The Baked Bear

On Saturday we went to the Baked Bear, which was on my summer bucket list, and it was a fun and yummy trip! For those who live in the Montgomery County area in Maryland, this one is located in Rockville/Bethesda on Rose Ave. The whole center where it’s located is really nice, and new- ish, if I’m not mistaking. The Baked Bear is a custom ice cream sandwich shop, and I looooove ice cream sandwiches lol I didn’t go crazy because I shared mine with Gio, but next time I go I’m definitely going all out!! That child eats anything sweet, so I don’t really know why I shied away from yummy options.

My order was a sprinkle cookie, a m&m cookie, vanilla ice cream, and sprinkles! I’m not huge on sprinkles but I felt like I had to get them lol I forgot to ask to get the cookies warmed up which I’m really upset about because that would have made my sandwich 100x more delicious!

I get overwhelmed sometimes ordering food but this was like a Chipotle type of setup so seeing everything laid out was nice .

Everything in the shop is freshly made and homemade, and you can definitely tell! The shop isn’t big, but there really isn’t a need for it to be. There’s a “beach” (really just a decent size sand area) right outside and tons of seating! Plus, with this summer weather, it’s perfect to have your ice cream outdoors!

Below I’ll insert and image of their site where they shared images of what people have gotten, and you’ll see what I mean about crazy and creative! This is definitely a fun stop to make in the summer. Even if it’s just once! My total was $6.30 which wasn’t too bad- I really thought I’d spend a minimum of $10. Of course the more you add to your ice cream, the more expensive.

If you have one near by, definitely try and make the trip! You won’t regret it! Thanks 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

It’s a struggle but not impossible

Today started out great until I went to check my school status- I was no longer registered for one out of my two summer courses and I was put on restrictions. For those who follow me on Twitter, you’ll see that I mentioned that I didn’t do like I would have liked in one of my courses, and well, here’s the consequence for it. Instead of taking a new class this summer, I will be repeating that class- thankfully everything is fresh in my mind and I have tons of notes that I’ll be reviewing starting tomorrow before class starts next week.

I cried, I’m a cryer lol. Not doing well in school is something I’m not really used to. For the longest time I was always an honors student and/or a top student in school, I was always advanced but I took a huge dip.

My life is different now. My life isn’t just about me now. My first priority isn’t school, it’s my family and I’m not going to change that BUT I am going to school to offer my family a good life, one they deserve. So, with that said, I am going to work 100x harder.

It was difficult for me because in class I would think about Gio, at home I’d push all studies aside and do a ton of other things, even during Gio’s naps I didn’t study. I didn’t really pick up a rhythm until it was unfortunately too late. Now I know, and lesson learned.

Erwin always offered me this and that, but I would always say no that I wanted to do this and that instead (such as give Gio dinner and a bath, take him to the park so I can study, etc.). Erwin is amazing. He helps me so much, and I need to take advantage of the help that I have.

It’s not impossible for me to succeed, for a spare moment today I was just so overwhelmed because it just felt like I failed not only myself but my family as well, and that feeling sucks. It felt like so because I’m trying to finish all my courses in a specific time period so I can officially apply to the Diagnostic Medical Sonography (DMS) program on a particular date, and for a moment it looked like I couldn’t and that I’d have to wait longer- but it looks like with extra work and study time I might be able to still do so.

BUT, even if I can’t I already came up with a plan. I still plan to finish all my study plans next spring semester, and if it’s too late to apply to the DMS program THATS OK. I can work during my break time, help my household, focus on Gio, and then apply and kick some serious ass in the program because I know that I can do it. I know that I will be great. There’s no doubt about it in my mind.

I’m really tough on myself, I’ve always been, but I’m working hard on teaching myself that things happen. Everyday is a new learning experience for me, for anyone. I finally have my balance. I finally have a peace of mind. I have the best family and every reason to be happy, so now that I’m well focused I’m only going to push forward, work harder, and show myself that it’s not impossible to be greater and better.

A Baby at 22

 As far as I know, age doesn’t make you a good mother or father, but what does make you a good one is doing what it takes to make sure your child feels loved, happy, and making sure your child is well taken care of.
I’ve gotten the whole don’t you think you’re too young to have a baby?, ugh, poor you!, you’re expecting?!, you’re how old having a baby?. I get the constant stares, finger pointing, and whispers that I can very much hear- thanks to my blessed hearing! And yes, some of it comes from children which is fine, but a lot of it comes from adults.
I might be 22, look 17, but what does that matter? Personally, I’m very comfortable with myself, except for my moments when I feel huge haha, and I’ve never been happier. Besides all the dreams and goals I have lined up, my ultimate dream has always been to have a baby with the person I love, and I’m living that dream right now and I feel so lucky. To some of you it might be too soon, but to me it’s at a perfect time and I’m enjoying every single moment of it.
Not everyone is as lucky as me, not everyone is as comfortable, in some cases ‘stuff happens’ but those of us having our baby know how much of a blessing our angel baby is to us, so don’t try and ruin this for us.
You say, We’re too young? We’re not ready? We have a lot more to live for? Ok. Things happen, so we’re having a baby younger than you! We might not necessarily be as financially ready as you are, but when it comes to everything else, you’re just as ready as we are. And yes, we have a lot more to live for and a lot more to accomplish, but now I have an even bigger reason to work harder and fight harder. I get to wake up to this baby everyday, feel that motivation, and study and work harder than ever thanks to him.
You see, it doesn’t matter whether you’re 15, 19, 22, 27, 30, 45, a baby is a baby and will always be a blessing. We’re all going to be lost at first. We’re all learning and experiencing the most beautiful job in the world at a different age, but that age isn’t going to determine whether some of us are better than the others.
As far as I’ve learned and seen there are a lot of moms and dads who can’t handle it, saying it’s too much and too crazy and that they just find ways to runaway from home and this is them talking about their ‘planned’ baby they had at 30. But then they turn around and point a finger at a 20 year old parent – simply pointing because they’re young and in their mind they were crazy, while in some cases they’re probably holding it down a whole lot better than they are. They might be going crazy too, but aren’t finding ways to runway. Instead they’re finding ways to constantly make their child proud, constantly finding ways to provide more and better to their baby, constantly finding ways to improve on themselves for their baby, constantly studying harder to offer more to their baby, but here are adults who think otherwise because in their books these parents are too young, too naïve, too inexperienced to understand what it’s like to have a child because that’s not how life is supposed to work, apparently. Because what do we know about having kids? Well, I’m pretty sure you didn’t know much either once you had one.
My family is pretty much all young moms and dads, and I couldn’t be prouder of all of them. I am who I am today because of them. I couldn’t be prouder of how hardworking, dedicated, committed, but most importantly, loving they are. I wish and dream to be as good of a parent as they are.
Congratulations if your moving up high in life, getting a great career, a huge promotion. I’m genuinely happy for you, but don’t stand there judging me or pitying me because I can do the same exact thing as you, just with a baby now. I’m not here saying to you, you’re kind of old to have a baby, right?
At the end of the day, all moms and dads should have one goal and that is to love our child endlessly and unconditionally, and to face everything that is thrown our way with the best poise.
Do I wonder what it’d be like if I waited? Rarely, and at those rare moments it just doesn’t feel right. I can’t imagine not expecting my baby and anticipating his arrival. I’m more than prepared to spoil my baby boy with love. I already love my sweet angel unconditionally and my age and someone’s judgment isn’t going to determine, ever, how good of a mother I am to my baby or how much I love my baby.
Thanks.