Toddler Times: Potty Training, Please Send Wine!

After a very long week at work and in preparation of our big weekend, I truly thought I wouldn’t have time to blog for a Friday post. Surprise, here I am!

When I picked E up today, the following note was posted outside her classroom:

Saying E loves the water is a lie. E is OBSESSED with water. I must have heard “Look Momma. Water!” in her sweet, excited voice a million times when we were on vacation. We were at the beach so you can imagine how much water we saw.

The second bullet on the notice is where I had one of those moments that all parents have – a time when I question if I am parenting correctly. E is two and a half years old and is still not 100% potty trained. Go ahead and cast your judgement. I can handle it.

Deep down I feel she could have been trained months ago. Maybe. How do you know when it’s time to pull the plug on diapers? What was your plan?

On an average weekday E will use the potty before we leave school and before bedtime. This week I have been trying to put her on the toilet in the morning after she wakes up. Like her mother, she is not a morning person. If she’s not in the mood, then I don’t push it. She typically wakes up wet, but we also have dinner about an hour before bedtime and she thinks it is hilarious to chug her milk.

I have no idea what she does at school. Her teacher and I are on opposite schedules so we rarely see each other. It is my understanding that they were sitting her on the potty, but I have no idea if she has made any progress. A few months ago her teacher said “If she’s distracted, she could sit in her diaper all day.” Great… Hence, I think we will pass on pull ups. Yet, she tells us 90% of the time when she needs to go. Decisions, decisions.

One of my sorority sisters shared a “Three Day Bootcamp for Potty Training” document with me, but we haven’t had three days to be confined to the house.

Here is where I need you. What did you do? What worked for you or was a complete fail? I am open to any and all suggestions.

Help us! And as always, #sendwine. 

Summer Savories: Nom Nom Paleo’s Orange Dijon Chicken

Have you ever tried a recipe and thought to yourself “Hmmm. Could this become a staple in my meal planning?” Or as I like to ask, “IS IT AN OLD FAITHFUL?!?”

Back in college, my friend and I had a couple of items we referred to as Old Faithful. What is an Old Faithful you may ask? My Old Faithful category included a royal blue bikini and a black sleeveless shirt. My friend’s Old Faithful was a green tank top. Old Faithful was something you could rely on. Big plans for the night and nothing fits? No problem! Old Faithful is reliable during your time of need. I suppose Old Faithful could also be like an ex for some people…

Anyway, I get so excited when I discover a dish that has the potential to be an Old Faithful. Y’all, this is one of those times. Allow me to introduce on of the most delicious chicken recipes. 

In order for a recipe to have the honor of being placed into the Old Faithful category, it must meet certain criteria such as:
·         Easy – Dishes that can be prepped the night before or are quick to assemble can be particularly useful for this working mom.
·         Healthy – After completing a couple rounds of Whole30, recipes with real, wholesome ingredients are very important to me. Now, I definitely do not follow this lifestyle as much as I should or need too. See, I told you this would be an honest blog. Regardless, you can bet that unless it is a special occasion, all meals I cook follow the Whole30 guidelines.
·         Delicious – Obviously the meal must taste good, but it needs to pass the toughest food critic in the world, a toddler. Confession: I admit that I have a very good eater, but she’s still two.
·         Affordable – There are certain items I keep on the regular that may not be found in your average pantry, but recipes consisting of ingredients that cause me to shop on Amazon typically don’t make the cut on a regular basis. I also want to point out that when I say affordable, I mean economical for our family. I am willing to pay more for quality and sometimes negate the cost by drinking cheap wine. #cringe

Aside from being quite tasty, I loved that I could quickly whip up the marinade, toss in the drumsticks and stick it in the fridge to sit. As an added bonus, there are hardly any ingredients. Seriously, check out the list.

Chicken Drumsticks
¾ cup Dijon-style mustard (Whole30 followers, make sure your mustard is compliant. I used an organic Dijon from Publix.)
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons of salt (I used my favorite pink Himalayan salt

Fix It
Get it from the source herself at Nom Nom Paleo.

I’ve made this twice in the last few weeks and it has yet to disappoint. E ate three entire drumsticks by herself and J finished off the leftovers. If we had left any on the counter, I’m sure the foos would have stolen the rest. 

Now I want to know, do you have an Old Faithful? #exesdontcount


How to Vacay with a Toddler (Part II)

A few posts ago, I shared part of my list to help you successfully vacation with your toddler (well, at least it helped me on our trip). You can check it out here.

I’m equally excited to publish the second half of this list for your viewing pleasure.

Keep in mind that clicking on an image below will send you to the appropriate retailer’s site.

Without further ado, here are a few more items to add to your packing list.

1. Rash Guard Bathing Suit

In the past we have always dressed E in super cute, frilly bathing suits. However, I always wondered why parents would put their littles in short sleeve or long sleeve swim suits when there are so many other adorable options for swimwear. I debated about trying a rash guard suit, but since we were heading closer to the equator and I stumbled across the most adorable ruffled outfit, I gave it a shot. This suit fit true to size, had no zippers, claimed a high sun protection and was very attractive in bright colors with a pineapple print and ruffles. You can never go wrong with ruffles. After a few days at the beach, the hubs and I agreed that E should wear it for the remainder of our trip, if only to put our minds at ease. The sun is deadly, yall.


 2. Allergy Meds

While food allergies do not run in our family history, J and I took appropriate steps exposing E to seafood prior to leaving for the beach. #responsibleparenting Although she seemed fine after eating shrimp and fish ahead of time, I still brought allergy medicine just in case. Making a long story short, E developed a cough, J freaked out and took her to the CVS minute clinic. I passed on that field trip since I assumed it was nothing serious. J should have realized since I, of all people, wasn’t freaking out that it probably was not a big deal, but better safe than sorry I suppose. In the end, the doctor said all E needed was allergy medicine. Mom for the win! Even if you think you won’t need the meds, pack them. Anything could happen and you don’t want to run around an unfamiliar town in the middle of the night if it can be avoided.

3. New Hair Styles

This is geared more towards little girls than boys, but have an idea what will work best for hair control on vacation. E was blessed with insanely awesome hair. It’s long, decently thick and always in her face. In preparation for our wet and sandy days, I figured pony tails would be sufficient. Was I wrong! Pony tails did not fit well under her hat and the water (I’m guessing) would break her hair bands. #highponyfail I started experimenting with French braids and fishtails. Both were much better options and had the potential to be super cute if I had practiced beforehand. I love this assortment of hair ties and suggest putting Mickey Mouse on while you work your magic. How do parents get anything accomplished without Toodles and the gang? It’s like crack. #saycrackagain

4. Over-sized Beach Bag

Everyone will tell you how much more luggage you will have when taking a family trip. Even my mother said they made two trips from the condo to the beach the first time they took me on vacation. After hearing this multiple times, I began my search for an oversized beach bag. As always, Amazon delivered the most perfect beach tote at an affordable price. Plus, it adorned a navy chevron pattern. #winning Some reviews complained about the handle breaking, but we had zero issues. It was ginormous and every day it lugged three large, beach towels, five containers of sunscreen, beach toys, books, phones, wallets and E’s puddle jumper float to the beach. It could not have been a more ideal solution. This bag and our cooler tote were the only items we needed to carry.

5. Grandparents

When I polled the Facebook faithful about what I needed to bring to Florida, the cleverest reply was “grandparents.” Congrats to Flag who is 110% correct. If you have the option to bring a few extra hands, why not do it? While the time spent with the three of us was an absolute dream, I am looking forward to next year as we will have grandparents, aunts and uncles joining us. The more hands on deck, the merrier!

For those of you who still have a summer vacation to look forward to, I am green with envy. If you have a little munchkin (or two) traveling with you, my wish is that these items and the previous list will prove useful to you.

Have anything else to add? Please share! Like I said, we are already preparing for next year! 

True Life: My Heart Hurts

This week has been rough.

And somber.

And draining. 

I feel like #allthefeels would be the most appropriate way to sum up these last few days, but I associate that with positivity. This week, particularly today, all my feels have been quite the opposite.

With the multiple, devastating situations that have happened in the world recently, my heart hurts, even aches. Literally. I feel so strange and even guilty for feeling so devastated and distraught when I am hardly affected by what has taken place.

The day after Columbine happened, I was home sick in bed. Every channel – including MTV, focused on the school shooting in Colorado. It was all I could watch. I was glued to the television, gathering all the details about what happened while my middle school brain pondered how kids could be so unhappy and evil. Saying I was obsessed with this event would be an exaggeration, but it definitely held my attention and to this day I don’t think I am over it.

Is this normal? Is this grieving? Does anyone else feel this way when something unspeakable happens?

I don’t know.

What I do know is that I have a hard time feeling like my normal self when horrendous acts have taken place and shattered the lives of so many others. What happened in the Orlando club was appalling and sickening. All I could think about were the mothers who had lost their grown babies and those who survived, but will be forever changed.

Then there was the story of the family who actually had their child taken from them in an unimaginable manner. Parents who fought a live animal in its own habitat and lost. Their precious, innocent child was literally ripped away from their arms and they were powerless to save him. This story has shaken me to my core. As a parent how do you recover? Where do you find the strength to raise your children? How does your marriage survive?

I cannot begin to fathom what any of these people are going through, but my ability to empathize is on point. I will not tell you how this world needs more love or what the parents should have done differently. We could play the “what if” game forever. I imagine that anyone directly impacted by these events is acting out numerous, different scenarios in their mind in an attempt to rewrite the ending.

What I will emphasize is to have compassion for others and to pray for them. For me, it is the only way I know how to cope.  


Date Night - Auburn Alumni Club Meeting

When J mentioned the idea of moving back to Georgia, I told him that I would go on one condition. That single condition involved us becoming season ticket holders. Go big or go home.

I love football. I love Auburn football. Most importantly, I just love Auburn.

When the local Auburn Alumni Club sent out an invitation for their spring meeting, I was ecstatic. 


Because the guest speaker was none other than Kodi Burns.

Many commentators described Kodi Burns as an “Auburn man.” He started his college career as a quarterback and was eventually moved to the position of wide receiver. Despite this transition, Kodi’s character prevailed and he handled the move with grace. He was a huge part of our 2010 National Championship team.

Does this picture refresh your memory?

I was beyond THRILLED when Kodi caught Cam’s pass and scored the first touchdown in the National Championship. So fitting. So perfect for so many reasons. 

Tickets for this event included drinks and dinner at a country club. Since we don’t get the chance to live the country club lifestyle very often, J and I jumped on the opportunity for a date night, even though it was during the week. #turndownforwhat

Upon arrival we received shakers for our overflowing collection. We signed in, purchased a few raffle tickets (why did we waste our money?), and headed to the open bar. The next hour was spent socializing and we had our picture taken with a celebrity. That’s right, we met Aubie!

Dinner was served buffet style and complete with peach cobbler.. I love any meal that I don’t have to cook. Can I get an amen?

Near the end of our meal, Kodi began his speech. He was entertaining, engaging and I was ready for game day. Whoever wrote this ( Kodi very well could have, but I know someone had to approve it) did a fantastic job. It was what my favorite Auburn forum refers to as “sunshine pumping.”

Despite our rough year in 2015, his speech was positive and made you excited for football season. He also made a few a jokes about everyone coming to see his surprise guest, Jonathan Wallace. Jonathan is a local, former player who recently became engaged and is currently a GA at Auburn. I was equally excited that he made the trip over.

Kodi began his speech talking about the Oregon catch (apparently he slipped) and why he went to Auburn. He also discussed our defense, offensive coaches, and raved about our new recruits. He finished with a Q&A session answering questions about returning to #auburnfast, his favorite memories and how he wished our transfers well. I am 99% positive that the transfer inquiry ended the Q&A, which worked to our advantage because we were able to take pictures and talk with the guys (we are practically BFF) before they left. He still smiles hardcore – there must be something about that 2010 team and smiling...

Apparently he is still close with many of his teammates from his college days. In particular, Zac Etheridge and Josh Bynes are two he mentioned. 

I also met Jonathan who told us that Auburn extended an offer to him a few days before signing day and he said no (I think he was heavily recruited by Southern Miss).

Clearly he changed his mind.

We had such a great time and J was extremely proud of how well he sized up next to two Division I SEC football players.

I am so glad we decided to go and hope we can attend every year. If something like this is ever in your area, definitely try your best to attend. 

Anything Auburn can be a great date night for us, but what are your favorite date night activities? I need ideas before football season rolls around. 

War Eagle!


Summer Savories: Fabulous Feta Salad

Since my last two entries were toddler focused, I wanted to quickly switch gears to something everyone enjoys – food! Welcome to the first post in my new series, “Summer Savories.”

One of my favorite things about this time of year are the cookout opportunities. Whether we are hosts or attendees, I love a good cookout. There is nothing better than quality time with good friends and delicious meals, which is why I am excited to share an easy, flavorful recipe with you.

I stumbled across the Fabulous Feta Salad years ago in one of my cookbooks.

What is a cookbook? It’s a book containing recipes that people used before the internet. Don’t say I didn’t warn you about my sarcastic tendencies.

This recipe is simple to make (only four ingredients), mouthwatering and perfect for a light summer side. My only advice is to have the recipe on hand because someone will want a copy. 

2.5 cups uncooked bow tie pasta
4 cups torn spinach leaves
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/2 Italian salad dressing (I recommend Annie’s Natural Tuscany Italian

Fix It
  1.  Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain under cool water.
  2. Toss the remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Add the pasta and mix together.
  4. Drizzle with the dressing and toss to coat.
  5. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve!

 See, it’s really that easy!

What are your favorite summer recipes?


How to Vacay with a Toddler (Part I)

While I may not have learned how to fight off my toddler in public (see that story here), I did successfully vacation with one. Trust me, no one is as surprised at this than I.

Back in the fall, J & I toyed with the idea of taking a long weekend adventure to Gatlinburg. Trying to plan this before the holidays and during football season was near impossible so we made the decision to take a weeklong beach trip instead. While I was thrilled to plan a trip (it had been three years since our last vacation), I had some anxiety about the level of R&R that would be achieved taking E since no family or friends would be around. It takes a village, people.

I am pleased to report that our family vacation was a roaring success! We had a wonderful time in the sun and sand for seven glorious days. Packing and planning for a toddler friendly trip can be overwhelming so I put together a list to lend you a hand. If you want to learn more about any of the items listed below, click on the image and it will take you to the appropriate retailer’s site.

 1. Bring a DVD Player

Nothing will bring you closer to the brink of insanity than driving with an unhappy, screaming child. Take a leap and purchase a portable DVD player, if your car does not already have one. We purchased a refurbished one off Amazon and it has been a lifesaver. Headphones were purchased before this trip, but unfortunately E was not a fan. Be sure to bring a variety of movies and shows to entertain the littles. You can use them in the car and have a family movie night during your stay. Since we do not have a large collection of DVDs, I borrowed some from my sweet friends. #caringissharing

 2. Spray Sunscreen

Contrary from my sorority days of holding the “Tanning Bed Goddess” title, I now bathe in sunscreen. The sun is brutal and skin cancer is real. So are wrinkles. Keeping these things in mind, I cover my very fair skinned child in sunscreen. The Honest Company has had some negative PR regarding their sunscreen, but it has never failed us. In fact, E was the only one who did not burn. We used a mixture of the Honest Company and Babyganics brands since I am semi crunchy when it comes to my baby. Prior to leaving the house we lathered her in 50 SPF lotion and used the face stick. On the beach, we used spray sunscreen. The spray is much easier to use since applying sunscreen on a toddler should be considered an Olympic sport. Both brands are mineral based and go on white, which is nice in my opinion because you can ensure that all areas are covered. As always, make sure you read the directions for how often you need to apply and make sure you always use it after swimming. Always.

3. New Toys are a Must

This far into the parenting game you know that entertainment is key to enjoyable outings with a small child. Even when your firstborn has never experienced waves or having her feet in the sand, toys remain a necessity. Vacations are supposed to be fun so splurge on a set of new toys. I purchased these for under $20 and the ROI (return on investment) was well worth it. My two-and-a-half-year-old spent all day playing with these on the beach and they come in a clear, plastic bag that she could carry. #winning

4. Rent, Rent, Rent  

We debated spending money on items we could bring ourselves such as sleeping arrangements for E (yes, she still sleeps in a crib #sorrynotsorry) and chairs for the beach. The property management company we used for lodging suggested contacting Crib Connection, a business where you can rent equipment like a crib, highchair, etc. Genius! Plus, the price includes delivery and pick up so you don’t worry about a thing. We rented a crib for the week instead of loading up our pack ‘n play and I would do it again, every time. Additionally, we received a discount since our management company was a preferred partner.

One of our more expensive purchases was utilize the beach chair company on our resort. Each day they set up two chairs and a giant umbrella right in front of the ocean. This was ideal as we did not have to fight for space on the beach and had a prime location where E could play. Since we had enough items to carry it was wonderful to have three less things to lug.  The umbrella provided shade from the sun and E even napped in the chair one day.

5. Buy Baby Powder

A few times before our vacation arrived, I asked the Facebook faithful what beach items were a must for traveling with a toddler. Many people suggested baby powder, claiming that it was miracle substance when sand was involved. It turns out they were right. Rub some powder on that sandy body and it comes off – a perfect prep prior to reapplying sunscreen! Do yourself a favor and throw a large container of it in your suitcase. You’ll thank me later!

Hopefully some of these suggestions will prove beneficial as you plan a fingers crossed relaxing holiday.

Do you have anything to add to the list? Please share as we have already booked our next beach trip!

Part II has been updated! Find it here


If You Give A Toddler A Cookie...

The majority of the time I firmly believe that I am a good mom. Of course I have my moments when I question my actions on this journey through parenthood, but for the most part I have confidence that God has equipped me to shape E into the young lady He wants her to be.

Then there are days like today.

Days where I am in the middle of Publix wondering when my toddler became possessed to act like a wild animal who was locked in a cage and has since been set free. While we are literally in the middle of the “terrible twos,” I can honestly say it hasn’t been that bad. I have been warned about year three, but we can worry about that later.

I knew today would be an uphill battle when she threw herself on the ground in a typical, although uncommon, tantrum prior to getting ready for a walk with our neighbors. Once we arrived at the grocery store, things started out okay. Then it began - the standing in the cart and wanting mommy to hold her. Nope, that’s nearly impossible for me to do as I shop from my grocery list off my phone. Because she can’t sit still and pretend to drive her little buggy/cart, she proceeds to grab certain groceries because she wants to hold them. Fine. Another shopper suggested taking a free cookie from the bakery. Because she had been decently behaved – you know, for a toddler – I thought why not?

Cookies are behind the downfall of America. Eh, maybe not, but they are most certainly behind the unraveling of my precious child. We finished shopping and began to check out. While the grocers were bagging the items she kept grabbing the bags wanting to hold them. As I prepared to pay the cashier I realized she was eating something. My wonderful eater decided to chow down on watermelon while she waited. Cookie monster was eating the watermelon - plastic wrap and all. She continued her sugar induced rampage and disassembled my keys and began taking credit cards out of my wallet. It was chaos. After completing our transaction, the Publix bagger asked if I wanted him to take the cart out (I am 99% sure he was trying to get us out of there ASAP) and I shouted begged “PLEASE!” Very sweetly he said, “They are adorable, but can be a handful.” Understatement of the year.

Once we arrived at the car, the real fun began. E wanted to stay at Publix all day (free cookies can be a perk) and had no desire to go home. It got to the point that she started swinging at me. She hit me and I grabbed her hand. Her other hand came flying around and knocked the sunglasses off my face. Disclaimer: I am a huge advocate of daycare and believe the school does an excellent job of teaching and loving our babies. Additionally, I believe that you need to be strong at daycare and have no doubt that this is where my child has learned her martial art skills. This is a newly learned behavior and if we were at home I would have put her in time out, told her not to hit and walked away. Out in public, I didn’t have that option. I popped her little hand and told her not to hit, which I HATED doing since it’s the exact behavior I wanted her to stop. She continued to throw a fit as I placed her the car seat so I left her there without buckling her in and shut the door. While I let her calm down, I dove into the front passenger seat and ugly cried.  Maybe my tears confused her into submission, but I jumped on the opportunity to buckle her in and we headed home before bystanders called CPS.

I assure you that this version of the story compared to the actual situation is told in a much milder manner. To date it is the worst public experience with my kiddo and my nerves are finally recovering after a cocktail (or two) ten hours later. I assume the employee at Publix is well on the way to recovery as well.

To all the moms, parents, teachers, etc., do you have any advice on handling this new behavior (the hitting and kicking)? These actions will not be tolerated, but this phase may result in mass consumption of wine. #SOS