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

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).

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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Friday, August 11, 2017

Simple Ways to Increase Your Chances of Being Successful at Breastfeeding

Simple Ways to Increase Your Chances of Being Successful at Breastfeeding


Disclaimer: This post is not intended to start a debate of whether or not breast is best. It is meant as an encouragement for those who choose the breastfeeding route or are considering breastfeeding. However you decide to feed your baby is your own personal decision.


Happy National Breastfeeding Month! That's right, August is National Breastfeeding month and was proclaimed so by the United States Breastfeeding Committee in 2011. In honor of this, I decided to dedicate a mini series for the month of August to help support and encourage breastfeeding moms and moms who are considering breastfeeding. Keep in mind, I am not an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), my tips are strictly from my personal experience along with my personal research. 

If you are new here, I wrote about my breastfeeding journey with my daughter Sophia whom I breastfed for about 15 months in case you are interested in why I decided to breastfeed since I rarely witnessed it growing up and struggling to continue to breastfeed while pregnant with baby number two. Since I was determined to be successful at breastfeeding, I followed these simple steps that helped me be successful. I was fortunate to not encounter any major stumbling blocks like many nursing moms do such as a tongue-tie, nursing strike or anything else of the sort so if you are experiencing any problems with breastfeeding or just not sure about your milk supply, latch or anything else, I do highly suggest contacting an IBCLC (find a local one here).



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Stormie Ramirez
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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Surviving a Summer Pregnancy

Surviving a Summer Pregnancy


Thank you PinkBlush for collaborating with me on this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are of my own.

When I was pregnant with Sophia, I was lucky enough to not have to endure a full summer of pregnancy and I actually joked that Anthony and I would have to work on our timing for any future pregnancies so that I wouldn't have to go through summer being pregnant. Of course, I was halfway kidding as we know all too well that the Lord is in control no matter how much planning or cycle/fertility tracking you may do. 


It may be August already but with plenty more summer to go especially when you live in Texas it's pretty much summer once winter ends and technically we don't even really have a winter, it's more of a limbo season. Between summer and summer, haha. Anyways, I figured I have had enough experience in our Texas humidity and summer to know how to survive the rest of summer during my pregnancy and wanted to share it with you guys. If you have any additional tips, be sure to leave a comment below.

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Stormie Ramirez
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Thursday, July 27, 2017

How to Make a Gallery Wall

How to Make a Gallery Wall


Hey guys! I am back for a second time this week, can you believe I was able to do two posts in one week? Let's see if I am able to keep up with it. Anyways, I decided to share the method it took for me to finalize a gallery wall for Sophia's nursery.

For the longest I didn't know what I wanted to do above the dresser in Sophia's nursery but when Shutterfly offered a free 16x20 print, I knew I should do a gallery wall. I didn't know exactly how I wanted it or if I would include only pictures or a mixture of prints, pictures and printables. I did know I wanted to include her birth stats in some form though. Well then I got another offer from Shutterfly for another free 16x20 which I initially thought I would gift to my in-laws but when I received the picture I was too in love to give it up, haha.

Once I knew I would use two 16x20 pictures for the wall, I instantly had an idea of what the gallery wall would look like and initially came up with this layout:



It would include the two 16x20 prints, a wood slice with Sophia's birth stats engraved and a printable or a custom wooden sign of Psalm 139:14a. Once I started staging the frames with the two prints to get sizing for the other two items, I realized this layout wouldn't work as my proportions in my head were clearly off scale. So back to the drawing board and scouring Pinterest for inspiration. I fell in love with the contained layout of a gallery:



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Stormie Ramirez
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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Back to School Looks with Gymboree | Tips & Tricks

Back to School Looks with Gymboree | Tips & Tricks


This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. I was compensated for this post but as always all story telling and opinions are my own.

As some of ya'll may remember Anthony started school yesterday. Although he is taking distance education courses compared to the traditional face-to-face courses, it made us take a trip down memory lane and remember what it was like starting a new school year.

I remember being so antsy and staying up all night (or only getting a few hours of sleep and waking up super early) wondering what the first day back would be like. I also always created the perfect outfits for the first day because you have to make a great first impression back at school. At the schools I attended, we were limited to uniforms but that doesn't mean I was limited in creating outfits. I used accessories and shoes to help make my outfit look different from everyone else. There was even a night I got dressed and fell asleep in my clothes, I was that excited, haha.
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Stormie Ramirez
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Friday, June 24, 2016

Review | Bradley Method Birth Classes

Review | Bradley Method Birth Classes


Back in January when we started our Bradley Method Birth Class I talked about doing a review once we finished our class but than decided to hold it off until after birth to give you a full review and if I thought it actually helped.


Bradley Header

If you are familiar with our birth story than you know it didn't go as I envisioned or planned but than again I think it rarely does. However I feel like my birth experience was a little extra traumatic (okay that word is a little over the top and dramatic but whatever). I felt like Sophia was literally forced out (dramatic again, I know) of me due to my doctor's decision of inducing me. And the way my body reacted to the inducing medicine made it harder on me than your typical birthing contractions. Typically you contract about every 3-5 minutes and they get closer together as you progress. This was NOT the case for me. I contracted about every 45 seconds for about 18 hours straight and I owe it to the Bradley Method for getting me that far without an epidural. In helping me learn to not fight my contractions and work with them however after 18 hours of labor and contracting without any down time I think it's safe to say that's asking a lot from anyone to just breath. 

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Stormie Ramirez
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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Baby Registry | Tips & Tricks

Baby Registry | Tips & Tricks


On Monday when I shared the latest of what's happening in Little Love's nursery, I mentioned spending the cash/check gifts to purchase her vintage French provincial dresser. And I thought I would share tips and tricks on what you should do with all those monetary gifts including gift cards.


One of the greatest pieces of advice I was given during my pregnancy was to hold on to all my gift cards until after the baby comes. I gotta say this one piece of advice benefited us greatly. Mostly as new parents you really don't know how to separate what babies actually need to what's nice to have. I remember asking my friend for advice on my registry and she pointed me to Babies R Us Registry Checklist and said it was pretty accurate for the most part and in some aspects it is and in another aspects is not.

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Stormie Ramirez
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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

What to Pack for the Hospital during a Maternity Stay

What to Pack for the Hospital during a Maternity Stay


A few weeks ago, I shared what I took from the hospital after giving birth to Little Love and before that I suggested some questions to consider asking while on a Maternity Tour so I figured it was time I talked about what I packed (and what we didn't think to pack so family members had to go scrambling through our house to find the items).

If you have read Little's Loves birth story than you know nothing went as planned (when does it ever really though?) and we were not prepared. Our hospital bag was half way packed sitting in the nursery while we were considering what we really needed to take with us.


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Stormie Ramirez
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Monday, May 16, 2016

What to Take From the Hospital After a Maternity Stay

What to Take From the Hospital After a Maternity Stay


I have been following Chelsea from Two Twenty One for a few years now. After she had her son Owen, she posted a lot more about baby products, tips and tricks and what to take from the hospital after popping out a kid. I'll be honest, I loved her blog for the home improvement and DIY tutorials and her famous peonies. So when she started sharing more baby talk, I was like "great this is turning into a mom blog. I just want to see pretty pictures of her house and crafts I can create for my house." Well lo and behold, I got pregnant I needed to know what the heck to pack in my hospital bag so I asked my friend and she sent me Chelsea's link. Well well well, here we are again and I needed her help so I'm glad she shared her advice. And here I am sharing what I took from the hospital. 



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Stormie Ramirez
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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Summer Camp | Advice for Camp Directors

Summer Camp | Advice for Camp Directors


Last week, I shared summer camp advice for parents when choosing a camp for their child to attend. While writing about ratios and asking questions on the camps policies and procedures for keeping all children accounted for with high ratios, I decided to share advice for the directors of those camps.


However, whether you run a summer camp program or your just a staff member of a summer camp program, these tips and tricks will help you make sure you keep all the children in your staffs care accounted for and it decreases your chances of losing a child (unfortunately it does happen).

1. Always have each staff member keep a roster of the children in their group. I created a roster template that had spots for the staff members name, the date and slots to write the childrens' names. Each staff member would write the children's first and last names on their roster that was in their care for that date. Also, if a kid leaves early have the staff member mark it next to the kid's name.

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Stormie Ramirez
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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Summer Camp | Advice for Parents

Summer Camp | Advice for Parents


With school coming to a close, many parents are trying to figure out what to do with their kids for summer so I thought I would put together some things to question and consider when choosing a summer camp for your child to attend.


When considering a summer camp to send your child to the first thing you need to consider is what type of camp will they go to. Will they attend a specialty camp that will help further develop their hobbies such as dance camp, football camp, etc? If so, are those camps in session all summer or for only a few weeks? Or will they go to a childcare camp that lasts all summer long?

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Stormie Ramirez
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Monday, April 18, 2016

Tips & Tricks for Making Money on eBay

Tips & Tricks for Making Money on eBay


A few months ago, I shared some ways to bring in a little extra money. One of those ways was selling items on eBay and since that is where I bring in most of our extra income I decided to expand on what type of items I sell and what my monthly profit has been looking like to give y'all a general idea.

1. Clothes - this is the biggest category of items I try to sell. They range from brand new never worn items with or without tags and used clothing that is name brand and in good condition. The reason why I only sell name brand on eBay is because buyers are looking for a good deal on brands they love and typically you can't get much for clothing items that are not of a popular brand. For example, I have sold an H&M shirt, Under Armour clothing items, Nike, Kenneth Cole, etc.

2. Shoes - the shipping cost on shoes is high because they weigh so much and most times require you to do Priority shipping. I charge the buyers for shipping but you must know the exact weight of the item to determine what you should charge for shipping. I don't have a postage scale so it's kind of a hassle but I do plan on getting one so I can get better at charging the correct amount. I have cut into my profit numerous times by undercharging for shipping. This is one of the highest profit items though so it's worth trying to sell shoes as long as they are in good or better condition.

3. Hats - I really thought this item would be the fastest selling item yet I only sold 2 hat out of the 7 I had listed for the past two months. Hoping they sell soon though as I made some adjustments to their listing!

4. Watches/Activity Trackers - these items are the quickest and highest bidding items I have sold. People go into bidding wars for these items, I guess because of the fitness trend right now. 


Extra Tips & Tricks

Before listing an item, if I do not know their worth I try to find the exact item on the stores website. If the item is new with a tag, I try to get the actual value amount. If the item is new without a tag, I try to get at least half the value or more (this is where setting the item as an auction item comes in handy). If the item is used than I typically go with eBay's suggested starting bid price and hope I get numerous bids. Sometimes I do research the eBay site for similar items that others have sold to get an idea of what buyers are willing to pay.

If an item doesn't sell I relist it, sometimes at a reduced price depending on how desperate I am to get rid of the item. For example, I have a pair a KSwiss shoes I'm trying to sell and I have the bid starting at $30; I noticed I get watchers and a lot of views but no one has placed a bid so after relisting it numerous times I now dropped the starting bid to $20. We will see what happens. Sometimes you just have to be patient for the right buyer to come along.

My Monthly Profit

So how much profit have I made these last few months? Well I have had good months and I have had really slow months. I can't make a living off eBay but it helps having extra cash here and there. 

November - $43.54
December - $80.25
January - $284.69
February - $159.45
March - $8.01
April - $56.40 and counting

I determine my profit by subtracting shipping cost, shipping materials (I buy these in a bundle as needed), eBay fees and PayPal fees from my sell price. I have created a spreadsheet in Excel to help keep me organized and calculate my profit for me.

I hope these tips and tricks helped you out and you were able to get a realistic view into how much profit a regular person makes selling stuff around the house.

What do you do to make extra cash? Do you keep account of your profit? If so, do you have an excel spreadsheet or do you do it by hand?
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Stormie Ramirez
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Monday, April 11, 2016

What to Ask While on a Maternity Hospital Tour

What to Ask While on a Maternity Hospital Tour



After finding out we were pregnant and we chose our doctor and decided on a hospital, we knew we wanted to go on a tour of the hospital so I began making a list of questions I wanted to ask while on our tour of the maternity ward and I also created a list of requests (crazy new mom much?). All jokes aside I do believe it is important to be prepared and to ask questions to know what to expect during your stay especially if your a new momma or your going to a new hospital than your previous births and to make a list of requests so your birthing experience is catered to you and your family, as it should be.

Side Note: These requests will be apart of your birth plan but I wanted to bring some up during the tour to make sure the hospital I chose would be accommodating.


So what were the questions I asked?

Side Note: I also make a list of questions in my phone for our doctors before appointments and it sometimes helps to remember what to bring up to your doctor. As a new parent, we freak out about every little thing but we are also sleep deprived and may be too busy calming our little baby during an appointment, these questions or concerns may slip our mind but if they are written down, you are more likely to remember to ask.

What is the estimated cost of  a natural vaginal birth?
It's good to know in advance how much you are going to have to fork out especially if you need more time to save up to make the payment. Also, ask about a payment plan!

Is the lactation consultant and breastfeeding class apart of that cost or do they cost extra?
Some hospitals don't have either so its good to also ask if they even provide these services and if the do, what are the costs? We ended up not taking a breastfeeding class but we did have the lacation consultant come in to help me learn how to use my breast pump and to answer any questions I had that the nurses weren't able to. 

The nurses in my care were all very knowledgeable about breastfeeding but I heard most nurses do not know anything about breastfeeding or do not offer help so if that is the case, ask about the lactation consultant (they can also help with formula fed babies as well).

Is it possible for an all female staff to be assigned to us?
When I was first pregnant, I did not want any males to be assigned to me. Obviously they are professionals but I didn't feel comfortable having a man who was not my husband all up in my cookie HOWEVER I cannot remember who was all in my room when it actually came down to pushing. I was so focused on getting that little baby out, I hardly remember my husband being next to me holding my leg.

I would like all staff to be apart of my insurance network, is that possible? 
When you go to the hospital for any type of care or procedure always, ALWAYS, ask for the staff involved in your care to be apart of your insurance network. This will help keep the costs down. The only person I heard who is hard to get in your network is the anesthesiologist, for some reason. Does anyone know why that is? Leave a comment, if you do.

Side Note: I also listed this in my birth plan and I highly recommend you do the same

Does the hospital allow photography during delivery?
For obvious reasons, I wanted to be able to have photographic memories of the day we became parents.

Is a birth photographer allowed to be in the labor & delivery room?
Birth photographers are expensive and they are hard to find, at least I had a hard time finding one but before you make a deposit (they are non-refundable most of the time) be sure your hospital even allows a birth photographer. Our hospital did not allow professional photographers as they had their own within the hospital but their photographers did a Fresh 48 (newborn photography) instead. I really wanted professional photos of our birth to capture those sweet moments between my husband and I as we waited and finally got to meet our baby girl because like I said I barely remember those actual moments.

How many people are allowed in the room during delivery?
If you don't mind having your family members or friends all up in your cookie, than find out in advance how many people are allowed in the delivery room.

Can I have more information on the "golden hour"?
My hospital said they provided the golden hour which is an uninterrupted hour of skin to skin contact between the mother and baby, which is very important to create that bond and for breastfeeding. We had our hour but another nurse came in like three or four times asking if we were ready for guests and my nurse had to keep telling her no we were in the middle of establishing breastfeeding so be sure to mention the golden hour right after you deliver if you want that uninterrupted time.

Those were the questions I asked while on my tour of the hospital but I also had a list of requests I wanted to be sure the hospital would accommodate.


Pre-Birth Plan Requests
I do not want a pacifier given to my baby.
My baby will be strictly breastfed, do not give formula or sugar water.
I would like my baby to remain in the room with us at all times therefore all newborn procedures can be performed in our room. (I told ya'll I am that crazy new mom).
I would like more information about cord blood donation.

Did you ask any questions or make demands while on a maternity tour? I can't be the only crazy new mom. hehe. Is there a question I didn't ask that I should have? 

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Stormie Ramirez
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Friday, February 26, 2016

Pregnancy Must Haves

Pregnancy Must Haves


As soon as you announce your pregnant, you are sure to be bombarded with what you must have to get you through pregnancy. And while our friends and family members (and sometimes complete strangers) are trying to be helpful, each of us handle pregnancy differently physically, emotionally and even financially. One of the things I was told that was a must have was a maternity pillow but I'm sorry I don't feel comfortable forking out $50 or so for a pillow that may not work because they don't work for every pregnant woman. I have had and still have many uncomfortable nights sleeping but that just comes with the territory in my mind. At the end of the day, you do you. You may be okay with spending whatever amount on anything and that's okay for you but for me it wasn't so I compiled a list of my pregnancy must haves that are actually affordable (under $20) and maybe you may find these work for you or maybe they don't.
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1. Maternity leggings, where have you been all my life? How did I go through most of my pregnancy without thee?? Its crazy, I barley bought these now at 35 weeks pregnant. Don't be me, buy them as soon as you can. THEY. ARE. WORTH. IT. I thought I could get by wearing my regular leggings during pregnancy which I did but they weren't comfortable. And this is an item a lot of women suggest to buy but I didn't want to spend the money when I already had leggings. This is an item I wish someone would have slapped me in the face with and forced me to buy. Now you don't have to go all out and buy the name brand maternity leggings or whatever, since the Wal Mart ones seem to do what they are intended to do and for under $13, well why not. Maternity Motherhood charges between $25 - $30 for leggings, unless you find some on clearance they can be about the same price as Wal Mart's leggings. I purchased my leggings from Wal Mart and I am very happy with them, I was able to buy my pre-pregnancy size and they fit perfectly on me. Again, you do you, if you don't mind spending the extra money for another brand than whatever just make sure you have maternity leggings in your pregnancy wardrobe.

2. A comfortable bra. It doesn't have to be a maternity bra or a nursing bra, just a comfortable stretchy bra. I have had the BCG sports bra from Academy before pregnancy and loved it than but I love it even more during pregnancy. It leaves me with room without constricting my rib cage and making it hard to breath and its affordable (under $17). I have read many articles, blogs, and books that suggest buying maternity bras or nursing bras at the beginning of pregnancy and others suggesting at the end of pregnancy and even others saying wait a few weeks after having the baby before buying a nursing bra. Again, I didn't want to spend the money on bras so I just rotated my sports bras and my regular bras. Sports bras were my favorite to wear as there is no under-wire and the BCG bra has the cami-type straps so you don't have to worry about the straps being visible like with typical sports bras. So whatever you decide to do, just make sure it is comfortable.

3. The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth. Most people tell you to buy the What to Expect When Your Expecting book which is also a good book to have but you can easily find the same information on google or a pregnancy app. Most of the time, it was easier pulling up my BabyBump app and reading their short Daily Tip and Weekly Information than it was to read a few pages in the Expecting book. It is basically the same information just condensed in the app but still a good read just not a Must-Have in my opinion whereas the Thinking Woman book is a MUST must-have. I suggest buying this book as soon as you find out your pregnant (under $15). This book goes through all your options during labor and delivery including epidurals, inducing labor, IVs, cesareans, etc. The author Henci Goer, brings the facts, side effects, statistics, etc. about each procedure and lists the pros and cons on everything she covers. It really helps you decided on the best decision and to create a birth plan early on that fits you and your family best. And by getting this book early on and reading it, helps you make an informed decision about the type of doctor or midwife you want to deliver your baby and where you want to deliver your baby. Yes, you can easily ask your doctor about these procedures but most doctors have a set way they like to do things so they will make a procedure seem perfectly normal or harmless to you and the baby whereas Goer shows every side of each procedure. So I say this book is non-negotiable, you have to buy this and actually read it. That's an order. Just kidding but really, the book is very informational and is sure to prepare you to make informed decisions for you and your growing family.

And that my friends, is my version of pregnancy must-haves and each item is actually affordable (under $20). To be fair, I did not list any of the sales prices for these items so you may actually be able to find these items cheaper.

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Stormie Ramirez
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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Nighttime Routine during Pregnancy

Nighttime Routine during Pregnancy


In my 33 week bump date post, I mentioned my nighttime routine and decided I would go into more detail of what I actually do most nights to help get my body ready for bedtime. Some nights my routine works wonders and other times it is a complete fail but it is what kinda sorta works for me however I am open for more suggests!


Shortly after dinner, I begin to run my bath water while I use the restroom.  Once I am in the tub soaking, I watch my subscriptions on YouTube and this will last for about 20 to 30 minutes before I get restless.

At this point, I enter the shower (I only soak in the tub and do not cleanse while in the tub because its hard to wash my hair so just imagine the whale found on the Galveston shore) and do my shower thing, self explanatory I think. I exit the shower and dry my body off and wrap my hair in the towel, apply deodorant, moisturize my face and clean my ears. I personally don't feel dry even after drying off with a towel so I will sit in front of the fan for about 20 or 30 minutes, sometimes less. After I feel dry enough, I remove the towel from my hair and begin my nightly hair routine.

I than go to the restroom again and will begin the winding down process of getting comfortable. During this time, most nights, Anthony and I will do our relaxing techniques we have been learning in our birthing class which is basically me in a comfortable position and he rubs me down making sure all my muscles are relaxed (before we started this, I use to do yoga poses and stretches which also helped with my restless leg pains, I just have been to lazy to keep up with doing both things but I think I should start my yoga back up). Once I start getting restless again, Anthony gets ready for bed while I go to the restroom again and I will attempt to fall asleep. 

Side Note: I try to go to the restroom multiple times before actually attempting to fall asleep to prevent waking up so much during the middle of the night however if I don't drink enough water (I typically drink 3 bottles and that seems to be the right amount for me) during the day, I try to drink at least 1 bottle an hour before bedtime and that will keep me going to the restroom all night but I don't feel dehydrated waking up. So it's best for me to drink my water throughout the day, way before bedtime, so I only end up getting up once for the restroom in the middle of the night.

And that my friends is my nighttime routine, it typically takes about 4 hours to do but I do everything at a snail pace and sometimes things come up in between each stage like taking dogs out, playing on my phone, working on blog stuff or ebay stuff, etc.

What did your nighttime routine look like when you were pregnant? And what is it like now as a parent? Any tips for this mama to be?


More Pregnancy Tips & Tricks:
Pregnancy Must Haves
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Stormie Ramirez
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Monday, January 4, 2016

Extra Income Ideas | A Review

Extra Income Ideas | A Review



So you know how on other blogs, you always read stay-at-home moms are making money and it makes you wonder if these people are for real or if its just a scam? Well, since we will be losing one income once Little Love arrives, I decided to try different ways to bring in extra money to see what actually works and is worth while so I can still bring in some money as a SAHM. I decided to give ya'll my thoughts and reviews of what I have tried and if I actually made money or not. These are not get-rich quick jobs, these are just ways to bring in a little extra money.

1. Fancy Hands - This was the first company I tried, it is a virtual assistant job where you take on task that a client sends in such as calling to make a reservation, doing internet research, calling to compare prices, etc. Each task states what you will be paid for completing the task which majority of tasks pay about $2.75 however there are some that pay more depending on the difficulty of the task. Also, each task normally doesn't take more than 20 minutes to complete. While I like that this job can be done when you want to do it, I just haven't had the motivation to actually do the tasks that are available but that may change once I am a SAHM. All in all, money can be made with this company and it is legit. You are paid through a company called Dwolla that can be linked to your bank account. Disclaimer: I do get a small compensation for you using my referral link to sign-up however all opinions are my own.

2. Textbroker - This company is a freelance writing company and the one I was most excited about however I was very disappointed. When you apply, you submit a writing sample that will be rated from 2 stars to 5 stars, depending on your rating depends on the pay you receive. The higher your rating the more pay and the more assignments available to you whereas the lower the rating, less pay and less assignments available. Once you have written multiple articles with this company, your rating is based on the average of your last 5 assignments. This is the disappointing part, I joined textbroker in the beginning of November, I was rated 3 stars with my sample writing. I honestly have no idea how I scored low but I pushed through because I can make up my rating by submitting really good articles. There are barley any articles available for 2 stars or 3 stars writers and the ones that are available just don't interest me but I still pushed through so I can boost my rating and write about good content however the editors of textbroker have yet to rate my articles and it has been 2 months. If you get a high rating with your sample writing, maybe you will enjoy this freelance writing gig but I have given up on it. The other thing is, in order to get paid, you do have to submit an IRS form which you do with any job but I wanted to wait until I reached a decent amount of money before submitting personal information and as I only have $3.33, I have not done so, so I cannot say if this company is fully legit. I did read reviews that others have received money from them but they were just as unsatisfied about the rating thing as I was.

3. Receipt Hog - This app is really neat and basically free money. You take pictures of your receipts and earn coins from any store that sells groceries, health items, beauty products, etc. such as Target, Kroger, Wal Mart, Petsmart, Raceway, etc. Depending on the amount you spent at the store determines how many coins you earn. You can redeem your coins for either a PayPal payout or you can redeem an Amazon Gift Card (1000 coins=$5, 1800 coins=$10, 3200 coins=$20 and 4500 coins=$30). Again, this is not a get rich scheme, just a little extra money in your pocket. If you do sign up and use my referral code fot39693 I earn extra spins at the Hog Slots.

4. Ibotta - I really don't have much to say about this app as I only used it for 10 minutes before giving up. I just didn't like the fact of how much effort it took. With Receipt Hog, I just snap a picture of my receipt and I am good to go, Ibotta offers coupons on items but you have to search for the ones you want and you have to submit your receipt and take a picture of the item you are trying to get qualified or something like that. It sounds simpler written down but actually searching their app was difficult. Also, if you do sign up and decide you don't like it be sure to contact Ibotta telling them you want to cancel your account or else you will be charged for inactivity (something else I didn't like). There is not a cancel option, you have to actually contact them via email.

5. eBay - This is where I have had most of my success thus far. I sell items we no longer need or want or have yet to use. Make sure to take good quality pictures as that is what attracts buyers. Also, do your research on shipping cost, its not that hard to figure out but you don't educate yourself on it you can lose money, something I had to learn my first month selling on eBay. The items I have sold range from used clothes (that are still in great condition and are name brand such as Under Armor, Nike, Adidas, etc.) watches, shoes, activity trackers, Pokemon cards, Nintendo 64 games and accessories. Basically stuff we don't use or need that is laying around taking up space.

6. Craigslist - I sell items here, that I am not able to sell on eBay such as old TVs, laptops, furniture etc. I just don't want to deal with trying to ship a 42 in TV or a dresser so I choose to sell items locally through Craigslist.

7. Local classifieds - Same as above and I also list our puppies in the local classifies when we have litters.

8. Blogging - I have been blogging off and on for about 5, maybe 6 years but I have never tried or really knew how to make money with blogging. Its something I am still learning and we will see how much extra income I can bring in by doing something I already do and enjoy.

9. YouTube - Same as above, I have posted videos sporadically through the years mostly of our dogs and just learned you can make money off your videos if its original content. This last litter of puppies we had, I posted daily videos of them before learning about monetization. I have now monetized all my videos so we shall see what kind of income this will bring in for me.

And that folks, is what I have tried so far. Am I ready to quit my day job today? Um, no unless Little Love decides to come early than I have no choice but no I do not. All these extra income jobs, gigs, hobbies or whatever, take time and some only give you extra change but it's extra change you didn't have. So for the third time, these are not get-rich schemes just little things you can do for extra money.

Sharing at: Made In a Day, Remodelacholic  and A Life in Balance
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Stormie Ramirez
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