Friday, June 27, 2014

Slow Times=Slow Adjustments

Right now it is really slow at the flea market so we are adjusting our schedule to accommodate the slow times.  The market is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays but since it is so slow on Fridays we are opting to stay closed on Fridays for a while.  We will work Saturdays and Sundays and see how things go.

We had another meeting about production with our manufacturer of our beef jerky. Things are coming together quickly. We are getting more and more excited and nervous every single day.

Luckily with the holiday week this week, I have been given a ton of hours at the Michaels. This will be so nice when it converts to cold hard cash in a few weeks.

I have also been working on some "samples" for the classroom where I will be teaching some classes. Baby hats, scarves, tablet covers, etc.

So we are adjusting to the heat, slow times, and learning patience in the waiting game for jerky.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Easy Chicken with Onions and Mushrooms

Last night I had mushrooms that I needed to use and we are overrun with onions from a botched attempt and having a produce stand last week.  (Don't even ask, it isn't worth the tell).  AND I had some chicken.  So what do you do with those three items.

Chicken with Onions and Mushrooms of course!

I didn't have a recipe but went on what I knew and came up with a pretty good dinner that everyone enjoyed.

First I cut the chicken breasts in half long ways to make chicken cutlets.  I had three chicken breasts to I ended up with 6 cutlets.

Next in a large non-stick pan I put about two TBS of veggie oil in the pan and heated it up on medium high heat.  I added a whole Vidalia onion, sliced into the pan and sauteed.  When they were about half way done I added the sliced mushrooms, about 2 cups. Maybe more. I put a top on them to begin to cook them down. When things began to get nice and caramelized I added about  1/2 a can of chicken stock to the pan.  At that point I turned off the heat for a few minutes.  I wasn't ready to finish the sauce yet.

In a cast iron pan I heated the pan and about 2 TBS of veggie oil and cooked the chicken about 4-5 minutes on each side until the cutlets were done and had a nice brown color on them.  I then took them out of the pan and let the sit for a minute on a plate.

Back to the sauce.  I heated the onions and mushrooms back up with the chicken broth.  I stirred together 1 1/2 TBS of cornstarch with about 1/4 cup of broth and stirred it up until it was nicely blended and had no lumps.  Then I added this to the pan with the onions and mushrooms.  I stirred letting it thicken a bit.  For me it was a bit thick and I added a bit more chicken broth to the pan until it was a bit thinner but not watery.  At this point I also added about 1/4 tsp of ground black pepper and about 1/2 tsp of salt.

I put the chicken in a serving dish and poured the onions and mushroom sauce on top and served it over penne pasta.  Next time I will put the penne on the bottom of the serving dish, then the chicken and then the onions and mushrooms sauce.  It was really yummy and the kids even ate it well.


Chicken with Onions and Mushrooms

6 chicken cutlets
3 TBS vegetable oil, divided
1 can chicken stock or broth (about two cups), divided
1 large onion sliced
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 TBS cornstarch
1 lb Penne pasta, cooked
1/2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped

In a cast iron pan (or non-stick)over med-high heat 2 TBS of vegetable oil and cook chicken cutlets about 5 minutes on each side until done.  Set aside on a plate.  In same pan (or different pan if you choose) add additional TBS of oil and saute the onions until about half way done, then add the mushrooms and continue until all are caramelized (about 15 to 20 minutes).  They will be a medium brown color. Add 1/2 the can of chicken broth and bring to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer.  In a dish add 2 TBS of cornstarch to about 1/4 cup of chicken broth and stir until smooth and no lumps.  Add this mixture to the onions and mushrooms pan and stir until all is medium brown and thick like sauce.  Adjust the sauce thickness with the remaining chicken broth until desired consistency. (not too runny) Sprinkle ground black pepper and salt to taste.

In a serving dish cover the bottom with cooked Penne pasta, then add the chicken and pour the onions and mushrooms sauce over the entire dish.  Sprinkle with fresh parsley for color.

