Tips for Helping Families Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season

This post is sponsored by Kaiser Permanente Orange County.

i know you have heard it a million times, but when it comes to keeping your family healthy during cold and flu season, the number one answer is WASH YOUR HANDS! it’s hard to believe that something so simple can make the biggest difference in your wellness..but it does. i recently spoke to Dr. Michelle Solomon, a pediatrician at the Kaiser Permanente Orange County offices in Garden Grove, and she discussed some great Tips for Helping Families Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season. and i sure needed the reminder…i do not like my family to get sick or to be around germs.

here’s the main reason i have been especially germaphobic this cold and flu season. we have a new baby in our home! and as a mom to a newborn, you can never be too careful. i can practically see germs crawling all over the place LOL! when my kids come home from school, they are pretty much sanitized. i don’t want my baby catching the cold or flu….especially something like RSV. here are the tips i received from Dr. Solomon.

How to Properly Wash Your Hands

like i mentioned before, Dr. Solomon said washing hands is the number one way to fight off germs. but did you know that most people do not wash their hands effectively? first of all, it is not necessary to use antibacterial soaps. regular soap works just fine. you need to make sure you wash long enough – while washing them, sing Happy Birthday TWICE. that is the proper amount of time you need to wash them. make sure to use enough soap and scrub between the fingers.

just washing your hands is not enough either, drying them is a big deal. you must effectively dry your hands to make the washing count. use a clean towel or a paper towel. hand dryers are great too.

you can use alcohol based hand sanitizers to fight germs, but they only work well if your hands aren’t visibly dirty. you also must use good technique – that means getting the hand sanitizer between the fingers, using a good amount, making sure your hands are completely wet with it and waiting till dried.

Preventing Sickness

you can help prevent sickness by promoting good nutrition – eat healthy foods rich in nutrients such as Vitamin C. adults can try taking zinc supplements, however, they are not recommended for kids.

stay away from malls, enclosed areas, and play areas heavily used by children. and if you do visit these places make sure to wash your hands the proper way as mentioned above.

most doctors recommend getting a flu shot. if your child is 6 months or older, talk to your doctor to see if this is a good choice for your family.

What to Do When Someone Gets Sick in Your Family

when one person gets sick in the family, it’s time to up the washing the hands. this means the ENTIRE FAMILY. make sure to not share anything….from food to blankets to toys. make sure that everyone is using a covering cough method – which is also known as the Dracula arm where you actually cough into your arm/elbow, not into your hand. if the person who is sick is stuffy, you can have them take a warm shower or use a humidifier. but always make sure the humidifier is clean. humidifiers can harbor mold and germs that can be spread. remember, just because you are not sick, you still can harbor virus….you can be A symptomatic. so do your best to not spread germs.

When to Send Your Kids Back to School

only send your kids back to school if they have had no fevers for 24 hours. this is a complete 24 hours…not just over night. make your child rest if they don’t look well. when it comes to teens, they tend to try to go to school even when they aren’t 100%.  it is not good to send them to school when they are sick because older kids can’t focus when they are. trust your instinct as a parent on whether or not your child is well enough to go to school.

i thank Dr. Solomon for giving me some great reminders on How to Keep My Family Healthy During Cold and Flu Season. such a caring and informative doctor. i have really loved getting to know all the Kaiser doctors that i have met during the past few months. if you have missed the posts i have written about them, here they are:

My Trip to the Kaiser Orange County Farmers Market
When I Learned About Kaiser Orange County’s Prenatal Programs
Our Family’s Visit Thrive Walk at the Orange County Great Park
Great Tips on Mens Health

the great thing about Kaiser Permanente Orange County, is everything is under one roof. most Kaiser Permanente Orange County locations include pharmacy, lab, X-ray services and more. plus, there are locations throughout Orange County, as far north as Brea and as far south as San Juan Capistrano, including Tustin Ranch, Foothill Ranch and the new Radiation Oncology Center located at the Anaheim Medical Center. wow…this is the kind of service i look for in my healthcare.

Get Your Child’s School a Scholar Dollar Grant

This post is sponsored by ScholarShare.

PARENTS!!!!!  Your child’s school NEEDS you!

this is your chance to help your child’s school to be awarded up to $25,000. Scholarshare has just announced a new grant program called Scholar Dollars, a new program that will award 20 grants of up to $25,000 each to eligible K-8 public and charter schools in California. the grants are available in varying amounts according to school size, which range from $5,000 for schools of 300 students and less up to $25,000 for schools of more than 1,500 students.

the best thing about the Scholar Dollar grants is that schools are free to spend the grants on musical instruments, computers, library books, sports equipment, or support enrichment programs such as tutoring labs, student counseling, science and technology and many other activities.

