Thursday, August 30, 2012

4 Ways to Encourage Healthy Oral Hygiene Habits

Ben after losing a tooth last year.

Several years ago my husband developed a tooth infection. I'll spare you puss-filled details and just say that the abscess was disgusting. But worse than that, it hurt and consumed his thoughts and energy.

So several weeks, a couple of dentist appointments and one oral surgery later the abscess was gone and he felt much better. (I'm sure the post-surgery medications helped lift his mood as well!)

Joel takes his oral hygiene very serious after that experience! He doesn't want a repeat visit to the oral surgeon so he brushes, rinses, and flosses daily.

We've found 4 ways to encourage those healthy oral hygiene habits in our children.

  • We start brushing our children's teeth when those new pearly whites first break through the gums. Our children were early teethers so we used a damp wash cloth in place of a tooth brush. They didn't object to the wash cloth rubbing the tooth and gums.
  • We gave our preschoolers battery operated spin brushes to insure brushing happened instead of chewing on the toothbrush. These kid-sized toothbrushes come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Princess and Super Hero toothbrushes are preferred at our house.
  • We made brushing teeth a part of our morning and bed time routines. Oral hygiene is habit for my kids. To NOT brush their teeth before bed feels weird to them.
  • And just to make sure these habits stick, we occasionally throw in the scare tactics. In other words, we tell those gruesome stories about daddy's oral surgery and my fillings. I share how my grandparents had ALL of their teeth pulled and wore dentures because they didn't brush their teeth.
Complete Care Water Flosser System
So far all 4 methods of developing good oral hygiene habits are working. Four kids, 2 dental visits a year, and no cavities so far!

One area that we haven't been diligent in teaching our kids is flossing. Have you ever tried to floss a 3 year old? It's not easy!

But all that might be changing. We are currently trying out the Complete Care Water Flosser System and the Water Flosser for Kids.

After his first experience with the Complete Care Water Flosser System, which includes water flossing and sonic brushing, my husband declared his teeth felt really clean.

Using the water flosser system on my kids was... well... hilarious! The best way I can describe the water flosser is to picture a tiny little power washer like my husband uses to clean the grime off our siding. Only you use it to clean the grime off your teeth.

Water Pik Water Flosser for Kids
My children thought the Water Flosser for Kids was 1000x more fun that brushing! They took turns leaning over the sink while I used the water flosser to gently blast clean their teeth along the gum line. We all laughed as water poured from their open mouths.

The hysterical part occurred when I tried to manipulate the wand in their mouths and got sprayed myself!

I'm sure the more I use this effective flossing tool the more coordinated I'll become. Until then my kids will be having a good laugh at my expense every time we water floss their teeth.

Do you own a Water Pik product? 

If not, they are currently offering coupons to use to purchase the Complete Care Water Flosser System and the Water Flosser for Kids.

Disclosure: I received free product in exchange for this post.  All opinions and stories expressed are my own.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Back to School Haircuts with Hair Cuttery

Ellie loves getting her hair cut!

Being a girl with 3 brothers is tough at times: pink glittery toys are few and far between while burps and "toots" are frequent and celebrated. 

But Ellie has learned that having 3 brothers isn't all bad!

She knows mama buzzes the boys' hair while girlies go get their hair done at a salon. This means about every 6 weeks Ellie gets special Mommy and Me time when we go to Hair Cuttery to get our hair cut and styled.

You can see from the photos that she hates this time. NOT!

A few weeks ago Hair Cuttery asked me if I would tell you about their Share A Haircut program. Since we have been Hair Cuttery customers for about 2 years I readily said "yes."

What is Share A Haircut?

Since 1999 Hair Cuttery has been donating back-to-school haircuts to children in need. To date they've donated more than 625,000 haircuts. That's a lot of children starting school feeling special and looking their best!!

You can also help a child receive a haircut!

This year Hair Cuttery invites you to join them in giving a child a haircut. There are two easy ways you can participate.

  • Tell your friends about Share a Haircut using the easy app. All you have to do is go to the app, click on the Facebook or Twitter icons, then share the link. Easy peasy, as Ellie would say.

  • Take your child to Hair Cuttery August 1-15 for a haircut. Working in partnership with local non-profit agencies, Hair Cuttery will donate a haircut to a child in need for each purchased hair cut.

As you can see from the pictures, Ellie thoroughly enjoyed her hair cut at Hair Cuttery! She's looking forward to starting our extra curricular activities and showing off her beautiful hair cut to her friends.

Will you help a child start school feeling beautiful and excited?

Disclosure: Hair Cuttery provided a gift card to cover part of the cost of Ellie's haircut. Ellie and I are both regular customers of Hair Cuttery #3733. Special thanks to Michelle D. for her patience with my paparazzi antics while she cut Ellie's hair.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Project 10 Update

Project 10 is 9 weeks old. I can't believe we started this journey 9 weeks ago! It doesn't feel that long.

I thought this week would be a good day for an update.

What is Project 10?

In case you missed the introduction to Project 10 let me briefly explain what it is. 

Project 10 is a group of women supporting and encouraging each other in a mutual goal of creating healthy lifestyles. For some of us a healthy lifestyle means weight loss, for others it means developing a habit of exercise. Our methods for living healthy are varied and unique. 

What does 'Project 10' mean?

There seems to be a bit of confusion on the meaning behind Project 10. I chose the name for this project because when you ask a woman how much weight she needs to lose, invariably she says, "About 10 pounds." It could be more or less than that but 10 pounds seems to be the default response.

Project 10 represents all those women who want to feel and look healthy but are stuck in unhealthy habits and with an extra 10 (usually more) pounds.

How much longer will Project 10 last?

Great question. The initial group of Rhode Island based participants signed up for only 10 weeks. Next week is week 10. But, I feel like it's too early to end.

Some of us are finally starting to see a little success and I'm afraid if we quit now we'll revert back to old habits. So I've decided to extend Project 10 until September 26. Then in October, November, December we'll check in on the third Friday of the month.

My hope is to kick-off the New Year with a second round of Project 10 and a free ebook about creating a healthy lifestyle. Any content suggestions for the ebook are welcome and appreciated!

That's where Project 10 is currently and where I hope we go in the future. You are welcome to join in at anytime!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

5 Lessons I Learned at an Amusement Park

You never know where you'll learn a lesson or two!

We checked off another item on our summer fun bucket list this week - visit Six Flags New England. I went on the day trip expecting blistering sun, oppressive heat, and tired feet. I got that and so much more!

In addition to truly enjoying an amusement park for the first time in my life (I don't do roller coasters!), I learned a few life lessons from our summer day trip.

Joel and Sam (3 yrs) riding a Ferris Wheel type ride.

1. Life is not all about me.

Don't get me wrong. As a mom I am all too familiar with this concept! Life ceased to be all about me 9 years ago.

My husband modeled the idea as he readily climbed into and filled 75% of this little wagon. He then rode around in a giant circle in the oven-like wagon. All for the benefit of a 3 year old boy who was too scared to ride alone or with his siblings.

The ride wasn't fun or exciting for my husband but he did it anyway. 

Life is like that. Sometimes you put your own desires aside to help fulfill someone else's dream.

Ellie (5 yrs) loved riding the swings!

2. Life can improve with a shift in perspective.

Ellie enjoyed her ride on the swings immensely. She leaned into it, let go of the plastic covered chains, and waved her arms as if she were flying.

On the other hand, Sam held the chains in a death grip and didn't turn loose during the whole ride. He sat stiff in his seat and managed a smile when encouraged from the sidelines.

Both children rode the same ride but one experienced a fabulous time while the other only endured the ride.

Life is like that. Your response to circumstances shapes the outcome just as much as the circumstances shape you.

Joel impersonated Beyonce while dancing with Daffy Duck!

3. When life's opportunity calls, say "YES!"

As we sat waiting for the Looney Tunes Dance Off show to begin a staff member approached my husband and asked him to participate in the show. Joel had no idea what he signed up for.

In the middle of the performance my introverted husband walked out on stage wearing a bad blond wig, scarf, and sunglasses pretending to be Beyonce!!! We all laughed as he danced around the stage with Daffy Duck and imitated the superstar.

I don't think my kids fully appreciate what it took for their dad to get up in front of complete strangers and act silly. But what a great memory we all have because of his willingness not to take himself to seriously!

Life is like that. You never know how an opportunity will pan out but, if you take a risk, it might turn into something fun and exciting.

4. Carpe diem! Seize the day!

Ellie embodied carpe diem on this day. She rode every ride she was tall enough to ride. She raised her arms in the air and felt the pull of gravity on her insides as her body bounced along the roller coaster track.

She laughed and entered the amusement park fun with gusto! And enjoyed almost every minute of the day. She did NOT enjoy getting soaked on the water ride. 

Life is like that. You embrace the moment and sometimes you love it, while other times you don't.

My Team about to drive off without me.

5. See the big picture.

Today they are 3, 5, 7, and 9 years old. Today I combed her hair into pig tails. I pulled his hat down from the upper shelf in the closet. I made his sandwich. I cleaned his glasses.

On this day they are children enjoying a ride in a motorized car pulled along a track.

I see all of that in this photograph but I also see the future. I see a day in 7 or 8 years when they all climb into a real car and Will drives them off for a night on the town without me. I see a day when my role as a mom shifts from authority to advisor.

Life is like that. You see the frustrations and failures of today and if you are wise you see the successes and possibilities of the future.

Our day trip to Six Flags was a ton of fun. My kids declared it The Best Day EVER! I think I agree with them; lessons, tired feet, and all!

What lessons have you learned this summer?

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Frugal Vacation Planning with SAVE

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of SAVE . All opinions are 100% mine.

The Orca Christmas Show at Sea World San Antonio

My family LOVES traveling, but the cost of a family vacation adds up quick! By the time I pay for transportation, lodging, food, entertainment, and souvenirs for 6 people I've usually spent over $1,500!!

To help lower vacation expenses I always search the internet for discounts and coupons on lodging, entertainment, and food. I bet you do the same thing!

Visit San Antonio knows that moms need a good discount so they've come up with a program called SAVE – San Antonio Vacation Experience. It's one stop internet research for moms planning frugal vacations to San Antonio!

I wish SAVE had been around in December 2011 when my family flew to San Antonio to visit grandparents! We could have saved money using their exclusive discounts, deals, and limited time offers.


Out of curiosity I looked up the 3 attractions we visited last Christmas to see what discounts are currently available.

Since my in-laws live in San Antonio we don't need lodging but if you need a hotel, I highly recommend staying in downtown San Antonio. Multiple museums and attractions are within walking distance of Riverwalk hotels.


We only scratched the surface of San Antonio attractions on our Christmas vacation. Since my in-laws have retired there, I know we'll be back. So using the SAVE website I started a list of places to visit on our next trip:

In addition to bookmarking the website, follow @SAVEinSA on Twitter for all the updates on deals, limited time offers and ideas to help plan your next trip to San Antonio!

What attractions and hotels from SAVE – San Antonio Vacation Experience would you include in your San Antonio vacation?

Disclosure: This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of SAVE. All opinions are 100% mine. Links to SeaWorld, Children's Museum, and The Alamo take you to my reviews of these sites based on our visit in December 2011.

Visit Sponsor's Site
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