Tag: MelandNikkiReview

If Animals Went To School | Book Review

“An adorable children’s book that can help with the first day of school butterflies.”

– Momma Braga

Synopsis

If animals went to school…what would they do?

Beaver would practice counting with sticks. Goat would snack on the storybooks. And at recess, Goose would glide down Giraffe’s neck slide!

Across the animal kingdom, every creature would learn, play, and make new friends.

#MelAndNikkiReview

If Animals Went To School is absolutely adorable in every way! The story is great for the little ones who may be embarking on their very first day of school.

We take a journey through a day of school through the eyes of the animal kingdom and I truly love the concept! Who doesn’t like seeing animals in the classroom?!

 

The illustrations are beautifully done with a story to match. It is creative and one that a child can relate, especially if they are nervous for school. By the end, even Beaver enjoys his day and doesn’t want to go back home. That means school was a success. It makes it a great example for little ones.

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give this book 10 stars out of 5! It is recommended for children ages two to six and we know your little will love it. 🙂

If you would like to purchase a copy, please click here.

About the Author and Illustrated

Ann Whitford Paul and David Walker collaborated on If Animals Kissed Good Night, which School Library Journal called “a charming bedtime book,” If Animals Said I Love You, and If Animals Celebrated Christmas. 

Ann lives in Los Angeles, California. David lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Learn more about Ann at annwhitfordpaul.com and about David at davidwalkerstudios.com.

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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Kidizoom Pixi Is The Fun Way To Take Selfies For Kids

If your child is anything like mine, then they are probably trying to get a hold of your phone to take selfies (or it could just be mine). Either way, we have just been introduced to an amazing new product by VTech Toys and we just HAVE to share it with all of you!

Introducing, Kidizoom Pixi, a compact camera that allows you to take super-fun selfies and pictures of friends. The flip-top lid makes it easy to take pictures with one hand. Kids can customize their look with face and hair filters or add fun and silly photo effects (50+)! The camera comes with five games including Master Chef, Animal Connect 4 and a magic augmented reality game. Of course there are parental controls that allow adults to turn off games and set time limits.

This kid-sized take-along camera helps little photographers see their world in a whole new way.

Product Highlights

  • Compact-sized camera with a flip-top lid makes one-handed picture-taking easy! Stylish, light and small enough to fit in your bag or backpack
  • Little photographers can take selfies and photos of friends, then stylize them with fun filters or add silly photo effects
  • Comes with five games including Master Chef, Animal Connect 4 and a magic augmented-reality game
  • Intended for ages 4-9 years. Rechargeable battery and USB charging cable included. MicroSD card slot for expandable memory up to 32 GB
  • Parental controls allow adults to turn off games and set time limits

#MelAndNikkiReview

Kidizoom Pixi has been a great hit in our home and it is very evident as I scan through all the selfies that Nikki has taken of herself. Not to mention the ones that she has taken of us without us even noticing (those are the funniest to see). Nikki is a natural and of course she knew exactly what to do as soon as she had the Kidizoom Pixi in her hands. I on the other hand, needed to read the pamphlet that comes with the product to understand how everything works. 😉

We love how compact, kid-friendly and safe it is. Also love the parental control options available on the Kidizoom Pixi!!! It amazes me to see how much one can do on such a small device and it provides some super-fun entertainment for children. We highly recommend this product for children ages four to nine and especially if your child loves taking photos! You can even transfer the photos as keepsakes. Can’t wait to show Nikki all the selfies she took when she was five years old. 🙂

“I love taking my own pictures and it is so cute and small!” – Nikki, Age 5

If you would like to purchase your very own, click here. This product will definitely be a hot item on anyone’s wish list. 😉

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

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

Why? | Book Review

“Why? Why? Why? asks Rabbit. Bear answers patiently…except sometimes, Bear just doesn’t know why.”

Synopsis

Bear just wants to water his flowers, but Rabbit needs to know: why? Bear is looking forward to a peaceful night of stargazing, but all Rabbit cares about is: why?

