Browsing Category


Parenting Problems/Tips

The Orange Rhino Challenge: Days 3, 4, & 5

This post may contain affiliate links. Read full disclosure policy here.

It’s not going all that great on Days 3, 4, and 5 of the Orange Rhino Challenge.

Yell Less Love More
Well, I yelled.

Day 3

I was caught off guard and it just slipped out. My sister called me on my cell phone just as we were walking in the door from being outside.

I shouldn’t have picked up the call, because everyone was hot and whiny and demanding of my attention…but I picked up anyway. Sure enough, my five-year-old started trying to talk to me while simultaneously pawing through my purse and removing my hand lotion.

As my daughter continued to have a conversation with me while I was clearly busy, I yelled “Be QUIET!” at her.

BOOM. Two day streak over. Just like that.

Thirty minutes later, I heard myself yelling at the dog. “GET OUT! Go in your CRATE!”

As it so happens, the activity for Day 3, “Get Your Kids to Help,” was to have the kids remind you of the challenge every time you are about to start yelling.

I told my three-year-old and five-year-old to say “orange rhino” to me when they think I’m going to yell. They also made pictures of orange rhinos and attached them to popsicle sticks to give me a visual cue.

(The orange rhino coloring page is available here.)

When my daughter heard me yelling at the dog, she looked over and held up the picture of the rhino she was coloring.

“Thank you, you’re right,” I told her. “I need to stop yelling.”

I decided to stop trying to do work while the kids obviously wanted to play. Instead, I closed up my laptop and paid some attention to them.

The rest of the day went fine, but I was bummed to have to set my counter back to zero.

Days 4 & 5

Confession: I didn’t read the chapters for Days 4 & 5 yet. I fell behind a little.

I definitely yelled on both Day 4 and day 5, so clearly my method of winging it isn’t working.

But there have been some positives.

My daughter is still using the rhinoceros sign and she says “Rhinoceros!” when she thinks I’m about to yell.

My response is always, “Thank you, Lilly!”

Having that system in place where someone catches me right before I’m about to yell is extremely effective.

My goal for today (Day 6) is to right now, as soon as I’m done writing this post, read Days 4, 5, and 6 and recommit to the challenge.

Read Days 1 & 2 here.

Days Without Yelling Zero

Parenting Problems/Tips

The Orange Rhino Challenge: Days 1 & 2

This post may contain affiliate links. Read full disclosure policy here.

My first two days doing The Orange Rhino Challenge went by quickly…but did I yell?


After a particularly bad night of screaming at my kids on Friday, I decided to embark on The Orange Rhino Challenge, as portrayed in the book Yell Less, Love More.

If you want to join in the challenge, it’s not hard (in theory). All you have to do is buy the book and devote 10-15 minutes a day to the challenge.

Each day there’s a new step or two to take, plus helpful hints and motivating words to help you stop yelling.

I like the fact that there’s just a short chapter to read and absorb each day. It seems like a small commitment to make in order to have a healthier, more peaceful household.

Day 1

I woke up at 5:00 A.M. on Saturday morning and couldn’t fall back asleep. I was still thinking about the night before and feeling guilty.

So I got out of bed, went down to my office, and wrote. I confessed my parenting sins to the blogosphere, hopeful that by making my declaration to stop yelling public, I would have to follow through.

Once I hit publish, I got to work on the challenge. I read “Day 1: Admit the Need to Change.”

I felt satisfied that I had fulfilled Day 1’s task by the blog post I wrote.

I was still worried that if I got angry, I might yell, though.

How would merely admitting the need to change make me not yell at my kids?

It must have had some effect on me, though, because I didn’t yell. All day. It was a miracle.

Even though it was 100 degrees outside and even though I burnt an entire rack of ribs on the grill and we had to have cereal and hot dogs for dinner and even though the kids did their normal spilling of drinks and hitting/biting each other, etc.

I just didn’t yell.

Sure, it could be that my husband being home helps take some pressure off, but honestly sometimes I’m more stressed when he’s around.

One of the tips suggested in the book was to pretend like you’re being filmed for a reality TV show.

Hello, I can definitely do that! Let’s pretend it’s a show called Real Housewives of Purcellville. (But does this mean I need to get dressed and wear makeup every day?!)

While I didn’t put that tip to use yesterday, I will try it during the week.

What I did do that seemed to help was to verbalize when I felt like I was getting close to yelling.

So if my son was being really whiny and I felt like my fuse was about to be set off, I would say, “Mommy is trying really hard not to yell, so I need you to help me out.”

Another thing that worked was just walking away. A few times during the day I just got up and went to my bedroom. I read my book for a few minutes or just took a breather.

Somehow it got to be 7:00, the kids’ bedtime. I had made it all day! Rather than risk ruining my perfect day in the last few minutes, I had my husband put them to bed.


Day 2

First I want to say that I was so touched by everyone’s kind words and warm reactions to my confession. It was really nice to feel supported by so many others.

The title of Day 2 is “Ask Others for Support,” about the importance of asking for help when you need it.

I got to work creating my personalized support network, lining up my husband as my “Pep Talker” and some of my friends as my “Texters” (the people who I’ll text when I have the urge to yell).

I also told my kids that I was done yelling at them and I needed them to help me.

Also, I want to clarify that when I say “yelling,” I don’t mean yelling at them to “Stop fighting!” or “Get out of the street!”

I am referring to the mean, ugly yelling where I am losing my temper and having an outburst. When I say things like “Why are you kids so awful?!” “Why can’t you EVER do what I tell you?!” at the top of my lungs and scare them to tears. That’s what I mean by yelling.

The times when you feel horrible guilt afterwards. If you’ve done it, you know what I’m talking about.

Anyways, Day 2 was a pretty calm day at our house.

We spent time riding bikes and walking the dog outside in the morning and in the afternoon I cleaned and organized (which always calms me).

I read an issue of Us Weekly and surprisingly stumbled on some parenting advice about yelling. Score!


In case you can’t read the small print, Julie Bowen (from Modern Family) says, “I read some article where Reese Witherspoon said, ‘If you’re not yelling at your kids, you’re not spending enough time with them.’ It made me feel so much better.”

See? Even Reese Witherspoon yells at her kids!

There were definitely a few instances where the kids almost put me over the edge, but I resisted the urge to yell. I think having a productive day for myself had an impact on my mindset and put me in a happier mood. Whatever works!

My goal for tomorrow is to read Day 3’s assignment right when I wake up so I can set the tone for the day. Today I waited until late afternoon to read it.

My other reminders: just walk away if I feel like I’m about to erupt, take time to relax during the day, and use my support network.

Cheers to two days without yelling!

Days Without Yelling

Parenting Problems/Tips

Rewinding the Clock

This post may contain affiliate links. Read full disclosure policy here.

I read something that made me stop and think. But was it too late to make a difference?

Rewinding the Clock

While my Facebook feed is usually filled with a barage of mindless posts designed to waste my time and keep me scrolling, occasionally there is a diamond in the rough.

Something that makes me think.

Last night it was this:

David Young quote

I only wish I had seen it an hour sooner.

Because now it was 7:45 and my kids were already asleep…too late to rewind the clock and take it back.

And boy did I feel like a piece of shit, asshole mom.

Instead of filling my children with good thoughts before they went to bed, I screamed at them for not putting their toys away. Like really screamed.

Enough to make them cry.

Then as an added part of their punishment for their room being a mess, I didn’t read them any books.

I let them go to bad sad, hurt, angry, and probably a whole host of other damaging emotions, just to get my point across that we keep our house tidy– that is THE RULE.

Let me add, my kids (the ones I was yelling at) are five and three. Are they even capable of cleaning up to my standards? I’d like to think yes, but maybe not.

So after putting them to bed in a flood of my rage and their tears, I went downstairs. I cleaned up some more and then found myself on Facebook.

The David Young quote didn’t pop up first in my newsfeed, but after a few minutes of browsing there it was.

Of course, my mom is the person who had posted it and of course I assumed it was directed at me, because moms know everything.

It hit me hard when I envisioned how the night could have gone instead of how it did go. And as always, I worried about the long-term damage that yelling has on kids.

I don’t want them to see me as a monster, but that’s how I act when I start yelling. It’s like someone has lit my fuse and there’s no stopping me until I burn out.

I know in the moment that I need to stop screaming, but I don’t. Or I can’t. I’m not sure which, but it doesn’t really matter. The only thing that matters is that I know I need to stop before I end up doing some real psychological harm.

Just the other day, my five-year-old daughter was sitting at the kitchen table coloring. As she drew one of her favorite things to draw, a picture of the two of us surrounded by flowers and butterflies, she said to me, “Mommy, we should have a Girls’ Day where we play games and spend time together while Daddy watches the boys.”

It was so sweet and out of the blue that it caught me off guard. I instantly realized that for all of the horrible-ness I do to her when I yell, this little girl still loves me. She still wants to spend time with me and play games with me and color together.

So maybe I’m not past the point of no return yet. Maybe there’s still hope for my children to grow up remembering a calm, sane mom who counts to ten instead of unleashing her fury on defenseless kids.

All I can do now is try to change.

This quest to stop yelling is one I have attempted before, but I never followed through with it. I even wrote several posts about it.

But now I’m committed. I’m starting The Orange Rhino 30-Day Challenge to help me stop yelling today. Not tomorrow. TODAY.

It’s one activity a day for 30 days. I can do that. You can, too.

Maybe I can’t rewind the clock and get a do-over for last night. But I can ensure that my future hours and minutes are spent letting my kids feel loved and appreciated, clean rooms or not.

Image courtesy of David Young. His inspirational book, A Little Guide to a Big Life, is available here. Title image courtesy of Alvesgaspar [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Activities Parenting Problems/Tips

9 Tips to Spend Less at Theme Parks

This post may contain affiliate links. Read full disclosure policy here.

Money-saving expert Andrea Woroch shares her tips on how to save money if you’re planning a trip to an theme park!

Every summer, millions of Americans flock to amusement parks with friends and family for some fun and adventure.

What most people don’t anticipate is the rollercoaster of spending they will experience on everything from admission to parking to food.

Considering the average entrance fee for 13 major theme parks nationwide is hovering around $84 per guest, with some pushing the $100 mark (ouch!), the costs are becoming too much for many consumers to afford.

Luckily, you don’t have to let a tight budget keep you and your family from having fun. Just follow these nine tips to spend less on your next theme park trip. Read More »

Parenting Problems/Tips

Got Kids at Home? Here’s Why You Need a Landline

This post may contain affiliate links. Read full disclosure policy here.The content of this post was provided by Ooma.

If you’re relying on cell phones as your only communication, you might want to think twice…

Ooma Telo & Handset

My husband and I argue about whether or not we need a landline quite a bit. I say that we do and he thinks we don’t.

I had originally wanted a landline so that I didn’t have to give out my cell phone number to everyone, but I recently learned that it’s also important to have a landline for safety reasons.

Picture this:  It’s the end of July—smack in the middle of summer. Your kids are at home with a caretaker while you toil away at your 9 to 5.

Then, disaster strikes. There’s an emergency at home, and your kids have to call 911 for help.

Are your children calling from a cell phone or a landline? And does it make any difference?  Read More »

Activities Parenting Problems/Tips

7 Tips to Survive Swim Lessons

This post may contain affiliate links. Read full disclosure policy here.

Swim lessons can be terrifying for kids who haven’t done them before, so here are some tips to get through them!

Swim lessons. I dreaded them as a child. I am just not a good swimmer.

My husband is an excellent swimmer, however, so he has expectations for our kids. My only expectations are that they learn how to swim so one day (probably many, many years from now) I might actually be able to “lounge” in a lounge chair at the pool.

My three-year-old and five-year-old are now on their second round of swim lessons for this summer.

Here are some tips I’ve come across to help you survive swim lessons. Read More »

Parenting Pregnancy Problems/Tips

#1 Tip to Avoid Sleeping on Your Back When Pregnant

This post may contain affiliate links. Read full disclosure policy here.I received a Rest Rite Sleep Positioner for the purposes of this post.

You’re supposed to avoid sleeping on your back when you’re pregnant…here’s how to achieve that!

I always struggled with sleep when I was pregnant. I’m normally a stomach sleeper. Can’t do that, but can’t sleep on your back either!

According to the medical professionals at Parents, “when you lie belly-up, the weight of your uterus can compress a major blood vessel, called the vena cava, disrupting blood flow to your baby and leaving you nauseated, dizzy, and short of breath.” Read More »

Parenting Problems/Tips

#1 Helpful Hint for Road-Tripping with a Toddler

This post may contain affiliate links. Read full disclosure policy here.

Get my top secret helpful hint for road-tripping with a toddler.

FB #1 Helpful Hint Road-Tripping with a Toddler

I conducted a brief but thorough research experiment this weekend.

The topic? Worst age for children to take a road trip.

The subjects? Four-year-old female, two-year-old male, one-year-old male, and 36-year-old male.

The conclusion? The definitive WORST age for a child to be at while on a road trip is… Read More »

Books Guilty Pleasures Parenting Problems/Tips Reviews

The Best Books to Help Your Family Sleep

This post may contain affiliate links. Read full disclosure policy here.I received sample copies of some books mentioned in this post.

If your family is struggling with a lack of quality sleep, these books will give you some relief.

The Best Books to Help Your Family Sleep

Sleep. We all want it. We all need it, in fact, but do we make our family’s sleep health a priority? 

I try to. Before my kids were born I read up on infant sleep because I wanted to be sure that I had kids who were good sleepers. And it worked– they are good nappers and each get 11-12 hours of sleep each night.

But when it comes to my own sleep, I’m not as conscientious. I like to get up early, but I don’t go to bed at the right time to facilitate that. If I’m tired during the day, I will almost never attempt a nap. I’d rather just have a second coffee instead of listening to my body telling me to “REST!” Read More »

Parenting Problems/Tips

How to Raise Nice Kids

This post may contain affiliate links. Read full disclosure policy here.

It’s scary raising kids today in a world where bullying is prevalent. Here are some ideas on how to raise nice kids.

How to Raise Nice Kids

A few weeks ago, I saw a video (shown below) that moved me to tears.

It told the story of a boy who was bullied for several years. He became depressed and told his peers he was planning to kill himself.

Their reaction? They encouraged him, even taunted him to do it. And so he did. Read More »

Activities DIY/Household Stuff Guilty Pleasures Parenting Problems/Tips

Print Your Own Elegant Easter Menu

This post may contain affiliate links. Read full disclosure policy here.

The final step in your Easter celebration preparations…a pretty menu to display for your guests!

Elegant Easter Menu

Truth be told, I saw an ad online for a local restaurant that was serving a mouth-wateringly delicious Easter lunch for four to six adults for $64.99…and was thisclose to cancelling my plans to cook for Easter.

But alas. 

I already have all my recipe ingredients and taking three kids to a restaurant after being in church for an hour sounds less than relaxing to me. Read More »

Parenting Problems/Tips

Moving to Another Country? 11 Places to Consider…

 This post may contain affiliate links. Read full disclosure policy here.

Current events got you thinking of moving to another country? Here are some suggestions…

Moving to Another Country
I read recently that Google searches for “move to Canada” have skyrocketed in the past few months.

That’s so weird, right?

If you, like many of your fellow Americans, find yourself contemplating moving to another country on or around Wednesday, November 9, here are some wonderful suggestions… Read More »

Parenting Problems/Tips Reviews

The Hidden Cost of Moving

This post may contain affiliate links. Read full disclosure policy here.I received a copy of The Adventures of Camp Nana Papa at no cost. All opinions are my own.

Sometimes you forget that there are other costs of moving besides the obvious financial ones…

The Hidden Cost of Moving

The decision to move and uproot your family to another state is one that comes with many costs. There are the obvious financial costs, like paying movers, real estate agents, and the like.

But then there are the other costs. The ones you may not realize until weeks or months after you’ve relocated… Read More »

Activities Parenting Problems/Tips

The Potty-Training Chronicles: Day 2

This post may contain affiliate links. Read full disclosure policy here.

Day 1 is officially in the books. Here’s hoping there will be less accidents and more poop (in the toilet) today!

The Potty-Training Chronicles Day 2 Pin

Hopefully Day 1 was the hard part and Day 2 will be a breeze? Here’s how Day 1 went.

Still no poop, and he is a regular every-day pooper. It’s going to be very warm today so we will be outside, where not wearing pants isn’t an option. But maybe he will learn to pee outside? Is that a no-no?

Wish me luck!

5:29 A.M. “Wahhhhhh!” My little potty-trainer is in his room wailing. I went in and got him so he wouldn’t wake up his sister or the baby. I let him lay in our bed with us for approximately two minutes before the sound of him sucking on his pacifier was too loud. Then I kicked him out. 

5:40 A.M. Set him up with a Bob the Builder movie on Netflix. He is still in his diaper, because I still need more sleep. Read More »

Activities Parenting Problems/Tips

The Potty-Training Chronicles: Day 1

This post may contain affiliate links. Read full disclosure policy here.

It’s Day 1 of potty-training for my two-and-a-half-year-old. Here’s the play by play of how it went down.

The Potty-Training Chronicles Pin

Ugh. Potty-training. I’ve been dreading this day. I don’t even remember doing it with my daughter, but I assume it went quick and easy.

Something tells me it won’t be that way with my son…perhaps it’s the fact that the first time I tried to potty-train him, he shit on my laptop.

