Monday, August 12, 2013

Better Late Than Never


Way back when (roughly 6 months ago, which is FOREVER in internet years), I told you my plans for reading The No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Peaceful Parents, Happy Kids.
I had high hopes of finding some new strategies for dealing with a few issues we were experiencing at the time.

1. A toddler who struggled to fall asleep and stay asleep.
2. A preschooler who was testing our parenting skills and winning.
3. Two parents who had reached a point of yelling more than talking. Not fun.

I have since had a chance to read both books and reflect. Here are a few of my thoughts on both.

The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers

This is a great book that really reinforces some basic sleep thoughts and ideas. Nothing too new or earth shattering, but a good refresher course on establishing healthy sleep habits. The most important being consistency. But first, take a week or so to really pay attention to your child's current bedtime and sleep routines and habits. Make note of things that are and are not working. And come up with a sleep plan that encourages a peaceful transition to sleep. Once you have a plan in place, stick with it! Make sure everyone (mom, dad, grandparents, caregivers, whomever will be putting your child to bed) is on board and understands every step of the plan. Take some time to get used to the plan and fully implement it and then make any changes necessary if it's not working for your child.

One of the problems with Pen's sleep was that she would take a long time to settle down and fall asleep (sometimes close to 2 hrs). The biggest nugget of info I gleamed from The No-Cry Sleep Solution was to put her to bed earlier. I know sounds crazy, right? But holy moly did it work! So now Pen goes to bed between 6:15 and 6:30 every night (it has creeped closer to 7:00 during the summer). I am not going to lie, it makes for a very rushed dinner and there is little to no time for play/downtime after dinner. But it works. We go through the bedtime routine, lay with her for 5-10 minutes and she is out. Boom. Of course, there are nights where it doesn't work or we can't get her to bed in that window of time. And we go back to a lengthy bed time. But 90% of the time, it works. Woot!

She also struggles with night wakings, night mares, bad dreams and general chaos while sleeping. She is a very active sleeper. To help combat those struggles, we try to keep her sleep environment as peaceful and non-stimulating as possible. Which means, we took out the night light, we hung drapes/blankets to block out any light and we play soft music all night long. I would love to say that she now sleeps peacefully through the night, but sadly that's not the truth. She does seem to sleep better, but she is still dreaming, crying, screaming and crashing around. But it has decreased somewhat since we implemented the sleep strategies. Unfortunately, I think she is just in a phase where peaceful sleep is not within her grasp. Hopefully as she gets older, she'll start to sleep more soundly. Or maybe she will always struggle with this and she can scare the crap out of her college roommate by sitting up in her bed and letting out a blood curdling scream. We'll pack a box of ear plugs.

So all in all, The No Cry Sleep Solution was a good read. It didn't have any radical new ideas or strategies but it was a great refresher course.  I recommend it. It never hurts to arm yourself with a few new ideas or to approach a well known idea from a different direction.

Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids

Ok, I'm not done with Peaceful Parent. It's been my bedtime reading for the last 4 months or so and it has achieved it's purpose. Making me a more peaceful parent. So peaceful in fact, that I fall asleep after two pages. It's a great book, just a lot of info to digest. Bedtime is probably not the best time to try and tackle it (unless you're battling insomnia. then I highly recommend it!). But what I have read has been very helpful!

The main idea seems to be, be a bit more understanding as a parent. Your child is a child. They are not tiny grown ups, they are children. They are trying to figure out this thing called life and it is hard. Frustrating. Challenging. Overwhelming. Heck, as a full fledged grown up I still struggle with it. So take that knowledge and give your kids a break. They are trying their hardest to understand it all and sometimes it's just too much and they snap. They yell, scream, cry, hit, rebel, act ridiculous. And while that is incredibly frustrating for you as an adult, it's incredibly frustrating (and often scary) for them too. So cut them some slack. And give them some love. And then a little more. Especially when that's the last thing you want to do.

I've been trying really hard to take that nugget of info to heart. Love when I least feel like it.* Because let's be honest, there are plenty of moments when you would rather walk away from a screaming child than hug them. But a lot of times that's what they need most. The comfort and security of their parent. Knowing that no matter what, we are there for them. And for me, that can be really challenging. I am the type of person who when upset, does not want people touching, talking or trying to comfort me. I need to process it on my time in my own way. But my darling 5 year old daughter is the exact opposite. When she gets upset, worked up, a bit out of control emotionally, she needs touch. She needs that reassurance that I am there and I love her. So the biggest challenge for me (and most parents, I think) is swallowing my own frustration/anger/craziness and giving her the love and attention she needs in that moment. And once I have done that and she has calmed down, then we can deal with the root of the problem. Is this easy? No. Do I execute it perfectly? Not even close. But I am working on it.

