It was a baking kind of morning, as the bananas from Sunday’s grocery shop were finally ready to be turned into some delicious loaves of banana bread, my children like to gobble down. They were bright green when I bought them and have patiently waited for them to turn…
And while those bad boys were baking away in the oven it was time to decorate some cookies for the Valentine’s Day cookie rush of early next week…
I have learned that decorating a sugar cookie is definitely a learnt skill, and one that can be greatly improved upon with a whole lot of practice. And that is what this morning was dedicated to with a fresh batch of icing, learning the correct consistency for both flooding and writing, drying times, etc…
I will also say that also with the strength training that I have been doing recently, it has increased my upper body strength and allowed me to hold that icing bag with a steady head. Results posted below, my only issues is that I like to sample a lot and eating sugar cookies is not a great part of the triathlete’s diet!
Time flies when you are busy running, baking and playing with kids. That could best describe the month of January as I cannot believe is already over, I have noticed that life has both sped up and slowed down all at the same time. Again, allow me to explain…
In an effort to be more productive I needed to go back and follow a schedule for the week with each day laid out, with tasks that I wanted to accomplish. I found that during January I spent far too much time thinking about what I wanted to get done instead of actually doing things. The biggest distraction? Old movies that I have seen far too many times already, and quite frankly I didn’t need to see yet again. There is something comfortable about an old favorite movie, it just makes you feel good. We all like to be comfortable, but to live an extraordinary life you need to push beyond what is comfortable and really challenge yourself.
I’ve done my best to place that mindset into my head for the month of February, as I have set for myself some Wildly Important Goals! I created my own online baking company, as advertised below with a focus only on Valentine’s Day options, to be honest sales have been pretty much non existent to this point while I remain optimistic that as inch closer to February 14th sales will increase. The website only featured options for the Holiday directly ahead, I have over 170 different Cookie Cutters (Thanks Amazon!) and wanted to offer options for the entire year. I believe the biggest opportunity for sales growth will come from word of mouth, and one event will lead to three more, etc…
The biggest season in my old world, the restaurant business was Communion, Baptism season at the Keg (next to Christmas) all that is quickly approaching. So I want to have pages dedicated to these cookies with wonderfully decorated cookies already laid out for potential customers to view, to plant the seed for future purchases. I spent much of yesterday, and most of today dedicated to that task! I have an old colleague that is having a baby shower this weekend and I am going to surprise her with some Baby Shower themed cookies, both for the website (pictures) and word of mouth advertising.
The other half of the hustle, hustle, hustle equation is my triathlon training plan alongside the 100 Day running challenge. So the month of January is in the rearview mirror and I successfully ran all 31 days, putting my total at over 200 kilometers for the month that comes with a great sense of accomplishment. I have learned so much about myself, about how to be a more effective runner, how mental discipline plays into all this, and what drive and determination can accomplish.
The month of February comes with another 28 runs in which the run total will push past 50i n a row, it’s more base building where I am basically just running and increasing my cardiovascular base for the upcoming Ironman 70.3 race that I will be completing in this coming July. In March we will start to transition into some specialty training as we get closer to race date and the weather warms up here in Canada.
I have also successfully incorporated strength training into my training plan and so far have really enjoyed the workouts and maybe a bit more so the results. I can see the changes when I look into the mirror and I like what I see. I was worried that this additional training would tire me out more so than the cardio workouts themselves, however so far that has not been the case. My triathlon buddy is a big believer that strength training will help the overall swim, bike and run times out of the course this summer. I cannot wait…
Well this post has been a bit of a ramble, kind of like where my head has been at recently. Lot’s going on… and I didn’t even mention that I am going back to work part time starting this Saturday. Hustle, hustle, and more hustle!
How are you ever going to get somewhere if you don’t know where you are going? ANother example, going for a drive without having a destination in mind. Sure you might see some nice things along with way, and there is something to be said about going on instinct and feel and at times this can turn out to be the most awesome adventure.
My time away from a career and spending all this amazing time with my children has been like going on that long drive without a destination in mind, and yes I have seen and experienced some pretty amazing things over the past several months. Time that I would not trade for anything, but now that we are a good month into 2018 I’ve started to feel the call back to work, being productive and being a little social as well.
My exercise for the week in my men’s mental health group is creating a wildly important goal, and leads you through the process of getting it accomplished within a certain time frame. We will be doing this exercise twice, the first time through as kind of a test run if you will to completely understand the process, and then again over a longer period of time. I’ve decided to use the first run through for my side hustle as advertised below, my online bakery.
