Courtest of Doug May

Having a sibling is one thing, but sharing the womb with your sibling is something else entirely. 

For Don and Doug May, that bond has always made them feel unique.

"Our mom used to take us around to twin contests. It was clear to us pretty early on that we had a special relationship," Doug says. "We got a little bit of the 'Well, you're cuter than your brother,' and whatnot but we dealt with it. Being a twin is special. Everybody wants to feel special."

This hour, we'll look at why at least a couple of million people have paid $99 (and often lots more) to have their DNA tested to find out about their ancestry and in some cases, their family's health traits.   Leading web sites and have had more than a million people each pay the fee to receive long and detailed reports on their ancestry going back usually five generations.

Photo Courtesy of Rachel Scheib

More than two million couples will get married in the United States this year. Forty percent of those marriages will be second marriages for one or both spouses, and often there are kids involved. What’s the best way to approach a second marriage with children in mind?

Rachel Scheib is a stepmom and mother from Des Moines. She says she did her research before marrying her husband, Tim, who has three daughters from a previous marriage.

Linda Nebbe

Birth order has long been considered an indicator of personality, but the relationships we have with our siblings may have an even larger impact.

"Not only are siblings with us for the entire ride, [...] they're with us in our formative years. They're with us when our social software, our emotional software is still being booted up. And since they're there in those primal stages, they're also the people who help write those lines of code."

Vox Efx / Flickr

In Iowa, there are around 6,000 kids in the foster care system. While many of those are children of color, foster parents are mostly white. How much does it matter?


While the holidays may be called the most joyful time of the year, many people simply find them to be the most stressful.

Christiane Tas / Wikimedia Commons

Inheritance of any family business is a sticky issue. But when that family business doubles as your childhood home, emotions run even higher.


Approximately 11 million Americans suffer from an eating disorder.  These diseases are hard to understand, difficult to treat and often deadly. 


Cupcakes have taken the U.S. by storm in the last few years; but cakes, large and small, have always been an important part of our culture.  Host Charity Nebbe discusses family recipes and gourmet innovation with Evelyn Birkby, Iowa’s most famous homemaker and columnist for the Shenandoah Evening Sentinel.

Tinsel Tales Two

Dec 25, 2013
Jelene Morris

Continuing with the tradition of the first "Tinsel Tales," host Lynn Neary brings another hour of the best and most requested holiday stories. Joy, hope, and childhood memories overflow as NPR voices, past and present, tell stories of the season.

Ho, Ho, Huh?

Dec 25, 2013
Albert Herring

Authors Ron Carlson, Frank O'Connor and George Shephard each present a different side of the Christmas experience. Also humorist Calvin Trillin reads a Christmas poem.

amber e/ Love Nest

The holidays bring families together and sometimes that can cause stress.  In fact, navigating family togetherness when hurt and dysfunction abounds can seem impossible.

Nicholas Jones

We’ve made it through Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, but the ads keep coming and will continue for the next three weeks. For many, this emphasis on the material aspects of the holiday season can become overwhelming and may even overshadow the joy and fun of this special time of year.


One thing Midwesterns do better than everyone else (or at least claim to do better than everyone else) is bake pie.  Host Charity Nebbe speaks with Peggy Wolff, editor of the new book Fried Walleye and Cherry Pie about Midwestern cuisine, culture and of course pie.

According to Kate Christensen, she has spent much of her life as, “a hungry, lonely, wild animal looking for happiness and stability.”  In her new memoir “Blue Plate Special" she writes about her life and the food she turned to for comfort as well as sustenance.  Host Charity Nebbe speaks with Christensen about her memoir and life as a writer.

When a child is born, so is a grandmother. Today on Talk of Iowa, we explore the 21st Century grandmother. Host Charity Nebbe talks with a scholar about how the roles of grandmothers have changed over the generations, and she receives some advice for modern grandma’s from the author of “The Grandparents Handbook.”

Guests on today's program include Victoria Brown, L.F. Parker Professor of History at Grinnell College, and Elizabeth LaBan, author of The Grandparent’s Handbook.

The National Guard / Flickr

To most, the word "home" means more than just a place to sleep and store property. This hour Charity Nebbe talks about what home means as well as what it means to lose one's home and find it again with Sally Ooms, author of Finding Home: How Americans Prevail. In her book Ooms profiles people who have been displaced by family pressures, economic pressures, and natural disasters. 


Cupcakes have taken the U.S.

Dana Meinch

Where can you find community and acceptance if you are gay or lesbian and a deeply believing Christian? That’s the question journalist Jeff Chu asks in his new book "Does Jesus Really Love Me?: A Gay Christian's Pilgrimage in Search of God in America." Host Ben Kieffer speaks with Chu about his year-long,  28-state journey he took across the U.S. in exploration of how different Christian denominations discuss homosexuality and interact with gay and lesbian members of their congregations.

Baby Names

Jan 7, 2013
Michael Sarver / Flickr

What does your name say about you? What does the name you give you child mean for them?  Charity Nebbe talks about names with Jennifer Moss, founder and CEO of and English Language expert Patricia O’Connor. Then, listeners share the stories behind their names.

Heartwarming Stories

Dec 21, 2012
Q. Thomas Bower / Flickr

Most of us have someone who has done something or said something that changed our life. Ben Kieffer talks with people who are honoring those family members, teachers, mentors and friends who gave them that pivotal push in the right direction.

Jeremy Bernfeld / Harvest Public Media

This is the ninth installment of My Farm Roots, Harvest Public Media’s series chronicling Americans’ connection to the land. Click here to explore more My Farm Roots stories and to share your own.

Brandon Fahrmeier had a nice job as a sales rep in Ohio for a large company. He and his wife had a nice suburban home. Then they had kids.  

Andrea Silenzi / Harvest Public Media

This is the first installment of My Farm Roots, Harvest Public Media’s new series chronicling Americans’ connection to the land. Click here ( to explore more My Farm Roots stories and to share your own.

Kate Edwards hasn’t always been a farmer. No, she came back to the farm after college, grad school and a stint as an environmental engineer.