Tag: Teaching

Brunhilda’s Backwards Day

My daughter, Nikki and I were very excited when we got a new book to add to our story time line up called, Brunhilda’s Backwards Day. This book is written and illustrated by Shawna J. C. Tenney.


Brunhilda’s Backwards Day is an adorable children’s book that takes us into Brunhilda’s world which is full of witch trouble. Each morning she wakes up on the wrong side of the bed (yes she purposely does this, after all she is a witch), puts on her ugliest dress, eats spider mush for breakfast, and brushes her teeth with candy. She then looks in the mirror and happily observes, “You are utterly repulsive!” As soon as she leaves the house, she begins her trouble making ways and starts casting spells of chaos.

Then one night, Brunhilda’s cat decides to make trouble instead. The next morning Brunhilda finds herself having a backwards kind of day. It starts with waking up on the right side of the bed, having only a fluffy pink ball gown to wear, oatmeal for breakfast and toothpaste to brush her teeth instead of candy. On top of it all, her spells had the opposite effect and good was happening instead of bad. But with the good spells that she was doing she realized the reward of other people’s happiness was making her feel great. Brunhilda changed her ways for the better but of course she decided to still be her but a good her (minus the pink fluffy ball gown and I don’t blame her for that!).

Nikki and I give this book five witch cackles out of five. The story flows really well and it is an easy read. The illustrations articulate the story beautifully with the colourful pictures and characters. I honestly can’t get over how stunning the illustrations are!

The message that we got from this story is that being kind and nice to people makes you feel better than being mean. This is a great message for children to learn as it shows the effect of playing tricks can have on people and how being nice is the best way to be. This book beautifully portrays this empowering message clearly and it is done in the most artistic way for all to enjoy. It is better to be a nice person than a bully, that’s for sure!

We just adored this book and we think you will too! It is a great book for children ages 3 to 6 but I think even at 10 they would enjoy it too.

Looking forward to any upcoming books from Shawna J. C. Tenney. You can follow her on social media to keep up-to-date on what she has going on (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest).

To purchase this lovely book visit, https://www.amazon.com/Brunhildas-Backwards-Day-Shawna-Tenney/dp/163450691X.

Until next time…..Happy Parenting!

– Momma Braga


Bringing Family Mealtimes Back Into Our Homes

“Food is love, in so many ways.”

The moment I found out that I was pregnant with my daughter, I was thrilled! Of course, like many new moms, I read many books regarding motherhood and some were good but none really stood out for me until now.

I had the recent pleasure of reading, Raising A Healthy, Happy Eater, by Pediatrician Nimali Fernando (Dr. Yum), MD, MPH and feeding therapist Melanie Potock (Coach Mel), MA, CCC-SLP. This book provides a stage-by-stage guide to setting your child on the path to Adventurous Eating.


It was an easy and enjoyable read from beginning to end. The book provided advice tailored to every stage from newborn to school aged children; real-life stories of parents and kids that have been helped; wisdom from different cultures across the globe on how to feed children; helpful insights on the sensory system, difficult mealtime behaviours, and everything from baby-led weaning to sippy cups; And seven “passport stamps” for good parenting: joyful, compassionate, brave, patient, consistent, proactive, and mindful. This and more can be found in this incredible book. They cover many different challenges that can occur at meal time and offer creative solutions on how to overcome them. My favourite is the four tips on how to get toddlers to interact with familiar foods by making “same old” foods more appealing and “new” which were: Change up the color; miniaturize; serve samples; and play with food.

I couldn’t just do this review without actually trying one of these tips out. So I did! I took two of the four tips above and created the serving of samples. I took a six mini-muffin tin and placed small foods in each slot. I used some strawberries, blueberries, and cantaloupe to introduce my daughter to some new fruits. The result was priceless! My 1.5 year old was super excited to see these miniature fruits (I did cut them up tiny for her) and she was willing to try each one. This was a big step for her and one that we will continue to do in our home.

This book also provides great recipes to try and the neat part is that the recipes are from around the world. The two recipes that are currently on my counter is the Crêpes from France (pg. 155) and Friteeni Frittatas which is an oven baked omelet where you can use it to introduce new veggies into breakfast (pg. 178).

Throughout, Raising A Healthy, Happy Eater, there is a lot that they touch upon and as you read this book you may learn new things that you never knew before. I know I learned a great deal and two learning highlights for me were to use your words wisely. It is better to say that your child is an “exploring eater” or “learning eater” instead of the famous “picky eater”. Now when people ask, my toddler is an exploring eater. Sounds much more fun for me and her! Secondly, I learned that school-aged children who eat a fiber-less diet of the usual “kid-friendly” food such as pepperoni pizza and hamburgers can lead to chronic constipation, which can lead to bedwetting and urinary tract
infections. That was great to know!

“In our fast-paced lives, it’s easy to allow our children to overindulge or rely on unhealthy options, because we know they’ll enjoy them and, importantly actually eat them. Reality bites: It’s a chicken-nugget world out there, and it’s unlikely to change overnight.”- Raising A Healthy, Happy Eater

At the very beginning of this book, the authors articulate what they will walk you through in the book and they truly do fulfill it. You will learn the developmental process of how children learn to eat food of all kinds over time; help you expand your child’s diet; and how to use parenting strategies that work both in and out of the kitchen.

The message is very clear and important in this book and that is to bring back family dinners and to teach children (and us) a culture of wellness. With all that we hear of how society’s poor eating habits have led to epidemics of obesity, diabetes, and even cancer, this book would be a great addition to all households for parents who want to raise healthy children.

I give this book 5 nuggets out of 5 in this “chicken-nugget” world!

To purchase this book please click here.

For more information on the authors, please check out their websites and twitter handles listed below:

Melanie Potock (Coach Mel) http://www.mymunchbug.com/ @MyMunchBug

Nimali Fernando (Dr. Yum) http://www.doctoryum.org/ @Doctor_Yum

– Momma Braga

Teaching the Spirit of Giving

My parents were not born in Canada but emigrated here from Azores, Portugal in the 70’s and like many immigrants who were coming to Canada at that time it was for a better life and future. My parents did not have much when they arrived in Canada but were hopeful on the life they can build with the opportunities that were here.

Growing up I saw how much my parents worked to ensure that my sister and I had everything we needed. I remember seeing the struggling times and then some better times; above all, I always saw them give to others. They had their own way of giving and it would be discreetly as “you give from your heart and no one needs to know,” they would say. I always thought this was what we should always do so of course I inherited that mind set. It could explain why I wanted to go into social services and how it transitioned into fundraising as I have always had a passion to help others.

So now here I am in the most important role of my life, a mother. I have the opportunity to shape, guide and support the teaching of giving to my daughter.

Our first lesson of giving was making a toy donation during the Christmas season to a toy drive. The toy that would be picked would correspond with our daughter’s age. As she gets older, it will be her job to pick the special toy for the toy drive. This has become our family tradition and one that we can do together as a family. We will explain to her how important it is to give to others who are less fortunate and it not only makes other people happy but it does for us as well. Nikki won’t understand this yet as she is only 16 months old but it’s never too early to start teaching her.

As our little girl grows we will incorporate other ways to teach her the spirit of giving and done throughout the year. We feel that by teaching her the spirit of giving, it will lay the ground work for her to become a compassionate and giving individual to others. Giving does not mean monetary all the time as well and we will need to teach her that she does not need money to be giving. I came up with a list of ideas that can help teach children how to be giving.

1. Donate gently used clothes and toys
We personally do this one already as Nikki like many children grow out of their clothes and toys so quickly. When this happens we go through it all and give them to a family in need. If you don’t know a family to give to, then Goodwill will take them.

2. Volunteer
This is a great way to give and it does not require money but only time. Think of causes that are close to your family’s heart and volunteer. It could be at a food bank, toy drive, animal shelter, etc. The options can be endless.

3. Involve your child in the decision-making on a cause
Let your child tell you what they care about and what they are passionate about. It gives them more pride and drive in giving to something they really care about. If they love animals for example, they may want to support an animal organization or shelter.

4. Help a neighbour or someone elderly
This could be as simple as baking them some cookies as you see they are lonely or helping them shovel the snow. The simple acts are the ones that mean the most.

5. Create a ‘donate’ jar for change
Throughout the year you can put your spare change in this jar and at the end of the year, you can count what you have and donate it to a cause that the whole family cares about.

6. Have a ‘Charity’ Birthday
There are many ways of doing a Charity Birthday party but the concept is that a portion of the proceeds or presents will go to your child’s charity of choice. A great example of an online services that does this is called ECHOage.com.

7. Be a role model
Our children are like mirrors or reflections of us. When we lead by example, they will follow and then in turn they will become their own giving leaders.

If you would like specific ideas for you and your family, leave a comment below and I will help you with some ideas.

In the meantime, our giving lessons will continue in my household in hopes to create a more generous world.

– Momma Braga


This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

One of our Favourite Books, Grace

Nikki and I love story time and one of our favourites is, Grace. The reading is easy and the beautiful illustrations are so colourful – perfect to entice a toddler’s eye.

Grace is a story about a girl who loved to dance but after trying and trying, Grace gave up. To cheer herself up, she started to draw and found out that this was her very special talent that she could even share with her dancing friends.

I have had the pleasure to know the author and illustrator of Grace, Kate Parkinson, and I had the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her book.

Every book comes from inspiration and Grace was no different. “Grace was originally developed as part of my Masters thesis (University of Hartford) and based loosely on my own childhood as I was always good at drawing but not so good at ballet or singing,” stated Kate. “And so as a child I did lots of art. I still do of course. However as an adult when I draw, I sing loudly to Motown (and I really, really cannot sing!) and I dance whenever I feel like it!” Kate added.

When asked about the message the book is conveying to her young readers, Kate said, “Everyone has talents and just because you’re not gifted at something does not mean you should not do it. In the book, Grace wants to be a dancer but ballet just is not her forte. However, art is something Grace is good at and it enables her to find a way to be a part of the ballet class. On top of that, the unstoppable Grace still continues to dance just for the love of it.”

I say that is a great message to convey to young readers and Kate added that the themes of the story include: talents, self-esteem, acceptance, and belonging.

Since Nikki and I enjoyed Grace so much I asked if we can anticipate any other Grace adventures. Kate informed me that she is currently working on new story ideas with new characters for early readers (ages 3 to 6). I am sure it will be another great story and beautiful illustrations to go with it.

To learn more about this author please visit: http://www.kateparkinson.com

Grace would make a great gift for any early reader and could be purchased online at: http://www.amazon.ca/Grace-Kate-Parkinson/dp/082343317X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1447597396&sr=8-2&keywords=grace+parkinson


Nikki and I recommend this book and we can’t wait to see what else Kate Parkinson has in store for us.

A special thank you to Kate for her time and keep up the awesome work!

– Momma Braga

Furbaby and Baby Introduction

Our pets are more than just pets as they become a part of our family. When my husband and I moved into a place of our own, we knew that we wanted to share our lives with a furry family member. Instead of purchasing a kitten from a pet store, we decided that adopting a cat would be a better option for us. We adopted our furbaby, Lily (6), from a humane society in 2009 and she instantly brought great joy to us. Lily got lots of love and attention as she was our one and only. So as soon as we got the news of a baby entering our lives, we knew we had to start early in teaching Lily that a new family member will be joining us. With time and care we knew that they would become the best of friends really early on.



During my pregnancy and during preparation for the arrival, we would allow Lily to smell all the baby clothes and any other items we had for the baby. The beautiful part is that animals sense change and Lily knew that something was coming. Lily would lie her head on my tummy many times and our vet told us that she can hear the baby which we thought was amazing!

Before Baby Arrived Home

Since I had to stay in the hospital for a couple of days, it gave us the opportunity to bring home the blanket that our baby was wrapped in home first. My husband brought it home and allowed Lily to smell the blanket and kept it in a spot that Lily would sleep on. This blanket became Lily’s blanket and she loved it.

Baby Nikki Arrives Home

When we got home from the hospital we brought the car seat into our bedroom and placed it on our bed for Lily to see. Lily looked in the car seat and slowly smelled the baby. As it can be seen in the photograph below, Lily looked at my husband with inquiring eyes. We told Lily that her sister has arrived and that our love has just tripled for her. One more person to now love Lily and for Lily to love.


Baby Love and Bond

As the days turned to months, we slowly taught Lily what was ok to do and what was not ok to do with a baby. Lily learned quickly and bonded with Nikki very early on. At first, it was frightening for Lily to hear baby screams and cries but she adjusted quickly. Now Lily will run to Nikki if she is crying in pain and won’t leave our side until Nikki is ok. It’s amazing how Lily can tell the difference between a pain cry and just a fussy cry. Lily follows Nikki everywhere she goes and loves to play with her. The bond between them has been beautiful to see grow.

Nikki at 7 months old playing with Lily

Cat Love and Bond

Not only do we need to teach our furry family members how to interact with our babies, we as parents have to teach our babies how to interact with them as well. Of course, only as Nikki got older we started showing her how to interact with Lily. Babies can be very rough as they don’t know any better so I knew I had to patiently teach her how to pet and love Lily. Now at one year old of age, Nikki pets Lily with lots of love and as she pets, we say “nice”. This way she knows to be gentle. Nikki just adores Lily and every other cat and dog she meets.

The bond that they have created is heartfelt and sincere. I know that the love they have for each other will be treasured for the rest of their lives. We couldn’t see our life without either one of these precious babies together.

– Momma Braga