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The Dark Side of Mommy Blogging

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Mom, baker, blogger ... rabble-rouser? Apparently so.

Rainbow Pancake

When Minnesota's Amanda Rettke blogged about the adventurous task of baking rainbow pancakes for her children, the colorful recipe took off and was soon posted around the Web on various cooking sites.

And it's no wonder -- these things are fantastic! But what happened next was a big surprise: Amanda's blog received more than 500,000 hits -- and a ton of negative comments, ranging from "Gross!" to "You shouldn't be allowed to procreate if you're going to feed your kids junk!"

WTF?! Last we checked, this mom Just. Made. Pancakes. Turns out, there is a definite dark side to mommy blogging ... and poor Amanda walked right into the middle of it.

We sat down with Amanda to talk about her life as a mommy blogger ... and whether or not she'll make recipes like the infamous rainbow pancakes ever again!

momlogic: Tell us more about how your pancake blog-entry became so popular.
Amanda Rettke: I made the pancakes in October of 2009, and in February of this year they were featured on Swiss-Miss.com. Then it snowballed, and every food site from Slashfood.com to ohdeedoh.com had the picture up. I even saw them on The Insider! 

ml: Can you share some of the good, the bad and the ugly of the comments? 
AR: Meanest comments? "Food for people with no self-respect." "This is just GROSS!" "This woman should not be allowed to procreate." Nicest comments? Lots of folks mentioned that they were inspired to make these for their own children. Anytime someone tells me they are inspired, I get all sappy and smiley. 

ml: What inspired you to make these pancakes?
AR: I was inspired by my kids! I had just made a rainbow cake for some friends, and the kids were obsessed with it! When they woke up that morning, they kept asking for rainbow cake -- to which I said no. But then I said, "How about pancakes?" The kids asked, "Can they be blue and green and red, Mom?!" [And I said,] "Well ... sure! We can make rainbows!"

ml: What is your response to the rainbow-pancake haters?
AR: At first, I was mortified. I had no idea that pancakes would inspire such mean in people! When folks started talking about what a horrible mom I was, I really started to feel lousy. But then I blogged about it in my series Things Successful Bloggers Do, and the feedback was thoughtful and encouraging and supportive! I started to put things back in perspective and understand that who I was as a parent was not represented in a picture of silly pancakes.  

ml: Will the negative feedback discourage you from writing about your baking? 
AR: No. I write and bake for a very specific audience, and this is people who love to consume massive amounts of sugar and/or give away massive amounts of sugar. I'm kidding. If anything, the feedback about these pancakes motivated me to be more educated! I want to make sure my kids have the best possible diet and are exposed to the proper ways to maintain a nutritious and healthy lifestyle.

ml: What's funny is, you really limit your kids' sugar to begin with!
AR: Yes, I do! I am big on making sure their "core fuel" is healthy. My husband shot a buffalo, and that has been our main source of meat for about two years. As I am sure you know, buffalo is very lean and healthy, and (since my husband shot it) free from the chemicals, additives and hormones that are in the meat bought at the grocery store.

We also make sure the snacks and extras are as organic as possible. Like ketchup -- my kids love ketchup! But if you don't get it natural or organic, the main ingredient is high-fructose corn syrup. Sugar! Not tomatoes!

For snacks, we do all-natural or organic peanut butter and snack crackers. We also have plum trees in our backyard, so we make our own jelly! My husband is an amazing gardener, so we have a large organic garden that allows us to can veggies and fruits for consumption all year long. I also make them smoothies about five times a week.


Around holidays and birthdays (and anytime they go to Grandma's house), I supplement their diet with probiotics and vitamins. And no, 90 percent of the time they don't eat what I bake. When they are good helpers, though, an occasional mixer spoon does get licked clean. 


ml: What's the inspiration for your daily blog, and how does it fit into your daily life as a stay-at-home mom?
AR: My blogs are about baking and being a mommy, so 99 percent of my inspiration comes from loving to eat sweet things and from the experiences as a mom and wife. I live in a small town outside Minneapolis-St. Paul with my husband and three kids and am a stay-at-home mom. I am an avid amateur photographer and baker and love that my kids enjoy hanging out in the kitchen with me!

ml: You're a pretty successful baker, from the looks of it. How many cookies and cakes do you think you baked last year?
AR: Ha! Thank you. I suppose I have made upwards of two thousand cookies this year. I mostly bake for friends and family, but I have also made cookies for church functions, weddings and some Internet orders.

ml: What advice can you give moms who may be receiving negative comments about their blogs, yet really enjoy and believe in what they are writing?
AR: Check the source. If the comment is from an anonymous source just being mean, don't give it too much credibility. If you are writing about your family and your kids, there is no better reliable source than you!

We want to know: What do you think of these pancakes?



next: What?? Some Men DON'T Want Sex?!
140 comments so far | Post a comment now
L April 15, 2010, 10:53 PM

Is it just me, or are 99% of the comments on this website negative! Some are even borderline abusive! Women open their hearts and lives to share their stories and in return we judge them, tell them their terrible mothers or terrible wives.. Maybe we should take a long hard look in the mirror?

