i’d give you a cupcake if i could

i’d give you a cupcake if i could post image

Photo by Lulu. She and her friend made these this afternoon. Four kinds of cupcakes, four kinds of frosting. Because this is what 16-year-old girls do when they’re bored on a summer afternoon.

Today is my blog’s birthday. Four years old. Time for a party.

Last year on wonder farm’s birthday, I got all maudlin and retrospective about how much this blog has meant to me, and how it’s evolved over the years. Go ahead and read that post if you’re curious; I’m keeping my eyes dry for birthday #4.

But I did something else last year that turned out to be a whole mess of fun, and I’m planning to make it a wonder farm birthday tradition. I asked you to leave a comment, and wish my blog a happy birthday. This was my plea:

Do me a favor, would you? Would you leave me a comment, and wish my blog a happy birthday? Even if you never leave comments, even if you’ve never commented before, might you try? Because it’s my blog’s birthday, and I’m having a party. And it isn’t a party if you don’t have guests, and flies on the wall don’t count.

What a delight it was to hear from my readers–some who comment on post after post, some whom I’d never met before. It really did feel like a party, and there I sat in the middle of it, smothered in gifts.

Because your comments really are gifts to me. My stats tell me that people are dropping by, and the likes and tweets and pins assure me that people are sharing my words with others. But nothing connects me to a reader like a comment does. Your words tell me that you’re reading along, that you’re coming back, maybe even having a laugh and learning a thing or two. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could comment on every blog post we enjoy? Yet we’re all busy, darting from one thing to another–in life, on the Internet. I know. I still read blogs. I flit from one to another: reading, smiling, learning. But my comments are rare. It’s hard to find the time.

If you can find a little time today, I would love to hear from you. Just a quick happy birthday! so those uncongenial blog stats can be replaced by names. It would make my day.

I will eat a cupcake in your honor and picture you all sitting around me, smiling.

82 comments… add one
  • Dawn Suzette Jul 19, 2012 @ 2:54

    Happy! Happy! Birthday Wonder Farm! And to you Patricia… it is no small thing keeping a blog going and interesting for four years! Off to read your mushy post since I am still pretty new round these parts.

    • patricia Jul 19, 2012 @ 8:05

      Thank you, Dawn! It’s been fun getting to know you in the past few months!

  • Heather Jul 19, 2012 @ 3:11

    Happy Blogiversary, Patricia! Those cupcakes look amazing. Even when I make them, mine never look like that.

    • patricia Jul 19, 2012 @ 8:05

      Thanks, Heather. And thanks for all of the comments you leave! Yep, my girl and her buddy are expert bakers. They know their way around a pastry bag.

  • Heather Caliri Jul 19, 2012 @ 6:55

    I’m a pretty new reader–but your blog has already been helpful to me. Thank you for the calm and joyful wisdom 🙂

  • Heather Caliri Jul 19, 2012 @ 6:56

    And also: Happy Birthday Blog and You! (Sigh. I’ve yet to have caffeine 🙂

    • patricia Jul 19, 2012 @ 8:07

      It’s always so nice to meet a new reader, Heather. Caffeinated or not. 🙂

  • Gary Anderson Jul 19, 2012 @ 7:54

    Happy Birthday the Wonder Farm blog! And thank you for these eloquent thoughts about the value of blog comments and commenters. Far more people read blogs than leave comments, and that’s fine, but when what we write moves someone to respond, it means something to us.

    Thank you also, Patricia, for helping me with a wider perspective on education. I’ve plied the trade in public schools for many years, but there definitely other ways to do this important work.

    Keep going!

    • patricia Jul 19, 2012 @ 8:10

      Thanks so much for taking the time to say hello, Gary. I’m always honored and pleased when you show up here.

      My e-book on helping parents facilitate writer’s workshops is going to be finished in a few weeks. I’ll send you a copy. I have no idea if it will be useful to you, but you might come across parents who would be interested…

  • Alanna Jul 19, 2012 @ 9:51

    I’m a new reader, but have already gleaned so much inspiration here (that novel is coming along, sloooowly but surely). This blog is a valuable thing, an incredible resource for parents and educators; I always look forward to your well-written, thought-provoking posts. Happy birthday to the Wonder Farm blog!

    • patricia Jul 19, 2012 @ 21:41

      Alanna, I’m still tickled that my post got you started on a novel. Keep writing! Slow is fine, so long as you keep up with the surely part! Thanks for reading along!

  • tina Jul 19, 2012 @ 10:54

    Happy birthday to you, cha cha cha, happy birthday to you, cha cha cha, happy birthday dear Wonder Farm, happy birthday to you! love reading your blog over the years. So happy to celebrate a birthday with you.

    • patricia Jul 19, 2012 @ 21:43

      Tina, my friend, you left me a comment! I’m touched. Thank you for singing to my blog. Come on over and I’ll give you a cupcake!

  • amanda {the habit of being} Jul 19, 2012 @ 11:13

    happy birthday wonder farm! i’ll take one of each kind of cupcake 😉

    • patricia Jul 19, 2012 @ 21:53

      I wish more of you actually lived closer, because we really do have a lot of cupcakes in our freezer! It’s been fun getting to know you via our blogs and Twitter, Amanda!

  • CathyT Jul 19, 2012 @ 14:04

    I am singing a loud and rousing version of Happy Birthday to you — can you hear me?!? I love all that you share with us as we all learn from each other and our collective experiences. May you have another wonderful year — both on and off line.

    • patricia Jul 19, 2012 @ 21:57

      I hear you! Thank you! And thanks for being such a thoughtful contributor to my comments section, Cathy. I sure do love the conversation here, and people like you make that happen. Such fun. Who knew we’d get a list of Canadian resources following my last post, eh?

  • Zane Jul 19, 2012 @ 15:51

    Happy birthday to your blog! I’m also newish here, and now that I’ve put you in my blog reader I’ll be sure to be following along.

    • patricia Jul 19, 2012 @ 22:04

      Thank you for putting me in your blog reader, Zane. That’s always a compliment! And thanks for the birthday greeting!

  • Gabi Allen Jul 19, 2012 @ 16:16

    I am one of those who read along and rarely take the time to comment. Happy Birthday Wonderfarm, great place to hang out and learn a lot of really useful things.
    We are currently in Germany mostly visiting with family and friends. But we also visited an archeological site near the city of Trier on the Mosel river[founded as Augusta Treverorum by the romans near a keltic cultural site 16 B.C. which grew into the largest roman city north of the Alps] with a reconstructed roman villa and a 3 million piece floor mosaic, depicting scenes of social life and entertainment such as gladiator fights. The mosaic was discovered by a farmer in the 19th century while digging up a field was almost entirely intact. It dates back 2000 years to the times when the roman empire expanded far to the north into the keltic tribal lands of the Treverers along the Mosel river, one of the most important trade routes from then on through the middle ages and located in today’s country triangle Germany-France-Luxembourg. We also visited an amazing medieval castle, Burg Eltz. With one hundred rooms including a weapon- and a treasure chamber, it is strategically hidden in the wooded country side not so far from Koblenz on the Rhine river. The castle is being preserved by the 33rd generation of a Kurfuersten family, who’s anchestors served at times as archbishops of Trier and Mainz. All very interesting. We are having a great time despite the not so enchanting weather. But lush greenery and warm moist air are a nice change to the california climate. Enjoy the birthday and those very yummy looking cup cakes! 🙂 Gabi

    • patricia Jul 19, 2012 @ 22:08

      Gabi! Thank you for letting me know that you’re reading along. What an adventure you’re having! Mr. T would love to see that Roman villa. It all sounds fascinating. Keep enjoying your trip!

  • Megan Jul 19, 2012 @ 16:42

    Happy Birthday Wonder Farm,
    I am guilty of being a fly on the wall!!! You blog is lovely, it was passes on to me by a homeschooling friend.
    Thank you for creating it!!!

  • Megan Jul 19, 2012 @ 16:43

    Passed not passes!!!! Sorry

    • patricia Jul 19, 2012 @ 22:11

      Megan, you don’t have to feel guilty for being a fly on the wall. I buzz from blog to blog quite a bit myself! But thank you for coming down from the wall today. I appreciate it! (Must put that editing plugin back on my blog, so people can fix their mistakes. I hate it when I make an error on a blog and can’t fix it!)

  • Lise Jul 19, 2012 @ 16:43

    Happy blogiversary! I’d love to come by for a cupcake or four. Thanks for coming back and back and back for four years. I’m always inspired by your posts.

    • patricia Jul 19, 2012 @ 22:15

      Thank you for coming back and back and back, Lise! I think you’re one of my longest-running commenters. That means so much to me.

  • Lisa BL Jul 19, 2012 @ 16:55

    Happy blogiversary!

    • patricia Jul 19, 2012 @ 22:18

      I don’t think I’ve seen you here before, Lisa. So thank you for the greeting and for reading along!

  • Melissa Crowe Jul 19, 2012 @ 16:56

    I come here because your seemingly endless energy and enthusiasm for homeschooling (and for writing pedagogy) encourages me as both a homeschooler and a professor of English. Thank you!

    • patricia Jul 19, 2012 @ 22:23

      I didn’t realize that you were still following along, Melissa! That makes me happy. That a professor of English finds my words encouraging is the ultimate compliment!

  • Cath Fraise Jul 19, 2012 @ 17:09

    Happy Birthday!
    YAY! I love your blog and I am so happy that you keep posting. I have you on igoogle and you should see my face light up when I have a new post to read from your blog….like an email from an old friend (except I don’t know you..so it’s a little creepy that I said that) Anyway…congratulations on 4 years.

    • patricia Jul 19, 2012 @ 22:37

      Your face lights up when you see a new post on my blog? What a nice thing to hear! Not creepy at all. (I have a few favorite face-lighting-up blogs myself, and they feel like old friends to me too.)

      I’m going to think of your face lighting up when I hit the “publish” button next time. 😉

  • alyson Jul 19, 2012 @ 17:24

    Happy Birthday Blog! Yes, I love comments too, 4 years of enthusiasm is quite something, hope i’m still blogging away and have learnt a lot in 4 years time! I just had a muffin so don’t worry about the cupcake : )

    • patricia Jul 21, 2012 @ 15:25

      Hi Alyson! Somehow your comment wound up in my spam folder–sorry about that! Thank you for the birthday wishes, and for reading along!

  • Jane A. Jul 19, 2012 @ 18:05

    Happy Birthday, wonderful wonderfarm! I have been reading your thoughtful and thought-provoking blog for over two years now, and have never commented (I’m a little shy that way). Failure to post in no way means that I haven’t enjoyed every word you’ve written; on the contrary, I have read and re-read many of your posts because they are just so good, so right on the money with where I am in my life. I am a reluctant writer and am homeschooling my 10 year-old son so your posts fit so perfectly. Thank you, thank you for what you do.

    Oh, and I guess I should mention that we met last summer at the HSC conference. I attended your excellent writing workshop and, before it began, I chatted briefly with you and the inspiring Molly D. from Foothill Home Companion (love what she does, too!) .

    • patricia Jul 19, 2012 @ 22:49

      Hi Jane! It means an awful lot to hear from someone who has been reading along for more than two years. Thank you so much for overcoming your shyness and sending a greeting!

      I remember meeting you before my workshop last year! Will you be at the conference this year? I’m giving two new workshops.

      Anyone who reads and re-reads my posts is a gift. Thank you, Jane!

  • cathleen Jul 19, 2012 @ 18:11

    happy birthday! i love your blog!

  • Amy (mamascout) Jul 19, 2012 @ 19:10

    Happy birthday from one of your biggest fans! I am offering a writing workshop this fall and owe it all to you! Thank you for being such an important voice in the homeschooling world.


    • patricia Jul 19, 2012 @ 23:11

      Well, you act like one my biggest fans, Amy, and I’m ever grateful!

      You’re offering a writer’s workshop! Hooray! You’re the very first person my e-book has convinced! The final version is almost finished, and I’ll send you a final copy when it is–with exercises and all. If you need any help, shoot your questions my way. I will happily consult. Can’t wait to hear how it goes!

  • jill rogers Jul 19, 2012 @ 21:00

    Happy blog birthday! I continue to be inspired by the ideas and images on Wonderfarm and challenged to raise the bar in my classroom. Thanks! -jill

    • patricia Jul 19, 2012 @ 23:17

      Hello, my Whole Foods friend! Nice to hear from you again! Hope you are having a rejuvenating summer. Thank you for reading along all this time!

  • Paula Shillington Jul 19, 2012 @ 21:51


  • Maria Hawkins Jul 19, 2012 @ 23:26

    Happy Blog Birthday! I have spent the last three years reading and nodding my head in agreement. As a teacher turned homeschool mom to four it is comforting to find a kindred spirit. I just got brave enough to start a blog a few weeks ago and have a new understanding for the power of taking a moment to comment. I’ll try to stop and say hi now and then and not just read. But I will admit with these four (ages 1-9) still little time is often hard to come by. Thanks for the great writing and I do hope you will keep it up.

    • patricia Jul 20, 2012 @ 8:58

      Three years of reading along, Maria? I’m honored! Congratulations on your new blog! Blogging will help you be a better writing mentor to your kids, I’m sure. If you do find time to come back and comment, make sure to link your blog next time!

      Four young kids! Don’t worry about not commenting! But thank you for taking the time on my blog’s birthday. It’s so nice to hear from you.

  • dawn Jul 20, 2012 @ 3:59

    happy birthday to your blog! i am a homeschooling mom of two kiddos in ca and have been reading your blog for a while. your perspective on writing and children have been so comforting and reassuring to me as i foster my 9-year-old’s interest in writing. i recently started a blog of my own, with my daughter as occasional guest blogger, so we often work side-by-side on our computers. i love how she loves what i write; she says it’s exactly how we live (so i’ve captured the moments accurately, at least!). i love how she turns to me with something new she’s discovered or asks if i want to hear about a new character or plot twist in her story. i am grateful for your virtual guidance, and the examples you set with your children inspire and encourage me to find sweet spots with my own. i guess i’m not just celebrating your blog, i’m celebrating you! 🙂

    • patricia Jul 20, 2012 @ 9:02

      Thank you for the encouraging words, Dawn! It sounds like you and your daughter are doing some meaningful writing together, and having fantastic conversations about your individual writing projects. That’s where the magic is! You’ve got it! Keep going!

      (Checking in on your blog, it looks like you’re near Sacramento. Any chance you’ll drop into the HSC conference in August? I’m giving two workshops there… http://www.hscconference.com/main.html )

      • dawn Jul 22, 2012 @ 3:52

        oh, wish we could, but have some things going on that will prevent us from being there. i did know you will be giving workshops, and i have already asked a friend to please, please attend them and bring me her notes! i so wish to be able to meet you in person…i haven’t given up hope 🙂

  • Mamie Jane Jul 20, 2012 @ 6:45

    Happy Birthday WonderFarm! I’m a former public school teacher turned homeschooling mama to my two daughters. I discovered “you” about a year ago and stayed up for several hours after my family was tucked into bed so I could devour your posts!!! I SO loved reading that while you were a pretty cool classroom teacher, you needed the schoolteacher” beaten” out of you in your own home. Ahhhhh…yes…how I painfully aware I became of this same truth in my first two years. 🙂

    I’ve found so many wise, useful, inspiring ideas here. . Coming here is like being able to call a homeschooling mentor when I’ve hit a wall, or need fresh insight, or a nice perspective check that my seven-year-old will be inspired to write in her own way, in her own time. You make the writing world a better place. Thank you for sharing your passion for writing with us. 🙂

    • patricia Jul 20, 2012 @ 9:13

      It’s so encouraging to me, Mamie Jane, to hear that my posts have been helpful to you. Little thrills a writer more than hearing her words have been devoured! For several hours! So nice to know.

      I think that people assume that former teachers have it made when it comes to homeschooling, but we know that it comes with a whole different set of challenges, don’t we? Sounds like you’ve worked your way through it. Great!

      Thank you so much for the support, and for reading along.

  • Jennifer Jul 20, 2012 @ 9:39


    Your blog is my touchstone when I get anxious about teaching writing to my grade school-aged kids.

    I wake up all nervous or get workbook/worksheet trigger happy…then I think, “Wonderfarm” and realize loads of worksheets does not make a writer. It makes a worksheet master.

    • patricia Jul 20, 2012 @ 9:42

      I think I love you, Jennifer. 😉

      That you think of my blog when you get workbook/worksheet trigger happy pleases me more than you know.

      We don’t need no stinkin’ worksheet masters, right? Keep going without ’em!

  • Margaret Schneider Jul 20, 2012 @ 13:39

    Happy 4th b’day!! Please eat a vanilla/vanilla cupcake for me, preferably for breakfast.
    Love to you,

    • patricia Jul 20, 2012 @ 13:42

      Margaret! Thank you so much for the good wishes! You and Mr. T are such kindred spirits. Vanilla/vanilla is his favorite too. Not what you’d expect, considering your decidedly non-vanilla personalities!

  • Kristin Olnes Jul 20, 2012 @ 23:45


    You’ve got a wonderful thing going on here time and again. Thought provoking posts and your own unique viewpoint and style. Wonderfarm is a solid and original website. Congrats on four years of excellent writing!
    And thanks for encouraging me to start my own blog. It’s fun isn’t it?

    • patricia Jul 21, 2012 @ 15:31

      Thanks so much, my friend. I appreciate that you think what I’m doing is original and in my own style. When you start out blogging, you often try on other people’s voices and styles, but if you keep at it, your own style and perspective reveal themselves. I think your blogging style has developed over the years too.

      Fun it is!

  • Sue Jul 21, 2012 @ 2:45

    Happy Birthday from a brand new fly on the wall!

    • patricia Jul 21, 2012 @ 15:36

      I always love to hear from the new flies, Sue! Thank you!

  • Kerry Jul 21, 2012 @ 3:29

    Your blog is the first one I come to when I wake up in the middle of the night, or can’t fall asleep in the first place. Late at night, or in the wee hours of the morning, when my thoughts are foggy and full of doubt and I wonder if I’m completely insane for choosing this homeschooling path. It is such a comforting and encouraging place to visit.

    Because of your inspiration, we started a family blog, in addition to the one I link to, it’s a private blog for close friends and family where we can be just a little more free with what we write. I never realized how many things I think I say to my kids that never actually get said. And, even the things that are said have so much more meaning and become so real when they’re written. Like, how proud it makes me when my daughter supports her brother and cheers him on, or how much I really do appreciate all the work the kids do to help keep the dishes clean. And we even write about the bad stuff, the fights and arguments, and those become some of the funniest and favorite parts of the stories, even if at the time they’re painful.

    So, happy birthday Wonderfarm and thank you Patricia.

    • patricia Jul 21, 2012 @ 15:48

      Kerry, little satisfies me more than hearing that my writing has encouraged someone, and helped them worry a bit less. That’s what I hope to do, and it’s encouraging to me to hear I’ve been successful.

      I’m thrilled to hear that I helped inspire your family to start a blog! What a neat endeavor! And that it’s also become a forum for expressing the positive thoughts about your kids that you might forget to say? The icing on the cupcake.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to share this.

  • Laura Jul 21, 2012 @ 19:01

    Yay! Happy birthday Wonderfarm!

  • Stacey Jul 22, 2012 @ 7:04

    Happy Birthday Wonder Farm. I’m a regular reader, I don’t comment often but I use so much of what I learn here.

    • patricia Jul 22, 2012 @ 7:39

      That’s feedback that means a lot to me. Thank you, Stacey!

  • Sarah Jul 23, 2012 @ 9:29

    Happy Birthday, Wonder Farm! Patricia, I am definitely one of those “stats”you see. I check your blog often and am always thrilled when you have a new post. I’ve learned so much from your thoughtful insights, your resource suggestions and your honesty. I crafted anentire project for my students based on yourson’sgraphical depiction of characted importance in Avengers episodes. I’m building up the courage to homeschool my ‘Tweens and your blog is often good medicine for a cautious soul. Please keep up the great work and know how much your words mean to those of us who “flit about” even if we don’t often take the time to stop and let you know.

    • patricia Jul 23, 2012 @ 22:38

      Sarah, thanks so much for taking the time to rise above the stats! I’m so glad that the blog has been helpful to you–and how fun that Mr. T’s work inspired you and your students! Hope they enjoyed that project. Regarding homeschooling your ‘tweens: you can do it!

  • Chris Jul 24, 2012 @ 13:57

    Happy 4th! Are there any cupcakes left?

    • patricia Jul 26, 2012 @ 8:33

      There are always sweets for you, sweetie. (But the salted caramel-chocolate ones are gone. Dang!)

  • patty Jul 25, 2012 @ 17:52

    Happy Birthday! Happy 4th!
    I love stopping by Wonder Farm for a healthy dose of inspiration.
    As a life-long-learner, I would love to see a list of “what you’re reading”.
    Have a wonderful day & enjoy the journey. Here’s to many more years of creativity, growth, and passion.

    • patricia Jul 26, 2012 @ 8:36

      Thanks for the good wishes, Patty!

      I have always thought about adding a “what I’m reading” column to the sidebar, but simply worried about keeping up with it. Hmm…I’ll keep considering. I do read some great stuff that I don’t always get around to sharing. Current favorite: Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Fell in love with it even before Oprah got her hands on it! And Lori Pickert’s Project-Based Homeschooling is fantastic too!

  • Robert Jul 26, 2012 @ 1:06

    Happy birthday!

    I just found you and i like it! Keep up this good and fun work!


    • patricia Jul 26, 2012 @ 8:41

      Thank you, Robert! I’ve been getting lots of visits from the Netherlands lately, and am so curious as to where the traffic is coming from. It’s a small world!

  • Kristin Jul 26, 2012 @ 2:22

    Tricia, your words and blog have been inspiring and enlightening. You make me laugh and cry and appreciate so much about homeschooling and life. I often refer friends to your site to enrich them with your ideas and insight. Happy Birthday to your fabulous blog and a very big thank you for all that you have written. Happy regards from Kristin (Jack and Holly’s mom from SF then Marin)

    • patricia Jul 26, 2012 @ 8:48

      Kristin! What a delight to hear from you! I’m so honored that you’re reading along and sharing my work. Your kids must be so big now–I can’t imagine! Would love it if you’d stop by a park day one of these Thursdays. There are a handful of us old-timers still going week after week–and a whole slew of new folks. (Did you hear about Tina’s son Pat and his band Tumbleweed Wanderers? http://tumbleweedwanderers.com/ They’re playing their record release show at the Great American Music Hall tonight. So excited for them. We’ll be there! These homeschoolers grow up and do good stuff!)

  • Leah Jul 27, 2012 @ 8:03

    I love birthday crashing! haha. I just dropped by for the first time after seeing your comments over on FIMBY (toobad I can’t tag Renee). Cheers to another four years and many more!

  • Michelle @ The Parent Vortex Jul 31, 2012 @ 15:12

    Happy Blog-Birthday! I am a new reader, and I’m very much enjoying reading your writing, both from the perspective of a homeschooling parent, and as a writer who wants to practice and improve my craft. Thanks for doing what you do!

    • patricia Aug 2, 2012 @ 9:16

      Hi Michelle! I love new readers, especially ones who take the time to say hello! Glad that our interests sync so well!

  • Anne Thrall-Nash Aug 4, 2012 @ 21:28

    Happy 4th birthday to Wonderfarm. My family is just beginning it’s homeschooling adventure. I appreciate all the wisdom you have to share from long experience with homeschooling. I’m looking forward to how my children’s voices will develop as writers and have some tools to help them thanks to you. 🙂 We live over on the Peninsula, I look forward to taking some of your workshops at the homeschooling conference in Sacramemto in the years to come.

    • patricia Aug 4, 2012 @ 22:08

      Thanks for the kind wishes, Anne! And how exciting to have your whole homeschooling life before you! You should definitely get over to the homeschool conference at some point. I’ve always come away inspired and happy to be in such good community.

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