Archive for December, 2008

Another Snow Day…

Well they were forcasting 9-14 inches-but I think we got lucky with just over 6? At least at our house…They closed schools for the impending storm that started at like 10ish this a.m. I had decided to go down to the store but first I had to stop at Walmart and the bank. Well I went into Walmart to NO snow and came out to a parking lot covered. My groceries got all wet-I really don’t like that when it happens. I went to my store area-didn’t stay long as it was really coming down. Well wouldn’t you know it when I left I slid down the driveway as it is its own little hill and hit the wall of railroad ties. I had lived there for 11 years just about with NO incident…I didn’t cry, I actually laughed-and the damage isn’t as bad as I envisioned-so I stopped at the movie place-and then off to home. The drive that usually takes like 7 minutes turned into 25. I hate skidding and I seemed to do that all the way up the “hill” that goes to our home. So after putting away all the groceries I started to stir up my sugar cookies. I did 2 batches this time as the last single batch was gone within 2 days. It is my Grandma Ryan’s recipe that I have made for the last 19 years…it is something about the cookie itself and the frosting that makes a great combination, and it is one recipe the family looks forward to every year. I also make press cookies-another favorite. So now after hours of baking, my feet are hurting…I am done for today. Tomorrow after Abbey’s last volleyball game I will cut out the sugar cookies, and start all over again. Who doesn’t love a good snow day? I know I do. I hope you are all enjoying your time with your family and friends and are ready for the holidays that are upon us.
Yesterday I spent all day shopping, which isn’t my favorite thing to do. But I am almost done with my shopping and content with the sales I found, and the deals that were out there.
Have a great weekend, if I don’t post before, but you never know, I may just be back soon.


GOALS~I Will Share Mine, if….

Goals…Do you have them? I am not sure why but every year since I started my business(es) come December I am already trying to think what the coming years goals will be. Last year my goal was to build my businesses. I am happy to say I reached that goal by doubling last years sales in October/November of this year. I honestly couldn’t believe it when I first saw the figures and believe me I am by no means living the high life…lol…but it was exciting in an economy that is struggling to see that my sales had more than doubled. Now you wonder what are next years goals? Well I haven’t totally mapped them out yet but one thing I know for sure is my #1 goal is to double this years sales in 2009. I would like to work smarter, not harder to accomplish a bigger business. Another goal I have been working toward is to have at least 1 store per state that is ordering from me either monthly or every few weeks.
I sat down the other night and started mapping out how many stores I have in each state that I do have. Then I have to look at those stores and see who is actually repeating their business on a consistent basis and who possibly ordered once and hasn’t since. I need to get post cards out to stores in the areas that I haven’t had orders from. See if I can’t add more stores to the line up of states I currently have. Eventually I would like a directory of where people can find the candles that I make.
So those are just a few of the goals I have in mind. What are your goals? I would love you to post a comment on this post letting me know your goals. Sometimes when business people get together and express their hopes, dreams, desires & yes GOALS…you not only hold yourself accountable to someone else-but you make a realization on where you would like to be headed AND you can look back at this post next year in the archives and say YES that was what I said and I DID IT….
I look forward to hearing from you and to share in your GOALS for 2009…

Our First “Big” Snow Storm

Although I live in NY I have grown to dread the winter. Don’t get me wrong~I don’t want to live in the hot, humid climates, just a middle of the road temperature area. But I have to say that when we have our first big snow, it is beautiful, until the dirt and ice take over. Yesterday they were calling for 1-4 inches, then it changed to 3-5, by evening they were saying 5-8 with more in the higher elevations. Since moving we are some of the “higher” elevation people. I am not sure how much we ended up getting-but the snow flakes were like little balls last night, and the wind was almost non-existent so it was a sight to be seen. This morning I woke up to Roger saying “Watkins Glen” schools are closed, along with quite a few others. All after-school activities yesterday had been canceled with the announcement lady saying “you cannot stay at school, go home, go straight home”….which for some reason when I heard her from my car gave me a little chuckle as it hadn’t even started snowing yet. By 5pm I was glad they had canceled all activities as I was safe at home watching the storm unfold. So today I haven’t went anywhere. The boys are getting ready to go out of town with my Dad and brother for muzzleloader, but otherwise I don’t for-see me having to go out today. I have included 2 pictures from our front yard.
If I had boots (you would think I would invest in a pair for weather such as this), I would go out and try to build a snowman. We always did that as kids with the help of my Dad when the balls got too big to set up on top of each other. One year ours was so big he was taller than any of us, even our father. But for now I will just watch as the snow lightly still comes down and be happy in my warm, dry home.
1st Snow StormTree Near Front Porch

Evoking Memories….

Have you ever been doing something and it brings back a memory? Not only in my personal life, but my business life this seems to happen frequently. The reason being for this is I pour candles. Every time (just about) while I am pouring a candle it brings back a memory. Some scents are pleasant memories while others bring that feeling of “ohh why does that scent make me think of that”. Some of examples of this are when I pour Sugar Cookie-it takes me back to baking cookies with my Grandma Ryan. She baked for a living at the local college. She may have spent all week making hundreds of cookies for the students-but didn’t think a thing of it to come home and bake all day with her grandchildren. She is not able to bake anymore but I was lucky enough to learn her baking secrets. Or there is the smell of lilacs~that takes me back to being a kid playing in the back yard, always taking time to smell the beautiful blooms. Or the smell of Fresh Cut Grass, some wouldn’t probably think that is a great candle scent. But if you close your eyes while burning it, it might just take you back to a summer’s day while rolling around the yard playing your heart out. (no, I don’t roll around in the yard anymore, just in case you were wondering.) Then there are scents like Vanilla Bean, Cinnamon Buns, Gingersnap Cookies, Amish Carrot Cake and Vanilla Hazelnut-those are the FIRST scents I started with in my candle business. I remember being nervous, not sure anyone would purchase my candles, and then to see how far I have come. So those scents stay in my line up as they hold a special place in my heart.
I feel burning candles can be theraputic, the warm glow of the flame, the scent that goes throughout the room. I myself enjoy burning what I know is a clean-burning candle.
We offer over 100 scents, one sure to evoke a memory or 2. Check us out when you have a chance at Country Keepsakes

8oz Soybean Candle

8oz Soybean Candle

Family Tradition~Christmas Tree Shopping

Every year the Sunday after Christmas my WHOLE family convoys to a Tree Farm. In years past we went to McDonald’s Tree farm outside of Savona NY. Kinda near Corning NY (Glassworks Country). We started the tradition when all 3 of us kids lived in Corning as kids with our parents. Back then Mom would make Christmas cookies and hot cocoa and we would get in our vehicle and go to McDonald’s Tree farm to cut our own tree. I am not sure when it started but we started getting Concolor Trees. These have long needles and when cut smell just like an orange. I know we started getting them before I was in the 4th grade as when we moved to the Buffalo area in early 1980’s it was tough to find a concolor and if you did they were over $50. Each year we went to that same place after we moved back to the area.

Concolor Needles

Concolor Needles

As we started getting married we would bring our spouses to the same place; we started with 1 vehicle, and now we convoy 4 vehicles to pick out our 4 trees. We also usually meet for breakfast beforehand. I am the oldest of the 3 of us, and we are all married and between the 3 of us have 8 children ranging in ages from 18 down to 7. Now the oldest grandchild has a boyfriend and she brought him along for the tradition.

I am thankful for such a close family and something we can rely on as a tradition. Below you will see the picture of our tree-the lights make it look bright…but you will get the idea.

christmastree082Lastly I am going to include one of my newer “favorite” Christmas songs, but I could only find it on YouTube sung by a very talented 9 year old…

Happy Holidays!

I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.

Black Friday~Yikes

I am thinking this has been the year to try new things or do something I haven’t done before. In the past I told people “you will NEVER catch me out on Black Friday”. For one it just isn’t my thing on a normal day to enjoy shopping. Two, that is awful early to get up…lol. Well I have a younger sister, and a Mom. They both wanted me to join them this year in this adventure. Being so busy with my business I haven’t really taken time to think about much else. Part of me dreaded it, but part of me longed to just enjoy spending some time with them both. So I agreed. I did take a week to think about it…and I am glad that I went.

My Mom showed up at our house at about 5. Melissa was due there any minute but had stopped at Dunkin Donuts for coffees. So she arrived about 5:15a.m. and off we ventured. The “mall” area is about 15-20 minutes away. When we got there I couldn’t believe the traffic. I mean I knew there would be a lot but in the dark the headlights were amazing. So I clicked a picture with my cell phone that I will include with this post.  We went by our Target which wasn’t opening until 6 and the line to get in was from the front door to the END of the parking lot. I wished I had gotten a picture of that. My niece who is 18 is working at Kohls. They opened at 4. Could you imagine? She had to be there at a little before 4. Then they put her on cash register which she really hadn’t been trained for. How is that effective? So anyways. I saw some good deals but NOT good enough to stand in the lines. Our Toys R Us had over 1 hour wait to get checked out. The line was like a snake going throughout the store. People were blocking the things to look at~and when I went to want to “get out”…they had all the aisle’s blocked…I said to my sister “I would really like to call the Fire Marshall” and see if this is legal”…but I didn’t….as we were able to get out without a scratch.  After a lot of lines, people and stores I was home by 3…and took a rest. We enjoyed our Mother/Daughter time together and as I got our of my sister’s van I said “Lets mark our calendars for next year”… after all it wasn’t so bad.

I have included a picture of the traffic for you to get an idea of what it looked like.

Black Friday Traffic

Black Friday Traffic

Catching Up~Thanksgiving 2008

Finally, a chance to catch up on my blogging. I am going to start with Thanksgiving and go from there.

This year was my FIRST attempt at Thanksgiving Dinner. You see every other year our Thanksgiving consists of my family of 5 and my parents. Well this year Roger got it in his head that we would host Thanksgiving for my parents. I was a little uptight as the business has been booming with a lot of long days, hours etc. But I am always up for some type of challenge, so I took it.

We had a 14 pound turkey and decided it would be best to roast it in a bag in our oven since we were new at this. Roger made his Mother’s homemade stuffing, and we did mashed potatoes, homemade gravy, Pistachio Salad (pudding, cool whip, fruit cocktail, pineapple, marschino cherrys), homemade rolls, cranberry sauce (2 kinds), squash, peas, & corn. My Mom brought a Sweet Potato Dish, and Pies.

I got up early on Thanksgiving Day-got the rolls ready, made my salad, cleaned and then got the turkey ready. I guess I haven’t ever fiddled with a turkey as I couldn’t find the neck-and then realized~ I was looking in the wrong end….Rog went hunting in the morning and the boys had been away a few days with my father and brother. So it was just Abbey and I at home with the dogs and she was still asleep. Once I got the bird in the oven I was able to relax…and I was even more pleased when I pulled that bird out of the oven and he looked just like a picture and tasted even better. Everyone was pleased which was even better. So after it was all over I was happy despite being uptight that 1) I had went through with it and 2) it worked out just fine. I also enjoyed the time with my family~for which I am very Thankful for.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving