As I look through my Google Reader each day (via its little app square on my iGoogle homepage) there are some blogs I am always excited to see. Obviously, everything I add to my Reader is there for a reason--be it entertainment, professional enrichment, professional networking, or just keeping up with friends--but some I am always eager to click on first, because I know they will bring something fun, funny, or cute. (I know "insightful" and "thought-provoking" should be up there in terms of valuable content, but what can I say? I'm a sucker for cute baby pictures and interesting life-updates.)
So, here are five of my very favorite blogs. They are all much more widely read than I, so they certainly don't need any publicity I could offer, but you, dear readers, may just want to click on over and become their millionth and million-and-oneth readers and enjoy their writing as much as I do.
Kelly's Korner (http://www.kellyskornerblog.com/)
Kelly Stamps' daughter Harper was born two weeks before Kate and spent several weeks in the NICU from some unforeseen illness at birth. (Talk about scaring me to death--her pregnancy was totally normal and then the baby nearly died after birth.) Harper recovered and is now a totally healthy 9 month old. I love watching her grow and comparing (even though I shouldn't!) her milestones and all with Kate's, since they are so close in age. I also enjoy living the stay-at-home-mom life vicariously through Kelly. Her posts are mainly just day-in-the-life updates about what she and Harper are up to on their adventures to play groups and baby showers and other fun things. Kelly is extremely southern, so her writings on the Arkansas Razorbacks, Walmart, and down-home cooking are all very entertaining. Her frank discussions of her years struggling with singlehood (she was 33 or so when she married, I think) and then infertility, and her constant prayers for young women still dealing with these things are very touching. And Harper is famous for her giant hairbows. (Those of you who tease me for Kate's bows--you ain't seen nothin' til you read Kelly's blog!)
The Mom Creative (http://www.themomcreative.com/)
I discovered Jessica Turner's blog when my husband Matt told me that the wife of Matthew Turner (author and acquaintance through the Nashville Emergent Cohort) had a scrapbooking blog I should check out. That was about two years ago, I think, because Jessica wasn't even pregnant then and now her son Elias is 15 months old. It has been fun to follow Jessica through her pregnancy and early motherhood, all about six months behind her. Elias being that nice interval older than Kate helps me learn what to expect and fun things to do or try when Kate gets a little older. Jessica works in marketing and PR, and applies the same interest-generating genius to her blog, so she has fun giveaways, interesting parenthood discussions, ideas for creative memory-making, etc., plus the awesome scrapbooking that drew me to her site in the first place. (She also has an online class at Big Picture Scrapbooking about scrapbooking your baby's first year. I signed up for that and would recommend it to others.)
Milk Breath and Margaritas (http://www.milkbreathandmargaritas.blogspot.com/)
Like Jessica Turner, Amy is also a working mother, blogging in the precious spare time she steals around board meetings, day care pickup, and crazy evenings with her two little boys, nicknamed "Shark Boy" and "Honey Bear." My favorite posts are "Shark Bites" and "Bear Bites"--basically her version of "Kids Say the Darndest Things." Those boys are hilarious. Amy posts pics of her awesome wardrobe and shoe collection, so the less stylish among us can live vicariously through her sophistication. She is also a great writer, her sentimental reflections on motherhood feeling more poetic than sappy. Read this blog for great photos, recipes, fashion inspiration, and snarky, witty commentary about modern motherhood.
Cake Wrecks (http://www.cakewrecks.blogspot.com/)
This is--in my humble opinion--the funniest thing on the Internet. I can't even remember how I discovered it, but enough other people love it that they have a book out now, highlighting (as the subtitle says) "when professional cakes go horribly, hilariously wrong." The blog and the book feature photos of bakery cakes with typos, bad grammar, unintentional innuendo, general stupidity, and general ugliness. Apparently a good number of grocery store cake decorators (AKA "wreckorators") are on crack. A fan favorite is the Father's Day cake that says "Happy Falker Satherhood." Huh? Some wrecks are the result of hyper-literalism in reading the order, as is the case in the cover image for the book: a cake reading "Good Luck Suzanne / Under Neat That / We Will Miss You." This site seriously makes me laugh until I cry.
Ok, this one actually is "insightful" and "thought-provoking," but it's also funny. Of the various commentary blogs I read on religion and the church, I find most of them boring. I know that's sad, given my profession and academic background, but I also have a short attention span. I started reading Slacktivist just on Fridays, when he does his snarky but incredibly insightful commentary on the Left Behind books. Covering only a few pages at a time, he dissects the theology, eschatology, moral framework, writing style, and everything else about LaHaye, Jenkins, and their bestsellers. In the past few months, I've started reading his everyday posts as well, and they are just as smart and snarky as "LB Fridays." The current focus of his scathing critique is the Conservative Bible Project. Fascinating!