Maybe This Could Be Big

Cheer Competition

Her heart sank as she watched her girl’s squad on the performance floor below, from the middle tier of Sun National Stadium in Trenton. They hugged and screamed and jumped into each other’s arms.  It was a victorious moment, discovering that they qualified for the national cheer competition in Orlando.  But for her mother, it was a moment of panic.

She knew the expenses would be high when she signed up her daughter for cheer, and she was aware of the costs of the national competition.  From sign up day to present moment, her life had changed precipitously. She had gone from married woman to single mom, from two income family, to sole breadwinner, whose part time incomes teaching yoga and freelance editing on top of a nine to five job, barely paid her mortgage or fed her kids.

The coach knew of the mother’s circumstances and pulled her aside the following week.  Would they be able to go?  The coach needed an answer by that Saturday.  Yes, the woman said, yes.  They would be going. And while she wasn’t exactly sure how she would raise the money, she knew herself well enough to trust her own resourcefulness.

Then one night as she was falling asleep, it came to her.

She had a recipe.


It had become the teacher’s gift, the hostess gift, the package she left on your doorstep when you were having a difficult week.  She wrapped it in mason jars and tied ribbons around the rim to make it pretty.

“You should sell this,” people often said.

She would thank them graciously and then in her head dismiss the idea as too far fetched.

“No, seriously, I’ve never tasted better.  You have to sell this.”

She would sell it, she decided.  It was worth a shot.

She told friends and posted notices on Facebook along with photos of it wrapped in pretty packaging.

And people responded.  In droves.

She baked while her kids were asleep. She spent many December evenings with her children loaded in the back of her car and her product in the trunk, making deliveries on the orders people called into her.  Three bags here, ten bags there, she once drove twenty minutes to drop off a one bag order.  She didn’t mind.  It brought her eight dollars closer to paying for their trip, which in the end, was financed in its entirety by what she was selling.  Flights, hotel, rental car, food, even a trip to the Magic Kingdom.

After the holidays and cheer nationals were over, people kept knocking on her door, asking to order more.

It was then she realized that maybe she was onto something.  And while time went on, she never lost that thought, that maybe, just maybe, this could be big.

Big, as in this.



building sign


street sign

Look down 3 v2

look down 6 v2Look Ahead 2

Look up 2

Coming April, 2014





Maybe This Could Be Big — 128 Comments

    • Tricia – I got the chills too, once the guys posted it on the sign post. Thank you for your OMG in all caps. It means the world to me! xo

    • Oh, Alison – you are so thoughtful and supportive as always and with everything. I appreciate that so very much. Thank you. xo

    • Thank you Melissa and yes. Heck Yes! Ecomm site in the works – almost done. Hoping to feed people far and wide! xo

    • Yes, Crystal! I will be selling online. Everywhere to everyone. Thank you so very much for your enthusiasm.

  1. I totally thought it was a yoga studio, too! (Same as Melissa, above!) And then when this started I’m like, she’s not a cheerleading coach, that’s impossible … this is so much more perfect! I’m so excited for you. Congrats and yes to the online ordering. If you get to that point and can do S&H out. I’m not THAT far, I suppose I could road trip … 😉
    Andrea B (@goodgirlgonered) recently posted…Dance with me!My Profile

    • Andrea, I will send you all the granola you want, but by golly, ROAD TRIP PLEASE! Come hang out in the purple room and stay a while. And of course, I’ll give you a place to stay over as well 🙂

    • Thank you NJ! I NEVER would have thought 15 months ago that worrying about getting my daughter to a cheer competition would get me *here.* Life is truly amazing. xo And yes, I ship!

  2. I just smiled SO, so big!!! I am so thrilled for you, Ilene!!! How amazing it must feel to follow your dream! Good luck with your new business. Also, do you ship to Louisiana? 🙂

    • Thank you my friend. The enthusiasm means more to me than I can tell you. And yes, I will ship everywhere!

