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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

One of those days...

Did you ever have one of those days...(and you know, know from the very start, it's going to be one of "those") when you wish you could just go back to bed!! Have a do over!! Better yet...just skip it!!! Today was one of those. First, I would like to go on record as saying that I think rude, miserable people should stay home and not inflict themselves on others. That aside...we had a 200+ pound Halloween candy shipment delivered, today. My daughter answered the phone, a little after 10:00am, this morning. The man who would deliver this large order was asking for specific directions...he said he was on Rt. 29. We all assumed he was close by...(you know what they say about ass-u-me...) this was good news (the only good news of the day, by the way!!) because I have been a wreck about this delivery for weeks....there is a lot of chocolate...and it's hot!!!!!!!!! You get the picture! I thought if he was on his way, that would mean less time on the truck. This stuff is packed with some form of insulation...never the less...no matter how much you plan for the heat....I just don't think you can plan for this MUCH heat with any kind of guarantee for the safe arrival of candy....so less time on the truck would be good. Also, we would have time to get it all inside before the lunch service started. Well...we watched and waited...watched and waited...and then, about noon, when we are REALLY busy....here he comes!!! What a nightmare!!! Boxes and boxes of candy, piled everywhere!! I decided the solution to fixing my bad day was to price and put out all of this candy...I don't care that it is only September 1st....it made me feel better! So, tomorrow is a new day, and I get to start it looking at witch finger lollipops and little chocolate pumpkins (all in perfect shape, by the way...) and that makes me happy....of course, so would NOT having another day like today any time soon!!!

Catching up...

I am sorry I didn't write anything on here, yesterday. We had a very full day...we re-claimed the gardens, and it looks much better! I have to say, I knew it was dry...but I don't think I realized HOW dry! We pruned and pulled weeds most of the morning. I ran the sprinkler in one part of the yard while we worked in another part of the yard. once or twice, we would pull weeds after I'd already run the sprinkler and it was still dry when you looked at the soil clinging to the weeds!!! I just wish it would rain! I am not asking for this hurricane that's on it's way...but a little shower activity would be awesome!!! We also went to the antique malls that we didn't get to last Monday...nothing! I was disappointed in the lack of Fall and Halloween offerings...and there were an awful lot of "sales" going on...even 30% off in some of the booths...not sure what that means??????? Anyway...off to work! I realized, this past weekend, that the pumpkin goodies are, in fact, NOT too early...and that everyone is ready to eat pumpkin..anything!!! So I am going to go~~full steam ahead~~and bake pumpkin and apple goodies to my hearts content! If I ignore this horrible weather and this awful summer...it will go away!!! However, before I leave, I need to go out and WATER the container plants in the poolhouse......What will we do with all of the free time we will have when we don't have to water anymore??? Seriously.......

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Thinking Fall....

Sugar, sugar, sugar....wow, what a week!! I baked and baked and just felt like I couldn't keep up!! I finally gave in to temptation and broke out the pumpkin!! Pumpkin cookies AND cupcakes...gone in a flash! I am not the only one ready for Fall!! I made apple dumplings and molasses spice cookies, too, for good measure...all gone!! I'm going to confess just how far I went....pumpkin french toast casserole for Brunch and roast turkey and stuffing for Sunday Supper...gone, gone, gone!!! I figure, at this point, if I THINK Fall, maybe it will help...it can't hurt!! I am heading out in the gardens, tomorrow morning (before it gets too HOT..) and, attempt, to re-claim some order, beauty (well...that was harsh...it's always beautiful...even when it's overgrown!) and control! I had, almost, decided to give in to a mum or two...just to make things look a little better, and a new flush of growth has kicked in! I don't understand how...it's been so dry and yucky...but now I can resist the temptation a little while longer!!! I went out and watered the garden at the shop, right before we served supper, and I have a whole new crop of borage coming up...it looks like Springtime! Weird!!! I don't know what I will discover here at home, tomorrow, but I need to tame things! I want to be able to relax next Monday (Labor Day...) and start to plan the Halloween decorating, both inside and outside, here at home...I can't do that knowing that the yard is in bad shape! We, also, owe ourselves some "me day" trips sometime soon...and the only way I can enjoy myself is if the work is done....so, for now, a good nights sleep is in order!! I have a lot to do, on my day "off"!!!!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Top of the game...

