Potty Training Around the Campfire {From the Archives}

In honor of our beginning attempts at potty-training Millie this week, and of camping-worthy weather, here’s a peek back into the archives on how we did potty training while camping!Potty Training While Camping from PalmettosandPigtails.com

So in September, we started thinking about potty-training.  We hadn’t previously thought about it, but then all of the sudden Jayna took an interest in accompanying us for every one of our restroom needs.  She was very interested.  So, we started the process….buying the miniature potty, stickers, books, yada yada.  We haven’t really pushed the issue, especially since I wasn’t sure how to potty train Jayna while still keeping my eyes on the ever-busy little boy I watch everyday.  So we stalled.  Until last week.  Because of Thanksgiving, I was relieved of my babysitting duties from Wednesday through Sunday, so I thought, “This, is the perfect time!.”  So from then on, every 30 minutes we potty-trained.  It was going very well, until Dave and I decided to go camping.

Yes, camping.  Yes, potty training while camping.  And no, contrary to (Dave’s) opinion, I am not crazy.  We packed up the car and drove to Santee State Park where we pitched our tent, lit a campfire, fished, and pottied in the back of the truck every 30 minutes!!!  It actually was great, other than being a tad cold (30 degrees that night!!).  It was the perfect setting to do all things potty….there were no distractions and any activities we wanted to do (i.e. fishing, playgrounding, campfiring, stick-finding), could be accomplished within that 30 minute time frame before the timer went off.  So, all in all, I would highly recommend the Potty Training While Camping Method!Potty Training While Camping from PalmettosandPigtails.comPotty Training While Camping from PalmettosandPigtails.comPotty Training While Camping from PalmettosandPigtails.comPotty Training While Camping from PalmettosandPigtails.comYes, here she is on the potty in the back of the truck!  You just need a timer, a potty, some blankets {for privacy!}, a few books and snacks, and LOTS of spare clothes!!Potty Training While Camping from PalmettosandPigtails.comProud Girl!!Potty Training While Camping from PalmettosandPigtails.comHave you potty trained in a creative way?  I need more ideas now that Millie is ready!  Leave me a comment!

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Amelia’s Day at the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry

Did I tell you that Loo Loo is a certified children’s yoga instructor now?  We are super proud of her, and Jayna loves being her guinea pig for new poses!  The non-profit that Loo works with is called Yoga Benefits Kids, which is working to increase awareness of healthy bodies in schools and other children’s programs.  Last week, they had a camp in downtown Charleston that Loo helped work, and so Jayna got to go!  She LOVED it! Not only did she learn new yoga poses, they also played games, did crafts and had a snack.  All during three hours every day for a week!  It was fabulous!  And Millie loved getting some one-on-one time with Mama.

Most of the mornings, Loo took Jayna to camp, while Millie and I went to the gym and ran errands.  But on Friday, Loo had to work, so I took Jayna downtown and then had three hours to kill while we waited for her.  So, since we once again have a Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry membership (thanks to an awesome sponsor opportunity!), Millie and I decided to spend the morning there.

Usually, when we go there, we focus on Jayna.  She loves to play in the grocery store, pirate ship and castle.  Buuuuut, those are all a little advanced for Ms. Millie, who isn’t even walking yet….let alone wearing pirate costumes!  So Friday was all about Amelia.  We started out in the Water Play room.  I set her up in a little smock, with a paintbrush and water.  I attempted to help her draw lines on a wall, while taking pictures, while balancing myself at her level, and trying to prevent her from falling down too!  Who says I can’t multi-task?

After tasting the paintbrush and Oh-So-Clean painting water, we decided to move over to the water table.  Amelia was mesmerized by the “storm clouds” demonstrating the water cycle by “raining” down the mountain.  And she loved running her little yellow car on the road.  The problem was, she wasn’t quite tall enough to hold herself up AND play too!

Finally, we gave up and headed to the baby/toddler space.  Ahhhhh!  Much better!  Once we arrived, Millie was a little skeptical of all the kids (and Mommies) in there. It was so crowded!  But obviously a playground or something, as they all seemed to know each other.

 But…..then Millie saw someone familiar…..

Hey! I know you…..

And from then on, Millie didn’t need me!  She was off…crawling up ramps…

through tunnels….

and up walls!

I tried to get her to play with some of the other babies there, but she was much more interested in these guys.

Peek A Boo!

We had a wonderful time playing!  And when it was time to go pick up Jayna (and walk a mile in the heat to get there!), we both kind of felt like this!

 What a great day!

No Bake Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Hey y’all!  While on my little quest for some make-ahead lunches, I ran across an intriguing recipe for a no-bake homemade granola bar.  I found it on Lauren’s Latest, but she originally got it from Rachel Ray and adapted it to make it healthier.  That’s right. Healthy.  Granola. Bars. {With chocolate chips, I might add!}

So, Jayna and I gave it a shot yesterday:

The Ingredients:

    • 2 c quick cooking oats (not rolled oats!)
    • 1c Rice Krispies
    • 1/4c butter
    • 1/4c honey
    • 1/3c packed brown sugar
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla
    • 2 Tbsp chocolate chips {or as many as your three-year-old deems fit!}…..or cinnamon chips…..or raisins….or marshmallows….or….

Directions:

In a large bowl, stir together the Rice Krispies and quick cooking oats. Set aside.

In a separate small sauce pan, melt together the butter, honey and brown sugar. Bring to a slow boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for about 2 minutes.

Pour the vanilla into the saucepan and stir well.

Pour the hot liquids over the Rice Krispies and Oat mixture and stir well immediately, until well coated.

Pour into a lightly greased jelly roll pan (or use parchment paper, like we did) and pack firmly until it’s about 3/4 inch thick.  You will only use about a third of your pan.

Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top and gently push each down into the mixture to set.

Cool on a countertop for an hour…then pack down some more.

Lauren’s instructions said to cool on the countertop for 2 hours and then cut and wrap the bars and store at room temperature.  But we found that by cooling in the fridge for an hour BEFORE cutting, really helped solidify them.  Amelia had a hard time waiting for them to chill.  She was literally drooling on the fridge!

We also decided to keep them in a Tupperware in the fridge.  They are a little hard when you first take them out, but when they thaw, they can get a little crumbly.  So I think it will be perfect for lunch boxes!

Some of them were a little heavy on the chocolate chips…while others were bare!  (But remarkably still delicious!)

This was only about half the batch!

I’m thinking about drizzling caramel or some of that chocolate candy shell on top next time. Yum!

 Overall, a GREAT recipe to make with your kids.  It was really fast (other than the 2 hours of solidifying) and Jayna was able to {carefully} help with ever single step of the process!  I see more of these in the future!

School Lunch Ideas

I can’t believe that school is back in session in just a short two weeks!  This summer has flown by this year.  Jayna will be starting the 3-year-old program at her school and will once again be eating lunch there as well.  So twice a week I have to come up with fresh, healthy, and portable food for her to eat.  And her routine lunch of peanut butter and jelly, heated up leftovers, a bunch of grapes, and a fruit snack won’t work at school.  And yes, she really does eat all of that!  And to top it off, I’m just not that creative {or a morning person}….so I can’t be one of these moms.

 Source

So I’ve been scouring the internet {aka Pinterest} for some easy, make ahead meals.  Preferably ones I can maybe freeze too.  Here’s what I came up with:

I love the idea of smoothies.  Healthy AND yummy.  But they are kind of a pain to make every morning…..but, if I make several and freeze them, by the time Jayna’s lunchtime rolls around, they shold be nice and thawed in her lunchbox!  This site has a bunch of different flavor ideas.

Meet the Dubiens

And I found a bunch of cute ideas of muffin-tin lunches.  Although Buggy won’t have access to a microwave, I’m hoping if I heat them up and wrap them in foil, they’ll stay pretty warm.

Little Potpies stocked with veggies and meat and topped with Bisquick!

Betty Crocker

Don’t you just love the tiny pepperoni?

Really From Pinterest

Here’s one I’ve actually made before.  The personalized mac and cheese bites are definitely a crowd pleaser!

Mostly Food and Crafts 

And the next two are from my friend Jaima….she has tons of great freezer and toddler recipes on her site.

 Ring Around the Rosies

And the seven layer dip that we bring to um, every single party? What if I just make them in little individual Tupperware instead?

The Girl Who Ate Everything 

I also had a few of my own ideas too! {gasp!}

  • I make these little cream cheese pinwheels for parties using tortillas, cream cheese and dry ranch dressing….I’m thinking of doing those again, but adding more veggies (like peppers, broccoli, carrot strips,etc.) inside before rolling them up and slicing them.
  • We routinely make stuffed crescent rolls for dinner and it has become a favorite quick dinner.  We’ve done pesto, mozzarella and sun-dried tomatoes….cheddar, apples and onion vinagrette….and of course string cheese, pizza sauce and pepperoni (I’m sure you can find that on pinterest!!).  What about ham and cheese?  Or bacon and eggs inside?  Super portable and freezer-friendly!
  • I also thought about making little burrito bowls.  Taco meat, cheese and salsa in a Tupperware in the freezer.  Thaw it out and top with sour cream for the lunchbox? Hmmmm…..

I also plan on stocking up on and pre-washing, cutting and bagging various fruit, veggies, cheese cubes, and crackers.  And this year, because she is in the big girl class, Jayna can finally bring dried fruit to school!  So trail mix is also an option.

How about you?  Got any ideas for me?  They have to be peanut-free though.  Leave me a comment!

Little Fishes

As y’all know, Mom Mom has been with us for the past week.  We had a wonderful visit!  It’s always such a treat to watch the girls interact with her.  Even though she lives a gazillion miles away (Jayna’s measurement!), each time she picks up right where she left off!

This week was no exception.  Mom Mom was able to step into our routine right as Swim Lessons were about to start!  Actually, I believe this is the fourth week of lessons, but Jayna has really been hit or miss with them.  She loves the water and desperately wants to know how to swim….she just can’t relax and get out of her head enough to actually do it!  Until….this week!  Having Mom Mom around to “show off” for really made a difference in her confidence levels.

She is in a class with four other kids about her age, and they have Ms. Phoebe (the instructor) and Mr. Aaron (a high school helper) showing them how to correctly do the strokes.  And they do it in the deep end with noodles!

Since the start of swim lessons last month, Jayna can swim under water, with freestyle-stroke arms for about three strokes before popping up for air!

And Ms. Millie is right behind her…. I discovered this week that Amelia loves to swim in the pool too!  She kicks her legs and only drinks ‘some’ of the salty pool water….

And she loves “jumping” in from the side of the pool!  I count to three and she takes a deep breath….and dunk! She comes up smiling and says “Tada!” everytime!

She made the funniest faces when she took her big breath on the count of three!

And then she would ask for “more.”  Over. and over. and over…

We love that Mom Mom was able to capture all of these pictures (usually I’m by myself at the pool with them, so no time for pics!).

 We loooooooove the pool!

As always, I have un-edited versions of all of these pics….so Family, if you’d like them, email me or leave a comment and I’ll give you the link!

Family Pictures from Rachel Weber Photography

Did you think I deserted you?  I know I have been a little MIA lately, but we’ve been super busy.  Between getting back into the swing of things after our Montreat trip, being sick last week, and having Mom Mom visiting this week, things have been a little nuts around here!

So I figured I’d check in, let you know that we are all ok, and share some pictures with you!

A couple of weeks ago, the girls had another photo shoot with the fabulous Ms. Rachel Weber of Rachel Weber Photography.  Dave and I snuck into a couple of the pics for some family shots, but it was mostly for the girls.  It was 105 degrees with a 112 degree heat index, but regardless of the sweat and bugs, the pictures all turned out great!

For our friends and family…..if you would like some shots without my logo to print off for yourself, shoot me an email or a comment and I’ll give you the link to my Photobucket site!

NOT a happy camper!

Happy Family!

Montreat 2012

Well, we are finally back from Montreat, NC and slowly getting back into the swing of things.  It’s amazing how even four days away can mess with your household!  Unlike last year, it was a beautiful week in the mountains….not too hot and no rain!  We shared my last post with the scrapbook photos with the high schoolers that Bets and Jay brought this year, and they loved it!  They were completely amazed at how I used a disposable camera (no retaking those blurry shots!), and at how cool the three of us were back then! =)

So, to recap…Bets and Jay are our best friends from Maryland.  They are our kids’ godparents, and their little Lulabelle is like our third daughter.  Betsy, Jay and I grew up together in our church, which they are still members of, and now the youth counselors at.  So they are continuing our church’s tradition of taking the youth group to Montreat each summer.  And since Montreat is just a couple of hours from us, the girls and I try to meet up with them for a couple of days while they are up there.  While the youth group stays in the lovely dorms at the college, the girls and I prefer the local Marriott!

And although Jayna did sleep in her own bed at night, this is what I awoke to each morning!

And since this trip was a first for Millie….I decided to bring and break in my brand new stroller.  Can I just say that it is awesome!  It has like 12 different sitting combinations, but the one we used was Millie in the front seat, Lulabelle sitting on the jump seat, and Jayna standing.

And Betsy pushing. Did I mention we were in the mountains?

We finally gave up on pushing all three girls, and put Millie in the front pack and made the big girls walk!

Jayna and Lulabelle were so stinkin’ cute together.  Jayna was all about playing the cool big sister….and although she is great with Amelia, I think she truely enjoyed manipulating helping Lulabelle…from buckling seatbelts for her, to convincing her that she liked pickles, to teaching her how to hula hoop!

And every year, the scenery just takes my breath away.  Lake Susan is like glass, framed by a baby blue sky and mountains.

Jay and some of the boys noticed huge fish sitting on some of the rocks at the bottom of the lake….tadpoles?  Man, they are gonna be some HUGE frogs!

But even the small details had me appreciating the scenery.  All of the buildings are stone, and they have gorgeous hydrangias around every corner.

I even caught this little inchworm hanging {literally} by a thread!

While the big kids were in small groups, we took the opportunity to spend some time with Betsy and Jay.  There is this cute little park at Montreat that has great playground equipment, and then several creeks running through for the kids to play in.

And although they tried hard not to get wet…both girls ended up soaking wet and laughing!

It’s a good thing Jay was willing to get wet too…that mountain water was COLD!

Now we just need to get Dave up here!!

Palmettos and Pigtails Signature

Simple Pleasures

We’ve had a busy week.  And we’ve been sick.  But, there is always a silver lining!  Sometimes I just have to focus on those simple pleasures…  Here are our highlights for the week:

Of course she wouldn’t show them for the camera, but Amelia sprouted two teeth this week!

Our Christmas Cactus that we got a couple of years ago from Aunt Linda, surprised us and bloomed again!

I had a Pampered Chef/Thirty One Bags Party and had some lovely Girl Time with good friends!

Jayna has almost been a pleasure to be around this week! =)

And we’ve had some very silly moments!

We had a fantastic time with friends at Veggie Tales Live!
 Honestly, I can’t take them anywhere…..

Spring is just around the corner and we are feelin’ it!  Stay tuned tomorrow to see how we are welcoming it into our house!

Missing You

Dear Family,
I’m having a great time here in Nashville, but I sure am missing you!!! Keep sending me pictures of what you are doing too! I love you and I’ll see you tomorrow!

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Jayna, keep me posted on our new neighbors too!

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Love, Mommy

A Candyland Birthday

We know how to do parties in this house. I believe in pulling out all the stops and creating the best DIY party I know how. Buy, boy, is it exhausting!!! For Jayna’s first birthday, I enlisted the help of my besty, Betsy (you like that wordplay?!?!?) to put on a Crayola themed party at my in-laws’ house. We wrapped their columns to look like giant crayons, Betsy made a custom cake, we had crayon letters in each kid’s name for favors….it was awesome.

Last year, we decided that Jayna wouldn’t know the difference (and certainly didn’t need any gifts), so we opted to have a pajama themed party and have everyone bring pajamas or books to donate to kids who had been victims of natural disasters. We had a cookies and milk buffet and the kids made puppets.

This year, we stuck with the short and sweet. And boy, do I mean sweet. I may have lost some friends as their kids hit their sugar highs!!! After seeing some cute lollipops made out of balloons and plastic wrap, I decided that I wanted to do a Candyland themed party. Thanks to the help of Loo Loo and Dave, we pulled it together Saturday morning. About a week before the party, I ordered a party kit off of Etsy….it included banners, cupcake toppers, invitations, thank-you notes, candy wrappers, etc. All of the paper goods I could possibly need. It was so nice to have everything in one little jpeg file that I could send off to Staples to get printed! It ended up costing me about $80 between purchasing and printing costs, but I think it was worth it in the end, since everything matched and there wasn’t a whole lot for us to make.

Except for the dresses. If you know me, you know I love me some matching outfits!! I made Jayna’s last week, but decided at the last-minute to make Amelia’s match completely (originally, she was only going to color coordinate with existing clothes). So where was I an hour before the party started? In the shower? No. Finishing last-minute decor? No. At my sewing machine making a dress? YES!!! =) But I’m really pleased with how it turned out (not bad for a 20 minute project!), and only Dave couldn’t tell it was a lollipop on the front!

And in case you were wondering how to get a three-year old to pose on cue?
A Skittle bribe will work!

The kids hopped along the Candyland path between our playroom, our dining room (where they decorated cupcakes), our living room (where they were supposed to play Pin the Nose on Mr. Peppermint…but nobody did.), and the kitchen (where they decorated and then filled Tupperware with candy from our lovely candy buffet).

And it’s a good thing no one else played because Jayna would have swept it!  She got him right on the nose, the very first time!!

And of course, I copied the oh-so-cute idea of the balloon lollipops outside, along with a little bit of Jayna decor! The paper kit that I bought had lots of pictures of Jayna….quite funny seeing her face everywhere! But for $80….I was gonna use every last piece of that kit!! =)

Nothing like a little upcycling!  Remember when I made this wreath?

Jayna got lots of wonderful presents….many with Princesses as the theme. Which was awesome as she is soooo in to them right now. In fact, she actually asked to take a bath tonight (I’m sure the brand new mermaid bath toys were a complete coincidence!!). And then we finished out the evening by meeting Sue Sue and Papaw at Taco Boy downtown (Jayna’s favorite restaurant). Great, but exhausting, day!