Mommy, Uncategorized

Aha! Moment of the Week… Punishment vs. Earning Rewards

How I turned the tables on discipline in our house

I have found that I have one major thought or breakthrough each week. My “Aha!” moment. (Often times they occur when I’m in the car, driving  to/from meetings for work) I thought I might start a regular post with my “Aha!” moment in hopes that others may also find this useful to them.

This week, my “Aha!” moment relates to discipline in our household. We have made the choice to use “time out” and loss of priviledges as most of our tools for discipline. j is particularly strong-willed. As a 6 year old girl, “time outs” don’t work as well for us anymore. She is starting to show a teen-age like attitude, and is always ready with an argument for why she was disobedient (or in our household, “not being a good listener”).

I have found myself moving away from “time out” to losing priviledges, to losing more and more priviledges. “No tablet this morning.” or “Your [insert favorite toy] is going on the refrigerator until tomorrow morning.” or “No going to the swimming pool today.” I would then start with one priviledge loss, and if no improvement in attitude, I would add another, and another until she totally escalated into a screaming, blubbering mess. It just wasn’t working for us.

I looked at several pins on Pinterest that talk about creating logical consequences as discipline, but in the moment, I never can seem to think of an appropriate consequence. (Do check out my Pinterest board about parenting. It’s called “Mommy,” in keeping with Tinker Tailor Mommy Wife…)

I then stumbled on the idea of changing the orientation of priviledges. I wish I could find that website or blog post, but unfortunately I can’t find it now. I do know that I like the idea proposed, which says that priviledges should be EARNED, not seen as an entitlement or assumed. I started doing a combination of things, meaning I would first give j up to 3 warnings (in keeping with our 1, 2, 3 timeout history) and then she loses a priviledge. If she continues with an attitude or whatever she had been doing (or not doing), she has to earn back that priviledge. It has been pretty amazing. It seemed to click with her. She now looks for ways she can “be a good listener” and ways she can help do other things around the house to earn back the priviledge. For example, she dusted my bedroom the other day, totally on her own.

I also decided to create a chart system for j, because it seems to help her visually. I have also found that if I see that an attitude is coming, if I remind her of her chart, or even have her color in one of her “circles” her attitude totally changes for the better.

Here is a picture of j’s two charts on our fridge. One is her “chore chart” that I purchased on Etsy (more on that in a moment), and the second is her reward chart (also purchased on Etsy).

Reward Charts to Improve Behavior


The chart on the left (see a close up below) I purchased from Etsy. It’s an editable file so I can change the chores she is supposed to do, depending on what we are having issues with. Right now the issues are around getting ready for school without complaining/whining, and going to bed and staying in bed, so you will see those items listed. I also added two “Caught you being a good listener” ones so when she does something without being asked, totally on her own, or if she shows kindness to others, she will get to color in one of those circles.

Chore Chart reward system for good behavior

She is only allowed to watch tv/use her tablet if she gets 5 circles colored in the previous day. Her immediate reward is getting to color in a circle for getting something done. Her short term reward is getting tv/tablet time the next day. Then we have a “BIG” reward she has to earn over about a month…

Chore Chart reward system for good behavior

The chart above is her big reward chart that I purchased from Etsy. It’s not editable, but that works fine because I can just write in the reward she decides she wants to work for. When she gets at least 5 circles in a day, she can color in a “big circle” which gets her closer to getting her current big reward of a whiffer sniffer and a locket. I chose a chart that had 21 circles because I am aiming for one reward/month and I thought this would give her enough opportunities for good days and the occasional bad day to keep her interested. We’ll see if 21 circles is the right number for us right now…

I haven’t gone to the extreme of saying she gets no priviledges until she earns them, it’s a kind of compromise that is working for our family. I hope it can work for you too! Let me know what you think, and how you handle discipline in your household…


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Uncategorized, Wife

Gorgeous Beach Jewelry – Coupon Code Below!!


Beach Themed Jewelry - with Coupon Code!

‘Tis the season for beach themed things… decor, clothing, jewelery…

Did I say jewelery? Yes! I found the prettiest beach jewelry on an Etsy store: Mariestella890 (

Just check out some of her gorgeous offerings!

Gorgeous Beach Jewelry - Coupon Code Included!

The thing I think I find most amazing is that Maristella890 is run by a 16 year old girl (according to her “about me” page. She is based in Slovenia, but don’t let worries about long shipping deter you if you’re from the USA. I ordered and received my beautiful earrings and necklace within the same week!)

Also, Maristella890 has GREAT customer service. I received my jewelry set and of course j wanted to wear the necklace. Somehow j managed to break off the charm, which looked like an easy glue fix, but I didn’t know what kind of glue to use. I convo’d Marina at the shop asking for her recommended glue, and not only did she offer to ship me a replacement for FREE, she also included a sweet pendant for my daughter! AND it also arrived in less than a week.

(For those of you who are wondering what the pendant looks like, check out the photo above. It’s the boat necklace in the bottom left corner… Marina sent it as just the pendant, with no chain)

I’m totally sold on this Etsy shop. I admit that I’m an Etsy-aholic, and this shop is at the top of my list.

Now for the coupon code!

Marina gave me a coupon code when I asked her if I could feature her shop on my blog. It is for 10% off your entire purchase, has no expiration date and no limitations! (How cool is that!)



I plan to feature some of my other favorite Etsy shops, with coupon codes in the upcoming weeks. So check back and see what great handmade products you can get with my exclusive coupon codes! Special thanks to Marina at Maristella890 for agreeing to provide the coupon code!

Happy shopping everyone!





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Encouraging Words for Parents of Fussy/High Needs/Colicky Babies

Encouraging words for parents of fussy/high needs/colicky babies

I believe I have spoken before of how both j and b were high needs babies. Some would call them fussy, others would call them colicky, whatever you call it, it was awful. They both needed to be held, swaddled, and bounced CONSTANTLY the first 3 months of their lives. The “definition” of colic is supposedly crying for at least 3 hours a day, 3 days a week for 3 weeks. I would have been thrilled to have them ONLY cry for that amount of time. Mine were 24/7 criers. It was exhausting.

A good friend of mine recently adopted her second child, who is also a high needs baby. She was able to get him at a few days old, and has learned that “Mr. Crabby Pants” needs lots of attention. More than most babies. She had posted a question about recommendations for baby swings, bouncers, etc. that might give her and her husband a break from the constant holding/bouncing/walking responsibilities and one of her friends posted a beautiful sentiment that brought me to tears. I found it so encouraging and inspiring that I wanted to share with you, and other parents of very high needs babies. I have changed it slightly to remove my friend’s childrens’ names, and to make it a bit more generic, but the gist is the same.

It feels like you cannot help him feel comfortable.

But all the time that you are spending holding him while he expresses what he needs to express, you are connecting. Connection does not occur during the good times, it occurs during those times that are difficult.

Baby is learning very early in life that his forever mommy is there for him “no matter what.” The higher purpose of what you are doing right now is not to get Baby’s expressions to stop, but rather the goal is to build that never-ending-power of connection.

Baby’s older sister is seeing how mommy’s love can be tested, stretched, bent, and beaten but will never break. It might feel like you are not giving her what she needs because you are so heavily engaged with Baby right now. Just remember, even if she fusses for your attention when you cannot give it, she is learning that mommies are mommies “no matter what” and if mommy is this committed to Baby, imagine how committed mommy is to me.


I hope this gives you encouragement to get through these difficult moments. Truly high needs babies are challenging. And while we love them completely, sometimes we wish the crying would end. Seeing how CONNECTING is the ultimate goal was an eye opening moment for me.

I did ask permission to modify and post the above sentiment. This wonderful friend did not desire credit, but I want to let all of you know I didn’t come up with it myself.

Feel free to share the inspiring words that helped you to cope with high needs or fussy or colicky babies.


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Tinker, Uncategorized

How to Ship Via PayPal Without Payment

How to ship via PayPal without payment

Here’s my tip of the week 🙂

Sometimes I will want to ship something to someone but didn’t receive payment through PayPal. We all know that PayPal shipping is cheaper than using, and some options just aren’t available on that are available through PayPal (i.e. First Class shipping with tracking).

Did you know that you can take advantage of PayPal’s shipping even if you are shipping to someone who did not pay you via PayPal? You can! Just go to the following link, and fill out all of the information. (If you are not already logged in to PayPal, you will be directed to their login page. Just log in and follow the prompts.)

I wish I could remember where I first learned of this, I’d totally give credit… So whoever you are, thank you!


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Mommy, Uncategorized

Cloth Diapers for Bigger Babies or Children

Cloth Diapers for Big Babies/Children

Since I started my cloth diaper journey rather late (my son was 2), I had to find diapers big enough to fit my him. I belong to a few cloth diaper groups, and fairly regularly see posts about “How can I find cloth diapers to fit my large baby/special needs child?” So… I decided to write a post about that very topic. It can be so frustrating to know where to turn when you have a larger baby or a child who is not potty trained for whatever reason.

Here’s my cloth diapering journey…

I never considered cloth diapers for my daughter. I work full time and thought it would be too much work. My daughter didn’t have sensitive skin, so there was really no reason for me to make a change.

Then my son was born… And after a reasonable 7.14 lbs at birth, he grew exponentially (thankfully AFTER he was born!!). He has been in the 95th+ percentile for height and weight since his 2 month checkup. b also has sensitive skin. So we went the sensitive skin disposable option. It worked great for us until he grew out of all of the disposable sensitive skin options. (We used Pampers Sensitives and Honest Company diapers, in case inquiring minds wanted to know…)

Wait, let me back up a minute. b was always a heavy wetter at night. Toward the end of our disposable night time diaper experience, I was putting 2 sensitive pullups and a booster pad, all inside of waterproof diaper pants. And he was STILL soaking wet in the morning. So I turned to cloth diapers for overnight. I posted about Motherease Bedwetters in January, explaining how much I like them and how absorbent they are. That was our first foray into cloth diapers… when b was around 2 1/2.

Once b hit 3, he was too big for the sensitive diaper options during the day (he was the size of a 5 year old). We tried the medical supply route, and found some diapers that while hugely expensive, actually fit well. The problem was that he would break out in a rash. Every company I called said their larger diapers were ok for sensitive skin, but for us that wasn’t true. I finally broke down and started looking into cloth diapers. (a note about potty training b: I know many of you are probably saying “why don’t you just potty train him?! He’s old enough to be trained!” Not really. b is a little slower than his counterparts in school. He doesn’t transition well to new things. He wasn’t ready, and I felt that it was better to let him go at his own pace. It turns out that in December he was ready and he actually potty trained very easily. I truly believe it was because I let him decide when he was ready.)

Larger Cloth Diapers That Worked For Us:


Cloth diapers for special needs children

These ended up being my favorite option. They have a size 3 diaper that fit b well. They were an envelope or pocket style of diaper, where you can put inserts inside to increase the absorbency. Since b was a VERY heavy wetter, there was plenty of room for inserts and we were able to go about 2 hours between diaper changes. (for us, that was a great amount of time) Applecheeks are a bit pricey (usually around $25 each), but I washed them every day and was able to make do with 6 Applecheeks plus some of the other diapers I had purchased. If you are ok with purchasing cloth diapers second hand, there is a facebook group devoted to buying/selling/trading Applecheeks only: Applecheeks For Sale Or Trade Only. It’s a private group, so you will have to request to join. You can get some gently used, less expensive Applecheeks there. And once you are done with your diapers, you can sell them again – – getting at least some of your money back! (as long as you take good care of them)

Happy Flute

Cloth Diapers for Big BabiesCloth Diapers for big babies and children

These were probably my second favorite option. I bought them from Sophie’s List, and were less expensive (around $15.00) On this particular site, there were two closure options, snaps and velcro. The snaps were smaller, and while they fit b, they were a little on the tighter side so we didn’t keep them. The velcro ones were really nice as far as being easy to put on/take off. But that was also a problem, they were easy to take off. So b liked to do just that! Usually if I put his pants on right away he would leave them alone. But if I hesitated and kept him just in the diaper, they were off in a flash. The velcro ones were also much bigger. I would estimate that they could easily fit a 60 lb child, maybe even larger. Because they were velcro, though, I was able to get them to work for b at 45 lbs. They were also a pocket diaper and I could stuff them with several inserts to keep his clothes dry. The opening for the pocket is much smaller than Applecheeks, though, so stuffing was a bit of a pain. The velcro option also came  with a huge insert that was pretty absorbent – an added bonus!


Cloth diapers for special children

SuperUndies were probably my third favorite option. I used the snap-on trainer pants, which would be perfect for potty training. (They cost around $20 each) As a larger diaper, they worked, although the pocket in them wasn’t quite as generous and the “waterproofness” only extended to the colored portion of the diaper. The white part in front is more of a stretchy material and isn’t lined. This can be particularly troublesome for boys because of where their “wet zone” is. If your larger baby/child isn’t a super heavy wetter, these would be fine. There is also a bedwetter option which I hear is FANTASTIC. I haven’t tried them, but am considering it for our nighttime solution. They have a lining throughout the diaper, so they may work better as a “real” diaper option.

Other Options for Larger Cloth Diapers

I haven’t tried any of the following cloth diaper options, but have seen them recommended on various facebook groups:

  • Rearz – Youth Suitable Cloth Diapers
  • Bummis – When I look on their site I don’t see any really large diapers, the largest looks like it’s for around 40 lbs, but maybe that’s what you are looking for… And several people recommend them for larger diapers. Maybe I’m just missing it…
  • SnapEZ Stuffable Briefs
  • Alva – People rave about Alva because they are very reasonably priced (like around $7 each) and I see some “trainers” on their website which may work for larger babies/children. Their site isn’t very user friendly, though, and it’s hard for me to determine what might fit. Here is a link to another page for “big babies” listed as up to 3 1/2. On this post, you can see pics of the fit that I found helpful…
  • Squishy Tushy – these go up to adult, and the in between sizes as well.

Inserts for Added Absorbency

I mentioned earlier about “stuffing” or adding inserts for extra absorbency. There are a ton of options available for this purpose, and while I ended up having my own favorites (flour sack towels, charcoal bamboo inserts, microfiber inserts) I have never done a thorough test of the various inserts (also called “doublers”) but have found a few blog posts that did do some tests. They are below:

Cloth Diapers at Daycare

We were very fortunate that our daycare was willing to use cloth diapers for b. They knew the difficult time we were having, and even though they had never been asked before, were willing to try them. I have heard some people say that some daycares will refuse to use cloth, citing state regulations as the reason. I always feel that being informed is best, so I found this website that has a link to state regulations about cloth diapering. I brought the regulations with me when I spoke with the daycare owner, which I think also allayed her fears.

Daycare Concern: Keeping Cloth Diapers “Sanitary”

I didn’t really see the concern about the sanitary nature of cloth diapers, but according to my state’s requirements, all diapers must be kept in an “individual, securely-tied plastic bag” which I provided (I used plastic bags from the grocery store). They just removed the diaper, put it in the bag, tied it, and placed it in the extra large wet bag that I provided each day. There really isn’t any more “exposure” to the nasty stuff from cloth diapers that the day care workers don’t already experience when changing disposable diapers. I would send in one wet bag with clean diapers, already stuffed and ready to go, and a second wet bag for the dirty diapers. Easy Peasy! Of course, if your state has different requirements, you should follow those. I washed my diapers every day to keep the number I needed down, and this system worked fine for me.

Cleaning Cloth Diapers

Cloth Diapers for big babies and children

I won’t even begin to talk about cleaning cloth diapers. There is SO MUCH CONTROVERSY about this seemingly simple topic. I will share that I found success with Fluff Love University’s approach to cloth diapering and leave it at that. You do what you feel works for you 🙂

Selling Your Cloth Diapers

Did your little one FINALLY potty train? Giving up on the cloth diaper journey? Take comfort in knowing that you can re-sell your gently used diapers in tons of places. I have found that facebook has many, many groups for buying/selling/trading cloth diapers and the good news is that you can recoup some of your money (something you definitely can’t do with disposables).


I hope you found this post to be informative. What do you think? Have you had success with any of these larger diapers? Did I miss any?


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