Also, he has repeatedly told me that he doesn’t want to wear underwear. 

When I tell him we are going to throw all of his diapers in the trash, he says, “They won’t fit.”

He poops in his diaper, lays on the ground, and tells me to “clean up the poop.” So yeah– I think it’s time to potty-train, whether or not he agrees with me. Read More »

Parenting Problems/Tips

Snowy Days and W(h)ine-y Nights

This post may contain affiliate links. Read full disclosure policy here.

We had some pretty snow earlier in the week but it’s been a challenging parenting week for me. The kids have been sick plus we are starting potty-training soon. Send wine!

Snowy Days

It’s cute how I always think that only of my kids will catch an illness and the rest will somehow avoid it.

Even though they are constantly licking each other’s food and coughing on everything and just generally being germy little kids.

We are now on Child #3 with a cold and slight fever. It struck my four-year-old first, early last week. Then it went right down the line, to the two-year-old, and then the baby over the weekend.

Thanks to the weather being in the teens (and single digits yesterday!), I can’t even shoo them outside to get fresh air.  Read More »

Parenting Problems/Tips Products Reviews

7 Reasons You May Need Sleep Help From A Pro

This post may contain affiliate links. Read full disclosure policy here.This post is sponsored by The Baby Sleep Site. All opinions are my own.

You can only deal with sleepless nights for so long. Here is some expert advice for figuring out when it’s time to consult a sleep professional.

7 Reasons You May Need Sleep Help From a Pro

Sleep. We all want it.

Moms, especially, are told that a lifetime of sleepless nights awaits us after having kids. But is that necessarily true? 

In my house (three kids aged 4, 2, and almost 1), we have the occasional night-waking by a child once every few weeks, but other than that, they all sleep through the night from 6 or 7:00 P.M. to 6 or 7:00 A.M.

But it wasn’t always that way. Each of my kids has gone through periods of waking several times a night or not napping or waking too early. Read More »

Books Guilty Pleasures Parenting Problems/Tips

9 Books to Read Right Now

This post may contain affiliate links. Read full disclosure policy here.

I’ve been coming across great book recommendations lately. Here are nine picks for good books to curl up with this winter!

9 Books to Read Right Now

Maybe it’s the colder weather, but lately all I’ve been wanting to do is read a good book in the evenings. 

I’m currently in the middle of three of the books on this list. I can’t wait to get to the rest of them!

Here are nine picks for books you’ll want to read this winter… Read More »

Parenting Problems/Tips

7 Things to Consider Before Getting Bunk Beds

This post may contain affiliate links. Read full disclosure policy here.

Thinking of getting bunk beds? Here are seven things to consider before getting bunk beds for your kids.

7 Things to Consider Before Getting Bunk Beds

As a child, I always always always wanted bunk beds. I thought they were the coolest.

When it came time for my two older kids to share a room in order to prepare for Baby #3, the choice was obvious to me– bunk beds!

But they are not for everyone. 

Here are seven things to consider before getting bunk bedsRead More »

Guilty Pleasures Parenting Problems/Tips Products Reviews Shopping

How to Get More From Your Gift Cards

This post may contain affiliate links. Read full disclosure policy here.This post is sponsored by Cardpool. All opinions are my own.

There’s so much to love about gift cards during the holiday season…but did you know you can get even more out of your gift card with Cardpool?

How to Get More From Your Gift Cards

I had actually never heard of Cardpool when the brand reached out to me to try its online gift card site. I was intrigued…how could Cardpool be better than purchasing gift cards at the store or from a typical website? is not your average gift card retailer. Gift cards are sold at a discount– up to 35% off the value of the card!

But that’s not all. You can sell your own unused or partially used gift cards on the site and receive up to 92% of the gift card’s value! Read More »

Parenting Problems/Tips

‘Tis the Season for Going Pantless?

This post may contain affiliate links. Read full disclosure policy here.

Thanksgiving is over and the December holiday activities have begun. If only my daughter would realize that winter is not the season for going pantless.

Lilly raincoat

I can’t believe it’s already December. It has been cold and rainy in Virginia this week…just not cold enough that the rain will turn to snow. Grrrr. 

I am a total snow-lover. Give me a blizzard over a summer day anytime! I love feeling like I’m stuck in the house and the only things to do are build a fire and drink Bailey’s. 

(Slight problems: our new house doesn’t have a fireplace and we drank all the Bailey’s on Thanksgiving.) Read More »