Can we go to the instruction site?

fullsizeoutput_5a22Yesterday I took my 4-year old to kindergarten preview day, where he rolled a dice to see how many fish erasers to feed the plastic shark, laced plastic beads onto pipe cleaner, and played kitchen with his BFF. At the end of the hour, he asked if we could go to recess. If they let him in (darn late fall birthdays), I think he’s more than ready to start kindergarten in the fall. But despite this readiness, he’s still very much my baby, and still says the most adorable wrong things: he calls construction sites “instruction sites” and all calendars “advent calendars.” His older brother yells at him, “that’s NOT an advent calendar!” but I never correct him. It’s hilarious and undeniably cute.

“Mommy, I’m doing my exercises,” he told me earlier this week, as he jumped from one couch to the ottoman and then to another couch. I asked him to stop jumping on the furniture. “But I have so much energy!” Almost daily he asks to go to “Old McDonald’s.”

He calls all meals breakfast, can’t sleep without a warmed up rice heating pad, and all team sports that involve balls are basketball. The Blazers and Seahawks play the same sport, and he’s not taking swimming lessons until he’s 10. He’s memorized 15 digits of Pi, almost all of the words to the new Lego movie soundtrack, and picked out Doc McStuffins and Minnie Mouse pullups. He has a lot of opinions, his current favorite books is a kids’ biography of JFK, and he loves tackling his older brother.

We call him “Boss Baby.”



When the Angel of the Lord Isn’t Enough to Get Your Attention

I wrote this devotional for our church newsletter a few weeks ago…have you ever actually read the story of Balaam and his donkey? It’s fascinating! 

In Numbers 22:21-39, we find the story of Balaam and his donkey. To be honest, I haven’t read the story in years, just heard a version of it recited in my kids’ Sabbath School classes. I was surprised to read that the angel of the Lord appeared before Balaam not once, but three times, attempting to get Balaam to change his plans, but Balaam wasn’t the one to see the angel – his donkey did.

The first time, the angel stood in the road with a sword drawn. The second time, the angel stood in a narrow path in a vineyard, and the third time the angel stood where there was no room to turn left or right. Still, Balaam did not recognize the importance of what was in front of him. Each time, the donkey reacted, and the third time, only after the donkey – an animal! – spoke to him, did Balaam see the angel.

About a year ago, I read some parenting advice that echoes one of the lessons from Balaam’s story. There are nine minutes of the day that have the most impact on children: the three minutes after waking up, the three minutes when they return home from school, and the last three minutes before they go to sleep. Why is this important? Because as a parent, we are recognizing their importance, making them feel loved, and giving them our complete attention, instead of making them whine or beg for it or act out so we’ll pay attention. The children standing before us, pulling on our sleeves while we check our phones, or calling us to play with them while we do laundry, are asking for our undivided attention. Surely during at least those nine minutes, we can say “yes,” and recognize the importance of what’s in front of us.

Of course, these important nine minutes – our initial and last interactions with others – can apply in other relationships. At work this translates to saying hi before launching into a rant, being deliberately pleasant at the beginning and end of the workday, and ending the week with positive words. With significant others, maybe this means not disappearing as soon as your partner gets home so they can deal with the kids, who are inevitably cranky in the witching hour that is 5-7 p.m. Have you ever answered your partner’s phone call with a perfunctory “what” or “yes”? Or as soon as your partner walks in the door asked them to immediately take care of a chore, like take out the trash, empty the cat’s litter box, or mow the lawn, instead of simply saying hello?

What does it take for us to recognize the importance of what is standing before us, whether it’s guidance from God, a friend’s silent plea for help, a partner’s weariness, our children’s need to play, or a job opportunity that’s worth the risk? In Balaam’s case, it was a talking donkey.

Reality Bites

I used to watch Reality Bites every year on Valentine’s Day. Years later, I gave birth to my first-born son on Valentine’s Day, and here we are, eight years later, and I haven’t seen the movie in years. But then I read this think piece, and I think it’s time for a rewatch, just to check in. Will I still like it? Or is it as culturally irrelevant as I am?

This essay is really good. Go read it…but if you don’t, enjoy these closing lines:

But in spite of himself, perhaps 40-something Troy will find himself singing along, lost in the remembered smell of stale cigarettes and CK One, catching a flash of his creased forehead in the rear-view and wondering if any of his old flannels might be buried somewhere in his closet.

Just go ahead now, he’ll sing, as traffic inches forward, a passive-aggressive standoff with his wife and a binge-watch of The Crown awaiting him at home. Just go ahead now. Just go ahead now.

A Few Good Things

A few good things I’ve read or watched online this week because we all need a little cheer this time of year:

A dying man left his 2-year old neighbor 14 Christmas presents to open in the years to come

Bao, a Disney Pixar short, made me cry. It’s unexpectedly delightful.

An artist turned a tree stump into a little free library  – so gorgeous, I want to move in!

An unlikely friendship: Charles Barkley and a Ph.D. cat litter chemist



The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Saving Money

Despite my addiction to Stitchfix, I am mostly a sale shopper and am always looking for ways to save money. Yesterday I was talking with a friend who was telling me about her upcoming holiday baking project, and I spent five minutes raving about the Ibotta app. Ibotta saves you money when you add coupons within the app, then upload your grocery store receipt, and then the app automatically matches purchased items to the coupons. I love it because I don’t have to add the coupons before I go shopping; I buy what I need, then add available coupons, upload the receipt, and ta-da, money saved. Sometimes I check the app before I buy an item in case a particular brand of, say orange juice or beans, is on sale. But it’s the ultimate lazy person’s way of saving money because you don’t have to clip paper coupons, and you can look for coupons after you’ve gone shopping. Ibotta also has mobile shopping savings, including cashback from Amazon. If you do a lot of shopping on Amazon, it’s definitely worth signing up – right now they have an offer up to 10% back on Amazon purchases!

Sign up and try for yourself – you’ll get a $5 bonus to start!

I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention Ebates and Honey, two of my favorite browser extensions that save me money when I’m online shopping. Ebates gives you cash back on purchases from most major retailers and sometimes has cash back offers of up to 10%. If you have the browser extension installed, when you’re shopping online the Ebates popup will appear when there’s an available cashback offer and you just click the offer to activate it. Honey scours the internet for available coupon and free shipping codes, so when you’re ready to check out of your online shopping cart, click on the Honey browser extension and the coupon codes will be automatically applied.

What are your favorite ways to save money when shopping online or for groceries? Tell me!

Summer Reading 2018

As a parent and librarian, I’m very excited about summer reading programs. Here are three easy and fun programs in the Portland/Vancouver area in case any of our local friends want to join in.  And I’m hopeful that if you’re not local, your own cities have similar programs! Hooray for reading!


Brothers reading.

1) Fort Vancouver Regional Libraries’ Summer Reading – register online or in person and earn prizes for reaching 15, 30, and 45 day reading goals. (Ends Aug. 31.) Adults are eligible too!

2) Barnes & Noble Summer Reading – Right now Meadow Glade Adventist Elementary is in the top 10 list of participating schools at the Vancouver location! Kids who read 8 books and turn in a journal get to pick out a free book from a selected list of age-appropriate books, and the top 10 schools also get great prizes. Let’s keep MGAES in the top 10! (Ends Sept. 3.)

3) Powell’s Books has a bookmark kids can pick up, fill in in with six book titles they’ve read, and return and redeem for a $5 Powell’s gift card. We picked up a bookmark and lost it or washed it in last week’s laundry, but next time we’re there, we’ll bring a list of books the kids have read to fill in and redeem on the spot!


Mother’s Day Gift Ideas from Ever

Good morning, friends! I’ve been selling Ever skin care and makeup for a few months now, and wanted to tell you about a great deal that expires today, May 5. Spend $149 and get a free Overnight Facial Oil, which retails for $88! In addition, if you follow me on my Facebook group, Baked Tofu & a Beauty Routine, you may have seen me mention the sweepstakes that qualified you for $20 off your $100 purchase. If you combine the offers, you have yourself an amazing deal!

Here are some ideas on product combinations to purchase to get your free Overnight Facial Oil. I love this oil because whenever I use it, when I wake up my face feels smoother, softer, and my acne has a shorter shelf life! These products would make amazing gifts for yourself, your mom, or your mother-in-law! Happy shopping!

Shop for EVER products at

Don’t have the $20 off coupon? Get $10 off your first EVER purchase at