Tag Archives: Work

Capital Gaines {a Review}

Capital Gaines a review

Capital Gaines a review

For those who may not know it, Matthew and I own a handful of small businesses. Neither of us have a degree in business, or any business know how. It’s just something we’ve always grown up in (both of our parents’ own their own businesses). If we were smart we would have taken at least a couple of business classes in college, but we didn’t, so we’re always learning by trial-by-fire.

When Chip Gaines’ new book, Capital Gaines, popped up as being available for review I didn’t even hesitate. We need all the help we can get, plus he’s really funny, AND he and Joanna have managed to create quite the empire. While we have no aspirations to create a business that has over 500 employees (I’d be happy with 5 employees), they must be doing something right.

I read Magnolia Story last summer and flew through it, this was the same. It’s just entertaining listening to Chip go on about the things he’s messed up. I can truly appreciate his humor and stories. This was the same, I finished the book in 2 days. Entertaining and informative.

I wrote last month about doing things scared, and not letting fear keep you from living. Chapter after chapter these were the things that Chip was telling me over and over. Don’t let fear keep you from doing what you’ve been called to do. God has got it.

Whether you own a business, want to start a business, or just love the Gaines family…READ THIS BOOK! And FYI, if you have the chance to take some business classes, do it, don’t even think twice.

*I received this book for free from the BookLookBloggers program. However, the opinions are my own. Read my disclosure policy here.


Do you listen to podcasts?

Over the last few years I’ve spent a bit more time listening to podcasts…they were great when riding back and forth to Albany for doctors appointments (2 hours one way). I’ve had a lot less time lately to listen to them, which has been kind of sad. One in particular I’ve made a concerted effort to listen to Sarah Werner’s Write Now Podcast, because I love it! IMG_5934

I don’t remember when or who I started listening to with Podcasts…I think maybe it was Kat Lee’s How They Blog, which I’m not even sure it exists anymore. I do know that she does Inspired to Action, which is another great blog. Anyways. It went from there to God Centered Mom and a whole bunch of other ones, a lot of them radio shows that I just never caught on the radio.

Then came the day that I just declared podcast bankruptcy because I couldn’t handle looking at the number of unplayed podcasts. In November I was looking for podcasts specifically about writing, which is when I found Sarah’s awesome podcast, which is what got me back into the whole listening to podcasts thing and wanting to BE a podcaster {I love them, I’d love to do one, I’d love to be on one…no idea what or who I would talk to}.

The thing I love about podcasts is how my mind can be engaged in something, while doing mindless stuff. I can learn something new, be entertained, inspired, or just about anything else while listening to a podcast and it doesn’t take away from my ability to perform any of the myriad of mindless activities that I need to do on a regular basis.

Just recently I started cleaning our church on a weekly basis which gives me a couple of hours of quiet time to listen to podcasts! Score! Until I got caught up on every podcast episode…now I am in need of some new material…WHICH IS WHERE YOU COME IN! What are your favorite podcasts? Why? Do you listen to every episode or pick and choose? And, if you DON’T listen to podcasts…why not?

What do I listen to?

I love Write Now Podcast, which I mentioned above. She does two different types, the more frequent ones are interviews, referred to as Coffee Breaks, and then there is the more technical/inspirational being a writer ones {which are my favorite!}. I have yet to listen to a Coffee Break, just because…my time was limited, but with cleaning I’m planning on delving more into them.

I also started listening to Modern Mrs. Darcy’s What Should I Read Next? The premise of the podcast is interviews and matchmaking between writers/readers and what they have been reading and what they should read next. It’s really a rather fascinating idea. I’ve been toying with the idea of doing something similar once a month on here.

I’ve already mentioned God Centered Mom and Inspired to Action, both of which I really enjoy. I just starte
d listening to Sorta Awesome with Megan Tietz, which is great, as is Tsh Oxenreider’s The simple Show. I do also enjoy listening to ProBlogger‘s podcast, but it’s more on the if-the-topic-interests-me basis, the same for Focus on the Family‘s daily broadcast.

