Tag: Creative

My Easter Basket | Book Review

For many an Easter tradition is egg hunting and it truly is a fun activity. Imagine all that excitement in a children’s books?!

We are delighted to introduce My Easter Basket, written by Roger Priddy and illustrated by Jennie Bradley.

Synopsis

My Easter Basket is an illustrated board book basket, with colorful, foiled Easter egg tabs and search-and-find scenes of busy animals on an Easter egg hunt.

#MelAndNikkiReview

My Easter Basket brings Easter fun in a book format and we love it! Nikki loved searching for the Easter eggs right along with the animals in the story. She has even promised that she will help her little cousin on Easter to find the eggs in the book at Easter time. Family bonding over a book is just perfect for this special holiday.

We absolutely love the cute basket-shape format which makes it easy for a child to carry the book around with them to enjoy. It is a colorful story of spotting all the eggs that the Easter Bunny has hidden on his rounds. It also provides learning about color, counting and matching through play. Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give it 6 Eggs out of 5! 

We know this would be an egg-errific book for a child for Easter and the best part is that it is sugar free. 😉 It is recommended for children between the ages of 0 to two years of age; however, a 4-year-old can appreciate it too as our daughter did. If you would like to purchase a copy, click here.

“Finding Easter eggs in a book is so much fun Momma! I was very good at finding them all too.” – Nikki, Age 4

About the Author

Roger Priddy’s passion for educating children through fun, informative and engaging books has led him to create some of publishing’s most enduring and successful non-fiction early learning books. Roger lives in London and has three children, who have been the inspiration behind many of his best publishing ideas.

 

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

* The book was provided to Momma Braga in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Advertisements

Stencil Revolution | Product Review

Growing up I loved to draw, trace and just being creative. It is amazing how doing something creative would bring me peace and relaxation.

This is why I am excited to introduce you all to Stencil Revolution. They offer a huge variety of reusable stencils for artists and crafters for all types. You’ll find over 750+ different stencils with up to eight different size options to chose from. From large wall stencils to a variety of different mandala stencil designs, they’ve got it all!

We got to try out three of designs recently and we had a lot of fun trying them!

Canada Flag Stencil

Since we live in Canada, Stencil Revolution was very kind in sending us the Canada Flag stencil which Nikki loved! It is an easy to follow stencil and turns out great once you have completed it.

World Map Stencil

The world map was another stencil that we got to try out and it is always great to have the world at your fingertips. This stencil was a little hard for us to do as some parts were very tiny but it was accurate and a detailed stencil.

Unicorn Head Stencil

It appears that Stencil Revolution knows us very well as they included the unicorn head stencil which had Nikki screaming for joy. It was simple to use and of course it has been used many times with the same glee each time by my 4-year-old.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Overall, we enjoyed each stencil and it added to our creative craft time. We love the material used to create the stencils. According to their website, they use a 12 mil Mylar which is the toughest, safest consumer-grade stencil material available. It’s incredibly durable (tear proof) yet flexible enough to bend around surfaces if needed. It is resistant to most solvents and can even be washed with paint thinner! The material is also food safe and can be used for cookie stencils and baking. Now as parent, I can appreciate all that!

We also love the fact that Stencil Revolution is a small family owned company based out of Florida, USA. They manufacture and ship all of their craft stencils. We appreciate this family’s passion to do what they love to do each and every single day.

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give Stencil Revolution 5 Unicorns out of 5! The quality, durability, professionalism, and variety of designs is what stood out the most for us. I also have to admit on how easy it is to use gets this momma’s full approval.

If you would like to purchase or just check out the amazing options available, click here. *Warning: give yourself plenty of time to check it all out as their are so many great options to get lost in. 😉

Also make sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram to see all that they have to offer.

“With Stencil Revolution, your creative projects will reach a whole new level!” – Momma Braga

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

*Please note that the products were provided in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed are solely of Momma Braga and no compensation was provided for this piece.

 

Bad Kitty Kitten Trouble | Book Review

Who doesn’t love funny cats? I know I sure do!

The New York Times bestselling series, Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel is back with a new book titled, Kitten Trouble.

Synopsis

“There’s terrible news from the neighborhood next to Kitty’s! A conflict there is growing worse and worse. It started as an argument and has now turned into a full-fledged fight. Worst of all: The cat shelter has been destroyed!

Kitty’s family decides it’s time to do something to help. Their idea: foster as many displaced kittens as possible. Kitty won’t mind, right? Well…not exactly. Kitty does seem to mind. She minds A LOT.”

