Tag: Toronto

A Little Leafy Is “Punny” And Amazing!

Laughter is said to be the best type of medicine and who doesn’t like a good laugh?! I know that I love laughing and definitely like to make the people around me laugh.

This is why when I met Stef from A Little Leafy at the Baby Show in Toronto this year, I fell in love with her business! So what happens when Momma Braga likes a company, we write about it of course!

We had the sincere pleasure to interview the creator and business owner, Stef who gives us the inside scoop on everything, A Little Leafy.

Tell me a little bit about yourself.

“My name is Stef and growing up I was the kid who spent her days drawing and wanting to make everyone laugh. That creative passion is what drove me to be accepted into an arts program which lead to graduating as a Graphic Designer. My motto is “a little can do a lot,” not only because I am quite little in size, but also because I believe a little chuckle can go a long way in brightening someone’s day – and that is why I do what I do!”

Tell me a little bit about, A Little Leafy and the products you sell.

“A Little Leafy is where you can find “punnies” that have come to life. The majority of my illustrations include a pun or cheesy joke, accompanied by a smirking comical character! My illustrations are available on a wide range of ever expanding products! Some fan favourites are Mugs, Cards, Prints and my all new Stickers!”

What inspired you to create your business?

“Two years ago, right before I opened my shop, I was severely injured, I slipped a disc in my back and had to leave my job. I was instructed to stay laying down in my room as my back recovered, and this led to my illustrating some punny comics to cheer myself up and release my creativity. I’ve combined my love for a good laugh with my art and so began A Little Leafy!”

What do you hope your customers get from purchasing your products?

“My biggest goal is to spread smiles, and I love that I am able to make someone laugh through one of my punny creations. It really is the littlest things sometimes that can make a bad day into a good one (nudging back to my shop motto), and whether I get a smile, chuckle or slapping your knees laughter – I’m honoured to be part of that reason!”

Where would you like to see your business in five years?

“I hope that my punnies will spread laughter from home to home, and grow to reach new people! I absolutely love being a small business owner and being able to use my art to make others smile, so if I can continue to do so and extend the amount of people my company can reach – I would be ecstatic! I love doing this, and my shop is not just what I do, it is me!”

If someone is interested in purchasing products from you, where should they go? Do you do custom orders?

“I currently have an online shop linked on my website where you can purchase my products! For my local friends I also have a shop nook inside Arts Market on 846 College Street in Toronto – and in addition to that I am always popping up at a local market and love meeting my customers! Custom orders are always welcome, I love personalizing my designs to fit my customer’s needs!”

You are a young and inspiring woman, what advice can you give to a young person who may want to pursue their own business?

“My advice would be to go for it, no matter what. I have had to deal with many people, and I still do to this day, that will want to give you their opinion. In most cases unfortunately it’s negative, because the truth is most people don’t like taking risks. If you never try, you’ll never know and worse than that – you’ll regret never trying. Just keep powering through, keep being positive and keep doing you, because those same people will come to you at the end and instead of saying you can’t, they’ll be asking how!”

What would you say has been the biggest help in you pursuing your dreams?

“The biggest help for me is definitely my family. They not only encourage me, my family also stays up late keeping my inventory organized. I bounce my ideas off of them and not only do they help me physically putting up and taking down show set-ups – but they are also by my side helping me sell! A Little Leafy would not be where it is today without my little sister, Tori. She helps me literally almost every single day, with anything I need. She’s been my biggest supporter from the beginning and I’m truly grateful to have been blessed with an amazing sister. In all fairness I DID ask Santa for her when I was 3…”

Lastly, is there anything you would like to add for our readers?

“I would love to say thank you! Thank you so much for taking the time to learn more about me, thank you for smiling at my punnies and thank you for supporting my dream! It truly means the world to me!”

Thank you Stef for giving us the opportunity to interview you and your amazing business!

It is hard not to giggle or smile when you see a creation by A Little Leafy! I loved it so much that I had purchased a mug and a bib from them with some really punny creations on it. I have also included them in my gift giving this year.

What stands out with A Little Leafy is something that you can’t really buy and that is passion. When you meet Stef or when you deal with her company, you can’t help but notice the heart she puts behind everything she creates. She honestly LOVES (I think more than I do of my blog – didn’t think that was possible) what she does and it is reflected in her creations and in her interactions with her customers. That in itself is what makes A Little Leafy part of Momma Braga’s Recommended List.