I’ve really been looking for a family radio theater kind of podcast…either Lamplighter or something similar, but haven’t come across one. We love the Family Hour on Family Life Network, but it goes too late for our crew {they’re in bed by 7:30}.

What are your suggestions? What podcasts do you love? or maybe one that you listened to that you’re definitely not tuning in to again. Maybe you don’t even listen to podcasts. I want to hear from YOU!

My One Goal for the New Year

Anyone listen to podcasts? I love them; keep wanting to try my hand at them. I don’t get to listen to them all that much, but I found one that’s really striking my fancy! A few months ago I was getting the writing itch. As you all know I’ve been really struggling with this whole blogging thing and where I fit in. Of course it doesn’t help that blogs seem to be going the way of the dinosaur.

Wanted: Writing Buddy @JessicaMWhite.comSarah Werner is my now favorite podcast….Write Now…she’s wonderful! Her voice is peaceful and melodic, she’s funny, and she’s got such words of wisdom. On her New Year podcast she was talking about her writing resolution: To write 100 words every day. I thought…I can do that! {maybe…we’ll see…honestly, it hasn’t happened yet this year.} My one goal for the new year is to become more intentional in my writing….not necessarily in my blogging, but my writing.

The next thing she said struck me: Find a writing buddy!  So that’s where I’m at…finding someone to be accountable to, to inspire and get inspired by, to do this whole writing thing with. Because, honestly, this whole being-a-writer thing is rather lonely.

So, here I am…who wants to be my writing buddy?


Fair Season: What exactly is that ?! {part 2}

If you didn’t read the first part about what the lead-up to fair week is you can find that post HERE.

Fair Season What Exactly Is that!

The craziness of the weeks before the fair intensify ten-fold the week OF the fair.

What actually happens during fair-week?

We start serving food on Sunday, the fair doesn’t officially open until Monday, but it gives you a chance to work out any kinks. In the mornings Matt usually leaves the house by 7 to run errands. He goes any gets any food, drinks, etc that he may need, if he didn’t the night before. He spends all day working right alongside our staff. We start serving around 10:30am and are open until 10:30pm, sometimes earlier or later depending on what events are scheduled at the fairgrounds at night. And, of course, there is always laundry to get done.

Every day they serve a full menu: Hamburgers/Cheeseburgers, Hot Dogs, Sausage, Fried Sea Food, Local Corn on the Cob and Salt Potatoes, Fruit Salad, Fries, Onion Rings, Pizza Rolls, Fish Sandwiches, Nachos, and drinks. When I say it is a full restaurant…it is a FULL RESTAURANT. We have a complete menu.


Once they close up, all of the equipment gets cleaned, things get restocked, employees leave, then Matt runs a few errands {he doesn’t have time to do them all in the morning or after work}, comes home, showers, and then does the bookkeeping. Put on repeat, ad nauseum for all week long, for 7 days.  Matt usually doesn’t get in bed until 2 or 3am, then is back up and out the door by 7am. I think he makes up for the lack of sleep the rest of the year.

The last day of the fair is a Saturday. Sunday is spent scrubbing all the equipment, dealing with all the leftover food/drinks/etc, unassembling everything, and putting it all away until next year. Tear down goes a lot faster than setup. The following week I spend doing whatever laundry didn’t get done on a daily basis…all the tablecloths, tees, kitchen towels etc. Then there is payroll to be done, taxes, and all of the lovely bills and paperwork that need to be taken care of.

This year during fair-week my in laws asked me if I could do peaches for their stand. Their dessert item is fresh homemade peach shortcake…and it really is fresh and it really is homemade. Between everything else going on I spent time blanching and peeling peaches for shortcake. My sister and I prepared around 12 half-bushels of peaches; which meant we blanched them, peeled them, and sliced them up into a simple syrup and delivered the days peaches every morning….with 6 kids between us. I did share a bit about peaches on Instagram and Periscope {you can find the periscope videos here}.


In years past the kids and I would go over to the fairgrounds at least once a day to visit Daddy and eat. This year I just didn’t have it in me to push the quad stroller all around with a 13lb baby strapped to my chest. In the afternoon/evenings there are so many people there that it’s hard to walk around with a stroller, I much prefer the mornings. For most of the week we headed to the pool in the afternoon instead of the fairgrounds.

That’s pretty much what fair season and fair week are for us: A lot of work, a lot of stress, and it’s only by God’s goodness and grace we actually get through it. This was the first year I actually made it all the way through the whole thing without having a stressed out crying jag.


Until next year…..

Fair Season: What exactly is that?! {part 1}

I’ve had a couple of people ask me just what is “Fair Season”; I often forget that most peoples lives aren’t lived for a huge event that becomes all consuming once a year. For us, that is “Fair Season”.

Matt and I both have very similar family backgrounds in this respect. I grew up doing farmers’ markets and festivals with my parents…sometimes it was selling the sausage and meats my dad made {he is a wurstmacher* by trade} so people could go home and cook it and sometimes it was selling them cooked to lots of hungry people. Matt’s family has had a concession stand at the county fair for almost 30 years…selling hamburgers, hot dogs, and such faire. Both of us wanted to get away from all of it and somehow we’re back in it on our own. Funny how life works.

Fair Season What Exactly Is that!

It’s a hard business. It’s a lot of work. And no one sees any of it, except getting their food. That’s how the food industry is…no one sees anything but the end product and never truly appreciates what they’re eating until they do {for those who were wondering…it doesn’t just magically appear on your plate}.

So what does fair season entail for us? In June we start with calling all of the people who worked for us the year before, anywhere from 10-15 people, to find out whether they’re wanting to work this fair or not. Sometimes everyone comes back and all things are in order quickly, sometimes we’re scrambling up until the week before to find people, and sometimes we have people who walk off the job on the first day {those are always the best!}.

My birthday {July 21st} is usually the last hurrah, the end of our summer. Matt and I try and make a point of going out for my birthday, because it is really the last time that we will have time together before the end of August.

Pretty quickly Matt’s weekends are spent driving to the nearest city {an hour one way} that has a wholesale club. There are numerous trips back and forth getting soda, paper products, and countless other things that are needed to actually setup and run the stand. There’s equipment that needs to be looked over and checked out {large 4’ commercial griddles, steam tables, several fryers, gas lines, power lines,  counters, tables, sinks and plumbing}. There are orders that need to be placed with vendors who supply us with materials {shirts for employees, food products to sell etc}. And all of this happens while Matt is still working his other job, which is also in its busy season.

The two weekends before fair week Matt is busy with getting things setup. All of the equipment has to be brought in, setup, leveled, made sure that it works and is ready to rock n’ roll. It all takes time. It all requires attention to detail. This is all the stuff that no one sees. Most people have no concept of what goes in to setting up a full fledged RESTAURANT in the middle of a field for a week.

Fair Stand

Hopefully everything is setup in working order before the first day of the fair. Sometimes a piece of equipment has an issue and you have to scramble to fix it or replace it. Just this year we had a freezer go out {we have 3 of them and a walk in}, Matt had to clean everything out of our home chest freezer to use it at the fair. Other years it’s been a gas line or a burner for a grill or fryer. There’s always something, the problem is…you don’t know what, so you can’t prepare for it.

In the days before the fair Matt receives in all of our food orders to our big walk-in freezer/fridge, he also handles his father’s and a couple of other customers. Since Matt’s job with my parents is food provisions for restaurants and delis he has several customers for that business that have orders specifically for fair week, which creates that much more work.

The day before the fair Matt starts packing the freezers and fridges at the fair with the food he will need. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough room to house everything we will need for the entire week, so every night, after working all day, he has to go and bring more food back down to the fairgrounds.

Next time I’ll share what exactly fair week is like…

*What’s a wurstmacher? It’s a German word for someone who is a true artisan when it comes to sausage making. We’re not talking Johnsonville Brats, but someone who has honed their craftsmanship of making sausage. These are not mass-produced sausages, but sausages that are made in small batches, created entirely by hand.