Friday, April 30, 2010

Keeping It Clean

I can think better when my house is in order. I feel better. I'm happier. I have more time to play with Little Miss instead of running around trying to pick up the clutter. do I keep my house clean with a messy two year old? After professionally cleaning for 9 years - I've got some tricks. Here's what works for me...


Rinse and load the dishwasher as we use dishes - I hate dishes stacked in my sink, and when they're not rinsed they get stinky and stuck on! Plus, if I do it right away and keep up on it - it only takes a half minute more.

Once the dishwasher is full I run it. And unload when I remember (usually naptime). Or my mister will unload for me when he gets home. I hate unloading, and he hates loading. So it works out to split up the task.

(note the play iron in the dishwasher - picked that up at a thrift store, any cleaning toys you can find will help)

If Little Miss is awake I let her help unload it. She loves to put the silverware in the drawer - so I load it accordingly, dangerous knives in the back out of her reach.

We pick up toys and books with Little Miss before we get any more out. Toddlers, kids in general, have a short attention span. It doesn't take long for Little Miss to move on to something else. Since she was just tiny, we've made it a rule and a habit that before we can play with something else - we put our toys away instead of leaving them around the house.

She knows where things go. We sing a fun "Clean Up" song. She usually complies happily. But when she doesn't want to help...I firmly, kindly, and matter-of-fact-ly state, "If you don't help pick up your toys, mommy will have to take them away" - a natural consequence. Toys are a privilege.

She has seen me follow through on this and knows it means business - so she jumps right in to help. Whatever consequence you choose - make sure to follow through!

We do a quick 10 minute clean up before daddy gets home and as Little Miss says "So he can be happy". It's true. We clean up so daddy can come home to a nice, peaceful, clean house. We make it a fun speed game. See who can clean up the fastest.

We do another quick 10 minute clean up before tubby time too. This is when Little Miss tucks her dolly's in for the night. Then the next morning we wake up to a tidy house.

Helping Little Miss pick up her toys has taught her to help others clean up even when she wasn't involved in making the mess. I've seen her jump in to help others before without being asked - it's awesome.


How do you deep clean with kids around? Well, if the underlying theme wasn't obvious above, I'll just state it...involve them!! So I don't get overwhelmed I have a weekly routine I are the basics...

I do all our laundry on Thursday. Little Miss helps collect clothes, bedding, and dish rags. Then she helps carry things to the washing machine. I usually have her help carry her clothes, so she has a sense of personal responsibility. She loves watching the soap and water go in, and she loves helping throw the clothes in.

Friday is our serious cleaning day. Why not Saturday? Because if we get chores done on Friday than we have the whole day Saturday to play with daddy!

I can get the entire house scrubbed top to bottom with Little Miss's help in about two hours and 6 easy steps (this is only possible if I've been keeping up on our daily chores). An added bonus - doing it fast is my workout for the day. Really, I break a sweat. =)
  1. First we clean the fish bowl - she watches while standing on a chair and...doesn't really help much, other than talking "fishy" through it - mostly for the safety of our beta. I get this done in about 5 minutes.

  2. Then we go around the house wiping things down. I take a clorox disinfectant wipe to all the doorknobs, remotes, handles, and light switches. Little Miss uses a baby wipe and cleans her toys, and pretty much anything within her reach. She follows me around each room and is even reaching the doorknobs now.

  3. Then we both get our dusters (I purchased a mini one for her at the dollar store) and get all the dust bunnies in every room. She loves to dust her toys and her bookshelf off.

  4. Next it's bathroom time. After I equip her with a special glove, slightly damp rag, and barely full spray bottle I go to work...toilet bowl cleaner in to soak while I wipe down the mirror, counter, and sink. Then I disinfect all surfaces on our toilet and scrub the inside - while she wipes down her dolly's potty. We switch places and she gets on her stepping stool to check my work on the counter with her rag, while I move on to the tub. Done.

  5. Time to vacuum. Little Miss was scared of the vacuum for a long time - but now she likes to go around "vacuuming" with the wand attachment or her play vacuum (sound effects included) while I do the real stuff.

