Kids and junk food

I admit it — my husband and I are junk food junkies. We have been long before we got together in Grade 11, and our earliest dates centered around McDonald’s. (This was back in the “good old days” when a $5 bill covered one person’s meal, and $10 was enough for two.)

It was easier when our kids were babies and toddlers. You can mow down a six-pack of “road nugs” while your kid is in a rear-facing car seat, eat a plate of nachos while they’re napping and eat bacon freely while it’s still considered a choking hazard.

Once your kids wise up to the wonders of junk food, it isn’t so easy. But while my husband and I don’t have the greatest eating habits, we think — or at least, we hope — we’ve sheltered our six-year-old and seven-year-old from this “dark side” of our personalities.

Yes, we eat too many chips, but we only ever eat them after the kids are in bed asleep. Our son actively dislikes chips, in fact, except for a single brand of plain chips he deems acceptable. (For one of my children to hate potato chips is kind of unthinkable, and yet …)

“… Technology is keeping kids on their butts more, and as a result, those butts are getting … fuller. I see the bellies sagging below T-shirt hems. I bet you see them, too …”

Continue reading in my weekly parenting column, The Mom Scene … 

White teeth without a filter

*** The following post is sponsored conversation with Alliance Dental and the Alliance Dental Partner Program. As always, all opinions and vehicle selfies are my own. ***

You know those whitening toothpaste commercials where they show the range of colours teeth can be? I always imagined I’d be in the mid-range — not really dark, but certainly nowhere near the bright white. I was in the “beige zone” — otherwise known as That Blah Yellow Tinge.

My teeth were certainly STRAIGHT, thanks to two years of braces — and the fact that I still wear my retainers nightly, 20 freakin’ years after getting my braces off. And while I was certainly happy they were straight, the colour did bug me.*

(*Especially next to my neighbour — who seriously has the most gorgeous naturally white teeth you’ve ever seen in your life. Whenever I stood next to her, I felt like I had a mouthful of yellow Chicklets. But EVERYONE feels that way next to her.)

I mean, they weren’t terrible. But they also weren’t that white. I was so self-conscious about the yellow-ness of my teeth that I got very comfortable with the “teeth whiten” feature on PicMonkey.

White teeth without a filter: My teeth whitening experience {Heather's Handmade Life}
The trick is not to whiten them ALL the way. You’ve gotta fade it a bit. 😉

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Protecting your child from sexual abuse

Protecting your child from sexual abuse {Heather's Handmade Life}

We thought we had done everything right.

We’d read and re-read The Berenstain Bears Learn About Strangers, including the section about how “your body is your own personal property, and nobody else’s business — especially the private parts.”

We’d talked about public bathrooms and change rooms. We’d told the kids that, yes, sometimes there are kidnappers who will try to steal children. We’d talked about how sometimes there are “creepy adults” who try to touch children’s private parts. We’d taught them to scream, “Help! Stranger!”

We talked. We quizzed. We role-played.

We thought we had done everything we could. But recently, our family learned that it’s never enough.

When I was a child, my mom had a blue paperback called Sometimes it’s O.K. to Tell Secrets. It was a collection of little stories and cartoons about kids finding themselves in sketchy situations and having the courage to (A) get themselves out of it and (B) tell a responsible adult what happened.

Protecting your child from sexual abuse {Heather's Handmade Life}
Our new copy, fresh from Amazon

Even though it sounds a little disturbing, my sister and I loved this book. Our mom would read these stories about a child being touched inappropriately, or forced to look at dirty pictures, or coerced into doing something bad and being told not to tell their parents.

I don’t know what happened to our tattered blue book — full of stories of children in bad situations — but the other day I ordered a new copy while wiping tears from my eyes. Sexual abuse hit our family out of nowhere …

We learned that the “bad person” you warned your kids about isn’t always the stereotype of the isolated neighbour, the uncle that makes you feel uncomfortable or the leering stranger that gives you the creeps.

Continue reading in my weekly parenting column, The Mom Scene … 
Protecting your child from sexual abuse {Heather's Handmade Life}
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