Getting Your Family Involved with Being Better Members of Your Community

To improve our local communities and where we live, we have to be part of the change. We can all do things that will help to improve or maintain good health and wellbeing of the area around us. You may think that what you do and your family’s actions don’t add up to much, but they do make a difference in the grand scheme of things. Making changes, and being part of that, helps because compassion and change are contagious. Doing these things matter because when one person uses their voice, it helps more and more people to use theirs too, and then change happens.

With all of that in mind, here are some things that you and your family can do to make sure that you are good members of your local community. You never know what kind of ripple effect it will have.

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  • Looking through certain things with more compassionate eyes makes a difference to start with. It starts with making an effort to help and reach out to someone local to you that is in need. You might see someone local struggling with their shopping, or have a neighbor that is pretty lonely, or a friend needs some more support with their children. Whatever it is, doing something at least gets things started and makes a difference. Small gestures can have a big impact.
  • Just imagine how different things would be if everyone respected each, even if they have differences. Start off with respect, and teaching children respect, and it will make a big difference. It is something really simple, but will make the difference between peace or not.
  • The communities that we live in are going to be pretty diverse places. Bonds can be formed as we step in and come together, in order to support other people in the local community, as well as other people and families in the community.  If you’re able to, think about volunteering your time; it can help you to meet new people at the same time. You may have qualifications to be able to help with child advocacy in your area, or other worthy causes that need activists or advocates. It can be a good idea to get involved with things like food drives, soup kitchens, and donate what you can to local causes and school events, for example. When you involve your children with what you are doing, it can help them to learn from a young age that these kinds of things are normal to do.

Each person and family is accountable for what they do in their life and have their own conscience to help them to live more responsibly. You can’t say that you don’t judge people that live near you, if you then go ahead and do just that. Don’t claim to be tolerant and accepting, if you actually act untowards to those in your community that are different to yourself. Practice what you preach, and it will make a difference for your whole family.

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The Authenticity Project | Book Review

“The Authenticity Project is perfect for your “me time” when you just want to sit back and indulge in a story full of friendship, love and makes you think.” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

Julian Jessop, an eccentric, lonely artist and septuagenarian believes that most people aren’t really honest with each other. But what if they were? And so he writes –in a plain, green journal– the truth about his own life and leaves it in his local café. It’s run by the incredibly tidy and efficient Monica, who furtively adds her own entry and leaves the book in the wine bar across the street. Before long, the other who find the green notebook add the truths about their own deepest selves–and soon find each other In Real Life at Monica’s Café.

The Authenticity Project’s cast of characters–including Hazard, the charming addict who makes a vow to get sober; Alice, the fabulous mommy Instagrammer whose real life is a lot less perfect than it looks online; and their other new friends-is by turns quirky and funny, heartbreakingly sad and painfully true-to-life. It’s a story about being brave and putting your real self forward–and finding out that it’s not as scary as it seems. In fact, it looks a lot like happiness.

#MelAndNikkiReview

The Authenticity Project is superb! It combined it all; friendship, real, love and the ability to make us think. I loved the set-up of the story with the green notebook. It lead to the creation of a group of friends that would otherwise have not gotten together. But the best part of this book, is showing how our best selves is being our honest selves.

Many times I often wonder if many of the photos I see can even be real especially from influencers online. Are they truly be honest or just posing for that one sponsor that they feel they can’t live without? During that process of being glamourous for the likes and follows, do they lose themselves? This novel allows us to see one mommy Instagrammer, Alice, and what she goes through (*this is a fiction character). This is what I found to be relatable and in this modern era, many will be able to relate to the story. Trying to differentiate between reality and fiction has always peaked my interest! 😉

From beginning to end, it truly touched my heart and it was so enjoyable that I read it twice! Huge compliment as I usually only have time to read a novel one time and that is the honest truth! If you are looking for a good-feel book to emerge yourself in when you do have some time for yourself then I do recommend this one. I know how hard it is to find that time but if you love reading then this will be great for you.

