Wednesday, January 31, 2007
WFMW (travel tip)
It's time to post yet another WFMW tip.

Last week I traveled for business. On the morning that I left, I logged on to the Southwest Airlines website, clicked on the "Check In Online" link, and printed out my Group A boarding pass before ever leaving my house. Since Southwest Airlines doesn't have assigned seating, it's good to have a Group A boarding pass instead of a B or a C because then you get to board sooner and pick your seat.

On the way back home, I thought about doing the same thing, but I figured that since I didn't have access to a printer, it wouldn't do me any good. By the time I got to the airport (even 3 hours ahead of my scheduled flight) and checked in at the Southwest Airlines kiosk, I was given a Group B boarding pass.

It was a fellow passenger, waiting in line with me to board the plane that clued me in on this traveling tip.

Here it is: If you have internet access, but not a printer, you can still log on to the Southwest Airlines website, check in online, and reserve your boarding pass. When you get to the airport, go up to the kiosk at the counter, enter your Southwest Airlines Rapids Rewards number, and choose the option to reprint boarding pass. The kiosk will print out your Group A boarding pass and you'll be on your merry way...assuming that you only have carry on bags, no check in luggage.

I hope you found this travel tip helpful.

To see what works for others, be sure check out the links over at Shannon's, the creator of Works-For-Me Wednesday.

One last thing, please join me this Friday, 2 Feb, for my Super Bowl Sunday edition of my Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe exchange! Last week I got some fantastic Super Bowl recipes and I have every intention of trying some of them out in time for a Super Bowl party that we're attending this Sunday! I'm hoping to see more fabulous recipes this Friday!

My past WFMW entries:

free children's printables
calendar labels
Strawberry Spinach Salad
mesh laundry bag uses
12 lbs 'til Christmas
toddler healthy eating techniques
reindeer puppet
Grocery Game website
No Fear Shakespeare
list of age appropriate children's chores
linking within comments
baptism gift
creating blogger categories
alternate use for pot rack
cake decorating tips
unique way to stay connected
cake baking tip
comforts of home while traveling
quenching the thirst of your little one
pie crust made in bulk
hot chocolate kicked up a notch


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6:30 AM
9 comments


Tuesday, January 30, 2007
I've made it through to the other side!

With much trepidation and nervousness, I've finally taken the plunge and converted to the new Blogger.

I've been holding out for quite a while, worried that my beautiful Ireland design, done by Susie with Bluebird Blogs would get all messed up! I copied my template before starting and had Susie's email address handy, ready to send her a frantic message pleading for HELP if things went terribly wrong!

As I typed in the required information to make the switch, then hit the button to activate the switch, I sat watching my monitor with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

The switch only took a few minutes, thank goodness for that. When I got through to the other side, I cautiously walked through my blog, looking here and there for cracks in the walls or clutter in the closets. It all looks clear...so far! Oh wait, as Barb mentioned when she switched, All the comments you received from people with old blogger accounts before you switched convert to anonymous. It's a good thing I knew that going in. Thanks, Barb!

So, now that I'm here, what new and improved things can I do with my blog? I'm excited about the new labeling feature but other than that, I have no idea what I've gotten myself in to! Hmmm...does this mean I can go back and add labels for all of my previous posts? If so, that may be an all day project!

UPDATE: Okay, I've made it through labeling all of my January posts and have started on my December posts. This is more work than I thought, but it is kind of fun! The fun part is thinking of label names to use. I've come up with 46 thus far, and I'm thinking up more as I go. How crazy is that? What are some fun labels that you're using?

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7:54 AM
8 comments


Monday, January 29, 2007
I've been spending more time in the bathroom.
I'm becoming quite acquainted with one of our bathrooms lately. It's the one that has Snuggle Bug's potty chair in it.

Each time that Snuggle Bug decides he wants to sit on his potty chair, he insists that I go with him and that I sit on the big potty to keep him company. Is this typical? I never imagined that I'd have to sit on the toilet to appease my son as he sat on his. This isn't exactly my idea of fun, but if it'll help further the efforts of potty training, I'm all for it!

Earlier this month I gave a review on the Royal Potty chair by Fisher Price and my initial impressions weren't so favorable. Well, I think I may be revising my view.

Snuggle Bug is no longer frightened by the music sounds coming from his potty chair. And, although he's inclined to stick his hand or toys into his potty to hear the music, we're working on dissuading him from doing so.

This past Friday evening, I had taken Snuggle Bug in to the bathroom for a bath. Not about to pass up an opportunity, I asked him if he wanted to sit on his potty before getting into the bath. He said, "Yeah!" and willingly went and sat down. Now, I'm not sure if it was the running of the bath water that was the impetus but Snuggle Bug actually went pee for the first time! When I heard the sound of the trumpet music, I whipped around, ready to chastise him for throwing a toy in. Imagine my surprise when he stood up and I peered in and saw pee, not toys, in the potty!! I guess that music is good for something.

