Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Baby Steps

Dscf1845_eI am a huge proponent of making changes through small steps rather than attempting huge life transformation all at once. I get burned out easily, and so overwhelmed that failure is inevitable.

I was very encouraged this morning when I opened my e-mail and found this article from Prevention Magazine: Small Changes That Take Off Big Pounds

So, if you're working on those resolutions for 2010, read the rest here: www.PraiseWalker.com

Darlene
www.PraiseWalker.com

Monday, December 21, 2009

Walking in a Winter Wonderland - well, almost!

IceI've had such a struggle with walking this winter. I convinced myself to go out today and brave the ice with my funky ice-pick straps that actually work with Vibrams (though only just - they are a bit finicky and need lots of readjusting, which is still better than cracking my head open on the sidewalk).

I checked the temperature (-12°C or 10°F) on our temp gauge at home but neglected to check the temp with the windchill (-18°C or 0°F w/wind). I dressed well for the -12, but not warm enough for the -18. Sigh. Gotta remember that for future.

Read more here: www.PraiseWalker.com and maybe join my challenge!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Baby equipment rental business for sale

Just wanted to let everyone know that my Calgary-based business Little Traveller is for sale due to our expanding family (a new baby is due in March). This well-established, home-based baby equipment rental business is a perfect part-time opportunity for a stay-at-home mom or someone looking for more flexibility with their hours. The asking price is $10,000. I spend around 12-18 hours per week on it.

The sale includes complete rental equipment inventory, office equipment (computer, printer, desk, software etc), fully functional website (www.LittleTraveller.ca), and all logos/branding/marketing materials.

Until the sale is finalized, Little Traveller will continue to provide top-notch customer service over the holiday season. For more information, contact Kara at 403-242-4067 or email kara@littletraveller.ca

Saturday, November 28, 2009

WAHM Canada Community

Attention: Canadian WAHMs, Canadian Moms!
Are you a Canadian work at home mom?
Do you want to be a Canadian work at home mom?

Are you a work-at-home mom living in Canada who is looking for support, ideas and encouragement for your home-based business? Are you a mom looking to work from home but don't know where to start? Have business questions & need answers from fellow Canadian WAHMs?

Well you are in LUCK!

Join our Work At Home Mom Community WAHM Canada Community to access our business club for moms, developed exclusively for Canadian work-at-home moms who want to network, encourage each other, and discuss family life as well. :)

Top 5 List of reasons why you should register and become a member of WAHM Canada Community!!!

5. Meet up with other stay at home or work at home moms in your city.
4. Start your own in real life Mastermind group! Join Forces! Cross Promote!
3. Find answers to Canadian ONLY wahm business questions that you might have!
2. Network with other "Canadian" Work at Home Moms!
1. MEMBERSHIP is 100% FREE!!

Visit www.WAHMcanadaCommunity.com for more info!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Storks & Berries Is One Year Old!

It's been a busy year for me. Busier than most - but I have also accomplished more than usual I think ... although I suppose some might disagree. I've grown and changed ... so has my business ... and my family.

I started my online business, Storks & Berries, a year ago. My son was about 6 months old when my meager little business went live online. Since then, I have spent much of my free time (what little of that a new mommy has!), working on my website, researching new products, and ensuring that Storks & Berries offers it's customers service the likes of which isn't easily found in today's era of online shopping and fast paces.

I have done well, although the perfectionist in me wishes that I had done better. It's a juggling act (as I am sure you all know) for a WAHM business owner, who also has a family and home to care for, as well as a career outside the home - one that is often emotionally and physically draining. Time is of the essence.

Storks & Berries is 1 year old this month! I still cannot believe it when I think of it. My son is about to be 18 months old, my second child will be arriving within the next couple of months, and I am the owner of a business that I love spending time growing. It is strange how life progresses so quickly, how there is always so much to be accomplished, how the world challenges you as you interact with it.

Storks & Berries started off selling a couple of brands of cloth diapers and a couple of types of baby carriers. Fast forward one year ... I offer 5 brands of cloth diapers (AppleCheeks, Baby Kangas, BerryPlush, FuzziBunz, and Monkey Doodlez) ... all of which I love using on my own son and which I love raving about to anyone who will listen. I still offer the baby carriers (CuddlyWrap, Mobile Mommy, and Cosy Baby Happy Mommy) - fantastic products which I wholeheartedly believe in. But I have, as I mentioned previously, grown. I now also offer my customers toys, environmentally friendly household products (laundry detergents, soapnuts, and rechargeable batteries), cloth training pants, and so much more.

I maintain the same basic goal for my business as I had one year ago ... to offer excellent customer service while providing customers with products that I love and use myself - products that I truly believe are the best of the best, that are manufactured responsibly by companies who genuinely care about the environment, the world, and the "little people" (my son and your children) who are, ultimately, the end users of the products they create. My goals, like my business, have grown in the past year, however. I have discovered, after months of personal experience, that both moms and dads are unbelievably busy people. We are constantly juggling the needs of our children, with the needs of ourselves, our spouses / partners, our work ... and so many other things. That's why I have been spending so much time researching new products for my store ... so that busy parents can get what they need without having to shop at numerous places.

I have a vision for Storks & Berries, it remains a work-in-progress. I suspect it will be such for a long time yet (likely forever?). I continue to work hard at growing my business and my product lines while maintaining that basic focus on providing exceptional customer service to people who want exceptional products. I look forward to my businesses 2nd year. I know I will continue to do well, to grow and learn, to enjoy this adventure I have started on.

I invite you to visit Storks & Berries when you have a moment (hopefully now :) ... register for an account and sign up for our newsletter (which offers exclusive coupon codes each month), take advantage of some of the great sales we currently have going. Come back soon as well because we will be having more great sales before the end of the year to celebrate our momentous 1st birthday so don't forget to visit Storks & Berries again soon.

Please also consider telling your friends / family / co-workers about Storks & Berries. I would appreciate your support and referrals and I extend an offer of a coupon code to all WAHMs who read this blog. Please use the coupon code "FIVE OFF" to receive 5% off your 1st purchase at Storks & Berries. This coupon code will be valid until December 31st, 2009. Please note, that it does not apply to sale items, clearance items, or cloth diapering kits.

Thank you for reading and allowing me to share some of my thoughts at this late hour :)

Dawn
Owner
Storks & Berries

Monday, November 23, 2009

Need Motivation?















You HAVE to watch this!


Read the whole story here: Cliff Young
Enjoy (and then go for a walk!)

Darlene
www.PraiseWalker.com

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Laziness has a price...

LazyEvery now and then I hit a place in my walking where I need to take about a week off. Because I've never had problems starting up again, I allow myself this grace. It happens about once or twice a year. No biggie.

About a month ago, such a timjavascript:void(0)e had arrived. I just needed a break, so I took a week off. That weekend I got the dreaded flu, and the following two weeks, while there were no messy flu symptoms, I was so tired as to be useless. I did do a couple of walks, but not enough to brag about, and each one left me drained and exhausted.

Following that my husband and I took a week off and went to Montana. Training wasn't even slightly in the picture.

Read more of the story here: www.PraiseWalker.com

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Canvassing - A GREAT Excuse for a walk

HandSlogoA couple of years ago I got a call from the Heart and Stroke foundation. A lovely man was on the other end, and asked quite apologetically if I would be able to canvass for them that year (in February). The routes were very small, he assured me, and I'd have two whole weeks to get it done, and my own street was available if I'd like to do it.

He must have caught me at a weak moment, because I said yes.

"What?!" he exclaimed, in shock "You'll WILL?!" He must have been having a bad day, because you would have thought I'd just handed an eight-year-old boy his first puppy.

We laughed about that, and he told me the person in charge of my area would be in touch.

