leelee happy Holidays

As I was walking down the chip aisle at the grocery store, I spied the bags of popcorn kernels and another pin came shooting back into my brain – making your own microwave popcorn in a paper bag. So I scooped up a package.

It works!  I put a 1/4 cup of naked kernels in the paper bag and microwaved it for 2.5 minutes. Voila – a nice hot bag of fresh popcorn. Of course it deperately needed some spicing up with butter and salt.

One thing I did notice was that there were a lot of unpopped kernels in the bottom of the bag. So to experiment, I tried another batch, but this time nuked it for 3 minutes. Still lots of unpopped kernels. In fact, I got curious and measured out just how many were left: 2 TBSPs!  Thats half the amount I started with! And the extra cook time did not result in any fewer unpopped kernels as I had expected.

But have you ever checked how many kernels are left unpopped in a bag of store bought microwave popcorn?  You can’t even see how many you start out with to be able to compare. But, at $1.69 for a 2 lb bag of the store brand of kernels, you can’t beat the price!

It was a sad day in our household yesterday. Sandy the gecko passed away.
Actually it could have been the night before – I didn’t notice til last evening that she was in the exact same position that she was in in the morning. I was not surprised. The way you tell if a gecko is healthy is if they have a nice fat tail. Well this little one’s tail had become the width of an iphone’s charging cord. I even got her more crickets, although she still had some left from the last batch, to be sure she wasn’t starving. But I guess it was just Sandy’s time.
7 yr old Jack’s reaction – “oh”
7 yr old Dylan’s reaction – “can we get a new one tomorrow?”
10 yr old Bobby’s reaction – uncontrollable sobs for hours until he went to bed in our bed with Daddy!
This is the first pet, if I can even call our past fish, hamster, and hermit crabs pets, that he has done more than shrug at the loss of.  I have no idea if his reaction was a result of being especially attached to Sandy, if it was a sign of his maturing age and understanding, or if he was just particularly tired from a weekend of practices and games (lost their first hockey game but won their first football game!).
And I probably never will know.
We cleared the tank away before he got up and he was very chipper this morning – which, seeing as he is not a morning person at all, is quite a rarity and a very pleasing surprise.
We’ll see if he ever brings Sandy up again.

Remember how we had that lame sales day at the show?  Well, not 2 days later Leslie excitedly told me that we had an appointment with a wholesale customer.

I was like, “whoa, hey, what?” Because all I could think of in my production type mind was, oh no, we don’t have packaging for selling singles.  We don’t have order forms.  What kind of promotional info do we need, etc, etc, etc.

Turns out, she was bummed about not selling much at the show and had the great idea to see if any of the down town banks would want to give out our halloween crayons at the city’s annual Trick or Treat event. Unfortunately the people she needed to ask weren’t in, so she popped in at our local gift store, Casa de Moda (http://www.casademoda.com). The owner, Jan, was happy to give lots of pointers on how to tweak our product and packaging for retail and how to sell to retailers. About a month later we went back with our changes and made our first sale!

From there we went to the local toy store, who immediately said sure, I’ll try them.  That took us by surprise as we stood there dumbfounded saying ok, now what?  I think our product is so inexpensive that its not a huge investment for store owners to try them, so we’ve been fairly successful in the wholesale market.  We now have our crayons in 9 different stores with more to come!

I saw this recipe on Pinterest and thought it was too bizarre not to try.  I just had to now if it worked.

Instructions say, put 2 bags of frozen berries (I used strawberries and blueberries) on the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ pan, sprinkle the cake mix over the top, and dump a can of Sprite over the top.  Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes.  It specifically says not to mix it all up.  And this is supposed to create a berry cobbler that will be a huge hit at all your family functions. And weight watchers approved too!

This one was a big fail.

We don’t drink much soda at my house, so I didn’t want to by a case of cans of Sprite. Instead I got a litre bottle of it.  Poured 12 ounces into a measuring cup and slowly poured it over the top of the cake mix. It looked just like the photo said it should.

But when I took it out of the oven and cut into it (after it had cooled of course), there were big patches of dry uncooked cake mix throughout. The parts that the Sprite soaked into did cook a little, but only on the surface.  So there were piles of uncooked cake mix under those parts too. Could the first pouring of the Sprite into the measuring cup have popped too many of the bubbles for it to cook up right – who knows!

My mother happened to visit that day so I sent half of it home with her to try, knowing full well I’d just be throwing it out. Now, my mother is usually pretty gentle in her criticisms, but she agreed completely – total fail! Although she did try remixing it all up and putting it back in the oven to re-cook. She said it came out kind of like a berry cake!

I will not be trying this one again.

Yesterday, when I went to do a long overdue cleaning of the bathroom, I remembered I had seen something on Pinterest about a great way to clean soap scum.  So I decided to try it out.

Seemed super easy – you just mix equal parts of Dawn dish soap and warmed up vinegar in a squirt bottle. And I had all the necessary items on hand already.

I heated my vinegar (about 1/3 cup) in the microwave in a Pyrex measuring cup for 2 minutes.  That was actually a bit long – it was pretty hot.  And when I poured it into my squirt bottle it softened the plastic so the bottom of it is no longer flat! I should get a new squirt bottle for this anyways because this one only does a fine stream.  It looked like I had drawn blue lines all over my tub surround.

But I will say that this worked wonderfully. My tiles are finally all nice and shiny again!

The only complaint I have is that it takes a lot of rinsing to wash away all the Dawn. Think about how many bubbles 1/3 cup of dish soap makes! Next time I might try it with less soap and see if it still works.

The other important part of creating a listing, in addition to photographs, is the copy. On Etsy, you need to have a title for your item, an item description, and tags for each listing so it can be found in a search. Also you have to write all the shop info and policies, a seller profile, and a shop announcement.  We decided we’d try to be a little creative in our titles and descriptions and use quotes or familiar sayings as well as cute ways the crayons could be used.

Leslie is a little intimidated by writing, as so many people are, so she researches the quotes and ideas, then writes her notes as drafts, and I tweak them into complete sentences and paragraphs.  It works – she’s the idea person and I execute. We finally got it down to a science so we’d only need to change a couple things from listing to listing. Here’s an example:  http://www.etsy.com/listing/103512047/mustaches-but-i-cant-pay-the-rent-but

The hardest part was the seller profile.  The theory is to be personal so the buyer feels a connection, like they know you, and will want to buy from your shop that much more. So we combined parts of Leslie and I and created a fictional spokesperson for the company and named her LeeLee.  She’s a little more lovey and quirky than either of us though. We try to remember to write everything in the first person and sign everything from LeeLee, but as I said, a copywriter I am not …

Our name is in print!

Our crayons got reviewed on the Mommy Testers website:  http://www.mommytesters.com/2012/07/leelee-street-crayons-all-treat-no-sweet.html

And we got mentioned by name in this write up:

Come see us next Saturday, August 25th!

We’re going to be at the Salem Jazz and Soul Festival this Saturday, August 18th at the Salem Willows from 11:30 to 6:30.  Come visit there too!

I just wanted to update a couple of old posts.

Here’s a photo of what my pallet planter looks like now (original post was “One postive result of my pinterest obsession”  https://2momsandastartup.wordpress.com/2012/05/29/one-positive-result-of-my-pinterest-obsession/ from May 29th).

As you can see, things have grown a bit – especially what was supposed to turn into romaine lettuce. Not sure what has taken over its soul but it is now a towering monstrosity with a flowering spike coming out the top! And that thing on the bottom right that I still forget the name of. And the mint of course – yeah Mojitos!

Unfortunately a few things have died due to my lack of green thumb. Alas, there was originally 2 vincas on either side of the lettuce spikes and 2 lobelia in the top row. But at least its still fairly balanced.

Next, regarding football and my 10 year old… (original post was “Is football OK for a 10 year old?”  https://2momsandastartup.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/is-football-ok-for-a-10-year-old/ from February 6th).

We went for it! Please don’t let him get hurt…Please don’t let him get hurt…Please don’t let him get hurt!

We had the name and the logo, now how to use them.

We needed some interesting packaging to really showcase these nifty crayons. Leslie had found some fun round shaped cellophane bags at the local craft store, but we wanted them to look finished and professional.  So I designed some tags to attach to the tops of the bags.  Because the bag’s shape was fairly unique, the tag shape needed to be too.  I wanted it to follow the angled shape of the top of the bag.  In the beginning, all we had on these tags was a logo and web address on both sides.  But even that was a little beyond my abilities in InDesign (our page layout program), so I had to enlist my husband’s help.  And they came out great!  Clean, simple and just a little different.

Check them out:

(Again, sorry for these posts being out of order.  Thats what I get for writing way in advance!)