guess who’s having a birthday?

Hello my pretties, how are you?

Mr. Cornelius and I are back just in time to celebrate our 7th Blog Birthday here at Alphabet Soup!

Let’s see: seven years, 2 blogging platforms, 1500+ posts, 5 million images, 732 cookies, 354 cakes, 891 pies, 176 bowls of soup, 149 author/illustrator recipes, and the smartest, most loyal, most culturally literate, hungriest blog readers on the planet (not to mention good looking).πŸ˜€

Who could ask for more?

Well, I constantly ask myself these seven questions:

  • Is Alphabet Soup still relevant?
  • Do I still have something worthwhile to say?
  • Is it normal for a fossilΒ perky young woman to play with alphabet pasta in bowls of tomato soup?
  • Shouldn’t Colin have called me by now?
  • Am I learning something new with each post?
  • Am I crazy to be gluing M&Ms onto the sides of candy bars and making flip-flop cookies with Nutter Butters?
  • Would I miss all my cool online friends if I stopped blogging?

A resounding YES to the last question is why I’m still here.

The answers to everything else are debatable, though the challenges of pursuing “relevancy” and “worthiness” are actually good reasons to stay. These things keep well-intentioned bloggers up to snuff, forever seeking entertaining, informative content with an eye towards maintaining an intimate connection with readers.

Speaking of cool online friends, the best part of my summer blog break was getting together with a couple of dear friends whom I met online when I first started blogging in 2007. They both just happened to be in the D.C. area at the end of July/early August for various reasons.

Debbi and me.

This was my second time seeing author and DEBtastic Reads! blogger Debbi Michiko Florence in person. We discussed books, life, writing, ducks, and ramen at Old Ebbitt Grill, where I also had the pleasure of meeting Debbi’s wonderful husband Bob (he likes to cook!). World travelers and infinitely interesting conversationalists, recently these two have become quite the farmers and gardeners at their picturesque New England homestead.

A few days later, Len and I welcomed Julie Danielson and her family to our humble abode in the woods. This was our very first in-person meeting — totally EPIC!

Check out the kitty-loving photo bomber’s arm.

Don’t you think having Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast over on your 7th blog birthday is at least seven thousand kinds of awesome? I was happy to be able to congratulate Jules on the publication of her first book, Wild Things!: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature (Candlewick, 2014), which she co-authored with Betsy Bird and the late Peter Sieruta. Good stuff!

We talked about various and sundry while noshing and nibbling, Jules tickled the ivories, her girls found every cat-related item in the house (meowing to perfection), and we agreed the Danielsons should move in as soon as possible. Jules would dust, Mr. Jules would cook, and the girls would read to me and play with me (they liked our trick mustard).

Seven Reasons Blogging is Still the Best

  • It’s a unique mode of creative expression open to anyone. Be serious, scholarly, humorous, visual, thought-provoking, educational, tasty, beautiful, idiosyncratic, inspirational, neighborly. Be you.
  • The “research” can be delightfully delicious, and you learn to wear several different hats as writer, reviewer, interviewer, editor, proofreader, cook/baker, food stylist, photographer, and promoter.
  • You might have the rare pleasure of bumping up against or even meeting someone you’ve long admired.
  • Somewhere within an infinite universe of impersonal websites, a personal blog enables you to join a supportive community of like-minded folks.
  • If you’re pre-published, you can establish presence, learn, brand and network. If you’re already published, you can promote, publicize and connect with your readers on a much more personal level.
  • Blogging on a regular basis is great discipline and keeps you on your toes. You learn to think on the spot and write faster. You can hone your voice. Ultimately you speak your truth.
  • A well-focused blog with consistently good content can be a stepping stone to other fabulous projects. Two great examples: 1) Children’s literature power bloggers Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson, and Peter Sieruta pooled their talents to produce the just published Wild Things!, and 2) Author and Poet Jeannine Atkins’s beautifully written blog posts are now available as an awesome, must-read book, Views from a Window Seat: Thoughts on Writing and Life (2014).Β Β 

When you start on your blogging journey, you just never know where it will take you, whom you will meet, what you will learn about yourself, others, the publishing world, the foodie world.

Please help yourself!

 

Seven Things to Look Forward to at Alphabet Soup

  • Interview with Burleigh Muten, author of Miss Emily (Candlewick, 2014)
  • Interview with Monica Kulling, author of Spic-and-Span!: Lillian Gilbreth’s Wonder Kitchen (Tundra Books, 2014)
  • Celebrating the official release of Dear Wandering Wildebeest: And Other Poems from the Water Hole by Irene Latham and Anna Wadham (Millbrook Press, 2014)
  • Mr. Firth’s birthday on September 10
  • Mr. Cornelius’s birthday on September 17
  • More Indie Artist Spotlights, chewy reviews, Friday Feasts, recipes, carefully curated folderol
  • Cool Book Giveaways

Monsieur Monet would like you to have a black and white madeleine.

THANKSΒ for being here, reading and commenting, especially those of you who’ve been putting up with my nonsense for YEARS.

A BIG WELCOME to all you new subscribers. We’ve set a place at the table just for you.

