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!
In the effort to stay at home with my now four year old son I have started to feel the need for some extra income. I recently applied for and got a job back in the culinary industry to bring in a few extra dollars on the weekend when I am kid free. Ideally not what I was looking for but it’s one of this foot in the door and a chance to prove yourself moving forward. A classic case of walking before you can run, and after thinking about it now for a few days it’s absolutely perfect.
However it will only slow the bleeding that has been my bank account the last few months, ideally I want to bring that down to a trickle and eventually start to fill up the federal reserves again. Man I am big on the metaphors today! In comes the Side Hustle! I originally heard this term thrown around in some of the men’s mental health groups I have joined, and more recently on commercials for Uber. #sidehustle
Some friends and I had talked about starting a baking company late last year and this January I finally decided to take the bull by the horn and go all in. It first started with the 6 quart MixMaster mixer I ordered for a screaming deal on Amazon. And then it was Wix.com to set up a website, and finally VistaPrint to get some business cards, car magnets, t-shirts and a large banner which I’ve yet to hang outside my house. Tomorrow’s project for sure.
The Facebook page is up, the Instagram account is active and I’ve even started to boost posts on Facebook which has actually helped bring some more visibility to the site. No orders yet, but as men aren’t we notorious for waiting until the last minute? I have received a few orders already and this morning I went about my normal routine of taking the kids to school, and then making an order for a friend that was willing to help me test out the ability to send these delicious cookies through the mail and see what the end result would be.
I was very happy with the results of my efforts as you can see here…
… however when I went to pack them up the icing had not quite hardened all the way and several of them were squished. I did manage to save four of them but will have to redo the other eight, several of which are sitting at the bottom of my stomach as part of afternoon snack.
There has been a learning curve involved with his business venture for sure and at this point I am just hoping to sell enough cookies to cover off my investment and then make a few dollars. If it can be turned into a profitable enough venture to allow me to stay at home full time then I will consider that a Hugh WIN, however there is a lot of work and a lot of cookies between now and then.
If you have a few moments I invite you to look at the site as advertised below. Not looking for orders but rather feedback, ease of navigation, products you would like to see kind of idea. Swim lessons are wrapping up and then it is off the the 25th run in a row. Now that’s Hustle!
North West Bakery is based in Barrie, Ontario serving Simcoe County and the Greater Toronto Area, all of our products are homemade with love. We can hand deliver to your business, party or special event. Visit https://www.NorthWestBakery.com for details!
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!
It’s another snowy day here in Barrie, calling for continual snow until about 1pm today and that mean lots of shovelling for me. I enjoy the workout aspect of snow removal but when your entire body is tired and sore, well it’s not something that I am looking forward to at all today.
I’ve challenged myself to a 100 straight days of running, and yesterday I hit the 7 day mark. It doesn’t seem like a lot in the grand scheme of this challenge but it is the most consecutive days that I have ever run. I am also starting training for an Ironman 70.3 race this summer which also requires a lot of swimming and cycling as well. The combined toll of these three disciplines along with being a single father of four children, well I always have A LOT to do. Cleaning the house, grocery shopping, laundry, paying the bills, etc..
It takes a lot of mental energy to keep all this up as well, add on the issues that you will always have raising teenage daughters. Wow, it’s been a tough weekend that has left me physically and mentally exhausted. Waking up this morning, I didn’t sleep very well and am not sure how I am going to get through what today has to offer. Continued web site creation for a startup baking company that I am trying to launch, based on Sugar Cookies.
North West Bakery – homemade Sugar Cookies made with love proudly serving Simcoe County and the Greater Toronto Area.
The snow is still falling…
As I type that a smile washes over my face. I know that I can do this, I know I can take care of everything that needs to be done today and when my head hits the pillow tonight I will have completed a lengthy to do list and a warm sense of satisfaction will wash over me as I drift off to sleep.
Afterall, as a fellow blogger said this morning, “Do sharks complain about Monday? No. They’re up early, biting shit, chasing stuff, being scary. Reminding everyone that they’re a fucking shark.”
Despite the occasional box cake mix, and lets get the joke out of the way right off the bat, I love to bake. It comes from being my mother’s faithful kitchen assistant growing up and helping her in the kitchen, that love of baking has really blossomed over the past six months. There was a run there for a few years when I was really into making cupcakes, and would often involve Emily and Megan in these projects.
It only makes sense to me to serve up my children delicious creations from my own kitchen as opposed to store bought delights filled with an endless number of preservatives. Jennifer and Austin also love to help out in the kitchen everytime that we make cookies and it is another great way to spend time together as a family.
The one item I seem to make most these days is Banana Bread, and I’ve been slowly perfecting the recipe over the past few months. Most weeks I make at least two, and a few times I’ve made as many as five in a single week. The kids devour them (I give them to neighbors) and even as I type this Megan is asking when I am making another one as it is her favorite snack…
Beauty of a blog post, it can be paused and picked back up (banana bread made, and in the oven!)
Ahh now I can smell the deliciousness in the air of a banana bread baking away in the oven, amazing. Always a great smell in the house when I have something cooking. The other reason that I love baking so much is that I find it very relaxing and a chance to practice some mindfulness.
I can turn everything off and forget about the rest of the world for a few minutes when I am making a tasty treat. The whole process can be equated down to Love vs Science, a post I have recently written about. I have always been a very scientific baker as it helps sooth my OCD a bit, however I have recently been schooled in the ways of baking with love (not the love ingredient I previously mentioned) but actually LOVE and being slightly less concerned about perfect measurements across the board.
After some debate I had to agree that cookies made with love rather than pure science seemed to taste a bit better when eating them.
Some other items I have been working at perfecting are homemade pies and Sugar Cookies. My favorite pie would be a good old fashioned Apple Pie with a slight taste of cinnamon. Granny Smith apples seem to work best based on their texture and slight tart taste which plays great against all the sweetness of the sugar you would add. I’ve also made my first Peach pie, Cherry pie, from scratch Pumpkin pie and even a Chocolate Pudding pie a few weeks ago.
I am also in the process of working on getting an online baking company up and running with the help of Patrick and Kristi we have had a few orders and I look to dedicate a section of my blog site dedicated to this venture next week. This has been focused around Sugar cookies and Kristi has taught me a tremendous amount about how to properly ice these cookies, as well as continuing to bust my chops about using a boxed cake mix.