Theme Layout

[Rightsidebar]

Boxed or Wide or Framed

[Boxed]

Theme Translation

Display Featured Slider

No

Featured Slider Styles

Display Grid Slider

No

Grid Slider Styles

Display Trending Posts

No

Display Author Bio

No

Display Instagram Footer

Powered by Blogger.
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.

Read the rest of the story »
Unknown
0 Comments

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

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.

Read the rest of the story »
Unknown
0 Comments

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? 



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!!


Read the rest of the story »
Unknown
0 Comments

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!!

Read the rest of the story »
Unknown
0 Comments

Follow @stormieariel