Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Potty Training Adventures

We have been potty training for 20 days now and I'd say we are 2/3 of the way there. 
Potty training is probably the hardest parenting thing I've had to deal with yet. It's so tough! Here's what we have accomplished:
1. Pee pee goes in the potty not on the floor.
2. He goes to the potty independently most of the time if naked from the waist down.
3. He can use the "big potty" standing up or sit on his little potty.
4. We flush and wash our hands after we potty.
5. We poop in the potty most of the time.
6. Staying dry though all naps and most nights.

We still have a long way to go. Here's what he still needs to master:
1. Staying dry while wearing underwear or clothing.
2. Not waiting until he is already peeing to start running to the potty... He does this a couple of times a day.
3. Pooping in the potty every time.
4. Using toilet paper without wasting an entire roll.

What finally worked?
The naked method worked well, but it has a cost. Now I have to teach him to keep his underwear dry which isn't as easy. We tried underwear at the end of te first week and it didn't go well. I waited another week before reintroducing them.

We were also rewarding with m&ms (one for pee and two for poop) but we phased that out as quickly as we could because we don't like giving him junk.

We also utilized a fun app from Huggies (I know that's cloth diaper sacreliege in some circles.) called Pull-Ups Time to Potty. We only use the app for two things:
1. It has a timer that helps me remember to ask him about potty when it's been a while.
2. The celebration games.  
The games are meant to be used after a successful potty trip but I override the system and let him play the game while he sits on the potty. We do our own celebration afterwards. 
It's great for keeping him sitting still long enough to go potty, especially when he needs to poop.

Our final method is a celebration for Noah as well as a tracker I can use to see how he's doing. We have a sticker chart on his wall and he gets a sticker any time he actually pees or poops in the potty.

He's doing pretty well with all these tricks and most days I'm happy with it.

Here's what I've learned:
1. If you beleive that you will successfully potty train a child 100% in three days you will probably be disappointed. Sure, there are exceptions to the rule but most kids are going to need more time.
2. You might need to use more than one "method." Do what works for your family and don't be afraid to keep trying new things if somethig doesn't work. Your kid isn't your best friend's angel so their method might not work for you and that's okay.
3. Sometimes the quickest way isn't the best way. Case and point? The naked method has been awesome! It worked! Except that now I'm struggling to show him the difference between underwear nf cloth diapers. It might have been better to try a less "quick fix" method in the beginning. I'll never know. 

Tell me about your potty training journey and ask your burnig questions in the comments. I can't wait to hear from other moms in the trenches of potty training!

-The Crazy Earth Mama

Homeschooling Week #8

This week is all about McCloskey's Blueberries For Sal. I'm really falling in love with the illustrations in his books. However, Noah wasn't so fond of this book. It took me a few days to convince him to read/listen to it.

We read the story and talked about the similarities and differences between Sal and her Mommy and the Mommy & Baby Bear. 
The story focuses on the sounds the berries make in Sal's bucket and counting the berries. This lends to some great activities!

Field Trip:
We visited a local farm and picked blueberries. Noah doesn't like blueberries. He's never liked them, but he had a lot of fun picking them and listening to the sounds they made as they filled his bucket "kerplunk!" 
It also gave us an extra opportunity to talk about colors as he had to learn to pick only the "blue" berries and not the pink or green unripe berries.

We counted our berries as we dropped them in the bucket (starting over when we reached 10). 
Then, I found this fun game that works on counting too. It's easy to make your own version. We used a paper bag instead of a tissue box. You can find instructions and a bear face printable here from the National Wildlife Federation.

Science/Bible Study:
We will be practicing science in the kitchen again this week. Noah loves helping me cook! We're going to make blueberry muffins. I know he won't be interested in eating them, but we're going to use them for our bible study.
As we learn about giving to others to show the love of Jesus, we will give muffins to our neighbors.  I think Noah will get a big kick out of it! He loves doing kind things for others.

With the leftover blueberries, we're going to make an awesome blueberry paint to play with. Noah isn't interested in eating them, but mashing them and rubbing them all over paper is right up his alley!
Pictures from the blueberry patch and our muffin and paint adventures coming soon!
-The Crazy Earth Mama

Monday, June 22, 2015

Getting Crafty

So we made a Father's Day craft for my sweet husband. Noah was very excited about it!
When we gave it to my husband, he and Noah had this conversation:

Husband: "You made this for me?"
Noah: "Yes! Surprise!"
Husband: "Thank you. Where should I put it?"
Noah: "You hang it on the wall."
Husband: "Where should I hang it?"
Noah: "Over here!" [excitedly pointing to a spot on the wall next to the fireplace]

The look of pride and excitement on my son's face as his daddy hung his picture on the wall was so sweet! It's nothing fancy. It definitely doesn't look "professional," but my son is so proud of it and my husband cherished it so much that it's in our living room for the whole world to see.

Don't I have the greatest two guys ever? I'm so blessed, truly I am.

I thought I'd share our craft, because it was so easy for my toddler to do and maybe you'll want to do it with your kiddos. It's not just a Father's Day craft. It's a great way for kids to say "I love you" to anyone.

Supplies you'll need:

Glitter glue
Sequins or gems

Write a message or draw a picture on paper with the glitter glue. 
Decorate the words or image by attaching sequins and gems. 

Don't worry, the glitter glue will hold it in place.
After your art has dried, frame it. Then you're ready to spread the love to Dad, Grandma, or anyone. 

-The Crazy Earth Mama

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day!

Father's Day has come to mean a lot of different things to me. My biological father was in and out of the picture when I was very small, but mostly out. He was more interested in himself than me and my sister. When I was twelve, my mom met the man she would later marry who very quickly became "Daddy" to me. He adopted me as his own and I even came to be known by his last name in high school. It became a sort of nickname that I cherished. My Daddy (all Southern girls say Daddy and not Dad, no matter their age) and I have a very special bond.
Daddy doesn't really like homemade gifts. In fact, Daddy is very particular about all sorts of things and unless you're giving him a bottle of orange cleaner (he's a neat freak), you should probably stick to a gift card or taking him to dinner. Despite this, Mama told me a while back that Daddy still keeps all the cards I have made him and poems I have given him. The fridge at my parents' house still sports candid photos my dad snapped of me just before my high school prom and on my wedding day (at the moment I realized I had forgotten my bouquet!)
As a grandfather, Daddy is a combination of teddy bear and Santa Claus. The children love him! My son calls him "Papa" and while my dad is often befuddled by very small children, the little ones love him. They quickly win him over by crawling in his lap and laughing deliciously at all his silly faces.
Before Daddy, I celebrated my grandfathers and I still do. They filled a void for me growing up and I have always cherished the close and different relationships I have with each of them.  My Mama's Daddy, called Poppy, really filled the fatherly role for us growing up. I still remember eating orange slices on his lap in the evenings and going with him to my very first baseball game. Go Braves! Poppy worked at the golf course and often smelled like fresh cut grass. I still really like that smell. To this day, he calls me "Monkey" and "Special."
My biological father may not have been very interested in being a part of our lives, but his dad, my Grandbaby, was always there. He was a writer, a fisherman, and a Southern Baptist minister. He wasn't the fire and brimstone kind, he was the "Pollyanna" kind. He taught me what it really means to be a Christian. I was an adult before I ever heard him say an unkind word to anyone and even then it shocked me. He so rarely raised his voice that if he did everyone knew we had best behave. He taught me to love Jesus, the ocean, and all God's people. He read to us every night that he was with us and prayed over us out loud. He fostered our imaginations by helping us to build Indian tee-pees in the yard and create elaborate costumes for our "plays."
When I got married, I chose a man who is a wonderful mix of these three special men. My husband has a great sense of humor like my Daddy and can always make me laugh. He is a hard worker and he loves sports like my Poppy. He is a Christian man who tries very hard to do what is right and loves me as Christ loves the Church, like my Grandbaby. I knew all that stuff when I married him. I knew he was, and is, the man God had chosen for me.
It wasn't until our son was born that I learned what kind of daddy my husband would be. He is an amazing daddy. Before our son was born, and now with our daughter on the way, he has forged a bond with both our children before they are even born. They both have known the sound of their father's voice and that he loves them before they have ever taken their first breaths. He plays with my son, guides him gently to make the right choices and do what is right, and showers him with love and affection.
My husband works hard to provide not only what our children need, but much of what they want. He is always bringing our son little surprises. While our daughter isn't here yet, he is already thinking of her. I sent him to pick up small hangers for her closet the other day and he came back with precious pink hangers, carefully chosen for the little girl he can't wait to meet.

Happy Father's Day to all the wonderful Dads in my life and all the other great dads out there too!
-The Crazy Earth Mama

Friday, June 19, 2015

Cheesy Chicken & Rice in One Pan

I love new recipes. Pinterest is a great way to find them and it's how I found this one.
I love recipes that are delicious (of course), cheap, healthy, and quick. It sounds like a tall order, I know.

