Dec 172013
 

Who doesn’t love baby hand prints?

 

Every year, when we put up our tree, my favourite ornaments to put up are the ones with a story, specifically the ones that my children have made. Even when they were infants, we made ornaments with our children! We made clay hand prints and foot prints and every year when they were wee, we always made recordable ornaments with them saying a special Christmas message of sorts. Some messages are easier to understand than others, but regardless, this Mama is always guaranteed to get teary. Trust us when I say that you will cherish your little one’s hand print on a homemade keepsake ornament for many years to come!

 

Here is an adorable idea for turning your family’s hand prints into Santa ornaments from Nat Bourre :
Get the instructions for how to make clay ornaments.

Here is another fabulous idea for a Hand Print ornament with wonderful “how to instructions” in a video:
More fun hand and footprint art ideas can be found at The Whoot.

Wishing you a Happy and FUN Holiday with your little ones!
Love and Care,
Amanda
Dec 142013
 

At MommiesFirst we believe in moms helping moms!

We also believe in debunking myths. So lets wipe out Super Mom and replace her with Happy Mom! And in support of Happy Mom, we’re launching the Help Mama series, which is dedicated to introducing our community of moms to companies whose sole purpose is to ……. yes, you’ve got it – help mama. This week, we are sharing a company called Naked Nursing Tank founded by Carrie and Jen…

Can you tell us a bit about your entrepreneurial story? It definitely was not an intentional entrepreneurial adventure. We were running around chasing our 2 year olds and our midsections were completely exposed and I couldn’t find anything that gave me the freedom of wearing my sports bra, so I cut out the top of my tank top and (after completely ruining it) took it to my mom who helped me to develop what is now known as the Naked Nursing Tank. When we searched for something like it on the market we couldn’t find anything, so we decided to develop it so all moms could have the same freedom that we had when wearing the tanks.

How do you feel you are helping moms most? It is truly amazing to have a mom come up to Carrie and I and say how much the tanks have helped them to feel more comfortable while nursing in public. We are truly humbled by all of the love that we have received.

What (or who) inspires you when it comes to creating a business committed to helping moms (and/or babies)? The face to face responses we get from happy moms is definitely what keeps us going. Also, the fact that we are Canadian made is a huge bonus because we are ethically employing Canadians.

What are some exciting new developments for your business? Oh, we have a GREAT product coming out and can’t wait to get it on the market. It is a little something that gives mom a little extra ‘helping hand’.

The 2 biggest pieces of wisdom you’d impart to about being an entrepreneur? First – Believe in your product wholeheartedly because your passion and enthusiasm will help you to climb mountains! Second – Be patient, build a strong foundation with integrity and honesty and things will unfold before you at the right time. 

Some more information about Carrie and Jen:

Our favorite part about Naked Nursing Tank is…the simplicity of it. You can wear EVERY bra type, EVERY shirt over top of the tank and it fits EVERY body type. We love that it’s the most UNIVERSAL nursing tank on the market, accommodating all women.

When parents find out what I do, they often say: “Where were you when I was nursing my baby?” or “I wish I had been able to have one of those when I was nursing!!”

In my free time, I love to… run…and Carrie loves to eat. Anything. LOL!

The last book I read was… was “Inferno” by Dan Brown. The last book Carrie read was “The Winner’s Brain” by Mark Fenske.

I’m dreaming of… a White Christmas. Carrie is dreaming of what she can eat at Christmas. She loves good food 🙂

 

 

With love and care, Amanda

More Help Mama Posts:

L’il Tights by Skights

Simply Fun Families

LPH Illustrations – Susy the Soother Fairy

Dec 032013
 

At MommiesFirst we believe in moms helping moms!

We also believe in debunking myths. So lets wipe out Super Mom and replace her with Happy Mom! And in support of Happy Mom, we’re launching the Help Mama series, which is dedicated to introducing our community of moms to companies whose sole purpose is to ……. yes, you’ve got it – help mama.

This week, we are sharing a company called LPH Illustrations founded by Laura Page-Hamelin…

LPH Illustrations - Laura

Can you tell us a bit about your entrepreneurial story?
I have always had entrepreneurial flair, it started as a young person and babysitting, I had quite the successful little referral system happening and was booked almost every weekend. Even during college I was planning my first business venture and left for Montreal the day after I graduated to pursue it. I dabbled in many different ventures before returning back to my one true love – art. I love illustrating, and I especially love doing it for the benefit of children. Then I discovered I also love writing! So double bonus.

How do you feel your helping moms (and dads!) most?
Any parent with a child who has a soother attachment will benefit from this book. They will love this book as a tool that helps their child rid of their soother in a positive and rewarding way instead of potentially hurting them emotionally in the process. Children actually get excited about the Soother Fairy coming, they look forward to putting it in the magic sac that comes with the book and they don’t turn back – because if they put another soother in their mouth, Susy will come back and take away their gift. There is a lot at stake for the child, motivation for them to keep soother free.

What (or who) inspires you when it comes to creating a business committed to helping moms (and/or babies)?
My girls are my motivation for sure. They are my pride and joy, they are my source of inspiration. They are definitely what makes me keep striving to grow my business. There is a pride associated personal achievement, something I want to teach my girls, and I would love to show them through demonstration.

What are some exciting new developments for your business?
Susy the Soother Fairy will be available for sale this December which is very exciting. I am going to be doing 3 book readings this December for my book and am hopefully teaming up with the Oakville Parent Child Centre in the new year to help them in fundraising for their centres. I am working on an App and ebook as well, and have coordinated with a local musician to create a song about Susy as well.
book Susy and sac
Also, my blog www.lphillustrations.blogspot.ca is getting a lot of traffic which is very exciting too! Most recently, I have been asked to guest blog as well, which is a huge step for anyone starting blogging. A lot of new and exciting things happening in a very short time, I really feel like I am following a path that fits my lifestyle and my goals, and it is all coming together really nicely.

The 2 biggest pieces of wisdom you’d impart to about being an entrepreneur?
First – being an entrepreneur means a lot of dedication and perseverance. Nothing happens overnight. The term overnight success is really just a term – the truth behind any successful entrepreneur is effort and consistency.
Second – your first business may not be your last business. Most of the time it takes a few takes at finding your “true love” in entrepreneurship. But the fact of the matter is, if the passion is in you, you will make it happen.

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Some more information about Laura:

My favorite part about LPH Illustrations is…the endless opportunities it has. This business has many different avenues for success, and that keeps it interesting.

When parents find out what I do, they often say: “sounds like you are very passionate about what you do” – and they are 100% right.

In my free time, I love to… play! We travel as a family, we ski, we cottage and we just plain love life.

The last book I read was… the Hunger Game series – LOVED IT!

I’m dreaming of… travelling with my family to far off places and seeing some of the most beautiful things the world has to offer!

With love and care,
Lorena

bird image only
More Help Mama Posts:
L’il Tights by Skights
Simply Fun Families

Dec 032013
 

At MommiesFirst we believe in moms helping moms!

We also believe in debunking myths. So lets wipe out Super Mom and replace her with Happy Mom! And in support of Happy Mom, we’re launching the Help Mama series, which is dedicated to introducing our community of moms to companies whose sole purpose is to …….yes, you’ve got it – help mama.

This week, we are sharing a company called Simply Fun Families founded by Karen Peterson…

Karen with art wall background
Can you tell us a bit about your entrepreneurial story?
I am a happily married mother of 3 living in a small town north of Toronto, Ontario. I have been a stay at home mom for the past 12 years and cannot imagine a more wonderful way to spend my life.

This spring, my husband casually commented that I should consider developing various product offerings for families on the run who would like to fit some fun into their busy, everyday lives. He thought that perhaps some of the fun things that we do in our family, which have now become much loved traditions, might appeal to other parents searching to boost the fun factor in their own homes. That was the seed that germinated in my mind through the spring and summer.

Now it seems that all my life experiences, and especially my passion for being a mother, have become intertwined in this very new and very exciting phase of life when I am starting my own business, Simply Fun Families. Over the past few weeks I have launched my first product offering, 25 Days of Christmas. It is a holiday themed activity kit for the whole family filled with all kinds of easy breezy fun.

How do you feel your helping moms (and dads!) most?
Simply Fun Families has grown out of my desire to create simple ways to carve out time with my own children while they are still young … time that we can enjoy each other in spite of the busy schedules that parents these days try so hard to juggle. Over the years, I have spent countless hours searching for fun family activities over the internet and in various books.

My dream for Simply Fun Families is to inspire parents who are also trying so desperately to savour the years with their young children. I hope to offer products filled with simple ideas and activities that can be fit into our everyday lives. The key is that families can personalize these ideas and activities to suit their schedules and interests with ease, rather than spending excessive time searching for ideas themselves.

What (or who) inspires you when it comes to creating a business committed to helping moms (and/or babies)?
Certainly one of my biggest inspirations is Katrina Kenison, author of The Gift of an Ordinary Day. Her memoir had a profound effect on how I see these fleeting years when my children are old enough to enjoy new experiences and family activities but still young enough to need my time, support, and guidance on a daily basis. I want to enjoy the ordinary days as we go through them, adding a bit of fun and carving out time to spend together as a family. My favourite quote from Katrina is prominently displayed in my home and it reminds me to pay attention to all that we have been blessed with …. “It has taken awhile, but I certainly do know it now — the most wonderful gift I had, the gift I finally learned to cherish above all else, was the gift of all those perfectly ordinary days.”

Another wonderful inspiration through my parenting years has been Nathalie Prezeau, author of Toronto Fun Places. When my children were younger, I would plan theme weeks and then use her amazing book to select a “family day outing” that would match the theme. It certainly takes effort to research, plan and deliver a day full of fun at a new place that the family has never been … but oh the memories that we made! My children still recall many of the adventures we had at places that I would not have otherwise known about… places right in our own backyard! I am so grateful for this amazing book which is now so accessible as a website resource for parents.

I love sharing the works of these inspiring women with friends, new parents, and just about anyone who has young children because Katrina and Nathalie have inspired me to live joyfully and mindfully in what is certainly the busiest time of my life.

What are some exciting new developments for your business?
Simply Fun Families is all about making memories with our children and sharing ideas for having fun along the way. Our first product offering is called 25 Days of Christmas. It is a boxed set that I hope will inspire parents to make time for family fun through the busy month of December as Christmas approaches. I have delivered this fun program for several years with my own family, and they LOVE it!! Over the years, I have worked on tailoring activities to suit our busiest days, and to make the most of our available weekend days for bigger adventures. The kit offers tips on how to deliver the daily activities with ease in spite of the busy pace we all find ourselves in during the holiday season. In my home, we have actually turned finding each day’s activity card into a daily mini treasure hunt! It is fantastic fun that literally requires only a few minutes each day to deliver.

Each 25 Days of Christmas kit includes:
• 35 cards containing simple, festive activities to choose from
• 5 blank cards to personalize for your own family traditions
• Dated envelopes for December 1st to 25th to keep you organized
• Suggestions for organizing and delivering a month of holiday fun for your family!

The 2 biggest pieces of wisdom you’d impart to about being an entrepreneur?
My best advice is to surround yourself with people who care about you, inspire you, and have the experience and knowledge to support you in making your dream a reality. We all have our own areas of expertise, but we cannot be experts in everything. For me, seeking out the people who could fill in the pieces of the puzzle that were not my specialty has turned out to be not only educational, but also inspiring! I am so blessed to have found people to work with who are enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge, connections, and experience with me. It has made this path so much easier than it would have otherwise been.

Also, many of my closest friends have jumped in with offers to help me get started, sharing their personal passions and gifts. A day building my 25 Days of Christmas kits is such a delight when I am doing it with a friend or two. Their encouragement and support really fills me up, and it helps me keep the home and family juggling act going!

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Some more information about Karen:

My favorite part about Simply Fun Families is…that sharing my story has given me so many opportunities to reflect on how grateful I am for my life with my young family. As I look back, I realize that we have been building such wonderful family traditions all along, and I am so happy to share them and connect with other parents who have so much to share in return, particularly the incredible entrepreneurial women that I have met.

When parents find out what I do, they often say: “That sounds like so much fun! Tell me more about it.” …. and I do!!

In my free time, I love to… play cards and board games with family and friends, take time out for lunch or dinner with girlfriends, and read inspiring books. When I can find a bit more time in our busy schedule, I try very hard to rent a cottage for a quick family escape from all the busyness of our everyday lives.

The last book I read was… Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. I was gripped from beginning to end.

I’m dreaming of… owning a cottage of our own, a retirement filled with travel adventures with my sweet hubby, and lots of grandchildren someday in the distant future.

With love and care,
Lorena

bird image only
More Help Mama Posts:
L’il Tights by Skights

Dec 032013
 

Feel free to see our very first Help Mama Series post where we introduce the series along with an inspirational woman, Melissa from MamaViews.

At MommiesFirst we believe in moms helping moms!

 

Today, we would like to introduce you to Julie from L’il Tights by Skights.

 

 

Julie from Skights

Can you tell us a bit about your entrepreneurial story?
It was December of 2011, I was at the mall with a friend who was looking to purchase “tights” for her 16 month old son. I was shocked that they made tights for little boys, I remembered when my eldest was a toddler I would put pyjama bottoms underneath his pants to give him extra protection against the elements. My girlfriend then explained she purchases “girl tights” in neutral colours and puts them on her son. That night I went home and told myself I was going to create tights for little boys.

 

How do you feel your helping moms (and dads!) most?
When I created Lil’ tights by Skights I wanted to create a product that was practical, functional and affordable. As parents, we want to ensure all of our children’s needs are being met. When children feel good, parents feel great.

Parents can take comfort in knowing Lil’ tights by Skights can help to keep their wee ones legs warm.

 

SKIGHTS

What (or who) inspires you when it comes to creating a business committed to helping moms (and/or babies)?
One of the women I really admire is the founder of Robeez, Sandra Wilson. In 1994, Sandra was laid off due to downsizing she had a 18 month old son who she had wanted to spend more time with. I love the fact that Sandra decided to look at her current circumstance with “half –full” glasses.

 

She started a home based business which turned into a multi-million dollar company. In 2006 Robeez was sold to Stride Rite for 30.5 million dollars PLUS Sandra is a Canadian!! If that isn’t inspiration that I don’t know what is!!

What are some exciting new developments for your business?
Plans are to expand across Canada and into the United States. We are also working hard to break into the International scene. From what I have been told, tights for boys are very common in certain European countries and it would love to have the opportunity to introduce them to Lil’ tights by Skights.

The 2 biggest pieces of wisdom you’d impart to about being an entrepreneur?
I think one of the most important pieces of wisdom I could give to future entrepreneurs is to “just start”. Too often we have dreams and desires and instead of starting we hold onto them too afraid to start.

This could be for a number of reasons; fear, finances, time, knowledge, the list is endless. If entrepreneurs understood there will ALWAYS be times when you are fearful, have a lack of finances, don’t have enough time and have no idea what you are doing then I think they would be more likely to start.

We often look at successful businesses and say to ourselves “there is no way that I can do that” and you’re right, there is no way you could do that right NOW, but one day you can and will. All successful businesses started somewhere and I have no doubt there were times when their owners had no idea what they were doing or how they were going to achieve a certain goal. Through personal experience I know as you go, so will you grow.

Rome was not built in a day, neither will your business. Dream big, hold the vision and you will get there just as marathons are run, one step at a time.

The quote below is from the book the Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo.

“And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.”

I have experienced this so called “phenomenon” countless of times where people and or circumstances have come along and aided me in achieving my dreams. They key to this is you HAVE to do the work and be consistent at it. If you do things will happen.

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Some more information about Julie:

My favorite part about Lil’ tights by Skights is…the reaction I get from moms of little boys. My story and the “why” behind the creation makes so much sense to them, love it!!

When parents find out what I do, they often say: how do you manage to run business, work full time and raise two children on your own?

In my free time, I love to… read, journal and work out.

The last book I read was… The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

I’m dreaming of… the day I get to stand up in front of an audience of 2000 women and share with them my journey to entrepreneurship in hopes of inspiring them to live their fullest life.

With love and care,
Lorena