Tag: Art

4 Must Have Games For Family Game Night

Family game night is a popular theme in most households and it’s one that we have recently incorporated. Therefore, there was no better time than to try some games and see which ones will make it to our top four must have games.

I must say that this was one fun article to write and our daughter Nikki had a blast as she is getting the hang of the #MelAndNikkiReview now! 😉

Let’s begin shall we?!

Paint-Sation Easel

Painting with ease and without the mess sounds ideal doesn’t it? Well, that is exactly what Paint-Sation Easel by Goliath Games is all about. The easel keeps the paper secure and the side of the easel are designated spots to securely place the paint pods.

You just simply touch your brush along the specially-designed bristles, and you’re ready to paint!

We love how you can turn the pod upside- down and the paint never drips! This comes in handy with an energetic three year old. 😉 The Paint-Sation Easel provides hours of fun, creativity and art pieces for your home.

Contents: 3 Paint Pads, 1 Easel, 2 Paint Brushes and 10 Paper Sheets.
Recommended Age: 3 years and up.
Number of Players: 1 to 4 players.

 

The Original Mr. Bucket

Mr. Bucket is the original moving chasing racing action game and it is made by Pressman Toy. Just place Mr. Bucket on the floor and watch the fun begin!

Mr. Bucket moves around the floor pops out colored balls and you have to scoop them up using your colored shovel. Now the catch is that you need to catch the ball that matches your shovel. So it is bundles of fun with friends to play. Once you catch the ball you need to put it back into Mr. Bucket and the first player to get all three colored balls wins!

This game provides a lot of fun and laughs as the kiddies try to catch their color. We love the energy this game gives and it gets kids moving! Nikki loved being able to know her colors quickly and make sure she always caught the right one. Mr. Buckets makes learning fun too!

Contents: Mr. Bucket (some assembly required), 4 shovels (1 of each color), 12 balls (3 of each color), and complete instructions. Please note that this toy does require 3 AA batteries which are not included.
Recommended Age: 3 years and up.
Number of Players: 2 to 4 players.

Lucky Ducks


A game that has adorable little ducks going around while your little ones build their developmental skills is a matching perfection. Lucky Ducks offers all the benefits of memory and matching games in a format that’s easier for little fingers than cards. It also helps kids with shape and color recognition.

You switch on the circular pond, and the ducks start swimming – the bottom side of each duck has a colored shape. Each player takes turns picking up a duck and looking at the color and shape; if it matches their color and shape they get to keep he duck. If it doesn’t match then the duck goes back into the pond.

This game was really fun and had loads of learning. The best part is to see how excited Nikki would get when she got all the matching ducks. Seeing her so proud really made this game so great for us!

Contents: 1 Pond Shaped Game Unit, 12 Ducks, 1 Sticker Sheet, Complete Instructions and Requires 2 AA batteries (not included).
Recommended Age: 3 years and up.
Number of Players: 2 to 4 players.

Let’s Go Fishin’


The game that I remember and loved as a kid has me reminisce on family game nights with my sister. Now I get to share it with my daughter with Pressman Toy, Let’s Go Fishin’. This classic kids game teaches hand-eye coordination as players use their mini fishing poles to try to catch the most fish. The challenge is that the board game spins, and the fish open and close their mouths.

This game was an ultimate favorite for Nikki as she played for endless hours and each time her skills on catching the fishes were getting better and better. We adored this game and we know it will

Contents: Deluxe Motorized Game Unit, 21 Colorful Fish, 4 Plastic Fishing Rods, Complete Instructions, and Requires 1 C Battery (not included).
Recommended Age: 4 years and up.
Number of Players: 2 to 4 players.

What Did Nikki Think?

We put the real judge to the test to see if it passed the Nikki standards.

Nikki loved all the games and she was excited to play them all everyday of the week! All these four games have passed our #MelAndNikkiReview with 5 High Fives Out of 5.  All the games provided hours of entertainment, learning and fun for the whole family.

We recommend all of these games for your next family game night!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

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Turning Memories Into Comics

We all know that kids say the funniest and most honest things. So imagine being able to capture these moments in comic form. Well, I am thrilled to say that you can with the help of Matt from Peanuts Gallery Comic who is our “Dad of the Month.”

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Matt grew up in Colorado and moved to New York City right after college. Recently he has moved to the suburbs in New York City with his wife and soon to be six year old son, to give his son more space to run around. People often ask him how he made the transition from Colorado to New York City and he says, “I somehow love the outdoors as much as I love the energy and crowds of New York City.”

I had a chance to connect with Matt to learn more about his unique company.

  1. What does your company do?

“Peanut Gallery Comics turns memories into hand-drawn, custom art. People send in photos and their story, and our writers and illustrators turn them into comic strips.”

Click here to watch the video.

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  1. When did you start your business?

“We’ve been live for just over three months. We started with a Kickstarter campaign and somehow found ourselves fully funded in less than 48 hours. We were lucky enough to end up over 200% funded.”

  1. How did you come up with the idea?

“My son says and does some really funny and cute things. I started keeping a journal of them so I wouldn’t forget them. But I soon found they were just sitting there and I couldn’t really enjoy them. That’s when I came up with the idea to have them made into comics. I found some illustrators to make a few of them and I loved them! When my family and friends saw them and loved them, I decided to try it as a business.”

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  1. How did you come up with the business name?

“I liked the sound of peanut because it was a nick name we gave to my nephew (who is almost a year old now), and paired it with gallery because we make custom art.”

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  1. What do you hope your business accomplishes?

“To be honest, I really just love making people’s stories come to life as comics. The stories are all so cute (and some are really funny), and the illustrators and I have to get creative to make them into comic strips that stay true to the story.”

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  1. Where would you like to see your business in 5 years?

“I’d like to see us making a good amount of people’s stories into comics every month. It’s fun making them, and it’s fun getting all of the positive feedback. We even started making some free ones for people based on cute or funny stories we see on Twitter. The free ones don’t have personalized characters, but most people are really happy to see their stories as comic strips.”

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  1. As a busy working dad, how do you find the time to balance it all?

“It’s funny, I get asked that all the time. I guess I stay up fairly late and usually do a good amount of work after my son goes to bed, but it doesn’t seem that hard. Maybe it’s because I like it so much. Although I have noticed I don’t watch TV much anymore.”

  1. If someone is interested in purchasing a comic, how can they go about it?

They can purchase online from our site, http://www.peanutgallerycomics.com/ or send an email to info@peanutgallerycomics.com if they have any questions.

I have had the pleasure to have one of my moments with my daughter captured in a comic strip by Peanut Gallery Comics and I will treasure it forever! Matt was very professional from beginning to end and of course the end result was stunning.

A Momma Braga Moment Captured on a Comic Strip
A Momma Braga Moment on a Comic Strip

Following them on social media has been great and really funny too. Make sure to follow them to see what other moments they have captured.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PGComics/?fref=ts
Instagram: @peanutgallerycomics
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PG_Comics

Matt is a talented father who has given parents an opportunity to capture their precious moments into comic strips that they can treasure forever. Matt even offers some great advice for all parents to note, “Keep making cute and funny memories! And make sure to capture them somewhere, even if it’s not as a custom comic. Write them down so you don’t lose them. It’s the small moments and memories that are really precious, the way your kid says something or the way they expressed themselves in a uniquely “them” kind of way.”

Very well said Matt and I have now purchased a notebook to capture some of these precious moments! Thank you Matt for your time and keep making memories come alive in print!

I am happy to extend a special offer from Matt of Peanut Gallery Comics to all my amazing readers. If you purchase a comic from them use promo code: MommaBraga to get $10 off your order! Thanks Matt as I know my readers will appreciate this great offer!

Until next time…..Happy Parenting!

–          Momma Braga

Giving Each Event its Own Unique ID with Inspired Designs

This month’s “Mom of the Month” is an inspiring graphic designer for just over ten years. She also enjoys making and building things. She is humble to say that she can’t draw to save her life, but has a creative side in many other ways.

This rings true as soon as you see the beautiful creations done by Marissa at ID Inspired Designs who is our Mom of the Month.

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I had the opportunity to connect with Marissa to get to know more about this great mom and her company.

  1. What does your company do?

We design, print and execute custom paper products for all occasions, such as invitations, loot bags, favor tags, posters, banners and a lot more. We also design, print and execute paper products for businesses, this is secondary though.

  1. When did you start your business?

I started this business about eight years ago.

