February 5, 2016

How to Help Avoid Painful Dental Work

At my most recent dentist appointment, my dentist told me that he's got one of the most hated jobs. No one likes the dentist. Even his young daughter has told him, "Daddy, no one likes you." We debated whether it's the fear of dental work, sound of the drill or painful bills after that causes this extreme dislike.

For me that day, my fear of dental work and a big bill came true. I had a number of cavities in between my teeth that I got filled. If you haven't had fillings between your teeth before, let me tell you this: You don't want them if you don't have to have them. I won't freak you out with the details in case dental work makes you squeamish, so just trust me that they're to be avoided.

 While the dentist numbed my mouth so well I didn't fell any of the work or even that side of my face up to my eye for hours, my wallet was beyond sore and my credit card was smoking as I walked out the door. His advice to prevent more cavities like these? Floss. Every day. And do it well. He also reminded me that M2 should be having her teeth flossed.

Flossing isn't fun. Quite frankly, I don't really like it. Having to mess with the floss, wrap it around you fingers, the floss digging into your fingers as you try to jam it between each tooth while having to fit your fingers in your mouth to even get to them doesn't add up to a good time. When you add in trying to do this to a kid as they squirm, scream, fight and wail, the fun factor reaches a big 0. Especially when you get bit trying to cram your fingers in to floss the little pearly teeth.

There's a new way to fix all that though. GumChucks flossing system is like the ninja of flossing -- The Ninja Flossers. With fun nunchuck-shaped double handles that hold the floss taut and make it easy to reach the teeth -- without having to shove your fingers in the mouth -- your flossing dreams come true, assuming you have dreams of flossing. If you don't, you just might after using these.

GumChucks are available for kids and adults with a special ortho option as well. All you need to do is pull out the handles, stick in the floss, floss your or your child's teeth, then press the bottom of the GumChuck on each side to pop the floss out easily. No fuss, no muss. Just easy flossing with more control to combat plaque. You can even get special designer handles if you're feeling fancy.

It works better than regular floss, too. I'm amazed how much the GumChucks get out from between teeth that regular floss doesn't. They even get the dreaded popcorn out easily. My gums don't end up bloody, there's no "something is still stuck" feeling after. With the two BPA-free handles, it's easy to get the floss in the C shape dentists recommend. My mouth feels nice and clean, ready for a good brushing and mouthwash session (dentist's orders). The Gumchucks are so, so simple to use. I love how I can floss more quickly and more effectively with them. (Plus, it's just plain fun to use them. I get way too much enjoyment shooting off the tips. When the handles get dirty, or if I get a cold, I can just pop them in the top rack of the dishwasher to sanitize them easily. To be thrifty, the floss can be reused with a good dunk in Listerine then an air-dry session. The floss is super durable so it's possible to do.

M2 doesn't have any problem with the GumChucks. In fact, she gets upset when I stop. She'll even ask me to do it. Since she is so sensitive and screams when I brush her teeth, I was amazed by this. I can quickly get between each of her teeth to floss them well. The GumChucks really help with her dental hygiene and sensory issues. (Now, if we can get her through a dentist appointment!)

Check out these videos to see more of the GumChucks advantages and see how they work.  More FAQs can be found on their website. You can buy GumChucks online and even on Amazon! On the GumChucks site, it's easy to set up monthly shipments so you don't run out. A starter pack gets you sticks and 12 flossing tips to start. Various size flossing tip refill packages are available, depending on what you need. As a blog reader, you can get 15 percent off when you use the code SAHLIFE15.

I'm hoping my dentist is as pleased with my new flossing regimen next time I go as I am. Here's to no more cavities between my teeth!

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This post is sponsored by GumChucks and contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

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February 3, 2016

The Truth About Breastfeeding: Part 1

When a women finds out she's expecting there are a million things for her to decide between seeing that positive test and holding her little one in her arms. One big decision is formula or breast feeding? Every woman has her own personal reasons for what she decides. For some women, they aren't able to chose for a variety of reasons. As long as baby gets fed that's what is most important.

Breastfeeding has a number of challenges. Will baby latch well? How to I hold her while nursing? Can I even produce milk? What can I eat that won't hurt baby?

Formula has its own challenges. Which formula is best? Will baby end up being allergic to milk and need soy? What if baby needs a special kind?

Guest-poster Laurie is back today to share what her journey was like in the first in a series of posts.

February 1, 2016

Meal Planning for Feb. 2- 15, 2016

I'm planning out our dinners for the next two weeks. Here's what we'll be having. Hopefully, it'll give you some ideas of what to add to your own menu. How're you doing with meal planning so far this year?

Please remember to vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs by clicking the pink banner at the bottom of the post then clicking the GREEN or ORANGE buttons on the next page. (If you don't click one of those on the next page, it doesn't count the vote :( ) Thank you!

2/2 Tuesday 
Cheesesteak sandwiches topped with peppers and with green salad on the side

2/3 Wednesday
Orange chicken, jasmine rice and broccoli

2/4 Thursday
Mixed greens salad topped with chicken strips

2/5 Friday
Ranch chicken wraps

2/6 Saturday
Baked ziti with green salad

2/7 Sunday
Herb baked salmon with mixed veggies and Italian bread

2/8 Monday
Turkey burgers with baked potatoes and corn

2/9 Tuesday
Marinated pork chops with brown rice and green beans

2/10 Wednesday
Roasted pumpkin, carrots and potatoes with quinoa

2/11 Thursday
BBQ chicken thighs with mashed potatoes and leftover roasted veggies

2/12 Friday
Grilled cheese and soup

2/13 Saturday
New Orleans red beans and rice

2/14 Sunday
Tuna salad on a bed of lettuce

2/15 Monday
Slow cooked pork roast with white rice and corn

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January 28, 2016

Establishing Healthy Habits Update and New Goals Jan. 28 - Feb. 11

I've been pushing myself to keep on track with my health goals this year by giving myself healthy habit goals and a challenge each two weeks. Here's how I did the past two weeks and my challenge and goals for the next two. You can read more about why I'm doing this and what I set for myself last time and why here.

Two Week Update on Healthy Habits Goals

The Challenge: No Soda
I'm proud to say I did great with this one! I still keep craving diet Coke, that stuff is so addictive. This is going to become part of my goals for the upcoming weeks.

Drink more water
This one I still need to work on. I was doing great until I got sick, got extremely dehydrated and fell back into my old ways. Slowly, I'm getting back on track. This habit needs more work.

Reach for fruit and veggies instead of unhealthy choices
I'm doing pretty good with this one, but still need improvement.

Watch portions
Proper portions for weight loss is big. Even if it's healthy, if you're eating too much of it, you're not  going to lose weight. The past few months I've been piling way too much on my plate rather than practicing portion control. That's about to change! The majority of my plate is going to be veggies and lean meats with carbs and starches taking a side role. All the foods in moderation, of course. If I'm still hungry, I'll be reaching for those fruits and veggies I have prepped to go.

Exercise a minimum of 60 minutes a week
A big failure on this one. While I got in more movement since I've been doing more cleaning, I didn't get in my 60 minute a week goal. I got 30 minutes one week and that's it. Between battling the tiredness from anemia and then spending one of the weeks sick with stomach flu, exercise didn't happen. I think I need to adjust this given my current health limitations.

The Next Two Weeks of Healthy Habits and a Challenge

In addition to keeping up with the habits I've been establishing, I'm adding a few more. Some are ones I wasn't successful with before as they still need to be a focus.

The Challenge

The last time, exercise was my big downfall. I've decided I need to adjust this to work better with the fatigue and tiredness that comes with having severe anemia. With that in mind, my challenge is going to be to exercise 10 minutes 5 days a week. I figure if I can do that, I can build on it. Weight lifting and pilates are my usual go-to exercises, along with kick boxing and some time with the Wii playing Just Dance.

Healthy Habits

Limit soda
I don't want to fall back into my soda habits so I'm keeping this on the list. Rather than no soda (which I know I can't keep up long term) I'm going to limit myself to one 16 oz soda a week.

Cut back on carbs and sugar
Anyone who knows me knows I've got a major weakness for carbs and sugary treats. Neither of which helps with my goals of being healthier and losing weight. As much as I love bread, pasta, cookies, chocolate, hot chocolate and ice cream, I've got to break the habit. Rather than having a carb with every dinner, I'm going to load up on veggies and skip carbs more often. Less toast, more protein shakes. Healthy eating is about balance though, so I'm not looking to cut the carbs totally, just get everything in moderation. The same goes with sweet treats, though those I'm going to be cutting back on even more. I want to get to the point where I don't rely on having a piece of chocolate or a cookie daily, rather every other day, or even longer. Realistically, I know that'll take time so this two weeks is about cutting back and moderation.

Drink more water
Water, water and more water! Five glasses a day, here I come!

More fruits and veggies
With cutting back on carbs, I want to eat more fruits and veggies. These are the healthy treats I should crave. Fresh fruit is something I keep in the house for M2 and B. Now, I need to eat more myself. While we have veggies with every dinner, my portions need to be larger in that food group.

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January 26, 2016

How to Get Kids Motivated and Focused

If you're like me, you're tired of bargaining, cajoling and begging your child to listen and do what they're told. It feels like a daily power struggle to get even the simplest task completed. Now, I've been introduced to KidCash, which takes reward and sticker charts to the next level. We're on our way to revolutionizing how behavior is handled in our house.

how to get kids motivated and focused kidcash

KidCash is an incentive system designed to motivate kids to want to have positive behavior. It takes abstract concepts and makes them more concrete so kids can understand them. At the same time, it encourages communication with parents and teaches kid how to manage money. It comes in a box set of bank books. instructions, various types of KidCash The various types of cash are marked for specific things: gifts, candy, activities, devices or savings. That way, kids know exactly what incentive they're working toward. For the little ones like M2 who aren't reading yet, each type is color coded and has a different picture in the center.

~~ Check out the bottom of the post for a giveaway! ~~

January 20, 2016

Saying Goodbye to a Toxic Friend

Let's face it: Having friends as an mom is difficult. As moms, we're always busy, pulled in 50 directions and having a child screaming as though their head is being ripped from their very neck isn't really conducive to interesting, scintillating conversations. When you have a special-needs child, having friends is even more difficult. So when having a special-needs child reveals that someone you thought to be a good friend truly isn't, it hurts your heart.

Why am I sharing the following story with you? To inspire you to be there for your friends who have special-needs children, even when it isn't easy. We know it's not always easy to be our friend. It makes us appreciate you even more. Just as importantly, I want to encourage you to end your own toxic friendships. Recognize your worth. If you're a fellow special-needs mom and are hanging onto old friendships that no longer bring your life anything good, don't hang on just for nostalgia's sake. Life isn't the same. Sometimes, a chapter in a book has become so yellowed,the words so smeared, the pages so stained and torn that no tape can save it. You can't hang onto that chapter just because you remember when it was fresh and new, when the rest of the story has gone far passed it and it no longer has any positive bearing on the future.

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