Category: Motherhood

‘Tis Always The Swim Season

Swimming is more than splashing with your friends on a hot summer day. Children can reap many rewards from taking swimming lessons year-round.

But don’t just take just our word on it. We went to the experts themselves at Aqua-Tots to see the overall benefits of swimming all year-round.

So, let’s jump in!

Many of us know the importance of swimming year-round; however, there are also many who do not. Give us your insight on:
The Development Benefits

Swimming involves a lot of visible physical components, but in addition to that it also involves a great deal of cognitive focus. For example, when swimming freestyle, you must coordinate your arms and legs to move simultaneously. When our students enter Level 10, we start to teach them breath control and “side breathing” which is an incremental area of focus layered onto the movement of limbs. Its multitasking at its finest!

The Physical Benefits

Swimming is great exercise for all ages. In fact, it uses multiple muscles in the body at the same time. It also helps to build strong muscles and endurance; skills which are transferable to other sports. Unlike other sports though, learning to swim year-round is a life skill that will help children stay safe in and around water over a lifetime!

Overall Benefits

In addition to moving your muscles, swimming, also gives your brain a workout with all of the multitasking you do with your body which in turn serves as a total mood booster. Achieving new skills, overcoming anxieties, and becoming independent in the water are all major confidence boosters! It also helps children stay active year-round, and supports key social developments for kiddos like listening, taking turns, verbal communication…all taking place in an environment where positive friendships can grow!

Swimming is a life skill that should be practiced all year long. It is one of the best skills to equip your child with this summer.

What tips can you give parents who may feel overwhelmed in adding an extracurricular activity during the school year?

Swimming is an individual sport, which allows children to progress at their own pace and provides a stress-free environment. Here at Aqua-Tots, there is no pressure to commit to specific days, as you might with other team sports. If outside commitments arise, Aqua-Tots has a flexible make-up policy to accommodate busy schedules, vacation time, and other extracurricular events.

Unlike other sports, swimming is a lifelong safety skill and therefore, it is critical for all individuals to feel confident and independent in the water. You never know when you might find yourself in or around water – even throughout winter (e.g. public pools, ice and open water during vacations). Finding a way to incorporate swimming into your schedule will not only help your child with the developmental and physical benefits of swimming, it will also give you piece of mind knowing your child will be that much safer when exposed to water.

Is there a specific time that works best for families when they have children in school? From your experience is there a time of the day that works best such as right after school or later in the day?

We know life with kids get busy, which is why being open weekdays and weekends allows families to have the flexibility to take swim lessons the day(s) that best suit individual family needs. Weekday morning lessons are ideal for new Moms with babies or toddlers because the serene and warm environment lends itself sets (remove sets) to bonding with little ones as well as connecting with other Moms.

Some caregivers find it’s a great activity for school age-children to do during the weekday evenings so they can go home and have a nice, restful sleep! Other families are just too busy during the weekdays and prefer to come in for lessons on either Saturday or Sunday. Regardless of your child’s age or swimming ability, our schedule is designed to offer all eight levels many times throughout the week, to ensure we are able to run classes for a four-month-old and a 12-year-old on the same day.

Aside from the swimming benefits aspect, can you tell us a bit about the community benefits? Tell us about the importance of creating a supportive community through your school.

We are all about family and community at Aqua-Tots. We pride ourselves in greeting your family every time you walk in the door. We also love getting involved in different community groups. You’ll always see us at different festivals and events in the Greater Toronto Area, such as Children’s Festivals and the annual Santa Claus Parade.

We also have several special events which we host free of charge for all members to celebrate milestones throughout the year. The Easter Bunny and Santa make an annual guest appearance at our schools…and the smiles on the kids faces are a priceless reward!

Lastly, registering your children in swimming lessons fosters positive, supportive relationships. We love seeing friendships form within our classes. A lot of parents become friends through their children’s lessons which is so fun to see. Stop on by, and be prepared to make some awesome new friends.

Anything else you would like to add to our amazing readers?

If you love your experience at Aqua-Tots you can always benefit from spreading the word! Refer a friend to our weekday morning classes and receive a $25 referral credit when your friends or family members sign up!

 

There you have it! ‘Tis always the swim season! Children can benefit greatly from year-round swim lessons from a safety and development standpoint. Incorporating swim lessons into your routine is an invaluable asset to your child’s mental and physical well-being.

Build, refine and stay sharp all year-round with Aqua-Tots. Make sure to check them out at the Mississauga or Burlington locations to get started.

Until next time…Just keep swimming! 😉

-Momma Braga

 

This article is a paid partnership with Aqua-Tots Swim Schools. Views and opinions expressed here belong to Momma Braga.

 

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Bring the Spa To Your Next Kids Party With Cassaria

Kid parties can be a handful and lots of work for the host especially when you are looking for ways to keep the kids entertained. After awhile you feel like you have done it all and by the end of the day you are all exhausted. But what if there is an option for an activity that is relaxing that all the kids will love? Seems like a hard concept to grasp since kids love action!

