09 May 2011

May Newsletter

We sent out our May newsletter via email. If you did not receive it and would like to, please send Landon or Lacey an email asking for the newsletter. Sorry if we missed you!

Our best,
Landon & Lacey

08 February 2011

February Update

We are sending this month's update in Newsletter form again, directly to your email inbox. Please let us know if you did not receive the letter.

We will use our blog to share a few videos and photos from the past month.

Landon's Shave from Riki from Lacey Yoder on Vimeo.

08 January 2011

Photos and Videos to Accompany January 2011 Newsletter: Part III

And finally, the video of us caroling on "Main Street" on Christmas Eve:

Photos and Videos to Accompany January 2011 Newsletter: Part II

A few photos since September 2010:

Lacey chatting with Monica

Christmas Eve party at Sweet Bean

Loaf of Artisan Bread from Sweet Bean

A November visit to Camp Bondsteel

Sweet Bean catered for a student Art Show

Sweet Bean's display case

Lumi i Bardhë River in Rugova Gorge

"Death by Chocolate" New Year's Cake

SB employees on local business tour

"Italian Breakfast" with homemade croissants

The beautiful fire in our woodstove

Our first big snow in December

A Canadian family visits Peja and joins us
for brunch at SB on Sunday morning

Photos and Videos to Accompany January 2011 Newsletter: Part I

In this post we offer you a photo diary (plus two videos) to accompany a newsletter that you should receive by email. If you did not receive the January 2011 newsletter by email and would like to, please email Landon or Lacey.

Because of the size of the videos, we will upload the videos separately, then include all the photos together in a final post.

New Year 2011 at the Pyles':

20 September 2010

Back in Kosovo

It has been about 10 days since we arrived back in Kosovo. Though we miss our friends and family in the States, we are very happy to be back to work in Peja.

The smell of ajvar floats through the air, a crisp wetness settles in, the sound of children walking to school surrounds us each morning, and the leaves begin their colorful retreat to hibernation. The Kosovan Fall is a spectacular sensory experience.

Since our return, we have met with most of our Sweet Bean employees to reconnect after our furlough. We are very proud of how our entire staff solved business challenges while we were away this summer. A few quiet afternoons last week gave us the opportunity to debrief the summer with our three managers and discuss the important role that a manager plays in guiding the entire staff toward our “golden moment,” the moment in time when a customer is standing at the display case to see if any of the baked goods strikes his or her fancy. This moment is the moment on which Sweet Bean’s survival depends—and the manager’s job is to bring all the multi-sensory components of the bakery together to make that moment a success (for us, to make a sale; for the customer, to satisfy). Our managers have grown in their effectiveness even since we’ve returned, and we are looking forward to a fruitful semester with them as our drivers.

Lacey has been back to experimenting with new products, streamlining operations, and pioneering new revenue streams. Since we’ve been back, she has tried out a few recipes from the Tartine bakery cookbook (croissants, lemon bars, apple squares, chocolate squares, gingerbread); Beautiful Breads, Fabulous Fillings by Margaux Sky (goat cheese and ajvar wrapped bread); and her favorite blogs (cinnamon raisin bagels, spiced cider, coconut cake balls). The croissants, apple squares, gingerbread, and wrap bread will likely make it onto our regular menu.

Our work at Qendra Qiriazi is also evolving this month. Our colleague, Joanna, will soon return permanently to the States after 3+ years in Kosovo. We will miss her joyful, enthusiastic spirit and natural ability to connect with high school students in Peja. In her absence, we will continue Qiriazi’s weekly leadership club, which plans and executes a bi-annual community service project. We are also collaborating with another colleague to expand Qiriazi’s work with university students in Prishtina, the capital city. Landon will continue as the Acting Director of Qiriazi. In all, we sense that our work with Qiriazi will be more focused on leadership training in the next season. We look forward to developing original, simulation-based leadership curriculum in the Albanian language and training high school and university students with that curriculum.

On a personal front, we are both exploring potential Master’s programs in the States and in Europe. We would begin a program as early as Fall 2011 and are discerning how that would play into our work in Kosovo.

We wish you all a bountiful and peaceful Fall, wherever you may spend it.