Thursday, March 31, 2016

Potty Training Tips & A Fun Success Song with Pull-Ups® Learning Designs®

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PottyTrainTogether #CollectiveBias

Potty training little Mike has been going well. We have made some progress thanks to all of the suggestions and advice I received on the Facebook page. I have been reminded that there are several stages to the potty training process and not all kids will go through them as swiftly as others.

Once I received everyone's advice about how they trained their little boys (I swear I didn't experience any of this with Savannah) I decided to buckle down and embrace the challenges that come with potty training. The first thing I did was revamp our bathroom to make it more toddler friendly.

I tried to skip this step and it back fired. Big mistake. While in Walmart one day I grabbed a cool potty stool, a potty seat with handles and Pull-Ups® Learning Designs®. The key for me was to purchase two of everything. This allowed me to make the bathroom downstairs and upstairs an easy place for him to go potty.

Once the bathrooms were all set for him I knew we would have success. I think it made the entire situation less intimidating for him. I guess it's hard to focus on going to the potty if you're worried about falling in it.

To create his space the first thing I did was get rid of everything that wasn't essential to potty training.  All of that other stuff was a distraction. I replaced some of our adult things with a woven basket filled with Pull-Ups.

This makes it easy to grab a new pair if he needs them. Savannah potty trained so fast that I never used them with her. I like that Pull-Ups are soft, comfortable for him and incredibly stretchy. He's learning to pull up his underpants all by himself.

When he's playing I don't have to worry about accidents if he doesn't make it to the potty in time. The wetness indicator shows us if he's wet and that's been super helpful.

Of course, one of the most important parts about potty training is finding out what incentive speaks to your child. We use a sticker chart but what Mikey loves the most is his potty song. One of my many talents is freestyling (I'm kind of kidding) and Mikey's success song is one of my latest tracks.

Steal the lyrics below or create a song for your little one by thinking of a song your entire family loves and switch the words until you come up with something you can all sing together to celebrate success on the potty.

Walmart has a wide selection of baby products to fit your family's needs. My entire potty training kit for one bathroom came in around $30 (for one bathroom). The Pull-Ups® Learning Designs® were $8.97 and Mikey loved the Pixar's Cars Lightning McQueen design. Find out which type potty training character your child is here.

Mikey is actually using the potty when he sits now and I owe that to all of you that gave me your best tips and advice. Any other potty training tips you'd like to share?

Learn more about Pull-Ups® Learning Designs® available at Walmart.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Our Weekend Away as a Party of Five

I'd like to give a shout out to all the Moms who came before me that have taken road trips with their families. I now understand that it is no small feat to travel with multiple small children.

Y'all are the real MVPs.

We were only gone for about three days and I think that was a great amount of time to be away for our first trip as a family of five. My husband participated in a fitness competition right outside of Dallas. The town only had four hotels. We decided to stay at the hotel adjacent to the convention center where the show was taking place. I figured that would make walking back and forth to the event easy for me and the kids.

This was my first time stay at a Hampton Inn and Suites. I didn't know what to expect. The free daily breakfast (which wasn't great - thank goodness there was a Waffle House and IHOP close) and proximity to the convention center is what made us choose them for our trip. I was very surprised to see that the rooms were nice. I think my favorite part about the room was that it came with a nice size fridge and microwave. That was a must for me. I needed to store milk and snacks.

I packed a cooler for the kids with everything I could think of. Going to the store for everything little want or need wasn't something I was interested in doing. I will never go on a road trip without a cooler. Ever.

The only thing that I would change about our room is that I wish my husband had reserved an actual suite. I'm not sure how that break down in communication happened but we'll have to get it right next time. 

Some of the things I learned about traveling with three small kids is that when the trip is not necessarily about them you must bring stuff to keep them entertained. They did great (surprisingly) but I certainly was not prepared for all the down time we had. The hotel didn't have Nick Jr. or Disney Jr. so letting them get their fill of TV wasn't an option. 

