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Archive for August, 2010

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Aug
25
2010

Wednesday’s Woman: Ree – The Pioneer Woman

Welcome to the very first Wednesday’s Woman.  I think as I start contemplating getting into what I would like to call a “cottage business” once again, and as I spend precious time writing my thoughts down for others to read,  I am constantly amazed at the success some women bloggers have enjoyed.  The first one that came to my mind was The Pioneer Woman blog.  A WILD success story.  I have wondered if Ree Drummond’s success is kismet, or if she had a plan and executed it beyond even her wildest imagination.

There is likely NO need for introductions.  If you don’t know The Pioneer Woman then you must live under a rock.  Or you just got your first computer and I am the first website you stopped by when you logged on.  If that is the case, how you found me would be an interesting story!  Ree The Pioneer Woman has almost done it all.  She’s a happy wife, homeschooling mother, daughter, sister, blogger, author and one heck of a photographer.  Man, that sounds like a lot of people I know.  Even me! Well except for the photography part.

Ree really seems to have  a handle on everything.  Her blog is beautiful and so very addictive.  SO much to enjoy from her “Love Story” of how she met Marlboro Man (her hubs) to her Tasty Kitchen pages where if you don’t find something that makes you want to run into the kitchen, you are not paying attention! You will laugh. You will cry.  You will feel like you have a new friend.  Maybe not a real life friend but a friend who Forbes  ranked No. 22 on their 2010 Web Celeb 25–one of only three women. The Pioneer Woman was named Weblog of the Year at the 2009 Bloggie Awards and keeps growing and growing to nearly 22 million page views monthly.  Kind of amazing.  But if I read her right, I would imagine it means just as much to her that there are fan sites devoted to her. Of course with anyone famous, there are naysayers.  Yes, she’s successful.  That’s a good thing right? I think so.

I didn’t speak to Ree directly before making this post.  Likely she will never see it.  I can’t imagine that she has time to read everything written about her.  But I am pretty sure I haven’t said anything she would disapprove of.  And because I didn’t speak to her, I didn’t get permission to use a picture so I used a photo of the cover of her cookbook.  Really its so much more than a cookbook.  It’s beautiful.  Trust me.

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I mean really, look at that cover.  Amazing.  And evidently I am not the only one impressed since this book was #1 on the New York Times bestseller list.  Not too shabby. If you click on the cover you can zip over and buy a copy.

So get yourselves over there and get you a big helping of what The Pioneer Woman is dishing up today.  But don’t blame me when you spend hours and hours trying to peek into every corner of her blog.  I don’t know that it can be done! But in your spare time then you can follow her on Twitter or Facebook.  Frankly, The Pioneer Woman is everywhere!  And from what I hear, soon to be in a movie theater near you! Not kidding.

So there you have it.  The Pioneer Woman in a nutshell.  And as far as I can see she is one lucky duck.  A lucky duck I think has worked very hard for her success.

Tomorrow is Thoughtful Thursday. Stop by if you have a minute.

Aug
24
2010

I am not going to let Facebook ruin my blogging!

Seriously.  I find I update my facebook page and feel like I would be repeating myself here! Not so.  Plenty of people have not gone the facebook route.  Many times I wish I hadn’t! So I am going to make it right!  Starting today!  I am going to catch y’all up on what has happened in my life since I last posted and reinstate some things that kept me writing and hopefully you reading!

WOW, where to start? Go ahead and get that cup of coffee or tea and a biscuit and have a seat, this may take a while!  And I will try not to confuse you and keep my timeline straight.

It honestly isn’t like I have been holed up not living life.  Au contraire, mes amis! This Summer of 2010 has been crazy busy!  Gardening, mowing, kids, grandkids, short adventures, long adventures.  I will admit the cooking bug has been squashed in this horrible endless heat.  We have had so many days over 100 and even a couple with the heat index into the 100-teens.  I don’t know all the statistics but July broke records for heat and drought in my area.  I will never believe anyone who says “But it was a dry heat so it wasn’t so bad.” BULL!  Hot is hot.

Last time I posted was my birthday.  And it was a very very good birthday indeed.  Big OLD 51.  Not a milestone but something about starting on the second half of a century is kinda mind blowing.  I got this great wagon from Jerry.

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Isn’t she a beauty?  We have already put her to much use hauling pears from our one, insane pear tree.  These pears are inedible unless you are a raccoon or a possum.  And I forget how many Jerry said he hauled the last day he picked them up but it was a ridiculous amount.  They are gone and now the mama raccoon and her four little bandits are eating our cats’ food like crazy!  When Jerry gets home, if they are still around we are going to trap and relocate them before someone (namely Mo, Julius or Siobhan) gets hurt or killed.

Okay, so August moves along ~ rapidly it seems!  Jerry headed back to Tunisia the Monday after my birthday.  Here are a few pictures of the highlights of August. On the gardening subject, I have started some tomatoes I hope will be winter/greenhouse tomatoes.  This is a new thing for me.  I will see how it goes.  This is an early picture.  They are still alive, and have 6 little leaves, so that is a good sign, right?

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Oh and I have new overalls!  I bought these for myself – sort of a birthday present – sort of I fell in love with them and needed them!

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And the color is coffee!  Perfect!  And of course I needed new rubber boots and have been needing them for forever.  The ones I have are so dang heavy I can’t walk very far in them without getting leg cramps!

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Cute huh?

Okay, let’s see.  OH both girls, Hannah and Rachel started college yesterday.  That is sort of getting my cart before my horse in the timeline but it is pertinent to the next bit of what is going on and what will be going on.  So yes, they are both Northwestern State University Demons as of yesterday.  Hannah is in Accounting.  Rachel in Fine Arts.  I am sure as time goes on, they will provide me with tales to tell!

With Rachel starting college, she is dropping the baking biz all together.  That was a given.  Baking does not fit in her very busy schedule.  So I did this order all by myself last week.

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NOT FUN by myself!  Yes, that’s 16 boxes you count!  Petit fours, decorated cookies, mini Bakewells, cream wafers, chocolate chips…but it all turned out lovely and the customer was very very happy.

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The person I made all this for is a friend from way back and she called yesterday to say it was all a hit.  So happy to hear that!  And I have a little baking order today and one for this weekend for family and I will try to get postings made of those.  But I learned a lot doing this big (to me) order by myself.  One thing, I want/need help for something that big.  Two, it’s not that much fun working in the kitchen by myself on something so important.  Three, I miss making soap.

There I said it.  I have been saying it to myself for 6 months. And to Jerry for almost that long.  Just blurting it out every now and again in the middle of a discussion that has nothing to do with soapmaking.  Then I would follow up with “I don’t mean that do I?”  I know how much he hated how the soap took over our house before.  Here is just a small example.  Look at all the soap stuff! My poor kitchen!

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He even built me a shoppe.

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And still there were oils in every corner, soap curing all over the place.  Stacks of wrapped. Girls wrapping soap.

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Boxes waiting to be mailed.  UPS delivered something nearly every day. And this was a picture of my porch ONE DAY the week before Christmas 2007:

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The post office sent a separate truck to my house. They were so excited!  So was I – as far as I know not ONE mistake in that day’s shipping!  Business was so good and then along came MaryJanesFarm!  WOW.  Amazing.

And then my mom got sick. And everything changed.  Everything.  Soap was WAY down on my list of things that mattered.

When I sold the internet part of my business and forwarded my wholesale customers information about the new owners, I agreed not to go back into the internet soap business and compete with the people I sold that part to.  However, I just learned last week that they are no longer making soap to sell.  And have closed their internet shop.  I found this out when an old customer of mine emailed me to say the site was down, she had been ordering from them since I closed, and I sent out an inquiry to try and help her get what she needed.  I got a response that said “I am still making soap, just not selling it at present.We have closed down the web site and do not now for the time being have an internet presence.”

WOW! Really?  So what does this mean?  Will they never?  Could I make and sell again without breaking my word?  I am still mulling all that over.  I never want to do wholesale again.  About all it did was keep a little money in the kitty for ingredients and work me half to death!  I don’t want to put up a website again.  For one thing I don’t want to maintain one.  That alone is a lot of work.  But I don’t think my making soap for customers who have asked for it since I quit, doing an catalog in pdf form and talking about it here and on facebook violates that.  Especially since they are no longer doing business.  It was almost like that was the door I was waiting to open.  I have not sold soap locally in over three years.  And that was always part of the agreement.  I could make and sell all I wanted to locally.  I don’t want it to get overwhelming again.   Some months I mailed 2000 bars of soap not counting the local wholesale and local retail.  It was too TOO much for just me. I always, ALWAYS, wanted to have my hands on every bar that left here. I never expected it to grow into something I needed to hire someone besides the girls to help with. And as girls grew up and got jobs outside home, they didn’t have time.  And now they are both in college.  And I don’t think Ben has one bit of interest in soap. Other than for his personal use ;)

So yeah…I’m a nut. That’s not news to anyone.  I have felt so happy since I decided to give the soap pot another stir.  I just have to keep it real.  Keep it manageable and do nothing to violate my agreement.  An agreement that may or may not exist any more.

Enough of that.  Here is what’s coming up.  Interviews this Autumn that you will NOT believe.  Seriously. I get butterflies just thinking about it.  Oh please, please, please don’t fall thru!  Opportunities of a lifetime!  To pick these brains!  And then share my pickins with you happy people!

So let’s see.  Soap? covered.  Interviews? said all I can at this time.  Squeeeeeeee!!!!!!! Now…more stuff. I am going to reinstate and reorganize some “Days of The Week with NotQuiteJuneCleaver”:

  • Magpie Mondays ~news from here, chit chat, talkie, talkie, interviews{squeeeeeeee!!!!!}
  • Treehuggin’ Tuesday ~ pretty self explanatory – I’m a treehugger and I am going to talk about it on Tuesdays! Green products, etc
  • Wednesday’s Woman ~ I will introduce you to a blog I follow and the woman who writes it-maybe even a short little something from her
  • Thoughtful Thursday ~ What ever is worth thinking about. Words of wisdom from all sorts of people who have inspired me & made me think.
  • Foodie Friday ~ Recipes and menus, food photography, trends, you know – food news ;)
  • Simply Saturday ~ things that simply find themselves bound to Saturday – movies, books, gardening, housework
  • So…It’s Sunday ~ recapping my week, announcing what’s coming up the next week, soap news – stuff, know what I mean?

This does not mean I will post everyday but I will at least have an outline!

AND I would like to do a  Photo Contest every so often.  Working on the details of that. Will announce that pretty soon.

So…whew.  Told you it would take a while. Okay, that’s what I have in mind.  Actually I have quite a lot in mind.  But the things I am most excited about are stirring up some soap and the interviews.  Whoa, baby! So excited!

By the way peeps, I LOVE comments.  So leave me some, mmK?  I know you visit.  I have a stat counter!  But you never comment.  I don’t mean NEVER never…but I do love comments.  Nice ones that is ;) Okay, neither do I.  I visit the same wonderful blogs everyday but seems someone always beats me to the punch.  I think awwww someone already said that.  Well I have a new rule! I am not reading comments before I post mine.  If I repeat something well so be it!  I am saying my piece anyway!

Now for your Treehugging Tuesday Tidbit: Recycling Soup Cans – so cool! Click on the pictures to read all about it!

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See you happy folks tomorrow.  It will be Wednesday’s Woman so stop by!

Aug
14
2010

We have a winner!

Congrats Stephanie!  As soon as I have your mailing address, I will zip your prize right out to you!

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