It's the Balm!

My friend Tammy came up with the above title ~ witty and pretty thing that she is. It's quite fitting.

That Lip Balm Project I mentioned earlier?
 It's in full swing.
We are methodically working to take over the state continent world with our display boxes of lip butters.
  • Wholesale boxes of 18
  • available in 4 of our best selling flavors
  • Kansas beeswax
  • organic oils & butters
  • comfy oval tube
  • insanely adorable labeling

Just all around Good Stuff. 

Contact us to learn more.

Rockin' the Holiday Shop

Things are in full swing! The shop is fully stocked with an outrageous amount of really delicious things. Caramel Apple, Caramel Apple, Caramel Apple - a newish fragrance that is flying out the door.

When I am making fragrance blends, and testing, testing, testing - one of my gauges is how other people respond to the blends. What I am looking for is a gut reaction, a response that is not thought out and takes no time to ponder, just a 'yummmmm' sort of reaction that takes you off guard.

The first time I worked this fragrance blend was warmish day this Fall. I came home and was picking up in the living room, waiting for kids to spill in the doorway. My two younger sons, ages 12 & 6, came in the back door first. They stopped, instantly sniffed and then intently set off to find the source of that goodness. All over the kitchen, the oven, the fridge, the cupboards, the hallway and eventually me. "mmmmm-mom! You smell so good!!!"

We call that the Yum Factor.

Getcha' some.


What's up?

Hey friends! I hope this finds you well! I just read over my last blog post, which was a YEAR AGO, and find myself smiling that I am back in the exact same week, enjoying the same crunchy Fall weather with my little peoples, who insist on getting bigger.

Out my window - treetops, I am sitting on the 3rd floor of this really incredible school building looking out huge windows and can see for miles. I have been subbing here on and off now that all my own littles are in school, and I love it. Love the kids, the teachers, the whole atmosphere. I love old school buildings anyway, hope to live in one some day with a pile of children in there with me, feeding them cookies and tapioca and love. This particular building has old creaky floors and incredible thick woodwork and makes me feel connected and bookish and teacherlike. 

 On my desk - paperwork, paperwork, paperwork. This last year has been an unexpected and all consuming crash course into the world of foster care and the justice system and learning a whole pile of things that it turns out are deeply, deeply important to me. Namely, saying Yes when God puts opportunities and people in our lives. Tough stuff, rewarding stuff, heartbreaking stuff and stuff I hate to be vague about but am not really free to yammer on about. Paperwork. Even on my best day I am not a great organizer of papers but now I am swimming in it. I think I need more washi tape to bring that all together pretty-like. Do you read I Heart Organizing? I heart her, I keep reading hoping for some of her mad skills to rub off.

In my kitchen - a few experiments, kombucha and some other fermented foods - sauerkraut and kimchi which my family can't stand but I adore. I have been teaching a few classes this last year at the Glacial Hills Food Center and having a blast. I have done a class on Asian cooking, yeast breads, beginning fermenting, "5 star rustic" and smoothies and salads. I love attending cooking classes, and teaching them has been a riot. 

Reading - In stolen moments between this and that - the aforementioned paperwork by the sheath,The E-Myth Revisited (great!). Water for Elephants (finished it, loved it, LOVED it, am sad it is over). Inc. and Entreprenuer magazine (piles of them everywhere, the business courses I never had, I always walk away informed and in awe).

Realizing - how attrocious my grammar and punctuation has gotten over the last decade. I think the internets have drained the smarts out of me, one facebook reply at a time. 

Working - www.shoptheyum.com - totally pared down as you may have noticed! We have honed in on our lip balms, put together some point of purchase boxes of 18, and are wholesaling them far and wide. 
Love them? Tell a store owner near you!

( I will put our regular assortment of products and sizes out on Black Friday for a few weeks so everyone can get their holiday yum!)

 Most importantly what I have been up to, mothering this crew -


 Looking quite a bit different than we did last time I posted a pic.

Life is good, speeding along as it should be. Love your people and tell them so, too.


Living the Fall Life

This has potential to be a long post. Partly because it has been so long since I posted. Partly because a lot has happened that I need to catch up on. Partly because I am sitting in a hotel lobby, sans children and laundry and Daily Responsibilities for the next 36 HOURS and honestly, the whole world feels possible at the moment. So I will hammer out some thoughts, and share a few Halloween pictures of our crew from last night.

The rule about blogging, and lots of super-smart-this-is-how-to-successfully-do-business-people will tell you, that if you can't blog well, and frequently, and relevantly, that you should maybe not blog at all. That your efforts should be spent elswhere. Because a neglected blog is not all that interesting to anyone, and in fact may be a detriment to your business image.

Probably they are right.

But I am breaking that rule anyway. I have lots of kids, and a busy husband, and a busy house, and a busy community, and a busy business and for the most part, just a whole number of things going on. So 'updating blog' tends to be on the mind more than it is actually on the List of Completion.

I am okay with that. What I put here, are little records of where I am at and where I want to go, with a smattering of cute kid and scenery pictures thrown in. I am going to find that to be good enough. In front of God and everyone, I am just saying, that the activity on this blog (nearly non-existent) and the activity in my life (nearly non-stop) have no reflection on one another, but I am going to do BOTH, with as much love as I have to offer each one. Are we good with that? Does that sound workable to everyone?

I think so.

The Fall has been delicious. Warm and balmy and leafy and crunchy and full of school sports and soup suppers and Fall Festivals and birthdays and just goodness all around. I have spent a bit of time thinking about parenting lately, and the enormity of that role and impact, and just feeling overwhelmed, in a good, good way, with this amazing journey. There are all these great kids in my life and I just love it. Love spending time with them, laughing, talking, bantering, learning. It is such a gift. A gift that takes great chunks of time and sometimes it seems like there is plenty of Other Stuff NOT getting done that could be. But THIS thing that is getting done, watching these babies grow right in front of my eyes. I am pretty sure it will be the best possible use of all the time I could find to throw at it.

So much business news. From the last 12 months even so much to share. Yum as a fundraising program which is a major dream come true for me. Some new fragrances and flavors that are making me incredibly happy - it is a really delicious line-up right now. Being awarded with The Yum-Yum Shoppe trademark I had to sort-of fight for. Great wholesale accounts I love working with. An artist collaboration in the new catalog, to benefit a local non-profit.

For this Fall, kismet brought together 4 friends as "sales reps" to try the ins and outs of that model. I am very excited about this potential and direction. I have always had a Bigger Picture in mind with this company, and a Big Part of that Big Picture is being able to give back, and give more.

See what I mean? That is a lot of cool stuff! So much that I am avalanched with announcing it all at one, but it feels ridiculous to just shove it all together in the middle of this one ginormous post.

It's a good day.
A good life.
We have an amazing opportunity every day to do good in the world.
Thanks for sharing the journey.


Summer Dreams

This summer has been a bit of a whirling dervish. All told, I have spent about a month 'on the road' - some of it with my people, and some of it just on my own, or with my mom. I truly love traveling alone when the opportunity arises. I love being agenda free - with nothing to do but absorb the sights, sounds and people along the way.

Alone, but not really.

I got to do a little bit of this,

and this,

with her,

in Portland - a city I have wanted to visit nearly my whole life. My brother was born there, and from as young as I can remember, I was woo'ed by the mossy, oceany photos in our albums.

I spent some time in Deadwood - in the Black Hills of my youth, visiting with my parents and cousins and having late night laughs and 'remember whens'.

I spent some time traipsing the Midwest - Reid behind the wheel and children in tow - through Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming & back again. Reid and I retraced our early steps together - the church we got married at in Nebraska, the hills in Wyoming where he asked me to marry him, the road in-between that we tore up traveling between first laying eyes on each other in Colorado and our wedding day 5 monthslater.

We decided it has been good. 16 years later, we can look back and say that it has been so, so good.

We got to see some of this,

and this,

and this.

We have spent time at ball games, spent time playing with fireworks, time waiting for heat and time desperately trying to escape the heat. Time with friends, with icy drinks on the porch, time celebrating Life through really good food.

Time watching the gardens grow,

And the children grow.

Cousin Time. Grandparent time. Aunt & Uncle time. Hanging Out With People Who Love You kind of time.

I took the time to turn 37, and my baby took the time to turn 5 - meaning that time for a new season in my mommy life is right around the corner.

We took some time on our road trip(s) to read aloud Little Britches by Ralph Moody. Beautiful book. Loved by all of us.

