Guest Post: Ma, me too strong for bandaid.


Today's guest post is from Kristin at Our Growing Garden.  She's an amazing SAHM mom to James (who is just a few days older than Thad) and is expecting baby #2!  Read about her experience with James' first need for a band-aid and observe her amazing "painting" skills. ;)

James got his first real bo-bo last weekend. So in true mother fashion, I of course documented the event. We were all relaxing in the family room (ah, Sunday) and one minute James' foot looks fine and then he toddles out from the behind the couch with this giant, bloody scrape!

I was all, "JAMES! HOW DID YOU GET THIS HORRIBLE WOUND??!! ARE YOU OKAY!??" And he looked at me like I was crazy. And then laughed. Obviously, he was just fine, but I continued to overreact anyway.

I'm not sure what dangerous toy or overly playful feline did this to him. But if I find out, IT'S GOING IN THE GARBAGE. Hear that, Bun?

Clearly, he needed some medical attention though so I whisked him onto my hip and took him to the bathroom for some hydrogen peroxide, a dab of breastmilk on his foot (don't ask, just google), and a superhero bandaid. I won't lie. I was a little excited about the bandaid. Cause Santa brought them. And how cute is it?

Well, apparently bandaids are for lesser babies who cannot handle a little wear and tear like Warrior James because he was all, "Really Mommy? This isn't going to work for me," as he thwarted the band-aid onto the floor.

So I said, "Uh, James? You have a HUGE cut on your foot. You're lucky I haven't taken you to the ER yet. YOU NEED THIS BANDAID." So I proceeded to put the bandaid back onto his chubby little foot.

Which led to this chain of events:

Did she not hear me the first time? I DON'T NEED A BANDAID.

What I need is a Q-tip. Duh.

Whataminute. Maybe that was food? ::hesistantly licks band-aid::

ACK!! DEFINITELY NOT FOOD. Ican'tgetifoff. Ican'tgetitoff. IT WON'T COME OFF!

At this point, I had to intervene because James was furiously flapping his arms trying to get the sticky band-aid off his fingers. FINE. Have it your way. I took the band-aid from him.

and then I realized that he probably sees himself like this:

and that little ol' scrape? ain't nothing but a G J thang baybaaaay.

Guest Post: Toddler Craft FAIL


Hello there lovers of all things ELF!

My name is Shannon, and I am the genius behind Baby Shmizz.  I am a full-time mommy to my son Jack, (oh yeah, and I have another job too, I'm a Physician Assistant working in Emergency Medicine) and MILF to my pastry chef husband Mike.  We live in our overpriced little home sweet shack just north of Boston with our quirky rescue dog, Tessie.  We're a little bit crazy and a whole lotta fun, but fair warning, we don't have a filter!

I get these crafty itches every once in a while, and I try to involve Jack when I can.  I kept coming across these recipes on Pinterest for Cloud Dough.

I realized late one Thursday afternoon, that I had all the supplies I needed already in the house: flour, baby oil, bowl, spoon.  Done.  Easy, right?

Easy to make...but not easy to clean up!  I should have known to figure in The Toddler Factor.  Moms of toddlers, you know what I'm talking about.  I didn't figure in enough space for the mess.  I didn't figure out how to clean it up until after (should have thought about that before!).  I didn't think to myself beforehand "this might be better if he plays with it at a table over the tile, and NOT the carpet".

But you know what?  It was worth it.  He had the biggest grin on his face the entire time and loved it.  I highly recommend making this.  My one change would be to make it with olive or canola oil, especially for younger toddlers like Jack who still tend to stick things in their mouths.  

Mom what did you put in my cup?

I put it in the cup, and it fell right back out?!

WOO HOO!!!  This is awesome Mom!

Ok Mom, its all on the floor, gimme some more!

I didn't make the mess, I swear it wasn't me...

Yahoo!!!  I love Cloud Dough!!!

Last Minute Savings with


So many of you know I kind of love to coupon.  Now, I'm not overly crazy with it.  I buy my two Sunday papers every week (and I've even been known to forget to get them until Wednesday) and I price-match my grocery lists when I shop.  When I hit the retail stores I often check online for any printable coupons and/or sales that are available....and if I'm buying online, I'm always swagbucking for online coupon codes.

