Category: Parents

How to be Social While Social Distancing

“Social distancing or physical distancing is a set of infection control actions intended to stop or slow down the spread of a contagious disease. The objective of social distancing is to reduce the probability of contact between persons carrying an infection and others who are not infected, so as to minimize disease transmission, morbidity and ultimately, mortality.” – Wikipedia

With the current pandemic that the world is currently facing, we have been instructed to practice social distancing and with great reason. As we see numbers rise in positive cases all over the world, we can’t help but fear for the safety of our loved ones and of ourselves. We have been doing social distancing for over a week now and we will continue to do so until we are told it is safe to interact once again.

Social Distancing

Social distancing isn’t too hard for me to do personally as I don’t mind being in the comfort of my own home but as a parent of a social five-year-old, I know the difficult time will arrive depending on how long we need to stay indoors. This got me thinking on how people interact socially. Prior to this pandemic, I would notice people constantly using their technology devices and not interact with people right in front of them. Now here we are in a state of emergency and people are craving the need to interact in person. Irony at its finest if you ask me.

It also got me thinking why not use this technology that we seem to not be able to live without while we are with people and use it to interact while keeping our distances. Seems simple, doesn’t it?! We implemented a few things in our home to keep social in hopes it will inspire others to do the same while we all observe “social distancing.”

Social Media

The good old social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and so on. These mediums are working well so far and it’s a great way to stay connected with all your family and friends. We have been sharing light stories and posts as a way to bring a smile to people’s faces during these difficult and uncertain times.

Another way to use social media is to use private messaging on Facebook to create group chats. I am part of one right now where we share pictures within our group of our kids, food or just anything positive. It is a great way to remember that there is a world of people out there loving you even if they are not in the same room as you. I have also been private messaging some close friends who are really down with everything going around as I want to make sure they know they are not alone and that they are very loved. You would be surprised on the positive impact that this can have on someone with anxiety and depression. Every little bit of compassion we can reflect onto others does help as I know it has helped one of my good friends.

Phone Calls/Text Messaging

We have been finding ourselves calling and text messaging more to check in with our loved ones. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t call my parents to see how they are doing. When I first got married my husband would ask, “Why do you call your parents every day?” My answer was always the same and it still applies to this day more than ever. “My parents are aging with each passing day and their health status can change from one moment to the next. I always want to make sure that I make that phone call so I can rest easy knowing that they are ok.”

I think it is important to check-in at least once a week or every few days just to make sure that the most vulnerable are doing well. It doesn’t cost us to check-in and it’s the kindness that we all need to be surrounded with. If you don’t like calling people then you can always send a text message especially if the recipient knows how to use text messaging. 😉

Video Talk

There are many apps that allow you to talk over video which is our favorite thing to do. Nikki loves to see people over video as it gives her that social interaction that she has been missing. We are not with them physically but we can see them which is so comforting for everyone. I have encouraged these videos with our close family members who have been calling us. When I see Nikki talking to her cousins or a friend through Facebook Messenger, her face lights up with so much happiness and I am truly thankful for all this technology that is at our fingertips.

We are able to interact with all our loved ones in ways that couldn’t be done many years ago and we should be thankful that we can. My sister even mentioned that we could have a girls night at home by video calling each other in a quiet room in the house. I thought this was a great idea and now it is just a matter of time of actually doing it. This is a great alternative from going out.

That is what we are doing to stay social in a social distancing time. You can stay social and connected by using technology. We don’t need to physically be together to know that we care about one another. Remember that we are doing this to protect ourselves from this pandemic. It may seem like an inconvenience and yes this will impact the economy but it will save lives. So let us stay calm, show compassion, be kind and we will get through this together.

To protect yourself from the Corvid-19 virus, there are steps that you can do and if we all do them we will be on the right path.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

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One and Done: Our Family is Complete

A family is defined as a set of parents living with their children. The definition of family is the group of people who share common ancestors. Those are the definitions you can see in the dictionary but family is really up to personal interpretation.

To me a family is people who love each other unconditionally. It does not matter who makes up your family or how many are in it. At the end of the day, the love that is shared is what should matter most.

Our Family Beginning

Every story has a “Once Upon A Time” and our family story is no different. It all started when a young lady fell in love with a handsome and sweet young man. They dated for seven years before getting married and it was a rollercoaster of a journey but they did it together. To them an ideal family would be to have two children as it only seemed fitting since everyone in the family were only having two children.

Our wedding day.

