Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Green Photo Stream

Scott's House Fern
Wheat Grass
Favorite Garage Sale Find - Green Living Room Chair

Pioneer Woman is asking folks to submit their green photographs.  I am not any where close to a good photographer, like all these people whose pictures are featured.  But, I like green.  So, I took some pictures today around my house & yard.

A Flower called Euphorbia
My Snowball Flowers
Young Concord Grape Cluster
My Easter Shoes

Even though I have no chance of winning, which one would be your top pick to submit to the contest?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Marriage Talk Monday: Consider the Other

"Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, 
but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself;  
do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interest of others."

This passage from the book of Philippians is extremely applicable to marriage.  Knowing this is how our marriages should look & getting our marriages to look this way are two different things.
Here's a try at applying it to my marriage in my day to day life.

I'm so tired tonight.  I need sleep.  I don't want to be the one to get out of bed & take the tot to the bathroom.
 My husband is tired, too.  He needs sleep, too.  If I roll myself out of bed I can look out for his interests.

He's late coming home from work.  And, I'm having a hard day.
I need to put away the selfish self-pity attitude.  It is in conceit that I just assume that my day has been harder, or that my needs should be put first.  Look out for the interest of others.

We both have something we want to do on Saturday, without the kids.  I offer to stay home with the kids & let him go do his thing.  I then feel resentment that he accepted my offer.
My decision wan't selfless sacrifice.  Playing the bitter martyr is self focused conceit.  I acted like I care about him first, but I really was still counting my own interests as the most important.

I criticize his method of doing something, or some new idea he has.
Putting myself first again!  God says I need to regard Scott as more important than myself & be humble.


Friday, March 26, 2010

It is Rainy Out There

Hello Flashback Friday.
I did a super bad job scanning/cropping my pictures today!

This is Dingle Bay.  All of these here are views from our room.  We got to stay at Emlagh Lodge a little longer than we planned.  We kinda got stuck in Dingle Town.
Maggie, our innkeeper, was super cool.  She helped us out when we never knew what time it was.  (We didn't have watches)  She helped us figure out the bus schedule. I think she even drove us to the bus stop when we were running late.
There was this nice little trail that we walked along the bay to get into the town.  
We usually had a hard time finding a dinner place open, when we were ready to eat.  Only pubs were open at 5.  Restaurants didn't open until we were ready to be in bed.  Maggie made fun of the Americans who went to bed so early.
It rained most of the time.  And there wasn't a whole lot to do here.  When it wasn't raining, we ate ice cream & looked at menus.  We loved this little town.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My Little Buttercup

Has the sweetest smile.

Free Books

I just started selling all the books I don't want anymore on Amazon.  It's great.  I just sold my 2nd book today.  I've made $15.  Now we can buy another book or two.  
Amazon takes a commission cut on all your sales.  But, Amazon is where people search for books.  So, it seemed worth it to me.  
Another way to get free books is to bookmooch.  My mom & sister do this one.  No money is exchanged.  By giving books, you get points to get more books from someone else.

In case you couldn't tell, I am feeling a little uninspired for Thrifty ideas.  Who wants to be a guest blogger for Thrifty Thursday?  Do you have a good idea to share?

No More Cleaning Up

I am not going to clean up anything else today.  I hope.  Today has bee an interesting day.  My son has unrolled an entire roll of toilet paper and used parts of the whole thing to wipe his dirty bottom.  Thus getting the dirtiness from his bottom more places.  Bath time.  Clean up the bathroom.  Take out the trash.
He pulled leaves off of one of daddy's indoor plants.  Got disciplined.  As I cleaned up the leaves, he went back & pulled even more off.  Even bigger mess.  Still all over the carpet.
Dumped a bag of snacks out.  Had them taken away.  Later gets another bag of snacks and put all the big pita chips into my water bottle (that had water in it).  All the tiny crumbs just got dumped on the couch.
Just a minute ago while I was putting Moira down for a nap, Gillian came to tell me that Peyton was cracking my eggs.  I rushed through the house to try to find where the 4 eggs missing from the flat had been thrown.  Thankfully, he was cracking them right into the trash can.  There was only egg on him to be cleaned up.
I am going to bake this afternoon.  And, leave my house a mess.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Vintagish Springy Birthday Party

