Information

Snowmobiling Lessons

By Kandace Chapple, GTWoman Editor

WE GREW UP

On snowmobiles. Weekends and evenings were spent outside sliding off the back of the slick seat of a 1981 Ski-Doo, trying to hang on to one another, riding double.

Of course, the point was to dump the other one off, pretend we didn’t notice and leave a sister in the field, enjoying a solo ride for a few glorious moments.

Alas.

The older we got, the more trouble we could come up with. We spent weekends snowmobiling out to sledding hills with a pull-behind trailer on skis stocked with firewood, hotdogs and Pepsi. Our mom did all the work then, and little did we know how much work that must have been. We were focused solely on building jumps big enough to break a leg.

Finally, we set out on day trips, where we didn’t fall asleep riding between our mother’s legs, our helmet hitting the handlebars. Then we became drivers… although we still had to share a sled.

Read More

Between the Canyon: Our Bucket List Trip to the Colorado River

By Kelley Bowker

We have been making travel “bucket lists” for years. One of the biggest trips on my husband Mike’s list? White water rafting through the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River. I looove adventure, so I was all in.

I decided to plan the trip for Mike’s 50th birthday, June 2016. Our Arizona adventure turned out to be one we will never forget, exciting in more ways than we could have ever imagined.

Five-day escapade

After looking at and researching many outfitters and all the options that were available, Mike and I decided the five-day paddling trip would be the best for us (other options included motorized trips, those where the guide paddled, or even an identical trip, just six days longer).

Each day, we hiked the Grand Canyon and paddled our way through very specific named areas and mile markers of the Colorado River. At night we slept wherever our lead guide found a suitable piece of earth for a group our size (13 paddlers, 5 guides).

Read More

Blending the Holidays: How To Embrace the Season as a Blended Family

By Alison Neihardt

The holidays are upon us. There are parties to plan, school activities to participate in and gifts to purchase. Oh, the fun! For blended families though, finding cheer at this time of year often requires both careful planning and flexibility.

Woes all around

For many blended families, holiday activities can be stressful for both adults and kids. Kids worry about going back and forth, whom they’ll spend Thanksgiving with, or who will come to their school parties. Adults fear the possible drama that holiday expectation and tradition can stir.

In the best-case scenario, both parents spend the holiday together or split the time, or both parents come to the school holiday function. If they are pleasant with each other, even from across the room, this is what kids hope for. This is what adults hope for. This does not always happen though. Here are some tips to consider:

Communicate kindly

Try your best to be kind in the heat of the moment and not say or do something you might regret. But avoid being a doormat—setting boundaries is important, too. There are ways to stand your ground without being rude or nasty.

Read More

The View from a Blended Family

By Stefanie Tschirhart-Baldwin

Eleven years ago, at age 29, I was newly widowed with a young daughter. I’d always valued our nuclear family, and, as I grieved the loss of my husband, part of me knew I would remarry someday.

And I did, to a man who also had daughter. There were some valleys along the way as we established our unit, but we always trudged on toward a summit far from nuclear. But in the end, that never mattered one bit–not with a spectacular view like this.

Getting established

When my now-husband first reached out to me, I blew him off. I knew he also had a 2-year-old daughter, the same age as my own, but I didn’t want to date a man with kids. Fortunately for us, though, he was persistent, and I eventually agreed to a playdate with our girls. We hit it off, and our quad grew closer and closer that first summer.

My husband and his daughter spent most of his parenting time at the house that I shared with my parents; it was easier for childcare when he was working. When his daughter’s mom questioned where their daughter was living, we decided to make it official.

Read More

Workflow How-To

By Amanda Engler

“Workflow” is a buzzword worth repeating, so I will. WORKFLOW.

Finding ways to increase your workflow without also upping your time is essential in growing, scaling and automating your business. As a mom and solopreneur, I needed to protect my time so I could serve my family and grow my business.

Quickly, I became obsessed with time and figured out a few tricks to protect it along the way. Let’s review some practical tips to help you find your own flow.

Choose your platform

Choosing a workflow or project management platform that aligns with your current needs is the first step in maximizing your time and getting work done. Although applications like Toggl, Trello and Google Sheets are useful (and I do use all of them!), they have a time and place. You will save time designating one application as your workflow go-to.

Read More

Grandpa’s Car – a look into a Thanksgiving past … when we were total idiots

By Kandace Chapple & Kerry Winkler

Have we ever told you the story about the night we borrowed our Grandpa’s car? Yes, borrowed. We had permission to drive it. But we did not necessarily have permission to drive it where we did.

Let’s set the scene. We were in the U.P., age 16, in a house filled with relatives watching TV, and bored out of our minds on a post-Thanksgiving weekend, admiring our new driver’s license… with a Friday night burning outside.

Our cousin, 15, floated the idea. “Let’s borrow your dad’s car.”

“Absolutely not!” blew in from the next room.

But Grandpa Maddox, over our mothers’ protests, said this: “What’s gonna happen? Take my car, Twin. (To be safe, Grandpa called us both Twin.) Just don’t scratch it.”

We rushed outside before anyone could stop us, but once there, joy eluded us. We were going to have to cruise in a car we secretly called, “The Turd.” We decided we had no choice. There must be someone who would look past this shade of brown and zero in on the three beauties cruising the gut.

Read More

Forrest’s Miracle Story

By Nicole White

It was mid-December. Forrest had just turned 4 a few weeks earlier, and my husband, Bo, was deployed to the Middle East. I’d taken our son and daughter to Montana, my home state, to be with my family for the holidays.

We made a good dent in our holiday to-do list right away: we hunted for the perfect wild Christmas tree and made the same Christmas cookies in my Grandma’s kitchen that I had as a child. When Forrest picked up a cold, he had a hard time shaking it. I never could have prepared for what was racking his little lungs.

Nebulizer

It was a Monday. Forrest’s cold had gotten worse over the last few days and his breathing had become more and more labored. That night he woke up panicked, gasping for air. It was the second episode.

We’d done Vicks Vapo Rub and fresh air and cough medicine. None of it seemed to help. Maybe the ER could give him a nebulizer treatment, I thought; help him sleep this yucky cold off. So, we went to the hospital. In the far recesses of my mind I wondered if he could possibly have pneumonia.

Read More

The Power of a (written, color, playful, unconventional) Journal

By Leslie Hamp

Journaling is my mindful, sacred practice.

I dove in deep after 911 and have been learning, practicing and teaching journal techniques since then.

Whether you’re a busy mom, overwhelmed entrepreneur or creative spirit searching for a way to gain clarity, release stress or get in touch with your inner wisdom, journaling is a valuable tool to help you solve problems, explore creativity and track cycles, patterns and trends in your life.

You may have grown up writing in a diary, which chronicles your day’s events. Journaling goes much deeper, helping you set intentions, get in touch with your inner thoughts, and release whatever is in your heart.

Often I hear hesitancy, fear or anxiety from students who are worried about sharing their innermost thoughts on the page. The fear of someone reading their words prevents many from picking up pen and paper. To overcome that worry, I started showing others how to add visual elements to their journal pages.

Read More

The Women’s Resource Center: A Safe Place for Survivors and Their Families

By Juliette Schultz

Just last year, the Women’s Resource Center in Traverse City cared for over 800 survivors. Some of these individuals sought our shelter, while others leaned on us for emotional support or criminal justice system assistance. Some of these survivors we have never met. They called our 24-hour helpline answered seven days a week by trained client advocates who provide resources, encouragement and support.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, on a typical day Michigan domestic violence hotlines receive approximately 21,000 calls. Annually, the WRC receives over 4,400 calls, over 400 of which are from survivors in crisis.

What are calls like for a Women’s Resource Center (WRC) client advocate?

Crisis calls

“The first thing I try to do is figure out if the person is safe,” said one client advocate. “I ask, ‘Are you safe? Is this a safe number for me to call you back on if we get disconnected?’”

Read More