Liz Johnson

Liz Johnson
Liz is mom to second grader Jonah, preschooler Gwendolyn, and toddler Theo. She and Troy married and bought a Beaverdale home in 2010. A teacher on maternal hiatus, Liz prefers reading to housekeeping and uses West Wing reruns to settle her mind. She believes any problem can be solved with fiction but loves to explore her reality in Des Moines.
Iowa State Historical Building

What to Expect at Iowa State Historical Building

Have you been to the Iowa State Historical Building in Des Moines' East Village? If not, add it to your list of places to take your kids. You won't be disappointed!  Entrance My first impression upon...
kid sitting on a bed with an open book on their lap.

Why Reading Graphic Novels Counts As Real

Dog Man was the first graphic novel our kids brought home, many years ago. Our then-first-grader devoured it, as did many of his classmates. I was not a fan.  The book’s premise (the main character is...
family minivan

Farewell to Our Family Car

She was a lovely gray, indistinguishable from the many other metal-colored Sienna vans on the road. Her name was Misty Stephenson III, a title decided by our children somewhere in Colorado during a family...
Des Moines Parks worth visiting

5 Des Moines Parks with New Features

We are fortunate to have so many amazing parks in Des Moines.  Des Moines has a thriving parks system that experiences constant reinvention, driven by national trends and innovative planners. Aging parks and empty spaces...
Loess Hills Iowa

Weekend Trip: Loess Hills

It was time for a new family state-cation. We were already planning a visit to Omaha to watch a cousin’s baseball tournament, but everything in the city was booked. Instead, we found an Airbnb an...
Mom wearing a shirt that says "Right to be Wrong"

What if You’re Wrong?

Our 4-year-old son is currently obsessed with the book series Who Would Win. If you aren’t familiar with the series, each book features two animals the author pits against one another in an epic...
stay at home dads need love too. Des Moines Mom

Stay-at-Home Dads Need Love Too

People have plenty of thoughts about stay-at-home parenting. We love it, we hate it, we judge it, we misunderstand it. We also tend to assign the label to only one parent: mom. But as research...
Female teacher reading to a young boy in a library.

5 Ways to Show Teacher Appreciation All Year

It’s that time of the year again - Teacher Appreciation Week. If you’re looking for a list of gifts for your child’s favorite teacher, this isn’t it. If that’s what you need, check out this...
woman laying on bed with hair over face. bad day

Mom’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

There are days in parenting that are beautiful: memories are made, major milestones are celebrated, and everything unfolds as planned. Then there are other days. The terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days. (They’re not...
black history month activities in Des Moines

Black History Month in Des Moines

Black History Month started as “Negro History Week” in 1926. Historian Carter G. Woodson wanted to recognize the often overlooked contributions of Black Americans to our nation’s history. He chose a week in February...