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Teen Health and Myths

Disclosure: Sponsored Post

 

 

peer pressure kidsBeing a teen is difficult enough, managing self-esteem and self-confidence at time when peers can be judgmental and mean.  With one teen child and two tweens following closely behind, our family is in the thick of that challenge. I decided to help my kids focus on health and wellness to strengthen their confidence and part of our journey involved creating a dental health strategy. As a member of the Invisalign Teen – Mom Advisory Board I had the opportunity to learn about Invisalign as an alternative to braces. Below are our top priorities for our teen’s health and wellness, including a dental health strategy, along with some myths and facts about Invisalign from a company press release.

 

1. Focus on Exercise:  We were shocked to learn that while some sports are great for a team experience (baseball), they may not satisfy a teen’s daily exercise needs. So we looked into setting up regular activities to help with daily fitness training including running, a rigorous work out at a health club, and aerobic sports including swimming and basketball.

 

2. Focus on Healthy Eating: Each of our boys has specific healthy food preferences but all three of them favor junk food when socializing with friends. In response, we talk about finding ways to fit healthy foods into their daily routine.

 

3. Focus on Mindfulness: We researched mindfulness to help our kids learn techniques to deal with stressful situations. One of them is a simple 5 minute meditation at night where they focus on their favorite place (i.e. the beach) and listen to the sounds of that place (waves).

 

4. Focus on Emotional Intelligence: We have regular talks with our kids about recognizing their own emotions as well as the emotions of others to help develop emotional intelligence. We then stress the importance of engaging with “positive” friends while disengaging with negative people (such as school bullies).

 

5. Focus on being Healthy instead of what peers think:  Being a teen brings with it certain social pressures to look a particular way. We try to help our kids understand that real beauty lies in being healthy, not “peer” determined standards. This includes getting sleep as well as exercising and eating well. My teen has been successfully managing Eczema (moisturize more) and addressed dental health by properly brushing and flossing his teeth as well as using Invisalign to fixing the crowding on this teeth. In a prior post I talked about the thousands of dollars I have spent on dental problems caused by my overcrowded teeth (that could of been fixed if I had braces). Fixing my son’s overcrowding during his teen years gives him a better chance at a healthy dental future. It also really helps that the Invisalign are clear so his friends don’t even know he is wearing them!

 

When I first research using Invisalign for my son’s second round of braces as a teen, I had many questions. The wires on the metal braces he used the first time around routinely broke, causing significant discomfort and maintenance challenges. As part of the Invisalign Teen – Mom Advisory Board I had a chance to get some answers – setting it straight on the myths of Invisalign.

 

Here are some of the information I received from Invisalign to help me understand answers to my questions:

 

 

Invisalign Myths/Setting It Straight

Myth: Invisalign can only treat minor or cosmetic issues.

Setting it Straight: Invisalign effectively treats a wide variety of orthodontic issues including severe bite issues. From underbite to crossbite, deepbite to overbite and overly crowded to widely spaced, advancements to Invisalign’s patented technology continues to increase the complexity of issues that can be treated.

 

Myth: Invisalign is more expensive than metal braces.

Setting it Straight: The cost of Invisalign is usually comparable to the cost of traditional braces and many dental insurance plans cover Invisalign just as they would braces.

 

Myth: I won’t be able to tell if my child is wearing Invisalign often enough for it to be effective.

Setting it Straight: Invisalign Teen aligners are made with small blue dots, officially called compliance indicators, that gradually fade as aligners are worn. It’s a quick visual check for parents and teens to confirm they wearing aligners long enough to get results. In fact, clinical data from orthodontists confirms that teens wear their aligners an average of 21 hours per day, just as recommended.

 

Myth: If my child loses their aligners, it’s going to cost me an arm and a leg to replace.

Setting it Straight: We know kids lose things, even their aligners! That’s why you get up to six FREE replacement aligners with Invisalign Teen.

 

Myth: After Invisalign Teen, my child’s teeth may revert back to their original position.

Setting it Straight: Studies show that without retainers straight teeth can gradually shift back towards their initial position. This is a common occurrence with all orthodontic treatment including braces, but is one that can easily be overcome. Ask your doctor about Vivera retainers from the makers of Invisalign.

