Category: Tips

A Different Kind: 21 Gift Ideas to Surprise an Introvert With

Do you have an introvert in your life that you need to buy a gift for? Why not get them something that will surprise them but will also celebrate their need to stay to themselves?

Below are 21 gift ideas designed specifically for introverts. And, since there are no introvert stores out there, at least not yet, someone interested in buying any of these will need to get more information about them via Google.

1. Mugs

If an introvert is a coffee lover, mugs to hold their cup of joe are numerous. Mugs designed especially for introverts span the range of “Sorry I’m late. I didn’t want to be here,” to “I was social distancing before it was cool,” and everything in between. Best of all, they can be found almost everywhere on the Internet.

2. Reading Lamps

Introverted readers probably outnumber introverted coffee drinkers by a large margin, which is perhaps why there are so many accessories for those who love their books. That’s probably why there are more than just a few beautiful lighting types available.

3. T-shirts and Sweatshirts

If you’re going to be an introvert, why not tell the world about it with an appropriately inscribed t-shirt or sweatshirt? Again, these are numerous, with sayings that run the gamut of “Shhhh. I’m introverting,” to “Introverts Unite! Separately, In Your Own Homes,” and more pointedly, “I’d Love to Stay and Chat, but I’m Lying.”

4. Door Mats

Anyone who happens to be an introvert and who would instead be left alone would appreciate a doormat that effectively sends the message. That’s the purpose of doormats that say things like “Go Away” and other warm messages. And for the introvert whose interruptions don’t stop at the front door, there are plenty of signs that give the wise a warning such as “Do Not Disturb, I’m Disturbed Enough.”

5. Books and Coloring Books

Another item that would come under the category of reading is books and coloring books. Fortunately, if you’re an introvert, you can either read about your predisposition or make colorful noise about it. Some books extol the virtues of staying by yourself and what can be done when someone is doing that or by defining the ways people can reach out to you, such as texting.

6. Throws and Blankets

What introvert could resist a nice, soft throw or blanket to cuddle up with on the bed or sofa once a book and cup of coffee or other beverage has been selected for a quiet evening at home? There are countless types of these available.

7. Coffees and Teas

Any introvert who loves their coffees and teas will have something more to celebrate when they find out that subscriptions will bring their favorite brews right to their door.

8. Alcohol

Even if the introvert in someone’s life is up to their prophetic rear-end in quarantine, they can still enjoy a little nip when it’s needed by joining one of several alcohol clubs available. For only the price of a subscription, an introvert has their choice of beer, booze, or drinkware. There are even complete mixology kits for introverts who need a start.

9. Cookware

The pandemic quarantine might have brought people back to the kitchen but introverts will keep them there. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools that will help them make the best of their time. From crockpots to utensils, there is plenty to choose from.

10. Pampering Accessories

Whether an introvert wants to give themselves a back rub or a bath, there are plenty of tools to provide what they want. Not only that, but they can pamper themselves in style in whichever room of the house they want to do it in.

11. Comfy Clothes and Pajamas

Give an introvert something comfortable to wear and the chances are good they might even invite someone over to enjoy the gift with. Well, maybe not, but they will undoubtedly enjoy the gesture while snuggled up on the couch or in bed.

12. Headphones and Ear Buds

What would be better to tell the world to go away than headphones and earbuds that cancel out everything except what the high living introvert happens to be listening to?

13. Aromatherapy Sets

Perfumes and colognes are a thing of the past, but everyone loves the entire home to smell good. What better way is there to make that happen than with an aromatherapy set? An essential oil diffuser works along the same lines except there’s nothing to plug in. Just add an essential oil to a diffuser and it does all the work.

14. Journals

Since introverts cherish their time alone, why not give them something to do while they are at it? A journal accompanied by a nice pen will do the trick.

 15. Nap Time

Even if the introvert in someone’s life is also an insomniac, both bases are covered with plenty of sleep accessories like a sleep mask printed with “Wild Horses Couldn’t Get Me Out of Bed” or other clever sayings.

16. Pillows

If someone has to announce they are an introvert, the chances are good it isn’t working, but for those who need help, there are plenty of pillows with things like “I Party Like an Introvert…Which is to Say I Don’t.” That should get the message across.

17. Pins and Dangles

Introverts often like to be low-key about how they tell others, so pins are often left to do the work. Those that say things like “Happy Alone” or simply “Introvert” can be found on the Internet.

18. Games and Puzzles for One

Introverts have plenty of time on their hands to be, well, themselves, so why not give them something they can enjoy doing while they are at it like games. There are numerous games available on the Internet.

19. Escape Chairs

Furniture isn’t typically what most people think about when it comes to gifts for introverts, but makers have been business creating chairs for lots of solitary people.

Some are designed to muffle sound down to nothing as well as those that make an introvert hard to see. There are even total isolation cubbies.

20. Let Introverts Get Physical

Whether an introvert is into yoga or weightlifting, there is plenty of equipment out there for those who like to enjoy it alone. From sci-fi themed kettlebells to yoga mats, and everything in between, gifts are available in stores and on the Internet.

21. Hosty Clubs

Think gift subscriptions to Airbnb. You get the idea.

What more can be said than there is a lot available out there for introverts or introvert wannabes.

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7 Ways to Protect Yourself Against Attempted Burglary

No one wants or plans to be the victim of a burglary. However, the FBI has reported there are more than one million burglaries across the country, every year. One of the best ways to protect a home is by installing an alarm system from a reputable company.

There is an array of other products to use as well, such as Security Film for Office, access systems, and smart technology. Additional actionable tips to provide protection against burglars are listed here.

  1. Be Sure the Home Appears Lived In

Burglars are trying to find an easy target. They are going to search for homes that appear to be vacant. If a homeowner is going to be away from home for a week or more, make sure something is looking after the property. Be sure the snow is shoveled, and grass mowed. Don’t let the mailbox get full or newspapers to pile up. It’s also smart to put lights on a timer or invest in automatic window treatments. These are the steps that will help ensure it looks like someone is home.

  1. Lock Windows and Doors

If a homeowner isn’t locking their doors or windows when they leave, or even when they are at home, they are inviting a burglar to come in. It’s easy for a burglar to locate an open house. Approximately 40 percent of burglaries don’t happen because of forced entries. Additionally, don’t put a hide-a-key in an obvious place. Burglars are going to know where to look.

  1. Keep Entry Ways Open

There are some burglaries that occur in a hidden entryway where a person can break a window or pick a lock. If there are shrubs or trees that block the view of the door, now is the time to have them trimmed. Another step is to install motion sensor lights to deter a burglar.

  1. Hide Valuable Items

Some robberies occur because valuable items are left out in the open or in plain sight. If a person has a fancy television or expensive entertainment system, be sure it isn’t close to the windows. Don’t leave jewelry or cash on the dresser either.

  1. Avoid Opening the Door for Strangers

Some home invasions occur just because someone opened the door. In fact, 27.6 percent of all burglaries occur while someone is home. If someone comes to the door, they may have a reason to try to get inside. Have a peephole in the door to ensure that anyone answering the door knows who is there before opening it.

  1. Consider Getting a Dog

Dogs, particularly a bigger dog, will be a great deterrent for a burglar. There are many people who are afraid of dogs and even if they aren’t, a big dog barking will scare them off.

  1. Don’t Advertise Going on a Vacation

There are some burglars that are going to stake out a house before they try to rob it. They will watch a person’s routine to find out when no one is going to be there. They will also look at social media to see when people are going to be away. Avoid doing this.

When it comes to protecting a home or business, there are several steps that a person can take to protect themselves and their home. Being informed is the best way to ensure that a home is well-protected from nefarious individuals.

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

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?!

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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

 

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. 

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!

When Should You Be Thinking About Retirement?

(Image Source)

 

For a lot of people, thinking about something like retirement will always feel a little silly. Even after working for a couple of decades, it will still feel as though you have plenty of time to think about your escape from work. Of course, though, there is more to retirement than simply finishing your job. You have to prepare your life for this event, and the earlier you get started, the better. To help you out with this, this post will be exploring some of the key areas which you’ll need to consider when you’re thinking about the future.

Your Pension

Being out of work means that you’ll need to have some sort of funding for your retirement. In a lot of cases, people will save a pension for this, and this makes it far easier to have a comfortable life. To build something like this, though, you will need to be saving for at least 40 years. For those who want to retire at 65, they will need to begin the process of saving for a pension as early as 25 years old. A lot of normal jobs will cover this for you, but it’s worth thinking about, as a lot of people find themselves having to work for far longer than they expected when they make a bad move in this area.

Your Home

Along with having money to live on, you will also need to think about your living situation for the future. If you’ve manage to buy your own home, you should have everything you need to cover you, even if you end up selling the place to move somewhere else. Along with this, companies like https://yukana.org.au/ are worth talking to as you reach your later years. You can often plan ahead with a retirement home, booking yourself in to move once your age makes it appropriate. Living in a place like this will usually make your pension go a lot further.

Your Health

It’s a real shame, but a lot of people find themselves unfit to enjoy retirement once the day to leave work finally arrives. Health issues can make living at home into a pain, and there are few ways to make this better once your body has started to deteriorate. The exercise and time you put into fitness in later life can help to balance this out. Those who have spent most of their time nice and fit will have a much better chance of feeling good as they get older, though it isn’t always easy to connect your future body with the one you have today. You will always have the same bones, muscles, and other organs, and this makes it crucial that you look after them.

 

With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to take on the challenge of thinking about retirement before the time comes. A lot of people struggle with this, finding it hard to know when they should be starting work on this part of their life. In reality, though, this should start as early as possible, even if you have to put a lot of work into it in the process.