Reflections on A to Z 2021

Once again I’m singing along (badly) with the Supremes to “Reflections”.


The 2021 A to Z challenge was my sixth time completion of the A to Z April challenges. This year I decided my theme would be Family Food Fare and Favourites, looking back to our food traditions and habits when I was a child and comparing them to today’s culinary experiences. I’d had an idea about recipes since May 2020 partly because I’d been finding my mother’s old recipes as well as those of other family members. This might have provoked me into getting started early, but apparently not, and perhaps it was as well because the idea morphed with time.

I literally started writing on 1 April so was scurrying for the first week then I slowly built up a credit bank of posts. Having skimmed back through my posts today I can see that in places, my editing suffered for the speed.

Image by Oberholster Venita from Pixabay


I enjoyed casting my mind back over the decades and, hopefully, remembering with honesty how our food lives were lived in those days. Some things were simply a blank in my memory but once started it’s amazing how often the memories came tumbling back. It turned out to be a pretty good theme because it engaged others, receiving good comments on other people’s memories. All in all, I was happy with how it turned out. Mostly I relied on memory and recipes (mine and mum’s) but I did divert to google a couple of times for the tricky letters.


I was thankful to be visited by a number of other bloggers many of whom left comments and the trouble people went to in commenting. The conversations that arose from the posts were interesting and sparked more memories of my own. I’d like to think we had fun together!

Having got off to a late start I decided to focus on the family history bloggers as my priority. I have no interest in horror movies or books, or fantasy, so those simply don’t get on my radar. I did visit a few others too whose posts I enjoyed.

Thanks for everyone who visited and shared your memories and thoughts!


Prepare: First and foremost: start early. Do as I say, not as I do. Map out your possible topics for each letter in advance (at least I did this…smile)

Like: A “like” button is helpful on a blog to show that someone has enjoyed it even if they feel they haven’t anything profound to say.

Interact: I personally like a topic which offers plenty of option for visitors to engage with the theme.

Respond: I personally dislike it when, having commented, the blogger doesn’t reply to your comment, even with a “thanks”. It’s like chatting with yourself. Having said that, I know that when the schedule gets hectic we are sometimes slow about responding…or accidentally miss the occasional one.

Every year I curse myself for starting on this time-limited journey, every year I end up enjoying it.

Will I continue my participation for the seventh time? I already have some thoughts about a theme, but will I procrastinate again?

You can scroll to the end to see the themes I’ve posted on in previous years.

Thanks to all the organisers who bring us together, visit, comment and keep us on track.


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

These were the family history bloggers I visited and I think I commented on most of their posts.

Anne’s Family History: Anne focused her posts this year on her Irish ancestors and what a diversity of ancestors she has.

Black Raven Genealogy: Dara created a virtual graveyard of her ancestral families collating details of their burial places, obituaries, or funeral notices.

Carmel’s Corner: Carmel discussed a wonderful resource for Aussie family historians, The Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP). Many of us agreed this was going to be an ongoing asset to our research and Carmel even provided a PDF of her posts. Thanks Carmel!

Everyone has a family story to tell: Jeanne shared her memories of her mother who has died in the past year. A bitter-sweet story of a vibrant woman told with much affection. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Jeanne’s stories.

Family History Fun: Sue shared her experiences of life in Lockdown on the Scottish Borders. Despite her misgivings in her reflections post, I found it a fascinating topic and a great way to preserve a corner of history during a memorable time. It was interesting, and sobering, to compare the challenges she faced compared with those faced here in my protected corner of Australia.

Family Tree Frog: Alex’s theme was Family History Societies.  What they are, How they work, Who is in them, Why they exist. There were lots of thought provoking items for societies and their members to reflect on.

GeniAus: Jill ‘s theme focused on her love of books and family history. She reviewed books that she’d found helpful in her research and gave us a peek at her library, virtually. It’s always fun to snoop at other people’s bookcases.

GenieJen: Jen wrote up her research discoveries into her Co. Down (Ireland) family, the Lennons and the Macgees. Jen has links between Ireland and Australia.

Molly’s Canopy: Molly shared a profile with us of her life as an early teen in Endwall, New York. I had a ton of fun, following her adventures and comparing her teen life with my own at a similar time.

Moxons Down Under shared the activities of their Moxon Family society – what a lot of work and collaboration has been done!

The Curry Apple Orchard: Linda shared her experiences of teaching and travelling during an exchange year in 2004. Since I love travel, this appealed to me and let me compare notes.

Tracking down the family: Jennifer wrote about the family stories she’d found while searching Australia’s digitised newspaper collection, Trove. Lots of fascinating stories were profiled from the 1923 Victorian Police strike and its aftermath to the heroism of Godfrey “Bossy” Jones.

I did miss my geminate, Kristin, from Finding Eliza who withdraw early so she could do more justice to her topic another time. Her research is detailed and meticulous and no doubt she’d have been frustrated to not tackle her theme to her standards.

These are a few of the non-genealogy blogs I dropped into. In the coming weeks I’ll be visiting a few more travel or photography blogs.

Live and Learn – Toss and Turn also focused on food so I enjoyed comparing our choices.

Living, Laughing and Loving

Musings of a Middle-aged Mom: I’ll be revisiting to see how the “show me your room” series goes.

Weekends in Maine: I’m amazed by the diversity of craft activities that were profiled! Thanks for visiting my blog often, too. By the way, I bought the recommended book about food and will let you know what I think.

Tasmanian Abroad: An Australian-Scottish perspective on life and travel

My  Previous A to Z themes and posts

2012: My theme was a genealogical travelogue or a travel genealogue

2013: Visiting Australia’s Top End and learning Aussie-isms (on my travel blog, now languishing)

2016: How to pursue an interest in family history/genealogy

2019: Snapshot memories of my early married life in the then Territory of Papua New Guinea and into Independence.

2020: A melded journey of gratitude for myself and ancestors

2021: Family Food Fare: then and now.

10 thoughts on “Reflections on A to Z 2021

  1. It was good to read your summary of the last month, thanks for taking the time to look back. I’m afraid I was finding it too hard to keep up during the month to set aside enough time to comment properly on other blogs. I did start in Feb but still left too much for the actual month. I conveniently forgot when I committed that I also had to scan several decades of photos for the special birthday of one of our offspring at the end of April. Next year, should be a piece of cake.
    I did find many of your posts provoked memories of my family’s food which I had forgotten about. I think we must be around the same age as there were many recipes similar to my mother’s. But you’re a lot more adventurous now than in our household. I really appreciated your support during the month. I started blogging as a result of hearing you and GeniAus talk on a genealogy cruise and really appreciate both of you for your supportive comments

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I know what you mean about being under the pump with comments etc. then life gets in the way 😉 onwards and upwards for next year. Thanks for your kind words about Jill and I promoting blogging.


  3. Thanks for mentioning me, even though I dropped out early. I just didn’t have the heart for it this year. I did enjoy your posts and tried to comment sometimes. Hopefully I will feel less discombobulated soon and pick my blogging back up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think a lot of people are feeling a bit low so I hope you’re soon bouncing back. I found that doing the A to Z cheered me up as it was a light-hearted topic.


  4. You had an excellent theme. Like you I basically went through April without much preplanning and wrote my posts as the month progressed.

    This is a good Reflections post that offers some very helpful suggestions and ideas. Thanks for this post and for being a part of another A to Z Challenge.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    Liked by 1 person

  5. An excellent Reflections post, Pauline, and thanks for including me on your roster! I also had a hectic challenge this time and had to write as I went — hoping to avoid that next year, but we always say that don’t we? I tried to keep up with replying to comments on my posts…but toward the end, yikes! Really enjoyed your recipes and recollections. Hope to see you again next year!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. How did I miss your reflection posts? Awesome job on your writing… I enjoyed reading your posts and learning about foods from your area. I think I forgot to write a reflective post. Might have write one. Better late than never I guess.


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