Valerie Earnest

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Valerie grew up Naperville, Illinois, and is a Midwestern girl at heart even though she spent 16 years in Phoenix. She moved to Marion in 2016 with her husband, daughter (14), and two sons (12 and 9). Valerie graduated from BYU with a degree in Instrumental Music Education. She is a former band director, a current substitute teacher and accompanist, and an avid reader and crafter.

Favorite Food Trucks In and Around Cedar Rapids

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Whether you're looking to try something new to eat or need something special for your next event, our guide to local food trucks in and around Cedar Rapids will help you find what you're...

I’m Over The Teacher Hate

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I know it was a roller-coaster kind of a year for everyone, but teachers might have had the worst ride of all. A year ago, teachers were overworked and underpaid, but at least we showed...

How Jen Hatmaker Inspired Me to Think About Self-Care Differently

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Jen Hatmaker, speaker, mother, and life guru, stopped me in my tracks in her recent Facebook post. She talked about how her therapist taught her that she should treat herself like she would treat a...

Instead of That, Try This: New Holiday Traditions for 2020

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If I hear the phrase “Out of an abundance of caution...” one more time, I might scream! In a year where it feels like everything has been canceled, many of us are trying to figure...

#IowaStrong: Places to Donate or Volunteer for Derecho Relief

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Cedar Rapids and surrounding areas are devastated by the recent derecho storm. If you're reading this, you're probably hoping you can help contribute to the recovery effort. Not sure where to start? Here is a...

Moving Up to Middle School: Do’s and Don’ts for Parents

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I was a four-eyed, brace-faced, awkward-haired band nerd, which made middle school pretty rough. While I had good friends and great experiences, I also experienced my share of heartbreak, disappointment, and social struggles--even flat-out...

Float the River: Tubing, Canoeing and Kayaking in Eastern Iowa

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Hitting the river on a hot summer’s day is a tradition here in Iowa, whether tubing, canoeing, or kayaking. New to floating the river, or not sure where to go? This guide will help you...

Planning for a Pandemic Summer? We’ve Got You Covered

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It was about two weeks ago that I started freaking out about the impending pandemic summer. Summer break is usually what, ten weeks long? We leave school in June, excited about summer camps, pool days,...

Puberty is a Mess. Period. {Girl Edition}

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Have a girl, they said. It will be so much fun dressing her up in pretty clothes and hairbows. You’ll love taking her shopping and getting your nails done together. But they forgot to tell...
Maybe I Don't Want Things To Go Back to Normal

Maybe I Don’t Want Things To Go back to Normal

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As we reach the end of another month in quarantine, there's a lot of talk about re-opening our state (and country), about getting things back to normal. Maybe it's strange, but I'm not sure I...