The Quick Route to Potty Training

Wait Until Your Child Is Ready

Most parents make the mistake of deciding it is time to start potty training their child after a specific amount of time, instead of watching their child and realizing when they are ready. Here are a few things to watch out for that may indicate your child is ready to learn to use the potty: Can verbally communicate, understands simple commands, knows when he/she needs a new diaper, can start to take off his/her own clothes, can go hours without needing a new diaper. These are the signs that your child is ready to start potty training. Now, you need to find a time that works with your schedule so that you can dedicate the time to start toilet training your child. Also, just a recommendation—spring and summer time is best because they are wearing less layers and wont struggle to take off clothes to use the bathroom.

Show Your Child the Process

Many people will have their child watch them use the potty so that the child can watch and learn. Also, another method is to use a doll that actually wets so that the toddler can see the process of what they are currently doing, wetting or soiling a diaper, and show them what they should do instead, put the doll on the potty.

The Quick Route to Potty Training

Giving the Toilet a Name

You are going to have to choose where they child is going to learn to use the potty. Are you going to get a chair or just an extension for your current toilet? If you are choosing a chair, you are going to want to make sure that your toddler has a say in the chair you pick out. Have them sit on it and see how confortable it is, in their clothes. See how easy it is going to be to clean so that you are prepared and know what you are in for. Also, you should make sure there are no hinges that are going to potentially harm your child. Check to make sure the chair is stable and isn’t going to tilt or flip while your child is using it.

You will also have to decide what you are going to call these bathroom movements. “Pee-pee” and “poo-poo” are commonly used. When you see that your toddler is making movements indicating that they need to go to the body, say “go potty” so that they start associating how they feel with what they need to do.

Once you feel that your child has an understanding, you can upgrade to training pants. These are just like extra padded underwear that are there to help if your child has an accident yet they are not as absorbent as diapers.

Teaching your child to flush and wash hands

One of the biggest scares for kids during the potty training process is flushing the toilet. Once they get comfortable going to the bathroom, then have them start flushing and remind them to wash their hands.

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Simple Snacks For Every Day

Whether you are busy in the office or out and on the go, hunger strikes all the time. In those cases, it is pretty easy to run down to the local fast food chain and grab something quick, or even grab some food at the convenient store. Yet, when we are hungry, we do not always make the healthiest choices. At that point in time, it is all about what you can eat and fast to settle your hungry belly. Yet, here are some healthy and simple snacks that you should keep close by you in the office or at home (or even to stash in your car) so that you always have a good snack close by.

 Snack Tray

  • Almonds. Almonds are full of nutrients as they are especially full of vitamin B, Vitamin E, as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and many more. If you are on the go, almonds are a quick snack that does not require a spoon or two hands, you can just grab a handful and eat these on the go.
  • Multigrain waffle with fresh berries. If you are at home or at work, sometimes you want something a little more filling than just a quick snack, right? Try a waffle with some fresh strawberries or blueberries. If you are looking to take this snack on the go, you can always just smear on some fruit preserves, fold the waffle in half and head out the door!
  • Dried apricots. Dried fruits are a great way to get a sweet snack, while giving your body the nutrients and vitamins it needs. Also, as fruits have natural sugar, they will give you a bit of an energy boost too!
  • Wheat Chex. While we tend to give our children cereals as snacks, they are good for adults too. Just put one cup of wheat Chex or plain cheerios into a zip block bag and keep them near you in the car or at the office.
  • Celery sticks filled with part skim ricotta cheese. Celery sticks are always a great snack, as they are mostly water and make you feel full. Yet, many people complain that they do not have flavor. To make these a little bit tastier, add some ricotta cheese. Yum!
  • Sliced cucumbers with laughing cow cheese. Cucumbers are a great snack to have as they are crunchy and delicious. Pair these with some of those laughing cow cheeses and you have a quick and easy snack in a few minutes.
  • Simple Bar. There are a variety of granola bars on the market right now. Currently, the simple bars and the cliff bars are always my go to. Yet, simple bars have less sugar than cliff bars, so I like to stick to those when I can—but they are a little pricier.
  • Apples with peanut butter. Apples on their own are a good go-to as they offer so many benefits, including fiber. Add a little peanut butter and cut your apple in to “boats” and enjoy!
  • Popcorn sprinkled with cinnamon. Popcorn with cinnamon beats buttery popcorn any day. Yet, this snack will leave some cinnamon on your fingers so make sure that you are not writing, driving, or doing something that will require you to use your hands until you are finished eating.