As the two friends spend time together through spring, summer, and into fall, Rabbit persistently and simply asks Bear why, encouraging the readers to figure out for themselves the reason for each question that Bear patiently answers, over and over again…until there’s a question that he has no answer for.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Why? is a beautifully illustrated story that many parents can relate as we all have gone through the Why stage with our child(ren). We currently still are in the “Why” stage as it has made a comeback. Therefore, we couldn’t help but fall in love with this children’s book.

Simply written with such an impactful message at the end. You and your child will love it from beginning to end. We know we sure did and Nikki loved saying “Why” throughout the whole book. 😉 If you are looking for a feel good read, then look no further. Why? is an adorable book that will have your child asking why all the way through and they will quickly learn that sometimes you don’t always have the answer for all the whys. I know I sure don’t and it was nice to see that I wasn’t the only one. 🙂

For this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give Why? 5 stars out of 5! Why do you ask? 😉 The illustrations are breathtaking and the story is simple and engaging with big emotional impact. Plus, who doesn’t like bears and rabbits?! This book is recommended for children ages four to eight.

If you would like to purchase a copy, click here.

About the Author

Laura Vaccaro Seeger is the author and illustrator of nearly two dozen acclaimed picture books, including the popular Dog and Bear series, the first of which won the Boston Globe Horn Book Medal. She has been awarded a Caldecott Honor twice, for First the Egg and again for Green, and a Geisel Honor twice, for First the Egg and One Boy. Blue, her companion to Green, has received four starred reviews. She lives in Rockville Center, New York with her husband and two sons.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

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

My Grandma and Me | Book Review

“In this big universe full of many moons, I have traveled and seen many wonders, but I have never loved anything or anyone the way I love my grandma.”

Synopsis

When Mina is growing up in Iran, the center of her world is her grandmother. Whether visiting friends next door, going to the mosque for midnight prayers during Ramadan, or taking an imaginary trip around the planets, Mina and her grandma are never far apart.

This autobiographical story is at once deeply personal and genuinely universal. And it is a gorgeous celebration of the way love can be more powerful than the constraints of time and space.

#MelAndNikkiReview

My Grandma and Me is the perfect ode to a grandmother’s love. This book touched my heart as it reminded me of the special bond that I had with my grandmother growing up and how much I cherished the little time we had with one another since an ocean kept us apart. It was such a great reminder through this beautiful story of one young girl and her grandmother. I also love the diversity in the book and how two different religions are so similar in so many ways. The kindness, heart and love in this children’s book is absolutely beautiful and illustrations are breathtaking.

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give this book, 5 hearts out of 5! Want to give a special thank you to the author Mina for sharing such a beautiful personal story and for touching my heart with her grandma’s love. I have mentioned it before on my blog that if you still have grandparents, cherish them as they are such special people.

If you would like to purchase My Grandma and Me, please click here.

About the Author

Mina Javaherbin has written several award-winning picture books, including Soccer Star, illustrated by Renato Alarcao, and Goal!, illustrated by A.G. Ford. She lives in Southern California.

About the Illustrator

Lindsey Yankey studied illustration at the University of Kansas and is the author-illustrator of Bluebird and Sun and Moon. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

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

Story Time Got More Enchanting With LeapStory™

We love story time as it is the time that we can all wind down for the day. It is especially nice after a long and busy day. Could bedtime get any better than spending time with your little one and reading a story? Yes it can!

We are delighted to introduce our readers to LeapStory™ by LeapFrog®, which turns any time into story time! It develops children’s listening comprehension skills by letting them hear stories read to them, whenever they want. While the narrator reads the story, you can watch Scout’s reactions as images and animations are projected onto the wall or ceiling. You can listen to content from four categories such as classic stories and poems; myths, legends and fables; sleepy-time stories; and songs.