This was so much fun!  I got to do the flowers for the Plant Sciences, Inc. big birthday bash last weekend.  We were going for a springy vintage feel.  I did a unique bouquet for each of the 12 twelve tables & displayed them on cake stands.
Each table was named after a PSI plant variety (Strawberries, Raspberries & Artichokes).  Scott's first patented Raspberry variety is Grandeur.  I set his favorite bouquet at that table.  And, that's were we got to sit, too.
I couldn't pick a favorite.  I loved too many of them.  Bliss was right on top.  And Virtue.  I loved that one, too.
The bouquets went as a gift to someone at each table after dinner.  The person who had a piggy sticker on their chair.  :)
Then the dessert cakes were brought out!
It was such a fun party.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Commonality May Take Work

In an effort to make the blog more cheesy, I am turning Mondays into Marriage Talk Monday.  Okay?  So, let's talk it up.

I was reading this little Yahoo article on cheap date nights.  I thought some were pretty clever.  Like, I never would have thought of #2.  But, it sounds like a fun date, especially if you don't know anyone in the game or stands.
On the topic of dates, or even whether dates are beneficial or not, I was thinking that the main point is connecting with your spouse.  Working on your oneness bond.

Two couples can do the exact same thing for their date nights.  Each couple can follow the "rules" that many marriage counselors may share - Take time to be with one another & don't talk about kids or the house or work.  The first couple might have a great time & tell everyone else how beneficial the date was for their relationship.  They feel connected & recharged.  But, the second couple went away feeling no more close, no more refreshed.  They felt like the date was boring & a failure.

Do you ever struggle with finding something to talk about?  Maybe life just seems so mundane & there is nothing new to say?  Maybe you are in baby daze, with very little sleep & very little energy to think about much.  Maybe every thing that is interesting to you, isn't interesting to your spouse & the other way around, too.

Seek for commonality.  Work toward it.  Pursue one another's interests.  Seek oneness.  Maybe that means learning about something you thought you had zero interest in.  I don't mean that everything you do should be together, or that everything your spouse takes interest in, you should, too.  But, if you are of the stubborn variety, like myself, who likes to define yourself but what you don't do & don't like, maybe it is time to consider "compromising your personality".
For example, I don't "believe" in running.  You know, for exercise.  It is bad for me.  That's my belief.  If I were married to a runner, who wanted to run with me, I might have to reconsider & compromise my beliefs.  Thankfully, I am not married to a runner.

Anyway.  My main point is, actively pursue good conversation with your spouse.  Work at it.  Sometimes, it might be hard.  How about when day after day you are barely getting enough sleep to safely make it through each day?  You go through the day in a daze, trying to be patient with your little kiddos, not thinking about much of anything else.  I have been through lots of those.  Then, when the day is winding down & Scott and I get a chance to talk, I don't really have anything to say.  "How was your day, Honey?"  Tiring.  "What did you guys do?"  Not much.  You know, feed the kids, cleaned up after it, shopped for food, made dinner  How was your day?  "Tiring.  Just worked on reports all day at the office."  End of conversation.  I had nothing else in my head to talk about.

So, I've been there.  I didn't want to be there, though.  I purposed to do something about it.  I tried to listen to talk radio when I was out in the car, instead of music.  The topic of the radio show would give me something to talk to Scott about. Or, you can listen to a sermon CD.  Or an audio book. Read an article on Crosswalk.com.  They are short.  There are new ones all the time. Conversation food.
Learn something about common interests you share.  Purpose to work on your conversation.  I think being able to talk about meaningful & interesting stuff with your spouse might be step one to successful date.

