Meet the winners of our 2010 Parent Blogger Awards.
When we launched our first annual blogger awards contest last year, we asked you to nominate and vote for your favorite blogs written by moms. This year we opened the nominations to blogs written by moms or dads and organized them into six categories for the voting period. Thousands of you pulled the lever (or clicked the mouse, we should say) to tell us which ones you liked best. Here are your top vote-getters (sorry to say, no dads!). They’re an inspiring bunch.
Blogger: Kate Hayes (Boston, MA)
Her crew: Husband Kyle; Anna, 5; Kellen, 2
About Kate: A former TV journalist and public relations/marketing professional, Kate, 32, hates sitting around. With her husband’s recent job transfer from St. Louis, MO, to Boston, MA, Kate — a “temporary” stay-at-home mom — writes travelogue-like essays about her new hometown’s beaches and quaint amusement parks. She can also make a routine trip to Ikea sound hilarious.
Why she started blogging: “I feel like every day is a new adventure, so I wanted to share that with other moms. I call blogging karaoke for writers. Whether I’m working or not, I have to be able to write. It keeps me sane.”
Her inspiration: “Day-to-day life. I don’t give advice,” she says. “Instead, I share things I’ve done. I try to make the most of any adventure we have, whether it’s something funny like walking to the bathroom and seeing a pile of poop in front of my son’s potty, or something sentimental, like the day my kids spent gardening with my dad. There’s so much to share.” Her fascination with the balancing act of parenthood plays out on screen. “I hope that readers will relate and feel like they don’t have to put so much pressure on themselves to be perfect in the process.”
BOOKS & READING
Blogger: Melissa Taylor (Denver, CO)
Her crew: Husband Jeff; Annika, 8; Jemma, 5
About Melissa: As a former full-time teacher, Melissa, 39, believes that being a reader is the best way to instill a love of reading in your own child. She and her crew are forever “maxing out [their] library cards” and browsing through rows and rows of shelves at the bookstore.
Why she started blogging: “A little over a year ago, to earn money, I decided to teach writing to neighborhood children in our house and — on a whim — I started a blog to promote my classes and offer parents some fun ideas.” The result: A blog that offers a one-stop shop for all things reading and writing, including tips on ways to get your kids hooked on books and ideas for the reluctant reader.
Her inspiration: “A lot of times I write about what I’m doing with my kids and other times my ideas come to me at random. There’s no method to the madness!”
Kids’ book authors are now guest blogging on the site. Suzanne Santillan, author of Grandma’s Pear Tree, for example, recently wrote a post about picture books that teach lessons. “I’m trying to get smart and interesting authors to guest post every week,” Melissa says. “I’m so intrigued to see what they have to say about their work.”
CRAFTS & COOKING
Blogger: Brooke McLay(Colorado Springs, CO)
Her crew: Husband John; Andrew, 12; Rebecca, 10; Jacob and Alyssa, 7
About Brooke: This mom, 34, lives to cook and makes just about everything her family eats from scratch, from hamburger buns to pie crust. “We rarely eat out,” says Brooke, who blogs full-time as well as substitute teaches on occasion.
Why she started blogging: What began as a family blog (under a different name) just over two years ago morphed into Cheeky Kitchen. Its charming vintage feel echoes the way Brooke sees the world. “Cooking is such a connection to the nostalgic,” she says. “My grandma was obsessed with food, and when my great-grandma died, we found a book filled with her recipes. It was a magical moment.”
What she hopes visitors take away: “Food should be a celebration. Every opportunity to eat should be an opportunity to rejoice.”
Blogger: Michelle Stern (San Francisco, CA)
Her crew: Husband Glenn; Amelia, 10; Ari, 8
About Michelle: A biology major who taught high school science for five years, Michelle, 39, has been working steadily on What’s Cooking for over six years. Her site has evolved from a birthday party planning site to a Certified Green business, for which Michelle organizes kids’ healthy cooking classes that support local farmers and use organic ingredients. “It made sense to get families to think of the earth — even during a kids’ cooking class,” she says.
Why she started blogging: “I want to be a person parents can come to for support on challenging decisions we make as heads of the family, including the kinds of food we’re feeding our kids.”
Her inspiration: Dialoguing with people on her Facebook page. “For example, I’ll ask them what they like to eat and the issues they face finding the safest foods for their families,” she says. “Everything I write about has to connect to kids and food. I want to try to meet the needs of the average parent without being preachy.”
Blogger: Courtenay Baker-Olinger (Mt. Vernon, IA)
Her crew: Husband Scott; Milo, 5; Violet, 3
About Courtenay: A full-time program assistant at her local liberal-arts college, Courtenay, 37, doesn’t deliberately try to be funny. Instead, she writes about things as she sees them, from waking up at the crack of dawn to insomnia to potty training. The result is hilarious. (If you’re wondering, her blog name has nothing to do with soup.)
Why she started blogging: Her site is how she captures memories, since she says she’s terrible about writing stuff in her journal. “Plus, my handwriting is so heinous, I can’t even read what I write,” she adds.
Her inspiration: A recent move from downtown to the country provides endless fodder. “We can no longer walk to our library in minutes,” she says. “But we’re now raising 25 chickens, and there are all kinds of funny things that come from living where we do.”
Blogger: Cheryl Dorfman (Los Angeles, CA)
Her crew: Daughter, 6
About Cheryl: A former senior analyst turned stay-at-home mom of a daughter who is high-functioning autistic, Cheryl, 45, started her blog this year for parents who are also raising children with autism and Asperger’s.
Her goal: To celebrate the uniqueness and strength of these kids. “My blog has helped me connect with other moms and develop great friendships with fellow bloggers,” she says. “I never expected this to happen.”
Why she started blogging: “I thought I could help other parents by setting up a Los Angeles directory of all the providers that assist parents of kids with autism. I named the blog Little Bit Quirky because kids with Asperger’s and autism are quirky. They’re also amazing and bright and incredible.”
Her inspiration: “I blog just as much about day-to-day life as I do about tantrums and news about autism,” she says. “It’s really therapeutic.” She also gets ideas from the e-mails other parents send her way.