Positive Parenting Reward Jar

Positive Parenting Reward Jar

Positive parenting has always resonated with me (and my husband) and we’ve tried to incorporate it’s principles in raising our girls. I wrote about how we’ve used some of the techniques in regards to discipline here and while it’s been effective, we still needed some new tools.

A couple months ago we were really struggling with bedtime and just some overall behavior with Big Nugget. She was testing boundaries and rules and we were at a loss as to what to do. Nothing in our parenting arsenal seemed to be working and I found myself raising my voice more and keeping my patience less. I was sick of threatening to take toys and privileges away. None of it made any of us feel good. Something needed to change.

My bestie, who is an amazing marriage and family therapist, used a marble jar with her girls when they were about this age and it really stuck with me all these years. I decided to try it with Big Nugget and see if this might be something she would respond to.

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you! I never link to anything that I haven’t actually used. 

The Reward Jar

We started with two jars and some clear rocks (because they were less of a choking hazard with Little Nugget and Big really loves rocks…I mean REALLY loves them).

positive parenting reward jar double

I took her to Michaels and let her help me pick out the jars and the rocks so that she felt invested in the process. We chose this one (currently 50% off!) and this one.

positive parenting reward jar before

I liked having the reward jar clear so she could see her progress. I explained to her that when she had a good bedtime or a good nap, or we see her being kind or helpful, that we will let her put a rock into the empty jar. Bad bedtimes or unkind behavior and she will have to take a rock OUT of the reward jar. Once that jar is full, she gets a reward. Something big. Something awesome. Something that she really wants. She chose a trip to Disneyland. Of course.

positive parenting reward jar out

The Results

For the last two months, it’s been a mostly effective tool. She’s excited to earn a rock. You can see the sense of pride that she has when she earns a rock. What it hasn’t really done, is be the deterrent that I had expected it to be. She doesn’t really care if she loses a rock but I think that’s just her personality. She’s really more concerned if she’s upset me or if she’s “in trouble”. The great thing that’s happened since implementing this reward system is that I haven’t had to threaten that much. The point of this jar though really is to reinforce POSITIVE behavior and when kids feel better, they act better. Which is what I love so much about positive parenting.

Positive Parenting Reward Jar One

Positive Parenting Goals

I’ve also learned that while the promise of Disneyland and pride in earning a rock are great motivators, it can seem a little too far away and unreachable for a preschooler. So during the week, I’ve also set goals for the weekend. Last week, I promised that we’d set up the bounce house if she had a good week. And it worked. It worked really well for both of us.

Just like with everything else, it’s a work in progress. To be perfectly honest, she’s a VERY well behaved kid but just had the normal hang ups about some rules and bedtime. What works for her probably won’t work for her little sister. Lord help us all.

I listed some of my other positive parenting resources over on my Favorites page under Family, go check it out!

Positive Parenting 1

 

Pistachio Delight an Easy No-Bake Dessert

Pistachio Delight an Easy No-Bake Dessert

Pistachio Delight dessert was a childhood favorite in our house and it’s the one dessert that my friends will request that I bring to parties.

It’s a pistachio dessert with a Ritz cracker crust. It’s so simple, no-bake and so very good. I still get texts from old friends asking me for my mom’s recipe. Just like my chili and chicken soup, this dessert is super nostalgic for me, it’s a great treat to bring for an Easter or Mother’s Day brunch, a festive St. Patty’s Day dinner or just a summer BBQ.

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you! 

pistachio delight dessert mid

Pistachio Delight fun

This dessert is really easy to put together but does take some planning. You need to give the ice cream a little time to partially thaw. The pudding mixture should set for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, and the Cool Whip needs time to defrost for the topping.

Since we don’t have air conditioning in our house, I’m always appreciative of no-bake desserts during the hot months – which for us lately has been almost all year round. This dessert is something that both of the kids can help with, Little Nugget loves to smash the Ritz crackers and Big Nugget can whisk the green pudding together.

The (not so) secret ingredient to this dessert is the partially melted vanilla ice cream. I usually buy the rectangular quarts of ice cream so it’s easier to split it in half.

If you don’t have ice cream, you can leave it out and just use the full amount of milk needed and make sure you keep it refrigerated overnight though to get it nice and firm.

Pistachio Delight Dessert Pan

Nut Free Option

My nieces are allergic to nuts so we just swap out the pistachio pudding for a nut-free flavor (vanilla or strawberry are favorites) and it’s just as good. There is no reason you have to sacrifice flavor just because of a food allergy.

Pistachio Delight Dessert Pinterest

Pistachio Delight

No bake pistachio dessert.

Course Dessert

Ingredients

  • 2-3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1.5 sleeve Ritz crackers, smashed into crumbs
  • 2 packages pistachio pudding
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 quart vanilla ice cream, softened
  • 1 container Cool Whip

Instructions

  1. Line a 9x13 pan with Ritz crumbs and drizzle with melted butter. Make sure all the crumbs are coated and press down into the bottom of the pan to make your crust.

  2. Whisk milk and pudding until just set and then fold in softened ice cream. Spread evenly over the top of the cracker crumbs - careful not to lift the crumbs into the pudding mixture. 

  3. Cover pan with cling wrap and let set in the fridge for 4 hours (or overnight). Top with Cool Whip and serve immediately or refrigerate. 

3 Tips for Breastfeeding Success PLUS Must Haves for Every Nursing Mom

3 Tips for Breastfeeding Success PLUS Must Haves for Every Nursing Mom

I knew when I got pregnant with my oldest that I wanted to breastfeed. Naively, I thought it would be SO easy. Pop the kid on the boob and things just take care of itself. It’s definitely one of those pre-mom moments where I look back at myself and shake my head and just say “Bless Her Heart”.  Fast forward four years and I’ve nursed both my girls to the one year mark and am still going with the youngest. Now, when a new mom asks me for advice on how they can be successful with breastfeeding or what worked for me, these are the 3 things I tell them.

View More: http://audreyrynbergphotography.pass.us/hospitalnewborn

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you! 

Breastfeeding Support Groups

Sounds weird right? When I went to my first group called “Milk and Cookies” at (then local) boutique, Ollie and Me, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. Was I just going to whip out a boob and sit in a circle with other women? Yes and no. I got to meet the amazing Nurse Wendy (yes, the famous one from Shark Tank!) and she was an invaluable resource for me. The baby gets weighed at the beginning, you go and feed them, then weigh them again to see how much you transferred. Nurse Wendy would be there to check your latch and offer any tips or advice on your particular situation.

Every baby and mother is different. I never had a problem with my milk supply, it was completely the opposite. Basically, I was drowning my child each time she wanted to nurse because my letdown was so abundant. I learned different holds and positions that helped and it made our breastfeeding journey together a little bit easier…until those razor sharp teeth started to poke through. Yikes.

Most hospitals have groups similar to this and you can also go to La Leche League and search for a group in your area.

So takeaway #1 – ask for help. Find the help you need. Be your own advocate. There are people and resources out there that can make your breastfeeding journey an enjoyable one.

View More: http://audreyrynbergphotography.pass.us/hospitalnewborn

Nutrition

If you thought you had a good appetite when you were pregnant, just wait until you become a dairy cow. I ate like a teenage boy during those first couple months and for good reason. This is when the old adage of “eating for two” really comes into play but now, more than ever, that you need to get cognizant of what you are eating and more importantly what you are drinking.

I turned into a camel. There wasn’t a water bottle big enough for me. It is so important to keep yourself hydrated. Not only will that help you tremendously when you are trying to get rid of the postpartum swelling, but it also helps your body create the milk that your baby needs. Food also plays a huge role in supporting your lactation. I lived off salmon, oatmeal and Boobie Bars.

I was anxious to lose my baby weight but I quickly realized that my body needed a little fluff to make the milk. So take away #2 – you are still eating (and drinking) for two.

Bottle feed

Ironically, the thing that will change your life as a breastfeeding mother is getting your babe to take a bottle. You might be their sole source of nutrition but you don’t have to be the sole administrator. Invest in a good pump and get your freezer supply stocked up so that you can get a break. Sometimes it will seem like it’s more work than it’s worth but trust me, it’s not. It’s good for you, it’s good for baby and it’s good for your partner/loved one to get some bonding time.

IMG_6068

Sounds crazy to advise a breastfeeding mom to bottle feed but being the only source of nutrition for a small human is a exhausting task – both physically and emotionally. Weird things happen to your body. Your hormones take you on the craziest roller coaster ride you’ve ever been on. It’s super important to try to take care of yourself. That might look different for each person, shoot…that might even look different each day but it’s paramount to take some time for yourself.

Whatever it is that might make you feel like you, do it. Take away #3 – it’s ok to make yourself a priority, even if it only lasts 5 minutes.

Must Have Items

That pre-mom me thought all you needed to successfully breastfeed a baby would be your boob (Bless Her Heart right?) but I couldn’t have been farther from the truth. It’s amazing that something so primal and basic could require so. much. stuff. These are the products that I really couldn’t live without those first few months.

Breastfeeding Must Haves

One – Boppy Best Latch Pillow I love this pillow because it has a firm and soft side. I’ve tried a million others and walways came back to this old standby.

Two – Lanishoh Nursing pads I loved that this actually stayed in place and absorbed without looking like I stuffed two pancakes in my bra.

Three – Como Tomo bottles Both of my girls loved these bottles. Easy to clean and minimal plastic.

Four – Medela Sonata breast pump Worth every single penny. Compact yet powerful and quiet enough that I didn’t wake up the entire house pumping before I went to the gym at 4am.

Five – Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Cream I love this so much, I give this to every expecting Mama I know. I had a jar in every spot I’d nurse.

Six – These nursing tanks were my uniform….still are.

Seven – Lanishoh hands free bra Game changer even if you are pumping alone.

Eight – Let Down catcher This was my secret weapon to building up my milk stash, especially with an oversupply.

Nine – Camelback water bottle The biggest I could get that allowed me to guzzle water somewhat hands free

Ten – Tula Baby Carrier Seems strange to include a carrier but skin to skin contact can help regulate your supply. Bonus points for when you learn how to nurse with babe IN the carrier. Life changing and talk about feeling like a SuperMom. It’s the only way I survived Disneyland with two small kids.

Cheesy Stuffed Meatloaf

Cheesy Stuffed Meatloaf

Cheesy stuffed meatloaf is one of my family’s favorite dinners. Growing up, our comfort foods where soup and chili but meatloaf was always a good comforting meal. I know I’ve stumbled on something good when even my Mom calls me to make sure she’s making my recipe right.

Cheesy Stuffed Meatloaf pan

I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to meatloaf and I usually serve it with mashed potatoes. Since I’m trying to watch my carb intake, I’ve made this with mashed cauliflower and it’s just as good. Seriously, you wouldn’t even know it’s not mashed potatoes. Or, if there are any leftovers, I just go for a super low carb snack and have a slice (or two) on it’s own.

Cheesy Stuffed Meatloaf Plated

This is one of those recipes that I’ve been making for so long that I honestly have no idea how I found it or where it came from. I’ve been making this for well over ten years. I’ve never ever had a problem making it, it always turns out great. Except for when I made it for the specific purpose of posting it here. I bought some generic cheap wax paper and it literally melted into the turkey meat and I had to scrap it and improvise dinner that night. This time around, I made sure I had some good wax paper and it turned out perfect. Lesson learned, don’t skimp on the wax paper.

Cheesy Stuffed Meatloaf cuttingCheesy Stuffed Meatloaf swirl

Not a mushroom fan? It’s perfectly good without. You can play around with what you stuff into it also. I’m made a pizza version, a spinach version, the options are endless but since Big Nugget recently declared that she loves mushrooms (but only when they are cooked and NOT on pizza) I keep going back to this old standby.

Cheesy Stuffed Meatloaf beforeCheesy Stuffed Meatloaf whole above

Cheesy Stuffed Meatloaf

Melty mozzerella and mushrooms make this a meatloaf that the whole family will enjoy. Best with turkey or ground beef and pairs perfectly with mashed potatoes or cauliflower for the ultimate low carb dinner. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef or turkey
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 jar tomato paste
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 3 sliced mushrooms

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. In a large bowl, using your hands, mix together the meat, eggs, breadcrumbs and salt/pepper. 

