WHAT. A . YEAR. Yes, it was a year to remember for all of us in so many ways! And as a writer and freelancer, there was a lot of flexibility required to keep my business afloat. Grateful to be here, sharing the year’s updates as we all look forward with anticipation into the new year.
Mom Rewritten – New in 2020
At the end of 2019, I was anxiously looking forward to several events. My family moved into our new home in late February. Having a larger space with plenty of outdoor area for the kids has been the biggest blessing of 2020. There’s no lack of things to do (so much yard work!) and with distance learning our reality, having extra rooms to set up desks was imperative.
Another highlight included attending the AWEsome Retreat conference at Disneyland. I am forever thankful that I was able to visit the Disneyland park in early March and to see my Disneyland With Kids co-owners before the world shut down (literally just a few days later!)
With all this “at home” time, I was able to commit to writing and posting A LOT. I was able to publish 85 new and updated articles! Towards the end of 2020, I took the leap to change my blog theme. This streamlining increased the speed of the site, allowing for a modest jump in Google’s algorithm. I can only hope this continues to grow in 2021!
Healthy Living at Home
It was a goal of mine to add more personality and intimate conversation into my blog and social media channels. During the summertime, I was able to keep up a daily exercise program for 124 days consecutive, sharing a daily Instagram story about the journey. With the stress of distance learning and other personal life issues, I dropped off of this in late fall. I do promise to pick this routine back up as my daily post-workout chats were a motivator for me (and for many others who messaged me). If your gym is still closed, try one of these 18 At Home Workout Ideas.
As beauty salons closed up shop, self-care at home became a big deal (I personally haven’t had a professional hair cut in over a year!) Many sought out subscription boxes, at-home pampering and online shopping as a way of filling that need. These 13 At Home Self Care Items offered guidance.
More Time with the Kids
Just like many of you, I’ve been spending a LOT more time at home with my children. So many friends were looking for activities and fun things to do with the kids. In response, I did write several articles with age-specific things for children and parents to do at home.
- With vacations cancelled and postponed, parents looked for Cheap and Free Staycation Ideas for Kids. In addition these 65 Things to Do With Kids at Home offered simple entertainment ideas.
- Just about everyone has experienced a “pandemic birthday” by now. My daughter’s birthday in mid March was one of the first and I wrote these tips for a Happy Birthday Celebration at Home.
- As many parents were thrust into the world of distance learning and home school, they struggled with things to do for younger siblings. Read these helpful posts with Things to Do with Preschoolers and Things to Do with Toddlers.
- As our patience waned, there were lots of fun activities at home during fall, including these 60+ Kid’s Halloween at Home Ideas.
- My third most popular blog post of 2020 (keep reading for #1 and 2), these Tips for Walking Outside with a Baby helped parents escape the house with little ones.
- All that at-home time means tons of playtime (and more messes). These Toy Organization Ideas helped us stay on top of clutter.
Raise your hand if you did more cooking at home in 2020? We eat at home 99% of the time anyway but even we got tired of eating at home for every meal! I started sharing more recipe blog posts this year, including updates to popular recipes in years’ past. My luck ran out however trying to find yeast throughout the entire spring and summer months! These were some of my most popular recipe articles:
Kids at home are eating all.the.time. This post about Quick and Cheap Healthy Breakfasts for Kids was a winner with my readers (#1 recipe post on my site).
- My second most popular recipe post was this One Cup of Everything Cookies recipe for a versatile make-at-home dessert.
- Yum, Pork Carnitas! Made in either the slow cooker or Instant Pot, this recipe is a family favorite that quickly became a favorite on the blog as well!
- Depression Cake is a delicious recipe to make, without eggs, milk or butter! This recipe made it easy to prepare dessert with just a few pantry ingredients (helpful when groceries were low in stock).
- Hearty comfort food, like this Roasted Garlic and Potato Rosemary Soup are perfect for at-home dinners.
- An update to an older sponsored post that continues to drive traffic, High Protein and Low Carb Smoothies.
While my hometown of San Diego is usually a travel hot spot, the entire Southern California region was on tight restrictions in that regard for 2020. Out of town visitors were discouraged as hotels and restaurants closed down and even locals were unable to visit state parks and beaches for a time.
As things began to reopen there were a few opportunities my family and I felt comfortable with. Outdoor adventures ruled, prompting my update of this post about Things to Do Outdoors in San Diego.
We had a single beach day with the kids around Labor Day as did many others, so I wrote this post about the Top Family Beaches in San Diego. Then my husband and I took a weekend beach getaway later in the month (and wrote about the experience in this post about the Best Family Things to Do in Carlsbad).
SeaWorld San Diego was able to adjust and reopen as a zoo, hosting their annual Halloween Spooktacular in a unique way. This visit was definitely a highlight for my kids, who were missing our usual fall theme park visits (despite not having the rides available).
Disneyland With Kids
The Disneyland With Kids Facebook group I co-own with 3 fellow travel bloggers our group (est. 2017) was thriving early in the year. Unfortunately the shutdown of Disneyland in March was a huge letdown, as many of our group members had to cancel their long-planned dream vacations.
Many members decided to switch their Disneyland trips to Disney World instead. This prompted me to write and update these articles to help anyone planning a Disney vacation during this time.
- The big question: Is it safe to take the family on vacation right now? – Everything You Need to Know About Disney Parks Reopening
- Complete Guide to Planning a First Disney World Trip
- Thank goodness for Disney+! – Must See Disney Movies to Watch Before Vacation
We shifted gears frequently, hosting themed “spirit weeks” to encourage group participation. I wrote this post about creating a DIY Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for at-home princess makeovers.
Disneyland With Kids continued recording podcasts throughout 2020, even as Disneyland remained closed. If you love Disney, listen to our 30 minute Disneyland with Kids podcast. Download, leave comments and reviews, and let us know feedback on what you’d like to hear in future episodes. Hopefully Disneyland will be reopening soon and we’ll have more vacation planning topics to cover in 2021!
When Will Disneyland Reopen?
Disneyland was slated to reopen in summer 2020 but within California’s tiered guidelines, they remained shuttered through the remainder of the year. However Disney World in Florida has reopened with success, limiting crowds, heightening their cleaning procedures and requiring facial masks at all times.
My partnership with Get Away Today continues, as the travel agency broadened their scope on Disney World vacations with their complimentary concierge service. Get Away Today also began offering a Travel Savings Plan to help guests start saving for future trips now. Disney Cruise bookings reopened (though the boats remain docked for now) and many took advantage of the reopened Disney’s Aulani in Hawaii.
In 2019 and early 2020, nine of my top ten posts were Disney related! Ending 2020, my top posts were parenting and things to do at home. As we move into safer travel in 2021, I expect that interest in Disney travel planning will increase again.
If you’re a Disneyland regular planning a first Disney World trip, this post Comparing Disneyland to WDW is a must-read. The highly anticipated Avengers Campus summer 2020 grand opening has been pushed back to who-knows-when. I’ll keep this post about Everything We Know About Avengers Campus updated once we hear more reopening news.
Attending in-person conferences is one of the best ways that bloggers can learn. The niche speakers and education gleaned in a group setting can be priceless to someone wanting to grow in this industry. I was able to attend two blogging conferences early in 2020.
AWEsome Retreat took place in Anaheim and was scheduled in conjunction with Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival as well as the premiere of the Magic Happens! parade.
The last conference held was FLOCK Presents, literally just a few days before the California lock-down. I feel blessed to have been able to attend both of these events, and to learn information that has carried me through this entire year. As a result of what I learned, I started creating more daily Instagram stories and videos on my YouTube channel.
My Number One Viewed Post for 2020
As travel came to a standstill in 2020, my blog traffic screeched to a halt. It was extremely disheartening to watch my analytics numbers plummet dramatically. As I mentioned earlier Disney travel has consistently held up my top 10.
Fortunately as a lifestyle writer, I was able to flex and offer my readers a variety of new subjects. My plan in 2019 was to start a new website but this just wasn’t going to come to fruition this year. Instead, I began including more recipes, parenting at-home tips and updated some of my travel posts to reflect the new travel restrictions.
#1 post for 2020 was the Pre-Teen Checklist. This was a blog post from 2017 that I updated with new images and printables. I’m guessing all that time at home with the tweens has sparked increased interest in this article!
Most popular brand new post for 2020 was Printable Behavior Charts for Kids. Again, parents with lots of time at home looking for parenting tips – I was glad to help in a small way.
While my site numbers dipped, I was fortunate to still be able to take on some product reviews and sponsored posts. As I’ve noted before, these will only show up on my site when they reflect my personal views and opinions, with products that I use and love at home. Trust that I’m not encouraging anything against my beliefs or the pillars of my site.
Partnerships and Affiliates
Using affiliate links is a small way I’m able to recoup some of the cost of running my business. Clicking and purchasing through an affiliate link is an easy and no cost way you can support bloggers!
The monthly delivery of Universal Yums was a highlight of 2020 for my kids! I reviewed this subscription box with all the details you need to know about getting these snacks from around the world.
- The ultimate review guide, it’s everything you’ve ever been curious to learn about Period Panties and Leakproof Underpants.
- Perfect for the holidays or all-year round to entertain the kids at home, check out this list of the Best Games and Toys That Don’t Need Batteries.
- Big thanks to the sponsors of this post, who sent giveaway products for this post about the Best Gifts for Women (save this one for Valentine’s and Mother’s Day!)
Take a look back at my blog over the years, here are my other year-end reviews:
Looking Forward To 2021
Sending a big THANK YOU to my readers and subscribers who continued to reach out and support this site, despite all that was happening in the world this year. Please continue to share my posts, repin on Pinterest, retweet on Twitter and like on Instagram. I appreciate your supporting my small business and thank you for helping me grow.
I generally end this year in review with a look forward towards plans in the new year. As of now, my calendar is WIDE OPEN and I haven’t anything in the books! Definitely disappointing to have nothing fun to look forward to when I’m usually excited about future travel and upcoming conferences. I’ll be planning things as they are safe to do so and when I feel more comfortable. If you’re in planning/savings mode, be sure to read about the Ways to Save Money for a Family Vacation.
Until then, I’ll continue to share things here on the website! Here are a few of my plans for 2021:
Cricut projects – I purchased my first Cricut and can’t wait to start creating some projects. Naturally I’ll be sharing what I make here on the site, along with some fun tutorials.
More Holiday focused posts and crafts – With the overwhelming popularity of my North Pole Breakfast this past Christmas season, I’m excited to create more themed holiday at-home parties, craft ideas and family projects.
Local outdoor travel – What’s safe to do in SoCal? As locations reopen safely to guests and travelers in 2021, I’ll continue to share.
Blessings to you all as we close out the year and good thoughts moving into 2021!