Sunday, October 23, 2011


I think it's time for an official end of the Apron Girls blog. I have too many other things to focus on, and the blog has kind of run its course anyway. :) I will leave the blog here to come back and reference, but there won't be any new postings from us.

Loves and hugs to all of my "girls". We had some good times, didn't we? :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Guest Post from Emily Patterson of Primrose Schools

Family Safety: Cooking w/Children
Submitted on behalf of Primrose Schools: preschool education and child care centers by Emily Patterson (@epatt1062)

Simmering stew, pancakes on a griddle, luscious cakes and pies with tantalizing aromas transform the kitchen into a culinary adventure of food fantasy. The kitchen environment is a great place for parents to teach essential skills while making the most of precious family time. Potential hazards don’t have to exclude children from this experience. Basic safety and sanitary instructions can be incorporated as part of the adventure and learning experience. 
The kitchen is often the most popular place in the house for families and friends to gather. It’s a place for learning, sharing, and fellowship where the family can enjoy quality time. Children can also develop a sense of responsibility by sharing in daily tasks.

Parents can keep the kitchen safe and fun for children by following this simple recipe; 

1. Challenge your child. Children can complete several chores with minimal instruction. Easy tasks such as mixing ingredients in a bowl, cracking an egg, or measuring with a spoon, or cup can be fun and build confidence. Spreading sliced tomatoes on a salad, sprinkling croutons, or spreading icing are other safe satisfying alternatives to start the adventure. Younger children may enjoy being helpers retrieving, spoons, pots, pans, or mixing bowls. A separate area with safe utensils used for pretend cooking is another option. Children can use just flour and water to mimic your every move. 

2. Safety is an important part of working in the kitchen. Children should be coached on basic rules before each task; younger children may even have a safety partner. Always keep children in sight and away from sharp utensils, and the hot stove. The handles of pots and pans should always be turned inward on the stovetop to avoid spilling hot food, or liquids. Sharp knives should always be placed out of reach of little hands. Hygiene is also important. Teach children to wash their hands before and after handling food to avoid contamination, and wear an apron, or towel to protect clothing.

3. Use patience and develop skills step-by-step. Younger children may learn slow, but catch on fast. Focus on basic skills such as folding, mixing, and kneading dough. Older children may advance to cutting simple items like cheese, hot dogs, or lunch meat with a butter knife. As your child’s coordination develops advance to slicing or chopping vegetables and fruit with a regular knife.

4. Keep it fun for everyone. Cooking can be messy with, or without children, so don’t fuss over “spilt milk”. Sometimes accidents happened. Cakes fall, cookies get burnt, and recipes fall on the floor. Offer guidance and let your child try again. Enjoy the clean-up, because it is all part of the culinary adventure! When the meal is complete, be sure to compliment your assistant on a job well done. Let them sample the first bite of the finished product. At the end of the meal, after the dishes are done, grab a cookbook and plan the next adventure.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Digital Scrapbooking

I am hosting a giveaway for a great digital scrapbooking program on my family blog. It's a fun, easy, and organized way to get your digital scrapbooking done. So if you're interested come on over and visit us here!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Straight to the Heart of the Matter

First, before you read any of what I write, you have to go over and read this post over at Brave Girls. It made me cry. I related. I thought. I cried.

One time, a long time ago... my husband worked at Inkley's. I was going to visit him at work, and for some reason the traffic was ridiculous that day. I waited in the left turn lane, with a parking spot right there in my sight, for what seemed like forever. It was the only parking spot on the road, and I was signaling, showing it was mine. When it looked like traffic was about to clear, someone turned right, right into my spot. I was so mad. I flipped around on the road, had to drive a block away and walk to the store. Couldn't they see that I had been waiting and signaling for that spot?

Then, I walk into the store, and a man comes up to me and says "I am so sorry, I didn't realize that you were there until after I had already pulled in." I forgave him immediately, but the real lesson came later... he had come into Inkley's to bring photos to be developed. Photos of his wife and newborn baby... his wife, who had died right after childbirth just days before.

I could not believe that I had even had one thought of anger. When his whole life had been ripped apart, turned upside down... I had been worried about a parking space. A parking space! I would have stood there for the whole day saving it for him, if I had known. But that's the thing... so often we don't know. We don't even have the blessing of finding out after the fact what "sign" a person might be wearing most of the time. We just judge, treat harshly, and think of ourselves.

I've had my own struggles... times where I smile to everyone, but I am wondering how I'm going to make it through the next day... times where my pillow is wet from crying and I can't sleep, where my fears are so great that I can't breathe. Times where I wish somebody could really know what I'm going through and not say things that make everything that much harder... even when they have no intention of hurt. I'm willing to bet that more of us are struggling in private than any of us will ever know. We can't share everything... we don't want to share everything... but wouldn't that make the world a little kinder, easier place if we just knew when gentleness was needed?

Here's my challenge for myself... to remember that there is never a time when gentleness isn't needed. Yes, it's that simple, yet so complex. I will do my best... will you?

What signs are you wearing right now? You can share anonymously... I think the more we realize that so many are going through such real struggles, the more compassion we will have for each other.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Zucchini Orange Bread

4 eggs, well beaten
1 1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. oil (I substitute applesauce)
2/3 c. orange juice
2 tsp. orange zest
2 c. grated zucchini
3 1/4 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 c. chopped nuts, opt.

Glaze: 1 c. powdered sugar, 2-3 T. orange juice

Beat eggs; add sugar, oil, juice, zest, and zucchini. Mix well. Combine dry ingredients and add to zucchini mixture. Mix well. Place in 2 greased loaf pans. Bake at 350* for 45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool. Drizzle glaze over bread when cool.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pinterest... La La La Love

If you haven't heard of pinterest yet... it's time to hear about it. It's basically a place to "pin" the stuff you love so you can look at it later. Is it for you? Well, here's what I think.

Join if you:
*Bookmark a lot of blog posts to go back to later. With pinterest, when you see that recipe, or craft idea, or the kitchen redo you want to remember, or whatever, you just click on the little "Pin It" on your toolbar, choose the picture that will help you remember it, put a little caption there, and voila! It's saved.

*Have ever cut pictures from magazines and saved them so you would have all of your "inspiration" right there when you're ready for your next project. This is like that, but virtual. Less messy. More fun. :)

*Like to see what inspires others, and browse tons of good ideas, beautiful photos, hairstyles, recipes, etc. etc. etc.

*Wish you could remember that youtube tutorial you loved, or that song that you have to play over and over again... you can pin those too.

Don't even look at it if you:
*Like to sleep at night.
*Need to spend less time at the computer.

You have to get an invite, so if you need one, send me your email address, and I'll invite you... or ask a friend who you know is on pinterest already to send you one.

And... happy pinning! :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Cleaning Box

Oh, how I squealed when I saw this box and matching index
card dividers. 
Too cute!
If you didn't know, I adore anything stationary,
organizing, office supplies and the kind.

Isn't she sweet ????

This is how I set up my "Cleaning Box."
It keeps me organized and motivated.
My hubby just rolls his eyes when I line up the next
day's cards on the kitchen counter.
It's like a challenge - and I'm going to win!!
Each item below has its own index card to put away
when completed or moved to the next month if needed.


(You end up doing all of these things enough - you may
not open this folder often)

  • make beds & tidy up bedrooms
  • wipe down bathroom counters
  • quick clean on the toilets
  • quick clean of kitchen after dinner
  • empty dishwasher in morning
  • take out trash and recycling after dinner(oldest son's chores)
  • quick dry mop of hardwood floors

  • Clean half bath
  • tidy up laundry room
  • strip and remake all beds
  • wash sheets and put them away
  • empty upstairs trash
  • go to local recycling / dump if needed

  •  Vacuum master bedroom and bath
  • dust master bedroom
  • clean master bath

  • Vacuum downstairs
  • dust living room
  • clean out fridge (wipe down shelves, throw out items)
  • Change all towels in bathrooms

  • Vacuum upstairs
  • Clean boy's bathroom
  • Dust upstairs

  • Clean kitchen (wipe down all counters, appliances, cabinets, knobs, etc)
  • Dust office and dining room
  • Wet mop hardwoods

  • Anything skipped this week or a "monthly item"

  • Make out menu for week
  • clip coupons
  • tidy pantry / mentally review inventory
  • make grocery list for the week

Monthly Items
I move these along month to month as I finish them:

  • Empty out, wipe down, purge and reorganize pantry
  • Vacuum window blinds
  • Vacuum all mattresses and wash mattress pads

In addition, I have "special" cards for certain months:

January / June
Clean all ceiling fans.

February / July
Clean all light fixtures.

March / August
Clean, purge & reorganize all kitchen cabinets and drawers.

I also have an additional reminder here in March for me to start looking
into summer camps for the boys.

April / September
Clean outside of all kitchen  & bathroom cabinets with tea tree oil and polish.

May / October
Flip all mattresses when cleaning.

June / November
Clean under fridge, stove.
Vacuum coils.
Clean fan / filter / hood of stove.

