Child Development

Potty Training Begins

Today is day two of potty training. For the past two months Reagan has showed interest in the potty and we even bought a couple of seats. One that goes on the toilet and a stand alone toddler potty. My sister had come for a visit about a month ago and she took her son to the bathroom when they arrived. Reagan being the curious little girl that she is followed them in because she wanted to know what was going on. Michelle got Reagan to sit on the toilet for the first time and she went pee. We were so excited! I was so happy that this was going to be easy and simple…and then I got a reality check.

potty training

Later that day she had been put on the toilet at regular intervals and it was hit and miss. I couldn’t really expect too much, it was her first day. The second day she started not feeling well and broke out into fever. I kept pushing potty training and we had a setback. She didn’t even want to go near the bathroom. The day after she ended up with hand, foot and mouth disease and wouldn’t eat or drink for two days. (Post from June ~ Cleaning Out the Toy Box.) I kind of let the whole potty thing go for a while until she showed interest again.

I’m not sure if it’s my sister coming to visit that makes me want to throw Reagan back into potty training but sure enough Michelle came to town Sunday and Reagan once again showed true interest in getting back on the potty. I told her that if she wanted to go swimming she was going to have to go potty. Quicker than I could blink she ran into the bathroom and screamed, “Potty!” She lifted the lid and started to climb on. I helped her take off her diaper, she already had her shorts off. After about 30 seconds she started to go! I was so excited again!!

Yesterday morning after she woke up I decided to try it again. I put Reagan on the potty and she went! Took her to breakfast with us, she went again! Took my sister and her son to their doctor’s appointment, she went again! I gave her hugs and rewards and treats for all her efforts. She maintained a clean, dry diaper all morning!! Three for three! Yeah Rey!

Rey went down for her afternoon nap and when she got up Brian took her to the bathroom and she went on the potty again! This time she went number 2! I was downstairs finishing my work for the day when I was called upstairs to witness the new achievement! The look on Reagan’s face was pure joy and satisfaction. She was mastering this and quickly. I thanked Reagan for sticking with it and told her how proud I was. The rest of the day we only went through one diaper..I think we waited to long to ask if she needed to go in the middle of the afternoon but it was such a success!

Rey woke up this morning with a dry diaper and after I got back from running this morning I asked if she had gone on the potty yet. Brian said they had just rolled out of bed so I took her into the bathroom after coaxing her with my Gatorade bottle and well, she went again! So I am hoping that writing about this didn’t just jinx anything but so far so good! I was going to write about it yesterday but I figured we needed to get one day under our belt to officially say potty training begins!

We are coaxing her with things she wants. “Mama, Sprout…” she would say. “Ok Rey, go potty first.” Off she would run to the bathroom. “Mama. I want drink please,” pointing to my Gatorade bottle. “Go on the potty first,” I coaxed and she was off. I’m learning quickly that offering a treat at the same time as asking her if she needs to go potty about every 20-30 minutes gets great response! So, wish us luck! This is such a huge achievement in a toddler’s life! My goal was to have her potty trained by her second birthday September 10th. I will definitely be ecstatic with earlier!

Child Development

Girls Day Out

Yesterday after my potty training meltdown and beating my body and mind into submission with Pilates and my 3 1/2 mile run I decided to regroup and remember why I loved being a mother. I needed to take Reagan for some much need girl time and I decided a girls day out was in store. It was 105 degrees yesterday but nothing was going to stop me from getting out of the house! Not even the heat.

baby day out

I was excited to be out of the house with Reagan solo. It would give us the bonding time that has been lacking the past few months. She has been so attached to daddy since he has been on his work hiatus and it has been difficult for me. Normally I am not a jealous person but with Brian being home and Reagan giving him so much attention it has made the green eyed monster pop out in ways I never knew existed. Is that wrong? To be jealous of the relationship your child has with your spouse? Believe me I love that she is getting the time so spend with her dad; very few families have that privilege to spend time with both parents. But, there is still the aching inside me for things to go back to normal…when it was Reagan and mommy.

