Momma Braga’s Clam Stew

A very easy and simple recipe that my husband adores in our home is the Clam Stew. We like to do this meal every once in awhile and we love how simple it is.

Clam Stew

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 Onion
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Baby Clams (We love to use the Ferma Baby Clams)
  • Cup of water
  • 5 to 7 potatoes

DIRECTIONS

  • Start by washing the onions and potatoes. Chop up the onions and potatoes. Everyone has a preferred style for potatoes in their stew, we like it diced. Set the potatoes aside as you will need them later.
  • Once the onions are cut, place them in a pot with some olive oil with a pinch of paprika, salt and black pepper. On low heat cook the onion until the onions are a golden color. Then add your clams (including the liquid that is included in the canned clams), potatoes and one cup of water.
  • Let it cook on medium and stir.
  • Now cook until the potatoes are cooked and you are done. If a fork goes through the potatoes then that is my sign that they are done.
  • You can serve your clam stew in a bowl and if you like Portuguese buns, then provide some at the dinner table as they are great for dipping into the stew.

And there you have it, Momma Braga’s clam stew! Give it a try and let me know what you think of it!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

– Momma Braga

How to Turn Your Family Office into a Homework Area

Written By: Claire Adams

All parents want their kids to do well in school. For that, you need to provide them with a bit of help, a lot of support and a practical area for schoolwork. Sure, sending your child to their room to do homework is the traditional way to handle the situation, but is that really the best? Well, just as you have a designated room for your “homework” (usually a home office), your kids will also benefit from a space like that. So, how can you design a family office to welcome your kids?

Photo credit Pixabay

Safety first

If you’re planning to share your office with your first-grader, you must child-proof your shared space. Kids at that age are super curious, and even though they understand what they can and can’t touch, they are often unable to resist the temptation. Make sure to keep your staplers, letter openers and other potentially dangerous items in drawers and safely secure all heavy items on shelves. If there are many cords winding around your office, get cheap cord organizers that will prevent trips.  You don’t want to see your kid getting hurt nor your laptop flying from your desk!

Make it fun

Adults might thrive in minimalist spaces, but kids will simply hate them! There’s no way your child will love his or her new study area if it’s decorated like a cubicle. So, make sure to fill their little corner with color and decorate it in a fun and inspiring way. Of course, that doesn’t mean you must go all-in! Pick a few complementary shades, put up some wall decoration and make it generally fun and pleasant. Organize a little DIY shop, so you can create decorations together and spruce up the space. Your kid will naturally gravitate towards the area, even when they don’t have homework!

Photo credit Pixabay

Light it up

Homework is still mainly done on paper and involves plenty of physical books, so you need to light up your space! The best way to provide your kid with appropriate lighting is to get a good desk lamp for evening homework sessions. But, if you can provide your kid with natural lighting, go ahead and place their desk near the window to let the sunshine in. After all, natural lighting is still the best and healthiest way to illuminate a homework area.

Equip it for the win

It goes without saying that you’ll equip your kid’s homework area with an ergonomic desk and chair, but there’s more to successful homework-doing than that! Colorful highlighters, crayons, rulers and post-it notes are all essential for fun and fast schoolwork. If you have older kids, you need to provide them with more serious office material and tools. Check out the Winc stationery range and you’ll find everything your kid might ever need, from paper clips and scissors to calculators and batteries. Homework has never been this easy, fast and fun!

Photo credit Pixabay

Boost health

Offices are known to get pretty stuffy from all the electronics, so air purification and proper ventilation are a must! Luckily, there are great air purifiers on the market today which keep your indoor air free of dust, pollen, mold, dander and even some nasty odors! Combine them with a few plants and you’ll have a clean and healthy office and homework area. Also, make sure to keep your office warm. Adults are much less sensitive to cold than kids, so don’t forget to provide your space with some heating. A portable heater is a great option, as long as it has a safety switch, cool surface temperatures and a safety grate around the fan.

Sharing a home office with your little scholar will not only give you an opportunity to monitor their work, but also allow you to provide them with help, support and motivation to keep up the good work!

Aqua-Mazing Swimming Program Delivered By Aqua-Tots | Burlington Ontario

Aqua-Tots Swim Schools have been delivering crafted swimming programs for children in over 90 swim schools worldwide. The swimming lessons teach children of all ages and abilities how to be safe in and around the water to become water-smart from the start.

We have been with Aqua-Tots Swim School for a year now and it has been such an amazing experience for our family.

This is why we are excited to announce that a new Aqua-Tots location is opening up in Burlington, Ontario in late Fall!

The new location will be in the new Activity Plex facility which is a best in class center for children filled with activity studios for kids of all ages. This facility is located on 3410 Mainway, Unit #3 in Burlington. This location will be serving families in Burlington, Milton, Oakville, Hamilton and beyond.

You can expect the same amazing swimming lessons that are designed for babies, toddlers, and kids of all ages.

With a heated indoor swimming pool they are able to offer swimming lessons all year round and offer a variety of flexible swim schedules which is fantastic for families.

Services and Benefits

Some of the services and benefits you can expect when joining Aqua Tots Swim School are:

  1. Swim lessons will run both weekday morning, afternoons and evenings. There are classes also available on Saturdays and Sundays to give families flexibility with scheduling. They are open six days a week with the exception of Fridays.
  2. Membership at the Burlington location will include all the great perks that the Mississauga location has such as FREE Guardian Swim for caregivers with babies in Level 1 and Level 2; FREE bi-weekly Family Swim on Sundays; and a Swim Club for kids in Level 6 and up (this will be offered starting in November).
  3. The pool is heated to 90 degrees and the space will be a family-first environment with change tables, a play area, hair dryers and lots of change rooms. Also note that the facilities are always kept clean.
  4. They will be offering small group classes along with semi-private and private lessons.
  5. They will offer perpetual swim lessons; therefore, enrolment will be open year-round.
  6. In December they will be hosting a Swim with Santa for families with activities for all ages.
  7. Aqua Tots Swim School is just Aqua-Mazing so you don’t want to miss out!

Even though the Burlington location will open later on this Fall, you can pre-register for swim lessons now by emailing burlingtoninfo@aqua-tots.com to start an important life skill.

We are so grateful and thankful to Aqua Tots Swim School for helping our daughter learn this important life skill of swimming. This has been one of the best investments that we have done for our daughter and she enjoys it so much!

Aqua Tots Swim Schools has made a promise which is:

“We promise world class swim lessons to all students, regardless of age or ability. We promise to work with our community to help prevent childhood drowning and make Burlington children water-smart from start.”

It is a promise that they have been fulfilling throughout their over 90 swim schools worldwide and now they can fulfill it in the new community of Burlington and surrounding areas.

It’s a life changing experience and I can’t wait to see the new location in Burlington! Don’t forget to pre-register by email at burlingtoninfo@aqua-tots.com and if you want to get more information, click here.

The Aqua-Tots Team is also currently looking to hire Swim Instructors! If you or someone you know is interested in applying for this rewarding position, please send resumes to mississaugastom@aqua-tots.com.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Please note that this article was not a paid or sponsored post. No compensation or commission will be given to Momma Braga in exchange for this post.

Super Owlette Learning Watch | Product Review

“PJ Masks
We’re the PJ Masks
PJ Masks
We’re the PJ Masks”

If you have a young child at home who loves to watch PJ Masks then I am sure you were singing along to the quote above. I know that I sure was as I was writing it! 😉 PJ Masks is a popular one in our household and Nikki’s favourite is Owlette. I can’t blame her since Owlette is one super cool hero!

When we received the Super Owlette Learning Watch by VTech, Nikki was over the moon with excitement.

“It’s time to be a hero!”

The Super Owlette Learning Watch is full of great learning fun for children. This watch not only tells you the time but it comes with some other amazing features! You have an alarm, timer and stopwatch functions and did I mention games?! The Super Owlette Learning Watch also includes built-in games to reinforce learning of numbers, shapes and counting as you go into the night to save the day with Catboy, Owlette and Gekko!

Games Breakdown

We want to breakdown the game choices with this lovely watch as it was one of Nikki’s favorite features!

Gekko-Mobile Pursuit – Gekko is driving the Gekko-mobile to track down the location of Romeo’s mobile laboratory. Use the shape clues to work out which was Romeo has gone.

Running Math – Owlette is chasing Luna Girl through the streets and Luna Girl has hidden inside a building. A math problem will be shown on the screen with two answers displayed on two different doors. Choose the correct door to help Owlette find Luna Girl.

Flying Discs – Catboy is practicing his skills with some flying discs. Follow the instructions to hit the largest or smallest number.

Ninjalino Numbers – The PJ Masks are chasing Night Ninja and the Ninjalinos have hidden in the park. Help the PJ Masks count the number of Ninjalinos.

Toy Contents

  • One PJ Masks Super Learning Watch
  • One Parent’s Guide
  • One CR2450 battery (placed inside the product)

#MelAndNikkiReview

The Super Owlette Learning Watch brings fun right to your wrist with the learning games and time features. It provides hours of entertainment and did I mention the learning piece?! We really love the ability to have fun and learn at the same time. We also love the automatic power off function as it helps preserve the battery life. As parents we can really appreciate that money saving option as purchasing batteries can get costly.

We adore this new fun watch and as I wrap up this product review I hear my little one in the background. “Let’s go Catboy and Gekko! Let’s catch Night Ninja!” That is how I know it is much enjoyed. For this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give it 5 hoots out of 5! 

If “It’s time to be a hero” in your home and you would like to purchase this for your little one, click here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

 

 

 

 

 

*This product was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this piece belong to Momma Braga and no other compensation or commission was offered in exchange for this review.

Starshine the Bright Lights Unicorn | Product Review

Magical unicorns, learning and bright colors. All this can be heard when my daughter plays pretend. It truly sounds like a wonderful world that she has created. Nikki loves to play with toys that encompass her favorite things and she got just that from Vtech!

We are delighted to present, Starshine the Bright Lights Unicornon the #MelAndNikkiReview from VTech.


The Starshine the Bright Lights Unicorn is an enchanting unicorn that features three play modes of play, colourful charms and a light-up horn. This fun toy also has English and French options to extend the learning to a second language (love that!).

Play Modes

When we have more than option to play with a toy, it makes it worth it for us parents as it gives children endless possibilities to what they can do. The Starshine the Bright Lights Unicorn has three activity options.

There is the Charms and Colours. The first option with this activity is by placing a charm on any of the three Magic Heart Recognition Points to hear about colours, beginning letters and fun pharses. The second option is to press the Blue Heart Button to hear questions about the charms, then place the charms on one of the Magic Heart Recognition Points to answer the question.

The next activity is Charms and Colours in French. The first option is to place a charm on any of the three Magic Heart Recognition Points to hear colours and phrases in French. The second option is to press the Blue Heart Button or squeeze the Magical Tail to hear fun responses about the unicorn in French.

The last activity is Music Time. Who doesn’t like a little music?! We know we love music in our home. There are two options with this activity. The first option is to place a Charm on any of the three Magic Heart Recognition Points to hear fun sounds. The second option is to press the Blue Heart Button to play melodies, or squeeze the Magical Tail to play songs, then press the Necklace Button or place any of the Seven Charms on a Magic Heart Recognition Point to add sounds to the melodies and songs. *The Parent’s Guide that comes with the toy provides the song lyrics to help you sing-a-long with your child.

Toy Contents

The toy includes the following:

  • One Starshine the Bright Lights Unicorn
  • One Charm storage dish
  • Seven Charms (Blue Butterfly, Green Diamond, Yellow Star, Red Cherries, Rainbow, Purple Heart, and Orange Flower)
  • One parent’s guide
  • Toy requires two AA batteries

#MelAndNikkiReview

To say that we love Starshine the Bright Lights Unicorn might be an understatement! Nikki adores playing with it especially the Charms and Colour mode. I love the education piece to it. We love how it uses shapes and colours to help the child learn. As parents we have the option of adjusting the volume which is always a great bonus. We also love the feature of the automatic shut off. To preserve the battery life, Starshine the Bright Lights Unicorn will automatically power down after several minutes of no input. To me this is magical!

Nikki wanted to do a video to show us how it works and what she thought of it. Check it out in the video below and enjoy! These videos are special as Nikki doesn’t do them often but maybe she will since she has a natural act to do them. 😉

As you heard in the video, Nikki gives Starshine the Bright Lights Unicorn a rating of 5 out of 5! It surely lives up to its enchanting reputation and makes playtime extra fun. To purchase your very own Starshine the Bright Lights Unicorn, click here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

 

 

 

 

 

*This product was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this piece belong to Momma Braga and no other compensation or commission was offered in exchange for this review.

Not A Temporary Weight Loss Solution | Zero Excuse Go

Losing weight can be a struggle with many especially if you have other health related issues. Many people are unable to lose the necessary weight needed to live a healthy and long life.

We recently introduced all our readers to a unique and the first of its kind in Canada called Zero Excuse Go.

Their weight loss program offers you daily support by a multidisciplinary team that uses very effective new technologies such as telemedicine and remote patient monitoring. This program helps you reach your target weight and helps you maintain it.

How Zero Excuse Go Works

The Zero Excuse Go telemonitoring and telemedicine program uses digital technology and secured high-definition videoconferencing to enable their healthcare professionals (nutritionist, psychologist, nurse and kinesiologist) to monitor on a daily basis your weight, your blood pressure, your blood sugar and your exercise (number of steps, number of minutes of exercise, number of calories burned, etc.).

The Zero Excuse Go program has personalized ongoing coaching allowing people to reach their target weight and to maintain it with their maintenance program. The maintenance program is one of the most important components of the program as it allows people to keep the weight off after the program.

This is the first and only Canadian service to use remote patient monitoring to help people lose weight.

Duration

Once you sign up, you are evaluated and one of the healthcare professionals will be in touch with you about what program would work for you and the duration of it. Programs can last anywhere from 4 to 12 months, according to your reality and your needs. Once the target weight is reached, you will be invited to participate in their maintenance program, thus ensuring that you will not regain in the long term the weight lost.

Cost

The Zero Excuse Go Program is a turnkey service that includes all the equipment provided as well as all the software, connectivity and consultations with their health professionals assigned to you.

The cost of the services varies depending on the duration of the program, the number of pounds to lose, your health condition (if you have diabetes, heart disease, etc.), your disabilities (arthritis), your age, etc.

An approximate cost of their services is given once you have completed the online questionnaire. The final price will be determined once the evaluation has been completed.

You can put an end to your participation to the weight loss program at any time and get a partial refund, if applicable.

Zero Excuse Go Services

Zero Excuse Go develops the program that is right for you and they take everything into account when they do such as your current health.

The specific services you can find at Zero Excuse Go are: Obesity and Diabetes; Obesity and High Blood Pressure; Obesity and High Cholesterol; Obesity and Heart Disease; Obesity and Arthritis; Obesity and Sleep Apnea; Obesity and Aesthetic; Obesity and Depression; Obesity and Eating Disorders; Obesity and Adolescence; and Obesity and Bariatric Surgery.

Not A Temporary Weight Loss Solution

The Zero Excuse Go works as it uses the technology needed to be easily accessible at all times and it is customized to each person’s needs. A person is not a number as they are a health team of professionals wanting each person to be healthy. Not only do they help you achieve your weight loss goal but they help you maintain it.

If you are looking to lose a substantial amount of weight (around 40-200 pounds), then check out the Zero Excuse Go Program. You may sign-up by clicking, here.

If you would like to join their private and free Facebook page click on this link, https://www.facebook.com/groups/ZeroExcuseGO/. Their health professionals are there to offer weight loss motivation and advice.

*This is a sponsored post. Momma Braga was compensated for writing and posting this article.

 

Z Goes First | Book Review

Have you ever wonder if the letters like where they stand in the alphabet? I know that I have wondered that a few times in my childhood. Luckily for me there is an author who has answered my childhood question.

Z Goes Firstwritten by Sean Lamb and illustrated by Mike Perry. This new children’s book has us giggling all the way through the alphabet!

Synopsis

“The letter Z is tired of being in last place—she wants to go first! So she and her best friend, Y, decide to move to the front of the alphabet.

There are a lot of letters in the way! D blocks the path with his belly (too many doughnuts). I is too full of himself (“I am incredible”). And L, M, N, O, and P stick together like a brick wall. They all teach Z and Y that the full alphabet is lot more complicated than just ABC.”

#MelAndNikkiReview

We simply adored this book and have been reading it often (even not at bedtime). The journey through the alphabet that Z and Y take is a lot of fun to read. Z’s determination to be first can be truly appreciated and I loved the play on words with the letters describing a word that begins with themselves. It is a great opportunity to teach while we read a really fun book. The illustrations are captivating, bright and compliment the story beautifully. A feature in the book that we need to mention is at the beginning the alphabet is listed from A to Z and at the end of the book, we see it listed from Z to A. I personally loved that feature as it was a great way to test my daughter to see if she recognizes the letters without signing the traditional ABCs.

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give, Z Goes First, 5 ZZZs out of 5! We recommend to give this book a read to have some alphabet fun! To purchase a copy for your reading line-up, click here.

We are delighted to be part of the Z Goes First Blog Tour! Make sure to check them out on their publishing dates:

Z Goes First Back-to-School Blog Tour

Monday, September 10: Momma Braga

Tuesday, September 11: Babies to Bookworms

Wednesday, September 12: Blue Stocking Thinking

Thursday, September 13: Paperback Princess

Friday, September 14: The Baby Bookworm

Saturday, September 15: Sweet Southern Home

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*This book was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this piece belong to Momma Braga and no other compensation or commission was offered in exchange for this review.

 

The Day That A Ran Away | Book Review

School is back in session and we have got our hands on some great new books! We just love reading the latest and greatest books. This new children’s book is no exception and it is perfect for the school year.

The Day That A Ran Awaywritten by B.C.R. Fegan and illustrated by Lenny Wen has made its way onto the #MelAndNikkiReview!

Now you may find the duo of B.C.R. Fegan and Lenny Wen familiar and you should as they have been featured on our blog before. This dynamic duo brought us, Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32 that we featured earlier this year. They have become one of our favorite writing duos!

Synopsis

When Jet’s teacher questions why he has completed his work by writing out the alphabet. Jet takes us on a wild adventure on why each letter left his page. Jet tries to explain that it really isn’t his fault. After all, how can he help it, if none of his letters want to stay on the page!

#MelAndNikkiReview

The Day That A Ran Away clearly and cleverly moves through the alphabet from A to Z. Each page has a number of items to find and the simple rhyme on each page will help readers remember the letter sequence. The story also touches gently on the concept of homework and the importance of making an effort.

We just loved the book with each page turn. I am a big fan of rhyming books as it makes reading so much more fun for me as a parent and the illustrations are very captivating throughout. With each letter we are able to point out things on the page that begin with that letter of the alphabet. As a parent it helped me teach my daughter the alphabet in more depth by attaching it with recognizable words for her. For example D is for Dog. This book is recommended for children ages three to eight and it will be one of our favorites for story time.

For this #MelandNikkiReview we give it 5 A’s out of 5 as we love the rhyming, story, characters and the fun learning incorporated in the book. The book was so much fun to read and I know you will enjoy it too!

If you would like to purchase your very own copy, click here. This would be a nice addition to your children’s storytime line-up.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

 

 

 

 

 

*This book was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this piece belong to Momma Braga and no other compensation or commission was offered in exchange for this review.

 

Zucchini Lasagna Recipe

Lately we have been trying to make better eating choices and this meant eliminating some traditional dishes. We haven’t had cheese in a very long time and wanted to have it for a special dish. After some lengthy research and discussions with friends, we realized how zucchini can be used as a substitution for pasta! This was one of the food items that I have eliminated from my eating lifestyle so I thought why not try a Zucchini Lasagna!

I took my traditional Lasagna recipe and changed it a bit to accommodate the Zucchini and another veggie too! 😉

Zucchini Lasagna

INGREDIENTS

  • Ground Chicken (or Ground Turkey or Ground Beef)
  • 1 Onion
  • Half of a tomato
  • Olive Oil
  • 5 Zucchinis
  • Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Paprika
  • 4 Tablespoons of red wine

DIRECTIONS

  • Marinate your meat (which ever one you prefer to do. We love the ground turkey as it is much lighter) prior to cooking. I usually do this the night before to have the meat soak in the juices for more flavor.
    • Wash meat well.
    • Place meat in a bowl and add the following ingredients; salt, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, 4 teaspoons of red wine (the wine added is what sets this recipe apart from many). Measurements for the ingredients are based on what you normally use in your meat marinating.
    • Leave the meat covered and in the fridge for the next day cooking.
  • The following day you can start cutting up your onions and tomato.
  • Once the onions and tomato are cut, place them in a pan with some olive oil. On low heat cook the onion and tomato until the onions are a golden color. Then add your meat.
  • With ground meat you will need to keep breaking it apart and stirring it to ensure it gets cooked. Once the meat is cooked remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon to ensure that the olive oil is drained.
  • Place the ground meat in a bowl and mix some tomato sauce.
  • Next step is prepping the zucchini, chesses and veggies.

  • Then the layering begins. Start with some tomato sauce and spread to cover the bottom of the lasagna tray. Layer with zucchini slices, tomato sauce, ground meat, bell peppers and mozzarella cheese. Continue layering until all ingredients are used, reserve 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese for the top of the lasagna. *Tip: Use cheese on the first layer and the layer before the very top.

  • Bake in preheated oven for approx. 45 minutes (or until the cheese is melted to your liking). Remove from oven, and let stand 10 to 15 minutes before serving. *Zucchini is a very moist vegetable and there may be a lot of juices after cooking it. Some recipes recommend to add more meat to soak up the juices but we didn’t as we loved it this way.

 

And there you have it, Zucchini lasagna! Give it a try and let me know what you think of it!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

– Momma Braga

The Little School Bus | Book Review

A new school year is just about to start and it has parents excited (some kids not so much). With the new school year, comes some new reading and we are excited to introduce our readers to The Little School BusThis book is written by Margery Cuyler and illustrated by Bob Kolar.

Since this will be our daughter’s first year in school as she enters Kindergarten, she was really excited to see this book with a big yellow school bus in front. To her it is a clear sign of school and it was the only book she wanted me to read for storytime. It was also a great way for me to get comfortable with the fact that my little one was going off to school soon.

The Little School Bus is about a school bus driver by the name of Bob and his trusty little school bus. It takes us on their journey as they wake up early to pick up children and drop them off at school. Not to forget that sometimes a trip to the garage is in order to make sure it is in working order. 😉 It shows how busy their day can be as we travel with them throughout the book.

We loved this book and we recommend it for children between the ages of three to six. It was an easy read (loved the rhyming), flowed nicely and we loved the diversity in the book. The illustrations are cute and complimented the book beautifully. We believe that any child would enjoy this book and it is a great way to get to know what school bus drivers do. It is a hard but important job that is done. For all these reasons we give, The Little School Bus, 5 beep beeps out of 5 on the #MelAndNikkiReview!

If you would like to purchase this book and add it to your storytime lineup, click here. You won’t regret it and your child will love it!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga