How To Make It Through A Sick Day When You Are A Mom

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc., Abreva, Emergen-C, Lipton, Robitussin and Theraflu. All opinions are mine alone. #SickDayTips #CollectiveBias

One of the hardest things about being a mom is that we don’t really get any days off, even when we are not feeling well and could really use a “sick day”. Instead, we have to get through the day the best we can and consider ourselves lucky if we find a few minutes of rest while our children are at school, napping or otherwise occupied. I wanted to share a few ways that I make it through the day when I’m under the weather and hopefully these tips can help you the next time you are sick.

Make sure you are stocked up on the essentials you need to get through your sick day.

I always make sure to have extra blankets on hand because I seem to get chilly every time I’m sick. I also make sure to have tissues, snacks, and something to keep me hydrated within reach. There are also some over-the-counter medicines I make sure to keep stocked up on as well so I have them when I’m not feeling well.

When I have a cough, Robitussin® brand cough syrup is my go-to (and has been for years) because the liquid-strength of Robitussin® soothes on contact and provides cough relief for hours. I really like the new Robitussin® Maximum Strength Honey Cough & Chest Congestion DM because it features the real honey you want and the powerful cough relief you need. It’s also Gluten Free, has no Artificial Colors, and is a True Source Certified Honey.

I’ve also recently discovered Theraflu Power Pods Daytime Severe Cold which are compatible with most single-serve coffee makers and a must-have when you are feeling multiple cold and flu symptoms because they provide powerful relief without a prescription. These fast-relieving pods work on even your most severe symptoms by temporarily relieving these symptoms due to a cold: minor aches and pains, headache, nasal and sinus congestion, cough due to minor throat and bronchial irritation, minor sore throat pain, and temporarily reduces fever. (Remember, Theraflu Power Pods Daytime Severe Cold and Robitussin® Maximum Strength Honey Cough & Chest Congestion DM should not be used at the same time.)

Decide what the absolute “must do” things are and what can be skipped for the day. Then figure out what you can do to make your “must do” tasks easier.

The first thing I do on sick days is decide what my absolute “must do” things are and what things I can skip for the day. As a busy mom of three, some things that are must-do’s include taking care of my baby, school drop-off and pick-up for my older two, being the “mom taxi”, and getting my work with deadlines complete. Things that I skip include any household chores (because nobody is going to notice if the laundry sits in the hamper another day), errands, and any nonessential work on the blog. I also try and figure out what things I can do to make my required tasks easier. For example, feeding my children dinner falls under the “must do” category but I can make it easier on myself by calling it a “breakfast for dinner” night or getting takeout so I don’t have to cook something. And having a baby means diaper changes and feedings so maybe on sick days you have everything in one central place nearby so you aren’t having to walk around carrying baby from room to room everytime you need to change a diaper, get a new outfit, or prepare a bottle. I’m all about simplifying things as much as possible on sick days!

Come up with a few, easy ideas to keep your kids busy.

Those with toddlers to tweens may find it helpful to have some fun, easy ideas ready to keep the kids busy throughout the day. When I was a preschool teacher I always had a box full of things that only came out on rainy days and this box was a sanity saver on those difficult days. Even though the children had seen the toys and activities previously, being put away for a while before being brought back out made the items in the box seem new and exciting and kept their attention for longer than toys that they had been playing with recently. I did this often when my boys were younger and it was perfect for sick days because they were excited to see all the “new” toys that had really just been forgotten and sitting in our garage! Another thing I love doing is having a special “movie marathon” where my kids get to watch movies with mom all day and eat special snacks. I may be feeling under the weather so movie watching is the easiest thing to do for me but in my kid’s eyes it’s a day of fun and cuddles with mom. Lastly, when all else fails, I enact a “quiet time” where the kids have to rest in their beds and read/look at books for an hour or so to give everyone a little well-needed rest time.

Relax!

Once you have your essentials on hand, have your day figured out, and your kids are occupied, it’s time to relax as much as possible! I know this is so difficult to do as a mom but the only way you are going to start feeling better is by resting and taking it easy.

What tips do you have for making it through a sick day?

While you are stocking up on cold and flu essentials you might also want to pick up a few other things for winter self-care. Here are a few I’d recommend making sure you have…. Emergen-C Immune+® Super Orange Gummies naturally supports your immune system and are an excellent source of Vitamin C, Vitamin D and Zinc to help you feel good all winter long.* If drifting off to sleep is difficult you’ll want to try Lipton Bedtime Bliss Tea from the Lipton Wellness range, made with carefully selected botanicals and blended with essential oils that make every cup delicious and helps make wellbeing a part of your everyday routine. It sings you to sleep, like a lullaby in a cup.* And, for that occassional cold sore that pops up in the winter months, you’ll want to grab Abreva® Pump Cold Sore and Fever Blister Treatment, the only FDA approved OTC medicine to shorten healing time, so that you can apply it at the first sign of a cold sore.*

Want to save money? Kroger, where I shopped for all my cold and flu essentials, has everything you need to survive the winter sick days and they have some great deals right now!

Theraflu-(c) 2019 the GSK group of companies or its licensor. Theraflu is for use in adults 12 years and older.

Use all products only as directed. Read label and follow directions. Abreva, Emergen-C, Robitussin – Use only as directed. Read label and follow directions.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent disease.

Medication Safety Tips For Families

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias #LICDrugDisposal

America has a massive opioid crisis so, with National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day taking place tomorrow, I thought it was important to take some time away from my typical light-hearted posts to talk about this serious issue. Since both my youngest son and I take daily prescription medications we always have medicines in our home. I wanted to share ways that you can keep your loved ones safe, whether you take medications on a regular basis, keep your medicine cabinet stocked with over-the-counter medicines, or only have prescription medications in your home a few times a year.

Keep medications in a lock box and hide medications when you have guests in your home

A medication safe is an inexpensive way to keep medications away from little hands and those that weren’t prescribed the medications. I also hide all medications when I have guests in my home. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately fifty-four million Americans over the age of 12 have used prescription medications for non-medical reasons at least once in their lifetime. 77% of opioid prescription medications taken by new users are obtained from a friend or relative (source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) and 62% of teens who admit to taking medication for non-medical reasons say they get drugs from medicine cabinets in their homes (source: National Survey on Drug Use and Health, SAMHSA). With stats like that, even though the medications are in the lock box, I feel more comfortable knowing the medications are not accessible because you never know what struggles those around you are going through.

Talk to kids about the dangers of misusing medications 

Age-appropriate conversations should be happening on a regular basis whether you have medications in your home or not. I have heard stories in the news about grade school drug scares and prescription misuse so I made sure to talk about this issue with my two tweens. They know that they aren’t to take medicines unless mom or dad okays it, they should never accept any type of medications from others or share their medications with others, and they should always tell me if someone offers them something. We’ve talked to them about the dangers of misusing medications- not to scare them- but to make sure they know how serious the situation can be.

Discard unused or expired medications properly

I think it’s safe to say that most of us have had to figure out what to do with unused or expired medications (whether over-the-counter or prescription). Personally, I had a few bottles of medication that I’d been hanging on to because I didn’t know what to do with them! I didn’t want to flush them down the toilet because it wasn’t good for the environment and I didn’t want to throw them away because I didn’t want the drug being abused by others who may discover them.

I recently learned about a safe option for discarding unused or expired medications that was created in an effort to assist in reducing these issues. LifeInCheck (an amazing program I’ve previously shared about on the blog) created a Drug Disposal program that provides consumers with a safe option to discard their unused or outdated prescription medications in secure receptacles located across the US. You can use the LifeInCheck Drug Disposal Search tool to find a LifeInCheck Drug Disposal location near you by going here and entering your city/state or zip code and search radius.

The receptacles are a discreet and responsible way to dispose of unused or expired prescription medication (including Schedule II-V controlled substances), unused or expired over-the-counter medication, and even pet medications. They are simple to use as well- just pull to open the drawer, place medications inside, and close the drawer to safely discard the medication. It should be noted that the receptacles should not be used to discard of Schedule I controlled substances, Illegal drugs, inhalers, or non-medicine items like thermometers, lotions/liquids, aerosol cans, needles, and hydrogen peroxide.

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is tomorrow, October 27th, 2018, but these LifeInCheck Drug Disposal receptacles are available year-round. Learn more and find a receptacle location here. I’d love your help in getting the word out about this issue so please feel free to share this post with your friends and family. You can also chat with me on social (Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook) or I’m always available via email as well if you prefer to chat off social.

Tips For Dealing With Seasonal Grass Allergies

This post is sponsored by Stallergenes Greer. Disclaimer: I am not a Doctor and this should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult your Doctor before starting this, or any other, medication or treatment plan. I am not on ORALAIR® (Sweet Vernal, Orchard, Perennial Rye, Timothy, and Kentucky Blue Grass Mixed Pollens Allergen Extract) Tablet for Sublingual Use; however, I am sharing because I thought it may help one of you.

The cooler weather here in Chicago seems never ending so I’m already dreaming of the warmer months that are coming in the (seemingly not-so-near) future. I love when the warmer weather comes because nicer days mean vacations, outdoor sports, time by the pool, concerts in the park, and camping. I like everything about the warmer months, except for the allergies they bring. It’s frustrating when being outside doing fun things with my family means itchy eyes, sneezing, a runny nose, and general congestion for me.

As an allergy sufferer I wanted to share some of the things that have worked for me when it comes to dealing with seasonal allergies.

First, I recommend staying inside (with the windows closed) as much as possible on days that allergens are bad. When you check the weather forecast each day you can also look at an allergy tracker that lets you know what pollen levels are like outside. I get an alert on my phone (you can easily set one up using IFTTT) when pollen is high, too, so I’m aware of the pollen count without having to look at the allergy tracker every day.

When you have to go outside on high pollen days, avoid activities that will stir up the allergens- like mowing the lawn. I’d also suggest taking off your shoes and changing your clothes when you come inside so you don’t spread the allergens around your home. (If you have time for a shower that’s great to do as well but I know it’s not always possible to shower mid-day -especially when you have little ones!)

Also, if you have an allergy to grass pollen, you should visit your doctor to talk about sublingual immunotherapy, like ORALAIR. ORALAIR is an FDA approved medicine prescribed to treat sneezing, runny nose or itchy eyes for patients 10-65 years old, who have been diagnosed with an allergy to any of the five grass pollens. The therapy works by providing the patient a small amount of allergen in a pill under the tongue daily and it can be taken at home after the first dose is administered in the doctor’s office. This sublingual immunotherapy may be considered for children 10 and over and adults who can’t or won’t consider allergy shots. In children and adults, the most commonly reported side effects were itching of the mouth, lips, tongue or throat. These side effects, by themselves, are not dangerous or life-threatening. ORALAIR can cause severe allergic reactions that may be life-threatening. Symptoms of allergic reactions to ORALAIR include: trouble breathing, throat tightness or swelling, trouble swallowing or speaking, dizziness or fainting, rapid or weak heartbeat, severe stomach cramps or pain, vomiting, or diarrhea, severe flushing or itching of the skin. For more information, check out: http://www.oralair.com/assets/pdf/ORALAIR%20Med%20Guide.pdf

While I am not on ORALAIR, the reason I’m sharing about seasonal grass allergies so early in the year is because sublingual immunotherapy requires patients to begin treatment as early as winter before the start of grass allergy season so I wanted to give everyone plenty of time to look into this option in case it may help one of you.

The good news though, is that ORALAIR can reduce grass allergy symptoms within the first allergy season it is taken. It can also help patients take less of other allergy medicine during the grass allergy season. Over time, ORALAIR is effective in relieving grass allergy symptoms—not only in the first pollen season after you begin treatment, but also year after year for up to three years of treatment. ORALAIR can help you reduce your grass allergy symptoms like runny or itchy nose, itchy and watery eyes, sneezing and nasal congestion.

Here are some topics and questions that you may want to discuss with your doctor to learn more about your grass allergies and treatment options, including ORALAIR:

– What is allergy immunotherapy?
– How can I find out if I’m allergic to grass pollen?
– Could ORALAIR be an appropriate treatment option to help relieve my symptoms?
– How does the treatment routine for ORALAIR differ from my current one?
– How should I take ORALAIR?
– Are there support resources available for patients taking ORALAIR?
– How much does ORALAIR cost? Is it covered by my insurance?

What would you enjoy doing outside if your seasonal allergies were under control?

Disclaimer: I am not a Doctor and this should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult your Doctor before starting this, or any other, medication or treatment plan.

 

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Indications and Usage

ORALAIR (Sweet Vernal, Orchard, Perennial Rye, Timothy, and Kentucky Blue Grass Mixed Pollens Allergen Extract) is a prescription medicine used for sublingual (under the tongue) immunotherapy prescribed to treat sneezing, runny or itchy nose, nasal congestion or itchy and watery eyes due to allergy to these grass pollens. ORALAIR may be prescribed for persons 10 to 65 years old whose doctor has confirmed are allergic to at least one of these five grass pollens.

ORALAIR is taken about four months before the expected start of the grass pollen season and is continued throughout the grass pollen season.

ORALAIR is NOT a medication that gives immediate relief of allergy symptoms.

Important Safety Information

ORALAIR can cause severe allergic reactions that may be life-threatening. Symptoms of allergic reactions to ORALAIR include:

– Trouble breathing
– Throat tightness or swelling
– Trouble swallowing or speaking
– Dizziness or fainting
– Rapid or weak heartbeat
– Severe stomach cramps or pain, vomiting, or diarrhea
– Severe flushing or itching of the skin

If any of these symptoms occur, stop taking ORALAIR and immediately seek medical care. For home administration of ORALAIR, your doctor should prescribe auto-injectable epinephrine for you to keep at home for treating a severe reaction, should one occur. Your doctor will train and instruct you on the proper use of auto-injectable epinephrine.

