Our Homeschooling Room: Tips and Tricks For Setting Up A Classroom On A Budget

This year, we finally made the leap and converted our guest room into a classroom! I’ve been planning our classroom out for some time now and when we finally decided what room we were going to use and how we were going to move things around, everything came together!




Ever since we decided that we would be homeschooling our daughter, I’ve been collecting supplies and educational items. Our family has been very supportive of our decision and have helped us out by purchasing educational toys and manipulatives for LC’s birthdays and Christmas presents. So for a few years, we’ve been hoarding items in closets, in the attic, and out in the garage and it has really paid off. Our classroom is exactly what we wanted and it is stocked and ready to go!

If you have seen any of my previous posts, you may be aware that we actually already have somewhat of a classroom out in our garage. It’s a great setup for the warmer months when the weather is perfect and we can enjoy the fresh area. This area is great for all of the messy projects our little one does! It’s also a great setup for letting our little one explore in her sensory bin, learn in her science corner, and just be a toddler 🙂 .

While we love our outdoor classroom, we also wanted a space that was inside and could be used all year round, no matter how cold, rainy, or windy it was outside. Our new classroom is absolutely perfect and we can’t wait to use it! I have spent months planning the layout of where things were going to go, what things would get the most use, which items are really worth the money, and most importantly, how exciting and inviting can I make this room for our daughter? I’ve also been planning so much to ensure that we get the most out of our budget for this space.

This is the before picture of what our guest room looked like. This room has served many purposes for us. From being a guest room for visitors to housing the dog’s cages. From being a storage closet for all of my craft items for my business to a video game room for my husband. The first thing we needed to address with changing this room was the guest bed. We couldn’t just get rid of the bed as my family comes in town quite often to spend time with us. I certainly didn’t want a bed IN our classroom with us. What to do? We decided that maybe this would be a great bed for our little one to use. Why keep her in a converted crib when there is a perfectly good bed in the other room?

She doesn’t seem to mind her new bed at all! My parents actually bought her a new comforter set for Christmas, so she was thrilled for this big change! We also bought a rail for this new bed, as we were a little scared of how high it was off the ground. We moved everything else around, did away with the dog cages, moved the video games, and cleared out the whole room!

Let the fun begin!

But before we tour and show off our new classroom…….

The title of this post mentions the word ” budget ” and man did I stick to it! Originally for Christmas this year, I had asked for a new laptop. However, when Black Friday came and my husband started to ask me what features I wanted…. I really had no idea. Long story short, I decided that my current laptop is just fine and it’ll make it a few more years… hopefully! Instead of a new laptop, I decided that I wanted that money to go towards something beneficial for all of us, especially our daughter. So my husband generously agreed to a $350 budget for setting up our classroom. Below I list the four things I did to stay on budget and get the most out of our money and thanks to these three things, I came in right at our budget!

To help us stick to our budget and get the most out of this money, I sat down and did four things.

1 Searched Pinterest and gathered ideas for our layout, classroom hacks, organization and storage ideas, and decor.

2 Created a layout of what we wanted our classroom to look like.

3 Searched for the best price on items that we needed to get the most from our classroom budget.

4 Saved up our money in Walmart’s Savings Catcher app.

First, I searched my Pinterest board. Since I’ve been planning our room for a while, I have been pinning like crazy to our ” Homeschooling Board “. I’ve been gathering ideas for our room, reading blog posts about what worked and what didn’t, and gaining inspiration. I’ve found some of my best hacks from Pinterest. Hacks that really saved us some money! For example, we wanted a way to display artwork and anchor charts in our room, but didn’t want to just tape these items to the wall. We found a cute way to display our items using a curtain rod and command hooks! This cute idea gave us a fun way to show off our hard work, but it also saved us from putting more holes in our walls! This display also makes the space it takes up on the wall to be a versatile one.

If you are currently planning out your classroom space, or any space for that matter, you had better being searching through Pinterest! There are plenty of “life hacks” to search through and tips from other bloggers that REALLY save you money, time, and headaches.

Don’t forget to also search Pinterest for free printables! We found dozens of printables for us to use in our classroom. Here is a link to a bloggers site where she features 500 free printables. I printed off so many different items just from this one site!

Second, I made a layout of how I wanted our room to be. Where I wanted furniture to be, how to get the most out of the space in the room, what would be the best way to store our items and still make them easy to get to, and so on. For example, we really wanted to have a space for large chart paper to be used, but we also wanted a large dry erase board. At first, I had planned on mounting our dry erase board to the wall, but then I realized that I wasn’t giving myself a versatile classroom and was taking up way too much of our wall space. So, through my planning, I realized that the easel I would be using for the chart paper could ALSO work for holding the dry erase board when we needed it. By planning everything out and going over and over these plans, I saved our walls some serious holes and gave us back some wall space! By planning out HOW I wanted our room to look and where everything would be, it really gave me an idea of how much space we actually had, what things we would need in order to start building our homeschooling area, and to stay ON BUDGET!

The third, and by far the most important, thing I did was search for the best price on items that we wanted and needed for our space. There were items that we didn’t have and knew that we needed, or wanted, for our room. So I started our search on Walmart’s site. For a few days, I searched for our materials on Walmart’s site and then added these items to our ” save for later ” list. After creating my list of items, I continued to search for the same items, but for better prices. For example, we wanted a tub of colored bears for LC to use. These bears are great for sorting activities, pattern activities, counting, and so on. The original tub I had found was about $17 from a school supply store. I continued to search Walmart’s site and I eventually found another tub of bears that included a set pattern cards for the same price! I then searched Amazon’s site and found THE EXACT same tub of bears with patterns cards for $12! By shopping around, I saved $5 on this item and now I have that extra money to put towards something else. When doing anything on a budget, it’s incredibly important to take that extra time and shop around!

The forth thing I did was keep up and save up our savings in Walmart’s Savings Catcher app. If you shop at Walmart regularly and don’t have this app, you are missing out! All you have to do is scan your receipt after you shop. That’s it! The app searches for better prices on the items you bought and then gives you back the difference. We have been using this app since it came out a few years ago and it has been so helpful for us. We save up our savings amount and use it when we need it for big purchases. We’ve used it to re-decorate our guest bathroom, paint and organize our garage, and have even used it to cover our grocery bill a few times. We had saved up about $55 in the app when it came time to start on our classroom, so we had that extra $55 to work into our budget. That extra money went to buying new crayons and markers, children’s scissors, notebooks, laminate sheets, and other classroom essentials.

These four things really did help us, but what also helped was having the support of our family AND the collecting of items of these past few years. Our family has always been generous in giving us educational items that could one day be used to aide in LC’s academic success, but they have also handed down furniture, storage bins, and other supplies. You can also search Facebook pages for your area, or Craigslist ( be cautious ), for cheap or free items that people are getting rid of.

Armed with my list, layouts, savings catcher money, and tips from Pinterest….. it was time to start putting everything together! Below you will find pictures of our room and specific details for each section of our setup. Enjoy!

Ta-Da!!! Our room is FINALLY clean and organized. It took 3 days to clear everything out, clean the carpets and walls, and move everything back in. All of our items are hung up and ready to go. All of our materials are neatly organized and easy to get to. We can’t wait to get to work and use our room. Let’s take a tour of each area in our room.

1 We purchased this cute ABC chart from the dollar store over the summer. If you are looking for items for your own classroom, I would be sure to check your local dollar store as well!

2 This adorable poster featuring the United States is an another item we purchased and threw in closet until we had a classroom space. We bought this item, as well as many other items, last summer at Target. Always be on the lookout for great items in Target’s cheap section by the front doors. They had A TON of classroom items last summer and we stocked up on a good amount of it.