A few weeks later I got a phone call, set a date to get my packet and some brief training, and I was "in".

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Idea of "Sabbath"

flower-04[1]To call me a "driven" person is an understatement (friends might use the term "scary"...) There's something about my makeup that doesn't allow me to tackle a day without to-do list of at least 30 items. I kid you not. There are always 27 different projects to work on, and I take my relationship with my kids and husband very seriously, so time needs to be set aside for that, as well. This means I live each day highly focused, and heaven help you if you get in my way when we're not in "relationship" mode!

And there's something about today's society that makes this kind of lifestyle something to be deeply proud of. I mean whenever someone asks you how life is, "busy" and "stressed" seem to be appropriate, praise-worthy responses. Weird.

In my Monday's Post I shared about the trip my husband and I took to Montana and the incredible sense of rest that it afforded us. My own faith stresses highly the importance of Sabbath.

This is an idea that has been buzzing around in my head and my heart for a long time. I actually do start each morning very slowly with time for devotions, praise, walking, and the like before I hit the ground running, but the idea of a whole day of Sabbath every week? That's tough. Weekends are so short and so fully of "busy-ness" that it's hard to figure out how to make it happen.

I believe more and more, though that it's a vitally important part of true wellness, regardless of your spiritual beliefs - or lack of such. It takes some work to make it happen (that sounds like a contradiction in terms...) but the results are well worth it. Here are some links that you might find helpful (if you're not religious, these ideas can be used as a starting place and be adapted to suit your own needs):

Read more here: www.PraiseWalker.com

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Power of Rest

My husband and I just got back from a week long stay at "The Montana Cabin" where we had a full week of rest, quiet, beautiful scenery, and no schedule or goals to accomplish, other than rest and reconnection.

MontanaCabinViewThe mornings were slow - we got up when we were awake, not when some alarm beeped, and had coffee together overlooking the lake. The views fed my soul with rest, relaxation, and deep peace.

Read more here: www.PraiseWalker.com

Friday, October 30, 2009

Your Ideal Body Weight

ScaleDo you know what you really should weigh?

Your ideal weight is not some magic number pulled from the air, or some hopeful number that works best for your beautiful best friend.

Your ideal body weight is your lean body mass plus your "ideal body fat" percentage based on your age. You need a certain amount of body fat to be healthy, and women need a little more than men.

So, here's how you do the calculations:

Read all about it here: www.PraiseWalker.com

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Flu-Bug

noseIt's in all the papers, and is the topic of choice on many newscasts. H1N1 has hit the streets! I think I might have had it last weekend. Yech. It's a doozy, and you need to know you'll be flat out for a while, even after the nasty symptoms (fever, aches, migraines, vomiting, chills, sinus congestion, etc.) are gone. It's taking me a while to get my energy back, and I'm finding I have to really scale back my activities to allow my body to regain it's normal state. I got walking on Monday again, finally, after a "longer than a week" break, felt great, and then had a relapse in health, and am back resting again. I can't believe how "fragile" this is making me! (I guess I WAS right to take time off before !)

So, what are you going to do?

Now, I'm no doctor, nor am I a medical person of any kind. However, here are some of the things I've learned in the past that seemed to work for me quite well when I had the flu last week:

Get the tips here: www.PraiseWalker.com

Monday, October 26, 2009

Is it Right? Is it Wrong? What do you think?

j0433165

So, I've been AWOL from my walking since last week. I have lots of excuses, but I'm thinking mostly it's a motivational problem. I hate the cold. Probably not so legitimate. I've also got hit "quick and heavy" with the flu, and found that while the most uncomfortable symptoms passed within 36 hours, I was tired, foggy-headed, and just dragging myself around for a good week afterwards. I decided to take the week off and just go slow.

So what do you think? Was that right? Was that wrong? Was I just lazy? I find I'm a genius at rationalizing my behaviour. Years of practice have made me an expert. It's hard to be objective.



The good news was that I was out and walking this morning.


Read the rest of the story here: www.PraiseWalker.com

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Funky Program!

Oh, it's been AGES since I posted - or even walked! Yikes!

A combination of weather (sudden dump of snow), lack of shoes to walk in said snow (Vibram is all out of the winter version of funky feet), and an extreme bout of the flu from which I'm just now slowly recovering, has put me totally out to pasture for the past two weeks.

However, I've tried not to be too idle. I've had lots of time to experiment with my iPod Touch (gotta love that thing - when it works...) and I've discovered the coolest thing! Not only is the content amazing, but the delivery is stunning. You've gotta check this out!

The 90 Second Fitness Solution vook is a powerful new way to read, follow and learn the revolutionary fitness techniques of New York trainer Pete Cerqua.

And no, you don't NEEEEED an iPod to use it, but it's a really fun way to take in the technology.

Oh, and the 90 second fitness program? Well, anyone can do it (though it's a challenge) and whew, do you feel it when it's done!

Darlene

Monday, October 5, 2009

A struggling 10k?

I completed level 2 in my training on Saturday by participating in a 10k race for a local church here. Even without the 1˚C (33.8˚F) temperature and brisk winter wind, it was an interesting experience.

I warmed up well, started out by climbing up a reasonably steep but short hill, and proceeded through what was a beautiful, not-terribly-strenuous walk to complete the first 5k loop. I found that although I wasn't breathing hard or feeling like I was exerting myself beyond my comfort zone (keeping up with about a 7 on the RPE in my estimation), I was pushing myself beyond my ideal heart rate, and my muscles got very tired, very quickly - which is unusual, as I walk a 10k or more almost every week with no issues whatsoever.

Read the rest of the story here: www.PraiseWalker.com

Saturday, September 26, 2009

SEPTEMBER SPECIAL

This month's special $50 off a Galvanic Spa System II. Call me for a free demonstration today! 403-988-6326 or email me at aprhodite@nsedreams.com

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Family Portrait

I am always looking for new ideas to expand Small Wonder. To that end, I recently had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with this family, documenting their family photo session with the talented Big Picture Photography. Not only did they end up with some great pictures, they have these wonderful memories to go with them.

video

I am hoping this Video Family Portrait idea takes off, because I would LOVE to spend more happy afternoons with families like this one.

Shawna Toth
Small Wonder: Cherished Moments on Video

Friday, September 11, 2009

Walking for Spiritual Clarity

Yesterday I was feeling a little overwhelmed. I often get myself in trouble by offering my services to other people, and having them take me up on it! :)

Part of the problem is that when I offer my services I actually have the time, but when I finally get the stuff they want me to do, I get everyone's all at once.

That's kind of where I was yesterday - overwhelmed and overloaded.

When I went for my walk I just gave it to God, and didn't really worry about it anymore. Thoughts flitted back and forth in my head, and I just kept giving them back without stress or worry. By the end of the walk I had solved on of my most nagging issues, and was delighted.

I love how walking intentionally gives me that kind of clarity.

This morning I was going through some sites on the Internet and I found this:

"Everyday I usually go for several walks during which time I ask the Holy Spirit to speak to me. I usually begin by praying that God cleanses me from all my sin with the blood of JESUS. Then I pray in tongues, followed by praise and worship of God. I then ask God a question I would like an answer to. I become quiet inside and listen carefully for His voice. When I think I hear it, I ask Him to use my voice to speak to me, and then I begin to speak aloud the words I hear within."

Thought it was right in line with what I had been experiencing myself.

Why not give it a try the next time you're feeling overwhelmed and frustrated?

Happy Walking!

Darlene
www.PraiseWalker.com

Monday, September 7, 2009

Eat Fat to Lose Fat?!!!

I've been spending a LOT of time researching nutrition. In addition to reading dozens of books from the library, I'm reading lots of magazine articles, and actually taking some nutrition courses.

It's a very confusing topic!

I think that part of the problem seems to be that most people who create weigh loss plans have only half the info, and build whole principles out of misunderstood facts. I also think that nourishment as God planned it, is much more complicated than we like to think. An apple isn't just an apple. Everything works together in synergy, and if we remove bits from the apple (the parts we think are beneficial) we aren't getting the whole synergy.

As I study books by actual, trained nutritionists - folks with at least a couple of doctorates in nutritional research - I am continually stumbling upon some interesting things. One of them is the idea that we need to eat fat to lose fat.

Now, I knew that we were on dangerous ground when we started feeding our kids skimmed milk and low-fat products because research has shown the importance of saturated fat for developing brains. However, I didn't know that saturated fat was important for weight loss!

Some of the books I've been studying that advocate this are "The Maker's Diet" by Jordan Rubin, books by Drs. Michael and Mary Dan Eades, and the "The Slow Burn Fitness Revolution" by Frederick Hahn.

Interesting.

Now this morning I find a new post about it on Tim Ferriss' fascinating blog.

Not sure where I am on all this, but it's very interesting, and they seem to have some rather compelling research to back it up.

Check it out, and let me know what you think!

Happy walking!

Darlene
www.PraiseWalker.com

Friday, September 4, 2009

Cruisin'...

I just got back from a 7-day cruise to Alaska with my parents and siblings. My folks are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this year, and this was part of that celebration.

cruise-ships-volendamWhat great fun! Lots of laughs, beautiful scenery, fabulous ship (Holland America's "Volendam") and wonderful service. A great way to travel, to be sure. Another cruise is definitely in my future somewhere, this time with my hubby and kids. My parents actually won a 7-day cruise on this cruise, so they're all geared up to go again as well. Cool anniversary present!

I was terrified to go on the cruise because I kept hearing about all the food, and I have worked so hard to lose weight that I didn't want to gain it all back in a 7-day cruise. Neither did I want to go on a cruise with all that food and eat only lettuce.

Read more of the story here: www.PraiseWalker.com

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Summer Vacation Video Scrapbook SALE

It's that time of year. The kids head back to school. The nights get cooler. The Christmas things enter the stores. And you wonder, where did the Summer go? Well, let's find it! Scan through your photos and videos from June, July and August, find the highlights of your family's Summer Vacation, and choose your favourite summer tune. For just $99, Small Wonder will turn those items into a fun recap of the Summer of 2009!!!

Here's a sample...

Summer Vacation 2009 Sample

And don't forget to keep the camera handy for all those school year moments!

Shawna Toth
www.smallwonder.ca

Friday, August 28, 2009

Web Video... Want It! Need It! Gotta Get It!!!

It is the fastest growing trend on the web right now. Video! YouTube, Metacafe, MySpace TV...and many more sites offer the ability to share video with anyone or everyone. And more and more business sites are adding video to attract customers. Why?

Well, it has been common knowledge since the mass distibution of televisions that the most effective form of advertising is video. But creating a TV ad and buying airtime is expensive, too expensive for most small business owners.

Web Video makes things so much easier. You already have a website, and you spend time trying to attract people to it. There is nothing like video on the front page to get their attention and keep them there. You can demonstrate the advantages of your service, or the features of your product. You can take as much or as little time as you like. It doesn't have to cost thousands of dollars to produce, and there are no airtime costs.

One of the big bonuses to Web Video is you can upload your video to YouTube (and/or any other video sharing site) and make it available for the whole world to see, driving even more traffic to your site.

Web Video can be compelling and entertaining. It can bring people to your site, and keep them there. It will allow you to fully explain and sell your product or service, and allow potential customers to get a strong sense of how you can help them. It's true. Sometimes words are not enough, especially when it comes to doing business on the web.

Shawna Toth
www.smallwonder.ca

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Exhibitors wanted!!

Apart from everything else that I do, I also organize a semi annual Mom/ Kids Sale in Okotoks.
The Mom to Mom Show and Sale is a semi Annual event that takes place in the Spring and Fall. It is held at the Okotoks Centennial Centre.

This Sale brings Moms, Dads, Grandparents and kids together to buy and sell their gently used baby and kids items. Everything from Valco Strollers, Nursing pillows, Cribs to Gymboree clothing can be found here!. Over 75 tables will be filled with a lot of great finds.

Another great addition to the sale is the Kid's Marketplace. This is a special section that features local products and services suited for parents and kids.

We also support local charities by donating alot of baby and childrens items at the end of the sale.

Attendance is expected to be full as this show has received a reputation for being one of the better shows within the Calgary Area.

Tables are available for rent for businesses and Moms alike!. There is a definate need for any unique businesses out there!. Okotoks does not have enough variety and it would be great to reach a new customer base!.

Contact myself at envirolife@shaw.ca for more info

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Blog link exchange

Looking at doing a blog linkage exchange, anyone interested in posting a link to my blog in exchange for me doing the same...please contact!

simplyconnected@shaw.ca
403-829-6783

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Oh, my.... I am lovin' this...

So yeah, I figured that seeing as how my girls will be going to school full days this year that I would take on the task of running the Calgary Moms Trade Fair here in Calgary. At first I was freaking out with making the decision wondering if I would ever fill the booths... well it's almost done. :) I'm so happy that I took this on. I am feeling very confident about it now and believe that it will be great!

I am planning on coordinating the trade fair 2 times a year in Feb/March and Sept/Oct. I am so excited to see how much bigger this could get.

I just have to say that I am VERY thankful to Sara, my past partner, for running the show for the first 2 years that it was held. Thank you for getting the ball running, teaching me the in's and out's of the show and for making this so much easier for me! :)

Thank you to Donna, for helping out this time around. You are a huge asset to the show! :)

Anyways.. just wanted to share my excitement and spread some love!

In Success & Joy,

Britt Raposo
www.CalgaryMomsTradeFair.com

Saturday, August 1, 2009

101 Video Scrapbooks by Small Wonder

This time let's talk about more business related uses for Video Scrapbooks. There are so many ways to use your video and digital still camera to enhance your small business.

  • Website Video-Produced video on websites is fast becoming the most common and powerful tool for selling your product or service. There is nothing like actually seeing something in action to convince consumers to buy.
  • Business Plan Video-Including video of your proposed or current location, product or service samples and your personal explanation of your proposal could help investors see the value in backing you.
  • Training Video-Many, many large corporations use video training to cut down on costs and standardize training information. Use it to train new employees, provide overall company info or for franchising.
And the list can go on and on. Events, investor relations, expansion. Small Wonder provides you with an affordable way to enhance your small business using video production.

Shawna Toth
www.smallwonder.ca

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Success Factory

I have been subscribing to emails from The Success Factory, and there are some really great tips sent out! I keep them all in an email folder so I can go back to them, but I would highly recommend you subscribe to their emails. They will send you tips on direct sales type businesses, networking tips, sales tips, booking tips, recruiting tips, etc! Check it out! It may be well worth it...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

101 Video Scrapbooks by Small Wonder

I create Video Scrapbooks of everything. In fact, it has gotten to the point where I imagine how I will edit it as I take the pictures and video.

Of course, I know that not everyone is going to be able to edit their own videos of every long weekend camping trip and afternoon at the zoo. But there are some occasions where it is worth it to gather the photos and videos and pay someone (me, for example!) to create a lasting collection of memories.

Wedding Planning-The Maid of Honour or someone else close to the prep process can snap photos and take video of the dress and tux fittings, bridal fair visits and all things related to the planning of the wedding. Then have it edited (I'll do it!) to music as a wedding gift to the couple. It makes a great compliment to the Wedding Day video.

Family Reunions-Have all the family photographers and videographers send their digital files to one point person, who will then bring it to an editor (possibly me!) to create a keepsake of the family event. The cost can be shared, and everyone will love to share the memories.

Graduations-Assemble all your child's school photos and video of select concerts, sports days and science projects, as well as some photos and video of Graduation festivities. Bring it to an editor (could it be me?!) with a couple of their favourite songs, and create a montage of their school years for them to take with them to college. A great keepsake for you, too!

Video Scrapbooks. Not just for babies.

Small Wonder: Cherished Moments on Video

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fundraiser for July

I've been a member of a wonderful organisation called Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan (www.cw4wafghan.ca) for over 4 years now and I love the work they do. 100% of funds raised goes directly to our project partners in Afghanistan so every dollar has it's full, and huge, impact. To do my bit (since I've been doing less with a little baby now) I decided that, for the month of July, I would donate all my profits (20% of sales) at my store www.theonlygreenshop.com to W4W. So please help two great causes at once, buy some great, affordable, eco-friendly products and raise money for a worthy cause at the same time!!

Thanks,
Jocasta

Monday, June 29, 2009

STOP AGING AT ITS SOURCE!!!!!!

Ladies,

The Anti-Aging Industry will never be the same, can you imagine reversing and preventing the aging process in a matter of minutes!! This is'nt just dealing the the signs of aging , it's changing how we age. Get the full scoop at www.ageloc.com you will be blown away at what you see, then call me Josie 403-988-6326 for a demonstration.

Small Wonder Needs Your Votes! (And I'll Return the Favour.)

Vote Now for Small Wonder to be Canada's top Mom Entrepreneur!

Small Wonder is entered to win $15,500 and I need your votes to help me win.

The SavvyMom Mom Entrepreneur of the Year Award is a readers' choice contest designed to find Canada's top Mom Entrepreneur. The winner will be announced in the fall, and will be rewarded with a $15,500 that was designed to help take that business to the next level.

I have been working hard at making Small Wonder a success since 2006. I know it will be what I imagined it to be, and this is one of the ways I will make that happen! So vote for me, please!

If you haven't already, check out the 'Mom Entrepreneurs Gallery' at www.mompentreneuraward.com. Small Wonder can be viewed by clicking on this URL...

http://momentrepreneuraward.ca/MomBio.aspx?momID=273

And look through some of the other nominees, because there are a lot of talented and gutsy Moms out there! And if your one of them, nominate yourself. I'll vote for you!

Voters are also eligible to win prizes provided by Mabel’s Labels, Starrytime Keepsakes and Joe Fresh Style in the voter sweepstakes that accompanies this award program.

So there's a bonus for you, too!!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Wanna Walk? How about 3,200 km?

Here's another "Amazing Walker" story - truly inspirational (I say just after I chickened out for my walk because it's raining . . .)

First, a confession: I stole this word for word from the "WoW Power Walking" blog, dated Wednesday, June 10.

Johnny Rowe Marathon Walker


Been walking much lately? How about 3,200 kilometres? Today's Globe and Mail obituary described the life of famed Canadian walker Johnny Rowe who averaged this distance every year for 27 years and who died on May 28. According to the Globe and Mail, Rowe described marathon walking as "a chance to accomplish something without mechnical aid". I suspect he would have scoffed at those of us chained to our GPS devices.

Continue the story here: www.PraiseWalker.com

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Walking as Soul Work

I have an issue in my life that is causing a great deal of pain and turmoil. I am working through different methods of healing with it, but it can often get overwhelming when it's triggered.

Today was one of those trigger days, and I found myself wrestling with this to the point of complete frustration. By 5:00pm I was at a loss as to how to get peace and move on. I decided to go for my walk, which still needed to get done.

I set my Nike+iPod to a 1 hour walkand set it to play a shuffled playlist of soaking music , put on my Funky Feet, attached the dog to his leash, grabbed a poop bag, and headed out the door.

Read what happened next, here: www.PraiseWalker.com

Friday, June 12, 2009

Being a WAHM has it's advantages!

So I sit here right now, in front of the computer thinking I *should* be working. But ah... it's friday, the sun is out, I have to get myself & the kids ready to goto my Tae Kwon Do class shortly so I figure... I'll take a break.

The advantage of being WAHM for me anyway, is that I can work when I want and how much I want. I know... this is not the case for all WAHMs... some have jobs that require lots of hours and daily work. I used to be one of these 8 hours/day, 8 days/week kinda WAHMs. Probably a lot of days more than 8 hours... not often less. Here's the thing... being that busy is a *choice*. Yes... you do have to work to be successful and stay successful, but how much and when is 110% your own choice. When I owned my previous home retail business it got busy, really busy. So much so that I rarely got to spend time with my family. What did I do to change that? I hired a Mom helper. That's right... another Mom who could use some adult company and a bit of extra $$. The great thing for me? She was happy to work for store bucks. Being in retail, you know that has fantastic advantages. I 'paid' her a great rate for her but since I bought my stuff at wholesale rates, I got a 'discount' on her pay. So... I got fantastic help, company AND a pay rate I could afford! So... if you have a home retail biz that's really getting too hard to handle... or you simply want more time with your family, 'hire' another Mom. Great if you can find one that will work for product, but often Moms just want to get out of the house and be with another Mom so the pay rate is quite reasonable. And if you can find a Mom that is as passionate and knowledgeable about your product as you are all the better!

So now I'm one of those Mom helpers... only I do it out of my own home in front of my own computer. I sometimes get paid in 'product' but when I don't I get an hourly wage. My boss? Another fantastic Mom who lives in another COUNTRY!!! How cool is that?! I even got the privilege of meeting her one time when I traveled over to the US! I'm WAHM... I work at home... for another Mom and I love it. And in the process, I see lots of new websites, learn tons of new things and come to see some pretty neat products! And the best part of all? I work on my own terms when I have time. Occasionally there is a project that needs done yesturday, but for the most part I make my own schedule. For me, it's perfect.

So here's what my advice is today. If you have a home retail biz that's overwhelmingly busy... think about hiring a Mom helper. Use your connections. Talk about your business to EVERYBODY: family, friends, clients, manufactures, distributors, STRANGERS. And if it ever comes to a point where you want to move on to something else, you will have opened all those doors that you can go back to and say "hey... I can help YOU!"

Monday, June 8, 2009

Renovations of the Soul

We are renovating.


We attempted an en suite bathroom renovation three years ago. It’s still ongoing. I doubt it will ever be done.


So now, we’re doing the main floor, but we learned our lesson, and this time we’re hiring it out. New floors, new paint.


I don’t like renovating. I don’t even like houses - too much work for shelter. I’m not houseproud, I don’t like decorating, and I don’t really care about style and fashion. However, the kitchen floor is coming off, their are nail-pops in the living room, and the wall-paper is peeling. It’s time!


While the kids and I sat there scraping off the wallpaper in prep for painting next week, I thought about how house renovations are much like soul renovations.

Read more here: www.PraiseWalker.com

Thursday, June 4, 2009

YAY we did it!

OK so its been a long road but the site is finally redone and fully functional!
YAY!!!! I am so happy, and it looks so different.
So stop by and check it out, and give me some feedback, I would love to hear what u like and don't like baout the site!
thanks Ladies
www.rugratsgear.com

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Impossible Dog Challenge

Ok, here's the scoop - I'm at my wit's end!

We have just about the most perfect dog on the planet. He's a 9-year-old Bichon Shihtzu named Nicki, in perfect health. Lots of energy, doesn't shed, yap, demand attention, pee on my floor, jump up on me, or display any other annoying tendencies, and is incredibly flexible with our lifestyle. He's easy to train, and behaves himself wherever he goes.

He's been kennel trained since birth, and happily goes to his kennel when we leave the house or at bedtime. I'm a stay-at-home mom of two home schooled teenagers, so we are mostly home. Nicki usually gets a walk every day, and lots of one-on-one play time, mostly with my 16 year old son who adores him.

