Simple Mom: behind the scenes

family on the porch
Photo by Caryn Werner

I loved the posts recently at Small Notebook and at Almost Frugal, where Rachel and Kelly both answered some more personal questions about themselves.  Since I’ve got quite the backlog of questions from you guys, I thought I’d take some time and answer the personal ones.  So here goes…

Everything You Might Want To Know About Me

Well, okay…  maybe not that much.

Q: What is your favorite time of day?

A: Morning, hands down.  I used to be a night owl, but something happened over the past five years or so.  Not sure what it was, but now, I love waking up early, especially if I’m the only one up.  This is, of course, if I’ve had enough sleep.  Which has not happened since being in the States.

Q:  What foods do you miss from the U.S.?

A: Now that I’m here in the U.S. for awhile, I’ve remembered how much I love variety.  It’s not one particular food that I long for, but I do love a wide variety of things.  America’s a melting pot, so we’re blessed with great Chinese, Tex-Mex, Italian, and everything in between.  I think I miss the availability of certain ingredients more than overall meals – I just love perusing stores like Whole Foods and Central Market.

If I had to pick one craving, I guess it’d be anything from Chuy’s.  And soup from La Madeleine.  And good-quality desserts.

That’s more than one, isn’t it?

Q:  How old are you, and how long have you been married?

A: I’m 31 years old, and we’ve been married six years.  My husband and I met in Kosovo, part of the former Yugoslavia.  I was teaching English, and my husband was working as a contractor, helping rebuild houses following their recent war.  We officially dated for five months, and then we were engaged for five months and one day.  And the rest is history.

Q:  Do you have the most amazing bakeries where you live?

A: Do we!  We’ve yet to find stellar desserts where we live, but the bread – holy moly.  It is soooo good.  We buy our regular bread from our neighborhood bakery every few days.  When we have company, or when we’re making something special, we also have our choice of all sorts of unique breads.  We are indeed spoiled, and it would indeed be difficult to be on a low-carb diet in our country.

Q:  Have you always loved travel?

Ironically, I don’t love traveling nearly as much as I used to.  When I was single, I thrived on change and exploring new places.  Even as newlyweds, my husband and I enjoyed some pretty far-off trips.  Now…  I crave home life.  I’d actually love to see more of the U.S. – I’ve seen more of other countries than I have my own.

Tate & Kyle
My husband and daughter in Greece.

Q:  What are some of your favorite countries to visit?

A: Each place we’ve visited has its highlights, but I think my favorites so far are Ireland, Greece, and Thailand.

Q:  What part of home life do you struggle with?

A: Cleaning.  I love organizing, decluttering, and decorating, but I’m not so thrilled about the dusting, scrubbing, and mopping part.  But it’s gotta be done.  A necessary evil.

Q:  How and why did you start your blog?

A: I’ve blogged about our family since 2005, and I’ve always loved writing.  I wanted a separate space to log my home management ideas, saving my personal anecdotes and family mishaps for the family blog.  So earlier this year, when my son was a newborn and I was pretty much home all the time, nursing and sleeping, I started reading up on how to blog professionally.  This was my down time of choice while I was nursing, and I soaked up all the information I could from places like Pro Blogger, Daily Blog Tips, Copyblogger, and Skelliewag.

After getting a decent foundation of blogging knowledge under my belt, I took a big leap and bought the domain in February of this year.  A few months later, and here we are today.  Pretty wild.

Q:  Is blogging your full-time job?  Does it strike the balance between fostering your creative side and providing a steady income?

A: Sometimes it feels like a full-time job.  But in normal circumstances, I work on the blog about 15 to 20 hours a week.  Broken down hourly, it provides nice additional income, and is worth the time.

It most definitely strikes the creative and practical balance I need.  I love writing.  Always have.

Q:  Do you watch TV?  What shows are your favorites?

A: I rarely watch TV.  Back at home we usually just watch movies, but in the States, I do enjoy channels like Food Network, HGTV, and sometimes TLC.  I guess my favorite shows would be Project Runway, What Not To Wear, and Barefoot Contessa.

My lack of TV watching is simply because there’s so many other things I’d rather do with my time – read, write, or craft.

Some final tidbits…  I cannot survive without coffee, I don’t like wearing socks, and I love good-smelling quality candles.  I don’t like having the same hair style for too long, and I wish I had more time to read.  I was the editor of my high school newspaper, and I was in ballet school for 13 years – at a fork in the road when I was 16, I almost went down the road of pursuing dance professionally.  I decided against it (thankfully), and instead went to UT and majored in English and anthropology.

