Archive for February, 2015

Meet the Team- Tania Cowling

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERATania Cowling is one of the newer writers on the PeKu team, having celebrated her one year anniversary this past December. However, although she’s new to us, she isn’t new to the world of parenting and crafts. Tania shares her knowledge in these areas through her weekly articles on Holidays Helper and Your Parenting Info. Whether you’re looking for a craft to entertain the preschool set, some ideas for family parties, advice on infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, Tania is your resource.

I spoke with Tania to learn a little bit about her when she’s not behind the keyboard.

MPK: When you aren’t writing, what’s your favorite thing to do with your free time?

TC: Well, family is so dear to my heart that I try to spend as much time as possible with them. My husband just retired so we have TIME to do as we wish — day by day, moment to moment. Then I have three grown children, married and who have given us grandkids. It’s the perks of parenting all over again. So dinners, playdates, and good old-fashion fun fills my spare time.

MPK: As a former early childhood teacher, you write about parenting the preschool set. Do you have a favorite topic within the parenting genre?

TC: I have always been an “entertainment” specialist during my teaching days and coordinator of “Mommy and Me” classes. So, I would say doing special activities, such as making homemade musical instruments together, creative dramatics with props, and even food construction, has been a favorite part of my parenting genre. I have also written books on these topics. Remember play equals learning.

MPK: You also share crafting projects for that age group. Is it difficult to find/create crafts that don’t require solid fine motor skills?

TC: Working with children ages 6 and under can be a challenge when crafting, but my blog posts are geared for a parent to work with the child together. I always give instructions for the mom to challenge her youngsters with a particular skill, such as with scissors or painting. Fine motor skills are developed through practice and repetition. And, having fun while you work on skills doesn’t hurt!

MPK: Do you make the craft samples yourself, or do you have preschool “helpers” that create them?

TC: Not having young children around my house daily or even weekly is detrimental to my topic, so I do make many of the samples. But, when the preschool grandkids or friends are here visiting I put them to work. And, I can safely say — they really enjoy this task.

MPK: What fun fact would our readers be surprised to learn about you?

TC: Now that we are empty nesters, my husband and I enjoy our pets. We’ve adopted retired greyhounds, have taken in two stray cats, and even raise four backyard hens. There’s nothing better than finding fresh eggs delivered by pets for your breakfast.

Plowing Ahead- Snow or Not

Monday, February 16th, 2015

Feb.2015.snowIf you haven’t seen the headlines lately, it’s been a crazy few weeks of weather in New England. We went from no snow in early January to feet, and more feet, of snow. In fact, my town had the grand honor of garnering the most snow in the state of New Hampshire a couple weeks ago. *Woohoo!*

As a parent of teens and a CEO, these snowstorms have an assortment of impacts. Snowy days means the schools are closed. They also mean that it really isn’t worth driving to the office, especially when most of my work can be done from the home office. Snow days also mean meetings with interns need to be rescheduled, as their college closes sometimes, too. So, with a snowstorm (or two) literally every week for the past four weeks, I have found that some days  it is hard to know what day it is.

“Is it Saturday and our high school junior is sleeping late per usual?”

“Is it actually Friday, but aforementioned junior isn’t up because of a snowday/delayed opening?”

The winter has become a blur of snow and crazy schedules. However, with PeKu operating predominantly on a virtual level, it does make things better. The snow may fall, but I can hold phone meetings with my editor. I chat online with our engineer and designer. Our writers can submit articles, email questions, etc. without effects from the weather.

Although I really don’t want any more snow (our snowbanks are taller than I am), I am glad to know that I can continue to keep the world of PeKu running, regardless to the perpetual fall of snow.

PeKu News- February 2015

Monday, February 9th, 2015

EY_February-Highlights_2015Just as one is amazed at how quickly a child grows up, so am I amazed at how long it has been since PeKu was launched. This July marks PeKu’s seventh birthday.  In some ways it doesn’t seem possible that this company has existed for so long. I can’t possibly have been working on this project/business for that long.

What is even more amazing is that two of my writers have been with PeKu since almost the very beginning. Jane Wangersky and Ronald Rowe began writing for PeKu six years ago this February.  As my most senior writers, they have been through so many changes. They knew us when we were Wasabi Media Group. They have written for publications that have gone by the wayside. They continue to write for publications that have seen changes both in content and design. Throughout all of this time, they have been constants- excellent writers who provide inspiration and information for our readers.

Jane Wangersky has a two day headstart on Ron, as she began writing on February 18th. Jane writes on a variety of topics, including cooking, parenting, and travel. If you are seeking advice for parenting teens, be sure to check out Jane’s biweekly column on Your Parenting Info.

Ronald Rowe may have started a whopping two days later, but he keeps pace well. Ron is one of our go-to writers, who covers an array of topics. Currently you can find him writing about gardening, pets, eco-friendly living, home organization, and parenting. If you are thinking about adding a cat or dog to your family, be sure to check out his monthly breed spotlight columns on Feathers Fins and Fur.

It has been my pleasure to work with Jane and Ron for the past six years. I look forward to many more years of articles from both of them!


Fully Aligned- Almost There!

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

rsz_peku_logo_displays_1_2As I was thinking about this column, it occurred to me that it is fitting that the alignment of PeKu is completed in February. February is the start of competition season for winter cheer squads. I was a cheerleader in high school, and now my younger daughter is also.  So, just like her squad needs to be precise with all jumps lifting at the same moment and all arms at the same height during, so, too, will all PeKu websites be precise.

We started on this journey in July of last year. We redesigned PeKu corporate to give it a crisper, cleaner look.  Once that was done, we made the decision to give all of PeKu’s properties the same look and feel. Yes, each still has its own theme and special flourishes, but the generic layout and color scheme of all twelve publications and the corporate site are the same.

What I like most about this is that when you travel from publication to publication, it is more obvious that they are related. We’ve had a link to the corporate site in the header of each site for years, but this black and white color scheme, along with the PeKu logo shouts, “We are PeKu!”

Now that I’ve explained my thoughts on this alignment, I’ll share a little data. Currently eleven of our twelve publications have the new look. Only Feathers Fins and Fur remains. It should be live with the new look no later than February 13th.

The countdown is on. . .PeKu is almost fully aligned!

Inspire. Inform. Engage.