Archives for March 2013

Taste Central: Online Shopping with Mommy Ginger (Plus a giveaway, too!)

With Baby Zeeka here, crying every hour or two, asking me to feed her, it’s impossible to get out of the house and buy a few more items that I missed while I was still pregnant. Online shopping has been my best friend and I think it will be for the next month or so. Being a discerning and hands-on mom, I want everything to be perfect for me and my baby. I want things of good taste and quality.

I know that one of the fears that you have when you buy online is you really can’t check the quality of an item before you purchase it. Well, I had no problems with buying things for my baby using Taste Central. Have you visited their site? The minute I saw their site, I was impressed with the design.

Of course, the first thing that I did was I checked on the items being sold for kids.

Kids Section of Taste Central

Kids Section of Taste Central

Taste Central has five categories that you can browse through: Home and Living, Women, Men, Kids and Food. Under Kids, it’s easy to look for things that you are looking for for your children since the site has subcategories (Nursery, Bed and Bath, Toys, Feeding Accessories, Fashion, and Travel). I was so excited to shop. I went through the things that I lacked for Baby Z and intently went through the kids section of Taste Central.

I found this high chair that I wanted to buy for her.

Jazzy High Chair at Taste Central

Jazzy High Chair at Taste Central

I know it’s a bit early to shop for something that she can only use when she’s 6 months old, but anyway, I liked the product, so I bought it. I also bought these other items for Zeeka.

Shopping for Zeeka!

Shopping for Zeeka!

I bought a Chicco Go Baby Carrier (which I already tried wearing this morning… with out Zeeka in it though…yet :P). I forgot to take a picture of it, but I also bought a Spinkie Butterfly Pillow for only Php 940. The Spinkie pillow is a unique chiropractic-inspired pillow for your babies and toddlers.

I bought three items for Zeeka! I had a fun time shopping in between feedings. I love shopping and “window shopping” at Taste Central since the items are easy to find and the website is very user-friendly. They also have great and unique items — it makes me feel that I only have to go through the best of the best!

Choosing items, checking out and even sending payments through the site were easy and very convenient. Items are delivered within 3-5 days.

Confirmation from Taste Central

Available Payment Options

Mommies, I suggest that you try out the site. BTW, Taste Central is the Official Retail Partner of Deal Grocer. I know that you will love going through the items that they have and buying stuff for yourself, for your little one, for your loved ones and for your home.

And here’s more good news! Taste Central and Mommy Ginger is giving away this cute Bright Starts Infant to Toddler Rocker.

Bright Starts™ Infant to Toddler Rocker

Bright Starts™ Infant to Toddler Rocker

All you have to do is follow the mechanics indicated in the Rafflecopter widget. We will then raffle off the Bright Starts Rocker to one lucky winner! The promo starts today and ends on April 7, 2013. Winner will be selected via Randomizer.org or via Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Join now and win that cute Rocker! 🙂

Sign up now at TasteCentral.com. Click HERE.

Goodluck and have fun shopping!

Love lots,

Mommy Ginger

Mommy Ginger

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Momtrepreneur Mariel Medina of Sitting Pretty Crafts Studio

An Interview with Mariel Medina, Proprietor of Sitting Pretty Crafts Studio

The minute I met Mariel, I knew that she was a very strong willed and determined individual. Mommy Mariel is a mom to four kids, Cody (15 y.o.), Maki (13y.o.), Vigo (6 y.o.) and Rees (4 y.o.). Like some of the mompreneurs out there, Mariel worked in a corporate environment first for Sales and Marketing for quite sometime before going after her dream of putting up her own business. She married, her now husband, Louie last December 2011 and resigned from her job last February 2011.

Mompreneur Mariel Medina and family

Mompreneur Mariel Medina and family

It wasn’t easy starting out, Mariel says. She resigned during that time but had no business in mind yet. She started a Multiply business of selling garden planting kits. She also tried out selling children’s clothes for toddlers. For 6 months, she was trying to figure out what to do.

