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Thursday, May 17, 2018

6 Ways to Help a Family in Need

6 Ways to Help a Family in Need


As y'all know Anthony and I have been on this yo-yo unemployed/underemployed life for 10 months now and we have had so many people in our life help us along the way to make this time a tad easier although the only thing that would make this easier would be a stable income (just being honest). Often times people do ask how can they help and maybe it's pride or maybe it's not wanting to be a burden or maybe a mix of both but it is hard just saying what you need so I decided to put a list together of the ways you can come alongside a family you may know that is struggling with unemployment or underemployment and help them during this difficult time.

1. Monetary donation 

We were blessed at the beginning of this journey by a family that gave us a monetary donation and we held on to it until we absolutely needed to use it on bills. This is honestly the biggest way you can help someone although you know the family best and know if they would be wise with this donation or not. If you feel they would spend this unwisely, maybe pay a bill for them yourself as in you call the company and give the account number and payment.

2. Food

There are so many subscription boxes out for everything including meals so gifting a one time (or reoccurring) meal box to a family in need would be an amazing blessing. You could even consider preparing a meal yourself and dropping it off to the family to avoid high cost on yourself (this is also a great idea for families welcoming new children either by birth or adoption, I also plan to share ways to help a family with a new baby/child in the future so stay tuned for that as well). 

3. Gift cards

Provide gift cards from a local grocery store (possibly one that also has a gas station). This will allow the family to get food as needed, household items like toilet paper, laundry soap, etc., or even gas for their vehicle.

4. Diapers/Wipes

If there are young children in the family consider donating diapers and wipes to them (if they cloth diaper ask what type of detergent they use and donate that to them). Also consider donating menstrual items for the young girls and women in the family or teaching them about menstrual cups and cloth pads that can be reused each cycle (I also plan to discuss this in the future further).

5. Clothing

Again if they have young children, they grow out of things extremely fast so consider offering them your children's hand me downs or even buying clothes from a second hand store (see my tips for thrift shopping children's clothes here). Helping a family in need doesn't have to be expensive.

6. Pray

And I mean really pray for them. In our society, we easily say "I'll pray for you" or "We are praying" and never do or my favorite and unrealistic phrase "claim it in the name of Jesus and it is yours" as if Jesus is a genie and we rubbed his lamp for three wishes. But really truly pray for them as you pray for your own family and your own needs, pray that God will build their trust and faith in Him, that God will be glorified in their struggles and that they will cast their worries onto Jesus and God will lead and guide them on their real life scary decisions that need to be made.


Often times, it is better to just do these things without asking the family in need because sometimes it is hard to swallow the pride and admit you need help so just ask the type of laundry soap they use or for their account number to a billing company (I wonder if you could just provide the name and address to the billing company and surprise the family with an anonymous bill payment). There are so many other ways that you could do to help a family in need, these were just the ones that have been incredibly helpful for us personally thus far so if you have any other ideas, please leave them in the comments below and as always I created a pinnable image to share with friends and family as you see fit.

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Stormie Ramirez
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Monday, May 7, 2018

Cloth Diapering 101 | All in Twos (AI2)

Cloth Diapering 101 | All in Twos (AI2)


This post was created in partnership with Lil Helper but all thoughts and opinions are of my own.

We have been cloth diapering for a full month now and I have learned so much so I decided to start a new mini series on my blog, Cloth Diapering 101 (see my New Moms Survival series here and my Nursing Bras series here). Every few weeks or so, I will go into detail about the different types of cloth diapering systems that there are available because cloth diapers have come a long way from flats, safety pins and covers (although that is still an option!).
As I have mentioned on my Instastories (if you are not following me on Instagram yet, you should as I always update there first) we were fortunate to get a cloth diaper loan from the Rebecca Foundation while we build up our own personal stash of cloth diapers. I was researching different brands and came across Lil Helper and the first thing that stood out to me was their Trial Diaper Deal and the more I looked around their website I found their Baby Do Good program. For every three diapers they sell, Lil Helper donates a NEW cloth diaper to a family in need. Being on the receiving end of having diapers donated to me during this unemployed (and now underemployed) season has been an incredible blessing for our family so naturally this sealed the deal for me. 
In case you are curious like I was, I asked how does Lil Helper determine eligibility for families in need and was told they work with disaster relief organizations as well as local programs to donate their diapers to families. The organizations then vet the families for eligibility. A friend even told me that Lil Helper donated a ton of diapers for victims of Hurricane Harvey in the Houston and surrounding area which touched my heart even more that this company has helped many people in my city and beyond (they also provided cloth diapers to Hurricane Katrina victims). Another program that touched my heart and had me in tears was their God Forbid Guarantee. If something unexpected happens during your pregnancy or birth, Lil Helper will refund your entire purchase. I have never personally experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss but people that are near and dear to me have and knowing the love and understanding that a company puts into their policies is beyond amazing. There really are no words to describe how much care Lil Helper has for their customers.
Now that you know about this amazing company,  I will finally get into the details about the type of cloth diapering system they sell. Lil Helper offers All in Two diapering system options. An All in Two diaper comes in two pieces, the cover and the insert(s). Lil Helper's All in Two systems snap in but other brands could either snap in, lay in or have disposable inserts. The covers can be reused throughout the day while the inserts you change out as they are soiled on (if poop overflows off the inserts and onto the cover then you will need to change the cover as well). Lil Helper offers two inserts with every cover, a large insert and a small insert. You can buy additional inserts as Lil Helper sells Charcoal inserts (these are the ones we have), Bamboo inserts and Overnight inserts.
Lil Helper also offers a range of accessories such as bibs, wet bags, burp cloths, liners, changing mats and cloth wipes. We were able to test out their cloth wipes and I got to say they are extremely soft! We use them as wash cloths but I can imagine how great they would be on your baby's bum. I have researched a bit about cloth wipes and it seems terry cloth is used a lot of the time but terry cloth can be a bit rough in my opinion so I would highly recommend these cloth wipes from Lil Helper to be used as either cloth wipes, bath wash cloths or even baby doll cloth diapers. 

AI2 Pros



  • If the inserts are snapped in ahead of time, they are as easy to use as All in Ones (AIOs).
  • Covers come in many cute prints and colors (we have Lil Helper's Aurora and Lil Helper's Retro Bikes).
  • Often pretty quick to dry.
  • Since the covers can be reused, they can be a cheaper system (but you can honestly make anything as cheap or as expensive as you want in the cloth diapering world).


AI2 Cons



  • Snap-in systems make it difficult to customize absorbency (especially if you have a heavy wetter however we have only had one leak using Lil Helper Diapers and it was a user error as I lost track of time and didn't change baby Anthony soon enough).
  • The inserts may not be good at containing infant poop (although toddler poop it is and we actually designated our Lil Helper diaper as Sophia's poop diaper since she poops at the same time everyday, easiest cleanup for her type of poop).

Edited to add:  Concerning infant poop, I didn't mean the possibility of having poop explosions outside of the diaper, I meant that the inserts wouldn't be enough to contain infant poop on the inserts alone like it can sometimes do with toddler poop meaning you will still need to change the insert as well as the cover if poop gets on both and you honestly have to do that with every diaper system anyways. Also note baby Anthony is pass the constant poop stage so this is merely my speculation however I have been informed that there has been no complaints of Lil Helper diapers not being able to keep infant poop inside the diaper unless there is a fit issue which they will gladly work one on one with you to solve a fit issue (and they did assist me with a fit issue and it worked!).

Do you cloth diaper your children? Have you tried an All in Two system? Which cloth diapering system is your favorite?

If you found this post helpful or know someone who would, please share it! I have made this pinnable image below to make it easier to share and pin!!

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Stormie Ramirez
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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Tot School with PicassoTiles

Tot School with PicassoTiles


This post was created in partnership with PicassoTiles but all thoughts and opinions are of my own.

If you have been following my Instagram (I update that more frequently and it is "real time" whereas my blog posts are general lagged), you may know that I have intentionally started focused play with Sophia as a form of tot school. If you are unfamiliar with the term tot school, you can read more about it here.
I originally decided to carve out a focused play to help Sophia expand herself vocabulary as I noticed she wasn't using many words (her doctor wasn't worried as she said some children speak later than their peers especially if there was a new baby introduced which in our case there was). Even though I plan a certain activity and a book reading during this carved out time, I still allowed Sophia to take the lead. She is free to play with what I put in front of her however she wants and for however long (or short) she wants. I am a big believer in allowing a child determine how they want to play with items as this helps grow the imagination. If we are constantly showing them how to "properly" play with a toy then we close down that imagination and I want all of our toys to be open ended that way she never grows bored of her toys and can always use that imagination to find new ways to play with things. I have the worst imagination possible and am very much a rule follower so I personally like to play with stuff as instructed, haha, so this is a learning curve for me but I'm learning so much from Sophia and here I am thinking I'm teaching her yet she is teaching me!
Another factor that makes focused play and imagination play easier is using toys that were created with STEM in mind which is why I love PicassoTiles toys (if your an Instagram follower, you will remember how much we love our floor piano and how it makes us feel like we are reenacting the movie Big with Tom Hanks).
For the month of April, I am focusing in on the color blue (Autism awareness, totally unplanned that way but cool nevertheless) and naturally I chose to utilize the book Little Blue Truck. Therefore I planned for one of the weeks in April to be dedicated to a farm theme. We played with PicassoTiles Bristle Building Blocks Farm Set and a blue truck for our focused activity. Again as I read the story, I allowed Sophia to lead how she wanted to play and at the end of the story I joined alongside her to play. I love how this set from PicassoTiles incorporates farm animals because this is the perfect toy not only for building but also speech as I have read that speech therapists loving using farm animal sounds as the building blocks for language development.
I also try to incorporate a focused activity that involves her motor skills so this week we also focused on her gross motor skill using the PicassoTiles Soccer Hoverball Air Hockey. This one I did demonstrate the kicking motion as I wanted her to specifically practice kicking but I didn't explain soccer or proper kick techniques or anything like that. We just freely kicked it around the house which is why this thing is amazing. It has bumpers so it won't ruin any furniture or walls because it hovers slightly off the ground. It is the perfect indoor "ball" which we will definitely be needing more indoor play ideas once summer rolls around.

Side Note: it does NOT work on carpets or rugs. The main areas of our house is hardwood floors so this is not a problem for us.

Other activists we did this month include

Color focused bins (blue)
Shape focused bins (square)
Blue coloring
Square painting
Square play doh fun

Other books we read this week was

Do you have a set focused playtime with you toddler? Do you or are you planning to homeschool? Do your kids own any PicassoTiles toys?
ps. The larger pieces are perfect teething toys for younger ones who like to play with their older sibilings. Just be extra careful with the small pieces as they could be a choking hazard.

If you like these type of posts, I can try to rotate more Tot School into my editorial calendar as I am able to. Also if you know someone who would benefit from this post, please feel free to share. I also created a pinnable image so you can bookmark this post to come back to view later on.

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Stormie Ramirez
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