Hugs from the Alphabet Soup kitchen helpers!

Happy Reading, Happy Writing, Happy Blogging. Stay curious. Stay safe. Eat Good Food.Β Be Kind.πŸ™‚

**This post is brought to you by the seven letters A, B, C, D, E, F and G. You are strongly advised to use them freely today for good luck.

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Copyright Β© 2014 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

78 thoughts on “guess who’s having a birthday?

  1. Happy Birthday beautiful blog!
    So glad you will stay on- and I eagerly await more of your delicious offerings. But, oh that Colin. We’ll have to have a talk with him…:-)

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  2. Happy blog birthday to you, Jama! And to all of us who are lucky enough to have stumbled across the lovely place you’ve created here! Looking forward to all the goodness that’s coming up this fall. xo

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  3. Wishing you a bright, beautiful, and book-filled blog birthday, Jama! I’m so glad you’re continuing. I don’t subscribe to many blogs but yours is one I read with interest and joy. I love the way you draw from your passions for creative fun, children’s books, poetry, family, and food and present playful posts that are personal but never insular, intelligent but never pompous, and both educational and entertaining. Not to mention regular mentions of Colin Firth and tea goodies.πŸ™‚ I’ve shared your link with oodles of people. And in answer to one of your question on this post: Yes, Colin should have called you by now, for sure. I am quite sure that he must be a Cornelius fan.πŸ™‚

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  4. Happy Blogiversary! Yes, to all those reasons you blog and we read it! We’ve known each other for years but it’s great to connect on each other’s blogs. You give me recipes and books to add to my ever-growing list, and the best eye-candy anywhere! How great you got to see Deb and Jules. Wishing you many more . . . blogging is where it’s at (not FB, not Twitter, not Instagram).

    From the other Society’s Child

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  5. Jama, you are a delight! so glad I found your wonderful blogsite…no wait, you found me and I am happy you did! You bring much-needed gentle smiles to a world that so badly needs them. (not to mention, of course, much needed and scrumptious recipes to try). And I too yearn for Colin! Anyway, happy, happy blogging anniversary to you and your staff of ursine helpers!

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    1. Sending lots of bear hugs your way, Sharon. Finding your poetry was serendipitous! You are a kindred spirit. Thanks for continuing to visit ASπŸ™‚.

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  6. Happy Birthday! Mr. Cornelius must be full after that many cookies – I am glad he has room for more.

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    1. You’re another good example of why blogging is the best. Our paths might never have crossed if it weren’t for that spam musubi in ALOHA FOR CAROL ANN. And now I know all about lefseπŸ™‚. Appreciate your warm Aloha, Margo!

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  7. Coming over to sit a while, listen about great books, whet my appetite for those to come, while I warm my hands on a cuppa, nibble on a sweet, and snuggle with the bears has become a favorite pasttime. Nowhere else in the virtual kidlit community do I savor such a real-life comfy corner! Seven cheers for seven years!

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    1. So happy to have you snuggle and sit and listen and drink and nibble with us, Julie. Cornelius and I are especially crazy about your bear drawings.πŸ™‚ Seven big thanks for the seven cheers!

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  8. It’s wonderful to hear that it’s time to start that eighth year, Jama. Happy, happy birthday to you. It’s such a pleasure visiting, mostly with my mouth watering for the food, the books and for Colin Firth! I’m happy you had such a good summer, and very happy that I found your blog long ago! Thank you for all the love and cheer you share with us!

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    1. I’m happy to have found you and TeacherDance, Linda! PF has played such a big part in the fun and evolution of AS. I started participating in PF from the very beginning and have met the BEST people because of it. Thanks for all your support.πŸ™‚

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  9. Happy, happy birthday, Jama!! I’ve so enjoyed your tasty posts over the years and am looking forward to many more. So fun to see Jules (another writer I read and admire) at your home. Can’t wait to see the pics when Colin visits . . .

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    1. LOL. Imagine a selfie with Colin?! Don’t know whether I could hold the camera steady if that ever happened . . .

      It was amazing meeting Jules in person. We’d been wanting to do that for a long time and it finally happened. It was such a treat to meet her whole family too.

      Thanks for the birthday wishes, and for continuing to spoil me with your attention.πŸ™‚

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  10. It’s very special to me to take the time to read your blog when it arrives in my mailbox. While I don’t know you, I feel as I do. You share so much of yourself in every post. I am so happy to know that the seventh birthday is just the beginning of an eighth year. I admire your work and wish you well from central Canada. Happy, happy birthday….today’s a special for you, for Cornelius, and for us, too. Thank you!

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    1. Wow! Thanks SO much for sending warm wishes from Canada. Can’t tell you how wonderful it is to know you’re out there reading. Recently I’ve been discovering more Canadian authors and really admire the books Tundra is publishing these days. Please have another madeleine.πŸ™‚

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  11. Happy blogaversary and YES, Colin definitely should have called you by now! What’s up wit dat? Looking forward to more delicious posts from Alphabet Soup<3

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    1. I imagine Colin has a long list of people to call. But he’s worth waiting for, so I’ll be patient.πŸ™‚ Loved your cool video about how you got started on YouTube, etc.

