49Fifty Project - Week #5

This week I put together Lady A's Valentine cards. She is too little to sign her name yet but I found a way for her to add her own personal touch.

After getting the red crayon off the wall Lady A thought I might like a tougher challenge and got red nail polish on the carpet. Yep....RED nail polish. Check out my post to see what I used to clean it up and suggestions from other moms.



49Fifty Project ~ Week 4

This week I made a simple Thank You card for a dear friend.

We also discovered some cave drawings that Lady A has left around the apartment for us. Here are some of my tips I have for cleaning them up.



Freezer Microwave Popcorn

Growing up we always made air-pop popcorn. When I moved out to go to college the convenience of the microwave bag was hard to beat. The over processed butter would get old....nothing beats just melted butter poured on freshly popped pop-corn with a sprinkle of salt.

I was so excited when my sister suggested that I make my own microwave popcorn. It is more like air-pop, but does not require that I take out the air-popper and it is the perfect size for one or two people.

Here is what you will need: paper lunch bags, tape, popcorn and this fun printable that you can download for free here.

It will take a little bit of trial and error to figure out the amount of kernels and time needed to pop per bag so that you will be left with the fewest amount of un-popped kernels and the stuff already popped does not start to burn.
  • 1/3 C kernels
  • Pour them in the bag {I place them in without opening the bag up since the bag will need to be flat}.
  • Now roll the bag where the fold are.
  • Fold the top over and tape shut. I like to place a label on them so that I am sure to use the oldest first when I go to pop a bag.

When it is time to pop, simply unroll the bag and use the tape piece to pinch the opening of the bag closed {this will keep the popcorn from falling out of the bag when it is popped}.

I hit the popcorn button on the microwave and add 30 seconds. The key to popping popcorn is listening for when the pops have approx. 3 seconds between them. This is a perfect time to pull the bag out, getting the most of the kernels popped and keeping it from burning.


Our First Adventures in Potty Training

We have finally decided to take the leap and potty train Lady A. I really think she was ready to start during the summer but with vacations and family visitors, time got away from us. But if you must know I was really worried it was going to take weeks and we would never be able to leave the house. With baby girl number 2 on the way and all the changes that will be coming this summer, the winter break between semesters seemed like a great time to undertake the adventures of potty training.

I have been pretty sick with being pregnant so I needed to make sure to do this while Paul would be home to help. I gag so easily that if there was going to be a mess to clean up, Paul would have to do it and I would need to go in the next room.

Here was my plan. Ask and listen to as much 'advise' as I could get from mom's who had recently potty trained, take it with a grain of salt knowing that it wasn't going to be perfect and be willing to change my method if what we were doing wasn't working.
  • Spend the day in the bathroom with books, phone/tablet, drinks {to make sure they have to use the potty} and plenty of wipes.
  • Put her in big girl underwear {this way if they have an accident they know what it feels like and will hopefully make them want to try harder}.
  • It could take a day to a week.
  • Put the little potty in the open {dinning area, living room} and let them figure it out.
  • Potty stickers/treats or anything that would be a reward for your child.
  • AND so on. Everyone had suggestions and no two were exactly the same.
We had gotten the little people potty and underwear over the summer so she was familiar with them already. Any time she wanted to sit down on it we encouraged her or if she wanted to put the underwear on over her diaper we were happy to help.

Like I said earlier, she might have been ready this past summer, she started pointing to her diaper every time she wet it a little or if we knew she was going in her diaper we would talk to her about it, letting her know that soon she would use a toilet like mom and dad.

Day One:
The day arrived and we had breakfast first {maybe we should have put her on the potty first, oh well} then took the little potty and all our goodies into the restroom. This lasted almost two hours and mom and dad were done. Our operation moved down to the family room. We had her in her big girl undies and she had already had a mishap but I could tell she knew when she needed to go {even if she did not make it to the potty on time}. One of us stayed almost within arms reach of her the whole time so if we needed to we could grab her and run for the safe haven of the linoleum floor.

The rest of the day was a great success. Her candy of choice right now is Hershey Hugs so we used those as her potty treat. Lady A would always point to herself when she needed to go, she picked up the potty dance real quick, so we knew when it was time to help her. Every time she made it to the potty we also made a big deal out of it: hugs and kisses, high fives and knuckles.....I mean this is a pretty big deal and big change, it was our job to let her know how proud of her we were and to encourage her to keep going, even after accidents.

Right before bed she needed to go number two and I heard that this had it's own set of issues. Well it wasn't perfect for us but we recovered. Even at the very last possible second before dad laid her down for bed she let him know she needed to go {this might of been a scam to come down and see mom and stay up just a little bit later} so they came downstairs and sure enough, she earned her treats.
Now to just keep doing the same thing for the next while. I'm sure the first time we go out for a trial run with the big girl undies on, it's possible we'll need to take extras and make a lot of potty stops.

It wasn't perfect but it was pretty good and didn't scare me so bad once we finally started. Maybe with baby number two I won't put it off so long once she starts showing me she is ready.

Day Two:
She woke up with a dry diaper!!! Yay. I know this one can take a lot longer and it might of been a one time thing until she gets better at controlling herself.....but we are counting it as a win.

Today was a bit harder with Church right in the middle of the day. She wouldn't use the restroom at church and I can not blame her.....those things are so big they looked like they could swallow her whole. For nap time she is still in Pull-Ups and figured out quickly that she could use the excuse of needing to go potty as a way to stay up. She has perfected that excuse and was able to stay up almost 2 hours at bedtime. But every time she sat on her toilet, she used it so I can't be too upset.

Day Three:
Another dry diaper!!

Paul had to work this afternoon so I was going to do the second half of the day by myself. Lady A has come up with her own way of letting us know she needs to go. Trying to make her go ever couple of hours or constantly asking her was causing more contention than anything so from now on she stops what she is doing, assumes the potty stance then runs to the toilet yelling "Go, Go, Go" until she has made it. We did have two accidents but one of them was my own fault. For the past few days I have been staying within arms reach and not doing anything but waiting for our next trip to the potty but I got caught up doing my own thing today.

Day Four:
You guessed it.....A dry diaper!!! I'm super excited for Lady A but don't think we will stop using Pull-Ups at night and nap time for a little while.

I was also told {by others as well as from Elmo's Potty video} that mastering number 1 and number 2 can happen at different times but today she decided that it was time to master the second. By now the treats do not mean as much to her as running back and forth from mom to dad and getting high-fives and knuckles. This little girl cracks me up, she has such a huge personality in a little tiny body.

From others and my own experience of having four younger siblings, I know that sometimes the kids can go back to wanting diapers and that wet diapers at nap time and bed time could come back for a visit. Even though it seems like we have mastered this milestone, and are moving forward, we could take a step back at times so I will have to keep reminding myself to be patient.

Here are some tips I have put together as a first timer {I'll be coming back to this list in a couple of years for baby number two}:
  • Ask around about different potty training techniques. This will help you decide on what might work for you.
  • Don't get stuck on one method. I had heard from a lot of moms who had great success by spending a whole day in the restroom with their toddler. There is no way Lady A was going to do that, so we adapted with some of the other ideas I had gotten from moms.
  • Wait until they are ready. As I said, I really think Lady A was ready. She would let us know every time she went in her diaper and needed a diaper change. This is a huge reason why I think her potty training went so well.
  • Help them get familiar with what changes are coming. The little people potty had been out in the restroom for some time and she had sat on it before.
  • A lot of patience. There will be accidents and bumps along the way. Potty training is just as much an exercise for the parents as it is for the kids.
  • A tag-team partner. Even if it is just for the first day, having someone there to help was a great help and can encourage you to stick with it.
Something I did not think about until we had potty trained her was that once she is awake from nap time or bed time I have to get up too to see if she needs to use the potty. There is no more sleeping in and waiting to see if she'll fall back to sleep. If I want her to be potty trained, I need to make sure I get up to help her when she gets up.

What potty training tips do you have? Help us build a list of ideas for all those who are taking on this adventure in the future.


2014 Goals

This past year has been great! Nothing too major in the way of good or bad but just a simple and quiet year. This year we will have a lot of changes coming our way: baby sister comes in April, Paul will graduate in May, and one or two moves {depending on how work goes for the summer}. With one chapter of our lives closing and the next one opening there is a lot that I need to prepare and things that I want to do to help strengthen our little family.

Right now, with feeling so blah from this pregnancy, there are a lot of things I have let slip: myself, bills, play time with Lady A, chores...just to name a few. This year there are a few goals I want to work on that will help myself individually, strengthen our family and make our home a haven. I have come up with a list of goals that will help. This will also make our lives so much easier as we prepare for some major changes that will all be happening almost at the same time.

One: Enjoy the last trimester of this pregnancy
I get really sick with being pregnant. With Lady A I lost quite a bit of weight and it wasn't until the third trimester that I was able to start putting it back on. My Dr.'s were not too worried about my health or the health of the baby because I started with some extra weight. This time there is a new pill out that I have been using because the Zofran was not doing much other then giving me a bunch of side effects that I was having to deal with and take more pills for. This new Rx is have been great, not perfect but much better. The only down side is the one side effect that seems to be hitting me......drowsiness. There have been a number of days that I will sleep 14 hours or more. To help me enjoy the third trimester more I want to take time to bond with Baby #2 and something that helped me with Lady A was I spent time making her baby quilt. Getting out more and being more active {on those few warmer days during the winter} will help me appreciate my body and miracle #2, that took so long to get, otherwise I'll spend all my time inside just waiting for these nine months to pass.

Two: Develop a routine
One of the things I have noticed about my sister with her older kids and my sister-in-law with her toddler and baby is that they all have a routine, a good schedule. I know a routine is not for everyone but I think that is a big key to what can help in our home right now. My main problem is that I look at something that needs to get done and think, 'I have all day to do that' or ' I can do that this weekend.' There is no real schedule or time table that is being demanded of me, like school or going to work.

Well, it is time to fix all of that,  I need to demand it from myself.

I love having Paul home for the winter break especially because now I can take naps in the middle of the day and not have to worry because he is here and able to spend time with Lady A. It has been great to be able to spend more time with him, his semesters are so demanding and there will be weeks that Lady A won't see him. Having him around so much has made us a bit lazy especially when it comes to nap time and bedtime. We need to get a daily and weekly routine set up. This will include nap time and bedtime, bills, cleaning and a little me time. I love being a mom but I still need time to do a something for myself, whether it is just getting ready for the day {this will help with enjoying the 3rd trimester too}, working on a project or simply taking some time to read.

Three: Date Nights with Paul
As I have said, Paul's semesters are pretty demanding and he is gone a lot at night. This final semester is not going to get an easier. He has his thesis show that opens the end of February and then has to put his thesis paper together, we will be moving after baby number two arrives and he graduates. But it is important that we work on our relationship too so now he is going to have to squeez in date night....and I told him that just renting a movie doesn't count, we have to interact, but I know great things will come from it. There are a lot of girls in the theatre department who love to babysit for us so there is no reason to not get out of the house. Now to come up with some fun date nights!!!

Four: Be mostly packed and ready to move before Little Sister comes in April
This one is going to take some work, a good schedule and focus. I don't really want to count how many times we have moved since we have been married, if anything it helps with clutter because if I collect it I have to move it and I would rather not. The hard part is that I also love to have my "stuff" available to me if the mood should strike and I want to sew, paint, crotchet, etc. In a previous post you can see that I have already come up with my packing and labeling system. I have also started working on ways to get the apartment ready for when we leave. Check out how I have prepared the stove for easy cleaning when the end comes.

Five: Family History
One hobby that I love to do is family History. Growing up I loved doing puzzles, and geneology is a huge family puzzle. It is more than just putting names down and going back as far as you can, my real love comes from the stories and photos, getting to know my ancestors. It has been some time scence I have really delved into this, partly because of moving so often and not having a place to set it up and leave it so I can come back to it, even when I might only have 10 minutes or so. I have to take the time now and ask my Grandpas all my questions before it is too late.

There it is. Organize. Routine. Family.

Here is to a great 2014!!!

What goals or resolutions do you have for this year? Do you have any tips on what could help with my goals? I would love to hear them.


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