Monday, October 27, 2014

I Am Crushing It!!

     It happened without me even knowing it! I hit 40 sales in my Esty shop. That means I've already reached my goal for the year of making as many sales as I did my first year open. Of course that was only 20 sales but I'm not complaining. I measure my year from February to February, too, so I've still got plenty of time, and a Holiday season, to do some damage!

     I really could not be more pleased. I am so thankful for all the support, it really means the world to me. Just as I may be feeling discouraged I remember to look closely and see that there IS real growth here. Maybe not a crazy boom, but growth. I'll take that! I have to remember that this is still a "side" business for me. Remember that I have a full time job, 2 children under 7 years old that I stay home with, and a myriad of other responsibilities.

     I like setting goals for myself but that doesn't mean that they need to be super lofty or impossible to achieve. I'll start small and come in with a sneak attack, just like always! It's more my style.

     Either way let's celebrate! The very next number 41 will receive 2 free eye pillows- 1 lavender and 1 clove (new) in addition to whatever is purchased. This is my small way of saying thank you.

     Also through the rest of the month (October) use COUPON CODE: MORETHAN40 to receive 10% off all order $10 or more. Let's see what we can do in a few short days!

My humblest thanks,

Simple City Sam

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fairs 2014

     It's that time of the year again! I am all booked up for fairs this year and will be pushing my wares all over southern Maine and New Hampshire. Please come see me! Get a chance to touch and see everything in person...except me of course. You can't touch me. You will definitely see me though, you can't miss the bright pink hair!

     I will again have my hand made neck and back wraps, perfect for hot or cold therapies (microwave or freezer use) and soothing eye pillows. I will have a few small quilts, accent pillows of all sizes, draft stoppers, stadium seat cushions and so much more!

Oct. 25th, Saturday, 9-4, Standish Baptist Church, Standish, ME
Nov. 1st, Saturday, 9-4, Hampstead Mother's Club Fair, Hampstead Middle School, Hampstead, NH
Nov. 15th, Saturday, 10-2, Steep Falls Elementary PTO Holiday Fair, Steep Falls, ME
Nov. 28th, Friday, 9-4 &
         29th, Saturday, 9-3,Christmas in the Country, Bonny Eagle High School, Standish, ME

Dec. 3rd, Wednesday, 4pm-8pm Salt Water Grille Holiday Artisans Show, So Portland, ME
Dec. 6th, Saturday, 9-2, Peaks Island Craft Fair at Inn on Peaks Island, Peaks Island, ME (no link yet, Peaks is easy going come take a winter boat ride and get some nice gifts)

Thanks for all the support everybody!

Simple City Sam

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Two Kids. Two Hungers. One Nuker.

     There's always that day, at least once a week, where I've managed to seemingly starve my children. We've all been there, right? It's super late in the afternoon, like 11:26 a.m., and the kids are either going to pass out (as threatened) from hunger, or annoy you to death asking when lunch is. Reminding them that they ate a "snack" of an entire apple, a cheese stick, and a handful of peanuts less than an hour ago is futile, don't try. Thinking back in wonderment to breakfast, not more than 4 hours ago, when they each devoured 2 eggs, bacon, a piece of toast ("with jelly!") and then split a pear because they were still hungry, will get you nowhere. Having them drink yet another glass of water won't do the trick. No. They need something hot and now!

     These are the days when I reluctantly forgo the oven or stove and plug in the microwave (Nope, ours does not stay on all the time. No need to suck energy for something we rarely use.) and heat up left overs from the night before or maybe soup. Today's installment features the ever popular, though not very nutritional, pizza left overs.

     Now don't forget one of my daughters has a dairy allergy, so their pizzas stay separate. Go ahead...YOU decide which one has to wait while the other gets her piece cooked. Then, TELL her she's the one who has to wait.  Mwahahahaha! Good luck my friend.

     Fear not! I just add a second level. Stick a small coffee mug in the microwave and place the second plate on top of that. Our microwave is so small that the cup has to be placed on the first plate. Either way, now there are two, different, plates in the microwave at the same time. Each kid gets her lunch, at the same time.

