Top 5 Tips for Potty Training a Toddler Who Is Too Smart for Her Own Good

potty-training-plan Ingrid is two and a half now and isn’t quite potty-trained. For whatever reason, she’s not excited about potty training. Not at all. Sometimes she wants to use the toilet and other times, she doesn’t. Most people say that the second child is easier to potty train than the first, simply because they see the older sibling using the potty, so they want to, too. Not really the case here…

Addie (the oldest) started going #1 in the toilet when she was two and never EVER had an accident. It was easy as pie! Going #2 in the toilet, however, freaked her out. She didn’t master that until several months later. We tried all the tricks in the book and nothing was working. She ended up in tears every single time and we were exhausted and frustrated as a result. We finally decided to give up. We had been too hard on her and what we were doing was not working. We decided to wait a little longer, until she seemed “ready.” And of course, as soon as we gave up and stopped pressuring her, she decided she was, in fact, ready to go #2 in the toilet. Not an accident since. (Go figure.)

Ingrid on the other hand, LOVES to go #2 in the toilet, put prefers to do #1 with a diaper or Pull-Up on. Because of course she does. (Middle child syndrome.) 

underwearhead We’ve tried bribing her with sticker charts and M&Ms and songs and YouTube videos, but she’s just too smart. She’ll actually say, “I don’t want a sticker! I want to wear a diaper!” or “No! Not the potty song!” She knows that all of that bribery is a scam and she will not be a part of it. Not for anything. Not for eating her dinner or staying in bed at night or anything. Believe me, we have tried. She does what she wants, when she wants, and that’s something we kind of love about her, even though it drives us madd.

Ingrid will be potty trained the day SHE decides. It’s totally up to her. Instead of using these things to bribe her to go in the potty, we’re going to use them as rewards for when she does choose to use the toilet. Right now, she goes once or twice a day, and I know that someday she’ll be ready. Until then, we just keep on keepin’ on.

So, if you have a toddler who is ALSO too smart for their own good and will not buy in to your fun songs and bribery charts, here is my advice:

  • Lots of asking. I ask Ingrid all day long if she’d like to use the toilet, especially if her big sister is going or if we are all in the bathroom. Sometimes she says yes and sometimes she says no. I am okay with either.
  • Pull-Ups. Because she is so wishy-washy about when she’ll try the toilet and when she won’t, pull-ups are a MUST. They are so much easier to use than diapers when we are trying to go on the potty, all the livelong day.
  • Potty cushion. Ingrid definitely prefers to use a cushion on the big potty versus a small toilet. Fine by me, since I don’t have to worry about cleaning one!
  • Her favorite rewards. Because Ingrid is too smart, not just any prize will do the trick. It’s got to be her FAVORITE. She loves Skittles and M&Ms, and she really loves fancy stickers to put in her very own sticker book. I’m keeping all of the above on hand. :)
  • No pressure. The more laid-back about it we are, the better our outcome will be. I’m sure of it. When we finally stopped pressuring Addie to potty in the toilet, she did it on her own. Ingrid, as strong-willed as she is, I’m sure will be the same.

If you need more ideas, coupons, songs, advice, etc. check out the Big Kid Academy. It’s totally free and such an awesome resource. You can customize it to fit your needs, and depending on where you child is in terms of potty training, it will give you all kinds of advice and fun things to use during your journey!

enroll

Every Kid is Unique. That’s why when you enroll at the Big Kid Academy, you’ll get a personalized “My Pull-Ups®” page with potty training activities and advice customized to your point in the potty training journey.

The Big Kid Academy has a world-class library of potty training tips and advice from parenting experts, medical professionals and our brightest alumni: parents who have been there. Subjects include:

• How to talk to day care providers about potty training
• Solutions for nighttime
• Potty training on the go
• The best clothing for potty training

 

*The post is sponsored by Pull-Ups. As always, the opinions are my own. 

Kale & Brussels Sprout Salad

kale-brussels-sprout-salad When the seasons change, my mouth waters for those recipes I crave each year. In winter, I crave comforting soups and stews, biscuits and things made with cream. In the summer, I want garden fresh veggies and meat, charred on the grill. In the fall, I want hearty salads and things that simmer for hours on the stove, making my house smell divine. Each autumn, this kale and brussels sprout salad makes its way to the front of my memory and I must make it right away. I first had it at a family gathering. My sister in-law prepared it and I immediately requested the recipe. It is perfect as a side and it makes a delightful main-course lunch, too.

If you think you don’t like kale or brussels sprouts, I urge you to try this one. Because the greens are shredded so finely, the salad is crazy additctive. The saltiness from the almonds and the parmesan will keep you wanting more. The tartness from the lemon juice tops it all off. I promise you, this one is a game changer. Take it to your next potluck. It’ll get eaten.

Ingredients…

2 C shredded kale

2 C shredded brussels sprouts

1/3 C chopped almonds

1/2 C grated parmesan cheese

2 lemons, juiced

1 shallot

1/2 C olive oil

salt & pepper

 

Directions…

In a large bowl, combine your kale, brussels sprouts, almonds, and parmesan cheese. In a separate bowl, grate your shallot and mix it with your lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Pour your dressing over your salad and enjoy! Of course, adjust the salt and pepper to fit your taste. If you don’t have a shallot, a clove of garlic is a lovely substitute.

Sometimes, I mix the salad together (without the dressing) and then save it in the fridge to munch on all week. It’s so easy to make a big batch and it stays fresher this way, too!

(Serves 2-4)

 

Recipe adapted from Epicurious

Bits & Pieces

fall-collage Good morning, friends! Happy Monday! I haven’t done a Bits & Pieces post is several weeks, so I thought today would be a good day. First off, thank you all so much for the birthday love. It was the best birthday I’ve had in a very long time!!

Next, if you haven’t been on Instagram lately, you must check out the #livingonlovelipsync competition. You have from now until Tuesday night at Midnight to upload a video of you lip-syncing to your favorite song. Make sure to tag it with #livingonlovelipsync (account needs to be public) and tag a few friends to join in on the challenge as well. The winner will receive some surprise happy mail from me! And believe me, I know how much bravery it takes. But seriously, it’s so fun. I hope you’ll participate. I can’t wait to see your vids. :)

Here are some links for you to enjoy this week…

Here’s to a great week! xoxo, L

28.

I turn 28 today. In many ways, it feels old. And in many other ways, it doesn’t feel old enough. (I’ve got 3 kids, y’all.) Like every year, I feel like a birthday is a good time to reflect. I thought about writing 28 things I want to teach the girls or 28 things I know about myself, but every time I sat down to write, I had nothing to say. (Super inspiring, am I right?!)

This year, today, I’m counting my blessings… 28

xoxo, L

New Gig at Mom.me

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 1.21.55 PM Happy Hump Day, friends! I wanted to pop in with some very exciting news. I’m a brand new contributor at Mom.me! I blogged there last year in the Toddler Talk column, but now I’m a regular contributor and I get to write about whatever I want! Obviously, I’m pretty pumped about it. My very first post is up and I’d love for you to check it out! I’m talking about cutting cable television and how amazing it has been for our family. Feel free to share it with your friends, too! (I’ve got to make a good first impression!)

xoxo, L

Give Life: The #livingonloveproject for September

give-life Several years ago, I heard someone say that there were two things in life: life GIVERS and life SUCKERS. There are things that give life and beauty and meaning and love and there are things that take all of that away. It is certainly different for every person, but I think we all have things in both of these camps. Relationships. Jobs. Schools of thought. Responsibilities. Hobbies. Social Media. Food. Etc. For the most part, each of these things is either GIVING us life, or it is stealing our life away.

A couple of weeks ago, I made the decision to get off of Facebook for awhile and to highly restrict my time on Instagram, Pinterest, and other places on the web, mostly because those places were becoming life suckers in my life. Instead of using Facebook for a place of connection and community, it became a place of conflict and anxiety. Instead of Pinterest being a source of inspiration and motivation, it made me feel less than, in every aspect of my life. And to be completely honest, I found that I was using the internet (as a whole) to avoid dealing with real things in my own life.

Stepping away from these life suckers, cutting them out of my daily life (even for just a handful of days) was more than therapeutic. It made me realize so much. Mostly, it made me realize how much I actually spend online each day. It’s embarrassing, but I’d guess I check these “social places” several times an hour. When I stepped away and didn’t check them so frequently, I realized I wasn’t missing much. Whether I checked Facebook 3 times a day, or 10 times a day, I was seeing the same news and information. More than anything, I realized that that stuff doesn’t really matter. Not that much, anyway. Instead of spending my day on my phone, half-engaged, I played with my kids. Like really played. Didn’t-even-take-photos-to-document-it type playing. I read a book! I painted! (I haven’t painted in over 6 years! Also, see background in above photo! :) ) And instead of feeling anxious or angry or sad or not good enough, I felt alive. I felt whole. I felt like myself.

I’m not saying that you need to give up Facebook or Instagram or any of that. But I think it’d be good for us all to find one thing in our life that is sucking the life right out of us and to get rid of it. Cut out the life sucker and replace it with something wholesome and wonderful and fulfilling. To find something that brings us joy and contentment. To do something that truly gives us life.

Maybe there’s a friend that’s dragging you down. Maybe there’s guilt that you need to let go of. Maybe there’s a job that you need to let yourself say “no” to. Whatever is sucking the life out of you, let it go. Choose things that give life, instead.

This month, take photos that #GIVELIFE. Share a little bit of their backstory and make sure to tag them with #livingonloveproject when you do. I seriously can’t wait to see what life suckers you cut out and what life givers you find in their place. xoxo, L

How to Win at Your Wife’s Birthday

birthday-gift-ideas-wife { party hat, boots, cake, print, book, nail polish, necklace, cookbook }

Guess what, friends! My birthday is next week! I’m getting older, but I’m still excited to celebrate just a little bit. With birthdays on the mind, I thought I’d share with you a little bit about how I like to celebrate…

There’s a well known fact about men and how they are sometimes idiots when it comes to birthdays and other special occasions. For whatever reason, they can’t remember them. And when they do, they often come up with a last minute way to celebrate. Usually it involves cheesy cards from the drugstore and chocolate that doesn’t even taste good. Before you assume that I’m talking from experience, let me make a few things clear…

Phil has always been an amazing gift-giver. Seriously. (Only 1 time in the history of us did he give me a gift that wasn’t so great. I couldn’t even hide it from my face. But that’s for another story.) He always gives the most thoughtful things – jewelry that isn’t lame, books that he knows I’ll love, shoes that I’d freak out about but would never buy for myself, etc. He’s creative too. He just doesn’t give something to me. He writes a little note to go with it. For example, this year for our anniversary (6 years!) we both happened to give each other art prints. It wasn’t planned at all but it was pretty cute. I wrapped mine up and left a little “I love you so much!” note on the front. Phil? He wrote an entire love letter on the back of his. (!!!) So in the middle of this Irish bar while I’m drinking a huge beer and eating a ginormous hamburger, I’m also bawling my eyes out. He’s the sweetest.

Unfortunately, not many guys are like Phil. They just aren’t. Sorry. Sometimes, they need a little help, a little nudge. So today I give you some tips for WINNING at your woman’s birthday. (Go ahead, gents. Bookmark this one for next year! Ladies, send this on to your  manfolk.)

  • Give experiences. An epic date night would be amazing. A family photo shoot would rock her world. A trip to get a pedicure with her best girlfriends? She’d love you for it. A weekend trip. A fun concert. Experiences are what it’s all about, man. Even if she says “I don’t want to do anything for my birthday this year,” do something. Heck, even takeout from her favorite place and a good movie on the couch would be fun.
  • Cook for her. Every birthday and every Mother’s Day, Phil makes something special for me. It really does mean the world to me and even when I try to micromanage him in the kitchen (that’s MY space!) he loves me still. I can remember every single thing he’s cooked for me over the years. Last year? My favorite strawberry cake. Unfortunately, I threw it up because PREGNANCY. This year will be quite different. ;)
  • Keep track. You know when you’re out and about and she sees something that’s just so cute?! She says to you, “Oh, I love that art print!” or “Wouldn’t those be so neat on the front porch?!” PUT IT IN YOUR PHONE AND GO BACK TO GET IT LATER. I accidentally just found out that this has become a habit of Phil’s. Because we share an email address, I accidentlally saw the “your order has been shipped” message for my birthday present. (Anthro bedding, you guys!)  I FREAKED OUT. You see, I texted him a picture of the quilt a LONG time ago, only because I felt sorry for myself that we’d never be able to afford such beautiful stuff. The fact that he paid attention and said “what the hey, she loves it!” means so much to me. Let’s pray it lasts for decades!
  • Hello, Pinterest! You now have the complete ability to know exactly what she wants. No more bad chocolate or stupid cards. No more last minute mall stuff. Get on Pinterest and look it up! Chances are, you’ll find clothes or accessories she’d love to have. You’ll find art or gadgets she’s dreaming about. Better yet, find her “Make” or “DIY” board and complete one of the projects she’s got listed there. I can’t even tell you how surprised she’d be.
  • Don’t be lame. Unless you are her boss, you should not get her an edible arrangement. Victoria’s Secret lingerie? That’s really a gift for you, so don’t be selfish. You can do better than all of the above. I promise.
  • Do what she loves. Does she love to dance? Take her dancing. Does she love to cook? Surprise her with some fancy ingredients like vanilla beans or truffle oil. Does she love hiking? Go on a hike. It really is pretty simple.
  • Cake. I don’t care if she’s doing Whole30 or Paleo or gluten free or training to do the Ironman, a girl’s gotta have cake on her birthday. Bake one yourself or get one made at a local bakery. Cake is important. (And yes, they make gf, vegan, and “cakes that aren’t really cakes” cake.)
  • If she has to work, you better make sure to celebrate. Start out the day with a good breakfast. Make her a good coffee or surprise her with donuts. Send her to work feeling happy. Meet her for lunch or send her some happy b-day texts throughout the day. When she gets off, let the fun begin. Make a deal out of it, even if she wants to keep it low key.
  • It’s the thought that counts. You can even hide last-minute shopping with a thoughtful gift. Instead of running to Target, head downtown to a cute store to get something local or even handmade. Write her a letter or a sweet card and let her know how much you love her. She’ll cry, I can almost guarantee it. Give her some IOUs. “This is good for one romantic picnic on the next day it’s completely gorgeous outside.” Being thoughtful is like birthday cake, you guys. It makes a big difference.

So there you have it. No more excuses. You’ve got everything you need to know, now. You win! And I promise, she’ll repay you tenfold!  You’re welcome.. ;) xoxo, L

 

Saving for the Future + An Invisalign Giveaway

*Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. But like always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. And let’s be honest, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity for you guys to get a chance at a free Invisalign treatment! 

I like to think that Phil and I are good at living in the moment. We have always lived life with a bit of spontaneity and adventure and I’m thankful for that. When people ask us questions like “what’s your 5-year plan?” we can’t give them an honest answer. 5 years ago, I was newly married and didn’t have children, so a lot can happen in 5 years’ time. (Like 3 babies!) We intentionally had our girls pretty darn close together. As chaotic as it is, it’s also nice for them to have playmates. Even though they fight like cats and dogs sometimes, I know they’ll be best friends. And there is a little bit of glimmering hope, knowing that the baby/toddler phase will someday be a memory as we move on to the next stage, with all 3 girls in tow. At the same time, this means that the big life things (driving a car, going to college, getting married, etc.) will likely happen around the same time for all 3 girls. As fun and exciting as those things are, I just see money signs. $$$$$$$$

During the past year or so, we have started to pay off our debt and build a savings. It’s not easy, at all. It’s hard to know where to put it, (savings or debt pay-off) especially when we are trying so hard to buy a home of our own. Most of the time it seems like we are moving 2 steps forward and 1 step back. Just this week, Phil made plans to meet with a financial advisor to talk about long-term savings. How can we save for both a home and big future expenses like teeth straightening, cars, family vacations, college, weddings, etc. (ALL TIMES THREE! ACK!) Just thinking about it, I get a little weak in the knees…

I’m curious, how do you save for major expenses? Do you have a high-interest account? Do you get $20 cash back each time you visit the store? Do you keep a jar in your wardrobe? 

If the girls’ teeth are anything like their parents’, teeth-straightening is certainly in our future. When I was in high school, I had braces. To this day, I can remember the pain and agony of going to the orthodontist. I had a mechanism in the roof of my mouth that I had to turn with a key. (!!!) I couldn’t eat. I could barely talk. I got terrible headaches. It was horrible. One time, at band camp, (no, seriously!) my mouth hurt so bad that I had my mom come and pick me up. I remember hearing about Invisalign toward the end of my journey with braces, wishing so much I would have known about them before I put the metal brackets on my teeth for 2 entire years. (Prime dating years, kissed goodbye! Here’s proof.) A non-obvious way to correct my crooked teeth?! Sign me up!

I know it’s still a long way off, but I’m pretty intrigued in the Invisalign Teen system. It’s a teeth-straigtening alternative to braces, that allows you to carry on with normal life (sports, music, dating, etc.) without a mouth full of metal. I think many people assume that Invisalign only corrects small cosmetic problems, but from what I’ve learned, Invisalign can correct most common teeth-straightening issues, even severe ones. They can even be worn by pre-teens, which is good to know. You don’t even have to worry too much about your kiddo losing their aligners, because Invisalign will provide up to 6 new ones. Best of all, many insurance companies cover the cost of Invisalign treatment, just as they would traditional braces.

What to know how Invisalign works? Click here!

 

invisalign-straight-path-straight-talk-FINAL

What about you? Have you had your teeth straightened? What are your thoughts on Invisalign? As an adult, is this something you would consider? Are you planning on having your children’s teeth straightened?

Last, but not least, how bout a free Invisalign treatment!?! How exciting! Make sure to enter below…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Bits & Pieces…

Happy Friday, friends! Stopping in real quick to say hello and mention a few things. What a crazy week! With the ordeal in Ferguson and the death of Robin Williams, I am a little stunned. I think we all are. I don’t have much to say today. I did want to say THANK YOU to everyone who filled out the survey. Your feedback has been SO helpful already and I’m so grateful you took a couple of minutes to help me out. If you haven’t yet done it, I would LOVE YOU if you would. You can click here to answer the short, 10 questions. curry-polenta I’ve got a few links to share with you this week…

 Have a blessed weekend, you guys, and make sure to hold your babies extra tight! xoxo, L

Survey Time

unnamed Hi, friends! As you know, I’m taking some time off this summer. Thanks again for understanding that. I’m still on Instagram and at The Gathering, so check us out there. As I’m making plans for fall and winter, I need to get some feedback from you! I created a super quick & simple survey. It’s only 10 questions and I’d be SO GRATEFUL if you took a couple of minutes to answer them for me. You guys know I love you very much! I’m excited for what’s to come, whatever it is! :) xoxo, L

CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE SURVEY