I am 100% European

I have alway been curious about my genealogy. My parents and grandparents have told me several different counties and nationalities so I wanted to get a more narrowed down idea of what the deal really was. I knew I was a total “mutt” but now I have a greater understanding of why I burn when I look at the sun.

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A little bit after Christmas my husband and I decided to each get a DNA test done through a company called ancestry. They were fairly inexpensive and since I wasn’t looking to drop an insane amount of money on our own curiosity, it worked out perfectly. We ordered the kits, spit in some tubes, and waited. Of course right after Christmas was the busy time since I’m sure tons of people purchased them as gifts so we just recently got the results back.

I’d like to say I’m surprised but it makes perfect sense.

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So totally German, Irish, and a bunch of other little things scattered in. This is explaining my temper, my love for whiskey and wine, and general “impossible” to tan skin tone.

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The service also matches people that you could possibly be related too. It goes from 2nd all the way to 10th cousins based on your DNA. I already had one person message me that was matched at a 7th cousin looking for her father. I couldn’t be of any help because I didn’t recognize any of the names she gave me but still a pretty amazing thing.

I highly recommend this service to anyone who is just plain ole’ curious like I am. Although I didn’t have any crazy revelation about who I am or where I come from, it was a blast.

TRICARE Dental: Did You Know?

“This post was sponsored by the MetLife TRICARE Dental Program as part of an Ambassador Program for Influence Central.”

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You may have noticed that over the past few months I have been partnering with the MetLife TRICARE dental program to bring you guys some insight and benefits of being enrolled. I choose to participate in this program and promote this awesome insurance plan for quite a few reasons. First of all, when my husband was in the military he got all of his dental covered and I was unaware of what was available for me as a spouse. It took me a while to figure out that TRICARE had a dental portion. We were paying for me to have a private insurance which was just outrageous in it’s premiums. So finding TRICARE was a game changer in my oral health care.

Once I finally made the switch, I couldn’t believe how awesome the benefits were. You’re able to choose your own dentist that accepts the plan. I’m unbelievably picky with my doctors and dentists so this was so important to me. Not too many people particularly enjoy trips to the dentist so anything that makes it more comfortable is a plus in my book. Also, the prices of the plans were so reasonable. Routine cleanings every 6 months are covered at 100% which is awesome because I’m a firm believer in preventive health care. Everything else that I was charged for (I genetically don’t have the greatest teeth, don’t judge) wasn’t a huge amount and was completely affordable.

This will be my last post of this ambassadorship. I had a lot of fun and hopefully answered a lot of questions that were brought my way via the blog and social media (or directed you to the right place to get your questions answered!)  I just want to highlight, once again, all of the amazing benefits that people who are eligible can receive.

  • Enrollees have access to one of the largest civilian dental networks – over 250,000 dental locations! As I mentioned above, this is huge for me. No matter where we traveled, there was someone in network that I was comfortable with.
  • Your family is not automatically enrolled in the dental program even if you’re signed up for the medical insurance. I learned this the hard way but the good news is that it’s really simple to start getting coverage! You can simply visit this website for online enrollment.
  • Premiums are competitively priced, there are no annual deductibles or co-payments, and there are low or no cost-shares on many dental services.  I can’t stress enough how affordable our plan for me was. I think we paid less than $20 a paycheck and throughout the entire coverage period my total cost out of pocket on services needed was less than $300.
  • The TRICARE dental plan will coordinate with another supplemental dental insurance carrier, but it’s always a good idea to compare other plans with the TDP. Honestly, I didn’t need to even think about having any supplemental insurance because my plan was exactly what I needed.

Of course, the website for TRICARE and the Facebook page are loaded with tons of information if you need more assistance.

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My husband is now out of the military and is working as a civilian. We’re fortunate enough to have him employed with a company that offers insurance but I can tell you that I do miss the TRICARE dental program. It really offers some of the best rates and coverage that I’ve ever had. If it’s available to you, I urge you to take advantage of it. I promise you won’t regret it.

Dealing with Euthanasia as a Vet Tech

Death is an all too common part of my job. On almost every single shift an animal either gives in to it’s injuries / illness or is humanely euthanized to end it’s suffering. As you can imagine, it’s never been or is never going to be an easy part of my job but it’s something that I’ve learned to cope with.

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Whenever someone is interested in becoming a veterinary technician and comes to me with questions, “How do you deal with euthanasia” is probably one of the first things that they ask. It really depends on the situation and the person, but for me it’s a state of mind. I have to remember what is best for the animal. Is it fair to keep them alive, in a cage, hooked up to wires and forcing them to take medications? Is it reasonable to do surgery on a senior animal that quite possibly won’t even tolerate the anesthesia? There are so many circumstances that come into play when the owners and the doctors make their decision; I’ve learned to accept it and recognize it really is what’s best.

One option you have as a technician is choosing to work for doctors that have the same values as you do on this topic. Personally, I would never work for a doctor that would preform convenience euthanasia. Basically would that means is that the animal is not sick, injured, or suffering but the owners are choosing to end that animals life to fit their needs. Trust me, it’s requested a lot more than you can imagine. I’ve seen requests for euthanasia for reasons from everything that the owners moving and they can’t take the animal with them to they don’t like all the shedding. Of course, we didn’t do them for these reasons mentioned but that is because I choose to work under doctors who agree that is wrong. My point here is you most likely won’t be put in a situation where you’re feeling you had a part in some wrong doing.

I have a post that is called “Veterinary Medicine is a Business and Owning a Pet is a Luxury” which leads me to my next topic. Sometimes, euthanasia is the best option for that owner even when the pet can potentially be saved. This is hard and sometimes I struggle with it. If a dog is hit by a car and has a ruptured spleen, surgery is required. Surgery is also pretty expensive. Not everyone out there has $2000 + to spend at the drop of a hat and I understand that. So, unfortunately, sometimes in these situations humanely putting the dog to sleep is the best-case scenario for that dog and for that owner. Since a veterinary hospital is a business, we can’t treat everything for free. So in this situation the only other option would be to send that patient home to die in pain, which isn’t right.

In order to really deal with the sadness that comes with euthanasia you have to be pretty emotionally strong. All technicians have our bad days but in the end we’re there to help the animal even if that situation requires us to help them end their pain and suffering. We’re there to help support the owners as well which sometimes is just as hard if not harder than losing that animal. That patient was part of someone’s family so it’s extremely important to be as strong as possible.

So to anyone looking for tips and advice on dealing with euthanasia, here’s what I can say has worked for me.

  1. Focus on the fact that you’re doing right by that animal. You’re helping them relieve their pain and suffering.
  2. Try not to take your day home with you. Some cases are hard to get off your mind but it’s really important to not stress and focus on it [for too long]
  3. Take a break if you need too. Sometimes, after a really hard euthanasia, I’ll take a short walk after just to clear my head and focus on what else in the hospital needs me.
  4. Don’t fear showing emotions. Sometimes when it’s really hard and I have sobbing owners in front of me, I cry with them. I have been known to shed a few tears in our bereavement suite and I’m not ashamed of it. It’s easier on me to cry a little bit then to try to hold it all in.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask someone else to step in if possible. I had a week recently where I was present for like 8 of them in 2 shifts. I was just exhausted and was lucky enough to have some co-workers who stepped in for me.

For me, euthanasia, both gets easier and harder with time. It gets easier because you know what to expect and you’re more comfortable with the situation. It becomes harder because you’re experiencing more and more loss. If the bottom line is that it’s ending the animals suffering, you’re doing the right thing regardless of how hard it is.

