This isn’t really a blog. The Earthling’s Handbook is more like a reference book. Most years, the 10 most-read articles are very similar to the previous year’s 10 most-read, because over time more people link to them and their increasing popularity makes them rank higher in search-engine results. My #1 article this year is the same as the past 3 years: Important Information on Blood Types of Parents and Children got 73,800 unique readers this year! Eight of 2012’s most-read articles are still popular, along with some of the greatest hits published in 2013 and 2014. That’s why my year-end review lists the new articles I wrote this year that got the most readers–just in case you missed them!
- ePantry and Earth-Friendly Cleaning Product Reviews. In the spring, I decided to grab a good introductory deal and try out a new subscription service that sends plant-based cleaners and similar products directly to your home. I am skeptical of “club” buying schemes, but ePantry has no member fee or cancellation penalty, and it’s very flexible about what you receive and when. This article explains how ePantry works and gives detailed, unbiased reviews of 11 products we bought from them–and for the ones that we didn’t like as well as a competing product, we tell you what we recommend from our 18 years of plant-based cleaning experience! Over the course of the year, I’ve watched ePantry expand its offerings and open a second warehouse closer to me (reduced shipping distance=less pollution!), and I’ve tried some great products that were new to me.
- How to Get Kids to Behave in Church. My firstborn behaves so well that people have been asking for my “secrets” for years! I wrote this when my second child was only 9 months old, not running around yet–and in the 10 months since then, she’s forced me to admit that my techniques work better with some kids’ personalities than others–but all of my advice is helpful even with a more wigglish child, and I’m still able to have Lydia with me for some portion of the church service every week. In the past few months, she’s been eager to go into church and loves to point out “Jesus!!!” in each place he appears in the paintings and stained-glass windows, so I must be doing something right….
- The 4-Day Laundry Plan. This strategy is the linchpin to keeping my life as a full-time-employed, clothesline-drying, cloth-diapering mama running smoothly!
- A Day as Mama and Data Manager. This day-in-the-life post gives you exhaustive (and vicariously exhausting) detail about what I did in a typical day as data manager of a social science research study and mother of a 10-month-old and a 10-year-old. I’m planning to write another of these sometime next year because the routine has changed so much as they get older! I’ve been rereading this post as I prepare to resume full-time work, after several months of disability leave and part-time work while recovering from a car accident, to remind myself that I can do it and that it’s actually easier now that I don’t have to pump milk and wash bottles every day.
- Things Not To Do: Ingredient Chopping Edition. Don’t worry, this is not a gory story! It’s a tale of how things can go wrong when you buy a nifty gadget and refuse to admit that it doesn’t work as well as you’d like.
- Sckoon Menstrual Cup and Cloth Pad Review. I bought two alternative feminine hygiene products and gave them honest reviews before I signed up for the company’s affiliate program, which will give me a bonus when you get a 10% discount on your first order! As with the green cleaners, I have many years’ experience with alternatives to disposable pads and tampons, so when I tell you that this is the best reusable menstrual cup ever, that means something.
- Four Weeks of Pesco-Vegetarian Dinners (winter, with a baby). Here, I answer the questions, “But if you don’t eat meat, what do you eat?” and, “What’s your approach to feeding a baby?” and, “How do you manage dinner, as a working mom?” with 28 nights’ real-life experience, including recipe links!
- DIY Deodorant: Pros and Cons. It sounds so great to make your own deodorant from ordinary ingredients, but does it work? Not only did I give you all the details of my experiment, but several readers chimed in explaining how to improve the recipe for more convenient, year-round spreadability.
- Books I’ve Been Sharing with My 10-Year-Old. Reviews of 7 assorted books that I read aloud to Nicholas or recommended to him–fantasy, realistic fiction, historical fiction, and historic comic strips! This is just one of 9 book-review posts added to The Earthling’s Handbook this year, including 2 sets of reviews written by Nicholas; read them all here.
- My Father Taught Me How to Be a Working Mother. I grew up with a mother who “stayed home” until her kids were in late elementary school and a father who always had a full-time job, yet I felt that my dad was an important presence in my childhood–how did he do it, and what can I learn from him that applies to my busy life now?
These were published toward the end of 2014 and read frequently in 2015:
- The Common Cold and the Common Cup: Does Communion spread germs? As an Episcopalian, I’m sometimes asked by people of other religions about the health risks of sharing a cup of wine with 30 other people. I did some research and learned that it’s no big deal.
- DIY Instant Oatmeal: Ditch the packets! I’ve learned how to make my favorite workplace snack non-wasteful, thrifty, and healthy without making it inconvenient.
- Knock Out a Cold Quickly and Naturally! I’m especially glad to be promoting this article now that I can tell you that following this advice kept me healthy all the way through last winter and all of 2015!
Happy New Year!!!
Visit Works-for-Me Wednesday to see what other writers have been learning as we wrap up 2015 and move forward.