Tag: parenting

Remember Life’s Greatest Moments | Custom Star Maps

There are many moments that change our life forever such as the birth of a child, a wedding, anniversary or even moving into a new home. These are just some of life’s moments and wouldn’t it be grand to have a custom night sky to remember your special night?

The night sky isn’t the same all year round as it changes and you see different constellations. This change is due to the motion of the Earth in its orbit around the sun. The Earth shifts approximately one degree per day, making each night sky different from the night before. Therefore, your special night would be unique to you and your life moment.

We recently discovered, Modern Map Art who customizes these special moments and we are thrilled to introduce them to all of you.

This frame was not included.

 

How It Works

Modern Map Art uses an incredible detailed star database with hundreds of thousands of stars, and find what the sky looked like at an exact time and place in history (or future). Then, you would simple select your style and order. Your print will then arrive in a matter of a few business days (depending on where you live).

#MelAndNikkiReview

We give our Modern Map Art, 5+++ constellations out of 5 for being out of this world! It offers a unique way to remember one of our most memorable life events, our daughter’s birth. Now we have a custom piece of the exact date, time and location of where she was born and we love it!

The process to order was simple and easy. We love how customized it is as we got to pick from their colors, fonts and styles. This really gave us the feeling of being unique with the choices we were able to make. Now we have a piece that we can proudly display and it will always be beautiful art as it was one of the best moments of our lives.

 

We highly recommend Modern Map Art to anyone who wants to remember life’s greatest moments in the most unique and beautiful way. A perfect gift for anyone in your life.

To purchase your very own, click here.

Don’t forget to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

Fox and Raccoon | Storytime

Storytime is always an exciting time especially when new books arrive to be featured on the #MelAndNikkiReview! We love sweet and unique books as they make storytime that much special. This is why when we were introduced to the sweet and charming world of Juniper Hollow, we were in enchanted.

Juniper Hollow is where fuzzy friends abound and that is where Fox and Raccoon live. They are the best of friends and live next door to each other. They also spend every day together with the exception of today. It appears that Fox is so busy that she doesn’t have time to play.

But never fear as Raccoon is here to help! He helps her with all the tasks that she needs to do but it seems that Fox is STILL busy. Will she ever have time to stop and play with him? As it turns out, she has a surprise up her sleeve…

After reading this book a few times (almost every night) since it arrived at our doorstep, we can’t help but feel enchanted by Fox and Raccoon. Firstly, the textile art is captivating and it allows us to feel that we have been transported to Juniper Hollow. Secondly, the friendship between Fox and Raccoon is beautiful and sincere. It was heartwarming to see how much they cared for one another as the story progressed.

For this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give Fox and Raccoon 5 juniper berries out of 5! The story of friendship and love is an important message for children and it is portrayed beautifully in Fox and Raccoon. We also loved the textile art as we personally have not read books with this type of art so it was neat for us. We would recommend this book for children ages three to seven and this would make a perfect addition to storytime.

This children’s picture book is a debut for Lesley-Anne Green who is the author and she is a textile artist who creates her adorable critters using wool, thread, fabric and love. She lives in Toronto with her family and an incorrigible pug named Lola. We hope she will continue to create more beautiful books for children.

If you would like to purchase this lovely book, click here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

 

6 Things Your Kids Should Do After Leaving High School

Written By: Claire Adams

Graduating from high school can be both exciting and stressful. On the one hand, it’s a big milestone for every child, something they can be proud of. On the other hand, college is just a few months away, and the pressure of their parents to enroll right away can often be too much. However, there is no real reason for them to start college the same year – there are many ways of spending their gap year wisely. So, if you’d like to help your child make the most of their free time after high school, here are six things they could do.

1. Encourage them to learn something new

Taking some time off means that they’ll finally have enough time to dedicate to something else, like learning a new language or improving their tech skills. They probably already have some ideas in mind, something they’ve always wanted to do but could never find the time to start.

There are many skills that can be useful in both educational and professional field, which is why you should inspire them to get involved wherever they can. It doesn’t have to be anything huge, and it shouldn’t be anything stressful; the idea is to have fun while using their time wisely, so they should choose something they will enjoy doing.

2. Help them improve the skills they have

Besides learning something new, they can also work on what they already know. For example, if your child likes editing pictures in Photoshop, they can sign up for a graphic design course and improve their skills. Or, if they like drawing or painting, they can sign up for art classes and become even better. In other words, if they are passionate about something, taking some time off to nurture that skill and bring it the next level can mean the world to them.

3. They can get a job

A good way to spend the time between high school and college is by earning some money. Getting a job can help your child become more independent and responsible. It doesn’t have to be a serious full-time job, though – any decent job can teach them how to work in a team and organize their time, which are skills that can be quite valuable in the future.

Moreover, there is always something that kids want, whether it is a new computer or a new pair of jeans. Getting a job would allow them to treat themselves to something nice and learn the importance of money and hard work. Even if they don’t buy anything, they can always save for the future. Plus, earning money on their own can be quite fulfilling, and having some work experience could help them land a much better job in the future.

4. Let them travel

Is there a better time for your child to see all the places they’ve been learning about? If you’re worried about your child’s safety, or if they’ve never traveled alone, there are many safe and fun student trips organized by Unleashed Grad Trips that can offer your child lots of opportunities for fun, education, and relaxation.

Traveling is also a great way for your child to leave their comfort zone and make new connections with people from all around the world. They’d get to experience different cultures, see different points of view, and develop skills like cooking, managing their finances, finding their way around in unknown places, etc. Therefore, let your child see the world, and they are guaranteed to return home much more mature and refreshed.

5. Suggest volunteering

Just like getting a job, volunteering can teach them responsibility and organization. Plus, they’d feel great about themselves once they realize that they can make a difference and do something useful for the community.  Moreover, doing charity work shows that they are compassionate and capable of adjusting to unknown situations, especially if they choose to volunteer abroad. This is something that would look great on their resume, and it would surely be a life-changing experience for your child.

6. Allow them to relax

It’s not the end of the world if your child doesn’t know what they want to do next. Some kids just need time to unwind and figure things out, so try not to make a big deal out of it. Let them do some research, try out new things, or just relax and think things through. After all, it’s better to take some time off and rest than enroll in a college right away just to realize one year later that they’ve made the wrong choice.

There’s more to life than studying, and there are many ways to learn besides going to school. So, let your child take some time away from hovering over a book, and encourage them to spend that time wisely. This way, you can rest assured that your child will be much more motivated and more likely to make the right choices in regard to their future.

 

About the Author

Claire is a personal and professional development expert who believes that a positive attitude is one of the keys to success. She enjoys life to the fullest in the healthiest way possible and loves to share her insights into parenting, education, and entrepreneurship. Feel free to reach her on Facebook and Twitter.

 

3 Non-Toxic Flooring Options for Your Home

With society’s rising concerns on health and wellness, the choice to go for non-toxic substances comes as no surprise. This is clearly shown in what articles we have at home, from ensuring that our floors are safe up to the bits and pieces on our cupboards. These choices are especially highlighted when you have children at home.

For starters, let’s look into the flooring of your house, which occupies a significant area of your living space. It is important to ensure that your flooring is free from toxic materials, as the presence of harmful chemicals can be a source of indoor air pollution. So, in order to avoid the largest environmental health risk in the world, learning about the proper flooring to use can prove to be advantageous. In fact, while carpeting is a popular choice, carpet installations are to be avoided as they are a large contributor to indoor air pollution.

Here are some useful information about alternative choices for flooring materials and how they could impact indoor air quality that you should look into:

  1. Ceramic Tile Flooring

Generally, a safe, non-toxic flooring option that is also easy to maintain are ceramic tiles. Glazed ceramic flooring tiles are resistant to water, humidity and stain penetration, which makes them an ideal flooring for moist areas in the house such as bathrooms or kitchens. However, unglazed ceramic tiles have to be sealed in order to protect their surfaces from water.

Ceramic flooring is also very durable, they are difficult to crack. A quality ceramic tile installation can last for as long as twenty years or even longer if it is well-maintained. Also, if a single tile succumbs to severe impact and cracks, then you can easily replace the cracked tile.

  1. Vinyl Flooring

Opting for vinyl flooring is a popular choice among consumers because they are durable, versatile, and economical options. Vinyl flooring can come in large, continuous, flexible sheets or as modern tiles or vinyl planks. Unlike vinyl floor tiles, a vinyl sheet floor is completely water-resistant. Aside from being impermeable, vinyl flooring is also easy to install, fairly durable, and resilient. They are also available in a variety of appearances and are affordable flooring materials.

For those looking for vinyl flooring in Melbourne at Market Timbers, check out their assortment of non-toxic flooring materials. They offer a hybrid vinyl/cork flooring system that replicates the natural look of timber flooring.

  1. Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring is the best option for anyone with allergies because it improves air quality. The surface allows for easy removal of dust, pollens, dander, and other allergens. Aside from enhancing the look of your home, there are a lot of major benefits of hardwood flooring. These include being low maintenance, versatile, durable, and cost effective. Not only do wooden floors save you money, but they are also natural, eco-friendly, and more sustainable. Instead of replacing hardwood floors, they can be refinished so it costs less than getting new flooring.