#MelAndNikkiReview

A hilarious book filled with heart is what can be expected from Kitten Trouble. Kitty learns important lessons in the book about sharing, caring and forgiving. All lessons that us as readers can learn from too. We don’t want to spoil the book for others; therefore, we won’t disclose too much. 😉

We loved the flow of the book, illustrations, and the facts about cats in the book (fantastic touch!). There are even a touch of French words in the book but don’t worry as a glossary is included. 😉

We give Bad Kitty Kitten Trouble, 5 meows out of 5! We recommend this book for children ages seven to ten. This book will be available on December 31, 2018.

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

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

Christmas Magic In A Letter | The Belief In Santa

The Christmas season is upon us and it is my favorite time of year. It seems that there is a little extra magic in the air as the spirit of giving surrounds us.

My heart is always extra full this time of year as I try to make each year more magical then the next for my daughter. Part of the Christmas magic is the belief in Santa Claus. A jolly man who makes a list of who has been naughty and nice. Then travels all over the world to deliver toys to the nice kids on the list.

The excitement to write to Santa and to receive a letter back helps keep the belief alive and one that we have done yearly with our daughter, Nikki.

In previous years we have sent our “Santa Letter” to a free service offered by Canada Post. Their special elves help Santa answer all the letters in time for your little ones (*there is a deadline date to watch out for). The first two years the letters back where cute and a personalized touch was added which made the letters extra special.

However, last year the letter was standard and no personalized touch was added. There was nothing special about it and what should I really expect from a free service, right?! So why not to do it myself?! 

One night as we were hosting a family playdate with my cousin and her boys. We both talked about how disappointed we were in the letters from Santa. I was relieved that I wasn’t the only one who felt that way.

So I pitched the idea that we should do the Santa letters for one another and my cousin Chantelle loved the idea!

Christmas Magic In A Letter

We now get to share some Christmas magic between family by doing Santa Letters to one another. The best part for us will be to see our children’s faces when they get a very personalized letter from Santa. 

Nikki and her adorable cousins John Lucas and Connor at our last playdate.

This is how we are doing it this year.

Writing “Dear Santa” Letter

Our child writes their letter to Santa (depending on their writing ability, it may be the parent writing most of it). In our case, I write Nikki’s letter but she adds her artistic flare to her letter.

Mailing Letter to “Santa”

Child mails the letter out to “Santa” (if they are young they will not notice the address so this wasn’t an issue for either one of us right now). 😉

Mailing a letter to Santa is serious business 😉

Highlights For Santa Reply Letter

Send some points (max of 3) of your child to the family member writing the Santa letter that you would like highlighted. For example, I wanted to make sure it was noted that Nikki started her first year of school; becoming more independent and her good manners.

Handwriting the Reply Letter

Once the “Dear Santa Letter” is received, the family member can now hand write the letter in response with the highlighted points and reference to any artistic touch done on the letter.

Mail the Santa Reply Letter

Family member mails the Santa response letter and add any other little touches that they may want to add (my cousin thought of adding an “Elf Report” indicating if they made it to the nice or naughty list – so cute!).

Open the Magic of Christmas

Child receives their magical and very personalized letter. The belief continues with much love.

We just started the process and we can’t wait to see our children react to their very special letters. A little extra that we are doing is keeping the “Dear Santa” from our children in little boxes. This way when they are older we can give them their letters so they can see what they said and did in their belief of Christmas magic. I think that is my favorite part of all this.

I am really excited to keep the belief going and doing this exchange between family. A more personalized, heart and love in our quest for that little extra spirit this holiday season.

How do you carry on the Christmas spirit in your family? Would love to hear from all of you in the comment section below.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

Tough Cookie | Book Review

‘Tis the season for Christmas books! It is our favorite time of year and we will be introducing some great new books that you will all adore.

Our first book up for review is Tough Cookie: A Christmas Story which is written and illustrated by Edward Hemingway. This book would make a delicious part of your reading line-up!

Synopsis

Once upon a time, while Fox was visiting the Land of Holiday Treats, a little cookie, still warm from the oven, burst out the bakery door looking sweet and delicious.

But as it turns out, Cookie is not as fast as he thinks, and when Fox finally catches him, they’re both in for a big surprise: Cookie does NOT taste delicious – and he’s certainly not fit to be eaten. What’s an unsavory cookie to do?

#MelAndNikkiReview

The classic tale of the Gingerbread Man takes a humorous new twist in Tough Cookie: A Christmas StoryAs we read the adorable storyline, we couldn’t help but giggle along the way. We loved the friendship that was built between Fox and the Gingerbread man. Their quest to find out what Gingerbread Man was meant to do was heartwarming.

