Oct 11

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I haven’t written in months which is quite the shock because I went from blogging daily to never. I thought I would miss it but to be honest it has been totally freeing. In those months that I have been gone a lot has changed. 

The biggest change has been that I now work full time outside of the house. Luckily I work a similar shift to the shift that John has so I can carpool. It’s been incredibly difficult on me because it’s a huge difference. 

Other notable happenings:

The boys started high school and are doing unexpectedly well.  Chandler is doing something with set design and Ethan is taking German. 

Jayde is in eighth grade and as feisty as before. Struggling with some small stuff but over all doing much better with our big move than expected. 

We talked in the Pride parade with people from work and it was an incredibly proud moment for me as I watch each child show their support of the freedom to love whoever. I especially loved watching Ethan jog on the sidelines with a rainbow flag on one side and highfiving the crowd with the other hand. 

My baby (Jayde) turned 13!!! I was able to embarrass her by painting the entire car with paint asking passers by to honk because it’s her birthday!

I play Pokémon Go like it’s going out of style. Level 22 baby!

I think that just about sums up the past few months. 

Oct 07

How to Keep Your Kids Protected From Cavities

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Image by: creativedental

There are about a bigillion things you have to worry about as a parent, and cavities is one of them.  As with anything though, knowledge is power.  Understanding how cavities are made can help you kids protect against them.  Below we’ll look at the main ways you can keep your children free from the dangers of tooth decay.

The Basics of Tooth Decay
A cavity happens when the outer layer of your teeth (the enamel) is worn down. First, let’s take a look as to why enamel gets worn down in the first place. This may get a tiny bit technical for a second, but bear with me. Again, the more you know about tooth decay the better you can fight it.
Enamel erosion takes place during a process called demoralization. Your teeth are made up primarily of phosphate ions and calcium ions. Together these form a material called hydroxyapatite (we’ll just refer to it as H) – that’s what actually makes up the enamel on your teeth. H is pretty great at keeping your teeth protected, but it’s got a major weakness – acid.

As one might expect, the acidity levels our mouths are constantly changing because you’re eating a bunch of stuff that has varying levels of acidity.  If you remember from science class, acidity is measured by something called pH.  For reference, standard tap water is around a pH of 7.  Anything below that is acidic, anything above that is basic.
Changes in the pH levels in your mouth aren’t a big issue until they get below a certain point – specifically 5.5. When the pH in your mouth dips below 5.5, your teeth start to demineralize. This means that parts of it are basically being ripped away, leaving you ultimately with less enamel.  Less enamel means less protection.  Ultimately, if enough enamel is worn away you get a cavity (also known as a dental carie)
Hold on a second though – enamel repairs itself, right? Indeed, it does. As with all parts of the body, the teeth are pretty darned good at repairing themselves after an injury.  The issue of tooth decay (and by extension, cavities) is when the teeth are worn down more quickly than they can rebuild. That’s where the issues are.
So, to recap, your teeth have enamel. That enamel is made of a certain substance (called hydroxyapatite, or simply H) that starts to wear down when the pH levels in your mouth get below a certain point (5.5). Your teeth will rebuild their enamel, but often times they can’t rebuild fast enough.  This results in tooth decay, meaning that your enamel gets worn down.


Alright, so how do we keep this from happening? Well, there are two ways really. The first is to better protect our teeth.  According to the American Dental Association, fluoride is the only chemical we’re aware of that helps to strengthen enamel.  The way it works is pretty nifty.  Normally, when your teeth are rebuilding, they rebuilt with what they’re made of, our good friend H.  That’s nice and all, but we already know that H is pretty weak against acid – the same thing is just going to happen again.  Using fluoride changes this.  When you use fluoride, it slightly alters the way your teeth fix themselves.  Instead of rebuilding with H, the fluoride ion (F-) inserts itself and instead your teeth are rebuilt with fluorapatite, or F.  It just so happens that F is pretty resistant to acid.
If fluoride is present, your teeth basically rebuild themselves with a stronger, more resistant material.  They just need the building blocks to do so.  You will normally get fluoride from one of two sources: water and toothpaste.  As fluoride is a naturally occurring element (it comes from the element fluorine) it will show up in any natural water (lakes, rivers, etc.).  On top of that, a tiny bit is added to our water supply to provide our bodies with the tools necessary to build strong teeth.

The other way of obtaining fluoride is through dental care products, mainly toothpaste.  Brushing with fluoride allows it to get applied directly to the surface of your teeth.  This means it can instantly be used during the rebuilding process.

Now, there’s a fair bit of talk out there about the dangers of fluoride.  Some of these concerns are valid in a technical sense, but often times they’re blown out of proportion.  For example, a study done on the effects of fluoride on the structure and function of epithelial cells shows that there are adverse health effects, but only at concentrations far beyond what the normal human would consume.

Studies show that there is a definite link between excessive consumption of fluoride and an ailment referred to as dental fluorosis.  Dental fluorosis is a purely cosmetic condition that causes your teeth to get some white spots on them.  Along with white spots, fluorosis can actually result in less protected teeth due to the higher subsurface area.

The major concern here is that fluorosis is permanent, although there are plenty of ways to treat it, such as teeth bleaching.  The biggest reason why your child might get fluorosis is from swallowing toothpaste.  Regularly brushing and drinking fluoridated water won’t supply anywhere near enough fluoride for fluorosis to occur.


The second way to protect your teeth against acid attacks that wear down enamel is by choosing what food you eat.  First, let’s look at how exactly food effects our mouth and why it leads to a change in pH levels.
As you probably already know, there are tons of small critters that live in your mouth.  These are referred to a bunch of different ways: bacteria, germs, plaque, tartar, etc.  Whatever you call them, they’re small (often single cell) organisms that live in your mouth.  That’s not a bad thing – they help with all sorts of stuff like breaking down food.  They also (accidentally) hurt your teeth.
Whenever you eat or drink, the critters in your mouth eat too.  Those are the main foods they eat are sugars and starches.  Whenever they feed, they basically produce acid.  This acid (along with the acid level of your food and drink) is what causes those pH changes.  This means that even something that’s not acidic at all, like a chocolate bar, can make your mouth more acidic.

There are a few things to note about the critters and their feasting. The first is, they’re always there and you can’t get rid of them.  Even if you rinse your mouth out with mouthwash 20 times a day, you’ll never get rid of the critters in there, so pick your battles wisely! The second is that they’ll continue to feed on sugars and starches long after you’re done eating.  The standard time is about 20 minutes.  This means every time you sip a drink, eat a snack, take a breath mint, etc. your teeth are getting a full 20 minutes of acid erosion.  Trust me, that can build up quickly.

The biggest thing you can do to prevent the critters in your mouth from eating is to control what you and your children are eating.  There are a number of studies that show how different foods can affect your teeth.  Sugary candy (especially things that sit in the mouth for a while, like suckers and lozenges), soft drinks and citrus fruits are generally looked down upon in the dental community.  Yes, they taste incredible (especially my favorite, Twix), but they’re pretty rubbish for your teeth.

There are also some foods that you can eat that’ll help your teeth too.  Products high in calcium and phosphorus (the things that H are made of) like cheese, milk, nuts and meats are pretty great for rebuilding enamel.  Additionally, foods that are high in water such as vegetables and certain fruits (apples, pears) are good for your teeth.  The extra water dilutes the sugar and makes it more difficult for the critters in your mouth to feed.  Finally, combining foods that aren’t as good for your teeth (such as acidic fruits) with larger meals will help to dilute their acidity.  If your kids plan on binge-eating oranges, try to encourage them to drink some water and eat a few nuts along the way!

Oral Routine

I’d be remiss if I wrote an article about preventing cavities and didn’t list the three major pillars of keeping your teeth health.  There’s nothing complex or complicated here – just ten minutes a day to keep everything in your mouth in working order.

1. Brush twice a day with a fluoride based toothpaste for two minutes each.  Studies show that the longer you brush, the more plaque you remove, by a significant amount.  Brushing for a full two minutes removes more than 25% more plaque than only brushing for 45 seconds.  Get a timer (humans tend to be pretty bad at keeping track of time) and make sure you go for the full 120 seconds.

2. Floss every day in the morning.  Flossing at night as well is even better, but good luck getting your kids to floss twice.  Make sure you get around every tooth and into the gum line.  Dentists recommend spending 10-15 seconds per tooth to get all the bad stuff out, but sometimes that not realistic.  Just make sure to get everyone in the family to spend a good two or three minutes flossing.  If that’s not viable, think about picking up a water flosser.  They work better and they take way less time.  You’ll be able to floss your whole mouth in about 60 seconds.

3. Rinse with mouthwash.  Remember to not eat or drink for 30 minutes afterwards – the mouthwash is still working!  If you can, get a mouthwash with fluoride in it for a bit of extra help, but that’s not totally necessary.  The main idea is to flush out all of the stuff from breakfast that you loosened up by brushing and flossing.  If you’re concerned about the extreme burning sensation from mouthwash, look into picking up a natural mouthwash or an alcohol free mouthwash.

That’s it.  It’s not rocket science by any stretch of the imagination.  Do these three things and you and your kids will have healthy, cavity free teeth.

Oral health can be an intimidating subject, but at its root, it’s pretty simple.  Use fluoride, brush twice a day, floss and stay away from sugary foods.  That’s it!  Follow these simple ideas and you won’t be paying the dentist extra cash to fill up the holes in your kid’s teeth!


Sep 24

Student Loan Consolidation Tips

Very few college students realize the impact of taking student loans until it comes time to repay them. With graduation looming, students first see the full impact of the tuition Singapore loans when they receive their first payment coupon and the truth sets in – now they must repay the thousands of dollars of loans, whether they have a job lined up or not.

When students enter college, the fact is that the process of obtaining a student loan is pretty simple. They only have to visit the Sallie Mae website, check a few boxes and then wait for the funds to be dispersed. If only the repayment process was as simple. Every two out of three undergraduate students walk away with their diploma and some form of student loan debt.

With the access to seven private loans and three federal ones, college students have a plethora of options to get into debt. Upon graduation, student loan consolidation is an appealing option, as it will reduce the burden and help students reduce the total debt that is owed. It can also simplify student’s finances with lower interest rates smaller monthly payments.

Prior to jumping into a student loan consolidation plan, you need to ensure that it will suit your finances and your loan situation. A problem that many students face is the fact that federal loans are not able to be consolidated with private ones. Another issue that is often observed is that as of July of 2006 federal student loans began to carry fixed interest rates. Prior to that, they were offered with variable rats and when they were consolidated students were able to lock in a reduced rate than paying each loan separately.

Since this change, there is no real financial benefit offered to consolidation federal student loans due to the fact that a single monthly payment plan can be obtained, as well as alternative repayment plans, which can be beneficial in many students’ situations, especially when just entering into the work force.

If you are considering student loan consolidation, you should understand that if you cannot make your payments, it is not going to help. However, if you are only having trouble making the payments, and think it will be fine in the future, the consolidation of student loans will provide you with several helpful alternatives.

Increased Interest

Keep in mind, that while the repayment plans that student loan consolidation offer will decrease the payment that you have, you will also accrue quite a bit of interest, which can stretch out the life of the loan. Also, once you consolidate your loans, you will not be able to do so again. Therefore, you should try to pick a time when the interest rates are low, this will decrease the amount that you wind up paying.

Sep 12

Tips To Help You Make Your Child’s Birthday One To Remember

It might feel like your kids birthdays are every WEEK, not every year. Especially if you have three at different ages. Birthdays are hectic times for all the family, but as the responsibility for the day tends to fall with the parents it can be a stressful time for mom and dad. Plus, kids are growing up so fast these days what with the rise of technology, so it can be hard to know how they want to celebrate. Get it wrong, and you fear inciting the wrath of the tween-ager! But get it right and the whole family can have a great day together.




Talk to your child about the kind of party they want for their birthday and what is available to them on your budget. If they want to rent out a boat and have the entire cast of Frozen come down to wish them a happy birthday, you’ll need to be able to let them down gently! But a slightly smaller affair should be easily achievable. Also decide if you are going to have one event for friends and a separate one for family, or if you are going to mix the two. This, however, can often depend on your child’s age.


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Set a gift budget for the birthday boy or girl and try to stick to it. It can be tempting to go completely overboard and spoil your little one rotten – after all, it’s a parent’s instinct to do so. But you don’t want to be eating discount soup for the next month just to make it worth it. Plus, if you bombard your child with too many gifts every birthday, you will set a precedent. Kids often count presents, especially against how many their siblings get. Choose a unique gift idea rather than hundreds of toys they may never use. Pay attention to what your child is religiously into and what is clearly a fad. Of course, there is nothing wrong at all with indulging a fad – it’s all part of being a child. But if the merchandise your child wants is $70 and in two months they’re not interested in it anymore, it can be pretty frustrating. If you can tell they’re into something just because it’s new or fashionable, don’t splash your cash. It’s worth spending more money on something they truly love, such as something related to their favourite movie. Plus, if you children aren’t bored with their toys, they are less likely to clamour for new ones.

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Throwing the party

Kids parties are some of the most fun to throw. After all, nothing beats seeing your child and their friends enjoying themselves. If you need to cut costs, consider holding the party at your home – after kid-proofing it first, of course! If you have outdoor space, try and utilise this as much as possible (providing the weather is good). That way, you won’t need to worry as much about your house getting wrecked. Consider running an activity day with challenges and tasks for your child and their friends. Split them into teams and set them off. Examples of things to do include sack races, apple bobbing and performing a sketch. With younger children, this is a great way to get them off the technology for a few hours too, and really make a party worthwhile. Just make sure it doesn’t get too competitive – everyone gets a prize at the end!

Another type of at-home party you can host is a pool party. Swimming parties are popular with children but often the cost of renting the pool can be sky high, especially if you want to add an inflatable too. Plus you have the added cost of refreshments to think about, either at the pool venue itself or elsewhere. Overall, it can work out cheaper to rent your own pool for your back garden, providing it is large enough. Granted, it won’t be exactly the same experience. But, you can provide a BBQ, make a non-alcoholic fruit punch (popular with younger girls) and play your own music if you do it at home.

If putting on a party at your own home isn’t for you, thankfully there are many great options for where you can take your kids. Older children (boys especially) may enjoy a go-karting party. In fact, high-adrenaline parties are becoming a lot more popular, with everything from dirt bikes to supercars on offer. Laser tag is a failsafe option, especially if the party happens to fall on a rainy day. If you have a particularly girly girl, book her and some friends in for a manicure – they’ll love the feeling of being pampered like grown-ups. You can often get discount when booking in a large group, so speak with the salon or check discount websites such as Groupon for a voucher.Screen Shot 2016-09-12 at 5.30.19 PM.png

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The cake

If you’re a dab hand in the kitchen, you might be considering baking your child’s birthday cake yourself. Exciting bakes can delight and thrill, but make it too ambitious and you could end up with half of it on the floor! Sticking to a simple shape is key. If your child is a huge fan a Lego, make individual square cakes and coat them in coloured icing to mimic Lego blocks. Get creative with toppings and food colourants to create something magical for your little one. However, baking is not a skill everyone is blessed with. If you would rather leave it to the professionals, there are plenty of cake companies local to you who can create something amazing for your child. Alternatively, you can order one from further afield to be delivered – although it will mean your cake has to risk the journey.  The good thing about many of these companies is that you can be as involved as you like – so if you still want to design the cake, just not bake it, you can still have some input. Make sure to take a picture once your creation comes to life.


Aug 31

Game Enhancing Extras That The Gamer In Your Life Will Love

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Photo Credit

Whether you play games yourself or are thinking of a present for a loved one who’s an avid gamer, there are hundreds of game enhancing extras out there to choose from.

There are in-game extras that you can purchase through games’ online stores. Alternatively, there are material, real life extras that will improve the gaming experience tenfold. Here are some of our favorites.

In-game extras

Whether playing on your phone, laptop or a console, there will likely always be in-game extras offered. These boost a player’s potential to achieve their goals in a game. From Pokemon Go’s offer of extra poke balls, incense and lures to purchasing coins in games for the player to spend on extra weapons. There’s nearly always a purchasable option to increase the game’s potential.

Gaming Speakers

Like horror movies, the soundtrack to a game can make all the difference to how you experience it. The importance of sound in games cannot be underestimated. Music can make a spurious situation in a game feel more intense. Sudden noises can make you jump and most games will have a certain sound to alert you that an enemy or reward is nearby. So make the experience completely immersive and invest in the best gaming speakers that your budget will allow.

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Image Source


Controllers are prone to wear and tear. If you’ve been using the same one for years, chances are it might be a good time to reinvest. New controllers will be more sensitive to touch, which can make all the difference when you’re attempting to take down the big boss. Controllers for most consoles will have a signature shape. But, companies often offer slight amendments to the standard controller. For example, different colors.

Retro Games

Retro games consoles and cartridges are highly valued collectable items. Take a look at car boot sales for some real bargains. Second-hand game stores are bound to be full of surprises. Or take to the internet for last minute retro gaming gifts.


Your phone might not offer the most complex gaming experience, but the days of Snake and Tetris are long in the past. There are now some really fun games that can be kept in your pocket. The app store on your phone will have a host of free and premium rate games. These traveling on public transport. The range of games is essentially endless. Favorites have taken the gaming world by storm. For example, the  (now discontinued) flappy bird, Pokemon go, and angry birds.


Gaming extras don’t necessarily have to contribute to the game itself. This kind of gift can range from game themed mugs and pillows to character costumes for cosplay and wall prints. There are all sorts out there. Magikarp baby grows, Tetris shaped storage benches, Mario tube mugs, PlayStation wallets and Nintendo themed table bases. Whatever your favorite game, there will be an accessory of some sort out there for you.

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