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real local moms

since 2005

Lane County | February / March 2020








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1611 J Street Springfield, OR • 541-515-6631 • office@treehousekidsdental.com 2 mommag.com

mommag.com 2

It’s what‘s

inside that counts

Black History 18

Birthday Cakes 22

Under Pressure 27

Meet the MOM experts... 4

Black History.....................18


They know what they’re

Read about the contributions

Tips for sprinkling a little

talking about

of African Americans to

goodness in your life.

Because I said so............... 5 A message from MOM

Vacation MOM................... 6 All-inclusive beach vacations

our history.

Birthday Cakes To Remember..................22

Under Pressure................27 Instant Pot favorites

Insider tips for creating memorable birthday cakes.

Cover MOM: Kelli Matthews.................10 This mom gets real

More ways to love your MOM Blog: mommag.com Facebook: facebook.com/ lovemommag Email: info@mommag.com We love hearing from you. Email us with feedback, story ideas or nominations.

Cover MOM

CONGRATULATIONS to St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County, winner of the 2020 MOM Magazine Community Impact Award. Look for more information about St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County. services in upcoming issues of MOM Magazine and check out their ad on page 17.


Photos by Fremouw Photography

Advertise today Want to get the word out about your business? Contact Linda Blair at linda@mommag.com mommag.com 3

meet the


[They know what they’re talking about]

Vacation MOM

with Donnita Bassinger, page 6

Beyond the bin

with Sarah Grimm, page 8

Focus on MOM

“ “The secret of

with Dr. David Hackett, Pediatric Optometrist, page 20

staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.”

– Lucille Ball

4 mommag.com


Because I said so! Published by GO Creative, LLC 263 29th Avenue SW Albany, OR 97322 Editor-in-Chief Managing Director Angela Hibbard angela@mommag.com Mid-Valley & Lane County Business Development Manager Linda Blair linda@mommag.com 541-231-7250 Salem Advertising Representative Kim Leighty kim.leighty@mommag.com 503-510-9036 Tri-Cities Business Development Manager Kim Harvey kim@mommag.com 509-460-6526 Designer Sean Carver

MOM Magazine is sustainably delivered throughout the community thanks to pedalersexpress.com MOM MagazineTM is produced by GO Creative, LLC. © 2020 All rights reserved. Any reproduction, in whole or part, without written permission of the publisher, is prohibited. Information in the magazine is provided for general information purposes only with the understanding that none of the content constitutes professional advice. Opinions expressed by the writers or advertisers are not necessarily the opinions of the magazine or the publisher. Inclusion in the magazine does not constitute endorsement of information, products or services.

Not another toy! WHEN MY KIDS start talking about what they want for their birthdays I like to remind them that I gave them the gift of life. Isn’t that enough? But, seriously, I find the kids’ birthday party circuit overwhelming—especially all of the gifts. There was a time when we spent virtually every weekend at one or more parties and, somehow, I always ended up roaming the toy aisle 10 minutes before the party thinking, “What should we get?” Overspending on meaningless toys can be a drag on more than your wallet. And when you’re on the receiving end, managing all of those gifts is no easy task—just take a peek at our junk closet. But I’m not a total party pooper; I love celebrating and gift-giving. I just want it to be meaningful and manageable. So consider some of these toy alternatives to avoid birthday-gift-overload. Coupons: Make a coupon for a playdate for your child and the birthday boy or girl. Consider including a special outing like mini-golf or bowling. Subscriptions: Purchase a subscription to a kids’ magazine like National Geographic Kids, Disney Junior or Highlights.

Cookies: Print out your child's favorite cookie recipe and provide the ingredients to make it. Your child can get creative by decorating the recipe card and ingredients box. If you really want to make your life easier, choose one of these (or your own) non-toy ideas and make it your gift for every party this year. Then, next year, select a different gift. You’ll never find yourself aimlessly wandering the toy aisle again. Why? Because I said so!

Gift certificates: Kids love the idea of having their own “money.” A gift card to the movies, ice cream shop or a favorite restaurant is always a hit. Picture frame: Have your child decorate a simple frame with a photo of your child and the birthday boy.

Angela Hibbard MOM Magazine Editor-in-Chief

mommag.com 5

e v i s u cl n i ll A s n o i t a c a v h c bea O

f all the vacations you can take with your family, nothing is quite like an all-inclusive beach vacation to make everyone happy. The right all-inclusive resort can fulfill all of your needs and be the easiest vacation ever! There are huge differences in quality at all-inclusive resorts even though the photos on the websites all look beautiful. Here are my top choices.

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Club Med Cancun, Yucatan Club Med was the innovator of the all-inclusive concept and now has over 60 “villages” in locations around the world, from ski mountains to exotic beaches. Club Med claimed the best location in Cancun over 40 years ago spread over 22 acres. Only registered guests are allowed on the grounds and it is very secure. They have three distinct beach areas: a huge powder-white sand beach, a beach with a coral reef for snorkeling, and a watersports beach. A large lagoon in the middle of the resort is used for waterskiing and wakeboarding. Club Med is a French company and there are many European guests. They have amazing French chefs, which gives it a multicultural atmosphere. If you ask my active family where they want to go on vacation they all shout, “Club Med Cancun.” During our visits we love to play tennis, take windsurfing lessons, go sailing, paddle kayaks, learn new dances, play beach volleyball and soccer, try new foods, go to their amazing parties and brave the “Flying Trapeze.” Of course, you are free to lounge on a sunbed while the staff bring you tropical beverages. There is no pressure to purchase extras and tipping is not expected, so there is no need to carry money.

Club Med Punta Cana & Club Med Michès Playa Esmeralda, Domincan Republic If you want to go to the Caribbean, it is only 10 minutes from the Punta Cana airport to Club Med Punta Cana. This location features CREACTIVE by Cirque du Soleil which is an interactive playground featuring talented instructors teaching acrobatics and circus skills. They have endless activities for kids and you can check in your little ones while you escape to the Zen Oasis for grown-up relaxation and fun. If you want a really upscale experience, you can go to the brand-new, eco-chic Club Med Michès Playa Esmeralda which is about 75 minutes from the Punta Cana airport. There are also Club Med Villages in Florida; Ixtapa, Mexico; the Bahamas, Guadeloupe, Martinique and an adult-only village in the Turks & Caicos. The one thing that sets the Club Med Experience apart from all other vacations is their amazing staff called G.O.s (Gracious Organizers). The G.O.s are the key to the Club Med experience. They are hand-picked from around the world and must possess many skills including a warm, friendly and fun-loving attitude which is contagious.


What to consider when planning an all-inclusive family vacation: Costs: Some resorts start with a lower price and then try to upsell you with lots of extras and surcharges. Tipping is expected at some resorts and not allowed at others.

Activities: Make sure there is something for all ages and interests in your family. Recent flight additions have made it easy to fly to Cancun or Punta Cana from the Eugene Airport on United Airlines, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Airlines. Great package deals are available.

Location: Do you want to leave to visit other sights? If so, how easy is it to get to them?

Clientele: Who do you want to spend your vacation with? Food: How important are meals to you? Do you want multiple gourmet restaurants? Do you want to dress up and make dinner reservations, or be more casual?

Brought to you by:



Vacation MOM, Donnita Bassinger, lives in Eugene with her husband and three boys. She has been a travel agent for 30 years and is the owner of VIP Vacations, Inc. Donnita is a Club Med Certified Travel Expert and would be happy to help plan your family’s all-inclusive vacation. CLUB MED PUNTA CANA FEATURES CREACTIVE BY CIRQUE DU SOLEIL WHICH IS AN INTERACTIVE PLAYGROUND FEATURING TALENTED INSTRUCTORS TEACHING ACROBATICS AND CIRCUS SKILLS.

Contact Donnita for more information 541-913-5272. @VacationMOM

mommag.com 7

Wasted food, $ wasted money

COULD YOU USE AN EXTRA $1,200 PER YEAR? That’s how much most families put in their trash cans as food waste every year. Making new food habits now can lead to a healthier family and significantly reduce the pollution caused by the industrial growing, packaging, processing and transporting of food.

