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Saturday, April 30, 2011

What happened to April????.......

Does anyone else think April passed in a blur??? I am pretty sure it was just yesterday that we were getting ready for Easter and now it's all over and we are on May's doorstep!!!! Crazy!!! We spent the entire week getting the gift shops all ready to celebrate Spring and gardening season!! We have some of the best merchandise right now....just in time for Mother's Day. No matter what your Mom likes or likes to do...we have it covered!! We have rearranged the front room and filled it with some of the best garden and garden related treasures that we have ever had. Then we rearranged the kitchen and filled it with some of the COOLEST stuff~~~EVER!!! Just to give you something to think about...we have something called a "hamdogger"....if you want to know what that is....you will have to come in and see for yourself!!!! All of the "summer candy" is in, the gourmet foods are stocked up and ready to go....it was a big job, but I am excited about the results. I think it looks awesome and I can't wait for all of you to see this great new stuff!!! And just about the time that I was feeling really proud of all that we accomplished and my thoughts began to turn to my gardening (I am trying to figure out if I want to make the "planting area" a little larger at the shop....among other things...) the Halloween catalogs started to show up!!! ( Actually...I have quite a few of my Halloween orders in, already...) No rest for the weary!! :) :) Who are we kidding?? I wouldn't have it any other way!!!! Night!!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A completed transformation....almost....

With each new season or Holiday comes the task of ordering and displaying new, wonderful and delight inspiring (or at least I hope...) merchandise. The last few days has seen an awful lot of activity!!! First of all, we have a store room full of new "stuff"....but I can't put it out until I have completely ripped apart and rearranged all of the existing displays. I can't just "stick" new things in here and there. it doesn't do the merchandise justice...and it makes me unhappy!! On top of this GIANT project we had another class, last night!!! This one was "A Garden Luncheon"....and took almost all of my attention....so I have been delegating....(not one of my strong points, by the way...) and trying to get the things that need to get done...done....without actually being able to do them myself!!! I have, also, had a bunch of orders...many, many scones (which I am assuming has something to do with the upcoming Royal Wedding...) and, to top it all off.....it is disgustingly hot for this time of year ( I told you it wouldn't be long before we were complaining about it!!!!!) and I am not sleeping!!! But, despite all of that, the class was a ton of fun (a really great group!!! Lots of fun conversation!!!) I am anticipating completion of the gift shops today, I am looking forward to making some MORE scones for orders, today....and I put a fan approximately 2 feet away from my side of the bed, last night, and slept a little better!! (My husband hates the air conditioning...so he is dragging his feet about getting it "in"...anyone who knows me well, knows that, under "normal" circumstances....that wouldn't matter in the slightest...however, I have more pressing things on my agenda...when those things are taken care of...the air WILL be "in"!!!)  They are saying that, once these "wonderful" thunderstorms pass through that it will get a little cooler ... SEASONABLE would be nice .... and I am hoping for still more of the new merchandise to come in today (I think that is called "a glutton for punishment" if I am not mistaken :)...but I am VERY excited about what is on it's way!!!!) So...if you are planning a visit, soon, be prepared to be WOWED...I hope!!!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter 2011.....

Easter 2011...I hope you all had a great day!!! The sun made an appearance....that was a treat! Of course, the very first rain drop was about 30 seconds into my Grandson's Egg Hunt!! We found them all before it started to rain, though...he was not happy that he couldn't be outside...it's his favorite place to be!!! The top picture is the "community Easter Basket" for all of my"big" kids...but you are never too old for an Easter Basket....or to color eggs!! These works of art were done by my daughter and her boyfriend...and they did a great job!! We got some yard work done (the herb garden is all ready for it's new plants...) and we had a very nice dinner OUTSIDE (right before the rain....) It was a wonderful, fun and relaxing day....hopefully yours was too!!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Baking, baking, baking......

This is a picture of one of the buckets I planted for on my porch at home...we are ready for Easter!!! I wish the weather forecast looked better...but there is nothing we can do about it. Today I baked....and baked and baked and as fast as I was pulling it out of the oven...it was heading out the front door in a white box!!!! This is a VERY happy "problem"!!! I am going to try to get some "extra" goodies in the case for those of you who didn't get your order in on time (and...by the way...5:00 on Good Friday IS NOT on time!!! Nice try, though!! :)) I really wish there were some way that I could take every order but still "scratch" bake the way I do...no freezers, no buckets of already made icing...etc. Our kitchen space and work area is VERY "cozy"....I would need a lot more space and a few more ovens...hopefully, one of these days!!! It is such a great feeling...being a part of so many celebrations and Holidays...it would be even better if we could be a part of more of them!!!! I am heading to bed....tomorrow will be an even bigger day than today was!!! I have visions of "Easter Basket" cupcakes and chocolate glazed egg cakes dancing in my head....it sounds like the "recipe" for some "sweet dreams" ....Good Night!!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ready for Easter.....

