Thursday, December 31, 2009

Traditional Holiday Communication is compete!

Woohoo for me! I will probably even be able to get most of them mailed tomorrow so before the end of the year. Oops! Maybe that makes it NOT so traditional for me. It's pay day so I will be able to afford postage and everything.

I am glad it is another four day work week. I still feel tired. I came home from work and fell asleep almost immediately. I woke up about 9:00 and went over Michael's essay for the Rice application with him. He had asked for my input and I did it from an undisclosed location earlier today. When he said he wanted to talk about it tonight, however, all he really wanted to do was tell me how wrong my ideas for different wording were. I could never be a teacher, I think. Michael is a good writer yet his long, run-on sentences drove me crazy. What would I do if I had to grade really badly written papers all the time? I'd probably go nuts!

I am looking forward to the holiday weekend. It has a lot of possibilities including a family NYE party OR a go out with Debbie NYE party, some naps, some time to try new recipes, some time to clean and organize, some time to read, a possible visit to Mom and Dad, depending on weather, and maybe a date with my secret lover. ;)

No, I can't tell! It wouldn't be a secret anymore, would it?

Good night!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Drumroll please!

Katie wins!

Yes, it's the stuff off the rotor of the vacuum. What I don't understand is how there can be that much DENTAL FLOSS on my floors ANYWHERE! Michael and I are both good flossers, but I don't see it lying about randomly on the floor. Honestly, I hardly ever vacuum, so how can there be dental floss all wrapped around that brush? It took probably a half hour or more to cut and clean that crap off. Ugh. Katie, name your treat, truffles, cookies, focaccia bread, I am getting ready to try some quick bread with dried apricots. Maybe you could be a long distance taste tester! You and Amber will have to work out if it deserves to be shared... I believe I did say the FIRST to guess.

Tonight's blogging will be abridged as I am going to attempt a traditional holiday communication this year and the goal is to start it tonight. So there.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Puzzle with a prize!

Same offer goes here as on Facebook. First one to guess what the heck this is and where it came from gets a treat, even if it has to be mailed - a dozen cookies or a treat of your choice of comparable value.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Being lazy

Too lazy to write a describe Christmas Day so I am copying a couple of things I posted on bulletin boards where we had already discussed Christmas plans and such.

Michael actually liked the belt and I cut the tags off so he wouldn't realize it was newly purchased. I also found a book written by his favorite crazy environmentalist activist at Goodwill and he started reading it on Christmas Day while I took my first nap. So while it was a slim Christmas it was a good one. I found two albums at Goodwill (99 cents each) and handed them to Michael and said - "here, you can give these to me for Christmas." He dutifully wrapped and presented and I LOVE that my eighteen year old labeled his gift "To Mommy." I wish I would have saved that tag!

I was reminded this season that I can enjoy the traditions and music and festivities whether or not I am a "believer" any longer. I love the Christmas season and despite some conflict with my family of origin this year over holiday celebration it has been lovely and enjoyable.

Today I am enjoying time alone, with even Michael gone. As I clean up and reflect on the time Michael and I shared with each other and with friends I feel peace that I made choices that were appropriate for myself and for Michael.

And from FaceBook on Christmas Day:

Watching "Reefer Madness" with Michael - family bonding while the dinner cooks!

Well I am baking a pecan pie, but it's all for us! Although I do have someone picking up an order for gingerbread cookies tomorrow morning. I need the money so badly I'm happy to do it!

All in all it was SO relaxing and just fine. My body and soul really needed that peaceful time. I could probably use a few more days of it.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Fifteen minutes cleaning the tub turned into quite a battle as I somehow turned the stem of the faucet handle so that the it turned the wrong way for hot and cold. I took the faucet handle off to clean the mildew out of it... I have done it before and had no trouble but this turned into a nightmare with Lime-A-Way toxic fumes beating me up the entire time.

We had a mellow day. Michael and I stayed here and had leftover lasagna and then opened our stockings and our gifts. It doesn't take long when there are only two people and few gifts! I took a nap and when I woke up I kind of slowly started cooking. We just had chicken and noodles and mashed potatoes (Double carbs is a Hoosier thing!) and broccoli. Oh and pecan pie. Yum...

Katie came over and ate with us. Eric came over later and ate and then I helped him wrap some of the gifts for his niece and nephew. It was relaxing and pleasant. I stayed in my jammies all day, except I did put on a sports bra before Eric came so he wouldn't have to see the girls swinging wild and free.

I've been working throughout the day on washing all my bedding and just generally cleaning my room. I keep it pretty tidy, but don't vacuum and dust, etc. very often - thus the tub cleaning episode. I'm going to finish up tomorrow and vacuum and dust and everything! I have a little baking to do some truffles to finish and some ginger bread, but I made the filling today AND the dough so it is just the artistic parts that need completed tomorrow.

I'm pretty sleepy, so I think I will leave my bed unmade tonight and finish it tomorrow. I'll sleep in here (purple room) on the horribly uncomfortable futon and then I will be ever so grateful for my clean room and clean sheets tomorrow!

So goodnight. I hope everybody had a Merry Christmas and low stress.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Time to make the truffles...

I have some truffle filling already made up. I hope it's enough to make the box of a dozen truffles. They're not hard to make, actually they're so easy it is silly! I m just lazy tonight. There are also dirty dishes and I don't want to leave them. I need my kitchen to look spic and span when people come to pick up their treats. I would hate for them to think, "EEwwww! I don't want to eat anything made in there!"

Part of me is so tired I want to lie down and rest a bit first, but I am afraid I won't get up and do it if I do.

Tough Day, a little

Copy of email to Heather in reply to her asking if Michael and I are going to go to Mom and Dad's house for Christmas.

What we are planning is to do the Christmas Eve thing, go to church and then on Christmas Day probably drive up. We will have to leave Christmas evening to take Michael to Ed’s. So far everybody who has emailed me about Christmas Eve has been in the negative, so it may end up with Debbie and Leandra and Katie and Michael and me or something. I can’t go out and spend money so I will probably just make chili because I already have the stuff and bake some bread or cornbread. I already bought stuff to make a veggie lasagna for Michael’s birthday, but if wants to wait, we might have it instead.

The BIG problem is that I have no internet and I need to pay $73 to get is turned back on and I have to have it in case someone tries to make an order. I won’t be at work to check emails here. I have a little bit of money in the business account, but I was hoping to wait and be able to use that the next time I need ingredients. So if Michael DOES get a cello lesson, which he really wants, I will already be spending all the money I have and not have any gas money. I kind of told Ben that I secretly want to cancel the lesson unless he can afford to take a bad check and wait to cash it. I know he is broke broke, too though, and may be waiting on that money. I haven’t heard back from him on that.

I have someone I can probably get money from, but it’s a situation where I would feel uncomfortable asking.

Debbie is having trouble getting together with her family too. If I can’t get to Lafayette we may just hang here and then I will have to come visit when I get money. IF I get child support Wednesday all should be good, but it seems to always get messed up around the holidays and I just can’t depend on it.

I have the mattress and box springs for Mom and Dad. Too bad I don’t have a way to transport it and I can’t afford to give Chris gas money to get down here either.

It’s kind of rough, like everybody is having a bad year. Debbie is upset with her family, Katie always has holiday crises, I feel like I am not going to be able to make you and Mom and Dad happy. I’m sad that I don’t get to see Emily. Emily emailed me that she thinks she is depressed, the bad kind of depressed, and she has no insurance to go to the dr…. blah, blah, blah. I’ve been working so hard and I have made some money with the business, but I have spent HUNDREDS more than I have made so far. I am excited that I got a $10 truffle order! $10!!! Wow! That can buy my next five bags of chocolate chips.