I am hard to please. I don't have a problem telling you that. I work, very hard, at being the best I can be...and I have higher than average expectations. No matter how successful or popular we are, or become, I am, and always will be, looking for ways to improve! We enjoy going to other small businesses...as I've mentioned before...and I find something charming in all of them. If it's a small business it is a reflection of the owner...no matter what kind of business it is, and I find it, especially, interesting to see what other people decide to do with what is available in the gift shop market...after all we all have access to the same stuff! No matter which direction we take when we head off on a day trip, we have our favorite places to stop. These are places that, I personally feel, are at the top of the game! They have created "an experience" from the minute you pull up out front to the minute you get back in the car....something I think is very important. Something I strive for when you come to see us. This week has been, especially, stressful. I am trying to fine tune all of the Fall decorations...without rushing things in the dining rooms...it is still August! There are some shipments MIA...although I'm sure they are coming! However, each new shipment means a slight "re-structure"....then I had all those meetings that forced me to put "now" on the back burner, and concentrate on 5 or 6 months down the road...and then I get out of my groove and have to try to re-focus on "now"...I'm not complaining!! I actually enjoy every aspect of this business. It's just a little over whelming...it's kind of like Christmas...you really look forward to it, plan for it, shop for it, decorate for it, cook and bake for it...all while expecting to be able to enjoy it (which you do in little snipits...) but then the "overload" kicks in and all of a sudden it's over...and you're not sure what happened!!! Yesterday, I had a customer tell me she thought our gift shop was "right up there" with one of the local shops that has the "right stuff"...it was, a little, like the Christmas day we all hope and work for...and a great stress reliever!!! I like to think we are in the same league...but hearing it from a customer was very nice!! I am off to work...there are a few things I'd like to fine tune, I think I have a few ideas....

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Traditions...

I have had 3 meetings in 3 days with 3 different reps. I have picked out additional Fall, a little extra Christmas, some Valentine's Day and quite a bit of Easter...oh, and some garden stuff, too!! Even though all of this has made my head spin, I have picked out some great things...and I see a trend in my ordering, especially Christmas.How important are traditions in your family?? They rank pretty high in mine!! All of the major holidays have a whole list of things that are "must have" and "must do"...we even have traditions for lesser celebrations!I love the idea of doing the same things, every year, the comfort and safety of it as well as the fun!! I, also, love folklore...for example, bayberry candles...the folklore says that if you burn a bayberry candle down to the stub on Christmas Eve you will have good luck in the new year...I ordered them yesterday. I also love the advent candles...you burn a little each day, down to the next number, to help count down the days until Christmas...ordered! Re-stocked the pickles...you know, the ornament...it is hidden on the tree and the "finder" gets an extra gift on Christmas morning...on their way! I have a Santa sack coming in (and one going home!!!) to fill with presents that Santa left behind! My grandson won't be big enough to "get" it this year...but the important thing is for it to take on "tradition" status, ready for the years to come!! I have, also, ordered all kinds of things to make all of these occasions special for the little ones (including these CUTE bibs for Halloween...and wait until you see the ones for Easter!!) because they are the reason for the traditions to begin with!! I have some wonderful birthday merchandise coming, too! If you aren't big on tradition...start some this holiday season!! And if you're thinking that the family is getting bored, or the kids are getting too old to continue some of yours...try not doing them... (I was in some trouble last year...I know about these things!!) It doesn't matter what they are...just find some things that will be meaningful to your family...and create some Sweet memories!!Happy Christmas-Valentine's and Merry Hallow Easter everyone!!! I'm going to make a cup of tea and take some aspirin!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Spiced Wafers

We spend a lot of time looking at the calendar...I have to say, it's really a waste of time! There are other "real" ways to identify the seasons. I mean, we all know that Memorial Day is the beginning of summer...although the calendar says it's still a few weeks away! Just like we all know that Labor Day marks the end...and the springtime weather, usually, arrives before the calendar says it's time (and, of course, so does the winter weather!!!) I think the seasons, and the various holidays, are really about feelings and experiences...not so much the date on the wall. I don't know what your "triggers" are, but I think Spring is right around the corner when I see hyacinths in the store, and summer will be here any day when the pools open! Christmas is coming when I hear the first notes of Christmas music (my loving family will tell you that is the day before Halloween if I have my way...in my opinion all Christmas music is beautiful...(well, not that Grandma/reindeer one...) and we don't get to hear it nearly long enough...they beg to differ!) and my Fall "trigger" is spiced wafers! They were my Mom Mom's favorite cookies! She loved to dip them...in her coffee or even in water!!! After my grandfather passed she didn't spend a whole lot of time in the grocery store...so I always picked them up for her as soon as they came out! I even have an antique spiced wafer box in my kitchen!!You know what??? The spiced wafers have been in the store for a couple of weeks...and then, when I stopped at the store this morning, they were unloading the mums (I do think it is a little early, though...they will be past their prime by the time the cooler weather gets here...tempting, though!!!) and the cinnamon brooms and pinecones are right outside the door...(I think someone thought the smell was too much to have them inside!!) You can say what you want..you can say that you think it's too early for the Fall decorations or that you like to savor the summer for as long as you can...you can even bring back the heat...but Fall is on it's way...Mom Mom's spiced wafers told me so!!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"You should"....

There is a full moon. I don't know how much scientific evidence there is...but I have no doubt, whatsoever, that people are "special" during a full moon. This does not, only, apply to the day of...but several days before AND after! I know this because of the business I'm in. We have dealt with it all...(you know what? I shouldn't have said that, because when you think you've seen it all...surprise!!!) and I think we do a really good job, even with the most difficult of people! Don't misunderstand me, they are few and far between...most of our customers are awesome!! However, we do, occasionally, have situations...most of them seem to start with "you should." I don't really understand when it is OK to tell someone what they should do. As parents, it is our jobs to teach right from wrong and, now and again, give advice...but I don't think "you should" is appropriate, even with your kids! I don't have a crystal ball...so I can't see into the future! Therefore...telling someone what they "should do" sounds dangerous to me. I, also, don't have the ability to see, feel and experience things in the same way..."walk a mile in their shoes"..so why would I presume I knew what they "should do"?? Having said all of this...I get "you should" all the time!!! I should change my serving hours (all day I guess???) I should change the way I determine how much food to make (that way I'll have unlimited omelets...) I should have an answering machine...to tell my hours, and remind everyone that I don't, in fact, LIVE at my place of work, and that if you want to make a reservation you will have to call when we are in the building so that we can answer the phone in person!! I should take a VACATION...seriously?? Let me just take a moment...I can't change my serving times and serve all day. We make everything fresh...everyday. I don't know how things work in YOUR house....but cooking and baking all of that food takes time (so does cleaning it up!!) I have been determining the amount of food to cook for over 15 years...doing it the way I do means almost no waste...which means I don't have to raise prices!!! As for the answering machine... not going to happen! It would create FAR more problems than it would solve!!! I might be wrong...but I think, once you pass the 15 year mark, you are THE authority on YOUR business! I, personally, feel that "you should" get up, every morning, and give100% in everything you do....Work hard, do your best and worry about what YOU should be doing to make as many people happy as possible...I know I do!!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Me days...

This time last week I was up to my eyeballs in mess!! We talked about taking off for a "me" day, today...heading out to Lancaster or down into Bucks County...but they were calling for rain and it's still pretty warm...I will enjoy a day trip much more when the weather finally feels more like Fall. So, maybe a little antique shopping, and some time with my grandson...sounds like a "me" day without all of the car time!! I am a homebody at heart, anyway. I do enjoy going to other little shops, though, and we have our favorites! I always try to buy something...even though I have access to the same exact merchandise at wholesale prices..I think it is REALLY important to support the small, local business!! I know that, sometimes, it is easier or more convenient to shop on line...but the brick and mortar stores are giving back so much to their communities...and they represent someones (or multiple someones) lives and livings! I'm not saying don't ever shop on line...but go check out the local small businesses! They can (and, hopefully, do) give you an experience that you can't get on the computer. "Hi, what can I do for you?" "You have a great day!" "Is there anything I can help you with?" You won't get that on line...Not to mention the tremendous thought and hard work involved in running ANY small business...it's all in the details...and, if it's done right, you will have an experience that makes your day and  you will want to go back again and again! I have never had a mail-order-type business, but I'm sure no one in the warehouse is thinking about how the display will work, if the lighting is attractive, if the merchandise they are selecting will make you happy (not just sell..), if the store smells amazing when you walk in, if the backround music is pretty, if the bathrooms are clean, if the front garden needs to be weeded (which is on my list for tomorrow!!)...you get the idea! With all of this effort...you can be sure you are going to have a great time! The on line "stores" have their place and purpose...but we all need a "me" day, now and then...spend yours with a small business or two!!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Halloween lovers of the world....

Wow, what a week!! I think it seemed especially crazy because we didn't have our day off on Monday! It was worth it, though!!! A whole lot of happy people...it appears EVERYONE was ready for Fall...the Halloween room has been THE place to be all week long!! I'm glad you all love this holiday as much as I do! There is just something about the magic and make-believe that makes Halloween really special! I don't like "gross" Halloween....Just fun and fantasy...witches (my favorites...)...and I seem to have a thing for skeletons...crows, crows and more crows...and vintage looking anything!! Trick-or-treaters, too!! Oh and candy corn...(and I have, recently learned that I am not alone in this!!!) What is your favorite "symbol" of Halloween??? What can catch your eye from across a room?? Is it something a little bit "creepy", or something whimsical...or maybe it's something that stirs up "sweet memories" of Halloweens gone by...I'd love for you to leave a comment and let me know!!! Halloween lovers of the world unite!!! Now...I'm going to watch Harry Potter.... don't forget to leave some comments...I'd love to hear from you!!!

Come on back...

I know I didn't write anything yesterday....very long day!! My daughter has taken and loaded a whole bunch of new pictures!! I will write this later this evening when I get home from work...no time now!!! So...come on back and see me tonight!!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

It's Friday...already???

I need some new pictures...the camera battery is dead and I keep forgetting to bring it home to charge! I will see what I can do about that...sorry! I can't believe it's Friday! Yesterday was so busy, the whole thing is a blur...I had to come home and water, again, and after that there was no energy left to come up with something to write about!! We ripped the kitchen room apart with the intention of re-doing it with the fall and Halloween decorations...and then got so crazy busy...I had to leave it a mess for a couple of hours before I could get back to it!!! I hate that!! I think when you come to shop you want to be wow-ed...and a big mess doesn't do that!!! It's all fixed, now...some really cute "vintage" looking dessert plates in black and orange, CUTE candy jars for your "monsters" treats, great dish towels, table runners, napkins....cute, cute, cute!! I, also, ordered all of the Fall and Halloween Switchables and all of the Gooseberry Patch fall cookbooks (including the new one..) I LOVE the fall books from Gooseberry....It's really looking good up in the gift shops and everyone seems to be enjoying the new merchandise...I think the week has gone so fast because we were at the shop all day Monday...but it has been a productive one!! I will try to get some new pictures as soon as possible...Have a great Friday!!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Oh how I wish it would rain....

I was really hoping it would rain today!! The tree in this picture is a tulip poplar, it is so stressed, from the lack of rain, that it's leaves are turning yellow and falling!! (I was going to get a picture...but the battery is dead on the camera!!) It has happened before...but there are a lot of yellow leaves and quite a bit on the ground...it, actually, looks a little Fall-like out there right now!!! This tree has seen some other stress in it's life! We have lived in our house for 26 years. When we moved in the landscape was non-existent...there were a few "trash" trees (not worth having..) that we cut down. Everything else in the yard, we planted...including this tree. It was a sapling...about 4 foot tall and as big around as a broom stick. It came from my grandmother's woods. She dug it out for me and helped me plant it. At the time, we were heating the whole house with a wood stove (yes, I said the whole house...I do NOT miss it...at all!!) and my grandparents lived down the road from a woodworking place near Chalfont. The scraps were put out for the trash...but my grandfather would load boxes in the back of his stationwagon with this scrap pine and bring it up for us to use to keep the fire hot enough to "kick" the blower on (this is what distributed the heat through the house..)...one afternoon they came with a particularly large load and he backed the car up to the house to bring it inside....(wood is heavy...so the closer you can get to your final destination the better...) I came out of the house to help and yelled "Pop Pop you are parked on the tree!!!" My Mom Mom started yelling for him to pull the car forward...he had bent the tree completely over and then got out of the car!!! I was sure he had killed it!! It had a pretty bad scrape in the bark...but my husband "painted" it ( think band-aid ) and it healed...well, obviously...you can see how big it is!!! I really wish it would rain...I think this poor tree has been through enough!!!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It's all about the compromise......

I find myself torn, at this time of year. I am SO ready for Fall! I want this weather to go away!!! We spent hours and hours, yesterday, decorating the gift shop with the Halloween goodies. I am still expecting more Fall and Halloween merchandise...and, of course, the candy...always exciting!!! So, naturally my thoughts turn to Fall cooking and baking. I get very excited about apples and pumpkins etc. but I still want to make the most of what is available now...because before you know it I won't be able to work with the summer produce anymore. At the risk of sounding like I'm whining...I want to make apple stuff!!!! So...I find myself torn, at this time of year!!! Usually the answer to this problem is to sneak an apple or pumpkin treat in now and then...but still do what I can with peaches, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries. I, also, find that reading new cookbooks ABOUT Fall cooking and baking helps...this is one of the new ones from Gooseberry...(note to self...call and find out where the others that were supposed to be shipped at the beginning of the month are...) and I'm sure all of the magazines will be out any minute! In the meantime...you will be able to find a blueberry custard pie sitting happily next to an apple custard pie tomorrow in the bakery case! It's all about the compromise!!!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

All ready...let the witching hour begin!!!

Well, let the magic begin!!! We spent the whole day ( 11 hours) completely re-doing the front room at the shop! The Halloween is in place and ready for all of my fanatics!!! All of the lights that were burned out have been fixed (even in the Byers' Choice room...) and most every other room had a little tweaking done, too! it's a can of worms just like every project...you want to get this done, but when you start, you realize that should get done, too, while you're at it etc. etc. It's a big project...but those are the most rewarding when they're all done!!! We still have some merchandise to get out...I'll need to work on the "kitchen" room and do a display for all of the tea towels and such...but that's no biggy! And, eventually the downstairs will need to get decorated...but that's not an all-day project either. And, let's not forget the amazing candy that will be arriving in a couple of weeks!!! We, also, have a few more great (although not huge) orders on their way....but the big part is done! I find it quite ironic that the day we pick to welcome the big Fall Holiday turns out to be HORRIBLE in the heat and humidity department....it's SO much easier to do this kind of job when it's a little cooler!!! Oh well...it still got done!! I am going to go crash...it was a long day! We are talking about a "me" day NEXT Monday...I think we deserve it!!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Could someone shed a little light???

We are in serious countdown mode now!! I was up in the store room trying to take another peek at the Halloween goodies so that I have a clear plan of attack on Monday morning!!! It would be awesome if the weather were like this...I'm not sure what they are calling for on Monday...but it will change 10 times anyway!!! We are heading out to locate some new light strands now. I would love for someone to explain why ALL of them go out at the same time!!! I have lights everywhere...in all of the rooms...in all of the displays...even on trees (where they belong!!) and every strand is either burned out or on the verge of burning out!!! In addition to the answer to that question...I would also love for someone to tell me WHY oh why don't I buy a little stash of the darn fool things at Christmas time when EVERY store has them!!! Some day...I will learn to make my life easier when possible...maybe even this year!!! If you guys could remind me to stock up on the little white Christmas lights sometime in November....that would be great!!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Witches, the good and the bad!!!

Today is Friday the 13th!!! As I prepare myself for the makeover in the gift shop (into the Halloween paradise!!) I find myself face to face with a whole lot of witches!!  SO, are you a good witch or a bad witch...I love that line from the Wizard of Oz...it's such a loaded question!!! I mean, we are all a little of both...right??? When you are in the "service" industry you need to be a good witch! Luckily, for us, this really isn't a problem! We have such great customers that are more like extended family!! People that have been coming in for years who are like sisters and brothers to me, new, young customers who are like nieces and nephews and some of our "regulars" treat my kids like adopted grandchildren!! It is a great way to spend the day...surrounded by people you care about and who care about you!!! Of course, there are moments when we are bad witches!! The kind you DON'T want to mess with!! For me, that goes hand in hand with injustices...and hurting my kids....I won't put up with either!!!( I'm a fair-minded, logical person the rest of the time...) I am just wondering...when are YOU the bad witch??? What sends you over the edge?? If you want to leave a comment...feel free!!! In the meantime...the witches, ghosts, trick-or-treaters and black cats are on their way....and looking forward to seeing you...(almost as much as you are looking forward to seeing them...almost!!!) Happy Friday the 13th to all of the witches out there...good or bad!!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Passion and positive attitudes!!!

This is a passion flower...it is growing outside my backdoor, up the back porch railing. It is a very pretty vine and the flower is really different (and smells like grape juice!!)~~~ It takes a lot of passion to run a business. It's a lot of work and if you don't start each day with a positive attitude and passion for what you do...you are going to have a very long...probably problem riddled...day!! Sometimes things happen in our lives that can put a strain on the positive attitude...but we must carry on!! I've learned enough in life to know when to prune the problems...and I know how much happier I am when the problems are gone!!! I just wish they would stop sending up new shoots that need to be pruned again and again!! The best way to start a new day with the necessary positive attitude and passion is to go for a swim before work...and watch the rain clouds do their thing!!!! I think it's going to, actually, rain this morning....Yeah!!! I, also, think it's not going to be so stinking hot...Yeah, Yeah!!! So...it's off to work I go with a positive attitude and a passion in my heart...and a pile of pruned shoots thrown in the compost!!! You know what they say...you can choose your friends...enough said!!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Would you like a cup of Tea???

I am being shadowed...literally! I was approached by one of the grand-daughters of one of our "original" customers and asked if she could "shadow" me for a school project. She is interested in culinary arts. I have been "interviewed" for this same type of project many times...but this is my first "shadowing". Needless to say, I have been answering questions, and I've realized how much has changed!! I try to stay as connected as I can with all of our customers...this is not always easy! As I have mentioned, we've started our 16th year. Way back at the beginning, I knew every person that came through the door...who they knew...where they worked...when birthdays were around the corner! Now, I have many, many duties in a day and don't always get to talk to the customers. My daughters are the ones who know everyone...who they know...where they work...when the birthdays are around the corner! I don't remember why I named the business "Sweet Memories" (although I'm glad I did!!) and I don't know what my favorite thing to bake or cook is...I do know how very proud I am of our success, how very proud I am of the role that both my daughters and my husband play in that success, I know that we have amazing, loyal, wonderful people come through the doors every day and that we are very lucky to be as busy as we are! I feel as though we have made quite a few really good decisions and that we work really hard...but I'm thinking that, maybe, I need to take a little bit of time to enjoy what we've created...even though so much needs to get done, I think we all need to do that once in a while!!! Cup of tea, anyone???

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A great Day!!!

So...all in all a very successful day off!! Weeded, weeded, weeded...watered, watered, watered...pruned, pruned, pruned...much better!!! Came in the house and unpacked, inspected and priced the big Christmas order...all is well, no damage! Some really cute things! I tend to gravitate towards items that are "treat" themed (cookies, candy etc.) or nature themed (birds, pinecones, berries, snowflakes..)everything in this order is really cute, different and priced right!! It was fun looking at Christmas things for a couple of hours...but my mind is on the Fall and Halloween job I have in front of me...so, I need to switch gears and focus!!! We had a very nice birthday dinner for my son...we cooked on the grill, but I made baked potatoes and went to the farmstand and bought some corn on the cob...then I made his favorite applesauce cake and a chocolate cake with buttercream icing (like my MomMom always made for my birthday)...a ton of food...but very nice!! He received his "old man" birthday cards (which should be expected when you have a 29th birthday...) and money and gift cards...for his golfing treats! However his sister is in the middle of a portrait of my grandson...she is an amazing talent! The whole thing is done in pencil...and looks just like him!! When it's done and framed it will be a gift to remember!! (I'll take a picture and post it on here...) An evening spent with all of them is a real treat...they are very amusing people!! No one can make me laugh like my husband and kids!! But...it is Tuesday...so off to work I go...the cakes are calling!!!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I have the day off!!????

This was one very busy week!!! I would love to believe that my day off tomorrow will be relaxing and lazy...but it won't!!! My oldest is turning 29 tomorrow!! We are going to have a cookout to celebrate (which means I need to go buy some food...) and I still have a large Christmas order that needs to be unpacked, checked for damage, priced and then re-packed. I, also, would like to go over to the shop and make some important phone calls that I can't seem to get to when we're open...and I'd like to get the paper work done so that I don't need to do it on Tuesday!!! On top of all of that...I really need to get some yard work done (aka weeding and watering...) or that will get away from me, entirely!!!! We are coming up to that time of year when you can sit outside and enjoy the Fall color (if time allows...) and I will not be able to do that if everything looks like heck! So, it must be taken care of now...I can't sit and enjoy anything if all I see is work that should be done...I'm a great "jumper upper"!! I sit and try to relax and enjoy myself...but I see a weed...jump up...you see what I mean!! If I can keep the upper hand on the gardens there will be less jumping and more enjoying!! This is a picture of Matilda...one of several topiaries in the garden. I only got to plant her pouch this year...I never got to the greenhouse where I buy the miniatures that I use for her...but I love her anyway! I always say that she keeps an eye on things for me when I'm not home...but I think she and I will need to talk...because if she'd do a little weeding for me, too, I'd have less to do on my days "off"!!!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Cast A Spell...

I am going to go out on a limb here and say I am pretty sure everyone loves Fall!! I'm reasonably certain that the less than wonderful weather we have been having this summer is a contributing factor...but I don't remember ever hearing more people talk about how much they are looking forward to the Fall season than I've been hearing this year!!! I agree...it was supposed to be so much nicer, yesterday. It did, eventually, become less humid and there was a nice breeze later in the afternoon...but, when you spend your day in the kitchen with the ovens and stove...it's irrelevant. When the temperature drops at night...the air conditioners can do their thing and you start the day on the cool side...then the extra heat only drives the temperature up so far! When it is steamy overnight, the starting temperature of the building is already just comfortable...then you add in the extra heat and you are really uncomfortable most of the day! Luckily it doesn't seem to apply in the dining rooms...everybody seems to be happy...and that's, really, all that matters!! Enough complaining...there's nothing we can do about it, anyway!! Except...start to unveil the Fall merchandise!! It might be early...but sometimes you can convince yourself that it's right around the corner if you have great new Fall merchandise to look at...so here you go!!! The Byers' Choice Halloween collection is here and out on the floor...so if you are looking for a taste of Fall...come on in and take a look at these awesome pieces...hopefully they can "cast a spell" and do their "magic" and bring the Fall season a little faster!!!!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sweet treats are on their way....

There is no doubt in my mind...August has arrived!! In the world of retail, everyone is always concerned with "4th quarter". This refers to October, November and December, the 3 biggest months of the year in sales...usually. I must say, Sweet Memories marches to a different drummer. While those three months are certainly busy for us...we are very lucky, because we're busy all year. One of the reasons for that is because we have so many things going on! However, I still need to prepare for the upcoming ( well, they are upcoming to us, anyway..) Holidays. I have been placing Fall, Halloween and Christmas orders for months...orders for decorative and collectible merchandise...but I, also, need to focus on perishable merchandise aka jams, dips, baking mixes and of course the all important candy!!! So...my deadline for my 2 biggest "treat" orders was fast approaching! It was on my list of very important phone calls to make, yesterday afternoon! Then the UPS came and dropped 15 boxes of assorted everyday, Halloween and Christmas merchandise that needed to be sorted out...and I was in danger of missing my deadline! Then the phone rang!! I have amazing reps!!! Pam keeps me on schedule, that's for sure!! The good news, here, is that the goodies are all ordered!! The merchandise is all sorted out. Both of my consultations for upcoming showers are taken care of...all is well and right with the world!! I have some really cute things coming for this Holiday season...lollipops and chocolate Santas, amazing hot chocolate and candy stirrers, ribbon candy and candy canes...I know it's too early for you guys to be thinking about...but, thanks to another one of my amazing reps...it's one more thing I can NOT think about!!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sweet Weeks...

We have had a couple of "sweet" weeks at the shop!!!! I have baked and baked and baked....and baked!! Our chocolate chip, oatmeal and peanut butter cookies are, well, big! (I've tried to make them smaller...but I just get yelled at!! Everyone wants them big!) I make them everyday...but I think today was a record sell-out time!! Cakes, cupcakes, scones, tea cookies, brownies, tarts, muffins....whew! It's heading out the door faster than I can get it in the oven!!! I don't know what the explanation is..I mean it IS still summer, right?? No Holidays that I'm unaware of??? Well, no matter...bring it on!! If I could do it... everything I baked would be eaten fresh from the oven, ...these last 2 weeks...it's been pretty close to that!!!Things are selling right off of the trays...before they're even completely cool!!!You know what, though? There is nothing better than a scone that's still warm! (...or a cookie either, for that matter!!) So...come on in and bring your sweet tooth....maybe you'll get lucky and your favorite treat is available...maybe it's still warm!!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Picnic Time!!!

How do you guys feel about picnics?? I grew up having them all the time! My MomMom loved to pack up some lunch and take off at a moments notice! She, also, loved to have all of the family over for picnics at her house...which were great occasions...but, I think the impromptu picnics on the go were the best! My grandparents loved car trips. They would just get in the car and drive...the idea being that you never knew what adventure was waiting around the next bend in the road! Of course, you never knew if there would be a restaurant around that bend, either...so "be prepared" was her motto!! She had a few "traveling picnic" essentials. Coolers and jugs (all vintage, of course!) and a few, well chosen baskets or bags. The jug was always full of her iced tea...that was a given...then there were assorted sandwiches, chips etc....but, really, it didn't matter! Anything always tastes good when you eat it on the tailgate of a stationwagon or a public picnic table you happen to find in your travels! We continued this tradition while the kids were young...sometimes with my grandparents...sometimes just us! I hope the kids remember those picnics as fun and exciting adventures...My son, the oldest, turns 29 in one week! He shared a birthday with his PopPop...and MomMom's birthday was 2 days before that! We miss them...and the picnic adventures!! We haven't made any plans for my son's birthday celebration, yet....we are all so busy, all of us with the shop and him with my grandson...but, I think, perhaps, it's picnic time!!