Newlane University US Accreditation!

Some very exciting news: Newlane University just earned US Accreditation!!!!!

Don’t know what the heck Newlane is? In 2017, my husband, Ben Blair, and my brother, Josh Stanley, set out to build a university that was accessible to everyone. It’s called Newlane University. Newlane’s Mission: “To make quality online liberal arts higher education accessible to anyone on earth by breaking down the barriers of cost, schedule, and geography.”

In 2019, they started on the journey to get US accreditation to help assure students that Newlane is a high quality education, and an institution they can trust. Earning accreditation is a HUGE accomplishment, and I could not be more proud of them. DEAC is the accrediting organization, and for those who are curious, you can see Newlane listed here. Here’s a quick FAQ about Newlane:

What is the cost?

Newlane is incredibly affordable! Newlane offers accredited degrees for $1500. Period. $1500 for an Associate degree, and if you already have an Associate degree, then it’s $1500 for a Bachelor’s degree. You pay a $249 registration fee, then $40 per month until you reach $1500. That’s it. You won’t get charged again even if it takes you another year (or years) to finish. And it’s risk free! If you register, try it out, and decide it’s not for you, you have 30 days to get a full refund.

I’m busy. Will Newlane work with my schedule?

Newlane courses are self-paced. This means you can starts and complete your degree according to your schedule, no matter where you live. You can literally sign up today and get started. Newlane has professors around the world who can accommodate any schedule. Need to fit your education around work or family obligations? No problem. In a hurry? You can work as quickly as you’d like. Don’t live near a campus? Doesn’t matter. If you can access the internet, you can complete your degree. Anywhere in the world.

What degrees does Newlane offer? 

Newlane offers an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy. Some fun news: Now that they are accredited, Newlane can begin building new programs, degrees, and areas of study. Newlane is currently working on courses in Psychology, Art History, Business, Natural Science, and more. You can begin taking classes today that will count toward any degree they offer in the future.

Are the courses challenging?

Courses are rigorous and competency-based. This means you pass the course only after you’ve learned the material. There’s no sliding by with a B- or C, where you’ve only learned part of what the class covered. Students in typical schools often worry: Will the professor like me? Will I get a good grade? But those questions have nothing to do with actually learning the course work. In contrast, Newlane is explicitly focused on helping you master the course material, and verifying that you have in fact mastered it. It’s a totally different (and better!) approach. Again, you pass the course only when you’ve learned the material.

How do you pass a course at Newlane?

The final step to pass a class is called a Course Hearing, where you meet one-on-one with a professor on a video call for 30-40 minutes. The professor asks open-ended and follow-up questions about the material. Their role is to verify you have mastered all the course goals and objectives. And if you haven’t? The professor will tell you what you still need to review, and then you’ll schedule a follow-up Course Hearing. This means you can’t fail a class. You just review and try again. 

What if I’ve already completed some college courses?

You can likely transfer your credits to Newlane, getting you closer to earning your degree faster. And you’re not alone. In the U.S., 40 million people have completed some college, but have not earned a degree. And that number is in the hundreds of millions world-wide. Many schools make it painful and difficult to transfer credits. Newlane does not. Newlane works hard to make this process smooth and efficient. No need to waste time re-taking classes, put those credits you already earned toward your degree.

Apply for Free at

Newlane is currently accepting students from countries around the world. Feel free to email Newlane with any questions. They would love to hear from you. In the meantime, you can check out testimonials from Newlane students, graduates, and professors.

Founding a university from scratch and earning accreditation was super challenging. I’m so proud of Ben and Josh for making this happen. If you are a journalist, or know a journalist who would want to cover this, please reach out to Newlane. It’s a fantastic story and the more you dig in and learn about Newlane and Higher Ed in general, the more compelling it is.

For those of you who have been following along when I report on Newlane progress, I’m sure you already know how awesome this news is. We are cheering like crazy!!

Make it: Easy Hanging Succulent Frame

Still in love with succulents? Me too. They’re so easy to care for and they add beautiful depth and color and texture to any space. So I LOVE the idea of using a shadowbox frame as planter. Succulents on the wall? Yes, please!

This project is especially appealing to me for 4 reasons: 1) You can choose any style shadowbox — silver, modern, carved, traditional, black, glossy — whatever works best for your decor. 2) It hangs on the wall and keeps flat surfaces clutter free. 3) It works in any room. 4) It would make such a fun gift!

Let’s get dirty.

Dessert For Two: Peach Shortcakes

Summer peaches are here! Which means maybe you’re in the mood to bake pies and things like these Peach Shortcakes for Two.

These peach shortcakes are really more like sweet biscuits, instead of spongy little cakes. They are flaky, buttery, toasty on top and soft in the middle shortcakes that practically melt in your mouth with each bite.