Finally, on August 2012, while watching her kids play in their room, she got this bright idea, which led her to start her own business!

Ginger: Hi Mariel! Can you tell us more about this business and this bright idea?
Mariel: My business is called Sitting Pretty Crafts Studio. We make fabric covered magnet boards, which are great for decorating nursery or kids’ rooms or even for placing on top of your office desk. I got the idea when I saw my kids stick tape and stickers on the walls of their rooms.

Mommy Board

Mommy Board

Makeup Board

Makeup Board

I make boards of different sizes: 18 x 24, 12 x 18 and 9 x 12. I sell my items via Multiply and advertise via Facebook and Twitter. I also tried and joined different bazaars such as the Ateneo Fair Bazaar last October 2012. It was such a learning experience. I then joined the Mommy Mundo Bazaar. I learned a lot from joining these bazaars.

magnets 1

hand dyed wooden clothespin magnets
Ginger: With all of these marketing efforts, who do you think your market is?
Mariel: I think my market are moms who are in-charge of the house. They buy these items for their house or for their kids. Some ‘kikay’ yuppies also buy from me. They use these

Ginger: Were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming a momtrepreneur? What are these?
Mariel: Production is really a challenge for me. Under production, my main obstacles are quality control and manpower. You have to check that all items are of good quality. Since I only have two people helping with production, I, myself see to it that I get to check the items. For manpower, I only have 2 peope — one to create the frame and one to wrap.

Another obstacle is limiting my wastage. I need to further study how to lessen waste. Also, there are already competitors in creating magnetic boards. I know that this is a reality so I have to create new and innovative products in the future. Another challenge is educating the market. Since this is a unique product, I get a lot of questions from possible buyers on what the board is for. I then have to patiently explain what its function is.

Ginger: What are three traits that you think a momtrepreneur should have when starting their own business?
Mariel:

a. Must know how to Multi-task. A momtrepreneur must know when to switch hats from being a mom to the business woman that she is. She has to learn how to ‘compartamentalize’ and once already in the role, she must learn how to focus.
b. Support of your family. It is important that the people aroudn you truly believe in your business and support you in any way they can.
c. Must have that Entrepreneurial spirit. There are things na hindi natuturo sa school (isn’t taught in school). I believe that having that entrepreneurial spirit is a one of these skills.

Ginger: Any unforgettable lesson that you learned as a Momtrepreneur?
Mariel:
a. Never forget to spend time with your kids. They grow up so fast so cherish every moment with them.
b. Money is not the only reward that you get from being a mompreneur. It gives you time for your children. I’m happy that it allows me to pick up my kids from school.
c. Being a momtrepreneur gives you a clearer picture of what’s important

Ginger: What advice can you give to other Momtrepreneurs?
Mariel: Do your research before starting your own business, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. It is okay to make mistakes.

I think that it’s better, too, to think of your business while you are still employed. At least you have a fallback just in case you don’t push through with your business. Also, it helps to assess and know what you want. It will take time to get to know what you want, so just be patient.

Also, when already in business, it’s so easy to get consumed in your business and you forget about spending time with your family. Never forget that family should always be your top priority. Also, there should be no shame in asking people for help (approach family— siblings, cousins, etc.). It is okay to get help from family and friends. For me, as mompreneur, the concept of being a super woman means that at times, you have to learn to realize that you can’t do everything.

And lastly, look for like minded individuals. They will be your support group.

Ginger: Thank you, Mariel, for all your wonderful ideas and insights!

Sitting Pretty Crafts Studio Contact information:
a. Website/Multiply site: http://sittingpretty.multiply.com/
b. Email address: sittingprettyph@blogspot.com
c. Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/sittingpretty.ph
d. Twitter account: @sittingprettyph

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Motherhood and My Breastfeeding Challenge

This is not like me. I have always had things under control. I’m not so much of a control freak, but for everything before, I always had the opportunity to handle things in such a way that I like the outcome or I expect or get to foresee the outcome. And yet now, I am frustrated. I literally find myself crying over… crying over ‘I have no idea’ actually.

It has been 1 week and three days since our little bundle of joy was born. The minute she was born, my husband and I were in cloud 9. It was such a great feeling to have a child of your own to love, to hug, to kiss and cuddle. Since I had a C-section, I was in the hospital for four days.

During those days, we had a difficult time adjusting to the baby’s sleeping and feeding schedule. My personal goal is to the be the best mommy that I can be. Even before Zeeka was born, I vowed to myself that I would exclusively breastfeed and I would stick to that. My goal led me to ask for the baby to be roomed-in right after she was born, so just few hours after my operation in the morning, Zeeka was already with me in my room late that afternoon.

Since I was not that mobile yet, I breastfed her in the hospital doing the side-lying position. Thankfully, Zeeka had a good suck. She latched right away after our second try. We, Ej and I, would get up every so often to feed her and change her diapers and have her burp. We would monitor each and every feeding and diaper change. These were days of sleepless nights.

When we got home, we continued to have sleepless nights. I then had problems since my nipples started to sore and bleed. We tried different breastfeeding positions and for some reason, Zeeka could not latch well. I felt so frustrated. I didn’t know what was suddenly wrong. I kept on thinking that it was my fault. I kept on crying and crying, since I really felt like a loser ‘mom’. Why did so many people seem to direct breastfeed so easily? They seem so calm and relaxed in the pictures that we see on the net and even in real life.

I know I did everything I could. I attended breastfeeding classes. I attended three in fact. I attended birthing classes. Why can’t I get Zeeka to latch well. Of course I know that my sore nipples were due to Zeeka’s incorrect latch. I gave up and started pumping.

When I started pumping, I got to collect around half an ounce of milk from both breasts. This made me frustrated again. It entered my mind that I didn’t have enough milk. I got to hear from friends that they collect as much as 2 ounces of milk and some even more. Again, it felt as if it were my fault. Every time I would hear Zeeka’s shrieks and cries, I would cry, too. I felt so unfulfilled. Everything felt so uncontrollable — my milk let down, the hunger cries of my baby, my sore nipples, etc. I felt so useless.

At this time, I was already thinking of mixed feeding. Although, at the back of my head, I really wanted to exclusively breastfeed and formulas were really a no-no for me. It was a good thing that I stuck to this commitment. I just kept on convincing myself that if I had to pump every hour, I would.

At this time, Ej and I decided to already call on the help of Abbie Yabot, a lactation consultant to help us fix our latch. She came to us yesterday, early morning. It was just the right time, since I was losing it. Before she arrived, I was crying over spilled milk (literally) that I pumped.

She arrived at almost 8:00 am. When she came, we immediately went straight to trying to latch Zeeka, and in just a minute or so, she successfully latched on to me. We learned a lot from Abbie during her visit. We learned a lot of things, both incorrect things that we were doing and tips on how things should be done. The session was really helpful. We are now perfecting and practicing our latch and I am more at ease with all these things going on with Zeeka and with her feeding.

They say that motherhood is one of the best things that could ever happen to a woman. When I look at Zeeka, all bundled and cuddled up, I do believe that this is true. I read this beautiful article that a friend shared with me, Beautiful Catastrophe: The Death and Rebirth of Becoming a Mother, and I couldn’t help but cry. I could relate to the writer in so many levels.

No one or nothing can really prepare you fully for motherhood. Your mother, your grandmother, a lactation expert, etc. can give you all the advice in the world, but you will still have to adjust and learn with your child. Both of you, with your husband, will have to take the journey together. This is what I learned with my experience.

And if you accept the fact that…
1. you are not perfect and are only human
2. that not all things are within your control
3. and that motherhood is a learning process…

everything will be waaaay easier.

To end this, I leave you with this quote:

“Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did – that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that – a parent’s heart bared, beating forever outside its chest.” ― Debra Ginsberg

Love lots,

Mommy Ginger

Mommy Ginger

my

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Meet Little Zeeka: The Birth Story

Zeeka’s Birth Story

A week before March 8, 2013, Ej and I and our obstetrician already decided that we were going to have a Cesarean section instead of a normal delivery due to my medical history and a number of reasons. I was quite relieved, but at the same time sad that I won’t be going through the experience of having labor pains and waiting for my baby to be delivered. But then again, to keep me and the baby safe, we opted to do the C-section.

I chose the date March 8, 2013. Dra. Sarmiento then advised me to be checked in on March 7, 2013 (the day before) in the afternoon. That day, I was so excited. I couldn’t keep still. People were texting me and wishing me luck. Thank you all for all your prayers.

At 3:30 pm, we left our home at Taguig to drive to Asian Hospital in Alabang. We immediately went to the admissions department. People were very courteous. The processing was also very fast. We booked a standard private room at the Asian Hospital at around 5:30 pm. We fixed our things and I could still eat until 12:00 midnight. Just to be sure, I ate my last meal at 10:30 then just drank water from that time until 12 midnight. That night, I had to undergo some final tests (urinalysis, etc.) and and some preparations (fleet enema, etc.). I met the doctors that night prior to the surgery — the anesthesiologist and the pediatrician.

The room was already quite big and comfortable (there was a pull out couch for Ej, my husband to sleep in and a couch for the yaya to sleep in), but I couldn’t sleep. I guess it was all the excitement.

At 7:00 am the next day, our birth photographer, Polly Fong of Oh Happy Day Birth Photography, arrived and took some pre-labor shots. I’ll share with you the pictures from Polly once I get them.

At exactly 8:00 am, March 8, 2013, I was wheeled into the Triage area of Genesis, the labor and birthing area of Asian
Hospital. Ej was with me the whole time. My doctor had one C-Section to do before me, so we had to wait. At around 10:30 am, Dra. Sarmiento, my obstetrician visited me and told me that we were about to start in a few minutes. At 11:00, they already brought me into the operating room and prepared me for the surgery. I was given spinal block for anesthesia. The anesthesia wasn’t that painful. It was actually cool not to feel half of your body!

Dra. Diana Sarmiento and the Team

Dra. Diana Sarmiento and the Team

Ej was allowed to come in and to take pictures. I was glad he was there. I could hear what the doctors were discussing and talking about. I was actually fully aware of what was going on. I wanted to talk, but I was thinking of the advice of everyone to just keep quiet to avoid having gas enter my stomach. I was feeling okay, but it was getting difficult to breathe. I think I remember the anesthesiologist say that it was because of the oxytocin or something. I kept on saying a prayer in my head during the entire time.

In a few minutes, at 11:45 am, our baby Zeeka was born. (Thank you Daddy Ej for documenting each moment wonderfully!)

Zeeka coming out from my tummy

Zeeka coming out from my tummy

Another picture of Zeeka coming out from my tummy

Another picture of Zeeka coming out from my tummy

Checking the weight of Zeeka

Checking the weight of Zeeka

Zeeka and I first meet

Zeeka and I first meet

Our first family picture

Our first family picture

Our Zeeka was born healthy at 7 pounds and 3 ounces. I remember that she had a really loud cry. I started to shed tears… tears of joy. It was an amazing experience! I couldn’t believe that this baby came from me. They brought her to me right away to latch. I really wanted to breastfeed so I wanted to see Zeeka right away. The first thing that came to my mind was that she was so cute! We had skin to skin but it was only for a few minutes since the doctors had to stitch me up already and I was having a hard time breathing.

Nothing can compare to the emotions that I felt during that time. I’m such a proud momma!

This is Zeeka’s Birth Story.

Love lots,

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Mompreneur Joyce Romualdez, Proprietor of Almost Gourmet

An Interview with Mompreneur Joyce Miranda Romualdez, Proprietor and Executive Taste Tester of Almost Gourmet

I love Joyce and the food from Almost Gourmet! My first encounter with Almost Gourmet was when I ordered food for our house blessing party for the family. I saw their page in facebook and I decided to try them out. I was so impressed with the food that I wrote about them in Manila Reviews: House Warming with Family: Thanks, Almost Gourmet! Since the food has captured my heart, I always order from Joyce for the workshops that we organize. I later got to meet her family and saw that she was a mompreneur.

Mompreneur Joyce Romuladez

Mompreneur Joyce Romuladez

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P1030376

Here is my interview with Joyce.

Ginger: Hi Joyce! Can you tell my readers a little something about yourself?
Joyce: I am a 33-year old WAHM with a home-based food business. Before starting my own business, I was a manager at a French company that taught English distance learning to companies in Europe. I got married in 2009 and gave birth to my first and only child (for now!) in 2011. I love to travel and discover new places and learn new cultures. I’m battling a never-ending love-hate relationship with food (and gaining weight). I am proud to say that I am still exclusively breastfeeding my daughter. 16 months and counting!

Ginger: Wow! Congratulations on that, Joyce! I also plan to EBF Zeeka when she’s born! Now, can you tell us more about this business of yours.

Almost Gourmet: Joyce's Business

Almost Gourmet: Joyce’s Business

Joyce: My business is called Almost Gourmet. We provide party trays, packed meals, dessert like cakes and cupcakes and C.I.Y. (Cook-It-Yourself) frozen food. I started the business in August of 2008.

Pasta Carbonara

Hainanese Chicken Rice

Ginger: With all the food businesses out there, who are you tapping? Who is your market?
Joyce: My market is anyone who wants delicious, affordable food delivered to their doorstep (or office lobby).

Ginger: How did you come up with this idea? What made you decide to start this kind of business?
Joyce: I started this business when I was still working in the corporate world. My office mates, who tasted my “baon” daily, thought the food was great, so I decided to sell packed meals to them first and then venture out to other offices and eventually homes when I quit my job.

Beef Salpicao

Beef Kare Kare

Baked Herbed Parmesan Chicken Sticks
Ginger: Were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming a mompreneur? What are these?
Joyce: In starting any kind of business, the most difficult part is the beginning. Once you get past that, then things will be easier. Also, when I started Almost Gourmet, the money wasn’t as good as working in an international company. It’s still not, actually. Getting to hug and kiss my baby girl anytime I want to is what makes it so worth it.

Ginger: That’s nice! Nothing will ever compare to the time that you get to spend with your kid. What are three traits that you think a mompreneur, like you, should have when starting their own business?
Joyce: Courage, patience and perseverance.

Ginger: Any Unforgettable lesson that you learned as a Mompreneur?
Joyce: Accept your faults. No one’s perfect.

Ginger: And lastly, what advice can you give to other Mompreneurs?
Joyce: If I can do it, you can too! Same with breastfeeding, it does get better!

Ginger: You see why I find this lady so amazing and endearing! 🙂 Thank you so much, Joyce, for all your words of wisdom!

Almost Gourmet Contact information:
a. Website: www.almostgourmet.com.ph (under construction)
b. Email address: almostgourmet@gmail.com
c. Mobile Number: +639178100110
d. Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/almostgourmet
e. Twitter account: www.twitter.com/almostgourmet

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Zeeka, we’re finally going to meet you!

This is the day when I’m going to finally meet you, my Baby Zeeka!

Zeeka
*Free printable from http://www.ontobaby.com/

Hi Baby Zeeka,

Mommy and Daddy are finally going to meet our baby today! We are so excited to see you, Zeeka! At exactly 9:00 am today (By the way, mommy wrote this post exactly 3 days before today — that is how excited mommy is!), Daddy and Mommy will get to meet you for the the first time. We are so excited!

Mommy sounds like a broken record. It’s the excitement, baby Zeeka. I have no words to describe how I feel right now. All I can say is welcome to this world and I hope that you enjoy it as much as mommy and daddy enjoys it!

Love lots,

Mommy Ginger

Mommy Ginger

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Creating a Birth Plan

For me, creating a birth plan is a nice activity to do before giving birth. I have created my general information sheet and my birth plan already. The general information sheet is the one that you will hand out to doctors, nurses and interns who keep asking you a series of questions that you already answered. I followed the format that Rome gave us in class.

My Birth Plan

My Birth Plan

For my birth plan, I created my own list of wants. This is a wishlist of all the things that I want to happen during labor, delivery and postpartum.

If you want to see a copy of my birth plan (of course I deleted my personal information, so just replace it wit yours), you can get it from this link:
Birth Plan Template

After creating a birth plan, do not forget to discuss this with your doctor. I actually discussed this already with her last week but we had to change our plans since I am going for a scheduled Cesarean Section tomorrow (Ooops, yeah! I forgot to mention that. I’ll tell you the full story later on).

Why is it important for you to have a birth plan. This is so as to guide the doctors on nurses on what you wish to have during this special moment in your life. I already asked our hospital, Asian Hospital, and the nurses really read what you have on your list.

Did you or do you have a birth plan already?

Here are some other resources that helped me come up with my plan:

Birth Plan Worksheet from BabyCenter.com

Creating your birth plan from American Pregnancy Association

Birth Plan Creator from PregnancyandBaby.com

What are the things in your plan? Please share it with me!

Love lots,

Mommy Ginger

Mommy Ginger

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Bahay Amihan: Support for Solo Parents

I can’t imagine going through all of these experiences of being pregnant, preparing for the baby or having the baby without the support of my husband. I can just imaging how difficult life must be for single moms or even dads. I have friends who are solo parents and to them I give my very loud slow clap for I really admire all the effort and the strength.

For solo parents, who may be you, reading this, you are not alone in your journey. I came across this community of solo parents. They are called Bahay Amihan. Their goals are to promote the rights and privileges of solo parents, mobilize communities, stakeholders and duty bearers to provide the basic social services to the Solo Parents and their children and to empower Solo Parents through education, livelihood and psycho-social assistance programs.

Here is a copy of their brochure:

Bahay Amihan Brochure for Solo Parents (page 1)

Bahay Amihan Brochure for Solo Parents (page 1)

Bahay Amihan Brochure for Solo Parents (page 2)

Bahay Amihan Brochure for Solo Parents (page 2)

Bahay Amihan, Inc., a non-stock, non-profit, social development organization duly registered in the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last June 13, 2012, was founded by a solo parent, Zena Bernardo Bernardo. She herself experienced all the hardships that a solo parent would go through trying to find ways to earn for her children, who were all honor students studying in the public school system.

She was granted a scholarship in the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Marikina (PLMar) by the Office of the Mayor and pursued earning her BSEd degree and acquired license to teach Mathematics. She then pursued a career in social development work in public health and education sectors for women and children. With Bahay Amihan, she has finally found the opportunity to share the lessons she had learned through her experience as a young solo parent.

If you want to learn more about the projects of Bahay Amihan, click here: www.bahayamihan.org

If you want to help, you can be a volunteer. You can sponsor a solo parent/child into an empowerment program or have a collaborative project partnership with Bahay Amihan. You can also donate (cash or in-kind) to the following:

Local Bank: BAHAY AMIHAN, INC. – Banco De Oro (BDO) Savings Account No. 7330 0393 11
International Bank: IBAN : BE63 0003 2599 8408BIC – BPOTBEB1 – Communication: 100/9598/84550

I hope that this post helps spread the word about this community for solo parents. Do spread the word to people whim you think might need support.

Love lots,

Mommy Ginger

Mommy Ginger

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