Tag: Product Review

DIY Glitter Jar | New Children’s Show Esme & Roy

We love doing arts and crafts in our home especially lately as our daughter prepares herself for Kindergarten. This is why we were very excited to try the DIY Glitter Jar in honor of the new children’s show, Esme & Roy that will be premiering on Treehouse this month.

Esme & Roy use calm-down glitter jars to help the littlest residents in Monsterdale work through their emotions and avoid monster meltdowns (we as parents are very familiar with these types of meltdowns). Now watching the glitter swirl to the bottom of the jar gives kids time to calm down and regain control of their emotions.

So we got to create our very own with our daughter, Nikki.

Material Needed

You will need the following material for this craft:

  • Jar
  • Glitter
  • Food Colouring
  • Clear Glue
  • Hot Water
  • Stir Stick

Instructions

  1. Pour clear glue into the jar until it fills up to about 1/4.
  2. Slowly pour hot water until the liquid reaches 3/4 of the jar.
  3. Add as much glitter as you would like and stir using the stir stick.
  4. Add more hot water to bring the water level to just below the top of the jar.
  5. Add 1-2 drops of food colouring and stir using the stir stick.
  6. Twist on the lid and give your jar a shake! Be sure to sing the Glitter Jar Song (below) as you watch the glitter swirl and fall!

“When the glitter starts to fall like snow –
take a deep breath, nice and slow –
watch as it settles all around –
and feel your body calming down.”

Those are the easy steps to follow to create your very own Glitter Jar! We had a blast doing this together and of course Nikki’s favourite part was stirring it all together. It was a really fun craft to do and really got us excited to watch Esme & Roy when they premiere on Treehouse on August 18th!

Esme & Roy Synopsis

This new children’s show follows a young girl named Esme and her best monster friend, Roy, on their adventures as the best monster babysitters in Monsterdale. The series invites children into a colourful world where even the littlest monsters can overcome big challenges together.

Esme & Roy offers easy-to-adopt strategies that can help even very young children regulate their emotions. Tactics include: taking slow belly breaths, which provide a pause for children to be reflective; self-talk that uses positive statements to remind kids of their strength and capability; giving oneself a soothing hug; and using a “glitter jar” to calm the body and mind, shaking a sparkly snow globe-like jar and taking deep breaths while watching the glitter swirl and slowly fall.

This sounds like a great children’s show with positive messaging and we just love that! We can’t wait to watch it and have our daughter learn from it too. We hope you will tune in on August 18th and if you would like to try this craft, make sure to tag us @mommabraga and use #EsmeandRoy when you share. We can’t wait to see your Glitter Jars!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

Greedy Granny and Pop Rocket Brings LOL Fun On Game Night | Goliath Games Review

Playing games are loads of fun especially when you play as a family. We were recently introduced to two games by Goliath Games and one of them just hit the Game market!

Both of these games had us laughing out loud through our Family Game Night and it was great as we haven’t laughed that much and hard in a very long time!

Greedy Granny

Can Granny’s even be greedy? Well this one surely is!

Greedy Granny is a mischievously fun game that is perfect for the whole family. Your mission is to swipe a treat of each type from Granny’s tray as carefully and as quietly as you can. One wrong move will wake her up and send her teeth flying!

How to Play

  • The youngest player goes first by spinning the treat wheel.
  • If the spinner lands on green, the player attempts to sneak a treat away from Granny.
  • Pay attention to the number on the spinner section as this tells the player how many times you must press the button on the side of Granny’s chair.
  • If the spinner lands on purple, the player must put a treat back (if they have one) and press the button the number of times indicated on the spinner.
  • If the player lands on a circle with a line through it, then you miss a turn.
  • If a player lands on the symbols of the two people, then the player may take a treat from the other player who has a treat
  • The first player to collect one of each type of treat and keep Granny snoozing wins!
  • For 2 to 4 players. Ages 5 and Up

Game Contents

  • 1 Granny in an Armchair (2 pieces, easy assembly required)
  • 1 Set of Granny’s Teeth
  • 1 Treat Wheel
  • 12 Treats

#MelAndNikkiReview

Greedy Granny truly had us laughing out loud from start to finish. Nikki and I would be on the edge of our seat wondering which one of us would make Granny loose her teeth. Lucky for me I was the one who always got Granny to fly, LOL! This in turn made my daughter laugh with delight and say, “You did it again Momma! This Granny is Greedy!” It was SO much fun! We give Greedy Granny 5+++ sweet tooth out of 5! It provided us with highly engaging entertainment with learning, laughter and family time.

 

Pop Rocket

Ready for some out-of-this-world fun?! Pop Rocket will surely have you seeing stars in this exciting game by Goliath Games. Pull the string on the Rocket to start the countdown, and roll the die. Keep an eye on that Rocket because it can BLAST OFF at any moment! Watch the stars explode into the sky and be the first one to collect enough stars to fill your constellation to win!

