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"Go Brush Your Teeth!" is not enough. Taking the #SweetSmart challenge.

I have a new friend. I let him draw $300 out of my bank account every month.

In return, he peeks into the girls' mouths about every 12 weeks to tell me to keep doing what I'm doing.

He is their orthodontist.

Now, I'm not trying to knock what he does because he did give each of them 2 very expensive devices that they wear in their mouth and it's going to expand their palates so their adult teeth have even the smallest chance of coming in straight.

These palate expanders sit on the inside of their teeth and they also create a hot bed of activity for plaque and other teeth nastiness.

We have a new plan.

We are taking a Listerine #SweetSmart challenge this month and it's just in time because Halloween is right around the corner. For the month of October  We visited for some ideas and we recently received a #SweetSmart package to help us...

1. Make brushing FUN

Check out these awesome tooth brushes! 


2. Make flossing easier

I have enough trouble flossing my own teeth. I needed a way for the girls to easily floss themselves. The package had this nifty flosser from Reach.  I found Reach Access Flosser Refill Pack on Amazon which is awesome.


3. Rinse with anti-cavity mouthwash

This, I feel, is especially important for my girls. They can be the best brushers and flossers but it won't matter a bit when that expander is sitting right on top of all the gunk they just got out.  A good swish, rinse and spit with an anti-cavity mouthwash like Smart Rinse means the gunk will go down the drain. Also, if you purchase a specially marked Smart Rinse at Walmart you can download a free song to swish to!

4. Brush + Floss + Rinse = Reward

The Listerine package included a little white board and 2 different colored pens (one for each) so they can mark off each day they brush, floss, AND now rinse! If they do it every day for a week, they will earn a fun prize like one of those cool toothbrushes.

Let's see how we do but I know if they stick with it, the candy they get this Halloween won't be sticking to their teeth! I learned recently that dental disease is nothing to laugh about. 44 percent of American kids will have dental disease before they reach kindergarten. Dental disease and pain can lead to bigger problems including trouble focusing on school work, or sleeping. Listerine is partnering with America's Tooth Fairy for the month of October to help fight dental disease in kids. You can help!

Take the #SweetSmart challenge with us, check out ListerineKids for cool toothbrushes, and for more info on their line of Smart Rinse, and visit America's Tooth Fairy to see how you can help needy kids fight dental disease.

Then let me know how you did!


Disclosure: I received compensation and a product package in exchange for taking the Listerine SweetSmart challenge and sharing my experience.


Scenes from a Tween Bedroom Lead to Inspiration.

Last week we made one of our regular trips up to Grandma's for some back to school shopping and the annual raid on my neice's hand-me-downs.

My neice is going to be 12 and she recently revamped her room.

Paint, some new furniture, new stuff on the walls.

Basically she got rid of the pink.

You hit 10 and you can't be within a foot of the color pink. Duh.

Walking into her room I was suddenly transported to my own teen years.

Posters of my favorite people.


Jewelry hanging all over.


Nail polish collection.


And you can't have just any lamp shade.



But the thing I loved the most was this little inspirational wall hanging.


Such a simple, yet powerful message for girls today.

And so very, very important.

It reminded me of why I love the Be You Be True t-shirts so much.

Be yourself.

And you'll be happy.

Have you stepped into a tween or teen room lately? Were you surprised to find something?


Fashion Friday: An Old Fashion Soul

I haven't done a Fashion Friday post in, well, probably years.

But this image struck me.

This girl has always been interested in fashion.

When she was not yet two she would wake up from her nap, change her pull-up, put on tights, the right way, and a skirt, and crawl back into bed.

This is a girl that literally GASPS when we walk through the shoe department at Nordstrom or, most recently, Macy's.

She doesn't wear skirts or dresses ALL THE TIME anymore, but she still appreciates a classic look and fits in some dress-up time now and then.

I'm not sure how I ended up with this dress, or the long gloves, but she found them and put them together...perfectly.


Delivering Backpacks Becomes a Bigger Lesson

Last month I had the chance to participate in a backpack drive to benefit needy kids in the DC area.

This was part of a campaign that GM Northeast organized and it started with a giveaway on a local blog.  My participation was small. I received a beautiful GM car, a Cadillac XTS that was already pre-filled with backpacks and school supplies. I did scour my house to find additional items I could donate. But really, all I had to do was deliver the goods on a pre-determined day. That said, the experience turned into so much more...

Here's the car. I have to say, as I continue to shop for cars, I LOVE the new features like the review camera.

Cadillac XTS with rearview camera

I can imagine that has saved more than one life!

I had the Twofer come with me for several reasons. One, it was summer and they were not in camp that week and I had used up all of my play date favors. Two, we had a 40 minute drive into DC and I wanted their feedback on the features found in the backseat of this beautiful car (the pull up window shades were a HIT!) Three, it was the perfect time to discuss exactly WHY we were delivering a trunk load of backpacks and school supplies. They need to understand many kids start school with little else than the clothes they are wearing. Many kids don't even bring a lunchbox to school.

The girls had a moment to think about that.

Operation Backpack at Central Union Mission in DC

We pulled into the Central Union Mission and unloaded our goods. It was a pleasure to meet some of the staff and also fellow DC area blogger, Vicky from The Mummy Chronicles.

After the delivery and the photo session it was time to go.

I wasn't quite done.

It felt strange to hop into my Cadillac (even if it was only a loaner) and drive back to my suburban life without somehow showing my girls what "homeless" and "needy" really means.

I wanted those words to be more than just quotes. I asked the director for a short tour of the shelter.

Central Union Mission is a shelter and half-way home for homeless men in the DC area. The do, however has lots of services for families including a food bank where they give out groceries, as well as the backpack program for kids who need school supplies, and a little extra love. There is a religious element to the place but it's not overwhelming and my take is a little God never actually hurt anyone.

We saw the rooms where the men stay in their various stages of progress: the bunk room for those right off the street to the small rooms (with doors that close for privacy) for those who have stuck around and are working toward a goal (high school diploma, drug rehab).

The girls were wide eyed and asked me a few whispered questions.

What really struck me, was the kitchen.

Central Union Mission kitchen via Instagram

This little kitchen serves three meals a day. It serves over 150,000 meals in a year.

That is a lot of hunger.

We got back into our fancy loaner car.

The girls as a LOT of questions.

We had a frank, open, honest discussion about just how lucky we are to have what we have. We discussed the two little girls waiting for their mom to pick up groceries at the shelter. We discussed how easy it is for people to go from ok, to needy.

I want to say a special Thank You to GM Northeast for donating to Operation Backpack, for giving me the opportunity to participate, and for the loaner car.

Have you ever taken your children to a shelter, soup kitchen, or something similar? I would love to hear what your kids thought.



Great Resource for Home Tutoring Just in Time for Back to School



Where to go for help when you kids need help in school?

So far my girls are doing fine in school, but as they get older and their school work is more challenging, I will definitely consider hiring a tutor to help them stay on track. But where do you start when looking for someone who you trust, who has a knack for teaching, and who your child will be able to relate to? Where can you find a tutor that you know is qualified, and that you are comfortable having around your child? Varsity Tutors is one reliable resource that can help you find a local tutor that can help your child with specific academic work and test preparation.

Hand-picked Tutors

Not everyone can be a tutor. Someone may have tested well themselves and received perfect grades, but they struggle with communicating complex topics in a simplified way. Varsity Tutors has a rigorous screening program that includes phone and in-person interviews, review of transcripts and test scores, prior teaching or mentoring experience, and a background check.


Here's how Varsity Tutors works:

Visit and enter your location and contact information.

Varsity Tutors will select the pre-screened tutor that best fits your needs and email you the information and pricing.

The tutor will call you to arrange the sessions at a mutually agreed upon location (your home, at a library, or anywhere else that is convenient).

For any tutoring provided at a client's home where the client is under age 18, they require a parent or legal guardian to be at home during tutoring.

Want more information?

Visit to learn more and fill out the short form to receive information on a tutor that fits your needs. You can also browse through tutors and read testimonials.

Have you hired a tutor for your child? I'd love to hear how you found them!



Disclosure: I received compensation in exchange for introducing my readers to Varsity Tutors.