I think hosting a party is my way to try to feel like this can be a happy holiday and to motivate myself into the spirit. We did finally get the big Christmas tree up and that has helped. I have a couple of presents I bought ahead of time and I am going to wrap those tonight and maybe that will help too. I hate feeling sad and confused about Christmas. It is my favorite holiday and I like to overdo it a little bit, you know? I guess I need to realize that I am at a time in my life where I just won’t get to see Emily and Michael every holiday, and that I can’t control everybody’s health and abilities and that I can’t make there be more hours in a day so I can work more and make more money. It sounds pitiful, doesn’t it?

I am not really depressed, depressed. I am just frustrated that I don’t know how everything will work out. You know I like to plan ahead of time. If I had the money I’d say: We’re having our Christmas Eve Open House, we’re leaving for Lafayette at 8:30. We’ll bring stuffed stockings, corn cake and pecan pie and we will stay until 6:00. With the uncertain cash flow, however, it can’t be determined at this time. So now I have to take a deep breath and say, “I am completely relaxed and flexible.” It’s about having time off work. It’s about spending my last Christmas with Michael before he leaves home. It’s about watching “A Christmas Story” and falling asleep. It’s probably about wearing jammies all day and feeling comfy, and it’s about realizing that even though it is a holiday that may not turn out the way I want that it can be pleasant and relaxing.

Bet you didn’t expect me to write a book. I am missing writing in my blog. I have spent so many nights baking and washing dishes and packaging and doing email lists and all that, that the blogging has cut way down. I may copy this and put it in my blog! I think it’s more of my usual style than where I have gotten now – a few pictures, a few words about business and that’s about it. I don’t like that. I need to have time in my life for writing to be happier.

I will let you know if I find anything out about child support. I keep going to the website and checking it about every hour!


Adding now:

Heather is pretty angry with me because I haven't committed to go up there. I feel kind of bad about it, but even thinking about the money. I hadn't even thought of my $225 speeding ticket that I need to pay. I can't remember if I had 60 days or 90 days. If it was 60 days it is already past due and there is probably a bench warrant for my arrest in Marion County. If it was 90 days that is January 10 or around there and I only have one paycheck between now and then and that is when the house payment is due... So even if Heather doesn't cash the checks I wrote her and even Mom and Dad give me gas money I am in deep shit. I also have a credit card payment past due.

It all sucks. I have a couple of homemade presents I started a few months ago, but then I started baking all the time and haven't finished them.

I baked cookies tonight because I bartered with Ben for only $20 and some cookies for the lesson. So I still need to go wash the last batch of dishes and get my butt to bed. Tomorrow is a big day - work with no lunch so I can leave early to take Michael to a cello lesson, take Michael to Bike Project and then I have to do some secret stuff while Michael is at Bike Project. Poor boy. Today was his birthday and for a "celebration" we had sweet potato fries and watched a movie and of course I fell asleep during the movie. No friends, no presents, no treats. What a fun birthday. He didn't even get a birthday card from his other grandmother this year, who usually sends him money.

I have a couple of gifts I have bought at Goodwill and Dollar Tree and I ought to wrap them tonight and put them under the tree. It looks so pitiful and bare. I feel pitiful and bare.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

So, yeah,. I should be in bed.

My goal was midnight, but I tend to always miss my bedtime goal by about an hour.

I didn't have to go anywhere or bake anything tonight! I left the last batch of dishes undone last night so I worked on those and I (sort of) sat and watched a movie - "Across the Universe" I really have liked it so far, but I didn't pay close enough attention. Hyper me. I also balanced the checkbook and looked at the internet and made my list of things to do and stuff. I think it is good enough that it deserves me starting again and seeing it better. There is some amazing video production and choreography in it.

I made a DEPOSIT to my business checking account today. Also my checks for it arrived. The next time I need to spend money I can actually use COMPANY money. Maybe eventually I will get to the point where the operating funds can come out of the business account and I will be able to start reimbursing myself for all the initial investments and start-up costs. Hahahahahaha! Yeah, sure. Although really I do have a lot of packaging already in inventory and some ingredients and cards and labels and that stuff. It seems like chocolate and butter are going to be the things I will have to constantly buy. The flour I bought in 25 pound lots will last quite a long time. I also found a bulk supplier for my white flour now that is unbleached. Previously all I could find was bleached and I don't really want to use that. I am glad to have a break for a few days, but I hope I get some orders for New Year's Eve parties. I need the moolah!

I'm happy, tired, and a little frustrated about the holidays and the family... It will all have to work out in the end, so there.

Monday, December 21, 2009

One more night baking

This one goes to Michael.

then I think I am done for the week. No more unless I want to and it is for fun!

Unless somebody asks for something and is willing to pay a lot of money. That might change my attitude.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I think I have grossed about $100 this week on baking, but I am stinking tired. I know it will tale a long time to recoup my investments and get to the land of profits at this rate. Every little bit helps, though.

I went with Debbie to her company party and then we went out to Jake's, which I normally hate. I was very tired and relaxed and wither sat with my eyes closed and just listened or danced without reserve and just f-l-o-w-e-d....

Now. Bed.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I want to blog,

but I am still working. Sigh. I still have to package and label a couple of things and make the house pretty. I have been cleaning as I go pretty much, but it is just putting everything away and all that sweeping, which you know I hate... blah, blah. I am so stinking tired. I am going to follow Heather's advice and set the alarm on my phone. I will probably lie down on purpose and sleep until 8. That still gives two hours and that is really a lot of time if used efficiently and shhh! don't tell anybody, I can be efficient when I want to!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Baking too much

The piece de resistance - Chocolate mint cheesecake, decked out for Christmas.
The decor is fondant leaves - hand cut - and frosting berries.
Cookie fail! The new flour doesn't absorb as much moisture and the sugar cookies spread too much.
I was frustrated so I left the room aned forgot there were a few more cookies in the oven. Oops!

This is Fresh apple almond bread, a quick bread, deviated from the beer bread recipe. Vegan and no fat, except for the good fats that occur naturally in the almonds.

A nice crack in the bread.

Yummy textures.

I'm sick. I stayed home from work today. The stress and not enough sleep are killing me. I slept until after 1:30, then got up and felt better and did some stuff. I took Michael to cello lesson and slept more in the car, even though it was freezing. I slept deeply enough to be dreaming, but I had nightmares so it wasn't restful. Tonight I bagged up toffee and made Michael a dinner like a real mom.

Heather has been talking to me while I've been doing this. Mom and Dad can't travel down here for Christmas and I don't really want to go up there. I don't want to spend Christmas day in a messy, uncomfortable house where the TV is always on. I think the food is unsanitary and there is never anywhere to sit. I can tell she's already mad at me for saying I don't know if we're going. I thought Michael and I might just collect other strays and have a carry-in dinner where nobody has to do all the cooking and nobody will open presents and everybody will be equal and happy. Maybe we can go to Lafayette on Christmas Eve and do that here on Christmas day. I don't know. I wonder if the family would be satisfied with Christmas Eve. I am scheduled to be off work, and even if I do work we are closing early. I am getting selfish about holidays and about being at home, I think. I just am so freaking tired of driving all the time and then being frustrated with the situation while I am there. I end up feeling like it's all my fault and I should fix everything, but it is all unfixable.

Well it was supposed to be bed my midnightand I still have a load to take out of the dryer, medicine to take for tonight and intended to fill my pill case for the week so I can make sure to call the dr. tomorrow if I am going to need any refills before he runs away for the holidays.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Stop the Insanity!

I was going to write about my perceptions of a certain situation that seem insane to me, however I had a spectacular disaster while cooking toffee tonight and had to make a second batch. I had planned to be in bed by 1:00, but I still have to chocolatize the toffee. And darn it. I didn't take a picture of my disaster for history, but I am sure I will have more!

Therefore I am not making a big blog entry this evening/morning to preserve my own sanity just a little longer, I hope. Gotta go do some physical tasks and then get my ass in bed!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sanity today, insanity tomorrow.

The pictures are looking different tonight. I have no idea how this will look when complete. This is a photo essay about my journey toward sanity for the holiday season. Maybe it will help me stop being so overwhelmed. This is an area of the garage BEFORE.

This is where I have been storing all my ingredients, packaging, and everything basically for the business,

I squished this picture somehow. Now I can't get it to unsquish! Same corner.

This is the new home of most of Hope's Homemades equipment, tools and ingredients! My friend Eric used to own a pizza restaurant and is trying to sell some of the equipment. I asked him if he has shelves and he said no, but he had some shelves he had gotten for free at the store - he now works at Kroger - and had never finished assembling them nor used them. Michael and I stopped on the way home tonight and picked them up. I built them! It was not difficult, but was time consuming.

The big white buckets on the side are what my 50 pound orders of whole wheat flour arrived in. I need to give them back so I have transferred much of the flour to the yellow-lidded storage containers. I am searching for something else. Need to fit on the shelves and have tight-fitting lids. These are only 6 qt, however, and I found that doesn't hold a lot of flour. I saw some that were much bigger, stackable, and rectangular, but I have to make sure they are "food grade" before purchase.

The white topped containers are "storage drawers" the kind you can stack up... They have my cake pans and other stuff that doesn't have boxes, but I don't think it should be out in the open, especially in the garage. Eventually, I want to get a storage unit with doors that close so that is less of a worry.

This drawer holds cake decorating supplies and stuff. On the left are some assorted ingredients. If I get any orders for my sale (sigh...) I will have to go shopping! I am getting low.

Baskets all ready to be made into gift baskets! I purchased many second-hand for one or two dollars each.

Nest shelf is catering/serving type stuff. That yellow lidded container is full of baking and candy and nut cups and paper stuff I am afraid will get crushed.

The foil pans have lots of candy bags, twistie ties, stickers, decorations and stuff for the finer points of packaging.
All that stuff is also in sub-containers, usually gallon bags, so it will stay clean.

My boxes of containers and some of my chocolate supply. I will definitely need chocolate soon! I have a triple chocolate cookie recipe I want to try!

LOOK! An empty space! A little sweeping a little table scooting and there will be room for a Christmas tree! YAY!

To be continued tomorrow, I hope, with my tale of my trip to Lafayette and interaction with Mom and Dad. He has gone home, but tomorrow's post will be the "Insanity" portion because of that.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Copy of a post from a BB.

We have had a couple of years where the rule is supposed to be only homemade and second-hand gifts allowed (Except stocking stuffers). It is a very low budget (usually) way to make for a Christmas when things are tight, I haven't had time to do any crafty stuff for Christmas this year because the the business and all of the baking. Also, all the financial investment in that has left me poorer than ever!

I have two projects I would like to finish and that will all the handmade that happens I think. I did find a great gift for Hippie Boy today - a cloth belt, made from hemp fibers. It was on clearance for three dollars - not secondhand, but too good to pass up. He has been wearing a belt he made from a bike inner tube and a buckle from an old belt. He likes it so much, though, he may not like the new one. There may be times that I will have to insist the inner tube belt come off and the purchased belt be worn. Sometimes as a mother, you just have to be cruel like that.

I NEVER know what to get my mom and dad. They don't really have any money, but they always buy too much stuff and have whatever they want anyway because they are hoarders. I have tried to give them stuff that will get "used up" like bath products and the like. Even then, sometimes I will ask my mom why she hasn't used the lotion/gel/body wash/whatever and she will reply something like. "I don't want to use it all up. It was such a nice gift." Then sometime when I go clean their house for them I end up throwing away my gifts because the clutter is out of control again. It is very frustrating.

I DO have a gift for my mother - Earlier this year when I was working in their kitchen I pulled a cord that I thought would turn off the hanging light - turned out the light had no switch and you had to unplug it to turn it off. I have purchased the stuff to make a nifty little hanging light to replace that one, and this one will have a switch!

Dad is a different story. I don't know if he can even read now, after the stroke. Maybe I will break down and go buy a DVD of some adventure or mystery movie. I looked for used movies and stuff today, but didn't see anything good. Maybe in the $5.00 bin at Wal-Mart it can happen.

Not too much time left and I have been working, eating, and sleeping at all the wrong times. I don't know if I will be able to do my norm. I guess my family will have to accept that the norm may either be changing or that it just can't happen this year.

I do wish I had my big Christmas tree out. I have out three of my little ones and I gave the medium one to Mom and Dad so they would have one easily. The corner where I put my tree, however, is filled with boxes and crates of ingredients and packaging and baskets for gift baskets, etc. Also the tree is in a back corner of the garage buried behind bicycles and furniture I intend to reupholster (daughter of hoarders, remember) and all kinds of crap and I can't get to it. Michael has been SO busy that he hasn't really had time to help like he normally would.

Part of Michael's busy is college application forms and essays and STUFF. We already have a good acceptance to IU with a $9000 a year merit scholarship for four years so he has his "fall-back" school. He applied early decision to a tiny, expensive school near Philadelphia. If he gets accepted there he is contracted to go. They swear if they accept you they make it possible financially for you to attend. We'll see....

I have written much more than I intended and really off topic. Sorry. I probably ought to copy this to my blog. I did write some today about my emotional difficulties with shopping, but I have been neglecting both my blog and my regular writing lately.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Searching for a blog title I considered: depressed. sad, crisis, lonely and a lot of other negative mood descriptors. I don't really think I am enough of one thing to settle on a word, therefore I am unsettled.

I had a good start to the day, took the bread I had made for Gillian over to the church for the event. When I took it in the kitchen the women receiving it said something like, "What is that? Oh look! Go bring that other one back in and put this out instead!" I felt very flattered - AND I had been sure to put some business cards in the the basket, discreetly tucked under the edge of the napkin!

Heather left last night so I could have some time with a friend who has an odd schedule this morning - that was also lovely. He had to go to the IU game, though so we had a time limit, kind of a bummer.

After he left I decided I would go to Opp House and look for baskets for Christmas orders and maybe for some Christmas gifts to give also. Once I got out into the world, however, I was HYP-NO-TIZED again. I ended up Opportunity House, Lowe's T.J. Maxx, Michael's and Goodwill. I did get some nice baskets, a PERFECT gift for Michael for $3. some cooking stuff for the business and a few other little things. I was just in this lonely, scared, robotic mood, however. I went over eight hours without eating....I just now ate something for the first time since about 11:00 this morning. Also no beverage, no peeing, no talking.... just in some trance-like state and feeling quite bizarre. My house is messy and I have done nothing on my list and I think part of staying out like that was avoidance of the reality that I now face. I need to clean my house, do some business work, and I really, really, REALLY want to bring in the Christmas tree and get it put together and also try some new recipes. I found a vegan Mexican wedding cake, and I need to try another variation of truffles. I'm just all blah! I want to sleep and that is all. I need to do it today, however as tomorrow I am supposed to go to Lafayette and then go get Michael.

I called my friend Eric before I came home to see if he wanted to out and quickly get something to eat with me. He was already out and about doing HIS shopping, however, I read on FB when I checked in. I sent him a message asking him if he would give me some shelves he has that I want and if he would bring them over and put them together. If he would I would have the motivation to clean and be productive and make something and he could taste test in exchange! If I got the shelves I could get all the Hope's Homemades supplies out of the corner where my Christmas tree is supposed to go and get moving on it!

I did talk to Emily for a little bit. I called from TJ Maxx and told her I was having a shopping crisis, which is a part of me she understands or at least recognizes is very strong. She talked to me through her entire dinner break at work and it helped. I am sad, though because she probably will go up to Scott's family again for Christmas.

