Recent Posts

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.
silhouette of a person with arms outstretched on wintery day, in front of bare-limbed trees at sunset

Book Deal Announcement: #PhDone

I'm writing a book! Specifically, a pragmatic, up-to-date guide to thriving in graduate school while keeping a healthy personal life. Here's the scoop.
the cover of the book The Self-Driven Child by William Stixrud and Ned Johnson

Book review: The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Children More Control Over Their Lives by William Stixrud and Ned Johnson

Why responsibility and a sense of control are critical for children.
the cover of the book How Children Succeed by Paul Tough featuring the title over a line of colored pencils in the background

Book review: How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough

Why do some people succeed and others fail? This book argues that it's not just how you're born. Instead, the key is noncognitive skills—and the good news is, you can practice and improve them.
a loaf of warm crusty sourdough resting on a flour sack towel

The Fastest, Easiest Way to Bake a Great Loaf of Sourdough Bread

Armed with a new sourdough starter, I was on a mission to make a fantastic loaf with the least amount of time and effort. Here's my method.
tags: projects food
the cover of the book Good Prose by Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd featuring a stack of books

Book review: Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction by Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd

The authors' fundamental assumption is that you can learn to write better. This book is their attempt to help you do that. Here's what I found helpful and inspiring in their work.
tags: writing books
Mason jars of apple jam lined up on a wooden cutting board

Seasonality and Natural Rhythms: Why Growing and Preserving Your Own Food Matters

Having a garden isn't just a hedge against the End Times. Whether canning jam, fermenting cabbage, or dehydrating tomatoes, here's why the natural rhythm of growing and preserving food is good for us.
Tomatoes and cucumbers climbing their twine trellises, with marigolds, peppers, and basil underneath

Gardening, Year 3: What I Grew and What I Learned in My 200-square-foot Backyard Garden

Every year in the garden is different. I never know which plants will grow well, based on the weather and where they're planted. Here's what happened this year: what grew, what didn't, and what I learned.
the face of a eurasian eagle owl looking with big yellow-gold eyes at you with a surprised but friendly face

Ten Things We Learned From One Year Writing Our Blog

We've been writing a weekly blog for a year! Here's what we've learned about meeting our deadlines, writing and editing, building readership, running a blog, and appreciating life!
elementary school classroom with desks and whiteboard

Why You Shouldn't Teach to Students' Learning Styles

Learning styles have been popular for half a century, but they're not the amazing educational tool some still think. Here's why they don't work, and what you should do instead.
colorful sticky notes on a series of four large poster papers hung on a wall in a modern office

Brainstorming: Are All Ideas Welcome? Why You Shouldn't Discount Ideas Before They're Explored

Why I consider all ideas—not just the "good" ones—and how doing so improves my work, helps me find unique solutions in arguments and software, and leads to counterintuitive insights.
black coat hooks on a wood board on a wall, with a couple coats and bags hanging on them

Making the Most of Our House with No Unused Space

The average American family uses only 40% of their floorplan—but we're not average! Here's how we make the most of our space, and how you can, too.
ceramic plate with a fresh salad: spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, chicken, cheese

Why Watching My Parents Cook Means I Can't Share Soup Recipe—And How I'm Encouraging My Kids to Cook Too

Growing up, I spent many hours swiveling a barstool at the kitchen counter, watching my parents cook. Here's what I learned—and how I'm setting up my kitchen to encourage my kids to learn the same.
young children's paintings and drawings taped onto a door

Start of the Homeschool School Year with Three Children (Fall 2021)

Our kids are young still, but pretty much all of daily life counts as homeschooling. Here's what we have planned this year: books, music, crafts, math, and more!
Anzac bridge in Sydney, Australia on a sunny day

The Learning Edge: Independence Outside My Comfort Zone (Study Abroad #5)

To grow and change, we need to reach our limits and push beyond them. Being abroad was one big out-of-my-comfort-zone adventure—on campus, exploring Sydney, and beyond—and here's what I learned.
Jacqueline stands at a metal railing at a trailhead in the Blue Mountains, Australia, overlooking the steep hills and the three pillars of rock known as the Three Sisters

How My Phoneless Semester Reminded Me To Stay Present: Life Isn't All Digital (Study Abroad #4)

Phones connect us to the not-present. But the present is where we are. Here's why, and how, a semester without a phone showed me the best of putting my phone away to attend to what's in front of me.
the skyline of Sydney, Australia across the water of the bay, the famous opera house on the right

Finding a Voice Down Under: A Short History of My Blogging Career (Study Abroad #3)

I started writing my first blog while abroad in 2009. Here's why I began, what I enjoyed about blogging, and the key reasons I continue now.
an inlet of bright blue water in sharp red-brown rocks at royal national park in sydney, australia, bordered by round green trees

The Necessity of Solitude and Reflection in Learning (Study Abroad #2)

Learning can have a cyclic nature from experiencing, to reviewing and reflecting, to learning from the experience, to planning for future experiences. Here's how that cycle played out for me while abroad.

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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.