Tag: Family

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.

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What to Consider Before Renovating

It is a New Year, a New Decade! So let’s start the New Year right with a piece on renovating which brings my experience working in the Construction field into my blogging world!

For the last three years, I have been working for Sherhill Construction and it has been such an eye opening experience. The Construction world isn’t just a hammer and nails. It is much more complex than that and this is why I thought it would be great to share some tips for home owners looking to renovate.

Renovating can be extremely rewarding as it can add value to both your property and lifestyle. However, no matter if you’re undertaking a big or small project, there are a few factors to consider before beginning the renovation work.

Urgency of the Issue

Renovations cost money and if you have a lengthy “to-renovate list” start slow. Look at what items may need urgent action first such as a leaking shower for example. These items could cause bigger problems down the line and should be dealt with first.

Doing one project at a time is ideal financially and if you are living in the home while the renovation is being done, it will be a little less chaotic. It truly is up to you and your needs.

Financial Budgeting

Before doing any renovation, it is best to find out the costs involved in every detail of the renovation. You can speak with a contractor or you can do your own in-depth research to see how much you should be budgeting. The more detailed the budget, the better it is for you in the long-run.

Always set a realistic budget with at least 10% to 20% as a buffer for any unexpected expenses that may arise. When homes are a bit older, you may never truly know what is behind the walls or under the floors.

There are a few financial options that you can undertake if you don’t have the funds at the present time to carry out the projects. I recommend to speak with a financial advisor to see what options are available to you.

Many people would want to save on cost by doing much of the work themselves. A word of advice is to hire professionals, especially in specific trades such as plumbing and electrical. It is the safest route and can save you a lot down the road.

The Return on Investment

A good first impression of your property can dramatically increase its price.

There are many renovations that can increase the value of your home and this is something to consider before renovating. For example, upgrading kitchens and bathrooms are areas that add much more value to a home. There are also other upgrades such as painting and landscaping that can add value but not as much as a kitchen upgrade.

Therefore, look at your home goals and see which project will give you the best return on your investment. If you are planning to sell then this would be ideal to look at before renovating. Always speak with a professional realtor to see the best route for you to take.

Before any renovation it is best to consider all these factors before starting. It can save you time, money and stress by preparing yourself the best way possible. I know personally how it can be when you catch the “renovation bug” but luckily I was able to prepare ourselves slowly with the experience that I gained through work. These tips above truly helped our family keep in budget and slowly cross off our “home to-do-list.”

If you are looking to renovate and not sure how to get started and live in the Greater Toronto Area, give Sherhill Construction a call at (toll free) 1-833-597-8887. Also if you have someone handy at home but they are taking way too long to complete the simple handy tasks at home, Sherhill can help with that too through their handyman services. Just give them a call to get started! 😉

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

Momma Braga

*This is not a paid or sponsored post. Momma Braga did not get compensated for advertising companies mentioned.

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

LeapStart 3D Awards The Gift of Reading

“LeapStart 3D is a tool that awards little ones with the gift of reading and we love it!” – Momma Braga

LeapStart® 3D is a complete learning system that magically brings books to life with audio and then enhances the learning with corresponding 3D-like animations.

There is so much to learn with this amazing tool and of course our good friends at LeapFrog are the ones bringing it to us.

Let’s leap right on in and give you some of our highlights and where it lands on the #MelAndNikkiReview.

It’s All In The Details

The fine details is what sets products apart and LeapFrog did not miss a beat with this one.

Activities Galore

It features touch-and-talk games, creative challenges, problem-solving puzzles, math mazes and more for children between the ages of two and seven. There is more than 30 activities in every book – amazing! Talk about keeping the little ones entertained and learning all at the same time.

Animation

This detail is super adorable and just enhances the learning experience. The 3D-like animations helps kids better understand the learning concepts. It is also a great way to engage the child as the animations are a great addition.

Multiple Book Levels

You have the option of selecting books that fit to your child’s level and what areas you would like them to learn. We absolutely love this option and there are more than 25 different activity books that you can pick from. You can progress from preschool to first grade. *Please note that you do need to connect the system to your computer in order to download the books onto the learning system.

Abundance of Learning

You can expect lots of learning and fun to be had with the LeapStart® 3D. Each book seamlessly blends fun with skills from problem solving to learning to read that are important to a child’s development for a comprehensive introduction to key concepts.

“With LeapStart 3D, children engage with real books packed with activities to build key skills from counting and problem solving to phonics and vocabulary. LeapStart 3D adds a new dimension to learning as children can visualize the meaning of words and learn about shapes and geometry concepts with 3D-like animations.” – Carolyn James, PhD, LeapFrog Literacy Expert

#MelAndNikkiReview

LeapStart® 3D has been an amazing tool in our household as we have been working with it for about a full month. We have seen the growth in Nikki’s reading skills and her love for reading has doubled since we started LeapStart® 3D. We always think that products provide a skill to us; however, we are saying that LeapStart is awarding us with such an amazing skill. To see your child with pure joy in their eyes when they recognize a word and read it out loud…it is priceless and so awarding to hear!

Nikki loves using the pen to go over the words to learn each one. This helped her learn and grasp the sounds of each letter. Then she was able to put all the sounds together to read the words. We still have a lot more practicing to do but she is able to do more now than she ever has before. We feel that we got the best Christmas present ever and that is the gift of reading. We love all the different book options available and with all of Nikki’s favorite characters too! She doesn’t know it yet but for Christmas there are a few more books for her to read under the tree. 😉

LeapFrog truly put in a lot of time and planning to execute LeapStart 3D as it does award children and parents with an amazing tool. It is reassuring to know as a parent that there are products so great that can offer us a helping hand in the development of our children. This is why we give the LeapStart® 3D 10 stars out of 5! It is fun, compact, operates on battery power and has loads of learning at the fingertips of your child. It is also very safe to use. We love the use of technology but it is done in a simple way. It isn’t over powering and does not take away from the basics of learning. We highly recommend it! It would make the perfect gift this holiday season or any other time of the year.

Thank you LeapFrog for making this momma feel so much better about her daughter’s learning progress! If you would like to purchase one, click here. We truly do love it!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

Momma Braga

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

5 Creepy But Family-Friendly Spots You Can Visit When Traveling In Asia

Traveling is an excellent way to lose stress. Most of the time, people enjoy traveling to other countries because they get to experience a lot of new things. Aside from the sights and sounds, people often get to experience a new culture. The food is also a good reason why most people travel to different countries.

To make vacations even better, it’s a good idea to bring your family along. As a family, you can do a lot of things together. One unique way to spruce up a family vacation is by going to a family-friendly location with a haunted or creepy past. One particular part of the world has an abundance of such places. Enter the vast Asian continent.

Asia is full of countries that have their fair share of awesome places to visit. Japan, the Philippines, China, and other Asian countries will be featured in this list. Don’t worry about the curses and creatures that’ll hurt you on your family vacation. Rest assured that every location mentioned here is an official tourist spot, and is perfectly safe to visit.

We do, however, encourage tourists to follow their tour guides. It’s also best that tourists should refrain from being unruly in certain places. There are also rules and regulations that tourists should follow when visiting a country. Without further ado, here are some of the scariest yet, family-friendly spots you can visit while you’re in Asia.

Aokigahara Forest, Minamitsuru District – Japan

Aokigahara Forest is also known as “The Suicide Forest.” The forest is well known to both foreigners and locals. Many people often enter the forest to commit suicide. The Suicide Forest is real. Most of the time, certain areas of the forest are usually littered with the belongings owned by the people who die there.

Tour guides often advise tourists to stay close to each other as there are also ghosts that are rumored to haunt the forest. Creepiness aside, the forest is a sanctuary for endemic flora and fauna. The forest also leads to two lava caves, Narusawa Ice Cave and Fugaku Wind Cave, which makes Aokigahara Forest a good starting point to visit Mount Fuji.

Old Diplomat Hotel, Baguio City – Philippines 

One of the most haunted places in the world is located in the famous summer capital of the Philippines. The Old Diplomat Hotel in Baguio City is home to apparitions ranging from headless priests, white ladies, and Japanese soldiers. The hotel is a known tourist spot and is open to the public. Again, follow your tour guide’s rules and stay close to your group.

Aside from the Old Diplomat Hotel, Baguio City has lots of shops that are worth visiting. The city is also home to the Philippine Military Academy. Most tours also include a visit to the famed academy. If you and your family are lucky, you can witness PMA Cadets doing their fancy drills.

Hanging Coffins, Sagada – Philippines

Approximately 150 kilometers north from Baguio is Sagada. In the Philippines, Sagada is one of the most romantic towns that you can visit. Due to nature, the views, quiet restaurants, and the warm locals, Sagada is a go-to place on your list.

Not everything is romantic with Sagada, though. Somewhere in the sleepy town, lies Echo valley. In this valley, indigenous Igorot tribes still practice their unique way of burying their dead. Upon nearing the place, you can immediately see coffins hanging from the limestone cliff walls. These pine coffins are suspended using primitive wires and ropes.

This unique tradition is not lost among the Igorot tribes. Although Christianity and strict government laws regulate this practice, certain members of the Igorot tribe can and are still buried this way.

Morgan House, West Bengal – India

Since India was a former colony of the British, it’s not uncommon to see British architecture in most buildings in India. There are even old structures that were built during this period. One of these buildings is the Morgan House, located in Kalimpong, West Bengal.

The Morgan House is a mansion built by George Morgan in the early 1930s. George Morgan was an English jute baron. In the past, the estate was used as a summer getaway for the baron and his family. Since his death, ownership of the house has passed on several times, due to Mr. Morgan dying without leaving an heir.

Morgan House is now owned by the WBTDCL or the West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation Limited. The house is now a famous hotel for tourists. A lot of people consider Morgan House to be haunted. Those who brave staying in the hotel often report seeing the wife of Mr. Morgan. If you want to know more, you can visit mysteriousheartland.com. From there, you can also take a look at other haunted locations to visit.

The Forbidden City, Beijing – China

Beijing is home to one of the seven wonders of the world. When you visit Beijing, be sure to visit the Great Wall of China. When you arrive, you’ll be thrilled with the activities that are readily available for tourists. However, Beijing is also where the Forbidden City is located.

The Forbidden City is laced with a dark history, which is why a lot of people consider it to be haunted. Due to the countless executions done by the Ming Dynasty, most people often see apparitions of the departed roaming the streets.

Although the palace complex is off-limits to the public, one can still hear the horrors that roam the insides of the building. They say that on particularly dark nights, you can listen for the faint cries of a woman who died inside.

Takeaway

The places mentioned above are perfect tourist spots that you can visit in Asia. Although these places are creepy and haunted, you can still safely visit them to know and experience the past behind these places.

 

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.