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Monday, December 26, 2011

Enjoying Christmas......

December 26th.....it's all over. Weeks....if not months....of planning, shopping, decorating, wrapping, cleaning, baking, cooking....anticipating....over for another year. It's hard to believe....and, at least for me, harder to accept. I already gave my opinion of the "rushing" of the season....now I am going to give my opinion of the "rushing" of the end of the season. I think the next few days are the BEST part of Christmas. This is the time when we can sit down.....yes, actually SIT DOWN for a few minutes.... and enjoy all of our hard work. This is the time when you can enjoy those Christmas movies, specials and music that have only been the backround noise for all of the things you had to get done. This is the time when you can set aside an evening and drive around and enjoy all of the Christmas lights in the neighborhood. This is the time when you can sit and enjoy your Christmas tree and all of the decorations in your own home....and when you can enjoy the company of the people who matter to you. The pressure is OFF.....the work is done. But, for some reason, everyone is ready to take it all away?!?!? Give yourself a gift this year....and take some time to ENJOY Christmas.....and do it now!!! Before you know it....it will be time to do it all again.... I hope this Christmas was all you had hoped for....and continues to be until this time next week.....I think January 2nd is a good time to call it "over".....and that would give you a whole week to treat yourself.....Merry Christmas and ENJOY!!!   :):):)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Light Bulb Moments......

I have had a "light bulb" moment. Actually....I have had several, consecutive, light bulb moments. It happens. I have something that I am trying to figure out....sometimes it's about a menu....sometimes it's about merchandise.....sometimes it's about something else entirely....but this time the "light bulbs" were going off and on about me. A sort of self discovery. But, last night, the whole strand came on and I realized something. Let me explain.....the last month plus has been very, very busy at the shop....OK....that's not the light bulb. We have been extremely busy in the gift shop....which is AWESOME!!! I love to see people coming downstairs with bags....and smiles....excited about their purchases....some of which are gifts and some of which are treats for themselves. I am the one who decides which merchandise we are going to carry....so every time another bag comes down it's like you all are telling me that I made a good choice!! Then, I go upstairs and check on everything....and I feel.....I don't know....concerned??? (I am getting to the light bulbs....) My family says that I am a strange retailer....I don't seem to want my displays to "sell"....but I knew that wasn't it....because, obviously, I want the merchandise to sell.....we are in business, after all, and the only way for that to continue is for the merchandise to go to happy customers....I figured it was just a strange, unexplained part of my personality....I would deal with it. Then, last night, we went to do a little Christmas "shopping" (more like a little Christmas "break" for us....) and....we went to a very quaint town with a bunch of little shops....now, I realize that Christmas is only a few days away....but.....Christmas is a few days AWAY.....it's not here yet. We are all, still, full of the excitement and anticipation....all of our hard work and planning hasn't come to fruition yet. The shops all looked "picked over"....they all looked "after Christmas SAD".....and then the light bulbs came on....all of them!!! I am not sorry to see my displays sell....I am not, at all, saddened to see my merchandise go to happy homes....I am CONCERNED that you all continue to have a wonderful, magical, delightful experience when you come and visit us....especially before a Holiday even gets here!!!! I just want to make sure it looks good, and full, and enticing.....even after bags and bags have gone out the door!!! Light bulbs!!!!!! We move things around all the time....to make all of the empty spaces look good again.....we consolidate and rearrange...and "front" things....because I don't EVER want you to leave our store feeling disappointed. Light bulbs!!!! I am NOT a strange retailer....I am a dedicated retailer....(Whew.....that makes me feel better!!!) And....in these last few days before Christmas....I want you to know how much we appreciate all of you...and I want you to know that if you come in and see us.....you will not be disappointed....we are working, very hard, to keep the MAGIC alive and well!!! And, just to let you know, the Christmas lights and music will NOT stop until after the 1st of the year.....it is Christmas until that ball drops....at least at Sweet Memories!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The last class of 2011.....

The last gingerbread class of 2011......once again, the creativity was flowing!!! I can't believe they are all done for another year....it's all gone by so quickly!!! Lots of "new" people, this year....and, hopefully, lots of fun was had by all!!! GREAT JOB EVERYONE :):):)
             ....And, Happy Birthday Ella!!!!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

An Old-fashioned Christmas....

"You will be visited by three ghosts......"

       This is a great story. It doesn't matter which version you like....it's a great story. And one that is still very appropriate.... perhaps even more so....today. There is just SO much negativity in the world....so much stuff that we all have to deal with day in and day out....I wonder what kind of a difference it would make if we were ALL visited by those three ghosts. This time of year the phrase "old-fashioned" Christmas is really tossed around....mostly as a marketing tool. We all want that old-fashioned feeling....to go back to when things were "better" and more simple....but what does that mean?? Would you like to light your tree with real candles....and have that bucket of water near by....have your kids think that an orange in their stocking was the most amazing treat...ever....or are you thinking less literally??? I think that "old-fashioned" Christmas is more attainable than you realize. The first thing you need to do is stop striving for perfection (and beating ourselves up when we don't reach it...) then we need to enjoy the journey.....not just the destination. But, I think, the most important component to a happy "old-fashioned" Christmas is treating others with kindness and respect. There are things that you can do to make someone else happy....some of those things are little...some take more effort....but, in the end, you will be happier, too. We do everything we can, at the shop, to help as much as possible. This past weekend we hosted the Hospice volunteers. They have their "thank you" Christmas breakfast with us. I, also, donated a cookie tray to one of the local churches for their dinner. We have been selling our angel cookies for the EHS Angel Network....and raised an amount that I am happy to donate. I don't think that old-fashioned feeling is something you can wait around for and receive only if you're lucky.....I think it's something that you can create....every single day of the year....

             "I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year." ~~~~~
                                      Now that sounds like the beginning of a real old-fashioned Christmas!!!

   

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Gingerbread House class #2......

And the creativity continues......two classes down....one to go!!!  So much candy....so little time!!! Once again, a great job by all!!!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

How important are your favorite small businesses???

Good Morning....I hope this weekend after Thanksgiving finds all of you well and happy....and that you have lots of leftovers in your refrigerator!!!! We had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day...all of my kids, their significant others and my Grandson were here with us, the weather was beautiful and dinner went off without a hitch. And now.....here we are, officially Christmas time. Yesterday was, of course, Black Friday.....and today is the second year for "Small Business Saturday". The concept of this is to shop in your favorite small, independent retail stores to keep their businesses strong and keep them around. I think that's a great idea....but I think it's one that you need to implement more than once a year. Actually naming it and picking a day for it will help to make more people aware of the idea....and that's a good thing. How important are YOUR favorite small businesses to you?? I have talked about this before....I try to support all of the small businesses that I love. We go to them, and spend some money, whenever we can.....even though I can get the same merchandise....it's just good business. I want to encourage you to go out there, today....find those places that you love.....spend some time appreciating all of their hard work....tell them how much they mean to you (they could, probably, use that as much as the money in the cash register....it is the Holiday season, after all, and that brings out all of the Scrooges, too....but we won't go there!!!) treat their merchandise,employees and fellow customers with respect and get some of your Christmas shopping done. You will wind up with some great gifts and will go to sleep, tonight, knowing that you did your part.....and I am willing to bet that there will be NO taser guns, pepper spray or ambulances involved....and, after all, that's what Christmas is REALLY all about.....just saying!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Tis the season to start baking.....



It's Baking Season....are you ready???? We have everything you need....including these amazing paper baking pans!!! Do you give baked treats for gifts??? Bake, Wrap and Give in these pans....super easy AND super CUTE!!!!! Fa Lalalalalalalala.........We are all about those SWEET MEMORIES!!!!   :):):)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gingerbread House class #1.....

Gingerbread House Class #1......
           Once again....great job by all!!! It's amazing just how much fun you can have with a table full of candy, a pastry bag full of icing and a blank "canvas" of a house!! 'Tis the season to be jolly....let the festivities begin!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

We need a little Christmas.....

OK....I am ready. I mean me, personally.....I am ready. There is a constant complaining, this time of year, that Christmas comes too early. Whatever. I just don't agree. There are some parts of the Christmas experience that seem to be ahead of schedule....I don't think Santa needed to show up at the Mall just yet....it kind of cuts down the whole excitement/mystery thing a bit....but I am ready for the festivities and preparation to begin. Have I started to make Christmas cookies....no....too soon. Have I started to listen to the Christmas music....YES!!!! Did we put up our tree....no...."Santa" does that on Christmas Eve...(well, we do it, now.....the kids are grown...) Did we start to decorate the house....yes. Are all of the gifts wrapped and ready....no....am I watching Christmas movies every chance I get....yes!!!! To be really honest with you....I think we NEED a little Christmas....right this very minute....candles in the windows and carols at the Spinnet....All of us are stressed, work too many hours, try to divide ourselves into 100+, we are all worrying about something....or lots of somethings....what is SO wrong with Christmas showing up a little early??? There is so much magic in this season....the lights, the decorations, the music.... Watch a little one when they watch Santa Claus is coming to town....what stress?? Put some cookies in the oven....I'll bet you forget about work for awhile....and instead of dividing yourself into 100+....give of yourself. It changes everything. And...when you step back....and see your home all lit up for the Holidays....the worry sort of takes a back seat. I say....bring it on....because we need a little Christmas NOW!!!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Saying Goodbye to Halloween.....

Well....I spent the day saying "goodbye for now....see you next year" to all of my beloved Fall and Halloween collections. It took me the better part of the day and I am exhausted.....but I know that all of my things are safe and sound and I look forward to seeing them again next year!!! It really did seem to go VERY quickly....but then, it always does!! It takes me a whole day....literally...to unpack and decorate for Halloween. We do it early....the very beginning of September....so that we have more time to enjoy it. It still seems like we just did it, though....and it is hard to believe that it's all put away already!!! Next Monday.....It's time for Christmas.....


A few years ago I took a poll in the family and asked if anyone would object to Santa Claus spending Thanksgiving with us....they all said "no"....so he does!! Unpacking and decorating for Christmas is just as big....maybe even a little bigger....project than Halloween....and during November and December there is SO much going on at the shop....we just don't have a lot of time to spend at home. Our Collections for Christmas mean so much to us....we want to get to enjoy them as much as possible....so this works for us. I realize that the "retail world" has rushed Christmas so much that most people resent it "showing up" before Thanksgiving....but, in our house, it shows up for all of the right reasons. We love the Holidays....and want to enjoy them....no other agenda....just the memories and family time connected to each piece and ornament. There is such a thrill when we come home and turn all of our lights on and have the opportunity to look at, remember and enjoy each special piece....it would just be a shame if that only lasted a few weeks. So....by all means.....put out your turkeys, pilgrims and Fall leaves.....just don't judge me because I invited Santa for Thanksgiving!!!! It's really all about the Family time and being happy, after all.....and it just doesn't get any happier than Christmas!!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Making a List....and checking it way more than twice.....

He's making a list, and checking it twice....this time of year....I make lists, too. The transition from Halloween and Fall to Christmas and Winter is a big one. It is all consuming....it wakes me up at night and makes me feel like I am spinning around just a little too quickly. So I make lists. It keeps my thoughts straight and reminds me of my ideas. When you read this you are, probably, thinking...."oh, this must be stressful..." but the truth of the matter is....I enjoy it!! I love to order all of the merchandise that will help to make your Fall and Winter Holidays the best ever....and I love to plan and organize....and, most of all.....I love to decorate!! I love to live in the moment of, and enjoy, each Holiday....but I, also, love to think about the next one...(I have already put in a whole bunch of my EASTER and GARDEN orders!!!) I believe that we need to celebrate everything that is worth celebrating....Major Holidays certainly....but Birthdays, Anniversaries, achievements and accomplishments ....and maybe even just "a nice day" here and there....I believe that SO strongly that I have made it my business....literally. We are a part of all of your celebrations....the big and the small....and I take that responsibility very seriously. I am very lucky to be able to do what I do, day in and day out, and call it my job. Is it a lot of hard work....oh yeah....but I wouldn't trade it for anything!!! So....I am off to work....I have another order to place, a lot of baking to do, some more thoughts about the upcoming changes in the gift shop, some merchandise that I want to rearrange....a few more menus that need my attention....where did I put that list???? :):):) Have a great day!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Living in the moment.....sort of!!!

OK....So, Monday, I was really sad and disappointed. We had a particularly unsavory event happen in our family.....and it was a bit of an emotional drain. So we decided to spend a little "me" time in a neighboring, historic town. It was a beautiful Fall day (and we haven't had too many of those...) and we thought we would enjoy the afternoon and take a break from all that had happened Monday morning. Now.....I am an avid collector of Halloween....and I am ALSO a retailer....which means I have access to everything that is on the market....however, I believe that it is very important to support small businesses....so I try to buy things from other retailers whenever I can....well....not on Monday!!! Fall and Halloween were practically non-existent....it seems that everyone has moved on....to Christmas....and we haven't even gotten to Halloween yet!! I know that we are all used to this in the big box stores.....they are all trying to get your money before the next guy does.....but, us small independents are supposed to be above that!!! We are the antithesis of the big box stores.....unique selection of merchandise, better quality, terrific customer relations....and the over all feeling of having the customers best interest at heart!! Well....I wanted to see Fall and Halloween!!!! I don't feel that my interests were taken into consideration at all!!! We went home...not only in a "funk" from the mornings events.....but, perhaps more so....because of the afternoon's events!!! We discussed....all the way home....how very wrong it all was....and I renewed my vow to live in the moment and enjoy what was left of October....and I swore I was NOT going to rush....and ruin.... the Christmas season just for monetary gain...... Guess who woke up at 3 o'clock this morning and couldn't get back to sleep.....because they were thinking about how they were going to set up the gift shop for CHRISTMAS!!!!! Hey....I'm still not going to DO anything until AFTER Halloween.....but I have to be organized.....or the big box mentality will squish me like a grape....or should I say sugarplum?????? Have a great night!!  :):):)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The circle of life......

A little wishful thinking.....

Our pool guys came and closed the pool, yesterday.....I am a little depressed. I LOVE when they come out and open it....HATE when they come out and close it. If it is going to be closed....and I have to look at that, less than attractive, cover for the next 6 months.....I would, at least, like a scene like this to look at instead!!! We drove down into Bucks County on Monday and were noticing the Fall color....or lack of it to be more accurate. I hope all of the horrible weather we have been experiencing doesn't carry over and ruin the Fall like it did a big chunk of the Summer!!! Isn't it funny....we spend the whole Winter waiting and hoping for the Spring.....we can't wait for the first glimpses of green to appear on the trees. It's so exciting when everything is new and green. Then the trees burst into full leaf.....and not a moment too soon.....because the heat comes and makes us so grateful for the shade!!! Then....just when we can't take anymore heat and humidity....a breath of fresh Fall air swoops in and makes us all so excited to see the color on the trees. Some of us even schedule our vacations around going and finding the places with the most beautiful color!!! We drive around....admiring the landscape. We go for walks and pick up the prettiest leaves to take home with us....and then....all of a sudden....we realize that they are falling off of the trees....and onto our grass.....and we have to RAKE them all up and get rid of them!!!! Stupid leaves!!!! Hahahahahaha........ahhh.....the circle of life!!!!! Regardless.....I still hope we have a half decent show.....before the raking starts!!!!! :):):)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Lessons learned.......

Happy October.....well, better late than never :) !!! I am not going to make any excuses....my life has been a little crazy....and my blogging duties have suffered. I promise I will try to get back on track....One of the things that occupied SO much of my time was the event we held this past Saturday on the grounds (and inside...) of the 1803 House. It was a whole year in the making. A whole year of planning and decision making, networking, more planning.....even some favor asking.....and work. It was worth it in the end, though, because it was a great success. The first year of an event like this one is always hard....and this was no exception. Among other things....getting everyone to "see" your vision is quite a challenge. But, in the end, I think we got there. Don't get me wrong....there were lessons to be learned. For example....this is our table(Sweet Memories goodies....)..BEFORE the masses came. I could have, easily, doubled my inventory. We sold out....now I know.~~ We needed more signs, more announcements, more beverage choices....and, probably, could have done without the expense of the port-a-pot. But now we have one year under our belts....one year of experiences....good and bad (mostly good!! :) and one year of lessons learned. We had a great group of craft artists, a wonderful food vendor, lots of really wonderful donations, terrific volunteers, a VERY successful apple pie contest, an amazing "farm stand" full of vegetables and Fall goodies and a TON of enthusiastic visitors/shoppers who really enjoyed themselves. I want to send a heartfelt "thank you" to everyone who helped and attended.....and a thank you to all of the small business owners, in town, who posted our flyer and got behind this event.....you guys KNOW who you are.....and so do I ....enough said!!!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Let's catch up!!.......

It has been too long....and I want to apologize!! I didn't mean to fall behind on my blogging....but life just took too much of my time!! But I think the gardening season is, officially, over....not because we have had any frost....but because it has just rained and rained and rained....and EVERYTHING is just water soaked....including me!!! I don't even want to be outside....not only because everything looks SO SAD...but because we have been dealing with July-like humidity for what seems like weeks....and, frankly, it's gross!!! So...the point I am making....I should be able to get back on track with my blog!!~~ So...let's catch up!!! We are all ready for Halloween....both at the shop and at home!! This Saturday is our first annual "1803 House: A Very Merrie Halloween" event.....I cannot believe how quickly time flew and that it's here already!!! We are all excited and looking forward to it...and dealing with all of those last minute things, too.....but I am sure it's gonna be GREAT!!!! Last night was the first class in our Fall schedule....I can't believe how quickly THAT went, either!!! It seems like I just wrote that school was out for Summer!!!! The class was the biggest one yet....and we did pumpkins and apples. It was a lot of fun!! We made pumpkin lasagna, pumpkin biscuits, a creamy apple salad, apple cake with butterscotch sauce, pumpkin gingerbread trifle and hot caramel apple cider. I think everyone was FULL when the class was over :) the next one is Halloween Treats.....and I already know what we are making....that's a HUGE accomplishment for me!! (Especially with all the rest of what I've got going on!!!) I have been slacking on the picture taking as well as the blogging....but I am going to try to get caught up on that, too. I am going to get lots of pictures of this event on Saturday....and I will get some of all of the Halloween decorations that we have been working on....both at the shop and at home. I want to take one of the front porch here at home....we lit it up this year!!! Grapevine, bittersweet and corn stalks....and orange lights!!! It looks so cool!!! I will get back on track...I promise!!! But, for now......I think we are all caught up!!! You guys have a great night....and, if you are locals....be sure to stop in and see us soon.....especially if you love Halloween. We have the BEST stuff EVER!! And be sure to come and check out our event on Saturday....we will be the ones selling the Witches Fingers.....cookies!!! Hahahaha.....what did you think I meant??????  :):):)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Where is September going.....

I think September is passing us at an alarming rate!! Next week is a crazy busy one for me!! I always say....once I put the Fall and Halloween merchandise out in our gift shops....we are on a roller coaster that will not slow down until January....what can I say?? WEEEEEEE........All of the special events that I have been planning for months....are upon me!!! I have so many ideas and recipes rolling around in my head....it's a little scary!! We have our classes....which start next week...and then the 1803 House Halloween event (I am making desserts that will be for sale...) our Halloween, "Harry Potter", Tea is coming up....all kinds of ideas for that, then we cater the Candlelight Dinner at the 1803 House in November ( if you haven't purchased your raffle tickets for that event yet....you should!!!)....yup....it's that slightly dizzy roller coaster feeling!! I have started to make lists.....nothing new....I make lists for everything!! Should I do that recipe for the Pumpkin and Apple Class....or save it for the Halloween Treats Class....that would be perfect for the Harry Potter Tea...oh, but that would make a great entree for the Candlelight Dinner....I have to make sure to bake some of those for the Very Merrie Halloween.....Yes...September is passing us at an alarming rate.....before you know it....it will be Gingerbread House Class time.....and then I will have to make some more lists!!! We have to get the tree, I want some greens for the porch, I have to find that truck for my Grandson....when am I going to make cookies for here at home....anyone want to join me on this ride???? It's fast....but it's FUN!!!!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Vision realized......

You know what they say....if the shoe fits!!! Hahaha..

Are you all ready for some Halloween??? I sure hope so!! Not only does Sweet Memories have some of the BEST Fall and Halloween merchandise EVER....but I am helping to put the finishing touches on the BEST "special event" this area has ever seen!! In less than two weeks we will be experiencing the "1803 House: A Very Merrie Halloween".... the first annual and first of it's kind in this area!!! I am really getting excited...we have wonderful craft artists, storytellers, great food....apples, pumpkins, mums....basically everything you could want in a fantastic Fall Festival all rolled up into one great time!! This has been a lot of work and planning....but it's been worth it. The first time you take on something like this...it's a challenge. You find yourself trying to explain an event...that has never taken place (unless you count inside of your head...) and describe what you WANT it to be like. Sometimes it can be tough to get people to join you (in the case of the craft artists...) and have them put a ton of their time and energy into a project that has yet to be "proven"....but, somewhere along the way, there is a turning point....a moment when you realize that you have found an excellent group of people with amazing vision who believe in YOUR vision and are willing to invest their time, energy and talent to produce something that is heads and shoulders above the rest. That moment has, actually, come more than once the last few months!! I want to thank....in advance....all of the great people who are going to make Saturday October 1st awesome!!! I am really hoping that you will be able to count yourselves among them....enter an apple pie in our contest, enter a decorated pumpkin in that contest....get your tickets for the pork dinner and shop, Shop, SHOP!!! Just remember....while you are having an AMAZING time....all of the proceeds go to the 1803 House.....listen to the storytellers, vote for your favorite pumpkin, check out all of our amazing craft artists....and help the House.....does it get any better???
           If you guys have any questions about this event....please don't hesitate to call the shop!!!  :):):)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Yeah Fall.......

I think Fall has arrived....this morning was warm and humid....and now it is windy and cool!! Just like that. It's hard to believe that we are half way through this month already!! The inside of our house is all decorated....all I have to do is decorate the outside. It's, actually, a little easier said than done. I cannot....under any circumstances....KILL any of my flowers. I would like to fill our front porch with mums and pumpkins...but I will need to find another home for the buckets of flowers that I have there, now, first....because I can't pull flowers out of the buckets and replace them....especially when they are looking so good!!! I know this is illogical....but I am a gardener through and through. We had to run an errand after work....so we found ourselves on a few back, country roads. There were quite a few front yards and porches all done up for the Fall and Halloween....I think a lot of us are ready for the season to change. Let's face it....it wasn't the nicest Summer we've ever had....even if you are a Summer person. We are, now, more than 20 inches OVER our "normal" rainfall for the year....20...that's crazy!!! There were many times....on our drive....when I had a good view of the mountains....there is the tiniest hint of a color change....just a hint!! I hope Mother Nature puts on a great show for us in the coming weeks....it might help to make up for all of her "dirty deeds" the last few weeks!!! For everyone mourning the passing of Summer....sorry....but for all of my fellow Fall lovers.......I think a little hot cider, some soup simmering on the stove...a little apple pie...PARTY!!!!  :):):)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Bring on Fall....

So....I thought that this picture sort of summed up September....a little Fall...a little Summer! It has been very interesting to listen to people talk this past week. Half of the population is beyond ready for the seasons to change, already....and the other half is depressed because Summer is over. I have to say I am with the first half!!! Especially after the weather we have been experiencing around here!! After that cursed Irene went through, and we survived, I thought....well, it can't possibly hit twice in the exact same area....so, at least we are in the clear. WRONG!!! So....ever the optimist....I am going to think...well, it can't possibly hit THREE times in the exact same area!!!! Let's hope that's true....because I don't think we can handle any more rain!!! Remember a few weeks ago, I asked you all to do a rain dance??? Well....can we throw that sucker in reverse and do a "enough rain already....please stop now" dance??? I am not sure how anyone who lived through the Summer of 2011 can possibly say they are not ready for it to be over....I am going to assume that what they actually mean is....they wish the ideal image of a perfect Summer that they have in their heads wouldn't be over....but, let's be realistic....that ISN'T what we had....so I am more than willing to wave a fond farewell....and hope that it's better next year!!!! I say.....bring on FALL!!!!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Life is Good.....

I hope this blog post finds you and yours safe and, if you were in the path of Irene.... well on the road to recovery. It was an experience I hope none of us have to go through again. In the scope of things....it could have been worse...for us, anyway. Tuesday morning...we were trying to juggle the things we were still concerned with, here at home....(dirty pool and the sump-pump being the top 2....) and trying to regain some normalcy at the shop. My son and Grandson came for a visit....and, all of a sudden, you realize what is REALLY important. All he knows is that it was raining....and that meant he couldn't go outside. Other than that.....life is, pretty much, the same. He wants to go outside and play baseball with PopPop....watch the "big trucks" go by on the road....color with his crayons (which he can identify by color...and he is only 18 months old) and tell you that he is an artist. He, also, wants to "fist bump"....another new trick!!! After they went home, I spent the rest of the afternoon realizing how lucky we were....Some of my friends were still without power, many many people lost property....we just had to clean ours up...and some even lost people they love. The sun was shining....the air had a feeling of Fall and we have this face!!!! Life is Good. Have a great night!!!   :):):)

Monday, August 29, 2011

One AWFUL week.....

Well....we survived. The week started with an earthquake and ended with a hurricane...I am elated to see the backside of it. I learned a few things, this week. There are people in this world who are able to cope with stress....and there are people who are not. There are people who take things as they come and try to deal with whatever life throws at them....and there are people who freak out when "disasters" happen. There are people who listen and heed warnings....and people who do not...and people who take everything WAY too literally! I am a responsible person....I always have been. I take all of my responsibilities very seriously....and, on more than one occasion, I have been put in a situation where I need to take other peoples responsibilities seriously, too. It's the fate of people like me....we are asked to do things that are not, and should not, be our problem. I have been dealing with that, almost, all of my life. I am used to it. I must say, however, recently I have been tested in all kinds of new ways. When my shop is full of people....my responsibilities are to keep them cool (or warm) fed and safe. Usually the "safe" part means nothing on the floor to trip anyone, no wet floors to slip on, no snow or ice on the sidewalks....you know, the usual stuff. However....in the relatively recent past....I have been, unwillingly, handed the responsibility of keeping a building full of people safe during tornado watches, snowstorms, bank robberies and now we can add earthquakes and hurricanes to the list. I am pretty good at handling whatever life throws my way....but, I think enough is enough. Is it asking too much to have some nice, peaceful days....the kind when my biggest concern is what kind of cookies to bake and what kind of cakes to put in the case??? I think not. I would like to bid a fond farewell to the month of August....and state, for the record, that I hope September is better. No more floods, power outages, high winds, earthquakes or tornado warnings....right now...I just want to look forward to my Halloween Candy arriving.......

Monday, August 22, 2011

Shhhhhh.....here it is....

SURPRISE!!!! I would like to introduce you to our new sign!! We started this process a long time ago....had several people come out and give us an estimate....you know, all the things that you have to do to get a new sign!! We decided to go with this company...I liked his work and he listened to me! Even though we were, simply, replacing the old U-G-L-Y lamp-post that was there, and recreating the signature "cupcake"....we went to the borough....like good little business owners...assuming that they would "get us" for the cost of a permit. Oh No...we had to go in front of the zoning board and get permission to have a sign...which we ALREADY have....that is, approximately, the same size and in the same place as the one we have had for 16 years. And, the zoning board only meets once a month....at the end of the month....and this was just AFTER the meeting for June...so we had to wait for the July meeting. Are you getting the gist of my frustration?? And, of course, all of this wasted time doesn't figure into the time it's going to take to MAKE the sign....and we don't want to do all of that work only to find out that we will, in fact, be the ONE business who has their request rejected. I am not even going to get into the $$$$$$ of this ridiculousness...because that just makes my blood pressure go through the roof!!! I understood the need for the permit (which was an additional fee, by the way!!!) but the rest of this was a joke!!! Well....here we are....MONTHS later.....and we have our sign!!! After 16 years of dealing with the lamp-post thing, people "hanging" on it (yes, you read that correctly....who could possibly be SO childish as to hang on a businesses sign???? That, my friends, will remain one of life's great mysteries!!!) the wind "spinning" it sideways....and the cold, cruel Winter freezing it that way...and...all of the "political" garbage that we had to go through...we, finally, have a real, honest to goodness, grown up, professional sign!!! Can I hear a WoooHooo??? It looks great....I can't wait for all of you to see it!!! And, by the way, as you walk up the sidewalk....admiring it's awesomeness....look down. That HUGE boulder...was in the ground approximately 2 foot....and had to be removed....if my husband looks a little "hunched" over or seems to be moving with some difficulty....you know why!!! Isn't it funny how the "simple" projects....NEVER are!!!!!!!!!! :):):)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The most wonderful time of the year.....

Boo!! I am happy to report that everything is done....well for now!! I still have things coming in, but everything that we have in stock right now....is out! We have had a very positive reaction to all of our hard work....I have not heard ONE "Halloween already" all week!!! For so many of us....this is the most wonderful time of the year!! We are lucky to live in an area where we have "seasons"...and each one of them has their own magic. It is so exciting to see those first daffodils poke through the ground, and the forsythia start to bloom. The first time you look up at the mountain and see that green hue spreading all over the trees. And, although the heat and humidity are NOT my favorite, Summer has it's own charms. The first lightning bug sighting, the flowers in the garden, sitting on the patio for dinner....and my beloved swimming pool!!! Even Winter in the great Northeast has it's charms....they can wear off pretty quickly....but you have to admit....those very first snowflakes are magical!! There is nothing like a good book and a cup of tea to put you in a good place!!! While all of those things have their merits....if we were to be honest...they all pale in comparison to Fall. I don't think anyone can find any fault in this time of year!!! Sometimes, spending 12 hours in the heat (and humidity) of August to decorate for the Fall and Halloween season can be exhausting. But, then, I see all of my Happy Halloween Lovers....and it is all worth while!!! I don't want you to dismiss the end of the Summer season....by all means...ENJOY!!! Get in as much "outside" time as you can....have a picnic, go for a walk, sit outside and look at the stars....but just remember....when that Fall Fever hits...we are here for you!!! Have a great weekend!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Getting there....

Well....we are getting there!!! I knew, even in the middle of this project on Monday, that it was going to take most of the week....and it looks like I was right!! Today....we were working on the kitchen....it looks great...but I am pooped!!! Tomorrow....we tackle the "Christmas Shop" and get the Byers' Choice Carolers re-arranged and in a different home. Then....we will be done. No....we won't....I am NEVER done....but that is one of the best parts of my job !!!! :):):) I still have more GREAT stuff coming...and the show stopper of them all....THE CANDY!!!! I know how much you all look forward to that!!! So do I, actually....it's one of my favorite "re-do" jobs....especially when the Halloween stuff comes in!!! But....for now....I am calling it a night!!! I have more pictures to share....but, you can always come in and see it all in person!!! Judging by the number of happy shoppers, already this week......it looks like that's the plan!!! See you soon!!! Have a wonderful night!!!  :):):)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Halloween is on it's way.........

Tomorrow is the big day!!! I must confess....there was a good dose of panic, earlier this week. Under normal circumstances, once I set the date for the Big Halloween Reveal....I am flooded with ideas. Where to put what, what to put where. Sometimes it wakes me up in the night!!! But, this week, I have been blanking...and seem to be easily distracted. I would start to think about the new merchandise....both what we have already received and all of the amazing surprises yet to come...and, a few minutes later, I would realize that I was focusing on something else completely!!! I was beginning to think that I was going to have to wing it....and then, the flood gates opened on Saturday morning!!! I was wide awake at 4:00 am thinking about Halloween!! Whew....that was a little scary!!! I have never had "creators block" before!!! All is well....and I am ready to work first thing tomorrow morning!!! Make sure your plans include a trip to Sweet Memories, this week......you know what they say about the early worm!!! We have things you don't want to miss out on....and even more on the way!!! Awww....I guess that means a lot of trips to Sweet Memories are in your future....I know, it's tough!!! I will try to remember to take some pictures while I am working tomorrow....Have a great night!!!!  :):):)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Muddy Banks....

I have been in business, for myself, for 24 years.....that's if you count the years that I spent building and creating what was the foundation for what we are now. In those 24 years I have learned quite a few lessons. I think every lesson learned is a valuable one....every experience makes you who you are....both as a business and as a person. If someone were to ask me what I thought was the most important piece of business advice...I would say, without a doubt, to treat EVERYONE the way you would want to be treated. Every person that comes in the door has the potential to be your best customer. Every person you meet on the street has the potential to be your best contact....and, of course, the one that I think is VERY frequently over-looked....every other business owner has the ability to help you toward your goals....or stand on the muddy banks and watch you go down!!!! I will never, ever understand when another business owner treats one of their "own" with any kind of disrespect!! I am on the planning committee for the "1803 House: A Very Merrie Halloween"...as I do with EVERYTHING I do...I am giving this 200%. I "cruise" the internet ALL the time...looking for Halloween artists and vendors of fine Fall merchandise to make this the BEST event this area has ever seen. I am networking like crazy....trying to find just the right people to be involved. I "found" someone in the area (sort of...) and sent them an email....telling them how wonderful I thought their product was and that we would love for them to consider joining us. It took a little more than a week to respond....and it was short, cold....and kinda rude!!!! You know....it just takes a few minutes to make a friend. It could be a contact that will benefit you for a very long time!! But, in all fairness, maybe they were just too busy to spend those few minutes being kind!!! Well....that's OK....it takes much LESS time to be rude....and the "side effects" of THAT action will last even longer!!!! I have watched businesses open....and close....I have had the pleasure of calling fellow business owners "friends" and I have been on the receiving end of the "green-eyed" monster in action!!! Somewhere along the line you need to decide, both as a business person and as a PERSON....which road YOU are going to take....as for me....I am going to stand here on the muddy banks....I am on solid ground.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The coolest stuff ever........

I spent some more time, this afternoon, pursuing my goal of complete organization. I went through some of my catalogs and got rid of the ones I don't need....which made room on the shelf for the ones I do need. Recorded a whole bunch of important stuff in my magic notebook. Wrote all kinds of necessary details about all of the upcoming classes and other special events...actually WROTE it down so that everyone can answer questions in an informed and professional manner....and just in time, too.....because you guys didn't waste any time starting to sign up for all of these things!!!! And, the whole time I am doing all of this....I am thinking about Halloween displays and how excited I am about the new merchandise for this year....and thinking about how I can't wait to get started so that I can share all of this COOL stuff with you....and 4 more big boxes come in. These are Christmas, though. That's OK....we will unpack, check for any problems, price and re-pack to be stored for later. Something interesting to do for the afternoon....and then I start to open the boxes!!!! First of all...let me just say....you all are in for one SWEET Christmas this year... (hint, hint, hint......) and.....now I want to get the Christmas stuff out!!!! I'll tell you what....it's rough to have SO MANY things to look forward to!!!! I'm going to tell you again....save those pennies and DON'T spend them anywhere.....until you have come in and seen us!!!!! I...can't....wait!!!!!!!!!!       :):):):):).......... Have a great night....with visions of sugar plums....and jack-o-lanterns....and candy canes and witches.....heeheee....I am such a tease!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hurdles.....and moving on.....

Some days you just want to scream. Today was one of those days. Every thing and every body make you just want to go back to bed. On days like that, it seems like it's just one thing after another....and, of course, it IS!!! I believe that we make our own paths....and when you allow your path to have one hurdle or another in it....whether you let things get to you or let things make you angry ...you will find yourself tripping all over the place!!! I try to deal with everything as it comes....I don't "put things off"....I don't let things get bottled up...I don't play games!! When I am....shall we say "not happy"....it's not too hard to tell. I get the frustration out....let you know how I feel...try to clear the air and then move on. When I don't do that....I find that everything that COULD go wrong...will. I don't like to have days like this... but then...I have a meeting with one of my Reps....and all is well again!!! I have some of the COOLEST surprises for all of you....some for right now....some for down the road. Oh....you are going to LOVE Halloween at Sweet Memories this year!!!! Save those pennies and don't buy ANYTHING until you see what we have in store for you!!! The hurdles are gone....and so are the potholes....I am moving on!!! I have a few more catalogs to check out  :):):)....you all have a great night!!!

Monday, August 1, 2011

The notebook...and control.....

I find myself saying "note to self" about 400 times a day. I have three, separate piles of catalogs and the notes and possible orders that go with them, on my desk as we speak. I have no problem with making notes, lists and even diagrams....the question is...which notebook did I write all of this information IN??? I have had enough. I am waving the white flag. I need to get organized....or, I should say, MORE organized. This time of year is particularly stressful. I need to have all of my Fall, Halloween and Christmas orders placed. The problem is...I have to have them placed SO far in advance...that I forget what I ordered. I, also, need to store all of this merchandise as it comes in....some of it is in the storeroom at the shop....the bulk of it goes into the spare room at home...I forget what is where....whether it has come in or I am still waiting for it....frankly, there are moments I think I may have dreamed the whole order!!! I, also, am "cooking" up my displays....I write down, or sketch, the ideas as they come to me...then forget where I put the papers!!! (more than likely...buried in the 3 piles of catalogs....) and then, I am scheduling the Fall classes and jotting down recipe ideas to teach for each of them....I am sure you have figured out where THOSE notes go, too. SO, today, I went to the store...headed for the back to school section (which I have NOT had to visit in some time!!!) and bought a notebook. This, my friends, is not just ANY notebook....it has a handle AND a shoulder strap!!! I think it, also, has a place for everything so that everything will be in it's place!!! I love the business we have created and built....and I love that it keeps growing and becoming more and more successful....I, even, love ALL of the MANY jobs that I do in a day....but I HAVE to have complete control....(I have explained that "type A" thing already) and I do NOT at this moment. SO....my project for this week....get everything organized in my new notebook. Once I get that baby all set up and filled in....there will be NO stopping me.....who would have thought a notebook could be so powerful??? I feel back in control, already!!!   Have a great night!!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lights....on water......

This is our poolhouse. I know I have shown it to you, before....but there has been an addition to it. This past Saturday was Ladies Night. I have told you about this, too. Once a month we get together for dinner...and take turns hosting....well, while I was at Ladies Night, my husband worked on a surprise for me. He bought strings of little white lights and put them all over the poolhouse. It was very dark when we got home...so he took me out and turned them on....SURPRISE!!!! It is SO pretty!!! I will try to take a "night" shot so that you can see how cool it is!!! My Grandson saw them, last night, it wasn't pitch dark, yet, when they left....but it was still pretty!!! He said " lights....on water..." (he is only 17 months old....) he loved them, too!!! So...this is where I will be spending this evening.... It was a long day....and I got several big boxes full of Halloween surprises ( I know you all can't wait and that this teasing is driving you crazy....and, yes, I am doing it on purpose!!!) and I am bushed ..... looking forward to relaxing in my newly lit poolhouse...ironically, I have not been able to since he finished it!! We worked Sunday night, it rained Monday night and everyone was at the house last night!! Hahaha....but, tonight....I am heading out back!!!   Hope all of you have a great night too!!!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

I believe.....

I believe in the power of positive thinking. I believe everyone should have a can-do attitude. I believe in mind over matter and that every problem has a solution. I, also, believe that even I have my breaking point. Last week's weather....was absolutely horrible....and, as the week drug on.....I was beginning to believe that I was going to have to throw in the towel!!!! I never give up....or back down....but, I thought, there is a first time for everything....and this is it!!!! However, it is Monday...our "weekend"....we made it...we survived....and tomorrow is a new day. I am hoping that the combination of the emptiness of the shop and the, slightly, lower temperatures today, as well as the rain they are calling for and the fact that the oven isn't on full blast, will give the building, itself, a chance to cool down. I am, also, hoping that the worst is over. As I sit here...in the air-conditioning...writing this...I feel positive again. I am positive that, this too shall pass....and one of the reasons I am so positive about that is the great expectations that I have this week. Today is the day that I named as my ship date for my huge, highly anticipated, Halloween order. I placed this order months and months ago.....and now it is here. Surely that means that Fall is right around the corner!!!!! I am expecting other Fall, Halloween and Christmas merchandise this week, too, and I am putting the finishing touches on my smaller orders, this week, and getting them in. I had planned to do it all last week....but it got to the point where I didn't feel confident in my decisions because of the heat stress....yes, that's how bad it was....I didn't want to make mistakes. Hey...we are known for our amazing Holiday merchandise and are, rapidly, gaining a reputation as THE go-to place for gifts (both to give AND to keep....) so I don't want a box full of "what was I thinking" to show up.....I will keep you posted on the deliveries....I won't tell you what is in the boxes....but I will tease the heck out of you while they are coming in.....we don't want to ruin the surprise!!!! We have to have SOMETHING to look forward to.....they are calling for the next heat wave!!!! Positive thinking .... positive thinking....positive thinking....

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Up on that soapbox.......

I think I need to get on my soapbox.....I haven't been up here in a little while, but I have a few things to say!!!! I spend a good portion of my time running this business. I have to order, shop, cook, bake, do the paperwork, pay the bills, rearrange all of the merchandise displays, take care of the garden.....it takes a lot of time. However....I always MAKE time to stand in your shoes. I really give a lot of thought to what you see from the minute you step onto the sidewalk to the minute you leave. We are in an interesting position....we are retail....as retail as anybody can be....but we are also a restaurant. So...I give a lot of thought to when seasonal decorations should start to show up....I mean, we may put the Halloween merchandise out, for sale,  in the middle of August....but the fireplace mantle will not get changed over until mid to late September. I wouldn't want to sit and eat my lunch in the middle of the Summer surrounded by Jack-o-lanterns and ghosts....it's too soon....this is where the soapbox comes in.... I am a collector....I LOVE Fall and Halloween. If I happen to stumble onto something decorative for that time of year, now, I get a little excited at the prospect of the upcoming season....I can't help it!!! However...I KNOW it is too early NOW for the Halloween offerings to be out on the floor....(although we went to a well known establishment on Monday....and they had it ALL out....) I don't want to "rush" things...although, all of you fellow collectors will back me up here, I don't want the new offerings to show up in October, either, that's too late!!!! I feel, very strongly, that when I put all of the Fall and Halloween merchandise out, it is the right time...or I wouldn't do it. Judging by the amount of merchandise that leaves the shop in those first few weeks....I think I am doing the right thing!! Right now.....this very minute....we have a flyer on the counter for the "1803 House: A Very Merrie Halloween" event that I am helping to plan for this October 1st. It is a black and orange piece of paper that is supposed to help you remember this awesome event and help you to plan that day so that you can be there. It is in weeks....not months....weeks. We just wanted to get the word out there so that you don't miss it!!! If one more person says "Halloween already"...and I hear it.....I may just scream!!!! It isn't a decoration....or even for sale....it's just a friendly reminder on a piece of paper. I want you to come....I don't want you to miss this event.....just pick up the piece of paper and take it home....hang it on your refrigerator....circle the date on the calender....but stop saying "Halloween already"....or I just might put those pumpkins and witches on the fireplace to keep you company for the rest of the Summer....thank you for listening....and good night!! :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Simple pleasures....

Some days are diamonds...some days are stones....sometimes you need to find your Happy Place. I find myself doing more and more, thinking about more and more, planning more and more....and I am OK with that. However, I am also finding that I need constant, little doses of "Happy Place" to keep my thoughts clear, my plans organized and my energy in all that I have to do. I realize that there are many of you who are finding yourselves in this same boat....between the kids, the house, your job, your significant other, pets, yards, groceries....it can be overwhelming!!! So...what do you do?? Everyone has a different idea of their "happy place"....luckily for us....many, many, many people have decided to come and visit our shop when they need their happy time!!!! It is, after all, about finding a few, uncomplicated moments that re-energize your spirit....what could be better than sitting and having a nice lunch with a friend and then going shopping??? For me, though, it is the simple pleasures. I love to watch the birds in my backyard, I love to walk around the gardens, in the morning, with my coffee, I love to read a new magazine, light candles, bake something....(yes...really....even though I do it ALL day!!! :) ) rug hook (which I don't do enough!!!) watch a good movie. As nice as it is to have the big adventures to look forward to....it is the little things that make it all worth while. So....make a cup of tea, get a good book and sit and treat yourself to a few stolen moments... Here's to hoping you find all of those little things that make you happy!!!! Have a great, rest of your weekend!!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Memories......sweet ones!!!

Memories can be funny things. Sometimes they come to you because of something you smell or hear. Sometimes they come to you because of something you taste (birch beer does that for me...my MomMom always had it in her refrigerator....) and then, sometimes, it's something you see....like a little red wagon. My MomMom always had one in her garage. She used it to haul things around in her garden. It was like a wheelbarrow....but much daintier and more romantic. It was, also, easier to pull stuff than it was to push it!!!! When my kids would visit her house in Chalfont....her little red wagon became their entertainment. There was a small hill in the neighborhood that they decided would make a great place to "ride" the wagon. They talked about that....forever....how much fun it was and how much fun she was for letting them do this "daredevil" stunt. (We use the road through her old neighborhood as a shortcut to Byers' Choice when there is a retailers event...my daughters were with me, one time, and saw the "hill"....from an adult perspective....it's really not more than a bump in the road. Sort of shot that whole "daredevil" thing right down!!!!) When she passed away...I went to an antique mall and bought a little red wagon. I "parked" it in one of my flower beds and planted it with flowers....for the memories. Now.....my Grandson is carrying on the tradition. We went and visited them (on his home turf....they, usually, come to us...) on the 4th of July. He was showing us his wagon and PopPop put him in it and took him for a ride. The next day....we went searching  for a little red wagon!!! We found this one, once again, in an antique mall. It's an old one....but very well taken care of. My husband "oiled" the wood and touched up a scuff mark or two on the white part of the wheels. Sometimes newer versions of the "classics" are not built "like they used to be"....this one is heavy and solid and will be around for a long time....hopefully full of memories!!!! As I watched my Husband pull him all around the yard, last night, I thought....MY MomMom would get a big kick out of this!!!! Thank Goodness for those memories!!!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sometimes you need to chill......

Sometimes you just need to chill. That was, primarily, how we spent our day off....I had several topics that I was considering for my Blog, this evening....and then I realized that I left my camera at the shop. I wrestled....briefly....with the idea of getting into the car and going over to pick it up.....and then...decided that I just didn't feel like it!!! This heat and humidity really saps the energy!!! I put a few hours in, this morning, weeding and watering...and Emma from Patch came and took pictures for a garden story that they are running this week. After that, I hung out in the pool and the pool house all day!!! Too hot for anything else!! My Grandson entertained our evening away....( and that is a whole other post...)and now I am heading to bed!!! I am not looking forward to the weather, tomorrow....it's supposed to be worse than today....Oh....the joys of July!!!! Stay cool and have a great night!!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A wonderful 4th.....

Oh my goodness....I have fallen down on the job again!!! This time of year is really just crazy busy....that's all there is to it!!! We had our mini vacation....today was our first day back to work. We didn't venture too far from home...and that was just fine. Sunday morning I made blueberry muffins with the blueberries I got at my friend's farmstand....we ate them outside on the patio....it was really nice....and the last time we sat down that day!!!! We got a whole bunch of little projects done around the garden....weeding, pruning, planting....it was great because I could enjoy the process, knowing that if we didn't get EVERYTHING done it was OK....because we had another day!! I really don't think the gardens have ever looked better!!! On Monday, we went to the Kutztown Folk Festival. We have gone every year for as long as I can remember....at least the last 20 years. It is part of our Summer. My son didn't go...because he lives in Kutztown, now...and the novelty has worn off. All of those extra people and extra traffic has taken the "shine" off the thing for him!!! But, both of our daughters and their boyfriends went along with us this year. The only part of the whole experience that I would change would be the time of year that they have it....it is ALWAYS SO HOT!!!!! We go early....we're there when they open....but by lunchtime....I am ready to come home!!! I just can't handle the heat!!! The only cool spot they have is the quilt barn...it's air-conditioned!!! When I just can't take it anymore...I head for the quilts!!! Looking at them is a real treat....air-conditioning aside....just beautiful pieces of ART!!! That is one thing on my "bucket list"....I would love to make a patchwork quilt. One of these days.~~~ My niece hosts the Fourth of July picnic in our family. She lives in Nazareth....so we headed up there and spent the rest of the day with our family. She does a great job....always a huge spread....and on our way home we can see, literally, all of the fireworks displays!!! Ohhh....look at that one.....Ohhh....look at THAT one....the trick is not to look so much that you forget you're driving!!!!!! We finished our vacation the way we started it....and the hard work paid off!! It looks "awesome" (one of my Grandson's new words!!!!) and, now....other than a little maintenance....we can enjoy the fruits of our labor!! And when all of our tomatoes ripen...so can you!!!! Have a great night!!!!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Be careful what you wish for.....

We have birds in, literally, every birdhouse on our property. We were sitting out on our patio, having dinner, watching them all come and go....stopping at the feeders to have some dinner of their own!!! Every time I walk past any of the houses I can hear all of the baby birds carrying on inside...waiting for someone to bring them something to eat!! When we bought our house~~almost 26 years ago~~ There were no plants, no trees, no nothing!! I was determined to create a sanctuary....not only for us, but for the wildlife as well....I think I have been successful!!! Of course....this comes with a price. I can't have tulips in my gardens....and they are my favorite Spring flower....because the chipmunks dig up and eat the bulbs. We have a blue heron who glides...not flies....GLIDES over our house all the time and, occasionally, stops off in the open field next to our house where we can get a good look at him!!! Last Summer he helped himself to every single fish in our pond!!! We have deer who come into our driveway....and we know this because we can see their prints in the snow in the Winter....they are rather fond of our apple trees and the squirrels ate all of my peaches, last year!!! There is no place in the world that I would rather spend my time than in our gardens.....but, the moral of the story???? Be careful what you wish for!!!! :) :) :) Have a great night!!!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What does Home Sweet Home mean to you????.......

Home Sweet Home. What does that mean to you? I know it's different for everybody. Our home is an old farmhouse...complete with wide windows and pine floors. Built in cupboards and great old molding. Wainscoting in the kitchen and solid wood doors. Our home holds all of our families treasures and collections....and, more importantly, memories. I love to decorate for every Holiday and season...and I am a collector. I don't like spare, sparsely decorated spaces....I like rooms with personality and whimsy~~and stuff!! Our home is surrounded by gardens. We have a formal herb garden, lots of perennials and annuals that attract birds and butterflies, hydrangeas, roses and lots of trees. We, also, have a small orchard and an enchanted fairy garden (this is one of the fairy houses my husband made for me!!) Needless to say....all of this takes up ALL of our spare time. We put in a lot of hours with our business....and, pretty much, all of what is "left over" goes into maintaining all of the above. The reason I am telling you all of this is because it is almost the Fourth of July. We take a little time off around the 4th. This year we will be closed Sunday the 3rd and Tuesday the 5th....the 4th is on a Monday and we are always closed on Monday. So....we will have a 3 day "vacation"....OK, you ask....and???? I find that most people don't think that spending time at home is a "vacation"....and I KNOW most people don't think that working in the gardens or on their homes is a vacation!!!! I, also, think that most people need a lot more than three days to have time off qualify as "vacation" time. The fact of the matter is....we, genuinely, love spending time in what we have worked so hard to create...that goes for both our home AND our business. I know it seems like a lot of hard work...and it IS...but, it's what makes us happy!!!! So...we will take our three days....try to relax, (some), swim in our pool, chill out in our pool house....but we, also, want to get the forsythia pruned, the poolhouse deck re-stained and a few other little projects taken care of. So...what DOES Home Sweet Home mean to you?? For us....it means a great place to spend our time!!!!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ladies Night....Pennsylvania Dutch with a twist....

I am hosting our family "Ladies Night" tonight. I cannot tell you how thrilled I am that it's not going to be 90 degrees!!! We have been doing "theme" dinners for a little while...we pick our months and then do something appropriate. Everything from Italian to the obvious Holiday appropriate menus...this year we wrote different ideas on pieces of paper and "picked" the themes...I hosted in January and had breakfast....that was a good one. Then, for June....I got Pennsylvania Dutch. This was hard. First of all....I am not Pennsylvania Dutch. We moved up into this area from Lower Bucks County when I was 10....it's hard enough to get kids to try new foods....but it's impossible to get them to try....well, let's just say some of the food choices of this area ( scrapple, pig's stomach....would YOU try it??) So, needless to say, I am not an authority on this subject. I have come up with a menu.... finally .... and I have taken some artistic license. Surprise, surprise!!! We are having baked chicken with an apple butter sauce, baked potato salad, homemade bread....with more apple butter (one of the few traditional food choices that I like...) and then Quakertown Pie (an interesting recipe that I found....it's a whole lot like shoo-fly...) and funny cake. Oh, and some soda that is made in the area....I think it will be fun, and I think it will "pass" as Dutch....as my daughter said "Pennsylvania Dutch a la gourmet".... This theme thing is fun....but, if I get this one again....I am calling "do-over"!!! Have a great weekend everyone!!! :) :) :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Merry Christmas....6 months ago....6 months to go.....

So...what were you doing 6 months ago? There is a very good possibility that you were frantically trying to get everything ready for Christmas!!!! It was ONLY 6 months ago....isn't that crazy??? It has gone SO fast....heck JUNE has gone SO fast....we are in the last full week and the 4th of July is right around the corner!!! All of this may not be on YOUR mind....but it's on mine!! We have gotten 3 big boxes of Christmas merchandise in this week....and I am trying to get the rest of my orders together so I don't miss anything wonderful for all of you!!! Since "Christmas and a half" lands on a weekend...I think it would be fun to watch a Christmas movie or listen to Christmas music and cook something "Christmas-y"....maybe some Christmas cookies.....Hmmm, I am hosting the family Ladies Night this month (Saturday night...) I "picked" Pennsylvania Dutch....but I am not overjoyed with the idea....I wonder if I can make Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas Food....I am, already, way more excited about that idea than I was with the Pennsylvania Dutch thing....I will have to give this some thought....I'll let you know what I decide to do....in the meantime....Merry Christmas (and a half....)!!!! If you do anything fun, this weekend....let me know!!!!