Take a Smile

Take a Smile

(I am an Invisalign MAB member and one of my sons is receiving complimentary treatment but all opinions completely my own!)

I thought I’d give you an update on the boys and their Invisalign treatment.  We are over halfway through with Noah and 6 months in with our younger son Adam.  We absolutely love the whole process.

 

There were a few kinks in the beginning, like with anything new, that we had to work out.  We needed a place to put the aligners during meals, so I made little buckets for them.  Those buckets have been great for organizing the trays and cases too.

We also found that they were forgetting to change their aligners each week, so to help them we added it to our family Cozi calendar.  This calendar app allows the whole family to see what’s happening in all of our lives.  I added an alarm to go off for each boy on the day they need to change and it goes off on all of our phones.  Every Thursday morning at 9:00 a bunch of us shout, “Adam!!  Did you change your INVISALIGN?!?!”  No forgetting it now.  LOL!

I’ve also shared a few other tips for helping your teens with their treatment HERE.

Since we only have to go to the ortho every 10 weeks, it’s been a great way for us to have time together to run errands, maybe see a movie, talk and just have down time.  Our lives are all so busy that I have set aside appointment days as Mom/son time.

Just last week a friend asked me if we still like Invisalign.  No question about it….yes! While Noah is a part of my MAB membership, Adam is just a normal ol’ user.  We plan to use it again with the last two boys also.

If you’ve been wondering if your child is able to use it, why not find a doctor near you and get a free consultation?  It doesn’t cost anything to go talk to them and see what they think.  There’s a great Doctor Locator on their website.

 

Be sure to check out my 10 Reasons to Use Invisalign!

Again, I am an Invisalign MAB member and one of my sons is receiving complimentary treatment.  My opinions are completely my own and I only work with companies whose products I believe in.  Click HERE to read the full disclosure statement.

This Will REALLY Make You Smile!

This Will REALLY Make You Smile!

(I am an Invisalign MAB member and one of my sons is receiving complimentary treatment but all opinions completely my own!)

The holidays are a time of spending money and hanging onto the budget like a loose tooth.  In other words, not.  It can be so hard to stay within the boundaries you’ve put on paper: $15 per friend gift, $5 each for teachers, etc.  That’s not even mentioning gift wrap, cookie ingredients, gas to get around and lunch a few times at Chick-fil-A!.  Even my hair costs more during the holidays.  You know, for all of the parties I am going to….hey, a girl’s gotta look good!

That’s why I am so, so excited to share this amazing giveaway that my friends at Invisalign are doing right now!

3_DecemberSmiles_INVISALIGN

Our family is so, so thrilled with the Invisalign treatment that 2 of our boys are in right now.  You can read more about it HERE and HERE.  We have an orthodontist appointment next week and we will do some Christmas shopping afterward, maybe catch a movie.  It’s funny how these appointments open up the day and give me a chance to stop and enjoy my boys.  It’s an unexpected blessing.

5_FunFact_INVISALIGN

If you’ve been thinking of looking into Invisalign, this is the time to do it.  Go HERE to find a doctor in your area!  It doesn’t cost anything to learn more about it.

You simply MUST check out the giveaway and enter as many ways as possible!  I want one of YOU to win!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Again, I am an Invisalign MAB member and one of my sons is receiving complimentary treatment.  My opinions are completely my own and I only work with companies whose products I believe in.  Click HERE to read the full disclosure statement

10 Reason to Use Invisalign

10 Reason to Use Invisalign

(I am an Invisalign MAB member and one of my sons is receiving complimentary treatment but all opinions completely my own!)

If you’ve been following our Invisalign journey, you know we have 2 boys in aligners now.  We are so happy with the entire process and I thought I’d share with you some of our favorite things about Invisalign.

10 great reasons to use Invisalign!

1. It’s SO easy!  Like, SUPER easy!  The boys wear them all of the time unless they’re eating, so we just keep their cases in the dining room (I made little buckets for their cases you can see here) and they just take the aligners out for meals and keep them in and the rest of the day it’s a no brainer.

2. It brings us together.  I know, this sounds weird but we really do enjoy the time spent together going to the orthodontist and finding clever ways to store the aligner trays and just working together on this very cool project of straightening their teeth and watching their smile change.

3. They learn responsibility.  There is a level of responsibility to this and the boys have really stepped up and taken charge.  They have to take care of these aligners and they understand the importance of that.  It wasn’t immediate, but over time it’s been less of a mom-job and they have shown maturity in this area.  Oh how I love watching my boys become men!

4. Less Ortho visits.  As much as we enjoy the time together, I also love that I don’t have to go as often as I did with my kids in traditional braces.

5. Easy teeth brushing.  Being able to remove them makes teeth brushing so easy.  There are no wires to work around or brackets in the way.  I have also noticed that the boys are more consistent with their teeth brushing.  They like to be clean before putting the trays back in so they are brushing several times a day.

6. Invisibility.  My boys love the fact that in our experience, you can hardly see the aligners.  It’s kinda like a super-power.

7. Eat whatever you want!  Unlike traditional braces, you can eat anything you want with Invisalign.  There is nothing to avoid, except of course what Mom says you can’t eat….. like ice cream for breakfast.  “Just because you have Invisalign, young man, doesn’t mean you can ACTUALLY eat anything you want.”  😉

8. Know your numbers.  Since the trays are numbered it’s easy to tell how much longer you have to go.  It’s inspiration to keep changing them on the assigned day to keep up with the program.  You always know exactly where you are in your treatment.

9. Being cool.  My boys are so happy to do something their friends do, it makes them feel hip.  Or is it cool?  I don’t know the right word these days.  When I was a teen it would have made me feel like totally tubular.

10. Brotherly Love.  We have the special gift of 2 boys in treatment so they share this project.  They help each other remember to change trays, they share tips, I will hear them say if we are going out, “Hey, don’t forget your retainer case!” and they seem to have developed a bond over the process.  It been an unexpected surprise.

I hope you’ll look into Invisalign when it’s time for some teeth straightening at your house.  It’s free to talk to an orthodontist and just see what you think!

Happy straightening!

If you have any questions, hop over to the Invisalign Facebook page and they’re great about answering!

Again, I am an Invisalign MAB member and one of my sons is receiving complimentary treatment.  My opinions are completely my own and I only work with companies whose products I believe in.  Click HERE to read the full disclosure statement.

Do Your Kids Love to Write?!

Do Your Kids Love to Write?!

Do you want to teach your kids creative writing?

I found it difficult to really inspire my kids to write and know how to get their juices flowing.

Until I found the One Year Adventure Novel.  I have told you about it before, but in case you missed it, I want to tell you again!  AND they gave me a special discount code just for y’all.

Girl, I love me a discount!

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We have used all of the One Year Adventure Novel curricula (someone give me points for using the proper form of that word!) in our home.  We started about 7 years ago with their high school program (called One Year Adventure Novel).  What I loved about it was that through the lessons and assignments, by the end of the year the student has written a book.  It’s brilliant!

It’s very in-depth without a lot of fluff.  Although, the video lessons ARE entertaining and sometimes my younger kids will sneak in and watch just for fun.

There’s a video for each lesson, then an accompanying lesson in the textbook.  After the lessons there’s an assignment that is done in a workbook.  It can be completed in one school year.  Plus there are forums that help a lot if you need it.  And the forums are also great for the kids to make friends.

The OYAN folks make it easy for the teacher too, because the lessons are done for you and they give great instruction for how to check the work.  I love that about it!

One Year Adventure Novel is primarily for homeschoolers, but honestly if I wasn’t homeschooling I still might go through it with my kids (keep in mind I do have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew).  It has inspired my kids to be writers and it tapped into their creativity (in a good way, not like “Hey let’s see what we can draw on the side of Mom’s car with an Exacto knife!” kind of way).

In fact, my oldest daughter has written 5 novels, with her last one, Implant, just released a few weeks ago!  She credits OYAN for much of her education in writing even though she was already out of high school when we started using it.

