Friday, May 30, 2008

This week nearly killed me

Whew. What a crazy week this was. I could begin by listing every single thing that happened, but frankly, I'm too tired.

I will post each thing individually over the next week. A little teaser is that I created a new pretzel, finished the vera bradley basket, which I think turned out very cute, and picked up some new clients...all very exciting in their own right.

I had hoped to take today off and spend the day playing with the kidlings, but I ended up in the car all morning delivering all these orders, and now I'm catching up on much needed laundry. Perhaps tomorrow I can sit down? Hahahaha. That's a good one.

I should actually clarify that, because as my husband said last night, "You sat down to eat." SO, technically, I have sat down today, I mean, I sat down while driving of course, and I'm sitting now while typing. So, I should stop whining and be grateful I sat that much, right?

But, I'm going to be picky and suggest that maybe sitting with absolutely no agenda would be kind of nice for a change too.

With that, I will now get back to my house cleaning chores. Laundry actually seems relaxing after the week we've had around here. Now that IS odd.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

New post for a change

I will be posting some time today or tomorrow with an actual post. I feel bad that the three people who actually read this blog have had to see the same post over and over for a week now.

It's been a seriously busy week for some reason. I can't even comprehend all that is going on, but will update shortly.

I'm currently finishing up orders for Hallmark, Plumtickled, Literacy Speaks, and the Vera Bradley Basket.

Last day of school for Joshua and miscellaneous other household/health appointments mixed in have made for a crazier than usual week.

Check back soon for riveting details...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Contemplating Change

A big portion of my thoughts lately have been taken up by my health challenges. These, at first glance, seem to have nothing to do with this blog. However, when I started this blog it was a way to share my day to day struggles and joys of raising two kids while running a growing business.

To be a stay at home mom you need energy and strength. To be a business owner, you need energy and strength. So, you can imagine that as a stay at home mommy business owner, I need twice as much energy and strength. Neither of which is very abundant right now.

So, my urges have been to keep writing about my health and what I'm doing to get it back. But, I do recognize that not all of you come here for that reason. This is why I am considering starting a second blog dedicated solely to my health issues and the battle that I am waging to figure it all out.

On the right hand side of this post I have placed a poll. Please vote in it honestly and let me know if you think I should create a separate blog, or if you like reading about all my struggles and, kids and all.

These polls are 100% anonymous, and I have no way of knowing who voted or how many times one person voted, so please, don't be shy.

Thanks for all of your support through this, and hopefully soon I'll be back to my old high energy self. But, for now, I am tired and run down, and desperate for cheesecake... :)

Friday, May 23, 2008


With a lot of my posts lately I've been referring to specific foods that are helping me deal with this new way of eating. I thought that by eliminating dairy/wheat/sugar and soy that I'd be limited on tasty options, but surprisingly they are everywhere these days.

Case in point: Larabars are these amazing little snack bars that come in a gazillion fancy flavors.
Peanut Butter Cookie: Peanuts, dates, salt

Coconut Cream Pie: Dates, unsweetened coconut, almonds, cashews, coconut oil

Pecan Pie: Dates, pecans, almonds

Key Lime Pie: Dates, cashews almonds, unsweetened coconut, lime juice

Ginger Snap: Dates, almonds, pecans, ginger, cinnamon, cloves

Banana Cookie: Dates, almonds, unsweetened bananas

Cashew Cookie: Cashews, dates

Cinnamon Roll: Dates, walnuts, almonds, raisins, cashews, cinnamon
to name just a few.

According to the company's site, each bar is:

Each bar contains approximately 5 grams of protein, and around 200 calories. I pack them in my purse and car to make sure they are always handy for that sudden attack of fast food cravings. They are very filling despite how small they are, and I'm truly surprised at how different the flavors can be, given that they all pretty much have the same ingredients.

My favorite bars so far are the Key Lime Pie, and the Cashew Cookie. Something about them makes you feel like you're eating a brownie. The texture is so rich and chewy. A very satisfying sweetness, with just the right texture.

At around $1.50 to $1.70 each, they can eat the budget a bit, but are certainly cheaper than my big mac with extra sauce and small fry, and leave you without all the guilt and gas.

I found mine at the Health Food Shoppe, and at 3 Rivers Food Co-op, but I believe Kroger carries them, and perhaps other stores as well. I have not seen them at Walmart yet, which does not surprise me.

Out of all the protein/snack bars out there that I've tried, these get a 5 star out 5 rating. Dates may not be your thing, but you'll never know it once you've taken a bite out of these bad boys.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Coming soon...

Four Hallmark stores in the Fort Wayne area will soon be carrying not only our 2 oz. and 6 oz. pretzels, but also our pretzel bark and the caramel marshmallows.

I'm very excited about this and can't wait to see how they do. It will be strange to walk into the stores and see all of my product, and I'm curious as to how they are going to merchandise them.

If you're in the area, stop by the Hallmark locations at Dupont Village, St. Joe Village, Northcrest Shopping Center and Apple Glen for a peak.

Of course now this means my holiday weekend will be more like a working weekend, but that's okay. Working with chocolate isn't really work, is it?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ciao Bella!

Thanks to my no dairy and no wheat mantra these days, I have discovered several frozen concoctions to get me through my sweet tooth.

This one is called Cioa Bella and is the Blood Orange flavor. It is a fat free gelato and I can't believe how tasty it is.

The ingredients are basic, which I love. Blood Orange juice. Orange Juice. Sugar. That's it.

The texture is similar to sherbet, but maybe a little less creamy. The taste actually reminds me of grapefruit. Very sweet, but with a sour, citrusy note.

For those keeping track at home, there is sugar in this, which I am not supposed to have. I save this for my "cheat days" and for when it's this or a box of oreos. I think the Ciao Bella is the safest bet when faced with that decision!

I can't wait for the weather to actually get warm. This will be a nice, gluten free, dairy free treat.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Thinking outside the cow

As you know, I have eliminated dairy (among other things). I am at 9 days and counting!!

I am happy to say that I have found a substitute for pretty much everything that I used to love diary-wise.

Ice cream=Rice Dream
Milk=Rice milk
Cheese=Rice cheese slices
Butter=Earth Balance

But, since most sour cream alternatives are soy based, a no no for my thyroid, my beloved sour cream had eluded me....until Friday night.

I decided to tempt fate and have a Mexican dinner on Friday. My former self would have said, "May I please have some taco and beef for my sour cream and cheese pile?" But, my new self, made a heaping portion of freshly made guacamole with tons of fresh cilantro, garlic, onions and a little lemon and lime juice, and lot of chopped lettuce, with my favorite Dave's Artichoke Salsa and organic corn taco shells, and bit of organic ground beef.

Out of curiosity I mixed some of my homemade mayo with a little bit of coconut milk and fresh lemon juice, and are you sitting? I created sour cream. A non dairy, non soy sour cream.

It was a bit on the runny side, but once it was on the taco, it blended so well with the rest of the ingredients that you didn't even care. The tacos were so fresh and tasty, I think I'll make Friday nights Mexican night at the Smiths from now on!

Sorry I don't have actual measurements for the Non dairy sour cream recipe, but when I figure it out, I'll post it.

Monday, May 19, 2008

First Impressions

When deciding to put DipSticks into stores, I never fully considered how they would be displayed.

My first location had their own basket, which fit nicely on their counter top. So, I decided a basket was the way to go for displaying the pretzels in all the stores. For the next few stores, that idea worked well. They had the counter space and the look fit with the store. I wasn't entirely happy with the basket idea, because it seemed to display the raffia ties more than the pretzels themselves, but it worked for what we needed at the time.

However, some other stores wanted to use their own containers. Some used glass jars, others used large wicker baskets that fit their store's theme. I was okay with that. After all, I didn't have to worry about where to get the container.

But, now that I've been thinking a lot about branding, and getting into more chain stores, I realize I probably should have a common "look" for my displays.

This is harder than it seems. Every store is unique. Not all stores have equal counter space to fit a large display. Especially one from a new vendor who may or may not tank in their stores. They don't want to give up valuable display area to a no namer like me.

I can offer a variety of options, but even that can be a hassle on my end. Most catalogs have pictures of displays with quantity pricing, but until you actually get that item in front of you and arrange your product on it, you can't tell if it's going to work.

Pay shipping charges and cost for each of these sample displays, and pretty soon you have a nice chunk of money wrapped up in something that may not even work.

Right now we're leaning towards a metal stand with hooks that the pretzels and marshmallows can hang from, thanks to my new client The Surface. They had a few extra lying around, and hung the pretzels from the raffia ribbon. They looked great, and could be arranged in a fairly small area, and split into groups to move around to different spots in the store. That idea I love, because they do that at Hallmark, and it gives a cross promotion effect that helps that store sell the most pretzels.

But what about when we add the pretzel bark or caramel apples? Maybe we should cross that bridge when we get to it, but it is something to think about.

Some of my competitors use large plastic bins with dividers in them, but I've been told they are too large to fit in most places.

Of course nothing is ever set in stone. Coke and Pepsi are still tinkering with their image. Change is good, and no matter what display I choose now, it can always be reformulated as we deem it necessary.

Do you have opinions on what kind of displays you like to see in stores? Do you own a store and have an opinion on displays? Please let me know in the comments!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Dear Dairy

I haven't posted a Dear Dairy in awhile. Mostly because I fell off the wagon. Hard core.

Not only did I fall off the wagon, I rolled down the hill and landed in taco town where I bathed in a tub of sour cream and cheddar cheese. I stayed there a good 72 hours before I came to and moved on over to chocolateville, and commenced to dip my feet and soak my soul for the rest of the week.

Ahh cravings...they are a bitch.

But, here I am, like a warrior in a battle to the death. Ready to conquer my health issues once and for all.

With much research on adrenals, hashimotos, hypoglycemia and candida under my belt, I have a much clearer view of what is going on. I've met a few new friends along the way thanks to blogs, and people who read mine. This internet thing has potential.

I have gone completely dairy, wheat, sugar and caffeine free since Monday and am doing great. I have decided to forego the cheat days until I've been doing this for a month or more. I'm just not strong enough after 6 days to indulge in sweets or cheesy gooey stuff, so better to just not even tempt myself.

I have however found some great recipes and new products that are, quite literally, saving my life.

A few I've really loved lately, besides those tasty tortillas I mentioned, are Earth Balance buttery spread. Thank you Jesus for creating people who could then create this product. It is better than butter, and costs the same. It can be used in any recipe as a substitute for butter. Amen.

Coconut Milk is great for things like mashed potatoes believe it or not, or tea, smoothies, that kind of thing. Kind of a calorie killer though, so don't over do it if you're trying to lose weight.

Nuts. Nuts are little miracles in my opinion. They come in such a great variety and are full of protein for a quick snack on the go. I recently found some at the health food shoppe that have 100% pure maple syrup on them. These are obviously not as healthy, and are higher in calories, but these will totally work as my new "cheat day" in which I eat things that are dairy/wheat/sugar free, but that are higher in calorie, or may be pushing it a bit on the sugar free end of things.

Avocado oil is my very favorite oil of all. It's a little pricey. I get it for about $9 for a little bottle, but you don't use a lot. I sprinkle it on my veggies for a buttery taste.

Herbs like basil, cilantro and dill are a must in my kitchen. I use dried a lot, but nothing beats fresh herbs to liven up any dish.

Lara bars, which I review later this week, are tasty little fruit and nut bars that a friend of mine introduced me to. She said they had pistachios and dates in them. And then I preceded to ask if there was soy, and she again said pistachios and dates. I said, what about dairy, because i can't have dairy. "Christy. There are two ingredients. Pistachios. Dates." Then I passed out and hit my head on the phone. But seriously, these bars come in a gazillion flavors, all with only 4 or 5 ingredients max. Very great for keeping hunger at bay when you're on the road.

Hazelnut rice milk. This is good plain, or added to my herbal tea. My kids are not so thrilled with it yet, but I'm working on it.

Rice dream ice cream, chocolate marble fudge to be exact. I don't know how they do it, and I don't want to know, but sweet bejeesus this stuff is awesome. I have to fight my kids for it, it's that good. Only in emergencies do I indulge in this, but just a spoon full does the trick.

English Toffee Stevia extract. This is delish in my tea with hazelnut rice milk. An all natural sweetener with no calories. Takes a little getting used to, but really helps when you desire something a little sweeter.

