These days, the influence of a blog, especially a blog written by and for parents, is undeniable. That's why we decided to recognize the best bloggers in the blogosphere with our first-ever Parents Blog Awards. We asked readers to nominate and vote for their favorite blogs in 12 parenting-related categories.
Once nominated, blogs had the chance to win the Readers' Choice award and the Editors' Pick award in each category. The Readers' Choice winning blogs received the most votes from fans, friends, and family (more than 33,900 of you voted!), while the Editors' Pick winning blogs were chosen by the editors of Parents magazine and the editors and bloggers of Parents.com (yes, we really read all 1,213 blogs in the contest).
Congratulations to all the winners and nominees of the Parents Best Blog Awards 2011.
Blog: Mom 101
Blogger: Liz Gumbinner
Mission: Commemorating and commenting on life's escapades as a mother.
Why we love it: Reading her blog is the next best thing to getting to hangout with the smart, cool, yet uber- nice mom at the playground. Her posts run the gamut: From trenchant commentary about parenting culture to get-out-your-hanky love-notes about her adorable children (often in the same entry). The mesmerizing variety of beautifully written and honestly observed entries captures the whole mother experience. Though her tagline says, "I don't know what I'm doing either," when it comes to blogging, she really does.
Blog: Julie and Martin
Bloggers: Julie and Martin Weckerlein
Mission: Share the military family's story as it unfolds.
Why you love it: Julie, an Iraq & Afghanistan veteran, and her husband Martin, a banker, have written this blog about their exciting lives since 2001! Julie works on the web so she knows just what her readers want and how to deliver it to them; and she does so in such a captivating way. The reader who nominated her blog even called her posts "addicting." Not only is the blog a fun read for all parents, but it's also a great resource for military families looking for a blog about a family they can relate to.
Blog: Made By Joel
Blogger: Joel Henriques
Mission: To create a space to share art, craft, and handmade education projects for children and their caregivers.
Why we love it: His craft projects are mind blowing! And best of all, Joel creates them out of supplies you have around the house. An empty chip bag becomes the crinkle material inside a baby's stuffed toy. Paperclips and string come together to make a mini-scale zip line. Plus: His craft projects are doable. In just 5 minutes he had us making little boats out of walnut shells. With many more ideas to explore, this crafty dad's blog makes even the most craft-spastic among us want to pull out a glue gun!
Blog: Modern Parents Messy Kids
Writer: Stephanie Morgan
Mission: To deliver daily doses of inspiration on how to connect more with our kids and create stylish homes that accommodate the whole family.
Why you love it: Steph posts creative yet easy crafts and d?cor for families that kids and moms with all skill sets can make.
Blog: The Gourmand Mom
Blogger: Amy Deline
Mission: Sharing recipes, photos, and the love of cooking food, with the hope of inspiring readers to try something new.
Why we love it: This blog had us at yum! Her divine recipe for short ribs with Brie mashed potatoes actually looks simple to make -- even if you don't have cooking skills or loads of free time. And did you see the Italian wedding soup? We're absolutely going to try that one, too! The Gourmand Mom features recipes that actually inspire us to take to the kitchen, along with step-by-step photos (and adorable pictures of her kids). Interesting and honest, her writing isn't just about the joys of cooking, but also about the joys of being a mom.
Blog: Our Best Bites
Bloggers: Kate Jones and Sara Wells
Mission: To show moms that cooking can be a delicious, fun, and easy way to express yourself and to care for your family and friends.
Why you love it: This blog has delicious and kid-friendly recipes from two real-life kitchens. The tutorials have well-explained step-by-step instructions and high-quality photos so even those most novice chef feels like they can tackle a recipe.
Blog: Wendi Aarons
Blogger: Wendi Aarons
Mission: To poke-fun and laugh at the "finer" points of motherhood -- and life in general.
Why we love it: Because she's LOL! And there's nothing off limits for her razor-sharp wit. From her traumatic experience as the fourth grade Room Mom to her accidently ordering NASCAR checks, Wendi's mocking, yet spot on commentary, is the perfect pick-me-up when you need a genuinely good laugh.
Blog: Tech Savvy Mama
Blogger: Leticia Barr
Mission: To help parents select quality resources for their children and to better utilize the technology tools available.
Why we love it: Trying to navigate through the complex world where technology and children collide is a constant struggle -- or at least that was until we stumbled upon this blog written by a former teacher and school technology consultant. She shares tips on cyber safety, the best educational games for kids, as well as an array of product reviews and giveaways.
Blog: Work at Home Adventures
Blogger: Miranda Grimm
Mission: To help work-at-home parents find, land and learn about job opportunities.
Why you love it: Miranda has helped many people (including the reader who nominated her) find a work-at-home job that is perfect for them.
Blog: Confessions of a Dr. Mom
Blogger: Melissa Arca, M.D.
Mission: To bridge the gap between pediatric knowledge and the concerns we all have as parents.
Why we love it: As parents, our children's health is our top priority, and we sometimes seek advice from an expert to calm our fears. Worried about your child's skin rash or in need of a sneaky way to get your little one to take his meds? Get advice from board certified pediatrician, Melissa, who answers your questions and concerns on kids' health topics. So that IS normal? Whew, what a relief!
