Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Portable Potty Training Caddy Tutorial

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

I'll admit it, potty training scares me a little bit! Since Little Miss Sunshine is the first child in our family, the experience is new for all of us. I feel inept at how to teach my little one how to use the potty-- it seems so trivial but it's a lot harder than it looks!

We've had a few failed attempts at potty training so far, but I think she is ready....or at least she's almost there. She hides when she dirties her diaper-- so she definitely knows when she needs to go!

So while I may not feel confident in my abilities to help our little princess transition from diapers to the potty, one thing that I can do is get prepared. We've purchased the cute little panties printed with her favorite cartoon characters, we have two potties (one for home and one for the car), and a removable toilet seat for our upstairs bathroom.

I also put together a portable potty training caddy that we can keep at home and also take with us in the car. I might even make two of these and keep one at home and one in the car so I don't have to worry about forgetting something!

The caddy I used is brightly colored and fun. It has a handle on the top, two wide side-sections, and two mesh pockets on each side. It has lots of space to hold all of the potty training essentials.

I filled the caddy with cleaning supplies for accidents, a couple of reward/incentive items, and Pull-Ups® Cool & Learn® Training Pants for Girls.

I found these at Wal-mart in the baby department near the diapers-- Wal-mart has such a wide selection of baby products and I love that! There are great prices for these products starting as low as $8.97.

Some moms have told me that they never used training pants because the child doesn't feel the sensation of having wet pants since they just soak up the moisture. That's why Pull-Ups® Cool & Learn® Training Pants are the perfect solution-- they have a cooling sensation that helps you potty train. So the child knows when they have wet their pants, but the parents don't have a big mess to clean up!

Kids love the fun cartoon characters printed on them. Little Miss Sunshine was excited when she saw Princess Sofia!

They have all around protection and easy-open sides that can be re-fastened.

They're also clearly marked with a front and back so there's no confusion!

I put about six of these in the potty training caddy and will fill it back up as needed.

The next item I included was a package of flushable wipes. Once diapers are out of the picture, flushable wipes may be the way to go.

I've heard a lot of advice about having some sort of reward system to help with potty training. I created a Potty Training Chart Fit for a Princess to print out. When Little Miss Sunshine saw it, she was excited to see hearts on it! I wanted it to be fun, so I'm glad she liked it! (You can click on the image below and print it)

There's a heart for each day of the week. She will get a sticker for each day that she completes successfully. She LOVES owls, so owl stickers seemed like the perfect fit for her.

I'm not 100% sure how I feel about using food as a reward, but seriously-- we tell the child she can have ice cream if she's good in church and she suddenly knows how to behave. Apparently it works. So, I have a plastic jar of small chewy fruit candy and she can have one each time she successfully goes potty.

And now on to the cleaning supplies. There will inevitably be messes--one way or another, they'll happen. I bought some paper hand towels that are thick and work great for soaking up liquid in case of an accident. Why is it that whenever I take the little one's diaper off for her bath that she inevitably will pee on the floor? Things like this happen-- even with training pants.

Lastly, I included a canister of anti-bacterial cleaning wipes-- for obvious reasons!

Thee portable potty training caddy is light-weight enough that even Little Miss Sunshine can carry it around. She can feel like she's being helpful by carrying this to the car.

Every child is different, especially when it comes to potty training. You can learn more about your child's potty training style based on their personality. There are cute little characters which correspond with each style. You can find more information at the Pull-Ups at Walmart website, if you scroll to the bottom.

Our little one happens to be most like the Squirrel Potty Training Character. She is on the go and couldn't care less about slowing down! She is a busy little girl and can be very impatient. Here is a fun activity to help with potty training for children with this potty training style.

Right now, you can get $2 off 1 package of Pull-Ups (or GoodNites) at Walmart 8/28 - 10/8.

Find out which type potty training character your child is at this link.  What tips do you have for potty training? Share in the comments!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Las Vegas Celebration 2016

A friend and I went to Las Vegas last week for a conference with the health and wellness company that we work with. It was an interesting experience!

Overall, I enjoyed my time-- but Las Vegas itself isn't really my kind of place. I think it'd be ok if I just stayed at a nice hotel and hung out by the pool the entire time without venturing out. 

We stayed at Harrah's because it was inexpensive and close to the Venetian, which is where the conference was being held. It was the perfect location!

We didn't have a fancy room or anything. It was comfortable. We were able to eat most meals right there in the resort. The Fulton Street dining area had amazing LavAzza coffee-- which, of course, is very important for a coffee lover.