So I made it happen. Zoo trip! Reagan was so excited when I told her we were going to the zoo! “Animals, going to see animals,” she yelled. Reagan and I packed some cool drinks and headed out for a fun afternoon. We arrived at the zoo and the second we parked Reagan started squealing like a monkey and yelled “zoo!” It had been about three months since we had gone and obviously she had missed it.

We had so much fun together. Running around, sharing a soft serve cone and a icee! She ran from animal to animal squealing in delight and constantly asking, “what’s that?” It was just like nothing had changed and my little girl and I were bonding again. Our girls day out was just what we both needed. We rode the zoo train and ran through the water misters in front of the Wild Cats exhibit. A very good idea in 105 degree heat. Our last stop was the zoo store, of course. A new baby for her to remember our girls day. She ran straight for a baby elephant wrapped in it’s own blanket. She picked it up saying “Elle mama, I have?” I couldn’t resist. We purchased Elle and she hasn’t let it go since. She slept with Elle and brought her into our bedroom this morning when she woke up. She even took her to daycare today for nap time.

Brian was very happy for both of us that we got to spend some needed mother-daughter time. It was just what I needed and I will definitely be planning future outings to keep our bond special and growing!

Child Development

Let The Bargaining Begin

Maybe it is just the age but the bargaining has definitely begun in this household. At what point did we completely lose control of the situation? You have everything together and then one day you get smacked upside the head with “I don’t want to!” Wait a minute, I’m the parent here. How does my toddler have this much control? All the sudden we are bargaining about EVERYTHING!

Girl using toilet
Girl using toilet

As most of you know Reagan is quite the swimmer and she loves to be in the water. We cannot go past a pool without her screaming “swimming, swimming, swimming.” And the chant won’t stop until she gets the answer she wants. Of course when it is 9am and I don’t feel like going swimming we have to come up with creative ways to distract her so she forgets about it for a little while. So…we bargain.

Potty training! Horrible bargaining! We want her to go potty and she says no. Now I know she has to go, it’s been a couple hours. So what do we do? Bargain.

“Reagan, do you want a treat?”

“Treat mama, treat,” she answers.

“Then let’s go potty and you can have a treat.” So she runs to the bathroom and goes potty. Or we will use the iPad. She loves to play with her apps on the iPad and we will also use this as leverage. “Go potty first and then you can play with your iPad.” It’s amazing the looks we are given because she knows she is being bullied into going potty but it is getting the job done so can you blame me?

You can google bargaining with your toddler and a gazillion articles and parenting advice comes up. Half say never to bargain with your toddler, the other half say bargaining does wonders. Who knows anymore? I say do what works now and tweak your methods as the situation calls for. I am beginning to realize that there are pros and cons to negotiation. While it is currently working I don’t want everything to be a negotiation. After all I am the parent and she needs to understand that there are rules and she needs to listen to what I say. At the same time I teach her about negotiation I have to teach her trust too. She has to believe that I am going to mean what I say and say what I mean. Even if she doesn’t like what is being said she is going to believe me when I say it.

They learn so young don’t they?


Slim By The Summer

So my darling friend Anna from Geek Can Be Chic and I teamed up and put together a challenge for ourselves and any other bloggers that want to join in!

We are getting our weight loss on! Who’s with us? You know you want to! Anna and I wanted a little friendly competition amongst ourselves to see how many pounds we could lose by Summer! The more we talked about it the more bloggers wanted to join in! So … get to the gym, get running, pull out those dusty workout DVD’s, chase your kids and work up a sweat! Whatever you have to do.

sliml by summer

We are using My Fitness Pal as a tool to help us track our workout goals and how many pounds we have lost. It’s a free app and if you are wanting to keep track of food and calorie intake, it does that too! Once you have an account, friend us using our emails so we can see your activity too!

  • We are going to do weekly Slim by the Summer link up posts every Monday.  There will be a theme on some weeks and other weeks it will just be weigh ins. (Don’t worry ~ you don’t have to divulge your weight to us! Good Lord let’s not get that personal!)
  • Write up a short post about what workouts you completed and what your overall weight loss was for the week or write up a post using the theme of the week.