The past week I have been using Facebook and Instagram to advertise, and the business has gotten some great exposure. One of the ads has more Instagram likes than I have ever gotten before, but this has not yet translated into any orders. The site only has Valentine’s Day cookies for sale, as this is the next holiday I am looking to capitalize on but there are many other special days throughout the year, and countless baby and bridal showers, birthdays, special events, you name it… I would very much like my website to reflect all the cookies (with photographic evidence) that I can make. When I counted I actually have about 180 different shape cutters to use.
I honestly believe that some Valentine’s Day orders will be coming, and us men are notorious for waiting until the last minute to take care of things, I would like to be ready for repeat and referral business after Valentine’s Day has come and gone with products ready for the rest of the year. I believe that one sale leads to two more, and then five and so on, I really do and I want to be ready for WHEN that happens.
I am sending out my first package through the mail today to see if the product survives, I have packed them safe and secure and now it’s on the post office shoulder not to destroy my work’s of art. Years in the comic book business should help with this! But over the next four weeks I will be baking and decorating a portfolio of cookies, and I really look forward to it! A month from now I will have an awesome website, my decorating skills will have improved ten times over and I will be ready to turn my side hustle into a full blown business. I cannot wait… well two more minutes anyways before the timer in the oven goes off. Hmmmm, delicious!
I love all of the firsts in life. The first kiss, yeah you all can close your eyes and flashback to that very special moment when your heart was racing, you slowly leaned in and then the magic happened. Ahhh…. well life if full of the first time, the first one, it’s about being brand new, exciting and nervous, what is to come next? What are you talking about Edward??
I’ve mentioned in a few posts that I have decided to start a bakery company as I had a few requests for Sugar Cookies over the holiday season and it seemed like a good idea to make a little bit of extra money, with the goal of allowing me to stay home with my kids if things become successful over the next few month. My son turns 4 in a few days and will not be starting school until September, and I would to spend the next nine months chasing him (and all my other kids) around the house during the week.
If you are going to do something it might as well be all in. I had sat around waiting for a friend of mine to take the lead on this idea, come up with a website while I sat around and waited for orders… last week my brain was like dude, what are you doing? You want this to be successful then you need to make it happen, and that is exactly what I did over the course of the last five days. In fact, I am a little impressed in what I’ve got accomplished this week.
Last Sunday I signed up for my own domain name, registered an online shop and began construction on a website, I added a domain email address and set up a Paypal account to receive payments.
Monday I completed deleted the premade template the website was built upon and created my own from the ground up, I have lots of experience making websites and ran a successful online comic book store 20 years ago when the Internet was much different than it is today. Also on Monday I set up all the required social media links, Facebook, Instagram, etc…
On Tuesday I visited Vista Print with the intention of getting business cards made, and I walked away with not only those but car magnets, a banner to hang outside, t-shirts to wear when I exercise at the gym at the same time creating a great company logo to bring everything together. I also made (with help from the artist) an order of 36 cookies with the FreeMason logo on them as well as several promo cookies to help advertise Valentine’s Day which have been absolutely amazing. Thanks Kristi.
This continue on Wednesday as these works of art take a little time to bring together, and while I bake a mean cookie I have to bring my icing skills up to the next level! That is what this weekend is going to be all about. After I take my kids back to mom’s house I will hit up the gym and get in run #13 and then home to ice up some more promo cookies and work on another skill set I need to posses.
Thursday I spent taking pictures of the promo cookies we created and put together some Valentine’s Day promo ideas and then added all this information to the website. In those last 2 days I also ran 20 km at the gym… the afternoon was dedicated to updating and testing the site as well. Thursday afternoon all my printed material came in from Vistaprint (they were incredibly fast) as I had placed the order two days ago and delivery wasn’t supposed to be sometime next week.
The logos are on the Jeep, the business cards are in my pocket and I’ve worn the shirt to the gym for one of my long runs. I’ve turned into corporate America on a very small scale, and while on a personal level I don’t really like the IN YOUR FACE advertising, I do recognize that it is a necessary evil for any small business to get the word out. Such is life.
Friday morning I put together a Word Document outlining our prices and delivery options for Valentine’s Day as I plan to hand delivery all of my orders to that special someone on February 14th. Patrick, my head of sales will handle the Greater Toronto area and I am going to hit all the Simcoe County/Barrie orders. We have some awesome Heart Shaped boxes ready to go and it is going to be awesome.
The rest of Friday I spent making sure all the links and the pages on the site were correct, updated shipping options, tweaked a few pictures and updated the code to make it match the PDF flyer I created. I signed up for a Boost package through the service provider I am using, and started looking at Facebook and Instagram and ways they can boost my page and site now that it is ready to roll.
I put my little ones to bed, started to set up my board to play some X-Wing miniatures space combat game, very similar to Dungeons and Dragons from my youth when it happened.
I got my first order through the site I had spent a week setting up. There is was the first. I suddenly became very nervous for a few minutes as everything that I had done over the past week kind of sunk in, there it was. My very first order. My business was officially open for business. North West Bakery is open for business!
So for the first time in maybe forever, although I know I did some crazy things while Ironman training a few years ago, today I did my second 10 km run in as many days. I had every intention of doing a nice and easy 30 minutes job on the treadmill at the YMCA while the kids ran around the gym downstairs with there hair on fire (not literally).
Perhaps it was the fact that I actually only ran 9.96 km yesterday and not the full ten that kind of bugged me today. I have OCD and I felt I needed to fix that, or perhaps it was the fact that I was wearing a t-shirt advertising my start up baking company for the first time…
And I figured that the longer I ran the more advertising I would be getting. Is it wrong for me to have parked myself in front of a few out of shape folks sweating away and working hard? And here comes some in shape triathlete running for an hour advertising a bakery company right in front of them.
I ordered a bunch of items from Vista Print including a banner for the outside of my house, business cards, car magnets for my doors and the aforementioned t-shirts… I have high hopes that this business venture allows me to remain at home longer with my younger kids to continue to enjoy he magic of their childhood.
Tomorrow will definitely be no longer than 30 minutes or 5km, which ever comes first!
Does anyone have any tips for muscle and leg recovery that I might use? After all I still have 89 more runs to go!
Morning all, so I wrote quickly yesterday morning about feeling a bit overwhelmed about the day ahead, and I am very happy to report that I got it all done, and then some! The morning was filled with driving around, and my boy was just super well behaved in the car for a couple of hours, his favorite reward being a Kinder Egg which he attacks with such enthusiasm every time he gets one. He is such a sweet little boy, wanted to buy his big sister Emily a heart shaped ring from the dollar store and then gave it to her later in the day, warmed my heart so much to see that.
When I got home it was cookie production time, as I mentioned that I am starting up an online baking company, North West Bakery which has been such fun to start up. I found some awesome Valentine’s Day boxes to pack up cookies, and made some promo cookies as well that I am going to photo and add to the website today. My order from Vista Print arrives today as well so I can turn my Jeep into a mobile advertising platform, business cards and t-shirts to wear at the gym tonight when I work out. Going to be fun!
While Austin was down for a nap. I decided to hit the road for a lovely 10km run through the streets my subdivision on the 10th day of my 100 day run challenge. I was doing a Nike Run audio guided run and I humble suggest that any runners with an Iphone download the app and give it a try. Remember to turn your phone to airplane mode to avoid any phone calls as for some reason it kicks off the audio track during the run which has only been slightly annoying. I find the talking, the verbal coaching in your ear to be a great motivator, and I will try it again at the gym tonight.
After school was filled with icing cookies, and playing with my two young children. It was wrestle time and we had so much fun rolling around the couch, having pillow fights, and letting them pummel me and believe you me, pummel me is the right word. Horsey rides, tickle fights and playing Monsters (basically chasing them around the house making monsters sounds) and they loved it. Mom came and picked up the little ones, and I settled into the couch and a good movie and had a nap…
After a little despite, I engaged both of my older girls to end the day. Megan came home from the mall and was so excited to tell me all about it, share some videos that she took, showed off the 1000 page book that she bought. She even let me explain to her how to play the Star Wars X-Wing miniatures game that I have been dying to play, and then offered to play with me. I should have jumped at the chance, by I was down to my last little bit of energon for the da and knew I would be napping soon. We have rescheduled the space combat mission for this weekend, perhaps even tonight.
And then I talked with Emily about what is going on in her life. I challenged her to make a plan of action over the next few days to help her both feel better and get her school life back on track. She has been steadily improving the last few weeks and I want to see her take that next step. I need to remember to focus on the GREAT things that she is doing, and try not to focus on the negative things. I believe she will respond better with positive reinforcement when it is so easy to point out those negative things we all see and don’t like on a personal level.
I’ve gotten a bit away from writing about my daughters, as I learned a real valuable lesson about sharing too much especially when you have neighbours that think they know better than you do when it comes to raising your own kids. An absolute humbling lesson about a hand reaching out while sliding a knife into your back.. I digress as I choice to focus on the positive and the things that I have control over, right?
Today’s agenda is fun. Lot’s of playing with Austin today, in and around some website construction usually when he eats lunch, and naps. Swim lessons start up again tonight so back to the YMCA and then a nice little workout afterwards (run 11) and then home for dinner and a movie(s) night, first with the little ones and then another with my teenagers. Want to start a tradition each week watching one of the Marvel movies in order leading up to the release of Infinity War in May. This will give us the chance to talk about life, the day and whatever else comes up…