Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday & Cyber Monday Etsy Coupons and More!

Get ready to get some holiday shopping done, without waiting in any lines! Have fun and I hope you find something!

These Etsy shops have the coupon code BLACKFRIDAY13:

More Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals on Etsy:
Avid Treasurers Team
Hena Tayeb Photography
Kadydid Designs

More Coupons on Etsy:
Etsy Coupon Code
Caseta De Paper Christmas Shopping Guide

More Coupons & Deals around the Web: BABYGA for a free nursing pillow
Any of their sister sites: FAMILY2013 for free products

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Baby Genius

Gabe has taken to elimination communication quite well. He doesn't fight sitting on his potty anymore. We've been doing it casually, but I still catch about 1 or 2 poops and 2 pees per day. Gabe can also sign potty (modified, of course; he signs the letter t but doesn't shake it), and I swear he's been doing it since two months old. I didn't believe it at first, since babies aren't supposed to sign until at least 6 months old, and most between 8 and 10 months. Even though Caden started at 4 months, I thought 2 months was impossible. But Gabe's been doing it consistently since then, so it wasn't a fluke.

He just started trying to sign milk and it's hilarious. When Caden first started signing as a baby, he signed milk and potty almost the same (a closed fist for milk and a closed, slightly shaken fist for potty) so it was hard to tell the difference sometimes. So in teaching Gabe, I exaggerated the difference, opening and closing my fist really wide for milk, resulting in Gabe waving his arm back and forth as he claws the air--and me. The next one we've been working on is sleep so that he knows when I put him down in the bassinet or crib it's nap time and I'm not abandoning him.

He seems to like it when I sign to him, because he responds with smiles and excited movements. I think he can tell I'm trying to communicate with him, and that makes him happy. I am very amazed with this baby, especially since Caden was a very smart one too and Gabe is one-upping his older brother at every stage so far: he's bigger, eats faster, cries less, sleeps better, and signed sooner than Caden. I think Gabe's determined not to be overshadowed by his older brother!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Featured Seller: Ana from Devine Essence

This week's featured seller is Ana from Devine Essence, a lovely jewelry shop with excellent prices.

My name is Ana. I am from Jamaica and currently reside in New York. I have always wanted to have my own business, but the timing was never right. While working I had to take an emergency day off, and when I went back to work the following day my supervisor told me that she loved me very much but she could also get someone to replace me if I took another day off.

At the time I felt crushed, but it was just a stepping stone for what God had in store for me, to move to the next level or the next chapter in my life.

I have always loved beautiful jewelry and thinking of ways to make it better. Then a friend of mine introduced me to Etsy. I opened Devine Essence but didn't put anything in it a for year. Then eventually I just sat down and started making jewelry, and I have been ever since.

Check out her shop for more beautiful jewelry. You can also find her on Facebook and Wanelo.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


The winner of the $25 gift certificate to Rakun Shop is comment #76 by Ashley Sullivan. Congratulations! We are all envious of you!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Boys

It's been a while since I've posted about the boys for the grandparents. Although Caden asks me to sing the Thomas & Friends theme song several times daily, he thankfully doesn't watch the show anymore. He will ask to watch it, but once on Netflix, he will change his mind and watch something else instead, like Curious George. Mama is happy! As for Gabe, he is slobbering like crazy and getting chunkier everyday.

Reading Goodnight Moon to Gabe

Trying out the Bumbo seat

Nap time

He wanted to wear his hat and mittens just like the snowmen he makes in a computer game.

After changing his diaper, I took a potty break, and when I came out Gabe had fallen asleep! That wasn't the first time either (see below).

Last month. Wow, look how much skinnier he was! It's hard to notice growth when I see him everyday.
Caden comforting his little brother. He is so sweet to Gabe!

First time playing with (more like eating) a toy on his own.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Potty Problems

Gabe's favorite thing to do is poop during a diaper change. It usually happens after a long period of time between diaper changes, like in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning. And he has lots of blowouts in his disposable diapers, but I won't put him in cloth diapers at night until he nurses less often.

Today I thought I would try catching his morning poo in the infant potty. I have tried before when he was younger, holding him over it horizontally or holding back his legs over the big potty before bath time (he liked to pee on me), but he did not like it.

Well, this morning I caught it just in time: as soon as I put him on, he exploded. He didn't want to stay there any longer than necessary though. When he was done, Caden peaked into the potty to see Gabe's poo, said, "Bananas!" and then fanned the air by his nose. Very funny!

I've tried putting Gabe back on every time I've changed his diaper today, but he won't have any of it, so we'll just stick with mornings until he's more comfortable with the potty. As for Caden, he's back into Pull-Ups at night because he refuses to go potty by himself when he wakes up although he is perfectly capable of doing so. The first morning his diaper was full, but the last two days he's been dry. Caden also fights going potty during the day. He holds it until the last possible minute, resulting in some near accidents, and gets upset when I make him go. I don't know why he doesn't want to go anymore. I hope it's just a phase that passes quickly!


The winner of the Trinkets by Dana mobile and hair clips giveaway is comment #73 by Emmi Jones. Congratulations! Enjoy your prizes!

Friday, November 15, 2013

More How to Prevent (Some) Tantrums

Last year I wrote a post about how to prevent some tantrums. As Little Misters has grown older and presented new challenges, I have had to come up with more ways to prevent tantrums. Feel free to share yours in the comments!

Give a Timeline
When you want to tell your children about a fun event planned for later in the day but want to avoid them constantly asking if it is time to go, include when you will go in relation to your everyday schedule. For example, "Today we're going to the park after nap time/chores/dinner." (Or you could just surprise them. Then, if they didn't deserve to go, they will never know and thus can't throw a tantrum.)

This response also helps in establishing an everyday schedule by preparing your kids for the next part of your daily routine. For example,"You can watch one more episode and then we will have lunch and take a nap." When kids know what to expect, they are less likely to get upset, as they would if you just turned off the TV and said, "Nap time!"

It also works for when your kids ask to watch a movie, play outside, or eat a treat but need to complete something first. Instead of saying no and inciting a tantrum, say yes followed by "after you [insert action]." For example, "Yes, you can have a cookie, after you finish your salad." Of course, if they do not complete the action, then they do not get what they asked for.

If there are any limitations that come with the permission, express them immediately and remind your child again once they get the activity/treat. For example, "Yes, you can have a cookie after you finish your salad, but only one cookie." [Child finishes salad.] "Here is your cookie. Remember, you only get one." Your child then will be less likely to whine for more or throw a tantrum when you say no to more.

Explain Why Not
If the answer cannot be yes, explain why. Sometimes when kids understand why you are saying no, they accept it more easily. Examples:
  • "No, you cannot have a cookie because there are none left."
  • "No, we cannot go to the park right now because it is getting dark outside."
  • "No, I cannot play with you because I am cooking dinner and then it will be time to eat."
Obviously, not every no will have a specific reason or one that a child can understand. But if you explain when you can, I think your kids will probably trust you the times you can't. Just don't give a stupid reason like "Because I said so."

If the answer is no right now but could be a yes tomorrow, include that in your explanation. Just be sure not to make any promises you can't keep. For example, in correlation with the above examples:
  • "but we can make some more tomorrow."
  • "but we can go in the morning after we get our chores done."
  • "but after dinner we can play one game before bed."
Another idea, especially if there is no possibility of a yes at a different time, is to offer an alternative they may not have thought about. For example, (again, relating to the previous examples):
  • "but you can have some blueberries."
  • "but we can play together in your room."
  • "but you can help me with dinner."
Be Consistent
If a tantrum still ensues, follow through with your discipline every time. What helped us was making a rules chart with clear consequences for home and in public so Caden knew to expect discipline no matter where we are. Knowing you mean business and are not just full of empty threats may deter your child from having future tantrums.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Dragons: Gift of the Night Fury

We are big How to Train Your Dragon fans. Today I found and watched this short holiday video with Caden on Netflix and I loved it! I even got teary eyed. (Man, ever since I became a mother I turned into such a sap.) Anyway, I wanted to share it with you. I hope you enjoy it!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Silly Little Linguist

Ever since I was a kid, I was over-analytical with people's language. For example:
  • When we girls would argue in elementary school and the other would end with "I'm not your friend anymore!" I would reply, "You can't decide who my friends are! I decide whom to call and not to call my friends. You can only say that I won't be your friend anymore." I now know that they meant they wouldn't act like my friend anymore, not playing or talking with me.
  • In elementary school, kids loved to tell jokes and riddles. One was, "How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?" The answer was, "None. A woodchuck can't chuck wood!" I would reply, "But you said if it could, meaning it has the capability in this hypothetical situation." Okay, so I didn't use those exact words, but you get my point.
  • My teacher in first and second grade made us spelling dictionaries so we wouldn't bother her every time we couldn't spell a word. Only if the word wasn't there could we ask her to add it in. I would think (and I know this one is not unique to me), If I could look up the word in the dictionary, I wouldn't be asking for your help spelling it!
I also liked to make up my own words. My dad and I would make up silly names too. I still do both with my babies: I sing nonsense words to common tunes, like "If You're Happy and You Know It," and give the boys ridiculous nicknames. Even my dozens of stuffed animals had unique names, and I remembered them all. Of course, I had enough sense to give my boys normal names, but I'll embarrass them when they're older by calling them by their nicknames in front of their friends!

[June 2014 update] More examples I remembered:
  • When I was 3 or 4, I asked my mother if I was a human. She answered yes. I thought about it and then replied, "No, I'm a hugirl!"
  • When teachers and other authority figures would say, "I don't want to hear any excuses," I thought they should still allow for students to explain whatever happened. An explanation is not an excuse, just the reason for the action (or inaction), which the teacher could then judge to be a valid excuse or not. An excuse is exactly that: something that excuses the (mis)behavior. An explanation is simply an explanation.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Rakun Shop $25 Gift Certificate Giveaway [CLOSED]

I have another wonderful giveaway for you: a $25 gift certificate to the lovely and whimsical Rakun Shop!

 I grew up in a very crafty household with an artist mom and an entrepreneur dad, so I started making things to sell when I was really young. My dad used to drive my sisters and me to the farmers' market at 4 a.m. so we could sell friendship bracelets and flower pens. 

I made stuff as a side gig for years before deciding to jump into making things full time. I was working in a corporate fashion job and feeling really stifled. This was before Etsy, so I had to figure out how to build an e-commerce website all on my own and beg boutiques to carry my line. It was challenging and really frustrating at times. I started daydreaming about a perfect boutique for artisans just getting started, and I realized that opening such a boutique was just what I wanted to do.

When I set out to find a spot for my brick and mortar, I knew that I needed to keep costs low to allow giving as much back to artisans as possible and avoid a lot of initial investment. So I bought a two-house property in Denver's Art District. I opened the shop in the front house, and I live in the carriage house.

My shop carries all local design, and I am the first venture into retail for a lot of the artists in my shop. I love helping people figure out their branding and pricing, tweak Etsy listings, and just lend an ear when they need to vent. In fact, I spent so much time chatting with local creatives about their business over cups of tea that I recently opened a teeny, tiny tea house in the shop! Now my tiny space is always bustling with folks collaborating and creating, and the vibe is really inspiring.

I like that I have created a real community in my shop that drags people away from their virtual worlds from time to time. It feels like a quilting bee or something, which resonates with my old-fashioned sensibilities and taste (in my own craft, I'm drawn to vintage materials and folk motifs). I love playing a small part in keeping artisan traditions and community alive.

Mandatory entry: Visit Rakun Shop and tell me what you would buy with the $25 gift certificate.

1 entry: Heart Rakun Shop on Etsy. Leave your username.

1 entry: Follow Rakun Shop on Twitter. Leave your username.

1 entry: Like Rakun Shop on Facebook. Leave your username.

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

1 entry: Follow this blog on Google Friend Connect.

1 entry each (4 total possible): 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. MDT on Wednesday, November 20. The winner will be announced Thursday, November 21. Please leave your email address in one of your entries so I can contact you if you win. This giveaway is open worldwide. Please note that these goods are not intended for children under 3 years old. Good luck!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween Fun

Saturday we went to the same neighborhood Halloween festival we went to last year. Caden played a few tossing games (bones and spiders), trunk-or-treated, and did the cupcake walk until he won a cupcake, which he didn't even like. Had I known, I would have picked out one for me instead! Caden went into the police car and hugged McGruff the crime-fighting dog. There was no firetruck as advertised, much to Caden's disappointment.

There was a spooky alley that Caden didn't want to go through. But after the first time, he loved it and wanted to do it again!

His favorite was going through the dark tunnel by himself with just a flashlight.

We went on a tractor ride with some friends. It was just a trailer with hand rails hitched to a tractor, which the driver drove around the parking lot over bumps and dips and made sharp turns that almost made you fall. It was fun.

Halloween night we walked to a friend's house to go trick-or-treating with her daughters and some other friends. This time I wore only my witch hat and put a bear hat on Gabe since you couldn't have seen my or his costume with him wrapped up in the K'tan. (In fact, I don't think anyone even noticed the hat either.) Caden had the time of his life! When we got back (Gabe was starting to fuss; he had been asleep the whole time), my friend took her daughters out to hit more streets while Caden passed out candy (I was nursing Gabe). He was so cute! It worked out really well. I just wished Justin could have been there since this was Caden's first time trick-or-treating the traditional way. Hopefully next year! Maybe we'll even do themed costumes.
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