Category: Holidays

Fleur de Reine Provides Timeless Beauty | Exclusive Interview

Bringing unique products, brands and people to our worldwide audience is what we love doing best. We love to meet new and inspiring people who do so much more than just sell a product.

This is why we are delighted to introduce you all to Fleur de Reine who we were honored to have met at Square One’s Merry and Bright Holiday Market.

We had an opportunity to interview the owners of Fleur de Reine to get to know them and their product better. We like to go beyond the company website. 😉

Tell us a little bit about yourselves

Sonia – “I grew up in Australia and Canada, and now call Mississauga home. I love to spend my days surrounded by my large family (proud aunt alert!) and explore all Toronto has to offer. Love to travel and have always had a passion for art and flowers. I am a coffee addict by day and by night.” :p

Roopie – “I was born in Toronto and raised in Mississauga. Currently reside in beautiful Milton. I love to travel and have an appreciation for beautiful artisan created things. Fun fact: Chocolate is my kryptonite.” 🙂

Tell us a little bit about the company and how it inspired to be.

“We’ve always had a keen eye for style and beauty, and knew we wanted to start a company that encompasses both. It wasn’t until one late evening we were reminiscing Sonia’s wedding and reliving all the beautiful moments and décor. The flowers were extravagant and the colors were so bold, we thought to ourselves “wouldn’t it be nice if flowers could last longer than a week?” and so it was that late evening while sipping on some wine that the idea was born.”

What makes you unique?

“Roses are timeless that adorn the space they ‘re placed in, but Fleur de Reine added a modern element by our unique preservation process. Whether it’s a rose purchased for love, passion, new beginnings, celebrations, appreciation or friendship – thanks to the EternalBloom™, it lasts through the seasons. Imagine purchasing real roses that last a year. Fleur de Reine is revolutionizing the way we gift flowers.”

What do you hope your business will accomplish with each rose sold?

We hope the beauty and longevity of our roses will uplift your spirits and brighten your days. We also offer a variety of beautiful packaging options and personalization services. Our vision is to create the ultimate quintessential experiences and give our clients a piece of beauty to cherish in their homes for always. We have turned the timeless flower into just that – timeless.”

Lastly, anything new and exciting that you would like to announce to our readers?

“We are adding a new piece to our Glass House Collection for Valentine’s Day 2019! We are now offering shipping within North America.

We were also featured in Dolce Magazine & West of the City Magazine this year! Last but not least, we’re always popping up at different locations, so please stay tuned to our IG for upcoming details.”

#MelAndNikkiReview

There you have it, our exclusive interview with the owners of Fleur de Reine. We need to mention that these two ladies are classy, kind, professional and friendly. It was so great to meet them in person as we could see that this is not just a business but a passion of theirs and we love that!

Every rose and packaging was perfect in every way. I was so captivated by the roses that I purchased a glass ornament with a black rose for my sister-in-law for Christmas. It was absolutely breathtaking and I know my sister-in-law is going to love it.

Interesting fact is that the black roses are their best seller – would have never believed it!

We were truly impressed with the products, uniqueness, quality and above all the passion that goes into each rose. This is why we give Fleur de Reine 5+++ roses out of 5! We are also listing them on our “recommended list.”

This would make a perfect gift for any occasion. If you would like to order, click here. Or if you are in the Square One area, you can drop by the Merry and Bright Holiday Market before December 24, 2018 to purchase in person.

Make sure to follow Fleur de Reine on Instagram to see which locations they are in next.

A special thank you to Sonia and Roopie for the opportunity to interview them for this special feature.

Until next time… Happy Parenting!

– Momma Braga

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Christmas Magic In A Letter | The Belief In Santa

The Christmas season is upon us and it is my favorite time of year. It seems that there is a little extra magic in the air as the spirit of giving surrounds us.

My heart is always extra full this time of year as I try to make each year more magical then the next for my daughter. Part of the Christmas magic is the belief in Santa Claus. A jolly man who makes a list of who has been naughty and nice. Then travels all over the world to deliver toys to the nice kids on the list.

The excitement to write to Santa and to receive a letter back helps keep the belief alive and one that we have done yearly with our daughter, Nikki.

In previous years we have sent our “Santa Letter” to a free service offered by Canada Post. Their special elves help Santa answer all the letters in time for your little ones (*there is a deadline date to watch out for). The first two years the letters back where cute and a personalized touch was added which made the letters extra special.

However, last year the letter was standard and no personalized touch was added. There was nothing special about it and what should I really expect from a free service, right?! So why not to do it myself?! 

One night as we were hosting a family playdate with my cousin and her boys. We both talked about how disappointed we were in the letters from Santa. I was relieved that I wasn’t the only one who felt that way.

So I pitched the idea that we should do the Santa letters for one another and my cousin Chantelle loved the idea!

Christmas Magic In A Letter

We now get to share some Christmas magic between family by doing Santa Letters to one another. The best part for us will be to see our children’s faces when they get a very personalized letter from Santa. 

Nikki and her adorable cousins John Lucas and Connor at our last playdate.

This is how we are doing it this year.

Writing “Dear Santa” Letter

Our child writes their letter to Santa (depending on their writing ability, it may be the parent writing most of it). In our case, I write Nikki’s letter but she adds her artistic flare to her letter.

Mailing Letter to “Santa”

Child mails the letter out to “Santa” (if they are young they will not notice the address so this wasn’t an issue for either one of us right now). 😉

Mailing a letter to Santa is serious business 😉

Highlights For Santa Reply Letter

Send some points (max of 3) of your child to the family member writing the Santa letter that you would like highlighted. For example, I wanted to make sure it was noted that Nikki started her first year of school; becoming more independent and her good manners.

