How was your weekend? Ours was good… but exhausting.  Over Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, we tackled our front yard, which was a nasty, embarrassing mess.  If neighborhoods gave away awards for Worst Front Yard, ours surely would’ve won.  We’d been kind of ignoring the space because to REALLY rectify the problem, we’d have to put thousands into re-sodding the yard.  But on Friday, we got motivated to put some “lipstick on the pig” and tidy up the garden beds for $200.  It looks so much better!


Hours upon hours of gardening at 30 weeks pregnant = I am so freaking sore.  I actually feel like I did a triathlon this weekend.  But no – I just spent hours in the dirt, pulling weeds and hauling trash bags.  I didn’t do a lick of “official” exercise but – TRUST ME – the gardening counted.  Oh, my aching legs…



Henry was actually a huge help!  He moved rocks, pulled up weeds, and helped dig a few holes.  Before I had kids, I always wondered how you were supposed to do house stuff like this with a toddler.  The answer?  Hand them a little shovel, a monster truck, and try not to wince as they get incredibly dirty.  That’s what the garden hose is for, anyway. 

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Side note – we really, really need to stop doing major gardening projects while I’m in my third trimester.  When I was pregnant with Henry, we tore up the backyard.  I seriously cannot believe I did that when 36 weeks pregnant – I could barely pull off this weekend’s spree.  Never again.  Never again!

gardening-while-pregnant (1)

The rest of our weekend was filled with the usual – delicious food, relaxation, football (any other Miami fans suffer through that Nebraska game?), and quiet family time.  I really value our peaceful weekends.


Pumpkin Oats for One:


1/2 cup oatmeal

1/2 cup almond milk

1/2 banana

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

Toppings:  Brown sugar and Blueberries


1-2-3 Magic

Thanks so much for all the sweet and thoughtful comments on my How I Stop Temper Tantrums posts.  It’s always nice when a blog post that I put so much effort into resonates with you guys!


I had a lot of questions about 1-2-3 Magic, and I haven’t had a chance to address them in the comments section, so I thought I’d do it here.  I’ve mentioned it a few times on the blog but the technique deserves another shout-out because it’s so awesome.  It’s a discipline technique for kids age 2 – 12. 


It’s super simple – it’s a counting-based method with age-appropriate time-outs.  When the kid does something they aren’t supposed to be doing (like, say – banging a truck against the wall), you say, ‘Don’t hit the wall.  That’s one… that’s two… that’s three – okay, time out.”  And then you do time out.  It’s AMAZING how well counting works – I seriously did not think this would be effective when I tried it, but if you follow the technique closely, it does work – just like magic!


The book (which I really recommend) taught me that I was doing several things “wrong” with Henry – during discipline, I would talk way too much.  I would also try to persuade or argue with him.  And lastly, I got too emotional – he could easily see when I was frustrated or angry.  The key to counting effectively is to do it without extra talking and without emotions.  The other thing the book reinforced for me is how much you have to just stick to your guns.  This is something that all adults *know* about kids but is SOOOO hard to implement on a day-to-day basis.  Basically, you can’t say, “Don’t hit the wall! Don’t hit the wall! Stop hitting the wall! Ugh, fine, whatever. Just be quieter about it.”  If you tell them to stop doing something or start counting, you need to be prepared to go through the whole process with time out.  Consistency is really key for making the method work.


There are LOTS of other important points in the book, and it’s a super fast read, so if you want to try it with your kiddo, definitely read the book.  My two paragraph summary isn’t enough.


We’ve been doing 1-2-3 Magic for several months, and like I said – truly effective.  I try to only count for things that really matter.  I usually just have to say, “That’s one” and the behavior stops.  Sometimes, I get to “two.”  And of course, we end up occasionally doing time outs, but he responds well to them.  1-2-3 Magic takes a lot of the fight out of the battle.  It’s pretty awesome!



  • Jeanne T September 22, 2014, 8:21 am

    My kids are now 20 and 22; as young children, they were both very “high spirited” and lots of other adjectives for high energy kids. When I found 1, 2, 3…Magic, my life with children became so much more manageable to me. It worked, like a charm, and the kids still remember it without any negative recall!

  • Katie@LifesNextBigStep September 22, 2014, 8:58 am

    Okay so I know you SAY it’s for 2 and up…but I’m wondering…mine is 16 months and she thinks “No” is the funniest term in the universe. It doesn’t matter how loudly, quietly, sternly, nicely, etc. we say it, she CRACKS up every time. It drives me nuts. I’m wondering if 16 months is too early to at least start the 1-2-3 thing (I don’t think time-outs would do any good right now because she doesn’t ‘get’ it…)….but curious if you think it’s too early? Anything to get her to know what No means (aside from apparently being a joke…AH!)

    • Caitlin September 22, 2014, 9:13 am

      I don’t think it could hurt to try but I know time outs were a disaster when Henry was that she because he just didn’t get the concept. They only started to work around 20-22 months.

  • Jessica September 22, 2014, 9:39 am

    How do you implement the time outs? Do you have a time-out chair or something similar? Does Henry always stay put?

    • Caitlin September 22, 2014, 9:41 am

      we’ve moved the TO location around according to age. I started off with time outs in his crib. once he started to climb out, I switched to a corner downstairs, but that was HARD because he would turn it into a game of trying to escape. I would just silently return him to the spot over and over again – the first few times, it took probably 30 returns (exhausting). But eventually, he figured out that I was not playing. Consistency! Then we switched to his room with the door shut, which is what 123 Magic recommends, and that’s been really good.

  • Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed September 22, 2014, 10:10 am

    It’s kind of funny because I use a variation of this with my 13 year old cheerleaders that I coach. I start counting down and if I get to 1 and they aren’t in their spots, ready to go, and not talking they get to do push ups or burpees. It’s way more effective than yelling “get in your spot, stop talking” a million times and they know if they don’t make the effort, then they will be punished. Although I can’t say I’m very good at keeping my emotions out of it and they know when I’m upset with them.

  • Tammy Root September 22, 2014, 10:11 am

    Thanks, Caitlin! I was one of the several who asked about 1-2-3 Magic. I appreciate the explanation! 🙂

  • Nicole Dyan September 22, 2014, 10:20 am

    I am your age and my parents used this “count to three” technique with my sister and I when we were little. I had no idea it was a book but man, I remember so well the count to three. After “one” we pretty much always stopped because we KNEW we were in trouble if they got to three.

    • Caitlin September 22, 2014, 10:24 am

      You’ll have to ask if they read the book! It’s been around forever.

      • Nicole Dyan September 22, 2014, 10:49 am

        I will! It’s funny, though, that (since I was raised with this technique) I didn’t realize it was a “parenting technique” – I just thought it was something everyone did!

  • Jill September 22, 2014, 10:35 am

    We do counting. So much so that when I say “One…” my little guy goes, “Two!” We have a chair in the living room that we use for time-outs, and he stays in the chair until he calms down enough to talk, and we have a quick chat about why whatever he was doing isn’t okay, followed by apologies (sometimes I also apologise if I shouted back at him…oh dear), and then big hugs and kisses and love yous. It’s still hard, though. He really does seem to enjoy throwing things and doing exactly what we’ve said no to. I am totally going to read that book! 🙂

  • Ellen @ Wannabe Health Nut September 22, 2014, 1:15 pm

    I love how you’re always working towards self-improvement (for just yourself or your family), but *seem* to approach it with patience and curiosity. Kudos to you!

  • Liz September 22, 2014, 2:30 pm

    Thank you for talking more about 1-2-3 Magic! It definitely sounds like a worthwhile technique and one that I’m going to look into.
    Yard work in the third trimester sucks!!! Just last week I tore up all of our dead day lilies and I was sore for days. The rose bushes might just have to sit under the snow all winter!

  • Gracie Francisco September 22, 2014, 4:56 pm

    My parents used the counting method with my brother and I too. We knew as soon as mom started counting it was time to cut out whatever it was we were doing. Obviously, no kid is really a fan of getting in trouble, but what I liked about the counting method was that it gave us a warning. It was a heads up for us, and non-messy way for my parents to diffuse situations without getting angry or upset. My parents only had 3 rules: No name calling, 30 minutes of screen time and nothing past 7pm, and the 1-2-3 rule. I wasn’t always happy with those rules at the time, but looking back I’d say it made for a pretty functional and peaceful household!

    • Caitlin September 23, 2014, 7:49 am

      Pretty good rules, I think!

  • Sagan September 22, 2014, 6:43 pm

    Pumpkin oats = YUM. Good on you for all that gardening!

  • Katie September 22, 2014, 7:17 pm

    I think another book you would really enjoy is The Power of Our Words, it’s really about being clear, to the point and logical, treating children as individuals and using positive language such as instead of saying don’t hit the wall, you would say calm body. Though it’s written for classroom management, I think it works in all areas of life.


  • Jacquelynn September 22, 2014, 9:09 pm

    Do you use certified GF oats when you make oatmeal, or just regular?

    PS: I made your mashed potatoes with the veggies in them a couple weeks ago, and they were so good 🙂

    • Caitlin September 23, 2014, 7:48 am

      GF oats! Trader Joe’s has a good one, as does Chex. I really like the Chex one.

      • Jacquelynn September 23, 2014, 9:31 pm

        Thanks! I just started trying Bob’s Red Mill (I think that’s it) GF Oats. I am glad to know TJ’s and Chex have some too.

        Have they worked well for overnight oats too?

        • Caitlin September 24, 2014, 10:52 am

          Yes definitely!!!

  • Momhtp September 23, 2014, 5:11 pm

    30 hours of yardwork is A TON and an painful thought at 30 weeks of pregnancy…all those bags of trash – holy moley!

  • nicole October 2, 2014, 6:34 am

    Hi, I wonder if you have ever heard of the circle of security parenting program ? I did it recently and they were fairly disparaging of the 1, 2, 3 magic method. They advocate ‘time out’ for parents (take a minute to check your emotions) and ‘time in’ for kids (emotional connection with parent). It seems to me that a lot of parenting guidance is moving away from punishments like time out. By the way I am not trying to provoke or be critical here (my baby is way too young for me to be thinking about discipline, so I have no idea about this). i am just curious to know if you or any of the other commenters have tried both methods and how they found them to work….

    • Caitlin October 2, 2014, 1:45 pm

      I haven’t heard of that but I do like the idea of the parent taking time to get their emotions in check. I have to say I do not like the idea of a kid not having consequences…. I’m kind of old school like that. There are consequences and punishments in the “real world,” ya know?

      • nicole October 2, 2014, 5:43 pm

        There are consequences, you are right. I am not well versed in this however I gather the argument is that parent imposed punishment and rewards take the focus off the real rewards or consequences. As an example – a child who bites others: the real reward of good behaviour (not biting) is good relationships with friends, other kids will be happy to play with the child. If the parent says ‘if you play nice and don’t bite today you can have dessert’ then the focus shifts to what the biter can personally get out of the deal. The solution put forward is for the parent to help the child manage his/her emotions together rather then offering rewards or using time out. I think this stuff is based on attachment parenting, which is apparently is mainstream. I thought it was some crunchy, baby wearing craze….parenthood is steep learning curve ! I personally LOVED circle of security. It is not a method as such, more of a philosophy. It is very hard to describe as a large part of learning comes from being there and working through the concepts. It felt a little like group counselling (group therapy in the US?) to me. I felt it helped me to understand my child’s needs a lot better. Many parents have said they noticed amazing positive changes in their child’s behaviour since they did the course.

        • Caitlin October 2, 2014, 7:40 pm

          Interesting!!! Love this comment. 🙂 good food for thought.

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