Wooden floors are timeless, and if you want, you can sand and stain them to make them darker.

Indeed, picking flooring can be a daunting task with the variety of materials to choose from and each of the flooring types has an assortment of options too. Other factors such as moisture retention, wear resistance, maintenance, durability, and costs should also be taken into consideration. Plus, the impact of toxic substances on health and wellness should be a significant influence on your choices for flooring materials, so you can look into these three flooring type options.

Dada | First Words

The first word that is spoken is always an exciting time with your little one and the anticipation of what it would be, might have parents on the edge of their seats. I know this is how we were as we anticipated those first words from our daughter, Nikki.

I had a few friends and family who would tell me that the first word is usually momma or dada but a majority of them said it would be “Dada.” Of course, they were right as her first word was “Dada.”

So when I saw, Your Baby’s First Word Will Be Dada, by Jimmy Fallon I knew this was the perfect gift for my husband for Father’s Day as it will take him back to that glorious day that he reminds me of every single day. 😉

“Your baby’s first word will be…Dada! Right? Everyone knows that fathers wage a secret campaign to ensure that their babies’ first word is “Dada”! But does it work?”

According to this children’s book it can definitely work with hard work and determination. The book is beautifully illustrated with different animals throughout and each animal has something in common – teaching their children to say “Dada.” Unfortunately, their attempts just have their child make their sound instead. However, fathers never give up and by the end, all the children say “Dada.” Hooray!

We just loved this book as it is so sweet. The story is simple for a young child to understand and flows nicely. Your child can learn as the story is read to them as you can teach your child the sounds that different animals make.

Nikki and I had a blast reading it. The best part is that Nikki was able to read the words as we went along and that made my heart skip a beat. She can now read the story to her Dada who will be so proud to hear her first words in a story form.

Therefore, it is no surprise that for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give it 5+++ Dads out of 5! We do have a message for Mr. Jimmy Fallon, keep writing beautiful books and showing us how much love our children have for us as parents. Whether it is Mama or Dada, they are both loving parents who at the end of the day love their children with all their hearts. Thank you!

If you would like to purchase this book for the Dada in the life of your little one, then please click here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

How to Raise an Intelligent Child

When we think about smart kids, it shouldn’t be all bookworms and A grades. Clever children come in all different forms and to nurture true wisdom in your child, it is essential to look at the bigger picture. Whilst classroom intelligence is one thing, emotional intelligence and social ability are another. To ensure that your child gains the best start in life, you must nurture their strengths and try to release their creativity. Here, we will take a look at some of the best ways in which to raise smart children.

Make Learning Fun

When all kids see is the classroom, it’s no wonder they tend to become unenamoured with education. For this reason, it is important to show your children that learning does not need to be restricted to these prescriptive spaces. Every day presents new opportunities for learning, but how you go about nurturing your child’s intelligence should be a personal process. Many children learn best by doing, so why not take them outside and learn in nature. Research shows that learning in a green environment can help greatly in the development of children and also teaches essential respect for the environment. If they are fascinated by science, why not take a trip to the science museum, or try out some experiments in your back yard? If they show an interest in art, buy them some paint and let them explore their talent. Whatever you do, make it fun!

Pick the Right School

Selecting the right school for your child is also an essential factor. Many government-funded schools do not have the money to build top facilities or employ the best teachers, which can leave children uninspired by their environment. Whilst learning at home can make up for this in part, private international schools often provide far better opportunities for learning. When looking for international schools in Thailand or in your local area, parents have an excellent outlook as there are world-class facilities on offer, such as this school in Chiang Mai that takes a holistic approach to education. Not only will learning in an international environment enhance your child’s language skills from an early age, the right school may be able to teach them life skills as well as social skills too.

Additional Learning

Another way to enhance your child’s intelligence is to encourage additional learning through classes outside of school. These should focus on something your child enjoys and could range from language or music classes to sports, dance or art classes. 

Venture Beyond the Curriculum

As we’ve already touched upon, learning should not be restricted to books and the school curriculum. There are many other life skills that you can teach your child in order to ensure they have an active mind, such as gardening, social responsibility, and healthy eating. When they grow up and venture out into the real world, these skills will be invaluable in helping them to adjust and reach success.

Every parent wants to give their child the best start in life – by taking a holistic approach to learning and focussing on the quality of their early education, you can do just this.

