Saturday, October 29, 2011

Elimination Communication Update

9 months
When Bugaboo was four months old, I started infant potty training (or elimination communication) and blogged about my experience. Bugaboo is now fourteen months old and a lot has happened since we first started.

Bugaboo caught on very quickly. It was tiring at first, taking him so often, but it was sort of fun too. We sang songs and did finger plays together. I learned how smart and willing my baby was. He was able to sign potty (not perfectly, but discernable from milk) before five months old, which made it so much easier. He did it most often when he needed to poo. With both our efforts, I caught half of his pees and nearly all his poos. I could even take him to a public potty when we were out, which also encouraged me to use cloth diapers away from home since I knew there would be no poopy messes. Sometimes I even took his little potty with me when we were gone all day or going to a friend's house. It took a lot of commitment, but it was worth it. I was so proud of both of us!

Then nine months hit. He was crawling and getting into mischief and decided to go on a potty strike. No more signing. No more sitting on the potty. It was very frustrating. Especially when he figured out he could crawl off the potty chair, spilling its contents onto the carpet. Yuck!

13 months

I got lazy after that. I still took him in the mornings, after naps, and before baths, but my efforts stopped there. A month later I tried again, and Bugaboo signed for about a week. Then he learned to walk, becoming more distracted, and stopped signing for good. Since then I've had to watch him like in the beginning to catch it in time. I was hoping he would be diaper free by one and fully potty trained by 18 months.

Overall my efforts have not been wasted. He still knows what going potty means. If he passes gas when I'm around, he looks at me and smiles. I'll ask him if he needs to go potty and he'll run to the bedroom. Unfortunately, it's just gas most of the time, the real thing happening shortly thereafter. Sometimes he signs all done when he's barely started eating and I know it's because he needs to go. Other times I just randomly ask him and watch for a response.

What I've learned is that diligence is the key. You have to be consistent and 100-percent dedicated. My laziness and his distractedness once he was mobile were a bad combination. I haven't given up yet. I'm working really hard again so that he can tell his teachers when he has to go once he enters our church's nursery at 18 months. Wish me luck!

Note: The morning after I originally wrote this post, Bugaboo signed potty and milk! He hasn't done it since, but it's a start!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


The winner of the Flanders Field Photography Giveaway is comment #142 "Hey I love this one! . . . I would choose this :)" by Natasha Areena. Congratulations! And thanks to everyone who entered; it was my most successful giveaway!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pandora Radio

I love Pandora Radio. When I babysit, I play children's songs on Pandora and the boys love spinning around in circles to the music. We labeled the station Sesame Street, which the majority of the songs are from, but other children's songs play as well. To create your own free children's station, you can also try The Wiggles, Disney, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Muppets, Baby Einstein, or Raffi. Happy dancing!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Gigi's Petals $50 Target Gift Card Giveaway [CLOSED]

In April I hosted a giveaway for Gigi's Petals, an Etsy shop selling cute jewelry and accessories. Gigi's Petals is now launching a new site that will feature an Etsy seller every day and offer discounts to their shop. The new site will open tomorrow, October 24.

To celebrate the opening, Gigi's Petals is giving away a $50 Target gift card. All you have to do is sign up for their daily emails. For a second entry, like Gigi's Petals on Facebook. No comments necessary--they will choose and notify the winner. This giveaway ends November 1. But it's just the beginning to hundreds more giveaways on their new site every day for five days! So hurry and sign up for these incredible giveaways and more deals to come!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Cheap & Easy Penguin Costume

One Halloween night in high school I was going to a party but had no idea what to wear. I didn't want to wear a costume I had worn before. I browsed through my dismal closet and saw my old tuxedo shirt from middle-school band. An idea hit me: I could make a penguin costume! Here is what I did:

  1. Wear a tuxedo or white button-up shirt, a bowtie, black pants, black shoes, and a black sweater or blazer.
  2. Paint your forehead and nose black. Paint the rest of your face white.
  3. Cut out penguin feet from yellow construction paper and tape them to the top of your shoes.
  4. Use the cardboard tube from a roll of toilet paper to make the beak. Glue yellow construction paper to the tube.
  5. Flatten in and cut out a triangle, starting at an open end. Cut through both sides but not all the way to the other open end so that it stays intact.
  6. Keep the beak in place with string or elastic.
  7. To be Tacky the Penguin, wear sunglasses and a Hawaiian shirt.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