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  12. Congratulations on seven years! I am a new subscriber to your blog and I am thankful that you have set a place for me.

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    1. Hello hello beautiful new subscriber!! Yes, there is a place set just for you . . . sorry, not right next to Colin, but pretty close.πŸ™‚ Thanks for finding AS!

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  13. YAY! 7 years! WOOO!!!πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€ (And trick mustard? What is that? The sounds of it (me being a fun prankster) makes me want to meet you just to check it out (and also to talk food, and books, and food-books, and book-food, and…πŸ˜‰ ))πŸ˜€

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    1. You, a prankster? I NEVER would have guessed.πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€

      Dang! I shouldn’t have mentioned the trick mustard — because now you know it’s a trick, and I wouldn’t be able to pull that prank on you if we met. . . looks like I need to find some new toys.

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      1. OH no, can’t buy one. There’s only one like it in the world! Maybe I’ll have Mr. Cornelius pose with it sometime just for you.

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  14. Congratulations, Jama on 7 fabulous blog years! I’ve been lucky enough to have been reading (devouring) your delicious posts for ~2+ years – what a varied feast you provide! Thank you and hugs to wee lil’ Cornelius. = )

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    1. AHEM. Cornelius says to tell you he is not “wee” or “lil'”. He thinks he’s BIG . . . and always insists on close-ups.πŸ™‚

      Thanks for the congrats — so glad we ran into each other online, Bridget! Again, PF is the best!

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  15. Happy HAPPY birthday! I’ve long been a fan, and so happy we’ve become friends. While I may not always have time to comment, I always take time to read your blog. (And sometimes you “force” me to shop!) I’m so glad you’re here!❀

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  16. Happy blog-birthday, and welcome back! In answer to your questions:

    Yes!
    Yes!
    No, but why be normal?
    Most definitely. I’ll have to ask him what’s up with that.
    We certainly are!
    You’d be crazy NOT to!
    We hope so!

    Hope you’re enjoying your summer. I recently made a big batch of chocolate-zucchini muffins and thought of you!

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    1. I love a person who actually answers my questions! At least I know you read the post rather than skimmed.πŸ™‚

      Chocolate zucchini muffins — how you tease and tempt! Nice to be thought of, though.πŸ™‚ Thanks for the b-day wishes!

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    1. Thanks, Catherine! It’s nice to be back. Hope your summer has been great! Whenever I see pancakes, I think of your husband making them into shapes.

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  17. Can I say how much I love, love, love the little bear bee suit? I’m a bit envious. Happy Blog Birthday! (And many more!)

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  18. Happy blogiversary! I still remember stumbling into your blog when I came to praise you for Dumpling Soup, which I’d read for a children’s library class back in late 2008 or early 2009. Definitely one of the luckiest days I can recall, as I’ve had so much fun following your blog since then – learning about new books, authors, artists, a number of delicious recipes, and, yes, even some good poetry.πŸ˜‰ And learning more about you, too, of course! *toasts Jama and Cornelius* May you have many more happy years!

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  19. Congratulations Jama! πŸ‘ Thank you for seven amazing years of fun, enlightening and entertaining books to share and read, and always delightful words and wit. πŸ“–πŸ“šπŸ““ Here’s to many more blog anniversaries to come! 🎈

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  20. Happy Birthday to Alphabet Soup, Happy Birthday to you! I always enjoy reading your entertaining and enlightening posts. Mmmm I want one of those fruit tarts or a madeleine will suffice . . .

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    1. Hey, why didn’t you tell me you started a book review blog? Love the cute logo. Help yourself to another madeleine. Cornelius says hello.

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  21. How’d I miss this? HAPPY BLOG ANNIVERSARY! Seven is a magic number. You’re so incredibly relevant, and I hope your blog is always here, being its awesome self. So glad we got to meet. You and Mr. Jama were the best part of our trip.

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  22. Happy Blogversary. Every year when you decide to come back from hiatus, I breathe a sigh of relief. I know it’s been a tough year, but I’m so glad you remain a positive, bright and shining – decorative, photographic, treat-heavy and beautiful – light in the blogosphere. β™₯

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    1. Aw, thanks, T! You were one of the very first to read and comment on my blog back when I was on LJ. Remember when I used to think you were Scottish?πŸ˜€

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  23. Happy blogoversary!
    We started blogging around the same time, so my 7th anniversary is also near (end of August, I believe). Glad you’re still here!

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    1. And I’m glad we met on LJ and that you’re still here! Happy Blog Birthday to you too — August is a good month to start a blogπŸ™‚.

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  24. Belated birthday wishes to Alphabet Soup, Jama! As far as I’m concerned, you’re one of the most unique, relevant, and something-worthwhile-to-say bloggers out there. Please don’t go anywhere– there’s so much still to be celebrated! And, just for the record, gluing M&Ms and Nutter Butter flip-flops is the best kind of crazy there is.

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    1. Thank you SO much for the lovely and generous comment, Michelle. I’m so glad we met through PF. It’s always a pleasure to drop by Today’s Little Ditty to see what you’re up to. Am especially looking forward to your spotlighting Irene and her new book next month!

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