Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  After being touched by the loss of a loved one to this devastating condition, I feel it is important to communicate as much information as possible.

As busy moms, it can become very easy to focus on our children and their health, as we push aside our own.  I myself have moved doctor appointments, then moved them again, just because I do not have time to go.  However, we need to remember how important it is for us to stay healthy, not only for ourselves, but also so we can be there for our family.

Dashing Elements is helping raise awareness by sharing some very important information from Bankers Heathcare Group.  This infographic provides important facts, dispels a few myths and reminds patients that early detection and better treatments do save lives.


For more information about Bankers Healthcare Group, check out their website at


5 Tips to Control Indoor Allergens at Your Home – Guest Post By Marie Nieves

Pic 1 - Main pic

One way to find out is your child allergic to something in your home is by checking whether its usual allergic symptoms and signs are weakening during the holidays, when you are away. If your child has allergic reactions, good news is that in a few steps you can drastically reduce the number of allergens in your home.

Declare War to Mites Pic 2 - Mites

House dust mites are parasites that live in the human environment, on bedding, carpets and other materials. They eat dandruff and other dead skin cells and other organic matter and they are considered one of the most common causes of asthma and allergic diseases. Mites can be killed by exposure to direct sunlight. Prevention and cleaning are the best way to deal with dust mites.  Here are some tips:

• Avoid clutter and accumulation of things and toys.

• Don’t let your kids to take stuffed toys into the bed.

• Take out curtains and carpets from a child’s room.

Pic 3 - Animal hairCompletely Avoid Animal Hair

If you have a pet, bathe him often. If you are just thinking about getting a pet, opt for fish or reptiles. If your child sleeps with a dog or a cat, it’s time to remove this habit. There is no good reason for pet hairs to be found in your child’s bed, especially if he or she has problems with airways and asthma. To get real results, it is the best to completely ban entry of furry pets in your home.

Remove Mold Pic 4 - Mould

Allergic reactions to mold are very similar to the common flu. You can help your child to get rid of these symptoms if you reduce the presence of mold. Excellent tip is to reduce the humidity in the house. Wet towels must be hung in the bathroom and sweaty and dirty clothes in the closed laundry basket. Inspect windows and walls for potential leaks and seal them if there are some.

Get Rid of Cockroaches Pic 5 - Cockroaches

Children’s habits can be a magnet for these unwanted bugs. If you forbid your children to take food in their bedrooms, you have already done a lot. Invest in professional disinfestation to remove all pest from your home. Also, it would be good to thoroughly inspect all corners of the house and to close all potential holes from which these unwanted guests might encounter.

Thorough Cleaning DSCN0827

To achieve all of this, you will need much more than a good will and dusting from time to time. At least once a year you should thoroughly clean the entire house. This includes cleaning of all furniture surfaces, floors and everything else in your home. You can do it yourself if you have enough time and good cleaning appliances or you can spend a little money and hire trained home cleaners for domestic cleaning in Sydney to clean your home, with proper cleaning appliances (professional vacuums and steamers). Make sure to take your child away from home while cleaning, in order to protect it from dusty environment.

Preventing allergies is a hard work. Consider how heavy are the symptoms of your child. For mild symptoms that do not seriously affect the its life, some of these steps are not necessary, but if your child has an allergy symptoms year round, day and night, use these tips because they will surely help you.


About the Author Pic 7 - Author


Marie Nieves is student and blogger who loves unusual trips, gadgets and creative ideas. She is an avid lover of photography interested in interior and exterior design. Marie loves to talk about her experiences and she is regular author on Smooth Decorator. You can find Marie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and G+.