Brave Enough For Two Warms Our Hearts | Storytime

A Hoot & Olive Story has arrived in our home titled, Brave Enough for Two, written and illustrated by Jonathan D. Voss and we are so glad that we did!

“Hoot loves adventures. Olive does not. But as long as they’re together, they can accomplish anything.”

Olive is a little girl who likes the types of adventures that exist in books. Her best friend Hoot, a stuffed-animal owl, prefers the ones that take place in the real world. Today, Hoot gets to pick the adventures. At first, Olive isn’t sure if she’s brave enough for the activities Hoot has picked: flying a makeshift hot-air balloon and navigating raging rivers. But when her dearest friend gets hurt, Olive discovers that she’s not only brave, she’s brave enough for two.

It is such a heartwarming tale of friendship, courage and adventure. The story flows beautifully and of course we can not forget about the breathtaking illustrations. With each page turn, you are taken away in the artist’s world and we loved it! This is why we give Brave Enough for Two 5+++ Hoots out of 5! A heartwarming tale for your storytime lineup is exactly what you will get with this great book.

So what did three-year old Nikki think of it? We sat down with her to get her insight.

Momma Braga: “Hi Nikki! What did you think of Brave Enough for Two?
Nikki: “It was GREAT!”
Momma Braga: “What did you like best about the book?”
Nikki: “I like the friends helping each other. It’s like me and my best friends. We help each other momma!”
Momma Braga: “That is so great to help each other.”
Nikki: “Yes momma! We have to be nice.”
Momma Braga: “What do you give this book out of 5?”
Nikki: “Ummm…..6!”

There you have Nikki’s take on Brave Enough For Two and it is an outstanding review! If you would like to purchase this lovely book, click here. We are loving our book! 🙂

About Jonathan D. Voss

Jonathan was a portrait artist and graphic designer before becoming a children’s book illustrator. Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh by Sally Walker was his first book. Brave Enough for Two is his author-illustrator debut. He lives in North Carolina with his family.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

Teaching Financial Literacy Through 4-Pocket Allowance

Financial Literacy is a topic that many people find is important for us to learn as adults or even as teenagers but not many people see the importance of teaching it to young children. This is why I was thrilled to see a product catering to children that would empower them to make financial decisions.

First, what is Financial Literacy? Financial Literacy is the education and understanding of finances. It is the ability to manage personal finance matters in the most efficient manner, and it includes the knowledge to make appropriate decisions about personal finance such as investing, savings, budgeting, retirement, etc.

Now, it is time to introduce you to 4 Pocket Allowance and how it is a great tool in helping children learn about financial literacy.

The 4 Pocket Allowance is a comprehensive allowance system that guides kids in allocating money into four different pockets.

There is the Spending pocket which is where money is allocated for special treats like a trip to the dollar store or for playing cards. Then there is the Saving pocket which is saving for a specific goal like a larger purchase such as a bike, or spending money for a family vacation. The third pocket is the Giving which is where money is allocated to be used for selfless acts such as a charitable donation or a gift for a friend. The fourth pocket is the Investing where money that is set aside for long term goal like an education fund or stock account.

This kit also includes a fifth pocket which is labelled as “Reserve” and it is for parents to stockpile small denominations (bills, coins) to avoid a weekly scramble, and the inevitable problems of constantly trying to break a $20 bill. The kit comes in a fun binder with a magnetic closure, and also includes printed material and an allowance worksheet – everything you need to get you going, and to keep you on track.

How 4 Pocket Allowance Works

Starting early is good and kids of any age will learn from applying good money management principles. Here is how 4 Pocket Allowance works:

  1. Get organized. First complete the “My Pocket Allowance” worksheet provided.
  2. Decide whether the 4 pockets will apply to other income such as birthday money, special occasions, etc.
  3. Fill the Reserve and store it for allowance day.
  4. Introduce the 4 Pocket Allowance at your family meeting.
  5. Then follow your worksheet on the schedule that you have followed. For example the allowance can be $20 every two weeks.

#MelAndNikkiReview on 4 Pocket Allowance

I am no stranger to financial literacy and teaching money management but never would have thought to start at my child’s age of three. However, this method is so intriguing and fun that I implemented it right away.

I know that it will take some time for my daughter to get the hang of it but I know with some hard work and patience we will get there. We explained what each pocket was and we let her decide for the first round how much would go in each. Her favorite pocket was the Saving one as she was excited to have some spending money on our family vacation trip. This is such a great way to start teaching our daughter about money and how to better manage it so this is why we give it 5 stars out of 5! We are excited to see how this is going to work for our family and the impact it will have on our daughter’s life growing up.

The 4 Pocket Allowance Benefit

“Kids will face various money related decisions throughout their lives, and their experiences growing up will influence their life-long relationship with money. In other words, teach kids the basics of good money management that they will use for the rest of their lives.

An allowance is about so much more than just giving kids money to spend.”

4 Pocket Allowance is:

  • Empowering kids to make decisions and hopefully learn from them.
  • Guiding them to appreciate the value of money.
  • Establishing model saving habits.
  • Broadening awareness of how money can be used.
  • Resolving endless requests that make parents cringe: “Can you buy me this?”

The benefits sound great and it is a fun tool to use. If you would like to purchase the 4 Pocket Allowance, click here. Would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below if you have purchased one and how you are enjoying it. I know that we are enjoying it so far! 🙂

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

4 Top Pests That Can Harm The Home

One of the biggest things many homeowners worry about is discovering mysterious holes burrowed in their wooden floorboards or hearing scurrying in the attic. It can only mean one thing: pests have gotten into your home.

There are a number of common pests you should keep an eye out for as they can do a great deal of damage to your home.

  1. Termites

Termites eat on wood. In fact, they are one of the biggest pest threats to homeowners. They mostly feed on wood and can cause significant damage to the structure of your home. The damage that termites can cause may be so extensive that your home could become unliveable until repairs are made.

Sadly, many homeowners don’t find the damage until it is too late. Even if your property is not made of wood, take note that termites may still pose a threat. They can happily travel through plaster and even metal siding to get to wooden structures like floors and wardrobes.

  1. Mice and Rats

Rodents can, at times, be unassuming animals, but over time they can cause a great deal of damage to your home. Mice and rats get to work chewing through just about anything – wiring, thermal insulation and even wood. By chewing through wiring and insulation, the rodents could cause electrical damage and, worse, fires. Their droppings are also a serious danger as they hold several problems. For instance, the smell of the droppings may attract more rodents and the dropping could carry infections and diseases such as tapeworm and salmonella. Pest Free USA has electronic pest control to keep these pesky mice and rats at bay.

  1. Bedbugs

While bedbugs may seem rather harmless, they can be a massive nuisance in your home. What’s more, if the situation escalates, it can render your property unliveable. While bedbugs don’t normally carry disease, they do soil your furniture and bedding. They are a highly unattractive problem that must be dealt with right away, before they get the chance to spread to any other part of your home.

  1. Carpenter Ants

There are a number of different kinds of carpenter ants that can be found in homes. The worker carpenter ants are black with just a hint of red. The ants feed on organic materials containing sugar or protect as well as on other insects. They don’t eat wood, but they can remove wood to hollow out tunnels for the purpose of nesting.

Once the ants create tunnels in your wooden structures, they won’t leave sawdust or debris. The damage they cause can vary, too, depending on how long the pests have lived in that colony. While the damage may not compare to the destruction that termites create, they can still do a great deal of harm to your home, and ant issues should always be dealt with immediately.

Conclusion

Having annoying, destructive pests in your home can be a potentially massive financial burden. But, if you deal with an infestation quickly and professionally, you can successfully rid your home of pests and save your structure.

A Buzzing New Children’s Book | The HoneyBee

Honeybees are marvellous creatures who produce the pollen that we need for our food, clothing and shelter. Many of us may already know that the honeybee population is in danger. Education is key to help this population thrive again and what better way then articulating the honeybee in a children’s story.

We received a beautiful book titled, The HoneyBee, written by Kirsten Hall and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault. 

The HoneyBee takes us on a journey of the bee. It shows us what the bee does and how important their work is for our world. The story flows nicely and the illustrations articulate the story beautifully.

We love how at the end of the book there is a detailed page on how we can help the Honeybee. This is a great touch to a great children’s book as it provides us with the “Call to Action.” Not only do we learn but we also get steps on how to bee helpful.

Our favorite piece of information that we must share is:

“4. Don’t Bee Afraid of Bees! Honeybees want nectar and pollen – not to sting or harm you. When bees fly near, stay still. And stay calm, too! Bees can actually “smell” fear. If you stay still and calm, chances are the bee will quickly decide to just fly away. Also, avoid going near beehives. Bees are territorial. But as long as you stay out of yours.”

For this #MelAndNikkiReview we give it 5 BUZZZ’s out of 5! We love the story, illustrations and learning piece of the book. It really gives us an appreciation of the Honeybee and for that alone we recommend this children’s book. This book is great for preschoolers to Grade 3.

To purchase this lovely book, click here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga