Archive | May, 2015

Those Clenched Jaw Moments

26 May

_-91[1] (2)As you know, I own and run a bakery. I make cupcakes and specialty made cakes, I also make pies and baked goods. It is not easy to have to run a business by yourself. And, I know I don’t literally do it all by myself, I have staff, but the brunt of everything is on my shoulders. I have to manage everything and everyone. This is very tiring  and stressful. I have noticed, when trying to find new employees, they see my business and think that it is going to be so fun and easy! They can either bake or decorate cupcakes and it’s all sunshine and rainbows. This is not the case, and when they find out how hard we have to work, they are not into it at all. Complete misconception of the business. And I have to say, that these cupcake shows on tv are terrible for me! The potential employees are swayed, they have stars in their eyes when they bring a resume. No, we won’t be making gumpaste flowers for 6 hours, no, we won’t be decorating 12 cupcakes for an hour. Things have to get done, and efficiently. Timing matters in this business.

So, anyway, I put in alot of hours and a lot of energy for my business. I care about every cake that I decorate. I really do. And, when someone is disappointed in their cake, I take it personally. I know that I shouldn’t, but my stomach sinks and I feel red in the face and it really feels as if I am a complete failure at what I do. I don’t get a lot of complaints, but when I do, my world feels like it cracks a little! I am in the business of making people happy, not making people upset. Celebrations are important to everyone, and the cake matters. To a lot of people it does anyway. I have started taking my time to figure out what to do in situations like this. It really is a hard thing to work out. I don’t want to disappoint my customer, I need to pay my employees for the work they have done, and there are so many variables with cake…. it is so hard to deal with these affairs and honestly, I do not want to deal withcomplaints it….but I have to.

I have a tendency to clench my jaw. When I am stressed or upset or have something gnawing at me, my jaw becomes tight and I start holding my breath. I don’t mean to do this, it is just a habit that I don’t know how to stop. I am the person that likes everyone, I am the one that gets shy people to talk and angry people to laugh. I HATE when people are angry!

So, I know what kind of day I have had when I get home and have a sore jaw.

I know that the food industry is a pretty harsh place to be. Dealing with food, first of all, then dealing with the consumers. But I love what I do and there is more good than bad. 98% of my customers are extremely happy and I love to see their faces when picking up a cake that they ordered. Especially the kids! Those faces are priceless! I love it! I love coming home and my kids hugging me and telling me that I smell sweet, I love bringing people cupcakes when they are down, and I love the donation work that I give to the people that really need it. Everything about it fulfills me. I am very lucky to be able to do what I love, it’s just dealing with the hard long hours and the stress that takes away from that. Good and bad, there is a very fine line in the food business, and to all of those who own or run a business and have to manage everything, kudos to you! It just makes you want to have more fun on the days you have off! ha ha!

cheers

Hands In the Dirt!

21 May

Oh what a glorious day! Sun is shining and the temperature is perfect! This year my husband and I have really been concentrating on our yard and garden! We live in the city and fortunately we have a pretty decent sized back yard. It makes it great for the kids, they can run and play, and so can the dog.

This year more than most years I have come to appreciate being outdoors. I was always an indoor person, always busy doing something to either organized, clean or improve the house. Now, I am beginning to love the outdoors.  I don’t mean going in the bush to hunt a rabbit or anything, just play around in the yard or work on the looks of the outside of the house. So far this year I have put in a strawberry garden, moved my hostas, hung flower baskets and painted the fence in the backyard and the front porch. Yesterday I hung up some more hanging baskets and lanterns for the fron! I came in the house afterwards and showed him my big girly muscles! ha ha! He was making supper.. not sure how he felt about this, but the porch looked good and dinner was great…. both winners!

I love to sit outside and blow bubbles for the kids, they run around like crazy seeing how far the bubbles will go, or just trying to catch a bubble! They ride their bikes up and down the street and play with the rest of the neighbourhood kids. You know, my neighbourhood has really come more personal and just more friendly. We kind of do a kid rotation now…which is so nice! Always a parent to look after everyone! Nobody is ever nervous anymore about our own kids when we see the other parents outside. This lets me be an even better neighbour. I can help others on my block with different projects that they have going as well. I love to do this. I was born to help. I was born to make others happy.

Anyway, off track! So, now that my appreciation for the fresh air and sunshine is hitting an all time high for me, I am loving doing the gardening and having my hands in the dirt. Now, I am an old hat at getting down and dirty, I used to garden with my mom and have to pick weeds and plant, when we moved to the country, I had to help with taking down dead trees and planting new trees along side of the fields, still more gardening and of course the country jobs that rural teens usually have  like shucking corn, corn detasseling and I even shoveled corn with my step dad which is not fun work. I love the dirt. Especially that rich dark soil, that soil that you know the plants will just open themselves up to and blossom like you want them to.

My kids are city kids and I am trying to get them to open up to being comfortable in the dirt and grime and hard work! There is no reward if you don’t work for it! That’s what I think. I was taught that as well. My mom worked really hard at all times. I never really saw her do nothing except at night when she wasn’t working. Lead by example! It really works! I am proof!

Connecting with nature is wonderful and I look around more now and just see the creatures and plants around me. I see it now. I didn’t see it before….now I do!

Get your hands in the dirt, go for it! It just might melt all the stress that you have been carrying!

dirty

Should I?

19 May

I am thinking about writing a book. Writing about things that have happened in my life that have made me who I am. And then I was thinking about just writing a very long journal that maybe some day my kids will read and know me a little bit better. I know some people think that things are better left unsaid, but that isn’t at all true for me. I have lived how I have lived, made good decisions, made bad decisions etc. It’s the things that happened in which I had no decision that I want to focus on. I know that the world does not revolve around me, I know this, and I don’t want anyone to think that I am narcissistic, but I have had some interesting, devastating, joyous and bizarre things happen thus far into my life.

Maybe I should just write it like I was writing a book, just in my journal until I decide someday  to do so. Thanks, you made my decision so much easier! I thought that writing something for the whole world to see would hurt a few of the people who have hurt me, but I have since forgiven, and some that I have not! I know that I post alot of my over emotional feelings on the blog, and I get a lot of comments from people telling me that I am super sensitive and sappy, but seriously, who cares? I just verbalize my feelings while others keep them in. I also exaggerate at times…. if you couldn’t tell. I would be soooooooso devastated if I found out that you couldn’t tell! ha ha

I know that people enjoy reading of others lives, look at all the books that get sold! Most of them are about fictional character lives, but since I am a tiny little fish in an ocean, it would be the same as fiction, nobody would know that it was from a real person’s experience. Like being all stealth and try to get it published as fiction would make it work! Shyeah, right! My husband has been writing fiction for about 30 years and I know that getting something published (not by yourself) is so hard to do! Which leads me to the hope that I have for him to get published already! So much mail has been sent, so many replies with things said like, ” we are not accepting right now” or things like “we don’t think your work would make a good fit for us at this time”, it’s all pretty heartbreaking! Just give it a chance will ya! There is so much trash out there that has been published! I don’t get it! Maybe he should write a smut book!

I wish that we had enough money that I could support him to write. I just read a fantastic book, and in the thank yous at the back of the book, the author had thanked his in-laws for watching the kids when he holed himself in to write the book. Thanked his wife for keeping things together, and being the first editor of his book and giving input when he needed it. This would make my husband so happy! But….alas, it is not in our future! Being paid to do services for others is how we shall live the rest of our lives! As it is in life! Wow, that train of thought went on a really bendy path. Bendy…. auto correct did not underline this, it must be a word! Ha ha!

Have a great day!

Let me know what you think, only if you want I guess! Some people like to read without saying anything, which is how I am when reading other people’s things, but I won’t mind if you do! Really!

Okay, Bye for now!

P.S.   I love you Sara! I miss you!

Glad I’m Home

11 May

First of all, I love my life. I have a home that is comfortable, two great and wonderful children and a great husband. I surround myself with like-minded people and like to keep everything low key and easy. In my head is a different story, which is why I like everything happy and simple. On the weekend, I spend time with my family and we usually have a project for the house, which has been the backyard and garden recently. I really enjoy this. I like to tinker around and fix things, and decorate and plan. Getting some sun is a bonus! I usually have the complexion like a sheet of paper, so sun is welcomed!

I hear about people that have crazy busy lives who are always running around doing things, hardly with their kids or at home and when they are, they do not sit down either. I do not know how people can do this. I am not saying it is wrong, but to me, it’s just plain crazy! I wouldn’t mind having visitors more often, or having dinners with friends and family, but I like being home.  It boggles my mind how someone could juggle a busy life, kids, work and housework and still have enough energy to be out at night with friends. My night out with friends is sitting on my front porch and my awesome friends/neighbours coming over to have a bevvie and gab for a bit. I like my neighbourhood too. Even though there are some sketchy neighbours on the block, for the most part, I know everyone and I trust them all. There are a lot of kids on my block and the parents all look out for each other’s kids. It’s a pretty nice little community.  Eventually, there will be country life again for me. I am not too fond of the city. I like how close everything is, like work is within walking distance and I don’t have to drive in the snow to get to work, but country is peace for me. I lived in the country when I was younger and I am initially from a very small town, so I guess that is pretty rural as well! I want to see my kids run in a big yard and not have to worry about fences or city things like needles on the sidewalk and litter everywhere.

But, for now…. I’m pretty lucky with what I have. Now, if I just had enough money to pay off my mortgage, all would be perfect in the world! ha ha!

That’s all I need, is my kids, my family, my home….. that’s all I need….. and maybe this chair….. that’s all I need…… my kids, my family, my home, this chair….and maybe this book…… he he!       I will give you a free cupcake if you know what that is referring to!

People Who Got Me Here, there and everywhere!

4 May

During our lives we meet with an uncountable number of people. Everyone touches us somehow I believe, some making a bigger mark  than others. We make friends and break friends, we move, go to college, feel some space and learn who we are or who we want to be. When we land in a destination for an unestimated amount of time, it is not only ourselves that got us there, but all of the influence that we gathered along the way. Our mother’s influence us to brush our teeth and comb our hair, be polite, do our homework, and be a good person. I believe that our parent’s help mold our everyday behaviour, our morals and values. Things may change along the way, but the parents lay the ground rules/ behaviours. My mother

Mom showing Adam how to use the digger

Mom showing Adam how to use the digger

gave me a lot to work with. I don’t think that I would have my work ethics without her.She raised me on her own, which is a struggle to begin with, and all of those who have raised their children on their own, kudos to you. It is not easy and sometimes it feels like too much, but your kids see your strength and they don’t forget it. So, mom had about 3 jobs at one time, pretty much all throughout my childhood, until she put herself through college when she was 40. By the time I was 15 she had bought a house, put herself through college and raised me on her own. That is a work ethic and strength that was plain to see, and I grabbed onto it at once! I made my own jobs from the time I was 10. Walking dogs, washing cars, babysitting, washing dishes at a restaurant for $4.00 per hour and working after school at a local pizza place. I don’t remember being over 12 without a job. I wouldn’t have my sense of humour either, all of my family has a hand in that, my grandfather was pretty humourous as well! Everyone was so funny and happy, I remember my family congregating to my mom’s house and playing cards, there was laughter and of course some bevvies, and all of us kids would be running around playing or watching movies, o standing beside the adults, quietly so we could keep standing there. Grandpa would share his blue cheese and crackers with sardines! Ew! Even though I was an only child, it didn’t really feel that way. I have about 16 cousins and most of them would be at our house on the weekends. I was with family alot.

Without my mother,  I wouldn’t know how to cook, or bake for that matter. Baking is a huge thing for me, it’s my career! Although my mom is not the only influence for this, but a handful, I believe that she is the main reason. Memories are the strongest during baking! And now, I bake with my kids! All in all, my mom is the bomb!

Aren't they handsome?

Aren’t they handsome?

I had 3 uncles, one has since passed, but the 2 that I still have are pretty awesome! I saw alot of my Uncle John when I was a kid. He was pretty much my mom’s best friend, and even now they are still pretty close. He was always curious and ambitious, put those two together and I think that he has done every career or can do a little bit of everything in the world! He can decorate a room, do the plumbing, the electrical, make a wooden china cabinet, create patterns for cross stitch and stained glass, fix a car….. it goes on! He has been back to school maybe 2-3 times to become something else, like a nurse, and x-ray technician, and now I think he makes policies for the hospitals in Nevada. I am not really sure anymore! He amazes me! I think the most thing that amazes me about him though, is his strength. He came out about 4-5 years ago. He was married for about 25 ish years to a wonderful woman, but he had to be true to himself and he came out. This, is a really brave thing to do. We have a big family and I am sure he was not sure about telling them. But he did, and now he has a wonderful partner who I adore, and my uncle is happy. I am certain that he feels a little more free to be himself and not have to fit into the mold of what he thinks everyone thinks he should be. Does that make sense?!

elissa

My gorgeous friend!

There are alot more people in my life that influence me, my family being the most influential, but the others. like my great and wonderful friend Elissa. She is my friend and my neighbour, and she has shown me how to just go with it, in a relationship. Like, I don’t have to control everything, I need to let my husband make stupid mistakes, its easier to forgive him later, than it is to argue with him about the decision he is about to make! And, I mean just little things. She taught me that it is okay to be who I am, and be patient. She is incredibly smart and sensible! She drives me crazy! Only in the way that I wish I could think like that..but alas…. I am too emotional! Surprise Surprise!!! Ha ha!

Two peas in a pod!

Two peas in a pod!

Also, Shanna. She has taught me that it is okay to be wrong, and to not look like a complete ass, just admit it when you are! Ha ha!

All in all, I have a very very big list of who has played big roles in my life and what they have done for me, and I would write it all out on who and everything, giving them full credit for the good things in me today, but who wants to read all of that! If you are close to me and I have not named you….. you aren’t the only one. Get over it! ha ha! ahem….Gord!

Just remember, that whether you 22 or 80, there are people in your life who have helped you along the way, who have showed you things, even things that you haven’t thought had a big role in your life, but have. We are a combination of everyone in our lives, they say it takes a village, I would say that is correct. And keep this in mind when interacting with people. You can change someones outlook or point of view, you, have an effect on the people you meet. So, be nice, helpful and fun!

The Cupcake Effect

1 May

Baking and decorating cupcakes is a little more difficult than you might think. Sure, it’s fun to make a dozen at home and cupcakesmadecorate each one for about 10 minutes until they are perfect, but in a bakery, it has to go much faster than that. They have to look great, taste great and be done quickly in order to be efficient and to be able to finish other work that has to be done.

All of the aspects of the said cake of cup is equally important! The cake, first and foremost must be super delicious and moist and have a decent size. It took me about 6 months to work out the best recipe for my white and chocolate cake, the rest came quickly after, and I try new things all the time. First of all, my flavours went through the taste test with my family, and then with the awesome kitchen shop Kitchen Widgets. The staff there held no punches for me and told me whether the flavour was a keeper or not. This was tremendous help!

Next is the frosting, the taste is just as important as the cake flavour and texture. Some of the cupcakes hold the nip of flavour in the frosting. And, if you have ever had a cupcake without frosting…. you realize the importance of the beautiful and smooth sweet topping! It just isn’t a cupcake without the frosting. All of those non-frosting fanatics…. look elsewhere please! Ha ha! Since we are on the topic of frosting, the last key element of a perfect cupcake is the look of the frosting and decorations! This is where it gets really fun, and there is something for everyone! In my bakery, I make over 40 different flavours of cupcakes, and they are all my babies, created by me, so I really had to think on how they were to look! I think that my favourites are the the cupcakes that we decorate for Easter though. Lots of colour and fun sprinkles! There is nothing that screams cupcake more than a white cupcake with a big swirl of pink frosting! Throw some sprinkles on there and BAM!! Cupcake genious! Even the men (don’t deny it) love a good pink cupcake! They are not too proud! Or, most aren’t!

Now that we have the look of the cupcake, the technique is important, but I won’t speak of this….. it is sensitive material which only gets taught to my trainees! Ha Ha! Plus, hand strength is very important. Apparently, I make it look easy. So many young ones have been brought to tears because the cupcake swirl is just out of their reach! He he he!

This is me! Really.

So, Of course, I make cupcakes, but I make cakes as well, and I  bake other things like pies and muffins and scones and such. This does not however, define who I am! I am a baker, this is what I do for work. Granted, I do have a cupcake tattoo on my forearm, but it’s so cute! It’s also the logo of my business….and really, how many businesses am I going to own in my lifetime? It requires a tattoo….just like my children…. I have their names tattooed on me as well! All, are my babies! Well, again, I am so much more than a cupcake bakery owner, but it skips people’s minds when they refer to me, or when I am given gifts and such. Cupcakes really do invade my territory! And, I am sorry, but I am sweet enough! Apparently I always smell like sugary goodness, which in fact is a good thing and I would rather smell like a cupcake than to smell like a paper mill! But, I guess the smell triggers something in people, ” I was in the mall the other day and I smelled sugar, and thought of you!”, “I was making a cake at home and when I stepped into the kitchen, it just reminded me of you!”  I don’t really mind these comments, smelling something wonderful triggers a memory of me….GREAT!  It is when it invades everything else….that is hard! So, for the first 3 years of baking cakes and cupcakes, everyone that knew me, would pick up things for me with cupcakes on it. For birthdays I was given cupcake things, and decorating stuff and cupcake cards and such….It really was fine for the first year, after that….not so much! I love my friends and family, but I had to make them stop. First, I am an artist, I went to college for art and I love it. It courses through my veins, I draw every day. If I could paint every day, I would! I love to learn, I love science and the supernatural, I have hobbies, I play piano, I am very curious and want to know facts about everything ( much to my husbands dismay!) Its really hard to have an arguement with me! I go research things immediately to prove what you are saying is true! I need reference!! Ha ha!

I am so much more than a bakery owner. When friends and family are constantly thinking of my when they see a cupcake cupcake queenor a bakery or an apron, I call this the Cupcake Effect. It has a hold on everyone I know! Now, I know it could be worse! My friend Kevin is in the business of disaster restoration, I would hate it if every time someone saw a disaster that they would think of me! I know that is probably not what happens to him at all, but it’s a good comparison for my reasons!  What else would be bizarre? My close friend is a team leader at a call centre, I do not think of her when I see phones. I don’t buy her phone piggy banks or anything. A t-shirt with a phone on it! Weird!  I think of her, as a person, not as her career. But, what I can say, is that at least cupcakes are cute!

cupcake