Ask Away Friday With Lisa From The Golden Spoons

I met Lisa when I had the chance to read The Mother Of All Meltdowns, the book she contributed an essay to. We have become good friends and have even crossed over to being real life Facebook friends. We’re going to be meeting for the first time in a few weeks at Blog U and I am so excited! Lisa blogs at The Golden Spoons. She originally started her blog as a place to hold memories for her children but since starting, it has grown beyond memory keeping to include great recipe ideas and a fun link up called Tuesday Ten.

I love Lisa because she is funny and kind. Her words are honest and real. I adore her authentic voice. I asked Lisa some great questions this week, so be sure to head over to her blog and check out the answers!

The Golden Spoons

Ask Away Friday posts are my favorite ones to write. Two bloggers trade 10 questions and answer those questions on their blog. Everyone links up and gets to know more about one another. If you’d like to swap with me, I’m working my way into my June and July calendar because we are doing A LOT of traveling this summer. Email me at



1. This week’s Finish the Sentence Friday prompt is “the nicest thing someone ever did for me was . . . ” How would you finish that sentence?

Right before I was getting ready to fly across country with Lola and Malone this winter, my mother’s closest high school friend sent me a gift card to Starbucks via email. It was such a sweet treat and a lovely way to let me know she was thinking about me.

My mom passed away before I got married and her best friends have continued to be an influence in my life. They’ve held me pretty tightly. Thank goodness for Facebook!

It isn’t the nicest thing someone has ever done for me. But, small gestures matter to me even more than big ones.

Small acts of kindness are the new big.
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 2.  I know you met your husband via  They say opposites attract, so do the two of you have very similar personalities or are you more like opposites?

 Our core values are very much the same, but our personalities are opposite. Michael is an introvert who analyzes almost everything. When I ask him a question, I can see him running the different answers and outcomes in his head before giving me an answer. He is very quiet until he gets to know you. He has the same core group of friends that he made in college.  He likes getting to know new people, but it takes him a long time to loosen up and engage with them.

I am an extrovert through and through. I like meeting new people and finding common ground. I enjoy social situations and have a personality that shines well when others are around me. I recharge my batteries by hanging out with friends or talking on the phone. Michael needs time away from people to recharge. It works out well for me, he almost never minds it when I head out to see my friends at night!

 3.  Your about me blurb says you would like to go out for coffee and I know (and am totally jealous) that you got some alone time at a coffee shop last weekend!  What is your favorite kind of coffee drink and does it change with the season??  I love a Starbucks caramel macchiato, but in hot weather I drink it iced!

I spent about five hours at Panera on Saturday morning, writing and working on the blog. Michael and I had a conversation last week because I felt like I wasn’t able to give my family and home the attention it deserved and keep on target with my blogging goals. Instead of encouraging me to give up blogging, he suggested I take time on the weekend to write posts in bulk. I ended up writing 3 posts and knocking out a ton of emails. None of those posts have published yet because I’m beefing up June’s calendar. We are traveling A TON.

As for the coffee, my favorite of all time is a peppermint mocha. But I only drink those hot and around the holidays. They are TOO fattening to use as my drink of choice all year. Most of the time, I drink a dark roast of iced coffee with cream and splenda. My “treat” drink is an iced three pump caramel macchiato.

 4.  I love that you have a clearly defined goal for how you want to raise you children – “to raise empathetic, self sufficient, open-minded tiny humans who love the world and their neighbors as themselves.”  Is that goal something you and your husband discussed intentionally??  How did it come about?

I don’t know if we ever sat down and had a specific conversation about it, but those character qualities are the ones that are the most important to both of us. I spent a long time thinking about my motherhood goals and deciding what I really wanted to pour into our kids. The above mission statement is what I came up with.

Parenting decisions that had the potential to be hard are much easier. If the activity, friendship, book, club (whatever really) is going to reinforce or teach our children about those traits, we are likely to consider it. If it doesn’t, we’re much more apt to say no.

 5.  When I was in 8th grade and then again in 12th grade, I was voted “Most Dependable.”  What superlative would best describe you?

Most likely to buy the coffee of the stranger in line behind her.

