Small Business Shout Out!

On Friday last week, I was thinking to myself, “wow, I have A LOT of friends with their own business. In fact, most of them are owned by women!” That’s pretty impressive if you ask me. How did I meet so many entrepreneurs? Regardless, I’m so darn proud of you all! You’ve had an idea, a talent and you’ve done the hard work of trying to help your family out financially and have fun while you are at it. It’s a lot of work just for the tax paperwork if nothing else…

Small businesses you can shop locally at are right at your fingertips!

So today, I want to give you a shout out for all your hard work . I know I’ve benefited from it already!*

To my readers, most of the people you’ll see here are local either here in St. Charles/St. Louis, MO. A few are friends from across the nation whom we’ve met via the United States Army! (In fact, many of these small businesses are run by Veteran’s wives or Veterans themselves!)

Cobblestone Road Photography, Jennifer Crowe (St. Charles)
Jen is a friend we met at church. She has taken our family pictures since we’ve moved home to St. Louis. She has a beautiful eye for light and is fun to work with! My favorite thing about her is that she always comes prepared with ideas and props. She has a unique perspective on things and does great “Themed” photos. We did a back yard movie night theme for our family photos in 2011 and they were so fun!  She enjoys vintage, DIY weddings and does lifestyle & themed sessions for families. She is a Veteran of the U.S. Navy.

Jen’s fun family session she did with us one year ago

Flippin’ Cute, Erika Conley (Ellisville)
My friend Erika is someone I’ve known for a long time! We went to college together and were in church together as young marrieds. We kind of “grew up” together! The latter half of life at least. Erika makes the cutest flip flops for girls/women! In fact, they are so cute, they’re Flippin’ Cute! HA! I love her business name. She’s even made some sandals for Cece… I believe the entire cheer squad out at Eureka High School owns a set of her flip flops in their school colors.  She will customize your flip flops in whatever colors you would like and also does a monogrammed button on the front.

Cecelia’s cutesie flip flops from Flippin’ Cute!

Foushee Boutique, Elizabeth Foushee (St. Charles)
My friend Elizabeth and I met ten years ago in that same young marrieds church group I mentioned earlier ! She just started up her own business making pillow case dresses, aprons (for girls or boys), little blankets (think car seat size), and pumpkin seat covers. She will do any size and any color. You completely customize each item to your liking.  The ingenious thing about her design on those dresses is that she has anchored the ribbons in the dress so that when you wash it, the ribbons won’t come out. She made my daughter Cecelia an ADORABLE cupcake dress! I call it her birthday party dress. She doesn’t have a website but she sent me this great photo and is very easy to chat with over the phone or email. You can contact her via email at efoushee at hotmail dot com or via phone or text at 636.675.3934.

From Foushee Boutique!

Here’s the Diehl, Nicole Diehl (Ballwin)
My friend Nicole (can you guess how we met? Yup, same young marrieds group!)  is quite the crafty lady. She has been blogging her craftiness for years now. Last year she opened a shop on Etsy with the same name as her blog; Here’s the Diehl. She makes rolled flower headbands for babies and little girls!  New this fall she has headbands to match American Girl dolls! So all you people with nieces (or daughters or granddaughters) take note. She also has a back to school special right now; buy 2 hair accessories, get 1 free. The sale is good through August 24th (that’s THIS Friday!). Convo her through etsy (click on “contact the shop owner”)or her Facebook page and she’ll create a special listing for you so you can take advantage of the sale. The American Girl doll headbands are included in this deal! If you have seen my daughter with this style of headband, it’s from this shop!

from Nicole’s Etsy page

Kerlina Krafts, Kerlina Vinyard (Oklahoma)
Kerlina and I had the pleasure of serving in one of the most challenging jobs a woman can serve; that of an Army wife. Her husband and mine served in Afghanistan together and Kerlina was our FRG (Family Readiness Group) leader. She is pretty amazing! She is also quite crafty and makes wool dryer balls, hair bows for little girls, hand knitted scarves and children’s hats as well as Gators for soldiers. She also makes “cupcakes” for women who have undergone a double mastectomy/survived breast cancer. She donates them for free to survivors. Kerlina’s husband is currently serving in the Army and you can contact her through her Facebook page!

The Lawn Guy, Staci & Todd Marino (St. Charles)
Stacie and I met through church also, but we were serving in the Junior High ministry back in the day (13 + years ago!). Now Stacie is married to a soldier who will hopefully be returning from deployment very soon! Her husband started this lawn business and she has carried it out in his absence. Aren’t Army wives amazing ladies? Stacie is local and since this is a lawn service,  you know, you can’t really order anything online. But they are working on getting a website up. I’ve linked to what they have thus far. She has a special right now for 10% off a dethatch & rake.  Please mention me and my blog when you call!

Natural Birth Evangelist, Wendy Sutter-Staas (St. Louis)
My friend Wendy goes to church with my SIL and BIL and is a fun friend of mine. I am SO excited about her new business as a Doula! A Doula is a labor coach who partners with you (and your spouse) to provide loving and encouraging support for you during the birth of your child! I’m telling you, I’ve had a doula twice and I HIGHLY recommend it. Why? Because it is so freeing to be able to just let go and focus as a couple on the hard work of delivering a baby, especially when you deliver naturally and without drugs. It takes the pressure off of you as the birth mom. All you have to do is have that baby, let your Doula help you and take care of the rest. I could talk about the benefits of a doula for hours. Really. But I won’t get into it here. Unless you want me to. If so then comment on this post and I’ll email you and we can talk. Anyway, Wendy is a certified Doula! And she’s is an extremely nurturing and caring woman. Check out her webpage and please spread the word! She has just completed her certification and is ready for clients.

Stephanie Bannon Photography, Stephanie Bannon (St. Charles)
Stephanie  is another friend of ours from church and the neighborhood. Our kiddos are in the same classroom together at school! She is another of my talented photography friends with a lovely eye for people’s faces and classy taste for scenery and surroundings.  Stephanie is available for weddings (worldwide!) and she also does sessions on love, families, kids, maternity, babies and high school seniors. Check her out!

TM Memorabilia, Thomas Morbelli (Ballwin)
I’d be in big trouble if I didn’t mention this guy…he’s my Father in Law! He has his own small business selling sports memorabilia, baseball, basketball, football, hockey and NASCAR. Ladies, read #bestgiftseverforhusbands (or Brothers, Dads and Grandpas). He has gobs of stuff both vintage and new. And if he doesn’t have it in his shop, he can get it for you. He also has lots of autographed stuff. Tom is quite the character (he’s Italian) and is so fun to work with. He has a webpage and a Facebook page that you can check him out on. The best thing to do is call him if there is something you have in mind. Tom travels almost every weekend to share his wares in the bordering states around Missouri. But he is home during the week and easy to contact. Christmas is coming!

So there you have it, my entrepreneurial friends and their fun stores and services all in one post. I hope you will support these businesses by either shopping there or by spreading the word to your friends!

*I did not receive any goods in exchange for writing up this blog post. These are people I am friends with and have utilized in my own life for the goods and services they offer. 

Creating Traditions

Today, I widdled my day away with laundry, a trip to Target (yes, I had my hair fixed and make up on!) and some special time writing in my childrens’ journals.  At first, when I was thinking about what I’ve accomplished thus far in my day I thought,”what a lazy day”! But then it occurred to me that maybe that’s a bigger deal than I was making it. When was the last time I spent an afternoon writing notes to my kids?

Apparently it was 2010…

This tradition began when my first born son, Cooper, was 10 months old. He had begun to grow so fast but I simply didn’t have the time to scrap book everything that was happening. (This is before my now-beloved digital photo books were in production.) I was working full-time and life was so busy! The words of Deuteronomy 6:4-9  had impacted me greatly at this point also. I felt like I needed to talk about life and the Lord to my child in a different way.

So, I went out and bought a small spiral-bound notebook that I could keep on the counter in the kitchen. It was meant to be out all the time originally. Until that is, my precious child started walking and touching and coloring things. Then I put the notebook in my bedroom or just away. (I have many a note that says “you scribbled here, oops, Mommy left your book out again!”.)

Little treasures

I continued the tradition for Chase, but sadly, the second born got so much love that I had no time to write. I have less than 5 entries in Chase’s journal. (Which actually shows a lot about his early days. He was a colicky child and Jeremy was deployed from the time he was six to eighteen months old!)

When I was at Target today, I finally bought a journal for Cecelia. (Notice how pretty hers is? Hey, she’s a girl. And I’ve changed.)  I sat down this afternoon and spent several hours in each kiddos journals. Don’t worry all you middle children out there, I started with Chase’s journal first.

I write all sorts of things in their journals; from short little snippets of funny or awful things they’ve said or done, to long prayers or ways I have seen God move in their lives, to birthday letters and lists of their accomplishments at each stage of life. My plan is to one day give them to the kids. But I don’t let them read them themselves. There are some things I want to save. Some things I want them to read with the mind and heart of an adult. They do know about their books. I’ve told them they are very special and they are only for Mommy and Daddy to write in. They are our special treasures.

In the mean time, I occasionally look at them and recount a few pages to them. It’s so fun to see what my daily life used to be like with one, then two and now three children. Things have changed so much.  They have grown and changed and so have their Father and I. God really wasn’t kidding when he said that one day is like a thousand to Him (2 Peter 3:8). I get that.

Today, the tradition continued. I have a renewed sense of affection in writing to them. I think the books will have to return to my bedside table or maybe even an upper kitchen counter.