Two years in the making, I’m still disciplining my toddlers, and loving it, too

I guess it all started with the terrible twos. Tantrums, fits, pouting, but nothing a mom can’t handle with the right guidance or tools, and a bit of research to find out what’s normal and what’s not; at least that is what’s been helping me with disciplining my own toddlers. And every day, it’s a new chapter with a new situation that needs a little tender loving care or just some straight up tough love. GcoYOV

And with two quite active toddlers, hungry to explore the world, I have needed quite some guidance myself in disciplining my toddlers. Here are a few pointers that usually stick with me on a day to day basis:

  1. I remember reading in Parenting magazine, that the best way to avoid a testy toddler situation is to prepare them for what’s coming their way. For example, before walking into church, explain to them what they’re going to be doing in there, and how they’re expected to behave. Granted, my toddlers always forget about ten minutes into the service,but at least they’re not surprised and totally confused when I put them in time out for trying to play skip hop on the church benches.
  2. Another good way to help them adapt to a situation and figure out the best way to behave is to just let them experience it, a local family psychologist suggested. He found that micromanaging your toddler leaves them confused and indecisive on what the right behavior is for a given situation when you aren’t there. He always said to give them a chance,  and let them learn. He also recommended continuing with situations even if your toddler continuously goes crazy and misbehaves. He said that toddlers need to learn that you are in control, and throwing a tantrum is not going to get them out of a long grocery shopping trip, or out of a Christmas mass service.
  3. According to a recent issue of Web MD Baby, the best way to handle a toddler’s temperament is to not blame it so much on yourself. Some kids are just born super active, and that is just the way they are going to be, even if you’re  number up prime grade toddler trainer. And then some kids, are born  with a quiet personality who like to just sit and observe. Nothing you can do about it. And with that knowledge, you might be equipped with a little more peace of mind to focus on the things that you can indeed control.

  4. When your child misbehaves, make it a point to explain to them what they are doing wrong. When Toddler Boy acted like a terror at Summer Camp this week, my husband and I sat him down and talked to him about what he did wrong, what he should have done, and why he was being punished and for how long. This changed his behavior for the nest day at Summer camp by a complete 180.
  5. I watched with amazement a dad at church with his own toddlers. They were sitting a few pews ahead of us a couple weeks ago. As my kids went absolutely insane in my pew because mass was conflicting with their nap schedule, his two toddlers sat absolutely still and facing forward, listening to the priest. And any time his toddlers dared to stir or turn around to check out the mayhem my kids were causing, he quickly took control and reprimanded them, reminding them to focus. I guess what I learned from that is the importance of consistency and patience. Because to be honest with you, sometime I just give up and leave the battle. So it was refreshing to see that it is totally possible to keep your cool and stay in control.

Now this isn’t to say at all that with these pointers, my toddlers are now saints. Because anyone who knows me and my kids know our crazy dynamics. My toddlers are who they are, and I adore that. But it’s always nice to have these bread and butter words of wisdom to help me discipline my toddlers in situations that I can indeed improve by working on their behaviors!

Extreme Couponing: The New Art of Mommyhood

When I first saw the show, rabattkod – kupongerna cdon on TLC, I thought I could never do that. I don’t have time for it, I don’t wanna stock pile etc. Not to mention, with two toddlers and a baby on the way, I don’t have the brainpower or the organization necessary that the ladies on the TV show have. But there is a moderate way to extreme coupon that even a full-time mom with a full-time job can handle. And it’s worth it. Here are some great family tips from

I don’t exactly pile bins of toilet paper under my toddler’s bed, but I have indeed gotten my share out of my coupons. But, like I said, moderately: just getting my feet wet. And here is what I have learned:

  1. Definitely check out the store’s coupon policies before you go and try to use a bunch of coupons, and also make sure to check the online coupon codes before doing online shopping. For example, my grocery store accepts double coupons, but only up to a 99 cent total. And what good does that do me? Target, on the other hand, accepts three of the same coupons per one item, which is how I got my boxes of Organic Fruit Rollups and Nature Valley Granola Bars for literally pennies.
  2. When relying on newspapers to extreme coupon, you need to buy at least six Sunday papers in order for them to add up enough to count.

  3. Self checkout lines are often testy to use for coupons because often the drop slot for the coupons doesn’t recognize that you actually dropped them in, and therefore won’t count them. Which is why it was very tricky for me to get my Tide stain lifting tablets, but in the end, I did get them for $1.00 versus $8.99 with the help of a customer rep.
  4. Ask all your friends and family to save up the mailer coupons they get, such as Redplum or P&G saver. You can combine them all to get a pretty good deal. They’ll love to help you out if it means getting rid of what they consider junk mail. It gives them an extra perk if you bring back a treat or two you extreme couponed for them, or if you pr0mise to put aside coupons for a product they buy all the time (Such as my sister’s favorite eye shadow or prenatal vitamin).
  5. Look for coupons at your pediatrician’s office. Every time I go in, there’s stacks and stacks and stacks of coupons for lotions, Children’s Advil, etc.

I hope to have more pointers for you as I learn the tricks of the trade myself. But for now, I’m enjoying couponing as my new hobby: especially if it gives me an excuse to sit and clip coupons in front of my favorite TV show after the kids go to bed!

Sticker Charts Really Work

With Christmas, Epiphany, and Valentine’s day out of the way, I was running out of excuses to buy toys for Toddler Boy. There just weren’t any reasons to lay down money on big toys until at least Easter, and even that’s not a reason for most parents. I was also still struggling with getting him to clean things up, brushing his own teeth, and getting dressed by himself. That’s when I decided to start the sticker chart.

And it works! Toddler Boy has been wanting as Pop Up Pals Amusement Park for about a month now, which is a pretty expensive toy, and so I figured that a month of sticker earning would be a good measure for him to earn it. So we used a ruler, markers, and construction paper to make the sticker chart, and as we made it, I explained to him that every time he does something good, he gets to put a sticker on the chart, and every time he does something bad, I take one away. I also explained that once he earns enough sticker to fill up one row, he gets to go to the toy store and choose a toy.

Right after we made the sticker chart, we took a trip to the store and picked out special stickers! Toddler Boy picked out some Spongebob stickers for himself (The were no Blue’s Clues), and he picked out some Hello Kitty stickers for Baby Girl.
This system also works as a teaching tool of teaching a young toddler the concept of working for what he wants. He helps cleans his room to earn stickers, which earn him a toy. Later on this transcends into the allowance system, which later in life hopefully helps to develop good working skills. Hopefully!

Toddler Boy loves it, too. When I tell him he’ll get a sticker if he puts on his whole outfit in the morning, he hurries up and gets dressed, and is so proud of himself thereafter. If he knows he’s gonna lose a sticker for acting up in church, it encourages him to cool down. Of course, Toddler Boy is only human, so sometimes, he just isn’t having it and he indeed loses a sticker. And when we come home, I explain to him that because he didn’t cooperate in church, I am taking off a sticker. He gets upset about it, but hopefully he will learn the ends to the mean, and his behavior will improve.

I sometimes use this as a two-step method. If he doesn’t stop jumping on the bed after I’ve told him repeatedly to stop, I’ll put him in the corner. If he still acts up, he also loses a sticker. And to him, that is the end of the world.

The cleaning up routine has improved 100 percent since starting the sticker chart. I still have to tell him a couple times to clean certain things and walk him through different steps of the clean up process (For example, Leggos go in the red bin, and blocks go in the green bin, etc.), but he is getting better every day because of it, and definitely learning organization. And just this weekend, he earned enough stickers to get the toy he wanted! It took about a month because he would earn some and then lose them all in the same day (A looooong day).

We made a sticker chart for Baby Girl too, just for fun, but she still doesn’t quit get it yet (She’s not yet two). And, even though it’s fun to make the sticker chart together, I’ve attached a JPEG of a sticker chart I made quickly that you can use!


Fashion Tips on the Go – Courtesy of The Daily Zophia!

I hope I’m not the only one who finds herself clueless at the beginning of the season, looking for a good place for fashion tips – wondering what I can recycle out of any of the trend pieces I splurged on in the past years, and just haven’t had the heart to throw out. I’m still working on the 3-inch-thick, red pleather belt with the huge metal buckle that I cling onto. I couldn’t even pull it off at Halloween this year, but I’m still grasping that glimmer of hope. I decided that I will be wearing a womens cowboy boots.

Well that’s what The Daily Zophia is for. That perfect go-to website to consult for daily trends – the blog to consult for the hot pieces you can use to dress up any drab outfit – and the voice of truth about what you absolutely should not do fashion-wise, even if it is a life or death situation for that alleged favorite, but hideous red belt that’s hiding in your closet.

I literally used to Google “fashion tips” in hopes of advice before Zophia designer, Betsy Garcete, started this blog. Or had to wait for the latest issue of Vogue or Cosmo (Which, by the way, a lot of that stuff is unrealistic for a regular mom’s budget anyway).

This week’s advice from Zophia was to jazz up an outfit with a little animal print, without making a whole obnoxious outfit out of it – for example, you could go for some leopard pumps or some animal print on a silk scarf to liven up your little black dress.  But in retrospect, if you’re going to wear a leopard dress, go easy on the accessories with some solid-colored shoes, probably without shoe laces, that way easier to put on than what you use in sport events, where you need to learn how to lace up skate shoes, for example.

Yep, it’s good to have a friend who’s fashion-savvy. Even better when she’ll make a blog about it for everyone to benefit from.

And speaking of that perfect leopard dress…check out Zophia’s Marienella Dress.


Hold it! A Few Words on Potty training an unwilling toddler.

When we decided to get rid of his diapers, Toddler boy was the first to say, ” I don’t wanna go potty!” Making us think that he would not be ready for potty training for quite some time. So we kind of tip-toed around the idea, giving him stickers here, maybe an m&m there, but the potty training just didn’t seem to be successful because he was simply unwilling.

Then, as his third birthday rolled around, we decided it would be best for the stimulation of his mind to enroll him into preschool. And it started in two weeks! Problem was, he had to be potty trained! There was no more playing around. We didn’t even entertain the idea of pull-up diapers, training pants, or whatever. As a friend and preschool teacher advised, the best way to do it, was just to take off the diaper, and train him cold-turkey-style. There was no more buying diapers for us (Especially because Baby Girl had started on her cloth diaper adventure).

So that’s what we did. We took his diaper completely off, and put little boy underwear with his favorite characters on him. And I kid you not, within a couple of days, Toddler Boy was potty trained. Sure, there were accidents in his pants,  multiple car seat cover washings, etc. But it was the quickest, best way to do it if you ask me. And after they are potty trained you wont have to hold on to that diaper pail anymore.

We didn’t even have to use a sticker chart, candy rewards, cheerios, or whatever you want to call it. We just used good old-fashioned praise, hugs and kisses when he went in the potty – both number one AND two.

Even at night his accidents in the bed seemed to stop within a week. The trick is to cut out excessive juice and milk drinking, because that’s what he would drink over and over again because he would crave the taste and sugar (Even when he was in his diapers, he had leaks in the bed at night because he drank so much juice and milk). Therefore, I’ve completely cut out juice drinking, and limited milk drinking to only at Breakfast, and directly after dinner. The rest of the day if he’s thirsty, he gets water, and even that is limited after bath time. That way, he has time to process, digest, and dispose of any liquid before falling asleep.

So, you want to potty train your toddler? Here’s a review of what worked for us.

  1. Made sure that we had a potty that Toddler Boy felt comfortable with in size (He’s a little guy).
  2. Said good bye to the diaper, and did not use pull-up diaper products.
  3. Kept him home as much as possible so the accidents weren’t that big of a deal, and I could simply toss his clothes in the laundry, or even let him run around naked throughout the day to make it easier on him.
  4. If we did go out, I brought 2-3 changes of clothes, plenty of wipes, and paper towels.
  5. Praised him like crazy any time he pooped and peed in the potty by himself.
  6. Paid extra attention to any signs or language telling me that he had to go.
  7. Had him wear fleece diaper covers and diaper liners (As suggested by author of All About Cloth) at night just in case, and bought a mattress cover as a precaution.
  8. Cut out as much liquid intake as possible after dinner.
  9. Ta da! He was potty trained within a week!


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