Tag: Children

Madame Badobedah | Book Review

“Madame Badobedah takes us on an imagination adventure and we loved it!” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

A hotel is a great place to live if you’re an adventurer, There are rooms to explore, guests to spy on, and secrets just waiting to be discovered.

Mabel likes to keep an eye on all the comings and goings at the Mermaid Hotel. When a mysterious old lady moves in, with a jewel-filled trunk and a beady-eyed pet tortoise, Mabel vows to watch her every move. Because this guest, Mabel decides, is a supervillan. But even supervillans have a soft side, and as an unlikely friendship grows between the pair, their fantastical exploits take them well beyond the corridors of their hotel home.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Madame Badobedah brings adventure to life in a tale like no other. It brings mystery, curiosity, adventure and reminds us of how amazing it is to imagine. It also allows us to see that the best friendships are the unexpected ones.

This book reminded me of my own childhood and how I came up with the most ravishing stories of a person or even a place. It made it so much more fun.

To live in a hotel (Mermaid Hotel, how cool is that?!) and meeting so many new people; sounds like a dream and adventures come true! Madame Badobedah brings that and so much more.

We just adored reading this book and even started imagining what type of adventures we would have. Nikki imagines a room where there is a secret door to a magical land of unicorns and lots of toys for her to play. I imagine a room where I can just sit and relax without any disruptions – ah to dream is to live! 😉

When books inspire us to imagine on our own once we have read it, then a glowing review is what we give. We give Madame Badobedah 10 stars out of 5! The story was intriguing and illustrations compliment the story perfectly. Great combination for reading time (which is all the time).

This book is recommended for children between the ages of five and eight. If you would like to pre-order this book before it goes on sale on April 7, 2020, click here.

About the Author

Sophie Dahl began her working life as a teenage fashion model, but books and words were her first love. In 2003 she published The Man with the Dancing Eyes, an illustrated novella, which she followed in 2007 with her first novel, Playing with the Grown-ups. A devoted home cook, she has also written two cookbooks, Very Fond of Food: A Year in Recipes and Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights, in addition to writing and presenting two BBC prime-time shows about food. She is contributing editor at Conde Nast Traveller, was a longtime contributing editor at British Vogue, and has written nonfiction essays for Vogue (US), Harper’s Bazaar (UK), the Observer (UK), the Guardian (UK), and the Times (London). Sophie Dahl lives in the countryside with her husband, daughters, rescue dog, cat, and tortoise. Madame Badobedah is her first book for children.

About the Illustrator

Lauren O’Hara is an illustrator from the north of England. As a child she loved reading fairy tales, painting insects, and listening to her grandmother’s stories. She studied art and illustrations at Kingston University, then designed window displays and props for films. Her career as an illustrator began when she and her sister, Natalia, worked together on a picture book, Hortense and the Shadow. This was published in 2017 and followed in 2018 by The Bandit Queen. Lauren O’Hara currently lives in a converted church in Dublin, Ireland, with her partner, their cat Ida, and assorted ghosts.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

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

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Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story

“The story of fry bread is the story of American Indians: embracing community and culture in the face of opposition.” – Kevin Noble Maillard

Synopsis

Told in a lively and powerful verse by debut author Kevin Noble Maillard, Fry Bread is an evocative depiction of a modern Native American family, vibrantly illustrated by Pura Belpre Award winner and Caldecott Honoree Juana Martinez-Neal.

Fry bread is food.
It is warm and delicious, piled high on a plate.

Fry bread is time.
It brings families together for meals and new memories.

Fry bread is nation.
It is shared by many, from coast to coast and beyond.

Fry bread is us.
It is a celebration of old and new, traditional and modern, similarity and difference.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Fry Bread is a unique story and one that we enjoyed reading. We love learning about different cultures and communities. Fry Bread provides us all that and so much more. At the end of the book, the author provides a very detailed note on how fry bread came to be and a bit of history on it. The author also goes into depth on each meaning to each piece such as Fry Bread Is Food which is an example of the ones you will find.

Absolutely loved reading these and it really gave us an inside look as to how this book was inspired and written. This was that extra special touch that truly made me enjoy this book more. However, this part was not as appealing to my daughter which was understandable as it was a lot of reading. I would recommend this piece for the parents to read. There is also the author’s very own Fry Bread recipe! If you love recipes, this is one that should be noted!

The story itself flowed and is worded beautifully. We also loved the illustrations as it brought the story to life. Fry Bread has a lot of heart and the author allowed us into his world in the most amazing way through a children’s book.

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give it 5 stars out of 5! This book is recommended for children ages three to six. If you would like to purchase this book, please click here.

About the Author

Kevin Noble Maillard is a professor and journalist who lives with his family on the thirteenth floor of a 115-year-old bank in the heart of Manhattan. He is a regular writer for the New York Times and has interviewed politicians, writers, tribal leaders, and even some movie stars. When he was thirteen years old, he won a fishing derby for catching seventy-two fish in two hours. Originally from Oklahoma, he is a member of the Seminole Nation, Mekusukey band. To learn more, click here.

About the Illustrator

Juana Martinez-Neal is an illustrator of books for children, including the Pura Belpre Award winner La Princesa and the Pea. She made her authorial debut in 2018 with Alma and How She Got Her Name, which was awarded the Caldecott Honor. Juana was born in Lima, Peru, where she grew up surrounded by amazing meals prepared by her mom and amazing paintings made by her dad and granddad. She now lives, eats, and paints in Scottsdale, Arizona, surrounded by her amazing children. To learn more, click here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

Momma Braga

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

One and Done: Our Family is Complete

A family is defined as a set of parents living with their children. The definition of family is the group of people who share common ancestors. Those are the definitions you can see in the dictionary but family is really up to personal interpretation.

To me a family is people who love each other unconditionally. It does not matter who makes up your family or how many are in it. At the end of the day, the love that is shared is what should matter most.

Our Family Beginning

Every story has a “Once Upon A Time” and our family story is no different. It all started when a young lady fell in love with a handsome and sweet young man. They dated for seven years before getting married and it was a rollercoaster of a journey but they did it together. To them an ideal family would be to have two children as it only seemed fitting since everyone in the family were only having two children.

Our wedding day.

Unfortunately, not all families are made quickly or as planned. This is just how life goes. Thinking the struggle was over when they found out they were expecting; however, it was short lived when a miscarriage had occurred. There hopes and dreams of having a family seemed just that…a dream.

A few years after, a pleasant surprise had happen with another positive pregnancy test. But this time, nine months later through a difficult pregnancy, our family grew by one with the energetic little one that we call Nikki.

Family Life

The adjustment into parenthood is never easy and it took (still is) a lot of tinkering along the way. As we grew with our daughter we started to see that one was plenty for us and our family felt complete. It didn’t always feel that way as we were always questioned as to why not add one more child. At one point we took that to heart and felt maybe we should consider adding one more. We seemed to have allowed that pressure to consume us once again and it was affecting my health. However, I quickly realized that it wasn’t worth all the extra stress and anxiety I was feeling. Of course with any life changing decisions we discuss it as a team as it takes a village to raise a child.

Our family of three.

Only Child Syndrome

“Only child syndrome is the myth that only children are lonely, selfish, spoiled, impatient and maladjusted.”

We have heard that and more when raising our daughter. This was a big part of our discussions as we reviewed what would be best for our family. When looking at the definition and seeing my daughter, I couldn’t see it. We don’t see any of those characteristics in Nikki.

Lonely

Luckily, Nikki isn’t locked in a tower like poor Rapunzel was for many years of her life. 😉 We expose Nikki to everything that life and people have to offer. We set up play dates and have her interact with people all throughout her life. She has many great friendships that she has built already in her five years of life and we nourish her to continue to build these friendships and build new ones. She is also surrounded by so many loving family members that we as adults help her maintain.

On the other side, we also personally know many people who have siblings who don’t even communicate or connect with. Therefore, having a sibling does not mean you have someone with you for life as they may not want to be part of your life. A sibling does not mean a life-long friend.

