Advice Worth Ignoring

I can’t tell you, because you won’t listen, how many times I have received advice on how to raise my children.  Why don’t we listen?

Well, sometimes it is better to ignore advice.

A quick, funny video which illustrates my point.


Parents – take it easy on yourself and become a better parent.

Here are some great tools:

S.M.A.R.T. Goals For 2017

Many begin the new year with goals they wish to achieve for the coming year. Additionally, many fail within 1 month to produce a positive new direction in order to fulfill their goals. Here is a quick video to help with the process – a more clear way of thinking about your goals.



What are S.M.A.R.T. goals?

How to Improve Your Kids’ Self-Worth Honestly

Tearing them down vs. over praising

Years ago, Zachary played one season of baseball on a YMCA team. Their policy: “everyone is a winner”, a notion nice enough in thought but ridiculous in practice. The Y wanted everyone to have great self-esteem. The kids weren’t told the scores, so in theory, they didn’t know who won.

But they did, and it was painfully obvious in quite a few of the games.

Of course, self-esteem is important, but in reality, everyone is not a winner. It can become a slippery slope when we build up our children so high in their view of themselves that they are shocked as an adult when they find out they’re not as good as they think they are.

Have you seen the highlights of American Idol when the “singer” is completely gobsmacked when Simon et al tell them they’re wretched and need to put an end to the thought of a singing career?

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Admitting You’re Scared & How to Overcome it

My most recent journey

I think that we as parents sometimes like to portray to our kids that we have the answers to most of life’s questions. “Broccoli is good for you.” Or “Exercise makes you get strong.” Perhaps it’s words of sage advice: “Don’t worry about the speech you’re giving–you’ll be fine.”

We share when we’re happy and angry. When there’s disappointment, perhaps, in someone’s behavior or frustration that we can’t get something to work–they know how we feel. Love is an easy one–we tell them, show affection.

But do we share our fears with our kids?

Sometimes, we may share our unreasonable fears, the ones that are likely to never be realized in real life. For instance, shark attacks when we live in Ohio. Perhaps you’re scared of heights, so you won’t look out over the railing on the top of a lighthouse.

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How to not give up and throw in the towel with your kids

It would be easy to do so, right?

As parents, we want what’s best for our kids, right? Then why do they make it so bloody hard to have you try to raise them right? If given their druthers, they’d happily eat Coco Puffs and Tooth Rot Delight for breakfast.

I spend my precious time concocting something that tastes good but is also full of vitamins. What do the ungrateful wretches do?

“Forget” to drink their smoothie. Eye rolls. Or, my personal favorite, “Mom, do you have to make a smoothie AGAIN? I’m going to dieeee.” 

I used to hide the nutrition and try to disguise it as a milkshake. Now, fuhgeddaboutit.

Watch me put the spinach in, my precious. Oh, maybe I should add kale. And a couple of cups of spirulina for good measure. Whoops! Forgot the beets! Drat–I’m out of salamander eyeballs and rat tail. You’ll have to do without today.

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Strength For Your Children

For those times when you just have to tell it like it is.

Life is filled with great moments and horrible events.  As a parent we need to understand that sometimes the lessons which brought us to a ‘horrible event’ needs to be announced loud and clear so that one can move on the the next ‘great moment’.  It is in this honesty that growth begins again and lessons are etched into our database of experience.

If you have an adult child who has gone through or is currently going through a hard time you know full well how hard it can be to be brutally honest and straight with them as you may fear hurting them more than than they all ready are hurt. However, sometimes the proper medicine is that verbiage which places their train of thought in a different realm of that which it currently occupies.  In short, get them to ‘Snap out of it’.

We all make mistakes and are in need of guidance regardless of our age.  Yet, we need to know that an over soft approach to child rearing can lend itself to much more harm than good.  A child does not need, and should not receive, a verbal or physical lashing every time he/she does something wrong or inappropriate.  But approaching every situation as though you may break your precious little glass child is not sending the message that at times life is tough and we have to pick ourselves up and change or correct what we are having issues with.

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7 Ways to Teach Your Kids About Money

Tips From Allowance Academy

Recently, Paul and I were interviewed for Tracie and Bret Shroyer’s podcast about parenting. The Shroyers’ website, called Allowance Academy, hosts a plethora of wise information about how to teach your kids about money. (Our podcast interview’s not been aired yet, but we’ll definitely let you know when it is.)

We met the Shroyers at a conference last year and hit it off right away. Like us, they have a no-nonsense approach to parenting and have quite a bit they can teach us about the money/kids connection.

Parenting tips on moneyBret’s worked in math-y stuff for a long time as an actuary and insurance professional. And Tracie’s no slouch either, running her own company as a virtual assistant. Together, they wrote Investing in Your 401k Kid: From Zero to Little Financial Genius in Five Easy Steps, a guidebook for teaching kids to be financially savvy.

According to the Shroyers, kids as young as 3 can start learning about money and savings. They’ve got great ideas on how to start with the young kids as well as tweens and teenagers.

They asked us what our own parents taught us about money.

Paul learned some by sitting down with his mom as she did the bills. She explained that kind of stuff to him, so he’s had a pretty good concept, at least about how to pay bills.

I actually called my own parents to ask them what they taught us about money, because I couldn’t remember.

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7 Reasons Why it Matters That We Protest Abortion

All lives matter. Warning--there's a graphic photo.

When I was in high school in the 1980s, I remember my dad and me hanging out grading class papers at a local restaurant. I’m not really sure how we got on the conversation of abortion, but I do remember him believing that I just knew it was wrong.

Frankly, I don’t think I really knew what abortion was back then. Truly, no concept. Mom and Pop never discussed messy matters with us much. It’s an uncomfortable subject.

Even in college I never really had strong feelings one way or another about it, I just knew that I personally would never abort a baby.

But I still didn’t really understand.

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Kids Growing Up Doesn’t Mean They’re Not Your Babies

Finding peace when they move away

As parents of many children, our lives have been extremely busy for years. There were a couple of years between Naomi and Mariana that we didn’t change diapers. Once Mariana and the others were born, we wiped bottoms, cleaned baby spit up, washed oodles of clothes for the next 12 years.

There was homework, teacher conferences, football or basketball or baseball games, cross country meets, dance practice and…life.

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Saturday Chores and the Grumpy Ones

When the kids discover it’s Saturday and they realize they have to do their chores…


This cracks me up, because this is pretty much what happens every Saturday when the joy of sleeping in has been overshadowed by the doom of having a few jobs to do.

Each Saturday, the kids change their sheets and clean their rooms. The boys take about 4 hours to clean their room, and it’s trashed by bedtime again.

Elijah cleans our 2 bathrooms, Mariana and Thérèse sweep, Ava vacuums, Naomi (in theory) dusts and sweeps the 2nd floor. Everyone does a little laundry. Sounds rough, eh?

Have a great weekend, everyone. (Don’t forget to do your chores.)