Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Banana Business

Last week I had a cake order that called for a banana cake. I bought my bananas about six or seven days ahead of time in order for them to get nice and overripe. Unfortunately, the weather has been so cold they were stuck in a stagnant yellow. The day came for me to make my cake and they weren't anywhere near close to ripe!

Did you know that you can put them in a 300 degree oven for 20-40 minutes and get your bananas to the proper ripeness? You did? I didn't. 

They looked absolutely disgusting but the method worked really well! I'm definitely keeping this in mind for any last minute banana bread or banana cake baking.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The One That Got Away

Before Russ came home I was looking for some cheap storage solutions for our downstairs. We have the smallest closet in the world and I was looking for a dresser that could fit next to his wardrobe that we both could use. After trolling Craigslist and bidding unsuccessfully on some newer-looking Ikea dressers, THIS popped up and I immediately pounced!

$50... yes, $50! This dresser sells for $179 at Ikea and 1) it was closer than Ikea and 2) I wouldn't have to put it together! After a brief correspondence, I grabbed my brother to help me get my AMAZING Craigslist score. 

I measured the Jeep to make sure it would fit, close but after some finagling I figured we could easily get it home. 

"Get outta my way, everyone, I have a dresser to claim!" I squealed as I drove down the I-5 to claim my prize. 

We finally made it around the maze of homes in Queen Anne and got to the seller's address. The house was lovely, I would have moved in in a second. I'm sure it had been a lovely home for my Ikea dresser to have lived in and I knew it would be in good shape. I backed my Jeep to the garage, we picked up the dresser to shove her in and... No. 

It was close but... it wasn't going to fit. 

After about five minutes of discussing the best way to try and wedge it in my Jeep, I gave up. They handed over my $50 and, with my head down, I retreated to my vehicle and drove away. I wanted to paw at the window and wave my final goodbyes but... I had to drive. 

What a sad day. 

I've still been looking on Craigslist but I'm afraid of being hurt again. I'm afraid of getting my hopes up of a pre-fabricated Ikea dresser only to have them bitterly squelched when the dresser refuses to fit in my cargo area. 

Maybe one day, my heart will heal and I will find the cheap dresser of my dreams or I'll bite the bullet and just get one from Ikea... and then curse like a sailor while I put it together. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Home Again

Aww, my poor little defunct blog! Will I ever come back on a scheduled basis? I don't know. But, what I do know is I'm not going to pop in here and apologize for being gone because, let's face it, I'm sure your world has kept spinning without my goofy little corner of the internet being updated constantly and I'm sure you're fine. 

Deployment is now officially over. In two days Russ will have been home for three weeks and time has absolutely flown since he's been home! There's been the homecoming, the family day cruise, the ship's decommissioning ceremony, and the holiday party (yes, we already had our holiday party last week...). Combine that with having to juggle one car, the truck activities, and doctor (for both of us) and vet appointments and we've been very busy since he's been home! 

So his ship was scheduled to come home on October 27th but due to a really bad storm in the Pacific, it was pushed back twice. I know I should have expected something like that to happen because when it comes to the military, you never know what's going on. But, those two times that his homecoming was pushed back felt so grueling. I can't imagine what the sailors felt hearing that homecoming was being prolonged. 

They officially came home October 30th at around 8 a.m. It was a cold, cloudy and windy morning (though, I think it's always windy standing out on the pier). There were families, friends out on the pier, braving the cold to finally claim their sailors. Camera crews were stationed on the pier as well, anxious to get the misty-eyed embraces on camera for the evening news. 

After a while he was finally able to disembark and head home with us! 

He nearly crushed me here, I think I felt my ribs crack! 

I am so grateful for many things: that Russ has returned to me safely, that Mom and my brother were here to keep me company and help me, and that we're staying in Washington even though his ship is decommissioning and we could have been sent anywhere- San Diego, Virginia, Japan. It really is lucky that we are staying.

I really didn't realize how really miserable I was while he was gone. Mom and my brother were a great comfort to me but I still felt a hole inside that they couldn't fill. Until these last few weeks I didn't even realize how much was missing. I was just used to feeling the emptiness, I guess. There's a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, that's for sure. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Laundry Serviced

As time is winding down on this deployment I now have a to-do list a mile long. Since Russ has been gone I have completely annihilated our closet, the smallest closet in the known universe, and it's time to get organized. I have also moved things, changed things, rearranged things but not managed to clean very many things. 

I've heard that when your spouse comes back from deployment you want to make sure the house looks perfect and they tell you not to worry about that. But, since when have I ever listened to anyone? I want everything looks as perfect as I can. Plus, this lights the fire under me on things that I've been slacking on since Russ left and since we got going with the business. 

For the rest of deployment I'm going to give myself some simple organizational tasks. My first small undertaking was my little laundry shelf. Since I store all my cleaning supplies there I thought, "what better way to get started with cleaning than to clean up the cleaning supplies?"

It was such an eyesore and every time I reached for an item everything fell down. So annoying. 

This is how it looked, I did not change a single thing. 

I thought a basket or two would be sufficient so I decided to hop on down to the place where I know they have the cheapest baskets, Ross. 

I liked the first ones the best, I think they were $5.99 and I thought they were cute. They had leather handles and an interesting design. I wasn't too jazzed about keeping cleaners in a nice fabric basket though. 

I liked the design on these but they were too big, not the right color, and made of flimsy plastic. Pass. 

I almost, almost got these. They had a laundry-ish, utilitarian feel to them and they would contain all my cleaners easily. I was just worried about the size of them, I thought they'd be too big on the narrow shelf. 

I decided to pause on the purchase since I wasn't sure and went down to Homegoods where I found the perfect cleaner caddy for $9.99. After messing with the shelf I decided to take down the additional wire shelf addition. 

There! Much better and such a dramatic makeover! I know Russ is totally going to care about how the laundry room looks so it's good I crossed this off my mental list. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Belated Blogiversary!

So, my three year blogiversary was the 6th of this month but I've been quiet since the 13th of September! The business takes up a large portion of my time, of course. 


-planning the menu for the week
-shopping for the week
-truck cleaning (inside and out)
-any truck maintenance 
-corresponding with potential customers via email and social media
-planning social media posts
-the actual baking for our outings
-trying to find new spots and scoping out potential business opportunities
-going out in the truck 

And then there's just living life, doing laundry, paying bills, trying to watch a show here and there and just remembering to give myself a breather every once in a while. My mind is constantly going, looking for new opportunities and coming up with more strategies for our success. We've done well pretty far but I want to keep reaching new goals and pushing our business further. 

With all that, there's not much time to do the things I used to do around here like posting goofy little projects, paintings, recipes, or pictures of my silly cats. I really miss that, it was fun! My life has changed so much since moving to Washington.

I'm going to try and swing by here more often when I actually get around to doing anything of note but I understand it no one sticks around here much anymore! ...(hello?)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Deployment Update: Six Months In

Before your significant other deploys "they" (meaning everyone from well-meaning friends to some nameless person on the internet) will tell you, "make sure you stay busy, it'll make the time go by faster!" Well, Russ has been gone for six months now and I have stayed really busy the entire time and I can say that that advice doesn't really work. I have killed myself trying to start this business and been extremely busy running it and the days seem to go fast. But, when I look back at the length of time that has transpired it doesn't feel any shorter just because I've been busy.


I track the time by things Russ has missed. "Russ has been gone since before we went to see Paul Stanley in Portland in May." "Russ has been gone since our anniversary in June." "Russ has been gone since we got the truck graphics finished in July." Those events feel like a million years ago to me and he's been gone the whole time. 

There's going to be inside jokes he won't get and will feel left out. He's going to feel like the world has kept turning without him; movies have been released, video games have come out, new restaurants have opened, buildings have been built, and concerts have came and went while he's been out there in the ocean drifting. He hasn't driven for six months, pop culture has moved on, and news has happened. 

I can't imagine having that feeling- like being an alien in your own home. 

I've grown and changed, he's grown and changed and we'll come back together and we'll both be a little different. We've both had experiences apart but I really look forward to getting to talk about them and share them with each other. 

We've still got a little way to go but this deployment is now about 85% over, finally. We've gotten to the point where I can no longer send him care packages because they won't be in port much to even receive mail so that means time is counting down! 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Post About Posts

Is it bad to admit that I hate spending money on cat scratchers? I mean, I know the kitties need it for various instinctual reasons but spending money that is literally being shredded, I don't even want to deal with it. 

But, the fact remained that the cats were in desperate need of new scratching posts. Miss Kitten shredded both of her sisal rope ones and she was starting to unravel it from their posts. Ian uses the posts too but likes to sneak around an scratch Mom's sofa despite us using the 'no-scrach' spray. :/ 

The posts weren't that expensive- probably in the $15-25 range and I got one from Target and I found the other at Burlington Coat Factory (not where you'd imagine seeing pet things but they do have a few cheaper items there). Of course, being the inexpensive posts that they were, their lifetime was pretty short. I think they each lasted about 6 months or so.

So, if you think about it- if you buy 4 posts a year that's nearly $100 already that is just pointless money being spent. 

Instead of heading to Petco or Petsmart, I decided to head over to everyone's favorite virtual shopping experience, Amazon. I've used it a ton for the truck or anything I can't find and I get free shipping because I forgot to cancel my free trial of Amazon Prime earlier this year. I think they count on a lot of people doing that. 

Anyways, I looked up various scratchers and the #1 Bestseller really caught my eye. It wasn't a sisal scratcher (which from experience the cats love those but they don't last) and it was 32 inches tall which allows for the cats to fully stretch. I also like them to have scratchers that are sturdy and tall enough for them to use or they won't use it if they deem it flimsy.

The reviews were wonderful and many people have had it for years and it's barely shown any wear-and-tear. I really didn't want to pay $45. I also really really didn't want to buy two because we needed one for upstairs and downstairs.

But, I figured if they do last as long as the reviews claim that in the long run it would be worth it. 

Less than two days later they were delivered and I was immediately stunned by how heavy the box they came in was! 

They were extremely easy to put together: there were two boards that stuck together with pegs to make the base and a couple screws to hold the post in place. Pretty straight forward.

I was surprised about how the new posts dwarfed the old ones! I definitely think the sheer size of the new posts were well worth the money. 

The base is nice and sturdy and Ian took to the new post right away. Putting one near Mom's sofa has definitely changed his scratching habits now. Miss Kitten had to be coaxed with toys but she seems to like them and is now using them all the time. 

I've had them for nearly a month now and they haven't shown any sign of wear yet so I deem this a pretty great purchase!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Hello again! I've been absent for a while but I'm sure you are all okay with it, it's not like you're refreshing this page and waiting with bated breath for me to post.

So yeah, August 9th we officially launched Bake My Day. The days leading up until our launch were so exhausting! We had so much work to do; not only to prep our products but also to prep the truck and make sure it was in working order as well as the generator. 

The worst decision we could have made was the bake at 5am the morning of opening. I broke into tears twice and was heinous and stressed for the entire morning. We had to cut two menu items because we had no room to bake anything and the ovens suuuuck at our kitchen. The cookies came out horribly and we had to adjust the baking time and babysit everything in the oven. It was awful. 

But, the day did turn out quite well! We sold a lot, had a little bit of leftovers (just because we had no idea the quantity to make at all). Our view was spectacular though. :)

My brother captured our very first truck transaction! 

Contrary to what this picture might say, I am not miserable in my truck- just extremely exhausted and warm because we were facing the sun all day. 

After sleeping for two hours the night before, getting up at 3:30 to leave at 4 and arrive at the kitchen around 5 to bake for four hours and leave around 10 to arrive at our site and set up... and then to work the truck for five hours... we were all just dead on our feet.

The entire ride home not a word was spoken, I just drove on and then we unloaded the truck, scrounged for dinner and went to sleep where I slept for about 12 hours to recover from the days events. 

Since then we've taken the truck out two more times and I think things are going pretty well. It's a lot of guesstimating about how much to make at certain sites and we're still learning and probably will learn something new everyday. 

I'm hoping as I learn to work this schedule that I'll be able to pop back in here a little more often!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Where The Rubber Meets The Road

The countdown is on, we've got a huge week ahead. Our opening date is officially Saturday August 9, at 11 am. We're only five days away but I still have a to-do list a mile long and I'm so exhausted that I don't feel like doing anything. 

We have two designated spots we're going to be parking at.

1.) 1250 Denny Way, Seattle
This spot is an empty lot that's going to be turned into a substation next year. Right now though, curators from Portland have turned the spot into a place for public art and performances. 

The green box is where we'll be parking, not to scale, obviously. 

2.) 516 Broad St; Ride The Ducks Seattle

We will be parked almost in the shadow of the Space Needle, it's a dream spot! We went down there last weekend on a Saturday to see how the traffic would be and it was really busy. I'm hoping we will definitely be easily seen on that busy corner!

Right now we've got a set schedule for 3 days a week but we can definitely pick up other spots as they come available. Some people double book themselves and sell their spots for a discount at a certain place for the day so we might be able to pick up some places that way. 

It's not a commonly known fact that food truck owners have to pay to rent the spots they part at. Sometimes the property owners even expect a percentage of sales. Sometimes they set stipulations on the spot such as we can't sell anything pre-packaged like drinks or chips that could compete with another business nearby. 

There's a lot more that goes into owning a food truck than buying a truck and hitting the road. I wish it were that easy!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Generating Problems

Let's go back to this past Sunday... 

I bought our 4000 watt generator at Harbor Freight for $299 plus a 1-year Extended Service Plan (plus a $25 wheel kit). It came to a horrific total of $409 but large payments I'm sadly getting used to. But, it's necessary to get the truck up and running so if it gets me closer to making money, it's what I have to do!

Sunday was the day of truth- the first day when we would test our power and plumbing and see what happened.

This baby weighed (what I thought was a whopping) 196 lbs empty. Lifting it into the truck was extremely hard but doable, even alone because I'm a beast but whatever. 

I have no pictures from Sunday because it was a terribly annoying letdown of a day. We got the generator powered up (I had to figure out how to put the engine oil in and fill it with gas along with the starting procedure) and turned on the breakers in the truck only to discover not all of our outlets work, most importantly the one that powers the water heater. 

... ugh... 

It was hot at the storage place where we've got the truck parked which made our experience even more extremely miserable. Just the thought of having to drive our truck back to Auburn and to the guy who supposedly "fixed" our electrical and plumbing was exhausting and infuriating. Early morning traffic heading down to Auburn could take over double the time.

Oh, and it did. It took us 1.5 hours to drive what should have taken 35 minutes.

We drove the truck down there on Tuesday while banging our heads against our steering wheels for him to troubleshoot and figure out why the hell everything wasn't working for the 5K we paid him to make everything.... work

It took him about two hours to redistribute the electrical load in the truck and then we were left with a measly 10 amps of power to spare (and not even our coffeemaker or microwave hooked up).... even though we told him everything we wanted to power on the truck and he assured us that a 3000 watt generator would do the job. So now he told us that 4000 watts isn't powerful enough. Grr.  

He checked to make sure the water came out of the faucets, they worked and then we said goodbye to him and even though he's a nice guy, I really don't want to see him again. Like, ever again.

After resigning ourselves to the fact we needed to get another generator, we then had to deal with the fact we couldn't return it full of fuel and engine oil. We had to buy a siphon and siphon everything out... which took me a good while.

And then stupid crap happens to me like this. The gas spout somehow broke apart and is now living at the bottom of the can. Because, that's our luck. 

Then we took the generator back to Harbor Freight opened, barely used, but free of oil or fuel. With my extended service plan I bought they allowed me to return it with no restock fee and upgrade it to a 8000 watt generator. We also bought an ATV ramp on sale for $45 that should help get the generator up into the truck.

Our new generator has been dubbed The Monster because that's what she is. She clocks in at 236 lbs while empty. She's a beast. Maybe I should call her The Generager?

Anyway, we got her to the truck and I put the wheel kit on, fueled and oiled her up just like the last generator. I'm becoming a pro at this. 

I worked in the only shade provided to me- between the truck and the storage place fence. It worked.

She came on and worked very well, everything came on. But, one thing came on too much. Our water heater was dribbling water all over the floor. We realized that the two connectors on the top weren't closed very well allowing water to freely flow out onto the floor. Also, our hand washing sink's drainage pipe is cut too long and doesn't match up to the rest of the plumbing well. 

So... there's always something else to fix. 

But, at least those things aren't deal breakers and we will be able to open on time.

BUT STILL! I feel like I should get some of that 5K back that I paid my truck builder. :(

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mixed Signals

Craigslist has been amazing to us. We've found our rental house, our dining room table, our truck and now... a smoking deal on a mixer!

I've been trolling around daily trying to find a good deal on a Kitchenaid mixer. Our commercial kitchen has some huge mixers that are available for us to use but they are monstrous. Maybe one day (maybe soon) I'll be making batches that big but I wanted another smaller size mixers for the sized batches I'd be making regularly.  

I have a 5 quart red Kitchenaid stand mixer (which goes for $299-349 and sometimes more) so I was mostly looking for a good deal on one exactly like mine. I was feeling disappointed because the past two or three sellers I'd contacted with good deals ($120-150 range) had already sold it by the time I contacted them. 

But then, I saw someone had listed a 6 quart mixer for $100 and I immediately pounced. This mixer is normally $449 on the Kitchenaid website and listed for about $285 from other sellers on Craigslist. 

I asked him about the attachments and if it worked alright. He said it had barely been used and has been sitting in his storage. It took me about 35 minutes to drive to Ballard to his apartment building but the traffic was worth it. Strangely... he lives across the street from the lot that our bakery truck was parked where we first saw her. What a weird coincidence!

Anyways... here's Big Red and Little Red. I love that they're matching! It was unintentional... 

She came with all her attachments: paddle, whisk, and dough hook plus a plastic batter shield to keep things from flying out. 

Love it, what a steal! Poor guy, he didn't know what this baby is worth.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Tour Ride

Hop aboard, everyone! It's time to take a little truck tour!

We've painted and installed our curtains, our lovely family photos, and cushy floor mats (found at ULINE.com for $20 each) to make the hours standing and serving at the windows a little more bearable on our feet.

These frames I found at the thrift store and tried to find the lightest-weight frames I could find. They were about .99-$1.99 each. I sanded them down, repainted, and put some crackle medium on them to match the menu boards. Then I put in the pictures of our truck's namesake, Bertha Mae (my Mom's grandma). 

Here's the view from the rear of the truck showing our bakery racks and vinyl covers. I haven't hung up the hooks or clock yet as I haven't decided where I want everything to go yet. 

The hooks are just barely hanging on in some old holes that were already on the wall. 

We got some bins for more storage- cleaners, packaging, anything else. I secured it with a bungie cable that'll keep things from sliding while the truck is in motion. 

We've got a trash can and some more drawer storage secured with a cord as well. 

Here's how we hung up the curtains: I found some hooks that could screw into the hollow form of the window without compromising anything and a curtain rod that would span the window. I ended up putting in four hooks just to make sure it was all supported. The rod fit pretty well in the hooks but I used a rubber band to just make sure it wouldn't pop out of there. It's not very noticeable so it does the job. 

The curtains are kid's blackout curtains we found at Target that we just hemmed to the length we needed. I put some Velcro on the bottom to keep the curtain from opening freely when in motion. 

Nothing too exciting here, I just picked up a nicely sized bin for some more storage. There was a crumbling basket already there that was just cracked and broken and full of odd parts like spare wheels to the fridge. 

It gives me a nice place to toss some keys or perhaps a water bottle or two.

Then we got some cheap adorable dash accessories- some lucky cats to bring in the customers!

I still love my new seat cover and new seatbelt that we installed. The old one I had to wine and dine to get it to come out correctly so I could buckle in. 

And here's the view of my little lucky cats from the outside of the truck! They're so quirky and fun, I hope they bring me lots of customers!