Archive for the ‘Thankful’ Category

Thankful Day 17: What’s For Dinner? Volume 9

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Today I am thankful I have the time, freedom and budget to try new things in the kitchen. I am thankful my husband will at least taste my cooking and that my daughter loves all of it.

1. 44-clove garlic soup – Smitten Kitchen (you’ll smell like garlic for a week)
2. Barbecued Salmon With Corn Relish – Better Homes & Gardens (one of my favorites)
3. Pumpkin and Goat Cheese Pies – Give Me Flour (Really, really good. Caroline agreed.)
4. Butternut Squash & Mushroom Chicken Pot Pie – Bitchin Camero (actually a really beautiful food blog)

1. Shrimp Pil-Pil – Everyday with Rachael Ray (LOVE this recipe, especially served with a fresh loaf of artisan bread)
2. Chicken & Feta Orzo – PreventionGuide 30-Minute Chicken Dinners (meh)
3. Tilapia with Roasted Vegetables and Olives – Weight Watchers PointsPlus Cookbook, link is similar but not identical (It was really good, even without the olives because E hates them. I added lots of other zero point veggies.)
4. Butternut Squash Risotto – Live Love Pasta (I’d never made risotto before but it was amazing)

This is a little bit of a cheater What’s For Dinner post because these meals were spread out over the past 2 months. Since E is gone so much I’ve been eating a lot of salad and popcorn instead of making a real meal (and making a real mess). We aren’t hosting any of the holidays this year either, so I’m expecting we’ll be eating a lot of homemade pizza and sandwiches in between stuffing ourselves with turkey.

Thankful Day 16: Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Today I am thankful my mother renews our aquarium membership every year.

Thankful Day 15: The Dreaded Potty Training

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Every time I mention potty training, someone comments that they’d like to hear more about what we’re doing. I know bloggers say things like that all the time – “I’m writing this post about my trash cans because I got sooooooo many emails about them!” – but honestly, I never get email. Never. So the fact that even ONE person was interested in potty training advice was a surprise and also gives me a great excuse to write about the how potty training is going.

Short version: Great! Almost! I am being LAID BACK.

Long version: I do not have any idea what I am doing. Like my friend Alena keeps saying, I am not qualified for this. It is partly my fault, since besides reading the potty training blog posts as they pop up in my reader and watching Little Evan’s 2 best friends train themselves almost a full year ago (damn overachievers) I haven’t made much of an effort to learn anything about it. I was a) scared b) really scared and c) so scared I practically forgot my own potty training. If you are just starting or thinking about starting, you are probably scared too.

But I am here to tell you it might not be that bad! Really! I have had to clean up poop zero times! (E has had to clean up poop once, but we’ll get to that.) The laid-back approach means there have been zero tears or shouting over potty times. Here is the outline for my non-method method.

1. We waited until he showed interest to start training. And when I say “showed interest” I mean he was telling me before he had to use the potty, even though he was still wearing diapers.  He could already feel the need and was able to hold it. He has the vocabulary to tell me, loudly, that he needs the toilet so I never miss a sign. I like easing into things rather than all-or-nothing (because I am laid back), so starting slow worked well.

2. He watched other people using the potty. Because the two friends he sees the most ARE potty trained, he’s been going into the bathroom when they go for months. I know that sounds weird, but he was already familiar with how the potty worked before he started using it regularly because other moms let him tag along and I think it really helped.

3. One word: bribery. I have bribed him with the following things: lollipops, m&m’s, candy corn, cookies, tv, hugs, lemonade and hand washing. I don’t offer him something unless I have to or he specifically asks, so I’d say he only gets a treat one out of every three times (obviously he still gets hugs and hand washing, but if offering them as a reward works then I’ll keep doing it).

4. As long as he doesn’t go in his pants, anywhere else is OK. The training potty? Sure! The big potty! Awesome! Pee in the bushes? Fine. Standing up? Whatever. The nice part of being so laid back is he has no trouble going in public, so venturing out without diapers wasn’t too terrifying. The only down side is needing to clean my bathroom extremely thoroughly every day he decids to pee standing up. We’re still working on aim.

5. We aren’t pushing night-time training yet. He’s about 50/50 on staying dry during naps, but he is a very sound sleeper and I know I’d end up changing sheets every single morning. I have heard that boys can be potty trained for years before they are night-time trained so I’m not concerned. There’s an entire KIND of diapers meant for night-time accidents so we are obviously not the only ones.

6. Cool underwear. Diego, Yo Gabba Gabba and Thomas are all options on any given day and if he wants to change them for no reason? FINE. I bought plenty.

It’s been nine days since we first took Little Evan out of the house without a diaper and as of right now, he’s in underwear any time he’s awake. He’s had zero out-in-public accidents and zero accidents when he’s with me.

The reason I’ve expressed frustration with the process in the past is because we had several false starts – I thought we were SO CLOSE but he’d get mad and ask to go back to diapers. He was either holding it allllllll day and having an accident right before nap/bed time or refusing to go for so long it was giving him a stomach ache and then pooping in his sleep. Our other set back is with E coming and going every week Little Evan is having a hard time adjusting and it results in accidents. He isn’t comfortable telling E when he has to potty and E doesn’t remember to ask constantly (something I don’t have to do). I feel bad for both of them. But I am LAID BACK so I’m sure it will get better.

Whew. There you go. 1000 words about potty training you never wanted to read. Basically, my advice to anyone starting or thinking about starting would be to figure out what works for your kid. Don’t think you have to pick a method. Don’t convince yourself there is a “wrong” way. Some kids need structure and absolutes, some kids don’t, so don’t be afraid to try something different if what you’re doing isn’t working. Remain laid back.

Today, I am thankful I haven’t had to scrub poop out of the carpet. I am thankful for every diaper I DON’T have to change. I am thankful he won’t be going to kindergarten in training pants. I am thankful that I am no longer scared of potty training. I am thankful for wine, which helps me to be so laid back.

Thankful Day 14: Crafty Inspiration

Monday, November 14th, 2011

I saw these adorable felt trees in my Garnet Hill catalog and decided I wanted them:

But $20 seemed pretty steep for felt and glue, so I set out to make my own (Also, they’re out of stock).


It was a LOT harder than I thought to a) get the cones the right shape b) get the felt tiers even and c) not burn the crap out of myself with hot glue. But after a couple of hours I came up with my own version which I think is just as cute as the original AND won’t make you throw your scissors across the room in frustration:

You could make them in any color combination to match your Christmas decorations (what, you don’t pick a new color scheme for your holiday each year?). Felt comes in TONS of colors and costs about 30 cents a sheet. I bought 11 sheets total but used only 8 of them for both sets of trees – plus lots and lots of mistakes. The only other cost was two 99 cent sheets of poster board, so DIY was DEFINITELY cheaper than store-bought. (I already owned a glue gun. Duh.)

If you want to do it the easy way, just buy a few foam/florist foam cones from the craft store. They run between $3-$8 each but there are always coupons and sales. Find the best art and crafts supplies like epoxy resin and more on this website.

If you want to make it the cheap way, you’ll need a couple pieces of poster board. Trace something large and round (I used my egg plate) and cut out the circle. Then fold your circle in half, then in half again so you have lines showing 4 quarters.

Cut out one of the quarters and roll the board into a cone. The more it overlaps the pointier the cone will be. Use various size circles to make different sized cones for a staggered look or the same size a bunch of times for a more uniform look. I used a line of hot glue to secure the cone, but tape would probably hold just fine.

For the felt leaves, fold a square of felt in fourths (just like how you started your cone). Cut the outside into a scalloped edge (or points, or use pinking sheers, or fancy patterned scissors) then cut the center out so it’s a ring. Cut through the ring in one spot so it becomes a strip. Glue one end to your cone and wrap the felt around so it overlaps up the cone.

Repeat with more felt, varying your colors and lengths. Try to line up the ends so you can have a “back” that is less pretty and can face the fall.

To make them fancier, paint on a little clear glue with a paintbrush an dust with glitter, add beads as ornaments, or add construction paper stars to the top. So cute, so easy. At least now that I know what I’m doing.

Today, I am thankful for my creativity, perseverance and that cold water soothes hot glue burns.

Thankful Day 13: Tea & Cookies

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

Yep. That’s about all I’ve got today.