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview, I give it 5 stars out of 5! This story inspired me so much that for the first time I shared unfiltered and no make-up photo of myself on Instagram (featured below). It is ME and I love the me that I am. I am not perfect and am full of flaws but that is what makes me Momma Braga. I wouldn’t have it any other way! 🙂

 

If you would like to purchase this novel, click here.

About the Author

Clare Pooley spent twenty years in the heady world of advertising before becoming a full-time mother. Pooley writes from her kitchen table in Fullham, London where she lives with her long-suffering husband, three children, dog, and an African pygmy hedgehog.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

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

Michael Recycle Meets Borat The Space Cat

“Michael Recycle Meets Borat The Space Cat is a fun story to read and one that can inspire us all to take better care of our planet.” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

Teach your kids the importance of environmentalism and sustainability in this fun, exciting adventure!

It’s the near future, and Earth is on the brink of an environmental apocalypse. Michael Recycle is desperate to reverse the situation when suddenly a visitor from another galaxy enters Earth’s atmosphere – Borat The Space Cate! Borat not only has ideas to help Michael stop Earth spiraling into the disaster zone, but he wants to show Michael just how sustainability can really be done. The intergalactic cat takes Michael back to his own planet – Splearth – a planet very similar to our own, but in a parallel universe where only cats have survived and reversed the fate of their planet. Oh, and let’s not forget the Vegan Vikings that helped out, too.

It might not be too late to help Earth reverse its fate, and if anyone can, Borat can!

#MelAndNikkiReview

Michael Recycle Meets Borat The Space Cat combines imagination, fun and learning into one great children’s book. An important lesson learned in the most magical way and that is through storytelling. The characters in the story make it so much more fun and they truly offer that dash of humor to keep everyone engaged. How can you not smile or giggle with Borat the Cat?! His name screams giggles and his illustration completes it!

We just loved reading this story over and over again. The rhyming style is our favorite type and really helped me get into character (our story time is always entertaining!). The story flowed beautifully and the illustrations were just amazing! We have now become Michael Recycle’s biggest fans! His mission to help protect our Earth is inspiring and it makes us want to do so much more to help. Included in the story is tips on how you can help your planet and we just loved this bonus feature in the story.

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give it 10 stars out of 5 for being out of this world amazing! A story that encompasses it all and most importantly a message that should be heard loud and clear. We can all do more to protect our one and only, Earth.

If you would like to purchase a copy for your reading line-up, click here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*A virtual copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.

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

 

Ocean! Waves For All | Book Review


“Ocean is the largest body of water on Earth and one important dude. He provides a home to millions of plants and animals, plays a vital role in oxygen production, and is essential for global climate regulation. Ocean enjoyed working on this book with Stacy McAnulty and David Litchfield, and would like to work with all humans to create a healthy planet.”

Synopsis

Dude, I am Ocean.

You know my many names: Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic, Indian, Southern. It’s all excellent me. My salt water flows across the planet as one. I have no flag. No nationality. My waves are for all. Life on Earth began in my epic waters. I keep the global just right. And I have rad secrets. But I’m facing a major wipeout! Only by working together can we get back in the zone. It’s you and me, dudes.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Ocean! Waves For All let’s us dive into the amazing world of Ocean and all it’s amazing wonder. We even have Ocean himself giving us the load down of his amazing features. Ocean has a very cool personality and it shines throughout the story, dude! 😉

We loved learning all about Ocean in this great children’s story. It is no surprise that we loved this book since it is the same duo who provided us with Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Year.

The illustrations are beautiful and the story flowed easily to make it fun for children to learn. We also loved how the author included facts, a game with Ocean and sources. However, our favorite part was the 8 ways you can be a friend to Ocean. This is the most important message of this book and how we should protect our Ocean.

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give Ocean! Waves for All, 5 waves out of 5! Great book to learn about Ocean and how we can protect this precious source for us all.

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

About the Autor

Stacy McAnulty is terrified of jellyfish and sharks, but that doesn’t stop her from visiting Ocean. She’s the award-winning author of more than twenty books for children, including Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years, illustrated by David Litchfield; Sun! One in a Billion and Moon! Earth’s Best Friend, both illustrated by Stevie Lewis; the Max Explains Everything picture book series, illustrated by Deborah Hocking; and Beautiful, Brave, and Love, all illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff. She lives within driving distance of the Atlantic with her husband, three children, and three dogs. http://www.stacymcanulty.com

About the Illustrator

David Litchfield is the creator of the award-winning The Bear and the Piano, as well as the illustrator of numerous picture books, including Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years by Stacy McAnulty and Miss Muffet, or What Came After by Marilyn Singer. He lives on the other side of the Atlantic, in Bedfordshire, United Kingdom. http://www.davidlitchfieldillustration.com

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

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

Why People with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease are starting to Go Vegan

Fatty Liver Disease does not only mean you have received a scary diagnosis, it means that you will have to commit to a lifestyle change. The foods you once enjoyed you may no longer be able to eat. Holiday meals with family and friends may mean your loved ones can splurge on sweets and delicious foods but you will always have to hold back. Lastly, eating right and exercising regularly is not only good for your body, it can save your life. Coupled with the inaccurate assumption that all people with liver disease drink alcoholic, those with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease have a lot to take on.

Previously, Momma Braga has talked about what it is like having a husband with this disease.

Is Going Vegan The Answer?

Though going vegan is not the answer to curing Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, it is a way to help your overall health and keep your liver in a healthier state. Delicious vegetables and natural plant based proteins replace the pork, steak and chicken options can be easier on many people.

We recommend anyone thinking about going vegan to help their Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease to talk to their doctor.

How Do I start the Journey to Veganism?

Veganism does not have to be something that is done suddenly, but there are a few things you can do first to help you ease into veganism.

Get a Supportive Community

Finding social media groups, friends and family who can support your possible lifestyle change is integral for making sure you have a positive experience. Whether you choose to go vegan completely or just start eating vegan foods to ease the symptoms of Non-Alcoholic Liver Disease, having a group of positive people can make the world of difference. If you don’t have supportive family and friends, look for local meet ups and Facebook groups of people who are going vegan or who share recipes. There is a wealth of information in person and online!

Plan Recipes

Look on the internet and get some recipes from top vegan chefs. Check with your doctor if these meals are well balanced and helpful for your liver. Once you got a set plan, its testing time! Pick a day to cook a few of these delicious meals and see if you like them and how they make you feel. With the help of your doctor, getting ten to twenty delicious wholesome liver disease friendly meals can be so beneficial to your health.

Get a Test

There are tests out there to see if your body is fit to be a vegan. Vegan testing is a really great way to see if the vegan lifestyle is for you. You will learn a lot about yourself and you could share the results with your doctor. Getting a test could be the start of a new and healthier lifestyle!

As more and more people are considering vegetarian and vegan options, following these steps with your doctor may be some help to your Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. Remember to talk to your doctor, stay well and stay healthy!

You Be Mommy

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

Synopsis

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

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

#MelAndNikkiReview

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

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

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

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

About the Author

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

About the Illustrator

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

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

Momma Braga

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

Go to Sleep (I Miss You)

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

Synopsis

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

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

#MelAndNikkiReview

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author

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

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

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

 

You Belong is the Perfect Book For New Parents

You Belong is a heartwarming story that captures all the feels of what a new baby brings to a family. A must read especially for new parents.” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

I’m patiently waiting for you to arrive. I want to meet you so much I could cry. I wonder whose hands and whose eyes you will have? I wonder if you’re going to smile like your dad? Nothing you ever do will be so wrong. 

You belong, you belong.

Singer and songwriter Rachel Platten has written soft and sweet words of welcome to new babies. It explores the myriad of emotions expectant parents experience. The dreamy illustrations capture the magic and wonder a parent has for their precious one before they arrive, and the person they envision as they grow up in the world.

#MelAndNikkiReview

You Belong truly warmed my heart and took me back to my pregnancy as we awaited the arrival of our baby girl. It reminded me of the power of love at no sight as we love our baby before we even meet them. It truly is a magically experience and one that is coveyed so beautifully in this story.

From the heartfelt words to the breathtaking illustrations, it has surpassed our expectations. Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give it 10 stars out of 5! Hands down one of the best stories that we have read on the experience of being a new mom. Believe me when I say that we have read our fair share in the last five years on our blog. I can not recommend this book enough and if you know someone expecting then this is the perfect gift!

This book can also make a perfect gift for Mother’s Day as many moms will be able to relate to the feelings expressed. This book is recommended for children ages zero to four. My five-year-old enjoyed this book and it was a great book for her to practice her reading skills. Overall a beautiful story for all. If you would like to purchase a copy, click here.

About the Author

Born in New York City and raised in Massachusetts, Rachel Platten is an Emmy Award-winning, multiplatinum selling recording artist. Few artists in the past decade have struck a chord of hope and resilience like she did with her empowering hit “Fight Song.” Rachel topped countless charts worldwide with her major label debut album Wildfire, which also included the platinum Billboard Hot 100 hit “Stand By You.” In 2017, Rachel released her second full-length album for Columbia Records called Waves. Pregnant with her first child, Rachel released, “You Belong,” a song dedicated to her daughter, at the end of 2018, which was inspired expectant and new mothers everywhere.

About the Illustrator

Marcin Piwowarski was born in 1972 and pursued both international and domestic careers in painting and children’s illustration. He is self-taught in traditional as well as digital illustration and has managed to make over one thousand books during his twenty-year artistic journey. His artwork is mostly inspired by nature, daily life, and music. He likes to mix magical and mysterious ambience with down-to-earth elements of everyday reality, which results in thrilling but comprehensible pieces that are loved by children and adults equally.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

Momma Braga

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

 

Momma Braga’s Roasted Potato Recipe

Growing up I always had a soft spot for potatoes as it was my go-to side every time my mom would ask what I wanted as a side. The amazing thing about potatoes is that you can make them in so many different ways. So this weekend, I tried a different way of making roasted potatoes by using a cupcake tray. Yes! Cupcake Tray!

This was such an easy and simple recipe that took me a total of 40 minutes which included prep, cooking time and serving. *Please note that time and oven temperature may vary depending on the equipment that you use in your own home. Also remember that when you are cooking, have fun! 🙂

 

Roasted Potatoes

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 Large Potatoes (Any kind that you like, we use white potatoes)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Parsley Flakes

DIRECTIONS

  • Wash the potatoes thoroughly and cut them into four (4) quarters.
  • Place potatoes in a Ziploc and put ingredients (use quantity that you are comfortable with using).
    • Salt
    • Black Pepper
    • Garlic Powder
    • Olive Oil
  • Once all the ingredients have been added, mix it all together in. Why we love the Ziploc is the option of shaking it in the bag 😉
  • We used a cupcake tray and placed our quarters into a slot (you can add two to three depending on the size of the potatoes). We found that this type of tray really made a difference with baking the potatoes perfectly.
  • Once potatoes are all set, we added some parsley flakes for extra flavour.
  • Bake in preheated oven at 450 for approx. 25 minutes. Then move potatoes around to get all sides cooked and lower temperature to 350 for 15 minutes.
  • Once time is up, let it stand for a few minutes and then place them on a serving tray. It truly is delicious!

And there you have it, Momma Braga’s Roasted Potatoes! Give it a try and let me know what you think of it!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

Momma Braga

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

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.