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Creating Special Memories with Children at Bedtime

Posted by on Mar 8, 2015 in Family, Health, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

Today, I’m partnering with Got Milk to tell my family bedtime story.. My favorite part of parenting is when our family comes together for a cup of warm milk and a bedtime story. The kids sip on their cup of warm milk while my husband and I take turns reading our favorite children’s book. After story time, the kids brush their teeth and slowly drift off to sleep. When I was a child, my parents would also serve me a cup of warm milk during my bedtime stories. Now that I’m a parent, I get to pass the same tradition down to my children. Milk has played an important role in helping to calm our children at night so they can get a much needed good night sleep to be successful in school. The nights when we are traveling,...

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How to Handle Your Teen Hormone Melt Downs

Posted by on Mar 1, 2015 in Family, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

Door slamming and isolation. Eye rolling. Hands on hips and quick to anger. Uncontrollable, unexplainable crying. For those parents with a tween/teen, these are some of the all-too-common signs of RAGING HORMONES. As my tween daughter is having one of her moments, I rack my brain with the question: “Was I like this?” The answer: yes. Although hormones are the chemicals that cause the physical growth and sexual development, it doesn’t make it any easier to be on the receiving end as a parent. And, as these substances seem to take hold of your tween/teen’s body, emotions, moods and sexual feelings, what is a parent to do? Leslie Dixon, health educator, Birds & Bees Connection, who works with parents and adolescents to better understand the physical, emotional and psychological changes, offers these potentially life-saving tips: Stay Calm & Don’t overreact....

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Five Tips to Encourage Reluctant Readers to Pick Up a Book

Posted by on Feb 28, 2015 in Education, Family, Hot Topics, Parenting | 1 comment

In an age of tablets, smartphones, and hundreds of television channels, it can be difficult to encourage kids to tear their eyes away from the screen and pick up a book. Despite the benefits of technology—helping people to quickly retrieve and disseminate information, as well as creating connections between people regardless of distance, for instance—it is just as important now to read books as it ever was. Rather than allowing a child to passively watch as stories, ideas, and visuals are presented to him via websites and television, reading is active; a reader uses the information on the page to construct her own worlds, and must decipher themes, analyze characters, and pick apart story arcs on her own. As a result, regular readers have longer attention spans, better ability to process and comprehend information, and display more vibrant imaginations...

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When Is Your Child Ready for a Sleepover?

Posted by on Feb 27, 2015 in Family, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

The late night ring of the phone said it all as the tiny voice asked me to sing her a lullaby. It was my seven-year-old daughter at her first sleep over. I sang her favorite bedtime song, and then a few minutes later the phone rang again. This time it was the mother of the sleepover friend. In a hushed voice she said, “You need to come pick her up now.” With that experience, I always wondered, when is the ‘right’ age or time for a sleepover? Clearly, I felt as if I goofed as a parent. Kate Baxter, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Orange County advises, “Sleepover requests usually begin from your children or the parents of your children’s friends between ages seven to 10.” Baxter explains that even though your child is asking to have a...

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Tryout Tips for Parents: 5 Tips for Helping Your Child Make the Team

Posted by on Feb 21, 2015 in Family, Featured, Fitness, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

As the upcoming sports season approaches, our throats begin to tighten. Spring sports tryouts are underway, and our children are stressed. Chances are, you’re feeling just as anxious for tryouts as your kids. Best case scenario, they make the team and happily transition into the regular season, worst case they don’t and they come to you in a whirlwind of emotion that leaves you struggling to find a resolution. If you’re looking for a more concrete way to improve your child’s skills, CoachUp is a great resource for families looking to hire one in their area. There are a variety of private coaches that will fit your, or your child’s, needs. With experienced instructors from squash to basketball to strength and conditioning, CoachUp coaches are qualified and have all been background checked for safety. If a private coach doesn’t...

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The Psychology Needed to Feed Children Well

Posted by on Feb 17, 2015 in Education, Family, Featured, Health, Hot Topics, Parenting | 1 comment

Feeding children is not an easy task. Mealtimes can be stressful from dealing with picky eaters, concerns about a child’s weight (too little or too much) and other stresses. But the reality is that mealtimes are critical to a child’s development and total well being. Using mealtimes as a base camp for refueling your family with nutrition and love could be the most powerful tool you have in raising a happy, healthy child. Perhaps you, like many parents out there, have already been trying to help your child lose or gain weight, or just to eat healthier, but it hasn’t been working, and instead, it’s adding more stress to your lives—and as a result, your relationship with your child is possibly suffering. After 13 years at ground zero treating the toughest cases of childhood obesity (with over an 80%...

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Herbal tea for Kids?

Posted by on Feb 13, 2015 in Family, Health, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

What has no sugar, no calories, but is loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals?  Tea! And herbal teas (otherwise known as tisanes) are naturally caffeine-free, thus making them a perfect beverage choice for kids.  While the kids’ tea category is still in its infancy, it is poised for strong growth for the following reasons: (1) it stands to benefit from the solid growth in the adult tea market, (2) it meets a real consumer need for a lower sugar, antioxidant-rich beverage for kids, and (3) there are ways to formulate it in order to achieve a taste profile that appeals to kids. Tea’s popularity has surged over the last few years with more and more adults drinking ready-to-drink tea, bagged tea, kombucha, and the various flavored tea drinks recently entering the market. In 2013, tea category sales totaled $4.1...

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5 Cold and Flu Survival Tips for Mom

Posted by on Feb 9, 2015 in Health, Hot Topics, Uncategorized | 1 comment

This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/P&G The worst thing that can happen to a mom is coming down with a cold or flu. When a fever strikes, as moms, we need to strike back harder. These are some great tips to help survive the hardest days as a mom when a cold and flu strikes home! Rest The best thing that a mom can do when getting sick is to get plenty of rest. Although it can be challenging when chasing toddlers around the house, call a friend or relative to help so that you can get the rest your body needs to fight the germs that are attacking your immune system. Hydration Drink lots of water to keep your body hydrated when fighting a cold/flu. It might make sense to drink plenty of water when you’re sick,...

