Twinthusiasm: Survival Lessons for Your First Year Parenting Twins

This week I met another Twin mum who is an author and written her own book on Survival Lesson on the First Year of Parenting Twins. I was given the opportunity to review this book and what a beautiful guide book it is. Something I would definitely wish I had read with my babies were little. The book covers tips on how to be prepared medically, by organisation and personally. It then discusses survival lessons on help, sleep, schedule and self-care.  My mum (who coincidentally also had twins – my sisters) would always say it does get easier, and it did. Now my girls are 5 I read this book with fondness of how the hell did I survive the first year? Well I did and you will as well! Read on and enjoy Cara’s interview and if you are a new Twin Mum you can buy the Book on Amazon by clicking the link below.

What inspired you to write this book?

TwinthusiasmWhen I first found out I was pregnant with twins, I really had no idea what to expect and was more than a little nervous! I was a first-time parent and didn’t have any friends that had undergone a similar experience. As I came to find out, a twin pregnancy and the first year with two babies is crazy in a way only a multiples mom can understand. I felt that there needed to be more encouraging voices out there for twin moms-to-be. I started my blog in 2011 during my first pregnancy as a way to document my experiences as well as reach out to other moms. Over the years I compiled a range of hopefully useful tips and wanted to share my successes (and frustrations) with other parents who could use a virtual “cheerleader.”

Now, my twins girls are four years old and I have a six-month-old singleton boy. Having a singleton child gave me additional perspective on my first year as a parent. Twin moms are truly super-parents!


Navigating a twin pregnancy and the first year with two babies can be more than a little crazy. Twinthusiasm: Survival Lessons for Your First Year Parenting Twins offers moral support and useful tips – served with a dash of humor – to help you survive the wild ride.

Twinthusiasm includes helpful insights on preparing your home during your pregnancy, asking for the help you’ll need, breastfeeding, getting your twins on a schedule, handling sleep deprivation – as well as time savers, money savers, and sanity savers. Bundling encouragement with practical advice and Cara Krenn personal anecdotes, this book serves as a cheerleader for multiples parents everywhere.


Cara Krenn is the mother of fraternal twin girls and a singleton boy. Her writing on parenting twins has appeared on, in Multiplicity Magazine, Twins Magazine, and others. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame. Read more at


Special book to help share the difference between identical twins

Growing up with identical twin sisters and then having identical twin daughters myself, I would share in their frustrations when friends and family continued to not understand the difference between them. So I was very excited to hear from Maran Robinson who recently has written a new ebook on this topic from her daughters perspective.My Name is Ellie: A Children’s Picture book about Twins is available now for 0.99 US$ on Amazon. Here is an honest, heart-felt story inspired from the words of a four year old named “Ellie” and learn about the mixed blessing it can be when you are an identical twin…

Here is a short interview with Meran Robinson:

How did you find out your were having Twins?

After 10 years, my husband and I had decided that if children weren’t going to happen for us, that would be ok. After all – how could we miss something we’d never had? Anticipating being DINKS (Double income no kids) for the rest of our working lives, we increased our mortgage and planned some serious landscaping to compliment the house we’d just built. Then I got sick. REALLY, really sick. To find out I was pregnant was a shock. To find out 6 weeks later that we were having twins – well let’s just say it is true it’s a really good thing you are already lying down when you are told. I cried with joy and relief that our “baby” was ok. My husband whooped in excitement. So loudly in fact, that we received many congratulations from couples in the waiting room – they’d been able to hear his exclamations through the walls!   After much sickness and hospitalization, I finally moved to what I considered “normal” morning sickness only to develop gestational diabetes and threatening premature labour at week 29. Confined to best rest and medication at home, we made it another three weeks. My identical daughter’s Jordan and Danielle (Ellie) were born 7 weeks early. Though at times scary and challenging, they bought our lives so much joy, we decided to have another daughter three years later.

Meran Robinson


Why did you decide to write this eBook?

It started when my then 4 year old daughter came home in near-tears from Kindergarten because her friends and even her teacher had repeatedly mistaken her for her sister. So to address the “identity mix-up” problem, I asked both my daughters how we could help their friends tell “who was who”.   From that very heart-felt and honest conversation, this eBook was born!

Ellie’s comments: I asked my Mum to write it to tell our friends that calling us “Twin” doesn’t make us very happy. I love Jordan, but I am definitely ME.

How do you think the eBook will help?

The eBook captures from a child’s perspective what makes each daughter unique. It carries the simple theme that twins are wonderful, and that their twin-ness should be celebrated. At the same time it shows they are also individuals with feelings that can be hurt when people don’t take the time or effort to get to know them.

