It’s A Block Party!

Today Gio and I went to a Block Party in the plaza by Erwin’s job. It wasn’t anything huge, but it was so much fun!

They had a Bingo game- you’d get your bingo cards and go to the different merchants on your card and get a stamp. Then once it’s all filled up, you’d go back to the Bingo table and spin a wheel for a prize. I regret not doing it, lol.

There was also a moon bounce, an arts and craft table, and best of all, train rides! Gio LOVES trains so when he saw the train going around the parking lot he was ecstatic. We went on it about three times. We probably could have gone on more times, but we wanted to make sure that all the other kids got to go on too.

After our last ride we walked around the plaza stopping by different merchants. We went to Hallmarks table, which is where Gio got his Dory and Nemo clippers. He’s obsessed with them. He was so happy and wouldn’t stop saying thank you after I paid (they were $1!!). We walked by other stores where he collected lollipops, tattoos, and got a cupcake and popcorn.

It was a great way to spend the afternoon. The best part? Everything was FREE, unless you decided to purchase some items from the stores. I’m always in the hunt for different events in the area or areas near by. At the start of every month I search my Facebook or type in my county’s name and family events in the Google search bar. I almost always find something for each month, and right now that it’s summer there’s so much going on!

Thank you for reading! – Aura xoxo

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Reading With A Toddler

Ever since I was little, I’ve loved reading. Whether it’s a magazine, an article, a book- I love reading. So of course when I got pregnant one of my big hopes was that Gio would really enjoy books, and so far he does!

I’ve been reading to Gio ever since he was an infant and I started taking him to story time at the library when he was around 3 months. When he was smaller Gio enjoyed basically any book, but once he started showing interests towards specific things he also started being picky about what books I read to him.

Right now Gio is very into vehicles, sharks, some shows on Nick Jr., Finding Dory, and Shrek. So when it comes to picking out his books we’re usually on the hunt for ones that include one of those topics or characters. He’s also been enjoying numbers and the alphabet, which is a huge plus, so books that include either is good, too.

Below are tips on how to get your child to enjoy storytime/reading:

  • Start reading to your kids when they’re newborns. Studies have been done showing that reading to your kids since newborns boosts their brain power, building stronger vocabulary and mathematical skills. Reading to them since newborns and making it a part of your regular routine will help make it a good habit and help them look forward towards reading, seeing it as something to enjoy.
  • Choose colorful books. Toddlers won’t be too interested in staring at books that are just black and white
  • Choose picture books. The images help them imagine and understand better what you’re reading
  • Depending on their age and patience level, limit the amount of wording. My two year old likes it when things are cut to the chase. If one page consists of 3 paragraphs he’ll only get through one and want to move on. Just because it doesn’t have many words, it doesn’t mean they aren’t learning anything either.
  • Choose books that include their favorite characters or things they are into at the moment. They make the book so much more entertaining and exciting to the child, and it doesn’t mean they’re not educational either! For example: my toddler was very into Paw Patrol for a while so we found a few books of the Paw Patrol at the library, and one was about opposites and the other about colors. What better way to learn than with your favorite characters?!
  • Visit the library at least once a week or every other week. Taking your little ones to the library can be a bit challenging, especially if they runaway from you, but letting them pick out their books gives them a sense of independence, and many times there’s activities going on too.
  • Show them that you also enjoy reading. Be excited when it’s reading time. Race to the couch, jump of excitement, etc.
  • When you’re reading, change your tone depending on the characters or characters emotions. Not only does it make it fun for them, but it also helps them understand emotions and the differences between characters.
  • Read the book and then watch the movie! This probably goes more for kids a little older, but it works. You’ll be surprised how they spot the differences between both, like what was left out or what might have been added. Afterwards, you can ask them which they found better or if they would have done something differently.
  • Read your own books in front of them. It shows kids that it really is something everyone can enjoy, not something you’re forced to do.

One thing I do with Gio is read the same book for about a week or more. I do this with Gio because he gets very into one book so I let him enjoy it, but I also do it because I’ve come to notice that Gio has a really good memory. He pays really close attention when I read, so he remembers when certain things will happen in specific pages. He’ll remember a few words, sounds, or emotions. Reading to him the same book over and over he learns more and more about it, and now he will let me read the book two or three times, and then he tries his best to read to me.

I read to Gio a lot of the Step into Reading books because they have a lot of his favorite characters and interests like: Blaze and the Monster Machines, Dory, Thomas the Tank Engine, sharks, vechiles, etc. I like Step into Reading because they have levels depending on your childs understanding and reading levels, they’re simple, they teach them educational things like opposites, but they also teach things like not giving up.

We have been expanding our collection in books, though. Our recent finds, which are classic books were The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper which teaches kids that with a positive attitude you can succeed, and The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfizer which teaches kids friendship. They are great reads with great lessons, and if your little ones are into trains or fish, they’ll love it!

I hope this helps you and your little ones get into reading or keep enjoying it!- xoxo Aura

Science Day At Home

On Wednesday I had a science day at home. It was really humid out and my weather app claimed it was going to rain (it didn’t until night time lol) so I decided to have a science day with the boys, and it was fun!

Our first experiment of the day was to make slime. You can’t have a science day and not make slime. Ya know? I used to make slime that involved so many ingredients, but recently came across one that’s so much simpler and it’s the following:

  • 6oz Elmer’s glue: I’ve only ever used Elmer’s glue- just because I’ve read it’s the best quality, and any cheaper quality can effect the quality of your slime. I get either the plain white or glitter ones
  • 1 1/2 TBSP contact solution (if the slime is still too sticky, add a little more solution): make sure it has boric acid listed in its ingredients
  • 1/2 TBSP baking soda
  • water: this is optional, and you can add up to 1/2 a cup, but I’d add it in by little bits. water helps make your slime stretchier
  • food coloring: if you use the plain white glue. a few drops goes a long way
  • glitter: also if you use plain white glue or want extra glittery slime

The kids ALWAYS enjoy making slime. It doesn’t matter how many times we make it, it’s always a hit. We’ve made it in all kinds of colors, too. Plus, playing with the slime after is always fun too.

Once we were done with that and cleaned up everything we used for the slime, we took out a science kit we’ve had for a while by the brand EduScience. We bought the Extreme Science Kit by EduScience from Toys R Us, and chose that particular one because we felt that it had a good mix of experiments- making volcanos, making water jelly crystals, to making bubbles, etc. We did the first two experiments in the manual which were about acid-base bubbles and having them change colors.

I loved watching the kids with the kit because they each helped assemble it, they read instructions, but were also learning at the same time. The first experiments we did each consisted of red cabbage powder, baking soda, and citric acid. Before we would do anything, they would hypothesize what would happen and then test the hypothesis. The best part is that in the manual, each experiment explains what happens and why it happens! The boys were having so much fun, they don’t even realize they were learning at the same time. I definitely recommend this kit or any other science kits. Since Toys R Us is closing, I don’t think much of these science kits are left there, but I’ve seen them on Amazon and eBay!!

Another fun experiment we did was what we call the Cola Explosion, lol. We bought a 2 liter Coca-Cola (my favorite drink) and Mentos. I’m sure you all know this experiment- you put a roll of Mentos into the Coca-Cola and then the soda “explodes”. This experiment was more so “funny” to the kids, but they definitely enjoyed it and enjoyed eating the Mentos leftover, ha.

Science days are definitely so much fun and the kids learn without even noticing it! With school being out and kids having more time on their hands, it’s definitely worth a try to have some science fun. Our next science day is going to be to make a rocket fly using baking soda and vinegar. I’m definitely looking forward to it!

Guatemala’s Volcanic Eruption: what happened and ideas on how to help!

Advisory: pictures in this post are not mine and can be disturbing to some so please be cautious.

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Image from:https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/05/americas/guatemala-volcano-eruption-fuego/index.html

On Sunday Guatemala’s active volcano and one of the most active in Central America, Fuego, erupted sending ash and smoke over six miles into the sky and lava pouring down, dusting several regions, erasing hillside communities, making thousands of people evacuate their homes, and killing many that did not have the time to flee from the ash, rock, and gas spewing from the volcano. As I’m writing this, I’m also finding out that there has been another eruption today. This volcano is located 27 miles from the country’s capital.

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Image from: https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/05/americas/guatemala-volcano-eruption-fuego/index.html

The death toll from this tragedy has risen to 72, but is expected to increase since many, many people have not been found and accounted for. Also, according to CONRED it is said that at least 1.7 million people have been affected by the eruption, and many areas are covered in ash- the villages hit the hardest were El Rodeo and San Miguel Los Lotes; yet, with this new eruption the areas hit the most were El Jute and Las Lajas.

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Image from:https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2018/06/03/guatemala-volcano-least-7-dead-20-injured/668036002/

According to volcanologists the danger isn’t over. They state that there could be more eruptions, example: today’s eruption. They are also saying that if heavy rain were to fall on the slopes on Fuego that it could cause detrimental mudslides carrying ash, boulders, and debris, or could even become acid rain.

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Image from: http://www.facebook.com/notijutiapa

Above is an image of six kids that tried to escape from the volcanos doing in a room, but unfortunately did not make it and passed asphyxiated.

People have lost everything. Everything they’ve ever had, everything they’ve ever owned, and some have even lost everyone they’ve ever loved.

Many families still can’t find their loved ones and those who do have their family now need help providing for them. Police men, doctors, fire fighters, searchers, volunteers, etc., are all doing the best they can but need our help, too.

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Image from:https://abcnews.go.com/International/65-die-guatemalas-volcano-fire/story?id=55629372

Why is this so important to me? For those who don’t know, this hits hard because my whole family is Guatemalan and so is Erwin’s. We were both born here, but I was raised to know my roots and Erwin actually lived in Guatemala for 10 years. Hearing about his natural disaster and all those mourning is difficult and I want to bring awareness to our country, our people in need.

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Image from:https://www.yahoo.com/gma/least-25-reportedly-die-guatemala-volcano-fire-eruption-114903734–abc-news-topstories.html

Ways to help!: 

  • A family member of mine has set up a GoFund me page that I have linked below. If you cannot donate, we understand, but please help us bring awareness and share the link please! https://www.gofundme.com/guatemalan-relief-help
  • The Red Cross: currently on ground led by CruzRojaGT. They are accepting money via money transfers, and are also in need of blood donations and goods such as: latex gloves, diapers, soap.
  • The God Childs Project: they’ve launched a relief effort and are accepting donations via online or mail.
  • Raise awareness via social media using hashtags such as #PrayforGuatemala, #GuatemalaEstoyContigo, #GuatemalaStrong
  • Donate goods, clothes, food, animal food, baby items to churches, people, places acting to help Guatemala.
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Image from:https://www.yahoo.com/gma/least-25-reportedly-die-guatemala-volcano-fire-eruption-114903734–abc-news-topstories.html Luis Soto/AP

Along with every pictures is the link to their articles. I am no expert on volcanos and so much is going on in our country that I didn’t want to write too much and have incorrect or confusing information. So please read these articles that will help further understand the devastation and need in Guatemala!

Thank you for reading!- Aura xoxo