Potty Training a Child With a Speech Delay

I’ve finally reached the dreaded parenting hurdle that is potty training. Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely want a potty trained toddler. In fact, I can’t wait! The only problem is, I would want it even more if I could blink my eyes and have it happen without my floors taking a hit from the accidents, or that feeling of a mini heart attack when you think its “go time” when in reality, their tiny bladders won’t be ready until exactly 5 seconds after you get them off of the toilet. Fun times, fun times. If potty training isn’t a huge hurdle within itself, I knew that potty training my little one with a speech delay might add an extra bit of complication.

I started doing some research, because I really plan to succeed. My daughter will be three in a few months so, no pressure, and I’m also not expecting a potty trained in 3 days sort of success story. However, what I plan to accomplish is for her to nail the concept that peeing in the potty: good, Peeing on the rug: bad. Even though we haven’t consistently attempted training yet, she does know to sit and stay on the potty. I’m just not so sure she understands why, and I’m absolutely positive that she doesn’t know to ask when it is time to go. All in all, my biggest issue I foresee in the process will be communicating. This will be where I get to be the innovative mommy that I am, and find out just what works for my little one.

She does a little bit better with receptive language, so getting her to understand. “Do you have to use the potty?” or “Do you have to use the bathroom?” and what that really means will be my easier communication task. After all, that’s normally where you start anyway. Constantly asking and playing the guessing game with timing, and then eventually they start to understand and come to you when they need to use the bathroom. The bigger task will be getting her to respond with appropriate answers (or answer me at all) and then eventually using her expressive language to come to me on her own to let me know that she needs to go.

How to Know They’re Ready

A big part of beginning the potty training process is knowing that your child is ready. If they aren’t ready, you won’t be getting far on the success train. You want your child to be willing and open to learning, and not trying to avoid the potty at all costs. No one wants a child with potty trauma, and toilet paper nightmares. If your child will at least sit there for prolonged periods of time, start there. Things will eventually progress from there, just remember to listen to your child and what they’re ready for.

A Few Easy Signs
• Pulling at a wet or dirty diaper
• Being noticeably uncomfortable in a soiled diaper
• Hiding to pee or poop
• Interest in others using the bathroom (Not to be confused with them stalking you in the bathroom)
• Telling you when they have to go, or have already gone to the bathroom
• Asking to be changed

My Potty Training Game Plan

My daughter shows a few clear physical signs that she might be ready to officially start potty training, but again, I’m not looking for a potty trained in 3 day success story. Who knows, she might surprise me! At the very least, I know that she’s more than capable of working towards our end goal. She has no problem sitting on the potty for prolonged periods of time. This is something that we’ve done with her off and on for a few months now, just not consistently. She physically just wasn’t completely ready.

Now that we’ve made it to that point, I want to start to remove her attachment to diapers in the daytime. We have to teach her to slowly become aware of her body’s elimination signals first, and then we will move on to teaching her how to respond appropriately to those elimination signals by either coming to one of us to communicate, or going straight to her potty. If you’ve been tuned in to my blog for a while now, you’ll know that I’m a cloth diaper mama, so we’re opting to try out cloth training pants for this portion of our potty training journey. This also works just fine with throwing on regular underwear, or just cutting down on dirty underwear laundry all together, and just letting them run commando. Unfortunately, we have carpet and we currently rent, sooo no thank you!

*Mom Tip!* If you’re choosing the commando route (and even if you aren’t) keep a bottle of cleaner handy for accidents .. you’ll more than likely need it.

What You Need To Start
• Potty or Potty Seat
• Underwear or Cloth Training Pants
• Step Stool (Optional)
• Potty Visuals
• Positive Reinforcement (The Potty Box of Rewards)

I have both a potty seat for the toilet, and a regular mobile potty for my daughter to use. I prefer the toilet seat, because I find it easier for her to make the recognition that this is where using the bathroom happens for everyone, and she also really likes to flush the big toilet by herself. I’m going to be placing her on the potty between 15 and 20 minute intervals, and I plan to keep my schedule flexible, but as consistent as possible. She’s also in part time preschool so I’ll also be working around her school schedule a bit as far as time of day goes, but our rough time frame schedule will always be first thing in the morning, 10 minutes after eating and drinking, and immediately before and after naptime and bedtime.

I want to start my daughter out using potty visuals. She uses visuals a lot in preschool to communicate with her teacher, so I want to incorporate that into our potty routine. I created a 123 step poster to show Step 1: Got to Go, Step 2: Potty Time, and Step 3: All Done. I will also be incorporating some sign language, so that she can sign things like “Potty” and “All done” to better communicate when she is ready to go on her own.

Last but certainly not least, I plan to create a fun box of rewards for her to utilize positive reinforcement, which she loves. Along with lots of claps and praise for going successfully, I bought some fun items like stickers, and tiny toys from the dollar store, and food is always a great motivation for her, so sometimes I plan to offer her small snacks like gold fish crackers when she uses the potty successfully. Eventually she will realize that using the bathroom in the potty is a good thing, and she will be more compelled to continue to use it when good things happen and she’s rewarded for it.

*Mom Tip!* A good must have if you’re planning on frequent outings, and potty training on the go is a travel potty.

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Simply Things That Can Save You Money, and How to Live a Frugal Life

Some of society’s most asked questions are centered around money. Everyone wants to make more of it, and everyone wants advice on how to spend it when you have it, and how to spend it when you don’t. “What are some simple things that can save me money?” “What can I do to decrease my spending?” “How do I live a more frugal lifestyle without living like I’m broke?” It’s really what we all want, right? We want to find ways to save our coins, and fill our pockets. If saving money were really that easy, we would all be doing it though, right? Saving money takes discipline, time, and dedication that not everyone just has. It’s all a learning process.
Living a more frugal life doesn’t have to be a ton of drab lifestyle changes, in fact, a few small tweaks and you can be on your way to adjusting. Being frugal can very much still be fabulous, and you won’t even have to always feel like you’re giving up the things that you love. I want to share some pretty simple ways to save. Things that don’t take a lot of effort, just a few self-reminders along the way to keep you on track, and before you know it, you’ll realize that frugal can be fabulous too!

• BE CONTENT
A great way to get on the road to saving is learning to be content. Everyone driving an expensive car, and wearing expensive things is NOT secretly rolling in money. The first thing you need to do is learn to be content, and be happy with the things that you already have, instead of keeping up with other people, or always feeling like you “need” more.
• Decrease Your Expenses
Another part of being content is decreasing your expenses. When you’re trying to figure out what you can cut back on in your budget, or things that you can get at a cheaper rate, it’s easier to start on your variable expenses first. These will be expenses that vary month to month, your things that may or may not be essential. You have to decide what you’re ready to let go of, and what you really need. I talk more about this in my How to Create a Household Budget.

• Get Out Of Debt
Debt will hold you back for as long as you have it! Having debt means that you have money going out that you could be using to save, or put towards things that you really need. A good way to work towards spending less money, is to free up the money that you’re already spending. Plus, nobody wants to have crazy debt! *Inserts a double thumbs down*
• Buy your needs not your wants
Before making purchases, ask yourself if it’s a need or a want. Mind over matter. You need food, water, clothing, shelter. BUT, do you need a meal from a fancy restaurant vs eating at home? Do you need name brand, all the time? Do you need the home with more square feet than you need, and all of the bells and whistles that you really can’t afford at the time? NO, probably not.

• 24 hour Wait Period, No Spend Periods
Start to make conscious decisions with your spending. If you can decide if something is an actual need or a want, give yourself a 24 hour wait period of time before making a purchase. If after 24 hours you still feel like you need it, then you can reconsider. You can also try NO spend periods, where you consciously decide to spend no extra money outside of necessities and household expenses. I attempt to keep up with doing this at least one week out of the month. No eating out, no outside fun and activities that cost money, and absolutely no extra shopping. I find that as time goes on, it gets easier and easier to concur a no spend period. If you’re new at this, first try to get through a weekend without spending, then increase it to a week, then maybe even longer.

• Carry Cash and Save Your Change
I don’t know if this is a frugal tip, or more of a money saving tip. I read all of the time how swiping a card lessens your attachment to your money. I’ve tried it, the whole carrying around only cash thing and let me tell you, it worked for me. I didn’t want to spend 5 dollars, let alone 20 dollars. I couldn’t bear to let precious green friends slip through my fingers! It was terrible. Also while using cash, it was easier for me to keep my change for savings. It’s crazy just how quickly change can add up when you save it and let your savings grow.

• Buy Used Cars
This isn’t always an ideal tip, and sometimes you have to do what you have to do, but if you can, buy used and save and pay for your cars in CASH. It’s no secret that cars lose value as soon as you drive them off of the lot. It sounds nice to have the car with all of the bells and whistles, but not so nice to have all of the debt that comes along with it. I’ve had both a car with a car payment, and a car that we bought used and paid cash for. Surprisingly, guess which one gave me more trouble in a 3 year span? Used does not always mean unreliable, and it doesn’t always mean old and broken down. Learning to love your used car that might be a year or so behind is all a part of my first tip. Be content.

• Learning to Coupon and Stockpile
Couponing isn’t some brand new frugal secret, it’s actually been around for what seems like forever. However, it’s no secret that couponing has recently gotten a face lift and a little bit of revamped popularity. There are resources everywhere to learn and start, FREE resources. You can find information online in blogs, there are Facebook groups that you can join, or you can even ask a coupon savvy friend if you have one. Once you get the hand of it, stockpiling will soon become your new best friend.

• Money = Time, and Time is Money
Being frugal is all about your mindset. Being frugal is about learning to value your money, and living and learning to live on less. Like I said before, everyone wants to make more money, and everyone wants advice on how to spend it when you have it, and how to spend it when you don’t, but nobody ever asks how to value whatever amount that you have. Start to think of your money like this, time is money, and money is time. Before you’re making an impulse purchase, think about just how long and hard you had to work to afford it. Say you’re buying yet another pair of shoes that would end up costing you like $50. If you’re making $20 an hour, then those shoes just cost you 2 ½ hours of your time. Suppose you make even less, at $10 an hour, those shoes just cost you 5 hours of your time.

I hope you found these easy tips helpful to you. Changing your lifestyle will always become a trial and error situation, but the longer you work at it the easier it will become. I wish you nothing but luck on your fabulously frugal journey. It will take time and adjustments, and it won’t always be easy.

Be sure to check out my pinterest boards for fabulous penny pinchers like yourself for tips, tricks, and inspiration here.

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What’s For Dinner!? Chuck Roast and Vegetables (In the Crockpot!)

Add a new recipe to your collection, and you’ll never have to wonder “What’s For Dinner!?”

I’ve been ALL about my crockpot lately. There’s just something about being able to throw your food in, and basically forget about it! Hours later, and you’ve got dinner on the table. I decided to make this very cozy comfort meal for my family and me, and of course it was another success at the dinner table. Now, because I opted to just throw everything in the crockpot, and forget about it, there was no hassle for me, it just cooked all day, and again, it turned out GREAT. From start to finish this meal took me about 15 minutes to prep, and about 5 ½ hours give or take (Who really knows with a crockpot!) on high to cook.

INGREDIENTS
1 Large Roast ( 3lb Chuck Roast)
½ Yellow Onion (cut into chunks)
1 (16oz) bag of Baby Carrots
2-4 cups Beef Broth
1 Clove of Garlic (Minced)
2lbs Red Potatoes (about 4 Large)
2 stalks of celery
Salt
Pepper
Onion Powder
1tsp Thyme
1 sprig of Rosemary
Garlic Powder

DIRECTIONS
1. Prep your veggies for cooking. Chop your celery. Wash and cut your potatoes into large chunks. Cut your yellow onion into chunks (Whatever size you’d prefer!) and mince your clove of garlic.
2. Whisk your seasoning. Season your roast with salt and pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and thyme. Brown in a pan over medium heat. Add to your crockpot with your chopped veggies and minced garlic.
3. Add your sprig of Rosemary, and cover your roast and veggies with beef broth. Season your crockpot.
4. Occasionally check in on your roast and cook until tender, and your veggies are soft. Lightly pull apart.
5. Enjoy!

Notes: You can choose to peel your potatoes (I didn’t) and you can also use other options other than red potatoes, that’s just what I preferred. For larger roasts, and larger parties to feed, double the recipe, and increase your cooking time.

 

For more recipes from The Chic Kitchen, check them out here!

 

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Weekly Meal Plan Menu #5

Make sure to get a homemade dinner on the table for your family this week with this easy Weekly Meal Plan!

If you’re looking for some new meal ideas, or if you’re just looking to get organized enough to make your family homemade meals throughout the week, you’ve come to the right place.

If it just so happens that you have been a part of The Chic Crowd for a while now, you know that I LOVE meal planning for my family of 5. It’s been one of the most beneficial things that I’ve started doing to stay in budget when it comes to our household groceries. I check in weekly to break down my weekly meal plan, and explain my thought process in planning and scheduling things how I do them. If you’re interested in getting started as a beginner, check out my blog post on how to start meal planning. It’s a great read, really easy explanations, and full of really great tips.

I normally plan out breakfast meals for my kids, a various list of lunch options to keep in the house (We plan, but we definitely wing it!), and then our daily family meals. For other examples of my weekly meal plans, check out the meal planning page here on my blog.

I meal plan on Wednesdays, because I normally like to check out what’s on sale at my local grocery stores. This week I’ll be cooking a lot of meals that require little to no effort. I’ll be coming down from a Thanksgiving high from the week before, and because we’ll be breaking tradition this year, I’ll actually be cooking for Thanksgiving! So, the less cooking the better.

This week I’ve planned the following

Monday: Breakfast: Dairy Free Yogurt, Granola

Lunch: (Options) Peanut Butter Sandwich, String Cheese, Pretzels, Turkey Roll Ups, Applesauce, Fruit, Yogurt, Leftovers

Dinner: Spaghetti, Salad, Garlic Bread

Tuesday: Breakfast: Oatmeal

Lunch: (Options) Peanut Butter Sandwich, String Cheese, Pretzels, Turkey Roll Ups, Applesauce, Fruit, Yogurt, Leftovers

Dinner: Barbeque Chicken Sliders (Crockpot)

Wednesday: Breakfast: Pancakes, Smoothies

Lunch: (Options) Peanut Butter Sandwich, String Cheese, Pretzels, Turkey Roll Ups, Applesauce, Fruit, Yogurt, Leftovers

Dinner: Leftover Spaghetti

Thursday: Breakfast: Dairy Free Yogurt, Fruit

Lunch: (Options) Peanut Butter Sandwich, String Cheese, Pretzels, Turkey Roll Ups, Applesauce, Fruit, Yogurt, Leftovers

Dinner: Shredded Barbeque Quesadillas

Friday: Breakfast: Oatmeal

Lunch: (Options) Peanut Butter Sandwich, String Cheese, Pretzels, Turkey Roll Ups, Applesauce, Fruit, Yogurt, Leftovers

Dinner: Pizza or Order In!

Saturday: Breakfast: Pancakes, Smoothies

Lunch: Sandwiches and Chips/ Salads

Dinner: Baked Alfredo Ravioli

Sunday: Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs, Turkey Sausage Crumbles

Lunch: Sandwiches and Chips/ Salads

Dinner: Baked Alfredo Ravioli

An important reason to meal plan is so you’re wasting less. Less food, less money, less time. In my Meal Planning 101 post, I explain the importance of using leftovers, sides, and extra condiments in other dishes throughout the week, and how to FIRST utilize the things you already have on hand.

I’ll be using a pack of ground turkey I have in the freezer for my Monday meal (Spaghetti), The shredded barbeque chicken from my Tuesday meal in my simple Thursday meal (Barbeque Chicken Quesadillas) and I’ll also be utilizing the abundance of pasta noodles in my cabinet, and making sure to make a few of my meals large enough for leftovers. I’m still continuously learning how to feed a large family on less!

Meal planning doesn’t have to be as complicated as you would think. Spending 30 minutes to an hour worth of your time, can save you lots of time (and money) over the course of your week. So why not start? Save yourself some much needed time, and money and start planning.

 

Yet another great way to plan ahead and save your coins is taking time to create a few freezer meals. If you’re interested in how to get started with freezer prep, and or storing tips, feel free to check out my info on my blog!

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What’s In My Diaper Bag (Cloth Edition)

What's In My Diaper Bag (Cloth Edition) - Chic and Domestic

What’s in my diaper bag, Cloth diapering on the go, and Momming like a BOSS.

Whether you’re a prospective mom, first time mom, or a mama with experience, you know that what’s in your diaper bag is the holy grail to a successful day out. Diaper bags contain everything under the sun, and anything that you could ever think to need for your littles. You would like to think that as time goes on the load gets lighter (literally speaking) but the truth is, the contents of your bag just slowly adjust.

The greatest way to mom like a boss, is to be prepared for any hiccups and mishaps your sporadic little person decides to throw your way, but you also don’t want your arms falling off from a heavy bag. Pack to be prepared, but don’t pack for the apocalypse. Diaper bags will give you a bad back or aching shoulders well before your time, and what mom wants that!?

It took me a few months to find my balance of what I needed and didn’t need, and my husband still thinks I have some searching to do. After three kids however, I would like to think I’m a pro at this diaper bag thing. I’ve decided to share with you which items are truly needed to pack the perfect diaper bag, and how to cloth diaper on the go.

Diaper Bag Needs

1. Diaper Bag
So obviously the need for a diaper bag is number one. Not necessarily an inside essential item, but for obvious reasons, you need to choose a good bag to start with. Now, any diaper bag will do, and if you simply can’t afford it there’s no need to splurge, BUT I would recommend investing in your diaper bag. I’ve always found a need for having two bags on hand at a time in case of spills, and normal mommy wear and tear, and there are numerous styles like the over the shoulder, (One of my favorites) tote style, and the backpack style diaper bag. As my kids get older, I’m starting to love the backpack style. It’s so much easier to be hands free, and not have to worry about my bag falling from my shoulders while I’m holding little hands. I love my over the shoulder bags and everything, and there are so many options now that look more purse like (Making me feel more like a woman, and not just mommy) but at times they can be a hassle to hold while wrangling the kids. I’m currently using my Carter’s Diaper Bag, but I also have backpack options as well.

2. Changing Pad and Wet bag
Most of the diaper bags today come with a matching changing pad. If not, you can always invest in one for a decent price. Changing pads are great for public changings, and containing a mess. I use the detachable changing pad that came with my Carter’s Diaper bag, and I also have a Skip Hop portable changing pad that’s incredibly useful for a quick on the go. A wet bag is essential for a cloth diaper mom on the move. A mom using disposables would just throw her diapers in the trash, or opt for disposable baggies, but because your cloth diapers have to return home with you, you need to make sure to have a spare wet bag. I like to bring two (When I remember lol) one for #1 and a bag for #2. I have some pretty cute Alva and Planet wise bags that I alternate.

3. Diapers and Inserts
Of course diapers are on the diaper bag essentials list. With cloth diapers, they take up a bit more space in the diaper bag, so I normally pack 1 or 2 prepped diapers, and a few extra inserts and covers. I normally pack at least 1 diaper for a 2 or 3 hour trip, 2 diapers just in case. I like to be prepared for blow outs.

*Mom Tip!* Depending on what bag I’m using, and how long we’ll be out, I find that rolling my covers and inserts saves me a ton of space.

4. Baby wipes, Cloth Wipes, Cloth Wipe Solution
Where there are diapers, there are wipes. I’m a cloth diaper mom, but when it comes to wipes, I like to stick to my Pampers Naturals or Water Wipes. Plenty of cloth moms, along with their diapers, also use cloth wipes however so there are a few extra things needed for that. For after use disposal they would also be coming home with you, so this is also a great reason to bring along 2 separate wet bags. Diapers and wipes together can eventually take up a lot of space. If you currently use cloth wipes, it’s possible that you already know all about cloth wipe solution. I’ve seen moms that emerge their wipes in a solution for moisture (much like disposable wipes) and others that just prefer to spray them before use. Either way, a bottle of backup solution would be great to have on hand.

5. Change of Clothes
For obvious reasons a change of clothes is ALWAYS necessary to keep handy in your diaper bag. Kids are just messy! They can’t help it. They spill things, they drool, they pee, they poop. A change of clothes quite frankly is an inevitable need for your little’s diaper bag. I normally pack neutral clothing that can be thrown together with whatever they’re already wearing when needed.

6. Rash cream, Toiletries, Medications
I always make sure to keep a plastic ziplock bag full of these items. This is where I always feel extra prepared for the unthinkable. I keep things like:
• Honest Company Diaper Rash Cream
• Vaseline for Baby or Aquaphor
• Lotion
• Gas drops
• Hand Sanitizer
• Nipple Cream (from my breastfeeding days)
• Zarbee’s Cold Medicine (Seasonal)
• Sunscreen (Seasonal)

7. Snacks, Sippies, and Bottled Water
Snacks for the littles, snacks for a breastfeeding mama, sippies, and bottled water has come in handy on several occasions. When breastfeeding, it’s important to stay hydrated, if you’re formula feeding, water could come in handy for mixing bottles, and I’ve also had bottled water come in handy for sticky clean ups while we’re out and about. Invest in a reusable water bottle to save a few long term coins. My littles are all done with bottles now, so we drag along their sippy cups for their hydrating.

8. Receiving Blankets
Receiving blankets can be used for multiple uses and I ALWAYS pack at least 2 in my diaper bag. When my children were babies, I would keep spare receiving blankets for swaddling, or covering their carseat. As they started to get older, I used them for things like play or tummy time while we were visiting family, burp cloths, or a makeshift changing pad at times. It’s a great idea to have a few on hand, and get innovative with their uses.

9. Toys
Always always always keep at least a toy or two handy for your littles. You never know when your child might need some extra entertaining. I try to bring things along like blocks (My daughter’s favorite), puzzles, and color books or loose paper, and a few crayons to color.

10. Mommy stuff
A diaper bag is obviously there to serve the needs for your baby’s essentials, but it’s such a hassle to bring along both a diaper bag and your purse at times. Don’t forget to pack little things for yourself. Your cell, keys, and wallet are hard to forget, and are normally the only things that I bring along for myself. Breast pads, lotion, or a small makeup bag could also be of use. Also, depending on where we plan to go, I always try to double check what’s already in there and adjust.

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