What are your ideas to ignite conversation?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Flashback Friday

Ferrying across the River Shannon during our honeymoon in 2004.
I think Scott looks so darn cute in this picture.
Oh.  He still wears this t-shirt, too.
It is starting to get frighteningly thin, though.  It doesn't have much time left.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

At Home Latte

I got this recipe for a Blender Latte from my friend Karie's blog.  She is a very thrifty lady herself.  So, if you looking for such inspiration, as well as tips on Momhood, check out her Mom to Mom Network.
I am having a blender latte right now.  And, it is pretty decent.  I was surprised that it actually does froth.  I think I put too much milk in mine, or not enough coffee, or my coffee was too weak.  I don't know.  I didn't measure. But, I'll be needing more caffeine after this cup.
I got up at 3am this morning to go to the SF Flower Mart & be back home before Scott had to leave for work.  I'm a little tired...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Recipe Rodeo - Spicy Cheesy Brunchy

I'm going to throw a brunch recipe into Nini's Recipe Rodeo ring.
I just invented these today.  I needed to come up with a snack food for Scott to bring with him to Beer club tonight.  (He is learning how to become a brew master!)  I was planning to prepare a quiche for our Sunday Breakfast.  So, I decided to make a manly version of quiche, that can be eaten as a finger food.  I call them -

Spicy Cheesy Meaty Hand Pies

Pastry Dough
2 2/3 cup Flour
1 cup salted butter, cold & cut into small pieces
1/2 ice water

Cut butter into flour.  You can do this by hand, or with a mixer or a food processor.  If using a machine, just be sure not to mix it too long.  The butter should be like tiny pea in the flour.
Now slowly mix in a little bit of cold water at a time, just until dough comes together. 
Smash it into a circle, wrap with plastic wrap & chill it in the fridge for about an hour (but longer is fine, maybe up to 2 days or so...)

2 cups gruyere cheese, shredded
4 pieces of bacon, cooked & crumbled
1 small can of diced jalapeno peppers
1 egg
1/3 cup cream

Mix shredded cheese, crumbled bacon & all the peppers & the juice from the can in a bowl.  In a seperate bowl, beat the egg & cream together.  Pour enough of the cream-egg mixture into the cheese mixture to make it all moist, but not soupy.
Add salt & pepper to taste to your cheese filling.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Roll out dough into a rectangle shape, as best you can.  Roll until it is about 1/8" thick, I guess. 
Cut your dough into small rectangles.  Try for bigger than 3" across, or you will have a hard time filling it!
My little hand pies were all different shapes.  But, most of them looked like little shark egg casings to me.  Interesting, I suppose.
Put as much filling as you can in the center of your dough & then fold it over and press all the edges to seal them.

Line a couple cookie sheets with parchment paper if you don't want a gnarly cheesey mess to clean up later.  Put all your little pies onto the sheets.

If you had extra cream & egg mixture, you can brush it on the tops of your pies. 
Put in the oven & back until golden brown, about 25 minutes. 

I taste-tested two hand pies
before sending them on to the meeting, worry-free.

Friday, March 12, 2010

400th Post Giveaway!

I hope everyone is as excited as we are.

Making these little Bow Ties is so much fun.  So, in celebration of my 400th post on this blog, I will make you a bow tie like this.  IF, you win.  All you have to do is comment.  If you have something to say about Easter clothes, tell us.  But, it's okay if you don't.  And, for a second entry into the drawing, you can "follow" my blog. 

The contest will end March 21st at midnight PST.  IF there are more than 100 entries, I'll award 2 people a bow tie. 
Be sure to include your email address so I can contact you, or I'll have to draw another name.

That would be a bummer!

Visit Mellissa, the woman behind the tie pattern, at her blog The Fraker's Acres.  And, if you want to make your own, go to her Etsy shop to get her pattern.  Easter is about 1 month away.  But, the tie will take you less than an hour to make. 

