Potty-Training Woes

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Don’t let this innocent face fool you

Ok, mamas, I need some help with this one.

Little man C refuses, and I mean REFUSES, to go #2 on the toilet.

One morning shortly after his third birthday, C decided that he wanted to pee using the toilet, and we never looked back. I think he has had maybe 1-2 accidents in the past 9 months, and I consider him fully potty trained when it comes to #1. He goes into the bathroom by himself and takes care of everything without batting an eyelash.

HOWEVER, when it comes to poops…it is full out Armageddon in our house.  He is terrified to poop on the toilet…the very same toilet he has no problem peeing into!! Of course, me being the logical, level-headed person that I am, I’ve tried explaining this to him thirty-eight thousand times. But I’m starting to see that logic and toilet phobia do not mix.

No matter how hard I beg and bribe, there is no cajoling him out of this fear.

So…does anyone have any advice for us?

I’ve tried using a potty chair instead of the toilet (and we’ve tried it in every room of the house). Nothing. I’ve appealed to him with toys, candy, and anything else you can think of. Kid is still terrified of pooping anywhere but his pants. He will scream bloody murder if you even suggest he uses the bathroom, and turns into a wild animal (biting and scratching included) if we try sitting him in there.

I have a feeling this is something he will just have to grow out of, but I am open to suggestions. In the meantime, you will find me still changing poopy diapers while silently weeping.

Open Shelving!

I have been wanting to do an open-shelving project in our kitchen since we first bought the house last spring. I am so very excited that we accomplished it all in one weekend. And, honestly, once we got started, it went smoother than expected.

First, we had to repaint the wall where the shelves were to go. We didn’t mind the color per se, but the existing paint was old & chipped. Plus, there were like 100 nails sticking out of the wall. The previous owners had gallery walls literally EVERYWHERE in this house.

It took me about five sample jars (and a few trips to Lowes)…

File Jul 13, 12 15 10 PM…but I finally found a close match that I really liked.

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J. painted after work on Friday and early Saturday morning. By that afternoon, we had a nice, blank canvas to work with.

File Jul 13, 12 15 47 PMAfter the paint dried, it was time to hang the brackets. This took some measuring and leveling (and more measuring and leveling), but we had them hung and ready in about an hour.

File Jul 13, 12 16 00 PMWe went to Lowes and picked up a 2×12 piece of lumber which we had cut down into two 64″ pieces. We brought the wood home, and J sanded and stained it. We chose a stain and sealer in one. I picked the lightest color they had because I wanted to keep the wood very natural looking. We let the stain dry overnight, and by next morning, it was time to screw the shelves to the wall!

File Jul 13, 12 16 11 PMIt took me forever to “style” them just right…and I’ll probably fiddle around with it till the day I die…but I am SO HAPPY with how they came out and wish we had taken the plunge sooner.

shelves4shelves5shelves3shelves2shelves1For anyone thinking about doing this, it really is easier than you think. Though I don’t know if J would agree with me since he had to do all the measuring and sanding 😉 But I like any project that can be tackled in a couple of days because I am as impatient as anything. Hope you like the result as much as I do!

4th of July Recap

There is no denying it. The 4th of July is my favorite holiday. I love summer, swimming pools, barbecues, lightning bugs, fireworks, and flags. I also love (vegan) ice cream, Twilight Zone marathons, and 9pm sunsets. Sigh. The best.

We had so much fun this weekend doing all of the above. Saturday involved lots of swimming and homemade popsicles. Sunday night, my mother and I took C to his very first fireworks show. So epic! We spent Monday at my parents’ house swimming and eating. I miss it so much and am already excited for next year.

I hope your long weekend was as sweet as ours was.

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We went to see the fireworks in Paramus, New Jersey for the first time. The show was perfect, and C did really well during the 3 hour wait. The crowd swelled to 10,000 strong. It was the quintessential 4th of July experience!

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Willy and the Willies

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Firework-Watching Essentials

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The Paramus Orchestra

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Monday was hot & sunny. Just how we like it.

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How everyone in my family acts when you turn a camera on them

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We can never get a decent family picture. This is as good as we can do 😄

Red, White & Blue Popsicles

Fourth of July, here we come!

The only thing that could make my favorite holiday even better is having it fall on a Monday. Long weekend for everyone!! 🙂

We made some SUPER simple yet tasty popsicles today in honor of the Fourth. Red, white & blue with nothing artificial but just enough sweet to make them yummy & refreshing.

Simply pour 100% pure coconut water into popsicle molds and fill with your desired fruit. We used blueberries, fresh cherries, and strawberries. So good, you guys.


Hope you all have an amazing Independence Day!

Homemade Sunscreen Bars

Happy Friday, everyone! I am beyond thrilled that summer is finally here. Late June/early July is my absolute favorite time of year. Warm breezes, sunshine, flowers, and those late-late sunsets…doesn’t get any better than this.

Lately, I’ve been intrigued by the idea of making my own sunscreen. I mainly wanted to try it for C. I hate putting those sticky, store-bought sunscreens on his skin. Even the ones labeled “organic” gross me out. I feel like I just rub and rub and they never absorb, leaving us a both a gooey mess. Yuck. So, we took our case to Pinterest and came up with some interesting recipes, then on to the kitchen for experimentation!

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This is the recipe we used [found HERE]:

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup shea butter

1/2 cup beeswax

20 drops lavender essential oil

20 drops frankincense oil

1 Tablespoon zinc oxide powder

Melt coconut oil, beeswax and shea butter in a double boiler. Let cool for a few seconds and add essential oil and zinc. Stir well. Pour into molds and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Once solid, remove from molds. Store in mason jars or Ziploc bags.

We chose lavender and frankincense essential oils both for their fragrance and benefits to the skin. I plan to test these out on myself before letting C in the sun with them. But if all goes well, I will DEFINITELY make these again. It was super easy and fun and C had a blast helping. Always a plus.

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Also, after the testing phase is complete, I may make these bars available for purchase. Would anyone be interested? Let me know in the comments or send me an email (lildropsofjoy@gmail.com).

Thanks & hope you have a great weekend in store!

[For more information, click HERE. To purchase essential oils, click HERE.]

Living Room Update

We are FINALLY finished furnishing and decorating our living room. We have lived here for a little over a year, and the living room was one of the things we wanted to tackle most. It was painted a dark, greenish-brown color when we bought it, which honestly was one of the most hideous and depressing colors I’ve ever seen inside a house.

I knew I wanted our colors to be light and airy because the room is on the small side. It does get great natural light from the big picture window, though.

The vintage-y details make things feel comfy and inviting despite the cool tones, and it has easily become one of my favorite rooms.

Here is a little tour. Hope you like it as much as I do!

 

Yellow crochet throw – thrift shop find!

Cute detail on this pillow from Target 🙌🏻

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Loving the brass shades on this lamp

I tried creating a tiny “entryway” by adding this runner

Really like the graphic print

One of my favorite details in the house: this original, pointed archway

Yoga mats & yoga blocks = essentials

DIY – Dry Shampoo

All moms swear by dry shampoo. We don’t always have time to wash (never mind blow dry) our hair, but we don’t want to leave the house looking like un-showered grease monsters either. That’s where dry shampoo comes to our rescue. There are so many brands on the market now, falling within different price ranges. Today, I’m going to show you how to make your own dry shampoo for pennies on the dollar by using all-natural ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.

These are the essential oils that I use in my blend; however, feel free to use any scent combinations that appeal to you!

Cedarwood – Fresh, earthy aroma. Known to soothe skin and give hair more body, strength and life.

Tea Tree – Antiseptic, antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory. May help with tissue regeneration. Clean, bracing scent.

Rosemary – Comforting, herbal aroma. May promote hair growth and fight dandruff. Makes hair shine.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1 Tablespoon baking soda
  • 2 drops Cedarwood essential oil
  • 2 drops Rosemary essential oil
  • 1 drop Tea Tree essential oil
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (for dark-haired beauties only)

What you’ll do:

  • Combine all ingredients
  • Spoon into shaker container
  • Sprinkle on roots and massage into scalp
  • Wait a minute or two for powder to absorb
  • Brush through hair

It is fine to substitute corn starch for arrowroot powder if that’s all you have on hand.

Also, go slow when sprinkling on your roots or else you’ll wind up dumping way too much on your head (like I did the first time). Not pretty! It’s totally ok to sprinkle the dry shampoo into your palm first and then apply 😉


Now that your hair is clean and fresh, you’re ready to go out and conquer the world, mama! Let me know in the comments if you have any questions.

xo Erin

[For more information, click HERE. To purchase essential oils, click HERE.]

Brush Egg

Sometimes a small thing comes along and unexpectedly changes up your routine in a big way.

We all know how important it is to wash your makeup brushes regularly. But it’s kind of a boring chore that I wind up putting off more often than not.

My favorite makeup vlogger, Kathleen Lights, introduced me to this little doo-dad. It was pretty inexpensive and available on Amazon, so I gave it a shot. I wasn’t expecting too much, but once it arrived, I was really impressed!

The Brush Egg slips right over your two middle fingers while you run your brushes across it. All the little bumps and ridges really help get every bit of leftover makeup and grime out of the bristles. BONUS: it keeps the palm of your hand from getting soaked. I have eczema on my hands that likes to pop up whenever I spend too much time in water. This little brush egg takes care of that issue for me; so of course, I fell in love with it even more.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive and all-natural cleanser for your makeup brushes, here is a recipe I whipped up the other day. Easy to make and smells delicious!

What you’ll need:

What you’ll do:

  • Mix all ingredients together in glass bowl
  • Rinse your brush heads under clean, running water
  • Gently swirl brushes in your soap/oil mixture
  • Slip the brush egg on your fingers and rub the bristles over the ridges firmly yet carefully
  • Rinse mixture from brush heads with running water
  • Pat bristles and lay flat to dry

See? Just turned a boring chore into something cute AND green.

Let me know in the comments if you decide to try the Brush Egg for yourself.

Meanwhile, happy oiling!

For more info on oils, click here

To place an order, click here.

Why I Choose Homeschool

caltrain1Homeschooling is a subject that evokes strong opinions from people. Generally, I stay away from contentious topics in my real life because, like most highly-sensitive people,  I SUCK at confrontation. However, J and I have made the somewhat controversial decision to homeschool our son, and I couldn’t be happier about this.

My history with homeschooling is quite personal. Ever the trailblazers, my parents advocated for homeschool long before it became trendy. They believed that a quality education from home was not only possible but perhaps more valuable than a traditional one. They attempted to homeschool me in 1993 using a correspondence curriculum.  The decision was all theirs, and I felt conflicted about seeing my friends move on to the next grade without me…although the idea of never returning to school again was pretty damn exciting.

As it happened, things didn’t pan out, and I returned to public education one year later in order to start high school with my peers. The experience was both rewarding and confusing. I was a self-motivated and independent learner, eager to continue; the experiment failed mainly from lack of planning on my parents’ part and little to no resources. Not knowing any other homeschooling families, we suffered without connection and support.

During high school, I spent a lot of my free time reading books about homeschooling. Even though I loved learning, I hated the high-school environment with a passion reserved only for angst-y teenage girls.

My angst notwithstanding, I was attracted to the advantages homeschooling offered. I loved the freedom, flexibility, and independence idealized by homeschool. Even if it wasn’t going to work for me, I wanted to educate my own children from home if/when the time came. My research was based on library books (remember those?), and I believed with all my heart in homeschooling’s amazing potential when successfully implemented.

Of course, at that time, not many could foresee the huge impact that the Internet would have. Over the past 20 years, its development has made homeschooling and home-school support more accessible to families than ever. It blew the lid off my old knowledge and still does as the body of research continues to grow and the face of homeschooling evolves.

Having said all this, no amount of reading/study speaks more strongly to you than your gut, especially when you’re a mom. Like me, my son is highly sensitive. He is intelligent, imaginative, strong willed, and focused. He’s also tirelessly active, stubborn, and demanding. I know my son better than anyone, and I know my family. This is what I feel is right for us. With good planning, lots of love and support, homeschooling is the way to go.

Homeschooling is NOT for everyone. Just as a more traditional education might not be best for everyone. I am learning (baby steps) to speak my mind and use my voice to choose the paths that will best serve me and the ones I love. This is progress, and I am so proud to be able to make big-scale decisions that feel right…instead of going against my gut and agreeing to things that feel “off” in order to avoid confrontation.

I’m open enough to say that we will homeschool for as long as it works for us. I’m not against making a new plan of attack if this turns out to be the wrong decision. But I am not afraid to commit to this lifestyle and give it my all.

I’m not afraid to say that we are a homeschooling family, hoping to learn from past mistakes and gain lots of supportive friends along the way.

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La Vie En Rose

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that one of my lifelong dreams recently came true when I discovered a rosebush on our property. Easily one of the best parts of owning this home has been watching our flowers as they bloom and getting to know each and every one of them.

I’ve always wanted a rose garden of my very own. Imagine my delight when I saw these delicate beauties peeking at me from behind the fence!

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Their color is so soft and creamy and their scent heavenly gorgeous. I wish you could all come over and sniff for yourselves!

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I’m normally terrified of spiders, but even he looks good on such a dreamy petal

Roses are not only lovely to see and smell; they help keep you glowing when incorporated into your beauty routine.

I’ve filled one of my empty dropper bottles with jojoba oil and 10 drops of Rose essential oil. I rub it onto my cuticles at least once daily.

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I also regularly apply this Essie strengthening top coat.

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As a (somewhat) reformed nail biter, this homemade blend keeps my hands and nails strong, hydrated and beautifully scented. And that means I’m less likely to chomp on them!

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Rose oil is so precious. Did you know it takes 22 pounds of rose petals to make just 5 mL of essential oil? Pretty incredible.

I hope this weekend has some lovely surprises in store for you. Happy Friday!

xo