Thursday, July 24, 2014

my top 3 favorite podcasts at the moment

I used to listen to all kinds of music...always searching for the perfect "dance" song to choreograph to. Lately, though, I find myself opting for a podcast over music during workouts or in the car. I think part of the reason I do this is because I love to learn and listening to a podcast helps keep me sharp. But maybe it's because I like to feel like I have other grown-ups to talk to (or listen to) during the day filled with little toddler conversations.

I don't know, but I love them, and here are three of my favorites at the moment:

1. Elise Get's Crafty - This podcast is about "blogging, business, creativity, inspiration, and motivation" by blogger Elise Joy of If you are a handmade artisan or a blogger, I highly recommend giving this a listen! Elise talks with all kinds of people in the indie business about creativity and how they run their shops and blogs. It is enlightening and so, so inspiring!


2. Sawbones - "A marital tour of misguided medicine." This podcast is hilarious. A comedic husband and his doctor wife talk about medical history and all the weird, gross, and funny ways that people have treated illness and the like over the years. You don't have to be a medical buff to enjoy this podcast. It is educational, but mostly it's hilarious and listening to their banter in every episode will make your day!


3. Stuff You Missed In History Class - This was one of my first ever podcasts and it is still a favorite (pretty much every podcast by is a favorite...Stuff You Should Know, Stuff Mom Never Told You, etc.). I really like learning about history, so this one is a no brainer for me. The co-hosts talk about events that you most likely wouldn't hear about otherwise. It's interesting and intriguing and makes me feel a little bit smarter :)

So if you see me riding around in the car, or pretending to jog at the gym, I'm most likely listening to one of these!

If you have any podcast suggestions, I'd love to hear them!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

crochet love {cloud and raindrops nursery mobile}

I've had the idea for this cloud mobile in my head for a while now, but I couldn't quite figure out how I wanted to construct it. When I started working with triple and quadruple crochets to make the sunshine pillow that I'm sharing on I'm Topsy Turvy today, I finally got the ideas flowing for this cloud.


Here's what you'll need to get started:

2 skein any worsted weight yarn in grey and blue
(I used Vanna's Choice Lion Brand)
1 size H crochet hook
Tapestry needle
Pillow Stuffing

st- stitch
sl st- slip stitch
sk- skip
ch- chain
sc- single crochet
hdc- half double crochet
dc- double crochet
tr- triple (treble) crochet
dtr- double triple crochet
trtr- triple treble crochet

Let's get begin:
Cloud piece (in grey yarn)
1. Ch 40 (including first ch created by fastening on). Dc in 3rd ch from hook and in each remaining ch across.
2. Turn. Ch 2. Dc in each st across.
3. Repeat step 2 for 5 more rows.
4. Don't turn! Ch 3. Working down short side of rectangle, space your sts as evenly as you can manage. 2 tr in next st. Dc in next st. Hdc in next st. Sc in next st. Dc in next st. Tr in next 2 sts. 2 dtr in next st. Tr in next 2 sts. Sc in next 2 sts. Working along bottom of rectangle now: sc in each st across. Working up short side of rectangle: Sc in next 5 sts. Dc in next st. Tr in next 2 sts. Dc in next st. Sc in next 2 sts. 3 dc in top corner. Working along top edge now: 2 tr in next st. 2 dtr in next st. 2 tr in next st. Dc in next st. Sc in next 2 sts. Dc in next st. Tr in next st. 2 dtr in next st. 2 trtr in next st. 2 dtr in next st. 2 tr in next st. Dc in next st. Sc in next st. 2 dc in next 3 sts. Sc in next st. (dc, tr) in next st. 2 dtr in next 2 sts. Tr in next st. Dc in next st. Sc in next st. Dc in next st. Tr in next st. 2 dtr in next st. 3 trtr in next st. 2 dtr in next st. 2 tr in next st. 2 dc in next st. Sc in next st. Sl st in top loop of ch 3. Fasten off. Weave in loose end.
5. Repeat steps 1-4 to make a second cloud piece. When finished, don't fasten off.
6. Place two cloud pieces together, working through corresponding stitches of each cloud piece: sc in each st around, except sl st in every sc st. Before you get all the way around, stuff cloud with pillow filling. Continue around and fasten off. Weave in loose end.
7. Still with grey yarn, fasten on in a st on the top edge, ch 40, sl st in st on opposite side. Fasten off.

Raindrop pieces (with blue yarn):
Make 7:
1. Ch 4. Sl st in first ch to form loop. Ch 2. 10 dc in center of loop. 2 tr in center of loop. Ch 2. Sc in first ch. 2 tr in center of loop. Dc in center of loop. Sl st in top loop of ch 2. Fasten off.
2. Using tapestry needle and blue yarn, thread two rain drops. Making sure to leave space in between drops. Fasten on to bottom of cloud on one side.
3. Repeat step 2 with 3 raindrops to place in the middle, and again with last two raindrops to place on the opposite side.

You're done!

This mobile would be fun to hang on the wall in a nursery or child's room, or hang it from the ceiling above their bed and let them watch the rain drops twist, turn, and dangle!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

thoughts on potty training

Wanna know my thoughts on potty training?

It's the absolute worst and I would love nothing more than to hire someone to do it for me.

Owen will turn 3 right before he starts preschool in the fall, where he will need to be potty trained before he can attend. I knew that 2 1/2 was a little young to expect a boy to be trained, but I wanted to start early so we had plenty of time before school started. I decided to start potty training him the first of June, and I was absolutely dreading every minute of it.

It is now mid July, and I can happily say that the universe has unexpectedly, inexplicably blessed me. Owen was potty trained within 2 days. I still feel like it's a dream and that if I sneeze at any given moment, he will suddenly start peeing his pants all the time. 

Honestly, I don't really know if it was the routine that we set in place to train him, or the fact that he was just "ready" that made it so fast and easy. I definitely don't consider myself an expert, and every kid is different, but I thought I would share what worked for us in the off chance that it will work for you too. 

So here' what we did:

1. Be fully committed. Decide ahead of time when you are going to start, and when you do start, go all in. There's no turning back. If the parent isn't 100%, there's no way the kid is going to be 100%.

2. Don't start until you see signs of readiness in your child. They should be able to talk clearly, and have dry diapers after naps and when they wake up in the morning. This shows that they know how to hold it.

3. Once you begin, stick with the undies. I didn't want to buy pull-ups because it was just another expense and frankly, they are no different than diapers. Start putting them in underwear and never go back to diapers. For nap/bedtime we used a thicker training underwear (still no pull-ups) that we got from our local cloth diapering store, and we never had a bed wetting issue because well....see step 2.

4. For the actual day(s) of training, Day 1:
From the moment we woke up, I set an alarm on the stove for 15 minutes. Every time the alarm went off, we sat on the potty. I only made him sit for 1-2 minutes each time, and then set the alarm again. In addition to the alarm, I asked him over and over "How are you feeling? Need to go potty?" At first, he would pee as soon as he got off the potty but that was ok. When he wet his pants, he was completely miserable and learned that he really didn't like the feeling. It was a huge incentive for him to pee next time he tried. As the day went on, he started to recognize the feeling of needing to pee and by the end of the day, was able to tell me when he needed to go.
Day 2:
Started the day out still setting the alarm, but was able to lengthen the time/stop using it as the day went on. I continued to ask "How are you feeling? Need to go potty?" pretty much all day until I was annoyed at myself, but it kept it fresh in his mind.
Days to follow:
I continued to ask him how he felt and had him sit on the potty first thing after bed/nap, before we left to go anywhere, and as soon as we returned to the house. 

5. Some items we found useful:
- a little plastic potty: He liked picking it out at the store and felt so special. Since, he was afraid of the flushing big toilet, this was a non-threatening option. We brought it with us everywhere. Everywhere. 
 - A good incentive: I don't know why stickers work, but they do. We made a sticker chart and he got a sticker for each time he peed in the potty. Once the chart was full, he got to pick out a *small* toy at the store. He also got a marshmallow to go along with each sticker. Once the "pee" chart was full, we started one for poop. He filled up his pee chart by the middle of the second make sure you put enough squares on your chart! ;)
- Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood: Owen already loves this show (on PBS, and Netflix), and it has a fantastic episode on going potty. We watched the potty episode about 100 times during those first 2 days of training and it really helped. It has a great catchy tune which we still can't get out of our heads.

Honestly, I think that a lot of our success with Owen had to do with his being ready and wanting to do it more than our technique. But I do think that a little routine and full commitment is sooo important!

I sure am proud of my little guy, and the sight of his little tush in those super hero undies makes the whole exhausting process totally worth it!

What are your go-to potty training methods?

(This post contains affiliate links for

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

when kids become awesome

(Ande's first day of Kindergarten. He loves it and thought I should stop acting goofy about it)

(And of course, Owen had to wear a backpack too when we went to drop Ande off...just because)

I spend a lot of time thinking, stressing, and praying about my kids. I want to teach them everything they need to know to succeed in life. I want them to have good manners, to want to learn, to have faith, etc..etc... And recently I've realized that I can't do it all and I won't always have the power to make them be a certain way.

But luckily, sometimes they end up being awesome all on their own.

Over the past couple weeks, I have noticed this happen a few times.

Like when they conquered their fear of water by being brave and just going for it, and learning how to swim...

Or when Ande started Kindergarten and wasn't nervous about making friends and didn't get upset when he had to ride the bus all the way back to school because the bus driver didn't see me waiting for him.

They were brave and not afraid and I had nothing to do with it. They are becoming awesome, individual, little people and I love them.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

crochet love {easy gusseted zipper clutch}

(This post contains two affiliate links for

I have a deep affection for bags, purses, and any sort of zippered pouch that I can put stuff in. It must be a genetic trait that comes with most of us girls. And now that I'm a mom to three snack obsessed and tiny car loving boys, having pouches of all shapes and sizes to organize my purse has become even more important!

I made this gusseted zipper clutch several months ago (and posted a tutorial for the tiny crochet pocket), and thought I'd finally write down how I made it. I knew I wanted a brightly colored zipper (I bought a bundle from BuzzyBeeShop a while ago, for no real reason except "all the pretty colors!") and I knew I wanted a gusseted bottom. This type of clutch would give me lots of room for diapers, wipes, or a work-in-progress crochet project.

Here's how I made it...

Remnants of Bulky size yarn (Hometown USA in Monterey Lime, and Wool-Ease Thick and Quick in Fisherman --affiliate links)
Size L crochet hook
Large sewing needle

Need to know:
(sc) single crochet
(ch) chain
Blanket stitch (for sewing zipper)

1. Ch until length matches length of your zipper.
2. Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across. In last ch, work 2 sc instead of 1. Continue working sc in opposite side of ch. Sl st in top loop of first ch 1.
3. Ch 1. Sc in each st around. Sl st in top loop of ch 1.
4. Repeat step 3 until you reach desired height (switching yarn after a few rows if you want a "color blocked" look). Fasten off.
5. Flip bag inside out. Pinch one corner flat and sew it down. Repeat with the other corner.

6. Pin zipper to top edge and sew using a blanket stitch. *Refer to my previous tutorial, How to add a zipper to a crochet clutch, for details if needed.

That's it!

The fun thing about making crochet purses and clutches like this is that you can add all kinds of details. You can use different colors, add a pocket, add a flower or bow, or even add a shoulder strap. 

What would yours look like?