***  This is a real bow tie.  No clips.  You have to tie it.  I think it took me longer to learn how to tie it, than it took to sew it!
AND, it is not just for toddlers.  Enter for your guy up to size 10 years.

We have another tie thrown into the contest!  Mellissa has offered one of her own.  See below.  She's much better at making these little guys (& better at tying them) than I.  One of you will win this one in the size of your choosing.

Flashback Friday

Maybe this will bore you.  But, for the month of March, I'm gonna flashback to our Irish honeymoon every week.

Scott & I stayed in a little town called Doolin for 1 night.  I don't know why I chose that town.  The inn was more like a Motel 6.  And, there was nothing going on in the town.  Nothing.  There was pretty much nothing there.  The tavern that we ate at happened to be our favorite meal from the trip, though.
It was near to the Cliff of Moher.  We had wanted to go there.  That was our planned day trip.  I asked the inn keeper if there was a taxi service we could call, to take us to the cliffs.  He gave me a map & said it was a brief walk.  No need to drive.
I headed out in flip flops.  It was a 2 hour walk there.  One way.  Up hill.  The whole way.  Tour bus, after tour bus passed us by.  One eventually stopped.  As we walked near, the driver opened the door & called out to us.  He offered us a ride.  As we boarded, he told us that he had already been down with one group & had seen us walking.  Now he was coming up with a new load of people.  And, we were still walking.  He laughed at us crazy honeymooning Americans.  He said we could ride back down with him for free if we came back to the bus before their departure.  We took him up on the offer.

Oh. The cliffs were spectacular, by the way. At one point, we went to join a bunch of people who were laying on the ground, right at the edge, heads hanging off to look straight down. We laid there for a minute or less. Then we looked at each other. Why join in on such idiotic behavior? One gust of wind and we're goners. We carefully stood up & went about our visit in a more prudent manner.

Sewing for Kids

Sorry to be a day late on this.  Thrifty Thursday was on my mind.  But, also occupying my fingers.  I have been in the sewing groove most of the week.  I don't fall in very often.  So, I like to kinda ride the wave all the way through, while everything else is crashing down around me.  As long as there is still room for my sewing, it's okay if there is an inch of dog hair building up on the floor, toys strewn about like an obstacle course, dirty dishes stacked on every kitchen counter.  What's for dinner?  Boxed mac n' cheese!
Anyway.  This is what I am talking about.  I made these pants for Peyton.  And the bow tie.  It cost me less than $5 combined.
There are many reasons to sew.  But, sewing for the small ones has the added perk of being super cost effective.  In the stores, clothes for kids can often cost as much money as clothes for adults.  But, the fact that their clothes require very little fabric (the main expense) makes sewing a thrifty deal. 
I learned how to make these pants from Dana at Made.  She has a tutorial for making pants that is really easy to follow.  It was so simple.  I can't believe I didn't start sewing pants for the munchies earlier.  Peyton & I were both so excited with the finished product. 
The bow tie was so easy & quick & fun!  I am addicted.  I got that pattern from Mellissa at Fraker's Acres.  If you think the bow tie is cool, stay tuned.  I have a surprise up my sleeve.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

He's Only a Husband

This one is on my mind right now, as my husband has been working long days this week....

