Tag: Advice

3 Ways to Save on Family Spends

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

Reduce the entertainment budget

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

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

Image Pixabay

Reduce the clothes budget

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

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

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

Reduce the gifts budget

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

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

 

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The Mama Coach: Making Motherhood Easier

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

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

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

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

Tell me a little bit about yourself.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More than sleep packages include:

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

Lactation and feeding support packages include:

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

Infant and Child CPR and Choking workshops include:

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

Prenatal classes include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They can book their initial free phone call online.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

 

One Life Lost is Too Many: National Drowning Prevention Week

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

– Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Natalia from Aqua-Tots Swim Schools Canada

Event Exercises

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Natalia from Aqua-Tots Swim Schools Canada

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Natalia from Aqua-Tots Swim Schools

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

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

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

-Momma Braga

 

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

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!

Leap Ahead with Leap Frog Epic™ Academy

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

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

Details

Pre-loaded with LeapFrog Academy™ app

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

Grows with your child

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

Packed with Learning Content

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

Customizable Home Screen

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

Popular Android™ apps

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

LeapSearch™ kid-friendly web browser

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

Just for Me™ Learning

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

Durable Design

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

#MelAndNikkiReview

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

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

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

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

explore – play – imagine – create

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

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

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

Fun Things To Do With Your Kids On A Budget

https://www.pexels.com/photo/silhouette-of-person-standing-near-camping-tent-2398220/

When the summer holidays roll around, chances are you’re going to feel the strain on the purse strings when it comes to trying to keep the kids entertained. We all know how it goes, left unoccupied they’ll constantly be telling you they’re bored, or sit wasting the summer away on their phone or computer screens. However, there are plenty of things to do that are fun for both parent and child, giving you the chance to make fun memories without breaking the bank. As the saying goes, ‘the best things in life are free’, and when you’re watching the pennies, this can be especially true. With the following activities, you will spend more time together and as a parent, you will be glimpsing into that wonderful world of childhood.

The Library 

As strange as it might sound, one thing you might not have considered is taking a trip to the local library, where the kids pick out some books for the week. This may seem like an old fashioned concept, but there are still massive adventures to be had in the thousands of stories in your local library. Unfortunately, many libraries are starting to close down but you can still find them dotted around and they’re so worth a visit. Whether they read themselves or you read to them, the local trip to the library can turn into a trip everyone begins to look forward to. Reading with your kids when you get home can transport you into fairytale worlds of kingdoms and castles, or faraway lands with magical creatures. Each week can become a hunt to find a story as good as the one they have just read. Over time, hopefully, they’ll develop the love of reading which will inspire their creativity and develop their imagination. Libraries also have free activities such as homework help for teenagers, and storytime sessions and even art classes for kids, which will not only keep them entertained but perhaps they’ll make a friend or two. Although it may not be everyone’s first idea of fun, once you delve into the experience the fun to be had will make you smile.

Rainy Days 

It’s tempting for the children to turn to their iPads or computers when the weather isn’t great, so why not introduce them to the world of crafting by starting a new craft project. This will keep them busy and productive without resorting to wasting time on social media and on video games. Plan the craft first, get all the things you need in advance; paper, card, glitter, sequins and high quality glue guns, to stick everything down will give them the potential to make all kinds of pictures and art crafts. You can make personalized gifts for fathers day or for a birthday which the kids will love to create and give, or pen holders and decorations for things like July 4th. There are so many ideas, but if you are struggling then Pinterest is a great place to find great projects and may even give you other ideas on things to do such as baking. You can find cheap craft supplies on eBay for kids, big packs of pipe cleaners, coloured paper and glitter doesn’t cost much and they are bound to be excited waiting for them to be delivered. Baking is a good learning experience, and kids love to eat things they have made themselves. You can have lots of fun decorating little fairy cakes you make, or a full-size cake if you are more ambitious. Another idea for a rainy day is a movie night, all gathered together on the sofa watching a great Disney film will probably have you all singing along. Those home baked cakes could come in handy here or a bag of popcorn to give it that movie night feel.

The Great Outdoors 

The park is always a great choice when you need something inexpensive to do, with lots of fresh air and a chance to run around is always a favorite with kids. Pack a picnic and with sandwiches and any homemade cakes you may have baked together. There is often ice cream on sale in the park, and with a homemade picnic what could be nicer. Make a game of seeing how many birds or trees you can spot, and then ask the children if they can name them and guess their age. Feeding the ducks is a favorite too, and with the sun reflecting off the water on a sunny day, everyone can appreciate the beauty in nature, make sure you don’t forget to take a camera to capture the moment. Family bike rides are a good way to get the whole family exercising, and if you plan your route you can ride safely with plenty of incredible views while the weather is nice. Again you could take a picnic and plenty of water and choose a nice spot to take a rest. Fit a child seat on the back of your bike if you have young children who can’t cycle or will tire easily, they will love the ride and the fresh air will still tire them out. Discovering your local farm could be something different to do, the children get to see the animals up close and that is always a special treat, and it’s also  a chance for you to teach them more about them. Anyone for camping? Always an adventure and what a treat on a clear night looking up at a sky full of stars. Pointing out constellations and looking for shooting stars, or stories around the campfire. Camping is something all families could do and have lots of fun. The beauty with this one is it can be just for one night or as long as you want, and it costs much less than a standard hotel style holiday.

Having fun with the kids can be educational and fun. It builds memories for years to come which everyone can enjoy. Getting them off their technical gadgets and into the world of crafting or outdoors may inspire something they love all their lives. It could even set them on a career path for the future if they find something they enjoy early in life, though you can be sure any path they pick will be a good choice, as you have done quality activities with them when they were young.

 

Fundraising Made Easy Through Mabel’s Labels

Not many of my readers or fans know that before becoming a blogger, I was a fundraiser. Never did I think I had the skills to be a fundraiser but it came naturally to me. What helps me in my fundraising adventures is remembering what I am raising money for. It could be for a charity, school or community group. That love and passion that I have for that organization or group is what motivates me to fundraise my heart out.

I know that fundraising isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and some people are uncomfortable with it which I understand fully. At one point or another though we may come across the “fundraising” path especially with our children’s schools or community groups that they join. To make things a lot easier for people who don’t really like asking for money, we found a great option to raising money and that is called Mabel’s Labels.

Mabel’s Labels offers a great fundraising program where people can purchase their products through your fundraising campaign and the organization or school gets the commission. It is so simple to use and that awkward ask doesn’t have to be one with this program.

About Mabel’s Labels

In case you have not heard about Mabel’s Labels, let’s give you the 411 on this great company.

It all began in 2003, when four busy moms noticed a huge gap in the market for durable kids’ labels. Frustrated by their children’s things getting lost, mixed up and leaving home never to return, Julie Cole, Julie Ellis, Cynthia Esp and Tricia Mumby knew they could do better than the scribbles on masking tape that were being passed off as labels. From there, the idea for the product was born: the very best personalized waterproof name labels and tags that were equally cute and durable.

Today, Mabel’s Labels is the best-known brand of durable labels for families, and their growing line of products features baby bottle labels, allergy and medical alert products, sports labels, household labels and seasonal items. They’re extremely durable, they’re laundry, dishwasher and microwave safe – and they’re 100% guaranteed.

Talk about an amazing product!

Mabel’s Labels fundraising program is completely online; therefore, there is no need to collect forms, fund, or distribute products.

Mabel’s Labels provides all of their fundraisers with digital and hardcopy promotional materials at no cost. They also have specific promotional materials for everything from school to dance, to camp and daycare! If there are any sales happening at Mabel’s Labels you will be notified and you can promote them to bring more sales to your campaign.

Fundraising Details

Simply email Mabel’s Labels at fundraising@mabelslabels.com or call them at 1-866-306-2235 to get started.

When you are fundraising with Mabel’s you’re eligible to earn 20% commission on all orders that are placed in support of your organization. Payment is issued monthly as long as you’ve earned $50+ in commission. Any funds less than $50 roll over to the next month.

It is recommended you host your fundraiser for at least three months, but many times organizations will choose an ongoing campaign. This is the best option if you don’t want to worry about restarting it year after year.

Mabel’s Labels offers a login for the person who is running the fundraiser. This login will allow the captain track the orders and see when they are close to earning a commission cheque.

How To Fundraise

How does someone support your fundraise through Mabel’s Labels? They simply visit campaigns.mabels.com and search for the school, organization or charity name. Then click and order. It is that simple!

Why Fundraise with Mabel’s Labels
  1. No sales pressure and no set end date. Just sign up and make 20% commission on all sales!
  2. No distribution or sorting! Supporters order online and we send their labels directly to them.
  3. Quick online ordering for your supporters, plus FREE shipping.
  4. Free digital and hard copy flyers to help promote your campaign.

Win with Mabel’s Labels

Mabel’s Labels fundraising program is an easy and practical way to raise funds for your school, daycare, team, camp or organization while ensuring kids’ belongings stay out of the lost and found. Did we mention that there are no costs or fees to you as a fundraiser?! There is even an option where your school or organization logo can be used on the labels. All you need to do is email it to them when setting up the fundraiser.

It is a big win for everyone including us parents! We have been using Mabel’s Labels for a year now and we love them! It has truly been a life saver in Nikki’s first year in school. If we were to rate our experiences with Mabel’s Labels we would have to say 10 stars out of 5! We love the different type of labels available such as baby, birthday, daycare, travel, school, home, camp, kids’ activities and kids’ safety. They thought of it all and we love them all!

All we can say is sign-up for the Mabel’s Fundraising Program and start raising money! 🙂

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*This post is not a sponsored article.

 

 

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.

 

Things Every Child Should Learn

When it comes to teaching our children the skills they need to be the best in life, there are a lot to things to teach and many directions which we can go in this year. If you are looking to teach your child the best skills for their lives this year, here are just some of the ones to consider.

Ride a bike

When we look at some of the most iconic skills to teach to kids, we can’t not mention riding a bike. Riding a bike might just be the most obvious of all of the things to teach our kids and it is a huge challenge every step of the way. When you start off teaching your child to ride a bike you will want to think about using stabilisers and as time goes on you will be able to teach them to balance on just two. It could take a long time to teach this to your child but once they have learnt this skill it will stay with them for life!

Swim

Teaching a child how to swim is so important for you to do, and the earlier you can teach them the better. Choose a good swim school and take your child once or twice a week and let them learn how to keep themselves afloat above the water. Children are very adventurous and curious and they are prone to drowning because of this fact. If you can teach your child this essential skill you can let them into the pool and the sea without too much worry.

Throw a ball

Playing sports and games is one of those things which is great for the development of a child and it can be a wonderful skill for them to learn. Being able to accurately throw a ball and join in with games and open them up to a whole world of different sports and this could even become a hobby or career for them later on in life. It might take them a while to learn but it is the ideal excuse for some garden play dates on sunny days!

Look after animals

Looking after and being responsible for another living thing has to be the best way to prepare a child for their future. If you want to make sure that your child is able to live a great life and look after themselves, teaching them how to look after a pet can be a wonderful thing. You can get a pet hamster, fish or rabbit and let your child be the one responsible for looking after the animal. You can show them the importance of caring for another living thing and this will help them become more independent as they grow older.

Be kind

A smile, a hello, a please and thank you… to teach your child to be kind and respectful to other people is a skill in itself and one which you should definitely consider trying out this year!