Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Five Suggestions To Care For Your Teeth

After visiting a general dentist in Simi Valley, your teeth feel so nice and clean. This extra clean feeling doesn’t last very long. To help your teeth stay clean longer and prevent cavities, use the following five recommendations to care for your teeth:
  • Brush your teeth twice a day.
  • Use baking soda to brush your teeth.
  • Use an electric toothbrush.
  • Floss your teeth once a day.
  • Rinse with fluoride.
Brush Twice a Day
Perhaps one of the best things you can do for your teeth is to brush them twice a day. Use a soft bristle toothbrush so that you don’t harm your gums. Ideally, brush your teeth for two minutes each time you brush. Spend a minute on the bottom and a minute on the top.
Use Baking Soda
Recent studies have shown that baking soda is an effective agent for preventing cavities. Baking soda is a base substance and will reduce the acidity in your mouth. Bacteria need an acidic environment to grow. You can use regular baking soda or you can buy baking soda toothpastes that are flavored with mint.
Use an Electric Toothbrush
An electric toothbrush is much more effective at cleaning your teeth than a regular toothbrush. The rapid action also helps to massage the gum tissue and keep it healthy. Many electric toothbrushes are equipped with a timer that will alert you when two minutes have elapsed.
Floss Your Teeth
Flossing your teeth once a day is important to help prevent cavities. It helps remove food particles that may have been left in your teeth after you finish brushing them. It helps keep your gums healthy. It also helps disturb colonizing bacteria and prevent them from growing and destroying your teeth.
Rinse with Fluoride
Regardless of your age, a fluoride rinse can help build strong teeth. Some people mistakenly think that adults do not benefit from rinsing with fluoride. This idea stems from the fact while ingesting fluoride, either from a prescription or through drinking water, helps children’s teeth, it doesn’t help adults’ teeth. On the other hand, because a direct application, such as a rinse or a fluoride application from your general dentist in Simi Valley, coats the teeth directly, it does help make adults’ teeth stronger.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Discount Electronics From Ankaka!

Wow, I am really loving a new site I found that offers discount electronics at seriously reduced prices! This is not your average "discount electronics" company that takes a few dollars of retail price. I stumbled upon Ankaka not too long ago, while searching for an Android phone for my brother. He didn't feel like paying the outrageous prices from our cell service provider, and asked me to look into finding a nice Android phone that would give him wireless capability, and a decent camera. When I found Ankaka, I quickly discovered just the thing. A FlashFone Mini, with everything E was looking for and more, at a very low price!

The FlashFone Mini features a 3.5 inch screen, so the size would be just right. He doesn't like the oversized phones, but also doesn't want something so tiny you can't read the screen. It is also a touch screen, for easy use. This comes unlocked for use with and service provider, and runs the Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich. 

This FlashFone Mini comes with not just 1 camera, but 2! A 1.3 MP front-facing camera, and a 3.2 MP back-facing camera, with flash. Super handy, and just what E is looking for! With this FlashFone, he could take all the pictures he wants, and even use the flash for nighttime pics. Speaking of "all the pictures", you don't need to worry about running out of space on the phone either, There is a Micro SD Card slot that supports up to a 32GB Micro SD card. Definitely a winner!

There are numerous other features about the FlashFone Mini that I personally love, so here's a list of just some of them.

Plays MP3/AAC/AMR audio files
Plays MP4/3GP/AVI/RMVB video files
Reads TXT/CHM/DOC/HTML e-books
500 entry phone book
Up to 5 hours talk time
Up to 100 hours stand-by time
Bluetooth 2.0 enabled

So, if you are looking for an Android phone yourself, or maybe another electronic that you'd like to get at a discounted price, I highly recommend you check out Ankaka today!

Flat Head Syndrome Statistics and Tortle #Giveaway!

Many of you mothers are probably aware of Flat Head Syndrome, but you may not be familiar with just how common this problem is. A recent study indicates that over 1 million babies are diagnosed with Flat Head Syndrome every year, in the US alone. 48% of infants 0-6 months old are affected by Flat Head Syndrome. Needless to say, with something that affects so many infants, I was very excited to share this information, and a giveaway that can prevent and help treat early stages of Flat Head Syndrome. Before we get to the giveaway, let me share some information from Dr. Jane Scott, creator of the Tortle. First, some repositioning strategies to combat Flat head Syndrome:

"Correct Positioning is imperative; we suggest you reposition your baby’s head every 2-3 hours during your waking hours. Encourage the infant to turn their head in the opposite direction from the preferred side.

In addition, try the following:

Feeding – alternate the arm in which the infant is held for both the bottle and breast feeding.

Diaper Changes – stand on the opposite side of the changing table each time to encourage baby to turn their head to a different side in order to see you.

Sleeping – Place baby’s head at opposite ends of the crib on alternate nights. Baby can wear their Tortle for optimal alignment during any supervised sleep time throughout the day.

Tummy Time – The more time baby can spend playing with supervision on their tummy, the better. Get down on the floor at baby’s eye level, and play stimulating games during tummy time. While most babies are resistant to tummy time at first, it should become more enjoyable as they become more familiar with the position. Starting tummy time when your infant is very young will help with this.

Travel  - Make sure baby is wearing their Tortle while riding in car seats, strollers, etc., and switch the side of the support roll from time to time."

Now, if you're wondering exactly what a Tortle is, and how it will help-here's some info about that too! 

"Tortle is a simple, comfortable beanie that helps prevent and treat early stages flat head syndrome: plagiocephaly & torticollis. It makes the job of repositioning newborns safe and easy.
It is recommended that all newborns wear a Tortle for the first few months of life to aid in repositioning; which supports healthy development. Tortle works by gently deflecting your baby’s head when she's sitting or lying on the back of her head, to gently move her head from side to side."

One of my readers will receive a Tortle!!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Crowdfunded Custom Apparel from!

Okay, I just discovered an amazing site that honestly seems like the perfect answer for anyone who wants to design and sell custom t-shirts. Whether you're trying to raise money for a cause or charity, or just have a design that you want to make available to others, Teespring offers the best opportunity I've seen. I wish I had known about Teespring back when I was raising money for a missions trip; this would have been perfect! 

Anyways, the premise of Teespring is very simple. Go to and create your tee first. The design tool is super simple to use; I played around with it and designed a shirt just for fun. After finishing your design, you start your campaign. You set the price for the shirts being sold (and Teespring even shows the profit made per shirt), the goal and length of your campaign. Then you can share via Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites, using your own unique url. At the end of your campaign, Teespring prints and ships the shirts, and you get the profit to be used towards your cause or charity!

There are so many causes that you could use Teespring to help fund. One of my personal favorites, after browsing some of the campaigns, is a couple who designed a shirt to raise money for their upcoming adoption. Here's a picture of the shirt they designed-they sold 144 of these!!

I definitely recommend you check out Teespring if you're looking to raise money for any cause, charity, etc. You just can't beat it!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Fresh Styles From Fresh Produce Clothing!!

I love finding new stores to shop at-whether they're stores I can walk through, or stores I browse online! Recently I discovered what I am sure will be one of my favorites; a company called Fresh Produce. One thing I love about Fresh Produce is the many colors available! Beautiful, bright clothing in so many shades of color! I was very pleased when given the chance to choose a piece for review, and I soon found the perfect one-the Seabreeze Top in a lovely Fresh Mango color. 

My top arrived very quickly, and I tried it on right away, just to check the fit and see how it looked actually on myself, rather than a model in the picture. I love it! The top is very light and cool-the perfect thing for these hot and humid days. Made of 100% cotton gauze, this is a top every woman needs in her closet! The sleeves are 3/4 length, and the ruffled neckline gives an extra touch of femininity and elegance to this easy-care top. It is honestly perfect for almost any occasion, whether running errands or for a midweek Church service. You can dress it up or down however you please, but it always looks great! The Seabreeze Top has a loose, flowing fit that will flatter, yet doesn't hug or feel too snug. This top doesn't just look good on you, it feels good too!

I am so pleased with my new top, and I will be sure to recommend Fresh Produce to any friends looking for a new fun and stylish piece of clothing!

"For nearly three decades, Fresh Produce has delighted women as a lifestyle brand known for its original prints, vibrant color and stylish, comfortable clothing. Today, Fresh Produce designs, manufactures and markets a leading women's and children's lifestyle brand of clothing that is primarily made in the USA. 
The heart of the Fresh Produce is rooted in the positive impact of color. We love color and want our customers to light up the room in our clothes. From casual tops and feminine dresses to decorative scarves and stylish pants, Fresh Produce is dedicated to creating feel-good clothes women want to wear every day.  The coastal-inspired colors and broad assortment of easy-to-wear pieces are flattering and comfortable on all shapes and sizes and are available in Extra Fresh plus sizes as well as children’s styles. The comfortable fabrics, fit and style reflect carefree ease."

Disclaimer:I was not monetarily compensated in any way for this review. I did receive product for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are mine. All quotes taken from the Fresh Produce website.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Crafting Fun With BENDASTIX! #Giveaway

Are you looking for fun ways to keep your kids happy this summer? While the best part about summer is being outside enjoying the sun, sometimes it's just too hot out there. We've had a heat wave the past week or so, with temps in the mid-90's at 6:00 in the evening. Needless to say, our family has been enjoying some indoor fun as well as outdoor this summer! One of our family's favorite indoor activities is crafting. Some enjoy scrapbooking, some build models, some get creative and design fancy greeting cards-everybody has a favorite. So, when I was given the opportunity to review BENDASTIX, I knew these would be a hit with the kids. 

Even the puppy was excited to see what was inside the box!

BENDASTIX are a soft, almost squishy pieces that come in varying lengths, widths and shapes. The list of what to create with Bendastix is literally endless! The kit I received (the Big Box Kit) comes with a booklet of instructions and inspiration to get you started, as well as a huge collection of stix. Your children will be able to design funky glasses or a new wristband, or build a car or bicycle with their Bendastix. And the best part? You can unbend the stix and start all over when you want to create something new! The stix are not one-time use, but can be re-used over and over.

We had fun creating some ideas from the inspiration book, as well as making our own designs. Here are a few of the neat pieces we've made so far with our BENDASTIX Big Box Kit.

Yes, you can braid with BENDASTIX!
Since Jubilee was excited about BENDASTIX, we made her a BENDASTIX collar :) 
The funkiest glasses you've ever seen!
As you can see, BENDASTIX were indeed a big hit with the family (kids and dogs alike). This is the perfect way to keep the children occupied when it gets "just too hot" outside this summer.

One of my readers will receive a Bendastix Big Box Kit!!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

BBQ Cookbook Giveaway For #TastyTuesday!

How many of you enjoy cooking out, especially during the summer? It's pretty much American tradition, right? So, as we're all still enjoying the heat, family, picnics, and everything else that goes along with summer-how about a giveaway? A very summer-y giveaway, because this will make your family barbecues much tastier! I received a copy of Championship BBQ Secrets For Real Smoked Food (2nd Edition) for review from Robert Rose Publishing, and I am personally going to give away a copy of this same book, because it is the perfect summer cookbook! 

One of my favorite foods to eat is bbq, and at the top of the bbq list is ribs. They are my all-time favorite barbecued meal, and I eat them any chance I get. So, when our family bought some ribs for a get-together on our gorgeous deck, I was excited to be able to try some of the fantastic recipes in Championship BBQ Secrets. For the first time in my life, I actually made my own bbq sauce. I was so amazed at how easy it was, as well as how good it turned out! With only some basic ingredients, I was able to turn out a very tasty Memphis Style BBQ Sauce for our ribs. One batch made plenty for the meal, and we even had some left over (for the leftover ribs :). I will definitely be trying some of the other recipes in here for our next bbq meal!

"Slow-smoked foods, or real North American barbecue, are foods cooked next to a fire, low and slow, flavored with wood smoke. The results are sublime — succulent, finger-lickin’ ribs, brisket, salmon and more.
Learn all about the art of slow-smoking in this comprehensive cookbook, which will appeal to novice and experienced outdoor chefs alike. It’s been updated with 16 new photographs — which includes 12 pages of step-by-step photos — all-new secret tips from championship barbecuers across North America and even more information on creating the perfect balance of flavors.
Over 300 carefully selected recipes are organized by ingredient to offer inspiration for the ultimate in smoked foods. The mouth-watering recipes make this an absolutely superb guide to an increasingly popular method of backyard cooking."

One of my readers will receive a copy of Championship BBQ Secrets!!

Monday, July 15, 2013

TaeKwonDo Belt Testing!

Okay, I don't often just post family news and updates, but I'm so excited I have to share!! M and M and myself all took our first belt test at TaeKwonDo class tonight, and we all passed! We are officially "Senior White Belts" or "Yellow Stripe". I know it's only the first step in a long journey, but I am absolutely thrilled!! 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Tips For Borrowing Or Lending Lawn Mowers

Tips for Borrowing or Lending Lawn Mowers
Learn proper neighbor etiquette and get advice on borrowing or lending lawn mowers and other power equipment

Borrowing and lending equipment, lawn mowers or power tools can be a slippery slope even with the best intentions. We’ve heard the good, the bad and the ugly of lawn mower lending. Fear not, with a few simple tips and a little neighbor etiquette, lending and borrowing a lawn mower or power equipment can be a great way to get to know your neighbors and try out some new and exciting equipment. 

Here are some simple tips to keep in mind when lending equipment:

You can say no
At the end of the day, it’s your equipment. If you just purchased a brand new zero turn lawn mower and your neighbor asks to borrow it, you can say no if you are not comfortable with lending it out. Be polite and honestly express your concerns. Most likely, your neighbor will understand your hesitation in letting a brand new piece of equipment out of site.

Set some rules
If you are comfortable letting neighbors, friends or family members borrow your lawn mower and tools, don’t be afraid to set a couple ground rules before lending equipment. Set some expectations as to how you would like the equipment returned and when you expect it back. If the borrower has a problem with the rules you’ve set, politely let them know you won’t be lending out your lawn mower. 

If the rules are broken, say something.
Once you’ve lent out your lawn mower, make sure that the rules you put in place are followed. Don’t let the rules slide or you might never see your equipment again, or set a bad precedent for future borrows. If you asked for your equipment back by a certain date and it hasn’t been returned, follow up with a phone call or visit. If the lawn mower was returned in poor condition, this should definitely be brought to the borrower’s attention.  

Here are some simple tips to keep in mind when borrowing equipment: 

Ask, but don’t demand
Emily Post would tell us that it is never proper neighbor etiquette to borrow items without asking, even if you’ve borrowed before. If you are planning to ask your neighbor, friend or family member to borrow a lawn mower or piece of power equipment, be polite and courteous when asking. It’s also wise to get to know your neighbors a little before you ask to borrow equipment. Then, don’t ask to borrow a new piece of equipment and don’t borrow the same piece of equipment over and over again. If you ask and are turned down, be understanding and accept no for an answer. Understand that if they do say yes, asking for a favor means you should be willing to return it at some point as well

Return the lawn mower in the same condition you borrowed it
If you are borrowing an expensive piece of equipment like a zero turn lawn mower or log splitter, make sure it is returned in the same condition it was borrowed. Add fuel to the lawn mower or equipment if applicable. Also, if anything was damaged while you used the lawn mower, bring it to the owner’s attention and offer to pay for a replacement part or new piece of equipment. 

Promptly return the lawn mower when done 
When you borrow a piece of power equipment or lawn mower, it is really important to return the equipment in a timely manner. Once you’ve finished using the equipment, make sure it is in good condition, fuel levels have been restored, and return it as soon as possible. If you return the item in good condition and in a timely manner, it is more likely that you will be able to borrow from that person in the future. 

If you keep these simple tips in mind while lending and borrowing lawn mowers and power equipment, uncomfortable or awkward situations with friends, family member and neighbors can be avoided. Just remember to be polite and treat borrowed equipment like you would treat your own. 

This is a guest post that has been provided for the enjoyment of my readers.

Finding The Right VW Jetta

You have had the same car for the past ten years, and you are ready for a change. Your car has gone through a lot with you. The first road trip you ever took was in your car, and it was also involved in your first fender bender. The car has been good for you, but it is starting to show signs of age. The paint on the outside is chipped and rusting. The interior is ripped and faded, and now the engine is starting to have problems. The car no longer goes in reverse, making it difficult to get in and out of places. After thinking about it for awhile, you have decided to get a new car. Here are some things to consider when looking for a VW Jetta in Chicago.

Have a Budget

Before buying a car, decide how much money you want to spend. You don’t want to overspend and end up in financial trouble. Most people have to take out a loan in order to get a car, so decide how much of a monthly payment you can afford to make. This will help you to get an idea of how much you can spend on a vehicle. If you are buying used, make sure to set a little extra money aside for maintenance and repairs. Having a budget to stick to helps you to find the right car for your financial well-being.

Know Your Options

After you’ve decided on a budget, know the different options that you have. If you have decided on a certain model or make of car, there are still other options that you need to consider. Do you want a car with just the standard features, or do you want the upgrades? If you are planning on keeping your car for a long time, you may want to consider upgrading from the standard features.

Take a Test Drive
One of the most important keys to finding the right VW Jetta in Chicago is the test drive. The test drive allows you to get in the driver’s seat and see how it would feel to own your new Jetta. Taking a test drive also allows you to get an idea of how the car drives. Pay attention to the sounds of the engine as well as how smooth of a ride the car has. Is it comfortable? All of these things play an important role in the car-buying process. 

This is a guest post provided for the enjoyment of Hope's Cafe readers.
**DISCLOSURE: This is a guest post in part with Bucks2Blog. *

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Radz Enters The World of Sports! #Giveaway

Remember a few months ago I introduced you to Radz, some of the cutest little candy dispensers/toys around? Well, recently Radz added a new group to their line-up. Introducing the Sports Crazy Radz!!

I was able to choose 2 of the Sports Radz for my review, and I knew Hoops would be very popular-basketball is one of our family's favorite sports to play. M is also a fan of Billy Sunday, a famous baseball-player-turned-preacher from the turn of the century, so Homer was my obvious second choice. 

Just as with the other Radz toys, these are candy dispensers as well. I still can't get over how cute these things are! One of the girls had their Radz a few weeks ago as we were dining out with a friend, and he thought they were great as well. I think the way they dispense the candy is a big hit with adults and children alike. How else can you get away with having your toy stick it's tongue out?! 

The best part about having a Radz friend, is your child can take it everywhere. They have a small clip attached to hook onto a belt loop, backpack, purse, or luggage. You can also purchase lanyards if your child wants to wear their friend around their neck. This way, you'll always have your candy close at hand, and a toy to play with on road trips, waiting at the dentist's office, or sitting in the bleachers at the next basketball game!

For more Radz fun, visit RadzWorld, where your child can play online games, watch Radz videos, and enjoy a whole new world of Radz! You can also download apps from the iTunes store, and enjoy the games and videos on your mobile devices.

One of my readers will receive their choice of 2 Sports Crazy Radz!!

Slow Cooker Mac 'n Cheese! #TastyTuesday

Welcome back to another edition of Tasty Tuesday! 3 weeks in a row, this has to be a record since I started this series! :)

One of our family's favorite dishes is macaroni and cheese. It's one of those "comfort foods" that practically everybody loves (at least I never heard of anyone who doesn't love mac 'n cheese). Making it at home can be a little time consuming, especially when you're as busy as our family is. Tae Kwon Do classes 3 days a week, Church and Church-related activities, 2 of the boys have jobs now...pretty much like most other families, we're on the go and don't always have time to create delicious meals in the kitchen. One of my favorite ways to still dish up family favorites in less time, is by using our crock pot. And, when Robert Rose sent me their Triple Slow Cooker Entertaining book, I was excited to try some of the recipes. As I paged through the book, the recipe for Slow Cooker Mac n' Cheese caught my eye, and I immediately added the necessary ingredients to my grocery list.

Melting the cheese sauce

Pour over uncooked macaroni noodles and turn the cooker to high...
Honestly, this is a super easy way to enjoy homemade macaroni and cheese when you don't have much time to spend in preparation. It takes less than 15 minutes to have everything in the crock pot, and then cook for 3-5 hours (depending on heat level) and you can serve up some of the tastiest macaroni and cheese ever! I made this for an outdoor BBQ party we had a couple weeks ago, and everybody-family and guests alike-raved over how delicious it was! Needless to say, this recipe has been added to my family favorite recipe book, and I predict I will be making it many times over in the future!

Tada! Homemade Macaroni and Cheese without the fuss!
To purchase a copy of Triple Slow Cooker Entertaining (so you can make your own slow cooker macaroni and cheese!) visit Robert Rose Publishing or you can purchase this book through Amazon!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Personalized Children's Gifts From NameArt!! #Giveaway

Wow, I am really excited to share this wonderful new company with you all! Most of you probably remember how much I love personalized gifts, both receiving and giving. So when I was offered the opportunity to review some personalized gifts from NameArt, a brand new company, I was thrilled! 

NameArt specializes in children's gifts; placemats, bookmarks, stickers, posters, pillows, and more. The best part to these gifts, is that you child's name is personalized with a design made up of teddy bears, robots, dragons...they have several different themes available, and each theme has 2 or more styles. The personalization doesn't stop there though; you can change the color of the 
"letters" for the perfect gift, exactly suited to each individual child! I was able to design a few gifts for M, and had some fun doing so. Here are a couple screenshots I took while designing; you can see for yourself that this is super easy to navigate!

When the box from NameArt arrived, I was excited to see how the gifts had turned out, as well as M's response to them. We ended up with a placemat, poster, bookmark, and name bar, which also comes with a stand for display. I was seriously amazed at how cute the gifts are! The teddy bears are just adorable, and I was able to add in some of M's favorite colors. Personally, I like the name bar best; this is very well made, and gives any child's desk or shelf a personal touch. I think M was equally happy about all the gifts though; she reads a lot-and I mean a lot-so the bookmark probably receives the most use, but she loves them all. I would recommend NameArt for any parent needing personalized children's gifts!

One of my readers will receive a Personalized NameArt Gift!!
Choose from Poster, Placemat, Name Bar, or Fine Art Print!!