The idea of a perfect morning is curled up by a fire on a crisp, cold morning, book in one hand, coffee that magically never gets cold in the other.

Feel like your know me a little better?  Hope so.  Thanks to all of you for being such dedicated readers and such a lively community.  You have made this little place what it is.  I’m humbled and grateful.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday!

Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. Speaking of Thanksgiving – I am thankful that I got to know your blog and you, Tsh. Thanks for being so real, true and straight forward. Reading your posts do make people wonder what are you like – and you let us know, in such a gracious way.

    Emma´s last blog post…Childproofing – locks that do work

  2. Loved reading this!! Thanks for sharing more about yourself.

    Emily´s last blog post…Unexpected

  3. I loved this post when Kelly did it at Almost Frugal, and it’s great here too! It’s so nice to learn more about the women whose blogs I read every day. And I love the pics of your family, it is so nice to see what you all look like!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Lucie @ Unconventional Origins´s last blog post…Raising Conscious Children: When Your Family is Uncomfortably Unconventional

  4. Thanks for sharing. I really liked knowing a bit more. We’re the same age, and have been married for the same length of time. I don’t watch TV and love the mornings. The similarities were abundant, and I could go on. Instead, I’ll just say I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving yourself.

    Writer Dad´s last blog post…Pen and Ink

  5. thanks for sharing 🙂 i’ve enjoyed reading your blog since i came across it a few months ago and i don’t plan to stop any time soon!

    (fyi – your link for Skelliewag doesn’t work – i think it should be

    Krista´s last blog post…For Krista

  6. Interesting life you’ve led so far. Yet you simplify things so beautifully here. Thanks for the fun post today.

    Angie (from over at

    Half Assed Kitchen´s last blog post…Cranberry Crumble

  7. Thanks for sharing. I hear ya on the cleaning. I can organize all day long but the actual cleaning part? Ugh!

    stephaniesmommybrain´s last blog post…This makes raking worth the all the work.

  8. Thanks for sharing a bit more about you! I’m so inspired by your writing, and find it hard to believe Simple Mom has only been around since Feb. I found it a few months ago, and thought you’d been doing this for years. Your writing is motivating, your success inspiring.

    By the way–clicked over to your family blog and to the photographer that took the pictures–beautiful work! I’m in the same vicinity-such talented artists/creative people around here.

    Mama Koala´s last blog post…CVS Lunch Run, 11/24

  9. So great getting to know more about you, Tsh! I love learning about the “friends” I meet online. Especially, ones with whom I’m lucky enough to work with. I’ll have an article to you soon, I promise!

  10. Nice to “meet” you. 🙂 I discovered your blog not so long ago and I must say it’s definitely one of my favorites. Thanks for all of your work.

    Karen´s last blog post…An unexpected surprise

  11. To simply put it, I am thankful for you!

    Allison J´s last blog post…Back Again

  12. Thanks for sharing!

    I am amazed at how quickly your blog gained popularity! Why do you think that is? Any secrets to your amazing blog traffic?

    Stephanie´s last blog post…Thanksgiving Prep And Priority Check

    • Hard to say. Lots of networking (knowing the right people and really building a solid friendship with them), focusing on content, and keeping the design clean and simple. Also communicating with my readers and building a community.

      So – it has a lot to do with you guys! You’ve really made this blog what it is, I think.

  13. Hook ’em. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Fun! You have a beautiful family!

    Shilo´s last blog post…It’s Either Free Shoes or Insanity

  15. I’m a new reader. What a WONDERFUL post. It really helped to get to know you better.

    Julie´s last blog post…My First Fire Spinning Video

  16. Thanks for sharing from the personal side. I really enjoy your site and have wondered about the behind the scenes author. 🙂 I also wondered whether or not you planned this site to be “professional.” So this answers that question!

    Carole´s last blog post…thinking about Christmas

  17. Now I know why I love your site so much… we are similar in so many ways! I love to decorate and organize and declutter, but you basically have to pull me kicking and screaming to get out my mop and dusting cloth! I also can’t live without coffee or with socks… I’m serious, I do not function well with socks on… 🙂

    But… I have not travelled a lot – I live in Canada and have seen maybe half the provinces, half of the States and never been outside North America! But my dream is to hit at least Greece and Italy…

    Thanks for sharing that with us!

    mikki roo´s last blog post…my sanity

  18. Thanks for sharing! I live vicariously through your experience traveling the world and living in a different culture. Your children will grow up with a knowledge never found in books, they are lucky indeed!

    pam´s last blog post…what motivates you?

