Blog Posts by Yahoo! Contributor Network

  • Healthy Tips for a Winning Smile

    Keeping your smile healthy involves more than just brushing those teeth (though it often starts there!). How you care for your smile should be a part of an overall healthy lifestyle, and when your smile shines, so will the rest of you. How can you make sure that you've got a winning smile, and the positive attitude that goes with it?

    Eat a healthy diet. What you eat and drink matters when it comes to a healthy smile and a healthy lifestyle. There's a place in your diet for that occasional cup of coffee or a cookie here or there. But be mindful of moderation and the effect it has on your teeth and your overall health and well being.

    Floss and rinse, too. As any good dentist will tell you, brushing is only half of the battle when it comes to fighting cavities, plaque, and gum disease. Flossing and using mouthwash are also absolutely essential components of a healthy smile.

    Receive regular dental care and physicals. There's more to a healthy smile than a visit to your dentist

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  • July 4th Decorations the Kids Can Create

    Every party I've ever thrown since the birth of my children has been more successful if the kiddos have been involved and invested in its success. Perhaps it's the sense of ownership they feel when we've put together a party together, instead of me putting together a party and them staying out of my way. Whatever the reason, you can't fail when you get your children involved in helping put together the decorations for your 4th of July party.

    Tie-Dyed Tablecloth & T-Shirts for Guests

    Get a white cotton tablecloth and white t-shirts out, and purchase red and blue tie-dye. Teach the kids the fine art of rubber-banding your garments to get that perfect spiral. Then, let your creativity shine! Tie-dye a tablecloth for your buffet table and smaller tables where guests will sit, if you have them. Make t-shirts for all of your pint-sized party guests. They'll love this take-away favor and they'll be perfect little living decorations!

    American Fingerprint Flag

    Get out your finger

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  • Easy Habits for a Beautiful, Healthy Smile

    undefinedHaving a nice smile is more than about appearances - it's also about being healthy and having the confidence to take on life's challenges. The hectic nature of the average family's day-to-day routine can put oral health on the back burner.

    Maintaining a beautiful, healthy smile does not have to be time-consuming or costly. By following these easy habits, you and your family can enjoy the self-assurance and fortitude associated with a sparkly, confident smile.

    Make it a family affair. Regular brushing is essential to preserving those pearly whites. Getting yourself and your kids into the habit is as easy as establishing a collective routine. Each morning before leaving the house for the day and each night before bed, make a point to stop what you're doing and brush together. By organizing a consistent habit and working together to be sure you stick with it, you and your family will secure the foundation to a healthy smile.

    Use fun equipment to engage your kids. Dental health doesn't

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  • Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk--Literally!

    It's a rare night my house when something isn't spilled across the table, down someone's shirt, or on the (not so white anymore) carpet. I've learned to roll with the punches--kids make messes! Thankfully, not every drop of spilled milk needs to turn the night sour.

    Milk around the house

    My toddler still drinks her milk from a sippy cup, which she carries with her at all times. That means I've found spilled milk in some pretty unfortunate places when the lid has leaked--on my couch, the hardwood floors, and on the carpet. If you catch the spill early, wipe it up quickly and go about your business. If it sits long enough to curdle, you may have to use a scraper, heavy duty carpet or floor cleaners, and (potentially) a nose plug.

    Food and drink in car cup holders

    If you're constantly running to and from school, gymnastics classes, and soccer practice, your car might look a little bit like mine. The worst mess always seems to be in the kids' cup holders, where trash, leaky

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  • Create Your Own Patriotic Bike Decorations

    When my kids see an American flag, I want them to know that it is a symbol of our country. Furthermore, I want them to understand that we have freedom, rights and opportunities in our country. Instilling patriotic values is important to me. Making crafts and singing songs are all patriotic activities. Making American-themed, homemade bike decorations are one fun way to promote patriotism in your home. Here are three ideas to jazz up your bike with red, white and blue.

    Red, White and Blue Bike Streamers


    1. Red, white and blue curling ribbon
    2. Scissors
    3. Twine or thin wire


    Add a little patriotic flair to your child's bike with red, white and blue bike streamers. Cut four one-foot strips of each color ribbon. Then, take scissors and curl the ribbon. Each streamer should have six ribbons. For extra pizazz, use metallic ribbon. Bind the ribbon together with some thin twine or wire. Push the end of the streamer through the hole at the end of the

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  • 10 Ways to Celebrate Memorial Day 2012

    If you aren't traveling for Memorial Day weekend this year, there are still plenty fun ways to celebrate the beginning of summer. Hosting a barbecue at home with a unique theme will get everyone in the mood for the long summer ahead but there are some other ways to honor this special day. Memorial Day 2012 could also be a good excuse to kick off your own countdown to the 2012 Olympics in July. Whether you decide to stay at home or want to do some traveling this Memorial Day, here are 10 different ways to celebrate the national holiday:

    #1: Host a Patriotic Barbecue

    Host a barbecue or potluck and create a menu that incorporates red, white, and blue in some way. Ask guests to bring something with a flag theme or just a classic American dish.

    #2: Make Red, White, and Blue Ice Cream

    Memorial Day weekend is a great time to spend a few hours making your own ice cream. A homemade ice cream project is also a great activity for kids and teens. Make your own layered "flag" ice cream

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  • Creative Summer Party Themes for Kids

    For our family, summertime is about finding ways to beat the heat. Since my husband is on vacation and my daughter is out of school, our schedule is more relaxed. Thus, we try to stay busy to keep boredom at bay. One of the ways to keep life interesting is to have fun parties. These five creative summer party themes for kids are a great way to celebrate the season.

    Summer Camp Bash

    I have wonderful memories from summer camp. Relay races, campfire songs, and good friends were all part of my camp experience. It is easy to bring summer camp to your backyard. Start the party at dusk. Decorate with pennant banners, wooden signs, and lanterns. Set up food on picnic tables and serve lemonade. When children arrive, pass out two different colors of camp shirts. Then, have kids partake in games like potato sack races and a tug-of-war. Next, let your guests decorate the shirts with fabric or puffy paint. Serve barbecue fare on cafeteria trays. Finish off the evening in front of a fire pit

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  • Fresh Twists on American Apple Pie

    Nothing shouts 'America' louder than apple pie.Nothing shouts 'America' louder than apple pie.Nothing shouts 'America' louder than fresh baked apple pie. From Galas to Granny Smiths, from Pippins to Pink Ladies, Americans celebrate the apple like no others. Now you can show your patriotism with these innovative twists on what has become an American icon.

    For an Elegant Dinner - Apple Pie Puffed Pastry Bites

    There's no reason apple pie can't be sophisticated and elegant. This gourmet version of an American classic is a classy twist on the dessert and the perfect ending to an elegant dinner. (Makes two servings)


    2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into 1" cubes.

    1/4 cup lemon juice

    1/2 cup butter

    1/2 cup light brown sugar

    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    2 - 7" squares puff pastry


    1. Toss prepared apple cubes in lemon juice to prevent browning. Drain.

    2. Add apples, butter, sugar and cinnamon in heavy pot over medium low heat. Cook until apples soften and syrup is bubbly and thick.

    3. Place 2-4 apple cubes in a

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  • No-Bake Recipes for Kids to Try in the Kitchen

    When I was a child, my brother and I gave a 4-H food demonstration at the mall on how to make quick and easy cookies. My mom brags about how her little tots were the hit of the event. And people also loved sampling the no-bake cookies, as I recall.

    My children also love to make no-bake, quick-and-easy cookies. I like to make a special sugar-free version as well as traditional versions.

    Living in Florida, I love trying out no-bake cookie recipes because it doesn't heat up the kitchen in the hot summer. Also, it's much safer for my little ones to help. Some recipes do involve melting butter or other ingredients on the stove so I always supervise my kids when they are in the kitchen.

    Quick-and-easy cookies

    To make the no-bake, quick-and-easy cookies, we mix ½ cup milk with ½ cup melted butter, 1 cup white sugar and 1 cup brown sugar. I bring it to a boil, continuing to boil for 2 minutes. After removing from the heat, my children add 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, ¼ cup peanut

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  • Red, White and Blue Snacks and Treats for Kids

    Get patriotic with the entire family this summer! While every year Americans proudly wear their red, white, and blue for Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day, the summer of 2012 also brings with it the Summer Olympics. If you and the family are looking for tasty patriotic treats for the summer season, these five red, white and blue snacks are where it's at!

    Red, white, and blue fruit trays

    If you're looking for an appetizer to put out while you and the kids watch the Opening Ceremonies, consider a red, white, and blue fruit tray! Slice red raspberries, red grapes, and red apples. Mix in blueberries and peeled pear slices, too. Up for a real challenge? Use a white platter and make your fruit tray look like the American flag-blueberries for stars, pear slices for white stripes, and strawberries for the red.

    Patriotic cereal treats

    Get out your crispy rice cereal for these patriotic cereal treats, perfect for a summer barbeque or afternoon snack for the kids. Melt

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