Cute Organic Toddler Underwear Round Up

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Best for Baby, Fun as a Toddler Mom, New Mom Experience, PRODUCTS, TODDLER


Lexi is 2.5 years old today, she has been potty trained since 22 months. She goes dry at night IF I make sure to put her on the potty before we go to bed and she doesn’t breastfeed much at night. She has been solidly and reliably going on the potty on her own without a reminder since about 24 months. Like any toddler, she waits to pee till the last second because she doesn’t want to stop playing, and then run run runs to the potty, but it’s still amazing to me that she does it all on her own.

I wrote about how she got to be potty trained. I can’t say we trained her, because we only introduced her to the concept and kept communicating it to her and then she just went when she was ready.

I never wrote about what happened next. She had a few accidents in the car while trying to figure out the whole concept of being out and holding. This quickly stopped after 1-2 trips. On long trips, she would communicate to us when she wanted to go. It was all pretty smooth with no regressions from the beginning. It wasn’t without our involvement, but there was no forcing or prodding, just talking.

So that was that, awesomely uneventful, mind-blowingly fast and easy-peasy. Just goes to show you that kids will do what they will do as long as you create the right circumstances when they are ready and no amount of forcing will make it happen until they want it to happen.

Reader Question of the Month

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in FOR MOMS, Fun as a Toddler Mom, Life as a Toddler, New Mom Experience, Parenting, TODDLER


Hi Elena!

What are some things I could/should be teaching my 18 month old? She is so active that is hard to get her to sit and pay attention, LOL.
Thank you!
That’s an interesting question. And the answer is simple NOTHING!
(Lexi at about 20 months)
You should not be “teaching” your 18 months old anything. You should be interacting and playing with her. At this age, everything should still go by her cues. What she is interested in and how she prefers doing things. She will get to learn alphabet when she is ready, or learn to count. Right now the biggest gift you could give her is your time. Talking to her and playing with her will teach her everything she needs, including language.
Obviously, you could totally insert small lessons into every day life, like washing hands, what letters and numbers are, animals, foods, but it should always be in a form of play and always led by her if that makes sense. At this age they are still very physical and learning a lot of skills and developing their bodies.
If you’re more or less just looking for activities to do with her, try seeing what she likes and go from there.
A great book of physical activities to do with a child is Active Baby, healthy Brain. It will give you a lot of ideas. Also if you’re looking for suggestions of other age appropriate games, a great book I was recommended is  2ooo Best Games & Activities.
At this age they learn by playing, and ONLY by child led play not parent directed, so if you just be an participant in her games, that’s all she needs.


BUSY MOMS: How to get more done in less time (GTD technique)

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, BUSY MOM TIPS, Daily, FOR MOMS, Fun as a Toddler Mom, LIFE, New Mom Experience, TODDLER


This is a part of BUSY MOM series of posts.
To see others, click here: BUSY MOM TIPS

All my DM girls have been asking for this post and here it is. I know many of my readers, busy moms, might love this concept too.

I have a post pending on 10 best tips for productivity and time management and a related post about my work out routine, but it all wouldn’t be complete with an in-detail account of my main time management technique, POMODORO.

BUSY MOMS: How to get more done in less time (GTD technique)

{ Glasses c/o David Kind }

Up until recently I have been struggling with fitting everything into a 24 hour day. With all the hobbies and projects, obligations and websites, desires and an active and engaged toddler, it seemed like there was no way to find extra time to be more productive, or accomplish nearly everything on my constantly growing to do list. It turns out there is. Or at least there is a way to make it a little bit more manageable. It’s a several step process most of which I will give away in my 10 Tips for Time Management post, but the biggest concept that turned my life around is right here in this article.

For those unfamiliar with time management and GTD (Get Things Done) concepts, Pomodoro is a technique where you work in increments (pomodoros) and then take a break. Usually it’s 25 minutes of work with a 5 minute break. That’s one pomodoro.  But in reality, you can adjust each pomodoro to be as long as works for you. It seems like a simple concept, but it works fabulously.

In an effort to be even more organized and efficient ( I didn’t think it was possible), I downloaded a pomodoro app to see if I can make it work for me. IMG_3305

At first it seemed counter intuitive. What? I barely have time and now you want me to take a 5 minute break out of my already jam packed schedule? That’s insane.

And then I made a change to it. Instead of actually “taking a break”, I took a break from the activity I was doing (which is the goal in pomodoro). In my eternal chase for efficiency, I HAD to do something useful during the 5 minute breaks.

