Mar 15

View From My Window: Springing into Warm Weather

summer party

Spring is hard here in the northeast. The start of fall usually is a welcome relief from the hot humid summer. It is exciting with crisp clean air and the beautiful display of colorful leaves; but no so with spring. There are ice storms and snow storms, cold temperatures, wind, rain and mud.

We know eventually it will all give way to warmer temps and spring flowers, but it is so hard to wait. One thing we have started to do while we are waiting for Spring is to have a Summer party. I use Dean’s March birthday as an excuse to turn our house into a tropical paradise. I turn on the heat and use Yankee Candles Sun and Sand candles to help create our summer atmosphere.  I decorate the house and if it is not sunny I make a big sun and put it on the window. I plan a summertime menu and make big fruit platters decorated with pineapple tops. If I think of it I have beach boys music playing too. Our little friend Peabody even puts on his summer surfer clothes. The grandkids love it all and the grown ups have a fun spring afternoon too.

We all get a little reprieve from the cold weather, even if we have to make it ourselves inside the house.

Feb 15

View From My Window – March 2015


Snow and lots of it. Not as bad as some other areas of the northeast, but still it’s plenty. Caddy doesn’t mind it so much, but he doesn’t go all that far from the barn.

The goats really seem to hate it. I watch them from my window and they step outside the barn only if the sun is shining. I finally decided to shovel a path for them to see if they would venture out a little further. I made a loop out to their hutch. The loop was just in case Caddy was following them they would still have an escape route back to the barn.

Well I am happy to report that all the goats approve. Ruth is especially fond of hanging out in the hutch. Now I only wish I had thought of it sooner, but it is hard to think at 10 below!

Jan 15

View From My Window – February 2015


This month I am bringing back a post our son Hal wrote in 2011.


Have you ever wondered what the name Alabu means? We get this question a lot so I thought I’d shed some light on it. It all started way back in the beginning of the year 2000 (that seems like so long ago). My mother had made soap for about three years at this point, and we were selling soap and candles online at a virtual craft fair my father started called Simplerway. I remember listening to my parents discuss in the kitchen what direction to take the business. I recall them talking about all the work involved between the virtual craft fair and the products we were making and selling, and they decided that they really needed to focus on one thing if the business was going to make it. We were getting unbelievable feedback about the goat milk soap, so it seemed like a no-brainer. That was the product we would focus on.

So, Simplerway was sold to my father’s business partner at the time, and we now needed a name for our new business. My sister and I were both pretty young at the time, and my father took the opportunity to assign us the task of coming up with a name. He had a few requirements. The name had to be short & easy to remember, it had to begin with the letter ‘a’, and most importantly, the name had to be an available .com domain name on the internet.

Over the next month we had many conversations around the dinner table about this. In fact I was starting to get tired of it. Even in the year 2000, it seemed like so many good names were already taken online. A few days later, my mother and I were helping out with a program at our church called MOPS (mothers of preschoolers). We would often watch the kids while the mothers met and listened to speakers.

On this day we were showing the kids an animated series called Veggie Tales. In it there is a talking cucumber (Larry) who has a segment of the show called Silly Songs with Larry. In this particular episode he sang a song called The Song of the Cebu (pronounced say-boo). It seemed like a pretty typical day at MOPS to me, but that song sure was catchy.

In fact, it was so catchy that my mother remembered it several days later—I think it was around the dinner table again—when she suggested Cebu as a business name. It didn’t start with an ‘a’, but we all liked the sound of it. One of us went over to the computer to check its availability. Of course, it was taken by a company based out of France. It didn’t stop there though. My sister Nell kept tinkering with the name until she came up with the name Alabu. We all liked the name even better, and to our delight it was available as a domain name. So, what’s in a name?

Nothing, really. Just the cool story behind it. That and one of the most respected brands in sensitive skin care.


Jan 15

View From My Window – January 2015

Triger in snow

I had a lot of opportunity to take pictures of the last snowstorm we had. While it was all very beautiful for those of us who watch it, it was a 72 hour work day for those whose job it is to remove it. Our son, Hal and his partner Duke at Terra Mira Property management worked through the nights and days until the snow stopped so they could make sure all the properties they manage were cleared of snow and safe. While their guys worked in shifts, Hal & Duke worked through the storm with a few hours here and there for short cat naps. They are hard workers with a strong work ethic, I’m very proud of them both.  Oh and the picture is by Hal’s wife, who also works at Terra Mirra, and manages their Facebook page. She has a good eye for photography.

Dec 14

View From My Window – December 2014


After 35 years of marriage my husband Dean, still amazes me. Two years ago our son Hal who had become an integral part of our business, had second thoughts of working in the skincare business for the rest of his life.  Even though it would mean major changes in Dean’s workload, he only wanted what our son wanted. He happily worked together with our son to create a smooth exit plan.  Hal  is now growing his own property management business (Terra Mira Property Management ) with his wife and his childhood best friend.

I’m not very mechanically inclined and our growth had made it necessary to bring in some machines for labeling and filling. Yes, I used to do this all by hand. So now Dean not only is managing inventory he also does areas of production that I can’t do on my own.  Our latest sale was bringing in more orders than I could possibly handle over the Thanksgiving weekend.  Dean helped pack orders when I was behind and got up early on Monday and packed a good portion of the orders before he went off to work. Yes, he still has a demanding consulting job other than Alabu.  He is so hard working.  He thanks me for putting up with him because he is so driven to accomplishment. But there would be no Alabu without him. I say thank you Dean, for always looking for ways to make my life easier and making my dreams come true.