  19. Thanks for sharing a bit about yourself. I enjoy reading your blog daily and now it’s nice to “know” you. We have more in common than I thought which inspires me even more.

  20. Dear LORD I miss Chuy’s and all things REAL Tex-Mex. *drool*

    I remember the first time I came to Simple Mom – it was the Saturday you posted your Dutch Babies recipe and I have no idea where I clicked to you from, but I am ever so happy I did. It was last May, I believe. That is still one of my hubby’s all-time favorite lazy morning celebrations – Dutch Babies and hot coffee. *more drool*

    I love that we have so much in common (both 31, both English majors/teachers, both workers at home with little ones), but I find that you provide mountains of inspiration and resources that totally stretch my horizons and inspire my thoughts. I am thrilled for all your blogging success this year and look forward with great anticipation to what you have in store for us in 2009 (YAY for the book club!).

    Thanks for this peek into your life. 🙂

  21. Thanks for sharing a bit about your family and yourself. I’m glad I’m not the only mom blogger hooked on coffee! We’re so similar on many ways–I’m early 30’s, Christian, have two kids the same age as yours,married 6 years, love to travel…hmmm, I guess a lot of girls would fit that profile. 🙂
    Anyway, keep up the great work on the blog and if you ever need any contributions in the food area, I’d be happy to inspire.

    Aimee´s last blog post…Apron Giveaway Winner and a Cookie Decorating Photo Essay

  22. Thanks, everyone, for all your encouragement! I’ve always said that Simple Mom readers are the best. 😉

  23. Always nice to get to know you better Tsh!

    Rachel´s last blog post…I’m a Quitter, Not a Knitter

  24. What a wonderful post, Tsh, and I am so thankful to be one of your readers. I love getting a behind-the-scenes glimpse into my favorite blogger’s lives. I hope to see you at Blissdom ’08 so I can finally meet you in person!

    Amy´s last blog post…5 Tips for Great Photography Straight From A Pro

  25. Thanks for sharing more about you, I love your blog/column. It helps me keep a perspective and stay grounded about what things are really important and I truely appreciate it

    Kristin´s last blog post…chur-key hands

  26. Oh I loved reading this ^_^ Nice to know more about you, since I read your blog everyday & enjoy it very much!

    Desiree Fawn´s last blog post…one day at a time.

  27. When I first came across your other blog — I thought this is fascinating — an American living in a foreign country. It was neat to be able to get a glimpse of how it might be through your eyes.

    Then I discovered your this blog and realized you have some useful ideas to boot. But I couldn’t understand how you could write so many posts with a new baby, too! I’m still scratching my head — since you have come to the states and not missing a beat.

    It must be those organizational skills — I’m now thinking. 😉

    Happy Thanksgiving to you & yours,

    Suzy’s latest blog post… 2008 ThankFest…

    Suzy :)´s last blog post…2008 ThankFest: 7th simple little thing ~ to help us get by…

  28. I enjoy reading your blog!

    Happy Thanksgiving

    Paula, Stuff 2b Organized´s last blog post…What is the Only Thing I am Asking for This Year? A Butler Bag

  29. I knew your blog was special right from the start! So well-designed, and of course I couldn’t live without my Daily Docket.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Vintage Mommy´s last blog post…Holidays by Hand: Stash Knitting Projects

  30. That was great! I have to tell you I love Barefoot Contessa too. The way she cooks just feels right to me. And her recipes are always super yummy.

  31. When I read your answer about variety in restaurants especially Chuy’s, I knew you had to be in Texas. Awesome! We love…LOVE…Chuy’s as well. We eat there at least once a week! I feel a little closer to you knowing you’re somewhere in this great state. 😉

    Thanks for sharing more about yourself. It’s great to get to “know” you. Blessings!

    Melanie Ward´s last blog post…Great Green Giveaway!!

  32. Thanks for sharing! I knew I liked you from your writing, but the classical ballet training is cincher!

  33. It’s so cool to get to know you better…thanks for sharing this slice of your life!

    Sarah H.´s last blog post…Houseplant Hacks – Three ways to manage your time more efficiently

  34. Thanks for sharing! I’d love to meet you in real life someday. 🙂

    Gidget´s last blog post…Gidget Writes a Novel

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