February 27, 2015
He started off sad because I caught him just as he was getting ready to play Mario Kart with his dad, but then he started messing around with the controller and pressing things while his dad was trying to set things up, and it perked him up a little bit :)


What I've Learned While Doing My Taxes

February 23, 2015
Tax time is here once again for businesses and employees. It is not the most fun time of the year, and I have found that using Google to figure out information about how to file your taxes does not help -- a lot of incredibly large words are thrown around in most of the articles you'll find on there. So, I thought I would do a little write-up of a few of the things that I have learned while doing my taxes that I wish I had known from the very first day of opening my business.

1. Keep an opening inventory and a closing inventory. This is a list of all of the items that you use to make your products, anything you use for packaging and shipping your products, and any finished products that you have ready to sell. Document how much you have of everything that the beginning of the year, and at least once more during the year -- in December. Because any left-overs in the closing inventory will make it so you have a little bit less tax to pay.

2. Keep all of your receipts. This is to prove that you have indeed purchased those new pencils with which to create your drawings, the resin that you have used to make your jewellery, or even the product packaging and shipping envelopes that you used to ship your products. Because anything that you have bought for your business that does not have a receipt cannot be claimed on your tax forms, and that does not benefit you at all in the long run -- meaning you will have to pay more in taxes than you had hoped.

3. Keep accurate documentation of all goings on in your business. This means that if you are claiming anything like using your home or personal vehicle for business use that you need to keep a log of when you use it, mileage, etc. Also, keep proper documentation of your business expenses such as advertising, office supplies, shipping costs, Etsy fees, Paypal fees, and any other fees you may have in a spreadsheet or using a program that allows you to input that information -- check out Quickbooks or Xero to get you started.

4. Don't be afraid to ask for help. If you are fortunate enough to know an accountant or someone that has a business, don't be afraid to ask them to help you out. They might be experts at using Excel and can help you start a spreadsheet. They will also have a lot more tips for you when it comes to doing your taxes. A business owner would have been through it before, and your accountant friend might have audited or helped other businesses get through tax time.

If you live in Canada, here are two great links to get you started. The first one is for Form T2125 for your Statement of Business or Professional Activities, and the second one is for the guide to help walk you through filling out the form -- it was really helpful.



February 20, 2015
Last week we celebrated Valentine's Day at Little Boy's school -- and my work place. We were unable to be there for the party, but I picked up our Valentines the next day and we looked through them together. He was very excited to read through the Valentines and see who gave them to him, but his favourite part was the lollipops.



February 13, 2015
Around Christmastime, Little Boy asked to visit the bookstore to see the trains -- it is one of our favourite things to do together -- but the trains had been put away to make room for all of the extra merchandise in the children's department. So, he asked if he could buy his own train. Seeing as he had just gained some extra money through Christmas, my husband and I approved his purchase of a train set and a couple of trains. He was delighted, and has since gained another train and an expansion pack from a family friend. He plans to add more to his collection for his birthday, and has requested specific engines and track pieces from family and friends. I like how he's getting more aware of what he would like, and different ways for him to achieve it.


5 Valentine's Day Activities for Preschoolers

February 11, 2015
If you are not aware, my day job has me working with children every day. It is part of my job to find activities for them relating to themes, and right now our theme is Things We Love and Valentine's Day. The following five activities are actually tried and true activities for the little ones in your life. Some of them I have done many times, and others I have only done once, but plan on doing again. Have a fun Valentine's Day!

1. Make a Valentine Making Station. Provide coloured paper, pencils, markers, stickers, and other fun little extras so that your children can make their own Valentines for someone special. This blog has some fun tips and ideas.

2. Make a heart stamp. Using toilet paper tubes -- or anything you can carve into a heart, like a potato -- make a heart shape by pushing down on one side of the circle to make the top of the heart, and pinching the opposite side of the circle to make the bottom of the heart. This blog says to put tape across the top of the heart to help keep its shape. Speaking from experience, it's a great idea.

3. Make chocolate dipped pretzels covered in sprinkles! I made this delicious treat with the children at work today, and they had so much fun dipping the pretzels in the chocolate and then sprinkling sprinkles on top. It was a really great way to get them involved in making their own special Valentine's Day treats, and nobody cares what they look like because they taste so good!

4. Make a pink, yummy smelling play dough. We made strawberry scented play dough with the children at work, but this recipe uses pink lemonade -- which would be so delicious! Play dough with heart cookie cutters is always a fun Valentine's Day activity for anyone.

5. Do experiments on conversation hearts. We did some science experiments with the children using conversation hearts and various liquids -- water, vinegar, oil and honey. We had them predict what they thought would happen when the conversations hearts were put into the liquid, and then we had them observe what immediately happened as well as what happened several hours later. I was quite surprised with the results. This blog mentions other liquids that you could use. I also thought a light coloured soda would be interesting as well.



February 06, 2015
He wasn't too keen on having his portrait taken this week. All of us have been struggling with being sick, and I also caught him at a moment when he didn't really want his photo taken -- he was in the middle of watching a show on Netflix. But that's all part of doing this portrait series: It's not about the perfect moments or the moments that make you happy, it's about all of the moments in your life and capturing the growth.


How to be a Real Princess

February 04, 2015

This is a post that I have been struggling to write recently. I am not sure how to put my thoughts down without sounding condescending or rude. I think what I am about to say is really important, and it is one of the steps that we should be taking to help build our children up, especially our little girls, to be strong and powerful people.

We are always talking about how we want the best for our children, and sometimes it's the smallest details that can affect them the most. Right now there are many campaigns that have been designed for us -- women and men -- to look at how we treat our young girls and the expectations we have of them as a society -- check out Always "Like a Girl" campaign.

So here is what has been on my mind lately: It is how we and society are teaching our children -- especially girls -- how a princess behaves, when, in reality, the behaviours that we are teaching them are far from the truth.

Over the last few years, I have noticed an increase in clothing directed towards girls that talks about being a princess -- like a t-shirt hat says: "Only a true princess could get away with what I do." A lot of the clothing that is available for young girls does not have the most positive attitude, and makes it seem as if it is okay to do things that would usually be qualified as mean or rude. Sure, one might argue that it's just a t-shirt, but something that small can also have a great impact on a person.

I think that what we teach our children -- through books, television, and the way we talk --  about princesses makes them think that they only wear beautiful ball gowns, live in castles, and get to do whatever they want; but there are many qualities in real princesses that we should instill in our children above all else.

If you were to ask any princess out in the real world, she would tell you how much work goes into being a princess. Not only are you supposed to be well groomed and well dressed -- there's nothing wrong with being clean -- but you must smile at everyone and be happy and cheerful towards any one you meet. These interactions could happen at any time, and even if a princess is upset about something she must still put a smile on her face and converse with other people.

A princess is also always willing to help others and takes on several philanthropic endeavors to show the people that she cares about them and the society that they live in. A lot of photographs that we see of princesses are in these kinds of situations, and they always have a smile on their face and they seem happy with the support and care that they are giving, especially if it is something that is close to their hearts.

Yes, princesses wear nice clothes. Yes, princess live in castles and live extravagant lives taking vacations in warm places and shopping in expensive stores; but, this is not all that we should be teaching our children. Princesses are kind to others, slow to anger, show compassion and are, therefore, eager to help people. These, and many others, are the values that I'd rather instill in my children.

**Don't get me started on the slogans and phrases on clothing for boys. Some of it actually disgusts me and I refuse to buy anything of the sort for my son. He will not be taught to have any of the negative thoughts printed on those t-shirts, especially the ones that are geared towards women -- like "Chicks dig me".

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