Sometimes, food looks like poop

Last night I tried to make lava cakes.

I make cakes all the time, usually with decent success, and this is one of the simplest cake recipes I’ve ever used. It only had five ingredients.

But I think I misjudged the size of my mugs. I needed 10-12 ounce sized mugs, and I suspect these were rather less than that.

failed lava cakes

I told J that they looked like poop, and he protested that they didn’t… but that was before he saw them. Not that that phased him, of course. 🙂

There wasn’t any lava to speak of, either… well, none that didn’t turn into the lava flow/volcanic rock you see here, at least. The centers were just moist cake, not at all gooey.

Oh well. The boys enjoyed it (we had let them stay up very late for the promise of the cake project I was working on… so I was glad they weren’t disappointed!)–we split one and gave them each half.

Hubby and I took a few nibbles, and we threw all the rest out. Just not satisfying.

I might try lava cake again someday… hard to fail worse than poop cakes, right? Only place to go from here is up. 🙂

P.S. Of course, this failure happened *after* my sweet mother-in-law hauled those mugs over to my house because I didn’t have any oven-proof mugs of my own, and *after* my sweet father-in-law drove back to their house to get the cookbook with the recipe in it that I’d forgotten to tell her I also needed. At least they excused themselves from the party too early to witness the result… although history tells me they would have been indulgent. Even if the cakes were not. 😉


The Liebster Award!

Well. Right after I made my “50 Followers! Thank you!” post, I got nominated for The Liebster Award! And I felt rather embarrassed at the thought of following one “yay me!” post directly with another. Ha! So I worked on other things and took my time putting this together because it has a number of fun, detailed steps. Many thanks to From Toddler to Traveler for the nomination!

Apparently the Liebster Award is something conducted by The Global Aussie each year in an effort to promote new blogs and, in the case of one lucky blogger, receive a prize! If nominated, you earn the right to display a pretty badge on your website, and you get to play along–answering questions, nominating other bloggers, and writing interesting questions for them to answer. So, without further ado… here we go!

Liebster Award 2018

General Rules

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and leave a link to their blog. Thank you so much, From Toddler to Traveler!
  2. Include a link back to The Global Aussie’s original Liebster Award post in your Liebster Award post.
  3. Display the award on your blog. The Global Aussie has several badges to choose from!
  4. Write a small post about what makes you passionate about blogging. (This may not be a part of the original official rules but I’m happy to oblige anyway. 🙂 )
  5. Provide 10 Random Facts about Yourself. (Again, not sure if this is original, but fun!)
  6. Answer 11 questions from the blog that nominated you.
  7. Nominate 5-11 blogs.
  8. Give the new nominees 11 questions to answer.
  9. Inform the people who have been nominated regarding their nomination.


10 Random Facts About Myself

  1. I was homeschooled K-12.
  2. I have six younger siblings (seven, if you consider the one miscarriage my mom had <3).
  3. I have lived all over the U.S. in 8 different states: Idaho, Washington, Montana, Tennessee, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania. I’ve visited or driven through a number of others as well!
  4. I’ve taught a few different subjects in a few different capacities: Latin, English writing/grammar/poetry, and Medieval history.
  5. I have a B.A. in three different majors: English, Music, and Classical Studies. The nerdery runs deep!!
  6. My alma mater is Hanover College… which is also the alma mater of V.P. Mike Pence and Woody Harrelson.
  7. I have strong OCD tendencies (better now than they were 15 years ago) and probably some leanings toward BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder–although this also seems to have decreased with time and love).
  8. I volunteer for an incredible organization called She’s Somebody’s Daughter. They work to raise awareness of issues related to sex trafficking and abuse and reach out to women trapped in the adult entertainment industry to share a message of love and hope–that a woman’s worth is so much more than whatever she can do with her body–or has been made to do.
  9. I’m an indentured cat-lover for life.
  10. I LOVE video games. This often creates just a slight awkwardness in mixed company when the men bring up their latest gaming adventures–and I jump right in with mine.


The 11 Questions I Was Given

  1. What’s one thing you didn’t know about blogging that surprised you? That bloggers LIKE conversing with random strangers! I can wander into any blog I’ve never encountered before and start leaving comments right and left, and they’re appreciated and responded to. I don’t have to be accepted as a “friend” or any such thing first–big change in dynamic for someone steeped in Facebook protocol!
  2. What is your least favorite thing about blogging? The anxiety of working on a post I’m very excited about and being constantly interrupted as I write by *coughCertainPeoplecough* so that my train of thought breaks and I can’t just knock it out and finish it. ;D
  3. If you had a superpower, what would it be and why? I thought about this A LOT in high school and college. Back then, it was a tie between being a ninja-type with knives who could melt into the shadows and dodge anything, and a “glass cannon” of some sort. Probably now it’s just the latter: I can wind myself up to make quite an impact on whatever I set my mind to, but afterwards I’m completely spent and liable to fall apart.
  4. What is your “last meal” meal, i.e. what would you eat if you knew it would be your last meal? Gosh, I have WAY too many favorite foods to settle on just one. In reality, if I knew it would actually be my last meal, I would probably completely lose my appetite and not be able to eat anything. What’s the point, after all? Just get it over with! But, if I had to pick a current favorite meal, it’s probably a tie between Pad Thai and my own recipe for fettuccine alfredo with brussels sprouts, pistachios, and roasted grapes!
  5. Plane, train, or automobile? Automobile.
  6. What’s your favorite “cocktail party” story? Heh heh. I’m a mom of preschoolers married to a computer programmer. Cocktail parties are not my native habitat. But, if I were in the highly unlikely situation of being at a cocktail party AND pressed for a story, I might describe the incident in which my mother-in-law spilled a child’s sippy cup full of milk all over herself, the couch, and my son ten minutes before I had to run out the door… because she sucked the lid right off while trying to drink her breakfast. 8D
  7. Tell me a joke (PG, please, there are little ears around). Gosh, I never tell jokes! Most of my humor these days resorts to tickling and making fart noises… or, if I’m lucky, one-liners in adult company where someone else provides the set-up (and does most of my work for me). Here’s my (stupidly nerdy) best attempt off the cuff: what does “Semper ubi sub ubi” mean in Latin? “Always where under where!” 😉
  8. What was your worst vacation and why? Ha! Well, growing up, we **never** vacationed… and I haven’t really had a bad one since moving out or getting married. But I guess you could say the vacation we took right after my favorite childhood pet died was pretty hard, and not at all as fun as it could have been for me… that loss weighed on me terribly for weeks and weeks and made it very hard to appreciate anything else.
  9. Let’s say you could travel with your favorite Disney character. Who would you travel with and why? Emperor Kuzco. For so many nerdy and ridiculous reasons… but let’s keep it simple and just say that llama knows how to navigate a jungle. And waterfalls.
  10. If you could invent one tool to make your life easier, what would it be? A diaper-changing, butt-wiping robot.
  11. What is your favorite kind of candy? Hmmmm, it’s usually a toss-up between Butterfinger and Peanutbutter M&Ms. The use of the word “butt” in these candy names has nothing to do with the answer to the preceding question.


Nominated Blogs: Here are 9!

  • Natalie Greenfield: this is the blog of my childhood best friend–a woman who, as I found out decades after we had moved apart, suffered three years of sexual abuse as a child at the hands of a border in her own home. Since those dark days, Natalie has grown into an incredibly strong, talented, and loving woman who advocates for abuse awareness while raising four young children and partnering in deep vulnerability and respect with her tireless, adoring husband. Her story is well worth knowing.
  • Rachel’s blog spot: I love this girl. I love her poetry, I love her music (y’all, she just posted a BEAUTIFUL original song–and I’m an intense critic!), and I love her message. It’s the sweetness of Jesus melting on my tongue every time I check her blog. Thank you, Rachel.
  • Look for Little Helpers: A cheery, sweet platform for encouraging compassionate, thoughtful community involvement *that includes our children* and teaches them not only to “look for the helpers” (thank you Mr. Rogers <3) but to be helpers. Wonderfully positive message!
  • BlendedDad: I REALLY appreciate this realistic, level-headed, humble, and grace-rooted approach to the hardship of divorce, blended families, and toxic family members. Recommended.
  • Silently Screaming: Valdelo writes with gripping sincerity and vulnerability about her experience of miscarriage after IVF. She conveys a depth and complexity of emotion in startlingly few words. The effect is an immersive, resonant, beautifully crafted narrative.
  • The Things of Every Day: A wonderfully sweet, genuine, minimalistic look at what really matters in life and parenting and how to cultivate it with tender, mindful care. Nikki’s appreciation for the beauty in every moment and her refusal to water down the experience of misfortune at the same time are so refreshing.
  • White Privilege Syllabus: SO GOOD. I’ve had little time to read much here because the posts are *chock full* of important, complicated, difficult concepts that deserve careful attention and consideration. Be warned, it will probably feel like a punch to the gut at first if you’re white. But if you lean into it, I think there is *so much* to be gained by listening to this voice.
  • Sall Good in the End: I love how detailed, thorough, and confident Sarah’s posts are! She writes about mental health–both her personal, cross-cultural experience of it as a second-generation Indian living in Canada, and about what she is learning through therapy/counseling and self-study. She is a strong voice advocating for our global need to treat this as a real problem: with respect, compassion, and understanding.
  • Sheikah Plate: Gotta end with my favorite “just for ludicrous fun!” blogger! Teri Mae is seriously a-*dork*-able (in my family that is a TOTAL affectionate compliment so please take it as such!) with her take on recipes from Breath of the Wild, the latest Legend of Zelda video game, and SO knowledgable about cooking and all-things-nerdery. She has fabulous pictures, spot-on game-referencing graphics, an endearingly cheeky writing style–oh, and did I mention that her recipe for Salmon Meuniere was de-licious?! Yeah, you gotta try Sheikah Plate–even if you know nothing about video games. 🙂


Questions for New Nominees!

  1. What is your go-to technique for calming nerves–your own or others–in stressful situations?
  2. What is your favorite food?
  3. Do you prefer academia or practical skills?
  4. Current favorite TV show?
  5. If you could change one thing about the world you live in, what would it be?
  6. Pet peeve?
  7. How do you cultivate empathy in your relationships?
  8. Dream job?
  9. Go-to catch phrase when you’re pleased with something:
  10. What do you want to be remembered for?
  11. Who do you most want to read your blog?


I enjoyed putting this together so much! And I hope you enjoyed the little peek into my world–but I especially hope you check out the blogs I nominated and enjoy getting to know these fabulous, fabulous people! They have enriched my life in so. many. ways!

Gritty grins ’til next time,



Follower Appreciation Day: Promote Your Blog!

Wow! You people. You have exceeded my all expectations about who cares what I think or have to say.

Today my blog acquired 50 followers!

And not long ago, it hit 100 likes. It’s hardly been a month since I’ve made public; I had no idea what to expect, and I have been so thrilled at the reception I’ve been given.

Thank you to all my followers!

I started this blog to share my thoughts and experiences of parenting, homeschooling, emotional health, and abuse awareness in an extended, detailed way that social media just doesn’t allow for. Contrary to my expectations, the number of people who have taken an interest (or even give me the time of day) here has been *so* edifying and affirming. For the first time in my life, I’ve begun to think that what I have to say is worth appreciating–not just by a small circle of close friends, but by the world at large, because at least some complete strangers out there have cared to spend the time on me.

I have so often hoped that my perspective might be relevant to the world at large; thanks to the warm welcome I have received here, I have really begun to believe that it might be.

For this gift you have given me, I sincerely say: Thank You.

As an expression of gratitude and camaraderie, I wanted to take this opportunity to give back a little. So, I hereby proclaim this Follower Appreciation Day!

If you are a follower of, I invite you to promote your blog by posting a link and a description of it in the comments below. ❤

If you’re not a follower, it’s easy to join the party! Just click the “Follow on WordPress” button at the right side of the page or enter your address in the email subscription box.

And if you decide you don’t need the spam, feel free to subscribe and then unsubscribe later. I won’t judge. 🙂

Once you’ve shared your info in the comments below, I would love it if you would reblog this post or otherwise share it on your website to spread the word to anyone else who might be interested in the topics I discuss here–or just a friendly conversation with a curious introvert. The door’s always open. 🙂

Thank you so much again. I hope you leave here blessed! Come back soon!


Flower vector created by Freepik