For a fun variation add a cup of thawed frozen peas at the end. Heat until hot in the sauce and serve as above.  The peas will add some much needed color.

Additional side dishes can include fresh bread and garden salad or fresh green beans or peas on the side.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Lord Provides Once Again.

No I am not surprised but I do need to begin to trust more.

About a week ago we had a huge storm that came through here.  Our canopy on our RV was destroyed.  It was a bent and mangled mess of aluminum.  We called our insurance company and an adjuster came out on Tuesday to take a look at the mess and report back to our insurance company.

This morning I called the retirement organization where I am cashing out and we aren't to expect a check until late July. Sigh.  Last week we were asked to set up a produce stand about 15 miles away from us.  We agreed and bought $100 in produce from a guy at our market (wholesale) and we set up Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and we sold $28 total for all three days. By Wednesday evening most of our produce was at the end of its prime.  There was no way we could sell it another day.  We had to cut our losses.  I cut up the fruits and veggies and froze what I could. It was a gamble that didn't pay off this time.

Yesterday my husband and I were discussing our finances again.  I suggested I ask for more hours.  He is going to apply for some more jobs. We will be super poor for a while longer.  It is frustrating and weren't quite sure what to do.

This morning while my husband was on the computer scanning the jobs listings he got an email.  A guy wants to buy our old digital camera we have had on ebay for a while.  Yay!  That is $100 in our pocket.  That will get us some groceries at least until I get paid next Thursday.

On his way to mail off the camera he got a phone call from our insurance company.  They are sending us a check to replace the canopy.  It will arrive on Monday.  Whew.  Now we can pay rent here and at the market, and a bill that we are behind on along with more groceries and gas.  Whew.  Just when we needed it, He provides.

We have been reading a book recently "The Man Who Gave Up Money".  It is a book about David Suelo. One of the themes of this book is reliance on God to provide when we need it.  This has happened so many times in the past couple years and we feel so blessed when it does happen.

Yes, we will get our canopy replaced when I get my retirement money.  We can wait another month.

Fresh Peaches "Dump Cake" Cobbler

Last night I made a peach "dump cake" cobbler.  I went out on the internet, like I do many recipes and scanned several recipes and read the reviews. Most of them were pretty much the same thing. So here is what I did.

I had fresh peaches instead of canned peaches.  I put sugar on the cut peaches and let them sit for a couple hours to let them macerate.  They got good and juicy.  I put them in the bottom of a baking dish.  Then I poured a box of cake mix on top.  The dry cake mix.  I used Spice Cake mix because 1. that is what I had and 2. I thought it would be good with peaches. (spiced peachy right??)  Then I cut butter into bits and put it all over the top of the cake mix.  I baked at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  It looked done and I pulled it out and let it sit for about 30 minutes to cool slightly before busting into this.

The top was crusty and the peaches were soft and juicy underneath.  I topped it with some vanilla ice cream, sat down and dug in.  Peaches, yummy and tangy, not too sweet at all (note to self - put a bit more sugar in it next time).  The cake part was crusty like you would think peach cobbler would be.  I couldn't really taste the spice part. It was more like just the crusty crumbs of a topping. The taste I tasted though was strongly tainted with baking powder.  I was a bit disappointed.  I was expecting some sugary, buttery, crunchy taste or even a spicy(cinnamon and nutmeg perhaps).  I just got a strong baking powder taste. Hmm....

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Freezing and Putting Up

Yesterday we had a bunch of peaches that were starting to get soft, like too soft for eating.  I cut them up and peeled them and tossed them in a ziploc bag to freeze.  I plan to use these eventually to make peach jam.  I just don't have time right now.  So in the freezer they go.

I also cut and froze onions and red peppers too.  I will take some of these out to put in recipes, spaghetti sauces, and meat loaf.

Just a reminder that we can still salvage veggies and fruits that get a bit past their prime by freezing.

People Who We Thought Were A Threat

Back in the flea market world we have found people who have become our friends and those who we label as a threat to us and our business.

In the beginning of our endeavor at the flea market we began to attempt to "protect" our product.  We didn't want others to swoop in with our product and set up close or even far from us and sell the same product.  We identified one person, Chad, who owned a dip business three aisles over as a potential threat.  He had spoken to us and we had gotten to know a bit about him through our conversations and watching his actions.  He wanted to expand, take other dip businesses out, and take over the dips business in all of the flea market.  He began to expand quickly to two other locations with a possibility of a third location in the market.  Another dips business had "words" with him and he was hot to take them out of business. In casual talks with my husband Chad was told (by my husband) that we were looking into expanding to bakery items (pastries, cookies, breads, etc).  Next thing we know Chad has bought and opened a booth on the busiest aisle of the market and is selling breads, cookies, and pastries. Hmmmm..... wonder where he got that idea. Chad came over to our booth one day and bragged about his new booth and him selling baked goods and he mentioned he would also be selling jerky as well.  My husband reminded him of their "gentleman's agreement" that we wouldn't sell dips if he didn't sell jerky.  Chad responded with, "It's just business..."  Again, this man was labeled a threat.

We kept doing what we intended to do in the time we intended to do it in.  We opened up a booth with baked goods but ended up closing it within a month. It wasn't making money and it was taking away from our focus. We did it on our time and in our way, not because someone else was trying to swoop in on our ideas.

Chad eventually put jerky in his booth on the busiest aisle but the jerky is exotics and we don't deal in exotics.  So he ended up not a threat at all.

In January on aisle C, about 10 booths down from our jerky booth that my son ran for us, another vendor switched her product to jerky.  This time it was the same jerky that we sold. We identified her a threat. She tried to undercut us slightly which didn't work.  She never hurt our sales on that aisle or on any other aisle.  In February we closed our booth on C, not because of her but because we had bought a booth on the busiest aisle and my son, who had been running that booth had begun baseball practice and wasn't available to run that booth anymore.  In March, the other vendor on C had opened another booth on aisle F and by May she closed down her booth on C.  Currently, we have a vendor on aisle F who sells our product. He buys wholesale from us and he out sells this lady every day.  When we found out our number one  product had been discontinued, we cried and then decided to go with the flow and continue on.  We had other things in the works anyway.  This lady found a stash of this discontinued product and ordered 58 cases. She was going to wait for all us to run out of product and raise her prices and get our customers.  Two weeks ago we found her in another market during the week and she was unloading her product for less than what she paid for it.  Last weekend I walked by her booth on F and she had some jerky still on her table but she was also selling personalized, cartoons that you print off the computer.  She adds your name and prints it out and sticks it in a $2 frame for you.  She was never a threat and still isn't.  Again we did nothing but keep on doing what we were doing.

There was a guy who had been selling jerky in the market on aisle D for a long while prior to our arrival.  He had a whole store of all different jerkies, both exotics and beef.  He never sold our brand, however, he did have a relationship with the "honey" guy on the busiest aisle.  This honey guy has a booth just 4 booths down from us.  The honey guy would give the jerky guy on D some honey to sell in his booth.  Once we arrived on the busiest aisle the honey guy began selling our same jerky on his booth.  We approached the market since there was supposed to be a "5 booth" rule (can't sell the same product within 5 booths of the next person). However, the market chose to bend this rule since the guy had a double booth and the jerky was displayed on the far end of the booth from us.  Basically, the market chose not to deal with it. We labeled this honey guy a threat. However, he hardly ever sells any jerky that we have seen and he has never hurt our sales.  Again, not a threat in the end.

Lesson learned?

In business, most people are not your friends.

In business, you have to keep your mouth shut as to your own business plans because others will try to swoop in and do what you had planned first.

In business, label your threats and watch them. Most of the time they don't hurt your business at all if you are sticking with your plan and adjust accordingly. Be prepared to use the system in place to protect your brand (like we did with the honey guy).  But be prepared for the system not to work in your favor.