  6. Final step, mopping. I love mopping. Weird I know. We move everything off of the kitchen/bathroom floors and into the hall or living room. Here it gets really fun. The kitchen chairs magically become train cars and of course Little Miss picks out stuffed animals to go on a train ride with her.
    While I sweep she tells me where they're going. Who they're going to visit. And says "choo-choo" a lot! When the train is stopped at the station, Little Miss likes to help sweep with her very own super cheap dollar store broom. The train ride continues while I mop and while the floor is drying I get in on the train action too.
Two hours tops, six steps, completely clean house that smells lemony fresh and we still have a whole day ahead of us to play!

A clean house helps me be a better mom because I can focus on Little Miss and not be distracted and discouraged by the chaos clutter brings.

Involving your kids in cleaning, teaching them how to clean, why it's important to clean, and making it fun is one of the best gifts you can give them. My mom taught me how to clean at a very, very young age and I am so grateful!

Have any cleaning tips/tricks that involve your kids? Pass on the genius.

(Next week I'll share my secret...technically my mom's secret, to cleaning a stove top...brilliant!)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ladybug Birthday Party

Little Miss turned two last week! Time sure flies! And the theme for her party...ladybugs. She has two nicknames that I most often call her - monkey and my little ladybug...a monkey theme just wasn't girlie enough. So we went with the ladybug.

Luckily I already had a ladybug outfit for her with a ladybug hat. How handy!

A rule I've heard for kid parties and who to invite - when they turn 1, invite 1 friend - when they turn 2, invite 2 friends - 3, 3 friends - and so on.

Well, last year was all family and she didn't really care - but this year we invited her two best little girl friends. She loves the girls and they love her. And they all get along pretty well, so it was great. Anymore kids and I'm sure we would have had more meltdowns. So I'm glad it was just the three of them + mommies to help.

Every party needs balloons.

We painted the sidewalk with water and cheap brushes from the dollar store - they all loved this! It kept them entertained for a very long time.

We had giftbags for the friends (and to avoid a fit, Little Miss got one too) and inside was a ladybug shovel/rake set - so we dug in the dirt for bugs.

Then we decorated aprons with fabric markers. Little Miss loves to cook - so I knew she'd love this.

Adorned with new personalized aprons the girls got to decorate their own cupcakes. With 5 different colors of frosting and 5 different colors of sprinkles.

I'm not gonna lie - I'm super proud of this cake we had for the family party. I love it. I had the idea in my mind and really it was the cake that made me want to do the ladybug themed party.

I love the face with crooked smile. Sometimes mistakes work out for the best when decorating cakes.

I just used a box mix to make two 9" rounds - then layered with a bit of frosting in the middle. I wanted the ladybug to be a true red (obviously that didn't work out) - but after some research I've learned if you mix your red frosting and let it sit 24-48 hours the color will darken. And use Wilton icing colors for frosting, not liquid food coloring.

It's especially essential when trying to get red - the more red food coloring you add the more bitter tasting the frosting gets. Wilton has a "no taste" red dye that you can use a ton of if you want without getting a weird taste.

The six circles on top are grasshopper cookies covered in black frosting. The other circles I piped on freehand with a bag. You don't need a fancy frosting bag - a bread bag or ziploc works fine by cutting a small tip in the corner.

I also would never attempt to decorate any cake without this...

...a hot cake decorating knife. It has a flat edge and smooths things out super well. Keeping it in hot water before decorating makes the frosting much easier to work with!

Have you seen any great birthday party themes for kids? Or done some yourself? Please share!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Breast Is Best: The Research

I know it's been awhile since I posted about breastfeeding. It's such a heated topic. Let me reiterate that I am more than understanding (and not judgmental) to women who don't breastfeed - it is a family choice.

But since this series is founded in research (and since I believe in breastfeeding), here comes a quick fact sheet on the benefits of breastfeeding backed by academic research...