I love pansies. I love just about every flower....but I really love pansies. I planted some more, this afternoon, at the shop...we are all ready for Easter. Some of my daffodils are already fading...that doesn't, usually, happen before Easter!! It is so late, this year...and I just realized HOW late!!! Are you aware that there is only one weekend between Easter and Mother's Day??? Two very big (and busy) Holiday celebrations at the shop!!!! Oh my...May is going to be a blur....just like April was!!! (Isn't it funny...we felt like the Winter would never end...and we are almost through the month of April, already!!!!) I have so many orders for Easter again this year....mostly coconut cream cake!!! We have been booked for orders for Friday AND Saturday for a week and a half....I try not to do it...I don't want to say "no" to anyone...but I do all of the baking and I know I have limits!!! We have had some people hang up on us, the last two days, when we told them we couldn't take any more orders...most of the calls have been from very sweet, understanding (although, I think still disappointed ) people who "get it" and appreciate the way I do things....glad that I make everything from scratch and take the time I need to make it all, truly "homemade", but you always have to have a few....oh well...I know I am doing the very best I can!! It is going to be a long couple of days and mean a lot of hours, but knowing that we are going to be a part of so many Easter celebrations is pretty cool!!! I am heading to bed to try to "rest up" for the remaining week....have a great night!!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Peanut Butter Eggs....

Hippity, Hoppity Easter's on it's way....So, I made peanut butter eggs today!! Once upon a time...long, long ago (when I had a little more time) I used to make all of the Easter candy at our house. I made peanut butter, butter cream, coconut and peanut rolled eggs. I made "molded" chocolates, too....bunnies and chicks, big and little...it was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it!! However it is also VERY time consuming!!! So, now, I feel really good about just getting SOMETHING homemade done for the Easter basket (a big shared one...my kids aren't little anymore and my Grandson is TOO little for a bunch of candy....but, it's just not Easter without an Easter basket!!!!) so, today I made the peanut butter eggs. I made a really big batch so there would be some to put in the case as well as enough for me to take home. I dipped some in milk chocolate and then dipped some in white chocolate (if you have never tried this combination....you should!!!) Then I did some...are you ready for this???....in milk chocolate, sprinkled them with rice krispies (while they were still "wet"...) then dipped them again!!!! (This stuff comes to me in the night....it's a little scary!) I am passing this information along so that all of you who make homemade peanut butter eggs can try it!! Something a little different....and, for all of you who do not make homemade peanut butter eggs...they will be in the bakery case in the morning....and while supplies last!!!! Have a great night!!!

Plant some herbs.....

I would like to take a moment to make a suggestion. If you have any stress in your life...plant an herb garden!! I am pretty sure the very first "aroma therapy" idea came from someone digging around in their herbs!!! I had a long list of "want to get dones" yesterday, including going into the shop to place some orders. I had some errands and running around to do...we did a little building project...my husband did the mowing....lots and lots going on!! I wanted to get some more "clean-up" done in my herb garden, but we were running out of "day" and getting some sprinkles too. I grabbed my gloves and my trowel and just started to get some of the "baby" weeds out....(before they grow up) and I was, almost immediately, a happy camper!!! The smells that come from a mixture of herbs, all growing happily together, is a little like Heaven!!! Did I get everything on my list done?? No. But, after about an hour with my herbs, I wasn't thinking about what wasn't done but rather all that we had accomplished!! I still have some work to do to get the herb garden in "perfect" shape....but that's fine with me!!! I can't think of a better way to spend my day off!!!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Where did this week go??........

