Lice Lice Baby

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I have been a parent now for 9 years tomorrow and in that time, I have heard endless lice scares. Did you hear? LICE is going around. Did you hear?! Someone has lice in the class! So much so that the question really is – when is lice NOT going around?

What’s a mom to do? Well, a germaphobe like me goes into complete phantom head itching panic. And I don’t think I am alone. The thought of it makes my skin crawl.

Both of my girls were recently exposed, and I of course, freaked out. I ended up calling an Orange County lice treatment business, OC Hair Police, to ask them what to do.

After I talked to her, I felt so much better. Neither of my girls got lice, but I just felt better having the FACTS. Which of course, always inspires a blog post.

So here are the questions I asked Frances Ward of OC Hair Police, who is a professional technician and lice consultant (PTLC).

I heard that one of my daughter’s friends has lice or lice is going around? What do I do? 

First thing you need to do is check your child’s head if they have been exposed.  Use a nit comb and check behind the ears and base of the neck because that is where they start.  Often you will notice your child itching those areas, or will see a rash or scratches in the area.

When first infected, the nits can be hard to detect and the baby bugs can often be mistaken as sand, so for your peace of mind, OC Hair Police can do a head check for $25.

“Take a peak once a week!” 

The earlier you catch them, the less likely your kid is to infect others and the easier to get rid of them. Plus, you are not contagious for the 1st seven days, so best case scenario,  you can treat the lice before it can spread.

Get in the habit of doing a check once a week.

How do you prevent head lice? 

absoluteclear The very best thing to do is use this enzyme product as a preventative measure. The one OC Hair Police uses and stands behind is called

Absolute Clear Enzyme Head Spray

I suggest getting it now so it is in your cupboard for the next time you hear “lice is going around.”

The product is nontoxic, eliminates lice and eggs, is pesticide free and safe for repeated use.

You can buy it on their website HERE or it can be found at World of Beauty on 17th Street in Costa Mesa or Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids in Tustin.

Side note – she told me that there is no scientific studies proving lice don’t like rosemary or tea tree oil.

This enzyme will kill them.

The other night I heard one of my daughter’s good friends had lice, so I did the treatment on both immediately just in case.

Then you can use the same spray as a preventative treatment. The spray will foam up, but it will go away. If you have excess foam, pat a little with a paper towel to remove. I will spray it on before school and then comb it through and pull her hair back tight, and off the neck.

On that note, keeping the hair pulled up and off the neck for girls, and short for boys is best.

What to do if your child gets lice?

First thing to do is to (try) not to panic. 


Tell people to check their kids!

If you are not at risk of people being nasty or singling out your kids, she highly suggests to talk to the parents of the kids that play closely with your child so they can check their kids.  Like she mentioned, the earlier it’s caught, the better.

Your child got it from someone, and in turn, could have given it to someone. People need to check so they can treat it. The worst thing to happen is a repeat cycle of continuous re-infestation where it keeps getting passed around.

Immediately Start a 10-Day Lice Treatment 

If a louse lives to be 7 – 10 days old, it is an adult and can spread to others.  The key is to stop the hatching process before the bugs become adults.

The enzyme treatment needs to be done 3 times in 10 days to ensure all the lice were killed. The second you know you have it, do a treatment and spend time comb, comb, and combing through the hair with a nit comb, and then wash it out per the instructions.

Do another treatment 4 days later.  This will kill any that might have been missed in the first treatment. The last treatment on day 10 is a precaution, and by day 11 they should all be completely gone.

On that note, if a child has live adult bugs you can see on the scalp, they should be kept away from other kids because they are contagious, until treatment has been underway.

And be careful with your products. Many over-the-counter products are toxic, contain pesticides and the lice have actually become resistant to the chemicals.

What About Cleaning the House? 

This is where most moms freak out and overreact. I would be one of those moms. I feel better knowing this info now.

Head lice cannot live off a human host for more than 48-hours and they cannot jump or fly. If the infected person has not been around something, don’t worry about it. You don’t have to wash their entire wardrobe.

If anything was in contact, you can quarantine it for 2 days, giving the bugs time to die.

Things like sheets and pillow cases should be dried on high heat to kill bugs if you need to use them right away.

Vacuuming will pick up bugs on the carpet and furniture, so will a lint brush if you want to use that on carseats or strollers.

