The introduction of the gift sets (mentioned in this post) in my online stores far exceeded my expectations, and as a result, the end of November and all of December up until the last few days ended up being very busy!
In the middle of assembling gift boxes
The days were full with making product, assembling gift sets, communication with customers online, packaging orders, trying to keep up with ordering supplies to make more of the products (thankfully, each time I ran out of something [such as bath salt jars or mailing boxes], the newly ordered ones were delivered right when I needed them!), not to mention the farmers market on Saturdays, too!
At the farmers market . . . and Leah has been bringing her candles there now as well She has done well with those there! (And please pardon the wrinkled tablecloth . . . would you believe I ironed it? I didn't realize how bad it still looked until looking at this photo! The lighting really brings the wrinkles out.)
Leah working our booth
Lots of delicious veggies at the market!
One Saturday these two gentlemen played and sang, and it was much enjoyed by everyone! They sang wintry songs, beautiful old favorites such as "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and "Joy to the World", some oldies, and also children's songs. They had brought a bin of maracas and tambourines so customers could play along. The children especially loved it! When this photo was taken, they were playing "She'll be Coming 'Round the Mountain, and it was so fun listening to them all and singing along.
There was one week in December when so many orders were coming in online that Mom and Leah helped with packaging some of them, and then took over the meals for the rest of the week for me, too (as it was my week to cook.)
I am thankful for the blessing of how well my business did during this time and how it has grown (though am glad it has slowed down now :) and thankful also for my wonderful family. They were so supportive and helped so much with packing orders, bringing packages to the post office for me a number of times, and not minding the stray bits of excelsior that seemed to be continually tracked onto the living room floor nor a dining room table that had to turn into a 'gift box assembly station' many days . . . .
A table of orders in progress . . . and the gift boxes with excelsior sticking out have just had the first step done - getting excelsior put into them. Once the gift sets are all done, it is all carefully tucked inside.
Two days of orders . . . the biggest Post Office run with 29 packages!
All of this was a fun adventure that's for sure!
So . . . that's why I have been rather quiet here on the blog. :)
Amidst the busyness, though, one much enjoyed event took place this past Sunday which was the annual "Volunteer, Rider, and Donor Appreciation Day" for the Therapeutic Riding Center. All four of us went, and it was so good to see dear friends again including two of my little riders (and their families.) It was like a mini reunion!
Dad, Mom, and Leah visiting with a gentleman who sat at our table
We enjoyed wonderful conversations, lots of hugs from sweet littles, delicious food, and then watching the slideshow which is a compilation of photos from the year followed by an award ceremony.
Some of my favorite parts of the afternoon were:
- Spending time with these sweet girls (and their brother, Will [who I work with at the therapeutic riding center] and their little sister) . . . .
(And in the back top right of this photo is one of our little riders, Livi, whom I'll share more about in just a bit.)
- Playing with dear Will (sorry no photos of him! He preferred to stay out of them that day. :) At one point, he was teasing me a lot and giving me his adorable little sideways looks so I started imitating him . . . which made him start doing all sorts of different things, with me imitating him right back. He thought it was hilarious! It makes me smile just thinking of his eyes all lit up and how he laughed! And then how he'd all of a sudden run over and give a spontaneous hug.
- Holding Suzi and dancing to the music during part of the slideshow . . . her giggles of delight were infectious!
Suzi and I (not dancing at the moment :) with the sweet card from their family and the drawings the girls made for us (Thanks so much M. family!)
Leah and Layla - our laps stayed busy! And Leah enjoyed lots of snuggles including Suzi just about falling asleep on her.
- Gentle "Livi hugs" and hearing some of her new words! Livi is a precious girl Leah and I have been working with the last year and a half or so at the riding center - no photos of us with her sadly, though she is in the photo mentioned above. Sweet girl and her parents so thoughtfully gave Leah and I each a gift which included a photo of us each working with Livi which was really special. (If you all see this, thank you again so much!)
- Talking with parents of our riders and some other volunteers we've become friends with
- Seeing all of the photos on the slideshow which brings back so many special memories!
Layla being silly and playing with my Dad who was sitting behind us
Love these sweet girls! (And Will and Sadie!)
We are so glad we were able to go to this! We weren't sure at first given the rather wintry weather we had had, but thankfully by Sunday, the roads were clear enough that we could venture out.
Friday we had freezing drizzle begin in the morning which lasted all day and left everything coated in ice. Unfortunately, the road crews didn't start salting the roads until mid-day Friday and by that time, the roads were sheets of ice. It took my parents 1 1/2+ hours to make the 20 min. drive home, and it was hard driving! The interstate was barely moving in some places, and others, not at all as many vehicles, and especially the semis, were just sitting there with tires spinning on the ice.
Leah and I were praying at home that Dad and Mom would make it home safe, and it was a relief when they pulled into the driveway!
It was a crazy mess on the roads with many people having their commutes go from 20-45 minutes to many hours and some up to at least six hours. The last of the school children weren't delivered home until 1 am in the morning, and there were 300+ wrecks in central Missouri as a result of the ice (thankfully the vast majority were not serious.) It has also been cold! Dipping below zero several times and some days not making it into the 20's which has made animal chores a little more interesting. It's starting to warm up a bit now, though, which is a welcome change, especially the sunshine of today.
Ice on the blueberry bush leaves
After the ice came a thin blanket of snow which minimized the slickness outdoors and made it beautiful. I walked down to get our mail after dark Friday night and the snow was falling gently then. It was so still out you could hear it. As I took it all in, my heart filled with thankfulness and praise to the Lord, the Creator, and I ended up singing "How Great Thou Art" all the way down the driveway (amidst slipping and sliding a bit on the ice and snow. :)
The girls (plus a wether) curious as to what I was doing when out taking photos
It's always fun after a snowfall to go for walks and photograph and then to also look for animal tracks. Though this time, most of the animals must have still been hunkered down as the only tracks to be seen other than birds and domestic dogs were these rabbit tracks:
So there you have a glimpse into what has been happening here as of late! And as a little fun conclusion :) . . . any guesses how many different bird species are in the below photo?