     Crisis: averted.


     Of course this never would have been an issue if I'd just feed them!

Simple City Sam

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

We Do The Mash. We Do The Pumpkin Mash.

     We are at it again. You saw that we went apple picking a few weekends ago. Well, I'm certain none of you thought that's all we got! Of course we walked away with quite the pumpkin haul as well. We are a tad pumpkin obsessed around here. Undoubtedly, one of the greatest things in all the world is pumpkin soup. My hubby happens to make one of the absolute best too! Totally planned it that way.
     This year we got the ONE pumpkin that I allow to be sacrificed in the name of Jack-o-laterns and 3 little Jack-be-littles for the girls to color and tattoo. Yep, you saw it here first. We tattoo everything around here and the pumpkins are no different! Temporary tattoos work like a dream on the pumpkins and are far less messy than paint or other craft supplies. The white pumpkin that we "splurged" on this year was especially nice for this technique.

     Now let me just preach for a quick second. Purchasing, even these few, pumpkins that will inevitably be wasted (in terms of food) still makes me nuts. That is why we only do the small ones for painting and one large one for carving. I don't want my kids missing out on what can arguably be a rite of passage, but I also don't want them to become complacent about waste. Adding insult to injury is the fact that they are too young to care about making it look like anything but a scribble or a "design". There is simply no need to spend hundreds of dollars on pumpkins that will just be thrown out a few weeks later after rotting on the front step! Ok, whew, thanks.
     Now don't forget,  even that Jack-o-latern will yield a good amount of seeds. Roasted pumpkins seeds are divine, just a little olive oil and salt. My youngest prefers sweet "pepitas" (so called because that's what they are called at her favorite Mexican restaurant), with brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and paprika, so we always end up making a few batches. They keep for a solid week, especially in air tight containers, and make really excellent snacks.
     Back to the pumpkins...We break down the remaining pumpkins and freeze the "meat". Halve the pumpkin and scrape out the seeds (use them!), I usually use a spoon and elbow grease for this.

     Place the pumpkin halves face down on a parchment covered baking sheet. Placing them face down helps trap the natural moisture in the pumpkins. Roast low, at 275 degF for around 2-2 1/2 hours.

     For best results we've spoken to our local farmers and tested a few theories. We find that the pumpkins that are about the size of a basketball yield the best meat to seeds and skin ratio. They are also more manageable at that size and are never hard to get on a tray or in the oven. In this case bigger isn't necessarily better.
     When we take them out of the oven, we let them cool and then scrape out the meat. We store it in gallon size freezer bags (about 1 whole pumpkin per bag) and stick them in the deep freeze. The mash will be pulled later and made into soups, pies, breads, sauces and whatever else we can fathom. Which is why we didn't season it prior to roasting, we want nothing but pumpkin flavor! One pumpkin, or one bag will yield roughly 4 quarts of creamy pumpkin soup. Don't worry you'll get that recipe later...probably.
I can't wait!
Simple City Sam

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Apple Picking

     This past weekend we got to partake in one of my favorite Fall rituals. We went apple picking and pumpkin picking. It also happened to be the first time the four of us got to spend time together as a family unit in several weeks. It was LONG overdue. 

     How do we let the time escapeus that  easily? How does it get away from us so quickly? 

     Summer is my most favorite time of the year in Maine, yet somehow I end up really not getting to enjoy any of it. I work every "spare" moment I can find. So does my husband. We make the money while we can, seasonal Maine work is very short lived. Nonetheless we miss each other all summer. Constantly we are ships in the night, just missing one another. We give more "see you soon" kisses than I care to admit. 

     Fall marks the return of family dinners, Saturday excursions, and family dynamics at their best. For these reasons I love Fall. For the impending Winter doom, I hate it. 

     But for now I'll just take our annual picking trip as a sign of good things to come. (Extra good this year, our Fall picking day was 80 degrees!)

     Now on to sauces, jellies, pies and crisps. Mmmm. 

Simple City Sam