Gloom, despair and agony on me. Deep-down depression, excessive misery. If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all. Gloom despair and agony on me. Now imagine some stupid Hee-Haw joke by Buck Owens!

I am going to go do SOMETHING now. Maybe I'll call Eric again.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I can't believe it.

I think that is the longest I have gone without blogging for years, except the one time when Ann P. Actually called to make sure I was alive. I remember that was five days, and I think I have equaled that. I know it was over a year ago because I did Blog 365 this year. Well this year is like "Business 365" and feels like "Work 24/7"

So Sunday was the last day I blogged... since then:

Monday: Deanna was in town and killed her battery, so after work I went and jump started her car. She asked if she could buy some pretzels and toffee SO after that I went home and made pretzels and toffee. Making the caramel for the pretzels it started to burn so I had to call Amber with a caramel crisis! She walked me through it, while paralleling my activities in Utah - minus the caramel crisis. Phew! Thanks Amber!

Tuesday: Lia Sophia party. Not a lot of people came, but it was really fun and we talked and ate and had a great time. I went to bed on the couch at 11:00, got up at 1:00 and went to real bed, so slept almost like a normal person.

Wednesday: Michael's winter concert. Very nice. Very long. I LOVE Jane to death, but she talks a lot during concerts and they have ended up with all these silly things they do at each concert. The winter concert includes a "Section decorating contest" which has evolved into full-fledged skits, costumes, etc... and takes for freakin' EVER.

Thursday: Well, that's tonight, right after work, took Michael to cello lesson, while he was there I went to Target to get medicine and look at holiday stuff. Was HYP-NO-TIZED by the Christmas stuff, gift wrap, tags, decor, etc.... Funny thing is I seriously don't have ONE Christmas present for anybody yet, except for a few stocking stuffers I have bought at Dollar Tree and such over the past few months! I don't have money to buy any either! I have one more pay day before Christmas, on the 19th. Maybe I can Goodwill and Opportunity House up some decent gifts.
After we (Heather is still here) picked up Michael I had to go to Hobby Lobby, which I hate, and buy peppermint oil and am looking for a holly leaf shaped cookie cutter. I want to make a bundt or tube cake and make it like a wreath and cut fondant holly leaves and use cinnamon candies for the berries. I am getting little orders at a time, but nobody has made any official orders for my roadside stand set for next Saturday. I am totally freaked. I realized I had not set a deadline for orders so I set it for the 16th and put that on my FB page for the business. I will do a reminder email a couple of days before that. I would like to do one right away, but I don't want to email people to death or they will hate me. I need to do one that says, "Please. I am desperate. I have spent hundreds of dollars and need to at least recoup the cost of my material goods soon." I don't even care about profit right now, just little things like paying the electric bill and stuff...

I have registered Hope's Homemades with the state now as an LLC, so it's official, I am a business. As a single member LLC, I am still really a sole proprietorship and can include my taxes on my personal taxes, instead of having a separate Identity number. I need to start a bank account next, now that the LLC is registered. Joey is going to buy my web domain and set up a basic website for me as soon as finals are over. He has this hangup about finishing his MBA or something. Sheesh!

Well, it's 11:16 and I have "bed by midnight" on the list and I better get to finishing the list or THAT will never happen!

Tomorrow I only have to bake one loaf of bread after work and it's an easy one - beer bread. I am going to make it with sparkling apple juice and add dried apples and some spices. I think it will be good. I have never done it before. I probably ought to make two so I can taste one and make sure it's decent before I sell it Saturday morning! Or maybe I'll make one mini-muffin I can taste to make sure....

Okay off to do dishes next!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sushi to go.

Carol said, "Hope, Anne and the other kids LOVED the sushi cupcakes! They were so special, and tasty too. Thanks so much for being so creative with cupcakes!"

Michael and I went to a cello recital tonight at IU. Jordan Enzinger, who went to Michael's school
earned his performance diploma. He performed the Devorak cello concerto, among other things. It was magnificent. Juli, Jordan's mom, was Michael's first teacher and is the Assistant Director his his orchestra now. It was a good place to be.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A miracle has just ocurred!

I love the wasabe in the sauce cups. I am going to put these in Chinese take-out trays that I use for my cookies for delivery tomorrow. I have paper cups for the wasabe and paper wrapped chopsticks. I also want to cut some paper into that green "grass" stuff they always put in there.
The smaller style is almond pound cake inside. My God it was good.
The larger style is a recipe called "decadent chocolate cake" I think it only had half a cup of flour in it.
Here's the effect for photography tonight. For purists: I know those are Korean chopsticks, but they are pretty in pictures.

I actually completed a project before midnight!

I told Michael, "Maybe you will actually wake up to a clean kitchen in the morning." He replied, I'd rather wake up to a mother who has had a good night's' sleep." I did NOT have a nap today, so maybe that will help so quickly I will post the photos.

Must go try to be in bed soon.


I sold a little bit at the annual work craft and holiday sale where everybody brings in their stuff. Just about $50. So far I have had about $133 in sales. Of course I have spent HUNDREDS in ingredients, packaging and equipment. Sigh... I was just working on my receipts tonight and it is pretty depressing. I also spent money to take the small business development classes and get the ServeSafe certification and all that. I need to determine what costs can be counted as start-up costs and what are regular operating costs, etc.

Tomorrow I am making a special order of cupcakes to look like sushi. I was so excited when I thought of it when the woman told me her daughter likes Japanese stuff. Then I looked at the internet and it's been done a gazillion times. Oh well, I still think it will be fun to do. I kind of like it when food is like art. I don't know that much about sushi so today I looked at real sushi pictures. To me sushi just meant the rolls with seaweed around them. There are TONS of shapes and types of sushi, so now I am trying to decide if I just want to make it look like take-out trays of the rolls or get really creative and make several different kinds so it will look like a gourmet sushi tray. Part of that might just depend how the time goes tomorrow. Maybe I will start with several rolls and then see if I have time to get creative. She wants a mix of chocolate and white cake so I think I will make half mini cupcakes to make the rolls and then a square cake with the rest of the batter (I'm cheating and using mixes) that I can cut and shape in different shapes if I decide to go all the way. I am worried about using mixes in that they don't have a really firm texture, so I don't think if I try to carve and shape it it will go as well. Maybe I ought to just make a pound cake recipe and put a bunch of melted chocolate in half of it. Pound cake has a much firmer texture. Oh the decisions! I want some Swedish fish to put on top if I make some other shapes but I haven't found any yet! I have looked at three stores, I think. Lots of gummi worms, but no fish. I will definitely take pictures.

I am ready to start decorating for Christmas. Even with all the stress and financial concerns I am feeling very holidayish. I cleaned off the table from last night's baking and put on my snowman tablecloth I purchased on clearance last year. It is so bright and cheerful. I can't wait to get more stuff out! I took one of my trees up to Lafayette for Mom and Dad so I will only have four trees this year. I'm not sure if I can take it.

Last year I loved the blue and silver gift wrap theme so much that I went and bought more blue and silver on clearance for this year. Now I regret it. I don't want blue and silver again. I want either white and craft paper with fancy bows and labels or a snowman theme. I hate to go out and buy stuff at full price for the holidays. That's just not me. I keep thinking of the blue and silver though and being a little sad. God, how terribly selfish I am to care about such trivial shit when the world is falling apart! Maybe it's a way to not focus on the REAL problems of myself and of the world - distraction, avoidance, denial.... I don't even know if I can buy or make any gifts and I am worrying about how to wrap them. Stupid.

Well I am going to do one more fifteen minute round of tasks and then try to settle to bed. I slept after work again. I stayed up until well after 3 am finishing up the stuff for the sale, but for $50, I can stay out of whack a little longer....

