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I have to say right up front– on January 1, 2014 I did not intend to launch a blog. I started to consider launching a blog sometime around the 4th of July, spent the month of July researching, strategizing, and then building the website (name, niche, what I would write about, design– which I did not do myself in case you wanted to know). I remember sitting at my parents kitchen table the last weekend in July, coming up with ideas for blog posts and tentatively scheduling for the next 6 months.
Of course, nothing ever goes as planned. I officially started this little blog, Sunshine Whispers, on August 1, 2014. I naively expected most of my time would be spent writing but almost immediately realized being a blogger was sooo much more than just writing an online journal. Before long, I discovered my ‘voice’ and this little project of mine turned into a real passion project. Along the way I have gotten to know so many amazing fellow bloggers- most of them Moms who are trying to figure out this thing called Parenthood, just like me.
So, I thought it would be fun to share with you my top 10 favorite Sunshine Whispers posts of 2014. Then, I will share my top favorite blogs of 2014. To be honest, when I started the favorite blogger list, I immediately identified about 50 blogs that I absolutely love for various reasons. I have narrowed that list down to my top 20 but I hope to feature all of them (and many more) this coming year. Hope you enjoy these lists and I really hope you decide to grow with me in 2015!
Sara’s Top 10 Favorite Sunshine Whispers Posts of 2014
1. 10 Reasons Not to Feel Guilty About Daycare!– This was probably the first substantive post of my blog and I still love it so much, mostly because I cannot say enough great things about the care and education Sweet Pea receives from her teachers at ‘school.’ This post was written as encouragement to all the working Moms out there who feel that tug on their heart every day at drop-off, and the immeasurably glee of reuniting with their kiddos at pick-up.
When I decided to launch Sunshine Whispers, I knew it had to have a very clear faith-based component. I am a Christian after all! Earlier this year, I created and taught a Woman’s Bible Study series entitled, ‘Women Encountering Jesus’ at the church I attend. It was very well-received, but the person it most affected was me (which is usually the case when you teach something)! Adapting that series into a devotional series for the blog has been really gratifying for me personally both as a writer and as a follower of Christ. I took a little break for the holiday season but will finish this series in the New Year. Additionally, my goal is to convert my facilitator class notes into a free, downloadable, Woman’s Bible Study guide so that anyone can use it for personal or group study. My three favorite posts in the series so far are these ones:
2. Women Encountering Jesus: The Woman at the Well Draws Living Water– Are there people you avoid? Jesus’ interaction with this woman serves as a clear example of how we should treat others and reach out to people that are considered ‘unacceptable.’
3. Women Encountering Jesus: The Servant Heart of a Woman– We all know woman who reflect Jesus through their constant and devoted service to others. There are many reasons someone becomes motivated to serve. I suspect if we let him, Jesus pricks our hearts and transforms us into walking advertisements of his love, greatly impacting the lives of those around us.
4. Women Encountering Jesus: Where is Jesus When Your Life is Wrecked?– When your life is wrecked, Jesus is heartbroken. He grieves with you, shows compassion for you, and comforts you in a way that only a Creator could comfort and love their creation.
5. Preparing for Take-off! Flying With a 2-Year Old– I think this might actually be my most popular post of the blog so far. It is the one that gets the most pins anyway. Our family traveled across the country this summer and since Sweet Pea is a rather spirited little girl, I set out to think of every possible way to ensure she was comfortable, entertained, and well-fed. These ideas worked great for us. I hope they work for you too!
6. Sensory Extravaganza! Whidbey Island With a Toddler!– Honestly, I love this post so much because Whidbey Island is seriously one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. Our family had such a great day here.
7. Life Unplugged: 100 Ideas for Activities That Don’t Involve Social Media– I didn’t plan to write this post but I realized that sometimes, when I am inspired by an idea, I should just throw out the schedule and write, write, write! I am sure I will refer to this list many times over the next year.
8. When Mom Misses Out: A Different Kind of ‘Working Mom Guilt’– I think this might be the most heartfelt post I have written on the subject of motherhood (to be fair, I haven’t written a bajillion motherhood posts yet). In a way it is a love letter to my little girl and I hope you were touched by it.
9. 3 Fun and Easy Apple Crafts!– One of the best things I love about being a Mommy is that I get to do fun crafts with Sweet Pea. I absolutely had a blast creating these crafts with Sweet Pea and she is still proud of her efforts as well (‘I did it!’).
10. Giving Gifts That Will Last a Lifetime– Like the ‘Life Unplugged’ post, I had not planned to write this post but once the idea took root in my heart, I felt compelled to write it as soon as possible.
Sara’s Top 20 Favorite Bloggers of 2014
- Powerful Mothering– This is such an amazing site that I fell in love with when I saw the idea for the No Sew Quiet Book. Since then, Nicolette Roux has really encouraged me as a new blogger and I keep coming back to her site for great idea after great idea!
