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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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

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

Giving My Toddler Chores

Ever since Gio started walking and we noticed that he could follow simple instructions, we started giving him “chores”. To us it was and still is very important to give Gio his jobs around the house to teach him the importance of responsibility and the importance of taking care of your home and things.

Besides teaching the need for cleanliness, order in the household, and teaching him to be responsible, giving Gio chores also helps him develop language-skills. To do his chore he needs to know where certain areas are, where things go, and how his objective is supposed to get done.

When Gio accomplishes his chores we don’t “pay” him. He doesn’t get candy or a sticker or anything. His favorite part of helping out is the sense of pride and accomplishment once he’s done. Every time he knows he did something correctly he claps and says “I did it,” with so much excitement. Once he’s older and does jobs that are more complex then maybe we can offer a reward, but right now I don’t feel the need or see the need to do so.

Gio is only 2 so his chores aren’t washing dishes or doing laundry, which would be nice lol, but he does things like:

  • pushing our laundry basket (it has wheels) to the laundry room down the hall and back to our studio
  • helps me put laundry detergent into the washer, moves the wet clothes into the dryer, and from the dryer into the basket
  • he’s still in a diaper so he throws out his diapers into the trash (this was his very first chore)
  • before every bath he puts his dirty clothes into the dirty hamper
  • pick up and put away his toys

New chores we’re practicing:

  • throwing out trash from a snack or meal into the trash
  • helping throw out the garbage bag down the “chute”

All these chores are simple enough for him to understand and do. He might not understand the full meaning of why we do it all just yet, but continuing to do each of these consistently will teach him.

Obviously Gio didn’t learn to do these on his own. To start doing these we taught them all to him. We showed him how we do each task, then we practiced each one step by step together, and then he did it on his own. Gio is always really proud of himself when he learns something new and remembers, so teaching him chores hasn’t been too hard. At first he didn’t always want to throw out trash or move the laundry, but when we sing a song or cheer in the process, he’s always really happy in the end after doing it.

The next chores we want to teach Gio are:

  • learning to feed his fish
  • cleaning up spills and the windows
  • carrying a light grocery bag or item (he only cares about carrying his toys right now lol)
  • carrying his own backpack
  • putting his plate and cup into the dishwasher (I’m sure he’ll throw it in at first lol, so thankfully his are plastic)

The most important thing to getting toddlers, kids, teens to do a good job is consistency. At first I would forget to give Gio his diaper after I was done changing him so he forgot he even had to do it and where to take it, but once I stayed on top of it he remembered to go to the kitchen, open the cabinet, throw it in the trash, and then close the cabinet. Laundry we do every Friday, he knows he gets to push the cart so he does and he knows to stop in front of the laundry room, and once we’re done in there he knows to head to the elevator so we can go downstairs to put money in the laundry card.

My favorite part out of all this is the excitement to do things and how proud his is once he’s done. Once he’s older he probably won’t be as excited, lol, so I’ll take advantage of it now.

Thank you for reading! -Aura xoxo

Where I shop for my 2 year old?

I have always loved shopping, especially clothing. So ever since I became pregnant I immediately wanted to start buying clothing, shoes, everything for Gio. Baby clothing is so cute and I always wanted it all, buuuut kids grow out of everything SO fast and spending hundreds of dollars on a few items that may last months, if that, isn’t really worth it.

I like good quality clothing, but because Gio grows out of everything so fast I also like to not spend too much either. Right now Gio wears 2T and 3T depending on the brand, and in shoes he’s either a 6 or 7 also depending on the brand. Now that he isn’t a baby, he no longer has many accidents but clothing does become stained from eating or activities. Also, we’ll be potty training this summer and I’m expecting accidents to make their way back so I don’t want him to wear expensive clothes for them to just get dirty in a short period.

I’ve found a good amount of stores that I like with different brands and/or styles that I really like, and the best part is that the clothing is good quality, too. The stores are:

  • TJ Maxx
  • Marshalls
  • Old Navy
  • Target
  • Gap
  • Kohls
  • Nordstrom Rack
  • Outlets such as Adidas, Nike (items are always much cheaper, and usually on sale too)

In addition to the stores, I have also bought Gio some items off an app, Mercari. On the app I am always more careful with what I buy. I make sure to check the condition and make sure the price is fair, and so far I’ve really enjoyed my purchases.

Here is a mini TJ Maxx haul from today:

  • Carters swim 2- piece: $14.99
  • Adidas 2- piece outfit: $12.99
  • Adidas grey shirt: $5.99
  • Ralph Lauren shirt: $7.99
  • Nike yellow/grey shorts: $4.99
  • PJ Masks and Thomas the Train pjs: $7.99 each

What I do/ give Gio when he’s sick

*disclaimer: I am not a doctor or a professional in this department. I messaged Gio’s doctor to make sure the items I give him, and what I do, are ok.

This past season Gio was sick twice. Luckily, Gio seems to have a pretty strong immune system for his age ( I will go into detail as to why I believe he does at the end of the article), but I always like to be really prepared.

The last two times he was sick he had a cough and lots of mucus. He was also in and out of a mild fever. Below is what I used/did, and why, while he was sick:

  • Zarbee’s Naturals Children’s Cough Syrup + Mucus w/ Dark Honey
    Screen Shot 2018-03-13 at 12.52.04 PM
    Image from Target.com.
    • First and foremost, I love this brand. I use to use others, but Zarbee’s seems to work best for Gio, and I strongly believe it’s because of all the natural and wholesome ingredients. The more natural the better in my opinion.
    • It’s safe for children 12 months+
    • Contains vitamin C and zinc to help support their immune system
    • The main ingredient, dark honey, helps coat the throat to calm the cough
    • The only things you can consider cons are:
      • It doesn’t necessarily have the best taste.
      • It’s very, very sticky and can get messy if you’re not careful. I give it to Gio with a syringe which you can purchase at Walmart, Target, Babies R. Us, etc.
  • Zarbee’s Nautrals Children’s Cough Syrup + Mucus Nighttime
    Screen Shot 2018-03-13 at 12.51.47 PM
    Image from Target.com
    • Contains the same ingredients as the one above, except this one also consists of melatonin. Melatonin helps promote a good nights sleep in children which is important while sick since at night is when a cough can get worse. Melatonin is drug-free- it is something our pineal glands produce naturally. It isn’t essential for our sleep but we do sleep better once it’s secreted. I ONLY give what’s on the label or instructed by my pediatrician (as with any medicine) and immediately stop giving it once Gio is well or I feel he no longer needs the nighttime medicine.
  • What do I do if Gio has a fever?
    • Most fevers are caused by an infection or illness (other reasons: immunizations and teething). A fever is the body’s natural response to fighting an infection. The higher temperature in the child’s body produces an increased amount of antibodies. It is the most effective way to fight infection. So I don’t give Gio anything immediately to decrease his temperature, especially if he is still calm and playful.
    • I make sure Gio gets lots of rest, so usually we’ll be indoors
    • Lots of fluids! Water, milk, and/or teas to make sure he doesn’t get dehydrated (I do this even with no signs of a fever. It’s important that with any illness for them to be well hydrated, especially if they don’t want to eat much)
    • Now, if Gio is very irritable and it seems like he might have a headache or a body ache I will give him Tylenol to help control his pain, but I try to refrain from that
    • Here is what I’ve learned about fevers and when to go to the doctor from the American Academy of Pediatrics:
      • Under 3 months: 100.4°F or more
      • 3 to 6 months: 101°F or more
      • Over 6 months 103°F  or more
    • The American Academy of Pediatrics, Parenting.com, and BraunHealthcare.come are helpful places to look for help as well.
  • Vicks!
    • Vicks helps relieve a cough and helps open airways for all the mucus to come out
    • Different ways I use Vicks:
      • Rub it on chest, back, and soles of feet
      • Boil it: get a small pot filled 3/4 of way with water, then put a spoonful of Vicks inside
      • In a humidifier- here are the two that we own:
  • Steam, warm baths
    • These help open up the airways and while in the bath a lot of mucus comes out
    • Helps soothe and relax their tense bodies
  • Teas!

Why I believe Gio has a strong immune system:

  • I breastfed Gio for almost 9 months. I wanted to reach the year mark but unfortunately I wasn’t able to. Breastfeeding is known to be crucial for helping babies develop a strong immune system. The breastmilk helps supply the necessary factors to protect against disease, and supplies the necessary nutrients a baby needs which is also keen in having a strong immune system. This is known as a naturally acquired passive immunity. (I know that not everyone can or does breastfeed, which is perfectly ok, so listed are more ways to help with a strong immune system!)
  • Nutrition + Nutritional Supplements! Helping kids have a healthy diet is very important. Meaning lots of fruits, veggies, healthy fats, proteins, etc. I started introducing foods to Gio at 4 months (yes, I know it’s said to start at 6 months, but Gio did very well) and was a very, very good eater. Right now Gio has phases when he doesn’t want to eat much so to fill in those gaps while he’s going through a stage I give him smoothies with a variety of fruits and veggies, and everyday I give him a liquid multi-vitamin.
  • Screen Shot 2018-03-13 at 2.27.10 PM
  • I tend to avoid giving Gio antibiotics unless that’s the only thing that will help improve whatever it is he may have. (He took an antibiotic once only) As you’ve probably noticed, I tend to avoid the doctor’s office unless it becomes truly necessary to go.
  • Lots of exercise! Let them run around, do a sport, join a class that gets them going, go to the park… do anything that gets them up and at it! Gio is very physically active. If he doesn’t get at least an hour a day of just running around, playing, or even going for a walk, he does get irritable- theres a clear change in his behavior when he does or doesn’t get that time. Negative energy and behavior isn’t good for their emotional or mental health which can effect your immunity. Plus, physical activity helps increase the number of killer cells in our bodies

Once again, I am no professional. This is just stuff I’ve acquired throughout my time of being the oldest of all my cousins and being a mom, plus messaging my doctor when I need an extra hand. Also, growing in my Hispanic household has taught me a lot of things.