Tuesday, November 24, 2009


God has been good to us, and we are filled with thanksgiving. Over the past few months, my faith has been tested and I have struggled more than ever before with doubting God's goodness and love as we have undergone some trials. God has graciously turned my attitude from anxiety, doubt, and spiritual depression to faith and trust once again. One of my biggest prayers has been "Revive me according to your word." Psalm 119:25 God is doing that as I spend time with Him reading His word and in prayer and as I turn all these cares over to Him. Two hymns that have brought tears to my eyes and comfort to my soul have been "O The Deep Deep Love" and "'Tis So Sweet to Trust In Jesus." Listen to this line from the first hymn:

Underneath me all around me
Is the current of Thy love

God's love has been the sustaining and overflowing river that has brought life to me over the years of my life. Thank you, Lord, for your faithfulness, your goodness, and your grace. You are good.

Things I Have Learned About Potty Training

This past month I potty-trained Amy who is 22 months right now in order to save money on diapers. It has gone pretty well. This is my fourth time doing it so it seems to go a bit better every time. Here are four suggestions for a successful potty-training experience learned mostly from failures training my first child, and successes training my younger kids:

1. Start Early. Get them familiar with going on the toilet at a young age in order to prevent fear of going when they are 3 and 4 years old. Child #3 started going poo-poo on the toilet at age 10 months. Child #4 started going poo-poo on the toilet at age 8 months. Whenever they would start to grunt or look like they were about to go in their diaper, I would pull off the diaper and sit them on the toilet. You can see an example of this by clicking here.

2. Train them in underwear or naked if you prefer. Do not try to potty train them while they are wearing diapers. If kids have been "trained" for two years to go to the bathroom in their diaper, how are they ever going to learn to use the toilet wearing a diaper? I like Gerber underwear for potty training. It has double layers and is very absorbent. It prevents larger messes on the floor when they do have accidents. Accidents WILL happen so be prepared, but don't try to prevent the accident by training in diapers!

3. Take them to the potty chair every 20-30 minutes. Just have them sit there and try. If they don't seem to go after a few minutes of sitting and playing with a toy or reading books while they are sitting on the potty, don't frustrate them further. Just pull up their pants and try again in 5-10 minutes. Spend 2-3 days focusing on the task. It helps to give them sips of water or juice after they go potty so they will have the urge to go again in a half hour. Accidents will happen. You don't need to be upset. Just encourage them to keep their underwear clean and dry, and encourage them to use the potty next time. Teach them what to do. "Tell Mommy when you need to go pee-pee or poo-poo." "Run to the bathroom when you need to go potty."

4. Give a small reward. When we lived in Hungary we had a potty chair that made music every time liquid or anything went in the potty. It played "Let Me Call You Sweetheart." This was enough to thrill child #3 and encourage her to fill the potty again. I have also used small treats such as a chocolate chip or an M&M after the child actually goes pee-pee or poo-poo. When they are fully trained after a few weeks, I quit with the treats. The child doesn't need it anymore. The biggest reward of all is your praise and excitement for a job well done! This is very important to excitedly congratulate them when they go. Clap your hands, do a dance, sing a song. Anything to show your joy over their accomplishment. They are so proud of themselves when mommy or daddy congratulate them!

I don't want to sound like a know-it-all by this post. I only want to pass on the wisdom that I have gained. Hope it helps someone!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Pictures to Make You Smile

We stopped at Auntie Anna's house to get some candy on Oct. 31!

I love the looks on their faces trying to play some things on the guitar!

Baked Oatmeal Recipe

I have been making this recipe since this summer. I made it again today, so I thought I would share it here. I have modified the original recipe significantly, so I feel free to share it here as an original recipe:

Baked Oatmeal
3 cups rolled or quick oats (I use half of each)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
2 eggs
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins
walnuts or another fruit may be added as an option

Spray a 9" x 13" pan with non-stick spray or any kind of oil. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Pour into pan and spread out evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes in a 375 degree Farenheit pre-heated oven. Top will be dryer and edges slightly brown when it is finished cooking. Serve warm in bowls. Pour milk on top and enjoy! Serves 6.