Tag: Inspiring

Three Adorable Baby Art Activities

Written By: Karen Silva
Twitter

Hello my fellow momma and papa bears, it has been a while. I was pretty busy taking in my whole pregnancy and then the birth of my beautiful baby girl. Now I’m back and ready to share some great ideas with you.

These activities were inspired by my three month old baby as I wanted to do something special for Father’s Day. These art activities are super easy to do and does not require a lot of material. It can also be done for any day of the year as you don’t need a special occasion to have some creative fun. Please note that some of these you may need an assistant to help you or you may want to do them when your baby is asleep.

Leave A Little Sparkle

This is one of my favourites! Especially how I LOVE glitter!

Material Needed: A picture frame, paint brush, glitter, glue and Printer.

  • First, with a paint brush add glue onto the bottom of your babies feet (it is easier if you do one at a time).
  • Then place their foot onto the glass of the picture frame to make the footprint.
  • Once you have done that, sprinkle the glitter on top and dust off the access.
  • Once you have cleaned the glue off of your baby’s foot, repeat the same steps to the other foot.
  • Then on a computer, create a sign that says “Leave a little sparkle everywhere you go” (I found this quote on Google).
  • Cut and insert that sign in the picture frame. You can leave the glitter foot print design on the outside or you can flip it in, so that no glitter can be taken off.

Picture Perfect

Material Needed: A camera, scrapbook, scrapbook paper and glue.

  • First dress your little one in cute outfits of your choice and do a mini photo shoot with them (IF they are up for it… I did mine after a feed).
  • Also make sure to take some family selfies, as that is always great to have in a scrapbook.
  • Once you have them printed out you can make a photo college on some scrapbook paper (I found mine at my local Michael’s Craft store).
  • Once completed to your liking, you can put your scrapbook together.

Songs With Props

Material Needed: Computer, printer, Popsicle sticks and glue or tape.

My baby girl loves the Five Little Monkey’s song so I choose to do this one.

  • First I printed five different pictures of cartoon monkeys and a picture of a bed.
  • Once I have printed them and cut them out, I glued them onto Popsicle sticks.
  • Then when I sang the song to her I would use these props.
  • For a more personal idea you can do the “Family Finger song”, for your props just print out a picture of you, dad, baby and anyone else. This way when you are singing “Daddy finger, daddy finger where are you?” Hold up their dad’s picture and continue the song.

 

I hope these three ideas inspire you to create some memories in a unique way with your little one. If you choose to do any of these or know of some other great ideas I would love to see them, so please tag me on Twitter.

Until next time… Keep it crafty!

– Momma Bear Silva

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

How You Can Help

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

– Momma Braga

 

The Reality Of Motherhood With A Dash of Humor

When we are new parents we tend to read every book that has been recommended to us. I know that I read my fair share of sunshine and rainbows before I had my daughter. Then once I became a mom, I got the harsh reality of true motherhood. Therefore, when I was approached by author Jillian M. Parsons with an introduction to her upcoming book I was just thrilled!

I had the opportunity to read an advanced copy before it hit the book shelves and I was honored to have been picked to read it!

Say No to Placenta Pics And Other Hilarious, Unsolicited Advice for Pregnant Women by Jillian M. Parsons with Allison Baerken should be on every new moms and their BFFs reading list.

The book is about how two best friends make it through a Pregnancy, with all its gut-busting hilarity and gross bits.

“Maternity isn’t all sunshine and rainbows and natural glows. It’s also elastic waistbands, hot flashes, and throbbing breasts! Prepare yourself for a nine-month roller coaster ride of emotions – for both the pregnant woman and her best friend.”

Synopsis

“Say No to Placenta Pics is the ultimate girlfriend’s uncensored, tell-all guide to the down and dirty of pregnancy for all badass moms-to-be (and their non-pregnant friends watching from the sidelines) who desperately need a joke over the next nine months. Together, BFFs Allison (pregnant) and Jillian (decidedly not) ride the learning curves from first trimester to after birth, rejecting standard pregnancy fluff in self-help books, exploring the issues about mother-to-be-hood no one else seems to have the guts to:

  • The anti-sex appeal of maternity negligees
  • Surviving the high school experience of online mommy groups
  • Resisting the urge to overshare on Facebook
  • Executing the right angles on a maternity photo shoot
  • Listening to yet another birth story from a stranger

Tongue-in-check, and fearlessly relatable, Say No to Placenta Pics is the realest girl talk between two women who mock and celebrate the wonder of pregnancy, every step of the way.”

Momma Braga Review

I absolutely LOVED this book! I loved it so much that I was able to provide a short review that can be viewed on their website, Amazon and Chapters Indigo.

Say No to Placenta Pics, offers readers unique voices of a mom and non-mom who talk about on pregnancy and the aftermath. They touch on every topic that you can imagine and they leave no stone unturned when they give you the good, the bad and the very ugly. For that alone, I applaud them as they are being real and offering different perspectives that we can all learn from. They are relevant and up-to-date with their topics as they talk about Facebook and Mom Bloggers. I have to admit that the Mom Blogger section was my favorite one. Now I do need to warn you that you that if you are a mom blogger you will need to read it with an open mind and with a sense of humor to get it! 😉

There is so much more I can write about, Say No to Placenta Pics, but I can’t spoil it for all of you! What I can say is that this book should be on everyone’s reading list and many of you will be able to relate to a lot of it. We give this book 5 sunshine and rainbows out of 5 and this is on our most recommended list!

Lastly, I will sum up my review with my quote:

“A refreshing read on the reality of pregnancy and the aftermath, which is articulated beautifully with a dash of uncensored humor. You can’t help but laugh out loud as there are so many relatable points in the book. It clearly brings up topics that most of us moms want to say but feel the need to sugar coat; the bad and ugly. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has a sense of humor and wants the honest truth on embarking on the journey of motherhood and for the childless friends around them.”

Say No to Placenta Pics will be released on April 17th so make sure to reserve your copy (Amazon and Chapters Indigo) as you don’t want to miss it! This book will be BIG!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

 

Harlem Globetrotters Are Dribbling Into The GTA

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

GLOBETROTTERS (Photo Credit: Harlem Globetrotters)

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

Photo Credit Brett Meister

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

Photo Credit: Harlem Globetrotters

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

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

Get Your Tickets!

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

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

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

4 Tips on How To Turn Tears Into Cheers In Swimming

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:

  1. It’s New – Swimming lessons are a new experience. There are new sights, sounds, textures, smells, faces, and interactions in the pool environment.
  2. Age – With time, your child will gain control over their emotions and learn to enjoy the water.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. Keep Cool – Being calm helps your child settle down faster.
  3. Practice At Home – Make it fun! Use the tub, shower, and pool to practice swimming skills (i.e. holding breath, water submersions, etc.)
  4. 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:

  1. Identify the reason your child is crying so they can best alleviate the tears.
  2. Build trusting relationships with your child.
  3. Offer consistent routines and terminology in every lesson.
  4. 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.

How Winter Makes Me See Life

By: Grace Cross
Twitter

Winter is synonymous with death, but I never saw it that way. Perhaps because I was a person who grew up amongst snow for eight plus months of the year, it would be sad that eight plus months of each year of my life resembled that of a morgue. The truth of the matter is, winter to me is not death at all. It is the most important season of the year. Where I am from, if you do not have a cold winter, you have a lot of bugs in the summer. You get a dry spell and the trees do not blossom with their usual vibrancy. To this point, when you look under the snow, many roots are planting, many flowers are beginning to blossom. The earth is deciding what the next year will bring. To me, winter is pause, winter is beginning. It is the most powerful season.

I have a friend in her mid-thirties. She is a great person, but she is worried about getting older. Now that she is in her mid-thirties, she feels her job is to serve her family and then it’s one foot in the grave. Morbid, isn’t it? She also hates winter. Let’s face it folks, your mid-thirties is about beginnings and really finding yourself. You have a lot of life left to live. Also, it’s never about how much time you have but how you spend it.

