Archive for November, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Posted by at 30 November, 2008, 9:46 am

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.? We fried 5 turkeys Thursday.? 3 for our family and 2 for the neighbors.? I don’t want to see another fried turkey for a long long time!! Today is my eldest daughter’s 6th birthday.? Where did the time go???? ?

Hits:? ?

GrillJunkieâ„¢ is a line of grilling products, accessories, and on-line recipes and tips to help celebrate the world’s
addiction to grilling and spending time with family and friends!?

A friend of a friend just published a children’s book which is perfect for this holiday.? It’s about a pig in politics that lives by the motto “Dirt Doesn’t Hurt”.? The book is called Rhyme.? Check is out at

I have 19 days to get all of my stuff to
Atlanta for the tradeshow in January.? Everything has to be delivered by the 19th to take advantage of the free storage and it will also be one less thing I have to worry about when the time comes for the actual show.? My booth is really starting to come together.? The past few days have been filled with making up press kits, printing labels, making order forms etc…? It’s the little stuff that you don’t really “think” about that takes up so much time.? For each tradeshow, it’s important that your booth information is on every piece of marketing material you have (including your business cards).? For the past few days I’ve been sticking tiny labels with my building, floor and booth number onto about 300 sell sheets, 50 press kits, 500 business cards, and 200 brochures.? It’s important that when people take information from your booth, that they know how to find you again.? Especially since the first day of the show, most buyers DO NOT buy.? They normally collect information and get somewhat of a game plan together.? They typically review the materials then in the following days, go back to the booths that they are interested it.? Having your booth information on all of your materials is extremely important so the buyers can easily find you again after they review your material.? Time to jump in the shower and off to grandma’s house for the family birthday party.?


Leslie Haywood, Founder and President of Charmed Life Products, Inventor of Grill Charmsâ„¢?

Category : The Journey of Grill Charms!

MAP policies

Posted by at 23 November, 2008, 12:01 pm

Lots of stuff going on so I have a lot to cover.? First of all, here are the hits: ?



Next is an update on a contest that tons of my fellow Mompreneurs and I entered.? There were so many of us that either won, were in the top ten or received honorable mentions.? Here is the link to my announcement: ?

To see the other Mompreneurs, I’m going to refer you to my friend Laurie, who did a wonderful job of recognizing all the gals (and she has a great website for holiday gifts) so I’ll refer you here to see more: ?

My topic for today is going to be the concept of MAP pricing.? I’ve wrestled with this for a while and I’m still on the fence about what I should do, but in light of a recent “development”, I’ve put the subject back into the forefront of my mind.?

What is MAP pricing?? MAP stands for Minimum Advertised Price.? As a manufacturer or supplier you can’t tell retailers what they MUST charge, (that would not really be legal now would it) BUT you can have in place a MAP policy in which you and your customers(retailers) enter into.? It basically says that the retailer agrees not to ADVERTISE a price lower than what is set in your contract or policy.? There is a lot of controversy on both sides of the fence as to the benefits or detriments of a MAP policy.? For manufacturers NOT having a MAP policy can be bad because it diminishes the perceived value of a product when a retailer wants to use a particular marketing strategy to get people to come to their store or website which includes somewhat of a “sacrificial lamb” of a product and price.? It also hurts the other retailers (especially the little guys and entrepreneurs) that carry the same product, because most can not compete with the lower price of the big guys who often get tremendous volume discounts.? On the other side… it’s a free market economy, right??? ?

This issue came up yesterday when a friend of mine called me to say “Leslie… You are in Parenting Magazine!!”? I had no idea that my product was going to be featured (through one of my customer/retailers) in the December/January Issue of Parenting Magazine in their gift guide section.? Pretty darn cool huh??!!!? THEN I noticed the price listed.? Now I’m not going to tell you the price for two reasons.? #1) the price in not correct, even with the retailer that promoted the product to be in the magazine in the first place.? And #2) I don’t want you to get any ideas.? There is no way I will EVER be able to sell my product at that price listed there and even if a retailer was crazy enough to, they would be losing money hand over fist!? Which makes me wonder…. Was this a typo?? Regardless, this whole issue has brought the topic of MAP pricing back to the forefront of my mind.? For those of you that are not in the biz, as consumers it is good of you to know what MAP polices exist. I’m going to link you to a post that explains the whole process a little better from a consumer’s stand point.? The article is a little old, but I still very relevant especially this holiday shopping season.?

If I don’t talk to you before, HAVE A HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!?


Leslie Haywood, Founder and President of Charmed Life Products, Inventor of Grill Charmsâ„¢?

Category : The Journey of Grill Charms!

The City

Posted by at 21 November, 2008, 1:35 am

I mentioned that I live in a “castle”.

We’re on one of the higher floors in the building and the views of the city are impeccable when I can actually see out my window.

It gets really, really foggy for some reason. But most of the time my views look like this:

There is ONE bad view though. And unfortunately people actually live in this house.

I will get into this more later, but the picture above is probably what this whole “New City” looked like 10 years ago.

10 years ago, my area of Astana was pretty much empty. There was an existing city here, and the local people now refer to the existing city as the “Old City”. The “Old City” and the “New City” collectively make up “Astana”.

If you travel10 minutes out of the “New City”, you’re in for a shock. I thought Astana was really, really modern and nice until I ventured into the “Old City” to take Noah to the hospital the other day.

The “Old City” is enormous compared to the “New City”.The apartment buildings are disgusting and dirty. They look like World War I era factories! The poverty is evident.

I live in the “New City”. The one that Kazakhstan began building just ten years ago. Thank God f0r this, because I would have been back on that plane to Frankfurt had I stepped foot in the “Old City” for a split second when I first arrived here.

I can see the entire “New City” from my view in the Castle, but I can’t see any of the “Old City”. I assume that the government strategically built the “New City” so that visitors would never have to set sight on the “Old City”.

Smart thinking!

Category : Special Needs Mom

Rough two weeks!

Posted by at 20 November, 2008, 12:51 am

We’re not doing so well over here in Kazakhstan at the moment.

The kids came down with this terrible, terrible stomach virus. I thought it was food poisoning from the chicken but changed my mind after I was hit by the virus a few days later.

I don’t eat meat here often. The whole horse meat concept has turned me off all meat. I think I mentioned before that Kevin’s hockey team fed the players horse meat four times without telling them what they were eating. Tricking someone into eating a horse is just disgusting, but apparently it’s similar enough to beef that the players never knew the difference.

Well we finally got over the stomach virus (vomit central) and wouldn’t you know, I come down with a awful ear infection. By the third day, the pain was so intense that I began to vomit again. I had to break out the Vicodin that I had left over from my surgery this past summer. And unfortunately the pills were left over for a reason: Vicodin makes me vomit…every single time. But I had to take something for the pain and I didn’t have any options!

After puking non-stop for days on end, Kevin asks his team doctor to give me something for my ear. He gives me…an ointment. Yay, lucky me. Whatever happened to good old ear drops and antibiotics?

Thankfully, a hockey wife friend came to the rescue with some homeopathic ear infection medication from Florida. So I fought off my ear infection with homeopathic medicine, massive amounts of Advil during the day and a pain killer before bed each evening.

Just as my ears are clearing up, Noah starts acting peculiar with wet diapers.

In order for him to get into the English pre-school, he has to be potty trained. For about two weeks, we’ve been working with him on this. And for about two weeks, he has been making us change his diaper every single time he wets it, even the smallest amount.I figured that he was just realizing that he doesn’t like being wet.

But things were getting outrageous at night!! Kevin or I would have 8 slightly wet diapers piled up on his bedroom floor every morning… meaning, we were getting out of bed 8 times a night to change his diaper every time he cried for it! I mentioned this to my mom, who immediately thought urinary track infection.

The North American players have an English speaking assistant who translates everything for them. Their assistant is actually the General Manager of the team, so although he does a ton of stuff for the players they aren’t as lucky as the wives.

We have a female an assistant who doesn’t have any other responsibilities and is always available to us. She’s a little bit younger than us and doesn’t mind arranging for whatever we want or need.

So I call up my Russian translator/assistant and we take Noah into the Kazakhstan hospital to get checked out.

The Russian translator knows basic English pretty well, but start throwing in body parts and medical terms and things start to get funny. Funny… as long as it’s not your two year old that is in pain! So thankfully my Herbal Remedy Hockey Wife friend went to the hospital with us. She speaks perfect English and Slovakian- which is close to Russian, and is also able to help translate things quite a bit.

The Kazakhstan hospital is…well…not unspeakable, but very outdated from a Westerners point of view.

It reminded me of what a turn of the century psychiatric hospital must have looked like in the United States.

All of the supplies are military looking. It’s a very cold, detached atmosphere that would most certainly drive someone over the edge if they were in for an extended hospital visit. I can’t even describe it. For a country that can spend a gazillion billion dollars on building a brand new city, you would think they would put some money into updated hospital supplies so that you don’t feel like you are walking into a Vietnam medical tent every time you get sick… which by the way, you have to go the hospital every single time you are sick. There aren’t any private practices here.

At any rate, the doctor is friendly enough (a rare find here, as no one ever smiles). But apparently Kazakhstan babies are born potty trained, because she wants me to make Noah pee in a cup so she can test it.

I laugh.

She saw me take off his diaper. How did she think I would get him to pee in a cup?

I try to explain that Noah still wears his diapers and will only pee in the diaper. I am talking through the assistant/translator, trying to explain that there is no possible way that I am going to collect urine from Noah. I’ve been trying to get him to pee on the potty seat for two weeks and it hasn’t happened. The doctor is getting annoyed with me and just can’t comprehend why I won’t make Noah pee in a cup.

I argue through the translator for five minutes, to no avail. I was saying all sorts of things that the translator didn’t understand and couldn’t translate because she can’t pick up on American sarcasm: “What am I supposed to do, have him pee in the same diaper all day long and then wring it out into a cup?!”

I was getting upset at the doctor and the translator just kept repeating “collect his urine in a cup for testing”. I could have knocked their heads together.

Everyone was getting aggravated until I mentioned that maybe the doctor should just do a blood test to check for an infection.

Then I gasped. A blood test? Had those words really just popped out of my mouth? We’re in a developing country… and I just asked for a blood test?

I was instantly mortified. But the doctor agreed that a blood test was the way to go, so off we went to the front of the hospital to pay for a blood test in cash.

The walk to the front of the hospital was a blur. I was just looking all around at the less than ideal supplies and conditions while telling my Herbal Remedy friend that I couldn’t go through with this blood test for Noah.

What if the needles were dirty? What if the needles infected Noah with something? I was going to back out of the whole thing. I was sick to my stomach. I was dizzy. I was about to bolt out of the door but I also knew that Noah was sick and I couldn’t leave that hospital without an antibiotic for him.

I finally agreed to at least go check out the blood test situation.

As long as the needle was brand new and in an unopened package I would go through with the blood test.

After waiting for a while, we were called back into the tiny office and I’m immediately uncomfortable.

A nurse is sitting behind a plain wooden desk preparing a bunch of strange tools. She starts peeling masking tape away from this rolled up green paper towel, unrolls the paper towel and proceeds to assemble the tool.

It didn’t look like a needle but I completely freaked out. That seemed unsanitary. Who packages medical supplies in paper towels and masking tape? Who knows how clean those things are?!

I tell the translator, “I’m leaving”.

The translator rolls her eyes and thinks I’m overreacting. It’s not even the needle, she tells me.

The doctor is looking over at me and can tell that I am apprehensive. She tells the translator that there are no syringes, the nurse will merely prick Noah’s finger and collect blood with a medicine dropper

The nurse pulls out a modern looking apparatus that is commonly used to prick the fingers of diabetic people to test their blood sugar levels and I am instantly relieved.

She proceeds to squeeze blood out of Noah’s chubby little finger, and suck it up with the long glass medicine dropper that was packaged in the green paper towel. It takes much longer than expected to collect enough blood.

45-50 seconds and I was getting weak at the knees. I could have passed out, but I pictured myself being carried away on one of the ancient green army gurneys and I pulled myself together.

Noah on the other hand was happy as a clam, and didn’t make a whimper throughout the entire procedure.

After the blood was taken, we were told to wait in the hospital for an hour while the lab results were being processed.

Great. Just how I want to spend an hour.

Instead of waiting in the hospital, we decide to drive around the city for a bit of shopping. More to come on the prices of things over here, but we don’t shop much, because it’s outrageously expensive to shop for basic necessities in this city! Case in point: Noah’s $700/USD snow suit that he’ll outgrow by next month. Thank goodness I bought Ava’s snowsuit and coat at Baby Gap for $80 before I left the US!

When we return from shopping, we follow our translator/assistant around the hospital for 10 minutes as she tried to locate the lab. The lab was another plain room with a wooden desk, a microscope and some test tubes full of blood.

We didn’t enter the room but I found it odd that we were picking up the lab results and hand delivering them to the doctor ourselves.

The doctor explained the results to my translator and then explained the results again, allowing the translator to tell me what was going on.

It took ten minutes of translations and questions to get the proper diagnosis out of the translator who wasn’t sure about the terms and kept referring to a Russian/English dictionary.

The doctor is pointing to her kidneys, which is in turn making me think that the bladder infection traveled up into Noah’s kidneys. The translator is saying “infection not in organs in body” so I am trying to figure out if it’s just some sort of skin infection or if it’s a bladder infection!

Turns out that Noah does have a urinary tract infection but it did not travel into the kidneys. The blood work also showed that he was anemic. This is because Noah refuses to eat many solid foods, and instead drinks a ton of milk everyday which does not contain any iron.

The doctor then doles out the remedies.

1. The antibiotic for the urinary tract infection. This arrives in powder form which I have to mix with water.

2. A cranberry based syrup to help clear up his UT infection. I am supposed boil this syrup with some unknown amount of water, and force Noah to drink it out of a cup. This would be quite an accomplishment considering that he barely drinks regular juice. I try to tell the doctor this, but she just thinks I am being difficult.

3. Iron supplements which he is to take once a day for a month.

4. Droplets of something else that my Herbal Remedy friend couldn’t translate. He’s supposed to take ten droplets two to three times a day for ten days. Hum….

5. And chopped up Daisy’s. As in the flower. Now this is a funny one because I interpreted this wrong from the translator in the hospital when the doctor was telling me about it. The translator told me to mix a spoonful of “flour” with water to make a paste and then wash Noah private area with it once a day for five days. I found this disgusting and told the other wives that there is no way I am following these directions. One of the wives thought maybe it worked as a pain killer. But then I received actual dried out, chopped up “flowers” from the pharmacy and I realized this must be some sort of herbal treatment.

6. The doctor also told me that Noah is not to have any cold liquids for ten days. Not even milk.

Yeah, whatever, I will take some and leave some when it comes to the medical recommendations over here.

To top everything off, Noah got his foot stuck in a treadmill at my Herbal Remedy Friend’s house. We thought it might be broken, but he’s walking on it just fine and I am pretty sure it’s just a really bad bruise.

More to come…and lots of pictures to follow as soon as I find a new battery charger for my camera!

Category : Special Needs Mom

Where I am in the world…

Posted by at 19 November, 2008, 11:33 am

Pat and Ellen thought it might be nice to share my experience living abroad with all of the wonderful Mompreneurs and I am more than happy to do so!

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Stacy Dallman and I am the President and CEO of Nookumsâ„¢ and the inventor of Paci-Plushiesâ„¢ ( I am also in the process of developing a website that will match parents of special needs children to experienced babysitters, aids, agencies and doctors. More to come on all of my endeavors later, but for now I should probably explain where I am in the world.

Have you seen Borat? Maybe not but I am sure you’ve heard of the movie. Well, Borat is supposed to be a Kazakhstan native traveling through America and in a ‘reality show’ sort of way, he does all of these funny things while making people form Kazakhstan look foolish. He really did do the country some injustice, but at least westerners now know that Kazakhstan even exists, whereas before the movie not too many of us could have placed Kazakhstan on a map.

So oddly enough, I have found myself living in the capital of Kazakhstan: Astana. I am living here with my husband who is a hockey player for Barys Astana, and my two children, Ava who is four and Noah who is 23 months.

I’ve already been in Astana for a month and it has already been quite an eye opener. We’re definitely spoiled in the US and Canada and I am missing many of the comforts of home, at the same time I am happy to report that for the most part my family and I have adjusted just fine to the new culture and climate.

This is where my blogging story begins: in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Stay tuned because I already have some stories to tell :)

Category : Special Needs Mom

The Economy

Posted by at 12 November, 2008, 9:43 am




How are you guys handling this economic crisis?? Since we last spoke, it has been publicized that the economy is the worst it has been in my lifetime.? And here I am, with a start-up.? Hmmmm….? As the eternal optimist I must try to find the silver lining.? Here it is….for those of us with fledgling little companies, these are GREAT times to build our brand and company.? Here we are, just starting out and we are faced with the worst economic times most of us have ever seen.? This forces us to be lean and mean from the beginning.? We are watching every penny and not taking anything for granted.? When the economy DOES turn around, just imagine the rewards we will reap!!?? I feel sorry for the people who built their companies years ago during the economic hay-days of years past.? They thought THAT was the “norm” and now they are folding like a house of cards.? Those of us that accept this as the new status quo and survive it will be in for lots of pleasant surprises when the cycle of peaks and valleys turns from valley to peaking again.? (And it will)? Right now, it’s all about survivability.? Some companies have it, and some don’t.? We just need to do everything we can to insure that we are the ones that do.


Leslie Haywood, Founder and President of Charmed Life Products, Inventor of Grill Charmsâ„¢?

Category : The Journey of Grill Charms!