If you are looking to see the products available you can check out her Etsy shop, or her location at 846 College Street in Toronto. But A Little Leafy also shows up at local events and some that she will be at this November are the following:

Saturday November 4 from 9am to 1:30 pm at The Vaughan Market Place, 1 Villa Royale Ave., Woodbridge, ON.

November 17, 18 and 10 at the Seasons Christmas Show at the International Convention Centre.

Make sure to pass by and say that you read about her on Momma Braga! 😉 Make sure to follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Can’t wait to get my products for my loved ones for Christmas!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga


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The Condo Kids: Project Haunted Condo

The Condo Kids are back and just in time for Halloween!

I was very excited to see the next book release for the Condo Kids as I loved the first one, The Condo Kids: Adventures with Bob the Barbary Sheep. I was curious to see what kind of adventure the condo kids were going to go through in this next book.

The Condo Kids: Project Haunted Condo has all the amazing condo kids that we fell in love with in the first book and this time their adventure involves finding a ghost. Noah, Michael and their friends embark on a spooky adventure to try and solve the mystery that has become the talk of their building. There have been reports of disappearing food, vanishing wigs and mysterious white flashes which could only mean one thing – right?! You will need to read the book to see if the Condo Kids solve this mystery or if they get outsmarted.

We give this book five ghosts out of five. The book literally had me giggling out loud. The imagination the Condo Kids is amazing and is reflected in the adventures that they have. I truly love the storyline and how much fun these children have living in a high rise! It truly is such a delight to read from beginning to end. Oh! At the end you get a little taste for the next upcoming Condo Kids adventure – can’t wait! Another great job Jackie Burns!

 

I recommend to check out The Condo Kids especially if you have children in the 6-9 age group and they don’t need to be living in a condo to appreciate the story. Not only is this book entertaining for children to read but when you purchase this book, 10% of book profits go directly to support Earth Rangers. Earth Rangers is the kids’ conservation organization, dedicated to educating children and their families about biodiversity, inspiring them to adopt sustainable behaviors and empowering them to become directly involved in protecting animals and their habitats. Talk about wins all around!

Please feel free to visit Amazon or The Condo Kids website to purchase the book directly.

Looking forward to the next book in this series! You can follow The Condo Kids on social media to keep up-to-date on what’s going on (Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest).

Until next time…..Happy Parenting!

– Momma Braga
#MelandNikkiReview

Learning Swim Skills Through Aqua-Tots Swim School

Every year we hear about children falling into pools or waters and drowning and it’s always tragic to hear. This is why we felt it was important to have our daughter learn to swim. Of course we will combine the swim lessons with water safety and what to do in case of an emergency.

Therefore, my sister-in-law was on the case to help me find a swim school that would be a great fit for our family and provide the program that would teach the skills that my daughter needed to know. After a lengthy research she found the Aqua-Tots Swim Schools.

The school was originally founded in Arizona in 1991 and has grown considerably over the years to have a strong North American and international presence thanks to its carefully crafted swimming program for children. Aqua-Tots Swim Schools Mississauga is the first Aqua-Tots location in Canada and has had its doors open to the Toronto West and Mississauga communities since January 2017.

With a focus on safety, a heated pool, a facility designed for families, and on-going progress reports across eight swim levels, Aqua-Tots Swim Schools introduces babies and children of all ages to safe swimming and water practices. Open six days a week, with flexible morning and afternoon lesson times, the swim schools offers a range of classes.

Aqua-Tots Swim School had a great history and structure and we loved their mission statement: “With more than 80 swim schools worldwide, Aqua-Tots was founded on the principle of equipping children with life-long water safety skills. Aqua-Tots Swim Schools is committed to helping children of all ages develop these life-saving skills through an engaging curriculum that is especially designed to complement each child’s life stage.”

Photo Credit: Aqua-Tots Simming School Mississauga

This is exactly the type of school that we were looking for and therefore, Nikki was registered in the Beginner program which is Level 3, LeapFrogs.

Aqua-Tots Swim Schools, teaches babies as young as 4 months old and children of all ages how to be safe in and around water and develop a love for swimming. Each of the eight levels has a focus that’s specific to the age and ability of the child. For example, the Level 1, Tadpoles class is for guardians and infants and focuses on water adjustment. Additionally, attention is on safety and breath control.

Level 2, Minnows, on the other hand, is still a guardian and toddler program, in which toddlers learn about the importance of boundaries in and around water with an ongoing focus on safety. Each new level develops at a comfortable pace for the child. Advanced levels, such as seven and eight have little ones working on the butterfly stroke and building endurance after they have mastered the other main strokes.

Photo Credit: Aqua-Tots Swimming School Mississauga

Our first swim lesson was scheduled on a Sunday afternoon and we made it a family affair. I have to be honest as that is the only way I know how to be but I was very nervous for many reasons. One reason was on how Nikki was going to react going with the instructor to the swimming pool without me and the second reason was on her safety. I think it is natural for us parents to feel like that especially with something new.

The time came and it was time for Nikki to start her class. The instructor called her name and took her hand and her progress sheet (I like to call it her report card) and off they went. To my surprise Nikki didn’t even turn back to say good-bye and I can feel the tears welt up in my eyes. I sat down to watch the class in session and she was a real pro looking like she was in her element. I couldn’t help feel really emotional and proud at the same time. The first swim class was a wrap and Nikki fell in love with swimming!

We started our swim classes in July and are still continuing once a week. We have changed the format of her swim classes from group to semi-private classes and even the day of the week that we wanted to have it on. So we love the flexibility that they have been able to offer for families. Nikki has improved her confidence in the water and has really picked up on the skills quickly. But we know with time, she will be swimming to her hearts content soon.

For this #MelandNikkiReview, we give Aqua-Tots Swim School 5 LeapFrogs out of 5. Here is why we love them:

  • Great programs that are tailored to toddlers and children to help them gain the skills needed to swim.
  • Flexible schedules available for families which is so great for working families.
  • Clean and safe environment. They are extremely clean and have safety in mind. As a parent, it is important to learn about your swim schools safety procedure.
  • Caring instructors and staff members who make you feel like part of the family.
  • It’s fun! Your child learns and has fun at the same time.

If you are looking for a swim class for your child then we suggest looking at Aqua-Tots Swim School. Enrolment is on-going, season-neutral and takes less than 5 minutes to complete. Visit Aqua-Tot’s website to read about the different levels of swimming lessons https://www.aqua-tots.com/swim-lessons/swim-levels/. If you are in the Mississauga area you can call the Aqua-Tots Swim School at 905-848-2782 which is located at 1970 Dundas Street East, Unit 6. Also make sure to follow them on Facebook to see what’s new. For Aqua-Tots main office, follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Special thank you to Natalia from Aqua-Tots Swimming School Mississauga for taking the time to contribute some background information to this article and to the staff at Aqua-Tots for making swimming so much fun for my daughter.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*Please note that this not a paid or sponsored post. This article is an honest review of services that we have used and are currently using.

 

Iconic Attraction Full of Knowledge, Science and Fun

“Inspiring a lifelong journey of curiosity, discovery and action to create a better future for the planet.” – Ontario Science Centre

Toronto, Canada is the city that I was born and grew up in. Therefore, it is a city that I hold dear to my heart. It has so much to offer to their residents and to those visiting from out of town. This could be why The Baby Spot (global parenting magazine) has named Toronto the city of the year for 2017.

There is so much to do and see in Toronto and one particular place that should be on everyone’s list is an iconic cultural attraction called, the Ontario Science Centre. It is full of knowledge, science and fun for everyone in the family with no age restrictions.


My family and I visited the Ontario Science Centre this past summer and I have to confess that I don’t remember ever visiting them (maybe when I was much younger on a school trip). So it was a great opportunity for my three-year old daughter and I to experience a first together.

When we arrived at the Centre, I could not help but notice that there were a lot of people visiting and knew it must be a special place. One very important piece that I have to mention is that even though it was really busy, the Ontario Science Centre is so big and entertaining that we didn’t feel crowded. I think this is an amazing feature as it can be stressful to be in a place that feels overwhelming with big crowds.

We grabbed a map at the entrance which I highly recommend to everyone as it helps with guiding you through the six levels at the Ontario Science Centre. Yes you read that right – six levels of fun!

I will highlight our most memorable activities and provide a few tips along the way.