Louse Out 


Frances wanted to share they have published a cute book called Louse Out which help explains (in a non scary way) what lice are and how they can get rid of them.

OC Hair Police

I couldn’t have been more grateful talking to Frances. She was so kind and helpful. She stressed several times how it is her mission to empower parents with information, and she will work with all families to help them through.

They do in-store treatments, and also home treatments.  Treatments are by appointment, but you can call anytime with questions (leave a message and they will get right back to you).

Here is their contact information:

OC Hair Police
Back Bay Center
2675 Irvine Avenue, Suite 110
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

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A Mom’s Guide to a Faster Mac

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5 easy tips to speed up your mac

If  you are like me, the age of digital photography and HD video have MORE than bogged down your computer which is why I am happy to share these 5 easy tips to speed up your Mac with you today.

I often feel paralyzed by the endless amounts of digital files and raw footage of HD video on my Mac.

I’m not ashamed to say I’ve officially filled up my ENTIRE 1TB iMac.  I have no more room to store anything and the machine runs like me on a Monday morning.  S L O W.

5 Easy Tips to Speed Up Your Mac 

I had a recent One-to-One sit-down at the Genius Bar and I thought I should share a few SIMPLE tips that can help your computer run (almost) like new again.  Think of this guide as “Mac Clean Up for the Busy Mom.”

1.  Empty your iPhoto Trash

Did you know that if you delete a photo in iPhoto, it’s not ACTUALLY deleted from your hard drive?  Macs are smart that way and realize that there could always a chance you would want to recover a photo you accidentally deleted.

Find the TRASH icon on the left-hand menu in iPhoto click to empty it.  Then…those items will be moved to the Trash Can on your desktop so make sure to go to the Trash Can bottom right of desktop to empty that trash can as well.

Also, in the iPhoto menu, click -> Preferences and check the box “Turn On Item Counts”.  This will remind you in the future if there are any photos in your iPhoto trash for you to get rid of.  ***Note…if you are running Yosemite follow these directions…iPhoto is now just called “Photos”.  In the program click View—>Show Sidebar.  There is no more “Trash” folder there.  You can see recently deleted photos by clicking File—>Show Recently Deleted Photos.  It looks like those photos will live in the folder for approximately 30 days, then prompt you when they will be automatically deleted forever.  Just make sure you empty the Trash Can on your Desktop too!***

2.  Delete Your Download Cache

In simple language, this is when you view any video online, it’s actually stored on your hard drive.  Thus, taking up more space.

To delete, go to your Macintosh HD (your hard drive), click -> Users, go to your “Name”, then “Downloads”, click all those files and drag to the Trash Can.  Then, Empty Trash.  Notice a pattern?

3.  Disk Utility

Click on the magnifying glass and type “Disk Utility” then click ->Macintosh HD.  Click -> Repair Disk Permissions.  This, again, just deletes copies of unnecessary permissions.  I can’t really explain what that means because I didn’t understand myself, but it worked.  That’s all I can say about that.

4.  Photo and Video Storage

This was really my BIG problem area.  I had been storing all my videos and photos on my computer and backing up everything to Time Machine (if you haven’t done that yet…DO IT.  It’s so easy and automatically backs up your files for you).

Well then, I started the project of making home videos with all that footage.  As you can guess, only ONE got made in 6 years.  So, I had imported all that footage to iMovie.  What I learned going forward is to only store photos and videos on an EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE  like this one (affiliate link).  Then, when I am going to actually work on a project I can import them into iMovie or iPhoto, complete the project, then delete the unnecessary raw footage (like 30 minutes of a baby eating in a high chair?!) and EMPTY THE TRASH.

5. Update your Operating System (or OS)

Go to the App Store and click -> Updates.  You will see there if your OS is completely up-to-date.  The most recent OS will contain performance enhancements and security improvements to keep your Mac running smoothly and safely.

The Genius Bar guy said it’s important to keep at least 10% of your hard drive free of content for optimal performance.  To find this out, click -> Apple icon, click -> “more info”  then -> Storage and you can see what’s on your Macintosh HD.

Hope these tips help you – do any other experts have any tips to add???

