Thursday, March 28, 2013

Things I've Learned from Murder Mystery Books & Crime Shows

During my first trimester, I read a ton of Agatha Christie murder mysteries to get me through the morning sickness. The books, and shows like Law & Order: SVU, have taught me some very important things:

  1. One murder always leads to a second or more. Just like lies.
  2. Never hide anything from the police, even if it isn't relevant to the case. They will discover it and air out your dirty laundry in front of everyone.
  3. Never confront a murderer or criminal about the murder or criminal activity. Friends and family can turn on you to save their own hides. Go straight to the police and let them take care of it.
  4. Blackmailing a murderer always results in your own murder. 
  5. If you disregard the previous two tips, always tell someone where you are going and who are you meeting, especially if you are a witness or blackmailer.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How to Teach Your Baby to Clean Up

Making his first mess!

Ever since Caden was a baby people have been amazed to see him clean up his toys and other messes. They were in awe that a child so young could and would do it. I think people greatly underestimate what babies and toddlers can do. They are little sponges just waiting to soak up every ounce of knowledge they can. We must take advantage of this time to instill in them good habits before they reach the age where they realize those things aren't fun to do! But if it's something they have been doing for as long as they can remember, it becomes second nature to them and they don't think twice about it.

That doesn't mean Caden is perfect. He still is 2! He sometimes gets distracted and starts playing with the toys again instead of cleaning them up. But overall, he is a clean child, especially when he spills something. He doesn't need me to tell him to clean it up because he freaks out! He's a little OCD about food getting on him or his eating area.

Anyway, here are some tips to help you teach your baby how to clean up the toys:
  1. Start as soon as Baby can play with toys on his or her own, around 6 months. At the end of the day, sing the "Clean Up" song as you put away the toys while Baby watches you. It is important that Baby sees you do this and is not in another room or sleeping. 
  2. Be consistent so Baby knows and expects this everyday. Once you've established the daily habit of cleaning up, help Baby pick up a toy or two and put them away.
  3. Clean up more frequently as Baby's play times increase. Good times to clean up are before nap, before dinner, and before bed. You can also teach putting away one toy before getting out another.
  4. Wait patiently for Baby to help you clean up on his or her own (Caden did at about 12 months). Never force it. Give lots of praise when it finally happens so Baby knows it is a good and positive thing to do. 
  5. Continue to do this and soon you won't need to help at all! However, it is not bad to still help because it teaches your toddler team work and kindness (he or she is more likely to help you clean your messes in return).
As your baby becomes a toddler and starts to learn things like colors, shapes, and numbers, you can incorporate this learning into cleaning up. For example, ask your toddler to pick up a red toy. If your toddler gets distracted and wants to play with the toys again, make cleaning up a game. For example, pretending to wash the dishes in the play kitchen and putting them away, driving the cars back into their bucket, or pushing stuffed animals in a shopping cart to the bed.

Good luck! You and your baby can do this and have a mess free home!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Featured Seller: Jessica from Memories in Clay

Looking for the perfect Mother's Day gift? Look no further. Jessica from Memories in Clay makes ceramic plaques of your child's handprint or pet's pawprint.

I am an elementary art teacher that has always loved working with clay. I've been doing clay projects with my students for years, but really got into the handprint items when I had my own 2 little girls. Ella is now 3, and Maddy is almost 1. They grow so fast, and imprinting their tiny handprints and footprints makes me feel comfortable knowing that I will always have a keepsake to remember them at this age. 

Check out Memories in Clay for more options, like a Mommy & Me handprint plaque, and follow on Facebook for updates and deals. Hurry and order today to ensure the gift is ready by Mother's Day!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Trip to the Zoo

Thursday morning we went to the zoo for the first time. Growing up visiting the San Diego Zoo and The Wild Animal Park a million times, I had low expectations of this zoo, but it pleasantly surprised me. The zoo is very large with many attractions that are reasonably priced. There are four trails, including a children's trail (though don't let the name fool you into thinking walking it is easy) with an animal show, an animal habitat play area, a regular playground, three water play areas, a farm, and a petting zoo.

First we looked at the giraffes. Then we made the animal show just in time, and I saw the biggest rabbit I have ever seen! We continued down the trail . . .

Looking at the elephant

The itsy bitsy spider

Trying to get out

Caden was scared but went down and landed on his face! But he liked it.

We saw the baby komodo dragon. Caden was scared but we told him it couldn't get him because of the glass. But it tried! Next thing we knew, it jumped off the tree straight at Caden, smacked into the window, and fell. After that, Caden was terrified of the rest of the reptile/bug exhibit and fake animal statues.


Finally we got to the petting zoo and farm. In October, Caden loved the petting zoo at the pumpkin patch, but this time he was scared. In fact, a lot of things he wasn't scared of before he is now. I hope it's a passing phase.