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I have not defected to Facebook

Healthy, high fiber, low sugar, all natural "breakfast cookies" not as much fun as...
Truffles or
Caramel and chocolate dipped pretzels!

I have been spending more time there because I set up a page for Hope's Homemades - free advertising!

I have spent many evenings baking and making treats and taking pictures and such. I have invested so much money I have to make some sales SOON!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Tonight I made "Healthy Breakfast Cookies" from a recipe from a website. I had to make a couple of substitutions because I didn't have all the right stuff. For example, I used flaxseed meal instead of wheat germ. I did a nutritional analysis on Fit Day with my subs and it came up at 105 calories per cookie. The nutritional analysis on the recipe showed THREE cookies as a serving and said that was only 79 calories. I thought that seemed absolutely incorrect the first time I saw it. So I did a nutritional analysis using all the original ingredients, and even designating lowfat yogurt, which the recipe had not. I came up with 125 calories per cookie. This seems much more realistic considering they say only 24 cookies per batch.

I am going to have a meeting with a woman from the Local Grower's Guild tomorrow after work. They got a big grant for a program called "Backpack Buddies" where they will send backpacks full of nutritious food home with the children of really challenged families each weekend. I am proposing these cookies or something of the type as a product I can provide. I will work with different recipes until I find one I like, but I'd like low sugar, low fat, high fiber and some protein content. I ate one of these and it was pretty good and very filling.

I was so tired at work today I had a cry at your desk moment. I sold a big thing - a $6000 contract - but it was something I had never done before, nor been trained to do. The people that I wanted to help me learn the paperwork seemed to be ignoring me and it was more than I could take. Cory came over for something, saw I was crying and asked what was up, but I told him I couldn't talk right then. I emailed him later and told him I was okay, that Tena finally took me under her wing and trained me. He's always worried about my mental health. He sent me back the "my door is always open" email. I appreciate his concern, but sometimes I think if he really knew it would totally freak him out.... let's see - no money, family problems, health problems, constant pain, insomnia or sleeping at the wrong times, starting a business and losing money like crazy, messy house, holidays approaching, hate winter, seasonal depression, relationship worries... anything else? A couple of years ago he called me into the office and recommended I get counseling and told me he was afraid I was going to kill myself. I think crying must really freak him out. I wonder if his wife never cries about anything. She does always seem cheerful and stuff, but she can't be happy all the time. Maybe she is and he is the only woman he has ever been with so he doesn't understand that tears don't instantly mean you're clinically depressed and in danger. He did have a close friend commit suicide when he was younger so I think he worries quickly when someone behaves "abnormally" in his perception. At work I usually do behave quite cheerful and pleasant. I work with customers and it is my job. I bitch and gripe to my coworkers sometimes, but still, on the whole I believe I am perceived as a positive and "up" person - except by Shawn! :)

Oh well. I need to get to bed. I didn't mean to stay up this late, but I really wanted to do the analysis on these cookies.

More later!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Driving again.

I got a much later start than I intended today and also had to stop and sleep for a little while. Basically all I did at Mom and Dad's was take in a little tiny bit of goodies, Mom gave me a basket I can use for a gift basket and then I managed to get Dad out to the car and back to the nursing home. I also took one of my little Christmas trees and asked, "Do you want this here or in your room at the nursing home?" Dad replied, "leave it here. I'm coming home tomorrow."

So when I took him back I had to figure out what is going on and he is NOT going home tomorrow. He is still prescribed a lot more therapy before he can return home. The home care that was approved for him was only for TEN hours a week, and there is no way Mom can care for him that much. PLUS, the house has to be inspected for safety (it is NOT safe) and Mom says that is "stupid" and I am not sure she will let them do it. So he may end up there forever unless some of these factors change. I sat down and had a talk with Dad about it and he seemed to accept it when we talked. I could tell he was really sad, though, so I went out and talked to Margarita, who is his nurse for the night, and she said she'd keep a little extra attention on him.

I took the nursing staff leftovers from Holiday Market and they were all happy with that!

Ironic.... we have been keeping little packets of peanuts, trail mix, granola bars, bottled water etc in the car to give to the street beggars. I was stopped at a light right next to a guy tonight and searching frantically to find something before the light changed. I totally forgot I had BOXES of cookies in the back and could have given him a real treat. I felt sad after I realized it! Duh. I guess it happens. I need to remember ALL the options sometimes.

It's late. I need to try to get some sleep. No more working on the list I think Going to bed with it incomplete again. I am strong. I can do it. Go me, no OCD!

Addition: I ran into some friends from college at the nursing home tonight. I knew Tom's mother was there too, but I hadn't talked to her for over 20 years so I was too shy to talk to her. They came from Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving and it was amazing and wonderful to run into them! I like to keep friends forever, (really!) and I was sad that we had lost touch in the last couple of years.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sporadic, at best.

I know my entries have been sporadic instead of compulsively habitual. Strange, huh? I have been so busy physically preparing for the holiday market, stressed financially preparing for the holiday market, and drained emotionally by holiday market crossed with a holiday where I chose to NOT go to Lafayette and do the family thing. Heather was angry because of that choice and my parents may have been hurt. I just have so much money tied up in the business I felt like I had to be ready! I have leftovers, however, which is wasted money. I took some bags of toffee to the bar where we go karaoke and gave to the waitresses who take my abuse nearly weekly. I also plan to make a gift basket to take to David, the owner of Inner Chef. Michael and I go in there constantly, ask a million questions and can never afford to buy anything. The night I really HAD to have the food scales, however, David let me in after hours and helped me as pleasantly as could be. I figure he deserves a treat or two! I will either take some up to the nursing home and staff tomorrow or donate the rest to one of the shelters on Monday. The Focaccia bread has to go quickly however, it has a quick mold growth because of the moisture and no preservatives.

I did make some money today. Not enough to cover expenses I think. Most of the expenses were for ingredients so that is what I really need to recoup. Items like the food scales and some additional cooking utensils I purchased would be included more in the start-up costs in the cost analysis, which counts as part of the pricing structure too. I don't know where I am with all that. I have been saving receipts forever, but I need to take a couple of hours and really see what I have spent on equipment and "permanent" things, and what I spent on ingredients for developing recipes and for tastings, and what I spent on ingredients for sale items.

I have a meeting Tuesday to talk with a woman about a program community kitchen is going to run called "Backpack Buddies" They will send backpacks full of nutritious foods home with the children of the really financially challenged families on Fridays to help them get through the weekends without their free school breakfasts and lunches. I have one recipe for Nutritious Breakfast Cookies that are very high fiber, have powdered milk for calcium, applesauce, and whole-grain oats. I am going to make some Monday night to take to this meeting to see if it will work out. The Kitchen and Local Growers Guilds have a grant to pay for the items so it's not just out of the goodness of my heart (although my heart is good, I promise), but I hope for it to be additional income, even if it is small. If they need their foods to be produced in a licensed kitchen I wonder if I could use Community Kitchen's. They have volunteers work in there all the time under the supervision of a certified Food Handler, and I am certified so maybe we could do that. I will return and report on that.

I stayed up ALL NIGHT baking - took a shower about 7:15, planned to leave for the market which opened at 10:00 at about 9:00 to get all set up. I don't even remember lying down, but I woke up at 10:15, yelled, "Oh shit!" Threw some clothes on, threw the stuff in the car and got there at maybe 10:45. Everybody was worried about me, yet at the same time, they took all the premium space in the booth so I was kind of stuck in the back. I was able to move up after a while and then I sold a little more. I was surprised that I sold A LOT of ginger bread cookies and I don't think I sold one box of oatmeal chocolate chip. The choc. chip has been what I have taken to tastings and everybody LOVES them. I guess it's more unusual and holiday-ish to have gingerbread. My gingerbread is vegan, 50% whole grain and fat free. I use a little bit of canola oil in the frosting to keep it frm turning into cement, but that is the only fat.

