Potty Training in Style

If you know me at all, you know that I am a type A, controlling, clean freak. (Wow, why are you even listening to me?!) This way of thinking affects everything I do as a parent. In order for me to keep my cool, I need to control as much of the uncontrollable as possible. When it comes to potty training, the idea can be daunting.

I will admit that I myself never potty trained either of my children, in the classical sense anyhow. Charlie was potty trained at school through her amazing teacher who ran a tight ship. Right after she was two her teacher told me to bring her in underwear because she was staying dry every day. So I did. Next thing I know I am forced to be a good mom and actually do the same at home. This was my first run in with pee and poo on the floor, and not from my dog! Our second time around has been pretty simple as well, G being the little sister, wants to do everything that her big sister does. In each situation I found constants that made me feel confident, and kept myself and my house looking decent in the process.

I know the type of person I am, the type of parent I am, and how to deal with the disgustingness that is taking a toddler to the bathroom in your own home and in public. Here is MY must-have list of things that will keep you sane they won’t even jack your style and at the end.

Shop my Potty Training Must Haves here

Below you will find my tried and true prime finds that will prepare you to be stylish and clean during the potty training process. All pictures are linked, so you can click them if you want to shop, or you can go directly to my amazon shop.

Potty training means picking between pull ups and underwear. Though we still do pull ups for naps, bedtime, and school, we like to keep our littlest in these training undies. I like them better than regular undies because they are thicker and can help contain most of the accidents and just little wetness as they are learning to know when to go. Also, I feel like when my kids wear pull ups, they tend to be lazy and just go in them, defeating the whole potty training process.

This little potty is the perfect travel companion. It’s different than normal training ones, as it has a liner that can be disposed of. This is great for emergency use and also long car trips. There are times when stopping on the side of the road is a must and this is a really helpful way to do that. We have even used it inside the car (stopped of course), because sometimes it’s not best to be outside with a child. But emergencies are emergencies! A regular potty works too.

On the go may be the worst part of potty training. There are some really nasty bathrooms out there. If you’re anything like me you would rather die than have your child grip that toilet with both hands. Thank goodness I found these liners. I keep about 4 in my purse at all times. They are pretty big and basically cover the entire toilet. Rest easy, your kid can sit and grip without actually touching anything nasty! That is a parenting win!

If you want to take your chances on life, put a potty training toddler in a car seat and see if they have an accident. Trust me, a full on pee in a car seat is THE WORST! Cue in the piddle pad. Thank goodness for great inventions in modern times, because it’s these simple things that keep me sane. Keep it on your toddler’s car seat at all times, and if they have an accident you only have to wash the piddle pad, not EVERYTHING! Genius I tell ya! Buy two if you’re feeling wild, then you can have a back up in the car while the other one is washed!

Get yourself a wet bag! (or disposable trash bags) If your kiddos have an accident, you will need somewhere to put the soiled clothes. They stink, they’re wet, and unless you’re heading straight home, they need to go somewhere.

Converting from wiping number two on a changing table to wiping number two on a wiggly child that is too small to be on a toilet, isn’t the easiest. Make it better by keeping “flushable” wipes nearby. Trust me, caked on poop with pieces of toilet paper all over your little one’s tush should be avoided at all costs.

Storing these new flushable wipes doesn’t have to be tacky. Keep them inconspicuous in all your bathrooms by placing in a simple wipe tub like this one. There is plain white, with grey top, or light pink top. Having children doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice all style.

Step stools are a must, ideally have one in all the bathrooms of your house. I even have two in my girl’s bathroom so that they don’t have to drag one from the toilet to the sink. Accidents happen easily when the stool isn’t next to the toilet, trust me. This set of four is SOOOO pretty and reasonable for what you’re getting. I’m all about keeping a pretty home! Here is a different option for just two. Obviously any step stool will do, I just like to keep my home looking stylish even with step stools all around.

Continuing with the idea that your toddler bathroom can be both practical and pretty I found these faucet extenders for my littles’ hands. Good hand washing technique is encouraged, so keep them clean by having this on your faucet at all times. It’s not colorful or tacky so you can keep it on at all times without messing with your look.

Function doesn’t have to be ugly. Get yourself one of these toilet seats while your littles are young. It is so great because it has TWO seats. One for little tushies and one for adults. It’s nice to have this “permanent” child seat to prevent falls into the toilet. They happen!

This one might make you laugh, but I think it’s genius. Keep one of these in all your bathrooms. You can easily wipe up accidents and wipe down doorknobs and sinks as needed. I’m a clean freak, but being home with the kids you’ll find that the accidents happen often, and running to find paper towels and cleaner isn’t the most convenient!

I hope this list gives you the confidence to tackle potty training. Having a prepared home sure makes it a whole lot easier!

Good luck!!

Why Being a #girlmom is Scary AF

Don’t get me wrong, being a girl mom has been the biggest dream come true. There’s pink and floral everywhere, colorful bows and matching outfits, dollhouses and ballet classes. But, what doesn’t let me sleep at night is what comes next.

We always say Karma is a b*tch, right? I’m worried that what I’ve done and how I acted toward my own mother is going to come back to me bite me you know where. Girls and their mamas, well it’s like oil and water for a little while. And it TERRIFIES ME! I am here playing barbies, dressing them up, being their number one coolest gal and it isn’t going to last forever.

I know it will all hit the fan at the first sign of PMS and everyone menstruating at the same time (my poor husband, bless his heart). Then it’ll snowball into mom doesn’t get me. I’m sure I will be the worst human in the world because I laid down the law when daddy wasn’t home. My girls will want to talk to each other and not me. They will dislike what I wear, what I make for dinner, and how I discipline them. I will be that person they like until they don’t and everything I do will be so annoying. Why did I act like this to my own mother??????

I’m not saying I want to be their best friend. Not at that age anyway, but I just can’t imagine these two loves of my life “hating” me, calling me names in their heads, and wishing they could get away from me. It’s coming and I know it and it breaks my heart. You know? The inevitable, it’s coming and for some reason I’m mourning what I’m literally enjoying right this very moment.

I hope that when the haze of adolescence clears they will realize that I was actually awesome and that no matter how annoying they felt I was at times, I am their mom and moms are the best thing in the world. I hope that they will be my best friends and let me back into their circle as young adults. I hope that karma doesn’t bite me in the tush for how I acted to my own mother, the one I can’t event apologize to as I venture in her footsteps. For now I will relish in the moments I have where “because I said so” sticks, and even after they’ve gotten in trouble with me, I’m the one they they run to for a big hug crying “mama!”

Being nostalgic over things I’m still living, if that isn’t motherhood in a nutshell, I don’t know what is!

Hope you’re enjoying your family today!

Let’s Stay in Bed

When we moved to our new home we didn’t have the budget to start completely from scratch. For half the year we kept our queen size set that was my mom’s (in 2006!) and just lived with it.


We had a 1955 ranch style home in Florida, and tiny old spaces is a kind way to describe some of it. It was charming and wonderful, but normal bedroom and coat closet bathroom would be a more realistic way to explain it. Having a large bedroom AND bathroom overwhelmed us at first, but we learned to embrace a minimalist vibe. Moving will do that to you! I knew that in order to keep our large spaces feeling large I wanted a bright farmhouse style bedroom.


Cue in this simple farmhouse bed, my favorite bedding and some simple touches.
Beddy’s (www.beddys.com) Zippered Bedding for All! I fell in love with this bedding from no other than Instagram! It looked so appealing, bedding that could be made up quickly and always look tucked, and no pesky sheets to get tangled in. What I didn’t know then is that I would have one for every bed in my house, LOVE the minky fabric over the cotton only, and that my husband would NEVER be able to pull the sheets off of me because I very smartly keep half my side zipped up through the night! This new collection is by far my favorite. It’s chic and classy. It’s called Love at First White, and I cannot say enough about it!
When it came to furniture, we kept hearing from these Texas folk, “go to Nebraska!” I couldn’t understand how they would recommend driving over 700 miles to buy furniture. Quickly I was informed it was a larger furniture store owned by Warren Buffet. Even my realtor recommended it. I found out that they carried Magnolia Home and we couldn’t get there quick enough. It’s as big or bigger than Ikea, but much calmer, and had every price range in mind. This bedroom set caught our eye early on because of its grey wash color and large headboard with the signature farmhouse X lines.

Finishing touches are what make a space feel finished. I knew I wanted an oversized farmhouse style flaxseed linen lumbar pillow like I kept seeing on my Instagram feed. But, not only is it a mouthful, but it is hard to find under $200. My husband would kill me, so I had to find another solution. Enter one of my favorite listings in my etsy shop! The pillow you see above (and shown on my guest bedroom here) is actually a plain old body pillow! I get closed shams and customize them with cute phrases to compliment your style. The flaxseed linen, shown above in my room is by far my favorite. It costs a little more, but it is DEFINITELY under $200. I think it makes the space look so fancy, and truly all I did was throw a body pillow on after I made the bed. Win, win!
There is still some work to do, like curtain rods and curtains (aheemmm husband!), but I think that these staple items, bought over the past year really made our space feel like a home.


Do you have a Cricut or Silhouette? Want me to do a tutorial on my Oversize Lumbar Pillow hack?


xox

Cata


#Bedroom#Design#Lifestyle#Farmhouse#FarmhouseDecor

DIY Galvanized Sheet Dry Erase Board

There’s the Pinterest Mom and the Amazon Prime Mom, but as it is with all things; I think a happy medium is best. Meet the Pinterest/Prime Mom. She finds something she likes, wants to do it in a less expensive way, with all materials arriving within two days, & in a can do fashion. I am definitely a mix of both and I also have a DIY Dad to help me make these dreams reality.
Today we finished an idea I got a couple of weeks ago. I remembered a friend using a galvanized drip pan on a wall as a precious dry erase board, but it wasn’t really working with my decor or idea in mind. I began to search the internet and Pinterest for something we could cheaply and easily do. You can be finished with this project for under $50. I’ve added some extras that the girls are loving as well.

Supplies:

  • Galvanized 24″ x 48″ Metal Sheet . Comes with all the mounting tools except anchors.
  • (2) 7 foot pieces of trim. This can be to your style. We chose a primed white one that matched our floorboards.
  • Pack of white framing nails. Don’t need to be white, but we were sticking with white.
  • Hammer
  • Drill or screwdriver
  • White Acrylic Trim Caulk
  • Level
  • Paint for your trim
  • Drywall anchors if you need them

Granted, I only watched but here is what we did. This metal sheet arrived in two days with Amazon prime. You definitely need two people to hold it and drill it directly into the wall. The edges are sharp so wearing gloves would be smart. Once it was secured onto the wall we removed the protective film it came with. Voila!

However, we quickly realized that no border or trim meant that the girls would literally draw right off the board and onto the wall. With our horrible cheap wall paint it was easier to wipe off the paint than the marker with a Magic Eraser so we ran to Lowes. We picked a trim that went with the style we were looking for, but really you can do with that what you wish. The possibilities really are endless. Ryan started measuring by using the length of the metal and cut a 45 degree angle away from both ends. He then repeated for the height. He did not use a level, but we think it’s definitely key in making it easy for all four pieces to square up once its time to mount them to the wall. This part was also very simple, he just used the framing nails to nail all the trim pieces in while I held them in place. He went ahead and gave it a smooth look by caulking it with white acrylic trim caulk on top of the nails and where each wooden piece met. Lastly, he brushed it with some leftover white trim paint.And that folks was it! Super simple, super cute, & very practical!

Extras:

Have a great day friends!

xoxCata

Comment here or on instagram @lifewithcandg

Kid Art is the Worst

Ok, so let’s be brutally honest here for a second. What percentage of kid art is actually worth keeping in storage for the rest of their lives? It’s small, its those hand prints and cute potato family portraits– and that’s it. If you’re like me, the clutter of a million hand print renditions of the holidays can become… dare I say it? Annoying? I found a solution when my youngest first started coming home with school work in preschool a couple years back. It happened because she actually caught me throwing something away (it was seriously not worth keeping) and she was so upset with me. I had to find a better way.

Enter Chatbooks (I have a great code for you at the end)! I had been using Chatbooks for my family albums already because I am lazy and just hate organizing pictures. (I currently have 15,000 on my phone, I still need to order my second child’s baby pictures book, and my family albums are about 2 years behind😎). Somewhere on the internet I saw that families were snapping pictures of their kid’s art and just putting it in an album you order and voila! Genius! I HAD to try it, and ohhhh did I like it.
This is how I preserve kid art in 10 SIMPLE steps:

1. Hoard the art in my office or put up the cutest seasonal art in the playroom.

2. Wait for a sunny day and some motivation

3. Place a large white poster board on a table or the floor

4. If you have multiple kids, separate artwork by child so you don’t get confused later

5. One by one photograph the art in the center of the poster board. Brighten picture as you’re taking it so the white poster board looks white (not yellow or dark). Don’t go overboard as you can fix this in the next step.

6. On any editing app or just your picture settings, (I use snapseed) brighten and tweak your pictures so that the poster board appears white and your kid’s art looks as colorful as it is in real life.

7. IMMEDIATELY open up your Chatbooks app and load pictures into an album for each child. I like to make one for every school year (Ex: Charlie’s School Art Book 2018-2019)

8. Organize pictures in the order they came, or as much as you recall. If you’re feeling fancy you can write a caption!

9. Load a school picture or first day picture as your album cover

10. ORDER IT WITH ONE CLICK WHEN THE SCHOOL YEAR IS DONE!


That my dears is it! It has been a lifesaver for me. I can display the kid’s art, save what is truly special, and throw away without feeling guilty. Also, my kids LOVE looking at their little art book. They feel so special.


Oh and for those of you who actually read through this… Chatbooks gave me a code to use by 12/16 that gets you $10 off your first book (i’m sure a different email will suffice)! It’s LIFEWITHCANDG. I hope you bite the bullet and order something… maybe even a super easy, thoughtful Christmas gift!


xox

Long Travel with Kids in the Car

We’ve mastered the art of the four hour drive, but it’s that double digit trip that can be a real doozie. As we begin to pack and prepare for our twelve hour plus drive, I figured I’d share what I know now. Some of you might be preparing for a long drive for Christmas Break as well! I’ll do a recap AFTER our 12 hour drive to and from Breckenridge.


This is what I know now, first of all, if you haven’t traveled before or are weary of it altogether let me give you some reassurance. I won’t tell you it’s easy, but DO NOT let that stop you! The end result is always worth any part of it that is difficult. And if you are honest with yourself, days at home have their downs as well. Just remember that it is going to happen, it’s how you react and manage any snaffoos that matters.


For a long drive my first piece of advice, is know they are going to want to get the heck out at some point. You do too and you’re not strapped at 5 points! Schedule or stop a couple of times to do things, or even to just be out of the car. Definitely go as long as you can without stopping when things are good or while they are sleeping. The passenger should always be resting so if its a long leg you two can switch. For us 6 hours straight it worth it if everyone is happy. We even will feed the kids and ourselves from the cooler throughout the drive so that we can keep moving while we can.


My Must Haves:

  • Travel Tray This one in particular is a must, it folds down flat, so while not in use it isn’t a bother. It is completely wipe-able and has plenty of pockets and spots for fun activities on the go!
  • Cooler full of: water, milk, yogurt, fruit, cheese
  • Snack Bag with: chips, goldfish, fruit snacks
  • Phone chargers, MANY and if you can, at least one with a long cord
  • iPods ((I could dedicate a whole post to why I love the iPod versus any tablet)) loaded with favorite movies via prime, netflix, itunes and such. Games and coloring apps, music & whatever each little loves.
  • Headphones, in case they feel like actually using them
  • One marker coloring books, I usually buy them on Amazon or at Hobby Lobby. Make sure its the kind that says “reveal a rainbow of colors” because sometimes they only reveal one color and that is kinda boring!
  • Play doh (but only if you have that travel tray from Kenley’s Kids, because otherwise you’re just asking for a mess!)
  • Small, wipeable toys with not many parts. Ex: My Little Ponies, Little People dolls, Snap Dress Dolls, action figures, hachimals, etc.
  • Small Potty like this one. We like to have it for our littlest who is potty training, but also for our big girl, who sometimes cannot hold it when on a busy or long road with no stops. This makes it nice and simple to just go on the side of the road without the worry of a mess on their clothes from attempting to squat (been there done that, its not great). We have even had to use it inside the car, so having the lid on is great until you can go dump the pee :O
  • Wipes, wipes, wipes. Lysol/Clorox Wipes, baby wipes, and hand sanitizing wipes. You will need all of these at one point or another.
  • Mini trash bags. We prefer to buy the doggy ones, as they are cheaper and literally the same thing as the “diaper” ones. This helps contain all trash, and you can just throw out what you’ve got when you stop and start a new bag if necessary!

Usual Trip Progression:During a long ride you need to try to pull at the big guns last. Therefore, no technology until you NEED it. Start slow, if you can enjoy the ride in peace, with music and cuddly toys that would be great. If you can leave early/late in the night and push through while the kiddos are asleep, DO IT! The key to driving with kids is go as far as you can without stopping.
1. At the beginning of our drive you will see us playing I spy with my little eye, singing 99 bottles of beer (or milk) on the wall, jamming out to princess music, trying to figure out what you see when you look at the clouds, etc. 2. Once we’ve exhausted all non toy options we move on to toys, coloring, play-doh, action figures, barbies, talking books, etc. If you are going this route you should really check out Kenley’s Kids, they have a wipeable and completely foldable activity tray that we LOVE! (Use the code 10WITHCANDG on amazon for 10% off!). It sits nicely on their lap, and helps them have an actual space to play (and eat)3. Usually now we will fill up our kiddos with food and snacks. This activity wastes some time and keeps them quiet AND happy. Don’t forget to schedule a potty break, better to stop when you want to and not have to pull over in the middle of nowhere, though be prepare that it will eventually happen!4. Pull out the big guns, movie time is best at first. Don’t let them be on the internet just yet. If they can entertain watching something for a couple of hours that’s a great way to just keep moving. Another option is coloring apps, educational apps, or games. My kids at this point fall asleep. They have been going pretty hard and a movie or even a game may put them out after a while. Again, DRIVE DRIVE DRIVE!5. Everyone is now tired, everyone wants to get the heck out of the car. Stop somewhere and let everyone move, buy some junk at the gas station, and potty break. Once you’re back in, pull out your biggest gun yet, YouTube Kids. This will buy you some good time. Don’t feel guilty about the screen time, you’re in survival mode right now!6. Even the screen time doesn’t help near the end. Pray they fall asleep again, if they don’t go back to step one. Start singing songs, looking at clouds, playing iSpy. Talk to them about where you’re going, what you’re going to do. And hopefully, at this point, you’re about to get there. If not, DO NOT EVER FEEL BAD ABOUT MORE SCREEN TIME. Survival mode guys!


Driving for a long time can be rough. If you can stop every 6/8 hours for an overnight, we do recommend it. We like to pick a cool mid point, find ourselves a hotel, something to see, and somewhere to eat. We go to bed as soon as we can so that we can start the next day early.
My biggest advice is, go with the flow. Don’t stress over little things because it is so stressful enough as it is. Give your kiddos a break, remember they are LITERALLY strapped at five points and their little bodies probably hurt after a couple of hours. Give yourself a break, eat a junky snack and drink a diet coke. You too are stuck in a car! Look forward to the time ahead, as the memories will always be worth all the travel, no matter how long that drive is!


Again, I don’t promise to have all the answers, but I do promise to be honest. This is how we survive it, and if any of these tips and tricks make your life easier, then my job is done here.
Safe travels friends,

xox,

Cata

This Season of Life

I keep hearing this phrase and I can relate so much to it words can hardly express. This season of life is a hard one. It’s hard because it is so special and wonderful and we all know it comes to an end. This season of life is hard because as we are living it and at the same time we are wanting it to end, and as it ends we’re wishing we could go back and enjoy it more fully. Having kids might be the most selfless and confusing job there is.

First of all, you may not know this of me, but I NEVER wanted to be a stay at home mom. Maybe it’s because it was what my mom had done and for some reason I never felt like she had worth. She never finished school, my dad made the money, and she was always around me (yuck right?). Looking back I feel so dumb, but that’s suffice to say. So, when I was first offered the gig of staying home full time I was PISSED. Yes, you read that right. I was legitimately pissed. My career in the school system had been on the fast track up. By now I’m sure that I’d have my master’s degree finished and probably have been an Assistant Principal. When my husband, on my birthday, said he had looked at finances and realized it was doable for me to stay home I didn’t want to. I cried, I was upset, how could I throw my career down the drain?? Then I looked at 3 month old Charlie and realized I was being so completely ridiculous. This was a moment of a lifetime, PEOPLE DREAM OF THIS. They wish they could swing staying home and enjoying these few years of life that you never ever get back. So I started this season of life and I dove in head first.
What I first noticed was the guilt. Oh the damn guilt. Mom guilt is a real thing. It is in everything we do! For me it began with lunch. Yes, lunch. I felt bad about making my lunch and sitting down to eat it while watching TV. How stupid was I? It took me a while to figure out that people who have “real” jobs also get to have a lunch break, and go to the bathroom, and walk around and talk to their friends. It took me a while to realize that I too have a “real” job. If you’re new at this you wonder why all these women always have a side gig, or are looking for more. It’s because we plainly don’t feel like we are enough. So basically, I worry that my kids will look at me and think she doesn’t have worth, she doesn’t make money like dad, she isn’t going to a job like so and so. Wonder where that notion came from? I don’t want my kids to see me the way I saw my mom, and maybe you don’t want your kids to see you the way you always viewed stay at home moms. We are our biggest judge, our biggest setback!
In between all this I decided to channel my mother. She was always there, which for a child can be annoying, but she was always there for me. I began doing lunch dates with Charlie, with or without friends. A lot of the women in town had babies and stayed home so we began playdates, morning walks, visits to Disney etc. I made the MOST of it. I try to still do this. Keep my mornings busy with the girls and stay home in the afternoons picking up, winding down. (Granted I never truly did wind down because I decided I needed to start a shop so I would work til 3 AM but that is a story for another day!) Staying home became my job. Planning fun days, and going to run errands was what we were meant to do and we did it together me and C and then the three of us. It wasn’t always easy, but it did become easier with the more we did it. Like my philosophy on travel, even though it can be difficult, it’s always worth it.
As of late the struggle is more with myself. I want to be selfless and do everything for my kids and family but I can’t shake the feeling that I also want to be me. I want to sleep in. I want to go to bed late watching tv. I want to do my hair and make up without rushing. I want to go to dinner with my husband and not worry about booking a babysitting a week in advance. I want to read book in the evening. I, I, I. I am really caught up in I in a time where I can’t. It makes me moody, lash out, & over all down. This is my most recent struggle with this season and I’m working hard to get over it. I don’t have the solution but I just know I’m not alone in this feeling. Again, I remind myself this is just a season. Soon my kids will grow and I will be me again. It’ll be a different me than before kids, but my time will come. Patience truly is a virtue huh?
That is what I guess this long rambling summary of my season of life is… I just want YOU that tired, guilty, judging (of others or yourself) mommy, to realize this is a season. For the new mom on maternity leave struggling to feed your baby, or sleep, or just with the idea that you have to go to work soon and leave that baby during the day— you’ve got this! To that mommy who is home and feeling like there is more in the world than Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and play dates but feels guilty because this is what other people wish they were able to— you’ve got this! To the mommy who is run ragged with one, two, three or more kiddos wondering when she won’t feel like a school bus driver at all times of the d— you’ve got this. To the mommy that is starting work again after some years off and can’t figure out if she can actually do everything she needs to do in a da— you’ve got this! To the mommy that is the mommy and the daddy and has to provide every thing and I mean every single thing for her kids by herse— you’ve got this. To the mommy who works full time and then still works full time as a mom and struggles to balance being fully committed to both aspects of lif—you’ve got this! To the mom that is looking for herself amidst the sippy cups, lunch boxes, and piles of laundry— we‘ve got this! To everyone, let’s just not forget that we are our own worst judge, our own trolls, and that it’s ok to be struggling in our own right. Though we must try our hardest to enjoy this season, it’s also ok to feel drowned in it. It’s normal, you’re not alone!
Love you guys! My 2 year old is now screaming so I am going to go enjoy that part of my season 😉