How Your School Can Get a Scholar Dollar Grant

since only school administrators can register and apply for these amazing Scholar Dollar grants, us parents have the duty to inform our children’s school administrators about the program. schools are only allowed to register from February 1, 2017, through February 22, 2017, so you need to HURRY! once your school is registered, its’ name will appear on an online ballot, along with respective details on how itplans to use the funds if they are selected.  you can check here to see if your school is eligible to apply.

next is the fun part! from March 1, 2017, through March 24, 2017 is the voting period. you will then need to  encourage your community, friends and family to vote for their child’s school. From March 1, 2017, through March 24, 2017, parents, relatives, boosters, and community supporters are encouraged to vote for their school. Top vote getters in each category (according to school size) will receive an award, to be announced in early April.

good luck!

i am so impressed by all ScholarShare does to help out kids have a brighter future. from programs in the community to making it easier to save for our childrens’ college future with California’s 529 plans. i am a total fan and know with their help my children will have a brighter future.

here’s a great little video the explain the Scholar Dollar program. hope you can get your school to enter. good luck to your school!!!

The program is administered by ScholarShare.


Not Your Average Valentines Day Gift Ideas

i’ll admit it, i am a horrible Valentine’s Gift shopper. i never know what to get my hubby for Valentine’s day…and on the flipside, all my hubby has ever gotten me was flowers. and of course i love flowers, but wouldn’t it be fun to get something unexpected or different? so i have partnered with Babbleboxx to share with you some different Valentine’s Day gift ideas. wouldn’t if be awesome to give the person you love or someone one of these Valentine’s Day gifts? check them out…

1) Edible Arrangements 2) Dolce by Dolce & Gabbana Fragrance & Perfumania Gift Certificate  3) Casio G-SHOCK S Series GMA-S110CM-2A Watch  4) Sunsweet PlumSweets 5) Faber-Castell Art Supplies

let me share details about each of these Not So Average Valentine’s Day Gifts, PLUS some great coupon and promo codes…

i love love love this Edible Arrangements Valentine’s Day Bouquet! i have never received and Edible Arrangement before…and when it arrive, i was so excited. first of all, it was rally pretty and all the fruit was really fresh. i could hardly keep my boy’s hands off it…they wanted to eat it all.  think these would make awesome gifts for practically anyone – from teachers to your spouse, significant other, mother, daughter or even best friend. whether you want to say “I Love You,” “Happy Valentine’s Day,” or even “Just Because”, you can’t go wrong with fresh fruit and gourmet chocolate! get $10 off when they spend $39+ Use code: SAVE3966

Plus, they also offer other yummy gifts like this Edible Arrangements® Signature Chocolate Box. each chocolate features recipes designed by master chocolatier Jacques Torres, and include 6 incredible flavors: hazelnut crunch, caramel, raspberry, orange, pineapple and passion fruit. all of Edible’s shareable treats are perfect for surprising your special someone at home or the office this Valentine’s Day.

ordering an Edible Arrangement is easy! just visit the website to purchase now— don’t wait until the last minute, even though they do offer same day delivery. get one for Valentine’s on the 14th or even Galentine’s Day on the 13th (a “holiday” to celebrate the non-romantic female relationships in your life).

 Fall in love this Valentine’s Day with this seductive fragrance Dolce by Dolce & Gabbana. Dolce is a floral, feminine mix that blends the freshness of Neroli with the opulence of White Amaryllis for a flirty, yet sophisticated scent. it is available at Perfumania. here’s a coupon for you – 25% OFF + Free Shipping at 2/1/17 – 2/14/17 with code STP25

and if you don’t know what fragrance your loved one loves, how about a $50 to shop online or instore at PerfumaniaPerfumania is the one-stop destination for fragrance. Hundreds of brands ranging from classic designer fragrances, to the newest trends, there’s a scent for everyone. the team of fragrance experts will help you discover your next signature scent.