3 Our pocket chart! We decided that we wanted a large pocket chart in our classroom that could be used for various activities. We actually found this one on Walmart’s site for a great price and it is hung up using command hooks! WE LOVE COMMAND HOOKS! You may notice the color cards that are hanging at the top of our chart. Since we are setting up a preschool classroom, we’ll be learning about all colors in our first week of instruction. This is another great idea from Pinterest. Simply go to Home Depot’s paint section, or even Walmart, and grab a ton of there color sample cards. Our color rings present various shades of a specific color, so we grabbed about 15-20 cards for each color. Punch a hole in each card and add a ring to get them all together. We plan on using these color cards for teaching all about colors and the different shades a color comes in, but to also use in our science center for finding these beautiful colors in nature!

4 Rather than using a storage cube or basket for our clipboards, we decided that we wanted them to be displayed and have a designated space for them on our walls. This way, they are easy to get to, but they can also be a create place to display work that we are proud of or to hold work that we are still working on. We used command hooks to hang them up under our pocket chart and are very excited to use them! Since I run my own business and shop for items frequently at Staples, I always have coupons to use at the store. Since I was in need of ink for our printer, we used a “$10 off a purchase of $30 or more” coupon, so we ended up getting our clipboards for free 🙂

5 Before, we had a large plastic container in a corner of our living room that stored all of our puzzles. Since we were gaining a space that was designated for our educational items, we knew that we could rid ourselves of this container! We found this Melissa and Doug puzzle rack at Target for $20, but thanks to me searching around for better prices, I actually found it on Walmart’s site for $13! It’s a great puzzle rack since it holds Melissa and Doug puzzles of various sizes and it really doesn’t take up that much space.

We got this awesome storage container to help store and organize some of the items in our classroom. These storage shelves are amazing for organizing your stuff, but it is also great because you can buy a these awesome cubes boxes to place in each opening. The boxes are great because you just through all of your items in there, slide it in, and they give you the appearance of having an organized space. We have one of these storage containers in our daughter’s room and it is great for storing toys!

6 This first cube in our storage container holds a few different manipulatives we purchased. Here, we have our links, counters, bears, pattern cards and pattern shapes.

7 This second cube in our storage container holds two of our large floor puzzles and our dry erase boards. We’ll be using our dry erase boards frequently throughout our preschool curriculum and beyond, so we wanted them to be in a space where we could easily grab them and go.

8 This next cube features our mini writing center. Here, we have our pencils, erasers, post it notes, stencils, and blank books. These blank books were a steal for $3 at Target that were stocked up on over the summer. We’ll be using these to create our own stories and ” I Know ” books.

9 This cube holds all of these workbooks and flashcard sets that we have been collecting. Target had a ton of different workbooks and flashcards packs available last summer in their ” hot buys “. I’d keep an eye out for their return again this year!

10 For the moment, this cube is storing our box of 3D shapes. We’re sure that this space will be changing over time.

11 Remember how I said that the cube boxes for this storage container is great for storing and hiding your messy items? Ta-Da! This cube is where we are storing all of our playdough and playdough tools.

12 This is cube is empty at the moment, which is totally fine. I’m sure we’ll need this open space for something in the future.

13 This cube is storing more of our manipulatives in small pencil containers. These pencil containers are another great way to store and organizer your smaller items. Be on the look out for them once the back to school stuff is put out. We found our containers a few years ago at the dollar store, so naturally, we stocked up!

1 This awesome table was something that we hadn’t planned on buying. We were going to just use the table and chairs that we have in our outside classroom, but during a trip to Walmart, I came across this set in their furniture section… for $25!!! The table AND the chairs both feature dry erase boards! How awesome is that for a preschool classroom!

2 Originally, I didn’t want a desk like this in our classroom, but we needed somewhere for it to go. This desk used to be in our daughter’s room and it was actually a great piece of furniture for holding her hair accessories, CD player, night light, toys, and for laying out her clothes. Since we moved the bigger bed into her room, we just couldn’t keep the desk in there. Turns out, this desk is awesome for storing our printer, my laptop, and the numerous other items I need to plan out and set up activities. It’s also a great place for storing our globe we recently purchased!

This is our indoor science center. You may remember that we also have a science center out in our garage area, but we knew that it would be great to also have an indoor version.

1 This is a piece of furniture that used to be in my home as a child. When my parents wanted to get rid of it, my husband and I were happy to take it off their hands. It has served so many purposes and thanks to my hoarding, we had another storage area for our classroom! For now, there are only some science items and kits in the first drawer.

2 As you can see, we have a few tools for our science center set up and ready to go! The scale was a Christmas gift from the grandparents, while the test tubes and Viewscope were items that we purchased ourselves. We originally found both of these items on Amazon, but decided to purchase them from Walmart’s site because they were offering free shipping. With free shipping, the prices were exactly the same as through Amazon.

3 This poster board is our way of being able to display small anchor charts for our science center. This will be a great way to display information and pictures as we grow with our room.

1 This is the basket where we will be keeping our books that relate to the weekly themes of our preschool curriculum.

2 Remember how I mentioned that we wanted a versatile space? This easel is currently holding our whiteboard and it will also hold our large white paper we will be using for anchor charts, as well. In the event we need this corner for something else in the future, this easel can be folded up and put away! This is easel is something that I’ve held on to since I was in art school. It’s been folded up and stored in our garage, so I was happy that I saved it when it came time to plan out and set up our room.

1 The bottom of this bookshelf is serving as a storage area for some of our educational resources that I’ve collected throughout the years. It is also holding our binders that feature many of our printables that I have found from Pinterest, page protectors, homeschooling books, and so on.

2 These ” Match It ” sets are amazing! We bought 4 box sets of these for our classroom. We bought the numbers set, the first word set, the counting set, and the beginning addition set. Each set is $10 from Walmart’s site and they are definitely a great buy. The cards are thick and glossy, which will make them last with our little one! For now, we are leaving them in the boxes they come in as they are a great way to neatly store them.

3 We found these storage baskets from Target in their clearance section! They usually go for about $7 a piece, but we were able to get them for about $3. We are currently using one of them to store our Alphabet Dinosaur set, while the other is waiting to home other items.

4 A full basket of crayons! It is a preschool classroom after all 🙂

5 Okay, I never planned for a laminator to find it’s way in to our classroom. I had looked at them before and just couldn’t imagine spending that kind of money on a laminator. The cheaper ones that I had been looking at were still around $60 and that didn’t include the pouches you had to buy separately. I had just written it off as something that I would have to save for and maybe, just maybe, one day I would be able to justify that expense. However, it must have been fate! While shopping at Walmart for some last minute items for our classroom, I saw the display for these Scotch laminators, saw that they were selling them for $10 ( !!!! ) and thought ” Why not try it? “. OMG! I am so happy that I did! It has been awesome! We’ve used it for so many items in our room. We’ve laminated our items for our weather and number boards, several of our letter set printables, and so much more! The pouches are where the expense comes from. A pack of 60 was about $13. Still, I feel that this is now something we couldn’t be without in our classroom!

6 As we went through and planned out our classroom, it was obvious that there were going to be empty places, but that is what we wanted. We wanted to set up a space that we could grown in to. These storage boxes are one of those places! The top box features some of our ” rings of knowledge ” that we have made so far, but the rest of the boxes are empty. Oh the possibilities! I’ve actually been collecting these boxes for years now. They have housed my listings for Etsy, art supplies, cardstock, toys, and so on. Now, they will be used in some way in our room.

1 Here, we are storing some of our educational books for our classroom. We are also using this space to store our Hooked On Phonics sets that were handed down to us.

2 and 3 Yet another set of storage bins! Currently, these storage bins are housing our unifex cubes, musical instruments, and animal figurines.

4 This awesome paper storage unit was given to us and it fits perfectly into our classroom space! The flat top also allows us to store more items on top, so we aren’t really losing that space.

5 We are using the top of the paper storage unit to display and store our cups of colored pencils, dry erase markers, and markers. There was also enough space to keep our roll of paper and holder!

6 I’m sure we will be finding other uses for this filing system, but for now, we are using it to hold some of our worksheets, printables, and progress trackers. We are also using some of the folders as a way to start our homeschooling portfolio.

1 Originally, we purchased a set of super cute anchor charts from Target for $1 a piece. I had them all laid out and ready to be hung up. Then, the dogs got to them. They didn’t just chew off a corner or two, they ate all four posters! So we had to purchase another set of anchor charts. I searched for the same set, but was unable to find it again, so the hunt began for another set of charts that we liked. I’ve been very picky about our anchor charts for some reason, but we settled on these.

2 We made these two signs using picture frames from the dollar store and scrapbooking paper. We plan on using theme to write our letter and shape of the day, but they can also be used down the line to write our scheduled events, inspiration text, tricky sight words, and so on.

3 Our calendar! We settled on using a pocket chart for our calendar has it was going to easy to change out each month and we wouldn’t need to nail or tape something else to wall. We hung up our pocket chart using command hooks and the calendar set was purchased at the dollar store! Along the side of our calendar chart, you’ll notice our months of the year card. We actually made these ourselves using scrapbooking paper and laminated them.

4 This is where we are keeping out weather tracker, seasons wheel, and this awesome ” number of days in school ” chart. All of the pieces for our weather tracker and number of days chart were cut out, laminated, and put on a ring for each access and storage. When we move past the age of needing these charts, we will have this bulletin board to use for whatever we need at that time.

We found our weather tracker here and our ” Number of Days in School ” chart here. These are awesome blogs and I would highly recommend taking a look around while you’re there!

This is the closet in our room. I’m still using it mostly for my materials and supplies for my businesses, but we have designated some space for storage of our arts and crafts supplies.

Quick Reference Tips and Tricks:

Plan Ahead

Search For Inspiration ( Pinterest! )

Save And Collect Educational Items From Various Stores

Use Those Helpful Life Hacks ( Pinterest! )

Collect And Hoard Furniture and Storage Bins

Search For The Best Prices For The Items You Want/Need

Ask For Help From Family And Friends

Make A Space Work In Various Ways

Use Walmart’s Savings Catcher

We hope that this post has inspired you in your own journey to create that perfect learning space for your family. If you have any tips or tricks you think we could use, we’d love to hear them! Leave a comment for us below!

Brittany XOXO

Be sure to check out our latest Etsy items below!

Looking for something for your home? Check out our other Etsy shop for inspirational decor. Here are a few of our most recent listings…

Cooking For Toddlers: Yummy Zucchini Muffins

Cooking For Toddlers

Like any other parents, we are always watching what our little ones eats. We obsess over how much sugar is too much, is she drinking too much milk, has she had enough vegetables, or if holding out on certain foods will make her go crazy when she can get them on her own?!?!? This all goes out the window, of course,  when the grandparents are around 🙂 . We all want the best for our kids and try to make healthy decisions that work for our families. I know this blog is supposed to be all about arts and crafts with educational connections for kids and not foods, but I’m a mother first and foremost. Which means that paint, markers, and glue aren’t the only things I think about. I feel that cooking with your children can provide them with the same opportunities to be hands on, get creative, and explore. Cooking is just another form of art and it can incorporate tons of different concepts. Children who are involved in the kitchen are improving their math skills, gaining an understanding of the importance of following directions, learning real life skills, and so much more.

When Lyanna was about 6 months old, I started making all of her baby food. Cleaning, chopping, pureeing, freezing, and so on. I loved every second of it! I loved trying new foods with her, the whole cooking process, and most importantly, knowing EXACTLY what was in the foods she was eating. If you are considering making your baby’s food, I would highly recommend it. It’s more cost effective than store bought baby food and it’s very simple to do. You don’t need any special accessories. If you have a blender and a few ice trays, you’re all set ! Through Pinterest and other blogs, I found a million foods ideas and suggestions. You can do it!




LC is older now and I’m not have to puree all of her foods, but we still make quite a bit from scratch. One of her favorites is muffins. Blueberry muffins, strawberry muffins, apple cinnamon muffins, and her favorite, zucchini muffins. She loves muffins! Now that she’s on this independence kick lately, she loves helping me in the kitchen. We turn the oven light on for her, and she’ll sit and watch. Just waiting for her food to be ready! Since the new school year is quickly approaching, we’ve been stocking up on our homemade food items and preparing for the busy schedules again. When you’ve have a crazy day and you don’t want to cook, having healthy, homemade meals waiting in the freezer for you is the best feeling! This week, we made a batch of our zucchini muffins together and we thought we’d share our recipe with you! These usually don’t last too long in our house and if you make them yourself, you’ll see why :).

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Cupcake Tin

Paper Liners

Grater

Peeler ( optional )

3 eggs

1 cup of sugar

1 cup of vegetable oil

1 tsp of baking soda

1/2 tsp of baking powder

2 tsp of cinnamon

2 tsp of vanilla extract

1 tsp of salt

3 cups of flour

2 zucchinis

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Step 1: Preheat your over to 350* and add your liners to your cupcake tin. Add 3 eggs, 1 cup of sugar, and 1 cup of oil to a mixing bowl. Mix until fully blended together ( See picture below ).

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Step 2: Add 2 tsp of cinnamon, 2 tsp of vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp of baking powder, 1 tsp of baking soda, and 1 tsp of salt to your bowl. Mix well.

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Step 3: Add 3 cups of flour to this mix and stir well.

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Step 4: After adding in your flour, you will get a tough dough. Step 4 is just a reminder to not add anything! You want a batter, so you’ll be tempted to add more oil, but don’t! The next step will take care of that 🙂

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Step 5: Cut off the stub from your zucchini and peel. Peeling is really optional. Some people like to leave the skin on, but for our muffins, we peel them.

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Step 6: Grate your zucchini right into your bowl. Mix well. The water from your zucchini will now make your thick dough into a batter.

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Step 7: Portion your batter into your liners and pop them in the oven for 25 minutes. We sprinkle a bit of sugar on top of our muffins before putting them in to bake. You should try it !

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Step 8: Let your muffins cool for about 15 – 20 minutes. Now you have delicious homemade zucchini muffins!

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These muffins are fairly simple to put together and if you’re cooking with your kids, they can help with almost every step! Being in the kitchen with your children is a great way to get some family time in during the week when your schedules are a bit more hectic. LC loves helping in the kitchen now, especially when it has to do with her food. She eats these zucchini muffins all the time and would eat them for every meal if we let her. It usually doesn’t take us too long to get through our batch of muffins! We hope that you have enjoyed our post and that you will make these delicious and healthy muffins with your family. Enjoy !

 

The Life of a Lice Picker: Expert Advice On The Best, Most Time Efficient, No Fail Way To Check For Head Lice

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Oh summer. How quickly you came and went! Okay, I still have a few weeks left before school is back in session, but it still makes me sad! I’ve gotten so use to all of this free time. HAHAHAHAHA. Right, with a 2 year old with me all day, there really is NO FREE TIME. However, that’s the part I think I’m going to miss the most. During the school year, I get almost 2 1/2 hours a day with my little one and that makes my heart ache just thinking about returning to those days. We’ve had from sun up to sun down together. Playing. Learning. Reading. Walks together. Projects together. Ugh. I’m going to stop before I get all emotional again.

Anyways, this time of year is ALWAYS busy session for Helping Hands Lice Removal. I’ve been a technician for HHLR for almost 7 years now and the end of the summer/ beginning of the school has always been our busiest time. Kids are coming home from summer camp and a good amount of them are coming home with head lice. Sleep away camps are infamous for head lice. These camps are great for teaching children about independence, building relationships, making memories, and so on, but it’s also a great place to catch and pass head lice. Most camps will do head checks upon arrival, but lice and their nits can be missed during these checks. Then there is school! Kids are getting back in to the classroom, which is ALWAYS a great place for head lice to spread. Lice love the inviting library areas with comfy chairs or bean bags that teachers set up for their students.

Picture this: Your daughter comes home from summer camp with lice. She isn’t itchy and you don’t think twice about lice since she had a check upon entering camp. Next week, she returns to school. She hugs her friends that she hasn’t seen for awhile and maybe takes a few pictures with them where their heads are touching. A few more weeks go by where she is always around these friends at school and has even had a few sleepovers with them. Then, you get a call from the school nurse saying that your daughter … has HEAD LICE. Oh, and all of her friends have it as well.

Okay, the point of that story was just to show you how quickly lice can enter your home and spread to other people. This is why it is SO important to do head checks for lice. I always recommend to my clients that they check their children’s hair ONCE A WEEK and especially after they return from camp or a sleepover. Visually going through your child’s hair once a week can be very time consuming and straining on your eyes and back. Not to mention your kids are going to dread this and fight you. They’ll complain so much, you’ll stop doing head checks and then you are right back where you started. Smacked by head lice! Lucky for you, I thought I would share how we do head checks. Our way is very time efficient and more reliable than visually looking for lice and their nits in a head of hair. Since I’m exposed to head lice almost every single day, this is the method I use for checking myself. It’s not an option for me to visually check my self and I would never trust my husband to do it either.

Be sure to check out my other post ” The Life of a Lice Picker: Expert Advice on Treatments, Cleaning, and Prevention ” where you will find more information than you’ll want to know about head lice !

First, you will need 2 items: A lice comb and any type conditioner.

I recommend investing in ” The Terminator ” lice comb. Yes, it’s a bit expensive for a lice comb, but it’s expensive for a reason. IT IS THE BEST COMB. We use it for treatments and I have my own for doing my head checks. I’ve only ever seen it sold in a drug store once, so I’d check Ulta or order it through Amazon :). You’ll be glad to have it when that scary letter comes home with your child that lice has been reported in their class.

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The hair needs to be wet. For me, I always check my hair as soon as I get out of the shower. For my clients, I wet their hair with a spray bottle. If you are checking your own child’s hair, just have them take a shower or bath first. Wet hair makes it difficult for bugs to maneuver through the hair. It slows them down and that’s what you want when you are trying to find them. Also, it is so much easier to get a lice comb through a head of hair when it is wet. I treat and check people every day, trust me when I say this !

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Using your regular brush or comb, brush out any tangles that may be in the hair. For longer hair, be sure to be brushing the hair back and out of the face.

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Add a same amount of conditioner to the hair. Apply it throughout the hair, but be sure to focus a good amount on the end. This will help prevent the hair from tangling up during the next step.

How much conditioner you add depends on the thickness of your hair. For example, if the hair is thin, start by adding about a dime size amount. For thicker hair, start by adding a quarter size amount. If you add too much, don’t worry. You always have the option of having your children jump back in to the shower after the head check to rinse it out. I only state to add small amounts of conditioner at to prevent another shower. The idea of adding conditioner is because it helps make the lice comb glide through the hair. It can’t do that if it gets caught on tangles.




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Using your lice comb, start combing through the hair.

There is a technique to coming through the hair and the more you do this, the better you’ll be at it. Start by combing straight back through the hair. You’ll want to start at the front hair line, directly in the center.

Comb straight back, as far as you can go, pushing the lice comb in to the scalp. DO NOT PUSH TOO HARD. You aren’t trying to hurt your child, or yourself, but you are trying to make sure that no little bugs go undetected. The idea here is to comb just as you would with a regular brush, but this comb will pull out any bugs in this little section.

Don’t worry about going all the way down the scalp to the nape of the neck, we’ll get to that section in a minute. After each stroke, take a quick look at your comb. If your child has head lice, there will be a bug stuck in the comb.

Don’t waste your time looking for nits. If you find something that you believe is a nit, there has to be a bug in the hair somewhere. That nit didn’t just show up, a louse had to lay it on the hair shaft. Very rarely do I ever see someone that just has nits in the hair and when I do, it’s because they have already been treated and the bugs have been combed out or have fallen off because they were dead.

You’ll continue combing like this, slowing moving over each stroke closer to the ear. Kind of like how you mow the lawn. You mow a straight line, then the next line is overlapping that previous line. Once you have completed that side, you will start again from the center and continue to the other ear.

I’m working on getting pictures for these steps, but surprisingly no client wants their picture taken and put online for the world to see 😉

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Once your have combed this portion of the scalp, you will now be combing the bottom portion. For longer hair, you can have your child flip their head over. You repeat the same technique you have previously done to the top portion of the scalp and hair.

…. and your done ! I say that this is a fail proof method because it truly is. There is no wrong way to do this. As long as you are thoroughly combing through the hair and you are going over each portion of the scalp, YOU WILL FIND A BUG…. if there is one. Again, I recommend doing this kind of head check once a week or when your children return from a sleepover or camp. If you do these checks once a week, you will already be on top of things if they ever get head lice. You’ll be dealing with a case that has been there for less than a week, which means there will be a small amount of stuff to get out of the hair. Plus you will feel less overwhelmed with the process since you’ve been becoming a pro at using your lice comb and combing through the hair.

Advice From A Professional Lice Picker

Prevention Products: Prevention products are scented hair care products that deter head lice from coming to a head of hair. There are a number of prevention products that come in a variety of scents on the market for you to select from. If you have an Ulta around you, they have a great selection! Remember that using prevention products are not a 100% guarantee that your children won’t get lice. Be sure to talk to your kids about personal space and that you are keeping their hair up when they go to school. If you are trying to decide on which product to purchase, I always recommend getting a spray product. Prevention shampoos and conditioners are great, but I feel that the sprays give you a more potent, longer lasting scent and that is what deters a louse from coming to a head of hair.

Hair Style Choices: Prevention products should be used in conjunction with a great hairstyle that also helps prevent lice. For longer hair, it’s best to keep the hair up in a high ponytail. I allows recommend high buns or top knots when lice season is in full swing.

Sharing Space: If your child will be sharing a cubby or coat rack with their classmates, have them put their jackets and hats IN their backpacks. Even as an adult, I never put my own jacket on a coat rack!

Beware of the Comfy Chair: Most elementary classrooms will have a comfy and inviting library, complete with bean bag chairs or even a small sofa. These items are great for passing head lice around a classroom. Lice prefer to be on your head, but they can and do fall out of the hair. They’ll hang around and wait for the chance to crawl back on to a new head and this is how lice can spread around a classroom.

Weekly Head Checks: As stated above, I always recommend weekly head checks during the school year. You never know when lice is going to strike and you’d rather find it immediately than after a month or two of the case building up in your child’s head. If your children are going to sleepovers, be sure to check them as soon as they get home.

I want to end this post with telling you that lice IS NOT something to freak out about. People get it every single day and it’s more common than you think. There is a stigma surrounding lice and almost everything you hear is false. You didn’t get head lice because your dirty, or because you have blonde hair, or because you stayed at a hotel. If the conditions are right and you have hair, lice will happily make your head their new home.

If you happen to be experiencing head lice or are worried that you MAY have it, the first thing you need to do is CALM DOWN. Pour yourself a glass of wine and just breath. I hope this post has helped you in some way and I hope that our head checking method makes your life a little easier. If you have questions or would like more information, you can visit our previous post about head lice, ” The Life of a Lice Picker: Expert Advice on Treatments, Cleaning, and Prevention “. You can also call our hotline at 1-888-206-8773 to speak with me about your situation

– Brittany

XOXO

Life of a Lice Picker




Summer Adventures: Gem Mining In Emerald Village

Our Gem Mining Adventure In Emerald Village

We have been living it up this summer! Before we start on baby number two, we have been trying to get the most out of this last summer with just our beautiful daughter, Lyanna. We’ve been going to the lake every chance we get, visiting family in Virginia, and we have been doing tons of crafts and hands on learning activities with her. This week, we had family come in town to spend some time with us. We decided to take a day trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains to visit Emerald Village, a gem stone mining location in Little Switzerland, NC. We live in Durham, so this ” day trip ” literally took ALL DAY. From our house to the mining site, it was about 3 1/2 hours. 7 hours round trip! WHEW! I do have to say that it was definitely worth the drive. I love making memories with our family and giving LC a chance to build relationships with her cousins. Plus, the mountains are beautiful and a bit less humid. Cool breezes, beautiful scenery, time with family, amazing gemstones, hands on activities, and enjoying fresh air. What more could you ask for? Maybe for it all to be a bit closer….

It actually ended up taking us a bit longer to get to our destination, so if you are planning this trip, I would also expect some delays. With four children along for the ride, there was bound to be bathroom breaks. Plus, we had to start the morning off right with a quick stop to get breakfast biscuits! As we got closer to Little Switzerland and further into the mountains, we stopped one last time to stretch, take a bathroom break, and take some scenic pictures. If you are traveling this summer through this area, there are several locations where you can pull over for some great pictures. Just be sure you are stopping in a location designated for this. These roads are no joke and can be very dangerous. I was not prepared for these roads, AT ALL. They are incredibly curvy and some parts are very narrow. It can be even more nerve-wracking when you pass a semi truck coming down the mountain. If that doesn’t scare you, take a moment and think of the amount of stress on their brakes going down the mountain. EEK!

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We finally reached our destination! To our surprise, there wasn’t that many people at the mine. However, this was in the middle of the day on a Monday. While we don’t mind being around people, it’s nice to feel that you have something all to yourself! It’s like going to an amusement park in the middle of the day and not having to wait in a single line. We started in right away and purchased our buckets. They have a variety of sizes to choose from, are reasonably priced, and they are filled to the brim. A child’s size bucket ( see the picture below of LC with her bucket ) is 1 gallon and it was only $ 10 !

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After getting our buckets, we found plenty of open seats at the water flumes to start ” mining ” our gems. This was definitely my favorite part of the day. The flumes run with cold water from the mountains and it felt fabulous after being so hot. You use your hand shovel to add small amounts of the material to your tray, let the water run through, and shake your tray in the water. Shaking the tray was Lyanna’s favorite part. She LOVED getting her hands wet and shaking as much as she could. You then pick out the freshly rinsed gems and stones out of your tray. It’s such a simple thing, but it was so much fun seeing how excited the kids were about finding beautifully colored stones.

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Once you are done “mining” your gems and stones, you can actually take them to be evaluated by someone. They look them over and tell you what you’ve found. One of our cousins, Kali, had found a rather heavy rock and the person looking over her stones cut it open for her. To her surprise, there was beautiful crystals inside. It was definitely a great find! Emerald Village also gives you the option of having your gems turned into pieces of jewelry, but we decided just to keep what we had as is. They also have a great shaded picnic area where we ate a quick lunch together. We had worked up quite an appetite finding our stones and it was great to sit in a quiet, cool area with a great view of the mountains.

After lunch, we went right across the street to the North Carolina Mining Museum which is actually in a real mine. This self guided tour was a little much for a 2 year old, but LC did great and was just happy to be walking around with all of us. On the outside of the mine, they have a very large pond with a waterfall and fish to feed! Okay, the fish feeding part was actually her favorite part of our day! She was talking to them like they were babies and calling them sweet names as she threw them their food. It was adorable ! This area was very beautiful and the air was nice and cool. It was also very interesting to see the equipment that was once used to mine this area and to read about what life was like as a miner.

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Once we completed our tour, we went over to the gift shop before heading home. I try and get something small for LC every time we go somewhere and this gift shop had plenty of options. Their prices were fantastic ! I actually pick up a few things for LC to keep on her memory shelf.

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The little jar on the left was such a great idea! It was only $1 and it was perfect for all of her tiny stones she found. There were a lot of little pieces of garnet in her bucket so we got this little container for her to keep them in. I really wish I had bought more of them! All of these little items for $10!

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Lyanna proudly showing off her heavy bag of “baby rocks”

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This was a fantastic trip and if you are ever in this area of North Carolina, I would highly recommend stopping by. It was reasonably priced and the amount of beautiful nature around to take in is totally worth the drive. Our cell phones didn’t have great service in this area, so it was a great opportunity to disconnect and just enjoy the company of our family. Emerald Village also sells a ” bucket in a bag ” to take home with you. My aunt bought one of these for our cousin that was unable to travel with us. This way, she can have fun at home finding her own gems! Since my husband was also unable to come with us, Lyanna and I brought him a bag home as well. He and Lyanna worked on this bag tonight together. He was able to see the excitement in her that I got to see and have a special moment with just her.

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Lyanna has continued to play with all of her stones and has also be practicing counting with them. I may have to take advantage of this new interest ! I guess it’s time to surf Pinterest and a few of my favorites blog for inspiration ! I hope you have enjoyed reading about our wonderful adventure and I hope it encouraged you to get out and enjoy the world around us. You can visit Emerald Village’s website by clicking here. Check out what they have to offer and maybe visit the beautiful mountains soon to experience this wonderful place yourself !

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– Brittany

XOXO




The Life of a Lice Picker: Expert Advice on Treatments, Cleaning, and Prevention

The Life of a Lice Picker-

This is a little off topic from what I usually write and post about, so stay with me. You’ll be glad you did. And yes, that is me in the pictures. I have thick, crazy hair that is down to my hips. And no, I don’t have lice!

I have mentioned before that I work for a wonderful company that treats families who have head lice. Yes, head lice. In a world of ” super-lice “, which is actually not a real thing, companies like ours have been popping up everywhere to help rid heads of these pests. Our company, Helping Hands Lice Removal,  is a mobile lice removal service. We have been servicing North Carolina and Georgia for the past 10 years. I go out to people’s homes, check everyone in the family, and treat the ones that have evidence of lice ( lice and/or nits ) in their hair. I know it sounds crazy, but I love this job. I get to enjoy a flexible schedule, help families, get children back into school, and be there to support moms and dads with helpful advice and peace of mind. The best part of my job: everyone is always happy to see me! I get to be a super hero for a few hours! The local news station here actually interviewed me last summer to get advice on treating and preventing lice. That was a weird day for me. I was feeling happy, nervous, excited, and embarrassed all at once. I was so happy and excited to help people, but at the same time my name was being put out there to an audience and it was associated with lice!

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I am based in North Carolina and since I don’t travel out of the Triangle ( Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill ), I thought I would do this post as a way to help all of those that I can’t reach. If you are reading this and currently dealing with lice, you are always more than welcome to call our hotline number at 1-888-206-8773. You can ask to speak to me directly and I can walk you through the treatment process, answer your questions, and give you advice. I love talking to and helping people!

Earlier, I mentioned ” super lice “. Those two words are so very frustrating to me. Lice have received this new title because they have become immune to almost every kind of treatment that uses pyrethrin, which is an insecticide. They’ve become immune to these products over the years because of over-exposure. People use Nix or Rid to treat, but don’t effectively comb and a few generations down the line, the lice are no longer bothered by them. I get so frustrated by the use of the words ” super lice ” because every time a new article comes out using those words, it strikes panic into every parent and lice products come flying off the shelves. I hate to break it to you, but this isn’t something new. Lice have been immune to these products for years. I’m 27 years old and when I was in 5th grade and my mom was treating me for lice, they were already immune to Nix. 15 years ago ! Yes, these companies change their formulas to become effective once again, but that only works for so long before the bugs catch up.

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Treatment

There are a million and one treatment products out there for you to choose from. Pick one that you feel is right for you and your family. To be completely honest, it doesn’t matter what product you use. The most important part of the treatment process is the combing. As long as you are thorough with your combing, you will get everything out. There is a reason we have the phrase ” nit-picking “. The combing process is tedious and time consuming, but it’s what it takes to get lice and their nits out of your hair. Make sure that you are dividing the hair up in to small sections to focus your combing on, one section at a time. Thoroughly comb through each section, one at a time.

There are treatment products out there that make this part a bit easier. Products like Fairytales or Nit-Free are natural, chemical free products that loosen the nits so that they come out a lot easier.

A word of warning: I will not say the name of this company or the product they push, but I will advise you NOT to use it. There is a prescription strength treatment ” lotion ” that you can go to your doctor and get. This product is advertised to be used on all ages. This product says that there is no need to comb. This product is a waste of your money. In my 7 years with Helping Hands I have never, not once, treated someone under the age of 1. Rarely do I treat someone who is under the age of 2. I’m not saying that this age group can’t get head lice, but I’m saying that it is unlikely. MOST children this age have thinner hair and lice prefer a warmer head to live on. If you say a product is safe for ALL ages, there is going to be a person out there that treats there 6 month old with your product, just to feel that they are covering all of their bases. It is completely unnecessary to expose a small child to such a product, just because. That’s not my biggest pet-peeve with this product. The ” no combing ” part is just about the worst advice to give someone battling lice. You need to comb to get everything out, nit casings and all. What if your product doesn’t work. You’ve now made this family spend the money for the product, waste their time cleaning and treating, all to have the lice begin again and do it again !

Okay. I’m done ranting.

Always be sure to perform a retreat 7 to 10 days after your first treatment. Retreats are meant to make sure that your first treatment was performed correctly and that you or your child haven’t been re-infested from the original source. Lice spread in circles of people and it is likely that whoever you got it from the first time can spread it back to you again. If you are thorough during your first treatment, your retreat will be a breeze. Some people like to comb through the hair every day for a set amount of time. I won’t tell you not to do that, especially if it makes you feel better to do so, but I personally feel that it is a waste of time. There is also the chance that your child will become annoyed with the situation and begin to refuse to work with you and sit still.

One last thing: NEVER, EVER wrap your head or your child’s head with ANY kind of material and go to sleep. If you were thinking of letting their hair soak in olive oil for the night and wrap their head in a plastic bag, DON’T. Maybe just wrap it in a towel? NO. Do not wrap ANYTHING around your head or your child’s head and go to sleep. The movements we make during the night can cause these items to slide down over the face and cause suffocation. If you want to go the olive oil treatment route, that’s totally fine. Please do this form of treatment during the day when everyone is awake and you can keep an eye on the item you’ve wrapped around the head.

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When battling head lice, 90% of your efforts should be focused on the actual treatment of the hair and 10% on cleaning. There really isn’t that much you need to address. People think that when you have head lice, you need to clean everything in your home, top to bottom. Curtains, shoes, every stuffed animal in a 5 miles radius. No. No. No. Lice want to be on YOU ! Your head is where the feed from, it’s the only place they can lay their nits, they depend on the heat from your scalp, and it’s where their mate is. Lice have 3 purposes in their tiny little lives: They want to feed, reproduce, and annoy the living crap out of you. There’s no reason for them to be hanging out on your couch. However, there is a chance that a louse MAY fall out of your hair while sitting on the couch or while you sleep and are scratching your head. This is why you want to do SOME cleaning.

I always tell my clients to focus their cleaning efforts on items that have had extended contact with their child’s head. Like their beds, hair accessories, car seats, and so on. A good rule of thumb to follow is if they haven’t worn it, played with it, or laid on it in 48 hours, you don’t need to worry about it. To clean items that you are concerned about, you can do one of three things, or all of them if you choose. I won’t tell you that doing all three is over the top because at the end of the day if it made you feel better to do so, then by all means do it!

To clean items that your children have had extended contact with you can 1. stick items in the dryer, on high heat, for 30 to 45 minutes, 2. put them in the freezer over night, or 3. quarantine them for 48 hours. If you are dealing with head lice this summer, just throw everything in your car and park it in the sun for a few hours. The temperature in your car is going to get so hot, it will kill any lice on these items. This is a great suggestion for the parent that wants to clean everything single thing their child has touched in the past 6 months. Cleaning items this way will help your electricity bill not go through the roof with your washer and dryer running for 3 days.

It’s important to note that when you are cleaning items you are doing so in the event a louse has come off of your child on to these items. You aren’t cleaning to rid your sheets and jackets of nits. Nits are not going to just fall off the head. These eggs are glued to the hair shaft and that is what makes getting rid of lice so difficult. Also, nits can’t hatch off of your head. They are dependent on the heat from your scalp, which is why the mother louse lays them in your hair and so close to your scalp. I get this question a lot : ” But what if a nit is on this pillow and it hatches in a week and that louse gets back on my child? ” . That isn’t going to happen. Climb down from the roof, put the matches down, breath, and drink some wine.

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The best form of prevention is avoiding head to head contact, or head to item to head ( sharing brushes ) contact, with others. This sounds easy enough, but most children lack personal space with their siblings and friends. As I type this, my own daughter is laying with one of our dogs and rubbing her head all over him. She’s not going to get lice from a dog, but it’s that closeness that could one day get her lice from a friend. Yes, there are tons of prevention products on the market and several DIY mixes you can make to prevent head lice. The only 100% effective prevention is keeping your head and personal items to yourself. I suggest the use of prevention products in conjunction with having a talk with your children about personal space and why it’s important to respect other’s space.

Some quick tips I give all of my clients:

Avoid head to head contact with others and never use someone else’s brush, hair accessories, or hats.

Rather than spending money on a whole line of prevention products, just purchase a spray from your preferred brand. The scent from a prevention product is what deters lice from coming to a head of hair and these sprays are more potent.

Always have your children wear their hair up when at school or daycare. Keeping the hair up or braided is a good way to keep it contained and away from others. The best hair style when head lice is going around your child’s class: A high top knot or ballerina bun.

When going to a sleep over, bring your own pillow and blankets. When your children return from a sleepover, it would be wise to check their heads for lice. This way, if they did get it, you can catch it almost immediately and get it out before it gets a chance to build up.

The biggest tip I have… STOP WITH THE SELFIES WITH YOUR FRIENDS! In the past 4 years, I have seen such an influx with teenagers who are getting lice and spreading it around their group of friends. They fluff their hair just right, and it is usually down, and put their head right up to their friends’ heads. They stay in that pose for 100 or more pictures to get just the right one and BAM, 4 weeks later, they all have a very activate case of lice and wonder how they got it. STOP IT! I have had clients get so tired of dealing with reoccurring cases of lice that they threaten to take their children’s phones away.

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I think the big fear and paranoia about getting head lice comes from misunderstandings and myths about these little pests. People hear horror stories about year long battles and shaving of heads and just–lose–it. ” I had a friend who had to shave her daughter’s head and throw out all of their mattresses “. This is an actual quote from a client. I hear things like these all the time and I just want to scream. All I want to say is ” Well your friend is a nut case who read some crazy advice from another nut case “, but instead I have to say ” That’s unfortunate, I wish I could have helped her “.

Clean VS. Dirty: Some people think that if you shower and wash your hair everyday, you’re more likely to get lice because your hair is so welcoming for them. Other people think that lice are only found on people who have dirty hair and haven’t showered in weeks. Neither of these is an absolute. Yes, lice can be present in both of those scenarios, but it isn’t because of their hygiene practices. Lice like all hair types and colors. They don’t care if you live in a mansion or in a box on the street. If you have enough hair to keep them warm, they will happily take up residence. I think the misconception about ” dirty ” hair is that people assume that means unwashed. Lice prefer hair that is CLEAN and free of oil based products. These products and chemicals are what the term “dirty” implies in this case. Think ” clean eating “. If you use a good amount of hair products, you are less likely to contract head lice. LESS LIKELY. This isn’t implying that you’re in the clear, but it’s just unlikely. Strange things happen every day.

Lice are hanging out in your home: Nope. Nope. Nope. Lice want to be in your hair. This is the only place they can feed from, lay their nits, it’s warm and it’s where their mates are. Why would they take up residence on your couch? You should clean your frequently used items just in case a bug has come off. The treatment process is so tedious that you don’t want to throw away all of that hard work by missing a misplaced bug on your hair brush. Stick to cleaning items that have had extended contact with your hair. Don’t worry about the drapes, carpets in every room, and all the clothes in your closet. Having said that, if it makes you feel better to detail your entire house after a lice outbreak, just do it.

New Mattresses: When I first started working for Helping Hands, I arrived at a client’s house to find their mattresses piled up on their porch. They told me that they read online that they should either get new mattresses or quarantine their old ones for about a month. I can’t tell you how hard it was for me to keep a straight face. Lice do not burrow into your items like bed bugs do. Those sprays that you can buy to ” sanitize ” your mattresses of lice are a complete waste of money. Just strip your sheets and wash them how you would normally clean them. Done. No need to buy new mattresses !

Apply product and you’re good to go: As I’ve said before, the most important part about treating head lice is the combing. You need to comb in order to remove all nits and lice from your hair. There is absolutely no product you can apply to the hair that will magically kill AND remove everything from your hair. I hear people say that they’ve been ” treating ” for months and the lice keep coming back. Once I get in the hair and have a look around, I quickly realize that by ” treating ” they mean just applying the product. You need to section off the hair and comb through each section. No product is 100% in killing lice and their nits. There are some schools that have a ” No Nit ” policy in place and the only way your children can return to school is if they are nit free. The only way to achieve this …. is by combing!

Once you’ve had head lice, it’s easier to get it again and again: I don’t quite understand the logic of this theory. Yes, it’s true that if your child gets head lice, there is the possibility that they could get it again. That isn’t because lice know that other lice have been there before. It’s because lice spread in groups of friends or classmates and there IS the possibility that lice can cycle back around to people in these groups. For example, say your child and their classmates at school get head lice. All of the parents of these children perform treatments, but in different manners. All of these kids get rid of their lice, but one child wasn’t combed out properly and they still have some bugs in their hair. It’ll take a few weeks, but this case of lice will grow and eventually there will be enough bugs to spread back to the other children again. It is because of these cycles that I suggest that parents keep an eye out for the signs of head lice for a while. If it does circle back and your child gets it again, you can catch early enough to easily treat it before it gets out of hand.

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Companies like ours have been popping up all over the place in the past 10 years. There are salons you can visit or mobile services that come out to your home. Head lice treatments are a making money industry. I personally strive to make sure that each and every one of my clients are happy and feel at ease when I leave their homes. I go out of my way to be there for my clients and am always available when they call our hotline number. My boss and I keep an open and honest policy and we’ll even work with you if you can’t pay for the treatment all at once. We’re pretty nice people, unless you’re running a head lice removal company and are trying to take advantage of people. In that case, I will happily call you out on your bad business practices. The mention of lice will strike fear and panic into any parent and when they frantically call a company looking for help, they NEED HELP. They don’t need that company to prey on their fears and steal their money. If you’ve ever thought about calling a service, here are some helpful tips for avoiding a scam and wasting your time:

Stick to a locally based company and avoid big business companies. I won’t name any specific names, but there is a large lice removal company that has representatives in almost every state. I have nothing against big businesses, but the price of their services are crippling for most families. This company charges a ridiculous fee JUST to come to your home and treatments are an additional amount of money. Before you know it, you’ve spent over $500 for 2 treatments and head checks. That is not okay. That is stealing. If you feel that you need to charge that much because you’re dealing with icky lice, then maybe this isn’t the business for you.

Steer clear of companies that charge by the hour. Now there are honest companies that charge by the hour and their technicians are fabulous and work quickly to get your treatment done. However, there are shady people that will happily take their sweet time treating just to rack up the fee. It does not take 2 hours to treat a person who has short hair, no matter how bad they have it. For children that have super short hair like this, who are usually boys, I get them taken care of in 10 to 15 minutes. Even if you were to look at each individual strand of hair, there is no reason a treatment, in this case, should take more than 20 minutes. If they are charging you $90 a hour, why would they get you done in an hour when they could keep combing for an hour and 10 minutes and to make $180?

Question all of the fees before making an appointment. When you are calling around to price out companies, be sure to understand all of the fees for their services upfront. Some companies charge you a fee for performing head checks AND for treatments during their visit. You end up being charged $ 200 for your family to be checked and then an additional $ 100 or more for each treatment. If you can, avoid companies that double charge for their services. Also, avoid companies that charge a fee per head for checks. These “per head” fees for head checks force parents to pick and choose who gets a check and that’s not fair. What happens if that one person you didn’t get checked is carrying lice. Now you are going to have your case return and end up spending more money down the line. This is another example of how companies try and take advantage of you. They know you don’t want to take this risk, so you’ll more than likely pay for everyone to be checked. They also win if you decide to pick and choose. There’s a chance that someone not checked will have it, and a month or so later the company will be back out to your house charging you again for treatments and head checks. It’s a win/win for these companies. We charge a fee for coming out to JUST perform head checks, but in the event we find something and need to treat, we waive that head checking fee and the client only pays for treatments.

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Okay, you made it. How itchy are you now? Don’t worry, it’s all in your head! Remember that if you or your children get lice, it’s not the end of the world and there are worse things that could happen. Just stay calm, keep your cool, and get a really good comb. We use ” The Terminator ” and you can purchase it here. It’s a great item to have ready in your home. You never know when your child will come home and complain about how itchy their head is or when you will get that dreaded call from the school nurse.

I hope this post has helped you and I appreciate you taking the time to read it. Send this post to friends dealing with lice and I’m sure it will help them as well. As I stated above, people are always more than welcome to call our hotline number and ask questions. Our number is 1-888-206-8773. Be sure to ask for Brittany. You are also more than welcome to comment or private message me.

If you would like to support our business, you can purchase these recommended items from our website at www.HelpingHandsLiceRemoval.com. You can also support us by spreading the word about this post and how our company can help families in need of lice treatments or just advice!

On a different, less itchy topic… I also run my own mobile arts and crafts company for children and teens. We do birthday parties, painting parties, and art classes. If you’d like more information about this service, you are more than welcome to email me at COFLH@yahoo.com, call me at 1-757-812-5310, or visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CreativeOutletForLittleHands. If you’d like to see some images and details from our previous events, visit our posts ” Dream Catchers ” and ” Fairy Gardens “.




Calling On All Homeschooling Families! We Need You!

Sending Out An SOS

This is a backwards post.

You usually go online to find advice and information about something your interested in or want to know more about. Usually it starts with a search for one thing, you see something else, and BAM!. You find yourself on a completely different topic reading about how to crochet a boat cover for a boat you don’t even have. You find a link to someone’s blog and read all about their advice, experience, and suggestions. This is not that blog post. I am seeking YOUR advice, experience, and suggestions. That’s right. I am wanting you to tell me what I should do. I told you, this is backwards.

Since we decided that we will be homeschooling, I have been looking through every blog post on Pinterest, every link to state requirements, reading reviews of different curriculum options, and so on. I know a few homeschooling moms and I have flooded them with questions and picked their brains as much as I could without getting too weird. These ladies were so nice and so willing to chat with me, but let’s be honest. No one wants to sit in a coffee shop for 5 hours and answer question after question about their curriculum choices, daily routines, scheduled play dates, test options, or support groups. I thought I could use this platform to send out a bat signal for help. So let’s start from the beginning….

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Our little one, Lyanna, just turned 2. She has a while to go before having to enter the school system, but as I started to think about that first day for her, I had a lot of doubts and fears. Like most parents, I started to worry about how people would treat her, how other children would treat her, would she be the nice, quiet girl or the talkative girl, how soon would she get labeled as such, how will she do with taking standardized tests, how fast will she pick up reading and comprehension skills, will she need extra help or interventions, and a million other things. The knot in my stomach kept getting bigger. This past school year was my first year in a public school setting and it was definitely an eye opener. I had worked in a private independent school for a few years and that environment is been COMPLETELY different from this new school.

I took a position as an Instructional Assistant for two first grade classrooms. Since I was just entering the public school system, I thought this position would be a good way for me to transition in to public education and still give me more flexibility for our daughter. After a month of being in these classrooms, I had already decided this was NOT going to be the environment we would be putting Lyanna in. What I saw startled me. It reminded me of a boot camp. Timers were always going off, children were walking around like robots to their next destination, and there were scripts written everywhere for them to follow ( and for me to follow, but that’s a different story for a different time ). Sitting in this classroom, I stopped and looked around, taking in all that I saw. I was missing my little one. My heart hurt for these children and I missed my own terribly. And then it dawned on me. No. This is not going to be my child’s future. My child is not a robot. A script is not going to take away social interactions from my daughter. Recess is NOT a ” maybe, if we have time” or ” Let’s have recess in the classroom, for 15 minutes “.

I will do anything and everything in my power to make sure that that is NOT her future.

I know what you’re going to say. I know that every classroom is different and there are teachers that do things completely different. I see that in the other classrooms I visited. I know that there are teachers that disagree with that type of classroom setup. That doesn’t change the fact that that is what some classrooms look like. I don’t want to take that chance with my child’s education. I’m a product of public education and I’m not saying that the entire institute is out of wack. However, the public education of my time is very different from what is happening today. What I’m saying is that path is not for her.  I want our daughter to love learning, to be hands on and involved in her own education, to explore while she learns, and for us to share that experience together as well.

Now that I’ve rambled, I’ll get to the point. As with anything else, I want to know more. I want to know what we are in for. I want to know more about what is ahead of us. I want to know more opinions. Your opinions. I want to know what you know. I want to know the mistakes you made that led you to where you are now. I want to know your families’ accomplishments. Was there something you would have done differently from the beginning? Did you find a support group helpful? What resources do you use? Do you have a planned out budget for every year? Give me anything and everything!

While I am a licensed teacher, and I do feel qualified to teach, I think it is going to be a completely different experience than what I have been preparing for during my degree program. I want to hear your stories, your advice, and anything else you’d like to share. Most importantly, I want to be the best that I can be for our daughter. This post is a signal for help, advice, guidance, and friendship. Please feel free to leave me a comment here. Share this post with someone who has an experience I can learn from. Email me personally. Message me on Pinterest. On Facebook. However you want to share, please do so.

Also, I would like to say thank you for visiting my blog. However you found it, thanks for clicking.

All About Me

The Journey That Brought Me Here

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My name is Brittany. I am a wife, mother, educator, artist, business owner, and now, a blogger. I wear a lot of hats and some days it’s hard, but I love all of my jobs. I have worked with children since I was a teenager. I come from a big family, so there were always children around to play with. I started with babysitting and when I was 18, I started working in a daycare in my hometown in Virginia. I knew I wanted to be a teacher, but my work at this daycare center confirmed that this was my path.

I enrolled at The Academy of Arts of San Francisco with the hopes of becoming an art teacher. Time goes on and things change. Art school was so expensive and after moving to North Carolina, I was worried there wouldn’t be a job for me after I finished my degree program. So I switched gears and decided to get my degree in general education. Throughout college I continued working with children by nannying for a few families and babysitting on the side. I also worked ( and still do ! ) for a company that does head lice removal for families. Another, all be it unusual, way I get to work with children. While this job is a bit… well, itchy?, it has given me so many opportunities to work with and help children and their families. I still run this branch of the company here in North Carolina because it’s hard to find a replacement for such a position. It’s crazy how no one wants to work with lice. I know you’re thinking it, but NO. I do not live with head lice. I’ve actually never had it during my time with the company.

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In July of 2010, my husband and I were married in Virginia. Over the years we acquired our four legged children and had our first daughter, Lyanna, in June of 2014. She arrived a month after I received my Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies.

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Since I was young, I have always maintained a love for art. Over the years, I have painted and drawn items for friends and family. I have done several craft shows and I still have a running Etsy shop. I believe my love and interest in art came from my grandfather. He worked with the railroad for years and after he retired, he created his own model train track set up in the den of his home. The hands on and creative things he did, I believe, instilled a desire in me to do the same.

I currently work at a local elementary school as an Instructional Assistant, but I also started my own business at the beginning of this year. My business, Creative Outlet For Little Hands, is dedicated to giving children an outlet to be creative, hands on, and find their inner artist while also incorporating educational elements through out our sessions together. We do arts and crafts activities for birthday parties and one on one personal instruction. This business means so much to me because I want to have the freedom to be around for my daughter, but to also give children tools to express themselves and learn in different ways.

 

I’m not bad mouthing technology, especially as I come to you through it, but there is a lot to be said for taking time away from our social media accounts, online game, phones, Facebook pages, and blogs. I feel that we, as adults, have all had the opportunity to be outside, enjoying the fresh air, building things with our hands, tree houses, playing in paint, and plenty of time to doodle. Most children have “tech time” and have to be pulled away to do social things, like talking to their families at dinner or saying hi to relatives arriving at their homes. I agree that there are educational benefits to programs that our youth have at their fingertips. For the homeschooling community, these programs are greatly needed when parents need assist in teaching concepts. My opinion is that there is a limit to what technology can give us. It certainly can’t compare to the feeling of holding a pen in your hand and putting on paper what is in your mind.

I named this blog Creative Outlet for Little Hands because that is what I want it to give parents and educators. A bank full of ideas to get children engaged in the arts, to help grow their imaginations, develop necessary skills, and become active in their own education. I hope this blog helps you, or at the very least inspire you. I love talking to people, growing my knowledge, and trying new things. Please feel free to contact me any time with questions, ideas, suggestions, or with what ever you like.

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Let Us Begin !

As an artist, I have always had a passion for creative thinking, going outside the lines, exploring and growing a skill set. As an educator, I try to incorporate these ideas in learning new concepts. I have seen first hand the benefits of putting a concept in a new light by incorporating it in to an art project. Children have such free and creative minds that many times they need to be hands on in order to gain a full understanding of a concept. For example, when learning basic vocabulary concepts, such as what a noun is, we often use visuals to help children understand what a noun actually is. We use a picture of a woman with rosy red cheeks, a picture of a welcoming school, and a detailed yellow pencil. We all connect to visual representations of concepts when our brains tap out after a long lecture or a passage of boring text. I have created this blog as a way to help myself and others formulate ideas to get children to be hands on and involved in their education and walk away with an inspired mind. Not every project must have a hidden curriculum behind. In fact, many of my project ideas have been created with the soul purpose of having fun! It just so happens that every opportunity for fun can also present an opportunity to learn something new.

I recently started my own company, Creative Outlet For Little Hands. My company offers arts and crafts services for birthday parties, personal instruction, and summer camps. I wanted to start my own company that allowed me to be free in helping children put down the iPad and pick up a paintbrush, find their inner creativity and explore their abilities. I will also admit that I have a 2 year old daughter of my own and it killed me to be away from her all day. While I loved my educational career, I wanted a job that didn’t seem like a job and allowed me to be around more for her. That path has lead me here. Here creating a blog that allows me to connect with others who have a passion for education, the arts, and for being hands on with their children.