CamCade

It never ceases to amaze me the sweetness that can exist between brother and sister when they don’t think I’m looking. Now, if only I could witness this between brother and brother. I’d probably pass out.

It is moments like this that keep me grounded and help me keep my perspective. Am I the only one that struggles with this? The ongoing balance of life?

I am so very grateful for this space of mine. This blog. It (and many of you!) have been a part of my life for over 5 1/2 years, which is a long time in blog-speak. But the challenge of balancing blogging with all the other things running through my reality keeps me hopping. No different from any of you managing family and jobs and well, life. It seems that at times the balance comes easily, other times not so much.

So, so much has changed in the food blogging world since I started out 5 1/2 years ago. First and foremost, what used to be a blog that only my mom looked at (hi, mom) has now grown into a spot visited by millions of visitors each month. Kind of knocks me flat when I think of it. What started as a fun little hobby has now turned into a wonderful work-from-home business. It used to be that snapping a quick picture and throwing it up on the web insisting people make it immediately was all it took to share a great recipe. Now, it seems the blogging pressures of the current day are to have the most Facebook followers, most pins, most ad revenue, most food props, most witty writing, most beautiful pictures, most sponsors, most traffic, most step-by-step pictures, most everything. While those aren’t necessarily bad things (some would argue they are changes for the greater good), it still makes me want to run far, far away sometimes. It’s hard not to get caught up in all the drama and noise of blogging, not to mention the competition that leaves me questioning my blogging self-worth (I mean, really, gag! Let’s talk about some real problems here!).

But honestly, stick with me here, my whole point in sharing this is that as I look back over the last nearly-six years, I realize that even though times are changing around me, I am still grounded by the same purpose I had when I posted for the first time ever back in December in 2007: to share tried-and-true recipes, baby. If that ends up leaving me behind in the swirling dust of the blogosphere, then so be it.

When I get burdened down by the cumbersome pressure of blog/life balance, all it takes is seeing a picture with the intense sweetness like the one above to remind me that at the end of the day, I am a mother first and a blogger second…or more realistically 3rd or 4th or 11th when all the other non-compensated roles come into play. And I really wouldn’t have it any other way. The minute I feel my rowdy, little family needs more mom and less blogger or if I lose sight of my goal (the one where I share recipes that rock my world with you), well, then, that’s when I’ll be calling it quits (not as a mother, as a blogger…jeez!). For now? It’s all about the food! And if anything other than sibling tenderness can restore balance in my life, it is food (dark chocolate food, in particular).

Thanks for listening. Love your guts.

If you’d like to check out past Snapshot Saturdays, click HERE.

186 Responses to Snapshot Saturday: Why I Keep Blogging Even When I Feel Like I Should Quit

  1. Sue says:

    Mel, I love your blog and cook 90% of my meals from your recipes. keep it simple and because the food is awesome it’ll always be here.

  2. Your opening comment made me laugh out loud! I have six boys, and until that little girl came along, there was a LOT less love and tenderness going on over here. Just sayin’! Love your blog! Love that you belong to my type of religion ;-) Love that you share!

  3. Haley says:

    Mel, I love your blog! I’m sure these fabulous recipes you put out take a ton of time, so thanks for your hard work. Of all of the beautiful, witty, famous blogs I follow (and I follow more than I should), I adore your recipes the most. Heck, my husband knows you by your first name because I always say, “It’s one of Mel’s recipes.” If that’s not love, I don’t know what is. :)

  4. Great post, this is why I like your blog so much :) Keep up a great work and family, always first :)

  5. One of the reasons I’ve loved you for years is because you always seem to do your own thing and never worry about what the latest fad is, what everyone else is saying on twitter, what is trendy, etc. You are just you and you post wonderful recipes and we all love you for it. Anyone who has tried food blogging knows the intense pressure you can feel and the near obsession you can develop with trying to be the best, the latest, the biggest, the first, etc. I’ve always looked to your site as someone who knows who she is (a loving mom with a great sense of humor who makes killer recipes and takes good pics to boot) and doesn’t try to be anything else. Thanks for all the wonderful posts!

  6. Charlotte Moore says:

    Precious picture for sure.

    You are right about your family being first before the blog. So many lose site of that I think.

    BLESSINGS!!

  7. Lillie says:

    Mel, I don’t know if you actually make money from your blog, given the lack of ads and endorsements. I suspect it COSTS you money. At any rate, like others stated before me, keep it up. Although the pictures are fabulous and the commentary is first-rate, it’s the dependable, family-friendly recipes that keep me coming back again and again. I cook from your blog regularly. I think I could cook almost exclusively from your blog if forced to choose. Your bread recipes in particular have taught me so much. What I’m trying to say is that you have established yourself in this realm with me and so many others. You could slap a cell phone picture and a recipe up and that would be enough.