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Keeping Kids Happy & Healthy with Probiotics

Posted by on Feb 2, 2015 in Family, Health, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

This is sponsored post written on behalf of Culturelle® Kids Probiotic.  All opinions are 100% my own. Probiotics have been the key to keeping my kids healthy and happy during the winter season. I have been giving my kids probiotics since they were just toddlers to help support their immune health. While it is not just giving probiotics to my children that has been key to keeping them healthy and happy, it has played an important role in their overall health. The best part… they never know they are even taking a nutritional supplement because I have always added it to their morning smoothie or parfait avoiding any resistance from my younger ones! For over a year, I have been giving my kids Culturelle Kids Probiotic. I was first drawn to the product because of the convenient single serve...

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Massive IKEA Crib Mattress Recall

Posted by on Jan 18, 2015 in Family, Hot Topics, Parenting, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Do you have an IKEA VYSSA crib mattress in your nursery? It’s important to read below to see if it has been included in the massive IKEA crib mattress recall. There have been reports that the crib mattress can cause entrapment for infants sue to a gab between the mattress and crib. Recall information provided on behalf of IKEA…. This recall applies to any VYSSA mattress with date of manufacture May 04 2014 or earlier. Identification can be found on a permanent label attached to the mattress cover, showing Date of Manufacture Month-DD-YYYY and Model: VYSSA name. Consumers should verify that their crib mattress has the correct length. Measure a possible gap by removing all bedding, for example fitted sheets, and then make sure there is no gap larger than the width of two fingers between the ends of...

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Fuel for Young Athletes: Pre-Game Eating

Posted by on Jan 5, 2015 in Family, Health, Hot Topics, Recipes | 0 comments

Make sure your athlete eats a meal 2-4 hours before his/her event and starts hydrating at that time. The meal should consist of mostly carbohydrates with a small amount of protein. Some examples include oatmeal with honey, raisins or other dried fruit, whole grain cereal + milk + banana, whole wheat sandwich, roll or wrap with turkey, chicken or ham, chicken noodle/vegetable soup with whole wheat bread. If the event is early in the morning, then make it a snack, but DON’T skip breakfast! It can be something small, like a piece of toast with nut butter and a glass of juice, a banana, granola bar, a small smoothie or yogurt… and don’t forget to start hydrating! Recovery Meals Recovery snacks are an essential part of sports nutrition., and after all, kids REALLY care about what snack they will...

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Why Moms Night Out Is Good for You

Posted by on Jan 3, 2015 in Family, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

You’ve picked out a super cute outfit, you have your full makeup on for once all week, you’ve actually washed and blow dried your hair – and you are going out tonight, with your girlfriends. And, here’s the kicker – NO KIDS…Moms Night Out! Did I say NO KIDS? I confess, I need more Moms Nights Out (MNO). However, every few months, I do make the effort to be “husband-less and kid-less” to go out with girlfriends. I wondered, though, could not going out, in fact be detrimental to my mental health? According to Kate Baxter, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist based in Orange County, women may not be able to recognize why they feel like they “need” a girls night, but not having time for yourself to attend to just your needs can lead to feelings of...

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CoachUp: The Difference in the Details

Posted by on Dec 2, 2014 in Family, Fitness, Health, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

When you’re coaching your child’s soccer team, it’s almost second-nature to recall each game in fine detail. But when the details don’t reflect your team’s potential, it’s time to take action. Antonio Oropeza of Lomita, California heads his son Antonio Jr.’s under-14 boys soccer team, Melbourne City FC. He clearly remembers the game before his son received one-on-one coaching through CoachUp. “We had taken 3 total shots on goal,” says Oropeza of that match. The team was averaging 5 to 7 shots on goal per game throughout the season and had yet to win a game. “All of a sudden, we were attacking the goalie.” The Melbourne City FC took 18 shots on goal that day, winning their first game of the season, 2–0. “My son took 5 shots,” Oropeza recalls like it was yesterday. “The other boys’ shots...

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SeekingSitters to the Rescue

Posted by on Dec 1, 2014 in Family, Hot Topics, Parenting, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Sponsored We’ve all been there at one time or another as moms. You know the word (cue scary music)… BABYSITTERLESS. Yes, I made up the word. But seriously speaking, there are a countless number of times my husband and I had adult night out plans, but no reliable sitter. A few years back, though, in sharing my frustrations with a friend, she recommended a sitting service: SeekingSitters. I went on the SeekingSitters Web site that allowed me to see photos and profiles of the various sitters, and easily marked icons that denoted their background and skill sets (CPR, First Aid). Most importantly, all sitters have undergone a thorough background check and screening. How to Use SeekingSitters Using the Web site, I set up our username and password protected family account and profile, including any special needs and/or requests. I...

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Smart Parenting Strategies: How to Teach Children Gratitude

Posted by on Nov 23, 2014 in Family, Hot Topics, Parenting, Thanksgiving | 0 comments

The “G” word is heard over and over again each year during the holidays. And as adults, we understand the meaning of gratitude. But how do we teach children gratitude without the eye rolling or tuning out? Gratitude is defined by the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. According to Dr. Courtney Ball Harkins, Psy.D., marriage and family therapist and OC Mom Blog contributor, “Teaching your child gratitude is one of the best gifts you can give them. It is an essential task of raising a well adjusted, happy and healthy child. Grateful children are happier, and have a more positive view of themselves and others. These traits help fight against envy, jealousy, anger, depression and anxiety.” Here are a few practical strategies for teaching children gratitude: Active Parent Role Modeling This...