  1. How did you come up with the idea?

I designed invitations and paper products for occasions in my life and I had many friends and family members who wanted me to do the same for them. With each job came another referral and before I knew it, I was a full blown business.

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  1. How did you come up with the business name?

ID is short for identity as I feel everything such as an event and business should have its own unique identity. Inspired Designs came to me since it is my clients who inspire and challenge me to bring their designs to life.

  1. What do you hope your business accomplishes?

To be able to execute every clients design to the way they picture it. I want to be able to reflect what they see in their minds to their eyes.

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  1. Where would you like to see your business in 5 years?

I would love to be doing this full time, to have a dedicated work space and be able to spend all my work time executing what makes my heart sing.

  1. As a busy working mom, how do you find the time to balance it all?

Marissa stated that she sadly does not think she does this very well as she works full time and in her spare time is when she executes designs for her clients. However, I know that even with her busy schedule she still finds time to spend it with her loving son. They even have mom and son dates where they do something fun together outside of the home. So in my books she balances it really well and is humble about it.

  1. Lastly, how can people connect with you if they are interested in ordering from you?

Interested clients can email me or connect with me on our Facebook page.

Email: idinspireddesigns@yahoo.ca
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/IDInspiredDesignsCustomStationary/?fref=ts

Also make sure to follow ID Inspired Designs on Instagram @idinspireddesigns to see many more of her masterpieces.

When I asked Marissa what else she would like our readers to know, she stated, “We can work with any idea and any budget. I love to be challenged and I really do love what I do.”

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Momma Braga is extremely proud to feature Marissa of ID Inspired Designs as this month’s “Mom of the Month” as she is such a humble, kind and extremely talented. We have used her services before and the outcome has always been above expectations. Marissa is also a great mom who is always there for her son and he is always number one in her books.

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Thank you Marissa for your time and wishing you many years of success! Keep on dreaming and everything is possible!

Until next time……Happy Parenting!

–          Momma Braga

The Easter Craft Fiasco

There is nothing like a homemade gift made by a child as these gifts carry a sentimental value and they can be very fun to make.

Since Nikki is only 19 months old, I had to research to see which activity would be age appropriate and what she could12674688_912473925517070_96104385_n have fun with. I was thrilled to find an adorable craft that was a carrot made from the child’s footprint. For this craft I required paint and I decided to make my own paint which would be safe and very inexpensive to make. Here is how I made it.

Materials Used
Salt
Flour
Water
Food Colouring

Directions
Take 1/2 cup of flour and put it into a bowl
Take 1/2 cup of salt and mix it with the flour
Once all mixed, add 1/3 cup of water
Mix all the ingredients until it’s smooth

In a separate small bowl, mix red and yellow food colouring until it turns orange.
Pour the mixture into a Ziploc bag and then add the orange food colouring.
Seal the bag and squeeze to mix the colour into the mixture.
Once colour is all blended, then place the paint in a tray for easy foot dipping.

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I was getting very excited at this point as I made homemade paint (never thought I could really do it). I set up an area in the living room for our painting session. Went to Nikki and told her it was time for some painting fun. I rolled up her pants and took off her socks. Showed her the paint and explained what we were going to do. She appeared to be excited but I was wrong…..SO wrong!

After dipping Nikki’s feet into the paint, she lifted her feet in disgust and started to cry. Now I had a crying toddler with orange feet and panic started to set in my heart. So I took Nikki to the bathroom to wash her feet which stopped the crying. Dried off her feet and took her back to the painting area which then resulted in more tears with the sight of paint. As I tried comforting her with a hug, she refused it. At this point, I knew she no longer trusted me as I was the one that dipped her foot in the paint (I can see her point!).

To turn around this “epic craft failure” session, I decided to show her how fun it could be. So I tried showing her with my own hand and foot art. Nikki enjoyed seeing me do it and asked for me to do it again but to myself. I tried to see if she would do it now and I got more tears. Therefore, I knew that this craft was not in the cards for us today.

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An amazing friend of mine suggested tracing her foot with crayon instead and I thought that was a great idea. But first, I had to clean the mess that I made. Once everything was cleaned, I tried approaching Nikki to trace her foot but of course Nikki refused to give me her foot and wouldn’t even let me put her socks back on. Nikki just needed some space and I gave her just that.

As soon as she was ready, she came to mama for some TLC. I showed Nikki the paper and crayon which this time got her really excited. So I asked her to put her foot on the paper and showed her the crayon. Success! Got her foot traced!

So we changed the craft a bit and here is our final product. We hope Nikki’s great grandparents enjoy it as it was a tough mission to accomplish.

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What I learned from this fiasco, is that with toddlers you always need to improvise and never expect things to go smoothly. Allow them their space and offer alternatives. Things will get done but it may not be your way. After being originally bummed out, I remember that at the end of the day, it was made by my child. That counts for everything!

Happy Easter crafting!

– Momma Braga

Blowing Kisses

Story time a couple of nights ago was a little extra special as we had a new book to read called, Blowing Kisses. This book is written by Jaime Windle and illustrated by Elisa Moriconi.
Blowing Kisses is an adorable children’s book that takes us on a kiss journey. The adventure first starts by making a kiss and not just any kiss but one with a special wish. The next part is deciding on who gets this special kiss and then off the kiss goes. After traveling it lands on mom who is greatly touched by the kiss and special wish that warms her heart. To end the journey, mom sends one back.

Nikki and I give this book five kisses out of five. The story flows really well and it is an easy read. The illustrations articulate the story beautifully with the colourful pictures and characters.

Reading the journey of the kiss gave us the opportunity to do the actions of blowing a kiss which made it a lot of fun for us especially since this one of our favourite things to do.

The message that we got from this story is that a kiss to someone special comes with a wish that imprints the person you send it to. This is a great message for children as it teaches them that a piece of them will always be with their mom for example and vice versa. Who wouldn’t want to have a kiss with a special wish?! We know we do!

Since bringing this book into our night time line up, it has become Nikki’s top three books, as this is the number of books she brings me to read. The best part is that it’s one of my top books as well as I get to do what a lot of moms like to do when we say ‘Good-Night’ and that is seal it with a kiss.

Looking forward to any upcoming books from Jaime Windle and if you are still looking for a great gift idea, consider this book as it would make a great holiday gift.

To purchase this lovely book visit, http://www.amazon.com/Blowing-Kisses-Jaime-Windle/dp/163177283X.

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– Momma Braga
#MelandNikkiReview

One of our Favourite Books, Grace

Nikki and I love story time and one of our favourites is, Grace. The reading is easy and the beautiful illustrations are so colourful – perfect to entice a toddler’s eye.

Grace is a story about a girl who loved to dance but after trying and trying, Grace gave up. To cheer herself up, she started to draw and found out that this was her very special talent that she could even share with her dancing friends.

I have had the pleasure to know the author and illustrator of Grace, Kate Parkinson, and I had the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her book.

Every book comes from inspiration and Grace was no different. “Grace was originally developed as part of my Masters thesis (University of Hartford) and based loosely on my own childhood as I was always good at drawing but not so good at ballet or singing,” stated Kate. “And so as a child I did lots of art. I still do of course. However as an adult when I draw, I sing loudly to Motown (and I really, really cannot sing!) and I dance whenever I feel like it!” Kate added.

When asked about the message the book is conveying to her young readers, Kate said, “Everyone has talents and just because you’re not gifted at something does not mean you should not do it. In the book, Grace wants to be a dancer but ballet just is not her forte. However, art is something Grace is good at and it enables her to find a way to be a part of the ballet class. On top of that, the unstoppable Grace still continues to dance just for the love of it.”

I say that is a great message to convey to young readers and Kate added that the themes of the story include: talents, self-esteem, acceptance, and belonging.

Since Nikki and I enjoyed Grace so much I asked if we can anticipate any other Grace adventures. Kate informed me that she is currently working on new story ideas with new characters for early readers (ages 3 to 6). I am sure it will be another great story and beautiful illustrations to go with it.

To learn more about this author please visit: http://www.kateparkinson.com

Grace would make a great gift for any early reader and could be purchased online at: http://www.amazon.ca/Grace-Kate-Parkinson/dp/082343317X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1447597396&sr=8-2&keywords=grace+parkinson

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Nikki and I recommend this book and we can’t wait to see what else Kate Parkinson has in store for us.

A special thank you to Kate for her time and keep up the awesome work!

– Momma Braga