Anxiety and Children

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This article is sponsored by CHOC Children’s Hospital

As a person who has struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember, mental health is an important topic to me. Mental health needs to be talked about. Today’s article is focused on anxiety and children. Do you have an anxious child? I do. Which is why this post today on anxiety and children is particularly important to me. I had the opportunity to engage in a conversation with Dr. Christopher Min a licensed pediatric psychologist at CHOC Children’s about anxiety and children and he was so insightful.

Anxiety and Children

You know the phrase the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree? Well, my oldest daughter, is my anxious apple. It is astonishing to watch her anxious behaviors and hear her thoughts sometimes, because I GET it. I wish she didn’t have this, but it is part of who she is just like it is a part of me. What I do want is  to give her the tools to help her manage it at a young age, because it took me until age 35 to seek ongoing help.

Anxiety and Children

Here are the questions I asked Dr. Christopher Min about anxiety and children.

How do you know the difference between normal worry and anxiety in children?

He started by explaining that worry is a natural and normal physiological response built into us as human beings to help us to survive. Way back when anxiety was necessary to keep humans from getting eaten by tigers and the ‘fight or flight’ response kept us alive. Worrying is very much part of being a human. However, for children with brains more sensitive to these triggers, anxiety might be hard to control. If the anxiety is prevalent, constant and persistent, some kids might need help to re-wire or re-train their brains to diminish the response and help calm their bodies.

Anxiety Symptoms in Children

There are different ways anxiety can manifest in children. When talking about the type of anxiety that is characterized by excessive and persistent over a number of different things, it is called generalized anxiety disorder.

Symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder in children include:

– Worry which is hard to control and becomes constant and consuming
– Irritability
– Sleep onset problems
– Fidgety
– Inability to relax
– Hyper vigilant / hyper aware of surroundings
– Fatigue
– Physical symptoms like persistent stomachaches or headaches, etc. in response to worry or anxiety
– For a full list of symptoms click here

Other Anxiety Disorders in Children

Anxiety can cause other different types of anxiety disorders in children as well, issues such as:

Panic disorder: Unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear accompanied by physical symptoms that may include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, or abdominal distress
Social anxiety disorder (common in teenagers): persistent, intense, and chronic fear of being watched and judged by others and feeling embarrassed or humiliated by their actions
Phobias: persistent fear and avoidance of a specific object or situation
Adjustment disorder: trouble adjusting as a result of a stressful event
Selective mutism: when children do not speak in certain settings

When do you know it’s time to seek help for your anxious child?

When anxiety interferes with everyday life and functioning it might be time to seek professional help from a licensed therapist. Problems with school refusal, difficulty sleeping, test anxiety, constant meltdowns, eating issues, etc. are not things to be ignored and anxiety can be treated under the care of a professional. Dr. Min stressed that a parent truly knows their child best, so if you feel in your gut that something is going on with your child, trust your instincts.

If you have concerns, schedule an appointment with a licensed professional trained with children and adolescents, preferably one that has experience with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

What is CBT?

Cognitive behavioral therapy addresses the cognitive distortions or unhealthy anxious thoughts in combination with tools to help stop the dysfunctional behavior that go along with it. Cognitive therapy is an attempt to change or re-wire the anxious thoughts into more realistic and helpful ones. Behavioral therapy such as relaxation, positive reinforcement and exposure therapy work to diminish the fight or flight response. In combination, this therapy can be very effective in treating anxiety.

Anxiety and Sleep Problems in Children

I asked Dr. Min if I could ask him about something my daughter is  currently struggling with – problems going to sleep – and I am so glad I did because he had a lot of good advice.

He expressed sleep problems in children are a giant issue. Giant. In fact, CHOC Children’s even has a dedicated Pediatric Sleep Center where he is a psychologist on staff. The Sleep Disorder Center helps treat children that have problems falling asleep, staying asleep or fears of going to sleep.

Sleep Advice for Anxious Kids

  • Keep a Bedtime Journal.

Thoughts that run through the child’s mind are one of the major issues with having problems falling a sleep. If a child is able to put pen to paper before bed and get all of their worries and thoughts out before, it can help. Bringing the journal to a therapist can then help with addressing the worries.

  • Stop All Devices (Blue Light) One Hour Before Bed.

The major source of blue light is the sun and when we see the sun, are brains are cued to be awake. Electronics such as TV, tablets and phones also emit a high amount of blue light so that when looking at them, our brains are cued to think “it’s daytime” and the natural sleep hormones that kick in when it is time to sleep are halted. Removing devices one hour before sleep helps your body naturally do what it supposed to do at night – sleep!

  • Behavioral Recommendations To Help with Sleep.

– Regular bedtime and wake time each day
– No naps for older children
– Use the bed only for sleep
– Keep room on the cooler side as being too hot can inhibit sleep
– Keep a regular bedtime routine they do every night

Positive Reinforcement System for Sleep Problems in Kids

The most common (and to me, personally frustrating) behaviors that go along with sleep problems in kids have to do with seeking out interactions with parents.  You know, one more glass of water, one more kiss, one more snuggle, etc. As a parent, we want our children to be independent and able to go to sleep, or put themselves back to sleep, without needing our help.

He said what children are looking for with these behaviors is control, so he suggested a system where kids are given a certain amount of “tokens”, say 2 – 3, at the beginning of a week that they can turn in for “one more” something.  Basically, it’s a pass to get out of bed or ask for something.

If at the end of the week, if a token was not used, it can be put towards a prize or reward that is really motivating for the child.

We might be giving this a try. I will let you know how it goes.

Thank you Dr. Christopher Min for the incredible advice and for taking the time to talk to me about this important topic!

For more information on the CHOC Children’s Mental Health Initiative and programs, click here. Together, let’s talk about it.

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Romance at The Ranch

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Disclosure: Complimentary media stay provided to facilitate this review. 

Every year my husband and I make it a goal to get away in November to celebrate our anniversary. The time together alone, no kids, is magical. It’s one of the highlights of my entire year. To have extended, uninterrupted hours to talk, relax and reconnect is like fuel for the marriage tank.

In the years when we have only one or two nights for a getaway, staying close to home is best for maximum relaxation time and living in Orange County, we are pretty darn lucky to have a large number of phenomenal destinations to chose from.

Back in August we were lucky enough to able to stay at The Ranch at Laguna Beach as a family of four and enjoyed all the amazing family-friendly activities available for guests.

Click here to read my post about staying at The Ranch at Laguna Beach as a family.

When we were deciding where we wanted to go for our 15 year anniversary, I thought The Ranch would be the perfect spot.  We got married in Laguna Beach, so the town holds special memories for us, and I couldn’t wait to experience The Ranch as a romantic Laguna Beach hotel.  If you are looking for a staycation spot to celebrate Valentine’s Day or a special event with your sweetie, here’s a little taste of what could be in store for you…

romanceattheranch

We dropped the girls off at school and headed down on a beautiful Friday morning. I was giddy with excitement. Swim suit. Check. Dress for dinner. Check. New book to dive into. Check.

R & R was all that was on the agenda and I couldn’t wait.

We requested early check in and as luck would have it, our room was ready so we could get settled into our cozy king Cabin Room where a bottle of bubbly was there to greet us. Time to uncork the champs!

Total travel time to champagne? About 45 minutes total. That’s the best thing about a staycation close to home!

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The Ranch, which just celebrated its grand opening end of last year, exudes classic, Laguna Beach elegance. From decor to amenities, the resort spared no detail when it comes to guests’ comfort.

– Keurig coffee makers

– Microwave

– Fridge

– Comfortable robes

– Daily paper delivery of paper of choice

– Complimentary Wi-fi

– USB ports bedside

– Complimentary parking and valet

– And my personal favorite, NO ADDITIONAL RESORT FEE. Yes!

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We were lucky to get some warmer than usual November temperatures in Laguna so we spent the rest of the afternoon lazing around the charming pool, The Pond, where cushioned lounge chairs and signature cocktails await.

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Adjacent to The Pond is the Sycamore Spa, which was in the final phase of completion when we stayed so we were unable to take advantage of a treatment. I am happy to report, it is open now and in February, locals can visit the Sycamore Spa and receive 15% off a 60-minute Couples’ Massage and also receive a takeaway spa amenity!

Super sweet Valentine’s Day gift.

sycamorespa1 photo credit: The Ranch

After a few hours at the the pool we decided to try our skills at the bocce ball court. Hubby kicked my booty. That game is harder than it looks!

I love the comfortable feel of The Ranch. Zero pretension. The property makes you feel right at home.

bocceball
The evening was so beautiful we decided to walk across the street hand-in-hand to catch the sunset.  It’s an easy 5 – 7 minute walk to the beach, but the resort does have golf carts available you can call for rides.

Nothing more romantic than sunset at the beach, and how often do you have the chance to watch a sunset with your love?

