Archives For Preschooler

PeapodMats Review

All of our children have potty trained right around the age of 2. It’s wonderful having them out of diapers, especially since we cloth diaper and wash diapers every other day. However, we’re still dealing with night time wetting with all three kids (currently ages 6, 4 and 2).

We used cloth diapers at night for awhile with our oldest child but soon they started irritating his bottom. We tried night time potty training for awhile, creating a chart to reward dry nights, hoping it would work. It didn’t, his little body just wasn’t ready and we didn’t push the issue.

So, we switched to disposable diapers at night. And, I hated it. I didn’t like spending money on the diapers, couldn’t stand that they sometimes leaked (then I still had to wash all of the bedding) and hated that the diapers were going to the landfill.

Occasionally, I’d try putting both boys back in cloth diapers at night in hopes they would work. Unfortunately, they continued to irritate their bottoms and sore bottoms just isn’t worth it even though the cloth diapers were more environmentally friendly. (Thankfully, our 2 year old daughter is still able to wear her cloth diapers at night without any irritation!)

Finally, after nearly 4 years of purchasing night time disposable diapers, I was absolutely sick of all the waste we were generating. Two kids just wearing 1 diaper a night adds up to a lot of waste each week.

I started researching for a night time solution. I knew cloth diapers were out of the question. I didn’t just want to let them sleep without anything and wet the bed each night because washing all of the bedding and a mattress protector times two is a lot of hassle, especially since they’re in bunkbeds.

PeapodMat

In my search, I came across PeapodMats and was immediately intrigued by their product. It seemed like it was the exact product we needed. If it worked like they claimed it did, it would be the answer to our night time wetting dilemma.

After reading a few reviews, watching a video demonstration of the product and talking it over with my husband, I purchased one of the 3×3 PeapodMats for $39.99 from Amazon to try out.

Yes, $39.99 is a lot to spend on a simple mat but I was spending around $40 for 6 weeks worth of diapers for my boys. If this one time purchase of the mat really worked, I would not only be saving about $40 every 6 weeks but we’d also stop creating diaper waste.

The boys and I eagerly anticipated the arrival of the Peapod. The day it arrived, we were excited to get it washed and get it on the bed. Since both boys wanted to try it out, they slept together in Paxton’s bunk.

It worked well, they both wet that night and the Peapod absorbed all of the liquid and didn’t leak through to the sheets. The next night, one was dry and the other boy was wet and it worked again!

And, our great surprise was that our 6-year-old started waking up dry some mornings. He’s now dry about 50% of the time. Before we purchased the Peapod, he was wet every single night. He has told us that he sometimes would pee in his nighttime diaper before he fell asleep because he didn’t want to get out of bed. Now that he’s not wearing a diaper, he is more careful to pee right before bed, get up to go if he has the urge before he falls asleep and he’ll get up earlier in the morning to pee. I’m convinced that using the PeapodMat  is going to result in him being fully night trained before nighttime diapers would. (He’s actually been dry 7 days in a row now…I’m hoping this continues!!)

5x5 PeapodMat

Since things were going so well with the Peapod mat we ordered, we had the opportunity to work with PeapodMats and review another mat. We ordered a 3×5 mat to try out this time. The 3×5 mat fully covers the entire width of a twin size bed so the extra width provides more protection which is nice if your kiddos move around a lot!

We found that the 3×3 works best with both boys sleeping together since they can’t move that much. When Weston is sleeping on his 3×3 mat alone, he tends to move off of it some nights. We’ve had a few leaks from him rolling off of the mat and onto the bed. If I had to do it over again, I’d spend the extra money and purchase the 3×5 mat for the extra width making it less likely for the child to roll off the mat.

PeapodMat on Bed

We’ve been using our mats for 7 weeks now, I haven’t had to purchase a single diaper so we’ve already saved $40 and will be saving money well into the future because these mats will last for a long time.

We’ll probably be purchasing another mat in the near future to begin using with our daughter (unless Paxton continues to stay dry at night and then we’ll give Weston the 3×5 and Cecilia will get the 3×3 mat!) She’s currently wearing cloth diapers at night but wakes up dry nearly 50% of the time too. We think if she’s not sleeping in a diaper, something may click and she may begin waking up dry even more.

And, the use of these mats is not limited just to night time wetting, I could see them being useful with infants (spit up, blow outs, cosleeping), they make great nap mats and I think they would be quite handy when a stomach virus is making its way through the family.

If you’re tired of the expense and waste of night time diapers with your kids, I highly recommend purchasing a PeapodMat. After the one time expense of the mat, you’ll start saving money by not having to purchase diapers that you just throw away. And, maybe the mat will help your kiddos have some dry mornings too!

PeapodMats is a a small, mom owned business. I love that purchasing these mats supports small business owners and not a large corporation.

You can purchase PeapodMats directly from their website (they are a Canadian company so shipping to the US is a little pricey), from their retailers or via Amazon.

Disclosure – I purchased my first PeapodMat at full price and received the second for the cost of shipping. I was not provided any other compensation for this review, I just want to share a fabulous product with my readers. This post does contain Amazon affiliate links.

Favorite Children's Books

We love reading.

Our children love having books read to them and all three enjoy looking at books. Our homeschool curriculum is literature based. We even keep a selection of books in our van for them to ‘read’ while they’re riding.

Of course, not all children’s books are the same. There are many books out there that are considered ‘twaddle’. We prefer quality, classic children’s books that inspire and spark imaginative play!

Here’s a list of our favorite books for baby, toddlers and preschoolers as well as a few of my favorite parenting books.
Baby Books

Baby

For babies, we like simple board books with bright pictures. We really like Bright Baby books, they’re simple with big pictures for chubby little hands to point at and learn basic words. We also like books that are interactive (like touchy-feely books).

Toddler Books

Toddler

The best books for toddlers are books with bright, colorful pictures and not too much text per page. Our toddlers have all loved animals and trains so we have several of those type books on this list.

Preschool Books

Preschooler

As children grow, their attention spans begin to increase and you can start reading them books with more text per page. Of course, they’re still young children so illustrations are still very important!

 

Parenting Books

Favorite Parenting Books

While these aren’t children’s books, they all have been inspiring to me as a parent of young children and I wanted to share my favorites!

What are your favorite children’s books? (I love book recommendations!) Are some of your favorites on this list?

Disclosure – This post contains affiliate links.

Here’s a glimpse into a day in my life as a stay at home mama of two (with one on the way!) on January 30, 2014:

Good Morning Boys

8:00 :: I’ve been lying quietly awake in bed for a few minutes and our boys come in our room right at 8:00. (This was one of the rare nights that we didn’t have one or both of them in the bed with us!) They wake up ready to go while their daddy and I aren’t quite as enthusiastic about starting our day. They crawl in bed with us for a few minutes before going to play. I read a little before they come back in the room ready to eat. We spend a few minutes talking to baby who is going crazy in my belly before I get out of bed to head to the kitchen to make smoothies.

Morning Smoothie

9:00 :: I’m finishing up my yummy strawberry mango smoothie while fixing eggs for breakfast and unloading the dishwasher. After making more eggs for Paxton, I finally make myself an omelet and sit down and eat it while the boys start playing. Hubby leaves for work around 9:30 (Thursday’s are his late day so he typically leaves later on Thursday mornings.) I go make beds and start a load of laundry before heading back to the kitchen to clean up.

Washing Dishes

10:00 :: Back in the kitchen washing breakfast dishes. Once the dishes are washed, my morning routine is finished! The boys are independently playing together so I head to my computer to check e-mail and write a little.

Brothers Playing

11:00 :: The boys are still happily playing together! I peek in on them and make sure everything is okay and nothing has been destroyed. They want to keep on playing so I take some time to look over finances and write out a to do list for my day. About 30 minutes after this peaceful photo was taken, an argument happened and both boys come running to me crying. I decide cuddling up and reading is the best way to calm everybody down.

Reading

12:00 :: We’re finishing up our chapter in Farmer Boy. We’ve been reading this book over the past few weeks and the boys really are enjoying it – especially Paxton. They’ve been pretending they’re Royal and Almanzo the past few days – it’s adorable. Once we finish up this chapter, I head to the kitchen to start heating up lunch and then pop outside to move laundry from the washer to the dryer. We sit down and eat our lunch – leftovers beans and cornbread – Paxton eats 3 servings of beans and was so excited we had beans for lunch!

Reading Milly Molly Mandy

1:00 :: Lunch is finished and we’re sitting down to read a chapter in The Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook. We received this book from Nannie last week and they’re really enjoying this one too! We end up reading two chapters before rest time. At 1:30, Paxton heads to the playroom with a stack of books and Weston heads to their room with a book, his barn and a few animals. Weston reads and plays before coming out around 1:55 saying “I not tired” which really means, “I’m tired, mama rock me.” We sit down and start rocking.

Napping Boy

2:00 :: Weston is sleeping. We’ve been trying over the past few weeks to get him to nap on his own. We’ve had a few successes but most days I end up rocking him. (Hopefully he’ll start napping on his own within the next month!) With Weston sleeping and Paxton quietly playing, I sit down to start working on our meal plan for the next few weeks.

Meal Planning3:00 :: Meal planning and looking for some new recipes. Paxton finishes his rest time at 3:30 and joins me in my room. He colors while I continue working on the meal plan. (And, the amount of time it is taking makes me want to start using a bi-weekly meal plan again!) Weston wakes up around 3:50. He’s cranky and wants to be held so I hold him.

Snack Time4:00 :: Both boys are hungry so I fix them a snack of homemade bread with apple butter. They received a package in the mail from their Mimi which was a loaf of bread! (Paxton was FaceTiming with her the other day while she was baking bread and asked for some, so she sent him a loaf!) He was so, so excited to open his package of bread! We FaceTime with Mimi while they’re snacking. Once we say goodbye to Mimi, we start the process of bundling up to head outside to play in the snow (which is mostly gone by now.)

Playing Outside5:00 :: The boys are having a blast outside in the ‘snow’. They don’t want to come in. We take off all their layers and then I start supper. Since John David works late on Thursdays, we often do snack suppers. Tonight the boys had bread, cheese, apple and orange slices and cubed avocado while I made nachos out of leftover pinto beans, cheese and avocado.

Remains of Dinner6:00 :: Dinner time is over and the area is a disaster! I decide to make a strawberry sorbet as a little dessert and we eat and enjoy that. Then I start cleaning up in the dining room and kitchen – sweeping, washing dishes and putting things away.

Clean Kitchen

7:00 :: The kitchen is tidy and it’s time to pick up in the living room and playroom to complete our evening routine. Once we finish tidying, it’s time to take our FCLO (fermented cod liver oil), brush teeth, put on pajamas, read bedtime stories, say prayers and go to bed. We follow this routine every night and they don’t let us skip a step! Tonight we read about Noah in The Jesus Storybook Bible and our last chapter in The Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook. I leave and the boys fall asleep easily tonight. (Always a blessing on daddy’s late night!)

Sleeping Boys

8:00 :: Two sleeping boys! I finally finish my meal plan, make out my grocery list and start writing this blog post while waiting for my hubby to get home.

So, that’s how I spent 8 am to 8 pm in January 2014. Other than my husband working late, today was a pretty typical weekday for us. Monday-Thursdays are pretty much the same with Friday, Saturday and Sunday being a bit less structured due to daddy being off and going to church.

A Day in My Life Posts from previous years:

January 2012

January 2013

*As I was scrolling through these posts from the last two years, I noticed that I happen to be wearing the same flannel shirt this year as I was last year! (Proof of my minimal wardrobe!) I love this shirt…it’s almost too small for me thanks to my growing belly but it’s so comfortable. And, Weston wore the same pants that Paxton wore in the 2012 post…yay for hand-me-downs!

Linked to A Day in the Life of… at Simply Rebekah

*This post contains affiliate links.

Gifts to Encourage Creativity

With Christmas quickly approaching, many parents and grandparents are thinking about gifts for the children in their lives.

Many toys that are given to children at Christmas are quickly forgotten, but some gifts have staying power. Classic, open ended toys encourage creativity in young children and are played with for months and often times years.

Here are some of our favorite toys:

Blocks

Blocks

You really can’t go wrong with blocks. A nice set of blocks is a simple toy that will be used over and over for so many different things from towers to bridges to play food. We gave our older son a set of Uncle Goose Alphabet Blocks for his first Christmas and they’re still being played with almost 3 years later. We added to that original set when our younger son was given a set of Uncle Goose Number Blocks last Christmas.

In addition to our wooden blocks, we also enjoy the sets of foam building blocks and Building Blocks (like Mega Bloks or Duplos) that we have.

Dress Up

Dress Up Clothes

My boys love dressing up. We have a small collection of dress up items like train hats, superhero capes and a pirate outfit. They really enjoy pulling out the dress up bin and engaging in pretend play. One of the favorites is the Melissa & Doug Pirate Costume, it’s a high quality dress up set that has been played with countless times over the past year and will used for many years to come.

Wooden Train Tracks

Wooden Train Sets

When our older son started showing an interest in trains, we chose wooden train tracks over plastic. We felt the wooden tracks were more open ended and encouraged creativity more than the plastic ones (especially electric trains) available.

You can purchase inexpensive wooden train tracks at various places but we chose to go with the Thomas Wooden Railway. It is expensive but we started out with a Starter Set which included 2 trains and a caboose, he received a track expansion pack and 3 engines as gifts last Christmas from grandparents and another engine for his birthday. Over a year has passed since the initial train set purchase and both boys are still playing with the track and engines and that’s what he wants again this Christmas.

In addition to the creative train play, building the track requires engineering. He’s so proud of the different track set ups he creates and I’m often blown away by what he has created.

We forsee playing with these train tracks for years to come. And, trains aren’t just for boys! Most little girls love trains too – so don’t buy into the gender stereotypes!

Art Supplies

Art Supplies

Art supplies definitely encourage creativity – and big messes! We don’t have a ton of art supplies but big pad of construction paper, colored pencils, fingerpaints, paint and paint brushes goes a long way in helping kids embrace their inner artist. Both of our boys love doing ‘art stuff’. And, art supplies are a consumable gift!

Musical Instruments

Musical Instruments

Our older son loves music. He received his first drum and guitar on his second Christmas and those two toys are still being played with and providing music for our family jam sessions! We added a small wooden drum for little brother last Christmas. Other favorites include the child size child drum kit and our xylophone.

Puzzles

Puzzles

For toddlers, Melissa & Doug Chunky Puzzles are wonderful. The large pieces are easy for little hands to maneuver plus they make fun toys too. We also like Melissa & Doug Wooden Puzzles and have a few Thomas The Tank Engine Wooden Puzzles. The wooden puzzles hold up much better than cardboard puzzles – especially if a younger sibling decides to chew on them!

Books

Books

While books aren’t exactly toys, they certainly inspire creativity and can be the starting point for inspiring creative play. My boys will role play favorite characters and act out their favorite stories.

A few of our very favorite books:

If you’re still looking for gifts for young children, hopefully this list helps you find a wonderful gift to encourage creativity!

*This post contains affiliate links.