Category: Fatherhood

Kidpreneur Making A Difference Through The Nice Bench

It always amazes me to see young people wanting to make a difference in the world and it is empowering to see them make an impact. This rings true to Owen who is already making a difference in his community and his inspiration came from his own family.

Imagine being a parent and told that your child has Leukemia. Sounds like a horrible nightmare, doesn’t it?! The Armstrong family had this happen to them when their nine year old son, Caden, was diagnosed with Leukemia. This family battled and stayed strong together. Now their other son, Owen makes benches and uses the proceeds to help other families travel to get treatment for their child.

We got a chance to chat with Owen and his mother Kirstin who gave us a deeper look at The Nice Bench Co. So grab your tissues and enjoy this inspiring story!

1. How did it all start? How was the idea developed?

“The inspiration for the benches came when Owen built and painted a bench for his little sister, Anikka. His grandparents and auntie loved Anikka’s new bench so much, that Owen was fueled to make more. He built twelve with scrap wood on Christmas Day! Those first bench prototypes were a little rough-looking, but the idea was born.”

2. What type of products does your company do?

“I get some help from a local high school student, named Ryan. He helps me build my nice benches. I have created three lines for these benches, “curious”, “wild” and “happy” – all words my mom uses to describe me! The “curious” line is basically anything I feel like doing, right now I’m really still in to stripes. The “wild” is roughed-up so it looks like it’s been out in the wild (rustic charm) and the “happy” line is solid paint in one of the milk paint colours I have chosen. There’s a big colour palette to choose from.” – Owen

“The step stools are painted using non-toxic, biodegradable, zero VOC milk paint and sealed with 100% natural hemp oil which often comes to us by way of donation from a Canadian company, Homestead House.

Curious
Wild
Happy

 

Owen has expanded his collection to include custom name plates and growth charts, and his step stools are now morphing into actual three-seater benches. We have some custom orders, with custom sizes for these that we are creating. Very exciting.

Every month, we try something new. Last month, in honour of childhood cancer awareness, we created a solid gold bench – the #gogold bench. This month we are featuring some artists work on the benches and later we will be doing something with Halloween inspired colour treatment.

BRIKA

Owen has some exclusive projects on the go for BRIKA (an online platform showcasing and selling heirloom quality artisan craft) and another: a screen-printed “THRIVE” bench for the ever-inspiring MAX LOVE PROJECT (a non-profit that aims to maximize quality of life and reduce serious health risks for all childhood cancer survivors with fierce foods and whole-body wellness).”

THRIVE

3. With the proceeds from the sales, how does it help families with children who are getting cancer care treatments?

“For every product sold, Owen collects $5-$10 ($5 from the sale of name plates and growth charts, and $10 from every bench) and purchases gas gift cards for childhood cancer families traveling long distances to Sick Kids Hospital for chemotherapy treatment.

One quarter of families of children being treated for cancer lose 40% of their total household income. Over 50% of mothers reported relinquishing their employment to provide care for their child. (Source: Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center)

Loss of income is huge, then add up all the extra hidden costs of medicine, childcare, meals on the road. Takes a toll on the family. Owen is hoping to offset that in the little way he can – by paying for the families to get their child to treatment.”

4. Can you describe what your family went through when your child was diagnosed and getting treatment?

“There are no words. Utter shock. A surreal, out-of-body experience. Our eldest boy, Caden was diagnosed with Leukemia at the age of nine. What? Kids don’t get cancer.

It is so cliché to say that our world was turned up-side-down but it truly was. Pure chaos. We had just moved three hours north of the city and were set up to live on an island for the summer when we found out we had to turn around and relocate to be near Sick Kids, in Toronto. We had nowhere to go. A family of five. Thankfully, friends and family (our community/life-support) helped us out in ways that go way above and beyond. An expecting couple gave us their home for the summer, we had meals delivered, activities set up for our other two children, the list goes on-and-on. Incredible. We are beyond thankful for their help, it brings tears to my eyes.

Watching Caden endure years of treatment, lumbar punctures, complications, IVs…gutted me. This nightmare has shaved years off my life. I’m sure of it. Despite it all, I was determined to remain positive and happy and strong for Caden. I think he was doing the same for me. He remained stoic, fierce and next-level brave through it all.”

5. Is there any advice that you can provide to other parents who are going through what you have gone through?

“I attached zero negativity to the cancer. I only wanted glowing, positive energy around him. It’s tough, especially in the middle of the night when all is quiet, but I wouldn’t let myself spiral into that abyss of darkness and let my mind go “there.” Mind over matter.

Mind Over Medicine by M.D. Lissa Rankin is all about the power of thought. This book really helped me in the very early days of diagnosis. It gave me back a tiny bit of control. I could adopt a positive mind-set and teach Caden to use visualization techniques. Every night he would send out his “patrol guys” and they would make sure his body was rid of any cancerous cell that may still be looming.

We got through it. We just celebrated Caden’s End of Treatment with that very community that supported us through it all.”

6. How can someone purchase your products?

“Products can be purchased directly from Owen’s website, https://thenicebenchco.com. Owen will also be featuring products to sell at the upcoming Seasons Christmas Show from November 17-19 at the Toronto International Centre. Stop in to meet the young kidpreneur!”

Such an inspiring and strong family! We are truly touched by what Owen is doing and admire his drive as a kidpreneur. We know that Owen has a very bright future in anything that he does and the assistance that he is providing to families is heartfelt. I am sure the families that are getting the help appreciate the heart of gold from this family. Keep up the great work Owen and know that what you are doing is so much more than a nice bench. You are giving hope to families by helping them travel to get the treatment they need for their child. I know in my heart that this means the world to them. Special thank you to Owen and his mom Kirstin for taking the time to have us interview them as we are honoured to have had this opportunity!

As a special to Momma Braga readers, use the code MommaBraga to get 15% off your purchase from The Nice Bench Co. You don’t want to miss out on this great opportunity! Not only will you be getting a quality product but you will also be helping children with cancer. Its a win-win for everyone!

Make sure to follow The Nice Bench Co on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

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A Run in with My Younger Self

Written By: Jax Menez Atwell
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I’d fallen asleep but found myself awake in a strange place.  An alley.  A dark alley with dim lighting from a lamp above, some fog and mist for affect.  There before me was my younger self.  It appeared he was listening to me.  What was I saying? 

I’m sure everyone at one point has thought, “Oh, if I could just go back” or “I wish I would have known this when I was young”.   For me it is a real dilemma.   If you had known somethings would you have made the same choices in life and would you be the person you are today.  At forty years old, I am full of scars and mistakes that are all a huge part of what makes me who I am.  If I take away many of those supposed “negatives” then would I have experienced success, would I have enjoyed my triumphs, would the positives still be there without the negatives.  Each individual can only answer that question for themselves.

For me, experiencing the height of a mountain only has the elation and joy if you came from the valley.  That physical and true metaphor has a ton of weight for me as I contemplate what I would be telling my younger self.  My life has truly been hills and valleys and deep canyons and mountain tops.  For me the sweetness of the journey, in success or failure, is what makes the man.

Sure, there are lots of silly things I’d probably love to be telling myself.  Just in items of fitness alone: “Don’t lift so heavy, your joints will pay for it when your older”, “Protect your elbows and knees”, “Don’t waste your money on most supplements and learn how to eat correctly”.  I use the fitness items just as an example I’m not sure my younger self wouldn’t have already tuned out! 

If the silly, little things wouldn’t need to be said and I’m pretty confident I believe my journey of ups and downs was truly an exercise in seeing the forest for the trees.  Then what would I actually be saying to the younger me?

I found myself telling him about balance.  Such an important part to this life.   A person has categories to their life. I believe I have four categories.  I believe one category would be my spiritual side.  The physical side would represent health, fitness, body, and sexuality.  The work life or occupation would be another.  Finally, your home life and what that entails.  I was told by a man that you can have one of these categories in turmoil but getting a second into turmoil causes major life disruptions.  If a third category begins having issues then this is when we see life struggles that can cause fierce issues. I’m not sure if it was the darkness, the misty lighting or my cryptic personality but my younger self appeared to be a captive audience so I continued…

I began telling him about a code I’d develop in law enforcement.  One that has served me well as an investigator, father, and just being a good person for those around me.  The code is pretty simple, “There are two sides to every coin”.  This very simple philosophy can be applied to a plethora of things in life.  It keeps your mind open, it keeps you from instant judgements, it prevents prejudice, and it drastically will reduce failures of all kinds.  I’d want my younger self to have this mental power much sooner to deal with things to come.  Even though my younger self looked a bit puzzled I moved on.  Not knowing how much time I would have.