Back when I first got married,  I was always so sad to see my husband leave.  And, so excited to see him every single time he came home. 
When we got back from our honeymoon & he had his first day back on the job, I think I cried.  Let me think a second...  Yep.  I know I cried.  So hard to be left alone, when I love you so much.  (sob, sob, sob...)  And then, just as I was getting used to the whole "husband going to work thing", I got sick.  I was so distraught that he had to go to work & leave me at home.  Sick.  By myself.  Bored.  Alone.  (I was not super ill, folks.  I probably had a low grade fever or something...  But, I didn't remember this ever happening to me.  Seriously.  I had lived at home my whole life & with 11 other people in the house, was almost never alone.)
Then serious grief came our way.  I often recall one morning when I was crying a lot & felt especially needy.  Scott came home for lunch and we had a good talk & I cried more with him.  Then, he had to go back to work.  I was shocked.  I still needed him here.  How could he leave me at a time such as this?  He knew I was sad.  He told me to take my cares to Jesus.  Well.  That made me mad.  How could he just be so pietistic & just tell me to pray about it? 
After grumbling for a while & feeling sorry for myself, I guess I stopped & looked to Jesus long enough to realize the truth.  The truth is, Scott was right.  The truth is, Scott is only my husband.  He can't be there to hear all the groanings & troubles & sorrows & worries of my heart.  God is God.  My husband is not God.  Jesus is there for me, to hear my cares.  And, he understands them.  Like no one else ever can. 

Dear reader, always be aware to keep God in His throne & your spouse(friends, parents, children..) in there own place.  Do not let your love turn to idolatry. 

God will give you all the grace you need.  No one else can fill all of your voids.  Only Jesus can.  You will never be happy & content, as long as you look to your idols to meet your needs. 

My husband has seasons of travel for his work.  Sometimes we can tag alongSometimes we can't.  Sometimes he just works really long hours & I have the kids by myself from dawn to dusk.  And you know what?  That's okay.  God's grace is sufficient.  I don't want to grumble.  I want to be thankful that he has a great job that he loves so much.  And, most of all, I want to be thankful that Jesus will sustain me through whatever He calls me to.  I don't need to throw myself across the couch & sob all day. 
I do still want to be super excited to see my husband every time he comes home.  That's a good thing.

Like a Roomba, Only Different

Baby Moira is getting to be a bigger baby.  She loves to eat.  A lot. 
It really makes her smile.  She's get crazy excited pretty easily, though.  She likes to be silly.  And sweet.  She's our little sweetie baby.
She crawls super fast all over the house.  I am remembering why it is a good idea to sweep the floors while your crawling child is asleep.  If I wait until she is awake, then it becomes a crazy chase game.  And, Moira usually wins & gets to the pile of dirt before it is all cleaned up. 
If I just leave it & don't keep the continually shedded pug hair swept up, then Mo turns into a human swiffer broom.  She just goes on automatic, swiffing everything onto her clothes as she moves along.  You know.  Kinda like a Roomba.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

This is Urgent

I have been thinking about starting a weekly post on the subject of marriage.  Not because I'm a professional.  And, not because I have tons of years in experience.  Only because the matter of our marriages being strong is an urgent  one.
If things are messed up in the marriage relationship, it is not just you that you are hurting.  If you have children, it is affecting them.  But, it is also hurting God.  My marriage (& yours) is to be a picture of Christ & His church.  So, we should be working on our marriages to the glory of God!
Your marriage is the most important earthly relationship.  You & your husband are one.  God has joined you together!  And yet, look around you & you can see that marriages are falling apart all the time.  The matter is urgent.

I probably won't have anything too earth-shattering to say.  But, I am going to give it a shot.  And, maybe I can get a few guest bloggers on the issue, too!

Friday, March 5, 2010

It is Time to Get your Brisket on

If you want to serve up a stellar Corned Beef this year for your Saint Patrick's Day meal, try brining your own.  It is really easy.  You just need to have room in your fridge.  And, you need to start early.  In other words, go get your brisket this weekend.  It will be brining in your fridge for 8 days.
Here's the recipe we have used the last two years.  It's fun.  Give it a try!
I got my brisket this morning.  Now I need to clean out my fridge...
I did forget to buy more pickling spices.  I have a little bit left  But, I'll just try to mix up my own, to supplement that.  I found a recipe to use as a springboard.  I'll do something like this -

1 cinnamon sticks, broken

1 tablespoon mustard seeds

2 teaspoons black peppercorns 

1 teaspoon whole cloves

1 teaspoon whole allspice

2 teaspoon dill seeds

4 dried bay leaves

1 teaspoon red chili flakes

Flashing back to our Irish Honeymoon 2004

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Thrifty Thursday: Home Remedies

I got sick with a sinus infection this week. The only other one I've ever had was while I was pregnant with Moira & it was really bad. I was always in pain, couldn't really talk & couldn't sleep. I didn't know what it was until a long while into it.