That isn't to say that it's all on the parent and we can solve all the issues with a hug. There are definitely some things that we need to help her work on when it comes to handling her emotions. But we are finding that a little extra love goes a long way. Yes, sometimes after that hug some time spent by herself or some other consequence is still necessary. And sometimes she needs time to cool down before she is open to some love. Like I said, we're working on it.

I will continue to read and learn. Though I can already tell you I recommend it.

*Disclaimer: I always love my girls. No matter what. Unconditionally. But sometimes that love is harder to tap into than others.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sambazon Smoothies. YUM!

Several months ago the lovely people at Moms Meet hooked me up with three free samples of Sambazon Smoothies. Along with a fun bowl and spoon as a little "thank you" for agreeing to review them on my blog.
 Since we are huge smoothies fans, we were super excited to try them out. But then I couldn't find them in stock at any of our local stores. Sad!

And then we moved. Again. For the second time in five months. We're gluttons for punishment. 

And then I forgot about Sambazon Smoothies

And then I remembered! 

But I couldn't find the coupons amongst the moving boxes.

And then I found them! 

And found a store that carried them! 

And actually had them in stock! (Woo hoo!!)

So we gave them a try. And they were good. REALLY good! 
The end. 

Just kidding. About the end part. Not about Sambazon Smoothies being good. They were fabulous!  We tried three varieties: Supergreens with Kale and Ginger, Acai with Blueberry and Pomegranate and an Energy blend with Acai Berry, Yerba Mate and Guarana.

Sambazon was started by two surfers who were looking to share the goodness of superfoodswith the world. And in a way that mattered. They started Sambazon based on a philosophy called the Triple Bottom Line. Which not only measure economic success, but also social and environmental success. They only used organic, non-GMO ingredients and support fair trade. All in all, a great company that makes fabulous products.

[insert pic of Acai with Blueberry and Pomegranate...oh wait. It disappeared.]

Chris and the girls tried the Acai with Blueberry and Pomegranate. I am not a blueberry person, but I knew that one would be right up their alley. It must have been because they polished it off and tossed it in the recycling before I could snap a picture. Chris said it was "really smooth, not too sweet and very refreshing." Olive and Penny said "YUM!" and asked for more.
I snagged the Supergreens with Kale and Ginger before anyone else could down it. It was SO good! I was worried that the ginger would be overpowering, but it wasn't. It was there, but very subtle. It was very smooth and easy to drink. A touch sweet, but not overly so. Very refreshing. I will definitely buy it again.
The third variety we tried was the Energy blend with Acai, Yerba Mate and Guarana. I decided to enjoy it one morning instead of my usual cup of coffee. I have to say, I was impressed! Not only did it taste good (sweet, slightly...earthy?) but it packed a nice punch of caffeine that got me going. A nice alternative to coffee. Plus it's full of antioxidants! I also want to try the Mocha Java variety. Sounds delicious! 

Thanks again to Moms Meet for providing me with this sampling opportunity! Sambazon, you've got a fan in me. 

Disclaimer: I received this product for free from  the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Play That Funky Music. Or Not?

As I make my way through The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddler and Preschoolers, I am re-thinking our bedtime routine and the girls' sleep environment.
(I don't know why we even attempt to put her in bed the "right" way)

Right now, the girls fall asleep with a small lamp on and we turn it off when we go to bed. I switched the light bulb to a much softer light (non CFL, the horror!) this weekend and I think it makes for a more relaxing environment. Penny seems to be very sensitive to light while trying to fall asleep, so I think this will help her to relax more at bedtime. Hopefully.

We've never used music or white noise/sounds other than a crib soother when they were babes and Penny's "magical" seahorse. I've always been hesitant to use more because I don't want them to become dependent on it. And then when we're away from home and we inevitably forget to bring the sound machine/CD/iPod or whatever, they'd be miserable without it. You know what I mean? But for Penny*, it might be calming or reassuring to have it on. When we go in her in the middle of the night we always turn her seahorse on for her and it seems to calm her. But it only plays for 5 blessed minutes. We have a humidifier on all night long for a little white noise, but it doesn't seem to help with that issue.

So, dear readers, I have a few questions for you.

Does your toddler/preschooler sleep with a nightlight or light on?
Do they fall asleep to music or white noise/nature sounds?
If so, do you keep it on all night? 
Is your child dependent on it? Do they have to have it to fall asleep? 

Next up, nap time. Should it stay away or should it come back?

*You will notice that all of the posts regarding sleep issues and solutions tend to deal with Penny. No, we are not neglecting Olive. She just happens to be a super stellar amazing sleeper. She always has been. Some nights she takes 10-15 minutes to calm down and fall asleep, but she is content to quietly look at books by herself. Once she is out, she's out. We always bring her to the bathroom before we go to bed and 9 out of 10 times she doesn't even wake up. She is a DEEP sleeper (hence the nightly bathroom trip). And a sleep talker. Which makes for some hilarious bathroom breaks.

Olive: Mama, look at my nose!
Me: Why? Is there something wrong with your nose?
Olive: No Mama, LOOK at my nose!
Me: Ok, I see it!
Olive: LOOOOK at my nose!
Me: I am! What am I looking at?
Olive: My nose! LOOK AT MY NOSE!
Me: I am looking at your nose. It looks great.
Olive: Why are you looking at my nose? *falls back asleep*
End Scene.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Hittin' the books.

We're about to be schooled. Or at least, enlightened. Hopefully.

We've been having a few struggles in the Tbaugh household lately. Nothing out of the ordinary for a family with two very spirited, stubborn and sassy (not to mention stylish!) children. Typical power struggles, tantrums, screaming matches, etc between the girls and with us. And some major sleep issues with the little one. We're all a bit worn out and grumpy. So we figured it wouldn't hurt to call in the experts.

No, not Mary Poppins. Although I wish I had her on speed dial. Then I could call her in the midst of the crazy and yell: "Mary Poppins! Spoonful of sugar, STAT!". And she would float down with her kind of creepy parrot umbrella and shabby chic carpet bag, sing and dance while shoveling sugar into our mouths. It would be wonderful.

Alas, Mary Poppins is not at my disposal. But Amazon is. A perusal of parenting and toddler sleep issue books lead me to these two choices:

Peaceful Parents, Happy Kids. How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting
The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers

After I've had a chance to read the books, I'll come back with my thoughts on both. We're not looking for any magic answers, but for some ideas and suggestions that we may not have already heard and/or tried. Chris and I both have quick tempers and we really hate that we've reached a point in our parenting where we seem to be yelling more than listening and talking. It's waaaay too early in our parenting careers for that. Let's save that for the teenage years.

And regarding Pen's sleep (or non sleep, as it is), there may not be an answer. She may just be a crappy sleeper that wakes and screams and cries and thrashes and crashes every hour. If that is the case, I will just start counting the multiple (multiple, multiple!) times I get up and adjust covers, put her back in bed, comfort her during a bad dream/night terror/after she bangs her head against the wall as my daily exercise. And stock up on coffee.

Oh and p.s. Jake has been feeling neglected. Please admire his cute face.

Have you read either of these books? What are your thoughts?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Recycled Crayon Valentines.

Good morning, readers! Happy Sunday to you and yours. I am currently sipping coffee (with coconut oil (my latest obsession) mixed in. So good!) while listening to the rain pitter patter against the window. My favorite kind of morning. Well, besides the rain part. Rain in the spring, summer and fall? Love it. Rain in the middle of the winter? Yuck.

I have some rather shocking news to share. Are you ready?

The other day I was feeling crafty.

As in, I wanted to spend my time working on a craft project with a particular end result in mind. And if you know me, you know this is not normal.

Olive wanted to make something for Valentine's Day, so I went with it. I got my craft on.

We decided on recycled crayons. You've probably seen them floating around Pinterest, Etsy, Target, everywhere over the last several years. Obviously we're a little behind in all things crafty.

With it being a Valentine's Day project, we really wanted to make rainbow heart crayons. So we went off in search of a heart shaped muffin tin, silicon mold, something. I was hoping to find this. And we struck out. We found a silicone mold at Michaels but the hearts were too big for our needs. But I bought it anyway because too big for heart crayons means just the right size for heart brownies. Woot! In the end, we decided to just use a mini muffin pan. And since we already had one at home, we didn't need to purchase one. Score.

Olive and Penny grabbed our crayon box and started going to town taking off all the wrappers. I am pretty sure this was the best day of Penny's life. She was given the ok to pick the wrappers off. She kept asking "I rip the paper? It okay to rip the paper, mama??" In her world, just for that day, I was the coolest mom EVER. I preferred to use a knife and slit the wrapper end to end. But to each their own.

Our crayons were an assortment of old, broken and well loved Crayolas, restaurant crayons rescued from the bottom of the rarely used diaper bag and other misfits. Regular size and the bigger toddler size. It was a motley crew (totally just wrote motley crue. rock on!) and perfect for the task at hand. We made quick work of the wrappers and I started chopping them into small (~1/4") pieces.

When I had about 2 cups of chopped crayons, we filled the (sprayed) muffin tin. Two cups was the perfect amount for a 12 count mini muffin pan. I tried to make sure every cavity had a nice assortment of colors. You could also sort them by color or color families. But we wanted rainbow.

Then we popped them in the oven at 275* for about 9 minutes. I am sure this varies by the size of your muffin tin/mold and the size of your crayon pieces. You want all the pieces to be melted.

After they were all melted, I pulled them out and let them sit on the counter for about 10 minutes. Then I put them in the freezer for another 20 minutes or so to make sure they were cool all the way through and they popped right out.

Now, I'll be honest. They are not the prettiest or most rainbow-y crayons out there. But my two helpers were more than pleased, so I consider it a success! If I were to do it again, I would make sure to use all Crayolas. The cheaper crayons seems to create a film of sorts. Or maybe some were washable? I was able to flake most of it off, so it wasn't a big deal.

And here is the finished product!

No, I did not design the card. But this lovely blogger did and has kindly offered them up for free. Three years ago. See, I told you I am behind the times! They would have been much cuter with heart shaped crayons, but c'est la vie.

So there you go. I was crafty and a) didn't hurt myself, b) was successful and c) am already thinking about our next batch. I am thinking glitter crayons. Or possibly neon. Maybe I'll go all crazy and do both!

Here is the "recipe":

Cooking spray
Muffin tin/silicone molds/cookie cutters (place a cookie cutter on a baking sheet, fill and bake)

Take wrappers off crayons
Chop crayons into small pieces (2c. was perfect for our mini muffin tin)
Spray muffin tin/molds
Fill muffin tin with broken crayons
Bake @ 275* for 8-10minutes until crayons are melted
Let cool completely and remove
Eat a cookie to celebrate a successful crafting adventure
The End. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Softcup Menstrual Cup Review

Yes, you read that right. I am going to talk about a menstrual cup. Which means, I will be talking about all things menstrual. So if that's not really your cup of tea, feel free to peruse my other posts. Maybe this one?

Several months ago I was invited to review the Softcup Menstrual Cup. Let's just say I did not jump at the chance. I wasn't all that excited about talking about my period on the internet. 

But then I thought, meh, why not. 

So here we go. 

(Last chance to leave before things get interesting...)

Let's talk periods. Not the kind at the end of a sentence. I’m talking about the kind that visits monthly and ruins your life. Ok, maybe that's a little drastic. But maybe not. I think it's safe to say that 'Aunt Flo' and I are not BFFs. In fact, I wouldn't even say we're "frenemies". We're flat out enemies.

My cycle is anything but regular. It's always been wonky and I have a feeling it always will be. It is irregular, painful, and awful. So I have spent a lot of time (and money!) trying different menstrual products with varying success. My go-to solution is a combo of tampons, ginormous pads and ibuprofen. And chocolate. And potato chips. Wine never hurts, either.  You would assume after 15+ years of having my period, I would have things under control. But no. You know what they say about assuming things. It only makes an...well, you now how the saying goes.

Anyway, back to the Softcup Menstrual Cup. I have always thought of menstrual cups as kind of....gross. I didn't really want to remove a used cup, if you know what I mean. But I like the idea of using something that you can wear for 12 hours, is safe to wear (free of toxins that can cause Toxic Shock Syndrome among other things) and is comfortable. Oh and you can have sex while wear the Softcup Menstrual Cup.*  

So what exactly is the Softcup Menstrual Cup?

 "Softcup is a flexible cup that is worn internally, around your cervix. It collects, rather than absorbs menstrual flow. It's hypo-allergenic, latex-free and completely safe when used as directed." (

Well, the time came to give it a whirl. And I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised! They were very easy to use and comfortable. I was able to wear one cup longer than I would a tampon.

But, that being said, there is definitely a learning curve. It took a few tries to get in inserted correctly and comfortably. The key is to relax and keep it level; tilting it up once it is inserted all the way. A little different than using a tampon but once you get the hang of it it's easy. 

And then comes removal. I will admit, I was not overly impressed with this part of the process. As you can imagine, there is the potential for a mess. You remove it by hooking your finger under the lip of the cup and pulling it out, keeping it as level as possible. And as hard as I tried to do this slowly while keeping it level, I still managed to make a bit of a mess. Fortunately I was at home during removal and had access to the sink so it wasn't a big deal. But I can't imagine doing so in a public restroom. Although I am sure the more you use the cups, the better you'll get at it. It's not a deal breaker for me, just takes a little more thought and effort than a typical menstrual product like a tampon or pad. Steady hands are crucial too. 

So overall, I think the Softcup Menstrual Cup is a great option in menstrual care products. If you're looking for a new solution to your monthly problem, I suggest giving it a try! But maybe try it in the comfort of your own bathroom before you head out into the world of public bathrooms. 

Thanks, Moms Meet for giving me the chance to review the Softcup Menstrual Cup! You can learn more about Softcup Menstrual Cup on their website and Facebook page.


*We don't need to tell our significant others about that now do we?

Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms MeetSM blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of  the product.