How to Make Family First When You’re a Busy Working Mom

As a mom and small business owner, I know first-hand how challenging it is to manage work, kids, home, and everything else life throws at you. My son is seven and some things are easier now than when he was three, but we have to adjust to changes at every age.

Most would believe it’s all about managing your time and I do agree, but paying attention to your children and family is what will truly make a difference.

How to Make Family First When You're A Busy Working Mom

So, how does a working Mom put family first? Here are some of my tips to putting your family first when it counts:

  • Try as much as possible to schedule work hours during school hours and after your child goes to bed. If you need to work in the evenings, decide if it’s going to be 1, 2 or 3 nights of the week. (Notice how I didn’t say 4, 5, 6 or 7…) Family time is not just kid time; it’s also husband time, visiting relatives, celebrating birthdays, personal time etc.
  • In one of my latest blog posts, I mentioned keeping a really good calendar. This is essential to managing your time! Always take a few minutes every day to review your day and your week.
  • During homework time, turn OFF your phone and put it where you can’t see it – in a cupboard or drawer is ideal. Even if the volume is off, the constant screen lighting up will surely distract everyone.
  • Commit to not answering emails or messages at any family event.
  • Dinner time is dinner time. No TV or electronics at the table. Same goes for restaurants.
  • Sleeping is important for energy so no reading the news or surfing in bed. (I admit I’m guilty of this but I’m getting better! ;))
  • Use a separate alarm clock. That means not using the one on your phone.
  • A friend of mine has two smartphones. It’s brilliant! One for work and one for personal. Not everyone can afford to do this, but if you can, turn off the work phone during non-working hours.
  • Schedule regular date nights with your husband or a night out with friends. All working Moms need a break! And even a scheduled break is still a break. :)

It’s not always easy, but I hope some of these tips will help if you’re a busy working Mom. Do you have any other great tips to add? I would love hear some of them so feel free to comment below!

Most Popular Name Predictions for 2015

This blog post is about name predictions for 2015 but there is so much more when it comes to choosing your child’s name.

Choosing my son’s name was a process and like many other parents, it’s an exciting time and the anticipation of when your child arrives is like no other feeling. In my case, I adopted my son from China and had less than 6 weeks to choose his name. For years I was expecting a girl and was going to name her Olivia-Marie but when his file came up it was a total surprise!! It was a boy, so a new search was underway for his name. Family and friends gave amazing suggestions, which made the process so much fun.

If you have been following me on social media or read my about page on my website, the inspiration for Knock Knock Banners comes from my son Matteo. The adoption process, which was an amazing life event, inspired me to want to bring the feeling of capturing every single precious moment into every family’s home. Hence the mission of eternalizing life events, memories, kids, family, celebrations and bringing people together on a banner. Matteo means ‘gift of god’ and is ranked very high in Italy but not very popular North America though it’s definitely gaining popularity. He truly is a gift :)

Most Popular Name Predictions for 2015

In 2014 I started blogging about my clients’ names and sharing anything to do with names on social media. There were a few names that hit the top 10 such as Olivia, Sophia, Ethan and Jackson.

2015 BABY NAME PREDICTIONS

If you’re having a baby in 2015 here are some great links with baby name predictions from all over the world.

 

MY 2015 BOY AND GIRL NAME PREDICTIONS

Here are my top 5 boys and top 5 girls’ baby name predications for 2015.

Boys:

  1. Liam
  2. Lucas
  3. Aiden
  4. Anderson
  5. Emmett

Girls:

  1. Sophia
  2. Olivia
  3. Eva
  4. Emma
  5. Azalea

Are you having a baby in 2015? Or adopting one? If so, have you made a list? I hope some of these links will help in your process and we would love to hear which ones are your top picks. Feel free to comment below.

Top 6 Ways to Make Your Next Corporate Event a Huge Success

I was fortunate to have organized many events when I worked in the corporate world and I had a ton of fun doing them! Luckily the events always ran smoothly due to great teamwork and proper planning. And we can’t forget the food! :)

There are many elements that make a corporate event successful and I would like to share 6 that I found really helped keep everything on track.

