believe this skill has helped them in many other areas as well.
Home Organization Hacks – Well as the name of my blog suggests, I could use all the help and hints I can get when it comes to organization and I’m not surprised that others are looking for tips in that department too.
Freezer Meal Recipes – These are three family recipes that I adapted into freezer meal recipes since that is how I do most of my cooking when it comes to suppers.
How to Make Your Own Sensory Balls – This simple and inexpensive way to make sensory balls is one I still use. I make dozens every year.
Crock Pot Pizza Casserole – It looks gross, but kids love it and I always get emails from people who rave about it so it continues to be a popular recipe.
100 Things I Learned from Anne of Green Gables – I wrote this from my heart and as a gift for someone very close to me so it was lovely to see that it resonated with so many people.
Why I Marched My 12 Year Old Son Into the Police Station – Hmmm, this was one that I wrote the day of the event and where the words just poured out of me without much filter and I was pretty nervous to click the “publish” button. I wasn’t sure what kind of reaction it would receive but the response was overwhelmingly positive and it quickly spread through Facebook and was read by over 30,000 people in one month! I still get the occasional private email about it so I’m glad that I wrote it even though it wasn’t my easiest day.
100 Gluten Free Snack Ideas – Apparently I’m not the only one who finds coming up with snack ideas for our gluten free son to be a challenge!
My favourite posts of 2015:
The posts I’m most proud of writing this year didn’t make it into the top 15 in terms of popularity. In fact, only 1 made the top 40. But I am proud of them because I think they have the potential to really help other families.
Helping a Child Through Trauma – Two of our kiddos have been forever changed by trauma and learning to parent them in the way they need has been probably the biggest challenge of my life thus-far. Sharing a bit of what we’ve learned will hopefully help other families.
7 Things No One Tells You About International Adoption – I’ve had this in my drafts folder for over a year, maybe several years but I had to wait until I was sure I could finish writing it with the right balance of honesty and yet protecting our kids’ privacy. Again, I hope it helps others.
How to Support a Family Whose Child is in the Hospital – We spent four years in and out of the hospital with Miss Optimism. It was such a scary time and a hard time. I wanted to write this to help other families now that we are on the other side of it. Two friends who have also been there helped me and I’m really happy with how it turned out.
I am excited for all that 2016 has in store. Thank you for your friendship, your readership, your support, and for you allowing the words that I write into your homes. I appreciate you.