  8. Laura says:

    Dear Mel, I don’t care about pins, facebook, props, wittiness, or fabulous pictures – I just love your recipes! (and my family does too) Keep up the good work. :)

  9. Melanie says:

    This i why we love your blog..YOU. I am a better cook, mother and person…thank u for sharing your love of cooking and family with us all.

  10. Carla says:

    Your blog is my first stop when searching for a great recipe. Many of your recipes are now family favorites. No need to worry about competition, just keep up the great recipes!

  11. Patty says:

    It sounds to me that you have your priority’s right! I have learned over the years not to let myself get caught up in the “noise” of the world. Keep doing what you’re doing!
    BTW…love your recipes!

  12. Tricia` says:

    I’m a new reader of your blog & I can honestly say that out of around 50 food blogs that I’m involved with, yours is the best in my book. I have been cooking over 50+ years & I’m always looking for new recipes & new ways to cook food. Your recipes are fantastic! I also like your optimistic attitude about life & family. Having raised 3 children & worked at a full-time job I know how difficult & tiring it can be to juggle everything. I agree with Laura who says, ” I don’t care about pins, facebook, props, wittiness, or fabulous pictures – I just love your recipes! (and my family does too) Keep up the good work. :)” Please know that I appreciate all the time you spend on your blog.

  13. Kristi says:

    Nice post! It’s hard to find the balance when you have so many things that you want to get done in the day, but might not always have the time.

  14. Deb says:

    Mel – Just wanted to say that you’re the best and first resource I go to when I feed my family and the people I love. I tell all my friends about your site. You have become a cherished friend to me even though we will likely never meet. I want to encourage you that when things are hard, it’s because it’s alot of work to make a difference in the world, but let me assure you that you are making a difference to other people (like me). Thank you for bearing your heart to us and for all the time and effort you put into your blog. Now go be a mom for awhile, that is the highest calling :)

  15. Karen says:

    Yes, yes, what everyone else said. This week alone I’ve made your waffles, cowboy casserole, zucchini lasagna, zucchini bread…in fact if I cooked this week it was one of your recipes. You gave me the confidence and skills to learn to cook. The impact you have on people’s lives is truly remarkable….thank you!!!! PS I don’t think a single one of your readers would care if you took more days with your family here and there.

  16. Lindsay says:

    I’ve never commented before, but after all the blood, sweat and tears (and life balance) you’ve put into this blog, I want you to know how much I LOVE and use this site!! It all started when my neighbour brought me a plate of the MOST delicious oatmeal coconut chewies a year and a half ago. When she told me where the recipe came from, i started looking through the site and realized this blog was also where honey lime enchiladas came from!! (A recipe forwarded to me by my SIL about 5 years ago–which quickly became my family’s #1 favorite recipe!! I always make it for company and it has become a favorite of so many friends and family members!) I knew if the baking here was as good as the cooking, this site was a keeper! Now I cook or bake something from here every single week!!!! I feel like my cooking/baking has come a long way the past year, so thank you so much for sharing your talents with all of us!! This is my go to cooking blog! I’m waiting with bated breath to hear your report on baking cookies with silpats. my birthday is coming up and I’m trying to decide if it should go on my wish lost. :)

    Sorry for the longest comment ever! Cheers from Canada!

  17. Emily Hay says:

    Mel, I found your blog just a couple months ago. Let me just tell you, my family is as happy as I am that I found you! Every.single.recipe I’ve made has been a total hit. Last week I used one of your recipes for every dinner I made. We loved them all. My daughter and husband LOVE the grilled pork chops. I say all that to say THANK YOU! I can’t imagine the amount of time and energy it takes to maintain this blog.

  18. Martha says:

    Thank you, Mel. For all the time you give to us in sharing all of your great recipes. My family enjoys your food. When they are happy with what I have made them, all is right in my world. I love that family is first with you, as it should be. Your family is lucky to have someone who loves them so much. I would be very sad if you stopped but would understand it if you did. Family first. Thank your family, for sharing you with us. You have helped me to enjoy trying new dishes and enjoying them. You have a beautiful family! Enjoy your Saturday! :)

  19. Teresa says:

    I don’t follow pinterest and I am not on facebook- who has time for all of that? When I see people with fancy food props and striped straws, it just makes me wonder about how much money they spend on all of that stuff. Sure, it looks nice in the picture, but this is real life and those things add up. I love your blog because I can relate to you. Your life is more like my life. You are cooking for a husband and several children and want something that will work for little kids as well as their parents. Everything I have made from here has been outstanding! I know if you posted it, it will be good. There are not many blogs I can say that about. Keep doing what you are doing. You being you is not a weakness, it is your greatest strength.

  20. Nikole says:

    Your blog is HANDS DOWN the best one around . 90 percent of the meals I make come from you! I even tried one of your recipes out ( for the first time) at a family gathering for 25 people, because I knew I could trust the source. Of course, the food rocked my socks ! Thank you for taking time away from your darling family to help the rest of us look like culinary geniuses.:) I , for one, would be devastated if the recipes ever stop coming .

  21. emily says:

    Thank you for your blog, Mel! Seems unfair that you do all the work finding and then teaching the perfect recipe and I stroll onto your website, simply pull up a recipe that looks awesome and suddenly this girl who had no cooking experience is “a rock star in the kitchen.” You are not just any blogger – you are a teacher! Oh, and I TRUST you that the recipes will turn out just like you say they will – they do every time. Thanks so much for the blog – you are awesome and I really appreciate every thing you do on here!

  22. Justine says:

    Can I just say your blog is my favorite because it DOESN’T include all the promotions, giveaways and such! I love your food and like that I don’t have to read through other stuff to get to it. It’s like getting recepies from a cookbook instead of a magazine:) and if you miss a week or two or twelve – good. It means you’re enjoying your sweet family.

  23. Emily F says:

    There are so many blogs that I’ve followed for a while and then stopped following because they filled up with sponsored posts and became less about sharing recipes and more about the authors obviously trying to make more money. I understand people trying to make a little additional cash, but a lot of the sponsored posts aren’t really relevant to the purpose of the blog and just become annoying.

    What I’m trying to say is that I (along with so many other people) keep coming back to your blog because you keep doing what you originally set out to do, share great recipes and help us feed our families well. It is specifically your lack of sponsored posts, competition, blogHer stories, etc. that attracts me to your blog. I don’t identify with that stuff, but I do identify with you and your family and trying to do the best you can with them. And if you need to cut back to one or two posts per week, I don’t think anyone will complain because we know they’ll be great!

  24. Sharon says:

    I just discovered your blog fairly recently. This week all my recipes that I prepared were yours! All big hits and I’m sharing your website with others. Your recipes are consistently great! Family friendly!

  25. Dianna says:

    Great perspective. As long as you feel the same joy in posting that you did when you began, then I think you’ve managed to succeed. There is a lot of blog pressure out there {says the girl with a barely budding little blog}, but stay true to yourself and the rest will surely follow. Your kiddos are lucky to have a mama with her priorities in check! Keep cookin’! :)

  26. Katie says:

    Mel, your blog is AMAZING just the way it is! I make at least two or three of your meals every week. Thank you for everything you do!

  27. Barb says:

    I would miss you so much and also your family (and your recipes) if you stopped blogging. It’s a joy to read.

  28. Emily says:

    I rarely pin and I never tweet. But I cook your recipes five times a week and on the days I don’t I am always disappointed and say, “I should have just made something from Mel.” I consider us good friends because of the influence you have had on my cooking. Thank you for making mealtime fun. I recommend your recipes to everyone I talk to about cooking. I make some of your recipes again and again which is a real compliment to you because I used to NEVER make the same thing twice.

  29. Karalee says:

    Ah that ever elusive balance. I am pretty sure that we only experience brief periods while the seesaw of life is bringing the next up, or down swing.
    It is lovely to eat and share wonderful food through the craziness. Thank you for sticking to your goal. It makes for recipes that are keepers at our house.

  30. Melanie says:

    Quit blogging??? **gasp**!!! What in the world would my family eat??!!! :) you can’t do that to me Mel!! :)

  31. Tanya says:

    Your blog is my absolute favorite and my go-to. Your loyal readers don’t buy into the hype of giveaways and flashy props. Your blog can rest on its sweet author and wonderful food (isnt that the point of a food blog anyways?) I appreciate all the time and dedication you give to keep this up. I don’t know how you do it. I have two young boys and hardly have time to blink! Keep it up. Youre amazing!

  32. Melissa says:

    Beautiful post Mel and something I can really relate to! The balance between being a mom and blogging is a handful at times but definitely a great outlet and hobby for me! You are an inspiration!

  33. aw, Mel, I love this post! This is why I love your blog – you stay out of the competition of it all. You’ve always been my blogging role model for sure :) And it’s kind of amazing how much my blog has already suffered with only one sweet little baby to take care of – I can’t imagine how you get done all that you do.

  34. Mary says:

    Hi Mel, please don’t worry about the MOST monster which I sometimes feel is not limited to just food blogging but being a mom in general in society and with the internet today (who can have the most cute kiddos, who can make the most healthy, most organic meals, who can do the most adorable Pinterest crafts with their children, who can keep the most clean house and work fulltime etc, etc). I guess what I’m trying to say is a I feel you, but I hope you don’t change a thing. I stumbled upon your blog while on maternity leave with my 2nd baby this past spring and I have never followed one until yours. I simply love it and am slightly obsessed with it. It has helped me find really great recipes with favorites that we already turn to weekly which helps my grocery bill, always makes me feel like I’m for once making yummy meals that I know will be eaten, and most importantly it saves my sanity when it is time to menu plan and actually cook. I’m also trying to convince my husband to move to a rural area, have several more children and buy a kitchen grain mill after seeing you do it:)

  35. Michelle says:

    Mel- just keep it simple, really. I love your blog partly because it isn’t all fancy/hyped up. For me, all I want in a blog is a little interesting commentary, a couple decent pictures, and a fantastic recipe. That’s what you have, and why you remain my favorite food blog! :)

  36. Melanie says:

    Thanks Mel for the honesty. I appreciate how you keep things real, and prioritized. You are a good example to me. I would understand if you pulled the plug on the whole venture, but I am so grateful you haven’t. Thanks the great recipes and the thoroughness in you research. If you every need a helper–or guest, shoot me an email. I would love to help!

  37. Keri says:

    I am new to your blog — just a couple of weeks. I LOVE your recipes and have literally used one everyday since I found you. Thank-you!!

  38. I am so glad you posted this. I am not as near as accomplished as you are & my blog is still newer, but I feel lots of pressure too. At first, my blog was about making a portfolio of my culinary creations & recipes for future work opportunities, as I am a stay-at-home mom & needed something as a “resume” for work later. (I am a Culinary Graduate.) I have realized I love food blogging, & I love that I can do it at my own pace & I love that I have made some money off of it. But then it feels as though everyone else that is newer to blog world is having greater success than me. More fans, more sponsors, more giveaways, etc.

    I genuinely want readers that love me for me & my recipes. I really hope that they make my recipes at home & love them. I never post a recipe that doesn’t turn out just so I can have something on the blog. And I have only recently really started working with sponsors & giveaways, & it kind of sucks to be “buying” my fans. I like the organic ones who have stumbled upon my recipes from pinterest & like me because they want to, not because they want the prize I am offering. Anyway, it really is a fun/crazy blogging world to be a part of. And it’s nice to hear more moms feeling the same way. Family is first! And always should be!

  39. Cara says:

    just so you know, i loooooooove your blog! probably 85% of the dinners i make come from you, and i know i can trust you! also, i love that you don’t have a gajillion step-by-step pictures on every single post. i hate scrolling through a crazy-long post just to get to the simple recipe at the bottom. keep on keepin’ on, sister! you’re amazing!

  40. Samantha S says:

    Mel, you must never speak such blasphemy of potentially quitting your blog again. Your blog taught me how to cook. Almost everything i make comes from your blog. You don’t need to do fancy things to keep up in the blog world, because at the end of the day, people come here for your content. I like knowing that when you say a recipe is good, it’s good, and I don’t have to worry about the recipe not turning out. We love you, keep up the good work.

  41. Mel, I have been following your blog for about a year and appreciate your deep filled honesty. I am also a blogger, but I am definitely not as consistent as you. Thanks for giving us all the real definition of what a mommy blogger should be. Makes me feel better that I am keeping my priorities straight! Keep doing what you’re doing … you have a great audience that loves you, regardless of the “numbers” involved!

  42. Amanda Smith says:

    Love ya

  43. I like your priorities and mine are similar: family first, chocolate second, blog third. :)

  44. Mel says:

    Thanks you guys. Really. I didn’t mean for this to be a pick-me-up post (it was more like a brain dump post) but I’ve been really bolstered up by your comments. It means the world to me. Thank you for your kindness and loyalty!

  45. Karen says:

    You rock! But better than that is that you are REAL! Your food is normal food that tastes AWESOME! I can relate to you and that means a lot in this blogging stuff.
    I too don’t use any of the pinning, tweeting, face booking! I also love that you don’t have all these ads that keep popping up.
    You and your blog are great, just the way you are. Don’t change. Feel free to post less if life gets too stressful….you won’t loose me.
    It’s pretty much you and The Pioneer Woman that are my go to food blogs.

  46. [email protected] Spady says:

    I love your recipes. I love your blog. I love that your family comes first. I hope you stick around for a long time!! Thank you!!

  47. Amanda says:

    Hey Mel, your website is my absolute favorite for recipes. Nearly everything I’ve tried has turned out perfectly, and the things that haven’t are probably due to user error. I ALWAYS direct people to your blog for great, family friendly recipes. I love that your recipes are kid-friendly, homemade, without wacky ingredients (unless it’s for a REALLY GOOD REASON), and some of the most delicious food I’ve ever made.

    But the other reason I like your blog is that I feel that you are so genuine when you write. I follow other blogs, but I always feel their blogs are a little forced. From you, I get the feeling you truly love what you do. Basically, I think you and your blog are fabulous!

  48. Erin says:

    Love you! LOVE your recipes/blog. Thank you for you.

  49. I started blogging a year and a half ago, and the changes the food blogging world experienced are huge, I can only imagine almost six. I´m all about the recipes too, and I love your blog a lot because of that. Reliable sutff and authenticity is hard to come upon these days, with all the social media numbers. Today is friend´s day here in argentina, so a big hug to you Mel, one of my favorite blogging `friends´!

  50. Danica says:

    Well you must be doing something right by not getting too caught up in the craziness, because I come here FIRST for every recipe I need, and only look elsewhere if I can’t find it here. For years this has been my #1 go-to spot and I love knowing I can trust the recipes you put up on here! Thanks for being real!

  51. Meg says:

    Keep on blogging! As many others have mentioned, yours is the first place I come to look for a sure-to-be-a-hit recipe, and it’s also often when I come to compare your recipe for something to one I might have found elsewhere online. I love that you post a lot of healthy, from scratch recipes (though please keep posting your amazing desserts, too!), and that most of the ingredients are pretty easy to find. Keep it up! Oh, and thanks for all the time and effort you put in. :)

  52. connie says:

    The picture of the kiddos holding on to one another is priceless. My boys were always close, and protective of one another, but the real closeness didn’t really show up until they were in their teens. It will come, I promise you.

    As an avid reader of food blogs, you are right about the competition to be the biggest and the best. I, personally, tire of the blogs that always have a contest to win whatever, by pinning, facebooking, etc. .I am here strictly to look at recipes and lovely pictures like the one you posted today.

    Your blog is fantastic, but like the real world, family comes first. You have your priorities in the right order.

  53. Heather says:

    Oh girl- no worries about all the “mosts.” Seriously. As a reader/follower of a few popular recipe blogs I don’t pay attention to all of that. Wanna know what I care about? THE FOOD! I don’t care about all the extras- sometimes I find it all a little annoying- follow me here, follow me there, follow me everywhere! Your blog is truly considered one of my cookbooks, and when I need a recipe, I know where to go. Simple as that. My point, keep doing what you were doing from day one and you will have followers. If you post they will come- or rather, make. Don’t worry about keeping up with the blogging Jones’- in the end, all we want is tried and true :0) THANK YOU- you have fed my family many dinners!

  54. Michelle says:

    Mel,
    Love your blog, please don’t stop and really who cares how many times your recipe is repinned or on Facebook…..I like your foodblog the best as your recipes are easy, fast and even my boys have liked some of them..they are the most pickiest of eaters……..I use your blog extensively and don’t even look at others…..

  55. Kim R says:

    You have got your priorities in the right order… Families first! But… you have also been give a special gift, talent, platform to present from (that allows you to be with your family) and opportunity. The Bible tells us – to whom much is given, much is expected. Gather your years of talented and flavorful recipes and wisdom and sell them in a book. I would be thrilled to have a great cookbook! You are blessed! Truly We Thank You for All You Do! We all have several feeds and sites we follow. I can honestly say… I actually look for yours-and read it-immediately!

  56. Susanne says:

    I rarely comment on blogs. I leave it for the wittier writers, but I cannot help myself today. I want to thank you for your delightful blog. You have given me a desire to cook again. I am so grateful for your delicious recipes. It sounds a little silly but I can hardly wait for Monday morning to check to see what you have for us that day, but I completely agree with you our family is our #1 priority. Everything else is a distant 2nd. I think your readers would all agree we don’t need fancier pictures or anything else for that matter. We have grateful hearts for what you have time and are willing to share with us.

  57. This is exactly what I love about your blog. You bring us real food. You don’t force the rest of it. Blog on!

  58. Brooke says:

    I haven’t commented on here in years but I would just like to say thanks for your blog. I am a mom of five (but in the reverse, 1 boy, 4 girls) and your site helps me feed them! I cook everyday and your blog helps me not get bored and be inspired in my ‘job’ of raising my children. Thank you and even better that its free! I refer people and new moms all the time to your site and really appreciate it. I have abandoned other food blogs over the years (after two or three gross recipes, they get the boot) and yours has always been a keeper. one day I will make the tres leches dessert!

  59. Tara says:

    I just wanted to say a BIG Thank You for taking the time to do your amazing blog. I have only made recipes from your site the past 2 weeks and I have never seen my husband be so in love with food before! (I’ve always had an obsession with food.. haha) He and I are ALWAYS so impressed with every recipe I try. I am so grateful because you get me cooking from home and excited about it. Rather than worried at 4 PM- “what am I going to try and make tonight? Or should we just get fast food?” Thank you SO much Mel, I love your blog and I am SOOO glad you take the time to do it! Your food blog is AMAZING! And the BEST!

  60. Angela says:

    I enjoy all of the fancy enhancements you’ve put in your blog through the years, but I’m here for the recipes, baby. 90% of my new dinner recipes come from you (and 100% of anything involving bread or cookies!). It’s not for the fancy features, rather because you’ve struck a great balance of family-friendly and budget-friendly recipes…with a much-enjoyed twist of adventure. Our pantries are similar and our tastes are similar, so I love that I can just pop open your site and we’ll have something new for dinner without a trip to the store. And I love that I don’t even have to bother trying something out before trusting that it’ll work for company. I appreciate all you do and have a renewed appreciation that you keep at it with all you juggle. Thank you!!!

  61. Debbie says:

    Hi Mel!! Now that I have recovered from my morning shock, I just need to agree with all of the other comments. I’ve been cooking for my family for 40 years and I was getting tired of trying bad recipes. I found you two years ago and you changed my life. Thank you for all the wonderful recipes and witty humor you add to my day. You’re the best!!

  62. Abbie says:

    MEL!! I absolutely LOVE your blog. I always come here first for recipes. I swear I print almost everything you post! You are amazing and such a great teacher. Thank you for all the hard work you put in for your blog!!!

  63. Liz says:

    Love your pictures, Mel, and especially the little one with brother and sister – so precious and adorable. Have a good weekend!

  64. Michelle says:

    I follow far too many food blogs and spend far too much time pouring over pinterest… but when I need a great recipe? I come here first, always. You do a great job and my husband thanks you for it!

  65. Anna R says:

    Thanks for sharing your perspective today.
    I’ve been following your blog for 4+years now…because you share really awesome family food!! I don’t need/want to read a million food blogs. Just the handful that I’ve come to trust for really good recipes (like yours!) Plus I love your wit/perspective that comes along with the recipes.
    :)

  66. Stephanie says:

    I love your blog way over any of the other food blogs. The main reason is the originality of all your recipes. It seems all the other food blogs just get recipes from all the other food blogs and just re-post them. I love that you retry your recipes until their perfect and delicious. Never been disappointed with one of your recipes. Thanks!

  67. tiffany says:

    Your website is great!! And if you need to do less or none at all, family is the most important, than do it! Or even less frequently, you have long list of recipes to try and we love them all! Thanks!

  68. Beth Severens says:

    Just had to let you know what an inspiration your blog and recipes have been to me and my family. Anytime I make something wonderful, my family says in unison, “Mel’s Café?”~~ If only I had not told them about your blog!!! Thank you so much for your “tried and true” recipes that do not waste my time and always are a hit. Even if you never posted another recipe so you could spend more time with your wonderful family, you would still be a rock star around my house!

  69. Shauna says:

    I stopped following most food blogs a little while ago. Yours was one of the two that I kept because I feel like you are just being you with yummy food thrown in. I’m glad you’re still here!

  70. Mel says:

    Mel-
    All the fancy stuff doesn’t matter to me, just the great recipes you share with all of us. I think EVERY recipe I have made from your site has been a keeper! I’m hoping that you stick around…what would I cook without you?
    Another Mel in CA

  71. Jen T says:

    We seriously make some recipe of yours almost everyday!!! I agree, you shouldn’t worry about pins, traffic, etc. You just have the best recipes that do rock, so keep it up! You are doing a great job! And that picture is so cute! I have 3 girls and one boy, and I agree, when you see that love (very seldom, but every once in a while) it makes the whole world happy! God bless you for all you do and maintaining that balance. Life is all about balance–in every aspect.

  72. Brittany says:

    This post was awesome and spot on! That’s one if the reasons why I love your blog is that you aren’t caught up in the blog-race. I seriously am on your blog several times a day looking up recipes. Just about everything we’ve tried have been keepers! Thanks so much for sharing such great recipes all these years. I am a better cook for it!

  73. Danielle says:

    I trust your blog for amazing recipes. As long as you focus on just that (just like you have been)we will all keep coming back. We don’t need any bells and whistles. Thank you for always having such wonderful content. You have taught me so much! Don’t let the blogger world standards distract you. You are amazing just as you are and I tell everyone about your site! I use your recipes ALL of the time!!! You are the best!

  74. Thank you! I have thought and listened to those same loud voices in my own head and heart. And I always come back to the same grounded spot to land, I am in this for the pleasure of it all. Sure I would love to share what I do with more folks, but hey it is not really about that. I too enjoy your blog and envy your energy for it all! I do spend significant time away from home (commute and work runs 10 hours a day) but you do amaze me. We now have a flour mill and next is your homemade bread recipe.

  75. Bethany says:

    Okay, you don’t even need the BEST pics, or MOST witty writing (but you kinda already have it). Your food is simple, delicious, healthy, inexpensive, family-friendly, and satisfying. That will keep this blog alive and well without any of the extras. And honestly, I think the kind of mom you are (a really great one, it seems) is a huge positive force in your blog. If you put blogging ahead of your family, I honestly think the blog wouldn’t be as good. We all kind of look up to you. :) thanks a million for helping us out in the kitchen and in life.

  76. Mame says:

    I feel ya – and I don’t know how you do it but I am SO GRATEFUL that you do! We all love your blog so immensely much, and we all tell our friends about it too. I hope you continue to figure it out the best you can, because really that is all we are doing, relying on the Lord all the way – knowing He can help out with what we miss. Thanks for all you do. (I am tearing up a little here. Is that SO cheesy or what?!)

  77. Jessica says:

    Thank you so much for all the work you put in! I use your menu
    And pantry list every day. I check you daily and go through the archives
    On holidays or even just to click around for awhile. This is a great blog. I
    recommend you all the time!

  78. Julie says:

    I love your blog too and cook almost exclusively from it:). So many delicious recipes. This week my kids wrote a poem about a “man named Krell, who married a wife that was swell, who did all her cooking from the cafe of Mel!!” Ha!! My family appreciates your recipes too. I’ve never commented before, but thanks for all your wonderful recipes!!

  79. Nancy says:

    Hey Mel,

    I have been a lurker/follower of your fantastic blog for several years. It is long overdue for me to say Thank You!. Love your recipes, anecdotes and upbeat attitude. I am at least twenty years older, and still consider my #1 calling being a mother to my three children. I have been cooking a long time, and appreciate the role of good meals in our family life. Two of them are still students, and are home for the summer. I am challenged feeding my husband and two young men, it gets mundane, labor intensive and expensive. I have made many of your recipes, and they are all good! You are a source of inspration, and I enjoy your blog very much. Thank you for all that you do, and I send all best wishes to you and your beautiful family!

  80. Sista, you speak the truth!
    It’s such a hard balance some days and other days, I’m like “I’m DONE!” But like you said, the kiddos and the husband are first priority and the day that blogging comes in between me and them, it’s over.
    You’re right about the “noise”… sometimes is overwhelming when it comes to blogging. I know I will never have the best pictures, or the snappiest wit, but I do know I love to eat, and I think that’s what people can relate to!

    Keep up the fab work, you’re totally amazing!

  81. Marissa says:

    Mel,
    I am a NON-blog follower. Except for yours. I marvel all the time that you are able to do all that you do. I applaud you for your great values and appreciate all you share with us. I wish we could be neighbors (seriously here, if you are looking for a move again, I want you next door). Thank you, thank you, thank you. If I could send you some dark chocolate wrapped in a hug, I would :)

  82. Chantel says:

    Mel, I wouldn’t know what to cook if you quit telling me what to cook. I’ve never commented before, but I rely on your recipes every week. I make at least 3 a week. One would think I had no brain of my own. You just make it easy to cook real food for my family. I have no interest in searching Pinterest for the latest and the greatest. I just come to you. I also appreciate your, uh, goofiness. I mean that as a compliment, baby! You rock my belly!

  83. Crystal says:

    Love your blog! I have been a very regular reader since 2009. My sisters and I have used a ton of your recipes and we affectionately call you, “good ol’ Mel” whenever we ask each other where got the recipe.

  84. Andrea says:

    Your blog is the best.
    Love your recipes and how “you” you are. I love that you are just you and just sharing great recipes.
    Thank you!!

  85. digrr says:

    Thank you, Mel! I love your blog, your recipes, and your spunk! You are living the life, and it isn’t always pretty, but those beautiful children are our future. Go girl!

  86. Rachel says:

    Three thoughts:
    1) I LOVE how real you are. Nothing fake, nothing impractical, no judgements, no competition, no saying you like or use something just to make a few bucks. Just you and your sweet family and some amazing food. Thank you!
    2) I LOVE your recipes. We eat something from your site at least weekly! My family has loved everything I’ve made from here. And I’m not sure how you know, but you seem to do the step-by-step thing for just the right recipes, like you’re doing them because you know when I’ll need them! Thank you!
    3) {This one is totally not food related!} I really appreciate your writing style and grammar! I appreciate that you proof-read your posts, check for spelling errors, and use commas where you should. I love that you keep things positive. In this technology age anyone can publish anything, regardless of readability. I’m nowhere close to perfect myself, but I appreciate the effort you put in to make your work easy and fun to read. Thank you!

    Keep up the great work! We love you here!

  87. Veronica says:

    Love that you’re keeping your priorities straight and not falling prey to the pressures! Though you have to admit, your blog is crazy popular and you’re one of the ones that add to the pressure. Ha! Love all the recipes you share and hope you’ll be doing it for a long time. Also love that precious pictures! Aw!

  88. laura h. says:

    I hope the day never comes when this faithful blog comes to an end! But all would surely understand, family comes first! In the meantime, I love your blog! I’m a faithful follower of at least 3 years, maybe more. I always direct family and friends to my latest discovery from your blog. When in need of a specific recipe, I always search your site first. I shudder to think what my family’s meals would look like each week without you! Your pictures are beautiful, but what I like most about the blog is the recipes are so good, so easy (and yes I am willing to consider bread from scratch “easy” if it tastes THAT good!) and so reliable. I think I have tried over 50 recipes from your blog. (REALLY good odds- we only came across 2(!) that we didn’t care for)
    This homage to your yummy food/rocking blog is almost over, just one more thing: you are awesome! :)

  89. Janssen says:

    Just another voice to say “You are THE food blog I cook from.” If I need a dependable meal, dessert, or bread, you are my one-stop shop. And I just feel like we are pretend friends :)

  90. Judy says:

    Like what most of the other people have said, 90% of the meals I make for my family come from your blog. Everything I make from you is simply awesome! I know that you only put the best on there.
    What I love most is that there is not a giveaway every other day. I know that is how bloggers make money, but it is a total turn off for me and I have stopped following blogs because they are always trying to plug the next greatest thing. I also love how true your blog voice is. I can read a post from 3 years ago and today and you are still you. And while we have never met in person, I feel like you are truly putting out the real Mel.

    The only way you can ever stop blogging is if you put out a cookbook (or 10) and I would buy every one and find every excuse to give them as presents to everyone I know!

    Thanks so much!

  91. Jennifer says:

    Oh, Mel, it breaks my heart that you suffer from the slightest bit of self-doubt. Your blog single-handedly saved my sanity when I discovered it about 5 months ago. Because I was struggling so much with the after-work sprint to put dinner on the table and try to pay attention to my daughters before bath and bed, I was feeling like a terribly inadequate wife and mother. I have tried at least 20 of your recipes so far, and every one has been declared a keeper. And because your new picture-based index didn’t seem to have everything, I just tonight finished going through EVERY post, page by page, to stock up my recipe box with foods that make me happy to put on the table. I am eternally grateful for the recipes, wholly awed by your ability to do this in addition to clearly being an adoring mother of 5, and I love your writing style and jokes (and your guts!) We would all forgive you if you quit because it no longer suited your family. But you should never doubt your talent or that you “belong” out here in blog land. You are the rock star in my kitchen…I’m just a passable cover band :)

  92. Kristy says:

    Just want to say THANKS for all your work. I love your blog and like many others, it is usually my first stop when looking for recipes. I was recently diagnosed with celiac which has thrown my whole baked-good loving world into a tailspin. I’ve been thrilled to find many of your main dish recipes that I can adapt easily to be gluten free. It kind of makes me feel like my best recipe source friend hasn’t abandoned me! :) Just want you to know you are appreciated.

  93. Melanie M says:

    Your blog is my one and only food blog of choice! I’m here daily looking up all of my favorite recipes that you’ve shared. Thanks for making me a super star in my own kitchen!

  94. heather bell says:

    I must admit, when I saw ads pop up on your sidebar, I told my husband, “My favorite blogger just started doing ads.” I know, rude of me. But I was afraid! Because once people start doing ads, the blog completely changes. I am so happy to see that yours hasn’t! I know your recipes really are the best and you must work your butt off having the 5 kids and life. Yes, balance is a hilarious word. I have 8, 5, 3, 1 and I know we will have one more. I tried a blog just for fun. I couldn’t keep up and I didn’t even want to. So, I am glad there are great bloggers like you out there who do it for the love of food, not the love of fame!

  95. Brittney says:

    Mel, your blog is my all time favorite! Your recipes are absolutely amazing and I love how you keep it real. Your blog is my go to source when planning meals. I can’t even imagine all the hard work and time you put into it! It doesn’t go unappreciated!

  96. Rachel says:

    I hate that your blog stresses you out. You don’t need to try to “keep up with the (blogging) Joneses”, because your food is delicious and your readers love you for you. Thanks for everything!

  97. Regina P says:

    I love your blog! I think what you post are real recipes that don’t take rare & expensive items….Just everyday foods i can get at WalMart. And everything that i have tried is SO good :) I hope you never ‘retire’ from blogging! Your posts are the ones i look forward to most in my feed.

  98. wendy says:

    Don’t stop what you are doing!!!!! Love your blog and look forward to it everyday. In any job anywhere you will get drama. Ignore it and do what you love. Your passion will guide you and we all will understand when family takes over. We all have family that comes first as it should. So do what you love and be happy. That’s all that matters.

  99. Katherine D. says:

    Loved this post and it resonated with me so much!
    I have a (small) food blog that I stopped posting to for 6 months because I really wanted to examine whether my purpose was to grow the blog or grow my kids. I hated being away for 6 months, but I had to prove to myself that I would keep my family #1 and going cold turkey from the blog was how I kept my priorities.
    I am NOT suggesting you stop posting cause then I would come knock on your door and beg you for more recipes and that would be awkward….I am simply relating to your feelings.
    Of all the food blogs out there I love yours the best! Truly. I trust your recipes to be as good as you say they will be. I have never been unhappy with what you post!
    But I also love your blog because you have stayed true to what you started all those years ago. I don’t care for all the “promotions” on the other sites – lots of giveaways and sponsored posts. I understand that they are creating a business, but I prefer to follow the blogs that offer the recipes..not the invitation to link to 36 other blogs to enter a contest to win a spatula :)
    Stay true to who you are…..it’s why we all keep coming back.
    And feel free to post a pb&j if you need to every once in a while so you can give more time to those cutie kiddos!

  100. Antoinette says:

    Your blog and recipes come straight from your heart. That is easy to see. Please know that we love you and don’t need all the bells and whistles. You fill my kitchen with wonderful things. My family and I thank you for that!

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