Image Source: LeapFrog

Now it was time to put LeapStory™ to the test and give it a try.

#MelAndNikkiReview

LeapStory™ made an leap right from day one into Nikki’s heart! Once Nikki gave me a chance to see the product for myself, I couldn’t help but fall in love with it as a parent. I just love the whole concept behind LeapStory™.

Here are eight reasons why we love LeapStory™ by LeapFrog®:

Storytelling Cube

The cube shape is intriguing and very appealing to little ones. Nikki loves holding it in her hands and taking it to every room (including the backyard) that she goes. We love the option to take it where you go and at the same time it offers the classic stories, myths, legends and fables read aloud. Perfect combo!

Record a Story

Who doesn’t like recording a story, especially your very own! You can record your own voice reading your child’s favorite story or in our case one that Nikki has made up. It makes the story more personal and even more enjoyable for your child to hear mom or dad’s voices coming from LeapStory™.

Classic stories kids love

Growing up I loved the classic stories such as: The Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, The Gingerbread Man and Beauty and the Beast. Now your child can listen to those and so much more with LeapStory™. Listening to the classic stories with my daughter felt a little magical and a trip down memory lane as I recalled childhood. You can never go wrong with the classic stories.

Daytime Stories

Story time can literally be anytime and it does not need to be associated with going to sleep. Reading should always be encouraged to inspire young minds and we love how LeapStory™ does just that. Your child can turn it on at any time to hear the stories. As a parent with two busy jobs, it is comforting to know that if my daughter wants to hear a story, she can do it on her own and listen to the magic.

Projector

Did we mention that there is a projector?! I think I might have been more excited about the projector than Nikki was but as soon as she figured out what it can do, she was very much intrigued. Images and animations are projected onto the ceiling for enhanced storytelling which had us all admiring our new storytelling cube!

Full Content Included

There is lots of content (80+) included which can provide hours of entertainment; however, you can download so much more at no cost! Impressive?! Yes it is!

Sleepy-time Stories

The LeapStory™ has an option where your child can fall asleep to stories with a nightlight and a shut-off timer. I absolutely love this option as it can make my escape to my room much more easier. 😉

Skills Learned

Of course we can not forget the skills that can be learned with LeapStory™ which are:

  • Storytelling
  • Vocabulary
  • Listening Comprehension
  • Classic Stories
  • Myths
  • Legends and Fables
  • Poems
  • Songs
  • Relaxation Techniques

“With expressive reading and fun sound effects, LeapStory™ is designed to help children recognize that hearing stories read aloud is a pleasurable activity. Listening to stories develops listening comprehension and builds vocabulary by helping children learn new words and hear how they are pronounced.” Carolyn James, PhD, LeapFrog® Literacy Expert

There you have it! Eight reasons why we love LeapStory™ and we know your child will love it too! Now Nikki wants to make sure you all know that if you push Scout’s head, he tells jokes. Nikki loves that and giggles every time she hears one. My ultimate favorite is the relaxation piece (9 in the Sleepytime Lullabies and Stories) as adults can benefit greatly from it after a hectic work day. I know it has helped me relax! 🙂

“What key do you use to open up a banana? A monkey”

Therefore, it is no surprise that for this #MelAndNikkiReview, LeapStory™ gets a 10 stars out of 5! Also don’t feel bad if your child figures out how to use all the options before you do. It was made for them and when they are excited they do figure it all out quickly. I know that was the case for us and I am proud that Nikki learned so quickly and taught me how to use it. 🙂

If you would like to purchase one for your little one, click here. Intended for children ages three to eight.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*This product was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own and no other compensation was provided.

 

Dino Does Yoga | Book Review

“Dino brings yoga to the hearts of children in this adorable children’s book.” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

Newly hatched T-Rex Baby Dino wants to explore his world. Taking his cues from the prehistoric landscape around him – a mountain, a pool, a swaying palm, dragonflies, and pterodactyls – he moves through 14 easy-to-do yoga poses until deciding it’s time for a rest in Relaxation Pose.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Dino Does Yoga is an adorable children’s book that uses rhyming to delight young readers on the world of yoga. The beautiful aspect of rhyming is how easy it makes it for children (and adults) to remember the poses. It promotes healthy family activities which we love and it was great to learn about the different poses. It can be very relaxing as we gave each pose a try. I have to admit that Nikki was much better at yoga than I was. 😉

We love how the book promotes healthy living and showing the calming effects of yoga. Such a positive message to have in a children’s book. Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give Dino Does Yoga 5 dinosaurs out of 5! Combining dinosaurs and yoga is excellent as it will intrigue many children who love both. We truly enjoyed reading and learning from beginning to end.

“Yoga is very relaxing and fun!” – Nikki, Age 5

If you would like to purchase this children’s book for the dinosaur and yoga enthusiast, click here.

About The Author

Sofie Engstrom Von Alten is an illustrator and yoga instructor. Born and raised on the beautiful West Coast in San Francisco, California, Sofie grew up bilingual. Exploring the world through art, yoga, and travel has always held her greatest fascination. After visiting more than fifty countries, Sofie studied yoga nestled in the Indian Himalayas with the masters. Upon returning to the West, she found yoga to be a wonderful tool for teaching kids – both in the classroom and under a tree. Sofie continues to create hyperkitsch illustrations and teach yoga to children and adults.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

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

Don’t Drink The Pink | Book Review

“Don’t Drink the Pink is a children’s book full of imagination, heart and a story that can resonate with a child and adults alike.” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

Madeline adores her Grandpa Gilderberry – she always has. To everyone else he might seem a bit strange – an eccentric inventor – perhaps even a little mad. Yet Madeline knows that these are his very best qualities.

One of Grandpa Gilderberry’s most secret inventions is his box of potions which he delights in giving to Madeline each year on her birthday. Each potion conveys an unexpected and magical experience for Madeline. Year after year, Madeline selects a new potion with exciting results, however each time she reaches for her enchanted birthday present, her grandfather reminds her of only one rule – ‘don’t drink the pink’.

Exploring the special relationship between a grandfather and his grandchild, the potions in Don’t Drink the Pink provide an apt metaphor for each magical moment. Yet with birthdays comes aging and this tale doesn’t stay away from what this means for both the young girl and her lovable grandpa.

#MelAndNikkiReview

We love reading books and we have come across many that we have just adored. However, we couldn’t say that we had a favorite author until now. We have read two books (The Day That A Ran Away and Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32) written by B.C.R Fegan and we loved them to bits! This is why we were delighted to have the opportunity to read his latest one, Don’t Drink the Pink. 

B.C.R. Fegan has done it again with another amazing children’s book! Since we are three for three, he has become our favorite children’s author. So why do we love it?

The story is captivating and the illustrations bring the story to life. The rhyming in the book makes it so fun to read and by the end of reading the book the first time, Nikki had a lot of the story memorized. Therefore, it was a book request every since and Nikki happily reads along which helps her practice her reading skills.

“Happy birthday Madeline,” he said with a wink.
“Take a potion, take a brew.
Just don’t drink the pink.”

I love how it touches upon the aging process and how at the end we do lose our loved ones. It is always a tough topic to discuss; however, B.C.R. Fegan beautifully touches upon it with delicacy. This is why this book will become a new family favorite of ours.

For this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give Don’t Drink the Pink 10 stars out of 5! It’s a children’s book full of imagination, heart and a story that can resonate with a child and adults alike. The book recommendation is for children three to eight years of age. I am definitely not in that age range but I truly loved it and would read it again (even if my daughter doesn’t request it). 😉 

This would especially be great as a birthday gift and it came right in time as we celebrate Nikki’s 5th birthday! I know this will be a book that Nikki will treasure.

If you would like to purchase your own copy of this amazing book, click here.

About the Author

B.C.R. Fegan is a multi-award-winning author who has written a number of fairy tales and fantasies for children and young adults. He is inspired by stories that resonate deeply with our desire for adventure, yearning for magic and search for meaning. When Fegan is not writing children’s books, he is forging worlds in the realm of Young Adult Fiction.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

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

 

One Life Lost is Too Many: National Drowning Prevention Week

“Drowning is the #1 cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 1 to 4 and the #2 cause for children up to 14.”

– Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

In Ontario alone, there has been 43 drowning deaths from January to July 15, 2019. It is a scary statistic and that is why it is important to address water safety all year round.

At Aqua-Tots Swim Schools, their primary purpose is to save lives by teaching children to swim and educating people about how to remain safe in and around the water. Recently, Aqua-Tots Swim Schools in Canada hosted a new event called, Swim with Your Clothes On to kick off National Drowning Prevention Week.

The Swim with Your Clothes On Event was an important and interactive 30-minute lesson for children. In addition, to understanding and practicing water safety, the children had an opportunity to experience what swimming with their clothes on would feel like if ever faced with an emergency. In this event, children were taught the importance of water safety, how to swim with their clothes on, and how to assist others who are in danger.

When we heard about the Swim with Your Clothes On event, we jumped at the opportunity to attend. We want to ensure that we take every step possible in teaching our daughter water safety. What we love about Aqua-Tots Swim Schools is these wonderful events are offered for free for families in the community who are members.

Photo Credit: Natalia from Aqua-Tots Swim Schools Canada

Event Exercises

On top of the wonderful swimming curriculum, there were a few exercises that pertained to water safety that we are honoured to share with our readers.

  • Children were taught to ask an adult for permission before going swimming and knowing the adult should go in first.
  • To turn on their backs/roll over and float on their backs if they fall in to get air, and while resting on their backs in the water call for help.
  • Lastly, “reach, throw and don’t go in” which taught children not to go in after someone has fallen into the water. Instead they were taught to lie on their bellies at the edge of the water (in this position you won’t fall in yourself) and throw a life saving device to the person in need to pull them in (e.g. rope, pool noodle, etc.) back to safety.

These exercises were well thought out and executed at this event and you could tell that the children were grasping the concept of drowning prevention. Nikki truly enjoyed each exercise but I could tell that she enjoyed saving her coach with the pool noodle the best.

Photo Credit: Natalia from Aqua-Tots Swim Schools Canada

On the way home, Nikki turned to me and said, “Mom, I can save you if you ever fall in the water. So, don’t you worry!” That sentence alone means that the event was a raving success in our books. To know that my child is confident enough with what she learned that she could save her mom is just perfect! Thank you, Aqua-Tots Swim Schools.

Aqua-Tots Swim Schools didn’t forget about the parents watching the lesson as they also provided us with a great idea and tip. We were provided with a “Water Watcher” lanyard that we can use when children are in the water. So, what exactly is this lanyard? The lanyard states: “While wearing this tag, I agree to supervise the children in the open water or pool, keeping them in sight at all times. I will not leave the water area without finding an adult to replace me.” Love, Love, Love this! I think everyone should adopt this concept as it could really prevent drownings. Since I have this lanyard, I will be taking it to any pool party that we are invited to – you have been warned family and friends.

Above all, this event was a great way to kick off National Drowning Prevention Week and to make sure that the conversation is happening around water safety.

Photo Credit: Natalia from Aqua-Tots Swim Schools

There are three ways that you can save lives too and these include: Enrolling in Swim Lessons; Supervising children in or around water; and spreading tips related to water safety awareness. This is what we can do as parents and as a community as drowning is silent and preventable.

To learn more about water safety tips and/or to enroll in swim lessons with Aqua-Tots Swim Schools Canada, click here for Mississauga or click here for Burlington.

Let’s stay safe in and around water. Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

This article is a paid partnership with Aqua-Tots Swim Schools. Views and opinions expressed here belong to Momma Braga.

Unstoppable Me | Book Review

“I am movement
Heat
Static electricity
Fueled by food
And powered by PLAY!”

Synopsis

Unstoppable Me is about the sort of energetic child we all know and love – full of fun and play…and a bit exhausting! In this book, we see an unstoppable little boy, run, jump, and soar through his day. He takes a little time to refuel, then he’s back at it – zooming and zipping around. From #1 New York Times bestselling author, Susan Verde, comes a poetic and joyful book about the celebration of an active child.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Unstoppable Me is a great children’s book that celebrates the active child with proactive and positive language. It resonated greatly for our family as our very own Nikki is an active child and we wouldn’t have it any other way (even if we are completely exhausted by the end of the day). 😉

We always say that we wish we had half of her energy as she does light up the world wherever she goes and we feel that this book portrays that love. This is why this book will be one of our favorites to read at bedtime. Since the story is easy to read it is a great way that we use to help teach Nikki how to read and since she feels connected to the story, it has empowered her interest in reading. We couldn’t have asked for anything better from a children’s book.

I truly loved the author’s note at the back as Susan describes how she was inspired to write the story from her own experience with an energetic son. It is true when she says, “All children have something incredible to offer, and each is amazingly unique. Unstoppable Me is meant to show all of the beautiful, special, and miraculous things about being a kid on the move!”

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give Unstoppable Me 10 powers ups out of 5! This book is recommended for children ages two to six.

If you would like to purchase a copy for you, please click here.

About the Author

Susan Verde grew up in Greenwich Village in New York City. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s in reading remediation and became an elementary school teacher at a private school in Bridgehampton, NY. She is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of I Am Human as well as many other picture books including I am Yoga and I am Peace. She currently lives in East Hampton, New York with her family.

About the Illustrator

Andrew Joyner is an Australian illustrator and author of children’s books. Some of his most notable books are Too Many Elephants in This House and The Pink Hat. He lives with his family in a small country town on the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

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

Go For The Moon | Book Review

“5…4…3…2…1…Lift Off to the moon in this amazing children’s book filled with heart and wealth of the first moon landing!” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

The Moon is out tonight. In the morning, three brave men will fly there and try to walk on it.”

The Apollo 11 astronauts have prepared carefully for their attempt to be the first men to land on the Moon. The young narrator of this book has prepared carefully, too: He explains the design of the spacecraft the flight from Earth to the Moon, and the drama of touching down – while shadowing the astronauts’ voyage with one of his own.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Go For The Moon (A Rocket, A Boy, And The First Moon Landing) is a children’s book that truly embodies the love of space and science. It truly sparks intrigue as the narrator details the first moon landing as like we are there ourselves. We truly loved this book and it is great literature for children to read. It offers so much knowledge and interesting facts such as the Apollo 11 mission utilized 400,000 engineers, technicians, and scientists. Wow!

This story is personal to the author, Chris Gall as he has a passion for rockets and he remembers seeing the first moon walk on the television set (have to admit that this is very cool!). We loved the personal touch he includes in the book on his author’s note and we recommend to give it a read too.

From start to finish, this story captivates the youngest of minds with beautiful illustrations and a passionate storyline. Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give Go For The Moon 5 moons out of 5! This book would make a great addition to your reading line-up especially for the inspiring astronaut in your family. It is recommended for children ages five to eight.

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

About the Author

Chris Gall was seven years old when man first walked on the Moon, and he began building and flying model rockets at about the same time. “Some were smashed into pieces when their parachutes failed,” he says. “A few left Earth with a shattering roar. I like to think one of them made it to the Moon.”

While continuing to build rockets, Chris went on to earn a degree in fine arts from the University of Arizona and wrote and illustrated a dozen acclaimed books, including Dinotrux,Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book of the Year; The Littlest Train; and Dog vs. Cat. Go for the Moon is his first work of children’s nonfiction. He lives in Tucson, Arizona.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

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