In business, those who swoop, rush, or try to take over a product that you are planning to bring in, will likely  fail in the process because they rushed to beat you.

In business, stick with your plan and time frame. With careful thought and planned actions you will succeed.

In business, often no response to those who act looking for a response from you will anger them more than any response you could have given them. Chad was looking for a response when he came over to tell us he was selling jerky in his booth.  We didn't give him one.  He was looking for a response when he began selling bakery items.  We didn't give him one.  The lady on aisle C was looking for a response when she began selling our product but we didn't give her one.  We still aren't sure why the honey guy is selling jerky. We believe the other jerky guy who is in business with the honey guy was looking for a response, but we didn't give him one either.  What we did do was just acknowledge that we knew what they were doing and selling.  That was all.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Did I ever tell you about.... the buzzards???

Once upon a time in a land not so far way.  Actually a neighborhood that was pretty exclusive and gated and had million dollar homes in it.....

There was a neighbor who didn't live there all the time but when he was there he was a bit strange.  First he decided to buy a smallish bulldozer and dig holes and ditches in his backyard of his million dollar house.  Then he made sure, very sure that the trees were growing healthy and well when trees were planted between his house and his neighbor's house.  The trees grew healthy and began to make a natural barrier.  Then there were large birds that landed on his roof.  He was away a lot so his neighbors thought something had died in his backyard and the buzzards had found it.  No real concern.  Then there was a smell, a stink that the neighbors could smell and it seemed to be coming from his backyard.  Again, no big concern but just weirdness.  Then the birds came more frequently. Then the neighbors heard he was going to fix up his house and move back in. There was some roof work done, but no other real signs of work.  Sometimes he would fire up the bulldozer and ride it around in his backyard making more ditches and holes.

The birds kept coming.  Finally one of his neighbors moved out, not because of him but because they were moving.  The new neighbors moved in and the very first weekend saw the birds and smelled the stink and got curious. More curious than other neighbors.  They peered over the back fence that separated his yard from theirs and saw a few dead deer.  A few.  They called the police and the police called the animal control and the game warden.  They finally got in touch with the man who owned the house that had the dead deer in the backyard and the buzzards that landed on his roof.  He calmly explained that he was trying to create a buzzard sanctuary for the large birds and took great pleasure in watching them pull at the dead carcasses and eat the dead deer.  He was hunting the deer somewhere else and bringing them to his house and putting them in the ditches he dug and then watched the buzzards swoop in and eat the deer.

The police left, the game warden left, and the animal control guy left.  You know why??? Because the neighborhood was private property owned by the homeowners association and the man had broken no laws.

Yes this story is true.  It was my parents' neighbor. (my parents are the ones that thankfully moved) I had snapped this photo just before they moved. from their back porch.

Stuffed Peppers - Red Pepper Style

I am not a pepper person.  I just want to make that clear.  We had ground beef and red peppers in the house and it is just my husband and I so I thought I would try something different for dinner tonight.

I thought I would share my recipe.  I scanned the internet and took some basic ideas from the several recipes I saw and then ad libbed the rest.

Stuffed Red Peppers

1 lb ground beef
1 cup cooked rice (brown or white)
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced red pepper
6 oz crushed tomatoes
2 tbs bread crumbs
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt (or less to taste)
4 red peppers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook the rice.
Cut peppers about a third of the way down the pepper.  Scoop out any white veins and rinse out any seeds. Dice up the tops of the peppers for the meat stuffing.
In a skillet brown the ground beef, onions and diced red peppers.
In a large pot boil some water to par boil the pepper bottoms. Just a few minutes until they are just soft. Take them out of the water and set aside to cool slightly.
Once the meat, onions and peppers are cooked drain off any extra fluid then add rice, tomatoes, black pepper and salt.
Stuff the pepper bottoms with the meat stuffing and set in an oven safe dish.  Pour water in the bottom of the dish until it is about 1/8 inch from the bottom. Top the peppers with bread crumbs and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Let cool slightly before serving.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Awesome Stuffed Peppers

I am not a pepper person.  I just want to make that clear.  We had ground beef and red peppers in the house and it is just my husband and I so I thought I would try something different for dinner tonight.

I thought I would share my recipe.  I scanned the internet and took some basic ideas from the several recipes I saw and then ad libbed the rest.

Stuffed Red Peppers

1 lb ground beef
1 cup cooked rice (brown or white)
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced red pepper
6 oz crushed tomatoes
2 tbs bread crumbs
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt (or less to taste)
4 red peppers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook the rice.
Cut peppers about a third of the way down the pepper.  Scoop out any white veins and rinse out any seeds. Dice up the tops of the peppers for the meat stuffing.
In a skillet brown the ground beef, onions and diced red peppers.
In a large pot boil some water to par boil the pepper bottoms. Just a few minutes until they are just soft. Take them out of the water and set aside to cool slightly.
Once the meat, onions and peppers are cooked drain off any extra fluid then add rice, tomatoes, black pepper and salt.
Stuff the pepper bottoms with the meat stuffing and set in an oven safe dish.  Pour water in the bottom of the dish until it is about 1/8 inch from the bottom. Top the peppers with bread crumbs and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Let cool slightly before serving.


Saturday, June 14, 2014

I Was Going to Complain

I started a post on the 10 things I hate living in a trailer, but I was interrupted and walked away from it in the middle.  I actually only got to 4 and had to really think hard to get a 5th thing I hated.  When I returned to finish it, I wasn't in that same mood anymore.  So no more complaining....

Well, I could complain about the smallness of my world right now, the fact that it is hot and muggy outside but in reality I am pretty content.

I love that we are ONLY paying $385 a month for our rent.  I love that we can pick up and move if we want. I love that it only takes me a few minutes to clean the entire place. I love that I don't have to worry about extra household bills.  I love that we have a pool that we can take a dip in when we want and not have any pool maintenance to go along with it.

I love that we are so close to the beach.  I love that our expenses are pretty small right now. I love that this lifestyle allows us to experiment with different ways of making money and that failing isn't so horrible that we lose our house.

Am I missing our old house? any house? space? Yes. But I am fine for now.  FOR NOW!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Summer Camp

We just got back from a shopping trip for summer camp. It is a week long sleep away camp that is run by our diocese.  The kids are excited and can't wait to get packed and ready to go.  They leave this Sunday.

Whew. I am tired of shopping.  It is amazing the stuff kids need nowdays to go to camp.  My kids are going to a church camp. On the list for our camp is the normal stuff, toiletries, shirts, shorts, etc. Our camp, being a church camp, asks the kids to bring their Bible (all ours are in storage right now), a one piece bathing suit (my girls wear the tankinis that go all the way down to the bottoms showing no belly), and two twin sheets and a blanket.

Since we are still living in our trailer right now and all our stuff is packed away in storage 5 states away from us, we had to go shopping for the basics.

Do your summer camps require specific things for the kids to bring/not bring? What odd things did you need to get? Anyone know where I can get three Bibles for cheap?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Reactive Parenting vs. Proactive Parenting

I was out at the store the other day and I saw a mom fuss at her son.  He was only 2 or 2 1/2 years old.  He was out of the cart and he picked up a gift card of the rack by the cash register.  He looked at it, turned it over and then tasted it.  Typical toddler behavior.  His mom turned and saw him sticking it in his mouth and fussed at him. She grabbed it out of his hand and said, "don't put that in your mouth. Stop that!"  He was confused. You could tell from his eyes and the expression on his face.  But he went on looking at the other things on the racks by the register and grabbed something else.  Again, his mom turned and grabbed the item out of his hands and said, "Quit grabbing things. Don't touch."

Now I stood there silently watching the mom get all frustrated and the little boy not understanding why he can't touch.  The items are right there at his height and look so inviting in their pretty wrappers and packaging.  It also seemed that this little boy didn't understand why his mom was so frustrated with him and he didn't understand why he was being scolded.

It reminded me of a time when my kids were younger and I would get frustrated by them in similar situations. What was different was that I remembered that I hadn't taught my kids that skill or the rule before I scolded them.  I would then get down on their level and tell them my expectations and tell them how I wanted them to behave instead of scolding.

We teach our children many things but mostly through reactive parenting rather than proactive parenting. We teach them by scolding them when they do wrong and forget to set them up for success. By proactively teaching them how and when we want them to behave and what behaving means we can avoid many of these situations.

Before I would take all three of my toddlers in a store we sat in the car in the parking lot and talked about what I expected them to do and how I expected them to behave. For us the conversation was similar to this:

"When we get out of the car, I need you to hold my hand while we are walking to the store.  I want you to hold your sister's hand and I will hold her hand while I carry the baby in my other arm.  When we get into the store we will get a cart but you two will have to walk next to the cart while the baby sits in the cart.  You MUST hold onto the cart while are in the store.  You will see lots of things you may want to touch but don't touch it. If someone says hello to you say hello back.  If we can do these things then we can be quick.  If we can't do these things then we will be in there a long time and you won't have time to play when we get home."

I never promised my kids a toy or a piece of candy.  It was just my expectations and praise at the end of the shopping trip for their good behavior.  My kids did great with this because they wanted to please me and they knew the consequences if they misbehaved (no play time later, mom fussing at them, etc.)

While we were in the store if I saw other children that were misbehaving (crying or screaming in the cart, running away from their mom, picking up items, etc) I would point that out to my kids.  I would show them the misbehaving child and let them see what misbehaving looks like.  I would also ask my children to look at the mom of the misbehaving child and see her frustration in her face and her actions. I would say something like, "look at that mommy and see how upset she is that her child is screaming. See how she is fussing at that boy. We don't want to act that way in the store.  We want to be quiet and follow all my directions so we can get the things we need and get home to play, right?"  They would see the behavior and understand what I am trying to teach them not to do in a store.

Did this take me a while to teach? Yes.  Was it worth it? YES!

We need to remember that if we teach our children correct behavior by talking about the good behaviors we want them to show and by talking about the bad behaviors we don't want them to show.  We show them poor behavior when we see it in others and talk about that.  We can then prevent having to reprimand our children in public as well as set them up for success and praise.

Do I fuss at my kids? Yes, when I know I have shown them how to act and they choose to use poor behavior.  Do I fuss often? No, because I set them up for success.

Montessori Methodology goes one step further in their teaching style. The students are no allowed to touch or "play" with anything until they have had a lesson in how to interact with that object.  They await for instruction on how to build the "pink tower" or how to arrange flowers in a vase, or even how to put a puzzle together.  The teacher explains the proper use of the puzzle pieces and what not to do with those pieces.  If the student uses or plays with something improperly then the teacher assumes they need another lesson.  They receive another lesson and another if needed. There are right ways and wrong ways to explore their world and experiment with an object.

This makes sense if you think about it. We hand our child a toy and he bangs it on the table. We say NO don't bang.  He then tastes it.  We say NO don't lick it. He then throws it. We say NO, don't throw.  We never told him how to play with it.  With another toy we show him how to twist the knobs and it makes noise.  He twists the knobs like we showed him and it makes noise.  We say, YAY you did it!  We set him up for success. The child smiles at the praise.

My kids are teenagers now but I am still proactively teaching them.  We talk about new experiences that they may have, discuss options for when they find themselves in a specific situation, and practice those options.  I can't tell you how often my kids come to me and say, "Mom I am so glad you told me about........ I was ready......." (I'm a big smiley faced mom when I hear those words.)

Hoot! By Carl Hiaasen

A week ago we began a new novel.  It is called Hoot, by Carl Hiaasen.  It was published in 2002.

It is a story about a kid who moves to Florida and has some trouble with some bullies.  In the process of dealing with this he ends up in a mystery that involves a new pancake house being built, alligators, poisonous snakes, and some burrowing owls.

We are thoroughly enjoying this novel and find ourselves laughing at the antics.  We are also learning a lot about the nature in Florida including burrowing owls and how to deal with a bully.  This novel does have some "language" in it and I find myself changing some of the cuss words to more appropriate words.  My kids are teenagers so they have heard these words before but still try to replace these words as best we can when we can.

Hoot lends itself to a science research project.  So far we have researched the Burrowing Owls and the laws that protect these creatures.

My older two began to work on lapbooks about the owls. They are not completely finished but so far this is what they look like.

This novel was also made into a movie and we were excited to watch it.  However, when we did we all felt that we enjoyed the book so so so much better.

Here is a You Tube video of burrowing owls.  There is no commentary, just the owls.
This video has commentary and while pretty "dry" gives lots of information about the owls.

This website is all about the Burrowing Owl and has lots of great information and videos about them.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has good information about the Burrowing Owl and other wildlife in Florida.

We love incorporating learning through our reading.  It feels more natural that way.  It feels more purposeful as well.

Carle Hiaasen has also written other novels as well.  We will most likely be reading more of his novels.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Opportunities arise!

Three weeks ago I took a part time job working in a big box crafting store.  So far I work about 12-15 hours a week.  I love my job for the most part, but it is long hours on my feet on a hard, concrete surface.  A week ago my husband took a job working about 25-30 hours a week for a guy who rehabs houses that have been foreclosed to get ready for resale.  It is good, sweaty work.  At this point we are making about $9 an hour each.  It isn't bad and certainly is helping us make ends meet.  But that is not what this post is about.

Each week we meet so many interesting people who stop by our booth in the flea market.  Sometimes they are just tasting our product and other times they are buyers.  Whichever, we always try to strike up a bit of a conversation with them.  Sometimes they want to talk and start a conversation with us and other times we ask them questions to get them talking.  Typical conversation centers around where our jerky comes from, if we make it ourselves or not (not), or where they are from.  We often get visitors from out of state so it is fun to talk about their state, why they are here, and sometimes what they do for a living.  We share that we are recently moved here, starting up this business, and a bit about our family.  Sometimes our kids are with us and we will take a bit about them, our homeschooling life, baseball, and our church life.

Several months ago we had a guy and his wife come by one of our booths.  I had a fairly lengthy conversation with them about their product that they were interested in selling.  They had been in the food business for a while they said and were in the process of bottling a bbq sauce. They also had soups they said and other items as well.  I told them that I would be interested in trying some of their products and considering putting it in our booth to sell.  I told them to bring me some samples when they were ready.  I never heard from them again.......until yesterday.

They stopped by our booth on the produce aisle and spoke with my husband.  They had their bbq sauce bottled and wondered if we were interested in selling it for them.  We can't because the market has a rule that you can't sell the same item or product as someone else within 50 ft of your booth.  We are in the center and right across the aisle from us is a hot sauce and bbq sauce shop.  So we directed them over to the other shop.  BUT  the guy said that he had jams and jellies that he was interested in selling as well and we may be interested in that.  We are and will be getting in touch with him.  He also gave us some awesome information about possibly being able to set up a produce booth with jams/jellies/pickles and our jerky.  We will be looking into that as well.  We can set up during the week and extend our week from just a Friday-Sunday business to a 5-7 days a week business.  This would increase our sales as well as our visibility in the communities around here.

We have some trepidation about this as well. One, we are creating our own line of beef jerky.  How will this help this goal.  Two, we will be making more money and have a bit more flexibility in our hours as well as giving us time for developing our beef jerky business as well.  Three, there is no guarantee of income.  We make what we can but can't guarantee making any money with this. (We can guarantee our income with our other jobs working for others, however, it is limited.)

We have lots of things to research right now--where to get fresh produce, permissions to set up in this new venue, setting days and times and much more.