So the first 5 minute break, I sat there for a few seconds, completely NOT ok with wasting even five minute of my precious time on “rest” or something silly like that. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do. Rest is subjective, too. I wasn’t going to go surf the Internet when there were so many important things to be done and not enough time to do it all. So after a few seconds of sitting there, lost with what I am to do on this self-imposed break, I think I went and did some personal care: brushed my teeth, washed my face, actually moisturized. All the little things that I need to be doing anyways, but never have time to do. Hmmm, It felt good!

Five minutes went by really fast and I was back to working. This wasn’t so bad. But again, I needed to have a more strict use of my extra 5 minutes to feel good about it. Prioritized use, so to say.

I had  to find something better to do during those 5 minutes. The next five minute break I lay down on the floor to do some exercises. Just because I never get time to exercise.

That’s when it dawned on me.

I could work out during the 5 minute break! Duh!


{ Glasses c/o David Kind }

Of course!

I had been working out using Fit Star and their 12 minute a day program but I always seemed to prioritize other things over the work outs. Even with only 12 minutes.

It’s well known that it’s beneficial to do short exercises throughout the day to boost your metabolism so it seemed perfect. And it was.

In this new situation I didn’t have a choice. I HAD to take a five minute break and Fit Star had to be it.

I think that’s where it really worked for me. I am a very driven person, I don’t take time to rest or chill out. Not often. I feel BEST when I am busy, working, maximizing every second, getting things done. I become depressed when I feel like my time is wasted on something low on the priorities list. So this was perfect. For the kind of personality that I have, I needed to be FORCED to take a break from the activity I was doing. And that’s exactly what this technique did for me. Just like for a less intense person, the technique will force them to work, rather than do things they want to do.

You are also much less likely to skip out on it because it’s just 5 minutes, no biggie. When I think of a half an hour work out, I’m like “ I just don’t have time or energy for that“. But five minutes? Sure why not.

So fast forward to now and I am obsessed.

What a great way to be productive. The break gives you new energy to tackle your to do list but  too short to be distracting. Five minutes turn into 30-60 by the end of the day depending on how much you work. It’s amazing.
So nowadays after I finish two sets of fit star during my first five minute breaks, I do the 7MWO ( read work out post here), then I do some personal care stuff like shave, do my hair, floss, brush, moisturize, whatever needs to be done. And if I have any breaks left, I clean.

I haven’t tried this concept on days where I’m with Lexi all day, only on my “working ” days but I think it could be applied to those days too with some self discipline.


As a work at home mom, this concept works really fabulously, especially at nights when I only have 3-4 hours to work after Lexi goes  to bed (if that) and need to maximize every minute of it.

You can use the pomodoro concept and apply it to everything. Define what your main goal is for the purposes of pomodoro for that moment and take 5 minute breaks from it to either do something else or rest.

So in case of SAHMs, the main job would be taking care of kids, so one could spend 25 minutes playing and interacting with them and then say “OK, mommy is going to go do so and so for 5 minutes“. It’s a short break for you to do what you need to do and your kid isn’t upset because you’re back to playing with them before they can say “Mommy!”

Since I am writing about it, I am going to try doing that with Lexi next week. We are out of the house all the time, so it only works if you stay in ( though can probably get adapted for outdoor time), that’s why I haven’t tried it yet on the SAHM side of things. But on the WAHM side, it is life changing.


{Maxi Dress by Garnet Hill. Check out their Sale of the Day}

After a day of using the Pomodoro technique, I feel like I have had a balanced productive day, rather than a day where I got something done for one aspect of my to-dos, but nothing for others.

In fact, as I am writing this, I have 8 minutes and 45 seconds left on my 5th pomodoro of the day, after which I will have to take a break and  in my case it will be 7MWO, since I completed FitStar today already. Then the next breaks, I will get ready for bed, take a shower, etc etc.

So check out this app. I tried a few and this one is the most pleasant to use.  The app has a ticking timer so you always feel like “Tik tok, work faster! Concentrate!”, as well as a great and easy to use interface. It makes it pleasant to keep track of your pomodoros.

The feeling of being efficient is what gives me the energy to do this, work without a real break. Every day, all day. Knowing that I am getting so much done is the best feeling in the world and is so much better than taking breaks and never feeling like you have enough time or accomplished, and realizing that it’s also balanced makes it so much more rewarding. I still get to chill out when I feel like I need to. usually by Friday, I’m all “Baby, let’s just watch a show tonight and go to bed”. I still get on my computer and work half the time, but I am not chasing productivity at that time and just enjoy unproductive multitasking.


{ Sunglasses c/o See Saw Seen Eyewear }

Of course, one pomodoro technique isn’t going to help if a person is disorganized to begin with, so that why I am working on a post about 10 time management tips for moms and 10 amazing apps that will make you an efficient mommy machine. These will include everything I have learned and tried in the years of working and the 3 years of being busier than I can ever imagine ( kids do that to you and so do new projects).

I feel I have a really good handle on things now. I spent the last two years trying everything in the world to see if it works, throwing it against the wall till it sticks. This has become my trifecta of productivity. I feel like I spend extra quality time with my daughter and my family, get work done without feeling too behind (though I know I will always BE behind until I find more ways of delegating my work or not take on new things), I take care of myself and my body and that results in  a more relaxed mommy, wife and an individual who isn’t constantly watching the clock and wondering when she can get to do all the things on her to do list, rather than playing with her kids and really being in the moment.


{Maxi Skirt by Garnet Hill. Check out their Sale of the Day}

Having a more self-sufficient 2 year old rather than a baby is helpful, too, but that’s another story for another time.


10 time management tips for busy moms

10 amazing apps that will make you an efficient mommy machine.



Perfect Exercise Routine for Busy Moms

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Fun as a Toddler Mom, GET FIT, Health and Fitness, My Pregnancy, New Mom Experience, PREGNANCY, TODDLER



Can I start this post with UGH?

I really didn’t think I’d be here at this point, but whatever.

Let me start from the beginning. Or actually let me start with this phrase:

I was in better shape right after birth than I am now ( at the time of writing).

Bam! That blows! It took 3 years (pregnancy and 2 toddler years) to UNDO all the work I had done prior to pregnancy.

People often ask me how I stayed so fit and “skinny” after birth. Before, I could have told them something worthwhile. Now I just chuckle. I looked good after birth because I was REALLY fit going INTO pregnancy.

What went wrong?

Creating a Green Playroom: Non-toxic Play Tents

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Best for Baby, Fun as a Toddler Mom, Green Products, Life as a Toddler, New Mom Experience, PRODUCTS, TODDLER


I have been slowly but surely designing and adding to Lexi’s playroom over the past year making it into a comfortable space that is also non-toxic. As always, the last part has proven itself to be pretty difficult.

I keep struggling deciding whether I want to go for what looks cute, is cheaper and easier to get OR making sure that it’s as non-toxic as possible, even if that means sacrificing looks and price. Of course I want the first one. I want Lexi’s playroom to look really cute, but in the end I always end up doing the right thing, even if that means getting natural wood bookshelves instead of gleaming white ones.

At this point the playroom is virtually complete minus the art work and some lighting that is coming in soon, so I thought it was time to start highlighting the choices, items, toys, products and ideas for it with the final post being a “reveal” of the playroom itself.

You can see the earlier stages of it starting with rug, monitor, gates, etc here:
Playroom In Progress: Set Up

I’d like to start with tents, since there is a bit of a back story here.

Sun and Fun: Konfidence

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Best for Baby, Fun as a Toddler Mom, Life as a Toddler, New Mom Experience, PHOTO, Photo Stories, PRODUCTS, TODDLER


Third post in the Sun and Fun series!

For the other posts, go here:

Submarine Kids

Petit Crabe



I have mentioned Konfidence in passing, but I never really dedicated a whole post to them. And they definitely warrant a whole post.

This is a company from UK that makes some amazing swim products designed to help children develop skills necessary to learn swimming. I met their reps at the ABC Expo last year and we have been using their products since.

Reader Question: Toddler Emotions and Tantrums

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Fun as a Toddler Mom, Life as a Toddler, New Mom Experience, TODDLER


I’ve been getting some questions over email and I normally don’t have time to answer non-urgent emails, so I thought I could kill two birds with one stone if I answer some of these on the blog.

So here we go.


Reader Question

Toddler emotions / tantrums – I’m not sure if Lexi is in this stage yet, as she seems happy and engaged in almost all of your posts but my son moved into the high emotions / tantrum phase quickly after his second birthday. Hearing your thoughts on helping toddlers with big emotions and how to handle tantrums would be great. I’ve ordered some books on the topic but I would be really interested in hearing about a real mom’s experience. From what I read on your blog it seems as though you are very respectful of Lexi’s feelings – I wondered if you could give some tips on how stay calm and collected when they are having “big feelings” several times throughout the day.


I wrote about my philosophy on parenting in general which grossly applies to toddlers ( because that’s the stage we are at right now). Like I mentioned before, Lexi doesn’t really do the typical tantrum. She was more difficult, so to say, during the 18-24 months stage. Now she is just happy.

Now of course, she is a toddler, so she gets highly emotional and frustrated as well, but it seems to be very contained and involves mostly lying down on the floor face down and asking me for help, asking me for “boo-boo” or saying “You ok, mama?” trying to prompt me to pay attention and ask her if she is ok.

