Why stick with plain old A, B, C when you can have Amelia (Earhart), Malala, Tina (Turner), Ruth (Bader Ginsburg), all the way to Extraordinary You – and the Zillions of adventures you will go on?
A is for Awesome! 23 Iconic Women Who Changed The World is a fun and inspiring read for young children. It was a great way to do letter recognition and learn about an inspiring woman from the past or present. The quotes were awesome and one letter that stood out the most for my 4-year-old was B (Beyoncé).
“Mom! This is the Single Ladies Song!” – Nikki, Age 4
It is amazing what children obtain! We loved the fact that we can go through each letter and then later explain the importance of each woman in a way that a young child could understand. Books that can offer conversation pieces after the fact is one of our favorite parts of reading time.
Of course we can not forget the bright and vibrant illustrations in the book as it truly made the book eye catching. It is absolutely perfect for this age group.
“We read books to find out who we are..What we ourselves are and may become.” – Ursula K. Le Guin
About the Author
Eva Chen, the author of Juno Valentine and the Magical Shoes and A Is For Awesome, is a first-generation Chinese-American who grew up in New York City. She blames her deviation from pre-med at Johns Hopkins University on a love of fashion and beauty instilled in her by her mother, whose perfect bob and lipstick made a permanent imprint on her impressionable young mind. Previously the editor in chief of Lucky, Eva has also written for ELLE, Vogue, Teen Vogue, Vogue Chine, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. She is currently the head of fashion partnerships at Instagram, where she is guilty of the occasional duck-face selfie. Eva lives in New York City with her husband and two children.
About the Illustrator
Derek Desierto is a Vancouver-based illustrator, designer, and overall nice guy from a nice family. His animation work has been recognized by the Ottawa International Animation Festival, the National Cartoonist Society, and 9 Story Media Group. Currently, he is living the dream as a freelance artist for animated TV shows and picture books. His ultimate goal in life is to meet Oprah and become one of her Favorite Things.
Wouldn’t it be grande to have a story written about you? But what would it be about? For Bernard the Bear, he found himself in this exact situation.
We are delighted to introduce you all to, Bearnard’s Book, written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Misa Saburi.
When Bearnard gets an invitation to be in a book, it’s a dream come true! But as he reads up on what starring in a book might actually entail, he wonders if he’s not quite the right bear for the part. With the help of his friend Gertie, Bearnard discovers that to shine in his story, he just needs to be himself.
Bearnard’s Book is absolutely adorable and one with a very important message; be yourself. You can’t help but feel bad for Bearnard as he worries that his story isn’t as exciting as he thinks a story should be. Bernard goes through exploring to see what story he could do and by the end he realizes that the best story is just to be himself.
We loved reading this book as it was full of charm and all about self-acceptance. The story even brought the conversation about what kind of story would we write about Nikki and the ideas were flowing through the gates. Nikki got really excited and starting telling me all the types of stories that could be written about herself. It was amazing to see that Bernard’s Book brought out the excitement about Nikki writing a story about her energetic self. This book is truly a wonderful read and we recommend it for children ages four to eight.
Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give Bearnard’s Book5 Bears out of 5!
Love comes in many different forms and their meaning is unique to each individual. That is the beauty about love as there are so many ways to express it.
Love, a children’s book expresses love in the simplest form to have children understand all its glory.
Love is the melody that follows us through each and every day of our lives. Whether it’s the sound of our lives. Whether it’s the sound of our parents’ voices lulling us to sleep, the joyful laughter of an uncle’s latest tall tale, or the warm embrace of a loved one telling us everything will be okay, it’s a feeling that takes countless forms and ultimately connects us all.
In this stirring celebration of love, Newbery Medal – winning author Matt de la Peña and bestselling illustrator Loren Long depict the many ways to experience this universal bond. With heartfelt illustrations and a soothing, lyrical text, this tender tale is a needed comfort and a new classic that will resonate with readers of every age.
We loved the book Love! A beautiful children’s story that takes us on a heart journey. It beams with feelings and allows us to see the many different forms that love can be expressed in. Love can be as simple loving the surrounding that you are in. This book was articulately written and the illustrations are captivating. Within each illustration an expression of love is showcased such as providing food to someone homeless. The diversity illustrated in the book is also heartwarming to see as love is diverse.
We also love the added touch on the back where you can write your child’s name where it says: “This Love Belongs To.” Our daughter is practicing writing her name so we got her to write her name out as it made her feel extra special.
For this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give Love 5 hearts out of 5! We also recommend the book for children ages four to eight. An amazing read that reflects the love that is in a child’s daily life. Also a great reminder for all that we are surrounded by love every single day.
If you would like to purchase your own copy, click here.
“I LOVE love!” – Nikki, Age 4
Until next time…Happy Parenting!
* The book was provided to Momma Braga in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed her solely belong to Momma Braga.
Empowering little girls to be who they want to be is a message that we love in our household. Especially since we are raising a little girl of our own. We believe that it is best for children to know that they can be whatever they want to be. This is why we are in LOVE with this book that we will be introducing all of you to.
“Her name is Eleanor Wyatt, and some days she’s a princess, some days she’s a pirate. Eleanor’s parents have taught her she can be anything she wants to be, from a ninja to a cowgirl to a fairy with wings. She can even star in her own book! Join Eleanor and her friends as they romp through tea parties and sword fights to discover the best treasure of all – being yourself!”
To say that we loved the book, would be an underestimate of the year! Eleanor Wyatt Princess and Pirate is a must read for every child as it is empowering. The message is loud and clear – you can be anything! Nikki loved it and felt that she could relate. One day she is fighting crime as a Superhero or she is playing princess with her toys. Either way she is herself and we wouldn’t want it any other way. Our favorite is that “there’s no right or wrong way to play.” YES! YES! YES! We love that message as there is no room for “gender” type play as we can be anything.
Overall the story flowed easily and the illustrations are captivating with the colors and characters. This is why for this review we give this book 5+++ stars out of 5! It is an empowering story that instills great confidence in being who you want to be and that is why this book is on our most recommended list!
“Let your inner light shine, and be who you are. Let your friends do the same, and you’ll shine like a star!”
This wonderful book will be available on November 6, 2018. If you would like to purchase your own copy, click here.
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.
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)
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…”
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.
Flip the cloud over so the written side is facing down. Place glue on the top of the written side of each coloured strip.
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!
Once the cloud and rainbow strips are glued together secure the craft to the inside of the frame.
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).
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.
The Harlem Globetrotters are dribbling their way into the GTA for five games with their 2018 Amazing Feats of Basketball Canada Tour. It will be a star-studded roster that will have fans on the edge of their seats to witness the ball handling wizardry, basketball artistry and one-of-a-kind family entertainment that thrills fans of all ages.
The Globetrotters represent nine decades of breaking down barriers, acts of goodwill and a commitment to fans that goes beyond the game. Since their first game in 1927, the Globetrotters have entertained more than 144 million fans in 122 countries and territories worldwide – introducing many to the spot of basketball – pioneers in popularizing the slam dunk, fast break, the forward and point guard positions, and the figure-eight weave.
High-energy tricks, talented athletes, and heart are all the ingredients that create a recipe for some spectacular family fun for all ages. That is exactly the type of event that The Globetrotters perform. With their long history, it is no surprise that they perform with all heart to impress the masses and that is why we can call it epic!
This event has no age requirement to attend and it can be enjoyed as a family. There is never a dull moment and the Globetrotters are always keeping the audience engaged with their high flying tricks and skills.
We are thrilled to hear that they are taking their tour to Canada and one of their stops is at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga, Ontario. The Hershey Centre is one of our favorite venues as the location is convenient to travel to, the staff are all great and did I mention FREE parking?! I know that is a HUGE perk for me with a young family and they have ample parking spaces available too. Of course parking spaces are at a first come first serve basis but it is free. 😉
Get Your Tickets!
Don’t miss out on your chance to watch them live! Tickets are now on sale and you can purchase them by clicking here.
You won’t regret it as it will be an experience of a lifetime. It is an event full of history, passion and fun! I know that we won’t be missing it!
When did toys become so complicated and where did the imagination of play go? I have asked myself this on numerous occasions (more so on birthdays and Christmas) when I see my daughter open all her gifts of toys. With each unwrapping, the toys look more sophisticated and more high-tech. Then I reminisce on the days where I played with the most simple to use toys and they were my very favorite.
Those toys allowed me to imagine, inspire and learn on my own. It was such a simple time. This is why when I was introduced to PlaSmart Inc last year, I was intrigued to what they were offering.
PlaSmart Inc is a global toy distributor specializing in smart, simple, toys and games. PlaSmart began its journey to worldwide success with the introduction of The Original PlasmaCar in 2003 and today its products can be found in more than sixty countries on five continents.
PlaSmart’s innovative and quality products have won numerous and prestigious toy awards. The company focuses on toys that develop motor and dexterity skills, balance, creative and imaginative play, hand-eye coordination, problem-solving skills and, of course, entertainment.
So what did we try at Momma Braga? We actually won the PlaSmart’s Smart Mat in a Twitter chat last year and we were super excited. Not only because we never win anything but that we were looking for a mat for our daughter’s playtime.
When the Smart Mat arrived and we unwrapped it, our first thought was wow! We have seen many playmats and in all honesty they don’t give you the quality that you need for a young child’s rough play at times. However, the quality of the Smart Mat was really great. You can tell that it is durable and it was a great size mat too!
We opened it up and placed it on the ground and my daughter was so excited to have a place to sit and play on. We couldn’t help but fall in love with the design of the mat which is called Happyville. Not only can you play using the design as your background but you can use the Smart Mat for so many purposes. There is never a limit to a child’s imagination which makes it so fun!
We have had the Smart Mat for almost six months already and it has been amazing for us. It is durable, very easy to clean and easy to store. It is also suitable for kids of all ages! We truly love it and it still looks as great as when we first got it.
So what does PlaSmart’s Smart Mat rate on the Momma Braga meter?
We give it 5+++ Smarts out of 5 for the durability, size, quality and the easy clean up. It truly is one of the best mats I have seen and I have seen many. Smart Mat is very colorful and very appealing to the eye. This is one mat that I don’t think I could ever part with and if you are looking for a great mat to invest for your little one, then don’t look any further than PlaSmart Inc.
PlaSmart Inc is bringing simplicity and the fun of imagination back into playtime and I commend them for it! Make sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest to see the latest to inspire young minds.
One of my fears when my daughter was enrolled in swimming was the tears that may come with her learning. Luckily, we did not have any tears from her but from me instead.
Besides my inability to let go when I should, I have seen many children cry before their swim class and even during it. So I went to the experts at Aqua-Tots Swim School to see if they can offer tips to help parents in this type of situation.
I want to first state that crying when learning how to swim is very common and normal. So don’t feel like there is something wrong. When you have a great school like Aqua-Tots Swim School to help you along the way, in the end you both will feel much better.
There are some common reasons as to why children cry. Here are the four most common ones:
It’s New – Swimming lessons are a new experience. There are new sights, sounds, textures, smells, faces, and interactions in the pool environment.
Age – With time, your child will gain control over their emotions and learn to enjoy the water.
Fear or Anger – Some children are genuinely fearful of the water and it takes time to help them overcome their fear. Other children can become angry and use tears to control the situation.
Separation Anxiety – Your child may experience separation anxiety and feel anxious when away from familiar people and places.
Hearing your child cry is always hard (I know it is for me) and there are ways to help them when it comes to swimming lessons. Here are four tips to help.
Be Positive and Keep Your Eyes on The Goal – As a parent, you can encourage your child with compliments and praise on what they do well in each lesson.
Keep Cool – Being calm helps your child settle down faster.
Practice At Home – Make it fun! Use the tub, shower, and pool to practice swimming skills (i.e. holding breath, water submersions, etc.)
Be Consistent – Skipping or discounting swim lessons inhibits swimming progressions and will extend the time it takes to learn how to swim safely.
The layout at Aqua-Tots is great to help the child gain trust of the instructor as the parents can view the lesson through the viewing gallery which allows them to interact with their child. This way your child is aware that you are near and rooting for them. This space allows the instructor and the child build trust and a bond will form.
This is one of the many reasons why Aqua-Tots is amazing as they are there for you every step of the way. Their instructors care about your child and they are trained to:
Identify the reason your child is crying so they can best alleviate the tears.
Build trusting relationships with your child.
Offer consistent routines and terminology in every lesson.
Help your child build trust in the water.
Water is an adaptive environment and it takes time to adjust. The more frequently your child comes to lessons, the faster the crying will subside. The general rule of thumb is:
3+ lessons per week – crying subsides after 3-4 lessons
2 lessons per week – crying subsides after 5-6 lessons
1 lesson per week – crying subsides after 7-8 lessons
With these tips and with the guidance of the swimming school, you will be at tears to cheers in no time. Just remember that at Aqua-Tots Swim School they never leave your side to ensure that everyone is happy.
If you are interested in swim lessons, give Aqua-Tots Swim School a call at 905-848-2782. Also make sure to follow them on Facebook to see what’s new.
Until next time…Happy Parenting!
– Momma Braga
This article is brought to you in partnership with Aqua-Tots Swim School, Mississauga.
It always amazes me to see young people wanting to make a difference in the world and it is empowering to see them make an impact. This rings true to Owen who is already making a difference in his community and his inspiration came from his own family.
Imagine being a parent and told that your child has Leukemia. Sounds like a horrible nightmare, doesn’t it?! The Armstrong family had this happen to them when their nine year old son, Caden, was diagnosed with Leukemia. This family battled and stayed strong together. Now their other son, Owen makes benches and uses the proceeds to help other families travel to get treatment for their child.
We got a chance to chat with Owen and his mother Kirstin who gave us a deeper look at The Nice Bench Co. So grab your tissues and enjoy this inspiring story!
1. How did it all start? How was the idea developed?
“The inspiration for the benches came when Owen built and painted a bench for his little sister, Anikka. His grandparents and auntie loved Anikka’s new bench so much, that Owen was fueled to make more. He built twelve with scrap wood on Christmas Day! Those first bench prototypes were a little rough-looking, but the idea was born.”
2. What type of products does your company do?
“I get some help from a local high school student, named Ryan. He helps me build my nice benches. I have created three lines for these benches, “curious”, “wild” and “happy” – all words my mom uses to describe me! The “curious” line is basically anything I feel like doing, right now I’m really still in to stripes. The “wild” is roughed-up so it looks like it’s been out in the wild (rustic charm) and the “happy” line is solid paint in one of the milk paint colours I have chosen. There’s a big colour palette to choose from.” – Owen
“The step stools are painted using non-toxic, biodegradable, zero VOC milk paint and sealed with 100% natural hemp oil which often comes to us by way of donation from a Canadian company, Homestead House.
Owen has expanded his collection to include custom name plates and growth charts, and his step stools are now morphing into actual three-seater benches. We have some custom orders, with custom sizes for these that we are creating. Very exciting.
Every month, we try something new. Last month, in honour of childhood cancer awareness, we created a solid gold bench – the #gogold bench. This month we are featuring some artists work on the benches and later we will be doing something with Halloween inspired colour treatment.
Owen has some exclusive projects on the go for BRIKA (an online platform showcasing and selling heirloom quality artisan craft) and another: a screen-printed “THRIVE” bench for the ever-inspiring MAX LOVE PROJECT (a non-profit that aims to maximize quality of life and reduce serious health risks for all childhood cancer survivors with fierce foods and whole-body wellness).”
3. With the proceeds from the sales, how does it help families with children who are getting cancer care treatments?
“For every product sold, Owen collects $5-$10 ($5 from the sale of name plates and growth charts, and $10 from every bench) and purchases gas gift cards for childhood cancer families traveling long distances to Sick Kids Hospital for chemotherapy treatment.
Loss of income is huge, then add up all the extra hidden costs of medicine, childcare, meals on the road. Takes a toll on the family. Owen is hoping to offset that in the little way he can – by paying for the families to get their child to treatment.”
4. Can you describe what your family went through when your child was diagnosed and getting treatment?
“There are no words. Utter shock. A surreal, out-of-body experience. Our eldest boy, Caden was diagnosed with Leukemia at the age of nine. What? Kids don’t get cancer.
It is so cliché to say that our world was turned up-side-down but it truly was. Pure chaos. We had just moved three hours north of the city and were set up to live on an island for the summer when we found out we had to turn around and relocate to be near Sick Kids, in Toronto. We had nowhere to go. A family of five. Thankfully, friends and family (our community/life-support) helped us out in ways that go way above and beyond. An expecting couple gave us their home for the summer, we had meals delivered, activities set up for our other two children, the list goes on-and-on. Incredible. We are beyond thankful for their help, it brings tears to my eyes.
Watching Caden endure years of treatment, lumbar punctures, complications, IVs…gutted me. This nightmare has shaved years off my life. I’m sure of it. Despite it all, I was determined to remain positive and happy and strong for Caden. I think he was doing the same for me. He remained stoic, fierce and next-level brave through it all.”
5. Is there any advice that you can provide to other parents who are going through what you have gone through?
“I attached zero negativity to the cancer. I only wanted glowing, positive energy around him. It’s tough, especially in the middle of the night when all is quiet, but I wouldn’t let myself spiral into that abyss of darkness and let my mind go “there.” Mind over matter.
Mind Over Medicine by M.D. Lissa Rankin is all about the power of thought. This book really helped me in the very early days of diagnosis. It gave me back a tiny bit of control. I could adopt a positive mind-set and teach Caden to use visualization techniques. Every night he would send out his “patrol guys” and they would make sure his body was rid of any cancerous cell that may still be looming.
We got through it. We just celebrated Caden’s End of Treatment with that very community that supported us through it all.”
6. How can someone purchase your products?
“Products can be purchased directly from Owen’s website, https://thenicebenchco.com. Owen will also be featuring products to sell at the upcoming Seasons Christmas Show from November 17-19 at the Toronto International Centre. Stop in to meet the young kidpreneur!”
Such an inspiring and strong family! We are truly touched by what Owen is doing and admire his drive as a kidpreneur. We know that Owen has a very bright future in anything that he does and the assistance that he is providing to families is heartfelt. I am sure the families that are getting the help appreciate the heart of gold from this family. Keep up the great work Owen and know that what you are doing is so much more than a nice bench. You are giving hope to families by helping them travel to get the treatment they need for their child. I know in my heart that this means the world to them. Special thank you to Owen and his mom Kirstin for taking the time to have us interview them as we are honoured to have had this opportunity!
Many parents have not heard of Plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome) which is a surprise but one that I would like to bring to light.
According to The Baby Centre, Plagiocephaly is a condition that causes a baby’s head to have a flat spot (flat head syndrome) or be misshapen. The most common form is positional plagiocephaly. It occurs when a baby’s head develops a flat spot due to pressure on that area. Babies are vulnerable as their skulls are soft and pliable when they’re born.
Positional plagiocephaly typically develops after birth when babies spend time in a position that puts pressure on one part of the skull. As babies spend so much time lying on their back, for example, they may develop a flat spot where their head presses against the mattress.
What many parents also don’t know is that there is a way to prevent Plagiocephaly which comes in a form of a pillow. I am delighted to introduce you to Mimos Pillows Canada.
About the Mimos Pillow
In 2007 Electronic Engineer David Verde and his wife, Molecular Biologist Yin Chen Law of Spain, noticed their three month old baby had an abnormal head shape. When their son was 5 months old their baby’s flat head worsened. They eventually went through the agonizing and very expensive process of getting their son an orthopedic helmet. The initial casting of the helmet was very upsetting for their son and after two months of treatment their son had dermatitis, redness and broken skin. There had to be a better way. It was at that moment that the idea for the Mimos Pillow was born!
Now a Class 1 Medical Device in Canada, their mission at Mimos Pillow Canada is to lower the astounding 47% of babies that develop cranial deformities (flat-head syndrome). The Mimos Pillow is the only medical baby pillow recommended by health professionals around the world and thoroughly tested for safety by international laboratories (breathability, anti-suffocation and the risk of CO2 rebreathing).
What Does Mimos Pillows Do?
The Mimos Pillow both prevents and corrects positional skull deformities. It is recommended for all babies from the newborn stage onwards to help avoid flat spots altogether by pediatricians and neurosurgeons and is available in 25 countries around the world.
Here is a great video on how Mimos Pillows work.
#MelandNikkiReview on Mimos Pillows
We had an opportunity to review this product in person and we are thrilled that we did! The pillow is perfect for a baby’s developing head and the material is breathable, comfortable and soft. It is easy to care for as it can be cleaned and it dries quickly. It is a compact size which can make it easy to transport with. The Mimos Pillow allows the head to grow normally and round out to its natural shape. The best part of this pillow is that it prevents and also corrects flat head. In my books that is amazing just in itself. We give Mimos Pillow 5+++ ZZZZZ’s out of 5 and they have just been added to our recommended list.
This would make a great gift to an expecting parent or if you are expecting we do recommend this product. For Momma Braga readers, there is a special promotion available to you. Enter code MommaBraga under ‘discount’ for $10 OFF on your purchase (click here). You definitely don’t want to miss out on this chance to buy a Mimos Pillow for your little one.
This isn’t the last that you hear about Mimos Pillow Canada as we got an exclusive interview with the people behind the Canadian business of it. You won’t want to miss this article coming soon!