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That evening we were ecstatic to dine at the just-opened Harvest restaurant, which is one of the most stunningly beautiful dining spots in OC.  The decor is grand, but comfortable at the same time with a modern clubhouse type of feel…the type of place where you can sit by the fire, belly up to the bar or nestle into a dining table and stay awhile.

harvest

Harvest restaurant and bar celebrates California cuisine with farm-to-table dishes that change with the seasons. The chef integrates fresh herbs, fruits, vegetables, many of which are grown on property in the half-acre Harvest Garden.

Click here for a sample menu and if you go for dinner, order the crispy Brussel Sprouts with sweet chili sauce, pecans, green apple and radicchio. Best we have ever had!

Harvest is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. If you are local, make your reservations now. You will fall in love.

harvestrestaurantinterior

photo credit: The Ranch

Our dinner service was impeccable, and we giggled over another class of champagne as we toasted our 15 years.

harvestcollage

We were back the next morning for a glorious breakfast al fresco where we watched a family of deer grazing on the greens as we dined.

Can you spot them? You have to look close….

deer-family

One of the best things about The Ranch is its location. You are so close to all the hustle and bustle of PCH, Main Beach, and its restaurants and shops, yet when you pull down the drive to go back ‘home’ to The Ranch you enter a completely different world.

On Saturday night we decided to Uber into town and dine at The Deck, which is now a restaurant, but 15 years ago the property was a private wedding venue where we said our vows.

So many memories came rushing back when we got seated at our table, essentially in the exact same spot we got married!

thedeckcollage

After dinner, we found ourselves at a local dive bar dancing to an 80’s cover band like we were kids in our 20’s again. SO. MUCH. FUN.

After a deliriously good night’s sleep in our comfortable bed, we headed up to Ben’s Pantry at The Ranch for breakfast, which is their grab-and-go cuisine for seat yourself patio dining.

Latte. Breakfast burritos. Morning paper. This view.

Perfection.

benspantry

After breakfast we took a walk over to the beach and walked for a long stretch up to Treasure Island.

I forget just how gorgeous these beaches are but was reminded when I noticed the large number of tourists walking the path. People that likely traveled long distances to visit Laguna Beach. And, here we are, able to come and take a staycation in one of the most beautiful locations in California.

alisobeach

It was an AMAZING weekend and The Ranch was the perfect spot to recharge and reminisce, the quintessential romantic Laguna Beach hotel.  If you are looking for a local spot to share a special time with your significant other, make your reservations now.

Month of February Romance Specials at The Ranch:

Book your romantic getaway in the month of February 2017 and resort credit applies towards resort activities:

Make a one-night reservation and receive a $50 resort credit

Stay 2 or more nights and receive $100 resort credit

 Based on availability. Visit website for restrictions. Click here to reserve.

February 2017 Specials for Locals:

Sycamore Spa:  

1 – 60 minute Couples massage at 15% Receive takeaway spa amenity

Golf: 

Couples Golf Tourney

Sunday, February 12th, 2017

Tee times available 10-11:30am

Price $150/couple to ride $120 to walk. Includes greens fee, electric cart, $50 F&B credit, 2 sleeves of Vivid balls and prize eligibility. Participants also get 20% off merchandise that day.

 Prizes offered:

·         a “One-night romance package for two, 2nd place:  60 minute Couples Spa treatment

·         Closest to the Pin winners – 2 free rounds of golf

·         Highest Score – free one hour couples lesson

February Golf Specials

·        Couples Golf Lessons – 20% off couples introductory golf lessons

           ·         $128 for 1 hour couples lesson (takes place at the range and putting green)

           ·         $224 for 5 hole playing lesson, 30-min intro at the range and play holes 6-9 on your own

For more information:

www.theranchlb.com

Follow The Ranch for specials and news:
facebook.com/TheRanchLagunaBeach
twitter.com/TheRanchLB
instagram.com/TheRanchLB
pinterest.com/theranchlb

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Gift Ideas for Girls Under $50

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* all links in this post are amazon affiliate links *

‘Tis the season for shopping and since I know a thing or two about what girls are into having two myself, I wanted to share some gift ideas for girls under $50. Yep, no gift on this gift guide is over $50 and all these items can be bought on Amazon Prime, which is my best friend during the holidays and all year round.

12 Gift Ideas for Girls Under $50

(ages 7 – 12)

giftideasforgirlsunder50

My girls are ages 7 and 10, so we can assume these are gift ideas for girls ages approximately 7 – 12. My girls are into arts, crafts, selfies, Musical.ly, putting on endless “shows”, reading and recently have found a new obsession with baking.

Serafina and the Black Cloak


Someone shared about this book its series on Facebook as excellent books for my oldest daughter’s age (10) and recommended it as a book we can both read and discuss.  I love to read so I thought we would give this series a try. The reviews are excellent.

 iPad Mini 2 Case

Girls are asking Santa for an iPad Mini 2 this Christmas and one of his elves told me they scored them at the Costco in Tustin for $199 (steal of a price, best I can find).  If they are lucky enough to get one, this case came highly recommended.  Nice to be able to stand it up and the stand then also doubles as a handle.

Emoji Pillows

So silly. The girls love these. Browse around for different options of Emojis. This one though, is my fave.

Funny story I have to share about emojis. My 7-year old was using the pile o’ poop one a lot and I had to talk to her and tell her that I really didn’t care for the poop because it wasn’t really appropriate and she FLIPPED out. She was so upset.  Turns out that the whole time she thought it was chocolate. LOL

Plush Craft

One of my girlfriends told me her daughter LOVES these different Plush Crafts so I got two different pillows for both my daughters. Looks like a fun holiday break craft.  I got my youngest the cupcake, and my oldest a Monogram one where you can do your first initial. Cute.

Echo Dot

My girls are her friends make up shows and dances to be preformed for the adults ALL. THE. TIME. The Echo Dot is a hands-free voice-controlled device with a built in speaker which I thought would be perfect for them.  So now instead of having to endure  music from an old iPhone, the Echo Dot bluetooth speaker is going to come in VERY handy. Plus the adults will now at least get to enjoy Justin Bieber with better acoustics.

American Girl Baking Cookbook

The girls and I got hooked on this cute show over Thanksgiving called the Kids Baking Championship on the Food Network which inspired them to start baking. So far they have mastered brownies, snickerdoodles and this week, a pretty darn tasty chocolate chip cookie. It’s nice to also have a real cookbook to use instead of going online for recipes, so I thought this cookbook would be fun for them. Great reviews, and anything Williams-Sonoma does is good with me.

Tabletop Selfie Stick and Tripod with Remote


Is anyone else a little concerned with the amount of narcissistic kids we may be raising as a result of the Selfie Generation? Me neither. Hee hee. So why not let them take it a step further with this tripod that also can be a selfie stick AND has a remote so the girls can position themselves for their next Musical.ly production and hit record with the push of a button.

Sip by S’well Insultated Water Bottle


Obsessed with my S’well bottle, it goes everywhere that I go, and I love this line Sip by S’well which has fun designs for the kiddos. This lemons on pink design is too cute.

Set of 48 Brand New Sharpies


The girls do art and are constantly coloring and crafting and there is nothing, I mean nothing better than a brand spanking new set of Sharpies, am I right? Love the 80s Glam and Electro Pop shades.

Wits and Wagers

Our family loves this game!!! It’s a great family game, and great game even just for adults.

 Mermaid Tail Blanket with Matching Doll Tail

Cozy Minky fabric made into a mermaid tail blanket? Can you even stand the cuteness? This one even comes with a free side one girls can use for their dolls. Lots of cute colors. Love.

Espresso Kids Floor Easel


By far one of the toys we have gotten the most milage out of is this floor easel.  I love that the easel is somewhat tasteful and blends into our living room. Hours of time spent drawing on this, especially when the girls play school.

Happy shopping mamas!

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10 Affordable Holiday Photo Card Sites

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disclosure: all links in this post are affiliate links

Now I know some of you were on your game this year and might even have your holiday cards already in the mail (good for you).

For the rest of us, I wanted to share 10 affordable holiday photo cards websites to check out this holiday season. Hint: Get on the ball and order them soon because most all of these sites have major sales and holiday card promo codes right now. Here are 10 sites and designs I picked, will list in order of most affordable based on the designs that caught my eye. But make sure you browse around the sites too, because most have a good variety of designs and affordable price points.

Affordable Holiday Photo Cards

Prices listed for the design shown are for a sample 100 card order.

 Zazzle ($0.62 ea)

Click here to get to Zazzle holiday cards

It was fun for me to find that Zazzle, an amazing website for customizable gifts (think bags, iPhone cases, pillows, aprons, I mean you NAME it!) also has a fab line of holiday photo cards. For a steal!

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Target ($0.99 ea)

Click here to see Target’s holiday cards and affordable pricing

target-card

Storkie ($1.09 ea)

Click here to get to Storkie holiday cards

I loved this recycled postcard…

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Tiny Prints ($1.14 ea)

Click here to get to Tiny Prints holiday cards

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 Tiny Prints is a long time favorite of many, for good reason. Their Studio Basics designs are the most affordable holiday photo cards and are also super cute.

I had to show this design too even though, a little more pricey. Just fell in love with the barn door…

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Pinhole Press ($1.49 ea)

Click here to get to Pinhole Press holiday cards

Pinhole Press is a fun find, offering beautifully simple photo cards, I loved their different collection of collage photo cards too.

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Minted ($1.65 ea)

Click here to get to Minted holiday photo cards

I have been a long time fan and customer of Minted and once again, will be ordering my cards through Minted again this year.

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I love Minted also offers matching FREE designed envelopes and FREE recipient address printing.
Here is just one example of their cute envelope designs.  And again, it’s free!

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Paper Culture ($1.74 ea)

Click here to get to Paper Culture holiday photo cards

Modern, eco-friendly cards and for every order, Paper Culture plants a tree.  Tons of cool new designs this year.

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PurpleTrail ($1.89 ea)

Click here to get to PurpleTrail holiday cards

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Artifact Uprising ($2.20 ea)

Click here to get to Artifact Uprising holiday cards

Now this probably falls outside of the “affordable” range, but seriously, I just loved this one!

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The site offers the most beautiful photo gifts for pretty much everyone on your list.  Beautiful photo books, Instagram books, calendars, and more.

Thanks for looking and happy holiday photo card designing! 

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Minted Giveaway!

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[Disclosure: All  links in post are affiliate links + I received complimentary cards. 100% my own opinions. Minted is my fave.]

Minted Giveaway 2016

MY MINTED GIVEAWAY 2016 IS OPEN NOW AND ENDS 12/3/16

– – – >   All you have to do is CLICK HERE and enter your email address  to enter   < – – –

I am a minted.com fanatic when it comes to their holiday card selection, user-friendly ordering system and unique designs from around the globe. This is my fourth year ordering my cards from minted and every year I continue to marvel at the new products continually added for the holidays! This post today is all about how to create your perfect Minted holiday card along with a special Minted giveaway where three winners have the chance to win a $100 Minted credit to put towards your holiday card or gift order. Oh, JOY!

minted giveaway 2016

So before I get started on why I love Minted’s holiday cards, I want to make sure you enter to win $100. All you have to do is CLICK HERE and enter your email address.

Did you do it? Awesome. Now let me tell you a little about why I love ordering my holiday cards through minted!

Black Friday Deal!

Minted’s best deals of the year are going on for Black Friday (extended to 11/27) and includes 20% off all holiday card, gift and art orders of $150 or more or 15% off all orders. Use code BF2016.

Minted “Find It Fast” Feature

By far, my favorite feature of designing holiday cards with Minted is their “Find it Fast” feature, which allows you to filter your holiday card design search depending on different parameters like number of photos, type of card, photo orientation, price, etc. Then, click “On” at the bottom for the Find It Fast feature, and it will populate your photo(s) into a ton of different designs.

I can’t tell you how much this  cuts down on the time spent selecting a design! You can actually see your photo in all the different ones to quickly sift through and find the ones that work.

mintedfinditfastfeature

The Personalization Options are Endless!

When you see a design(s) you like, select “personalize” and you will be taken to a screen where you can further customize your card.

Many of the designs have different color options you can try on, different border choices, zoom options, font choices and options to edit text or wording.  I heart options.  Make sure to keep clicking “save” so you can save some favorites to share for opinions if you wish.

minted personalization

On to the Back!

Once the front of the card is complete, you should be  ready to print, right? WRONG! Minted gives you a ton of personalization and customization options on the back too!

Did you have a hard time choosing a favorite photo for the front? Add some photos on the back! Want to share a few highlights from 2016? Add some text! So many fun choices to make your card special.

mintedbackers

The Envelope Please…

But folks, there’s more! Now comes the envelope!

Minted’s Address Assistant and FREE recipient envelope printing is another HUGE benefit to choosing Minted to print your holiday cards. The matching envelope elegance just puts their designs over the top!

A few years back I entered in all my recipient addresses so now when I order my cards, my friends and family’s names come printed FOR FREE in a darling matching design on the envelopes!  Do you know what this means?  I no longer have to get in a fight with my computer printer while attempting to print my own labels! Hallelujah!

After the envelope is gussied up, your design is complete! This year they even have matching POSTAGE designs! Wow.

mintedenvelopes

Our Family’s 2016 Holiday Card

When scrolling through all the designs, this design grabbed me. I love the “Love is All Around” wording, because of the love we have experienced from so many people this year with loss of my beautiful mom.  Love truly has been all around us.

Happy Holidays from my family to yours this season and I hope you have the opportunity to design your own Minted holiday card. Good luck on the giveaway!

love is all around

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