In Portland mom & I visited my Aunt and Uncle, newly settling in to an assisted living facility. I had a lot of time there - to ponder life and death and love and beauty and commitment. To ponder loss and love and hurt and forgiveness and bitterness and joy and how much those choices really create who we are in the long term.

Time, Time, Time. I spent it, cherished it, wasted it, longed for it and fell in love with it.

Maybe that is why they call it Summer Time.

A lot of traveling. Even for me, when I have never thought one could have too much travel.

It has made me realize a beautiful thing. That I love my home. That I love our habits and our rythym and the life we have created. When I am in the middle of it, I oftentimes think it is Not Right. That we should be Better and More Organized and I have moved often, with no regrets, having always felt like Home was wherever we happened to be. And it is. But for right now, Home is also a place. And I find myself surprised that I like it that way.


the Christmas Cards that should have been.

I love having supercreativetalented photographer friends. They are totally the kind of people that you want to go to the zoo with, or take a walk with, because you know at the end you will get to see your mundane life transformed into touched-up deliciousness with all the kid griping and stress edited out. :)

A good friend of mine here locally is Sarah Long, the talent behind Joyful Photo and one half of the amazing Red Barn Wedding Photography duo. This was the second photo shoot we have done with her, and I LOVE this girl. She hosts these 'mini-sessions', which seriously, as the overseer of a family of 6, totally rock my face off. They are 20 min. from start to finish - which means there are no meltdowns, no fussing, no threatening, none of that. You move relatively into position, have lighthearted conversation, smile periodically and she works her magic. BRILLIANT.

I have Christmas Card issues apparently, because we had photos done with her in 2008 that I never got made into cards. For 2009 I made those 2008 pictures into cards and then never actually addressed and sent them. For 2010, I was sending these beautiful pictures, which were then moved to a Valentine's Day goal, which still on March 10th haven't made their way into cards or even prints.


The internets are sucking the writtten word out of me I think, my old favorite hobby of pen on paper, stuck in the mail, has now become like the Most Difficult Task Ever.

Srsly. I need to get this together. I still don't think it is too late, but am trying to drum up a reason to send them. Happy Spring? Easter cards? 4th of July Greetings? Hmmph. If everyone would be on facebook it would eliminate the need for printed pictures, written greetings and any actual correspondence at all. Ha!

All that being the case, she posted some of our photos up on her blog back in Dec., and I am excited to share them. I love them so much, love her eye and her talent, and think she is the cat's pajamas in more ways than one.

If you are in need of a photographer in the Kansas City, Lawrence, Topeka area - then she is your girl.

Thank you, Sarah - for taking my scrappy lil' family and making us look magical!


How to make Green Eggs and Ham

I have tried this numerous times over the years, usually involving scrambled eggs with either a touch of food coloring or gratuitious amounts of spinach stirred in. The former is not so appetizing, the latter is not fooling anyone that eggs + spinach might have been what Dr. Suess was talking about.

A couple of mornings ago I was nudged awake by this toothless wonder, bright eyed and insistent that I must get up and make Green Eggs and Ham for breakfast RIGHT NOW.

I managed to help her understand they would taste better after the sun was up, and she trotted off, leaving her treasured 'recipe' folded and tucked under my arm.

Solving the dinner problem for later in the day, I used diced turkey kielbasa in place of ham and did NOT worry about dying it green. No one needs green ham anyway.

The recipe she gave me was quite clever, having you break the egg into a bowl, and then lightly stir green food coloring into the whites, while not breaking the yolks. I use paste food coloring*, so stirred a bit with some water and added it accordingly.

Then you fry up your green egg, sunny side up - or over easy as most of mine turned out. Super tasty, no EWWW factor and totally impressive to the children.

My little punkin-pie of the recipe request was impressed enough she found a special spot for it to hang, lest I forget how to make this most amazing of breakfasts. She prefers hers with syrup on top. Me - a dusting of freshly cracked pepper and some toast to soak up the yolks.

My green eggs did not turn out like the photo, but really, does anything in life actually look like the picture?

*Paste food coloring rules. I buy Wilton brand usually, it looks like this here. It is super concentrated, lasts for years and years and can make incredibly vibrant and fun colors!I get it at Hobby Lobby or cake decorating shops. Check out the incredible colors on that link! You need some! It really will fill a void in your life that you are barely even sure you have.