jfoley's Profile

Display Name: jfoley
Member Since: 2/10/10

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I used to have a policy of swiftly donating toys that were too big, loud, obnoxious, etc, but that has gotten harder as my kids get older. They're now 4, 3, and 18 months, and the older two definitely notice when things go missing. I would still get rid Of items that we are blatantly opposed to, but I find myself keeping more unattractive toys than I did before. All that being said, my grandma got the kids a child- sized Thomas the Tank Engine folding table and two chairs. My initial opposition to it was because it is so ugly, but now it is because there are only two chairs, which ALWAYS causes a fight. I am grateful it folds up!


Why Ugly Is Okay Sometimes
1/9/12 11:37 AM

@upstategirl--yes, I too would like to see actual answers to this question! I know lots of kids move straight to a twin bed, but that's not the issue here!

We debated for a long time, and ultimately went with toddler beds, for which I am so grateful, because we've since moved twice, and neither place would have fit multiple twin beds. My average sized 4 year old and almost 3 year old both fit just fine in their toddler beds, and I imagine they'll be in them comfortably for at least another year, at which point we'll probably move and will hopefully have the space for two twins or a bunkbed. For the record, we also went with a mini crib when our first was born, and I'm so glad because we currently have one mini crib and two toddler beds in one (small) bedroom, and there is no room for bigger beds, or even a dresser or shelves.


At What Age Do Kids Outgrow Toddler Beds?
Reader Survey

10/18/11 10:59 PM

My kids are OBSESSED with Busytown, especially the "Busytown Mysteries" show. We also have several of the books, which kept my 2.5 year old and 4 year old entertained for probably 20 out of 24 hours on a long road trip last month. Some of this will make it under the Christmas tree for sure.


Beyond Books: A Richard Scarry Revival
10/17/11 12:56 AM

Along with doing similar activities to the ones listed here, we've also been doing some Kumon books with my 3 and 2 year olds (Let's Color, Let's Cut, Let's Sticker and Paste, and Let's Fold). The kids think the books are so much fun, and they love the pictures that they get to work with. Both kids have shown tremendous improvement in fine motor skills in a fairly short period of time. FYI: The books say for ages 2 and up--my daughter is 2.5, and I don't think a much younger child could do them at all.


Improving Fine Motor Skills At Home
9/1/11 01:43 AM

When we got married 6 years ago, we served (almost) nothing on this list, and had great and affordable food. Of course, the main reason we were able to do this is that the wedding was in my parents' backyard (gorgeous), and so we weren't bound by a caterer's or venue's rules. We realized pretty quickly when looking at wedding venues that your choices are pretty limited, and very expensive. And not everyone has a backyard that would work well for such an event.

All that being said, we had a cocktail party-style reception, with food stations set up around the backyard. There was both a carving station and a chocolate fountain, but our wedding planner had a server working the chocolate fountain so people weren't dipping stuff themselves and contaminating the whole thing. Because of the style of the reception, there wasn't one long line for the carving station, as people moved from one station to another freely throughout the night. We also had a gorgeous bread/cracker and cheese display with a variety of nice cheeses, a lot of finger foods that hold up well (smoked salmon, mini caprese salads, etc.). Most of the food ingredients and the alcohol was purchased at Costco, and made by the wedding coordinator and her staff in my parents' kitchen the day of the event.

Like I said, I realize we had this flexibility because of our location and our amazing wedding planner, and I'm so grateful for it. People STILL talk about the food at our wedding.


Wedding Food: Should These Dishes Be Banned?
Bon App├ętit

8/25/11 11:44 PM

Reading this thread is a bit heart-stopping. I'm taking my three to the local children's museum by myself tomorrow morning (3, 2, and 1 year olds), and you'd better believe they'll all have my cell number written on their arms with Sharpie. Thanks!

I'm so glad your son knew just what to do in such a situation!


Tottoos (And How My Child Got Lost)
8/25/11 05:56 PM

@Eliza--I keep one Rubbermaid bin in my closet (so the kids can't get to it on their own) with toys that fit that category. After a few months, I'll take a look again, and at that point either return it to the playroom or get rid of it. I try at the same time to ADD a few things to that box. So it is sort of a toy purgatory while we figure out what to do with a toy/a toy rotation box, since some of the things become appealing again when they're fresh and new.


Day 1: Create An Outbox & Touch Every Toy
The 7-Day Toy Cure

8/23/11 10:57 PM

We were in this same situation not too long ago. We bought a small two-bedroom condo when we first got married (in 2005), with the plan that we'd live there for a while and eventually buy a house and rent out the condo. Fast forward to 2009--we had to move out of state for a job, and we were unable to sell our condo and make up for the loss in value. We attempted a short sale, but after a year on the market, several offers that fell through for random, complicated reasons (I think we seriously had the worst luck ever with the short sale process), and the bank eventually foreclosed on the property. It was absolutely not what we wanted or intended to happen, but it became unavoidable in the end. We just moved again last month, and we're renting a small house that is much better suited to our family with three small kids. It is disappointing to have to rent again and to be unable to buy again for a while, due to our credit being absolutely shot. However, this gives us a chance to get back on our feet, save money, and enjoy our new city. By the way--our condo eventually sold as a bank-owned property. For 78% less than what we bought it for. 78%. Staggering.


When Housing Needs Change
8/12/11 05:21 PM

Interesting! We live in a house that was built in 1915, and while we have more than one outlet in most rooms (not all), many of them aren't grounded. It made arranging furniture very difficult, having to figure out where to place TVs, computers, end tables with lamps, nightstands, etc. Not to mention, the house has a million doors and windows, making it all that much harder!


The History of Gold Medallion Homes
8/2/11 10:41 PM

I bought a large wire basket at Ikea that I kept under the sink at our old house. It was full of dish towels and those cheap towels sold in the automotive section. It doesn't fit anywhere in our new house, but I just devoted a small cabinet in my new kitchen to towels. It isn't neat and organized by any means, but it is easily accessible, even to the kids when they need to clean up a mess.


How To Store Kitchen Towels
Young House Love

8/2/11 05:09 PM

Thank you to the couple of EC parents who flat out admitted to feeling smug. I'll wait until you have a parenting issue that you're struggling with, and then I'll rub it in your face that I did it better. Ahem.

We used the 3 Day Potty Training method with our son, and it worked pretty well. He wasn't 100% trained in 3 days, but more or less (#2 took longer). I've tried the same method with my daughter now three times (I tried for two weeks each of the first two times before giving up--she refused to go). Now, we're a week in to the third try, and she's showing SOME progress. We'll take what we can get. All kids are different, but I do think that it helps in general to just take away the diapers and do a clean break. Hopefully, things will just click for my daughter SOON!


Let's Get This Potty Started Right: Potty Training Woes & Wisdom
7/19/11 11:29 PM

Other than supervision while they're actually outside, the only thing I can think of is pool safety equipment. I'm originally from Arizona, where so many people have pools, and most houses have high doorknobs, and an alarm that beeps when a door is opened. That way, if you're in the house, it would be really tough for the kids to open the door. If they do though, you'll be alerted by the beep if you happen to be out of sight for a moment.

I can only imagine that the commenters who are acting like constant supervision is possible don't have 2 under 2. I don't let my kids outside alone, but I have a 3yo, 2yo, and 1yo, and there's no way I can have each kid within my sight at every moment of every day. I'd go crazy! And little ones are crafty. Do you have a 2 year old who obeys the rules every time? Not mine! Safety features, besides mom's constant supervision are a must!


Safety Ideas for a Small Creek Near the House
Good Questions

7/17/11 12:14 AM

As a stay at home mom, I do have the time in the afternoons/early evenings to get quick and healthy dinners prepped before the crazy dinner hour hits. However, I have a 3 year old, 2 year old, and 1 year old, and there are days when things don't go according to plans, so I always try to have four or five dinners pre-made and in the freezer. When I make something that freezes well (chili, curry, soup, etc) I double the recipe and freeze half for one of the crazy days. Like another poster said, it might not be 100% ideal, but it is better than buying prepared foods or takeout when things don't go according to plan.

Also, I cook nearly everything from scratch, so it isn't possible for me to do everything at the last minute. I make dough for four loaves of bread at once and freeze two for a later date (I thaw and bake so it tastes fresh). I make large batches of refried beans and freeze in small portions. Any of these things can be quickly defrosted for a quick, but still homemade meal.


Make 46 Freezer Meals In 4 Hours
A Turtle's Life For Me

6/19/11 10:56 PM

We bought a mini crib due to lack of space, and we're now using it on a third child! We've moved the older two into a toddler bed (again, space issues--they'll probably be in those toddler beds until about 5, unless we move to a much bigger place) around 18-20 months, and they still fit comfortably with room to grow at that point.


Let's Talk About: Mini Cribs
5/20/11 09:44 PM

I love it! We also have an Eleanor and live in Venice!


Eleanor's Handmade Hideaway
Smaller Cooler 2011 Entry #43

5/18/11 07:35 PM

I'm with the others who think that several of those ideas are totally impractical for any kid over 8 months or so! I have a 10 month old, a 2 year old, and a 3 year old. That stuff would be all over the floor in a flash!


Storage Solutions for Rooms Without Closets
5/17/11 12:39 AM

@LovieDovie--It greatly depends upon the size of your washer, as well as the size of your family. We have tiny washers that don't wash well if they're too full (coin op washers at our apartment complex). When I wash at my parents' house, I'm always amazed at what fits in their washer. Also, I have three young kids (one is potty training, and one is in cloth diapers). Five people, plus tiny washers, plus cloth diapers, means I do 2-3 loads a day!


Five Time-Saving Tips For Busy Parents
5/3/11 05:25 PM

I guess it depends on how light of a sleeper your baby ends up being. It wouldn't work at all with any of my kids. We have three kids and live in a two bedroom apartment. The two older kids (3 and 2) have shared a bedroom since the youngest was about 9 months old, with great success. Before that, the baby was in our room. Now, baby #3 sleeps in a closet in our room. It definitely helps to have four walls and a door around all of our kids while they're sleeping, as well as white noise. Otherwise, in a small space, the noises of dishes, talking, TV, music, etc. would wake them up constantly.


Does a Baby Need Four Walls?
Good Questions

4/18/11 05:43 PM

I generally price something about 10% higher than I'm hoping to get for it, and I plan on someone offering less. That being said, if someone doesn't show until two hours later than the scheduled time, is rude, etc. I'm more likely to stick with my original price. If someone communicates well beforehand, shows up promptly, and is reasonable and polite, I'm glad to knock a few bucks off.


10 Tips for Finding What You Want on CraigsList
4/5/11 05:09 PM

My kids would love that! Whenever we go to parties with a fruit platter, my kids always eat far more than their fair share, especially if berries are involved.


Forget The Cake & Opt For Fruit Instead!
4/5/11 12:59 PM