Photo credit:



Fun Halloween Printables For the Family

halloween printables 1

The fall season is in full swing!  Halloween will be here before you know it!  I wanted to give you an inspirational tip on a set of charming Halloween printables that are completely free and might come in handy during the month of October!  Foodpackaging Labels .Net has some great special event sticks!  From spooky ghosts, funny pumpkins, or festive bats, these would be great stickers to add as a gift tag to your Halloween treats!  The link below will take you directly to their FREE Halloween stickers! printables 2

With these Halloween labels used creatively, you’ll easily make your home a perfect place to get in the trick-or-treating mood.  This project is quick and easy for any busy family!  Simply download the labels as PDF and print them out on a self-adhesive or regular paper on your home printer.

halloween printables

Happy Halloween!

Motivate your Children to Clean – Guest Post By Natalie Miller

Motivate your Children to Clean 1

It is that time of the week again, when you are starting your cleaning chores and your attention is divided between preparations and trying to convince your children to clean their room. Often that leads to conflict and raised voices, which is never an ideal situation to find yourself in.

This problem needs to be resolved, since constantly arguing with your children and trying to make them clean their room is obviously not the way to go. Cleaning is very important for every home, otherwise the place will become a mess. But in order to make your children believe this too, you need to have a different approach. If you are lost in trying to figure how to make this happen, here are few tips that can help you:

  • Implement regular cleaning routines – to ensure at least some stability in your home, you can establish regular routines that your whole family can stick to. By doing this you give your children time to prepare and deal with the chores in time. For example, if Saturdays are reserved for home cleaning or window cleaning, your children will not protest as much when that time finally comes and they will get down to business. The weekend is usually the preferred time for such tasks, since most of your family is present. When you think of routines, you have to allow some flexibility – your children might be feeling sick or they might have more important stuff to do (such as studying).
  • Change their perspective – if you have to be fair, you probably don’t like cleaning that much. You are doing it because you must and because it has a number of benefits, such as sanitizing and ensuring the environment in your home is clean and refreshed. But if there is one thing that you should understand, it is that domestic cleaning can be in fact fun. All you have to do is play some music, work against a timer or attempt new and interesting way of doing the work. If you can transfer this to your children, they will develop a more acceptable attitude and protest less when it comes to cleaning service.
  • Define your requirements – What do you mean when you say ‘clean your room’? Do you mean take out the trash, make the bed, declutter, take care of dust, put clothes for washing or a combination of these tasks? Be more specific about what you expect from your children and they will be more willing to oblige.
  • Be the good example – normally children pay more attention to actions, rather than words. That said, it is quite improbable for your children to clean just because you tell them to and that it is needed. Rather, you have to show them how to do it and that it makes you feel good. Show them how good you feel about your home after a proper cleaning session and maybe you will see them participate more often in the same.
  • Offer help – home cleaning is a tough job, no doubt about it. You have certainly met many difficulties so you cannot possibly expect it will be easy for your children. Offer assistance when they feel overwhelmed and you will have their thanks.

Motivate your Children to Clean 2

Show a good parenting example by adopting these methods for motivating your children to clean. Having the right approach goes a long way in ensuring that work is done without protests.



Photo credit D. Woldan

This week I am so thrilled to share with my readers an exciting interview with New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris!  Charlaine is most recognized by her fans as the author of “The Southern Vampire Mysteries,” also known as “The Sookie Stackhouse Novels.”  Charlaine’s popular series ( one of my all-time favorites) is also the basis for the blockbuster HBO show “True Blood.”


Charlaine has been writing poems, plays and novels for over thirty years.  The award-winning author is also a very experienced busy mom!  Harris is a wife, mother of three and grandmother of two.

In the interview with Dashing Elements, Charlaine talks about writing, what she likes to do when she is not working, and gives us some of her best tips for busy moms!

Dashing Elements: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? 

Charlaine Harris: When I could form words with a pencil. I always loved to read, and I thought being a writer would be so wonderful!

DE: How long does it take you to write a book? 

CH: Generally between eight and ten months.

DE: What is your favorite book you have written?

CH: I don’t have a particular favorite overall. There are pieces of each book I’ve written that I can point to with pride and say, “I did what I set out to do, there.”

DE: What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?  

CH: I have tried all different schedules, but right now, I set a goal of writing six pages a day. It’s working for me. Of course, that’s in addition to editing what I wrote the day before. I work all morning and usually part of the afternoon.

DE: What is your best advice to someone who is thinking about becoming a writer?

CH: Please don’t. More competition! Seriously, you have to love your own company, and be able to work by yourself for long stretches of time. You also have to be a self-starter. These are not common traits. Starting six books does not mean you are a writer; finishing one book means you might be.

Photo credit D. Woldan

DE: What do you think makes a good story?

CH: Lively characters, conflict, and a believable resolution.

DE: How has being a parent influenced your writing?

CH: That’s hard to define, but I’ve learned a lot about people just from watching my children grow up. I think I’m calmer, too. You simply have to be when you’re responsible for three children. Now I have grandchildren, and to my surprise, having them is like getting a booster, creatively.

DE: What do you like to do when you’re not writing? 

CH: I read. I watch television. I play with my grandchildren and talk to my children. Usual stuff. 

DE: What is the best “mom advice” you were ever given?

CH: Pick your battles.

DE: What would be your best timesaving tip for busy moms?

CH: If you can afford it at all, hire someone to clean your house every two weeks. That will take the worst of the pressure off. At the very least, split the housework with your partner, and take no excuses. You can’t have it all: it’s impossible to give your best to your work, listen to your children as you ought, and keep a clean house with good homemade meals and clean clothes provided. Something has to give.

DE: Do you like to cook or bake?  What is your favorite go-to recipe when you are in a pinch for time?

CH: In the winter, I’ll make a big batch of chili and we’ll eat it for several meals. I make cornbread to go with it. Sometimes I make what we call “supper dip,” a recipe I put in the MWA cookbook. It’s pretty much spiced-up hamburger meat and beans, and you dip it out with tortilla chips. Pretty basic!

If you would like to learn more about Charlaine Harris and her exciting works, please visit her website at


6 Cleaning Hacks To Save You Money and Time – Contributing Post By Patricia J. Cornwell



No one wants to spend lots of time cleaning!  Busy moms are always looking for quick tips!   This week, I am so excited to share a contributing article from Patricia Cornwell.  She is an experienced blogger from London, England.    Please sit back, relax, and enjoy reading these wonderful cleaning tips from Patricia!

Taking control of your duties and arrangements often seems difficult, especially with a busy working schedule. Not mentioning the cleaning tasks that are awaiting for you, no matter how tired and anxious you are.

Many people prefer to leave the basic household duties for the weekend but the truth is that the last thing you want to do when you have time for relaxation, is to provide cleaning. What is more, using the commercial cleaners on a regular basis is not a cost-effective decision and such products often cause irritations and allergies to more sensitive people. This article will supply you with valuable tips how to make your cleaning easy and less expensive. Do not hesitate to try the following things -they will help you to manage with household tasks without difficulty and to save up money.

You can keep your home neat and tidy without sacrificing a lot of your free time. Your budget won’t be affected in any way, because a great part of the ideas include cleaners that are all natural.

Here are several wonderful tips from CityCleaners to keep in mind:

Lemons for Cleaning of Stainless Steel

Are all those water stains on the tap and sink annoying you? Here is one simple and money saving decision. Use lemons to scrub the stainless steel. It works perfectly and what is more, lemons will leave pleasant scent in your kitchen.

Use Cola for Toilet Cleaning

It is worth trying this wonderful cleaner. It is great for cleaning toilets and all you need to do is pour the cola along the toilet bowl. Cost-effective and easy solution to for toilet cleaning. You have probably heard a lot about the effect of cola and now it’s time to test it – it will definitely make your toilet sparkling clean.

Baking Soda For Removing of Unpleasant Smells

Unpleasant smells can be quickly removed, as long as you have some baking soda at your disposal. In case you want to remove the unpleasant odour, coming from the bin, sprinkle some baking soda on to the bottom of the bin. You can also put a clean newspaper that will absorb the leftover moisture.

Clean the Shower Head With Baking Soda And Vinegar

In case you search for easy and cost-effective way in which to deep clean your shower head here is one great tip. Take a sandwich bag and fill it with baking soda and vinegar. Tie it around the shower head with an elastic band and leave it that way for one night. After that, you will find it very easy to clean the debris and the dirt by using an old toothbrush.

Disinfecting Of Sponges

You can quickly disinfect all of your sponges by putting them in your microwave oven for up to 2 minutes. Before doing this, however, check out whether the sponge does not contain any metal particles.

Use Dishwasher To Clean The Toys

Instead of wasting your time cleaning each toy separately, you can put all of them into the dishwasher. One quick cycle will save you up a lot of time and the toys will be ideally cleaned.

This is the ultimate guide for time saving and cost-effective cleaning tips. They will help you make your schedule less tight and to save up a lot of money that you would otherwise invest in buying commercial cleaning products. Keep in mind these hacks – they will help you to manage with the chores quickly and effectively without spending a fortune on preparing an appropriate cleaning kit.

For more information about Patricia and her company, please check out her website at




The warm weather is finally here. If you haven’t already, how about stepping out and enjoying the great outdoors. The fresh air and lively scenery are sure to put anyone in the mood to get moving! One of the ways I have started to fit more exercise into my life is through running. Inspired by others, last year I decided to give it a try. I will be the first to admit that it is not easy. I may not be the fastest, but I always try. Ever heard the saying, “I’m slower than a heard of turtles stampeding through peanut butter…” That’s me.

As a busy mom, running is something I learned I could fit into my schedule at any time. I can run early in the morning. I can run on my lunch hour. I can run in the evening. You don’t need to run for a long time, especially when first starting out. So, going for a short run whenever you can fit it in, is perfect for busy moms.10646900_10206055986064828_4085504371902494028_n

I have found that running is good for clearing the mind. It can be an independent sport. This is my half hour all to myself. I am not working, cleaning, cooking, keeping up on a little one, and no one is talking to me. Just me, my running app, and my music. No matter what type of day I am having, a run always seems to calm me down. It takes my mind off of everything else going on around me. I focus on my breathing, my pace, and getting the most out of my exercise. This is me time.

For this short period, I am also burning lots of calories very quickly, and for me, time is of the essence. The more benefits I can get out of that thirty minutes the better. I know if I worked up a good sweat that I did something good for my body today.

I know what you might be thinking – running is too hard. I will admit that I could never run for a long period of time. Even as a child, I just couldn’t do it. I gave in to the realization that I will always be a walker. And walk I have – for hours and hours, miles and miles throughout my life. Then one day last year, I thought I would give it a try again. My goal was to make it around the block without stopping. I did not care how fast I was going, but as long as I kept moving I knew I might be able to do it. So out I went, one Saturday morning. My five-year-old road slowly on her bike next to me. I made it around the first turn, and I was doing ok. Kept on going. Made it around the second turn. I felt like Forest Gump now.   If I ran this far, I might as well keep going – so I kept going. Sure enough, I made it all the way around the block without stopping. That is one of the biggest accomplishments I have felt in a very long time! I finally realized what my problem has been all these years. I start out too fast and burn myself out before even getting any type of distance behind me. If I take my time, then my body adjusts, my breathing regulates, and I do not feel the need to stop! Oh my! I think I might be able to do this after all!


“Slow and steady wins the race.” So I started running. Every other day, a little further each time. Two months later, I found myself running my first 5k race. I didn’t finish first, and I didn’t finish last. But, I did not stop and I did not walk. I made it the entire way running my slow and steady pace. I can’t even explain how empowering this made me feel! I was so proud of myself. So, I went home and signed up for the next race. Over the next six months, I ended up running a total of five 5k races, and am getting ready to run my next one on the fourth of July. I am not concerned with competing against the other athletes. I am competing against myself. How fast am I going? Did I beat my last time? Are my legs getting tired or do I feel like I could run for days?

IMG_6198The moral of this story is that if I can do it, you can do it! If you ever thought about running, I encourage you to give it a try. Start out slow. Even begin a walk/run training schedule. Your endurance will increase with every session.

Running is a great way for a busy mom to fit in exercise. It is motivating and energizing. You might even meet other busy moms that you could go running with! There are lots of groups, magazines and websites dedicated to running. Here are links to some of my favorite running websites!

Take a look around the web or check out your local library for more tips and ideas for beginning a running program. Also, be sure to check with your doctor if you have any health concerns when starting a new exercise routine.

I wish you the best of luck in starting a running program. I would love to hear your stories and tips. Please send me your great ideas, and I will share them with your fellow readers!

Stay happy. Stay healthy. Stay busy!

“Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember you can achieve.” – Mary Kay Ash




It is not uncommon for coworkers, students, friends, and anyone else who wants to listen to hear my dance stories. Being a dance mom is a lot of responsibility. We are first and foremost mothers, but we also play the role of makeup artist, hair dresser, costume seamstress, shoe polisher, cheerleader, and motivator. When you have a child that is in competitive dance, it is good to know all that comes with the sport. Yes, it is a sport along with being a form of creative expression. One of the parts of being a dance mom is taking your dancer to conventions.  I absolutely love them. I think their value goes beyond the entry fees and team participation. Dance  conventions are an excellent way for busy dance moms to fit in a dance experience like no other, in just a weekend.


Conventions are a great way for your kids to get extra practice and be taught by industry professionals that they would normally not have the opportunity to learn from. It is also wonderful to meet new dancers, young and old, from the dance world. I really like these conventions because I feel the kids learn from watching their peers. All too often, during their regular practice they can get caught up with their friends and may not be giving 100 percent. This open forum lets them see all kinds of talent from many different backgrounds. Different styles, learning techniques, expression, and approach are things they may not see during their normal practice. In my opinion, I think it can be a real eye opener for students, as well as very inspiring.

Here are some things that are important when selecting a convention:

  • Where is it located
  • What are the costs
  • Who is teaching the classes
  • What affiliations does the company running the convention have
  • How do you register
  • What are the days/times of the classes
  • Is there also a competition
  • Can you register as an independent or does it need to be through a studio
  • Can the parents attend
  • Are there any fees for the parents to watch
  • Are there classes for teachers/studio owners to attend
  • Can you take pictures
  • Cancellation policies

We have attended several conventions over the last few years. This past year, we attended Wild Dance Convention and Dance Makers Dance Convention, both held in Metro Detroit. They were both great learning opportunities.

During the Wild Convention, my daughter was recovering from a broken foot. She kept up as best she could with her boot, and still had a great time. One of her favorite teachers was Mollee Gray. She is best known for her role as “Giggles” from Teen Beach Movie. In Mollee’s class, the students were taught a fun, energetic jazz routine.10982473_10205857661106828_1012543162727878818_n

Most recently, we attend Dance Makers convention and competition. I can sum this experience up in one word: inspiring. What a positive message they deliver with their program! All the teachers were magnificent. I found tears coming down my own cheeks as Kathryn McCormick delivered her heart-felt message to the students to be themselves and not be afraid to show expression and originality.

In addition to the dance instruction, the kids and parents also made friends from around the country that they still keep in touch with today.

In closing, my overall message when it comes to dance conventions is to try to make it to at least one per year. The content of the classes and the message they deliver will leave a lasting impression on the students, as they continue their dance education. The one-day or weekend experience is convenient to fit into a busy family’s schedule, and the benefits may go above and beyond your greatest expectations.




Calcium to the rescue!  My daughter broke her foot on the playground a few weeks ago.  As a result, it really got me thinking if our family was getting enough daily calcium.  In my recent trip to the grocery store, I did a lot of research on what types of foods are good sources of calcium.  Being that my daughters and myself are lactose intolerant, this can sometimes present a challenge.

I wanted to share some of my favorite finds that are great sources of calcium.  Some of them may surprise you, as they definitely did me!  I am undeniably excited about having more variety in our diets, while still getting the vital nutrients my family needs.  They will surly please any child, as getting in enough calcium does not mean only drinking milk anymore!


#1 – MILK

Speaking of milk, who wins the calcium battle?  Milk has always been the number one source of calcium!  Believe it or not, but by providing 45% daily recommended calcium, Meijer Brand Almond Milk tops Lactaid Reduced Fat Milk, which contains 30%.  This high percentage is one of the many reasons almond milk has been gaining so much popularity!  There is a unique taste to almond milk, so it might not be for everyone.  Either way, my family loves both products!


#2 – Minute Maid Kids Orange Juice Plus Calcium = 35%

Thank you Minute Maid for making this great tasting orange juice that not only contains calcium, but is also packed full of lots of important vitamins!  Pass me another glass please!


#3 – Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate = 30%

Swiss Miss you really surprised me!  My daughter was begging me to put your hot chocolate in our shopping cart.  When I read now much calcium you included per serving, I was happy to grab several more!


#4 – LaTortilla Factory 100 Calorie Tortillas = 20% 

In my best attempt to reduce my carb intake, I have been purchasing these tortillas for quite a while.  I admit that I had only previously paid attention to the carbs and calories of this product, but I am so excited that it is providing additional calcium to my diet, as well!


#5 – Yoplait Yogurt For Kids = 10%

Yogurt is a staple in our home.  I make sure everyone in my family has one serving per day.  Not only for the added calcium, but also for the probiotic properties.  A healthy family is a happy family!


#6 – Velvetta Cheese Slices = 10%

For being such a small food item, this slice of cheese is another “good source of calcium.”  Grilled cheese, added to dishes, making quesadillas, topping burgers, stuffing chicken – unlimited possibilities!


#7 – Whole Almonds = 8%

Almonds are another added source of calcium.  Take them as an anytime snack or crush them and add to a breading or top your favorite salad, yogurt, or ice cream.


#8 – Kraft Mac & Cheese = 8%

I think mac and cheese has been a part of every child’s favorite list since I was a kid! Knowing there is calcium in this product makes me happy!


#9 – Sesame Sticks = 6%

This was another big surprise to me!  I had no idea there was calcium in sesame sticks.  My family loves these.  Eat them alone or mix them with almonds and a few other favorites to make a healthy trail mix.


#10 – Cream Cheese = 2%

Cream cheese, you made me a little sad.  I was honestly hoping you had a little more calcium in you, as I enjoyed you every day of both of my pregnancies.  I still love you though!  This product might not have as much calcium as the others, however, every little bit helps!


The percentages above are per serving, and based on a 2,000 calorie diet. I hope you enjoy these products as much as we do! Like all good things, please remember to experience in moderation.

Stay Happy. Stay Healthy. Stay Busy!



2 lbs ground round
2 packages chili seasoning
1 – 28 oz can stewed tomatoes
1 – 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 – 15.5 oz can light red kidney beans
1 – 15.5 oz can white beans
1 – 15.5 oz can chili beans
1 sweet onion – sliced
4 stalks celery – chopped

Shredded cheese
Sour cream
Crushed crackers


Start by browning the ground round. Once fully cooked, drain out the grease. Add all other chili ingredients. Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for a minimum of two hours. Remember – the longer it cooks, the more the ingredients will blend together, and the better it will taste!


Scoop the chili into individual bowls. Top with sour cream, and your choice of shredded cheese and crackers!

This is a great meal to make on the weekend! This could really be called “empty the cabinets” chili. When we made this delectable meal, we actually looked at what we had in our cabinets, bought a few extras and went from there. So, in conclusion, have fun! Use this recipe as a guide, and customize with your own imagination!

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