The peaches, if you’re using the sweetest, juiciest ones you can find, make all the difference here — it’s worth waiting until they ripen. This is not the dessert to use up sub-par peaches that are tinged with green and rock hard.

Living With Kids: Mia Galison

Mia owns a super cute boutique toy company on the Upper West Side of New York. It began in the basement of the building where she still lives, but now is found just down the street. Once a renovated ballroom that at one point was a Japanese tea room full of flea market finds, Chinese art deco, rugs, sky lights, and school house lighting, it’s pretty magnificent. (Especially the bathroom converted to become her son’s room! See if you can spot the tiling and leftover soap bed!)

DIY: Tree Branch Planter for Succulents

Hooray! I’ve got another gorgeous DIY to share with you. This project is the perfect excuse to get outside and interact with nature. These little planters would be gorgeous inside or out. I can picture them in our living room, and also on the balcony. I really want to make like 35 of these and line my front walk with them! I think they’re so cool.

I’m going to tell you right now, that this project takes a few bona fide tools and some muscle, too. But it’s actually pretty easy and straightforward. If you can handle a drill, then you can handle this project.

You ready to get started? Head out into nature and let’s make something!

Living With Kids: Nathan of Wand’rly

I found Nathan in his own corner of Instagram, and was instantly intrigued. His bio reads “A family of five galavanting about Mexico in a 1978 VW Bus. Full-time travelin’ types since 2008.” His squares are dusty captures of a life lived on the run — not away from anything, to be sure, but more toward everything. Toward crisp blue bodies of water and hammocks for everyone and space to run and time to explore. Does that make sense? It will after you read Nathan’s compelling interview.

He founded an online magazine dedicated to advising others who want to travel full-time — A Complete Guide to Perpetual Travel, as he calls it — and it’s wonderfully empowering and community-building. Go see. (But first, this tour around his family’s life!)

I’m so excited to share him with you. Welcome, Nathan!

8 Secrets To The Perfect Burger

The perfect hamburger: not too thick or too thin, juicy and flavorful, and every single bite is enjoyable.

Trying to recreate the perfect hamburger at home is actually easier and simpler than you might think. It’s just a matter of understanding a few basics and getting the timing down, and then you’ll be well on your way to a summer filled with juicy grilled burgers.

Are you ready to get grilling?

Living With Kids: Jan Verhoff

I always love to hear stories of how families chose their homes. Sometimes it’s walk-through-the-front-door-perfect, and sometimes it requires a little imagination. Plus also a general contractor with access to heavy machinery!

Jan and her family needed a little help, but they also put in a lot of their own sweat equity — I love her advice about that! — and I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have done it any other way.

Come meet her. Happy to have you here, Jan!

Yogurt Lemon Sheet Cake Kids Can Make All By Themselves!

Lemony Yogurt Cake Kids Can Make By Themselves! |

One of the most beloved and easy cake recipes is the classic French yogurt cake. The tradition goes that it can be made by measuring all of the ingredients using a standard (French) yogurt cup. And while this recipe doesn’t specify those measurements, it’s pretty close. And one of the best parts about this lemon sheet cake is it can be made by kids in its entirety. (Younger children will obviously need help with the baking part.)

In addition to the tangy yogurt, this sheet cake has loads of fresh lemon juice. It’s about as lemony as you can make a cake. And really this sheet cake doesn’t even need frosting… it’s that good! (That said, there are still two frosting recipes included below. Hah!)

Ham and Cheese Overnight Breakfast Casserole — Perfect for Mother’s Day Brunch

Have you ever made a breakfast casserole? They’re great for holidays or special days. You prep it the night before, then pop it in the oven in the morning. It keeps things simple, but also feels special and substantial. And the leftovers are so great for busy school mornings! The leftovers can even be cut into squares, wrapped well, and frozen.

Let’s get this casserole prepped and ready to go.

Flora June Blair’s Birth Story

Flora June Blair turned 13 today. It’s the end of an era. Our youngest is officially a teenager. To mark the day, I thought it would be fun to republish Flora June’s birth story. And be sure to check out the links in the last paragraph for more photos and details.

From June 7, 2010
Today, Flora June Blair is one month old. I can hardly believe it. What was our family like before June arrived? I don’t even remember. To mark the day, I wanted to write down her birth story before I forget the details.

Ejaculate Responsibly — More Book Tour Dates!

Since I’m heading to the U.S. for a conference and for our son Ralph’s college graduation in May, my book team has put together a few more book tour stops!!! I am REALLY looking forward to these events. If you can make it, I can’t wait to meet you and connect with you in person and hear your stories. These are the dates and cities:

May 9th – PHOENIX
7:30pm at The Garn Residence
45 S Sawyer Lane
Gilbert, AZ 85296
RSVP to John.a.webster@icloud.comspace is limited.

Earlier that day, you can find me at the Mom 2.0 Summit, The Camelback Inn, Scottsdale
5402 E Lincoln Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85253
I’ll be part of the Closing Keynote.
Click for conference tickets.

6pm at The King’s English Bookshop
1511 S 1500 E, Salt Lake City, UT 84105
In conversation with Amy McPhie Allebest of Breaking Down Patriarchy.
Click here for SLC event tickets.

6pm at The King’s English Bookshop
1511 S 1500 E, Salt Lake City, UT 84105
In conversation with Amy McPhie Allebest of Breaking Down Patriarchy.

May 13th – BERKELEY
7pm at Books, Inc.
1491 Shattuck Ave Berkeley, CA 94710
In conversation with my husband Ben Blair.
Click here for Berkeley event tickets.

May 15th – ATLANTA
7pm at Eagle Eye Book Shop
2076 N. Decatur Road Decatur, GA 30033
In conversation with author, Jessica Handler.
Click here for Atlanta event tickets.

Dessert For Two: Fluffy Lemon Pudding

Dessert For Two: Fluffy Lemon Pudding |

Oh my goodness, you’re going to absolutely love this recipe! It comes, slightly adapted, from Rachel Allen’s Irish Family Food, a beloved cookbook. With spring here, it makes a perfect addition to the Dessert For Two series – scaled down a bit, that is.

This recipe is magic. Magic! As the pudding bakes, it separates into layers of spongy cake and a warm, lemon custard (think: lemon curd) on the bottom. Basically it tastes like warm lemon bars only with the crust on top. And the rim of the baking dish gets that kind of sticky, caramelized crispy edge. So darn irresistible!

6 Secrets and Tips for Moving Home Smoothly

| 6 Secrets and Tips for Moving Home Smoothly: supplies needed featured by popular lifestyle blogger, Design Mom

Some moves are bigger and more hectic than others. But let’s just get this out there: moving stinks! I don’t know one person who has ever said, “Moving is great!  I love it!” Quite the opposite! That’s because it’s just plain miserable most of the time. Packing up all of your belongings, schlepping them to another town, state, or country? Not fun at all. Am I right?

It would be dreamy to hire a moving company to do all the work, but since that’s not always an option, I rely on some tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years. I’m happy to share what I’ve learned with you to help you or someone you know have an easier time packing and moving — and hopefully making it a bit less miserable in the process.

Ready to get packing? Let’s go!

Living With Kids: Emily Hart

Oh, is Emily refreshing! Hers is the classic and always happy-making story of a family living in not their forever home…but their growing home. I love that term. And I also adore that the Hart family hasn’t pushed pause on living with kids with style just because of that fact; they choose to make pretty when they can, always with an eye on whether it’s a smart project for resale value. So sensible. But so difficult to resist when you’re craving new kitchen cabinets, right? Friends, I’m pleased to introduce you to Emily. I just know you’ll enjoy peeking into her home today!

Recipe: Spring Arugula and Pea Shoot Salad

This delicious spring arugula and pea shoot salad makes good use of fresh, green spring veggies, greens, and herbs — and not asparagus! (nothing against asparagus, but it seems like we eat it and see it all the time during spring. It’s nice to have a few other favorite spring veggies to enjoy too.) Hopefully wherever you live, you’ll have access to the same or similar ingredients because this really is a yummy combination!

This salad uses farro, which is an ancient variety of wheat. It cooks fairly quickly and you can find it near the rice at the grocery store. But another whole grain can easily be substituted. (I’ve included variations and substitutions below the recipe.) It helps to bulk the salad up with extra protein and carbs to make it more filling.

This salad would be great for lunch or dinner as is, but it’s also great with a piece of grilled chicken or fish, or even veggie burger.

10 Great Books for Spring

Does it feel like spring yet where you are? I’m hearing rumors of Mountain West snow, and more atmospheric rivers in California. Or maybe you live somewhere that seasons don’t really exist — and the days just turn from warm to hot without much fanfare. Good thing there are so many amazing books to help us remember the wonder of spring!

Little Farmer Easter Baskets

A simple way to celebrate Spring and Easter is to notice signs of new life in nature. You can carry this idea even further, by transforming a traditional Easter basket into personal mini gardens to be planted for spring. You can use wooden wine boxes to make little raised beds and filled them with veggies, flowers, and kid-sized gardening essentials.

Not only are these boxes easy (and inexpensive) to put together, but they provide a project for the little ones that will last all spring and summer. Happy Easter! Happy Spring!

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