Purchase all cards for occasions for next 6 months. 
(January - June)
(July - December)

July / December
Change smoke detector batteries.

Note:  I also change my air filters in the house every three months.
I usually purchase enough of these at the beginning of the year and store them
in my laundry room.
I also make note on my calendar which months to change them.

To some of you, this may seem a little extreme.
Some days I find it that way too,
but with us living on the farm, my house seems to get so dirty so quickly.
Or maybe it's having all boys....

Anyway, all of the dirt, dust and dander from the farm always
makes its way into the house
and for me to feel like I'm on top of it,
I resort to this cleaning method.

Keep in mind,
that I fall "off of the wagon" sometimes and the box
doesn't get opened for a few weeks,
but then I can't stand it and get going again.

You can check out more organizing ideas here..

Saturday, August 13, 2011

To Die for Recipe!!! Pulled Pork

It doesn't get any easier than this one ladies....a super recipe for those really hot days when you don't wanna turn on the oven. It's also a great company dinner....pretty impressive without a whole lotta effort(my specialty!) I doubled this recipe for 10 people....served it with mashed potatoes and fresh green beans.

1 pork loin
1 can root beer
BBQ sauce

Put meat in crockpot. Cover with rootbear. Cook on low 7 hours. Drain remaining liquids and pull the pork with a fork. Add BBQ sauce or serve it on the side. I served it on the side. So easy and sooo yummy!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Home Management Binder

We have a guest post today from the amazing Alison over at At the End of the Drive... I hope you all love it as much as I did. :) Make sure you give her some love and thank her for sharing with us!

Home Management Binder


I started this about two years ago and am SO glad I did.
  It is the one place I put my "important" papers so I can easily find them. 
 You can make one for your home very easily.  

I keep mine here.

Next to my kitchen sink I have my most favorite cabinet
It is the only one in my kitchen with glass doors
so for that – it’s my favorite.
Also, it’s in the “middle” of all activities since
mothers tend to live in the kitchen.

In it, I have my cookbooks and other binders:

Home Organizer
Cleaning Binder
Menu Planner Binder
Christmas Binder

Yes, I love office supplies too (can you tell?)

Today I'll walk you through making a Home Organizer Binder.

You'll need:
1. Three ring binder (I use 1 1/2 inch, but you decide on how much
paperwork will go in yours for your size.)

2. Subject dividers (I like the plastic ones with the pockets)

3. One pack loose-leaf paper

4. Sheet protectors

Optional: a label maker

OK, let's get started.

In the front on mine, before any dividers I have several things in sheet protectors:

  • current school calendar
  • county dump / recycling hours
  • library hours / story times
  • credit report contact numbers (I'll get to that in a later post)

These papers I refer to often - whatever you refer to often should be put here.
For example:

  • Babysitter lists and numbers
  • stores / businesses you call frequently
  • you could put your address book info here
  • monthly list of birthdays and anniversaries
  • medical information for the family
  • vet information for the pets
You get the idea.

Side note on birthday / anniversary cards:
In January and July, I make a list of upcoming birthdays and anniversaries
for the next six months.
I go to the store with this list.  In addition, I buy several sympathy,
baby shower, and blank generic cards as well.
When I get home, I put the person's name on a post it note
then stick it to the card.
I have a decorative box I got from Hobby Lobby that I store
all of my cards / stationary in.
When I see on the calendar that someone's birthday is coming up,
I simply go to the box, find their card and send it off.
Easy enough!
 I love the fact that I only go card shopping twice a year and
This also alleviates the need to run out last minute to
buy one!

The first divider I have is "Kid Activities"

In the divider pocket, I have our chore charts for the fridge.
Each Saturday night, we pay our oldest his allowance
and change his chore chart (which he fills with stickers)

·      I put any interesting craft ideas.
 I just tear out of a magazine and punch holes in it or slide
 it in a sheet protector.
·      Any info sheets about art / craft / sport activities in our community.

·      MapQuest directions to several out of town activities (so I don't have
·      to look them up again and again).

·      Car seat regulations for the growing kids

·      Educational website print outs / receipts that we order from frequently.

My second divider is "School"
  • bookstore hours / receipts from purchased uniforms
  • supply lists for current class
  • tuition price listing
  • standard testing results from each grade
  • AR reading test results from the end of the year
  • directory of classroom kids info

My third divider is "Projects" - my favorite

When I see a photo I like, I tear it out and punch holes
in it or slide it in a sheet protector and in the binder it goes. 
This is the "someday" that would be cool
to do/ make/ have/ buy, etc.....

My fourth divider is "Yard"

·      guides on plant and tree care,
·      Composting ideas.
·      The care sheet from our deck finishing stain.
·      The care booklets for our outdoor furniture
·      Birdhouse ideas and suet recipes
·      landscaping ideas (again torn from magazines)
·      outdoor maintenance list dates

My fifth divider is "Take out Menus"

This one is pretty self-explanatory!

The last divider is "Trip Ideas"

This includes just "hubby and me" trips
as well as with the kids.
Again (from magazines) or websites.

This binder is a great place when you see something and it
triggers your mind, "That would be great for....."
It gives you an easy accessible place to put those
a thing - keep it organized and eases your mind.

I'm a strong believer in lists and things like that.
The best way to simplify your life is to ease your mind.
The best way to ease your mind is to write stuff down or put something
where you can easily find it again.
The more your mind has to remember, the more stressed you will feel.

I printed out a cute "cover sheet" with a photo of hubby and the boys
and labeled it Alison's Home Organizer.
Pick a cute photo / pattern / color scheme
so you'll smile and feel good when you get it out! 
It’s all about the simple things.....

Put it in a central place so it’s easily accessible
and start using it. 
You'll love it!!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tantrums and Meltdowns!

Okay I'm looking for some advice. My third daughter turns 4 next month and in the past few months she has begun to throw temper tantrums and is having meltdowns all the time!

I'm trying to be consistent with what is expected of her and in the treatment of her tantrum. But really right now I just want her to stop crying! :) She cries more than my 4 month old!

I think I was telling myself it was a phase she would grow out of, or maybe I was being too hard on her, but after taking her to Walmart today and her having 3 separate tantrums in the space of 25 minutes (and it wasn't because I wouldn't buy her a toy or anything normal like that!) I realize we have a problem.

So how do you deal with meltdowns in public places? I felt so bad for my older two daughters who were so embarrassed by the public display!

So please if anyone has any words of advice I'd love to hear them! And if you don't have advice, just let me know I'm not alone in my frustration and embarrassment! :)

PS-I have no idea what brings them on. If her flip flop falls off while she's walking it's a meltdown, if someone tries to hold her hand while crossing the street she cries. If someone forgets to hold her hand while crossing the street she cries! Really it's a crap shoot as to what will set her off!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

What's your favorite?

Hey Ladies!

Here's a question for y'all:   What is your all-time favorite cleaning product?  Is there a mop that you can't live without?  A special spray that cleans like magic?  What has made your life easier?

So tell me... what is it?   You can answer in the comments or a whole post with a picture of the blessed thing would be amazing.  Share the goods! 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Valere Hope Project

On Friday, one of my best childhood friends, Wendy, had a little niece born stillborn at 39 weeks.

I am heartbroken for her brother and his wife. Wendy and I want to do something to let them know we care, so we're asking for your help by participating in the Valere Hope Project.

Valere Hope (pronounced Valerie) is their baby's name (remember Valerie without the "i"). We would like to give her parents a book full of pictures of their daughters name written out in creative ways.

As you go about your week, think of Valere and look for ways to memorialize her sweet name. If you go to the beach, write her name in the sand and take a picture. Spell her name with your Alpha-bits cereal, or write it on your sidewalk with chalk while playing with your kids. The possibilities are endless and it will only take a few minutes to let someone know you care.

Please send your pictures to

Thank you in advance for your help with this project.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

photoshop advice...

ok...i want to buy photoshop.
i want/need to be able to make 
my own graphics for my blog 
and website.
it's pricey to pay someone else!
and i've been doing it for 8 yrs.
i could have bought the expensive 
photoshop with all that money.
so here is the problem...
photoshop cs5 or whatever it is
 is wayyyy
out of my money league.
that puppy is expensive.
so, do any of you just have
elements 9?
would it do what i need it to?
i just need to design graphics.
i don't need fancy schmancy photo stuff.
any input or knowledge would be
greatly appreciated!

happy sunday!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Green Smoothie

This is so good.  And I just can't get enough of seeing my picky 4 year-old inhale his spinach and ask for more. :)

Green Smoothie

4 c. loosely packed baby organic spinach
1 1/2 c. orange juice
1 ripe banana
2 c. frozen light colored frozen fruit (I use a strawberry, mango, pineapple, & papaya mix I found at Costco... but I pick out the strawberries because they turn the color brown instead of green.  Eew.  Every so often we have a strawberry banana smoothie to use up the bag.)

Blend and enjoy.  With your picky children. :)  Original Recipe from here.