Today’s “a day in the life” is Kristen of Dine & Dish. I really can’t say enough good things about Kristen. Not only is her blog one of my favorites, but she is also one of the most kind and generous food bloggers I have “met.” Her blog remains one of my favorites because of her lovely writing style, her gorgeous photos (I especially love the pictures of her family), and of course her amazing food.
Tell me about yourself and how you started food blogging.
I’m a mom of 4 young kids and began blogging in 2006 as a way to keep my parents updated on what was happening with our family. They used to live close but then moved in 2006 to south Texas, which is 16 hours away from us.
Dine & Dish quickly evolved into what was my current passion… food and photography and continues to be a way I connect with loved ones far away!
I wish I could say my routine was routine down to the half hour, but it isn’t. With 4 kids and 6 different schedules to adhere to, each and every day around my house is completely different.
- 6:00 AM: Hubby leaves for work and wakes me up on his way out. I pick up my phone and check email, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
- 6:30 AM: Take shower and get myself ready.
- 7:00 – 9:00 AM: Wake the kids up and begin our morning shuffle of getting everyone dressed, teeth brushed, breakfast, 3 different drop off times for school, etc.
- 9:00AM MAKE COFFEE and planning time / reflection time
- On days Leah is home (MWF) my day is spent cooking with her and photographing things. Occasionally checking Twitter, Facebook, Email, but mostly doing things with Leah.
- On Tuesdays and Thursdays I have 2 hours in the morning to myself. I tend to do all of my invoicing, blog reading, planning, email answering, etc. on those two mornings.
- 4pm – 8:30pm The bigger kids get home from school at 4pm. Our evenings are filled with homework, driving people to sports practices, girl scouts, gymnastics, football, etc. We always try, no matter what, to sit down and have dinner as a family. I’ve discovered that to make this happen we have to be flexible about when we eat. Sometimes its at 5:30 when Nick gets home, other times its not until 8. It is really important to us that we have that time to connect each day though.
- At night after the kids go to bed is when I do my photo editing and blog post and freelance writing. I tend to do that from around 8:30-11pm, then go to bed around 11pm, where I’ll read a book for about ½ hour or until I fall asleep!
What is your one must-have kitchen tool or gadget?
I love my electric skillet for pancakes, hamburgers, quesadillas, eggs and more! It’s really a lifesaver when I need to cook large batches of things.
What is the most important part of your day? Why?
Dinner time. We’ve made family meal time a priority since day one. When we don’t have that time together, we tend to not get the chance to really connect about our days.
What is your favorite part of your day? Why?
I love when I have time to sit down with my cup of coffee, my notebook/pen and plan / reflect. It’s just about the only real peaceful time during my days and I savor it!
What is your LEAST favorite part of the day? Why?
I hate getting ready in the morning – showers, makeup, hair. Not sure why, I just do.
If you could choose one room in your house to spend the WHOLE day in, which room would it be? Why?
My office. I recently renovated my dining room and turned it into my home office and I love the look and feel of it. It’s nice and centrally located in our house so serves as a “command central”, it has a great view of the outside and has a little reading nook I can sit in and relax when I have time.
If you could choose one room in your house to remodel (on an unlimited budget!) which room would it be and why?
My bedroom! I would love to turn my bedroom into a comfy oasis. Right now it’s purely functional and tends to be the room we give the least amount of attention to when it comes to decorating.
What is your favorite day of the week? Why?
I actually really like Monday’s – they tend to be a great day to get things done!
If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go and how long would you stay?
I would actually love to just have unlimited funds and time to go on a cross country road trip.
What is your favorite quote or verse?
This is one of my favorites, but I don’t know who it is by. “Don’t compare your behind the scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel” I think this is a favorite because I believe we all spend way too much time and energy comparing ourselves to others, when in reality, the glimpse of what we see of everyone else is not always an authentic view of their life.
What recipe on your blog do your readers seem to love most?
Right now it seems to be this Frozen White Chocolate Hot Chocolate
What is your guilty food pleasure that you’re embarrassed to fess up to? Kraft Mac & Cheese? Spagetti-o’s? Canned cheese? We promise not to judge!
OK – Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies and Fudge Rounds!
What have you learned since you began blogging?
I’ve learned that no matter what drives traffic, it is never ok to compromise who you are to try and become bigger and better. Stay true to yourself and the good things will come along!
What have you found to be the most challenging part of blogging?
The above. It’s tempting to change who you are, how you blog, etc. to try and become more popular or “pinteresting”. In the end, none of that is worth the cost!
Do you have any advice for someone who is interested in cooking or food blogging?
Just do it and know ahead of time that it is a lot of work! Find someone you admire and respect and ask them to mentor you… I am a firm believer in the power of having someone as a mentor.
Thanks Kristen! I love that quote too. I try to remind myself of it often.
And…I’m totally envious of your office–gorgeous!