Tag: Children

Honey Nut Cheerios Launches Their Third Year Of Bring Back The Bees

Honey Nut Cheerios has launched their third year of Bring Back the Bees! If you haven’t heard the buzz about the bees then you have come to the right place!

Bees have been around for millions of years but in the last few years, their population has been on a dramatic decline. Did you know that bees are a crucial part of our agriculture? It is called pollination. In fact, one third of our global food supply is pollinated by bees. They keep our plants and crops alive. So it is very important to help the bees to thrive.

“Bees love to live in urban settings where there are short flight paths and a variety of different plants and flowers to sample just as much as they love the country.”

This year in honor of the #BringBackTheBees Campaign, Honey Nut Cheerios has partnered up with Canadian author, Paulette Bourgeois and illustrator Josee Bisallion. They have created an engaging new children’s book to encourage Canadian kids to do their part to help, Bella and Jack Bring Back The Bees!


We got a chance to review this book and we are so glad that we did!

Bella and Jack Bring Back The Bees tells the story of two kids who learn about the threats to our bee populations and are inspired to do their part to help bring back the bees.

The beauty of this book is the ability it has to teach children the importance of bees and how we need to help them. I know that as we read the book my three old was very concerned about bees and said, “We need to help Momma!”

Since we got our Wildflower seeds, I showed her how we were going to use them to help the bees. Now my three year old is very excited that she can do something to help her buzzing friends. As soon as Spring gets to our backyard, we will plant them in our garden.

We give Bella and Jack Bring Back The Bees, 5 BUZZZZZ out of 5! The great news is that Honey Nut Cheerios is giving away 100,000 free copies of the book nationally, through Indigo, Coles and Chapters and online. Just visit Bring The Bees website to see how you can get your own copy of this adorable book.

“Bees have good colour vision. That’s why flowers are so showy. They especially like blue, purple, violet, white and yellow.”

How You Can Help

Honey Nut Cheerios is making it easy to help by providing wildflower seeds across the country to help preserve and grow the natural habitat bees need for survival.

Over the past two years, the Bring Back the Bees campaign has helped Canadians plant more than 600 million wildflowers across the country, and this year they’re hoping to plant another 300 million seeds.

So how can you get wildflower seeds? You just order them online for your free packages of wildflower seeds and they are sent to you ready to be planted in the spring weather. It is that simple to help out the amazing bees!

We can’t wait to plant ours and do our part to help the bees and our agriculture. Make sure to order your seeds and remember that its FREE! Once you get your seeds and plant them, feel free to take a picture and tag @MommaBraga , @CheeriosCA and #BringBackTheBees as we would love to see your photos!

For more information on this great campaign and all things bees please visit,  https://bringbackthebees.ca/.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

– Momma Braga

 

Knowing When Not To “Ovary” Step Your Boundaries

To empower change, you need to be a driver of change.

I started my blog almost three years ago and the driving factor was to inspire others’ through experiences that I share from my own life and from other amazing people. I always felt that we can learn so much from one another and it helps us empathize with the paths that people walk through.

Not one person lives the same life or has the same experiences as another. That is why it is important to create a community of understanding and support.

But it wasn’t until I got into the parenting world that I have seen another side of “human interest.”

We all have been asked a million in one questions about our lives by curious people. But when do the questions become too personal?

Now I am an open book ever since becoming a parent. What you see is what you get in layers (I have to be honest). I tolerate a lot of questions as I want to be respectful and nice but I really don’t think that anyone should endure it. Even if it is perceived as “normal” questions to ask.

Recently, I have been asked if I was expecting as a few people noticed that I was interested in attending a Baby Show (Thanks Facebook for sharing events that I am interested in. This is an issue that I don’t even want to touch on…yet). Now I am not sure how that conclusion came about since I do write a blog on parenting and am the Assignments Editor at The Baby Spot. But that is beside the point. Of course I shared my thoughts online as it can be therapeutic to vent online for all to see. Then it had me really thinking, “Why do people ask and why do they care?”

I read an article awhile back that spoke volumes about wanting or getting pregnant was no one’s business. And it is very true! Now I know many people who don’t see the harm in asking so let me bring in my experience as that is the only way I know how.

Back in 2014, I gave birth to a healthy little baby girl. We were all thrilled as my husband and I were married for already seven years so people were starting to really question if babies were in our future (didn’t know there was a timeline of having children after marriage but to some there is). I thought this could be the end of the baby questions but unfortunately it was not and I wasn’t too surprised. As we have been programmed to ask these “normal” questions.

We were even asked why it took us so long to get pregnant and if there was something wrong with us. Once I had the courage to respond, I replied with tears in my eyes, “There wasn’t a problem. We were just grieving the loss of our baby that we miscarried before we had our healthy baby girl.” This was the first time that we were disclosing this information to people and while many empathized, others continued with questions. So I slowly developed a thick skin to brush the insensitive questions and played it off that the people who were asking “didn’t know any better.”

But I think it is time to bring this to light as this momma and many others have had enough.

Unless a woman has come to you to talk about her pregnancy goals or life, don’t ask!

Reasons Why Not To Ask

We don’t know what one is going through and some women could be going through any one of these reasons as this is why you should not ask:

  • Grieving a miscarriage
  • Difficulty in getting pregnant
  • Financial strain (News flash! Kids are expensive)
  • Suffering from other health issues
  • In an abusive relationship or just a rocky relationship
  • Does not want children (There is nothing wrong with that)

The list could go on and on. The bottom line is that they are not your ovaries to care so much about. Did it ever occur to people that those constant questions could actually cause the person stress? Imagine the health issues that stress brings onto a person!

I am sure that the questions come with no malice attach to them but it doesn’t mean it should be acceptable either. Let’s break the “normal” and start asking less questions about others and start listening more. You would be surprised at how much someone can disclose without being asked.

Now onto the question on many minds…Is Momma Braga pregnant?

The answer is very simple and that is NO. Do I want another? Only time will tell. But if I do and I do become pregnant then I will announce it with great pride. In the meantime, I am enjoying being a mom to one energetic daughter who has taught me that being a mother is the hardest job that I will ever have.

Please let’s respect one another and let’s break old traditions. Be the change by leading by example. Change can only happen if you do something or in this case not ask the questions.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

–          Momma Braga

Getting Ready For My Kindergartener

Routine, learning and more growing is what to look forward to when your child starts school and it is one that we have been anticipating in our home. We are in full “Preparing for Kindergarten” mode!

I have officially registered Nikki for Kindergarten and here in Ontario, it is a full school day which is different from when I went to school. I only had to go for half a day which I do recall already being such a long day to be away from home. But I know that Nikki is going to love being away for the full day, especially with all the fun learning she will be doing.

Nikki is much more braver than I am and she is definitely a lot less shy than I was growing up.

So here I am a mom of a child who is going to embark on school life in September and I am embracing the experience as best as possible.

I am not sure if I will be able to prepare myself in time to drop her off on that first day of school as I clearly remember her first day of swim school…I was fighting back the tears as she left me without saying good-bye. Therefore, I can only imagine what the big school day will bring me. I am thinking that there is a lot of preparation that I need to do to help all of us adjust and that means there are a few areas to tackle before the big day.

Now there are tons of articles out on how to prepare your child for Kindergarten and as I read each one it started to make me feel a lot more anxious. The list is long and I want my child to excel so the pressure has already started! I figure that I need to put steps in place to help me as the parent prepare myself for my Kindergartener.

Emotions In Check And Ready

Emotions are wonderful and can be difficult at times to keep in check. I have noticed that my daughter feeds off of my emotions and energy so it is time to keep mine in check especially around going to school. I have been keeping my energy and conversations positive and exciting for her big day which is helping her feel confident for the new adventure. Her confidence in turn is making me feel a lot better about this big step in her life. Any time I do catch myself feeling a little overwhelmed with the preparation checklist, I take a break from it and take a nice bubble bath (those do wonders!).

Communicating With Other Parents

Best way to prepare yourself as a parent is to talk to other parents. I have started to ask questions to my friends who have already been down this route and it is comforting to me as I get to learn from them. Every parents’ experience and advice all differ which provides me with a wealth of perspectives. Therefore, talk with others and if you know parents that have children that are attending your child’s school then they are the best to ask!

Luckily for us, our neighbours attend the same school that my daughter will be going to and I got the inside scoop on the school, programs and the staff which helps in preparing me for the first drop off.

Get To Know The School

Don’t be afraid to ask the school the questions that you need in order to feel comfortable with this transition. Get to know the school. The school that we will be attending offers an information night which I think is great. It is an evening where parents and child can attend the school to get instructions on how we can help their child prepare for Kindergarten. They will also be providing a bag of materials to support the child’s learning. My daughter is already excited for this “goodie” bag.

I will be using this opportunity to get Nikki and I comfortable with the school setting and also meet the teachers in person. I hope they are ready for all the Momma Braga questions! 😉

Manage Expectations

Expectations are important to manage as you want to set yourself and your child up for success. This is why I am keeping my expectations realistic and being prepared as best as I can for the bumps along the way. This is one big step for all of us so I want to make sure that Nikki knows that we are by her side when she needs us but at the same time helping her build her independence. She will need to hone that skill if she is expecting to take on the world (This is why I need to manage my expectations as I always set them high). 😉

These are my four steps in helping parents prepare for Kindergarten as we are a crucial part to the transition and once we are confident, our child will also be too. Now I am not guaranteeing that there will be no tears as I know I will be crying my heart out (I have already started with just writing this article) but these steps might make it just a little easier. Above all, embrace, love and have fun!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

Brave Jane Austen An Inspiring Story Of An Empowering Woman

Women’s History Month is an annual declared month that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. It is celebrated during the month of March in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, corresponding with International Women’s Day on March 8.

This is always a great time to reflect and look back in history on the women who have paved the way for us today.

While we look back at history, one woman who can not be forgotten especially in the world of literature and that is Jane Austen.

This was why I was excited to receive, Brave Jane Austen written by Lisa Pilscou and  illustrated by Jen Corace. This children’s book gives us a little glimpse into the world of Jane and how it was to live in a world where girls didn’t have the same opportunities as boys. No matter the challenges that went in Jane’s way, she kept paving the way until one day one of her books were actually published. When you think about the 1700s, then you know that this was a big deal.

Jane Austen’s novels are widely taught in middle schools and high schools nationwide, and most have been adapted into major motion pictures.

Jane was brave, insightful, and fiercely creative. Her story will reinforce these essential values in young readers, particularly girls. Not only is it an inspiring story but the book also includes an author’s note, quotes from Austen’s admirers in the literary community across time, and excerpts from Austen’s own letters to her loved ones.

#MelandNikkiReview

So what do we give this book in the #MelAndNikkiReview, 5 stars out of 5! It is a lovely story about an empowering woman who did what many would have thought was impossible to do. We recommend this book for young readers between four to eight years of age and anyone who wants to read about an incredible woman. The illustrations are beautifully done and it gives us the feel that we are in the 1700s – love it!

If you would like to purchase this beautiful book, click here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

Eggciting Fun At Aqua-Tots Swim Schools

Fun, swimming, and Easter Eggs…Oh My!

That is what the Easter Egg Hunt Event was like at Aqua-Tots Swim School Mississauga on a crisp sunny Sunday afternoon.

We were thrilled to attend this member-exclusive event which was an all-ages and complimentary with the annual membership to the school. It is one of many great perks of registering at Aqua-Tots Swim Schools.


We arrived a little early which gave us some time to settle and enjoy the Easter décor around us. We of course could not miss the opportunity to take a photo with the balloon carrots that were so adorable!

There were tons of activities to do during the event such as arts and crafts; story time; egg on a spoon race and of course swimming with an Easter twist!

Nikki’s favorite was doing the crafts as she made a bunny and a chick for Easter. But then the best part for her was to swim with daddy. We got her all ready to hit the pool and to her surprise the Easter Bunny arrived! Now I thought her excitement for Santa was top notch but she might have been even more excited to see the Easter Bunny there giving Easter eggs to all the boys and girls in and out of the pool.

When she caught three Easter eggs, she was on cloud nine and insisted that she swim with the eggs that she got. It was so great to see her enjoy herself so much and she couldn’t stop grinning from ear to ear. This twist in swimming was well received by Nikki and it might have made her enjoy it even more (if that is even possible!).

After an hour of some great swimming with dad, Nikki was all tired out and ready to head home. It was another packed afternoon full of fun and adventure. This is just one of the many reasons why we love Aqua-Tots Swim School. Not only do they teach a very important life skill to children but they also host events to really embrace family quality time together.

Thank you Aqua-Tots for another great event and for giving my husband the opportunity to bond with our daughter on something that they both love to do and that is swimming. We can’t wait to see what other events that they are going to do this year! I am sure they will be just as great. 🙂

“Mommy I had SO much fun! I love swim class! The best day EVER!” – Nikki, Age 3.5 Years Old

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.

Eggspiring Easter Hunt For Newborns

Easter egg hunts are fun to do and one that we enjoy doing in our home. With my daughter being three, her understanding of the Easter Egg hunt is impeccable especially if it involves finding chocolate. This makes the preparation for the Easter Egg Hunt easier but with a new addition to the family I had to think of a way to involve her as I would hate for anyone to feel left out (my newborn niece won’t notice but I will). 😉

My sister is the much more creative one and she has always come up with ways to make holidays and occasions fun for my daughter so this time I wanted to do something special for her daughter this Easter season.

I thought long and hard about how I can incorporate a newborn friendly Easter Egg Hunt and after a trip to my local dollar store…I came up with a simple way and it was going to include the parents!

I am calling this activity, “Eggspiring Easter Hunt.” So how does it work? Let me give you my simple instructions for some Easter fun for all.

Eggspiring Easter Hunt

This Easter Egg Hunt will involve the parents to do the hunt on behalf of their newborn but of course they can carry their baby with them as they search. There will be decorated eggs hidden in the areas that you have picked for the hunt. As each egg is found, there will be an inspirational quote attached to each one. These messages can be kept to inspire the baby as they grow. These can be used as good wishes for the baby.

Instructions

  1. Purchase Easter eggs that are either already decorated or that you need to decorate yourself. We purchased our ready decorated Easter eggs from our local dollar store.
  2. Come up with some inspirational quotes to add to each egg. We used some classic Disney inspiring quotes as they mean a lot to our family.
  3. We added the quotes to a bunny shape template. Once the quote is added you can cut out the bunny and if you have an older child, they can color it for the baby. If you would like a printable template, click here.
  4. Attach the bunny with the inspirational quote to each egg. We used a pipe cleaner that we attached to the string already on our eggs.
  5. Then on Easter, hide them when the parents are not looking. 😉
  6. Then start the Easter Hunt magic. Watch as each message is read out loud and see the parents enjoy the inspiring wishes for their newborn.

With these steps above, you will have included one of the youngest members of your family and even though they may not know exactly what is happening. They will appreciate the thought as they grow with the inspiring messages around them. But this too will make the parents of the newborn glow with love. I know this is how my sister will feel.

We can’t wait to try this activity out this Easter and spend some great family time together. That is the one thing that I love the best about the different occasions we celebrate as we get to spend time with those that we love and care for.

If you are celebrating Easter, I would love to hear from you on how you are celebrating in the comments below.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga


 

 

 

Children’s Graphic Novel Teaches Kindness Through A Jungle Adventure

We are delighted to introduce our readers to a new Children’s graphic novel called New Shoes, written by Sara Varon.

“Francis the donkey is the best shoemaker in the village. He uses only the finest materials: coconut wood for the soles, goat’s wool for the insoles, and wild tiger grass for the uppers.

One day he receives a special order from Miss. Manatee, the queen of calypso (and his own personal hero). But he’s all out of tiger grass! To make the perfect pair of shoes, Francis must journey deep into the jungle…and that means leaving his village for the first time.”

Francis takes a journey into the jungles of South America where he meets an array of animals and makes new friends along the way. This new journey teaches Francis kindness and to have an open mind to all the different animals outside of his village.

We just loved this book and it is one of the more unique books that we have read on the #MelandNikkiReview. The layout of this child’s graphic novel reminds me of a comic book with the feature of comic strips throughout the book. I haven’t come across many books with this type of format but I loved it! The story flowed nicely in this format too and the pictures were super cute too!

We also loved the message in the book around kindness and respect to all animals no matter how different they are from one another. We can definitely use this lesson around how we treat others as people too! New Shoes also dips into teaching children about the different animals especially from the South America jungles and this piece is very educational. As we went through the story and were introduced to the many animals, I would have to say my favorite was the Giant River Otter – love them!!! *Momma Braga Fact: I have a soft spot for otters!!!

#MelAndNikkiReview

With all this being said, we have to give New Shoes, 5 shoes out of 5 for the great storyline, adorable illustrations and of course for the beautiful message that we should all adopt whether we are children or adults.

To purchase this lovely book for your collection, please click here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

Paw Patrol Live! The Great Pirate Adventure

Paw Patrol, Paw Patrol
We’ll be there on the double
Whenever there’s a problem
‘Round Adventure Bay
Ryder and his team of pups
Will come and save the day
Marshall, Rubble, Chase
Rocky, Zuma, Skye
Yeah! They’re on the way!

 

It is hard not to sing along to one of the most popular shows for kids, Paw Patrol. We have been watching Paw Patrol for over two years and if you have small children in your family then you probably have been surrounded by it everywhere you go!

So when my sister-in-law got us tickets to Paw Patrol Live! The Great Pirate Adventure, I was thrilled as I knew my 3-year-old would love it. The tickets were purchased back in January and instead of telling my overly excited daughter about the event, I waited until the day of. If I told her in advance I would have to listen to Nikki ask me EVERY single day if it was Paw Patrol day; therefore, for the sake of my sanity I waited until the day of. I know many parents can relate to this too! 🙂

The wait was so worth it too! When my sister-in-law told her that she was going to see Paw Patrol, Nikki was thrilled and started singing the Paw Patrol theme song. In all honesty, I was  surprised that our cover was not blown since I made sure that Nikki was all Paw Patrol ready! 😉

The Big Paw Patrol Day

We arrived with some time to spare to comfortably find our seats and get some treats to eat.

*Tip: It’s always great to arrive early when an event is this popular as it was a very busy venue with tons of little fans everywhere.

Soon after, the lights dimmed and a voice over came on to signal the start of the show and the audience roard with excitement (including Nikki who got out of her seat).

Paw Patrol Live! The Great Pirate Adventure is a fun full adventure where the main characters go on a treasure hunt to find a lost treasure and of course there are some saving to do along the way which these pups know how to do so well.

The show was full of music, dancing and colorful sets that truly engaged the audience. You can’t help but sing-along or even dance in your seat (while no one is watching). 😉

This is why we give this event 5+++ PAWS out of 5 for being PAWSOME from start to finish. It’s hard not to fall in love with Paw Patrol especially with how happy they make your child feel.

This event was a wish come true for my daughter who has always wanted to see them live and that in turn has made me the happiest mom on earth. There is nothing more special than seeing your child enjoy something that they love and if that means six little pups who save the day then that is great in my books.

From left to right: Auntie Amanda, Nikki and Momma Braga

Not only was Paw Patrol Live an entertaining delight but one that made a little girl believe that wishes come true!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

– Momma Braga

 

Harlem Globetrotters Are Dribbling Into The GTA

The Harlem Globetrotters are dribbling their way into the GTA for five games with their 2018 Amazing Feats of Basketball Canada Tour. It will be a star-studded roster that will have fans on the edge of their seats to witness the ball handling wizardry, basketball artistry and one-of-a-kind family entertainment that thrills fans of all ages.

GLOBETROTTERS (Photo Credit: Harlem Globetrotters)

The Globetrotters represent nine decades of breaking down barriers, acts of goodwill and a commitment to fans that goes beyond the game. Since their first game in 1927, the Globetrotters have entertained more than 144 million fans in 122 countries and territories worldwide – introducing many to the spot of basketball – pioneers in popularizing the slam dunk, fast break, the forward and point guard positions, and the figure-eight weave.

Photo Credit Brett Meister

High-energy tricks, talented athletes, and heart are all the ingredients that create a recipe for some spectacular family fun for all ages. That is exactly the type of event that The Globetrotters perform. With their long history, it is no surprise that they perform with all heart to impress the masses and that is why we can call it epic!

Photo Credit: Harlem Globetrotters

This event has no age requirement to attend and it can be enjoyed as a family. There is never a dull moment and the Globetrotters are always keeping the audience engaged with their high flying tricks and skills.

We are thrilled to hear that they are taking their tour to Canada and one of their stops is at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga, Ontario. The Hershey Centre is one of our favorite venues as the location is convenient to travel to, the staff are all great and did I mention FREE parking?! I know that is a HUGE perk for me with a young family and they have ample parking spaces available too. Of course parking spaces are at a first come first serve basis but it is free. 😉

Get Your Tickets!

Don’t miss out on your chance to watch them live! Tickets are now on sale and you can purchase them by clicking here.

You won’t regret it as it will be an experience of a lifetime. It is an event full of history, passion and fun! I know that we won’t be missing it!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

My Mamma Wants To Eat Me Up

We truly love our books at our home as it is the most peaceful time for all of us. We especially love books done by local authors as those are extra special for us. This is why we were delighted to receive, My Mamma Wants To Eat Me Up, written by Faiza Venzant and illustrated by Patrick Girouard.

Of course as soon as we received this special book (before it hit the bookshelves) we had to read it right away. But before I go into the review of the book, I want to provide our readers with a deeper look at to how important this book is to the author, Faiza.

Faiza is a mother of two children. There is two year old, Qayam and almost one-year old, Malik. Qayam was born in November of 2015. During the first couple of months together, they spent it indoors since winter was in full force outdoors and spent their time with books and songs. Qayam loved music which inspired Faiza to create a song that she sang with him several times a day.

“Oh geez! Just my luck! I love you too much to eat you up. From the top to the bottom, from the left to the right, gonna love you all day and all through the night.”

When Qayam was about five months old, Faiza had the idea to expand the song into a story from his point of view and this is how My Mamma Wants to Eat Me Up! was born.

Now the story does not end there. In February 2017, Faiza gave birth to Malik who was born 13 weeks early and they spent 11 weeks together in the Neonatal Intensive Care Units of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and St. Michael’s Hospital. This was a terrifying, isolating and a difficult time for Faiza as she watched her son fight, thrive and cling to life. The only thing that she could do in the early weeks was hold and sing to him. Faiza would sing her song to him as she did with his brother and this brought her so much comfort and healing. The song was a powerful way to spend those crucial weeks together and it established their bond together. As he got stronger so did their bond.

When Malik was released from the hospital, it motivated Faiza to self-publish her book and she made sure to include a biracial child in the illustrations to reflect the diversity within her own family.

That is how it all began and we just love it as it’s inspiring for all of us as parents. We love hearing about the story behind the story and we have to say thank you to Faiza for sharing it with us!

#MelAndNikkiReview

So how did this book do on the #MelAndNikkiReview? I sat down with Nikki to get her thoughts on the book and what she rated it. You don’t want to miss hearing it below. 😉

As you heard from Nikki, she gives the book 10 stars out of 5! Of course you can not get a better rating then that! The book is easy to read and it was very easy to get into character as a parent. The illustrations are also very beautifully drawn and they are bright and appealing to the little ones. You may find yourself loving the book so much that you start telling your child “I want to eat you up!” Then your child might be like mine and say “That’s just like the book!” 😉

We highly recommend this book for children newborn to toddlers as they will all love it and parents will have fun reading it too.

This book is now available for purchasing (click here) and it would make a great addition to your little ones library.  Make sure to follow along on Facebook and Instagram too.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga