Category: Motherhood

Improving Your Parental Prowess: Incorporating Self-Improvement Into Your Life

There are things that we wish would make motherhood easier. Perhaps we need certain hacks to help us get by during a difficult week. But arguably, one of the best gifts we can receive as a parent is the one that we give ourselves. Self-improvement is one of those things that some view with a raised eyebrow. Some feel it doesn’t benefit them, whereas others wholeheartedly embrace it. But there is a case to be said for having aspects of self-improvement in your life as a parent. But how can you incorporate aspects of self-improvement into your life, and how can they benefit you?

Get Into the Habit of Reading

As simple as it sounds, learning about personal development can help you unlock so many different abilities as a parent. While reading too many self-help books can make us over critical and overthink everything there’s a lot to be said about reading the right materials about personal development. It can provide new insights so you can alter your behavior for everybody, not just yourself or your children. But it’s simple to get into the habit of reading on a regular basis. The best thing we can all do is take a little bit of time every day just to read something, no matter how brief it is. Take the opportunity to invest in a pair of glasses on a website like

https://www.eyeglasses.com, and even reading a page every night will point you in the right direction.

Find People You Can Relate To

When we try to improve ourselves, there will always be naysayers and they can be closer to home than you think. Learning to improve your life is about getting insights from others. But finding people you can relate to will help you to stay motivated so you can keep pursuing your goals. We encounter so many people in our lives that don’t have any respect for what we’re trying to do, and when they are relatives or people we encounter every day, it can prove difficult to keep our distance from them. This is why we need to surround ourselves with people who are on the same wavelength. There are benefits to be had for encountering people who don’t think the way you do, because this can encourage the debate and learning to look at things from other people’s perspectives, but when you find people that operate on the same wavelength you have a support network. As a parent, usually this is other parents, but sometimes all the parents want to do is talk about their own children. We have to understand that if we want to be a better parent, we need to view ourselves objectively. 

Practice Being Calm

Being a parent means that we are sometimes running around so much that we end up feeling out of control and stressed. If we ever want to learn the fine art of personal development, being calm should be one of the first things that we understand. When you understand your own attitudes towards stress, you may have a new-found perspective. You may find that you’ve been a stress head your entire life but people didn’t want to broach the subject with you. If you can practice being calm, it won’t relieve everything straight away, but this art of practicing it slowly seeps into every aspect of your life. But when we feel that we don’t have the time to do it, this is when we have to find quick and effective hacks. There is a handy list on https://greatist.com to get you relaxing quickly. Because when we are relaxed we are able to solve problems better and understand how to improve issues.

Never Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Self-improvement can be about the lessons we learn from others. While we can’t “carbon copy” the issues someone else has gone through and apply it to our lives directly, when we see other people overcome problems, such as in terms of postpartum depression or learning how to take control of their lives, this can inspire us to ask for help. Some people think that asking for help is a sign of weakness. But when we understand that help can come in many forms and we learn a lesson effectively, this will give us a foundation to build upon. Help can come in many ways, whether it’s a counselor or advice from a friend.

When we feel we can improve on things, it shows that we care. As a parent, we can learn so much about ourselves by looking in the mirror and figuring out what we can improve upon. Life is a constant lesson, especially as a parent.

Jabari Tries | Book Review

“Jabari Tries is a great children’s story that exemplifies emotions and great problem solving skills.” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

Jabari is making a flying machine. It will fly all across the yard.

“It’ll be easy. I don’t need any help,” he declares. However, it doesn’t work! Jabari is frustrated. Good thing Dad is there for a pep talk and his little sister, Nika, is there to assist, fairy wings and all. With the endearing father-child dynamic of Jabari Jumps and engaging mixed-media illustrations, Gaia Cornwall’s tale shows that through perseverance and flexibility, an inventive thought can become a brilliant reality.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Jabari Tries is a great children’s story that exemplifies emotions and great problem solving skills. We loved how it highlighted engineering into the story. The bond between father and child showcased beautifully and we love how the little sister was brought into the engineer plans. The emotions that Jabari feels throughout the process are all natural feelings and the problem-solving used in the story was brilliant!

*Construction boots do not come with the book 😉

For this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give it 5 stars out of 5! We loved the unique storyline and the illustrations were beautifully done.

“I like using strategies too to solve problems. I feel it helps me a lot.” – Nikki, Age 6

This book is great for children ages four to eight. If you would like to purchase a copy of this book, click here.

About the Author

Gaia Cornwall loves to write and illustrate for children. Her debut picture book, Jabari Jumps, was a Charlotte Zolotow Honor Book and an American Library Association Notable Children’s Book. While not quite an engineer, she can certainly find her way around a pile of Lego bricks and, after much trial and error, can now build a pretty cool flying machine. Gaia Cornwall lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*This book was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.

Burping Bobby | Game Review

Burping Bobby brought family game night to a whole new burping level and we loved it!” – Momma Braga

Burping Bobby

Bobby loves stinky food! Feed him, but watch out – you never know when he’s going to BUUUURRRRP! Real lights and steam will burst from his mouth when he burps! The player with the most points after Bobby burps wins. Innovative “gotcha!” moment with familiar gameplay that kids love.

Requires 3 AAA batteries, not included. It is great for two to four players, ages four and up.

Contents included: 1 Burping Bobby Hippo, 18 Food Tokens, 1 Water Pipette and complete instructions.

How to Play

Once you have assembled the game and inserted the batteries required, then you are ready to play!

  • The youngest player goes first. Play proceeds in a clockwise direction.
  • On your turn, announce what type of food you intend to pick up: Garlic, Onion, Soda, Cheese, Pizza or Beans.
  • Randomly select one of the food tokens from the table. If you pick the wrong food from what you announced, you must feed it to the hippo!
    • Check the number that appears on the token. Open the hippo’s mouth. Place the food on top of the tongue. Close the mouth. Then turn the crank the number of times indicated on the token.
  • The hippo will chew and swallow the food. If you pick the correct food, you score the points and keep the token, faceup, in front of you.
  • Your turn is then over and play proceeds clockwise.
  • Eating too many smelly foods leads to some nasty effects! The game continues until the hippo delivers a terrible green BURRRP! Gross!
  • The game ends when the hippo burps. The unlucky player that he burps on loses their highest valued food token (if they have any). Be the player with the most points in front of you to win!
  • If nobody has points, Burping Bobby is the winner! In the event of a tie, two or more players may be declared as winners. After the hippo burps, close his mouth and remove the tokens from the door on the back of the hippo to start a new game.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Burping Bobby brought some burping fun to family game night and we loved it! Who would have thought a burping hippo named Bobby would bring so much fun and giggles?!

The anticipation had us all on the edge of our seats wondering who was going to get the burp. I am proud to say that I was not the first one to get the burp but my husband did which is ironic since we call him the burping king. 😉 We just couldn’t stop smiling and laughing during the many games that we played. I think this will be a family favorite for many game nights ahead.

A tip would be to add water (only) which is added by removing the hippo’s ears. This gives you that wonderful mist that you feel when Bobby burps (lol).

For this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give Burping Bobby 10 burps out of 5! This game provided us hours of fun and giggle. Burping Bobby is a must for family game night!

If you would like to purchase this game for your next family game night, click here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*Please note that this game was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.

I’m Sticking With You | Book Review

“I’m Sticking With You shows us that every relationship requires love, understanding and kindness. No matter what we go through, true friendship always finds a way through.” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

Bear and squirrel are best friends. Wherever Squirrel goes, Bear follows. Bear vows to stick with Squirrel whether he’s grumpy or silly or mad – which is put to the test when Bear sinks Squirrel’s canoe. And catapults him from the seesaw. And breaks his favorite mug.

Finally, Squirrel has had enough. He tells Bear he needs his space – only to realize he has much more fun with his best friend around. Funny and poignant in equal measure, I’m Sticking With You shows that friendship always finds a way.

#MelAndNikkiReview

I’m Sticking With You will be stuck with us as we loved it a lot. A beautifully told and illustrated story about friendship.

Friendships are hard work even with a best friend. Sometimes there can be bumps on the road and we may feel like it’s best distance ourselves instead of working it out. Luckily, Squirrel was able to realize fairly quickly of the great friendship had with Bear. They were able to work through some friendship bumps and they realized how important they were to each other.

A great message for children as every relationship requires love, understanding and kindness.

“Sometimes you need to give your friends some space and that is ok too. You appreciate each other more.” – Nikki, Age 5

For this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give it 10 paws out of 5! It was bear-rific!

If you would like to purchase a copy of this book, click here.

About the Author

Smriti Prasadam-Halls is the internationally bestselling author of more than thirty books for children, including I Love You Night and Day. She lives in England with her husband and three sons.

About the Illustrator

Steve Small is a designer, an animator, and a BAFTA – nominated director. He lives in England, and I’m Sticking with You is his first picture book.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

* This book was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.

TinkerActive Series Brings Fun To Learning

“TinkerActive is the hands on learning that kids love. You learn all the important skills through activities that allow children to excel and grow.” – Momma Braga

About TinkerActive

With TinkerActive Workbooks, learning leaps off the page and into the real world! Each workbook covers essential math and science concepts while encouraging your child to tinker, make and engineer. All books are aligned to Common Core State Standards.

#MelAndNikkiReview

We reviewed a few books from the TinkerActive Series which were: Math Workbook Kindergarten, English Language Arts Workbook Kindergarten, and Science Workbook Kindergarten. Since Nikki is five years old, these books were great workbooks for her to try out. The one that Nikki was drawn to first was the Math one since it is her favorite subject.

It was no surprise to see Nikki emerge into the learning with glee as all three books offered different worksheets and fun exercises. Of course I can not forget the stickers and hands-on projects that was enjoyed by us all. We love how at the end of each workbook, you get a badge. Felt like a big accomplishment to get that badge so Nikki often asked if she could work on some more worksheets.

We combined these workbooks into our daily learning with our online learning through school. We felt that Nikki was grasping and learning more with the combination of both. It also truly helped me keep her entertained at home and best part is that she was learning. We haven’t completed all the workbooks yet but we are getting there! 🙂

As a parent I also loved the fact that at the end of the workbooks have the answers on the back! It came in handy a couple of times as clearly I am a little rusty on Kindergarten work. 😉

Therefore, for the TinkerActive Series we give it 5 stars out of 5! It is an unique way of learning and we love how children can learn real world skills through the exercises and hands-on projects. Each page is colorful and engaging. We couldn’t have asked for a better learning tool while we tackle online learning too.

If you would like to learn more about these series as it is available from Kindergarten to Grade 2, please click here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*Please note that this series was provided by MacMillan Children’s Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.

You Be Mommy

You Be Mommy is absolutely adorable and one that many moms will resonate with. I know I certainly did and I have been reading it every single night to my daughter.”
– Momma Braga

Synopsis

Mommy’s too tired to be Mommy tonight. Can you be Mommy and hold me tight?

In this clever, rhyming picture book, a mother tells her child that she’s simply too tired to be Mommy tonight and asks her daughter to take over for her.

#MelAndNikkiReview

You Be Mommy is the story that I have been waiting for! Being a mother is the hardest job that I have ever done and I do get exhausted with my many responsibilities. Therefore, it is nice to have a break and ask someone else to be mommy. This story is relatable and full of heart with a dash of humor that will have your child giggling.

This has been one of our favorite stories to read this week as we gear up for Mother’s Day. I even asked Nikki if she would like to trade places with me for a night and she was quick with her response and said “NO!” I guess she sees how exhausted I am and is smart enough to say no thanks to my request. Just like the mommy in the book, I will be mommy again. 😉

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give You Be Mommy 10 stars out of 5! We give our highest rating as illustrates motherhood perfectly and it shows the amazing work that we do day in and day out. I also love the concept of getting the children to be mommy for a night. 😉 I am currently working on an arrangement with my five-year-old but so far she isn’t budging. This book will make a perfect gift for mom and for reading time with your little ones.

If you would like to purchase a copy of this adorable book, click here.

About the Author

Karla Clark writes fiction for adults and children. She is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Chicago Writers Association. Karla lives in Rockford, Illinois, with her husband and adult autistic son. When she’s not writing, Karla creates decoupage paper collages that she sells at art shows. To learn more about Karla, click here.

About the Illustrator

Zoe Persico is an author and illustrator for picture books and a freelance designer for animation. From adventurous road trips to a night playing games or watching storms roll by, she finds inspiration in everyday joys. You can find her work at zoepersico.com.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

Momma Braga

*Please note that this book was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.

Go to Sleep (I Miss You)

Go to Sleep (I Miss You) will resonate with any mom who knows the highs and lows of motherhood. The best part of this book is the comic style and comedy throughout. A must read for moms!” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

Lucy Knisley is one of the great memoirists of the graphic novel format. Following the completion of her pregnancy memoir Kid Gloves  (and the birth of her baby), Lucy embarked on a new project: documenting new motherhood in short, spontaneous little cartoons, which she posted on her Instagram, and which quickly gained her a huge cult following among other moms.

The best of those wildly popular little cartoons are collected in this adorable gift book, Go to Sleep (I Miss You), a perfect read for expecting parents, new parents, and anyone who loves funny, relatable comics storytelling.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Go to Sleep (I Miss You) had me laughing out loud and relating to many of the comics inside. It is a perfect representation of the realities of motherhood for many and I just adored it!

I would imagine my journal would look similar to this one. Too bad I didn’t think of writing down my thoughts during that time. It would be interesting to see what exactly my sleep deprived mind would write. This is why I appreciate this book even more as this mom expressed her thoughts and feelings through comics. Bravo! I would definitely recommend for moms to give this a read if you want to have a good chuckle along the way. 😉

There were many that I enjoyed within the book but I think my ultimate favorite is this one below as I still wonder the exact same thought to this day! I am a mom of one and wonder how moms of many others manage to keep it all together.

