Entering the NO phase



It happened almost over night.  One day Franci said yes to just about everything.  Do you want cheese? “Yeah.”  Do you want your teddy bear? “Yeah.” Do you want a hug? “Yeah.” Then all of a sudden the answer to everything was “Ye-Oh”, followed by “No” two days later.

If it were just lip-service, it wouldn’t be so bad. But she really does mean “no”! No shoes, no potty, no milk, NO! I realize this is a classic phase that every child goes through, and “this too shall pass” is the typical parental mantra, but still!

How did you deal with the “No Phase”? Since it just started for us, I still need to decide a course of action. Do I let Franci run around the cold house naked (since clothes are clearly a “no”) or do I wrangle a squirmy, squealing little girl into her pants and a shirt? Asserting independence and having an opinion is one thing, but so is having authority and being in charge! Is the struggle easier if you don’t have a full term baby squirming around from the inside?

Recipe: Faux Oatmeal Cookies

Breakfast Cookies!

Breakfast Cookies!

Franci likes to use a spoon to feed herself and, as long as the food is thick or sticky enough, doesn’t drop too many spoonfuls down her front. She isn’t that great at getting the food on the spoon, however. The scoop is either too big or too small and as soon as she gets frustrated or distracted, she starts using her bowl as a drum and the spoon a drumstick. Or she pretends the spoon is a crayon and “draws” on the table.

I’m not really in the mood to sit at the table first thing in the morning and supervise breakfast, and four days a week I’m hurrying to get us both ready and I don’t want to take the time to help her eat or clean up any messes.

In the interest of feeding her a healthy home-cooked breakfast without having to sit there and “feed” her, I came up with a Faux Oatmeal Cookie recipe. You can do this with any oatmeal: store-bought, quick-cooking, old-fashioned, or buckwheat cereal. Pretty much any porridge works.

I usually make a big batch of oatmeal and freeze it in cubes. Then Franci can eat it with a spoon, or I’ll make it into cookies as need be.

Faux Oatmeal Cookies

  1. Make a batch of oatmeal. Add in any healthy mix-ins you want, such as squash or gourd puree, fruit, green powder or protein powder, nut butter, flax seed, chia seeds. You get the idea. I try and pack in as much healthy stuff as I can, and use up any small quantities of frozen fruit or leftover purees I have lying around.
  2. Optional: puree cooked oatmeal. Depending on the texture requirements of your child, you might want to make it smooth before making into cookies.
  3. Drop spoonfuls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and flatten into a thin disk, maybe 1/8″ thick and an inch in diameter. There is no egg or leavening agent, so they won’t rise or spread.
  4. Bake at 275F until no longer mushy. If you can press your finger into a cookie, it’s not done. It should feel dry to the touch. I flip them over as soon as they are dry enough to not fall apart in the process.

Exactly how cooked you make them depends on your child’s taste. Do they prefer crunchy cookies? Do they like them better soft? The minumum amount of baking time is enough that you can transfer cookies off the sheet and they don’t fall apart. It’s hard to give an exact time, since everyone cooks their oatmeal to a different consistency. The runnier, the longer you need to cook it.

Since you are only baking them at 275F, you don’t have to check every two minutes. They aren’t going to burn if you get distracted and let them cook longer then intended. I usually forget that I’m making them, then smell cookies baking and remember to flip them over.

There really is no limit to what you can turn into “cookies”, or “patties” as I call the savory version.  I have a ton of fish and vegetable puree leftover from when she was still into purees, and I mix in a little garbanzo bean flour to thicken it up before baking it into patties.  I’ve also thickened it with buckwheat flour, ground flax seed, wheat germ, brewer’s yeast…you get the picture.

Correcting Bad Baby Behavior

Some things never change

Some things never change

Frances’ “bad behavior” started off with hair pulling and nipple biting.  A stern “NO” and forcing her to release the hair (or nipple) results in a giggle and a big smile.  She has since grown out of these – through no help from me, I suspect – and has moved on to hitting.  It’s not often, but when she does hit I grab the offending arm firmly, look her right in the eye, and give her a stern “NO”.

Like all babies and toddlers, she loves computers.  If she’s sitting on my lap while I type, she struggles in my arms to reach for the keyboard.  Moving her farther away, or removing the keyboard from her path, results in a meltdown.  I calmly explain that my computer isn’t a toy, and she can’t sit on my lap if she won’t follow directions and not touch my computer.  This doesn’t really work.

Once Franci started crawling, she started getting herself into a lot more trouble.  It has only increased as she started to walk.  We put most dangerous items out of reach, and baby proofed the bathroom cabinets.  I also try to stop her from opening any drawers I don’t want emptied out.  I’m hoping she breaks the habit, but sometimes (like when I’m cooking) I don’t have time to correct her over and over.  As a temporary deterrent, I put a chair in front of the tempting drawer.

We’re more into “house-proofing” the baby than “baby-proofing” the house, but parenting books don’t seem to get into the “how-tos” of accomplishing that. Since she loves music, and can’t resist a remote or computer, if she touches either without permission, the music gets turned off until she finds something else to play with. It is not working.

I’ve read different ideas on correcting “wrong” behavior, and I’m curious to hear what our readers have found to be successful. Getting mad or yelling certainly isn’t the answer, and it’s impossible to make a child listen if they don’t want to.

How do you discipline your child? Have you tried methods that don’t work (but you thought might)? What worked for you?

TBT: Used Baby Gear


Just as good or not good enough?

I’ve always been a bigger fan of “Reusing” than “Reducing” and “Recycling”. I’m not the only thriftstore bargin hunter and garage-salers at The Green Baby Guide, so I combed through the archives for the best posts on used baby gear.

The Thrift Store Thrill

Used Clothing: How Safe is It?

Low Cost Children’s Presents: Getting Creative With Thrift Store Gifts for Kids

Digging for Tightwad Treasures at Outlet Thrift Stores

The Thrill of Thrift Shopping

The Best Place to Buy Used Gear: A Consignment Shop!

Are Secondhand Baby Clothes Greener than Organic Ones?

Garage Sale Gift Shopping

Garage Sale Shopping for Baby Clothes

Easy Garage Sale Shopping With Baby

Furnishing Baby’s Nursery with Garage Sale Finds

Are you a dedicated thrift store bargin hunter and garage sale negotiator? Or do you prefer new gear for your baby?

Alternative Choices to Halloween Candy

I think I might give these out this Halloween

I think I might give these out this Halloween

Let’s face it: no kid wants to find raisins instead of candy in their Halloween loot. A toothbrush? Come on! Still, not all of us are comfortable with giving out a bunch of junk food to the neighborhood kids. Are there any kid-approved alternatives, candy or otherwise?

I always thought that packs of stickers were a good choice. There might not be a one-size-fits-all sticker, but you can stock up on choices that appeal to separate age groups and genders. Or just get scratch and sniff stickers, since who doesn’t like those? The bonus is that you can save leftovers for next year, like if you get rolls of Halloween stickers.

Temporary tattoos are great for kids that might be a little old for stickers, or you can get packs that include both stickers and tattoos

Crayons and mini activity books are another non-candy alternative. As a parent, I think these are a great choice! Not only are they sugar-free, but they last longer than a jaw-breaker. A handful of little toys is a similar option.

Annie’s Homegrown Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks Variety Pack (24 ct) are a sweet alternative to candy, and contain no artificial flavors, synthetic colors or preservatives.

This 5 Pound Bag YumEarth Organic Lollipops won’t break the bank and will last all night (contains 325 pops). Free of gluten, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial dyes, they are also allergen free AND kosher!

One option I was hoping to include is a fun-sized chocolate bar. I haven’t come across any chocolate choices that are reasonably priced and don’t contain artificial flavors, besides Lindt LINDOR Assorted Chocolate Truffles. I would love to hear your suggestions!

Do you still give out candy or have you switched to other treats for Halloween?

Fun With Stockpiling

Transitioning Out of a Crib

Franci's "New" Bed!

Franci’s “New” Bed!

A couple of weeks ago I posted about moving with a toddler and expressed my concerns about her drastic change in sleeping arrangments. Not only would she not be sleeping in a crib any more, but she also wouldn’t be sleeping in our dark and crowded closet.

Since I can’t fit into any of the clothes in “Franci’s” closet any way, I decided to take advantage of the situation and pack it up first. That way the closet would be empty and I could move Franci from her crib to a mattress on the floor. That way she’d get to take baby steps towards her new sleeping situation. I set up her crib mattress in the corner on the floor, and spread one of her softest blankets next to it (since she’ll probably roll off once or twice).

When it was time for bed, I made a few mistakes I wouldn’t repeat. We went through her usual routine, but when it was time to read her bedtime story we read it in her bed instead of mine (like usual). That was my first mistake. I said good night and closed the closet door and she immediately started crying. I wanted to reassure her, so I went back into the closet and laid down with her. I sang a couple of songs in the dark, but her eyes were wide open. If I was quiet, she made up for the silence by talking and playing.

I should have known she wouldn’t sleep if I was there. I’ve never once gotten her to nap in my bed with me (but she will nap in bed or on the couch with her dad). Instead, she prefers to crawl all over me like I’m a jungle gym. She was so busy jumping on her bed and dancing around the closet; she was more worked up than calmed by my presence.

Finally, I just left. She cried for a minute or two, and then was quiet for ten or so minutes. This repeated a couple of times until she finally went to sleep. When I checked on her a couple hours later, she was curled up on the bed with her stuffed animals. While not a total failure, I couldn’t count it as a win.

The next night I decided to stick to our routine, and just laid her on her mattress, kissed her goodnight and shut the door. I don’t know if that was the magic trick, or if it was the fact that she was already used to the change, but she went right to sleep. We’ll see later this week if the mini-transition made the move to a big bed in a big room any easier!

How did you transition your little one out of a crib? What things went well and what would you do differently?

TBT: DIY Halloween Costumes

Me, dressed as Swimming Bear, on Halloween

Me, dressed as Swimming Bear, on Halloween

My favorite part of Halloween has always been making my own costume.  Not only do you get to come up with a creative idea, but then you get to scour all the local thrift stores for the perfect materials! The ones you don’t find lurking in your own closet, that is.  We’ve posted about DIY Halloween costumes every year, and here are some of the best posts!





My $1 Maternity Halloween Costume: “The 1980s Pregnant Lady”

The Two Dollar Halloween Costume

More Fabulous DIY Maternity Halloween Costumes

Our Favorite DIY Costume Ideas for Babies and Kids

What are Your DIY Halloween Costume Ideas?

Homemade Halloween Costumes: A Family History

Last-minute DIY Halloween Costume Ideas for Babies and Kids

I’m not planning too hard this year, since I could very well be in labor, or too big to move. But Franci’s grandma has taken charge of her costume and has been busy gathering materials and sewing accessories.

What DIY costume ideas have been your favorite over the years?

Making Your Move Eco-Friendly

Moving is a resource intensive prospect, even when you are planning for it. There are a few ways you can make your move, whether in town or across country, a little more eco-friendly.





  1. Hire a green moving company. Depending on your town, you might be able to find a moving company that drops off reusable bins in advance and reuses and recycles packing materials. On the day of the move, the bins are loaded into a biodiesel truck along with your furniture.
  2. Downgrade your house to something with a smaller footprint (carbon and otherwise). A few years ago, Joy wrote several posts about Choosing a Small Home for Economic and Environmental Reasons, How Much House Does Baby Need? and the Pros and Cons of living in a small house. Depending on your area, you might be able to find a house that already has solar panels, a rainwater catch system or at least a tank-less water heater.
  3. Reuse boxes and packing material. For most of our boxes and packing material, this move will mark their fifth use. If you count the boxes that came from my parents, it’s double that. I’ve always made it a point to collapse boxes and fold up paper and packing bubbles and find a place to store them. Since we plan to be in our new home for a decade or more, instead of saving boxes I’m going to offer them up on Craig’s List. I often see packing materials up for grabs there and on local FB groups.
  4. If you are anticipating a move, start saving any boxes that come your way (an easy feat if you are a dedicated online shopper). Some grocery stores offer product boxes to customers instead of bags (Trader Joe’s, for example, has tons of wine boxes), so start bringing your groceries home in boxes. Another great source for boxes that will otherwise be wasted are liquor stores. Call ahead and ask if you can haul some away for your move.
  5. If you are really dedicated, or very cheap, you can forgo packing paper and bubbles and use linens and clothes to protect breakables. Combining your bedroom and kitchen packing will not only reduce the number of boxes you need overall, but will eliminate the need for disposable packing materials.
  6. Populate your new house with house plants. It’s surprisingly easy to make new plants by taking cuttings off your current plants, friends’ plants or plants you see while walking around town (respectfully, or course). Almost any container can be turned into a pot, and drainage can be added to any ceramic vessel with the correct drill bit.

What are your favorite tips for a greener move?

Book Review: Good Night, I Love You

Bedtime Book

Our Bedtime Book

Franci has loved this book since she was old enough to turn pages. I’m not sure what attracted her to it a year ago, but she preferred it over her other board book. Perhaps it was the soothing colors, or the soft cover, or that it is oversized. For some reason she preferred to turn its pages than those of another book.

Recently it has become her go-to bedtime book and she loves it more than ever. She likes to point at the characters and details and can follow along as the little boy and girl get ready for bed. I’m sure she enjoys the story now and not just turning the pages, since she is getting ready right along with them.

I enjoy Good Night, I Love You because it’s not too long and we can read it once through slowly, pointing out all the details, and then one more time quickly.  The characters’ routine is very similar to our own so it is a good choice for us.

What is your child’s favorite bedtime book?

The Eco-nomical Baby Guide
Eco-nomical Baby Guide
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