Tag: Creative

It’s Okay To Smell Good!

It’s Okay To Smell Good brings the great message that it’s okay to love different things to light. Embrace all your qualities and likes no matter how odd others may think they are. Remember to be free to be you!” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

Panda Cat begins each day by brushing his teeth with garlic and onion toothpaste, combing rotten eggs through his hair and enjoying a breakfast of spoiled milk and a rotten apple. In Smellsville, it’s cool to be stinky.

But when he tries to invent the stinkiest smell ever for the science fair, it backfires – because it smells good. And Panda Cat might actually…like it? How will be tell his friends? Or his hero, Albert Einstink – the scientist behind the theory of stinkactivity?

Photo Credit: Jason Tharp

#MelAndNikkiReview

It’s Okay to Smell Good! is a must read story full of humor, fun and an important lesson of being free to be you. Jason Tharp has become one of our favorite authors since we reviewed, It’s Okay to Be A Unicorn, which taught us all to embrace our unicorness (uniqueness). 😉

This new children’s story brings new characters with a beautiful message and best of all lots of humor! As I was reading the story out loud to my daughter, my husband was laughing in the background. Clearly this story is great for some adult laughs too. Of course I absolutely love the word play in the story such as “Smellville.” Nikki’s favorite was Albert Einstink as it reminded her of Albert Einstein.

Photo Credit: Jason Tharp

For this #MelAndNikkiReview we give this book 10 stinky cheeses out of 5 (in a good way)! 😉 Another amazing Jason Tharp story to really help children see how special they are and to embrace their uniqueness and differences. This book had us all giggling with delight and we got to talk about how we all like different things and we still love one another as a family.

“Just because we like different things, we can still love each other. Maybe that is what makes us all better. It wouldn’t be fun if we all liked the same thing?!” – Nikki, Age 6

Photo Credit: Jason Tharp

Special Extra

We truly love the new character of Panda Cat and if you haven’t subscribed to Wonderville Studio’s YouTube channel, you should! We tuned into the tutorial on how to draw the main character and it was a lot of fun. It is a way to further emerge yourself with the story.

Below was my attempt at Panda Cat and I added a little more to make it into my own (which encouraged). 🙂 If you want to learn how to draw Panda Cat, click here.

This book is great for kids ages three to six but we would recommend it for all who want a great fun read! If you would like to purchase this awesome book, click here.

About the Author

Jason Tharp has dreamed of being an author and creating wacky worlds with fun characters since he was a kid. Now as a grown-up kid, Jason is driven to help others embrace the magic of their stories in books like It’s Okay to Be a Unicorn! Being an obsessive daydreamer and doodler has led him to create many licensed properties, write books, and design clothing and travel the country talking to kids and adults about embracing their “weirdness” and the power of the unicorn effect. Jason lives in Columbus, Ohio.

Jason’s work includes the Peachy & Keen and Super Monsta Friends series for Scholastic, National Geographic Kids’ Funny Fill-Ins, and the Hog Mollies for the nonprofit 2nd & 7 Foundation.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*Please note that this book was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own and we do not make commission off of book sales.

Love From The Crayons

“Love From The Crayons brightly depicts the beauty of love in each color. It is the perfect book for children to understand the power of love. A must read!” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

Ring in Valentine’s Day—and love—with the New York Times Best-Selling Crayons! This charming title featuring everyone’s favorite coloring crew is the perfect gift for that special someone on Valentine’s Day—or any day of the year.

Love is yellow and orange. Because love is sunny and warm.
Love is purple. Because it’s okay to love outside the lines.

This special gift book, featuring all the The Crayons from The Day the Crayons Quit, explores the bright colors and subtle shades of love. This is a must-have for fans of The Crayons, and the perfect gift for that special someone.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Love from the Crayons is another great story to add to the Crayon series of books. Even if you have not read the Crayon series, this is a great one to start with. It will have you loving love and colors!

Love From the Crayons brightly depicts the beauty of love with each page turn and color. We love how it helps children understand the power of love.

*The construction hearts are not part of the book. 😉

For this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give this 10 rainbows out of 5! We highly recommend this book for all children and it would make the perfect Valentine’s Day gift. This is also a great book for a young reader. Nikki has loved reading this book all on her own since it arrived at our home.

“My favorite part is the color purple because love has its own imagination like me!” – Nikki, Age 6

This book is perfect for children ages five to eight. If you would like to purchase a copy, click here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*This book was provided in exchange for an honest review and all opinions expressed are our own. Please note that we do not make commission on book sales.

