Birthday Bash!

birthday outfit

My baby girl just turned one! I still can’t believe the first year has passed! I was inspired to make the outfit above when I saw this cute outfit on EtsyFor the party, I didn’t have a clear theme, but just picked out things I liked as I perused Pinterest Continue reading

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Protect Your Spouse

Protect Your Spouse

The holidays are here, and you know what that means? It’s time to get your game face on. The game is called Protect Your Spouse, and the objective is simple: try your best to watch out for your significant other, especially when it comes to family-related issues. You’re on the same team, whether it’s finding a positive, non-blamey way to explain why you can’t make it to the third family get-together, fielding phone calls from your mom, or pulling it together after having a difficult conversation on the car ride to dinner. The goal is to get through the holidays with your marriage not only intact, but stronger despite all the demands that are associated with holidays and family get-togethers.

To be clear: the opponents aren’t your family. They love you and just want to enjoy quality family time together– don’t we all? In our game analogy, think Pandemic: it’s more like us vs. the board. Sometimes you flip the cards and the situation is just not very favorable. It doesn’t do any good to point fingers at each other or the situation, but a lot of good can come out of making strategic and thoughtful choices. Here are a few practical ways you can care for and protect your spouse during the holidays! Continue reading

Black Bottom Cupcake Recipe

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When I was in high school, I was hanging out with some friends at a summer camp when someone said something about “special brownies.”

My ears perked up and I instantly chimed in, “I make special brownies!”

Everyone stopped talking and looked at me. (This was a Christian camp, mind you.)

Wow, they’re really interested! So I offered, “…I can make you some!”

Stares. Continue reading

Helpful Resources for New Parents

newborn time!

I visited a friend with a newborn recently and we talked birth and newbornness. She reminded me of a ton of stuff I had already forgotten about that I really wished I knew back when our baby girl had just arrived, so I’ll share them with you upcoming and expecting mamas! They are just a few wish I knew that and FYI tidbits for ya!

Veteran parents, please add any other things new parents should know in the comments below– I’m sure all of your wisdom and experience will be appreciated! Continue reading

Caramel Apples for Autumn!

Delicious Caramel Apples!CARAMEL APPLES!!!! I remember ALWAYS wanting one whenever we passed a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, but they were always so expensive. I finally tasted one during my senior trip in college, and there was no going back. Shortly after, I spied them at Safeway and decided it was time to try making them myself. It was a delicious but messy affair, and I had to call Ben in to help me out.

It wasn’t very pretty that first year. The caramel gooped on the bottom so there was an uneven ratio of sweets:apple, but you know what? They were SO GOOD! We made four apples that year, and it was such a treat every time we sliced one open. Thus began an autumn tradition in our home. We’ve made it every year since, and our methods have gotten a little better each time.

We’ve experimented with different apples, tried disposable chopsticks instead of popsicle sticks, used various toppings (chopped almonds > sliced almonds, IMHO), and used different methods to keep the caramel from pooling at the bottom. Our method is still not perfect, but we’ve come a long way! Continue reading

Make-Ahead Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats!

Make Ahead Apple Cinnamon Steelcut Oatmeal RecipeNow that cooler weather has hit us, I’ve been transitioning into warm, roasty toasty breakfast foods. One comfort food that I am happy to welcome back is this warm-ya-to-yer toes apple cinnamon oatmeal!

Make Ahead Apple Cinnamon Steelcut Oatmeal Recipe (5)

Mmmm! This is a delicious and heart-healthy way to start your mornings! I prefer steel cut oats over other types because I like the toothsome texture better, and also because they’re less processed (i.e. better for you) than other oat varieties. Continue reading

On Relationships: Own Your 10%

He was owning his 10 percent, and it was melting my icy heart

I still remember that weekend. A bunch of college students were spending the weekend at our home and needed the downstairs space, so Ben and I were holed up in our office. I can’t remember the exact circumstances anymore, but here’s what I do remember: I had done something wrong, and I was mad about it.

Yep, you read that right. I was upset. Not the “Oh shucks, I made a mistake!” kind of mad at yourself, but the defensive kind of mad where you sit there fuming, trying to convince yourself of all the reasons why the other person was somehow more wrong than you. I’m not proud of it– that’s just my natural tendency. I promise I’ve come a long way since.

But eight years ago, that’s how I dealt with the people closest to me, like Husband. I found ways to blame and point fingers and be upset with the person who, in reality, I had probably wronged.

So there I was, sitting and stewing in my misplaced resentment. There he was, at his computer, click click clicking away on his computer game. And right there and then, I decided it was because of the computer games. Continue reading

Easy Peasy Butternut Squash Soup!

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A few years ago, a friend hosted a soup swap, where a bunch of us met and swapped quarts of soup. It was an impressive affair, with soups ranging from oxtail soup to clam chowder to Tom Ka Gai.

I was relatively new to cooking and had never really made soup before, so it took me a while to figure out what I could manage. I decided to go with butternut squash soup. I actually thought I was going fancy, because for me, peeling and cutting up all that squash seemed so labor-intensive! I packaged my soup with some “homemade Acme baguette croutons” on the side, hoping that it would convince people to PICK MINE!! :)

The event was pretty fun, and I came home with a nice variety of soups to sample. I did, however, decide that butternut squash soup was too much work to make, so I didn’t really consider making it again… untilllll…

I DISCOVERED PRE-PEELED AND CUBED BUTTERNUT SQUASH AT COSTCO!
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Continue reading

The Apprenticeship Model of Learning

The Apprenticeship Model of Learning

I can’t wait to teach my children stuff. Anything. Even teaching my baby to stick out her tongue has been super exciting the last couple of weeks, so you can imagine how much more I look forward to teaching her about reading and writing and math and art and science and Jesus and music and sports and baking and being kind and EVERYTHING! I can’t wait!!!

I know I’m not the only one. Most of you are parents or teachers, and you know there’s nothing that satisfies like seeing a child learn something you taught. They may be proud of their new skill, but you are equally pleased that you were able to teach them effectively! Today, I want to share one of the most effective methods of teaching/learning I know: The Apprenticeship Model of Learning. I think the term hearkens back to the days when a blacksmith would take on an apprentice and train him up through a process of showing, guiding, and eventually working on his own.

There are a lot of ways to teach, and the method you employ at any given time depends both on who you’re teaching and what you’re teaching. Sometimes it is appropriate to let students fumble through something and learn on their own. Sometimes it’s better to let them observe their peers and gradually catch on. Other times, though, it’s best to teach with direct instruction, offering a straightforward and clear model of how it should be done, then coaching them to independence.

The five steps

I find that when I’m teaching a new skill or strategy, I often use the last approach. Continue reading