Kidspark 

Kidspark would have to be our favorite part of the Ontario Science Centre as there is a lot to do there for our toddler. It is divided into two sections which I thought was neat and a great way to space out the crowds. Kidspark is the opportunity to ‘spark’ your child’s imagination and curiosity through play, building, water, music and so much more. This is ideal for kids eight years and younger and if you are wondering if your toddler or infant can have fun, they sure can! There is a designated play area for children three years and younger which my daughter truly enjoyed.

Special Exhibition

The special exhibition hall which is located on Level 6 is a space that is changed every 4 – 6 months or so. On our trip the exhibition was the Wildlife Rescue which we really enjoyed. This special exhibition took us on a journey to Africa and Indonesia where we saw the dedicated efforts of caretakers who successfully raise and release young elephants and orangutans to the wild. We explored the innovative ways used to capture, raise and release endangered species back to the wild in the Species Recovery Center. This was very insightful for us to learn and it was great for our toddler to see. This exhibition has just been extended until October 9th so if you haven’t seen it yet, you should make some time to check it out!

TELUS Rain Forest

You don’t need to travel far to experience the rain forest ambience as the Ontario Science Centre and TELUS brings it to you. It is absolutely breathtaking and it was my favourite part of our trip. You can walk up near the waterfall and there is a bridge that you can brave to cross (I made it safely). 😉

After crossing the bridge there are some reptiles that you can see secured in their spaces and a description of what they are. You also hear thunder in the rain forest which really makes you feel like you are really there. *Momma Braga Tip: If you are looking for a great place to take some photos in, this is the place!

The Maple Leaf Forever Tree

The Maple Leaf Forever Tree is a sight to see and we really loved seeing this beauty! This tree is a sculpture created by the Ontario Wood Carvers Association from part of the silver maple tree that inspired Alexander Muir’s 1867 song “Maple Leaf Forever.” It features 35 hand-carved leaves, each depicting a historically-significant person, place or event in Toronto’s history, the sculpture is the result of more than 10,000 volunteer carving hours. This beautiful artwork was formally handed over to the Science Centre on July 19 of this year, in celebration of Ontario 150. It is definitely something to see during your visit!

The Ontario Science centre offers top science experiences, memorable exhibitions, engaging programs and breathtaking films so that visitors can do far more than observe; they can interact and participate.

We learned so much and it really got us all to think a little more. You can tell that a lot of thought and planning goes into the layout and exhibits on each level.

A really neat part of the Centre is that you can find healthy snacks to purchase and there is a restaurant on level 6 called the Valley Restaurant with yummy and affordable options to eat. But if you want to pack your own lunch you can and there is space to eat in or you can enjoy the Terrace on Level 3 where you can eat outdoors. I really love this option to bring your own food and I am sure many other families love it too!

We will definitely go back to see what new and exciting things they will have for us to see and learn. The learning opportunities are endless for any age and I think that is what we loved best. We highly recommend to put the Ontario Science Centre on your list to visit. We do recommend to check out their events when planning your visit, make sure to visit their calendar and see how you can plan your next visit.

If you are interested in purchasing your tickets online you can and if you would like to make a donation of a gift of science you can also do that. To learn more about their donation program, please click here.  Make sure to follow them on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter to see all the neat things that they are doing.

Special thank you to the Ontario Science Centre for having us and keep inspiring minds. See you again soon!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga


 

 

 

 

*Please note that this article is not a sponsored or paid post. 

A Widow’s Perspective: Life without Your Life Partner

“My life is extremely full, I wouldn’t have it any other way!” – Kim

Kim Sutherland is a working mom with two grown boys, ages 22 and 17. Kim has enjoyed a full time career in the travel industry for 20+ years. About ten years ago she opened up her own décor business, as she always had a desire to be an entrepreneur and gain some additional income.

Kim has a busy schedule; however, she is careful to build in time for herself, her family, and volunteering. Kim fosters Labrador Retriever puppies for Dog Guides of Canada. She provides a loving home, follows specific training guidelines to prepare the dogs for their future “service” to a Canadian with a disability. All of the above keeps Kim very busy, and she says she wouldn’t have it any other way.

What many people may not know about Kim is that she is a widow and became one at a young age with two young children to care for. You can say that her world was rocked but how she coped is an inspiring story that I get to share with all of you as I interviewed Kim for this exclusive piece.

The timing of this article is extra special this week as September 10th is quickly approaching which is a memorable day for Kim. This date was when Kim and her husband, Randy were married and it is also Kim’s birthday. Therefore, this makes it a perfect time to share Kim’s story.

Tell me a little about what your husband was diagnosed with?

“My husband was diagnosed with a rare form of Acute Myelogenous Leukaemia, at the very young age of 39. It came out of nowhere, he did not feel well for three weeks prior to Christmas, needless to say it was shocking news, it rocked our world.”

Once you heard of your husband’s diagnosis and time to live. What did you do and how did you cope?

“My husband was given three months to live, at that time I was holding our six month old infant, Carter and  my other son Matthew (age five). We were living in Calgary at the time, both of our careers had taken us there. We loved being in nature, the mountains, all of the outdoor space and family friendly living. Our family members were all back in Ontario.

Once the doctor gave me the news, I immediately called my parents. My mom jumped on a flight to Calgary to come and help. Doctor’s told me to get help, get paperwork in order, he would die from this. What I struggled to understand, was how does this happen to a guy that was so fit, extremely fun and positive, always. We had everything going for us. I couldn’t believe it, but when the doctor sat me down and calmly explained to me how sick he was, and we were being moved to a terminal ward of the hospital within minutes of the diagnosis, I realized this is serious and happening fast.

“Your dad had amazing courage, so let that be a lesson, we need to be tough cookies from time to time…life is not easy.”

Each day was tough, watching someone who was incredibly vibrant maintain his positive attitude and courage (during chemo, brain radiation, hair loss and a bone marrow transplant). To this day, I tell the boys, “Your dad had amazing courage, so let that be a lesson, we need to be tough cookies from time to time…life is not easy.” Sadly all the drugs and great healthcare could not keep my husband alive, his body did shut down. We lost him on August 26, 2002. The boys were really young.”

After your husband’s passing, what did you do to help yourself and your children cope?

“I knew I had to continue to be strong, no matter what. I moved back (to Ontario) to be close to family and friends. I enrolled my boys in some activities and even when I had to do the 5 AM hockey practices, bundling an infant and my eldest into the car at that horrible hour on a Saturday or Sunday morning was not necessarily fun, but it was important. The social aspect was great for them and me! I also had the unwavering support of my mom and dad. Truly, my mom is my rock.

Moms are made of something we cannot describe. Somehow we pull energy and strength out when you really feel exhausted, but you get up and put on a smile for your child and that is what matters. You are their world. My mom did a ton to keep the house together, while I ran to/from the hospital. It was a very sad time, but I knew my boys needed me and I had to keep busy to cope. I also knew that my career and the people at work, were good for me. The boys and I did a lot of activities together such as reading, Lego, playing board games, crafting, setting up play dates with other moms and kids, making new traditions.”

What advice can you give a parent who has become a widow with small children?

“Keep positive! Keep their routine, be the parent you wanted to be with your partner/spouse. Don’t be afraid to seek out friends for a shoulder to cry on, or even get professional help to deal with the grief. Nobody knows what it is like until you are in it, so if anyone is not supportive, keep away from those people. Grieving is tough. I suggest you ask someone to take the kids one day a week so you can go do something for yourself. Go to the gym, or for a long walk (or run), meet a friend for a coffee, get a pedicure…you get the idea. It’s about your downtime to re-energize. Kids take a lot of your time and energy. Take a lot of pictures. I found when my husband was sick I didn’t take enough pictures. He didn’t want photos taken (of himself); however, my boys have learned a lot through the videos and pictures we do have.”

How did you do it all? How did you balance two young children, a career and a passion (staging)?

“I did it with the help of family and friends, which I am so grateful for. I love being busy, I don’t stand still often. I started Above & Beyond Décor, to have additional income but it also feeds my creativity. That is what fills me up. Staging is hard work, although it is fun too. You get to create, like a picture in a magazine. Meeting new people, building my business, planning for the future is important to me. I am an advocate for other women, letting them know you need a “plan” i.e. get your financials in order and be ready to take on anything. None of us really know what lies down the garden path, so best to have a plan and have passion.”


Tell me a little about your staging company.

“Above & Beyond Décor was founded as a result of my passion for home décor, floral design, networking and personal growth. I read about home staging and a course that was being offered by a North America staging professional. I decided that would be a great addition to my list of services. I enrolled in the course and became a Certified Staging Professional. Real estate staging is merchandising a property’s best features, understanding lifestyle selling techniques and targeting specific buyers. My friends and family kept telling me I had the “knack” a real talent, knowing how to style and decorate. In order to get that talent noticed, I offered to stage a couple of friend’s homes for free. Their homes sold in a matter of days (with multiple offers on the table), the realtors were very impressed. Soon, a number of realtors were calling me and my business flourished.

