Thursday, June 25, 2009

Companies We Love

Danielle and I have been working on a project that has put us in touch with tons of amazing mom-owned businesses. We'd like to use this little bit of internet real estate to tell you about some of them. Know any great mom-owned businesses that we should know about? Please share them with us if you do!

Company Name: Mabel's Labels

Company Web Site:

Owners: Cynthia Esp, Julie Ellis, Julie Cole and Tricia Mumby

What they do: Provide all kinds of fabulous labels for the stuff kids lose

Why we love 'em: Because their company is innovative - their web site is great and their products even better. Because the Mabel women are inspirational. They won the inaugural SavvyMom Mom Entrepreneur of the Year Award and constantly push themselves. They've set the bar for what mom entrepreneurs can achieve.

What you can get: A great camp combo pack full of everything you'll need for your child's camp experience this summer.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Camp Days Part 3 - In the Land of the Midnight Sun....

I grew up in the Yukon. The land of the midnight sun, prospectors and gold. Through the stories of Jack London and the poems of Robert Service, the Yukon has been immortalized as a land of rugged adventure. It was there I went to summer camp.

Camp. The place a child from the city learns to paddle a canoe, swim, hike through the wilderness and tie a really great knot. That is, unless you went to camp in the Yukon.

Most people expect that I have an acute knowledge of hunting, fishing, or perhaps wrestling a bear with my bare hands. Instead, I remember being expected to fall asleep in a hot, old cabin at 9pm, more than two hours before the sun dropped below the horizon for a few hours of twilight. I also remember the morning cabin cleanliness inspections that were used to determine the breakfast line-up order at one camp, and peeling potatoes behind the kitchen building as part of our daily chores at another.

But I do have fond memories of camp. It was there that I got to spend a week with my friends, both new and old, riding horses, playing capture the flag, jumping on trampolines, and in particular, making up songs and skits for nightly gatherings in the main hall.

While I might not have left camp with many - ok, any - wilderness skills, I did leave with lasting friendships and fond memories of summers well spent.

If you're sending your young ones off for a summer camp experience, save $5 off an Admiral Road personalized camp blanket with coupon code CAMP09 until June 30th.

Admiral Road has been making personalized blankets since 2002.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Camp Days - Part 2

We’re in camp blanket season at Admiral Road, and it has me thinking about my camp experiences. I spent a few lovely summers at overnight camp and wouldn’t have traded it for anything. I have a lot of great memories – most too silly to share here. The one that has stayed with me for my whole life came courtesy of Lori, my swimming instructor.

As a child I was petrified of the water. So great was my fear that my parents never put me in swimming lessons. At camp however, it wasn’t optional. I recall that in order to get the badge I was working on I had to jump off the dock and into the lake. My fear of this caused me more stress than you can imagine – tears, sleepless nights, the whole nine yards. Lori, who was one of those crusty on the outside but gooey on the inside types would not rest until I had overcome this obstacle. She arranged a time at the end of the day when no one else was around – just the two of us. I can still see that dock in my mind, indelibly stamped. I don’t know how long I stood there before I jumped – it could have been ages. Finally I trusted Lori and jumped. It was a slow-motion moment: I have a crystal clear memory of the feeling of my body between dock and lake – suspended in the air. (I have a fuzzier but lovely memory of the cheers and hugs I received afterwards.)

I didn’t get over my fear of the water that summer and I didn’t really learn how to swim until I was an adult. But I did learn that the only thing between us and overcoming a fear is the moment when we jump. I understood that change comes in the moment we decide to move forward.

Many times in my life I have come back to this lesson. One such time was when I decided to risk my career path and my best friendship and jump into the waters of Admiral Road. There were sleepless nights then too. But in the end, I jumped. And you know, the water has been just fine.

June is camp month at Admiral Road. Enter the code CAMP09 at checkout for $5 of a camp blanket.

Admiral Road has been making personalized blankets since 2002.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Camp Days - Part 1

I have always been an urban girl. When I was a preschooler, my mother realized I didn’t know the difference between a cow and a horse, and she felt compelled to do something about my distinct lack of rural knowledge. Not long after, we took a family vacation to a working farm.

Similarly, when I got a little older, she insisted I attend overnight summer camp. Although she had never been herself, she sensed how powerful the experience of going away to camp could be. I wasn’t getting a whole lot of wilderness experience in downtown Toronto, so off I went to Algonquin Park in northern Ontario.

My mother was a rather thorough person, so when she did things she did them with intent. Prerequisites for the camp she selected for me included a canoe paddle, a life jacket and a daytime uniform (in tan and green – like the wilderness I was soon to inhabit). This camp could be accessed only by boat. This camp had neither electricity nor indoor plumbing in the cabins. This camp had no showers – that meant we bathed in the lake and I learned about biodegradable shampoo from a tender age.

At this camp, I took my first canoe trip and heard the sound of loons calling. I learned how to make a fire with a single match in the rain. I went sailing and kayaking. I became a better swimmer. I made great friends. I laughed. Really hard.

Now you can’t take the city out of the girl: I still prefer to travel by subway rather than canoe. And I’d choose my duvet over a sleeping bag any day of the week. But my mother’s instincts were right: Camp allowed me to spread my wings. I went for seven magical summers. And you can be sure that when my daughters are old enough, I will take them from their downtown home, and send them away to camp too.

Camp season is just around the corner. Use our coupon CAMP09 at check out to receive $5 off your purchase of an Admiral Road camp blanket.

Admiral Road has been making personalized blankets since 2002.