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.

Monday, February 4, 2013

New Normal

Oh dear Blog, how I neglect you. Months have gone by with nary a post nor photo. I do apologize.

But it is with good reason. Since the last time I posted, a lot has happened.

My charming husband got a new job! Yay!

With said new job, came a relocation. A few days after Christmas. It was cold. And a bit snowy. And it went surprisingly well.

We are back in our old stomping grounds. Kind of. Sort of. Ok, not really. We're close.

We're closer to a lot of friends and family.  We've also left behind a lot of friends and family. But through the magic of the internet, we still feel connected. (Thank you, Mark Zuckerberg!)

I am not going to lie, it was really hard driving away from our house for the last time.

Our first house. The house we brought our babies home to. The house where we learned how to be a family. It was a great house. Full of love, laughter and memories.  And drafts. But that's par for the course when your house was built in 1923. There is a great family living in it now and I know they will take good care of it for us.

But we are also very excited to start this new chapter of our lives. We've been here just over a month and it finally feels like home. It is a temporary home (we're just renting for the time being), but it is a good home. It's bright and open and not drafty. The girls love it and so does the dog. Which, if we're honest, is all that matters. 

We've slowly settled into our new normal. Olive is in preschool three days a week (in the afternoon! which is really exciting to a certain 4 year old because she's "never been in an afternoon class!") and we're checking out all sorts of fun places like the Children's Museum, the zoo, the aquarium and Super Target. We're spending more time at home playing because home is this new and exciting place that has promoted peaceful (for the most part) play that doesn't always involve me. Which is all kinds of fabulous. So hopefully, you'll be hearing from me more often.

There you have it, blogland.  My triumphant return. I'll try not to be such a stranger.