The process of hurt blurted out of my mouth.  Hurt will happen.  People will hurt you.  Expect to be hurt but DON’T let it make you give any less love.  As my dear mother says, “Your rewards will be in heaven”.  I found this to be a very slow and painful life lesson that I wish I’d conquered much sooner.  Always being shocked when someone close hurt me or when that knife in the back really catches you off guard.  As we get older we close people off, trust people less, have less friends…our circle gets so small that sometimes there isn’t anyone around.  I’ve experienced this and done this very action.  It really is a natural reaction to “circle the wagons” but if we do that and don’t experience the gift of giving our love to others we miss one of the true joys in life and one that is unique to the human experience.  Not sure if that one took; his look of puzzlement went to deer in the head lights!

So, feeling like my time was over I simply left him with this, “In this world, dark times will come and go, keep yourself grounded and balanced, look above to God, follow your heart, and survive the storm.”  For me that would be the best advise because I relish my journey.  I wouldn’t want to veer my younger self from the path.  “Enjoy the Journey” would be my last words.   This is where I go slinking into the shadows and disappear!  Oh, the look on my younger self’s face, you should see it!

Did he listen?  Would your younger self listen?  Life’s a journey, enjoy the path.

About the Author

Jax Menez Atwell plays The Scavenger. Jax has more than ten years of investigative experience in law enforcement agencies in Arizona and California. His investigative law enforcement experience and training include under-cover operations, narcotics, SWAT, person and property crimes, etc. Jax has been a private investigator since 2008 specializing in the hard to solve cases such as cold cases, civilian, business and government investigations. Jax was additionally part of a team of three investigative team that explored missing people in History Channel’s “Missing in Alaska.” When Jax is not perusing the truth in his investigations he finds time to throw himself at acting roles. He has been in a number of productions since 2013. Films like “.357”, “New World Order: The End Has Come” and another Montana made film “The Big Muddy” western series. Plus more. Jax brings with him a lot of energy, enthusiasm and a fierce work ethic.

 

3 Must Have Gifts To Get Your Kids Right Now!!!

By: Grace Cross, Editor of The Baby Spot

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Originally Posted Here

As I walked with my four year old down a busy city street in the sweltering heat, I stopped momentarily to grab my key out of my purse so I was prepared to unlock a building door. As I reached for the front glass door, an elderly gentleman beat me to it, opened the door for both myself and my daughter.

“Thank you!” I said with a smile. I hear my daughter’s tiny voice echo her thank yous.

“You’re welcome.” He said smiling back and headed out the door and down the busy street. I love to open the door for people and I am grateful when anyone takes time out of their day to open the door for me. I don’t expect anything said to me when I open the door for someone, if it puts a smile on your face to have the door opened for you then that is great. If I don’t get a thank you, no worries, I wanted to open it for you and that is that. In retrospect, I am grateful when someone does a nice little deed for me. It reminds me that the strangers around us are too, three dimensional who think, feel and are going through things in their life whether it be good or bad.

I like people.

But then I looked down at my daughter. I have spoken to waiters and people in service who are shocked at how today’s youth does not use manners. How many children interrupt or swear at their parents when a service individual has briefly taken their parent’s attention to do their job. Basic manners are not mandatory and definitely not mandated by any law in any country that I am aware of. However, it makes all of our lives a little easier.

As human beings, we are a social creature, but little ‘isms’ and human nuances can get on everyone’s nerves. I get it. I’ve been there. Someone not yielding to the right on an escalator for the quicker walkers to walk passed you is social suicide in some cities. Loud talkers in some countries are considered the norm, whereas in my city and in others, it’s considered extremely rude for everyone to have to hear your conversation. In an age where we are blessed to live with different people, cultures and ideas, we can get on each other’s nerves. We can misunderstand and misinterpret each other. There are literally some cultures who shake their heads from side to side meaning ‘no’ and other cultures that shake their head from side to side meaning ‘yes!’ The confusion and naivetés of one another can cause conflict and therefore can make the world a bit of a more challenging place to live in.

So before the keyboard warriors come out and tell us how I and everyone else can do it better, stop! I have three gifts that you can buy your children or even buy yourself that with a simple investment, will make your life easier. With a very unprofessional and uncertified rating system, I will give you a cost break down and an approximate amount of time for every gift to be properly consumed.

The best part of this is, I don’t even have to provide backlinks to any of these gifts because they’re right in front of you. So, put your credit cards down.

