Sometimes It’s Not About “Cute” – Part 1


Have you gotten hooked on Pinterest yet? Pinterest, for those who are not yet familiar with it, is a site where you can “pin” onto your virtual bulletin boards, all these wonderful things you find on the internet. One of the things most folks are loving about Pinterest, is that it is very picture driven. Anything you pin is accompanied by a picture of that thing. Users of Pinterest love to browse all the pictures looking for cool things that interest them.

All these wonderful pictures, however, are adding a whole new level of stress and guilt to bloggers everywhere. That picture on your blog post had better be wonderful, or it might not get pinned!! Oh No!!

Worrying about “Cute”

This week my plan was to write about how you can take a scratch recipe for baked goods that might already be in your recipe box and turn it into a make ahead mix (we’ll be taking a closer look at this in the next post). This is something I like to do every now and then when I have spare time on the weekends, and then my mixes are all ready to go during a busy work week.

But instead of just making my mixes and putting them in my usual containers, I started feeling the pressure to make it “Cute”. I better have an awesome picture with this blog post! Maybe I should run to the store and get some cute little jars. And then maybe I better look for some ribbon. And what about cute labels? Oh gosh, I bet everyone else is using cute printable labels. Stress!!

Let’s Keep It Real

Then I had a little talk with myself. What was really the goal of making these mixes and sharing this idea?

First of all, I was just trying to make life a little easier on myself. I wanted to get some ingredients together ahead of time so I could save time during the week. So why was I about to spend even more time shopping for jars, and looking for decorations? I was getting off track and losing my focus.

Second, I have hoped that I am making some sort of a helpful contribution in this world with the ideas I share here on my blog. I want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. If I truly want readers to feel this is an idea they can do that will also save them time, money, and energy, why add another level of guilt to it with something that doesn’t even reflect how I truly operate most of the time?

So today you’re getting The Real Me. I’m not going to spend money on more jars when I already had some perfectly functional containers on hand. I’m not going to decorate them with ribbons that will just be an annoyance when I’m in a hurry at the end of the day. I’m not going to waste all kinds of my precious time and life energy searching the internet for printable labels.

Yes, sometimes it’s just not about cute.

What My Mixes Really Look Like

So here you go. Here’s a picture of how my finished mixes really look. I hope the fact that I take a very plain and ordinary approach will help you see that it doesn’t have to be a big deal. Anyone can do it.

Homemade Baking Mixes

What I do is just combine the dry ingredients in a baking recipe and put them in some kind of empty container. I have some plastic containers from the dollar store that are a good size. Sometimes I use a canning jar too if I need a bigger size. As you can see, one of the lids on my containers doesn’t fit so great anymore so I stick a rubber band around it. Yup, not cute but it sure works great.

homemade baking mixes

And the labels? I am a lover of post-it notes. I just jot down the necessary info and stick the note on. If it’s not sticking so great, I get a piece of scotch tape and secure the post-it note a little better. I always, always, always have post-it notes in the house in a little dispenser on my kitchen counter so this label solution is always easy and handy for me.

On my labels I put the rest of the ingredients that need to be added to the dry ingredients, and the baking temperature and time.

Homemade Baking Mix

So there you have it, warts and all. I love this comment from one of my readers who told me, “Bev, you are so stinkin’ practical”

I believe she is right about that. And I am quite flattered 🙂

Please don’t let yourself become paralyzed by the “cute” factor. It’s OK if your project doesn’t look exactly like that awesome picture you saw on Pinterest or on someone’s blog. If you have accomplished what you set out to do, which was probably to in some way improve life for you and your family, then you have a achieved a good thing!

If you are naturally good at Cute, then go for it! There are times when I enjoy jazzing things up a little bit too. But if that’s not your thing or you just don’t have time, that’s OK. Just keep your eyes on the true goal and stay authentic. That’s all I’m askin’.

You might also like to read:

It’s Not About Cute – Part 2  (includes some great mix recipes)

It’s Not About Cute – Part 3  –  How I turn a regular cookie recipe into a jar mix

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  1. 11+ years later and I’m just now finding your site and this post….

    These words…. I wish I found them sooner than today. This applies to soooo much more than just baking mixes. And jars. Thank you for this. 💕

  2. One thing I've learned: put the yeast in first so it doesn't have contact with the air once the flour is dumped on top. Otherwise it can attract moisture (leading to mold) and/or lose some of it's power.

  3. For the last 4 years, I've always had 10 mason jars of pizza dough/French bread mix ready to go. Add water and/or oil, mix, rise, and bake. My husband loves it because he doesn't have to take out all the ingredients, just dump and go. Pizza is our go-to quick dinner when we don't have much time or brain power. =) It takes just 30 minutes from mixing the dough to popping a pizza into the oven. Gotta love being prepared!

  4. Girl you are human and I love it! I'm a jar girl myself, but they aren't cute jars, they are odd recycled jars that I use for many of my dry spice mixes. Then the larger canning jars hold my flours, etc and I have a Tupperware container that hold my basic baking mix. Most of my mixes are for things like tacos, sloppy joes, spaghetti and such so I use my label maker – two sticky strips: one with the name and one with how much mix and liquid to use. KISS – Keep It Simple Sweetie. "Cute" is fun, but it's not practical. Looking forward to the next post.

  5. These are absolutely sooo NOT picture worthy! =) Just kidding. My projects aren't always cute either. Power in numbers! I am excited to see your recipes. This is a great idea too! Thanks for sharing and making us "others" more aware that sometimes things are the way they are because they work best for us that way. 😉