About a week ago, she has started this thing where if something isn’t working out, she will (again not forcefully but more for show) fling things in frustration. I am not sure how to describe it because it happens very low key, she just starts sort of dancing around whatever she was playing with and try to flip it on its side, make it wrong, all while quietly whining. It goes on until I notice it and come over to help. I usually ask her if she is frustrated and if I can help and if she needs a hug (all of which she says yes to). I explain ( every time) what to do when she gets frustrated and what her alternatives are to “destroying” what wasn’t working out . I ask her “What do we do when we get frustrated?” and she answers “We try try try again” in a sing songy voice. And that’s where it ends.With some nursing, too It’s all very sweet and contained. But this is what I’ve been doing since the very beginning so she is very much used to getting that reinforcement and validation of her feelings from me.


Once in a while, if I don’t think it’s a big deal (like she tumbled but didn’t hurt herself) and I am doing something else, I will try to talk her through it, at which point she tells me “Lexi is upset, mama! Mama needs to come make feel better“. Either way it always ends in nursing which is what always makes her feel better.

Every parent tries to assign all the good things their kids do to their parenting. I know enough not to claim that, because there is no real way to know whether it’s how I handle her upsets, the fact that she has nursing to fall back on, or it’s her personality coming into play here. Most likely it’s a combination of all three. I am learning a lot about her personality which is something I will write in detail about (I have the post written, I just need to make it read better), which is showing that it is truly a combination of their personalities with HOW we respond to their specific personalities. No one approach is correct for every child (except for love and acceptance).

What I can tell you is that when she has a breakdown, I never ignore her, I am always respectful and understanding, I ask her about her feelings and make sure she is ok and ask how I can help. EVEN when I am frustrated myself.


{Outfit: Sweater, Top and Short by Garnet Hill Kids; Shoes by See Kai Run }

At first (when she was younger), it didn’t seem like it was making a difference or that she was truly grasping what I was trying to do, but now that she is highly verbal and repeats word for word all the things I’ve always said to her when she would get upset, it’s clear she understands, remembers and acts upon it. She knows mommy will make her feel better. I started all this ( talking through with her, asking questions, explaining her emotions) when the difficult age kicked in at 16 months, and I think, while it took some time, it REALLY made a big difference. Her “tantrums” are so gentle and are only there to say “Mommy, I need some help, I feel bad!“, because she knows when she lets me know, I will come. Recently when we were getting ready to go to sleep “Mama, I want boobie. Yaya is really sad, really cry-ee and really mad“. She knows her emotions and other people’s emotions.

keeping cool

Man, that’s the hardest thing ever, of course. I think the key to this is to really KNOW WHY you need to keep your cool. I generally have REALLY good self-control when it comes to emotions but I have to admit, there hasn’t been anyone else who has ever gotten me so mad so fast.

It’s amazing how being out of control with a child who is being unreasonable can get adults really riled up.

So while there is no good answer to how to keep calm, because everyone’s emotional system is developed differently (and depending on their prenatal environment and upbringing, could be less or more controlled), the biggest thing that helped, as silly as it sounds, is to read as many gentle parenting books to continue reinforcing how important it is to stay calm in these situations and to respond appropriately. To know why you’re doing what you doing, rather than rely on intuition alone because intuition is closely correlated with our emotions.


We tend to forget what we are supposed to do, so when I continue reading, even if similar to what I’ve already read, the material is so fresh in my mind that I am able to override my emotional response with my logical brain.
When I feel that I am starting to get more impatient with Lexi than is acceptable to me, I do some more reading which reminds me how important it is. And it’s just that.

That’s the only thing that keeps me leveled, if that makes sense. Knowing that not losing my cool is what is best for m daughter and having it fresh in my mind is the only thing stronger than the anger that toddlers seem to be able to bring out in most parents :)

I have recently discovered some specifics of her personality, as well, that helped me better understand Lexi and how to respond to her (which I will write about next week, I promise)

I really hope that helps.


{Organic Hoodie by Garnet Hill Kids}

On which books to read, go here.

Sun and Fun : Petit Crabe

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Best for Baby, Florida, Fun as a Toddler Mom, Life as a Toddler, New Mom Experience, PHOTO, Photo Stories, PRODUCTS, TODDLER


Second post in the Sun and Fun series!

For the other posts, go here:

Submarine Kids


Petit Crabe is another one of those discoveries that I am super proud of :) haha

I am not sure how I even found them but when I started looking through their swimwear, I was instantly IN LOVE.

It is so simple and understated, yet packs a real punch with the colors and contrasting zippers and back graphic. I don’t know what it was about it but it just sang to me. I wish I could show you all the colors they carry ( the yellow is YUM!), but I guess that is just the reason to visit their website.

All swimwear has built in sun protection and most have a matching hat.