Adventures in Potty Training: Part 2

I haven’t written a potty-training post in about a year and a half. Thankfully we have come far enough for me to consider Little Piñata officially potty-trained. (You’d assume so after 1.5 years, right? But, actually this officialness is quite new!)

First of all, he did amazing with going #1 on the potty from the get-go. By the 2nd day of the “3 day potty-training boot camp” he pretty much had the concept down. We had started taking him to the potty every 30 minutes, but within a few days it got spread out to every hour, and after a couple of weeks, I only had to remind him before and after transitions, like meals or outings. We stayed in this phase for at least 6 months. When he was 2.5 he started going on his own and recognizing all by himself when he had to go and not needing (or wanting) any help. And we have had so few accidents in this year and a half that I can’t even remember a single one!

However, going #2 has been quite another story! Within weeks he had changed his body’s rhythm to only go #2 during naptime and bedtime, which I didn’t mind since he was always wearing a diaper then. I read that this happened to a lot of kids, so I didn’t worry about it. But, then he turned 3 and I realized he had been doing this same thing for almost a year and I got a bit concerned.

I talked to our pediatrician about it and she suggested that we just get rid of the diaper/pull-up at naptime and that that would kind of “force” him to go during the day on the toilet. But, it didn’t work at all. All we ended up with were completely soaked sheets and mattress cover and #2 was held all the way to bedtime. So, we added prunes or prune juice to his breastfast each day. The holding continued (with pee accidents every naptime) and then we just had really messy diapers at night. I quickly realized this wasn’t working, and I started thinking that this whole process might be contributing to unhealthy, chronic holding, so we put him in a diaper for naps again.

Our pediatrician also recommended Magnesium Citrate for him, to helpfully get his bowel movements to be soft enough that he could no longer hold them in. Oye. I think he went on the potty one time in the one week period that we tried this. And the diapers only got messier. At this point I gave up. I just stopped. I decided he wouldn’t still need to wear a diaper to Kindergarten, so we cut out the prunes, all the promised rewards that just weren’t working (a movie! a dump truck! candy! popcorn! anything you want!).

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7 Tips for taking your own family photo for Christmas

Every year for as long as we’ve been married, Mr. Garland and I have made it a priority to snap a family photo around the holidays. Most years we use these photos for our Christmas cards, but sometimes we skip the cards and just make sure to get the photo. I love looking back and seeing how these photos have evolved over the years (and how our family has grown!), and it’s a tradition I don’t ever want to stop.

This year, I finally feel like we’ve got the formula for a good photo down and we are a well-oiled machine. Our shoot took less than 30 minutes from start to finish and I think our photo turned out pretty darn perfect.


Here are my best tips for taking a good DIY family photo:

1) Make sure everyone is full and happy. Do I really need to expand on this? Ain’t nobody taking a happy family photo when they’re hangry.

2) Coordinate your outfits, yes, but don’t match. Gone are the days of khakis and white button-downs for a family photo! We loosely coordinated our outfits for our family photo this year, but I ended up in a different color shirt than anyone else and I think the photo looks great. We’re all in the same general color family, and (most importantly) everyone is comfortable in what they’re wearing! I’ve also learned not to intervene and try to suggest clothes for Mr. Garland because it makes him cranky, so I just choose mine and Jackson’s outfits and let him do his own thing – and it always works out just fine.

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A look into our Montessori home environment

I thought you might like to take a peek into our Montessori home environment! This is my four year old’s work area. He goes to a Montessori school but when he is at home, this is where he will do his investigations; this is where he will do his work.

Kylie's Home Montessori Environment #1

We have child size table with colourful stools. A reading chair in the corner. Just out of the photographs is a child’s bookshelf full of books.

You can see we have a couple of shelving units. The shelving contains lots trays and baskets of puzzles and interesting games, puppets, stamps and natural materials.

I love to have a world globe, microscope and mini skeleton on the shelves too.

Kylie's Home Montessori Environment #2

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SnickerSnaps: A Holiday Cookie Mashup

The idea of two things mashed together is extremely appealing. There are a certain number of foods that I love piling together in a bowl and smushing with a fork to provide the maximum amount of mash-up-ratio. Cake and ice cream. Red velvet cake & cheesecake (thanks, Cheesecake Factory). Turkey and mashed potatoes. Fruit and yogurt.

And now, my new favourite mash-up. The Snickersnap.

The abundance of spices around Christmastime mean that I am forever making gingersnaps and snickerdoodles. They’re easy to make, delicious, and always a big hit. As I was gathering ingredients for our annual Family Bake Day (I wrote about that last year), it hit me. How delicious would those two cookies taste TOGETHER? The gingery, molasses-y crunch of a gingersnap. The soft and fluffy cinnamon-based bite of a snickerdoodle. All rolled together in a mix of cinnamon and sugar.

Some Googling showed me that no, I didn’t invent this. The idea is out there, lovingly called Gingerdoodles. But Snickersnaps is just so FUN-sounding…and I needed to give them a try. I combined my tried-and-true snickerdoodle recipe with a slightly sturdier-than-average gingersnap recipe, and this was the result:

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Where Are All The Black Friday Sales?

I know you’re busy, relaxing and spending time with family, as you should be. And maybe you just have a little bit of time to cash in on some sales to make your holiday shopping easier? Well I put together a list of all the best Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales with promo codes and links to make the search for sales much easier and efficient for you.

I also put together a few of my favorite picks from the Nordstrom Black Friday sale, so enough with the chit chat let’s get right to that (I know vacation time is precious!).

*jump to the end of the post for a list of this weekends sales from around the web.

black friday nordno.1 striped midi skirt $15.29 – no.2 down north face coat $123.73 – no.3 quartz bracelet watch $8.23 – no.4 cashmere tech gloves $26.98 – no.5 faux shearling coat $104.92 – no.6 TopShop wrap romper $42.73 – no.7 Raybans $140 – no.8 New Balance Sneakers $54.98 – no.9 pattern cape $14.23 – no.10 boyfriend jeans $118.80 – no.11 shirt dress $29.92 – no.12 mock neck sweater $49.24 – no.13 shawl cardigan $26.17 – n0.14 coach satchel $262.50 – no.15 panel leggings $17.09 – no.16 splendid henley $44.09

  • Nordstrom sale (the items above) is up to 50% off select styles for all + free shipping and returns through 11/30!
  • Amazon.com – 30% off select items – from 11/26 – 11/27 only. USE CODE: 30BLACKFRI and don’t forget to check back for Cyber Monday!
  • Anthropologie – 25% off everything from 11/27 – 11/30. USE CODE: SHOPTOIT
  • ASOS – 20% off everything through 1/12. USE CODE: CYBER
  • Banana Republic US + CA Half off sweaters and 40% off the rest of your purchase restrictions apply – from 11/26 – 11/27. USE CODE: BRFRIDAY
  • Boden – 30% off with code 7J4Z + Free Delivery and Returns from 11/27 – 11/30
  • GAP – Cyber Monday 50-70% off everything restrictions apply from 11/23 – 11/30.
  • J.Crew – Cyber Monday 50% off in-store and online + Free Shipping + an additional discount applied at checkout – on 11/30. USE CODE: TODAYONLY
  • Madewell – 25% off your entire purchase through 11/29. USE CODE: Calmdown
  • Old Navy – 30% off everything, no code needed. 40% off in stores.
  • Tea Collection – Styles marked down to $12, $15, & $17 – on 11/28

Any sales I might have missed? Please share in the comments!

Thanksgiving Post Roundup

We flew to Manila this week to extend our visas, so we were able to buy some ingredients there for our first Thanksgiving dinner in El Nido. We’re planning on making roast chicken, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and chocolate cake (I couldn’t find any pumpkin)! We’re going to try to maintain our American traditions as much as possible for the kids while we’re here. I have a couple of posts in the works about our lives here, but the kids have adjusted very well into their new life so far!

We’re going to sign off a little early today to spend time with our family. We hope you and your family have a fantastic Thanksgiving!


Check out some of our posts of Thanksgiving past!

D E C O R /  C R A F T S 

DIY Handprint Turkey by Jenny
DIY Thanksgiving Turkey Centerpiece for Kids by Mollie
DIY Turkey Treat Bag Place Cards by Danyelle
DIY Gratitude Tree by Amy
Inspiring Holiday Kids’ Table Ideas by Mrs. TicTacToe

F O O D 

DIY “Turkey” Snack by Caroline
Brown Bag Turkey by Mrs. Polish
Perfecting a Roasted Turkey by Mrs. High Heels
10 Easy Leftover Turkey Recipes by Mrs. Bee
Pumpkin Snickerdoodles by Mrs. Oatmeal

T H A N K F U L N E S S 

Printable Notes of Thankfulness
Printable “Count your blessings” Thanksgiving Cards
8 Ways to Nurture a Grateful Heart in a Toddler by Mrs. Pizza
Putting Our Thankfulness on Display by Mrs. Garland
The Action of Thanksgiving by Mrs. Palette

Toddlers and Transitions: Bottles and Sleep

Will recently turned fifteen months old and, as an official toddler, is shedding many of the things that made him a baby. Most notably (beyond the speaking and running!), he has begun to make some natural transitions when it comes to sleep – and we’ve begun the process of forcing some other ones that will, in the end, be best for him. I wanted to share what the internet said about some of these transitions, plus what my pediatrician recommended at Will’s fifteen month appointment last week.

T H E  B O T T L E

What the Internet Says: Transition from a bottle between 12-18 months; the earlier the better. It’s important to do it because of teeth and palette issues – too long on a bottle, and it can affect baby’s mouth structure and cause more tooth decay due to prolonged interaction between the sugars in milk and teeth. You can drop the bottle suddenly (cold turkey) or transition over time; cold turkey is often fastest but hardest.

What the Pediatrician Says: Drop it cold turkey. Do it over a holiday so it can be consistent, and find another way to get milk. Try regular, non-breakable cups and sell it as exciting (“look at the big boy drinking out of his big boy cup!”). Feel free to offer milk at nap and bedtime, just not in a bottle. Prolonged negative effects are more pronounced as time wears on, so before 18 months is a must.

My Thoughts: I knew it was coming sooner rather than later – and we should have tried to drop it sooner. As it is, we’re in the flux of this right now. We made the mistake of not introducing milk in a sippy/straw cup alongside water and thus, Will only likes milk out of a bottle…or his ‘night-night’ as he calls it. It was only in the last month or so that he began to call milk this, and, I think, attach the bottle the idea of milk. I think if we had transitioned off the bottle sooner – say, right around twelve months – we’d be having better success right now. We’ve gotten a few ounces in him via a spill-proof cup (no spout or straw), but we’ve had to increase his yogurt intake to ensure he is getting enough calcium and protein. I’m hoping this is just more water under the bridge of challenges in a few weeks – and in the mean time, any advice from mamas whose babes associated milk just with bottles and struggled is welcome!

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