Ellie’s Comments: I think it will make people say, “Oh – I didn’t know that. I should get to know them better so I don’t make them sad by calling them the wrong name.”

What has been your biggest accomplishment these past 12 months?

Publishing this book! It was a very personal project for me on so many levels. The girls had been in separate classes at Primary school for the first two years. Now they are in the same class, the problem of “identity mix-up” presented itself again. The girls reminded me of the story I’d written for them in Kindergarten. They asked to see it again because they wanted to help others know that whilst being a twin is fascinating when you are not a twin yourself, twins are also individuals, with very real feelings.

Researching this idea more thoroughly, I found that my daughters were not alone, and that being called “Twin” or the wrong name is extremely annoying. In younger twins who are working as hard as their peers to make and retain new friendships, it can pose an additional problem. Many twins feel hurt, thinking that their peers, family friends or care-givers aren’t taking the time to get to know them as separate people – whether this is true or not.

Younger children (and some adults!) may not mean any harm, but also don’t think about the impact of such phrases like “Hi Twin” or the frustrating name-combining “Jordanellie, want to play?”. These examples can actually make an identical twin feel quite invisible as an individual.

Fortunately, Ellie and Jordan now know themselves and each other very well. By taking the time to listen and take seriously their feelings back in Kindergarten, “My Name is Ellie” helped give them the words and tools to navigate this problem with their friends on their own. Our wish is to help other twins do the same.

Ellie’s Comments: I started grade three this year and also Karate! It is great being in the same class as my sister. I love her. But it would be nice if my friends asked to sit next to me, not “The Twins”.

Identical Twins


What is your best advice for a new parent of multiples?

Don’t be afraid to accept or ask for help. You will certainly find out which offers were genuine or not, and it is very important to build up a support network. For those who don’t have family support close by, connect with multiple birth clubs, and other parents with twins, retired neighbours or even church groups for assistance.    Mostly – be kind to yourself, do what is best for your family. Also – don’t compare what you are doing to advice given in parenting books that are aimed at raising babies born singularly. Unless you want to end up in a mess in the corner… That may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised!

Multiples twins

What question or questions do you have for the families in the community?

I’d love to hear from others with identical twins and find out how they’ve dealt with the ‘who is who” question. Has your twin’s story been similar to Ellie’s and Jordan’s?

How about those with school aged twins – how do you decide to separate or not, especially if one wants together, and the other does not?

What events can you share with the Multiples and More?

My Name is Ellie: A Children’s Picture book about Twins“My Name is Ellie – A Children’s Picture Book about Twins” is available now for 0.99 US$ on Amazon.

To celebrate the eBook’s launch, until 30th May 2015, I am also giving away a free Twin Fact and Activity guide for preschool aged children. It is a great companion to “My Name Is Ellie” and a conversation starter to help give some answers for some commonly asked questions written in a child-friendly way. It also includes some fun activities to complete at the end. I am more than happy for twin families to share this with their friends!

What is a twin

You can find details on how to request this on the My Name Is Ellie Facebook page.

How to Put Kids to Bed with Minimum Fuss

Candi of has some great tips for helping get kids to fall asleep. I have a feelings these tips will come in handy, especially after the transitioning to toddler beds post that we ran on Friday.

We know that some kids go to bed easily. They do what you ask them to do in a timely and compliant manner. Oh, but then there are those kids who beg for five more minutes of play time or drag out the bedtime ritual . . . and the kids who lay in bed and wail in the hopes that you will come and rescue them from their beds. How do you handle these kids to get them to go to bed with minimum fuss?

The five-more-minutes kids and the dragging-out-bedtime-rituals kids: these kids either thoroughly enjoy whatever they are doing at the time or they just don’t like bedtime. Either way, their parents have tasked you with putting them to bed on time, and you must do so. Usually, we have enough knowledge of the kids in our care to know what may be driving their behaviors . . . find a motivator that will incent them to go to bed without further fuss. For example, if the kids hate missing out on social interaction, you can offer to lay down with them until they are asleep.

The lay-in-bed-and-wail kids: these kids have learned that crying loudly (and often exaggeratedly) will get adults to do what they want. This can be a tricky situation for a baby sitter. If you ignore the manipulative behavior, will the parents perceive your choice to be neglectful or cold? If you capitulate to the manipulative behavior (because, presumably, that’s what the parents have historically done), then will you further reinforce the manipulative behavior? It’s best to visit with the parents to determine how they want you to respond to this situation.

Another tip: determine what lulls the kids. Lulling things can include soft music or absolute silence, complete darkness or dim light, comforting scents (e.g., the kids’ moms’ perfume), and rocking or a back rub. About 45 minutes before bedtime, you should get the kids ready for bed (teeth brushed, jammies on, etc.). Then, for the 30 minutes before bedtime, use the lulling techniques to induce drowsiness before the kids ever get tucked in bed.

What tips and tricks do you have for putting your kids to sleep?

6 Tips for Preventing the Post-Move Clutter Explosion

Post-move Clutter

Despite continual New Year’s resolutions to simplify our lives, our homes continue to build with clutter. This is exceedingly apparent when taking on the cumbersome task of moving. The task of packing and unpacking all of one’s earthly belongings is daunting, and often leaves our new homes in a state of cluttered chaos.

But there are some simple strategies that you can apply during your next move. These clutter-busting tips will help you eliminate much of the chaos from your move:

1. Donate

Before packing, go through each room of your house and find the items that you rarely use or no longer need. Donate these items to a worthwhile charity— you’ll help others while reducing your own stress level. And for an added bonus, be sure to get a receipt to claim a tax deduction for your donation.


2. Establish a Cleaning Schedule

Attempting to clean and organize an entire house in one swoop often proves intimidating. Instead, divide your decluttering work into a manageable schedule that you can stick to on a regular basis. Designate certain days of the week for particular household tasks. Map out several months’ work at a time, and pencil in tasks that only need to be done occasionally like cleaning the garage or changing air filters.


3. Stop Junk in its Tracks

Sort through your mail directly over a trash can. Immediately throw all junk mail, advertisements, and fliers into the trash rather than setting them on a desk where they will eventually become an out-of-control pile of clutter. Whenever possible, eliminate trash and other clutter at the earliest possible opportunity.


4. Go Digital

From bills to photos, the digital world rids our homes of clutter. You can fit what used to be stacks of paper on a tiny flash drive, which is easy to organize. With specialized scanning devices, you can store all business cards and receipts digitally as well, freeing yourself from piles of paper.


5. Find Extra Space

The easiest way to control clutter when embarking on a move is to set up a storage and organization plan. For all non-essential items that can’t be stored in the home, it makes sense to use a storage unit, like Glen Allen VA self storage. This strategy allows you to prioritize the unpacking of important boxes first, while gradually tackling the stored boxes as time and energy allows. All the while, you keep clutter to a minimum.

6. Hire a Professional

If all other attempts at organizing have failed, bring in a professional organizer to help you jump-start an uncluttered lifestyle. A short-term investment in this service will yield great rewards when you begin unpacking in your new home.


Author Bio

This article was written by Danille Hunsaker on behalf of To learn more about self storage in Glen Allen, VA, visit their website at:

Clean up Your Act! Tips for Organizing Your Home

shoe mess

Who said, Organization is the key to success? We can’t remember either, but he/she was right. If you want to make positive changes in 2013, why not start in your home? An organized and uncluttered home simply makes life less stressful, especially if your life is busy with kids. Here are some tips to get started:

Throw It Out

When in doubt, throw it out. Phase one of this operation consists of throwing out or donating to charity all your extra stuff. If you don’t use it or if it no longer serves any good purpose think gadgets you plan on using one day and outdated magazines you know you’re going to refer back to sometime just get rid of it.

Clean It Up

After you’ve gotten rid of what you don’t need, clean what you do. Give your home a thorough, deep cleaning, shampoo the carpets and consider a visit from a pest control company if things are pretty bad.

Now Find a Place for It

That cluster of remotes should have its own home; books and magazines belong on a shelf or bin. Make sure every room has a trash can. Once you’ve parted with the items you don’t need and cleaned, it’s time to tackle your organizing issues like a professional.

Bathrooms Buy some stackable bins to organize things like brushes, hair clips and styling tools, and then make sure you use them no leaving these on the counter anymore. If everybody in the family uses different shower products, buy individual shower caddies and keep them under the sink, so that they’re only in the shower when in use. Throw out old make-up and lotions and buy a drawer organizer, and if your bathroom floor gets littered with wet towels and bathrobes, get a few over-the-back-of-the-door hooks.

Closets These get out of hand fast, as it’s just so easy to throw the stuff you don’t know what to do with in there and then shut the door. That’s bad. Make sure everybody’s closet has a laundry basket for dirty clothes, get a shoe rack, install hooks and designate hanging spaces for scarves, ties, belts and handbags. Organize clothes by purpose, season or color, and if you haven’t worn something in more than a year, it’s time to donate it to Goodwill.

Bedrooms For children’s rooms, hang extra shelves and get some under-the bed boxes to keep toys organized. If you don’t have one already, introduce the Make your bed every morning rule it’s amazing the difference a made bed can make (you have to follow this one, too).

Home Office Create a filing system for that pile on your desk and store them in file cabinets. Purchase a paper shredder and get in the habit of shredding documents as you receive them, so they don’t have a chance to accumulate. suggests creating an inbox for bills and other important documents that require prompt attention, and then going through it daily.

Kitchen Organize utensils, plates, cups and pantry items. Place small, loose items like measuring spoons and small packets of things like yeast and Jell-O in small Tupperware containers and organize spices with a spice rack. Cut down on counter space by only placing items that you use regularly.

Anna Bernel
Anna and her mom have their own line of homemade purses that they sell at local craft shows. She loves writing feature articles for lifestyle blogs.

Sylvan Recommended Reading List: National Black History Month Reading Recommendations

Every February, Black History Month provides children with the opportunity to learn and share in the rich history of African Americans, both at school and at home.


Educators and parents alike know that even with the development of electronic learning technologies, reading still provides the primary gateway into that history, as it does for much of what our children learn.


That’s why Sylvan Learning created a new learning system that blends state-of-the-art instructional technology with our proven proprietary approach to supplemental learning. With SylvanSync™, Sylvan’s certified instructors incorporate the use of an iPad® to create a more engaging educational experience for students and extend the learning of reading, math and other skills into the home and onto mobile devices.


Sylvan Learning located in <City> is deeply dedicated to helping children build their reading skills. In addition to the leading-edge SylvanSync system, Sylvan also offers a range of free resources—including reading lists and online learning aids— aimed at helping children acquire the reading skills they need.


Black History Month provides parents with the perfect opportunity to use reading to bring this important history alive for their child while helping to build their student’s reading skills. Each of the books in our recommended reading list offers an excellent window into black history at the appropriate level for each grade.


Elementary School

Kindergarten: God Bless the Child by Billie Holiday
A Picture Book of Rosa Parks by David A. Adler and Robert Castilla
Grade 1: Big Jabe by Jerdine Nolan
I Dream of Trains by Angela Johnson
Grade 2: I’ve Seen The Promised Land: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther Kind, Jr. by Walter Dean Myers
If a Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks by Faith Ringgold
Grade 3:  Ella Fitzgerald: The Tale of a Vocal Virtuosa by Andrea Davis Pinkney
Beautiful Blackbird by Ashley Bryan
Grade 4: When Grandmama Sings by Margaree King Mitchell

Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges and Margo Lundell

Grade 5: Zora and Me by Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon

A Pride of African Tales by Donna L. Washington

Middle School

Grade 6: Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson

Extraordinary People of the Harlem Renaissance by Stephen P. Hardy

Grade 7:  Caleb’s Wars by David L. Dudley

Promises to Keep: How Jackie Robinson Changed America by Sharon Robinson

Grade 8:  The Black Americans: A History in Their Own Words by Milton Meltzer
Somehow Tenderness Survives: Stories of Southern Africa by Hazel Rockman

High School

Grade 9: The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron by Howard Bryant

The Glory Field by Walter Dean Myers

Grade 10: The Collected Works of Langston Hughes: The Poems by Langston Hughes
Narrative of Sojourner Truth by Sojourner Truth
Grade 11: Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln by

John Stauffer

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Grade 12: A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Parents with children in grades K-8 also can take advantage of Book Adventure (, a free, online Sylvan Learning reading resource that provides a fun way to motivate children to read. Book Adventure lets children search for books, read them offline, come back to quiz on what they’ve read, and earn prizes for their reading success.

Book Adventure also features Parent’s Place, where parents can monitor their child’s reading progress, track quiz results, approve their child’s prize selection and help them find their next book to read. The site also includes a number of valuable resources, including ideas, informative articles and online tools parents can use to help motivate their child to read.


For additional information and educational resources, visit us on the web at or call 1-800-31-SUCCESS.




About Sylvan Learning

Sylvan Learning is the leading provider of tutoring to students of all ages, grades and skill levels with over 30 years of experience and more than 800 centers located throughout North America. Sylvan’s trained and Sylvan-certified personal instructors provide individualized instruction in reading, writing, mathematics, study skills and test-prep for college entrance and state exams. For more information, call 1-800-31-SUCCESS or visit


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