 

Myth: I don’t need to take my child to see an orthodontist until they are a teenager.

Setting it Straight: The American Association of Orthodontics recommends taking children for their first orthodontic check-up no later than age 7. The American Dental Association says this is because, “Your child’s dentist can spot problems with emerging teeth and jaw growth early on, while the primary teeth are present.”

 

Myth: Invisalign takes longer to complete than braces.

Setting it Straight: The length of Invisalign treatment is comparable to braces. The average Invisalign journey averages about 12 months for adults. The length of treatment time for teens may vary depending on the severity of the case and can only be determined by a doctor.

 

Myth: If my child’s dentist or orthodontist recommends braces over Invisalign, I should trust their opinion.

Setting it Straight: Not all orthodontists specialize in Invisalign Teen. Visit www.invisalign.com and select “find a doctor” to locate experienced Invisalign and Invisalign Teen doctors in your area. If you are told your teen is not an Invisalign candidate, it may be worth getting a second opinion from more than one orthodontist. Doing so may help ensure that you have all the information you need to make an educated decision.

 

Myth: Braces work better than Invisalign.

Setting it Straight: Invisalign Teen was developed with leading orthodontists to correct the most common teeth straightening issues – from severe cases to more minor, cosmetic adjustments. Invisalign Teen’s clear aligners are removable and can straighten teeth without a mouth full of metal and all the disruption and sacrifice that comes with it. With Invisalign, teens look better and feel more confident than they ever could in traditional braces.

 

Myth: We can’t afford Invisalign.

Setting it Straight: Invisalign Teen is covered by many dental insurance policies just like traditional braces — up to 50% of the cost may be covered by insurance. Even if dental insurance doesn’t apply, many doctors will help parents find options to make straightening their child’s teeth more affordable. Many offer flexible and affordable monthly finance plans that can be as low as $99 per month.

 

Myth: Braces are a rite of passage.

Setting it Straight: Virtually invisible aligners, mean there is less social awkwardness to impact teen’s confidence and self-esteem during an already vulnerable time. There’s no need for teens to hold back or feel they’re missing out on anything when straightening their teeth with Invisalign.

 

Myth: Invisalign treatment will disrupt our lives.

Setting it Straight: With Invisalign, Teens can play sports without fear of injury and continue cheerleading, musical instruments, acting and singing with little to no interference. And because its removable, brushing and flossing is easy and no food restrictions to worry about either. Invisalign is much less disruptive for busy moms and dads too. Invisalign Teen eliminates emergency ortho visits for broken wires and brackets and requires fewer appointments since several aligner sets are provided in advance.

 

 

Disclosure: I am a member of the Invisalign Teen Mom Advisory Board. My son has received complimentary treatment from Align, but all opinions expressed are my own. Here is the link to the Invisalign Smile Assessment.

 

 

 

 

Taking on Family 2014 New Year’s Resolutions. Is it Possible?

*sponsored series

 

2014 Family New Year ResolutionsWhen it comes to annual New Years Resolutions, taking better care of myself and my family’s health  always tops the list. This year we are focusing on finding ways to fit regular exercise into our busy schedule, cooking more plant-based foods, practicing stress-management, spending more quality time together (unplugged!) and advancing my kids’ oral health. Assembling the list was the easy part. Actually doing the list, well, that’s the real challenge. So, following the rules in my book, The Parent Plan, we started putting together the family plan.

 

Exercise: Our family looked at our busy schedule and activities and determined that the best way to fit in regular exercise was to identify flexible exercise options. Was there a year round exercise class for my 11 year olds that focused on overall athletic conditioning? My boys enjoyed baseball, but it did not give them the overall conditioning they needed.  Their favorite gym had a great class and fortunately also offered a workout program for my 15 year old (one drop off).

 

Plant Based Foods: After examining the various medical challenges of our extended family and looking at our own diets needs, we decided to start making plant based foods the staple of our diet. But being a family of 5 healthy eaters, everyone had different tastes.  I found several great plant-based recipe websites, blogs, books and a holistic nutritionist and set out to identify different options that fit our family’s eating preferences. This goal especially overwhelmed me because I quickly discovered just how challenging it was to find recipes everyone liked. I also needed more tools to make cooking fresh plant based foods fit into our busy schedule, including a crock pot and blender. We decided to take one week at time, including new plant-based foods in our weekly meals but still cooking family favorites as well.  We also realized we needed to give our kids a chance to get use to the tastes of some new foods (to go from “yuck” to “yum”). One of those was almond milk and I am thrilled to say they are happy to drink it now, after only a few weeks of adjustment!

