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Pregnancy Week 5 in South Korea Versus America

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Accepting the Liebster Award

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Beating Blogger’s Block

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8 Tips to Potty Training a Toddler

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Eats | Family

Fun Activities for National Pretzel Day

By on April 26, 2017
national-pretzel-day

This post contains affiliate links which mean Her Life Is Love will receive a small commission if you choose to make a purchase through the link.  There’s no extra cost to you.  For more info, please read disclosure.

Today is National Pretzel Day and all I can say is that they make a day for everything, don’t they.  In the spirit of National Pretzel Day, I have planned out a cute little itinerary for me and my daughter that you can definitely try, too.  I’m a bookworm and love cuddling up with my daughter and reading a book, so today we will read a fun little book that requires some problem-solving and munch on some sweet pretzel snacks.

Sweet Pretzel Snack Recipe

chocolate-covered-pretzels

This is a super easy snack to make and it doesn’t really need a recipe.  Since it’s so easy to make, a toddler can help make it with a little adult supervision.

Ingredients

  • a handful of pretzels
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips
  • Optional: toppings made from crushed Oreos or finely chopped peanuts

Recipe

  1. Place one cup of chocolate chips (milk or white works best for toddlers) in a bowl and microwave for two minutes.  The time will vary based on your microwave power.  Some will fully melt the chocolates in 30 seconds!  Mine takes two minutes.
  2. Dip the pretzels into the chocolate and roll it around in the bowl of toppings, if you have them.  If your toddler is helping, you can have her dip half the pretzel in chocolate. Half chocolate pretzels are pretty cool, too.  If you want to add the drizzled chocolate lines, you can scoop more melted chocolate into a small sandwich bag, cut a very tiny corner off, and squeeze out over the pretzels.
  3. Spread them on a plate and let them harden for 15 minutes in the refrigerator.  If you place the dipped pretzels on top of wax paper before letting them harden, it’ll be a whole lot easier to remove them from the plate.

Read Walter the Baker

Walter the Baker by Eric Carle is a fun little story to read on National Pretzel Day.  It’s a story about a baker who receives a challenge from the duke after he makes a mistake.  The challenge is to bake a roll that uses one piece of dough, but allows the sun to shine through three times.  Walter struggles to meet the challenge until he finally has a breakthrough.  This is a great story about not giving up, although I must say the personality of the duke is less than stellar.

Walter the Baker by Eric Carle

national-pretzel-day

What are some fun ways you are celebrating National Pretzel Day with your kids?  Leave a comment and share below!

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Family | Personal

Pregnancy Week 5 in South Korea Versus America

By on April 24, 2017
pregnancy-week-5-in-south-korea-versus-usa

Quite recently, I wrote about how I scared myself with the term Second Infertility and how I was concerned by how long it’s been taking to get pregnant with my second child.  Well, this post isn’t a pregnancy announcement.  It’s just an “I missed my period!” announcement.  And I never miss a period.  I have not taken a pregnancy test yet, but is this pregnancy week 5?

My First Pregnancy Week 5

expecting-my-daughter

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was unaware of pregnancy week 5.  I didn’t even realize I completely missed my period until my husband asked.  When I told my husband I was a week late, he was very excited and immediately bought a pregnancy test.  I’ve read that pregnancy tests are most accurate if used in the morning when you wake up.  I guess this is because you haven’t put anything else into your body during a night of full rest.  I woke up with a sudden urge to pee around 3 AM and decided to try the test as my husband continued to sleep.

I was a jumble of emotions when I saw that the results were positive.  Could it be a false positive?  Were my eyes playing tricks on me during the bewitching hour of 3 AM?  We were newlyweds and I had just started a new job.  I didn’t feel ready to be a mom yet.  I woke my husband up and he was just elated.  He told everyone in his family as soon as it became a reasonable hour!  And this was before we even visited a doctor to check.

Being Pregnant in South Korea

perks-of-being-pregnant-south-korea

I got pregnant with my daughter while we were living in South Korea.  It was very easy to make an appointment with a doctor to get an ultrasound and check to see if I was indeed pregnant.  By this time, it was already past pregnancy week 5, but we got to hear a heartbeat.  At week 6, this was a very special moment.  I hadn’t realized a baby’s heart would already be formed and beating by this time!

Living in America now, I am a little unsure of how to proceed with this possible pregnancy.  I am pretty sure I am pregnant, even without taking a pregnancy test, because I never miss periods.  Do I need to have a positive pregnancy test before I can see a OB/GYN?

Health insurance in America is a lot trickier than the nationwide health coverage available in South Korea.  I will have to call around and ask if the doctor takes my insurance.  I also know that some doctors won’t take in new patients if they have reached their limit.  This was never an issue in South Korea.

Perks of Being Pregnant in South Korea

perks-of-being-pregnant

  • South Korean government provided me with a special card value of 500,000 KRW (currently about $440) to help pay for health checkups that are not fully covered by insurance.  I managed to use it all within six months.
  • South Korean government provided me with folic acid and iron supplements to take during the first trimester at no additional cost.
  • Special priority seats for pregnant women to sit down in the subway or bus.  But, it’s hard to use these in the first trimester when you’re not really showing because people will judge you for using these seats when you’re “not pregnant”.  I had terrible morning sickness and still had to go to work using public transportation during rush hour.  I never got a seat during the first trimester, but as I started to show, some started offering me their seats.

I expect my experiences with a second pregnancy to be quite different because I am living in America now.  Just the prospect of having to find a OB/GYN who is recommended and available to take me in as a patient is overwhelming.  Even with this exciting development, I am still working on the Spring Cleaning Series.  My next step is cleaning out the bathroom, which is a guest post I wrote for Namaste and Eat Cupcakes.  Please drop by and leave a comment!  I will continue the series with organizing the bathroom on Her Life Is Love.

pregnancy-week-5-in-south-korea-versus-usa

To the recently pregnant and currently pregnant moms, please advise me on what I should avoid doing and eating as I have forgotten most of the information I read up on from my first pregnancy.  Leave a comment and let me know!

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Personal

Accepting the Liebster Award

By on April 21, 2017
2017-Liebster-Award

While answering my questions for accepting the Liebster Award, I have made use of affiliate links.  This means that Her Life Is Love will receive a small commission from purchases made through the link at no extra cost to you.  For more info, check out my disclosure.

Big news for Her Life Is Love!  We have been given our first award, the 2017 Liebster Award, for bloggers by bloggers.  Liebster.  Is this some guy’s name?  Turns out, liebster is a German word that envelops all the warm and fuzzy feelings and thoughts.  I don’t speak German so if you have more details on the meaning of this word, fill me in!  Some thanks are in order for Addison at Coffee With A Side Of for nominating Her Life Is Love to receive the Liebster Award next.  She’s another newcomer to the world of mom bloggers and she has a unique take on Parenting with ADD that I recommend checking out.

Questions from Coffee With A Side Of

As per the rules of giving and receiving the Liebster Award, Addison has asked five questions that I will be answering below.  I hope you enjoy getting to learn more about Paula from Her Life Is Love.

What is your favorite blog and why?

I love reading Lucy At Home, a UK parenting blog, but one that I can relate with a lot as my daughter is the same age as Lucy’s youngest.  I learn a lot from Lucy’s experience mothering two girls and I like the personal approach she takes with some of her posts, like in When Discrimination Strikes: The Curse of Being Tall and When Selfless Love Becomes Self Abuse.  Aside from writing posts that are honest and familiar, she is active in interacting with the blogger community.  She hosts a blog link up that encourages sharing other blogs and she also does a guest blog series that features another blogger each week.  It’s actually an interesting version where the guest blogger writes three stories, but only two are true stories.  If that’s something that sparks your interest, you can check out this one featuring Intrepid Bebe.  Let me know if you enjoy Lucy’s blog, too.

What is your favorite TV show?

I don’t watch American TV, but I do enjoy Korean variety shows.  I make sure to watch one called I Live Alone which follows a select group of Korean celebrities who live alone and captures what they do from the moment they wake up until they call it a day and go back to sleep.  I like watching this because it gives me a “inside look” at how someone else lives.  I’m sorry, I’m nosy.  I find it fascinating to compare my life with a celebrity.  Right now, the group includes a supermodel, an actor, a boy band idol, and a comedian.  You can watch the episodes online for free with English subtitles.  I recommend having an ad blocker, though.  Do you know Daniel Henney?  He was featured on I Live Alone, so if you’re curious how Daniel Henney spends his day, check out the episode.

If you had unlimited funds, where would you travel and why?

Gee, can I travel the whole world and keep travelling?  That would be ideal if I had unlimited funds.  I love visiting new places and trying new things.  I have already been to many countries in South and East Asia.  If I had to choose one place to travel, I would choose to visit Australia.  I had always wanted to visit a country in the Southern Hemisphere, but all the plane tickets to Australia are so expensive!  I couldn’t manage it before, but with unlimited funds, I’d definitely go and visit around the country.

What challenges do you have while blogging?

My biggest challenge is publishing posts on a regular schedule.  I have read many advice stating that a regular schedule is highly important to keeping readers aware of when to expect a new post from you, but I have a hard time choosing and sticking to a schedule.  I try to put up a new blog post every two or three days, but there are times like this past weekend when each day was packed with family activities and I was unable to publish a post for four days.  I should try to write some posts ahead of time so I can schedule them to be published regularly, but for now, I am unable to do so.  If you have tips for me in this area, I’d love to hear it!

