Tag: Product Review

4 Must Have Games For Family Game Night

Family game night is a popular theme in most households and it’s one that we have recently incorporated. Therefore, there was no better time than to try some games and see which ones will make it to our top four must have games.

I must say that this was one fun article to write and our daughter Nikki had a blast as she is getting the hang of the #MelAndNikkiReview now! 😉

Let’s begin shall we?!

Paint-Sation Easel

Painting with ease and without the mess sounds ideal doesn’t it? Well, that is exactly what Paint-Sation Easel by Goliath Games is all about. The easel keeps the paper secure and the side of the easel are designated spots to securely place the paint pods.

You just simply touch your brush along the specially-designed bristles, and you’re ready to paint!

We love how you can turn the pod upside- down and the paint never drips! This comes in handy with an energetic three year old. 😉 The Paint-Sation Easel provides hours of fun, creativity and art pieces for your home.

Contents: 3 Paint Pads, 1 Easel, 2 Paint Brushes and 10 Paper Sheets.
Recommended Age: 3 years and up.
Number of Players: 1 to 4 players.

 

The Original Mr. Bucket

Mr. Bucket is the original moving chasing racing action game and it is made by Pressman Toy. Just place Mr. Bucket on the floor and watch the fun begin!

Mr. Bucket moves around the floor pops out colored balls and you have to scoop them up using your colored shovel. Now the catch is that you need to catch the ball that matches your shovel. So it is bundles of fun with friends to play. Once you catch the ball you need to put it back into Mr. Bucket and the first player to get all three colored balls wins!

This game provides a lot of fun and laughs as the kiddies try to catch their color. We love the energy this game gives and it gets kids moving! Nikki loved being able to know her colors quickly and make sure she always caught the right one. Mr. Buckets makes learning fun too!

Contents: Mr. Bucket (some assembly required), 4 shovels (1 of each color), 12 balls (3 of each color), and complete instructions. Please note that this toy does require 3 AA batteries which are not included.
Recommended Age: 3 years and up.
Number of Players: 2 to 4 players.

Lucky Ducks


A game that has adorable little ducks going around while your little ones build their developmental skills is a matching perfection. Lucky Ducks offers all the benefits of memory and matching games in a format that’s easier for little fingers than cards. It also helps kids with shape and color recognition.

You switch on the circular pond, and the ducks start swimming – the bottom side of each duck has a colored shape. Each player takes turns picking up a duck and looking at the color and shape; if it matches their color and shape they get to keep he duck. If it doesn’t match then the duck goes back into the pond.

This game was really fun and had loads of learning. The best part is to see how excited Nikki would get when she got all the matching ducks. Seeing her so proud really made this game so great for us!

Contents: 1 Pond Shaped Game Unit, 12 Ducks, 1 Sticker Sheet, Complete Instructions and Requires 2 AA batteries (not included).
Recommended Age: 3 years and up.
Number of Players: 2 to 4 players.

Let’s Go Fishin’


The game that I remember and loved as a kid has me reminisce on family game nights with my sister. Now I get to share it with my daughter with Pressman Toy, Let’s Go Fishin’. This classic kids game teaches hand-eye coordination as players use their mini fishing poles to try to catch the most fish. The challenge is that the board game spins, and the fish open and close their mouths.

This game was an ultimate favorite for Nikki as she played for endless hours and each time her skills on catching the fishes were getting better and better. We adored this game and we know it will

Contents: Deluxe Motorized Game Unit, 21 Colorful Fish, 4 Plastic Fishing Rods, Complete Instructions, and Requires 1 C Battery (not included).
Recommended Age: 4 years and up.
Number of Players: 2 to 4 players.

What Did Nikki Think?

We put the real judge to the test to see if it passed the Nikki standards.

Nikki loved all the games and she was excited to play them all everyday of the week! All these four games have passed our #MelAndNikkiReview with 5 High Fives Out of 5.  All the games provided hours of entertainment, learning and fun for the whole family.

We recommend all of these games for your next family game night!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

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

 

 

Eggciting Fun At Aqua-Tots Swim Schools

Fun, swimming, and Easter Eggs…Oh My!

That is what the Easter Egg Hunt Event was like at Aqua-Tots Swim School Mississauga on a crisp sunny Sunday afternoon.

We were thrilled to attend this member-exclusive event which was an all-ages and complimentary with the annual membership to the school. It is one of many great perks of registering at Aqua-Tots Swim Schools.


We arrived a little early which gave us some time to settle and enjoy the Easter décor around us. We of course could not miss the opportunity to take a photo with the balloon carrots that were so adorable!

