Come join us for the #GivingTuesday Twitter Party 11/1

giving tuesdayNovember 26th is the first-ever #GivingTuesday event.  My mom lived her life in helping others, in so many ways.  She taught us by doing that giving to others matters, and should be a priority in life.  Giving to others and for others doesn’t have to cost a lot, nor take a lot of time, but it does matter.  The first “big” giving experience I had in my life, of my own accord, was the Christmas Day I spent with a local radio DJ’s charity, We Are the Children.  This is a huge event put on each year to give back to children in our own area- a few hundred children, if I remember correctly. I was one of the elves- it was truly an amazing experience.  I hope that I can find ways to instill the beliefs my mom did in my own kids.  That’s part of why I wanted to be part of the first Giving Tuesday event!

Information about the Twitter party:
What: Join a Twitter party to spread the word about celebrating the first-ever #GivingTuesday, a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season to celebrate and encourage charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations. This year’s #GivingTuesday will take place on November 27, the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Our Twitter party will address how you can spread the word, why this movement matters and ways to get involved!


When: The party will be on Thursday, Nov. 1, at noon ET.

Where: Use the #GivingTuesday hashtag on Twitter to find us!

Hosts: Follow @theMotherhood, @GivingTues, @CooperMunroe and @EmilyMcKhann

Prizes: We’ll be giving away five $25 VISA gift cards, which you are welcome to use toward your charitable efforts this holiday giving season!
Twtvite: http://twtvite.com/givingtuesday
I will be compensated for helping host the twitter party.  Opinions are my own.

Softness IS Worth Sharing

I had planned to bring some Kleenex with me when we were going to be Trick-or-Treating later this week, but thanks to Hurricane Sandy, it looks like Halloween will be cancelled for the second year in a row.  That means some creative thinking on our part- we’ll have to think of some fun and creative ways to mark the occasion if we do get hit as hard as they think we may.  I know that we have a few neighbors around who are elderly and can’t get out much, sowe will be walking over and leaving some of the candy treats we’d bought for sharing with a cute little card and the Kleenex Care Packs to wish them a Happy Halloween.  If we can’t have traditional Halloween fun, we’ll make our own!  (I will try to update this post with photos but if Sandy hits like anticipated, we’re not going to have power for a while, and that means no internet…but I will try!)

kleenex care kit

There are so many ways, small and large, that we can make a gesture to show someone we care.  A smile at someone who’s having a tough day- a note in the mail, in a locker.  A special meal, or an ordinary meal, made special by a nice tablecloth, or candles.  Holding a door open for someone, or offering your place in line to someone.  I’ve seen people pay for the car behind them at a drive thru window.  There are so many ways to show someone you care– and so many opportunities to show our children all of those ways, and more. Kids learn by example, so the more we can do activities like this, the more they learn the importance.

Check out the Kleenex website where you can learn about the Softness Worth Sharing initiative. Upon purchasing a Kleenex Brand Care Pack, you may redeem your code at this site in order to send a care pack to someone special.  Who will you send your care pack to?

Visit Kleenex on Facebook page to learn more!

“I wrote this review while participating in an ambassador program by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of the Kleenex brand and received product samples and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

Come Join Me for The Little Chefs Project Cook-Along 10/24

One of my family's favorite things to do together is cook…bake…even make playdoh together. My kids love to make things “from scrap” and have all loved taking part, even as little one year olds barely able to stand on a chair to hold a spoon.  It's not always perfect, and it's definitely always messy, and I probably won't ever win an award for most attractive food produced, but you know what? It doesn't matter.  Cooking with kids, creating the memories, giving my kids these experiences- that's what matters.  Plus, we'd never refer to cooking from scratch ingredients as making stuff “from scrap” if we hadn't started this journey, and that's way more fun to say than the conventional expression, right?

My little one happened to be the only kid here with me the other day.  Big sister and big brother were both at playdates and she was feeling a little left out that she couldn't have a playdate too, so we decided we'd take a little mommy-little girl time and make pizza together for lunch.  Of the three kids, they all really love helping, but my youngest seems to be a lot more interested in learning about things, and trying to do more than the others have….so it's a real treat for her to do cooking activities just mommy and her.  We decided we'd make the Chef Boyardee Pizza Kit together- we could make it together, and do whatever WE wanted, and no one else could voice an opinion about toppings or shapes or anything.

So, we took the ingredients out…and got the dough mix into the bowl (note the mess starting)

chef boyardee making pizza dough

You have to expect messes when you cook with kids.  Without that expectation, you'll get frustrated.  Just trust me.  Messes can be cleaned.

chef boyardee pizza dough

Let them do it! Look at her face- she LOVES doing it by herself!

chef boyardee pizza dough 3 year old style

Flattening the pizza dough is oh so much fun…

chef boyardee pizza dough flattening

Spreading sauce  is fun too!

chef boyardee pizza sauce

We love to sprinkle cheese- and other fun toppings.

chef boyardee pizza toppings

I totally forgot to take an after photo.  And wouldn't you know it, we ate almost ALL of the pizza for lunch!

Do you and your family love to cook together?  It can be such a great bonding experience, and a learning experience- and really, just plain fun.

What: A virtual Cook-Along called Everyday Fun, part of The Little Chefs Project series on The Motherhood. 

The Little Chefs Project series consists of live chats called Cook-Alongs taking place every Thursday at 2 p.m. ET until November 15, and each Cook-Along covers a different topic around cooking with kids. Everyday Fun addresses how you and your kids can create fun, lasting memories in the kitchen around events like sleepovers or holidays, or around everyday events like family dinners.

When: Thursday, October 25, at 2 p.m. ET.  It will last 30 minutes.

Where: The Motherhood – here is the link to the page where the class will be held: http://bit.ly/Q9cFLL

About the class: 
From weekend breakfast rituals to holidays like Halloween, you can find any occasion to cook up some everyday fun with your kids. Grab a can of Chef Boyardee and join in for further inspiration and ideas for getting started.

To participate, just click the link above, log into The Motherhood using your member ID (if you don’t have one, it’s easy and free to sign up), and chat away in the text-based comments. We’ll also have a video feed running during the half-hour Cook-Along, so you’re welcome to show up simply to watch if you’d like!  (Note: *I* will be LIVE on the video feed.  That's right.  Come watch how nervous I can really be!)

The Cook-Along is sponsored by Chef Boyardee, and it is hosted by The Motherhood.  You can visit Chef Boyardee online athttp://www.chefboyardee.com/ or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/chefboyardee.

I’ll be there with several other bloggers to co-host the class, and I hope you’ll join us!  The fabulous people who will be co-hosting with me are:

Brett, This Mama Loves Her Bargains http://mamalovesherbargains.com/
Carrie, Making Lemonade http://www.makinglemonadeblog.com
Christi, Frugal Novice http://frugalnovice.com
Corine, Complicated Mama http://www.complicatedmama.com
Kim, Shop With Me Mama http://shopwithmemama.com
Michelle, Ace and Friends Co. http://www.aceandfriendsco.com
Roxanne, Children Teaching Mama http://www.childrenteachingmama.com

Chef giveaway

One reader will win a Chef Boyardee Prize Pack so you can have fun in the kitchen too!

  • Kids’ kitchen measure and prep kit
  • Kids’ recipe box
  • Scrapbook album
  • 2 Chef Boyardee chef hats
  • Chef Boyardee adult apron
  • Chef Boyardee child apron
  • Chef Boyardee pizza kit
  • Time capsule
  • 2 coupons for free Chef Boyardee Beefaroni
  • 5 Chef Boyardee recipe cards

TO ENTER: Leave a comment and tell me your favorite activity to do with your kids!

Want extra entries?
* Like This Mama Loves Her Bargains on Facebook

*Subscribe to my site via email or RSS feed

*Share this giveaway on any social network (just leave one comment with the link to your share once per share site per day)  

*Share one of your favorite tips in the Little Chef's e-Book

Winner will be chosen randomly on November 6st 2012 at 11:59pm EST.  Open to US.  One entry per household.   (edit)

This is a sponsored post with The Motherhood. Opinions are my own.

Operation Christmas Child #OCCGiving

Years ago, before I was married, I learned of an program called Operation Christmas Child. Operation Christmas Child is a non-profit organization that inspires millions of people like you and me to pack a shoe box- a simple, basic shoe box- for children in developing countries around the world. When you think about it, a basic shoe box is not very large. It doesn’t hold all that much- and yet it can hold a lot. OCC even tells you how to pack a shoe box One thing I like about OCC is that you can really make a difference without having to spend a lot of money– which means it’s a program that more families are able to participate in on the giving end. I have found that many people feel as if they don’t have very much to give and don’t feel like their donations can or will make a difference- but with programs like Operation Christmas Child, you can really do a lot with a little. When I first participated in Operation Christmas Child, I chose to fill two boxes- one for a girl and one for a boy. I figured I’d be making a difference in the lives of two children, not one, and set off to ask my nieces and nephews about things they thought would be fun and or practical with the rule that they’d have to fit into a shoe box. The answers they gave surprised me. At first, they gave me silly answers, and then as they thought more about it, some really great ideas. Fast forward several years, and here I am, married, with three children who are now old enough to help ME pack boxes for my family to send along to some children in need. We did our first box together, the kids and I, over the weekend. We chose to do a box for a little boy, because my son really wanted to fill a box first this year. What did we decide to put in? A superhero cape, because, as my son said, Superheroes go everywhere and you can do lots of stuff with a cape on, and even be extra brave. A fun toothbrush, kid toothpaste, and some flossers (my children have an obsession with flossers!). A few toys, a box of pencils, a box of colored pencils and a pencil sharpener with some lollipops and our box is set to go. We have two more boxes to fill this year- we decided together that we would fill one box for each of our kids. (If you aren’t sure what to put into a box, you can find lots of ideas on the Operation Christmas Child site).

One thing that’s very important to me as a parent is to instill a desire to help others, to do for others, no matter how much we have ourselves. It teaches them so many lessons each time we participate in paying something forward, or a random act of kindness- or a specific mission like this program.  I believe that children very much learn by doing, so we’re trying to lead by example so they grow up with these actions and behaviors as part of their lives.

How do you teach your children to give to others?

Donations are accepted year round and can be sent to:

Samaritan’s Purse
Operation Christmas Child
801 Bamboo Road
Boone, NC 28607

This holiday season build a box with your family to teach kindness, compassion, and generosity.

Operation Christmas Child and influencer marketing platform BlogFrog have teamed up with 200 bloggers like me to spread the word about this great cause.

BlogFrog will match the first 200 boxes that are built.  Pledge your commitment below to build a box today on Facebook or Twitter!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Operation Christmas Child. The opinions and text are all mine.

FREE ZinePak® with a Purchase of a Dove Bundle (Walmart GC Giveaway 4 winners)

sisters

Photo by Jenni Mirock

Being a mom of two girls, and a woman who struggled with self-esteem for much of my life, I know how important it is to help build my girls’ self-esteem.  I have long loved the Dove campaigns for more acceptance, and celebration of women without being perfect- and I’m glad that they have decided to include younger females in their campaigns as well.  The messages we send children about their looks, their bodies- their self-esteem- those messages are long-since engrained within them by the time they are adults.  Giving girls- children of both sexes, really- giving them the tools they need in order to have a good, strong self-esteem is something that we should all be focusing on.  We’ve already used several Dove products as a family for a long time and we’ll be continuing to do so. free zine pack

Walmart and Dove® have teamed up to give US- that’s right- folks like you, and me, an exclusive deal that is made to inspire girls of all ages to feel beautiful! Right now on, The Living Project: Dove, when you buy a customized Dove® bundle, you will also receive a FREE ZinePak® valued at $7!

dove movement for self esteem

This exclusive FREE ZinePak® includes all of the following:

  • 80-page magazine filled with style tips, inspirational stories, & fun ideas to look and feel your best.
  • 12-Song CD featuring hits from today’s hottest female artists – Get free music from artists like Nelly Furtado, Carly Rae Jepsen, Ellie Goulding, and more!
  • $6 in Dove® coupons
  • 108 glittery nail decals to wear & share with friends.
  • Magazine is filled with features designed to boost self-esteem, including exclusive interviews with Carly Rae Jepsen, Ellie Goulding, Nelly Furtado, and more!

Visit The Living Project: Dove to get your FREE ZinePak® today!

FOUR of my readers will even win a $25 Walmart Gift Card to use to buy the exclusive Dove bundle! 

To enter, Visit The Living Project: Dove, watch the video, and leave a comment saying how you are inspired to live for a better life & world.  

Want extra entries?

Leave a relevant comment on any other post on my site 

Share this giveaway on any social network- just leave the URL of your share in a comment below. 

Like This Mama Loves Her Bargains on Facebook

 

This giveaway will end on November 8th, 2012 at 11:59pm EST.   US only.  Winners to be chosen randomly.

Hidden Valley’s Lunch Break for Kids October 15-19

hidden valley lunch break for kids

Hidden Valley’s  Lunch Break for Kids national fundraiser (October 15-19) highlights ways for parents and kids to come together with chefs and schools to learn more about how simple, good food can make healthier bodies and stronger family connections.   One way we can help our kids have healthy bodies is by sending healthy snacks to school with them.
hidden valley ranch lunch break for kids

I’m pretty extremely lucky in that my kids are not very picky eaters- at least, not when it comes to vegetables.  They eat more variety than I do.  Having struggled with weight my whole life, I’m very conscious about what I give my children for snacks, especially what I send in for snacks at school- I want to give them things they will both like to eat, and that will also give their bodies the fuel they need to get through class until lunchtime.

We get up and are eating breakfast by 6:30 am in this house- my oldest has lunch at 12:30 pm.  That’s 6 hours until lunch.  A long time, when you consider that during those hours, she’s playing outside at recess, doing the bulk of academic work at school (her specials seem to be in the afternoon for the most part)…I want her to have a full belly so she can focus and concentrate on her studies.  We do a healthy, balanced breakfast, and I send a few snacks in.  One favorite snack for all of my children is veggies and dip.  I’m not one to cut things into cute shapes (I try, but I am just not that talented- so we are back to basics around here!)…but what I’ve noticed makes the most impact with the kids is including a container of something to DIP their veggies into (This is across the board, not just at school or camp).

If  buying a few “cute” or “fun” sized containers means my kids will eat more vegetables, I’ll buy as many as they want.  We discovered these peppers that come in bags with red, yellow and orange colored mini peppers in them at the grocery store this summer- those are ALWAYS a favorite with the kids, with a sweeter taste than regular peppers- and paired with some sugar snap peas, carrots, cucumbers, etc. make for a pretty “rainbow” of colors for snack, plus some dip….makes an ideal snack for my little ones.  They are getting healthy foods to fuel their bodies, and I know they are eating well- and something they enjoy eating.

Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® dressings & dips are a great way to get your kids  excited about veggies.  You don’t even need a lot- like I said- at least with my kids, the fun sized container is half the fun of the dip.

One of my favorite “tricks”  to get veggies into my kids’ lunches is presentation.  A plain old sandwich is a plain old sandwich until you use some cucumber slices to make eyes and a nose on top of it, some broccolli for hair, and carrots arranged like a bow tie.  None of this requires fancy cutting skills (remember, I’m without those skills).  I do all of these “faces” within a sandwich-sized reusable container.  The kids get a “surprise” when they open the container, and chances are, they’ll want to eat the fun face and not just push it aside.

What ways do you have to get your kids to eat more veggies at lunch?  

hidden valley dip pouches

Here’s the recipe for making your own Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing (TIP: Kids are known to be more open to eating foods that they help prepare. This recipe is SUPER simple for them to follow, and any age can help)

1c milk

1c mayonnaise (we use light or low fat for less calories)

1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix

Stir Well, Cover and Refrigerate 30 min before serving.  Stays fresh 3-4 weeks.

Check out the  official Lunch Break for Kids site- be sure to see about any local fundraising events in your area!

The Hidden Valley® Original Ranch®, dressings & dips has provided me with free product to help with my review, but anything I receive from Hidden Valley does not affect my thoughts on its company or their product.

Brandi Chastain and Libby’s Snack Duty Takeover Program Give Back#LibbysSnackDuty (Giveaway)

brandi chastain east hartford soccer clubSaturday morning I got to bring my kids and share with them an experience that had nothing to do with us and everything to do with “paying things forward.” Soccer star Brandi Chastain and Libby’s Snack Duty Takeover Program were in a nearby town to give samples of Libby’s and a $5,000 check to the town’s soccer club. We were there to watch it happen and were fortunate enough to be able to get some photos with Brandi. She even autographed my son’s soccer jersey (ok, so it did relate to us a little, but it wasn’t an event for our town). It was a really cool thing to see. Plus, for the first time ever, I got to see one of the huge checks that are always shown in TV and in the movies.

brandi chastain with this mama loves her bargains

Mostly, it was really neat to see a world class soccer player doing what she does best- playing soccer on the field- with all different groups of children- little, big, it didn’t matter. Brandi Chastain was playing soccer and it was very clear to all that she loved every second of it. How cool of her to be out there on fields, in a town full of strangers, teaching kids some of HER favorite soccer techniques, just like any one of us might be. Did I mention that it was about 40 degrees and really chilly? You’d never have guessed. The folks from Libby’s and Brandi were full of smiles and happy to be there, to be presenting a cash gift for the soccer club. It was a pretty awesome experience. I was glad I could bring my kids to see what an impact things like this can have.

Brandi’s words were very motivating. I was pretty impressed that even as she was speaking about being able to give money to support the sport she loves to people who live in a town she’s not from- she turned her head, reminded a few boys who were a little bit antsy where their attention needed to be, and never missed a beat. Brandi Chastain may be a soccer star, but it’s also very clear she’s a mom. She’s a pretty cool lady, if you ask me. It was neat to hear her talk to the kids about never giving up on their goals– no matter how bad things may seem (and I was surprised that the example she gave was one that was probably a hugely embarassing moment for her- but a powerful message for the kids). Mostly, it was just pretty cool to know that even superstar athletes can be normal and down to earth.  Plus, Brandi exemplifies healthy living and really encourages kids and families to eat healthy and play healthy.

ct-bloggers-with-brandi-chastain

When we local bloggers were introduced to her, we were each asked a question. I was so unprepared. I wasn’t anticipating US being asked questions! It was really cool to talk about snacks and food for kids to keep them going especially before and after sports practices.

Brandi’s Kid Friendly Tips for Healthy Living:

Hydrate to perform great. Kids should drink water before, during AND after exercise. While exercise generates heat and increases the body’s core temperature, water works to bring body temperature back to the normal 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Let your child pick out a colorful water bottle to make drinking water fun!

Always make time for healthy meals. The USDA says that half our plates should be filled with colorful fruits and veggies, but when your children are constantly running from school to practice and back, it can be tough to get them to eat that perfect meal. Add Libby’s® Single Fruit Cups, which contain one complete serving of fruit, to your children’s bags for an easy and nutritious snack.

Sleep is important! Children should receive an average of eight hours of sleep each night. Without enough sleep children get cranky and lazy, and will not perform to their full potential during school, practice or games. Help your children stick to a regular sleep schedule by making bedtime fun – read them a story or sing a song while they fall asleep.

Turn exercise into a family affair. When exercising is a solo act, it can sometimes feel like a chore. Bring the whole family on-board and make exercising fun, family time! Join your kids in a game of soccer, Double Dutch or kickball.

Lead by example. When you set a good example, your kids are more likely to follow. Although it’s easy to stop at the drive-thru on the way home from practice, make an effort to eat well and live a healthy lifestyle. Become a role model by exercising regularly and eating healthy foods, like Libby’s Canned Fruits and Vegetables, with your children. It’s easier when you make it a team effort!

libbys prize pack

Libby’s wants to send one of my readers a prize pack just like the ones handed out Saturday at the fields to all of the players (and bloggers)!

To enter, leave a comment telling me your go-to healthy snack for you or your kids.

Want an extra entry?  Like “Libby’s Table” on Facebook

And of course, feel free to tweet, share this on Facebook or Google Plus for extra entries.

 

This is a sponsored post from Libby’s and The Motherhood.  Opinions are my own.

 

Libby’s Single-Serve Fruit Cups and Tips for Healthy Kids #LibbysSnackDuty

libbys single serve fruit cupsI’m pretty lucky that my kids are not really picky eaters (like me).  They will sing and shout with joy when I bring home a new fruit just as loudly as when I bring home a beloved dessert treat.  It makes my life a lot easier, knowing they’ll be happy with what I stick into their lunchboxes for snack and lunch.  One thing they all three love to have in their lunchbox is fruit cups- and lately, they have been loving their Libby’s Single-Serve Fruit Cups for snack.  They are getting a sweet treat, and I know they are getting a full serving of fruit and 100% of their daily Vitamin C.

These cups are made a little differently than most we’ve tried, and I really, really can’t tell you enough how much I love the metal rim that seems to have stopped our fruit cups from smashing (ours always seem to break at the rim).  My older 2 can open them without help.

libbys loving his fruit cup

While we prefer fresh fruit when possible, these single-serve fruit cups are an awesome convenience food to have around.  I’m always partial to pears, but my kids love them all.  We do send them for snacks for lunch, but they are great to bring with us on picnics, when traveling, etc.  No need for refrigeration and the cups can easily be tucked into a bag to bring home for recycling (yes, I do this).

My children are still at the age where sports are on the weekends, and not necessarily right after school. But they do play sports like soccer, and t-ball…and I know they are H-U-N-G-R-Y after a good soccer practice and game.  We’ve found that more times than not, we’re on the go after my son’s soccer, and I’m finding the need to bring some portable snacks with me to keep his energy up.  Tomorrow, for instance, we’re leaving his soccer game and heading to East Hartford, CT, to meet the ultimate soccer mom- the amazing Brandi Chastain, to watch her present a donation to a local youth soccer organization and to chat with her.  He’ll need a snack on the way.  He’s requested a Libby’s Single-Serve Fruit Cup for the road. Hard to say no to that!

Check out some of Brandi Chastain’s tips for healthy kids: 


Hydrate to perform great. Kids should drink water before, during AND after exercise. While exercise generates heat and increases the body’s core temperature, water works to bring body temperature back to the normal 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Let your child pick out a colorful water bottle to make drinking water fun!

Always make time for healthy meals. The USDA says that half our plates should be filled with colorful fruits and veggies, but when your children are constantly running from school to practice and back, it can be tough to get them to eat that perfect meal. Add Libby’s® Single Fruit Cups, which contain one complete serving of fruit, to your children’s bags for an easy and nutritious snack.

Sleep is important! Children should receive an average of eight hours of sleep each night. Without enough sleep children get cranky and lazy, and will not perform to their full potential during school, practice or games. Help your children stick to a regular sleep schedule by making bedtime fun – read them a story or sing a song while they fall asleep.

Turn exercise into a family affair. When exercising is a solo act, it can sometimes feel like a chore. Bring the whole family on-board and make exercising fun, family time! Join your kids in a game of soccer, Double Dutch or kickball.

Lead by example. When you set a good example, your kids are more likely to follow. Although it’s easy to stop at the drive-thru on the way home from practice, make an effort to eat well and live a healthy lifestyle. Become a role model by exercising regularly and eating healthy foods, like Libby’s Canned Fruits and Vegetables, with your children. It’s easier when you make it a team effort!

 

This is a sponsored conversation with Libby’s Single Serve Fruit Cups and The Motherhood. Opinions are my own.

We’re taking the LISTERINE® SMART RINSE® Sweet Smart Oral Care Challenge! #sweetsmart

listerine smart rinse challenge

My husband has some dental issues that are genetic.  I have a long-standing fear of dentists (Thank you, again, Dr. Gordon, for traumatizing me as a small child.  Boo, on you!).  The combination has us very diligent that our children learn the importance of good dental care from a very early age.  Dental care is one of those non-negotiable things  in our house.  Even with all of this, I will disclose here and now that I am NOT always great about flossing…or rinsing.  I’m a firm believer in being a model of behavior I want to see and am going to work very hard during the next few weeks to create a new habit- one that includes both flossing and rinsing every time I brush.  This is why we were eager to try the LISTERINE® SMART RINSE® Sweet Smart Oral Care Challenge.  We’ll be tracking our family progress on a calendar for the next few weeks- the challenge is to brush, floss AND rinse twice a day- ALL of us (well, rinsing for those of us over the age of 5) and keeping track.  They say habits are formed in 21 days so here’s hoping we create some awesome new habits together!

Anything to get kids excited about and understanding the importance of good dental care is something I want to be part of- and if it helps someone else to learn about or reaches someone new and helps them learn, then I consider that a pretty awesome day.  I was able to take part in a virtual chat with FERN INGBER, Founding President and CEO of America’s ToothFairy and  DR. KANETA LOTT, pediatric dentist last week.  Some of what they shared was very surprising- and alarming.  Here is some of what I learned from them!

Oral disease has become the #1 chronic childhood disease.

Anyone else find this very alarming? My jaw dropped when I read that.  We need to spread the word.  There are so many programs and products out there that make this EASIER on us all- we just have to use them, take advantage of them, and spread the word.  The #1 chronic childhood disease.  Scary.  (I can remember with each of my kids a phase they’d go through where they would freak out and not want their teeth brushed.  It makes me wonder if this is where a lot of oral issues start- because we all know it’s a lot easier to give in to a screaming toddler.  I wanted to many times.  I have in fact…but not with dental care.  Teeth get brushed, at least twice a day.  Period).

  • 44 percent of American kids will suffer from pediatric dental disease before they reach kindergarten
  • Of the 4 million kids born each year, more than half will have cavities by the time they reach 2nd grade
  • 43% of Americans lack dental insurance
  • All in all, 16 million kids suffer from untreated dental disease
  • Kids should be brushing for at least 2 minutes and rinsing for 60 seconds
  • Even babies’ teeth should be flossed- as soon as they have teeth that touch together
  • If a pacifier falls on the floor and the parent “rinses” it in their mouth (guilty many many times over) you can give the child your periodontal disease
  • We need to help our kids brush until they are 8.  Especially those back molars- they can be hard to reach…I’ve heard so many parents tell stories of how they make brushing a game.  Hunting animals in your child’s mouth- being a superhero with a toothbrush and beating up sugar bugs….the list goes on- but it strikes me that so many of us realize the importance of good dental care.  

Find FREE  songs to help your kids brush that entire 2 minutes at www.disney.com/phineasandferbmusic or www.barbie.com/listerinekids.

In 2011 alone, over 50,000 kids received critical oral health services (screenings, fluoride treatments, cleanings, sealants, restorative services) thanks to Johnson & Johnson’s contributions to America’s ToothFairy.

 

trick or treat for america's tooth fairy

One way to get involved this season: Join Trick or Treat for America’s ToothFairy. Just set up a virtual page for Halloween, invite friends and family to join you, and take on the opportunity to help raise money to care for a child in need.

 

Will you join me and take this challenge?  Let’s get our families into GOOD dental habits now, and not later!

 

This is a compensated post with The Motherhood.  Opinions are my own.

Teaching Kids the Power of Sharing

“Kleenex brand, America’s softest tissue, knows that the moments of unexpected thoughtfulness make all the difference.”

kleenex care kit

There are so many moments that matter in life.  So many, but I find the ones that stick with me the longest are the little ones.  My mom spent her life giving and doing for others.  She was an attorney, and she was a nurse, and ultimately, she combined the knowledge, skill and compassion gained with those two careers and found herself in a position to champion for those who are less able than others for a variety of reasons.  She learned at a young age that small acts have a very profound impact.  She was the one who taught me that the little things add up- it’s the little things that speak the loudest.  Sharing and giving of yourself doesn’t have to be a huge thing.  It can be as little as sharing a smile in a somber situation.  Dropping off a box of popsicles, some ginger ale, and a trashy magazine to a sick friend.  Bringing cookies to your elderly neighbor who’s often without visitors.  Calling someone just to say “hey I’m thinking of you!” can go a very, very long way.

mom and me

I’ve tried to follow in my mom’s footsteps and  show my kids the power of sharing.  One fun way we can do that is with Kleenex’s Softness Worth Sharing Initiative- especially with allergy season upon us yet again and cold season starting to rear it’s ugly head…we’re stocking up on Kleenex….and now we can take codes from OUR Kleenex and redeem them to send a fun Care Pack to someone special.

This program started in September and is so simple to participate in- simply visit yourlocal retailer, purchase a Kleenex brand bundle pack and redeem the code on the box. Then simply visit Kleenex.com and follow the directions to send a Care Pack to someone who needs a little care, while supplies last.

Things that we have done, or that my children have done recently, to show the power of sharing?

My daughter’s friend lost her dog to cancer.  I found out later that my daughter gave up her whole recess to sit and color with her friend at the nurse, simply because she knew E would be missing her dog.

My son loves “babies” (which means anyone younger than him).  He’s had a protective instinct since I can remember and I love seeing how he’s so careful to look out for his beloved “babies” even if they are really the same age as him.  I’ve watched him give up his turn for a favorite activity or toy, just because someone else wanted a turn.

Moments like these are the ones that make me proudest as a mother.

“I wrote this review while participating in an ambassador program by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of the Kleenex brand and received product samples and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.