How to Make an Angelina Ballerina Costume
Angelina Ballerina, or Angelina Mouseling, is a mouse who loves to dance ballet. Created by author Katharine Holabird and illustrator Helen Craig, Angelina Ballerina was first a book series and is now a TV series. And Angelina Ballerina can be a cute, easy costume for your little girl.
  1. Angelina Ballerina is a white mouse, so dress your daughter in a white long-sleeved shirt, white tights, and white gloves.
  2. For ears, buy a thin, neutral-colored headband and pink and white paper at the dollar store. Cut out large white ears and smaller pink ears. Glue the pink ears on the white ears to make the inner ear. Glue the ears to the headband.
  3. Make Angelina’s tail by inflating a long, white balloon (the kind used to make balloon animals) and tying it around your daughter's waist with string. Another option is to pin a stuffed, white tube sock to the costume.
  4. With makeup draw three white whiskers on each cheek and a pink nose.
  5. Finish the costume with a pink leotard, pink tutu, and pink ballet slippers. (Check thrift stores and online to save money on the ballet accessories.) Tie a pink bow in her hair, or tie or glue it to the headband. Sometimes Angelina Ballerina has a red rose pinned to her right above her tutu.
Now your little girl is ready to dance and twirl like Angelina Ballerina!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Flanders Field Photography Giveaway [CLOSED]

Another one of the prizes I won in a giveaway by Modern Typography was an 8x10 print photo from Flanders Field Photography. I had such a hard time choosing a favorite. The photography is beautiful! I am very picky about what I will hang on my walls. I am not an art person, and the little art I like is usually of nature, especially nature photography. Flanders Field knows how to capture the beauty of nature on camera.

Flanders Field also creates note cards, pendants, and coasters with the photos.

Although I prefer flowers, Flanders Field also shoots fruit, water, the sky, and more.

Alaskan glacier

*Variety of colors, subjects, and sizes
*Clear, high-quality photos
*Shows how the photo would look matted and framed
*Did I mention beautiful?


Flanders Field is generously giving away an 8x10 photo of your choice, a $25 value!

Mandatory 1st Entry: Visit Flanders Field and tell me which photo you would choose.

3 entries: Follow this blog via Google Friend Connect.

1 entry: Heart Flanders Field on Etsy. Leave your username.

1 entry: Post this giveaway on Facebook.

Please leave a separate comment for each entry. All entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. PST on Tuesday, October 25. The winner will be announced Wednesday, October 26. Please leave your email in one of the entries so I can contact you if you win. Good luck!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Cheap & Easy Mouse Costume

Want to dress up as a mouse for a costume party? This easy, cheap mouse costume is especially designed for those with no sewing ability, like me.

First, choose what color mouse you would like to be: white, black, brown, or gray. Wear clothes in that one color. For paws, wear white or pink gloves and shoes. With makeup draw three long whiskers and a pink nose.

To make ears, buy a thin, neutral-colored headband and a pad of colored construction paper at the dollar store. Cut out large ears in your chosen color. Cut out smaller ears in the color of your gloves and glue them on the larger ears to make the inside part of the ear. Tape the ears to the headband.

For the tail, inflate a long balloon (the kind used to make balloon animals) in the same color as your clothes or gloves and tie it around your waist with string. Another option is to pin a stuffed colored tube sock to your pants.

Choose accessories: cheeseheads or fake cheese, a mouse stuffed animal, or a mousetrap. Put on sunglasses and use a cane to be one of the three blind mice.

To be Remy from Ratatouille:
  1. Remy is a gray rat with pink hands and feet, so wear all gray clothes and pink gloves and shoes. You can buy cheap gray sweats at Wal-mart.
  2. Make a pink tail and ears. With makeup draw three white whiskers on each cheek and a pink nose.
  3. To make the Remy costume complete, wear a chef hat and carry a wooden spoon. (If you wear a hat, then be sure to tape the ears to the sides of the headband instead of to the top. Or tape the ears to the hat.)
  4. A cute costume idea for couples would be for one to dress up as Remy and the other to dress up as Linguini (the young chef Remy helps) or Gusteau (the fat chef that inspires Remy to cook).


The winner of the set of 3 fabric-leaf branches from Jane Joss is comment #62 "Hearted Jane Joss on etsy, user name is name Armada Volya" by Armada Volya. Congratulations!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Group Halloween Costumes

If you would like to make Halloween costumes for three or four people, here are some fun ideas.
Decide if you want to dress up as the same thing, such as a gang of pirates; as complementary things, such as Disney princesses; or as a famous three- or foursome, such as Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto.

To dress up the same, consider being members of a famous band or sports team, people of the same profession, or a gang of some type (ninjas, Pink Ladies, etc.).

Complementary Halloween costumes could be different farm animals, cowboys and Indians, or various superheroes and their sidekicks, lady lovers, or villains. Browse through your books and movies to find more characters, such as from Star Wars or Peter Pan.

Some famous trios include the Three Stooges, the Three Little Pigs, the Three Bears, the Three Blind Mice, the Flintstones, the Rubbles, Huey/Dewey/Louie, Harry Potter/Hermione Granger/Ron Weasley, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and the Cat in the Hat/Thing 1/Thing 2 (or the two children).

Some famous foursomes are the Fantastic Four, Incredibles, Ninja Turtles, Wizard of Oz crew, children from The Chronicles of Narnia, and animals from the movie Madagascar.

For more foursomes, include other people related to the trio ideas, such as adding Ginny, Luna, or Neville to the Harry Potter team; the wolf to The Three Little Pigs; Goldilocks to the Three Bears; Dave to Alvin and the Chipmunks; and the Flintstones to the Rubbles (no Pebbles and Bam Bam).

If you have a baby or two, involve them in the Halloween costume. Or ask older children if they would like to be part of a family Halloween costume. If you are going as two couples, then read my article on Halloween costumes for couples for more ideas.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Halloween Costumes for Couples

If you and your partner want to coordinate your Halloween costumes, here are some ideas:

Decide if you want to be dressed up as the same thing, such as a pair of dice; as opposites, such as a cat and mouse; as complimentary objects, such as salt and pepper; or as a famous couple, such as Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

Browse through your movies and books for character couples. You can find more famous couples in history, superhero comics, and TV shows. Click here for a list of famous couples.

Look through your closet to find old work, school, or sports uniforms that can be turned into Halloween costumes for couples. Some ideas include flight attendant and pilot, football star and cheerleader, nun and priest, Indian chief and princess, king and queen, photographer and model, lawyers, doctors, graduates, farmers, and ninjas.

Search your house for paired item costume ideas, like toothpaste and a toothbrush, a cereal box and milk carton, or a pillow and blanket.

Try the animal kingdom for good opposites: a wolf and lamb or bird and worm. Other ideas for opposites are angel and devil, rich person and poor person, Beauty and the Beast, mother and baby, or person and pet.

If you are new parents, include your baby in the costume. Some ideas are Fred, Wilma, and Pebbles Flintstone (or Barney, Betty, and Bam Bam Rubble); the Three Bears, Blind Mice, or Pigs (or any animals); Alvin and the Chipmunks; or Huey, Dewey, and Louie. Easier options are to be doctors with a newborn baby or farmers with a vegetable or animal. Search baby costumes for more ideas.

Be creative and have fun! Wear a different Halloween costume for every party you go to. To save money, share costumes with other couples.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

How to Save Money on Costumes

Buying Halloween costumes is a lot of fun! But it can easily get expensive, especially if you have a large family or want a complex costume. Don’t let finances ruin Halloween for you. There are several ways you can save money on costumes.
~Decide what you (or your children) want to be for Halloween. Have second and third choices in case your first choice does not work. Try to choose costumes that you could wear again, convert into another costume, or wear as a real outfit. These requirements will especially save you money on children’s costumes.

~Determine if you have the sewing or creative ability to make the costume. Search your closet and house for clothes and accessories that would work with the costume.

~Go to a party, Halloween costume, or online store and look for the costume. Check prices to see whether it would be cheaper to buy the complete costume or to buy separate pieces and accessories.

~Browse through the accessories (jewelry, wigs, hats, masks, wings, capes, makeup, weapons, shoes, tights, toys, etc.) and see if there is anything you already have at home, you can easily make, or you can borrow from someone. Or just buy the accessories and make the rest of the costume.

~Shop for Halloween costumes, clothes, and accessories at thrift stores, at cheaper stores (like Wal-mart), and online to save money. Ask friends and family for old costumes, especially for children’s costumes. Many children only wear their costume for one year because they grow quickly or lose interest in the costume.

~Use coupons and buy discounted costumes. If the costumes are missing pieces or are damaged, buy or make replacements or repair the damages, but only if it is worth your time and money.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Halloween Wish List

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays! I love all the cute, fun decorations, not the dark, scary ones. If my wallet weren't on a diet, I would get the following Halloween decor:

These tealight holders from Pier 1 are so stinkin' cute! And only $5 each.

This throw pillow, also from Pier 1, would look great on my forest green couches.

This Pier 1 outdoor floor lantern is awesome because it holds candles instead of using electricity.

Kohl's has several cute door signs, but this one is my favorite.

I also love this lantern candleholder from Kohl's. A little spooky but not creepy.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Jane Joss Fabric Leaves Giveaway [CLOSED]

One of the prizes I won from a giveaway by Modern Typography was a set of three fabric-leaf branches in an autumn pattern. I love them! I put them in a vase on my entertainment center. I've gotten compliments on them, including from my husband, who usually doesn't care for home decor.

I decided to check out the designer on etsy: Jane Joss, the fabric florist. I fell in love with this potted plant. I kill all live plants, so a fabric one would be better for me.

Jane Joss also sells beautiful fabric flowers and wreaths with fabric leaves.

*Lovely, unique, bright patterns.
*Pretty stitching.
*No mess, no care, no wilting!
*Versatility (branches/flowers): Put them in a vase, add them to a fake flower arrangement, lay them down on a table as part of a centerpiece, etc.

*Dust collector. But not as bad as other fake plants!

Jane Joss is generously giving away a set of three fabric-leaf branches in the pattern of your choice!

Mandatory 1st Entry: Like Jane Joss on Facebook.

3 entries: Follow this blog on Google Friend Connect (see right sidebar).

1 entry: Post this giveaway on Facebook.

Please leave a separate comment for each entry. All entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. PST on Sunday, October 16. The winner will be announced on Monday, October 17. Please leave your email in one of your entries so I can contact you if you win. Good luck!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cheap & Easy Wall Decor

A while ago I was inspired to be crafty, but I just realized I never blogged about it! My baby's room and accessories are jungle themed. I wanted to make something cute to hang on his walls. Michael's had a great sale on paper (7/$1), and I found a jungle pattern I liked. In their wood section I got two jungle animals, a giraffe and zebra, for less than a dollar each, and I used a 40-percent-off coupon too. Then I found two light-wood frames at the thrift store for 69 cents each. I borrowed Mod Podge from a friend to glue the animals to the paper. A very cheap and easy project in the end. And I have plenty of paper left over for more room decorations.

Update: I have since found four matching wooden palm trees on clearance for 9 cents at Michael's. I sticky-tacked them on either side of the frames.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Breastfeeding in America

Breastfeeding is an interesting subject in America. It appears the majority of people, even those with children, think breastfeeding is not a public activity and should not continue past the first year of life, if even that long. I would like to address these two hypocritical beliefs.

Myth 1. Breastfeeding should always be private.

I am a Mormon, so I do believe in modesty and using nursing covers at least when men are around. Even so, I also think babies have the right to eat whenever and wherever they need to whether or not their mothers cover up. When people think breastfeeding is offensive, I can't help but think they are being offensive by sexualizing or making obscene something natural and precious. Our culture is obsessed with breasts and is perfectly content allowing women to flaunt them any other time, yet finds it inappropriate when a baby eats what nature intended for the baby to eat. I am appalled to hear of public places kicking out women for nursing their hungry babies, especially when covered, yet leave half-naked women in peace or display magazines with women barely concealing their breasts. Those women's intents are sexual.

FYI, many states, such as Arizona, protect a woman's right to breastfeed in public, covered or not. Although I usually try to find a private place to nurse, such as a dressing room, I have nursed (covered) in a restaurant and on a bench in an outdoor mall. I wish all places were as baby-friendly as the Swedish home store IKEA, which has a nursing room, among other amenities.

Myth 2. Breastfeeding should cease after one year, if not sooner.

Concerning weaning, "the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends continued breastfeeding beyond the first birthday as long as mutually desired by mother and child" and states that "the simplest, most 'natural' time to wean is when your child initiates the process." They also go into detail about the benefits of long-term breastfeeding, such as boosting the child's immunity and intelligence. Yet American mothers wean much earlier, in contrast to the worldwide average of 2 to 4 years old.

There are also other reasons to nurse: bonding time and comfort. The idea of encouraging a baby or toddler to nurse for comfort bothers some people. We have no problem letting toddlers become attached to pacifiers, blankies, and other such objects, so why do we oppose a toddler going to his or her mother for comfort? The AAP says,

Your toddler may turn to nursing for comfort and reassurance, but he is certainly still benefiting from the nutritional and immunologic benefits. In any case, emotional support is a perfectly legitimate aspect of breastfeeding.
Seeking out a reassuring nursing session when he’s upset and bouncing back as soon as he finishes builds your child’s confidence and feelings of security and well-being. Certainly there is no evidence that extended breastfeeding makes a child more dependent or harms him in any way.
On the contrary, many parents proudly tell how independent, healthy, and exceptionally bright their long-term breastfed children become. As long as you are comfortable breastfeeding your toddler, there is no reason to stop.
Whether or not you are comfortable with breastfeeding is irrelevant. My hope is that you respect other mothers' choices to breastfeed in public and breastfeed for as long as they and their babies want.
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