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Erin Branscom

Business, Faith, Friends, Mommy Advice

Mentor Monday with Malena from KiraKira

KiraKira - Mentor Monday - Tales of a Peanut

As an introverted, type A personality, going to Stationery Academy in July and knowing that I would be sharing a room with someone who I had never met was incredibly intimidating. However, when I arrived and saw Malena in our room and we chatted for a bit I knew that this was a pairing made by God. Over the next few days we shared our stories and grew to know each other much more than I would have expected in four days.

Since our time in Phoenix, Malena and I have been on a weekly capability call with two other amazing women and have gotten to know each other more. She has chosen to put her stationery shop, Little Bird Paperie, on hold because she is so passionate about getting girls engaged in the engineering field. She and her co-founder have created an amazing academy that I pray my girls will get to be a part of as they grow a little older. Malena has tons to teach us and I can’t wait to share her wisdom and passion with you.

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KiraKira - Mentor Monday - Tales Of A Peanut

What’s the inspiration behind KiraKira?

KiraKira teaches girls the fundamentals of engineering and 3D design programs through fun, interactive, inspiring jewelry design lessons. My co-founder, Suz Somersall, and I both have backgrounds with engineering and/or 3D design. After feeling uninspired and frankly, somewhat unwelcome in the very male dominated environment, I chose to leave engineering and went on to study art & design. Suz, however, continued in the field of 3D and industrial design to become a jewelry designer – she 3D prints all of her jewelry. We recognized a gap in teaching and inspiring girls in engineering. Most existing tutorials target boys and teach how to design objects such as wrenches or auto parts. We wondered how we could teach girls engineering and 3D design in a way that speaks to them, inspires them, and empowers them to create something new.

KiraKira - Mentor Monday - Tales of a Peanut

You’ve got three kids about the same age as mine and I know I’m struggling to balance family and work. Have you found anything that works to help you balance it all? Do you have any tips for us?

Everyday is a balancing act! My first tip is my “Top 3” list. If nothing else gets accomplished, what are the top 3 things I must do today. This works for home and work. Reasonable goals help me avoid feeling like I’m drowning! Tip #2, I’m learning to outsource. I outsource cleaning! For the first time ever I have a housekeeper that comes to my house every other week. She keeps me sane! I work from home and it’s hard to focus in a messy environment. Knowing my kitchen and bathrooms will get cleaned at least every 2 weeks takes a LOT of pressure off of me so I can focus on work rather than dreading scrubbing the tubs! My last tip is one I’m still working on: take time to enjoy your life! Yes, we’re moms and business owners and cooks and chauffeurs and a million other things, but the most important job titles I have are wife and mother. Take time for your family. Schedule it in if you have to! Some days it doesn’t feel like it, but soon my little ones will be all grown up. I don’t want to regret being too busy for my kids.

KiraKira - Mentor Monday - Tales of a Peanut

What three things must you have/do every day?

I wish I could say, “go for a great morning run,” but these days that just does not happen!

Hot tea in the morning with sugar (lots), there are days I WISH I were a coffee drinker!

A phone call (or 3) with my mom. She is my best friend and I talk to her ev-er-y-day.

Hugs and kisses from my kiddos – they sustain me!

KiraKira - Mentor Monday - Tales of a Peanut

If you were going to give someone just starting a business some advice, what would it be?

I have a few key pieces of advice I wish I’d known before I got started!

Don’t undervalue yourself. Your time is valuable.

Figure out what your time is worth and expect it. If your client isn’t willing to pay you what your worth, 1) that isn’t your ideal client and 2) that project isn’t worth your time… unless it is truly for charity, which I’m also a big believer in.

KiraKira - Mentor Monday - Tales of a Peanut

What has surprised you the most about being an entrepreneur?

How hard I am on myself. When I had a 9-5 job I would go home and relax, sleep and not think of work again until morning. Owning my own business I’m slightly (completely) obsessed. I think about it all the time! I don’t relax or sleep as much. (This is starting to sound awful!) The truth is, I LOVE my job. I am obsessed with creating beautiful content and a product that’s of concrete value to others. So I’m hard on myself because I have such high expectations for what I’m creating.

KiraKira - Mentor Monday - Tales of a Peanut

Where do you want KiraKira to go in the next year or two?

Everywhere! Honestly, we would love for KiraKira to be in 10,000 schools, in thousands of home across America, in summer camps and after school programs. We have big dreams for KiraKira!

Who do you admire and keep up with in the business? Any mentors, groups, podcasts, etc that you recommend we keep up with?

Jennifer Faught, owner of Stationery Academy. She has been a WEALTH of knowledge and encouragement to me and so many others! Caitlin Bacher for social media tips. Cathy Olson for Periscope. Heather Crabtree for entrepreneur advice. Love Being Boss podcast. Anything by Simon Sinek!

How can people reach out to you and follow you?

Visit KiraKira Website

Back our project!

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Malena is the co-founder & Creative Director of the EdTech startup company, KiraKira, an online academy that teaches girls the fundamentals of engineering and 3D design programs through inspiring, interactive jewelry design. For the last 10 years, Malena has been thrilled to be a Creative Director, Art Director, Graphic & Stationery designer and is based out of Dallas-Fort Worth, TX. As a mom of 3, Malena is excited to change the landscape of girls in engineering and is hopeful her own daughter will one day cultivate a love for engineering and design through KiraKira.

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I am excited to share that as of the writing of this post, the KiraKira kickstarter is 72% funded. I’m proud to say that Tales of a Peanut is supporting their efforts and I encourage you to head to their page and see if you can donate even $5 to help them get their vision off the ground. I also will be sharing some KiraKira products in my gift guides this week so make sure and come back to see some additional ways that you can support them. I would love to see KiraKira as a household name and changing the face of engineering for the better!

Books, Christmas, Gift Giving, Holidays, Parenting, Shopping, TalesOfAPeanut, Uncategorized

11 Children’s Gifts For Your Kiddos

Holiday Gift Guides - Tales of a Peanut 2015

Today’s edition of our gift guides is all about the kids. Whether they’re infants or older, there’s a little something for everyone here. And if you missed yesterdays, you can always check it out in the Gift Guides category.

11 Childrens Gifts For Your Trendy Kiddos - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

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BeMoShe - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

I Am Your Wild tee – BeMoShe – $24

This gray shirt will quickly become a go-to favorite for your children ages 2-6. Screen printed by hand on comfy American Apparel tee’s, each shirt will vary slightly making them more special. And reminding your child that it’s ok to be a little wild is probably a good reminder in this day. Whether you’re encouraging your child to get outdoors and explore or reassuring them that you don’t expect them to sit still all day every day, this shirt will be pulled from the laundry basket as soon as it’s clean each and every laundry day.

Perfectly Crafted by T - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Blue and Gray Argyle Bowtie – Perfectly Crafted By T – $8

This shop has lots of cute designs that can be made into either a bowtie or a bow. I love how easy it would be to get all of your kids matching with this shop! I’m a sucker for argyle and blue and gray is one of my favorite combo’s so choosing this design was a no brainer for me.

Toluka Paper - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

MASH Pad – Toluka Paper – $15.50

When I was in middle school we spent a lot of paper writing out MASH games. I can’t even image how many we would have gone through if we had a notepad ready to fill in! The designs from Toluka Paper are old-school and I love the bright colors and retro feel. (Although I don’t love so much that my time growing up now feels like a retro time period.) This 8×8″ notepad would be a great stocking stuffer for a pre-teen and would help you show them what we did before screens were everywhere.

Ally B Designs - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Shine Bright Like The Stars Hooded Tee – Ally B Designs – $25

For the trendy kiddo, this hooded tee would be the perfect gift. It would work for boys or girls without sacrificing style for either one. And I love that it has a hoodie that you can pull up over their sweet heads if you get outside without remembering how blustery the winter wind can be. And as a bonus, $2 of every purchase is donated to a children’s charity and for November and December that charity is Make A Wish!

Jesus Loves Ice #TOAPGiftGuide

Jesus Loves Print – Tales of a Peanut – $12+

Not only do I like to surround my house with beautiful prints to remind me of Biblical truths but I like to include them in my children’s rooms as well. That’s why I love this print so much. It personalizes a very popular children’s story to remind them how personal Jesus’ love is for them. And it can be customized to match any decor which makes it pretty much perfect.

Strawberry Mommycakes - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Grunge Fairy Tale Shirts – Strawberry Mommycakes – $22.50

If your kids are a little old for the Shine Bright tee then these Grunge Fairy Tale Shirts might be the perfect fit. With designs that are a little rough around the edges, these shirts will make your child smile. And in sizes 2-12 and on super soft American Apparel shirts, these will be come their favorites in no time. PS Erin also has onesies in this line as well if your kiddo isn’t quite to the t-shirt stage.
miniPeanuts Plate Flutter #TOAPGiftGuide

Flutter Plate – miniPeanuts – $25

My kids love these durable plates and we celebrate special occasions with one designed just for them. As they set the table each night they love hearing the story behind each plate. This Flutter design is one of my favorites due to its vibrant colors and gorgeous watercolor patterns. And since these plates are dishwasher, microwave, and even oven safe and are non-toxic they are the perfect plate to let kids eat off of.

Pink Peppermint Paper - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Preppy Paddle Out – Pink Peppermint Paper – $1.99

It might be early to be thinking of summer camps, but these postcards would make great stocking stuffers for your older kids. Especially if you’re gifting them with a trip to camp this summer for Christmas! The postcards limit the space your child will be required to write (which they’ll appreciate) and you’ll appreciate receiving mail while they’re away.

Lysa TerKeurst - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Win or Lose I Love You – Lysa TerKeurst – $9.20

Lysa TerKeurst is a very popular writer in the women’s market but many might not know that she also writes fantastic children’s books. And her latest one, Win or Lose I Love You, will be perfect for my kids this Christmas. It’s message on how to handle winning and losing as well as reassurance that your love isn’t changed by the outcome will be a relief for kids to stick away in their minds for the future. Lisa’s books are beautifully illustrated and I love that they help bring about conversations with your kids in an organic way that doesn’t feel forced and that they can relate to.

Tales of a Peanut Placemat Robots #TOAPGiftGuide

Robots Placemat – miniPeanuts – $17

Laminated placemats have become my saving grace for the kitchen table. It’s infinitely easier to scrape dried milk or pasta sauce off of a placemat in the sink than it is to scrape it from the grooves of the table. Not that I would know anything about that, of course. With a large size (12×18″), a thick lamination (10 mil), the ability to personalize the designs, AND the choice of two different designs for the front and back, you’ll be glad that you got these for your kids.

Lionheart Prints - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

The Snuggle Is Real – Lionheart Prints – $22

Many of you probably know Lionheart Prints for their irreverent prints and Yeaux Leaux collection, but Liz also has this adorable onesie that will encourage you to treasure those baby snuggles while you can. And with a screen printed onesie on a soft Rabbit Skins’ blue onesie this would be perfect for baby’s of any gender or a fun Christmas gift for the newly expectant Mama.

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There you have it. My favorite gifts for the kiddos in your life. I think that any of these items would make an excellent gift for kids of all ages. Think I missed something? See something you love? I’d love to know about! Let me know in the comments or join in the conversation on Instagram! And you can support all of these makers by buying in their shops or by sharing this post and their products on social media. Please use the buttons below to share on any (or all!) of your favorite social media channels!

Handwritten Heritage

5 Important Things to Tell Your Kids in a Letter

Handwritten Heritage Tales of a Peanut

You might be saying, “I just received my beautiful Handwritten Heritage set, now what?” All you have to do is just start. The letters won’t be perfect. But they’ll be perfect for you. Because really, isn’t life more beautiful with little handwriting imperfections and funny things that we write? Here are 5 of the most important things you should tell your kids in a letter…

Praise them:

Your babies need to know that you see them. You see when they help out around the house. You see when they practice really hard on their sport or band instrument. You see how great a job they are doing. You see how strong their character is and what a great person they are, even when they don’t think anyone is looking. Praise your babies. Use your Handwritten Heritage packs to praise their efforts and their accomplishments.

I love you:

They need to know that they are loved unconditionally. No matter what. They don’t need to earn your love, it’s always given. They don’t have to make perfect grades or be a sports star. They are just the way God designed them to be and you love them regardless. Expressing this in the written word is not only beautiful but a reminder for years and years to come.

I appreciate you:

You appreciate them and their hard work. You appreciate when they are kind to their brothers, sisters, and to others. You appreciate when they try their hardest. This is a great time to remind them that they are doing a great job and you see that even if you don’t say it out loud to them every day. Sometimes we might say more about the negative things we see not really considering that they are hearing more of this then the positives. Pour yourself out to them and let them know they are incredible.

You’re important to me: 

Children need to know that they are valued and important to you. It’s so important to let them know your heart. Don’t be afraid to show them it is okay to be honest and humble. You can use this to admit to a mistake or just show that you aren’t perfect either but you value them so much. They are incredible and amazing and you are so thankful for them.

Tell them a Story:

They won’t remember most of the things they say and do. But if we can quickly jot that story down and then write it out beautifully for them in a Handwritten Heritage letter, then that is priceless. We can’t put a price tag on those precious memories. But we can savor them and share them for them for when they are older and appreciate them as much as we do.


If you haven’t checked out the Handwritten Heritage sets that are available yet go and look at them in the shop. Some are available for purchase now and some are on pre-order for a mid July delivery. Once you’ve done that, join us in the Instagram challenge July 5-11! You don’t have to use Handwritten Heritage packs, just join us in writing letters to your children. A winner will be chosen from the participants to win a swag bag of Tales of a Peanut goodies! Sign up for more information here.

Handwritten Heritage Instagram Challenge Tales of a Peanut

Handwritten Heritage

Write Your Love

Write Your Love Tales of a Peanut

As part of the launch to my brand new product, Handwritten Heritage, I’m putting together a fun Instagram challenge from July 5-11th. I would love for you to join my amazing launch team in writing your love for your family.

I believe that handwritten letters are a lost art but one that is incredibly valued by all who receive them. I want to take this week to share how I’m using Handwritten Heritage to write letters to my children and how you can as well.

Handwritten Heritage Instagram Challenge Tales of a Peanut

My amazing launch team that I mentioned before will be joining the challenge. Go ahead and follow them so that you can find out about the awesome things that they’re doing in addition to how they’re using their new Handwritten Heritage packs!

Jaima from Ring Around the Rosies

Danielle from Sew Much Crafting

Kay from Blissful 2 be

Adriana from Adri Luna Studio

Christina from  Christina Leigh Events

Paige from Paige Barbee Jewelry

Kat from Bohemian Paper Momma

Erin from

Val from Your Signature Experience

and myself Jennifer from Tales of a Peanut

From those who participate in the challenge, we’ll draw one winner to receive a bag of treats from Tales of a Peanut including a full set of Handwritten Heritage! I’ll send out an email each morning to those joining in with details about the prompt as well as my submission to that day’s challenge and some ideas for your own participating. Sign up below to join us as we write our love!

Subscribe To The Write Your Love Challenge

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You can participate using any type of stationery but there’s still time to shop and receive a Handwritten Heritage set before the challenge begins. Get yours ordered today!

Handwritten Heritage Shop Now Tales of a Peanut