Head Lice Bugging You? It Earnestly Bugs Me.

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Please note, I am not selling or promoting any specific products for profit – I only recommend what I use because I am sure of it’s quality and effectiveness. Also the recipe included is not certified to treat head lice, it only helps with prevention.

When I was in the 7th grade I got head lice so bad that my mother (bless her heart) cut my long hair above my ears with kitchen shears. I cried, I remember holding my ponytail recently separated from my body through blurry sobs. In 7th grade I knew not to share hats, brushes, sweaters or lay next to friends for worry I may get head lice – but I got it anyway. So I showed up one day after all the dreaded “Head Lice Memos” went home, with a boy’s haircut (we went to a pro once I was all cleaned up from lice). I was mortified, I had such bad head lice that I still cringe at the nick names I received from the whole experience, ‘lice queen, lice hotel,’ and other creative names I do not care to mention. My 7th grade self is still petrified of getting head lice, and now that I have a long haired daughter starting school – I have worries, naturally.

Before my 7th grade experience, I got head lice for the first time, in Kindy; I remember sitting to get my bum length hair french braided and sprayed before school. I can still taste the mist of that choking aerosol spray we used to help prevent any louse wanting to get to my scalp. Of course, I ended up getting lice and my first experience with that nasty, stinky shampoo and painful nit catching comb. God bless my mother, she had 4 girls and head lice was quite an event in our house.

I know when I was in school there was a lot of myth and misinformation about lice, and today I still hear the same stuff. Here are some facts, head lice are:

  • 1 of the top 3 reasons kids miss school
  • Extremely common! Between 6-12 million U.S. kids 3-11 years old get head lice each year
  • Not dangerous, but are contagious (and SO annoying)
  • NOT signs of unwashed or unclean hair – they thrive in clean hair
  • Unable to jump, fly or swim
  • Unable to live on your pets
  • Unable to live in your environment (couch, carpet, furniture, pillow, sheets, mattress, car, movie theater, airplane)

Now, I also know that there are A TON of sprays and solutions out there that promise prevention and they are CRAZY expensive so I am going to share my recipe that is super easy and effective, but also will not break the bank. I will also share the prevention tips I follow and so far so good while my littles have attended PreK, VBS and play dates!

Lice Prevention Spray

Recipe:

  • 4 oz Distilled Water
  • 1 tsp alcohol free witch hazel
  • 8 drops dōTERRA Tea Tree Essential Oil
  • 5 drops dōTERRA Lavender EO
  • 5 drops dōTERRA Rosemary EO (optional)
  • 4 oz glass spray bottle (I recycled this one from Urban Oreganics Rose Water Spray)
  • Shake well and spray on wet or dry hair before and after styling.
  • I use this daily with my kiddos, lice can attach to any hair that is 2 inches or longer so if you have young lads with longer hair they can use the spray too!

    Witch hazel – Since head lice do not like clean hair, my kids wash their hair every two/three days, a very small amount of witch hazel can help reduce oil build up

    Tea Tree Essential Oil (melaleuca) – anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties make it effective for preventing lice, treating dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. It can clear the follicles and allow your hair to breathe; also moisturizes the scalp while preventing buildup of excess oil on the scalp.

    Lavender Essential Oil – has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, which can prevent head lice and improve overall scalp health. Lavender is also known for properties that can generate the growth of cells and reduce stress.

    Rosemary Essential Oil – can counter hair loss by stimulating blood circulation in the scalp, which, in turn, promotes hair growth. Its high nutritional value and anti-inflammatory properties make it an excellent ingredient for nourishing the hair follicles and soothing the scalp. It is also known to aid in lice prevention.

    Other oils that are good for preventing head lice – eucalyptus, peppermint and neem.

    Lice Prevention Tips:

    • Weekly lice checks, not sure what to look for? Google human lice/louse/nits
      Wash hair infrequently
      Style longer hair in braids or ponytails
      Use above spray daily before going to school/activities
      Encourage children not to share combs, brushes, hats or shirts
      Keep on the look out for frequent scalp itchiness or complaining of tickling feeling on scalp/hair

    Good luck mamas! If your kiddos end up getting head lice take a moment, breathe and do not panic. There are several ways to treat, kill and clean lice from heads and home. It can be quite a task but worth the work of preventing re-infestation; some natural and OTC treatments may not work as some are resistant; if necessary feel free to call and see your child’s practitioner.

    Please know, and I speak from experience, that parental reaction can have long lasting effects and staying calm, reassuring and supporting to your child who has lice is worth it’s weight in gold.

    You’ve got this!

    x. earnest mom

    It’s Happy Here. An Earnest Anecdote.

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    “It’s happy here!” My oldest earnest little cried out amongst the laughter at the dinner table. As we all laughed together trying our best “dad” jokes, my heart leapt when I heard those words.

    As a mom, I am constantly bombarded by the world, social media, parenting books telling me who and what I should be. That is all well and good I know, I do glean what works in our earnest home; but there are times I cannot help but look to those picture perfect Pinterest-Insta-Worthy pictures and compare.

    Maybe if we did more crafts.

    Maybe if we did more alphabet practicing.

    Maybe if we played more sports.

    Maybe if we ate more organic.

    Maybe if I was more, more, more!

    It is sometimes overwhelming to try and be more than I could ever be and in those moments, those self-doubt enemy of my peace moments, I need to tell myself “I am ENOUGH.” And when I cannot voice it to myself, the Lord does through my kids.

    “It’s happy here.” Just three words but oh, the weight they carry. My children do not look to me and think “I wish you were more (fill in blank).” No, they run to me with huge open arms, squeeze me so tight sometimes I lose my breathe. It is incredible how they see the world – happy. They love me, as I am, whether my hair is combed or not, whether there are boogers on my shirt or not, whether I am perfect or not. Which I will tell you reader, the latter I am most definitely not.

    “It’s happy here” is now my mama-motto. (Seriously, I had vinyl stickers made up and stuck to my kitchen door!) Remembering no matter what, in our home, or wherever we are together, it is happy here.

    I do not know what it is in your home that will make you want to shout out “It’s happy here!” as my eldest did, but I charge you to find it. Seek it. Welcome that happiness with open arms, do not let the “picture perfect” ideals take away the happy time you have together. These sweet, sticky and delicious summers fly by in a flash. Find your happy, and keep it there. Sometimes, just ten minutes of happy a day can change the entire year; that is 3,600 minutes of happy in one year. You got this mamas, one day at a time, let’s look around and find moments that cry out “it’s happy here.”

    x. em.

    Earnest Bedtimes + the 5 Stages of Grief.

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    A slightly comical look at our bedtime routine, remember what may work for one family may not for another. Glean what you may and enjoy!

    Typically these two things are not correlated, well not formally but I have come to discover that every single night my children (particularly my darling sweet middle child) experience ALL five stages of grief at bedtime. Here is a typical night at the earnest household, where both earnest dad and I are usually home as we try our best to have dinner as a family and visit together before bedtime.

    Stage one: Denial.

    Picture it: dinner is done, the kiddos are finishing homework, or chores; then we like to enjoy a show on Netflix before bedtime starts. So we are usually all snuggled up in the living room together and around 7:20 pm I announce “5 minutes and it is time to start potty and brushing teeth.” The reaction: my 9 year old instantly bolts from the couch in disbelief to check the clock in the kitchen; my 4 year old laments, “whaaaaat?! We have just had dinner, it is not time for bedtime yet.” And my 16 month old yells out “teeeeeeth” (he is just excited to brush his teeth). This first stage usually last about 2-3 minutes before the next stage hits.

    Stage two: Anger.

    Earnest dad or I typically reply to the confusion, “yes, we have about five minutes and then we need to start brushing teeth and going to bed.” My 9 year old, “ugh, why can’t I stay up????” And he may or may not be stomping or dropping to the floor. My 4 year old, “what?! Bedtime?! No!!!” Followed by her loud, tear-filled cry and hugs. My 16 month old, “teeeeth.” He is still excited to brush his teeth.

    Stage three: Bargaining.

    My 9 year old calms and slyly sits down next to me and asks the following in a hushed voice, “mom, can I stay up just a little bit later tonight? Please? Just a little.” My 4 year old, wiping tears and calming down, “wait” sniffle, sniffle, “can we watch just one more episode?” And my 16 month old, he has gotten up walked to the bathroom and is waiting for someone to open the door to hand him his toothbrush.

    Stage four: Depression.

    Here we get full on tears, and earnest dad and I stay firm. “Okay guys, time is up let’s go potty and get our teeth brushed.” All kids sadly get up, turn off the TV and head to the bathroom where the chaos of toothpaste, toothbrushes, potty time scheduling and a quick diaper change for the littlest happens. Then boom, we are all walking upstairs together and this is where the final stage sets in.

    Stage five: Acceptance.

    Kids are calm, I am usually with our 4 year old daughter and earnest dad takes the boys to their room. I tuck her in, we read a book, say prayers, give kisses and back scratches and, as I wind up her musical unicorn jewelry box she turns to me and says: “mama, what we doing tomorrow?” We review the plans for the next day and as I walk out of her room I get one final “night mama, I love you.” As I close her door I hear the same events taking place in the boys’ room. Their love tanks are full and, my earnest heart is overflowing.

    By 8:00 pm all three are in bed, where they stay all night. And since realizing this routine they experience every night before bed, I am able to know just what to expect. There is so much joy in that, I find our bedtimes even in the 5 stages are smooth and fun. By the time we are heading upstairs the tears have turned to giggles, the cries have turned to ‘I love you’s’ and the one goal earnest dad and I try to meet every night in our marriage is being met with our children: never go to bed angry.

    I know I am comparing parts of our night with the stages of grief, but when you are little and every day is the ‘best day ever,’ why would you want it to end? I am so blessed by this predictable, earnest little event we have every night; it is in this routine we all find the comfort we need to sleep peacefully in our earnest little home. Let me know what your bedtime routine looks like? What works for you, and do your children experience any of the 5 Stages of Grief before bed??

    x. earnest mom.

    From then to now…

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    *Trigger warning, discusses threatened miscarriage, subchorionic hematoma and bicornuate uterus*


    One year ago, we were sitting in a triage room at 3:30 am.  “Threatened miscarriage.”  That was all I heard before I felt cold, afraid and empty.  That feeling could not be shaken over the longest three days I have ever experienced.  We had to wait, the ENTIRE weekend to see if that baby’s heartbeat was increasing or decreasing.  I was made to stay in bed or on the couch, not get too stressed or excited, nor could I lift anything.  Prayer.  Prayer got me through those three days, helped me to smile with my children, helped me to breathe in moments when I thought my breath would be lost all together.  It helped me when the tears would flow without my knowledge until they were cold on my cheek.  Helped me find a way through it all.

    We got to the doctor and after another round of blood work and sonograms, I was diagnosed with a subchorionic hematoma (a bleed on the uterine wall) and  bicornuate uterus (a birth defect that I have had all along).  Due to the size and location of the bleed, I was placed on restricted activity and every trip to the bathroom from there on out was stressful.  Would I lose the baby or would we be okay?  I was so worried, until I was educated more on my uterus shape.

    As it turns out, a bicornuate uterus (which means my uterus is heart-shaped, or has two horns/cavities) is associated with increased adverse reproductive outcomes, such as recurrent pregnancy loss and pre-term deliveries.  I have had this condition from birth and never knew until my third pregnancy.  I never knew because, with a condition that should have proved pregnancy a difficult task or even a risky one; it had never caused a problem.  Once I realized that, I knew that this current pregnancy was not in my control.  It was in God’s hands, just like my previous two and as He tells us we should, I casted my cares (well worries) upon Him.  Comfort, safety and hope; those were what I found after that first week passed and I gave it all up to Him.

    Here we are, a year later with a BEAUTIFUL baby boy.  Born full term, we went into labor naturally, delivered him naturally (unplanned as my epidural was turned off when my blood pressure dropped dangerously low), he is happy, healthy and thriving.  Our earnest boy 2.0 has filled our hearts, we are now a party of five and wholly complete.  For that fact, the tears of joy flow and I know they are there, my breath is full of humbling relief and my smiles are not struggling to be there.  I am in awe.

    x.  em.

    Earnest Mom’s Crunchy Journey

    Hello my earnest followers.  I am earnestly excited to introduce to you a new series to Earnest Mom’s Blog called Earnest Mom’s Crunchy Journey.  This series will focus on an aspect in earnest mom and family’s life where we are making the transition to a more greener version.  This series will appear monthly as the first post of the month.  It will feature and array of topics from cleaners to beauty products to baby products and some giveaways.

    Together we will take this adventure and see how far we can go to ridding our homes and bodies of unwanted toxins.  I am no billionaire…as a matter of fact I am not even a thousandaire (which is a word in the earnest dictionary) so my transition will be affordable, practical and reasonable so we can all enjoy this journey together.

    If there is anything that you earnest followers would like to see featured, please feel free to comment here or email me suggestions.  Stay tuned to tomorrows first edition of Earnest Mom’s Crunchy Journey where we will delve into the world of nail polish (which is really hard for me – I am an admitted polish-a-holic).

    x.

    earnest mom.

    I Screen. You Screen. An Earnest look at Sunscreen – plus an earnest give away!

    With the summer’s sunny season quickly approaching I have been doing some earnest research on sun safety and our skin.  According to the American Cancer Society, people who get a lot of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays are at greater risk for skin cancer – sunlight being a main source of UV rays.  If you have been burned once in your life, you may be at a greater risk of developing skin cancer; since our children are dependent on us – lets keep their skin safe.  Of course, this does not mean stay out of the sun completely but to follow basic sun safety.  Seek the shade on sunny days (you will still get UV exposure even in the shade), wear sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher), cool long layers, and a hat.

    When it comes to sunscreen, most of us buy one of the major brands like the one with the puppy pulling on the girls bathing suit or the one that smells like sunny vacations – hot and tropical, but I would earnestly encourage that we turn that bottle over and read what we are slopping on our skin in the heat of the day.  Remember, our skin is our biggest organ and absorbs all chemicals it comes into contact with instantly – which is directly absorbed into to our bloodstream.

    The majority of big brand labels (non-mineral or organic based) sunscreen’s active UV filter ingredients are Oxybenzone, which acts like estrogen in the body; alters sperm production in animals and is associated with endometriosis in women; Rentinyl Acetate, a synthetic vitamin A ingredient – the FDA has raised a concern that daily skin application of vitamin A creams may contribute to excessive vitamin A intake for pregnant women and other populations; Octinoxate which creates hormone-like activity in the reproductive system, and linked to thyroid and behavioral alterations in animal studies.  These ingredients are among only some of the concerning ingredients (others are parabens and fragrances) that have been proven to attribute not only to hormone disruption, but have been found to be linked to cancer and skin allergies.  So – whoa, earnest information overload I know, and if you are interested in learning more I urge to you to do some of your own research, start with the Environmental Working Groups website article The Trouble With Sunscreen Chemicals, and from there check out their other links that are helpful and informative.

    Okay, so now what?  Well there are sunscreens out there that are mineral based, which on the whole are much more safer for you than the ingredients already listed. When shopping for a safer sunscreen use the following criteria:

    1. Stay away from ALL aerosol spray screens – the inhalation factor raises too many concerns.
    2. Natural does not always mean safe – check ingredients and avoid the ones listed above.
    3. Stay with mineral based – look for the following ingredients Titanium DioxideZinc Oxide or Mexoryl SX.
    4. Avoid SPF higher than 50, there has been little evidence of the increased protection once the SPF has reached 50. (According the EWG – High-SPF products may give people a false sense of security, tempt them to stay in the sun too long, suppress sunburns but upping the risk of other kinds of skin damage. The FDA is considering limiting SPF claims to 50+, as is done in other countries.)
    5. NO tanning oils – the offer minimal sun protection and placing oil on your skin only magnifies the harmful rays we are trying to protect ourselves from.

    If you are not in the mood for looking and researching all ingredients here are some of my favorite, low toxicity exposure sunscreens that I love (and will also be giving away).  For the earnest kiddos, I like BabyGanics, not only is it mineral based but is also friendly on the checkbook.  BabyGanics offers 2 cream based sunscreens (one in a tube, another in non-aerosol, pump spray form) both go on nicely and are fragrance free for sensitive skin, water resistant (80 minutes), tear free, hypoallergenic, and have NO PABA, phthalates, parabens, fragrances or nano-particles.  BabyGanics can be found at Target, Babies R Us and other big box stores that have natural or organic sections.  For the whole earnest family I like The Honest Company‘s Sunscreen Lotion.  It is a broad spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen, it is also a bit higher in cost.  If you are already a subscription holder you can get it at a discounted rate, and can also be found at Target stores.  This sunscreen is hypoallergenic, non-Nano, mineral-based, biodegradable, reef-friendly, water resistant (80 minutes)  and pH balanced.

    For my everyday facial lotion, I am sure to use a face cream that contains SPF 20, I use UrbanOreganics Green Tea facial moisturizer (you can find my review of the item here).  This cream contains no harsh chemicals and leaves your skin feeling soft and well moisturized, without feeling greasy. It is thick, but not heavy, and will fully absorb into your skin in a matter of minutes. Perfect for all skin types. SPF is from Zinc Oxide and the cream is vegan, organic and contains non GMO ingredients.

    Earnest followers, get out and enjoy the sun, its vitamin D, its light and its warmth – but let’s be safe and choose mineral based coverage in addition to covering up when we can. Have fun in the sun!

    To Enter To Win Sweepstakes:

    Please share your sun safety tips in the comments below (one entry per person) to enter to win an earnest sun safe prize pack that will include my favorite sunscreens listed in this post (UrbanOreganics SPF 20 facial cream, The Honest Company SPF 30 Sunscreen lotion and BabyGanics SPF 50 mineral based sunscreen lotion – valued at over $50.00). Earn extra entries by sharing on Facebook/Twitter and come back and comment “shared” in the comments section.  The earnest giveaway closes 5-31-15 and is open to residents of Canada and the USA. The winner will be drawn at random and notified on 6-1-15.  **Participants must 18 years of age or older.

    x.

    earnest mom.

    Earnest Tip:  SPF cannot “add up” – if you use SPF 15 facial cream, then apply SPF 30 suncreen, the protection factor is 30 – it does not add up to 45.  This is a common consumer mistake so lets spread the word and be sun safe.