Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My Tips for Successful Potty Training

Potty Training

I will soon begin potty training my eighth child.  Having trained seven very different children, girls and boys, we've learned a thing or two.  Fortunately, all of our kids have gotten the hang of it fairly quickly...and I've never had one who just flat out refused to train.....yet.

So while I've got potty training on the brain, I thought I'd share some of our potty training tactics.  Potty training in our home is like boot camp.  It's all or nothing!  So I must be prepared mentally and physically.

For us, age does not determine when we begin.  We've had two train as early as 18 months and one train as late as 3 1/2.  It's important to take two things into consideration when thinking about potty training.

1. Is the child ready?
2. Are YOU ready?

For the child, you want to have a general sense that he is ready.  Is he showing interest?  Is he uncomfortable when wet or dirty?  Is he mature enough?

For you, are you prepared to stay close to home for the first week for consistency and continuity?  Are you prepared to clean up messes.  They WILL happen!  Are you prepared to make frequent potty trips? 

As I've had more children, and my life has become much busier, I have to mentally prepare myself to take on Potty Training Boot Camp.  If I'm too tired, or can't commit to staying home, I won't begin.  Inconsistency will only make things harder, as we all know.

Our Tips for Successful Potty Training

The Talk:  We try not go overboard in talking about the upcoming event.  We take more of a nonchalant approach.  We say something like, "Yay!  You get to start going potty in the big potty!  And each time you go in the potty, you get one of these treats!"  We have found that if we talk something like this up too much, it creates a sense of expectation that may clash with certain personalities.  We want to be excited, but also give a balanced sense that it's just the natural progression of growing up.  Make sense?

Rewards:  Nothing like a good old reward to get our kids excited.  Our two staple potty training rewards are M & M's and Skittles.  Our kids are very motivated by the possibility of a treat, so are generally ready to get down to business right away.  We usually give 2-3 pieces for number one, and 3-4 pieces for number two.  If they don't go at all, we don't give a treat.  Usually, by about the third/fourth day of training, and if the child is doing well, we begin cutting back on the treats, and phase away from there. 

Toilet or Potty Chair:  It really doesn't matter which you use.  With our older girls, we used a potty chair.  But as we've had more children, using the big potty has just been more practical. 

No Pull Ups:  When we decide to begin training, we go straight to underwear/panties.  We expect accidents the first day or two, so we keep lots of extra pairs on hand.  We also keep our carpet cleaner on stand-by.  And for really messy number two accidents, I just throw the undies away.  It's not worth the amount of clean up work involved (we usually use hand-me-down undies, so less painful to throw away), though I think I've only had to do that twice in all my years of potty training.

Timer:  The first couple of days, we remind the trainee to go potty about every 20-30 minutes.  Usually by the third day, they're skilled enough to go without being told, but sending them often helps to avoid those accidents.  Keep the fluids coming so that they'll feel the urge to go often.  Watch the clock or set a timer.

Praise:  Of course, lots of praise for successful trips to the potty helps to keep our children motivated.  This is a time for lots of grace, especially those first 2-3 days when they may have accidents. 

Night time: For most of our children, we've trained them for night time as well.  We limit their drinks in the evening, and then usually wake them about 10 pm for potty runs.  Over the years, we have had one or two kids use an occasional pull up at night if life circumstances made potty runs too difficult.  This is something each family has to decide for themselves, as you know what you can handle.  For example, when I'm very pregnant sick, and my husband is on a 24 hour work shift, I am not able to wake kids late at night to take them potty.  And I'm definitely in no shape to change bed linens in the middle of the night, so this would be a scenario in which I would gladly welcome a pull-up at night.

Consistency:  Like stated above, when I decide to potty train, I stay home for continuity.  Once I feel my child has really gotten the hang of it, then we venture out.  We also don't revert to diapers or pull ups out of frustration.  It sends the child a mixed message of what's expected.  Unless you feel certain your child wasn't ready to train after all, stay the course.  Don't get discouraged over numerous accidents.  Boot camp is tough, but it will pay off if you stick with it. 

Does your method look much the same?  What would you add to this list of tips?  Do you have any questions?  Please leave a comment....I'd love to hear from you.

Photo Credit

Monday, January 30, 2012

Quick Tip: Yummy, Easy Snack for Kids

cuties oranges

My kids love fresh fruit! But most require cutting, peeling, slicing, washing, or coring. But not these little Cuties! These Clementines are soooo easy to peel that my two year old can peel his own!

They're small, making them perfect for a snack or served alongside a sandwich.

They're sweet and yummy.

They're nutritious.

And they're super easy to peel, even for a two year old.

I'd say this pretty much makes them a perfect snack!

What is your idea of a perfect snack for little ones?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

First Dance

I know many of you have already seen this on Facebook, but I thought I'd post it here for my non-FB friends and family.  This was taken during their first dance. 

The wedding was truly beautiful. Everything went according to plan, mostly. ;)  It's hard to believe my baby girl is married and beginning a new chapter of her life. We are praising God for His faithfulness and goodness to our family.  May He richly bless this sweet couple as they begin their journey.

Stay tuned for more pictures to come soon. :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tax Time...File for FREE

I look forward to writing about our wedding adventures soon...but I wanted to get this offer out since many of you will begin preparing your taxes.

There's no reason to pay when you can prepare and file for free.  This is what we use every year.  It's simple and thorough. 

Click on image to get started.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

One Week...

One week...and these two shall become one.

Today, Cheyenne and Nathan get the keys to their soon-to-be-home.  A cute apartment that they will make their own.  With the help of family, they'll be moving everything in and setting up home.  Nathan will move in right away, Cheyenne will join him after they are wed in.....

One week!

One week left with our little girl-turned woman. 

One week until we will not see her come down the stairs in the morning.

One week until she will not join us at every meal around the table.

One week until Celeste will lose her life long room mate.

Just one week to savor every moment we have left with her in our home.

If I sound sad, it is because we will miss her and the dynamics of our family will change forever.


In one week, our daughter will celebrate one of the happiest days of her life.

One week, we will gain a phenomenal son in law.

One week, we'll stand in awe of God's goodness in joining these two together, just as He designed.

One week until we have the privilege as parents to see our daughter begin her new life with her husband.

One week until we see our little girl-turned woman standing at the altar, with her white gown and veil, glowing and radiant, pledging herself before God to the man she loves.

Just one week....

What a privilege.  An honor.  A joy.  A blessing!

If you think of us, please pray for this final week of preparations.  Pray for our family and our transition.  But most of all, please pray for Cheyenne and Nathan...and the life they will share....beginning in just one week

Praise be to God!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ink Garden Deals

You can't beat this deal.  100 FREE double sided business cards....and all you pay is shipping of $4.99.  Whether you have a business, a blog you'd like to advertise wherever you go, or simply want cards with family info such as phone numbers, emails, and addresses, this is the way to go!  It simple and FREE! 

USE CODE: 100FREE for front, and for back USE CODE: 100FREE2 for 100 Free double sided business cards.

Click on image to get started.

And yet another great offer! Make a custom desk calendar for $1.00, plus shipping!


Click on image to get started.

*This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Guest Post: Moms and Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma Stages | What you need to know ? How to Prevent ? Read More!

This guest post is from cancer survivor, Heather Von St. James.  She shares her story about being diagnosed with deadly Mesthelioma, just three months after giving birth to her daughter, in hopes of encouraging other moms who may be facing the same diagnosis.  If you are in need of support, or know someone who is, please visit The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance

Rose Colored Glasses by Heather Von St. James

I’ve always been accused of wearing rose colored glasses, seeing the glass as half full; an optimist, and never has that trait served me better than when I was diagnosed with a deadly cancer at the age of 36, just 3 1/2 months after the birth of my one and only child.

I got my cancer diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma on Nov 21, 2005.. no one ever expects a diagnosis like that, much less during what is supposed to be the most joyous time of your life.. but there I was.. hearing those three words.. You Have Cancer. I had a choice.. to give up, curse God and wallow in self pity and cry out “WHY ME GOD!!? Or face this diagnosis head on.. and that is what I did. I put on those rose colored glasses and did what any new mom would do.. fight for her life to raise her little girl.

Cancer is a true double-edged sword, most people you talk to who have gone through it will say the same thing. It is all at once the worst thing that can happen, but in another aspect.. Its a good thing. My life is forever changed for the better because of it. It may be because I chose not to be the victim. I chose to make light of a dreadful situation, so the fear would be taken away, maybe because I vowed that I wanted to help others who where diagnosed with it as well, to give hope when that is the one thing people lose first when getting a mesothelioma diagnosis.. Whatever the case may be.. I chose to find the good.. I was referred to the worlds leading specialist in the disease, who was able to give ME hope that I could beat this thing.. I nicknamed my tumor Punxatawny Phil upon learning I was to have surgery to remove the tumor on Groundhogs Day, 2006. We renamed Groundhogs Day, Lungleavin Day, since it was the day my lung left, and every year on the first weekend of February, we have a party to celebrate Lungleavin Day.. its a celebration of life.. of conquering fear.. of seeing the good that comes from an otherwise bad situation. It is a celebration of hope.

I would not know so many of the wonderful people I know had it not been for this cancer diagnosis. Amazing people. The strongest, most passionate and tough people I’ve ever met, other mesothelioma warriors, people who are committed to bringing about awareness to a disease that has very little other than a commercial on daytime TV . Wives, husbands, sons, and daughters... all people who in some way have been affected by mesothelioma, I now call friend. I would not know any of them if not for my own cancer battle. My life has much more purpose to it now, it seems to me and I want to continue to do what I do to give hope to those who need it.

Heather Von St. James is a guest blogger for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.  You can read all five parts of her in-depth story here.  You will also find the Mesothelioma link on my Blogroll (tab above), and "Links" sidebar.

Photo Credit

*If you are interested in submitting a guest post at Sacred Mommyhood, please contact me via the contact tab above.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Genevieve

This Saturday, our sweet Genevieve is turning four!  I am especially thankful for this birthday as I reflect upon how close we came to losing her.  It's a sobering and humbling thought to know that we could have been facing her birthday without her.  I am fighting back tears at the very thought!

Some of you will remember when she nearly drowned, and her daddy had to resuscitate her.  It was the most frightening event I have ever experienced with one of our children. 

Life is fragile.  Life is precious. 

Genevieve is a bright, spunky, very expressive little girl.  She is also quite mischievous and loves to drag little brother Jonathan along with her on her missions to find trouble!

But even in those times, I'm reminded that I almost lost her, and how thankful I am that she is here to get into mischief!

Genevieve is funny!  She has fantastic hair!  She tells me she loves me all day long.  She is a special little girl, mischief and all! 

Genevieve was my first home birth baby!  You can read her birth story here.  It got a little scary after she was born, but the whole labor and delivery was all I had hoped for and more....in the comfort of home!

I am so thankful for this precious gift, my Genevieve!  I am thankful God's will determined before time that she would live beyond that terrifying day at the pool.  And I'm thankful to be celebrating her 4th birthday this Saturday with her! 

Thank you, Father!

What are you thankful for?  Share here or link up with The Marathon Mom.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Quick Tip: Large Family Kitchen Supplies

Ah, Fiesta!

As your family has grown, have your pots and pans shrunk?  Are you running out of dishes, or find that your baking sheets just don't hold enough?

Check out your local Restaurant Supply store!

With all things restaurant sized, you're sure to find the perfect stock pot, or inexpensive stacks of plates and cups.  If you don't have a Restaurant Supply store in your area, check out the restaurant section at Sams (if you're near one).  We've purchased inexpensive food storage containers, huge cookie sheets, large carafes, our huge bread making bowl, table cloths, and a few other fun things from Sams.  However, our local Restaurant Supply has a LOT more to offer....and it's just fun!  :)

Where have you found large family-friendly supplies?  Please share!

Photo Credit

Monday, January 02, 2012

Getting Meals on the Table with Ease

family dinner

Let's face it!  There is no snapping our fingers and food will magically appear on the table.  Feeding our family involves work.  Sure, we can hit the drive thru, eat out at restaurants often, or even live on convenience foods, but we all know that this would be both costly and unhealthy in the long run.

The good news is, there are things we can do to ease the work when it's time to whip up a meal. 

If you're not already, applying these tips will make an incredible difference in meal time efficiency, which results in a less stressed mommy.....which equals happier family!  :)

Have a plan!  I can't stress this enough...if you're struggling to get meals on the table, plan a menu and coordinating grocery list.  This principle alone will make such a difference, especially at dinner time.  When you know what you're making and have ALL the ingredients on hand, you've won half the battle.  There's nothing more frustrating than standing in front of an open fridge, trying to decide what to make.  If the thought of making menus and grocery lists overwhelm you, try a meal planning site to get you started.

Prep your way to success!  Once you have a plan, you then know what things you can prep in advance.  As soon as you get home from the store, process your veggies, and chop and freeze what you can.  You may remember my quick tip on freezing bell pepper.  Chopped carrots and celery keep well in the fridge for several days.  When it's time to start a meal, it's a lot more fun when you just simply pull your prepped ingredients right out of the fridge or freezer and drop.

Get an early start!  I often find it easier to start my dinner in the morning...if it's a meal conducive to that.  We are huge crock pot fans, and most crock pot recipes need to get going early.  When I know what I am making, I look at any element that can possibly be done early in the day...and I do it.  My girls do the same on their cooking days.  If we're having some sort of casserole, they prepare it early and put it in the fridge. 

Have a few go-to ingredients on hand.  Whether it's cooked, shredded chicken, homemade refried beans, or browned meat, having these prepared in advance will save you in a pinch.  If we've been exceptionally busy, I can pull out my beans and grated cheese and throw together burritos or quesadillas in minutes!  Or, whip up quick chicken tacos.  Or a quick spaghetti sauce.

Double, triple, or quadruple your meal.  Whether you're making chili, spaghetti sauce, or a casserole that freezes well, make extra and freeze the rest.  It's always a good idea to have a couple of freezer meals on hand.  They also come in handy for those spur-of-the-moment service needs....like a sick neighbor or a mommy who just gave birth.

Let the kids help!  I think one of the biggest detriments to parents is keeping your kids out of the kitchen.  I realize there are just those days when it's easier to get it done yourself, but if you have age appropriate children, give them a job and let them help.  Before you know it, those kids will have become capable contributors in the kitchen!

Meal time is always mostly a well oiled machine in our home because we put these tips into practice....a must for this crowd of eleven!

Do you have a tip to share?  What do you do to get meals on the table with ease?

Photo Credit
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...