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Showing posts with label Tips & Tricks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tips & Tricks. Show all posts

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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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Unemployed Life + Five Month Update

Unemployed Life + Five Month Update


This will probably be one of the most vulnerable posts I write. I have debated sharing this part of our life in my public social media life because I do not want pity at all (pride much?) however the longer we are in this season, the harder it is and if I can help just one other person or family who may be on this same journey then it would be worth sharing. I briefly mentioned Anthony was back working but the contract ended much sooner then anticipated so we are back at square one except this time we don't have the security of unemployment since it ended a few days before he was offered the contract position. When we asked for an extension for unemployment, he was declined because Texas Workforce Commission is out of budget from extending unemployment to the numerous Hurricane Harvey victims who are also out of work. So it has been 9 months of the unemployed life and the longer we do not have a steady substantial income, the more assistance we need (obviously).

Over these last few months, I have been doing research as well as friends and family sharing different assistance programs that are out there and offered not only by our government but also local and/or national organizations so I wanted to compile a list of all the programs I know about and a little bit about what they offer. Some will be local to me (Houston area) while others are national and you will just need to find the location in your area.

Food Assistance

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) - nutrition assistance to eligible, low-income individuals and families.

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) - The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides Federal grants to States for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.

Eat On Feets - a network where families can share their breastmilk in a safe and ethical manner.

Human Milk 4 Human Babies - global milk-sharing network

Diaper Assistance

The Rebecca Foundation - cloth diaper loan program AND reusable feminine hygiene item assistance.
Share the Love Program - low-income families who receive assistance from programs like WIC and TANF may be able to receive a set of cloth diapers — for free.

The Diaper Foundation - Houston area assistance for disposable diapers

Cash Assistance

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) - from what I can gather on the application process is you are given cash assistance either on a monthly basis or a one time lump sum payment. I will keep you all updated if I learn more based on approval otherwise feel free to comment if you know more about the TANF program.

I am sure there are numerous other programs so if you know of any that I did not mention, please feel free to share in the comments below so if anyone else needs more assistance it can easily be found all in one place. Even though this is a really tough season, it has been amazing seeing the ways the Lord has provided for our NEEDS and the people he has used in our lives. We have seen how far he has carried us thus far and know he will continue to provide for us.

Five Month Update

It's so crazy how fast time goes when you are the parent but when we were kids time couldn't go fast enough. My big guy is definitely our happy baby, always full of smiles and giggles to anyone around. He loves talking non-stop and sometimes I wonder if he will start talking before Sophia (although her vocabulary has increased tremendously the last few weeks). He is finally an amazing napper but that's because he decided he wanted more one on one time with mommy at nights so you win some and you lose some (sleep).

Five Month Stats
Weight: ???
Height: ???
Head Circumference: ??

Firsts
big boy convertible carseat (still rear-facing)
Easter

Loves
mommy
daddy
smiling

Hates
dirty diapers
waiting to eat
anything being taken away from him

What I Want to Remember
his laughter
the long pieces of hair on his right side of his head while on the left side rubbed short
his screeching voice when he baby talks

Again please comment below of any other assistance programs you may know of that I did not mention so this can be a place to help others who are in a similar situation as this. I do also plan to share more posts in the future for those of you who have never been in the situation and want to know how you can help families in need so stay tuned (UPDATE: see 6 Ways to Help a Family in Need here). Please feel free to share this post with your friends and family and as always I created a pinnable image below.

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Stormie Ramirez
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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Shopping with Two under Two + Four Month Update

Shopping with Two under Two + Four Month Update


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

For about four months, I had two babies under two and now that my oldest turned two not much has really changed, haha. It's still the same craziness over here but I did figure out some tips and tricks to make shopping with two kiddos under the age of two easier.

Go shopping after naptime

The most important tip is to go after naptime. Seriously. If you attempt to run an errand before naptime, one of two things will happen or possibly both. They will get extremely fussy during your errand making it the most frustrating experience ever or they will fall asleep in the car and think that 5 minute catnap was enough for them and refuse to nap once you get home making the rest of the day even more frustrating and everyone on the verge of tears so just trust me. Errands after a nap. I mean unless you like waking up early and can quickly get everyone fed and out the door but that's not me. I like my mornings slow and not rushed when I can help it.

Park near the cart corral

Once you arrive to your store of choice, find a parking spot near the cart corral that way you can grab a cart immediately and don't have to worry about carrying/dragging two (or more) kids and a diaper bag across the parking lot to get inside of the store. This not only makes it easier for you to unload everyone straight into a cart but also safer as I'm sure most toddlers think they are big boys and girls and don't always want to hold mommy's hand and will pull away while mom is carrying baby hulk at the wrong time. No? Just me? Also this makes it easier to unload all the things inside the car as well as the kids and return the cart to it's proper place because I don't know about you but it annoys the heck out of me when people leave the carts in the middle of parking lots especially when a parking lot is uneven and there is a runaway cart that hits your car. Just be courteous of other people guys.

Use a Binxy Baby

Ah. The Binxy Baby. I always get so many compliments and questions every time we are out and about with baby Anthony just chilling in his shopping cart hammock. The Binxy Baby fits most standard grocery store carts and it can also hold a car seat so if your babe fell asleep in their car seat you don't have to worry about disturbing them, just strap the car seat onto the Binxy Baby. The Binxy Baby is able to support up to 50 pounds in weight and has been safety tested so depending on the size of your baby, the Binxy can be used for babies approximately up to 6-8 months depending on when your little one starts to sit up on their own.

Pack a snack for the toddler

Lastly, no matter how much you perfectly timed your shopping trip, the toddler will get restless and want to run all over the store but you came with reinforcements: snacks. I personally always keep an extra snack or two inside my diaper bag but before errands I make sure I have more then one on hand and I will hand them to Sophia when I see that antsiness happening. I also give it to her BEFORE she goes haywire because I don't want her thinking she is getting the snack because she threw a fit or else she is going to think it's okay to have a tantrum every time she wants a snack so make sure you are strategic on when you give it to your toddler and what behavior you may be enforcing. You also don't want to give them the snack as soon as you are in the store because you will be cut on time and no longer have the distraction they needed for the last leg of your shopping trip so be sure you are reading your toddlers cues so you can step in with the snack reinforcement at the right time.

Four Month Update


After much experimenting, it finally dawned on us to use the Ollie swaddle and DockATot for naps just as we do for bedtime and man has naptime been a night and day difference. Baby Anthony is finally starting to come around and take daily naps and that makes this momma happy and feeling functional again haha. Bedtime was going so well for the first two months and around three months it has been a yo-yo. We would have amazing nights for a few nights and then not so good ones but then back to amazing so I assumed it was a growth spurt but now it's seeming to be more of a norm of having multiple wake up calls at night so I'm trying to figure out the trigger and I'm thinking it's daddy going back to work. I do have some tricks up my sleeve to get baby Anthony back on track for night time sleep thanks to the Baby Whisperer book.

Although baby Anthony first rolled from his back to his tummy around two months, he really perfected it this month and now won't stay off his tummy! He even loves rolling back to his back as well and he also can rotate in a full circle while doing tummy time. It seems like he is ready to just start crawling but I'm not sure I am ready for that.

Four Month Stats
Weight: ???
Height: ???
Head Circumference: ??

Firsts
Roll from tummy to back

Loves
mommy
daddy
being held
smiling

Hates
dirty diapers
waiting to eat

What I Want to Remember
His happy smiles & huge grins
his contagious laughter

Do you go shopping with your children or do you wait until daddy is home? Or have you given into curbside assistance and/or home delivery? 



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Stormie Ramirez
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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Sleep Tips from a Second Time Mom + Two Month Update

Sleep Tips from a Second Time Mom + Two Month Update


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

Well guys my big guy turned two months old on Christmas Eve. Like where has time gone? It feels like only yesterday that I brought this sweet baby home and was a hormonal mess about missing out on Sophia yet it also feels like that was so long ago. Funny how that happens.

Since we have baby Anthony on a pretty good sleep schedule now I figured I would share some tips of what has been helping us. Although he doesn't sleep through the night, he is a really good sleeper and I think it all has to do with routine and the Ollie World swaddle.
We started our bedtime routine almost immediately of bringing baby Anthony home but as he was still adjusting to life outside the womb, he was calling all the shots. Now he is pretty consistent at knowing bedtime is 8:00-8:30pm. Here is a sample of our nightly routine:

7:00pm - talk to grandparents 
7:30pm - bath time with Sophia
7:45pm - story-time with mommy*
8:00pm - Sophia joins story-time*
8:15-8:30pm - bedtime 

*depending on how tired he is, we may skip story-time and daddy does story-time with Sophia.
Before laying baby Anthony to sleep in his DockATot, we always wrap him in his Ollie World Swaddle. We personally choose to keep his arms out of the swaddle as we noticed he did not like it and would fight the swaddle. Once we started swaddling without his hands being tucked in, he fell asleep so much easier and that alone is one of the benefits of the Ollie swaddle, the ability to swaddle your little babe with arms in or arms out. We also love the fact that the Ollie swaddle has a custom fit to be individualized to meet the needs and size of each little one and having a big guy we definitely needed that individualized sizing option, haha. Not to mention this crazy weather Texas has been having such as snow and ice days and then we are back to 60-70 degrees like nothing, I'm so glad that this swaddle is made from custom moisture-wicking material to reduce the risk of overheating. Another benefit of the Ollie swaddle is the easy access diaper changes accessible through opening at the bottom. So you can see why this swaddle is the only one we use for bedtime. There are so many benefits to it and our guy feels so snug and comfy in it without the worry of it being too tight around his hips or shoulders.

Two Month Update

To say this guy is a big one is an understatement, in my opinion. Maybe it's because Sophia was so petite for her age and now this guy is so ahead, size-wise, for his age. He started wearing 6 months clothing around 6 weeks old and still fits into them pretty good however he is now in size 4 diapers (Sophia is in size 5 at 22 months for size reference). At his two month appointment, our pediatrician said he was measuring as a 4 month old for his height and head circumference but as a 6 month old for his weight. I think it is so crazy how genetics from our parents is the contributing factor. From what I am told, my dad was tall and Anthony's brother, dad and uncle are slightly tall as well (Anthony's mom is very short which is where Sophia gets her height from).
Now that I am mostly over my hormonal mom guilt hump, I really am enjoying getting to know this guy. He is so relaxed and calm unless he needs something, haha. Oh boy, he is not afraid to let you know when he needs any little thing but that makes it easier on us because if he is crying, we know it is for a reason.  

Two Month Stats
Weight: 16 pounds 10.1 ounces
Height: 24.75 inches
Head Circumference: 16.25 inches

Firsts
rolled over from tummy to back
giggle

Loves
mommy
daddy
being held
"Rock-a-bye Baby"
playing on his back on his activity mat

Hates
dirty diapers
waiting to eat

What I Want to Remember
the way he smiles when we make eye contact with him
his natural mohawk hairstyle
how he knocks things out of our hands when we are holding him

What does your bedtime routine look like for your kiddos? Do you put them down at the same time if you have multiple children of different ages? Do you have any sleep tips?



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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Thursday, January 4, 2018

New Moms Survival Bins | Diapering Station

New Moms Survival Bins | Diapering Station


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

As I mentioned in my breastfeeding kit post, I don't have a portable diapering kit because we actually utilize changing tables. We have a Labrador retriever who sheds like crazy and brings in a ton of dirt into the house. I don't know what his obsession is but he always has to find mud and lay in it. He is so over dramatic to cool himself off when it isn't even that hot outside and he is only let outside for maybe 5 minutes just to potty. He is truly spoiled. Anyways, because of how much dirt and dog hair that is always on the floor, we just always made it a habit to change Sophia on the changing table attached to the pack n play or the changing pad on her dresser.

Since I stopped babysitting in September, we reset up the pack n play in our bedroom (it was in the playroom the last few months), and have now restocked it for  baby Anthony. These are the items we always have nearby both changing stations:
Also we never bought any type of diaper pail with Sophia because I honestly didn't want to spend the money by having to constantly buy specific trash bags for the pail or going through the hassle of DIYing the bags to use. It was just easier and cheaper for us at that point to take poopy diapers straight to the dumpster in the garage and pee diapers in the regular trash can since we change that trash almost nightly anyways. I did finally bite the bullet and purchased the Ubbi diaper pail with the monetary gifts we received for baby Anthony as this pail has the ability to use regular kitchen trash bags which that alone sold me on it. Plus, changing two to three kids' (I started babysitting again this month) diapers is a lot of work and momma wanted at least one pail for all the poop. We still take Sophia's (and the toddler I babysit) poop diapers straight to the dumpster because that smell is on a whole other level compared to breastmilk poop, haha.
With the cold weather we have been having the last few weeks I have been living in joggers like these from PinkBlush.  And let's be honest, having cute and comfy clothes like these joggers make mommying a tad easier. Well not really but at least you look cute and are comfortable doing it! 

Do you use a changing pad/table or do you change your baby wherever you happen to be? What are your thoughts on diaper pails? What is your daily momiform look like?

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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Thursday, November 2, 2017

New Mom Survival Bins | Postpartum Care Kit

New Mom Survival Bins | Postpartum Care Kit


I am sharing another survival kit that I feel is the most important for all moms after giving birth and that is the postpartum care kit. Having everything you need in one place to properly take care of your lady bits makes everything easier and having the kit near the toilet is also a good idea. You don't want to have sat down on the toilet to realize you forgot to grab something out of the kit so be sure you set the kit up within arms reach of the toilet.

As the same with my breastfeeding kit, I am using a small tub from the hospital. It isn't the most aesthetically pleasing sight but it is free and it holds everything perfectly.




Most of these items I keep in my postpartum kit, I brought home from the hospital so be sure to check out my post on what to ask for before leaving the hospital.

Mesh Undies

I love love love mesh undies and take as many as I can get from the hospital which was six pairs both times. I just hand wash them immediately after using them and air dry so I can use them for up to two weeks. You could use them longer but I only needed them for two weeks after giving birth to Sophia and one week after baby Anthony.

Bed Liners 

If you have read my post on what to take from the hospital, I shared some photos of how I combine bed liners and the pads to get a more secure protection from leakage depending on how heavy your bleeding is. This time around, I didn't need the extra protection but it's better to have them on hand just in case.

Perineal Wash 

This little squirt bottle makes the clean up easier and what better is that it is free from the hospital.

Pads

I think this should, at least, be the most obvious thing you need after giving birth since you will have bleeding for a few weeks. I like to have extra heavy overnight on hand as well as my normal pads but again it just depends on how heavy your bleeding is. Also keep in mind that you cannot use tampons for about 6 weeks so have those pads handy.

Dermoblast 

Another freebie from the hospital. After cleaning everything up, spray this all up and down there for some nice numbing effect.

What do you keep in your postpartum kit? What is your absolute must-have?

I hope these posts have been helpful for you in creating your new mom survival kits. Please feel free to pin and share these posts with your friends and family as you see fit.


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Stormie Ramirez
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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

New Mom Survival Bins | Breastfeeding Kit

New Mom Survival Bins | Breastfeeding Kit


Last year after having Sophia, I shared what I took from the hospital after my maternity stay but I also shared a few more tidbits at the end of that post and one of them was how I made care kits for around the house. One for pumping/breastfeeding, one for postpartum mom care, and another for extra feeding essentials for when Sophia started solids. I decided this time around I would go into more detail of what I actually put in each of those care kits and today I will focus on the breastfeeding/pumping kit I created to have near my nursing station.

Last time, I just used one of those small hospital tubs and I plan to use that again since it is free but I do have my eye on this diaper caddy from The Good Baby. It's made to be a portable diaper station but we personally use changing tables just because our floor is constantly a mess with our Labrador Retriever shedding constantly. Anyways, since I will be having a toddler running around I most likely won't be able to have a designated nursing area like I did when I nursed Sophia so my nursing station will most likely be more beneficial if it's portable and since The Good Baby caddy has handles it would make it easier to carry around the house from room to room while I'm trying to keep up with Sophia. But I just can't really justify buying it plus we do not have the money to spend on it if it isn't needed. I mean I rather spend $20 on going out to eat, haha. I will keep you updated if I decide it would be beneficial to buy it or not though but for now, I will go the free route.



So these are the items I like to keep nearby for when I am breastfeeding/pumping:
  • Breast Pump and parts (your insurance should provide this)
  • Breast pump bags
  • DIY Pumping Bra
  • Marker (to label the bags)
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Nipple cream (I plan to use coconut oil this time around as needed)
  • Burp cloths (I use cloth diapers as burp cloths and for extra protection against leaky boobs) 
  • Breast pads
  • Milkies milk saver (this product is new to me but it is suppose to catch leaking milk from the opposite boob which I am excited about because no more wasted milk or having to pump while nursing)
  • Nursing pillow
It may be beneficial to set these stations up before you actually go into labor that way they are already ready for when you come home from the hospital however if you are going to be using the hospital bins like I plan to then you can't really set up until afterwards.

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, October 18, 2017

Fall Transition Fashion Tips

Fall Transition Fashion Tips


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

As many of you my know, I live in Texas and as I mentioned in my Surviving a Summer Pregnancy post, we do not have seasons really. We are stuck in summer year around with a few nice days in between therefore I thought I would share some tips on dressing for Fall without dying of a heat stroke.


Warm Tones

The easiest way is to showcase fall in your wardrobe is to pair warmer tones together such as olive, burgundy, cognac, black, grey, etc. In this look, I pulled together three of these warmer tones: black, olive and cognac.  


Lightweight Material

This PinkBlush dress has the perfect amount of thickness to it that it isn't sheer but it isn't too thick that you are sweating crazy especially since I paired it with a utility vest. Again, by wearing a vest instead of a utility jacket, I still get to have a layered fall look but I am keeping my layers lightweight.

Shoes

Wearing the right shoes can determine the look of your outfit and although I am wearing sandals which is traditionally a summer/spring staple, it works with this outfit since they are cognac. At least in my opinion they work; besides I am pregnant and they are what fits so whateves, haha. You could easily pair this outfit with open toe booties to make it more fall "appropriate."


By the way, I am absolutely in love with this maternity dress, I even plan to switch it out as my coming home dress in my hospital bag. It is extremely soft and so flattering and I am loving that it is nursing friendly so it will be transitioning with me postpartum. And because it is a neutral colored dress, it can transition with me to all seasons giving me even more bang for my buck.

Shop this Look:
Dress: c/o Pink Blush (exact - wearing Small)
Utility Vest: Charlotte Russe
Shoes: Old Navy

What are you fall fashion tips if you live in a warmer area?





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Stormie Ramirez
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Friday, October 13, 2017

Tips for Thrifting Children's Clothes

Tips for Thrifting Children's Clothes


Last month when I shared on Instastories (be sure your following me @stormieariel to keep up with our day to day life) my second-hand finds for Sophia's fall capsule wardrobe, I received quite a bit of feedback wanting to know my tips for thrifting as this was the second fall capsule wardrobe I shared of hers using second hand finds (see her 2016 Fall Wardrobe here and her 2017 Fall Wardrobe here).



A little back story first...

For Sophia's first nine months, we were extremely fortunate enough to receive an abundance of clothes that we did not have to buy her anything. For 9-12 months, we were given quite a bit of second-hand items that were still in great condition. This was also around the time I started thrifting for clothes for her which now makes it a year that I have been thrifting for second-hand finds for our constantly growing toddler and new baby to be so here are the things I have learned in the last year about thrifting for children's clothes.

Brands

I personally look for name brand items only such as Carter's (I'm talking Carter's Carter's, not Child of Mine Carter's or Just One You Carter's, more on this in a second), Baby Gap, OshKosh, Children's Place, etc.

Here is why.

When I am thrifting I am trying to save money but I do not see a Baby Gap onesie for $1.50 and a Garnamials onesie for $1.50 to be equal in quality. I am not saying there is anything wrong with Garnamials but I could spend another dollar or two to get it brand new at WalMart so it just is not a good deal to me. This is the same for the different sub-Carter's brand at Target and WalMart. They are cute and I buy them but I would buy those brand new since the pricing isn't that far off. Also to note, there is a difference in quality between the Carter's main brand and sub-brands, hence the different pricing at each store and why they are made specifically for those stores. I have personally found that Carter's main brand can withstand a lot more washes then Just One You and Child of Mine therefore again I wouldn't buy those sub-brands used since the quality has already started to deteriorate depending on how many washes it already went through which gives you less uses of it.

Quality

Since I started talking about quality, let's discuss this next. After sorting through brands, I check the quality of the item. Does it have any stains? Is it faded? Are there holes? Just because something is a brand name doesn't necessarily make it a great buy if there is baby spit up or food stains stuck in the item and there better not be any holes. I guess faded items could be up to your discretion but I personally don't buy faded items no matter how good of a deal it is unless it is handed down to me for free but that is a different story.

Tags

There will be times when you come across items that are name brand AND still have the store tags on them. As in, never have been worn. I typically do not even hesitant and will just grab these items before anyone else sees the goodness I just landed on. Of course, I do make sure the sizing and season is correct for us and if they aren't I think of friends' and family members' whose children's birthdays or baby showers are coming up.

Frequent Shopper

My last piece of advice is the more often you go, the more often you find steals. You don't have to buy something every trip but going often allows you to see the newest stuff they put out and you are more likely to find those items that still have store tags on them. You are also more likely to figure out their sale schedule. The second hand store I frequent has their onesies for 10 for $10 every so often which is a great deal especially when I find all Carter's. Also following your local second-hand store on social media, they may list bigger items (like cribs, strollers, etc.) or their latest sales so you know exactly when to go in if you don't have time to stop by a few times a week.


Do you buy your children's clothes second hand? Are there any tips I left out that works for you?


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Stormie Ramirez
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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Hospital Bag Checklist for a Family Four

Hospital Bag Checklist for a Family Four


The post was created in partnership with PinkBlush Maternity but all thoughts and opinions are of my own.

I think it would be best if I admit upfront that I like to be prepared while others may say I am an over packer. Being prepared sounds better but whatever. I am also slightly high maintenance therefore I do not depend on certain accommodations that hospitals or even hotels provide like toiletries. I have sensitive skin and I like what I like so there's that. Now that I have disclosed that to you all, here is what we packed for our hospital stay as a family of four (yes, we will have Sophia stay with us in the hospital, more on that in another post UPDATE 10/30/2017 read here).

UPDATED 10/5/2017 My doula suggested also packing a sports bra or a swimming top for myself and swimming trunks for Anthony, in case we decide to utilize the shower during the labor process.

Mom



Last time, I brought a simple button down night gown but this time around I decided a nursing bra and a hospital robe would be the easiest and most efficient thing to wear after I have the baby since I will be constantly checked in all private areas during my stay plus having less on will make it easier to also nurse my new little babe. And you can't go wrong with how beautiful this hospital robe from PinkBlush is as it will still make me feel put together and decent looking for visitors after pushing a human being out my lady parts. I also plan to wear it around the house once we are home as well because let's be honest who really wants to get dressed those first few weeks especially when you are nursing around the clock.

Also, I will be wearing the same shoes into the hospital that I plan to wear home to keep some of my packing to a minimum. The reason I am also packing non-slip flip flops is to use those in the shower so my bare feet are not touching the floor where countless women's bodily fluids touched. I also really like the mesh undies the hospital provides therefore I will not be packing any and I plan to take some home with me (see what I took from the hospital last time and what I plan to take again here).

The fuzzy socks will be much more comfortable then the ones the hospital provide and the nursing pillow will, of course, make nursing more comfortable by helping me support the new little babe.

Dad

  • a change of clothes (shirt, shorts, socks, boxers)
  • pajamas
  • toiletries
  • flip flops
  • house shoes
  • swim trunks (UPDATED 10/5/2017)

Since Anthony will be going back and forth between the house to care for our dog and allow Sophia to have a normal nap, he doesn't need to pack as much since he will be able to take care of his business during that time back at home.

Baby

  • going home outfit
  • socks

As you may have noticed, I kept baby's packing list to a minimum this time around. The hospital has everything you need for the baby.

Sibling 

  • c/o DockATot Grand and traveling bag
  • pajamas
  • change of clothes (shoes, socks, etc)
  • diapers
  • lovey
  • blanket
  • bottle/cups
  • snacks
  • sound machine

Most of the items on Sophia's list are her bedtime items as she will be going home daily with daddy for nap time while he takes care of our dog so she can get a fresh pair of clothes as needed.

Entertainment

  • Cell Phones & Chargers
  • iPad
  • Busy bags
    • lacers 
    • books 
    • sponge blocks
    • drawing pad
    • stickers
    • doodle pad 
  • Camera and Tripod

We decided we would take our own Fresh 48 photos this time around as I didn't find the price worth the quality we received from Sophia's Fresh 48 that the hospital provided last time. We will have more formal family photos done in a few weeks by our friend and photographer Nick.

How did you pack differently for each delivery? Did you pack more or less each time?


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Stormie Ramirez
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Friday, September 22, 2017

Car Seat Safety Tips

Car Seat Safety Tips


Last year, when I opened up and wrote about stuff no one told me when I was expecting my first child, the very first thing I mentioned was car seat safety. The best thing you can do for your baby/child is to read the car seat manual that the manufacturer provided with your particular car seat instead of depending on someone else to lend their advice. 



All car seat brands and types are different and have varying restrictions and installation processes so pay particular attention to these details of your car seat of choice:

Weight/Height Restrictions 


All car seats have a weight minimum and maximum as well as height restrictions. Typically this can be found on the packaging itself or under the description when purchasing online for quick access but it is also stated in the car seat manual so be sure your child fits the weight and height restrictions of the car seat of your choice for the best protection.


Properly Strapped 


I get it, we all get in a rush and for some reason the straps always seem to get twisted when we are running late but restraining our children with twisted straps can affect the straps from properly protecting your child in case of an accident. Also, make sure the chest clip is on the child's chest and not on his belly - the chest clip should be in line with the armpits. The reason this is so important is the chest clip acts as a restraint, obviously, so when you are impacted, the sternum bone is under the chest clip and that bone protects those organs underneath. However, if you have the clip below the chest on the belly then upon impact the chest clip pushes into the abdominal area and could damage or hurt vital organs. Again, be sure to reference your car seat's manual on how to properly install the straps and how to place the chest clip.


Expiration/Recalls


If you purchase your car seat new, which I highly recommend, make sure to register it with the manufacturer so you can be notified if there is ever a recall on your particular model. If you are purchasing your car seat second hand, check the expiration date of the car seat as well as if there has been any recalls and only purchase from someone you can trust without a doubt. Ask them if the car seat was ever in a vehicle that was in an accident, with or without a child in it, as it is recommended for most car seats that were in accidents to be replaced as to ensure that you are getting the highest level of safety and performance from your car seat via the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). And if you are planning to use your car seat for multiple children, as we are using Sophia's old infant carrier for the new baby, check the expiration date of the car seat to be sure it is still within the car seat safety standards as well as checking on any recalls.


Rear Facing Recommendation 


Now this is where things may get controversial however it is now recommended for you to keep your child rear facing until after they turn two. I know some of the parents concern on waiting that long is your child being cramped or no longer fitting into their rear facing seat however if you are following the weight and height restrictions for your rear facing car seat then your child is perfectly safe. If your child is no longer within the limits of your rear facing car seat, you can purchase a convertible car seat which is a car seat that can be used for rear facing or forward facing. Again, make sure to read the manual as there could be different weight and height restrictions depending on how you are facing the convertible car seat. For more information on forward-facing and rear-facing, check out this post by the Car Seat Lady.

I know I sound like a broken record but the best way to know if you are using your car seat properly is by reading the car seat manual from cover to cover.


Our car seats of choice:
Convertible Car Seat | Maxi-Cosi Pri 70



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Stormie Ramirez
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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

How to Encourage Your Kids to be Tidy

How to Encourage Your Kids to be Tidy


Last week on my Instagram, I shared in my instastories of how we always clean up twice a day - before nap-time and before bedtime - and I received a lot of interest and feedback of how we manage to have Sophia help with clean up. I have also gotten compliments from our church nursery workers of how helpful Sophia is at straightening up so I decided to share some tips on how to encourage your kids to be tidy.



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Stormie Ramirez
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