Sunday, May 31, 2009

Happy Birthday, Ladybug!!

Can't believe my beautiful Ladybug is 2 years old today! She's growing into such a beautiful girl, and I love to see her personality shine more and more each day. She is definitely becoming her own little person. Even thought she shows lots of toddler tendencies which can drive her Mama crazy, she is a blessing to us. God reminds me daily how truly blessed we are. And I am so incredibly thankful that this little bundle of joy came into our lives at 8:28 am on May 31st, 2007.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Potty Training a Toddler


I have to admit, potty training is not something that I am eagerly anticipating. I don't mind changing diapers so much (except when Ladybug soils a freshly changed diaper resulting in two diaper changes within five minutes). I do look forward to the day when the only bottom I have to wipe is my own.

I've been seriously thinking about using cloth training pants rather than disposables for potty training. A lot of parent opinions that I've read dislike the disposables because they feel too much like a diaper. But I like the idea that a cloth trainer would give more protection than regular underwear. One mom I spoke with agreed with this as well.

When Ladybug was born, I was totally intimidated by the idea of using cloth diapers. Now that I have done some research, I wish I hadn't been so intimidated. I'm really sick of using the disposables! For environment and financial reasons.

Gerber, of course, is the mostly widely available cloth trainer. The drawback with the Gerbers is that they only go up to 39 lbs. Considering that my almost 2-year old is as big as most 3 year olds, this is a serious drawback for us.

Most cloth diaper brands also make cloth trainers. They are a bit more pricey. They do come in larger sizes however.

A benefit of a cloth trainer that I like is that while it will provide a bit of protection for my carpet and furniture, Ladybug will feel the wet/soiled cloth and want to do something about it. As in, not want to stay in them! Even if she has an accident in the cloth training pants, it helps her to learn the physical cues of independent pottying.

The Dr. Sears website has great information on potty training in general.

It's difficult not to worry that Ladybug is already behind other kids in potty training. However, since this is a developmental milestone, all kids reach them at their own pace. Ladybug is definitely showing interest in things potty-related. So my hope is that this summer we can conquer this task. I don't want to be in a hurry or try to push a time schedule that she isn't ready for.

I'd love to hear your experiences with potty training - the good, the bad, and the ugly!

Photo credit: stock.xchng

Thursday, May 28, 2009

My Toddler's Nutrition - Snacks


Although somewhat delayed, I am continuing my series of posts on my toddler's nutrition. The first post is on Beverages.

Does any other parent out there struggle with snack choices for their kids? What is convenient is not always what is best. I want to give Ladybug the best choices, not just the easy ones. Toddlerhood is when so many eating habits are formed, and I want to give her a healthy foundation on which to make her own choices later.

This past Tuesday on Twitter, I participated in a discussion with Dr. Joanna Dolgoff on kids and nutrition. I found lots of great ideas that I'll be incorporating into our routine. Some of them take a little planning ahead, but I don't mind that. I'd rather have snacks ready than to try to tell a hungry 2 year old to wait!

One mom suggested having an "approved snack" on the refrigerator. This not only helps with snack ideas, but is also helpful to other caregivers as well. And it would a good reminder for parents as to our snack options as well. After all, our kids learn by example! They will snack on the same things that we do!

Here are a few ideas that we'll be implementing:

1. Pre-cut veggies & fruits: carrots, cucumbers, pineapple, apples, grapes, etc.

2. Watermelon "juice" - watermelon chunks, lime juice, ice cubes in the blender (no sugar needed!) This would be great as a frozen treat too!

3. Fat free cool whip between 2 graham crackers

4. Pureed fruit frozen in popsicle forms

5. Sliced banana dipped in toasted coconut

6. Wheat crackers and cheese

There were more great ideas shared that included some frozen treats, but I am unsure about serving those to Ladybug at this age. She has been late in getting her teeth, with her eye teeth all coming in within the last 2 weeks (at age 23.5 months).

Currently, we have pretzels, whole wheat bread, or crackers and cheese for snacks, sometimes fruit if it's already cut up. I've been feeling in a rut lately, so I'm glad for these new ideas. Crackers that would go on my "approved" list include wheat thins, whole grain ritz crackers, whole grain fish crakers, animal crackers, and even pretzels.

One suggestion was made regarding serving the cut up veggies, and that was to offer low-fat ranch dressing with them. I know this is used mostly to convince kids to eat their veggies. Frankly, I am not a dressing/dip person. So far, Ladybug does not balk at the idea of eating veggies, so I am not going to start offering her dips. It's not something she sees me doing anyway. Parents, do you have an opinion about offering dressing/dip with raw veggies?

I would love to hear your ideas, too! What snacks have been winners with your kids, toddler age and up?

Dr. Dolgoff will host a Twitter discussion for parents every Tuesday at 1 pm Eastern time. Click on her link above to follow her and to learn more about the discussion. (and feel free to follow me on Twitter too!)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Adventures with Baby T

Just wanted to share a few more pics from our trip last week to visit my sister and her new baby.

One morning, I got to snuggle with both Ladybug (almost 2) and Baby T.

It was an adventure trying to fit a car seat and an infant carrier in the backseat of my sister's car. But we did it, and Grammy was able to sit back there too to be with both of her grandbabies. Baby T looks so small next to my big girl!

And one afternoon while my sister caught up on her sleep, I held Baby T in a padded ring sling so she could sleep too. It was so fun wearing a little one again! And she was so cozy! I was able to play on the floor with Ladybug while T was in the sling. Definitely the way to go if we had a little one of our own (which we don't and we won't - not trying to drop any hints there!).

And we were able to get a family picture before we left - my brother-in-law, my sister holding Baby T, Grammy, Ladybug in her new swimsuit with built-in flotation device, and me holding the squirming toddler.

Wordful Wednesday
Wordless Wednesday HQ
5 Minutes for Mom

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tiny Talk Tuesday


I can't believe my Ladybug will be 2 years old on Sunday! Where has the time gone? She has been talking so much lately, and we are really enjoying her personality these days!

Especially when she is excited, she will say, "Mama-da!" and we get the biggest kick out of that!

When we were visiting my sister and her new baby last week, Ladybug enjoyed pointing to and naming the baby's body parts. "Toes. Legs. Fingers. Nose. Eyes." We had to watch and make sure she wasn't poking Baby T in the eyes on that last one.

Especially with all the traveling (Hubby was gone the week before for a graduate class), we have been talking to Hubby on the phone a lot. Ladybug now says, "Hello? Da-da?" in the cutest way! And she has been learning the names of family members and will recite everyone's name in order. She'll combine Grandpa and Uncle Pat into "Paw-Paa." So cute!

She is also reciting her ABCs and numbers up to 10, sometimes with prompting and sometimes without!

Ladybug continues to use both signing and spoken words, which we encourage both. We would love for American Sign Language to be a 2nd language for her. There are a few words that she has signed for a long time but has not started saying the word yet. Example: water. Recently, she did start saying "water" but it sounds more like "agua." Great! Spanish can be a 3rd language!

Thanks to Mary at Not Before 7 for hosting Tiny Talk Tuesday so that parents can record the things our little ones are saying!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Unpacking

Welcome to More of Him Monday! This is a weekly carnival in which we can share encouragement with fellow Christian bloggers. Please read here for participation guidelines.

If you have a More of Him post to share, please share the link to your post in the comments. Please link back here so that others can be encouraged and inspired as God shows us More of Him.

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I apologize for the unintentional bloggy hiatus this past week. We had a whirlwind trip to visit my sister, brother-in-law, and their new baby. We drove 11 hours home on Thursday, which should have been 9 hours, but rain and road construction slowed us down considerably. Friday was spent trying to catch up on rest and cleaning and freezing strawberries that we picked up on the way home. (I did make a very yummy strawberry pie on Saturday morning - it received high marks from Hubby!)

I feel like I am still trying to recover physically from this trip. My body aches, and I am very tired. I'm not a spring chicken anymore! That much traveling is tough on this body.

Anyway, as I as putting Ladybug to bed on Sunday night, I remembered that I still had unpacking to finish. I am notorious for leaving a half unpacked suitcase on the bedroom floor for MONTHS after a trip. Yes, months.

It occurred to me that we are like that in our spiritual lives. That we leave junk packed in our suitcases, side-stepping them for months, even years, in order to avoid dealing with the stuff inside. Be it good or bad, we all have baggage.

And spiritually speaking, we need to unpack it. In Matthew 11, Jesus asks us to trade yokes with Him, to allow Him to carry our heavy burdens. The baggage that we insist on carrying ourselves is indeed a heavy burden. It impedes our spiritual growth and our ability to fully function as a member of the Body of Christ.

What baggage do you have yet to unpack? I encourage you to take it to Christ. Let Him unpack your burdens and carry them for you.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.
Matthew 11:28-30

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Your turn. Where have you seen More of Him in your life?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hand, Hand, Fingers, Toes

We are enjoying visiting with my new niece this week! She's 20 days old, and so adorable! Ladybug (almost 2 yo) has been gentle most of the time. Hopefully, Baby T won't have any permanent damage (just kidding, Sister!).

Ladybug really likes naming all of Baby T's body parts. Ladybug even got to hold the baby for a little while. These pictures are just too cute!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Enjoying Family Time


Ladybug (almost 2 yrs!), with my sister and her new baby. Can't believe my Ladybug used to be that small!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Learning to Trust

I am currently visiting my brand new niece. Oh, and my sister and her husband are here too. But while I'm soaking up snuggles with a 2 week old baby, I'd like some group participation. I'd love to hear your stories!

One of the themes of what God is teaching me lately is TRUST. Learning to trust Him.

How are you learning to trust God more these days?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Random Lost Thoughts

***********SPOILER ALERT*************

If you haven't watch the season finale of Lost yet, don't read this! Only time for a quick post right now.

I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED last night's finale of Lost! Amazing! The writers tied together a lot of loose ends, but of course, couldn't tie up too much. We are definitely left wanting MORE!

Favorite parts:

- The Black Rock
- a lot of back story of our main characters
- Richard (!)
- Sayid (!)
- a hint at answers of who the Ajirans are
- the Jack/Sawyer smack down (it always amazed me how two guys can be beating on each other, yet still be buds ten minutes later!)
- Juliet (LOVE HER!)
- Dr. Chang's arm

I'll definitely be watching this again, especially since we have such a long break until we get our next Lost fix.

On other Lost thoughts, look at what I saw a few weeks ago while walking around town (sorry for the bad pic - stupid camera on my phone was all I had with me). But all you Lost fans will know what this is, for sure!


And a funny to share: Hubby is finishing up graduate classes to be a counselor. One of his projects for his current class is to do a psychoanalysis on a fictional character. Guess which Lostie he chose? Jack Sheppard! I big puffy heart Jack!

Anywho, what are your thoughts on last night's season finale?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Rose By Any Other Name

Believe it or not, I do not have any new pictures of Ladybug to share this week. It isn't because we haven't taken pictures, trust me. It's just that she is in the stage of wanting to run around "nay"-kid. So the pictures from this past week are not something that I want to post on the internet. Although her version of "nay"-kid is with diaper, I'm not comfortable sharing those here.

So instead, I am sharing pictures of my roses! I am really enjoying my garden this year. My roses bloomed just in time for Mother's Day. Wish we had smell-ernet so that you indulge in this amazingly fragrant rose. But instead you'll have to use your imagination! Enjoy!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Life is So Daily

Welcome to More of Him Monday! This is a weekly carnival in which we can share encouragement with fellow Christian bloggers. Please read here for participation guidelines.

If you have a More of Him post to share, please share the link to your post in the comments. Please link back here so that others can be encouraged and inspired as God shows us More of Him.

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Some days, I feel so worn down by life. Life is so daily. Every day, there are dishes to be washed, clothes to be folded and put away, diapers to change, floors to sweep, toys to clean up. Add to all that the other crap that comes with life. Dealing with people and misunderstandings, trying to keep everyone happy, media images of happy, slim, perfectly coiffed housewives.

Sprinkle that with fitting exercise into the daily schedule, teaching Ladybug her colors, letters, and numbers, and working with customers for my business. Add a pinch of trying to make healthy, wholesome food for my family, teaching our toddler good eating habits, not letting her watch too many videos, playing outside, and working in the small garden.

Ugh. I don't know about you, but daily life wears me down faster than anything else. We do all these things in the course of a single day. Then wake up the next day to do them all over again.

It can be a recipe for depression and anxiety.

But I was reminded recently that we are meant live life on a daily basis. Jesus taught His disciples to pray for their "daily bread," asking for what they needed on that day only, not for the days to come. When God provided manna for the Israelites as they wandered in the desert for forty years, He provided daily manna for them. Only on the sixth day was there ever extra manna so that they would not have to gather manna on the Sabbath. God provides for us on a daily basis.

Life may be daily, but it is in the daily-ness, that we learn to trust God more. Trust Him not only for our daily bread, but for the strength to find joy in all the mundane things of daily life. Trust Him to ease the anxiety about the future. Trust Him to for wisdom to make the right decisions for my family.

Trusting God is a day-by-day journey. In spite of the daily-ness of life that may get me down, I wouldn't want to be on this journey without Him!

Give us this day our daily bread...
Matthew 6:11

Friday, May 8, 2009

Everyone Needs a Good Hat

Two fun things about our Ladybug (23 months) - she loves to play dress up with her collection of hats, and she loves to stand on a step stool at the kitchen counter. I have lots of cute pictures that make a great photo story, so I thought I would share those today.
Okay, so the last picture doesn't have a hat. But she does love standing there and being Mama's helper.

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Paperwork

I couldn't decide if I should post pictures of the cute toddler again this week. Maybe you're getting sick of seeing my beautiful girl?

So I'm shaking it up a bit this week. Here is Hubby and Ladybug together. Hubby was sitting at the table to finish some paperwork. So Ladybug (23 months) climbed up next to him to work on her paperwork, i.e. coloring. She was also trying to be helpful to her Daddy, whom she adores! Aren't they just so cute? I love them both so much!


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Amish Friendship Bread



It is the chain letters of baking, isn't it? You get this bag of stuff, let it sit on your counter, and "mush it" every day. You add some flour, sugar, and milk halfway on day five or six (depending on the version of instructions that you received with the stuff. Around day eight you start to wonder if this bread is really worth all this trouble.

Finally, day 10 - baking day - arrives! You've gathered your ingredients, lined up three more plastic zip top bags so that you can pass on the stuff to your unsuspecting friends, and then you make the bread. It bakes for a whole hour (come on, already! I've been waiting TEN DAYS!), and the most amazing aroma begins to fill your house. You start to think that maybe, just maybe, the wait will be worth it.

Finally, the bread is done, it has cooled and you are ready for a taste. Heaven in the form of bread! You swear that you can hear angels singing as this delectable treat melts in your mouth and tickles your taste buds. Wow! This bread really is worth the wait and hassle!

I have recently re-embarked into the wonderful world of Amish Friendship Bread. But I decided that I wasn't going to play by the rules that are clearly marked out on the instruction sheet that has been photo-copied a bazillion times before it came into my hands. Oh no. I am a rule breaker! I want the amazing melt-in-your-mouth experience of AFB without all the sugar and calories. I am a woman on a mission!

Your basic AFB recipe varies but all have the following: lots of sugar, instant vanilla pudding mix, the mysterious starter that your "friend" passed on to you, and lots of sugar. Did I mention lots of sugar?

I found some great online resources for AFB variations; instead of copying everything to this post, making a long post even longer, click here and here.

Now, on to the changes that I have made so far. This is a work in progress, and I can't wait to taste my next experimentation!

1. I use 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce and 1/2 cup oil, instead of 1 cup oil.

2. I reduced the sugar from 1 cup to 2/3 cup.

3. While I did used all-purpose flour in "feeding" the starter, I used 2 cups whole wheat flour in the basic recipe instead of 2 cups AP flour.

4. I only feed the starter 1/4 cup flour, sugar, and milk on days five and ten, so that I only have enough starter for the recipe and for my new starter. No more duping unsuspecting friends into taking a starter! And, I've run out of unsuspecting friends anyway!


The results? Delicious! In future batches, I will try substituting a can of pure pumpkin for the oil. I will also try adding shredded apples, shredded carrots, and mashed bananas. I have seen the chocolate variation and I MIGHT give that a try when I'm feeling particularly decadent.

Also, in this post, I read in the comments how you can use part of your AFB starter as a sourdough starter. I know my mother-in-law is very interested in that variation!

So, the point of this very long post is this: Do not fear the Amish Friendship Bread starter. Embrace it. Experiment with it. Love it. After you have mushed it for ten days that is!

Now for your part - I'd love to hear your AFB stories! The good, the bad, and the ugly!


For all things Blissfully Domestic, click here.
For all things that Tempt My Tummy and yours, click here.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Turning Down the Volume

Welcome to More of Him Monday! This is a weekly carnival in which we can share encouragement with fellow Christian bloggers. Please read here for participation guidelines.

If you have a More of Him post to share, please share the link to your post in the comments. Please link back here so that others can be encouraged and inspired as God shows us More of Him.

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This is a busy season of my life. I keep hoping that things will return to "normal," and that what our family is going through right now is not the "new normal." It's so busy. I just want to stop and catch my breath.

A while back (I can't seem to find the post), another blogger left a comment regarding "stealing moments" with God. I've been trying to do more of that, because it's seems like moments are all I have with Him. I hate that. I want to be able to quiet my mind and heart and sit in His presence.

Sometimes that "sitting" happens in the bathroom, but only when Hubby is home so I can close the door and actually have a moment of privacy too. I have a devotional book in the bathroom called "Quiet Moments with God for Mothers." Each devotional barely takes two minutes to read.

I read recently about the value of silence. I appreciate silence, I really do! But it's a rare animal in these parts. Even now as I type, Hubby and Ladybug are in bed, but the dryer is running. So there is relative quiet, but not silence.

Silence makes a lot of people uncomfortable. In conversations. In church services. In life. We are so programmed to have noise, to have something happening around us all the time. But we need the silence. We need that uncomfortable feeling because that is when we realize that we are not whole. That we have a need in our lives for something greater than ourselves. We need God.

From my devotional book: "Sometimes the quiet does not offer itself; it must be sought out. At other times, the surroundings don't allow for true silence. It is in those moments when the Holy Spirit can supernaturally turn down the volume and allow moments of quiet communion with God from within."

I know that in these busy days, I need to seek those quiet times. I need to ask the Holy Spirit to turn down the volume and the chaos around me so that I can steal those moments with God.

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength." Isaiah 30:15 NLT


Friday, May 1, 2009

Welcome, Tracey May!


My new niece has arrived! My sister gave birth to her first child last night via c-section. We had a bit of a scare, but all is well! Hopefully, Ladybug and I will be able to travel to meet Tracey May in a week or so.