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Simple Rules For Introducing Children To Dogs

Posted by on Nov 6, 2014 in Family, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

As the adoptions manager for a small dog rescue, I’ve seen my fair share of kid to dog meet and greets that could have gone a lot better. It’s my job to know the behavior of every foster dog in our care but I can’t control how prospective human brothers and sisters will behave during an introduction. I do my best to steer the potential adopters in the right direction, “Fido is a bit shy with new people, you might want to take it slow”, but my advice only goes so far. Often enough, the kids come off a bit strong and the parents aren’t sure how to help. You aren’t in the market for a new dog any time soon, so why should any of this concern you? I’m glad you asked. Let’s say you have kids but...

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4 Simple Water Conservation Tips

Posted by on Nov 6, 2014 in Family, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

Water conservation is not just for a drought! Today, it’s more important than ever to use our water wisely and not waste it. Of course, for everyone living in California (that’s me), conserving water is a constant year round event and with a few simple changes, I have managed to keep my household water usage under “budget” levels during some of the hottest months of the year (May, June, July and September). We are actually allocated the most water in September, as that is traditionally the hottest month of the year here in Southern California, but May, June and July are not too far behind and most months our family has been about 2000 gallons of water under what we are allowed. I haven’t done anything drastic really, just a few small changes to our normal routines and it...

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Teaching Your Kids How to Drive with Varsity Driving Academy

Posted by on Nov 5, 2014 in Education, Family, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

Sponsored When the time comes for your kids to get behind the wheel of a car, selecting a school that will give your kids the tools to be a safe driver is the biggest priority. There are many different options for parents in Orange County, and Varsity Driving Academy is the 2014 winner for Best Driving School of Irvine. They serve the majority of Orange County including Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Yorba Linda with a new office just opened in San Clemente (and a Long Beach location coming soon.) All lessons are performed in new model Hyundai Accents with one of their experienced instructors, brake and rear view mirrors. Children cannot legally begin driving with anyone (including parents) until their permit is validated from completing a two-hour lesson with an instructor. In order for them to get their...

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Fuel for Young Athletes: Tips and Strategies

Posted by on Oct 27, 2014 in Education, Family, Fitness, Hot Topics, Parenting | 1 comment

Fall sports are in full swing, but do you know what to feed your young athlete before, during and after games? Americans spend billions of dollars on specialized coaching and personal trainers (guilty!), so shouldn’t we pay attention to what these kids eat? After all, food is fuel, the fuel that sustains them during long and arduous practices, games and tournaments. But did you know young athletes are NOT like regular kids? Here are a few reasons why and strategies to keep them well fueled: Young Athletes are NOT like regular kids Young athletes are like expensive racecars; they need high quality fuel, and a lot of it! These kids/teens are not only spending lots of calories in order to grow, they have significant additional demands to keep up with their sports. Young athletes need to eat a lot...

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Five Ways to Protect Young Athletes from Concussions

Posted by on Oct 1, 2014 in Family, Health, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

School is back in session, and the laundry hamper is back to tackling your child athlete’s sports practice outfit three times a week. The stains on your son’s football pads make it clear that conditioning is no walk in the park, but what kind of physical dangers does your child actually face on the field? One risk that all sports parents should be aware of is the chance that their child could get a concussion. Of all high school sports, football presents boys with the highest risk (75% chance) of suffering from one, according to the Sports Concussion Institute. Younger players are especially susceptible to related long-term damage. Fortunately, the key to preventing and responding to a concussion correctly begins with equipping yourself with the right information. You’ve come to the right place for five tips that you should...

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The innocence is is what you can do

Posted by on Sep 26, 2014 in Featured, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

The world is changing and safe places such as schools are no longer safe. There have been two incidences in Aliso Viejo within roughly two weeks of each other where Elementary schools have been the target of threats. If you are a parent where your child attends either of the two schools that were targeted there are things you can do to ease the stress and anxiety of this situation. It is critical to know that many children react to trauma differently than adults do. There are as many reactions as there are people. The world may suddenly seem dangerous and unsafe. Your child may feel overwhelmed by intense emotions, and not understand how to cope with these feeling. Here is how you as a parent can help. 1) Faith in God is the most significant help in time...

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Book Review: Queen Bees & Wannabes

Posted by on Sep 23, 2014 in Books, Entertainment, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

Note: The following book review is intended for adult reading only. Some of the information is not appropriate for children. What is the difference between good teasing and mean teasing? What is the difference between tattling and telling? What should you say when your child tells you someone is mean to them? Is it OK to check your daughter’s cell phone, text messages and social media pages? These are just a sampling of the myriad of subjects discussed in the book “Queen Bees & Wannabes” by Rosalind Wiseman, which was based off the hit movie “Mean Girls.” In all candidness, when I initially flipped open the highly recommended New York Times Bestseller several months ago, there was a deep gaging sensation in the back of my throat. The scene described a teen girl in the bathroom at her parent’s...

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How to Jumpstart Your Child’s Reading

Posted by on Sep 22, 2014 in Education, Family, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

Before my first child was even born, I vowed to make reading an important part of our daily lives together. Besides reading to her daily as a baby, I bought a tiny “reading chair” for her first birthday. I set up a basket of hard-back books next to the pastel-flowered chair, and told her excitedly, “This is your reading chair!” Ever since then, my now nine-year-old daughter can’t get enough of books. As a parent, this is thrilling. I know, though, that not all children love to read. So, what can a parent do to inspire a “love of reading?” Angel Ko, director of the Aliso Viejo Kumon Math and Reading Center explains that pre-reading, the stage before students begin reading words, is a vital time to begin fostering a child’s love of reading. “Singing songs with your younger...

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Top Christian Devotionals for Adults and Children

Posted by on Sep 15, 2014 in Culture, Family, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

Like most busy moms, time for myself usually takes place well after the kids have gone to bed, or in the early morning hours. One of the activities I look forward to during this “quiet time” is praying, reading my Bible and daily devotional. But with so many Christian devotionals on the market, how do you find the ‘right’ one? According to Andrea Devin, director, Mariners Church Bookstore in Irvine, most people will select a devotional based on their life stage, and interests at the time. However, Devin cautions that “using a devotional should not replace your regular time reading the Bible, but it can supplement it.” So, to jumpstart your devotional search, below are a few of my favorite and Devin’s top-selling devotionals in adult, children and tween categories. Adult Devotionals “Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence” by...

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3 Tips for Capturing the Perfect School Photo

Posted by on Sep 10, 2014 in Family, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

Yearly school photos are just another one of the long-standing traditions of back to school. I remember as a child dreading the days when my mom would pat my protruding cowlick and dress me in some stuffy clothes for school photos. All these years later, school picture preparations haven’t changed all that much. However, now as a parent, I am the one wiping faces and fixing hair. However, what are some of the best tactics to help capture these priceless moments in time while relieving stress on both child and parent? Stephanie Norman, Orange County professional photographer of Reflections by Stephanie, and mother of three, shares a few of her tricks and tips of the trade when it comes to school photography: 1. Keep it simple. Wear solid colors and avoid busy patterns and lettering (distract from looking at...

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Five Tips for Potty Training Your Toddler

Posted by on Aug 25, 2014 in Family, Hot Topics, Parenting, Shopping | 1 comment

Sample received After successfully surviving potty training three toddlers, I feel like a supermom. Potty training was one of the most-challenging times to survive parenting. The hardest thing was dealing with having to leave the house with a potty training toddler. These are the five tips that I learned to be successful with potty training my three kiddos. Make it fun! If you have a boy using fruit loops or cheerios as “target practice.” Reward your kids! Children thrive off positive feedback, and this was key when potty training my youngest son. Rewards don’t have to be tangible objects. They can be as simple as a sticker chart or a stamp on the hand. Be Consistent! Consistency plays an important part in potty training your toddler. Although there are days that you will feel like they might not be...

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Beyond the Ice Bucket Challenge: A Personal Story About ALS

Posted by on Aug 22, 2014 in Family, Featured, Hot Topics, Parenting | 1 comment

Forgive me for stating the obvious, but the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has gone viral. In the past few days I’ve started to see some (understandably) cynical opinions about it – after all, it IS the Internet, a lot of celebrities, a silly act, and often no direct “call to action” to donate or make a difference, just a spectacle. Is it self-serving? Is it a so-called “humble brag”? Well, here’s my opinion. ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is truly, truly awful. There are many horrible diseases and it doesn’t seem humane to “rank” them. All are dreadful, all cause suffering, and ALL are worthy of awareness, funds and a cure. But this one is especially horrible, trapping healthy minds in progressively failing bodies, with no cure, no treatment and only the most grim of prognoses, on an accelerated...

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Super Soccer Stars: Educational and Fun Exercise for All Ages

Posted by on Aug 15, 2014 in Family, Featured, Fitness, Hot Topics | 0 comments

We attended a class as a guest of Super Soccer Stars Super Soccer Stars’ goal is to teach soccer skills in a fun, non-competitive, educational environment. Their specially designed curriculum along with low coach-to-child ratios builds individual player self-confidence and team work, and most importantly, keeps the game fun! My two year old daughter had the chance to preview her first ever soccer class with Super Soccer Stars at their Irvine location.  While she didn’t have any prior experience with soccer and no expectations – other than to “use her feet not hands!” (as I’d been coaching her all morning) – I played soccer as a youth and in adult leagues, as well as coached my older daughter, so I went in with some expectations.  I’m pleased to say that they were definitely met with the Super Soccer Stars...

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Tips for Packing a Gluten-Free Lunch

Posted by on Aug 7, 2014 in Family, Health, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

Whenever my parents would take us to visit my Italian grandparents on Arthur Avenue, we would come home with bags of local fruits, veggies, fresh meat and fish.  It was all fresh, simple and real. Your child’s gluten-free lunch can be based on many of the same, less processed, fresh foods. You can pack your child their own fruit and cheese assortment, along with their favorite gluten-free crackers or organic tortilla chips. Spoon some home-made lentil soup into a little container. Something as simple as a hardboiled egg nestled on a bed of greens can be a big kid-pleaser, but be mindful of your choice of salad dressing, because some are derived from gluten grains. Always include a little assortment of veggies, and a dipper of yogurt. An interactive lunch is fun for any child. At No Fuss Lunch, we...

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Aftercare Sunburn Tips

Posted by on Aug 2, 2014 in Family, Holiday, Hot Topics, Parenting, Summer | 2 comments

The red. The painful. The tender. Every summer, it seems like at least one family member ends up with a sunburn – usually in the upper part of the shoulders and back. I’m referring to the infamous sunburn. Besides the obvious prevention steps, such as avoiding the sun altogether, what are the most effective ways to relieve a sunburn? Phon H. Vuong, physician assistant, Coast Dermatology and Laser Center in Laguna Beach offers these important aftercare sunburn steps for her patients: COOL WATER Cool skin by running cold water over the affected site. APPLY A TOPICAL Apply either cortisone cream or Aloe Vera (both over the counter). Chill the cream in the refrigerator for more effective relief. GET SOME R&R Make sure to rehydrate and rest. According to Vuong one of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes...

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Fireworks Safety

Posted by on Jun 27, 2014 in 4th of July, Featured, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

Celebrating our freedom, riding in our neighborhood bike parade, eating apple pie and admiring the spectacular display of firework displays are just a few of the Fourth of July traditions we look forward to each year. However, there is a darker side of this upbeat holiday that many people do not recognize: the serious real danger of fireworks. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) reported that in 2012, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,700 people for fireworks related injuries; 55 percent of 2012 emergency room fireworks-related injuries were to the extremities and 31 percent were to the head. The risk of fireworks injury was highest for young people ages 15-24, followed by children under 10. And how about those harmless sparklers? According to Encinitas Firefighter-Paramedic David Dumain, sparklers cause 16 percent of all firework injuries. “Even sparklers...

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Adventures in Breastfeeding

Posted by on Jun 22, 2014 in Family, Featured, Health, Hot Topics, Parenting | 1 comment

Let me first start by saying that this is *not* a story on thinking breast is best or that breastfeeding is superior to formula feeding families. I fully support any way a parent chooses to feed and nurture their baby. This is just my very personal journey into the land of breastfeeding. I thought I would share to show others that they are not alone in all the ups and downs of nursing. 10 years ago I never set out to be a breastfeeding mom. I quite honestly was not on board with it at all, but once my sweet little Sterling was born and the nurse placed him on my chest and asked if I was going to nurse him, so I decided to give it a try. I had no idea what the heck I was doing...

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Autism is Not The Cause of Violence

Posted by on May 25, 2014 in Education, Family, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

Again, it happened. I’m devastated, sad, and angry that our media is in a race to be first, and misinformed us. My thoughts and prayers are with all of those who are suffering in the wake of the tragedy of Isla Vista. Another mentally ill mad man did the unspeakable. He went after innocence, he went after girls, he went after his roommates, he went after anyone that he thought wronged him. I believe he was mentally ill after watching his multiple YouTube videos and reading his 141 page manifesto. The break with reality was sad, and I am shocking that the system, his parents, and the police failed him, and then they failed the rest of us. But all of that will be a can of worms that will be open and picked apart over the next several...

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Navigating Through Girl Puberty

Posted by on Apr 29, 2014 in Family, Featured, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

That one scary word can keep you up at night. It can make your voice shrill. That one word can increase your heart rate and drive you to the edge of insanity. The word? Puberty – more specifically – girl puberty. My nine-year-old daughter is in the throws of an emotional, hormonal and physical rollercoaster. I looked back at what my mom told me about puberty. If I recall correctly, she handed me a maxi pad and said, “Put this on, honey.” That was it. According to Leslie Dixon, health educator and founder, Birds & Bees Connection, this generational breakdown in communication is quite common. “Parents are facing the realization they need to speak to their daughters about puberty and sexuality, but don’t have the tools to actually do it. Often times when a mother tries to speak with...

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Shake, Rattle & Roll.. How to be prepared for an Earthquake

Posted by on Apr 25, 2014 in Family, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

With all the earthquakes during the past month (a cluster of quakes with many aftershocks in SoCal, along with major quakes in Chile (8.2!) and Mexico (7.4), I have had this nagging feeling that I need to get our earthquake preparedness kit dusted off and updated. William will be 9 this summer, and yet ours is still full of diapers, pureed baby food, and formula. Plus, I’m pretty sure the box of wine is well past its sell-by date, so time’s a-wasting! If the BIG ONE hits, I want to be ready. This will be Will’s and my spring project, so as we are researching the latest info, I thought I would share a few good reminders I have heard over the years, and also some great links that have important info. At home: Always have shoes by your bed!...

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Finding the Best Swim Instructor for Swimming Lessons

Posted by on Mar 24, 2014 in Family, Hot Topics, Parenting | 1 comment

I remember thinking this is it: I am going to die. I reached toward the pool edge repeatedly, but my grip fell short. I sank deeper in the water. I could not call for help because I was drowning. Suddenly, I felt my mother wrap her arms around my body and pull me to the surface. I gasped for air and choked up water. Soon after, my mom enrolled me in my first swim lesson. I have loved the water ever since. So, it’s no wonder that within the first 16 months of our first child being born, I began my research for a swim program. It took a few trial lessons, but we finally found the instructor who was the best fit. Unfortunately, the Orange County Fire Authority responded to 63 drowning incidents, 24 of them resulted in...

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How to Beat Those Spring Allergies

Posted by on Mar 16, 2014 in Family, Featured, Health, Hot Topics | 1 comment

I become wistfully content when I think of spring – admiring the colorful, blooming flowers, massive Easter-egg hunting festivities and overdosing on sweet strawberries. But then, like the scraping of nails on a chalkboard, this image floods my brain: The sneezing + The watering, itchy eyes + The runny nose = SPRING ALLERGIES So, with spring just weeks away, I can’t help but dread my spring allergy symptoms. But what can I do to help enjoy this amazing season without locking myself in a closet? According to Dr. Rose Jahroumi, South Coast Medical Group in Aliso Viejo, those of us who battle allergies are predisposed to developing repeated sinus infections. “Inflammation in the nasal passages, whether caused by an irritant, allergy or infection (such as the common cold), blockage of the drainage sites of the sinuses can lead to...

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How to Detox Your Home

Posted by on Mar 15, 2014 in Family, Health, Hot Topics, Parenting | 1 comment

Last week I wrote about how I learned that my home was toxic from all the harsh chemicals that my housekeeper was using, and today I want to share how I detoxed my home. I’ll admit that it is so much easier to purchase household cleaners from the store to clean the house and that it is a lot of work to naturally clean the house, but it is worth it to raise children in a healthy living environment. Cleaning Solution Making a homemade all-purpose cleaner is the easiest thing in the world to do, and will save your family a lot of money. All you need to make a safe cleaner is a spray bottle, and mix equal parts of white vinegar and water – it’s that easy! (This solution also works great as a window cleaning solution)...

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How to Help Your Children Cope With Daylight Savings

Posted by on Mar 9, 2014 in Family, Featured, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

When my youngest daughter is sleep deprived, we jokingly call her “babyzilla.” Her meltdown begins with a rearing of the head, a widening of the eyes, and shrills that make the hair stand up on your arms. And with daylight savings time rearing its outdated head, our babyzilla anxiety level naturally increases exponentially. What can we do to keep our children from becoming overly sleep deprived during daylight savings? One of my most referred to childhood sleep experts, Dr. Marc Weissbluth, author of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child reminds parents that, “Sleep is a powerful modifier of mood, behavior, performance, and personality.” Understanding the critical importance sleep plays in our lives, here are a few tips to help daylight savings time sleep deprivation in our children: Move bedtime up. Over the next several days, move bedtime up by 15...

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Is Your Home Toxic

Posted by on Mar 8, 2014 in Family, Featured, Hot Topics, Shopping | 0 comments

There was a time when I had a weekly housekeeping service, and I loved coming home to smell of bleach and lemon from their cleaning supplies. As a new mom, I thought that was a sign that they had done a great job and that my house was clean. That was until my older son developed severe food allergies, and after his first anaphylaxis reaction his body became sensitive to almost everything – that was the beginning of learning that I was raising my children in a toxic home. The smell that I thought was so wonderful in my home, was harmful chemicals that my children were breathing, and were being absorbed into their blood streams. Without even knowing it and doing what I thought was best to have a germ-free household, I was exposing my young children to...

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It’s Time to Talk About “Girl World”

Posted by on Mar 5, 2014 in Family, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

I’ll never forget my entrance into the Girl World. My family moved from a small town in Northern California to an even smaller town in the middle of Nebraska during the summer prior to my junior year in high school. Everyone in the school knew I was coming as I had sent an audition tape to be part of the cheerleading squad and made it. Being the happy, kind-hearted and slightly naïve teenager that I was, I had no doubt that I would make friends right away. I chose to wear a sweet summer dress that first day at Seward High and entered the school with great expectations and a beaming smile. Stares. Raised eyebrows. Backs turned. What was happening? Things got worse as I timidly made my way down the hall. “What a slut.” “Who does she think...

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Time for a Change

Posted by on Mar 4, 2014 in Health, Hot Topics | 2 comments

We have all heard the advertisements for the Lindora Weight Loss clinics. It is a solid weight loss program and everyone that I have known that went through the Lindora program was quite successful. As a morbidly obese middle aged mom of two, I have wanted to join Lindora for years but unfortunately, I could not afford it. I have tried and failed many, many programs. Something we fluffy girls are very familiar with. It is so frustrating and with each failure, I feel less and less confident that I can stick to anything. This is very worrisome. Not only do I dislike how I look, I am unhealthy. You cannot weigh 241 lbs and be anything but unhealthy. I daydream about the old, healthier me. I look at my 9 and 10 year old and think about how...

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It could be us……..

Posted by on Feb 28, 2014 in Education, Family, Hot Topics, Parenting | 1 comment

My biggest fear, as a mom of a non-verbal child with Autism, is that he’ll get lost and not be able to communicate his needs or name to people who can help get him home. The thought of it, literally wakes me up out of a sound sleep in cold sweats at night. I get missing autistic children notices in my Facebook feed a lot because of all my ties to the autism community. Late last year, I got a notice that a 14 year old, non-verbal autistic child in New York, Avonte Oquendo, got out of his school from an open door. He was seen running away on surveillance footage, and his body was found several weeks later on the banks of the East River. I sobbed. So I ask – How??? How did that happen? Parents with...

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Finding Kids Forever Homes with Adoption

Posted by on Feb 27, 2014 in Family, Featured, Hot Topics, Parenting | 3 comments

Raising a child is one of the most difficult tasks a parent will undertake. Responsible parents love, care, protect, teach, guide, and socialize their children in order to influence and mold their character. How families create their own family has changed a lot from just a few decades ago. Adoption is one way that families chose to create their families, and the way that we choose to create our family. In 2008, 41%, of all adopted children, approximately 55,683, were adopted from child welfare in the United States which is almost twice as many children adopted from child welfare compared to a decade earlier. What that means is that these precious children, having been in the legal and physical custody of the state, will have more challenges ahead of them. When these children are in state care it is...

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Important Homeowner Maintenance with ARS HVAC Tune-ups

Posted by on Feb 19, 2014 in Family, Featured, Hot Topics | 1 comment

What’s an HVAC? I know…I said the same thing when I heard it, but when was the last time that you had your furnace or air conditioner serviced? (aka HVAC) I’ll be honest when saying that I never even knew that my furnace and air conditioner ever needed a tune-up. I have my windows and carpets cleaned, and air filters replaced on a regular basis, but after living in our home for over ten years, I have never had our HVAC unit serviced. When talking to someone at our local home improvement store, and learning about the importance of having our units serviced, I turned to the most well-known company in the industry, ARS. Why do a tune-up? It’s no surprise that the heating and air conditioning system are the most expensive systems in our homes, and very important...

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Helping Homeless Children in Orange County with Project Hope

Posted by on Feb 18, 2014 in Featured, Giving Back, Hot Topics, Parenting | 2 comments

Did you know that there are 28,000 homeless children in Orange County? Did you know that the number has more than doubled since 2006? Did you know that 87% of homeless children are enrolled in school but only 77% attend regularly? Did you know that 1/2 of all homeless children are behind in school by two years? It breaks our heart to say that all of this is true. While we live in one of the most wealthiest communities in the Country, we have one of the largest rates of homeless children fighting to survive. The Project Hope Alliance is helping to end the cycle of homelessness, one child at a time. The Project Hope Alliance works directly with housing developers and private apartment owners to eliminate application disqualification due to credit/evictions. They help to provide support through payment...

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Kid’s Birthday Party Planning: How to Not Overspend and Overindulge

Posted by on Feb 13, 2014 in Family, Featured, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

Cakes, bounce houses, invitations, goody bags, balloons, face painters, petting zoos…For parents, these things mean one thing: the sacred kid’s birthday party. Like most parents, I want my child’s birthday to hold a special memory in their hearts and minds, well, forever. But as parents, have we overindulged and overspent when it comes to our child’s birthday? The answer: probably so. Admittedly, I am “guilty as charged” when it comes to throwing “over the top” birthday parties. How can we get our birthday party planning under control? Orange County father Jason Caringella recently planned his son’s eighth birthday party, but was faced with a tight budget, and the pressure to deliver an awesome party. Caringella carefully studied the interests of his son and friends, and came up with the idea of holding a party at a local public skatepark and...

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The “Sweet” Relationship Between Valentine’s Candy and Your Children’s Teeth

Posted by on Feb 10, 2014 in Education, Family, Featured, Health, Holiday, Hot Topics, Valentine's Day | 1 comment

Parents can help minimize children’s tooth decay by helping their little cupids make “sweet” and sound decisions this Valentine’s Day, during National Children’s Dental Health Month in February. In a Valentine’s Day heartbeat, pediatric dentists can tell parents that eating holiday candy today can bring cavities tomorrow. Tooth decay is a very serious countywide issue, but it is preventable. Healthy Smiles for Kids of Orange County, one of the largest nonprofit oral health providers for children dedicated to improving the dental health of children, provides alternative ideas and the following tips on sweets more likely to be cavity-causing culprits: It loves me… Chocolates like Dove Dark Chocolate Hearts®, M&M’s®, Hershey’s Kisses® or REESE’S Peanut Butter Cups Miniatures® have something in common: in a short period of time, they melt away and disappear (a better choice for your little cupid’s...

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How to Rid Yourself of Lice (ick!) in 24 Hours

Posted by on Feb 7, 2014 in Family, Featured, Health, Hot Topics, Parenting | 4 comments

“Hey mom, wanna hear something funny that happened at school today?” “Yes. I would love to hear the funny thing that happened.” “I was scratching my head and a bug came out!” “WHAT?!” “Really, I’m not joking.” …and sadly, he wasn’t joking. Oh no! I had heard all the horror stories of weeks of lice and washing and vacuuming and REINFESTATION! Ugh! And now it was happening to me. I quickly sprang into action, searching the internet for lice treatment and frantically texting the moms whose children had been in contact with mine…. my boys and I were picking through each other’s hair like a pack of gorillas. I called my husband, who was on his way home. Whining, I said, “Andrew has lice!” “LICE!” Alex has a little and OMG I think I have it too! I quickly...

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Drop by Drop: Water Conservation Tips

Posted by on Jan 23, 2014 in Family, Featured, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

Every time you take a bath or shower, you use between nine to 12 gallons of water. Washing those pesky dishes sucks up nearly 19 gallons of water for each load. How about the never-ending piles of laundry? Try a whopping 50 gallons of water for just one mega load. Why are these facts even important? Well, this has been a record dry year for California. Only an inch of measurable rain has fallen in January – leaving 63 percent of California in extreme drought according to the National Weather Service. Last week, California Governor Jerry Brown declared an official drought, so now’s the time to reconsider your water use. According to Kelly Winsor, assistant to the General Manager, Moulton Niguel Water District, 60 percent of our water use occurs outside. She offers some simple outdoor water conservation tips:...

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Five Steps to Buying a House

Posted by on Jan 22, 2014 in Family, Featured, Hot Topics | 5 comments

For the first time home buyer, it can be overwhelming to enter into the home buying arena. This is a completely normal feeling considering that homebuyers will come in contact with numerous people who will create a team, to ensure that your new home purchase is a smooth and successful process. To ensure that your first time home experience is a smooth process, and has little or no stress involved, utilize the following five tips. First, get pre-qualified for your home loan prior to going house hunting with a realtor. This will help your realtor to know your budget before showing homes. Once the Loan Officer advises of the pre-qualified loan amount, it is time to start house hunting. If referred to a loan professional from your realtor, make sure and get a second opinion from a friend, family...

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How to Make Sure your Children are Protected in Case the Worst Happens

Posted by on Sep 5, 2013 in Family, Featured, Hot Topics | 0 comments

Becoming a parent is one of the most rewarding things my husband and I have ever done.  I don’t think we ever realized how much we could love and how hard we would work to protect anyone in life until we had our children.  In planning for our family, we had a lot of questions about how to make sure our children are protected in case the worst did actually happen. Determining “what” we needed to protect them was a bit overwhelming…we knew what we wanted to happen but really weren’t sure what it was called or who to go to to make it happen.  It scared us to think of a getting our plans in order and we wanted to make sure we did it with someone who really cared about us and would listen to us. We...

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Preparing for a Fire Evacuation

Posted by on Aug 5, 2013 in Featured, Hot Topics | 0 comments

We just relocated to Southern California last summer and with the move, we knew that fires would be one of the new forces of mother nature we would need to deal with.  I came home from a reader event to see the Falls Fire from the entrance to our neighborhood. I have to admit that seeing this sent me to a mental place I hadn’t really gone yet so I immediately started pulling together what we would need to pack for a fire evacuation. When looking at the exterior of your home, take all of your furniture cushions inside your garage.  This will protect them from the falling ash and the awful smell that comes with it. Close and lock all of your windows and turn off your air conditioning if the smoke is close.  The smell is so...

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Southern California Lake Elsinore Falls Fire Photo Update

Posted by on Aug 5, 2013 in Featured, Hot Topics | 0 comments

A brush fire grew out of control in Lake Elsinore today.  The Falls Fire started just south of the Ortega Highway in Morrell Canyon. The Inland Empire is closely affected and mandatory evacuations are in effect for Rancho Capistrano and Decker Canyon. Flames are threatening structures and over 800 acres have burned to this point. Flames have jumped the Ortega Highway and the Falls Fire is burning eastward. The Falls Fire is very close to threatening homes which has fire fighters and area residents concerned.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in the area. These photos are taken from Ladera Ranch and the smoke plume is growing rapidly. The Ortega Highway is closed because of the Falls Fire in Lake Elsinore at Antonio Parkway near Ladera...

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Part One: Bullying 101 for Parents

Posted by on Jul 23, 2013 in Family, Hot Topics | 0 comments

OC Mom Blog Note: This is the first in a two-part series that discusses bullying, and how parents can better protect their children. At one time or another we’ve all experienced it: bullying. As a parent, the stinging words, or flying punches can create frustration and helplessness. So, how can parents arm themselves when it comes to bullying? Is My Child a Victim of Bullying? Types of bullying can range from physical, verbal, emotional, racist, sexual, to cyberbullying. According to the American Psychological Association (2004), the most common problems that occur due to bullying are: lowered self-esteem, higher rates of depression, anxiety, feelings of loneliness, suicidal ideation and lower rates of school attendance. Kate Baxter, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist treats children and teens in her Laguna Hills office for bullying. “Most victims fear their bully, feel unsupported,...

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FREE Workshop For Parents Saturday, July 20th at My Gym

Posted by on Jul 19, 2013 in Family, Hot Topics | 0 comments

Do the Right Thing For Your Kids… Your Children Need You to Properly Name Legal Guardians for Them In Case Something Happens to You I can’t believe it, but 69% of U.S. parents don’t even have a Will to provide for the care of their children if they died today. And, of those who do have a Will, most of their kids would still spend some time in foster care if their parents couldn’t care for them because their Will does not cover what would happen immediately. But, it doesn’t have to be this way. If you’ve been wondering what you need to do to get everything squared away for your kids and family if anything happened to you, come out on Saturday and I’ll fill you in. On Saturday, July 20th at 3:30 pm at My Gym in  Newport...

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3 Techniques for Calming Bedtime Fears

Posted by on Jun 25, 2013 in Family, Hot Topics | 0 comments

It is very common for children to become fearful of going to sleep at bedtime.  Most of the time, everything is going beautifully and then suddenly, a child becomes very fearful claiming they cannot go to sleep with the lights off.   In my years as an educator and parent coach, it seemed to happen more often right around the age of three.  This is a rapid time of development for children where they can struggle to make sense of the deeper comprehension they have of the world, especially when paired with their still three-year-old problem solving skills. Remember that this is a scary time in your child’s mind so they may not want to talk about it or may not have the exact words to communicate what is going on.  They may try distraction techniques such as asking...

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Is It Safe To Drive With Your Family on A Holiday?

Posted by on May 27, 2013 in Hot Topics | 0 comments

New Year’s Eve, Halloween, and Fourth of July are just a few of the holidays that families sometimes feel wary about getting behind the wheel with their families. Not because they are unsafe drivers, but because of the choices that others drivers make on the roads. There is always an increase of drunk drivers over holiday weekends. When news broke about a horrific accident in Newport Beach today that left five people dead, it brings up the question of “Is it safe to drive with your family on a holiday?” It was just last weekend that my family was just one car away from a tragic accident caused by a drunk driver in Laguna Hills, and yet that was not even a holiday. My heart skipped a beat, at that moment when I was struck with the reality that...

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When An Attempted Kidnapping Hits Home

Posted by on May 22, 2013 in Family, Featured, Hot Topics | 8 comments

When we first got married, we decided to raise our family in Aliso Viejo. We wanted to raise our children in a community where they could ride their bikes freely outside, climb trees and explore their community around them. I guess that I have been a little naive in thinking that we have been living in this bubble of a perfect community. Geez, I don’t even lock the front door on the house. I got a major wake-up call this week after learning about the attempted kidnapping in Aliso Viejo – boy did it hit home. My kids have spent countless hours inside of the Aliso Viejo Barnes and Noble where a 17-year-old-girl was almost kidnapped while reading a book inside of the store. According to ABC7 news, the attempted kidnapper tried to pull the girl to the store...

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Ten Tips For Helping Children Cope with Oklahoma Tornado Devastation

Posted by on May 21, 2013 in Family, Featured, Hot Topics | 0 comments

Save the Children has been helping children around the world in times of disaster. They help to minimize the emotional effects and provide support to children in need. It breaks our heart to hear about the Oklahoma tornado devastation, and want to provide as much resources to help families affected. Save the Children offered these then tips for helping children cope with disasters for us to share with you. Save the Children’s U.S. emergency response team is mobilizing staff and essential supplies to provide support, relief and recovery services to communities and families in Oklahoma. 10 Tips to Help Kids Cope with Disasters Limit TV time. Watching television reports on disasters can overwhelm younger children who may not understand an event is being replayed and instead think the disaster is happening over and over again. Overexposure to coverage of...

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Please Don’t ‘Screw Up’ Tumblr

Posted by on May 20, 2013 in Hot Topics | 0 comments

Have you used Tumblr before? I just started using Tumblr about a year ago, and have slowly been falling in love with it. I share all my favorite Instagram photos on Tumblr, and could spend hours looking at all my friends photos. When news broke this morning on CNN about Yahoo! acquiring the popular site, Tumblr, they have promised to “not screw it up.” The site sold for a whooping $1.1 billion dollars and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer promises Tumblr users that they will leave Tumblr alone. After the breaking news, their stock rose 0.7% to $26.70 a share. It’s still not high enough for me to make the call to sell my current shares of Yahoo! stock. We had heard this before when Facebook acquired Instagram. They quickly started to make changes, reversed their changes and then made...

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Five Tips for Picking the Best Summer Camp

Posted by on May 8, 2013 in Camp, Family, Featured, Hot Topics, Uncategorized | 0 comments

The weather is heating up, and it is time to start thinking about planning your kids summer camps for the year. Thinking about summer camp for my kids has always been a challenge for me. The only summer camp that I attended as a child was Camp Sherman with the Girl Scouts. Since my mom was a troop leader, it ended up being more like a small mother/daughter vacation with my friends. Although, I want for my kids to experience something that I never did as a child, I cannot help but want them to spend as much time with me while they are off for summer break. Every year, I set-out to plan great summer camps for my kids, and every year I end up keeping them home with me for the entire summer. Whether looking for a...

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To remove his adenoids or not?

Posted by on Jan 9, 2013 in Family, Health, Hot Topics, Parenting, Uncategorized | 3 comments

Yesterday we saw Dr. Supance, Orange County’s go to pediatric ENT. After months of being on antibiotics for recurrent sinus infections and constant congestion he finally suggested we remove my son’s adenoids. Not his tonsils , just the ones behind his nose. A few of my friends have suggested that I change his diet or see a homeopath before doing the surgery.  It’s a very quick surgery about 30 mins tops, but I wanted to find out if any of our readers have had a similar experience. Can a change in diet really help him? He has had a complete allergy panel and they found nothing. I would love some of your thoughts on this topic. I have a week to decide and I plan on doing some more...

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