Your Tour Guide for Success in 2015

Are you like me? I mean, do you believe, deep in your heart, that you can have a soul-full life, a success-full biz, and do a lot of good for the world in the process?

I absolutely believe that. And good news: I found someone who’s showing us exactly how to make it happen. :)

My friend Leonie Dawson has created something that’s changing the lives and businesses of SO many women around the world in a way that’s never been seen before.

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If you don’t know Leonie, let me give you a few quick deets about her:

She’s a woman who really walks her talk. She’s managed to create a half million dollar a year company, working a few hours a day, spending loads of time playing with her family + making art + living a really full life. And, like me, she believes in making this world an amazing place by giving generously to causes she believes in.

I really resonate with Leonie, and I think you will too. Plus, she knows her stuff when it comes to business!


Leonie created the 2015 Create Your Shining Year in Life + Biz Workbook knowing what a difference it makes. It’s got 6 years and 40 000 women and a “sh*t tonne” of testimonials and results behind it. I offer it whole of heart and know it can make a real change.

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Either you’re ready to do the work to change your life or biz, or you’re not, the workbook/planner is here when you’re ready.


Guru Leonie Dawson has created something that’s changing the lives and businesses of SO many women around the world in a way that’s never been seen before. Leonie Dawson is a mentor to women wanting to create + grow massively successful and heart-centered creative + soulful businesses. She is also an author, retreat leader, visual artist, mama and guide for the tens of thousands who receive her free “AMAZING BIZ + AMAZING LIFE” eZine each week.

I think it’s so exciting + amazing what she’s put together – it’s just SO much more heart-centered, wildly generous + hugely affordable than ANYTHING that’s out there in the world.

Leonie Dawson

Here’s the link again… stop by and take a look!


**some of these links are affiliate links.


Need some Winter Green? Try Growing Veggies Indoors

Depending upon where you live when winter rolls around, you can forget about getting local fresh vegetables in your diet. You can purchase vegetables which are shipped from across the country, but there’s nothing quite like having that fresh from the garden taste in the dead of winter. Some food enthusiasts may be able to extend the taste of summer by growing indoor winter vegetables. Are you interested?

growing veggies

One method of growing indoor winter vegetables is to set up a hydroponics garden. This type of gardening uses specific nutrient compounds to grow vegetables, but does not use soil. It can easily be done indoors, but depending upon the vegetables you’d like to grow it can take up a good amount of space.

Hydroponics gardens can be made at home for as cheaply as $50-$80 for a small garden, but they can cost considerably more and require regular attention to ensure that everything is working properly. You can find plenty of instructions for hydroponic gardening either online, at the library or by purchasing books. You’ll also need a system of grow lights to provide the plants with all of the light they need.

You can also create large container gardens to enable you to grow fresh vegetables during the winter months. Large pots set near a window which gets between six to eight hours of natural sunlight during the day work best. This enables the plants to get real sunlight rather than having to depend upon a grow light system. If you live in an area which doesn’t get the recommended amount of light, grow lights are a viable alternative.

Grow small plants such as herbs or salad greens in a window sill if the window gets plenty of direct sunlight during the day. These plants can be grown and, as they become mature, snipped off for use in the various dishes you prepare for your family. Look at local home improvement or gardening centers for kits which are designed for use indoors. The end of the season is a great time to shop for them, too, as they will likely be marked down dramatically.

Hanging pots are another option for growing indoor winter vegetables. You’ll want to be sure the pot is hanging on a joist so it doesn’t fall from the ceiling. The pot will also have to be hung low enough to get the direct sunlight the plants need.

Which plants are best suited to growing indoors? That really depends upon the time and effort you want to expend. Some people have been able to grow peppers, salad greens, cherry tomatoes and various herbs. You may be able to grow other plants indoors as well, but remember – whatever plants you grow, you will have to pollinate them yourself since there won’t be flies, butterflies and bees to do it for you.

Once you’ve become an old pro at growing indoor winter vegetables, you’ll have the knowledge you need to start your seedlings for your spring garden, too. Growing your own vegetables in the colder months isn’t difficult, but it does take quite a bit of patience. Given the time and conditions they need, you could be enjoying the fruits of your labor long before spring arrives.


Need Some Winter Green? How to Grow an Indoor Herb Garden

Don’t despair if you want a nice herb garden but you don’t have the time and space for a big garden plot. Many herbs are hardy and easy to grow in containers, so you can make your own herb garden indoors. Not only will this supply you with herbs for cooking, tea, and crafts; your indoor herb garden will beautify your home and enhance the indoor air quality.

Here are some tips on how to get started.

1. Choose Your Spot

Bear in mind that most herbs enjoy sunshine, at least three to four hours a day. So a sunny spot is ideal. If you don’t have a sunny spot, don’t worry – you can choose shade-tolerant herbs and/or rig up a fluorescent light to augment the light from your window(s).

If you like, you can purchase or make a rack or open shelf for your herbs, which can come in especially handy if you need to move your garden from one sunny window to another. Make sure you have a rubber tub or other protection under whatever set-up you choose, so that the floor, table, and so forth won’t get doused with water when you give your garden a drink.

2. Choose Your Herbs

Herbs that grow well in pots include the following:

* Parsley (can tolerate some shade)
* Lemon balm (shade-tolerant)
* Mints (shade-tolerant)
* Basil (sun-loving)
* Thyme (sun-loving)
* Chives (can tolerate some shade)
* Oregano (can tolerate some shade)

There are others, too. When you go to buy your plants from a local nursery, you can ask them what other herbs do well indoors.

3. Choose Your Containers

Herbs are usually not too picky, but it pays to know something about the root structure of the herbs you want to grow. Thyme, for instance, has a much shallower root system than lemon balm. So choose your containers based on the growth habits of the herbs. Just make sure every container has adequate drainage. And when in doubt, err on the size of size – it’s better to have a pot that seems too big than one that’s too small.

4. Plant Your Herbs

Once you have your plants home, you’ll want to plant them in the containers you’ve chosen. Place potting soil into the bottom of each container, then set the herb carefully down into the pot and fill the rest of the space with soil. Water thoroughly after planting, and keep the herbs out of direct sun for a day or two. Then put them in their sunny spot and watch them grow!

Wish me luck!

How to Grow an Indoor Herb Garden


There’s a few Spots Left! Social Media and Blogging Basics Class 2-10-15!

I HAVE A FEW SPOTS LEFT for the social media and blogging basics class tomorrow night (Tuesday) at the Franklin Art Center!

Brainerd Book Publishing and Marketing Class

Get the scoop on Social Media and blogging and how it can be used to gain visibility for your business or books. Topics I will be covering include best practices for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest, what’s the best blogging platform to use, what types of blog posts will draw in readers, social media etiquette and more!

2-10-15 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the Franklin Art Center Room #1 ($25)

Grab flyer and sign up info HERE


Multicultural Children’s Book Day Review-The Unboy Boy by Richa Jha (Guest post from Emily Kilgore)

MCCBD Blog Post: The Unboy Boy by Richa Jha

Guest Post from Emily Kilgore

Multicultural Children's Book Day

As an elementary teacher and all-around lover of children’s literature, I was ecstatic to learn about Multicultural Children’s Book Day. MCCBD’s mission is clear: to spread the word and raise awareness about the importance of diversity in children’s literature. “Young readers need to see themselves within the pages of a book and experience other cultures, languages, traditions, and religions within the pages of a book.” The event is sponsored by countless supporters of diverse books (listed below) and urges people to review diverse books, raising awareness of quality literature. Well, if that doesn’t sound like something right up my alley, I don’t know what does.

The only hitch? I don’t have a blog. But that didn’t hinder Mia and Valerie, MCCBD founders – the mission holds strong even through technical problems. I was quickly hooked up with Becky (Project Manager for MCCBD and an avid blogger) to be a guest blogger for this event. Not long after that, I was paired with author Richa Jha and mailed a book to review.

The Unboy Boy

The Unboy Boy by Richa Jha was shipped to me all the way from India. I cannot express the excitement of opening a book that came from the opposite side of the world. My original thought was, “This is diverse in itself!” Much to my amazement, the text was filled with more diverse content than simply its publishing location.

The story is of a young boy named Gagan who enjoys things such as “the sun and the birds and the flowers.” His brother, his classmates, and even his grandfather tease him for his unboy-like behavior, calling him names like “sissy,” “mousey,” and “baby girl.” The only person in the story who seems to support Gagan is his mother. Even still, Gagan feels lonely and sad.

The story hits a climax when Gagan and his classmates attend an overnight camp at school. What begins as a fun time together turns scary as the kids exchange stories of trolls and ghouls. To make matters worse, Scuttle, Charit’s cat, goes missing. Pretty soon the kids’ imaginations take over and everyone imagines terrifying things, such as murderers popping out of the ground with knives. In the end, the cat is found by none other than Gagan himself, proving to everyone that he, too, can be brave.

The text is ideal for discussing gender stereotypes. Jha writes of stereotypes to the extreme, such as when Gagan’s grandfather says, “Here, be a man and play with this!” while holding out a gun. Another questionable stereotype depicted in the book is when Gagan is reading a picturebook while his brother and friends are trying to get him to do boyish things. I certainly don’t want to send the message to children that reading is a girly – and therefore weak — thing to do! The stereotypes of weak vs brave; girly vs boyish, are strong throughout the story. Even Gagan was not truly accepted until he succumbed to the stereotypes and did a brave, boyish thing: saving the cat when everyone else was too scared to do so. In any reading with a young child, it would be critical to point out how extreme the stereotypes in the book are.

When I read the story aloud to my class of second graders, many of them could not get past some of the illustrations. Many latched on to the images of the gun and bloody knives while others were scared of the ghouls. While I understand the intent of showing scary images in the text to parallel the boyish stereotypes, I think it was overdone. The students in my classroom were not used to seeing images like these in picturebooks and had a difficult time talking about the theme and characters of the book because they were so wrapped up in the pictures.

Despite these concerns, the book does address a serious issue of gender stereotyping. It is a conversation that must be had at home and in schools, for it is a danger to force children to act a certain way based on preconceived stereotypes. As Gagan shows, children can feel isolated, sad, lonely, or confused if they are forced to act in a way different than they naturally feel.

Below are possible ways to use the book as a discussion-starter at home or in a classroom:

  • Focus on diversity:

o   Why did people treat Gagan differently?

o   What were some things Gagan did that others thought were girly?

o   What are some things you like to do? Are they boyish things, girlish things, or both?

o   Do all boys need to like the same things? Do all girls need to like the same things? Why or why not?

  • Focus on bullying:

o   How did everyone’s repeated teasing impact Gagan?

o   What could you do if you noticed how Gagan was feeling?

o   Have you ever felt bullied like Gagan?

  • Focus on characters:

o   How did Gagan feel when he was teased?

o   How did Gagan’s feelings change from the beginning to the end of story?

o   How would you describe Gagan? What character traits does he have?

  • Focus on illustrations:

o   How do the illustrations help you understand the story better?

o   How do the illustrations take away from the story?

o   Do any of the illustrations catch your attention? Why?

  • Focus on theme:

o   What is the theme of the book?

o   What do you think Richa Jha wants you to learn?

o   Would you recommend this book to someone else? Why or why not?


It is critical to get more diverse texts in the hands of our readers. Feel free to contact me if you have more questions or comments about how I use diverse texts within my elementary classroom.


Also, a special thanks to the Multicultural Children’s Book Day’s sponsors:


MCCBD’s  2015 Sponsors include Platinum Sponsors: Wisdom Tales Press,Daybreak Press Global Bookshop, Gold SponsorsSatya House,,   Author Stephen Hodges and the Magic Poof, Silver Sponsors: Junior Library GuildCapstone Publishing, Lee and Low Books,  The Omnibus Publishing. Bronze Sponsors:Double Dutch Dolls, Bliss Group Books, Snuggle with Picture Books Publishing,  Rainbow Books,   Author FeliciaCapers,   Chronicle Books   Muslim Writers Publishing,East West Discovery Press.


Visit the MCCBD blog on 1/27/15 to view our huge link-up of over 150 bloggers sharing their multicultural book reviews and activities. Teachers and parents can also check out the Diversity Book Lists and Resources for Teachers and Parents page HERE.




Author dreams? PUBLISHING and MARKETING Class Series from Blue Cottage Agency

Dreaming of publishing a book? Do you already have published works that you could use a little help with? Check out the PUBLISHING and MARKETING Class Series from Blue Cottage Agency

Learn about Publishing from local Literary Publicist and Agent Krista Rolfzen Soukup

 Brainerd Book Publishing and Marketing Class

Get the scoop on Social Media and blogging and how it can be used to  gain visibility for your business or books from LAMS Communications

LAMS Communications

Learn about the basics of Word Press websites including understanding a dashboard and admin panel, creating posts and pages, tags, categories, SEO, uploading media, using images, media libraries and website security.
Instructor: Corey Kretsinger, Midstate Design – Quality Websites

Mid State Designs

Classes will be held at the Franklin Art Center Room #1
$25 per class
Tuesdays in February 6-8 p.m.

Grab flyer and sign up info HERE

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