Recent Posts

new raspberry leaves, vibrant and lush

Backyard Gardening, Year 4: Spring Planning, Planting, and Improvements

Each year I try to level up a few gardening skills—and this year we have to landscape along a new front fence and incorporate the chickens into our routine!
book cover of Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant

Book Review: Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant

What's the key to being original, creative, and innovative? Why do minority viewpoints improve a company? How can we raise more original kids? All this and more in this book!
dry stone wall along a grassy path in the countryside

The Farmer's Lament, a Poem

Tolkien recognized the importance of lay poets and musicians. His characters sing and compose verse about the great deeds and events of their age. What about in our world? Here's one attempt, inspired by Tolkien's Durin's Song.
notebook laying open in the grass with a pen above it

Why Write a Book? How Do You Meet Deadlines? And Other Answers

When is the right time to write a book? Why a book and not something else? How do you manage caregiving and writing? How do you stay motivated? And other answers!
close up of sock rag rug

Tutorial: How to Make a Plush Rag Rug from Old Socks in 5 Steps

Save your socks! Upcycle old socks into a squishy, colorful rug—it's an easy way to make something beautiful!
book cover of Leaving Academia: A Practical Guide by Christoper Caterine

Book Review: Leaving Academia: A Practical Guide by Christoper Caterine

As billed, practical advice for both grad students and faculty on transitioning from academia to the wide world beyond—though it does leave a few things to be desired.
two chicks standing beside each other being fluffy

Backyard Chickens: Why We Got Them, Where We Set Up the Coop, and What's Next!

Chickens? We weren't going to get animals until our kids could do the chores. Here's why we changed our minds and how we got chickens set up in our backyard.
one kid standing in a mud puddle on a rocky outcrop with pine trees in the distance, another kid digging with a stick in the mud

"How do you do it?" 5 Ways to be Patient, Calm, and Improve Your Relationship with Your Children

Do you feel your kids are stressing you out? Here are tried-and-true tips for building up calmness and cooperation.
book cover of So what Are You Going to Do with That? by Susan Basalla and Maggie Debelius

Book Review: "So what Are You Going to Do with That?" Finding Careers Outside Academia by Susan Basalla and Maggie Debelius

A helpful book for anyone in the academy—grad student or faculty—who wants out!
randy and jacqueline walking away on a path in a park toward trees and grass

Ideation, Evaluation, and Iteration: How We Plan Our Lives

How do you design a product, project, business, or your own life? Here are the keys you can use to make options and not get stuck on an 'anchor problem'.
close up of braided flannel rag rug

Making Rag Rugs From T-Shirts and Old Sheets (Reuse and Upcycle!)

I love finding new uses for old stuff. I had a collection of old t-shirts and ripped sheets... what better thing to do than repurpose them into beautiful rugs?
book cover of Drive by Daniel Pink

Book Review: Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink

Without external rewards and punishments, people wouldn't do much. Or would they? People are actually driven toward autonomy, competence, and relatedness.
two magnolia blossoms open in soft sunlight

How to Build Self-Discipline: Why Awareness and Intrinsic Motivation Are Key

Self-discipline is the ability to do what needs to be done, to stay in control, to accomplish your goals. How do you build discipline? Here are strategies I use.
a stack of books about graduate school

#PhDone: Progress Report

I'm writing a book about thriving in graduate school while keeping a healthy personal life. Curious about my progress? Here's where I'm at this month.
the cover of the book Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

Designing Your Life: How To Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

How you can use a designer mindset and iterative improvement to build your way forward to a coherent, satisfying life.
5 year old boy standing in a grassy patch of sun, back to the camera, in a pine forest

A Poem for Identifying Ten North Idaho Conifers

Our topic this week at our forest co-op was trees! I wrote some verses to help us remember how to recognize ten of the most common North Idaho conifers.
the cover of the book Raising Freethinkers by McGowan, Matsumura, Metskas, and Devor showing a child looking through a magnifying glass

Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide for Parenting Beyond Belief by Dale McGowan, Molleen Matsumura, Amanda Metskas, and Jan Devor

A great conversation starter, if heavy handed on the nonreligion. See my book club questions!
close up of blue jean fabric rectangles sewn together for a picnic blanket

5 Things I've Made From Old Blue Jeans (Reuse and Upcycle!)

I love finding new uses for old clothes. What could I make with old jeans? Take a look at these five useful ways of using old blue jean fabric, from picnic blankets to children's satchels!
closeup of gold wedding rings on a lace table

The Tragedy of Marital Strife: Why Marriages Fall Apart (And How To Stay Together)

Two of my friends' marriages fell apart. Why does this happen? And what can we do about it? Here's why I think marriages fail, and the strategies we use to keep ours strong.
the cover of Ray Bradbury's book Zen in the Art of Writing

Book review: Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity by Ray Bradbury

This essay collection includes tips on generating ideas, composing stories, the nature of writing work, and the importance of practice. Do you know how many words a day Bradbury wrote?
toddler sitting on a brick path by a lawn looking sideways, holding a large green pushbroom

Cooperation without Coercion: How to Motivate Children (5 Things to Try)

What do you do when your strong-willed child won't cooperate? Children love cooperating... but they also love showing their independence. Here are 5 things to try.
cover of the book The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feller showing the title in red text on a white silhouette of a house, with a blue background

Book Review: The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler

We're accustomed to working on our jobs, our marriages, and so much else. What about our families? This book explains how families can be happier, healthier, and flourish together.
three two-dollar bills loosely stacked

Why You Shouldn’t Save For Retirement (Five Things to Do Instead)

The future is uncertain, the economy isn't growing, and inflation is rising. It's time to invest in your family and local community, rather than putting money away.
top down view of evergreen advent wreath with four tall ribbon-wrapped candles, one pink and three purple

Making Our Own Advent Wreath (Inexpensive and Beautiful!)

A fast and easy Advent wreath for our dining room table that uses dollar store candles, leftover ribbon, tree trimmings, and found pine cones.

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About

We're Jacqueline and Randy, a blogging duo with backgrounds in tech, robots, art, and writing, now raising our family in northern Idaho.

Our goal is to encourage deliberate choices, individual responsibility, and lifelong curiosity by sharing stories about our adventures in living, loving, and learning.

Learn more about us.


Connect:

whoo@deliberateowl.com

Start here

Curious about our life and journey? Here are some good places to start reading:

Jacqueline and Randy leaning their heads together smiling at the camera

A Blog About Education, Lifestyles, and Community

A brief history of how the Deliberate Owl came to be and why we're writing a blog about us, our lives, and how we're living out our values.
Priests in red and gold celebrate a traditional Latin Mass

Discovering the Traditional Catholic Mass

How I discovered the traditional Latin Mass a few years ago, why that discovery changed everything for me, and what was wrong with the Novus Ordo Masses I'd attended.