  3. Move meat mixture to a large piece of wax paper. Cover with another large piece of wax paper. Roll mixture out into a rectangle shape about 1/4 inch thick. Be sure that it's even and not too thin.

  4. Remove the top sheet of wax paper. Spread 3/4 of the jar of tomato paste onto the rolled out meat. Cover with 3/4 cup of mozzarella and all of the mushrooms. Leave an inch of space around the edges. Save the rest of the paste and mozzarella for later.

  5. Starting at on end, roll the mixture and place in your baking pan seam side down. Tuck in the edges and make sure there are no open spots where the cheese can leak out. Keep some water nearby and dip your fingers in as you work the meat, it will keep it from sticking to you. 

  6. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from over and spread the remaining tomato paste to the top and cover with remaining cheese. Bake until cheese is melted, about 10-15 minutes.

Cheesy Stuffed Meatloaf

Cheesy Stuffed Meatloaf – Pin It!

Checking In – Superbowl Edition

This post contains some affiliate links. 

It’s February. Finally. Anyone else think that January always feels like the longest month ever? And I still feel like I didn’t have enough time to get everything done but that’s the beauty of keeping lists and tracking your goals. I’m looking back now and realizing that I got a LOT done. Plus we had a big celebration for Little Nugget’s first birthday. Did you see the post with the pictures? It’s here if you missed it. We also did this really fun and adorable teacher appreciation craft. Big Nugget’s teachers LOVED them and we had such a good time putting them together.

Health/Reflection/Diet

I’m grouping these together this time around because I really feel like they are all so closely related. I’ve been feeling a little off lately, just not my positive, happy self and keeping my workout routine and daily journal has been super helpful. It also helps to have a great husband and friends that I can talk to about things. When you are the type of person who doesn’t usually let things bother them or get in slumps, it’s hard to open up to other people about what’s bothering you. And it’s especially hard when you don’t really know why or what is causing it, just that it’s there. Getting my time in at The Fit Mill has really helped release those nice endorphins and made me feel strong in my body so I know that I am strong in my mind.

I’m also struggling keeping track of my calories, some days I know I’m not eating enough and some days I’ve probably gone over board. Not by a lot but maybe by a glass of wine. I just wish that there was a nutrition app that let me easily track “crust off grilled cheese” or one serving – minus what the little hands took off my plate. I am staying away from temptation but giving in now and again. Life is about balance and I don’t want to feel too deprived because then a healthy lifestyle isn’t enjoyable and therefore not sustainable.

Blog

Next week I’m going to my first blogger conference and I haven’t been this nervous about something since I moved from Michigan to Minnesota in the 6th grade and started a new school. I bought new clothes and have fancy new business cards and keep reminding myself that nothing could be as scary as 6th grade.

I did splurge and get my first pair of Madewell jeans after everyone has raved about them. I’m having a really hard time finding jeans that fit my post baby body and hope that I’ve met my jean-soul mate. We shall see. Since I splurged so much on the jeans, I just went to my old standby of Target and got a couple blouses (this one and this one except in a floral pattern that isn’t online yet) that I could wear with said jeans. Shhhhh, don’t tell anyone that I plan to wear the same pants both days. HA! I’m assuming that since I’ll be kid free that I can actually pull that off. Once again…we shall see.

Digital

I’ve turned off most notifications to my Apple Watch and I feel like that has helped me ignore my phone when I want to ignore my phone. Baby steps. This one is harder than not eating carbs.

Clutter

I’m happy with where the shoe closet ended up. I purged a lot of the coats from in there and cleaned out under all the shoes. I would still like to get a better way to organize the adult shoes but that’s not what was really bothering me about that space. Now that I got it cleaned, it’s become the home of our new home brewery. Faggi Ale coming soon.

February’s space is going to be the buffet in our dining room. It’s another catch all spot that needs to be better utilized.

Now, time to enjoy the Super Bowl. We’re staying home and making some baked wings and pretzel bites. Big Nugget is really looking forward to her idol Pink perform the National Anthem. I’m a huge football/sports fan but just can’t get behind either of these teams (sorry friends) so being the marketing nerd that I am, I’m really looking forward to the commercials. And JT. Always, JT.