Thankfulness

Beyond the screams of a child in a toy store of the sighs of a preteen because Mom or Dad did not let them buy “this cool app, look, it’s only $3.99” is thankfulness. We can’t blame our children. They come from an instantaneous gratification society, a society that gives them information at their fingertips. I am not advocating for this to be taken away, oh no, I think technology is great for the most part. But when we live in a society where we have advertisements telling us we want something, then your children may see a little snippet on the news, of a Syrian family narrowly avoiding death, of a shooting nearby or something that humanizes them that makes them think “well, this did not happen to me, this does not happen here.” The feelings of life start to flood in, but are immediately interrupted from that text of a friend, a new advertisement or another distraction. Before we ask our children to “Be helpers” as Fred Rogers from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood so eloquently put it, we need to remind our children in an age where it seems everyone gets everything right away, to be thankful.

The best way to teach your children, in my humble opinion is to lead by example. No one wants every outing, every experience to be some lesson or lecture. But when a parent shows thankfulness in front of their children, “I am thankful I got home twenty minutes early today and I was not caught in traffic.” “Just got back from the doctors kids, I am thankful for that clean bill of health.” A child starts to hear that behavior and mimic it. Being thankful for a gift, to live in a safe area, to have a loving family is a wonderful seed to plant. A child must be thankful for what the opportunities they have before they can provide opportunities for others.

To add, saying “Thank you” to others, like people who hold the door for your family, serve you in restaurants or in retail settings, deserves a thank you from you and your children if they were kind and attentive.

The greatest thing about thankfulness is you can start when they are infants. Yes, a parent even speaking to their child is soothing. You can introduce this at any age and I promise, it will help shape your children and also keep you in check in a world that can sometimes seem cruel.

Final Cost: 0

Time: About 5 to 10 seconds for each thankful thought.

1 Minute relaying thoughts to others.

Understanding

Understanding can be a tricky one. I am in no means asking you to teach your children to let every bully walk over them “maybe he or she has a hard life and that is why they punch you in the face every day after school, dear.” Or “this person is trying to get me fired from work but maybe they need to feed their family more than I need to feed mine.” That is not the understanding I am advocating for. Protect yourself!

The understanding I am asking for is for your children to function with others who do not think like them. We have this new opportunity where the whole word is connected, a whole world that has opinions, many of them different from their own. I have traveled a bit over the course of my life and created this global parenting magazine on two premises, celebrating the similarities and embracing the differences of parenting practices worldwide. The whole “we are all the same” movement is nice and all and as a people we do share some amazing similarities in both genetics and thought processes, but it is silly and almost ignorant to ignore the vast differences from culture, people and society. Those differences, though foreign to some, are interesting, beautiful and quite frankly, I prefer it. I prefer my thought processes to be challenged and questioned. It either teaches me something new or helps me reform my original opinion to be stronger. As long as the learning process is healthy, I am all for it.

We must teach our children understanding. People have different needs. We have some children who recognize certain religious practices during the day. In retrospect, we have children who require certain understanding. There are children who are religious, not religious, have different ways of thinking or perception like children with autism. The point is, we think differently and we perceive the world differently. We need to understand each other and learn about different types of people.

So what does that mean? Perhaps enrolling your children in a language class, to have a second language under their belt. It’s a new opportunity for your children to learn about a new culture and make new friends speaking their second language. It could be volunteering at a homeless shelter, so your children can interact with people who live differently than themselves. It could also mean having your children meet other children outside of their regular circles, volunteering at a reading program or if extra time is tight, reading about a new country, culture or religion every night for ten minutes. You don’t have to have your degree or be an expert in a subject to get a sense of understanding.

My mom for a short period of my childhood would grab one of her encyclopedia’s, (yes, the book ones not the ones online) and read us a little snippet of a country, culture or place while we ate breakfast before school. Maybe this is corny but it’s true, I enjoyed it! It must have stuck in my head throughout the years, because even though I may not remember anything she read to us, it planted the seed to learn more about everything, to understand to the best of my ability.

I think understanding comes with educating your children. Whether they are destined for a doctorate in medicine or changing the world with Tool and Dye, education breeds understanding. A combination of books and street smarts is a beautiful thing.

Cost=0

Time= ongoing dedication

Empathy

Do you have that child who wants to adopt every stray animal they find? Do you have a child who does not bully others even if everyone else is doing it? You have raised the empathetic child, one of the most beautiful creatures on the planet. A child who many would say is beyond their years, I would humbly say is right where they are supposed to be. To get their peers to think and to inspire adults to remember.

If your child is none of those things, don’t worry! Empathy can be demonstrated and you can ‘wake up’ your child to think in a different way.

For those parents whose child is not empathetic, with most children, you can lead with example. With children with mental health challenges, leading with example, as you well know, may not work.

But you have to live empathy if there is any hope for your children to be empathetic. Showing empathy for other people’s pain is a gift your child will never know how important it is to have. Empathetic people are the seeds that grow ideas into beautiful plants. When one person, combined with understanding, empathizes with another, it helps build bridges with humanity and not make the gap between human being to human being, even bigger.

How you can express empathy is key. You won’t yell at that waitress who took an extra five minutes to fill up your cup because you can see she is waiting on at least ten other tables and you know this task is next to impossible. So you show and exhibit patience. Yelling never helps anyone anyway. You will donate your clothes to those new immigrants to your country because you know they have never felt a winter like yours and you want them to bundle up and stay warm and cozy as they get to know this new land. You use kind words to others, you hear peoples pain and you respond instead of ignoring. You are alive and you act like it.

Cost: 0

Time: a full time investment at first, but then it comes naturally.

These three gifts are not only a must have for the family, but if you use them as a combo, you can get results far greater than buying into just one. With all three gifts, you give yourself a huge discount in time management!

The media is always talking about role models and who will be the role model for your child? You see celebrities protesting that they just sing songs or act in movies and never asked to be your child’s role model. You know what? They’re right. You never asked them to. You don’t need to because you are their role model. It may not seem like that when they run off with their friends without saying goodbye or are rude sometimes. But they are listening. They are observing. You are the answer to your children getting these three gifts. With a onetime investment on behalf of your children, you can really change their life. I am not promising perfection. But what I am promising is you and your family making a difference, no matter how small, in your community and your world. All cliché aside, stop buying into what people tell you that you need to buy your family and invest in these three gifts for life.

Turning Memories Into Comics

We all know that kids say the funniest and most honest things. So imagine being able to capture these moments in comic form. Well, I am thrilled to say that you can with the help of Matt from Peanuts Gallery Comic who is our “Dad of the Month.”

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Matt grew up in Colorado and moved to New York City right after college. Recently he has moved to the suburbs in New York City with his wife and soon to be six year old son, to give his son more space to run around. People often ask him how he made the transition from Colorado to New York City and he says, “I somehow love the outdoors as much as I love the energy and crowds of New York City.”

I had a chance to connect with Matt to learn more about his unique company.

  1. What does your company do?

“Peanut Gallery Comics turns memories into hand-drawn, custom art. People send in photos and their story, and our writers and illustrators turn them into comic strips.”

Click here to watch the video.

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  1. When did you start your business?

“We’ve been live for just over three months. We started with a Kickstarter campaign and somehow found ourselves fully funded in less than 48 hours. We were lucky enough to end up over 200% funded.”

  1. How did you come up with the idea?

“My son says and does some really funny and cute things. I started keeping a journal of them so I wouldn’t forget them. But I soon found they were just sitting there and I couldn’t really enjoy them. That’s when I came up with the idea to have them made into comics. I found some illustrators to make a few of them and I loved them! When my family and friends saw them and loved them, I decided to try it as a business.”

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  1. How did you come up with the business name?

“I liked the sound of peanut because it was a nick name we gave to my nephew (who is almost a year old now), and paired it with gallery because we make custom art.”

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  1. What do you hope your business accomplishes?

“To be honest, I really just love making people’s stories come to life as comics. The stories are all so cute (and some are really funny), and the illustrators and I have to get creative to make them into comic strips that stay true to the story.”

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  1. Where would you like to see your business in 5 years?

“I’d like to see us making a good amount of people’s stories into comics every month. It’s fun making them, and it’s fun getting all of the positive feedback. We even started making some free ones for people based on cute or funny stories we see on Twitter. The free ones don’t have personalized characters, but most people are really happy to see their stories as comic strips.”

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  1. As a busy working dad, how do you find the time to balance it all?

“It’s funny, I get asked that all the time. I guess I stay up fairly late and usually do a good amount of work after my son goes to bed, but it doesn’t seem that hard. Maybe it’s because I like it so much. Although I have noticed I don’t watch TV much anymore.”

  1. If someone is interested in purchasing a comic, how can they go about it?

They can purchase online from our site, http://www.peanutgallerycomics.com/ or send an email to info@peanutgallerycomics.com if they have any questions.

I have had the pleasure to have one of my moments with my daughter captured in a comic strip by Peanut Gallery Comics and I will treasure it forever! Matt was very professional from beginning to end and of course the end result was stunning.

A Momma Braga Moment Captured on a Comic Strip
A Momma Braga Moment on a Comic Strip

Following them on social media has been great and really funny too. Make sure to follow them to see what other moments they have captured.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PGComics/?fref=ts
Instagram: @peanutgallerycomics
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PG_Comics

Matt is a talented father who has given parents an opportunity to capture their precious moments into comic strips that they can treasure forever. Matt even offers some great advice for all parents to note, “Keep making cute and funny memories! And make sure to capture them somewhere, even if it’s not as a custom comic. Write them down so you don’t lose them. It’s the small moments and memories that are really precious, the way your kid says something or the way they expressed themselves in a uniquely “them” kind of way.”

Very well said Matt and I have now purchased a notebook to capture some of these precious moments! Thank you Matt for your time and keep making memories come alive in print!

I am happy to extend a special offer from Matt of Peanut Gallery Comics to all my amazing readers. If you purchase a comic from them use promo code: MommaBraga to get $10 off your order! Thanks Matt as I know my readers will appreciate this great offer!

Until next time…..Happy Parenting!

–          Momma Braga

Dreams Can Come True…Even For A Grandfather

“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walter E. Disney

I just love this quote from Mr. Disney and one that can be applied to this special feature, our Grandfather of the Month. In honour of Father’s Day I decided that this month we would feature a Dad of the Month and a Grandfather of the Month.

I am so proud to present Joe from Joe’s Grill as our Grandfather of the Month.

Joe was born and raised in Azores, Portugal. Growing up Joe use to help his father work in the fields and also worked at the fruit and vegetable market. In his spare time he would love to watch his mother cook and that is where he developed his passion for cooking at a very young age. Joe then moved to Canada when he was in his late 20s which was not in his plans. However, when his girlfriend (now loving wife) moved to Canada, he realized he couldn’t live without her and packed up his stuff to start a new life in a new country. Now that is what I call love at its finest!

In Canada, Joe worked in construction but never lost his love for cooking and would cook every chance he got. Family could always be guaranteed an amazing meal when they would visit him. When the time came to retire, Joe thought that it was time to follow his dreams and open up his own restaurant. He knew that some people would call him crazy for wanting to open up a restaurant so late in life but he said, “It’s only too late when you’re gone and here I am one year later with a restaurant and I have never been happier.” He further stated, “It’s not about how much I make but that I am finally doing what I love – cooking!”

Joe's Grill #4

So what motivated this dream to become a reality? Joe always wanted to open his own restaurant but it never seemed like the “right time” to do it. When Joe retired he had some time to think what his next step in life would be. He felt he was too young to retire but yet too old to stay in construction. So after speaking to his wife and children, they knew it was now or never. This is what inspired Joe’s Grill to go from a dream to a reality. Joe’s Grill then opened up for business on June 6th, 2015 and Joe says, “I can truly say it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.”

Joe’s Grill is located at 2291 Kipling Avenue, Unit 111 in Toronto, Ontario. Joe’s Grill offers traditional Portuguese cuisine at affordable prices. They have a variety of different food items available on their menu and some favourites are the Portuguese BBQ Chicken with their signature piri piri sauce served with potatoes and rice. Another favourite is the fillet fish and beef stew. I don’t know about you but my mouth is already watering! I think the neat part about Joe’s Grill is that the food is always made by Joe himself and he always puts his own twist on everything he makes.

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So, why the name Joe’s Grill? Joe said, “The name was inspired by my oldest daughter. I think she wanted customers to know who I was so that is where Joe came in and grill came from me constantly talking about all the things I was going to grill.”

When people visit Joe’s Grill, they can expect a friendly and clean environment with fresh food that is cooked daily. Not to mention that the portion sizes are great too! You can also bring their delicious food to your next meeting or event. To learn more about their catering services, please feel free to give them a call at (647) 343-3595. Catering has become a big part of Joe’s Grill and he offers special menus and can even customize the menus for your special event.

Joe's Grill

Joe’s Grill has recently celebrated their first year anniversary so where does Joe want to see the business in five years? “I would love to see Joe’s Grill grow and become more of a family business. I would like to get my wife and youngest daughter involved.” As you can tell Joe is a family oriented person who just adores his family very much. You would never know that this loving father of two is also a very proud grandfather to an adorable grandson. So how does this dad and grandfather find the time to balance a new growing business and family? “That’s a good question,” says Joe with a smile. “I sometimes feel that there is not enough hours in the day to do it all but then I take a step back and build downtime into my schedule. I have learned over the years that a little relaxation goes a long way.”

Well said Joe! This is why you are our Grandfather of the Month. Not only do you always put your family above anything else, you had the courage to follow your dreams. You have shown your family and friends around you that anything is possible at any age. You are a great example of what can be accomplished if you just believe in yourself.

“For as long as I could remember my father, Joe, has always wanted to open up his own restaurant. I am so proud of him for finally following his dreams. His food is amazing and I’m so happy that other people can now enjoy it as much as my family and I have. No matter how busy he gets at the restaurant he always finds time to come visit his grandson. I was so grateful to have my dad those first few weeks as a new mom as I never had to worry about food. My dad would come over every few days to stock our fridge with enough food to feed a village. He is an amazing father and has already shown to be an amazing grandfather as there is truly nothing he can’t do,” says Chantelle, Joe’s eldest daughter.

Joe exemplifies inspiration in all that he does and continues to do. Joe is such an amazing person that he has offered an exclusive to Momma Braga fans. When you stop by to order food from Joe’s Grill and mention that you read this article, you will receive a little something extra added to your order. How amazing is that?! Thanks Joe as I know my fans and readers will love this!

Joe’s Grill is open from Monday to Friday from 11 AM to 6 PM; Saturday from 11 AM to 5 PM; and Sundays are reserved for catering orders only.

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Make sure to follow Joe’s Grill on social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Joes-Grill-Portuguese-Cuisine/856622674431523
Instagram: @joesgrillportuguesefood

Special thank you to Joe and his daughter, Chantelle for their time as it is much appreciated!

Don’t forget to mention Momma Braga to Joe and you will receive a little something extra with your order! 😉

Until next time…..Happy Parenting!

– Momma Braga

Not Just a Party, but an Experience of a Lifetime

This month’s “Dad of the Month” is an inspiring man who’s best friend and business partner is his twin brother. He is humble, kind, loves what he does and knows how to coordinate a fantastic party! But not just any party, but an experience of a lifetime.

I am talking about Jian Magen of Magen Boys Entertainment (MBE).

At a very young age, twin brothers Jian and Page Magen had a natural ability to bring people together to celebrate. Out of the love and passion of creating lasting memories for people through events, came the start of Magen Boys Entertainment (MBE).

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Launched in 1999, MBE started out as a two-man disc jockey team. Today, MBE is Canada’s #1 turn-key event production and entertainment company with close to 100 staff, first-class inventory of technical, media and staging equipment and a 10,000 square foot office, showroom and warehouse.

They create unforgettable events by customizing every detail around their unique clients. They even state: “We promise your party will be an experience of a lifetime.” MBE will coordinate every aspect of your party, including; venue selection, theme, decor, vendor management, entertainment, schedule, budget and on site execution to name a few. They have highly qualified event producers to professional singers, musicians, DJ’s, emcee’s, dancers and performers to the state of the art lighting, staging, and sound systems. MBE provides the best in production, entertainment and decor for every type of event imaginable. Whether it’s a corporate event; special events; weddings; mitzvahs; sporting events; confirmations and Sweet 16’s; and Talent Acquisition.

With MBE, the possibilities are endless. Make sure to follow them on social media to see what exciting events that they are up to as you never know what celebrity has taken them on.

Website: www.magenboys.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Magenboys
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/magenboys
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/MagenBoysEnt

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I have had the sincere pleasure to work with Jian on events that I have coordinated in the past and I knew that if he was involved it would always be a great success. Jian always ensured that everything went smoothly from the beginning to end. His friendliness and professionalism was always top notch. Jian would take our events to the next level of awesome and I was always grateful to have him by our side.

When I asked Jian where he would like to see his business in 5 years, he noted that if business continues to grow at the pace its going, he would have no reason to be anything but happy and lucky. One of the areas he would love to see grow would be the MBE film division that they launched a few years back. With their second feature film under their belt, Jian and his brother are excited to continue growing this side of their business.

But it hasn’t just been business growing, as Jian’s family was as well. Jian became a dad in 2015 with the birth of his son and his family is growing again with baby #2 on the way. So how does he ensure business success and a growing family?! Well, I asked him how he does it all. Jian stated, “It’s all about making priorities and to make as much time as possible to spend it with my family.”

Jian is our Dad of the month as he is an inspirational person who built a great company from the ground up. Of course it hasn’t been easy and required a lot of hard work to achieve what he has through MBE. He balances a busy work schedule and ensures that he is there for his growing family with much love. Jian is also humble and never forgets his family and friends. You know that you can always count on him if you need something.

When I asked Jian what he would like to end with he stated, “Being named Dad of the month is such an honour for me, thank you.”

But I am the one who needs to say thank you to Jian for all his hard work, dedication, friendship and time. Don’t forget to check out Magen Boys Entertainment for an experience of a lifetime.

Congratulations Jian!

Until next time…..Happy Parenting!

– Momma Braga

Dad of the Month Adds Some Saucy Kytchen

Sometimes with the hustle and bustle of motherhood it is great to take a break from cooking. One of our family favourites to eat from is a local Italian sandwich restaurant called Saucy Kytchen. This place has amazing food and service but you wouldn’t expect anything less if you knew the owner, Kevin. This is why Kevin is our Momma Braga“Dad of the Month”.

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Saucy Kytchen is located at 730 Lakeshore Rd., East in Mississauga, Ontario. They have a variety of different food items available on their menu and one of our family favourites is the Steak and Egg Sandwich. Talk about delicious and a must try from their menu! They also have meatless options such as their eggplant sandwich which I have heard is the very best. I also can’t forget about the delicious mozzarella sticks! There is just so much to choose from their menu and it can delight just about any type of person.

In addition, Kevin just added a Junior menu which he calls, Junior Sammies, and this menu is now available! Love this idea and concept! Talk about including all in the family and standing out from the rest! But I am really not surprised that Kevin added this as he is always thinking of family and you really do feel like family when you go there.

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Saucy Kytchen started off as a dream for Kevin, and it became reality in February of 2012. Kevin and his wife had a strong passion for the culinary arts and a desire to bring great Italian food to the city of Mississauga. They spent months working with a professional chef from Italy to learn how to perfect the sauce. They knew by perfecting the sauce they could provide a product superior to their competitors.

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So, why the name Saucy Kytchen? Kevin stated that originally he wanted to call the restaurant, Carlos Sandwiches, after his father but than his wife came up with the name of Saucy Kytchen and it just clicked.

When people visit Saucy Kytchen, they can expect a welcoming environment with superb customer service. Saucy Kytchen brings a more modern cooking style, fresh ingredients and a passion in the preparation of their food which makes them stand out from the rest.

Could Saucy Kytchen get any better? Well, yes! They offer catering which is amazing! You can now bring their delicious food to your next meeting or event. To learn more about their catering services, please feel free to give them a call at (905) 990-2495. You can also order Saucy Kytchen on Skip The Dishes (*area restrictions may apply for delivery).

When I asked Kevin where he would like to see Saucy Kytchen go in the next five years, he stated that he would love to expand and open a few more locations. In addition, he is currently working on perfecting his pizza recipe soon. We are extremely excited about the pizza as we already love it, so we can’t wait to taste the new recipe!

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And of course, Saucy Kytchen is on social media and please feel free to follow them. But I must warn you that your mouth will water with every picture posted!

Instagram: @saucykytchen
Twitter: https://twitter.com/saucykytchen
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/public/Saucy-Kytchen
Website: http://www.saucykytchen.com/

Kevin keeps very busy in ensuring that all his customers are always satisfied with their meals and he works hard at maintaining excellent customer service in the front lines. So how does he balance this and a family? Kevin stated that his goal every day is to leave work at 5pm to go home and spend as much time as he can with his 3 year old daughter and wife.

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And if life couldn’t get any busier for him, his wife is expecting baby #2 soon and we couldn’t be happier for this beautiful and loving family.

Kevin is our dad of the month as he is an inspiration! His motivation and drive to follow his dreams to open up a sandwich shop and to work hard in building it, is amazing! But what makes him more amazing is the fact that family always comes first and they are his everything!

Congratulations Kevin and keep up the amazing work!

Until next time……Happy Parenting!

– Mommy Braga