Try these moneysaving tips: Avoid pre-prepared, packaged foods. Buy whole foods and teach your children how to cook. Shop your own kitchen first. Plan your meals based on what foods need to be used before they go bad.

Cut up old bread for croutons, bread pudding or egg strata. Freeze until needed. Or, dry and crush into breadcrumbs to use in place of Panko for coating fish, chicken or eggplant. Use bruised or old fruits and veggies in smoothies, pureed sauces and baking.

For more tips on reducing food waste visit

www.EatSmartWasteLess.tips Brought to you by: Sarah Grimm is the Waste Reduction Specialist for Lane County Public Works. She is an avid gardener, flyfisher and lover of the great outdoors.

Online Therapy allows people the comfort of receiving counseling in the setting of their choice and cuts time spent commuting & in wait rooms.

Cynthia McQuade, LCSW

ONLINE THERAPY Serving Oregon Individuals, Families, & Couples 8 mommag.com

Wondering if something is Recyclable in Lane County? Look it up at www.lanecounty.org/garbageguru

Online Therapy increases access for people; • living in rural communities • with hectic/busy schedules • who experience symptoms that make it difficult to travel to an office Payment Options: Medicaid/Oregon Health Plan, Private Insurance & Private Pay (Sliding Scale available).

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[ Momism #139: Eat

your vegetables.

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Nannies are there to be actively engaged with your children the whole time. We at Eugene Nanny services hire the most qualified and experienced nannies. mommag.com 9

KELLI MATTHEWS For Cover MOM, Kelli Matthews,

parenting is not a


sport. She wants

to remind other moms that

“We’re all doing

the best we can.

We should lift

each other up,

support each

other and love

each other’s kids.” Photo credit: Fremouw Photography

s t e G ! al e r

10 mommag.com

Her Family,

Partner of 27 years, Michael Graves and children: Braxton Graves, age 13 and Xander Graves age 7.

mommag.com 11

Q& Who is MOM?


COMMUNITY/HOMETOWN: Currently in Eugene, Oregon, grew up in Cottage Grove.

PROFESSION: Senior Instructor, University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, and Managing Director, Verve Northwest Communications.

Family comes first.

All families are unique. Tell us about yours. I’ve been “dating” my high school sweetheart since November 8, 1992. We’ve been together for 27 years! We’re not married—I refer to him as my partner, for your reference. When you grow up with someone, you definitely have plenty of ups and downs, but he’s the love of my life. He’s a part time personal trainer, which allows him to be a full-time stay-at-home dad. We have two boys, Braxton is 13 and Xander is 7. They’re both active, involved in sports and karate and definitely keep us on our toes. We have two dogs, Oakley and Axel, and an alpha cat who rules the roost, Wiley. Oh and we have a beta fish that we’re sure is going to kick the bucket anytime, but he keeps hanging on. His name is Bubbles. Your biggest wish for your kids is… My biggest wish for my kids is that they grow up to be kind, compassionate human beings. 12 mommag.com

No one works harder than mom. We know that being a mom is a full-time job. Tell us about your work or volunteerism outside of the home. I am a senior instructor at the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon, a full-time job. I also run a PR and marketing agency called Verve Northwest Communications, sometimes a full-time job. I work with, mostly, local clients doing social media, public relations, marketing and issues management. I volunteer on the Oregon Track Club Board of Directors, I’m involved with the American Association of University Women and on the United Way of Lane County Advisory Board. What have you learned professionally, that has helped you as a mom? I have a teenager now—my oldest son turned 13 this year. This is a challenging age! But working with undergraduate students at the University of Oregon, I often think “He’s going to be okay.” I have wonderful relationships with students, rich conversations about their lives and their futures. Sometimes I look at them and think, “they’re parents made it, we will too.” Parenting has also helped me as an instructor. How do you balance (or not) motherhood, activities, work, volunteering, household responsibilities, and life in general? Typically, what falls through the cracks? The only way I can balance everything I do is because my partner is a stay-at-home dad. He’s the glue that holds our family together and makes sure kids get picked up, dropped off, dinner is taken care of when I’m too busy and manages the household. Household stuff is the first thing to fall through the cracks for both of us. We’d rather hang out together or with our kids than do that load of laundry. It’ll wait.

