JWU: Experience Your Future Now

When my oldest went to college we only visited one school. Looking back I wish we would have visited and applied to more schools because the school she ended up attending was not the best fit.

With my sixteen year old, we’ve already started discussing college options. Here are some of things things we are discussing in our family and I think every family should discuss.

  • Does this school have a strong program for your child’s intended major?
  • Is your child looking to attend a large university or have a smaller more personal experience?
  • Is your child involved in an extracurricular activity and is that offered at potential schools?
  • Can we afford it?
  • What are their financial aid and scholarship options?
  • Will your child be able to live on campus?

Last month we were able to visit Johnson & Wales University in North Miami. Before being asked to tour the campus, I had never heard of this school. That made me realize that there are probably many great schools all around me that I haven’t even considered. Since my children have grown up with a nontraditional education model (primarily homeschool and university model schools) sometimes these smaller private schools end up being a great fit.

This JWU campus offers majors in Culinary Arts, Entrepreneurship, Fashion Merchandising & Retailing, Hotel & Lodging Management, Business & Marketing, Restaurant, Food & Beverage Management, Sports/Entertainment/Event Management, Tourism & Hospitality Management, and several more. They will even offer Software Engineering and a master’s degree in business administration beginning in fall 2017!

jwu-wildcat

Living in Florida it was exciting to visit a university that has so many opportunities for kids in our tourism driven economy.

Our tour started in their culinary department and by the time we walked out of the building I was ready to go back to college!

jwu-culinary

JWU’s College of Culinary Arts has multiple technologically advanced kitchens to give students the opportunity to work and learn in a variety of environments. They also have gardens behind the building where they grow many of the fruits and vegetables used in the kitchen. They hope to eventually expand the program so that the college can grow much of the food that is used in the culinary classes.

jwu-garden

They don’t waste any of the food that is prepared by the students. Much of the food produced in the culinary labs is donated to local charities and they even have a program for local elementary aged students to come and participate in a cooking class as a reward for perfect attendance.

My son and I were truly blown away by the talent displayed in the culinary department. These flowers (made from gum paste) were one example of what students are learning to create in class. In every department we visited on campus you could tell the students took pride in their coursework.

These flowers are edible and made of out gum paste!

These flowers are edible and made of out gum paste!

We then moved on to the library and computer lab area. Their computer lab is open 24 hours which is great for all the night owls, and students are able to print for free.

jwu-computer-lab

For a small university the library was very large. It even has a large collection of movies and students can request a movie that is not currently in stock.

While we were visiting the library, they had cakes on display from the baking and pastry arts students that were all literary themed. I was impressed (and hungry)!

jwu-pastry-program-curious-george-cake

We then visited the fashion merchandising & retailing department. One aspect of JWU that really impressed me throughout our tour was that classrooms were not set up like traditional classrooms. One classroom was set up like a boutique, complete with racks of clothing, mannequins, floor sets, and more.

jwu-retail-management

Another classroom was set up like a hotel lobby. The culinary department had a small restaurant and bar set up in one of the spaces.

jwu-hotel-management

This real-world approach to learning is something I really appreciate. I feel like many times a young adult graduates from college and has a lot of book knowledge, but little real world application. JWU seems to turn traditional learning on its head. Not only are classrooms nontraditional, students have the option to start their freshmen year taking some of their major courses instead of waiting until their third year to begin core classes. Students are able to quickly determine if a major is a good fit for them, and they are excited about their major from day one instead of wading through two years of humanities and college algebra to get to what they are interested in. These core subjects are woven in throughout the four years, which is a great idea.

Restaurant set up inside the culinary department.

Restaurant set up inside the culinary department.

Another great feature of JWU is their entrepreneurship lab. This is a place where students can come work on their business ideas, brainstorm, and get advice from other successful entrepreneurs. Every year they hold a “Sharkfest” competition where students compete to earn seed money for their businesses.

3-D Printer in the Entrepreneurship Lab

3-D Printer in the Entrepreneurship Lab

The walls of the entrepreneurship lab are all painted with white board paint, which was another great feature. As someone who loves to brainstorm and is a visual learner, this is a great way for students to develop their business ideas. We even got to leave messages on the white board for the students.

white-board

The student body is diverse and everyone we met during our tour were friendly and excited to talk about their experience at the university. It was especially fun seeing college students interact with the elementary children during their field trip.

Overall, our visit to JWU was a great one. The nontraditional learning environment is something I’m passionate about with my own children and it’s great to see it at the university level.

jwu-aca

If you’d like to learn more about JWU and its nontraditional approach to learning you can visit their website, and connect with them on Facebook , Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. In addition to their Miami campus they have campuses in Rhode Island, Denver, Charlotte and online.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Johnson & Wales University. The opinions and text are all mine.

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10 Essential Oil Stocking Stuffers for Under $20

It seems like all my friends are using essential oils these days. And since I’m always looking for fun, cute, and affordable Christmas gift ideas, I compiled a list of some essential oil accessories I’ve been thinking of buying for my friends this year.

All the gifts are under $20 (most of them are under $10), so they are easy on the budget and the essential oil user in your life will love them!

A list of our ten favorite essential oil stocking stuffers under $20. They are easy on the budget and the essential oil user in your life will love them!

We’ve compiled ten of our favorite essential oils gifts and they all are under $20! These gifts are perfect for stockings, secret Santa presents, under the tree, and more.

Aromatherapy Necklace with Leaf Charm

Essential Oil Stocking Stuffers Under $20 - Aromatherapy Necklace with Leaf Charm from The Oil Collection

You can’t go wrong giving this beautiful diffuser necklace as a gift! You can diffuse your oils all day long when you wear diffuser jewelry. Just add a drop of oil to the pad and place in the locket. Your oils will be nearby at all times.

Essential Oil Travel Bag

Essential Oil Stocking Stuffers Under $20 - Essential Oil Travel Bag

With this essential oil travel bag you can take up to 10 oils with you in your purse!  The individual mesh pockets for each bottle means the oils are not rolling around or banging into each other. This bag will keep essential oils safe also make it easy to identify the oil bottles.

Essential Oil Car Diffuser

Essential Oil Stocking Stuffers Under $20 - Essential Oil Car Diffuser

Diffuse in your car with this aromatherapy car diffuser that plugs right into your car charger. This one also includes a usb port so you can charge your electronics and diffuse your oils at the same time.

Diffuser Bracelet Set

Essential Oil Stocking Stuffers Under $20 - Essential Oil Diffuser Bracelets

Diffuse on the go with this braided diffuser bracelet set. Place a drop of oil inside the bracelet and you can take your oils with you no matter where you go. This casual braided style is great for teens and adults. We like to layer them with other bracelets for a fun look!

Stainless Steel Drinking Straws

Essential Oil Stocking Stuffers Under $20 - Stainless Steel Drinking Straws

These stainless steel drinking straws are perfect for drinking water with a few drops of your favorite essential oil. These hypoallergenic straws won’t react with your oils and are reusable!

Glass Roll-on Bottles with Stainless Roller Balls

Essential Oil Stocking Stuffers Under $20 - Roll-On Bottles with Stainless Steel Rolling Balls

These glass roll-on bottles are perfect for use with essential oils. Use the roll-on bottle to apply the perfect amount of product each time. The Amber glass provides protection from potentially harmful light and the convenient size makes it perfect for travel.

Aromatherapy Jewelry Refill Pads

Essential Oil Stocking Stuffers Under $20 - Aromatherapy Jewelry Refill Pads

If you already have diffuser jewelry these refill pads are the perfect stocking stuffer. Includes 25 pads for use in diffuser necklaces.

Essential Oils Keychain

Essential Oil Stocking Stuffers Under $20 - Essential Oils Keychain

With this TSA approved keychain you can take your oils anywhere! Includes bottles and lids.

Essential Oils Roller Ball Cap Opener

Essential Oil Stocking Stuffers Under $20 - Essential Oils Universal Key

Avoid using teeth, knives, fingernails, or other unwieldy tools to remove roller bottle or reducer caps. These universal keys work with all essential oil bottles and are great for replacing orifice and roller bottle caps without damage.