Handwriting the Reply Letter

Once the “Dear Santa Letter” is received, the family member can now hand write the letter in response with the highlighted points and reference to any artistic touch done on the letter.

Mail the Santa Reply Letter

Family member mails the Santa response letter and add any other little touches that they may want to add (my cousin thought of adding an “Elf Report” indicating if they made it to the nice or naughty list – so cute!).

Open the Magic of Christmas

Child receives their magical and very personalized letter. The belief continues with much love.

We just started the process and we can’t wait to see our children react to their very special letters. A little extra that we are doing is keeping the “Dear Santa” from our children in little boxes. This way when they are older we can give them their letters so they can see what they said and did in their belief of Christmas magic. I think that is my favorite part of all this.

I am really excited to keep the belief going and doing this exchange between family. A more personalized, heart and love in our quest for that little extra spirit this holiday season.

How do you carry on the Christmas spirit in your family? Would love to hear from all of you in the comment section below.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

Eggspiring Easter Hunt For Newborns

Easter egg hunts are fun to do and one that we enjoy doing in our home. With my daughter being three, her understanding of the Easter Egg hunt is impeccable especially if it involves finding chocolate. This makes the preparation for the Easter Egg Hunt easier but with a new addition to the family I had to think of a way to involve her as I would hate for anyone to feel left out (my newborn niece won’t notice but I will). 😉

My sister is the much more creative one and she has always come up with ways to make holidays and occasions fun for my daughter so this time I wanted to do something special for her daughter this Easter season.

I thought long and hard about how I can incorporate a newborn friendly Easter Egg Hunt and after a trip to my local dollar store…I came up with a simple way and it was going to include the parents!

I am calling this activity, “Eggspiring Easter Hunt.” So how does it work? Let me give you my simple instructions for some Easter fun for all.

Eggspiring Easter Hunt

This Easter Egg Hunt will involve the parents to do the hunt on behalf of their newborn but of course they can carry their baby with them as they search. There will be decorated eggs hidden in the areas that you have picked for the hunt. As each egg is found, there will be an inspirational quote attached to each one. These messages can be kept to inspire the baby as they grow. These can be used as good wishes for the baby.

Instructions

  1. Purchase Easter eggs that are either already decorated or that you need to decorate yourself. We purchased our ready decorated Easter eggs from our local dollar store.
  2. Come up with some inspirational quotes to add to each egg. We used some classic Disney inspiring quotes as they mean a lot to our family.
  3. We added the quotes to a bunny shape template. Once the quote is added you can cut out the bunny and if you have an older child, they can color it for the baby. If you would like a printable template, click here.
  4. Attach the bunny with the inspirational quote to each egg. We used a pipe cleaner that we attached to the string already on our eggs.
  5. Then on Easter, hide them when the parents are not looking. 😉
  6. Then start the Easter Hunt magic. Watch as each message is read out loud and see the parents enjoy the inspiring wishes for their newborn.

With these steps above, you will have included one of the youngest members of your family and even though they may not know exactly what is happening. They will appreciate the thought as they grow with the inspiring messages around them. But this too will make the parents of the newborn glow with love. I know this is how my sister will feel.

We can’t wait to try this activity out this Easter and spend some great family time together. That is the one thing that I love the best about the different occasions we celebrate as we get to spend time with those that we love and care for.

If you are celebrating Easter, I would love to hear from you on how you are celebrating in the comments below.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga


 

 

 

4 Halloween DIY Party Games

Written By: Karen Silva
Twitter

Okay my mombies gather your little monsters and let’s make your Halloween party a big hit. I will share with you some fun Halloween games you can have at your party, that’s also super easy to do.

Remember to use your best judgment on which tasks your child can help you with.

Strike Those Ghosts!

What you will need: A ball, six clear or White plastic cups and a black marker

  • First create your ghost faces on your cups, remembering to have the opening of the cup face down on the table.
  • Once you have completed that you can place them in a corner, stacking them to create a triangle shape.
  • Decide where you want the starting line to be.
  • Then each person can take a turn to roll or throw the ball to get strike out the ghosts.

Feeding the Monsters

What you will need: Large box, scissors, paint and balls

  • With a large box you will create three monster heads, so there are three different eating levels.
  • With scissors cut the mouth holes and make sure it is large enough for a ball to be thrown in.
  • Then together paint your monsters and add some details. Then once dried, decide where you want your starting line to be and have people take turns throwing a ball into any of the monster’s mouths.

*Fun Tip: You can use glow in the dark paint and put a black light on during the game. You can also add some creative features such as teeth to make the monsters look more realistic.*

What do you feel?

What you will need: Empty tissue boxes, Black paint, foods that would resemble body parts and a blind fold

  • First paint your boxes with the black paint and set aside to dry.
  • Once that’s done fill your empty tissue boxes with your food ideas. You can label each box with the “item” that you want it to be, for example “eye balls”.
  • Once your guests are ready to play have them put on a blind fold and stick one hand in the boxes to feel the objects. Some examples you can use is:
    • Noodles with tomato sauce as mushed brains
    • Grapes as eye balls
    • Jell-O as guts

*If you wish not to use food you can add Halloween items and have them guess what they are, for example, you can put fake spiders in a box.*

Witch Ring Toss

What you will need: Black construction paper, tape, paint, card board and rings

  • First cut your Black construction paper into a Triangle shape.
  • Then fold the corners together, closing the Triangle shape and creating a cone shape.
  • Then with another Black construction paper cut out a circle to complete the witch hat look.
  • Together decorate the witch hats with paint.
  • Once you have taped the two pieces together and set aside to dry. Once completed tape or glue each of them onto the cardboard leaving some space between each of them.
  • Then create your starter line where your guests can each take turns in throwing the rings trying to get it around each witch hat.

Whether you decided to do one of these or all of them, your guests will have a great time at your Halloween party. Remember that sometimes not keeping score can create a more fun, laid back atmosphere and will help you avoid the “competition” conflicts that may arise.

Until next time… Happy Haunting!

 

5 Halloween Munchies Recipes

Written By: Karen Silva
Twitter

We all know that every good Halloween party or get together, needs some munchies to keep your little monsters full and satisfied. I will share with you some “not so scary” Halloween munchies, that are easy to make and yummy to your tummy.

Remember to use your best judgment as to which tasks you can have your child help you with.

Ghost Popsicle’s

What you will need: Bananas, White chocolate wafers, Chocolate chips and Popsicle sticks

  • First unpeel your bananas and cut them in half.
  • Melt your wafers until your white chocolate is liquid (I did mine in the microwave for 40 seconds).
  • Then dip half of your Popsicle stick into the chocolate and stick it into the end of the banana.
  • Once completed, gently dip the whole banana into the melted chocolate and add three chocolate chips (two for eyes and one for a surprised spooky mouth).
  • Then set all the done ones onto a tray over wax paper and put it in the freezer for about an hour.

Veggie Treat

What you will need: A large tray, veggie dip, baby carrots, broccoli and cucumber

  • First lay out your baby carrots in to a circle shape and use the broccoli as your stem of your veggie pumpkin creation.
  • Remove the baby carrots from the areas in which you would like to have the eyes and nose and place a small container with veggie dip in those places.
  • Finally remove the baby carrots to create your mouth and add some sliced cucumbers in that area.

Monster sandwiches

What you will need: Toast bread, cold cuts, mayo, cheese, circle shape cookie cutter and green olives with opening

  • First with your cookie cutter, cut out circle shapes on your toast bread slices.
  • Once completed, assemble your sandwiches using your mayo first, then cold cuts.
  • Before you add your cheese, use a knife to design your cheese slices to look like sharp teeth.
  • Once you have added that and put another circle piece of toast bread you are ready to add your eyes. That’s right you guessed it! Use the olives as your monsters eyeballs.
  • To keep them in place you can add a tooth pick to each one, just make sure your guests can see the tooth picks so that they can pick them out before taking a bite.

Sweet and sticky pumpkins!

What you will need: Rice crispy Squares, Rolo chocolate and green cookie icing

  • Feel free to make your own Rice Crispy Squares from scratch. Or you can just buy a box of Rice Crispy Squares, add two drops of Orange food coloring on each, pop them in the microwave for 8 seconds and then shape them into a pumpkin.
  • Once you have that done stick one Rolo chocolate on the top as your pumpkin stem.
  • Now you can stop right there or you can use the green icing to create some more detail on the pumpkin like leaves.

Eye love cupcakes!

What you will need: Your favorite cupcake recipe, white buttercream icing, red icing, black icing and lifesaver candy

  • First make and bake your favorite cupcake recipe and then set them aside to cool down.
  • Now comes the fun part… decorating!
  • Spread your white buttercream icing on all of your cupcakes.
  • Then place one life saver in the middle of each cupcake.
  • Using your black icing fill in the hole in the middle of the life saver to complete the look of your eye.
  • Finally add your final detail using the red icing and drawing out some veins.

I hope I didn’t make you drool too much! All of these ideas are super easy to make and it doesn’t take too much time to make.

Until next time mombies!

 

5 Halloween DIY Decoration Ideas

By: Karen Silva
Twitter

My niece and I are super excited that fall is finally here and Halloween is the cherry on top of the cake for us! Now that she is three she has a lot more opinions on what she wants to be this year and boy let me tell you how she surprised me with her suggestions. Some of her costume ideas were a zombie, cat and a witch. Not your typical little girl asking to dress up like a princess.

Now shopping for a costume this year with her will probably go without a hitch. So I decided to roll up my selves and focus on Halloween art projects to do with her instead.

Here are my top five Halloween art activities that you can do with your children.

*Please use your best judgment on which tasks your child can help you with for each activity, as you may have to do some of the tasks that involve using sharp objects alone.

BOO!

What you will need: White balloons, Black markers, White mesh sheet, string, tape, and scissors.

  • First blow up your balloons (as many as your heart desires).
  • Then together with your child draw on your ghost faces.
  • Once completed drape over your White mesh sheet over you balloon and with your finger roughly estimate where you should cut a small hole at the top of the sheet (make sure you don’t pop the balloon).
  • Then in the small hole on top tape one end of the string and the other end, use it to tie it up somewhere.
  • To add a nightly effect to your ghosts you can add a small glow stick into your balloon before blowing it up.

Haunted House

What you will need: Brown recycled boxes, black marker, Ruler, scissors and tape

  • Using your ruler draw out wood stake shapes out of your recycled boxes.
  • Then with the black marker draw on some lines and fake “nails” to make it look like its pieces of wood.
  • Once you have a couple made, tape them to your windows to make it look like a haunted house.
  • You can also use the recycled box to make “Keep out” signs or other creative Halloween themed signs.
  • Once you have decorated the outside of your home, be sure to add some cob webs and throw in some fake spiders for a creepy look.