- Bambini Travel– I first met Erin Buhr, the blogger and Mom behind Bambini Travel, when we were paired up for a blogger support event. Erin is also a relatively new blogger and her ideas for authentic parenting are really fantastic. I will say though that my favorite part of her blog (and Instagram presence) is that she takes the most precious and beautiful pictures of her 3-year old twins. Check out her blog, you will not be disappointed!
Toddler Approved– Toddler Approved is one of the more established ‘Mom blogs’ but if you spend more than 2 seconds on this site you will see why. I particularly like the series Kristina does on Mommy-toddler crafts that are especially for young children. I have done a number of them with Sweet Pea.
Happy Hooligans- This is such a fun site! Jackie runs an in-home daycare so her ideas have been tested and proved over and over again. Some of my favorites include craft stick Christmas ornaments and these water play ideas for toddlers.
No Time For Flashcards– Like Toddler Approved, this site is one of my go-to sites for fun activities to do with Sweet Pea. Allison is very creative and one of her features is a ‘letter of the week’ series that encompasses crafts, books, and other activities.
Crafty Morning– Ok, seriously. This blog is definitely in my top 5 all-time favorite blogs. Take a peek and you will instantly see why. Michelle comes up with the cutest craft ideas and I can’t even begin to count the number of times I have pinned a cute craft idea and then realized it was one of here. Two of my favorites are the toilet roll Santa craft and her apple tree pouf craft (look familiar?).
Meaningful Mama– Jodi at Meaningful Mama is such a thoughtful Mom and blogger. I have really enjoyed connecting with her in the blogging community and I know you will love her site. A few of my favorite posts are 6 Common Parenting Phrases We Need to Stop Saying and I think I need to super glue this post on stopping whining in kids to the door of the refrigerator.
Sugar Dish Me– I have loved this site since before I ever even considered starting a blog. Heather is the inspiration for one of my favorite desserts, the Peppermint Patty Brownies. Check out her site and you will see all kinds of yummy treats!
Dirt & Boogers– You have probably seen posts from Amanda’s fantastic blog because of her excellent Stop Yelling Challenge. However, I also really appreciate her thoughtful posts on how to ‘take care of Mom’ as well. This is the perfect site to go to for parenting advice and support when all you want to do is curl up into a ball and cry. Ha! She also has really fun play ideas as well.
Lemon Lime Adventures– Like Dirt & Boogers, Dayna at Lemon Lime Adventures specializes in thoughtful posts geared to the more challenging aspects of parenting young children. She also provides a fantastic resource for parents who need ideas specifically for sensory processing activities. One of my favorite posts deals with sensory hacks for an angry child. I also really really love 5 ‘Boy’ Toys Every Girl Needs.
Hands On: As We Grow– This blog is all about having fun with your kids and seriously, it is one of the top resources for that topic on the internet! Jamie’s well-established and very popular site is easy to navigate, which is good because there are thousands of great ideas! A good place to start is A Week of Things to Do With Toddlers and Keeping Kids Busy With Easy Activities.
The Artful Parent– Jean Van’t Hul’s focus is encouraging art and creativity in children and her blog is nothing short of beautiful! Jean believes in the process of art making and provides great resources for parents who are nervous about it being too difficult or too messy. I ate up Jean’s post on the best art materials for toddlers and the painting with kids post might convince you it is ok to get messy and have some fun!
Red Ted Art– I love that Maggy at Red Ted Art comes up with the most creative uses for common items you can find around the house or in nature. Check out her ideas for tin can crafts and TP roll puppets!
Teaching 2 & 3 Year Olds– How could I not love this blog. I feel like it was designed for me and Sweet Pea! There is so much to love here but I know in the coming months I will be referring to Sheryl’s ideas for toddler indoor activities a lot. I also really appreciate her post on how even toddlers can participate in acts of kindness.
B-Inspired Mama– Is there any parent of a 2-year old that does not have to deal with picky eaters from time to time? You will love the ideas for how to overcome that on this site. Krissy also has a great post on creating a game to teach emotional health, as well as tons of cute craft ideas and delicious sounding recipes.
Let’s Lasso the Moon– You may have seen Zina’s great post on connecting with your kids over family breakfast. Her site is also an indispensable resource for tips on taking great pictures of your family.
What’s Up Fagans?– I love this blog so much, mostly because Katelyn writes beautifully about faith and how to improve your relationship with Jesus. I really love her Bold Christian challenge and her suggestions for improving your prayer life.
Coffee Cups & Crayons– One of my favorite posts from Megan’s great blog is her acts of kindness advent calendar. I imagine I will use those ideas throughout the year. I also can’t wait to try out her suggestions for best camping activities when we take Sweet Pea camping this summer as well!
Whew! That was some list, right? I hope you have fun getting to know these amazing bloggers in 2015.
Wow, 2014 was a great year! Thanks for taking the time to get to know Sunshine Whispers and I hope to build on that relationship in 2015!
Happy New Year!