Tag: Advice

Myfunvelope Brings Creativity Right To Your Door

Have you ever wonder what crafts or activities that you can do with your child? Have you looked for a craft subscription option to help you?

There is a solution and an affordable one. Let me first introduce you to Kyla.

Kyla is a mom of six wonderful children in Saskatchewan, Canada. Five of her children were all under the age of five and it was a bit of a challenge as she needed to find ways to keep her older children engaged in activities. Kyla thought that a craft subscription would be a perfect solution to help her. However, after a lengthy research she found very few affordable options were available in Canada. Therefore, she began prepping little crafts in snack bags to give to her children and they LOVED them! This is where the idea of “Myfunvelope” bloomed. Kyla wanted to offer the opportunity for other moms to access an affordable monthly craft subscription and this is exactly what she did.

Myfunvelope is for children ages three to nine. Every month your child will receive a funvelope in the mailbox. They will discover and have fun with four unique craft projects that follow a fun monthly theme. They will also receive a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activity for hands-on building that is fun and sometimes hilarious! Markers and scissors are also provided with your package and the cost of this no tie-ins subscription is $18 on a month-to-month basis. All children can enjoy the activities every month as the themes are never holiday related to make it inclusive for all.

We got to try this month’s Myfunvelope and I have to say it was a great one! It is superhero month and my daughter loves superheroes!

The first thing that our daughter noticed was the cape and mask which was the first to go on (and stayed on for hours after)! Then we got to try the fun activities throughout the weeks.


There was the Pop-Up Superhero Activity, Superhero Straw Shooter, Superhero Magnet, Cape and Mask and the STEM activity was creating a flying superhero to measure distance. That one was really fun!

What we loved about the craft package was that it had everything that we needed to do all the activities. It saved us a lot of time and running around in getting any of the little things needed to make craft success.

For this #MelandNikkiReview, we give “Myfunvelope” 5 super powers out of 5! If you would like to try this subscription it is super easy to start! All you need to do is sign up and let the crafting begin! Don’t forget to follow Myfunvelope on Facebook and Instagram for some great crafting ideas!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

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Love Is Infinite

Love is infinite and kind
knows no boundaries
and abides by no law
other than it’s own.

At one time or another we all experience love in our lives. We love our spouse/partner, parents, siblings, family members, friends, pets and then there is the love that we have for our own children. To me that love is the most powerful one of all. As it’s the love that we feel before even meeting our child as our love forms as they develop in our tummies. It is the love that is infinite as we do everything in our power to ensure that our children are well taken care of. I would say that is a remarkable power.

I remember feeling this way on the day my daughter was born as she was placed on my chest. She looked at me with her vivid eyes and I knew at that exact moment that I would love her forever (even through the sleepless nights, tantrums and all the lovely fun growing up stuff).

Since that first day, we haven’t failed a single day to let our daughter know how much we love her each and every day. We always let her know that our love for her is infinite and that the beauty of love is that you can always make more and we don’t need to worry about there ever being less.

This daily lesson has helped our daughter get comfortable with new babies arriving in our family. She has loved every little cousin that has arrived and has been so helpful in trying to make them happy. Recently, a new cousin arrived and it was a more immediate cousin as it is my sister’s daughter (Congratulations Karen!).

We were all anxious in anticipation for the little one to arrive as we all had lots of love to give. Therefore, we started the conversations about the arrival and what it was going to mean to all of us. It has always been important to us to have these conversations with our daughter as we want her to understand the world around her and with the ‘why’ phase it is a perfect time. We explained how she was gaining a new friend and that meant one more person that was going to love her so much more.

Therefore, throughout my sister’s whole pregnancy, my daughter would kiss my sister’s tummy and tell her little cousin how much she loved her. It was a beautiful moment to say the least (captured below).

The day finally arrived as we greeted the little one recently and it was time for our daughter to meet her new cousin. It was love at first sight! Our daughter just adored her little baby cousin and just wanted to give hugs and tickles (apparently babies need tickles according to my daughter). 😉

Seeing the love that my daughter exhibited was so touching as it showed me that I am doing something right. But in all honesty I didn’t have any doubts since she has other younger cousins that she loves so much. Our constant talking and explaining is working so far! YES! #ParentingWin

Now not all children are the same and they are all unique in their own ways. Some children may exhibit jealousy or feel a little less loved when a new baby enters the world. Therefore, I put together some tips that could possibly help.

