Archive for the 'family matters' Category

Spin Spin (away) Sugar

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

for boys and girls

I hate to gross anyone out but I have to admit we struggle with brushing teeth in my house. Especially when it comes to the youngest one in my household—my daughter. I admit this is 100% my fault because I have not been as diligent with her as I should be. She brushes her teeth nearly (Gasp! It’s so hard to admit this!) every day but not without a fuss and a fight. I admit I have been known to rush her out the door without making sure she’s done a good job. How many times have I said, Is your toothbrush wet? Eh, good enough, let’s go.

Far too many.

My only excuse is that I was blessed with hard teeth. I’m 38 years old and I have never had a cavity to this day. I come from a family with very few dental problems (other than orthodontic) and so does my husband. What can I say? Some people are blessed with long beautiful cellulite-free legs, others are blessed with hard teeth. Unfortunately, I got the latter.

But just because we don’t have to worry about dentists’ drills and scary shots doesn’t mean we get a get-out-of-jail-free card when it comes to brushing. First of all there’s bad breath (ugh, don’t even get me started) and secondly, we have to worry about gum disease. Brushing is ALWAYS good. I got in the habit of it when I had braces. Once you get used to that clean feeling you can’t leave the house without it. However, I admit I wasn’t raised to always be this way. My parents were very lax with my brushing habits and I’m ashamed to admit I’m following in their footsteps when it comes to raising my daughter.


Which is why ARM & HAMMER® Spinbrush® My Way! ™ and Orajel ® Kids My Way™ Toothpaste particularly caught my eye. What better way to motivate a creative kid to brush her teeth than to let her get creative with the tools?! With stickers! It’s brilliant! Why didn’t someone think of this sooner?


I have to admit I secretly wanted to break out my marker pens and make the toothpaste dispenser into a dragon but my daughter was plenty keen on the stickers. She LOVES stickers and they dialed her right in with the bling-bling girly-foo-foo hearts and diamonds and kittens, oh my! I preferred the stickers that came with the boy version Arm and Hammer accidentally sent me but this product was for her, not me. I’m still perfectly content with my old drugstore toothbrush I bought last week that doesn’t even spin.

"it feels like a lawn mower on my teeth!"

Speaking of spin action, boy was that a hit! I was so worried when I signed up for this review that I’d have to back out because my daughter refused to even try it. In the past, I’ve tried getting Bug to brush her teeth with a spin-brush and it did not go over at all. She was afraid of that thing like a cat is afraid of a vacuum cleaner. I couldn’t even turn it on in the same room as her without her running for cover. But somehow between growing up a few years and taking ownership of it with a passel of free stickers, she actually had the guts to try it. And she liked it! I took a bunch of photos for you and for me. It was a big moment for us.

Her reaction? “It feels like a lawn mower in my mouth, Mommy.”

Lawn-mower away, sweetie-pants. Lawn-mower away all that plaque, is all I could say.

new brush new chart!

Orajel ® and ARM & HAMMER®, I think you have a winner here.

So who else wants to be a winner? You do! And you can be by commenting below! How do you like that for a segue? I know, I work hard for the money, I do! Well you can work hard for your money too. Tell me a little bit about your morning brushing routine. Do you have any creative tricks to get your kids brushing? Or if you don’t have kids, do you have any tricks for yourself? Do you brush in the shower? With coffee? I’m dying to know. Leave me a comment and I will enter you into a sweepstakes for a $100 Visa gift card, provided by BlogHer and ARM & HAMMER. Visit the Exclusive Offers section for more chances to win. Sweepstakes ends June 9th.


No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older.

Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail.

You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

Visit the Official Rules here.

And the smallest one was…

Monday, October 25th, 2010

This is a compensated review by BlogHer and Pop-Tarts.


It all started when a man walked into my aunt’s dressmaking shop with five yards of bright yellow knit fabric. He wanted her to make some crossing guard vests. He had no mind for sewing and had purchased four and a half yards too much. He didn’t want the extra fabric so he gave it to my aunt. Oh what should she do with four and a half yards of bright yellow fabric? my aunt thought to herself. The more and more she stared at it, the more she thought of Madeline and her little yellow coat from our favorite storybook. Madeline it would be!

Madeline and pumpkins they're not answering

That year my daughter wanted to be EVE so the fabric sat. The next year Halloween went by in a blur because my grandmother was in the hospital and so sick my aunt had no time for extra sewing projects. The fabric sat a little longer. Then this year rolled around and my aunt sewed it right up. I was worried Bug wouldn’t want to wear a Madeline costume since she’s been on such a pink tear lately. She loves the story about twelve little girls in two straight lines, and we read it often, but she dresses up as a princess in a pink puffy skirt every day. Would Halloween be any different?

pumpkin seat

I migh have said to Bug that she could get more candy if she dressed up as Madeline since so many grown-ups know about Madeline too and remember her so fondly. Or maybe Bug just knew that this costume was sewn with love. Anyway, much to my delight, Bug has been talking about being Madeline for Halloween ever since. I cannot wait to see her skipping along the sidewalk in her little yellow coat. Who knows, maybe I’ll rent a nun habit and dress up as Miss Clavel, or I’ll break out the cardboard and a box cutter and go as the Eiffel Tower. It’s going to be fun no matter what.

worried about the ants hat face

I especially love the little yellow hat with a black ribbon. My aunt bought it online and it’s a real Breton hat. She spray-painted it yellow and sewed on a black ribbon. I love the little touches like this.

Madeline visits Texas

I love my little Madeline!

So what are you dressing up as for Halloween? Do you have any little princesses or Skywalkers you’ll be escorting around the neighborhood? Please share! The curious are dying to know. Leave your answer below and one of you may be lucky enough to win a $100 Visa gift card from BlogHer. This is a sponsored post after all, even though I have not mentioned Pop-Tarts once.

Or you may leave a link to your post on your own blog in the comments below. This contest will will end October 31, 2010. Make sure that the e-mail address you leave is correct. Be sure to check out exclusive offers page for nine chances to win!


  • No duplicate comments.
  • You may receive an additional entry by linking on twitter and leaving a link in the comments.
  • You may receive an additional entry by blogging about this contest and leaving a link in the comments.
  • This giveaway is open to US residents, aged 18 and older.
    Winners will be selected via random draw, and will notified by e-mail.
  • You have 48 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
    • Please see the official rules here.


Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

This is sponsored content by BlogHer and Kellogg.

As part of a share-your-story program for Kellogg’s Love Your Cereal, I’m writing a series of weekly posts about breakfast routines, nutrition and all the million-and-one reasons why we should love cereal!

This week’s topic is: How do your weekend mornings differ from the weekdays? What fun breakfast foods does your family make together?

I ardently love strawberries, whipped cream and pink pancakes

One word: Pancakes.

When I was growing up we always knew it was the weekend or a special day because my Dad would make pancakes with us. Still to this day if I have a little extra time in the morning the first thing I think of is making pancakes. Of course now that I’m a stay at home mom and my husband is a freelance photographer working out of our home, every day is the weekend. Everyday is also Monday. We don’t even know what weekends are anymore other than the day that all the stores are crowded, parking is horrible (we live by the beach) and the library is closed.

But still pancakes are special. Especially because we make them together.

chocolate chip pancakes

Whenever I have a passel of kids over at my house in the morning (when guests are staying over or I’m babysitting…) I always make pancakes with the kids. It’s just something I remember loving as a kid and I want to pass that on. Making pancakes can be wonderfully creative. You can make interesting shapes and add special toppings like chocolate chips, bananas, whipped cream and chocolate sauce! It’s like desert for breakfast!

criss-cross tic tac toe pancakes

Even more fun is adding food coloring. Over the years we’ve made an art out of pancake making.

making breakfast

But mostly I just love pancakes because it’s something we do together.

Do you have something you make together for breakfast as a family? Share your story for your chance to win $100! Check out Kellogg exclusive offers page for 24 other chances to win too! Official rules here.

Mom’s Breakfast Club was started to help educate moms and families about kids’ cereal and share the scoop on their nutritional benefits and ingredients. To learn more about the program, visit

Last week’s winner is…


Congratulations Anne! Watch your email box. Blogher will be in contact with you shortly!

Extraordinary! Family that is…

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

This is sponsored content from BlogHer and ABC’s No Ordinary Family.

my surprised Dad

I think if anyone qualifies as having an extraordinary family it’s me.

My Dad Knits

My dad is a truck-driving instructor who knits. He knits slippers and hats while he drives down the road teaching other truck drivers how to drive. His students think he’s crazy but he can knit a mean slipper! He even sells them online in his Etsy shop.

Tom the Knitting Trucker

Not only is my dad a truck-driving instructor, he’s also a “million-miler,” which means he’s driven a million miles without ever getting in a wreck. In the trucking world, that’s a pretty big deal. I could go on and on bragging about him. He’s even won trophies in truck-driving rodeos!

driving Papa's Big Truck

But you know what my Dad’s single most amazing superpower is? He never gets mad. I’m not even kidding. My Dad is the kindest, most friendly and understanding man you will ever meet. He’ll talk your ear off and possibly bore you with his single-minded interests, but he will never ever yell at you or tell you that you did something stupid. Ever. Maybe that’s why he’s such a good truck-driving teacher, I don’t know. But he is the best dad I could ever want. That’s for sure.

Grandma Sugar and Bug partake

Then there’s my mom. All my friends love my mom. She’s easy to talk to and even though she doesn’t think she has very many friends (which is crazy), she is a friend to many. She’s the first person I call whenever I have something new I need to talk about. In fact, I hate talking on the phone but I call my mom nearly every day. She always listens and always offers support.

mom cut

My mom always believes in me and never hesitates to join me whenever I have a wild project brewing. Flowers for weddings? She was my right-hand assistant. Trips to Chinatown, San Francisco, Florida, or even Paris? She was my travel companion. Fabric flags for a birthday party instead of paper? She sewed them and then started up her own business selling them online too.

mom's serger

My mom’s superpower is motivation. She’ll probably laugh when she reads that since she’s always unmotivated to get her chores done, but she always has the get-up-and-go to start a new project and that is what makes her fun. If you have a crazy idea, she’ll be right there with you, cheering you on.

CC, Bro and SuperChic

My brother is my silent partner. He’s always been there for me my entire life. I don’t even remember a time he wasn’t there. He never gets in my way and never overshadows whatever I’ve got going on. Even when we were kids he did his own thing. But if I need him, he’s there. Always.


Even to this day I only have to say one word and he would beat anyone up I wanted him to. I’ve never asked him to of course, but I know he would. He’s rescued me countless times when my car’s broken down. He’s given me his last penny even when he barely could keep a roof over his own family’s head. I love my brother deeply and I only feel bad that I’ve learned to take him for granted. Because he is and always has been there for me. He is my secret weapon.

Bro puts Baby Bug to sleep

Now that my brother and I are both married, we’ve brought a few new members to our extraordinary family. My brother married Heather, who is smart, resourceful and just as kind and devoted as my brother. If my brother is my secret weapon then my sister-in-law is my secret ammunition. He’s always there for me and she is always right there by his side, always devoted, never questioning.


I can’t believe my brother got so lucky with her.

Daddy is the best

Mr. Cancer Stick

I married Toby who has the amazing ability to think backwards. It drives me crazy sometimes but he’s saved me and my family from many bad turns by thinking through things in ways that nobody ever thought of. I swear his brain is wired in the exact reverse of mine which causes no end of frustration and disagreements in our house but when push comes to shove, he thinks of loopholes and counter-arguments that nobody in my family would have.

such a tough guy

He’s saved us from bad financial choices and bad life choices. He’s reprogrammed the way I think about money, food, parenting and just about everything. He’s the guy we go to when we need to see the flip side of things. Sometimes having a little opposition within your own family can be an extraordinarily good thing.

the Ponnays

Why am I writing about my extraordinary family? Because ABC has a new show called “No Ordinary Family.” This family actually does have superpowers and it looks like the show could be pretty fun to watch. It will be airing DATE AND TIME HERE. Here’s a clip to watch:

ABC’s No Ordinary Family hosted a video contest to find the most EXTRADORDINARY family in America and starting September 27th you can help vote for the winner! Between September 27 and October 1, watch the top 5 video submissions and vote for your favorite. Click here for details and be sure to vote! You also might want to check out what other bloggers are saying about their extraordinary families!