Houston Zoo Fun!!

*This post contains some affiliate links. With a purchase from these links a small commission can be made, which helps keep this blog running. Thank you for your support*

                     I received product from Chicco, Wonder Well and Evian, which are shared in this post. 
                                   As always all thoughts and opinions shared are 100% my own.

This year, for the second year in a row, we made it our mission to buy the Zoo membership and get the most use out of it. Bella is a total animal lover.

Girl friend is afraid of frogs but elephants, tigers ad every big animal you can think she could really care less. She wants to pet them and can stare at them all day long.

So one Saturday out of the month we take our little crew to enjoy a zoo day.
We leave the house early, 7-8, and head to downtown Houston.  We get to enjoy some breakfast on the way and walk it out (lol) through the zoo. 

Sometimes with kids trips are very unpredictable and as fun as they may be it can do downhill pretty fast.

I've put together a list of tips that have worked for us and we hope they work for you too. 
I feel I should write the little notice you get when doing an exercises video, you know the one that reminds you to contact your doctor, well yeah I don't know about your toddler but mine is as hard as the next INSANITY video when she is upset.

5 Tips to make a Zoo (or any park) fun and easy for the whole family.

1. Take it slow:  We do the zoo by sections, our zoo is so big that's the only way to see it all comfortably. The first few times we went and attempted to do the entire zoo let's just say we left there all grumpy and tired. Also our zoo has a splash pad so whenever we do the petting zoo we always finish at the splash pad.

2. Bring Food: I mentioned this a few post ago, but we need food AT ALL TIMES. Snacks, nothing big but have them prepared in zip lock bags. This helps calm a melt-down in 0.3 seconds.

3. Have Refreshments: I know as a parent we always have this on hand, but we tried Wonder Well Water and Bella slurps it down in seconds. I has a dash of fruit flavor but with no added sugars. It literaly makes them think that they are having juice with out the total sugar rush.
Use code THECHOME to get 10% of your order

4. Have a comfortable ride: We take our stroller and cannot imagine doing the zoo with out it.  We have the Chicco Viaro and use it daily whether for special trips or running around in the neighborhood. Is high enough to allow her to see the animals, comfortable enough to let her fall asleep when she is worn out and it has not one but two drink holders... And yes she uses both of them. Sometimes for her drinks and another times for her feet. #toddlerlife.

5. Have the right products: Very vague I know but I'll list a few of the products we take and cant go without.

- Evian Facial Spray: Yes, is just what you think and let me tell you your body will thank you! Special if you live in the south.
- Sunscreen: I've told you about this before and I'll say it again. We trust this sunscreen so much
- Bug Spray: As clean as any zoo may be there is always water and that water brings mosquitoes and many many more bugs so this is very very important.
- KLEENEX and Wipes: Who are we kidding.

How do you make your family trips easier for the whole family?


What's in our Toddler Bag!

The diaper bag went out the window when Bella turned two and my purses finally made it out of the closet after a very long break.  This was a big step in my mommy journey and I have to confess that many times after making the switch I deeply regretted it. Something was always left at home. The milk had spilled more times that I can count, a blowout occurred once or twice and food incidents are still happening which left my mommy brain in pieces every time I would miss an item.  It would have been easy to use my purses as a diaper bag since most of them were always big enough, but the idea of getting them dirty didn't sit right with me, so kept them as purses and would carry around a purse and a diaper bag.

That lasted a split second!
I got tired of the two handbag thing fast, so after lots of research googling I decided that we needed a car tote. This has worked amazingly for our little family.

 We keep this tote in the car at all times packed with items we may need and since the summer started we also added a pool tote to our trunk. We carry diapers and wipes in all my purses simply because that's really a must, but everything else fits perfectly in my car tote.

So now let's get to the basics.
I use the Mama Martine diaper bag. I use this bag almost every day and since my laptop fits in it's perfect for work too.

So here is a run down of what we carry:

1.  My Tote Savy: This is a must for all big bags! I'm the messiest person alive, yet have the worst type A personality with my bags so this helps a ton.

2. A change of clothes: If you are a parent, there is really no explanation needed.

3. Swimsuit: Yes, we carry a swimsuit around because Bella loves water.

4. Snack: I don't know if it's just my kid but she is always hungry. She doesn't finish any of it but she just has to hold it. For some reason, she thinks I'll forget to feed her. LOL. It has never happened but it's a Bella thing.

5. Sunglasses. This is usually my backup glasses. I need one at all times because my eyes are very sensitive to light which results in horrible headaches so I make sure I always have a backup.

6. KLEENEX Go Anywhere Packs: Tissues are like sanitizers, always needed and in large quantities. There is always someone with runny eyes or nose. In Texas, there is no such thing as allergy season, allergies last all year long and sadly all of us suffer from it so these are a must! I also love that Kleenex has this cute little packaging that can be attached to any bag's handle or even a stroller for faster clean up. Here is a coupon for all you sweet mamas. They can be found at your local Walmart and here is a coupon to make this deal even sweeter.

7. Books and Planner: We are big readers and most of the time we have a book for both of us. Bella is big on books and will literally entertain herself for a good 10 minutes "reading". Ten minutes are huge in our doctor's waiting area.

8. Sunscreen and Bug repellent. We carry the regular sizes in both pool tote and car tote. I cannot talk enough about sun safety and as far as the repellent we just found out Bella is allergic to mosquito bites so we slather it on.

9. Essential Oils, Lip Balm, Computer, Evian face Spray and Changing pad.

Like I mentioned above this bag usually stays in the car but I love that even when I need to I  just add my wallet and use it a purse or hang it in our Viaro.

Now, tell me how do you keep you toddler's things organized, and most importantly your toddler clean!?


Tips for a great Summer and a Giveaway!

Thank you Incredibundles and Bookroo for partnering with me on this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own

 *This post contains some affiliate links. With a purchase from these links a small commission can be made, which helps keep this blog running. Thank you for your support*

School is out and our kids are here to stay for the following 2 months.
What does this mean? that for the next 2 months you will become the unpaid Uber driver, a microwave and an entertainer.

Bella is 2 and still doesnt go to school but I can see it in all my friends faces and of course at the splash pad, the center of fun and desperate parents.

So I put together a list of activites that can be done from home:

1. Make Jello and let them use cookie cutters to make fun shapes!

2.  Water coloring on the driveway.

3. Baking, I have to remind myself to not eat it.

4. Chalk coloring on the fence.

5. Sprinkler fun in the backyard.

6. Painting in the bathtub with these!

7. This is one of the best purchases we have made. A bouncy house. This is not ours but is very similar. I do recommend one with shade! Like this one.

8. Playing with Play-doh.

9. Reading books. This summer we received a subscription to bookroo. Bookroo is a monthly subscription box that ships parents two books for your child/ren to enjoy. I actually recorded (on IG stories) Bella opening her first box and she was so happy to get mail to and honestly, as a mom I want Bella to love to read and having the option to get books shipped to our door just makes it that much easier. This, used with #10 on my list can guarantee at least 30 minutes of fun. Use code THECUPCAKEHOME  to get $10 off your order today!

10. Incredibundles. Incredibundles is another subscription box perfect for summer.You get to pick your box, what you want in it and customize it to your needs or simply let them pick for you. #surpriseme
In our case, we picked the items we loved and knew we would use and when the box arrived Bella was in heaven.
And because we loved all of our items and their quality so much we have partnered with Incredibundles to give one lucky winner and $50 credit to use on your purchase. We got all of our items for less than $50 as well.
But before here is a better look at the items we received.

And lastly here is the Giveaway!! Click the link below to enter!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Splash Pad and a Giveaway

Thank you SwimZip for partnering with me on this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own

Have I talked about how hot Texas is enough??
It really is too much to handle and this mama is hates being sticky and sweaty, but my daughter loves being outside, running and well everything a 2 year old loves to do. 

So I make the effort and stand the horrible humidity and take her to the splash pads and parks. This girl could care less about the heat. Just hand her a bottle of water and she is happy for hours.

I love the way kids live. Nothing bothers them to much to make them stop what they enjoy. I wish we could all have their mentality and their way of life. Yes, even their nap schedule!

Once we are there we take out our water, juice and snacks out and we just enjoy!

Aside from the heat, one of my biggest worries is the sun. Cancer is everywhere now days and even though is not something we can stop we do try our best to protect Bella from every day dangers!

We use SPF 75 and recently discovered SwimZip.  They have the cutest styles for both mom and kids.
I talked to Betsy, the founder, for the first time almost a year ago and love her story. I wont spill the beans but I promise she is a great inspiration.

She has offered to give one lucky follower a $30 gift card so you can also purchase one for you or your mini!

Head to our Instagram page to enter


A letter to my husband: 8 years later

In January Lester and I celebrated 8 years of marriage.
8 wonderful years. 8 years worth of love. 8 years worth of beautiful memories. 8 years we were haven't argued once........ Rewind on that last one.
Who are we kidding?
In 8 years we have argued our fair share, in 8 years we have chosen to stay mad more that I would like to admit and in 8 years we have argued over the silliest of things, like forgetting to shut the trash can lid or forgetting to put the water resistant sheet on our bed. Yes all so silly but at it's the moment it really wasn't.
At that time we believed with all our heart we had the right to have that argument, to stay mad to ignore and I'm sorry, yet that's marriage. Marriage is two very different people trying to become one. Trying to ignore, in our case, the cultural differences to ignore the way we were raised and become one.  To choose no matter what to love each other. To love each and every day!

And you my love, do it every single day. You choose to ignore my hard-headedness, to ignore my mistaken ways, to ignore my everyday troubles, complaints and choose to love one more time.

Just today I heard a very heartbreaking news about Lisa Terkuest. About her decision to divorce her husband, and I'm not going to make any comments about it or even give you my opinion but I will tell you what I'm reminded of one thing. The enemy is out to get us. Sadly we believe that the enemy doesn't know us, but he does. He knows our troubles, he knows bother us and what doesn't and more than anything he knows what we can accomplish together.

The enemy only fights you if your potential in the kingdom of God is greater than he can handle, that's why you see people who have big gifts outside in the world, wondering and so very lost.

So to you, my wonderful husband, thank you for loving me, thank you for choosing me over and over again, thank you for letting God use you and for letting Him work through you.
I know I'm hard, but together with God on our side we can do anything, we can conquer this world and make sure we step on the enemy's tiny head.

And you, my friend, reading this, whether you believe or not, whether Christian or not remember that God is always with you and lives anxiously to have you Him, in His glory and working for His kingdom!


Oshkosh Summer Fun and a Giveaway!

Giveaway sponsored by Oshkosh, but as always all opinions are my own

Put away all the chunky or slightly warm clothes, summer is here and is here to stay! As melting hot as Texas summers I'm always slightly glad they are here. Summer is probably the only time of the year the weather stays relatively the same. We don't have to worry about sweaters and flip flops in the same week so we can call it a win.
Another win is the fact that since is so hot my kid prefers to hang out in rompers or just a diaper so can I get an Amen for a lot less laundry! #happydancemoms

For those moment when we, I mean Bella I'm sure no one wants to see me hanging out in my bra and undies all day long, have to wear clothes I'm rounding up a few of our favorites from OshKosh for your summer loving kids.
1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 /

And because boys have just as much fun I went ahead and round up a few of the items I would dress a sweet boy if I had one.

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 /

If you scroll a few post back we did a spring closet cleaning with OshKosh and our items are still going strong. As I mention in that post obsessed with washing clothes, if only the same thing applied to putting it away, so Bella's clothes get washed after one use and all of her spring closet it is still going strong and holding up as new.
We have the white romper and it's probably one of my favorites as is very airy and Bella doesn't get hot! I'm also loving the stripped boy short! I may have to sneak in the boy's section at my local store and buy it for Bella.
*mom tip: Bella has worn a few boy jeans and shorts and no one can tell the difference*

Which one is your favorite and do you have any mom tips?

Also, I have teamed up with OshKosh to give one lucky winner a $50 giftcard so click the link below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Helping your little one through HFM

You see that spot on her cheek? That's one of them!

As a parent, having a sick child is the worst.
 No matter the age, it breaks your heart into a million pieces and even more when there is nothing you can do about it.

Last December Bella got hand, foot and mouth disease (HFM), and I would probably go ahead and say this is the worst sickness known to a healthy child.
Everything hurts, itches and eating normal food is not an option yet you are healthy and no medicine is prescribed.
Bella got it right in between Christmas and New Years and it was the worst for both her and us.

The thing with HFM is that no medicine is actually given. It's one of those things where you just have to let it run its course, meanwhile, this disease gets worse before it gets better.

It appears as innocent spots and before you know your child is completely covered.
Now, there are cases where the child doesn't even seem to bother by it and others where it gets very bad.
With Bella, it began with a fever, a fever that seemed to have no limit (104.9). We took her to the ER and after waiting 3 hours without seeing a doctor we took her to the next best thing, an Urgent Care clinic. Once the doctor saw her and spotted 3 red dots on her stomach she knew right off the bat.

*There is a misconception that these spots will only appear on the hand, feet, and mouth, going by it name, but in reality, they can show up anywhere on the body*

Within a few hours, she was completely covered and the worst part began. Her fever continued, the crying started and she began to feel very, very uncomfortable. The worst part was that every time we touched her it seemed to bother her more and more, yet she wanted to be carried and held tightly.

After 3 days the worst seemed to be behind us and Bella began acting normal, but her spots continued to appear and did so for about 4 more days. She was able to eat a little better and the itching stopped. Her spots started disappearing 2 weeks in and by 4 weeks they were completely gone, and to say I was relieved doesn't come close to reality.

As the season of HFM circles back around we are taking every precaution possible to avoid it happening again, and I want to share with you how we are doing it and also a few tips that can help if your child already has it.

To prevent it is pretty simple, yet even more simple to catch.
- Wash hands after being in any public setting, specially splash pads and parks. Remember that germs reproduce in hot areas. This may be anywhere! Our daughter caught it from her cousins at my mom's house.
- Use a lot of disinfectants. We carry a bottle of this in the car and always have Baby Ganics in our diaper bag. Bella loves this one as is a foam.

When your child has it:
- Ask your doctor for a prescription mix of Benadryl and Maalox.
This was our saving grace. This allowed Bella to sleep, eat and be a bit happier for a while. I was honestly afraid to give it to her since is does have Benadryl, but according to our doctor  (and the web of doctors, if you know what I mean), the amount of Benadryl is lower than the recommended dose going by your child's' age.
- Pick up at your local pharmacy (or you can always order it online here) Calamine Lotion and feel free to spread it as much as possible. This helped Bella with the healing, scarring, and ITCHING!
- This is the time to spoil them! Give them lots of TLC. Like I stated above, doctors don't give medicine for this so only our love can make them feel better.
- To avoid any scratching we used cotton these PJs.
- Squeezy pops, Outshine fruit bars anything and everything cold.

Hope these tips help, but as always if you have any further questions feel free to email me!

 *This post contains some affiliate links. With a purchase from these links a small commission can be made, which helps keep this blog running. Thank you for your support*


Chatting over coffee : chapter 1

When I first started this blogging endeavor I, like we all do, had all hope in the world.
 I wanted to write every day, wanted to learn more, to meet more people and to really become more in every sense of the word.
I wanted to be that change and to become that change I so eagerly looked in this world for, but (isn't there always one) I got caught up in the prettiness of blogging. The numbers, the likes and even the comments, and somewhere along the way I forgot to use my voice. I forgot why I started this in the first place.
And I got on this train, well actually, I followed every train that left the station headed somewhere, and 6 months into this adventure I pretty much felt a little lost.

It was only a few days ago, after a very hard day that all of this hit me like a ton of bricks. It was a pretty exhausting day at work, Bella was just topping off the points on the don't list and I was so tired of putting her in timeout that even I needed one.

 I put her to sleep after crying my eyes out and took a very much needed bath. Completely relax with a book in hand I encountered the One and Only with my truth. 

The truth that hurts even just thinking about it, I wasn't being honest with myself, and that is all going to change. I want my social media channels to truly represent me, to be like a picture of my life. My very messy yet beautiful life!

As I hit my 6-month blogging mark, I also want to accomplish my mark in this world, my mission and one of the biggest reason why this blog came to be. 

I realize I had never written this down and I'm more than ready to do that now, 6-months down the road, but better late than never.

If we were to meet in real life this is how I would introduce myself if we were to chat over coffee

Hi, I'm Claudia Estrada, Bella's mama, and Lester's wife.

I'm a Christian, business owner and dreamer. 
I was born in Cuba and raised in Texas.
When I was little my mom use to tell me I lived in la-la land and sometimes I still think I do. 
I love holidays, decorating and crafting.
I always color inside the lines, but every once in a while I will go outside, just to remember that it is and it will always be ok.
I dream of writing and even recording videos of our daily life. Of having a journal to look back on one day. 
I'm a total people pleaser, I hardly ever say no and when I do you can always change my mind. 
My heart is in serving, my Lord, my family and friends.

I hope you follow me on this journey and be on the lookout for some changes to this little corner in the following months.

So as they say, this just got alot more personal and I hope you enjoy it just the same if not more!

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