I am sorry that it has been so long between posts on here....CRAZY busy week!!! We had our class on Wednesday and we went Easter shopping for my Grandson on Thursday...we serve Supper on Friday, had Ladies Night with the Family, last night...(yes, in all of that rain!!!!)...well, you get the picture!! Somewhere in between all of that I got a little work done in the garden at the shop....it's starting to look like Spring has arrived!!! Still need to get a little more done, but everything looks great!! All of my rose bushes...even the hydrangea bush that I stuck in the ground, never expecting it to make it!! I bought it at the grocery store for a display....when I was done with it I couldn't bring myself to just throw it out...although it was the worse for wear....so I stuck it out in the garden...and it looks REALLY good!!! I love hydrangeas...they have another new one, this year, with strawberry in the name....not sure where I want to put it, yet....but I will HAVE to have it!!! We are planning on working outside, again, tomorrow....but I have to go in to the shop and make some phone calls and do some ordering, first. We are so busy that the day just gets away from me and I can't seem to find a few, uninterrupted, moments to call orders in...so I will go when we are closed and take care of it....there are some REALLY exciting new things that I want to order or, already, have coming...stay tuned!!! As much as I love Easter...I am looking forward to re-doing all of the displays in the gift shop and getting everything ready for Summer and picnics and gardens and....well, you get the gist!!! Good night...sleep tight!!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Fun, fun Wednesday.....

The second class of the Spring is history....and we had a lot of fun!!! It was the Easter Brunch class and I had a bunch of really different recipes that would make a great addition to the Brunch...or Dinner...menu. Corn Quiche, Asparagus Gratin and CRAB deviled eggs just to name a few!!! I am really ready for this Holiday, now!!! I am, also, pretty excited to see the sun. We were all in agreement, last night, that all of this dreary wet weather is the pits!!!~~~ My son surprised us with a visit, yesterday...A little time with my Grandson is always fun!!! He, usually, falls asleep in the car so it takes him a little while to adjust to being at the shop. He, usually, lets us all know that he isn't too happy about being there for a few minutes....but then he remembers that he likes having the run of the place!! He has a few new words in his vocabulary....uh oh...among them!!! He couldn't resist taking some of the "sports" themed birthday candles off of the display, yesterday, and when he got them in his hand he says "uh oh"...like he couldn't figure out how they got there!!! Too funny!!! He spent a little time charming all of our customers (which he is ALWAYS surprised to see....like he can't figure out why there are so many people at MomMom and PopPop's house....) eating his Kix (and a few marshmallows...he shares that passion with his PopPop...) and then the sleepiness got the better of him!!! It won't be too much longer and he will want to "help" in the kitchen!! He is fascinated with the mixer and, already, knows HOT!!! It just goes SO fast!! I have to get to work....lots to do!!! Have a great day and enjoy the sun....the way things have been going...it won't be here for long!!!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Class #2..."Easter Brunch".......

It's class time again!!! Tomorrow night's class is "Easter Brunch"...this will be fun!!! We are going to make all kinds of dishes that are perfect for an Easter celebration!!! It's really getting close, now!! I can't believe it's less than two weeks away!!! Some days it seems like we JUST got the Christmas decorations put away... Even though it was a dreary day, today, I really noticed how all of the trees and bushes are "popping"...you can see a green tint to things, now. Before you know it the end of May will be here...and all of the Summer picnics will be upon us!! I have ordered some great new merchandise to get ready for those picnics....but, one thing at a time!!! I will tell you all about the new stuff later...right now I have to go and type up all of the recipes for class tomorrow night...Have a great night, everyone!!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Springtime.....

Today was the first day that it, actually, felt like Spring was here!! Of course, as the day wore on it felt like Summer had come for a short visit, too...that sun (when it finally decided to make it's appearance) was HOT!!! We had some specific projects in mind when we got started this morning...some got done, some did not....because we kept getting side tracked and starting something that was not on the original list!!! We did get a lot done, though, and I am finally feeling like it might get done before June!!! There was quite a bit of damage over the Winter...that was the first part of the day...trying to figure out just how much and what needs to be done to fix it. A lot of it was due to wind...we have had an awful lot of wind lately!! I didn't get as far as I wanted to in my herb garden...but everything looks good!!! There are signs of life everywhere...even some of the plants that, usually, don't look so hot at the end of a Winter like we had, this year...look good!!! All of our flowering trees are going to open, soon...it's going to be a very pretty Easter!! We have class #2 of our Spring schedule coming up on Wednesday..so I have to get all of the prep done tomorrow....but, maybe on Thursday, when we get home from work...we can get a little more done. Once you get started, the momentum keeps you going!!! It's that "getting started" that's hard!!! As soon as I have some pictures worth taking...(a.k.a.....as soon as it looks amazing...I've explained that type "A" thing before, right???) I will get them on here!! Have a great night...

Friday, April 8, 2011

Easter Dinner...what's on your plate???

