Golden Birthday.

5 years ago, on April 5, I gave birth to our little Shiloh Julia Helen on Seborn’s actual birthday. It was magical. Funny story, we were told around 20 weeks pregnant that Shiloh was a BOY and thus, had Elijah stenciled on the nursery wall and I was journaling to my son for the 20 weeks after that. Surprise!

Anyways, it was a beautiful moment to hand my husband our baby as the most perfect birthday gift anyone could ever give a loved one.

I’ll never top that, and that’s okay. Shiloh girl is perfection. And this year, 2019, we celebrated her Golden Birthday and she was over-the-moon excited! Seebz turned 34 and he had a little trouble feeling old but we had such a great day celebrating. Dance parties, Potbelly Sandwich Shop for lunch, opening gifts, singing and the most beautiful and delicious golden cake. I am so excited to share it all with you!


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I love her joy and it shines through every single day but it was so special to take this day and celebrate her life and make her feel so intensely loved for exactly the beautiful little soul she is.

Their beautiful golden cake was from Mixed Sugars Creations and it was more than I could have ever imagined. I told her about it being for Shiloh’s golden birthday and we wanted it gold and left everything in her hands and was blown away by the outcome. I love seeing artist work in their craft and design such beautiful masterpieces. She was so thoughtful in her creation and designed a cake that would be special to Shiloh. She did a beautiful beaded “S” for both Seborn + Shiloh and used real flowers in her design. She was so sweet and added the daisy which is April’s flower. The golden flakes and white chocolate accents just put it over the top and made for a gorgeous display. And to top it all off, the cake was delicious! So moist and flavorful, we were thoroughly impressed. I could feel the love she poured into its design and creation.

All of our celebratory decor was from my main party supplier, Geese and Ganders. They are my GO-TO for all our parties now and I love the whole process. I come up with a theme and they have the perfect decor and accessories to accommodate all our needs. It really brings the whole celebration together and makes it a memorable time. With our golden theme, everything was perfect to add the golden touch to all that we did. Shiloh was so excited to hang our banners and capture the golden moments.


It turned out to be a phenomenal day and we so enjoy celebrating two incredible people in our family that add light to each day. Thankful for life.


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Artist Party.

On March 24, 2019, Makkedah Joy Aiyayla Yancy turned 10 years old. She chose her favorite, Chipotle, for lunch and we surprised her with a a stay at Holiday Inn in Maple Grove, MN which has an awesome little water park. She requested to go swimming for her birthday and we played it off like it wasn’t possible since its March in Minnesota. It was the best surprise and we swam, sang, ate cake and opened presents in our little hotel room.

One week later, we threw her a party at our home and although I told her she could have 10 guest attend, we ended up with over 16 girls there and it was a total blast. Makkedah has been drawn to art in the past year and has been practicing and constantly wanting to create so we thought that an artist party would be fitting. And it certainly was. I had an entire itinerary planned out with lots of flexibility along the way. It was so fun to see her full of joy throughout the whole 3 hour party and enjoy the day with her friends and family. A HUGE thank you to everyone who came and made her day even more special.

It took me weeks (maybe even months) to plan this artist party out, make at ton of DIY projects myself and bring in some big guns to make the day great. I’m super excited to share it all here in case you would like to do an artist party in the future!


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I connected with Kellie from Tasty Cakes Bakery and gave her my vision for the cake and she brought it to life more than I could ever have imagined. It was BEAUTIFUL! Makkedah requested red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and it was delicious. I was seriously blown away with her craftmanship and how all the creativity and love was put into making this cake so special for our occasion. You can find some of her work here and book her for all your cake needs!

The amazing party planning genius was all from Geese and Ganders and she helped me put together the entire design and decor concept of the party. The colors, the decorations, the setup- it was all her and I am so thankful that I could get everything I need (plates, napkins, decor, candles, cake topper, crowns, etc, all from one place.) She is amazing and I just adored what she curated for Makkedah’s party! You can find her here and she is so helpful in creating a great party planning theme within your budget.

The most gorgeous (and tasty) cake pops I have ever laid my eyes on are from Grace Bakes Cakes and she even gave them the personal touch of having the stems be paintbrushes- I love the creativity in that. She makes some beautiful cakes and you can find her here on Instagram to stay up to date with all she is doing! I was just so amazed at her creations and maybe ate one too many cakepops because they were so good!

We played “pin the paint on the pallet” and each girl got blindfolded and a chance to put their piece of paper on the coordinating color on the pallet. It was so much fun as we blasted The Greatest Showman soundtrack! We had pizza and “creative juices” for lunch followed by some fun cupcake decorating where they got to pick their frosting and add their own sprinkles (a sort of edible art project.)

We have a trampoline so the girls were filtering in and out jumping around and then we made some time to do the pinata. We had a friendship bracelet station with some elastic string and letter beads. We also had pre-made some personalized rocks with string attached for each girl to take home and I wanted them to know that nature and every day objects can be turned into an art project.

We made mini easels with canvas’s for each person and had a little painting session. We made the easels out of popsicle sticks and hot glue and then got pallets, canvas, and paintbrushes all at the dollar store. It was such a fun little package to put together, created an activity at the party and a neat gift for them to bring home while being super cost effective.

My wonderful artist friend, Jena from Spoonful of Faith created a custom drawing of Makkedah. We used this not only in our party decor but we printed off small coloring sheets that we added to a clipboard for the party favor. Each girl brought home the clipboard, coloring sheets and a cute little bundle of crayons. It was so fun to put together which such a personal touch. You can see Jena’s artwork here.

We topped off the day with singing, cake eating and lots of love and hugs! Even with a 3 hour party, we didn’t even get to opening gifts so Makkedah had a fun time in the evening doing that. I am so grateful to all the girls who showed up to celebrate Makkedah’s life with us. Artist party was a hit and I am thankful for all the people who had a contributing factor in bringing it to life! Hopefully, you walk away with some great ideas of how to run your own artist party!

Pottery Barn Magic.

We have this small room to the right when you walk in the front door of our home. It has an entry way right into our kitchen so there are only 2 full walls. It’s a very small space that I think, ideally was created as a sort of “informal dining room.” But, I’ve never understood the need for two dining rooms (nor have ever desired such a thing) and so, when we moved in, it became our homeschool room.

Then it’s kind of turned into a catch all room. Sometimes the kids would play in there, but often times not. For the most part, it was a very unused room. It had potential but needed some adjustments to make it a more convenient and inviting space.


Enter the PB Apartment project where we had the opportunity to transform a small space into a useful and welcoming room. We knew going into it that we wanted to have a functional, multi-purpose place where we could homeschool, work in an office setting and also, just have fun.

Before we brought in all our PB Apartment pieces, we did some room changes to set the tone for our desired look. We ripped out our old 90’s oak cabinets from top to bottom and fixed the drywall afterwards. We ripped up our carpet which was only about 1 year old, but we had actually made the choice to put hardwoods along our entire 1st level of our home so the timing was perfect for this room reno.

With the bones of the room intact and ready to rock, we began designing and setting the stage for our PB Apartment room.

We took a lot of our inspiration from the Mission Modular Office Collection from Pottery Barn because of the simplicity, look and multi-use of it. We used a lot of pieces from this collection in our “office” transformation. We got 2 of the pop-ups desks so that if we wanted a bit more space for play, we could easily fold them down against the wall. We added a wall cabinet for office storage and decor and a prep cart for our homeschool items. The cleat hangs above one of our desks and has been perfect to store our headphones, camera and other decor.

We got some great desk chairs to go with our desks that are easily moveable to other locations in the room and an incredible white shelving unit for one of our walls. I’ve always wanted a space to decorate and display some of my favorite pieces so this Olivia wall mounted shelf made the perfect addition with plenty of space.


All in all, the room redo turned out flawless and we have used this space more now than ever before. The kids love playing in it and doing homeschool in it. My husband and I look forward to sitting at our desks to work with the sunlight beaming in on us. And oftentimes, we all just hangout and sit around to play with toys and games in our cozy new PB Apartment Room.

It’s been such a fun transformation to work on and I love that it’s what you see right when you walk in our home. We turned an unused very small space into an area that we love in our home. This PB Apartment project has been a joy to work on.




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iTOVi.

It sounds crazy. But it’s incredible.

This little device that sits in the palm of your hand. It “reads” the nerve-endings in your hands and through frequencies, determines what Young Living Essential Oils your body specifically needs to put you back into balance and alignment.

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The stories. The tales I’ve heard. People sharing what they are going through or what their kids are experiencing and they want some essential oils to support their bodies and emotional well-being. And then, we scan. And it has been downright powerful to see the results of their scans and how intricately weaved their recommended oils are with the stories they just told me. Of what their bodies, mind and emotions needed.


The basics? iTOVi is a personalized nutrition scanner that uses galvanic skin response to measure changes in the electrical conductivity of the skin.

Whether your goal is to improve the wellness of yourself or others, the iTOVi scanner provides a list of the top essential oils and supplements your body has a response to.

Think of it as a portable nutrition scanner. That is finely tuned to your specific body and how it responds and able to determine exactly what can support you in this season of life.

After my grandma died, one of my oils I scanned for was Trauma Life.

My strong-willed child almost always scans for Surrender oil blend.

During some very big life changes (mostly emotionally based), I scanned for Transformation oil blend.

It boggles my mind sometimes, and yet, never even surprises me. It’s always spot on with what I am going through at the time of my scan. And if it doesn’t seem to fit with what I am experiencing more on the outside, it’s because it’s hitting on some core issue I maybe wasn’t even aware of.

In less than 90 seconds, the iTOVi scanner will provide a list of the top essential oils and supplements that your body has a response to. It is able to gage what physical and emotional oils your body would benefit from. Oftentimes, bringing tears to your eyes because their is this relief of a targeted oil + product to help support your body.

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Adults, kids, babies and even pets can all get a scan too! I love scanning my kids, especially when there is something going on with them that I would love a little help in direction on how to benefit them. Since the scan doesn’t take long, the little ones easily can hold the device in their hand long enough. For babies, I often press it gently to their stomachs while the scan does it thing.

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To be given a list of essential oils to help support your body in this precise season of life with exactly what it needs is a gift. And to reach you on an emotional level as well, is extraordinary. It yet again reminds me of how uniquely and immense and incredible God created our bodies.

I could tell you story after story about people who had specific things going on with their bodies and the results of their scans directly targeted exactly those things. It’s quite powerful to witness.

It is recommended not to scan more than every 3 days and a good rule of thumb is to scan at least every month. For my own Young Living team members who are local, I offer free iTOVi scans monthly for their entire family. To be able to offer that kind of technology + support so people can precisely get what their bodies need is huge. We have this key to offering our bodies strength and wellness.

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We are definitely an oily family and regularly utilize our Itovi scanner on everyone in the family. Continual baby steps towards health + greater wellness.

You can get your own iTOVi Scanner here and start giving your body exactly what it is craving too!

Minne Mama Meetup

Gathering together.

Minnesota Moms. That is our common ground. There are so many other differences but we bond first in that common fact.

It’s extraordinary. The energy and love that exudes when women gather together and purposefully walk into a room where we let our guards down and open ourselves up for new friendships.

I think many of us can agree, motherhood can be lonely. We don’t find the space and place to grow together. There isn’t enough time in the day, energy in our bodies, or desire in our packed schedules. So, we leave it be. But what if, we made the time. The time to invest into eachother, to grow together and to do some super rad things?

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That’s why we created Minne Mama Meetup. A special time for Minnesota Moms to collectively come together, get to know one another on a deeper level, network, be encouraged, and feast. We wanted to make a space JUST FOR YOU. To get away from your every day grind and just come and be you. Not in mom-mode but in a mental capacity to engage with other women and make friends. Which we all know can be hard to do at times.

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Tell the hubby to watch the kiddos or grab a sitter and meet up with us.

We explore different locations each month, have super stellar local giveaways from makers and shakers and always have some tasty treats and wine available to you. Invest into some time for YOU. Bring a friend. Make a friend. Join our community.

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Here is the link to grab tickets (almost sold out) for our January 16 at Tonkadale.





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How I got my kids into modeling.

I get asked all the time about how I got my kids into modeling and because others want to do the same. My answer is always to google the nearest talents agencies to where you live. Because, that’s all I know. That’s how I did it. But, I figured it was about time to get it all out there so the info is readily available for everyone who asks.

Let me first say that this is not a step-by-step guide on how to get your kid into modeling. Each state might be different along with a plethora of other variables. I am simply going to share our experiences and hope they help you along your journey. It might look a little different for you but hopefully, by just sharing the route we took, it will offer a little insight into how you can make it happen for you and your family.

Let me first give you a warning signal as to what is NOT an actual talent agency trying to represent your child. Here is the scenario we experienced once.

  1. “Agent” approaches my husband at a kids parade and says our kids should model, hands us her business card and a time slot to “audition.”

  2. We go to a janky hotel lobby, fill out forms, listen to an hour long presentation of how they work their industry and then have the kids “audition.”

  3. If we want to move forward and be represented by them, we will need to pay $2,000 (per child and accompanying adult) to go to Chicago for a HUGE talent search conference, and then MAYBE get picked up by someone for a gig.

This isn’t real. Don’t be fooled. Don’t pay them money. Don’t fall into the trap. You should never have to pay this type of up front cost.


Let me tell you our REAL-LIFE great experiences and the process from here on out.

I literally googled “top talent and model agencies in Minneapolis.” (Enter your own closest big city.) I went through the list and checked each website and filled out entry forms for each place. Normally this entailed sending pictures and information for each of my children. I only did this because my oldest daughter expressed interest in doing it. But, while I was at it, I thought I would send in information for all my kids, just for kicks and giggles. I never actually thought anything would come of it or even had a deep desire to pursue this for my kids. I still don’t, but I will explain later why we still do it.


I heard back from most of the agencies I had reached out to within 1-5 weeks and all of them wanted to move forward with us. The next step was going to their buildings for them to meet the kids and for us to fill out forms to get them on their website for their clients. In all transparency, each of my kids are represented by 5 different agencies. This is great because our exposure is wider but also can be difficult because we will get contacted by multiple agencies for the same gig and have to go with the first one that contacts us. Just know, it’s totally up to you. In Minnesota, you can be represented by more than one agency. But most people only stick with one, and have a lot of success just doing it that way too.


After these first meetings, they get your kids set up in their database and this allows clients to view them on the website and also a way for the agents to refer you to their clients if they think there is a good fit for a job. Some agencies do charge $50-$100 for the ongoing maintenance of updating pictures on their website and managing the profiles. Sometimes, it is a yearly fee and sometimes, it is a one-time fee. Depends on the agency. We work with one agency who had no upfront charges at all and instead, just took $50 out of our first check from a job to cover the website fee. There should never be anything you have to pay over $100 though and you can make that back in 1 small job. (We’ve only been doing this since spring of 2018, not even a year in, and I wouldn’t even be able to count how many jobs the kids have had since then.)

Once an agency agrees to represent you, you are now available to be sent to casting calls. We usually get a phone call or e-mail notifying us that there is a client looking for a certain age range of children and if we are available for the time slot. Because we live within 15-20-minutes of downtown Minneapolis, (where most of our calls take place), it’s super easy for us to hop to and from casting calls. Sometimes we get a short notice for casting calls and other times, a good week or two heads up. They are always during the day so, with our homeschooling, it’s very convenient for us to make casting calls.


These are pretty straightforward. You go in, fill out a form, take a picture (if its for print advertising) or record a video (if its a commercial.) We are normally in and out within 15-30 minutes. You will hear from an agency if you got the job usually within a week or two. You either got booked for the job, get a call back (a second audition) or you won’t hear from your agency about it, which means you did not get the job. Don’t be discouraged, there will be plenty more opportunities. (I’m saying all this because I was totally clueless about it all a few months ago and it would have been great to have a little idea about the whole process.)

The actual jobs are different wherever you go. We’ve had people who are just really not great with kids and it makes the atmosphere not fun and actually my little Shiloh started crying on set one time because the people running the show were tense and ridgid and little ones can sense that. It almost ruined the experience for my little bright-eyed girl.

But most of our experiences have been really great. The kids always love seeing the outcome of their work. Most of the companies do not tell you when or where you can find the finished products of the shoot, so we normally just try to keep our eyes peeled. And it’s always a fun surprise. Most of my kids do print advertising. But my oldest, Makkedah, did shoot a U.S. Bank commercial and she loved having a “TV mom” as they called it. My 5th, Zion, played a part in a local movie being made that was entered into a film festival. The 4 oldest kids had a casting call for a Walmart commercial. My two oldest got a call-back for the job but didn’t end up getting the job. We still make time for the casting calls, its all part of the learning experience, but just know that you do not get paid for going to casting calls.

For the jobs that we have had, we are mostly “working” for about an hour or so. My second oldest, Samaria, once had a shoot that lasted 2 days and was about 6-7 hours each day but that was because it was a huge campaign she was a part of. The agencies should let you know what you are getting paid hourly before the job takes place and then keep into mind that your agency will take your cut, plus taxes will be taken out. The neat thing is that the agencies take care of all of this for you. They work on your behalf.

Most agencies take a 15-20% cut on all the work you do. If you get booked a job, they will take their cut and then send the rest of the check your way. This is their profit in the work you do and for managing everything for you. They will get a cut from every job you ever get from casting calls they sent you to. This is the reason why there aren’t any large up front costs.

This is the shoot that took 2 days for Samaria. It was a promotion for an entire new clothing line coming out with Target and Museum of Icecream.

This is the shoot that took 2 days for Samaria. It was a promotion for an entire new clothing line coming out with Target and Museum of Icecream.

It also was the result of our first ever casting call and confirmed booking and just threw us into this world. After this, the shoots were super easy and short. But Sam was super tired after two days on set for this one.

It also was the result of our first ever casting call and confirmed booking and just threw us into this world. After this, the shoots were super easy and short. But Sam was super tired after two days on set for this one.

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Let me tell you some odd circumstances that perhaps you may encounter, and I hope this will ease your mind if you ever experience something similiar.

We once went to a shoot and it was for my 6 month old baby. It was her and another baby and the on-screen mom. I found out that they always book 2 babies at a time in case one of them doesn’t cooperate because… babies. The other baby went first and rocked the shoot and took the best photos. Arrow and I sat on the couch and waited for her turn to go and then the photographers came up to us and said, “Well, we already got everything we needed so you can go now.”

Waste of our time? Some would say yes. But, while we sat and hung out on a couch, my 6 month old baby got PAID. Which brings me to one of the biggest reasons we do this. We set up Roth IRA (tax advantaged investment retirement) accounts for each of our children. So, each time they get paid for a booking, we add money to their accounts that we are going to continue to grow and not be taxed on for their entire lifetime. That is worth it to us to invest into their financial futures. So, yah, I’ll drive 15 minutes, sit on a couch with my baby for an hour and then drive back home if it means adding financial security to her future.

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When the older kids get their paycheck, we teach them that they should give their tithe and so they give 10% of their check to our church. Then they get to spend 10% of it. The rest goes into their Roth accounts. (For the younger ones, after tithe, I put the whole check in in their account.) Through this, we get to teach them lessons about financial responsibility as well.

There were also times when we got to a shoot, got the kids in their outfits and got out on set and it was NOT happening. One time, Ro just cried and cried. Another time, Zion refused to cooperate. The people had to call the shoot and shut it down because my kids weren’t having it. That’s not a fun feeling as the mom but in both instances, the timing wasn’t right (naps were cut short and I did not have happy kids.) The people were really good about not pushing them and said that they always book two babies and two toddler for shoots because this happens often. They had gotten all the shots they actually needed with the previous kids who did their shoot before my kids got on set. So, if you find yourself in this same prediciment, do not fear. You are not alone. And hey, your kids STILL GOT PAID for being there.

In this industry, you will run into some really cranky and rude people. And you will also meet some really fantastic characters. Isn’t it that way all throughout life though? For me, it’s kind of fun. I recently got to jump in on a shoot with the kids for Target and it was so fun to see the outcome.









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Besides it being fun, it creates for some really neat memories for us to look back on. We also get to teach the kids about money and tithing and saving and spending. And one of the biggest perks of all is setting our kids financial future up for them and getting a head start while they are young.

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I met a mom one time who lived 3 hours away from most of her 11-year-old son’s shoot locations and they would travel all that way for just a casting call (which is just a chance to see if you will get the job and it is NOT paid.) I just don’t think that would work for us. But, because we live so close to the Twin Cities, most sites are super convenient for us to get to and I almost always say yes to a casting call if we have nothing going on because we have so much flexibility with homeschool that I don’t have to move anything around. If we lived 3 hours away, I i wouldn’t be doing it. But that was also coming from a mom who talked to me about giving her son surgery soon to get his ears tucked back more because she thought they poked out of his head too much. I’m not judging. Just stating facts.

Another thing I make sure to do is to send updated pictures of the kids to each of the agencies every few months. For instance, if you have a family photoshoot with a professional photographer, ask them to grab a few quick headshots of your kids and then send those into your agency to update their profile of the your kids. Keep it fresh!

So, there you have it. Some of our experiences with our kids being represented by talent and modeling agencies. It’s a pretty fun ride. And If its fun, I’ll most likely say YES!

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I hope this was helpful and feel free to let me know if you have more lingering questions. If you are wanting to get your kids into this industry, start with googling the closest agencies to you and get their pictures sent in asap. I hope it goes well with you and I would love to hear your experiences (and see some of the experiences and prints!)

Sam seeing herself in an actual Target store was a highlight!

Sam seeing herself in an actual Target store was a highlight!

Sam had this costume for a shoot and it never actually made it to print because they chose another model- but Sam still got paid for her time on set. (And her photos came out so cute- i wish i could have gotten copies!)

Sam had this costume for a shoot and it never actually made it to print because they chose another model- but Sam still got paid for her time on set. (And her photos came out so cute- i wish i could have gotten copies!)

Chasing friendship.

A few years, I shared a post about how my oldest daughter was playing at the splashpad and she met a friend while there. She ran around, splashing through the water with the other girl, laughing and smiling and living her best life. Until I realized…. she was basically do it alone. She was mostly just following the girl around who was clearly annoyed with my daughter and just trying to get away from her.

Makkedah had no clue. She was just having the best time and thought her “friend” was too. She just has such a great outlook on life like that. I motioned for her to come over to me and asked her about her new friend and she explained to me how great this girl was and how much fun she was having playing with her. I asked Makkedah if her “new friend” was talking back to her or playing with her. And she said, “Oh, not really, but we are still having fun.” She wasn’t getting it. So, I explained to her about social clues. I told her that even though she is amazing, this little girl might be having a bad day or just interested in doing something else, or just maybe not interested in being friends as much as she is. And because of that, she is not responding to Makkedah with the same enthusiasm that she is. Those are all clues that she isn’t very interested in playing.

I told her that when the girl doesn’t respond or follow her back at all or reciprocate the “playing” that Makkedah should just move on and find another friend that will appreciate her company. Makkedah nodded and ran off to splash some more. The other little girl was leaving the splashpad and so Makkedah promptly went over to her and wrapped her arms around her and hugged her. The girl didn’t even hug her back and had the most disgusted look on her face that she was being hugged by this “stranger.” Part of me felt so bad for my daughter, but she actually didn’t even notice. The other part of me was like, “Dang, I’ve got the weird child.” And then most of me was like, “Wow, i am so proud of my kind and loving daughter. She is incredible.” And shes also just like me. I hug strangers all the time. It’s the best.

Fast forward years later and I am finding that I am exactly like Makkedah. That I am chasing all these people that literally want nothing to do with me and I don’t even realize it. I’m not catching the social cues because I’m so caught up in trying to make them like me. Hoping they love me the way that I love them. I’m sending the text messages, chatting on Marco Polo, sending gifts in the mail, pouring out my heart to them about how much their friendship means to me. And in return, I get silence, or a change of topic, or assumptions or avoidance. And so, I chase some more. I chase their friendship. I chase their acceptance. I chase their love. I thought we had this deep bond (or maybe I was working to create it or maybe it was all in my head) but none of it is real.

And I get to this point where I wake up. At some point, I shake out of my hypnotism and realize I’m chasing someone that does not want to be pursued by me. I’m pursuing someone that is utterly disinterested in me. They just don’t like me. And I have to be okay with that. And know that I am not going to be friends with everyone. I can’t please everyone.

I realized, I’ve been like my little girl. Having the freakin’ best time of my life but surrounded by people that want nothing to do with me, possibly even disgusted with me. I was clueless. And yet, still chasing them around, thinking we were close friends. Laughing “with” them but truly just alone in the laughter. Completely unaware that they really just wanted to distance themselves from me. All the times I poured out my heart and repeated their meaningfulness in my life and never having that reciprocated (at least in a genuine way).

And I looked at myself and said, “Dang, I’m the weird one.” And realizing I hadn’t picked up on any of the social clues. And then I said to myself, “But wow. I am kind. I am loving. And I am incredible.” And I love exactly how God has made me. With a big heart. Even if it opens me up to get hurt easier. Truth is. I’m not hurt. I’m not a victim. So, don’t feel sorry for Makkedah. Don’t feel sorry for me. This trait helps us love easier. It helps us act out love and express love to people who don’t even “deserve” it. Or even want it.

I’m going to work on focusing my love and attention to people who want to love me back. And who want to pour into me just as much as I into them. I’m going to try and listen to the signs sooner when I’m investing in someone who wants nothing much to do with me. But really, I’m just going to keep on loving. Everyone. That’s the advice I would give to my daughter- “just keep on loving.” God will continue to bring the people into your life who will love you back endlessly.

Girls + Confidence

Girls and Confidence: How Important is it and How do we Reinforce it?


Fariba writes about what it's like raising 3 biracial girls, ensuring she creates a positive environment for them to know and love who they are, even when they don't always see reflections of themselves in their mother and in the world they live in. 


I often get asked, what's it like having 3 girls? Well, I don't know any different but as my oldest gets older (she's 7 at the moment), I can see how important it is to reinforce and help her build up her confidence. I read that at 8 years old, girls peak in terms of their confidence. As mothers of girls, it's petrifying to know that from this point onwards, our daughters start losing more and more confidence. And by age 14, it reaches an all-time low, never really recovering to make up the difference. 


To know that the happy, confident girl that I see right now- the girl who loves to get messy, to ask questions and boss her friends around- might disappear is to say the least,  disheartening. Over time, most girls learn that kindness is about pleasing others; that success is due to talent, not hard work and that their appearance is more important that what they can do. 


I want to freeze time. Though it gets tiresome at times, the fun loving 7 year old I now have is starting to test her limits, questioning my logic, forming her own opinions and challenging our ideas on how to do things. I know in some ways that I can be that helicopter Mum who needs to control everything- especially when it comes to having multiple children as Meghan and many of her readers will be able to relate to. 


But part of this learning experience for both of us is letting her challenge me. Demonstrating to her that her ideas matter, that they're worth listening to and considering even if I know they might not work. Failure must be part of her success and though it takes patience and a whole lot of energy to let her try things, to show her how to master cooking, build an ikea table and letting her lead the way into London's subway system on a journey that we take multiple times a week, I must let her. 


Our children are sponges, they want and need to learn from us. That's why I admire homeschoolers because really, our world IS one big school and to have them with me 24/7 and teach through just living and being, is such a joy.


For my girls, it's not just about teaching them to be confident in their ideas but also about loving who they are. Living in the western world: London, England in particular, our multiracial family is a minority (a growing one though!) and it becomes increasingly apparent when your children notice that there aren't many families that look like ours.


My daughter was 4 when she was walking home from school and turned to me saying, "I want a Mama that looks like me". Of course, my heart dropped in that moment but it also brought home to me the realisation that although I am my daughters' biggest role model, I look nothing like them. With straight hair and vanilla skin, I hear my daughters saying multiple times a day, 'I wish I had straight hair like you'. They notice this, along with the millions of ads on buses, in the subway, and in shops that women with stick thin bodies and straight thin hair are what our society considers beautiful. 


In that moment, I turned to my daughter and showed her how alike we actually are: our smiles, our eyes, our love of writing. But it also showed me how much work I had to do to encourage and reinforce the idea that my daughters are beautiful- with brown skin and curly hair. I may not have those characteristics but there are others like them that are beautiful. 


We look at youtubers and celebrities who are mixed race and have thick curly hair. We point out women in the street (thankful to live in a diverse city like London) of women who are sporting short curly afros and, we are intentional about choosing books, movies and tv shows that feature black or mixed race characters. The girls have fun pointing out which one of the characters looks like them. Oh boy, does representation matter... Because if they can see it, they can be it. Children need to see themselves reflected in the world around them to know that it is possible for them as well. 


Our daughters all need encouragement and confidence building. And our duty as parents of mixed race daughters, is even greater. 


I love having daughters. And I love that I have such a big responsibility to raise them to be confident, strong black women who will know and love who they are. Not because I want them to fit in but because I want them to stand out. Because different is good in our books. 


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Fariba Soetan writes about raising multiracial daughters in London, England. She is married with 3 girls and, mixed race herself, loves to share ideas and inspiration for raising mixed kids. https://mixedracefamily.com


Innovation of Heart Quilts.

In August, Arrow and I traveled to Cincinnati in partnership with Pampers and get an in-depth look into the company and the products. It was incredible to see the innovation and science behind the details of the structure of the Pampers Swaddlers- the softness and absorption is incredible. And it was so neat to see the heart behind Pampers and how many lives they touch in communities around the world.

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Here's the thing, babies are in diapers nearly 24/7 and to have a great product that is soft, comfortable and keeps baby dry, is very important. Pampers Swaddlers provide strong protection and with the new Heart Quilts, the technology makes it even more soft and gives even better protection than before.

It offers up to 12 hours of protection and with the new Pampers Air ChannelsTM, it allows air to reach baby’s skin easier. Which allows for a happy baby. And happy parents.

I got to learn all about this and see if first hand when in Cincinnati and having a 3 month old along for the ride gave me a unique viewpoint at protecting my baby girl and giving her Pampers best. 

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Honestly, its the brand we have been using for most of Ro's life, and she has never had any diaper rash issues. I think that says something. Proof. I've just been more and more impressed with Pampers and the quality they provide for the love and care of our most precious gifts... our babies. 

Homeschooling How-To.

We are going on year 6 of homeschooling and it is everything I’ve wanted it to be and a whole lot of what I never expected. For us, the biggest thing is freedom. Freedom in our time. Freedom in our play. Freedom in our vacationing. Freedom in how we teach each child. In so many areas, we get to design exactly how we see things playing out and how our children are educated. And we are able to teach our children in the best way that they learn.

When I first started homeschooling, I felt I had to do everything a certain way. Like I had to mimic what the traditional educational route had deemed as appropriate. Or that I had to follow what other homeschoolers were doing. And over the years, I have realized, I don’t. I don’t have to do what anyone and everyone else is doing but I can actually do what works best for our family.

We have tried multiple different types of homeschool curriculums and some we have liked and others we did not. We even tried a free online curriculum and it was good for the time we used it for. This past year, I actually switched the curriculums halfway through the school year. And then by the new year, I really started exploring unschooling more and began to play out our days in a more relaxed, natural learning environment. By April, when my 6th baby was born, we were pretty much done with homeschool for the year and have been slowly picking up some learning time this summer.

We make space for lots of imaginative play, lots of active playtime and lots of time for reading. I started my homeschooling journey very strict and scheduled and we are now embarking on a much more relaxed and flexible path. The neat thing with homeschooling is that you get to make of it what you’d like. 

If you are considering homeschooling for you and your family and you don’t know where to start… Google. Find out the requirements for your location. In Minnesota, we need to send in a yearly form stating that we intend to educate at home. We also need to do yearly state testing starting at age 7 that we can do from home. We use this one. There are co-ops you can join and there are associations you can be a part of like this one.

Start doing your research and realize that you don’t have to keep doing the same thing. You can find what works best for you. And it is going to look different for everyone. And it might look different year to year and kid to kid. There is an incredible collection of homeschool curriculums available. There are books and workbooks or completely online templates to use. You can teach your kids or there can be an online format where a teacher can teach your kids. There are supplemental programs that can teach certain subjects you may need help with. We have recently been trying Revolution Math and have loved it. The girls hop on Zoom once a week for an hour and get tutored in math. They enjoy that time and learn a lot from their teachers. Plus, I get a little break from teaching in the math area and there ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.

We like to use a lot of natural learning so visits to the Children’s Museum, History Museums and even just exploring the local park can be a huge part of our homeschool journey. There really is such a huge community and many resources available these days. If this has been something lingering on your mind, I encourage you to start here and start today. One step at a time and realize that everything doesn’t have to be perfect. There are detailed homeschooling planners available so you can schedule daily lessons for the entire year, if that’s your thing. Or, you can fly by the seat of your pants and take each day as it comes. 

A few curriculums we have used are Christian Liberty Press and Rainbow Resources. Some on my radar have been My Father’s World and The Good and Beautiful. There are countless curriculums out there and chances are, one that fits your teaching style and your children’s learning styles. Don’t be afraid to try them out and add supplemental lessons from other places as needed or desired. This year, we have been using The Good and The Beautiful Curriculum and I really like it. As do the kids. The lessons are laid out each day and so we can just open our books and dive right in. They have the perfect amount of work assigned each day according to the age of the child. I’ve really enjoyed this curriculum and all it has to offer and will most likely be sticking with it for a long time.

Maybe this was just the nudge you needed to realize it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. That is really is possible and can be a beautiful journey for you and your family. You need to start somewhere. I hope this mini guide with some simple resources gives you just a little insight into the possibilities.