Fun Crafts You Can Do With Popsicle Sticks

There are so many great things that you can do with popsicle sticks! Here are a few ideas to help you get started doing fun crafts with your kids.

American Flags

What You Will Need:

7 popsicle sticks per flag

Red paint

White paint

Blue paint

Silver sequins – 9 per flag

Red sequins – 16 per flag


How To Make An American Flag Out of Popsicle Sticks

  1. Use a hot glue gun to glue all of the popsicle sticks together on the longest side. You should end up with a thick rectangle.
  2. On the very 1st popsicle stick, starting from the left, pain 1/3 of the popsicle stick blue.
  3. Follow step 2 for the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th popsicle sticks.
  4. Then, use white paint on the 1st and 3rd popsicle sticks on the remaining 2/3rd s of the popsicle sticks.
  5. Repeat step 4 with red paint for the 2nd and 4th popsicle sticks.
  6. Then, use white paint again on the 5th and 7th popsicle stick, painting the entire stick white.
  7. Use red on the 6th popsicle stick, painting it completely.
  8. By now, you should be able to clearly tell that this is an American flag.
  9. Use the sequins to add some bling to your flag. Starting with the silver sequins, glue three sequins evenly dispersed in the blue section, where the 1st and 2nd popsicle sticks touch.
  10. Follow step 9 for where the 2nd and 3rd popsicle stick touch.
  11. Then, follow step 9 again for where the 3rd and 4th popsicle sticks touch.
  12. Now, use your red sequins on your 2nd, 4th, and 6th, popsicle sticks.
  13. Place three sequins, as evenly as possible on the red part of the second popsicle stick.
  14. Follow step 13 for your 4th popsicle stick.
  15. Then, on the 6th popsicle stick, follow step 13, except evenly disperse 10 sequins.
  16. Let dry and enjoy!

craft time with popsicle sticks

Popsicle Stick Reindeer Ornament

The Christmas season is coming, which means many people will have Christmas trees and therefore need some ornaments. Reindeer ornaments are very simple to make.

What you will need to make reindeer ornaments:

3 popsicle stick  (per reindeer ornament)

googly eyes or a black sharpie marker

red craft balls


How to make reindeer ornaments out of popsicle sticks:

  1. Glue together two popsicle sticks so that they form a V. Then, use a 3rd popsicle stick and glue it horizontally on the V so that it is about 1/3 of the way down from the top.
  2. Glue on the googly eyes or draw them on with a sharpie marker on the original 2 popsicle sticks, that were used to make the V shape. Make these eyes about half way down on the popsicle stick.
  3. Glue on your red craft ball at the point where the two popsicle sticks overlap in your V.
  4. Tie a ribbon onto the horizontal popsicle stick so that you can hang it on the Christmas tree and enjoy! (And, you can write your name and the date on the horizontal part so that you can remember this ornament for years to come.
  5. Enjoy your new ornament!



Make Your Own Coloring Books

coloring book craft

Coloring books can be a kid’s best friend, right? Well, you can make these even more interesting and fun by using your own personal photos to create a coloring book for your child. Here are the steps to using your own personal photos to create a coloring book:

Decide which photos you want to use.

When selecting pictures, it is best to use pictures that have a lot of contrasting colors and are in focus. This way, you will have a lot of clear and distinct lines and you will clearly be able to make out the picture later.

Next, use a software that will allow you to make edits to your pictures. Probably the most commonly used is Pixlr, not only because it is free but because it is very easy to use and allows you to make great coloring book pages. Open Pixlr or whatever software you prefer and find the image in the “open image from your computer” option.

Your photo will immediately appear. Then, go to the sidebar on the right and open the Navigator menu. This will allow you to move all around on your picture, zooming in and out.

Next, at the top of the page, hit the adjustment tab. Then locate the Desaturate option, this will turn your photo black and white.

From here, you’ll want to right click on your mouse and find Background in the Layers options, then hit Duplicate Layer. This will add a new layer that it will call Background Copy.

Then, go back to the adjustment options at the top of the page and select Invert.

Now, you put it all together with a little skill. Use the little box that has the two arrows at the bottom left corner. This will allow you to get access to the Opacity and Mode options. From here, you want to change your Background Copy layer from Normal mode to Add mode. This is going to make your entire photo go white.

Then, the Amount slider will pop up. Drag the slider to the right and the left to see how it is going to change your image. This will adjust the strokes in your image. Try to make it so that it is at a medium point, so that you can see the image clearly.

Next, right click on the Background copy again and hit the Merge Down option.

Hit the Adjustment menu and then select levels. A graph should pop up as soon as you select this option.

Move the slider pretty far to the right so that you can see your image get dark.

Then, move the grey and white sliders all the way to the left, which will leave you with dark outlines and almost all white insides.

Your image is complete! Follow these steps for other photos you want to use to make your own coloring book. You can also play around with this software to create your own images and edit pictures so that they are easier or less complex to draw.



Beyond Peanut Butter and Jelly – A Five Day Meal Plan

While peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are quick, easy, and get your child to school with food to eat for lunch, there are so many more options! Also, changing up your child’s lunch routine will also expand your child’s tastes and allow them to explore new foods that they may not have tried as well as learn healthy eating at a young age.

Are you ready to break the mold and start preparing your child for a full day of learning? Give your child the motivation with a healthy lunch that will not only be tasty but also good for them.

Along with wanting to send your kid to school with an above average lunch, you also may be forced to come up with alternatives to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as there is such a prevelance of peanut butter allergies among children. While it was less common in the past, over 3 million people have been diagnosed with peanut butter allergies today. So, not only will you be sending your child to school with a healthy lunch, you are also helping the staff and students that your child goes to school with, as they may have the allergy.

Healthy Lunch

Here is a 5 day meal plan that you an stick to so that your child has a healthy lunch every day of the school week:


Sandwich: Turkey with avocado, lettuce, and cucumber on a whole grain roll or bread. Then pack this with a variety of fresh seasonal fruit in a zip lock bag.


Sandwich: tuna fish with cherry tomatoes and cucumbers on while grain bread. Pair this with a bag of chips and an apple. The flavors will compliment each other and offer your child a variety of essential vitamins and nutrition.


Sandwich: salad with cream cheese wrap on a spinach wrap. For a side, add a banana and a yogurt.


Sandwich: egg sandwich, made using hard boiled eggs, celery, and mayonnaise or hummus. Then add a few leaves of lettuce. From here, add an orange and some carrot sticks.


Sandwich: on a whole grain roll, add grated Parmesan cheese, turkey, and lettuce. Pair this with chips and some watermelon bites (or any seasonal fruit).

Your child’s school lunches do not have to be the average peanut butter and jelly sandwich. As peanut butter is filled with sugar (depending on the type you use), it does not offer much in terms of nutrients to your child during the day. Studies show that kids that eat healthier often perform higher academically. While there is no specific evidence as to why this happens, it is most likely due to the fact that they are receiving the nutrients they need that not only allow them to feel full during the day but also make them feel good and therefore they can be attentive in the classroom.

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Dealing With Hematomas in Infants

hematoma - child birth

Hematomas are common on newborn infants as they happen during direct handling during the birth, to include forceps or a vacuum extraction. Cephalohematomas are the most common form of hematomas found on infants, yet these can be confused with subdural hematomas also. However, subdural hematomas are less common. The cephalohematomas can happen if the infant’s head bangs against the mother’s pelvic bone during labor.

What is a Hematoma?

A hematoma is mostly a collection of blood that is located outside of the blood vessels. In most cases, hematomas come after an injury to the wall of the blood vessel and then blood seeps out of the vessel and into the tissue around the vessels. Hematomas are very common occurrences for people in all stages of their lives and are mostly found under the skin or under the fingernails. Yet, hematomas can also occur internally where they cannot be seen by the visible eye. In these cases, the hematomas can be felt as they will feel like a mass or lump.

Have Your Child Seen By A Doctor

If your baby has a hematoma, the first thing you want to do is have your baby looked at by a doctor. The doctor will be able to tell how severe the hematoma is and if there is any other damage affiliated with the hematoma. Your doctor will take tests such as a CT scan. Your doctor may also recommend an MRI to clearly see how deep the hematoma is. From here, your doctor may prescribe other treatments. This could be anything from therapy to a surgery. In other cases, your doctor may prescribe you a medication that will help to treat the hematoma area.

The Hematoma May Go Away On Its Own

In many cases, the hematomas on infants will just heal on their own. It may take a few months for it to heal, so if your baby still has a hematoma at two weeks old, this is completely normal. However, you should still be checking in with your doctor regularly so that he can keep an eye on it to make sure that it doesn’t get any worse.

Your Doctor May Drain the Hematoma

If you infant has a large hematoma that is resulting in pressure being put on other areas, your doctor may try to drain the blood in the hematoma. However, this method is very rare because it will increase your infant’s risk of infection or abscesses.

Is Your Baby At Risk?

If your baby has a cephalohematoma, he or she may be at risk to develop jaundice. This is because your baby’s blood breaks down and the level of bilirubin increase. In these instances, your doctor may recommend that your baby gets phototherapy.

Overall, hematomas are common after child birth. If your baby’s head hits the pelvic bone, chances are high that your baby will have a hematoma. You should make sure to have your doctor inspect your child and make sure that you keep an eye on the hematoma. However, in most cases these hematomas will go away on their own within 3 months or so.



Why a Sleep Away Camp Is So Beneficial—for Parents

There is a tag word trending around in parent psychology circles right now and take it from me it's not cool to be catching that label as a parent. “Helicopter parenting” is when you go a bit overboard with your adoration and smother the kids. Your child can certainly do without an extra serving of a super-sized cup of love,  but as a parent you may not realize how over parenting is having a negative impact on YOUR OWN life.

The problem

When walking the apple of your eye to the bus stop every day, turns into hour long drives to camp, just to deliver a bag of cookies, please know that you have messed up. But relax and continue reading, we are going to fix this.

Kids grow up fast and yes they do need your constant love and attention during toddlerdom but if you're not careful you will not see it coming when it actually does. A couple of years in and suddenly your whole life are planned around the kid’s soccer schedule, their homework routines and their timetables. You spend less and less time with your own friends and your kid’s friends parents turn into your friends. Everything is a fast-paced race on the clock where you are fixing three breakfasts in fifteen minutes or running more laps in a car than Schumacher. Dropping them 5 minutes before class or picking them up from soccer practice or driving them to the mall and then coming home collapsing on the couch, spaced out on the TV making  a mental list of chores that need to be done at home. Now is the time to let your child experience life in a much more realistic way by letting them go to a sleep away camp for kids.

camp for kids

It's a fix, did not see that one coming

If you were going sick from missing your kids when they were away at camp and are shocked to find out they did not miss you that much, maybe it's time to realize that you cannot depend just on the kids as your only source of happiness and joy.

Seven weeks away at a sleep away camp is somewhat a standard period of planned separation between parents and their children as part of a sleep-away camp experience.

Take this time to reconnect with yourself and your significant other and slow things down to a nice focused and enjoyable pace. Take a romantic weekend out together yourselves to rekindle the romance and spice back into your lives. Get your social circle back in order and invite some long lost friends to a great evening back at your place and catch up on old times.

Sleep Away Camp for Kids is Ideal

Wow, you can already feel that the stress levels are so much lower. Maybe you have also started to take note of the relationship between you and your child.  You are reevaluating things much more positively now, yes you do love your kids so very much, but there are something’s you can now let go off. Maybe now when they are back from camp, they can wake up a few minutes earlier to fix the bed sheets. They certainly will be in great practice after seven weeks away from home making their own bed every morning!

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Who Makes The Safest Baby Shampoo?

Deciding which shampoo to buy for your baby can be a difficult decision, especially with the many different options and manufacturers to choose from. Read these facts to help you decide which shampoo is best for your baby; you may be surprised by some of this information!

Tear-Free Baby Shampoo: A Good or Bad Buy?

It is no surprise that your baby is going to get pretty dirty. From the food all over their face and in their hair, it is no surprise that your washing machine is going to be full of baby outfits on the regular—but what about cleaning your baby? Many people only buy the tear-free shampoos because they do not want their babies’ eyes stinging when they are getting the food off their forehead. Yet, did you know that these tear-free shampoos actually have a numbing agent in them? Yes, they do!

Safest Baby Shampoo

Here is a list of some of the best shampoos on the market for your baby:

Babo Botanicals

Created in New York, Babo products are made completely with natural fragrences. Also, all of these baby shampoos also work as a great bubble bath! If you choose this product, just make sure to keep an eye out for a few of their shampoos as they do contain sodium benzoate. However, the majority of their products do not.

Nature’s Paradise Foam Shampoo

Nature’s paradise is a popular choice among moms, yet it is a more expensive option. You can choose between the unscented kind or you can venture out for the coconut scented shampoo. This shampoo is made out of water and all natural ingredients, mainly organic saponofied coconut oil

Lafes Organic Baby Shampoo and Gentle Wash

You will find this bottle in BPA-free plastic as well as phthalate. This means that your baby will be able to stay far away from the scented shampoos that leave them smelling frilly and like they just walked out of Bath and Body Works.

California Baby

You can buy this shampoo in a 17.5 bottle and it is made out a variety of natural vegetable clucoside cleansers. This means that your baby’s shampoo will be sulfate free and biodegradable. When using this soap, you will not be overwhelmed with a scent, yet you will notice a calming and fresh fragrance in the air.

Earth Mama Angel Baby

This baby wash is a great option for your baby as it is gentle and smells great! It is naturally scented with organic vanilla and sweet orange oil, as well as calendula for soothing action. It is NSF/ANSI certified by Oregon Tilth, toxin free.

At the end of the day, there really is no one baby shampoo that every mom should buy. This is because parents have different preferences and you need to consider what is and what is not acceptable to put on your child. Many people use the generic and cheap baby shampoo, believing that these products are all the same, yet, we know the truth—there are so many great options!

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Breast Milk or Formula – Which One Should You Choose?

As many of you may know, there is a clear split between those who say that breast milk is ideal and those that argue for formula instead. Sometimes women are actually unable to breastfeed their babies, which requires them to use formula, when they may have wished to breastfeed instead. Or, there are instances where women are not producing enough milk in order to exclusively nurse their baby and therefore switch off between breastfeeding and formula. Yet, for those of you that have the option, here are a few things to consider that may help you choose which route is best for you and your baby.

Breast Feeding Can Help With Your Baby’s Health

Breast milk is made up of vitamins and nutrients that are essential to your baby’s health. It is the natural food for your baby, full of protein, calories, fat, and vitamins. Also, when breastfeeding, the mother will actually pass on antibodies to her baby that will help make the baby stronger and more able to resist disease. For example, it can help the baby fight off an infection. Also, studies show that, generally, breast fed babies are healthier than those that were bottle fed with formula.

Breast Milk or Formula

Breast Feeding Can Help Build A Bond With Your Baby

Along with the nutrients, breast feeding is a way to bond with your new baby. While you will get to spend plenty of time with your little one with a bottle in your hand, breast feeding makes that bond even stronger as you are producing the food for your baby.

Formula Is An Option, and A Popular Choice

Did you know that only about 28 percent of American women breastfeed for the entire year? This is because women are working and they do not have the time to take out of their busy schedules to stop and pump milk for their babies. Also, companies that create formula, have created it so that it is a great alternative to breastfeeding. There are plenty of vitamins and nutrients in formula so that it is very similar to breastfeeding. Your baby will be just as healthy being bottle fed as he or she would be breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding Has Negative Stigmas Associated

Breastfeeding has for sometime been somewhat “shunned” by our society, where it is not acceptable in society. You are expected to breastfeed your baby in a private room somewhere where no one can see you and if you do have to do it in a public setting, you best be sure to have a large towel or blanket to hide yourself—or someone may freak. While this is changing somewhat in some areas, it is still a social no-no, which means that if you want to breastfeed, you’re going to have to sacrifice a bit of your social life.

At the end of the day, only you can choose what is best for your specific circumstances. If you want to breastfeed—do it! If you don’t—use formula! If you want to do a little of both—feel free!

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10 Things Your Children Should See You Doing

We have all heard the phrase, “truth is caught not taught” and in parenting this could not be more true. Children learn, yes by hearing, but predominately by seeing. They mimic. Babies mirror the movements of mom and dad. Toddlers mimic sounds and phrases mom and dad use regularly. Truth can be taught but it is more often caught. Below are ten things that your children need to see you doing.

Loving Your Spouse

Your children need to see you love your spouse. This can be a physical act of love, like a hug or a kiss, or it can be through verbal affirmations of character. It can also be simply the way you speak and act. Loving your spouse helps children see what’s most important. It teaches them invaluable truths about marriage and gives them security in their family.


This one may sound a bit silly but your kids need to see you prioritize workouts (however- not above them!). Let them see you tying your running shoes, have them help you pick a workout mix, and show them the importance of workout nutrition. 


Your kids need to know mom and dad can let go! They need to hear your belly laugh over dinner. Tell stories and laugh – it will break down barriers when they see that you are normal!


This is the other side of the coin. It is valuable (in moderation) to allow your kids to see you process pain. When your cherished pet dies, do not be afraid to cry with your kids. Emotional health in children is important!

Family Playing


Are you silly? Do you ever just sit back and have a good time? Do you throw the ball with your boy? Your kids need to see you play. Play cards, throw darts, pick up pecans in the front yard and shoot them into buckets. Teach your kids to have an imagination!


The golden rule is “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Take the kids to the local soup kitchen and serve during Thanksgiving. Teach them this cherished truth by volunteering on a regular basis.


Whether you are reading Shakespeare while the kids are playing at the park or you are scoping out new techniques on productivity, allow your kids to see you read. Reading is basic to learning and if they see you have a strong interest in it- hopefully they will too!

Work Hard

Hard work is not a bad thing – in fact it is a virtue to have a healthy work ethic. Let your children see you send an email, hammer a nail, wash the car, cook dinner, mow the yard, or write a proposal. It will teach them about being a productive member of society.


Sleep is vital for normal functioning. The body cannot continue without proper rest. The other side of the coin from hard work is rest and relaxation. Take a nap while watching a movie with the kids. On Saturday morning snuggle with your children in the bed. Feel free to lounge and be lazy with them. This will teach them the importance of slowing down.

Build Others Up

Your kids need to see you visit sick people in the hospital. They need to watch you write an encouragement letter to someone going through a difficult season. They also need to hear you speak well of others. Fight the temptation to bash people in front of the kids. Rather, speak of others strengths and personal virtues.

Modeling is crucial. Your kids will mimic you. So model well and remember that truth is often caught not just taught!

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