 6.  Speaking of school, what was your favorite subject in school??

English class. I had a high school English teacher who really encouraged me to pursue love of writing.

 7. I love your Ten Commandments of Blogging.  Which one of the Commandments is the hardest for you to keep?

I have a hard time with #7. It is really hard to watch newbies come onto the blog scene and explode in popularity while I sit back in my space wondering if I matter. I try to blog like a horse with blinders on, but it isn’t always easy. I think the more I work at defining my long term vision for this space, the easier it will get to focus on my growth instead of others.

 8.  Your children are younger than mine.  What are you most looking forward to as they get older?  Anything that scares you?

Malone is almost five and Lola is eight months. I’m looking forward to seeing their sibling relationship continue to thrive and develop. The older Lola gets, the more fun the two of them have.

Malone is off to Kindergarten next year and I’m not looking forward to the logistics of pick up and drop off while a toddler in tow. We’re not quite sure where he’s going to go to school yet, but it is looking more and more like he is going to attend a school outside of our district.

In MA, if a neighboring district has an opening and you want your child to go there, by law the district has to let them in. Most schools have more demand for these school choice spots than they have openings, so they hold lotteries. The lottery season is done and we found out that  Malone got into a really great school, but it is 20 minutes away and we have to provide transportation. If you factor in the carpool lane, it could easily be an hour and a half of driving a day.

 9.  I can’t wait to meet you and so many of my blog friends at BlogU next month!!!  What are you most hoping to get from the conference?

I went to a mini event in Boston a few weeks ago through SITS, but BlogU will be my first full conference. I’m going into BlogU with very few expectations other than to learn more about my craft. I would like to learn more about the business side of blogging and am hoping to learn more about freelance writing.

This will be the first time I’m away overnight from Lola. I’m looking forward to sleeping through the night!

 10.  Let’s make the last one a fun one!  If you could travel anywhere in the world – money and time are not a concern – where would you go and why??

I’d love to take a trip around the world with my family. I don’t have the exact countries in mind that we’d go to, but we ‘d try to hit up every continent if we could. There is so much to be learned from spending time in other countries!

Well, Lisa had great questions for me, didn’t she? The first question she asked was from another link up called Finish This Sentence Friday. I’m new to that community, but I’m going to link up there too!

Janine's Confessions of A Mommyaholic



  1. 1

    Janine Huldie says

    So glad you joined us with Lisa, this week and must tell you I too meant my husband on WE do just like you and your husband have similar values, but also are opposites as far as our personalities are concerned. I am the extrovert, like you and he is definitely more introvert like your husband. So, loved hearing about the both of you and could very much relate. Thanks again for linking up with us in FTSF this week :)
    Janine Huldie recently posted..Fishing for Nice Compliments & Blushing, Too!My Profile

    • 2

      NJ says

      Too funny that you also met your husband on!

      I wonder how many married couples are opposites?

  2. 3

    Lisa @ The Golden spoons says

    You and your husband sound a lot like my husband and me except opposite roles – we have the same core values & beliefs, but he is the extrovert and I am the introvert. Your commandment #7 is very hard for me as well. I hate that I have a jealous streak, but I do. I try really hared not to let it get under my skin, but some days that is easier than others.

    So much fun swapping questions with you and can’t wait to meet you in person at BlogU!!
    Lisa @ The Golden spoons recently posted..She Had Me At “Cookie!”My Profile

    • 4

      NJ says

      I can’t believe you’re an introvert! I hope I don’t over power you when we meet up in a few weeks!

      Our core values and beliefs have grown a bit since we first started dating, but we’ve spend a decade learning about life and what is the most important to us.

  3. 5

    Nancy says

    I am also looking forward to seeing how the sibling relationship develops between Micah and the girls, because he’s a boy and and because of the age difference! I’d love to do an AAF with you; I love reading the answers to people’s questions in this series!
    Nancy recently posted..A Blessing and A Curse, No. 1My Profile

    • 6

      NJ says

      I think that Micah will be able to handle his big sisters JUST fine! Your girls are girly, but not super girly. I think that they’ll be able to find some common ground!

