Blog

Still the ONE

 

The year, 1981.
The town (oddly Aldergrove, BC)
The reason- a move from California placed us at the right place at the right time for the right reason.
I met Ray in 1981 in high school after moving here from Newark, California.
I came from Football, cheerleaders, pep rallies, school cafeterias that rocked and school dances that were made for young love and ended up in a place called Aldergrove, BC.
I can say I was unimpressed.
I can say I was mad about having to move in the Junior Year of High school (Canadians say 11th grade)
(I say, tennis shoes, you say runners)
Anyways I digress.
I met Ray at school as he drove up in his Volkswagen Bug and he was the best friend I could have ever wanted.
I called him to pick me up for school. I called him when my boyfriend (at the time) broke up with me.
That was a life changing moment.
I always thought to myself…”someone should marry Ray.”
He would be a great husband but I never realized that “someone” would be me until some time later…
Fast forward to 1984 and we were married at the age of 19 (lived on my own since I was 17)
I can say I have never looked back.
I have loved being Ray’s wife and our journey is now heading towards the 30th anniversary of a marriage that was in perfect timing.
His timing.
You see, at times in life, we cannot see how things will play out.
How can a young girl getting married to the the perfect fit for her at a young age be the perfect ending?
Together, they had three great children and raised them to believe in them selves.
We taught them~
Love others.
Be kind (mostly)
Be honest. Always.
Be responsible.
Be empathetic as life sometimes needs us to understand.
Be productive.
Be your self.
See your future and go for it.
Remember your roots.
Forge your own frontier.
Grow together as a couple (Ray and I always went away often alone)
And along the way we learned that investments in “portfolio’s” can look a lot like investing in lives…
Our investments have given us so much return and we value them (and one another) more than I can express.
So Ray, you’re still the one…

 

Always…

What is your story about love?

I would love to hear it!

 

See our contest we are running on our Facebook page here! 

How to enter:
1) Like ChocolaTas and Tracycakes Bakery Cafe on Facebook!
2) Like & share the photo!
3) Comment and tell us your love story!
Do you follow us on Instagram? Follow us on Instagram for a extra entry in our contest!
Winner will be announced on February 10/2014

Buy Two High Teas for $25



Do you have the January blues?

Why not come in for a uplifting high tea? Scrumptious finger sandwiches, mini dainties and mouth watering fresh baked scones served with a steaming pot of Earl Grey tea is the perfect cure for the rainy day blues.

Book your high tea reservation today by calling our Abbotsford or Murrayville location and make sure to bring in the coupon below, either by printing it or showing it on your smart phone. Until January 31, 2014.

Abbotsford Cafe
101-2636 Montrose Ave
604-852-1904

Murrayville Cafe
21594 48th Ave
604-427-1424

My year looking back while moving forward.

The year 2013 will be one of the most “moving” years noted in my life to date.
It started when I had just closed the Tracycakes Bakery Café location in White Rock late December 2012. Closing a café seems like a death, finality, and ending of some dream you had for your vision and future. I struggled with it and finally landed in relief that the stress of trying to run a successful business while little pesky ants run around your café is not worth the sleepless nights.
It was a good business decision, and I woke up in January with a new set of eyes searching the horizon for what I may do with the whole brand new Year in front of me.
A bakery came up for sale just behind us in Abbotsford, and I began to having “visions of sugar plums danced in my head.”
The goal- to centralize baking and save labor (and bake lots in a HUGE oven).
Thrifty Foods became a goal to work towards getting Tracycakes Bakery Café Ltd into Vancouver at the high end locations.
During this time, Tracycakes Bakery café in Fort Langley was set to be re-developed and the location would be torn down to re-build a new one in 2015. WE had to find another location to call home in the meantime. We found Murrayville and began the process of signing the lease.
Closing a location in Fort Langley, while buying a Bakery in Abbotsford (and doing lease hold improvements in the bakery) while opening in Murrayville(and doing leasehold improvements there), WHILE your daughter, who is your Chief Operations Officer is leaving on Maternity to have her first baby while your kitchen manager from Fort Langley, who is also your daughter is training how to become COO may not have been my “best strategy” as the CEO.
Just saying.
Looking back I cannot believe I am here today writing anything at all. My tenacity has driven me through and my determination has been my downfall of the year. Things are changing and I need to quickly learn (about six months ago) to adapt and change with it and not rely on the auto correct that I have learned to rely on.
I know I was the answer to the previous owners prayers by buying the Old Towne Bakery (now Tracycakes Bakery) and I know that I have been blessed with a new baby granddaughter named Sadie Rae, and I know that my youngest daughter, Jessica who just got engaged this summer in the midst of the above stated chaos will get married to the man of her dreams, Nick and that my daughter Melissa ,(who just moved to Kamloops )will be happy there with her husband, Mika (he just became a full time firefighter in Kamloops) and that my grandsons, Jonah and Fox love me to bits and my daughter in law , Randi has been the best daughter in law for me and that my son, Dan is a great man, husband, father and friend.

My newest grand baby, Sadie Rae

My son Daniel and his wife Randi and their two boys, Jonah and Fox

Melissa and her husband Mika with their daughter Sadie

Jessica and her fiance Nick

My grandkids and I

Helping my daughter move

Jonah, Fox and Nana time

I know that my Mother in law, who passed away very quickly this October, is in heaven and she is at peace and running through the flowers and loving being with Dad, Trevor and Jesus. I know that losing her was harder than I would have ever imagined and that I learned so much that final week with her in the hospital and I would not trade one minute but to say, I would have done more if I only had known that time was so short. Lesson learned.
In school you get the lesson, and then you take the test. In life you take the test, and learn the lesson.
At this point in the year, it is too late to look back and think “I could have done that differently” and I will take the lessons which have brought me staring straight in a full length mirror and reflected back to me the person standing there is basically good at heart and loves her family with every inch of her body and soul. She realized that the underlying (deep need) for her buying the bakery was her honest and mislead need for status. A huge eye-opening moment occurred when I saw “the good, the bad and the ugly” side of Tracy which would have been the end of it, except I learned that about myself and I can use it to make “me” a better person.
Ephesians 4:31 “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;”

I had acquired Thrifty Foods to sell babycakes to but decided against it as we were not set up to track and bake all those cupcakes needed for such a big company.
I have loved holding my new baby granddaughter who smiles constantly-just like her Mama did when she was a baby. I have loved sitting on the ground with Fox my grandson cuddled on my lap while we play cars. I have loved spending time with Jonah at the Aquarium and look forward to more of that. I have been fortunate to have a husband who loves me- all of me- and who I can lean on. I have lots of friends who pray for me and the little company who “could”. I know you each one. I have an extended family to love and who love me. I have children who are strong and confident in life and love. I have a Mom who supports me in every way possible. I have one thousand gifts and more that is not “wrap able” but are tangible, hold on with both hands and an open heart kind of gift.
“If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”
I ask myself this many times and if the answer is yes, than that is good. If the answer is no too many days in a row, I need to change something.
For today, I will put on my apron and get baking because that is what I really love to do. Bake and give move in the form of a loaf of bread or a cupcake.
Merry Christmas everyone.
May you feel Peace and be surrounded by LOVE this Christmas and in 2014.
Tracy

On Mothers in Laws

For nearly thirty years, I had hoped my mother in-law would love and embrace me.  I wished she would tell me I was a good wife to her son and a good mother to her grandchildren. I wanted to hear her tell me what a good job I was doing as a stay-at-home mom.

 

We’ve all heard the mother-in-law stories. Well, my mother-in-law was one of those mothers-in-law.

 

She could be negative and harsh at times. Over the years, there were times when her words stung and brought tears to my eyes. Her somewhat abrasive nature was matched by a tender side that only some got to see.

 

These past few years, our family watched as my mother-in-law struggled with her health and became more and more frail. Last week, she fell and broke her hip.

 

My husband and son, along with my brother-in-law and nephew, were out of town hunting for 10 days.Since it was a long-planned trip, and we didn’t want to ask them to come home unless it was necessary. So my sister-in-law and I stepped in to make sure Mom was taken care of each and every day. Surprisingly, she didn’t seem to mind this. In fact, she had given her sons her blessing to keep hunting—which, if you knew her, was actually quite profound and a gift.

 

As we waited for Mom’s surgery, we helped her eat, combed her hair, and washed her face. When surgery day came, we had to face some hard realities concerning the risks. After surgery, it took all day for her to come out of recovery—and that’s when our concern started to grow. Mom’s heart rate was irregular, so they transferred her to the CCU.

 

For six days, my sister-in-law and I  kept her company, brought flowers, food, and visitors and watched from a distance as Mom interacted with all of us, and with the nursing staff (who were phenomenal!).

 

Instead of being one to complain, Mom was just so gracious and thankful—and she made us laugh out loud once, when she asked a nurse, “Is that guy a Mexican?” (Those of you who don’t know my mother in law won’t get it, but those who did will be laughing alongside us. I wanted to ask her, “Are you German?!”)

 

In her typical way, Mom picked through her pills and took out the ones she did not “like.” Yet, all the while, she graciously understood she needed the daughters’ help.  And she let us help.

 

In those six days, I learned how to brush dentures and put them back in, and how to comb hair and feed soup to someone lying on her side. I learned how to rub lotion on swollen knees, and massage gnarled, worn out feet that have walked many miles.

 

There was a strange phenomenon that happened during those days. My mother-in-law asked for a kiss each time I visited—and told me she need four hugs and four kisses a day. After anyone did anything for her, she said, “Thank you.”

 

She spoke of Dad and how much she missed him, and she cried each time she did so. She asked the nurses whether they had seen him during his own hospital stay two years ago. She spoke of the loss of her grandson Trevor.

 

She recalled all her visitors and her conversations with each one. She was very aware and coherent. She told me she prayed for each of us, by name, each day, and gave thanks before her meals.

 

But, for me, the clincher was that each time I was there, she would ask the nurses, “Do you know the restaurant Tracycakes? Have you been there?” And then she would say, “This is my daughter-in-law. She owns it.”

 

For the first time, perhaps ever, I realized Mom was proud of me! By the time the week was done, she had introduced me countless times as her daughter-in-law who owns Tracycakes. And although I was getting somewhat embarrassed, I will cherish that always.

 

In her last days, she made sure I knew that she loved me.

 

Thank you, Mom, for that gift. As you entered heaven, I’m sure there was a great deal of noise as Dad greeted you with open arms and maybe even a dance. You will be missed.

 

“So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.”

John 16:22

The Apron.

Four years ago and young girl walked into Tracycakes Bakery Cafe and asked if we were hiring.

A resume was dropped off and we saw this as an opportunity to leave fingerprints on a staff that would in turn leave her fingerprints on the community of Abbotsford, one person at a time!

We hired Olivia four years ago. She was just a young impressionable gal who was aiming to please and please she did!

She was an employee who embraced the culture before we even knew we had one. She was a goal setter, a people pleaser, a show up on time and get- to- work employee which is rare in this economy and industry. She was a gem and we knew it!

As an employer, I could ask her to complete tasks from cleaning the bathrooms, to baking our lovely cupcakes, to greeting guests with the most soft greeting, to dishes and anything in between and she would gladly reply, “Of course!”

An “Olivia” not every employer gets to have the fortune of employing, yet we were blessed to have her for four years.

She recently moved on as some do, but we will never , never have a wonderful you.

Thanks Olivia for your care, consideration, enthusiasm, joy, diligence, and care to detail, love of others, contagious concern, and drive to be all you can be.

You have left your mark at Tracycakes Bakery Café and your apron cannot be filled~ ever.

We will hang it in honor of You and your fingerprints left at Tracycakes Bakery Café.

Here’s to O.N.

Much love ~

Tracy and team

 

 

 

Learning the two step~ Dallas Style

Taking my business to the next level

 

 

Being one of four fortunate business women who were chosen to be a part of the Women President’s Organizations annual conference was nothing short of extraordinary.

Marsha Firestone graciously allowed four Gro Your Biz women in business to join this ever growing and ever incredible conference held this year in Dallas Texas.

I quickly learned that taking my business to the next level while fueling economic growth would take some serious “two –step” on my part as I have lots to learn!

Lynda Applegate gave us an insight to how she linked the know-how with the people with the resources to create business models that can transform how we work, play and learn.

One of the things she said that struck home with me was , “ Never lose your gut instinct”  which resounded with me as I often listen to that and what impacted me most is our ability to use this “instinct” which is so very different from our male counterparts.

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” Alan Keys

When I think about the future and all the potential of not only myself but all women (and yes, even some men!) I am awestruck and enthusiastically want to take a two- step bogie to get to where I believe I can go!

 

 

The photo, above depicts the relentless pursuit of opportunity without regard for resources currently controlled and this is how I see myself today courageously embarking on growing my business with the support of the Gro Your Biz members and also the WPO Members.

Community gives me the courage to do so.

I attended a session titled Heart, Head and Hand: The science of persuasive communication and learned that I already do much of what was taught naturally as I share my “story” and have been known to be a “good listener”. This session just reaffirmed what I already do naturally but was re-framed for me in a way of “offering a little gift of myself to my listener” and looking for the “gift” they would give me in communication.

By speaking from the heart, we connect in a real and meaningful way to our listener, whether that is a client, an employee, our friend or family member. It connects them to me.

Our Keynote address speaker, Marshall Goldsmith spoke on “What got you here won’t get you there”  and shared effective strategies  on how to develop myself  to the next level  and taught me to understand why the challenges  that come with increased success  are crucial  to the success of my company.  Some take home thoughts would be:

Be Happy

Find REAL Meaning.

Be fully engaged

Build positive relationships

Set clear goals

Make progress toward goal achievement

Have fun

Help People

Our real values are what we do, not what we say.

The real clincher was the thought of what my 95 year old self would say to me today?

Would “she” give me personal advice or professional advice? Most likely both, and today I will set my course and work backwards from the 95 year old me and listen to what ”she” would say.

In the evening, there is a reception honoring the 50 fastest growing women owned/led companies  and we arrive to a room full of 800 formally dressed women who are honoring the 50  women who have accomplished that and it is nothing short of  awe-inspiring.

My heart was stirred to keep “two-stepping” my way towards my business goals.

Some “Lessons I learned along the way” from Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole can be summed up in this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson : “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

Some insights include what she learned from her father who said, “Doing for others is just the rent you pay for time on this earth.”As I ponder these quotes, “everyone has a right to SOAR” and also, “Remember to lift others as you climb!” I can learn that while I am busy setting goals and achieving them I need to be mindful of those I need to take along with me on the climb. It takes a team to do what I do, and it is not all about me.

I found this seminar to be the most inspiring as I was reminded of what we, as woman can do in the future and have done in the past, such as the Women’s Rights and Anti Slavery Activist, Sojourner Truth who changed a nation by ensuring women’s rights to vote and fought for equality for all. The story goes something like this:

“The tumult subsided at once, and every eye was fixed on this almost Amazon form, which stood nearly six feet high, head erect, and eyes piercing the upper air like one in a dream. At her first word there was a profound hush. She spoke in deep tones, which, though not loud, reached every ear in the house, and away through the throng at the doors and windows and she ended with this statement that echoes throughout the course of history, “Den dat little man in back dar, he say women can’t have as much rights as men, ’cause Christ wan’t a woman! Whar did your Christ come from?” Rolling thunder couldn’t have stilled that crowd, as did those deep, wonderful tones, as she stood there with out-stretched arms and eyes of fire. Raising her voice still louder, she repeated, “Whar did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothin’ to do wid Him.”

Harriet Tubman who was an American bondwoman who escaped from slavery in the South to become a leading abolitionist before the American Civil War. She led hundreds to freedom in the North as the most famous “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, an elaborate secret network of safe houses organized for that purpose.

Her words spoke to me “I was the conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can’t say; I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.”– Harriet Tubman

These kinds of women are the kind that shows up each and every year at the WPO annual conferences and each one has a story to tell.  Each women present has gone where no “woman” has gone before and left a trail for us to follow. Each woman shares from her heart her successes and failures and as we do so we free ourselves as women to be who we are. I listened to one woman share her struggles at home and with tears in her eyes speak of leaving her three teenage children with her husband and how she could only come to one day of the seminar as the family structure required so much  of her and how she wondered if she was appreciated.  I encouraged her and told her that indeed she was and one day, they would say “Thanks Mom”. I listened to some women share their current struggles and how the finances were a going concern for the business. I listened to laughter and shared many times with these amazing women who shared from the heart. I felt pain for one woman in particular who had just gone through a horrendous event and I understood what it meant to be a woman. I learned that women are capable and we have the propensity to care for one another in a way that men cannot and that is what makes us special and unique in business and we should not try to be like men, but fully embrace all we are and use our gifts to make this world better, one women, one moment, one meeting at a time and that is what I learned as I journeyed along the way doing the two step in Texas with women in the WPO.

On being Mom.

On being Mom

One day you’re just but a girl and then a baby is placed in your arms and you become a mother.

Do you recall that moment when your wee one was placed in your arms?

I do, except mine was anything but tiny.

Weighing in at 9lbs 10 oz and 23 ½” long, a boy was placed in my arms and my life was forever changed.

My son Daniel and I

Two years later, another gift—a girl this time, weighing less (thankfully) and with a smile that still lights
up the world.

My daughter Melissa and I

Five more years passed and another blessing, a girl who—at 9 lbs. 11 oz., beating her brother’s record—
wanted to be sure I knew she had arrived.

My daughter Jessica and I

During the years of being a mom I learned that you love from the depth of your soul, no matter what.

I learned that children are the best teachers and that God uses them in our lives to help us to become
better people.

I have wonderful memories of being a soccer mom, a basketball mom, a ballerina mom (short-lived,) a
skating mom, a motocross mom, a school mom, a mom to all their friends, the cookie mom, the come-
on-over-for-dinner (again) mom, the come-and-live-at-our-house mom, the wedding planner mom, and
the Sunday dinner (every week) mom.

I wouldn’t change a single moment—with the exception of letting go of the little things and embracing
more spontaneous moments like wrestling, laughing until your gut hurts, tousling more hair, and letting
the house get dirty (well, maybe just a little).

I would tell myself that life goes by quickly, so embrace each moment. And I’d make sure I let my kids
see my eyes light up each time they walked in the door.

For Mother’s Day, why not take the time to embrace your kids, since they make us exactly who we are-
moms.

Make a reservation at Tracycakes Bakery Cafe and spend time with the ones who helped make you who
you are—or order High Tea to go! (I see a picnic in your future!)

From a girl to a mom and now to a nana…the next chapter has begun!

 

Spring has sprung!

Spring is in the air! Aside from blooming flowers and the sun starting to peek out, spring also means a start to our wedding season! Tracycakes can help to make your wedding extra sweet with our signature cupcakes. Customize your cupcake tier topped with a cutting cake or your individually boxed cupcake wedding favours to suit your colour theme and flavour preferences. We LOVE weddings and want to be a part of yours!

Are you looking for somewhere extra elegant to host a bridal shower? We would love to be a part of your next event! Leave the hard work to us, just show up and sit back and spoil that bride while we take care of everything else!

Here are some photos of some wedding cupcakes we have done recently!

 

A charming country inspired wedding

Gorgeous green and white colour theme

Could this cake topper get any cuter?

 

Here is another way to display your wedding cupcakes and cake

An adorable cutting cake

A special shout out to Ashley Martens Photography for these lovely photos!

Happy spring to you!

Cupcakes DO make a difference!

We received an amazing story from one of our customers and we had to share!

We love hearing stories like this because it makes us realize that we are achieving our goal of making the world sweeter, one bite at a time. Who knew a cupcake could make such a difference?

Here is our story!

Valentines Day Cupcakes and smiles

Tracy,

I wanted to take a moment to relay a story to you and to brag to you about two of your staff members.

I live and work onNorthern Vancouver Islandand was stuck in a control room at work on Valentine’s Day. I wanted to purchase a dozen cupcakes for my sweetheart but had to get them from your shop in Abbotsford to her place of work. I called several friends and was unable to secure transportation for them

I called Tracycakes and in talking with Melissa, I explained my predicament and was wondering if they could be delivered; – something that you are not set up for and on possibly one of your busiest days of the year!

She came right out with a “Can Do!” attitude and asked me to hold on while she double checked on it, but was pretty certain that somehow your shop could make it happen. And they did.

Tess in the bakery dropped everything and accomplished the mission and everything arrived to the typical Tracycakes ooohs and aaahs…

But this is what I am really writing about; – the rest of the story.

At my sweetheart’s work, there is a young mother who had to tell her two children (aged 8 and 9) that money was tight and they were making do with hand made Valentine Cards and that there would be no sweets this year. The little girl was quite upset and cried but didn’t complain. Her brother understood and comforted her.

At the end of the day there were two Tracycakes Valentine’s Day cupcakes left and were offered to this young mother. It was then that the above story came out.

She brought them home and absolutely surprised her kids with this gift. This time the brother broke into tears and his little sister comforted him.

Its funny how the chain of events unfolds in our lives and what a simple request and some effort by amazing staff who really care, can end up with so much joy in the hearts of two young children.

It is obvious that at times, we don’t know what we do. We are unaware of the change that we can affect and the differences that we can make.

Thank you to you and your staff for being a part of those smiles that day.

 

 

 

Tracycakes Catering!

Did you know you can order your Tracycakes to go? Whether you want sweets and treats—or fresh, delicious eats—we’ll cater to your needs. From bridal showers to business meetings, our menus offer something for everyone.

We also cater high tea for weddings. This includes delivery and setup of the high tea on tiers but does not include rental of china or other dishes. Please contact us for pricing.

Enjoy homemade goodness, made fresh for you!