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A magical day out

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Yesterday, I took my kids to visit and play at the Magic Garden at Hampton Court Palace. I heard about it a couple of times before but we never have been until yesterday. Well, I have to tell you that we absolutely loved it! It was great fun, the facilities are state of art (it was only open last March 2016) and although it was busy of course because of the summer holidays, we never felt it was crowded or too noisy.

Let me tell you all about our experience and I really hope you get into the mood to go visit yourself soon!

Fees

Members of the Royal Palaces are allowed in free, otherwise visitors have to pay £7.50 for adults and £5.00 for children (under 3 go free). Your ticket will allow you to visit the magic garden, all other palace ‘s garden and the maze ( not the actual palace).

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How does it works

At the entrance of the Magic Garden you are given a colour coded wristband, that allow to stay in 90 to 120 minutes, depending on how busy the garden is. When there is 20 min left to your time, somebody will announce it through the speaker, giving you plenty of time to alert your kids and get ready to leave. You will be able to revisit the Magic Garden later in the day if capacity allows it.

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 Fun things to explore

You will find a climbing area with several towers and two long bridges which is beautifully constructed. There is a big slide coming down from one of the towers. There is also nice short slopes suitable for rolling down safely. Do not feel overwhelm when you get there, set out to explore before you decide what is suitable for you little ones to enjoy.

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Picnic space

There is lots of space to lay down your picnic blanket and have a nice picnic at the Magic Gardens. Otherwise you can get some snacks and drinks from the small kiosk and  eat in the shelter next to it (difficult to find space there though, during the summer holidays is quite busy!)

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The sandpit

My kid’s favourite part of the Magic Gardens was the sandpit. It is a quite large sand pit with racks and water pumps. My little ones spend almost an hour there making sand bridges and just moving the sand from here to there. The only thing is that You MUST remember to bring with you a towel and a change of clothes (including undies) or even better a swim costume. It can get really messy! Thank God I though of that before heading to Hampton Court! I was a well prepared mother, so proud of myself hahaha!

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 The Maze

To finish our visit to Hampton Court Gardens, we went to explore the Maze. It took us a bit to find the way to the middle (were Iggy is standing in the picture) and from there we took the short cut to the exit. I had a buggy full of things and a little princess scared of all the people walking pass, so there was NO way that I was going to wonder around again through the maze to find the way out.But, despite all, it was good fun too!

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 How to get there

From Wimbledon, we took the Southwest train to Hampton Court (20 minutes ride) But you can also take a bus o drive there, they have plenty of parking at the Palace. For more information on how to get there, follow this link:

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 If you are still curious I leave you with this video:

Let me know if you go there, share your pics in our Facebook page or Twitter! We loved it so much we will be back next week (weather permits!)

Let’s be bone strong!

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Do you remember the last time you went to the doctors to check your health? What about that pain in the wrist, knee or back that is been bothering you for a while now? I bet you all have been ignoring it, I am the same. Unfortunately, a year ago a bad movement hurt my knee and, since then, I had to take some steps to get it better. I found out that my legs, calf and butty were not strong enough to support all the movements of my body hence my knees had to step up and carry all my weight!

I started a good physio program and improved my supplements intake to get stronger bones, joins and muscles. I did not want to stop playing with my kids, running around and chasing them and I was not willing to give up my gym workout! But most of all I did not want to hear the GP saying ” You have developed osteoporosis” .
May is Osteoporosis month, so I hope you find this little research of mine helpful and stop being so stubborn and pay attention to your health now!

 

A healthy YOU is what your kids need
Yes, is not just a phrase to make you feel guilty of taken care of your body; It is actually important. And taking care of you bones is even more so! Your bones are the support of your entire body! Imagine what will you do if you have a fracture or are fracture prone and have little children that want to jump around with their mommy. It won’t be fair for them that because mommy only worried about their healthy and not her own; now she cannot spend some time playing fun active games.
Remember that you, their mom, are the most important thing in their lives (even though if you ask your children they will say their dolls, footballs, game or whatever) yes, you are! They need you there for them and they need you healthy and strong! Therefore, it is essential to realize the importance of having a good bone health to avoid risk of osteoporosis.

What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens bones, making them fragile and more likely to break.
According to the NHS is a condition that affects around three million people in the UK. More than 300,000 people receive hospital treatment for fragility fractures (fractures that occur from standing height or less) every year as a result of osteoporosis. (1)

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Osteoporosis/Pages/Introduction.aspx

 

Taking actions to prevent Osteoporosis

Since some of us are more likely than others to develop osteoporosis for example white and Asian people and postmenopausal women, we all need to take some action! Come on, is not rocket science, do it not only for yourself but for your little ones:

Check your family history: did you know that if you have a parent or sibling who has or had osteoporosis you are more likely to develop it.

Boost your calcium consumption. Calcium is essential for the proper development of teeth and bones.  Increase the consumption of foods that are good sources of calcium like yogurt, cheese, milk, spinach.

Since it is essential to help your body to absorb calcium you also need to increase your vitamin D consumption. Yummy foods like prawns, cereal, orange juice, sardines, eggs (in the yolks) and tuna. If you feel like you actually do not eat enough of these, choose a vitamin D supplement. Moreover, do not forget that your body produces vitamin D when exposed to the sun — 10 to 15 minutes of exposure three times per week will do.

Calcium-Rich-Foods

Exercise, exercise, exercise! No more excuses! It is proven that regular exercise is key to keep a good bone health. In fact, living a stationary lifestyle is considered a risk factor for osteoporosis. There are plenty of options for you:  running, walking, going to the gym, practice a sport, swimming, stair climbing you name it! So it is about time, get on moving! Join a gym, a club, take advantage of the local parks, use the stairs instead of the lift, grab your bicycle, but don’t forget that whatever you choose must be fun otherwise, it will become a chore and you will be dreading doing it soon and just quit. Choose wisely moms!

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Consume less caffeine. I know what you are thing now,”Yeah right! So how are we (mums) supposed to survived the day then?”. Well, just cut it not dump it, we need coffee!. Even though caffeine does have some health benefits, drinking lots of caffeine can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb calcium. A good cup of coffee a day should be good enough!

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Take it easy with the prosecco! However, like caffeine, there’s no need to quit entirely.(thank God!) Remember that heavy alcohol consumption can cause bone loss because does not allow vitamin D to do its job.

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Quit smoking. Here you have another reason dump cigarettes. Several studies have shown that smoking can prevent the body from efficiently absorbing calcium, decreasing bone mass.

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Have you heard about collagen?

Studies have demonstrated that collagen peptides support bone health through increased bone and mineral density, increased bone size, less brittle bones, and the stimulation of bone growth.

I was actually introduced to collagen by a brand called Hellenia which sells a great variety of healthy products from vitamins, to proteins and of course several types of collagen. Also, all their products are manufactured in Great Britain to ISO 9001 Standard. I have been taking their powder Hydrolised Marine Collagen and the pain I was having in my joints (especially my right knee) has decreased. I was taking glucosamine to help with this before, and Omega 369, but I think collagen was just what the doctor order. Now you know! If you want to find out more about Hellenia’s collagen products follow this link

http://www.hellenia.co.uk/categories/Collagen/

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Make your kids bones strong now

Children’s bones keep growing throughout childhood. They grow fastest of all very early in life and when children go through puberty. So, especially if you have family history of Osteoporosis, the time to start protecting your little one’s bone health is now! Here you have some example of simple things that you can do:

Give them a healthy, balanced diet which should include:

Fruit and vegetables – remember your 5 portions a day !
Carbohydrates – such as potatoes, pasta, rice and bread (kids love these!)
Protein – such as meat, fish, eggs, beans, nuts and seeds. Beware of any allergies, if you see any reaction, get medical attention right away.
Dairy products, which are rich in calcium– such as milk, cheese and yoghurts (again be careful with allergies)

food for bones

Yes, Vitamin D for kids’ too!

Take them outside to get some sunlight. However, this maybe tricky; here in the UK the sky is mostly grey as a donkey’s belly, so it is hard to get the adequate amount of Vitamin D from our main source: the sun.
Therefore, according to the NHS:
“Children under five are one of the groups that are more likely to have low levels of vitamin D. Because of this it’s recommended that children aged from six months to five years take a daily vitamin D supplement.
If you breastfeed your baby it’s recommended that you give them vitamin D drops from soon after birth. Formula milk contains enough vitamin D to support baby’s’ bone health in the first six months.”

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Keep your kids active children

That seem like an easy task when they are little but as they grow, they would like to spend more time in from of the TV, computer, tablet or any other device and become a “coach potato”. Thus, you need to make sure that your children are active enough according to their age requirements.

Again, the NHS recommends: “children under five who aren’t yet walking should be encouraged to play actively on the floor. Children who can walk on their own should be physically active daily for at least 3 hours throughout the day. This should include some bone-strengthening activities, such as climbing and jumping.
Children aged five to 18 need at least 60 minutes (one hour) of physical activity every day, which should include moderate-intensity activity, such as cycling and playground games”
Remember, that Healthy kids are happy kids; hence happy moms 🙂

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Well moms, I hope this post helps you to start thinking about your bone health and that of your family. It is not hard, just make the necessary changes to your daily routine and eating habits to avoid a visit to the doctor later!

Follow this link for some leaflets and other resources from the National Osteoporosis Society

https://www.nos.org.uk/resources

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Easter tree

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Weeks ago, when the weather was windier than usual, I found a broken tree branch outside our home. It was a nice size, good looking tree branch that remind me of the “wishing tree” I hired for Miranda’s Christening in Peru. So, that gave me an idea and took the branch home with me.

Although my hubby though I was crazy at the moment, he realized the purpose I had in mind last weekend, when I put my kids to work and together we made this beautiful Easter tree!

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This is what we did:

  • We bought white acrylic paint, 3 paint brushes, and a bag of decorated Easter egg from Pound-land, so bargain!

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  • We cover our table with old news papers to avoid ruining it. Also I put an apron on Mimi, I only had one, so I had to trust Iggy’s skills with paint ( he did very well so you know!).

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  • We clean the branch a bit and started the pinting job. Very straigh forward. The only catch is that you have to paint it with the white acrylic paint 3 times to make it look pretty.
  • Wait until is the paint is dry after every go otherwise the paint won’t cover the branch properly and it will look lumpy.But please don’t worry about making it look perfectly covered, is not store bought! It has to have a rustic, home made by the kids special look!
  • After the third go with the paint, let it dry overnight before hanging your eggs decorations.
  • We used a flower vase filled with pinecones, collected by my son from the park, as a base for the tree. Another option is to fill a vase with pebbles or those colored little rocks that you can also buy from the pound shop.

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And we were all finished! A nice little touch to decorate our home this Easter.

I am planning to re use the tree for all the holidays! It will look awesome with some led lights and boubles for Christmas or with some fake spiders and spider webs for Halloween!

 

And don’t forget to start collecting your pinecones from the parks, the possibilities are endles to make crafts with them, especially Christmas ones! Stay tunned!

Quick and easy salad and dressing

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The other day I was exploring the food section of TKmaxx ( which I love! Because they have some interesting stuff!) and I found a bottle of avocado oil. Since I know you have to get it straight away or somebody else will, I took it home with me 🙂

I have been using it for my salad dressings since then and I really like it! So, if you are in TKmaxx and see one of this, get it! And follow this quick and easy recipe to make a fresh salad! ( if you don’ t find one, no worries! Use extra virgin olive oil)

 

What will you need

  • 1 tbs avocado oil ( or extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1/2 tbs organic white wine vinegar
  • A small pinch of salt and pepper for seasoning
  • Plum tomatoes cut in halves
  • Salad leaves

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How to make it

  • First of all, in a bowl mix the avocado oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Give it a good stir.
  • Add you tomatoes halves and mix. Leave this stand for at least 10 minutes. ( the more the better!).This is the secret of this dressing, by letting the tomatoes stand for a while with the oil and vinegar, all the natural juices from them come out and blend perfectly. As a result, you have a super nice flavored dressing!

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  • Add your salad leaves.
  • Optional: if you want to make an even varied salad, add some avocado pieces at the end.

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Enjoy!

As I just said, the secret of a rich flavored salad is to let stand the veggies ( not the leaves) mixed with the oil and vinegar.

Instead of tomatoes you could use cucumbers or raddishes, or a mixture of them! Same principle applies!

You can also replace the salad leaves for romain lettuce, which is really cheap! Just cut it very small and give it a rinse before adding it to the bowl.

This salad goes well with, everything! Give it a try!

 

 

 

Our Potty training experience…and all the gear you will need!

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I Am not going to give you strict advice on what to do or what not to do. I just going to tell your our story, so you will have an idea of how the potty training goes. Bare in mind that every child is different. This time with Mimi was completely different from I potty trained Iggy. So I hope you enjoy reading our experience and can grab one or a couple of tips for yourself!

 

Day #1

The beginning

It was a regular, cold, grey, London’s winter style Monday morning. I was not even thinking about potty train Mimi. Despite the fact that she went to the toilet for a poo voluntarily a couple of times before, probably  just to read her new book Girls Potty time ( that got her into the zone!). It is so cold nowadays that I said to myself “we will do it when Spring comes”.In  fact, the previous week,my Waitrose delivery included 2 big bags of nappies.

Any ways, sometimes kids had their say….We were having breakfast that Monday when Iggy announced he needed to go to the toilet and all of the sudden Mimi said,she needed to go as well! I took her to the toilet after Iggy was finished and she sat asking me to read her Potty book (she really loves it!). To my surprise,she did poop! Iggy and I clapped,cheered and hugged her very excitedly. And after finishing,Mimi said, like the girls in her book ” mummy,no more nappies!” And that was it…we went from nappies to pants faster than I can ever imagine!

Since as I mentioned earlier, she did tried already the toilet before. We already had the toilet seat in the ground floor bathroom “just in case”. Also I had a portable potty that we usually kept in the trunk of the car, in case of emergency for Iggy. Moreover,Mimi already had a couple of  Peppa Pig’s pants and a pack of plain pants that I grabbed as a bargain, for the future( haha!) those came very handy!

 

Our first morning

I took Mimi to the toilet every 15 minutes, to create the habit on her. Unfortunately,around 11am we had our first wee accident. We were playing in the kitchen and just happened. I only said,Oopsy!it is ok,let’s go to the toi!et to check if more wee wants to come out. And we did, and poor Mimi was saying “sorry mama” all the time she sat on the toilet. I read her potty book again,emphasizing the part that mentioned that is OK to have accidents when we start potty, that we needed to keep practising.

 

Our first going out trip

I was not sure about it but I really needed to get some bits from the supermarket. Plus some friends told me that when you start potty training to have to stay in the house for at least 2 days to get your kids in the routine. Anyways, I took the risk and we went to the Wimbledon shops. But before, we went to the potty and prepared ourselves with 2 complete sets of clothes, the portable yet bulky potty that we grab from the trunk of the car ,wipes, and all the patience and positive attitude of the world! We went to Morrisons, grab our bits and before heading back home,we had a trip to the toilet. We chat about it for a few minutes and finally she did it! Phew! We came back home with no accidents!

 

Another accident

Yep, despite the fact that we made it back home dry, no more than 10 minutes in the house and we had our 2nd wee accident. I did not mind, went to Mimi to give her a cuddle and reassure her that it was ok, and we went again to the toilet and we changed clothes, again!

 

Naptime

Mimi was quite determined to get rid of the nappies that she refused to wear one to have a nap. Luckily, I had some Mcqueen pullups that belonged to my son,and I explained to her that these were special go nite-nite pants for big kids, and she let me change her into one.

She slept for 1.5 hours and to my surprise,she woke up dry! Hurray! I made a big fuzz about it and hug her  a lot! Then we went to the toilet and she did wee,a very big one!

 

Dinner time, bath and bed

Just after we had dinner, I took Mimi to the toilet. Since no more poo came out during the day, I thought it was a good idea to take her, just in case. And yes, after 10 minutes singing and reading, she seating in the toilet and me kneeling once again next to her in the floor, number 2 and a bit of wee came out. Then it was bath time and I put Mimi in her big girl mcqueen special pants for nite nite time.

Not bad for a first day!

 

Day #2

Starting our day

I heard Mimi through the baby monitor and hurried to say a big good morning and take her to the potty. She was wet of course from all night, but although she was sleepy still, we managed to talked a bit while in the toilet and a massive wee came out! She was still on track!

 

Swimming lessons

I was not sure about going to her swimming lessons, but once again I decided to take a risk!. After taking Mimi to the toilet several times before leaving the house, we were on our way to drop Iggy off to school and then to swimming. Yes, we walked to swimming and it is a long walk to Wimbledon Leisure Center ( about 25 min) It was a very cold morning and I was worried about her having an accident in the buggy because cold weather makes you go, doesn’t it? I walked faster than usual and when we arrived to the Leisure Center we went straight to the toilet. She was dry but filled, she sat in the toilet and we scored again! She was so good!
Nap time in the buggy

This time, she fell asleep in the buggy in our way back, so I did not have a chance to change her into her pull ups. But once again, she was dry when she woke up!

 

Amazon goodies arrived

I let Mimi open her box of goodies from Amazon. She and Iggy broke all the cardboard to discover the new portable potty, bags, seat protector and sticker book. My son put together the potty and Mimi tested it. It was as the lady in the Amazon review described, just perfect! And the book a must have to keep them busy and relax when using the toilet( although now I have stickers everywhere in the loo!). See below for a complete description of all the potty training gear you need.

 

To do not bore you more I am synthesizing the following days from our first week.

 

Day #3

  • First day of potty training at nursery: 2 accidents (only wee, phew!)
  • Shopping trip with mum: 3 visits to the toilet in an hour
  • Doctors visit, went to toilet on time.
  • No accidents: she went to the toilet on time every time! I am very proud of my little princess!

 

Day #4

  • Visit the toilet normally, more confidently.
  • Second day of potty training at nursery: no accidents at nursery
  • Poop accident at home
  • Asked for potty right before bed

 

Day#5

  • Ballet lessons, no accidents, went to the toilet on time.
  • Play date @ tots landing, no accidents either!
  • Several goes at Morrisons. It is funny the times my shopping basket was left behind to run to the toilet. And from 4 goes, only one was a wee. But I cannot risk it, if she says she needs to go, we need to run to the toilet.
  • Nap in the buggy again with no accidents.

 

Day#6

  • Stayed with daddy while mummy went to the gym and had 1 wee accident. Be aware mums! dad thinks your little one is going to ask for the toilet with plenty of time , every time! You need to give  dad a little training as well. My hubby now is an expert! (although more accidents still happen with him than with me)
  • No accidents during the day.
  • Nap with pull up but was dry again.

 

Day#7

  • Trip to Ikea, which I have to say is a very child friendly store. We make it to the toilet in time and Mimi was happy to find her step stool in the toilet there too!
  • Asked for the potty in time every time
  • Had a bit of constipation, we are now back to have some Ella’s kitchen prune puree.
  • No accidents all day!!!!

Although it looks like she is awesome ( and she really is very good) as of today,  we still have some accidents, which is normal…it takes time!

 

 

Gear up!

I was caught a bit off guard by my princess. Although I had some of the potty training stuff that I used with Iggy, I needed a couple of extra bits, plus some of the things she did not like (oh girls are so stubborn!) So, thank God for Amazon and Amazon prime next day delivery!

 

Portable potties

I went to do some research about portable potties for on the go use. You will need a one that acts as a toilet seat and can be used as stand alone potty too with the proper bags for it.  I was about to buy the usual one, the one that you find in all the pharmacies and baby stores when I came up a review saying that that one was not comfy at all and this lady recommended another one. Well, I watch the video of this new portable potty and I got convinced! Order that one, the bags for use it as a stand up potty and a car/buggy seat protector in case of any accidents.

 

Keep them entertained

Make the going to the toilet experience fun!. Buy some potty books. Amazon have these awesome Girl’s And Boy’s Potty Time books. I got the girl’s potty, which was the one that helped me to get Mimi’s head around the potty training idea. I Also, I got her a Potty training sticker book to keep relax and busy when using the toilet.

 

Toilet seat

We got a Baby Born potty seat for the toilet, Mimi really likes to go in the toilet that has that seat not where I have different toilets seats. Why? because this one is really comfy and sturdy so she feels safe. With the wobbly others that I have she fear she might fall.I know this one is expensive but it is worth every penny. I had it since when Iggy was potty training so it has been well used.

 

A stand alone potty.

A friend of mine lend me her Baby Bjorn one, that is very convenient because you can remove the interior to pour the wee or poo direct into the toilet. I use it when Mimi need time (usually for poo) and I sit her in from of Peppa Pig or Dora to have a relax time. It is very very useful for trips by car too! (Even for older kids) I had the chair kind. It is very stable and easy to empty. When Mimi need some extra time, I put this in front of the tv and she relaxes and go.

 

Pants

Mimi has the Peppa Pig ones from Primark. Very cheap and cute. We have 10 and I am thinking of getting some more, just in case

 

Easy to manage clothes

Leggings! they will become your best friends for a while. They are comfy and easy to just pull down when in a hurry to reach the potty. I found some very cheap and cute ones at Gap. In total Mimi has now 9 pairs, which allow me to have 2 to 3 days worth of changes in case of accidents.

 

Pull ups

Since we just started this journey and Mimi is completely refusing to wear baby nappies at all (yes, at all) I got her some Huggies Pull Ups for the evening and naps (although she is always dry after a nap). They look like pants and come with characters. The funny thing is that when we went to get them, she chose the Mcqueen ones, instead of the princesses ones! She is a huge fan of Cars! So let your kids pick whatever they like, they are the ones that will wear them.

 

Well, potty training is not an easy one, not at all. First ride with Iggy was a complete nightmare, he was not ready and I wanted him to be. I was too pushy and that make him nervous. It took a loooong time to get there. However, to get rid of the night-time pull ups with him was a breeze! He just decided not to wear them any more and he has not wet the bed ever since. You see? every child is different! So, don’t get stressed about it! just look for the signs and be ready to make many many trips to the toilets and to clean some accidents (more than some at the beginning). They are kids, they are learning, but once they get it, that is it!

Only remember, once you said bye, bye to nappies, don’t go back! This only will get your kids confused. No matter if you have to travel, or do something that will make your potty training harder, just keep moving forward! It would be hard put not impossible, keep a positive attitude and keep your kids in their way to become big kids!

 

and lastly, don’t forget to take your portable/convertible potty with you everywhere you go! ( I had to actually run back home from half way out because I did forgot about it a couple of times!)

 

Good luck to all you starting this potty training journey as well. Let me know how it goes!

 

Follow the links below to have more information and to get all your potty training essentials (all that I told you about in this post)!

 

 

 

 

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