But here's the problem:

Read about it here: The Impossible Dog Challenge

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

momcafé event

May 29th, Moms, Money and Meaning

video

I go to these momcafé events because at every single one of them, there is a moment when I think "This is my message for today. This is the reminder I am supposed to take with me."

My reminders for this event...

Stop resisting your true self. The world needs you to be who you are, not someone else.

and...

With every economic downturn there will, at some point, be an economic upturn.

Oh, I also go for the lattes, danish and 2 hour break from the toddler. Well worth the price of admission!

Shawna
www.smallwonder.ca

I did it!! I did it!!

WOW, I can't believe it, but I achieved my goal of Unit Leader with my new business, lia sophia, and I did it in 2 months!! My goal for myself was 3 months, but I put my head down and got to work!
I started 2 months ago, when lia sophia first launched in Canada, and it's been such a great decision! I can't wait to share it with my family!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fresh Water

"A change is as good as a break"

Sometimes we need to make a big change in order to get a fresh start. Such has been the case for me!

Last week I finally came off a 40 day computer fast. That was a challenge, I assure you. It's hard to imagine how much of a fixed place the computer has taken in my life. It's a good thing to let go of from time to time, though! Amazing how much free time I had each day! I got lots of deep cleaning done both in the house and in my soul. New revelation, amazing experiences, and a fresh start. I feel like a new woman.

Read More Here: www.PraiseWalker.com

Friday, May 29, 2009

Introducing myself

Hi,
My name is Jocasta, I'm from New Zealand but I live in Calgary and am the proud mother to my gorgeous smiley little son Oliver. I'm so happy to have finally joined the wonderful community of WAHMs!! It's taken me a while to find the right fit of business for me and I'm so happy to have finally done so in OnlyGreen. I haven't felt so good, and so passionate, about something in way too long! How could you not get pumped about selling eco-friendly green products, improving people's lives and the state of the planet? I'm just loving the feeling of knowing what I'm doing is so right. I look forward to getting to know you all better and sharing our ups and downs and business ideas!

Thanks,
Jocasta
www.theonlygreenshop.com

Ideas on starting a conversation?

I've been having a heck of a time bringing up what I do in a discussion with friends and family. I don't want to sound pushy or annoying.

How does everyone else bring it up in conversations??

I have been losing inches so it is noticeable and I get the odd comment which does bring it up and I go from there.. but it's hard to just bring it up out of the blue.

Any ideas or advice?

Britt Raposo
www.TrimInchesCanada.com

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

video

Enjoy my video made just for Moms. All of the cards were provided by Speckles & Weeds.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

My first month of business!

I recently started a new home based business called lia sophia fashion jewellery. After resigning from my previous business for moral and ethical reasons, I really only had one more chance to prove to my husband that home based business can be successful! This is hard to do to a sceptic!
But I started my business at the end of March, and just sat down and looked at what I did in the month of April! I actually shocked my husband! I more than exceeded my expectations, I doubled them! My sales, higher than I have EVER sold before! Recession? What recession? I did just over $5800 in sales in 4 parties! One of my shows had 23 guests! I started 6 new team members personally, and my team has already recruited!
I have to keep at it! I have to show my husband that I can be successful by working from home, because that's what our 3 boys need, is their mom home when they come home from school.

Monday, April 27, 2009

WAHM Going Back to Work

Hello everyone,

I am sure I am not alone - but I can't help but feel that way sometimes - this week especially so.  I am facing the dreary realization that I will soon have to leave my wonderful little 10.5 month old son to go back to work at my "job".  Perhaps it would not be so distressful, so anxiety-provoking, if I liked my job more; if it wasn't so stressful, so back-breaking, so exhausting (emotionally and physically).  I like what I do at a basic level (I help people when they are unable to help themselves) ... but I hate the politics, the physical strain because there is always a shortage of staff, the inability to get a day off, the thought of missing my son`s second Christmas and birthday, the stress of always worrying when I answer the phone that I will be told to drop everything and be at work in 30 minutes ... what will I do with my son when this happens?

I have struggled for 4 (almost 5) months to make Storks & Berries a successful business while I have been on mat leave.   I have, essentially, succeeded.  I am not losing money.  The problem is that  I am also not making enough to win the argument with my husband that we can afford for me to stay at home with my son and run my business.  This is a grim moment for me as I generally always win arguments :)

I have been told it takes 5 years to have your business show a profit.  5 years! ... my son will be in school already ... Storks & Berries will have to do better than this.  My goal is to run a successful business from home that I believe in, selling products that are environmentally responsible, so that I can contribute to my family`s income AND watch all of my son`s special moments.  I have determination, a very strong-will, and motivation on my side.  I am a Capricorn, and true to my zodiac sign, I tend to be successful when I set my mind to something.  My mind is set - Storks & Berries will be successful (I have lots of ideas and plans to make it so!).  I may not have had enough time to make Storks & Berries profitable yet ... but I will ... before the end of my next maternity leave.

I strongly believe that life is too short to spend much time doing something you dislike.  I have a family to think about now though ... up and quitting my job at my whim no longer seems like as viable an option as it has in the past - my family needs a (safe) place to live, my son needs a backyard to play in, we need to eat.  I will go back to work (for now), and somehow find the time necessary to continue to grow my business, so that my family can afford to have me stay at home with my son and run a business that I believe in and am proud of.  I am, however, heartbroken at the thought of missing a day of my son`s life ... for a job that I get nothing out of except a paycheck.  

What will I miss when I return to work?  Will my son finally learn to say "Mama" when I am not home to hear it?  

How will I continue to grow my business (something which I actually quite enjoy doing) to the standards that I have set for Storks & Berries ...  standards that my customers have come to expect?  How will I keep everything running smoothly (translation: perfectly ... as I am a perfectionist)?

I truly enjoy running my business, interacting with my customers, making Storks & Berries my very own - it is very rewarding - a great personal-growth experience.  I love watching my son grow day-by-day, learning new things along the way ... that face when he finally gets something he has (apparently!) been contemplating.  It doesn't seem right that I have to sacrifice moments with my son and my business to leave them both and do something I find so much less rewarding.  

I write this for those who may be in a similar place in their lives and who may be reading this.  I know I am not alone - there are other new moms (even some new mompreneurs) who are going back to work but who would rather stay at home with their babies.  At this moment, however, as I prepare to write my "return-to-work" letter, I do feel alone ... even somewhat abandoned and unsuccessful.  I know these feelings are emotional (perhaps even childish) with no bearing in reality ... but for this moment in time ... they are the feelings of a struggling  new mompreneur, of a mommy waiting to hear that first "Mama", of a woman who wants to do it all perfectly but knows that even she has limitations.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Trade show success tip #4

I hope that someone is finding these tips useful. Vendor shows can cost a lot of money and time so its vital that we maximize the benefits.

Do you realize that there is a great, untapped pool of potential customers at every market or trade show you'll ever do. Time and again I've observed how they are neglected even though they are all around at every show. Who are they? Other vendors!

Remember that all the other vendors are busy people who need to shop for products and services too. Plus they are keen to support other business people they get to know and who treat them well.

So next time you do a show ensure that you:

- Visit as many other booths as you can either before or during the show to meet the other business people there. Shake hands, introduce yourself and get to know as many other vendors as you have time for:

- Offer a vendors only special like a free sample or a discount. Trading product can also be mutually beneficial:

- Get their contact information and follow up with a phone call to say what a pleasure it was to meet them and that you look forward to seeing them at another event soon. Next time one of their friends wants a product like yours who do you think will get the referral?

Some of my best hostesses are business women I've met at trade shows and markets. I'm doing a party this week with a woman who was in the booth next to me at a Christmas Craft Show! I strongly encourage you not to neglect this group of wonderful customers right under your nose!

Have a Spicy Day!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Vendor Show Success Tip #3

Hi and Happy Earth Day.

I'd like to propose that the most important phase of every trade show begins after you get home! Follow up is essential to maximizing your investment and realizing a measureable business boost.

Capture contact information from everyone you engage with at the show. Offer a draw and invite everyone who speaks with you or makes a purchase to enter. Bring a clipboard, draw entry forms and pens and pass them to your customer to fill out. If I'm not too busy I hold the clipboard and fill the draw form out for them so I can ask them additional questions and make some notes. This is a great opportunity to learn more about them and their needs!

Call everyone within two or three days after the show. You don't have to be nervous or feel like you are being pushy. Just call and say thank you for stopping by the booth. Then tell them that you really appreciate their interest in your business and that you would love for them to be a valued customer. If you do a monthly email newsletter this is also a good time to ask permission to add their email address to your list. Easy peasy right! Check whether your contact would like further information or products at this time. If not, ask permission to follow up with them in a month or whatever interval seems reasonable to you and then make sure you call them as promised.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Happy Earth Day!


I just wanted to take a minute and wish all of you a Happy Earth Day tomorrow. Please remember that it is the small steps that we take everyday that will lead to big change tomorrow. Don't throw away that paper cup recycle it or better bring your own stainless steel mug instead! I also wanted to share a picture of a new product I just received in today I thought it was fitting to share this lovely play silk hand dyed in Canada and named for the earth with all of you today. Have a great day tomorrow!

Self Care Tips for WAHMs

As WAHMs we know that each day is chock full of all the stuff we have to attend to – tending to the children, preparing meals, doing laundry, cleaning the house, running errands as well as getting our work done. We never seem to stop and there is rarely any down time. Many of us are tired, cranky and run down – hardly what we dreamed it would be like when we decided to be a WAHMs.

Here are 5 tips all of us can use to be happier and healthier.

  1. ME Time. Oh, we’ve heard it before, but how many of us actually do it? We think we’ll get some time for ourselves later, but it never happens. Make it happen by scheduling it, just like any other appointment. Book that spa treatment or dinner with a friend you’ve been meaning to have. Plan a solo shopping excursion. Arrange time at the gym or sign up for a course. Book a sitter in advance or be sure to remind your partner that you’ll be unavailable. For example, my hubby is happy to be at home with the kids, but he needs me to email him a reminder otherwise he is liable to double book himself!
  2. Quiet Time. If you have children who nap or have quiet time during the afternoons, you probably try to do some work or homekeeping during this time. Instead, try to have a bit of quiet time yourself. A few minutes reading a good book, meditating, stretching or taking a cat-nap will invigorate you and give you energy to get through the rest of your day.
  3. Don’t Always Be A Night Owl. Although many of us start our second job after the kids are down, you need a little down time too. Schedule some light work for a couple of evenings a week, and do something fun or relaxing on the other nights. And, remember that you need to get a good night sleep to be your most effective during each busy day!
  4. The Love Connection. Don’t forget about scheduling time with your hubby or partner - whether it’s for a date night or just a few minutes holding hands on the couch talking in the evening. It may not seem very romantic to schedule time with your loved one, but it is crucial to maintaining a good relationship. And besides, knowing that you have time with your partner gives you something to look forward to!
  5. Comfort Kit. What are some little luxuries that you enjoy? Chocolate or other snacks? Wine? Specialty coffee or tea? A favorite shower gel or bubble bath? Scented candles? Make sure you have a few of these items on hand and treat yourself to a little happy each day. For me, a great day includes a hot shower with a favorite invigorating shower gel, homemade iced coffee and a yummy granola bar as my afternoon snack, and 15 minutes reading my favorite magazine with my feet up. Sometimes little things can make a big difference.

Taking time to take care of you really is one of the most important things you can do in order to be a better mom, wife and business woman. And when in doubt, just remember the old saying: If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Wow! MPowered Marketing Events & Aha Moments!

As I'm planning the 4th event in my 7 event marketing training and networking series here in Calgary, I'm reflecting on the comments from past attendees. I have had several people, who have serious business backgrounds and have made career shifts, say they have had "aha moments" when they think they were "aha'd out". I've had people who have barely started their journey of business creation have the lightbulb go on and really get inspired to start their businesses on a great path by making the right first marketing steps.

I've seen connections happen purely by magnetic pull between likeminded women. I've seen one attendee leaving another attendees house as they made a connection and shared their services. I've had about 90% of attendees return and all them of them will continue to return as life, kid and husband schedules allow. We have room for more! Each event has us at about 75% capacity. I'd really love to see some of you make it out and discover some truly meaningful learning and connecting. I am so inspired by the inspiration of those who have attended and the power of their enthusiasm for their businesses and mine. The reciprocal support and encouragement has been beyond my expectations, but everything I'd hoped (planned for).

The next event is focused on the concept of "brand." I firmly believe that as a one-woman show, a business owner where YOU are the heart of your business, that brand goes WAY beyond the obvious. While it is easy to understand branding to encompass the visual elements of our business (logo, graphic design) and our name, it really starts with who you are, what your values and goals are, and how you operate your business. These things exude your company in every way and if every output is consistent with this vision, you will create a marriage of customer perception and brand. Surely you want the way you present your company and what your customers think of you to be the same!

Our guest speaker at the next session is Nichole Menard, owner of Over the Rainbow Children's Boutique in Calgary (130th Avenue S.E.). Njchole took over a popular consignment store, kept the business name anticipating leveraging the well known name while converting the store to a specialized boutique of new and trendy children's items. Come hear Nichole's interesting story about brand and the challenges she has faced as she continues to evolve her business.

Next event is Tuesday, April 28th at 7:30 p.m. in Copperfield. Full event details and registration are on my website. http://www.mpoweredmarketing.com/Events___Services.html

I'm so happy to hear about the successes you are all having and enthusiasm you are experiencing this Spring. I am enjoying reading all your posts!

Kim

New Small Wonder Website

It seems with the break-neck speed of technological advancement these days, its not possible to create something like a website, and then just leave it be. This is the third incarnation of the Small Wonder site, and it keeps getting better and better. And I keep learning more and more about creating them.

Of course, it will always be a work in progress...

Take a look and let me know what you think.

www.smallwonder.ca

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Bad Economy??? What!!!

Hi every one,

Just wanted to share some great news. I know Ive been silent a while. Just been dealing with some crazy stuff at home. So my business was put on the back burner a bit. And suddently I realized that I had totally lost my momentum with my parties. Just my luck- Belinda Ellsworth was in town the week after and I went to see her speak. Belinda is a Direct Sales specialist with 20 years of experiance in the industry.

I decided to relaunch my Passion Parties Business. And OMG...its been amazing. I now have more parties on the books than I ever did. Im booked up all the way to end of May and party of June too. Yikes!!! Who said the economy was down??? Doesnt look that way to me.. Anyway I just wanted to share my excitement.

Thanks for every one who keeps posting awesome tips!!

Friday, April 17, 2009

The land of "good enough"

Have you ever noticed that when money is tighter we find ourselves making different choices and throwing our brand preferences out the window? During a recent grocery trip I noticed a new brand on the shelf called “Big Red”. It wasn’t the most expensive brand, nor was it the cheapest. The packaging was appealing, it looked like a quality product and I found myself saying “good enough!”. I had heard about this theory from Seth Godin, marketing guru, and I am a firm believer that sometimes good enough, is well, good enough.

It made me think about my clients and whether they are offering a “good enough” product in their product mix (in addition to their higher end offerings). Middle of the road may sound boring to you, but there is plenty of demand for “good enough” products that won’t blow the budget. Think of the example of razor blades with their ever increasing number of blades, moisturizing strips and ergonomic handles. Between the $20 razor and the $1 disposable razor that leaves your legs looking worse than when you started, there is room in the middle for that razor that is “good enough”.

The same thinking can apply to the size of your product. Offering a smaller size is an excellent way to lower the cost and provide customers with what they are looking for. Have a look at your products or services and see where you can add-in affordable options.

Read more articles on marketing at www.GlowMarketing.ca


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Vendor store success tip #2

No matter the type of business we all invest in printed marketing materials - business cards, brochures and catalogs costing some serious cash. The purpose of these materials is to support us in forging a personal connection with as many new customers as we can. Let's consider how to use these tools at vendor shows and markets to get the biggest bang for our buck.

Stock your cards, brochures and catalogs behind your table where you can easily access them but they can't be randomly gathered by passers by. Many people who attend shows will grab any and all materials whether they are interested in the business or not. This is a waste of your materials! Most of the time these harvesters won't call you and your expensive catalog will end up in their blue box (best case).

Offer catalogs only to customers who truly engage with you and are interested in your product or service. I offer an Epicure catalog with a Dip Mix sample for $2 and the customer's contact information. No contact information no exchange! Then I commit to following up in a couple of days to help them with their first order. Of course I reduce the cost of that order by the amount I've collected for the catalog. By following this process you will regularly identify quality prospects and will have an invitation to call them after the show - the beginning of that personal connection you are working to create!

Holding a draw is a great way to capture the contact information and offers more value to the customer for engaging with you at your booth. When the customer pays the nominal sum for my catalog I hand them a clip board with a draw entry slip and a pen. I encourage them to provide name, phone, email and to recommend the best time for me to call. I let them know what the prize is and remind them that I will call within the next couple of days to follow up.

Hope this was useful. It sure has helped me to get a lot more out of the shows I do. My next post is on follow up and I'll try to publish that later today. Have to see as my little guy has a rotten cold and needs lots of cuddles.

If you are in the Edmonton area this weekend drop by and say hi at my Epicure booth at the Mompreneur Marketplace. 10am to 4pm, April 19th at the Mayfield Inn. Free addmission, fab swag and I'd love to meet you in person!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Vendor show success tips

Oh to one day have a workspace (I don't even have to call it an office) with walls so I can work without having to step over wooden train track pieces, crayons and hot wheels!

I'm getting ready to take my Epicure Selections business on the road for The Mompreneur Marketplace in Edmonton this Sunday April 19th. Got to pack carefully so I don't forget anything vital. Luckily, Edmonton is my hometown and I will be visiting my parents so I've got an on the ground support team!

Vendor shows and markets are great events for direct sellers working to grow their customer base and many community events are really inexpensive. If you've never done a public show I'll be posting some tips over the next week to help you have a successful event.

Tip One - Design an eye pleasing booth you can work in.

Plan your booth in advance and practice setting it up at home.

Invest in a durable, washable solid color tablecloth large enough to cover an 8' by 4' table generously.

Resist the urge to have every product in your catalog! Take some of your top sellers and keep your display clean and organized. Don't worry about missed sales. I'll be writing about capturing customer information and followup in a couple of days!

Ensure all your inventory, empty boxes & assorted supplies will stow under your table and are covered by your table draping. Lots of stuff piled at the back of your booth looks cluttered and unorganized plus it could be a tripping hazard when you and your co-workers get busy.

A tidy, organized booth and your friendly smile will be all you need to make a great first impression!

Drop by my Epicure booth at the Mompreneur Marketplace Sunday April 19th at the Mayfield Inn in Edmonton. I'd love to meet you.

Greetings from the Owner of Storks & Berries!

Hi,

Welcome to my first blog ... ever!  I am excited to be joining the world of blogging ... and, to be honest, a little nervous as is to be expected when you do anything new.

I will start by telling you a little about myself.  My name is Dawn and I am the proud mommy of a wonderful 10-month old little boy, Griffin.  I am still amazed he is already 10-months old and by the time I grasp this concept he will be a year and my maternity leave will be over!  Time just flies so quickly these days.

I am also lucky enough to be the wife of a wonderful guy who I fell in love with and was smart enough to marry!

I love spending time with my son (mommyhood is like being handed a return ticket to your own childhood as you get to play all the games you haven't played in 30 years!), and of course my husband.  Outside is where I prefer to spend my spare time ... walking, skiing, playing, anything that gets me out into the fresh air!

In addition to all of this, I am also the owner of a great little online store called Storks & Berries (no biases here :), which is based out of Okotoks, Alberta.  Through Storks & Berries, I sell a variety of high quality and affordable baby products, including cloth diapers (which I am a huge fan of!), baby carriers, nursing pillows, skin care products designed specifically for babies sensitive skin, and a number of other really great products!  I opened up Storks & Berries (www.storksandberries.ca) at the end of December and have been working very hard since then to build my business.  So far, things are going well!

The idea for Storks & Berries was planted in my head when I was pregnant with my son.  I knew I wanted to use cloth diapers, but had a really hard time finding them locally, and an even harder time finding useful information on them online.  My initial goal was to fill this gap so that cloth diapering was more accessible for parents.  My product line has grown ... and continues to grow with some great new products on the way ... and I continue to work on the information part of my website.

I am proud of the products I sell.  I have a spent a great deal of time researching them, and have tested most of my products (and all of my cloth diapers!) out on my son.  I have chosen to offer only those products which have been able to meet my high standards.  I strive to maintain a focus on Canadian-made products whenever possible.

I hope you will read my future blogs to see how my business (and my life) is progressing.  Lots of exciting things have been happening and more are in the works.  Also, please visit my Storks & Berries at www.storksandberries.ca.  Your comments, feedback, and suggestions are always welcome and appreciated.  I am happy to answer any questions you might have.

Thanks for reading!

Dawn
Owner
Storks & Berries
www.storksandberries.ca

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Meal Planning to Save Time & Sanity

As SAHMs & WAHMs, our are days are jam packed with things to do so I'd like to offer some meal planning suggestions that could help you save time, money and reduce meal time stress.

1. Begin meal planning. If you aren't used to this start by planning just 2 dinners per week and work up to including a week's worth of dinners. You are creating a new routine so give yourself and your family time to practice.

2. Before you go grocery shopping make a list of all the ingredients you need to make the meals you've planned and check your cupboards and fridge to see what you already have on hand.

3. Plan meals that can do double duty. For example prepare extra roast chicken one night to make chicken and vegetable quesadillas the next night. Also, prepare extra portions of dinner recipes and take leftovers for lunch the next day.

4. Once you get into a good meal planning routine you'll need to grocery shop only once per week. When you shop get everything you need to prepare 5 complete meals. This should help to eliminate the last minute desperate dash to the store after work that is so stressful.

5. Involve your family in meal planning and preparation. Make note of favourite meals to make again soon. Teach children to help prepare meals, set the table and tidy up afterwards.

6. Make friends with your freezer. Double recipes of meals that freeze well and put them away for next month.

7. Consider having your groceries delivered if a store in your area offers this service. The fee is usually modest and you can save a lot of time and money by ordering online and scheduling the delivery. I know that I used to spend way more than the $7 delivery fee my store charges on 4 or 5 frantic shops during the week. When you take time to plan you make healthier, more economical choices.

For more information on how to reduce stress, save time, save money and feel great contact me about Epicure's new family wellness program A Healthier You Lifestyle Guide and Cookbook This beautiful, wipe-clean binder contains more than 120 delicious, family-friendly recipes with over 60 full-page, full-colour food photos. It includes Epicure’s Plan for Health Weekly Planner: Plan out your week’s complete menus and activity time, and create a to-go shopping list - saving you money, time and stress!

Simply Connected [Calgary Photographer]










What to wear to a session....



Many times I am asked to recommend clothing for a photo session. Often I tell my clients to wear what makes them feel comfortable...not sweats, but something of their style. I wouldn't put a dress on my daughter if she absolutely hates dresses...it will show in the images!
Style
Bring your style...whatever it may be...it WILL make your personality shine! Layers of clothing that have texture to it will enhance your images. Knits, laces, worn denim, buttons, and lots of deep rich colour! Mix and match, sometimes the colour combos will pleasantly surprise you. Include accessories. Hats, gloves, socks, shoes, jewels, scarves, ties, vests, jackets, skirts or leggings. If we can "pull" it on and take it off...we will have a lot of diversity in the taken images. BTW, if you are a baby (little person, no name calling) wearing your birthday suit is always a classic;)
Of course, the most important thing to wear is a smile...:)


Brandi

www.simplyconnectedphotography.ca

www.simplyconnectedphotography.blogspot.com

403.829.6783

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Calgary Moms! Marketing Training Event This Tuesday

Hello Fellow WAHMs!

The third event in my marketing training and networking series is upon us. It is this Tuesday, April 14th. Our focus is on goal setting. I am providing a very 'get to work' approach to my training session this week. I know for myself that the personal goals and business goals overlap, and without goals, I end up in quite the muddle in how I manage my time, make decisions with income. More importantly, without goals it is easy to lose focus on both the 'why' we started our businesses in the first place and the 'how' we are going to succeed. The goal is the 'what' in the equation.... 'what' specifically do you want to achieve? The 'specifically' part is the critical development step in goal setting, and that will be what Tuesday is all about. I aim to have everyone leave the Tuesday session with a set of specific goals that inspire, motivate or reinforce business focus immediately.



As with all training sessions, we have a wonderful local guest speaker coming to support the training topic with their real-world success or challenge story. This week Sundi Hoffman, owner of Bugalug hair accessories will share her interesting marketing strategies and business development angles. Sundi has travelled North America to promote her business to all kinds of customer and business to business audiences at events, including some celebs. She won the Prairie Region Savvy Mom of the Year award. It's going to be a great session!



Registration: only $25, pay at the event by cash or credit card on the Events page at http://www.mpoweredmarketing.com/



This is personally a great week for me to narrow in on my goals. It helps manage my own expectations of myself and what I can accomplish as a mom of three young girls, with limited childcare, minor league hockey playoffs for my husband, and a growing marketing event and client-based business. Thursday evening, 15 minutes prior to rushing out the door to get my girls to their dance classes and with an evening of Easter weekend road-trip packing to do, I dropped a big glass & stainless steel pot lid on my toe. It honestly hurt as bad as labour at first, but of course, I put it in the category of stubbed toe and sucked it up. About 26 hours later, road trip completed, I found myself in the ER to get a seriously black and blue toenail taken care of (disgusting, will not expand). In my distracted state with a throbbing foot, from trying to get my family organized to leave Calgary Friday morning, I forgot to pack myself underwear and more than 1 shirt. I forgot some Easter Bunny treats. I forgot I wrote a list to remember the forgotten items. But I did remember my girls, their favourite toys, and clothes. As my toe seems to be beckoning another doctor visit in the near future, and has to be elevated a fair bit, I am just focused on my goals. I'm going to get us home tomorrow with the least amount of stress and fuss. I'm going to write my presentation with my foot up on the dashboard. I'm going to ponder marketing strategy and budget for more take out. My goal this week is simplicity. Sometimes easier said than done. But since it is now my goal, and I have some tactics around it, I'm sure I'll be able to achieve it. The best thing about great goals is that they have a timeline. Come Friday, I'll know how I did in the simplicity department to evaluate it for the next time I am clutzy in the kitchen!



Hope you all had a wonderful Easter break and I also hope to see some of you tomorrow evening for a great marketing session just for a women in business like you!

Kim

I am ready!

I spent all day Friday with my girlfriend getting my papers ready and into the computer for my income taxes. Nothing can be more frustrating then trying to learn a new computer program under a deadline. Looking back I should have started this sooner but I thought I had more important things to do. So now I am struggling to learn and get things caught up. We were able to figure out the general journal and make our entries there to generate what the accountant needs with the least amount of stress. We were also able to get my GST return completed and I am happy to say I am getting a nice return.

As for the store it's slow right now and I am still having some issues with my shopping cart but we are trying to resolve them. I have set a number of good sales please feel free to check them out and pass them on to anyone you know! http://www.smallstepsecostore.com/ as well I have set up a facebook group for the store too feel free to join for the latest news!

Fans of Small Steps Eco Store

Friday, April 10, 2009

Walking in Northern Ireland

Well, I'm back after a 10 day visit to Ireland to see my husband's family. My mother-in-law recently broke her hip, and we wanted to check in and see how she's doing.

Visiting family in Northern Ireland is not the best way to keep up with weight loss plans! We stayed with my husband's sister who's a fabulous cook. Thankfully, she's also a healthy cook - lots of greens, farm-fresh food, and a good variety. We also ended up eating out a lot with various combinations of family members, and were not always so lucky with the food selections (though all were delicious!). We both came back with a couple of extra pounds, but we chose to enjoy our time with the family, and put that ahead of keeping trim.

We did, however, keep up with walking. Ireland is a beautiful place to walk! Rolling green hills, lots of birds, fresh, moist air (compared to the near-desert air of Calgary) and restful scenes. I loved walking there!

I posted my walks on Facebook, and I'm putting the links here in case you want to check them out. Some great pictures there!

Check out the pics here: www.PraiseWalker.com

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Spirit of Poverty - Final Lesson!

Well, here we are at the final lesson on the Spirit of Poverty. I hope you've been able to keep up, and that this has changed the way you view your life, and your current circumstances!

Today we're going to look at how to get out of the bondage of this spirit. Here are Bill's words:

How to Overcome the SPIRIT of POVERTY


The Bible teaches about poverty and its effects on people. To write or speak about a spirit of poverty does not fall into the arena of prosperity teaching. A spirit of poverty has nothing to do with how much anyone owns what they eat or wear. A spirit of poverty can oppress, and not infrequently does, wealthy people. Many people below the "poverty level" are not oppressed by this spirit. It has nothing to do with wealth or lack of it. It is related to greed and fear of loss.

A spirit of poverty can be defined as a demonic spirit empowered by iniquity and sin in the areas of giving and receiving. It operates generationally through iniquity; therefore it is a familiar (or family-line) spirit. This spirit is related to Belial, the destroyer, described in Psalm 18:4 and 2 Corinthians 6:15. A spirit of poverty is a condition in a person, a people, and / or a land.

WHAT EMPOWERS A SPIRIT OF POVERTY:

Read more here: www.PraiseWalker.com



Monday, April 6, 2009


Dan McCormick
Team Elite
Founder of Millionaire Training Circle
Author of
LESSONS FROM GREAT LIVES
will be in Calgary
Wednesday April 15
at
Hilton Garden Inn
2335 Pegasus Rd SE
corner of Barlow Trail & McKnight
6:30-7 pm demos & scanning
7-8 pm Presentation on the business of a lifetime
Registration $20 p.p.
Guests are free
R.S.V.P.
email: aphrodite@nsedreams.com
or call Josie at 403.988.6326
CAPTURE THE ANTI-AGING REVOLUTION
ERASE THE PAST
PERFECT THE PRESENT

Friday, April 3, 2009

Fit For Faith

Last week I told you about Praise Moves - a great Christian Alternative to Yoga.

Today I want to tell you about another great fitness program that also incorporates faith (isn't it wonderful how many people have figured out how to work faith into fitness? Very cool!)

This program is called "Fit for Faith" by Kimberley J. Payne. I've had the pleasure of a couple of conversations with Kimberley, and I really like her humble, down to earth style. Great lady.


Read more here: www.PraiseWalker.com