Need some inspiration to keep going? How about this…I personally am going to send out a gift card to Starbucks for the person that lost the most weight for that week! How’s that for a reward?

So join us, won’t you? Get yourselves ready for bikini weather with Anna and Lanaya.

Child Development

Acting Out Without Mom and Dad

kids sleeping

This past weekend while Brian and I were on a golf trip Reagan stayed with her grandmother. Some times I feel bad having them watch her for an extended period of time because Rey is a very active and energetic child and she is becoming her own little person. This translates into acting out when mom and dad aren’t around. Apparently she had a couple of meltdowns for no reason and I think it may just be because she missed us.

I am saddened but very excited about this because you always wonder when that stage comes when your child truly misses you. Yesterday we picked up Reagan and as soon as she saw us she freaked out and started balling as hard as she could. Grandpa pulled her out of her car seat and she immediately reached for me and hugged me very tight. Tears were streaming down my back as she buried her head deep into my shoulder and sobbed. It took everything I had not to sit there and cry with her because I missed her too and I was so happy that she was showing me the emotion that she truly missed me.

After she calmed down and became more coherent in her words she was able to tell us that she had fun at grandma and grandpa’s house and she went swimming and played. Once we got home Brian was able to call his mom and get a play by play of the past couple of days they had watched her. She didn’t sleep that well, waking up around 2 or 3am and not wanting to go back to sleep. She had an accident in the pool which never happens. She is really good about knowing that if she has to poop she runs to the bathroom to take care of business. Her meltdowns came out of nowhere and she didn’t do that great with her potty training either. We could tell that the grandparents were exhausted.

Golf Views in Plumas Eureka

Last night as we settled back into our usual routine before bed Reagan was the precious little gem she always is. She was happy to be home and you could tell; a big smile on her face, giddy and running around, using dad as a toy box as she played endlessly until bedtime. I wonder if she is just getting to that stage where most of us adults get when we have had it with staying somewhere else and just want to be home in our own bed with our own things. Does it really start this young? I think part of her acting out at grandma’s house had to do with she just wanted to be home with mom and dad. She slept through the night last night with no issues, hasn’t had an issue with her potty training and was a happy little clam as she went to daycare today.

For me it’s hard to hear that your child is acting out but I guess to accept that it’s because she misses the hell out of you is acceptable in my book.


Marathon Bound – Insanity Has Entered the Building


Now let’s not get too crazy. We will start small and work our way up. I for one, hate running! I don’t know what I’m thinking but I know that it’s a goal I want to set for myself. Going to the gym five days a week for the past six months has really amped me up for wanting to teach my daughter a way of life, a healthy lifestyle. I didn’t get a huge dose of watching my parents work out when I was growing up. My dad was athletic and we enjoyed playing basketball, baseball and swimming as a family but it was never a day to day thing and wasn’t ingrained into our lives.

After I had Reagan and my husband and I had made the choice that I would stay home with the baby I needed to find an outlet that would enable me to still have adult time. My girlfriend told me about Stroller Strides and said it had saved her life. I looked up the group closest to me when we lived in Pennsylvania and found the best group of women. Our instructor Rosemary literally turned around my entire perspective on working out and enjoying it!

In six months I had lost 15 pounds and started to tone my body and I enjoyed it! It was fitness for mom and fun for baby. I’ve never worked out so hard in my life! It’s not a bunch of moms pushing and running with a stroller. It’s a full body boot camp and it is tough! Reagan loved it too! She could play with the other kids and we would incorporate the babies into our workouts to make it even tougher. I made some wonderful friendships and I knew at that moment I was going to survive mommyhood. Not only because I was meeting friends and getting out of the house but because I was doing something for myself that I’d always wanted to do but never knew where to start.

After Brian and I moved back home to California with Reagan I needed to find something that was going to keep me moving. Reagan was getting too big for her stroller or rather decided she didn’t want to sit in it for an hour anymore so I joined a gym! I found classes that I could go to and take advantage of the day care at the gym. For the past six months I fell in love with going to the gym. I lost another 15 pounds, toned my muscles and fell in love with Pilates! I have really embraced being healthy, eating healthy as a family and I love to work out. So what’s with the latest epiphany? A goal, nothing more. Something to reach for an attain. Something for me. Something to pass onto my daughter and show her that she can do anything she puts her mind to. My goal is to run a 1/2 marathon in December.

So as I embark on my newly found journey and laugh at myself for hating all things running I smile at my courage and welcome it! If you find yourself in a position that you just need a someone to kick you in the ass and get you started, reach out to me and we will do it together! It will be a journey for all of us!

Lifestyle Parenting & Family

Keeping Reagan Happy in the Car


Here it goes…Reagan and I are setting off on our own road trip today without Daddy! Someone help me now. If you see a woman on US Highway 50 bound for South Lake Tahoe today and she is balling her eyes out on the side of the road you’ll know you found me. With Brian still shacked up in bed trying to get rid of his sickness, Rey and I are headed up the hill solo. It’s our very large family’s reunion this weekend and we haven’t gone in eight years. Primarily due to the fact that we were living in Pennsylvania for the past six of those years. We made a commitment this year and we are going.

So my dilemma ~ How do you keep a one year old entertained in the back of a moving vehicle for the next two hours? Normally Brian or I would sit in back with her and keep her entertained but since Brian isn’t going…now what?

I stumbled upon another mommy blog this morning that a friend had posted onto Pinterest (Man, I love that site!) When all else fails just check Pinterest and you’ll  have dinner mapped out, a new art project to do, nails to paint, a new outfit to go buy, simple fix its for around the house and much much more. Anyways, back to my dilemma. This mommy blog listed several creative ways to keep your child entertained on a road trip.

The reason I am stressing about it is because I don’t want to simply throw another Elmo DVD into the player and let her watch a video for the next two hours straight. I would rather she put the time to good use and “read” a new book, draw, sing to me, yell at me…whatever, just not watch tv. So here is my list of what tactics I’m going to employ for keeping Reagan happy in the car:

  • Dollar Store Surprise ~ I thought this was incredibly clever! Go to the dollar store and purchase a few fun items for your kids. It could be a small pack of crayons, a whistle (no wait a minute, scratch that-what am I thinking?) stickers, a large piece puzzle, a doll or action figure, you name it there is so much stuff at the dollar store and well, it’s a dollar! The best part of this is wrap them up individually and then at regular intervals hand them out for a surprise! Not only will it keep them engaged but it’s fun for them too!

    Wrapped Packages

  • I Spy ~ What kid doesn’t love to play I Spy? Ok so Reagan may be a bit young but I think she is ready. Right now she knows where the horses are that live around the corner from us and every time we drive past she says “babies” so I’m pretty sure she can spot a tree, a bird, and other objects she is learning about.
  • Sing Me the Alphabet ~ It is the time when Rey is really getting to know her ABC’s and she is so proud of herself when she sings the alphabet song. So we can sing it together.
  • Let’s learn Colors ~ As of yet she hasn’t really started to understand colors and realize that her eyes are blue, the grass is green, the couch is brown, her shirt is pink and so on. If we ask her what color her eyes are she will tell us they are blue but when you ask her to pick up the blue block she will try out the yellow or green one first.  Am I getting ahead of myself here? What is the age they start learning this stuff? Maybe because she is advanced for her age I’m expecting her to know this but in reality she won’t really learn it for a while. Well, I’m going to try, it’ll kill fifteen minutes of our journey right?

    Primary Color Wheel

  • Fun Music ~ Rey has become quite the little music lover. Right now her favorite song is Tonight is the Night by Outasight and every time it comes on she dances in her seat and starts whooping to the music and singing along. It’s the funniest thing I ever seen so we are definitely going to use that!
  • Nap Time ~ I figure if I get on the road shortly before her nap time she can sleep in the car. We’ve used this tactic before when we headed to my parents for the weekend and it is a smashing success.

