Cooking with Charger:
Spotlight on Meaningful Mama
Jodi Durr is a blogger and mother to three children. Durr’s blog, Meaningful Mama, features a character development series for teaching children through play, discipline and positive reinforcement. Meaningful Mama also offers tips on parenting, crafts and recipes.
Recently, Cooking with Charger got to chat with Jodi Durr.
Cooking with Charger: We love Meaningful Mama! Tell us more about yourself and the blog.
Jodi Durr: I believe that parenting is one of the most rewarding yet challenging roles we have. Through all of it, we have been given the largest responsibility of raising the next generation. I want to inspire and equip you to make the most of this amazing position and to do this job well.
Wife of the perfect partner for me. Mother of three. Lover of fun, creativity, cooking, adventure, puzzles, games, family but most importantly Jesus. The heart of Meaningful Mama is the character development series for teaching kids. The icing on the top consists of parenting tips, crafts, recipes, cakes and more. I have a degree in education, but I love being home with my kids…most of the time. There are times I wonder if I’d want a job out of the house because this job is really hard, but I really don’t have a desire to be back in the work force.
CWC: What inspired you to create Meaningful Mama?
JD: Part of why I started this blog is because I have found parenting more challenging than I ever imagined. I have some great examples in my life, and I still have felt lost. I wondered, if I have these amazing resources in my life, what do people do that don’t have help and advice a phone call away? I wanted to become a source to help those seeking to be better in their parenting. This blog is me living out a bunch of “I should” moments that I was letting pass me by. I needed motivation to be present, and I wanted to inspire others along the way as I learned tools for play, discipline, positive reinforcement, learning and all of the other things involved in being a mom.
CWC: Do your children help in the kitchen? Any tips about teaching children to cook you can share with us?
JD: I love having my kids help in the kitchen. I have found them especially capable of helping while baking. Being in the kitchen together develops a sense of family, and it is a great space for teaching children. At age 2 my kids were helping me crack eggs, dump and stir ingredients. This teaches them fine motor skills and self control. While the kids grew, we worked on reading while looking at recipes and math as we worked out fractions. Sometimes I would double or half the recipe, so that created even more opportunity for learning. I believe in creating a sensory experience while cooking with kids. Having them smell and identify herbs is one way to do it. Being all in when kneading dough with their hands is another way to experience the sense of touch. My kids help me decorate cakes, which works on self-control and creativity. I’m at at the point, with kids aged 5-9, where they are very helpful in the kitchen rather than it feeling like it’s a bit more work. The time invested in the early years is definitely worth the pay as they get a bit older.
CWC: What’s your favorite go-to recipe and why?
JD: My favorite go-to recipe was given to me by my mother-in-law. It is the most requested dish for celebrations at their house and ours. It’s her baked chicken dijon. It is easy to prepare ahead, and everyone loves it. I often make it when I am taking meals to other families. As a person who does cakes, I also have to say that my white velvet cake is amazing! It is a modified cake mix, and it always gets fabulous reviews.
CWC: Do you have an anecdote about an unusual experience that inspired a blog post? Please share!
JD: I try and be very real in my blog posts. Parenting … life … isn’t always rainbows and roses. I am candid when I’m struggling, and I want to help others when they’re having a tough time too. I often have personal experiences that inspire my blog posts. Often times audience interaction over something I’ve shared or a question someone has inspires a whole new post. I think of “Is Obey the New Four Letter Word?” which was inspired by a variety of Facebook responses. Whenever I discussed or shared a post that talked about teaching kids to obey, the question is often posed, “What are they, dogs?” I enjoy interacting with my audience in a loving way, addressing their own concerns about parenting.
CWC: What do you hope to achieve with your blog in the near future? In the long term?
JD: My goal at Meaningful Mama has always been to make a difference. Looking at the media lately, life can feel discouraging. Where’s the hope? How do I raise kids in all of this? Will my kids help the next generation look different? I see my blog as a platform I can use to inspire people toward stronger marriages and families. I want to help be a voice that inspires change, so my long term and short term goal is to grow. My audience can help by sharing my content when it inspires them. I also have loved having Meaningful Mama as a creative outlet for me. I love to create recipes, cake designs, crafts, activities and parties that are fun and engaging. I use these vehicles to not only reach my own family but also my readers.
CWC: What is your family’s favorite summer activity?
JD: We are water people. We love to be out on the water all summer. Whether swimming, boating or just hearing the waves crash around us, most of the summer you’ll see us in the water. We also have an annual trip to Cannon Beach Christian Conference Center that has become a vacation we look forward to every year.
CWC: What do you wish other people knew about Meaningful Mama? Is there something that surprises most when they first learn about your blog?
JD: I wish people knew my heart for making a difference. Yes, blogging has become a profession, and it’s a way to provide income for my family. However, I want my readers to know that I’m authentic and really care about impacting the world for good. For me, it is more about the impact it inspires in my own home and in the homes of others.
I think what surprises people most is that blogging is actually something that someone can pursue. I think people just have a lot of questions about how blogging can be a career. It’s become such a passion as I work to not only be a better mom but also a better and more effective blogger.
CWC: Here’s a silly one. If you and your family had to be stranded on a deserted island, but all your human needs (such as food and water) were taken care of, what two items would you want to have with you?
JD: I’d definitely want a Bible. It’s a guidebook to life, offering hope, love, joy and forgiveness. There’s so much depth to what can be learned from this book, and I want my kids to know it and the God who wrote it.
I’d also bring a deck of cards. We are gamers, and it’s hard to pick one game. A deck of cards would provide a variety of games to keep us occupied for quite some time.
CWC: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
JD: Just be good to one another, People. There’s so much division I see in the news and in families. I just keep thinking, “Why can’t we all just get along?” Do your part to love well and live with integrity. Come alongside my purpose at Meaningful Mama so we can help teach our kids to do the same. 🙂
Visit Jodi Durr’s blog at MeaningfulMama.com.
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