Amazing what moms can do! So if you are looking for a great book to give mom this Mother’s Day and if she loves humor then this is the book for her! We give it 5 stars out of 5 for it’s creativity, humor and reality of motherhood.

If you would like to purchase this super cool book for mom, click here.

About the Author

Lucy Knisley is a bestselling author and artist of graphic novels and children’s books. She lives in Chicago, where she spends a lot of time drawing and writing her stories from the enormous toy pile that used to be her office. She previously published the New York Times bestseller Relish: My Life in the Kitchen, Something New: Tales from a Makeshift Bride, and Kid Gloves with First Second. To learn more about Lucy, click here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*This book was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.

 

Tips To Help With A Newborn Baby

A newborn baby is something that can be quite challenging and likely be the most challenging thing you do in your life. As well as it being difficult, though, it presents a new chapter in your life where you are likely to have never experienced love quite like what you feel for your own child. During this time, it can be helpful to have some advice, so here are some tips to help with a newborn baby.

Image Source

Always Keep Your Hands Clean

Your baby is a lot different to a child and extremely different to an adult when it comes to their ability to fight out germs and illnesses. With a low immune system it means that they’re more susceptible to being ill, and therefore, it’s essential you’re always keeping your hands clean when handling a newborn. In the same respect, it’s essential you keep away anyone that might be ill because that can be easily passed on when it’s something like the common cold or flu. Family and friends will certainly understand, and most will also be aware that coming into contact with a newborn when you’re ill is always advised against anyway. As a parent, it’s good to make sure you keep your hands clean at all times whenever you’re handling your baby, whether it’s changing a nappy or feeding them.

Support The Baby’s Neck & Head

As a baby’s body is still growing, it’s important to support them in the right way in their early years. This means you want to provide them with as much support on the neck and head as you can. If you’ve ever held a baby before, you’ll always get told to support the head and neck. It’s important to do this because without that support, it could be harming the baby’s body in a number of ways. It can be nerve-racking as a new parent when holding your baby, but it’s definitely something you’ll become quickly used to when it comes to handling your own baby. It might seem terrifying at first, but you’ll learn how to hold it better when you’re with them 24/7!

Spend Plenty Of Time Bonding

These early times in a baby’s life are important because they’ve spent the better part of nine months or less in your body, and now they’re outside of it. Therefore, all their crying is likely due to being in this new environment where the temperature is different, and they’re not being fed as consistently as usual. Take this time to really bond with your child and get in all that skin to skin contact that they’ll be after.

You can take a look online to answer any questions that you might have on caring for your baby when they’re sick, like tips to help your congested baby breathe, and there’s also lots of information on best practices for bonding with your child.

Stock Up On Diapers & Essentials

With a newborn baby, it usually is the case that you’ll need to change their nappy on average ten times a day. And although that might seem impossible, it’s definitely accurate. Therefore, it’s a good idea to really stock up on diapers and essentials before you have your baby. Over that pregnancy period, try and get as many diapers as possible for those stages where they’ll go from newborn to toddler and until they learn to go pee themselves. Essentials like bibs are good to have because you’re going to likely go through a lot of them with all the mess they’ll make. Whether that’s through burping, feeding, or being sick. It’s better for it to go on a bib than on your clothes!

Always Place Babies On Their Back For Sleeping

One of the dangers that comes with babies is when they go to sleep. It’s essential that whenever you lay your baby down to sleep, you put them on their back. This is because it helps reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) that can occur in newborns. You also want to make sure that you avoid putting blankets on your baby until after a twelve month period. This is only because it’s more likely to cause suffocation if the blanket ends up on their face. This is the same for pillows so take caution.

 

Hopefully, these tips will help you with dealing with a newborn for the first time. Take your time, and don’t panic. It’s a new experience and one you’ll learn more about as you go.

 

*Disclosure: The link below is an affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

 

Surviving The Holidays (Hell-i-Daze)

“Surviving the Holidays (HELL-i-Daze) is refreshing, real and a hilarious read that moms will appreciate” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

The Holidays. They follow us year round, and sometimes these cherished days can be wonderful, but let’s face it — sometimes they are just brutal! Whether it’s New Year’s or Valentine’s, Fourth of July or even birthdays, we all gotta donwhat we gotta do to survive them all!

Miss OMG walks us through the year and lightens the load with her hysterical anecdotes that are sure leaving you laughing out loud!

In this book, she celebrates the humor of life’s year-round celebrations from pointing out the madness of the holidays, to crappy gift-giving, Miss OMG shares her thoughts on surviving the holidays that will leave you laughing and turning the pages to discover what crazy story she shares next. Surviving the Holidays (HELL-i-DAZE) is a work that continues its author’s witty social commentary streak. This book is for people who like to poke fun at life’s weirdness, and those who don’t take themselves too seriously. While this book is especially perfect for moms who like to swear and drink, Miss OMG writes her books with those in mind who only have a short moments to read and are always on the go! Her hope is that you can squeeze in a quick read, put the book down with a chuckle, and look forward to picking it right back up the first second you can!

#MelAndNikkiReview

Surviving the Holidays (HELL-i- DAZE) literally had me laughing out loud from beginning to end. It is very relatable to us hard working moms who always go beyond for everyone. The daily diary format was a neat touch and helped us follow Miss OMG’s year as she goes through all the wonderful holidays throughout the year. Never noticed how many there are – geez!

I absolutely loved this book and recommend it to moms everywhere. Not only is it relatable but absolutely hilarious. My favorite part is the letter that Santa left to Miss OMG (I think my neighbors heard me laughing at that part). I also loved the quotes shared at the beginning of each month they are all great quotes to inspire or to make you chuckle.

“Every time I make plans to eat better, I hear my stomach laughing.” – Author Unknown

If you want some laughing therapy especially after a long rough mothering day, then this is an awesome book for you. It is currently available on Amazon and can be purchased here.

“The Mad Hatter: Have I gone mad? Alice: I’m afraid so. You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.” – Lewis Carroll

A special thank you to Miss OMG for sending us this great book that provided me with chuckles and a reminder that we need to laugh more.

About the Author

Olivia Michele “Miss OMG” Giacomini has been a published writer for decades for magazines and newspapers worldwide. In more recent years, she has begun sharing her witticisms in her Miss OMG books. Many liken her to the late great humorist, Erma Bombeck (but with a potty mouth), with a similar comedic flair & zany zingers about life’s mundane dailiness. She admits she mostly appeals to moms of all ages who like to drink and curse, but her male fans also enjoy reading her work…while sitting on the toilet. Miss OMG’s goal is to brighten people’s day with her quick-witted and often sarcastic stories based loosely on her life.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

– Momma Braga

*This book was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.

 

How To Keep Your Mind Sharp After Having A Baby

Image by Thanasis Papazacharias from Pixabay 

Did you know that baby brain is a real thing? Don’t feel stupid because you’re not as sharp as you were before, don’t think that it’s your fault because you’re so tired, because it’s not. It has been scientifically proven that pregnancy reduces grey matter in specific parts of a woman’s brain, in order to help you bond with your baby and prepare for the demands of motherhood.

According to research, scans of 25 first-time mums showed that these structural brain changes lasted for at least two years after giving birth, so while there’s not much you can do to prevent this, if you do want to keep your mind active and try and help yourself then these are the best things you can do to keep you sharp.

Brain Train

Use apps to train your brain like Fit Brains or Lumosity, which aim to improve your mental performance. They train you like you would train your body in that the games get harder as you improve, and the app keeps track of your progress and makes recommendations on how to challenge yourself and alter your training routine. If you find these a little taxing to start, then just try crossword puzzles or playing things like scrabble to get you using your brain and enjoying yourself too. If you find that a little tough at first, then luckily there is a cheeky little tool called unscramble which can help you.

Read, Read and Read Some More

Reading is one of the best and most relaxing ways to keep your brain active. Research shows that the more we read, the more our vocabulary, cognitive abilities, and our base of general knowledge increase. Make a shortlist of books you’ve been meaning to read but haven’t had the chance. There will be plenty of time while you nurse or feed a newborn! If you don’t love to read or find yourself too tired, then listen to audiobooks.

Stay In The Know

Many people get wrapped up in a little bubble of this new world of you and your baby, which is easy to do and also lovely too. But if you want to keep your mind active, then try staying connected with the rest of the outside world, make sure you read the news, listen to the radio or just have it on the TV in the background.

Hang Out With Adults

Make sure that you are talking with adults too instead of spending all your time with your baby – which again is very easy to do. While there will be plenty of new mums to hang around with too, often the conversation will be about the babies, this is great but also try to mix it up a bit and see other people so you can just be yourself. Date nights with your partner are essential too.

Economize Your Brain Use

Don’t waste brain energy on things you don’t need to; for example, remembering where you’ve put your keys needn’t be an issue. Do things like keeping your keys in the same place every day so that you don’t have to waste your time thinking about them and can save your brain energy for more important things.