How to Write a Business Plan

A business plan is an essential roadmap for business success. This living document generally projects 3-5 years ahead and outlines the route a company intends to take to grow revenues.

Your Business Plan should consist of these nine sections:

  1. Executive Summary – A snapshot of your business plan as a whole and touches on your company profile and goals.
  1. Company Description – Information on what you do, what differentiates your business from others, and the markets your business serves.
  1. Market Analysis – Before launching your business, it is essential for you to research your business industry, market and competitors.
  1. Organization & Management – Describe the organization and management structure for your business.
  1. Service or Product Line – What do you sell? How does it benefit your customers? What is the product lifecycle?
  1. Marketing & Sales – How do you plan to market your business? What is your sales strategy?
  1. Funding Request – This section includes the necessary information you should include in your plan if you are seeking funding for your business.
  1. Financial Projections – If you need funding, providing financial projections to back up your request is critical.
  1. Appendix – An appendix is optional, but a useful place to include information such as resumes, permits and leases.

This article describes the details of each of these nine sections.


1. Executive Summary

Your Executive Summary is a snapshot of your business plan as a whole and touches on your company profile and goals.

The Executive Summary is often considered the most important section of a business plan. This section briefly tells your reader where your company is, where you want to take it, and why your business idea will be successful. If you are seeking financing, the Executive Summary is also your first opportunity to grab a potential investor’s interest.

The Executive Summary should highlight the strengths of your overall plan and therefore be the last section you write. However, it usually appears first in your business plan document.

What to Include in Your Executive Summary

Below are several key points that your Executive Summary should include based on the stage of your business.

If You Are an Established Business

If you are an established business, be sure to include the following information:

  • The Mission Statement– This explains what your business is all about. It should be between several sentences and a paragraph.
  • Company Information –Include a short statement that covers when your business was formed, the names of the founders and their roles, your number of employees, and your business location(s).
  • Growth Highlights– Include examples of company growth, such as financial or market highlights (for example, “XYZ Firm increased profit margins and market share year-over-year since its foundation). Graphs and charts can be helpful in this section.
  • Your Products/Services —Briefly describe the products or services you provide.
  • Financial Information– If you are seeking financing, include any information about your current bank and investors.
  • Summarize future plans– Explain where you would like to take your business.

With the exception of the Mission Statement, all of the information in the Executive Summary should be covered in a concise fashion and kept to one page. The Executive Summary is the first part of your business plan many people will see, so each word should count.

If You Are a Startup or New Business

If you are just starting a business, you won’t have as much information as an established company. Instead, focus on your experience and background as well as the decisions that led you to start this particular enterprise.

Demonstrate that you have done thorough Market Analysis. Include information about a need or gap in your target market, and how your particular solutions can fill it. Convince the reader that you can succeed in your target market, then address your future plans.

Remember, your Executive Summary will be the last thing you write. So the first section of the business plan that you will tackle is the Company Description section.


2. Company Description

Your Company Description provides information on what you do, what differentiates your business from others, and the markets your business serves.

This section of your business plan provides a high-level review of the different elements of your business. This is akin to an extended elevator pitch and can help readers and potential investors quickly understand the goal of your business and its unique proposition.

What to Include in Your Company Description

  • Describe the nature of your business and list the marketplace needs that you are trying to satisfy.
  • Explain how your products and services meet these needs.
  • List the specific consumers, organizations or businesses that your company serves or will serve.
  • Explain the competitive advantages that you believe will make your business a success such as your location, expert personnel, efficient operations, or ability to bring value to your customers.

Next, you’ll need to move on to the Market Analysis section of your plan.


3. Market Analysis

Before launching your business, it is essential for you to research your business industry, market and competitors.

The Market Analysis section of your business plan should illustrate your industry and market knowledge as well as any of your research findings and conclusions. This section is usually presented after the Company Description.

What to Include in Your Market Analysis

Industry Description and Outlook – Describe your industry, including its current size and historic growth rate as well as other trends and characteristics (e.g., life cycle stage, projected growth rate). Next, list the major customer groups within your industry.

Information About Your Target Market – Narrow your target market to a manageable size. Many businesses make the mistake of trying to appeal to too many target markets. Research and include the following information about your market:

  • Distinguishing characteristics – What are the critical needs of your potential customers? Are those needs being met?  What are the demographics of the group and where are they located? Are there any seasonal or cyclical purchasing trends that may impact your business?
  • Size of the primary target market – In addition to the size of your market, what data can you include about the annual purchases your market makes in your industry? What is the forecasted market growth for this group?

How much market share can you gain? – What is the market share percentage and number of customers you expect to obtain in a defined geographic area? Explain the logic behind your calculation.

