Weekend


Pumpkin Pie with Maple Syrup Meringue

Oliver and Emerson in their new big boy bed




Sweet Lizzie
We received another snowfall this past week.  This one was heavy snow.  It was beautiful though.  It clung to the trees like sparkling vanilla frosting.

The farmer's market this weekend was super busy.  Christmas is coming and loads of people picked up our products to give as gifts.  J had chosen this weekend to do other things - not good planning on our part.  The first hour and a half of the market was a blur.  I barely looked up in between customers.  It was a lot of fun speaking with so many people about our products.  So excited and grateful for all of our new customers!

We have sad news on the homestead.  Little Lizzie passed away this past week.  She was one of the original Cobble Hill Farm Coop Girls.  She will be very much missed.  As many of you know, she ran the show out in the coop.  She weaved in and out of the crowd as she did her morning run through to see what special treats were being offered.  She was very vocal about treats she liked and equally as loud about those she didn't like as much.  Regardless, she was always chatting and always in a hurry.  Allie and Emma are the remaining 2 originals with Sam only a year younger.

In other Coop news the newest Coop Girls have names!  Names at last.  :)  Their names are:  Hazel, Charlotte, Lena, Jane, Dorilla and Eve.  The little one who has been sick, Jane, is doing better.  We have started putting them on the roost at night so they are no longer sleeping in the nesting boxes.  This doesn't make them very happy.....

Saturday J and I went shopping.  Emerson and Oliver scored with their new big boy bed.  We told them if they were very very good, we just might run into Santa shopping and he might give them a special gift early.  They LOVE it.  It's a fight to get them out of it.  Emerson kept racing over it when we first lay it down and Oliver kept rubbing his face and body all over it.  Nothing like stinking it up right from the get go!

On the menu this week;  Crockpot Beef Short Ribs with Mushroom Risotto and Squash; Skillet Tilapia with Clam Linguine and Broccoli {we still have broccoli!}; Easier Chicken Cordon Bleu with Rice and Green Beans; Spaghetti Pie with Salad; Cider Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Rice and Squash; and Chicken with Spinach Cream Sauce over pasta.

Hoping you had a wonderful weekend!



Disclosure: In an effort to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendations, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and please know that I will only feature products I love.

Eggs? What Are Eggs???


We haven't received gifts from the Coop Girls in so long, we're starting to forget what eggs actually look like!  Ok, that's not true, but it really has been a long time.  About a month.

Other than that, they are doing pretty well.

It's been a rough month for them.  The newest girls we brought in haven't been very healthy.  We lost 2 and have had 2 more that were sick.  One appears to be fully healthy again and the other is getting close.

This is the problem with bringing in older chicks or pullets.  You just don't know what they are bringing in and you don't know how they will respond to anything your current flock may have.

Fingers crossed they will do well the rest of winter.

And start laying soon.

Happy Thursday!!




Disclosure: In an effort to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendations, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and please know that I will only feature products I love.

White Chocolate Peppermint Bark


There are so many delicious goodies during the Holidays that it's hard to decide which ones to make.  This is a quick and easy treat that's perfect to snack on or pack in lunches.  I adore peppermint and white chocolate, so, of course, this combo is right up my alley!

I use a softer peppermint candy, "sweet stripes" instead of candy canes, but you can use whatever you find.  They are similar to a dinner mint the way they melt in your mouth, which I find a bit easier to eat.  Candy bark is also the perfect treat to allow kids to make.


White Chocolate Peppermint Bark
  • 16 ounces White Chocolate Almond Bark or Candy Melts
  • 2 cups soft peppermints or candy cane pieces

Place peppermints in a heavy duty plastic bag such as a freezer bag. using a meat mallet or a clean hammer, crush them, leaving some large pieces.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Melt chocolate according to package directions, or at 30 second intervals in a microwave-safe dish in the microwave, stirring well between each. Stir in 2/3 of crushed peppermints. Spread out evenly on parchment paper. Sprinkle remaining peppermint pieces over top and let set until hard.
Cut to desired size with a sharp knife or break apart with your hands. Store in an airtight container.



Disclosure: In an effort to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendations, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and please know that I will only feature products I love.

Happy Snowy Weather!









I took these photos on Thanksgiving day of the snow around our home as well as at the State Park.   The Coop Girls were less then impressed as I'm sure you can imagine.

Most of this snow has melted, however, it's snowing again as I type.  Just beautiful, isn't it?

How about you - do you have snow on the ground?



Disclosure: In an effort to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendations, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and please know that I will only feature products I love.

Weekend


Happy Sunday!  This week and weekend have been an absolute blur around here.  I was traveling all week for my day job which always makes things hectic and out of sorts.  Saturday we had higher temps - 30's, so we were able to get a few things done including the last "fall" coop cleaning.  And for the first time in almost a year, we went out and about Saturday night to some stores we've wanted to check out but never have time to.  We didn't have time on Saturday either, but sometimes you must make the time and that's what we did.

Sunday warmed up even more although we were at the farmer's market most of the day.  Tomorrow is also supposed to get warm - around 60, and then back to the cooler temps.

The Coop Girls are not laying at all.  Not one egg.  Can you believe I had to buy a dozen eggs for the first time in 8 years???  We had been adding chickens every 2 years to prevent exactly this, but we added younger girls this year so, well, it didn't quite work out well for us.  Oh well.  Thankfully there are a few farmer's at the Sunday market selling their eggs if we ever need anymore.

How is it possible that Thanksgiving is this week?  I can hardly believe how quickly the time is flying by.  Last week I was writing out the next couple of weeks of menu plans.  That's when I discovered Thanksgiving was this week.  Ugh....I hate when it sneaks up on me like that!  :)

I bought some white chocolate and the softer peppermint candies over the weekend to make peppermint bark since Christmas is right around the corner.  I don't think I'll get around to making many other goodies for the Holidays.  Thankfully, sales are through the roof right now on our Cobble Hill Farm Apothecary line, giving me plenty to do with every single spare moment.  I have a lot to think about going into next year.  A lot of decisions to make.....

I have no idea if we'll get a Christmas tree up this year.  Part of me wants to so the Holiday season doesn't pass on by without anytime to enjoy it, but part of me doesn't want to because I will only see it in passing.  Jack and Cait will vote yes for the tree - it always turns them into naughty, curious little cats.  Oliver and Emerson will vote no.  They don't appreciate it in their space and Oliver particularly doesn't like watching me put the ornaments on.  He's a guy that doesn't like change.  At all.

How about you, are you ready for the Holidays?

Hoping you had a wonderful weekend!


Disclosure: In an effort to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendations, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and please know that I will only feature products I love.

Weekend

Betty stopping by for a visit
Fall broccoli



caramel and chocolate dipped apples!

Hattie

garden helpers


the new girls
today's broccoli harvest
Oliver and Emerson

fall butternut squash

Happy chilly Sunday.  Well, it's chilly here anyway.  In this last photo yes, that's a tad bit of snow.  We received a very light dusting Thursday/Friday and again this morning.  We have a winter weather advisory for tomorrow morning.  The back and forth of cool to warmer temps is officially over.

Yesterday we took a break from making/packaging product and were able to get a few things done outside including the rest of our Fall garden clean-up.  It was all hands on deck.  The Coop Girls searched for bugs, worms and leftover veggies.  The dogs made sure the fire was going in the house and the cats, well, they made sure the bed stayed warm in case we wanted to nap.  That's what they do best.  The new Coop Girls even got in on the action, although they are very leery of going very far from the Coop, so they cleaned the perimeter.  Speaking of them, they are doing very well and we are still coming up with names other than "the new Coop girls".

During our clean up, Coop Girl Betty decided to go visiting.  She went to the house to see if the dogs or cats would come out to visit, or better yet, to see if they would invite her in to enjoy the pellet stove.  No answer.  She went to J's shop but he was outside.  So again, no answer.  Poor girl.  She struck out on the visits and went back to work in the garden.

We currently have 21 chickens and we are getting 1-2 eggs every 2 days.  {sigh.....} Between molting and the shorter days, that's as good as it gets for now.  Caylie and Anna should be laying soon so at least we'll get 2 more eggs every other day.

I finally completed caramel and chocolate-covered apples and had hoped to make an apple pie this weekend, but that just didn't happen.  Maybe next weekend.

Broccoli is the only thing left in the garden and just keeps giving and giving to us.  Next month we'll start planning next year's garden.  Always one of my favorite things to do!  My first flip through the seed catalogs always results in me wishing for far more vegetables than we could ever eat or fit in our garden.  Then, the list gets narrowed to a much more reasonable {and affordable} size before they finally get ordered.

But for now, the Holidays must be planned.  Can you believe how quickly it's coming?

Hoping you're having a wonderful weekend!





Disclosure: In an effort to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendations, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and please know that I will only feature products I love.

Starting A Home-Based Business - 10 Tips


We started our business last year and I've received numerous emails asking for advice on taking the self-employed plunge.  I think a lot of us dream about starting a business, but of course, there's a lot of fear and intimidation involved.  Fear of not making it, fear of financial struggle, fear of how to run each aspect of the business and fear of the unknown.  While each situation is different, I think there's a number of things that are common to all start-ups.  Here's a bit of what I've learned over the past year.

1.  Don't Quit Your Day Job/Do Quit Your Day Job
I know, two contradicting statements.  But the purpose of that is that either can be true - it just depends on your financial situation and your comfort level.

I did quit my day job, initially, but not to start our business.  We had thought about starting a business and had a target date of Winter 2013/Spring 2014.  I had every intention of continuing to work my 9 to 5 while we slowly began selling our products.  However, things happen and I decided it was time to leave my 9 to 5 in Spring of 2013.  We decided to get the business off the ground and then I would return to work so the money the business makes can be put right back into it.  We have chosen to not take on any debt.  What I hadn't anticipated, was accepting a job that required me to be at work 9-10 hours per day.  Unfortunately, I didn't learn this until my second week of work.  Although not ideal, I'm making it work.  I wake early to work at home before heading out to the 9 to 5, and stay up late to also work at home.  Weekends, for the most part, are also devoted to the business.  It's a sacrifice we both feel is worth it so we are able to determine if this will be a business we will continue to grow or not.

One of the reasons many encourage quitting your day job is so you'll not only have more time to devote to your business, but so you'll work even harder at "making it" because you are forced to do so.  If you can handle the financial stress of that, then this may be the option for you.  I, personally, believe you can still have that strong drive to make it work because of the passion of eventually leaving your day job to work solely in your own business.

2.  Separate Work From Home
For any of you who work from home for your 9 to 5, you know how important this is.  You have to turn the business "off" at some point - for your sanity and to have a life.  Having a cut off time and a separate business phone that is only answered between certain hours can help.  Although there will certainly be times, just like at your 9 to 5, that you put in extra hours, you should have a plan for how to separate the two the majority of the week.

3.  You Will Wear All Hats
Unless you can afford to have employees or outsource tasks from the start, you will wear every single hat.  Even the ones you don't like or don't know.  You will be the creator, seller, PR person, marketing manager, accountant, customer service rep, and the list goes on.  If there's something you aren't familiar with, research it.  Get a good enough handle on how to do each job so you can complete it yourself until finances afford you to hire someone who specializes in that area.

4.  Pick The Right Business and Business Avenue
Seems obvious?  I know, but I've met a few people between the craft shows and farmer's market that weren't picking either the right business for them or the right avenue.  An example is someone who we met at the farmer's market who didn't enjoy it at all.  She wanted to make and sell her product, but having to spend hours at the market, talking to people in order to sell her product seemed like torture.  What she really should have done was wholesale only.  This way, she speaks to individual business owners, sells her products, fills orders, and delivers.  No dealing with the public, no weekends at the market.  We discussed this at length and she is now exploring that avenue.

And in this same category, I think it's important to keep an open mind and be flexible.  If not, you could be missing a huge opportunity.  The business you start out with may need some adjusting, fine tuning or even a complete overhaul.  Keeping an open mind could be the difference between running either a successful or a failed business.

5.  Price Your Product Right
If you are selling a product that you will potentially sell wholesale and retail, price it right from the beginning.  Research what wholesalers will need as a mark-up/margin {usually 50- 100%} in order to price your product to sell so that you can make money selling either way.

6.  Write A Business Plan
If you plan on taking out a small business loan, this will be required.  But even if you don't plan on taking on debt, this is an important tool in keeping yourself focused and your business moving in the right direction.  Nothing fancy is required, just a clear, concise vision.  Write it, read it frequently, and update it at least yearly, making changes as needed.

7.  Become A Master Marketer
Ok, so you don't have to become a master marketer, but you certainly have to figure out how you'll continue to sell your product.  You can have the best gizmo or gadget in the world, but if no one knows about it, it won't sell.

8.  Figure Out Funds
Both the funds for the business as well as living expenses, figure out a plan for starting the business and potentially supporting it for a couple of years as it gets up and off of the ground.  There are a lot of hidden costs that you may not be prepared for so take the time to make a list of those you can think of that may come up throughout the year.  This allows you the ability to help control costs so that as you make money, you are allotting it to the different needs of your business.  Similar to a home budget.  And don't forget to set aside money to pay your taxes - both sales and end of the year.

9.  Get The Proper Licenses, Insurance and Permits
Depending on your business venture and the state you live in, you may need different permits for your city than you need for your state.  If you have clients coming to your home, you may need additional insurances.  Look at all the potential scenarios and research what your needs will be.

10.  Structure Your Time
You know how on your days off there never seems to be enough time to get done what you'd hoped to get done?  Well, that happens in home-based businesses as well.  What also happens, is you get distracted by things within your home and the next thing you know you've stopped working in your business, and began doing laundry, cleaning, etc.  I'm a big believer in checklists - they keep track of tasks I need to complete, I can list them in order of priority, and check off things as they are completed allowing me to see that I've actually accomplished things that day.


If you have a home-based business, what types of tips have you discovered?




Disclosure: In an effort to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendations, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and please know that I will only feature products I love.