#1. Communicate

Always start the conversation early. Let your child know of the changes that are about to happen and let them know what they can expect. Teach them that love is infinite and you can always create more of it.

#2. Listen

Listen to your child and pick up on any cues that they are feeling uneasy about a new addition to the family. If they have any concerns, let them tell you and listen. You would be surprised at how much listening means to a child.

#3. Love

Express and show your love to your child. Let them know how much they mean to you…a hug can go a long way.

#4. Engage 

Make sure to include your child in the action. All kids love attention (I am sure we know a lot of adults who do too!) so get them involved. If it is a cousin, have them help the mom and dad with the baby. Let them bring the bottle and have them take part in the little things. It is a great way to have the baby and child start to bond too!

#5 Praise

Praise your child on what a great job they are doing and what a great helper they are. They love to hear praise and it is another great way to show your love by noticing how great they are. I use this a lot and I find it helps me tremendously to have a positive outcome in all that I do.

Those are my five quick tips in hopes it helps minimize or avoid some unpleasant feelings of a new addition to the family. We have used all of these tips to help our daughter adjust to a loving growing family. Now our daughter tells the whole world that she has a new baby cousin and she loves her so much because she is so cute! Tugs my heart strings every time!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

Kids Off to College – How to Cope with the Empty Nest Syndrome

Source: Pexels.com

Written By: Claire Adams

Sending your kids off to college should be one of the happiest moments in your life. However, for many mothers, this is also one of the hardest moments, as they will be separated from their children for the first time and for a prolonged period.

This is better known as an empty nest syndrome, and if you don’t know how to cope with it, you can create a tough situation both for you and your kids. So, let’s go over some tips that will show you what to do and what not to do when your kids finally leave for college.

Face the music

First of all, you should come to terms that your children are leaving and that they probably won’t return to your household. Sure, it will be hard and you will shed some tears, but that is all a part of the healing process.

The worst thing that you can do is to neglect your emotions and bury them; like that ever worked for anyone. You need to be open about the situation and learn to embrace it. Just remember that the adaptation process takes time. So, don’t expect to wake up one morning feeling jolly that your kids aren’t home, or maybe you will; everybody is different.

Source: Pexels.com

Start new activities with your spouse

Having no children around your household means that you will have a ton more time for yourself. While your kids were in the spotlight for the past 18 years or so, the time has finally come to put more attention to what you and your spouse want to do.

Maybe you were planning a tropical vacation for decades, but you couldn’t get around doing it because of your parental responsibilities. Regardless, now, you can do whatever you want. Of course, going on adventures with your spouse is also an excellent way to keep your mind off your kids. After all, you don’t want to be one of those mothers that speed dials their children every hour or so.

Keep the campus visits on the low

Next, you need to resist the urge to visit your kids every weekend. Campus visits are fantastic and going over there when they are in a tough spot with exams can help your kids stay motivated. However, if you start going over there every week or even every month, you can create the opposite effect.

The first year of college is the most important year, and you need to let your “babies” find their own way. And most importantly, don’t worry about their safety. Regardless if your children are staying in a college campus of the University of Toronto or in a private student accommodation in Melbourne CBD, know that they will be safe at all times. One last thing, don’t make surprise visits. Maybe your kids are studying or they have something planned with their college friends, and you showing up out of nowhere can ruin that.

Source: Pexels.com

Make new friends

Since your kids are off making friends and studying (of course), you should do the same. Well, you don’t have to study, but you should start meeting new people. You can join a book club, reconnect with your friends that are also going through the same phase, and so on. Most parents feel lonely once their kids leave for college, and the best way to shake off that feeling is to be around people.

Pick up a hobby

Finally, you should pick up a hobby. Keeping yourself busy with a fun little hobby is the best therapy for your mind. If you didn’t have the time for hobbies in the past, now is the best time for them. You can start DIY projects around the house, pick up sewing, plant a small garden in your backyard, or anything else that you may enjoy.

And that is about it for today. As you can see, dealing with the empty nest syndrome is a slow but necessary process. Even though sending your kids to college is a dream-come-true, that doesn’t mean that you cannot feel sad about it. Just don’t try to ignore your feelings, and know that time heals everything.

 

About the Author

Claire is a personal and professional development expert who believes that a positive attitude is one of the keys to success. She enjoys life to the fullest in the healthiest way possible and loves to share her insights into parenting, education, and entrepreneurship. Feel free to reach her on Facebook and Twitter.

A Family Assistant In An App

Ever feel that life just gets so busy with work, kids and life?! What if you had a personal assistant to keep you organized, productive, and connected. Sounds like a dream come true?

Let me introduce you to Picniic, an app that acts as your personal assistant. It keeps families organized, productive, and connected by bringing all your activities, tasks, and data together in one shared place.

Keeping myself organized is something that I love to do and when I heard about this app I was thrilled. We have been using the app for a few weeks now and we love it!

There are so many features on it to really help keep things more structured and organized. So what kind of features does this one app offer?

  • Shared  family calendar
  • Assign to-dos, lists, and chores
  • Family news feed
  • Store your own custom recipes
  • Search online recipes
  • Meal planner
  • Real-time family locator
  • Custom ‘places’ for family check-ins
  • Encrypted family info locker
  • Birthdays and anniversaries
  • Upload and share your family photos
  • Powerful calendar importing and subscriptions
  • Subscribe to your family calendar at work
  • Easily import info from other organizers

Our family used many of the features above and it was easy to use and extremely helpful in keeping us organized. Picniic provides all the tools parents need to manage everyday family life in one central location that can be accessed and updated by anyone in the family.

As a special promotion to Momma Braga readers, you can download the app for a 30-day free trial to all the Premium features of Picniic.

Platforms that you can download on are:

Here are some simple instructions on how to sign up:

  1. Log on to https://picniic.com/signin/

  2. Create an account using PROMO CODE: BLCAMB

  3. Enjoy effortless family management with Picniic

Make sure to follow Picniic on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Blog, and Facebook to see what they are up to next. 🙂

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

Aqua-Tots Swim Schools Mississauga Is Like Family: Introducing Alannah

Aqua-Tots Swim Schools Mississauga is a great school to help teach your children the important skill of swimming. This is why this year (2018) we have partnered up with Aqua-Tots to bring informative pieces about what they offer to the amazing readers of Momma Braga.

This month we decided to get to know them a little better and this is why we interviewed Alannah, the General Manager of Aqua-Tots Swim Schools Mississauga.

1. Tel me a little bit about yourself.

My name is Alannah and I am the General Manager at Aqua-Tots Swim Schools Mississauga. I was a competitive swimmer for 13 years and became a swim coach and lifeguard for more than 10 years back in Montreal where I am from. Teaching swimming is a huge passion of mine and I love being in and around the water.

2. How long have you been with Aqua-Tots Swim School?

Aqua-Tots Mississauga has been open for over a year, and I was here from the very beginning…before there was water in the pool! I started as the Aquatic Manager for the first year where I ran the Aquatic Program and helped train all of our Water Safety Instructors and Deck Supervisors. As of January 1st, 2018, my role has changed, and I am now the General Manager! I love learning about this side of the business, and meeting all the new and recurring families on the other side of the pool glass.

3. What inspired you to get a position with Aqua-Tots Swim School?

Swimming is a huge passion of mine, and with a degree in Recreation Management, it seemed like the perfect mix of my two passions. Also, after meeting the owner of Aqua-Tots, Lisa Morlock, I fell in love with the whole idea, the curriculum and her vision of what she wanted to share with the community to improve the whole swimming lesson experience.

4. What do you love the best about your job?

There are several people and moments that really make me love what I do. The culmination of all these things truly make it feel like so much more than just a “job.” Sometimes it really feels like home. I love getting to teach children how to swim and see their smiles and pride when they achieve something that they thought they could not do. I love working with such a kind and professional team that makes everyone happy every day. I also really enjoy that I am always learning, whether it be about the business or new and exciting challenges and opportunities that arise to always keep me on my toes. I look forward to every day!

5. What has been your most memorable moment working at Aqua-Tots?

My memorable moments are always the same. No matter the child and no matter how long they have been swimming with us, my favourite part about teaching swimming is when a child gets released in the water and starts kicking and swimming on their own with so much confidence! This moment coincides with the parent’s reaction to this skill and the excitement surrounding their son or daughter being able to swim on their own whether it be two feet to one metre! Those moments will never get old.

6. What do you like best about the programs at Aqua-Tots?

Having taught lessons for other organizations, I can truly say that the curriculum at Aqua-Tots is very well put together and executed. We specialize in teaching young children who are just beginning to adjust to an aquatic environment, right up to age 12. Seeing the curriculum really click with children and watching their advancement in skill and confidence is greatly rewarding. Routine is important in the lives of children and we try our best to add this type of your weekly activities. The consistency of the instructors also helps as they get to know the kids and can really push them to what their abilities can be. I also love that in each level children can be in three different phases; Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. This helps guide the instructors into pushing the children to their mastered skills for each level and keeps everyone progressing.

7. Why is teaching swimming to children important to you?

I grew up swimming and it just became a natural skill that I thought everyone knew. It only hit me when I went to a friend’s birthday pool party and realized that not everyone knew how to swim. I was so young at the time, but I remember it so vividly. I continued swimming competitively and eventually became a lifeguard. Throughout my lifeguarding years I never would have thought I would have to jump in so often for children and adult non-swimmers. Swimming is a life skill and is so important for many different reasons; mental health, physical health, social and personal goals, but it is mainly important to me from a safety perspective. Aqua-Tots Swim Schools is a great tool for children of all ages to get to their best swimming selves.

8. Anything else you would like to add?

Come check us out! Everyone who works here is helpful and smiling. We are always raising the bar to make it a great experience for our families.

Special thank you to Alannah for her time and allowing us to interview her for this special piece. Our daughter Nikki had the opportunity to have Alannah for one of her classes and Nikki really enjoyed learning from her. Therefore, we know how great she truly is and it is no surprise that she is now the General Manager of such an amazing swim school.

Alannah is a perfect example of how amazing and caring the staff are at Aqua-Tots Swim Schools. They truly care about teaching your child such an important skill and they treat everyone who visits their school as their family.

If you would like to learn more about Aqua-Tots Swim Schools feel free to contact them at (905) 848-2782.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

This article is brought to you in partnership with Aqua-Tots Swim School, Mississauga.

 

 

The Skating Journey…Tips For The Non-Skating Parent

Living in Canada, we all have developed a thick skin to deal with the cold winters and we are well known for our love of hockey. Therefore, it isn’t uncommon to have our children learn an important skill, skating.

Now I was born and raised in Canada but this was one skill that I was not encouraged to learn so I never really tried and never felt that I was missing out. Then I met my husband and he was all about ice hockey. He played for fun and I found myself at the arenas cheering him on. I started to feel a little left out at this point so I asked my husband to teach me how to skate. We were still dating at this point so I am figuring he wanted to impress me so he sweetly accepted my request to teach me.

Long story short, skating wasn’t for me as for some odd reason I couldn’t skate and talk at the same time. Therefore, I decided that I wasn’t meant for the ice world but enjoyed watching others skate while I sit with a hot chocolate in my hands.

Even though skating wasn’t for me, I still had interest in having my daughter learn the skill. We waited until our daughter was good and ready to learn so this year was the year to start. My mother-in-law looked into skating lessons at our nearby community centre and enrolled our daughter in class.

We have been going once a week for 30 minutes, the last four weeks. The lessons are quick and since our daughter is under the age of four, she needs to be accompanied by a skating parent so this is where daddy comes to the rescue.

Since I am the non-skating parent who has been watching from the distance, I thought I should provide some tips for parents who want their child to learn skating. These tips will hopefully better prepare you for the journey.

Research and Register

One of the first tips is to look into different programs and classes that are available at your local community centre. Ask all the questions that you need to beforehand to help make it a more successful experience for you and your child. Ask what is needed for the class and any restrictions that you should be aware of. There is a fee in our community so make sure you know what they are in your city.

Be Prepared. Equipment and Safety

Shopping for the appropriate clothing and equipment needed for skating is very important. Your child will need: appropriate skates (lace ups are recommended for beginners), splash pants to wear over the child’s pants, warm jacket, gloves and of course a helmet. You can always ask a personnel at the store to assist you in finding the appropriate skates and helmet that fits your child. Safety is a must!

Lower First Class Expectations

The first class is going to be very hard for your child and it might also be for you as the non-skating parent. My daughter did not do well in her first class. She was frustrated, scared and was unsure of what was going on. There were a few tears along the way from my daughter and from myself. By the end of the class, my daughter expressed how much she didn’t like skating and she didn’t want to try again. This of course broke my heart as I think we all expected the best experience of her life and we didn’t prepare her well enough for the possible disappointment of how difficult it would be.

Lower your expectations and don’t put added pressure on your child before their first class. Discuss with them how it will be hard at first and there will be some falls along the way. However, with some practice and patience it will get better. This discussion helped us convince her to try again the next week.

Provide Encouragement and Support

It is important to encourage and support your child on the sidelines. They will find you as they are learning to skate. Try to establish eye contact with them as soon as you can. Smile and give a thumbs up to encourage how well they are doing. It is remarkable to see  your child’s face light up when they see you and how proud you look to see them getting better.

It is also important to mention that if your child is not enjoying the activity at all then it may not be for them. Know that it is perfectly ok and a child should not be forced to do something that they do not like doing. If it becomes forceful than it will not be enjoyable for anyone.

Prepare for Skating Tiredness

Skating is hard work and it involves a lot of balancing (from what I can see at a distance) so it is no surprise that your child can become very tired from it. Therefore, it is important to be aware and prepared for it. Unfortunately, our class is in the middle of the day which can be challenging at times as we find that our daughter gets exhausted but a nap is not ideal since it is late in the day (it would spoil bedtime).

Tip would be to try to book a class that would fit into your child’s routine or if you can’t then try to maybe schedule a quick nap before the lesson. Worse case scenario is that you will have a cranky preschooler for the rest of the day until bedtime but try to make the best out of it. What I try to remember is that proud smiling face looking at me on how she is learning to skate. 🙂

Enjoy the Skating Journey

Skating is definitely a journey as there are ups and downs while your child learns this special skill. But my tip is to enjoy every minute of it, even if it is on the sidelines.

As soon as your child starts to skate on their own (even for a little bit), its that special moment that your heart had been waiting for. The utter proudness in their face when they realize that they are doing it all by themselves, is what special memories are made of. We recently felt that when our daughter started skating on her own and after class said, “I did it! I am awesome!”

These are my top quick tips on the skating experience from a non-skating parent. Even though I don’t know how to skate or understand the steps in learning. I am there on the sidelines cheering and supporting my daughter along the way. I am also cheering for my husband who is there by her side to help her on the ice.

I get to capture the moments on video and photos which I can then show my daughter on how well she did. It is a great opportunity for her to see her improvements and in her words how awesome she is. 😉

Our skating journey has become a family experience as we watch a little girl bond with her dad on something that he has loved since he was a child. In turn, we watch his parents (the little girl’s grandparents) hearts fill with joy as they see their once little boy as a man teaching his daughter how to skate. That is the memory that I will hold onto forever and makes sitting at the sidelines all worth it.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

When I Experienced Mom Competition…. As A Child

By: Grace Cross
Twitter

When I see Moms trying to up one another, I cringe, grab my kid off of the playground and run back to sanity. Mom competition reminds me of elementary school and I really don’t feel the person to bring another human being down, in order to make myself feel better. I understand why Moms do this to one another, but it is a pretty shameful act for many reasons.

We read blog posts about Mom competition all of the time. The calls for action to make it stop, the way it makes people feel, that they are not good enough or that they have to try harder. It reaps of sadness and self-esteem, it quite frankly makes me wonder if people give a damn about one another anymore. They do. I know they do. I may be a hopeless romantic for human kind. But we are making a mistake here Moms with Mom competition.

Let me tell you what I am not. I am not a psychologist and I am not a relationship expert. I am just a regular person who has seen this happen for years. This is what I see.

I want to paint a different picture for you, Mom competition in the eyes of a child. I am as bewildered at ten years old as I am today.

My Mother was not a competitive Mom. She always told us to try our best and she was encouraging. When we did not do well on a test, she would help us where we were struggling. It was not a “participation award” situation in my family. We were praised when we did well and where we struggled, we were helped so we understood. If we needed to be pushed to do well, we were, but we were nurtured in our talents and the hobbies that made us feel good. However, My Mother, moving from a different part of the country with a different culture, coming from a big city where everyone was just too busy to focus solely on other families, was quite surprised with the cattiness of other Moms.

My Mom wanted to make friends in this new town she was living in, so she joined the parent teacher association, she volunteered around town with charities and she volunteered in our school. That way, she believed, she could meet people her age and establish her tribe. My words, not hers.

She learned pretty quickly that this small town I grew up in, with all of its wonderful traits, had a few vices and the biggest of all was Mom competition.

My Mom was a fierce believer in individual privacy. If you got a good grade, she would not brag amongst groups that her child got that coveted A. In retrospect, if my siblings or I did not do so well, she would not let them know either. Her answer was always the same, “they did good” and she left it at that. She also did not ask how your child was doing.

My family comes from a culture where what you did for a living did not matter. My parents had great jobs, but they did not want to judge an individual on their occupation. We want to get to know the person. So, my Mom was interested in if her newfound friend’s children had a great soccer game or if they entered that writing competition because they were good writers, or if they checked out that new park or playground nearby. Conversations can go above the competitive nature and just get to know the person as an individual rather than their accomplishments or lack thereof. We are not defined on what others define us, but what we define the world to be, according to us.

These Moms would get frustrated when my Mom would protect our grades. One mom decided to go further and after school while playing on the playground and my mom was helping my infant sibling, a Mother decided to get the scoop on the latest math test. “What did you get?” She asked.

”A B”. I answered slowly. You have to respect your elders, right?

“A B?” She replies, “I thought you were good at math.” I was nine.

A B is good for me in mathematics. I try hard with math and I had to always study. It did not come natural to me as English did. A B was good. It also seemed to satisfy this Mother.

I did not tell my Mom.

The Mother of a friend continued to ask about my grades. I studied hard and told her. Dissatisfied that I was scoring higher than her child, she began comparing me to her older child, who had completed the grade a few years before.

“Eleanora scored I think 5 % higher than you. I will have to go and check her binder.” Yes, this Mother of my friend, a mother of three kept a binder of her children’s grades so she could refer to them when others were asking. She was quite proud of this and probably would be proud to tell you she kept the binder for reference for other parents to this day.

This grade asking went on until I was about fourteen. I did eventually tell my Mom who really let this other Mother have it.

It may take a community to raise a child but a child’s grades for comparison is just crossing a line.

I know now that this woman has a low self-esteem and needed to compare myself to her children to feel worthy. But if she opened her eyes, she would realize her children had big hearts, a lot of talent and she had so much to be proud of. When I got a grade higher than her child, she was visibly distressed and angry. That’s not right!

I would ask parents to look within themselves. I would humbly ask them that if they, themselves, feel inferior, to address that concern and take care of themselves. Everyone has their own standard of genius. Some parents are proud if their child learns to communicate. Others are proud their child got into a great University, other parents out there are happy their child is alive. There is nothing wrong with just being happy that your child, lives, breathes, is kind and has good thoughts.

I have gone through school and I have a degree that people are interested in, I see my child asked by adults if she will “go to school and get the same degree as Mommy.” She is under five.

“I just want her to grow up to be kind.” I answer. This is not your journey, competitive Mom, it is not even mine. It is my child’s. Let’s just be happy that she is alive to take a journey. Be humble and be kind. Open your mind, learn from others and be kind fully curious, if that even constitutes a phrase.

And if you still continue to care about a child’s grades and get mad when they succeed, I humbly advise you to kiss my ass.