Saturday, November 22, 2014

Introducing Dr. Cocoa

I've always felt that the hardest thing about being a mother is getting sick. Whether you are a stay at home mom or a full time working mother, being a mother is a 24-7 job. And usually, when you're sick, your kids are sick too. So when other people can just call out sick from work and spend the day resting in bed, mothers not only don't get to "call out" but they also then have to struggle through one of the most difficult days on the job.

The past couple of weeks have been pretty rough around our house. I'm convinced there were two separate colds that traveled from person to person. The kids weren't quite as sick as I was. In fact, Benjamin only missed one day of Kindergarten.

Fortunately, a box of Dr. Cocoa arrived at our house to try out in the midst of these colds. It had been a huge struggle getting the kids to take cold medicine. Especially when they would wake up coughing in the middle of the night, they seemed to be especially stubborn and picky. Now I'm not a huge fan of bribing your kids to do things, but when it's 4 am and they are sick, you feel like you'd do anything to get them to take their medicine. This includes promises of special treats or activities the next day.

One of my kids really loved Dr. Cocoa. It totally changed the medicine giving experience and dynamic. Dr. Cocoa has a real chocolate taste and a thicker texture. Lyla was literally licking every last drop out of the spoon! (Be sure to keep this tasty medicine secure and out of the reach of your children!) My son Benjamin doesn't really like chocolate at all, so I knew he wouldn't be a huge fan.

...and EVERYONE was a huge fan of our Dr. Cocoa puppet. Seriously it is the cutest thing, and now we've started using him to help "take care of" the kids when they are sick. Oliver (8 months old) in particular was just cracking up uncontrollably whenever Dr. Cocoa would say "Hoo hoo, who has a boo boo?"

Since you never know when a cold will strike your house, it's a good idea to keep some medicine in stock just in case. Be sure to stop by Dr.Cocoa's website to print off this great money-saving coupon.

Learn more about Dr. Cocoa by following along on Facebook, or by checking out this informational video.

Visit for a $4-off coupon offer.

This is a product-provided, sponsored conversation that contains affiliate links. However, all opinions, text and experiences are my own.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

10 Tips for Growing Long and Healthy Hair

We've all been there. Maybe you compulsively cut your hair short only to discover you hate the way it looks and feels. Maybe you had to trim a lot of hair because it was damaged from sun, chlorine, and bleach. Maybe you saw someone with gorgeous long hair or a cute hairstyle in a magazine and you want a fairy godmother to magically make your hair long right then and there. Whatever your reason for wanting longer hair, everyone has the same problem: there is no fairy godmother, and growing out your hair takes a lot of time. However, there are a lot of things you can do to help your hair grow faster and stay healthier. Here are 10 tips and tricks for growing out long and healthy hair.

1. Protect your hair! Especially when you're trying to grow your hair out longer, avoid all sorts of things that can damage your hair. Some of the worst culprits are the sun, chlorine, and bleach. Wear a hat or a light scarf over your hair if you plan on spending a lot of time in the sun. Consider skipping the highlights for a while if you're trying to grow your hair out long.

2. Don't wash it every day. Not everyone can get away with this, but the process of washing and drying your hair can cause dryness and breaks. It's better for your hair to only wash it every other day.

3. Avoid using a drier and straightener. Any kind of heat on your hair causes damage. Sometimes you're going to need to blow dry your hair, or straighten it, or use a curling iron to create a cute look. However, all of these things damage your hair, so avoid them whenever possible. When you have time, air dry your hair. When you're using a flat iron, try to only go over the same piece of hair one time. Also use some sort of heat protecting spray or product on your hair before you dry or straighten. Especially when you're trying to grow your hair out longer, it's important to minimize things that will damage your hair.

4. Eat healthy foods. This one is sort of obvious, but easy to forget. Since your hair is a part of your body, if you are eating healthy foods and taking good care of yourself, this will show in your hair as well. Hair healthy foods include: salmon, walnuts, oysters, sweet potatoes, eggs, spinach, lentils, Greek yogurt, blueberries, and poultry. (Source)

5. Take hair healthy vitamins like Hairfinity. Hairfinity is a nutritional supplement formulated with essential nutrients for healthy hair. This hair specific formula contains Vitamins A, C, and D, a B-Vitamin Complex, Biotin, MSM, and more. Hairfinity is clinically proven to increase the hair growth rate by 155% while decreasing shedding. Two capsules are taken per day, and each bottle contains a one-month supply. Check out their website for more info and great testimonials (like these two below. Chelsea saw results after just 2 weeks, and KP documented her hair growth over a year.)

6. Pamper your hair and scalp. Deep condition your hair once ever couple of weeks. Try out some hair masks. Massage essential oils or coconut oil into your scalp.

7. Avoid breakage. Your hair is the most vulnerable when it's wet. Try combing through your hair in the shower after you've applied conditioner, and then lightly drying with a towel. Then try not to brush or even play with your hair as much as possible until it has dried.

8. Stimulate your scalp. This will help keep your scalp healthy and your hair growing properly. When you're washing your hair, spend a few minutes massaging your scalp. Hairfinity also has vitamins like Vitamin B3, Vitamin B Complex, and Vitamin A that all help keep your scalp healthy. Brushing your dry hair gently and regularly is another great way to keep your scalp healthy and promote hair growth. Use a great brush with natural bristles and make sure that you're brushing your scalp and not just the ends of your hair.

9. Remember it's okay to go a long time without getting a trim. If you don't have split ends, and you're taking good care of your hair, skipping the trim is the fastest way to keep your hair growing longer. When you do get your hair cut, make sure that your hair dresser really understands that you are trying to grow your hair out and to cut as little as possible.

10. Be wary of hair ties and tight ponytails. Make sure that you are using good hair ties that don't pinch or pull your hair. Avoid hairstyles where your hair is pulled really tight, because this can often cause your hair to break and tear. Also don't sleep in a ponytail. This will just cause your hair to knot and tear.

Monday, November 10, 2014

My Thankful Banner - Teaching Toddlers Thankfulness

Whenever November rolls around, there is a lot of talk about Thankfulness. Sincere gratitude is so important. It helps counter act the sense of entitlement that we can all tend to have, and leads to more contentment and happiness in our lives. Plus, when you express thankfulness to others, it brightens their days as well. Teaching toddlers thankfulness is especially important and challenging. #SimplyHealthy #CollectiveBias

However, if you have a toddler, you might have noticed that thankfulness is not always something that comes naturally or easily to them. It can be frustrating to see how naturally your three year old can ask for more and more and more and how unnatural it seems sometimes to get them to express true gratitude. Recently I read this wonderful article about Teaching Thankfulness to Toddlers in the digital Healthy Living Made Simple App on my phone by Tovah Klein, author, mother, and psychologist. Dr. Klein describes how thankfulness is not something that is natural or even easy to understand for 2 and 3 year olds. She encourages parents to be patient and not to worry when you're child's first reaction to a gift is to look for another one instead of to say thank you. One of the best ways to teach thankfulness to your toddler, she says, is to lead by example and to talk about what it means to be thankful with your toddler.

I wanted to spend time talking with my sweet 3 year old daughter, Lyla, about being thankful. And of course when it comes to Lyla the best way to get her attention is to get crafty and to bring out the glitter. We talked a lot about how many wonderful things and people she has in her life, and about all of the things she has to be thankful for. Since it's fall, we decided to make a glittery leaf banner that lists lots of things Lyla is thankful for.

What you need:

1. Cereal boxes or kraft paper cardstock
2. Scissors
3. Mini hole punch
4. Twine
5. A Sharpie
6. Mod Podge (we used the washable kid kind!)
7. Glitter

What you do:

1. Cut out a lot of leaf shapes. I traced the same shape over and over, but I wasn't too precise.

2. Punch two small holes in the tops of each leaf.

3. Write things that your toddler is thankful for on each leaf. Help give ideas and suggestions, but don't discount the little things (like Lyla's soft pants, haha).

4. Use Mod Podge to cover the tips of all of the leaves. Then sprinkle on ultra fine glitter. Lyla LOVES helping with the Mod Podge and glitter. I'm almost surprised those weren't the first two things on her thankful list.

5. Once the Mod Podge has dried, dust off the extra glitter and string the leaves along your twine, ribbon, or string. I used a little washi tape to secure the leaves to the string.

6. Hang and enjoy. Looking at the thankful banner is also a great conversation starter to think of more things to be thankful for.

Lyla and I really had fun talking about some of her favorite things. Be sure to check out the Healthy Living Made Simple online magazine and app, brought to you by Sam's Club. You can also download the free app on your iPhone or iPad and check out some of the articles on the go.

...and Lyla, I think we're all very thankful for cake!

How do you teach your toddler to be thankful?


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