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Cute DIY Father’s Day Gift Ideas

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DIY Fathers Day Gift Ideas from Kids

For anyone looking for some cute DIY Fathers Day gift ideas from kids, I’ve rounded up some of my Pinterest favorites.  These are super adorable and super easy to make!

1. Book About Dad

Image and idea found on


This free printable Father’s Day “book” template is perfect for kiddos who are old enough to draw their daddy some fun pictures…and write about what they love most about him.

2. Daddy Tackle Box

Image and idea found on

daddy tacklebox

I saw this idea and thought it was adorable!  Pick up an inexpensive plastic container with multiple sections, and select candy that resembles anything fishing-related (Swedish fish and gummy worms are my favorite!).  A yummy treat for dad…and a cute spin for daddies who love to fish. A daddy “tackle” box!!

3. I’m hooked on Daddy!

Hooked on Daddy

Speaking of fishing, isn’t this precious?!  I’m little biased since my son made this at preschool.  His preschool teacher had each child dip their hand in orange paint and carefully make a print on a white ceramic tile.  And since (at the time) this was the “3s and 4s” class, she finished up the masterpiece by painting the hook and ocean…plus added the “I’m hooked on daddy,” with my son’s name and date.  My husband LOVED this!

4. Daddy Ties

Image and idea found on


This is a great way to not only make daddy a new “tie,” but also have your kiddo fill out one of those cute surveys about their daddy.  I loved this presentation.  Plus this site offers it as a free printable!

5. Daddy Art Frame

Idea and image found on 

Daddy Frame Art

You can pick up one of these three tier frames pretty inexpensively at Target or Walmart.  Choose a finger paint picture (or really any art your child has made) and crop it to fit in the first photo spot.  Add your kiddo’s picture in the next space, and finally write a personal message, or print this super sweet poem for daddies (found on the site) and put it in the third spot.  Add any stickers or writing to the matte part of the frame, and voila!  A great keepsake for daddy!

6. “A Chip Off the Old Block”

A Chip Off the Old Block

This is another favorite project from our preschool, back when Elizabeth was little.  Her teachers got a smooth piece of wood and made a “chip” in the wood block. Then each child got to paint/decorate the wood.  Next, they had each child wear something that represented their daddy (for us, of course, was his favorite Wildcats sweatshirt!), printed the picture, and hot glued the picture on the wood block.  The final touch?  A sweet little “Chip off the old block” print-out.  My husband still has this in his office.  Such a cute idea!

7. “Play Ball” Mason Jar

Image and idea found on


This is so fun for any sports loving dad…you can decorate a mason jar to look like a baseball (pictured above), a basketball, a football, a soccer ball – the sky’s the limit!  For a little extra pizazz, add sporting tickets to an upcoming game!

8. New Daddy Survival Kit

Image and idea found on

New Daddy Survival Kit

I LOVE this idea for new dads.  Check out the site for details on what to put in this gift basket – they suggest adding a little attached note to each “survival” item…some are cute, some are hilarious!  Great for new dads or dads-to-be.

9. Father’s Day “Scrabble” Frame

Image and idea found on

Scrabble Frame

Talk about simple…and cute!  Pick a frame you love, print a picture of your kiddo(s) that you love, and hot glue scrabble letters to the frame.  You can spell out any message you want…”I love you,” or “You are my hero,” or “Super Dad.”  The possibilities are endless. Done and done.

10. Kid-Made Scribble Mug

Image and idea found on

Scribble Mug

Last, but not least, this site walks you through how to make a “scribble” mug.  If you have coffee or tea loving dad, this would be a great DIY gift idea!  Check out the site for step-by-step instructions.  Love this!

Do you have any favorite DIY or easy Father’s Day crafts that you’ve had success with?  If so, please share below!  Let’s show all of the daddies out there some love!

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It’s Time to Talk About Mental Health

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pediatric mental health

Last month I attended a press conference at CHOC Children’s Hospital on their new Mental Health Initiative and learned some very eye-opening facts about pediatric mental illness.

The topic is an important one to me yet I have never written about it on my blog. For my entire life I have struggled with anxiety, starting as early as age 4.

But I have never really opened up about my struggles on my blog.

Why? Because I believe there is a very real stigma surrounding mental health. Many people don’t understand mental illness. They think it’s something that the person should be able to change, like “Stop worrying!” or  “Snap out of it!” Not being able to control it can be seen as a sign of weakness.

But for those affected by mental illness, we often can’t control it and need help. 

It took me until age 36 to seek the help I needed which has been ongoing therapy with a psychologist. Why? Because I felt ashamed for needing to seek help.  I also felt weak for not being able to help myself. But no matter what I did to try to stop my anxious thoughts and ruminations, I couldn’t.

With the help of my therapist, I have been able to improve and manage my anxiety. It will never go away, but I now have the tools and self-awareness to know how to cope which has made me an infinitely happier person.

Today I treat caring for my mental health with as much importance as taking care of my physical health.

Pediatric Mental Illness – The Stats 

Here are some statistics to take in on the topic of pediatric mental illness:

1 in 5 children experience a diagnosable mental health problem during childhood.  That’s 150,000 kids in OC, yet there are currently no inpatient psychiatric services (that means no inpatient beds) for children under 12 in the entire county.

In Orange County, 20% of youth reported needing help for mental health problems, while less than 1/3 received help.

Half of children with symptoms of mental health disorders have conditions that cause significant impairment in daily life.

50% of adults with lifetime mental illness had symptoms before age 14.

Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in children ages 15 – 19.

18% of high school students have considered suicide in the past year.

Orange County has fewer psychiatrists, psychologists, and licensed social workers than the state average.

CHOC Children’s New Initiative to Address the
Pediatric Mental Health Crisis 

Once again, can you even believe there are ZERO psychiatric inpatient beds for children in all of Orange County?  That means children with serious mental health episodes remain in the emergency department for days at a time. To me, that is tragic.

CHOC Children’s is going to make a change in the world of pediatric and young adult mental health.

With a $5 million lead gift by Sandy Segerstrom Daniels, CHOC Children’s goal is to establish a Mental Health Inpatient Center including 18 beds, an outdoor play area and a specially trained staff.

CHOC has launched a fundraising campaign to raise $11 million for inpatient capital and startup costs, and $16 to endow the program. Here is an artist’s renderings of the proposed Mental Health Inpatient Center.


How Can You Help?  

If you are touched by these statistics, and want to help the pediatric mental health crisis, here are some things you can do to help.

1. Start talking about Mental Health and remove the stigma. 

2. Follow CHOC Children’s on social media and join the conversation:

3. If you are moved by these statistics, and want to donate, you can CLICK HERE TO MAKE A MENTAL HEALTH DONATION.

If you have any thoughts you would like to share on the topic of pediatric mental health, I would love to hear them in the comments below!

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Helping Kids Prepare for a New Sibling

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Helping Kids Prepare for a New Sibling

The Pregnancy Diaries

There is nothing like welcoming a new baby into your family.  A sweet little angel that will bless you beyond belief…and change everything!  And, it can be an exciting, happy, thrilling, confusing and scary time for new big brothers and sisters.  Today, I’d like to share with you some of my favorite tips for helping kids prepare for a new sibling.

Involve them in the pregnancy

Explain how it’s going to work.  And no, I don’t necessarily mean “the birds and the bees” talk or “how the baby is going to get out” talk (unless you’re ready for that!).  What I mean is a high-level, big picture explanation of what’s going on with mommy…and depending on your child’s age, will depend on how much detail you choose to share.  When you decide to talk to your older kids is also a consideration – whether you choose to tell them early on or once you start showing more.

With my seven and five-year-old, we waited until after we had our first ultrasound and saw (and heard!) that amazing flutter of a heartbeat.  And we told them on Christmas morning – their last Christmas present that they “opened.”  Once the excitement, jumping up and down, and squealing simmered, I explained that the new baby was growing in mama’s belly.  The baby’s job was to grow a little bit bigger and a little bit stronger everyday, and that it was my job…our job…to help him or her. I went on to say that mom’s belly was going to get a little bigger everyday (which they thought was hilarious), and that there was going to be some things that I wouldn’t be able to do anymore…and would need their help, because they are were so big and strong and smart.  They felt very important.

And thus began our family “pregnancy project.”  I was no longer pregnant – “we” were pregnant.  And they felt like they had a part in helping their new sibling from the beginning.

Let them help

Speaking of letting them help, I think this is absolutely essential in having your big kids feel a part of the pregnancy and their new sibling.  The sooner they feel like they have an important part, the sooner they are more likely to be onboard.

We talk about our Baby Emma quite often, and have since we told the kids we were pregnant.  I am constantly referring to them as “big sister” and “big brother.”  I don’t just say how I’ll need their help once the baby comes, I tell them I need their help now. Because kids are all about the here and now and instant gratification.  “When the baby comes” seems like a lifetime to them.  So I say, involve the older siblings now!  Here are some of the ways I ask my bigs to help me and baby girl:

– Every time they help you pick up something that you can’t reach, get you a snack, pick up their room, do their chores/tasks without complaint or asking, etc., praise them.  “THANK you for helping mom and baby!  I really appreciate you helping us.  What an awesome big sister/brother you are – you’re already helping the baby!”  Verbal praise goes a long way with my kids.

– Nesting?  Let them help.  Of course, depending on the age of your older sibling(s) will depend on what’s reasonable and doable.  Mine are a bit older, so I let them help me go through baby boxes unearthed in the garage, and tell them funny or cute baby stories about when they were itty bitty.  And how Baby Emma will love their ________ (whatever we are unpacking).

– Speaking of dragging all of the baby clothes and bins out from the garage, if your child is of appropriate age where they will understand, I recommend that you make a really big deal out of how much they are helping the baby by letting him/her use their old baby stuff.

– Take them shopping with you, and let them pick out something special for the baby.  I don’t mean take them on every shopping trip.  But schedule something where they can be part of it.  Talk about what the baby will need.

– Let them help you set-up items where the baby will be.  Give them an opportunity to fold clothes, put wall decals on the wall, organize baby toys, etc.

– If they are older, like my Elizabeth, ask them to help you make to-do lists.  Elizabeth LOVES helping me organize and making lists to prepare for Baby Emma.  Take a look at her latest below – love it, and I’m saving this one!

Preparing for a New Sibling_2

Let them bond

Here’s how I started encouraging the baby bonding with my two bigs – every time I would feel a flutter or kick (even before anyone else could feel it), I would say “Oh my goodness, baby is kicking mama!  That means she hears your voice and is trying to get to you!”

I constantly say to both kids, “You two are going to be Baby Emma’s favorite people in the whole world.  You’re going to teach her everything and be her best friends and protectors!”  Now that she visibly kicks through my shirt, I’ll say, “Baby girl wants to play patty cake with you!” Or, “Baby girl wants a hug from you!”  This is a super easy way to make a new big brother and/or sister feel special.

From the beginning, I’ve asked each child to read her a book or sing her a song each night.  This has become part of our bedtime routine. They love “teaching” her new songs.  Elizabeth is convinced that she will come out knowing her “ABCs” because she sings it to her every night. Nathan is constantly kissing my belly and getting right up to my belly button (which he thinks is a microphone) and tells her stories. Let them talk to the baby…and see how easy the bonding comes.

I’ve also started talking about how we will correctly hold the baby, burp the baby, snuggle the baby, etc.  We get dolls out and each kid practices holding a “baby.” Here’s Nathan working on supporting the head.

Preparing for a Sibling_1

If you’re up for it, let them come to a doctor’s appointment with you, where the can hear the heartbeat on the doppler.  The first time I let Elizabeth hear at the appointment, it was magical to see her eyes lit up – “MOM!  She’s REALLY in there!!”

If it’s not feasible for them to accompany you to the doctor, take an audio recording of the heartbeat with your phone, and share it with them at home!

Welcome “birthday” party

Who doesn’t love a party?  Especially little kids (and big kids!)!  And there has to be cake – because I know my kids don’t think it’s really a birthday party unless there’s cake!  Ask them to make welcome signs for the new baby, get balloons and decorations, make birthday cards, etc.  Make it a festive, happy party atmosphere for when mom and baby come home.  You can even have them sing “Happy Birthday” to the new baby upon their arrival home!

New sibling gifts

On the flip side, I always have the new baby give a gift to their new big brother and/or sister.  One of my friends suggested this to me way back when I was expecting Nathan and Elizabeth was only two-and-a-half-years old.  It doesn’t have to be extravagant!  Just something that the new baby can “give” to his/her new sibling to say thank for helping take care of me.


What are your best suggestions to help older kids prepare for a new baby?  I would love to hear from you!  Please share any sibling bonding or preparation tips in the comments below!

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