At a party recently, my beautiful friend’s negative words stung me a bit. I was celebrating the holiday season with friends. We have all known each other since we were fourteen and we have had some amazing adventures. We know each other inside and out. Some of us are married, some of us are not. Some of us have children, some of us do not. Some have similar jobs and some do not. We are really different people with a combined enjoyment of each other.

So picture it, my dear friend is hosting this party as she hosts most of them as she is the half way point for most of us to travel. We see each other only a couple times a year now. We go to her house and this friend really can decorate. It is your quintessential Christmas house with a modern trendy touch and you could just put this picture of her home in a magazine. In another life, my friend was an interior designer, but in this life, she is a really great teacher.

The friends start pouring in with their partners and kids. The children immediately know the routine and start inventing some game. From babies to kids, they all just have this understanding that they all will like each other.

Pause.

I paused in the midst of Christmas stories and laughs and memories of yesteryear. I felt like winter. No, not the way my friend describes winter, the way I do.

Here are these people, who saw me grow up. I saw them grow up. We saw each other go through some great times. We have lost family members. We are all friends with each other’s siblings. Now, we have these children, of all different ages, playing together as if the universe has aligned. They generally enjoy each other’s company! The older ones seem to mind the younger ones. The cycle begins again.

In some ways, no matter what this world has to offer them, they have this core group that will always root for them, put them first and celebrate their wins and pull them through their challenges.

They will always be someone’s number one.

My friend’s son reads to me.

He reads now!

I remember he was the first baby of the group. We arrived at a dessert shop as we all nervously met this sweet little boy. We held him. I held him and we were all nervous. How are we going to raise this person, this little ‘being’ of two of my dear friends? We were all promoted to uncles and aunts and suddenly, we had a responsibility more important than ourselves. Our siblings did not have children and so we all just learned to be the best friends and aunts and uncles to this child we could be. Then more babies came. We got into the swing of things. Now its “old hat” as they say.

Pause.

I look at my friend’s faces who I still see as fourteen years old, navigating through this amazing and terrifying thing we call life. My friend’s son is still reading to me and my other friend has just given birth to the most beautiful little girl who is like the PERFECT baby. My friend insists she has her moments. But in this moment in winter at Christmas, this moment of beauty and simplicity, I will call one of the most cherished moments of my life and it’s no surprise it is in wintertime.

I jump into action, it’s my turn to read.

 

“How To Cake It” Makes A Delicious Read

Yolanda Gampp is a self-taught cake artist who started out baking novelty cakes in her mother’s kitchen and is now one of the forces behind How To Cake It, a hugely successful, Webby Award-winning YouTube channel and online community of over six million cake enthusiasts from around the world.

Yolanda and her work have been featured on the Today Show, and in Buzzfeed, Daily Mail, and Cosmopolitan, while Yolanda has served as a guest judge on popular Food Network shows such as Cake Wars and Sugar Showdown.

Inspired by her father, who worked as a baker, Yolanda graduated from chef’s school and discovered that her true passion was working with sweets. Yolanda lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband (Mr. Cake) and young son.

We at Momma Braga had the pleasure of reading, How to Cake It by Yolanda Gampp and it was a delicious read to say the least. The book reflects on Yolanda’s own experience going from a beginner baker to a cake artist. It is designed to grow your skills whether you are just starting out or perfecting your cake skills.

In this beautiful book you will get detailed recipes, tips, designs and so much more. We love the way the book is divided into different sections. You begin at the “Bake It” section and “Yo’s Recipe Box”, where Yolanda lays out the foundation by sharing the recipes for the cakes that you will need to carry out her magnificent designs. Then there is “Yo Knows” where she shares her tips, tricks, and fundamental skills for success in caking. After the real fun begins when the art begins in “Cake It.”

What I love is that in this section it is broken down a bit further depending on the level you are comfortable with. Beginners can start with, “Caking Your First Steps,” then as you progress you can do “Cake It Up A Notch” and finish off with “Cake It To The Limit.” There are just so many amazing skills that you can learn through this great book. I only touched the icing on the cake. 😉

So how easy are the recipes in the book? I put it to the test and I am a perfect example as I am not great at following recipes. I was so nervous about trying it out that I had to call in for some back up which was my sister who loves to bake. We set up a date for our cake day and of course my three year old daughter was excited to join in the fun too.

Since I am a chocolate lover it was only natural to pick, Yo’s Ultimate Chocolate Cake recipe. After reading the recipe, it appeared to be much simpler than I was anticipating. I got all the ingredients listed and was ready to start!

We went through each step to make the batter for our Ultimate Chocolate Cake. I have to note that the instructions were very simple and easy to follow especially for me as I don’t follow recipes well but this one made sense to me.

We got our batter into a pan and placed into the pre-heated oven. We waited patiently and it was smelling great. Before we knew it, it was all ready. We removed it from the oven and waited for it to cool down before we did our taste test.

Now it was the moment that I was waiting for since we started putting the ingredients together – eating it! We cut a piece and of course we made sure to have our glass of milk ready to wash it down with. We took a bite and it was delicious! I couldn’t believe that I actually baked something from scratch and it tasted amazing. We couldn’t help but notice how moist it was (even on the next day) and the chocolate taste was perfection. We now had dessert to offer to our weekend guests and it was loved by all.

This #MelandNikkiReview was really fun to do as we got to try a yummy recipe. For this review we give, How to Cake It, 5 Yo’s out of 5. Yolanda beautifully articulates recipes, trick and tips in this must have cake book.

This Cake book is not just a book full of recipes, it is an opportunity to create memories with your family. It is a book that can be opened up in your kitchen and followed at your finger tips. It can be passed on to your children and then their children. They hold those memories that are made with each page turn especially if you accidentally let batter hit the pages. Those are all precious moments that can not be obtained through an online recipe but one that is forever shared in a book. This book is definitely one that can be used for a lifetime and just think of all the wonderful cakes that can be shared at the dinner table with all your loved ones.

To get your copy of How to Cake It, you can click here. Make sure to follow Yolanda on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to see what other remarkable creations she does.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

– Momma Braga

I See Me Books Warms Our Hearts With A Christmas Story

There is no denying that Christmas is my favorite time of the year! To me it’s the spirit of Christmas that I enjoy the most as to me it’s the most caring time of the year. Therefore, when we got the opportunity to review a new book by I See Me Books on Christmas – I was thrilled!

Nikki got her “Very Own Christmas” from I See Me Books and she was as excited as me (in all honesty I must have been a tad more excited then she was).

This past weekend we sat down to read the story. When we opened the book, Nikki’s photo was there with her full complete name (first, middle and last) with her date of birth. It was a super sweet personalized touch!

The story is about the Santa quest to decorate the tree with a name to string across it for all the world to see. But it’s not just any name! It’s a name of child whose Christmas spirit is always shining through. The book then takes us on an adventure through Santaland where each character says a letter (from the child’s name) and using a positive descriptive word for the child. As we went through each letter and each page, my heart warmed up.

At the end of the story, Santa announces Nikki’s name and says that you can feel her Christmas spirit which warms up his heart to hear it. This last page had my eyes watering as that is exactly how I feel about my daughter. She is my Christmas spirit and now I have a book that I could read to her to let her know exactly that!

For this #MelandNikkiReview we give “My Very Own Christmas” 5+++ jingle bells out of 5. We also have included this on our recommended list which will be out soon!

The book is personalized to truly make the child feel special and unique. The words used are positive and empowering which we love! We just loved everything that this book had to offer us such as the beautiful illustrations, the customized and inspiring story, and for making us ALL feel special when Nikki is named as the child with Christmas spirit. This book even though was about her very own Christmas Story, I felt like it was mine too. We will definitely be reading this book leading up to Christmas and I look forward to it!

As many of my readers have learnt through my blog that giving and charity is something that I hold dear to my heart. This is why I am delighted to inform you all of a special partnership that started on November 1st with I See Me Books the Children’s Cancer Research Fund, and every purchase will benefit the national non-profit.

I See Me Books has also launched “Letters of Love” campaign. Anyone on this page can write an uplifting letter to a child with cancer and make a lasting gift of kindness. Near the end of December they will deliver the letters to the Children’s Cancer Research Fund, where they will be given to the children. For every 50 letters they receive, they will donate a copy of My Very Own Christmas to a child supported for the non-profit. If you would like to donate to this cause directly you can do so through the page. The goal is to reach $10,000 and I know it can be done.

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

Make sure to follow I See Me Book on FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ and YouTube. Can’t wait to see what comes next!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

* Please note that the product was given in exchange for an honest review. Views expressed in this review are of Momma Braga and were not influenced by the company.

 

Kidpreneur Making A Difference Through The Nice Bench

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.

Curious
Wild
Happy

 

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.

BRIKA

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).”

THRIVE

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.

One quarter of families of children being treated for cancer lose 40% of their total household income. Over 50% of mothers reported relinquishing their employment to provide care for their child. (Source: Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center)

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!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

Captivating Uniqueness in a “Very Own Fairy Tale”

Imagine being transported to a magical garden of flowers and berries surrounded by fairies. Imagine if you were the one that they were going to announce as their fairy princess. Sounds magical, doesn’t it? It surely would be for a child.

Now your child can be part of a story just like this in I See Me Books personalized book titled, My Very Own Fairy Tale.

Nikki got her very own Fairy Tale from I See Me Books recently and her reaction was priceless. I was fortunate to be able to capture her moment and it just shows you the “WOW” factor I See Me Books can give a child.

After the excitement of the package subsided we were able to see what exactly we got. The package included a pink fairy wand (Nikki’s favorite colour at the moment), her personalized copy of My Very Own Fairy Tale and a coloring and activity book based on the story. It was a magical gift indeed.

We sat down that night to read our magical fairy tale and when we opened the book, Nikki’s photo was there with her full complete name (first, middle and last) with her date of birth. It was a super sweet personalized touch! This Fairy Tale is about finding a person to crown as the Fairy Princess. The way the story progresses is with each fairy saying a letter in the name of the person and with each letter they give a positive characteristic with the start of that letter. It was so beautiful to read and it warmed my heart to read each one of those characteristics to my daughter. To my surprise they spelled out the complete name in the book which really does make it more personalized to the child. There could be a million Nikki’s in the world but only one with her complete name. We loved this touch! I have to mention that each fairy has their own name and at the end of the book every fairy is listed which is very neat.

At the end when the fairies finally announced Nikki’s full name, Nikki was in shock. “That’s my NAME!” exclaimed Nikki. With delight and holding back my overjoy, I told her that yes it was so she is a Fairy Princess and has her very own special wand and story for it. Nikki held onto the book tightly and said, “I Love You.”

Then off to the coloring book she went to see what she can color. The activity book has a section where Nikki can start practising to write out her name – love it! It also goes through each letter of her first name which is lovely.

For this #MelandNikkiReview we give “My Very Own Fairy Tale” 5+++ fairies out of 5. We also have included this on our recommended list.

The book is personalized to truly make the child feel special and unique. The way they use the child’s complete name is something that I haven’t seen before so I love it! The wand and coloring activity book is a perfect combination with the story. This would be a great gift or a just because. We just loved everything that this book had to offer us such as the beautiful illustrations, the customized and inspiring story, and for making our Nikki feel extra special to be named the Princess Fairy.

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

Make sure to follow I See Me Book on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. Can’t wait to see what comes next!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

* Please note that the product was given in exchange for an honest review. Views expressed in this review are of Momma Braga and were not influenced by the company.