Many of you are familiar with some of these sites, but allow me to introduce you to  Coupon Chief is a very user-friendly website that allows you to search for a specific retailer to see what online coupon codes are available.

For example, say I really need to order another awesome pair of those leggings I've learned to rock from JCPenney, but getting to the store is just not possible so I decide to buy them online.  I've got them in my cart and before I check out I decide to check for a discount code.  Off to I go.

Once there, I search for JCPenney and apparently it's my lucky day because there a coupon code waiting for me.  All I have to do is copy and past that code into the box back in my cart and I'm set, with 10% off my order.  SCORE!

However, say I've ordered my awesome leggings, but two days later I realize I've forgotten to get Thad a new pair of pj's before our road trip so out to Penney's I go.  Lucky for me, I checked Coupon Chief before I left and scored a printable coupon for $10 off any purchase of $25 or more! SCORE!

Ok, it appears I've gotten pretty lucky in my shopping trips, but honestly, it's pretty easy to do when you know where to look.  There have been times where I'm stuck searching for a code because I can't find a reliable site, but thanks to, I can now reliably search for online discount codes as well as printable codes in one spot.

So, before you head out for any last minute Christmas shopping and before you starting returning that ugly pair of pants your mother-in-law gave you (because she thought you check out so you're getting the most bang for your buck, you won't be sorry (and you could just be little richer).

Happy holidays!

Disclaimer: This is a paid review brought to you by  While I was paid to review their site, 
all opinions are my own.  And honestly, it's a pretty damn useful site.  I use it in real life, you should too.  

Planning a road trip with a toddler.


Hubs has a sister in Georgia and his mom is flying down from Idaho for the holidays and since they've never seen Thad, we've got a big ol' road trip planned.  A 16 hour road trip.

Yeah.  Be jealous.

Our plan:

Leave Sunday night (yep, this is Christmas night) about the time Thad goes to bed.  He'll be dressed in footie pajama's and be freshly bathed.  Scout and a burp cloth in hand and we'll be off.

Driving through the night while we alternate drivers so we can each get some sleep.

Stop for pee breaks, snack breaks, and diaper changes and we're looking at probably 18-20 hours  (Including the following breakfast break.) on the road.  In one time.

I'm hoping to stop somewhere for breakfast.  This way we can get out of the car and stretch, let Thad run around, and get some real food in our stomachs before that last few hours on the road.

So that's the plan, but in reality, Thad will probably be cranky and refuse to sleep in his car seat, I'll forget the snacks and no store in sight will be open Christmas night, we'll hit a freak snow storm by the time we hit Kansas City, and we'll need a tire by the time we get to Tennessee.

Wish me luck, I'm gonna need it!

Wordless Wednesday: The Look


New this week, the face. he mad, annoyed, or giving me some pre-adolescent attitude?

Vote for the many faces of toddlerhood! =)  
Ok, and for me, because, well, you know I love to feel loved.
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16 Month Old Milestones (Language)


Ok, so if any of you follow me on facebook and saw my post last night, you know I've been a bit paranoid about Thad's language development.  A few months ago, I'd say about the time he was turning one, he could "say" about 10 words.  However, since then his language development has pretty much dropped off.  He says mama, dada, mommy, daddy, uh-oh, no, mine (thank you daycare), baby -- now, these are words I've heard him say/repeat, but it's few and far between and he doesn't really speak clearly very often at all (and really, the only ones he says clearly are the first 4 or 5).

Don't get me wrong, the kid "talks" all.the.time, but we can hardly ever understand what he says.  He will follow directions and even bring you items or point and make noise/try to talk to let you know what he wants, but to actually speak and say things, yeah, notsomuch.  It's kind of cute, you can really see him working his mouth to try to get words out, but they just don't quite come out right.  So, me being a special ed teacher and a reading teacher, I'm a bit worried that he's behind in his language development and that we're in trouble.  I know, I know, I'm probably just being paranoid, but I apparently like to worry like that.  So the big question many words does/did your 16 month old say clearly?  Think I'm paranoid?

p.s. I also think I'm going through that phase of "let's compare my kid to everyone else's kid because you know, it's not like I already need therapy or anything..." I need to cool it before I make myself grey.

Manic Monday...


So...anyone else feel like it's bound to be one of those crazy weeks?  I feel like my head is going to explode and Monday hasn't even started yet.  Just a few things on my list this week...

  1. Grocery shopping
  2. Make and decorate sugar cookies
  3. Bake Christmas goodies (and deliver to neighbors)
  4. Shop for GA trip (we leave Christmas night)
  5. Finish start Christmas shopping ::cowers in the corner:: (I'm so behind this year...)
  6. Staff development Monday across town
  7. Parent meeting at 9:15 Wednesday (about this kid and with this mother...awesome...)
  8. Assistive Technology meeting Wednesday 11:15
  9. School in session through Thursday at 2:50 (Yeah, we don't get out until then...say what?!?)
  10. Wash all laundry and get house cleaned (because you can't come home to a dirty house after leaving for a week)
  11. Pack all bags for GA (more on planning for a 16 hour drive with a toddler coming soon)
  12. Hair appointment Wednesday (Did I mention how excited I am to get my hair done?)
  13. And if I can find time, get my nails done (I want to try shallac - anyone else done it?)
Oh and find out if hubs got a new job (did I mention it's in Fort Worth...yeah, that's another story) and if he does then add these to the list...
  1. Find apartment in FW
  2. Get utilities, etc. set up
  3. Pack up clothes, PS3 (you know, the important
  4. Find a bed and other furniture for said apartment
  5. Oh crap, I forgot...pans/dishes/etc. too
  6. Start looking for a job in FW and get this house SOLD (Thad and I can't leave until it's sold.)
  7. Try to stay sane!

Happy Week Before Christmas!!!
(enjoy the hardly decorated tree adorning our living room)

A toddler's wishlist.


Just a few of things on Thad's wishlist this year...
(ok, so he doesn't really have a, but I like to think he does)

NEW Sippy Cups!
Anyone else ever notice how sippy cups tend to disappear and by the time you find them you have to hide your face in your shirt because you're afraid of the smell when you open them?

Oh wait, maybe that's just me.

In blue...the hubs would kill me if I bought Thad pink forks.
I figure all kids love these, right? 
Well, at least they do in the doctor's office.

I played with one of these as a kid when visiting my grandparents - classic.

A pocket library full of the the "How Do Dinosaurs..." books, 
one of Thad's favorites!

And another Softbums cloth diaper! 
I seriously LOVE this far, my favorite cloth diaper out there.

And last, but not least, a riding toy! Thad plays on something 
similar at daycare and loves it! I can't wait to see his reaction!

So the big question is...what did you get/planning to
get your little one for Christmas this year?

Let's talk about sex. (How will you tell your kids?)


So the other day, I'm sitting in class doing my teacher thing when a student (a sophomore, but with some developmental delays mind you) asks me, "Ms. Foster, what is sex?"  So me being me and the brutally honest person I am, I told her.  As simply as I could, I explained what happens with a penis and vagina and how sperm fertilize an egg so that we can procreate.

And then I had a smart ass little shit say, "Well, what about gay people?" (He wanted me to react people...)

So I explained how sex between same sex couples works (ok, to the best of my knowledge anyway...let's be honest, I'm no expert in that area).

Shithead proceeds to bust out laughing and says to me, "I love how you just sit and explain sex with a straight face!"

This is not the first conversation we've had about sex, pregnancy, STDs, etc. in my class.  I tend to be a pretty open book when it comes to uncomfortable subjects and the way I see it, if they're asking, they're curious and want to know...and if I don't tell them, who will?  Isn't it my job to educate?  So I do.  And let me tell you, my students have to be the most sexually educated students in the building.

If I don't do it, they'll continue to believe the pull-out method is an effective form of birth control...or wait, if the girl is on top you can't get pregnant, right?  Yeah, I've heard them all and more.  We talk about condoms and breastfeeding (mama's you'd be proud, my boys are more educated about pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding than any of their future wives are at this point).  And you know what?  They're ok with it.  They're comfortable with it (talking about sex).  It's not taboo to them anymore and they're more comfortable approaching subjects like this with their boyfriend/girlfriend because I've made it ok, I've made it acceptable, I've made it normal.  They now know it's ok to say no for whatever reason and if they say yes, where to go for birth control, condoms, and even pregnancy tests.  They know their rights.  They are educated.

So these conversations often get me thinking about how I'll approach the subject of sex with Thaddeus.  I know I've mentioned it before, but I'm not really into crazy pet names for our genitals, sure penis may be a little bit bold for some, but I don't call my elbow my corner bone (or something else equally weird).  I'll accept wiener as well, but not of that "purple headed yogurt slinger" crap, nope, not gonna happen people, it's a penis....say it with me, p - e - n - i - s.  See?  You lived.  Anyway, the point is, Thad will know what his penis is and what it's used for.

Now I'm not gonna tell my five year old that if he wants children someday, he'll need to put his penis in a girl's vagina (or yes, the one acceptable nickname - va-jay-jay).  That's not really developmentally appropriate.  But when the time comes and he begins to hit puberty, I'd like to think that the hubs and I will be as open with him as I am with my students.  I also believe that kids are often more comfortable talking to a parent of the same sex about such topics.

I asked the hubs what he thought about the subject and how he would approach it and one of the best things he said was that he'd start to gauge Thad's reactions to girls, etc. and if he appears interested rather than disinterested, it'll be easier to know when the time has come to start approaching the subject.  You can't just throw the whole sex thing on your kid if they're not ready, but you can start to talk to them about it when they began to get curious.

In an ideal world, we'd all wait to get married before having sex, but we don't live in an ideal world and we can't always protect our children from everything that they're exposed to, but we can control how informed (or rather, misinformed) we allow them to be about sex.  I plan to educate my son so that he respects women and more importantly, himself.  Should he chose to have sex, I want him to be educated so that he doesn't get an STD or get a girl pregnant because he was misinformed.  And should he chose to wait, I want it to be because he's educated sexually and spiritually rather than scared because he doesn't know anything.

I want my son to be educated...even if it's uncomfortable to talk about.

So, how will you approach sex with your child/children?  How did you approach if you're child/children are grown?

*Now I'm not advocating a pro-sex movement here people, but rather a comprehensive approach to sex education with our youth and my own child.  I will talk about abstinence and I will talk about our religious beliefs as a family and as children of God, but I'm not ignorant or naive and I see the choices teens are making every day.  I just want to ensure that Thad has enough information to make educated decisions when the time comes as well as making talking about sex less taboo.

How about a click for getting to the end? ;)
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So, on the verge of being completely inappropriate (and embarrassing the hell out of my husband), let's talk about manscaping.  You know, manscaping.  That oddly modern thing that even my high school boys discuss.  (As if that's not weird to overhear.)  Anywho, in my lifetime I've only ever known two men that manscaped.  Two.  One was older than me and we were dating (he also thought shaving his chest was, should have broken up with him then...) and one was a good friend/turned hookup/turned awkward in college (yeah, yeah...details later).  Anywho, I never really thought much of it.  In fact, I thought manscaping was a bit weird and little bit feminine, but apparently, it's the new thing (and has been for awhile).

::flash forward to this morning's conversation with my husband::

Me: Hey, what time are you going in for your physical?  Where are you going to go? (sidenote: Hubs needs a physical for a possible new job and he doesn't ever see a doctor so he needed to randomly pick one.)

Hubs: Well, I called the doctor's office where you go and after transferring me to a nurse she said to just come in at 10:30.

Me: Oh yeah, are you seeing my PA?  

Hubs: Um, yeah. I didn't really want to, but I kinda feel like I don't have a choice.  What am I gonna do?  Back out because I don't want some random chick, who happens to be a friend of my wife's, to tell me to turn my head and cough?  No, then I'll look like a pussy.

Me: Hehe, ok.  Have fun.

Hubs: Hey wait! Did I tell you the last time Parker was in town we were having a few drinks and his dad brought up the fact that Parker "better be manscaping that shit"?  So I started thinking, "What am I? The only guy who doesn't do this? Am I like Tarzan or something?"     ::insert pause::  So I did it.

Me: Did what? 

Hubs:  Manscaped.


Hubs: Yeah, so, I did it and now I feel like everything looks weird and bald and like I haven't gone through puberty -- it's kind of embarrassing.


Hubs: Yeah, uh, so do you think that's weird?  

Me: ::chuckling:: Weird? I don't know about weird, but whatever floats your boat.  You're the one that's gonna have to drop your pants for my PA and let her cup your balls.  ::hehe::

Yeah, so needless to say, hubs joined the manscaping movement today.  I literally almost pissed my pants talking to him on the phone in the hall at school and I seriously just don't get it.  Honestly, I've never had a preference either way; if a guy wants to risk putting a razor to his genitals (because you know they're all so gentle), then go for it.  (As for chest hair, wax that shit...I'm ok with that.)

So....are you a fan of the manscaping movement? 

KP Awareness


So I may or may not have mentioned a few months ago that Thad was diagnosed at his 15 month check up with KP of the face (also known as keratosis pilaris rubra faceii or KPRF).  Basically, it looks like someone slapped my child silly.  Now of course, no one did, but his poor little cheeks don't know that.  Until then, I always just wondered why is cheeks would get crazy red and dry...well, I got my answer.  I, of course, had no idea what KP was so allow me to enlighten you as well:
So there you have it.  Pretty simple, huh?  I of course still lather his poor little cheeks up with whatever cream/lotion I think is that strongest that night, but there are days I just can't help the guy.  This is what he looked like after daycare yesterday, yet he was fine that morning.  It definitely comes and goes.  I've noticed it gets worse when he's getting a tooth or if he's getting sick.  Anyone else know someone with KP or KPRF?  Any suggestions for creams to help "calm" it down?

p.s. Don't forget to check out my awesome "ELF" special now - December 24!
(see right sidebar)

p.p.s. And if you just love those little red cheeks, show some love and click me!

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DIY: the baby gate


Ok, so awhile back I decided that we needed a baby gate to separate our dining room and living room.  However, finding a baby gate that's over 60 inches and pressure mounted was pretty much impossible if I didn't want to pay an arm and a leg.  My solution?  Make a baby gate!

What you'll need:

2 curtain rods in the desired width
fabric (in said specified length)

Now, I'm no sewing goddess, but I try.  I don't have a great sewing space, I don't have any fancy tools - nope, I've got one of those "sewing kits" and a sewing machine I got for Christmas last year.  In order to measure straight lines over 60 inches I used the slats in our wooden window bench - well, that didn't work so well, so I used the slat lines and the shower curtain rods to make some straight lines! =) Pretty damn creative if I do say so myself.

Anywho, so I drew myself some lines, pinned a few things, sewed a few lines, and bam! I've got myself a handmade baby gate complete with rod pockets for the shower curtain rods.  (I'm only using one rod at this point because Thad hasn't realized he can crawl under it...hehe.)  It's fully adjustable and strong enough to keep a meddling toddler out of one room and into the other.

*One piece of advice, make sure you adjust the rods and lock them into place on a slight angle and then press them down between the wall to tighten into place.  This will keep them tighter and more secure against miniature muscle men that attempt to shake them down.

How about a vote for being crafty? =)
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This is my night. (our nightly routine)


I love our bedtime routine.  It's something we started when Thad came home from the hospital.  Every night, he would eat, then we'd read, and off to bed he went.  Some nights, a bath was thrown in before the whole routine. Now that he's 16 months old, he tells us when he's ready for bed.  His normal bedtime begins around 6:30 (that's when we head upstairs); however, in the last few weeks, he tells us when it's time for bed.  It could be only 5:15, but if he walks over the gate and starts pointing and whining, you know it's time for jammies.  (Hello, how awesome is this?)  We've learned that he knows when he's tired.

Now if he needs a bath, he'll get up the stairs and go straight for the bathroom (where he proceeds to throw everything possible into the filling tub of water...electronics beware -- cell phones, curling irons [not plugged in people], battery operated clocks, etc. you'll all end up in the tub if you're not carefully put away. Oh and don't forget shoes, clothes, and towels, you get dunked too.)  After the bath, it's a teeth brushin' and we're off on the nightly routine.

But the best part?  It's those last few minutes of the day where he plops onto my laps and we rock and read and cuddle and pray that are the best minutes of my day.  It's when he lays his head on my shoulder and nestles into me that the world feels right.  It's these moments that make my heart melt and burst with love at the same time.  This is how I spend my nights, this is what I love.