Archive for the ‘03 “Associate Scoop”’ Category

Busy, busy, BUSY!

Posted on: December 2nd, 2014 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

Omid_SafiDo you find yourself saying “I’m so busy”?

Many people can likely plead guilty to this question–including me.

My friend, Anne Day, shares her perspective on Treading water in this sea of busyness

Omad Safi shares his thoughts too in The Disease of Being Busy.

Think about what you can do differently in the next few months.

Summer Reading for Kids

Posted on: August 19th, 2014 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

GET READING  deborah-plouffe (125 x 142).jpg

Have you heard about the Summer Slide? How about the Summer Brain Drain?

For the majority of students heading into the month of August, school is a distant memory and learning has taken a backseat to fun. Students deserve a break, of course, but two months (or more!) can be a long time to go without the academic stimulation that educational activities bring–even for the best of students.

Apart from planned group activities available and summer vacations geared to learning, most educators recommend that the best way to keep them academically engaged is to encourage our kids to read, read, READ!

Here’s an extensive Summer 2014 Reading List from that covers all age groups from toddlers to teens. Even you parents might find a few good reads on this list!

Happy summer and happy reading from the rewriter!

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

The Best Clean is Naturally Clean

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


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 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.


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 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



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, 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.


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


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.