The weird thing about this particular time of eliminating the dairy and wheat is that I didn't have the withdrawals. I had a headache the first day, but that's it. Those bumps on my forehead that went away almost immediately before, that came back again as quickly once I added crap back into my diet, have not gone away this time. And this time I'm even giving up sugar and caffeine, which in their own right should have caused some kind of grief. (it should be noted that I also don't do soy because of my thyroid condition)

I also didn't have the energy surge that occurred on day three last time. But, instead, I've had a steady increase in energy and mood. I feel strong enough to get through this weekend. We're even going to a movie Saturday at a place known for it's crazy gourmet popcorn, and I plan to come prepared with my nuts and lara bar.

What are your favorite dairy/wheat/sugar alternatives? Let us know!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Still makes me nervous

I don't understand it. I have been selling these little pretzels o' mine for almost 5 years now, and every time I approach a new vendor I get nervous.

I picked up the phone today to dial a few numbers. I had a very small list of about 10 stores I wanted to contact. That first number always makes my stomach gurgle. If that one goes well, I'm usually good for the rest of the calls. But, today, almost every number I called I had to leave a message.

Either they were not there, or the manager was tied up at the moment, but not getting an actual answer can make it hard to be upbeat for the next call.

I think I did okay, but I have several to call back, and several to wait for calls from. One doesn't have air conditioning, and so chocolate isn't exactly a good fit right now. And two don't carry local products. Kind of a bummer, but it's a start.

I think the more places that carry the pretzels, the more they become recognizable.

I'm going to mail out some other packages Monday for some of the larger chains I mentioned. See, now that doesn't make me nervous.

Meal of the week: Chicken salad in Brown Rice Tortilla

Since beginning my dairy free/wheat free eating, I have experimented a lot with new things.

One of my very favorite finds are these Brown Rice Tortilla's made by Food for Life. They contain Brown rice flour, filtered water, tapioca flour, safflower oil, rice bran, vegetable gum and sea salt.

The best way to eat them though, in my opinion, is to use it as a wrap and toast it under the broiler. Flip it over so both sides get nice and crispy. Toasting it creates a nice crunchy texture that I love.

In this particular wrap I used homemade chicken salad. I made the mayo recipe and blended in fresh basil, pine nuts and cracked pepper. Then, I mixed in organic cooked chicken, celery, red onion, celery seed, celery salt and garlic powder. Before sealing the wrap I place a few sprigs of fresh basil and some slices of avocado.


The salad is basically a quickly thrown together way of getting my veggies. Organic romaine, carrots, celery and red onion with a sprinkling of my Annie's lemon and chive dressing, some flax seed oil, kelp flakes for my thyroid and some cracked pepper. It was very light and fresh. I ate it first to fill me up, so I ended up only eating half of the wrap to save for my snack in a few hours.

Food can be fun, and is very forgiving. Just start mixing things together and see what happens.

Healthy eating!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Save time with these adorable toothbrushes

I stuggle pretty much daily with getting the kids to brush their teeth. They won't do it themselves, nor will they let me without a huge fight, usually ending up with toothpaste in someone's eyes, ususally mine.

So, when I was at the store the other day I saw these adorable tooth brushes that play music while you brush, I thought I'd give them a try.

The best part of all was that they had a Mario Bros. one, and Joshua is 100% addicted to his Super Mario Nintendo Ds game. We've had to banish it to just a few hours on weekends, or else he'd be propping his eyes open with toothpicks to play it all day, every day.

And, they had a Thomas the Train one too, so I was able to kill two crazy birds with two, heavily licensed, toothbrushes.

The music isn't annoying actually, like you probably would think it is. In fact, when I push the button for the Thomas one, Jacob comes running as fast as he can. Then, he tells me to get Joshua's too and runs to give him his Mario one.
They are magically brushing their own teeth without me even asking.

Plus, you can turn the music off if you don't want it on the full two minutes it usually plays.

These are made by World Trend, and I got them at WalMart. I'm sure they are available everywhere where toothbrushes are sold...happy brushing!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Oh Baby!

Now that we have designed and implemented the new hang tags, I've been able to play around with them a bit.

My first attempt at something new, is for the baby pretzels that I make.

Some good friends of ours in New York had their first baby a few weeks ago, and I created a little pink tag with the baby's name, date and weight.

It's created to look like our usual tag, but if you look closely around the border, it says "100% Natural. Sugar & Spice, Everything Nice" instead of the ooey gooey hand dipped that is usually there.

This looks adorable with the pink and chocolate colors. I'm sure blue and chocolate will look good too.

I'm excited to do these for birthdays and other events. The hang tags have turned out to be an even better idea than I first thought.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Top Ten reasons to get an iPhone for your business.

My husband and I purchased iPhones back in November, and I practically sleep with mine now. No, seriously. I'm not kidding. My husband is jealous and threatening to leave me for his iPhone. On any given night we either have dueling laptop dates or tandem iPhone moments. So romantic.

But truly, they are unbelievably handy to have as a business owner, and I'm amazed that I made it that far without one.

I've compiled a short list of ten reasons to run out today to get yours...for a small business they are the perfect tool, and can even be installed with a program that can read your files from your laptop wirelessly, from anywhere. I'd totally do that, but it's another fee per month that just didn't seem as important as my starbucks tall two pump white mocha that is currently duking it out with a gallon of gas.

So, here they are in no specific order. If you have an iPhone and see a glaring omission, please let me know in the comments!

1. Check email while on the road, please refrain from attempting this while driving. Trust me, this is very tempting to do. It can only lead to disaster. Wait until red lights to check. The honking angry man behind you will let you know when it's time to go again.

2. Map button allows you to look up address for business or delivery locations. I've delivered pretzels several times to a location only to find out they moved, or that I had the wrong address. I was able to search the net for the new location without missing a beat.

3. Search internet for phone numbers and hours of operation for businesses. Good for when you have to pick a package up, or drop one off. Also very important when ordering sushi to go. You don't have to wait for the rolling, just pop in and grab. But, as is stated in number 1, eating sushi...not good while driving. I've also used this when in another city to look up where the nearest Thai restaurant is. I am not obsessed with food. Stop looking at me.

4. Check voice mail without anyone knowing with earphones in. This may sound trivial, but while on the treadmill at the gym, or in a waiting room, this can come in very handy.

5. Listen to music and still accept calls with the special iPhone earphones. If you enjoy exercising, or just listening to music while you work, this little gadget is indispensable. When a call is coming in the music dims and the phone starts ringing. (no one else can hear this) You click a button on your earphones and Viola! you can talk and work with headphones in. When the phone call is done, the music resumes.

6. Check weather in California or Texas, or anywhere in the world, before sending a package to determine if you need ice packs or not. If you're not sending a perishable item, you can skip this one. But it is nice to see what weather Paris is having when you're deep in the middle of the frozen Midwest. A girl can dream.

7. Keeps your outlook calendar synced for easy access. I have used this for doctor appointments as well as meetings.

8. Notes option allows you to jot things down easily if you don't have a pen and paper handy. I use this all the time. Mostly to write down cool songs from my Sirius radio that I've never heard before so that I can download them on iTunes later, but have also used it for business things like grocery items for DipSticks, or marketing ideas, phone numbers of sign companies, etc.

9. World Clock shows any time anywhere, if you need to make call to the west coast, but aren't sure what time it is, or use the timer function for keeping track of your schedule.

10. Take photos of ideas or products to review later. I've taken photos, while in Chicago at the Merchandise Mart, of booths to give me ideas on decorations. Or, I've taken pics of my displays at stores to have on record. Comes in handy when your child falls asleep while licking an ice cream cone too.

The one single downside to this thing is that it's not cheap. The first time you drop yours, it's like your life passing before your eyes, and you pick it up and hug it and then take it out to dinner to apologize.

Or is that just me?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mommy, watch me! Part II

Lord help me. I think Joshua is going through some kind of regressive growth stage. I noticed a few weeks ago that he was starting to ask me to watch him all the time. That's not a problem really, except that what he wanted me to watch were things like his foot being on the wall on this spot, and then hey watch, my foot is now on this other spot. Or him walking backwards. Or moving his finger in a circle in the air...What do you say to that?

I just nod my head and say "yeah, Joshua, that's great." I'm probably setting him up for huge failure when he grows up when he'll find out people don't really get that excited about normal body movements.

Then a few days ago he was mad that I wouldn't let him have ice cream for lunch. After ten minutes of a scream fest, he decided, okay, I'll have the chicken and mashed potatoes. However, he put my hand on the fork, and pointed to his mouth. He wanted me to feed him! Like.A.Baby.

That same day, Jacob was playing on the piano. It sounded a lot less like a car accident than usual, so I told him he was doing a good job. Joshua meanwhile, who was sitting on the potty to pee, says, "What about me Mommy? What about me?" Um...good peeing Joshua?

What's this about? How do I deal with this? Mark says it's a phase and that Joshua just wants attention. But what I don't understand is that I yell at Jacob pretty much all day, so why would Joshua think that's better than the way I treat him, which is usually quite the opposite of screaming, with giant hugs and kisses and lots of praise for bodily movements.

I am seriously confused....someone hold me.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Mother's Day

I sit down to type this post on Mother's Day. For those of you with children, I hope you are enjoying the day in any way you want.

I have heard women say that on Mother's Day they like to get away from their kids. A friend of mine once said, "It's MY day. Why would I want to be home?"

That really stung me, and I actually changed my view of that person after she said that. I feel like Mother's Day is a day to be with the ones who made you a mother. A day to be appreciated and to appreciate. I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to be the mother of two beautiful children, that to think of being away from them today is the last thing I would do.

In my house the rules change a bit on Mother's Day. I don't have to clean or change diapers, and my husband usually cooks and has some kind special treat in store for me.

That hasn't always been the case, however. On my very first Mother's Day ever, things went horribly wrong. I had Joshua in March, after a very stressful pregnancy that resulted in an emergency c-section 5 weeks too early. Mother's Day was just a few short months later and the trauma that I endured, not to mention the difficulty in getting him to latch on, and the insecurity of caring for a tiny 5 pound baby were fresh in my mind. So, I kind of looked forward to a good day of honoring me and all that I went through and a moment to bond over this beloved new being in our home.

First thing in the morning my husband handed me a card. I read the card, and it was "from" Joshua. It said things like "thanks for all the things you've done" and "I'll always remember" and other wording that sounded more from a college student than an 8 week old baby. Probably should not bother me, right? Then, by about 3:00 that afternoon, there was nothing else. No flowers, no nothing. (and please don't get me didn't need to be material items, he could've just told me to do nothing all day, or just offered to make me tea...any gesture like that is worth more than anything money can buy)

I know some of you are saying, "What's the big deal? My husband didn't even get me a card." But Mark has set the bar pretty high for himself. This is the guy who on my first birthday with him, took me to a park, dug holes in the ground to place candles in, and had a cake, champagne and flowers all in a big picnic basket. It was lovely, and he continued to out do himself each birthday, valentine's day and Christmas thereafter. So, on my first mother's day ever, it kind of seemed like a no brainer.

My mom and dad were coming over for dinner, but before they got there, we had a huge argument over this, and the card, resulting in the card being destroyed by my husband. (not our finest day, let me tell ya!) Of course then, I immediately started crying because even though that card did not fit the occasion, it was still the very first card I had ever gotten as a mother. (must have been the hormones)

He ran out and got me a new, more fitting card with Snoopy on the front, just in the nick of time for my parents to arrive. We made it through dinner, and the next following 5 years with only minor cuts and bruises.

I don't think I overreacted. I think Mother's work damn hard, with little to no acknowledgement sometimes, and if there's just one day out the whole year that we can have someone bow down to us and make us feel like queens, then I am going to take it. Mother's technically should get a whole month in my opinion.

Of course I will need to make Father's Day special for him too, he did have a little something to do with the whole baby making process after all.

But that's why Mother's Day comes first in the year, so you can do for them, how they do for you. If he forgets Mother's Day, you forget Father's Day, tit for tat.

Although, our first Father's Day, I actually did the opposite of what he did, and made a stepping stone with Joshua's foot and hand prints. I could have done what he did back to me out of spite, but it was more important to give him the kind of Father's Day I felt he deserved.

A story to remember, but hopefully one not to be repeated. So, enjoy your Mother's Day in any way you can, and make sure you take some time to remember what being a mother means.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Busy weekend

I have more pretzels to make today, so I won't be adding any major posts. Sorry to disappoint.

However, I have created a very cute hang tag for a baby pretzel that I'm dying to share. I will hopefully get time to take the picture and get it up online later.

Saturday we start Joshua in soccer, then I have a moms meeting, then to the shop for some cleaning for the Board of Health inspection (yippee!) and then to the Big Eyed Fish for dinner to celebrate Mother's Day with my mommy.

Apparently this place is awesome. They have a clown who walks around doing tricks and making balloon animals. It's sure to scare the crap out of Jacob, landing us back in our car for the long, whiny road home before we even order. Should be fun!

Mother's day is Sunday, and I seriously plan to do zilch. Tea. Chocolate. Book. My idea of a good time.

I am going to post about my very first mother's day though...check back cuz you will feel so thankful you weren't me on that husband should hide about now.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Is there a censor on my ass?

It's no wonder my adrenals have taken a crap. I just realized today that every single time my butt hits a flat surface, one child or both come running to me like a big flashing light just went off warning them that mommy isn't busy doing something for them.

Seriously. I walk aimlessly around the house putting away things that don't belong on the floor, looking at my growing behind in the mirror, getting juice or crackers for the kids, opening the frig and wishing candy grew in the ground so it could count as a vegetable...for hours.

But, as soon as I think of sitting down to work on something of great importance such as returning emails, searching distributors, counting how many posts about amy winehouse are on perez...ya know, essential tasks to life, I swear something happens.

I start to tap on my keyboard and instantly the little one is yanking on my shirt and saying something like help, spongebob, or maybe food, and try as I might to ignore him and keep typing, it's very difficult to type one handed, and the left arm of my shirts are three times too big now from all the pulling.

I need a break. I'm a stay at home mom raising two beautiful boys, and a wonderful business, but somedays, I feel like a better alternative is to sign up for front line duty in the war...I imagine I'd have more down time and far less stress.

Since I'm too old for the military, I better start searching for more plausible options. Like finally heading to that convent I've always dreamed of, or maybe being an intern for the president. I could definitely get some good naps in then...

The Butterfly Whisperer

I drove for Joshua's preschool field trip the other day. We went to the Botanical Gardens to see their butterfly exhibit. I didn't quite know what to expect from Joshua, he's not really big into bugs.

However, as soon as he saw one land on a flower, he instinctively put his finger gently under it's legs and the little guy hopped right on to his finger.

It kept coming back to him and it would stay there for a long time. He really seemed to enjoy it, so I have deemed him the Butterfly Whisperer.

He's looking forward to going back...who knows, maybe I can get a show on cable about a 5 year old butterfly prodigy. Any takers?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Up until now, the way I've gotten my product into stores has simply been to send them some. Nine times out of ten, they try the pretzels, and they are ready to carry them in the store.

There have been a few times when I've been asked about bar codes and displays, which left me doing some massive research on the internet. These were usually solved easily without me having to actually change things on my end, which was a relief.

But, the other day I contacted Borders to see about getting my product considered for their stores. I'm currently trying to get into a few national chains, in hopes of getting at least one, and I'd even take a few stores in one, not all the stores, if they were open to that.

Borders had a different approach to it than I'm used to however. Normally I get a response that gives me directions to follow. Some want you to submit product, others just want pictures. But Borders wants me to go through a distributor.

A rep for their stores emailed me this:

"The use of distributors and wholesalers is strongly recommended, so a complete list of distribution channels should be included with your submission. A submission will only be acknowledged if a buyer wishes to purchase it and we can't obtain it through any of our current vendors."

Since my first thought was "is that English?" I decided I may not be ready for Borders yet.

I started searching for distributors online, but even that is pretty greek. So for now, I think I'll stick to the places that only require me to submit samples and/or photos.

I'm going to rely on baby steps to get me to the place where I'll actually understand what a distributor does and how to go about getting one.

Until then, I'll keep plugging away.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A blogger never sleeps

One thing I've learned since starting this blog a few months ago, is that everything I do and see is weighed against whether it is blog worthy or not.

If my kids say something funny, I jot it down. If I read something interesting or thought provoking, I make a mad dash to my computer to draw up a draft post to publish at a later time.

I read a lot of blogs too, and it seems that is a normal scenario. I've even ran into some blogs that also offer their "twitter" thoughts, which is an online way of just randomly saying what's on your mind. How they find time to do anything but twitter and blog I have no idea.

And speaking of blog, what a strange word. Every time I say that I have a blog, I start to laugh. "OH, I blogged about my dairy intolerance the other day" sounds so strange to me. Maybe in a few years it will be so common place I won't even notice. Or maybe blogging will go the way of pet rocks, only to be reminisced about over cosmos and fondue someday.

My blog tends to go between my love of food (see recipes and DipSticks) and food's hatred toward me (see dairy and thyroid). It's a lovely way to pass the time and share random, slightly meaningless points of view with friends and total strangers.

Ah, technology. what would we do without ye?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Type A=Adrenal Fatigue

Sorry I haven't posted in a few days. I am surprised at how much time and energy it takes to prep a house for sale, in combination with all the other work involved in securing a loan for the next house to buy.

Since I am a type A, I have taken it upon myself to do pretty much everything. I have made a ton of phone calls and gathered documents for the correct people, and then made follow up phone calls.

We have painted and scraped and sanded and dusted and moved furniture and cleaned every surface possible. If selling/buying a house were my only duties, this would be a piece of cake. But, of course I have the two kids to take care of, as well as DipSticks, and the typical daily activities like cleaning, cooking, spending time with the hubby, etc.

On top of this, I have been dealing with the health issues that I have mostly been noting in my Dear Dairy posts. However, a friend going through similar issues made me aware of a condition called Adrenal Fatigue. I've been reading about it this weekend, and it sounds right up my symptom alley. A type A like me, especially one who deals with many stressors in a row, such as deaths, hospital visits, sick children, etc, can practically guarantee getting this condition.

Basically the body acts like it's under attack all the time, stressing out the adrenal glands, and causing your body to sort of break down and react in ways that can be confusing to both patient and doctor.

If you've been struggling with never ending fatigue, cravings for salty or sweet foods, memory issues, difficulty concentrating, difficulty processing daily activities without feeling overwhelmed, overall lack of hope or increased illness and allergies, then you may want to read up on Adrenal Fatigue. The book I'm reading is simply called "Adrenal Fatigue, the 21st century stress syndrome." I also picked up a book called the Autoimmune Epidemic too, because I have Hashimotos thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune disease, and apparently candida, adrenal fatigue, food allergies (dairy/wheat) and thyroid conditions, specifically autoimmune, are all connected.

I am very excited, and anxious to get to the bottom of all of this. If it sounds like I'm falling apart at the super young age of 36, it's because I think I am. But, the good news is, I am pretty sure it can all be fixed with a simple, but freaking painful, diet plan that will exclude pretty much everything I love. But, hey, if it's food or my life, I think that's a no brainer.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

What a lovely mess

In hopes of selling our home and moving to a new one, we have begun the cleaning out process here at the Smith household.

I always love this kind of mess, because it's like the calm before the storm, except in reverse. Practically everything that we own is currently residing in our dining room area waiting to be organized, repaired or dumped.

Some of the things we've kept over the years is very interesting. I have about 150 Martha Stewart magazines. I wonder what I could get for those on ebay? Cards from the third grade and glue sticks out the whazoo fill what seems like a convoy of plastic tubs running through the house.

Some remnants of an old business of mine called Lucky Dog Cafe were prominent, and brought back such great memories. I really had fun with that one. It was an all natural pet treat business, but I named the treats things like Carobccino Chip, and Minty Biscotti, and packaged them in coffee cups and coffee bean bags to go with the cafe theme. Baking isn't easy, and in the doggy world, every single flavor is a $50 state fee per year (and could be more these days) so, I stuck to three flavors and was soon realizing that I would never be able to compete with the big boys who had things like brownies, bagels and actual cakes for the furry folk. So, I moved on to a few other random things, like wreaths and resume writing, before coming to my lifelong passion, which is DipSticks.

Getting organized and cleaning out feels good. It's always nice to take that trip down memory lane, but to clear your head and focus on the future, both in life and in business...that's what it's all about.