(list compiled by Mothering from the Heart)

  • Children receive the most complete and optimal mix of nutrients & antibodies

  • The varying composition of breastmilk keeps pace with the infant's individual growth and changing nutritional needs

  • Have fewer incidences of vomiting and diarrhea in the US (20-35 million episodes of diarrhea occur in children under the age of 5, resulting in over 200,000 hospitalizations and 400-500 deaths in the U.S.)

  • Protection against gastroenteritis, necrotizing entercolitis

  • Reduced risk of chronic constipation, colic, and other stomach upsets

  • Reduced risk of childhood diabetes

  • Protection against ear infections, respiratory illnesses, pneumonia, bronchitis, kidney infections, septicemia (blood poisoning)

  • Protection against allergies, asthma, eczema, and severity of allergic disease

  • Reduced risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Statistics reveal that for every 87 deaths from SIDS, only 3 are breastfed

  • Protection against meningitis, botulism, childhood lymphoma, crohn's disease and ulcerative entercolits

  • Decreased risk of tooth decay (cavities)

  • Nursing promotes facial structure development, enhanced speech, straighter teeth and enhances vision

  • Breastfed infants develop higher IQ's, and have improved brain and nervous system development; IQ advantage of 10-12 points studied at ages 8, 12, and 18. (Breastfeeding is considered the 4th trimester in brain growth and development...there are specific proteins in human milk that promote brain development)

  • Reduced risk of heart disease later in life

  • Increased bone density

  • Breastfeeding plays an important role in the emotional and spiritual development of babies

  • Breastfed babies enjoy a special warm bonding and emotional relationship with their mothers

  • Antibody response to vaccines are higher

  • Are hospitalized 10 times less than formula fed infants in the first year of life

  • The colostrum (first milk) coats the GI tract, preventing harmful bacteria and allergy -triggering protein molecules from crossing into baby's blood

  • Decreased risk for vitamin E and Iron deficiency anemia

  • Decreased risk for acute appendicitis, rheumatoid arthritis, inguinal hernia, pyloric stenosis

  • There are factors in human milk that destroy E coli, salmonella, shigella, streptococcus, pneumococcus....and many others

  • Less risk of childhood obesity

  • Reduced risk of breast, ovarian, cervical, and endometrial cancers

  • Reduced risk of anemia

  • Protection against osteoporosis and hip fracture later in life

  • Reduced risk of mortality for women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has been associated with total time of lactation

  • Helps the mother's body return to its pre-pregnancy state faster - promotes weight loss...1/2 of calories needed to manufacture milk is pulled from fat stores... can burn from 500 - 1,500 calories per day.

  • Helps delay return of fertility and to space subsequent pregnancies

  • Develops a special emotional relationship and bonding with her child

  • Breastmilk is free- reducing or eliminating the cost of formula (in the thousands of dollars/per year)

  • Breastfed babies are sick less thus reducing healthcare costs to family in Doctor office visits, prescriptions, over the counter medicine purchases, and hospitalizations

  • Moms miss less time off from work due to child related illnesses

  • Helps the uterus contract after birth to control postpartum bleeding

  • Breastfeeding reduces the cost of healthcare by promoting healthier children and mothers..........If all WIC babies in the U.S. were breastfed, our economical savings would be $33,000,000 per month ..........In 1993, 90,000 babies were hospitalized for RSV at a cost of 450 million dollars. Currently, the U.S. spends over 1 billion dollars a year on Otitis Media (ear infections)

  • Reduced insurance premiums for both parents and employers

  • Breastfeeding reduces global pollution by decreasing the use of resources and energy required to produce, process, package, distribute, promote and dispose of materials created by the manufacture and use of artificial baby milk

  • Reduced tax burden on communities and government to ensure children are properly fed

  • Reduced absenteeism in the workplace due to children's illnesses

  • Breastfeeding makes you feel good, the hormones produced during nursing have an endorphin effect giving you a relaxed feeling.
  • You have a great excuse to sit down and relax.....
  • You can nurse while sleeping...nursing moms get more rest than formula feeding moms.
  • Breastfeeding saves moms about 7 hours a week off their feet.
  • No screaming baby in the middle of the night waiting on the formula to heat up.
  • It's the only time you can ever lose weight without dieting or exercise!
  • Breastfeeding is more convenient, when traveling, all you need is to take diapers, the milk is always available, sterile, and the right temperature.
  • During times of disaster, you don't have to worry about finding formula.
  • Breastfed babies smell great....spit ups don't stain, or smell, and poopie diapers are not offensive...(until solids are introduced)
  • Breastfed babies know their moms and will never confuse them with a sitter.
  • The strong bond developed with nursing is much more intense.
  • There is no feeling to describe the child suckling at your breast and letting go to give you a big smile; and knowing that the growth of your baby came from what your body produced! Wow! What a feeling!
  • The satisfaction of knowing you are giving your baby the best start in life!
  • Breastmilk taste great! Sweet tasting! Variations in taste according to foods moms eats. Have you ever tasted formula? Ugh!
  • Breastfeeding requires the use of only one can do other things while breastfeeding, (except cooking and driving)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Feed the Birds

To celebrate Earth Day (today) Little Miss and I, along with her cute cousin & his mom, made some Bird Feeders. Yesterday we went on a walk to find the pine cones. Which gave me a chance to talk to Little Miss about the different trees in our neighborhood and what pine cones are. She loved collecting them in her little purse.

Then today we turned them into bird feeders...

First we tied some yarn to the tops with a square knot so it won't come undone.

Then we rolled the pine cones in peanut butter.

Then we rolled them in bird seed.

Making sure the little one's were with us, so they'll know where to look for the birds out the window, we found a spot in a tree and secured it in place.

Now if only the birds will come and eat...

I think later we'll color some pictures of animals and talk about the moon, sun, ocean, sky, and land.

Some fun Earth Day shows to watch: Wall E, Planet Earth, Fern Gully, or just Animal Planet on TV!

What fun things are you doing for Earth Day today?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Spring Fun at the Library

I love reading to Little Miss and she loves What better way to talk about/explore Spring than with books!

(one of her favorite places to read is in her bookshelf - she's getting a little big for it, but she still takes all the books out from the bottom shelf almost on a daily basis and gets cozy with some good reads)

Here's a list to take with you to the library...and then take some of those books to the park!

Spring Books for Kids - Dandelion Adventures Dandelion Adventures
by L. Patricia Kite
Fun Spring Books for Kids - It's Spring! It's Spring!
by Linda Glaser
Fun Spring Books for Kids - My Spring Robin My Spring Robin
by Anne Rockwell, Harlow Rockwell (Illustrator)
Fun Spring Books for Kids - Spring is Here Spring is Here
by Lois Lenski
Fun Spring Books for Kids - The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree
by Gail Gibbons
Fun Spring Books for Kids - The Spring Equinox Spring Equinox, The
by Ellen Jackson

Big Bird Brings Spring to Sesame Street (Jellybean Books)
by Lauren Collier Swindler, editor Naomi Kleinberg, Marsha Winborn
A fun book that explains what spring is really about.

The Boy Who Didn't Believe in Spring
by Lucille Clifton, Brinton Turkle
Two skeptical city boys set out to find spring which they've heard is "just around the corner".

Pooh's Favorite Things About Spring
by Kathleen Zoehfeld, illustrated by Elisa Marruchi
Go on a journey with Pooh and learn about spring.

It's Spring, Blue! (Blue's Clues)
by Adam Peltzman, illustrated by Jenine Pontillo
It's spring! It's time to celebrate...but one little duckling is not happy -- he's lost! Readers can help Blue and the duckling trace the steps back to the duckling's home. And along the way they can use the stickers to find other creatures who've come out to enjoy spring!

Spring Fever (Jellybean Books)
by Sarah Albee, illustrated by Carol Nicklaus

Spring Has Sprung! (Bear in the Big Blue House)
by Kiki Thorpe, illustrated by Tom Brannon
It's the first day of spring. But when Pip and Pop go to the otter pond to ice-skate, they find all the ice has melted! They're disappointed until Bear shows them all the wonderful things there are to do in spring. By the end of the day, everyone in the Big Blue House has caught spring fever!

Spring Story (Brambly Hedge)
by Jill Barklem
It's a secret celebration for Wilfred! Mr. Apple has organized a surprise and put Wilfred in charge of carrying the picnic hamper. It's enormous! What was it Mrs. Apple had said was in the hamper? Knives? Sandwiches? They certainly were very heavy!

AGES 4-8

Clifford's Spring Clean-Up (Clifford)
by Norman Bridwell
Clifford's the big red dog is hard at work getting the house clean, or trying to, as he shakes to pieces Emily Elizabeth's rugs and digs up weeds at a vacant lot for Earth Day.

Henry and Mudge in Puddle Trouble
by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Sucie Stevenson
Henry and his 180-pound dog Mudge are best friends forever. Join them as they admire the first snow glory, playing in puddles in the rain, and watching the five new kittens next door.

Hopper Hunts for Spring (A North-South Paperback)
by Marcus Pfister, Rosemary Lanning
When Hopper's mother tells him that spring is coming at last, Hopper, the bunny, takes his mother's words literally and eagerly bounds away to meet his new friend.

Leaves from a Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Donna Green
Absolutely gorgeous illustrations that enhance poems such as: Time to Rise, Singing, My Shadow, The Gardner, and To My Mother.

My Spring Robin (Aladdin Picture Books)
by Anne F. Rockwell, illustrated by Harlow Rockwell & Lizzy Rockwell
Despite all the usual signs of spring, including sprouting ferns, colorful flowers, and a tiny toad, a little girl searches for the robin that means that spring is finally here.

Poppleton in Spring
by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Mark Teague
Go on a spring cleaning adventure with Poppleton, the pig. After the cleaning is done you'll join Poppleton as he searches for just the right bike. Finally, hit the hay with Poppleton as he sleeps out in a tent on a lovely spring night in his own back yard.

That's What Happens When It's Spring!
by Elaine W. Good, illustrated by Susie Shenk Wenger
A rural child discovers the sights, sounds, colors, and special feeling of spring.

When Spring Comes (An Owlet Book)
by Robert Maass
A photo-essay, with simple text, of springtime endeavors: cleaning, building, and repairing roofs and bikes and boats, and the celebration of spring holidays: Passover, Easter, and Memorial Day.

AGES 9-12

Alice in Wonderland
by Lewis Carroll, illustrated by John Tenniel
Alice in Wonderland is a classic of children's literature. Join Alice in her adventures from her fall down the rabbit hole to the Mad Hatter's Tea Party, The Queen's croquet match and the trial of the Knave of Hearts.

Leaves from a Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Donna Green
Absolutely gorgeous illustrations that enhance poems such as: Time to Rise, Singing, My Shadow, The Gardner, and To My Mother.

The Secret Garden
by Frances Hodgson Burnett, illustrated by Tasha Tudor
As three children replant a neglected garden at lonely Misselthwaite Manor on the Yorkshire moors, the secret garden restores their health and good spirits. A classic!

Bluebird’s Nest by Dorothea DePrisco
Watch a busy bluebird build a comfy nest from start to finish.

The Caterpillar and the Polliwog by Jack Kent
A determined polliwog longs to become a butterfly just like his caterpillar friend.

Cold Little Duck, Duck, Duck by Lisa Westberg Peters
As a little duckling eagerly waits for his pond to melt, he imagines all the joys that come with the warmth of springtime.

Counting in the Garden by Kim Parker
Count the bees and dragon flies buzzing around the flowers in this beautifully illustrated book.

The Happy Day by Ruth Krauss
In this Caldecott Honor book, the sweet smell of spring awakens forest animals from their long winter naps.

Hurray for Spring! by Patricia Hubbell
Celebrate the season with an energetic young boy as he splashes in puddles, swims in a pond, talks to ants, and goes bird-watching.

In the Small, Small Pond by Denise Fleming
Leap through the seasons with a tiny frog as he guides you through his pond in this vivid Caldecott Honor book.

Inch by Inch by Leo Lioni
A winsome inchworm is proud to be able to measure anything, and puts his skill to good use when a hungry robin gets too close.

It's Spring! by Linda Glaser
With eye-catching cut-paper artwork, spring pops to life as a curious boy explores the world around him.

Mouse's First Spring by Lauren Thompson
Follow a little mouse and his momma as a gentle breeze blows the first signs of spring their way.

Mud by Mary Lyn Ray
Rejoice in the arrival of spring with this lyrical homage to mushy springtime mud!

Poppleton in Spring by Cynthia Rylant
The popular pig goes through the usual spring rituals of cleaning, shopping for a new bicycle, and sleeping in a tent in the backyard, with his own Poppleton twist.

Rabbit's Good News by Ruth Lercher Bornstein
Follow a little brown bunny as a mysterious "soft green sound" lures her into finding spring.

The Rain Came Down by David Shannon
Find out what happens when an unexpected downpour creates chaos on a previously sunny day.

Splish, Splash, Spring by Jan Carr
Frolic through a fun-filled day of spring activities with three friends and their dog in this bright and lively book.

Spring Is Here by Lois Lenski
This charming classic will mesmerize a whole new generation of children who are eager to celebrate the wonders of spring.

Spring Song by Barbara Seuling
Guess how black bears, moles, bullfrogs and skunks respond to the change in season with this fascinating interactive book.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
In this wonderful classic, a voracious caterpillar eats its way through pages of food and transforms into a beautiful butterfly.

Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert
Enter a vibrant spring garden and witness the beautiful metamorphoses of butterflies in this masterful nature book.

(lists compliments of,, and

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Week Update on Potty Training & A Winner

First...the winner of the YoBaby Yogurt 3-in-1 Meals Package was....

Amber who said, "This looks really neat, I would like to try it! Pick Me!" - well must have been listening - because it picked you! Email me your mailing address at barb.themomblog(at)gmail(dot)com so you can get your stuff! Congrats! Thanks for playing everyone else!

And a quick update on potty's been a week since we ditched the diapers. It was a long week - but oh so good. Little Miss was very ready, I was very ready. Making it super fun and always having a positive attitude - even when I was cleaning up messes - made all the difference.
  • Day 1: 6 Accidents
  • Day 2: 2 Accidents
  • Day 3: 1 Accident
  • Day 4: 0 Accident
  • Day 5: 0 Accidents
  • Day 6: 0 Accidents
  • Day 7: 0 so far...
It got to a point where she wouldn't sit on the potty if I asked her - but if the potty timer went off she was all for it. She used to get a jelly bean/mini marshmallow everytime - now it's whenever she remembers, which isn't that often.

The first few days I had to get really creative to keep her inside - since the outside warm weather was mocking us. But I knew if we went outside she would not come back in, throw a fit, have an accident. So a little painters tape helped with hopscotch (thanks for the idea Nicole).

After a few days her muscles started to really develop too. We went from sitting on the potty for 30 minutes waiting for something to come out - to sitting on the potty less frequently and when she did get on almost instantly something came out. Hooray! I still have to remind her/ask her if she needs to use the potty - but she's getting to the point where she'll tell me and run for the bathroom.

She's still in Pull-Up's for naps and diapers at nighttime, but we've made definite progress!

The real test was church on Sunday. We had her sit on a "special" blanket - just in case...and then it was just a matter of telling her teachers what we were doing and they were awesome about getting her on the potty every 1/2 hour. But...she held it till we got home. What's with kids and using public restrooms? Oh, well. At least she didn't have an accident!

I still haven't taken her to run errands, or really anywhere away from a bathroom. Maybe we'll venture out a little this week.

A couple of things that helped me keep a positive attitude:
  1. Can't get upset when they have accidents because they really do have to practice using those muscles and make them strong enough to "hold it" - it just takes time.
  2. Everyone gets potty trained! So don't stress - it'll happen.
  3. I kept thinking of all the money we'll save not buying diapers and all the cute shoes/clothes I can buy with that money...or, more responsibly, the debt we can pay off faster.
Are you potty training your little one and having a completely different experience? Would you like to have a specific concern addressed? Let me know!

Other posts in this series:

Monday, April 19, 2010

Hooray for Spring!

I really am so so glad that Spring decided to stick around my part of the world! Finally. It's even time for...sunblock! Gasp. So excited. Little Miss and I love to be outside. Here are some of our favorite exploring Spring activities...
  • blowing bubbles
  • playing with a frisbee
  • shovel + bucket + mud = hours of fun and one dirty kid
  • listening to birds
  • collecting worms after the rain for some neighborhood chickens
  • running
  • playing with water on the sidewalk
  • sidewalk chalk
  • chasing each others shadows
  • learn how to care for a plant (we're growing peanuts)
Feeding baby animals at a local farm...

Sweeping the sidewalk with a neighbor friend...

Bouncing this pink ball down the stairs takes a lot of energy - so you sometimes need to stop for a banana break...

Riding a bike...

Playing "keep away" with a friend...

Collecting rocks while on a walk around a university campus. Going to a campus is the best - they have tons of grass to run on, hallways to explore, elevators to ride, stairs to climb, and tons of people that wave and say hi because they haven't seen a small child in months...Little Miss loves this activity!

Picking flowers to decorate the neighbor boys head with...

Getting his sister in cahoots with you...poor little guy...

Picnic under an umbrella...

We love Spring!

Things we have yet to do:
  • make a pine cone bird feeder
  • fly a kite
  • leaf rubbings
  • plant our garden (Little Miss will learn how to weed)
What activities do you like to do with your little one to enjoy Spring?

Just a reminder - today is the last day to enter the giveaway for YoBaby Yogurt 3-in-1 Meals - click here to find out more!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Giveaway: YoBaby 3-in-1 Meals (closed)

When we started giving Little Miss yogurt we only gave her YoBaby - all natural, organic, and not packed full of sugar. Maybe I kept buying it as she got older because I've never tasted anything quite as good as the apple YoBaby yogurt. So good.

When Little Miss was too full to finish the apple - I wasn't ever that upset. I took care of it for her.

So to pass on a little YoBaby love - I've teamed up with Stonyfield Farm, the makers of YoBaby Yogurt, for a giveaway!

They have a new product line called 3-in-1 Meals...

"...To make healthy eating even easier for busy moms-on-the-go and picky babies, we’ve recently added YoBaby 3-in-1 Meals to our YoBaby yogurt line. YoBaby Meals offer a unique 3-in-1 combination of protein-packed yogurt + fruit + veggie purée in one cup.

They’re an easy, delicious and surprising way to help moms give their babies and toddlers a trio of important food groups at every meal. Three delicious flavors -- Pear & Green Bean, Peach & Squash, Apple & Sweet Potato – are just right for baby’s growing appetite.

Of course, YoBaby is still all natural and certified organic, made with milk from cows fed organic feed and not treated with antibiotics or artificial growth hormones..."

There will be one lucky winner of the following...

  • 1 YoBaby Travel Bowl w/ lid
  • 1 YoBaby Organic Cotton Bib
  • 1 Eric Carle Growth Chart
  • 3 Free YoBaby Meal Coupon
I am so excited to try the new 3-in-1 Meals! Especially that Apple + Sweet Potato!

So here's what you need to do to enter to win...leave a comment. That's it. But, if you want to increase your chances of winning, for each of the following that you do (let me know in your comment what you've done) - your name will be entered again! This giveaway is open to anyone with a U.S. address & will be shipped directly from Stonyfield Farm.

1 - Grab the button on the right sidebar and link my site up to yours

2 - Post about this giveaway on your blog

3 - Become a follower (see right sidebar)

4 - Post about this giveaway on your facebook status

5 - Become a fan of The Mom Blog on facebook

DO ALL 5, and let me know in your comment and your name will be automatically entered in 5 more times --> you'll be 5 times more likely to win!!

The giveaway will close Tuesday the 20th at 8am - so start spreading the word!

{ Have a great business you'd like to promote through a giveaway on our site? Please contact me - barb.themomblog(at)gmail(dot)com }

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Potty Training: Day 2

Awesome! That pretty much sums it up. And to think just days ago I was so nervous and dreading this...Day one was 5 successes and 6 accidents. Not as bad as I was expecting.

Day two: 2 accidents at the beginning of the day and only success after that. I am SOOO proud of Little Miss! And myself, I haven't lost my cool once. I've stayed positive through it all - the scrubbing of the couches, the wet clothes, and the two hour stint on the potty.

Here are the basics. She sleeps in a diaper at night, and a Pull-Up during naps. When she's awake it's all cotton panties all the time.

We really talk up her big girl panties and using the potty like a big girl. But we never talk negatively about accidents or diapers or how long we have to spend reading her books while she sits on the potty, or the fact that it's been the nicest weather yet this year and we are stuck at home. The key is a positive attitude and fun!

A couple of tricks to get things going...(thanks to all the advice of friends!)

Little Miss gets a special potty drink randomly throughout the day - chocolate milk. She's never had it before and I'm not one to give her sugar, so this is a very fun thing for her!

She usually drinks the whole sippy very quickly and 20-30 minutes later she has to use the potty. I keep track of the time and guide her there, giving her a chance to be successful and feel proud. Which ensures her desire to use the potty again!

More salty food than ever. Cheese, crackers, anything that will make her thirsty and want to drink more.

I also will randomly ask her if her pants are wet or dry (knowing they are dry) - she feels her pants and will tell me, and then I praise her a lot! Once in a while this praise includes a jelly bean or a mini marshmallow.

My cell phone is equipped with a special "potty timer" with a fancy gingle. She knows that when the timer goes off, no matter what we're doing, we run to the potty and try - then we can return to playing.

While on the potty...we read books, play with finger puppets, bounce balls in the tub, do puzzles, sing songs. Everything! And I might have made it a little too fun because she was on there for two hours straight and refused to get off. Then half an hour after getting off she was back on for another 90 minutes...crazy girl!

A couple of things to remember - you being frustrated will only frustrate them. Learning to use the potty is just that - something they have to learn! Just like learning to walk, or learning to talk. It takes time and will not happen overnight. I'm sure we'll have plenty of accidents over the next few months.

The muscles used to "hold it" need time to develop. So don't get angry with your child if they don't have total control yet.

I am really glad we took the leap to cotton panties - being able to learn wet/dry has made all the difference! On to Day 3...

Have any great advice, ideas, or experience potty training? Please share!

Want to be a guest blogger on the subject (how to potty train a boy/twins/etc) - please email me at barb.themomblog(at)gmail(dot)com

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Potty Training: This Is It

We plateaued. About 3 1/2 weeks ago I bought Little Miss a box of Pull-Ups (80 count) thinking to the time this box is gone she'll be potty trained and all before her 2nd birthday. Ha.

She got better at using the potty - almost every time she pooped it was in the potty. But tinkles was another story. She just couldn't tell the difference between wet and dry thanks to the magic of pull-up's wicking away the moisture.

I bought a second box of Pull-Up's a couple of days ago. This morning I woke up and realized, it's not getting any better. It's a hit and miss. And I think we're both done. Something needed to change.

After Little Miss used the potty this morning I explained to her that she would get to wear real big girl Elmo underwear and she needed to keep them dry. I let her feel them and explained how they were nice and dry. And how we were going to sit on the potty every half hour.

She was super excited about the undies. In 4 hours she had 3 successful attempts at using the potty and 4 accidents. Not too bad for just starting! Now she's napping and I'm enjoying a break from running to the bathroom and scrubbing the carpet.

I also have been using the timer on our microwave to signal potty time - which I shortened to 15 minute intervals. Thirty minutes was just too long. She's been drinking tons of juice, which I usual limit the intake of, and watching Finding Nemo - her favorite show.

It's our own toned down version of the Potty Party...keeping my fingers crossed the rest of today goes well.

Now I'm off to do laundry - we need more clean undies.

No more Pull-up's and we're not looking back! I'm excited and optimistic. And most importantly - I don't freak out when she has an accident. We just talk about wet vs dry. Everything is happy and positive today. And surprisingly, not stressful. Just tiring.

Any advice or suggestions? Or success stories? I'll gladly take them!

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