Pricing and gross margin targets – Define your pricing structure, gross margin levels, and any discount that you plan to use.

When you include information about any of the market tests or research studies you have completed, be sure to focus only on the results of these tests. Any other details should be included in the Appendix.

Competitive Analysis – Your competitive analysis should identify your competition by product line or service and market segment. Assess the following characteristics of the competitive landscape:

  • Market share
  • Strengths and weaknesses
  • How important is your target market to your competitors?
  • Are there any barriers that may hinder you as you enter the market?
  • What is your window of opportunity to enter the market?
  • Are there any indirect or secondary competitors who may impact your success?
  • What barriers to market are there (e.g., changing technology, high investment cost, lack of quality personnel)?

Regulatory Restrictions – Include any customer or governmental regulatory requirements affecting your business, and how you’ll comply. Also, cite any operational or cost impact the compliance process will have on your business.

Once you’ve completed this section, you can move on to the Organization & Management section of your business plan.


4. Organization & Management

Organization and Management should include:

  • Your company’s organizational structure
  • Details about the ownership of your company
  • Profiles of your management team
  • Qualifications of your board of directors

Who does what in your business? What is their background and why are you bringing them into the business as board members or employees? What are they responsible for? These may seem like unnecessary questions to answer in a one- or two-person organization, but the people reading your business plan want to know who’s in charge, so tell them. Give a detailed description of each division or department and its function.

What to Include in Your Organization & Management

  • Who’s on the board (if you have an advisory board)?
  • How you intend to keep them there?
  • What kind of salary and benefits package do you have for your people?
  • What incentives are you offering?
  • How about promotions?

Reassure your reader that the people you have on staff are more than just names on a letterhead.

Organizational Structure

A simple but effective way to lay out the structure of your company is to create an organizational chart with a narrative description. This will prove that you’re leaving nothing to chance, you’ve thought out exactly who is doing what, and there is someone in charge of every function of your company. Nothing will fall through the cracks, and nothing will be done three or four times over. To a potential investor or employee, that is very important.

Ownership Information

This section should also include the legal structure of your business along with the subsequent ownership information it relates to. Have you incorporated your business? If so, is it a C or S corporation? Or perhaps you have formed a partnership with someone. If so, is it a general or limited partnership? Or maybe you are a sole proprietor.

The following important ownership information should be incorporated into your business plan:

  • Names of owners
  • Percentage ownership
  • Extent of involvement with the company
  • Forms of ownership (i.e., common stock, preferred stock, general partner, limited partner)
  • Outstanding equity equivalents (i.e., options, warrants, convertible debt)
  • Common stock (i.e., authorized or issued)
  • Management Profiles
  • Experts agree that one of the strongest factors for success in any growth company is the ability and track record of its owner/management team, so let your reader know about the key people in your company and their backgrounds. Provide resumes that include the following information:
  • Name
  • Position (include brief position description along with primary duties)
  • Primary responsibilities and authority
  • Education
  • Unique experience and skills
  • Prior employment
  • Special skills
  • Past track record
  • Industry recognition
  • Community involvement
  • Number of years with company
  • Compensation basis and levels (make sure these are reasonable — not too high or too low)
  • Be sure you quantify achievements (e.g. “Managed a sales force of ten people,” “Managed a department of fifteen people,” “Increased revenue by 15 percent in the first six months,” “Expanded the retail outlets at the rate of two each year,” “Improved the customer service as rated by our customers from a 60 percent to a 90 percent rating”)

Also highlight how the people surrounding you complement your own skills. If you’re just starting out, show how each person’s unique experience will contribute to the success of your venture.

Board of Directors’ Qualifications

The major benefit of an unpaid advisory board is that it can provide expertise that your company cannot otherwise afford. A list of well-known, successful business owners/managers can go a long way toward enhancing your company’s credibility and perception of management expertise.

If you have a board of directors, be sure to gather the following information when developing the outline for your business plan:

  • Names
  • Positions on the board
  • Extent of involvement with company
  • Background
  • Historical and future contribution to the company’s success

Next, move on to the Service or Product Line section of your plan.


5. Service or Product Line

What do you sell? How does it benefit your customers? What is the product lifecycle?

Once you’ve completed the Organizational and Management section of your plan, the next part of your business plan is where you describe your service or product, emphasizing the benefits to potential and current customers. Focus on why your particular product will fill a need for your target customers.

What to Include in Your Service or Product Line

  • A Description of Your Product / Service
    Include information about the specific benefits of your product or service – from your customers’ perspective. You should also talk about your product or service’s ability to meet consumer needs, any advantages your product has over that of the competition, and the current development stage your product is in (e.g., idea, prototype).
  • Details About Your Product’s Life Cycle
    Be sure to include information about where your product or service is in its life cycle, as well as any factors that may influence its cycle in the future.
  • Intellectual Property
    If you have any existing, pending, or any anticipated copyright or patent filings, list them here. Also disclose whether any key aspects of a product may be classified as trade secrets. Last, include any information pertaining to existing legal agreements, such as nondisclosure or non-compete agreements.
  • Research and Development (R&D) Activities
    Outline any R&D activities that you are involved in or are planning. What results of future R&D activities do you expect? Be sure to analyze the R&D efforts of not only your own business, but also of others in your industry.

Next, move on to the Marketing & Sales section of your plan.


6. Marketing & Sales

How do you plan to market your business? What is your sales strategy?

Marketing is the process of creating customers, and customers are the lifeblood of your business. In this section, the first thing you want to do is define your marketing strategy. There is no single way to approach a marketing strategy; your strategy should be part of an ongoing business-evaluation process and unique to your company. However, there are common steps you can follow which will help you think through the direction and tactics you would like to use to drive sales and sustain customer loyalty.

What to Include in Your Marketing & Sales

An overall marketing strategy should include four different strategies:

  1. A market penetration strategy.
  2. A growth strategy. This strategy for building your business might include: an internal strategy such as how to increase your human resources, an acquisition strategy such as buying another business, a franchise strategy for branching out, a horizontal strategy where you would provide the same type of products to different users, or a vertical strategy where you would continue providing the same products but would offer them at different levels of the distribution chain.
  3. Channels of distribution strategy. Choices for distribution channels could include original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), an internal sales force, distributors, or retailers.
  4. Communication strategy. How are you going to reach your customers? Usually a combination of the following tactics works the best: promotions, advertising, public relations, personal selling, and printed materials such as brochures, catalogs, flyers, etc.

After you have developed a comprehensive marketing strategy, you can then define your sales strategy. This covers how you plan to actually sell your product.

Your overall sales strategy should include two primary elements:

  1. A sales force strategy. If you are going to have a sales force, do you plan to use internal or independent representatives? How many salespeople will you recruit for your sales force? What type of recruitment strategies will you use? How will you train your sales force? What about compensation for your sales force?
  2. Your sales activities. When you are defining your sales strategy, it is important that you break it down into activities. For instance, you need to identify your prospects. Once you have made a list of your prospects, you need to prioritize the contacts, selecting the leads with the highest potential to buy first. Next, identify the number of sales calls you will make over a certain period of time. From there, you need to determine the average number of sales calls you will need to make per sale, the average dollar size per sale, and the average dollar size per vendor.

Next, if you are seeking financing for your business, you’ll need to complete the next part of your plan – Funding Request.


7. Funding Request

If you are seeking funding for your business venture, use this section to outline your requirements.

What to Include in Your Funding Request

  • Your current funding requirement
  • Any future funding requirements over the next five years
  • How you intend to use the funds you receive: Is the Funding Request for capital expenditures? Working capital? Debt retirement? Acquisitions? Whatever it is, be sure to list it in this section.
  • Any strategic financial situational plans for the future, such as: a buyout, being acquired, debt repayment plan, or selling your business.  These areas are extremely important to a future creditor, since they will directly impact your ability to repay your loan(s).

When you are outlining your funding requirements, include the amount you want now and the amount you want in the future. Also include the time period that each request will cover, the type of funding you would like to have (e.g., equity, debt), and the terms that you would like to have applied.

To support your Funding Request you’ll also need to provide historical and prospective financial information in the Financial Projections section.


8. Financial Projections

If you need funding, providing Financial Projections to back up your request is critical.

You should develop the Financial Projections section after you’ve analyzed the market and set clear objectives. That’s when you can allocate resources efficiently.

What to Include in Your Financial Projections

  • Historical Financial Data
    If you own an established business, you will be requested to supply historical data related to your company’s performance. Most creditors request data for the last three to five years, depending on the length of time you have been in business.
    The historical financial data to include are your company’s income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements for each year you have been in business (usually for up to three to five years). Often, creditors are also interested in any collateral that you may have that could be used to ensure your loan, regardless of the stage of your business.
  • Prospective Financial Data
    All businesses, whether startup or growing, will be required to supply prospective financial data. Most of the time, creditors will want to see what you expect your company to be able to do within the next five years. Each year’s documents should include forecasted income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements, and capital expenditure budgets. For the first year, you should supply monthly or quarterly projections. After that, you can stretch it to quarterly and/or yearly projections for years two through five.
    Make sure that your projections match your Funding Requests; creditors will be on the lookout for inconsistencies. It’s much better if you catch mistakes before they do. If you have made assumptions in your projections, be sure to summarize what you have assumed. This way, the reader will not be left guessing.

Finally, include a short analysis of your financial information. Include a ratio and trend analysis for all of your financial statements (both historical and prospective). Since pictures speak louder than words, you may want to add graphs of your trend analysis (especially if they are positive).

Next, you may want to include an Appendix to your plan. This can include items such as your credit history, resumes, letters of reference, and any additional information that a lender may request.


9. Appendix

An Appendix is optional, but a useful place to include information such as resumes, permits and leases.

The Appendix should be provided to readers on an as-needed basis. In other words, it should not be included with the main body of your business plan. Your plan is your communication tool; as such, it will be seen by a lot of people. Some of the information in the business section you will not want everyone to see, but specific individuals (such as creditors) may want access to this information to make lending decisions. Therefore, it is important to have the Appendix within easy reach.

What to Include in Your Appendix

  • Credit history (personal & business)
  • Resumes of key managers
  • Product pictures
  • Letters of reference
  • Details of market studies
  • Relevant magazine articles or book references
  • Licenses, permits or patents
  • Legal documents
  • Copies of leases
  • Building permits
  • Contracts
  • List of business consultants, including attorney and accountant

Any copies of your business plan should be controlled; keep a distribution record. This will allow you to update and maintain your business plan on an as-needed basis. Remember, too, that you should include a private placement disclaimer with your business plan if you plan to use it to raise capital.

Published in: on December 30, 2016 at 6:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Lyrics – The Hockey Song

The Hockey Song

By Stompin’ Tom Connors

Hello out there, we’re on the air, it’s ‘Hockey Night’ tonight.
Tension grows, the whistle blows, and the puck goes down the ice.
The goalie jumps, and the players bump, and the fans all go insane.
Someone roars, “Bobby Scores!”, at the good ol’ hockey game.

[Chorus]
OH! The good ol’ hockey game, is the best game you can name.
And the best game you can name, is the good ol’ hockey game.

Second Period.

Where players dash, with skates aflash, the home team trails behind.
But they grab the puck, and go bursting up, and they’re down across the line.
They storm the crease, like bumble bees, they travel like a burning flame.
We see them slide, the puck inside, it’s a 1-1 hockey game.

[Chorus]
OH! The good ol’ hockey game, is the best game you can name.
And the best game you can name, is the good ol’ hockey game.

Third Period. Last game of the playoffs too!

Oh take me where, the hockey players, face off down the rink.
And the Stanley Cup, is all filled up, for the champs who win the drink.
Now the final flick, of a hockey stick, and the one gigantic scream.
“The puck is in! The home team wins!”, the good ol’ hockey game.

[Chorus x3]
OH! The good ol’ hockey game, is the best game you can name.
And the best game you can name, is the good ol’ hockey game.

Published in: on December 28, 2016 at 11:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

How to Calculate Your Odds of Winning the Lottery

Lotto_Max_Logo.pngIn Canada, there is a lottery called LOTTO MAX.  Basically, you pick 7 unique numbers between 1 and 49.

To calculate your odds of winning the lottery, you need to find how many ways there are to pick 7 unique numbers, in any order, from a group of 49 numbers.

Here is the formula:

= \frac{49!}{7! * (49-7)!)}

= \frac{(49 * 48 * 47 * ... * 3 * 2 * 1)}{(7 * 6 * 5 * 4 * 3 * 2 * 1)(42 * 41 * 40 * ... * 3 * 2 * 1)}

= 85,900,584

Therefore, the odds of winning Lotto Max is 1 in 85,900,584.

Good luck!

Published in: on December 9, 2016 at 2:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

8 Awesome Uses for Your Slow Cooker

slow-cooker

How to make Play Dough

  1. Mix 2 cups of flour, ½ cup of salt, and 4 tablespoons of cream of tartar in the slow cooker.
  2. Pour in 2 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of oil, and a bit of food coloring.
  3. Place a damp towel under the lid, and cook the colorful mess on high for 45 to 60 minutes
  4. Stirring often.
  5. When done (the dough should easily form a ball), remove the mixture from the slow cooker, knead several times, and allow it to cool.
  6. When stored properly, the playtime essential should last 3 to 4 months.

How to make Crayons

  1. Sort all of your old crayons by color family, and remove the paper wrapping.
  2. Place the broken bits of a single color into the slow cooker, and heat on low until the pieces have melted.
  3. Pour or ladle the melted crayons into silicone molds and place in a cool, dry location until they’ve cooled completely.
  4. Then, break out the coloring sheets and set the little ones to work.

How to make Candles

  1. Simply grate or shred the wax into the slow cooker, and heat on low.
  2. Then, prep your molds (old coffee cans or plastic containers work well) by oiling them with a bit of cooking spray.
  3. Tie a fresh wick (available at craft stores) onto a pencil, suspend the pencil across the top of the mold, and tape the bottom of the wick in the center of the mold.
  4. Once the wax has melted, pour it into the mold, and let it cool.
  5. Once the wax has hardened, trim the wick and light it up.

How to Roast Nuts

  1. Grease the bottom of the cooker.
  2. Place a cup of raw seeds or nuts into the pot.
  3. Sprinkle in seasonings and toss to coat.
  4. Cook for 3 to 4 hours on high, or until the seeds “snap” when tested.
  5. Store in small plastic bags or glass jars for easy snacking.

Room Deodorizer

  1. Fill the appliance halfway with water
  2. Mix in a cup of baking soda.
  3. Heat on high, uncovered, for several hours or overnight to get rid of offensive odors.
  4. To banish especially strong smells, add a few tablespoons of lemon juice to the water.

Room Humidifier

  1. Fill the pot about three-quarters full with hot water.
  2. Cover with the lid.
  3. Turn the appliance to its highest setting.
  4. After 15 minutes, remove the lid and let the steam saturate your indoor air.

How to make Hot Cocktail

  1. Mix up all of the nonalcoholic components of your cocktail in the slow cooker, and keep it covered.
  2. When you’re ready to serve, pour your spirits into a glass, then ladle in some of the heated mixture.
  3. Be sure to keep the alcohol out of the appliance or it will cook off before you are ready to imbibe.

How to make Soap

See recipe and instructions.

Published in: on December 9, 2016 at 2:07 am  Leave a Comment  

How to Make Soap with a Slow Cooker

Soap.PNG

Equipment

  • A slow cooker
  • A scale (this is important for making a soap that is not too harsh or too oily)
  • Glass jars and bowls
  • A stick blender
  • Plastic cups (optional)
  • A metal spoon
  • A wooden spoon
  • A spatula
  • Soap molds (or an old cardboard box lined with parchment paper).
  • A large bottle of white vinegar for neutralizing the lye mixture if it spills on anything.

For Your Safety

  • Gloves
  • Eye Goggles

Soap Recipe Ingredients

  • 0.760 pounds water ( 12.16 ounces or 344.73 grams)
  • 1 pound (16 ounces or 453.6 grams) coconut oil
  • 1 pound (16 ounces or 453.6 grams) olive oil
  • 0.303 pounds Lye (4.844 ounces or 137.339 grams)
  • Up to 1 ounce of essential oils of choice (optional)

Soap Recipe Instructions

  1. Make sure that your work area is clean, ventilated and that there are no children nearby. This is not a good recipe to let children help with since Lye is caustic until mixed with water and oils.
  2. Measure the oils in liquid form (by weight) and pour into the slow cooker.
  3. Turn on high just until oils heat up and then reduce to low heat.
  4. While oils are heating, carefully measure the lye and water separately. TIP: Use disposable plastic cups. They don’t weigh anything on the scale so they make measuring easy.
  5. Keep 3 separate disposable plastic cups labeled:
    1. Water
    2. Lye
    3. Oil
  6. Carefully take the cups with the water and the lye outside or to a well ventilated area.
  7. Pour the water into a quart size or larger glass jar.
  8. With gloves and eye protection, slowly add the lye to the water.  (Warning: DO NOT ADD THE WATER TO THE LYE!)
  9. Stir carefully with a metal spoon, making sure not to let the liquid come in contact with your body directly.
  10. As you stir, this will create a cloudy white mixture that gets really hot.
  11. Let this mixture set for about 10 minutes to cool. It should become clear and not cloudy when it has cooled.
  12. When the oils in the slow cooker have heated (to about 48-54 degrees Celsius or 120-130 degrees Fahrenheit), slowly pour in the water and lye mixture and stir.
  13. Quickly rinse the container used for the water and lye mixture out in the sink. Rinse with white vinegar to make sure all Lye has been neutralized.
  14. Use the metal or wooden spoon to stir the lye/water mixture into the oil mixture in the slow Cooker.
  15. Once it is evenly mixed, use the stick blender to blend for about 4-5 minutes or until it is opaque and starting to thicken.
  16. Cover and keep on low heat to thicken.
  17. Set a timer for 15 minutes and check it every 15 minutes until it is ready. It will start to boil and bubble on the sides first.
  18. After about 35-55 minutes (depending on your slow cooker) it will thicken enough that the entire surface is bubbly and the sides have collapsed in.
  19. At this point, turn the heat off.
  20. If you are going to use essential oils (e.g. lavender and orange) for scent, add them now.
  21. Quickly and carefully spoon into molds (e.g. empty boxes lined with parchment paper).
  22. Cover the molds with parchment paper and set in a cool, dry place.
  23. After 24 hours, pop the soap out of the molds. For best results, let it set for a few more days so that it lasts longer.

For other awesome Slow Cooker Tips, see this article.

Published in: on December 9, 2016 at 2:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Parents’ Guide to Bubble Guppies

bubbleguppies

Bubble Guppies is a popular Kids’ TV Show. This article describes each character and also the lyrics to the theme song.

The Characters

Mr. Grouper

mr-grouper
Mr. Grouper is the best preschool teacher in the world.  He is friendly, funny, and full of information.  He sees every day as an opportunity for discovery, ending each one with an awesome field trip!

Molly

molly
Molly has star power!  She’s smart, she sings, and she’s a really good friend. She co-hosts the show with Gil, and every Guppy and land-dwelling preschooler wants to swim with her.

Gil

gil
Gil is the silly, playful co-host of the show. If he sees a ball, he has to throw it; if he finds an electric guitar, he has to play it; if there’s a pig costume around, he’ll be oinking in no time. He wants EVERYONE to join in his adventures!

Goby

goby
Goby loves putting on costumes, telling stories, and speaking in silly voices. He uses his imagination to invent exciting adventure stories for his friends to act out.

Deema

deema
Deema is energetic and goofy with a personality as big as her hair. She loves being the center of attention and making others laugh, telling jokes in her operatic, singsong voice.

Nonny

nonny
Nonny is super-smart and always willing to keep trying.  It’s hard to get an enthusiastic response out of “Mr. Cautious.”

Oona

oona
Oona is there whenever a friend is sick or feeling down, or a pet needs care.  Sweet, sincere and gentle, Oona finds wonder everywhere.

Bubble Puppy

bubble-puppy
Bubble Puppy is a playful little puppy with a fish tail.  He loves to play with all the Guppies, especially when he gets to pop a bubble!

Theme Song Lyrics

All: Bub-bub-bubble, Gup-gup-guppies!

Boys: Bubble, bubble, bubble!

Girls: Guppy, guppy, guppies!

Gil: Bubble!

Molly: Bubble!

Goby: Guppy!

Deema: Guppy!

*Clap Clap*

All: Bubble Guppies!

Molly: I’m Molly!

Gil: I’m Gil!

Goby: I’m Goby!

Deema: I’m Deema!

Oona: I’m Oona!

Nonny: I’m Nonny!

Bubble Puppy: Arf, arf!

Molly and Gil: Bubble Puppy!

All: Bub-bub-bubble, Gup-gup-guppies!

Girls: Bubble, bubble, bubble!

Boys: Guppy, guppy, guppies!

Goby: Bubble!

Deema: Bubble!

Oona: Guppy!

Nonny: Guppy!

*Clap Clap*

All: Bubble Guppies!!

*Clap Clap*

All: Bubble Guppies!!

Published in: on December 7, 2016 at 3:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

Parents’ Guide to PAW Patrol

paw_patrol_logo

PAW Patrol is a popular Kids’ TV Show.  This article describes each character and also the lyrics to the theme song.

The Characters

Ryder

ryder_0

RYDER is a 10-year-old boy who runs the Lookout and serves as PAW Patrol’s leader. Ryder adopted each of the puppies and trained them to be a part of PAW Patrol. When he receives a distress call, he summons the pups by sounding the PAW Patrol Alarm from his PupPad.

He functions as the team commander, picking the right pup for the job, organizing the pack, and – when the work is done – making sure they all get a healthy dog snack, a relaxing soak at his friend Katie’s Pet Parlor, or a run out at the Lookout’s Pup Park.

Chase

chase

This German Shepherd police pup is a natural leader. Athletic, smart, and “by the book” organized, seven-year old CHASE can herd traffic down the right detour, block off dangerous roads, and solve any mystery.

He can sniff out anything, but he happens to be allergic to both cats and feathers.

Marshall

marshall

MARSHALL is the team’s brave firedog – an excitable, all-action, six-year-old Dalmatian pup. He’s always ready to roll, but sometimes he gets too excited and can be a little clumsy.

Rubble

rubble

RUBBLE is a construction Bulldog – a tough, gruff five-year-old pup with a heart of gold. Not only is he strong and eager to help, he’s funny and unexpectedly sweet!

He loves to skateboard, snowboard, and get covered in mud, but he also loves warm baths at Katie’s Pet Parlor.

Skye

skye

At seven years old, SKYE is a cute, smart Cockapoo puppy. She is a fearless daredevil who will try anything with grace and a smile. She’s smart, loyal, and quick with a quip, sometimes gently teasing the bigger dogs who can’t seem to keep up!

She loves to get paw-dicures and look good. When there’s no mission for the PAW Patrol, she can be found snowboarding or playing her favorite videogame, Pup Pup Boogie.

Zuma

zuma

ZUMA is a playful, water-loving Labrador pup, and the team’s water rescue dog. At five years old, he’s the youngest PAW Patrol member – a happy, energetic beach puppy who loves to laugh and surf.

He’s always trying to get the more serious pups like Chase and Rubble to “lighten up.”

Rocky

rocky

ROCKY is a six-year-old Mixed Breed recycling pup. He is a creative canine, has a thousand ideas, and someone else’s trash is often his treasure.

Rocky can usually find just the right thing to solve a problem. Rocky can get a little scruffy; he’s not a fan of baths and doesn’t like getting wet at all.

Everest

everest

The most recent pup to join the PAW Patrol, Everest is a fearless and feisty eight-year-old Husky pup and the team’s amazing forest ranger. She’s completely at home in the wild and is big help to Jake up on his mountain.

Everest comes down to join the team for any rescue in the snow or the woods.

Theme Song Lyrics

PAW Patrol, PAW Patrol
We’ll be there on the double

Whenever there’s a problem
‘Round Adventure Bay

Ryder and his team of pups
Will come and save the day

Marshall, Rubble, Chase, Rocky, Zuma, Skye
Yeah! They’re on the way!

PAW Patrol, PAW Patrol
Whenever you’re in trouble

PAW Patrol, PAW Patrol
We’ll be there on the double

No job’s too big
No pup’s too small!
PAW Patrol, we’re on a roll!
So here we go
PAW Patrol
Whoa-oh-oh-oh
PAW Patrol
Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh
PAW Patrol!

*Bark*

Published in: on December 7, 2016 at 2:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

How to Grow Your Own Pumpkin

smallpumpkinPumpkins take all summer to grow and are ready for harvest at the beginning of winter.  Just in time for carving for Halloween!

If you have plenty of space in your garden but not a lot of time, growing pumpkins is a low-maintenance chore.

Where to Grow

Many people plant pumpkins directly into an old compost heap because pumpkins like plenty of nutrients and moisture.  Otherwise, you will need to enrich the soil with organic matter and select a sunny spot.

Types and Varieties

The large, orange winter pumpkins are an obvious choice to grow, but they don’t taste that great.  It is worth growing one or two for carving.  However, for eating, it is best to stick to winter squashes.

Winter Squashes

Winter squashes come in all shapes and sizes.  Many are incredibly beautiful with their bumps and nobbles.  There is also a wonderful diversity of colors, ranging from orange and yellow, to green, multicolored and even blue!

Pests and Diseases

Squashes and pumpkins are generally trouble-free.

Harvesting and Storage

Pumpkin and squash fruits should be left outside until they take on their full color.  If the weather is fine, leave them outside.  But as soon as frost is forecast, bring them inside.

Leave the skins to harden and the stalks to dry to prolong the storage period (this is known as “curing”).

Pumpkins do not store well.  Therefore, it is best to carve them by Halloween or eat by Christmas.

Squashes can last much longer and are generally tastier.  They can last right into the new year.  Store them in a cold, dry and light place such as a garden shed or greenhouse.

In the Kitchen

Most pumpkins typically have orange or yellow flesh.  Once peeled and the seeds removed, the flesh can be roasted with other winter veggies.  The sweet and smooth flesh is also fantastic pureed and made into hearty winter soups.

The seeds are edible and can be roasted.

Calendar

Mid-Spring

Sow seeds individually in small pots.  Place the flat seed on its side and cover with 1/2 inch (1 cm) of potting mix.  Keep in a well-lit and warm place (above 18 C).

Late Spring

Pot into larger pots if frosts are still likely.  When all chance of frost has passed, plant outside with at least 3 ft. 2 in. (1 m) between plants, or sow seeds directly into the ground.

Early Summer

Keep unruly plants under control by moving their long, winding stems back into their allotted space.

Mid-Summer

Water if very dry.  A couple of really good soaks should do.

Late Summer

Fruit should be set and starting to ripen.

Early Fall

Once fruits start to ripen and reach their full size, start to harvest from now on.

 

 

Published in: on December 6, 2016 at 2:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

Toronto Blue Jays vs Baltimore Orioles – Wildcard Game 2016 – Full Rosters

Toronto Blue Jays

bluejays

Baltimore Orioles

orioles

Starters Marcus Stroman Chris Tillman
Infielders Darwin Barney
Josh Donaldson
Edwin Encarnacion
Ryan Goins
Justin Smoak
Devon Travis
Troy Tulowitzki
Pedro Alvarez
Chris Davis
Ryan Flaherty
J.J. Hardy
Manny Machado
Trey Mancini
Jonathan Schoop
Outfielders Jose Bautista
Ezequiel Carrera
Kevin Pillar
Dalton Pompey
Michael Saunders
Melvin Upton Jr.
Michael Bourn
Adam Jones
Hyun Soo Kim
Nolan Reimold
Drew Stubbs
Mark Trumbo
Catchers Russell Martin
Dioner Navarro
Caleb Joseph
Matt Wieters
Pitchers Joe Biagini
Brett Cecil
Marco Estrada
Scott Feldman
Jason Grilli
Francisco Liriano
Aaron Loup
Roberto Osuna
Ryan Tepera
Brad Brach
Zach Britton
Dylan Bundy
Brian Duensing
Mychal Givens
Donnie Hart
Tommy Hunter
Ubaldo Jimenez
Darren O’Day
Published in: on October 4, 2016 at 3:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

Toronto Blue Jays vs Baltimore Orioles – Wildcard Game 2016 – Starting Pitchers

The Toronto Blue Jays and the Baltimore Orioles will be battling out in a one-game Wildcard playoff on Tuesday, October 4, 2016.

We will compare the two starting pitches from the two respective teams.

Team Toronto Blue Jays Baltimore Orioles
marcusstroman christillman
Name Marcus Stroman Chris Tillman
Birthdate (Age) May 1, 1991 (age 25) April 15, 1988 (age 28)
Height 1.73 m 1.96 m
Pitches Right-handed Right-handed
Repertoire 57.5% Fastball (92.4 mph)
14.7% Slider (86.6 mph)
12.4% Cutter (89.8 mph)
10.1% Curveball (81.3 mph)
5.3% Change-up (84.7 mph)
56.8% Fastball (91.7 mph)
15.6% Cutter (85.7 mph)
12.4% Curveball (75.3 mph)
15.2% Change-up (83.7 mph)
Wins 9 Wins 16 Wins
Losses 10 Losses 6 Losses
Starts 32 games 30 games
Innings Pitched 204 innings 172 innings
Strikeouts per 9-innings 7.32 K/9 7.33 K/9
Walks per 9-innings 2.38 BB/9 3.45 BB/9
ERA 4.37 ERA 3.77 ERA
Match-up Similar to Tillman, Stroman got a close look at his wild-card opponent in the final week of the regular season, throwing 7  innings in a 4-0 loss to the Orioles. Coming in, Tillman is rested, not having pitched since Wednesday, September 28, 2016 in a 3-2 win over the Blue Jays.
Facts Stroman surpassed the 200-inning mark for the first time in his young career, finishing with 204 innings.

When Stroman’s stuff is working, he can be as tough as any pitcher in baseball, but he can be inconsistent and gave up 21 home runs this season.

While his overall regular season numbers don’t jump out, Stroman’s second half was a different story.

After struggling with a 7.71 ERA during the month of June, Stroman had a 3.71 ERA in July, a 3.13 ERA in August, and then a 3.41 ERA in September.

Former top prospect in the Seattle Mariners system. In trading Canadian pitcher Erik Bedard on February 9, 2008 to the Mariners, the O’s landed Tillman and outfielder Adam Jones.  This trade helped rebuild the Orioles into the contender they are today

It took a while for Tillman to develop, but the 6-foot-5 right-handed has provided 4 straight seasons of serviceable innings for the Orioles, winning 16 games twice during that span.

While he’s not an ace and he doesn’t throw very hard or strike out a lot of people, Tillman is a solid starter who can be really good when he’s on.

Playoff Performance Stroman was a workhorse in the 2015 playoffs.

Considering how well Francisco Liriano pitched down the stretch, many were urging Jays manager John Gibbons to go with the lefty on Tuesday against the O’s, but Stroman’s playoff run in 2015 and desire to pitch in big games was the deciding factor in going with the fiery right-hander.

Tillman hasn’t fared very well in the playoffs.

Even though he got a win in the 2014 ALDS over the Detroit Tigers, Tillman went just 5 innings, giving up 2 earned runs and striking out 6. Both runs came on solo homers.

In the 2014 ALCS against the Kansas City Royals, he was touched up for 7 hits and 5 runs in just 4 1/3 innings.

 

Published in: on October 4, 2016 at 1:20 pm  Leave a Comment