Wednesday, June 29, 2016

potty training tips + a confident clean

As Hazel gets older I think more and more about the different milestones each age brings. There's crawling, walking, talking, and then soon there after all these we reach potty training. It seems to be the bane of all the milestones and I hear it can be either really difficult or really easy, all depending on how your little one responds.  So to prepare myself (and you as well) for the coming months -because you can never really be too early to start- I've come up with a list of things that will help make this milestone more user friendly.

Mentally Prepare Yourself and Your Toddler: Tell yourself that it's going to take a long time, think positive, but expect the worst.  Read books about potty training or using the bathroom to your child, this should help get them excited about potty training.  This can also let you know if your toddler is even ready for potty training, if they don't seem interested keep trying -it will happen sooner or later. 

Flushable Wipes: Changing one thing about going to the bathroom is scary enough -imagine switching from something soft -wipes- to something dry and rough -toilet paper. Make sure your toddler is comfortable and has something that is familiar like these Cottonelle FreshCare Flushable Cleansing Cloths.  They are so soft and a great familiarity for your toddler to know that there is some kind of constant. 
The Bare Truth: We've all heard it, get rid of the diapers fully and let your toddler run around bare bummed, if they don't have clothes on their bottoms they are more likely to remember that they have to use the restroom.

It's All About Timing:  Have a timer on hand and set it for every couple minutes. When the timer goes off remind your toddler that it's time to use the restroom. This will also help you not forget that you're potty training -moms are so busy it's just another helpful tool to assist. 

To Go Bag:  Although it's recommended that you stay home while you're potty training, it's not always possible. So, for those moments where you're on the go make sure you have a to-go bag. Pack some Cottonelle FreshCare Flushable Cleansing Cloths,  and a change of clothes -in case there's an accident.  These flushable wipes are great for traveling with so you con even just put them in your purse or -if you have younger children- keep them in your diaper bag.
What's The Prize: Most kids act well to bribery, when your toddler successfully uses the restroom you can do a few things... Give them a sticker, make a sticker chart where they can earn a prize once they get x amount of stickers. Or just give them their favorite candy. 
Pile on The Praise: Praise, praise, praise. For when they are successful, but even if they don't go still let them know that they are doing such a good job.  Positive reinforcement is always important and really helps your toddler know that you approve. 
If you're a Sam's Club member you can instantly save on Cottonelle Cleanings Cloths either at the store or online.  Pick them up on your way home, or if you're stuck at home for a bit have them sent directly to you!  Being a Sam's Club member has so many benefits, saving money is just one. 
Sponsored Post: This post is sponsored by Cottonelle but the content and opinions expressed here are my own. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

a condensed version of my weekend

Last week around here was a little rough to say the least. Hazel was quite angry most of the time -new teeth coming in- and she wasn't sleeping very well for naps or at night.  So the moral of the story is that we were both sleep deprived and in pain. HA! Her more than I was obviously. Towards the end of the week things seemed to get better and today has been one hundred times better than any day last week.  THANK YOU!!!

Hazel fell asleep to Bob Ross again... on Friday... And if I could send him a thank you letter it would have all the hearts, kissy faces, and high fives.  I love when she is cuddly like this. It's seriously the best thing, to know that she feels so comfortable in my arms, to know that she feels safe. I couldn't be any more happy when I'm holding my sleeping girl. 
This weekend we rearranged our furniture, it was kind of stressful -I don't know why it has to be I mean it's just furniture. But when you get two stubborn people who can't make up their minds it takes forever and gets old real quick. But, we decided to just leave it like this for now to see how it grows on us. Our space is kind of an awkward space and we don't really have much to work with when it comes to rearranging, but I think we did the best with what we could. 

Hazel's room has been getting pretty cold at night so I've been putting her in long sleeved pjs. Doggie pjs none the less.  I don't think she realized she was wearing dogs until I pointed it out the next morning at breakfast. 

Hazel, you have dogs on your pants! 
DAAWWWWG!!!  *in a high pitched screech* 

She was excited, to say the least.  The picture above has nothing to do with the fact that she loved he dog pjs. I was asking her to smile for certain people and the only one she would smile for was paw (grandpa -she named him). It was kind of sweet and went something like this:

Hazel, smile for gran!
Hazel, smile for paw!!

Happy Monday! 


Friday, June 24, 2016

what I'm liking, Friday


This week I had the biggest itch to redo my family room. The whole layout we have just isn't ideal -for really anything in general. So because this isn't going to be the house we live in forever and because we are on a student budget I thought I'd just oooo and ahhh over the pictures online. 

I'm craving a beautiful sectional, I really like this sectional, but obviously white wouldn't really work in my situation... kids. 

Loving the trendy colors in this room, and the sectional is such a beautiful leather! 

The openness of this room is amazing and the couch looks extra comfortable. 

This huge window though...

Quite cozy if you ask me.

I also really like the modern look, but I'm thinking a dark gray?!

Delicious recipes this week, I've taken to finding food blogs instead of using Pinterest now.  It seems that I've used all the recipes Pinterest has to offer at the moment. So this week I stalked I wash... You dry, and I think I'll be stalking her blog next week as well. Here are the recipes we used: 

cheeseburger French fry casserole, this dish was delicious and well worth the work. 

chicken bacon potato salad, pretty easy to make and our teething baby actually ate it too -we've been 
having lots of food aversions these past few weeks with her. 

Navajo tacos, need something quick and easy? this is it. deliciously mouthwatering. 

always wanting a little breakfast for dinner and sometimes it's as simple as crepes

These meals left us with plenty of leftovers for lunches and another dinner! And, you can always follow me on Pinterest to catch these recipes as I'm pinning them! 

Have a great weekend! 


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

afternoon traditions and snacks for toddlers

We have an afternoon tradition of sorts around these parts, the kind that feels just right after you wake up from a long or -what we seem to have- short, afternoon nap. Hazel has really taken to this new found tradition too, and often times I find her heading straight to the blanket requesting her beloved snacks
Sometimes it's tricky finding the perfect snack for toddlersespecially since they are often times really picky eaters.  With Gerber snacks on hand it's almost become second nature to grab these when I head to the pantry.  And a major pro to these lil' Beanies is that they are completely diary free! So, if your little one has a dairy allergy, or if you haven't quiet yet introduced diary to their diet give these Gerber Snacks a try! 
I have to say, one of my favorite parts about this new found ritual is just watching Hazel be in her element. While she's eating her snacks we have toddler music videos on in the background -also per her request.  I love watching her sing along to the songs, and copy all the hand movements they do.

Yesterday afternoon's ritual was quite the same, snacks, pillows, water, and videos.  We listened to the same video at least ten times and afterwards sang it all night long because it was completely stuck in our heads.  Throughout the night she would start singing and doing the motions, then she would get the biggest smile as I joined in. Being her mom is probably the best, and getting a big smile from her completely melts my heart. 
If you're looking for an easy on the go healthy snack for your toddler head to your nearest Kroger to try these new Lil' Beanies!

Sponsored Post: This post is sponsored by Gerber, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own. 


Friday, June 17, 2016

what I'm liking, Friday


For months I've been meaning to finish my gallery wall and it's just not happening. One of those things where you need to print pictures, buy the frames and all that jaz.  I guess you could say it's a project that will take time, or something that I just can't figure out yet. But, to encourage my eye, I've found some pretty gallery walls that I'm dying over. 

Love the colors in this one, and the cactus is probably the best part. 

These pictures are big and pretty. 

Practically the whole wall

Incorporating kids art work - A+! 

This weeks meals -I kind of got lazy this week, no, I did get lazy. 

Spicy Mexican quiona delicious and makes for good leftovers. 

Meatball sandwiches -takes maybe 15-20 minutes to make, so this is one of the best easy dinners. 

An always amazing favorite taco pizza -change it up and do bbq instead

Another round of easy dinner garlic pizza. 

Annnd not to add a shameless plug, but I shared my favorite cinnamon roll recipe on my blog this week.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

the best cinnamon roll recipe ever

Several weekends ago I had an itch to make cinnamon rolls. It's something I had never done before and something that I have always wanted to make a semi annual tradition of sorts. I like traditions, and I especially liked them as a kid.  Maybe it's me just being nostalgic, but I've really wanting to start some fun new traditions to raise Hazel on -taking suggestions if you have any.

So, let's get to it. This recipe was pretty easy and was so delicious, the only thing I would recommend is make sure you cook it long enough, apparently mine needed longer than the recipe called for so the rolls in the middle were still doughy. 

Rolls Ingredients
2 cups milk (whole) 
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 sugar (white)
2 eggs 
1 tablespoon instant yeast
5 1/2 - 6 cups of flour

Filling Ingredients 
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Frosting Ingredients
2 cups powdered sugar
4 ounces softened cream cheese
1/4 cup softened butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 table spoon pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon milk 
Pinch of salt

Making the dough: 
In a saucepan heat the milk until it simmers.  Once simmered pour milk into mixing bowl -I used my KitchenAid. 

Add sugar, butter, and salt to mixing bowl (on low) and mix until the butter has melted. Let mixture cool and add yeast and eggs till ingredients are combined. 

Slowly add flour until the dough is somewhat sticky. 

Move dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover with lightly greased saran wrap, and let rise for about an hour or until the dough has doubled in size. 

Roll out the dough so that it measures approximately 18 x 12 inches. 

Spread 1/2 cup softened butter over the dough. 

Mix together brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle the mixture over the dough and pat it in with the palms of your hands. 

Roll up the dough as tight as possible -starting with the long end (so roll as if you are rolling a hot dog). 

Start cutting the dough -to ensure even spacing, cut in half first and then continue to cut each section in half. This recipe provides you with twelve cinnamon rolls. 

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and place the rolls on top of the parchment. Cover the rolls and let them rise till they double. 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and bake for 18-22 minutes - or until they are golden brown.  

Once removed from the oven let them cool for about 10 minutes before frosting. 

Making the frosting: 
Whip together butter and cream cheese. 

Add maple syrup, vanilla, and salt. Mix till all ingredients are combined. 

Slowly add powdered sugar.  Mix until thick and creamy. 

Add cream/milk a tablespoon at a time until the frosting is your desired consistency. 

Spread onto the cinnamon rolls. 

Bon App├ętit!

original recipe found here.

Let me know what you think of the recipe. If you love it, feel free to pin it to your pinterest boards so you can save it for later!

Happy eating!


Monday, June 13, 2016

a condensed version of my weekend

I don't know, I just love that I still have dresses from when I was little that Hazel can fit into.  It's the sweetest thing to me. My brother kindly told me that this dress was really ugly and that Hazel shouldn't wear it anymore, but what do brothers know anyways?! (;

Brandon started back up at school. He's now in the clinic so if you are living in Arizona and looking for someone to work on your teeth let me know and I'll set you up with him! Personally, I'm rather excited for him, it all feels so weird that he's starting the real part -it seems like just yesterday he got accepted to school, everything is just going by so fast these days.

Apparently third year of dental school is the easiest because there isn't much studying for tests. So needless to say I'm looking forward to the weekends and the end of the day when he comes home. It's nice, and seems kind of like he's working a real job because of his hours. I have a feeling this year is going to be quite nice, I'm really really excited.

Saturday was somewhat of an off day, but we got out of the house for a bit to eat.  A few weeks back we sat Hazel in a booster seat and she loved it and we've never looked back. Plus it makes it really nice to not have to lug around a highchair cover -or am I the only one who does that?
Saturday morning we visited Brandon at school-work -maybe that's what I'll call it now... school-work... He gave us a little tour of where he spends his days, this tiny little cubicle, and I didn't envy him. (I remember those little cubicle days, at least he is doing something he likes though! stay positive people!) Hazel enjoyed having the whole place to herself, not that she could really be left to wander anywhere -it's a real office after all. But she did think she was pretty funny walking up and down the hallways. Sometimes I don't know what she's thinking, but it's the little things I guess (:

We walked past this bathroom, saw this silly door, and I couldn't help but think that is the smallest closet door I have ever seen. Because I truly believe I have never seen a thinner door. What is the purpose and why, just why?
I can't tell you the last time this happened. It was Friday, we had a week of rough naps -what's new I guess- but Hazel actually fell asleep on my lap. She had already slept in her crib for about an hour, which is usually her max, so I brought her out to the family room where I was watching Bob Ross on Netflix.  Apparently both Bob and I were too boring for her because she fell right asleep. I didn't believe it at first and I had to take a picture of her to convince myself -which turned into about 20 different pictures of a sleeping Hazel. But I really can't be blamed, there isn't anything sweeter than a sleeping baby picture especially when your baby isn't a good sleeper. 

And so, here I am sending you well wishes for a happy week. May your baby sleep like an angel, may your days be cool and filled with fun. 

Happy Monday!

Monday, June 06, 2016

a condensed version of my weekend

My brother came home Friday! To say we waited all day and night for his plane was an understatement, because we literally waited longer. In Houston they kept delaying his departure because of weather and finally, midnight Arizona time, they cancelled the flight. Poor guy had to sleep in the airport overnight -I don't know, I've never had to do it but I can only imagine how horrible it would be! Anyways, after a lot of prayer he arrived Friday around lunch time and we couldn't have been happier to see him. It's amazing how much you can miss someone when they are gone, it's like an empty space -a void.  It's so nice to have him here, to be able to spend time with him.

My favorite part might have been introducing Hazel. I've showed her pictures of him and we skyped him on mother's day and Christmas, so I think she mostly understood. She knew who he was as soon as she saw him, and she even gave him a kiss before we left the airport. Maybe it was the little nap she took on the ride to the airport, or she was just happy to see him. Either way, my heart was happy.

We've been spending a lot of time with my family catching up and hanging out. It's fun to be together again, spending all this family time. Big red hearts all over the screen.
This weekend Arizona broke some records, 117 degrees and counting, thankfully we are in for a cool off, but really I'm just grateful for air conditioning because that's where I've been during these heat waves, trapped in my house. And if I dare walk outside, I literally have to run so that my skin doesn't catch on fire -literally. (;

I recently discovered that if you want Hazel to take a good picture you have to briber her. Usually I'm saying: Hazel if you smile I'll give you chocolate and she turns these big cheesy smiles. They are seriously the best! And her teeth, those teeth! I'm just glad Brand's going to be a dentist and that we know a good orthodontist, because this girl may need braces by age 5 with the way things are looking over here. And her diastema is probably my favorite part.
Last week Brand found this learning town online -he sanded it and painted it and now Hazel has her very own learning tower! She loves it and I love that I don't have to hold her while I try and cut strawberries or mix things. It's amazing how useful two hands are when you're cooking.

Happy Monday!



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