This time, the 2nd day into it, I knew what it was. I was determined not to go into the doctor to ask for antibiotics. Better for the pocket book & better for my immune system. I started searching the web for sinus infection home remedies. There were tons of ideas. Here's the website I ended up at - Natural Cure Reviews.

I selected a few to try (pretty much at random). I figured I'd give it a couple days.

I started with this idea -
"Place the [heat pad] against your face in the area where your face hurts from the sinus infection (careful not to make it so hot it burns you - you just need warmth), and hold it there for a minute or so. Then, take it off and place the ice pack in the same spot for a minute or two.

Go back and forth between hot and cold for 30 minutes or so. At first it doesn't feel like it is doing much, but it usually breaks loose the mucus so I can breath better. If I do it a few times a day over a couple of days, it usually gets rid of the infection."

It was easy & pleasant. I enjoyed it. I did it numerous times throughout the day.

Then I tried something more intense- snorting garlic onion tea....

"Boil fresh garlic, white onion, and salt.
Inhale the steam (careful not to burn yourself).
Once the mix has cooled to a luke warm state, put 1/4 Cup of the liquid into a ziploc bag. Cut a small hole in the corner of the bag. Lay your head way back over the sink, and place the corner of the bag into your nostril. Slowly lift the bag up so that the mixtures makes it way into your nostril. It doesn't taste yummy, but it doesn't burn and it gives you instant relief!!"
I neglected to follow this one -
"*be sure to AVOID refined sugar, dairy, and wheat during this phase to help speed recovery"
(On day one I was having my cake & eating it, too.)

I woke up this morning and the pressure in my head seemed worse, not better. I wondered if I should give up. Then, I was talking with a prudent friend on the phone & telling her I was ready to go see a doc. She asked me if I had been gargling salt water. I was in the middle of trying to tell her that I'd done something more intense (snorting garlic tea), when a fight broke out amongst the youngins & I had to hang up.

Truth was, I hadn't tried the salt gargle. It seemed too simplistic. But, I decided to give it a go. And... I felt SO much better. I was really amazed. I know to most of you out there, this is not genius. You probably all know about the power of gagging on salt water. But, I didn't. I can't believe I almost spent the time & money to go see a doctor & plea for antibiotics.

I am not against doctors. And, I am not a huge home remedy gal. But, sometimes... What harm is a little salt water going to do you? Why not give it a try.

What sort of home remedies do work for you & your family?


I just went through medical expenses for 2009, while trying to organize my tax documents.

Here's a painful example of way overspending to go to the doctor, because I wasn't thinking.
I thought my kids had chicken pox. But, I wasn't sure. I tried to get advice from other mothers. But, we still didn't know. And, we had adult company coming from out of town, who had never had the pox. So, I felt like I needed to know. So, I took my kids to the doctor. Here was my foolish mistake. Since all I needed was an i.d. of the bumps, I only needed to make an appointment for 1 child. I made an appointment for all 3! $173 is the cost of one appointment at our office. I was the idiot who willing paid $519, instead. What else would I buy without even really considering the price. This one was so unnecessary. Next time I plan to think!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wooly Inspiration

I came across this beautiful online store today, Seven Smooches. The stuff is marvelous & homemade items for little ones. If you don't sew, then maybe you would want to splurge on a purchase here.

But, if you enjoy creating your own hand sewn softies & such, go here for inspiration!
Can you believe how cute this hat is?
And this fabulous boots?!

I wish I knew how to do wool felting. This is so cute!
*All photos are from the Seven Smooches website.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sure Fire Potty Training Tips

A week ago, we took the plunge & started potty training newly turned 2 years old Peyton. He is now potty trained. It took him pretty much four days. Done. Finished. I can't believe it.

Okay. So, let me tell you how this is accomplished.

Step 1. Give birth to a wonder child.

Step 2. Raise the child with a strong desire to succeed in independence & in pleasing you.

Just kidding. Sort of. Peyton was seriously such an easy little guy to potty train. I didn't know he would be. But, he was. My sweet little stinker was really, really easy.

But, I will tell you my potty training tips & methods. Though they are perhaps not Sure Fire, they were taught to me by my mother who successfully potty trained 10 kids. I know people do potty training all different ways. But, here's the way we do it.

Wait until you think they are ready to go all the way.

Things I wait for

-able to clearly communicate that they need to go.

-able to walk (run!)

-keeping a dry diaper for a good chunk of time (so they don't have to be slave to the potty seat).

But, don't wait too long.

The younger ones are often more excited about the whole potty thing, easier to encourage (not so jaded by the world, you know) & hopefully not quite as stubborn.

All kids are different, but, I'm looking for readiness in the 18-26 month range.

Be done with diapers as much as possible.

Don't put your tot in disposable diapers anymore. It can make it confusing for them. If it is bed time, or you need to go out, and you are not confident that they are all the way there, try putting them in a cloth diaper or a good training pant. My favorite trainer pants are ImseVimse. Check it out.

They are cute. My kids really like all the farm critters. And they are super comfy. They are sold in the smaller sizes that are not as available in other brands. And, it keeps small leaks in really well.

Stock up & get ready to go, because you aren't going to leave you house.

Once you start, work in earnest. Help them to focus. Offer them every opportunity to succeed. Don't be putting them in the car & driving around town. That is an accident waiting to happen. (That line is my dad's. I think he made it up. He sure said it a lot when I was a kid.) Get all your household supplies before you begin.

My potty training supply list -

potty chair - we have the Boon bench. I am sure there are tons of good seats out there nowadays. But, I do like this one. It is super hip looking. And, for a boy, the deflector has been fantastic. He learned how to use it super fast & can go on his own now, without any help.

baby gate - If you have a room that you can completely close off & stay in all day, you don't need this.

Child's favorite beverage - plenty of it.

A potty baby doll - This is for a child who hasn't seen the potty chair in action. Peyton has seen Gillian using it for a long time now. He didn't need the doll to understand what to do. We used one with Gillian. It was a really weird looking thing that didn't go potty very well. It only went a few trickles. It was pretty humorous.

Training pants - for bed time & for when you are ready to venture out.

big underwear - as a motivation for when they are doing well enough to wear them.

some little stickers or little candies or treats of some sort.

Stock up on sleep & relaxation, because once you start, you will be a little short on these things.
You need to keep a watchful eye, all the time. And, once they start being aware of when they are wetting, they won't sleep as soundly. You'll have to get up through the night with them when they need to go. And, maybe get up much earlier than before. (Or, you can have a trooper of a husband who does most all of the getting up part, like mine does.)

Set it up.

Designate the room. Where can you hang out all day & not stress out too much about accidents? I happen to have a linoleum room adjacent to my kitchen that is a family room of sorts. Set up your potty chair. Bring in your food, drink, books, toys, paper towels & cleaner... Close off the room. Close the doors. Put up any needed baby gates to keep your young one near you. Have the house warm.

Wake up in the morning & GO!

The house needs to be warm. Your going to let your little one be naked on the bottom. This way you & the child are better aware of what is going on. Keeping the room closed is so that your child is always near & you can look for signs of when they may need to go. You can make sure they aren't hiding in a corner having an accident!

Start the Tea Party

My kids like tea. That works to our benefit for potty training. Tea "goes through you" pretty fast. So, we just hung out & had a tea party all day. Offer fluid to your potty trainer as often as you can. If you are doing the potty doll, give the dolly her drink & show how she goes potty. If you want, you can reward the baby with a sticker or candy.

With all the drinking your child is doing they will get a lot of repetition & be able to catch on to the excitement of going potty in the seat.

Of course, cheer like crazy when they do it correctly. Make them feel like they've done something great.

When your tot is on the younger side, hopefully you can get them excited about doing it right, without having to offer reward. I gave Peyton some little stickers throughout the day. But, it wasn't directly linked to the potty. It was just to keep the excitement level high. But, he had no ongoing expectation of receiving a reward.

Don't Slow Down
The next day, get going first thing. Don't keep the diaper/training pants on them. Take it off & get going. Once they seem to really be "getting it" you can slow down on the amount of liquids you are offering. Let things go back to normal, so he's not having to go as often. When things seem like they are going smoothly, try introducing wearing underwear. Peyton was ready to wear underwear by day 4. Before that, he had an accident every time he had something on. Day 4, he could wear underwear & still be aware when he needed to use the potty. He was wearing underwear that are a little big, so he could take them off easily. We took him out by day 6 & brought the potty chair along. This was after 2 full days of zero accidents.

To sum up - Give them every opportunity to be successful

Most of this is you focusing.

When I started potty training Gillian, trying to follow what my mom had told me, it started out rather poorly, with a high number of accidents. It was because any time I was distracted and not paying attention, she would wander out of sight & go on the floor. I think I was telling my parents how rough it all was. My dad told me if I couldn't focus on this, I just needed to quit. I was just confusing & frustrating my daughter. I wasn't helping her to be successful.

Don't confuse them by letting them go in the diaper, just because you want to be able to leave the house, or spend time making dinner. Don't confuse them by letting them go potty in the backyard, because you don't mind. They may not understand why the back corner of the yard is any different from the corner of the living room. Don't discourage them by showing frustration when they are really trying hard. Do tell them how proud you are of them!

Have your own potty training tips or thoughts? Share with us!

Monday, March 1, 2010

After Sugar Overload, I Drink Water

We had Peyton's little birthday party last night. I didn't take any pictures of it. I didn't even wrap my son's presents. I, the hater of the gift bag. The gift was in a box. It would have been so easy to wrap. And, wrapping presents is very near to the top of my list of favorite things to do. But, I had neglected this task. So, I had to resort to a gift bag. I felt awful about it.
But still, the party was fun. We had a fondue party. Or, perhaps is was more of a sauce party? We served various sauces (Cheese fondue, Tzatziki, Chimichurri, Peanut Sauce) along with a variety of foods to eat with them. Bread, vegetables, meats...
We set up a couple of kid's tables with their own spread. I used lollipop sticks for them, since skewers are too deadly for two year olds. You could also use craft/Popsicle sticks.
The kid sauces were Velvetta Cheese, Ranch Dressing, Peanut Butter & Yogurt Fruit Smoothie.
Their dippers included, graham crackers, marshmallows, french fries, strawberries, bananas, carrots, chicken & more.
It was really cute to watch all the kids standing around the little tables, sampling everything. I think Peyton loved it. He was a little grazer.
I made a giant cupcake cake. I thought it looked kinda funny. But, the kids were so delighted with it. They are always so affirming in stuff like that!
Here's the leftovers.
We have almost finished it off today.
I woke up this morning not feeling too great. I felt like I was getting sick. Maybe I was just tired. A couple of the kiddies didn't sleep too well last night.
I'd been up a few minutes & had the genius idea of having some cake (a bit of a cure-all, you know). So, I shouted, "Who wants cake for breakfast?!" Gillian had to ask me to clarify what I had just said. Perhaps couldn't believe her own ears.

It was still early. She was a little tired.