I'm always looking for new ways to sneak in vegetables. My husband is a "meat and potatoes" kind of guy... or maybe I should say meat and pasta. He loves pasta! Who doesn't?

Anyway, I found this yummy recipe that's a quick one pan take on the traditional chicken & rice casserole we all grew up with (minus the condensed soup too!)

The Girl Who Ate Everything is responsible for this deliciousness so I won't take the credit but yum!!!

One-Pan Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli, and Rice - an easy dinner that the whole family will love. the-girl-who-ate-everything.comIngredients: 
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 yellow onion (diced)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into bite sized pieces)
2 cloves minced garlic (I used 2 tbsp of minced garlic from a jar - for shame! I know.)
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup uncooked long grain rice (she uses white, but I used brown)
2 1/2 cups broccoli florets (smaller is better, so cut them down)
2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups extra sharp cheese (shredded)

Head over to The Girl Who Ate Everything to get the directions for making this quick and delicious meal for your family tonight.

This was so tasty! Even my two year old ate two bowls, which is saying a lot since he's in the middle of that stage where he doesn't want to eat anything. 
It's quick too! It took me about 30 minutes from start to finish, all prep time spent chopping and measuring included.

-The Crazy Earth Mama

(Image from The Girl Who Ate Everything -- and takes way better pictures of food than me!)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Knowledge of our Lord

Today's bible verse is 2 Peter 3:18 "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen."

I've been reading Time Management Mama, an ebook by Sarah Korhnak and Beth Anne Schwamberger.  It's a great book and I'll do a post on what I've learned as soon as I'm finished.
Anyway, one of the goals I set for myself after reading the first chapter is to learn more bible verses. As the Lord tells us through Timothy, we must study to show ourselves approved (2 Timothy 2:15). 

In order to tackle this goal, I've downloaded Word Alert for my iPhone. 

Today's bible verse has me thinking about grace.  Grace is the amazing free gift God gives us when we accept him as Lord. Grace isn't something we deserve, but it's something we need desperately. 
Then, in return, he asks us to give grace to others as we act out the love of Jesus in our daily lives.  It's not easy. In fact, it totally goes against our nature. It's not even possible for us to love people in this way without constant help from God. 
So basically: To bring Glory and honor to God we have to grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord.
I'm a big reader and researcher. I really believe in learning something new every day. I believe in studying and researching before making decisions.  I read a new scientific study or article almost daily, but how often do I learn a new verse or read a part of my bible? Not nearly as often as I study the other things that matter to me. 
We spend more time on the things that are most important to us. So, I need to be spending a lot more time in the Word if I really believe my relationship with God is one of the most important things in my life.  

What about you? How's your walk going? 
Are you daily growing in knowledge of our Lord? 
Think of some practical ways Christians can work on this and share them in the comments. 

Let's grow together. 
-Crazy Earth Mama

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Homeschool Week #7

This week we're back to ducks. Noah is so excited! He's loving McCloskey's classic Make Way For Ducklings.

Here's our list of learning activities for the week:


Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey

So far Noah loves the character of Michael the police man and he thinks it's hilarious that the ducks swim around eating peanuts. 

He wants to take peanuts with us the next time we feed ducks!
Can ducks really eat peanuts? I guess I'll have to find out.


We've been having a lot of fun playing with tangrams this week. Noah likes making animals from the tangrams so we are building ducks and, of course, his favorite dinosaurs.

I've also found a cool math matching worksheet involving ducks and peanuts that relates to the story. 

The original activity (as well as other related activities) can be found at Kinder Days blog.

I'm adapting it for Noah by writing numbers on the ducks and having him count out the corresponding number of peanuts.

Science & Bible Study:

Tomorrow, we'll be talking all about how mommy ducks take care of their babies. Noah is particularly interested in the bond between mommy animals and their babies, so I think he'll like this lesson.

We will also be studying the way that God takes care of his babies: us!

Our verse for the week is:

1 John 3:1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. 

Art & Pre-Writing:

We will focus on the letter "D" this week for Ducks and for Daddy since Father's Day is this weekend. 

We will be making two crafts, one is a duck from the letter D using feathers and wiggly eyes (pictured here from it's original source, Kids Soup). 

The second will be similar. I'm not giving away the surprise, but I'll post it here after it's finished!

Field Trip Friday:
Finally, we will take a field trip to a nearby lake on Friday to feed ducks. I'll look into the peanuts before we go, but we'll probably be taking crackers.

-Crazy Earth Mama