5K Color Run

Exercise is something important to our family so we can stay healthy. All of the boys run cross country and track.

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Last Saturday we all participated in a 5K Color Run, to help raise money to fight cancer!

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All of the children ran the race, while Jim and I chose to just walk it.

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Before running Colter said he wasn’t going to get any color on him, but as you can see he did end up with a little on himself.

We were all very proud of him; he placed 1st in the race!

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As you can see, after the race we were a very colorful bunch:

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We had a blast with it, and it helped raise money for a good cause!

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Have you ever run or walked a 5K?




The Treadmill Desk Conversion

My wife likes to stay active.  Of course, as the CEO of a family business, as well as the family bookkeeper, she has a LOT of desk work to do.  So I converted our treadmill into a treadmill desk using stuff we had laying around.

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In order to work, the treadmill desk needed to have a work surface, a place for the computer, and a display, all while not interfering with the normal operation of the treadmill.

The work surface was easy enough. It is simply a black-finished particle board shelf with a piece of vinyl stair nosing* screwed onto both sides.  The vinyl keeps stuff from falling off the shelf when the treadmill is being used.  The treadmill originally had dense foam handrests supported by metal brackets.  I removed the foam handrest part so I could bolt the shelf  to the metal brackets beneath.  The nut is countersunk into the shelf for a flush surface.  The low profile of the shelf allows for the treadmill display to be unaffected so the treadmill can still be used as usual.

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The computer, in this case PJ’s laptop, sits on the side table near the treadmill.  It is controlled by the wireless mouse and keyboard* that sit on the work surface.  Since the rubber edges can be rough on the wrists, I added a gel foam wrist support for both the mouse* and the keyboard*.  This keeps the wrist from hitting the vinyl edge and is comfortable for working.

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Also attached to the computer is the ethernet cable to access the internet, and the HDMI cable* that runs up to the first flat screen TV we ever bought.  The DVD part stopped working years ago, but the display is still good, and it works well sitting up on an old wall bracket that was made for a CRT television.  The base is actually bolted onto it so it cannot just tumble off if it gets bumped.

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I added the power strip* for convenience and just cable tied* it to the treadmill so PJ could turn everything off at once if she wanted.

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The only drawback to the whole thing is that the treadmill is very old.  We got it about 18 years ago and have used it more often than not.  Somehow it just keeps going.  As long as it keeps working we can save the expense of buying one of those really nice treadmill desks* you can find online!

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*Amazon Affiliate Link

Happy Birthday Mom!

Yesterday was Mom’s birthday! The last time we had a birthday blog post for Mom was in 2009, when she wrote a blog post called “Happy Birthday To Me”. It’s been a while. LOL

One of my favorite parts of our birthday celebration is that we get a picture of the birthday boy/girl with everyone in the family. It’s always so much fun to look back and see how much everyone has grown.

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And since we were all matching (you have to wear green on Saint Patrick’s Day, you know!) we decided to take a family picture. happy birthday PJ_10Happy birthday, Mom! We love you!



Mean Mom Pledge

Have you ever been accused of being a Mean Mom?  I would certainly hope so!  I know that every time I have been told I’m a Mean Mom, I respond with, “Good.  I’m supposed to be.”

Afterall, It has never been my goal to please my children.  Instead, my goal has always been to raise well-adjusted, loving children that make me proud.  And not proud in a “I graduated from Harvard” kind of way.  I desire proud in a “Mom, I did the right thing even when nobody was looking and even though I didn’t want to” kind of way.

So with that said, I would like to invite you to take the Mean Mom Pledge with me.


All you have to do is raise your right hand and repeat (out loud) after me.

  1. I promise to always try to do what is best for my children in the long-term, not what is easiest in the short-term.
  2. I promise not to make things easy on my children, but to let them feel the consequences of their actions.
  3. I promise to teach my children how to take care of themselves (including cooking, cleaning, laundry, and personal hygiene), and not do it all for them.
  4. I promise not to give my children everything they want as soon as they want it.
  5. I promise to not always put my children first, but to teach them that life does not revolve around them.
  6. I promise to teach my children to accept the word “No” without throwing a tantrum.
  7. I promise to teach my children how to live below their means and be responsible with their money.
  8. I promise to teach my children not to whine.
  9. I promise to take care of myself even if that means putting my needs ahead of my children’s needs occasionally.
  10. I promise to teach my children to work, to work hard, and to do it with a good attitude.
  11. I promise to teach my children the difference between a want and a need.
  12. I promise to make sure that my children regularly get enough sleep, even if that means limiting the fun or educational activities we participate in.
  13. I promise to teach my children to eat their vegetables and to enjoy healthy food.

Remember, being a Mean Mom does not imply that you are perfect.  It just means that you are doing your best to raise your children in a way that will help them to become the future adult you want them to be.   Keep the long-term view in mind and it helps with making the right short-term decisions!

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If you agree with the Mean Mom Pledge, please post it and share it with others. You can copy the code below:

<a title="Mean Mom Pledge" href="http://goatmilkstuff.com/blog/2015/02/03/mean-mom-pledge/" target="_blank"><img class="aligncenter size-medium wp-image-21786" src="http://goatmilkstuff.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/mean-mom-pledge-shield-low-275x300.png" alt="mean mom pledge" width="275" height="300" /></a>

And if you have any promises you think should be added to the pledge, please share them in the comments below!






Thor and Baxter

Thor and Baxter, our livestock guardian dogs, spend their time with the goats, but they love spending time with the humans too! But out of all of us, their favorites are Mom and Fletcher.

They could spend all day playing with Fletcher and letting Mom pet them.

When Mom walks from the soaproom the dogs come running, eager for some attention from their favorite.

Fletcher is in charge of feeding them and taking care of them,  and he loves getting on the ground with them and playing.

They love all of us, but Mom and Fletcher are definitely the favorites.

And they love the dogs just as much as the dogs love them!


Ask A Jonas – PJ’s Thoughts On Family Time

We get asked lots of questions when we’re doing farm toursselling soap at craft fairs, or simply running errands.  Since most of those answers are heard only by the person who asked, we decided to share some of the common questions here on the blog.  And of course you can ask a question of your own!

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PJ, when do you have family time? Devotions, TV time, family outings, etc. ~Jane

People regularly ask me what a “typical” day looks life in our lives.  But the truth is, we don’t have a typical day.  Each day is unique and looks very different from every other day. While there is always lots of work to do here on the farm, with the exception of milking the goats and getting orders out before the postman arrives, very little of it has a deadline.

That gives me a lot of flexibility to juggle the needs of the business and the needs of the family.

In our family, “family time” happens all the time.  Even when we’re working we’re having family time. Jim and I have individual dates with each of the children and try to spend one-on-one time with each child each and every day. And we make work fun.  There have been plenty of times we have sat around the table bagging soap while we sing songs or watch a movie.

We don’t have a set time for family devotions or reading the Bible.  What God has to say about certain topics comes up throughout the day every day.  We’re always talking about God and don’t compartmentalize Him just for Sundays or devotions.

We don’t watch tv shows with 3 exceptions.  First – Brett, Jim, and I have a weekly date where the three of us watch “Once Upon a Time”.  This gives us some special time with her. Second – Jim and I watch the show “Castle” together.  We don’t usually do this when it airs, but will usually watch it earlier on a subsequent evening.  And third – we Hulu the show “Shark Tank” with all the children as part of their homeschooling.

But we do watch a lot of family movies.  I’m very intentional about what movies we watch – it generally has to have a message I’m trying to teach the children.

We don’t do a lot of family outings because it takes too much time and we have to be back to milk in the evenings.  Instead we take regular family vacations where we leave the farm all-together.  We usually go for two weeks because it takes Jim and I that much time to “decompress”.  We usually go to Disney World every January/February.  We can do this since my Mom works at Disney and because the goats aren’t being milked at that time with them being so close to kidding season.

We also go to Topsail Island every September.  I grew up on Long Beach Island in New Jersey and the ocean is an important part of my life.  When everybody goes back to school, the rental rates drop by over half and so we take advantage of that and spend two weeks in a beach house.  The whole family agrees that we would much rather have these big vacations than a lot of individual family outings.

I think there is a big misunderstanding on the time it takes us to get our work done. Yes, there is a lot of work to do. Yes, we accomplish a lot.  Yes, we all work very hard.  But we’re very efficient at what we do.  And because there are ten of us to split up all the house-work (like cooking, cleaning, and laundry), it all gets completed very quickly.

I spend a lot of time training the children so they can work efficiently.    They all understand that they have to get a set amount of work completed for the day.  They can dawdle and have it take all day or they can be focused and fast.  They (almost always) choose the latter.

That leaves plenty of time for reading, games, puzzles, riding bikes, exercising, cross-country, vacations, swimming, hiking, and playing in the creek.  If you ask the children, they will tell you that we “work hard so we can play hard”. Hope that makes sense!


Have a question for a Jonas? Fill out the form and send it in – maybe we’ll pick yours!

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

Sometimes I think about the past and realize that a lot of things had to happen for me to be where I am today.  A big thing happened nineteen years ago, on July 8, 1995. Can you guess what happened?  The title of the post gives it away. LOL

Yes, my Mom and Dad got married.

I love this picture – isn’t my Mom’s dress pretty?

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Everybody who knows my parents from their wedding says they still look the same now, but I think they look so much younger in their wedding photo. Here they are nineteen years later.

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It has been a long time since that wedding picture was taken, but I’m pretty happy with what happened in those nineteen years. The family of two has grown to a family of ten, and we started Goat Milk Stuff. Not bad for nineteen years, huh?

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Mom and Dad may not be perfect, but they’re the best parents I could have hoped for.  Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad.  I love you!



Happy Birthday, Jim!

Jim and I met at The University of Virginia, so Thomas Jefferson is very important to us.  Here is an interesting fact – Thomas Jefferson was born on Jim’s birthday (April 13) and died on Jade’s birthday (July 4).  I always post the children’s birthday photos, and they insisted that I post Daddy’s birthday photos as well.

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Happy Birthday to my incredible husband!


Disney Wild Africa Trek

While we were in Disney World, we decided it was time to do something we’d never done before. The Wild Africa Trek! Indigo and Jade were too young, so while we were doing it, they went off and toured Animal Kingdom with some of Grandma’s friends.

I can honestly say that this is one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. It was a three hour guided tour where we got to walk over the hippos and alligators, learn some swahili, get really close to some of the animals on the safari, and eat an african inspired lunch.  

First we got all suited up and took some pictures. 



Then we set off into the wild. First we went through the bird section. While we were there Jess pointed out some birds, and we got a lot of really strange looks. Not that it really bothered me – I’m used to it. My family gets strange looks whether we’re wearing strange gear or not. 😀


After we left the bird enclosure we left the set trail, heading into the woods. Colter told me, “It feels good to be back in gear, walking through the woods again.” I laughed and agreed with him. It was the first time I’d been in a situation like that since Outward Bound, and it was really nice.

We’d been hiking for maybe five minutes when Megan’s voice came over the headset that we were required to wear. She told us that we were nearing the hippo enclosure and told us the rules we had to follow. As we got closer we all unclipped one end of the harness attached to our vests. We handed them to Jess and she clipped us onto the metal rail along the fence, letting us walk past her into the enclosure (once we were securely attached). You can see our “tails” in this photo of us above the hippo enclosure. The vehicle in the background is one of the safari trucks. 


 One of the hippo experts met us there. He had brought along a bucket of food for the two males that we were going to see, but since they were asleep we didn’t get to watch them eat.


After the hippo guy (I don’t remember his name) answered all of our questions, and there were a lot of them, we moved on. We continued hiking through the woods and along the way, learned some Swahili. Twende (pronounced twenday) means “let’s go”, and that has become a favorite word around here. We also learned Asante Sana, “thank you”, and Karibu Sana, “you’re welcome”. 

 We made it to the bridges over the river, and it’s a good thing that none of us is afraid of heights. 

Because this is the bridge that we were going over. Well, this is one of them. 


 Did I mention that we were walking right over the alligators? You can see them down below all of us.








Don’t worry though – we were attached to a super strong cable above us by the harness on our vests. Because honestly, who wants to fall into this?


Then you’d get crushed by an alligator’s mouth… oh wait.


KIDDING. That’s just a model they had out there for us to look at. It was surprisingly heavy. 


We also got to go into (but above) the alligator pit:


We were so close we were able to see them really well as the alligator expert answered our questions.  And because we’re curious, we had a lot of questions.


I think there are 27 alligators at Animal Kingdom.


Our guides -Megan, Jess, and Hilary – were awesome.


Once we were done with the first half of our tour, we took off our harnesses and had our own private truck for the rest of the tour.


We were able to get up close to a lot of the animals and we each had our own pair of binoculars.



The truck would periodically stop so we could get up and look around.














We got to stop at a boma (safe place) in the middle of the Savannah and have our own lunch.



It was African inspired foods and most of it was really good.  We all even ate the flower.

 This is what the Boma looks like from the Savannah:

After lunch, we got back in our truck to see some more of the animals.  Particularly the big cats which the boys love.





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Asante sana, Jess, Megan, and Hilary!


The Wild Africa Trek is expensive, but if you at all enjoy animals and like to ask lots of questions, and get behind the scenes, we all agreed it was absolutely worth it.  Definitely one of our best ever Disney memories!




San Francisco

This summer, Jim and I were flown out to San Francisco by one of our vendors.  We really enjoy having time together just the two of us, but it was strange to be out there without the children.  We got to see the Golden Gate Bridge.




 And ride over it.



And visit wine country.


And see the Bay Bridge.


The highlight of the trip was getting to visit Alcatraz.  It was amazing!








The Louis Vuitton (prelude to the America’s Cup) races were going on and we were able to see them while we were on Alcatraz. 


We also got to see an America’s Cup race.




And visit the giant redwoods in Muir Woods.





We did so many other things as well – ate sourdough bread, visited China town, saw the sea lions, visited the wharves, ate seafood, and even visited a goat farm!

It was an amazing trip.  We brought the children home lots of books and puzzles and souvenirs, but we’re definitely going to need to take them back to experience the Bay area first hand! 

Have you ever been able to visit the San Francisco area?  What was your favorite part?





I love the sunshine.  Sunny days just make me happy and put a big smile on my face.  One of the reasons we go to Florida every winter is because I really need to escape to some warm weather and sunshine to make it through the winter or I get very cranky.

This winter has had a crazy lack of sunshine.  I think we saw the sun only a handful of times from mid-February til now.  And tomorrow… they’re predicting snow!!  Ugh!

But for today, the sun came out.  I spent most of the day working on the computer, but I did manage to sneak out for a short break.  I wasn’t going to tell anyone, but apparently Brett caught me: 

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Which is fine, I was feeling too happy to care!




I’m Overwhelmed!

Very rarely do I ever complain or whine here on my blog.  But I confess, I feel the need to do just that because… I am overwhelmed!!  It doesn’t happen to me often because I work really hard to maintain margin in my life and not do too much.  But life has some how gotten away from me.

So, why am I overwhelmed? 

Construction. We’ve been building the soap room, the barn, and the new house now for almost 9 months.  I’m tired of construction.  Don’t get me wrong, we’ve got the most awesome contractor and we love all the workers, but my head feels like it’s going to explode if I have to make another decision.

Commuting.  I haven’t had a “job” since I quit working at Capital One when Brett was 6 months old.  That means I haven’t commuted for 16 years.  Even when we started Goat Milk Stuff, the furthest I had to travel was out the back door and about 25 steps to the barn.  Alright, occassionally I had to drive to McDonald’s to print postage for orders because our satellite internet was out.  But even that was only 5 miles away. And yet for almost 6 months now, we’ve been driving 25 minutes to and from Scottsburg 7 days a week.

Kidding Season.  We have 21 pregnant goats and only 3 of them have had their kids.  We’ve been on kid watch for 10 days and I’m exhausted.  I just want to sleep and sleep and not worry about baby goats being born unassisted and getting stuck and goats dying if I’m not there to help.

Cranky Children.  My children are overwhelmed with all of this too and not getting enough sleep either.  This unfortunately leads to lots and lots (and lots) of extra bickering and it is wearing on my nerves.

The weather.  Where oh where is the sun????  We have had cloudy, rainy, cold, yucky weather since we returned from vacation.  If I don’t feel the sun on my face soon I’m going to start screaming (not really, but I want to).

OK.  That’s about all I wanted to say.  I’m tired, I’m cranky, and I’m overwhelmed.  I’m trying to live one day at a time and know that this too shall pass.  I’m limiting what I do (no new podcasts for a little while) and trying to take breaks to just sit and snuggle with baby goats.  Life is much more peaceful when you’re playing with baby goats.

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I’d love to think that I’m alone in this and everyone else is having a peaceful, non-stressful end to their winter.  But I have a feeling that I’m not alone.  How about you?  Are you overwhelmed right now?  How are you surviving it (assuming you don’t have any baby goats to snuggle)?




Fox 59 Interview

We have so much fun sharing our story and our stuff with people.  It’s one of the greatest things in the world to be able to support your family doing something that you truly love.  Last week, we were able to go to Indianapolis to be on the Fox 59 morning show with Jenny Anchondo.

Colter had to get up at 4:30 in the morning to get the milking done in time to shower and get loaded in the Sprinter.  The rest of us got to sleep in til 6:00, but we were still really tired.   I admit I took the long drive to get in a nap.  My creepy  loving husband took a photo of me with my mouth open sleeping on the way up.  (I don’t know why I let them convince me to post this – at least I’m not drooling.)

Fletcher also rested once we arrived before our segment started.

We had a great outdoor location where we were able to display some of our stuff.

If you missed the segment, here is a copy for you to watch.  The children all did a really great job and I was really proud of them! 

Thanks Fox for a great opportunity!

Did you watch the interview?  Which member of the Jonas family did you most enjoy listening to?




What a Guy!

Today is Father’s Day and we’re not doing a whole lot to celebrate it.  Part of the reason is because we don’t make a big fuss about celebrations.  Part of the reason is because we’re super busy.  And part of the reason is because Jim is fairly understated and doesn’t require or demand extra attention.

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Many of you may have realized that I am the dreamer around here.  I’m the one that’s always coming up with the next thing that we’re going to do.  And I go after it full steam ahead.  I often get a lot of attention because I’m always the one blazing the trail, asking the questions and interacting.

Jim doesn’t get nearly as much attention.  But in all honesty, Jim’s the one that makes it happen.  He’s the one that keeps it going.  I make an off-hand comment, and he spends hours thinking about it and making my dreams a reality.

Here is just one example.  We have a green screen for the videos that we do.  Well, I don’t really know what I’m doing, and it hasn’t been a priority for me to learn.  But I have realized that we don’t light up the green screen enough.  So I said something to Jim about how it would be nice if we had some lights to clamp to the corner of the green screen so it would be more lit up.

And then I forgot about it.

A few days later I was working on my computer and there was an awful lot of banging going on upstairs. Honestly, I thought it was the children doing something and didn’t really pay too much attention to it.

And then Indigo and Jade came rushing down the stairs and dragged me upstairs babbling over and over about how it was done and I had to come and see it.

So I went upstairs to discover this:

Green Screen Lighting

It turns out that Jim had spent several hours researching green screen lighting and dismissed the idea of lights clamped to the corners as ineffective.  But he knew I wanted it improved, and so he devised and created this setup.  He put together a PVC pipe framework to which he attached lighting units.  He told me all about the different light spectrums he got for the bulbs and why he thought they would be best.

I would like to say I was surprised – and in a way I was, because I had no idea he was working on the lighting for the green screen.  But in another way I wasn’t surprised at all because Jim is always doing things like that for me.  He’s always telling me, “You dream it, I do it.”  And it is so true.

Our tagline is “Work hard. Get dirty. Use good soap.”  Well, that describes our family so well because Jim is the hardest worker I know and he’s teaching the children just how important hard work is.  Not by telling them.  But by showing them.

So, since there is not a “Husband’s Day”, I want to take this Father’s Day to tell Jim what a great husband and father you are and that we’d be lost without you.  Love you, honey!!



The Importance of Free Wi-Fi

We love living in the country. There is only one problem – the lack of high speed internet. Right now we have satellite internet, which is better than dial-up. Most of the time.


The biggest problem is when we have several days of stormy weather, like we’ve had. So what’s an entrepreneurial family with a thriving business  that requires printing postage to do?

Find the nearest wi-fi hotspot of course!

Normally, I pack up my home office (two laptops and the postage printer) and head to McDonalds. It’s about 6 miles from the house, so it’s pretty convenient. But two nights ago, we decided to take the whole family and head into town to get our Christmas tree and dinner. After picking out the tree and loading it into the Hulk, Jim made an announcement.

Jim: “We’re going to have a poetry contest. I’m going to say the first line, and someone has to come up with a second line that rhymes.”

Jim: “Next stop…”




Colter: “I know!!! IHOP!”

(To which there was much cheering).

So we arrived at IHOP and took over four tables. We set up the home office on one and proceeded to order dinner.  What does a family of ten order?

Jim: eggnog pancake special
PJ: omelette with cheese, spinach, peppers, & onions, with a stack of pancakes
Colter: 3 eggs, 3 pancakes, 4 pieces of bacon, hashbrowns
Brett: cinna-stack
Emery: 3 eggs, 3 pancakes, 4 pieces of bacon, hashbrowns
Fletcher: omelette with cheese, bacon, and green peppers, side of pancakes
Greyden: blueberry pancake stack with sausage and bacon
Hewitt: smiley face chocolate pancakes
Indigo: stack of pancakes and macaroni and cheese (I know, she’s strange)
Jade: eggs, pancakes, bacon

Since that wasn’t enough food, I ordered 3 cinna-stacks to split for “dessert”. Even then, Colter and Greyden were still hungry and Hewitt wanted an order of broccoli. (Yes, my children are bottomless pits when it comes to food – but they work hard, so I figure they’ve earned it).

After we finished eating, the children all headed to the Hulk. Brett has been reading “The Red Pyramid” out loud to them, and they wanted to do that while Jim and I finished printing postage for the next day’s orders.

While we were working on our computers, our waitress, Misty (who was so helpful and wonderful) shyly asked us a question.

Misty: “So, ummm…, this may sound a little strange, but we can all smell you… in a GOOD way… and we were wondering what scent we were smelling?”

Jim and I started laughing. The children had shared with Misty about Goat Milk Stuff, so she knew we made soap. Apparently some of the IHOP workers were having an animated discussion trying to figure out what scent we smelled like.

We told Misty that we had all been working in the soap room, so it was probably a mix of scents. Someone thought that they were smelling spearmint, and we confirmed that was likely because the boys had unmolded a batch of rosemary spearmint before we headed to IHOP.

So, not only did we get to answer customer emails, print postage for orders, and eat lots of super pancakes, we also got to enhance the fragrance of IHOP.

A definite win-win!