Archive for the 'works-for-me' Category


She’s Going for It!

I debated whether to post on this topic (potty training) or how to get your kids to watch less TV. Since my TV tip was not very practical for the average reader*, I decided upon the potty one.

If you’ve been following the saga of my three year old’s love/hate relationship with the potty, you know that I’ve almost had it up to HERE with cleaning up pee (I wonder how the children will feel in later years knowing I’ve broadcast their toileting habits hither and yon.) and washing several little outfits a day. Well, guess what! Something seems to work!

Gannon, who has no trouble in the bathroom, has a chart upon which he puts a jewel sticker for every book he reads. Acadia has been interested in his progress, so I made her a chart of her own. She can put a jewel on a flower petal if she initiates a potty session that results in an actual pee or (and this would really be something!) poop. If she fills up all the flowers (8 petals worth), she earns a trip to Friendly’s for ice cream.

OK, so far she has only filled up 2 petals since yesterday afternoon. But she is three and a half, and those were the first times she actually told me that she had to use the toilet. So I am hopeful.

I drew the flowers myself (aren’t I a wonder),but you could easily use a page from a coloring book in some theme beloved by your preschooler. Ensuing treats are also customizable. By the way, her reward for being completely potty-trained is ballet class. You may not have noticed this, but ballerinas don’t wear diapers.

I’d put a picture of the chart on this post, but my camera’s battery needs to be charged and, once again, I can’t find the charger. Weird, because we always plug it into the same outlet and keep it in the same place, and yet it is continuously on the lam.

*My TV tip is to have your television catch on fire while you are watching it with the kids. Then have the fire department come, who will recommend that you keep it out on the lawn for a couple of hours to be sure it’s cooled down. After that, just keep it out there since it doesn’t work anyway. It has worked for me! But, like I said, perhaps not so practical.

This post is part of Rocks In My Dryer’s Works-For-Me Wednesday blog carnival. Check it out for more great tips!


Preschool Angst?

A sweet blonde-headed three year old girl sits on her tricycle, laughing as her brother zooms past on his bike. She tries to go after him, but the pedals just won’t turn. Her watchful mommy sees that all she needs is a little push from behind to get started. Instead of asking for help (which her mommy is trying to teach her to do) this angelic girl transforms into a growling, stomping, slapping, scowling kid. She hits her handlebars. She stomps her feet on the ground. She trashes her cute little head and growls her terrible growls.

Sometimes she stands up and attempts to throw her trike.

Acadia does things like this when she gets frustrated with things. I’d love ideas as to how to encourage better behavior. Any ideas?

This post is in cooperation with

Rocks in my Dryer’s


weekly blog carnival.


Toilet Training Essentials

Teaching a girl to use the bathroom is different from teaching a boy. Or maybe it’s just that teaching my first kid was different from teaching my second kid. Either way, I am finding that nothing I did the first time around works this time, largely due to the fact that I don’t remember much of it at all.

This time around, I have found a few things to be indispensable.

  1. The Solid Blue Shirt, appropriately sized. From the waist down she goes through several changes a day. Her pants/shorts are a range of colors, and in order to coordinate outfits I have found a solid blue shirt, light or dark, to be wonderful.
  2. Gerber Cotton Training Pants. Put this kid in disposable diaper-type things, and she would go all day without mentioning the toilet. The cloth underwear do the trick, and these keep most of the mess in the pants.
  3. Little Potty Seat. Our big seat is apparently “too cold”, but she willingly sits on one of those cushie little ones that you put on top of the regular one. Ours has handles too, so she feels more secure, I suppose. (The one I’ve linked to is similar, but not the exact one.)
  4. Bribes. Our kiddo has responded favorably to applause, sticker charts, and candy. We don’t use them all at once, just whichever one seems the most effective at the time. Currently it’s Skittles.

Works for me! This post is in cooperation with Rocks In My Dryer’s weekly blog carnival. Stop by!


Works-For-Me: Packing for a Trip with Kids

I’m not going to tell you all the stuff one needs when one is traveling with children. For one thing, I don’t know all the things you need. Mostly though, I just don’t have the time to write all that, and you would invariably need something I didn’t mention! We have had plenty of chances lately to pack clothes for the kids. We packed for a trip to Delaware, a trip to New York, and an overnight. Two-thirds of those trips never happened due to this weird weather, but the clothing was packed nonetheless.

Gannon’s clothes are getting too big for this, but we’ve got a way of organizing Acadia’s clothes in her duffle. We put each outfit, including top, bottom, socks, and undies, into a gallon-size ziplock bag. We squish out all the extra air till it’s nice and flat(ish) and toss it into the duffle. That makes it easy for her to grab out her own clothes for the day, and it gives us an extra plastic baggie in case she dirties her clothes in a way that requires quarantine. If you are fussy about what clothes will go with which, this is a great method to give you the freedom to delegate the overseeing of the morning getting-dressed.

Something else I try to do when we travel is to pack outfits that are all one color scheme…like with Acadia I’ll pack all blues and reds, with solid pants and print tops, so that everything matches in case I need to cannibalize from another outfit (eww, that was maybe not a good word choice). With Gannon this is somewhat easier, since most of his clothes seem to be orange or denim. I am not sure how this happened, except that once I realized that I like the way he looks in orange I went with it.

For more Works-For-Me tips, visit Rocks in My Dryer!! While you’re there, poke around a little, because her blog is very fun.


Works-For-Me: Keeping Art Contained

paint handsYou know those projects that kids love to do, the ones with sequins and buttons and little pieces of things and lots of glue? If you’re cringing already, this tip is for you.

We recently discovered Discount School Supply‘s “Brawny Tough Plastic Art Trays,” in small and large. We have the smaller ones, and they work well for small projects. The kids like them because they don’t have to chase their little rolling art stuff all over the place, and because it gives them a little territory of their own. art trayI like them because it means spills are contained and arguments are minimized. The small ones are great, but if you want to use full-sized construction paper, I’d suggest getting the large ones.

This post is part of Rocks In My Dryer’s Works-For-Me Wednesdays. Check out the party!


The Mom Book

I love magazines.

I hate magazines.

What a pain to have years’ worth of Family Fun, Parenting, Child, Cottage Living, and the like in boxes, piles, or on shelves. Who has room for that kind of thing? And how can you find anything in there anyway? “Hmm…didn’t I see a great idea for my boy’s bedroom curtains…somewhere…sometime….?” But those monthly periodicals often contain great ideas within their pages. So what to do?

Rip ’em out.

I have a binder (another binder idea) that I have dubbed The Mom Book. In it I save and organize all the articles, columns, and even ads that inspire me. Mostly they have to do with the kids or the house, which is why I called it The Mom Book. When I find a neat color scheme, I stick it in there (I use those slide-in page holders). If I see a great toy ad, it goes in there too. Recipes go in a different binder, unless it’s more of a nutritional essay. I have an article about raising an introverted child, one on convenient exercises for mothers, and one on postpartum depression. Craft and holiday ideas go in there too.

When I’ve pillaged everything I like from the magazine, I toss it in the trash recycle it get it out of my house. This was a big step for me, since I am a packratesque teacher who sees a future use for everything (I save those plastic containers mushrooms come in). But the clutter finally got to me! So there you have it.

This post inspired by Rocks In My Dryer’s Works For Me Wednesday posts.


Works-For-Me Wednesday: Kitchen

WFMW15One of my favorite blogs (“Rocks In My Dryer” is the title…I was hooked immediately) hosts a weekly blog carnival of sorts. This week’s topic is the Kitchen. Here’s my tip:

I’ve gone through my cookbooks and photocopied my often-used recipes and organized them in a binder. I use the slide-in plastic pages to keep them from getting goopy from food and so that I don’t have to deal with punching hold in the papers. The result is that I don’t have to flip through pages and pages of recipes I never use just to find one I need to pork chops, or whatever. It’s nice to have them all in one place. When I want to try something new, my books are still available.

Maybe this isn’t such a novel idea, but it’s a great tool for me. I once started doing this by hand onto those little index cards, but whoa, was that tedious. The copier is great. I suppose if you had to drag your library to Kinko’s or something it might be a pain, but we’ve got one here in the house, and I take full advantage of it!


My blog. Herein read entries related to who and what is important to me. Feel free to leave comments. I feel free to delete them if I don't like them. So there. By reading about my life, readers should expect to begin to see their own lives as increasingly more organized and sophisticated, their homes cleaner and neater.

Why This Blog?

Well, mostly this is for my family to see pictures and read anecdotes about the kids. It's also a venue for telling the story of my struggles and victories in my life as a Christian, a wife, a mother, and a teacher. Occasionally I toss in some weird or touching item that I've found.

What’s Christianity All About?

The Gospel is the news that Jesus Christ, the Righteous One, died for our sins and rose again, eternally triumphant over all his enemies, so that there is now no condemnation for those who believe, but only everlasting joy. [as said by John Piper]

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