There were tons of activities to do during the event such as arts and crafts; story time; egg on a spoon race and of course swimming with an Easter twist!

Nikki’s favorite was doing the crafts as she made a bunny and a chick for Easter. But then the best part for her was to swim with daddy. We got her all ready to hit the pool and to her surprise the Easter Bunny arrived! Now I thought her excitement for Santa was top notch but she might have been even more excited to see the Easter Bunny there giving Easter eggs to all the boys and girls in and out of the pool.

When she caught three Easter eggs, she was on cloud nine and insisted that she swim with the eggs that she got. It was so great to see her enjoy herself so much and she couldn’t stop grinning from ear to ear. This twist in swimming was well received by Nikki and it might have made her enjoy it even more (if that is even possible!).

After an hour of some great swimming with dad, Nikki was all tired out and ready to head home. It was another packed afternoon full of fun and adventure. This is just one of the many reasons why we love Aqua-Tots Swim School. Not only do they teach a very important life skill to children but they also host events to really embrace family quality time together.

Thank you Aqua-Tots for another great event and for giving my husband the opportunity to bond with our daughter on something that they both love to do and that is swimming. We can’t wait to see what other events that they are going to do this year! I am sure they will be just as great. 🙂

“Mommy I had SO much fun! I love swim class! The best day EVER!” – Nikki, Age 3.5 Years Old

If you would like to learn more about Aqua-Tots Swim Schools feel free to contact them at (905) 848-2782.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

This article is brought to you in partnership with Aqua-Tots Swim School, Mississauga.

Children’s Graphic Novel Teaches Kindness Through A Jungle Adventure

We are delighted to introduce our readers to a new Children’s graphic novel called New Shoes, written by Sara Varon.

“Francis the donkey is the best shoemaker in the village. He uses only the finest materials: coconut wood for the soles, goat’s wool for the insoles, and wild tiger grass for the uppers.

One day he receives a special order from Miss. Manatee, the queen of calypso (and his own personal hero). But he’s all out of tiger grass! To make the perfect pair of shoes, Francis must journey deep into the jungle…and that means leaving his village for the first time.”

Francis takes a journey into the jungles of South America where he meets an array of animals and makes new friends along the way. This new journey teaches Francis kindness and to have an open mind to all the different animals outside of his village.

We just loved this book and it is one of the more unique books that we have read on the #MelandNikkiReview. The layout of this child’s graphic novel reminds me of a comic book with the feature of comic strips throughout the book. I haven’t come across many books with this type of format but I loved it! The story flowed nicely in this format too and the pictures were super cute too!

We also loved the message in the book around kindness and respect to all animals no matter how different they are from one another. We can definitely use this lesson around how we treat others as people too! New Shoes also dips into teaching children about the different animals especially from the South America jungles and this piece is very educational. As we went through the story and were introduced to the many animals, I would have to say my favorite was the Giant River Otter – love them!!! *Momma Braga Fact: I have a soft spot for otters!!!

#MelAndNikkiReview

With all this being said, we have to give New Shoes, 5 shoes out of 5 for the great storyline, adorable illustrations and of course for the beautiful message that we should all adopt whether we are children or adults.

To purchase this lovely book for your collection, please click here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

My Mamma Wants To Eat Me Up

We truly love our books at our home as it is the most peaceful time for all of us. We especially love books done by local authors as those are extra special for us. This is why we were delighted to receive, My Mamma Wants To Eat Me Up, written by Faiza Venzant and illustrated by Patrick Girouard.

Of course as soon as we received this special book (before it hit the bookshelves) we had to read it right away. But before I go into the review of the book, I want to provide our readers with a deeper look at to how important this book is to the author, Faiza.

Faiza is a mother of two children. There is two year old, Qayam and almost one-year old, Malik. Qayam was born in November of 2015. During the first couple of months together, they spent it indoors since winter was in full force outdoors and spent their time with books and songs. Qayam loved music which inspired Faiza to create a song that she sang with him several times a day.

“Oh geez! Just my luck! I love you too much to eat you up. From the top to the bottom, from the left to the right, gonna love you all day and all through the night.”

When Qayam was about five months old, Faiza had the idea to expand the song into a story from his point of view and this is how My Mamma Wants to Eat Me Up! was born.

Now the story does not end there. In February 2017, Faiza gave birth to Malik who was born 13 weeks early and they spent 11 weeks together in the Neonatal Intensive Care Units of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and St. Michael’s Hospital. This was a terrifying, isolating and a difficult time for Faiza as she watched her son fight, thrive and cling to life. The only thing that she could do in the early weeks was hold and sing to him. Faiza would sing her song to him as she did with his brother and this brought her so much comfort and healing. The song was a powerful way to spend those crucial weeks together and it established their bond together. As he got stronger so did their bond.

