Thank you for visiting my blog; it is an exciting venture for me and I hope this will become a forum for moms and homemakers of all types to share stories, frustrations, and triumphs. There will be recipes, pictures of my latest and greatest soap creations, and anything I think will be interesting to Enthusiastic Homemakers.....

Friday, May 27, 2011

You had me at Merlot......

I am so sorry that I've been neglecting my blog of late! I've been suffering from both acute business and a bit of writers' block. I've felt that I've had nothing really to add lately; almost every night I open my blogger dashboard...and nothing! But; I've decided to just start writing and see what happens! The sign above is an item I found while looking for things for a tongue in cheek treasury I made on Etsy. I was looking for a Merlot theme; because I've been on a bit of a wine kick (not drinking). I've decided to make some Merlot soap; for my street fair that's happening next week; and then I decided to make some Merlot sugar scrub....why not bathe in wine?

This week my mother went to San Diego; for the beach wedding she had planned; although the real wedding happened at the end of last month; in her backyard. So I finally have "real" pictures of the dress I made her!

The happy couple on the beach in San Diego
Doesn't she look great? I'm so glad I was able to do this for her; and that she got the beach wedding she dreamed of.

I'm exploring other opportunities for my business; which is exciting; while continuing to be tired; overwhelmed, and busy! That's pretty much par for the course for me now; but I'm adapting; and hopefully getting better at it.

See; I took a small break to collect my thoughts; responded to a bunch of e-mails and got and order and placed an order. Never a dull moment! I'm really hoping I can stick to a schedule and become more efficient with my time. I suppose that all mothers, especially with lots of children feel overwhelmed and run down; but I can't help but think I should be able to handle it all by now!

Another long break....this time; to eat a late dinner; design a few labels; and complain about my aching joints....I see now why it's been so hard for me to blog lately!

I'm hoping for no rain tomorrow; but my joints say otherwise!

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cinder Blocks are a Girl's Best Friend.....

I usually don't blab on about my business....or I try not to; but I have to share with you the experience I had going solo (with my bestie) at the Farmers' Market on Saturday!

The weather this spring has been bad. Simply terrible; but I was very excited because it was supposed to be nice and warm on Saturday. Warm.....and windy! I woke up to a few droplets of rain on my drive to the market...no biggie; it looked like it was breaking up; and the forecast was still for warm weather.

We arrived; and foolishly and bumblingly put up the tent; with a tremendous amount of help from our neighbors at the Market; in fact; it was like the blind leading the blind until he stepped in! We set up my display; which I have to say; looked paltry compared to the full booth I normally enjoy with the other ladies' work! And off we went. We were having a great time; giggling and chatting....my friend taking frequent and speedy shopping excursions...that girl can shop! When......

THE WIND started. Not just any wind; the first gust I was painfully aware of lifted the tent and blew it sideways about a foot; until I reflexively reached up to grab the center support and bring it down to earth! This tent was weighted in the usual way; but it was like those weights did not exist when the wind caught hold! As I frantically tried to avoid an unfortunate kite-flying accident; and thought of Mary Poppins; our lovely neighbor came to the rescue again; retying the weights in better locations; and providing us with a rope; to tie to the center support. We hung on to that rope for dear life; at one point, I somehow managed to cash out a customer one handed while holding the tent earth-bound with another!

I kept watching the other vendors; the second any one of them took down their tent; ours was going to be next! But although many were holding onto their tents; like me; I didn't see a single person give up....naturally; I was not going to be the fraidy-cat! I don't think I breathed at all until the market was over and the tent safely stowed in the case! Again with the help of our neighbor; who I paid in lotion!

Despite all the wind; my friend and I; who have known each other almost a long as we can remember; had a really good time; met some interesting and fabulous people; and just generally had a fun girls' time!

But I am looking forward to having the ladies back next Saturday!

I'm looking forward to a busy Thursday; and probably will have a link from my blog post I wrote as a guest on another etsian's blog!

Have a great one!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Ain't She Sweet......Now I ask you very confidentially; ain't she nice.....

My "best comment" award from Stephanie Evers' blog!  

Friday already? Where does the time go? I have been meaning to update my blog for a few days; but Blogger has had continual problems; every time I thought of sitting down to blog; it seems like!

I was very pleased a few days ago to find out that I had received the "best comment" award from a fellow blogger Stephanie Evers; who liked my embarrassing comment about why I read frivolous novels and not grand literature.....ah, well; I knew that would bring good things to me in some fashion!

I was also very honored to have my soap featured on the blog of a great customer and fellow etsian Jean May Originals......Awww; it's great to have such great blogging friends!

Whew.....more blogging news! I wrote a guest post for my Idaho Etsy Team Blog; all about the experience selling at the Farmers' Market.

In other news; I have to tell you, blog friends; I'm really struggling. Struggling to keep up with all the things I'm doing right now; I rush around all day long and feel like I have very little to show for it. I know that feeling is common to stay-at-home-moms, regardless of whether they are working from home as well; and I guess it should be no surprise that adding working from home into the mix would cause some adjustment. I have a tendency to take on things; thinking that I can handle it all; I have trouble admitting that I'm only one person and there's only so many things one can do in a 24 hour period; sleep notwithstanding. James keeps reminding me that any undertaking like this is going to have some hiccups; setbacks; and growing pains....but I just wish growing pains weren't so.....painful!

Sometimes I just can't see my way through this; on the one hand I'm really enjoying myself and doing something that I know will pay off in the long run....on the other hand; I'm tired; cranky; and some days feel like going back to bed (or to bed) and pulling the covers over my head. I keep thinking of the illustration of a wife in the Bible, that talks about her not eating "the bread of laziness" and actually talks about her managing and owning property. I would imagine the ideal wife would be a lot less anxious about her tasks than I am; and most likely would not be printing off Paypal shipping labels at 3 am; but the principle holds.

I keep thinking to myself "I'm no quitter, I'm no quitter"; and I know someday I'll look back on this and I'll be glad I persevered. At least, I sure hope so!

This is so funny; while I was writing this, I took a Facebook quiz; which I kinda think are true.....here are the results: 

People Are Drawn to Your Energy

You have a real zest for life. You approach each day with optimism.
You believe it's important to keep going no matter what. You're always ready to tackle a new challenge.

You naturally boost the energy levels of those around you. You have a lot of enthusiasm and stamina.
You know how to get people moving in the right direction. You are a natural coach.

Well this is good to know! I hope I can live up to my Facebook quiz!

I have another busy weekend ahead; the weather is supposed to be great; I hope you all have a great one as well!

Happy Friday!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Every time I say the word 'Diet', I wash my mouth out with chocolate

What a week! I'm finding my groove with my Saturday morning market; my last Saturday I felt much more comfortable, and enjoyed it much more; I didn't feel as much like a fish out of water, and had a lot of fun! I ran out of change because I wasn't prepared on that front; but that's a good problem to have, and I hope to run out of change every week; and running out of soap is a goal to reach for!

Speaking of reaching for goals; I've been finally putting my money where my mouth is, so to speak; about achieving balance with my work and home life. I've decided that life's too short to stay up until 3 and 4 am, and I've decided to take several evenings off per week, and just kick back and relax in the evening with my husband. It was so nice this last week to watch a movie with James; a few times, we ate dessert and drank wine and fell asleep at a very reasonable hour for a change! I'm happy to say that I've gotten 8 hours of sleep more than once lately, and it felt great!

I've also finally made it back to the gym, which was something I've been neglecting lately. I have a very difficult relationship with exercise, I place a high priority on being healthy and energetic, and I feel that it's my responsibility as a mother to stay as healthy and vibrant as possible. However, my relationship with food and diet is complicated. As a teenager, I suffered from what could best be described as a little past extreme dieting, verging on anorexia. For several years; I knew the calorie count of every food known to man, and limited myself often to under 500 calories a day. When I was first out on my own, at 17, this escalated to not eating for days at a time; even while I was walking several miles a day. I remember feeling faint often, and the feeling of gnawing hunger was something I relied upon to know that I was being "good". I remember the day I made the decision to start living again; and promising myself;  Scarlett O'Hara style, that I would "never be hungry again!". I vowed to allow my body to develop in the way that I never allowed it to during my adolescence and I knew that that would mean weight gain; and that my predilection for extreme dieting would mean that I could not allow myself to start down that road, ever, ever again. I knew I could not dabble in different diets, the way most women do, or even "sensibly" limit my food choices or calorie intake. For me, even a day or two of limiting my food choices or thinking about my calorie intake turns swiftly into an obsession; one that could threaten the life I've built; so I have staunchly avoided any dieting tactics. Having my children has meant a huge change for my body; and I struggle, mostly successfully, to embrace that change. This is more difficult for me during times of stress; and I have sometimes faltered in my resolve. I realized last week, when I had been too busy and stressed to eat, that hunger is like a drug to me, it made me feel powerful and in charge. I don't crave that "fix" anymore, but I'm still succeptable to falling into that trap; so I have to be extremely careful when I exercise; that I'm doing it for the "right" reasons; for my health and vitality, and not as a substitute for the dieting that I used to use as an addiction. Whenever I feel like I must go to the gym, I know that I can't go to the gym until I get back the proper perspective. This addiction will always be with me, although I have improved so much even in the last five years; but I am still ever vigilant. I have learned not to put so much emphasis on my looks, and as a person who derived a great deal of my self-esteem from my looks; that has been a hard adjustment. I know that I have value now, without my looks entering into the equation at all; I created five people, after all, and that is something that makes me feel good about my body for a change; looking at the "battle scars" from having my children, I always remember how lucky I am to have had the experience of being a mother, and I would be willing to pay any price for that!

I'm looking forward to my newfound lease on balance; and enjoying my sleep and relaxation time tremendously, and finding that I'm actually able to be quite productive and relax! I'm looking forward to a busy and productive week, and thrilled that a large supply order will be coming in tomorrow!

Happy Monday!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Red Rompers and Red(dish) Velvet Cake

Elvis Modeling his new romper   

Wow; Spring has finally sprung! It's been a very cold and damp spring; which happens every few years here; it seems that it will always be winter; and then, POOF! Spring! A late spring, but spring nonetheless! Today the weather was just gorgeous; 75 degrees and beautiful sun. I'm sure we'll still have some damp weather over the next few weeks, but days like this are such a treat!

Today I received a romper in the mail from Mary Beth at Monkey and Friends. She's sending me an outfit for each of my boys who wear the sizes of clothes she makes; in return for taking a few pictures of my boys wearing them. What a deal! It's a win-win situation, because she doesn't have to hire a model, which can get expensive. Although I must say, I feel I've gotten a better deal than she! The romper for Elvis is just gorgeous, the fabric is high quality and adorable, and her workmanship is just superb. I can't compare to her skill at all! I snapped a few "unofficial" pics of Elvis, because I was so excited at how cute he looks in it! Tomorrow, I'll be having a photo shoot with him in our backyard....come to think of it; I better put the romper in the wash, because it was so darn cute on him I left it on him the rest of the day!

I also made us our slightly belated anniversary cake; using the recipe for Red Velvet cake I blogged about a few months ago. I felt very rushed and although the batter was a bright red color, I was initially disappointed that the finished cake was only slightly red. I think next time I need to add more food coloring. The frosting is cream cheese, which I love; but I had to quickly frost the cake while making dinner in a big rush (as always); and so I didn't make as pretty a cake as I would have liked, had a had more time. I bought chocolate covered strawberries to garnish the cake with, a fun treat that is sold at our grocery stores bakery; and one of those things we always drool over but never buy. The cake was quite delicious, but not exactly Food Network material; but I'm glad I made it. I usually make a cake for our anniversary, and try to make a new recipe every year; this will definitely be in my cake arsenal; to bake when I have the time (and the red food coloring).

I also finally made it back to the gym; after completely neglecting it from around the time of our vacation, because I was literally working 18 hours and day and felt I couldn't get away. I am really trying to find a better balance; and doing things that are important to me; whether or not I feel I have the time.

I have plenty of stories about things I've done in an effort to find balance; more to come!

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Farmers and Brides

Ahhh....such awful cell-phone pics of the bride! I promise that as soon as the real pictures are back I will post them! The first picture is taken with a camera, at least; as I was finishing the dress; you can see it's a beautiful shade of pale yellow; and I hope you can see enough to know that my mother made a lovely bride for her wedding last Saturday. After the wedding, which was at her home; she opened up her pool and the boys went swimming and ate Hawaiian food, which they had never had, but loved!

Saturday was also my first day selling at at Farmer's Market. I was so nervous and had so much to do, I couldn't sleep! Once we were there getting everything set up, I felt more comfortable, but it takes some getting used to to have people look at your items, ask you questions, and then walk away without buying. I know that happens hundreds of times a day to my online site, but it feels more personal when the customer is standing there! After I loosened up a bit, and got a couple sales, I started to enjoy chatting with customers and only felt a twinge of disappointment when they would walk away. The weather was as good as could be expected for fickle Idaho springtime; and I can't wait for the weather to improve further, so I don't have to freeze every Saturday! I learned of a lot of things I need to change and get better at, but all in all I think it was a success!

This picture is my display; I wasn't totally happy with it, I felt like a big dork with hardly any items, but I do plan to expand on this for next week; and I hope to be better prepared and less stressed that way.

Sunday was our 12th anniversary! I had a great day, I slept in thanks to James; which was amazing, since I've been so sleep-deprived lately! He made us a great breakfast, and then we had a relaxing morning. My little sis Rachel, who is so great with our boys, came over in the afternoon to babysit; so James and I had a great date afternoon. I treated myself to a real haircut at a salon, and even had my eyebrows shaped; Jean Harlow's got nothing on me! James got a haircut and a shave, then we drove out to Ste. Chapelle, our local winery, and had lots of fun deciding on our wine order. We are members of the "wine club", which gives us a discount on the wine we buy; it actually turns out to be an economical, and fun, option. We decided on 12 bottles; which will probably last us three months or more; and it seems so decadent to so many lovely bottles to choose from.

I feel like I've been so busy lately I don't know which end is up! I'm trying desperately to catch up, and to find my joy again; it's been really hard lately, because I feel like I'm doing so many things all at once; and none of them well!

One of the many things I've been neglecting is my blog; I hope I will have more interesting and less whiny posts soon!

Happy May!