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,
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!

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,

bird image only
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