this Casio G-SHOCK for Her was created for the influential, fashion-forward woman that seeks a sportswear-inspired toughness to add to her modern style. it’s the ideal gift for that special someone on your Valentine’s Day list that values advanced technology and precision time-keeping in a versatile fashion accessory. this watch is water resistant, magnetic resistant, shock resistant, has a 4 daily alarm, auto LED Light

sweet and delicious decadence of dark chocolate paired with scrumptious, bite-size pieces of Amaz!n Prunes, Sunsweet PlumSweets are creamy on the outside and chewy on the inside. these diced prunes coated in premium dark chocolate and are made with real fruit and no high fructose corn syrup. a  great way to treat yourself, especially during Valentine’s Day. click here for a downloadable coupon for $1.00 off one 6oz bag of PlumSweets

how fun would it be to get some new art supplies! coloring is a great way to relieve stress. Faber-Castell has a long history of 256 years of creating the highest quality products. a great gift option for creative types for Valentine’s Day.

Faber-Castell CASTELL 9000® Graphite Design set has finely graduated degrees of hardness have made it a firm favorite with artists and illustrators. lead is fully bonded with the wood, making it break-resistant. These pencils have an environmentally safe water-based coating and are available in 16 degrees of hardness for writing, drawing and sketching.

PITT® Artist Pen 8 count Wallet in Black & PITT® Artist Pen Studio Gift Box of 24 offer odorless, permanent, waterproof, lightfast inks in 6 vibrant colors and a variety of nibs. Contains the highest quality India ink for unsurpassed lightfastness that also will not bleed through most paper, including Bible pages. Great for everything from Professional Artists to coloring books!

Gelatos®  are super pigmented, acid-free sticks of color that can be used in your Mixed Media art projects. They glide on smooth for vibrant color
and blend easily with or without water and can be used on any porous surface. Available in 68 colors including NEW Iridescents and Highlighter

all of these gifts make the perfect Not So Average Valentine’s Day gifts. i am really enjoying all of them and hope that there is someone in your life who would love them too.

This post is sponsored by on behalf of Single Edition Media.

The Time I Learned Some Great Tips for Mens Health

This post is sponsored by Kaiser Permanente Orange County.

ever since my husband and i found out we were expecting a baby, we’ve been joking around about how old we both were getting, and wondering if we would have the same amount of energy to take care of our new baby girl like we did with our boys. we aren’t in our twenties anymore! and now that our baby girl is finally here, reality has set in that yes, we are older. we really need to take care of ourselves so that we will have our health as we now navigate through taking care of a newborn and beyond.

i’ve been working with Kaiser Permanente Orange County hospitals in Irvine and Anaheim since last year, and have learned lots of great ways to live a healthy life. i was able to speak to William Woo, M.D., who is board-certified in Family Medicine, and addressed the topic of Men’s Health so that i could share some healthy tips with my hubby. i found him to be very informative and knowledgeable – i learned when it’s the best time for men to get certain health screenings and what things men should do to keep themselves healthy.

unlike women, it is found that men tend to wait longer to get the care they need when they feel ill or sense a problem with their health. many times, men will go to the computer to try to find a cure for their symptoms. they are more apt to turn to energy pills or testosterone supplements to make themselves feel better. this can often be dangerous and not an effective way to cure themselves. just like women, men also benefit from yearly physicals from a physician. here they can find the correct solutions to any symptoms they are feeling.

Tips For Mens Health

Midlife for men is 40 years old. this is when most men start to see changes in their bodies. some men will feel more tired than usual, see weight gain, have changes in their body functions, have sore joints and or muscles, or just not feel like themselves. this is when it’s time to check in with a doctor to see what or if there is something going on. at this appointment, men should have their weight checked and blood drawn to measure sugars and cholesterol. it is also good to get skin checked for any abnormalities that could lead to skin cancer.

also, Dr. Woo suggested 4 Things that Men Should Do for Their Health

Eat right – avoid fast food and sweets. eat a balanced meal, drink lots of water, and get more fiber into their diet

Exercise – physical exercise is important every day. it doesn’t have to be rigorous, just a 20 minute walk after dinner with the family can be beneficial to their health.

Sleep – make sure to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.

Avoid Stress or Find Ways to Decompress – stress increases blood pressure which is not good for anyones health. try to avoid stress, or find time for healthy things that blow off steam. Dr. Woo explained that men often have jobs that are stressful or feel pressure to provide for their families which leads to health problems. they often don’t do anything to relieve their stress when they are home. it is important that men take some time to do stress free-time activities outside of work. even if they have a job they love, it’s still important to enjoy some stress free activities. my husband loves to surf, so i often encourage him to get out on the weekends to catch some waves.

and here’s a fun fact: did you know that married men live longer than men who aren’t married?!!!

When Men Should Get Milestone Health Screenings

since my husband is reaching his mid 40’s, we had some questions about when he should start getting certain health screenings. Dr. Woo shared with us some recommendations of when he should be getting them.

at 40 years old, men should get a physical that screens for cholesterol, blood pressure, weight gain/loss, heart disease and diabetes.

during their 40’s or later, many men start to think about getting a vasectomy. they should know that this is a very quick procedure. it is out patient, low risk, and there is minimal pain involved. if they are interested in getting a vasectomy, then this is a good time to speak to your doctor about this.

at 50 years old, men should not only get a physical that screens for cholesterol, blood pressure, weight gain/loss, heart disease and diabetes, but also colon cancer. the American Cancer Society/U.S. Preventative Taskforce recommends this. unless there is family history of colon cancer, then 45 years old is recommended.

at 55 years old, men should not only get a physical that screens for cholesterol, blood pressure, weight gain/loss, heart disease and diabetes, but also prostate cancer. unless there is family history of prostate cancer, then 45 years old is recommended.

my husband will be following these guidelines, because i want to make sure that he takes good care of himself. the kids and i want him to be around for a long time. i am so glad that my husband and i were able to speak to Dr. Woo and learn some great tips on mens health. i have been pretty impressed with the Kaiser Permanente Orange County doctors and the services that they offer not only their patients, but also the community.

Don’t forget to read about…
My Trip to the Kaiser Orange County Farmers Market
When I Learned About Kaiser Orange County’s Prenatal Programs
Our Family’s Visit Thrive Walk at the Orange County Great Park

Family Visit to Crystal Cove

i knew it wouldn’t be long before baby Dani would visit the beach for her first time. after giving birth to her at the beginning of this month, i was beginning to go stir crazy. staying in the house all day, had my boys were begging to go on a family adventure. we’re used to being on the go all the time, so having a baby has been a big adjustment. two weeks ago, the weather was nice, and i was feeling a lot better. so we decided that a beach day was in order. i packed up the kids…grabbed a few towels and beach toys, all the baby stuff (ha! so much for our low maintenance family), and headed down to Crystal Cove in Newport Beach. it’s one of my favorite beaches in Orange County, which you will see why as you read this post.

to get to Crystal Cove State Park, you need to park across Pacific Coast Highway at the designated parking lot. it costs $15 to park there, but you can get it validated at the Beach Comber restaurant that is on the beach. even if you just get a few drinks or fries to-go…it still is money better spent than just paying for parking. there is a shuttle that takes people back on forth to the beach for a small fee, but we decided to take the scenic route and walk down the hill to the sand.

right now it’s very pretty along the trail…probably due to all the rain. it was so nice a green. the trail is paved nicely, and even though it’s downhill, it isn’t to the bottom of the hill, there is a long tunnel that actually goes under Pacific Coast Highway. it is lined with hand painted murals by local kids and teens. the boys were very excited to be pushing their sister in her new UPPAbaby stroller. she was swaddled up in the bassinet attachment, which was perfect for our first outing.

at the bottom of the hill, you come to some adorable beach cottages that you can actually stay in if you make reservations. they are high sought over, so here are Ten Tips for Staying at the Crystal Cove Cottages.
before we enjoyed some fun in the sun at the beach, we got a bite to eat. one of the reasons we chose Crystal Cove, is because there are restaurants right on the beach. you can eat at The Beachcomber Cafe or at Ruby’s Shake Shack. since The Beachcomber Cafe was pretty busy, we headed up to Ruby’s Shake Shack which overlooks Crystal Cove Beach.

we love eating at the Shack. it’s the same menu that you can get at Ruby’s Diners, except not as many items. my favorite is the vegiwich and fries!

make sure to get a milkshake when you go to Ruby’s Shake Shack. that’s what they are known for….and are super yummy.after a yummy lunch, we headed back down to the beach and spent the rest of the afternoon there.Little Miss Dani just chilled in her stroller most of the time. i let her get a little sunshine as the day was perfectly are some photos of our afternoon. it was spent sitting in the sand, exploring the tide pools, people watching, and enjoying the sunshine as a family.

as soon as the sun started to set…

, we headed home. it was the picture perfect ending to our family day at Crystal Cove State Beach.