Blog: The Princess and the Pump
Blogger: Hallie Addington
Mission: The Princess and the Pump is a "home" for parents with kids who have diabetes.
Why you love it: Hallie writes about and offers resources for parents raising children with type 1 diabetes. From 2 AM blood sugar checks to the myriad of emotions experienced by both parents and children, she covers it all!
Blog: Everything and Nothing from Essex
Blogger: Deanna J. Smith
Mission: To share stories about life as a parent of a child with special needs and to help others view life with a special needs child a little differently than before
Why we love it: Up close, raw, and personal, this blog shares the life of Addison, a 9-month-old girl with Down Syndrome, and her 8-week-old brother, Carter. See Addison grow through pictures, videos, and hilarious anecdotes, and learn lessons in strength and beauty along the way.
Blog: Uncommon Sense
Blogger: Dana Nieder
Mission: To give a somewhat sarcastic and honest look into the life of the Nieder family.
Why you love it: This blog rose to blogosphere fame after Kristi Yamaguchi tweeted her love of Uncommon Sense and its star, 3-year-old Maya with special needs and no diagnosis! Other readers love the blog because Dana isn't afraid to write the truth and is an inspiration.
Bloggers: Jason Avant and others
Mission: Overthrowing the outdated notions of Fatherhood.
Why we love it: Beware? Reading this blog is like walking into a man cave. But there's more going on here than beer and video games (although there is plenty of that, too). Hilarious and thoughtful, the team at DadCentric shares commentary, essays, and dialogue that make your heart melt -- or simply make you laugh out loud.
Blog: The Frequent Flyer Father
Blogger: Chicka Elloy
Mission: To help corporate fathers be actively present at home, while away on the road.
Why You Love It: Who doesn't love a family man? Chicka writes in a relatable and helpful way, giving traveling fathers a fun resource for help connecting to their families.
Blog: Buy Modern Baby
Blogger: Esther Garfield
Mission: A comprehensive guide for finding the hottest and coolest baby products, gear and furnishings.
Why we love it: Updated daily with super cool, kid-friendly finds like playhouses, cribs and endless nursery d?cor, this blog is enough to make us swoon. Perfect for outfitting a modern nursery or staying current on the best baby gear available. We've gotta have that!
Blog: The Toy Spy
Blogger: Ed and Cheri Crotty
Mission: To show its readers the toys they didn't know they needed yet.
Why you love it: Ed and Cheri show readers how kids like certain toys with their review videos of kids (the real toy experts) playing with the toys. Genius!
Blog: On the Go Chicago
Blogger: Cindy McCarthy
Mission: To discover, explore and share adventures of all the kid friendly activities Chicago has to offer with other families.
Why we love it: With this blog in your pocket, you have a go-to guide to the Windy City! Blogger mom, Cindy, shares the deets on all the kid-friendly activities Chicago has to offer, including trips to the zoo, character greetings, local events, and much, much more. She inspires us to get out the door and head out on our own adventure by giving us all the necessary info -- location, dates, and prices. Say hurray to an adventure that's close to home!
Blog: The Moms on Main (Triad and Triangle, NC)
Bloggers: Rachel Hoeing and Katie Moosbrugger, Triad Moms on Main.com; Kristen Bagwell, Triangle Moms on Main.com
Mission: To be its readers first stop for news, happenings, and advice around the Triangle and Triad in North Carolina.
Why you love it: For moms living in these two areas, The Moms on Main is the site to check out for all things parenting-related in NC. Aside from the expected content (events, playground recommendations, resources, etc.), they also offer posts about health, family, and education written by experts.
Blogger: Erin Gifford
Mission: To give parents a guide to kid-friendly trips and vacations, plus an idea of what to do when you're on them.
Why we love it: We were seriously considering taking off on an impromptu weekend trip after perusing the recommendations on this blog. The detailed posts about trip locales, plus descriptions of hotspot attractions and activities to do while there, make finding the perfect trip for your family easier than ever. Are you thinking what we're thinking? Get your bags packed and ready to go!
Blog: Mommy Points
Blogger: Summer Hull
Mission: To tell parents how using frequent flyer points can save your family money.
Why you love it: Summer genuinely loves earning using points and that passion comes through in her blog posts. She makes it possible for parents to help their children see the world... for free! Now that's an offer you can't refuse!
Blog: Ain't No Mom Jeans
Bloggers: Shana Draugelis and Molly Dynan
Mission: Answering the needs of stylish moms frustrated with what feels like limited fashion options.
Why we love it: Fashion chicks to the rescue! Two chic moms having fun with fashion show us how to dress for all stages of motherhood (and look darn good if we do say so ourselves). This blog offers practical advice, stylish outfits, and inspires us to look Hawt -- or at least stop wearing the same jeggings we wore throughout our whole pregnancy.
Why you love it: Let's face it: None of us ever want to own a pair of Mom Jeans, but the hectic life of a super-mom requires a wardrobe that can stand up to the challenge. Shana and Molly share practical tips for translating the hottest trends into an outfit that any parent or kid can wear so that no mom has to ever resort to that dreaded pair of parental denim.
Originally published in the March 2012 issue of Parents magazine.