Sunday, September 30, 2012

Potty Training Days 7, 8, 9, & 10

He loves the stars on his underwear!

Ever since Wednesday, Caden has made a few steps backward. We are back to him fighting me to go on the potty and me having to ask him frequently if he needs to go. The only positive is he loves his underwear! I put him in just underwear at church today and he did fine. No accidents since Friday (knock on wood). I think this is the last of the potty training updates until we tackle night time.

Caden has progressed in other areas too. His birthday party weekend he started jumping. We rented a baby signing DVD at the library and now we both have learned more signs, the most useful one being help. He knows colors and shapes too and he's interested in learning letters.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Easy Carrot Soup

One of my favorite dishes my mother made when I was growing up was her carrot soup. I finally decided to try making it last year for an autumn blessingway and it was a hit! We had it again last night, which reminded me to share this delicious and easy recipe with you:

  • 4 large carrots, sliced
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 minced garlic clove or 1 tsp. crushed garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 2 tbs. butter
  • 6 cups chicken broth (about 3 cans)
  • 1/2 cup uncooked white rice
  • 3/4 cup whole milk 
1. Saute the carrots, onions, garlic, pepper, and nutmeg in the butter for a couple minutes.

2. Add the broth and rice and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the carrots and rice are tender.

 3. Puree the soup in the blender (can be done in 2 shifts if necessary). Return the soup to the pot and stir in the milk.

That's it! You can garnish it with shredded carrot and serve with corn muffins or whatever else you like to eat with soup. This recipe is perfect for your Halloween party or fall baby shower!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Statesman Ties Customized Tie Giveaway [CLOSED]

I met Rob from Statesman Ties through the LDS Etsy team. When he asked me to do a givaway, I was thrilled! My husband desperately needs new ties, but refuses to let go of his old ones for sentimental reasons. I chose the red tie with the Canadian maple leaf embroidered in the corner because Justin served a mission in Canada.

On the back I had his nickname embroidered:

He wore it to church on Sunday. Isn't he handsome?

*I love the color!
*Excellent customer service.
*Endless possibilities of customization (see the policies page).
*Justin: I love the embroidery.
*Justin: The tie feels nice and it's easy to knot.

*Justin: It would be a good idea to offer different lengths. Although the tie fit me perfectly, it may be too long for shorter guys (he's 5'10").

Statesman Ties is giving away to one lucky reader any tie in the shop with the customization you want!

Mandatory Entry: Go to Statesman Ties and tell me which tie you would choose and how you would customize it.

1 entry: Heart Statesman Ties on Etsy. Leave your username.

1 entry: Visit the Statesman Ties website and tell me something you learned.

1 entry: Like Statesman Ties on Facebook. Leave your FB name.

1 entry: Like The Hand That Rocks the Cradle on Facebook. Leave your FB name.

1 entry: Follow this blog on Google Friend Connect.

1 entry each (4 total): Post this giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or your blog.

1 entry: Tell me what tie would you like to see in the shop.

Please leave a separate comment for each entry. All entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. PDT on Thursday, October 11. The winner will be announced on Friday, October 12. Please leave your email address in one of your entries so I can contact you if you win. This giveaway is open to the U.S. & Canada. Good luck!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Potty Training Days 5 & 6

In big boy underwear that's too big.
Tuesday went the same as Monday. Justin came home from work much earlier than expected and wanted to take us out for dinner, so I decided we'd try. Caden did great! Not only did we not have to take him out of the restaurant for misbehaving, but he also didn't have any accidents there or in the car and went potty at the restaurant.

This morning Caden had a #2 accident on the floor. Not sure how that happened. Luckily it was an easy clean-up. He had two more throughout the day. Not fun. I think it was because it was such a busy day and Daddy was home, distracting him.

We finally got him big boy underwear. He loved the one with cars on it and didn't want to put on pants when it was time to run some errands.

I hope tomorrow he goes back to pooping on the potty!

Art by Kelly Michelle Gift Tags & Gift Labels Giveaway [CLOSED]

I got this adorable autumn leaves printable from Art by Kelly Michelle for a great deal.

I'm turning them into place settings for Thanksgiving. You could let the kids color them or print them on colored cardstock. You can also make them into bookmarks or a card, like the one Kelly made below:

Kelly has lots of cute designs in her shop, drawn on cards, bookmarks, gift tags, gift bags, sticker labels, and magnets.

*One-of-a-kind, beautiful, hand-drawn designs.
*Colorful, bright, and whimsical.
*Unbeatable prices.
*Great customer service!

*Not a fan of construction paper or cut-out words. The greeting cards with phrases printed directly on the paper or cut out in a rectangle look better to me.

Kelly is generously giving away these lovely 6 gift tags and 10 gift labels to one lucky winner!

Mandatory Entry: Visit Art by Kelly Michelle and tell me your favorite item.

1 entry: Heart Art by Kelly Michelle on Etsy. Leave your username.

1 entry: Like Art by Kelly Michelle on Facebook. Leave your FB name.

1 entry: Like The Hand That Rocks the Cradle on Facebook. Leave your FB name.

1 entry: Follow this blog on Google Friend Connect.

1 entry each (4 total): Share this giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or your blog.

Please leave a separate comment for each entry. All entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. PDT on Wednesday, October 10. The winner will be announced Thursday, October 11. Please include your email address in one of your entries so I can contact you if you win. This giveway is open to the U.S. only. Good luck!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Potty Training Day 4

The dawn is breaking! Although Caden slept in a diaper and wet it, he went on the potty when I changed him Monday morning. Throughout the rest of the day, he sat on his little potty all on his own and peed, clapping when he was done. No potty dancing or whining; I only knew when he went because he clapped. He even took the little potty to the big potty to dump it! He didn't have an accident when he woke up from his nap either.

When he had to go #2, he didn't fight me. He asked for help getting on the big potty and then got off, repeating this until it was ready to come out, and he stayed on the potty until he was done instead of struggling with me. I am so proud of my Little Misters!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Potty Training Days 2 & 3

Playing with the squirt bottle while going potty.

I jinxed myself. Last night and the night before, Caden woke up at night because he wet himself. Besides those times, he only had 3 accidents on Saturday, two from us not getting to the potty on time because he fought me and once because he had just woken up from a nap. But he definitely knows when he has to go. He says "Mama," does the potty dance and runs near or to the potty, and whines. Saturday was a lot of struggling against me, especially before going #2, when I had to force him to stay so it would land in the potty.

Today he was more cooperative. I had to put him in a diaper for church, and I was worried it would undo the progress we've made, but it didn't. He didn't have any accidents today. He's still fighting me, though, when he has to go #2.

I decided to put him in a diaper tonight so that it wouldn't interrupt his (and my) sleep. We'll save night-time potty training for later.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Potty Training Day 1

Sitting on his own
Today I decided to start potty training for real. Two nights ago I put Caden to bed without a diaper on (only done once before when Caden had a bad rash) because he stays dry until he wakes up. The next morning, I put him back in a diaper, and he filled it up. Last night I left him diaperless again, but this morning I stuck him right on the potty. To my surprise, he didn't fight me even though he had just woken up. To my dismay, he did nothing after half an hour. I tried again after breakfast, when he usually has his morning BM. Nada.

The first time he went was in his room. I saw a stream, called out "Caden!", and put him on his portable potty chair. But when I had cried out his name, he stopped peeing and didn't finish in the potty. He went on his little armchair a couple times too.

Caden kept asking for a diaper or shorts. I finally gave into shorts, which he went in while I was reading to him before naptime. Luckily his shorts are thick and absorbed it before it got to me.

After his short nap, he was very cranky. I put him in his plastic lawn chair so he wouldn't wet his nice armchair anymore and gave him a snack. For the next half hour he peed over and over. Every time he realized he was peeing on himself, he would stop and get really upset. I would sit him on his potty chair, but he wouldn't do anything more until after he sat back down in his plastic chair. This cycle continued, with Caden in tears even though I wasn't mad or frustrated and didn't even make him clean up the mess. I was worried he wasn't ready for potty training after all. But as time went on, he started to finish going pee in the potty and clap for himself and soon sat on it without me asking, even when he didn't end up doing anything. Then I knew it was just his usual crankiness after naptime and that we could continue.

He still had more accidents even with carrying the potty everywhere he went and watching him constantly, but he made progress. Until Daddy came home. Now he's refusing to sit on the potty. We'll see how it goes tomorrow!


And I just caught his first #2! He'd been doing the potty dance for the last half hour and even going to the big potty but refusing to sit on it. This last time I sat him down, he started to jump off, I saw poo coming and kept him there. I survived cleaning up pee all day, but now I am getting frustrated. If things get worse, I'll introduce potty treats, but I'd rather not.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Basket Case

Ever since he could crawl, Caden has been obsessed with baskets and anything else he can climb into or on top of.





And those are only the moments caught on camera!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

My Favorite Less Popular Disney Animated Movies

We all know and see the Disney classics everywhere. But Disney has made some less-popular animated movies that I think are better than their classics. My top 5:

1. The Emperor's New Groove: Absolutely hilarious! Never gets old.

2. Meet the Robinsons: Wonderful story and message with a cute plot twist.

3. Tarzan: Amazing soundtrack! Always makes me cry.

4. Bolt: Cute and funny. We saw it on Christmas Day.

5. Brother Bear: Good message and humorous.

What are your favorites?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Intervew with David McKnight, Author of Tongue of Fire

Last week I reviewed the book Tongue of Fire, by David McKnight. This week I interviewed the author:

How long have you been writing for? Have you always wanted to publish a book?
I’ve been writing financial articles for national magazines for a few years and of course had a very intensive writing curriculum in college. But, believe it or not, this is actually my first foray into fiction. I’d always wanted to write movie scripts, short stories, and novels, and frequently had interesting ideas pop into my head. But this was the first time I actually acted upon it.

Where did you get the idea for the book?
Believe it or not, the basic premise for the story came to me in the one place where almost all inspiration comes: the shower.  After getting out of the shower, I told my wife, “I just had this crazy idea and I think I’m going to write a book about it.” Almost two years later, the book was done. Quite an incredible process going from the first inkling of inspiration to a finished product.  For any aspiring writer, I’d suggest writing a novel from start to finish—there’s no better learning experience out there.

Which character did you enjoy creating the most?
One of my favorite characters (and as it turns out, the favorite character of quite a few others I’ve talked to) is Arnie. He’s the backup kicker on the football team, a bit nerdy, somewhat of a social pariah, and Jacob’s (the Mormon preacher’s son and star quarterback) only friend when things get really bad. He can’t really be in the “in crowd,” so he settles for being “in the know.” He makes it his business to know everyone else’s business and becomes one of the main catalysts in the plot. Notwithstanding all his frailties, he’s got a heart of gold and wants to do the right thing. I think everyone can identify with Arnie because who, at some point in their lives, hasn’t been kicked to the curb a time or two?

What did you learn from the writing and publishing process?
Writing a novel is twice as hard as I thought it would be and took me twice as long. I spent 9 months writing a version of the story that was not workable and basically ended up starting over completely. It took me another 10 months to finish the next version, and after going through about 20 different revisions, I finally got it to the point where it was polished enough to publish. 
I also learned that there is no such thing as having it come out right the first time. Writing fiction (as in all other types of writing) is a process that requires constant revisions and refinement. I still read the story and say, what if I had said it this way instead of that? Of course that’s a process that could ultimately drive you batty so you just have to capitulate and get the thing published.
Lastly, find someone who knows what they’re doing and have them assist you in the writing process. I have a good friend who’s written 8 or 9 novels who acted as my sounding board. I’d shoot him 4 chapters at a time, he’d critique them, then I’d shoot him another 4 chapters. I’d recommend that anyone interested in writing a novel find an accomplished writer or writing group that can give you no-holds barred feedback during the writing process.  That way, if your story starts to veer off course, you can make those crucial adjustments along the way.

I can totally see your book as a movie. If that opportunity ever came up, how would you feel about it?
I've been asked this question quite a few times and I, of course, would be tickled pink if they made this story into a movie. I think before that can happen, however, we simply need to get the word out so that the story can reach critical mass. So, for that reason, I'll simply ask that if you read my book and you like it, you tell all your friends about it. For a limited time, I will continue to give away the ebook for free. All you have to do is go to the Tongue of Fire facebook page and Like it. Here's the link:

Do you plan on writing a sequel or other books?
I’ve had other people suggest writing a sequel to this book, but I think one of my main goals was to write a story that could really stand on its own. I really wanted to try to button everything up by the end of the story and have no loose ends. Certainly you could take any of the protagonists and follow them on an adventure of their own but, I think for right now, I’m going to leave this story be.
I have a lot of stories bouncing around in my head, and I’ve already started on the next one. It’s about an inactive member of the Church who suspects he’s had a brush with one of the Three Nephites. When he becomes obsessed with finding out the truth, his life begins to spin violently out of control. The storyline is completely plotted out and I’ve already begun the first draft. It will appeal to much of the same LDS audience as well as others who are simply in the mood for a non-stop thrill ride. Think M. Night Shyamalan meets the LDS Church.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Caden's Second Birthday

At the end of August Caden turned 2! Two isn't a big number, but so much has happened in the last two years it feels like it's been a long time. I hardly remember what Caden was like as a baby; he's so different now. At his appointment he measured 34 inches and 25 pounds. You'd think he'd be bigger the way he eats! But he's very active too.

On his birthday we went shopping in behalf of family for a helmet and elbow and knee pads for the Strider bike all the grandparents bought him. Caden loves his bike! He rides it around the house and patio (we haven't taken it downstairs yet because Justin's been busy and it's still too hot). Anyway, we took him swimming, his absolute favorite activity and then out for ice cream, his favorite treat, after dinner.

Labor Day weekend, my family came out to celebrate. We had a pool party, of course. A couple other friends came as well. We had a lot of fun and a lot of food, all weekend. It was crazy having so many people in the apartment--that's when I truly realized how much smaller it is than our old house!


Playing Dance Central, believe it or not!

Caden also got a Sesame Street DVD from us, a popsicle maker from his aunt and uncle, and a color matching toy from his Aunt Francine. With the leftover money from family, I'm buying him big boy underwear and a Halloween costume.

See more birthday photos here.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Tongue of Fire Book Review & Facebook Giveaway

David McKnight, the author of the new book Tongue of Fire, contacted me asking to read and review his book. The summary on the back cover reads:
The charismatic new preacher at the local mega-church is drawing followers by the hundreds. There’s only one problem. He’s a Mormon, and nobody knows it.  
John Peterson tries to follow the Spirit, but it tells him to preach, and preaching only seems to get him into trouble. His strident defense of the Mormon Church has gotten him fired again, forcing his family to move for the third time in as many years. Looking for a fresh start in Mayfield, John agrees to keep his head down. But when the owner of the local mega-church loses his pastor, he invites John to preach without asking the name of his church. After a spiritual prompting, John decides to preach, but as his following explodes, his new-found fame threatens to expose his religion and shatter his family’s hopes for a new life.  
The town of Mayfield is growing impatient with high school football coach Paul Connelly. The former pastor was hired to help save the football program after the greatest scandal in school history, but after four straight losing seasons, his time is running out. With John Peterson’s meteoric rise, the town appears to have found a new moral authority, and an excuse to find a new coach. When Paul discovers that John is a Mormon, he finds the key to restoring his moral standing—all he has to do is expose and destroy John Peterson.
The summary piqued my curiosity. Once I started reading, I was hooked! I finished it in 2 days. It was that good.

*Fast-paced, easy read.
*Chapter divisions and endings are perfect.
*Great for everyone, from teens to adults, men to women.
*Many underlying themes, the most prominent being what defines a Christian and the most important being the unforeseen consequences of actions. I found myself analyzing the themes and characters as if I were back in AP English!
*Well rounded: includes romance, sports, and family dynamics, not just religion.
*Clean read. No swearing or sexual innuendos at all.
*Great cover illustration.
*Not just for an LDS audience. Other Christians could read, understand, and enjoy it.

*I would have liked to have known more about John's experiences in the other towns and read one of his sermons in the new town.

For a limited time, David McKnight is giving away the ebook for free! All you need to do is like the Tongue of Fire Facebook page. Ten lucky winners will also receive a paperback copy!

Come back next week for an interview with the author.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


The winners of the What to Expect 3-book giveaway are comments #72 by A. Carmody and #119 by Sarah Yurga. Congratulations! Enjoy the books, lucky ladies!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...