We especially loved the recipes in the back of the book – amazing touch! This book will be in our reading line-up all the way to Christmas as it is so much fun to read. By the second time that the book was read to Nikki, she had parts of the story memorized which was awesome. That was the key sign that the book must be great if she had her favorite parts memorized. 😉

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give this book 5+++ Gingerbreads out of 5! For its creative and humorous storyline, illustrations and the recipes in the back.

This will make the perfect holiday gift this season! To purchase your very own, click here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

Super Mighty Makers | DIY Kindness Cloud Craft

A new series is launching on Saturday November 3rd at 10:30 AM on tvoKids called Super Mighty Makers!

A TV series around kindness, crafting and a lot of fun is what we can look forward to with the Super Mighty Makers.

Series Synopsis

The Super Mighty Makers (SMMs) are a team of in-the-field kids with special powers to help a friend real Craft Kids with a problem that can be solved with kindness, through crafting.

In each episode, one of our four SMMs gets the craft alert from Bondini – uber crafter and blimp pilot – that sets off the MAKER MISSION! Together in the CareCraft blimp, Bondini and the SMM learn all about the Craft Kid – who they want to help, what that person needs help with, and figure out the perfect craft to make for the situation! Then, they “sparkle up” the Craft Kid and get cracking on the coolest craft ever. When the one-of-a-kind creation has been completed, Bondini and the SMM “sparkle down” their friend and watch on as he or she gives the craft to the special recipient.

Another act of kindness. Another MAKER MISSION completed!

Join The Mighty Maker Movement

The SMMs are out to spread the message of crafting for kindness across the nation, making the world a better place one craft at a time!

So we at Momma Braga had to take part as we love kindness and crafts! The SMMs gave us all the tools that we needed to make a very special craft, a Kindness Cloud. 

We are delighted to share with all of our amazing readers on how to make this very simple and thoughtful craft to be given to a special family member or friend.

DIY Kindness Cloud Craft

What You’ll Need
  • 1 Cloud (pre-cut)
  • 6 Strips of construction paper (pre-cut)
  • Marker
  • Frame
  • Glitter
  • Glue Stick

Craft Steps
  1. Pick a family or friend you want to spread kindness to and think about the things you love about them. Write their name in the cloud followed by “__________ is amazing because he/she is…”
  2. Write a word on each piece of coloured construction paper that describes your friend (i.e. giving, funny, kind, etc.). Be sure to leave room at the top of each piece for glue.
  3. Flip the cloud over so the written side is facing down. Place glue on the top of the written side of each coloured strip.
  4. Please the coloured strips on the cloud with the written side facing down and place the colours in order from left to right. Let the glue dry for five minutes and then flip your card over to reveal your beautiful craft!
  5. Once the cloud and rainbow strips are glued together secure the craft to the inside of the frame.
  6. Once your craft is finished, give it to your family or friend and remember to spread kindness wherever you go! Make sure to upload a picture to social media using the #MightyMakerMovement tag and show us how your spreading kindness in your community!

Nikki picked her baby cousin Adriana as she loves her dearly and thought what a great keepsake for her little cousin. Nikki told me that you are never too young to learn and teach kindness (heart melting at the moment).

8-month old Adriana is the recipient of the Kindness Cloud.

The craft is so creative and adorable to do! We had a blast making it together and gets us excited to tune in to the Super Mighty Makers on tvoKids on November 3rd and onward. We would love to see your kindness cloud craft or any other craft that you come up with! Just make sure to tag us @mommabraga.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

Lil Babe Accessories | Accessorizing One Bow At A Time

A bow can be more than just a bow as it is used as an accessory piece to our assemble. Accessorizing is a skill for many and for me, not so much.

This is why I appreciate and value those who are extra creative and accessorize to a beautiful new level.

One person in particular is my sister, Karen. She has always been the most creative one and one that can really put a great assemble together with style. This is why it is no surprise that she has created some beautiful accessory pieces for her baby girl to wear.

It is with great pleasure that we introduce you all to Karen’s new adventure as the creator and founder of Lil Babe Accessories.

We got the inside and exclusive scoop for all of you in this interview with Karen.

Tell us a little bit about yourself

My name is Karen and many of you may remember me as the DIY expert on Momma Braga. I love doing creative crafts, food and accessories. I especially love special holidays and must say that Halloween is my favorite.

I am also a mom to a beautiful baby girl and am so grateful to be her mom.

Photo Credit: Kelly Middleton Photography

How did Lil Babe Accessories came to be? How did you come up with the idea?

Since I can remember I have always loved baby accessories, especially for little girls. So naturally when I had a baby girl, I handmade most of her headbands. From there, Lil Babe Accessories was born and I decided to share my creations with the world.

Why “Lil Babe Accessories”?

“Lil Babe” is just one of the many nicknames I gave my daughter. Lil is short for little and “accessories” because I wanted to expand my collection instead of just selling headbands.

What do you offer and how can people purchase from you?

At the present time, I offer a variety of different style headbands and bows for ages 0 to 5 years of age. You can find and purchase these products off of my Etsy shop.

What do you have upcoming? Anything we can announce first to our readers? 😉

Yes! I will be making and selling baby boy accessories very soon! I want to cater to both genders. Also…I am now introducing pre-orders, these are exclusive items that are offered to my followers and will not be sold on my Etsy page.

What do you hope each accessory and bow accomplishes?

I aim for a design that will compliment any outfit but most importantly feel comfortable! I also love to make show pieces that are created for special occasions.

Anything else you would like to add?

I have always loved shopping small and online myself. Being a mom and now owning my own small shop, it is amazing to see and hear all the support from the community around me. It’s one thing to hear it from family and friends but hearing compliments from strangers on your hard work – is amazing! The best part is that these strangers than quickly become friends. I am truly thankful for that!

There you have the inside scoop on Lil Babe Accessories and we love them!

We have personally used the bows and handbands created by Lil Babe Accessories and they are the first to stay on Nikki’s hair. We also love how they are unique bows and Nikki loves when she is asked where she got her bow. It gives her the chance to say it was handmade just for her. 😉

We highly recommend Lil Babe Accessories for your little one or even for someone else’s little one as it would make a bow-errific present!

Make sure to follow Lil Babe Accessories on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as you will want to see the new creations that are made.

We want like to say thank you to Karen for taking the time to let us in on her new adventure and wishing her much success!

Until next time, Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

Potato Pants! | Book Review

I love potatoes! It is one of my favorite side dishes but never in my wildest dreams would I think that potatoes would need potato pants!

Well, they certainly do if you are in the new children’s book, Potato Pants! written and illustrated by Laurie Keller. Laurie Keller is the acclaimed author-illustrator of several bestselling picture books, including Do Unto Otters, Arnie, the Doughnut, The Scrambled States of America, and Open Wide: Tooth School Inside, among numerous others.

Potato Pants! is a book that details potato’s single minded pursuit to get a pair of potato pants. However, his plan is quickly diverted by an Eggplant, who he misjudges at the start to be a big, old bully, only to realize it was a big misunderstanding by the end. Beyond being hysterical, this book also taps into those universal feelings of childhood anxiety and is a cautionary tale of what happens when you make a judgment before you have all the information. Just check out this hilarious trailer on Potato Pants! 

#MelAndNikkiReview

We couldn’t help but giggle out loud throughout the book as Potato tries to find ways to get potato pants. It is also a great book with an important message about anxiety, friendship and forgiveness. This is why for this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give it 5 potatoes out of 5! If you want an entertaining picture book then this is the book for you and your child. The illustrations compliment the story perfectly and it truly is the silliest picture book you’ll ever read. We simply adored it!

To purchase your very own copy, click here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

 

The Tutu Experience | Petit Tutu Boutique

Tutus is the fashion must with our daughter as she adores them. This is why for her birthday this year we had to find the perfect one for her Wonder Woman theme and for her four year old photo. Every year we take pictures of Nikki to celebrate her big day and we give a photo to our close family and friends. We love doing this as it allows us to see how much she has grown over a year.

So the search was on for the best Wonder Woman costume that we could find. After tirelessly searching through Google, we came across the ONE that we have been waiting for!

We came across Petit Tutu Boutique on Etsy and they had the perfect outfit for our Wonder Woman themed photoshoot and birthday party.


The reviews looked good and the photos of the quality of work that was completed looked amazing. There were so many other designs and themes that were adorable too but we had to focus on Wonder Woman.

We first sent an email to the owner, Nancy, as we were on a tight deadline and we wanted to make sure they delivered to Canada. Nancy got back to us promptly and informed us that Canadian shipments are done but that the deadline might not be met due to the distance. We understood this completely and we didn’t mind at all as we had some time until Nikki’s birthday but we wouldn’t be able to take the photos the day that we scheduled. No big deal since we do the photos ourselves. 🙂

We promptly ordered the complete outfit which includes the tutu, the top, wristbands and headband. We also received the Wonder Woman Shoe Embellishment which was super cool! Within a week we received our order and to me it looked even better than the photos that I saw online. Both Nikki and I feel in love with it instantly. Now when we order from small shops and the items are handmade we take a deeper interest in them.

We wanted to find our a little bit more about Petit Tutu Boutique so we got the inside scope from the owner, Nancy on her business.

Exclusive Mini Interview

When did you start your business, Petit Tutu Boutique?

I opened up shop in 2007 on eBay and then made the switch over to Etsy in 2011. It’s been wonderful!

What inspired you to start your business?

I am a stay-at-home mom and I would make costumes for my children. From there it took a life of its own and people started making costume requests for their children. It was a really nice way to start off and bring in some extra money to our household.

What type of products do you offer?

I make Birthday outfits and costumes, mostly for little girls but I have done some for boys as well. You can check out the collection that is available on my Etsy page.

How can people order your beautiful designs?

My shop is only available on Etsy right now and if there are any questions, anyone can email me directly on the site.

#MelAndNikkiReview on Petit Tutu Boutique

We received exceptional service and quality. It made my Super Nikki’s day as she adored the outfit and insisted on wearing it almost everyday before her big day. It made her fourth birthday extra special and she matched Wonder Woman who made an appearance on her special day. Nikki’s birthday has now passed and she still wears her costume proudly. It gets tons of compliments which makes Nikki feel extra special. We give Petit Tutu Boutique 5+++ stars out of 5! Important tip for residents in the USA, if you have a rush order request, you can select the option for “Rush My Order” at an additional cost to your order.

The quality and professionalism was great from start to finish. We are already thinking of what tutu we want next. 😉 Make sure to follow them on Facebook too!

Special thank you to Nancy of Petit Tutu Boutique for making a little girl’s wish to be Wonder Woman come true and in style!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

DIY Glitter Jar | New Children’s Show Esme & Roy

We love doing arts and crafts in our home especially lately as our daughter prepares herself for Kindergarten. This is why we were very excited to try the DIY Glitter Jar in honor of the new children’s show, Esme & Roy that will be premiering on Treehouse this month.

Esme & Roy use calm-down glitter jars to help the littlest residents in Monsterdale work through their emotions and avoid monster meltdowns (we as parents are very familiar with these types of meltdowns). Now watching the glitter swirl to the bottom of the jar gives kids time to calm down and regain control of their emotions.

So we got to create our very own with our daughter, Nikki.

Material Needed

You will need the following material for this craft:

  • Jar
  • Glitter
  • Food Colouring
  • Clear Glue
  • Hot Water
  • Stir Stick

Instructions

  1. Pour clear glue into the jar until it fills up to about 1/4.
  2. Slowly pour hot water until the liquid reaches 3/4 of the jar.
  3. Add as much glitter as you would like and stir using the stir stick.
  4. Add more hot water to bring the water level to just below the top of the jar.
  5. Add 1-2 drops of food colouring and stir using the stir stick.
  6. Twist on the lid and give your jar a shake! Be sure to sing the Glitter Jar Song (below) as you watch the glitter swirl and fall!

“When the glitter starts to fall like snow –
take a deep breath, nice and slow –
watch as it settles all around –
and feel your body calming down.”

Those are the easy steps to follow to create your very own Glitter Jar! We had a blast doing this together and of course Nikki’s favourite part was stirring it all together. It was a really fun craft to do and really got us excited to watch Esme & Roy when they premiere on Treehouse on August 18th!

Esme & Roy Synopsis

This new children’s show follows a young girl named Esme and her best monster friend, Roy, on their adventures as the best monster babysitters in Monsterdale. The series invites children into a colourful world where even the littlest monsters can overcome big challenges together.

Esme & Roy offers easy-to-adopt strategies that can help even very young children regulate their emotions. Tactics include: taking slow belly breaths, which provide a pause for children to be reflective; self-talk that uses positive statements to remind kids of their strength and capability; giving oneself a soothing hug; and using a “glitter jar” to calm the body and mind, shaking a sparkly snow globe-like jar and taking deep breaths while watching the glitter swirl and slowly fall.

This sounds like a great children’s show with positive messaging and we just love that! We can’t wait to watch it and have our daughter learn from it too. We hope you will tune in on August 18th and if you would like to try this craft, make sure to tag us @mommabraga and use #EsmeandRoy when you share. We can’t wait to see your Glitter Jars!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga