Tri-Cities MOM | Feb/Mar 2020

Page 1

real local moms

since 2005

Tri-Cities | February / March 2020








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Published by GO Creative, LLC 263 29th Avenue SW Albany, OR 97322 Editor-in-Chief Managing Director Angela Hibbard Tri-Cities Business Development Manager Kim Harvey 509-460-6526 Contact Kim today to advertise Mid-Valley & Lane County Business Development Manager Linda Blair, 541-231-7250 Salem Advertising Representative Kim Leighty 503-510-9036 Designer Sean Carver We love hearing from you. Email with feedback, story ideas or nominations. MOM MagazineTM is produced by GO Creative, LLC. © 2018 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.

Because I said so!

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 3


It’s what‘s

inside that counts

Black History 18

Under Pressure 21

Birthday Cakes 26

Vacation MOM................... 7

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

All-inclusive beach vacations

This reading list celebrates the

Birthday Cakes To Remember..................26

contributions of African

Insider tips for creating

Americans to our history.

memorable birthday cakes.

Under Pressure................21


Instant Pot favorites

Tips for sprinkling a little

Cover MOM: Kim Bonus ........................10 This mom gets real

goodness in your life.

CONGRATULATIONS to Heads Up Tri-Cities, winner of the 2020 MOM Magazine Community Impact Award.

Blog: Facebook: lovemommag

Cover MOM Photos by It's a Keeper Photography


Advertise today Want to get the word out about your business? Contact Kim Harvey at

Look for more information about Heads Up Tri-Cities services in upcoming issues of MOM Magazine and check out their ad on page 6.


More ways to love your MOM 5

[ Momism #180:

Look with your eyes, not with your hands.

A nonprofit organization supporting mental health services in our community

Contact us. 509.497.7175


Support services include fund development, collaboration, and partnerships.



What to consider when planning an all-inclusive family vacation:

beach vacations OF 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.

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.

Donnita and her family enjoying the white, sandy beaches of Club Med, Cancun.


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.

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.


Make sure there is something for all ages and interests in your family.


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


Who do you want to spend your vacation with?


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?

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. Contact Donnita for more information 541-913-5272. @VacationMOM 7

[ Momism #139: Eat

. Y A D O T S D FRIEN S R E K A M E G CHAN . W O R R O M TO Make new friends? Discover new passions? She’ll do all that and more at Girl Scouts! Whether she’s exploring nature and the outdoors, expressing herself through art or music, designing robots or board games, or helping her community through service projects, she’ll have a blast as she earns badges in just about anything that piques her interest. Get ready, because she’s going to make the world a better place—today and for the next generation!


your vegetables.



Ixtapa Pacific, Mexico

Cancún Yucatán, Mexico

Club Med Cancún Yucatán and Club Med Ixtapa Pacific are designed for the perfect family getaway. Enjoy an extensive array of water and land sports, top-ranked Children’s Clubs ranging from 4 months to 17 years, and an authentic Mexican dining experience. At Club Med, families will disconnect from the world and reconnect with each other. Check-in to the time of your lives and check-out with memories that last a lifetime.

Contact Vacation MOM Donnita Bassinger at (541) 913-5272 to plan your Club Med vacation. 9 CLM100-28093 - 2020 MOM Placement_Full-Page_01.10.20.indd 1

1/10/20 4:31 PM

Nurse Practitioner


and Cover MOM, Kim

Bonus, shares about her motherhood

adventures, from

the joys of living on an emu farm to the

pride of dropping her

eldest off at college

and everything in between.

Photo credit: It's a Keeper Photography


Who is MOM?


Living in West Richland, WA, from Eaton, CO. Profession: Registered nurse, nurse manager at You Medical.

The Bonus family, Husband, Adam Bonus, pastor at Reliance Fellowship and children: Emily, age 18; Nathan, age 15 and Abby age 12.

