Tuesday, December 30, 2014

It’s a Wrap

I don’t know why it’s such a surprise to me. After all, it happens every year at right about this time. The calendar runs out of days and the year comes to a close.

Before we put a fork in another year (get it? fork? food? lame? OK, I tried) I’d like to take one last look at the current year on the blog; what worked and what . . . well . . . didn’t.

It's A Wrap | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Here are the top ten posts of 2014 (according to page views), the bottom one (my first real stink bomb), a few of my favorites and some other memorable moments as they relate to the blog. If you’re a regular reader, I’d love to hear whether any of my posts stood out to you as memorable in the past year. And if you’re not a regular reader? You better go get your glasses, there are 284 posts you need to catch up on. Let me know when you’re done.

Top Ten Posts of 2014 ~ working up to #1
10) To My Boy
I’m so glad this one made the list. A little over a year previous to this post, I wrote a heartfelt post to my older son in the month of a milestone birthday. This one was to my younger son as he hit the same milestone. 

Peanut Butter Cup Squares | www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dessert

It included a recipe I developed with his favorite flavor combination, chocolate and peanut butter: Peanut Butter Cup Squares.

Every month some friends and I publish Fly on the Wall posts. They’re snippets of what goes on in our homes and people tell me all the time how much they look forward to laughing at me that glimpse into my home every month.

January Fly on the Wall | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics
The recipe included was a winter favorite, Crockpot Beef Chili.

I spent so much time anxiously preparing myself for my anticipated empty nest and when the time came . . . it didn’t happen!

Not So Empty Nest | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics
The recipe for this post was Caramel Angel Cake and it was a hit.

I wrote this post just last month based on the hilarious, gotta see it to believe it, actual products I found on Amazon.

Holiday Gift Guide | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics
The post included the recipe for my Lemon Raspberry Mini Pies.

The prompt I received for this Secret Subject Swap (a monthly group writing challenge) sent me in a serious direction. I spoke about introducing my children to funerals.

Secret Subject Swap: A Choice | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics
This serious post got a cocktail for a recipe, my Chocolate Raspberry Pie-Tini.

This post came about after I had been interviewed for one of the books I’ve contributed to, The Mother of All Meltdowns by Lydia of Cluttered Genius. She asked me what makes me laugh. I gave her an answer, then later sat down and wrote this longer response.

Love to Laugh | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics
The post includes the recipe for PurDude’s favorite dinner, Baked Hot Wings.

Another Secret Subject Swap post made the list. My prompt this time was about the famous person I’ve always been told that I look like.

It's A Wrap | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics
 The recipe I included with this post was for Sweet Potato Cups with Maple Butter.

Every home has a bang checker. Guess who ours is . . . the only person who doesn’t ignore them, of course.

The Family Bang Checker | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics
This post includes the recipe for my Caramel Peanut Butter Kisses.

The second most popular post of the year was another Secret Subject Swap, this one a humorous one about who I think needs an arrow in the butt. 
Secret Subject Swap: Cupid | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Recipe included was this Pineapple Coconut Cake with Butterscotch Drizzle.

The NUMBER ONE post of 2014 was Be My Valentine. You can’t do this blogging thing alone, at least I can’t. This post from almost a year ago, was written to thank some fellow bloggers who’ve supported me. 
Be My Valentine | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

The post includes a recipe that was very popular, Chocolate Strawberry Brownie Cake.

And now that I’ve mentioned some of my successes, 2014 was also the year I had a post that was a total and complete failure. This post was supposed to be a humorous take-off on the kids’ game where you’re presented with a grouping of items and a category and you need to guess which one doesn’t belong. 

 Category: What does YOUR kid eat?
One of These Things | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

This thing did a complete belly-flop. I mean no one got it. People were polite but I could FEEL them making the “cookoo” sign behind my back.

Most Anticipated
The most anticipated post was the result of my vague-posting this one night on Facebook:
Tomorrow, when I’ve (hopefully) calmed down a bit, remind me to tell you about how my son and his friends lit my car on fire tonight . . .

Every day until I was ready to write about it, people would stop by my Facebook page and ask if I’d told the story yet. When I finally did post it, as a Use Your Words writing challenge, people couldn’t get over to read it fast enough.

Use Your Words, The One Where College Boy Lights My Car On Fire | www.BakingInATornado.com | #fiction
And you know everyone had something to say about this one!

My Favorite Humerous Post
In the beginning of 2014, my mother’s cousin told me about a talented children’s books author and illustrator in the family. That little bit of information resulted in my writing Fairy Tale, a story that was so much fun to write and illustrated. I later had the balls guts chutzpah to send the link to this woman and she was so magnanimous.
The feedback from this post was huge. Many people suggested and a few even insisted that I needed to write a book of these Fairy Tales. I did start one, but then I edited and edited and edited and now it’s about 3 words long. It’s tough being your own worst critic. I hope to get back to it, though.

A Fairy Tale | www.BakingInATornado.com | #fiction
This post remains my favorite of the year.

My Favorite Serious Post
I had the idea to write a fictitious holiday story, but I wanted it to be unique. I know so many talented writers, I wondered if some might be willing to collaborate by adding a paragraph to an ongoing story.
Some? Nope.
Lots? Oh, yeah.
I was shocked by the response. What started as my hope for a blog post ended up being 3 posts, an amazing story somehow seamlessly crafted by 16 very diverse writers.

A Holiday Story | www.BakingInATornado.com | #fiction
 This series of posts was a gift. One I couldn’t be more proud of.

Favorite Recipe
I developed this recipe for a Strawberry Shortcake recipe competition I was invited to enter. I’m not someone who often has her recipes come out as well as I’d envisioned them, but this one came out even better. My family loved how it looked and tasted and PurDude was mortified when it didn’t win. It did earn me enough coupons for free berries to get me through the whole summer. It also got a lot of attention, having been featured in a slide show on the website The Daily Meal, was featured in the online magazine ArtisanLife, Daily, and even had the honor of being chosen as a feature post on BlogHer.
Strawberry Shortcake, Nacho Style | www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dessert
Strawberry Shortcake, Nacho Style

Baking In A Tornado Milestones in 2014
Previous group blogging challenges I had developed and continue to run:

Baking In A Tornado’s Facebook page topped 12,500 “likes”,
Twitter account went over 2000 followers,
Pinterest boards hit 800 followers,
Google + account exceeded 750 followers,
and I joined Instagram. No idea what I’m doing over there but I’m there.

As always, I want to thank everyone who takes the time to read this blog, to leave comments and encourages me to continue writing. I take a lot of time with my posts, not only writing them but I make all of the graphics myself, as well as developing, executing, photographing and editing the pictures. Your engagement makes it all worthwhile.

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy New Year.

Baking In A Tornado signature | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics


  1. LOVE all of those posts!!!
    YAY for all the followers!!!!
    Hoping that next year is even better!!! :D

  2. Can I say yeah for all the readers!
    I do love your reciepes and am so glad to have gotten to know you a bit in 2014!

    1. You can definitely say yeah for all the readers, I sure do!

  3. I visit almost daily to fantasize about those wonderful recipes and sometimes I even make them. Happy 2015!

  4. Hi Karen! I love these recaps because it's interesting to see what worked and maybe what didn't do so well. I am sometimes amazed how one topic is so much better received than others....thanks for sharing your top 10 and other insights. Now I'll go through and see which ones I missed! ~Kathy

    1. I agree, Kathy. It's hard to know where to go without checking on where you've been.

  5. One of your most popular posts... I haven't read. :-O Not sure how I missed it. You've had a fabulous 2014, and I'm certain your 2015 will be even better! ♡♡

    1. Thanks, Jules, so glad to have had you join in so many of the challenges. It's been a really fun year.

  6. I am so glad that I have gotten to know you this year Karen. It seems we have been living parallel lives for such a long time. I'm very proud to call you my friend.

    1. Same to you, Rena. I love all the heart you put into advocating for Alzheimer's awareness.

  7. That is a wrap all right!
    Congratulations on your achievements; well deserved!
    A huge thank you for hosting the monthly writing challenges; they certainly keep me on my toes!
    Here's to a happy and healthy new year!

    1. Thank you, Tamara. I'm so happy to have you in my blogging life.

  8. It's been a great year of blogging!

    Happy New Year! Here's wishing you and yours a happy and healthy 2015!


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