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Showing posts with label Collaboration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Collaboration. Show all posts

Monday, September 3, 2018

DockATot Deluxe vs. DockATot Grand

DockATot Deluxe vs. DockATot Grand


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

If you don’t know my love for DockATot yet, where have you been? Haha, since we discovered it and started using the DockATot Grand with Sophia at 9 months we saw a night and day difference in her sleeping habits (read more here). We were determined to start our next baby with the DockATot right after birth and were so impressed with the multiple uses we were able to use our DockATot Deluxe for besides co-sleeping (read more here).
Obviously we are now DockATot pros and we are constantly getting questions from those considering if they should invest in one (yes you should and you’ll thank me later).

The question I wanted to dedicate a blog post to is:

Can I just buy the Grand from the start?

I mean you can do whatever you want to do at the end of the day BUT I would not recommend it. When babies come out into the world, they came from this snugly secure environment (your womb) to this big opened world. The sensory overload is typically why it’s a hard adjustment for the baby the first few days or weeks. The DockATot Deluxe is created smaller to recreate a womb like environment by being cozy and snugly.

Side note: the things we had to do to get Sophia to sleep those first few months was insane. No one was getting any sleep. Using the DockATot Deluxe with Baby Anthony as soon as we got home from the hospital was amazing. We actually slept. All of us. Yes there were middle of the night feedings because that comes with the territory of having a newborn but we didn’t have to do anything extravagant to get him to sleep at night. He just did and that is because of the DockATot Deluxe.
The design of the DockATot Deluxe is for babies from 0-8 months old. Before you ask, yes that includes big babies as well. Baby Anthony was born at 10 pounds 8 ounces and has consistently been at the top of the charts measuring ahead and the DockATot Deluxe still worked perfectly for him. At 9.5 months, we finally decided to upgrade to the DockATot Grand. We have had our DockATot Grand for about two weeks now and the transition from the DockATot Deluxe to the DockATot Grand has been a very smooth transition, in fact I think baby Anthony has enjoyed the extra room to wiggle. We always start any sleep transitions with nap times first for a month before implementing those changes to bedtime as well. This has been a fool-proof method for our family and has made all transitions easier (this is also how we transitioned Sophia off the bottle).

Side note: see my other sleep tips here.
Therefore, I highly recommend starting with the DockATot Deluxe from the beginning as it was created to mimic the womb’s coziness. Your little one will feel snug and secure and sleep better and in turn you will sleep better.

Do you already use the DockATot? Have you been considering the DockATot for your family?

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 pin and share!!

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Stormie Ramirez
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Monday, June 4, 2018

Learning Through Play

Learning Through Play


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

I absolutely love learning and am a huge advocate for early childhood education except I don't think learning has to mean sitting down doing worksheets or flash cards at the early age of two (and this is what they do in most day cares even before two, trust me I have worked in quite a few of them). Children learn by their environment and their surroundings and by playing. There is honestly nothing extravagant you have to do besides spend quality time playing with your young children.
 As you pick up toys to play with, you naturally discuss the object in hand which could be the color and shape of it. You can ask yourself questions that you of course already know the answer to but your child may not: "does it bounce?" "does it have wheels to push back and forth?" "does it make noise?" All these questions and discussions help build their vocabulary and overtime they catch on to colors and how to identify them. Children will catch on to the different basic shapes. There isn't a need to drill or give them a pop quiz on colors, numbers, shapes, alphabet, etc. During these early years, it isn't about mastering all the concepts as soon as possible or being the smartest two year old because trust me they will have plenty of time to master them. As parents, we want to foster a love of learning and how can that be done if we are constantly doing drills or pulling out the flash cards (not that there is anything wrong with flash cards as some kids really enjoy it). The point is to find your child's favorite activity, be involved and just make conversation with them as you play, even if you think it's over their heads. You don't have to "dumb" stuff down or talk in "baby language" use real words to help expand their vocabulary and their thought process.
This is where toys like PicassoTiles come in handy as their brand truly fosters learning by playing. Sophia loves building and while she is playing with her Alphabet Set Magnet Tiles, our conversations can go so many ways. We can discuss the letter that is on each individual tile, we can discuss the color of the tiles, we can go around the house and see what we can stick the magnets to. We can create 2D or 3D shapes. Our options are really endless as we are fostering early foundations in reading (alphabet), math (shapes, 2D and 3D objects), science (magnetic polars), creativity and imagination (open-ended play possibilities) all while playing.
Tip: You can easily add on to the magnetic tiles just like the bristle blocks I talked about last month as PicassoTiles sells different sets.

We also love playing with PicassoTiles Engineering Construction Set, to push Sophia's creativty even further as she can build whatever her mind can dream of (I have always joked that she is my future engineer since she loves building so much) and if you are stumped like me because my imagination is limited they do have an idea book to get your wheels turning. While you are creating and building, you can discuss the color and the amount of pieces you need: "I need one more yellow piece with three holes" as you grab the piece or "can you pass me that red screw" while pointing at the one you need are all great ways to continually build your child's vocabulary and helping them discover colors, shapes and numbers.
Again, you don't need to create a curriculum to last you through the year and you don't need worksheets galore, just get on the floor and play with your kid with good quality toys that have open-ended creative play like PicassoTiles.

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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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 a 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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