Do not take ORALAIR if you or your child:

– Has severe, unstable, or uncontrolled asthma;
– Had a severe allergic reaction in the past that included trouble breathing, dizziness or fainting, or rapid or weak heartbeat;
– Has ever had difficulty with breathing due to swelling of the throat or upper airway after using any sublingual immunotherapy before;
– Has ever been diagnosed with eosinophilic esophagitis; or
– Is allergic to any of the inactive ingredients contained in ORALAIR.

Stop taking ORALAIR and contact your doctor if you or your child has any mouth surgery procedures (such as tooth removal), develops any mouth infections, ulcers or cuts in the mouth or throat, or has heartburn, difficulty swallowing, pain with swallowing, or chest pain that does not go away or worsens.

In children and adults, the most commonly reported side effects were itching of the mouth, lips, tongue or throat. These side effects, by themselves, are not dangerous or life-threatening.

You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800- FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch. Talk to your doctor before using ORALAIR while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Please see full Prescribing Information, including Boxed Warning and Medication Guide.

The Gift Of Sight

Thanks to Visionworks for sponsoring this post and giving me the gift of sight.

Back in August I worked with Visionworks to promote back to school eye exams and took Lucas for an annual eye exam there. He didn’t need any glasses but I confirmed my suspicions about my own vision problems when I couldn’t read the letters that he was being asked to read aloud during the vision test. Not only did I have difficulty seeing things far away but I had started to get headaches while working on my computer or reading. I knew it was time that I did something about my sight so, as I left, I promised them that I would “see them soon”.

But I didn’t “see them soon”.

Though I’d had plans to call that following week to set an appointment up for myself I didn’t because I’d gotten busy. I was busy with back-to-school prep and then busy with the chaos that those first few weeks of school brought. Then I was busy juggling fall sports practices and games and before I knew it, it was Halloween time, and there were school activities and community activities and I was too busy. I’m sure you can guess what happened next as November came….the holiday prep was starting and I surely didn’t have time over the holidays to go! I had gifts to buy and menus to plan and holiday events to prepare for. I was TOO BUSY. Too busy to find the time to get an eye exam so I could see properly. Can you all believe that?

This is the problem for many of us moms, I think. We tell ourselves that we don’t have time when it comes to our needs and wants. Had it been my child who was saying he couldn’t see you all know that kid would have had an appointment that very next day because being able to see is important! Why was I putting off this important task just because it was for myself? Moms, we have to stop doing this. We need to prioritize ourselves, especially when it comes to our health and well-being!

I am so embarrased to say that I probably would have waited until the new year to make an appointment had I not received a note from the Visionworks folks wishing me a happy holidays. That was the reminder I needed to make myself an appointment. Yes, it is the busy holiday season but I was tired of the headaches and tired of not being able to see very well. I was going to do something for myself. (And another reason to schedule that appointment asap? You want to use those vision benefits before the end of the year! Visit your local Visionworks for an annual eye exam and pair of glasses before your FSA dollars or vision benefits go to waste.)

So I made myself an appointment for later that week and headed in. I told the eye doctor that driving at night was difficult because the headlights of the uncoming traffic bothered me and I told her that I had difficulty seeing things far away. She did all her testing and, sure enough, I neeeded glasses. Though my left eye had pretty perfect vision, my right eye did not and she found that I had Astigmatism. She said this was probably the cause of why night driving was hard for me and said that basically the astigmatism made light “burst”.

After the eye doctor figured out what prescription lenses I need it was time for me to pick out the frames. There was such a great selection at Visionworks but I chose a large pair of blueish-purple colored frames that were the complete opposite of something my typical plain, neutral colored loving self would choose. A few days later my glasses were ready and I headed back in to pick them up. When I put them on my face it was amazing the difference I saw. Everything went from blurry to clear. I knew I had difficulty seeing far away but I had no idea that I’d been walking around with a view of the world like this. How had I not realized that I wasn’t seeing clearly? All of a sudden my headaches made sense. I was trying to read slightly blurry text for hours a day and, while I was able to read it all, it must have been putting a lot of stress on my eyes without me realizing it.

If you haven’t had an eye exam in a while I encourage you to make an appointment right now. Yes, I know it’s Christmas Eve tomorrow and you are busy with all the holiday preparation, but make an appointment to go to your local Visionworks next week when things have calmed down and you need to get out of the house to escape the winter break craziness (trust me…you’ll thank me later….) Plus, remember that most vision plan and HSA benefits will expire December 31st so you want to use the benefits before you lose them.

The gift of sight is such a blessing and I really hope that you’ll give that gift to yourself this holiday season!

5 Tips For Clearer Skin

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #AfterDifferin #CollectiveBias

I shared back in May how I’ve been self-conscious for years because of my acne prone skin. It’s kept me from introducing myself to new people, getting in pictures with my children, and starting to use video as a tool for blogging. I never realized how much my bad skin kept me from doing things, but recently it’s become more apparent. For example, I’m in the process of planning my wedding. I found the most beautiful dress, but I wouldn’t let my mom take a photo of me in it at the bridal dress store. I wasn’t wearing makeup and I didn’t want any pictures of my bare face. The photo below is the image she ended up with and what I shared on social media. As you can see, my face is nowhere to be found.

Knowing that on my wedding day I’ll be in numerous photos, I decided that it was really important to focus on improving my skin. I want to look back on my wedding photos and see my smiling face next to my husband. I also want to be in more pictures with my children instead of hiding behind the camera all the time. My bad skin has greatly affected every area of my life, and I decided that I’m not going to let it do so any longer. There are five things I’ve been doing to work on clearing up my skin, so I wanted to share them with you all in the hopes that they can help someone else.

The first, and most important thing that I did, was add Differin® Gel to my skincare regimen. It’s the only prescription-strength retinoid available over-the-counter for clearing and preventing acne. It’s the newest advancement and ingredient in the OTC acne category in over 30 years! It clears breakouts where they start (deep in the pores) and prevents breakouts before they begin and as a result, restores skin’s texture and tone. I’ve noticed clearer skin after using this product for a couple months. I went from always having one or two large pimples and a number of smaller ones to only having a pimple or two around the time my period comes. I also noticed that the breakouts that I do get are less severe and go away quicker than before.

I took photos before I started using Differin® Gel and about two months later. In both images I have a light layer of moisturizing cream on my face and that’s it. I normally add some concealer over my breakouts, but for these pictures I didn’t put any on. (Both images are not retouched or edited in any way, I’m just a bit tanner in the “after” image since the warmer weather is here and I’m outside more.)

You can see in the images above how much better my skin looks in just a couple months. My chin and cheeks, the areas that used to break out the most, are clear of new breakouts now except for one small pimple. After living with numerous breakouts all over my face, I can deal with a tiny one, especially knowing that it won’t get as bad as my pimples used to get. If you look at the “before” picture you’ll see that I have a large dark spot on my right cheek which was a pimple that seemed to be there for months. That doesn’t happen anymore!

Along with using Differin® Gel, I wanted to share some other things I’m doing in my quest for healthier looking skin.

 

  • Using a moisturizer daily- I used to avoid moisturizer because I thought it made my skin worse; however,  I discovered that a lightweight moisturizer made for acne prone skin, like Differin® Balancing Moisturizer, is actually good for my skin.

  • Drinking more water- Again, skin needs to be moisturized! Drinking plenty of water helps the skin look fabulous from the inside out. I am still not reaching my daily water intake goal, but I’m drinking more water than I used to.

  • Touching my face less- Whether it’s picking at a breakout, rubbing my forehead when I’m stressed, or resting my chin in my hands, I realized that I touched my face on a frequent basis. This habit not only spreads germs but was probably making my acne worse, so I’m trying to be more conscious of this habit and working on keeping my hands away from my face.

  • Having makeup free days- Now that my skin is clearing up, I feel better not wearing makeup every second. If I have a day I’m not doing much, I’ll skip makeup and give my skin a day to breathe.

I hope these five tips for clearer skin help you if you are suffering from acne. If you want to try Differin® Gel you can find it in the facial skincare aisle at Walmart by the other acne-fighting products. Go to Differin.com to get $2 off Differin® Gel and use it on your next shopping trip to Walmart!

When using the product, keep in mind that Differin® Gel is not used in the same way as a spot treatment. In order to get the best results, you should apply a thin layer all over the face, once a day, every day, after your skin is washed and before moisturizer. Please use caution when using Differin® Gel with more than one acne treatment or glycolic acid product because this could lead to irritation. Also, it’s important to continue using Differin® Gel as part of your skincare routine, even after your skin looks clear, to help prevent future breakouts.

Do you struggle with acne or have you in the past? If so, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below! Let me know if you have any great tips to share on how to reduce acne other than the ones I’ve listed here.

Disclosure: This product is dermatologist developed and tested. Please call 1-866-735-4137 for any questions you may have concerning the product. However, should you experience any problems while using the product, please discontinue use and consult your healthcare provider.

Fun Ways To Teach Kids Good Oral Hygiene Habits

This post and party were sponsored by ACT Kids Toothpaste but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

As parents, there are a lot of life skills that we have to teach our children- from helping them learn to feed and dress themselves to organizational skills that help them succeed in school. My past eight and a half years of parenting have been spent teaching (and re-teaching) my children these various skills. Some skills have taken my boys just days to learn and others have taken years for them to master.

One skill that is very important for kids to learn is good oral hygiene habits, from proper brushing to flossing to rinsing. There are also other things they need to learn when it comes to oral hygiene, like what foods they should avoid and the importance of visiting the dentist. The best way to teach children all of these skills is to make learning them fun and what better way to do that then to have a little party with friends?

Here are some fun, easy ways to teach kids good oral hygiene habits at a TOOTHtastic party.

Help children develop an oral hygiene routine.

Getting Lucas to brush his teeth is a daily struggle and I know I’m not alone in this. According to a recent survey, nearly 4 in 10 moms say getting their kids to brush their teeth is one of their most frustrating daily battles.* I have discovered that my boys are more likely to follow an oral hygiene routine if it’s enjoyable so we’ve tried many things to make brushing a more fun experience, from picking out a cool toothbrush to choosing pleasant tasting toothpaste. Other things you can do are to use a timer for kids to make sure they are brushing long enough and a tooth brushing chart to let them track their progress and make sure they brush at least twice a day.

Help your children learn about foods that are good for their teeth and foods that are bad for their teeth.

For younger children you can do a “happy tooth, sad tooth” activity. Draw and cut out two large teeth on paper and then draw a smile on one and a sad face on the other. Use clipart from the computer or cut out foods from grocery ads and then let your child sort the different foods and decide which ones make teeth “happy” and which ones make teeth “sad”. When they are done with the sorting activity they can color the teeth “happy” and “sad” colors as well.

Teach children how to care for their teeth.

  • Brush twice a day for two minutes each time

  • Add rinse (when they turn 6)

  • Floss daily (as soon as they have two teeth that touch)

ACT has a number of oral care products that are perfect for children. ACT Kids Toothpaste, available for kids ages 2 years and older in bubble gum and fruit punch flavors, strengthens and protects developing teeth and helps prevent cavities. The new ACT Kids Toothpaste is available at a variety of retail locations, including select Walmart, Walgreens, and Target locations. ACT Kids Anticavity Fluoride Rinse is also a good option for kids 6 and older because swishing with it for just 60 seconds a day reduces children’s cavities by up to 40% versus brushing alone. Get a coupon for ACT products here.

How do you help your children learn good oral hygiene habits?

* This survey was sponsored by Sanofi Consumer Healthcare and conducted online using Toluna’s QuickSurveys methodology between February 13, 2017 and February 14, 2017 among 1,150 moms with children between the ages of two and 12 in the USA. Respondents for Toluna QuickSurveys are selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Toluna surveys.

Toluna’s SmartSelectTM methodology was used to promote sample representativeness. SmartSelect relies on statistical matching rather than probability sampling to select survey respondents, based on demographic, attitudinal and behavioral characteristics that match those of the target population. Figures for age, gender, region, race/ethnicity, education and income are also weighted to bring them into line with their actual proportions within the population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in Toluna surveys, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

DIY Decorative Mirror And Clear Skin Dreams

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BeforeDifferin #CollectiveBias

This July, I will be turning 34. Now that I’m well into my 30s and have bought a home, have two kids and drive a minivan, I think it’s pretty safe to say that I’m fully grown. Can someone please inform my skin that I’m an adult? I don’t think it got the memo! Those dreaded teenage years are behind me (long behind me….) and yet I still find myself looking in the mirror at a face full of acne.

To be honest though, I don’t remember having a lot of breakouts in junior high or high school. I had some annoying pimples but nothing out of the ordinary during that hormonal time when acne tends to be at its worst. I feel like my skin played a trick on me and, as soon as I became an adult, decided to go haywire. I don’t know if it’s the stress of “adulting” or what, but my skin has never been this bad. I feel like I’m always dealing with breakouts and as soon as some start to fade, new ones appear.

My acne keeps me from enjoying life to its fullest because I am so self-conscious about how my skin looks. In college I was the Student Council Social Chair of my class and so outgoing that I would pull people walking by me into conversations (even if I didn’t know them!) Nowadays, I avoid conversations with people mainly because I feel like people are staring at the breakouts on my face.

I also find myself avoiding cameras and video for the same reason. As a blogger, I’d love to start a video series. I used to be on the speech team and have no problem performing in front of crowds, but I hate how I look so much that the thought of doing so now gives me anxiety – not because I have to talk in front of people, but because I don’t want people to see me.

And mirrors? I avoid them because they show every imperfection. I’d rather not look at myself that much because I don’t want to see how bad my breakouts are.

I’ve decided that it’s time to change my mindset about my skin and not let it hold me back from being the best version of myself. I need to be able to look in the mirror and love the face I see looking back at me. It’s going to be a process but I’m ready.

The first thing I’m doing is trying a new acne product that I hope will clear up my skin. I have tried a number of products and none of them have worked but I’m excited to try this new Differin® Gel because I have heard good things about it. It’s the first and only prescription strength retinoid that’s now available over the counter for clearing and preventing acne. It actually clears breakouts where they start (deep in the pores), prevents breakouts before they begin, and as a result, restores skin’s texture and tone.

The second thing I did for myself was make myself a decorative mirror to look into every day. I do not want to avoid mirrors anymore. This was such an easy craft that I wanted to share the DIY tutorial so you could make one for yourself. It will look so pretty hanging over your table with some fresh flowers next to it!

Materials needed:

  • Mirror
  • Mosaic tiles (colors of your choice)
  • Adhesive created for mosaic tiles

Instructions:

Decide on how you want to arrange your mosaic tiles. Lay them out on your mirror so you can see how they fit. Depending on the size of your mirror and the size of your tiles, you may discover you need to cut some of the tiles or have some hang off the edge of the mirror a bit.

Use the adhesive to stick the tiles to the mirror. The adhesive dries quickly, so only do a small portion at a time. You can put glue on the mirror or on the back of the tiles. (I started putting it on the mirror but halfway through switched to putting the adhesive glue on the back of the tiles. Both methods worked, but putting it on the back of the tiles seemed to be less messier.)

Continue adding the tiles all the way around the mirror, straightening the pieces as you go so that the tiles dry in a straight line and aren’t crooked. Once the tiles are glued on, you will want to let the mirror sit overnight to dry before using it.

So now I have a new product I am confident will clear my skin and a beautifully decorated mirror to look into. I will be sharing my journey, along with a skin update, here on the blog in a couple months.

You can find Differin® Gel, along with Differin® Balancing Cleanser and Differin® Balancing Moisturizer, in the complexion care aisle at Walmart. Differin® Gel contains the dermatologist recommended retinoid, Adapalene. It’s the newest advancement and ingredient in the OTC acne category in over 30 years so if you feel like nothing has worked yet you should try this! Make sure that when you use it, you apply a thin layer all over your face once daily. Please use caution when using Differin® Gel with more than one acne treatment or glycolic acid product because this could lead to irritation.

If you are in a similar situation with the way you feel about your skin, I’d love to hear from you and perhaps even go on this journey {virtually} together! You deserve clear skin and to feel beautiful!

This product is dermatologist developed and tested. Please call 1-866-735-4137 for any questions you may have concerning the product. However, should you experience any problems while using the product, please discontinue use and consult your healthcare provider.

How To Get Through Your Work Day When You Have Chronic Pain

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. All opinions are mine alone. #StopPainNow #CollectiveBias

It’s hard for me to remember a time when I wasn’t in daily pain. I often joke that I’m in the body of someone double my age but, in reality, my situation is really not funny. Soon after I turned 30, I started to experience chronic joint and muscle pain. Sometimes the arthritic pain is just a dull ache I push through while I work. Other times I suffer from a throbbing pain that affects my movement as I go about my daily activities. I’ve even had a short period of time where the inflammation in my body was so bad that I said I’d rather go through childbirth again than deal with the debilitating pain I was suffering from.

I try not to let my pain keep me from living my life. During the past few years I have managed to work full-time from home while raising two very active and busy boys. I’ve had to learn to work through the pain, and I’ve done so, but wouldn’t it be great if there was something to help you overcome that pain?

There is! I recently learned about Curamin® Stop Pain Now, a dietary supplement that provides award winning pain relief. The key to Curamin® is that it doesn’t just mask occasional pain, it gets to the source and stops it.

Curamin® is available at fine health food stores (check the store locator to find a retailer near you). I found mine at Health Nutz in Mokena, IL. Surprisingly, as I walked into the store I overheard the owner talking with a customer about it. When I mentioned that’s what I was there for as well the customer raved about it saying it worked so well for her which was encouraging to me.

There were a variety of Curamin® products on the shelf but I chose to get the Curamin® Extra Strength 60 count. The owner told me more about the product as she rang it up and she also gave me some informational sheets and a magazine.

What I like about Curamin® is that it’s a safe choice for pain relief and it’s effective while being non-addictive. It’s herbal formula is different from over-the-counter pain meds and prescription drugs that can sometimes have negative side effects. This is important to me because I’ve used other medicines before to manage my pain and, while they worked, they had side effects I didn’t like, such as weight gain and not being able to drive while taking them.

Other than using this Curamin® product to help with pain relief, here are some other things I do to deal with my chronic pain and get through my work day:

On the really bad pain days, decide what’s most important and get that done first. There are days where the pain is going to be so bad that you aren’t going to be able to get much done and that is okay. Make a to-do list and mark the three biggest priorities. Get those done first and then work on the rest of the list. If you only get a few things done at least you’ve gotten the most important items crossed off your list.

Every hour stop working and walk around for a couple minutes to reduce stiffness. When I get working I tend to do so without stopping but I’ve noticed that if I sit in one position for too long my muscles get really sore. To reduce this soreness it helps me to walk around a bit every hour or two. Take a lap around your office, walk to the bathroom, or walk around your home.

Drink more water. I learned recently that dehydration can make muscle soreness worse so I’ve been trying to drink more water. If you have a hard time drinking as much water as you should be drinking you can try flavoring it with some fresh fruit. That’s my favorite way to drink it!

Do some gentle stretching. Stretching increases blood flow to the muscles to relieve stiffness. I do some simple stretches while I’m working if I feel muscles starting to tense up.

Give yourself permission to take a break when you need one. Living with chronic pain is difficult so give yourself permission to take breaks. Enjoy a leisurely lunch, head outside for a little fresh air and take a walk, or just sit quietly and meditate.

How do you get through your work day with chronic pain? I’d love to hear your tips!

 

How To Brighten Your Child’s Day When They Are Sick

This post has been sponsored by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare and 20th Century Fox. All thoughts are my own.

When my boys are sick there is nothing I wish more than to have the ability to make them feel better. Though I can’t magically cure them, there are a few things that I can do as a mom to brighten their day when they aren’t feeling well. Here are five ways to bring a smile to their face on sick days.

Make them a fun snack.

When kids are sick it’s sometimes a struggle to get food in them so, around here, sick days mean special treats. The snacks I give my kids vary depending on what they are sick with. If they have a sore throat I give them cold things that go down easily like popsicles and ice cream. If you don’t have any popsicles you can easily make your own by freezing small paper cups full of coconut water and fresh fruit (just make sure to stick a popsicle stick in them before they are fully frozen). If your child has a cold perhaps they’d rather a bowl of chicken noodle soup made with fun alphabet letter shaped pasta. For fevers or aches & pains I generally give my kids things like pudding and snack mixes.

Watch a movie they haven’t seen before.

Cuddling while watching a movie is one of our favorite things to do on sick days. I enjoy introducing my kids to the movies of my childhood. Just recently we watched The Sandlot which I knew my baseball playing boys would love. The movie is about a shy kid, Scotty, who desperately wants to make friends and join the pickup baseball team that plays every day in the neighborhood sandlot. The oldest player on the team lets him play and the summer passes as Scotty learns to play ball. One day when they need a ball to play with, Scotty returns home and “borrows” his stepfather’s ball, which he promptly uses to hit his first home run, knocking the ball clear out of the sandlot into mean old Mr. Mertle’s junkyard, home to Mertle’s legendary guard dog The Beast. The boys learn how valuable the ball is and try to rescue it without The Beast getting them. This classic movie will become a family favorite!

Play a board game or card game.

Normally when our kiddos are sick they don’t want to move around too much so board games or card games are perfect activities to keep them occupied because they can be played on the couch. Our family loves playing games and I shared our top 10 favorite games here if you are looking for some more to add to your collection. For sick days we like to choose games that make us laugh like Pie Face and Headbandz or games that take a lot of time like Monopoly.

Make a craft together.

Crafts that don’t require a lot of messy materials are great for sick days. If there is a craft or hobby you have been wanting to teach your child, now is the perfect time to start. Things like learning to crochet take time and patience and are great to start on a day when your child will be sitting around anyways. Another craft you can do together is make new crayons out of old crayon pieces. The bulk of time for this activity is peeling the crayon wrappers off the crayons which is something children can do while they relax on the couch. After an adult does the cooking part of this craft kids will enjoy coloring with their new crayons.

Give them medicine to make them feel a little better.

You’ll want to consult your child’s pediatrician when they are sick. Our children’s doctor often recommends using over the counter medicines, especially when our boys have fevers or coughs. When our kids have aches and pains or fevers we count on Children’s Advil® to relieve their pain and bring their fever down. Children’s Advil® comes in several great-tasting flavors, including: Sugar-free Dye-free Berry, Bubble Gum, Grape, Blue Raspberry, Fruit and Dye-Free White Grape flavors, which makes children more willing to take their medicine. If they have coughs or chest congestion we use Children’s Robitussin® Cough & Chest Congestion made for children 4+. The non-drowsy daytime formula helps break up chest congestion.

Shop at Target and save with Cartwheel coupon codes–>

 

What do you do to brighten your child’s day when they are sick?

Moms Don’t Get Sick Days {$25 Visa Gift Card Giveaway}

This post has been sponsored by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare.

Being sick is the worst because, as moms, we don’t get “sick days”. We can’t just say to our children, “sorry, you are on your own today”. Instead, we have to get through the day the best we can and consider ourselves lucky if we find a few minutes of rest while our children are at school, napping or otherwise occupied.

I wanted to share a few ways that I get through my sick days which often include a full schedule of school drop-off and pickup, at least one sports practice/game or extracurricular activity for the kids, and a day of working online. Not to mention the things that must get done including helping the kids get ready for school, feeding them dinner, etc.

The first thing I do on sick days is decide what my absolute “must do” things are and what things I can skip for the day. The laundry can sit in the hamper another day and I normally will push off any nonessential work on the blog as well. I also try and figure out what things I can do to make my required tasks easier. For example, feeding my children dinner falls under the “must do” category but I can make it easier on myself by calling it a “breakfast for dinner” night or getting takeout so I don’t have to cook something.

Next you’ll want to come up with a few ideas to keep your kids busy throughout the day. When I was a preschool teacher I always had a box full of things that only came out on rainy days or days we were stuck inside. This box saved my sanity on those days. Even though the children had seen the toys and activities previously, being put away for a while before being brought back out made the items in the box seem new and exciting and kept their attention for longer than toys that they had been playing with recently. Other ideas include having a special movie marathon day with your kids or enacting a “quiet time” where children don’t have to nap but they have to rest in their beds and read/look at books for a certain period of time.

Once you have your day figured out and your kids are occupied it’s time to gather your essentials and relax. I always make sure to have extra blankets on hand because I always seem to get cold when I’m sick. I also make sure to have everything in reach I’ll need like tissues, something to drink, and a snack to eat.

You’ll also want to take some medicine to help you feel better. If you are feeling congested talk to your doctor about trying Advil® Cold & Sinus, the #1 pharmacist recommended brand for Cough, Cold and Flu Combinations for Daytime. This over-the-counter medicine combines the relief of a strong decongestant to open your airways with the power of Advil® to relieve the pain commonly associated with sinus pressure. As moms we may not get to take a sick day but we can at least do something to make ourselves feel better while we are sick!

How do you get through a sick day? I’d love for you to share your tips in the comments!

ENTER TO WIN A $25 VISA GIFT CARD

Leave a comment on this post telling me how you get through a sick day for a chance to win a $25 Visa gift card.

Share this post on social media and leave a comment with the link to your social share for an additional entry.

Giveaway ends February 7, 2017 at 11:59pm CST. Must be a US resident 21 or older, with a physical address (no P.O. boxes) to enter. Winner will be notified via email and will have 24 hours to respond to claim the prize.

 

 

Three Resources To Help Manage Your Family’s Health

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all thoughts are my own.

As a busy mom I feel like I have a million things to do every day. Keeping track of my family’s health is just one of those things, but probably the most important one on my to-do list. I wanted to share a few resources that will help you manage your health and your family’s health.

Pregnancy & Baby Tracker from BabyCenter

This is a great resource for moms who are pregnant or have babies. I was on BabyCenter when my kids were younger and now they have an app so moms can use it on the go. The app will guide you through your pregnancy – week-by-week and day-by-day – with tips, insights, and fetal development videos timed for your exact stage of pregnancy. The app has a kick counter, contraction timer, birth plan checklist, and more. There are also thousands of medically reviewed articles to help you through your pregnancy journey and through your first year as a new parent.

LiveHealth Online

Ever have that middle of the night medical question where you wonder if you should wait until the morning or call the doctor’s answering service? If you decide that you are desperate enough to call the answering service you then have to wait to hear back from the doctor, which could take hours. Luckily, there is LiveHealth Online, a mobile app and website that provides consumers with a convenient way to have live video visits with doctors for non­emergency health conditions.

According to a recent survey of the EmpowHER community, 71% of moms surveyed reported losing two or more hours of work/school each day they had to visit the doctor. With doctors available 24 hours a day, seven days a week on LiveHealth Online, moms won’t have this problem any more. The service is perfect for busy moms who can’t take time off work to go to the doctor or who find themselves needing a doctor’s opinion in the middle of the night.

CareZone

When I was ill last fall I was looking for something to keep track of symptoms I was experiencing and I came across CareZone. This app became vital in helping me remember what medications I was on, what symptoms I had each day and when prescriptions needed to be refilled. I loved having all of my important medical information in one place along with a place to journal and keep notes and contact information. My “mommy brain” makes remembering all this information difficult so having it in an app to bring with to doctor appointments is fantastic.

I’d love to hear what websites and apps you use to manage your family’s health.

 

Is It A Cold Or Is It Fall Allergies?

Disclosure: I’m proud to partner with MinuteClinic as part of their Fall Allergy campaign. As part of my involvement, I have received sponsorship from MinuteClinic for my posts and activities, but all opinions expressed are purely my own.

Did you know that 35 million Americans suffer from allergies and don’t even know it? That’s because many people confuse the symptoms of fall allergies with a common cold or the flu. I know I have confused them before and thought I was suffering from a cold that just wouldn’t go away when really it was allergies.

The folks at MinuteClinic, walk-in medical clinics inside select CVS Pharmacy and Target stores across the U.S., share the following important differences to help you identify if it’s a cold/flu or allergies. The first thing to consider is how fast your symptoms developed. If your symptoms develop fast, it’s likely allergies because allergy symptoms flare up as soon as you’ve come into contact with an allergen. If symptoms developed over several days it’s likely a cold. The length of sickness could be a clue as well. A cold will typically clear up pretty quickly, within 7-10 days. Allergies may last weeks or even months!

Another common allergy symptom is itchy eyes which are something that rarely occur with the common cold. Along with itchy eyes, allergy symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, headache and sinus pressure. Signs it’s probably a cold or flu and not allergies include: the presence of a cough, green or yellow mucus, severe shortness of breath, a fever and/or aches and pains.

If you believe you have allergies you’ll want to see a healthcare provider. At MinuteClinic, nurse practitioners and physicians assistants can recommend the right course of over-the-counter medications and write prescriptions when medically appropriate. They can review your medical history, perform a physical exam, analyze your symptoms and decide on a treatment plan. MinuteClinic is open 7 days a week, including weekday evening hours. No appointment is necessary and most health care insurance is accepted.

Your healthcare provider may recommend taking an over the counter antihistamine which works to relieve itchy noses and throats, sneezing, and watery eyes. When you visit MinuteClinic, make sure to pick up their J&J coupon book which has $40 worth of savings in it to help you have a healthy fall season!

Along with taking an over the counter allergy medication I try to avoid being outside on days that allergens are high. MinuteClinic also suggests rinsing sinuses to remove mucus and allergens from the nose and also running the air conditioner instead of opening the window on nice fall days. If you do yard work they say you should avoid raking leaves, especially when they ar wet and the likeliness of mold is high, or at least wear a face mask when you do so. Also, remember to  take off your clothes and shoes when you come into the house to avoid spreading the allergens throughout your house.

I’d love to hear what tips you have that help relieve allergy symptoms!

 

 

No Sew DIY Bag Made From A Tank Top

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and alli® weight loss aid. All opinions are mine alone. #alliInMyLife #After #CollectiveBias

A couple months ago I started on a journey of improving my health. I shared in my previous post about the “aha” moment that I had when I looked at pictures from the past years and realized I was only in a handful of them. I had been letting my weight dictate my life and keep me from the things I wanted to do and it was time for a change.

I wanted to share some things that I am trying that are helping me get healthier like exercising more, eating better and taking alli® weight loss aid. The main thing I’m doing though, is giving myself permission to make myself a priority. As a mom, I always put my children first and often times forget about my needs, and I’m really trying to change that. I started attending a bi-weekly group for moms and am spending more time doing things that I enjoy, along with taking care of my physical health.

I am working on making exercise a part of my daily routine. Since I work online and am sitting a large portion of the day, I’ve been adding in more activity by getting up for five to ten minutes every hour of my work day to walk around. I am also trying to add in more exercise by doing fun things like playing active games with my kids and taking walks while the weather is still nice. I’m adding the gym to my weekly schedule, too.

I’m also making healthier choices for meals and snacks. I’ve stocked my fridge with fresh fruit and vegetables and am giving myself more time to make meals at home instead of taking the easy way out and grabbing something on the go. I realized that there are plenty of easy meals to make that don’t take much time out of my day but are healthy. My favorite lately has been making chicken in the slow cooker and then sauteing squash and zucchini for a side dish.

Along with making better food choices, I’m using alli® weight loss aid to help with my weight loss. alli® weight loss aid is the only FDA approved over-the-counter weight loss aid on the market. It works by blocking 25% of the fat you eat from being absorbed by your body. Taken along with a healthy, reduced-calorie and low fat diet and paired with an exercise routine it is a great way for overweight adults (who aren’t pregnant or breastfeeding) to safely lose weight. For every 5lbs – 10lbs you lose through diet and exercise, alli® weight loss aid can help you lose 2-3 more. (In studies, most people lost 5-10 pounds over a 6 month period.)

alli® weight loss aid can be added into your daily routine by taking one capsule per meal that includes no more that 15 grams of fat per meal approximately 3 times a day. (Be sure to use with a well-balanced, reduced calorie, low fat diet and activity program.) You’ll want to take a multivitamin at bedtime and also drink plenty of water throughout the day. alli® weight loss aid has a great startup guide with more information and tips to help you succeed in losing weight. You can find a coupon here to purchase alli® weight loss aid at your favorite retailer (I found mine at Walmart).

I’ve noticed that my clothes fit looser than they did at the beginning of summer. In fact, I have one pair of jean shorts that fit snug before but now I can take them off without even unbuttoning them! Overall though, I just feel better about myself which is a huge win.

Now that the kids are back in school how are you making yourself a priority? If you want to start making it to the gym (make sure to get your doctor’s okay first!) you’ll want to make yourself this simple bag to keep all your essentials in. The best part is that you only need two things- a tank top and a pair of scissors. Told you it was easy! :)

1) Find a tank top with an encouraging quote on it (I chose one that said “Give up on giving up”)

2) Turn the tank top inside out and smooth it out so the back and front are laying flat on each other

3) Cut 2 inch slits along the bottom, spaced about 1 inch apart. You will be cutting both the front and the back of the shirt so the pieces match up

4) Once you have slits along the bottom you are going to take the top piece and the bottom piece and tie them in a tight double knot.

5) Repeat step 4 all along the bottom until you’ve tied every piece together

6) Turn the tank top right side out so all the fringe is on the inside

Wasn’t that easy?! Now you have a cute bag you can take to the gym or the grocery store!

I’d love to hear about your healthy journey and any great tips you have for getting more exercise in with your busy schedule!

Disclaimer: alli® (orlistat 60 mg capsules) is for weight loss in overweight adults, 18 years and older, when used along with a reduced-calorie and low-fat diet. Follow label directions. In studies, most people lost 5-10 pounds over 6 months. Please consult a doctor before use.

 

Time To Focus On A Healthier Me

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and alli® weight loss aid. All opinions are mine alone. #alliInMyLife #Before #CollectiveBias

In the past year I’ve taken hundreds (maybe even thousands) of photos of my children but, looking back at pictures from the past 365 days, I’m in a total of five pictures with my kids. Five. When we were on vacation this year I was taking a photo of my family and a woman asked me if I wanted to get in the picture with them and she’d take it and I heard myself saying “no thanks”. I had a chance to get in the photo and I turned it down. This same scenario has happened dozens of times.

I tend to avoid cameras, not because I don’t want pictures with my kids or the ability to look back at memories, but because I hate how I look when I look at photos of myself. The truth is that I’ve felt like that for a while. Ever since having children I’ve cringed when I’ve seen pictures of myself. I hate what I see when I look in the mirror and that feeling, along with being overweight, affects many aspects of my life. From not being able to go ziplining on vacation to holding myself back from doing things I want to do to not being able to hike with my kids at their Cub Scout camping trip, I need to get healthier before it’s too late. I want to be more active with my boys and be able to keep up with them but most of all I want to feel better about myself.

I realize my body is never going to get back to the way it used to be in college but I do know that I can be a lot healthier than I am now. With school starting soon it’s the perfect time to get started. I need to do this not only for my children but for myself. The first thing I had to do was tell myself that I AM WORTH IT and focus on making myself a priority. The other day I went out and got a haircut and a pedicure and then spent a couple hours shopping for new clothes for myself. I realized that sitting around in yoga pants and oversized t-shirts was never going to make me feel better about myself and just recently bought the first pairs of jean shorts I’ve owned since college. I’m realizing that it’s important to invest in myself.

The second thing I needed to do was set goals for myself. When setting goals, it’s always important to make them realistic. As much as I’d like to say I’m going to only eat fruits and vegetables and I’m going to workout for a couple hours every single day I know that is just not going to happen. If your goals are realistic there is a better chance of meeting them. Another thing to keep in mind when goal-setting is to make them measurable. Goals you can’t measure can never be achieved because you’ll never know when you meet them.

I chose a handful of goals that I thought were important to an overall healthy me (and that were both realistic and measurable):

  • Spend at least 15 minutes a day doing something for myself
  • Join an exercise class 3 days a week and put them on my calendar
  • Drink 5 glasses of water a day
  • Make a meal plan with healthy options on it
Along with eating healthier I discovered alli® weight loss aid, the only FDA approved over-the-counter weight loss aid on the market. It works by blocking 25% of the fat you eat from being absorbed by your body. I feel I’m going to have success with this because it doesn’t claim to be a magical pill. You still have to exercise and take it along with a reduced-calorie and low fat diet, it just aids in weight loss for overweight adults. For every 5lbs – 10lbs you lose through diet and exercise (consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program), alli® weight loss aid can help you lose 2-3 more. Most people lose 5-10 pounds in 6 month period.*

After I figured out my goals I needed to overcome the “roadblocks” in my way, specifically time and motivation. Lack of time has seemed to be the biggest thing standing in my way. For years I worked full-time during the day, ran my kids around in the afternoon and evening and then blogged late at night. I had kept busier than I ever should have been. My days are open more now which means I can get to the gym during the day when my kids are at school. I’m signing up for a couple exercise classes that I can go to right after I drop the kids off. In the past, when I have had time to exercise and someone to watch the kids it was hard to get motivated to leave the house and get to the gym but this way I’ll already be out so I think that would fix the motivation issue. Also, having it on my calendar as a scheduled event means I’m more likely to go.

The next step was to make a plan for myself because I feel that if it’s not written down and planned for it won’t happen. I’ve come up with a plan that includes exercise, eating healthier, drinking more water and using alli® weight loss aid. I decided to use my planner to track health related things so I’d look at it throughout the day since it was in there along with my schedule and to-do list.

To start I scheduled in time to exercise and to eat. I know that sounds silly but when I get really busy I tend to skip meals and if it’s on my calendar it will remind me to eat. I created spaces to keep track of the water I’m drinking and that I took my alli® weight loss aid pills with my meals three times a day and my nightly multivitamin like recommended. When I drink the water or take my pill I can just shade in the circle next to each.

I also put my daily menu on my calendar sheet. I tend to wait until the last minute to figure out what’s for dinner and then choose something in a box that’s not too healthy. With a little planning I can make sure I have ingredients on hand and prep done for healthier meals. Since meals are so important while taking the alli® weight loss aid I want to have them planned out so I stay in their guidelines of meals that are well-balanced, reduced calorie and have no more than 15 grams of fat per meal. I found a lot of great meal ideas in the alli® Brand Startup Guide online at www.myalli.com. Not only are the meals healthy but they look delicious and filling, too!

I feel great going into the new school year. I have goals in mind, have overcome roadblocks in my way and have a plan in place to get healthier! Here is a “before” photo of me and I’ll post the “after” photo when I do the next update.

You can find alli® weight loss aid at your local Walmart. Find a coupon here.

*Disclaimer: alli® (orlistat 60 mg capsules) is for weight loss in overweight adults, 18 years and older, when used along with a reduced-calorie and low-fat diet. Follow label directions. In studies, most people lost 5-10 pounds over 6 months.

 

DIY No-Sew Heating Pad {And Other Period Necessities}

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.  #WhatMattersToU #CollectiveBias

I’m usually always on the go. From my kid’s activities and sports to volunteering to running errands, I’m normally not home that often. I love it that way but I find there are a couple days of the month that I just want to sit and relax. Ladies, can any of you guess what days those are?

If you guessed the day before “Aunt Flo” comes to town and the day my period starts you’d be correct. {And I’m going to guess 99% of you had the right answer lol.} Normally focused on others, these two days every month I experience so much discomfort that I just want to focus on myself and have some much needed “me” time. What matters to me on these days is just relaxing as much as possible. There is nothing better than relaxing on the couch in my pajamas with some chocolate and a good television show to distract me from the pain of my cramps.

I’ve learned that I can relax even more when I have feminine products that I can rely on. I typically switch between tampons and pads based on how heavy my period is at the time and what I’m doing. If I’m going out I generally use a tampon and a liner but if I’m sitting around at home, or it’s a lighter day, I prefer a pad. I’ve come to really like the U by Kotex® line of pads and liners. Their colorful packing is just so fun and they are comfortable because they are thin and not bulky but I feel confident wearing them.

One other thing I’d consider a “must have” during the first couple days of my period is a good heating pad. My old one stopped working a few months back so I decided to make my own. This one is easy to make, uses only 3 or 4 materials and does not require sewing. Below are the materials needed and directions to make it.

Materials:

*Fabric (2 pieces, each 18in X 21in)

*Scissors

*Rice

*Essential Oils (optional)

(A note about the fabric… you want to use 100% cotton or fleece material. Since you are heating this in the microwave you don’t want to use any materials with metal or synthetic fibers. You can buy new fabric pieces (which is what I did- look at the clearance fabric) or upcycle an old clothing item you already have (in which case you’d have to measure it out to make sure you have enough fabric.)

Directions:

1) Take one piece of fabric and fold it in half with the printed sides inside

2) Cut slits, about an inch and a half long and a half inch wide, along the side opposite the folded side

3) Tie the top fringe piece and the bottom fringe piece together, making a knot, and repeat along the whole side

4) Since this will be filled with rice, go through and tie the pieces of fringe together with other pieces near them, making more knots and tightening the pieces together so there are no holes in between

5) Turn the fabric right side out so all the fringe pieces are now on the inside

6) Now you want to repeat steps 3-5 on one of the ends (though I’d recommend you cut your fringe pieces 2 inches long

7) Once that is done you are ready to insert the rice so lay your second piece of fabric on the table and put a pound or two of rice in the middle of it

8) (Optional) If you’d like to add a few drops of essential oils you can do so now (I chose a lavender scent)

9) Wrap the rice up in a packet by folding the fabric around it

10) Insert the rice “packet” inside the cover you were making

11) Finish the heating pad by doing the same steps you did for the opposite side

It’s now ready to use! Heat it up in the microwave for a minute or so. (Please note: microwaves vary so you’ll have to experiment to figure out how much your’s needs to heat it for. Please be careful not to leave it in too long you burn yourself. I also recommend using the heating pad over your clothes so the clothes act as a barrier.)

