Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Can I finally get that rewind button.... please?

On his first day of kindergarten I packed his sweet little Power Ranger backpack with crayons and markers, and giant pencils... today he grabbed a couple of pens and a spiral notebook.

On his first day of kindergarten he cried when I left him... and so did I  as I sat in the parking lot for 4 hours till school was out... today I was holding back tears as I drove him to school {he gets his car in a few weeks} and he leisurely hopped out and said "Cya Mom."

London Senior 2011-1012

I wonder if he realizes how important today is... his first day of his Senior year. I wonder if he knows how proud I am of him? Or how much I wish I could get back that first day of kindergarten...

Be good to each other...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

There's a party goin on...

And you wont want to miss it!

The Twinery is celebrating their 1st Bday! And in a big way!
You can join them all week long for lots of really awesome ideas and and giveaways!

The Twinery Blog

So hop on over there and join in on all the fun!

Be good to each other!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Back to School Things I ♥ Right Now...

So its that time again. The time of year when you have to shake yourself {and 4 very reluctant children} out of lazy summer days and back into... dare I even say it... SCHOOL! Back to mornings rushing around for shoes, and lunches and headbands that match tights, and homework assignments, and permission slips, and.... *sigh*.

 Here are some really awesome back to schoolish things I ♥ right now!

1. Eco Friendly sandwich bags from my good friend Elaine of Fig Tree Boutique on etsy

2. Who doesn't love pencils made from recycled newspapers! These from TreeSmart are really cool!
3. Water bottles from Lifefactory  are not only BPA free... but helloooo.... they are super cute!

4.  You can add sweet little kawaii faces to ANYTHING and I'm in love, but these sweet little flash cards just about sent me over the moon!
You can purchase the PDF from Typewink ;) on etsy and then get lost in the adorableness of her shop!

5. AubreyPlays {on etsy} is totally right! These lunch bags ARE way cuter than a brown paper bag! And she will even personalize them for you!

6. And who doesn't need this! Made from recycled soda bottles and waterproof! You will never get to class and find your iPad dead again! why? Cuz your backpack + the SUN totally charged it for you! duh.

From Voltaic 

Add a bit of extra cuteness to your daily read...
Grab this sweet cover for your NOOK/Kindle made by Downstairs Designs

So who else is dreading that 6am alarm and complaining kids this week?

Be good to each other!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

You say SAUsage I say SOYsage...

I made dinner! A "real food" dinner!
   Normally I leave that up to The Chef.
Dinner takes alot of planning. It requires many different pans and cooking times, temps, seasonings and other.... stuff.
  And honestly I just prefer to bake.
But I thought I would give the guy a break for once and take the opportunity to let him step away from the kitchen but to also bring you a new Apron Strings recipe!

  So with that said... lets talk sausage!
Smoked Sausage and Rice to be exact.
   Now to be honest, I'm not a big smoked sausage fan. We had it at times when I was kid, but there is something about the idea of what is IN store packaged summer sausage that gets to me... {add in the fact that I am a newly converted veg head and you have a bit of trouble} BUT that is the magic of marrying my chef... he makes all our sausagie products by hand with REAL bits of meat! So I no longer worry about the icky stuff that "they" put in the food that I'm serving to my family!
 {here is where I would normally get on my farm to table, food tracking soap box but I will spare you... today at least, we will chat about this soon tho!}

  So when I was searching for today's recipe and sausage was involved I thought "hey, what the heck!"
Now I made 2 versions of this... one with yummy meat for the familia, and one {very small batch} with soysage for me. It wasn't half bad! I also tweaked a few other things... but I will let you know along the way!

{serves 6}


4 cups cooked rice *I used brown rice
12oz of country style linked sausage {or soysage if you want a meatless version}
1 large onion diced
1 green bell pepper diced
1 cup diced celery
1 can tomatoes quartered {I used real tomatoes about 3 romas and I diced them}
1 cup of beef broth {on the familias version of this I added the broth, on mine I just used some juice from the tomatoes and a little h2o... just as good!}
1 can sliced pineapple in unsweetened juice {I just grabbed a whole pineapple, cut into pieces, about 2 cups worth and juiced the rest, using a cup and a half of the juice for the latter part of the recipe}
1/4Tsp both garlic and pepper
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch

While the rice is cooking cover and cook the sausage in 1/2cup of water for about 5 minutes {if you are using homemade sausage and not the precooked store bought kind you will need to cook longer more like 30 minutes}
Remove sausages from the water and thinly slice.
Combine sausage, onion, bell pepper, and celery in large skillet, cook till veggies are tender crisp.
Add tomatoes, broth {or tomato juice for meatless}, pineapple chunks (drain and reserve juice if your using canned) add brown sugar and seasonings. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
Blend cornstarch and pineapple juice pour over meat and veggie mixture and stir till clear and thick about 2 minutes. Serve over beds of fluffy rice.

 recipe submitted by June Brannon to the 1974 Sunnylane UMW cookbook

This was actually really good, and easy! A little sweet, a little sour and everyones bellies were full!

Do you have a recipe you want to see featured in Apron Strings? Just email it {along with why it is so special to you} to

Be good to each other!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

I ♥ You... now and forever.

I am late posting this.

I have tried to type this through tears as I can only imagine what our fellow blogger Jennie Perillo and her precious girls are going through right now.

I have never met Jennie, never spoken with her, never even commented on her blog {though I have followed it faithfully for awhile now}

And per her request, here is Mikeys Pie...

For Mikey... For Jennie & her girls... For Today.

Enjoy it in bed... in your pjs just as Sweetapolita and her 2 sweet little munchkins did. Or in the quiet of the night snuggled up and telling each other how special you are... the way The Chef and I did... either way, never forget to tell the people you love just how much you love them...

Be good to each other,

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

One spoon or Two??

   My favorite time of the day is early in the morning... Like 5:30 - 6am~ish... before the kids wake up.
Its quiet, and calm... and The chef and I get to enjoy some awesome chat/snuggle time over a cup o joe!

  If you have been reading this blog for long you will find a few common denominators in almost all my posts... I ♥ mornings and snuggle times with The Chef... I ♥ Coffee {like, with all my little heart} ... and I believe that Vanilla Bean ranks right up there with Fairy Dust {and I ♥ fairy dust!}

So here is my secret to enjoy all three things at once... and its a great way to "re purpose" those pesky empty vanilla bean pods!

There is nothing yummier than Vanilla Bean Sugar!
Okay, there are probably other things equally yummy, but would I have reeled you in with... "there are somethings that are yummier than vanilla sugar, sorry I'm not sharing those?"  No.

  So here is what you Need...

 2 Vanilla Beans
at least 3 cups of granulated sugar...
& an air tight container

 bend and twist the vanilla bean with your hands...{ this gets the beans inside all loosey goosey}
 open the vanilla bean with a knife by splitting down the middle... 
then scrape out some of the seeds by running the back of the knife down the inside of the vanilla bean. 
put the vanilla bean pod and the seeds into the container with the sugar.
 I like to roughly cut my vanilla bean pod into smaller pieces and toss those in there as well... more Vanilla the better in my book!

Then you just pop the lid on the jar, turn on a Bieber tune and shake it baby! Er, um... I mean turn on some totally adult music like Celine Dion and... dear god who am I kidding!
 In about a week {if you have the self control I lack} your sugar will be ready!

Just shake it up every now and again to get all that vanilla goodness incorporated throughout the sugar!

Momma Tip:
*if you use the seeds for a recipe then just chop the pods up and place them in your container!
*tired of buying vanilla extract? {I would tell you what that stuff is really made of but it wouldnt make you happy so I will refrain.} One tablespoon of finished vanilla sugar has the flavor of 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract!


Be good to each other!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Coffee + Cake = YUM

The morning began like any other... a lovely cup o joe, some silly convo with The Chef and the rumbling in our tummies.

   We haven't been cooking at. all. around these parts these days. Its been a 109 on a good day, and 115 others, so warming up the house for any type of treat has been totally out of the question.
   But today Mother Nature took it easy on us and with temps in the 70s this morning we jumped on the chance to make the first recipe in the Apron Strings series!

We hope you enjoy!


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more for pan
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting


  1. Place rack in center of oven, and heat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly brush a 9-by-12 1/2-inch baking pan with canola oil, dust with flour, and tap to remove excess. Set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together 1 1/2 cups flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a second bowl, whisk together egg, milk, canola oil, and vanilla. Using a rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into egg mixture.
  2. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan, and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine remaining 2 1/2 cups flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Pour melted butter over flour mixture, and toss with a rubber spatula until large crumbs form. Sprinkle crumbs over batter.
  3. Transfer pan to oven, and bake, rotating pan after 10 minutes. Continue baking until a cake tester comes out clean, about 10 minutes more.
  4. Transfer baking pan to a wire rack to cool. Dust with confectioners' sugar. Using a serrated knife or bench scraper, cut into 3-inch squares. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Do you have a recipe you want to see featured in Apron Strings? Just email it {along with why it is so special to you} to

Be good to each other!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Magical Apron Strings...

Thanks to a break in this heat wave... {its a crisp 95 degrees out today with a lovely cloud cover AND rain!} I was actually able to get in my kitchen and tinker around with some new recipes! I feel almost normal again!

And so with the weather behaving like it should {for a minute or two} I felt like there is no time like the present to share my new blog series with you...

"Apron Strings" Tales from Our Grandmothers Kitchens

   Inspiration for this came a few weeks ago when going through some old family "stuff" at my uncles home, we came across a certain cookbook of my Grannys. I have been looking for this silly old thing for years and to find it tucked away in a nook of my uncles kitchen made my day!
   Its not just any regular old cookbook... this one is THE magical cookbook, the one that I remember flipping through as a little girl. The recipes tucked inside are all gathered from the UMW ladies that make up my childhood memories. {that's United Methodist Women to those of you not in the know!}
It looks pretty unexecptional doesnt it...
   The UMW would host a craft bazzar twice a year, and this cookbook would be for sale at the front table, along with a few sweet treats, made from the recipes contained within!
   Inside its yellowing pages you will find recipes for things like "Crazy Crust Pizza" and "Old Fashioned Chocolate Cookie Sheet Cake" you will even come across a few wonderful recipes for life...
Seriously is this not the sweetest thing ever!

   Each entry was lovingly typed on the church typewriter by Mrs. Melba Minshall the church secretary, there is even a dedication to her in the front of the book!

       So let this begin my very first blog series EVER!
   Each week I plan on making a dish from the cookbook... either sweet, or savory and I will post the end result here! Kind of like my own okie version of The Julie/Julia Project!

    And I would LOVE to hear from you loyal readers! If you have a recipe you would like to see featured here on the blog just shoot it my way! And I would even love a little back story if you have one!  Lets honor those women {or men...} that taught us at their Apron Strings!
Be good to each other!