I don’t want to put you off since it sounds like you have got jQuery working, but sometimes another script might be the way to go, e.g. carousel.
As for getting the products to display then you may want to work with one of the modules people have put together to show products on the homepage, e.g. luxe_bestsellers. Here you can customise the code to give you the required elements for your coda-slider/carousel/whatever.
All you will need to do is copy your CSS into your stylesheet then wrap the ul items with it by modifying the bestsellers.phtml file. Definitely do-able and you could have a very slick presentation. Let me know what script you decide on (I managed to get a brand browser together with carousel before moving to a ‘dhonishow’ category browser).