Tag: Toys

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for LeapFrog

Who says that ice cream is only for summer?! It definitely doesn’t need to be and that same rule can apply at playtime with the amazing toy by LeapFrog, Scoop & Learn Ice Cream Cart.

The must have toy of Nikki’s dreams has finally made its way into our home and she couldn’t be happier. We got a chance to review the Scoop & Learn Ice Cream Cart and we are excited to share our findings with all of you! 😉

Scoop & Learn Ice Cream Cart Introduction

Learning is sweet when pretending to run your own ice cream cart. Create imaginative and tasty-looking ice cream combinations using delicious ice cream flavors and toppings. This toy is a great way to exercise important memory and sequencing skills.

Some Features

Off/Low/High Volume Control Switch

Slide the Off/Low/High Volume Switch to turn the toy on and select the volume. This is the best feature to have on any child’s toy as a parent. After a long day at work, it can be such a relief for the opportunity to have the option of quiet playtime.

Magic Scooper

Place the Magic Scooper on the top of an Ice Cream Scoop or Topping to easily pick them up. To release the Ice Cream Scoop or Topping, press the button on the side of the Magic Scooper. The scooper will recognize the colors and flavors – that is why it is called a “Magic Scooper.” 😉

Order/Activity Cards

For guided play, insert one of the six double-sided Order/Activity Cards into the Card Reader. Follow the order card instructions to build treats for six animal customers ranging from easy to hard challenges.


Push the card around to hear songs and music. This feature is great for role-play fun as you can pretend to run your own ice cream cart.

Syrup Pump

Slide to choose from three flavors, then press down on the pump to hear numbers as you count along.


The Scoop & Learn Ice Cream Cart by LeapFrog is Nikki’s absolute favorite toy. It is also a great hit when she has playdates at home as everyone wants to play with it. We loved it so much that we had to go buy one for our 1.5 year old goddaughter who also loves playing with it too.

As with all the amazing toys from LeapFrog, we love the learning aspect of the toy as it makes it fun to learn. We love the concept of the ice cream truck and it does provide hours of playtime fun. I have ordered a few ice creams from “Nikki’s Ice Cream Cart” and the best part is that you gain no extra calories from it. 😉

You can really have fun with the Scoop & Learn Ice Cream Cart as a family too. However, I do need to mention that I rarely get a turn to be the ice cream cart owner as Nikki insists that it is always her turn. This means she really loves this toy and we think your little one will too. It is recommended for children ages two to five years old and it would make a perfect gift.

“This is my favorite toy in the whole entire world and I love screaming ICE CREAM!” – Nikki, Age 5

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give it 10 screams out of 5! It is fun, portable, and a whole lot of learning!

To purchase your very own as it would definitely be a great gift idea, click here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

Momma Braga

*This product was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.



4 Must Have Games For Family Game Night

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

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

Let’s begin shall we?!

Paint-Sation Easel

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

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

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

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


The Original Mr. Bucket

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

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

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

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

Lucky Ducks

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

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

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

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

Let’s Go Fishin’

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

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

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

What Did Nikki Think?

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

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

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

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

Little Luckies is Creating Quality Huggable Friends

This month’s “Mom of the Month” is an inspiring woman who is adding love into every creation she creates and that in turn has provided children with some huggable friends. Who is this talented mom?! Her name is Sue Luckhoo and she is behind Little Luckies.

I had the opportunity to connect with Sue to get to know more about this great mom and her neat business.

  1. Tell me a little about yourself.

“I am a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) to two amazing kiddos and wife to a hardworking man. In my off duty mom time, I can be found tending to my creative biz, Little Luckies. Hidden under sheets of gorgeous fabrics, being swallowed by 30lbs of stuffing all while binge watching dramadies or listening to the radio. I might also be found crocheting, baking and on rare occasions napping.”

  1. What does your company do?

“At Little Luckies, I lovingly make heirloom quality huggable friends. I make a variety of toys and décor from cloth dolls, narwhals, unicorns and cloud pillows just to name a few. I use only premium quality materials including cotton and the cuddliest Minky ever! All my toys are stuffed with hypoallergenic stuffing. Everything is made with great attention to detail, quality and love. I want my toys to last a lifetime, to be cherished best friends.”


  1. When did you start your business?

“I opened Little Luckies in 2013. At the time, I was making toys and crocheted items for all the littles in my life and I couldn’t stop! So, with the encouragement of my family and friends, I created a Facebook business page and an Etsy shop. The first few months was an evolution as I wasn’t certain exactly what I wanted to concentrate on. I finally learned that what people responded to the most was my handmade toys.”


  1. How did you come up with the business name?

“Little Luckies is a combination of my love for my two darling littles and a reference of all the little out there’s. “Luckies” is a shortened version of our family name, Luckhoo, and also how I feel about being a mom to two awesome kids.”


  1. Where would you like to see your business in 5 years?

“I’m so lucky (there’s that word again) to be able to do what I love while, being at home to take care of my family. I just hope I’m still able to do what I’m doing in five years. My family comes first and we can be really busy so, I don’t really foresee any big changes perhaps small evolutions. If business picks up I might be able to hire someone to do simple piecework, build my own website, and really hone in and concentrate on just a few curated items instead of the menagerie that I’ve got going on now.”


  1. As a busy working mom, how do you find the time to balance it all?

“Balance is something that I struggle with every day as I can get so focused on building my business and making products. It helps that both kids are now in school full time. So, when they are at school I devote some time to errands and cleaning and, spend the rest of my “free” time in my studio. Working in the studio includes many things from, marketing, social media posts, taking photos, editing photos, and of course cutting and sewing. After school its mom time and I try to stay focused on the kids till bedtime. You know the drill; dinner, activities, homework, downtime, showers and bedtime snuggles. Then it’s back to work! I brew a cup of tea, answer my messages, and work on piece work and stuffing while watching TV.”


  1. Lastly, if someone is interested in purchasing a hand-made doll/plushy, how can they?

“I am always working on new things and more often than not customers message me via Facebook and items are purchased directly from me. Current stock is uploaded to my Etsy Shop. You can also follow my daily studio life on Instagram. Last but not least I have created Facebook group where I premiere all my creations monthly. I also invite selected maker friends to share their creations as well.”


Momma Braga is extremely proud to feature Sue of Little Luckies as this month’s “Mom of the Month” as she is such a talented, kind and loving person who is making keepsakes for a lifetime. But her love for her two “little luckies” is what makes her the mom of the month as they do always come first.


Special thank you to Jennifer of Mama at Heart for nominating Sue as our Mom of the Month.

Here is what Jennifer has to say about Sue, “I have been a customer of Sue’s twice now. The first time was almost three years ago to purchase two very special stuffed puppy dogs, one for my son to give to his newborn sister, and one for my new baby girl to give her big brother. And then two years ago I bought one of her beautiful dolls to give my daughter on her first birthday. Sue is extremely wonderful to work with! Very professional, friendly and patient! She gave me different options for colours, fabrics and styles to make the doll and it came out perfectly! Just as I had imagined it! The quality of her work is beyond compare and it is easy to see the love and dedication she puts into each of her creations. Although it’s been a couple of years since my last purchase, I continue to follow Little Luckies closely on Facebook and enjoy seeing all of the amazing dolls Sue makes. I look forward to adding to our Little Luckies collection in the future.”

We are so grateful to have been introduced to this awesome mom through Jennifer.

Make sure to follow Little Luckies and see all the beautiful creations made, follow them Facebook, Little Luckies Monthly Market FB Group, Etsy and Instagram.

Thank you Sue for your time and wishing you many years of success!

Until next time……Happy Parenting!

–          Momma Braga


Breaking Stereotypes…One Action Doll At A Time

When I first came across Boy Story on Twitter earlier this year, I got super excited to see a new company emerging with an innovative idea that breaks the typical gender stereotypes. Once I read a little more about them in The Baby Spot, I fell in love!

Photo Credit: Ann Fuentes
Photo Credit: Ann Fuentes

I got a chance to interview the amazing creators of Boy Story, Kristen and Katie to learn more about them and share what they do with my amazing readers.

  1. Tell me a little about yourselves.

“We’re sisters! Kristen is a former international lawyer and a mom of two boys. Katie is a designer and has worked in design and hospitality for years. We were raised in Michigan and Florida, we’re both now living in Tampa to work on Boy Story full time. Our family and our past definitely influences what we are doing now.”

  1. What does your company do?

“Boy Story introduces cool boy Action Dolls to the toy market. Our dolls are 18” plus and vinyl dolls with ball joints for extra pose ability. We specifically want to make kids feel comfortable including boys in pretend play using dolls. That’s our basic goal really. It’s simple, but not so easy to achieve!”

Photo Credit: Ann Fuentes
Photo Credit: Ann Fuentes
  1. When did you start your business and how did you come up with the idea?

“The idea started while Kristen was pregnant with her second son in the summer of 2014. She wanted to buy a boy doll for her older son to help him get used to the idea of being a big brother and to have a companion to play with at times when mommy was busy taking care of the baby. But when she went to buy a boy doll, she was shocked at the market. Most dolls were either girls or baby dolls. There were no cool boy dolls out there. That was the beginning of the idea.

But Kristen was working full time as a lawyer overseas, and there was no way she could start a business. That’s where Katie came in. Katie was so excited at the idea that she decided to risk it all by quitting her own job and working to get things started. With tons of strong will and determination, even without any prior business management experience, Katie relied on the guidance of Kristen and started up the company. Kristen joined full time this past spring.”

Photo Credit: Ann Fuentes
Photo Credit: Ann Fuentes
  1. How did you come up with the business name?

“We went in circles over the business name, but kept coming back to Boy Story. We wanted something that really reached out to boys and help counterbalance the market. Our doll line is exclusively boy dolls (right now). And we wanted that to be captured directly in our company name. So we embraced the goal and went with the name “Boy Story.” The dolls are accompanied by adventure stories, so that’s where the “story” part comes in.

Photo Credit: Ann Fuentes
Photo Credit: Ann Fuentes

The hardest part about our business name is that it could be perceived as excluding girls, and we actually know from marketing testing that girls love our dolls. But what we’ve found is that all kids are excited to see boy dolls joining in the fun, and they are completely cool with the name. Who knows, maybe we’ll expand in the future and go through a company name change. But for now, we are Boy Story – working to break down gender barriers so our kids can share the sandbox!”

  1. What do you hope your business accomplishes?

“Our big picture vision is to eliminate the stereotype that “dolls are for girls.” We want to give kids choice in play. When our generation’s kids walk into a toy store, we want them to run down the aisles looking for fun and adventure – without a care in the world as to whether the toy is “for a girl” or “for a boy.” If we look back 10 or 15 years from now and our kids laugh at the notion of gendered toys, we will have made a huge achievement.

One of the way we are striving to eliminate stereotypes is through positive messaging. Boy Story isn’t just about our dolls, it’s about kids of all shapes and sizes. So we’ve started an Equality Campaign showing kids just being kids – having fun without the pressures of stereotypes. It’s been really fun to put together. You can follow and support our Equality Campaign through social media and share, share, share away!”


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

“We’d love to see our business stable, yet growing, with a reputation for having introduced a cool toy to the market and for our high quality design and product. We’d love to see our dolls in specialty toy markets all over the world. And we’d love to see product line expanded to make it more personalized and interactive. We also really want to lead the way in corporate growth and behavior by modeling good employment practices and having a core team of dedicated and happy employees. These are pretty lofty goals, but we can dream!”

Photo Credit: Ann Fuentes
  1. Since your launch, what has been your favourite moment or success so far?

“One of the most amazing moments was when we actually received the completed prototypes of our dolls. It was one of those “dream come true” moments where an idea turned into something real.

And the absolute best is when we see kids light up when they test out our Action Dolls. Kids are just amazing in their honesty and pure love for play. As soon as they get their hands on the dolls, adventures begin. And that makes our hearts so, so big.”

Photo Credit: Ann Fuentes
Photo Credit: Ann Fuentes
  1. If someone is interested in purchasing one of your dolls, how can they get started?

“Our dolls are currently under production and should be arriving early this fall. We have a limited initial quantity, so we are accepting pre-orders on our website (http://www.boystory.com/). Some of them are already slated to be shipped to our awesome Kickstarter supporters, so the supply is pretty limited but we will try to keep up with demand. Also, some specialty retailers have placed orders and will carry the dolls in store. If you’d like the latest and greatest info on our production process, you can sign up for our newsletter. We try to keep in touch about once a month or so.”

Photo Credit: Ann Fuentes
Photo Credit: Ann Fuentes
  1. Anything else you would like to add for our readers?

“We are immensely grateful to be featured by Momma Braga! The support we’ve received in general as we’ve started up Boy Story from Melanie has been truly humbling. We’re all in this walk of life together, and our “village” today is built from passionate and hardworking people like her.

We also love feedback, so if you have any comments, questions, or even complaints about Boy Story and our products, please reach out directly to us. If you love what we’re doing, please support us on social media! We’re on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.”

Photo Credit: Ann Fuentes
Photo Credit: Ann Fuentes

Well, if words could blush you would be able to see that I am truly flattered with the kind words from Boy Story on Momma Braga – thank you! It truly is very easy to support an amazing company who is changing the way kids play and making it more inclusive for everyone. A toy shouldn’t be determined by gender as all should be able to play together.

Momma Braga gives this company 5 stars out of 5 for being innovative, inclusive, and for breaking gender barriers. Boy Story is following their dreams to make kids dreams come true!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

–       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


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