  3. Could be and is. Big.
    I love your story! What an incredible trajectory of events!
    You rock, woman!

    • Life is amazing, Karen – just amazing. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that, I know. And thank you.

  4. How awesome and exciting and wonderful for you! I don’t even know half of your story but I know that you will be a success at whatever you do. I hear it when I read your posts. I feel the passion behind the words and I sense the determination too. You are amazing. Now, I want to know why hippie? When I think hippie, I think 60s.You’re a little young for that. Dang, I’m a little young for that era…sorta. 🙂 Congrats on your biz!!!
    Laurie recently posted…Ask Away Friday with The Mommy MessMy Profile

    • A little young to be a hippie? Yes. But I have a hippie heart 🙂 And as always, your words are so encouraging Laurie. So very encouraging. Thank you for that. xo

  5. I can not wait to see your success! I hang around my house all the time, so if I can do anything from here to help you please, please, please do not hesitate to ask.

    Interested in some local stores carrying your product, etc.? I can make visits for you if you like.
    tammigirl recently posted…Let’s Talk About VenezuelaMy Profile

    • Yes! yes! I would love product placement in stores. That’s a huge part of my game plan. So thank you for that and thank you for seeing my success. THAT means the world to me. xo

  6. AND….LIFT OFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    It IS big. SO BIG. SO VERY VERY BIG. And you?


    *I’d like to order a dozen bags please*

    *Oh, and I’d like to host a granola party please*

    *Oh, and the name of your business is FANFREAKINGTASTIC!!!*

    *And, you KNOW I am your BIGGEST fan, of your BIG.*

    YES YES YES YES YES!!!!!!!
    Chris Carter recently posted…Devotional Diary: What Is God’s Dream For You?My Profile

    • I know you’re the biggest fan of my big. Is “small” even in our mutual vocabulary? It’s like a 4 letter word (and God knows we say enough of those, woman!) If you have a granola party, I want to come! Any party you host is gonna be a good one! xxxooo

    • Oh, Lisa! I would love to meet you! At my store or not at my store, I would just love to say hello! BUT – if you make it down here, that would be just incredible…

    • Jennifer, your comment just gave me chills. I’ve had an entire night of them. Such lovely comments from old friends and new ones. And if you are in the area, please come by! There’s a big purple room in front with Wifi and a life sized picture of Jimi Hendrix. I could hang out in there all day, and I hope others feel the same!

    • And I unselfishly love you too – and selfishly too at times. And you’ve had more than a cameo. A pretty important role – in a lot of ways. xo

  7. Oh my GOD, oh my god, oh my GOD. I thought it was a Yoga studio. Which would have been cool. But this? This is so fucking awesome. I. Cannot. Wait. I was seriously bummed when the web address led to “opening soon”!!!
    Jester Queen recently posted…Everyday poetMy Profile

    • It IS opening soon Really soon – and then my online store will be open too. Thank you thank you THANK YOU for being so psyched for me! xxxxooo

    • Jessie – Do you remember all that drama a year and a half ago? All. That. Drama. And now this. Yes! You’re right! So freaking awesome!

  8. This is sooooo exciting!! I too thought a yoga studio was in the works – what a crazy, great surprise! And yet I’m not surprised because of what you’ve said about the granola before – this seems natural and brave and right! Best wishes to you and praying for much success for you. And when I can order…I’ll be ordering!
    Stephanie recently posted…Cherry Coconut MartiniMy Profile

    • Steph – thank you so very much for your kind words and support and yes, surprise! It’s not a yoga studio 🙂

    • Oh, Kristen, big virtual hugs, girl! And thank you – thanks for being supportive behind the scenes and now on the scene – and I am so glad you are here!

  9. Crying big tears reading this post! The pride we feel for you and your dream and now reality is to the moon and back! You are amazing. Cannot wait to order some! :)-The Dose Girls

    • I do need to put it on my about page. The one I have there is similar but not *this*. I am so glad you have shared bits and pieces of this journey with me. xo

    • I’ll take huge over big! Huge is a great word for a new business! Thank you for your confidence Nicole and for your awesome, awesome support.

    • It is so nice to meet you! Especially on such a great day when you arrive with so much enthusiasm!

    • Girl – I will – but also don’t forget that as one of my beta testers, you have some free stuff coming too. Love you lady! xo

    • You can place all the orders you want, but more importantly, you have to come visit next time you’re on OKI! Even if you don’t want granola! xo

    • Thank you! That was the best OMG Woo hooo I got all day! And I love that you are here to celebrate with me. xo

  10. Oh, this brought tears to my eyes!! I think that it is so absolutely amazing that a) you were able to finance your daughter’s trip on this, that b) you are making this a reality! There is a *slight* chance that I might be going down to NC with Sam & Eve, and if that’s the case I am going to try to find a way to make it out to your island. Regardless, I really want to try your granola, so if you ever start selling it online, you can be sure I will be ordering some. Wishing you all the best of luck with your store, cannot wait to see how it all progresses.
    Bev recently posted…February in Review: Instagram StyleMy Profile

    • I will absolutely be selling online. As a matter of fact, at first, this was going to be online sales only, but then I found the space that I’m in and it was a total invitation for me to add brick and mortar retail to the mix. It’s the perfect little walk in space in front of my kitchen. But yes! Yes! If you are in the area, come by! I would LOVE to see you! but I should say that Oak Island to far away from everything – so if you can’t make it, I’d be sad but I’d totally understand!

    • I LOVE your freak out! You can come here and freak out any time you want! And I think holyshitwow is my new favorite word! xo

  11. WHOOHOO! Love this Ilene – on so many different levels. And you know – I think everything you have done in the blogging space will only add to the success. Think of all of the new fans you have around the country to promote. I’ll be your West Coast advocate. Definitely going to try if you venture into online sales. 🙂 Wishing you great success and fun on your new adventure.
    Kerry recently posted…10 Ways To Show Your Kids LoveMy Profile

    • Thank you so much Kerry! And I could absolutely use a West Coast Advocate. It’s such an exciting time and it was a phenomenal day – sharing this with the world. I could not feel any more blessed.

    • The opportunity to chase a dream? Priceless. so very priceless. Thank you for sharing in this joyful moment. xoo

    • Thank you Tiffany. This is SUCH an exciting time for me. I am so grateful for your enthusiasm.

    • Thank you so much Natalie! The real life plot twists? So much crazier than the fiction ones at times. And amazing.

  12. You have no idea how this makes me smile. When I was in high school, my mom was the single mom. We were so poor. To send me to drill team camp my mom made peanut brittle at night and sold it door to door to raise the money to send me to camp and pay for my uniforms. It worked. Reading this I smile thinking what she could have done in the days of the internet. You go momma. This is awesome! I promise you that your girl is more proud of you than she can put in words. And now I’m crying.
    Jennifer recently posted…Ground Beef Recipes that Make Easy Weeknight MealsMy Profile

    • Jennifer, as you know, this comment had me crying the big tears when I first read it. I am beyond touched by this story and completely awed by your mother. And I can only imagine what she could have done with her peanut brittle if those days had been lived during the internet.

    • Thank you for liking my page! And that Alison – she is amazing about getting the word out. Thank you for your kind words Greta. And for being a part of my big day.

    • I was so vague – Kim – purposefully so – so please don’t feel like an idiot! And thank you for the ALL CAPS love above. I am so glad you are here to share this with me! xo

  13. Congratulations on going after your dream, succeeding as a single Mom and diving into a new adventure. Here’s wishing you all the success in the world!


    • Thank you Lisa! I am loving this adventure so far. Hopefully it will be mine for a long, long time.

  14. I read this on my cell yesterday and I couldn’t comment because I knew that if I started commenting I wanted it to be well thought out and not in a rush because this doesn’t deserve a rushed comment, it deserves a million squeals, a dozen high fives and one very long hug. So consider that my virtual gift to you.

