Just as my enthusiasm was starting to wane, my blender and thermometer came :))) I'd collected all the ingredients but without the proper tools I couldn't start right away, so I spent my time looking at recipes and thinking.
I bought a 700-watt DeLonghi Immersion Blender from HSN for $59.99 plus tax/shipping (@ $70 total). Most stick blenders on the market are 350 watts or less and aren't very sturdy. HSN stocks high quality products and I was not disappointed. With 700-watts of power, this should be able to stand up to consistent use without burning out.
Also my infrared thermometer is here - perfect temperature controls, woohoo! Now I have everything to get started...but do I still have the nerve LOL!
In for a penny, in for a pound...