I lavished lots of praise on Snuggle Bug and asked him if he wanted a stamp on his hand, since he went pee in his potty. He loves, loves, loves getting stamps on his hand so he was excited and asked me to stamp both hands! I think stamping his hand is going to be a better reward system for him than the sticker chart that came with the Royal Potty, but we'll see.

I still don't think that Snuggle Bug is truly ready for serious potty training but I'm willing to encourage his use of his potty chair at any chance I get. And I guess the Royal Potty chair isn't so bad after all, but I'm still glad I got it on sale!

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7:36 AM
17 comments


Friday, January 26, 2007
Favorite Ingredients Friday- Super Bowl Sunday Edition!

Image design by Susie with Bluebird Blogs

Good Friday to you all!

In preparation for the upcoming Feb. 4th Super Bowl XLI, Chicago Bears vs. Indianapolis Colts, it's time for the special Super Bowl Sunday edition of my Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe exchange!

Today (and next Friday), please share with me your favorite appetizer, side dish, salad, or any other type of recipe that you'd find yourself serving at a Super Bowl Sunday party! :)

The appetizer I'm about to share isn't exactly an original, but it's delicious and has always been a big hit at any party I serve it at! It's one of my personal favorites!


7 Layer Mexican Dip
Ingredients
  1. 10 - 20 oz. refried beans
  2. 8 oz. fresh or ready made guacamole (2-3 avocados)
  3. 8 oz. sour cream
  4. 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  5. 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  6. 1/2 cup diced green onions
  7. sliced black olives

Preparation

  1. Layer beans on the bottom of a round pie plate (doubling the recipe yields enough for a 9 x 13 cake pan).
  2. Layer remaining ingredients in order given.
  3. Chill until ready to serve with tortilla chips.
  4. Note: This recipe fills one 9-inch round pie plate and feeds up to 15 people so long as there are other dishes sitting around.

I hope you enjoy this tried-and-true appetizer as much as I do! Now I look forward to seeing your Super Bowl Sunday edition Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe!

Don't forget to link your specific recipe post link on Mr. Linky so I can see what's cooking at your house!

Oh, and be sure to put the title of your recipe in parenthesis! It makes it so much quicker for me to go back and search for recipes as I build my weekly menu.

My previous Favorite Ingredients Friday recipes

Garlic Linguine
Pizza Bake
Grilled Honey Corn
Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake
Strawberry & Cream Cheese Fudge Brownies
Roly-Poly Santa cookies
Cole's chili
Grandma's Sponge Cake
Parmesan Bow-Tie Skillet
Scalloped Potatoes
Chocolate Crepes
Chocolate Cream Pie
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Caramel Brownies
Peach Banana Daiquiri

Thanks so much for your participation. I do appreciate it!

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5:45 AM
20 comments


Thursday, January 25, 2007
Meeting with Michelle & tomorrow's themed recipe exchange
I've never particularly enjoyed traveling for business. Being away from Oronzo and Snuggle Bug, for any amount of time, just isn't all that fun. Thankfully, my job only takes me away 2 or 3 times a year.

When I told Oronzo that I'd be traveling to NM again this month he said, "Hey, don't you have a blogger friend there?" I guess he pays attention more than I give him credit for! :)

Having the opportunity to meet up again with Michelle made the thought of this trip a little more positive, and meet we did, for dinner last night. Not only did I get to see Michelle, but also her husband, Joe, and beautiful daughter, Kayla! We met at the Community Center (on base).

Now, you may remember that I've met Michelle once before, last July, when I was in NM on business. Meeting again this time was so relaxed and comfortable, just like connecting in-person with longtime friends! Thanks for taking the time to meet up with me, Michelle! It was great to see you again and catch up!

Besides the visit with Michelle, I also want to mention tomorrow's Super Bowl Sunday themed Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe exchange (thanks for the idea, Jen).

The recipes can be appetizers, soups, salads, or whatever you might consider serving at a Super Bowl party!




So, if you're interested in participating in this themed recipe exchange, feel free to grab the image that Susie with Bluebird Blogs so kindly designed for me (thanks, Susie!) and use it in your post tomorrow. See you then!

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6:39 AM
7 comments


Wednesday, January 24, 2007
WFMW (free children's printables)

It's time to post yet another WFMW tip.

Not long ago, as I was reading my January 2007 issue of Parents magazine (yes, I'm playing catch-up and still trying to get through my January and February issues), I stumbled across a most valuable link. I felt like I had hit the jackpot!!

Parents magazine has compiled a list of free children's printables. It includes roughly 65 printables for your children: games, puzzles, stickers, bookplates, and much more!

Needless to say, I got sidetracked for quite a while looking at all the fun stuff that was being offered.

Here are a few of my favorites:

1) Mother Goose memory game cards

2) Insect memory game cards

3) Lunch box love notes

4) Mother Goose bookplates

5) Happy stickers

Note: For the Mother Goose bookplates or the happy stickers, you can use glue or tape, or you can print them on full-sheet labels, like Avery 8165 White Inkjet Address Labels, 8 1/2" by 11".

If you haven't seen this list of printables already, go check it out. I know you'll love it as much as I do!

To see what works for others, be sure check out the links over at Shannon's, the creator of Works-For-Me Wednesday.

My past WFMW entries:

calendar labels
Strawberry Spinach Salad
mesh laundry bag uses
12 lbs 'til Christmas
toddler healthy eating techniques
reindeer puppet
Grocery Game website
No Fear Shakespeare
list of age appropriate children's chores
linking within comments
baptism gift
creating blogger categories
alternate use for pot rack
cake decorating tips
unique way to stay connected
cake baking tip
comforts of home while traveling
quenching the thirst of your little one
pie crust made in bulk
hot chocolate kicked up a notch

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6:00 AM
17 comments


Tuesday, January 23, 2007
"Hounddog" controversy
Having received a nomination this month at the Sundance Film Festival, a controversy is brewing regarding 12-year old Dakota Fanning's gritty role as a rape victim in "Hounddog," a drama about a troubled young girl (Fanning) finding a safe haven in the music and movement of Elvis Presley.

Last night I watched an interview clip of Dakota Fanning on Fox News. During this interview, she said, ""It's a wonderful film, and I'm really proud to be in it. I can't wait for people to see it." She also stated that she did not find the sexual content of "Hounddog" upsetting.

I'm curious, what are your thoughts on this nominated film? Do you feel her parents should have allowed her to take on such a role at her young age? Would you go see such a movie?

Here are some links to articles I've found on-line:

Dakota Fanning Tackles Sex Abuse in Controversial Role

Dakota Fanning: Some kid

All shook up over Dakota's 'Hounddog'


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6:30 AM
11 comments


Monday, January 22, 2007
Alamogordo, here I come!
I'm traveling for work again. I'm flying out this morning for Alamogordo, NM to spend four days working at Holloman AFB. I guess that's if our pilots don't have their night flight testing canceled due to snow!

Michelle, once I get my work schedule figured out, I'm going to call you to see if you have time to meet with me while I'm in town! What do you think?

So, before I forget, Jen gave me a great suggestion! She suggested that I do Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe exchange that involves appetizers and other dishes that could be served during Super Bowl Sunday game. I love that idea! So, this Friday (26 January) and also next Friday (2 February), my Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe exchange will be geared for Super Bowl dishes. I hope you can join me for that. I'll post a reminder again soon.

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5:30 AM
16 comments


Friday, January 19, 2007
Favorite Ingredients Friday (Garlic Linguine)

Good Friday to you all! It's time for another Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe exchange!

As most of you know, I love pasta, so I'm always on the lookout for savory pasta dishes. This one I originally found on the Allrecipes website and it's scrumptious! I usually make this as a side dish.


Garlic Linguine
Ingredients
  1. 1 (8 ounce) package linguini pasta
  2. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  3. 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  4. 1 tablespoon dried basil
  5. 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  6. 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  7. 2 cups chopped tomatoes

Preparation

  1. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water until done. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in large saucepan. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Crush herbs, and add to the garlic.
  3. Add linguine. Heat through, stirring frequently. Fold in tomatoes. Serve.

I hope you enjoy this side dish as much as I do! Now I look forward to seeing your Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe!

Don't forget to link your specific recipe post link on Mr. Linky so I can see what's cooking at your house!

Oh, and be sure to put the title of your recipe in parenthesis! It makes it so much quicker for me to go back and search for recipes as I build my weekly menu.

My previous Favorite Ingredients Friday recipes

Grilled Honey Corn
Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake
Strawberry & Cream Cheese Fudge Brownies
Roly-Poly Santa cookies
Cole's chili
Grandma's Sponge Cake
Parmesan Bow-Tie Skillet
Scalloped Potatoes
Chocolate Crepes
Chocolate Cream Pie
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Caramel Brownies
Peach Banana Daiquiri

Thanks so much for your participation. I do appreciate it!

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7:39 AM
21 comments


Thursday, January 18, 2007
Relationship-Building Activities for You and Your Toddler
Last Friday Thingamababy published a post entitled, Bonding without Toys: Ten Interactive Activities for your Toddler and You. His post has got me to thinking and wondering, what relationship-building activities do I do with Snuggle Bug that don't involve toys?

Okay, bear with me, I'm going to do a bit of brainstorming here and just toss ideas out as they come to me, in no particular order of importance. I realize that some may be duplicates of what Thingamababy has listed. What can I say, great minds think alike.


  1. Visit the library. Oronzo and I been taking Snuggle Bug to baby and toddler story times since he was about 6 months old. He loves them! Oronzo is usually the one that takes him to a couple of different ones each week, since he's the one home with him during the week, but occasionally I get to. The story times involve singing, dancing, coloring, playing with other children, and of course, stories. Best of all, the parents get to socialize as well. The kids have fun, the adults have fun. It's a win-win situation. After the story time is finished, I like to take Snuggle Bug into the children's area of the library and let him pick out books to read.
  2. Visit neighbors. We moved into our house about a year and a half ago. It didn't take us long to realize that when we were out walking with Snuggle Bug, neighbors enjoyed stopping us for a chat. We've gotten to the point now where we'll walk over to a neighbor's house, ring the doorbell, and know that we'll be invited in for a chat and a snack. Many of our neighbors are elderly and they dote over Snuggle Bug.
  3. Take walks. We love taking Snuggle Bug for walks. Sometimes he rides in his stroller or wagon, sometimes he walks, sometimes he does both. I make sure never to be in a hurry because it's amazing what he likes to explore along the way. A caterpillar inching it's way across the sidewalk can provide several minutes of enjoyment!
  4. Go to church together. We go to mass nearly every Sunday. Snuggle Bug has always been right there with us, since he was 3 days old. Now that he's a bit older, he imitates us by kneeling on the kneeler, looking at the missal, and repeatedly singing "alleluia" with gusto. He loves observing the pianist and the older children singing in the children's choir (we hope one day he'll join), he can't wait for his turn to put our donation envelope in the basket, and even the priest's "clean-up" duties after communion fascinate him. He also has fun flirting with the members that surround us. After mass, we treat ourselves to brunch at our favorite local cafe.
  5. Go for a bike ride. Not long ago we bought a children's bike seat and attached it to Oronzo's mountain bike. We also bought a children's bike helmet. Snuggle Bug absolutely loves to go on bike rides. Often times we will bike a mile or so to a nearby Starbucks and stop for a muffin and hot chocolate. Biking as a family is a lot of fun!
  6. Go shopping. Yes, that's right, we purposely take our toddler shopping with us, and not just when we have errands to run. Sometimes we go shopping just to get out and explore. Because we've been doing this with Snuggle Bug from day one, he's actually well behaved in any store that we go into. He doesn't break things, he likes to look and touch, but we're careful and so is he. His favorite place to go is Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts where he loves to feel all the different textures of the bolts of fabrics. The varying colors attract him too!
  7. Cook meals and eat together. It never ceases to amaze me how interested Snuggle Bug is in cooking. Pull a chair up to the counter, tie an apron on him, and give him a mixing spoon, and he's happy as a lark. We try to eat at home often and when we do, we make a point to sit down at the table and eat as a family.
  8. Read books together. This should be a given, but I'm going to list it anyway. Not a day goes by that we don't read a book to Snuggle Bug. Despite the fact that he has 3 bookshelves of books all his own in his room, he also gets more books weekly from the library. He has a huge, stuffed turtle in one corner of his room and that's where he likes to take books and thumb through them. He has books in nearly every room of the house and often brings us books for us to read to him. Snuggle Bug's vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds and I attribute the largest part of that to the time we spend reading with him.
  9. Go on excursions. We have annual memberships to our local zoo, children's museum, and the botanical gardens. We use those memberships frequently! We also go to parks to feed the ducks or to attend outdoor concerts, school playgrounds to play on the slides, aquariums to pet sea lions, on trails to do some hiking and exploring, and to pet stores to touch lizards, turtles, birds, hamsters, and even snakes. Going to bookstores is a favorite treat as well, even when we don't buy a thing. I find myself looking at our city calendar of events to see what is scheduled each week. This past weekend we attended a local Family Arts Festival that I found listed on the calendar of events.
  10. Dance, sing, and get dizzy together. Snuggle Bug loves when we sing together at home or in the car, especially if it involves hand actions (like the Itsy Bitsy Spider and Wheels on the Bus). Most of the time, we sing a cappella and make up the lyrics as we go. As for dancing, he can shake his diapered bottom like there's no tomorrow! Oh, and he loves when the dance involves jumping, which it nearly always does. He gets giddy when I make him dizzy by holding his hands and twirling him 'round and 'round in circles until we both fall over laughing.
  11. Have a tickle tumble on the bed. Snuggle Bug loves being tickled and our big bed seems the perfect place on which to roll around and tickle each other. Most of the time, we're still in our pjs and sometimes bopping each other with pillows gets mixed in with the tickles. Laughter swirls high into the air and we take frequent rest breaks where we snuggle together with legs, arms, or fingers, tangled together in a cozy twist. Tickle tumbles are one of my personal favorites.

Okay, I've listed many of my frequent relationship-building activites that don't involve toys. Now you try. If you decide to do your own post on this topic, or if you want to just offer me a few of your favorites, please leave me a comment!

Thanks!

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5:30 AM
12 comments


Wednesday, January 17, 2007
WFMW (calendar labels)
It's time to post yet another WFMW tip. This one has to do with keeping my yearly calendar up to date with birthday's and anniversaries.

Here are a few quick tips:

1) I buy my calendars in January, when they're 50%-75% off.
2) In Microsoft Word, I've created a master label document in which I have listed all the birthdays and anniversaries of all family and friends. I use Avery mailing labels #18167 (template 8167 in Word), which have 80 labels per sheet. The first time I created this, it took a bit of time, but since then it's simple!
3) I've color-coded the birthday labels yellow and the anniversary labels neon green to give me a quick visual reference.
4) On the labels, I list the birthday and wedding anniversary date, including the year. For example, Jenny's birthday 1-21-1984 and Mark and Amy's anniversary 12-13-1990.
5) At the beginning of each year, I take my old calendar and compare it to my master label list, adding any new births or anniversaries before printing out the labels for the new year and sticking them on the appropriate days of my new calendar.

This is how I keep myself and my family reminded of important birthdays and anniveraries each year. The best part is that I can print out multiple sets of labels if I want them for more than one calendar (I do one for home and one at work) and I've even shared my label document with some of my extended family members (sent as an email attachment) so they can do the same.

If you have a different, more effective method, I'd love to hear about it, so please leave me a comment. :)

To see what works for others, be sure check out the links over at Shannon's, the creator of Works-For-Me Wednesday.

My past WFMW entries:

Strawberry Spinach Salad
Mesh Laundry Bag Uses
12 lbs 'til Christmas
Toddler Healthy Eating Techniques
Reindeer Puppet
Grocery Game website
No Fear Shakespeare
list of age appropriate children's chores
linking within comments
baptism gift
creating blogger categories
alternate use for pot rack
cake decorating tips
unique way to stay connected
cake baking tip
comforts of home while traveling
quenching the thirst of your little one
pie crust made in bulk
hot chocolate kicked up a notch

Labels:

6:08 AM
27 comments


Tuesday, January 16, 2007
For Kelli
Just yesterday, I learned about Kelli through A Chelsea Morning and BooMama's blogs. The short of it is that Kelli needs a kidney transplant and she and her family are wondering how they're going to make COBRA payments to have insurance coverage for this kidney transplant. They also need to be able to come up with $1200 a month in anti-rejection drugs once she gets a kidney.

Now, I don't know Kelli (I only heard about her a day ago) but I have full intentions of making a donation today through the PayPal account that BooMama has set up for Kelli.

Why would I be donating to a perfect stranger? Well, for one, it's being requested by two bloggers that I totally trust. I know this isn't a scam, this is legit.

More importantly, I'm donating because I want Kelli to get a kidney transplant and to have the financial means to make this successful. This hits home to me because someday, I may be going through the same thing myself.

You see, I had a kidney removed when I was 2 years old. It was badly infected and was making me very sick, so the doctors convinced my parents to let them remove it. They told them, 'Two kidneys is a luxury. If we remove it while she's young, the remaining kidney will grow larger and stronger to pick up the slack.'

Well, they were right, that's exactly what happened. But now that I'm in my 30's, my kidney is showing some signs of functionality deterioration. It's nothing too alarming yet but it's something I need to be monitoring on a regular basis.

So, if you have a bit to spare, please make a donation for Kelli's cause. And most importantly, please keep her and her family in your prayers.

Thank you!

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6:19 AM
12 comments


Saturday, January 13, 2007
Royal Potty review
Snuggle Bug has been showing some interest in the potty lately. Although he's just turned two less than a month ago, I thought it might not be a bad idea to invest in a potty chair and at least introduce him to the concept.

In talking with other moms, and knowing what a wiggle worm my little guy can be, I decided against starting out with the type of seat that attaches to the top of your regular toilet. I knew I wanted a stand-alone potty chair.

I went to Target earlier this week and my attention was captivated by the Royal Potty chair from Fisher Price. It sounded neat with a reward system that is built right in. It plays different tunes to reward your child for their potty deposits. I noticed it also included a storybook and reward chart with reusable stickers. What sealed the deal was that Target had it on sale for $13.92 (regularly $19.99). So, I purchased it for my little prince, proving Oronzo right once again that I'm easily influenced by marketing ploys. I also bought a pair of training pants (cloth on the inside and rubber on the outside) to try out for $5.95.

Excited, I rushed home and assembled the potty chair while Snuggle Bug napped. The chair seemed sturdy enough, once I figured out how to snap the legs onto the core seat. Apparently you can use just the core seat part on top of your regular toilet but that doesn't seem stable enough to me, so I doubt I'll be trying that anytime soon.

After getting the chair assembled, the deflector shield in place, and the narrower-than-I-expected container slid under the seat, I took out the chart, reusable stickers (2 sheets) and the book. The chart and stickers looked neat. The book was a bit flimsy and there wasn't much substance to the story. It also didn't fit very well into the slot behind the chair that the set of instructions noted was designed for that purpose.

I wrote Snuggle Bug's name on the chart, I even drew on a crown next to his name. I taped the chart up on the wall next to the potty chair, at eye level for Snuggle Bug to access. I tucked the stickers safely in one of the vanity drawers for future use.

When Snuggle Bug woke up from his nap, I cheerfully suggested that he go try out his new big boy potty chair. He dutifully followed me into the bathroom, where I proudly displayed my new purchase to him. He cautiously approached, peering at it curiously. I took off his pants and his diaper and attempted to set him on the chair.

The first problem I had was the deflector shield. It got it in the way, making it hard for Snuggle Bug to sit down comfortably. He protested so I removed it.

The next problem I had was the very feature I thought would be the most appealing, the music. The royal potty seat plays a quick, snappy tune (involving the sound of trumpets) when your child sits down. The music startled Snuggle Bug and made him scramble off quickly with a loud protest. It took some coaxing to get him back on the potty again, and he didn't stay on for very long.

I now realize that the sticker chart may not be of much interest to him at this time. I also realize that we probably won't be using the deflector shield. And most disappointing of all, I may be taking the batteries out that power the laser sensor that triggers the music when Snuggle Bug successfully uses the potty. Snuggle Bug has quickly figured out that he only has to wave his hand in the container, or touch the laser point to trigger the music. So, now he goes in just to play with his potty chair and, so far, has no interest in using it to actually go potty.

If I had it to do again, I think I'd buy a plain Jane potty chair. The bells and whistles that this royal potty chair touts, just aren't worth it. I'm glad I got this chair on sale!

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6:41 AM
16 comments


Friday, January 12, 2007
Favorite Ingredients Friday (Pizza Bake)

Good Friday to you all! It's time for another Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe exchange!

I don't know about your store, but in my neck of the woods, Pillsbury biscuits and croissants always seem to be on sale. So, I decided to go to Pillsbury's website to see if I could find some kid-friendly recipes that include their biscuits. The one I'm about to share is a big favorite in our household. It's quick, easy, and very yummy!


Pepperoni Pizza Bake
Ingredients
  1. 1 can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury® Grands!® Homestyle refrigerated original biscuits
  2. 1 can (8 oz) pizza sauce (I actually use Oronzo's marinara sauce)
  3. 2 cups finely shredded mozzarella cheese (8 oz)
  4. 16 slices pepperoni (1 1/2 inch)

Preparation

  1. CUT each biscuit into 8 pieces; toss with pizza sauce and 1 cup of the cheese.
  2. SPREAD in sprayed 8-inch square (2-quart) glass baking dish. Top with pepperoni and remaining 1 cup cheese.
  3. BAKE at 375°F 22 to 28 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.
  4. High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): Bake 28 to 34 minutes.

I hope you enjoy this side dish as much as I do! Now I look forward to seeing your Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe!

Don't forget to link your specific recipe post link on Mr. Linky so I can see what's cooking at your house!

Oh, and be sure to put the title of your recipe in parenthesis! It makes it so much quicker for me to go back and search for recipes as I build my weekly menu.

My previous Favorite Ingredients Friday recipes

Grilled Honey Corn
Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake
Strawberry & Cream Cheese Fudge Brownies
Roly-Poly Santa cookies
Cole's chili
Grandma's Sponge Cake
Parmesan Bow-Tie Skillet
Scalloped Potatoes
Chocolate Crepes
Chocolate Cream Pie
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Caramel Brownies
Peach Banana Daiquiri

Thanks so much for your participation. I do appreciate it!


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7:23 AM
13 comments


Wednesday, January 10, 2007
WFMW (Strawberry Spinach Salad)

It's time to post yet another WFMW tip. Shannon has requested an "Eating Well" edition of Works-For-Me Wednesday, so I'll offer one of my favorite healthy recipes.



Strawberry Spinach Salad



INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon minced onion
10 ounces fresh spinach - rinsed, dried and torn into bite-size pieces
1 quart strawberries - cleaned, hulled and sliced
1/4 cup almonds, blanched and slivered

DIRECTIONS

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, olive oil, vinegar, paprika, Worcestershire sauce and onion. Cover, and chill for one hour.

In a large bowl, combine the spinach, strawberries and almonds. Pour dressing over salad, and toss.

Refrigerate 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

To see other healthy recipes, be sure check out the links over at Shannon's, the creator of Works-For-Me Wednesday.

My past WFMW entries:

Mesh Laundry Bag Uses
12 lbs 'til Christmas
Toddler Healthy Eating Techniques
Reindeer Puppet
Grocery Game website
No Fear Shakespeare
list of age appropriate children's chores
linking within comments
baptism gift
creating blogger categories
alternate use for pot rack
cake decorating tips
unique way to stay connected
cake baking tip
comforts of home while traveling
quenching the thirst of your little one
pie crust made in bulk
hot chocolate kicked up a notch

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5:52 AM
22 comments


Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Listening to your body
Once in a blue moon, I listen to what my body is telling me. Last night was a good example.

After putting Snuggle Bug to bed (by 8 p.m.), I decided to forgo watching a movie with Oronzo (thank goodness for Netflix and no late return fees). I resisted the urge to get online and do blog reading. Instead, I put on my favorite flannel pajamas, hopped into bed, surprising my slumbering kitties, buried myself under my thick flannel sheets and quilt, and opened up the book I'm currently reading Back When We WEre Grownups by Anne Tyler.

I didn't get through very many pages before the words seemed to dance and sway in front of my eyes, blurring softly as they went past.

Despite the fact that this is an excellent book that I'm enjoying very much, I decided to succumb to my body's desire for rest. A mere 30 minutes after settling in my cozy bed with a good book, I got back up, turned out the lights, and went to sleep.

Last night, I slept deeply, uninterrupted. I awoke at 5:45 a.m. this morning without the assistance of my alarm, which was scheduled to go off at 6:00 a.m. I felt refreshed, revived, and alert.

It's amazing how great you feel when you listen to your body and what it's telling you it needs (or doesn't need)!

When's the last time you listened to your body? What was it telling you?

Additional Note:
Darn Blogger, I've been trying all day to leave comments on my favorite blogs. It's just now starting to work. Let's hope it stays functional the rest of today!

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7:56 AM
4 comments


Monday, January 08, 2007
Keeping children fit and active

How many of you parents make a conscious effort to keep your child active and outdoors as much as possible, weather permitting? I'll bet most of you do!

With childhood obesity on the rise, Oronzo and I are doing our best to keep Snuggle Bug active and fit. We feel that it's not just about trying to prepare healthy, well-balanced meals and limiting TV time, it's about lots of active playtime as well.

This past weekend we took Snuggle Bug to a park to feed the ducks. He ran, jumped, climbed on short walls, and enjoyed the outdoors.

We also visited Oronzo's parents over the weekend and took Snuggle Bug for several long walks, let him commune with horses and donkeys and we even went to a National Park for a picnic and to take a hike up to see some neat cliff dwellings.

The best part about our efforts to keep Snuggle Bug fit and active is that, by default, we working on that for ourselves as well! Oronozo and I try to lead by example, knowing this will be important as Snuggle Bug grows older.

I'm curious, what do you do to try to help keep your child fit, at any age?

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9:09 AM
10 comments


Friday, January 05, 2007
Favorite Ingredients Friday (Honey Corn)

Hooray! It's Friday! Sorry I didn't get this post out earlier this morning.

Okay, it's time for another Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe exchange!

I don't know about you, but Oronzo and I have a tendency to use our grill year-round, rain or shine. This is one of my favorite side-dish recipes because I love corn on the cob!


Grilled Honey Corn
Ingredients
  1. 4 ears corn on the cob
  2. 2 Tablespoons butter
  3. 1 Tablespoon honey
  4. 1 teaspoon garlic, crushed
  5. 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preparation

  1. Place butter & honey in a cup or small bowl and microwave for around 30 seconds until just melted.
  2. Stir through garlic and pepper.
  3. Leave to cool 15 minutes or so in fridge.
  4. (optional step) Cut ears of corn in half.
  5. Brush mixture evenly over the corn and wrap in aluminum foil.
  6. Cook over pre-heated grill 15-20 minutes over medium - high heat, turning often. The foil starting to turn brown is a sign it's been long enough in one position and should be turned a little.

I hope you enjoy this side dish as much as I do! Now I look forward to seeing your Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe!

Don't forget to link your specific recipe post link on Mr. Linky so I can see what's cooking at your house!

Oh, and be sure to put the title of your recipe in parenthesis! It makes it so much quicker for me to go back and search for recipes as I build my weekly menu.

My previous Favorite Ingredients Friday recipes

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake
Strawberry & Cream Cheese Fudge Brownies
Roly-Poly Santa cookies
Cole's chili
Grandma's Sponge Cake
Parmesan Bow-Tie Skillet
Scalloped Potatoes
Chocolate Crepes
Chocolate Cream Pie
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Caramel Brownies
Peach Banana Daiquiri

Thanks so much for your participation. I do appreciate it!



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8:55 AM
11 comments


Thursday, January 04, 2007
Happy New Year- a little late!
Happy New Year!

Okay, I know I'm a bit late on the Happy New Year wishes. It's a good thing I didn't make a new Year's resolution to be more punctual! :)

I've been skimming through various blogs and seeing many posts about New Year's resolutions. I must admit, I don't do New Year's resolutions because I feel as though I'm just setting myself up for failure. It's rare that I've ever been able to fulfill my resolutions.

If I were to have a New Year's resolution this year, it would be to resolve to do my Christmas shopping throughout the year, rather than waiting to start the week before. This past Christmas was BRUTAL! I've always been a bit of a procrastinator when it comes to Christmas shopping but this past year was the most stressful of all. Maybe it was because I was shopping for my own little guy and more nieces and nephews than in the past. I really hope to watch for sales throughout the year, make my purchases and be done by November. Can you all provide me with gentle reminders throughout the year?

So, for those of you that DO believe in New Year's resolutions, what are your resolutions for 2007? How do you plan to achieve these goals? Leave me a comment, I'd love to know!

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9:28 AM
13 comments


Wednesday, January 03, 2007
WFMW (mesh laundry bag uses)
It's time to post yet another WFMW tip. This one will be quick and simple.

I have a mesh laundry bag that I absolutely love. I use it for more than just my delicate lingerie. Here's a short list of things I have used it for:

  1. Washing Snuggle Bug's toddler pillow. It fits perfectly inside & prevents it from getting torn up in the washer or the dryer.
  2. Snuggle Bug's little socks. No more lost socks in the washer or the dryer.
  3. Snuggle Bug's toys & stuffed animals. Occassionally they need a good cleaning and the mesh bag prevents them from falling apart in the washer.
  4. My panty hose and tights. No longer do they get tangled up in knots with the other pieces of laundry.

If you use your mesh laundry bag for other uses other than the ones I've listed, I'd love to hear about them, so please leave me a comment. :)

To see what works for others, be sure check out the links over at Shannon's, the creator of Works-For-Me Wednesday.

My past WFMW entries:

12 lbs 'til Christmas
Toddler Healthy Eating Techniques
Reindeer Puppet
Grocery Game website
No Fear Shakespeare
list of age appropriate children's chores
linking within comments
baptism gift
creating blogger categories
alternate use for pot rack
cake decorating tips
unique way to stay connected
cake baking tip
comforts of home while traveling
quenching the thirst of your little one
pie crust made in bulk
hot chocolate kicked up a notch

Labels:

5:26 AM
27 comments




Name: Overwhelmed

My complete profile

It wasn't supposed to work this way...Parts 1 through 10

(the story of the private, domestic adoption of our son)


(Part 1)
(Part 2)
(Part 3)
(Part 4)
(Part 5)
(Part 6)
(Part 7)
(Part 8)
(Part 9)
(Part 10- Adoption Finalization)

Fostering isn't for the faint of heart!

(our journey to adopt again through foster-to-adopt, the good, the bad, & everything in between)


Adoption #2- considering the State
More Adoption #2 thoughts
Adoption #2- Back to considering the State
Adoption #2- The Paperwork (Round 1)
Adoption #2- The Paperwork (Round 2)
Family Foster Home Licensing Prep Checklist
Adoption #2- Long overdue update
PS-MAPP class homework assignment
Our preliminary home inspection went well!
Adoption #2: Licensing update
Adoption #2- Foster Facts
Adoption #2: I love it when things go my way!
Adoption #2- The home inspection
Adoption #2- We failed our home inspection!
Adoption #2- We passed the follow-up home inspection!
Adoption #2- Still waiting
Adoption #2- We're getting closer
Adoption #2- An update & a lead
Adoption #2- The lead that didn't pan out.
Adoption #2- We're licensed!
Adoption #2- We have a tiny baby here!
Adoption #2- Update on this precious little girl.
Adoption #2- Quick update on Baby Bug
Adoption #2- Baby Bug is staying longer!
Adoption #2- Baby Bug is growing!
Adoption #2- Overdue update on Baby Bug
Adoption #2- The latest on Baby Bug
Adoption #2- Shopping spree for Baby Bug
Being a Foster Parent Does Not Make Me A Saint
Adoption #2- Another Placement Call!
Adoption #2- Placement Meeting- UPDATED!
Adoption #2- We have Boo at our home!
Adoption #2- Meeting Boo
Adoption #2- I'm angry on Boo's behalf!
Adoption #2- A Birthday Party for Boo
Adjusting to three 3 and under!
Stressful moments in fostering.
Adoption #2- Update on our foster daughters
CPS Workers Jerking Our Chain!
It's getting much worse!
Fostering: Update on Baby Bug
Fostering: Update on Boo
The effects of fostering on Snuggle Bug
The time is drawing near to let go of Baby Bug.
Good conversation with Baby Bug's dad.
Boo has a Permanency hearing coming soon!
My heart is breaking!
Bittersweet news about Baby Bug.
Next Friday is going to be tough.
Packing up Baby Bug's belongings
It's done- Baby Bug is gone.
Working on finding peace, one day at a time.
Referral to the Early Intervention Program
Baby Bug update
Home Inspection for re-licensing
Parole granted for Boo's bio mom
Baby Bug is turning 1 year old soon.
Day 2 of Boo's permanency hearing
A prayer answered today!
Attending Baby Bug's 1st birthday party
Foster news
Good news for Boo's case
Boo's bio family visits
Termination Trial date set!
A new caseworker for Boo
I've been asked to testify in court.
Court hearing for "John Doe"
Contested termination trial begins tomorrow afternoon
Boo's adoption has been finalized!

Beautiful adoption video
Date Night Bliss
Family Rules and Values
In the swing of school
It's time for the kiddos to head back to school a...
Flying home for a nice, long visit!
Baby fix!
Easing back into blogging
A shocking phone call
1 year anniversary for Boo
























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