Family comes first. All families are unique. Tell us about yours. My family rocks! We have moved every three years for the past 19 years. We’ve been through a lot of changes and have experienced several parts of the country. We’ve lived in the big city and in little towns, close to family and far away. These moves have developed a sense of adventure in us and they’ve melded us together as a unified team. They’ve also taught us to decipher what is valuable, what can be left behind and what should be treasured. When Adam and I first married, we had the privilege of living on a 40-acre emu farm in Virginia. Our rent was caring for the emus. It was a beautiful place and learning about emus was a treat. We still

laugh at the fact that our oldest daughter’s first word was, “emu.” To this day, we keep an emptied emu egg in our house to remind us of that special time. Every family has their own traditions, rituals or inside jokes. What’s one of your family’s holiday traditions? When I was in 7th grade, we moved into a new house on Christmas Eve. It was a winter storm in northern Colorado with wind, snow and subzero temperatures. It was late in the evening by the time we moved into our empty house. No beds were set up, so we decorated a tree branch from the yard with ornaments, ordered in pizza and slept on the floor by the fireplace. Now each Christmas Eve, in honor of that year so long ago, we sleep in the living room under the Christmas tree by the fire and order-in pizza. It’s so fun—my teenagers still do it! 11

Q&A Tell us about one of your proudest mom moments. Taking my oldest to college this past fall, I felt a profound sense of pride. I knew in my heart I had done everything humanly possible to love, provide, guide and encourage this beautiful child. I knew that all the time and energy I had spent with her when she was little—reading, playing, baking, listening, building LEGO®, having “tea,” being consistent with boundaries, and showing grace when I could—was all paying off. I could see in her eyes the readiness to face this big change. I couldn’t have been prouder!

Now tell us about one of your most humbling mom moments. We walked through a very difficult time when our daughter started having severe anxiety going to bed at night during elementary school. She would lay awake for hours, sometimes crying, moaning, scared. We knew something wasn’t right and we tried everything we could to try and help. It got the point where she was having suicidal thoughts. At this point we felt helpless and, honestly, I was freaking out! Here we were trying to do everything right and provide everything our little girl needed, and it all seemed futile. I was very humbled as a mom. I started to question my value and capability as a mom to meet my kids’ needs. 12

It eventually surfaced that our daughter was being bullied at school. We addressed what needed to be addressed with the school, parents, etc. All in all, this took nine months of sleepless nights and heartwrenching concern for our child. We were exhausted, worn and weary. The good news is that we came out super strong in our relationship with our daughter and with each other and, even with some of the other families involved. It also strengthened our daughter’s resolve in life, and in her faith, like nothing we could have orchestrated.

As a mom I learned that I really am not in control. I believe God is in control of our kiddos' lives and he takes them through what He knows is best for them. Even if I do everything right (which I know I won’t), they’re still their own little person and they have their own choices to make and path to walk. I’m just thankful I get to walk alongside them as best I can. We’re all moms so we know that no one is perfect all of the time, or even some of the time. Tell us about your most recent “Mother of the Year” moment. You know, like forgetting to pick the kids up from school. Well there’s the time I accidentally locked my sleeping infant in the house while showing my toddlers the awesome thunderstorm outside and had to run down

the road in the rain to get a neighbor to help me break into my house. More recently, after attending a high school production, our daughter introduced us to one of the actors. I recognized his name, so I emphatically said, “Oh, you’re (insert name), I’ve heard so much about you!” My poor daughter’s face turned bright red and she was so embarrassed. She had told me about this particular person, but that was not the thing to say. Oops! What is something you swore you would never do before kids that you now do? Drive a minivan. In high school I used to joke that minivans were the universal sign of fertility. I swore I would drive a cool car if I had kids—like an SUV. However, once our youngest was born, we gave in. For a brief time we even had two minivans.

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’ve been a nurse for 19 years and, during that time, have had periods of being at home full-time and working. Two years ago I decided to make a big change in my career. I chose to leave mainstream nursing and serve at a non-profit organization in an area I am passionate about—educating and empowering women and young girls. Now I am the nurse manager at You Medical, a non-profit, pro-life organization and I work full-time. Although being a stay-at-home mom is my favorite job, You Medical is a close runner up—I get to meld my profession of nursing with my faith, and my love for people.

How do you balance (or not) motherhood, activities, work, volunteering, household responsibilities, and life in general? Typically, what falls through the cracks? My kids and my husband are a huge help, and essential for me “balancing” everything. Between church activities, work, home, sports and school, we stay pretty busy. The kids help with chores and food prep every day. Regular exercise, reading the Bible and time outside help me a lot. I find “balance” is a loose term and I often lose my footing. Unfortunately, the thing that falls through the cracks is my attitude. Kindness, patience 13


Favorite… …holiday song: Carol of the Bells

…words to live by: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

…way to get out of making dinner: Making dinner is the bane of my life. I need ideas.

…time-saving app or digital tool: Synced digital calendars. We could not survive without these.

…parenting book or philosophy: Preparing for Adolescence by James Dobson. Absolute genius for the adolescent years.


questions for MOM 14

Tea or Coffee? Coffee

Dog or Cat? Dog

Hugs or Kisses? Kisses

Morning or Night? Morning

Math or English? English

Early or Late? Early

Fly or Drive? Fly

Hot or Cold? Hot

Summer or Winter? Summer

Gold or Silver? Gold

Sweet or Savory? Sweet

Ice cream or Chocolate? Ice Cream

and a good outlook on life suffer when I am behind or stressed out. Thankfully, my family is gracious, and they help me get back on my feet. What I do in those situations is admit that I have a bad attitude, ask for forgiveness and we all move on. Do you have a goal you’d like to accomplish within the next five years? I would like to help make You Medical the clinic of first choice for sexual health here in Tri-Cities. We have an amazing team of doctors, nurses and RDMSs that deliver top-notch education and services, but I’d like to expand the services we provide and help close the gaps and eliminate the barriers when it comes to accessing healthcare.

beautiful about everyone. I love identifying and affirming that. I love connecting with people! What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives? Lie on the ground alone high in the Rocky Mountains at night looking at a clear star-filled sky. It is fantastic!

If mom’s not happy, nobody’s happy. What do you think is the most important life skill or value your parents taught you? Living a life of service to others. My dad was a volunteer firefighter for 30 years. He spent years of interrupted life and sleep serving others. He would come home late at night after a motor vehicle accident and hold us close telling us how much he loved us. My mother was a great entertainer, but not just for parties. Our house was constantly open and it didn’t matter if the house was clean or not. People felt comfortable there because she was so hospitable and focused on their needs. She wanted to provide a safe, fun place for those who might not have that. Their examples of love and active daily service to others became a way of living. I admire their lives, which they lived for others, and hope I can model that for my kids. What is the quality you like most about yourself? I love people! Every person, no matter their gender, race, age, health status, if you sit down and listen to them, you can see beauty. There is something 15

Listen to mom.

What’s the best advice you’ve received from another mom? Enjoy each stage of life. Whether your kids are infants, schoolage, or teenagers, there’s something to be enjoyed in each stage.

What message would you like to share with other moms? Listen to your kids. Especially as they get older. I heard a mom at a conference tell me that the junior high years with your kids are when you should be spending the most time with them. At first, I thought this was a strange suggestion, but I see the wisdom of it now. Junior high schoolers are trying to figure the world out. They are analyzing all the things they’ve been told and asking, “Why?” to everything. If a mom can be right by their kids when this is happening, she can be involved in


helping her kids think rightly about the world. Whether it’s math, science, bullying or school shootings, our kids need us at this age to make sense of it all.



[ Momism #113:

Don't run in the house.


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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




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, and 19

[ Momism #73: How do you know you don't like it if you haven't tasted it? ]


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UNDERR PRESSURE Instant Pot® favorites By Angela Hibbard, MOM Magazine Editor-in-Chief and Instant Pot ® novice. 21

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.


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. 23

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


[ Momism #93:

You will always be my baby.


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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., 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!


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. 27

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.


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

[ Momism #67:

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



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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


GESA Credit Union With every swipe of your Local Heroes debit card, Gesa will make a donation to the Local Heroes Fund at Gesa. The money raised will be used to fund grants for teacher’s groups, fire departments, police departments, and veteran’s organizations, or those that support them, throughout Washington.

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