Tag: Product Review

Our First Date Night As Parents

I have read many articles on the importance of date night and always encouraged my family and friends to do them. However, I never took my own advice as where was I going to find the time?!

Well, opportunity knocked on our door as we were invited to a comedy event that was attended for a mature audience (due to explicit language). Now as a parent the first thing I had to do was to make babysitting arrangements for our daughter. Since Nikki is a bit older and loves to spend time with my mom, I asked if she could take care of her. Without hesitation, my mom was excited to spend a Saturday night with her granddaughter. So we were set!

I was very excited as it has been hard to find the time to have a date night since my husband has rotational shifts and Nikki use to not want to stay with anyone but us. Therefore, this was a rare opportunity but one that we were going to embrace.

Before date night I was telling one of my best friends how excited I was and then asked, “Does that mean I need to hold his hand?” She burst into laughter and said, “Yes you should Melanie!” I guess this is part of date night as it seems like forever I have gone on a date (hehe).

Date Night

Date night had finally arrived and Nikki was packed for a night with my mom. We dropped her off and we were on our way to eat some dinner before the show. It was really nice as we got to talk about everything and anything (with no kid interruptions). We had a nice dinner together and even held hands as we walked to our destination (Yes I did hold his hand). 😉

We also had nice weather as Spring decided to finally make a presence. It was just so great and relaxing. I guess since we have been together for almost 19 years, it was easy to go on a date again. You almost forget that before you were a parent, you were partners first.

Now it was time for the main event, Porkchops and Comedy.

Porkchops And Comedy Event

This event was presented by Comedy Portuguese and Melo Out Entertainment. It was a stand-up comedy show with Portuguese Comedians which made sense for us as we both come from Portuguese families. It was a packed house with 200 in attendance. Now when I go to events under the Momma Braga name, I bring my A game. This means I critique every single detail to ensure that if I talk about it, it is worthy of it. 😉

The event started with the debut of Ben Fate who performed for the first time and he did a great job. His rap was relatable to many in the audience. After the performance, comedy night was in full swing with comedians: Joe Botelho, Michelle Furtado, and Jeff E. They were all funny comedians bringing their own experiences for a good laugh by all. The next performance was a special cooking segment with Celebrity Chef Danny Raposo who showed us how to cook infused shrimp which was educational. Then it was the main event, comedian Mike Rita. Now I have seen Mike Rita live and he is funny. He brings his life experiences growing up in a Portuguese home which brings a lot of hilarious stories to share. Coming from a traditional Portuguese home, I know a few personal ones myself.

Now Mike Rita outdid himself on this night as he had both my husband and I laugh to tears. Every joke was done to perfection and the audience of 200 couldn’t get enough. It truly ended date night right for us as it has been so long that we have been able to go out and have a good time as a couple.

Momma Braga Event Rating

This wouldn’t be a Momma Braga piece if I didn’t include a rating for this event which I am delighted to say that it got a 6 stars out of 5! It offered a night full of entertainment with unique aspects and out of the box laughs. Special thank you to Jonathan from Melo Out Entertainment for having us attend as we had an amazing time.

From left to right: Melanie from Momma Braga and Jonathan from Melo Out Entertainment.

What I Learned From Date Night

I love it when we get to learn from our daily experiences in life and date night is no exception. Therefore, I feel like I should share what I have learned from having a date night with my husband.

  1.  I am literally very funny on date nights. Or my husband is just awfully sweet to laugh at all my jokes.
  2.  My husband talks a whole lot when our little one isn’t with us which was nice and it wasn’t just sports or work talk.
  3.  I loved being able to spend this quality time with my husband as it reminded both of us of how special we are to one another (I know sappy but true!).
  4.  We need more date nights!
  5.  I love holding my husband’s hand as he is my partner in this wacky journey called life and parenting.

Those were my takeaways and I am truly grateful to have had this date night, even if it was four years in the making. I guess it is true that good things are worth the wait; however, I know that I am not going to wait another four years for my next date.

I do recommend to try and find the time to reconnect with your spouse after having kids. Life gets busy and we can get overwhelmed with all that we are expected to do. That is why we need to get that time inked in. Also night outs don’t need to cost much as the most important part of date night is to spend time with your loved one. That is what mattered the most to me and my husband, that time together could never be bought.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

 

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Don’t Let Them Disappear | Book Review

Did you know that blue whales are the largest animals in the world? Or that sea otters wash their paws after every meal?

Both of these amazing species are now on the endangered list, along with many other beloved animals that we all know.

You can learn about them all in a new children’s book, Don’t Let Them Disappear, written by Chelsea Clinton and illustrated by Gianna Marino.

Synopsis

The world is filled with millions of animal species, and all of them are unique and special. Many are on the path to extinction.

In this book, Chelsea Clinton introduces young readers to a selection of endangered animals, sharing what makes them special, and also what threatens them. Taking readers through the course of a day, Don’t Let Them Disappear talks about rhinos, tigers, whales, pandas and more, and provides helpful tips on what we all can do to help prevent these animals from disappearing from our world entirely.

With warm and engaging art by Gianna Marino, this book is the perfect read for animal-lovers and anyone who cares about our planet.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Don’t Let Them Disappear pulls on all the heart strings for anyone who cares about the world we live in. I know it sure tugged at my heart as I learned of some of the most beautiful animals who are now on the endangered list.

With each page turn, you learn about an animal, where they live; their endangered status; and why. A child can learn so much through the detailed description given on each animal. My favorite animal is the Sea Otter and it broke my heart to see them on the endangered list. Nikki’s favorite, the Tiger which is also on the endangered list.

It is such an educational book for us all to read and we loved the end of the book where it includes a list of what we can do to help these beautiful creatures and planet. Bravo in including this!

We have read this book several times as there is so much to learn from it. We absolutely loved it and therefore we give this book 6 sea otters out of 5!

“I love all animals and it’s sad that these animals are going away. I hope we all work together to help them all.” – Nikki, Age 4

We recommend this book for readers between the ages of four to eight. If you would like to purchase a copy of this book, click here.

“Let’s make a pledge as fellow inhabitants of Planet Earth, that we won’t let any of these species disappear.”

About the Author

Chealsea Clinton is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World; She Persisted Around the World: 13 Women Who Changed History; It’s Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going!; Start Now!: You Can Make a Difference and, with Devi Sridhar, Governing Global Health: Who Runs the World and Why? She is also the Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation, where she works on many initiatives, including those that help empower the next generation of leaders. She lives in New York City with her husband, Marc, their daughter, Charlotte, their son, Aidan, and their dog, Soren.

About the Illustrator

Gianna Marino was born in San Francisco and spent her early years galloping horses through Golden Gate Park. She’s made a living as an apprentice to a muralist, a jewelry designer, a product designer and a horse carriage driver. Addicted to foreign adventure, Gianna has traveled worldwide, including Europe, Asia, Australia and Central and South America. Between explorations, she lives and works in Northern California and still gallops on horses.

 

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

* The book was provided to Momma Braga in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

The Nature Girls | Book Review

We are surrounded by nature and it is truly a beautiful sight when we take it all in.

It is also important for children to learn about  nature and what better way then through a book. We are delighted to introduce you all to, The Nature Girlsby Aki.

Synopsis

Aki’s The Nature Girls is a picture book starring an adorable troupe of girls exploring different biomes – the ocean, the dessert, the tundra, the grasslands, the forest – and meeting all the cute animals that inhabit them.

#MelAndNikkiReview

The Nature Girls is a delightfully charming art showcases the girls in scenes outdoors with bright, vivid colors. Aki’s simple lines bring this world of nature fully to life!

We absolutely loved this adorable book! It flows beautifully and the illustrations are simply perfect. The book is written in rhyme which is our favorite type of books to read. At the end of the book you get a brief description of each biomes which is very educational for all, including parents. 🙂

We have read this book several times as Nikki can’t get enough of it. She loved it so much that she wanted to tell everyone herself in this exclusive #MelAndNikkiReview video. You will need to click and watch to hear what we give The Nature Girls. 😉  

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

About the Author

Aki, whose real name is Delphine Mach, has been writing and illustrating since 2008. When she is not illustrating, Aki maintains a culinary blog (The 3 Sisters) that she shares with her sisters (who are equally passionate about cooking). She is the author of The Nature Girls.

 

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

* The book was provided to Momma Braga in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Borrowing Bunnies | Book Review

Ever thought about adopting or fostering a rabbit?

Then you will love reading this new children’s book, Borrowing Bunnieswritten by Cynthia Lord; photographs by John Bald; and illustrated by Hazel Mitchell.

Synopsis

Newbery Honor author Cynthia Lord likes fostering rabbits—or, as she fondly calls it, “borrowing bunnies.” This is the heartwarming true story of the author’s own journey with two very special rabbits.

In the spring of 2016, Peggotty and Benjamin were saved by Maine’s Cottontail Cottage Rabbit Rescue after their previous owners had neglected them. But before the two Netherland Dwarf rabbits could be adopted, Cynthia had to help them learn to trust people and feel safe inside a home. The bunnies slowly settled in, enjoying their clean pens, nibbling new foods, and playing with fun toys, while Cindy’s husband, John Bald, photographed Benjamin and Peggotty’s every step toward adoption. At that time, hundreds of viewers were drawn to Cindy’s Facebook page to watch their progress. Now, she has adapted the rabbits’ true story into a picture book that explores love, responsibility, empathy, and letting go—along with fostering’s many surprises, both big and small.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Borrowing Bunnies is a heart-warming story about one person’s personal experience in fostering bunnies. It is full of great information for anyone considering to get a rabbit.

Young readers will delight in watching these bunnies thrive while also learning a few fun animal facts. With Cindy’s pitch-perfect blend of warmth and real-life experience, Borrowing Bunnies is a new classic in narrative nonfiction.

The photos and illustrations will make you fall in love with each bunny as you go through their journey to adoption. The tips and personal story written will provide the deep appreciation of the amazing people who open up their homes and hearts to foster. Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give it 6 Bunnies out of 5! 

We recommend this book for children ages three to six. If you would like to purchase a copy, click here.

“Bunnies are SO cute! It’s important that we know how to take care of them.” – Nikki, Age 4

About the Author

Cynthia Lord is the Newbery Honor author of Rules and other middle-grade novels. Her first picture book, Hot Rod Hamster, inspired a bestselling series about a speed-loving hamster that also includes four early readers. Her chapter-book series, Shelter Pet Squad, appeared on the American Booksellers Association’s ABC Best Books for Children list. Cindy lives in Maine with her husband, John Bald, their children, and a collection of beloved animals, including three rabbites (so far!).

About the Photographer

John Bald is best known for his stunning photographs of landscapes and seascapes throughout New England, particularly along Maine’s rocky coastline. When he and Cindy fostered the family of rabbits featured in this book, he couldn’t resist documenting each precious moment – happy, sad, or silly – with his camera.

About the Illustrator

Hazel Mitchell is the author and illustrator of Toby, as well as the illustrator of several other picture books. When Fezzi and Dodger were old enough to have visitors, Cindy invited Hazel and other artists over to sketch and handle them. Hazel used those early drawings as inspirations in Borrowing Bunnies. She is originally from Yorkshire, England, and currently resides in Maine.

 

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

* The book was provided to Momma Braga in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

My Easter Basket | Book Review

For many an Easter tradition is egg hunting and it truly is a fun activity. Imagine all that excitement in a children’s books?!

We are delighted to introduce My Easter Basket, written by Roger Priddy and illustrated by Jennie Bradley.

Synopsis

My Easter Basket is an illustrated board book basket, with colorful, foiled Easter egg tabs and search-and-find scenes of busy animals on an Easter egg hunt.