Top 6 ways to make your next corporate event a huge success

  1. PLANNING
  • Planning ahead is key to a successful corporate event. Here are some key questions to ask yourself:
    • When will the event take place?
    • What size budget do you have?
    • What will be the title/theme of the event?
    • What event topics do you want to cover?
    • Who will be speaking? Will guest speakers be invited?
    • Where do you want to hold the meeting? Close to a local office or an off-site location?
    • Who do want to attend? How many people do you need to accommodate?
    • Will a restaurant outside of the venue be chosen?
    • How do you want to promote your event?
  1. MARKETING
  • Here are some marketing ideas to consider:
    • Which Social Media platforms will you be using to promote your event?
    • Will you be needing high-quality corporate event banners?
    • Will you be using print media?
    • Will you need a photographer or videographer?
    • Will you be live-streaming the event?
  1. SET A LOCATION
  • The location of the venue is extremely important to attract attendees and to make it a fun event. Here are some things to consider:
    • Size of the conference room and layout (U-shape, round tables, etc)
    • Audio visuals-podium, microphone, screen, pointers
    • If a hotel is chosen, will you have preferred rates and room blocks available?
    • Will there be a check-in table and name tags?
    • Will each table have water, note pads, pens?
    • Is the venue close to restaurants, sites to visit, shopping?
    • Will there be a table set up for refreshments - coffee, tea, water, juice and snacks throughout the day?
  1. AGENDA
  • The agenda is key for your event to stay on schedule. Here are some tips to stay on track:
    • Conference title, date, location, phone number and contact person should be well indicated.
    • Start and end times for each speaker clearly shown.
    • Ensure there are enough breaks throughout the event so attendees can stretch their legs, network, respond to emails or phone calls.
    • A facilitator should be assigned to address any concerns throughout the event.
    • Who will be taking notes throughout the event? This is highly recommended when questions come up and need to be answered after the conference by specific individuals.
  1. QUESTION & ANSWER PERIOD
  • It’s important to have a block of time at the end of the conference for an overall Q&A session and suggestions for the next event:
    • A survey is a sure way to get people’s confidential feedback. This can be done by handing out a printed copy to be returned before the end of the event or by sending out an electronic survey.
  1. POST CONFERENCE DEBRIEF
  • Debriefing after a conference is essential to evaluate every element of the conference:
    • Review survey results.
    • What went well and what can be improved.
    • Will this conference be an annual event?
    • Did outside speakers bring added-value?
    • Respond to unanswered questions.
    • Review of the location, venue, accommodations, food

I hope you found these helpful. What would you add to this list?

Fun Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas For Your Kids

Do you remember making handmade Valentine’s gifts or cards as a child? I remember every year I made a special card or craft for my parents. I couldn’t wait to get home to see my Mom’s expression when I gave it to her. Now that I’m a Mom I can see it in my son’s eyes when he rushes home to surprise me with a gift he made at school. I now truly understand how my Mom felt year after year and why she had the most amazing smile on her face.

Valentine's Day Blog

Here are some fun and creative Valentine’s Day gifts ideas for your kids.

What were some of your favorite Valentine’s gifts?

ALL ABOUT THE NAME JACKSON

It’s been awhile since I wrote one of my signature “What’s In a Name?” blogs. I like to feature my client’s and get their story on how they named their little ones. Last year I wrote about Victoria and today’s All About The Name Jackson blog feature’s her little brother! Jackson is a classic name that’s gaining popularity so I’m excited to share all about it today. And, Jackson was the lucky baby boy who has his name on my first Owl Themed Bedroom Door Banner!

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MOM AND DAD'S STORY

When Jackson’s parents found out they were pregnant, they started the process of finding a name.  They went through every website, book and surveyed tons of people they knew to find the perfect name and came up with nothing. They couldn't agree on any name at all. When he was born last May, they made a list of about four names that they agreed were decent, although none of them stood out to them yet. But, when Mom and Dad saw him for the very first time they reviewed the list and agreed his name would be Jackson :) He was definitely a 'Jackson'! Now when they look at him, they are thrilled they picked that name and they could not imagine any other name! :)

FUN FACTS ABOUT THE NAME JACKSON

  • According to babynamewizard.com Jackson is pronounced JAK-sən.
  • The name originated in 14th century England meaning ‘son of Jack”.
  • Other variations of the name are Jaxon or Jaxson.
  • BabyCenter.com ranked Jackson #9 in 2015 and they predict he will be ranked #2 in 2015.

HERE ARE SOME CELEBRITY BABIES NAMED JACKSON via babynamefacts.com

  • JACKSON, child of ADRIAN PASDAR
  • JACKSON, child of CARSON DALY
  • JACKSON, child of CHARLIZE THERON
  • JACKSON, child of JAY MOHR
  • JACKSON, child of KATEY SAGAL
  • JACKSON, child of MARIA BELLO
  • JACKSON, child of MARK GRACE
  • JACKSON, child of MATT HOLLIDAY
  • JACKSON, child of NATALIE MAINES
  • JACKSON, child of NIKKI CASCONE
  • JACKSON, child of PATTI SMITH
  • JACKSON, child of SOLEDAD O'BRIEN
  • JACKSON, child of SPIKE LEE
  • JACKSON, child of SUSAN RUTTON
  • JACKSON, child of SUSANNA HOFFS

This is Jackson’s story and we would love to hear yours. Did you name your son Jackson or any variation of the name? Was your child named after a family member? Celebrity? What was your process in selecting your child’s name? We would love to hear your "how I named my baby" story.

How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions When Life Gets in the Way

Happy New Year!! Can you believe 2015 is already here? How time flies! It’s so cliché but as we grow and our kids grow, time never seems to stand still.

I have to admit, I haven’t always been good at keeping my New Year’s resolutions. Year after year, I make one or two and although my intentions are good, I have a hard time sticking to them. I’ve discovered that it’s simply because your personal or professional goals should be part of your daily life. A New Year is always a nice time to re-prioritize so I use this time to reflect and refocus.

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I’ve created a few tips that have helped me in the past and I hope they help you keep your resolutions in 2015.

  1. Have a clear goal for your New Year’s Resolution. What I mean by this is make sure you know what it is – your GOAL. Make a list then narrow it down. Once you’re decided, it will be easier to focus on your timeline. It’s also fun to look back on your list in a year from now to reflect on all the great things you wanted to accomplish in 2015.
  2. Keep a great calendar. Whether it’s a paper calendar or an electronic calendar, use the one you love working with the most. Calendars keep you organized and help you stay on track. You can schedule in your resolution on specific dates and times. Highlighting them in your favorite color will also help as reminders. For example, if working out is one of your 2015 resolutions, then write the days and times of the week you plan on hitting the gym in your calendar. My new Levenger planner and my electronic calendar keep me on track :)
  3. When your goal is clear, track it. Use a graph to track your progress. If you can’t graph it, keep a log or another form of tracking tool that matches with your goal. I love visuals and excel so this works for me!
  4. Tell your family and trusted friends what your goal is and ask for support and encouragement. Be clear about what you need from them. Do you need reminders or moral support? Family and close friends can be a great accountability system when you start falling off track.
  5. Join a support group. Whether it’s on social media or in person, support groups can be an effective way to keep you on track. Meetup.com is a great place to search for all sorts of groups in your area.

I hope these tips will help you attain your 2015 resolutions. Have you ever tried any of these tips in the past? Have they worked or failed? Share your New Year’s Resolution stories with us below.

Black Friday Sale – One Day Only!

Black Friday is Friday Nov 28th and Christmas is around the corner.  It's a great time to get your holiday Black Friday Sale1 day onlyNovember 28,(1)shopping underway.  Our banners are personalized and unique and we offer free shipping on all orders to Canada and US locations. See our FAQs for restrictions.  For orders shipping outside of Canada and the US please contact us.

Have fun shopping for the perfect keepsake and enjoy 20% off all banners in our shop.  Go to our shop here and enter 'blackfriday' at checkout.

Happy shopping!

 

What’s in a Name?

Victoria Lady Bug Door BannerWe hope you enjoyed our most recent “What’s in a Name” blog post about Vanessa.

Victoria loves her Lady Bug door banner and here is her story. Her parents found it so easy to find their daughters name. As they sat waiting for their very first ultrasound the name just came to Victoria’s Mom. She had never considered the name before but when it did enter her mind she knew it was 'the name'. She mentioned it to Victoria’s Dad as they waited and he loved it as much as her. From then on they referred to her belly as Victoria. When Victoria was about 18 months she had trouble saying her name and decided that everyone would call her Tia. This stuck and now the family refers to her as Tia. She is now 4 and has no trouble saying her name and insists that everyone else calls her Victoria.
According to thinkbabynames.com Victoria is pronounced vic-TOR-ee-ah and is of Latin origin. The meaning of Vanessa is victory and was a goddess who smiled on the ancient Roman people for centuries. Victoria has 31 different variations. Vittoria is an Italian form, Viktoria is Czech and Victoire is French.

Some famous people named Victoria are:

Victoria Justice, American actress
Victoria "Tori" Spelling, American actress
Victoria Woodhull, American suffragist
Victoria Ruffo, Mexican actress
Victoria Beckham, aka Posh Spice
Victoria Principal, American actress
Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, who will eventually be Queen
Queen Victoria was the Monarch of Great Britain and Ireland from June 1837 until her Death.

This is Victoria’s story and we would love to hear yours. Did you name your child Victoria or any variation of the name?

Was your child named after a family member? Celebrity? What was your process in selecting your child’s name? We would love to hear your "how I named my baby" story.

Stay tuned for another blog post of one of the names on our clients banner.

I look forward to hearing from you!
Helen

PS sign up to my blog posts to follow our name series as well as events, sales and news.

Website launch Anniversary

Exactly one year ago today we launched Knock Knock Banners website!! The amazing Dahna Weber, CEO of MINC and her team did an amazing job understanding our vision and a year later we still love it. It fully embraces our brand and beauty of all our banners. Our site provides our visitors with information about us and what we do, updated with the latest information about our products and it’s user-friendly navigation makes it easy to browse through our pages.

To celebrate this anniversary we are launching our new 2014 Christmas collection. We have new adorable Christmas Bedroom Door Banners and Christmas Family Name Banners that sparkle with the joy and spirit of Christmas.  Santa's Furry Friends Door Banner Winter Wonderful Door BannerChristmas Family Name BannerThis past year has been awesome and we’ve met amazing new friends from all over the world. A huge thank you to our clients, fans and followers and we look forward to another year ahead!!

Helen

Thanksgiving Signature Banner

AAA reported that in 2013 43.4 million Americans will travel during the Thanksgiving holiday period. For many Americans Thanksgiving is a big celebration and some say bigger than Christmas.

In honor of this special holiday in the US, we're thrilled to introduce a new Signature Banner to our collection.  The Thanksgiving Signature Banner is designed with the holiday spirit of family gathering, warmth and sharing in mind.  The host will be busy preparing a feast and excited to receive family and friends.  Why not bring them the gift of love?  This banner is personalized with the hosts name and the year is shown on the center pumpkin.  Family and friends can sign their name or leave a note of thanks. For the family hosting, Thanksgiving 2014 will always be remembered!Thanksgiving Signature Banner

Visit our shop under Occasions to order your Thanksgiving Signature Banner.  In order to get your banner on time the deadline to order is November 6th, 2014.

We look forward to hearing from you and please feel free to contact us with any questions.

Happy shopping and Happy Thanksgiving :)

Helen

http://newsroom.aaa.com/2013/11/aaa-43-4-million-americans-to-travel-for-thanksgiving-a-slight-decline-from-last-year/

 

 

 

What’s in a Name?

We hope you enjoyed our most recent “What’s in a Name” blog post about Wesley.

Our bedroom door banners are popular with the kids and Vanessa now has her very own personalized banner on her door. Her name is surrounded by pink flowers :) Her story begins way before she was born.  Her parents has just begun to talk about having a baby.  Both loved the name Vanessa but couldn’t decide on a boy’s name. When they found out they were indeed pregnant and expecting a girl they were ecstatic to have already decided her name. Vanessa’s room is decorated in pink with flowers so when they received the banner, they were happy to display it on her bedroom door.

According to thinkbabynames.com Vanessa is pronounced va-NESS-ah and is of Greek origin. The meaning of Vanessa is butterfly and has 50 different variations.

Some famous people named Vanessa are:

Vanessa Redgrave, English actress
Vanessa L. Williams, American singer and actress
Vanessa Downing, actress
Vanessa Carlton, singer
Vanessa Hudgens, American actress/singer
Vanessa Bell, Bloomsbury artist
Vanessa Bell Armstrong, American singer
Vanessa Bell Calloway, American actress
Vanessa Paradis, French singer and actress
Vanessa-Mae (born Vanessa-Mae Vanakorn Nicholson), British-Chinese violinist
Vanessa Millano, TV correspondent
Vanessa Beecroft, Italian contemporary artist
Vanessa Amorosi, Australian singer/songwriter
Vanessa Vadim, daughter of Jane Fonda

This is Vanessa’s story and we would love to hear yours. Did you name your child Vanessa or any variation of the name?

Was your child named after a family member? Celebrity? What was your process in selecting your child’s name? We would love to hear your "how I named my baby" story.

Stay tuned for another blog post of one of the names on our clients banner.

I look forward to hearing from you!
Helen

PS sign up to my blog posts to follow our name series as well as events, sales and news.

What’s in a Name?

We hope you enjoyed our most recent “What’s in a Name” blog post about Or.

Our newborn banners capture those precious details from the moment your child comes into the world. Our client chose the monkey theme banner and the date & time of birth, length and weight are captured in the baby bottle. When Wesley came into the world his parents loved to show off his banner over his crib.

Wesley’s parents came across his name and loved it. All the Wesley's they could think of were sweet people, so that helped them decide. After the fact, they found out it meant more than they knew. It was the name of a church (Wesley Hall) that was dedicated to their great grandfather.

According to babynamewizard.com Wesley is for a boy and is pronounced WEHS-lee. Other variations are Wesly, Westly, Wezley and Wes for short. It means “western meadow”.

Some famous people named Wesley:

Wesley Snipes, distinguished actor
John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church
Charles Wesley, great hymn writer
Wesley "Two Scoops" Berry, contender from the original "American Gladiators."
Wesley "Wes" Craven, film director, best-known for A Nightmare on Elm Street and the Scream series
Wesley "Wes" Anderson, film director, best-known for Fantastic Mr. Fox and Rushmore
Paul Wesley, actor
Wesley "Wes" Welker, wide receiver of the Denver Broncos

This is Wesley’s story and we would love to hear yours. Did you name your child Wesley or any variation of the name?

Was your child named after a family member? Celebrity? What was your process in selecting your child’s name? We would love to hear your "how I named my baby" story.

Stay tuned for another blog post of one of the names on our clients banner.

I look forward to hearing from you!
Helen

PS sign up to my blog posts to follow our name series as well as events, sales and news.

What’s In A Name?

We hope you enjoyed our most recent “What’s in a Name” blog post about Kate.

Our signature banners are designed so guests can leave congratulatory messages and messages of love at an event. Or celebrated her Bat Mitzvah this year and all the guests, including the kids signed her banner.20140610_210626_resized

Or’s parents didn’t make a list or had any preference when discussing what name they would give their daughter. They left it up to the universe to show them a sign. Around mid-term Or’s mother took a much needed nap in the afternoon. She had a dream that her baby wanted her to call her Or so she called her husband and it was decided. It’s incredible when a dream turns into reality.

According to behindthename.com Or can be for a girl or boy and means ‘light’ in Hebrew. Other variations are Ora and Orah.

Or is a unique name which is mostly used in Israel. Do you know anyone famous with the name Or?

This Or’s story and we would love to hear yours. Did you name your child Or or any variation of the name?

Was your child named after a family member? Celebrity? What was your process in selecting your child’s name? We would love to hear your "how I named my baby" story.

Stay tuned for another blog post of one of the names on our clients banner.

I look forward to hearing from you!
Helen

PS sign up to my blog posts to follow our name series as well as events, sales and news.

What’s in a name?

We hope you enjoyed Josie’s “What’s in a Name” blog post last week.

Our lady bug door banner is a fan favorite and a beautiful baby girl named Kate has one on her bedroom door. Her parents are both teachers and wanted a name that wasn’t common. They found the name Kate and thought it was so sweet and never changed their minds.photo 2

According to nameberry.com Kate means pure and is derived from Katherine or Catherine. The name ranked 184 in 2013 but remains popular in Ireland where it still sits in the top 20. Other variations are Cait, Cate, Catee, Catey, Catie, Kaite, Katie, Katy and Katya.

There are many famous people named Kate or variations of the name. This list illustrates just how much the name Kate is loved.

Catherine "Kate" Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge and wife of Britain's Prince William
Catherine "Kate" Bosworth, American actress
Kathrin "Kate" Beckinsale, English actress
Kate Ashfield, British actress
Kate O'Mara, English actress
Kate White, American writer
Kate Hansen, American luger
Kate Jackson, American actress
Kate Vernon, Canadian actress
Kate Levering, American actress
Kate "Katie" Nauta, American model
Patricia Colleen "Kate" Nelligan, Canadian actress
Kate Zambreno, American writer
Kate Ziegler, American swimmer
Kate Voegele, American singer
Kate Jenkinson, Australian actress
Kate Earl, American singer
Kate Isitt, English actress
Kate Stoltzfus, model; ex-Amish (reality show "Breaking Amish")
Kate O'Hearn, American writer
Kate Mulgrew, American actress
Catherine "Kate" Bush, English singer-songwriter
Kathleen "Kate" Capshaw, American actress
Kate Elliott, penname for author Alis A. Rasmussen
Katherine "Kate" Chopin, American author
Kate Wolf, American singer
Katrina "Kate" DiCamillo, American author
Kate Gosselin, American TV personality
Kate Hudson, American actress
Kate Mara, actress and sister of Rooney Mara
Kathleen "Kate" O'Brien, Irish novelist
Kate O'Toole, Irish actress
Catherine "Kate" Pierson, American singer
Kate Spade, American fashion designer
Kate Tunstall, Scottish singer-songwriter
Katherine "Kate" Upton, American supermodel
Kate Micucci, American singer, songwriter, and actress
Kate Atkinson, English author
Kathleen "Kate" Walsh, American actress
Kate Winslet, English actress
Kate McKinnon, American actress and comedienne
Katherine "Kate" Moss, British supermodel
Kate Ryan, Belgian singer
Kate Rusby, English singer
Kate Tsui, Hong Kong actress and pageant winner
Kate Todd, Canadian actress and singer
Kate Taylor, American singer
Katherine "Kate" Flannery, American actress
Kate Nash, British singer
Kathryn "Kate" Smith, American singer
Kate French, American actress
Kate del Castillo, Mexican Actress

This is Kate’s story and we would love to hear yours. Did you name your child Kate or any variation of the name?

Was your child named after a family member? Celebrity? What was your process in selecting your child’s name? We would love to hear your "how I named my baby" story.

Stay tuned for another blog post of one of the names on our clients banner.

I look forward to hearing from you!
Helen

PS sign up to my blog posts to follow our name series as well as events, sales and news.

What’s in a name?

We hope you enjoyed Jacob’s 'What’s in a Name' blog post last week.

Jacob’s sister Josie followed 3 years later and her parents didn’t take long to decide her name. They  decided on the name Josie although the version Josy or Josie was never decided. After a very long labor, Mom was exhausted and let Dad choose the spelling and so Josie it was :)

According to babynamewizard.com Josie comes from Josephine and means ‘God will add’ in Hebrew. It’s pronounced JOH-zee and nicknames for Josie are Jo-Jo and Jo.

Famous real-life people named Josie:

Josie Maran, American fashion supermodel (born Johanna Maran)
Josie Bissett, American actress (born Jolyn Bissett)
Josie Loren, American actress

Josie in song, story & screen:

Josie and the Pussycats
Josie - song by Donovan
Josie - song by Steely Dan
Josie - song by Blink 182

This is Josie’s story and we would love to hear yours. Did you name your child Josie or any variation of the name? It is a fun name and Josie is lucky to called both nicknames Jo and Jo-Jo.

Was your child named after a family member? Celebrity? What was your process in selecting your child’s name? We would love to hear your "how I named my baby" story.

Stay tuned for another blog post of a name from a clients banner.

I look forward to hearing from you.
Helen

PS sign up to my blog posts to follow our name series as well as events, sales and news.

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