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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Making the best of it....

Well, we needed the rain....but this is ridiculous. It just seems like we can't catch a break. It's funny how our moods are so connected to the weather.. we were all so sick of the heat and the dry conditions to the point of border line depression...the gardens we worked so hard to create just dried up right in front of us and the heat was so all-consuming that no one even wanted to leave the house (and the air-conditioning) We have had a little bit of nice weather, and everyone was in a good mood...now this flooding rain...WOW!! We will have cancellations and reservation changes, today, because no one wants to drive or come out in this weather! It will make everyone house-bound again...at least for a little while! Oh well...I will try to make the best of it and take the opportunity to bake. I think some pumpkin cutout cookies and maybe some kiefels...we, also, received the MIA order of magnets, yesterday....I need to find a place for the "spinner"...I am not a fan of "display units", I prefer to come up with my own, more creative and attractive, options...but these magnets are really funny and all need to go out so that you can read them...so I don't have a choice. I will try to come up with a spot that reduces the visibility of the spinner...I will figure something out! The class, last night, went well. It was a big class...originally, when we started these classes we tried to limit the number and only take 10-12, but, without fail, there would be last minute cancellations and I would have already put a ton of work into it...it started to get a little old...so we started to "over-book". It works. We will still get someone who decides not to come at the last minute...but I don't mind as much!! There is so much work and time and preparation involved in these classes...especially the gingerbread house classes. I bake and construct all of them, before-hand, so that they are dry and sturdy enough to handle all of the weight of the candy. When someone decides to pull out of one of those classes last minute...lets just say you don't want to be on that list!! Sometimes, you can't help it. I understand that...just like we can't do anything about the weather! So, with that in mind, I am off to work! Maybe the candle order I am waiting for will show up...nice and WET!!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Busy Day Meals and mix-ups.....

We have another class tomorrow night..."Busy Day Meals"...I just finished typing up the recipes! I wanted to make dishes that were easy and do-able for busy days (which is why it's called "Busy Day....well..you get the picture...) but I was, also, looking for recipes that would be useful for the upcoming Holidays. I think I've got some good ones! I've even got three different desserts that can be prepared in the crock pot...that's fun!! I need to figure out how to make all of this for the class...after all I do NOT own 8 crock pots...but I will figure all of that out tomorrow!! It should be a fun class...and everyone will leave stuffed, again!! The class days are very long for us...but they are a lot of fun! The next one is in two weeks and that one is the Pumpkin class...I am looking forward to that one, too! It will be very hard to narrow down all of the recipes I would like to make...we don't have all night!~~~ The light bulb fiasco has been taken care of and we have the bulbs that look like turkeys!! If they are half as popular as all of the other designs have been I won't have them for long! The tombstone mix-up was fixed today, too! If you want to know what I'm talking about, you will need to come in and see for yourself!! I, also, had a shipment of magnets disappear. The company said that UPS lost them...so they re-issued the shipment and they are on their way...and, of course, UPS has located the lost package and that is on it's way, too!!! Now I am supposed to refuse one of them so that it goes back to the company! Just when you think all of the mix-ups (none of which were MY mix-ups by the way...) are taken care of...here comes another one! It wouldn't be a big deal if UPS didn't come in the middle of lunch service...when we are LEAST likely to remember that we have a situation that needs attention...Oh Well!! At least the magnets are going to get here soon...that display looks like heck!!! Just another day in the life of a small business owner!! Good night all....

Monday, September 27, 2010

Home Again, Home Again....

We are home from our "me day" in Lancaster!!! It was awesome!! We saw pumpkins, pumpkins and more pumpkins (including field after field waiting to be harvested..) some pretty fall color, Amish buggies everywhere...most of them with little ones inside....SO cute!!We, also, saw some really great decorating...and THE coolest scarecrow EVER!! The rain held out until about 2:00...so we didn't get drenched going into all of the shops...we got drenched, later, when we stopped to pick up some pumpkins at a farm stand! We did get pumpkins with great shapes and colors, though! We headed into Lititz first. I would like to go on record as saying that Lititz is a model business community...one that ALL other small towns should use as a "pattern" for their own design! They have the perfect mix of shops (ALL super creative and original....) A cohesive design and special functions and activities that ALL of the businesses can, and DO support!...They are, currently, advertising a chocolate function of some sort...which would make sense...Wilbur Chocolate Co. is in Lititz. Whatever this thing is, though, EVERY business was participating and advertising for it! Refreshing not to see the small town politics...just saying! Anyway...I must say...I was disappointed in the Halloween merchandise selection in all of the shops we were in...everything looked very sparse and picked over...Too early for that!! Maybe the Lancaster area doesn't have the Halloween fanatics that we have!! Not to toot my own horn...but Sweet Memories is THE place for ALL of your Fall and Halloween goodies...Next week we are heading into Bucks County to go to a special retailers event at Byers' Choice...we will check out what they have down there and I'll report back...but, in the meantime, you really need to come in and see us...do you know how lucky you are??? Tee Hee....no, seriously!!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The 25th...already??!!

It is the 25th...how did that happen?? I am pretty sure I JUST wished you a happy September...and, now, it is almost over!! Do you realize that in 3 months Christmas will be over!!! Oh my!! One thing at a time!! When you are in the kind of business we are in it can be VERY difficult to live for today....I mean, I have Christmas merchandise being stored all over my house and the shop, even as we speak!! I would like to enjoy THIS season as long as possible...not rush head first into the next one before I have even had a chance to buy pumpkins for the front porch!! However, as much as I would like to enjoy it...it sure goes FAST!!! It's like watching a movie in fast forward....I want to buy some apples and make cobbler so the house smells good, I want to sit down and watch "Hocus Pocus", I want to take a drive and look at the leaves changing, I want to make some chili and some homemade bread for dinner, I want to get the outside decorated and plant some daffodil bulbs, I want to see my grandson in his Halloween costume and carve some pumpkins!! Someone hit the button that makes time go at a normal speed, please, so I don't miss anything!! We are going to take a little day trip on Monday...get out and enjoy a taste of Fall...probably head into the Lancaster area. The following Monday we are heading down to Byers' Choice...I don't have enough "free time" as it is, so I don't want to go in the same direction two weeks in a row! I am starting to see a little color on the mountain behind the shop...maybe we'll get lucky and have some Fall color to admire! I think they are calling for rain, again. They have changed the weather forecast over and over!! I don't mind if it rains, though, we need it!! I am planning on finding some pumpkins and apples on this trip, too, so I'll be able to check several things off of my "Fall wish list" all at the same time!! Even on my days off...I'm STILL multi-tasking!!! Everyone..take some time and enjoy this season...it will be over before you know it!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Almost there...

We worked on the fireplace mantle in the main dining room yesterday. The theme is a "Witches Candy Store"...I have a little tweaking to do, but it will get there! We also put a bunch of dead branches and orange and purple lights on the ladder arbor inside the front door...it looks so cool! One of these days I want to serve with just the "decoration" lights on...no overhead lights! I always threaten this when we get the Christmas tree up in the dining room...it is so pretty when just those "extra" little lights are on...but I guess everyone wants to see their food so.... it's just an empty threat!! We used the dead branches from our parking lot "fallen tree trauma"on Monday...life hands you lemons, make lemonade!!! If anyone would like some dead branches for your Halloween displays...please feel free to come and get them!! Free for the taking!!!The only project left to do is the front porch...but I flatly refuse to decorate it until this heat is over with once and for all!! I have a long baking list for today...and I have to spend a lot of energy trying to pretend it is NOT hot and humid....So I am heading off to work. Have a great Friday!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Summer...go away!!!

Fall has, officially, arrived! It just doesn't feel like it! Hot yesterday, hot today...hot and humid tomorrow!! Yuck!!! Summer...please go away!!! I have NEVER looked forward to the Fall season as much as I do this year!! I took a walk all around the shop before we closed up, yesterday...and I don't think it has ever looked better! We have the best merchandise selection, this year...the gourmet foods are all in and stocked, the candy shop is full of goodies...we still have to re-do the mantle in the dining room...(I have a vision...Just need the time...)and the front porch needs my husband's magic...hopefully this week! I have to do the front porch at home, too. All of these things are the "fun" parts, though, so I want to enjoy them...it needs to cool off! I refuse to put pumpkins and mums on the porch in almost 90 degree heat...I know Fall is a state of mind...but sweating is real!!! No thank you!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Happiness is a fleeting thing...

I started the day a little tired...but not too bad, really, considering all that I accomplished yesterday! I walked around this morning and looked at all of my well loved collection...so happy that the Fall season is here and that the house is all ready (well...the inside, anyway!) happy to be living with these things I love day after day...and then, as I'm getting ready to walk out the door and head to work, my phone rings and my husband asks me where the insurance information, for the shop, is. NOT a good question!!! Happiness level....0!!! In that crazy wind, yesterday, one of the trees in the parking lot went down. Long story...don't have the energy to tell! It, actually, could have been a whole lot worse...no one hurt, VERY minimal damage...and very good thing it happened on a Monday when none of our cars were in the lot!!! I thought my Halloween collection was making me happy, this morning...it was THRILLING to come home to at the end of today!!! Tomorrow is a new day...thank God!!!

All Done.....

Halloween has arrived!!!! Our house is all decorated and ready to go!! I LOVE this time of year! I have a HUGE collection....I have been collecting for years. I love things that are vintage...and things that look vintage. I love things that are handmade...and things that look handmade....I love witches and pumpkin head people and candy corn and trick-or-treaters and scarecrows and crows...I could go on and on!! I also love my husband and daughter for bringing all 22 big plastic totes downstairs from the attic!!! It really is a big job...the whole thing...there is no better, easier way to get this done. It is the same process for every holiday. All of the totes come downstairs. I unload all of them. Unwrap each piece, take everything out of it's box etc. and just put it somewhere. When I get to the "florals"(for this holiday...leaves, bittersweet, sunflowers,garland in fall colors etc.) I put them all over the living room floor~~where I can see them~~they are the "base" for every display. Once all of the totes are empty, they go back in the attic...and the house looks like a hurricane hit it!! Now the key, here, is to not let that bother you...or you get bogged down by the "overwhelmed" feeling and the creativity stops. The next step is to decide which room or display will have which theme....because then you can put things in their respective "areas" and have SOME rhyme or reason...then have at it. I only took a half hour break (where I actually sat down...this can only be done after several hours of steady work, because it takes that long to find a seat...every surface is covered with stuff!!!!) and I was done by 6:00-ish!! A record for sure!! I am usually still at it at 8:00 at night!!! I forgot the camera at the shop...so no pictures yet...but I will bring it home with me tonight and take a bunch!! I can't wait to share everything with all of you...Have a great day, and I'll see you back here later!!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

L-O-N-G day!!!

So...when your day starts at 4:30 it is, officially, a LONG day!! I want to know if that means you can go to bed at 7:00 without being considered an old lady!!?? I don't do wedding cakes anymore. Period. However, if you order 7 different cakes, to be picked up at the same time, and they happen to be going to a wedding reception, and then eaten there...I think you've gotten around me!! Now, if they need to get picked up by 7:00 am...(so that I need to go into work at 4:30 in order for them to be ready at 7:00) by a very emotionally drained Mother of the bride...the reasons for the decision to no longer do this become crystal clear!! They were all ready, when promised...so, at least that part of her day went as planned!! I am sure it was a beautiful day, for everyone!! Sometimes we get so caught up in the "stuff" we forget all of the important parts of these wonderful celebrations...luckily, when we look back on the events, we manage to forget anything that didn't go exactly as planned!! (And, sometimes, those are the best parts!!) If we could only take things as they come and only worry about the big stuff...life would be a lot more fun!! Oh well...here's to the happy couple and to hoping that her parents had a great day, too!!! I....am going to bed!!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Happy Friday....

I am gearing up for my Halloween decorating marathon on Monday...I really want to switch it around so it's completely different from last year! I have had to look at my "blank canvas" all week (which I don't like...) and I am trying to get some visions in my head so that I can jump right in Monday morning!! I would love to skip the overwhelmed moments, this year, and just have the fun, creative moments...we'll see!! Yesterday was one crazy-busy day at Sweet Memories! I had a morning visit from my son and grandson...and then had to play catch up the rest of the day!! It might throw the schedule off...but, WOW....is it good for the soul!!! Schedules can be changed...but they are only little for a very little time!!! I ordered these Halloween bibs(...SO cute!!) and kept one for him...we chose to give him the one that says "little devil" because he does this little half smile that makes him look like he's up to something!!! It is the cutest thing!! We got some more of the gourmet food in yesterday, too...now we are stocked with the soups that everyone LOVES...and all of the cheeseball mixes (also a best seller...) are stocked, too! I am only waiting for one more food order...don't know what the hold-up is...but I am glad I changed the order last minute...I decided to order more general, hearty, Fall-like things and not order the Halloween-specific things...at this rate I won't get the order UNTIL Halloween...moral of the story...always go with your gut!!! I got a phone call at the end of the day, they are having the Retailers event at Byers' Choice on October 4...I don't know what goodies await...but all of you Byers' collectors...stay tuned!!! We make a day of it...all of us "ladies" (my husband is great about all of the duties involved in shop ownership...but, occasionally, is more than happy to let me go it alone!!) hop in the car and tour Bucks County...go into other shops, (and I try to buy things..help support the small business!!!) and whatever else strike our fancy, until it's time for our appointment at Byers'....always a fun Fall day!! I hope it's cool and crisp that day...it just adds to the fun! I'll be sure to blog about our adventures!! I am off to work...Happy Friday!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tea...and the first class....

Well, some of the gourmet foods came in...everyone has been, patiently, waiting for the tea..TA DA! I ordered Caramel Apple and Hot Apple Cider Tea along with a bunch of other new flavors...and, of course, all the old favorites too! Hopefully the rest come in today!! I would like to stop thinking about this!!! We had our "From the Farmer's Market" class last night. I wanted to do something different, this year. We are having the pumpkin and apple classes because, well, it wouldn't be Fall without them...but I wanted to change things up a little with the others. The challenge with this one was to make food that used the "harvest bounty" without screaming "Summer"! I think we did it! We made a corn chowder, tomato-basil tart, zucchini cakes, red pepper muffins, gingerbread with sauteed pears and a peach cobbler. I think everyone was VERY full when they left!! Any of these recipes would work for the upcoming holidays or other entertaining obligations this Fall and Winter. I knew when I narrowed it down to this collection that it was going to be a timing issue...everything needed to get done at once and took, approximately, the same amount of time to cook or bake...hopefully the jumping around from one recipe to another and back again wasn't too confusing!! I didn't mix any of them up, at any point, that's a good thing!!! Now my brain has to switch gears for the next one..."Busy Day Meals"...I already have a few things in mind...I'm just going to try not to have them all need my attention at once!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Still more on the way.....

Isn't this cool??? It would look great in a Halloween display, but could be kept out through Thanksgiving...everything this company makes is awesome...they grow all of their own gourds and make all of their products themselves and they are right here in Pennsylvania!!~~~~~ Well, I only received about 1/3 of the gourmet and specialty food orders that I was expecting...SO frustrating!!! We have our first cooking class of the Fall schedule tomorrow night, and there is a lot of preparation involved. I was hoping that everything would be in, priced and put away, today, so that I didn't have to deal with it tomorrow....however...like I said, only about 1/3 of what I am expecting came in...so, of course, the rest will show up tomorrow...that's how that works!!! It is all great stuff and I'm excited to fill the shelves for the "time to cook and bake season"...soups, breads, tea, dips, mustard, baking mixes, jams...all the very best, all yummy (I hate that word!!!) you guys really need to try some, if you haven't already!! This is going to have to be shorter than usual...I need to go and type the recipe sheets for the class...this first one is "From the Farmer's Market"...it is a great menu...all foods that you could use for any of the up-coming Holidays...all using fruits and vegetables from the Farmer's Market....FUN!!! I'll write tomorrow night all about the class...Have a great night!!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Challenge....

I have been talking (and planning and arranging and re-arranging and pricing and storing and...well, you get the picture..) for weeks, about the Fall and Halloween merchandise at the shop.Now...It's OUR turn!! Today is "pack away Summer" day! We used to do this all in one day (pack everything up...clean, clean, clean... bring all of the stuff down from the attic...decorate, decorate, decorate)...but, I decided, it was going to kill us!!! I have talked, before, about how big a deal the Holidays are in our house. That, certainly, refers to Christmas....but, also, to Halloween. I keep all of my "stuff" in big plastic totes..and we have close to 20! Yes, that's just the Halloween! We have that many for Christmas...and, probably, close to that number for my Winter, snow and snowmen that come out after Christmas. A few years ago, I said "enough"...this is a two-part job!!So, now, we take everything down, pack it all with great care, and get it back into the attic...then clean the whole house!! Then, the following week...the next Holiday comes out!  It has to wait until I am done at the shop...but still go up early enough so that we can enjoy it as long as possible!!! (It can be a scheduling issue!) So...today is dismantle and clean day....in preparation for next Monday...Decorate for Halloween Day!!! It, usually takes me an entire day to get my "displays" just right...I am, often, still at it at 8:00 at night...it's a big job...but one I look forward to ( except for that, inevitable, half hour of over-whelmed indecision that hits when I wonder why I do this....which, always, passes...and is followed by a spark of creativity, which inspires me to continue...) So...I'm off to pack, dust, vacuum, scrub and mop...followed by the lighting of candles (because they make everything cozy and smelling great...which helps me deal with the emptiness after all of my cherished Summer collectibles are packed away...) It will be an exhausting, but productive, "day off". I think, this year, with all of my facebook and blog followers...we might have to have a little friendly decoration competition...All of you self-proclaimed "Halloween Queens"~~~A picture speaks a thousand words...I'll show you mine....will you dare to show yours????

Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 11, 2001... we will never forget!!

I can't believe it has been 9 years. I asked everyone on facebook, this morning, "Where were you when you heard that a plane had hit the World Trade Center?" I had quite a few comments...and everyone said they remember it like it was yesterday! My husband and I had just started to fulfill a commitment that we took very seriously...we had taken on the responsibility of "watching" (more like partially raising ) my niece. We had only just started this "new adventure"...and were still trying to figure out how to do what was expected of us and still run a business (which, actually, turned out to be almost impossible...but we had made a commitment, and doing the right thing isn't always easy!!) The events of that day certainly had never been in the mix!! It was a little hard to believe, at first....what kind of a pilot runs into a building??? Then the second one hit and it was very clear that this was no accident. I wanted to close the shop, round up all 3 of my kids and take my 4 month old niece home where I could feel safe and feel like I was protecting them all. That was not to be how it played out, though. Some of my customers asked me to please stay open...our restaurant was where they felt safe. They knew they would have to deal with it all, eventually, but, just for a little while, they wanted to have things the way they were. I spent time on the phone with my son...who was keeping me informed of the latest twist as it happened. I made sure my daughters were safe and closed up as soon as my customers felt ready to leave. I remember what the sky looked like that day...I remember what was on the menu...I remember the customers who asked me to stay open...I remember my baby niece laying on the floor, smiling and happy...and I remember thinking what a HUGE responsibility we had taken on!!! I, also, remember watching everything on T.V. that night and crying my eyes out!! I hope the families of those, innocent, people we lost that day, take some comfort in knowing that we will NEVER forget!!! Let's Roll....

Friday, September 10, 2010

The first pumpkin.....

I am exhausted!! This was a long, crazy day...I baked and baked and baked...and you would never know it looking in the bakery case... it is full of empty plates!! Which makes me very happy!! If I did all of this work just to watch it get stale and then throw it all away...that would be awful!! The more empty plates there are the happier I am!! The more happy people we have walk out the door, either full, or with boxes full of goodies, the better!! You know what else makes me happy?? This is my first pumpkin purchase of the season!!! I walked into the grocery store this morning...and there it was!! So...now it's official!! It's Fall!!! I love pumpkins. I buy way more than I need to every year...(we always stop at a few farm stands) and I try to buy unusual ones. I always buy the traditional kind too...I love them all! I put them all over the front porch at home...up the steps...mixed with mums. It just makes me happy! I wanted to share my moment with you all...but, now, I'm going to bed...because I have to get up, bright and early and fill those empty plates!!! Sweet "pumpkin" dreams, blogland!!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The first Fall class....

Our first class of the Fall schedule is less than a week away!!! The first class is "Farmer's Market" recipes...using the bounty found at the farmer's market. I like to make these classes well rounded. I like to incorporate a lot of techniques and methods and give lots of opportunity for questions and discussions. You are given a recipe hand-out to follow  while I go through each recipe. The food is cooked (or baked) during the class and then, at the end, everyone gets to eat everything we made!! So, obviously, I don't want to make all salads, or main courses...I try to do a whole menu...salad, soup, sides, main courses and the all important dessert! I have had it in my head, for the last week or so, that I need to come up with desserts that use vegetables (because it's farmer's market)...but not the usual carrot cake or zucchini bread, something different, something unique.I have, really, been thinking about this a lot!!! Then, all of a sudden, last night...I realized that you can buy fruit at the farmer's market, too!!! I can make fruit desserts...duh!!! It pays to have an occasional, quiet moment...one where your mind can rest...so you can think clearly!!! I think I need some more of those...maybe a lot more of those!!! I don't have a problem with pressure (If I did we would not have made it to the end of our first year, let alone be in our 16th!!!) but I think a break now and then is a good idea!!! So...needless to say...I am now on a different path....and trying to narrow down the options for next week! Whatever I wind up teaching, it will be a fun class...they ALWAYS are....now, should I make chowder...roast the potatoes...we need some herbs in there somewhere...(so much for the break!!!)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Porch decorations....

All of the gourmet foods are on their way...I even ordered some other stuff while I was at it!! Very productive day all around! I baked so many pumpkin goodies, today, I'm pretty sure I'll see pumpkin in my dreams!! It is going to be cooler, tomorrow, that means the porch will be a comfortable place to eat, again...although it was a happening place, today, and I thought it was still on the warm side!! Pretty soon it will be time to decorate the porch and yard for Halloween. I don't like to do it too early...but the right time is quickly approaching!! We have some really cool ideas for this year...and my husband has, already, started a project!! We are trying to decide what to do up on the porch. I think we might go a little spookier than we have in the past...still in the planning stages, though!! Last year, we had two scarecrow ladies who were lunching!! I can't tell you how many people were startled to realize they were not alive!!! My youngest daughter (who is an amazing artist....) painted faces on clay pots...they looked like they could talk to you!!! We have a scarecrow "thing" in town, and we decided to make our own, last year(They are done by non-profit groups...) My nieces and sister-in-law worked on them for a couple of hours...they were AWESOME!!! We didn't win...which is what it is...but the picture isn't even on the website!! I decided to decline this year!! I am not a fan of small town politics to begin with, but when it spills over into my Fall celebrations...you've crossed the line!!! No one messes with Fall!!! So, now, we are free to be as creative as we want...and no one has to carry those very heavy ladies inside every night and back outside every morning...it's going to be a great Halloween!!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

To Market...

I think I have all of my gourmet food orders ready to go...I will try to call them in tomorrow! I really need to re-stock the "Market". I love this part of the store...I am a "foodie" (well I'd better be or I am in the wrong business!!!) so the gourmet foods intrigue me! Mustards, grille sauces, jams, dips...I find these things to be endlessly fascinating!! The possibilities when you have them on your pantry shelf!!! No excuse for boring meals!!! However, I am equally excited by the sight of FULL shelves...it's that nesting thing I talked about before!! Having jar after jar of wonderful goodies waiting in your pantry for that first shot of inclement winter weather...now THAT'S comfort food!! A well stocked pantry means you won't go hungry no matter how bad the weather gets...just add that absolutely necessary bread and milk and you have the makings of days worth of feasting!! All of your summer bounty canned and stored waiting to be enjoyed!! Of course we all know that the days of getting house bound are long gone...with snowplows on every truck and 4 wheel drive abundant...we are not, actually, going to need to live off of the bounty of our harvest (which, this year, is a good thing!!!!!) I  recommend that you treat yourself to something "gourmet" out of our market...we only carry the top of the line...and it makes a great gift, too (everybody eats!!)  Try some blueberry jam or a soup mix...maybe a sweet or savory cheeseball...how about a new kind of tea?? Who cares that this years garden was a disappointment...you can still eat "good"!!!

Goodbye Summer...

I hope everyone had a fun and relaxing last (unofficial) day of summer!! You all know how I feel about this summer...so I say good riddance...We went to my niece's house in the Poconos. When you sit on her back deck you can see the ski trails, way off in the distance, at Blue Mountain. They just look like dirt roads in the off season...I said it won't be too long and they will be snow covered, again! (I got a bunch of groans...I'm looking forward to it, myself!!) It was picture perfect weather...it even started to get cool in the evening...and the food and company were wonderful...Goodbye Summer...(don't let the door hit you on the way out!!!) Anyway...today is back to business as usual. We did spend some time at the store, yesterday. My husband took care of a little maintenance work and I DID re-do those displays...it is so hard to do this stuff  when we are open, and I like things to look amazing....not a mess!! Now, today, in addition to my usual...I need to write up all of the gourmet food orders so I can place them and re-stock the "market" for Fall...I've been trying to get to it forever..and it is necessary!!! It, and the candy "shop" have turned into very popular places...I'm thrilled!!! I would love to expand both of those areas one of these days. We'll see...in the meantime, I just need to keep them stocked!! I moved the merchandise in this picture downstairs with the candy and food (yesterday's project..) believe it or not, there are still some people that don't realize we have an amazing, wonderful gift shop, upstairs (there are people that think we live up there, too...another blog, another time!!) I feel sorry for those people...they are missing a great experience...so I brought some of the "magic" downstairs...(you still need to go upstairs to get the full effect...) I am off to work to get started on my to-do list...Have a great "Fall" day!!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Relax...or try anyway...

This was one insane weekend!!! We decided not to serve Sunday Supper, tonight, because the front porch needs a coat of oil. It has been front and center on the to-do list since April...but it either rains or is so unbelievably hot...we just couldn't seem to get it done. So my husband is doing it as we speak...and supper was sacrificed for the cause! There have been so few "perfect" weather opportunities of late...we just had to take this one!! I feel better that it's getting done...it really needed it (and that new porch was expensive...but sure didn't look it!!!) This was one of those weekends (as any holiday weekend usually is...) where we seemed to have 100 things going all at once!! The restaurant was very busy, so was the gift shop...I had a ton of orders, a bridal shower on Saturday, tried to keep one step ahead of the bakery case and keep it full and we catered an off-premise party for 90 people!! I would say this was, in fact, LABOR Day weekend!!! I was thinking, today, about Labor Day celebrations from my youth...and I really don't remember doing anything specific. That is, actually, strange because my Grandmother was a holiday fanatic...all of them!! The only thing I can remember about this holiday is trying to squeeze that last little bit of summer in before school started...and always swimming...no matter what the temperature was!! We are going to a picnic at my niece's house...she always hosts Labor Day. My sister-in-law "does" Memorial Day and my other niece "does" The Fourth of July...we "do" Christmas morning breakfast for the whole family...so I guess we are next!!! I hope everyone has a great picnic to go to (ours is in the Poconos...almost a guarantee the weather will be cooler...and this year will be no exception...70's!!!) and has a safe and Happy Labor Day...I will, because my "laboring" is over (well, until Tuesday!!) I am going to RELAX...although, I WAS thinking about re-arranging this one display at the shop...(it's a sickness!!)

Slacking...

Sorry I've been slacking!!! This has been one crazy weekend! I'll be back later tonight to write....gotta go, the craziness continues!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Daydreams and forks....

 
Did you ever daydream about grabbing a fork and tasting your way through a whole table full of desserts??? I have done that! Four years ago I was asked to be a culinary judge at the Allentown fair. I did it, alone, the first year...then, after hearing the trials of getting judges to participate every year...I volunteered my oldest daughter to help out (she has her culinary degree...) she and I did the last two years, together. We received our information for this year, but could not fit it into our schedules...so we had to decline.  One of our local radio DJ's is a friend of mine...she IS judging this year!!! I talked to her, today, and gave her some tips...because it isn't anything like your daydream!!!! First of all...there is a select group of participants that take this very seriously...as well they should, because if it is "sponsored" (think the Pillsbury bake off cookbooks...) this is just the first step. If you win, you go on to compete at the next level...and if you win the whole thing, there is some serious cash at stake!! It is in the food "rulebook" that presentation is everything...for good reason! When it comes to food...we see first, then smell, then taste. Some of the contestants really go all out with their presentations! (and I must say...the ones that LOOK the best, usually get the highest scores!) As I'm sure you can imagine...not all the entries are amazing...but, no matter what, I am sure that everyone gives it their all!! They are ALL watching you taste their creations, too...a responsibility not to be taken lightly! The very last thing you would want to do is hurt someone feelings...so, no matter what you are thinking when that fork hits your mouth...you can't show it!!! Not everyone has the same palate, either...there have been some lively discussions, among the judges, about different entries...One person's hit is another person's miss!!Then there is the fact that there could be 40 or 50 entries...that's a lot of dessert!!! They split the desserts (and the judges) so that you don't have to try them all...but 20 or 25 is still a lot!!! Then you have to go back and taste the "narrowed down" group! We are usually racing to get there after working all day, and don't have time to eat...then all of that dessert....oh my! It is supposed to be fun...but it's not easy!!! So the next time you think you'd like to grab a fork...come in to Sweet Memories and order ONE dessert....you'll be MUCH happier in the end....Trust me!!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Happy September...

Today was the opposite of yesterday!!! We had some wonderful people...some who have been coming in forever...some we see all the time...some we haven't seen in a little while!! Everyone seemed to know everyone else, and if they didn't...they talked to one another like they did!! There was a lot of joking and laughing and storytelling (even from my health inspector!!) what a difference a day makes!!! Thank goodness!! New month, new day, new attitude! Don't misunderstand...it was just as crazy busy...just different!! We got some more new merchandise in...all of the Gooseberry Patch autumn cookbooks are now in stock! We got a little more Halloween...beautiful Fall dishtowels and dishcloths...and then, to round it all off...we got some Valentine's Day...yes, you read that correctly!!! It's OK...it's all under control!! I had another really nice compliment about the gift shop, today...(I think I'm giving the impression that I don't get many...that is not true...it's just that some of them strike me a certain way...) I was asked to never consider closing it...which I thought was really sweet. Lots of people tell me how much they enjoy shopping, upstairs, which I really appreciate! There is a lot of my heart and soul in that shop...but this comment just struck me...what a nice thing to say!! I am batting 1000!! So come on up the garden path and join in the family (and fun...) because we are going to do it all again, tomorrow!!! Happy September, everybody!!!