Tag: Blog

Morning Sunshine!

“Morning, Sunshine! A beautiful story using haiku’s to describe nature that surrounds us as the sun rises to start a new day. A must read story with your little ones.” – Momma Braga


As we all wake up, the outside world bustles with life! Discover new facts about familiar creatures – from fluttering moths and scurrying beetles to shy foxes and humming bees – as they go about their morning activities. In the city, the countryside, and the suburbs. Nature can be found everywhere!

A series of haiku takes readers on a close-up, observational look at the amazing abundance of nature right outside our homes. Each stanza focuses on an aspect of the natural world or a creature going about their daily activities as the sun begins to rise. Alongside the haiku, informative text goes into depth about each subject – from how much honey a bee can make to the size of a hummingbird’s egg. Instructions to help kids create their own haiku poems, a unique form of poetry from Japan, as well as a glossary add value for a STEM and Core Curriculum book that can be enjoyed both in the classroom and at home.


Morning, Sunshine! made our reading time so much brighter. We truly enjoyed reading and learning as we went through the book. The book is fun to read especially with the Haiku format.

What is Haiku?

“Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry with seventeen syllables or beats, usually in three lines. The first line has five syllables, the second seven, and the third five. One way to find how many syllables a word has is to clap them out.”

We felt that the haikus used made the book that more special and we love how the author included instructions in the back on how to create your own. So I took it to the test and created my own Haiku and since I work in the construction industry, I thought I should create one of the field.

That was my fun attempt and now we will take what we have learned and apply it to our daily adventures to see what else we can come up with. Once you get the hang of it, it truly is simple to do. All you need to do is watch the world around and be inspired to write what you see following the pattern above with the syllables.


On one side of the page there is the Haiku and then on the other side you have an amazing description of the creature. I think the most interesting piece for me was learning about moths, it was absolutely fascinating to learn that they have markings that warn potential predators to stay away. Nikki’s favorite was learning about snails and how their mucus helps protect them from sharp objects they might slide over. It was just an amazing story to read and the book also provides a glossary in the back – very helpful!

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give it 10 sunshines out of 5! This book offers so much learning for children and parents. We loved reading it so much and the illustrations are absolutely perfect. If you would like to purchase a copy of Morning, Sunshine! Click here. Great children’s book for children ages four to eight as it offers so much learning opportunities.

About the Author

Keely Parrack came from the United Kingdom to the United States for fun twenty years ago, and liked it so much she’s still here doing what she loves best: writing poetry, picture books, and young adult novels and motivating kids to love reading and to be confident creative writers. Her work has been published in The Christian Science Monitor, The Contra Costa Times, Patch, Spider magazine, and Mothering.com, and her short story (written under the pen name Keely James) “Listening to the Leaves” appears in the anthology Simple Pleasures of Friendship: Celebrating the Ones We Love. She has been a science and language arts specialist and teacher at an elementary school in inner-city Nottingham, UK, a children’s center director in San Francisco, and the coregional advisor for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, San Francisco North and East Bay. Parrack now fills her time working for her local indie bookstore, tutoring kids in creative writing, and designing haiku cards for her friends and family. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, son, and a very demanding cat.

About the Illustrator

John Bajet is currently a designer on the Cartoon Network Show Tom & Jerry; art director at Renegade Animation; and the illustrator for Baby Shark, Planting Seeds of Kindness, If We Can Do What Animals Do, and Bigger than Baseball.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

Momma Braga

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


Disney’s Moana Making Waves on the Big Screen

“Sometimes our strengths lie beneath the surface. Far beneath.” – Moana

*This review is not a sponsored or endorsed in any way. Momma Braga was not compensated for this post.

Recently my two year old, Nikki and I had a mommy and daughter movie day and we went to see the new Walt Disney Animation, Moana.

This is not our first time at the movie theatre so Nikki had a good handle of the concept of watching a movie outside of our living room. Since Nikki is a toddler, it can be difficult for her to stay still through the duration of a movie; however, to my surprise she stayed glued to the movie with the occasional wanting to sit on my lap instead of her own seat.

So let’s talk about Moana! The movie takes us on a journey with Moana (a spirited teenager and daughter of the Chief from Motusi) who struggles to figure out where she is meant to be. She is torn between her father’s expectations of her and her feeling that there is more out in the ocean for her. Once her home is in jeopardy she sets out on an adventure to save her people. Part of her journey is to convince the mighty demigod Maui to join her mission, and he reluctantly helps her become a wayfinder like her ancestors who sailed before her. Together, they voyage across open ocean where she encounters enormous monsters and impossible odds, and along the way, Moana fulfills her quest and discovers the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity.

Nikki and I give Moana five toddler high fives out of five! We will definitely be adding this one to our collection of Disney movies as soon as it comes out.

Now I must warn parents that if you have a sensitive toddler then they may be afraid of some parts of the movie as my daughter did. I just assured her that everything was ok and she didn’t need to be afraid as it was only a movie. These parts were very minimal in the movie; therefore, it did not affect our rating of it.

We loved the animation, the characters (especially the larger than life characters such as Maui who is played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) and the music was great too!


Walt Disney Animation is truly stepping outside the traditional storylines which I love as they are really building to empower and inspire all children.

The story is beautifully written that allows you to feel the emotions throughout the movie (I did have tears at one point). Even though most of the focus is on Moana (voiced by Auli’I Cravalho) trying to find out who she is…she also helps Maui believe in himself again.

“The gods aren’t the ones who make you Maui, you are.” – Moana

Moana is on our list of must see as you will love it from start to finish and it will teach many valuable lessons.

Until next time…..Happy Parenting!

– Momma Braga


4 Tips to Avoid Being a Mean Mommy

Originally posted here

By: Grace Cross
Twitter: @grace_cross1000

We all have met them. That mom, who is judgmental, has a problem with every other mother’s parenting practices, gossiping about family life and making overzealous assumptions. We can’t stand mean mommies but can we be that mean mother sometimes? Here are four reminders on how to avoid being that Mean Momma.

1. Do Not Gossip – When a mother confides in another, whether her marriage is on the rocks or she is having trouble with her children. Do not share that information with other mothers. When someone is feeling isolated based on problems to begin with, gossip can further isolate the person who is being gossiped about.

SOLUTION: Help with the problem, even if it’s an offer to carpool once a week, or scheduling a play date at the park, give that Mom a break or an ear to listen to.


2. Do Not Judge– Try walking in another Mother’s shoes. Is she under a lot of stress? Could she use some help?

SOLUTION: Again, be an ear to listen to or invite her out for a play date. Friendliness goes a long way.

3. Do Not Make Assumptions About Someone’s Situation– When we make assumptions on something we know little or nothing about, it can breed into a Mean Mommy Monster! Not only are mean assumptions a reflection of yourself, the people you are feeding the lies to may agree with you at the time, but you will get a reputation as a Mean Mommy.

SOLUTION: Point out the positives of another Mother. People who seem to have it all together are people to learn from. Swap parenting tips, the only thing that can happen is a new friendship and learning something new.

4. Keep Jealousy At Bay– A lot of Mean Mommies mean comments to others comes from jealousy of the mother they are speaking about. Some Moms will have it more together then you, others will not.

SOLUTION: Learn from these Mothers. They can teach you parenting tips or maybe once you get to know them, you will realize that they too, have hardships, problems and are real people.

Motherhood is a really difficult job and we should all be in this together. Mothers being mean to other mothers are childish and your children may hear you being catty. Instead of being pinned against one another, remember that we are all in this together and need the support from each other. It takes a village to raise a child and if we are all on the same team, it makes this job a lot easier.


About the Author & Special Guest Blogger

Grace Cross is a writer, author and owner of The Baby Spot, a global magazine celebrating the similarities and embracing the differences of parenting practices world-wide! Grace is co owner of Artist’s Opus, a social media following that promotes artists from all over the world.

Betty and the Loaf-of-Bread Sit

This week a new book landed on our list that introduces young readers to a lovable cat’s adventure in a new book called, Betty and the Loaf-of-Bread Sit. This book is written by Marisa Wiens and illustrated by Laura Toews. Betty and the Loaf-of-Bread Sit takes young readers on an adventure with Betty as she finds the perfect sit for her adorable and lumpy self. After many failed attempts at finding the best sit, she finds herself hungry and ends up finding the perfect sit. Betty even decides not to eat after all as the “sit” was just too comfy!

The illustrations are just adorable and they illustrate the story beautifully. My daughter just loved seeing the “kitty” as we turned each page. It was an overall adorable and easy book to read. These are my favourite as they keep my almost two year intrigued from beginning to end.

I had the opportunity to speak with author, Marisa, to find out a little bit more about her and what inspired her.

“I’ve always been a child at heart and I love to get creative. Once I had my son, we were borrowing a lot of books from the library and reading them at bedtime. I was not impressed with a lot of the children’s books that were out there and the idea came to me one day that I should write a children’s book”, said Marisa.


As for her inspiration, it all started with gramma. “My cat Betty (who is named after my deceased gramma and who found me on the eve of my gramma’s passing) is the inspiration for my book. Since my gramma passed before she could ever meet my children, I feel this is a way for them to get to know her and I always feel her chuckling and reading along with us”, stated Marisa. I always find the stories behind the stories so touching and this was one of them!

The neat part in making this book is that Marisa and the illustrator Laura grew up together in North Delta, British Columbia and have been best friends. These two could always be found on the playground, reveling in their own unique world of unicorns and peculiar merriment. So it was only natural to ask her best friend who was a fantastic artist to be her illustrator. Marisa stated, “I thought it would be something really cool for us to do together so it did not take much convincing to recruit her for the illustrations.”

Cat #2

When I asked Marisa what message does she want children to get out of her book, she stated, “I think I mainly want to tap into the playfulness and silliness that is in children. I think the message is that you can be silly and have fun while reading.” I think that message is awesome!

This book is a great read for young children one to five years of age and especially perfect for a young reader with a love of cats.

To purchase this lovely book you can visit, http://bookstore.authorhouse.com/Products/SKU-000980241/Betty-and-the-LoafofBread-Sit.aspx https://www.amazon.com/Betty-Loaf-Bread-Marisa-Wiens-ebook/dp/B01BVMJKG0/182-4031052-4891628?ie=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0

You can also follow them on social media:

Twitter: @BettyatLobs
Instagram: @bearcat_betty_books

Mom & Daughter
Author Marisa and daughter Emeri

Marisa now resides in Victoria, British Columbia, with her husband, Chris; her son and daughter, Carver and Emeri; her two cats, Betty and Luongo; and her dog, Makaveli. She dedicates this book to her cat-loving gramma, Betty, who taught her unconditional love and who is now somewhere over the rainbow in heaven.

We give this book 5 meows out of 5!

Until next time….Happy Parenting!

– Momma Braga