The Curious Case of Identical but not Similar Sisters

Right from the get-go, Ava and Thérèse didn’t want to be the same. We joke that Thérèse was tired of sharing the womb with her sister, so she kicked her out and waited until the next day to be born.

These girls, our identical twins, have separate birthdays, having been born at 11:55 PM and 12:06 AM.

Interestingly, we didn’t find out they were identical until they were about 6 weeks old, and we got the placenta report

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Stitch Fix and “Hot Mom Trends Awards”

How do YOU know if you're spot on?

A few weeks ago I (Mary-Claire) wrote about my freak out just before heading to a business conference where the dress code was supposed to be “business casual”. I mean, what the heck IS that, even? After discovering I had no Pinterest-able outfits, I quickly called one of my stylish sisters, Jessica, for shopping advice.

(Speaking of Pinterest, we now have an official Mary-Claire and Paul Pinterest page with fun suggestions for the family).

How is that that of 5 girls in my adult family, 2 are super stylish, 1 is a “mom” dresser, 1 is a “stretchy” dresser (that would be me) and 1 was nominated for What Not to Wear. For real. Our niece Allie nominated her.

Since I refuse to wear soccer mom hair (as defined by Urban Dictionary),

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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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Man Almost Burns Alive – Only 2 Things Survive – What Are They?

Many would say several great things happened on this particular day in light of a major accident and I would agree.  As this automobile accident gives opportunity for people to rise to something bigger than themselves, we see the true nature of MOST people is to help.

Faith, hope and love

This video shows a few things that should give you reason to understand that what you hear about very often in the press is simply untrue.  People of all races will work together for one cause if given the opportunity.  Don’t believe all the garbage you hear too often of how race problems are epidemic.  Don’t buy into it.  Are there stupid people who still discriminate – Yes.  But, they are but a few.  Let’s work on recognizing the many that care enough to help each other when there is nothing to be gained except a handshake and a smile.

This clip (13 seconds into the video) shows the beauty of two men putting their faith into action and praying together.  We may go to different churches and pray or worship differently, but there is but one God.

Check out more footage and family response to the happenings of this day.

So what survived this nasty accident?  I would contend it was mans nature to take care of one another and, obviously, a bible.  Kind of goes hand in hand.

Would you get involved in a potentially fatal situation to help save someone else?  It takes all of us to make this crazy world go round.  How will you contribute?

NOTE:  Be able to help in a situation like this by being prepared with some smart tools.  Every car should have one and this video reminded me that we don’t have one in each of our vehicles.  Well, that was until today when I ordered them.  It is a great idea to be ready for something that may save yours or someone else’s life.

       Oh…Don’t forget…        

your bible.

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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Tragedy in the Making-Suicides of Young Kids

Warning signs + 7 natural ways to help with depression

Last Mothers’ Day, we got the terrible news that the son of an acquaintance had committed suicide. We didn’t know him–but that didn’t stop the shock. This young man was set to graduate from high school just a month later. Instead, he hanged himself.

After hearing this news, I went outside to process this information. In the hammock above me was the cross you see above, formed by fallen branches. It gave me chills.

Suicide attempts among younger and younger children are occurring at a frightening rate. In fact, Cincinnati Public Schools has announced recently the 2nd suicide of one of its students since the start of 2016; they were 16 and 12.


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“You did what for Lent? What is that all about?”

Did you give up something for this Lenten season?

Many of us know that we are now in the season of Lent.  What does that mean and what exactly is the idea of giving up something?  For those of you who are unfamiliar with Lent – give the videos a listen as they are worth your time.

Some of our readers may have the attitude of “Who cares?”  That is ok.  It’s just that many of you are parents and as parents we are giving of ourselves quite often for the benefit of our children.  Many times we do without something that we would like to have because we have spent the time and/or money on giving our child or children something instead.  That is a

Many times we do without something that we would like to have because we have spent the time and/or money on giving our child or children something instead.  That is a selfless act and really quite beautiful.  We think of someone else before we think of ourselves.  (Sounds very much like what Jesus did.)  In doing so, we hope to provide for that child something bigger and better in the end.   Additionally, it is very satisfying to have that sacrifice acknowledged with the occasional ‘thank you mom/dad’ isn’t it?


It goes a bit too fast so get ready to hit the pause button so you can read and digest what it has to offer.


Here is another great explanation of Lent and the coming time that is Easter.

So let’s take that another step.  What if we came to the understanding that this Jesus figure was our connection to our father in heaven and we further understood that our father in heaven has promised us eternal life if we just came to know him better and obey him.  Our task then

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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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