The Venetian was beautiful and was obviously a much nicer place than Harrah's. We got lost plenty of times so we were able to get a good look around.

The conference itself was very high energy. We learned a lot.

I've always heard that the food is very inexpensive in Las Vegas-- but we found the opposite to be true! It was really pricey. We ate some delicious food though.

Yes, this is how we ate while attending a health and wellness conference. But in our other meals, we did enjoy good nutrition! lol

We did a little bit of exploring. One night we took a shuttle over to the Rio and we ate dinner at Guy Fieri's El Burro Borracho. It was delicious! 

After that, we just walked down the strip-- which was kind of disgusting, but there were some interesting things to see too-- like this woman posing as a statue in a sitting position.

We had some time before our flight left on our last day, so we spent it at the pool! That was so nice.

It was nice to get home after it was all over! I feel like I'm still recovering. It was just sensory overload there-- the crazy flashing lights, the smell of smoke everywhere, loud music, the heat, crowds and crowds of people. It was a little exhausting!

I enjoyed getting to know my friend, Kim, better. We had lots of laughs and we each took lots of naps-- which was nice for us mamas!

Have you ever been to Las Vegas? What did you enjoy, or not?

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Weight, Body, and Food Obsessed

Thank you to everyone who either commented or contacted me personally to tell me that you could relate to my last post about body image. I really appreciate it. It inspires me to try to put words to the thoughts and emotions that I have regarding body image and so much more.

I am feeling a lot more optimistic now... but that could be because I haven't looked in a full length mirror! It is what it is, and I continue on trying to figure out what makes me get stuck in a cycle of losing weight and gaining it back.

I will never stop trying to figure it out.

Since starting the program that I'm doing currently, I have slowly felt a healthier relationship with food beginning to form. I am not dieting in any way. I am trying to listen to my body. I am not restricting or banning certain foods. There are no "good" foods and no "bad" foods-- only foods that make my body feel good and those which make my body feel bad.

Ultimately, I think our bodies know what they need. Somehow, our minds have become warped by the diet industry in general. We are lead to believe that our bodies don't know what they need and we must control what we eat in order to reach the weight we think we need to be.

I didn't realize how much I have relied on having rules by which to eat. By allowing every food, it inevitably has made me feel out of control and "bad", when in fact-- that's not the case. I just feel like I'm out of control because I am not following the rules of which I have set based on whatever the diet industry experts have told me.

I believe that it's possible to live in food freedom and that the body will find its natural weight. I also don't think it will happen quickly. But if you think about it, a cycle of losing weight and gaining it back again will occur for years on end-- and that's an even longer time!

A post has been brewing in my mind for quite a while now--but I have yet to put it into words. How did I develop an eating disorder? What are the habits which lead me there?

I know for a fact that I didn't have these issues, to the extent that I do now-- until I was well into my 20s. And I believe I have identified one of the things which lead me here. So stay tuned for that!

Ultimately, it is not about finding a diet that will work for me. If you struggle with your weight like I have over the years, I beg you to take a look at what binge eating disorder is. It may surprise you.

For some people, weight gain can be fixed simply by changing their eating habits for a period of time and they will never get to the point of obesity. But I do believe that some of us have deeper issues to identify than just needing to control calories or exercise more to try to force the body into submission. This is often a result of chronic dieting.

Is eating healthy food and exercising important? ABSOLUTELY.

But does it define whether you are a good or bad person? NO. If you're like me, you likely feel that what foods you're eating and what activities you are doing (or are not doing) define you as a person. You may feel that your self-worth is determined by the number on the scale. Thoughts of food and weight are all-consuming. You think about it constantly. And that's not normal.

This is all new to me-- I have learned so much in the last little while about myself, my habits, and my thoughts. It truly has been a journey... but I do feel that I am making forward progress.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Body Image: I'll remember not to look

My hopes were high as I began browsing the Plus Size section-- interestingly enough, it was the smallest section of the store. The variety was even smaller. I was left to choose between a ridiculous patterned tent-like shirt or a hideous body-hugging top which would show all of my fat rolls as well as how many I had eaten at dinner last night.

I grabbed a few of the less-ugly articles of clothing and headed for the fitting room. I saw myself in the mirror-- my shirt snug against my mid-section. How did I become so big again?

My eyes moved to my thighs. While they've always been large, they were always "firm"-- if that makes sense. This time, they looked lumpy, with purple veins spidering out across my legs like cracks in glass. My heart sunk-- a new level of self-hatred achieved. These things don't start to happen when you're only thirty years old.