Once you have made your heating pad, it’s almost time to relax. Get a sweet (or salty!) treat and your favorite television show ready. Before you change into your coziest pajamas don’t forget to grab a pad or liner from the bathroom. I am loving U by Kotex®’s NEW Style ‘N Store Packs with their fun colors and designs (there are four to choose from). Best of all they look like cute storage solutions so they can be left out on the counter. No more digging in the cabinet to find one. They even have a convenient drawer built-in. (The Type-A part of me is LOVING this organization!)

I found my Style ‘N Store Packs at Walmart in the feminine care aisle. I bought both pads and liners in these new packs. The U by Kotex® Cleanwear® Ultra Thin Pads are designed for fast absorption to help stop leaks and they stay secure with uniquely shaped Tru-Fit® wings. The U by Kotex® Barely There® Liners are made to feel like your underwear so you can stay clean and fresh but they are so comfortable you’ll barely know it’s there!

If you like to save money (hello, you shop at Walmart for a great deal so I know you do!) you will be excited to learn that there is currently a SNIPP offer going on now through 9/30/16. If you purchase 2 packs of U by Kotex® products at Walmart (any variation) you are eligible for a reward. Just text UbyKotex to 811811 and upload a photo of your receipt. Then go to UbyKotexrewards.com and register to choose your customized reward! Isn’t that fabulous?

When I’m on my period what matters to me is taking “me” time to relax. I’d love to hear ‘What Matters to U’! Please leave a comment below and on social media (using the hashtag- #WhatMatterstoU) and let me know! Make sure to try out the new Style ‘N Store Packs from U by Kotex®, too!

Get Race Day Ready With Advil And A Fun Racetrack Craft

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #RaceDayRelief #CollectiveBias

On my travels recently I have had a lot of car related fun, including getting an up close look at rare corvettes and going to my first car race. Through these trips I’ve discovered the heart pounding thrill of fast cars and car racing. I wanted to share that excitement with my boys so I created a fun racetrack craft to make with them that they could incorporate into their play and get them ready for the next big race day.

We enjoy going outside on nice days and one of the things the boys like to do is bring out the chalk, cars and their car sets and build a town. They use the chalk to make roads and parking spots and enjoy pretending with their vehicles. I thought a finish line for a racetrack would be the perfect addition to their play so they could pretend to be a famous race car driver like Ty Dillion.

My kids love when mommy and daddy play toys with them and they always ask us to play. I love to do so but sometimes I can’t stop thinking about the pain that will accompany sitting on the ground (and the pain trying to get up as well). I typically have joint pain on a daily basis but sitting for long periods of time makes things worse, especially in my knees. Thankfully I’ve discovered that Advil has a new fast release formula that goes to work within minutes of taking it. Fast acting Advil Film-Coated leverages the rapid absorption properties of ibuprofen sodium, now available for the first time in the US.* So now when the kids ask me to go outside and play I can take a couple Advil Film-Coated tablets and head outside with them.

Below are the directions for the paper weaving craft we made. We created a finish line for our car race but you could use the whole piece of paper and make a race flag if you wanted to instead. Weaving is a fun craft that’s great for practicing fine motor skills and makes the perfect racing checkerboard design.

The kids had a great time racing cars and playing with their playsets and the tunnel I “built” them. They were so happy that mommy was down on the ground playing with them. To us parents it might seem like something small, but when parents take the time to get down and play with their kids, doing something that interests them, that means so much to our children. Advil’s Film-Coated product with rapid release will help you enjoy the playtime as much as the kids do. This Advil is formulated with a unique Advil Ion Core Technology and an ultra thin shell to absorb quickly – in fact nothing is proven to work faster.*

So go ahead… crawl around on the ground racing toy cars, color with chalk, join in your child’s world and see the joy in their eyes. Don’t let aches and pains slow you down or stop you from spending time playing with your kids!

You can find Advil Film-Coated tablets at Walmart. Use fast acting Advil Film-Coated for headaches, muscle aches, toothaches, menstrual cramps, back pain, and aches and pains associated with the common cold. Don’t forget to use this $3 off coupon to save some money on an 80+ count box :)

*Among OTC pain relievers.

‘I Need Vitamin Sea’ Printable

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CentrumFunFlavors #CollectiveBias

Life is typically very busy but I find that things can get really chaotic during the spring and summer seasons when I’m traveling a few times a month. This past month was no exception- I traveled to Missouri, Kentucky and Iowa with only one day in between the first two trips and a few days in between the last two. I love traveling but it really messes with my schedule and routine. I’m very Type A so this is hard for me. One routine that I struggle with is taking my vitamins every day.

I thought of a few ways to help me remember to take my multi-vitamin on a regular basis. The first was to go to Walmart to buy new Centrum Vitamints* that I can take on the go, without any water.

I bought two flavors- Cool Mint and Raspberry. I put my mints in a vitamin case which takes up minimum room in my purse or suitcase and ensures that I always have my vitamins with me. These vitamins freshen my breath like a breath mint so every time I reach for gum or a mint I’ll see my vitamin container and take one of the Vitamints instead.

I also realized that I need a reminder at home to help me remember to take my vitamins on a daily basis. Since I love to travel I chose to create a fun print that I can add to my travel display. Those who visit me will think my “I need vitamin sea” print is just a quote about my love of being by the water but to me it will have a double meaning. My travel display is in a spot that I pass by numerous times a day and can see from both my kitchen and my television room so it will also serve as a reminder to take my vitamins. Pretty clever, huh?

Want to get the print for yourself? Download the image here and then print it out. You can stick it on your bulletin board, refrigerator or frame it and display it.

Want to use an image that reminds you of your own travels? Here is a step-by-step tutorial on how to make your own:

1) Go to picmonkey.com

2) Go to “edit photo” and upload your photo. I chose one that had a lot of water since I just wanted the text on water (check out how clear that water is in the Bahamas!)

3) Crop the image

4) Resize your image so that it is the size you want (Here is a link to photo dimensions that I found helpful)

5) Use the text option to insert the words “I need vitamin sea” to your image and then pick the font, color and size you want the text to be

6) Once you are satisfied with your print, save the image in picmonkey. (I chose to then upload it to Google Drive so I could resave it as a PDF)

7) Print, frame and display!

Enjoy staying healthy with simple solutions like Centrum Gummies and Vitamints. You can find coupons here. What methods do you use to remember to take your vitamin every day? I would love to hear your tips!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

The Importance Of Using Sunscreen Year Round

(Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all thoughts are my own.)

In the heat of summer we all know to use sunscreen all the time but as the summer draws to an end, and even through the Fall, most people stop using sun protection. UV rays are just as harmful in the Fall and in order to end the Summer season on a high note, everyone should use skin protection daily. The reason it is so important to always use sunscreen is that 1 in 5 Americans develops skin cancer. Skin cancer is one of the most preventable cancers and with early detection, most skin cancers are curable.

Our kids are very active outside all the way through the end of October, mainly due to sports like baseball and football, but they love playing outside no matter what the weather brings. To better protect ourselves we started using the Neutrogena Wet Skin Collection. It’s the first ever water-resistant lotion sunscreen specifically designed for wet skin application to provide broad spectrum sun protection in wet or dry conditions. It is proven to provide full strength protection even on wet skin and is sweat-resistant and water-resistant which is perfect for my active boys. The best part is that it is available in spray, lotion and stick forms for both kids and adults. My kids are always in a rush so we like the spray option and it works even when they are sweaty from running around.

I worry about Skin Cancer constantly so it is great to know that Wet Skin Kids provides broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection and mists right on for protection from the sun’s harsh rays. It’s the quickest way to fully protect our kids when they are out on the field at games or practices and reapplying during breaks is easy as pie.

As a teenager I always used Neutrogena for their acne and soap products. Now as an adult I continue using it, especially for skin protection. I choose Neutrogena for their quality but also for their level of care for its consumers. Most importantly it suits my kids’ needs while playing sports.

Since its launch in 2009, the Neutrogena – #1 dermatologist recommended sun care brand – has provided more than 11,000 free skin screenings, donated more than $30 million dollars’ worth of sunscreen product to families in need through a Buy 1 Donate 1 program and diagnosed more than one thousand cases of skin cancer in the US alone. The Neutrogena Choose Skin Health campaign, a partnership between Neutrogena and the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery, is dedicated to fighting skin cancer and saving lives through education, early detection, and empowering people to follow sun safe behaviors. This year, Neutrogena partnered with a variety of celebrity ambassadors, including Kerry Washington, to help spread the word about the importance of sun protection by sharing personal #ChooseSkinHealth testimonials on social media. Neutrogena believes that each story makes a difference – and can even help save a life!

My kids can continue to enjoy their outdoor activities and I can relax knowing they are kept safe with Neutrogena Wet Skin. Nature and good weather should be enjoyed as much as possible so we plan to enjoy it all Fall long. How are you keeping your skin safe as the seasons transition?

The Doctor Is Just A Click Away

DISCLOSURE:  This post was sponsored by the Role Mommy Writer’s Network.  However, all opinions are 100% my own.

The internet is an amazing place. It gives me an outlet to be creative and earn a living, it lets me connect with friends and family near and far, and it lets me do a lot of other things from the comfort of my home. One thing I’ve recently discovered I can do online is visit the doctor! No more scheduling appointments, driving to the office or sitting in waiting rooms.

I never realized how badly this would come in handy until Jacob came home from a day at camp and Vacation Bible School itching like crazy. He had what I thought could be Chicken Pox and I might have freaked out because I couldn’t handle one more thing on my just-got-back-from-vacation-help-I-am-drowning-in-work-and-laundry-and-to-dos plate. While I was googling pictures of chicken pox Lucas fell asleep and I was stuck with one itchy, miserable child. He had to see the doctor so I could figure out if he did have Chicken Pox or if it was another rash or just bug bites which would determine what I could do to help him and if the boys had to stay home tomorrow or if they could go to school, camp and VBS.

I couldn’t go anywhere since Lucas was sleeping and our doctor’s office was closed so I tried out Amwell which is the nation’s largest telehealth company, connecting users with board-certified, licensed doctors for immediate and live, online visits—day or night, on either mobile or desktop.  Some general conditions their doctors encounter include: minor illnesses and injuries, general health and wellness concerns, prescription refills, and chronic condition management.  They employ primary care and specialist physicians, as well as licensed behavioral therapists and registered dietitians.

I love that Amwell doctors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. At 10pm I talked to a doctor via a video chat within 5 minutes of logging into the site. The nice physician looked at my son’s bumps, asked me some questions and then assured me that my son’s itchy bumps were just the result of some overeager mosquitos and not Chicken Pox.

I thought online doctors would be expensive but the cost is actually not too bad. For about $40 I had a 10 minute appointment with a physician. I thought about it and that’s usually how long my son’s physician is actually in the exam room with us but I pay double that to spend most of my time in the pediatrician’s office just waiting.

Want to try Amwell yourself? I have a FREE CODE for you! Use the code: ROLEMOMMY for a free visit to the Doctor of your choice. Go to Amwell.com and choose the type of visit you are looking for and select a provider.  Depending on the issue at hand, the doctor can diagnose, suggest follow up, and prescribe, when appropriate. Amwell takes privacy very seriously and visits with the doctors are secure and they are HIPAA compliant. Amwell is accepted by many major insurers, with more added every day. You can enter your health insurance information for a lower cost visit. Amwell doctor visits are now available in 46 states.

Hope this service helps all you busy parents! :)

 

Keeping Up With Healthy Routines This Summer

Disclosure: I received LISTERINE® Brand products and a Walgreens gift card from Johnson & Johnson  and The Motherhood as part of my participation in the LISTERINE® Brand Totally Taken Care Of program. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own.

It’s mid-June and our family has been enjoying everything the summer brings. Some families relax during the summer but, for us, summer seems to be even busier than the school year. Alicia and I both work and the kids are in day camp and play sports. When we are home we love to visit the farmer’s market for fresh fruit, grill everything we can and play outside in the backyard.

To make the most of the summer we’ve been trying to travel as many places as we can, taking road trips, camping, exploring nature and heading to places in our area to have great quality time.

Our days are busy but we still try to make sure that the good habits our kids follow during the school year are continued in the summer. Some we are lax on, like going to bed on time and eating dessert before dinner.

Some are non-negotiable. Things like brushing their teeth and wearing sunscreen need to happen no matter how much fun we are all having.

This morning was a big rush for the boys and I, trying to get ready to leave for Jake’s last baseball game and pack for a trip to the city. I assumed once school was done our mornings would be a little more low key but I’ve found that’s not the case. We are still rushing around, whether packing lunches for camp, finding our swimsuits for a day by the lake or grabbing everything we need for a morning at the baseball field.

As we are getting ready to leave I always have to double check that they have everything they need and have brushed their teeth. We have been integrating Listerine Total Care into our families oral care routine for months now so so that all the mouths are totally taken care of but I find that the kids still need reminders. Listerine products are great because of the kid-friendly flavors. The boys may need reminders but at least they don’t fight me on having to use the products.

We’ve found that Walgreens has a great selection of our favorite Listerine and Johnson & Johnson products that keep our family totally taken care of. LISTERINE TOTAL CARE, band-aids and sunscreen are our summer must-haves. What are your’s?