We then went on the tropical trail and visited the monkey village, a giant caged area you can walk through as monkeys swing around you. Or not. We only saw one on our way in and one on the way out. They were little and cute.

We passed by the camel ride and the boys wanted to go. Caden was so excited! He may not like petting animals, but he sure does love riding them!


We finished with the African trail, Caden's favorite, and then went home. We all were exhausted (we were there for three hours) but had a great time! And we got passes so we will be back!

Friday, March 22, 2013

One More Sunshine Winnie-the-Pooh Clothespins Giveaway [CLOSED]

Finally another giveaway! Mary from One More Sunshine volunteered to give away a set of 5 Winnie-the-Pooh magnetic clothespins made from book illustrations. I love upcycled things!

Not sure how to use these? Mary suggests:
  • Baby shower: perfect for the clothespin game, favors for the guests to take home, or a great addition to the gift for the mom-to-be.
  • Nursery decoration: use these to hang baby photos on twine or ribbon.
  • Birthday party: use to close treat bags (perfect way to fancy up brown lunch bags!), hang photos at the party, use as prizes, or give as favors.
  • Fine motor tool for preschoolers: these are a great way to motivate a preschooler to strengthen those fine motor skills by clipping and unclipping them.
  • Cute magnets for the older Winnie-the-Pooh lover: hang photos, recipes, notes, etc.
  • Home decor: display your child's art or schoolwork in a creative way on the fridge or on twine or ribbon.
The story behind One More Sunshine:

I am a working mom of two young girls, ages three and one. I have always loved crafting since I was a little girl, and now have the impetus to put my hobby to work. Last year my three year old was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition called pseudoachondroplasia (a skeletal dysplasia,) and I was motivated to setup an Etsy shop to help raise money toward medical research on the condition. I am donating 20 percent of all my site proceeds to The University of Texas Medical School at Houston. More details on this can be found at

In addition to crafting, I am obsessed with thrift shopping and get a thrill turning secondhand finds into beautiful new treasures!

Mandatory Entry: Visit One More Sunshine and tell me your favorite item.

1 entry: Follow One More Sunshine on Pinterest. Leave your username.

1 entry: Like One More Sunshine on Facebook. Leave your username.

1 entry: Like The Hand That Rocks the Cradle on Facebook. Leave your username.

1 entry: Follow this blog on Google Friend Connect.

1 entry each (4 total possible): Post this giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or your blog.

Please leave a separate comment for each entry. All entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. PST on Thursday, April 4. The winner will be announced Friday, April 5. Please leave your email address in one of your entries so I can contact you if you win. This giveaway is open to the U.S. & Canada. Good luck!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Mommy Jeans

I just realized I never posted this! About a month ago we went to the mall. I needed to find one pair of maternity pants until the weather decided to stay warm. Nothing fit anymore and I couldn't find the two pairs I had from my first pregnancy. I tried Ross first because I didn't want to spend a lot of money on something I wouldn't wear for long. I found a pair for $6 that were lightweight and dressy but too loose and long. The price was tempting, but I decided to check other stores too. We ended up at Motherhood Maternity, where I was hoping the winter items would be on  clearance. Nope. But they were having a buy-one-get-one-50-percent-off sale on denim, so I tried some on. At first no luck. Then I tried on a pair of straight-leg jeans that I loved and capris that weren't pants on me! I got them both and walked out of the store in the jeans since the pants I was previously wearing were being held shut by a safety pin. I like the jeans because they make me feel cute and stylish instead of frumpy pregnant. And the dark wash and cut allow me to dress them up or down.

Wish I took a better photo!

Every time I shop at Motherhood Maternity, I fall more and more in love! They have great customer service and quality clothing that will last. (Kohl's also carries Motherhood Maternity clothing, sometimes at lower prices and you can use your Kohl's coupons!)

On a side note, my diet is changing. I eat whole wheat pancakes for breakfast and crave protein, especially rotisserie chicken. I still eat oranges, but only one a day now. I am throwing up only once every few days yet still fighting nausea and fatigue.


My diet has changed numerous times since. I have gone through phases of quesadillas, dried apricots, bagels & cream cheese, and Corn Chex. Right now I'm favoring grapes. I can eat most normal foods now, but can't cook because the smells still really bother me. I am so tired and not sleeping well. Two more weeks and I'm halfway there!

On the bright side, I felt Baby for the first time (for certain) Wednesday night. The baby was stretching. We find out the baby's gender on April 9. What do you think it will be?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Cheap Crafts & Activities for Toddlers

Is it still cold where you are? Or already getting too hot, like here in Arizona? Need ideas for entertaining the little ones? The good news is that it costs very little to nothing, because toddlers and preschoolers are the easiest to please!

The trick is to find things you already have in your home and encourage creativity. Construction paper, crayons, stickers, and pipe cleaners yielded this:

Caden didn't care for the fingerprinting, but most kids do. (Try making animals only out of fingerprints!) Caden loves tracing his hand though. The "C" next to his hand was an attempt to trace his elbow.

If your kids want something more crafty and structured, then gather your supplies and figure out what you can make. I found cotton balls (saved from medicine bottles), ribbon scraps, buttons, and pipe cleaners. I think you can guess what we made:

Maybe with your items you can make lunch-bag, popsicle-stick, or sock puppets. Or puzzles by coloring pictures, gluing them to cardboard, and cutting them up into weird shapes. You can also find tons of free printable crafts online. The simplest ones require just coloring utensils, scissors, and glue or tape. If you don't have something, improvise! And the best part about using or recycling things you already have or buying supplies at the dollar store is that you don't feel guilty when the kids break or lose the projects or when you have to throw them away to make room for more.

Not the crafty type? There are other fun activities you can do indoors. I read on another blog giving rice, beans, a muffin tin or cookie sheet, and measuring cups for toddlers to play with. I'm not one to encourage playing with or wasting food, so I found some beads and buttons and put them on shoebox lids. Caden loves pouring the buttons in and out of the jars and measuring cup/spoon. He's been playing with them every day. Yesterday we also put beads on the pipe cleaners--great hand-eye coordination exercise. You can also turn it into a sorting game to review colors, shapes, and sizes.

A few weeks ago, my mom gave me her old flannel board. Preschool felt cut-outs and lessons can be pricey, so I found some cheap pre-cut felt circles at Jasmine Blossom Crafts and wrote letters on them with a Sharpie marker. You can also do numbers and shapes or leave them blank and review colors. Caden likes spelling words and making them look like caterpillars.

You can also make your own play dough or finger paint with few ingredients, blow bubbles, squirt water out of spray bottles (outside if it's hot or in the bathtub if it's cold), and play dress up out of old clothes and costumes.

Play games together too. Caden loves hide and seek. If you prefer something less active, try a simple card game like Go Fish, Memory, or Uno (turning it into a sorting game instead).

Happy playing! Share any ideas you have.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Bottle Feeding Tips

photo by Adam Davis
Although I am a huge advocate of breastfeeding, I understand some mothers' need to pump or use formula. So here are helpful tips just for you bottle feeding moms!

Did you know the World Health Organization has guidelines on how formula should be prepared? Not all formula companies follow these guidelines when writing their preparation steps, so you should read the guidelines to ensure you are preparing your formula in the safest way for your baby.

Those who bottle feed with expressed breast milk should follow similar safety guidelines, found on the La Leche League site.
You can still bond with your baby although you are not nursing. During feedings, hold or wear your baby, including skin-to-skin contact with infants; sing or talk to your baby; and give your baby lots of hugs and kisses. Avoid getting convenient bottle-holding devices for feeding Baby before he or she can hold the bottle without help. They encourage overeating (and sucking air if you're not paying attention, which will give them stomach aches and gas) and discourage bonding. Also, holding your baby in your arms, which puts Baby at a slight angle as opposed to lying down, can decrease spitting up and reflux.

Eating Habits
Bottle feeders should follow the same advice as breastfeeding moms: feed your baby on demand. Don't make a set feeding schedule and don't force your baby to drink the whole bottle. Baby knows when he or she is hungry or full. If your baby is gaining weight and having plenty of wet diapers, your baby is eating enough.

Sleeping Habits
As tempting as it is to do because it works, avoid letting Baby fall asleep with the bottle. First, it will rot your baby's teeth, whether or not they are in yet. If Baby must have a bottle immediately before bed, don't allow Baby to fall asleep until after you've brushed his or her teeth. While Baby is an infant, you can simply wipe the inside of Baby's mouth with a clean, damp cloth. (I've heard conflicting information on whether or not breast milk has the same effect on Baby's teeth. I think it's better to be safe and start good oral habits early.)

Second, pediatricians advise that babies should be completely weaned from bottles by the time they are one, though you can start sippy cups as early as six months. Weaning will be easier if they are not attached to the bottle at night. If you are afraid Baby will want to fall asleep with the sippy cup, either buy the kind with a straw, which cannot be sipped lying down, or put a little bit of water in the cup instead of milk (if Baby is one or older).

Third, according to BYU Magazine, there is a 36 percent increased risk of childhood obesity for infants put to bed with a bottle. 

Do you have any other advice?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Canan the Librarian

1. When I ask Caden what his name is, he says, "Canan."

2. We got over his nap strike. Now he goes to sleep reading a book in bed. Sometimes he even cuddles the book!

3. In nursery class on Sunday, a little girl was crying hysterically for her mother. Caden went up to her and told her, "Calm down!"

4. Whenever I sneeze or cough, Caden asks me, "Okay?" as in "Are you okay?" What a little sweetheart I have!
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