I work with a lot of local Mississauga, Oakville and Burlington real estate professionals, they call upon me to stage vacant properties as well as those lived in.

What makes a great stager? Testimonials and referrals. I am extremely pleased with my client testimonials. I often hear that they love my style, my approach (not intrusive), and I am very personable. Comments include: “Your work is amazing;” “Wow, I love how it looks now, I don’t want to move!” “We received multiple offers because of your staging!” or “I need to live like this in my new home.”

What made you decide to become a stager?

“I realized there was a huge opportunity in the market and this just seemed like a natural step forward for me. Realtors and homeowners appreciate when a home sells for top dollar, studies have shown that 65% of buyers prefer to pay more money for a “move in” ready home. Staging is huge now!”

If you could give a younger you some advice on parenting what would it be?

“Hmm, that is tough one. I do not have any regrets, very happy with the way things have worked out for me. I would say getting proper rest is key. Being a parent is fun, challenging, you will be juggling a lot of balls in the air, so when you don’t get enough rest or just need support – Ask for help! Most of us moms don’t ask – we try to be SuperMom and do it all.”

Anything else you would like to add for our readers?

“Melanie, thank you for allowing me to stage your home and for sharing my story on your blog. It was a pleasure meeting you, Mike and Nikki and seeing the smile on your face when you sold for top dollar! As for your readers, fellow mommy friends and family – I look forward to hearing from you. Someone you know might need a stager – that’s me.

Above & Beyond Décor for the ultimate first impression. Staging really sells! Please contact me at kesutherland@cogeco.ca.”

Special thank you to Kim for her time and inspiring us with her strength, courage and passion. I am truly grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Kim on the staging of my home and to get to know her as a business woman, mother and as a friend.

Kim is such an inspirational person in every way possible!

Losing her life partner was tragic and yet she found the courage and love to cope. I have to admit that this was a tough interview for me to do without shedding tears but it shows you how life has many unexpected turns and we have to embrace and love what we do have in the present. Kim has reminded me how precious life and my life partner are. Thank you Kim and please keep inspiring all with your positive love of life!

I am truly honored to have been given this opportunity to share Kim’s story with all of you and I hope you have been inspired as much as I have.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

Ever After Entertainment Adds Disney Magic!

“Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, and dreams are forever.” – Walt Disney

The best part about watching Disney movies is the magic that it brings through every story and character that they create. This magic can also be seen come to life when you visit the amusement parks all over the world. This is why many say that it’s an experience of a lifetime…

Just imagine being able to have this magic part of your special occasions such as your child’s birthday?!

Ever After Entertainment in Toronto is doing exactly that! They offer that magic and authenticity to your front door with princesses, fairy tale, superheroes and star war characters.

I had the honor of partnering up with Ever After Entertainment to see what they were all about and to get the first hand experience to share with all my loyal readers and fans.

This past weekend we celebrated my daughter, Nikki’s third birthday and we invited Princess Belle to join our festivities in which Ever After Entertainment made it happen for us. We were fortunate to have Belle available as we know that a Princess’ schedule can get hectic.

Princess Belle called before her arrival to let me know that she was almost at our home (I have to admit that I was extremely excited with the phone call). I got the 6 children (3 girls and 3 boys) ready to greet Princess Belle in our living room.

Princess Belle gracefully entered and all the children were in shock to see that Belle was really there. My daughter was so excited that she couldn’t stop smiling from ear to ear and said, “Princess Belle came to my party!” All the kids quickly gathered around to see what was in store for them. Belle started off with a get to know each other where she asked each one their name, age and who their favorite princess or superhero is. Each child disclosed with great delight all the information that Belle had requested (it was really cute to see!). Of course Nikki was excited to let Belle know that she was her favorite!

The next part was the enchanting singing performance and it was truly spectacular! Many of my guests couldn’t believe how beautiful Belle sung and some thought it was a recording as it was that good!

Special story time was the next activity where Princess Belle shares her story with all the party guests and it was captivating even for all the adults that were in attendance.

Then it was some interactive fun with dance freeze. It really got the children up and dancing. They all had a real blast and of course prizes were awarded at the end. But the magic didn’t end there as all the party guests got to either get a makeover or magical tattoos for those who wanted one. All our party guests wanted a magical makeover and they even got some Pixie Dust too! It was so great!

We then took the party outside for the signing of Happy Birthday which Nikki loved! Nikki even shouted out, “Come Belle. Come with me outside!” We all sang Happy Birthday and then the most special moment happened when Nikki was crowned and made into an honorary princess. I have to admit my eyes were teary as I saw my little princess filled with such joy with her very own tiara and certificate.

Then everyone had a chance to take a picture with Princess Belle before she had to return to her Princess duties. We even had a few adults at the party sneak in some photos and selfies before she left. Of course Momma Braga had to take a picture too as she has been my favorite princess since 1991 (the original release year of Beauty and the Beast).

“We believe in making dreams come true by inspiring the imagination of children, both young and young at heart.” – Ever After Entertainment

 

We all said good-bye to Princess Belle and every guest talked about how great the experience was. From the youngest at 3 to the youngest at heart at 65, it was enjoyed by all.

So what can I possibly say about this experience and what score does it get on the #MelandNikkiReview?

It was a superb and magical experience and we rate it a 5+++ stars out of 5! Highest rating to date on the #MelandNikkiReview and has made it onto the #MommaBragaRecommended list.

Ever After Entertainment provided us with superior service from start to finish. They offered us Disney magic that one would only think could come true in dreams. Princess Belle made my daughter the happiest girl in the world and as a parent that is the only thing I could ever ask for. The pure joy and entertainment she received tickled my heart pink! Not to mention the joy she provided to the older guests who were big fans of hers. She not only made the birthday girl’s wish come true but to many others too (like myself). The princess party program was perfect and kept the children highly entertained! If you have been to a kid’s party, you do notice that it can be a little hectic. But for that one hour it was organized and filled with admiration.

Ever After Entertainment offered so much more than a character to celebrate a special occasion. They offered an opportunity for the adults to feel like a kid again and to the children, that dreams can come true if you believe.

If you are looking for entertainment for your child’s party or even for special event like a bridal shower, look no further as Ever After Entertainment is the top choice. They offer different types of parties that you will need to check out such as the Princess PartyFairytale Party, Superhero Party, and Star Warrior Party. There are so many options and no matter which one you pick, it will not disappoint! Make sure to book in advance and you can check out their pricing here. You will need to tell me how you enjoyed your party as I would love to hear about it! I am already thinking about which one I want next year for Nikki’s birthday and maybe for my own. 😉

Special thank you to Stefanie and Princess Belle from Ever After Entertainment for allowing us to imagine, “Far off places, daring swordfights, magic spells, a prince in disguise.” – Belle

Make sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Google+ to see all the dreams they are fulfilling.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga


 

Malasada World Will Rock Your Taste Buds

Growing up in a Portuguese household it was a special treat when my mom would make us malasadas to eat. For those who may not know, a malasada is a Portuguese confection, made of egg-sized balls of yeast dough that are deep-fried in oil and coated with granulated sugar. It really is delicious and it is well known to be a delight that was created from the Azores and Madeira.

Therefore, when I heard about a place called Malasada World, I was extremely excited! How could I have not known that there was a place that specialized in malasadas and where exactly was this place???

Malasada World is located at 33 Ainslie St N in Cambridge (formerly known as Galt City). They are located in a perfect spot, downtown.

So this meant that Momma Braga had to take a road trip! I couldn’t try this place on my own so I had to bring my entourage (my family) with me.

We planned a Saturday outing to Cambridge which is about a 45 minute drive from where we live. We found a parking lot just a few minutes North from where Malasada World is located and it is free for the first two hours (not bad considering that when you park in downtown Toronto, it is never free). Even though we had a gloomy and rainy day, we were still all excited to try a malasada.

We arrived and were greeted by the friendly staff and we got to meet Steve, the face that runs Malasada World!

Steve outside of Malasada World.
Photo Credit: http://www.bassem.ca

My impression of Steve surpassed my expectations as he is a nice and humble person to meet. He has a great sense of humor and if you are at his shop and you don’t want your family to know, he will keep your secret! 😉 He is also the one at the back working really hard to delight your taste buds. You can say that he made a great first impression on all of us.

Now it was time for the true test…the taste test. Was the malasada going to pass the Momma Braga taste test? Will Malasada World make it on the #MelandNikkiReview?

Yes! Yes it did!

Since I have been known for my candid honesty on my blog, I have to say that the traditional malasada that I tried was much better than any other malasada that I have ever had before (sorry mom!). It was fluffy, light and had just the right amount of sugar. It was perfection! I don’t say that often but I can in this case. Everyone in my group loved it as much as I did and my group is one of the hardest critics to please, so bravo Malasada World!

So how did Malasada World begin and who exactly is Steve? I got the inside scoop to share with all of you!

Tell me a little about yourself.

“I am a first generation Portuguese Canadian, born in Cambridge Ontario. I am a 43 year old father of two wonderful young women. My family is from Santa Maria in the Azores, Portugal. I am a classic trained Chef with just over 20 years of experience in different segments of the food and hospitality business. Food and hospitality industry runs in the family.”

Photo Credit: http://www.bassem.ca

What inspired you to call your shop, Malasada World?

“I was thinking of a name that would really help make the brand/concept stand out and speak for itself. I narrowed it down to three names. Luso Donuts and Tia Maria’s Malasadas were the others. I even did a little survey on Facebook to see what my friends would pick. In the end, we picked Malasada World! It was the one that made the most sense after much thought.”

When did you start your business?

“I started the vision for this business concept many years ago! About 11 years ago, I told one of my colleagues it would be nice to just make donuts for the rest of my career. That was Chef Andrew Dymond at the Prince of Wales Hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The first time I made them for sale was about five years ago in Prince Edward County at a friend’s farm called, Vicki’s Veggies. Our shop in Cambridge has just recently celebrated its one year anniversary! We opened on Portugal Day in 2016.”

Tell me a little bit about what you serve.

“At the shop we offer everything the MALASADA has to offer! Different varieties including the Traditional Style I grew up with. We also make the Hawaiian style that are enjoyed today in bakeries all over Hawaii. We have developed our very own version of the Malasada with different toppings and refer to these as our “Signature Style.” Our most popular is called the DoughNATA. It is a hybrid of the famous Portuguese custard tart called a “Pastel de Nata” and our Malasada. It’s kind of both put together (minus the puff pastry)!

I have also taken the Malasada dough and developed a line of Baked Malasada Buns and Loaves. This Malasada bread is showcased and used in our daily sandwich menu. We are MALASADA WORLD!”

What do you hope your business accomplishes?

“I want Malasada World to be recognized for being the BEST Portuguese inspired fast casual specialty donut shop! I also hope to achieve international success with a location in Sao Miguel in the future.”

Where would you like to see your business in five years?

“I hope to grow the business and have additional locations in and around Southern Ontario. I am currently looking for the right investors to team up with.”

Anything new on the horizon for Malasada World that we can officially announce on Momma Braga?

“We are currently working on the business plan for a mobile unit for Malasada World. Either a food truck or trailer. We would then be able to serve our customers at private parties and corporate events!”

How important was it for you to bring a piece of your culture to share with the world?

“It was very important for me to somehow include my cultural background and family food experiences into my business model. I think that Portuguese cuisine in general is under represented and is not as familiar as other cuisine’s of the world to the general public. Portuguese cuisine is wonderful and I would like to showcase it more.”

Photo of Steve’s dad and mom who is expecting Steve. You can tell the family’s love of Malasadas!

Thank you so much Steve for the inside scoop and for allowing Momma Braga the opportunity to feature you!

For this #MelandNikkiReview we give Malasada World, a 5+ DoghNATAs out of 5! This is the first review over 5 and it is much deserved. Malasada World has made it on the #MommaBragaApproved and #Recommended lists. If you are looking for a taste of culture done at its finest then Malasada World is for you! Make sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and please note their posts may cause you to drool.

A Momma Braga tip is to order your malasadas in advance especially if you are travelling from afar as they do sell out fast! To avoid disappointment, feel free to call them at 519.267.7177 or email them at malasadaworld@gmail.com. Walk-ins are always welcomed but you will need to arrive early to taste some malasada goodness!

Once again thank you Malasada World and Cambridge for having us and I will be back!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*Please note that this is not a paid or sponsored post. Momma Braga did not receive any form of compensation in exchange for this review and all opinions in this post are my own honest opinions.