2021 in Review: Highlights and Top Blog Posts of the Year

Another year has passed, and here we are still in pandemic mode. This year was particularly difficult for my family with the loss of my mother-in-law Sherilyn in March. Grandma Sherilyn was the foundation of our extended family and the glue that held us all together. She loved her family more than anything else, and she was the unsung hero who made all our family celebrations special. She loved having all her grandchildren over to visit and made the best Nanaimo bars!

And then seven weeks later, we had to say good bye to our sweet pupper Kallie. We had 16 wonderful years with her, but unfortunately old age and degenerative myelopathy stole her away. From the tops of her fuzzy black ears to the tip of her fluffy tail, she was the sweetest doggo in the world with the friendliest smile you ever saw. 

So yeah, it’s been a tough year, though of course we’ve had some good times as well. Some favourite memories this year included our annual camping trip at Twenty Mile Bay, a BMW 3303 PHEV road trip to Harrison Hot Springs, and Kay finally getting her ears pierced.

This year hubby and I also celebrated 15 amazing years of marriage. But instead of the trip to Hawaii we’d always imagined, we decided to take a family trip to Parksville and Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island.

It may not have been the tropical vacation we’d originally planned, but instead we discovered a natural wonderland for adventure-loving families. Imagine climbing down into caves formed over 100,000 years ago, walking under towering 800-year-old giant fir trees, witnessing majestic humpback whales breach out of the water, and playing on sandy beaches that go on and on. If you’re looking for a Vancouver Island destination that really captures the beauty of the West Coast, be sure to take a look at our recommendations for fun things to do with your kids in Parksville and Qualicum Beach. 

My girls are now in grade 4 and grade 6, and every day I’m surprised by how much they’ve grown. Tee only has an inch to go and she’ll soon be taller than me! As my kids have gotten older, our content has naturally shifted away from the cloth diapering, babywearing, and baby item reviews we used to do.

I still love sharing the knowledge and experience gained from parenting my own kids though, and I have no plans to stop being a resource in this area. Besides, getting to share all your birth stories is still one of my favourite aspects of blogging! If you’d like to see your birth story featured on This West Coast Mommy, here’s how.

Instead we’re sharing more posts about parenting topics, children’s books, and family travel. Of course, COVID-19 has put a major crimp in everybody’s travel plans, so this year we kept our trips close to home, exploring local kid-friendly activities and destinations.

This past year, This West Coast Mommy saw almost 700,000 visits. I am so grateful to all the readers, new and old, who have taken the time to visit. I especially want to thank those of you who come back over and over, hang out with me on Facebook, and have taken the time to get to know me and my family.

At the end of every year, I like to take a look back to see which posts were the most popular, how many people visited, and how our readers find us. If you’re a stats nerd like me or just curious, here are some of the highlights from This West Coast Mommy for 2021.

Top 10 Posts

Our most popular posts this year were a mix of favourite cloth diapering resources (we will definitely continue to write these posts for those of you interested in cloth) and seasonal riddles/knock-knock jokes (these are unexpectedly popular!), two of our most popular recipes, a very personal post about dealing with childhood tics, and a fun round-up featuring book nooks. Did you miss any of these? Take a look!

1. 50 Best Christmas Knock-Knock Jokes

Knock, knock!
Who’s there?
Noah who?
Noah good Christmas joke?

2. How to Roast Half a Turkey for Thanksgiving

This post remains near the top of our list due to a big spike in views on both Canadian and American Thanksgiving, which makes sense considering many families are still keeping celebrations small due to COVID restrictions and probably didn’t need a whole turkey.

How to Roast Half a Turkey for Thanksgiving

3. 25 Hilarious Halloween Riddles

25 of my favourite groan-worthy Halloween riddles for you and your kids to enjoy!

4. 6 Ways to Fold a Prefold Diaper

I like prefold diapers for how versatile they are, how easy it is to get a custom fit with them, and how easy they are to wash up and dry. Because they’re made from natural fibers, they’re great for sensitive skin and allow more airflow to baby’s bum. Prefolds can seem a bit intimidating to some, so I’ve shared some popular ways to fold a prefold as well as my take on their best uses.

6 Ways to Fold a Prefold Cloth Diaper | In this cloth diaper tutorial, I show you how to fold a prefold diaper 6 different ways, with tips and recommendations for each.

5. Which Cloth Diaper Inserts, Doublers, or Liners Should I Choose?

So you’ve decided to use cloth diapers. Welcome to the club! You’ve picked up some lovely diapers for your little one’s tushie, and now you’re faced with decisions about which inserts, doublers, or liners you should choose. Wait, what? These terms and all the options can be very confusing for new cloth diapering mamas so I’ve put together this quick primer to help you out.

Which Cloth Diaper Inserts, Doublers, or Liners Should I Choose?

6. 25 Valentine’s Day Riddles

These cute Valentine’s Day riddles are perfect for sharing in classroom valentines!25 Valentine's Day Riddles

7. All About Using Cloth Baby Wipes

When you cloth diaper, it’s almost inevitable that the question of whether to use cloth wipes will come up too. Eventually most parents will at least consider cloth wipes, for the same reasons that they chose to use cloth diapers in the first place. Cloth wipes are more cost-effective, create less waste in the landfill, and help you avoid the use of irritating soaps and chemicals on your baby’s delicate bottom. This post contains everything a new user could ever need to know about cloth wipes.

All About Using Cloth Baby Wipes

8. 15 Incredibly Detailed and Creative Book Nooks

Roughly book-shaped, book nooks fit between the books on your shelf and offer a magical glimpse into another world. Some are made from wood or clay or paper, some have lights. Most are one-of-a-kind works of art made by and for book lovers. I’ve gathered some of my all-time favourite book nooks to show you these amazingly detailed and creative works of art.

9. Roasted Maple Walnut Carnival Squash

Squash is a delicious side dish and substitute for starchy potatoes and pasta. Roasting them with maple syrup and walnuts is my favourite way of preparing them! I’ve written this recipe for carnival squash, but you can use acorn or butternut squash as well. They’re simple to cook, delicious, and good for you.

10. Childhood Tics: What Happened When We Tried 30 Days Without Electronics

This was my first time talking about tics because until recently I didn’t have Kay’s permission. But now that she’s feeling in control of her body again, she gave the go ahead for me to share her story and the intervention that helped her. She decided that if her story might help another kid like her, she wanted to share it.

Childhood Tics: What Happened When We Tried 30 Days Without Electronics

Traffic Sources

But how are people finding This West Coast Mommy? Here are our top traffic sources for 2021. The list hasn’t changed much from last year. Organic Google searches were still far and away our main source of traffic, bringing in 71% of the visits to the blog. Pinterest and Facebook remained at #2 and #3 respectively. These three were our main referral sources, sending around 85% of our visitors.

After that came other search engine traffic, then visitors from our RSS. Next came referrals from Contestgirl (my favourite giveaway listing site) then Ecosia, a search engine that donates 80% or more of its profits to nonprofit organizations that focus on reforestation and planting trees where they are needed most. Finally, breaking into the top ten for the first time and rounding out the list was Baidu, a Chinese language search engine.

  1. Google
  2. Pinterest
  3. Facebook
  4. Bing
  5. Yahoo
  6. DuckDuckGo
  7. Feedpress/RSS
  8. Contestgirl
  9. Ecosia
  10. Baidu

So there you have it. I can’t say I’m sorry to see this year come to a close, but I want to take this opportunity to thank you for spending another year with us and to wish you a safe and happy new year.

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