Rainier cherries

I had a businessy post planned for today but then I went to the grocery store and saw these. Have you ever had rainier cherries? OMG. We love them at my house. I think they’re absolutely beautiful. My kids fight over the “chore” of pitting them – it’s like permission to play with their food. And of course, they’re delicious. Little sweet, little tart, totally juicy. Mmmmmm.

 
If you’ve never tasted these little treats go buy some now while they’re in season then come back and tell me what you think. If you already love them like I do I wanna hear from you, too. Because I care, that’s why.

Pumpkin Fruit Dip

I found this recipe years ago in Cooking Light magazine and my kids still cheer when I make it. I served it at a party a few months ago and got the same response from adults. It’s hard to go wrong when you start with these ingredients.

3/4 cup (6 ounces) lo-fat cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
apple slices for dipping

1. Beat cream cheese, brown sugar and pumpkin with electric mixer until well blended.
2. Add syrup and cinnamon, and beat until smooth.
3. Cover and chill for 30 minutes. Serve with apple slices. (Great on morning bagels with a cup of hot coffee, too.)

Click on over to the Stay At Home Mom Babe for more good & tasty treats.

Wordless Wednesday: Early morning view from my front stoop

(Disclaimer: I don’t think it’s humanly possible for me to post a blog with zero words. I will try my hardest but if you’re the word cops, look away.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now step away from your computer and walk outside. What do you see? Shoot some pics and share.

Thanks to Brittany, The Rambling Diva, for today’s inspiration. Check out her post here.

Good & Tasty Tuesday: Chocolate Yogurt and Fresh Fruit

I recently discovered the Stay At Home Babe, aka my newest cyber-stalk. If you’re looking for a maple-syrup-sweet mommy that never swears, don’t wast your click. If you prefer a painfully honest view of motherhood that you can actually relate to, she’s your babe. Her newest stroke of genius is Good & Tasty Tuesdays, a link up to share healthy eating ideas every week. Great idea, right? I agree so I’m jumping in. Here’s my first contribution.

Keep It Simple: Chocolate Yogurt + Fresh Fruit
There is nothing complicated or culinary about it, it’s just yummy. Even the kids agree. Sometimes I have it for breakfast. Sometimes I have it for dessert. Last week I added a banana and it made my eyes roll back in my head. Now I’m thinking fresh raspberries or strawberries. This might require some alone time.

10 random things about me

I’m new to the blog world and thought this would be the easiest way for you to learn a little more about me. If you would rather chat over scones and coffee, I’m available Thursday mornings, blueberry is my favorite, and I prefer decaf.

1. I don’t like wine.
I’ve tried. I really have. It seems so grown up and sophisticated but I don’t like the taste. And it gives me a headache every time. I prefer vodka with tonic. Or with cranberry juice. Or with Cheerios. I like vodka.

2. I grew up on a farm. Cows, chickens, pigs, tractors, combines . . . the whole thing.

3. I like cats and have two living in my home. This is a little embarrassing. Where I grew up cats belonged in the barn, never in the house.

4. I struggle with panic attacks. It’s a long story. Maybe another day.

5. I think I have fat knees.

6. I have the coolest initials ever: AZ.

7. I’m addicted to garage sales/trash-to-treasure projects. I’m sure you’ll be seeing some of them soon.

8. I used to teach aerobics at the YMCA.

9. I use an e-reader. I resisted as long as I could but it’s just so convenient. I still read real books, too.

10. I love, love, love to make people laugh.

Now it’s your turn. Tell me something about yourself. Seriously, if we’re going to keep meeting like this we should get to know each other better.

Change is good.

I recently joined the SITS Girls for their 31 Days To Build A Better Blog challenge. I gotta tell ya, it’s rockin’ my world. I could go on and on about it, but that’s not the point today. The point is, based on what I’ve learned so far, I’m going to be changing direction. Not a u-turn, just a slight veer to the right. Still, I’m kind of a crazy driver so hold on.

My niche

I started out writing about the challenges of a new business. Then I realized that if you want to know how to start your own company you’ll google Donald Trump. Clearly he can offer lots of advice.

So what makes my game more fun? I’m doing all this with peanut butter on my sleeve, laundry on the floor, and kids yelling, “what’s for dinner?” In short, my niche is the work-at-home-mom community. Those super-women who try every day to balance their family and their entrepreneurial dreams. (Please don’t confuse this with a mommy blog. It’s not. I don’t have anything against them, it’s just not what I write. ) So to whet your appetite, here are some of the blogs I’ve found most helpful as I steer this machine . Enjoy.

http://www.thewannabewahm.com/

A WAHM from New York offers her perspective along with tons of tips and resources. Also includes a Mom Owned Business Directory.

http://moxietonic.com/

Natalie at Moxie Tonic teaches you how to rev up your email marketing.

 

http://www.everythingetsy.com/

Everything for Etsy shop owners including free Etsy banners and a section dedicated to “Running Your Etsy Business”.

http://www.mom-e-preneurs.com/

An in-depth site with info on everything from date nights to community services to babysitting co-ops. 

My face

I’m talking about the look of my blog and my website. And I don’t plan to be just another pretty face. I’ll be improving the form and the function. It should make it a lot easier for you to click around and find exactly what you need.

My community

I have to admit, I heard this word tossed around the blogosphere a lot and thought it was a bunch of hoo-haw. I stand corrected. The people I have “met”, including the awesome SITS Girls, truly are a supportive, helpful community. So soon you’ll be seeing a lot more interaction with other bloggers, including guest posts, links, and badges.

That’s all for now. I would love to write more but dinner is burning and my husband says he doesn’t have any clean manties for tomorrow. Business as usual.

Top 5 things I’ve learned about starting your own creative business

I am not a business expert. I might actually be the opposite, whatever that’s called. (Novice? Beginner? Idiot? ) But that’s why I’m writing this post. – to offer a handful of observations from a regular person. One who loves creating so much she made it her business. Sound like you? Then here we go.
 
1. Start small
My first show was a four-day wholesale trade show, downtown Chicago at the Merchandise Mart. It was big chiz. Unfortunately, I sold nothing. Zero. Zip. Nada. It wasn’t that my product sucked, it was just way too big of a venue for me. Way. One day I would love to try climbing that mountain again but not until I’ve conquered a few smaller hills around here. I know you have big dreams but if you start out too big for your britches you’ll just end up showing everyone your ass.

2. Other people are making it up as they go, too.
Sure there are people out there with business degrees that have a written plan and a big budget. But I’ve learned there are just as many who don’t. A lot of the business owners I’ve idolized /stalked on Twitter write in their blogs that they are winging it just like us. Don’t feel like you can’t do it just because you’re not sure how to do it.

3. There’s a big community of supportive, creative people out there.
I attended my first local show a few weeks ago and was amazed at how many other business owners bought my product, offered help, recommended shows, and were just amazingly nice. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t that. What a pleasant surprise.

4. Twitter is your friend.
I was sooo intimidated by Twitter. It was something that real business owners used, not little ol’ me. But I knew it was all my marketing budget of $0.00 could afford so I pulled up my big girl panties and logged on. Now I’m a total addict. I hit Twitter before I pour my first morning cup of coffee and the connections I’ve made there are countless. Seriously, try it.

5. Do something. Anything.
When you think of starting your own business it’s easy to become paralyzed with doubt. What if I make a mistake? What if that one mistake now ruins my chances of ever being successful in the future? Chances are, it won’t. More importantly, doing nothing is the surest way to fail. This stuff scares me everyday, but everyday I make myself do it anyway. Slowly but surely, it’s paying off.

So that’s my top 5 for now. I learn something new everyday so I’m sure the list will continue to evolve. Hopefully you read something that was helpful. Or maybe you have something to add. Let me know. I always love hearing from you.

abi