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6 Steps to Ensure Your Baby’s Good Oral Health

Kid at dentist

After the birth of your baby, you may be most focused on their eating habits and development. But to help your child obtain the ultimate oral health later in life, you need to begin their preventative care early on. The following are critical steps that will allow you to ensure good oral health for your child.

Begin to Clean Before You See Teeth

Your job as a parent is important and involves critical duties such as creating a healthy environment for your child to grow up in. To help start your child’s life off right, you want to gradually introduce oral care such as teeth cleaning before their pearly whites have begun to come in. Getting them used to dental hygiene by gently cleaning off their gums once they are done with feedings sets a good routine. Using a warm, damp cloth, wrap the material around your finger. They also make rubber devices that adhere onto your finger to use for wiping down excess milk and food.

Schedule an Exam

Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Dental Association recommend a child gets their initial exam by the age of one. Family dentistry provides personalized care for both children and adults. Comprehensive exams detect if your child has tooth decay or cavities. Your family dentist will also be able to determine if your child needs braces or other devices such as a mouth guard as their mouth grows and develops. When you take excellent care of your child’s teeth when they’re young, you’ll form good habits for the coming years.

Take Extra Care

Some parents think that a child’s baby teeth are unimportant because they aren’t their permanent set. But a child’s primary set are critical as they reserve space for the final set to come in. Baby teeth also help her child talk and eat food as they grow. If they’re not properly looked after, your tiny tot could be prone to gingivitis, tooth decay and infections.

Be on the Lookout

Signs your child may have a cavity includes pain, discomfort and tooth discoloration. You can do your part to reduce your child’s chances of cavities by skipping bottle feeding when they go to bed. Juice is another contributing factor to cavities as the liquid contains high volumes of sugar. Plan on filling your infant’s bottle with water, formula or breast milk.

Practice After Meal Hygiene

If you’re looking to clean your child’s mouth after liquid meals, offer your baby a bottle or cup of water to drink. This method helps formula and milk wash away easily. As your child becomes used to the motions of a toothbrush, gently clean any residue off their teeth and gums. This is especially important as you introduce solid foods to your baby.

Introducing Toothpaste

At the age of two, you’ll probably be ready to introduce a small amount of fluoride toothpaste to your child’s brushing regimen. Start with a small amount and guide them to brush at least twice per day. This should be done in the morning when they clean their face and at the end of the day when you’re getting ready for bed. To encourage this daily ritual and make it fun, let your child choose their favorite flavored toothpaste. You’ll also find brushes that come in their favorite animated character. You can also practice oral habits together as a family. This allows your child the chance to stay on task and learn the proper brushing technique from an experienced adult. If you’re unsure, enlist the help of your dental care provider.

With your baby’s teeth soon making an appearance, it’s time to help them chart a course to the best oral health care. Although the initial set of baby teeth are in for just a short period of time before the tooth fairy collects them, staying on track with the above tips prepares them for when their permanent teeth come in for good.

Mark and I took his daughter to see Beauty and the Beast yesterday.  Even after all the talk about how one of the actors is gay, I honestly did not even notice this in the film- or maybe I wasn’t paying close enough attention.  But even so- it is everywhere and in 2017, we are used to seeing it- it does not phase us at all.  Over the last 20 years being Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Trans has become normal.  It is in every Netflix Series I have watched, most reality TV show, movies– oh and of course real life.  Something that was once so private, is now very public, something that did not seem so common is now everywhere.

Okay– times have changed and quality of life has improved for members of that community because we are normalizing this.

So why is it when I am watching these same shows they are bottle feeding.  Why is it something that EVERY woman’s body was made to do since the beginning of time is something that is still considered to so many something that should be done in private, gross, or not normal.  The fact that as a nursing mom- asking to use a fitting room when I was at Neiman Marcus two years ago to nurse Caleb (in fear that if I did nurse in public I would offend OTHER PEOPLE) – was referred to the BATHROOM— (Don’t worry– I did not accept that offer– it was fitting room or I would rejoin my family for lunch and just nurse him at the table (like I should have to begin with- but again… so much fear of offending other people).

breastfed baby
BREASTS ARE TO FEED BABIES.  THIS is why God gave women boobs… When they are feeding babies, they are not sexual.  Legally, I am allowed to feed my baby anywhere that my baby and I are allowed to be WITHOUT A COVER.  (By the way have you every tried using one of those covers… it is hot… and half the time baby is pulling the blanket off anyway.  (I have a scarf cover I got from the big latch on last year that I keep to use just in case I am in a situation that I need to feed my baby, and don’t feel comfortable nursing without a cover and trust me I have those moments.)

But the truth is… I shouldn’t feel this way.  As a nursing mom trying to provide the best start in life to my baby as possible, I shouldn’t have to feel awkward, or embarrassed (or like I am going to embarrass my son who is 7 and of course has friends and I don’t think any of his friends know what breastfeeding is, so if his friends are over, I go to another room to feed the baby– and same at cub scouts).  If we worked together to NORMALIZE BREASTFEEDING children would grow up knowing what breastfeeding is, knowing that they were breastfed, everyone would be used to seeing mothers feed their babies, so that when I am at the play area at the mall I wouldn’t get glares from the other side (I mean come on– play area at the mall– we are all moms here… why are you glaring out me as I am nursing my two month old.)

And this is just it- people are so thrown off by seeing moms breastfeed because you do not see it every day.  Breastfeeding is NOT normalized in the United States.  

We need to change this WE NEED TO NORMALIZE BREASTFEEDING.  We need to make people used to seeing it.  WE NEED TO TEACH OUR CHILDREN THAT BREASTFEEDING IS NORMAL (and what it is… because a 10 year old asking why I am feeing the baby from my stomach- should not be something that is asked because by 10, I would think they would know).  Boys and Girls both need to know what breastfeeding is because breastfeeding is a normal fact of life.  Then girls will understand the importance of it and boys will grow up to be supportive father’s when their wives decide to breastfeed.

Breastfeeding baby

What about the first time mom that chooses to breastfeed, NORMALIZE BREASTFEEDING so she will be so used to other mothers also breastfeeding that she won’t feel embarrassed when she is out of the house and needs to feed her baby.  I was this mom- especially with Colton and in the beginning with Caleb- trying to find somewhere to hide to feed them– I have so many stories of this… including being SO thankful for the Baby Care Station at the Canfield Fair because poor Colton was so hungry and I was so afraid to nurse him and of course forgot a blanket– it was like 100 degrees.. why would I need one other than to cover and SWEAT while I fed my baby.  OH or how about when my own husband (now ex husband) embarrassed me when we were at Bob Evans with his family and my friend, and Colton was hungry so I was feeding him WITH A COVER when told me I needed to go to the bathroom to feed him.  I was so embarrassed I bundled up my hungry baby and went out to the FREEZING car so I could feed him.  I am still thankful for my friend that stood up for me that day.

So this is my challenge to you.  In our country we are normalizing so many things in this generation, let’s work together to normalize breastfeeding (again- let me remind you before formula this was how women fed their babies).  I would love to see breastfeeding on television shows and in movies, if a baby is eating- make him/her breastfed and TALK ABOUT BREASTFEEDING in the show positively!  If you are a nursing mother, stop being afraid to breastfeed in public.  If you are a nursing mother and you see a young mom nursing, stop and sit with her and breastfeed too- I know it sounds weird, but for me- I feel much more comfortable nursing in a situation that there are other moms also nursing.  If you are a parent, teach your children WHAT BREASTFEEDING IS and that it is a natural part of the functions for a woman and the healthiest way to feed a baby.  If you are a teacher, especially a sex education, parenting, or health teacher, please teach about breastfeeding in your class– this shouldn’t be a secret or something to be ashamed about.

Colton

ALSO- My Challenge to you.  Is to normalize leaving baby boys intact (in most states in the US)- we need to stop cutting off vital parts of penises for no reason at all.  God made every baby perfect, there is no reason to alter any part of a healthy baby’s body without his (or her) permission (and I am pretty sure a newborn can not talk and tell you to cut off a functioning, healthy part of their penis just because you feel like that is the way it should be.)  (And I have SO much more I could add to this, but that is all for another blog post).  Go to Your Whole Baby or Saving Sons to get more information on circumcision.  

Enjoy a Family Night out at with Ovation Brands and GSN’s IDIOTEST! #Giveaway

Gather up your kiddos and plan a fun family night out to dinner at one the Ovation Brands restaurants – Old Country Buffet, Ryan’s, Hometown Buffet, Country Buffet – and Furr’s Fresh Buffet!

Each Thursday, from March 2nd through April 6th between 5 pm and 8 pm, kids may participate in different interactive and educational activities in Ovation Brands’ restaurants and Furr’s Fresh Buffet locations.The featured activities are as follows:●      March 2 – Brain Games

●      March 9 – Trivia Time!

●      March 16 – Game Show Night

●      March 23 – Kidiotest!

●      March 30 – Act it out!

●      April 6 – Spin to Win!

This is some added fun for your family while they enjoy a delicious meal.
Idiotest_Prize PackOh and I am going to be giving away ONE Family Prize pack that will include:  one (1) pair of Idiotest Glasses, one (1) Idiotest stylus bracelet, one (1) Idiotest stress brain and four (4) free meal passes for you and your family to enjoy a meal at any of Ovation Brands’ locations.
This giveaway is happening on my Facebook Page, so GO HERE to Enter!

Freeze! Are You Storing Food Properly?

Most of us rely on our refrigerators and freezers to preserve food and keep it fresh. If you don’t store food safely, it can be damaging to your health. Here are some simple tips to enable you to get the best out of your groceries, and prevent unwanted illnesses.

inside of freezer

Image via https://www.flickr.com/photos/96401256@N02/10114889526

Checking the temperature

It’s really important that your refrigerator and freezer are set at the right temperature to keep your food fresh. The temperature in the fridge should be lower than 5 degrees while the freezer should be set at around -17 degrees. If the fridge or freezer are too warm, they won’t do their job properly. If you keep having to adjust the temperature, or the thermometer reading seems to change on a regular basis, this may indicate a fault, and it’s wise to get your appliances checked out by a company like City Appliance Repair. Some units have built-in thermometers. If your’s doesn’t, and you want to check the temperature, you can use a normal thermometer.

Which foods to refrigerate and freeze

You can’t freeze everything, so always check the labels before you put anything in the freezer. You should be able to spot small badges that give you advice. In most cases, if you can freeze the food, you should do it as soon after purchase as possible. If you’ve bought something, and it has passed its use by date, don’t then put it in the freezer. Use by dates are only guidelines, but they are there for your safety, and you should only freeze items before the use-by date. You can freeze foods and then defrost them after the use-by date. There are lots of different types of foods you can store in the refrigerator, including fruit and vegetables, dairy products, cooked and raw meat, fish, and eggs.

Organizing your refrigerator

It’s wise to use the different compartments of your refrigerator for different types of food. Keep meat, poultry, and fish in sealed containers at the bottom of the refrigerator, and separate them from dairy products and cooked meat. Many of us keep bottles of milk in the fridge door, but they’re actually best stored on the shelves towards the bottom, as temperatures tend to be coolest here.

Defrosting food

If you decide you want a chicken breast or some fish cakes for dinner, and they’re in the freezer, simply remove them and leave them to defrost at room temperature. It is possible to cook some foods from frozen, but you should always defrost meat thoroughly. When you’re cooking meat and fish, ensure that it’s cooked through before serving.

The way you cook your food is really important, but don’t turn a blind eye to storage. Always check best before and use by dates, and avoid eating anything that is passed its best. You can freeze most foods, but check the labels before you do. Make sure your appliances are working properly. If there’s a fault, or you’re worried that something isn’t quite right, seek advice. If you cook food that hasn’t been stored safely, there is a risk of food poisoning.

Our visit to Castaway Bay in Sandusky Ohio

My family got the opportunity to visit Cedar Point’s Indoor Water Park: Castaway Bay in Sandusky, Ohio last weekend.  We definitely had a ball.  The two older boys kept saying over and over again about how much fun they were having and that really made this mom happy- and when they say it without you asking about it, you know they are having a great time.

First- I have to say the room set up was AWESOME.  We stayed in a Tarpon Suite, I think it was a Bay View because we had a view of the water and that was really nice, especially since the weather was kind of nice so we did enjoy sitting on the balcony a bit.  The best part about the Tarpon Suite is that it has a King Sized bed and then a separate room for the kiddos with 4 bunk beds.  This gave mom and dad a bit of privacy and the kids not only had their own area for play and relaxing, but also their own beds.  So no fighting over bed sharing!!

Castaway Bay Tarpon Suite

Like any family, we quickly unpacked and got into our suites and headed down to the water park.  The kids were excited, parents are excited, and we were ready to go!  The Indoor Water Park is just what we needed during these cold winter months (which actually aren’t THAT cold this year- but still not hot enough that we are enjoying any type of outdoor swimming in Ohio).  It is 80 degrees in the water park, so you have that warm tropical weather and it is nice and warm when going between activities in your wet swimsuit.

There are a variety of activities for all ages too!  The littlest ones and I spent most of our time in the Toddler Tidepool, which is complete with three small slides, and a few other splashing activities for the little ones.  Caleb really enjoyed the slides!!  Things we all enjoyed were the Creature Cove (has basketball hoops, and floating snakes and other creatures to play on), the Wave Pool, and Lookout Lagoon’s Family Funhouse.

Castaway Bay Water Park

The older kids enjoyed the slides!  That is what they spent most of their days doing, going up and down the slides!  There is one cool raft slide that is either one or two person, a set of 3 speed slides, and some other fun slides that are on the Lookout Lagoon Family Funhouse.  They also said they liked going in the hot tub, which would be the Grotto.

So the waterpark itself got two thumbs up from the kids and the parents.  BUT Castaway Bay offers other things to do as well, so if you get tired of the water and need a break there are other options.  Club Castaway has crafts offered from 10-2 every day.  And at night they have a dance party and a movie followed by a meet and greet with Snoopy!

My kiddos got to color shirts during our stay in Club Castaway and while they were doing that I chatted with the team member on duty and she told me that they have more activities on Saturdays, where they have a movie playing and the kids can make their own trail mix.  Our stay was a Sunday to Monday, and we did not make it to Club Castaway until Monday morning and they did have a movie playing during the craft when we were there.

 

There are also a variety of restaurants.  We ate at Quaker Steak and Lube for dinner (Tip: Ask to sit at the worst table to get 10% off your total bill!), and got snacks and lunch at Big Daddy’s Snack Shack that is inside the water park.  There is also Mango Mike’s, which is a breakfast buffet, and Ebb and Eddy’s which has coffee, quick breakfast items and lunch (we got Starbuck’s Coffee here in the morning).  There is also an upscale dining restaurant available at Bay Harbor and of course Room Service as well.

 

We also hit up the arcade just before we left on Monday- and honestly had the waterpark and arcade been open longer, we would have stayed longer!!  But we promised the boys that we would do the arcade so we stopped in.  Colton was super excited because I was able to win him an Ocalot (Minecraft) stuffed toy from one of the machines.  (Super Cool Mom Points for me!)

Oh- if you aren’t signed up for Castaway Bay Birthday Club, you definitely need to sign your kids up.  Caleb’s birthday is coming up, so he got to redeem his Birthday Coupon while we were there and it included: A Free slice of Pizza from Big Daddy’s Snack Shack, 16 Free Game credits at the Arcade, and a free craft at Club Castaway.  If you aren’t staying the night, you can redeem the Birthday Club certificate for a free day pass to the water park!

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Castaway Bay is a great resort to get in a bit of a mini vacation close to home.  We definitely needed a little getaway and the smiles on the boys’ faces tells me they had a blast too!  They often run specials, and I have seen special rates on Groupon too, so if you need a deal to be able to go, check out their site and keep an out out on Groupon to get the best rate for a mini vacation for your family!

Thank you to Cedar Point and Castaway Bay for hosting our family, so I can share this experience on Mommy Has A Life

We are going to Castaway Bay! Oh and YOU CAN TOO!! #Giveaway

The one thing I love most as a parent is doing fun things with my family.  I feel like that is the great reward after all the work I put in as a mom on the day to day.  Next week we are making the trip to Sandusky, OH to enjoy the tropical paradise at Castaway Bay Indoor Waterpark and Resort.

Please follow along with me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, I will be using #CastawayBay2017

castaway bay

Guess what?  YOU can go too!  First- Castaway Bay has incredible deals starting at  $99 per night.  And that includes Water park admission for four guests!  BUT I am also giving away one four pack of day passes to Castaway Bay on my Facebook Page: Mommy Has A Life.

Go to THIS POST on my Facebook Page.  And Like, Comment and Share to be entered!

Good Luck!!

Won Big? Ideas For Spending Your Winnings Wisely!

If you are a single mom, then you will know just how important every penny is – let’s be honest about, bringing up a child on your own isn’t easy. So, when we win big, be it at the local bingo, on a lottery ticket, or even if you’ve been left some money in a relative’s will or your boss has given you a bonus, it’s important to spend it wisely. The question is, how should you go about doing that? What would be a wise way to spend any money that you’ve come into?

Take a vacation

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Photo credit

Spending some of the money that you’ve come into on a vacation might seem like a waste, but it’s not if you’ve never been able to take your little ones abroad before. The chances are that you’ve been dreaming of taking your kids on a proper summer vacation for years, but until now have never been able to afford it. As long as you don’t spend all of your money on a vacation, there’s no reason not to take one, after all, nothing’s more important than quality family time.

Add value to your home

Another option for spending your money is to use it to add value to your home. You see, by adding value to your home, you can increase how much it will sell for in the future, giving you a better profit. There are lots of simple ways you can add value to your home, from increasing the size of the property with an extension, attic conversion, or a conservatory, to making it more eco-friendly, it’s just a case of deciding what would be the best option for you. Because as well as adding value to your home, you also want any updates that you make to positively impact yours’ and your children’s lives. So, say you want to save money, then you need to think of ways to do that, such as by transforming your home so that it uses less energy, for instance. The first step to doing that is undergoing a free energy analysis, so that you can see the best options for cutting costs, such as by installing solar panels or a smart thermostat, for instance.

Save it

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Picture from Flickr

This might be the most boring option but if you want to ensure that your children have the best possible future, save the money up. Open a high-interest savings account and put all (or the majority) of your winnings in there, so that when your children need money for college, their first car, or maybe even for a deposit on a house, they have something to help them. Saving the money might seem boring, but there’s nothing boring about being mindful of your children’s future, now is there?

Start a business

Do you hate your job? Have you always dreamed of starting a business of your own? Then now could be the perfect opportunity to do so – you’ve got the money, all you need is an idea. Perhaps you already have an idea that you’ve been thinking about for years? Either way, if you’ve always wanted to start a business but have never had the funds to do so, now could be the perfect time to take the leap and go for it.

Won big? Make sure that you spend it wisely and don’t just waste it.

NAME-STAMP BLOCK Tutorial #FamilyFunMag

Another fun Winter- time craft, make your own NAME-STAMP BLOCK!  Idea courtesy of FamilyFun Magazine!

Great for new spellers—or anyone who likes to make her mark!

stamp-block

What you’ll need
Paper
Craft foam
Craft glue
2-inch wooden block(s)
Stamp pad & notebooks (optional)

Instructions

  1. Write your recipient’s name in 1¼-inch-high block letters on a piece of paper (you can also use a stencil or print out the letters in a font you like at 100 points). Cut out each letter. You can get six characters onto a block, so if she has a short name, fill in any blank spaces with a fun design like a heart or a star; if she has a long name, use two blocks.
  2. Trace two of each letter onto craft foam; cut out.
  3. Stack the letters and glue them together. Then glue each letter to a side of the block backwards. Repeat for all letters.
  4. If desired, package your blocks with a stamp pad and notebooks.

Easy how-to Kid’s Craft: FISH FRIENDS

Are you looking for an easy craft kids can make while they are couped up inside this winter?  Check out this easy how-to tutorial for instructions on making stuffed Fish Friends.  

Your kids can make a whole school of these quirky stuffies for their crew!

fish

What you’ll need

Fish templates (find them at familyfunmag.com/printables)
Fabric (about ¼ yard per fish)
Chalky colored pencil
Kid-safe needle
Embroidery thread
Opaque white fabric-paint pen
Beans or fiberfill

Instructions:

  1. Cut out the templates and trace onto your fabric with colored pencil (feel free to let kids draw their own fish bodies too!), then fold the fabric in half and pin. Cut through both layers about ½ inch outside the marking.
  2. Starting at the bottom, stitch the fish together along the chalk line, leaving about 6 inches open along its belly.
  3. Add the fish’s features with the paint pen, letting each side dry in between. Help your child iron to set the paint per manufacturer instructions.
  4. Stuff the fish with beans or fiberfill, and then stitch it all the way closed.

Don’t Just Waste Your Money – Make Wise Investments, Today!

You’ve probably heard friends, relatives, and colleagues talk about the importance of making investments. If you are someone who has a tendency to splash their cash the moment it arrives in their bank account, investments might be an alien concept to you! But if you are a natural saver, you might already be well on your way to making some good investments. But whichever side of the financial fence you lay on, there are a few things you need to know about investments before you make any big decisions. It is always best to approach a financial advisor with your plans before you take the plunge and make any kind of investment – as many investment plans that look good initially might actually turn out to make you a loss. Some can even turn out to be scam pyramid schemes, which can actually leave you penniless. So never rush into an investment; always evaluate it first. That said, there are some rock-solid investments that provide a worthwhile path for your money. If you have a large sum of money at your disposal, it might be worth looking into some of these investment options.

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Image source

Your child’s education

Anyone who is a parent knows how important it can be to invest in your child’s future. We all want to give our children the best start in life – and for most of us, that means providing them with a great education. It is virtually impossible for young adults these days to attend college without some form of financial support from their parents. This is why many people these days are saving for their children earlier than ever – some before the child is even born! It may seem a little ludicrous, but anything that gets the job done and takes the pressure off you can’t be that bad, right? The best thing to do when deciding to invest for your child is to shop around for different saving accounts to find the most desirable interest rate. Don’t think you simply have to go for ones aimed at children – you can find competitive rates elsewhere and simply put your child’s initials on the account. Many of these accounts, however, have limitations for just how much you can put in per month – so work out what you are going to be able to afford and make your decision based on that.

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Property

Everyone knows that property is an asset. You home will probably be the most expensive thing you buy in your whole life – even though, of course, you probably won’t buy it outright! Nearly everyone gets a mortgage to help them get on the property ladder. Getting on the ladder is a priority for a lot of us, and the opportunity to purchase a property is now being extended to more people than ever. For low-income families, financial support can be offered in the form of an FHA loan. Websites such as Lending Tree can help you calculate what you will be able to access in terms of a loan like this. These kind of schemes can be incredibly viable for many people as property is one of the most secure investments out there. Generally speaking, homes go up in value nearly every year. If you do some work on your property or if a good school gets built near it, you may find that it’s value goes through the roof. This can leave you with a sizeable amount of equity in your home, which in turn acts as another investment opportunity.

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Image source

Shares

Think of the stock market and you probably think of the Wolf of Wall Street – stressed out brokers yelling down the phone whilst watching shares fall on an outdated computer screen. But, as is the case with most Hollywood movies, the reality is very different. Stocks and shares are actually another solid way to invest your money. There is, of course, some level of risk involved. Shares can go down as well as up, especially if something dramatic happens, such as a market crash or an event like Brexit. But overall, the returns you can make from shares tend to outperform other investments such as corporate bonds and even property. The important thing to remember is that investing in shares is no quick fix. You may need to invest your money for ten or even twenty years before it actually starts to be worth your while. So, if you are someone who tends to fall at the first hurdle, getting involved in the stock market may not be for you. Investment is different for everyone because everyone’s circumstances are different – so think carefully about what to do with your money.