 

Stress: Let’s face it, the modern family schedule is so overscheduled that it is hard to dodge stress. With adults managing home and work, and kids balancing school, homework, sports, music lessons and more – even a scaled down schedule is like running a weekly marathon.  What happened to the innocent childhood of yesteryear when kids just played with their friends after school? We decided to prioritize school-week activities to only include high-priority items close to home. For example, instead of driving 30 minutes for music lessons we found a local teacher who was giving lessons to a neighbor and asked if he could stop by our house as well.

 

Family Time Unplugged: Now that our oldest is in high school, we realized that our time together as a family is limited and more family time activities were in order rather than just running past each other each day. Our first step was trying to have family game nights, with electronics turned off. OK, in reality we did accept that types of technology used for games would be acceptable, but checking email or anything else was off limits! Humorous games such as Apples to Apples (we play the “silly” version) and Catchphrase worked the best to enable great bouts of belly laughs, and belly laughs are not only great for bringing our family together – but also for relieving stress. When we feel “serious”, Battleship, Risk and chess fit the bill. But we are always on the lookout for new game.

 

Oral Health: My family moved around when I was of “braces age” so I somehow missed the chance. Because of that, my teeth have some crowding and I have experienced some dental problems. So proper oral health for my boys is a high personal priority. One of my twin sons used a pacifier as an infant while the other did not. He sucked his thumb. Years later it seems using fingers is better than a pacifier because that son does not need braces while the other one does.  My 15 year old has Invisalign, (Disclosure: I am a member of the Invisalign Teen Mom Advisory Board), as the final touch to wearing metal braces when he was 11. He is in the middle of his treatment and it has been so seamless. He just wears the Invisalign aligners, washes them, takes them out when eating and then gets new aligners to swap out on a regular basis. I was worried about how he would feel wearing Invisalign while also starting High School and we are thrilled it has not been an issue (they are pretty much “invisible”).  My 11 year old has asked repeatedly if he can just use Invisalign.  Although he will likely start with metal braces, we know that the is there will be Invisalign for him as well in the future.  Now if I can just get my kids to floss with their regular brushing without nagging from parents.

 

We want to keep doing family activities that give back (like our regular cooking for a homeless shelter during the holidays), spending time with extended family/friends and setting goals to achieve our own personal best. Maybe I will be brave enough to attempt our household to-do list which includes finding new ways to organize the large quantities of stuff from our three boys. No matter how hard I try I will never be one of those perky naturally organized people that create those beautiful images on Pinterest (even though I find them totally inspirational). Or maybe it is time to realize that achieving perfect household organization may be something not to include so we can at least achieve the family resolution of reducing stress?

 

Organized kitchen

 

What are your 2014 family resolutions? Please share yours and any tips on achieving them while juggling a busy family life!

 

 

 

Disclosure: I am a member of the Invisalign Teen Mom Advisory Board. My son has received complimentary treatment from Align. The opinions expressed are my own. Here is the link to the Invisalign Smile Assessment.

 

 

 

10 Tips To Get Your Household Ready For the School Year

*Sponsored series. See Disclosures Below.

 

With three kids and two busy working parents in our house, the beginning of each school year requires a family management system to simplify school year logistics. Here are some tips we use to get our household ready:

 

1. Create an online calendar: The first thing I do each year is gather all of the school and activity calendars together and create a color-coded online family calendar. Because our teen and twin sons are so busy this year, I made separate calendars for each child and assigned them unique colors (I grouped my twin sons together because they go to many of the same activities). There are many calendar options including Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar and Cozi.com.

 

2. Identify location friendly activities: With my busy work schedule, the only way to survive the school year is to find location-friendly afterschool activities. With some luck and lots of investigation, I discovered great programs close to home. For example, my kids are enjoying Karate lessons at the local dojo rather than the location two cities away attended by many of their friends.

 

3. Set up carpools: At the start of the school year it’s good to talk to other school parents as well as review class and afterschool activity directories to find other families close to your house for potential carpooling. This reduces my time spent on the road or my kids’ time spent on bikes traveling across town. For families requiring flexibility, it’s best to find carpool families who are similarly flexible.

 

4. Create weekly menus: For many families, of the most stressful things about the school year is meal planning.  Creating weekly menus can help streamline busy school weeks by using some weekend prep time to prepare ready to eat meals in the fridge. For nights when cooking or “re-heating” is out of the question, having a list of local restaurants that either have delivery or will carry out to curbside (such as California Pizza Kitchen) comes in handy .

 

Low on meal ideas? Luckily there are so many online recipe and food blogs that include recipes for every taste and level of cooking experience. I find it helpful to find a meal strategy that fits with our family schedule. For example, we like using a crockpot to cook food during the day that will be ready for mealtime.  Another option is finding budget friendly staples that we can bake in advance like beans & grains and then throw in difference ingredients to spice things up.

 

5. Develop digital shopping lists:  Once you have a weekly dinner and other meal requirement list (including kids’ lunch meals), the required food shopping can be greatly simplified by using a digital shopping list.  Tools such as One Note, EverNote and more can help you have your shopping list available on all the family devices.

 

6. Identify family chore lists: The start of the school year is a great time to review household chores and then identify those that are a good fit with your kid’s schedule.  For example, one of my 10 year old sons is a natural at moving laundry through the washer and dryer. Next step is to teach him to sort and fold clothing.

 

7. Establish well-stocked school work areas: The beginning of the school year is a great time to empty out the old, broken and worn down school supplies from last year and start fresh with new pencils, pens, paper and rulers  located near homework spaces. This will help to silence the “I can’t find a pencil” complaint!

 

8. Set up school year screen time limits: During the school year we have screen time limits to allow our kids to relax while prioritizing the completion of homework. Some families have no screen time during the week. We settled on somewhere in the middle, which means our kids get limited screen time only after they get their homework done.

 

9. Evaluate Assistive Tech: At the beginning of each year I talk with each of my kids to see if there is any ways we can help support their learning with technology. In the past this has included finding a dictation app to help with writing exercises or using other Assistive Learning Tools.

 

10. Update Household Technology:  Each year it seems we need to add some new technology or update our current computers to match our kid’s school needs. This year we needed to buy an extra printer to allow my teen access to print from his desk. We also realized that we needed the ability to do homework on the go, so having mobile WiFi has enabled us to complete assignments between activities on the road or work at the park on nice days and enjoy some fresh air.

 

What’s in your back to school preparation list?

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored series. I received an AT&T Unite mobile hotspot as part of my sponsorship. My words are my own. I am happy to say that my AT&T Unite has enabled our family to have WiFi wherever we need to get work done. For more information, visit att.com/Unite or connect with WiFi Family powered by Netgear.

 

 

 

June 4 Virtual Book Launch Party For My Parent Plan & Other Authors

Photo Credit: Emily Scheinman @BananaSeedBooks

Last week, I shared information on my trip to Book Expo America NYC to announce the revised version of my book “My Parent Plan: How to Create a Family Project Plan to Organize Your Life and Kids” . At the Book Expo book signing, I enjoyed discussing the concepts of my book with enthusiastic readers. This experience confirmed why I wrote the book in the first place: to help parents find a system to manage their family – one of the most complex and rewarding examples of project management. I talked to brave military moms who need to manage their family while their husbands are on deployment for long periods of time. I talked to single parents, educators and nannies who want to learn family project planning tips. And I talked to many parents who shared their family management struggles.

 

My Parent Plan explains that a plan is a journey, not a destination. My Parent Plan empowers parents to step back and think about their daily, weekly, seasonal and yearly activities. This gives families the time to find the right information, identify budget-friendly options, consider the needs of each family member and make informed choices to create the optimal family plan. The planning process also gives families the freedom to live in the moment and engage in family time.

 

 

To celebrate the launch of “My Parent Plan” I am joining in with the other authors in the Best Seller In A Weekend program with a Virtual Book Launch Party June 4 from 1-3pm PST.

 

First of all – HERE IS THE LINK to “MY PARENT PLAN” on Amazon available NOW (CLICK HERE to buy) on JUNE 4 2013. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is information about the Virtual Book Party:

 

 

Join me on June 4, 2013, for the long-awaited celebration of the (revised version) release of my book, My Parent Plan: How to Create a Family Project Plan to Organize Your Life and Kids. Organized  by Alicia Dunams, founder of Bestseller in a Weekend, we will hold a virtual book launch party and author spotlight for me and eight other amazing non-fiction authors ( (including Barb Gottesman of How to Slay A Pirate – Lessons on Success from Sailing the Pacific). You’ll get to be one of the first to order your copy of the books (my revised book), and you’ll get to hear all of the authors share their book-writing experiences! You’ll also get free information from every book featured, providing you with real solutions and tips you can use in your own life.

 

 

 

 

Those who attend the virtual book launch party between 1 pm and 3 pm PST on June 4th will be entered into drawings to receive their own autographed copies of the authors‘ books, as well as some special bonus prizes. It’s going to be a lot of fun, but I know the celebration won’t be the same without you. To attend, SIGN UP HERE: http://bestsellervirtualparty.com and you’ll be part of the fun. I can’t wait to see you there!

 

 

 

Vilynx – a busy mom’s best friend in managing family videos

**GUEST POST**: Winnie Root is a busy mom trying to balance between chasing after two very active boys and Director of Communications at a fast-paced Silicon Valley-based startup, Vilynx. She was invited to guest post at TechMamas.com to discuss Vilynx, a video management app for busy moms.
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Over the winter holidays, we took a couple of weeks and travelled to the mid-west to visit family and friends. It was always such a treat to visit and this year the weather even cooperated. We had the perfect snow to make a snowman and snow angels. The boys even got to sled.  Oh what fun! I could show you snapshots but a video just tells so much more.

 

 

I love family videos. We’d sit and watch family videos for hours on a Friday night. The kids love to see themselves when they were just learning to walk or sitting on a high chair making a big mess. I remember in the old days I used to have to connect my camera to my computer to upload the videos, or physically take out the card and plug in into my computer. That was so last year. These days, I use a mobile app called Vilynx to take, organize and share all my family videos.  I have Vilynx on my Android phone, my iPad, and my Nexus 7. The app allows the users to access their family videos that are stored across devices. When I take a video using Vilynx on my Android phone, I can view it on my iPad, my Nexus 7, on my computer browsers, and even on Google TV! The best part is the videos are stored in the cloud account(s) of my choice, automatically. I no longer have to worry about losing my videos or maxing out the storage on my phone.

 

 

The 5-second summary display makes it so much easier to find a particular video. The traditional thumbnail view from my film strip doesn’t always tell me what the videos contain. The Vilynx summary technology solves this problem I had.

 

 

There is also the sharing option which we all can’t live without these days. I can share my videos easily via email or on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in the same 5-second summary format as well as sharing the entire video.

 

 

 

 

 

Vilynx works on my browsers which makes it so easy to insert videos on my blog. I can now simply go to the share option on the web app, copy the iframe and paste it onto my blog. Again, the same 5-second summary format appears. See a tutorial here. If you use WordPress, you’ll have to install the iFrame Widget first.

 

As a mom, I find myself taking more and more videos. Vilynx has been a great way to capture those precious memories.

 
Disclosure: This is a guest post/ press update. This is NOT a sponsored post.
 

 

Top 10 Things That Cause Thanksgiving Anxiety and How To Deal With Them

Like many parents, as Thanksgiving nears (it is November 22 this year -2012) so does the anxiety of work life balance. If you are entertaining, how do you have time to shop, cook and prepare food along with all of your other parental and work tasks? If you are going to someone else’s house, how do you prepare your kids to make sure they will pleasantly sit through the dinner (cellphones away – for everyone including parents). For those that have anxiety around being with large family events, how do you prepare for that.  My “go to” person when it comes to figuring out how to rid my anxiety is my favorite emotion coach (and national parenting expert) Kimberly Clayton Blaine whose website “TheGoToMom” and book “The Go-To Mom’s Parents Guide: Emotion Coaching Young Children” provide essential tips to parents.

 

Kimberley also hosts a weekly Google + Live Video broadcast each Wed. 11am pst to talk about parenting topics. Today’s topic is on Top 10 Things That Cause Thanksgiving Anxiety and How To Deal With Them, and I will be a co-host. Join us or watch the YouTube video as we share our Thanksgiving anxiety and tips we will be trying. Please also share your tips! I know I could use as many tips as possible!

 

 

Thanksgiving Google + Live show with Kimberley Blaine and Beth Blecherman: Top 10 Things That Cause Thanksgiving Anxiety and How To Deal With Them

 

 

 

 

1.  Use your good china. Life is too short not share your fancy dishes.

 

2.  Be sure you have your Happy Place ready Or a xanax around or bottle of wine popped open if your family is getting too demanding or annoying. You deserve a peaceful or at least a tolerable holiday! But don’t push the limits, you still need to be able to carry on a conversation.

 

3.  Keep it low key, if you want to reach out to  others to invite them – do it. Keeping it small is dandy too. Or make it easy and take a quick trip to restaurant!  Enjoy whoever and wherever you celebrate it with.

 

4.  Outsource your meal. Ask each guest to bring a dish. Who said you have to be chef extraordinaire every year? Or have a gourmet store prepare your whole meal and tell every one you made it. That way you WILL BE chef extraordinaire this year.

 

5.  Capture the moment – Make sure the capture Thanksgiving moments with pictures or video.. That is – as long as it is not in middle of dinner (cellphones at the table = not a good idea).

 

6.  Be Creative – if sitting together for a family dinner is not a good fit – find another way to celebrate thanksgiving. If your kids like to move, either engage in outdoor sports or find an indoor sports facility that is open. Who says you can’t celebrate thanksgiving with your family jumping together in a Trampoline facility.

**Beth added – Or if it is on a sofa together watching the Thanksgiving sports games – so be it! But she and her boys are big Baseball fans (SF Giants rock), so she wishes there were baseball games to watch Thanksgiving weekend!

 

7.  For those still dealing with Hurricane Sandy – just being together with friends or family should be the goal.

 

8.  For those that have holiday anxiety – remember it is just one night. Live in the moment – they go by fast!

 

9.  Get you activity stations ready! Have games, crafts or activities ready the day before, so you can redirect rambunctious kids to keep busy. Yelling and screaming for them to get out of you way all day, isn’t an ideal holiday and you look ridiculous in front of everyone!

 

10.   If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it. If your mother in law makes gravy that tastes like leather, just “Smile and wave.”

 

Please share your Thanksgiving stories and tips!

 

Here is the video from our show!

 

Special thanks to Kim Tracey Prince and Jacqueline Cromwell for joining in our Google + Hangout.

 

 

 

Beth Blecherman just published her book “My Parent Plan” about project planning for families. She will be adding these tips to hers section on planning for Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

 

 

Tribute to the Dads that support Mommy Bloggers

Originally posted to the Silicon Valley Moms Blog

Happy Father’s Day, especially to those dads who support mommy bloggers.  Mine  was at Best Buy getting the CD player in my car fixed so I could listen to my new cool CD’s (including the Red Hot Chili Peppers).  That also gave me the time to post while my
twins were napping.

These dads and other’s like them value spending time with their kids
(which they do more of because they are married to mommy bloggers).
They also value their wives enough to support them while they pursue a
personal passion. I know many other moms who are also pursuing their
personal passions; whether it is work, volunteer, or hobbies. It is
great to hear stories of their husbands, family, or partners who also
provide support.  This support is essential, especially for moms, so
they have that extra time to devote to outside interests. From my own
experience and feedback from friends, this extra time helps moms feel
balanced. Because my husband and I both blog (his blog is behind his
companies firewall), it is also an interest we can share. OK, I can be
sappy since it only happens once a year on fathers day.

So dads with blogging wives: thank you for your support, for your
willingness to work as a team, for helping edit some posts even when
you are tired from a full day of work, for not making us feel bad about
the laundry piling up, for training with us for half marathons, for making us laugh and giving us great experiences to write about, for being the plus one at the BlogHer cocktail party, and most of all for being great dads and husbands.

Here is a Silicon Valley (high tech) Father’s Day Card to all of you. As Mir from WCS said “Dads, we dig you” . Or as Cape Buffalo said “Dads Rock “.