If mom’s not happy, nobody’s happy. How did your upbringing shape the mother you are today? I’m the oldest of seven kids, so I was the constant babysitter, taxi driver (when old enough) and second mom. I wasn’t worried or anxious when I became a mom—I think it was just an extension of the mom-duty I’d been on since I was a pre-teen. It’s made me more laid back, less worried or frazzled about the little things.


Favorite… …place to hide and find some peace & quiet: The hammock chair on my patio

…inspirational quote: “What if I fall?” Oh, but my darling, What if you fly? ~ Erin Hanson

…parenting book or philosophy: I’m not a fan of parenting books. We’re all doing the best we can. We should lift each other up, not make parenting a competitive sport.

mommag.com 13





questions for MOM

14 mommag.com

Tea or Coffee? Coffee

Dog or Cat? Dog

Early or Late? Early

Morning or Night? Morning

Hot or Cold? Cold

Summer or Winter? Summer

Fly or Drive? Fly

Sweet or Savory? Sweet

Beer or Wine? Wine

Gold or Silver? Silver

Hugs or Kisses? Hugs

Bath or Shower? Shower


Now that I have my own kids, I realize how remarkable having seven kids at home was and what a pure goddess my mom is. What do you think is the most important life skill or value your parents taught you? I also grew up as a pastor’s kid, which meant we were always helping someone. That’s made me empathetic and compassionate—a trait I hope to teach my kids. It’s not always easy; humans are selfish beings by nature, but I talk to my kids all the time about trying to understand where someone is coming from. We all have different paths. When was the last time you did something for the first time? I took my 13-year-old to a conference with me in San Francisco, which was a first. But I knew I would have some downtime and I thought he could handle it. It was definitely a test, but we had so much fun. We saw a basketball game, went to Alcatraz and got to explore the city together. What is the quality you like most about yourself? I am kind. I also think I’m really funny. What’s your superpower? I can accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. What keeps you up at night (apart from kids, of course)? Literally, not much. I have always committed to, if nothing else, getting plenty of sleep. Figuratively, a lot. The downside to being empathetic is taking on someone else’s emotional burden very personally. What keeps you sane? Horseback riding. I take jumping lessons at least twice a month. What is your greatest extravagance? I rarely skip a month of Stitch Fix. mommag.com 15

How does it feel to be a Cover MOM? Knowing I was nominated by a former student makes this a tremendous honor. I’m grateful to share a little bit of my story.

Listen to mom. What surprised you the most about motherhood? That it gets harder as the kids get older. Having little ones feels so hectic, but just wait! The decisions you make later on can literally affect their lives. Plus,

16 mommag.com

navigating friends (and friends’ parents) just adds to the complexity. Who and what has influenced the mother you are today? It might be cliché, but my mom has been my biggest influence by far. What message would you like to share with other moms? Motherhood shouldn’t be a competitive sport. We’re all doing the best we can. We should lift each other up, support each other and love each other’s kids.

[ Momism #180:

Look with your eyes, not with your hands.


Local Children Need Your Help! For children without stable housing, access to basic necessities can be tough. First Place Kids offers zero-barrier preschool so parents can focus on finding stability.

Please Donate These Items • • • • • • • •

New or used clothes (newborn-6T) Hypoallergenic diapers and wipes Arts and craft supplies Simple toys made of wood, metal, or cloth Flat-bed sheets in solid colors Pacifiers Shoes and rain boots (1C-10Y) Organic fruit, eggs, cheese, and vegetables

1995 Amazon Parkway in Eugene

donate online at www.svdp.us mommag.com 17


b L AC K H IS T ORY It’s important to celebrate the achievements and contributions of African Americans to U.S. History all year long, but in February—designated as Black History Month—we have an opportunity to recognize this history in a special way. Celebrate with your children by learning about the accomplishments and contributions of African Americans to our collective history.

Here’s a selection of books you can read with your children. Some highlight historical figures, while others celebrate heartwarming stories of children of color.




1 6

4 5




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1 The Quilt By Ann Jonas

5 Whoever You Are By Mem Fox

8 Teammates By Peter Golenbock

Age: 0-3 Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Recommended ages: 4 and up

Recommended ages: 6 and up

Publishers Weekly called this delightful book a “landmark in children’s literature.” Made from her old pajamas and curtains, a young girl’s new quilt inspires a dream adventure. The squares of the quilt become part of a dreamscape she enters into in order to find her lost stuffed dog. An ALA Notable Children’s Book

This book offers a preschooler-friendly introduction to the concepts of diversity and equality. Award-winning author, Mem Fox, tells little ones that wherever they are, whatever they look like, and no matter their customs, there are other kids like them all around the globe: "Joys are the same, and love is the same. Pain is the same, and blood is the same."

This book takes us back to 1947, when Jackie Robinson became the first African-American player in Major League Baseball. He was taunted and terrorized by baseball fans, opposing players, and even his own teammates on the Brooklyn Dodgers. Historical photos and watercolor illustrations transport us to the fateful game when Pee Wee Reese, the Dodgers shortstop, embraced Robinson on the field as his teammate in front of a heckling crowd of spectators.

2 Amazing Grace By Mary

Hoffman (author) & Caroline Binch (illustrator)

Age: 3-6 Reading Level: Beginning Reader Grace loves to act, but one day some kids tell her she can’t play the part of Peter Pan because of the way she looks. Grace’s grandmother helps this young girl realize that, with effort, anything can be achieved. An inspiring and heartwarming story.

3 Bigmama’s By Donald Crews Age: 3-6 Reading Level: Beginning Reader Every year the narrator and his family take a trip down to Cottondale, Florida, to visit his grandmother, Bigmama. This autobiographical story recalls the joys of summer and the contrast between the author’s life in the city and Bigmama’s lush, rural home. While the illustrations suggest it was a period of segregation, this thought never overpowers the carefree summer celebration.

4 Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ​By Doreen Rappaport (author) and

Bryan Collier (illustrator)

Age: 6-9 Reading Level: Beginning Reader Martin Luther King Jr. grew up fascinated by big words. He would later go on to use these words to inspire a nation and call people to action. In this award-winning book, powerful portraits of King show how he used words, not weapons, to fight injustice.

6 Moses: When Harriet

Tubman Led Her People to Freedom By Carole Boston Weatherford

9 I Am Rosa Parks

Recommended ages: 5 and up

By Rosa Parks and James Haskins (authors) and Wil Clay (illustrator)

Introduce children to Harriet Tubman, the champion of the Underground Railroad who earned the nickname "Moses" for leading hundreds of slaves to freedom. Spirited text and paintings portray how Tubman's compassion, courage, and deep religious faith helped her lead 19 trips from the south to the north in order to help fellow African-Americans.

Age: 6-9 Reading Level: Independent Reader The famous civil rights activist, Rosa Parks, has simplified her autobiography for young readers in this Puffin Easy-to-Read book. She describes how she was arrested for not giving up her bus seat and shows that her personal role was part of a wider political struggle.

7 Little Leaders and

10 Through My Eyes

By Vashti Harrison

Age: 9-12 Reading Level: Independent Reader

Little Legends

Recommended age: 8 and up These beautifully-illustrated biographies celebrate exceptional black men and women in history.

By Ruby Bridges

Six-year-old Ruby Bridges became the first African American to integrate an elementary school. Her memories of that year, when so much hatred was directed at her, makes for a powerful memoir. A 1999 Parents’ Choice Gold Award Winner. This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are countless titles to explore with your family. So visit your local library to expand your knowledge of Black History. Book summaries adapted from pbs.org, familyeducation.com and amazon.com

mommag.com 19

Is my child old enough for contact lenses?

This question is common, and can be answered with guidance from your optometrist.


enerally the answer to fitting process is generally a this is based on the child minimum of two visits: one to having adequate responsibility provide training and dispense to care for their eyes and the diagnostic lenses, and a medical device (contact lens). follow-up appointment to Contact lenses have confirm that the Contacts lenses been safely used with contact lens is fitting have had some toddler-age children well and providing breakthrough for certain medical good vision. developments in conditions, If any member of your materials and demonstrating that family is currently a comfort there is no hard rule of contact lens wearer, a minimum age for wearing contacts. Most offices have one-on-one training for new wearers. Contact lenses have the potential to cause permanent damage and vision loss if not fit and cared for properly. The

20 mommag.com

be sure to ask your optometrist about the most recent technology. Contact lenses have had some breakthrough developments in materials and comfort; Daily Disposables, SiliconeHydrogel lenses, UV protection, auto-darkening contacts (transitions), and multi-focals are all available. Contact your optometrist for further details.

Brought to you by: David Hackett, O.D. 4765 Village Plaza Loop, Eugene, Oregon (541) 342-3100 lifetimeeyecare.net

[ Momism #93:

You will always be my baby.


Eugene Montessori School Educating for a better world since 1962. A quality Montessori education for children 3 through kindergarten. The individualized curriculum includes music and P.E., snacks and a wholesome hot lunch.

Call for a tour! Eugene Montessori School 2255 Oakmont Way 541.345.7124 eugenemontessorischool.com

Summer Camp

Type 1 Diabetes: June 23 - 26 Session C: July 12 - 17 Session A: June 28 - July 3 Session D: July 19 - 24 Session B: July 5 - 10 Session E: July 26 - 31

Spend a week lakeside in Central Oregon!

Ages 8-14

Session F: August 2 - 7 Session G: August 9 - 14 Session H: August 16 - 21 mommag.com 21

Birthday cakes to remember The Rad Baker, Destiny Garcia, shares her insider tips for creating memorable birthday cakes. Fun with fondant The sky’s the limit when it comes to creating your next birthday masterpiece. Fondant is such a versatile cake-decorating tool. It can be used to cover cakes or make great little cake toppers. I personally call fondant grown-up Play-Doh because it can be so much fun to create different decorations that fit your theme. Cookie cutters and molds can be used to cut out a base for your fondant or gumpaste decorations. Wish.com, amazon.com and your local craft store are great resources for decorating supplies.

To create this Baby Shark-themed cake I used a Play-Doh set. How could I resist, right? Pair this with shell molds and you have an under-the-sea masterpiece!

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If you’re not the most confident baker, that’s okay! Here are some helpful tips to help you succeed: Before you get started, be sure to read the recipe thoroughly. Baking is a science, so be sure to understand the directions.

Unicorn cuteness Pirate’s booty

You can have a swashbuckling time with this pirate theme by pairing decorative molds with things you can find at the grocery store, like gold coins.

Flower and horn molds are a great way to create unicorn cupcakes or—the little sister— unicorn cake pops.

Room temperature is best for your ingredients. Let your items such as eggs, butter and milk sit out on your counter for a couple of hours prior to baking. Correct measurements are very important! My advice? Before you start mixing, make sure you have all your ingredients pre-measured and ready to go. I use this practice in all of my baking. Want a box cake to taste like it came from the bakery? Follow the directions on the box but add an extra egg, use melted butter instead of oil, and replace the water for milk. And don’t be afraid to add a little flavoring like a teaspoon of vanilla or a touch of almond extract. Greasing your pans is an important step! Butter is best, but a 1:1:1 ratio of oil, flour, and shortening (otherwise known as “cake goop”) is also great. And if your cake doesn’t release entirely from the pan, no worries! Wrap that cake up and freeze for cake pops later.

mommag.com 23

Check it out

Checker board technique

There are many different ways to create a fun birthday cake but one of my favorites is the checkerboard technique. And you can do this without having to buy expensive, fancy pan sets. All you need is some circle cutters that you can find at your local craft store. The one I use is by Celebrate Arts sold at Michaels stores. The largest of these circles start at 5 inches, which is perfect for a cake that is 8 inches. I used 6 inch round cakes that I colored pink and purple, with one layer having some fun sprinkles it. Start by cutting two circles out of every cake layer. When assembling, place a different color circle in each cake round until they are complete.

Craft store circle cutters.

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What’s really cool about this technique is the reveal when you cut into your cake—it will have checkerboard appearance. And because I used three different colors instead of two, it added a little more dimension to the inside of the cake. Beautiful, isn’t it? And it’s super fun when creating cakes such as unicorns, mermaids, or lumberjack themes. Give it a try using different flavors and colors. It will be a hit at your next party!

Assemble the cut rings alternating the colors

Thanks to The Rad Baker, Destiny Garcia, for these creative cake-decorating tips and images. For more cake-decorating inspiration check out The Rad Baker on social media. @theradbaker

Voila! The big reveal



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mommag.com 25

Sprinkles on everything Mother of two and owner of Natural Sprinkles Co., Jolene Wilson, shares her tips for sprinkling a little goodness in your life. Sprinkles make everything better and hide so many baking mistakes. They also spruce up lackluster store-bought cakes in a pinch. Our favorite tagline at the bakery, when something just doesn’t look quite right or something is missing is, “Put some shimmer on it!” Since sprinkles make everything better, bring more sprinkles into everyday moments. Make a fairy sandwich for the kiddos' lunch by giving a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich a facelift. Take a small cookie cutter and cut out the top piece of bread, then use peanut butter to glue down the sprinkles in that small-shaped area.

“Put some shimmer on it!”

We know that not everyone can bake, but you can make store-bought treats look more festive by creating a dessert board. Grab store-bought candies, sprinkles, mini cupcakes and cookies, then make a tasty and festive dessert board by laying out the sweets and adding a splash of color with fruits and berries. Your board can be as simple or over-the-top as you want. Shimmer sugar crystals and other baking items available at Natural Sprinkles Co. bakery and naturalsprinklesco.com

26 mommag.com

UNDERR PRESSURE Instant Pot® favorites By Angela Hibbard, MOM Magazine Editor-in-Chief and Instant Pot ® novice.

mommag.com 27

Under pressure Instant

Pot favs

I’M NOT AN EARLY ADOPTER. In fact, if I finally embrace a new technology, style or fad, it’s a sure sign that it’s on the way out. So I was certainly not the first mom to jump on the Instant Pot bandwagon. While everyone else claimed the Instant Pot was changing their lives, I was holding firm to my crock pot. We’d had a long and happy relationship and I didn’t have room (literally, no cabinet space) for a new appliance in my life... But when my rice cooker gave out and I learned that I could cook rice in the Instant Pot, I suddenly had the justification I needed: swapping one appliance for another was cabinet-space neutral. A few days later a giant box was at my doorstep. Several days after that, it was still in the box staring me down from the dining room table. I would not be defeated by an appliance but, I must admit, I was a little intimidated—okay, terrified—to get started. It’s been a few months now and I am by no means an expert, but I am a convert. I’m still a complete Instant Pot neophyte but, after some experimentation, our family definitely has some Instant Pot favorites.

Instant Pot makes the best rice, hands down

Unlike a crock pot, which requires planning ahead, the Instant Pot will save your rear when you get home at the end of the day and nothing’s planned for dinner.

Extra Nice


It turns out that the Instant Pot makes the best rice. In fact, I use it for this function so often that I’ve even considered getting a second Instant Pot to dedicate to rice-making. Rice is also a low-stakes way of initially experimenting with your Instant Pot if you’re a little intimidated like I was.

For white rice use a 1:1 ratio

of rice to water. Thoroughly rinse the rice before adding it to the Instant Pot. Add water, a splash of olive oil and a dash of salt. Stir to combine making sure that all of the rice is in the water. Ensure that the valve is in the Seal position, then select the Rice setting on your Instant Pot and wait for the best rice you’ve ever had.

Brown rice is even better.

Using the Sauté function, add a tablespoon of olive oil; a small onion, finely chopped; a dash of salt and rice. Sauté for 3-4 minutes to toast the rice and onion before adding water using a 1:1.25 ratio of rice to water. Cook on High pressure for 22 minutes.

For both brown and white rice let pressure naturally

release for 10 minutes before turning the valve to the venting position to release the rest of the pressure.

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Red Beans and Rice This simple recipe is a huge hit in our house. Technically it’s a side dish, but we throw it on a plate with some salad or veggies and call it dinner. Warning: there are never any leftovers. INGREDIENTS

3 bacon slices, chopped into ¼ inch pieces 1 onion, chopped 1 bell pepper, chopped 4 garlic cloves, minced 2 large pinches of cayenne 1 cup long-grain white rice 2 (15 ounce) cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained Kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper DIRECTIONS

Select Sauté to preheat Instant Pot. Once hot, add bacon and cook until lightly crisp. Remove and set aside. Add onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Add bell pepper and cook for 2 more minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more until onion is translucent. Add cayenne and bacon and stir. Add the rice, beans and broth and stir. Season with salt and pepper and secure lid. Select Manual and cook at high temperature for 5 minutes. Once cooking is complete, use natural release for 10 minutes, then release any remaining pressure. Source: The Instant Pot® Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook, Laurel Randolph

Due to its cult-like following, there are countless social media groups and websites dedicated to the Instant Pot that offer more advice and recipes than you could ever need.

mommag.com 29

Under pressure Instant

Pot favs

Lentil Rice Soup

Minestrone Soup

This is another family favorite that’s perfect for chilly winter evenings or thrown into a Thermos en route to a ball game.

This soup makes an almost weekly appearance at our house. It’s easily adapted depending on what’s in your pantry. No potatoes? No problem. Substitute frozen spinach for kale, if needed, or swap out cannellini beans with red kidney beans.


1 tablespoon olive oil 1 onion, finely chopped 2 carrots, finely chopped 2 stalks celery, finely chopped


2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 medium onion, chopped

1 teaspoon herbes de Provence

3 medium carrots, chopped

⅛ teaspoon black pepper

3 stalks celery, chopped

6 cups vegetable broth

2 cloves, garlic, minced

1 cup dried lentils, rinsed and sorted

1 ½ teaspoons salt

¼ cup uncooked rice, rinsed well

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

¼ teaspoon black pepper

Sour cream (optional)

⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes


2 russet potatoes peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces

Press Sauté; heat oil in Instant Pot ®. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic; cook and stir 5 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Add salt, herbes de Provence and pepper; cook and stir 30 seconds. Stir in broth, lentils and rice; mix well.

4 cups vegetable broth

Secure lid and move pressure release valve to Seal position. Press Manual; cook at high pressure for 10 minutes.

1 bunch kale, stemmed and chopped

When cooking is complete, use natural release for 10 minutes, then release the remaining pressure. Stir in parsley. Top with sour cream, if desired. Source: Instant Pot ® Favorite Recipes

It’s certainly possible to make unhealthy dishes in the Instant Pot, but I find that simple dishes my family would have previously rejected —soups, beans, vegetables—are now welcome since they are loaded with flavor.

2 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained 1 can diced tomatoes Shredded Parmesan cheese, optional DIRECTIONS

Press Sauté; heat oil in Instant Pot. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic; cook and stir for 5 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Add salt, Italian seasoning, black pepper and red pepper flakes; cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in potatoes, broth, beans and tomatoes; mix well. Secure lid and move pressure valve to Sealing position. Press Manual; cook at high pressure for 3 minutes. When cooking is complete, press Cancel and use quick release. Stir in kale. Secure lid and move pressure release valve to Sealing position. Press Manual; cook at High pressure for 2 minutes. When cooking is complete, use natural release for 5 minutes, then release the remaining pressure. Serve with cheese, if desired. Source: Instant Pot ® Favorite Recipes

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[ Momism #67:

If you're too full to finish your dinner, you're too full for dessert.


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