5 Difficult Things About Having An Independent Toddlers

Gaining independence is a normal part of growing up for every kid. It’s supposed to be an amazing time in our lives as parents, watching them grow and learn to do things for themselves. Most of the time it is.  Then again, sometimes it’s awful.

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  1. They suddenly have an opinion on every little thing. This first happened one morning when I was picking out what my son was going to wear that day. He turned and looked at the shirt I had in my hand and said, “No mom, that’s ridiculous.” He wouldn’t for the life of me put on the adorable shirt I had chosen. He had to have one of his over worn and stained dinosaur t-shirts that really shouldn’t even be used as PJ’s.
  2. Snacks become overly complicated. I can’t just grab something from the pantry or fridge and hand it to my toddler anymore. When he has a specific taste for something, and he really wants whatever it is, it’s near impossible to get him to eat something else.
  3. He wants to prep his own food. This is adorable, except when you’re in a rush or it’s something really messy. My son loves clementines and will eat 3-5 a day if I let him. He now has to peel them himself which is fine except for the fact that he whines the entire time about how hard it is.

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  4. Leaving the house now takes at least an hour. I can’t just grab the kids and run out the door anymore. He has to put on his own shoes. He has to pick out his shirt. He has to figure out which toy he wants to bring with him. There is also no rushing this process.
  5. The messes an independent child makes are beyond anything I could have ever imagined. Since he thinks he can do everything himself, he tries, and quite often fails. The most recent event involved me taking a quick shower. I put a children’s show on, gave both kids a snack, and jetted into the bathroom for all of 5 minutes. I come out and Everett says “I cooked eggs!” Well, he got a few eggs from the fridge and cracked them onto the floor. Thanks kid! He can’t operate the stove as it’s child locked but if it wasn’t, he’d sure try!

Watching your child grow up and discover the world is an amazing thing! It’s just sometimes the most annoyingly adorable thing. It’s a game of choosing your battles now with these creatures. Choose wisely!

Children’s Dental Health Month

This post was sponsored by the MetLife TRICARE Dental Program as part of an Ambassador Program for Influence Central

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As parents, our children’s health is always a top priority. We find ourselves taking them into the doctor for their well baby visits and of course when they’re sick. We try to get them to eat the best meals possible despite the fact that they usually throw anything green on the floor or turn up their little noses. The one health concern that sometimes slips through the cracks is dental care. Well, February is children’s dental health month so it’s the perfect time to bring this topic to the surface.

My oldest child is 3 and my youngest is 19 months old. I am pretty good about their dental care. My son is just now to the age where he is becoming more accepting of the toothbrush in his mouth but still, it can be a fight. I just realize how important it is to establish good oral hygiene habits young. I believe if you start them off young including teeth brushing in their routine, they’re more likely to carry on with it when they get older. It’s not always the easiest thing to do, but it is important so we give it our best shot.

Of course routine (every 6 months) dental visits are important for adults but they’re also really important for children. A lot of issues can be found inside of the mouth that you, as a parent, might not even notice. One of those issues is teeth grinding. Children grinding their teeth when they’re sleeping is actually a lot more common than I thought. The reasoning behind it is unknown but it can cause a lot of health problems like headaches, jaw pain, and abnormal tooth wear. It’s very important to correct these kind of habits as soon as possible and routine dental visits will help to detect if there is anything like this going on.

There are a few tips that can help to stop grinding once you’re aware of it going on.

  1. Decrease stresses that your child has in their life; especially before bedtime.
  2. Try a few massage and stretching techniques to relax the muscles.
  3. Make sure your child is getting plenty of clear liquids, particularly water. Dehydration is linked to teeth grinding.
  4. No intervention is usually required with preschool-age children.  However, older children may need temporary crowns or other methods, such as a night guard, to prevent the grinding.
  5. If your child is grinding, make sure they are being monitored by their dentist.

Along with routine prevention such as cleanings, tooth sealants on children are becoming more and more common. It’s a simple procedure that doesn’t require any drilling. Basically, a clear sealant is placed over the chewing surfaces on the molars preventing cavities from forming. Professional suggest placing this sealant on the grooved teeth when the permanent molars erupt around the age of 6. I will for sure be looking into this procedure when my children get their permanent molars in a few years.

My son showing off his pearly whites. You better believe some days he fights me on brushing but we manage to get it done.

My son showing off his pearly whites. You better believe some days he fights me on brushing but we manage to get it done.

TRICARE dental insurance covers everything mentioned above for your little one and plenty more! The list includes…

  • Two dental exams and two cleanings per year with an in network dentist.
  • Sealants on permanent molars for children though the age of 18, with a 20% cost share.
  • Orthodontic coverage for children up to the age of 21 or 23 if a full time student. Braces are unbelievably expensive and a lot of dental plans do not cover them so this is an amazing benefit.
  • Space maintainers are fully covered for patients under the age of 19.
  • Two topical fluoride applications are covered in a consecutive 12-month period.
  • $1,200 accidental annual maximum per enrollee.
  • Athletic Mouth Guard limited to one per consecutive 12-month period, with a 50% cost share.

So if you already have a TRICARE dental plan make sure that you’re taking advantage of all of the great benefits that you have available to you. If you’re not currently a member but are eligible you can check out the Tricare Met Life website here and the Facebook page here for more information on how to sign up.

Why I Quit Direct Sales

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A few years ago, I joined a direct sales company that I really liked. I loved the products and of course I enjoyed the small amount of money that I got selling those products. As time went on, I started to get more and more annoyed with the entire world of MLM (multi-level marketing) companies. I made a blog post about 99% of the reasons they were driving me crazy at that time. [ here’s a link to that post if you’re curious ] Well, 10 months later, I have completely quit selling and no longer shop with MLM companies.

  • No matter what anyone says, I see them as a pyramid scheme. A legal version of a pyramid scheme. You aren’t going to make a living off of a MLM company unless you have tons of people that “sign up” under you and are making sales. If you notice, a lot of the people promoting their companies do promote the products themselves, but they also talk about how awesome of a job they have and all the great perks to being a consultant. That is called recruiting. If they get you to sign up under them, and you make sales, they receive a paycheck based on your sales.
  • These  companies can bring this false sense of “sisterhood.” I’ve been reading articles upon articles about these women who join companies because they felt like they needed to be accepted by a certain friend or did it to find friends who were doing the same thing. If you’re truly feeling like these people are your friends, go for it.  I just can’t be apart of it. I feel like it’s more of  a “hey, join my company friend!” because they want the extra paycheck or bonus, not because they want another friend.
  • They’re simply overpriced. In order to pay an entire “downline” of people the products have to be more expensive for the original owner of the company to be making money. For example, I personally love Young Living’s oils. I think they’re fantastic. I just can’t pay $25 for a bottle of Lavender when I’m purchasing something that I feel is the same for $10. Of course, there will be a million reasons why this product isn’t the same as the counterpart, I just don’t believe it.
  • Some sellers in MLM companies will tell you something that you want to hear just to make a sale; I’ve seen this first hand. A new catalog came out and unless you have hundreds upon hundreds of dollars laying around you can’t afford to buy all of the new products to test out and smell first hand. I’ve seen people coming to direct sales Facebook groups asking, “has anyone tried *******? I have a customer asking. I haven’t tried it yet but I told them I have it and love it because I know it’ll be great.” Uhhhhhhh, no.
  • I see a lot of things on Facebook about how direct sales jobs are helping people pay for certain things in their lives (ex. children’s dance lessons) and they are urging people to shop local. Personally, shopping local to me is the small business owned grocery store or something of that nature. By shopping direct sales, you may be helping out that independent consultant get 20% of your sale, but the bottom line is you’re helping the rich get richer.

I know I’ll probably get a lot of backlash from this post; that’s fine. I am entitled to my opinion as is everyone else entitled to theirs. I could honestly probably go on all day long about the different things that I’ve seen and have had happen to me that have drawn me away from MLM companies but I think this post sums it up pretty good. I’m not trying to be mean nor is this post directed towards anyone particular; I just won’t be jumping on the bandwagon again.

The Real Reason Women Hate Sports

I’m not going to be able to speak for every woman out there, obviously. I know there are some who truly love watching all types of sports and that are die hard super fans of certain teams. I just can’t be one of those women. The reason for it is different than what you probably are thinking so give me a chance to explain.

This is why I believe that women hate sports…

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It really comes down to the fact that I can’t handle watching sports because I’m way too emotional. This probably sounds ridiculous but when I get down to why I really don’t like watching them, this is the basic reason. I get attached to a team and feel personally victimized when that teams outcome isn’t exactly what I wanted. Sure, everyone gets mad when their team loses. It’s human nature to not want to lose; for some reason I seem to take it a lot more personal then other people.

It’s not always only me that I worry about. Sometimes I worry about certain players on other teams. Seriously, I’ll see players make a horrible game move and then for some reason, I feel really bad for them. I know everyone on their team is mad, all their fans are mad, and they’re probably getting blasted all over the internet as the mistake happens. People make mistakes; and I know it’s their job playing whatever sport it is I’m watching, but that doesn’t stop me from getting emotional about it.

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I think this girl understands 100% where I’m coming from. Her team just lost and she’s having to sit there and play her damn piccolo when all she wants to do is go into her bed and sob under the covers.

With all that being said, there is one team that I watch pretty much every game. I’m absolutely obsessed with the Detroit Red Wings. I can’t help it. It started when I was really young and just never left. They’re about all the sports I can handle and wind up being quite traumatized frequently.

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The Red Wings are a good team but they’re not always the best team which is pretty tough on me sometimes. I’ve gotten into serious fights with family members over them. My husband is a fan of one of our biggest rivals. Lets just say, it’s not a pretty picture around here sometimes. One team is all I can emotionally handle and sometimes I can’t even do that.

Like I said above, I can’t speak for all women, but honestly the reason I don’t get into a bunch of sports is just because I can’t emotionally handle it. I like to say that I don’t want sports and my mental health is better off for it.

TRICARE Dental Program 2016 Changes

This post was sponsored by the MetLife TRICARE Dental Program as part of an Ambassador Program for Influence Central

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The TRICARE Dental program was by far one of the greatest assets our family had in our healthcare services while my husband was in the military. I’m huge on dental care and don’t like missing my twice a year cleanings and check ups. I also have this running joke that every single time I go to the dentist I have a cavity. Seriously. I brush, floss, and still end up with cavities. I need good insurance that will cover all sorts of dental work not just routine and preventive stuff.  With TRICARE dental insurance, I didn’t have to worry about it. My entire family was covered and the monthly premiums were unbelievably reasonable.

We all have a bunch of bills that we pay on a monthly basis. From car insurance, medical insurance, to a mortgage payment; they’re just simply unavoidable. It’s important to me to stay in the know about exactly what I’ll have to pay and when so I don’t lose track of my budget.  So at the beginning of each year I like to make sure that nothing is changing so I don’t run into a bunch of surprises. This year a few things are changing with the Tricare dental premiums and I’m here to help you become aware of exactly what they are.

MetLife TDP 2016 Premium Changes Chart

This is a current updated chart showcasing any changes in the premiums effective February 1st, 2016. All premiums are different depending on who is being insured.

tricare2Are you currently a Metlife TRICARE dental insurance holder? If not, good news! As you can already see, it’s affordable but it’s also really simple to enroll.

4 Easy Ways to Enroll:

1. Online visit www.tricare.mil/bwe
2. Call 1-855-638-8371 CONUS, 1-855-638-8372 OCONUS, or 1-855-638-8373 TDD/TTY
3. Fax a completed Enrollment Authorization document (found on www.tricare.mil/tdp) to 1-855-763-1337
4. Mail a completed Enrollment Authorization document to MetLife TRICARE Dental Program, P.O. Box 14185 Lexington, KY 40512

Good news too! There are no extended waiting periods on waiting for your coverage to begin. There is nothing worse than being in some kind of tooth distress (toothaches are the worst ever if you ask me) and not being able to get into see a doctor for 90 days. If payment on the policy is received by the 20th of the month, coverage will begin on the 1st day of the following month.

For more information feel free to check out the MetLife TDP website here or follow them on Facebook here!

Seriously, if you qualify for this program, don’t put it off. My family and I went a few months where we were in between work situations and paid out of pocket for private dental insurance because we didn’t know that TRICARE dental was available for spouses.  It was completely insane the premiums that we had to pay just for me to be covered. Once I became enrolled, we literally saved hundreds of dollars a month. WORTH IT.

DIY Big Game Snack Stadium

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GameDayGlory #CollectiveBias

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The big game weekend is one of my favorites. There’s something awesome about getting together with friends and/or family, cheering on a football team, and of course, some major snacking!

I decided to put together a little stadium showcasing some of my all time favorite snacks.  Since we’re not having too many people over for the game, I didn’t want something huge that would go uneaten. I went proportionate to how many people we are expecting. The great thing about this stadium is you can really make it as big or as small as you’d like.

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  1. I took a small box that I got from something in the mail. I opened it up and put construction paper on the top and bottoms to clean it up a bit.
  2. I then took tin baking tins and cut them in half. I put them on the sides of the box as shown to hold some extra snacks.
  3. I used another tin for the inside that I filled with TOSTITOS® Salsa and lined the outside with TOSTITOS® Tortilla chips.
  4. From the basic construction of the box, you can really go big or go small and decorate as you see fit. To give it that more “football” feel, I added goal posts made from pipe cleaners.
  5. The bottom of the box is lined with green construction paper that I drew yard lines on with a white crayon. As my guests enjoy the snacks the field will appear. stadium1

Shopping to make this at Walmart was a complete blast. I got to hang out in the candy, chips, and soda isle which is one I usually don’t frequent except for special occasions.

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In this stadium snack setup I used:

  • TOSTITOS® Medium Chunky Salsa
  • TOSTITOS® Scoops Party Size
  • One bag of Skittles® XL
  • Pepsi™ 12oz 12 Pack
  • SNICKERS® Mini’s

I’m so excited to have some friends over for the game and dig into my creation! To get more ideas on how to make your own check out these other awesome snack stadiums!
What type of snacks do you like to serve or dig into the day of the big game? Let me know!

I Didn’t Know I Was Materialistic…

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This year my husband and I decided that we wanted a little more surprise into the holiday season as far as gift giving goes. In previous years, we’ve both had a pretty good idea of what we’d find under the tree on Christmas morning. To achieve this, we both made up lists of things that our little hearts desired. My birthday is shortly after Christmas so I figured I’d make it pretty extensive so that maybe he would be able to gather an idea of something to also do for my birthday. Well, I didn’t really realize how extensive it was getting until I couldn’t stop writing and I looked over my list. xmaslist

I obviously don’t expect that I’ll be seeing everything on this list under our tree on Christmas morning. That would just be ridiculous and would actually probably make me cry [in a bad way] because I know there is no way that we can afford it. I just got into the “ohhhhh, I WANT” mood while writing it and couldn’t stop. I didn’t think I had in in me to be wanting like $5,000 worth of stuff for myself, but apparently, I do.

I also realized that I’m an Erin Condren, Apple, and Young Living Addict. Seriously, shut up and take my money.

What kind of stuff is on your Christmas wish list this year? Please, humor me and don’t make me feel more shallow than I already feel.