  4. 7

    Tiffany says

    Wow! 5 whole hours? I may need to try that someday soon! I have reorganized my schedule and started writing in bulk as well. It has helped so much with keeping things balanced. I definitely need to try the Caramel Macchiato Iced…I’ve only ever had it hot…oooh and triple pump is just that much better! :D
    Tiffany recently posted..How To Pick Your Own Sverve Tip ImagesMy Profile

    • 8

      NJ says

      Yep! 5 solid hours. I got 4 posts in rough draft and cleaned up my inbox. It was heavenly!

  5. 9

    Karen says

    its; nice to just get away and write…though I would be too temped to eat, eat, eat, eat. LOLOL
    what cuties you have…love that pic.
    Even though hubby and I are both Scorpios and Italian, he will talk to anyone about anything and I’m often like leave me alone. I only really open up to people that I know.
    Karen recently posted..That’s So NiceMy Profile

    • 10

      NJ says

      I head out to Panera and usually have a yummy bagel while I make my time table and to do list (yeah, I’m a nerd and assign each task a time limit so I can keep myself on target with the time I’ve got). If I’m still there around lunch time, I have a sandwich too. It has been a really nice change of pace instead of writing from my desk at home. I’m thinking about trying the library next, the coffee shop is just a tad too distracting (I love listening in on other people’s conversations).

  6. 11

    Rabia @TheLiebers says

    I love writing in bulk and I need to make it more of a priority. This past week was all pre-written and I felt good about being able to stay caught up on promoting, comment replies, return visits. Of course, I didn’t use my extra time to get ahead for this week, even though I knew I should have. One of these days I’ll get myself together!
    Rabia @TheLiebers recently posted..#AskAwayFriday with Shelly from DIYMamaMy Profile

    • 12

      NJ says

      Blogging could literally be a 40 hour a week job and you still would walk away with a to do list a mile long. I’m in the middle of shifting A Cookie Before Dinner from a hobby blog to a business model and with that comes some additional planning. At first, I thought I’d feel boxed in by an editorial calendar. But what I’m really finding is freedom because I know exactly what I have to work on, what is coming next, and what is coming in the not too far future!

  7. 13

    Kristi Campbell says

    I had to go read what #7 was again, but yeah, it’s hard when newbies seem to explode although I can’t think of anybody who’s done that recently – but maybe I’m just clueless. Blogging is weird and wonderful and so supportive and fun but also full of jealousy and wondering why some of the things that go viral do so.
    I met my husband online too! Whoot! Also, I’m really jealous that you got 5 hours on a Saturday morning to write. What a great idea and that’s really great that your husband is so supportive. Looking forward to meeting you and Lisa and everybody else at BlogU!!
    Kristi Campbell recently posted..The Kindness We Learn MattersMy Profile

    • 14

      NJ says

      The person who exploded (that I know) really hit her niche and it is a really specific blog. I love that I’m not bound by a niche and can write about a lot of different topics!

      I love writing on the weekends. It makes my week go so much smoother. We’re traveling a ton in June (hello! BlogU!) and a lot of the things I’m working on now won’t publish for about a month.

  8. 15

    The Dose of Reality says

    You are so smart to work on posts in bulk on the weekends. I always say I am going to do that, then I never do. Maybe this weekend is my chance! It is so sweet that Michael is so supportive of you. Aw!! I love it! :)

    I bet you are going to be fine with your pick up/drop offs for school. We don’t have transportation to our school either, and once you get into a routine, it’s okay. I did it for Bobby with Lucy in tow, so I totally get how difficult that can be. You’ll have it down in no time. –Lisa
    The Dose of Reality recently posted..Pinterest Nightmare #750: A Sign Of The TimesMy Profile

    • 16

      NJ says

      We are traveling so much in June that have to pre-write as much as I possibly can! I don’t want to be on vacation AND blogging. I want to be as offline as humanely possible. Also? Part of the time I will be without internet access, so there is extra motivation!

      I am an over worrier when it comes to school stuff. I know that it will be fine in the end!