Worry Free Outdoor Fun

This is a product-sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Puracyn® Plus Duo-Care™ Wound & Skin Cleanser. The opinions and text are all mine.

Today the temperature outside reached 64 in our Chicago suburb. This is very exciting for everyone, especially for active families that will be thrilled to go hiking and biking and play sports outside in the fresh air. For my family this means it is time for baseball, soccer and the playground. This also means it will be a time full of scrapes, cuts and bug bites. As a parent I know this is unavoidable and I hate to see my boys suffer.

To be truly prepared we always have a bag of a few essentials in our vehicles that can help in an emergency. Some of the best things to have in an emergency kit are an instant ice compress, bandages and band aids, extra mouth guards (for football), snacks and Puracyn® Plus Duo-Care™

To keep your team from getting sidelined new Puracyn® Plus Duo-Care™ Wound and Skin Cleanser, the easy first step in first aid that gently and effectively cleans and hydrates minor wounds, wants you to enter the Play to Win with #TeamPuracynPlus Giveaway for the chance to win a  Puracyn® Plus Duo-Care™ Emergency Kit, including a $50 gift card to a sporting goods store of your choice and  Puracyn® Plus Duo-Care™ product. One winner announced each Friday on March 13, 20, and 27. #TeamPuarcynPlus (3 winners total).  It will be the best way to kick start the outdoors activities season.

My kids both play soccer and baseball during which they both get scrapes and usually the scrapes are messy from the field. The easy to use, hands free spray application of  Puracyn® Plus Duo-Care™ thoroughly cleans minor cuts and wounds, eliminating the need for running water in the critical first moments of cleaning a wound.

I also like Puracyn® Plus Duo-Care™ because it is doctor tested and recommended for quick wound treatments and is free of alcohol and steroids. It is so safe that it will not bother them even if it accidentally gets in their eyes or ears. A 4oz bottle can be purchased at Rite Aid and Walgreens for $14.00. It is convenient to carry in your car kit so you will always have  Puracyn® Plus Duo-Care™ in stock for when you really need it.

To learn more about the brand visit www.puracynplus.com and follow the brand on facebook (facebook.com/puracyn) and Pinterest. Another product they have is the Puracyn Plus Foot Wash and Skin Cleanser, a highly effective cleansing solution for healthier feet and wound care. If you or a loved one have diabetes Puracyn Plus Foot wash is essential to help make foot care part of your daily health routine and self care.

We are ready for the warm weather and the outdoors and especially the fun that comes with it. Thanks to Puracyn® Plus Duo-Care™  we will be ready for anything that comes our way. So join in the fun and discover fearless life with Puracyn.

To learn more about the Puracyn® Plus Duo-Care™ , LIKE the brand on Facebook and follow the brand on Pinterest.

This is a product-sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Puracyn® Plus Duo-Care™ Wound & Skin Cleanser. The opinions and text are all mine.


Staying Confident With Listerine

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

For the last few weeks I have been thinking a lot about personal health and wellness, especially oral health. It is completely true that great oral health leads to great health for the whole body and most importantly the heart. Brushing is easy, but when you just brush once in the morning and once before bed is it enough?  To improve my personal oral health I joined the LISTERINE® 21-Day Challenge and it has made an incredible difference in my lifestyle so far.

To succeed in the LISTERINE® 21-Day Challenge I used Listerine throughout the day and I used my phone to set up a daily alarm and reminders to use the mouthwash and to floss, something I don’t always remember to do. Constant repetition has been key during this challenge.

Since brushing alone doesn’t get all the germs in my mouth I rinse with Listerine to ensure that my mouth is completely clean after I brush. The flavor is a strong mint flavor which energizes me in the morning. When I use the mouthwash it feels like I have ten toothbrushes working inside my mouth.

Another Listerine product I like using are the pocket pack breath strips. Working in a restaurant I like to feel confident that my mouth is clean and my breath is fresh since I’m talking to people all day long. I use a strip every couple of hours to maintain a clean feel.

The good people of Listerine emailed me every day. It helped me track my progress and stay focused and encouraged me to succeed. The best part of the emails was that there were health tips every single day included. Here are a few of my favorite days.

Want to participate in the challenge? Walgreens has everything you need to get started and there is even a great deal this week. The week of March 1st purchase LISTERINE® Antiseptic for only $4.49; a great price to help keep you going with your new rinsing habit!

Trying A New Bedtime Routine

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

One of the toughest struggles a parent has is getting their kids to brush their teeth before bed. It takes time and discipline and yes tears are shed. My two boys are the most stubborn kids and I am always looking for ways to get them to develop better brushing habits. Luckily it is National Children’s Dental Health month and Tom’s of Maine teamed up with Oral Health America (OHA) to share healthy brushing habits and oral care prevention information. They have created an amazing way to get kids interested in brushing and bedtime routines. Tom’s of Maine is inviting kids and parents to get creative for a good cause and learn about natural oral care with an engaging coloring book called “Brushing Fun” for kids of all ages. Each free download of the book will donate 10 tubes of Wicked Cool! natural toothpaste in addition to a one-time donation of $50,000 to Oral Health America to OHA in support of its Smiles Across America program.

As a dad I was thrilled because it is a great motivational tool for my boys and all the kids out there. They could not wait to get started on their coloring books and learn more about better oral care.

The overall purpose of the program is to establish good bedtime routines. Brushing is key but other things are also a part of it, like relaxation exercises and journaling.

When I got this yoga book, I wondered about the level of interest my boys would have for yoga. As it turns out they are very much aware of what yoga is. “We learned it in summer camp”, they said. Then they decided to show off their moves. Yoga is great for kids to stretch but also to calm their bodies before bed.

The most exciting part was the coloring book. As the boys both love coloring and storytelling this part was their favorite. They also love their devotionals and daily journal.

Downloading the coloring book is easy. Just visit http://bit.ly/dentalhealthforall to access and download the coloring book. Your child will have so much fun and it will improve the bedtime routine with calming activities.

Getting Excited About Oral Care With Listerine

Disclosure: I received LISTERINE® products and a gfit card from The Motherhood as part of my participation in the 21-Day Challenge. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Confidence makes the world go round. The simplest way to have a great deal of confidence for me is to have great oral hygiene. I manage a restaurant and I am around people around the clock so my smile and a clean fresh breath are very important. On top of that I am a father of 2 boys who have already had visits from the tooth fairy and need to be in the know on how to completely care for their teeth. Since I have moved to the US over 15 years ago one name stood true to offer extra help with oral care and confidence and that is Listerine. Now as a family we are looking for ways to keep the kids committed to great habits so we are joining the Listerine 21-Day Oral Care challenge.

So typically brushing seems like it should be enough, but it is not. So you need a great mouthwash, and a floss and do not worry what else because Listerine has you covered. Listerine has an extensive line of products and flavors for the whole family. Even kids are happy because there are kid friendly flavors like bubble gum and grape.

Listerine wants us all to be healthy and successful when it comes to oral care so they created the 21 day challenge. It is very easy to sign up. Just go to www.listerine.com/21daychallenge and set up a profile and choose a coach that will inspire you and motivate you daily. We all have busy schedules and rely on our electronic devices so this is the one time electronics at our fingertips will greatly help our health with Listerine.

One place to find everything you need for the challenge is Walgreens. Walgreens offers all sorts of Listerine products but also many products for wellness. Walgreens also has a very user friendly app that can help with achieving wellness goals. I am striving to be successful with the 21 day challenge in order to inspire my kids to take care of their oral health with Listerine. The biggest battle will be to work on the kids flossing habits and using Listerine to rinse. There will be lots of bribing involved but in the future looking back the kids will be happy how they started using Listerine to improve their oral care.


The best part about the Listerine Challenge besides using Listerine, is that there are prizes to keep you engaged and motivated. Great oral health will be the best prize of all but you can be entered in sweepstakes to win prizes such as an Amazon Fire TV and a FitBit.

Check in with us in a few weeks to see the results and all the fun we had through the Listerine Challenge. Feel free to share your successes and leave a comment with questions if you have any.

Don’t Forget The Eye Exams

(Thanks to VSP Vision Care for sponsoring today’s conversation.)

The kids are all back in school! Whew! We made it mommas! We got the new school clothes, loaded the backpacks with school supplies, visited the Doctor for the physical, took those first day of school pictures…everything is done right?

If you are like me you forgot to do one important thing. Has your child their annual vision test yet? This is so important. My children’s school requires all Kindergarteners to get their vision checked by mid-October. I have to get Lucas in to see the eye doctor soon.

Did you know that annual eye exams are important to your overall health? They allow eye doctors to detect eye conditions as well as early signs of health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Here are some other reasons that annual eye exams are a must for kids:

  • One in four children has an undetected vision condition.
  • Because eye health plays a major role in academic growth, it’s common for a vision problem to be mistaken as a learning disability.
  • Undetected vision conditions can negatively impact learning development and contribute to frustrated students, poor grades and behavioral issues.
  • Children’s eyes develop rapidly until about the age of seven – making early detection essential in correcting potentially permanent vision issues.

So now you may be thinking (like I have before) that your child’s vision screening at their school is good enough. While the vision screenings may catch some things, comprehensive eye exams can detect what school vision screenings cannot. In-school screenings do help identify some vision problems, such as near and farsightedness, they do not test for all of the problems that a comprehensive eye exam does, like diabetes and hypertension – both growing health concerns for children.

Another thing you may be thinking is that your child would let you know if they were having a problem but keep in mind that a child doesn’t know what good vision is if he or she has never experienced it. Two of the most common vision problems a screening can miss are eye coordination and lazy eye. These conditions can usually both be corrected as long as they identified and treated early!

If the cost of vision care has been keeping you from making an appointment for your child or yourself I have good news! VSP Vision Care, the largest national not-for-profit in vision care, gets their members the best care at the lowest out-of-pocket costs. With a network of 30,000 eye care providers, VSP members have the freedom to choose the provider, location and eyewear that’s right for them. It’s easy to see why VSP is consumers’ #1 choice in vision care.

You can learn more at their site, SeeMuchMore.com, which is a one-stop site for all the information you need about enrolling in vision benefits. The site includes a virtual savings calculator to estimate your savings with VSP vision benefits. There is also helpful information about maintaining healthy vision that can be found at the Learn About Your Eyes section of the site. You can even play an interactive game for a chance to win prizes.

Free Coloring Book Download Benefits Nonprofit

(Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all thoughts are my own.)

Last month I shared how Tom’s of Maine was raising awareness about the importance of oral health during National Children’s Dental Health Month. Though the special month may be over, their coloring and activity book called “Brushing Fun” is still available.

The free coloring and activity book supports Oral Health America, a national nonprofit dedicated to oral care and prevention.  With each free coloring book download, Tom’s of Maine will donate 10 tubes of its Wicked Cool! natural toothpaste (up to 200,000 tubes) to children in OHA’s  Smiles Across America program.

The boys came home from school and colored some more of the coloring book. Lucas loved that his name was on the pages.

Jake’s coloring page

***

Luke’s coloring sheet

 You can find the coloring book here.

A little background on Tom’s of Maine in case you aren’t familiar with them…. Tom’s of Maine Silly Strawberry toothpaste is the first and only natural kid’s toothpaste to receive the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance for its proven effectiveness. With no artificial dyes or sweeteners, Tom’s of Maine Silly Strawberry toothpaste gets its naturally sweet flavor from real strawberry juice.

Have older children? There new product is “Wicked Cool!” which is designed for kids ages 8 and over. This mild mint-flavored toothpaste fights cavities, strengthens enamel and freshens breath and is great for kids who want a more “grown up” toothpaste but find the adult mint versions “too spicy”.  Plus, it’s ADA-accepted, dye-free and never contains any artificial sweeteners or flavors.

Connect with Tom’s of Maine on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Connect with Oral Health America on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Keep Calm And Sleep On {Gift Card Giveaway}

A couple of years ago, Luke’s doctor was worried that he had sleep apnea. I didn’t know much about it but learned that what basically happens is that people with sleep apnea suddenly stop breathing while they are sleeping. That was really scary to think about but thankfully, after an overnight sleep study, it was determined that he didn’t suffer from it. Even so, I’m happy to be partnering with the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine on this sponsored post to share information about oral appliance therapy for adults who have sleep apnea. {Please note: I am not a doctor and the content of this post is not medical advice. You should always consult with your doctor before trying any new products or therapies.}

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition that causes people to suddenly stop breathing during sleep anywhere from 10 seconds to more than a minute and up to hundreds of times a night. It’s a potentially life-threatening condition affecting 12 to 18 million U.S. adults that can increase the risk for serious health problems, including congestive heart failure, stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease – just to name a few.

A new therapy called oral appliance therapy (OAT) uses a “mouth guard-like” device worn only during sleep to maintain an open, unobstructed airway. OAT devices prevent the airway from collapsing by either holding the tongue or supporting the jaw in a forward position. The devices are quiet, portable and easy to care for.

AADSM recommends oral appliance therapy for people with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. Once a patient is diagnosed with primary snoring or obstructive sleep apnea by a board-certified sleep physician, a dentist trained in dental sleep medicine can provide treatment with OAT. Consumers with sleep apnea or loud and frequent snoring can go to www.LocalSleepDentist.com to find a local dentist trained in oral appliance therapy.

GIVEAWAY

One reader will win a $50 Bed Bath and Beyond gift card

HOW TO ENTER

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Tell me what you learned about sleep apnea or oral appliance therapy

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Subscribe to this blog via email (look in upper right corner)

Giveaway ends February 5, 2014 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be 18 or older and a US resident to enter.

Healthy Essentials For The New Year

(This post is part of the Healthy Essentials 2014 program by Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies and The Motherhood, who sent me a box of products and compensated me for my time. Opinions, experiences and photos shared here are all my own, and I hope you enjoy them.)

The beginning of a new year is a great time to start making healthy changes in your life. Maybe you want to start eating healthier, get more sleep, or start exercising on a regular basis. All are common New Year’s Resolutions. My healthy goal is to start taking care of myself better. As a mom I come last on the priority list which isn’t good. It’s time to make those doctor appointments I’ve been putting off because I “didn’t have time”.

To help families usher in a healthy New Year, HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® is offering amazing printable coupons, tips & tools and so much more. You can save over $45 by visiting www.HealthyEssentials.com in January and signing up for extra-special HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® coupons and offers. From pain & allergy relief to dietary & digestive health to products for kids & babies, there are significant savings on items for every member of the family!  It’s time to replenish your stock of toiletries and first aid items in your bathroom cabinets.

Twitter Party Alert!!

Learn how HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® can help you reach health-related goals for 2014.

When: Tuesday, January 14, 1 p.m. ET

Hashtag: #Moms4JNJConsumer

Prizes: We will randomly award 15 prizes throughout the party, from all eligible correct responses to trivia questions. Each prize includes an assortment of Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® products with an estimated retail value of $50.

Prize Eligibility: No purchase necessary. Entrants must be legal residents of the 50 United States + D.C. 18 years of age or older. Void where prohibited.

Hosts: @theMotherhood, @CooperMunroe, @EmilyMcKhann, @TheMotherhood25

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Check back for information about an awesome J&J sweepstakes that will be live soon!

A Parent’s Guide to Eyecare for Kids from Infancy to School Age

Those eyes you’re using now have gone through one heck of a journey. From the moment you’re born, infancy is a crucial time for eye development. WebMD reports kids begin to see things clearly far away only at about 12 to 16 weeks of life. For the next year, a child’s eyesight continues to improve.

Discerning parents probably watch their kids for squinting when reading or playing video games, but is that enough to detect sight problems? No, because many eye conditions that affect children are more subtle. Instead, parents need to take a comprehensive approach to eye care and learn to recognize the clues at various stages of development.

From Birth to 24 Months

Sight isn’t innate — babies must learn to see. During the infant stage of development, parents can easily assume normal eyesight is not normal at all because the baby is still learning how to focus and translate what their eyes see into something tangible. At three months of age, an infant is still only able to identify objects about 10 inches from the face. That is why mom gets a giggle when she leans down close.

At about five to eight months, you will notice your child is developing depth perception and can recognize you enough to reach out even at a distance. This is also the age when color becomes a vital part of a baby’s life.

It is very unusual to have significant eye problems at this early stage unless they are congenital. Some signs to be aware of include:

  • Excessive tearing
  • Red eyes that might indicate infection
  • Extreme light sensitivity
  • White pupils, which point to possible retinal tumors

Around six to 12 months is a good time to consider getting the baby’s first real eye exam. Your pediatrician can recommend a doctor of optometry who deals with children.

Heading to School

Once your child starts school, clues indicating nearsightedness or farsightedness become easier to spot. Low grades, for example, might be an indicator a child can’t see or read well. Teachers may report kids squinting to understand what is on the board, or improvement in class participation when a child sits close to the front.

Parents can watch for kids who tilt their head when they read, or show signs of eye-coordination problems, such as letting a ball drop repeatedly. Crying when playing catch or coloring may mean the child is struggling with these tasks.

How to Know When a Child Needs a Vision Exam

Children should get an eye exam once every two years. Some schools will automatically test students’ eyes each year and offer parents feedback. This test only checks for distance acuity. A parent might consider taking children for a professional exam, anyway, if they are falling behind in school or slow at doing homework.

How about Glasses and Contacts?

It is normal for kids to feel uncomfortable if they wear glasses. It makes them different at a time when they really just want to fit in with the crowd. It is important for parents to reassure a child who must wear glasses they look good and are special. Let them know lots of kids have to wear glasses, and make caring for them responsibly fun.

Contact lenses are a practical and cost-saving way to solve the glasses issue for kids who qualify. Disposable lenses start at around $30, according to Coastal.com, as compared to replacing glasses every time an active kid breaks them.

Pediatric ophthalmologist David Granet explains kids mature enough to handle the responsibility of contacts at around 10 years old, though it’s up to the parents to judge when they are ready.

About the Author: Walter is a single dad who loves raising his two boys and writing about sports on the side.

Natural, Cost-Effective, FDA Approved At-Home Fertility Treatment

When you want to start a family, finding out you’re pregnant can be one of the most joyful experiences of your life but, for some, getting to that milestone isn’t always easy. Today, 1 in 6 couples have trouble conceiving. I am really excited to partner with The Motherhood and Rinovum Women’s Health to spread the word about a new option for improving the chances of conception, called The Stork.

The Stork was designed as a natural, cost-effective option to help couples bridge the gap between natural conception and more aggressive treatments. The Stork aids in chances of conceiving by using a “technique” similar to intravaginal insemination. It can be used in the privacy of the home without affecting daily routine – both for couples with no known fertility issues and for those who are experiencing difficulty conceiving. The product is intended to aid in the process of becoming pregnant using cervical cap insemination. Fertility treatments can be expensive (upwards of $20,00 for one cycle!) but The Stork is so much more affordable (only $210 for a 3 day pack). Here’s a video of how it works:

I have never used it however I did sit through a webinar where I learned more about it and it seems like an amazing aide in helping couples conceive. I like that the couple can go through the steps of the process together. Being able to do so in the comfort of their own homes instead of a cold, sterile room is nice as well. I think most of all I like the price. For many couples, the infertility treatment options are not an option because of the price. If couples do try one of the pricier options they may only have one shot at conceiving because of the cost.

The Stork does require a Doctor’s prescription before ordering it to ensure that a woman has seen her Doctor beforehand. To learn more about the Stork you can visit their website.

(Disclosure: I am being compensated for sharing about the Stork however I wouldn’t share about it unless I thought it was a great product. Thoughts are my own.)

10 Ways To Prevent Spider Veins

Many moms spend a lot of time running around and constantly on their feet – good exercise, but what about the negative effects? Unfortunately, all of this time spent on your feet (plus the stress of motherhood) can contribute to the formation of varicose and spider veins.

Dr. Luis Navarro, Director of The Vein Treatment Center in New York, NY, and one of the most well-respected and established physicians in the country, has 10 easy and effective ways to prevent varicose/spider veins, even during your busy day to day life as a parent.

  • GET REGULAR EXERCISE: Any type of exercise that strengthens the “second heart” – the muscles of the calf and foot – is beneficial. Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week.
  • WEAR GRADUATED COMPRESSION STOCKINGS: Compression stockings act like an added layer of muscle, aiding the performance of the “second heart” and venous circulation.
  • AVOID PROLONGED PERIODS OF SITTING AND STANDING: Rotate your ankles and feet whenever possible, take brief walks every hour and point and flex your toes to promote leg vein circulation.
  • ELEVATE YOUR FEET:  Raise your feet 6 to 12 inches above your heart whenever possible to assist circulation. It’s easiest to do then when sleeping.
  • EAT A HIGH FIBER DIET:  Take steps to avoid constipation, as it puts pressure on the venous system.
  • MONITOR HORMONE INTAKE: Birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy can constrict blood vessels and weaken vein valves and vein walls. Address your concerns with your doctor before getting on any sort of medication.
  • TAKE VITAMIN E and/or VITAMIN C: Vitamin C and E keep blood vessels strong, which prevents them to stretch and swell, which is the cause of varicose and spider veins. Vitamin E also prevents blood clots.
  • STOP SMOKING: Just another reason to put down the cigarette – smoking causes blood vessels to constrict, and can cause high blood pressure. Both cause poor circulation and can result in varicose/spider veins
  • AVOID TIGHT FIGHTING PANTS: Don’t wear clothing that is too tight, it will constrict blood flow through the legs, which causes veins to swell.
  • MAINTAIN A HEALTHY BMI: If you are at an unhealthy weight, the extra weight may strain your legs and cause veins to form.

 

How Parents Can Get Their Kids Heart Healthy

Ensuring children get the proper nutrition is a vital part of ensuring their heart health, says renowned cardiovascular surgeon and president of the Heart Health Foundation, Dr. John Martin. The Centers for Disease Control reports that one in three children and teens are overweight, which increases the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes. And the risk for high blood pressure in American teens and children increased 27 percent over 13 years, a new study published in the August issue of the journal Hypertension reports.

Good eating habits start early and will last throughout life, says Dr. Martin. Here is his heart health advice for kids:

1. Have your child screened for heart disease. It’s never too early to start screening for cardiovascular disease, especially with the rise in childhood obesity. Many doctors don’t believe that heart screenings are necessary for everyone. But Dr. Martin believes everyone should be screened for cardiovascular disease, including children. “They can get used to the process as part of their standard healthcare as they age,” Martin says.

2. Provide the proper nutrition. Make sure kids get:

  • The proper portions (2,200 calories a day for a 14-18-year-old boy, 1,800 for girls)
  • Healthy snacks
  • Fruits, vegetables, fiber-rich grains and low-fat proteins such as fish
  • Foods low in saturated fats, trans fat, cholesterol, salt and added sugars

3. Make sure they exercise. Instead of watching TV or playing video games, make sure kids get at least 60 minutes of exercise on a daily basis.

  • The exercise must include activities that raise heart rate
  • Find an exercise that your child likes
  • Make it a habit or routine part of the day
  • You can break it up to two 30-minute sessions if necessary.
  • It’s a great way to start the day

4. Maintain ideal body weight. Define the optimal BMI for your child based on his or her height and body style.

5. Don’t let them start smoking. It’s the easiest way to stop a bad habit.

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The Heart Health Foundation’s Dare to Care program is a nonprofit that provides FREE heart screenings. Since 2000, the program has helped more than 40,000 patients. There are 19 Dare to Care screening sites around the country in Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas.

Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 health problem in the United States today. More than half of all Americans will die from complications of atherosclerosis, the root of cardiovascular disease. And one million Americans die of heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and other cardiovascular disorders every year in the U.S. — that means 2 out of every 5 deaths in the United States, or one life every 33 seconds.         

The Heart Health Foundation believes this problem can be dramatically curbed – and it all starts with heart screenings.

(Disclosure: I am not a Doctor. The post information was provided by a Doctor however please follow your own Doctor’s orders when it comes to your health.)

Bright Smiles For Picture Day {Giveaway}

(Disclosure: I received a “Smile for Picture Day” package but all thoughts are my own.)

Did you know that more than 51 million U.S. school hours are lost each year because of dental related illness? To help children stay healthy and avoid missing school days, Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures®, in partnership with Teach for America, are kicking off the Smile for Picture Day™ campaign that will leverage school picture day as an opportunity to promote healthy habits among children in need.

As you get back to your back to school routine, one important thing to talk to your children about is the importance of a healthy smile. You can visit www.ColgateBSBF.com and click on the “Program Materials” link to download Colgate’s free oral health education materials which include parent tip sheets, video demonstrations for proper brushing and fun coloring sheets.

GIVEAWAY:

 Two people will each win a “Smile for Picture Day” package which includes a tube of Colgate Kids Cavity Protection Toothpaste and a Colgate Fresh n Protect Toothbrush

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Leave a comment telling me your tip for getting your children to brush their teeth properly

2) Share this giveaway on a social network and leave me a comment with the link

 Giveaway ends August 29, 2o13 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be a US resident, age 18 or over, to enter.

Quick Tips to Stay On Top Of Your Family’s Healthcare

Summer months for many families include trips to the doctor’s office for annual check-ups and vaccinations. Making sure the family gets the care they need for a fair price is a big responsibility, but with a bit of pre-planning and organization, you can navigate the system successfully. ExHale Health advises clients to take simple steps to avoid unexpected medical charges, and help them resolve billing disputes when they receive “mystery” bills from healthcare providers. Like all successful family endeavors, organization is a must!

1) Read your insurance policy thoroughly. It may not be a fun summer read, but it is really important to understand your family’s coverage before you ever need it. (If you can’t find your policy, most insurers carry plan details on their web sites). Review your plan annually to see if your needs have changed and if another plan might better suit your family.

2) Create a filing system and keep a “hard copy” file for every family member that includes all paperwork you receive from the insurance company (often in the form of an “Explanation of Benefits” document), as well as medical bills from doctors, hospitals or other healthcare providers.

3) Before you have a procedure, check to make sure the doctor, hospital, imaging lab and the procedure itself is approved by your insurance company. Keep track of the approvals for when you receive the bill, and check it for any charges that should have been covered by insurance.

4) If you have an issue with the payment of a claim, the documentation you filed away will help you present a logical argument to the insurer or provider. Oftentimes, hospitals will do “balance billing,” the practice of a healthcare provider billing a patient for the difference between what insurance wants to reimburse and what the provider decides to charge –most moms tend to pay the bill immediately for fear of going to collections, but the secret is you don’t always have to pay it.

5) Don’t overpay for your healthcare! If you receive a bill from a healthcare provider for a medically necessary test or service that should be covered under your insurance, question it. Billing errors, computer “glitches” and other mistakes cost American’s billions of dollars in overpayments every year. Question every cent that you are asked to pay beyond your premium, deductible and co-pays. The insurance company or healthcare provider can make mistakes, but it is up to you to question the bills.

If you don’t contact ExHale Health to help you with your healthcare, we strongly suggest you call someone who has expertise to help you.  Friends don’t let friends navigate healthcare alone!

Guest post by Sarah O’Leary, Founder/CEO of ExHale Healthcare Advocates. For more information and tips, please visit the ExHale Healthcare Advocates website at www.ExHaleHealth.com.

(Disclosure: This post was written by someone in the healthcare industry. Making Time For Mommy and the blog’s author are not responsible for claims made by the guest poster.)

Fresh Juice In Minutes With The Green Star Elite Juicer

(Disclosure: I received the juicer to review but all thoughts are my own.)

I have heard so much about juicing lately so I was interested to try out the Green Star Elite juicer. Based on our body’s natural chewing process, the Green Star Elite by Tribest Corporation is the only juicer on the market that offers a system that mirrors what our body does naturally to protect even the most delicate of vital nutrients and extract maximum nutrition. It uses a 3-stage process (crushing, mixing, and pressing) to produce higher juice yields and enhance the nutritional value of every drop and uses special technology to make the nutrients in the juice last up to 72 hours in the refrigerator.

Sinisa went to the store and came back with a variety of fruits. We had grapes, apples, pears, strawberries, raspberries, watermelon, and a pineapple. The juicer came with some recipes but we decided to make our own mixed fruit juice. Sinisa chopped all the fruit up into small pieces.

I found the Green Star Elite juicer easy to use. You just had to put a small amount of fruit in the chute and then turn the machine on and put the plunger in it to push down the fruit in the chute. This step is repeated until you have the amount of juice in the cup that you want. Turn it off and voila you are done! I personally, think the juice tastes best after it’s been in the fridge for a couple hours so it’s nice and cold.

Sinisa cleaned the machine and thought cleaning it was easy since it came with a brush to get in all the crevices. He found it a little difficult to put the pieces back together after he cleaned it and said they had to be put together like puzzle pieces but he feels that now he knows how they fit together it will be easier to do the next time.

Overall, I was very please with this juicer and am happy the process was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. Have you ever used a juicer? What is your favorite fruit combo? I’d love ideas for next time.

 

 

Vitacost Cyber Monday Sale

Vitacost.com has the best selection of health foods and snacks, bath and body products, natural household supplies, baby care essentials–plus, of course, discount vitamins, minerals, herbs, sports nutrition supplements and other formulas for your nutritional needs. You’ll find nearly 40,000 products that help you care for yourself, your family, your pets and your home. Get up to 50% off health and beauty products, vitamins, nutritional supplements, health foods and whole food products. They deliver them right to your door for FREE if your order totals $49 or more. Otherwise, shipping is just a small, flat-rate fee of $4.99, no matter how big the box.

They are currently running a Cyber Monday sale that started today and runs through Monday night. You can visit their website to see all of the products they have to offer.

(Disclosure: I am receiving products from Vitacost for posting this sale information.)

Free Vision Screenings At The Taste Of Chicago

Chicago is a beautiful city. I love walking along the lake and staring out into the water and watching as the boats bob up and down. I love walking down the streets and seeing all of the intricate details of the buildings as I peer up into the sky and see buildings disappear into the clouds. I love seeing nature in the city and walking among flowers in the various gardens that offer green space in between all of the brick and concrete. I love learning about history, science, and more at our many museums. If parking costs weren’t an issue I’d be bringing my children into the city every weekend to introduce them to everything Chicago has to offer. The few times they have been downtown they just stand in awe of the city, especially when they stand next to the skyscrapers!

Transitions Optical is hosting a sightseeing tour and will be listing the 10 top sightseeing spots in Chicago. You can check out their website in the coming weeks as they unveil their list. I’m interested to see if some of my favorites made the list. If I were making it I would include the Sears Tower {yes I know it has a new name but I refuse to call it anything other than it’s “real” name}, Navy Pier, the Shedd Aquarium, Michigan Avenue, and the lakefront.

The Taste of Chicago is in town through the 15th and that brings a whole new variety of things to see. I love going to the Taste and trying new foods. I also love “people watching”. So many people crowded into one area makes for an interesting experience but it’s a lot of fun regardless of the crowds.

If you are headed to the Taste of Chicago make sure to look for the tent to get your vision screened compliments of Vision Works. I think it’s great that these screenings are being offered because I know that when we are all busy it’s not something we think to get done but getting your vision, and your children’s vision, tested is so important. You wouldn’t want to walk around the city of Chicago and not be able to see it’s beauty clearly!

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Learn more about Transitions Optical, the official sponsor of sightseeing at http://seemoresights.com/

Connect with Transitions Lenses on Facebook

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Ways to give back:

I wanted to share about My Eye Promise. According to Transitions Lenses, nearly 50 percent of vision loss can be prevented with an eye exam. If you make a promise to take care of your eyes, Transitions Optical will donate a brand new book to a mobile literacy initiative. Sounds like a win-win for everyone! Find out more details at myeyepromise.com.

There is also a  “Sight of the Day” photo contestwhere people can enter to win an amazing getaway. For every photo uploaded a quarter will be donated to Optometry Giving Sight.

(Disclosure: I received compensation to participate in a SocialMoms and Transitions Optical blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own. To read more posts on this topic, click here.)

Viviscal {Hair Growth Vitamin}

Have you always dreamed of longer, thicker hair? You might want to learn more about Viviscal. Read more about the product from the website:

Viviscal Extra Strength is a 100% drug-free hair growth vitamin made with the finest ingredients produced by mother nature which promotes thicker, longer, and faster growing hair.

With Viviscal® Extra Strength, you get a clinically proven hair growth vitamin. It is the ONLY over-the-counter hair growth product evaluated and tested in 7 different clinical trials.  Hair loss stabilization of participants from one of the scientific studies of Viviscal® revealed “75.3% observed a significant decrease in hair loss in 6 months.”

Many bloggers have seen an improvement in the strength and length of their hair, and their nails, too. Click on the linky below for their reviews:

(Disclosure: I received a 3 month supply of Viviscal. I did not see a change in my hair but most of the bloggers did so I wanted to share their experiences with the product.)

Kids LiveWell Program

A couple weeks ago I was invited to attend a blogger dinner hosted by the National Restaurant Association. We enjoyed delicious food at Fulton’s On The River while we learned more about the Kids LiveWell program. I had never heard of it before so I was excited to find out more since any program that benefits children is of interest to me.

According to the website, “The National Restaurant Association launched the Kids LiveWell program in collaboration with Healthy Dining to help parents and children select healthful menu options when dining out. Restaurants that participate in the voluntary program commit to offering healthful meal items for children, with a particular focus on increasing consumption of fruit and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and low-fat dairy, and limiting unhealthy fats, sugars and sodium.”

As a parent I really liked this program. It is so hard to find healthy options when dining out and more so than just healthy, they have to taste good or my kids won’t eat them. Over 25,000 restaurant locations across the United States have stepped up and taken the challenge to provide healthy options for kids so that parents can feel good about their choice to eat out. To enroll in the program, restaurants need to follow a number of steps including having side or entree options that meet the specific nutritional guidelines outlined below.

Some of our favorite restaurants are participating including Applebee’s, Chic-fil-A, Chilis, Cracker Barrell, and IHOP. You can view all of the restaurants that are part of the program here. Don’t see your favorite restaurant on the list? Talk to the owner and let them know about this program and how they can participate.

To find out more about the Kids LiveWell program you can visit the National Restaurant Association’s website here. There is also a Kids LiveWell application for iPhone and Android phones that makes finding a participating restaurant easy to do when you are on the go. You can also view a listing of their healthy options before you arrive at the restaurant.

(Disclosure: I was compensated for my time but all thoughts are my own.)

Electric Toothbrush Giveaway- $160 Value {IL Residents Only}

Many parents don’t know that children should visit the dentist within six months of getting the first tooth – and no later than the first birthday. In fact, Illinois children don’t visit the dentist, on average, until they are 3 ½ years old.

A visit by age 1 allows you and your child to develop a relationship with a dentist, which can help set a foundation for good oral health and detect potential dental problems before they progress. Your little one could have pain in one of his or her teeth, but may be too young to tell you.

The Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation is kicking off “Dentist by 1”, a statewide public service campaign to educate parents about the benefits of taking their children to the dentist by age 1 and to encourage them to schedule a visit.

GIVEAWAY:

In conjunction with the campaign, the Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation is offering one of my readers an electric toothbrush ($160 value) to help promote good oral health! (Open to Illinois residents only)

MANDATORY ENTRY:

Leave a comment telling me about your child’s first trip to the dentist or something funny about their oral health care habits in the comments under this article.

ADDITIONAL ENTRIES:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Pledge to take your kids to the dentist by age 1 or to regular visits at www.dentistby1.com and tell me in the comments below. When you pledge, Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation will donate an oral health kit to a local, underprivileged child and will also send you a kit! (Kits include a toothbrush, floss, toothpaste and a children’s oral health tip sheet.)

2) “Like” Making Time For Mommy on Facebook

3) “Like” Delta Dental of Illinois on Facebook for more information about upcoming contests and tips on establishing good oral health habits for a lifetime of healthy smiles.

This Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation “Dentist by 1” Electric Toothbrush giveaway begins today and ends on May 18, 2012 at 11:59pm Central time. Illinois residents only

(Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. This giveaway is not associated with Facebook in any way.)

Waterpik Ultra Water Flosser Review

I recently shared a review of Waterpik’s SinuSense that my mom loved using and now I want to share about another product they make called the Ultra Water Flosser. It is 50% more effective than just using thread floss and has been proven to remove 99.9% of plaque. Having never used water to floss before I did not really think this product would be that effective. Once I tried it though I loved it and don’t think I’ll ever go back to regular old floss. It was easy to use and, after flossing with it, my teeth felt smooth and clean. I didn’t feel any leftover particles on my teeth like I normally do after flossing.

I thought the design of the flosser was great. It had a large water capacity so it didn’t need to be refilled while flossing. The in-lid storage space for the six different tips was nice. I liked that there were a variety of tips, each with their own purpose. It even came with a tongue cleaner to freshen breath. There are 10 pressure settings so that each person can customize the cleansing level of the flosser. The water flosser is quiet so I don’t have to worry about it’s loud noise waking anyone up when I floss late at night before bed.

Find out more about Waterpik’s Ultra Water Flosser on their website, Twitter, or Facebook.

(Disclosure: I received this item for review and was compensated for this post but all thoughts are my own.)

WaterPik SinuSense Review

I was excited when I was send a couple products by WaterPik to review. The first product, SinuSense Water Pulsator, massages, cleanses and moistens sinus passages. It is great for allergy sufferers like myself but I let my mom review it because she has many issues with her nasal passages and I knew she’d benefit more from it. Here’s what she had to say:

I’ve been a long time sufferer of sinus infections and know about sinus rinses all to well.  I used SinuSense and loved the ease and convenience.  It made my nasal passages feel refreshed and clear.  On the whole, I am pleased with this innovative alternative to other nasal irrigation techniques. It’s convenient, easy, and effective.  I do wish it had a bigger tank so if you wanted to rinse a little more, you could do so without refilling.  I am  a chronic sinus sufferer, and I have done saline nasal rinse in the past and it was  always a little messy, but this product helps keep mess to a minimum.   You have complete control of the pulsating rinse and it cleans deep, and pulsates, leaves sinus clear and helps with inflammation.  It seems helpful with my current congestion problems and I feel a lot better after using it.  I love that it is manufactured by a well respected company and Waterpik offers a $10.00 off coupon on its website that makes this a terrific deal.

Find more information about WaterPik’s SinuSense on their website and find a coupon to buy this product here.

WaterPik on Facebook and Twitter

(Disclosure: I was compensated for this post but all thoughts are my own or my mom’s.)

Wordless Wednesday: Lucas In The Hospital

Lucas after being sedated for some hearing tests in the hospital

I have linked this post to: Wordless Wednesday Home

5 Minutes for Mom ~ Go Graham Go! ~ Jolly Mom

Mom of 3 Girls ~MomStart ~ Two of a Kind…

Momma Findings ~ Mom Knows It All

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The Divine Miss Mommy

Grammy Mouse Tails

A Healthier Me

I am so excited to announce that I have been chosen as one of ten blog ambassadors for the 90-day George Foreman Knock Out the Fat Weight Loss Challenge! This is the kick in the butt that I have been waiting for and the best part about this challenge is that I have a wonderful group of women supporting me through out the challenge along with an exercise routine to follow, a personalized meal plan, and a George Foreman Grill to use.

So without further stalling by me, here is my starting weight:

Not only is that more than I ever weighed in my life (well except when I was pregnant) but my BMI is 31 which is OBESE!

Current picture

That is beyond embarrassing especially considering that when I first moved out on my own I looked like this:

That’s what happens when you have kids and don’t take care of yourself.

All that changes this week.

I am going to start MAKING TIME FOR MOMMY to get healthier!

(Disclosure: I am one of 10 Brand Ambassadors in the George Foreman Knock out the Fat Weight Loss Challenge. I was sent a George Foreman Grill for my participation in this challenge and will be compensated for my time at the end of the challenge. All opinions are my own.)

Vitamin Shopping Made Easy At Meijer

I *know* I’m supposed to be taking vitamins daily. It’s been something that has been repeated to me multiple times since I was little- from my Doctors and my parents. But we all know that just because someone tells you something doesn’t mean you are going to do it.

When I think about why I don’t take vitamins it really comes down to me being lazy. Going to the store and looking at labels on vitamin containers trying to figure out which one is best for me doesn’t sound like fun. And supplements? Don’t even get me started on the anxiety that this aisle in the store gives me.

Supplements, supplements, and more supplements.....

So you can imagine when I heard about the Vitamin Finder on Meijer’s website I jumped at the chance to check it out. It was easy to do! I went to Meijer’s website, clicked on pharmacy at the top, clicked on vitamin finder, and then answered a short questionnaire. In less than 5 minutes I had a personalized recommendation guide of what vitamins I should be taking.

Headed to the store with my list I didn’t have to walk up and down the aisle debating between this brand and that brand…  I knew what I wanted, found them on sale (score!), chose vitamins for the rest of my family, and started the rest of my shopping. It was easy to do and if I were just going to the store to find vitamins I would have been out in a matter of minutes (the Easter basket stuff caught my attention this time).

*To learn more about Meijer’s vitamin finder and my experience in store you can view my whrrl story.

(Disclosure: I have been compensated by Collective Bias for my time but all thoughts about Meijer and the vitamin finder are my own.)