Unfortunately, not all families are made quickly or as planned. This is just how life goes. Thinking the struggle was over when they found out they were expecting; however, it was short lived when a miscarriage had occurred. There hopes and dreams of having a family seemed just that…a dream.

A few years after, a pleasant surprise had happen with another positive pregnancy test. But this time, nine months later through a difficult pregnancy, our family grew by one with the energetic little one that we call Nikki.

Family Life

The adjustment into parenthood is never easy and it took (still is) a lot of tinkering along the way. As we grew with our daughter we started to see that one was plenty for us and our family felt complete. It didn’t always feel that way as we were always questioned as to why not add one more child. At one point we took that to heart and felt maybe we should consider adding one more. We seemed to have allowed that pressure to consume us once again and it was affecting my health. However, I quickly realized that it wasn’t worth all the extra stress and anxiety I was feeling. Of course with any life changing decisions we discuss it as a team as it takes a village to raise a child.

Our family of three.

Only Child Syndrome

“Only child syndrome is the myth that only children are lonely, selfish, spoiled, impatient and maladjusted.”

We have heard that and more when raising our daughter. This was a big part of our discussions as we reviewed what would be best for our family. When looking at the definition and seeing my daughter, I couldn’t see it. We don’t see any of those characteristics in Nikki.

Lonely

Luckily, Nikki isn’t locked in a tower like poor Rapunzel was for many years of her life. 😉 We expose Nikki to everything that life and people have to offer. We set up play dates and have her interact with people all throughout her life. She has many great friendships that she has built already in her five years of life and we nourish her to continue to build these friendships and build new ones. She is also surrounded by so many loving family members that we as adults help her maintain.

On the other side, we also personally know many people who have siblings who don’t even communicate or connect with. Therefore, having a sibling does not mean you have someone with you for life as they may not want to be part of your life. A sibling does not mean a life-long friend.

Nikki with her cousin Connor as they embrace each other’s company.
Selfish

When you ask anyone that knows Nikki really well, knows that she is not selfish. Of course there can be moments that she may not want to share a favorite toy and that is absolutely normal as she is only five! However, she is very generous and shares with others.

Spoiled

This word in itself stings when I hear, read, or see it! I recall a couple of years back, a family member mentioning to someone I know that Nikki was a spoiled little girl. Of course as a momma bear I was going to call out on that person. But I stepped back and looked at their own family dynamics and knew they were just forecasting their own parenting style onto me. Nikki is very loved and we provide for her the best that we can. We feed her, cloth her and provide her shelter. There are many things that she asks for and she does not get as we can not afford to give her everything that she wants. With age she has learned that we need to be grateful for what we do have and know that we can’t get everything we want. She is our only child so it is natural that it would be easier for us to provide for her a few extras. In the process, we make sure she knows how lucky she is that this can be done. Throughout the year, we do donations to others in order to teach her how important it is to give back. Many times she goes through some of her really good toys and gives it to others who don’t have any. We even give away clothes that no longer fit to a family who is in need. Therefore, please don’t call a child spoiled as it is so hurtful to all.

Impatient

I am not sure what child is patient with a sibling or not? Nikki can be patient and impatient as it all depends what she is excited for. I know many adults who are impatient as well and they have tons of siblings. Therefore, we knew not to worry and with age Nikki is getting much better in waiting. 😉

Maladjusted

Nikki thrives in social settings and is sociable with all. Not to mention her amazing empathy towards others. It is something that even her teachers have noted in her report cards and we couldn’t be prouder. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another and it is one that can be hard for children to exhibit. I have been often asked if Nikki has any older siblings as she is so loving and caring towards others. Everyone is always shocked to hear that Nikki is an only child. I am never shocked as that is how we raised her.

Nikki with her best friend Madison. One of the many friendships she has built.

Momma Braga Closing Thoughts

We support the decisions that families make for themselves. Everyone does and chooses what is best for them. My request to everyone as we end the year, is to be more accepting and loving to one another. Let us respect others and just give a listening ear when needed. Remember that whether someone decides to have no children or ten children, we shouldn’t judge or condemn them. The definition of “family” truly depends on how you see your family looking and not what others think it should look like.

After discussing it all and seeing how life is at this point for us…I turned to my husband and said “I am one and done.” He of course agreed and we couldn’t be happier with our family of three.

Thank you to all my amazing readers for all your love and support. This year we have had 30,000 readers and we are truly thankful!!!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

What Do You Do If Your Baby Just Won’t Sleep?!

Pixabay – CC0 Licence

 

It’s one of the most painful parts of parenting, when your baby won’t sleep. Sometimes the issue is straightforward, such as if they’re teething, in which case, we can prepare ourselves for a rough night on occasion. But what happens when your baby just won’t sleep, and you think you’ve tried everything?

Have they been unwell recently?

It’s easy to say that once they’ve got over a cold that they are fine, but as you well know, it can take a long time to get over something. They may be fine in themselves but by the time bedtime rolls around, they need a little bit of extra comfort, and it’s definitely worth checking their temperature just before bedtime. If that’s the case where you can get some paracetamol for kids to lower their temperature. We can be unwell for quite a while, and when you think about your children being surrounded by other kids with other bugs, feeling under the weather can be par for the course for a while.

Are they going through a change?

Stress isn’t something that’s for parents; when toddlers and babies undergo various milestones, they can regress. Look at your child; has something happened recently that has caused major upheaval in their world? It doesn’t have to be a major thing, but when you think about those big changes, such as going to school, or a new sibling, you have to expect that they will regress in some way because it is their way of coping with the problem. If this is the case, and they need a little bit of extra care and attention, give it to them. Because otherwise, if you don’t feel supported, they will express themselves in ways that aren’t particularly nice, such as an aggressive manner.

Have they ever been to sleep by themselves?

It’s a comfort thing, especially at the very outset, and you want your child to go to sleep, you naturally cuddle them until they do drop off, but if they wake up in the night and you aren’t there, they’ll get upset, and so the cycle begins all over again. If you can find a way to help your child fall asleep by themselves, they will become self-soothing. We have to teach them how to fall asleep by themselves, and it can take a long time to get right. You can begin by sitting a little bit further away from the bed, and gradually, over time, move a  little bit further towards the bedroom door. As well as this, think about other ways to help them drift off, such as certain cues like giving them a bath before bed, reading a story, and building night-time routines that can help them go to sleep self sufficiently.

There are so many reasons why they won’t go to sleep by themselves, and a lot of parents feel that they just need to let their children cry it out, but this, as has been shown numerous times, isn’t a very good approach. As much as we need to give them comfort, if they don’t sleep, it’s definitely worth thinking about if they have been unwell recently, or are anxious for whatever reason.

 

Great Ways To Help Your Kids With Their Homework

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Many things in life have become more demanding and complex than when we were kids. With higher expectations, both for students and teachers, as well as additional challenges, like new curriculums and smartphones, homework is one of the many examples. Despite your already busy schedule, you have to teach your kids after school, while also making sure that you don’t interfere with their learning. This can be tricky, which is why these six great tips can be helpful.

  1. Talk To The Teachers

Parents often don’t know how involved they should be in their child’s homework. The only way to find this out for sure is the speak to the teacher. You and your child’s teacher should be a team dedicated to the academic success of your kid. This is an important relationship, which means, like any other, communication is the key. For this reason, you should attend all school events.

  1. Make A Study Space

Studying on the couch isn’t nearly as productive as your child would have you believe. After all, the living room is filled with distractions, from the television to siblings, and even pets. Your child must have a space dedicated to completing homework. This should be in a quiet and well-lit location, with plenty of space. As long as the room is free, your dining space could work well.

  1. Provide The Proper Tools

Although most parents make sure their child has plenty of stationery for school, many kids leave their pencil cases in their lockers at the end of the day. To make sure your child has no excuse to skip their homework, you must have all the tools they might need, including a computer, printer, and ink cartridges. Remember to store these things together so that nothing gets lost.

  1. Work With A Routine

Structure is very important for children, especially where homework is concerned. Different kids work best at different times of the day, so create a routine that works for your child. While most parents would prefer their kids to do their homework as soon as they get home, yours may not want to do that. No adult wants to begin the chores right after getting home from work, after all.

  1. Focus On Healthy Habits

It’s not uncommon for kids to have several hours of homework to complete each night. When your child also has other after-school commitments, like sports or music, this leaves very little time in the day. While making time for homework is crucial, your child’s health is more important. If they aren’t getting enough sleep or skipping meals, you may want to talk to the teacher.

  1. Set A Good Example

Kids learn by copying what their parents do. This means that, if your children see you working hard, they will know they should be doing the same. Although you don’t need to start pouring over a math textbook, you could let your child see you reading a novel or balancing the budget. Your child is much more likely to follow your advice if they see you doing the same.

We all want our kids to be successful, so help yours on their way by following the advice above.

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

 

3 Ways to Save on Family Spends

We all know that having children can be expensive! The thing is, these kids, they just keep on growing so they need new clothes, they switch their interests, they move onto different toys and books and they like to get out and about. This is without even factoring in the roof over their heads and food in their tummies. This being the case, we are often looking at ways to reduce costs, so we thought that today we would share 3 ways to save on family spends.

Reduce the entertainment budget

There are so many things that you can do with your children that don’t cost the earth. You might take them out exploring in the great outdoors, taking a picnic with you and embarking on a nature hunt. Or perhaps you will make it even more exciting and get out there at night time, under the stars with a campfire and a little star gazing. Adventures outside are often either free or inexpensive and they will probably form the very best childhood memories.

If the weather isn’t being kind to you, then you could go to the library, build a den with sheets and cushions, have friends over to play, snuggle down with a movie afternoon (complete with popcorn, of course) or get a crafting and junk modelling session on the go.

Image Pixabay

Reduce the clothes budget

Whether you are looking to buy girls swimwear, active wear or casual winter clothes, try to buy out of season.

Plan ahead with your children’s wardrobes and always buy the clothes sizes that they will move into the following year, this year. By doing it this way, you will buy their summer wear at the end of the summer when it is all reduced, ready for next year, and the same with winter.

You can also arrange to pass clothes on between friends, which is the perfect arrangement as you won’t ever feel like any of the clothes are going to waste when your children have grown out of them.

Reduce the gifts budget

Your children are likely to get invited to children’s parties, seemingly all of the time when they first start going to school. Which means that you will find yourself trying to buy cards and gifts practically every other week. In this case, when you see a brilliant toy sale on, grab a few appropriate gifts. Aim to buy things that you feel will make lovely presents, but will have cost you a fraction of the normal price. Set them aside, ready for that party invite to come through.

It can be trickier to do this with your own children’s gifts as they often change their minds over the specific items that they want over the course of a few months, sometimes over the course of a day! The best way to tackle this is to buy them their smaller items as and when you see great deals on, and then save a portion of your budget for that main gift or two that they will have their hearts set on.

 

Our First School Year Takeaways

Hard to believe that our first school year arrived so quickly and just as quick, it is done. It is hard not to get emotional as we reflect on our daughter’s first school year. I remember dropping her off at the first day of school and her politely asking me to leave while I held onto the lump in my throat. Then releasing all the tears as I entered my car alone and wondered the whole day on how she was doing. To the last day of school where everyone excitedly said good-bye as they get to experience their first official summer holidays.

It has been such a journey and we all grew so much in the time that we call “school year.” There are a few takeaways that I want to share that may help other new parents as they embark on school life for the first time.

High and Low Points

A life lesson that we all know is that there are high and low points in life. This same lesson can be applied to Junior Kindergarten. There will be days that your child will be happy and there will be other days that your child is not happy. This is absolutely normal as the child needs to adjust to school life and some days might be better than others. The most important thing to do with your child is to talk about all the points of the day.

Every day after school, I would ask Nikki how her school day went and I would try to prepare myself in advance of what the responses might be. Some days there were some crying and other days there were smiles. At the end of the day, we both learned together on how to cope with the feelings of the day and how to better express them especially on the bad days.

Germs

They do exist and EVERYWHERE in the classroom! We were told by many other parents that kids get sick often at school, we were just hopeful that it wouldn’t happen to us. Well, that dream bubble broke very quickly in the school year as we battled cold after cold the first four months of the school year. At first we thought there must be something wrong with our child for being sick so often. However, our family doctor reassured us that this is common especially in the first couple of years of school. There are even points throughout the school year that it spikes (After Thanksgiving, Christmas Break and March Break were the most common times). A child’s immune system is being exposed to the world around them and it will take some to adjust.

We felt relieved that it wasn’t just us and we all started to take our vitamins to make sure we all stayed strong while fighting any cold that tried to bring us down. *When your child is sick, many times so do the parents. Don’t forget to take care of yourselves!

Kids Can Be Cruel

We all know that kids are not the nicest of beings and unfortunately we learned that very early on in Nikki’s school life. We had to deal with a child who called our daughter “fat” and it was a shocking experience for us to deal with. We learned a great deal from this experience and we were able to provide tips to help other parents who may encounter themselves in a similar situation.

Kids will be kids is no longer an acceptable term in our home. We feel it is important to stop the cycle instead of encouraging the phrase of “it’s part of being a kid.” Our biggest take away from this experience was to make sure that my child loves herself. If we truly love ourselves, our self-image will always stay true.

Label EVERYTHING

The Lost and Found is a popular area in the school and I understand why. Many kids have the same bags, lunch containers, and even clothes. Therefore, many times the items are taken by accident by another student or the items are lost. This is why we highly recommend to label everything that your child brings to school, including their shoes. We use Mabel’s Labels as they are durable and they have the perfect label for each item you need them for! It was a life saver for us as none of our items were lost or misplaced. That saved us a lot of money by the end of the year. Thank you Mabel’s Labels! 🙂

Be Involved

It is very important to be involved with your child’s educational learning. In Nikki’s class they brought home a communication book every night, this is where we can write notes to the teachers and they would also write notes for us if necessary. We loved this as it got us to be more involved in the classroom by having this form of communication between the teachers.

We do encourage to participate in fundraisers at the school and attend events that are open to parents to join. We did the chocolate fundraiser and it was a great learning experience for our daughter to undertake. It brought out her fundraising skills out and she was one of the top fundraisers in the school (special thank you to our family and friends for buying chocolates in support!). We also attended the Fun Fair that they had at the school which was great to see and interact with our students and parents. It really made us feel like part of the school community.

Any form of involvement that you can do with your child at school will benefit everyone. We know that we truly enjoyed being engaged and involved. I took it one step further and volunteered on their first school field trip and boy was that an experience that I will never forget (article coming soon on this!).

Create A Yearbook

I remember having yearbooks when I was older in school and loved having people sign my yearbooks. I never thought of having my teachers sign it and I wonder what they would have written about me.

This is why when I heard about this idea from my sister’s friend, I just had to incorporate it in our lives. We bought the classic, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss and made it into Nikki’s official yearbook. Every year we will be asking Nikki’s teachers to write in it and this way she can look back and see what her teachers wrote about her. It will be interesting to see what each teacher sees in Nikki and it will be a keepsake for life.

We are truly grateful for the remarkable teachers Nikki had this year as they were very supportive of Nikki and of us as parents. This is why we decided to write a very detailed letter to the principal of the school to show our thanks to each teacher that impacted Nikki’s school year. Written compliments are rare in today’s world as we are all so busy. However, I wanted to make sure that the teachers knew how special they are and how thankful we are that they taught our child this school year. Nikki’s teachers appreciated this gesture by us and one was almost in tears as she was humbly touched by our words.

How Much They Grow

It truly is amazing to see how much your child grows especially in the first year of school. Nikki learned in leaps and we are truly grateful to her teachers who helped her grow as a person and as a student.

On the first day of school, Nikki had the baby face that still made me feel that she was my baby (pictured below).

On the last day of school, she was blooming into a young lady who had a magical first school year (picture below). The change in her appearance, demeanor and knowledge was tremendous that this was the biggest takeaway from the whole year. It is amazing how one school year changes everything.

Now here I am a parent who has fully embarked in school life and it has been a journey. I know there will be other challenges, triumphs and milestones ahead but for now I am going to bask in Junior Kindergarten glory as Nikki passed! There are more smiles, joys and tears to come as I know I have had my fair share of all this first year.

I want to thank my husband, my family and all my friends for all their loving support of Nikki and me as we all go on this crazy journey called parenthood.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. 

Keep The House Tidier By Making A Garden Play Area

Okay, you’ve gotten sick of looking around your house and seeing how untidy it is. The children’s toys are everywhere, you can’t take one step without hitting a racing car or princess doll with your foot. You’ve probably already designated one particular room where the kids can play but still it’s not enough. Maybe you don’t have such a room and the living room is always looking like a bomb site. It’s time to make an area for the kids where they can play and not make you so worried over the mess they create. The garden comes to the rescue in many situations and this time is no different. We so often don’t think of the garden as useful space in our home. We tend to just keep it tidy and maybe sit outside every once in a while. All that space and nobody’s is really using it. It could be where there kids have their own play area, keeping the inside of the house tidier.

Start digging away

First thing’s first, you need to dig away the soil. You don’t need to make the entire garden into a play area, so select one corner or half. From then on you need to buy some soil bags or rather, just some large garden bags. These are made from strong synthetic fibers allowing them to bear a lot of weight. All the grass, leaves and soil should be placed inside these. Alternatively, if you have a large amount of earth to move you can use a skip bin. These can be hired in many different sizes. The truck will drive up to your house to drop it off and also pick it up when you’re finished with it. This is a very practical option as you might need to buy multiple bags as the job gets broader and tougher. So instead an open top container like a skip comes in handy.

Flatten and compact

The soil should then be flattened by either using a rake if it’s not that bad or a soil flattener. You can use your feet and hands to press the soil down evenly but this isn’t as consistent as the former option. These aren’t like tar flatteners which require a powered motor, soil flatterners are pushed by hand. Lawn rollers are also useful in this regard as they operate in much the same manner. Compactors are the last option as some soils are very tough, dense and perhaps have a lot of stones making the soil and lawn flatteners skip over the area.

Border and cover

Next you need to create a border around the area, which can be easily done using cylindrical wooden logs. These can be picked up in any garden and home improvement store. Fit them around the area by first digging into the soil as much as you need to. Keep the logs up at around waist height of the children. You can then cover the area with rubber chips and make the area safe to play on.

The garden is the most versatile part of our homes yet we never think of using what we have. A garden play area for the kids will keep the inside of your house tidier and give them somewhere to have fun.

 

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!

Leap Ahead with Leap Frog Epic™ Academy

Summer is upon us and it means that school is out! However, it doesn’t mean that the learning has to end as we know how important continuous learning is for children. There is a great option available for kids and it comes in the technology form that children love to explore.

We are delighted to introduce our readers to LeapFrog Epic™ Academy Edition which is LeapFrog’s most advanced Android-based tablet. It is packed with content including an extended three-month free trial of LeapFrog Academy™. This tablet is perfect for children ages three to nine years old. Get your growing child excited about everything from problem solving to learning to read.

Details

Pre-loaded with LeapFrog Academy™ app

This interactive learning program for three to six years of age guides children on a variety of fun Learning Adventures they can play anywhere.

Grows with your child

LeapFrog Epic™ is safe right out of the box and parents can control when to add more features such as Android™ apps as their child is ready.

Packed with Learning Content

Already includes $175 worth of learning content and access to the LeapFrog® App Center that explore a range of subjects and skills such as math, science, reading, creativity, problem solving and critical thinking

Customizable Home Screen

Kids can get excited about a virtual world they create. Watch night fall, see the weather change, discover fun surprised and add stickers, animations and more.

Popular Android™ apps

Offers popular Android™ apps like Fruit Ninja Academy that are built exclusively for LeapFrog® to eliminate in-app purchases so they are kid-safe as soon as they are downloaded.

LeapSearch™ kid-friendly web browser

LeapSearch™ provides access only to approved, kid-appropriate content. Parents can add sites and reduce restrictions using the parental controls as their child is ready. 

Just for Me™ Learning

Exclusive to LeapFrog®, Just for Me™ learning technology personalizes select games to challenge kids as they grow.

Durable Design

Built for the way kids play, with a shatter-safe LCD screen and protective bumper for everyday bumps.

#MelAndNikkiReview

We absolutely love this tablet and Nikki has loved it so much that it hasn’t left her side since we received it.

Our reviews are authentic and real; therefore, we spent a good two weeks to get to know the tablet and see how it truly can benefit our readers. We are delighted to share our top six reasons why we love the Leap Frog Epic™ Academy.

  1. It provides hours of educational fun and all their learning apps and games are educator-approved.
  2. It is kid friendly and safe. As a parent, I want to make sure that what she is playing and viewing is appropriate for her age. Also am relieved to know that items can not be purchased online without a parent’s review.
  3. It is durable! I can’t tell you how many times items are dropped especially tablets. We love how LeapFrog has us in mind and has already equipped the tablet with a safe protective case – thank you!
  4. Travel friendly. We love how we can take the tablet wherever we go and many of the games do not need Wi-Fi. These comes in handy for long car rides especially in the summer. Entertainment and Learning on the go is what we say! 😉
  5. Battery life is phenomenal as it lasts 7+ hours! This doesn’t mean they should be on the tablet for that long but it is comforting to know that you don’t need to keep charging the tablet a few hours later.
  6. Easy set up! I don’t know about most parents but I do like easy set-ups. Ones that don’t take too long to do especially when your child is eagerly waiting to use it! 🙂

This will be our favorite technology piece to use this summer as it will keep Nikki’s mind active while school is out. It will keep the skills that she has learned in the first year of school growing with a simple touch of a screen. Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give the Leap Frog Epic™ Academy 10 Leaps out of 5! We do recommend it! An added bonus is that LeapFrog offers the LeapFrog Academy FREE for three months. The Academy offers a step-by-step learning program that automatically responds to each child. A must try if you are purchasing this amazing tablet!

explore – play – imagine – create

If you would like to purchase one for a child in your life, click here for the Green and click here for the Pink.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

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