We did bring our mobile TV box but the internet at the hotel was extremely slow. In retrospect none of this was an issue until it was time for bed. Next time I'll make sure to bring more books, activities, and movies that have already been downloaded to a device. 

The show itself was very interesting. I learned so much about how your body responds to food. To hear people talk about their meal plans and workouts was actually pretty fascinating. I definitely have more respect for the sport and the women that compete in it. They are on some super strict meal plans. I like eating everything the world has to offer so this sport would never be for me. I'll continue to support my husband from the sidelines.

So - if you plan to take your kids along for a ride that's not about them here are my tips for you...

Pack a cooler with everyone's favorite drinks (I also put fruit in our cooler!)
Bring a tote bag filled with everyone's favorite snacks
Call ahead to see what the movie watching, tv channel situation will be
Bring activities for downtime (books, crayons, play-doh - something)
Look up parks and playgrounds in the area (this was a lifesaver)
Schedule your drive time around nap time if possible (another lifesaver)
Plan for the pool (this helped but was difficult to do when I was solo with the kids)

We'll be on the move again when it's time for us to move. This trip was a nice eye opener to what our upcoming trip will be like. Hopefully I'll be more prepared for that one. What are your tips for traveling with kids?

Monday, March 28, 2016

Operation Snap Back™ Link Up: The No Sugar Challenge

Last week on the Facebook page I shared that I was doing a meats, veggies and fruits only challenge with a friend. At the beginning of the week I was skeptical about the results I would see but towards the end of the week I definitely noticed a change.

First of all I was less bloated. Way less bloated. The puffiness in my face, arms and tummy went down quite a bit. This reminded me that my body responds (good or bad) to what I'm eating. I'm not one of those people that can eat whatever I want as long as I'm working out. I have to eat right too and this challenge reminded me of that.

The next thing that I noticed was that my metabolism shot up. Brace yourself for TMI - but I was very regular. More than I've ever been since having Moses. It's been great. Pooping makes me feel like toxins are being released so I'm normally pretty bummed if I miss a day of pooping. Aren't you glad you know that about me now?

One of my favorite benefits from the challenge was the fact that my skin seemed to respond really well. My skin seemed brighter and clearer. I actually have a glow that I didn't buy from MAC - that's been nice too, not gonna lie.

So I'll be doing the challenge again - as soon as I finish eating this Chinese we're having for dinner. I plan to start again this coming Monday. I'm running a 5K in May and my training for that will start April first.

Before this post is over I also want to share that my husband participated in a fitness show this past weekend. It was such an eye opening experience to the sport. We learned a lot. Mainly - that you are literally what you eat. He did great and he plans to do another show soon!

Do you have a fitness related post or story to share? Fatima and I would love to hear your story! Use the hashtag, #OperationSnapback on Instagram or drop your link here to share your blog post. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Thought Bubbles 3242016

I should be loading up the car heading to school buy here I am...

What time is 2ish?....

I should be at Savannah's classroom around 2ish...

Bees have invaded our house...

Moses woke up with a fever from his shots...

I can't have wine because I'm trying to get in shape for Summer...

They need to make a calorie free wine...

My husband is in a fitness competition this weekend...

I have so much packing to do before we leave tomorrow...

How many bags of ice does it take to fill a cooler?...

I was going to do my nails under the dryer tonight but I think I'll nap instead...

Who invented the breast pump?...

It is now Friday...

I started writing this on Thursday...

My husband's driving gives me a heart attack...

I wish I was sitting in the back...

I'm snapchatting our adventure this weekend, TheChicSAHM...

We were suppose to be on the road at 10:30 - it's 12:00...

We should've planned to leave around 12ish....

Looking forward to not cooking for the next few days...

Why does he drive so crazy....

I'm almost certain I forgot something at home....

We've been in the car for twenty minutes...

Is it too soon to make him stop for food?...

Happy Easter 2016 - He is risen....

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

GB Lyfe Pram Travel System Review

This post was sponsored by @GBChildUsa as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received the GB Lyfe Pram Travel System to facilitate my review.

When I'm selecting baby gear I do all the research that every other Mom does to ensure that she's getting the safest product available for her baby. Once my research is done I then look at the style of the product because I want whatever I'm pushing, carrying or wearing to speak to my style as a woman.

It's important to me to look good and feel good when I'm Mom'ing it up.

Baby gear has to meet my requirements for fashion and function. Can I use it everyday? Will it solve a need of mine? Does it look good? The GB Lyfe Pram Travel System available at Babies 'R' Us does all of this and so much more.

This elegant pram style travel system offers Moms the ultimate riding experience for their new bundles of joy. The pram easily transforms for different modes of use. The seat has four recline positions and it also converts to a European style pram. Perfect for a sleeping baby!

Moms will appreciate that the pram, stroller seat and infant seat are all reversible. You can keep your eyes on your baby and look fly at the same time, yes please. 

There's a two-handed, one-step folding process that makes loading and unloading baby extremely easy. If you're like me and you have more than one child you will find this to be extremely helpful. Getting in and out of the car has to be a quick and easy process to keep everyone safe in a parking lot.

I love being able to express myself through the baby gear I use. I still feel like the same woman I was before I had kids. My squad is just little bit more pint-sized these days and we are rolling in style!

Have you used a pram system before? What do you think about this new travel system from GB Lyfe?

Monday, March 21, 2016

Monthly Meal Plans & Grocery Hauls Coming SOON

If you're a friend of the blog's on Facebook then you may have been asked to take a survey about what you'd like to see more of here on the blog. First of all I just want to say THANK YOU to everyone that took the survey.

Your thoughts are greatly appreciated. The number one thing that people said they wanted to see more of was food. Mainly - the monthly meal plans that I did once upon a time and the grocery hauls to go along with them.

So, here's how it will work. On the first of every month I'll post our menu for the month. It will either be broken down by the week or I'll post the entire menu calendar style. I'll also share my grocery list and shopping plan.

Once my shopping is done I'll share my haul on Youtube. Subscribe to my channel now so you never miss a haul or anything else that I may randomly put on my channel. :-)

I'm not sure if I'll do all of my shopping once for the entire month (because now I have more kids and I'm not sure if that's realistic), weekly or if I'll try a grocery delivery service (because those seem like they might be Bae).

Whatever I do I'll share it here and give you my best tips and tricks for feeding a family of five on a budget.

Stay tuned - April's menu will be up soon! Can you believe it's almost April already?! 2016 is not here for games....

Friday, March 18, 2016

32 Before 33: Run a 5K

The other day I registered for the Color Vibe 5k with some of my Momfriends. Running a 5k is one of my goals for the year. If you haven't seen my list of 32 Things to Do Before 33 check it out.

I was suppose to be doing a running challenge this month with Operation Snapback but our month has been packed and I haven't been able to participate as much as I wanted. When I do find time to run I forget to turn on the freaking app so it's been a bad month for me. 

I have been speed walking (like old ladies do) to pick Sav up from school several times a week though. That's got to count for something.

And yes, that is spit up on my shirt. The boys seems to do well riding in the stroller. When it's loaded it's pretty heavy and I get some good toning workouts in using it as a weight on a decline ramp. Save loves walking home from school too so it's been a win for us all.

Next month i have to step up my cardio if I'm going to make it thru a 5k. I don't want to be the slow one that's about to pass out!

What fitness goals are you working on?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Potty Training Mikey

Little Mike is definitely the child that gives me a run for my money. He's all boy. Very big and strong for a two year old and he's showing us more of his personality everyday. Because of his size and strength and insane diaper loads I have finally made time to potty train him.

My goal was to have him trained before Moses was born but that didn't happen so here we are...

I actually hate potty training. When Savannah was getting trained I blogged about how potty training is ruining my life. This time around my life isn't totally ruined but these days have certainly been rough. Each child is different and I think I finally figured out what will work for Mikey.

For starters Mikey is not a "sit on the potty every 20 minutes" type of kid, just no. Yesterday I figured out that as long as he's naked he'll hold it. So that's where we are right now. Today is our second day of full on training and he's gone to the potty and remained dry all day today (so far).

His little sticky face and runny nose is keeping me so busy. I wasn't sure how he would respond to boot camp potty training but so far so good. Here's what we've done to potty train Mikey...

1 - Cleared our schedule. You gotta be home to potty train.
2- Determined his process for learning. The naked method seems to be working for him.
3 - Determined how often he needs to be sitting on the potty. I offer the potty every 20 minutes but he doesn't actually do anything on the potty until about the hour mark.
4 - Celebrate his success. We have a potty song that he likes and a sticker chart that seems to be working for him.

I'll keep you posted on his progress and share tips along the way! If you have potty training tips for me please share them in the comments!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Sushi Snack for Kids

Today I spent almost two hours sitting on the floor of the bathroom waiting for Mikey to stop holding his pee long enough to go potty. I'll do another post this week about how potty training is sucking the life out of me...

Once I got up off the bathroom floor it was time for errands, lunch and soccer practice. I loaded everyone into the car and headed to Costco. Costco is my new Mommy hangout. I had to get some stuff for my husband and while we were there I grabbed these rice rolls I had been wanting to try.

I thought it would be a fun base for a sushi activity to do with the kids. I was right.

I sliced one roll into five little sushi pieces before icing them with chocolate spread. Once that was done I let the kids decorate them using sprinkles and fruit. We drizzled honey on top to make them extra sweet. Now they can go to soccer practice and burn off all that sugar.

These were so good. Savannah is on Spring Break this week. It's been nice having her home during the day for activities like this. Yesterday we went to an amusement park and a good time was had by all. The same goes for this activity. It was all smiles as we left for soccer.

Will you be trying these with your little ones? Pin this for later and share it with your friends on Facebook if you like it!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Easy Spring Hairstyle for Girls & Fun Easter Basket Idea

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GoodyStyle #CollectiveBias

Spring has sprung! It has in Texas anyway. I know I have said it over and over again but every time the season gets a bit warmer outside I realize my need to learn to braid Savannah's hair. I've been working on it. My two strand twists have actually gotten a lot better.

Savannah loves wearing her hair in big puffy ponytails though so I kind of get away with not being an expert at protective styles. My concern for her edges will keep me working at it though. So with Spring and Summer on it's way I feel that now is a good time to share one of my favorite hairstyles for Savannah.

I have always used Goody Hair accessories on myself and Sav. The Goody Ouchless Elastics (40% OFF elastics 4/22-4/23) and I have become besties due to Sav's love of a good pony. Due to my love of saving a dollar I shop at Target for our hair styling tools and use the Cartwheel app to save money. (then I drift to all the other aisles in Target and spend said savings)

STEP ONE - For this hairstyle we start with freshly washed hair. I use the Goody Ouchless Brush for detangling. The FlexGlide bristles on the brush are strong enough to get through matted and super tangled hair without pain. The brush retails for $8.99 and you can save 20% OFF Goody Hairbrushes 3/13-3/19 using the Cartwheel app. 

STEP TWO - Make a temple to temple part across the front of your daughter's head...

STEP THREE - Two strand twist or braid this section of hair anyway you like...

STEP FOUR - Section the remaining hair by doing one large vertical part... (Or you could do one large puffy ponytail or a top knot bun if you'd like to stop here)

STEP FIVE - Brush each section of hair into a ponytail and secure using your Goody Ouchless Elastics. These elastics don't contain any metal so you don't have to worry about them snagging your baby girl's tresses.

STEP SIX - Accessorize your style with kids accessories from Goody Hair. Save 20% on Goody kids accessories 3/13-3/19.

I loved all of the bright colors for Spring! When I was shopping I literally restocked all her hair accessories because I was able to save using the Cartwheel app. Savannah was so happy to get all of her new headbands, clips and bows.  

During your next Target run visit the Goody Hair section and scoop up some of these items for your little girl. They are a great addition to her Easter basket this year. Don't forget to download the Cartwheel app to save on the items I mentioned. There are even more savings on the app that you can use that I didn't mention here! 

What do you think about this Easter basket idea?