Easter is getting close....and we are all starting to think about our plans for the day. Do you do the cooking?? Does your family go out?? Is it a big all out affair....or a potluck-picnic kinda celebration?? My "crew" is starting to get antsy....they want to know all of the whens and what times....ahhh Holidays!! We are VERY traditional around here...there are certain things that you just don't mess with. There will be ham, potato salad and the all important deviled eggs. Deviled eggs are one of the few foods that all three of my kids agree on. There aren't many other things that ALL of them like....but those eggs need to show up at all of our family gatherings from now until Labor Day (and they, probably, would like to see them for Thanksgiving and Christmas, too!!!) I think we will be dying some eggs this year...something we have not done in a while...all of my "kids"...aren't kids anymore...but there is talk of re-visiting this tradition!! We will, also, be having an egg hunt...which we have not done in a while...but we will be using plastic eggs for that...my Grandson throws them!! I am planning to make some candy, too....another tradition that has taken a "break"...I think a "community" basket with some favorites would be a welcome addition to the dinner table. Having a little one in our midst is going to be a lot of fun, this year!! What are your family traditions?? I'd love to hear from you...either leave a comment on here or on our facebook page...have a great Friday!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

So Promising....

The sun was so pretty this morning...so promising!! I took a little, tiny, super quick walk around the yard before I left for work (while the car was warming up....'cuz it was COLD!!!) being VERY careful to only look at what was coming to life and NOT at all of the work that lies ahead...I love to take that little stroll first thing in the morning...it starts the day off right!! Everything is really popping...and that is so encouraging...especially because it is still so cold...you would think that the flowers and trees would say....NO THANK YOU and stay "asleep"....I see the hydrangeas are coming to life, my rhubarb is coming up, my chive is about 6 inches high, all of my roses are looking good, forsythia is ready to go, lilacs are all "greening"....it was a very promising morning. Oh what a difference a few hours can make!!! I know they say that April showers bring May flowers....but they forget to tell you the part about how depressing those dumb showers can be!!! I am going to go and take a look at the weather forecast....do I dare hope that it WON'T rain on Monday??? I sure hope so....'cuz I must confess...I kinda peeked at all of the work that lies ahead....and I would REALLY like to get it done sometime before June!!!! Have a great night!!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Just want to do some yard work......

OK...so I want to go to this flower shop. This was another one of the displays at the flower show....but I wish it were real!!! I really love the awnings!! I'm loving the bicycle, too....how about you?? Well...just when we think that we might have some Springtime weather we get, well, some Springtime weather!!! Up and down, warm then cold, sunny then rainy....and how about that WIND???? Ugh...so tired of it!!! We did a little yard work yesterday....cleaned up the front flower bed at home (the most visible one!!!) but there is still so much to do!! If only the weather would cooperate!!! I really want to work on my herb garden. It's the focal point of everything and I am always happiest when it looks it's best. Everything else seems "do-able" when the herb garden is done. Unfortunately, it's a big job....it will take the better part of a whole Monday...and we haven't had a whole good one yet!!! In the meantime, we are trying to do the smaller beds a little at a time. Most people do their "clean-up" in the Fall....endlessly raking leaves and pulling out all of the dead plants (after the frost gets them...) but I have a different approach. I allow the dead plants to remain. First of all they are full of seed heads that the birds feed on (and sometimes the seeds volunteer the following Spring!!!) and then the Fall leaves, that we DO NOT rake, get "stuck" in them. Eventually, all of the leaves wind up "stuck" in the flower beds and that helps to insulate the perennials over the Winter. Sort of like mulch. And one more added benefit...the leaves start to decompose...my soil is VERY happy!!! It means a lot of "Spring clean up"....but we would have to do that anyway!!! This Winter was, particularly, hard on some other aspects of the garden...birdhouses,decorations and some of my "structures" need some attention. Oh well....not much we can do but wait...as patiently as possible...just think~~before you know it we can all complain because it's too hot!!! But, for right now...I am going to find that blanket~~~AGAIN!!!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Accidents.....

"You Break It...You Bought It"....we've all seen the signs. I guess the idea is that it will discourage people from touching merchandise by scaring them. After all...no one wants to pay for something that's broken...including the shop owner! I don't have those signs. My philosophy here is that no one breaks things on purpose. I mean, I don't know anybody who walks into a retail establishment and throws things against the walls just to watch them break (and if you do....may I respectfully recommend some sort of professional help!!!) When there is damage it is an accident. Now, having said that, I must admit that most "accidents" are not really accidents at all. They can be avoided by simply using common sense and being more aware of your surroundings...this applies to everything from walking (watch where you are going!!!) to driving (watch where the OTHER guy is going!!!) to touching merchandise in retail stores. After all...it "belongs" to someone else until you plunk down YOUR hard earned cash for it....(you would be careful if you borrowed a friends cake plate or earrings...right???) It may be sitting there with a price tag on it....but someone already paid for it!!! I AM going somewhere with all of this...and it's, probably, not where you think!!! We have damage...and occasional theft...but, for the most part it's not really an issue. Also, for the most part, I FIND the damage. Whoever caused it KNOWS that they caused it...but they just walk away. Yesterday we had the exception!!! I had a little Easter piece that met his end. I know it was, in fact, an accident....because it was brought to our attention!!! They wanted to pay for it...but, once they got outside with their receipt from their other purchases...realized that they had not been charged...and then they CAME BACK IN and tried to pay for it again!!!! I am, still, so HAPPY about this that I felt the need to tell the story!!! Whatever the price was for that Easter decoration....it was worth paying just to see the GOOD side of human nature!!! Seriously....I  find (more and more and more...) that no one wants to take responsibility. Everyone tries to blame other people for their short-comings and faults. This is not MY observation...I have had this conversation many, many times with other people who feel the same way...and then here is someone who is willing to take complete responsibility....and it was probably wasn't even their fault to begin with!! (I can just imagine someone looking at the piece and then putting it down where it didn't belong...somewhere "dangerous"...) I'm sure most places would have taken the money....but I got so much more from this customer....a restored faith and the knowledge that I have wonderful customers!!! I got to spend the day remembering why I say you all are more like our family!!! I posted on my facebook page, the other day, that I really have a great job because I get to bake cookies and cakes all day long....but this weekend I was reminded that I really have a great job...because I have all of you!!! Go out and have a GREAT day....I will!!!!

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Today we had a group of 9 year olds come and attend a "cupcake birthday party"....the Mom of the Birthday girl contacted me a little while ago with the idea for the party. They would have the opportunity to decorate their own cupcakes. It sounded like a lot of fun to me...so I said OK....here are some of the results!!! All of the young ladies were up for using the icing bag (which is very intimidating to a lot of adults)....and some used it too much!!! All of them had fun!!! We decorated the pieces of art, first, and then they had tea sandwiches and a beverage of choice....the logic here being that if we could get some food in them....perhaps it would tone down the effects of the sugar!!! I don't know if that worked or not....but all of the girls can be VERY proud of themselves!!! All of them watch the "food shows"...and I think you could tell!!! It's interesting, really, when you think about just how much influence these shows are having....do you know ANYONE who HASN'T seen them??? I have to say....in my opinion, most of them are scripted and I would much rather see some REAL reality....goodness knows there is enough REAL stuff going on to bring in all kinds of ratings!!! I would love to hear a round of applause for our artists and a rousing chorus of "Happy Birthday" if you have a minute!!! Have a great night!!!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Happy, Happy April!!!!!

Happy, Happy April....and I mean that!!! After days of gloomy forecasts...it turns out that today brings only GOOD news!!! No white stuff, no traffic issues, no slippery anything, no cancellations....NO PROBLEMS!!!! Can everyone take a moment and breathe that sigh of relief with me...aahhhhh!!! On top of that...there is a, brief, warm up in the forecast. Can life get any better??? (Well...it could stop raining...but let's not push our luck!!!) I am not a big fan of dumb April Fool's day pranks...frankly, I don't get it!! But I do make the fun spaghetti & meatball and mashed potato cupcakes....which were all gone in a flash, yesterday...so I am heading in to work to make round two!!! We, also, got our BIG dishtowel and dishcloth order....Hey...we all HAVE to do this chore, may as well do it with something pretty!!! When I place this order my mindset is always "go big or don't bother"...then it comes in and there are dozens and dozens of towels and dishcloths that have to be folded and rolled and I think....WHY do I order SO many!!! But it always looks so nice when it's done!!! We have some really nice towels with beeskeps, crows, roosters and gardening tools...and then I ordered a whole bunch that look like old-fashioned "homespun"...so the baker's cabinet, in the kitchen room of the gift shop, sort of looks like a quilt shop!!! It's a great, inexpensive, necessary item that you can treat yourself to...gives you a little extra happiness in your day when you put something new and pretty in your house....kinda like when you look out the window and there is NO SNOW in sight.....kinda like that! Happy April~~ no fooling!