When Malik was released from the hospital, it motivated Faiza to self-publish her book and she made sure to include a biracial child in the illustrations to reflect the diversity within her own family.

That is how it all began and we just love it as it’s inspiring for all of us as parents. We love hearing about the story behind the story and we have to say thank you to Faiza for sharing it with us!

#MelAndNikkiReview

So how did this book do on the #MelAndNikkiReview? I sat down with Nikki to get her thoughts on the book and what she rated it. You don’t want to miss hearing it below. 😉

As you heard from Nikki, she gives the book 10 stars out of 5! Of course you can not get a better rating then that! The book is easy to read and it was very easy to get into character as a parent. The illustrations are also very beautifully drawn and they are bright and appealing to the little ones. You may find yourself loving the book so much that you start telling your child “I want to eat you up!” Then your child might be like mine and say “That’s just like the book!” 😉

We highly recommend this book for children newborn to toddlers as they will all love it and parents will have fun reading it too.

This book is now available for purchasing (click here) and it would make a great addition to your little ones library.  Make sure to follow along on Facebook and Instagram too.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

My Pet Wants A Pet

Pets are great additions to families and they bring us so much joy. But what if our pet wanted a pet to care for and love like we do?

That is exactly what happens in the book, My Pet Wants A Pet written by Elise Broach and illustrated by Eric Barclay.

“Once there was a boy who wanted something to take care of. Something of his very own. He begged and begged his mother for a puppy. Until, what do you know? She said YES! The boy loved his puppy. He fed him and played with him and cuddled with him in his arms. But soon, the puppy wanted something to take of – something of his very own. So the puppy got a pet; then that pet wanted a pet…and on and on until – HELP! How many pets are too many?”

We just adored this book and we loved how each pet picked a pet that you would never expect to…but we think that is what makes this book awesome! This is why we give this book, 5 barks out of 5! The storyline is adorable and the message that we all want someone to care for us as much as we care for others is perfect! It is absolutely a sweet book for any child to read or have it read to them. The illustrations are also very beautiful and captivating with each page turn.

As we read the story, my daughter picked up on the common theme throughout the book. Therefore, I would ask her before I turned the page what did the pet want? She would excitedly tell me, “A Pet Momma!” Then as we turned the page and I told her that she was right, she boosted with proudness that she knew. That to me was perfect as I can see that this book has helped her pick up on a theme and learn it.

This is why we recommend this book to any little one who enjoys a good read and especially those who really love to care for people and furry family members. 🙂 If you would like to purchase this book, click here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

– Momma Braga

The Super Life Of Ben Braver

Packed with black-and-white art and comic strips throughout makes The Super Life of Ben Braver a hilarious adventure series that is perfect for the Marvel and DC superhero lovers in your life!

So what exactly is The Super Life of Ben Braver?


The synopsis: “Ben Braver is an ordinary kid. All he wants to do is finish his summer watching awesome TV shows and eating his favorite candy. But when some kid screams for help, Ben, like his favorite comic book heroes, tries to save the day. Let’s just say it ends badly. But it does lead him to a secret school where kids with super abilities learn to control their powers. Ben’s never had any powers – and never thought he could be special. So when he’s offered a spot at the school, Ben realizes this is his chance to become the superhero he’s always dreamed of.”

I have to admit that I couldn’t put the book down as soon as I started to read it and it had me laughing out loud many times throughout the book. It is creative, adventurous and it reminded me of the middle school days of fun! I loved the comics in between chapters as it brought the book to life for me and it provided the feel of a comic book but in a novel format. It was just perfect!

This is why we give The Super Life of Ben Braver 5 Boo-yah-ha out of 5! The characters are relatable, fun and easy to love. The story line is fantastic and I can’t wait to see the next book in the series! We recommend this book to children between the ages of seven and ten but really anyone above the age of seven will enjoy it.  

It shouldn’t be a surprise that this is a great book considering that the author is Marcus Emerson. He is the author of the hit Diary of a 6th Grace Ninja series and the Secret Agent 6th Grader Series. This will be the next great series of his as it truly is a cool book.

If you would like to purchase this great action and adventure filled book, please click here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

Adventures In Veggieland Takes Us On A Taste Bud Adventure

Melanie Potock is no stranger to the Momma Braga audience as we have featured her and her amazing books a few times and we just love her!

Therefore, I am delighted to say that Melanie is back but with a new and exciting book called Adventures in Veggieland. This new book is designed to help your kids learn to love vegetables with 100 easy activities and recipes.

We were excited for this book ever since we got a sneak peek of it!

Now I get to introduce all of you to this great book! Adventures in Veggieland takes us on a trip to healthy eating and it is done in such a colourful and fun way.

The book is divided into four parts: Winter Vegetables, Spring Vegetables, Summer Vegetables and Autumn Vegetables. This was very creative and makes the book flow nicely.

Throughout the book, Melanie gives parents a great resource and tool to be successful in making vegetables part of your family meal. Melanie states to just follow the “Three E’s”:

  • Expose your child to new vegetables with sensory, hands-on, educational activities. Such as create Beet Tattoos and play Cabbage Bingo!
  • Explore the characteristics of each veggie (texture, taste, temperature, and more) with delectable but oh-so-easy recipes such as Parsnip-Carrot Mac’n’Cheese and Pepper Shish Kebabs!
  • Expand your family’s repertoire with more inventive vegetable dishes – including a “sweet treat” in ever chapter. Enjoy Pears and Parsnips in Puff Pastry and Tropical Carrot Confetti Cookies!


Even though this book is around getting your children to enjoy vegetables, it is also great for us as adults too. Recently, we have started to make better eating choices for ourselves so the timing of this book was perfect!

Now we couldn’t do a review on an activity and recipe book without trying any of them. So we did! We of course are ready for Spring and Summer weather so we picked Asparagus (Spring) and Bell Peppers (Summer) to try out.

We first tried the Asparagus Logs which were a lot of fun to do. The beauty of each activity and recipe is the wealth of skills that each one provides to you and your little one.  For example in the Asparagus Logs provides a description, benefits and how to use the vegetable. Then you have your list of what you need and instructions on how to complete the activity and it is neatly divided on who’s responsibility it falls under (love that!). Then there are some tips and there is a brief description of how your child benefits from this activity – genius!

Nikki and I loved this activity and Nikki loved the feel and texture of the asparagus as she was building. It was a great activity to introduce her to this new vegetable.

“Always celebrate each tiny step and focus on the fun.” – Melanie Potock

The next one we tried involved one of our favorite vegetables, Bell Peppers! So we combined that with another love of ours which is kebabs. This one was a recipe and so simple to follow. Nikki loved helping put the bell peppers onto the skewers and it was delish!

I am sure we will be trying a lot more in the days, weeks and months to come. It is a great addition to our kitchen and our health thanks Melanie Potock for putting together another great resource for families to thrive.

So what do we give Adventures in Veggieland? We give it 5 veggies out of 5! It truly makes veggies fun and not so scary after all. If you would like to purchase this lovely book, please click here.

“Melanie Potock truly takes us on a taste bud adventure with this book! She offers amazing tips, activities, and recipes to make eating vegetables so much more fun for the entire family. A great resource for all parents.”
Melanie Braga, owner of Momma Braga, 2017 Blogger of the Year, and assignment editor at The Baby Spot

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32

We love books in our home and we get very excited to read new releases or even books that have not yet hit the book shelves yet.

This is why we were thrilled to get a new children’s picture book, Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32, written by award winning author B.C.R. Fegan and illustrated by Lenny Wen. This book is available this month (March 2018).

Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32 takes young readers on a journey through the magical Hotel of Hoo, a mysterious place with some very unusual occupants. As readers explore the strange hotel, they are invited to experience everything it has to offer with just one warning… don’t ever look behind door 32.

Behind each of the doors in the Hotel of Hoo, leading up to Door 32, readers meet and greet a bevy of characters who have taken up residence at the hotel, from ghosts cooking roasts, to paintbrush-wielding elves, tea-drinking monsters, miniature giants, and more.

This imaginative picture book aims to take children beyond the first ten cardinal numbers, and introduces them to the patterns of counting in a fun and accessible way. With rooms to explore and unique objects to count, children will enjoy lingering on each page as they make their way closer to the forbidden door.

We just loved the book with each page turn. I am a big fan of rhyming books as it makes reading so much more fun for me as a parent and the illustrations are very captivating throughout. This book is recommended for children ages three to eight and it will be one of our favorites for story time.

For this #MelandNikkiReview we give it “32 Doors out of 5” as we love the rhyming, story, characters and the fun learning incorporated in the book. The book was so much fun to read and I know you will enjoy it too!

As a special treat, Nikki did a video of her thoughts as a three year old on “Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32.”

You can purchase this lovely book on Amazon and I know it would make a great addition to your child’s story time. Make sure to follow this great author on Twitter too!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga