Bite-Sized Wisdom

As I get older, I’ve come to appreciate education more and more. I’m fascinated by all there is that I still don’t know about the world, and each day I learn something exciting and new. There are so many classes from high school and college I’d like to go back and take again – books I would’ve read a bit more thoroughly, professors I’d have listened to a bit more attentively.

Thankfully there are certain things I’ve been taught that I had enough sense to absorb at the time – moments when I knew I was about to learn something truly important about the world around me, the people in front of me, or even myself. These moments have usually happened (and continue to happen) when I am talking to incredible women whose confidence and strength wake me up to new ways of thinking and being.

Amanda Zelechoski is one of the great teachers in my life. I first met her when she was a law student at Villanova, and when she and her husband moved to New England, I pretty much followed them up there. (Okay, not directly – but on my pro/con lists for college one of BC’s top ‘pros’ was “Amanda and Steve live nearby.”)

Amanda has taught me so much about being an authentic human being – not always by any particular piece of advice but just by the way she lives her own life. Over the past decade she has talked me through major and minor life decisions, good and bad relationships, and everything else in between – and she’s done all this while also being hilarious, smart, and so, so full of love.

In a time when our country needs strong women more than ever, I am overwhelmingly happy to celebrate Amanda’s recent tenure at Valparaiso. The community is incredibly lucky to have such a brilliant person within it!

Amanda, thank you for giving me bite-sized wisdom at all the right times in life. You are an amazing educator both in and out of the classroom. I love you!


Mini Lemon Cupcakes

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

1 cup sugar

2 eggs (room temp)

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter (room temp)

½ cup sour cream (room temp)

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp lemon extract

Zest and juice of one lemon


  1. Cream butter and sugar together in large bowl. Add in eggs, sour cream, extracts, lemon juice and zest.
  2. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Fold dry ingredients into wet until completely combined. Divide evenly into 24-count mini muffin tin.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes (until toothpick comes out clean).
  5. Top with favorite icing and sprinkle with a colorful garnish!

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