  9. 17

    Dana says

    Two of my faves pairing up today! I really admire how you work smarter, not harder. I need to follow your lead! And knowing that some of your travel in June involves Blog U and meeting me….yay!!
    Dana recently posted..Of trees and bloggersMy Profile

    • 18

      NJ says

      I am STOKED about meeting you in June! Part of the reason why I signed up is because I knew that you and Lisa were going to be there!

  10. 19

    Beth @ Structure in an Unstructured Life says

    My husband and I are similar – same core values but opposite personalities. We’re actually the opposite of you two though – I’m the introvert and he’s the extrovert!
    I love how you clearly defined your parenting mission statement and use it to guide your decisions. I admire that intentionality!
    Beth @ Structure in an Unstructured Life recently posted..Inspiration, Cookies, and Pinterest with The Bold Fit MomMy Profile

    • 20

      NJ says

      I think it is amazing that you’re an introvert- proof that you really are my online better half!

      The more I am learning about goals and being intentional, the more I realize I want to live my life this way. I don’t want to leave much to chance!

  11. 21

    Rea says

    It’s so nice that your husband is very supportive of your blogging career and even gave you suggestions on how to manage it. :)

    I’d also love to travel the world if money and time are not issues. With the family and sometime alone will do, a girl can dream you know! Haha!

    Your parenting goals are very realistic, love them! :)

    • 22

      NJ says

      Mike has been a rock star supporter! We often think of ourselves as a team- when one succeeds, we all do!

  12. 23

    Sonya says

    I think it is awesome that your mother’s friends have continued to look out for you. I would love to take a trip around the world with my kids once they are old enough to remember going. Hopefully, in the future we will have enough money to travel outside the country and explore the world with our kids.
    Sonya recently posted..The Children’s Place 40% Off Everything, Prices Start at $1.44My Profile

    • 24

      NJ says

      I agree with you about waiting until they can remember. I think for us, the ideal time to go would be when our youngest child was seven or eight. We’ll see if it happens!

  13. 25

    Jenny says

    Can I just say I love your wedding gown and bouquet! So creative and I can tell that you really let your personality shine through on your wedding day. English was my favorite class too and I had several wonderful teachers that I still remember to this day. Sometimes when i don’t feel like writing or don’t feel that I have what it takes I remember the push they gave me so long ago. Teachers can be such amazing influences. Love learning more about you NJ and hope to meet one day – hopefully at a future blog conference if not sooner :)
    Jenny recently posted..Mothers Across The WorldMy Profile

    • 26

      NJ says

      Aw thanks Jenny! I fell in love with the dress as soon as I saw it in a magazine (I think the trim was pink in the ad). I ordered it without trying it on! Talk about brave! My great aunt made the flowers (they are silk). I still have time in my dining room. She has since passed, so they are extra special!

      We definitely need to meet up! We don’t live that far from each other, so we could totally make it happen!

  14. 27

    April says

    Your husband and you sound very much like my husband and I, NJ! When we first got together, most people thought he was mean because he was quiet and when he was thinking, he would furrow his brow. I’ve gotten him to stop furrowing his brow, so he is no longer “mean looking”, but just as quiet. He’s starting to step out of his shell because I’m the little social butterfly and he doesn’t want to stay home alone!
    April recently posted..Share Your Post with us at Countdown in Style {22} LinkupMy Profile

    • 28

      NJ says

      I guess the saying is true, opposites attract! Most of the time, Mike is still happy to stay home or do something with just our family. I have to remind him to check in on his friends sometimes!

  15. 29

    Stacey Gannett says

    Love this Q & A ladies! Ooh a trip around the world would be kind of neat, but each place we would visit would have to have a Burger King…the hubby won’t eat it unless it clucks, oinks, or moos! LOL! That is so awesome that your hubby is so supportive of your blogging and it’s importance to you…mine really doesn’t get it. His eyes kind of glaze over when I talk about it, much like mine do when he talks about history stuff. That is such an amazing pic of Malone and Lola! They both look so happy together. Wow…an hour and a half drive to and from school! It is great that you are allowed options, though. We are not, which is why we started home schooling. Hope you have a great week, NJ!
    Stacey Gannett recently posted..#AskAwayFriday with Amber from Bold Fit Mom!My Profile

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