Jennie, the flour lady, gave me two bags of a new kind of pastry flour to try today. She said they only grew a little of it this year as an experiment. It is a white wheat berry, which they are able to grind to a finer texture than the gold wheat berry I bought this time. I am going to try it with the cookies and try some pie crusts or yeast rolls or breads also. She wants feedback on it to know if they should plant more. Just looking at it (they use clear, cello bags) I have a good feeling about it. They call the gold wheat berry flour their pastry flour, but some people don't like the grainy texture in a sweet if they are not used to eating whole grains. Using a finer grind and a softer wheat might be able to ease some people into the whole grain life. If it is fine enough I might be able to go 100% for some of the products. I might even try 100% to start out. Pretty exciting. I like experiments like that.

Speaking of experiments... Amber, I need help with the homemade caramel thing. I have never been the world's best candy maker, but I followed directions EXACTLY and used a thermometer and everything. There were no dipped pretzels for sale at the market today, however, and a picture will be posted on the "Spectacular Disasters" album on Facebook soon. I almost want to wait until I manage it successfully before I post the picture, so people will know I can do it before I tell/show them how I failed! I need to clean the house before I can take the picture. I did very well on the "clean as you go" while all the baking was going on. That last run though that ended at 7:15 this morning - well, it's still there and even though I napped, I am still pretty damn tired, AND I am driving to Lafayette tomorrow and then to Greenfield to get Michael. I can't make any promises to myself about starting the week with a clean house the way I like to, but that's the way it goes!

I must miss blogging. I'm so tired I thought I'd just get on here and quickly report that I am not dead. I guess it's hard for me to write just a little at a time in here. I wish it were more difficult to write in here and less difficult to work on my actual books!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


i just made the toffee with semi sweet chocolate on top. After it cools I will have to cut it and store it for the day. I packaged the first batch of toffee today and it made 22 2 oz. bags. So for a pound of butter, two and a half cups of sugar and 1/4 tsp of cream of tartar, 12 oz. of chocolate and three packs of bags from the dollar Tree I have potential income of $44.00. I'm not sure what the net would probably ZERO if I paid myself minimum wage. Sigh...

Heather wants me to go up to Lafayette tomorrow which sort of was the original plan, except I thought we'd have dinner at the nursing home. Now they are saying Dad can go home f r the day. I am worried about him being at the house and I am worried about finishing everything for the Market. I don't know what to do. It makes me want to sleep all day, which will do no good for anybody.

I need to go finish stuff and I don't want to talk to Heather for another half hour about if I can do what I need to do to make my labels and signs and business cards on Mom's computer. I just want to give up.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Simple and quick.

Dinner tonight - this is the focaccia dough made into a calzone - this one is Michael's veggie only. It worked, but because it is not a very "stretchy" dough it was difficult to get it nice around the filling.
This was about as pretty as I could get it to look. We have also used it like a "pre-cooked" pizza dough, added our ingredients on top and baked it a second time around. I did sautee the veggies because I was afraid the bread would burn if it had to cook long enough to cook the veggies too.

Michael had an orchestra event today where a small ensemble played in Kroger and we collected money and sold CDs. I think it was fairly successful. Michael has been not feeling well all weekend and will probably miss school tomorrow. Some of the money I spent yesterday was on a couple of full spectrum light bulbs. We need to get them all over the house, I think. No more sick and depressed winters! Life has its challenges.

I still have some business tasks I need to do - start weighing ingredients to prepare for my packaging. Ingredients have to be listed in order of weight predominance. One of my expenditures $35 for electronic food scales. I was going to borrow Eric's from when he had the pizza shop, but it is not sufficient.

More $$

I spent ever so much more. I am afraid to balance the check book. My goal tonight (this morning?) is to at least write down the a paper checks and see what has cleared.

I shopped for freaking HOURS and still remember things I need. Also I have to have enough money to pay for my expensive flour and my packaging next week. Eek. I have the packaging for the pretzels and the toffee. I have the stickers to make the labels. The cookie packaging will be $64, and he is getting a price on the bread bags Monday morning. He is also getting a price on "pizza circles" I am trying to decide if they should go under the bread. I also bought business card paper and more paper to make signs for the table with prices and all that. I need sign holders, but I think I can borrow a couple from Renee or from work.

At karaoke tonight I met a nutrition/dietitian student and she said I should use applesauce for the fat substitute in the ginger bread. Duh! I knew that. I have just been too boggled. That will keep them vegan. I am baking some tomorrow. And I don't have to bake a whole batch and waste it. Gingerbread is a dough that you can keep refrigerated and use later. Amber also says she makes her pretzels ahead of time and they keep well in a tightly covered container. ALSO I had taken toffee to work about two weeks ago and when I brought the remnants home just a couple of days ago it tasted great. It just had a little bloom on the chocolate, but that may be because our house is so cold. I'm trying to decide what shapes for gingerbread. I wish I had a star of David cutter. I can make some Christmas trees, some people and some circles or hearts. I also have autumn leaf cookie cutters I like to use for ginger bread and then just put sparkly sugar on, but I think it's too late for that by Holiday market.

I'm rambling because it's stinking late and I am exhausted. I will let you know how the gingerbread turns out tomorrow - pictures if it is good.

Friday, November 20, 2009


I have spent so much money today it's crazy. I bought food scales, a refirgerator thermometer, packaging for the pretzels, some ingredients. I can't even think what else. Sigh... I need to figure the checkbook and pay some bills too!

Having trouble finding molasses for my gingerbread cookies. They may have to be canceled from the sale. I was worried because they are so labor intensive, anyway. Instead of drop cookies, they need to be rolled and stamped and sugared or frosted.... Sam's has a one gallon molasses on the website, but it says it's not available in our store. I should see if it is in Lafayette.

I talked to Amber about baking/ business tonight and she sent me a recipe to make my own caramel for the pretzels! That will save a lot of money. She says it's better too. Yay.

I'm exhausted. I think I don't even want to go see if it's my turn in Scrabble.

Tonight's culinary adventures...

Pretzels dipped in caramel and then milk chocolate. These are pretty labor intensive. I didn't realize it.
just another shot. I was going to drizzle with white chocolate and then for some reason (fatigue, ya think?) I couldn't remember how to do it. I sat there just thinking "this chocolate won't drizzle." After I finished taking pictures of naked pretzels, I remembered, Oh! Duh! I always put in in a bag and squeeze it on.... I don't know where my brain was.
Dipped pretzels with carnival sprinkles! Good for any occasion.
Butterscotch brownies. I made these with the flour that I don't like in the cookies and it was good in these. I overbaked a little because I was doing too many things at once, so the edges stayed in the pan!
Yum! With pecans too! I am taking these to the orchestra chili supper tomorrow night.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Up late

I took the new med to help me sleep and I was in a fog all day. No more of that! When I got home I slept until almost 9:00 , I think. I committed to baking cookie for a bake sale at work tomorrow so I had to get up and do it. Now I still have to package them and then get my butt to bed!

I am still not happy with the cookie results from the local flour. She calls it a "pastry flour," but I just don't think the grind is fine enough for my tastes. I have made cookies with it twice and they have turned out to be thin cookies, instead of the fat chewy ones I like. I tried additional flour and oats tonight and I still didn't like them. I want to get a good batch of cookies to figure out the correct ratios and also to get pictures up before Holiday Market. I don't even like the way these look. I may have to go back to retail flour for these cookies and try to find another recipe that is good for the local flour. I wonder if the beer bread recipe would take it. Maybe I will make that tomorrow.

I just had the Dove chocolate party and now I am having a jewelry party for Heather, who is selling Lia Sophia. People are going to think I am inviting them over just to get free stuff, but I really just like having people over to the house, and why not help a friend or sister get started in their business at the same time? Lots of people are helping and supporting me in my ambitions too!

Well I bet the cookies are cool enough to bag up so good night!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

20 MInutes

I did 20 minutes of movement all at once tonight. The way I have been lately I feel accomplished. I have been doing 20 minutes some days, but dividing it into two ten minute increments. I also worked on the yard on Sunday cutting and toting wood. I want to get my arms back!

I added some more names to my email list and sent a second round of the email tonight. I have one advance order. Woo. I started a Facebook page where people can be a fan. I have posted some pictures on there. When I get pictures of all the products I am offering at Holiday Market I will send another email with photos attached.

I went to the dr. today. I told him all my stress and the sleep troubles and blah, blah, blah... He talked about how if I don't sleep it will mess up my cortisol, which messes up the way my body uses insulin even more. That is Type II Diabetes. Your body produces insulin, but does not use it properly - insulin resistance. So first goal is to get me sleeping better. Also, one of the meds we had reduced we are going to go back to the larger dose and he thinks it will get me off this plateau which has become a four pound gain. Sigh...

I need to go wash dishes and then make toffee and take pictures and then wash dishes again. I have a midnight goal tonight and I am going to stop and go to bed no matter what is or isn't done. Eventually I am going to get myself back to nmy eleven o'clock bedtime.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Hope's Homemades 1st Email

Some of you have probably received this already!

I have already had a few kicked back as bad addressees AND I have already remembered some people I should put on the list. I wish I could afford an IT Department and an accountant and oh, maybe to start a business at all. Who knows? I may fizzle after holiday Market. I may be a fantastic hit. We'll just wait and see and try to be optimistic for now.

I am also afraid it will go to spam filters because I sent it as a bulk email.

I baked more focaccia bread tonight.

My friend Kim posted a pumpkin muffin with butterscotch chips recipe a couple of days ago. I made it tonight only doubled it, whole wheat flower and ground flaxmeal for half the flower and made it in a bundt pan. It looks and smells amazing I haven't tasted it yet - a little piece might happen to pull off when I take it out of the pan...

Hello Friends, Family, Taste Testers and Everybody Else!

You have been included in this group because either you signed up for it, you have helped test my products over the years and expressed pleasure, you have been with me in some important part of this journey and been supportive, or you are my family and therefore obligated to at least feign interest in my attempt at starting a business!

Hope's Homemades is much closer to reality. After small business development classes, food safety classes and ServeSafe certification (I am 97% sure how to kill you if I want!), a lot of sampling, trying new ingredients, and taking treats to work, all while trying to lose weight of course, a REAL SALE APPROACHES!

Hope's Homemades, as part of the Bloomington Kitchen Incubator, will have goods for sale at the Holiday Market, Saturday, November 28th. 10:00 am - 3:00 pm. Holiday Market takes place in the Showers Plaza - along with the Farmer's Market. BKI will have a table in the area with the crafts and art vendors.

Currently Hope's Homemades is functioning as a Home Based Vendor as allowed under Indiana Law. What does that mean? It means all my foods must be labeled "This product is home produced and processed and the production area has not been inspected by the State Department of Health." The law also limits what types of foods I am allowed to sell and where I am allowed to sell them - either Farmer's Markets or at Roadside Stands. Bad thing - NO CHEESECAKES. Good thing - Bloomington has a great Farmer's Market and a winter market and although it may not happen this year I am researching the requirements to become part of those markets. In moments of desperation I may pitch a tent in the yard. Bonus to living outside the city limits!

PRODUCTS I have planned for holiday market are:
Tuscan Spice Focaccia Bread (vegan)
Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
Gingerbread Cookies (vegan)
Toffee with chocolate topping
Dipped pretzel rods.

Pricing is yet to be set as I determine my packaging, labeling and costs - yikes! I promise to be as reasonable as possible.

As always I will try to use true, wholesome ingredients, locally obtained (not from Schenectedy over the internet) and locally produced if possible. I have found one locally produced whole wheat flour I love!! There will be no preservatives, no artificial flavors and no hydrogenated shortenings in any of my goods.

If you would like to place orders ahead of time, please email and let me know. I know that's kind of a silly thing to offer when I haven't yet priced the products. If I have many orders placed ahead of time, however, it may actually keep costs and prices lower. I will know how much to prepare and be able to prevent too many leftovers and waste - although Shalom Center and Community Kitchen would benefit if I DID over-bake.

If you know someone who may be interested, please forward this email to them and give my contact information. If you do not want to receive any additional emails from me (I can't imagine!) or if you would like me to use a different email address, please reply and let me know.

I look forward to receiving your orders. I will send pricing and package sizes and amounts as soon as determined and I look forward to seeing many of you at Holiday Market!

Hope Leeper
Hope's Homemades

I attached a flyer/sign I made for our last tasting event: (which now Blogger says it can't show pout!)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I pretty muched kicked today's ass...

... but then it kicked me back. I awakened headache-free at a pleasantly late hour. Had a hunk o' meat for breakfast. Then I did a few household tasks off and on the way I do. After a while I lay down and took a I-don't-know-how-many-hour-nap. Still feeling great at this point. So I went outside and started working on the yard. Sprayed the remaining Canada Thistle with the organic weed killer and cut wood, some by hand, some using the little electric saw my dad had given me. Still feeling good. Finished up a little later than planned so jumped in the car in yard working/ house working clothes to go get Michael from Ed's. I took a big glass of ginger ale and some snacks, having not eaten since this morning's hunk o' meat. Still felt fine. Once I got on the road safely I checked the VM. Heather said something about Mom taking Dad home from the nursing home... I didn't get the whole thing so I called back. What it was was that they had given her permission to take him for a drive in the car, but she was not to try to transfer him out of the car. I guess what they did was drive home and sit in front of the house for an extended period. I called Heather again and she was at their house and said Mom still hadn't come back. I called the nursing home and checked with the nurse and she reported that they had returned safely, had some visitors, Dad was in a good mood and not complaining of headache or pain. YAY! I guess a trip home was a good idea, even if he couldn't go inside. Maybe sitting there looking at those four stairs up to the porch and the one more over the threshold will make him realize he needs to accomplish a lot in therapy to get there! Heather is staying until tomorrow and she is going to talk to the Social Worker and Therapists. We can't get any information out of mom.

Bad thing is, whether from the scent of the weed killer (Clove oil based), the worry that they had not contacted Heather after returning to the nursing home, or having to call the nurse, the guy with the screwdriver started stabbing me in the left eye and the right side of the head. After a nice day with no pain killers I was instantly physically miserable. I guess this makes it pretty obvious it is stress-related. Sigh. I'm pretty sure I will have to be drugged to sleep tonight and make it to work tomorrow, but it is happening very soon - definitely before midnight tonight. All I have left to do is take my night-time meds and wipe where I sprayed some cleaned in the tub - I probably shouldn't have done that with the head hurting already, duh.

Good night.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


I made a very long list of items to accomplish today - a long list even for me! My main goal, however, is to get enough rest so that my headache goes away. It has been nagging at me for four or five days. It has never made me non-functional, but miserable in general. I made the long list, but I am going with the idea that it is a wish list and if a nap or a certain food that will make me feel better supercedes items on the list so be it.

Here's a short report on the week of non-blogging:
Constant headache or hip pain.
One visit to chiropractor - helped both
Heather visiting while on her vacation
A couple of good meals cooked and consumed
Heather was helpful because I didn't feel well
A coworker - Gina - gave me a beautiful bouquet of flowers because I told her it was a rough week.
Chocolate party, not as many people as I would have liked, and a little too "salesy" but still pleasant.
Work, busy, yet sort of fulfilling, despite physical discomfort. I like feeling when I "earn my keep."
Food and exercise, too much, not enough. I have gained back a little and am going to get back on the wagon.
Business: went to restaurant supply store to research packaging. Decided on foil trays with plastic dome lids for cookies. Foil is recyclable in our community, the plastic is not, so better than all plastic "clamshells," less expensive, too. Decided I want to sell breads in flat paper bags and guy is searching for them for me. Now I just need money to buy them. Focaccia bread with the locally grown flour is AMAZING - cookies with the golden wheat berry flour - eh. Will try again.
Crafts/art and reading - none accomplished this week. I did listen to good music a lot, however.
Cleaning out - took an entire carload of stuff to Unity Church "Circulation Day." Very happy about that. Also Heather helped me go through my closet last night and pull out many items that are too big that I loved and hadn't had the heart to part with yet. A lot of times she would grab the back and say, "I am holding six inches of fabric here. It's too much to even get altered." She took them all away this morning to a charity where they give clothes to women trying to rebuild lives and start careers. Most of what we sorted out last night was the nicer, dressier stuff. It is much harder to get rid of than T-shirts, jeans and knit shirts!

My first items on my list are "fill pill case" and take medicine. Those are a necessity and must be done soon, so I am off to start the day (at 11:00 - see, I slept extra already!). I will try to return and report!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Not blogging daily.

I'll get back to it soon.

Tonight I am baking a pound cake to use as a dipper for chocolate fondue tomorrow. I'm having a chocolate party tomorrow. I am excited. I hope people come.

I'll report back!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

That little rattle under the car...

It's a good thing I decided it was worth taking in and having it put up on the lift. Chris had looked under it and said he thought it would need a whole new exhaust, but he wasn't able to really raise it up and also based that on putting his hand on the exhaust pipe and not feeling any pressure coming out at all. That little rattle, that little rattle, that little rattle I'd hear every once in a while above the chugging... when it was up on the lift the guy was able to see that the "flex pipe" was almost rusted through, and if it goes all the way and hits the road you become one of those cars that throw a bunch of sparks until it rips off and you leave the muffler and pipes lying on the highway! It was $143 to get it fixed. I balanced the checkbook and I had $130 BUT there is a check out that Ben swears he already cashed, so unless Ben is wrong and finds the check and cashes it I am okay. Please, please, please however, let the child support be deposited on time! We are eating what we have in the house this week! At least I can bake bread if all else fails! It's just lack of fresh veggies that will make Michael crazy.

Made more focaccia bread tonight with the locally grown flour. AND found that Eric still has the scales from when he owned the pizza restaurant that he will let me use for weighing ingredients and for packaging. So things look grim in some ways and great in others. I have to have money to buy the higher amount of flour and the containers and labels to make my labels and and and... sigh. Yep. I think I still agree with the crazy verdict!

Monday, November 9, 2009


I put bed by 11:00 on my list tonight and I don't think I will make it.

It's just been a regular Monday. I did make a nice meatloaf for dinner. Heather is here visiting while she is on her vacation so it is nice to have someone to eat meat with me!

After cleaning out Mom's cabinet the other night I am inspired to take care of my own. I actually already have "Get rid of foods we will never eat" on my master list already. I am starting with the spices. I have repeats of too many, but I also have Tupperware spice containers that have been emptied and never refilled so I can consolidate. Those are in the sink waiting for me to wash them right now. THEN I get to fill them and label them with my label maker! Yay!

Joyce is the Ace typist at work, but she is also one of the staff who took over the Public Notices job after I went back to regular classifieds. The other Public Notices Clerk is Pam and she is on vacation this week. I typed a few letters to the editor today to help Joyce. People are nuts and write the strangest letters to the editor. James Alexander Thom, the novelist, lives here and he often writes letters about political issues. I typed one of his today. I can't remember what it said, but it seemed a little "Off the Wall" to me!

Well, I am going to go work on spice containers! Yippee!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

One more trip....

The visit at the nursing home was not so pleasant nor as unpleasant today either, just boring. Dad started out in PT, but it made him tired and headachey. After that we just kind of sat around and did nothing and didn't even talk. I even lay down on a couch and slept for a little bit.

Then we took off (It was Michael, Heather and me) and went to the house. Heather and I worked on the kitchen. I cleaned out one corner of cupboards and threw out all the old expired food. Some of it was from 2002... Heather worked on cleaning off the table and got that all finished and then worked on the floors. I washed the dishes - there weren't really too many- and knocked down some cobwebs ( I need to do that here!) and washed some cabinet fronts. Everything looked a lot better when we were done.

Brother Chris came and looked at my car and said it probably needs not just a new muffler, but the whole exhaust system..... so I have a $225 speeding ticket, a new muffler, a house that needs repairs and I don't have any clothes that fit. I also have to pay $100 out of pocket to my dr. every month and blah, blah, blah... and somehow I think I am going to start a new business? WTF? Something is wrong with me.

I decided I need counseling for "stress management" I called our insurance company and we get four sessions free each year so I figure if I start now I can use this year's four sessions and next years four sessions maybe every other week and have counseling for four months and maybe it will help me make it through all this and the holidays without losing my mind and hurting anybody.

I am back to Dr. Karin in the morning. I also took a chair cushion from Mom's house and used it on the way home and I think the driving hurt my hips less.

I'm not in danger physically/psychologically in THAT way, I am just afraid that the stress and pain will make it so I will get very ill again like when I go that pneumonia and then the flu a couple weeks later. I am back on a commission/"spiff" structure right now so if I miss work time I get paid time off, but lose on those bonuses, so I can't afford it. Sucky.

Okay, off to go a little more and then bet ready for bed.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Oh My!

Hysterical call from mother about 11:15, a trip to Lafayette, meeting with Social Worker, nurses, dealing with Dad who ANGRY. I think we're settled for now. I will probably still go up Sunday unless I am having my own nervous breakdown. I am very much on the edge mentally. Last night when I was so tired It took me over two hours to fall into a nightmare filled sleep. Physical discomfort with the hip, and the car is the worst thing for it. Going back to Dr. Karin tomorrow for some more work.

I was saving my massage until I hit 180, but that may never happen with all this stress. I may need to go ahead and get it now as a self- care act, and not a reward. It's just so damned expensive!

All I am going to do now is feed the fish, take my medicine, refill my pill case and then SLEEP, even if it takes a load of tranquilizers to get to sleep.

It's too late, baby, well it's too late

though I really did try to make it.

I am tired and I'm and I'm gonna go to bed. I'd like to blog, but I just can't take it.... Oooohh -ooh.

I went to Dr. Karin today and she worked on me. My entire left side is a mess as usual. I was not in as much pain today as yesterday. Part of that is probably the narcotics I took last night. Part is probably the arnica salve.

Going to go rub more salve on my butt and go to bed, Fred!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Randomness in Photos...

In Illinois, along a state highway. On the way there we took the odd roads through small towns.
These pictures are all in really random order!
Halloween night. You might think it sad that Scott is teasing Hobbes with the ball, but what is really sad is that there was actually a hamster inside, although I promise no hamsters, dogs, nor boyfriends were harmed in the making of this picture.
Hobbes, Sweet Hobbes. He has special needs and physical challenges.
We'll see if Emily and Scott are really up to it.
Marci's son Joey. Marci thinks that the cars came from some kind of exchange she did with my brother Chris 25-30 years ago!
Joey is VERY smart and cute!
A miracle. Shawn swept.
A magic broom...
Gillian cast a spell on it. That's my messy desk in the background.
A field of windmills, Benton County, Indiana.
We had elk for dinner.
Whole-grain elk pasta from IKEA - cute, but the shape doesn't cook up well so it was only mediocre.
Severo's memorial.
After I took this picture I kind of put the white cross on the right back in place sos it would look better.

Gorgeous - good trip.