Archive for the ‘03 “Associate Scoop”’ Category

The Best Clean is Naturally Clean

Posted on: April 22nd, 2014 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

GET CLEANING

Today’s modern home is loaded with toxic and polluting substances designed to make domestic life easier. The cost of these commercial, chemical-based products can be high–causing long-term health concerns, poor inside air quality, and environmental pollution caused by their manufacture and disposal. As well, they can be very expensive. There are a growing number of safer commercial green products on the market. However, many of them still contain a number of toxic chemicals. Without knowing different types of chemicals and how the manufacturing process works, it is challenging to know what is safe and what is not. If you want to be completely “safe” in choosing products to clean your whole home, stick with the basics–vinegar, soap and water, and baking soda. Over time, these ingredients have proven to be completely safe and effective in cleaning your home.

Fresh Water

Nature’s purest cleaning product can work wonders in the home! In many cases, especially if the dirt or stain is fresh, flushing with lots of water will do the trick. Rinsing and/or soaking in water can lift off many types of dirt without the need for stronger chemicals.

Salt

Salt is a common household product that is not appreciated enough for its cleaning properties. Mixing salt with alcohol (one part salt to four parts rubbing alcohol) creates a great product for tackling grease.

Use salt when you have a redwine spill or find a bloodstain. “Salt is a fabulous stain remover, pour a generous amount over the stain and watch it absorb and lift the stain”.

Baking Soda

Baking soda (4 tbsp) and warm water (1 litre) is a good general cleaner. A damp sponge with baking soda will clean all kitchen and bathroom surfaces. Mixing baking soda with lemon juice, vinegar or even just some water and making it into a paste will create a great all-purpose cleaner and stain remover.

Baking soda is also an incredible deodoriser. It doesn’t just absorb odours, it also neutralises them as well–making it a great cleaner for the fridge. Sprinkling it onto carpets ten minutes before vacuuming will also help with any unpleasant lingering smells in the room–especially pet odours.

Vinegar

White vinegar is a great all-round stain remover, whether it is food stains in pots and pans, stains in toilet bowls, perspiration from clothes or scorch marks. Like baking soda, it is also a natural air freshener. If you have a room filled with smoke or paint fumes, place a small dish of vinegar in the room, or spray some into the air. This will help remove strong smells.

Lemon Juice

Like vinegar, lemon juice is mildly acidic and dissolves grease very effectively. It also has a bleaching and deodorising effect. Use lemon juice to remove smells and stains from cutting boards and clean many household items–from stainless steel cutlery to the kitchen sink! Combined with salt, it can shift a whole host of stains from fabrics. Rubbed directly into your hands will help you get rid of any stains from berry juices.

 

naturally clean (250 x 117).jpg

 

Martina Schumann is the owner of Naturally Clean. At Naturally Clean, we believe that the way your home is cleaned can affect your well-being, as well as the health of our planet. Working with 90 clients a year over the past 6 years, we have perfected a unique 100% guaranteed green cleaning system that is more effective, healthier, and safer than traditional methods.



Warm Embrace Elder Care

Posted on: March 18th, 2014 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

REFLECTION AND GRATEFULNESS

Reflection and gratefulness are skills that we regularly see demonstrated by our wonderful clients at Warm Embrace Elder Care. We are often reminded to be thankful for all that we have, and to be appreciative for all of the small blessings that we unknowingly take for granted.

Our elderly clients, many of whom lived through very difficult times, know all too well how lean years feel. Many lived through the depression era when even basic necessities were in scarce supply. They lived in Europe during wartime and experienced shortages, rations and were in constant danger. When they immigrated to Canada, they had to start over building new lives. They learned how to savour every blessing, to be grateful for each miracle, and to never take anything for granted. Compared to the hardship that our elderly clients once faced, our current challenges seem very mild!

When our clients tell us stories from their youth–stories of courage, determination and gratitude–there is always a common thread. The stories are never focused around possessions or money or things. The stories are centred around the people who mattered most–family, friends and loved ones. The blessings that are most memorable, even decades later, are the blessings of the most beloved people in their lives. Honouring a friendship, caring for family, falling in love, raising a family, helping a sibling, being loyal above all else–these are the elements that truly matter. These are the blessings to focus upon; these are the blessings for which we should be most grateful.

Our clients teach us many important lessons, but gratitude and the importance of relationships would be at the top of the list. Take the time to reflect upon the relationships that are important in your life, and express gratitude to those people.

warmembraceeldercare (250 x 124).jpg

 

 

 

Warm Embrace Elder Care is owned and operated by Brenda Hamilton and her daughters, Chloe and Avery. They assist seniors to remain independent for as long as possible through offering various services such as homecare, memory therapy, and one-on-one home exercise for seniors. Inspired by personal experience with family caregiving for Brenda’s mother, this mother-daughter team understands firsthand the benefits of enlisting help while caring for a loved one. Warm Embrace believes that independence does not mean that you can do everything by yourself, but rather that you get to choose how everything is done. We grant our seniors the respect and dignity they deserve by helping them to live as they desire.

Here’s how you can reach Warm Embrace Elder Care:

Phone: (519) 954-2480

E-mail: info@WarmEmbrace.ca

Website: www.WarmEmbrace.ca

Twitter: @WarmEmbraceEC

 



Action Habits for Entrepreneurs

Posted on: February 18th, 2014 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

 

deborah-plouffe (125 x 142).jpg

“Get going. Move forward. Aim High. Plan a takeoff. Don’t just sit on the runwayand hope someone will come along and push theairplane. It simply won’t happen. Change your attitude and gain some altitude. Believe me, you’ll love it up here.” - Donald Trump

 

How was YOUR year in 2013? Are you looking forward to 2014, or bogged down by dwelling on all the things left undone? Being in business for yourself can be a long, tough haul–especially in the early stages of entrepreneurship.

Keep in mind that your most powerful resource as an entrepreneur is your OWN mind. You alone will decide whether you will allow yourself to be torn down by fear and doubt OR allow yourself to surge forward with new ideas and create something wonderful! The best cure for the unmotivated mind is almost always action. Whenever you feel unmotivated, the very best remedy is to do something every day to move forward and to build your business.

Here are a few of the most important action habits that we can adopt to move ourselves and our business forward to the next level.

Be a doer, not a “do not-er.” Take a step–any step that will propel you forward. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a giant step or a baby step, as long as it is taken in the right direction.

Don’t wait for conditions to be ideal. There will always be barriers and obstacles in the way. Face them as they come up, but don’t let them stop you from getting started.

Do what you fear. There’s a better place on the other side of your fears, and the only way to get there is going through the action that you fear.

Celebrate your successes. Set small and achieveable goals that will keep you motivated to move forward, and make it a point to reward your accomplishments. Don’t forget about those huge, dreamy goals, though.

Slow and steady wins the race. Study the masters and make notes of what motivated them, as well as what characteristics led them to achieve greatness. Do your best to emulate and adopt these qualities, which probably include things like passion, self-discipline, integrity and hard work.

Remember that motivation is the often the result of action (NOT the other way around). The very best way to get yourself moving toward accomplishing your goals is…to get yourself moving!

Deborah Plouffe is the founder and CEO of rewriter.ca, a business dedicated to helping YOU to find the words YOU need to say! 



A Case Against New Year’s Resolutions!

Posted on: January 22nd, 2014 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

I’d like to share an interesting blog post entitled A case against New Year’s Resolutions by Jacki Hollywood Brown, an organizing colleague.

Have you already given up on your resolutions–if you made them? Only you can decide what’s best for you.



What About ALL Those Photos?

Posted on: August 27th, 2013 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

Where Are Your Photos?

We are storytellers. Cavemen carved images in the sides of their caves to tell the world where they had been and what they had done. Why did they do that? Because they wanted to tell their stories. We are no different today, except now with the coming of the digital age, we are inundated with photos. Or we have boxes of photos that have accumulated over the decades.  It can be overwhelming!

Remember the rolls of film you used to take on vacation with you? You might bring two rolls of 36 and come home with 72 photos–sight unseen–because you couldn’t know how they turned out until they were developed. And despite the fact that maybe not every photo was a winner, you put it back in the envelope, sometimes with the doubles and triples you had printed (remember those!) and put them in a shoebox? A closet? A trunk? All dark places where your stories were left untold.

Now we go on vacation, and we can come home with thousands of photographs. Why? Because we can? Why not take five photos of the group? We can’t be sure everyone will have their eyes open at the same time. Or what about that stunning sunset as it sinks sublimely into the sea? Thirty shots ought to do it! They are all so beautiful, it’s hard to resist.

This is fine if you are a person who looks at the photos on your camera shortly after and edits out the ones you don’t need before they even leave the memory card. Are you one of these people? If you are, good for you! If you aren’t, don’t worry–you’re not alone. But photos left in your camera or on a memory card are in jeopardy of being lost, never to be replaced.

Why do we take photos in the first place? Often it’s to mark a happy occasion or an important event. We take photos because we want to remember. We can evoke the same feelings when we look back at a memory that made us feel good. And sharing those stories is a good thing that can help bond families and friends together.

Have you ever looked for a photo for hours and hours? How would it feel to have your photos organized, sorted and categorized, all in one place where the photos you are looking for are easy to find when you need them?

And once organized, how would it feel to be able to share your stories with the ones you love? There are so many ways to enjoy photographs on a day-to-day basis, so that those memories and all the good feelings that came with them are present all the time.

I gave my husband’s aunt a book with photos from her life for her 80th birthday. The day after she called me and emphatically told me that there wasn’t one thing on the face of this earth or even in the universe I could have given her that was better than that book. Even today, when she puts her hand on mine and tells me that again, I still get goose bumps.

Daina Makinson is the founder of Snap Shot Solutions and a Certified Photo Organizer. She understands that boxes of print photos or even thousands of digital photos hiding in your computer are the untold stories you dreamed of telling when you took the photo in the first place.

Daina can help you share and enjoy your photos, slides and old home movies with your friends and family, as well as pass on your history in images for generations to come. Snap Shot Solutions can digitize your photos, transfer your slides and home movies to DVD and then help you create the perfect way to bring your stories back into your life with custom designed photo storybooks and slide shows, collages and canvases.

You can reach Daina at 1-855-522-7128 or by email



When it’s Just Too HOT to Cook…

Posted on: July 17th, 2013 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

Summer Down Sizing

Hot.  Hot.  Hot!  This time of year cooking with simplicity is absolutely necessary.  My objective is to not turn on the oven!  As a chef, that is a very difficult task!  At the end of the day, a light refreshing meal makes for a happy family and mom!

Entertaining in the backyard, simple means grilling–as much as possible. Thankfully, we have pots of tomatoes, herbs and greens ready to harvest. Pizza Bianca is a great choice–pizza dough rubbed with olive oil and grilled to bake through.  Snip arugula, basil, spinach, cherry tomatoes off the vine and crumbled goat cheese…yum!  Add a grilled steak or chicken breast, and dinner is almost done.  Strawberries are still available, so a Strawberry Rhubarb Fool is a tasty addition to the outdoor dinner.  No oven required!

My daughter Mackenzie adores her lemonade.  We make this often, and enjoy the refreshing taste.  You can also use limes and oranges for a twist. Enjoy the summer with all its fresh outdoor flavours. Happy cooking!

Chef Dierre

Never Enough Thyme Catering Inc. was created with one thought in mind…to create more thyme!  Chef Dierre offers corporate and celebratory catering, a specialty food shoppe including cakes and cooking classes.  We’re located at 83A Arthur Street South, Elmira, ON.  Contact us by telephone at 519.669.0374

Like us on facebook and follow us on Twitter – NEThymekitchen.



John Arnott: Hiring a Home Inspector

Posted on: June 24th, 2013 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

Buying a home is an important decision and one of the most expensive purchases that most people will ever make. There are no money back guarantees or return policies. Once the deal closes, you are on your own to repair and maintain it. Hiring a professional home inspector can help you identify potential problems or major expenses before you make the commitment.

What is a Home Inspection?

A home inspection is one of the best ways to understand a home’s condition, habitability and safety. The inspector will conduct a visual inspection of the major systems and components of the home to assess their age, their condition, their safety and their useful life. He/she will identify components which are installed incorrectly or not performing properly. He/she will also look for evidence of past repairs or identify areas where repairs may be needed in the near future.

The exterior inspection includes:

  • Roof, Chimney, Flashings, Valleys, Siding, Trim, Windows, Storms
  • Landscaping, Grading, Drainage, Gutters, Downspouts
  • Driveways, Patios, Decks, Porches
  • HVAC systems

The interior inspection includes:

  • HVAC systems, Plumbing systems, Electrical systems
  • Walls, Floors, Ceilings, Windows
  • Structure
  • Attic, Insulation and Ventilation

A home inspection does not provide warranties or guarantees but is designed to help you make an informed decision about buying your home.

Choosing a Home Inspector

Home inspection is a discipline that requires specialized training, knowledge and communication skills. Since the industry is presently unregulated, it is important to choose an inspector wisely. Ask about membership in Provincial Associations, such as the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors (OAH), where set standards and continuing education have to be maintained and a strict Code of Ethics followed. Ask about background and experience. Seasoned professional home inspectors will be full-time home inspectors, not renovators or contractors. Inquire about the level of membership. A Registered Home Inspector is the highest standard in the Ontario Association.

An inspection should take approximately 3 hours to complete, and your inspector should encourage you to attend and ask questions. The inspection can also be an excellent learning experience about your new home. Following the inspection, the home inspector should provide a written report within 24 hours of the inspection reviewing every major home system.

WelcomeHomeInspectionServicesLogo

John Arnott is the owner of

WelcomeHOME Inspection Services.



Travel Tips from Kelly Fields from A.C.T. Tours

Posted on: April 23rd, 2013 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

GET READY TO PACK!

It’s fun to open a travel brochure or surf the net to look at cruises and resorts. There are many tools instantly available making the modern traveller quite savvy. While you can do a fair bit of research on your own, be sure to get in touch with your travel agent. Let them know what you’ve found, and ask what can they do to make your time away better.

Here are the top 3 reasons you should use a travel agent.

1. In Ontario all sellers of travel are licensed through TICO (Travel Industry Council of Ontario). Your money is placed in trust, and you are safeguarded against fraud and supplier bankruptcies.

2. Quite often travel agencies have better buying power, and the prices are competitive.

3. Travel Professionals are well versed on all travel, and respect that travel is precious.

With more than 25 years of planning vacations and conferences, we are most successful when we tailor fit your experience. Please allow A.C.T. Tours to personally chat with you to better understand the theme you are envisioning, be it culinary, historical, sporting or quite simply enjoyable!

You can contact Kelly Fields by e-mail or by telephone at 519-581-8681 or 1-888-297-8334.



Tax Time Tips from Nicole Hacock

Posted on: April 3rd, 2013 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

It’s Tax Time!

Over the last 15 years, I have been preparing personal tax returns for a wide range of clients. Each year there are numerous tax changes implemented by the government, and this helps to keep the life of an accountant interesting! Whether you are an avid golfer anticipating your first tee-off, a fan awaiting the first pitch on opening day, or just tired of winter, spring is around the corner and this can only mean one thing……tax season is upon us! Below, I have highlighted some personal tax changes of which you should be aware.

The Family Caregiver Tax Credit takes effect in 2012. It is a 15% non-refundable tax credit of $2,000, which enhances certain existing dependant-related credits as opposed to being a stand-alone credit. Depending on each individual tax situation, this credit could potentially increase the following: infirm dependant credit, spousal or common-law partner credit, eligible dependant credit, child tax credit or caregiver credit. This credit can only be applied to one credit per eligible individual.

The Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit is also new for 2012 and was established to help seniors with the cost of permanent home modifications required to improve accessibility or assist with mobility and function in and around their home. The tax credit is 15% of a maximum of $10,000 in qualifying expenses, or $1,500. Qualifying expenses could be ramps, stair lifts, widening doorways, hand rails, lowering existing counters/cupboards, to name a few. Couples living together may only claim up to $10,000. Seniors who live with other family members may claim this credit on behalf of the household. For 2012, the qualifying period of expenditures is October 1, 2011 to December 31, 2012.

There have been other tax changes relating to bloodcoagulation monitors being added as an eligible medical expense, changes to rules governing Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSP), and mineral exploration tax credit for flow-through share investors.

A non-refundable tax credit that is often overlooked is called the Disability Tax Credit (DTC). If you (or a family member) have a severe and prolonged impairment in physical (hearing, speaking, walking, elimination, feeding, or dressing) or mental functions, you may be eligible for this credit. A Disability Tax Credit Certificate (which can be downloaded from the Canada RevenueAgency (CRA) website) needs to be completed and certified by a qualifiedpractitioner and then submitted to CRA for approval. If approved, this credit can be transferred in whole or in part to a spouse or other supporting person.

For more information on these tax topics or any others, please contact your tax professional.

Nicole Hacock is the owner of Nicole Hacock CGA Professional Corporation, a full service firm providing accounting and tax services to small and medium sized companies and individuals in Waterloo Region and beyond. Our services include year-end preparation, financial statements, corporate and personal tax planning and preparation, bookkeeping and payroll. If you have any questions about our services, please contact us.



Solid, Realistic Financial Goals

Posted on: February 19th, 2013 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

GETTING STARTED ON YOUR FINANCIAL FUTURE

Choose how to plan for, protect and live it your way

Right now is an exhilarating time when you’re beginning to create the life you want to live.  You’re building your career and maybe starting a family.  And of course, you’re already thinking about your dreams for the future.

Wherever your life path takes you, living well means being financially prepared.  By starting to plan now, you’ll be ready for what’s around every corner.

Starting your financial plan doesn’t have to be complicated or scary.  It’s just a matter of taking the right steps to turn ideas into actions.

  1. Write down your most important financial goals and set a time frame for when you’d like to reach them (e.g. this year, in 5 years, in 15 years, etc.).
  2. Make a monthly budget, including a regular amount to add to your savings and investments–and stick to it!
  3. Look for ways to amalgamate debts, reduce debt payments or pay off debts more quickly so that you have more money to put towards your financial goals.
  4. Prepare for the unexpected; if you’re ready for it, it will be easier to deal with.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice!  An adviser can help you better understand your needs and the solutions available to you.
  6. Create a realistic plan to meet your goals–and make it happen!

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • A well-rounded financial plan should include savings and investments, along with insurance protection solutions.
  • The sooner you get started, the sooner your savings and investments will start working for you.
  • An RRSP is a smart way to start saving for retirement, but you can also use it to help make the downpayment on your first home.
  • Your mortgage is one of the biggest financial obligations you’ll have–and there are many different ways you can protect it if you’re unable to meet your payments.
  • As your family grows, the group benefits offered by your employer might not provide the amount and type of coverage you need.

Financial planning isn’t just for the wealthy.  In fact, the best way to get more out of your money is by having a solid financial plan in place.

Courtney Proudfoot is an advisor with Sun Life Financial. She works with individuals, families and business owners to achieve their financial goals. Courtney offers retirement planning, and many savings products such as RRSPs, TFSAs and RESPs. In addition to the wealth products, she can help individuals with life, critical illness and disability insurance, as well as group benefits for business owners.