What is your favorite book?


I love romance mysteries and one of my favorite books in this genre is After Caroline by Kay Hooper.  The mystery portion is well-written and the romance is not overdone.  No matter how many times I re-read this one, I enjoy the story each time.  This has been my favorite book for over a decade.  If you have another book in the romance mystery department you would like to recommend, let me know!  I am always looking for the next book that will become my absolute favorite.

Bonus: 10 20 Random Facts About Paula

The rules for the 2017 Liebster Award has made this optional, but I recently made a video for my YouTube channel on 20 Facts About Me.  What a perfect opportunity to share it with you!  I hope you enjoy, like, and subscribe to continue watching more videos from me!  I no longer have access to the video editor I used to use, so I’m currently trying to learn a new one.  I promise video quality will improve in the near future!

Rules for the 2017 Liebster Award

If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster Award in which you should do the follow:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog. Try to include a little promotion for the person who nominated you. They will thank you for it and those who you nominate will also help you out as well.
  1. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. You will need to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.  There is no one set image for the award.  You may save my image and use it on your blog or find others at The Global Aussie.
  1. For the 2017 Liebster Award, write a 150-300 word post about your favorite blog that is not your own. Explain why you like the blog and provide links.
  1. Optional: Provide 10 random facts about yourself. If you wish to engage with your readers it’s a great idea to include random facts about you.
  1. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award. The blogs must have less than 200 followers. Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!  Then, create 11 questions for them to answer.
  1. List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here or simply link to this post.)
  1. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster Award and provide a link for them to your post or mine if you don’t have all the information so that they can learn about it.

If you have been nominated before at any time, please share the love (comments!). The main idea of the Liebster Award is to help promote each others’ blogs.

2017-Liebster-Award

My Nominations and Questions

I nominate the following blogs to accept the 2017 Liebster Award.

Questions for Nominees

Remember to write a 150-300 word blurb about your favorite blog and why.  Provide links.  Then, answer the following questions.  Comment on this post with your award acceptance post link and I’ll visit and comment!

  1. What is something you vividly remember being afraid of as a child, but no longer fear now?
  2. What is one thing you use everyday, but could live without?
  3. If you had to plant a garden full of lettuce, basil, or random flowers, which one would you choose and why?
  4. If someone was going to visit your hometown, where would you recommend visiting and why?
  5. You must have a roommate with the personality of Dory (forgetful, but positive) or Marlin (logical, rational, negative) from Finding Nemo/Dory.  Who would you rather live with?
  6. Would you rather chase bears or bees (under the assumption that no harm will come to you, the bears, or the bees during the chase)?
  7. Sunny or rainy?
  8. Can breakfast be skipped?  Yes or no.
  9. What is one thing on your bucket list you haven’t done yet?
  10. Is there a 2D world you would want to live in?  If so, what is it and why?  (2D world can be comic strip, animation, paintings, etc.)
  11. What is the one song you can’t resist dancing to?

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Life

Spring Cleaning Series – Organizing the Bedroom

By on April 17, 2017
Spring-Cleaning-Organizing-the-Bedroom

This past weekend was busy and blessed.  I celebrated my birthday with family and friends, plus there were Easter festivities at church and we had a family dinner with my brother-in-law’s side of the family, as well.  My daughter needed to pee at the restaurant, but being newly potty trained, she didn’t take well to sitting on an adult toilet while other people were using the loud hand dryers by the sink.  Thankfully, she held it until we got home!  Now, I’m excited to present to you the next step in my Spring Cleaning Series, which is organizing the bedroom!

In order to properly organize the bedroom, you need to have completed cleaning out the bedroom.  If you haven’t already, please take a look at the 5 Simple Rules for a Clean House post in order to have a good foundation for this post as well as the rest of this series.

Organizing the Closet

organizing-the-bedroom-closet
Organize by length and type of clothing

My husband and I share two small closet space.  I designated one for outerwear because some of those can get bulky and take up a lot of space.  Our other closet space holds the clothes that we have chosen to hang.  The rest go into our dresser drawers (we each get three).  Your bedroom probably has a different setup, so adjust my advice as needed.

I have seen some people suggest organizing the closet by color and while it looks nice, I don’t find it particularly easy to use.  I organize by the type of clothes and length.  Since I share closet space with my husband, I chose to use the left side and hung my husband’s clothes on the right.  It’s not exactly half.  I definitely have more clothes to hang.  Here’s how we do it.

  • Outerwear:  Simply organize by length.  I hang the longest ones (trench coats) to the left and they get shorter as you go to the right (cropped jean jacket).  Same goes for my husband’s side.  It just looks nice to open the closet door and see a gradient according to size.
  • Order of the Clothes You Hang:  Again, organizing by length, but this time, also organizing by type.  Each type of clothing will all be hanging from longest to shortest in the closet.  First, I hang my pajama dresses and slips.  Next, dresses.  I hang cardigans and vests after the dresses, the clothes that you wear over other clothes.  Finally, knitwear, button up shirts, and other tops that I need to hang.  I hang knitwear because it gets bulky if I try to roll it up and place it in a drawer.  If tops have embellishments or other features that make it difficult to roll up into a small bundle, I hang them up instead.
  • The Order of my Husband’s Side:  I hang his dress pants folded over the bottom part of a clothes hanger and keep this on the left side so that it is easy for him to find what he needs each morning.  Next, I hang his sweatshirt hoodies and jackets.  Then, I hang his knitwear because these get too bulky when rolled up.  Finally, I hang his button up shirts.

Organizing the Dresser Drawers

organizing-the-bedroom-dresser
Rolling up clothes items helps you fit more in drawers

My husband and I each have three dresser drawers to use, so I made the first drawer for socks and underwear, the second for tops, and the third for bottoms.  His first drawer also includes neckties, mine includes bras.  You do not want to fold and stack clothes because it is difficult to see what you have at a single glance.  If you can’t see it, you most likely won’t wear it and it will become forgotten.  We are trying to avoid that.

Rolling all the clothes that go in your dresser drawers help confine each article of clothing to a small space and allow you to see all that you have in one glance.  The only exception is bras because you don’t want to lose the shape.  You want to roll everything into a set width and as tightly as possible.  Here’s an image of my first dresser drawer.  I have a lot of socks so I hold one layer within the lid of a shoe box.  I can easily take out the lid and see what I have underneath.  This does not count as stacking, since I can take the lid out and see everything I have with one glance.

how-to-roll-underwear
Quick and easy way to roll your underwear
  • Underwear:  I learned this method of folding underwear from my aunt while I was living abroad and loved it.  You want to place the underwear down so that the back is facing up.  Fold the sides to the center in thirds.  Take the bottom part up and push it into the opening at the top made from the front and the two folded sides.
  • Socks:  I used to fold the ankle part of the socks over the rest and called it a day, but one day, I unfolded my socks to find that one elastic was stretched out, while the other sock still fit tightly around my ankle.  I realized I was wearing down my socks just by storing them in the drawer.  Rolling them up together kept this from becoming an issue and it was easy to store in my drawer and find the one I wanted to wear for the day.  I only wear cute socks and no two are the same!
  • Neckties:  Roll up like socks starting from the bottom.
  • Bras:  Don’t roll these up.  You don’t want to mess with the shape and wiring.  Instead, lay it out so that you only see the cups and order by color gradient.  I have my lightest ones in front and black ones in the back.
  • Tops: Everything is rolled, but I order by sleeve length. Sleeveless tops are on the left, short sleeve tops in the middle, and long sleeve tops in the right part of the drawer.
  • Bottoms:  Everything is rolled and organized within the drawer based on length and type (if you have skirts).  Shorts are on the left, jeans and long pants in the middle, and skirts and leggings to the right.
how-to-roll-socks
How you should be rolling up socks

I’ve only focused on organizing the clothes in the bedroom because this tends to be the tricky part of organizing the bedroom.  Everything else you need to organize in the bedroom should follow the 5 Simple Rules for a Clean House.  Later this week, we will be moving on to cleaning out the bathroom so I recommend subscribing to our newsletter in order to keep up with the latest updates as well as additional tips and ideas that I like to share outside of the blog.

Spring-Cleaning-Organizing-the-Bedroom

How is the setup in your bedroom?  What non-clothes category are you having trouble organizing?  Let me know in the comments and I will include some tips in the next post.

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Life

Spring Cleaning Series – Cleaning Out the Bedroom

By on April 13, 2017
spring-cleaning-the-bedroom

The long awaited Spring Cleaning Series is here and the first step is cleaning out the bedroom.  I find that the bedroom is easiest to start with.  If you recall my 5 simple steps for a clean home, you will remember that every object needs to have a home of its own.  I recommend you take a look at that post before we start cleaning out the bedroom.

In order to find homes for everything, we need to reduce what we have in the bedroom to only the stuff that will fit in the bedroom.  Are you ready to tackle cleaning out the bedroom?

Things You Need to Toss

Clothes are the easiest to sort through, but in order to do so properly, we need to take everything out into a huge pile.  For the sake of this post, I am assuming you have never done a proper clean out before, but this is vital to know exactly how much clothes you are hoarding and see how much space you have to work with.

I have three dresser drawers for my own use, plus two closet areas I share with my husband. The piles of all my clothes filled every inch of floor space in my living room.  I could not believe how much clothes I had stuffed away.  And everyday I struggled with the classic “I have nothing to wear” issue.

The issue wasn’t that I didn’t have anything appropriate to wear.  The issue was that I had so many clothes, I could never find anything to wear.  If you ever gave your toddler too many choices and saw her struggle, you understand.  Having too many choices is not always a good thing.

piles-of-clothing
Donate the clothes you will no longer wear.

Clothes (Including Socks, Underwear, Jewelry, Accessories)

  1. Toss out anything that is unwearable.  Clothes that show serious signs of wear like holes, tears, and rips should be tossed (or donated for fabric).  Take out any clothes that don’t fit you or things that are “out of style” such that you no longer wish to wear them.  I don’t believe in following trends, so I refer to “out of style” based on your feelings towards the item.
  2. Try to reduce multiples.  If you have four pairs of winter gloves, reduce down to one or two.  Have a ton of scarves or belts?  Reduce those to the ones you really love.  You don’t need 15 pairs of pants.  Reduce, reduce, reduce.  Remember, the less you have, the easier it is to maintain a clean room.
  3. Don’t accept hand-me-downs.  I don’t know if it’s just me, but even as an adult, my mom continues to try and give me clothes that she bought or received that don’t fit her right.  Her excuse, “Look, it looks so much better on you because you are tall,” while in reality these clothes are not my style.  Not something I’d wear.  Not what I want hanging around in my closet.  Save yourself the trouble and do not accept these clothes.  They will just sit and take up precious space in your closet.
cleaning-out-the-bedroom-books-on-shelves
The books you planned on reading, but haven’t yet…will not get read. Donate them.

Books, DVDs, CDs

So, this category may be more relevant to your living room, but I actually have a closet full of shelves and I kept my collection of books, DVDs, CDs, cassette tapes, and video tapes there.  This held everything that I collected since high school.  If you’re really motivated, you can find ways to transfer the data from DVDs, CDs, cassette tapes, and video tapes into digital media and store it on a cloud or hard disk drive.  Now, pick out the stuff you know you will never use again and recycle or donate them.

  1. For books, these would be textbooks and English literature.  Get rid of any magazines that you no longer look at.  From what you have left, keep only the ones that you really enjoy or hold good memories for you, because the books that you plan on reading someday will most likely not get read.  If you do need to read it, you can find a copy at your library or obtain an e-book version.
  2. For DVDs, keep only the ones that you really enjoy or have good memories of.  If you ever need to watch something again, it’s easy to find again through the library system or streaming contents.
  3. For CDs, keep the ones that still play well and you really can’t let go of.  Disc quality actually deteriorates so a CD is not forever.  Isn’t that sad?  Make digital back up copies as soon as you can.  Remember, your goal in all this cleaning out is to have as less stuff as possible.
makeup
Hoarding makeup is a bad idea. These expire after a set time.

Make Up

  1. Makeup has expiration dates that start from the day you first open and use a product.  Once expired, they should be tossed.  That said, I actually don’t do this.  Instead, I make sure to toss products that can’t be used anymore, like dried up mascara.
  2. Try not to hoard up a stash with makeup.  You don’t need four different mascaras.  Get rid of lipstick colors you never wear.  You don’t need all the different makeup brushes.  There’s about three or four kinds of brushes you really need and can use to apply all your products well.

I feel like these three areas cover the majority of stuff in the bedroom, but I don’t claim that it’s a comprehensive list.  What other category of stuff do you need help sorting through?  Let me know in the comments and I’ll be sure to include them in addition to the list for the next room, the bathroom.

spring-cleaning-the-bedroom

The next post in the Spring Cleaning Series will be tackling organization of the bedroom.  Once you’ve reduced the number of stuff in the bedroom, I will give you tips on how to organize everything so that each item has its own home within the confines of your bedroom.  It will feel overwhelming at first, but it is satisfying when you reach the end.  Sign up for Her Life Is Love newsletter to stay up to date with each post as well as receive my personal themed newsletter that includes more fabulous ideas and information.

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Blog Tips | Personal

Beating Blogger’s Block

By on April 11, 2017
6-simple-steps-to-beating-blogger-block

I haven’t blogged long enough to deal with a serious case of blogger’s block, but I have seen some blogs where the blogger has professed to dealing with it.  It got me thinking about what I would try to do if I ever started to feel like I have nothing to say and can’t think of what to do with Her Life Is Love.

6 Simple Steps to Beating Blogger’s Block

  1. Go outside.  As a mommy blogger, I’m often doing my blogging at home.  Changing the scenery is bound to help bring in new inspiration so you can find new things to think about and write about.  I like to go to the Chicago Botanic Garden since it’s a nice area to walk around with a toddler (preferably in stroller) and you can people-watch as well as nature-watch.
  2. Move around.  I’m not a fan of exercising, but I don’t like being lazy.  Physical activity helps wake you up and when you have blood pumping throughout your body well, your alertness goes up and I dare say your brain should be able to think of some inspirational ideas that way.  A good way to do this is dance like nobody is watching to music that you love.  Have your toddler join in.  This is one of the ways I pamper myself.
  3. Reduce the number of posts.  New bloggers are often told that it’s necessary to post daily because search engines love a regularly updated blog.  Or so I’ve been told.  Realistically, posting everyday is tough because I like to make quality posts and everything is done by me.  I aim to post 3 to 4 a week, although lately that has been tough because I’ve been focusing a lot on potty training my daughter.
  4. Take a class.  Learn something new.  This can be a source of fresh inspiration.  Lately, I have been attending Toddler Class with my daughter.  I like it because I get to watch my daughter grow in her socialization skills.  There’s always arts and crafts time, too, so that gives me plenty of ideas for crafty DIY kids projects.
  5. Interact with others.  I mean face-to-face interactions.  So much of being a blogger is having all these interactions behind a computer screen, but meaningful face-to-face socializing is necessary, too. This is a little tough for me since I started blogging to meet other moms online.  I don’t know any moms I can hang out with during the weekday in real life.  Still, I go to the public library with my daughter often and chat with other adults hanging out in the kid’s play area.  Talking with other moms always give me great insight and ideas.
  6. Take a blog break.  If nothing else is working, it’s OK to take a blog break.  This could be one or two weeks where you are on hiatus, but do let your readers know so they don’t think you fell off the face of this Earth and no longer update your blog.  That’s bad blog business.

6-simple-steps-to-beating-blogger-block

In all honesty, I haven’t been posting as much as I would have liked recently.  There’s a couple reasons for this.  First, I’ve been focusing on potty training my daughter.  I think it was worth it because I am finally seeing real, tangible progress.  Second, I have been trying to figure out how to use all my other social media accounts.  One of them has been on the back burner for way too long, so I focused on it by putting up a new video.  Cool fact:  I started YouTube 10 years ago!

 It’s a start and I hope you will subscribe to my YouTube channel and experience Her Life Is Love in a different way.

Are you an active blogger and creator?  What are some good ways you use to get out of a funk?

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Family | Personal

8 Tips to Potty Training a Toddler

By on April 9, 2017
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There are two days during the week where I must leave the house with my daughter.  There’s Wednesday, where we go to Toddler Class in the morning, and Sunday, where we go to church.  I read a lot of books, blog posts, and magazine articles on potty training a toddler.  Most seem to support a three-day training regime where you have your child butt-naked the first day, wearing underwear the next, and then go out with pants on and say you have successfully potty trained your toddler.  They also warn not to go back to using diapers once you have started training.  Something about your toddler figuring out they can go back to diapers if they make you annoyed enough.

I have attempted potty training my daughter three separate times using this three-day training regime and failed each time because inevitably, a Sunday or a Wednesday will come around and I’d have to leave the house with my daughter in a diaper.  The “experts” recommend waiting a couple months before starting again.  I made it one of my goals in March to successfully potty train my daughter during Spring Break where I could have the whole week, starting Monday, to devote to potty training.  Of course, life happens, and we didn’t start until Thursday, despite having no Toddler Class that Wednesday.

This time, I didn’t give up and did it the way I felt was right and on day 10, we had gone one full day without any accidents!  My daughter is 28 months old and I can see a diaper-free future ahead of me.  Now, here are the things I’ve learned from our potty training adventures and wish other parents have told me.

Things to Know Before Potty Training a Toddler

I read a lot about how you should have you toddler choose the potty and don’t let it become a toy.  Vice versa, some would say you should let your toddler get used to seeing it around and sit in it.  I want to emphasize to you that there is no one right way.  Potty training a toddler seems like it is a daunting task mainly because you have to actively teach your child to use the potty and your child will have to learn to use the potty.

  1. Your child is ready for potty training when she is able to sing the ABC song.  I’ve read long lists of “signs that your toddler is ready to be potty trained” and they get pretty long.  I would find three or four signs that fit my child, a couple that might be true, and the rest not related to my kid at all.  I had a hard time deciding if the time was right or not.  Our pediatrician gave us a simple way to decide.  If your child can sing the entire ABC song, your child is developmentally ready to learn.
  2. Buy a simple potty chair.  

    This affordable potty chair from Summer Infant is highly recommended by many parents I know and I would have bought one if I hadn’t already bought a musical one.  I bought a fancy musical potty chair and regretted it as soon as we actually started potty training.  This chair (pictured in first Instagram photo at top) plays a musical fanfare whenever one pees or poops into the potty.  It might be the weight pushing the container down that triggers it.  Anyway, the first day where she peed in the potty, the musical fanfare played and it scared her.  Terrified her.  I found out potty training is scary for little ones.  Simple potty chairs that are easy to use and easy to clean are best.  No music and no lid.  Pee shield is up to you, but be aware that if your child tries to sit on the potty chair and ends up sitting on the pee shield, the pain could discourage her from trying to use the potty on her own again.
  3. Potty training a toddler is not a race.  Try not to compare with other toddlers.  I actually knew of several parents who potty trained their kid at 18 months or so and I felt the pressure!  Wait until your toddler is ready (ABC song!) and you are ready.  This is a joint operation.

Tips for Heading Outside the Home

Once your toddler has the hang of things and knows that peeing in underwear and peeing in pants both result in uncomfortable wetness, you might feel ready to venture outside the home.  Our first outing was to get groceries.  Then, we tried going to church.  Here are some tips that are helpful when taking a potty training toddler outside of the home.

  1. Try to encourage your toddler to use the potty before leaving the house.  It’s easier when you know your toddler is leaving the house on a fairly empty bladder.  Keep your first few outings short.  Less than an hour is ideal.  Right now, our longest has been two hours for church.
  2. Don’t stress if your toddler doesn’t go before you have to leave.  Just trust that your toddler is learning her body signals and will tell you when she has to go.  Hopefully she’ll signal with a fair amount of time before release.
  3. Bring along an extra pair of underwear, pants, and socks.  You’ll also want a plastic bag to hold soiled pants and underwear in.  Bring along post-its to cover the sensor for automatic flushes.  You don’t want that scaring your toddler while she’s trying an adult toilet in some strange, new place.
  4. The safe way to protect a car seat differs by manufacturer.  Frankly, it is unsafe to place anything between toddler and the car seat that didn’t come with the car seat.  I know of two car seat brands that provide products to protect the car seat from potty training accidents and have been tested for safety, but I do not own one.  As such, I do not use anything and hope for the best.  If a potty training accident occurs, wash the car seat fabric according to directions in the manual.  You do not want to compromise the safety of your child because you don’t want to clean up an accident in the car seat.  Disclaimer: I am not a certified car seat technician, so I recommend taking your questions to the Car Seat for the Littles Facebook Group.  There’s a separate group for the folks in the UK, since the laws are different.
  5. Bring the potty chair with you, if you can.  At least, bring it along in the beginning until your toddler can handle using an adult toilet at home.  Then, she will be able to handle the ones outside of the home better.  There are portable potty seats you can purchase, too, if you plan on keeping one in your car, stroller, or diaper bag.  Since our potty chair is rather clunky, I’m considering bringing around a potty seat you insert on top of the adult toilet.

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I hope these tips are helpful.  Good luck on your own potty training a toddler adventure!  If you enjoyed this post, I recommend reading 5 Simple Rules for a Clean Home and 10 Toddler Rules You Must Follow.  I’m currently working on a Spring Cleaning inspired series and will be going through what to toss and how to organize each major room in your home.  Subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date with the Spring Cleaning series.

Leave a comment and share what you found useful in your potty training adventure.  Any advice on getting a toddler to poop in the potty chair?

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Life

Spring Cleaning Series – 5 Simple Rules for a Clean Home

By on April 6, 2017
spring-cleaning

By the time April hits, Spring cleaning is inevitably on everyone’s minds.  Some may have it as a passing thought that is quickly forgotten, but I am starting a Spring cleaning series for those who are serious about doing a Spring cleaning.  This series will focus on the bedroom, the bathroom, the living room, the dining room, and the kitchen.  We’ll go through the process of cleaning out the stuff you don’t need and how to organize the stuff you are keeping

Her Life Is Love is always a discussion-friendly zone and would love to have your input on what ideas you’ve tried, what worked, and questions you may have.  Feel free to leave comments and I will do my best to get back to you.  Don’t be overwhelmed by the idea of cleaning the whole house.  We’re going to take one room at a time!

5 Simple Rules for a Clean Home

      1. Every object must have a designated home – When every object in your home has a home of its own, you can find what you need easily and know where to return it after each use.  This is important because it helps keep you from creating clutter by developing a good habit of putting things back.
      2. Keep only what you have room for – This is key to keeping your home manageable.  If you only keep the items you have space for, you won’t end up hoarding objects.  Once you manage to find the right balance, you need to donate or toss something whenever you buy or receive another.  I find that having this mindset also helps keep your wallet in check.  You’ll ask yourself if you really need something and if the answer is yes, do you have something you can rid yourself of in order to take the new object in?

        A post shared by Paula (@jintoki) on

      3. Use what you have to display stuff – Try not to purchase storage and organization products.  These encourage shoving stuff into bins and forgetting about them.  I use the lids and bottoms of pretty shoe boxes to help contain and display my stuff. Also, avoid stacking objects.  You will forget what is at the bottom and it will fall out of use.  Worse, you’ll purchase a product, add to your possessions, and then find you have two of the same thing.  At one time, I had three regular scissors and two kitchen scissors.  Instead, try to display everything you own as if it’s a display case at a department store (lay things out).  For example, your drawer of lingerie can have your bras ordered by gradation of color.  If your a dude, do this with your rolled up neckties.  This is an automatic mood booster whenever you need to go through your stuff to find something.
      4. All counters should be clear of stuff – I confess that this is tricky for me.  If I don’t put things back to their home after use, clutter starts to pile up on counters, tables, and dresser tops.  This is a big no.  When counters are clear, it is that much easier to clean house because it’s a lot faster to wipe down counter tops when there’s fewer objects to remove.
      5. Keep up with cleaning a little bit everyday – Dust settles everyday.  Women…our hair collects noticeably on floors everyday.  If you tackle cleaning the floor and dusting a new room each day, your overall home will always be clean.

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If you can master each of these rules, you WILL have a clean home that you can handle…toddlers and all.  In fact, my toddler has picked up my habit of putting things back where they belong.  Continue to keep these rules in mind as we focus on each room individually in the upcoming posts for this series.  Please join our newsletter to keep up with this series and follow me on social media.

Leave a comment and let me know which is your biggest challenge when it comes down to cleaning your house!


Ready to Tackle Spring Cleaning Your Rooms?

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Family | Personal

10 Toddler Rules You Must Follow

By on April 4, 2017
toddler-rules

Toddlers are known to have particular preferences and my daughter is no exception. Here are the absolute toddler rules my toddler demands of me and herself.  If you ever meet me and my daughter, you’ll want to follow these rules, too.

10 Absolute Toddler Rules

  1. If mom’s head is laying down on a pillow, toddler must lay down in the opposite direction next to her (why, hello feet!).
  2. Water droplets on the skin is considered a mess. Scooping water out of a bowl onto the floor is not.
  3. All doors must be opened and closed by toddler. Same goes for light switches.
  4. See that car seat high up in the SUV?  Toddler will not sit in it unless toddler has climbed into the car seat by herself.
  5. Toddler must take a bite out of each and every cracker (or fruit) on her plate before picking one to finish off.  This includes each Veggie Pizza Bites.
  6. If a blank piece of paper is placed on her drawing table, she must go and doodle on it.  That takes top priority.
  7. If toddler is in the hallway, stairwell, or a room with an echo…toddler will emit a loud “ah, ah, ah” and revel in the acoustics.
  8. Anytime someone in her vicinity farts, burps, or yawns, she will announce it to the entire world whoever will listen.  It’s up to you to confirm or deny it.
  9. Everyday is a good day to sing and dance.  These must include Wheels on the Bus, Five Little Monkeys, and the Itsy Bitsy Spider.
  10. All music must be played handsome men with a violin and piano. Ok, handsome men is my opinion, not my toddler’s, but she loves Henry along with me. How can you not like a talented musician who plays both the violin and piano?

 

Source: monmon2013S01

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What absolute toddler rules does your toddler abide by?  Please comment and share!

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Eats

Veggie Pizza Bites

By on March 31, 2017
veggie-pizza-bite-title

It’s been awhile since I wrote a recipe that’s toddler-friendly.  If you are interested in the last two toddler-friendly recipes I wrote, check out Carrot Yam Bake and Peanut Chocolate Pear.  Today’s recipe is a quick and easy snack that involves a variety of veggies.  Veggie Pizza Bites uses zucchini, mushrooms, and red pepper…all which my daughter love in soup.  Now, I’ll be honest…while this is toddler-friendly, it’s not a guarantee that your toddler will like it right away.  I mean, it is all vegetables and they aren’t fully cooked so that everything is soft and tender.  If your young child is past the texture-hating phase, this will probably go better for you.

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veggie-pizza-bite

Veggie Pizza Bites Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 zucchini
  • red pepper hummus
  • a handful of button mushrooms
  • 1 red pepper
  1. Slice the zucchini in 0.25 inch thick circles.  Dice the red pepper and mushrooms into small pieces.  Smaller the better, since they will be your toppings.
  2. Toss everything into a boiling pot of water and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.  This is to help make the vegetables tender for the toddler.  If this is for older children and adults, you can skip this step.  Drain the vegetables.
  3. Place zucchini circles on a plate.  Spread a small amount of red pepper hummus onto each circle.  Red pepper hummus best imitates tomato sauce in real pizzas, but if color doesn’t matter to you, feel free to use any other flavor of hummus.
  4. Sprinkle the diced veggies on top.  Let cool and enjoy.  You can use any other veggie toppings on your veggie pizza bites, too.  Red pepper and mushrooms just happen to be the ones my daughter loves.

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What vegetable toppings do you love on your veggie pizza bite?  Leave a comment and let me know!

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