But we were introduced to a neat idea that does exactly that! We are delighted to introduce you all to Cassaria Mobile Spa who specializes in kids mobile spa parties. Luckily for us, my sister won this in a contest that she entered!

So how did this work for us you are asking? Simple, we arranged a date with the owner, Sasha who is absolutely the most pleasant person to deal with and we booked a date that worked. The next part is where I came into play and it’s my strongest asset, plan the get together. We e-invited Nikki’s closest friends and their moms. We made it into a Moms and their Minis Day. We all deserve some girl time to eat, chat and have a great time. 😉

Spa Party Day

Once our list was confirmed and everyone replied with a yes! We kept the party simple with some pizza, snacks and toys that the young ladies can play with before and after the spa treatment.

As each child awaited eagerly for their turn, you couldn’t help but notice that each one enjoyed the spa treatment. It truly looked like the young ladies were at the spa and it looked SO good! At one point all of us moms looked at one another and wondered how to get in on that action (lol!). But we wanted it to be their day so we watched in awe.

One of Nikki’s friends, Madison, enjoying her spa treatment.

Another one of Nikki’s friends, Julia, enjoying her turn.After each child got their very beautiful nails done, they showed one another and giggled with delight. It was the sweetest thing to see the pure joy that they had. I truly believe this idea was a great hit and success for all of us. Even Nikki couldn’t help but show off her nails to anyone who wanted to take a look.

Nikki showing off her light pink nails and loving it!

#MelAndNikkiReview

Cassaria Mobile Spa truly brought an element to a kids party that I haven’t seen before and that is calmness. All the young ladies at our party were truly excited to get their nails done and waited so patiently for their turn. They all enjoyed it so much and I know that all us moms watching were wishing that we were them. The service that was provided was amazing from beginning to end. The Mom Boss, Sasha was impeccable and you know that she is skilled at providing spa services as she knew exactly what to do. She was amazing with all the young ladies at our party. They all loved her and she is so down to earth that it made the experience so much more enjoyable.

Now we were very lucky as Mom Boss, Sasha, brought her lovely assistant to help which is her daughter Cassandra. She was the absolute sweetest and we were thrilled to have her join some of our activities.

From left to right: Cassandra of Cassaria, Julia, Nikki and Madison having some colouring fun!

We not only got the manicures for the young ladies but each one got a goody bag and a cupcake that were made by Cristina’s Tortina Shop, all courtesy of Cassaria Mobile Spa. It was an overall amazing experience that was had by all.

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give Cassaria Mobile Spa 10 fingers out of 5 (Nikki says 100 out of 5)! The professionalism, kindness and overall great service surpassed all of our expectations. It also made us see that you don’t need a special occasion to have a spa party and it is great to have one.

Us moms got to spend some time chatting and having a great time while our minis had the time of their lives with some relaxation in the process. It was a win-win for everyone and we are truly thankful to Sasha and Cassandra of Cassaria Mobile Spa for everything! Saying that we loved it is an understatement!

If you would like to book Cassaria Mobile Spa for your next party, which we highly recommend, reach out to them on Facebook or Instagram. Please note that their service areas are Brampton, Mississauga, Georgetown, Acton and Barrie.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*Please note that this is not a sponsored or paid post. All opinions expressed are our own and were not influenced by the company featured in the article.

 

7 Reasons Why I Love Girl’s Night

The day I became a mom, I knew that I would do everything and anything to be the best mom that I could be for her. From that day on, I spent many sleepless nights and days to make sure that she was very well taken care of. However, in the first three years, I was neglecting myself. During the transition into motherhood, I forgot about me as a person.

I thought that my job was to be with my child 24-7 and I shouldn’t think about having “me time.” I thought this would have been selfish (#momguilt) of me to even think that I deserved some time away as I should only focus on caring for my child. But soon I realized that I wasn’t good to anyone when I was feeling defeated and drained. I really needed some time away to re-focus and be me.

After a chat with a long-time friend who also expressed the same struggles, we thought we should launch our Girl’s Night. After convincing each other that we really did deserve it (amazing how strong mom guilt is), we were setting up our first girl’s night. Our girl’s nights are sometimes every other month or sometimes a little longer as it depends on life’s schedule; however, we always try not to delay it too much as we know how important this time is for our sanity.

That is exactly what we have been doing and we have even included more of our friends when they are able to come hang out for a bit. The Girl’s Night is one of my favorite events and I always look forward to it.

It is so important to care for yourself and much more as a mom. This is why I felt it would be great to share seven reasons why I love Girl’s Night and how it has made me a better person.

Relaxing

Just a couple of hours away from the home with your girlfriends is a relaxing experience and many times it is much needed. It gives you time to regroup and focus. Keep in mind that girl’s night doesn’t mean anything grand or expensive. A simple outing for a coffee is great idea as long as its an environment you can feel relaxed in. Just think that you don’t need to hide from little ones to enjoy some time to yourself! It is also great not to worry about having to assist anyone with their meals or even asking if anyone needs to use the washroom. 😉

You can even do other activities such as yoga or hitting the gym. The possibilities are limitless when you are planning a get together with your besties. 🙂  We have opted to do dinner as we have started a bucket list of restaurants that we want to try out! 🙂

*We may even launch a restaurant review section if our readers are up for it! Send us an email at mommabraga@gmail.com and let us know which ones we should try in the Toronto and Mississauga area.

One of my favorite meals so far on girls night from The Rec Room at Square One.

Be Yourself (True Self)

This may not apply to everyone but it does for me. On Girl’s Night I can just be me. I don’t need to worry about the language that I use (I work in the construction field and therefore, I have picked up on a few fowl words). 😉 You can speak freely with no filter and you don’t have to worry about being judged. It feels great to let loose and be yourself as it makes the evening much more enjoyable.

We tend to forget the people we are after we become parents and that person should never be forgotten as it makes who we are.

You can even be a little silly and try out Snapchat without your child getting in the middle. 😉 Here is my sister and I.

Laughter

Now you can’t have a girl’s night and not have laughter. That is my favorite part as we get to talk about everything and anything. We always have a great laugh as there are no limits on what we can say since there are no listening ears of little ones. We also get to share stories from our past and present that always bring a few more laughs that were unexpected.

Did you know how much laughter is good for your soul? It truly is and it helps with any stress that you are feeling. I honestly love to laugh and love to make those around me laugh (even if it is making a foul out of myself). 😉

Support

Now even though your child isn’t with you on a girl’s night, it doesn’t mean you can’t use this time to talk about them. We don’t eliminate talking about our children during our girls night as sometimes we need that listening ear. Having that support in-person is so amazing and bouncing ideas off one another on any parent struggle is so helpful. We use the time to vent, support and just be there for one another.

Parenting is not easy and it is great to get the support outside the home. Mind you, girl’s night is not around child talk but we know that if we need to we can talk to one another about it. Our girl talks cover an array of topics that are important to us and we know we will be supported.

My bestie, Tanya, and I at The Rec Room at Square One on one of our girls nights. Photo Credit: My sister Karen.

Self-Care

As moms we need to find the time to take care of ourselves. Girl’s night helps me with self-care as it helps me find my way back to my inner rock star that I am and allows me to let go of high expectations. The hardest part was to let go of mom guilt that many of us are encompassed with. I knew that having time for myself did not make me a bad mom and it was important for my self-care.

When we feel great about ourselves, we will be better people and moms at the end of the day. I didn’t realize how important my own self-care was until it took a toll on me. Now I am not last on the list of caring but at the same spot as my husband and daughter. We all come first and it has been much better for us all.

Reconnecting With Friends

Relationships are important to nourish as we take care of our relationships with our children and spouse. Our friendships are also important and we need to reconnect with them too.

Girl’s night is the opportunity to connect, laugh and grow friendships. Everyone needs a friend to talk, cry and laugh with and a night out is a reminder that they do exist! The best part is that you know they are true friends when you have been apart for months and as soon as you are together, you continue exactly where you left off at. That is the power of friendship! Even if it is just one friend, that is all that is needed. I always say quality over quantity.

Renewal of Appreciation

Spouse and child(ren) will have a renewal of appreciation for all that you do when you return. You will also feel the same way. It may only be a few hours away but that is just enough to freshen the mind and make the everyday whining okay again. That time away can make mom feel happy and that in turn will have everyone else feel happy. Who doesn’t like mom being happy?!

The appreciation when you return feels great as I am always greeted with lots of hugs and kisses from both my child and husband. It makes me feel great to know I was missed even if it was just for a short period of time. It is also great for children to see that it is ok for mom to be someone besides mom and that they have friends too. When I get ready to go out, my daughter always tells me how beautiful I look and that she hopes that I have a great time with my best friend. It always makes me feel great to hear it! We all love to feel appreciated in life.

My family.

Above all, girl’s night might only be once in awhile, but every mom deserves a girl’s night out whether they go for dinner or to see a play. It is a great reminder on how much fun being an adult really is.

Hope you are taking good care of yourselves moms and know that you are amazing in everything that you do! Let us throw away the mom guilt and remember to take care of mom as we deserve it.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

The Mama Coach: Making Motherhood Easier

Motherhood is no walk in the park and any new mom past or present can agree to that. There is so much to learn and do that sometimes you feel that your village may not even be enough.

Well, we have just discovered an amazing place that offers that support that many new moms may need and that is The Mama Coach in Toronto.

The Mama Coach is a team of Registered Nurses and Nurse Practitioners who are committed to making motherhood easier. Their programs are based on science, empathy, and support. It is that extra village that every new mom should have by her side.

We got to interview Yvonne who leads the Mama Coach in Toronto to get more info on this prestigious organization.

Tell me a little bit about yourself.

My name is Yvonne Chan and I am the owner of The Mama Coach in Toronto. I am a prenatal educator, sleep consultant, lactation counselor, HSF certified CPR instructor, a Registered Nurse and a mom of two happy little ones!

I love staying active by playing in various sports, traveling the world with my family, and raising my kids to be kind and happy people.

Tell me a little about the Mama Coach. Why did you start it?

I love teaching, helping others, and have always wanted to be an entrepreneur. Becoming a Mama Coach gives me a unique opportunity that allows me to do something I am really passionate about: helping new moms be the best they can be while leveraging my nursing degree and experience as a mom. Additionally, being a business owner allows me the flexibility to optimize my work and family life.

There are so many reasons I wanted to bring The Mama Coach to Toronto. The thing that excites me the most about being a Mama Coach is being part of a group that is the best of the best in the field. I found my values and way of thinking aligned very accurately with the philosophy of the Founder of The Mama Coach, Carrie Bruno. The Mama Coach is a nationwide group of Registered Nurses who work independently with families to provide support through education. Our mission is to make motherhood easier!

Could you provide a quick breakdown of some of the services you offer?

We offer sleep consultation packages, lactation support packages, prenatal classes, and CPR workshops and certification classes. All services are done in the privacy of your home! We come to you!

More than sleep packages include:

  • 1.5 hours of in-home visit by a Registered Nurse with a complete head to toe assessment on baby to make sure there is no underlying medical issue that is affecting sleep or feeds. All visits also include feeding assessment (breast feeding, bottle feeling, or solid foods feeding).
  • Customized sleep plan.
  • Unlimited support from a Registered Nurse for two weeks from the day the sleep plan is implemented. You will have an RN available daily to answer any questions and to provide guidance via email and 4 scheduled phone calls throughout the two weeks.
  • The Mama Coach eBook for sleep.
  • Add on services: Bedtime support (3 hours in person support at bedtime), a half-night support (in person support from bedtime to midnight), full night support (bedtime to 7 am).

Lactation and feeding support packages include:

  • 1 in home visit and 1 week of unlimited email support.
  • The Mama Coach eBook on feeding

Infant and Child CPR and Choking workshops include:

  • 60 to 80 minutes in-home CPR and Choking workshop.
  • The Mama Coach eBook on Infant and Child CPR and safety.

Prenatal classes include:

  • 3 hours in-home session.
  • Email support until birth.
  • The Mama Coach prenatal guide.
  • Add-on: Total Support Package (1 postpartum in-home visit and 1 in-home visit at 5 weeks, 8 phone calls and 8 weeks of email support after birth).

Everyone says that some babies are just bad sleepers. Is that a myth? How can a parent really know that there might be a sleeping problem?

I believe that is a myth because sleep is a learned skill. We can’t just lay our babies down and expect them to know what to do. Parents can “teach” babies how to sleep with our gentle programs and guide them in learning a healthy life skill.

We believe that a baby’s sleep patterns are not a problem unless it’s a problem for you. We have a no judgement zone at The Mama Coach.

We love how your services are tailored to each specific child as we all know each child is different. Are there any general tips you can offer to parents who are struggling to get their child to sleep through the night?

The Mama Coach 5 Sleep Tips eBook has some general tips to parents who are struggling to get their child to sleep.

  • Sleep environment: Melatonin plays a key role in keeping our babies asleep and a dark sleep environment leads to more production of this amazing hormone.
  • Awake times:
    1. Birth to 10 weeks (45 – 60 mins)
    2. 11 weeks to 3.5 months (2 – 2.5 hrs) – 4 to 5 naps
    3. 5 to 5 months (2 – 2.5 hrs) – 4 naps
    4. 5 to 7 months (2.5 – 3 hrs) – 3 naps
    5. 8 to 13 months (3 – 4 hrs) – 2 naps
    6. 14 months to 3 years (4 – 5 hrs) – 1 nap
  • The golden ticket always lies with bedtime. Night sleep and day sleep are governed by different parts of your babies’ brain. Create a consistent bedtime routine.
  • Eliminating sleep props for night wake-ups: infants and children rouse on average four to six times per night, with brief awakenings at the end of each sleep cycle. Teaching babies to fall back to sleep on their own without a sleep prop they will be able to fall right into their next stage of sleep.
  • Milestones and regressions: Developmental milestones can interfere with sleep. We recommend lots of skill practice during non-sleep times.

Send me an email at yvonne@themamamcoach.ca to get your FREE copy of The Mama Coach 5 sleep tips eBook!

Since you have started The Mama Coach what has been your most memorable success story?

I find everyone of my client’s success story to be unique and memorable. The story that stands out the most to me is with a second time mom who contacted me for help with her five-month old baby. This mom has a three-year-old and a five-month old. Mom used one of the many sleep plans that were available on the internet with her first baby and that baby slept and fed beautifully. She tried to implement the same strategies with her second baby to get this baby to feed and sleep but this baby just wasn’t having it. Baby had reflux (feeds would take 40+ minutes plus 20 minutes keeping baby upright). Baby was waking up frequently at night for feeds, and was hard to settle during the day. Mom was feeling anxious and a bit deflated that her strategy for the 1st wasn’t working for the 2nd.

I built a customized plan for this family, gave the baby a head to toe nursing assessment, assessed a feed, showed and educated mom on improving the latch and positioning of the baby during feeds to improve reflux during my in-home visit. Once we improved feeds, we worked on sleep and by the 3rd night of starting the plan, baby was feeding and sleeping well. We made some tweaks along the way but by the end of our two weeks together, this baby was taking three solid naps, dropped the night feeds on her own and everybody got the sleep they so well deserved. By the end of our time together – mom felt confident, rested, and happy!

This success story demonstrates that every baby is different. We look at the whole picture to come up with an individualized plan that works for you and your baby! The start and finish line (goal) are set but the journey will be different for everyone. I know where we are starting, I know where we are going to finish but I don’t know what is going to happen in-between. We don’t use a cookie cutter method. We are nurses and use our assessment skills throughout the process.

What we tell parents is not a secret. Anyone can read books, find plans on the internet, etc. What I give parents is support all the way through and I give Moms in-person feeding support which they won’t be able to get from a book.

I am so thankful for all the opportunities to be part of so many families success story.

Where would you like to see The Mama Coach in the next five years?

I would like to see The Mama Coach be the go-to-choice for making motherhood easier and baby sleep throughout Toronto and the GTA!

If someone is interested in utilizing your services, how can they go about accessing them?

They can book their initial free phone call online.

Additionally, all our services are available virtually on a video HIPAA-compliant Telehealth platform.

Thank you for taking the time to provide us with some great insight on The Mama Coach. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Thank you, Momma Braga, for this opportunity to share information about The Mama Coach. Finding sleep for our babies can be so challenging. I believe in finding a solution that works for the entire family. If you are ready to make change for better sleep, let’s set up a time to chat! Please go to this link to book a time that works for you. The sooner we get started, the sooner we can get your sweet baby sleeping and feeding great!

Thinking back to five years ago when I had my daughter, Nikki, I could have truly benefited from these services. Unfortunately, I did not know about them and this is why it is important that I share these amazing resources with my wonderful readers.

When I had the opportunity to interview The Mama Coach, I knew I had to jump on it! A place that offers sleep tips is a superb place to me as a happy baby is definitely a happy mommy!

We hope we will feature more on The Mama Coach and if you have any questions, feel free to comment below or send us an email at mommabraga@gmail.com as we would love to hear from you. You can stay anonymous too! 😊

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

 

One Life Lost is Too Many: National Drowning Prevention Week

“Drowning is the #1 cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 1 to 4 and the #2 cause for children up to 14.”

– Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

In Ontario alone, there has been 43 drowning deaths from January to July 15, 2019. It is a scary statistic and that is why it is important to address water safety all year round.

At Aqua-Tots Swim Schools, their primary purpose is to save lives by teaching children to swim and educating people about how to remain safe in and around the water. Recently, Aqua-Tots Swim Schools in Canada hosted a new event called, Swim with Your Clothes On to kick off National Drowning Prevention Week.

The Swim with Your Clothes On Event was an important and interactive 30-minute lesson for children. In addition, to understanding and practicing water safety, the children had an opportunity to experience what swimming with their clothes on would feel like if ever faced with an emergency. In this event, children were taught the importance of water safety, how to swim with their clothes on, and how to assist others who are in danger.

When we heard about the Swim with Your Clothes On event, we jumped at the opportunity to attend. We want to ensure that we take every step possible in teaching our daughter water safety. What we love about Aqua-Tots Swim Schools is these wonderful events are offered for free for families in the community who are members.

Photo Credit: Natalia from Aqua-Tots Swim Schools Canada

Event Exercises

On top of the wonderful swimming curriculum, there were a few exercises that pertained to water safety that we are honoured to share with our readers.

  • Children were taught to ask an adult for permission before going swimming and knowing the adult should go in first.
  • To turn on their backs/roll over and float on their backs if they fall in to get air, and while resting on their backs in the water call for help.
  • Lastly, “reach, throw and don’t go in” which taught children not to go in after someone has fallen into the water. Instead they were taught to lie on their bellies at the edge of the water (in this position you won’t fall in yourself) and throw a life saving device to the person in need to pull them in (e.g. rope, pool noodle, etc.) back to safety.

These exercises were well thought out and executed at this event and you could tell that the children were grasping the concept of drowning prevention. Nikki truly enjoyed each exercise but I could tell that she enjoyed saving her coach with the pool noodle the best.

Photo Credit: Natalia from Aqua-Tots Swim Schools Canada

On the way home, Nikki turned to me and said, “Mom, I can save you if you ever fall in the water. So, don’t you worry!” That sentence alone means that the event was a raving success in our books. To know that my child is confident enough with what she learned that she could save her mom is just perfect! Thank you, Aqua-Tots Swim Schools.

Aqua-Tots Swim Schools didn’t forget about the parents watching the lesson as they also provided us with a great idea and tip. We were provided with a “Water Watcher” lanyard that we can use when children are in the water. So, what exactly is this lanyard? The lanyard states: “While wearing this tag, I agree to supervise the children in the open water or pool, keeping them in sight at all times. I will not leave the water area without finding an adult to replace me.” Love, Love, Love this! I think everyone should adopt this concept as it could really prevent drownings. Since I have this lanyard, I will be taking it to any pool party that we are invited to – you have been warned family and friends.

Above all, this event was a great way to kick off National Drowning Prevention Week and to make sure that the conversation is happening around water safety.

Photo Credit: Natalia from Aqua-Tots Swim Schools

There are three ways that you can save lives too and these include: Enrolling in Swim Lessons; Supervising children in or around water; and spreading tips related to water safety awareness. This is what we can do as parents and as a community as drowning is silent and preventable.

To learn more about water safety tips and/or to enroll in swim lessons with Aqua-Tots Swim Schools Canada, click here for Mississauga or click here for Burlington.

Let’s stay safe in and around water. Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

This article is a paid partnership with Aqua-Tots Swim Schools. Views and opinions expressed here belong to Momma Braga.

The Baggage Of Mom Life

Being a mom carries a lot of baggage, and you don’t have to have a big family to realise that. Being a mom is no doubt one of the best feelings in the world. To know that a little human loves you as much as you love them, and that love is most likely going to be unconditional for life, is just a feeling that can’t be matched. But sometimes it can get to the point where you feel like you’ve got so much baggage that you’re carrying around with you, and life can just get a little stressful with it all weighing you down. So what is a mom to do when so much baggage keeps piling up, but the family needs to keep on running as it has always done. Well, it’s where articles like this come in to help you out. We’ve got some excellent tips that should help you reduce your mommy baggage, leading to a more stress free lifestyle. So if this is something you’re desperate for, keep on reading, and we’ll show you how to do just that!

Have A Good Clear Out

So the first bit of baggage that we think everyone needs to get rid of, is baggage around the home. If there’s one thing that seems to pile up over the years of having kids, it’s clutter around the home. Even if you can’t see the clutter, you know it’s there, and you know how much space it’s taking up. Some of you will have so many things collected, that trips back and forth to shops or dumping sites is just going to be too much, especially if there’s furniture involved. But skip bin hire is almost nearly always too expensive. But there is some cheaper bin hire available if you take the time to look around. You’ll most likely only need to hire it for a day or two as well!

Keep Your Circle Small

So when you become a mom, your circle is going to get a little smaller to begin with. It’s like everyone disappears out of your life, unless they’re going through the same parenting process as you. But soon it begins to grow again, and it can begin to grow much quicker than you might have expected, especially as you get in with all of the moms at school or nursery. But this creates so much extra baggage and stress, and moms can actually be really catty towards each other. So we do recommend that you keep your circle smaller than you might have it at the minute, and keep people who you know are truly there for you, close to you. It’s all well and good wanting a lot of friends, but are the people in your life truly your friends?

A More Organised Lifestyle

So finally, you really need to keep your life organised. Most of the time you’ll feel a lot of baggage is involved, simply because your mind is always all over the place with the things you’ve got to do. So try and take the time to relax, simplify your life, and watch it get easier!

Animalicious | Book Review

“A delightful children’s book on the alphabet with some very unique animals.” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

From A is for Anonymouse and I is for Incredibull, to K is for Kangarude and R is for Rocktopus, this ABC book will have readers laughing out loud as they learn the alphabet with animals they may never have seen — or even heard of — before.

#MelAndNikkiReview

“The world is full of animals of every single kind. This book contains some special ones that you won’t often find.”

Animalicious offers us a creative and unique world of some very special animals. You can’t help but giggle along as you meet some of them in the story such as the Vamoose (HeHe). Nikki helped read along by telling me what letter of the alphabet we are on next. Then I got the fun part and try to pronounce some of the unique creatures such as the Macawbre (Tip: I read the books before reading it to my daughter. This way I always sound smart!). 😉

We just adored this book as Nikki got to practice her letter recognition and we got to giggle along together. This was such a creative way to teach the alphabet and we loved it! We also loved the illustrations as it really allowed us to understand the creature so much better! 🙂

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give it 10 “Grabbits” out of 5! This book is recommended for children ages four to six. If you would like to purchase a copy, please click here.

“This is my favorite ABC book! I love all the animals.” – Nikki, Age 4

About The Author

Reed Duncan is a former instructor of writing and English. He was the long time partner of author-illustrator Anna Dewdney, and is a co-creator and an executive producer/writer for the “Llama Llama” animated television series. ANIMALICIOUS is one of several books that he and Anna wrote together.

Anna Dewdney was the author-illustrator of several bestselling books, including the beloved Llama Llama Red Pajama series. A teacher, mother, and advocate of childhood literacy, Anna was also a passionate gardener and runner. She lived in a restored 18th-century farmhouse in Vermont with her dogs and her partner, Reed Duncan. Anna passed away in 2016.

About The Illustrator

Claudia Boldt grew up in Cologne, Germany, studied at the Glasgow School of Art and then Kingston University, and now lives and works in sunny Los Angeles. Claudia’s illustrations appear in many newspapers and publications, and she has written and illustrated a number of books. Her absolute favorite animals to draw are sausage dogs.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

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

Empowering Stay-At-Home Moms Through Job Coaching

Looking for employment is a difficult task to do and, in many cases, it becomes a full-time job in itself. There are many services that are out there that can assist; however, many lack specialized programs for stay-at-home moms in particular.

It’s a group that many forget and luckily one Toronto woman has not forgotten about empowering stay-at-home moms to enter or re-enter the workforce.

It is with great pleasure that I introduce you all to Stephanie from SAHM Coaching who I recently met at a mom market. I had the opportunity to sit down with Stephanie to get the inside scope on SAHM Coaching in this exclusive interview.

Tell me a little bit about yourself

I was born and raised in Toronto and love this city. I have a wonderful husband, who supports me unconditionally and two beautiful children, ages 9 and 11. I try to stay active. I’m doing a 10 KM race this May, I love working out and play baseball. I’ve been playing fast-pitch softball since I was 6 years old. I went to Ryerson University where I completed my degree in Human Resources and went on to get my professional designation from the Human Resources Professionals Associations as a Certified HR Leader. My HR career started in the telecom industry. Then I went on to work for a retail company and I’ve spent the last 14 years in the not for profit sector. I love the field of HR; I’ve been doing this for over 20 years. What I love about it is that I get to work with people. When you do that, you rarely get the same problem twice. Circumstances change and it forces you to really understand the subtle differences of each situation. Working side by side with my clients and helping them find the optimal solution is very satisfying.

What type of services do you offer?

SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) Coaching offers job search assistance exclusively to women who want to go back to work after being at home. This group includes women at various life stages. Some of my clients have been at home for a number of years, while others are coming to the end of their maternity leave and want to change jobs. I help them get their heads back into the game with someone who “gets it.” Working with me, women get tailored, one-on-one, insights and HR expertise into things like:

  • What kind of work can/should I do?
  • How do I search for work; make use of the best resources; etc.
  • How to build/refresh a resume (or cover letter) that gets noticed.
  • How to talk about your time off/gap in your resume in a way that employers will understand.
  • How to prepare for and answer questions during an interview.

What is your goal of the services that you provide and can you give us one success story that you can share?

What I’m offering women is a safe place for them to share their concerns, ask questions and get answers quickly. All with the goal of building their confidence and getting rid of the self-doubt, so they can be successful overcoming whatever obstacle it is that they are facing.

Yes, I’d like to tell you about Katie (not her real name). Katie was struggling with her job search. She previously had run her own business (since it gave her more time with her kids) but she and her partner had a falling out. She decided after running her own business for several years, that she was done. Instead she wanted to find a job where she could work Monday to Friday and not have all the demands of being a business owner. Her kids were older and it was a good time to make the transition. When Katie and I connected she told me she was struggling because she wasn’t having much success with her applications. She wanted to work with me on her resume and cover letter. Her resume needed a complete overhaul, so we redesigned it from scratch. During our session we also talked about how to structure her cover letter. That session was on a Wednesday, the following Thursday I followed up with Katie and she told me she applied for a job and they scheduled her for a phone interview. The company told her they were very impressed with her cover letter!

What made you decide to offer these services?

Because they don’t currently exist; at least not in the way I offer them. Sure, you can go to a Service Canada employment centre, and they will give you a general resume or interview information. Or you can go online and find a TON of info, but then what? Everyone is busy, I don’t think your readers have the time to go through it all. I’ve got 20+ years of recruitment experience and I can give women a direct line to the answers they are looking for. Plus, it’s so important for me to work side by side with my clients. It’s so much more effective. I’m not just telling them what to do, I’m also telling them WHY they need to do it. Why when you write a cover letter you format it a certain way. Why you use specific words in a resume. Why when you answer questions using this format it will resonate with employers. It’s only because I’ve been there, that I can offer this type of service.

If someone is interested in your services, how much and how can they get enrolled?

The first thing is to schedule a FREE consultation call. You can do this via my website, email me, or message me via my Facebook page. During the call I ask what they feel they need the most help with and what it is that each woman wants to accomplish. I also share more info about myself and will answer any question that they may have. In most, but not all cases, I ask to see a copy of their resume. After the call, I prepare a written recommendation outlining how we’d work together. In it I include the number of sessions required. Sessions are 45 minutes. You can purchase sessions individually for $60 each or (to save money) you can buy a package of 4 sessions for $200.

Thank you so much Stephanie for your time. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Sure, since you asked! Any time you are in transition or making a change, it’s bound to feel icky and uncomfortable. I want your readers to know that going back to work after stepping away is possible, you CAN do it, and with SAHM Coaching you don’t have to do it alone.

An inspiring way to end an interview! With the right coaching, inspiration and motivation, it is possible to enter or re-enter the workforce. I am so honoured to have had this opportunity to inform all of you of a service that is available, especially if it can help you succeed.

I use to be in the Employment industry many years ago (feels like a lifetime ago) and I helped many people find work. I know that with the extra support that my clients got, it helped them get their foot back in the door. Every little bit helps.

If you are interested in learning more about SAHM Coaching, make sure to contact her directly as she has a wealth of information and knowledge to offer.

Thank you again Stephanie for your time and empowering women every day!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

Fat is the new F Word

“Do I look fat?” – Nikki, Age 4

Words that I never thought I would hear my four year old say. Words that shocked, stunned and hurt me all at the same time. I thought I had a few more years to worry about body image. Let’s face it many of us have gone through it or possibly still going through it. I know that I did in my teenage years. However, I was not prepared or expected this at age four.

Only Takes One Word

It took only a simple sentence, “How was your day today?” Then the tears started to roll down her precious face. My daughter looked up at me and said, ” Do I look fat?” I wondered how and why this came up. I told her that of course she was not fat and asked her where she got that idea from. She started to explain that a little girl from her class keeps calling her fat and has even started to tell the other kids in the class that “Nikki is fat.” After further discussing the situation, it appeared that this has been happening for a couple of months. At this moment, I felt my heart completely shatter as words were hurting my child and I know that words hurt so much more.

For the first time, I saw the confidence that my daughter exemplified fade away with just one little word. One little word that chopped down her self-image that we have been working so hard with her to maintain. At first I felt defeated like I have failed somehow in this parenting journey but then I remembered that we are just getting started.

Plan of Action

After getting Nikki’s side of the story, it was time to put a plan of action on what we were going to do next. The first step was to talk to Nikki and remind her of what she needs to do in school when she finds herself in this type of situation again. We gave her the following three steps to follow:

  1. Tell the child to stop and tell them why you don’t like what they are doing. In this situation, tell them that they are hurting your feelings.
  2. Tell the teacher what is happening as they need to be aware of what is happening in the classroom.
  3. Tell parents and discuss the situation.

Now as a parent, I had to take action as well as I needed to bring my concerns to the teacher and have it addressed immediately. The process at my daughter’s school is to write in a communication book that the teachers review every day and this is where I wrote my (lengthy) note. However, with my emotions on high, as soon as I saw her teacher on the morning drop-off I spilled my heart out. I informed her of everything that happened which also shocked the teacher. She informed me that this behaviour was not acceptable and they would have this conversation in class. This made me feel a little better but not completely.

As I waited for my daughter to go into school that morning, she became the Nikki that I love and raised. She confidently walked about to the little girl who had been calling her fat and said, “I didn’t like what you said about me and that is not very nice. So stop!” The little girl looked stunned and Nikki walked away to line up to go into class. She then turns to me and gives me a thumbs up and a wink.

It was an extremely proud moment for me as Nikki stood up for herself. Her confidence was inspiring!

 

Building Self-Image

We are starting the re-building phase of a very impressionable 4-year-old. We remind her every single day that beauty is only skin deep and true beauty is within. She needs to love herself and the only opinion that matters is her own. If we can empower that, then I know she will be set for life.

Self-image is so important to build and we realize now that it is a daily lesson for us all.

Today’s Lesson

With every parenting situation we come across it becomes a learning opportunity. This was one for my books as body image and bullying was not in my 4-year-old forecast. But it is now and we are working together to combat it.

My advice to other parents is to talk with your children about body image and let them know that certain words hurt people. If your child is being made fun of, let your child know that it isn’t right to do it back too and they can follow our three simple steps above. We had to make sure our daughter knew not to retaliate as it wouldn’t be acceptable.

It’s important to stop the cycle instead of encouraging it as part of the “normal” for kids. Also make sure your kids love themselves. If we truly love ourselves, our self-image will always stay true.

So far, that little girl has been nicer to Nikki and does not call her “fat.” I’m hoping that this new “F” word doesn’t make an appearance in the classroom again. However, I am confident that if it does we will all be ready!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

 

 

Tomato Soup | Recipe

A soup that my mom would make for us is tomato soup but it isn’t exactly what you think as we don’t actually use tomatoes. 😉

If you are looking for a simple and hearty soup recipe then this may be the one for you.

INGREDIENTS

  • Water
  • Tomato Paste
  • Salt
  • Olive Oil
  • Knorr of Chicken
  • Onions
  • Pasta (we usually use small pasta)
  • Potatoes
  • Boiled Chicken Breast (marinated with salt, black pepper and garlic powder)

DIRECTIONS

  • First clean the chicken breast and marinate it with some salt, black pepper and garlic powder. Once completed, boil it first until it is fully cooked.
  • Once chicken breast is cooked, remove it from the water. Shred the chicken breast into pieces to add into the soup afterwards.
  • In a new pot, add water for the soup. It is always best to almost fill to the top as water does decrease when boiled. Add a teaspoon of tomato paste, some salt, a dash of olive oil and knorr of chicken.
  • Clean and cut 2 onions into quarters and add to pot of water.
  • We also peel potatoes and cut them into small pieces to add into the soup.
  • Once all ingredients are added, turn the heat onto medium.
  • Stir as necessary and once potatoes are almost fully cooked, add the pasta and shredded chicken. Take a quick taste to see if additional salt needs to be added.
  • Once pasta is cooked, the soup is ready.

That is it! A simple recipe that is hearty and delicious! Enjoy!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga