What is the Global Aussie Liebster Award?!

What is the Global Aussie Liebster Award?!

We’ve been nominated for our blogging!

February is the month of love.  Boy are we feeling it!  Back in December, we were nominated for the Global Aussie Liebster Award!  This is a peer recognition initiative to discover and encourage new blogs.  We were so excited and thrilled by this!  At that time, we were in the middle of crazy holiday happenings, and decided to wait awhile to mention this in its own post.  

We were nominated by a previously unknown-to-us, fellow blogger Diane Kubes.  I grabbed a quote from her “About Me” page which sums up what she does in the world of marketing.  Kubes helps business leaders and owners market their skills & services.  “The goal of Diane Kubes’ Leadership Circle is to create inspired leaders of excellence who employ core character values that lead to empowered and engaged work teams – with employees that feel valued, and businesses that thrive with the support of authentic copywriting and interactive marketing strategies.

She has created an amazing gratitude journal, “Focused Intentions of Gratitude – A Journal of Positive Thoughts, Gratitude and Focused Intentions to Manifest Success.”  Grab it here!  Thank you, Diane.

What is the Liebster Award?  

Liebster is a German word that means “means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome.”  The Liebster Award was started in 2011.  Bloggers nominate other bloggers for this award.  It is to recognize, connect and support new blogs.  This award has specific rules for each honoree. Check them out here.

The Global Aussie Liebster Award|www.yayas2cents.com

The Liebster Award

Why Do We Blog?

Ann and I are in this blogging business together.  We feel extra honored to be selected by someone outside of our area of expertise!  Our blog was started as a way to connect with other parents of teens.  We remember when our kids became teenagers, and all of our previously known parenting rules needed to change.  

As our blog continues, we hope to answer questions, provide advice and tools for parents.  It is fun to form relationships, and as our community grows we hope to connect with more new readers.

Over the years we’ve asked lots of questions, adapted our game plans, and moved forward with our kids one day at a time.  Our goal with this blog is to help other parents going through this crazy time of parenthood with teens; hopefully with common sense, humor, and good advice.

Our fellow nominees are:










I  have visited each of these blogs, and they are all so different and amazing!  Click on a few and maybe you will find a new blog to follow.  

Diane Kubes shared 10 random facts about herself, so we will share 10 as well.  5 from Ann and 5 from Mel.


1  I’ve lived in 4 time zones- California, Missouri, Florida and Japan.

2  I cry when I laugh almost every time.

3  My all time favorite sandwich is peanut butter and butter on white bread with wavy lays potato chips inside!!

4  Nothing random about loving wine.

5  My nickname is Boo.


1  I am an Irish twin.  My sister was born 11 months after me.

2  My favorite food is Mexican.  I love a trip to Dallas and all the choices there!

3  I love to travel, but I am a homebody at heart.

4  Sleeping is my favorite.  I could go to bed at 8, get up at 8, take a nap and go to bed at 8 again!

5  My 2 favorite movies have Jimmy Stewart in them.  Shenandoah and It’s A Wonderful Life.


Diane gave us 11 questions to respond to.  So, here are the questions and our answers…

  1.  Who is/was the most influential person in your life, and why?

Mel:  My children.  I want to be a better person for them.

Ann:  My parents. They exemplify how to live a good life.

  1.  What do you deem the most important character trait of a boss?

M:  Consistency.  Employees need to know what to expect.

A:   Having an open door policy.

  1.  Identify a challenge that you faced and overcame.

M:  Basically teaching myself to bill insurance at my husband’s office, not in my area of expertise!

A:   Moving from Missouri to Florida with no job (or home!). Whew.

4.    What is your number one pet peeve – and why?

M:  The sound of crunching paper or plastic–eeeeew!

A:   Fingernails on a chalkboard.

  1.  What tip do you have to lead a balanced life with work, family, health, fitness, etc. challenges?

M:  Moderation.  A little of each, and don’t stress if you can’t get to it all in 1 day!

A:   Make a plan and write it down! I’m trying this with a planner and saying “I am going to do x.   Write it down and you’re more likely to get things accomplished.

  1.  What advice do you have for other new bloggers?

M:  Find a partner, it’s much more fun!  Don’t give up!

A:   Patience and ask for help. Work on foundation first and then add more.

  1.  Name a resource (blog, app, course, etc.) you used and found helpful as a new blogger?

M:  Start a mom blog

A:  Women winning online

  1.  Name a creative way to show recognition and appreciation to an employee or team?

M:  Leave a note somewhere telling them something positive.

A:  At my current job, we recognize our coworkers with a Mermaid doll who we call Sea Sea. She gets passed around when a coworker recognizes good work or something special that employee has done. An email is sent out to the team announcing who the honoree is for the month.

  1.  As a child, what career did you aspire to learn about/become/practice when you grew up?

M:  I always wanted to be a teacher.  

A:   Same here.

10.   If you were to pursue a second career in your mid-life, what would it be?

M:  Blogging, which I am now doing:)

A:  I hope to make this side gig successful for traveling during retirement!

  1. What is your New Year’s Resolution in 2018, or a specific goal you have set for yourself?

M:  For Ann and I to continue to grow our blog, so we can help other parents.

A:   I don’t like the word resolution. I like intention. I don’t know if I have a specific goal but to just keep learning and acquiring new skills. There is so much to blogging!


Our nominations for this award

Each one has exemplified the “Liebster” characteristics in some way for us over the past year.







Some questions for our nominees…


  1. Who do you plan to help with your blog?
  2. What blog motivated you the most to get started?
  3. What brings you joy?
  4. Who inspires you?
  5. Where would you like to travel to?  Why?
  6. What’s the best advice you’ve received?
  7. What is your favorite book or series of books that you have read in the last year?
  8. What do you wish you knew more about?
  9. What are 3 words that someone would use to describe you?
  10. What is your secret talent?

Thank you!

Thank you to Diane Kubes.  Thank you to our readers.  Thank you to the maker of the Global Aussie Liebster Award.  Good luck to our fellow nominees, and to the blogs we have nominated.

Happy Valentine’s and keep sharing the love!


Budget Friendly Ideas for the Holidays!

Budget Friendly Ideas for the Holidays!

Are You Ready to do More with Less this Holiday Season?

There are many ways to celebrate the Holidays.  I tell myself every year I’m going to save up or shop early and it never fails, life intervenes and my budget is shot.  Sound familiar?  Here we are just 2 months out. There is still time to plan!  I’ve have been searching the internet and asking friends for ideas on ways that they spend their holidays, and surprisingly, most of their favorite gifts don’t cost anything, or at least not much. (note: there are affiliate links in this post to help support our blog)

Here Are Some Low Budget Suggestions

The 4 Gift Rule

low budget gift giving, holidays

small holiday package

I’m sure many of you have heard of the 4 Gift Rule.  It goes like this.  You tell your family that they will each receive 4 gifts this year: something they NEED, something they WANT, something to WEAR, and something to READ.  If you don’t want to do just 4 gifts. You can do variations and/or additions to this rule which can be:  a gift to MAKE, a gift to EAT, and ONE more thing.  Of course, any variation of this is great! The 4 Gift Rule can really help your budget and also help your child focus on what’s important and what they really want.

My family had our own gift giving tradition.  Since there were 3 Wise Men that visited baby Jesus, that meant that there were 3 gifts.  Our boys each received 3 gifts for Christmas while they were growing up from both us and Santa.  Now, obviously, the gifts are just from us, no more Santa.  This is/was great because it really limits the amount of shopping that we have to do.  We also love to do lots of inexpensive and fun little items for each stocking which I look for all year long.  

Give to Charities

Another option for giving gifts, would be to look outside of the home to the many charities out there that do great things all over the world.  Charities can be local, national, or international.  Some great organizations to look into would be:  Heifer International, Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Christmas Child box, Operation Gratitude for soldiers overseas, Angel Tree which gives gifts to children whose parents are in prison, or your local food bank.

“No Money” Gifts

low budget holiday gifts

Holiday Baking


There are many “no money” gift ideas.  These include things that your kids can make or ways to spend time with them which is already a great gift!  I’ve listed some ideas below but I am sure that you could come up with some on your own, once I get you started…


  1. Bake holiday cookies,  (this is a link to some yummy recipes!) –preferably ones that you can decorate because that is so much more fun!  Take some to an elderly neighbor or a teacher.

2.  Create a scavenger hunt around the house, neighborhood or city. Invite friends and have a friendly competition. Then meet for dinner at a favorite local restaurant and give out prizes for the most original treasures that were found.

3.  Make hot chocolate and head out to see the local Christmas lights.

4.  Pop in a holiday movie and string popcorn and cranberries for your tree.

5.  Have a family game night with your favorite carols playing in the background.

6.  Start a holiday journal.  Keep track of things your family is grateful for, traditions that you celebrate each year and new ones that you would like to start.

7.  Send a handwritten letter to someone far away by snail mail.  Tell them your favorite memory that you have with them or something that makes them special to you.

Does this put you in the mood for Christmas?  It is a little early, but sometimes with a little planning and thought, the actual season might be a little more relaxing and enjoyable.  We hope that some of these ideas help you in the coming months.  We are working on our gift guides and will post soon!

Let us know if your family has any holiday traditions that we should try!

6 Books You Should Read if You’re the Parent of a Teenager

6 Books You Should Read if You’re the Parent of a Teenager

6 Books To Read When Raising Teenagers, In No Particular Order

I was thinking the other day about all the information in my head about raising kids, teenagers in particular. I am a such a reader, that it is really hard to pin down my favorites, because I rarely meet a book that I don’t like.  We are all looking for answers, strategies, and ideas to try.  I tried to think about where I have looked over the years to help us when we were frustrated or upset, or just needing a few pointers.  When it comes to parenting, here are 6 of my favorite go-to books. (*affliate links are included in this post.)

1) Teen-Proofing Fostering Responsible Decision Making in Your Teenager I have to say that John Rosemond is my parenting mentor, guru, go-to guy!!!!!!!  I have every single book of his, or did have, because I have loaned out some and never got them back!  He is amazing.  No nonsense, but loving strategies that work.  He terms himself as a parent, as someone who uses “grandma’s law”.  I love him!

If you have toddlers, then Making the Terrible Twos Terrific was awesome, that’s the first book of his that I read.  I have recommended it hundreds of times to personal friends and families that I have come into contact as a preschool teacher.  

Teen-Proofing research was begun by him as a parent of teenagers himself years ago.  This is a great book to refer back to again and again, as are all of his books.  “Managing teens so they make self-protective rather than self-destructive decisions is teen-proofing.”  The book is full of real world examples that are simple to implement.  

2) This was a book that I had to read back when I was still teaching, long before I had my own kids, let alone teenagers, but it was so good that I held onto it.  On the back of the book, the blurb says, “…Dr. Seligman explains how to break an “I-give-up’ habit, develop a more constructive explanatory style for interpreting your behavior, and experience the benefits of a more positive interior dialogue.  These skills can help break up depression, boost your immune system, better develop your potential, and make you happier.”  Huh!  That’s a big mouthful, but really it means that you can learn how to talk to yourself in a more  positive way.  I had to read it, so I did.  It’s a bit text booky, but really interesting.  So, I do recommend it because it gives real life examples and you really can use the information to change your life for the better, which in turn will help your kids, your marriage, really all aspects of your life.  It truly might save someone’s life with some of these strategies.

 3) The Optimistic Child is a sequel to Seligman’s first book with children specifically in mind.  It shows the relationship between what children think and how it affects their lives.  “This book shows that learning the skills of optimism not only reduces the risk of depression in children but also boosts school performance improves physical health, and provides them with the self-reliance they need as they approach the teenage years and adulthood.”  

Again, a bit text booky, but so applicable!  I have tried to use many of the strategies with my kids in conversations over the years.  As I am skimming through to write this post, I am amazed at all the strategies that I could still use, and thinking maybe I will reread a chapter or two!  You can teach your child how to talk to him or herself in their heads.  It is amazing how negative we can be to our own selves.  This book and his first show how this is a skill that can be taught (and learned!)  both for adults and kids.  Try it:)


4)  The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch  Ok, this is a gem.  Pausch wrote this as a “last lecture” which many professors are asked to do imagining that it is the end of their life and wanting to share a great lesson.  He actually was dying, and it truly was his last lecture.  But, it wasn’t about dying.  His lecture and the book are all about LIVING.  I have read snippets and chapters out loud to my kids at bedtime, in the car on trips, in the middle of a teenage drama scene in our own house…  His words are great, and not to be forgotten.  Life is too short, so get busy!



5)  Cleaning House: A Mom’s Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement This book is hilarious.  It is the journal of Wyma’s year of working with her family to get back to the real world.  She has a great writing voice, and I loved everything she had to say.  She breaks down each month’s goal into bite-sized chunks, gives advice to the reader about the ups and downs of living through this experience.

She has a blog called The MOAT blog www.themoatblog.com  (MOAT stands for A Mother of Adolescents and Teens) which I recommend.  She did a bootcamp this past summer with her Cleaning House goals in mind.  

I have 3 boys, and the last thing that I want a future daughter-in-law to say to me is that my son doesn’t know how to help around the house.  All of my boys know how to cook and clean, among other things.  It was nice to read her book for affirmation that I am not the only “mean mom” around!

6) the Homework Hassle John Rosemond  I told you that I was crazy about this guy!  This is again a book that we have gone back to again and again over the years.  Such practical and user friendly advice.  We have used many of his strategies, and I will have to say ALL have worked.  His advice is the type that you do a headslap and say, “Why didn’t I think of that?!”  

I’m a teacher, and I wish that I had known about this guy back when I was in my 4th grade classroom.  The main thing that I like about this book is that it helps the parent move the child to independence at school which leads to more success at school.  

Okay, so that is my list for your reading pleasure.  I always like to have a parenting book with me as well as a book for pleasure.  Actually, I’m such a book nerd, that I love these non-fiction parent-help books just as much, maybe even more than some fiction because they are so helpful.  It’s always good to feel smarter at the end of the day.  

Good luck, and let us know if you have any parenting books that you would recommend!

3 Ways Teenagers are the Same as Toddlers and Why!

3 Ways Teenagers are the Same as Toddlers and Why!

Toddlers Vs. Teenagers…Are they so different?

These girls will be teenagers soon!How are teens different than toddlers? 

My life today consists of teenagers.  But, I love to read about all kinds of topics including parents in earlier stages of this game called life.  I just read a blog post yesterday written by a mama of 2 preschool girls.  She has a darling family, and she is a great writer by the way, Jordan Hall and her blog is called A Sprinkle of Jo. Her post was about the annoying habit of toddlers using the word “mom” one million times a day and how it was really getting to her.  It was a great article because it was spot on.  I remember those days.  Those days when it’s a good thing your kids are cute (at least to you…most of the time…) or you might pitch them out the window!  They need you so much and want you even more.  (Note: Amazon affiliate links are included in this post).

Those days are gone now, sort of.  

When I was thinking about writing this post, I started to think how fleeting those toddler days are.  

For me, they lasted a little longer.  We have 3 boys, but they are spread out age-wise 7 years.  So, I was the mother of a toddler/preschooler for nine years if I start counting when my oldest was two until my youngest went to kindergarten.  Not so fleeting!  And, to add insult to injury, when my youngest entered kindergarten, my oldest had just turned 13.  So, I went from toddlers to teenagers in the space of one summer.  I had not realized this, and it explains a lot!

No wonder my husband and I are tired.  We have not caught a break from toddlers or teenagers for 18 years.  My oldest just turned 20, one less teenager, but, one week later, my youngest turned 13.  This means that we have 7 more years to go with teenagers.  I think I want to go back to bed…

Seriously, though, I think that parenting teens is just as exhausting as parenting toddlers, but it’s more of a mental exhaustion.  

–Toddlers have physical needs to be met.  

They are learning to do things for themselves.  Feeding them 3 meals a day, getting them to bed on time, and making sure that they stay active are the ways this happens.  Obviously, there are more things than this, but those are the basics.

–Teenagers also have the same physical needs.  

They have hopefully learned how to take care of themselves in general by now.  But, they are so busy, you still have to at least provide the food—just wait for those grocery bills!, get them to head in the direction of bed at an appropriate time, and encourage them to be active.  Again, this is a list of basics.

Teenagers togetherThe difference is that teenagers know things by now, and are much smarter, which makes the entire process more challenging because they’d like to be the ones in charge of themselves.  Toddlers like to be in charge too, but hopefully, with good parenting you have nipped that in the bud, and you might have some fairly peaceful years during elementary school.  Teens still need to be told, but this is a process which needs to be carefully navigated.

Make an observation like, “Your morning went really well yesterday.  Why do you think that was?”  Get your teen to think about things, to realize on their own, what works and what doesn’t work.  These “almost adults” will be leaving you soon, like it or not.  Telling them to go to bed isn’t helping them to learn anything at all.  This is a great way to start conversation with a teenager.  They can be a bit touchy, so try different approaches, even with each of your teenagers.  What works for one may not work with the next.  Keep trying though, that’s the key.   

Some of your parenting becomes suggestions and leading questions.  

“I’m heading to bed soon, what are you thinking?”  This, hopefully, leads to a decent conversation about what their next day holds.  This can be tricky, so be careful that it doesn’t turn into an argument.

Tone is everything with a teenager.

 I am really bad about forgetting this.  This is a bad mistake.  It starts everything off on the wrong foot.  Take a deep breath and start again.  There are lots of apologies on both sides, but we are learning.  I must be a slow learner since I already have a 20 year old, and I’m still saying, “I’m sorry,” a lot.

–Toddlers need structure in their days.  

This helps them to learn and feel safe.  A couple of good rules and consistency on your part with a pair of vigilant eyes at times, and you are good to go.

–Teenagers also need structure in their days.  

This helps them to learn and feel safe.  It just looks a lot different.  This is the time of driving, dating, nights out with friends, and all sorts of other adventures.  The thing is that they aren’t with us for all of these activities.  So, what are the rules?  How can you keep them safe?  I talk about the book, Teen-Proofing Fostering Responsible Decision Making in Your Teenager by John Rosemond, in another post.  He has great ideas for setting up this structure.

Here’s the thing.  You have to have rules, and they have to be firm, but flexible.  And, you CANNOT keep them safe.  This is the mentally stressful and scary part.  We, as parents, know all the things that could happen, but teenagers think that they are invincible, and just don’t think things through.  They CANNOT in fact think things through.  Brains are not fully developed until mid-20’s, and never is this more evident than when you are in the middle of a discussion with your teenager about why he needs to be home by 11:00 on a Friday night when he is 16.

Finally, both toddlers and teens have milestones in their lives.  

–Toddlers have some big milestones in their little lives.  

Learning to talk and walk, potty training, dressing themselves, feeding themselves, writing their names…These are just a few.  This is such a fun era as you watch your kiddos start to develop all of these skills.  These things hopefully all happen before kindergarten.  

–Teenagers also have some major milestones happening in their lives.  

Going through puberty alone is a huge event.  So, keep the lines of communication open while this is happening because this is a very confusing and overwhelming time in life!  You know the other big events:  getting a driver’s permit, getting the actual license, heading from middle school to high school and then to college or perhaps right into the working world.  All of this happens over a longer period of time than toddlerhood, but there is so much to figure out as they move through all of these events they need more time!

I guess my major thought on all of this, now that I have written this post, is that raising kids, to quote a cliché, “is quite a journey.”  I cannot tell you what your rules should be for your family.  

I will say that our rules evolved over time with our boys.  The main thing is trust.  We set rules and expect them to be obeyed.  Once they proved to us that they could be trusted, then we were open for discussion.  

We always told them to be aware that no matter where they were or what they were doing that they would be caught.  Maybe not at the time, but we would find out from someone.  This has been the case every time one of them would try to get away with something.  

The beginning of raising a child is busy and exciting and exhausting.  Rest while they are in elementary school, because the end is just as busy and exciting and exhausting but, in a totally different, but equal way.  

Support your fellow parents!

 No matter where they are in this journey.  We all need help and understanding all the time!  

Do you see any similarities in these two age groups?  Have any stories to share?  We’d love to hear them:)