Tag: Tips

When Should You Be Thinking About Retirement?

(Image Source)

 

For a lot of people, thinking about something like retirement will always feel a little silly. Even after working for a couple of decades, it will still feel as though you have plenty of time to think about your escape from work. Of course, though, there is more to retirement than simply finishing your job. You have to prepare your life for this event, and the earlier you get started, the better. To help you out with this, this post will be exploring some of the key areas which you’ll need to consider when you’re thinking about the future.

Your Pension

Being out of work means that you’ll need to have some sort of funding for your retirement. In a lot of cases, people will save a pension for this, and this makes it far easier to have a comfortable life. To build something like this, though, you will need to be saving for at least 40 years. For those who want to retire at 65, they will need to begin the process of saving for a pension as early as 25 years old. A lot of normal jobs will cover this for you, but it’s worth thinking about, as a lot of people find themselves having to work for far longer than they expected when they make a bad move in this area.

Your Home

Along with having money to live on, you will also need to think about your living situation for the future. If you’ve manage to buy your own home, you should have everything you need to cover you, even if you end up selling the place to move somewhere else. Along with this, companies like https://yukana.org.au/ are worth talking to as you reach your later years. You can often plan ahead with a retirement home, booking yourself in to move once your age makes it appropriate. Living in a place like this will usually make your pension go a lot further.

Your Health

It’s a real shame, but a lot of people find themselves unfit to enjoy retirement once the day to leave work finally arrives. Health issues can make living at home into a pain, and there are few ways to make this better once your body has started to deteriorate. The exercise and time you put into fitness in later life can help to balance this out. Those who have spent most of their time nice and fit will have a much better chance of feeling good as they get older, though it isn’t always easy to connect your future body with the one you have today. You will always have the same bones, muscles, and other organs, and this makes it crucial that you look after them.

 

With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to take on the challenge of thinking about retirement before the time comes. A lot of people struggle with this, finding it hard to know when they should be starting work on this part of their life. In reality, though, this should start as early as possible, even if you have to put a lot of work into it in the process.

 

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Empowering Stay-At-Home Moms Through Job Coaching

Looking for employment is a difficult task to do and, in many cases, it becomes a full-time job in itself. There are many services that are out there that can assist; however, many lack specialized programs for stay-at-home moms in particular.

It’s a group that many forget and luckily one Toronto woman has not forgotten about empowering stay-at-home moms to enter or re-enter the workforce.

It is with great pleasure that I introduce you all to Stephanie from SAHM Coaching who I recently met at a mom market. I had the opportunity to sit down with Stephanie to get the inside scope on SAHM Coaching in this exclusive interview.

Tell me a little bit about yourself

I was born and raised in Toronto and love this city. I have a wonderful husband, who supports me unconditionally and two beautiful children, ages 9 and 11. I try to stay active. I’m doing a 10 KM race this May, I love working out and play baseball. I’ve been playing fast-pitch softball since I was 6 years old. I went to Ryerson University where I completed my degree in Human Resources and went on to get my professional designation from the Human Resources Professionals Associations as a Certified HR Leader. My HR career started in the telecom industry. Then I went on to work for a retail company and I’ve spent the last 14 years in the not for profit sector. I love the field of HR; I’ve been doing this for over 20 years. What I love about it is that I get to work with people. When you do that, you rarely get the same problem twice. Circumstances change and it forces you to really understand the subtle differences of each situation. Working side by side with my clients and helping them find the optimal solution is very satisfying.

What type of services do you offer?

SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) Coaching offers job search assistance exclusively to women who want to go back to work after being at home. This group includes women at various life stages. Some of my clients have been at home for a number of years, while others are coming to the end of their maternity leave and want to change jobs. I help them get their heads back into the game with someone who “gets it.” Working with me, women get tailored, one-on-one, insights and HR expertise into things like:

  • What kind of work can/should I do?
  • How do I search for work; make use of the best resources; etc.
  • How to build/refresh a resume (or cover letter) that gets noticed.
  • How to talk about your time off/gap in your resume in a way that employers will understand.
  • How to prepare for and answer questions during an interview.

What is your goal of the services that you provide and can you give us one success story that you can share?

What I’m offering women is a safe place for them to share their concerns, ask questions and get answers quickly. All with the goal of building their confidence and getting rid of the self-doubt, so they can be successful overcoming whatever obstacle it is that they are facing.

Yes, I’d like to tell you about Katie (not her real name). Katie was struggling with her job search. She previously had run her own business (since it gave her more time with her kids) but she and her partner had a falling out. She decided after running her own business for several years, that she was done. Instead she wanted to find a job where she could work Monday to Friday and not have all the demands of being a business owner. Her kids were older and it was a good time to make the transition. When Katie and I connected she told me she was struggling because she wasn’t having much success with her applications. She wanted to work with me on her resume and cover letter. Her resume needed a complete overhaul, so we redesigned it from scratch. During our session we also talked about how to structure her cover letter. That session was on a Wednesday, the following Thursday I followed up with Katie and she told me she applied for a job and they scheduled her for a phone interview. The company told her they were very impressed with her cover letter!

What made you decide to offer these services?

Because they don’t currently exist; at least not in the way I offer them. Sure, you can go to a Service Canada employment centre, and they will give you a general resume or interview information. Or you can go online and find a TON of info, but then what? Everyone is busy, I don’t think your readers have the time to go through it all. I’ve got 20+ years of recruitment experience and I can give women a direct line to the answers they are looking for. Plus, it’s so important for me to work side by side with my clients. It’s so much more effective. I’m not just telling them what to do, I’m also telling them WHY they need to do it. Why when you write a cover letter you format it a certain way. Why you use specific words in a resume. Why when you answer questions using this format it will resonate with employers. It’s only because I’ve been there, that I can offer this type of service.

If someone is interested in your services, how much and how can they get enrolled?

The first thing is to schedule a FREE consultation call. You can do this via my website, email me, or message me via my Facebook page. During the call I ask what they feel they need the most help with and what it is that each woman wants to accomplish. I also share more info about myself and will answer any question that they may have. In most, but not all cases, I ask to see a copy of their resume. After the call, I prepare a written recommendation outlining how we’d work together. In it I include the number of sessions required. Sessions are 45 minutes. You can purchase sessions individually for $60 each or (to save money) you can buy a package of 4 sessions for $200.

Thank you so much Stephanie for your time. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Sure, since you asked! Any time you are in transition or making a change, it’s bound to feel icky and uncomfortable. I want your readers to know that going back to work after stepping away is possible, you CAN do it, and with SAHM Coaching you don’t have to do it alone.

An inspiring way to end an interview! With the right coaching, inspiration and motivation, it is possible to enter or re-enter the workforce. I am so honoured to have had this opportunity to inform all of you of a service that is available, especially if it can help you succeed.

I use to be in the Employment industry many years ago (feels like a lifetime ago) and I helped many people find work. I know that with the extra support that my clients got, it helped them get their foot back in the door. Every little bit helps.

If you are interested in learning more about SAHM Coaching, make sure to contact her directly as she has a wealth of information and knowledge to offer.

Thank you again Stephanie for your time and empowering women every day!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

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

 

 

Things Every Child Should Learn

When it comes to teaching our children the skills they need to be the best in life, there are a lot to things to teach and many directions which we can go in this year. If you are looking to teach your child the best skills for their lives this year, here are just some of the ones to consider.

Ride a bike

When we look at some of the most iconic skills to teach to kids, we can’t not mention riding a bike. Riding a bike might just be the most obvious of all of the things to teach our kids and it is a huge challenge every step of the way. When you start off teaching your child to ride a bike you will want to think about using stabilisers and as time goes on you will be able to teach them to balance on just two. It could take a long time to teach this to your child but once they have learnt this skill it will stay with them for life!

Swim

Teaching a child how to swim is so important for you to do, and the earlier you can teach them the better. Choose a good swim school and take your child once or twice a week and let them learn how to keep themselves afloat above the water. Children are very adventurous and curious and they are prone to drowning because of this fact. If you can teach your child this essential skill you can let them into the pool and the sea without too much worry.

Throw a ball

Playing sports and games is one of those things which is great for the development of a child and it can be a wonderful skill for them to learn. Being able to accurately throw a ball and join in with games and open them up to a whole world of different sports and this could even become a hobby or career for them later on in life. It might take them a while to learn but it is the ideal excuse for some garden play dates on sunny days!

Look after animals

Looking after and being responsible for another living thing has to be the best way to prepare a child for their future. If you want to make sure that your child is able to live a great life and look after themselves, teaching them how to look after a pet can be a wonderful thing. You can get a pet hamster, fish or rabbit and let your child be the one responsible for looking after the animal. You can show them the importance of caring for another living thing and this will help them become more independent as they grow older.

Be kind

A smile, a hello, a please and thank you… to teach your child to be kind and respectful to other people is a skill in itself and one which you should definitely consider trying out this year!

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.

Spring Forward with Swimming Skills at Aqua-Tots Burlington

Many parents will agree that we are all just tired of Winter and are ready to embrace Spring with open arms. I know that I sure am!

Summer is not too far behind from Spring and many parents may start thinking of summer activities and vacation. These plans may often involve swimming or water so why not use Spring to get ahead and start or hone your child’s swimming skills? We took this question to the experts themselves to see the benefits of “Spring Training.”

We chatted with Nikki, General Manager at Aqua-Tots in Burlington to get the inside scope on having a child enrolled in multiple swim lessons per week.

Spring is in the air and that means Summer isn’t too far behind. What types of programs are available in the Spring to help children get ready for Summer?

We offer lessons 6 days a week here at Aqua-Tots! We usually recommend a 2 day-per-week plan for your child to really excel in their swimming. We see swimming as riding a bike – the more you practice the quicker you will learn. In addition to swim lessons, all of our members have access to our Family Swims every Sunday from 1 PM to 2 PM. Family swim is a great way for you to bring your children into the pool to practice skills they have learned in class, or just to have fun and splash around!

What are the benefits of taking multiple swim lessons per week?

There are many benefits to swimming multiple times per week – especially with Summer coming up! To name a few:

Muscle Memory

The more you practice a skill, the more your body begins to get comfortable and confident with the movements and it soon becomes second nature. Once you learn how to swim – it is impossible to forget, just like riding a bike!

Confidence

If you are looking to grow your child’s confidence around the water, exposing them to lessons multiple times per week will help them to understand the importance of lessons, it will also help them to gain trust with the instructor and the skills they are being taught in their class. When I first did a swimming lesson, I was eight years old! I felt nervous as I had never been in a structured swim setting. Once I realized I was capable of doing the skills the instructor was teaching, my confidence sky-rocketed and it became my passion. I went to become a Lifeguard and Swim Instructor and I cannot imagine my life without the pool.

Skill Progression

If you have your child enrolled in swimming lessons but feel as if they are reaching a plateau this is okay! Instead of taking a break from the lessons, this is a sign that it is time for more exposure to the water. By signing up for multiple lessons per week, you are giving your child more of a challenge and a new excitement for lessons.

Tell us a memorable moment of a child who has benefited from multiple swim lessons per week.

When we first opened here in Burlington, we had a student in our Level 3 Younger Leapfrog Class (2.5 years old) who was apprehensive about the water. During their first few lessons, she would cry for nearly the whole class only stopping when she knew it was time to go and see Mom at the end of class. As their parents grew concerned about whether or not they would able to overcome this obstacle, they decided to switch to a 2 day-per-week plan. What a difference 2 days-per-week made for this child! Within a week of the new plan, the once nervous swimmer was doing full submersions and completed many advanced skills. Now to this day, this swimmer comes into our facility with a big smile and can barely contain their excitement when Coach calls their name to enter the water.

What can parents do to help prepare their child for multiple swim lessons? For example, any worries they may have of the child being too tired.

There are a few things a parent can do to prep their children for multiple swim lessons. Here are a few we suggest:

Talk About It

Remember swimming is an essential life skill that your child absolutely needs to learn. As a parent, if you emphasize the importance of swimming, your child will grow to appreciate how special this skill is to daily life. Throughout the week, talk about how exciting it is that they get to swim at Aqua-Tots on Monday AND Wednesday now, for example. If they are with two different Coaches, talk about how fun it will be to see Coach A on Monday and then Coach B on Wednesday. If they are nervous to enter the water without you, remind them that “Mommy/Daddy watch swim class from the red chair and they come in the pool for Family Swim on Sunday.” Instead of saying “Mommy/Daddy forgot their bathing suit and cannot go in,” remind them of why you do not go in for lessons. Otherwise, they will have an expectation that you are allowed to go in for lessons.

Flexibility

We pride ourselves in our non-seasonal school and our ongoing schedule. You can utilize your 2 day-per-week plan in many ways. The first is a back-to-back lesson option. This is where you would have your child enrolled in two consecutive half hour lessons. If this is not an option for you, or you feel your child is too tired, try two different days of the week. For example, Tuesday evening and Saturday morning. When you’re in the water, you are invigorated by the splashing and the enthusiasm of the instructor! Your child might be a little tired AFTER their sim class but this is totally normal and a sign they worked hard and learned a lot in the water.

Family Swim

If you are still undecided about a multiple day-per-week plan, try to incorporate our Family Swim into your routine first. That way, you will be here once during the week for your lesson, and once for a Family Swim.

Any special promos for parents who want to take advantage of Spring time for more swim lessons?

This Spring we encourage everyone to take advantage of our Ollie the Otter package. Sign up for 5 months of swim lessons and receive your 6-month free, plus 10% off all retail and priority access to all special events. For maximum progression we also recommend that children swim multiple times a week and when upgrading your plan from 1 to 2 days per week or 2 days to 3 days, we provide a discount on the additional day being added!

Any other tips or advice you would like to provide to parents or children who want to be better swimmers?

The best piece of advice I would give to parents and children as a swim instructor and Lifeguard is to remember how important swimming is to daily life. There is so much water in the world and it is important to know how to swim not only for safety, but for individual confidence as well. Talk about how exciting the water is and make a big deal for every new swimming milestone. We say, “Turn Tears Into Cheers” – if your child does a submersion or gets the ring from the bottom of the pool, throw your hands in the air and cheer! This will show them that tackling your fears is something to be celebrated! Talk about how fun swimming is as much as you can and always try to provide your child with opportunity to take swimming lessons or come to a Family Swim.

Your child might not master all of the skills in their level within the first few weeks and that is totally normal. All it takes is continuous exposure and positive verbal reinforcement from parents/guardians and the coaches.

Always remember our Aqua-Tots motto, “Safety First, Fun Ever Second!” See you at the pool!

Special thank you to Nikki for taking the time to offer her expertise and we hope this information has enlighten you all to think about “Spring Training” with your little one for the upcoming water season.

We love Aqua-Tots Swim Schools as their programs and facilities are absolutely wonderful with families always in mind.

If you would like to enroll at the Burlington location, please contact them at 905.331.3393 or visit them online to learn more about their amazing programs.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

– Momma Braga

 


This article is a paid partnership with Aqua-Tots Swim Schools. Views and opinions expressed here belong to Momma Braga.

Fat is the new F Word

“Do I look fat?” – Nikki, Age 4

Words that I never thought I would hear my four year old say. Words that shocked, stunned and hurt me all at the same time. I thought I had a few more years to worry about body image. Let’s face it many of us have gone through it or possibly still going through it. I know that I did in my teenage years. However, I was not prepared or expected this at age four.

Only Takes One Word

It took only a simple sentence, “How was your day today?” Then the tears started to roll down her precious face. My daughter looked up at me and said, ” Do I look fat?” I wondered how and why this came up. I told her that of course she was not fat and asked her where she got that idea from. She started to explain that a little girl from her class keeps calling her fat and has even started to tell the other kids in the class that “Nikki is fat.” After further discussing the situation, it appeared that this has been happening for a couple of months. At this moment, I felt my heart completely shatter as words were hurting my child and I know that words hurt so much more.

For the first time, I saw the confidence that my daughter exemplified fade away with just one little word. One little word that chopped down her self-image that we have been working so hard with her to maintain. At first I felt defeated like I have failed somehow in this parenting journey but then I remembered that we are just getting started.

Plan of Action

After getting Nikki’s side of the story, it was time to put a plan of action on what we were going to do next. The first step was to talk to Nikki and remind her of what she needs to do in school when she finds herself in this type of situation again. We gave her the following three steps to follow:

  1. Tell the child to stop and tell them why you don’t like what they are doing. In this situation, tell them that they are hurting your feelings.
  2. Tell the teacher what is happening as they need to be aware of what is happening in the classroom.
  3. Tell parents and discuss the situation.

Now as a parent, I had to take action as well as I needed to bring my concerns to the teacher and have it addressed immediately. The process at my daughter’s school is to write in a communication book that the teachers review every day and this is where I wrote my (lengthy) note. However, with my emotions on high, as soon as I saw her teacher on the morning drop-off I spilled my heart out. I informed her of everything that happened which also shocked the teacher. She informed me that this behaviour was not acceptable and they would have this conversation in class. This made me feel a little better but not completely.

As I waited for my daughter to go into school that morning, she became the Nikki that I love and raised. She confidently walked about to the little girl who had been calling her fat and said, “I didn’t like what you said about me and that is not very nice. So stop!” The little girl looked stunned and Nikki walked away to line up to go into class. She then turns to me and gives me a thumbs up and a wink.

It was an extremely proud moment for me as Nikki stood up for herself. Her confidence was inspiring!

 

Building Self-Image

We are starting the re-building phase of a very impressionable 4-year-old. We remind her every single day that beauty is only skin deep and true beauty is within. She needs to love herself and the only opinion that matters is her own. If we can empower that, then I know she will be set for life.

Self-image is so important to build and we realize now that it is a daily lesson for us all.

Today’s Lesson

With every parenting situation we come across it becomes a learning opportunity. This was one for my books as body image and bullying was not in my 4-year-old forecast. But it is now and we are working together to combat it.

My advice to other parents is to talk with your children about body image and let them know that certain words hurt people. If your child is being made fun of, let your child know that it isn’t right to do it back too and they can follow our three simple steps above. We had to make sure our daughter knew not to retaliate as it wouldn’t be acceptable.

It’s important to stop the cycle instead of encouraging it as part of the “normal” for kids. Also make sure your kids love themselves. If we truly love ourselves, our self-image will always stay true.

So far, that little girl has been nicer to Nikki and does not call her “fat.” I’m hoping that this new “F” word doesn’t make an appearance in the classroom again. However, I am confident that if it does we will all be ready!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

 

 

The Happy Book | Book Review

As a parent we realize that it can be difficult for a child to understand and express their feelings at a young age (let’s be honest, as we get older it can still be difficult). It appears that in the toddler years, these emotions are more intense as they try to figure it all out and as they get older they start to slowly start to learn. We are still in the high emotion phase with our four-year-old as she tries to grasp and understand her feelings.

Therefore, The Happy Book by Andy Rash, was a great welcome in our home.

Synopsis

Camper is happy as a clam and Clam is a happy camper. When you live in The Happy Book, the world is full of daisies and sunshine and friendship cakes…until your best friend eats the whole cake and doesn’t save you one bite.

Moving from happiness to sadness and everything in between, Camper and Clam have a hard time finding their way back to happy. But maybe happy isn’t the goal — being a good friend is about supporting each other and feeling all the feels together.

 

#MelAndNikkiReview

A children’s book filled with the different emotions a child can feel is absolutely perfect! We love the journey that the book takes us and how we get to visit some of the different emotions and why each character was feeling that way. We were able to pause throughout the book to talk about each feeling. Happy, sad, anger, and scared are very well described for a young child to understand and the characters were great. Camper and Clam are a great duo!

The illustrations are colorful and fun. It fits in perfectly with the story and message about friendship as we go through the rollercoaster of feelings. A fun read for all and it offers so much to parents as it opens the conversation of feelings and friendship.

“They have lots of feelings like me. I like how they talk about it together.” – Nikki, Age 4

For this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give The Happy Book 5 rollercoasters of feelings out of 5! We recommend this book for ages three to seven.

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.

Bearnard’s Book | Book Review

Wouldn’t it be grande to have a story written about you? But what would it be about? For Bernard the Bear, he found himself in this exact situation.

We are delighted to introduce you all to, Bearnard’s Bookwritten by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Misa Saburi.

Synopsis

When Bearnard gets an invitation to be in a book, it’s a dream come true! But as he reads up on what starring in a book might actually entail, he wonders if he’s not quite the right bear for the part. With the help of his friend Gertie, Bearnard discovers that to shine in his story, he just needs to be himself.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Bearnard’s Book is absolutely adorable and one with a very important message; be yourself. You can’t help but feel bad for Bearnard as he worries that his story isn’t as exciting as he thinks a story should be. Bernard goes through exploring to see what story he could do and by the end he realizes that the best story is just to be himself.

We loved reading this book as it was full of charm and all about self-acceptance. The story even brought the conversation about what kind of story would we write about Nikki and the ideas were flowing through the gates. Nikki got really excited and starting telling me all the types of stories that could be written about herself. It was amazing to see that Bernard’s Book brought out the excitement about Nikki writing a story about her energetic self. This book is truly a wonderful read and we recommend it for children ages four to eight.

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give Bearnard’s Book 5 Bears out of 5!

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.

Love | Book Review

Love comes in many different forms and their meaning is unique to each individual. That is the beauty about love as there are so many ways to express it.

Lovea children’s book expresses love in the simplest form to have children understand all its glory.

Synopsis

Love is the melody that follows us through each and every day of our lives. Whether it’s the sound of our lives. Whether it’s the sound of our parents’ voices lulling us to sleep, the joyful laughter of an uncle’s latest tall tale, or the warm embrace of a loved one telling us everything will be okay, it’s a feeling that takes countless forms and ultimately connects us all.

In this stirring celebration of love, Newbery Medal – winning author Matt de la Peña and bestselling illustrator Loren Long depict the many ways to experience this universal bond. With heartfelt illustrations and a soothing, lyrical text, this  tender tale is a needed comfort and a new classic that will resonate with readers of every age.

#MelAndNikkiReview

We loved the book Love! A beautiful children’s story that takes us on a heart journey. It beams with feelings and allows us to see the many different forms that love can be expressed in. Love can be as simple loving the surrounding that you are in. This book was articulately written and the illustrations are captivating. Within each illustration an expression of love is showcased such as providing food to someone homeless. The diversity illustrated in the book is also heartwarming to see as love is diverse.

We also love the added touch on the back where you can write your child’s name where it says: “This Love Belongs To.” Our daughter is practicing writing her name so we got her to write her name out as it made her feel extra special.

For this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give Love 5 hearts out of 5! We also recommend the book for children ages four to eight. An amazing read that reflects the love that is in a child’s daily life. Also a great reminder for all that we are surrounded by love every single day.

If you would like to purchase your own copy, click here.

“I LOVE love!” – Nikki, Age 4

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.