Saturday, February 27, 2010

Nori chips!

I just tried making nori chips this afternoon, and they were delicious! Jesse would not try them, but they were seriously good. You can find the recipe here.

And I was reading on Gluten-Free Girl's blop today and she has done a kale chip recipe. Apparently her toddler love them, and they look darn tasty to me, so whenever I go to market next, I will look for some kale. You can find that recipe here.

Alas, the house I was so excited about already had a bajillion offers on it, so we did not go to see it. However, we decided to hire on one of Jesse's friend's dad to be our realtor, so I think we will be meeting up with him next week to go check out some homes. Some of them I'm kind of excited about, some of them just middle of the road. We decided to not look at short-sale homes for now, only when the other houses have been exhausted.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Oh. Holy. God.

For the past couple days, Jesse has been very verbal about us wanting to get a house, and I have been just as verbal in my stance that we should not break our lease, but start looking around May or so. He makes a good point that if we close prior to June 30th, we can still qualify for the $8k tax credit (which we could amend our taxes this year and get it returned instead of waiting until next February). Anyway, all that made a good point, but he was finding houses in the $140k range, and we just don't have the down payment for that.

This was where we were on that subject. Until today. Today he texts me the MLS number of a house out in Magna. MAGNA! That city WAY west of here. Is it even a city or is it still a township? So far west I've never actually been there. And then I start to read the details. 1800 sq ft, under $120k. Not bad; the basement has not been finished, but neither of us minds that sort of thing. It's a split entry, which we both like the look of. What's this? The kitchen has been refinished and it has new Pergo flooring? A new fridge and range? (The range is on the small side, as is the kitchen in general, but it's separated from the dining area by an L-shaped counter.) The counter where you can put some bar stool and have bar dining.

The living room has a fireplace and opens into the dining room. Right now there are double doors leading into the dining room...and they are square-glass-paned doors! Letting tons of light in! And I am a sucker for lots of light! It also gives it a country feel, which really goes with the wood finish.

It has a covered parking spot, and a shed. .15 acres...AND A HUGE COVERED PORCH. It was the porch that has sold me on this house, and we haven't even been out to see it. I have always wanted a house that has a wrap-around porch. This porch is not wrap around, but it is GIGANTIC! And COVERED! And there are fruit trees! And a huge, covered porch!

I sent an email out to the realtor this evening to see if we could view it tomorrow. It's a short sale, which I think is an oxymoron as they usually take longer than a standard sale. So who knows even if we did put an offer in how long the owner and then the bank would take to approve it. I like this house so much I'm even willing to forgo our usual starting price of 20% less, and maybe go with 10% off asking price...although I guess Jesse and I can talk about that tonight when he gets home.

Jesse had a bad cold a little less than a week ago, and I kind of wonder if I'm not coming down with something now. My throat was extremely dry and hurt this morning, and it still hurts now. I took today off work and earlier we went to Costco, and now I'm making more of my body butters for the store. I made a large Lemon batch earlier today and I should have used more lemon essential oil, but I think I might just market it as being our most mild butter in terms of scent and act like I did it on purpose. I'm in the middle of making Lavender now, and I think I'm going to do a Peppermint batch tonight as well. We'll have to see after that. Not sure if I'll want to switch to a different product line, or just go ahead and finish the scents off tonight and work on something else tomorrow.

We have been working on our paperwork for the business license, and should hear back tomorrow if we were successful in registering the business name (one of the steps toward the license). I heard back from the health department and it turns out they do not need to do an inspection, so that's cool. Now we just need the sheet back from out landlord regarding them giving us the go-ahead to run a business out of the apartment (which they have to get the form notarized) and then I think we'll be good to go to turn in all the paperwork all together. Or something. We're trying to make it so we can open the store in March sometime, but February is quickly passing us by and it feels like we aren't much closer.

We have about 6 batches of soap curing right now, and I think we may make another batch or two tomorrow, starting to double up on the scents we already have on the off chance they sell out quickly (fingers crossed). It's kind of scary starting to run a business as I have no idea what the clamor for the product will be. I've been selling some of the body butters to coworkers, and one of them said he wife loved it, LOVED IT! And it makes your nails shiny and healthy too! he said. I thought that was pretty funny.

I've been doing the low-carb thing pretty strictly since the beginning of January and while weight loss has been extremely slow, I feel so much better, as I always do. Anyway, since I still like things such as stroganoffs and spaghetti and whatnot, we've been using spaghetti squash in the place of rice or pasta. It has been great! We just cut them in half and then bake them until they are tender but not mushy, and then add them to whatever it is you need it for. Many spaghetti sauces have tons of sugar added, so we make our own. (What's this we stuff, *I* make everything! Just easier to say, I guess.) I take a can of diced tomatoes, some tomato paste and a little water to thin it out. Add italian seasoning and presto! Your own homemade sauce. Jesse took some leftovers to work the other day and a coworker said, "You always bring in the best-smelling food!" and Jesse told him that I make everything and the guy said, "If I ever find a girl and get married, I'm bringing her over to your house so your wife can teach her to cook!" I found that pretty flattering:)

We've been talking about hopes for our Sympathetic Soap company and where we'd like it to go in the future. Ideally we'd like it to get to the point where we can both do it for a full-time job. In the meantime, we'd like it to do well enough that whenever we have our first kid, we can count on it being like at least part-time income for me. We've had really great feedback on it so far. One of Jesse's coworkers mentioned he has a contact who does wholesale who may be interested in it, and someone people on my low-carb forum want to try some products.

And I have this idea to send a gift basket to this woman who writes a blog, Heather Armstrong. She has a huge following, not just in this state but many states. If she likes it and maybe says a little something about it, that would be awesome! And would really broaden our market. But how to phrase the card that goes along with it so she doesn't think I'm just wanting to use her for free press...that's the tricky part. Because I do really like her blog. I just also am wise to her audience reach. I'm also thinking of sending baskets to the local radio stations and if they like it, maybe they will mention it on air. So, I do have some marketing strategies lined up.

So, that's where we are right now. Beginnings of a cold, business start-up ponderings, house hopings and all.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Keep on keeping on

We continue to grow our Sympathetic Soap line. So far we have four body butters, several soap scents (and an unscented version), bath melts (also known as bath bonbons), massage bars, and lip balms. We are going to create sugar and salt body scrubs, fizzy bath salts, and more. Just waiting for the raw materials to arrive so we can start experimenting. And by we, I mean me. Jesse is more about the soap and while he is willing to critique my creations isn't much for creating on his own. But that's ok, I can "own" the body care line.

So far I've even made one sale! A coworker was looking for something to give his fiancée for Valentine's Day, so bought two of our butters, the Lemon Butter and the Peppermint Butter. I have a couple other scent samples here at work in case anyone wants to try them. I'm surprised because I thought most people would gravitate to either the Chocolate Cherry or the Chocolate Mint, but the majority seem to favor either the Lemon or the Peppermint. I'm also going to be creating a Lavender body butter as well.

I worked on the site last night and wrote the ad copy for the products we currently have. Now I'm just waiting for Jesse to take photos so I can upload them. We are using PayPal for our payment method because anyone can use their credit card on it and they do not have to have a PayPal account to do it. It seemed the best way to go, but I'll be keeping an eye on it to make sure another merchant service wouldn't be the way to go.

In the meantime, I'm constantly scouring the internet to see if there are more products that we can create to go with the body care line. The soaps are pretty much taken care of. For now we are just going with a really great base recipe and doing different scents. Maybe in the future we'll do more along the lines of adding other ingredients like flower petals or citrus zest or whatever, but for now it's just nourishing soap that smells great.

I'll keep you all posted when the site is actually up!