Back From My Blogging Break

posted by Andrea | 09/3/2013

I’m baaaaaaaack!

As many of you probably realized by now, I took the entire month of August off from blogging – not because I was burnt out or feeling totally overwhelmed — but simply because I could.

Yes, I probably lost some readers and I know I lost a bit of ad revenue, but I had a full month to slow down and savor the last few weeks of Summer with Dave and Nora — all home together.

It was glorious!

I know some of you thought I might not come back — and to be perfectly honest, the first 2 weeks were so wonderful I did have about 4 seconds where I thought “what would happen if I never went back?”

But then I snapped out of it and realized that I love blogging way too much to quit — plus I would miss hearing from all of you!

I think I’ll plan to do something similar next summer, but in the mean time, I’ve got LOTS to share.

We accomplished a lot and (as you can see by the photos in this post) we relaxed a lot over the past couple of months — and although the strict school routine will be a bit of a rude awakening, I think our whole family is ready for more of a regular daily and weekly schedule (as much as we hate to admit it!)

Even though there were MANY nights when I laid awake in bed thinking, “I should write a blog post about ______”, I just wrote down my ideas and saved them for later. Even I was impressed with my nonchalant attitude towards working and blogging in August.

However, as I’m sure you can imagine, I didn’t just sit around for the entire month and do nothing.

I stayed busy — but not TOO busy. Just busy enough that I didn’t get bored or get myself into too much trouble — because Nora is enough trouble and mischief for our whole family.

cheesy grin

1. Outside Projects:

Dave and I always have projects — especially during the Summer months when we’re both home and able to get lots done, even with Nora around.

Our 2 big summer projects (I’ll show before and after pictures of both sometime in the next couple weeks) were our landscaping and our garage. We completely renovated both — and we’re SO happy with the results!

sunset over the front porch

We spent the month of August tying up all the little lose ends that sometimes go unfinished or unnoticed for months. We knew if we didn’t do them before school started up, we probably wouldn’t get to them until spring break :)

2. Canning and Preserving:

I still have more canning to do later this Fall, but over my August blogging break, I managed to can strawberry jam, strawberry-rhubarb jam, blueberry jam, and peaches. I also washed, divided, and froze 20 pounds of fresh Michigan blueberries for smoothies, muffins, pancakes, and more.

peaches and bluberies

Once I pick raspberries in a few weeks, I’ll can raspberry jam and triple berry jam. Then I’ll do pears and applesauce. THEN I’ll be done canning for 2 years (I only do it every-other year).

3. VA Work:

Even though I took a month off from blogging, I still continued to do all my virtual assistant work — which took up about 15 hours per week (Summers tend to be slower). I did most of it at night after Nora went to bed and after it was too dark to work outside, so it really didn’t cramp my month of relaxation and fun too much :)

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4. Getting Nora to Eat:

Ok, so this might sound a little odd, but one of our goals for the month of August was to finally get Nora to start eating solid foods exclusively.

I’ll be talking more about this struggle in future posts, but for now, I’ll just say that after 21 long months of breast feeding, 3 different therapy programs, and lots of tears from both me and Nora, she is FINALLY eating solid food and totally done nursing.

Praise the Lord!

Starting at 6 months (when I was originally planning to cut back on nursing) she began refusing any sort of a bottle, sippy cup, baby food, or solid food — to the point where she would either throw up or go for large chunks of the day without eating anything unless I would nurse her (and yes, she screamed all day if I wasn’t around).

As many of you know, she’s been super stubborn and strong-willed from the day she was born… and while she’s still extremely picky and only eats a few foods, I’m simply thankful that I’m no longer her source of nutrition.

I have my life back. I can be gone for more than 3 hours at a time. It feels good!

5. General House Upkeep:

It was time to do a little purging, organizing, tidying, and deep cleaning around our house — and what better time than right before the crazy, busy back-to-school season starts up again?

I went through our closets and cabinets, we rearranged some furniture in our upstairs bedrooms, sold a bunch of stuff on Craigslist, got our carpets cleaned (thanks to Nora dumping a whole bottle of Kitchen Bouquet in the middle of our living room), washed all the blankets and rugs, washed the furniture slip covers, etc. etc.

nora spilled in the living room

I don’t really love doing any of those things, and I certainly don’t do them as part of my normal (and very relaxed) weekly cleaning, so it felt good to accomplish them now so I don’t have to think about them again for a while.

6. Helping out a Friend:

One of the main reasons I decided to take the month of August off was because several months ago, I agreed to help out a friend on her maternity leave for the month of August. We worked together at a local company for several years, and although I quit working regular office hours soon after Nora was born, I’m still on the pay roll and do some consulting work for them.

So since I still “knew the ropes” a bit, since Dave was available to watch Nora, and since it really would’t have made any sense to train someone else to do all her work for just a few weeks, I agreed to come back on a part-time basis just for the month of August.

It was definitely a change of pace for me — actually leaving the house a couple days a week — and I knew it would make me significantly busier on top of all the other things I wanted to do in August.

7. Lots of Fun!

August definitely wasn’t “all work and no play” for the Dekkers.

We had lots of fun going out to eat, visiting with family and friends, attending (and hosting) backyard BBQ’s, picking flowers, going for walks, reading the same books over and over and over again, visiting the local county fair, swimming, etc.

picking flowers

snack time outside

painted nails

Oh, and for those of you who didn’t see the picture below on my Facebook page, I just had to share here on the blog too.

It’s me and Nora (she’s a little older than what I was) wearing the same pink cowgirl hat my parents saved from when I was a baby!

twins!

I have a lot of fun posts (and a few giveaways) planned for the next several weeks — so I hope you stick around.

It’s good to be back! 

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49 comments

  1. Charissa

    09/03/2013

    You’ve been missed, but it looks like you had a wonderful August!! Looking forward to the new posts!!

    [Reply]

  2. Olivia @ Crossing Bridges

    09/03/2013

    Missed you, but definitely glad you took some time to enjoy your precious family and help out your friend! Selfishly, though…I’m super glad August is over and you’re back!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — well I’d much rather be blogging than the financial desk work I was doing to help my friend, so selfishly I’m glad to be back too :)

    [Reply]

  3. Jo

    09/03/2013

    Welcome back! I’ve missed your blogging updates!

    [Reply]

  4. Kristy

    09/03/2013

    Welcome back! Can’t wait to see your garage and yard projects. What you can see in some of the pictures the yard looks great!!

    [Reply]

  5. slt

    09/03/2013

    Praise the Lord, is right!! So glad Nora is getting food and YOU have your body back to yourself! :)

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  6. Lisa the Farm Lady

    09/03/2013

    Glad you were able to relax! How wonderful for you and your family.

    [Reply]

  7. Debby

    09/03/2013

    So glad that you are back. You were quite a busy girl even without the blogging. Sometimes a break can make us feel so renewed. Thanks for all the great Nora pics too :)

    [Reply]

  8. Caitlin

    09/03/2013

    Great to hear how your summer went! Look forward to your future posts! You sounded super busy!!

    [Reply]

  9. shelly

    09/03/2013

    So glad your back and so happy you enjoyed your time off. Looking forward to reading your new posts.

    [Reply]

  10. shelly

    09/03/2013

    By the way I tried your pasta pizza bake in the crockpot and it is wonderful. Easy meal to put on before Church on Sundays. Please keep bringing us wonderful,simple and easy recipes! Getting ready to use your microwave jam recipe this morning to make some Strawberry jam :)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh good — glad you liked that meal. It’s a favorite at our house — hope the jam works out for you too :)

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  11. Kristen

    09/03/2013

    Glad you are back! Getting Nora to eat sounds like the biggest accomplishment of them all! Yay!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yup — it was a big goal that we wanted to accomplish before Dave started school again. interestingly enough, we had the same goal LAST summer, so it only took us a fully year to actually accomplish it :)

    [Reply]

  12. stacey

    09/03/2013

    I’m so glad you took a break and so glad you’re back!

    [Reply]

  13. Evie

    09/03/2013

    Welcome back, and congrats on all your amazing accomplishments! Congratulations to Nora especially for becoming such a Big Girl. :-)

    [Reply]

  14. Susan

    09/03/2013

    Yippee!! Thank goodness I will have something exciting to read each morning again. :) Congrats on enjoying your month of August and accomplishing so many goals!

    [Reply]

  15. Diana

    09/03/2013

    Welcome back. Truly enjoy your blog and pictures. Yard looks great.

    [Reply]

  16. Lora

    09/03/2013

    Welcome back! I took most of the summer off from reading blogs too :) Glad you’re back as I’m catching back up. Excited to see the house/yard in a few weeks. Yay for Nora eating! Praise the Lord. Yay for you! You’re an amazing mom!

    [Reply]

  17. Angela Crossno

    09/03/2013

    I found your blog last year and have read it each and every day! I love your honesty, and you always have such interesting information and helpful ideas! I’m glad you’re back, but I completely understand and support your choice to slow down and take a break. Thank you for sharing your life with your readers.
    Sincerely,
    Angela

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Angela!

    [Reply]

  18. Jen

    09/03/2013

    Welcome back! Glad to hear you had an enjoyable and productive summer. Looking forward to the pics and posts to come of all your hard work!

    [Reply]

  19. Janice

    09/03/2013

    Really missed you and glad you’re back, however, good for you for taking that break before your husband went back to school. Such wisdom!
    I’m feeling inspired again to purge after reading that you mentioned you had been at it again. From the pictures of your home and how purged, neat, and beautiful it already looks, I can’t imagine that you ever have anything else to get rid of. I’m also inspired to try to sell some things on Craigslist.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Janice, and honestly, I don’t think there is any home in America that doesn’t need to purge at some point! I will admit that I don’t usually do big purges anymore because I’ve gotten pretty good at just not bringing unnecessary things into our home. However, as I’m sure you know, it’s just a continual process (especially with kids) so at least once a year, I like to go through all the closets and cabinets and do a “once-over”.
    I’m hopefully selling a bunch more on Craigslist next weekend (that’s my goal right now) we’ll see how it goes. Good luck with your sales and your purging!

    [Reply]

  20. Amy

    09/03/2013

    Reading your comments on Nora and her eating reminds me of our son. He was/still can be at times a very picky eater and very stubborn. For the first 2 years of life he was failure to thrive because he wouldn’t eat (he also had bad GERD). We also attended various therapy groups trying to get help, but it wasn’t unitl we finally we met Dr. Kay Toomey a world renowned feeding specialist (who happens to have an office here in Colorado) and she discovered that our son had food sensory issues. She and her team worked with our son for 24 weeks (individual and group) teaching him and us ways to work with his food issues. Today I am very happy to say that he is a healthy 7 year old who eats from a variety of different food options. Is he a perfect eater? Nope. Is he a much better eater and has most of the struggle stopped? Yes!! Good luck to you and Nora! I pray things continue to improve for you guys! :-)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Amy — and yes, sensory issues were definitely part of the problem, and she’s making continual progress so we are thankful for that. Glad to hear your son successfully made it through the therapy program too.

    [Reply]

  21. Candis

    09/03/2013

    Welcome back my friend. You were missed, reading your blog is a part of my daily routine and I missed having you around, but was happy that you took time off for you and your family. Glad to have you back :-)

    [Reply]

  22. Aa.

    09/03/2013

    I entered here anyway meanwhile, not necessarily waiting for a post, because i knew you took august off, but because it was an instinct after opening my computer in the morning.

    Oh, and don’t worry about loosing many readers – you are too addictive for us to not return here!

    Welcome back!

    [Reply]

  23. Sandy K

    09/03/2013

    Nora is adorable and you really do capture some great images. I enjoy seeing your photos.

    [Reply]

  24. Mom's Dish

    09/03/2013

    Honestly I didn’t enjoy bloggers that write about everything. Sounds kinda harsh :/

    But you have really changed my mind about that, I love seen Nora, she is just too cute. I love your helpful tips about mommy stuff, finances and organized life. You are my favorite blogger :)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for that compliment — I’m honored :)
    I do write about a lot of things — but I try to kind of relate everything back to simple and organized living — so maybe that helps “unify” things?? Either way, I’m thrilled that you’re a loyal reader!

    [Reply]

    Mom's Dish Reply:

    Yes, I agree. And you are making me want to go clean our garage. :)

    [Reply]

  25. martha lawson

    09/03/2013

    i really enjoy your blog, missed it this past month!! I really love the pictures of Nora that you post. She is such a doll, it’s fun watching her grow!!!

    [Reply]

  26. Amy

    09/03/2013

    Hi Andrea! Great to have you back! I always enjoy your blog and you could never loose me as a reader! Your blog is always helpful and inspiring. I am glad you had some much needed time with your family this summer.
    I hope to get back to blogging in the near future. I went back to work part time outside the home not long after I even started and it’s been hard to make the time for it. I am slowly but surely getting myself and my family organized so that things will be better balanced around here. It was quite an adjustment to say the least, Sometimes you don’t realize what you were able to do as a stay at home mom until you can’t do it anymore or at least as often.
    I look forward to your next posts!!!!!

    [Reply]

  27. Kalyn Brooke | Creative Savings

    09/03/2013

    Glad you enjoyed your time off, but happy to have you back! I missed your posts landing in my inbox each day. :)

    [Reply]

  28. Theresa

    09/03/2013

    Glad you’re back! You always inspire and amaze me, especially with your canning. Love the picture of you and Nora, definitely one for the photo album!

    [Reply]

  29. Sara

    09/03/2013

    Yay, you’re back! Number of times I have checked your site during August = 31! Great to see you blogging again, can’t wait to hear more.

    [Reply]

  30. Anna

    09/03/2013

    I’m so glad you’re back – I’ve really missed reading your posts! But breaks are always great to have, I wish I had the option to take a month-long break too!

    [Reply]

  31. Barb

    09/03/2013

    “Count your many blessings, name them one by one….”, well, I would have to say Andrea, you are a blessing to me; it was rather a long August for me not having to read your post; I too, like others, just had to check every so often “just in case” you decided you missed all of us and had to blog!!! :)) It was so refreshing to open your blog and see that it was “alive” again!!! I’m glad to hear all went well for August and accomplishments were made — it does good for our minds! Will definitely be looking forward to reading upcoming blogs!! Welcome back!

    [Reply]

  32. Ree Klein

    09/03/2013

    It’s so good to have you back, Andrea! I especially miss the pictures and stories about Nora. She is just so cute. Your house is beautiful and an obvious reflection of the care and attention given it by both you and Dave.

    Looking forward to more from you ~
    Ree

    [Reply]

  33. Shareen

    09/03/2013

    Absolutely have to agree with everyone! We missed you and your inspiring posts. I’m ready to get organized with Andrea. Glad you had a nice break.

    [Reply]

  34. Kimberley

    09/03/2013

    Glad to have you back and looking forward to reading all of your new posts!!! I found myself checking back a few times in the last month…seeing *hoping* you had changed your mind about taking the whole month off! Ha! Glad to see that you didn’t though…I am sure the break was great!

    [Reply]

  35. Shelley Dean

    09/03/2013

    I am so glas you are back. I missed your post

    [Reply]

  36. Erin

    09/04/2013

    I’m…..HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY! You’re back and I’m so glad you had a lovely August. We missed you.

    [Reply]

  37. Heart and Haven

    09/04/2013

    Sounds like you had a productive month (with a balanced mix of work & rest).
    Glad you’re back and looking forward to upcoming posts!

    [Reply]

  38. Julia K (Australia)

    09/06/2013

    Hi Andrea,
    I love reading your blog. To think your summer is coming to an end and ours is about to start. Sept 1st marks the beginning of Spring here in Australia and, here in Queensland – the weather has been oh so dry – with no rain in ages. The days have been absolutely glorious but – although we whine when it comes – we are desperate for rain. Sounds like you have had a productive summer. I adored the photos of you and Nora at the same age – no mistaking the parentage there huh ?
    Take care and I hope the return to school is smooth for you and your gorgeous little family.
    Cheers from Down Under :)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Juila — I actually love Fall so I’m kind of happy summer is over, but I also know how much I anticipate spring after a long Winter — so happy Spring to you :)

    [Reply]

  39. Olga

    09/06/2013

    Welcome back! I certainly missed reading you blog posts and am thrilled to finally read your helpful, thought provoking and inspiring posts. It’s awesome that you took some time off though! Good for you.

    [Reply]

  40. Mary

    09/07/2013

    Glad to see you back and that you had a nice break! I have not been blogging much either have been too busy. Looking forward to reading your posts again :-)

    [Reply]