Nikki with her cousin Connor as they embrace each other’s company.
Selfish

When you ask anyone that knows Nikki really well, knows that she is not selfish. Of course there can be moments that she may not want to share a favorite toy and that is absolutely normal as she is only five! However, she is very generous and shares with others.

Spoiled

This word in itself stings when I hear, read, or see it! I recall a couple of years back, a family member mentioning to someone I know that Nikki was a spoiled little girl. Of course as a momma bear I was going to call out on that person. But I stepped back and looked at their own family dynamics and knew they were just forecasting their own parenting style onto me. Nikki is very loved and we provide for her the best that we can. We feed her, cloth her and provide her shelter. There are many things that she asks for and she does not get as we can not afford to give her everything that she wants. With age she has learned that we need to be grateful for what we do have and know that we can’t get everything we want. She is our only child so it is natural that it would be easier for us to provide for her a few extras. In the process, we make sure she knows how lucky she is that this can be done. Throughout the year, we do donations to others in order to teach her how important it is to give back. Many times she goes through some of her really good toys and gives it to others who don’t have any. We even give away clothes that no longer fit to a family who is in need. Therefore, please don’t call a child spoiled as it is so hurtful to all.

Impatient

I am not sure what child is patient with a sibling or not? Nikki can be patient and impatient as it all depends what she is excited for. I know many adults who are impatient as well and they have tons of siblings. Therefore, we knew not to worry and with age Nikki is getting much better in waiting. 😉

Maladjusted

Nikki thrives in social settings and is sociable with all. Not to mention her amazing empathy towards others. It is something that even her teachers have noted in her report cards and we couldn’t be prouder. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another and it is one that can be hard for children to exhibit. I have been often asked if Nikki has any older siblings as she is so loving and caring towards others. Everyone is always shocked to hear that Nikki is an only child. I am never shocked as that is how we raised her.

Nikki with her best friend Madison. One of the many friendships she has built.

Momma Braga Closing Thoughts

We support the decisions that families make for themselves. Everyone does and chooses what is best for them. My request to everyone as we end the year, is to be more accepting and loving to one another. Let us respect others and just give a listening ear when needed. Remember that whether someone decides to have no children or ten children, we shouldn’t judge or condemn them. The definition of “family” truly depends on how you see your family looking and not what others think it should look like.

After discussing it all and seeing how life is at this point for us…I turned to my husband and said “I am one and done.” He of course agreed and we couldn’t be happier with our family of three.

Thank you to all my amazing readers for all your love and support. This year we have had 30,000 readers and we are truly thankful!!!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

Celebrating the Season with Santa and Aqua-Tots Swim Schools

The spirit of the holiday season came alive with a splash this past weekend at Aqua-Tots Swim School in Burlington. The Swim with Santa Event is one of the many perks offered with your membership at Aqua-Tots and we love it!

The event brings families together as they embrace fun-filled activities such as crafts, holiday story corner, photos with Santa and of course the famous Swim with Santa.

Holiday Crafts

The holiday season is a great time to embrace and share our crafting skills. This was one of Nikki’s favourite activities as she had so many different craft options to do. Her favourite was making tree ornaments which she opted to bring all home with her to place on our tree.

Nikki also made a festive bracelet that she wore proudly at the Swim with Santa Event. It was hard to get Nikki to a different section as lots of fun was had at the craft table.

Holiday Story Corner

Another favourite activity for Nikki was the holiday story corner. She absolutely loved all the holiday stories and loved to interact with the story teller. Ask a question and Nikki will be the first to respond.

Who doesn’t love a good holiday story, right?!

Photo Credit: Aqua-Tots Swim School Burlington

Photos with Santa

Santa came by to say hello to all the amazing swimmers prior to stepping into the pool. Everyone had a chance to sit on Santa’s lap to take a photo and tell him what they would like for Christmas or share a Christmas wish.

We loved the set up of Santa’s photo area and there was even a box by his side for any Santa letters. Nikki really loved the set up and wanted a photo of herself in Santa’s spot. I guess she wanted to be Santa for a bit while he was getting ready for his swim.

Swim with Santa

Santa came by the pool area and dipped his feet to interact with all the excited children around him. This part is the highlight of the event as everyone is always excited to see Santa in a different type of element such as the swimming pool.

This part is one of my favourite parts too as you see families swim together. Everyone always has so much fun and you see how proud the children are to show their parents the amazing swimming skills they have learned.

Overall, we always have a great time at all the special events that are hosted by Aqua-Tots Swim Schools. We love this perk as it provides an opportunity to get together as a family and as a community. It truly embodies the spirit of the season and it continues on throughout the year.

If you are looking for the perfect Christmas gift this year, think about the gift of swimming. Gift certificates are available. Just give them a call to get set up. Remember that these events are available to you for free with your membership.

Build, refine and stay sharp all year-round with Aqua-Tots. Make sure to check them out at the Mississauga or Burlington locations to get started.

Until next time…Just keep swimming! 😉

Momma Braga

 

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

 

 

Bring Your Inner Glow Out This Holiday Season

A million twinkling lights greet you as you enter the Toronto Congress Centre this holiday season as they host Glow Toronto. Noted as a must see event for the whole family this holiday season, we got to experience it first hand and we are excited to share our thoughts, feelings and tips.

“Experience a family-friendly indoor Wonderland as you celebrate the magic of Christmas and help the elves uncover Santa’s lost presents! Enjoy interactive light gardens, illuminated structures, delicious food, festive drinks and daily live entertainment all under the twinkle of a million lights.” – Glow Toronto

Nikki with her Auntie Amanda.

Christmas Light Gardens

Walk through the light gardens and take that perfect photo that you are looking for this holiday season. You have so many scenes that you can pick from and you can’t go wrong with what you chose. Everything is absolutely beautiful and breathtaking. The time and effort that was put in does not go unnoticed. Bravo to all who were involved in putting it all together.

Even I got into the picture taking and posed with my daughter Nikki.

There are so many different types of lights to see in the gardens such as the hanging lights which is ideal to take a selfie. There are also the hanging picture frames which we took advantage of too.

Nikki with her Auntie Amanda at the hanging picture frames.

My favourite was the LED Swings as it truly brought out the kid in me and I loved every minute of it! We also can’t forget the Light Tunnel which lets you walk through a tunnel of lights. This tunnel is not dark and you can always see the light as you go through. 😉

Tip: Take your time going through each section as there is so much to see. With a little one it might be difficult so we recommend to go at their pace and let them enjoy all that Glow Toronto has to offer. Then either go back to see anything that you had missed or come back as a date night. 😉 We went back as we told Nikki that there was more magic to see. It worked!

Scavenger Hunt: Santa’s Lost Presents

You have been recruited (if you wish) to help save Christmas in this seek-and-find activity.

The mission is to help find all the missing presents. To play, all you need to do is get a play card which is provided when you enter. In the play card you see who has a missing present. Now it is your job to search through the gardens to see where they could be. When you do find one, Santa’s special helpers will be there to stamp the present you find.

Find all the missing presents and not only do you save Christmas but you get a special prize as well.

This was very fun for us and at one point I wasn’t sure who was more excited; the kids or the parents. Either way it is fun for the whole family.

Tip: Have fun! Seeing the glow in your child’s eyes when they have found them all, is all worth it!

Kid Friendly Activities

There is plenty for the kiddies to do at Glow Toronto and it will surely exhaust the most energetic of kids. I know that for a fact as Nikki was completely exhausted by the time she went home (best sleep ever!).

Here is what they offer for the children:

Playpark

You can climb, slide and create your own adventure in the Magic Castle Playground! It’s indoors so no jackets are required but you do require shoes so please keep them on. 😉

Bouncy Farm

Bounce your way right up to the North Pole on the Bouncy Reindeer. Nikki had a blast with the reindeers and it truly helped shake the energy off.

LED Hopscotch & Swings

Swoop, jump and tap to magically change the colours of the LED swings and hopscotch. It is fun for all ages including us parents!

Glen the Glow-comotive

All aboard! You can enjoy a short ride on the trackless train, Glen the Glow-comotive.

I know that many parents that were at the event thought the train ride was through the whole garden. However, it does not and it is only done in a small section of the venue with a mini garden in-between. This ride is perfect for children ages 12 and under with the company of an adult.

We enjoyed the mini ride. 🙂

Santa

What is a Christmas event without the big man?! You can take a holiday photo and whisper your Christmas wish to Santa at Christmas Glow.

You can even write your Santa letters at the event and put it in the mailbox. We didn’t want to pass on that opportunity so Nikki wrote her letter and mailed it off.

Tip: All photos with Santa are by donation and 100% of proceeds support local charities. To learn more about Santa at Glow Toronto, click here.

Glow Vendor Market & Food

The Glow Vendor Market is a great place to find unique gifts for that special someone or even for yourself! The best part of the market is that it features local shops from the community and they are one-of-a-kind handcrafted items that are available.

To learn more about what vendors you can see, click here.

There are a few food vendors available at the event if you are feeling hungry. There are also bars throughout the venue where you can enjoy a holiday drink while walking through the gardens. You can even purchase a Glow cup (for $9) and of course it glows!

Live Entertainment

Every night you can look forward to local artists and performers playing all your Christmas favourites live on stage. It adds to the magic as you walk through the gardens and enjoy all the festivities.

#MelAndNikkiReview

We all had an amazing time at Glow Toronto and we know that you are your family will enjoy it too! It is an event that I have never been to before and the fact that it is indoors is a huge bonus for us. We didn’t have to rush through and we got to enjoy all the activities without worrying about bad weather.

Nikki, my sister-in-law and I, enjoying the tunnel of lights.

Glow Toronto is fun for everyone and it brings that Christmas magic that you hope to feel during the holidays. It truly brought out our inner glow and we are even more excited as we countdown to Christmas. It was captivating, breathtaking and full of magic. Moments that we can look back on and say we were there to experience the glow. It was time well spent where we laughed, had fun and created wonderful memories. This is what the holiday season is all about. It reminded me to embrace the joy that the holiday season can bring and enjoy it with those that you love.

A special thank you to Glow Toronto for having us there and to my sister-in-law for all the photos she took. We had so many and it was hard to only pick a few to share. Just imagine all the photos you can take too?! 😉

Make sure to buy your tickets in advance before they all sell out fast. Click here to start. If you are looking for one great event this holiday season to do, then this would be the one. This event is being held from November 28, 2019 to January 4, 2020.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

Momma Braga

*We were invited to attend this event in exchange for an honest review. We were not compensated to write this post and we do not make commission of ticket sales.

Great Children’s Books for Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving around the corner in the United States, we have two great children’s books that will add to the festivities.

Be Thankful, Pout-Pout Fish

Gobble! Gobble! It’s Thanksgiving under the sea, and Mr. Fish has much to be grateful for. Toddlers will love swimming along with the pout-pout fish as he turns little pouts into big smiles in this original board book.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Be Thankful, Pout-Pout Fish is a great book for toddlers and a great introduction to Thanksgiving. The illustrations are vibrant and perfect for the wondering eyes of a toddler. You can’t help but feel grateful while reading along as it touches upon all the great points of the occasion. The rhyming helps to keep the litte ones engaged and it makes it much more fun to read too!

This would make a great addition to your family gathering. Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give it 5 pout-pout out of 5!

If you would like to purchase your own copy, click here.

Bad Kitty Does NOT Like Thanksgiving

Kitty does not like Thanksgiving. Kitty LOVES Thanksgiving. Specifically, Kitty loves turkey…and will do anything to get her paws on it. So, Kitty comes up with a plan but in perfect cantankerous cat fashion, can’t quite pull it off and ends up with the turkey (and all the fixins’) on her head. No, Kitty does not like Thanksgiving.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Oh Bad Kitty! We just love the books in the Bad Kitty series and this one is no exception. This book was a great hit in our home and we even read the book to some of Nikki’s cousins who enjoyed it from beginning to end. The storyline is so intriguing for little ones as they anticipate what is going to happen next as Bad Kitty always seems to get into a bit of trouble.

We love the important message that the book highlights which is that if you want something too much, it is best to wait for it. Good things comes to those who wait as they say. Bad Kitty learned the hard way and lost it all at the end. I guess that is what Bad Kitty gets. The bits of humor within the story is so great too.

There is an added extra with this story as it comes with stickers! It sure had the kids eyes light up when they each got a sticker at the end.

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give it 5 turkeys out of 5!

If you would like to purchase your own copy, click here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

Momma Braga

*These books were provided in exchange for honest reviews. All opinions expressed are our own.

The Lost Christmas | Book Review

“A Christmas confection from the brilliant creator of the Lost House and The Lost Picnic!”

Synopsis

It’s time to decorate the tree for Christmas — but Grandad can’t find any of his ornaments! The hunt for the missing decorations takes the children up and down in Grandad’s bric-a-brac-filled house and out into a winter wonderland. And when every ornament is on the tree at last, Grandad has a wonderful holiday surprise in store.

#MelAndNikkiReview

The Lost Christmas is a tricky seek-and-find book that embraces the beginning of the Christmas season – decorating! This book is great to get the family all geared up the festivities with the first step to start it all. 🙂

We enjoyed the storyline as decorating is one of our favorite parts of Christmas and we can relate to misplacing some décor as we go along. 😉 The story is just sweet and we love how it shows the bond between grandchild and grandparent. The illustrations are vibrant as neon colors are used to bring the story to life. However, we did find it difficult to find the items on the pages. If you have some great seek-and-find little ones, then this is a great book for them.

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReciew, we give it 4 ornaments out of 5! We enjoyed it and the seek-and-find concept was neat. Even though we couldn’t find many of the items. I guess we need to practice some more. 😉 There is an added surprise at the end and it is to seek out one more ornament back in the book. Therefore, make sure to go all the way to the end!

If you would like to purchase your own copy, click here.

About the Author

B.B. Cronin, an illustrator originally from Dublin, Ireland, is the author of The Lost House, which received a Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators, and The Lost Picnic. His work has appeared in The New Yorker and The New York Times, and on the covers of Penguin Classics, among many other publications. He was honored by a one-person show at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin in 1998. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, with the illustrator Juliette Borda and their two children. He divides his time between his kitchen, living room, and his stuido. To learn more about the author, click here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

Momma Braga

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

 

There’s an Elf in Your Book Brings Witt and Fun

“There’s an Elf in Your Book is witty, fun and asks the biggest question on all our minds…Did we make it on the nice list?” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

Ho, ho ho! There’s an elf in this Christmas picture book by bestselling children’s author, YouTube star, and musician Tom Fletcher!

Do you have what it takes to make Santa’s Nice List? An elf is here to test you in Tom Fletcher’s newest participatory read-aloud. Don’t let the elf trick you into being naughty! Just follow his instructions to sing Christmas carol, clap, burp…Hey, wait a second! Children will be delighted to participate in this satisfying holiday tale.

#MelAndNikkiReview

There’s an Elf in Your Book had us all participating in story time with this witty tale. Nikki was very excited when she saw it and needed to have it read to her right away. Since I wasn’t available at that very moment, the task was left for daddy dearest to read. 🙂 They both really loved reading it together and even my husband had a great time (that is the best compliment ever!). It became a family favorite instantly as my family was bragging all about it. Therefore, I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to read it too as I needed to join in the fun.

I have to admit that my family was right and their praises of the book were true. It was witty, fun and interactive! Since Nikki was an expert by the time I read it with her, she tried tricking me along with the mischievous elf. However, never fear as Momma Braga passed the test and I did in fact make it to the Nice List. 😉 It is a wonderful and uplifting story for little ones. We loved the story, illustrations and even the tricky elf.

You will have a blast reading this book with your child and just in time to get everyone in the Christmas spirit! Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give it 10 elves out of 5! It had us jingling with laughter.

This book is recommended for children ages three to seven and if you would like to purchase your own copy, click here. You won’t regret it! 😉

About the Author

Tom Fletcher loves Christmas! He’s a successful children’s author for various age groups, a YouTube star, a proud daddy, and a McFly band member. He has also collaborated with Greg Abbott on There’s a Monster in Your Book and There’s a Dragon in Your Book, which Kirkus Reviews called “an energetic and laugh-filled read-aloud.” Tom lives in England with his wife, author Giovanna Fletcher, and their three sons.

About the Illustrator

Greg Abbott is an illustrator and designer who lives in West Sussex, England. In addition to children’s books, he has created art prints, apparel, toys, greeting cards, and other merchandise.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

Momma Braga

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

The Crayons’ Christmas | Book Review

A brand new Crayons’ book from the #1 New York Times best-selling duo Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers, just in time for the holidays.

Synopsis

‘Tis the season for all of us to write our holiday wish lists. But everyone – even the crayons – know the best presents are the ones that you give. In this unique book, readers get to see how Duncan, the crayons, and their families celebrate the holidays. With real, folded letters from the Crayons that you can pull from their envelopes and read, games, punch-out ornaments, a poster, and a pop-up tree, this book is the perfect gift for fans of The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home.

#MelAndNikkiReview

The Crayons’ Christmas brings Christmas joy with many amazing surprises for young readers. It was one of Nikki’s ultimate favorite parts of the book! Every time we turned the page she would excitedly say, “Wow! Another surprise! I wonder what the crayons are sending this time?!” By having these surprises, it truly brought an interactive component to the story and we absolutely loved it. To us, it was like keeping the story fun going even after the story was done.

Not only does The Crayons’ Christmas bring the interaction out for your little ones but it brings that lovable humor that you can expect from The Crayons’ Series. It had me giggling all the way. 😉 Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give The Crayons’ Christmas 10 crayons out of 5! It brings humor, fun and the Christmas spirit all in one beautifully illustrated children’s book.

“This book is full of Christmas fun!” – Nikki, Age 5

If you would like to purchase your own copy and in time for Christmas, click here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

Momma Braga

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

A Bundle Of Duties Before The Bundle Of Joy: Preparing Your Home For A Baby

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As if you don’t have enough to do already! Of all the work that comes along in preparing yourself for the impending birth of your child, you’ve also got to look at the environment that your baby is going to inhabit. Put simply, your home is the most important environment, not just to nurture and raise your child, but also to ensure that you have everything in place so after you come home from the hospital, you can hit the ground running. But as with every parent that goes on the journey of having a child, they seldom feel prepared. So, let’s give you a couple of hints to ensure that the home is prepared in every single way.

Give Your Home A Safety Exam

As much of a shock to the system as having a baby is, we have to remember that when our child gets going and learns how to crawl, opens cabinets, and gets into all manner of mayhem, that will be a bigger shock to the system! It’s important to give your home a safety exam, not just so the baby is safe but also you need to fix those little house duties that you’ve not been able to get round to because of numerous trips to the hospital. That way you will ensure that the home is safe for the baby, but also, an appliance won’t give up on you when you need it the most! There is nothing worse than in the middle of the night when you are trying to sterilize a bottle with some boiling water, but the electricity has gone off everywhere, and not only do you not have light, but the kettle doesn’t work, and there’s a screaming baby to boot!

Have a look at your property and take yourself out of the equation for a second. Perhaps you lived in this property for a while, so while you think it’s safe, what is it like for a baby where a dangling switch or open plughole seems like a really exciting prospect? There are things that you need to do, such as locking medication and cleaning products away into secure cabinets, but also when you are looking at the property, and attempt to ascertain its safety, you shouldn’t underestimate the potential for disaster. When you live in a property that is, at best, temperamental, that one little watermark on the wall may harbor a bigger problem. If this is the case, it’s important to get in contact with a plumber, like on mrrooter.ca/mississauga to deal with the issue as soon as possible. Making sure that your home is safe will be easier to achieve before the baby comes along. You may think you’ve got plenty of time, but babies become mobile overnight, almost literally! You don’t want to be full of regrets.

Rearrange Your Space

Another thing you need to do right now because you have the time and the luxury is to arrange the space, not just so the baby paraphernalia has a place to live, but you may also want to turn the space into something more practical. The kitchen is a great example. Look at the counter, and see what can be stored. If you are someone that doesn’t like a lot of mess, finding a cabinet for all the baby stuff is a good idea. This means you’re going to have to rearrange the space and perhaps look at where older things might go. This may be part of the nesting phase, where you are compelled to clean the property and rearrange everything in preparation for your baby’s arrival. But it’s common sense to make everything easily accessible. You’ve got to prepare for the fact that you won’t be sleeping much, which makes the littlest of tasks an almighty chore. You don’t want to be rooting around for things in the fridge when there are so many expired jars in the way! Everything has to be accessible.

Planning For Late Nights, Early Mornings, And No Sleep

When you hear so much about the lack of sleep, this may very well be your biggest fear. As you start to get closer to the due date, your sleep may actually tail off, and when people tell you that you need to get as much rest as possible, this may seem more than impossible. And this means that when you are making the home ready for you and the baby, you have got to think about making life easier overall. When you lack sleep, your decision-making can prove troublesome. But this means you’ve got to learn the cliche of “sleeping when the baby sleeps.” But, when you can’t sleep because you’re concerned about the baby (which is very normal), you need a lot of home comforts around. If you decide to breastfeed, you need quick access to all the home comforts. This means you may very well be relying on Netflix in the middle of the night, but also, you will learn the art of making coffee with one hand! One of the greatest tools you can use is an insulated mug. Drinking a simple cup of coffee may take in excess of 45 minutes on certain days so having a nice mug of coffee is one of life’s little home comforts. It is those little things that will keep you going, especially during stressful times.

Keeping On Top Of House Duties

They say that during the first couple of weeks of a baby’s life that all cleaning goes out of the window! And while you may have plenty of visitors, and you want to make the home as presentable as possible it may very well be impossible to even put the vacuum around! But keeping on top of house duties is something that can be done, just as long as you plan better. You may find that doing the dishes is impossible, and while there’s no shame in leaving the sink to pile up, there is also no shame in asking visitors to help out because you haven’t had the chance! When you are are are sleep deprived, and you would like to tidy the house, you’ve got to work smart instead of hard. A handheld vacuum will work wonders because it’s a quick method of lifting up bits of lint and dirt. That way, you can keep the house vaguely presentable. But remember, even if you are house proud, people will understand that you have a baby to look after, so things can fall by the wayside. But there are little hacks you can take advantage of. The biggest one is getting a bouncy seat or a carrier, and doing a little bit of housework with them strapped in. All the motion could put the baby to sleep, so it’s win-win!

And also, while you might not think that you’re able to prepare for keeping the house clean, you can certainly minimize the overall duties by looking at your household tasks and see what you can do in the run-up to the baby being born! A great example is the cooking! Because eating a meal is a 30-minute task, and one you have to do standing up, you’ve got to think how difficult it would be to even cook a meal in the run-up to dinner time! Batch cooking is a lifesaver. A couple of months before the baby is born, start to compile meals that can be cooked, portioned up, and put in the freezer. There are some recipes on purewow.com/food to give you some inspiration. It’s also worth stocking the cupboards with perishables, so even if you have a spare 50 minutes to rustle up something, at the very least, you can have a tin of soup, or something quick. Eating quick is the name of the game, but you also need to eat healthily. Batch cooking is the best way to prepare meals that have a wider variety of vitamins and minerals. It will be crucial when the baby comes along, and you need that little bit of extra goodness in your diet. Because, after all, we can very easily rely on takeout and other unhealthy foodstuffs to see us through a tough time. This is an incredibly bad habit to get into because it may take a long time to get out.

You may wonder how you even have time to do all of this! But you will soon realize the benefit of hindsight if you don’t get underway. Preparing your home for the baby isn’t just about a nurturing environment (and padlocking everything), but it’s about making sure that you are able to thrive. You want the place to be a loving home, and you will start to get things underway, and you may even realize that you aren’t as prepared as you think. This is why now is the perfect opportunity to get the home up to speed. A baby is a wonderful thing, and it will change your life, as well as how you view yourself, but you also want to enjoy those precious few weeks. If you end up stressing about things around the house, rather than enjoying time with your little one, it will feel like a waste.