Feeling Thankful as Easter 2021 Approaches

Although Easter is a holiday about feeling saved, this year I am taking a sentiment from another holiday and also feeling thankful. A year ago we celebrated Easter under strict lockdown. Although a world in quarantine would never stand a chance at halting Jesus’ Resurrection, having most everything else associated with the holiday canceled was still a tough pill to swallow.

This year we will be able to celebrate Easter in a more traditional way (like in 2018) than what we were able to do last year.

This year, things are different—at least a little. We have made enough progress in our battle against COVID that most states, including Washington, are in the midst of re-opening plans. These provisions allow for certain activities and events to resume.

Last April, a pickup truck with the Easter Bunny riding in the back roamed the streets of my parents’ neighborhood. It was an act meant to salvage the spirits of youngsters who were bitterly disappointed that the annual Easter egg hunt in the park had been canceled. Nationwide, hunts and related events were scrapped. This week they are making a comeback, even if social distancing measures might make them look a little different from two years ago.

The Easter Bunny drove by in the back of a truck through my parents’ neighborhood last year.

More importantly, the opportunities to celebrate what Easter is truly about will also return in 2021. Many of us can’t adequately describe the sorrow that was felt last year when churches were closed and in-person Holy Week/Easter Sunday masses and services were wiped out. To be able to celebrate the sacred Paschal mystery inside a holy church will carry with it even more meaning this year.

On Sunday we will once again get to celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord in a church. This is Sloan and Sid after Easter Sunday mass at St. Andrew in Myrtle Beach in 2019.

Oh yeah, this year I will also get to celebrate Easter with my family! I was separated from my wife and kids at this time 12 months ago as we waited for the uncertainty of COVID to dissipate before they left South Carolina to fly west. Their presence this Easter weekend will not be lost on me. One more thing worth noting: Easter 2021 will mark the first time I have the opportunity to simultaneously celebrate Easter with Sid, my two children, parents, and siblings. Alleluia.

As we prepare to celebrate Easter on Sunday, let us feel thankful that this year will be different from last—in a positive way. Let’s not take for granted that which we missed so dearly just a year ago. Don’t Blink.

Peeps Edible Play-Doh

TikTok has provided Sidney and I with countless hours of entertainment. But besides the constant laughs, it has also given us a lot of ideas. Over the weekend, I stole a recipe I saw on the platform for Peeps Edible Play-Doh.

A Tik-Tok video I saw imspired me to team up with Sloan to make Peeps Edible Play-Doh.

I convinced Sloan to help me make it—well, as you can imagine, there really wasn’t any convincing. We used Peeps, powdered sugar, and coconut oil. If you want to watch the video of us making it, click here.

To make Peeps Edible Play-Doh you need Peeps, pwodered sugar, and coconut oil.

The first step is to place five Peeps in a mixing bowl. Any color will do! I gave Sloan the option between blue Peeps and yellow Peeps.

You need five Peeps to make a regular batch of the play-doh.

Next, measure out three tablespoons of powdered sugar. Pour the sugar on top of the Peeps. If you don’t mind powdered sugar getting all over the place, feel free to have your toddler assistant perform this step.

The recipe calls for three tablespoons of powdered sugar.

Now get out that coconut oil. Measure a tablespoon and add it to the mixing bowl. In the TikTok video I did, I admitted to everyone that I didn’t realize coconut oil wasn’t actually a liquid. My sister told me I should not have been so open about my stupidity.

After you add in the powdered sugar you need to add in a tablespoon of coconut oil.

You are almost there! Take the mixing bowl and place it in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. When you take it out, make sure to mix it as thoroughly as possible. If you don’t stir long enough the play-doh will be extremely sticky.

Put the mixing bowl in the microwave for 20-30 seconds.

It’s play time…and snack time! Not only can your child play with the dough but they can eat it too. Sloan thought the taste deserved two thumbs up.

Sloan with the final product. It turned out great but did dry out fast.

If you have 10 minutes, give Peeps Edible Play-Doh a try. Sloan didn’t eat all of her batch and the remaining portion dried out really fast so just keep that in mind. But if you are looking for a fun and original Easter activity to do this week, grab some Peeps at the store. Don’t Blink.

Attraction Thursday Rundown

Alright everyone, it is time for the final Thursday Rundown of March 2021. Fair warning: Next week’s Rundown will fall on April 1 so just keep that in mind when you scan the five topics. But before we get to those five topics, we need to get to these five topics…

Magnet Kit – Your local library most likely offers so much more than just books. Last week we checked out a STEM kit from our Spokane Valley County Library. This particular STEM kit was all about magnets. It contained magnet wands, a magnetic horseshoe, alphabet magnets, several magnet books, and more. Sloan loved experimenting with the push and pull of the magnets and was even inspired to look around our house for other magnetic materials. We played a few different games with the kit and just enjoyed the cheap entertainment we got from it.

Sloan messing around with her magnet STEM kit we checked out from the Spokane County Library District.

That’s A Lot of Rubber Bands – I came across the below tweet a couple nights ago. Could you imagine spending a grand on rubber bands each week just to wrap your money stacks? Whoever the “rubber band man” was for this enterprise sure must have enjoyed the business.

Hard to imagine rolling in so much cash that you need to spend $1,000 in cash just to organize it.

National Waffle Day – Okay, let me frank…I am a pancake guy. With that said, I definitely don’t hate waffles. One thing I really miss about living in the South is Waffle House. However, there was another waffle-centric “restaurant” that I enjoyed going to. Back when I lived in Missoula a fro-yo place opened called Yo Waffle. It was just like any other fro-yo place except that it had…well…waffles. You would walk in, pour the batter to make your own waffle, and top it with all the frozen yogurt and candy that you wanted. Can you say heart attack? On second thought, let’s just say this—happy National Waffle Day!

This was my first ever meal at Waffle House. Smothered hash browns and a peanut butter waffle.

NCAA Tourney Reaction – The NCAA Tournament field has been cut to 16 teams and two out of the three universities I threw my support behind last week are still dancing. It might come as little surprise to many that tourney-favorite Gonzaga took care of business in its first two games. But the other team in the Sweet 16 who I am still cheering for fits the bill of a Cinderella. Oregon State will take on Loyola this weekend with an Elite 8 appearance on the line. Let’s go Beavers! It has been fun watching Wayne Tinkle, a great guy who I got to know when we both worked in the athletic department at the University of Montana, coach his team to some big wins. I hope by Tuesday night that the Bulldogs and Beavers are both in the Final Four.

At the University of Montana there was a big start of the year picnic called Welcomefeast. I was responsible for coordinating the athletics portion of the event. One of my responsibilities was to find a guest speaker and Coach Tinkle never hesitated to accept my invitation when I would ask him.

Doesn’t Make Cents – Another cliché news story that media always bite on is the tired tale of a debt being paid in pennies. Whether it is an angry citizen paying a fine at city hall or someone making good on a lost monetary bet, the ultimate way to stick it to the collector is to pay in copper coins. A story that made the rounds today centered on a disgruntled auto shop manager who paid a fired employee his final $915 paycheck in pennies. The manager dropped off a wheelbarrow with the payment at the guy’s house and fled. When the ex-employee found his payment, he noticed that the pennies were covered in motor oil. Okay, I must admit this is the first time I have never heard about someone actually adding a substance to the coins but I still think it is tired and juvenile. Let’s retire this unoriginal act of passive aggressiveness.

The ex-employee went outside his house to discover a wheelbarrow full of pennies.


That’s a wrap for this week. Hope you get some nice weather this weekend and maybe a waffle or two. Don’t Blink.

Lesson From Little Chick

We read at least a couple books to Sloan each night. Although they are all children’s books, many have adult themes and lessons woven in.

One of the books we read last night was called “Busy-Busy Little Chick.” A mama chicken and her chicks live in a nest that is deteriorating. Each night when the wind whips and the elements wreak havoc on their weak home, the mama makes a pledge to start building a more suitable place to live the next day. When the morning comes and the family sets out to build, mama chicken becomes distracted and wastes the day doing something else, taking her chicks with her—except for one.

Little Chick slips away from the brood during these daily frustrations and works on a new nest by himself. With no one aware of what he is doing, Little Chick builds a little bit of the family’s new home each day. One night, a nasty storm ravages the area and the mama and her chicks are especially miserable. Mama realizes the consequences of her missed opportunities. The next morning she sets out to finally begin building the new home only to find out that completely unbeknownst to her Little Chick had actually been working on it all along and that he had now completed it.

We read “Busy-Busy Little Chick” last night and it contained some good lessons.

This story contains a few different life lessons including the dangers of procrastination and the notion that if you want something done right you have to do it yourself.

While both of these themes are valid, what resonated with me most is the power and effectiveness of doing work and deeds preemptively, many times when no one is watching. In work and life, initiative and motivation might be more important than anything else.

Anyone can talk a big game and declare that they will take on a project, start a diet, or begin a course while earning praise and fanfare for doing so. But their seemingly good intentions don’t always materialize. All talk and no action.

Compare this with the person who produces a project before it was even assigned, loses weight in front of everyone’s eyes when no one even knew they were on a program, and completes a course before anyone found out they were enrolled. There is something to say about quietly going about one’s business and bearing fruit.

We need more Little Chicks in the world. Not everything we do in life needs a kickoff event. Results will always mean more than intentions. Don’t Blink.

Sloan’s 4th Birthday Party

It was a classic family birthday celebration on Saturday afternoon. Sidney threw a Trolls-themed birthday party for Sloan a few days after her actual date of birth. In addition to the four of us, my parents and my sister’s family joined us.

A look at the birthday party set up at our house before guests arrived.

Any decent birthday party has delicious food. Despite the event taking place on Washington soil, we made South Carolina cuisine. Chicken bog and pulled pork highlighted the menu. Let me just say this: No one went home hungry.

Sloan’s birthday party food spread…chicken bog, cole slaw, pulled pork.

After dinner we took some time to let our stomachs settle. The adults watched the NCAA Tournament while the kids played with some of the gifts that Sloan received from Sid’s family.

Sloan and her cousins enjoying food at the birthday party.

It was then time for cake! The bakery at Fred Meyer made it for us and it turned out great. For about the 14th time since Wednesday, we sang “happy birthday” to Sloan. Sid then cut the cake and I assumed ice cream-scooping duty.

Sloan with her Trolls birthday cake. Thanks, Fred Meyer!

Next up was presents. We gathered in the living room and Sloan started to open her gifts. Luckily she had help from her cousins, Mik and Johnny, because (surprise, surprise) she was spoiled and had more than enough packages to open. Some of the highlights included an OMG doll, Lite-Brite set, and a Trolls necklace kit.

Sloan opening a gift with some help from her cousin, Mikayla.

The grand finale was next. We hauled out the Poppy piñata and set it up in our kitchen. Mind you, piñatas are a little different these days. Instead of whacking it with a bat, children take turns pulling strings that hang from the piñata. A “magic” string then rips open the bottom and the contents spill out. Sloan, Mik, and Johnny each took several rounds pulling strings until Mik found the lucky one that made it rain on our kitchen floor. All three children filled plastic bags with candy.

Pinata time!!

After the last piece of candy was picked from the floor it wasn’t like everyone bolted for the door. We all hung out and talked while the kids extended their sugar high initially induced by the cake and ice cream with their piñata candy. Sloan’s first birthday party in the Inland Northwest was a smashing success. Major props to Sid for organizing it and thanks to the people who attended. Sloan is a lucky and very happy 4-year-old. Don’t Blink.

Trap Door Thursday Rundown

Hope everyone had a nice St. Patrick’s Day! Thanks for joining me for another Thursday Rundown. If you are in a reading mood, take a look at this week’s five topics…

The Birthday Tradition – We do it every year. I throw on the green polo I wore when Sloan was born and we re-create the first photo we ever took together. Hard to believe that this is the fifth time we have taken the picture!

It is a tradition that around March 17 we always re-enact the first photo we ever took together…and I always bust out my green polo.

Ozark – Sidney and I are watching the most stimulating and thought-provoking series since we finished “Yellowstone.” At the recommendation of my parents (of all people) we are watching “Ozark,” which is available on Netflix. The show stars Jason Bateman and chronicles his money laundering schemes while trying to provide for and protect his family. Sid and I are on the second season as we continue to be amazed at the situations the characters find themselves in and the twists and turns that transpire. If you are looking for a series that isn’t going to overwhelm you with endless seasons (there are just three) and you are looking to be entertained, “Ozark” might be for you.

“Ozark” is a pretty entertaining series.

Leprechaun Trap – On St. Patrick’s Eve, Sloan made a leprechaun trap. With help from her mom, she made a structure that was designed to lure one of the green elves to a container of gold pieces only to fall through a trap door. Although it was masterfully built, on St. Patrick’s Day morning Sloan received a note from Marshmallow the Leprechaun giving Sloan credit for her creative trap but also pointing out that he didn’t fall for/in it. Ol’ Marshmallow did leave a surprise for Sloan though…you can see what he did by clicking here.

Sloan making her leprechaun trap and a bird’s-eye view of what she made. Can you see how it works?

NCAA Tournament – It might not be exactly like the March Madness tourneys we have come to know and love but the 2021 NCAA Tournament is sure better than no tournament. In fact, I kind of like the unique wrinkle of it being entirely in Indianapolis. If the event can go off with no major outbreaks I think it has the potential to be memorable and a lot of fun to watch! I will be rooting for Gonzaga to pull off an undefeated season and win its first national championship. I also will pull for Eastern Washington to upset Kansas. Finally, I hope Wayne Tinkle makes a deep run with his Oregon State Beavers.

I am excited that the NCAA Tournament is back.

Grocery List – I have to share another meme from the Instagram Story of Lindsi Glass. When I saw this one I couldn’t help but laugh and relate. When I go grocery shopping, I usually require that Sidney send me multiple screenshots of the products she wants. It’s all about the pictures, man! Sometimes things like this are just the best way to get through to guys.

I appreciate this type of grocery list.


Thanks to everyone who wished Sloan a happy birthday yesterday, she had a wonderful day! Hope everyone is enjoying the extra daylight and that you get to take advantage of it this weekend. Don’t Blink.

She’s 4!

After 364 days of waiting, my daughter’s special day is finally here. Today Sloan turns 4 and I would bet a pot of gold that she is happier than even the jolliest leprechaun. After a countdown that lasted far longer than the 17-day board that Sidney made for her, the spotlight is finally shining on our curly-haired bolt of energy.

After lots of waiting, Sloan’s birthday is here!

She deserves it.

Sloan awoke a 4-year-old this morning.

Last March 17 she celebrated her birthday during a rather confusing time. The world was shutting down and her dad had just left a few days prior to move across the country. She would be on that same track a couple months later, leaving everything she knew to relocate to a vastly different state. She took it in stride, not just adjusting but thriving. Despite the major life event and the daily changes, nothing rattled her enough to cease asking that repetitive question: Daddy, when is it going to be my birthday?

This girl has been non-patiently waiting for her birthday for a long time.

Over the past 12 months her mental intellect—well, let’s just call it her sass—has grown as fast as her hair. She is witty and to the point, making us question where the heck does she get it? Earlier this month, Sidney asked her who she wanted to invite to her birthday party. Sloan didn’t miss a beat.

“Mikayla and Johnny, DUH.

Thanks to my dad for commemorating Sloan’s birthday with this drawing.

The two names singled out by our very direct daughter are her two cousins. If the content of her answer didn’t satisfy Sid so much, who feared she might have to put the kibosh on an extended guest list if it was requested, she would have told Sloan to check her attitude. It wouldn’t have been the first time.

Sloan requested that Mik and Johnny attend her birthday party on Saturday. We will make that happen!

But make no mistake about it, there is much more to Sloan than her sass. Over the past year she has developed empathy and courtesy. Although she still might have trouble sharing or act out when things don’t go her way, she will request to write a note to a friend whose dog died or pray for the well-being of someone she knows is sick.

Our girl definitely has a bold personality. 

As a 3-year-old she became obsessed with LOL dolls, watched “Trolls” a thousand times, ate way too many Happy Meals, danced hard to Camila Cabello’s “My Oh My,” crushed on Ryan from YouTube, and discovered the magic of Doritos.

Aside from all the toddler pop culture influences and her posse of imaginary friends, she developed actual relationships as well. Sloan is a great big sister. She quickly made friends with her classmates at school. The friendship she has with her cousins is special. The love she has for both pairs of grandparents is truly genuine.

Sloan is heading in the direction of a 4-year-old.

And oh yeah, she likes her mommy and daddy too.

We look forward to another year of growth for Sloan. I take comfort knowing that this will be a year of stability. Watch out “4,” you got a little girl who is going to take you for a ride! Thank you God for Sloan. Don’t Blink.

One Year A Coug

Could a work anniversary be anymore unique? Today I celebrate one year at Washington State University. On second thought, I think semantics are important in this case. Let me rephrase it this way: Today I celebrate one year with Washington State University.

I make this distinction in jest because I only spent a single day in the office during my debut year as a Coug. After that first day on campus in Pullman, due to the pandemic, I have worked entirely from home in Spokane. Although I joke about the strange circumstances and still use it as an icebreaker on Zoom when I meet someone new (believe it or not, I was just on campus for one day…), working remotely would not sour my first year working for WSU.

At my 1-year mark of employment at WSU, I give my experience two big thumbs up!

Except for a little thing called the Coronavirus, my social media strategist position has been exactly as advertised—which is a good thing because that is why I took the job. Paid social advertising, campaigns, analytics, and social media management for the WSU System channels were all focal points of the job description and turned out to be responsibilities I perform every day.

COVID-19 added some necessities to my plate such as virtual town hall organization, testing communication, and safe behavior outreach. Truth be told, there was never a time during my first year when the pandemic did not have a daily impact on what I did. Although the virus could be disruptive and scary, I always considered myself lucky that my position allowed me to stay as informed as possible. Working at a place with world-class scientists and excellent science writers will keep you abreast during a pandemic.

I was all smiles my first (and only) day on campus.

This first year at WSU I had the opportunity to give numerous presentations, devise/execute many plans, make recommendations, introduce new platforms, and provide trainings. This allowed me to not only contribute but more importantly it opened the “virtual” door to meet new people. Although some might believe that working remotely can hinder professional relationships, I never felt that way throughout the past 12 months.

It has been such a pleasure working with colleagues from different departments and campuses. I have also enjoyed the opportunity to work with non-WSU professionals in the Palouse community and social media managers at other institutions. But I can’t say enough about the people I have the joy of working with on a daily basis within the department that I am part of—University Marketing and Communications. From our news unit that I am housed under to our graphics team to our enrollment management marketing director to our web wizzes to our video crew to our dedicated magazine folks, I just feel fortunate to work with these folks who are so good at what they do.

My dad commemorated today’s workversary by making this.

I also feel extremely lucky to work for effective and humble leadership. We have a superb vice president leading our department who trusts the expertise of each individual in University Marketing and Communications. I also have incredible direct bosses who are supportive and empowering. When I was interviewing for this position I thought I want to work for these people and when I became part of the team my motivation to work for them strengthened even more.

Looking back on the first year, I have a few favorite things I worked on. The #PalouseUnity campaign, the 2020 WSU holiday video, our Coronavirus research awareness push, and the debut of our TikTok channel were all fun projects that also seemed to make a difference. Another bright spot from the first year was just the social media outreach I got to do with colleagues within the WSU System. Whether it was talking strategy, building paid social plans, or identifying key metrics to focus on when reporting analytics, my job was very rewarding because I got to help others at WSU reach their social media goals.

I have worked from home since my second day on the job.

When I arrived at WSU I had to adjust to working at a university that was much bigger and had much more tradition than my previous institution. Thankfully, the person I work closest with was there to help me navigate the waters. Matt Haugen, our social media manager, has an immense amount of institutional knowledge and he has never withheld sharing it with me. His willingness to help me with the complexities and nuances of a system the size of WSU has made my job a lot easier and his own social media expertise has made me better at what I do.

I am proud to be part of the Coug family. When I started the job I wrote that first and foremost I just wanted to contribute. As I enter my second year I want to focus on doing the same. it seems like once you are able to add something of value to your team, everything else just falls into place. Go Cougs! Don’t Blink.

Fast Clocks

On Saturday night I went room to room changing our clocks. But I was doing slightly more than just forwarding them an hour for Daylight Savings. In somewhat of a sneaky way, I would also quickly tap the minute button a couple times before going to the next room.

Those who know me usually despise a certain quirk of mine. I keep fast clocks! Whether it be the analogue clock in our living room, the clock on our stove, the clock in the car, or the clock on our microwave, I make sure they are all at least a few minutes fast. At least.

I always keep the clock in our living room fast.

I feel better with fast clocks. They keep you on time and also provide comfort. I always look at the clocks in our house as if they are accurate and then complete tasks according to what they say. However, if I ever feel myself falling behind or if something is taking longer than I intended it to, I will remind myself that I still have a few minutes to spare. That sense of relief is awesome.

Speaking of that sense of relief, I also keep our bedroom clock fast too. When I wake up in the middle of the night I look to it. In a somewhat disoriented state I will look at the clock and decipher how much longer I have to sleep. I will calculate the time left to snooze and then realize I can tack on several more minutes to that. Best. Feeling. Ever.

Keeping my clocks fast is indeed a psychological game I play with myself because I feel it gives me an edge. However, not everyone likes to play the game. Family members have outright questioned my sanity for doing such a thing. My wife thinks it is absurd. Others aren’t as ecstatic as I am once they discover they have extra time to spare.

I will admit that in the past I let my little habit get a little out of control—we are talking clocks that aren’t 7 minutes fast but 70 minutes fast. With that said, I have kept it more manageable over the past several years. I like to keep my clocks about 10 minutes fast.

Am I crazy? Or do I have readers who also appreciate a fast clock too? Regardless, I think we can rejoice that the time change we all made this past weekend is a good one. Enjoy the extra daylight, everyone! Don’t Blink.

Stressful and Special Thursday Rundown

Good evening, friends! Let me be one of the first ones to remind you that Daylight Saving Time will begin this Sunday (March 14) so remember to move your clocks ahead an hour. Another welcome reminder of spring! Let’s get started with the Thursday Rundown…

A Stressful Day – Overwhelmed. A year ago on this date, that was how I felt. A large moving truck pulled up to our house and emptied everything. It was a reality check that we really were moving and that my days in Myrtle Beach were numbered. Navigating a move is extremely stressful and working with the moving company was one of my least favorite parts. Now 12 months removed from that day, I can confidently say all that stress and anxiety was worth it!

On March 11, 2021, this moving truck pulled up at our house in Myrtle Beach and packed up all our belongings.

Heat Warmers – These bags are awesome to warm the hands of any Coug fan on cold winter nights but the story behind them is even better. My mom recently gave me these heat warmers. She is a paraeducator in one of the Developmental Learning Center (DLC) classrooms at Mead High School. Her students not only make these heat warmers but they are the ones marketing and selling them too! It is all part of the Business Opportunity School for Success (BOSS) program. The students make bags of varying sizes and prints. Let me know if you are interested in purchasing some of your own!

The DLC students at Mead High School are making and selling heat warmers. My mom bought this pair for me.

Sloan’s Special Day – Last Saturday, Uncle Glen and Aunt Carrie treated Sloan to a day that was all about her. They arrived at our house and presented Sloan with a rose. Aunt Carrie then took her to the salon where Sloan got her first pedicure. Next was dinner at Red Robin. They then took her back to their house for ice cream. Needless to say, Sloan loved having all the attention focused on her. So thankful to have family members who go out of their way to make our kids feel special!

Aunt Carrie and Uncle Glen treated Sloan to a special day.

Frutopia – I came across this meme the other day and found myself resonating with pretty much everything depicted (except for the Pizzarias…what the heck are those?). But what especially struck a chord with me were the bottles of Frutopia in the bottom right hand corner. Seeing the drink brought me right back to middle school and the Frutopia vending machine right outside of the gym. These were the cool things to drink and forget the fact that they were all sugar because if the first three letters were “fru” they had to have been healthy! Good times.

All this stuff brought a smile to my face…especially the Frutopia.

Pete the Cat – Sloan’s favorite children’s book series is Pete the Cat. She loves that adventurous feline! Naturally, when we went to the library we checked out several of Pete’s books. Do you or your children like Pete the Cat? If so, please let me know your favorite book in the series. I would love to get it for Sloan.

Sloan loves “Pete the Cat.” Do you have a favorite book in the series?


I believe that is it for tonight. Hope you get the chance to watch some college basketball this weekend. Don’t Blink.