    I am SO SO excited for you. I know success is inevitable because you are doing what you love, and what comes natural for you, its totally meant to be and we are extremely proud of you.
    Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama recently posted…7 Must Have Hasbro Toys in 2014! | Toy Fair New York 2014My Profile

    • I will gladly take your high fives and squeals and that very long hug. Your comment warms my heart tonight, Nellie, your pride,your enthusiasm, your faith in me? THAT is your virtual gift to me. xo

    • Thank you Heather! I agree that doing what you love is not working! I feel so blessed to be able to do this! So very blessed!

    • I will ship anywhere! And I have goosebumps too! The good kind! I love you and I am so glad you are sharing this with me. xo

  15. Woohooo!!! yay so excited 🙂 Congratulations Irene and hoping for BIG success 🙂 I will LOVE to buy some granola – yummy!! 🙂 So close, are you ready? super nervous? hehe you go this! Have a great one and looking forward to your launch! -Iva
    AwesomelyOZ recently posted…GTFO: The Four SeasonsMy Profile

  16. Ilene, I couldn’t be happier for you. I have tears in my eyes reading this. Bravo to you for following your passions, making your dreams come true! If only I live closer I would love to try them 😀
    Maureen recently posted…Sprouting JoyMy Profile

  17. Congratulations!!! I’m sure you had many, many moments when you were scared and thought about giving up but you didn’t and just look at you now!!! I can relate to that mom in the stands watching her daughter achieve a dream. I’ve been there. My daughter is a dancer. It’s not cheap, but it’s worth it! I’ve done many a thing to finance her expenses!
    WriterMom Angela recently posted…I will write it anywayMy Profile

  18. You are full of surprises, Ilene! I am so excited for you and this venture.

    When it comes time to employ your kids, because you will ultimately need them, give me a jingle. I come from a long line of family businesses and have worked for my parents, and my kids have worked for me. My husband now works for my brother, even. 🙂

    There are huge upsides with families working together, and some territory over which to tread carefully, but it’s all good in the end. 🙂
    Kim recently posted…Are you a listener or a fixer?My Profile

  19. I love that this is happening for you, or rather you are making this happen. It hs a very sliding doors feel, if your daughter was never in cheer, if you didnt have to be so resourceful etc would you be here today… If you ever start shipping to Australia let me know, I want to share it with all my crunchy friends!
    Jess recently posted…I made it to 30!My Profile

  20. This is AMAZING!!!!!! So gutsy, so courageous, so scary, so GREAT!!!! One day I hope to have a taste of your secret recipe and I’m sure it will be the best. Be proud. Own it. You did it and are doing it. Good things to come.
    Leah Davidson recently posted…I am not an ImposterMy Profile

  21. OMG my sister wife, this is brilliant and amazing!!! I had no clue where you were going with this and am beyond happy with were you are. You you you. You are brave and amazing and powerful and wonderful. I’m so ordering, and buying in person.

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  23. AMAZING!!!!!! I love, love, love it and cannot wait to order it! What a success you’ve turned yourself into. Your daughter has an amazing mom…but I bet she already knew that. I cannot tell you how happy I am for you.
    Allie recently posted…The Rundown: Go Big or Go HomeMy Profile

  24. WHOO HOO! Finally! I have followed socially! I can’t wait! Boy was I off. I am so happy for you. Sounds like you will be in high demand once the doors open and what a great story for a start up! BOOM!!!

  25. ILENE!!! SOOOO very incredibly proud of you 🙂 Following you wherever I can and eagerly awaiting your store’s opening so I can promote the granola out of it. YOU GO, momma.

    I love that you think of resourceful ways to get out of any bind and to give your child every opportunity possible. That is the mark of an incredibly strong woman and an absolutely amazing mother.

    Charlotte recently posted…Living with the one you loveMy Profile