Thursday, May 24, 2018

Costco - Our Experience

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Thank you for your comments on our facebook page about our last post!!!! It means a lot to me.

Do you like supermarkets??? Oh well,... we love them! So today I decided to write about the Costco experience and things we like to purchase there.

Costco is a store where you buy in bulk, which most of time means savings. A membership is required  and needs to be renewed every year.

Once you are member you are able buy in store, online and fill up the tank at a Costco gas stations. We save about 0.10 per litre on gas. We became members when we got our car and this was one of the main reasons.

As people say, Costco is a one stop shop, where you can get things that you need from birth till the end of times. Here is a list of some products that we usually buy there:

1) Clothing: I always stop by the clothing area to check on the "latest arrivals", prices are reasonable and quality is good. We have purchased some brand name clothes such as Calvin Klein, Levis, Puma, Adidas, Tommy Hilfiger, just to name a few. We also got quite a few outfits/ pyjamas for Isabella there, I mean Carter's, Disney, Fisher Price, Gymboree.

2) Baby Wipes: Huggies Natural Care are my favourite for Isabella. They are fragrance free and the texture is soft and gentle. They come in a box with 1,152 wipes in total, however there packed in18 smaller packs. The regular price for this box is $26.49, but you can find them on sale for $20.99. I also see that Kirkland wipes are pretty popular, but I haven't tried yet. Soon I will write a post with Baby products you can buy at Costco.

3) Rotisserie chicken: Oh my, oh my,... we absolutely love the Roti chicken,... it is already seasoned and ready to eat. Delicious! It is a great option when you don't have the time or don't feel like cooking. I also think it is a pretty versatile choice, since you can eat as is and the following day have it on a wrap or salad. The bird is 1.2Kg and costs $7.99. For us it means at least 3 - 4 meals that we don't have to worry about the protein.

4) Dairy products: We usually buy our dairy products at Costco. Milk is the same price when regular supermarkets have them on sale, so we know that the price is good. We also like their variety of cheeses (brie, provolone, cheddar, shredded, ...).

5) Fruits & Vegetables: We try to keep healthy habits, so eating fruits and vegetables/salads is part of our daily menu. That's why we buy some of the produce at Costco. We usually buy berries, clementines, grapes, lemon, mushroom, asparagus, romaine lettuce, spring mix containers, grape tomatoes, celery, cucumber.

6) Meat: Our go to in terms of meat is ground beef and I always like to have at home. Prices are way better than regula grocery store but be prepare to buy a huge package. Honestly,... it is a lot - remember that our family = 2 adults + 1 baby. What we use to do is divide it into smaller portions and freeze them. If you like to barbecue you will find good steaks for the grill. I would also consider their Salmon.

Costco also has some seasonal merchandise that are pretty good - patio furniture, bikes, Christmas decoration, winter gear, are a few examples of what you can find. Ron likes to buy the windshield fluid there. Isabella was so excited when she saw this bike, we had to take a pic of the "test drive":

We also got Bella's first Halloween costume at Costco. She was an adorable baby unicorn!

Costco is very generous with their return policy. If you buy an item and you don't like it you can return and get your money back! Yes,... no hassle, no questions asked. This policy applies to most items, but there are exceptions. Please check your store policy.

There is a food court in each store where you can find some snacks such as pizza, ice cream, coffee, French fries,... but our favourite is the Hot dog + Pop combo for $1.50. Sure thing it is not the healthiest snack,... but I like it and it's a good deal.

When you go for a Costco run, make sometime to have some samples, they're kind of famous for having them and I need to confess that a bunch of things ended up in our home just because we tried them in store ;)

Kirkland is their own brand and quality of products is good. We have already tried the yogurt, spices & seasoning (garlic powder is our fav!), some Deli, batteries, maple syrup. I need to try their baby wipes.

I am a couponer and for my disappointment coupons are not accepted at Costco, except if you are an Executive member and receive Costco coupons in the mail. Sometimes they have in store coupons for lightbulbs.

And you guys,... have you been to Costco? What are your favourite products?

Thursday, May 10, 2018

First Mother's Day

Hi guys,...

This is my first Mother's Day as a Mom and I had to register it :)

Last year, by this time, we were already counting down for Isabella's arrival. It was a mix of excitement and anxiety.

Before Isabella was born I was concerned that I would not be able to wake up if she cried (I was always a good sleeper and I couldn't wake up with the alarm clock by my side), that I wouldn't know what to do if she was sick or crying. What if I couldn't understand what she wanted/needed???

What I learned after almost 1 year of Motherhood is that I can wake up with any sigh or different sound she makes,... I can understand baby Bella only looking into her eyes - no words needed! It doesn't matter how sick or exhausted you are, you always find the strength to take care of our little one,... that there is nothing more rewarding and fulfilling than seeing her happy, smiling, playing with her sister Kiki - having fun.

I am grateful to be able to see her growing and becoming this beautiful human being,... I am grateful for every tiny discovery and for the big milestones,... I am grateful for all these moments of happiness, serenity, and peace that we are living with her...

... Summing up, I am grateful to be a Mom!

Happy Mother's Day to all Moms,... specially to my Mom!

Photo by Juliana Moscofian

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Life after a few months

It's been a long long time, so let's start all over again,... first post of the year, so Happy New Year!!!

I am already back at work after 10 months of maternity leave (I started writing this post in April). I had a lot of ideas for the blog, basically most of them regarding maternity and day by day with our little one, however I could not make some time to write.

You gotta be wondering: "what????? How come you did not have time if you had 10 months off???" Fair enough,... I also thought that I would have enough time to take care of my baby, keep the house clean and tidy and write my posts with a warm cup of tea. At the end things were not the way I planned them to be.

Moreover I chose to be with my baby girl while she was home with me. We had a schedule that did not include screen time (tv or technology) or I might say, very little screen time. We played together, had story time, danced, walked Kiara, and we enjoyed having "baby & mommy" time. Also, baby Bella was not a baby that took long naps during the day, just a few minutes (30 minutes tops) - I will explain it in another post.

We had family visiting us in October for almost a month - it was such a great time!

We decided to travel to Brazil to visit our family, they were really excited to meet the new little person in the family. It was really emotional seeing her creating memories with our loved ones. By the way, baby Bella and I traveled alone and I can say that she behaved well during the flights. Allow me to give a big shout to my sis that went above and beyond to help us on this journey,... she coordinated her schedule to be able to meet in Sao Paulo and fly the last leg with us to our final destination. We love you sis!

We returned back home in February and then we started looking for a daycare. I must say that it is not an easy task considering that the majority of the daycares don't accept infants, only toddlers.

I have contacted a lot of daycares and we found 5 that would have a spot available for Bella in March. After touring the facilities and analyzing their menus (interesting topic for a future post) & programs we made our choice. Isabella had an orientation week and then she started as a full time infant. She seems to be happy with her new friends, teachers and activities. So far so good.

I am back at work,... I really like what I do, which makes my life a little less complicated at this time, however I will not denny that I keep wondering if I am doing the right thing ending my maternity leave earlier than what I was entitled to.

Here is Bella on her first PJ Day at the Daycare.

Can you believe that she already had her first concert in the end of April???? She was a baby bumblebee! She was so happy! Can you see her excitement?? Mommy and Daddy were so proud of our little one.

This is my our life nowadays,... taking deep breaths and living one day at a time focusing on the bright side of the things.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Our Baby Girl arrived!

I know I have been away for a while, that's because our little princess arrived!

Isabella (ou Bella) was born on May 29th  after a long labour. It was wonderful having baby Bella on my arms, it was love at first sight.

My husband and my sister (Isabella's Godmother) stayed with us the whole time going above and beyond to help and comfort us during labour and delivery.

The beginning of our life as a new family was full of love, challenges and learning - discovering each other each day. Grandma flew in to help us and spent the first month with us - sweet moments!

We are really blessed to have this little bundle of joy. She is a calm and sweet baby (really cute!!!!!).

I received a lot of questions regarding Kiara's reaction towards the new member of the family. The first time they met was so peaceful - Kiki was so curious when we got home with the baby. She "investigated" and we explained to her that her little sister had finally arrived. During this time we were petting her and reinforcing the good behaviour.

 Since then, Kiara has been around checking on her little sis all the time. They are adorable together.

The day my mom flew back to Brazil, we took this pic and shared with our family: "Since grandma is going back home, mama needed to find another helper" :)

I am truly thankful to our family and friends for all the love and support during this time and specially to my sister and my mom for everything they've been through with us.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Where to buy Baby stuff & Registries

So, this is one of the questions I get asked all the time. Basically prices in Canada are way different from prices from the US. But it is possible to find good deals without crossing the border.

Ron and I keep monitoring prices in our favourite stores/websites and we purchase the things when they are on sale. Honestly, I don't think I paid full price for anything so far!

Creating a registry is a great way to list the things you wish for your baby and most of the stores give you up to 6 months after the due date to return the merchandise in case you don't use it or change your mind - as long as it has not been used!!!!

Here is a list of the stores we decided to create a registry:

Buy Buy Baby: this store has a great variety of products and it is the same store as Bed Bath and Beyond. Their customer service is awesome. We had an appointment with a specialist from the store who helped us to create our list. She was great! I really like the quality of the products they have. On my perspective, they are not the best with sales items, however they price match* any advertised price and sometimes they have 20% discounts that you receive by email.

Once you set a registry with them, you will receive a goody bag with some samples and discounts. It is not big, but definitely helps! Click here to visit the website.

*price match policy is a little tricky, make sure you are price matching the same product, manufacturer, and even colour.

Babies R US: this one of the biggest baby stores in Canada, and it is pretty easy to find them around Toronto and GTA. Their customer service is ok, and you end up doing everything yourself. They have items going on sale on a regular basis, so price wise they are really good. They also price match and accept coupons (and sometimes you can combine offers). Click here to visit the website.

From time to time Babies R US has the following offer: if you make an online purchase and pick up in store (no fees for shipping), they give you a $10.00 off coupon for your next purchase :)

Every week they have a new flyer with offers as well as sales that happen in store only (not advertised).

You can delete and add products to your registry online (convenient, eh?!) and also monitor its status. The store also gives you a goody bag with a few samples when you start a registry with them.

One advice: decide the best moment to create your registry with them. Sometimes they give you $25.00 off of a purchase of $50.00 (and it can be combined with items that are already on sale). we already used Amazon for other purchases, but then we decided to create a registry to better monitor prices and sales. We didn't buy a lot of baby things from them so far, but they have competitive prices, and some articles that we can't find in stores. For example, we just received baby hangers - all other stores had 10 velvet hangers for 12.00, and at Amazon we got a box of 25 pink velvet hangers for $10.50.

I also like to price match with Amazon!

Regular Stores (meaning: did not create a registry with them)

Walmart: they have a whole section for babies including diapers, food, toys, gear, furniture and clothes. I was impressed when I realized they sell Carter's there. It is worth taking some time and walking around. I also like their own brand.

Walmart is really good accepting coupons and price matching.

Winners, Homesense and Marshalls: for any of these stores you need to have time to search for what you want,... I may say that some luck also helps! I have been there and found nothing at all,... on the other hand, sometimes I want to take a lot of things. They have clothes at a discounted price, toys, baby gear, books. I definitely found good deals there.

If you have their card (TJX Style), you will have up to 45 days for returns or exchanges. If you change your mind after that time (up to six months) you can have store credit.

We purchased some clothes, Aden+Anais swaddles, and other things.

Aden+Anais swaddles

Clothes in general: I like Carter's, GAP and Tommy Hilfiger - from outlets/factory stores.

Am I missing any store? Advices are always welcome!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Nursery - decisions

Hello!!! I hope you are all having a great week so far. Mine is flying!!!

Anyways, today I am back to with another post about the nursery. After a lot of research, hearing advices and visits to stores we decided on the main furniture for our baby's nursery.

Crib: we decided to go with Pottery Barn. It was on sale and I was able to get an extra discount (yes,... I am the type of person who likes discounts and coupons!!!). The crib seems to be sturdy and will last for a while since it becomes a toddler bed. We already assembled it.

Mattress: we have been looking in stores and supermarkets however we could not make up our minds on the mattress yet. We don't plan on spending a lot of money... also, I am a little bit concerned about buying the ones with a plastic exterior (I keep wondering if it makes a lot of noise when the baby moves or if it gets too warm). On the other hand, we already purchased a waterproof mattress cover - I believe we will buy another one. Would 2 be enough?

Still on this topic,... we are aware that it is important to have a firm/ super firm mattress, however should we pick the one with coils - which are really heavy and will make it difficult to make the bed - or should we go with the organic foam ones? We are open to suggestions!

Dresser/ Changing Table: we decided to go with the Ikea one. I like the idea of having a lot of drawers and storage space to organize my baby things. I will definitely change the knobs to something more girly.

We also got a changing pad to have on the top of the dresser. This is a non-allergic foam and comes with stripes to be attached to the dresser. 

Rocking Chair: after a long search, we also decided to go with the Charleston Chair from Pottery Barn. They were having a sale and I was able to negotiate an extra discount. We chose a light grey - to match the theme (pink, grey, white). We don't have a lot of space in the nursery, so I like the fact that this chair is not really big and it is firm. This is a rocking chair, but in the future I can convert it into a regular arm chair - just switch the base.

We didn't buy the ottoman though. If we feel the need to have some support for our feet/legs, I will buy something cheaper.

Blinds: we got the cordless blinds from Levolor at Lowe's and already got them trimmed according to the size of our windows. I preferred to buy two (smaller) instead of a big one considering that only one part of the window is functional. Hubby still needs to install te blinds,... but we have been so busy lately! 

Ideally I will have time to get a pair of curtains,... in my mind it will give a charming touch to the nursery.

I believe these are the most important furniture for the nursery. Am I forgetting something?

I would like to paint one of the walls or have some wallpaper on it - as a feature wall, but I know that time is an issue right now and we are each day closer to the birth of our little princess.

Soon I will be back with a post about stores and baby registry,...

Advices and recommendations are really welcome!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Baby gear - part I

Hi guys,....

We already bought some of the things we will need for the baby. We have been watching videos on Youtube and also had a great amount of advice from friends - and we really appreciate them!!!!

It is difficult at a first moment to determine what will be important/useful for the baby. When you visit baby stores, everything seems to be important,... and after talking to a sales consultant I am under the impression these products are a "real necessity"!!!

That's why I rely more on the advice of my friends that already have babies! They make the process less overwhelming and more real.

I also understand that people can talk about their experience and that each baby is different.

So, here is a list of the products that I believe we will use with our baby and that's why we already purchased them.

1. Stroller
That the first thing we got for the baby. It is a difficult task finding a stroller, there are so many options and price points in the market. We decided to go with a travel system from Graco. It seemed to be good quality and durable. Some features that caught our attention are: the possibility of having the baby facing both directions; the large storage compartment, the click and connect system, the fact that we could use only the car seat. Ron picked the colour, he liked the grey. According to the manufacturer, this stroller can last for a long time, since it "grows" with the baby.

It is important to mention that, if you live in Canada, the car seat should be bought here (and not in the US). The Government has specific regulations regarding safety. We were informed that the day we leave the hospital a nurse will come to our car to ensure that it has the "National safety mark" and it was installed properly. For more information, please visit the Government website.

National Safety Mark

2. Baby Monitor
Since we live in a 3-story townhouse, we thought it would be really important to have a baby monitor  allowing us to keep tabs on our baby while  we are in another room. The model we chose from v-tech has good reviews and comes with 2 transmitters (cameras with night vision and audio) and one receiver (monitor). We bought ours at Babies R Us.

3. Diaper Pail
After some research online, we decided to go with the diaper genie. I like the idea of having a foot pedal to open and close. It also offers odor control through a carbon filter. There are special plastic refills (bags) required, and they can be pricy, however you can find good deals on them at Costco. We picked the white one to match the furniture.

Plastic refills

4. Nursing Pillow
I read that "nursing pillows work wonders", and honestly, I can see it being pretty useful when breastfeeding in a glider or anywhere around the house. We purchased the Jolly Jumper, however it is not machine washable (my bad!!! did not check that before buying it), but it was a great deal. We are considering buying a second one from Boppy - machine washable, if we find a good deal.

Jolly Jumper nursing pillow

5. Car seat mat:
We thought it would be a good ideia to have something to protect our car. I hope it works!

6. Playmat:

I think this mat is adorable and I hope our baby will like spending time on it. I also think it is easy to take with us to our friends' house.

Any advice on these or other products?