Halloween treat bowl

What you will need: A plastic serving bowl, Halloween stickers, fake spiders and a hot glue gun

  • Let your child go crazy and decorate the whole bowl with Halloween stickers. I found a box with over 250 Halloween stickers at my local dollar store (we did not use them all).
  • Once completed ask your child where they would like the fake spikers to be placed as you hot glue them down.
  • Then fill your bowl with Halloween candy and either treat yourselves leading up to the day or use it as your serving bowl for your trick or treaters.
  • Another idea is to glue a bunch of fake googly eyes all over your bowl.

 

Oh my monsters!

What you will need: Construction paper, scissors, tape and markers

  • Cut all your construction paper into different shapes (circles, triangles, ovals, squares, etc).
  • Then have your child be creative with how they want their monster faces to look using markers.
  • Once completed tape them around the house or on your doors and windows for all to see.

*You can also make the faces using other colored construction paper and then gluing them down to add more detail*

Fake Hands

What you will need: Clear latex gloves, fake red blood, Pudding, Jell-O or candy

  • First make your pudding or Jell-O recipe and fill up your latex gloves (This will give your hand a very squishy and creepy feeling). Remember not to fill it up all the way to the top because you need to tie it so the liquid doesn’t spill out.
  • Then using a string or laundry clip hang the gloves in your fridge until the pudding and Jell-O harden.
  • Once completed dip or splatter some fake blood on your fake hands and set aside to dry. Once it is dried, place them around your yard or even around your house as a Halloween decoration.
  • You can also fill your latex gloves with candy instead and place them around the yard, splattering some fake blood over it. If your little monsters are a little scared of the look of fake blood then just skip that step all together.

I hope this inspired you and your children to be creative this year and create some of your own Halloween decorations instead of buying them. They add a personal touch and create great memories.

Until next time my fellow mombies!

About the Author

Karen graduated from Sheridan College with an Early Childhood Education Diploma. She worked with children for about five years before expanding her skills in Administration. Karen is a loving Godmother/Auntie to one. Combined with her ECE background and passion for DIY projects and baking, she has recently joined Momma Braga and has become an expert writer for the blog. Karen hopes by sharing her knowledge, tips and tricks, she can bring families together through her creative ideas.

Tis the Season for Christmas DIY Projects

By: Karen Braga
Twitter: @Karenbabydoll22

The holidays always bring people together and sprinkles a little special magic in the air. So for this holiday season why not do some fun Christmas activities with your toddler.

I will share with you my top ten favorite DIY projects that you can do to either decorate your home or to give as a personalized gift to someone special. Remember when doing activities with your toddler always set up a good working station. Also make sure you and your toddler are wearing old clothes if you are working with paint. So play your favorite Christmas songs and let’s get started.

Top Ten DIY Projects

  1. Personalized Christmas Ornament

*Please note that you can find some ornaments that are thicker and will not break easily; however in case you don’t, just work over a soft surface.*

Materials Needed: Plain White Christmas Ornament (I got a couple of mine from the dollar store), Paint, Glitter (optional) and Glue.

First, have your toddler pick the colors of paint that he/she wants to work with and put some on a paper plate. With hand over hand, guide your toddler to add some paint on their brush and have them decorate the ornament. For a more simple/personalized decoration, you can add some paint onto your toddlers hand and have them hold the ornament. This will leave their hand print on the ornament. Once dried you can have your toddler add some glue and then sprinkle some glitter over the glued areas.

Photo Credit: Pinterest
Photo Credit: Pinterest
  1. Christmas Stockings

Materials Needed: A Plain Christmas Stocking, Hot Glue Gun (for your use only of course) and some decorations of their choice. Some art decoration ideas for your toddler would be pom poms, Fabric Paint and Christmas Foam Designs.

Place the stocking in front of your toddler and have them hand you the decorations that they would like on it and where they would like it placed. You can also have your toddler fill the stocking with some Christmas treats and little gifts.

  1. Stuffed Snowman’s

Materials Needed: A sock of your choice (you can use a plain White one or get a Christmas themed one), Rice, Three Elastic Bands, Materials to make a snowman face and hot glue gun (for your use only of course).

This idea is super cute, fun to do and also a great sensory play for toddlers. Hold open the sock and have your child scoop up some rice with a scooper or with their hands and put it in the sock. Together fill the sock close to the top but not all the way and tie it tight with an elastic band. This will leave a little piece of the sock sticking up and that’s ok as that will be the bottom of your snowman. You can either hot glue it down so it can stand up straight or fold it up. Now create your snowman layers by tying two elastic bands in two different spots. If you want to cover the elastic bands you can tie a ribbon around it. Once completed your toddler can hand you the materials for the face of the snowman. I used materials I already had around the house. For the eyes we used small buttons. For the nose I colored a tooth pick orange and cut a small piece (I put the pointy part sticking out however I added a small drop of hot glue on it so it wouldn’t be sharp). Then for the mouth we drew it on with a marker. Feel free to be creative by using different materials you already have and doing your own snowman design.

  1. Hot cup of love

Materials Needed: Tin of Hot Coco Powder, Mini Marshmallow, Plain White Mugs or Mini Jars, Candy Canes, Little Bags, Ribbon and Paint. Tip: I like to get my mugs or mini jars from Walmart as I can get a set for a lot less money than purchasing them separately.

This is one of my favorite DIY gift ideas because it is not only fun to do, you can also make a lot with it such as giving this as a gift to many people.

Make sure your mugs or jars are all washed and dried. Then by using hand over hand, guide your toddlers hand with the paint brush to create your design. Once your toddler is done painting, set them aside to dry. Hold open a small bag in front of your child and have them place some mini marshmallows in the bag and then tie it closed with a piece of ribbon. Repeat this step with your child with the coco powder. Have your toddler put a candy cane, bag of coco and a bag of mini marshmallows in the mug.  If you decided to use the mini jars instead of the mugs, you can put the coco directly in the jar followed by some mini marshmallows on top, then seal the lid and tape the candy cane onto the jar. Finally, don’t forget to add a tag with the person’s name on it.

  1. Christmas Wreath

Material Needed: Ring foam (You can find this from Michaels Craft store), Christmas bows, Christmas Tinsel garlands, Pom Poms, Hot Glue Gun (for your use only of course) and any other decorations you would like to use. *If you’re on a tight budget please feel free to cut out a reef shape out of a paper plate instead. However if you would like to use the ring foam from Michaels Craft store please check out their website, as they have coupons you can use towards your purchase.*

This gift is super cute and a great decoration piece. Add some hot glue onto the ring foam to secure on the end of the tinsel garlands. Together with your toddler wrap the rest of the tinsel garland around it until it is all covered and then glue the last piece down. Put some hot glue onto the Christmas bows and with hand over hand, guide them to place the bow on the reef. Other decorations such as pom poms, have your child hand them to you as you glue them down. Once you have completed your look it is ready to be given or displayed.

  1. A “Hand-Full” Christmas Tree

Materials Needed: Green construction paper, Brown construction paper, Scissors (for you of course), A Pencil, Glue and some art decorations of your child’s choice.

First trace your toddler’s hands onto a Green construction paper with your pencil. You will need a couple of them so if your toddler is getting inpatient have them walk away from the activity until you have traced and cut out the hands that are needed (you will need about 10). Also cut out a rectangle piece of Brown construction paper for the stem of the tree; however make sure it is long as it will be the support for the hands. Together with your toddler, glue four hands together (have the fingers facing down) onto the brown stem, as the bottom of the tree. Then glue three hands onto the stem, then two on top of that and then finally your last hand on top. With the decorations of your choice decorate the tree from top to bottom and don’t forget to add a tree topper. For a personalized touch you can add a small family photo as your tree topper.

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  1. Christmas lights

Material Needed: White Paper, Different Colored Paint and A Black Marker.

This activity is safer than it sounds. Together with your toddler add a small, thin amount of paint onto your toddlers thumb and place it onto the paper, leaving a thumb print. You can also add some of your thumb prints as well. Continue this process until you both have reached your desired look. Then with the black marker draw lines to connect the lights together (you can use hand over hand guide).

  1. Just for Santa

Material Needed: White Plain Plate (I got mine from the dollar store), different Colored Paint and a Black Permeant Marker (just for you of course).

This activity is super cute and will get all children excited for the big jolly guy. As you explain to your child how Santa gets really hungry after making all his stops, he likes to munch on snacks; so creating a special plate just for him will make him feel special.

Have your toddler paint the plate and then set aside to dry. Once completed you can write a message for Santa on the plate for example: “Dear Santa, hope you like these tasty snacks I have left you.”

Photo Credit: Pinterest
Photo Credit: Pinterest
  1. Mittens

Material Needed: Colored Construction Paper, Glue, Scissors (for you of course) and the decorations of your child’s choice.

Cut out mitten shapes with the colored construction paper that your toddler has picked. Then with hand over hand, add some glue onto the mittens and encourage them to add the decorations that interests them. For a more complex activity you can get a solid colored pair of mittens for them to use; however decorate them with fabric paint.

  1. Pretty snowflakes

Materials Needed: This activity can get a little messy as it requires glitter so if you do not wish to use this then you can substitute it with paint or markers. Other materials needed is glue, tape and string.

Place your pre-cut snowflake designs in front of your toddler, then with hand over hand, add some glue to the snowflake and sprinkle some glitter on top. Repeat this step until all snowflakes are decorated. Then once dried tape your snowflakes onto your string and hang it up for decoration.

These are just some of the many DIY activity ideas you can do with your toddlers this holiday season. Remember to add some special touches yourself into the activity so it’s a special project made just from the two of you. Writing your child’s name and the year they made it on would be ideal to place on the back of the DIY projects as this will be an added memory for them and you!

If you make any of these DIY projects please be sure to tag me as I would love to see everyone’s creations.

Until next time…Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

 

About the Author

Karen Braga graduated from Sheridan College with an Early Childhood Education Diploma. She worked with children for about five years before expanding her skills in Administration. Karen is a loving Godmother/Auntie to one. Combined with her ECE background and passion for DIY projects and baking, she has recently become an expert writer for mom blogger, Momma Braga. Karen hopes by sharing her knowledge, tips and tricks, she can bring families together through her creative ideas.

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Christmas Themed Food Ideas

By: Karen Braga
Twitter: @Karenbabydoll22

Christmas is probably the number one holiday where people throw big parties with their family and friends. In every great party there is always great food served to keep your guests happy and their tummy’s full. I will share with you my top ten food ideas I like to do for a holiday party.

I will share some appetizer and dessert ideas that are so simple to make that your toddler can help you make them. Before you begin, always keep in mind any allergies your guests may have and also use your best judgment on what exactly your toddler can help you with. With that being said, grab your apron and let’s get started.

Top Ten Party Food Ideas

  1. Santa Baby Cupcakes

Ingredients: Your favorite cupcake recipe, White, Black and Red Icing, and White Mini Marshmallows.

Once you have baked and cooled off your favorite cupcakes it will be time to decorate. Ice the cupcakes using the White icing. Then with the Red Icing cover the very top of the cupcake as Santa’s hat. With the White marshmallows put them at the bottom of the cupcake creating his beard. Finally with the Black icing, create his eyes together.

  1. Edible Christmas Wreath

Ingredients: Hotdogs, Pillsbury Dough Boy (pigs in a blanket) pastry and Ketchup

Cut the hotdogs in half and roll them up in the dough, until you have achieved the “pigs in a blanket look.” Follow baking instructions shown on the packaging. Once baked and cooled off, place them onto a round plate into a reef shape. Then using Ketchup you can create a bow shape on the bottom of your edible reef.

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Photo Credit: Pinterest
  1. Reindeers

Ingredients: Your favorite sugar cookie recipe, M&M’s (Brown and Red), Mini Chocolate covered Pretzels.

Once you have mixed up your favorite sugar cookie recipe shape them into a reindeer face, then put them in the over to bake. As soon as they are ready to be taken out and still soft add your decorations before they are cooled or else they won’t stay on. Add two brown M&M’s for eyes, a red one for the nose and two chocolate covered pretzels as the antlers.

  1. Oh Christmas Tree

Ingredients: Broccoli, different Cheeses, Carrots, and Cherry tomatoes

On a serving tray create your Christmas tree using the ingredients mentioned above. You can also do this same idea with fruits. Use the carrots as your stem and the broccoli as your tree, then add some cherry tomatoes as your ornaments. You can achieve this same look with different cheeses and use grapes for the stem look.

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Photo Credit: Pinterest
  1. Santa Hats

Ingredients: Strawberries and your favorite non-bake cheese cake recipe.

Cut and scoop out a small amount of the strawberry so there is room to add a filling. Once you have made your favorite non-bake cheese cake recipe put it in a piping bag and fill the strawberries. Place them on a nice tray and refrigerate overnight.

  1. A treat for Santa

Ingredients: Your favorite cookie recipe, icing and Christmas edible sprinkles

After you have baked and cooled off your favorite sugar cookie recipe; add some icing and then your Christmas edible sprinkles.

  1. A Mellow out Christmas

Ingredients: Marshmallows, melted chocolate, Lollipop sticks, Red and Green edible sprinkles

With the lollipop sticks dip the ends with the melted chocolate and stick a marshmallow on the stick. Set them all aside for about two minutes to let the chocolate harden and keep the marshmallow in place. Then dip the whole marshmallow into the melted chocolate and face them down onto a cookie sheet (lollipop sticks should face up) then before the chocolate hardens, add some red and green edible sprinkles.

  1. Christmas Shaped Sandwiches

Ingredients: Sandwiches of your choice and Christmas shaped cookie cutters

Once you have made all your sandwiches, use your Christmas shaped cookie cutters to cut out different shapes and designs. I got my Christmas cookie cutters from my local dollar store.

  1. Chips and Dip

Ingredients: Sour cream, salsa, shredded cheese, tortilla chips, tall candy canes and a glass short bowl

First place your chips in a nice bowl and set aside. Then with your glass short bowl glue or tape your tall candy canes around. You can also add a nice ribbon to add more decoration. Then in that same bowl mix your salsa and sour cream together until all mixed smooth; then add some shredded cheese on top of your dip.

  1. Christmas Mini Taco Wreath

Ingredients: Tortilla scoop chips, salsa, ground beef, sour cream, tomato, red bell pepper and green onion.

Mix and prepare your ground beef with your desired spices. Once fully cooked put aside and cut up your tomato and green onions into small pieces. Place your tortilla chips on a rounded serving tray in the shape of a reef. Add in each chip some ground beef, sour cream, tomato and green onion. Once completed be creative with your red bell pepper to create a bow to display at the bottom of your Christmas Mini Taco Reef.

It is so important to introduce children as young as toddlers to the kitchen. Yes there are many dangers but as long as they know that they should always have an adult with them, then there shouldn’t be a problem. Even if your toddler just watches you bake or cook, they will absorb so much information. It might also help those that are picky eaters grab interest in that night’s dinner if they have the opportunity to pitch an idea for the meal and help prepare it.

If you make any of these delicious ideas be sure to tag me as I love to see everyone’s tasty creations.

Until next time… Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

 

About the Author

Karen Braga graduated from Sheridan College with an Early Childhood Education Diploma. She worked with children for about five years before expanding her skills in Administration. Karen is a loving Godmother/Auntie to one. Combined with her ECE background and passion for DIY projects and baking, she has recently become an expert writer for mom blogger, Momma Braga. Karen hopes by sharing her knowledge, tips and tricks, she can bring families together through her creative ideas.

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10 Tips to Trick or Treating with a Toddler

Special Guest Post

By: Karen Braga
Twitter: @Karenbabydoll22

After much thought in choosing the perfect Halloween costume, children then look forward to getting free candy. Although we teach children not to talk to strangers and take candy from them, Halloween is the one day where it is accepted; however with limits. It is important to explain that trick or treating should always be done with a parent or an adult guardian. If you have an older child (13 +) and you give them permission to go with friends, make sure that they are in a group of at least three or more. They should also know the importance of checking candy before consuming it. The good news is toddlers don’t really show much interest in eating the candy as much as getting it.

Here are my top ten tips in trick or treating with your toddlers.

  1. Together with your toddler choose a fun Halloween candy bag or pale at one of your local Halloween stores. Just make sure that it is not too big for them as they will most likely want to carry it themselves. For a little fun activity and for those on a budget, you can purchase a plain bag from your local dollar store and decorate it together.
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  2. Depending on the day Halloween falls under, sometimes it’s a rush to get home and get everything ready for the adventure. No matter what though, eating a good dinner is important as they will need all the energy they can get. My niece LOVES pizza and it was easy to pick up and it filled her belly for a long time. However, for those of you that have the time to cook a meal that day make sure your toddler has some protein. Keeping your toddler full will help them resist the temptation of asking for a piece of candy.
  3. I highly recommend preparing all your things before changing your toddler in their costume. They might get restless waiting around for you to get things ready when they know there ready to go. Some important items to bring along with you is an umbrella, sweaters or a blanket, healthy snacks, water and a flash light. Also bringing along a favorite stuff toy and a pacifier (if your toddler uses one) can be a comforting item to relieve a scary moment or even a tantrum. Also make sure to bring a plastic bag with you as you can use it to empty out your toddler’s bag when it gets full.
  4. Weather is sometimes very unpredictable, so taking a quick look at the forecast is highly recommended. Depending where you live, Halloween can be quite chilly outside so making sure your toddlers costume is warm enough will help them have a comfortable experience. If it isn’t warm enough, then small alterations can be made the day of. For instance, you can put on a long sleeve shirt and pants under their costume for warmth. As mentioned above, bringing sweaters or a blanket can be handy as well. Aside from the cold, sometimes it rains on Halloween so be prepared with an umbrella, rain boots or even a rain coat. There are some clear rain coats that your toddler can wear and still have their costume shown.
  5. Toddlers love to be independent and want to walk on their own but often times they get tired easily. I highly recommend you bring a stroller or wagon for the trip. It’s easier to store the things you just packed and a backup for when your toddler gets tired. Also a great place to put the extra candy they get. For a fun activity you and your toddler can decorate the stroller or wagon for Halloween and have them help you put the items in it.
  6. It’s a good idea to head out trick or treating as early as you can. The typical time to go out with your little ones is 6:00 PM. This will allow your toddler to explore and experience the holiday but get home on time for their bedtime routine.
  7. We all know how day light savings time works and it can get dark quickly even if you go out trick or treating around 6:00 PM. So being prepared with a flash light or Halloween reflectors for safety is recommended. You can find Halloween reflectors at your local store and the price can range from $3.00 (CND) to $5.00 (CND). However, you can find cheaper ones at your local dollar store; either way as long as it’s bright it’s good.
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  8. Going trick or treating around your neighborhood is a great way for your toddler and you to get to know your neighbors. It is also close to your home, so if your toddler is finding it overwhelming or they become too tired to continue you can easily head back. If you do choose to expand your trick or treating area, please choose a street that has many trick or treaters and not many cars.
  9. When approaching your first home, take the time to talk about the decorations that the house has, so they don’t get scared. Walk up or carry your toddler to the front door and encourage them to say “trick or treat”. If they can’t say it then that’s ok as they will be hearing you say it and they will learn that next time that is what they should say. Before you know it, they will pick up on the concept quickly.
  10. Creating a smooth tradition to head back home doesn’t have to end with a tantrum. An easy transition is when you start in your area, go from the end of your street and work your way back home. If you are away from your neighborhood an easy transition to go back home would be to build excitement around all the candy that you can go through when you get home. Just make sure they know it won’t be eaten in one night! 😉

Overall, having a fun and safe Halloween with your toddler can be done with simple steps. Although if you do not want your toddler trick or treating or they are too scared to go out; there is another way they can still be a part of that adventure. Together with your toddler you can greet the children that come to your door and put some Halloween candy in their bags. For fun and a great fine motor skill activity you can have your toddler put some candy in the mini Halloween bags a head of time to give out the day of.

Something special I do each year is get some Halloween stickers from my local dollar store and cut them into squares (about 4 to 6 stickers on each square). Then I hand them out with the candy and let me tell you how happy children get. Sometimes they show more interest in the stickers then the candy that I give them. Nevertheless it’s a little bonus treat I like to do to make their Halloween a little special. For those that look a little scared with my decorations I throw them some extra stickers just for being brave.

Until next time… Have a safe and fun Halloween!

 

About the Author

Karen Braga graduated from Sheridan College with an Early Childhood Education Diploma. She worked with children for about five years before expanding her skills in Administration. Karen is a loving Godmother/Auntie to one. Karen is passionate and knowledgeable about Halloween. Combined with her ECE background and passion on Halloween, she has recently become an expert writer on the topic for mom blogger, Momma Braga. Karen hopes by sharing her knowledge, tips and tricks, she can help families enjoy this holiday.

Simple Trick and Treats for a Friendly Halloween Party!

Special Guest Post

By: Karen Braga
Twitter: @Karenbabydoll22

Throwing a Halloween party can be sometimes a lot of work; however, it can also be a lot of fun. Between playing games, dancing to music or just mingling, your guests will be hungry. I will share with you some of my favorite simple Halloween themed foods and baking goods to have at your Halloween party. These ideas are simply delicious and yet fun to do with your children. Please use your best judgment as to which of these are age appropriate for your toddler or child to participate in.

Sometimes just creating spooking Halloween names to your home cooked meals and appetizers will get your guests talking. For example, you can have a bowl of spaghetti with meat balls and call it “guts with eyeballs”. Giving an ordinary dish a spooky name can even spark interest to those that are picky eaters. Another great idea is making little sandwiches that are Halloween themed. You can find some Halloween cookie cutters at your local dollar store and make them into charterers using toppings and other edible ingredients. Nevertheless, no matter what you decide to make please keep in mind of any allergies that your guests may have.

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Top five favorite easy recipes and ideas for meals/appetizers:

  1. Mummy is that you?

This dish is super easy to make and only requires four ingredients. Hotdogs, Pillsbury mini croissants, ketchup and mustered. First cut your hotdogs in half and put them aside. Then unroll each mini croissant and slice them into long pieces. Once you have done that wrap each piece onto each hotdog until you achieved your mummy look. Make sure to leave some room to add the eyes after it is done baking. Once golden brown and cooled off, use ketchup for one eyeball and mustered for the other.

  1. Pumpkin mini pizza

All you need for this one is English muffins, pizza sauce, toppings of your choice, black olives and cheese. First slice or break apart your English muffins and put them on your baking sheets. Then add your pizza sauce and cheese. With your peperoni and other toppings cut them in shapes you need to create your pumpkin face on your mini pizzas and then bake them.

  1. Eye see you tacos

This recipe is super fun and delicious. Ingredients required is hard shell tacos, toppings of your choice, sauces, ground beef, taco mix and black olives. I will explain how I make this dish but please feel free to use the toppings, sauces and meat of your choice.

First cook your ground beef in a skillet and follow the instructions on the back of the taco mix package. Once cooked and browned add it to each taco shell. For toppings I use avocado, cheese, tomato and green onions. Cut up all the ingredients and add them on top of the meat; however, not the cheese. Add your sauce like salsa or sour cream on top then add your cheese. For your eyes, add some salsa or sour cream to hold down your black olives.

  1. Not so scary devil’s eggs

You will need eggs, mayo, paprika, salt, pepper and black olives. Boil your eggs and then let them cool off. Dry off your black olives and cut just a few into thin slices and put them aside. Once your eggs have cooled down and the shell is removed; cut your eggs in half. Scoop out the yoke and put it in a bowl leaving the white part faced up on your tray. In the bowl mash your yokes into small pieces and add the rest of the ingredients in (salt, pepper, paprika and mayo), minus the black olives and then mix it. With a pipping bag or spoon, put the mixtures into the white part of the eggs. The final touch will be the black olives for decoration. Add one whole olive on top and some of the thin slices on each side of the olive to make a spider.

  1. Halloween burgers

This one is SO easy that it really will only take you a couple of minutes to prepare. All you need is hamburgers, buns, condiments and sliced cheese. While your burgers are cooking, cut a pumpkin face out of the sliced cheese. Be sure to create different faces as your guests will have fun picking one out for their burger.

For more meal ideas for your Halloween party be sure to check out Google or even my favorite app Pinterest. Now that your guests are full they will still look forward to dessert because no one is ever too full to have that. If you do not have any recipes to use or looking to make something new, be sure to check out one of my favorite websites: http://allrecipes.com/.

Top Five Favorite Halloween Themed Desserts

  1. Halloween cookies

Grab your favorite chocolate chip or sugar cookie recipe. Once your cookies are baked you and your child can decorate them with cookie icing, candies and chocolate chips. For my chocolate chip cookies, I like to have some chocolate chips show on top of the cookie. Then I add some melted chocolate to each side creating legs to create little spiders.

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  1. Halloween cupcakes

First make your cupcakes and let them cool off. Once they are all iced and ready for decorations grab your toppings. Have your child sprinkle some Halloween themed edible decorations on the cupcakes. For a more advance design you can make witch hats to add on top. All you need for that is a chocolate covered cookie as your base. Then with icing attach a Hershey kiss on top, and then to complete the look add some details with icing.

  1. Witch brooms

This one is very simply to do but it does require mini peanut butter cups so please make sure no one at your party has a peanut allergy. To cut costs I went to my local Bulk Barn and bought my ingredients there. You will need mini Reese’s peanut butter cups and straight pretzels. Unwrap your mini Reese’s peanut butter cups and face them upside down. With a knife make a small hole in the middle of the upside down peanut butter cup. Have your child insert the pretzel stick inside and there you have your witch’s broom.

  1. Mud pie

Kids love the name, they have fun making it and the taste of this desert. You will need clear plastic Jell-O or drinking cups. Ingredients needed is chocolate pudding, chocolate chip cookie crumbs and gummy worms. First have your child crush the cookies until there is nothing but crumbs left. Then make your chocolate pudding. You can choose to get the Jell-O pudding boxes and follow the instructions or if you do not have time you can buy the already made chocolate pudding and scoop it out as you assemble this dessert. Have your child add some cookie crumbs at the bottom of each cup. Then they can add about two tablespoons of chocolate pudding, followed by a gummy worm. Continue the process until the cup is filled but be sure to have the top covered with little cookie crumbs and gummy worm.

  1. Scary fruit

Be creative and use your imagination with this one. You can cut out a piece of an orange and get fake vampire teeth from your local dollar store to insert as its teeth. Another great idea is making fruit shish kabobs, it’s super easy to have your child assemble it while you cut up the fruit. You can display these shish kabobs in your pumpkin.

Overall, your imagination has no limits; however if you’re stuck be sure to explore the internet for ideas but always try to add a personal touch. Remember that cooking and baking with your child is an amazing learning experience and they are never too young to learn. Even toddlers learn a lot just by observing, so have them watch you and have them do simple things like putting the cupcake papers in the pan.

Until next time…. Happy Spooking!

 

About the Author

Karen Braga graduated from Sheridan College with an Early Childhood Education Diploma. She worked with children for about five years before expanding her skills in Administration. Karen is a loving Godmother/Auntie to one. Karen is passionate and knowledgeable about Halloween. Combined with her ECE background and passion on Halloween, she has recently become an expert writer on the topic for mom blogger, Momma Braga. Karen hopes by sharing her knowledge, tips and tricks, she can help families enjoy this holiday.