How to Play

  • The player who can jump the highest goes first. To start the game, that player should gently pull the fuse on the side of the rocket fully, and throw the die.
  • The die has a few landings. There is the star-catcher picture which means you can place a new star-catcher into play anywhere on the table. It can’t be moved without throwing the die again. When all your star-catchers are in the game, skip a turn. There is the picture with more than one star-catcher in it and this means you can change the position of one of your own star-catchers already played or move it on a pile or move it to the top of the pile if it was covered. If none of your star-catchers have already been played, skip your turn. The last picture is of a star on the die which means you steal a star from another player and add it to your star holder.
  • The game plays clockwise. When the timer ends (approx. 60 seconds), the rocket will open and release the stars!
  • Players win the small stars that land in the star-catchers of their own color.
  • With the collected stars, players would add them to their own constellation. If you are lucky enough to catch the BIG star, you can choose 2 extra stars of your choosing.
  • The first player to complete his or her constellation wins! *It is possible for several players to win at the same time.
  • For 2 to 4 players. Ages 4 and Up

Game Contents

  • 1 Rocket
  • 1 Big Star
  • 40 small stars
  • 12 Star-Catchers (4 colored sets of 3 star-catchers)
  • 4 Constellations
  • 1 Die

#MelAndNikkiReview

Pop Rocket had us jumping from our seats! The anticipation of it popping had both my daughter and I giggling throughout the game. Even though the pop happens in about 60 seconds, but it seems to take much longer as we are anticipating the pop. But that was the fun! Pop Rocket was a blast and we give it 5+++ Rocket Stars out of 5! This game offered us the fun, entertainment and laughs that we enjoy as a family.

There you have it! Two more amazing games by Goliath Games that will have your family smiling and laughing all the way through. These are the best moments and experiences to share together. That time spent together and interacting with one another is such a priceless gift. We truly love these opportunities as it brings us such joy and fun.

If you would like to add Greedy Granny to your family game night, click here to see where you can purchase your very own. If you would like to add Pop Rocket to your family game night, click here to see where you can purchase your very own.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

 

 

 

 

 

This article is in partnership with:

 

 

Learning Friends 100 Words Book Leaps In Fun For Children | Product Review

LeapFrog is a favorite in our household as we enjoy the interactive, innovative and educational toys that they offer. For more than 20 years, LeapFrog has helped children expand their knowledge and imagination through award-winning products that combine state-of-the-art educational expertise led by the LeapFrog Learning Team, innovative technology, and engaging play – turning playtime into quality time that helps children leap ahead.

This is why we were extra excited to get one of the latest and hottest toys from LeapFrog, Learning Friends 100 Words Book™. This interactive toy is a touch and learn word fun in a book type format. So what does it do?

Touch and Learn

Discover abundance of things like animal noises, colors, food, clothes and body. These words are learned through pressing the pictures on each page. The beauty is that the words that were chosen are toddler friendly and appropriate by learning experts.

Three Play Modes

There are three play modes available on the Learning Friends 100 Words Book which are: Play words, exciting sound effects and fun facts. No matter which play mode you are in, it is a guarantee fun learning experience.

12 Learning Categories

There are 100 different words in the book and each page is designed beautifully and with many colors to engage the child in learning. The categories vary and some are foods, clothes, colors and more.

Bilingual Play

With a simple slide on the language switch, your child can learn about colors, objects and animals in both English and French – c’est magnifique!

Benefits

One can only except a learning piece to LeapFrog and they have done it so well with the Learning Friends 100 Words Book. The skills that your child can learn from this product are: First Words and Phrases; Colors; Animals; English; Geometry; Food and Nutrition; Opposites; and Human Body. There is just so many great things to learn in one little book.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Learning Friends 100 Words Book™ by LeapFrog has made it onto our most recommended list for children 18 months to 48 months. It is a great toy to help a child learn in a fun and colorful way. We love the ability to press each image on the page and have the child hear the word to associate it with the image. We have to admit that even though my daughter is almost four years of age, she really enjoyed the book and was very proud that she knew all the words. Now she is even more excited to use the book to teach her baby cousin who is five months old to give her a head start. 😉

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give it, 5+++ Leaps out of 5. It’s an amazing learning tool and it makes learning so much more fun. Also I need to mention to all the parents that this toy comes with a volume button so you can control how loud you would like it to be. As parents we truly appreciate and value that little extra function. Believe me this toy will not annoy you. 😉

If you would like to purchase this product please click here to see the closest location to you.

A special thank you to LeapFrog Canada for the opportunity to review this great product for our amazing readers and followers.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

– Momma Braga

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Please note that the product was given in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own and no monetary benefits were exchanged.

Neymar | A Soccer Dream Come True

The FIFA World Cup, often simply called the World Cup, is an international association football competition. The championship has been awarded every four years since the tournament began in 1930 (with the exception of 1942 and 1946 due to the Second World War). The World Cup is the most prestigious association football tournament in the world.

Therefore, it is no surprise that it’s an exciting time when the FIFA World Cup begins. You see the flags proudly displayed on cars, homes and of course team jerseys worn to support their teams.

We can’t forget the players who are playing on the field and how proud they are to represent their country on the biggest world stage.

One team in particular has played in every tournament and has won five times.  This team is Brazil and this year they are hoping to bring the World Cup for the sixth time. Now there is a player on Brazil that is well known and that is Neymar da Silva Santos Junior.

We have definitely heard of him before and this is why we were excited to be introduced to a children’s book that is about him growing up.

Neymar A Soccer Dream Come True, is about Neymar growing up as a child in Brazil with the dream of being a professional soccer player. It is written by Mina Javaherbin and pictures are by Paul Hoppe.

The book takes you on the journey that Neymar took to get to where he is today. It shows us that if you work hard and believe in your dreams, they can come true.

We love that positive message for kids to read! The book flowed nicely and it was an easy read. The illustrations were a great compliment to the story too. For this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give Neymar A Soccer Dream Come True, 5 GOOAALL out of 5! A personal like of this book for me was the Portuguese that was included in the book and it was neat that they included a glossary on the words. Since I can read Portuguese it was exciting to read it to my daughter and know exactly what the words mean.

If you are a soccer fan and one of your favorite players is Neymar, then this is the perfect book for you! To purchase this book, click here.

We hope you all have been loving the FIFA World Cup so far this year and I am excited to see who wins!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

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