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They also have a junior high version called, Cover Story.  Our son used it a couple of years ago and I plan to use it again this year with one of my other boys.  Instead of writing a whole book, it focuses through DVD lessons on shorter projects like poetry, short stories, creative non-fiction, interviews, blogs & letters.  We really like it!  The lessons are more playful and if you like steampunk, you will be in for a treat.

Creative writing helps in so many areas of life!  I’ve seen my kids blossom through this class in ways that surprised me.  There is just something about the lessons…..working on the lessons makes them feel loved.

I know it sounds crazy, but that’s the only way I can describe it.

And IF you aren’t looking for writing curriculum, there’s still something you need to know about the creator of the One Year Adventure Novel, Daniel Schwabauer.  He is the author of our favorite, favorite stories that we read as a family.  I got his first 2 books, Runt the Brave & Runt the Hunted and we all flipped over them.  And his latest book, Curse of the Seer (Legends of Tira-Nor), has just been released.  We got it last week and it is already a new family favorite.  No kidding, we ripped it out of the package when it arrived and read it instantly.  It’s wonderful!

If you’re looking for a great series of books for your kids (ages 5-99) this is it.  They will not disappoint.

And now for the good stuff….the discounts.

For the One Year Adventure Novel use the code PP15oyan and get $30 off through the end of September!
For Cover Story use the code PP15story and get $20 off through the end of September!

Both of these codes must be applied at checkout.

I really hope you’ll try these with your kids.  I leaned a lot too, as I was going through it with them.  I know you will love it!

And if you love what they are doing over at OYAN keep updated with them on Facebook!

Fun with the Boys (+ an Invisalign Update)

Fun with the Boys (+ an Invisalign Update)

(I am an Invisalign MAB member and one of my sons is receiving complimentary treatment but all opinions completely my own!)

I thought I’d catch y’all up on how we are doing with our Invisalign journey.  I have 2 boys using the aligners and we are cray-cray about the whole process!  Having had 4 of my kids in traditional braces before this and now being more than halfway through Invisalign with Noah and a few months in with Adam I am sold.

I’m gonna shoe polish this on the back of my car window…..Invisalign or BUST!

And I promise I am saying that of my own free will.  No one is making me give both thumbs up.  I would never tell you something that I didn’t believe.

Besides being so easy for the boys to take care of and manage, it really is changing their looks.  I can tell they are both feeling more confident and excited about their teeth.  I have noticed a change in their attitude about brushing and caring for their teeth too.  I think having to remove the aligners to eat reminds them to brush before putting them back in.

Another thing I love about this is that we only have to go for checkups every 10 weeks.  That turns it into an occasion and we like to make a whole day of it. Our last appointment was this past Monday and my oldest son decided to go along with us.  We had a mom/super-tall-boy day in the city.  We checked in with our orthodontist then did haircuts, jean shopping and saw a movie.  Plus Chick-fil-A of course.  We can’t go to the city without a stop at Chick-fil-A.

Make the most out of the time you spend together anyway....like getting your teens checked at the orthodontist! #spon #motherhood

Speaking of Chick-fil-A, it’s nice that they can take their aligners out to eat.  No broken brackets or food getting stuck in the wires.  That’s one of the things I really love about using the aligners.  And don’t forget to check out my 5 tips for helping them manage the aligners!

This mom of 9 is sharing her journey of using Invisalign after having 4 kids in traditional braces.  Come follow her along! #greattips #momofboys #spon

Let’s face it, the needs of a teen can be overwhelming.  I am so thankful that at least this one area has been made easier and more enjoyable.  Now, I wonder what can be done about the problem of outgrowing their shoes every 4 months.  Someone needs to invent an adjustable sneaker.

Thanks for stopping by and if you have any aligner questions, hop over to the Invisalign Facebook page and they’re great about answering!

Again, I am an Invisalign MAB member and one of my sons is receiving complimentary treatment.  My opinions are completely my own and I only work with companies whose products I believe in.  Click HERE to read the full disclosure statement.

Teens and Confidence

Teens and Confidence

(I am an Invisalign MAB member and one of my sons is receiving complimentary treatment but all opinions completely my own!)

It's hard to find confidence no matter how old you are!  But the teen years are rough.  #ad

Teens and confidence.

Yep.  I remember in my teen years how hard it was to find stability when it came to my confidence.  Actually, forget my teens, I struggled with it last week!  It never fully goes away.

But when you’re a teen and you’re finding your place in the world and figuring out where you fit and how you want to look and what you might want to do with your life…..it’s a lot to deal with!

But self-confidence can be a trap.  If we build our confidence in ourselves then it’s fragile and unstable.  BUT if we build it in God it is on a solid foundation and can never break.  Can I get an amen?!

Even though we teach that to our kids, to look to God for their strength and security, life is a journey and can take a long time to really have that kind of unshakable confidence.  I’m not sure we ever fully get there on this side of heaven.  And while we are looking to God for our source of confidence, we still have to find our personal style, career path, learn how to have relationships….so many things that make us unique and amazing!

It’s a lesson in focusing on God and enjoying the grace of life at the same time.  It ain’t easy for anyone!

Right now I have 4 teens, 2 girls and 2 boys.  My boys are both in homeschool and quickly becoming young men.  It’s happening WAY too fast for this mom!  These 2 are a real blessing!

Invisalign and teen confidence! #ad

One thing we deal with in our family is very. crooked. teeth.  I blame my husband.  His teeth are much worse than mine.  But I don’t tell him it’s his fault because then he would bring up all of the weird OCD problems our kids have and you can only look to me for that mess.  Let’s call it a draw.

Anyway, while we are teaching our kids that their confidence should come from God, we are also sympathetic to areas where they feel insecure and we help them if we can.  Several of our older children had traditional braces.  That worked out OK, but had its share of issues to deal with.  So we decided to use Invisalign with these 2 boys and have been thrilled with that decision!

Surprisingly, they both LOVE the process and the responsibility of taking care of their aligners.  I’ve seen them grow in maturity from it and they each deeply appreciate the sacrifice our family makes to pay for the treatment (which is true of the traditional braces as well, of course!).  Our willingness to do that for them has given them a confidence of knowing how much we value them!

They each have such unique interests and personal style.  Noah is Mr. Snappy Dresser and would probably wear a tie or scarf every day if he could.  He’s a great kid….like I-can’t-believe-he-is-really-mine kind of great!

Teens and confidence #ad

And Adam is his own kind of character.  He’s funny and super smart!  He loves reading and writing more than anything….except eating.  He really likes eating.  He’s just so interesting!  I love him to the moon and back!  No, past that.  To infinity and beyond.

Teens and their confidence #ad

We work hard give them each room to explore their own interests and style.  It’s so cool to watch them become good at something new and just be themselves!

A recent online survey revealed that 94% of teens think their appearance influences their popularity.  How sad!!!  I want these 2 precious boys to not only KNOW that they are amazing no matter how they look, but I also want them to learn not to judge others by their looks either!

I mean, we are happy to help them have straight teeth and fun hats, but that’s not what it’s all about, man!  If we can remove a barrier to feeling confident, like getting their teeth straight, we want to do it.  But while they spend that time in orthodontic treatment, we also pour God’s love into their minds and hearts.  We do service projects and teach them skills and let them explore their own, unique interests.  For instance, Noah loves archery so we got him equipment for that.  And Adam….well….I can’t keep enough books around for that kid.

Let’s work together to help our teens learn that how they look is only a small part of where their confidence should come from!  It’s all about who God says you are, how you treat others, how you spread God’s love.

Thanks for stopping by and if you have any aligner questions, hop over to the Invisalign Facebook page and they’re great about answering!

Again, I am an Invisalign MAB member and one of my sons is receiving complimentary treatment.  My opinions are completely my own and I only work with companies whose products I believe in.  Click HERE to read the full disclosure statement.

5 Tips for Helping Your Disorganized Teen with Invisalign

5 Tips for Helping Your Disorganized Teen with Invisalign

(I am an Invisalign MAB member and one of my sons is receiving complimentary treatment but all opinions completely my own!)

Well it’s been 3 months since Noah started using his Invisalign and so far, so good.  In fact we like it so much that we decided to start his younger brother last month.

These 2 boys are night and day different.  With one, I could hand him a year’s worth of aligners (you change them every week or two depending on your treatment plan) and never think about it again.  He’d just do it.  No worries.

BUT.  My other son does not have the same gift of carefulness.  I can’t even be sure from one meal to the next that he will remember to put them back in his mouth. So I make the necessary Mom-adjustments and we keep on rollin’.

One thing that has helped Mr. LessThanOrganized is finding ways to make it fun and rewarding.

1. I got him a cool superhero cup to put his aligners in at the table, so he likes that. And everyone knows that’s what is in the cup so the other kids organically think to remind him when they see the cup still sitting on the table after a meal.
2. I put a picture on his ipod lockscreen with the words, “Are you wearing your aligners?!” so every time he picks it up he is reminded.

5 tips for helping yout teen remember to wear their Invisalign aligners #spon

3. We blinged up his case with stickers and markers so he likes carrying it around when we go out.
4. I give him rewards, like if he remembers them for three days straight he gets to have an extra dessert.  Or when he changes his tray each week (I have an alert on my phone to remind me to check on it) then he gets to skip one chore that day.
5. I got both boys their own block of Young Living Thieves soap (OK, I cut one bar in half) to clean their aligners with, which they really like!

5 Tips for helping your teen remember to wear their Invisalign aligners! #spon

Invisalign does sell a cleaning system and they recommend that if you don’t use that you can just rinse your aligners with water and brush them.  Our orthodontist suggested gently brushing them with dishwashing liquid.

I decided to veer a little with a cleaning plan that fits our family’s lifestyle.  They each have a dedicated toothbrush that they use to brush their aligners and they wet it, then rub it on their block of soap and brush off their aligners.  They do this after every meal, along with brushing their teeth.

a great way to use essential oils to clean your Invisalign alighers! #spon

That’s one of the things I love most about Invisalign, it works for any lifestyle!  Of course, the thing I love topmost is how well it’s working on straightening their teeth!  But after that, the lifestyle thing.

A few months ago I shared 3 tips for managing your aligners that you might also want to check out if you are considering getting started with Invisalign.  And before you think, “Wait….this seems like a pain when traditional braces stay in your mouth and you don’t have to mess with aligners!,” remember this….traditional wire braces do fall off and that means an emergency trip to the orthodontist.  You can’t eat what you want, you can’t clean your teeth as well and there are all kinds of things to manage there too.  I happily traded those issues for the simplicity of managing the aligners.

Thanks for stopping by and if you have any questions, hop over to the Invisalign Facebook page and they’re great about answering!

Again, I am an Invisalign MAB member and one of my sons is receiving complimentary treatment.  My opinions are completely my own and I only work with companies whose products I believe in.  Click HERE to read the full disclosure statement.

3 Tips for Managing Invisalign Aligners

3 Tips for Managing Invisalign Aligners

(I am an Invisalign MAB member and my son is receiving complimentary treatment but all opinions completely my own!)

At last!

Noah got his Invisalign aligners and he’s off and running.

Literally.  He’s 15.  It’s what he does.

That’s one of the things that drew me to using Invisalign.  They are removable for sports and activities that might be more risky with traditional braces.  Seriously, he got a skateboard recently and he has fallen several times.  I feel better knowing his mouth is safe from being cut by braces.  (this happened to a friend of mine’s son and it led to a year of serious mouth issues)

While we LOVE that they are removable, it also has its challenges.  I mean, WHERE do you put them when they are not in your mouth?!

I explored this problem.  The main times they should be out of your mouth is either when you are eating and when you’re cleaning them/brushing your teeth.

The second situation isn’t a big deal since they are only out for a few minutes.  But eating….that’s another matter.

I can tell you for SURE that I don’t want to be looking at aligners sitting next to my son’s plate all through dinner.  #yuck

So….I came up with 3 ways to manage the aligners.

1. I got a small, metal bucket and set it on the console in our dining room.  He keeps his retainer case in there and when it’s meal time he just grabs the case, pops his aligners out and stores them there for the meal.  (of course you KNOW I had to personalize it!)

I like the bucket instead of just the case because it looks nice and it gives him a spot to keep other things he might need like rubber bands (which he will get on his next visit).

3 Ways to manage your invisalign alighners

Keeping the case in the dining room (which is also our school room) makes it easy also when he needs to take them out for any other reason (maybe skateboarding for half an hour).  It’s in a central location and not off in his room somewhere under a pile of Legos.

2. I keep a small zip top bag (4″x 6″ – I get them at Hobby Lobby) in my purse.  This is a great help when we are out and decide to get something to eat.  You don’t want to wrap them in a napkin.  Ask me how I know……we refer to it as the “Lost Retainer of 2014”.   Yep, wrapped it in a napkin at a restaurant.  Dug through the trash bin.  Never found it.  #gross

3. I keep more of those little bags in my glove compartment in my van.  This way he can stick one in his pocket in case he is going to be eating (again, if we are out) and he won’t be with me.  It’s small and easier to carry than the big case.  He just has to be careful that he puts it in a shirt pocket instead of pants, if possible.  I don’t know how delicate they are, but we don’t want to break the aligners by accidentally sitting on them! #yikes

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Again, I am an Invisalign MAB member and my son is receiving complimentary treatment.  My opinions are completely my own and I only work with companies whose products I believe in.  Click HERE to read the full disclosure statement.

 

15 Must Have Books

15 Must Have Books

This post contains affiliate links.

I’ve been locked away working on my book and doing  research.  It’s been draining, but really fulfilling at the same time.

Weird, huh?  How it works like that.

As I was surrounded by my pile of books that I was working with, I thought you might like to know what they are.  These books have all inspired me in ways that have helped me grow as a woman, a Christian, a mother and a wife.

These books have inspired and encouraged me!  They would make great Christmas gifts.

1. Radical Hospitality  by Lonni Collins Pratt (with Father Daniel Homan)
2. A Million Little Ways by Emily P Freeman
3. Restless by Jennie Allen
4. Unglued by Lysa Terkerst
5. Stuck by Sherri Yates
6. Self Talk, Soul Talk by Jennifer Rothschild
7. Surviving One Bad Year by Nancy Carmichael
8. Made to Crave by Lysa Terkerst
9. God is Able by Priscilla Shirer
10. Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot
11. Are You Enough by Roxanne Parks
12. Mended by Angie Smith
13. Beautiful in God’s Eyes by Elizabeth George
14. Financial Peace Revisited by Dave Ramsey
15. Reshaping It All by Candace Cameron Bure

This is only half of the books that I took with me where I went to write.  But these are ones that I highly recommend.  If you’re looking for some last minute gifts, these are great.

Countdown to Confidence

Countdown to Confidence

(I am an Invisalign MAB member and my son is receiving complimentary treatment but all opinions completely my own!)

Next month my son Noah will finish with his pre-orthodontic device and start his Invisalign treatment.  He gets his fancy scan done on our next appointment and will soon be wearing his Invisalign aligners.  He is so excited about this….really thrilled.  I can see his confidence increasing as his he looks forward to getting his teeth straightened.

It’s such a confidence thing.  He’s a smart kid and not insecure about much, for instance his ability to build ships with random Legos….he’s got mad skills there.  But his crooked teeth do bother him a little. Of course we teach him to be content with his looks and we don’t stress over physical imperfections.  But James and I both know what it’s like to have very crooked teeth and we are glad our kids can get the orthodontic care they need to not only have straighter teeth, but easier to clean and take care of.

Having had experience with kids in both traditional braces and Invisalign, I am a huge fan of the clear aligners for their ease of use and my kids like them better too.

And I wanted to let y’all know that there is a sweepstakes until November 13th called Countdown to Confidence that you HAVE to go enter.  There’s a daily winner of $100 and a grand prize of Invisalign treatment for your teen (or for whoever you want to use it!) and $1000.

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Please go enter!  I want one of y’all to win!!!

Again, I am an Invisalign MAB member and my son is receiving complimentary treatment.  My opinions are completely my own and I only work with companies whose products I believe in.  Click HERE to read the full disclosure statement.