    Passed Out ~ Nap Time

  • DVD Player ~ Of course if all else fails and she is simply not having any of my mind games there is always Elmo! I am very happy at times my husband decided we had to have a DVD player as a must in my SUV purchase.

That’s my list thus far. If anyone has additional suggestions I am all ears because as we all know trying to plan anything with a toddler can be difficult especially if they decide they aren’t on your wavelength for the day!


Moms Recipes

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Ok so first off I cheated last night because Reagan and I had a bunch of errands to run and we got home later than I anticipated.

This is such an easy dish to make and even though Reagan doesn’t like to eat much of the bell pepper she inhales the meat! My cheat was I didn’t have ground beef or turkey in the house so I hit up our local Raley’s meat counter and purchased their pre-made meatloaf. I am not a big fan of rice in my meatloaf so this recipe does not include rice.

Hollowed Out Bell Peppers

  • 4-6 bell peppers ( I use orange and yellow the most because they are the sweetest and I’m not a huge fan of bell peppers)
  • 1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1 tsp seasoning salt or garlic salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese ~ choose your flavor!

Preheat the oven to 350. Rinse your bell peppers under water and prepare to hollow them out. Cut the top off the bell pepper and scoop out any seeds and cut out the membranes. Chop up the edible parts of the top of the bells to mix into your ground beef mixture. Once the bells are cleaned out set them onto a baking sheet covered with tin foil or place in a 13 x 9 baking dish. (Trust me ~ use tin foil or you will spend forever scraping your dish clean.)

In a large bowl mix together your chopped onion, chopped bell pepper from the cut up tops, garlic, pepper, seasoning salt and worcestershire sauce. If you prefer you can brown the onions ahead of time to soften them up. Add in the ground beef and mix together thoroughly. Take the completed mixture and divide into your bell peppers. Put your completed bells into the oven and bake for about 45-55 minutes or until the internal temperature is at least 160 degrees.

Top with your choice of cheese and serve. Keep in mind that the juices from the meat will have settled into the bottom of the bell pepper so be careful when you place them on your plate or cut into them as you will have a lot of draining. To prevent, pour out the juice before you place on your dinner plate.

Again, if you want to be lazy like me … and no judgements here because at times we all need a little help, check your local meat counter to see if they carry the pre-made meatloaf. Raley’s, Bel Air and Knobb Hill typically always carry it. Safeway or Genuardi’s are seasonal and only carry it during the fall/winter months. As always you can add more vegetables and rice to your mixture if you prefer. If you do add rice (you’ll need about 1/2 cup uncooked white or brown rice) I would suggest cooking it ahead of time so that it’s already precooked before it hits the oven inside your bells. This will ensure no hard rice when you go to eat it!

Cooked Bell Peppers topped with Cheese.



Moms Recipes

Baked Caesar Chicken

Baked Caesar

This is one of the best chicken dishes ever and it is such a step up from ranch dressing for those that want a little bit more of a bite to their chicken! I’ve been making this recipe now for about six years and every time I do plates are cleaned and there are never leftovers!

It’s a huge hit with Rey and Brian and if I’m ever asked to bring a plate to dinner I’m always asked to bring my chicken!

It’s incredibly easy, takes very little prep work and dinner is ready in thirty minutes!

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup caesar dressing (yep ~ you can use fat free!)
  • 1/2 cup – 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs ( I use Progresso Italian & Herb)

** For best results marinate the chicken in the caesar dressing overnight so it really absorbs the flavor


Preheat oven to 350. Grease the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking dish (or Pam some tin foil and cover your baking dish ~ This is the no mess method and I LOVE it!) Use a glass bowl to pour the caesar dressing in and coat each piece of chicken stabbing it with a fork so the dressing absorbs into the breast. Place the Panko bread crumbs and seasoned bread crumbs onto a plate and mix together. You can opt not to use the Panko bread crumbs but it gives more texture to the chicken. Take each chicken breast from the bowl and coat in the bread crumbs. Transfer to your baking dish and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the meat thermometer reaches 170 degrees internally.

Serve with your favorite vegetable side dish! We love grilled asparagus with feta cheese!

That’s it ~ enjoy!


Bang Bang Shrimp

Football is only two weeks away! I am so excited I can hardly stand it! Fantasy football is around the corner and it’s time to reclaim the title.

But first, it’s time to break out the football appetizers.

Bang Bang Shrimp

Bang Bang Shrimp

  • 1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 4-5 teaspoons Sriracha sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar

Egg Mixture

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup milk


  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil

For Frying

  • 8 to 12 cups vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl; cover and set aside. You can control the spice factor by adjusting your sriracha amount.

Combine beaten egg with milk in shallow bowl; set aside.

Combine flour, panko, salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and basil in another shallow bowl; set aside.

To bread the shrimp first coat each side of the shrimp with the breading mixture. Dip breaded shrimp into the egg and milk mixture, and then back into the breading. Arrange the coated shrimp on a plate and pop them into the fridge for at least 20 minutes. This step will help the breading to stick on the shrimp when they are frying.

I don’t have a deep fryer so I use a sauce pan and heat my oil to 350 degrees with the help of a candy thermometer. In a sauce pan you only want to fill with oil about half way to prevent burns from splattering.  Using a deep fryer heat oil to 350 degrees. Use amount of oil required by your fryer.

When oil is hot, fry shrimp 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on rack or paper towels.

When all shrimp has been fried, drop the shrimp into a large bowl. Spoon about 1/4 cup of sauce over shrimp and stir gently to coat.

Child Development Moms

A Potty Chart For Reagan

Potty training has been a hot topic for me as of late since my darling, wonderful, angelic, amazing…ok you get it. I’m trying to remind myself that no matter what obstacles parenting throws our way we still love our children unconditionally. Ok, moving on. Brian and I decided that maybe a potty chart would do the trick for Reagan! She had a tangible item that she could see her progress and be rewarded.

babby potty

Reagan loves stickers! It’s stickers all day long, every day if we let her. I made the choice of giving her a package of stickers one afternoon. Brian decided to play with her and within five minutes she unloaded the entire package of stickers onto every visible surface of his body. It was hilarious! So..there is my ammunition! A sticker potty chart. She would get to put a sticker on it every time she went, and as punishment pull a sticker off if she went in her pull ups or panties.

It was fun making a chart. We shopped for the items together, bought the stickers she chose which were awesome because they are reward stickers that say Awesome! Good Job! Excellent! Perfect for me. Praise in a sticker to amplify praise from mom and dad! We picked out her favorite characters like Angelina Ballerina, Caillou and Minnie Mouse. It was a very exciting experience to see what all the commotion was about when I pulled out the scissors to start cutting.

Once it was completed we all walked into the bathroom and hung up her potty chart. We explained to Reagan if she went on the potty she would get to put the sticker on her chart. If she went in her pull up she was going to have to take a sticker off and we would have to throw it away. You should have seen her face. No stickers in the garbage for her!

Within three minutes she used the potty and made use of her new potty chart! Hooray! For the love of God please let this work! Potty training is hell for an obsessive compulsive such as myself and if this gets me through it Hooray!

Diet and nutrition

6 Healthy Italian food recipes

6 Healthy Italian food recipes

Are you one of those that you avoid (although you flipe) the Italian food for fear of gaining weight? For this you’ll love because in La Nicoletta we have ratted 6 Italian recipes that are healthier than usual and are addicting. Of course, leave it better dessert for special occasions. Buon appetito.

Caprese salad

Ingredients : tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, arugula leaves, red onion and extra virgin olive oil.

Difficulty: easy.

Preparation time: 15 minutes.

Preparation: as we have from La Nicoletta, one of the most important points of this dish is the tomato so I choose it as the quality of the variety rebellion and remove it from the refrigerator 45 minutes before eating.

Prepare and oil emulsion basil with extra virgin olive oil, basil and salt leafless. Cut the tomatoes into slices, place each sheet of mozzarella tomato. Add arugula leaves and sliced red onion. Finally, flavored with basil oil.