Valentine’s Unicorn

The era of crafts has been in full bloom in our home as we look for ways to stay creative and active. With Valentine’s Day approaching, we decide to embrace love more now then ever before. As we all know the world needs a lot more of it.

We of course searched for some ideas on Pinterest that never seems to fail us. We found a few ideas that we love and will be sharing a new one on our blog as we create them. Therefore, you should stop by or subscribe to our blog to not miss any. 😉

Here is the Valentine’s Day Unicorn craft that is absolutely adorable!

Valentine’s Unicorn

Materials Needed
  • Paper Plate
  • Black Marker
  • Yellow/Gold, Pink, Red and White Construction Paper (or any color of your choosing)
  • Hearts (got sticker hearts at my local dollar store)
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors (We recommend parents do the cutting for younger children)
Instructions
  • First draw and pre-cut the unicorn horn (gold or yellow construction paper), ears (white construction paper), strips of construction paper for the mane and nose heart (pink construction paper) to make it easier for little ones.
  • Glue the nose heart at the bottom of the plate and add two small heart stickers as the nostrils and a bigger heart at the bottom as the mouth.
  • With a black marker create the unicorn eyes. We used the famous closed eyelids with eyelashes. It is a classic look that Nikki loves.
  • Then, add the horn at the top but in the middle of the eyes (as best as your little one can). It doesn’t need to be perfect as long as everyone is having fun!
  • Next, you can add heart stickers in front of the unicorn horn. You can use any design or colors that you would like. Make it your own. 🙂
  • Then, glue the ears near the horn. You can then place a heart sticker in the inside. We did ours as an upside down heart.
  • Lastly, add the mane by gluing it to the back of the plate. Nikki picked the colors red and pink for the mane but you can use any color. I was hoping to do rainbow colors but Nikki wanted to keep it Valentine theme.

There you have it! Your very own Valentine’s Day Unicorn to brighten anyone’s day. We have posted it on our wall that we are calling our “Nikki’s Art Gallery.”

We would love to see your Valentine’s Day Unicorn and share them with us! Use hashtag #MelAndNikkiCrafts.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

A Children’s Book That Brings Out Your Inner Artist

Make Your Mark Gallery: A Coloring Book-ish will let your inner artist shine through as they can express their art through the beautiful pages in this children’s book.” – Momma Braga

About the Book

Draw. Frame. Share! With pages of possibilities, the creator of The Dot inspires us to make our mark and see where it takes us.

Do you have a crayon or marker ready? Children’s book creator Peter H. Reynolds has motivated kids of all ages, in homes and classrooms, to escape their inner critics and let the artist inside of them out to play. Now, with Make Your Mark Gallery, the celebrated author-illustrator offers more inspiration with a coloring book-ish featuring frames of all kinds just waiting to be filled with original art. Readers can follow ish-full suggestions or let inspiration guide their artistic vision, then tear out their creations along a perforated edge to proudly display their work or give it to someone special.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Make Your Mark Gallery: A Coloring Book-ish is an amazing children’s book that embraces your inner artist. This is absolutely the perfect book for our family as Nikki loves being artistic. Each page provides a different frame that you can use to create your masterpiece. Once completed, your child can write their name, date and the name of the drawing.

Your child can give their photo to someone that they love or they can add their photo to their own art gallery. You can even be creative and do an art gallery opening where your child can display their artwork for all to see. We have started the process and we are hoping by Thanksgiving in October we can have “Nikki’s Art Gallery” ready to show our immediate family.

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give this book 10 paint brushes out of 5! Time to roll up your selves and get creative. Your child will love to explore the pages that await them. I wonder if I can sneak a page for my own design while Nikki isn’t looking?! 😉

If you would like to purchase this great masterpiece, click here. It is perfect for children ages four to eight and let their inner creativity flow!

About the Author

Peter H. Reynolds is the New York Times best-selling illustrator of the Judy Moody and Stink series, written by Megan McDonald. He is also the creator of several picture books for children, including The Dot, Ish, Sky Color, The North Star, So Few of Me, Rose’s Garden, The Smallest Gift for Christmas, and Playing from the Heart. The president and creative director of FableVision, Peter H. Reynolds was born in Canada and now lives in Dedham, Massachusetts.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

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

It’s Okay To Be A Unicorn Embraces Uniqueness

“The key to happiness is accepting your Unicorniness.”

Synopsis

Cornelius J. Sparklesteed is known among all the other horses in Hoofington for his beautiful and creative handmade hats. But Cornelius is hiding a secret under his own tall, point hat: He’s really a unicorn.

Hoofington is a friendly place, but its horses spread lots of mean rumors about unicorns. When Cornelius is chosen to perform at this year’s Hoofapalooza, will he find the courage to reveal to his friends his true unicorniness?

Special thank you to the author Jason Tharp and Cornelius for sending us a personalized package and autograph!

#MelAndNikkiReview

It’s Okay to be a Unicorn has tickled our hearts pink with love. We haven’t used that term in a really long time in our reviews and we felt that this book definitely deserved it. We loved it from beginning to end and we especially loved the message of embracing your uniqueness!

Such a positive book to read with your child(ren) or if your child can read, have them read it to you. It will be a great one to share with your family. It’s Okay To Be A Unicorn also exemplifies kindness throughout the story and who couldn’t use more kindness in their lives?! I know that I sure love to see and feel it.

We also love the main character who is a unicorn named Cornelius. Now as you all may know we love books and we have featured many on the #MelAndNikkiReview. However, I don’t recall every reading a main character’s complete name in a story (Cornelius J. Sparklesteed) and it’s perfect! You can’t help but fall in love with Cornelius in this story.

This is why for the very first time we created a quick breakdown of what we thought of this book by using Cornelius’ name. Check out the image below! 😉

Since this book is unique we felt that we needed to put in a little extra uniqueness with that piece. 🙂

Not only is the story captivating but so are the vibrant illustrations. It is very appealing to the reader’s eyes and it truly brings everything together.

Nikki’s Thoughts

Nikki wanted to make sure we knew her thoughts on this book and requested a video interview with her. So I sat down with the star of our blog and asked her for her thoughts.

There you have it! Nikki’s thoughts in a nutshell. Remember to subscribe, like and share our video!

As you heard from Nikki, we give it 10 unicorns out of 10! Why? Because it is HAW-SOME! 

This book is perfect for children ages three to six; however, I am way above that age bracket and I loved it!

If you would like to purchase this HAW-SOME book, click here. You won’t regret it as it truly is a great book!

About the Author

Jason Tharp has dreamed of being an author and creating wacky worlds with fun characters since he was a kid. Now as a grown-up kid, Jason is driven to help others embrace the magic of their story. Hason has been promoting kindness initiatives in schools throughout Ohio and on yourdreamslivehere.com, where he sells kindness-related products with a portion of proceeds going to charity. Jason has also been securing speaking gigs for himself at adult conferences, talking about kindness, inclusion, empathy, and how to build creativity and confidence. This past November his home city of Powell, OH, held the first annual KindFest, a free festival with a charitable donation focus.

Make sure to follow Jason on his Facebook and Instagram pages as they are great accounts to follow – we do! 🙂

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

Momma Braga

*An advance copy was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.

 

Baby Shark! Hits Storytime

“Baby Shark! Doo doo doo doo doo doo!”

Now that we have got the song in your head (I am sure again). 😉 We can introduce you to the children’s book, Baby Shark! Based on the world’s catchiest song.

This book takes you on a trip to the Aquarium to meet a family of sharks. While you see them, you can sing-a-long to every child’s favorite song, Baby Shark!

#MelAndNikkiReview

Baby Shark is now available for storytime with an adorable picture book to please your little one. It is a fun and engaging book that will have everyone dancing and singing along. How can you not?! I know that I went into full dance mode as soon as we started to read the book. I think that is what makes this book so great as we can all sing-a-long, even if you don’t have children in your life (hehe).

Nikki sure did love this book as she got to read the words in it and since she knew the song, it helped her learn what the words look like. To us, this was a great learning experience for her and that is always a bonus for us. Nikki also loved being able to read the book to her younger cousin, Adriana, who also loved singing along. You can’t go wrong with a catchy story to get everyone engaged in storytime.

By the third time reading it (in a row), we were all dancing and signing along…including the grandparents. 😉

This is why it is no surprise that for this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give it 10 sharks out of 5! Not only is it fun to read but the illustrations by Stevie Lewis are absolutely adorable! We just love this book!

If you would like to purchase one of your own, click here. This would be a perfect addition to any Baby Shark fan.

About the Illustrator

Stevie Lewis has been living on the road, furthering her passion for climbing arts, and the outdoors. Striving to live simple and tread lightly on the earth, she gathers inspiration from a variety of places, be it climbing in the high desert in central Oregon, hiking in the wilderness of Alaska, or sharing laughs with fellow travelers around a campfire. After working for four years in animation, she now illustrates children’s books and creates art based on her travels.

Stevie’s books include A Week without Tuesday, Finding Serendipity, and Lost in the Library.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*Please note that this book was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.

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.

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.

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt | Christmas Activity Book

“A perfect activity book for Christmas!” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

Inspired by the animated special based on a beloved classic, this treasure trove of activities, fun facts, and more than a hundred stickers is the perfect gift for a magical time of year.

There’s so much to make, do, and discover in the countdown to Christmas! Whether kids like staying indoors to make crafts or stepping outside to explore, they’ll find plenty of ideas in this gem of a book. Would you like to create a wreath, design your own cards, pr make a special cake for the birds? How about learning some seasonal jokes, looking for winter creatures, or completing a Christmas tree calendar with stickers? With easy-to-follow instructions, charming illustrations, and plenty of holiday spirit, this hands-on guide to making the most of the season will children entertained and inspired.

#MelAndNikkiReview

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt: Christmas Activity Book is the perfect activity book for the holiday season. It truly does have many wonderful activities to keep your little one entertained. We have tried some of them already but are saving most of them to do during Christmas with our family. Nikki loves the option of coloring your own stickers and it made her feel extra special to say that she colored it on her own.

To pick a favorite activity for me would be very difficult as I love Christmas and all the activities are perfect and easy! The activity book comes with a Christmas Tree Calendar and we will be posting it on our door so that each day Nikki can put a sticker on the tree as our countdown. Such a simple and easy idea to do with a beautiful impact for the child. Oh did we mention there is a golden treat recipe too?! There is just so much fun to be had with this Christmas Activity Book.

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give it 5 stars out of 5! Christmas fun awaits in this book and as a parent you will have fun too!

This would make a perfect gift for a child between the ages of three and seven. If you would like to purchase one, 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.

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for LeapFrog

Who says that ice cream is only for summer?! It definitely doesn’t need to be and that same rule can apply at playtime with the amazing toy by LeapFrog, Scoop & Learn Ice Cream Cart.

The must have toy of Nikki’s dreams has finally made its way into our home and she couldn’t be happier. We got a chance to review the Scoop & Learn Ice Cream Cart and we are excited to share our findings with all of you! 😉

Scoop & Learn Ice Cream Cart Introduction

Learning is sweet when pretending to run your own ice cream cart. Create imaginative and tasty-looking ice cream combinations using delicious ice cream flavors and toppings. This toy is a great way to exercise important memory and sequencing skills.

Some Features

Off/Low/High Volume Control Switch

Slide the Off/Low/High Volume Switch to turn the toy on and select the volume. This is the best feature to have on any child’s toy as a parent. After a long day at work, it can be such a relief for the opportunity to have the option of quiet playtime.

Magic Scooper

Place the Magic Scooper on the top of an Ice Cream Scoop or Topping to easily pick them up. To release the Ice Cream Scoop or Topping, press the button on the side of the Magic Scooper. The scooper will recognize the colors and flavors – that is why it is called a “Magic Scooper.” 😉

Order/Activity Cards

For guided play, insert one of the six double-sided Order/Activity Cards into the Card Reader. Follow the order card instructions to build treats for six animal customers ranging from easy to hard challenges.

Wheels

Push the card around to hear songs and music. This feature is great for role-play fun as you can pretend to run your own ice cream cart.

Syrup Pump

Slide to choose from three flavors, then press down on the pump to hear numbers as you count along.

#MelAndNikkiReview

The Scoop & Learn Ice Cream Cart by LeapFrog is Nikki’s absolute favorite toy. It is also a great hit when she has playdates at home as everyone wants to play with it. We loved it so much that we had to go buy one for our 1.5 year old goddaughter who also loves playing with it too.

As with all the amazing toys from LeapFrog, we love the learning aspect of the toy as it makes it fun to learn. We love the concept of the ice cream truck and it does provide hours of playtime fun. I have ordered a few ice creams from “Nikki’s Ice Cream Cart” and the best part is that you gain no extra calories from it. 😉

You can really have fun with the Scoop & Learn Ice Cream Cart as a family too. However, I do need to mention that I rarely get a turn to be the ice cream cart owner as Nikki insists that it is always her turn. This means she really loves this toy and we think your little one will too. It is recommended for children ages two to five years old and it would make a perfect gift.

“This is my favorite toy in the whole entire world and I love screaming ICE CREAM!” – Nikki, Age 5

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give it 10 screams out of 5! It is fun, portable, and a whole lot of learning!

To purchase your very own as it would definitely be a great gift idea, click here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

Momma Braga

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