“Me Too, Daddy!”

    Father’s Day is coming up, and it’s got me thinking and being extra thankful for Dale and the role he plays in our children’s lives.  It blesses me so much to watch them shadow him and want to do whatever he is up to.

From mowing, to shooting, golfing to grilling…….they want to be with Daddy!



Destiny, age 5, learning to shoot Daddy’s gun


Her reaction?  And I quote….

”That was AWESOME!”


“Cowboy” Tylan, learning to do the same, but a whole year younger, at age 4. (What’s next? Avery at age 3 and Pax at age 2, think again, Daddy-o!)







 One night a father overheard his son pray:

Dear God, Make me the kind of man my Daddy is.

Later that night, the Father prayed,

Dear God, Make me the kind of man my son wants me to be.


Paxton’s “Pool”

  Paxton, 9 1/2 months old, looooves the water……


Look at those sweet baby legs!!!!!


  So, we decided to use our old antique washtub for Paxton’s “pool”, previously used by us for holding soda’s and bottled waters at BBQ’s.  It has worked quite well!


Here is our setup, now featuring a canopy over Paxton’s pool and the children’s lawn chairs, not pictured. I know it looks small, but it works out really well for us and the stages our kids are at!



In the following photos, you’ll notice Paxton is either in a diaper, or in the buff. Yes, he does own darling little swim trunks, but I was in no position to make all the kids get out of their pool, so I could go back in the house for them…..so we went for the “All natural” look.  018


SPLASH! {Sputter sputter}


Oh my, that was a bit tramatic….






You know, I think that was pretty funny!”


What in the world?”


“Uh, mom?  Are you seeing this strange thing?”





077 (2)090102126 (2)138133


What a sweet, happy boy!





Tomato Basil Pasta Cream Sauce with Kielbasa Sausage & Mushrooms

Say that title 10 times fast! 

Actually don’t.

  Your mouth will be too full of creamy, tomato-ey, delicious goodness. 

Didn’t your Momma teach you to never talk with your mouth full?!?!?!

  This recipe was featured on Tasty Kitchen over the weekend, yay, and I know you are gonna love it too!

Tomato Basil Pasta Cream Sauce with Kielbasa Sausage & Mushrooms

adapted from this recipe of my friend, Lark.


  • ½ whole Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Green Onions, Optional
  • 5 cloves Garlic, Pressed
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 16 ounces, weight Sliced Mushrooms
  • 1-½ pound Kielbasa Sausage, Sliced
  • 24 ounces, weight Classico Spicy Tomato Basil Spaghetti Sauce (no Worries, It’s Not Spicy!)
  • 2 cans Tomato Sauce, 15 Oz. Each
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • Cracked Pepper To Taste
  • 4 whole Fresh Basil Leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 sprig Rosemary, Snipped
  • 1 pint Heavy Cream
  • 4 Tablespoons Corn Starch
  • ½ cups Cold Water
  • 1 box Whole Wheat Linguini Pasta Noodles

  In a large pot, melt butter. Add white onion, mushrooms and pressed garlic.
Add in the sliced sausage and cook until browned. Stir in green onions if using (I have excess in my garden right now, so I put g.onions in everything!)
Stir in salt, seasonings and sauces. Slice basil in thin strips and stir in. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Blend cold water and corn starch, then slowly stir into tomato sauce. Continue to stir as it heats and thickens. (about 20 minutes)
Cook pasta, rinse and drain while you wait.
Whisk in the heavy cream, turn burner to medium-low heat. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Ladle over noodles when ready to serve. 056
Dig in~ this is truly a delicious dish! 
I’d say company worthy even!


Bon appetit!


This post linked to Smockity Frocks,  Lark’s Made it On Monday and Wonka Wednesday.

It’s A Marker Party!

My kids love to draw with Dry Erase Markers, but boy do they make me nervous! Dry Erase Markers stain something terrible!

  Destiny had to use them at school for math, and I can’t tell you how many pairs of pants, cardigan sweaters and polo shirts she ruined with dry erase marker stains. I have a GREAT stain remover, but it didn’t budge ‘em.

  So you can imagine, when I heard about Expo’s new line of Washable Dry Erase Markers, they had my attention.  I was sooo excited when I was selected to host an Expo Washable Marker party and blog about it.  So here we are!   🙂

  Expo sent us a huge box full of goodies in preparation for our party:


Avery looking longingly at all the markers….

“Sure wish I could have some of these, Mom.”


Wait, you mean they are for US?!?!?!  WOW!


I want pink!062


Destiny demonstrating that these markers are indeed, washable.


With NO soap!” she says.


Party day!

6 Momma’s & 16 kids attended


Taking home some goodies!


{SIGH} Expo Washable Markers are DREAMY!


Thanks to Expo & House Party for this GREAT opportunity!!!

Hey all you Momma’s out there, “Like” Expo Markers on Facebook and get a $2 off coupon for these awesome washable markers! Yay!


10 on 10: 2nd Attempt

Today is my 2nd Attempt at a 10 on 10 Post.  (Attempt #1 is here.)

“This 10 on 10 Project has grown to be a fun and interactive way for blogger’s from all around the globe to document a snap shot of their lives, once a month on the tenth, taking a photo an hour for ten consecutive hours. Finding much life and beauty amongst the ordinary things of our day!”

Well, since I already failed miserably (again) at taking 10 consecutive hours worth of photos, I’ll shoot a bit lower:

Today’s goal is to do it wordless and with 10 photos only. 

{Snort} Yeah right!!!!  🙂

Here we go:

Good Morning, Buddy! (Welp, there goes wordless!)


Sneaky Pax! The SECOND I open the fridge, he rushes over to explore and there he sits, blocking the door from closing until I can empty the food from my arms and remove him.


Off to Bible School, bright and early: 8:15 am so I can get my room set up.


One of my 3 Pre-K classes. They are SO sweet!


Here is where Pax hung out all week. He did so good!

Hi mom!


Avery joined us today!

She was in the nursery most of the week since she is still 2.


Naptime = Garden time for Momma & the big kids


Happy, awake and ready to swim…..




Supper prep!


Dessert, Mmmmmmm!


Tylan is such a good Daddy….


Kids are down, so we are chillin’ outside this evening.




Happy 10 on 10 Blog Day!

Should I say sorry that I, once again, couldn’t manage to keep it 10 photos and under and wordless?


~T Smile

The “Picky Eaters Are Made, Not Born” Theory.

  Destinyage2We live by the “Picky Eaters Are Made, Not Born” theory. As I mentioned yesterday, when my oldest was 2, for example, she ate fresh from the garden Tomato, sweet onion and cheese sandwiches nearly every day for lunch. She had no idea that kids weren’t “supposed” to like that stuff.

  Our goal is to introduce new foods and continue to re-introduce them until everyone can tolerate the item. It truly can take a child the 7th or 8th time of taking a “No Thank You Bite” of the item, before they learn to eat it.  This “No Thank You Bite” rule has worked so well in promoting brave eating. I love when exclamations of “Hey, I DO like it!” are heard! 




  Because of this try and retry method, our family, Daddy included, now LOVE LOVE LOVES fresh broccoli, steamed.

  In fact, I have to do at least 2 heads, or there is not enough to go around. They BEG for seconds and thirds on broccoli. 

  You better believe I didn’t think I’d EVER see the day this occurred!

We also work towards “Happy Plates” by starting our toddlers with 1 T. of each item, per year (for example, a 3 year old gets 3 T. or 3 pieces of each item we are serving for dinner on their plate). By keeping portions small, you are helping them succeed!  And, when they work hard to achieve a Happy Plate, we hoop and holler and give out “Happy Plate Hugs”. You’d be surprised what a great motivator something so simple can be!

  Here are some thoughts from the blogger Jenny, over at Picky Palate about this topic:

  Many of you have picky eaters on your hands or know friends who do. What on earth do we do about it? To be honest with you, there is no magic answer here. Every child is so different. For heavens sake, I was one of the pickiest eaters myself as a kid. I am talking, the only vegetable I would eat is corn, and thought macaroni and cheese with hot dogs was the perfect dinner. The thought of eating lettuce greens or tomatoes made my stomach turn. I am happy to say, I like about everything in my adult years. Can hardly believe I am a foodie now, lol! I tell you this, because I know there is hope for those little picky palates when you think there is absolutely no hope!

What I do know, is what has worked for my boys over the years. Here are some tips I have compiled that I hope can help!

  • Slowly introduce new foods to your little ones. Don’t expect them to jump up and down with excitement the first or even second time you give them a new food. Persistence and patience is the key.
  • Make your vegetables and or fruit that your little ones may not be very excited about into fun shapes. Use small cookie cutters to cut their fruits and veggies into something new and exciting. Play “What can we make out of our food?” chances are they’ll love it.
  • Get your kids in the kitchen with you while preparing meals. When they have a hand in dinner, they’ll be proud of what they’ve done and want to eat it. As hectic as it can be at times, take the kids to the grocery store with you so they can help pick out ingredients for dinner. Build excitement about what they pick out.
  • Don’t make more than one dinner per night for your family. Some moms I know make dinner for each child because they don’t like what was fixed. No way! Try a “No Thank You” policy. If your child doesn’t like what was made for dinner, simply have them try at least one bite each time then say “No Thank You” if they don’t like it. Even if they don’t like it the first time, chances are they’ll eventually learn to enjoy it. If they know there is only one choice for dinner, they won’t want to be hungry later.
  • Make dinner a fun experience, where the kids are excited to sit down. Your vibe will rub off on them. When they see their parents ooing and ahhing over what they are eating, they’ll be more likely to eventually join you. You can even play games with you food while you are eating, like “Let’s see who can take more bites or how many different colors of the rainbow can we eat off our plate?” Something with a little competition can be fun.
  • Try “naming” your child’s food something fun and playful… Sammy’s Saucy Superhero Spaghetti, Luke’s Green Giant Broccoli, Anna’s Princess Smile Oranges….you get the idea, make it fun. Purchase inexpensive “fun” kids plates that might be exciting to your child. If they are eating off of their favorite superhero or princess, they will want to gobble up their food.
  • Avoid too many snacks before dinner time, keep them hungry for dinner.
  • Most importantly be patient and make meal time fun.

Persistence will be your best friend!

  Give “No Thank You Bites” & “Happy Plate Hugs” a try, they sure work well at our house!


  What other tips or tricks have worked for your family?


Simple & Quick Lunches for Kids

  We try to eat lunch at 11 at our house.  I know, I know, super early, but you have to remember most of the time, our day starts soon after 6.  Plus, if the 3 littlest Ferguson’s are going to be awake in time to go get big sis from school during the school year, we need to be in the habit of going down to naps by 12:15! 

   Lunch has to be easy and it has to be QUICK!  Most of the time, we eat the supper leftovers from nights past, but sometimes we get tired of that, or I want to save the leftovers to use as another supper.  And, you can seriously only do PB&J on whole wheat bread so many times before it becomes monotonous….well, at least Ty thinks so! 

Ty: “Aw Mom! Peanut butter and Jelly AGAIN?????”

Avery: “YIPEEEEEE!” 🙂

  Below I have compiled a list of ideas for quick lunches, thinking “outside the box”.   And I do mean box.  We lovingly call boxed meals Cardboard Food due to its lack of nutritional value.  Ooo, there is nothing I hate more than “kid food”! You know, mac n cheese, hotdogs, those skinny carboardish freezer pizzas, spaghetti o’s, peanut butter & sugar-loaded jelly on white bread.  Now don’t get me wrong, I have been known to do corn dogs, chicken nuggets or fish sticks for a fast emergency lunch, or mac n cheese from the box for a “special treat”….which by the way, they love better than homemade…WHAT?! Why do I  bother????  The point is, I try not to make it a “regular” on the lunch rotation.

  We expect our kids to eat the same things we do, and since its never been an option any other way, they eat it, and they LIKE it!  Destiny was eating, fresh from the garden, tomato sandwiches with sweet onion and a slice of cheese on wheat bread when she was 2 years old.  She didn’t know kids weren’t supposed to like that stuff!

 I have scoured the web and my recipe box to compile a list of simple lunches for you.  Now, some of these lunches I’ve listed, require a bit of prep work on your part, like cooking and cubing chicken, or browning hamburger the night before, ugh.  BUT, once they are done, they can be put in Tupperware and frozen until you are ready to use them in the weeks to come!!!! Score!    I for sure try to do more of the lunches listed below when Dale is home for the weekend….I doubt he’d be impressed with my PB&J skills!  🙂

  I wish had photos of all these, but I do not, so, just use your imagination as you read the recipes:

Pizzawiches, serve with salad and applesauce.

The night before, brown: 1 lb. hamburger, 1 lb. sausage, with 1 chopped onion. Drain. Stir in 1 tsp. Oregano, 1/2 tsp. garlic salt, 1 can tomato soup, 1 lb. mozzarella cheese.  This makes a big batch, so store in Tupperware in the fridge or divide and freeze in freezer bags for another time!  Before lunch, slice open a whole wheat english muffin or hamburger buns, spread with a nice amount of meat mixture on each side of the bread and broil until done.  Serve open-faced.  Fast and delicious!

Ham Roll Ups, serve with Snow peas and grapes.

Spread a thick-cut piece of ham with plain or veggie cream cheese, add a dill or sweet pickle spear, then roll up. Your kids will think this is sooo cool!

Tuna Bunwich, with raw veggies and apple slices.

Mix: 7 oz. canned tuna, 1 c. diced celery, 1/4 cup miracle whip, 1/2 grated cheese, 1 small minced onion, salt and pepper to taste.  Place tuna mixture on whole wheat hamburger buns and wrap as many as you’’ll need in foil.  Throw them in the toaster oven at 350* for 20 minutes while you clean up toys for lunch and viola’, lunch is served!  Store tuna mixture in Tupperware and make fresh sandwiches again, another day.

Egg Salad,
served with chips and raw snow peas with ranch dressing.

Grandma’s Egg Salad:  6 eggs hard-boiled, peeled and roughly chopped. Mix with 1/4 cup Miracle Whip, 1 t. lemon juice, 1 T. relish, 1/2 t. Worcestershire sauce, 1 t. finely chopped onions, 1 1/2 t. yellow mustard, garlic powder, salt & pepper to taste. This can be served in a pita pocket, on whole wheat Ritz crackers, or bread.


PB & H Whole Wheat Tacos, carrot sticks and apples.

Spread Natural Peanut Butter and local honey (great for Spring allergies) on whole wheat tortilla, fold in half and serve like a giant taco.  Optional: add raisins inside.

001Cheese Crisps, a.k.a. “Mexican Pizzas” with guacamole and chips.

 Sprinkle a whole wheat tortilla with Mexican cheese, add any leftover meat (finely diced) and raw veggies you find in the fridge, if available. Add polka dots of taco sauce. Bake until melted.  Serve with guacamole and chips. Avo-Guac or Holy Guacamole from the fresh produce section is an easy way to do fresh guacamole, ready to serve, no fakey taste, just real Hass avocados pre cut and smashed for your convenience! It goes on Manager’s Special A LOT! Stock up and freeze.

012 (2)

Cheese Roll Ups, served with refried bean dip and chips and fresh cherry tomatoes on the side.

Wheat tortilla sprinkled with shredded Mexican cheese.  Bake until melted, roll up and serve while warm. Open can of refried beans, heat.  Stir in a bloop of sour cream and some jarred salsa, to taste. This will help create a creamier dip-like texture for your beans. 

Tomato and Cheese Sandwich on Wheat bread

Garden fresh, thick-cut tomatoes, a slice of Colby jack cheese and sweet Vidalia onion slices on Wheat bread spread with miracle whip.

Hummus and Pita Bread, with grapes.

Buy your favorite hummus, or make your own.  Cut pita bread pockets into triangles with your pizza cutter.  Dip, or spread pita triangles with hummus before serving.  Healthy and EASY!!!!!!!


Chicken cubes or sliced turkey, cheese squares, and apple slices.065

    Cold chicken can taste great! Cook extra seasoned chicken breasts during supper prep, cube and use for this easy lunch.  It was really hard for me to get used to doing small, separate foods like this, but it really goes over well .  Add a whole wheat roll on the side, if you choose, for your bigger eaters.

Peanut Butter Banana Roll Ups

Peanut Butter Banana Roll Ups (from A Little Bit Crunchy, A Little Bit Rock n Roll)

Whole wheat tortilla, Natural peanut butter, 1 quarter of a banana cut lengthwise, granola, ground flax-seed, wheat germ, raw honey.  Smear, cut, sprinkle, drizzle, roll, and slice.

1a a red&white pasta 006

Red and White Pasta, (from Life As A Lofthouse) served with a side salad or broccoli. (raw or steamed) Sometimes I even stir frozen peas into things like this and let the heat from the casserole thaw them to tender crisp if I don’t have other veggies on hand.

Take 1 pound box Whole Wheat Penne Pasta, cooked and drained, 26 oz. jar meatless Spaghetti Sauce, 16 oz. jar Alfredo Sauce, 3 cups shredded mozzarella Cheese.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Boil and cook pasta in a large pot of water according to package directions. Drain. In a 9×13 glass baking dish, spread 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce on bottom. Pour half of the cooked pasta on top. Pour half the alfredo sauce, half the spaghetti sauce and 1 cup of cheese evenly over pasta. Repeat with remaining pasta, sauces and cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until hot & bubbly!

Whole Wheat English Muffin Personal Pizzas
, served with baby carrots and Applesauce.

mini pizzas

  Set out different “pizza-ish” ingredients: a little sauce, some leftover ground hamburger, mini pepperoni’s, chicken, ham cubes, veggies from the bottom of the veggie bin, mozzarella cheese……and let your kids decorate their own. My kids LOVE this! Canadian bacon and pineapple is their favorite.  

 Oven Nachos

  Layer a thin layer of chips and shredded Mexican cheese on a Pampered Chef stone or cookie sheet, next add another layer of chips, a generous layer of more cheese, shredded chicken or leftover ground beef, a rinsed and drained can of black beans if you don’t have meat ready. Add any veggies floating around in the veggie bin: peppers, green onion, cilantro, tomatoes, even carrot shreds. Drizzle with taco sauce and bake until melted.  Serve while hot with seasoned sour cream.  (I do Pampered Chef’s Southwest Seasoning, or 1/2 a packet of Taco seasoning, or cumin.  Makes it extra good!  OR mix Ranch dressing with mild salsa and make a Texas Ranch sauce to drizzle over the whole thing.)  Serve hot or it sets up and gets hard!

Turkey Sticks, serve with grape tomatoes and a fruit cup.

 Spread veggie cream cheese on a whole wheat bread stick and wrap it with several pieces of turkey, to cover cream cheese. 

cubed-chickenChicken Cubes, served with Snow Peas and Yogurt Parfaits.

  Cubed, cold, previously cooked and seasoned chicken breasts, raw snow peas. (both items are good dipped in ranch) Give your kids a toothpick for an extra fun chicken eating experience!  Serve with Organic vanilla yogurt, layered in-between granola and fresh fruit or frozen berries (thawed) for “dessert”.

(Photo Credit)


Scrambled Egg sandwiches with orange slices.

  We do scrambled eggs with melted cheese, mayo and ketchup on wheat bread.  The kids LOVE them! Reminds me of my childhood, we had these a lot too!

 (photo by Taste of Home)


Egg In A Hole

(photo by Country Living)

  Butter one slice of bread. Cut large circle out of the middle. (a biscuit cutter works great)  Place bread in hot skillet or on hot griddle. Place one egg (can be beaten if you prefer scrambled eggs) in center. Cook until egg is set on both sides.  Serve with yogurt. Breakfast for lunch is FUN!

Lunchtime Basics
  • Juice “punch” or “cocktails” are little more than glorified soda. Even drinks labeled as juice may have only a small percentage of real fruit. Buy 100 percent fruit juice (NOT COCKTAIL) when you have the choice, but mostly, just promote water at meal time! Save juice for a “special treat”.
  • A truly healthy bread should be more than just mitts to hold a sandwich’s contents. Buy whole grains and especially look for whole wheat. (or make your own!)  Try to mix it up a bit: look for oat, corn, multi-seeded breads. Whole Wheat Tortillas and pita pockets can also be used as great alternatives to slices of bread. Mini sandwiches on wheat rolls make lunchtime seem more fun.
  • Have your children come up with their own creative sandwiches. Give them a choice of breads (i.e. whole wheat), sandwich fixings (i.e., tuna), and then add some unlikely but healthy additions (ie grated almonds or craisins). Little ones especially will love the fun possibilities.

  Growing bodies (and developing taste buds) should be encouraged to eat a variety of nutritious and tasty things at lunch. We believe picky eaters are MADE, not born. At our house, if you don’t finish it for lunch, it follows you to snack time!  Plus, I am not a short-order cook, everyone eats the same meal, no exceptions!

  Hopefully this gives you some new ideas to make lunch prep fun again!  I’d love to hear some of your favorite “go to” lunches when you are in a rut or short on time.



“Ima Big Girl!”

Avery wants to tell you something……


“Ima Big girl!!!!!!”


  For a whole week now, she has stayed clean and dry during the day, and she has done her business in the potty.

  Hallelujah and praise the Lord! I thought she was never going to train, stubborn thing! (She will turn 3 this summer you know.)

  053Last week, she got the clean and dry part down, no problem.  The issue was she wasn’t relaxing as she sat, so she wasn’t going……like at all. 

  Like barely even a potty diaper after sleeping, because she wanted it to be clean and dry so bad. 

  After a few days of holding it, she became very uncomfortable, sweaty, and flush cheeked.  We were getting worried!  A friend suggested we let her drink Apple juice all day long to promote going (both ends) and it WORKED!  Don’t you love having other momma’s to run things by and get fresh ideas!  After she finally went, we had a “Potty Parade” and marched around the house cheering, singing and handing out Sixlets candy to celebrate!

   When I trained the other kids, they got 1 little candy for pee, 2 for poo. Avery?  Well, she is a bit more strong-willed, and her poo and pee “cost” more. Maybe inflation at work?  Who knows. She is 2 Sixlets for pee and 3 for poo. 015-2

  I have had 2 in diapers for so long, I almost don’t even know how to act! I’m sure I’ll adjust juuuust fine.  🙂

  Avery’s Nana promised her if she could stay clean and dry for 7 days, she’d take her on a “Big girl ice cream date” in her Jeep. (BTW, riding in Nana’s Jeep or Daddy’s car is Waaaay cool at our house!)  Sunday was day 7, as well as the first morning she woke up dry overnight! Yay, more progress! 🙂 

  After nap was over, Avery came out and announced she was ready to call her Nana for her “Ice Cweam Date”.  She also announced she’d be wearing her “fancy shoes”. 

  In the land of Avery, fancy shoes can vary from her church shoes, to tap shoes, to my shoes, to dress up shoes.  Today’s fancy shoes?  These hot little numbers…..


Just a note here:  1st time Mommy Tonya, would’ve never let her child leave the house in dress up shoes, not matter how cute. 4th time Mommy Tonya….Sure, why the heck not? It’s sure not going to hurt anything! 🙂

Avery is so excited!


We needed a picture with Nana’s shoes too……


Nana and Avery


Off they go!


Bye, have fun!!!!


So if I have learned anything from potty training 3 of my 4 children it is this:

No matter what, it can’t be your idea. 

Not even if you are super stubborn, make cute sticker charts, make them sit in their poo diapers, encourage, punish, or even buy a new toy and put it on top of the fridge to be earned…..

It just won’t work until THEY are ready. Until their BODIES are ready.

Huh, what a thought!

  Without further ado, here are the 3 readiness signs to watch for before embarking on what can be an oh-so frustrating journey!

3 Readiness Signs

1) Child says when dirty or wet. (This happens soon after they start hiding when going.)

2) Can pull pants down and access the potty on their own. (this is important for those times you need them to RUNNNNN because you can’t clean the supper ingredients off your hands fast enough to go help)

3) Wakes up from at least nap time dry.  This is a sign of bladder maturity.  If they cannot hold it during those few hours of sleep, they are not ready to train.

  Trust me, I learned the hard way with Destiny. She showed 2 of the 3 signs at 18 months, so I started training her.  She got scared by some runny (noisy!) poo and next thing I know we are in an all out War to use the potty.  6 exhausting months later, after trying everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING!!!! I packed the whole thing up and said FORGET IT!  A few weeks later, on her own terms, she asked for her big girl undies.  She had 3 accidents EVER.  It was a breeze. (In fact, I still have her original package of Pull ups, that Avery is using now since we only had used a few of them!)

  Tylan was different, I had heard boys are just a bit harder to train, and it seems to take them longer to be ready.  My pediatrician told me the new potty training average is 3-4 years old for boys. (Rather than age 2-3 years like in the past.)  Ugh. Do you know how BIG a 3 year olds poo is?  Do you know that I had that kid in the BIGGEST diapers money could buy, the Overnight version, PLUS rubber pants and he’d STILL wet the bed every night.  His bladder did not “mature” until after he turned 3.  Once that happened, he started to wake up dry and proceeded to train in a week and a half.  I made him wear Pull Ups at night for a long time after for my own peace of mind, but he kept them dry.

  If I’ve learned anything, it’s not to promote “False Starts”. It’s better to never start at all, then to stop and start, stop and start and confuse them.  One day we poo in diapers, the next mom announces no more diapers, and I am supposed to sit down and go in this big hole? Then when it doesn’t work, we are back to diapers?  How confusing!  (Poor Destiny! I totally did that to her, several times!)

  Here are some methods or tips we’ve picked up on the way, but as is true with everything else…..what works for one kid, does not work for another.

~Move potty chair out to the living room where it is easily accessed. (Works great!  Just not with a sibling who is a crawler, Ew! I don’t even need to go there. You know what I am referring to.)

~Train in the summer. Less layers to deal with.  Girls can be in sundresses for easy access.

~Let the child go naked so they can start to recognize the “I have to Go” sensation. Be ready to sanitize well and clean your carpets when you are through! 

~Another option is big kid undies with a pair of rubber pants over it. The idea is for them to experience the wetness. Pull Ups still pull too much of it away from their legs.  We save those for outings and sleep times and talk a LOT about keeping the “Big Girl Pull Ups” clean and dry, just like underwear!

~Do not go back to diapers. A lot of children will wait to pee and poo once they are on. It’s safe and familiar and doesn’t get them out of their comfort zone to be ready to learn something new.

~Start boys by sitting to use the restroom.  I won’t tell you the story about the time Tylan stood to pee, didn’t recognize the sensation and poo’d too….on the way out the door to church no less!!!!  Oh wait, I guess I just told you the story.

~Remind boys to tuck their pee pee between the legs while seated and doing their business. This will save you lots of cleaning in the long run…you never know WHEN that thing will go off!

~As they get big enough to stand, help boys aim better by floating Cheerios down in the water to aim for.  We used to just tell Ty to aim for the hole down there and try to make his pee bubble in the water.

~When an accident occurs, have the child “practice” going to the bathroom from that location 10 times.  This worked well with Tylan.  If he had an accident next to the train table, then he had to run to his bathroom and back, 10 times.  (we let him keep his pants on and just sit on the toilet lid for this practice)  This helps them realize that no matter where they are, there is an easy route to the bathroom.

~REWARD REWARD REWARD!  Destiny had a sticker chart. I made a curved path with squares. She got a sticker each time she went, 1 for pee, 2 for poo and 1 for staying dry at nap and 2 for staying dry at night. At the end of the winding path was a reward. She picked out a doll house she wanted reallyreally bad.  At the end of 2 accident free weeks, she got it!


  Hope this can be helpful to one of you new Momma’s out there!  Learn from my mistakes and save yourself a whole lot of banging your head on the wall in frustration with false starts and lofty plans! 


At our house, there’s always a “Potty Party” goin’ on!


Pillow Wars & Mexican Chicken Salad w/Chili Lime Dressing

  Dale and the kids were having pillow fights the other night before bed.  Isn’t it just like a daddy to come up with a totally wild, loud game right before bed?  Oh well, they were having fun!  I was watching them play around and I totally flashed back to when Chad and I were kids, and we played this great game called “Stick Your Head and Arms in Your Pillow And Crash Into Each Other”. 

Ok, maybe that wasn’t the name of it, but that’s what we used to do.

  So, I shared my ingenious idea with my children who responded with “YEAH!” And “Cool!”  

  These photos aren’t great, but you’ll get the general idea of what occurred.


A Couple of Notes: 

1)  Avery’s pillow covers her entire body. hee hee Smile 

2)  Destiny’s pillow is NOT far enough down, she kept cheating and using her arms.  NO ARMS ALLOWED!

3)  Obviously the fluffy side of the pillow should be in front of the face, not behind, before you crash into your sibling. Ouch.  And obviously, be careful so that your children can breathe. 

Thank you, this has been a service announcement……

Let the games begin!

Destiny cheating again…..


She takes down Avery in a single swipe. Poor Avery crumples to the floor in shock and horror at such a game and declares she is NOT playing anymore!


Ok, restart…..NO ARMS!  Line up, and…..GO!



Giggling ensues…..



Dale decides they need some “assistance”…..012

Sometimes Daddy’s forgot their own strength……

“Let me help you, Destiny!”  {SHOVE}


CRASH!!!!!!!  (This is the sound of Tylan falling backwards on his head.)



“Sorry, buddy!”  Daddy makes it all better with an ice pack.  It’s BEDTIME!


  Ok, on to the salad portion of this post:

This is a FANTASTIC Mexican salad with a killer homemade Chili Lime dressing and colorful pico de gallo that will make you say “Mmmmm” with each and EVERY bite. 

Oh my stinkin’ word, #1 best salad EVERRRRRR!!!!!

  Now, it looks like a lot of ingredients, but don’t be alarmed, it comes together easily and you can do everything in advance if that helps!  Trust me, it is WORTH it!  Did I already say, MMMMMMMMMMM?


Mexican Chicken Salad with Chili Lime Dressing

  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Lime Juice (about 2 Small Limes)
  • 1 teaspoon Grated Lime Zest
  • 1 teaspoon Chopped Garlic
  • ½ teaspoons Chili Powder
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • ¼ teaspoons Ground Pepper
  • ¼ teaspoons Cumin
  • ⅓ cups Olive Oil
  • _____
  • 1 whole Red Pepper, Diced
  • 1 whole Yellow Pepper, Diced
  • ½ whole Red Onion, Diced
  • ⅓ cups Fresh Cilantro, Snipped
  • 1 can Corn, Drained (15 Ounce Can)
  • 1 can Black Beans, Drained And Rinsed (15 Ounce Can)
  • 1 whole Large Tomato, Diced
  • _____
  • 8 cups Mixed Greens Of Your Choice
  • 4 whole Grilled Seasoned Chicken Breasts, Cubed
  • 1 whole Hass Avocado, Mashed
  • 1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
  • Mexican Cheese To Taste
  • Your Favorite Ranch Dressing
  • Crunchy Tortilla Strips (found Them By The Croutons)

Preparation Instructions

Combine all of the dressing ingredients and mix well.

048Combine all of the pico de gallo ingredients and mix well.

To assemble salad: place mixed greens on each plate, add a generous helping of pico, some grilled chicken cubes and cheese. Add a dollop of mashed avocado (mix the avocado with the lime juice and some salt, to taste) to the top of each salad.

Drizzle with mostly ranch dressing and a small amount of the lime dressing. Top with tortilla strips.

Enjoy! Its SO delicious I betcha you’ll say MMMMM with every bite too!


Ole’!  And Happy Monday!

~T  🙂

This post linked to Lark’s Country Heart.

And Angie’s Big Love of Food.


Tasty Tuesday.

This Chick Cooks

Miz Helen’s Country Cottage


Mud Puddle Memories

  Before I start in on Mud Puddle Memories, I wanted to take a moment to say THANK YOU to all of you sweet friends and readers who commented yesterday. I was not able to reply to each one of you, but I read all of them and took them to heart, thankful for such positive supportive people in my life!  You bless me beyond measure!!!!!!

Today’s forecast? 

Sunny with a chance of lemonade!  🙂


  My kids found a giant mud puddle to play in today.  Thankfully, they were kind enough to take off their shorts first before stomping in it. 


  Sadly, despite their sweet efforts, this did not protect their lil’ hiney’s from getting mud spattered.  Oh well, they had fun, so its worth the extra laundry, right?

RIGHT?!  🙂058

Seeing this scene brought back a memory from yester-year of my sweet little Avery, who was sent outside to be watched by her daddy, so mommy could get the house cleaning done……ALONE.

  It was a warm fall day, and the big kids had rolled up their pants to step in another mud puddle in the same location as today’s mud puddle.  (Note to Dale: Maybe it’s time to fill the driveway hole!?)

  Here is what happened:

Big kids playing in mud


Baby Avery wants to join in the fun.  Daddy musta said yes, ‘cause SOMEBODY rolled those pant legs up!

  Next thing I know, the kids are shouting for me to come quickly!  Apparently, Avery has fallen in the mud puddle.


“I want you, Momma. You hold me?”


Thank the Lord for Washing Machines…….




Have a great weekend!