Fat is the new F Word

“Do I look fat?” – Nikki, Age 4

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

Only Takes One Word

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

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

Plan of Action

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

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

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

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

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

 

Building Self-Image

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

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

Today’s Lesson

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

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

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

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

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

 

 

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The Astonishing Maybe | Book Review

“A new friendship becomes the adventure of a lifetime.”

Synopsis

Gideon hates the idea of moving to Nevada from the East Coast. It’s so empty and hot in his new neighbourhood. Only one person his age lives nearby: the girl next door, Roona.

Gid notices right away that Roona is…different. She wears roller skates and a blanket as a cape when she needs to feel strong. What he doesn’t bargain for, however, is how far outside his comfort zone Roona will take him, as she enlists his help in finding her long-gone father. For a kid who’s not allowed to ride his bike more than a few blocks from home, this will be an adventure that changes his life.

#MelAndNikkiReview

The Astonishing Maybe was a novel hard to put down as it captivated my attention. It brought real issues into light and I loved that as topics of mental illness, abuse and family dynamics can be difficult to discuss. However, Shaunta brings it all together in a way to have middle school graders to understand.

Gideon comes from a very loving family. Roona has a dad who isn’t around all her life and her mother is battling a mental illness. Very opposite family dynamics but with the same capability of forming a friendship. Gideon and Roona find themselves in many adventures that lead to some sad discoveries and scary moments. However, their friendship prevails as they learn that they can truly count on one another.

Absolutely loved the whole story and yes I did cry at some points but these are the best stories as they really speak to us. Engaging a reader in emotion is always the best form of a compliment. Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give it 5 stars out of 5!

“I didn’t know what to do. My stomach hurt, my head hurt. I felt tears just behind my eyelids and I fought desperately to keep them in.”

About the Author

Shaunta Grimes has worked as a substitute teacher, a newspaper reporter, a court counselor, and a vintage-clothing seller. She lives in Reno with her family, where she writes, teaches, and perpetually studies at the University of Nevada. The Astonishing Maybe marks her middle grade debut. Visit her blog about writing at whatisaplot.com.

We recommend this novel for readers 12 and up. If you would like to purchase this great book, please click here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

* The book was provided to Momma Braga in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed her solely belong to Momma Braga.

Stencil Revolution | Product Review

Growing up I loved to draw, trace and just being creative. It is amazing how doing something creative would bring me peace and relaxation.

This is why I am excited to introduce you all to Stencil Revolution. They offer a huge variety of reusable stencils for artists and crafters for all types. You’ll find over 750+ different stencils with up to eight different size options to chose from. From large wall stencils to a variety of different mandala stencil designs, they’ve got it all!

We got to try out three of designs recently and we had a lot of fun trying them!

Canada Flag Stencil

Since we live in Canada, Stencil Revolution was very kind in sending us the Canada Flag stencil which Nikki loved! It is an easy to follow stencil and turns out great once you have completed it.

World Map Stencil

The world map was another stencil that we got to try out and it is always great to have the world at your fingertips. This stencil was a little hard for us to do as some parts were very tiny but it was accurate and a detailed stencil.

Unicorn Head Stencil

It appears that Stencil Revolution knows us very well as they included the unicorn head stencil which had Nikki screaming for joy. It was simple to use and of course it has been used many times with the same glee each time by my 4-year-old.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Overall, we enjoyed each stencil and it added to our creative craft time. We love the material used to create the stencils. According to their website, they use a 12 mil Mylar which is the toughest, safest consumer-grade stencil material available. It’s incredibly durable (tear proof) yet flexible enough to bend around surfaces if needed. It is resistant to most solvents and can even be washed with paint thinner! The material is also food safe and can be used for cookie stencils and baking. Now as parent, I can appreciate all that!

We also love the fact that Stencil Revolution is a small family owned company based out of Florida, USA. They manufacture and ship all of their craft stencils. We appreciate this family’s passion to do what they love to do each and every single day.

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give Stencil Revolution 5 Unicorns out of 5! The quality, durability, professionalism, and variety of designs is what stood out the most for us. I also have to admit on how easy it is to use gets this momma’s full approval.

If you would like to purchase or just check out the amazing options available, click here. *Warning: give yourself plenty of time to check it all out as their are so many great options to get lost in. 😉

Also make sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram to see all that they have to offer.

“With Stencil Revolution, your creative projects will reach a whole new level!” – Momma Braga

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

*Please note that the products were provided in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed are solely of Momma Braga and no compensation was provided for this piece.

 

Secret Engineer: How Emily Roebling Built the Brooklyn Bridge

We have been enjoying Women’s History Month as we have been reading some amazing books on women who are remarkable. In today’s book review, we are keeping up with this theme and introducing you all to Secret Engineer: How Emily Roebling Built the Brooklyn Bridgewritten and illustrated by Rachel Dougherty. 

Synopsis

On a warm spring day in 1883, a woman rode across the Brooklyn Bridge with a rooster on her lap. The rooster was a symbol of victory, and the woman was victorious.

It was the first trip across an engineering marvel that had taken nearly fourteen years to construct. The woman’s husband was the chief engineer, and he knew all about the dangerous new technique required to stabilize the massive structure. The woman had insisted she learn as well. When he fell ill mid-construction, her knowledge came in handy. She supervised every aspect of the project while he was bedridden, and she continued to learn about things only men were supposed to know: math, science, engineering.

Women weren’t supposed to be engineers. They were supposed to be: wives, mothers, homemakers.

But this woman insisted she could do it all, and her hard work helped to create one of the most iconic landmarks in the world.

This is the story of Emily Roebling, the secret engineer behind the Brooklyn Bridge.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Secret Engineer: How Emily Roebling Built the Brooklyn Bridge is an inspiration to any young girl to believe that she can do anything. At a time where a woman’s role was defined solely in the home, Emily rose above expectations and was instrumental in the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. We loved learning about this piece of history and the empowering story of Emily.

“Though Emily was born at a time when women were not given much education or professional opportunity, when life asked more of her, she rose to the occasion. Her mind sharp and her hands steady, Emily proved that women could be as successful in science and engineering as any man.”

For this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give this book 5 Bridges out of 5! We loved the history, empowering message and illustrations. We recommend this book for children ages five to eight.

 

About the Author

Rachel Dougherty is the illustrator of three nonfiction picture books: Your Life as a Cabin Attendant on the Titanic, and The Twelve Days of Christmas in Pennsylvania. She is a lifelong history buff and has always paid special attention to the stories of brave and commanding women. Secret Engineer is the first picture book she has both written and illustrated. She lives in Philadelphia. To learn more about Rachel, click here.

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

 

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

 

-Momma Braga

 

 

* The book was provided to Momma Braga in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed her solely belong to Momma Braga.

Bedtime for Little Bulldozer

For some parents (myself included), getting little ones off to sleep can be difficult. This is why this next book review is so perfect!

We are delighted to introduce, Bedtime for Little Bulldozerwritten by Elise Broach and illustrated by Barry E. Jackson.

Synopsis

Falling asleep isn’t always easy, especially for a loud and rumbling little bulldozer.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Bedtime for Little Bulldozer is an adorable book that we truly enjoyed on several bedtime readings.

Little bulldozer has a hard time falling asleep, even after his bedtime routine. I am sure many young children experience the same struggle. Luckily, Little Bulldozer found exactly what he was missing him to get to sleep.

The story flowed beautifully and illustrations were perfect! We just adored this book from beginning to end. This is why we give this book 5 ZZZ’s out of 5!

About the Author

Elise Broach is the award-winning and New York Times – bestselling author of many books for young readers, including the picture books My Pet Wants A Pet and When Dinosaurs Came with Everything, the Masterpiece Adventures early reader series, and the novels The Wolf Keepers, Shakespeare’s Secret, and Masterpiece. She lives in Connecticut. To learn more about Elise, click here.

About the Illustrator

Barry E. Jackson works as a designer, director, and writer. His screen credits include The Prince of Egypt, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and The Grinch, and he was one of several production designers for Shrek. He is also the creator of the picture book Danny Diamondback. He lives in Studio City, California. To learn more about Barry, click here.

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

 

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

 

-Momma Braga

 

 

* The book was provided to Momma Braga in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed her solely belong to Momma Braga.

Wild Horse Annie

We have been enjoying Women’s History Month as we have been reading some amazing books on women who are remarkable. In today’s book review, we are keeping up with this theme and introducing you all to Wild Horse Anniewritten by Tracey Fern and illustrated by Steven Salerno. 

Synopsis

Wild Horse Annie was the nickname of Velma Bronn Johnston (1912-77), who loved mustangs all her life. When she saw these wild horses being rounded up and killed to make room for ranchers’ livestock, she knew she had to speak up. In 1950, she began writing letters to local newspapers and politicians, defending the horses’ right to roam free.

Many people told Annie to hush up, but they couldn’t stop her. She soon became a voice for mustangs throughout the state of Nevada, speaking on their behalf at town halls and meetings.

But that was only one state, and Annie was only one person, and she wanted to do more. So she got children to speak up, too, by having them write letters to federal officials to ask them to save the mustangs. Finally, with the help of her young “pencil brigade,” Annie persuaded Congress to pass laws protecting wild horses and burros on public land nationwide.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Wild Horse Annie was an inspiring and empowering book to read. This was the first time reading about Annie’s story and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Annie was a true and early advocate for animal rights and she spoke up for what she believed in. She also empowered a generation of children to voices for the voiceless and that is what we loved the very best.

Annie shows us that even though you are just one person, you can motivate others to create change. One voice became thousands of voices and in turn showed that nothing is impossible.

Nikki loved the book as much as I did and with her love of animals, we think it made her love the book more.

“Annie really helped those beautiful horses live. I love that momma!” – Nikki, Age 4

Wild Horse Annie is a beautiful story filled with courage, love, action and illustrations that look like art pieces. This is why we give this book 6 Mustangs out of 5! We also recommend this book for children ages four to seven (adults would enjoy this book too!). We also suggest to everyone to make sure to read the Author’s Note at the end of the book, as it offers that rich history that us adults will truly appreciate.

About the Author

Tracy Fern is the author of many critically acclaimed picture books, including Barnum’s Bones, Dare the Wind, and W Is for Webster. As a child, Tracey was a member of Wild Horse Annie’s pivotal pencil brigade. She lives with her family in West Newton, Massachusetts. To learn more about Tracy, visit her at www.traceyfern.com.

 About the Illustrator

Steven Salerno has illustrated thirty popular picture books including The Fantastic Ferris Wheel: The Story of Inventor George Ferris by Betsy Harvey Kraft, Goldenlocks and the Three Pirates by April Jones Prince, and Tim’s Goodbye, which he also wrote. A graduate of Parsons School of Design, Steven lives and works in New York City. To learn more about Steven, visit his website at stevensalerno.com.

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

 

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

 

-Momma Braga

 

 

* The book was provided to Momma Braga in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed her solely belong to Momma Braga.

Pocket Books Embrace Women’s History Month | Book Reviews

We are continuing our theme of celebrating Women’s History Month with three delightful pocket bio books and we are excited to share a bit about each one.

Anne Frank

Born into a Jewish family in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1929, Anne Frank was only thirteen years old when her family went into hiding to escape persecution during the Holocaust. Anne kept a diary detailing their years spent living in a concealed room behind a bookcase prior to their arrest – a diary so widely published following her death that it is one of the period’s most influential books.

To purchase this pocket size bio book, click here.

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo remains one of the most celebrated painters of her time for her exploration of themes of feminism, gender, class, and race in her artwork and frequent self-portraits. From her childhood struggle with polio, to the traffic accident that left her with chronic pain, to her artistic exploration of herself and her identity, follow this extraordinary woman’s life and accomplishments.

To purchase this pocket size bio book, click here.

Marie Curie

Marie Curie, the first woman ever to win a Nobel Prize and only person to win it in two different scientific fields, was a physicist and chemist. As she conducted pioneering research, Marie Curie coined the term “radioactivity,” developed some of the first techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes. She also discovered two elements: polonium and radium, and developed mobile X-ray units for use in field hospitals during World War I. In 1934, at the age of sixty-six, she dies of complications from long-term exposure to radiation.

To purchase this pocket size bio book, click here.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Pocket Bio books are such a great idea to provide children with a brief history lesson in a small size format. They are very informative and all the stories of Anne Frank, Frida Kahlo, and Marie Curie were inspiring all in their own ways.

Pocket size books filled with empowering women of history is what you can expect from the above books. We loved how a timeline is provided in each story and book as it gives us the reader a better idea of the time that these amazing women where from. The illustrations are also very well done in each book. Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give the series 5 stars out of 5!

We would recommend these books for children ages 6 and up.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

 

-Momma Braga

 

 

* The books were provided to Momma Braga in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed her solely belong to Momma Braga.

A Is For Awesome!

March has been designated as Women’s History Month and it is a great month to highlight great achievements.

In our reading lineup this month is A is for Awesome! 23 Iconic Women Who Changed The Worldwritten by Eva Chen and illustrated by Derek Desierto.

Synopsis

Why stick with plain old A, B, C when you can have Amelia (Earhart), Malala, Tina (Turner), Ruth (Bader Ginsburg), all the way to Extraordinary You – and the Zillions of adventures you will go on?

#MelAndNikkiReview

A is for Awesome! 23 Iconic Women Who Changed The World is a fun and inspiring read for young children. It was a great way to do letter recognition and learn about an inspiring woman from the past or present. The quotes were awesome and one letter that stood out the most for my 4-year-old was B (Beyoncé).

“Mom! This is the Single Ladies Song!” – Nikki, Age 4

It is amazing what children obtain! We loved the fact that we can go through each letter and then later explain the importance of each woman in a way that a young child could understand. Books that can offer conversation pieces after the fact is one of our favorite parts of reading time.

Of course we can not forget the bright and vibrant illustrations in the book as it truly made the book eye catching. It is absolutely perfect for this age group.

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give A is for Awesome! 23 Iconic Women Who Changed The World 5 “Sheroes” out of 5! We recommend this book for ages one to three.

“We read books to find out who we are..What we ourselves are and may become.” – Ursula K. Le Guin

About the Author

Eva Chen, the author of Juno Valentine and the Magical Shoes and A Is For Awesome, is a first-generation Chinese-American who grew up in New York City. She blames her deviation from pre-med at Johns Hopkins University on a love of fashion and beauty instilled in her by her mother, whose perfect bob and lipstick made a permanent imprint on her impressionable young mind. Previously the editor in chief of Lucky, Eva has also written for ELLE, Vogue, Teen Vogue, Vogue Chine, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. She is currently the head of fashion partnerships at Instagram, where she is guilty of the occasional duck-face selfie. Eva lives in New York City with her husband and two children.

 About the Illustrator

Derek Desierto is a Vancouver-based illustrator, designer, and overall nice guy from a nice family. His animation work has been recognized by the Ottawa International Animation Festival, the National Cartoonist Society, and 9 Story Media Group. Currently, he is living the dream as a freelance artist for animated TV shows and picture books. His ultimate goal in life is to meet Oprah and become one of her Favorite Things.

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

 

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

 

-Momma Braga

 

 

* The book was provided to Momma Braga in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed her solely belong to Momma Braga.

Spend It! | Book Review

A children’s book that involves teaching the concept of spending is what can be expected from Spend It! by Cinders McLeod.

Synopsis

Sonny gets three whole carrots a week for his allowance and wants to buy everything with it! But he soon discovers his money won’t go that far, and his mom tells him he needs to make some choices. That doesn’t sound like much fun to Sonny, especially when he learns that the bouncy castle he’s been eyeing goes for ONE HUNDRED carrots. Ridiculous! But eventually, after a little math and a little more thinking, he has a blast discovering what’s really important to him and worth spending his carrots on.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Spend It! is absolutely splendid. We love how it touches on the concept of spending through the dilemma that Sonny has with his allowance versus what he wants to buy. The simplicity of the message is brilliant and done in a way that a young child can grasp quickly. This is such a great book that it should be introduced in all homes and even at school. It is important to teach our children about money and spending at a young age. It is a great to set them up for success.

The illustrations are precious and make it really fun for children to follow along. The characters are big, bright and just so adorable! Perfect for this age group.

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give Spend It! 6 carrots out of 5! We recommend this book for ages three to five and it will have young readers laugh and learn simple math concepts.

“We have to be careful how much we spend because some things are expensive. That is why I save my money in my piggy bank for one REALLY big thing.” – Nikki, Age 4

About the Author

Cinders McLeod also wrote Earn It! and is the creator of the book and comic strip Broomie Law. Her illustrations have appeared in the Guardian, the Express, the Observer, the Independent on Sunday, the Glasgow Heald, Scotland on Sunday, the Globe and Mail, CBC, Macleans, and the Ottawa Citizen. Her work has been recognized by the Society of Newspaper Design, National Magazine Awards, National Newspaper Awards, Advertising and Design Club of Canada, Thames Television, and The Guinness Book of Records. Cinders is also a singer-songwriter-doublebassist, with a CD (Beyond our Means) on Billy Bragg’s Utility Label. She lives in Toronto, Canada.

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

 

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

 

-Momma Braga

 

 

* The book was provided to Momma Braga in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed her solely belong to Momma Braga.

Circle | Book Review

A children’s book that involves shapes, adventure, rules and a bit of imagination is what can be expected from Circlewritten by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen.

Synopsis

This book is about Circle. This book is also about Circle’s friends, Triangle and Square. Also it is about a rule that Circle makes, and how she has to rescue Triangle when he breaks that rule.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Circle came right in time as Nikki has been learning her shapes in school. Therefore, she was extra excited to have this book read to her and she got to point out what shapes she was seeing in the story. We loved the storyline and the clever illustrations throughout.

By the end of the book, we got to use our imagination on what shape could have been on the other side of the waterfall. It was funny to hear what shapes Nikki thought it could be. We can see why this duo has been writing many great children’s books! We just adored Circle.

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give Circle 5 shapes out of 5! We recommend this book for ages five to nine.

“I think the mystery shape is a Cone. A Cone isn’t scary because you can eat ice cream out of it.” – Nikki, Age 4

About the Author

Marc Barnett is the author of numerous books for children, including five illustrated by Jon Klassen: Square; The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse, an E.B. White Read-Aloud Award winner; Triangle; Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, an E.B. White Read-Aloud Award winner and a Caldecott Honor Book; and Extra Yarn, which received a Caldecott Honor and a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award. Mac Barnett lives in California

About the Illustrator

Jon Klassen is the author-illustrator of I Want My Hat Back, an E.B. White Read-Aloud Award winner and a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book; This Is Not My Hat, winner of the Caldecott Medal and the Kate Greenaway Medal; and We Found a Hat. He is also the illustrator of two Caldecott Honor books, Sam and Dave Dig a Hole and Extra Yarn, both written by Mac Barnett. Jon Klassen lives in Los Angeles.

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

 

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

 

-Momma Braga

 

 

* The book was provided to Momma Braga in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed her solely belong to Momma Braga.