One by one, I tried on each article of clothing. The top that I somewhat liked looked crooked across my body, and not because it was styled that way--it was simply cheaply made.

I wondered if whomever designed it, or sewed it, thought about the plus sized woman who might wear it one day. Was it an attempt to make a woman feel beautiful, or just another low-quality style that could be over-priced since plus size women have very few options when shopping for clothes?

And why do we even need mirrors? Couldn't we just imagine how we look based upon how we feel? At least then we wouldn't have to face the truth.

The times that I feel best about myself are the times when I don't think about my body or worry about my food choices. I'm able to live in the moment, enjoy a good conversation, savor a delicious bite of food-- to just be, with no judgement or rules.

The moment I look in the mirror and see the shape that is growing ever rounder, plumper, and fuller-- I begin to feel desperate, helpless, and afraid. Worst of all, I feel so much shame and self-hatred that I question whether I even deserve to have a body for my soul to dwell within.

I can't shake the image of my lumpy thighs. I find that I'm wearing a larger size than ever before. My mood grows darker. When I leave the fitting room, I can't even look people in the eye because I am so ashamed and confident that they are judging me by my size.

And the only thing that I have on my mind is how I will get some chocolate.

Logically, it doesn't make any sense-- but somehow, my emotions have taken over every part of my being. And it has been this way for a long time. My emotions take over and the only way I know how to deal with them is by food-- and that's not even effective in the long run.

Will there ever be a way out-- some chance of escape? Likely not.

I'm here in the only body that I will ever have-- fat, defeated, and fearful. I know that my body is trying to save me by causing these urges to eat. It's a way to cope. In times of restriction (dieting), my body has a primal urge to save myself because it thinks I'm starving. If I were starving, this would be a good thing, but I'm not-- far from it.

All that I want is freedom, but I feel imprisoned in my body and in my thoughts. I know that it's ridiculous and that I have so much to be grateful for. My body is just trying to save me even though I am destroying myself.

I understand that I am not a victim, but I don't understand how to truly take control. Maybe I try to have too much mental control over things that my body should be able to tell me naturally-- when I'm truly hungry, what I need to eat, etc.

For now, the next time I'm in front of a full-length mirror, I'll remember not to look at my thighs.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Super Easy Funny Face Pancakes

This shop has been compensated by CollectiveBias, Inc. on behalf of its advertiser, Similac. #NutritionintheMix #Collectivebias #Walmart

You can earn $3.00 with the purchase of any size of Go & Grow by Similac® Mix-Ins™with the Ibotta app.

I have yet to determine any pattern with my toddler's eating habits. Sometimes she will eat everything I put before her (fruit, veggies, and all!), and other times she refuses the exact same meal or will only eat one of the items on her plate.

Only a parent knows how exciting it is when the little one gobbles up something healthy. I breathe a sigh of relief knowing that she has eaten something with good nutrition. I am always concerned that she is getting the nutrition that she needs and that I am also feeding her a variety of foods.

I can hardly imagine what it must be like trying to get a toddler to eat while you're short on time because it's a busy school day. More than likely, many toddlers don't get the nutrition they need at breakfast because mothers just don't have enough hands, or enough time, while trying to get the kids out the door in time to catch the school bus.

Super Easy Funny Face Pancakes #NutritionintheMix #Walmart #ad back to school supplies.png

One thing my toddler will always eat is pancakes. She loves them. This recipe for Super Easy Funny Face Pancakes was made with toddlers and busy moms in mind. It's a simple four-ingredient recipe for the pancake batter, and any additional toppings for the face are totally up to you and what your toddler's preferences are that morning. It's a single serving, full of good nutrition, and it's quick and simple to prepare-- what more could you ask for?

The core four-ingredient recipe includes one egg, 1/2 banana (ripe), 1/8 tsp. baking powder, and uses one packet of Go & Grow by Similac® Mix-Ins™ for one serving (or 1/2 cup of food). This product is available at your local Walmart or at

Super Easy Funny Face Pancakes #NutritionintheMix #Walmart #ad back to school bag.png

The toppings to make the face are totally your choice-- I used what I had on hand, as I'm sure you will too. Ideas for toppings are fruits like strawberries, kiwis, blueberries, bananas, oranges, and so on. You could also add whipped cream, chocolate chips, and more. Use as many or as few toppings as you'd like.

Super Easy Funny Face Pancakes #NutritionintheMix #Walmart #ad Ingredients.jpg

I found the Go & Grow by Similac® Mix-Ins™ and Go & Grow by Similac® Milk-Based Powder in the infant formula section at Walmart. However, this product is not for babies. It is for toddlers aged 1-4.

I like the convenience of the Go & Grow by Similac® Mix-Ins™since they're pre-packaged in powder singles. They're perfect for throwing in your bag when you're on the go. For the sake of this recipe, I love that the product provides nutrients to support growth and development.

You can also buy the Go & Grow by Similac® Milk-Based Powder form in a canister to go with your meals.

Super Easy Funny Face Pancakes #NutritionintheMix #Walmart #ad products.jpg

The Go & Grow by Similac® Milk-Based Powder has OptiGro™, which is designed to support brain, eye, and physical development. The product has protein, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. It's the perfect complement to a healthy diet and can help give healthy recipes that extra nutritional punch.

Super Easy Funny Face Pancakes #NutritionintheMix #Walmart #ad Ingredients & Products.jpg

The best part about this recipe is that you can make it with a blender. Throw the 1/2 banana, one egg, and 1/8 tsp. baking powder into the blender and blend until smooth.

Super Easy Funny Face Pancakes #NutritionintheMix #Walmart #ad Blend.png

Begin heating the griddle. You can also use a skillet on the stove, if you wish. I sprayed mine with olive oil.

Next, add one packet of Go & Grow by Similac® Mix-Ins™to one half cup of batter and blend. This batter will be used for your toddler’s pancakes. It's really that simple to make this batter-- and so full of nutrition!

Super Easy Funny Face Pancakes #NutritionintheMix #Walmart #ad add it in.png

Pour 1/2 of the batter on the griddle to form one large pancake, 1/4 of the batter to form a smaller pancake, and the last 1/4 of the batter to form a second small pancake. In my case, I tried to do this in one attempt on a small-ish griddle and could not fit all three pancakes on the griddle, so I ended up with extras--which was ok, because I just got creative with the extras.

Cook the pancakes until you are able to use a spatula to wiggle the pancakes without them breaking. The batter is very thin, so make sure to give it enough time to cook or the pancakes will fall apart. When the batter begins to bubble, it's a good indication that it's almost ready to flip.

Once the pancakes are cooked, place the two smaller pancakes at the top of the plate. These will be the ears of the funny face. Place the larger pancake on the plate so that it slightly overlaps the two smaller pancakes.

And you have the head for your funny face! Like I mentioned, I had some extra little pancakes so I put a little bow tie on mine. I used the fruit to make mine look like a mouse. I used blueberries for whiskers, strawberries for the ears, nose, and bow tie, kiwi for the eyes, and a squirt of whipped cream for good measure.

You can get creative with this! Make a new face with a different facial expression every morning. Using various toppings will give you new opportunity to make a new face. Have fun with it!

My little one usually likes a little bit of maple syrup on her pancakes. Just add some Go & Grow by Similac® Milk-Based Powder to a glass of water to go with your meal! She absolutely loved this!

The first thing she said when she saw the funny face pancake was "mouse!", so I must have done something right since she knew what it was!

Save this recipe for those hectic school day mornings by pinning it on Pinterest! And try it now too, of course. I'd love to know what you, and your littles, think about it.

Super Easy Funny Face Pancakes

Serves: 1

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 banana (ripe)
  • 1/8 tsp. baking powder
  • Use one packet of Go & Grow by Similac® Mix-Ins™ for one serving (or 1/2 cup of food)
  • Toppings of your choice to make the face. Suggestions: strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, oranges, bananas, whipped cream, chocolate chips


  1. Blend the egg, banana, and baking powder. It works quickly with a blender.
  2. Pre-heat your griddle and spray with cooking spray.
  3. You will use one packet of Go & Grow by Similac® Mix-Ins™ for one serving (or 1/2 cup of food), so add the packet to the batter and blend.
  4. Pour the batter on the griddle to make three pancakes. Use 1/2 the batter to make one large pancake, 1/4 of the batter to make one small pancake, and the last 1/4 to make another small pancake. Cook.
  5. Once cooked, place the smaller pancakes at the top of a plate. Place the larger pancake so that it slightly overlaps the bottoms of the smaller pancakes.
  6. Add toppings to make your funny face!

What kind of funny face will you be making on these pancakes? What other recipes will you be using Go & Grow by Similac® Mix-Ins™ with?

Monday, August 1, 2016

7 Tips to Help You Survive That Time of the Month

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

That dreaded time of the month, the one that inevitably comes on a week where it's inconvenient. Unless you're trying to get pregnant, you just have to welcome Aunt Flo with open arms and thank her for coming. You just have to make the best of it and, if you're like me, hope the temporary changes with hormones don't cause you to do too much damage in your relationships. Just saying.

It helps to be kind to yourself and practice a little TLC during That Time of the Month. It's what matters most. Our bodies are working overtime, we're uncomfortable, and probably a little moody. We each have our own way of making the best of it and surviving the ride. Here are seven things I often do to help alleviate the discomforts.

1. Get Your ZZZs

I am extra tired during my period and when I don't get enough sleep, period or no period, I am extra grumpy. Many women experience difficulty sleeping during this time, so it's important to wind down before going to bed--read a book, take a warm bubble bath, listen to soothing music, anything to help you relax. Most importantly, make sure you're getting enough sleep at night by going to bed at a reasonable hour.

2. Move Your Body

Do what makes your body feel good-- if that's simply doing some low-key candlelight yoga, then go for it! If making your body feel good means running 10 miles-- do your thing. Exercise can help alleviate PMS symptoms and stretching those muscles just feels good. If your gym has a massage bed, visit it after your workout for an even more soothing experience. Getting those endorphins flowing will help lift your mood too.

3. Hydrate

That Time of the Month can leave you feeling bloated and just "ugh". I have found that I feel a lot better when I am drinking plenty of water. It can actually help alleviate the cramps and bloating associated with That Time of the Month. Keep that bottle of water handy!

4.  U by Kotex®

Am I the only one who acts like a teenager and feels embarrassed buying tampons and pads? I know, it sounds completely ridiculous-- but for whatever reason, I get a little uncomfortable. But come on, it's a fact of life!

I always buy the U by Kotex® products at Walmart (in the feminine products section) because they have Style N' Store packaging with cool designs. For whatever reason, it just makes me feel more comfortable about buying the Time of the Month necessities. The Style N' Store packages have a convenient drawer feature for easy storage. No one will ever suspect what's hiding in that beautiful box.

On a more serious note, I love the good quality of the U by Kotex® Cleanwear® Ultra Thin Pads and the U by Kotex® Barely There® Liners. They're so comfortable you'll barely know it's there. The U by Kotex® Cleanwear® Ultra Thin Pads have uniquely shaped Tru-Fit® wings with super soft sides for comfort and come in a 29 count package. The U by Kotex® Barely There® Liners are great for when you have a light period or if you just want to stay clean and fresh every day. These come in an 80 count package.They're perfect paired with a tampon and can help you survive that Time of the Month.

There is a SNIPP offer that is live through 9/30/16. Purchase two packs of U by Kotex® products at Walmart, text UbyKotex to 811811 and upload a photo of your receipt. Go to and register to choose your customized reward. There are options for music, gift cards, ebooks, and magazines-- how fun!

5. Pain Relief

There's no reason for you to suffer with painful cramps and discomfort. Take a pain reliever to help alleviate the symptoms. Even better, you can purchase a pain reliever made specifically for periods that actually helps with bloating too. I find that taking something for the pain makes me feel a lot more comfortable and keeps me in good spirits. Of course, always consult your doctor before taking anything. You could also do something more natural, like using a heating pad to help with back pain, or getting a massage.

6. Eat a Little Chocolate

I used to work in retail, and I actually noticed that when women bought their tampons or pads they also bought chocolate. It was a pretty amusing observation and, about 90% of the time, it never failed! I crave chocolate during That Time of the Month, and apparently so do a lot of other women. And ladies, just treat yourself.

A couple pieces of chocolate will not make you gain weight-- but restricting chocolate from your diet will probably end up in a chocolate binge later on, which will make you gain weight. Buy something special and delicious-- if you're going to indulge, make it worth it. Life is too short for mediocre chocolate.

7. Practice Self-Care

Ladies, you need to take care of yourself. By taking care of yourself, I don't mean the basics--which you should definitely do anyways. I mean really taking the time to pamper yourself. This doesn't mean you have to spend a day at the spa, but if that's what you want to do--go for it! It can be something as simple as reading a book while sipping a warm cup of coffee, a trip to the grocery store alone (if you're a mama), or applying a rejuvenating facial mask. Do anything that makes you feel good, centered, and at peace.

How do you survive that Time of the Month? What matters most to you when you're on your period? Share your answer in the comments or via social media using the hashtag #WhatMatterstoU. Get up to $25 in rewards with just for you by purchasing U by Kotex® at Walmart


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