Thursday, September 29, 2011

A messy yet organized office

I was never the type of employee to leave at the end of the day with my desk empty, every file and piece of paper put away.

My desk always had papers on it and sticky notes around my computer screen. I would appear to many to be unorganized. But I never missed deadlines. I had things in a certain order. As messy as my desk (or cube) at work appeared, I knew where things were. I'm the type of person that needs to see things to be reminded to do it. So logically in my mind, if I leave the binder on my desk it will get done. Out of site out of mind.

So have things changed now that I'm an entrepreneur? How is my home office? Working from home is not as glamorous and at times, enjoyable, as it sounds. Throw 2 kids into the equation. My office was in the basement, but it has slowly crept into our dinning room. Let's face it. I need to do work while the kids are home, and I like to be close to them, even when they are napping. Do I know where everything is? No. Am I the most organized person in the world. Absolutely not. But it works for me in the state that my business and life is at the moment.

I started off momstown Winnipeg earlier in the year. I was organized. I started labeling my files, purchasing office products to organize my office products and had containers to keep my arts and crafts in order. My intentions were to be an organized entrepreneur. What I did not plan was this explosion that momstown had over Winnipeg. To say it's been busy is an understatement. Trying to keep my head above water is a challenge on most days. So ask me how my desk looks, well let's just say you won't be seeing a photo of it in its current state. But do I know where things are? Yes. I also have great support from momstown National, always sending me information, spreadsheets and tools to stay organized.

Note: I am not quite this messy! My floor is clean. :)
I'm not sure there is a right way to have an organized office. I won't give you a list of top 10 must haves in the office. Everyone is wired different. Some people strive in empty spaces, while others are working on 10 things at once. Sometimes business is slow and sometimes it is beyond busy. I will give you messy folks one tip, try to clean up your office once a week. Go through the piles on your desk, reorganize if you must. I often come home from an event and my crafts get tossed to the side. I have kids to feed, babies to rock to sleep, diapers to change and supper to make. So once a week I reorganize my crafts and art supplies and get my lesson and event plans ready for the following week.

Will my office get cleaner one day. I hope so. One day it may just slow down. But for now, this mompreneur is riding the wave in my messy yet organized office.

Alphabet Playgroup

This month we started a new playgroup for our toddlers to help them learn the alphabet. We have partnered up with Indigo, and once a week we will be meeting and learning one letter. We started last week with 'A' and read Alligator Baby by Robert Munsch.

And what's a playdate without circle time and crafts. We sang the alphabet and did a fun craft. Using the letter 'A' we made an alligator's head. You can find more great craft ideas around the alphabet theme on our Arts and Craft blog.

Join us at Indigo's on Kenaston. We'll be meeting up every Wednesday from 10:30am to 11:30 am and working our way to 'Z'. Hope to see you there!

Thanks to Lindsay at Creative Photojournalism for capturing some great photo's of our event!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Backpack Safety for Back to School

There is a growing problem for school aged children that was once a simple right of passage – the backpack. Due to increasing homework assignments and fewer lockers many children carry heavy bags to/from school. Those heavy, overloaded backpacks can cause neck and back pain, muscle spasms and spinal subluxations in children.

Your child’s loaded backpack should not exceed 15% of their body weight – so pack only what they need. If they are leaning forward under the weight to carry the backpacks, it’s overloaded. To put it on correctly the child should bend at the knees, using both hands lift he pack and be sure to use both shoulder straps. The pack should be snug and if it comes with a waist strap it should be used. Spinal problems are more likely to occur if the pack is carried by straps that are too loose, by only one strap, or if the weight is resting near the small of the back instead of being distributed over the length of the pack. Children that are carrying heavy backpacks through the school year should be under regular chiropractic care.  They will be better able to deal with the mechanical stress involved but they will also be able to enjoy the health benefits of a properly functioning spine, nervous system and body.

- Dr. Kimberly Mah Dalke, Dr. Myron Dalke of Two Rivers Chiropractic Centre
For more information visit our website @ 
Follow us on twitter (@tworiverschiro)
Unit S-730 St. Anne’s Rd, ph: 256-6181

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Family Financial Planning

The other day some of us momstown mamas headed over to Investors Group for a session on Family Financial Planning with Dana Wiens Baxter. It was a very important session for myself, as my husband and I are always 'meaning' to start investing but never go further then talking about it.

First off, what was great about this session was that is wasn't a sell from Dana on buying investments through her. She truly cares for our best interest and was there to answer our questions and give us advice that works for young families. As a mom with a young one at home too, she understands what we are all going through and gets that money is tight during these precious years.

We talked about differences between investments such as RRSP's, RESP's, and Tax-Free Savings Accounts.  She even touched on topics, such as the importance of having a will. And we also talked about debt, and whether or not we are best to just focus on paying that down or do a combination of lowering the debt while ensuring we have some savings on the side for those unexpected expenses.

The consultants at Investors Group kept peeking through the window of the board room with great big smiles as we had some special guests join us mamas. Something about babies that brightens up an office!

Stay tuned on the momstown calendar as we'll be adding an evening date of this fabulous Family Financial Panning session.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Kellogg's Back To School PJ Party

This past Saturday over 30 moms came out with their kids and some dads to enjoy breakfast on us, courtesy of Kellogg's. They got to sit back (as much as the kids let them) and let momstown do the prep work. And to make things even easier for them, we made it a pajama party, so moms didn't even have to change their kids in the morning (well diapers may have needed a changing). Even lots of moms came out to party in the pj's!

The kids ran around and played while us mamas sat back, relaxed and enjoyed our coffee and tea.

We started off the party will some fun discussions on our crazy morning routines and learning the importance of ensuring we all eat breakfast, including moms. I myself am terrible for skipping breakfast because I'm so focused on the kids that I forget to take care of myself. This bad habit has got to stop. One fun icebreaker questions was "did you ever leave the house and realized you are still in your slippers?" Glad to know I'm not the only one that this has happened too!

Everyone got to enjoy a variety of different cereal that Kellogg's sent. Many of us parents were reminiscing about the good old days when we ate Fruit Loops and Frosted Flakes. We have all tended to shift to 'adult' cereal, such as Kellogg's Special K, Mini Wheats, All Bran or Raisin Bran. I ate my bowl of Frosted Flakes rather quickly. We also had yogurt and lots of different fruit available.

Enjoying her apple! Check out her adorable silky pajamas. I don't even own pajamas that fancy! Lucky little girl!

Our party wasn't just about eating. We talked about nutrition, the facts about various breakfast food choices, and learned some interesting stuff. Many of us did not know that 'cereal contains less sodium than many popular breakfast items, including one slice of whole wheat toast, one croissant, one medium biscuit, one English muffin, and half a bagel.'

Every mom is looking for a fast and simple way to get breakfast on the table in the morning! Kellogg's cereal answers all the demands, and meets the nutritional needs of our growing kids. It was also convenient to have the cereals on hand to check out the nutritional value for themselves. We often don't have the time in the grocery store to read the labels. This breakfast provided the kids with a chance to sit down and try the food, and gave mom a moment to check out the labels.

What's a party without a prize! Congratulations Candis for winning our awesome prize loaded with cereal and fun stuff from Kellogg's. 

 What's a party without loot bags. Every family got to take home a gift bag from Kellogg's!

 We had a great time! It was nice to get together and enjoy breakfast with our momstown mama friends!

Craft Playdate at Kildonan Place Mall

Last week the kids gathered at Kildonan Place Mall for a craft playdate. Our momstown theme this month is 'Let's Go To The Zoo' so we made lions, panda's and pigs..... oh my!

Our craft event was open for all, not just momstown mamas.
Making piggies!
I was quite proud of my sample piggy. Cheap and easy to do. We used paper plates and cut egg cartons for the snout.

This little guy was making a lion.
This cuttie decided to make her own animal. Very creative!

Hard at work making a panda bear.
The kids were happy that we were stationed right by games and rides. 

Thanks again to Kildonan Place mall for helping us set up this fun day. The moms had a blast and I think enjoyed the crafts more then the kids!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Brake for Breakfast & Party in Your PJ's!

Breakfast is often called the most important meal of the day.  Numerous studies outline the myriad benefits of breakfast.  Kids who eat breakfast tend to score higher on tests, and have more energy,  and longer attention spans. Moreover, since four out of five children don't get sufficient vitamins and minerals from lunch and dinner alone, a well balanced breakfast can help fill this nutrition gap.

The benefits of breakfast are clear, but the reality is that mornings can be hard.  From packing lunches, to managing drop off at day care and school, to wrangling toddlers (with or without their toys) out the door and into the car, breakfast sometimes get missed.  I can't count the number of times that my own breakfast has consisted of a cup of coffee, and not realizing I never ate breakfast until 11:30 am (just in time for lunch). Not exactly a balanced meal... Purchasing breakfast en route isn't always a solution either.  The cost adds up quickly, and many fast food options are loaded with sugar, fat, and sodium.

Thank goodness for cereal! At only 50 cents per serving with milk, its inexpensive and simple to prepare, and even preschoolers can help get it ready by bringing bowls to the table, and pouring cereal into them.  As a bonus, being involved in creating the meal fosters self confidence and a sense of self sufficiency, and can reduce picky eating.  Cereal is healthy too.  Paired with milk or yogurt for protein, and either fresh or dried fruit, you have a nutritionally balanced meal that is full of vitamins and minerals.

Cereal doesn't just have to be eaten in a bowl at the breakfast table either.  Here are just a few ideas for when you need to have breakfast on the go:
    •    Create customized trail mix with finger friendly cereals, nuts or seeds, and dried fruits. Divide into bags and keep in the pantry to grab when you need them
    •    Make a batch of cereal, fruit, and nut bars to eat throughout the week
    •    Blend cereal with yogurt, milk, and fruit in a smoothie
    •    Layer yogurt, berries, and cereal in reusable lidded bowls so that kids can enjoy yogurt parfaits in the car
    •    Allow preschool and school aged children to string Fruit Loops or other "O" shaped cereal onto lengths of stretchable string cord to create edible necklaces or bracelets.  Stringing the "o"s onto the string is great fine motor practice, and the "jewelery" can be munched on the go. 

If you and your family are cereal fans too, then you'll definitely want to join us at our Back to School PJ PartyKellogg's is providing us with a variety of yummy cereals, milk, yogurt and fruit to enjoy.  We will also be giving out gift bags packed with Kellogg's coupons and products to each mom in attendance, and one lucky mom will also go home with a special Kellogg's prize pack.  Come out in your pjs, and let Kellogg's and momstown take care of breakfast for once. It will be a great chance to meet and socialize with other momstown Winnipeg members too.  Head over to our main website to RSVP.  We are almost at capacity!

If you aren't a momstown member yet, now is the time to join. We have a free two week trial for moms to check out what momstown is all about.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

ManyFest - Downtown Winnipeg at Broadway

Today was day two at Manyfest. It was their first day for the kids zone and momstown was there with Koba Entertainment. It was a hot day here in Winnipeg, but we had lots of fun! Koba Entertainment asked us momstown mama's to help out with their arts and crafts table, which is what momstown does best!

We will be there all day tomorrow starting at 11 am so come on by and have your kids show us their inner picasso. We have paints and markers for the kids to create their master pieces and Koba Entertainment provided us with a big mural of The Backyardigans that the kids can colour in.

And we have lots of chalk for the kids to do chalk art. I also saw clowns doing face painting and balloon art and lots more!

Last but not least, we have a draw going on where you can enter to win tickets to see The Backyardigans live this October 1 at The Pantages Playhouse Theatre.

Here's a glimpse of what was happening after sunset. The live band was going, folks were sitting around enjoying the beautiful weather and dancing in the streets of downtown Winnipeg!

You can see the full line up of events happening this weekend at manyfest at

Hope to see you there!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Let's Make Music at our Tales for Tots!

momstown has exploded here in Winnipeg! Our Tales for Tots is getting very popular! In less then three months we have gone from 3 mamas at our first ever meet-up to 16 moms and their kids/babies at our August Tales for Tots (and that was still after last minute cancellations due to sick kiddies)! It got a little noisy as our theme this past month was 'Let's make music!' but we had a blast!

We switched things up this time and did our craft first. Since we planned on singing songs during circle time and our craft was decorating maracas, it only made sense to get those shakers ready for some music!

Scholastic Canada provided us with two board books this month, You Are My Sunshine and The More We Get Together, by Caroline Jayne Church. We sang our books this time around and the kids had a blast! We also sat around and sang lots of out fun nursery rhymes. The kids helped pick out some songs and we practiced shaking our new instruments! If you missed our event, you can read our review about these books.

Getting ready for circle time!
We also gave away each book to 2 lucky moms & their tots! Congratulations to Michelle and Nadine!

Looking forward to this month's Tales for Tots, as we'll be reading The Underpants Zoo by Brian Sendelbach.