#MelAndNikkiReview

My Easter Basket brings Easter fun in a book format and we love it! Nikki loved searching for the Easter eggs right along with the animals in the story. She has even promised that she will help her little cousin on Easter to find the eggs in the book at Easter time. Family bonding over a book is just perfect for this special holiday.

We absolutely love the cute basket-shape format which makes it easy for a child to carry the book around with them to enjoy. It is a colorful story of spotting all the eggs that the Easter Bunny has hidden on his rounds. It also provides learning about color, counting and matching through play. Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give it 6 Eggs out of 5! 

We know this would be an egg-errific book for a child for Easter and the best part is that it is sugar free. 😉 It is recommended for children between the ages of 0 to two years of age; however, a 4-year-old can appreciate it too as our daughter did. If you would like to purchase a copy, click here.

“Finding Easter eggs in a book is so much fun Momma! I was very good at finding them all too.” – Nikki, Age 4

About the Author

Roger Priddy’s passion for educating children through fun, informative and engaging books has led him to create some of publishing’s most enduring and successful non-fiction early learning books. Roger lives in London and has three children, who have been the inspiration behind many of his best publishing ideas.

 

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

* The book was provided to Momma Braga in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

The Night Before Easter | Book Review

Easter is quickly approaching and it is a holiday that we love celebrating in our home. We also just love the Easter bunny and this is why we are delighted to share a great Easter book with all of you.

Introducing The Night Before Easterwritten by Natasha Wing and illustrated by Kathy Couri.

Synopsis

“Twas the night before Easter, just before dawn, Not a creature was stirring out on the lawn.” Follow the Easter Bunny and his adorable chick assistant as they fill baskets with jelly beans and marshmallow chicks, hide colorful eggs, and get ready for one of the most festive days of the year!

#MelAndNikkiReview

The Night Before Easter would make a perfect addition to any child’s reading line-up and just in time for Easter. The Easter bunny takes center stage in this delightful spin on Clement C. Moore’s beloved poem which will have children hopping for joy.

We absolutely loved this adorable book! It flows beautifully and the poem adds that extra touch to make it special. The illustrations are super cute and they are perfect for this story. We also love how the book came with over 30 Easter stickers inside and Nikki was excited about this feature at the end. Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give it 6 Eggs out of 5! 

We know this would be an egg-errific book for a child for Easter and the best part is that it is sugar free. 😉 If you would like to purchase a copy, click here.

“I love this book so much and I can’t wait to see the Easter bunny for Easter!” – Nikki, Age 4

About the Author

Natasha Wing was born in Milford, Connecticut, in 1960. At the age of 20 she moved to Arizona where she finished college at Arizona State University in 1982 with a BS in advertising. In 1991 she decided to write children’s books. She sold her first book, Hippity HopFrog on Top, within six months and has been writing children’s books and articles ever since. The Night Before series began with The Night Before Easter and has grown into a best-selling series of more than 25 titles. She lives in Fort Collins, Colorado.

 

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

* The book was provided to Momma Braga in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

The Condo Kids | The Case Of The Disappearing Pool Monster

The Condo Kids are back in a whole new adventure and I can’t contain my excitement! I have been waiting for the next book to arrive and it finally has.

In case you missed our “The Condo Kids” reviews on Adventures with Bob the Barbary Sheep and Project Haunted Condo, feel free to click and check them out.

We are delighted to introduce you to the next book in the series, The Case of The Disappearing Pool Monsterwritten by Jackie Burns and illustrated by Ana Patankar.

Synopsis

Excitement is just an elevator ride away for brothers Noah and Michael, who are best friends with all the other Condo Kids in their building. This tight-knit group of pals just want to have fun, but always wind up in hilarious, sticky situations.

The latest adventure finds the Condo Kids on the hunt for a mysterious underwater monster rumoured to be living in the condo pool.

They investigate the situation and immediately realize something strange is going on, but how can they prove it? Every time adults are around, the mysterious creature disappears. To make matters worse, the parents think the Condo Kids are just causing mischief and threaten to break them up once and for all.

Will the Condo Kids manage to reveal what’s lurking below the water before their parents put an end to all of their fun? The pool monster’s life may depend on it!

#MelAndNikkiReview

The Case of the Disappearing Pool Monster is a perfect addition to The Condo Kids series. It will not disappoint especially if you are a fan of the adventures of The Condo Kids.

Absolutely loved the whole story and it had me laughing out loud as we just love the Condo Kids. All the amazing characters are back at it again with a whole new adventure of finding the pool monster and helping the “monster” live. It makes you realize how much fun condo living can be for kids as the adventures can be endless. Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give it 6 monsters out of 5! You will be hooked on this series as I know we surely are!

Wonder what adventures they will have next?!

Special thank you to the author, Jackie, for signing our book with a personalized message for Nikki. We will treasure it!

About the Author

Jackie Burns lives in a Toronto condo with her husband Anthony and their two adventure-seeking boys, Nathaniel and Benjamin.

She has spent more than 20 years working in the Toronto media as a reporter, online writer/editor and TV producer. She currently divides her time between freelance writing and baking for the many condo kids who are in and out of her kitchen.

About the Illustrator

Ana Patankar lives and works out of her beautiful cabin, surrounded by live volcanoes, in the evergreen forests of Patagonia, Chile, along with her web-designer partner, Mukul, and their talkative cat, Joshi.

She has spent almost 20 years illustrating children’s books, comics and graphic novels, many of which are circulating in the digital universe

We recommend this book for readers six to nine. If you would like to purchase this great book, please click here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

* The book was provided to Momma Braga in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed her

The Astonishing Maybe | Book Review

“A new friendship becomes the adventure of a lifetime.”

Synopsis

Gideon hates the idea of moving to Nevada from the East Coast. It’s so empty and hot in his new neighbourhood. Only one person his age lives nearby: the girl next door, Roona.

Gid notices right away that Roona is…different. She wears roller skates and a blanket as a cape when she needs to feel strong. What he doesn’t bargain for, however, is how far outside his comfort zone Roona will take him, as she enlists his help in finding her long-gone father. For a kid who’s not allowed to ride his bike more than a few blocks from home, this will be an adventure that changes his life.

#MelAndNikkiReview

The Astonishing Maybe was a novel hard to put down as it captivated my attention. It brought real issues into light and I loved that as topics of mental illness, abuse and family dynamics can be difficult to discuss. However, Shaunta brings it all together in a way to have middle school graders to understand.

Gideon comes from a very loving family. Roona has a dad who isn’t around all her life and her mother is battling a mental illness. Very opposite family dynamics but with the same capability of forming a friendship. Gideon and Roona find themselves in many adventures that lead to some sad discoveries and scary moments. However, their friendship prevails as they learn that they can truly count on one another.

Absolutely loved the whole story and yes I did cry at some points but these are the best stories as they really speak to us. Engaging a reader in emotion is always the best form of a compliment. Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give it 5 stars out of 5!

“I didn’t know what to do. My stomach hurt, my head hurt. I felt tears just behind my eyelids and I fought desperately to keep them in.”

About the Author

Shaunta Grimes has worked as a substitute teacher, a newspaper reporter, a court counselor, and a vintage-clothing seller. She lives in Reno with her family, where she writes, teaches, and perpetually studies at the University of Nevada. The Astonishing Maybe marks her middle grade debut. Visit her blog about writing at whatisaplot.com.

We recommend this novel for readers 12 and up. If you would like to purchase this great book, please click here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

* The book was provided to Momma Braga in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed her solely belong to Momma Braga.

Stencil Revolution | Product Review

Growing up I loved to draw, trace and just being creative. It is amazing how doing something creative would bring me peace and relaxation.

This is why I am excited to introduce you all to Stencil Revolution. They offer a huge variety of reusable stencils for artists and crafters for all types. You’ll find over 750+ different stencils with up to eight different size options to chose from. From large wall stencils to a variety of different mandala stencil designs, they’ve got it all!

We got to try out three of designs recently and we had a lot of fun trying them!

Canada Flag Stencil

Since we live in Canada, Stencil Revolution was very kind in sending us the Canada Flag stencil which Nikki loved! It is an easy to follow stencil and turns out great once you have completed it.

World Map Stencil

The world map was another stencil that we got to try out and it is always great to have the world at your fingertips. This stencil was a little hard for us to do as some parts were very tiny but it was accurate and a detailed stencil.

Unicorn Head Stencil

It appears that Stencil Revolution knows us very well as they included the unicorn head stencil which had Nikki screaming for joy. It was simple to use and of course it has been used many times with the same glee each time by my 4-year-old.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Overall, we enjoyed each stencil and it added to our creative craft time. We love the material used to create the stencils. According to their website, they use a 12 mil Mylar which is the toughest, safest consumer-grade stencil material available. It’s incredibly durable (tear proof) yet flexible enough to bend around surfaces if needed. It is resistant to most solvents and can even be washed with paint thinner! The material is also food safe and can be used for cookie stencils and baking. Now as parent, I can appreciate all that!

We also love the fact that Stencil Revolution is a small family owned company based out of Florida, USA. They manufacture and ship all of their craft stencils. We appreciate this family’s passion to do what they love to do each and every single day.

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give Stencil Revolution 5 Unicorns out of 5! The quality, durability, professionalism, and variety of designs is what stood out the most for us. I also have to admit on how easy it is to use gets this momma’s full approval.

If you would like to purchase or just check out the amazing options available, click here. *Warning: give yourself plenty of time to check it all out as their are so many great options to get lost in. 😉

Also make sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram to see all that they have to offer.

“With Stencil Revolution, your creative projects will reach a whole new level!” – Momma Braga

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

*Please note that the products were provided in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed are solely of Momma Braga and no compensation was provided for this piece.

 

Secret Engineer: How Emily Roebling Built the Brooklyn Bridge

We have been enjoying Women’s History Month as we have been reading some amazing books on women who are remarkable. In today’s book review, we are keeping up with this theme and introducing you all to Secret Engineer: How Emily Roebling Built the Brooklyn Bridgewritten and illustrated by Rachel Dougherty. 

Synopsis

On a warm spring day in 1883, a woman rode across the Brooklyn Bridge with a rooster on her lap. The rooster was a symbol of victory, and the woman was victorious.

It was the first trip across an engineering marvel that had taken nearly fourteen years to construct. The woman’s husband was the chief engineer, and he knew all about the dangerous new technique required to stabilize the massive structure. The woman had insisted she learn as well. When he fell ill mid-construction, her knowledge came in handy. She supervised every aspect of the project while he was bedridden, and she continued to learn about things only men were supposed to know: math, science, engineering.

Women weren’t supposed to be engineers. They were supposed to be: wives, mothers, homemakers.

But this woman insisted she could do it all, and her hard work helped to create one of the most iconic landmarks in the world.

This is the story of Emily Roebling, the secret engineer behind the Brooklyn Bridge.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Secret Engineer: How Emily Roebling Built the Brooklyn Bridge is an inspiration to any young girl to believe that she can do anything. At a time where a woman’s role was defined solely in the home, Emily rose above expectations and was instrumental in the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. We loved learning about this piece of history and the empowering story of Emily.

“Though Emily was born at a time when women were not given much education or professional opportunity, when life asked more of her, she rose to the occasion. Her mind sharp and her hands steady, Emily proved that women could be as successful in science and engineering as any man.”

For this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give this book 5 Bridges out of 5! We loved the history, empowering message and illustrations. We recommend this book for children ages five to eight.

 

About the Author

Rachel Dougherty is the illustrator of three nonfiction picture books: Your Life as a Cabin Attendant on the Titanic, and The Twelve Days of Christmas in Pennsylvania. She is a lifelong history buff and has always paid special attention to the stories of brave and commanding women. Secret Engineer is the first picture book she has both written and illustrated. She lives in Philadelphia. To learn more about Rachel, click here.

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

 

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

 

-Momma Braga

 

 

* The book was provided to Momma Braga in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed her solely belong to Momma Braga.