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So, You Think You Can Potty Dance?

8 Mar

There’s nothing like potty training to motivate you to totally geek out for your kid. Case in point- The Potty Dance. In my house, The Potty Dance goes like this: Pick any children’s song, change the words to pertain to anything potty, and dance around like you’ve had 15 cups of coffee and 4 Diet Cokes. Doesn’t my life sound glamorous?

Before I go any further, I have to be 100% honest here: Pull Ups contacted me and asked if I wanted to write about their Potty Dance Party. Wait! You guys should know by now that I’m naturally wary of PR related blogs and I wouldn’t write about something unless I totally thought it was worth your while, so bear with me here. Plus, there’s some free stuff in it for you guys. See? Sometimes reading my blog really does pay off!

Well, I checked out the Potty Dance Party info at The Pull Ups website and there was some really great info on there. There are tons of free resources to help parents get their kids interested in using the potty. There is a free dowloadable potty progress chart, an iGo Potty app, and you can even request a free Big Kid potty training DVD. If there’s one thing I know: mom’s like free stuff- especially if it motivates our little guys to get that poo poo in the potty, and NOT on the floor like someone’s little girl did once. *cough*

You know what else I learned at the Pull Ups website? There is an official Potty Dance. Apparently, I have been doing it all wrong. They have a pretty sweet video of Ralph’s World performing the official Potty Dance, and while I’d like to think MY potty dance is in the spirit of “interpretive” dance, the Pull Ups Potty Dance has way more mainstream appeal. I mean, the kids on the video are crazy for it-even the parents are getting into it.

This is the best part:

I have to tell you about something else super cool. Pull Ups has a Facebook page, and you guys can go on there and ask for potty training tips. Dr. Gwenn, a pediatrician, mom, and Pull-Ups Potty training parter, is available to answer all your tough potty training questions. I had the opportunity to participate in a conference call where she answered a bunch of real-life potty training questions and she was amazing! I learned a ton of really interesting information like: constipation can lead to potty training issues because a backed up colon puts pressure on the bladder. Totally gross but equally fascinating, right? She’s very real and honest and she doesn’t shove a bunch of Pull Ups jargon down your throat. She actually answers questions with real responses. How refreshing!

Ready for more free stuff?

For all my Southern California friends: Pull Ups is having a Potty Dance Party at the San Diego Zoo on Wednesday, March 23rd from 10-11:30am. The event is totally free with San Diego Zoo admission. There will be a performance from Ralph’s World (awesome!) and more  The tent has a 500 person capacity; first come, first admitted. You know I’ll be there, so come hang out with me!

Once last chance for free stuff!

I’m giving away one Pull-Ups Potty Dance Party Pack. It’s full of fun potty training gear for your Big Kid plus coupons for Pull-Ups. Leave a comment below and consider yourself entered. The giveaway will end on Friday, March 11th 2011, so get those comments in!

“Pull-Ups® training pants provided product, incentives and a reader giveaway for me to attend the Potty Dance Party. However, my opinions on the product and The Potty Dance experience are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive sentiments towards Pull-Ups® or their products.”

So, This One Time I Bought Some Chickens….

22 Feb

It’s official. We own chickens. Four of them. Meet the girls:

Saturday morning I woke up and thought to myself, “We are going to buy some chickens today.” And so we did.

There is a feed store about 40 minutes away that sells young hens that are already laying eggs. Most of the other stores I contacted only sell baby chicks, and well, considering I already have two baby chicks (and a husband) to take care of, the thought of mothering four baby chicks sort of put me over the edge. It also takes chicks about seven months to start laying eggs, and considering the fact that I don’t even like waiting for the laundry to dry, I decided to go for instant gratification.

It was a totally surreal experience- buying the chickens. We just drove to the feed store, asked for four hens, the clerk put them in a box, and then we drove away. The entire transaction lasted about ten minutes. I couldn’t help but think it was about as anti-climactic as losing your virginity. I kept trying to ask the clerk questions and engage him in conversation, but he was totally over me. I even felt compelled to give him my email address in case he wanted to keep in touch or see how the chickens were doing down the road. I felt bonded to this poor guy and he couldn’t wait to get me out of his store so he could take a smoke break.

I’m sure you are all wondering about the names. Emma wanted to name one of the hens “Kitty”. Ok- no problem. I wanted to name one “Lulu”, after a character in one of Emma’s favorite books Goodnight Lulu. Whitney was set on “Dagny”, one of the main characters in Atlas Shrugged. He actually wanted to give that name to the baby before she was born (he got a big hell-to-the-no from me on that one), so I conceded and let him give the name to one of the chickens. All things considered, that was very generous of me. Don’t you think?

We couldn’t really settle on a fourth name. Emma wanted to name the fourth chicken “Emma”, but since there is a good chance we might eat these chickens one day, I just couldn’t get on board with that. Whitney didn’t really care, so I named the fourth one “Sunny” after my great-aunt. I’m sure you are all asking yourselves, “What is with “Gnocchi” then?” Oh, I am too my friends. You see, Emma is stuck on watching this Curious George cartoon and one of the cats in the show is named “Gnocchi.” Despite explaining to her over and over that the fourth chicken is named “Sunny”, she insists on calling it “Gnocchi”. It seems that the fourth hen is destined to be named after Italian dumplings, so “Gnocchi” it is.

Once we decided on the names, it took a few days for us to assign them to the hens. I have to admit- they are hard to tell apart. Gnocchi has more white feathers than the others, Lulu has a lighter neck, Kitty has a redder neck, and Dagne is lighter all around. I’m glad I’ll have this post and the photo collage as a reference for later. It’s all a bit much to keep track of.

I could go on and on about what life is like at The Little Hen House right now, but I know you guys are all busy. If you want to keep tabs on the hens I’ve dedicated a page on the blog to them. You can find it here- The Literal Hen House. I’ll periodically update it with ramblings about poop, feral cats, broken eggs, and my various misadventures in urban farming. Don’t worry- I won’t be offended if you don’t read it. It’s not for everyone.

Well, enough about my weekend. What did you all do?

Going Bananas for Bananas (I’m Giving Away Free Stuff)

16 Dec

I got an email a couple weeks ago from Chiquita Banana asking me if I wanted to be a “Chiquita Mom” and if so, did I want a free “Chiquita Mom” kit? Well, I like Chiquita bananas and I like free stuff, so I said ok.

Look what showed up yesterday:

Nice, isn’t it?

Here is what is in the “Chiquita Mom” kit:

  • Three bibs
  • Three freezer bags
  • Recipe cards
  • An information booklet
  • A coupon for some free Chiquita bananas.
  • A sippy cup
  • Some utensils
  • A portable bowl with a lid
  • A super cute (and large) reusable bag

The best part? They told me I could give five of them away to my readers! I’m not big on giveaways, but I thought you guys might like this stuff too. I’m sure we are all reeling from the cost of the holidays and if there is one thing I know: Moms like free stuff. Plus, it’s really fun to win things and we all need a little more fun in our lives.

The information booklet did have some interesting information. I’m going to leave you with a few fun facts:

  • Bananas have more digestible complex carbohydrates than any other fruit.
  • Bananas are actually high in fiber (2 grams in each medium sized fruit).
  • Bananas have the highest levels of antioxidants when they are at their ripest.

I think giveaways with a billion rules are really annoying, so here’s the deal with this one: Leave a comment below and five of you will be picked at random. Ta da!

You can learn more about Chiquita Bananas and how you can become a “Chiquita Mom” here.


If you ever find that bananas tend to back things up for your baby, you can read about my “Magic Prune Poop Elixer.”

***The contest is now closed. A big thank you to everyone who participated!***


It Feels Like Monday

8 Nov

Hey there people of the interweb. It’s Monday. Did anyone else’s kids get up at the crack of dawn? Please, someone explain to me why we continue to practice Daylight Savings Time (that’s a rhetorical question BTW). It surely must be only to torture the mothers of small children.

In between doing massive amounts of laundry, performing tap water enemas on my children, and obsessively spraying Lysol  on every surface in my house I’ve been doing a little housekeeping on the blog. You can read the story behind all the cleaning here.

I can’t believe that I forgot to share this little tid bit with you guys. Do you remember my apology letter to Sophie the Giraffe? (see it here) Well, this really quirky girl named Claire emailed me and asked if she could re-post it on her blog. I told her no problem and kind of put it out of my mind. Well, I finally got around to checking her blog out, and get this- it’s an entire blog dedicated to her love of Sophie the Giraffe.

You can see my post on her blog here.

It’s like the weirdest coolest thing I have seen in a while. Now, I’m fairly certain that she’s approaching her blog with a bit of sarcasm (Dear god, I hope she is). Either way, it’s best to read it that way.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

The Time of My Life

3 Nov

I just got back from ten fabulous days at my parent’s house in the San Juan Islands. I’m bringing home so many memories and I wanted to share some of them with you.

Here is the view of the sunrise from my parent’s deck. Isn’t it amazing? I woke up to this image for ten glorious mornings:

I took the girls on several nature walks. The deciduous trees were all loosing their leaves. It’s a novelty for Southern Californians to see the trees changing:



We picked mushrooms along the side of the road:

We finally got some good use out of those Hello Kitty rain boots:

We did a little pumpkin carving:

And we even had a surprise visitor:

Meet the newest member of the family: Enterobius vermicularis. Otherwise known as the Pinworm.

You know, there’s nothing like a family vacation (11 people visisting in all) and an intestinal parasite to bring you all a little closer together because:

Sharing is sitting down at the breakfast table and informing everyone that you may have infected them with a parasitic worm.

Teamwork is helping hold down the children so you can perform a tap water enema on them in hopes to flush some of the worms from their colon.

Bonding is everyone raising their glasses to toast just before downing a dose of Pin-X in unison.

Closeness is sharing a singular toilet with an unknown number of people that may or may not have a pinworm infestation.

Laughter is listening in on the phone call to my husband in which I ask him if he’s itched his anus lately.

And finally, seeing a pinworm crawl out of your daughter’s rectum, bob its head around like a dancing cobra, and then slip back in? Well, that’s the stuff memories are made of.


Editor’s note: The icing on the cake was coming home to a broken washing machine. Those of you who are familiar with pinworms know that everything, including linens, must be washed daily. I may as well just burn the house down.

Fellow writers: I just came across a contest titled, “That stinks! But the Arm and Hammer diaper pail by Munchkin doesn’t!” I’m submitting this piece in hopes to win. Because loosing your washer in the middle of a pinworm infestation really, really stinks. No voting is necessary. Check out their Facebook page if you want to submit your own stinky story.

If you submit a story, you are entering a contest for a Arm and Hammer diaper pail by Munchkin. A winner is picked every day. Additionally, the grand prize winner receives free housecleaning for a year! If that doesn’t get your creative juices flowing, then I don’t know what will.

BTW- if you win and I loose, a kitten doesn’t make it to heaven. Good luck!

The Poo Poo is Not in the Potty

27 Sep

Meet my nemesis:

I hate you- you stupid, smelly, ugly toddler potty. I’m sick of cleaning you upwards of ten times a day. You smell. You make me want to vomit- especially when you are full of nasty stinky toddler poops. I hope you die a slow and painful death that includes fire, tarantulas, razor blades, and Barney tunes.

Phew! I feel better now.

So, I guess you know where this is going. It’s time to ditch the toddler potty. So, I bought one of these:

It seemed like a reasonable compromise. Emma did not think so. She hated it. She refused to use it. Well, actually, she used it to go pee on the big toilet. Big whoop. Cleaning a little pee pee out of a toddler potty isn’t so bad. It’s the big stinking turds that I have a problem with. But, I don’t care what she thinks because I took a stand. The toddler potty is out of here.

How did she react? By going on a poop strike, of course.

At day one , I wasn’t too worried. She doesn’t always poop every day. By day two, I was expecting her to cave. “Go ahead and try to hold it in girlfriend,” I told her. “There is only one way that poo poo is coming out.” By day three, I started to get paranoid.

If history likes to repeat itself, and you know it does, there was a very good chance that Emma’s poop was going to end up on the floor, and not in the toilet. We’ve been down this path before.

I started watching her like a hawk. I knew she was trying to get out of my sight so she could wander into a dark corner of the house a drop a deuce, but it was not going to happen. Not on my watch.

We managed to make it the entire day without any poop on the floor, but we didn’t get any in the toilet either. When my husband came home from work, I gave him an update on the poop strike, and headed to my bedroom to nurse the baby. Emma followed, as she always does, and played with a basket of toys I keep for her on the floor at the foot of my bed.

I realized about ten minutes later that I hadn’t heard anything from her. I called for her. She was totally M.I.A. Then, I smelled it. Oh yes, there was feces, human feces, somewhere in my room. I frantically started calling for my husband. “Get in here!” I yelled. “You have got to find the poop and get it out of here! I’m dying! I’m going to barf! Hurry, hurry!”

He walked in the room and started searching for the elusive poo poo. It only took him about a minute to find it. You know why? It was RIGHT NEXT TO MY BED. In order to give you the most accurate account of the story, I have included an image:

I know it’s gross. I had to do it. Sorry.  Just so you can fully understand what I’m talking about, do you see that brown fabric in the lower left hand corner of the photo? That’s my EFFING BED SKIRT! OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. Thank god I didn’t step in it.

What was she thinking? I cannot believe she walked right next to my bed, squatted down, and took a dump like six inches from me. Plus, how did I not hear her? That girl has some amazing ninja-like pooping skills, I tell you.

So, the toddler potty has made a re-appearance.

The score:

Toddler Potty: 1

Me: 0

I will destroy you, Toddler Potty. You are going down. This is not over.

Stay tuned.

You can read about how this all got started here: The Poo Poo Goes in the Potty

My Magic Prune Poop Elixer

30 Aug

I keep reading that in order to have a successful blog, you need to offer something useful to your readers. What? My wit and charm aren’t enough for you people? It’s ok. Even I can only take so much of myself.

So, here is a little something useful for you. I must prelude with a very short story first. (I can’t help it!)

Here’s the deal: Annie isn’t much of a pooper. She has been going every two or three days for pretty much her whole life. It never bothered her and the pediatrician assured me that it is perfectly normal. I know, for a fact, that it would really bother me if I didn’t poop for three days, but whatevs.

When Annie started eating solids though, she really got backed up. One time, after eating almost an entire banana, she didn’t poop for like five days. The poor thing would grunt and groan all day without anything to show for it. I would even hear her in the middle of night trying to work it out. It was terrible.

There was only one solution: My Magic Prune Poop Elixer. This is a homemade baby food recipe that is sure to get some poo poo in that Pamper. Plus, it tastes good and they love it. The food, that is. Gross.

Save any talk of laxatives or stool softeners because we are au natural around these parts. I try to let nature do as much of the dirty work as possible.

Here is the recipe with lots of pictures for the cooking-impaired. This is really easy and I will be worried for you if I find out that you managed to screw it up. (Erin and Seanan- I’m talking to you.)

You will need:

  • A saucepan. A small or medium size works best.
  • A blender or food processor (I use a Braun hand blender- it’s really convenient)
  • Ice cube trays
  • 10-12 prunes
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • Water

Step 1: Place 10-12 prunes in a saucepan. Fill the saucepan with just enough water to cover the prunes.

Step 2: After you cover the prunes, add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.

Step 3: Bring the mixture to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer. (That is when there are tiny bubbles barely coming to the surface.)

Step 4: Let the prunes simmer until most of the liquid is gone. I don’t really know how long this takes. It doesn’t take that long. Just keep your eye on it okay?

The prunes are going to be swollen and look like this:

Step 5: Put the entire contents of the saucepan into your blender, food processor, or cup (like mine). By entire contents, I mean everything in the pan- the prunes and whatever liquid is left over.

Step 6: Blend away! Add water until you get your desired consistency. Prune puree has a tendency to be a bit sticky, so I keep adding water until the mixture is runny.

Helpful Tip #1: I recommend investing in one of these hand blenders. They are fabulous for making baby food and super easy to clean. I puree everything with it- fruits, veggies, and even meats mixed with breastmilk or water. I find it much easier than using a food processor.

Step 7: Once you achieved your desired consistency, pour the puree into ice cube trays.

Step 8: Cover and freeze the puree. You can thaw out the puree as you need it. I warm mine up in the microwave. I have these nifty ice cube trays that come with a cover, but you can also use plastic wrap to cover the top of the tray. You can also put the frozen puree cubes into plastic baggies. Whatever works best for you.

Helpful Tip #2: After you thaw out the puree, you will probably want to add some water to it. It’s thickens when you re-heat it.

Helpful Tip#3: The cubes are hard to get out. You have to pry them out with a sharp knife or a fork.

Helpful Tip#4: You can serve the puree plain or you can use it to jazz up rice cereal, oatmeal, or plain yogurt.

That’s it! See, wasn’t it easy? I knew you could do it! Now, get off the computer and actually do it. Your baby and their bowels will thank you for it.

The Poo Poo Goes in the Potty

14 Jul

Well, Emma has been using the potty now for almost three weeks and it’s going really well. In fact, she hasn’t had an accident in almost two weeks. By accident, I mean she hasn’t pooped in her underwear. The pee pee has never been an issue. It’s the poop. After several days of scrubbing poo poo off her Princess panties (I will never look at Cinderella the same) I knew I needed to come up with a game plan.

Emma is a sucker for cheap toys that break within a day of purchasing them, so I went to Target and loaded up on junk from the dollar bins. I took the toys home and put them in a really cute pink basket. I call this our “Poop Basket”. I told Emma that every time she pooped in her potty she could pick a toy out of the Poop Basket. And you know what, it worked like a charm! Who knew? All she needed was a Dora notepad and some Cat in the Hat stickers to put a little poo poo in that pink potty of hers.

I thought that would be the hardest part of this whole potty training thing, but you know what I’m really struggling with? It’s the acting. It’s not her, it’s me. I’m having a really hard time getting excited about the poo poo in the potty. You know why? It’s totally disgusting. I feel bad because Emma is so proud of herself and she gets quite impressed when she drops the kids off at the pool. I just can’t seem to muster up the same level of excitement that she does when the deed is done.

I cannot tell you how sick to my stomach I get when she gets up and proudly exclaims, “There is poo poo in my potty!”. Ug. It smells. It looks so gross. And then I have to take it to the toilet, flush it down, and clean out the bowl. It really, really makes me want to barf. The whole time I have to put a smile on, jump up and down, and act genuinely thrilled by the whole process. They should come up with acting classes for moms to make the whole charade a little less painful. I’m serious too.

So, yesterday I was nursing Annie on my bed and Emma was in the kitchen playing. I heard her little feet pounding down the hall and she was yelling, “Do you want to see the poop in my potty?” All I could think was, “NO!”. I told her I would be in there in a minute, but it was too late. There she was, standing by my bed, with the bowl from the potty in her hands. OMG. My mind started racing. How did she get it out of the potty? How long has it been in her possession? And, worse, how big of mess did she make? (it turns out she removed it very carefully and without incident) There, inside her little bowl was the biggest turd I have ever seen and it was floating in a massive pool of urine. Oh man, I think I deserve an Oscar nomination.

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