Deborah Wheeler April 17, 2010, 7:56 AM

Amanda, I used to put food coloring in my sons milk and oatmeal. He swore the purple tasted best! He wasn’t a big milk drinker until he got older, but he had no problems drinking purple or red or even yellow milk, wouldn’t touch green. (can’t say I blame him). He always wanted his oatmeal to match his milk.

Peggy Gorman April 17, 2010, 11:59 AM

I think they are fantastic!!

Jen April 17, 2010, 2:13 PM

I think everything in moderation. This wouldn’t be something I would serve everyday, but fun for a special occasion. I like to limit food dyes, etc. for the most part in my kids’ diet. I think some of her readers were a bit harsh.

anon April 17, 2010, 5:15 PM

Is that when the lights go out?

Joye April 19, 2010, 12:38 PM

I think these are friggin’ awesome! I wish I had the time in the morning to do things like that

Kat Larsen April 19, 2010, 9:11 PM

I think she is very creative and the pancakes are adorable, I imagine blueberries, strawberries oranges and even a lemon topping or topping the colors with different flavors of gogurt!
What an amazing breakfast with lots of fresh fruits and whole grain pancakes, just because you use a bit of food coloring, doesn’t make you a bad mom! BRAVO!

Kim April 19, 2010, 9:37 PM

For those who keep saying that they are “unhealthy” due to carbs and food coloring…it’s not like she is feeding these to her kids everyday! Get a grip, it’s called a treat!

LuAnn April 20, 2010, 3:52 AM

Those haters need to stop merely existing and start LIVING! Rock on Amanda; you are welcome in my kitchen any time! (BTW, rainbow pancakes are in my family’s breakfast menu plan for next week!)

Janet Barnes April 20, 2010, 4:42 AM

My mother would make us her pop pancakes as a special treat. She’d make them from scratch, and instead of sugar and water, she’d use pop….and whatever we had on hand (or she bought special). IT was always a treat for her to use Grape soda, as the pancakes were purple and so light.

Amber Hurd April 20, 2010, 4:44 AM

I love Amanda’s blog and those pancakes got my attention. wow never seen anything like that, different but I loved the colors and all or her creations. Never thought to myself now that is a terrible mom if anything she is a cool mom who does that kind of thing for her kids. My kids would probably love them too. I usually put some blueberries for some color ;)

Roxanne April 20, 2010, 5:19 AM

When I was younger, my mother used to make green eggs and ham. My brothers and I used to love it. She did it because she wanted to do something creative and fun for us…and it was. So, who cares what others say. Your intention was in love and for goodness sake, its only food dye.

I love the rainbow pancake idea and will make it for my grandchildren.

Thanks for the idea and my childhood memory.

Debbie (Nana) April 20, 2010, 5:40 AM

They look AWESOME. As a grandmother I am always looking for something new and exciting and my grandson loves to help in the kitchen. Could you send me the recipe or tell me where to find it.

GO MOM…It must be hard to do so many things…I admire you!!!

Eve April 20, 2010, 5:52 AM

Those are GROSS!!!!

LOL- no- those people are trolls- those look delish and I plan on making them this weekend!! :-)

jan April 20, 2010, 5:57 AM

They look great! Where did you say I could find the recipe? My daughter and I make pancakes for every special occasion, like X-mas morning, or the first day of summer vacation. Pancakes rock!

Jo-Lynne April 20, 2010, 5:59 AM

I appreciate this article. I admit, I saw those pancakes from a link on Twitter, and my first reaction was EW, that is NASTY, and who would feed that to their kids? I did NOT reply with that comment b/c that would have been rude. I did read some of the comments and was kind of glad to see that some people represented my opinion. But then I read further and saw that Amanda is committed to an organic whole foods lifestyle and these were just something for fun. And I was glad I didn’t express my thoughts without reading more about her.

As a mom blogger myself, with a troll who has been picking apart my posts and attacking my character for years, I never post negative things on other blogs, and this was a great lesson for me. It always pays to learn the whole story before lashing out. And of course, it’s always best to give other moms the benefit of the doubt.

Thanks for shedding light on this topic.

Sherri April 20, 2010, 6:03 AM

Amanda, your making wonderful and great memories for your children, keep up the fun and great work!!! Life is too short so keep enjoying what your doing.

Jan April 20, 2010, 6:29 AM

They look really pretty but I am wary of lots of food coloring. I know dyes make me sick, personally. The nasty comments are from nasty people. Just ignore them.. I don’t believe they were referring to the fact that they were pancakes anyway, just to the dye. I think I will make them for my son!

Elizabeth April 20, 2010, 6:35 AM

My kids would love these! I would love to spend a week with the people that are hatin’ on these pancakes. I want to see what they feed their kids everyday. My kids don’t eat junk everyday, my oldest eats breakfast at school. YDS usually eats cheerios and a banana. However, my kids may eat a pop tart or a little debbie for breakfast on the weekends, it’s not the norm people!

Synthia Praglin April 20, 2010, 6:41 AM

These look awesome! When my son was little we used to make colored cream cheese and colored scrambled eggs! He learned his primary and secondary colors from cooking with me! And he still talks about it today!!


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