Stainless Steel Diffuser Wrap Bracelet 

Essential Oil Stocking Stuffers Under $20 - Aromatherapy Diffuser Bracelet (be sure to get the coupon)

This diffuser wrap bracelet is slightly over our $20 budget, but it’s so beautiful I had to include it! Diffuse your favorite essential oils all day long in this hypoallergenic bracelet with double wrap leather band. Comes in rose gold or stainless finish and a variety of bands. Save 25% (and get the price down to $20) on this bracelet with the code SPARKLE.

Thanks The Oil Collection!

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Strawberry Jam Cookies

With Thanksgiving behind us, it’s time to think about holiday baking. These homemade strawberry jam cookies are both pretty and delicious! They’re perfect for holiday parties and gift giving.

These homemade strawberry jam cookies are both pretty and delicious! They're perfect for holiday parties and gift giving.

If you’re looking for more holiday cookie recipes, try our Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies, Chiffon Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Soft Ginger Cookies.

These homemade strawberry jam cookies are both pretty and delicious! They're perfect for holiday parties and gift giving.

Strawberry Jam Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup strawberry jam
Instructions
  1. Sift the all-purpose flour in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  2. Dice the butter and add it to the flour. Mix together until crumbs form.
  3. Add in the egg yolks, sugar, and salt. Stir together then add in the vanilla extract. Mix on medium speed until a dough starts forming.
  4. Lightly flour a working surface and roll out the dough into a large round disc shape. With a cookie cutter, cut out round shapes with a ½-inch hole in the center.
  5. Cover cookies with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 1 hour. Remove from refrigerator and let sit for 20 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350° F and line a 16-inch baking tray with parchment paper.
  7. Place cookies on the baking tray and bake for 15 minutes. Let cookies cool on a rack.
  8. Spread strawberry jam on the bottoms of the cookies and join them together like a sandwich.
Notes
For a chewier center and a crispier outside, cook on convection for 10 minutes.

 

 

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Prayers Appreciated for My Son

This weekend my fourteen and sixteen year old boys were burned in a bonfire accident. My sixteen year old son has 2nd degree burns on his foot and was treated and released.

My fourteen year old son Liam has 2nd and 3rd degree burns on 20% of his body (both legs).

He’s being treated at a hospital two hours from our home in a pediatric burn facility.

Currently we are trying to manage pain and keep his spirits up. He has a long road of recovery ahead, and I’ll try to update when I can.

If you think of it will you please pray for him? To see your child is this much pain breaks a mama’s heart. We are so thankful it wasn’t worse and that no one else was injured, but our hearts hurt for our son.

-Toni

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-10-13-35-am

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Black Friday Online Deals

If you are like me and love to spend Black Friday at home eating leftover turkey and shopping online check out this list of some of the best deals I’m finding today.

Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker, 6Qt/1000W

This instant pot is super popular right now and usually costs over $100!

Today you can snag it on Amazon for $68.95. It ships free with Prime!

Samsonite Tread Lite Lightweight Hardside Set (20″/28″)

I actually snagged a similar deal on luggage a few Black Friday’s ago and my only regret was that I didn’t buy more. Luggage is super expensive and this is a great deal on Samsonite. Ships free with Prime! Buy it today.

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New York Style Coffee Cake Crumb Muffins

These New York Style Coffee Cake Crumb Muffins actually have a little coffee in them, and they’re topped with a cream cheese glaze. You’ll love them as part of your breakfast, for a coffee break, or even as dessert. And the addition of ground hazelnut makes them perfect to have with hazelnut coffee!

new-york-style-coffee-cake-crumb-muffins-photo

If you’re a fan of muffins, you might also enjoy Hearty Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins, Mocha Banana Muffins, or Morning Glory Muffins. And I have even more muffin recipes that you can find in my Recipe Index.

muffin pan.
  • In a large bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar, and buttermilk for 2 minutes.
  • Add the butter, eggs, cinnamon, baking powder, coffee, and hazelnut. Mix together with a wooden spoon. Pour batter into the muffin pan.
  • Combine the crumb ingredients in a small bowl. Stir for 2 - 3 minutes. Top the muffins with the crumbs and press lightly. Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, stir together the glaze ingredients until it resembles icing (about 7 minutes).
  • Remove the muffins from the oven and top with the glaze using a piping bag.
  • Notes
    If you are feeling extra indulgent, add some chocolate hazelnut spread to the batter.

    coffee-cake-crumb-muffin

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