Spreading the Liebster Award Lovin’

liebster  award

This took me a while.  Sarah from Flour and Spice very graciously named me as one of her 11 Liebster blogs about two weeks ago and I kind of sat on it for a while.  But now I will keep the Liebster love moving forward!

The Liebster award is about showing love to other blogs that you love (Thank you, Sarah!).  (In case you didn’t know Liebster is a German word with various meanings, among those found in quick internet searches, beloved, dearest, lovely, etc.  The definition and rules of the award seem to have changed over the years – the award used to involve answering several personal questions and nominating 5 other blogs, whereas now it has swelled to the somewhat absurd number of 11.  Typically the blogs nominated have less than 200 followers although I didn’t really adhere to that).  When someone receives a Liebster they are asked a number of questions that they respond to, and then they create their own new set of questions for their nominees.

Questions for Me

Jon pushing a large pumpkin carved as a jack-o-lantern

“Maybe I could be a pumpkin farmer when I grow up.”

1.  What did you want to be when you grew up?

I didn’t really think about this very much.  I may have said “doctor” at times.  This obviously impacted my college experience in which I went pre-med with little intention of following through with the “med” part of it.   I was probably interested in teaching which is why I ended up going to Honduras to teach chemistry at a bilingual school even though I had no training!  I managed to get my certification through an alternative route after being hired to teach Spanish in Dekalb County, GA.

2. What is your trashy snack of choice?

Definitely anything coated with fake MSG-infused cheese, ie, Cheetos and Doritos.  I recently found a local version but sadly it lacks MSG (I’m mostly kidding about the “sadly” part).

3. Rainy days make you want to…

Read or bake bread.

4. The recipe you have made the most times is…

Black Bean Sweet Potato Burritos.  This recipe is a classic for our family!  Of course maybe I should count mac-n-cheese from a box that I made as a teen….

5. What vacation did you take that you would most love to repeat

Going to Costa Rica last summer.  Well, I’d like to repeat the destination, but maybe not the actual vacation!  I led the trip with another teacher friend and we had 14 students with us.  It was really a great trip and Costa Rica is a common destination for a good reason – it’s beautiful!  However, I’d love to go back with my own family and share the place with them.

6. What is a New Year’s Resolution that somehow makes its way back on the list (almost) every year? 

Silly and somewhat meaningless things like this year’s “stop biting my nails.”

7. What are three books (can include cookbooks) that you highly recommend.  

Mountains Beyond MountainsNobody seems to work harder to change the world than Paul Farmer.  He’s also a pretty funny person, at least when I’ve heard him speak.
Cooked.  Michael Pollan is one of my favorite writers.  This is probably my favorite book by him.  We’re reading it for summer book club at HOMEGROWN.org.
The SparrowScience fiction combined with a theodicy?  This book has it all!  Well, those two things at least.  And great characters and a surprising twist at the end.  Mary Doria Russel even followed it up with a sequel to keep fans happy, Children of God.

8. What cracks you up?

In general I find that what cracks me up is saying silly things.  Nobody else cracks up but I do.  That makes it worth it.  Hmmm, or does it?

9. What is your best quality? (Go ahead – say it…:) )

I’ve never had to answer this before, it seems strange to give a positive superlative to one of my qualities.  I don’t know what you call this quality, but whenever I get a new interest I immerse myself in it.  Last summer the topic was investing and planning for retirement.  I read about 20 books on the topic.  This led to other topics and by the time I was done I wanted to start my own business.  That dream is somewhat on hold while I take a turn being a stay-at-home dad, but I’m glad to have spent all that time researching and thinking about my future.  This year my topic is food and blogging (hmm, surprise?).

10.  What was your favorite class that you took?

Probably my political science class I took in college.  It felt like high school.  Which is what is funny about it I guess, the fact that while in college I most enjoyed the class that didn’t feel like college.  A close second was my restoration ecology class because I had access to a fabulous greenhouse where (in addition to my actual study) I nurtured my first set of homegrown seedlings for my college house garden, yes a love affair began in that glass-enclosed building….

11. What is the one thing you want to work on with your blog?

I’d like to work to improve the content of each new post!  It would seem that the internet is pretty full already and if I’m going to be adding to it I’d like my contributions to be worthwhile.  This would also include not making grammatical errors or having sloppy sentences.  I’d like to improve at photography and also become more efficient with my use of time and energy directed at the blog.

My Nominees

Now then, in a return to the somewhat less crazy Liebster of several years ago I’m going to pass this Liebster on to 7 blogs that I love.  They can stick with the typical 11, or go with whatever number they think is appropriate.  And for questions I’m going to simplify mine down to 7 as well.


  • Locavore Girl in the City.  We’re working on the same goal and speak the same language.  We don’t quite live in the same climate, although it is the same province, so I appreciate and enjoy seeing what local foods Lise is cooking.  This spring she shared great tips for making crispy oven fries which I have used with much success.
  • Story Cooking.  First of all, her black bean mushroom burgers were great, and I like the concept of her blog.  As Michael Pollan has pointed out, every recipe is like a story—it has a beginning, middle, and end!  She shares many of her recipes at From Scratch Club, like this one for Beans, Beets, and Sorrel Salad.
  • The Cook’s Sister.  The premise of Amber’s blog is that her brother is the chef and she wanted him to start a blog.  When he wasn’t willing she started her own.  I love that she always posts the price of things with her recipes.  This helps to show that home cooking is almost always a very affordable activity and definitely yields tasty results!

Beyond Food:

  • Twisted Running.  I love Lindsay’s honest reflections about every day life and running.   Her excitement about both topics (which really seem to become entwined) comes through in her always great writing.
  • To Make a Day – Amaryah is pretty darn committed to making stuff every day.  Many days it’s clothing, which is her specialty and profession.  Even if she doesn’t post every day I’m pretty sure she’s always making something, at least that’s the case every time we’ve been over for a play date.
  • Making our Sustainable Life.  Vickie and her husband are working hard to prepare for a frugal, and sustainable retirement.  Their blog is where they share the process of planning and building their homestead.   As someone who would like to live that way too it’s been fun to watch and read about their process and see how the homestead develops.  Things like solar power, and rainwater irrigation are just the beginning.
  • Homeschool in Spanish.  I’m impressed with Katie’s commitment to her goal of raising bilingual children.  She works hard at it and is an inspiration to me (someone who is raising kids who are at least familiar with Spanish!).  Our kids are going to do public school starting this fall but I appreciate all those hardworking parents who are choosing the unschooling option and I’m excited to follow Katie as she pursues this with her family.

My questions for them are (and I apologize, some are “double” questions):

  1. How would you describe where you live without naming any places?
  2. When was the last time you wrote a letter (a real one, you know, that you sent in the mail with a stamp)?
  3. What is your favorite non-English word?
  4. What (if any) blogs did you follow before you started blogging?
  5. Do dogs belong in the city ?
  6. Are there any books that you have lent to more than one person (and if so, what is it called)?
  7. Do you plan your meals in advance, or just “wing it”?

Okay, that was a long post!  If you skipped down to the bottom here you probably missed a thing or two.  Be sure to click on a few of the links to see the blogs that I follow.  Thanks for reading and following!