Thursday, March 23, 2017

We Are

I have no idea what day it is.  Seems to be par for the course this week, as I'm also cooking without a menu, which for me, is akin to a novice high-wire act working without a net - I have no idea what I'm doing, and hope everything comes out okay in the end.  So far so good.  There are meals on the table, generally around our usual eating time, and nobody's scrounging for more food because they're still hungry after.

  • It's the little things in the Home Healthcare field
  • Coffee = College Life and Mom Life and Getting Through The Day Life and . . . 
  • That's a lot of clothes
  • She may be a Ginger, but she needs a bit o'the green on St. Patrick's Day.  Have I mentioned I'm pretty sure she hates us.
  • When you're short, you need the bird's-eye-view to make your move
  • The fact that the spot is in the 18 y.o. just makes it better. . .he's got a nice soft bed
  • When I first started putting all their photos in the same frame, it was because I was too lazy to do something else with the older photo.  Now it's a heart-breaking, bitter-sweet look back.
  • And then Spring was official.
Happy Thursday,

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

REMINDERS for This Week's Deals @ Apron Strings

Just a reminder about this week's latest mark-downs, discounts and deals:

New Product Mark-downs

New Discount

Something FREE

You'll find fresh discounts in TV Dinners and Second Helpings of Paper - up to 30%

This week you can take an additional save 15% on your entire order, of already discounted goods.  Enter Code:  CLOSING15 at check out.  Code is good for one use and must be present at the time of checkout; refunds cannot be given for missing codes.

Finally, this week only you'll get a FREE Second Helping of Paper, simply by purchasing three Second Helpings of Paper.  You pick the first three, I'll pick the Freebie.  This works in multiples too, so buy three, get one free.  Buy six, get two free, etc.  

Both the Code and the FREE paper offer are good through March 25th.

Go. Shop.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Food for Thought

We wrapped up hockey last weekend.  We'll have a short break from that before heading into some off-season drop in stuff and a camp.  The 70 and, yes, 80 degree temps are saying Spring, even though this is Colorado and we should still be in the clutches of Winter.  We've had to turn on our sprinklers, as we haven't had enough snow/rain. 

I've been eyeing closets and drawers with a building need to clear them out.  I know there are coats in the hall closet that are sized 12 months, and even our gold fish is older than that.  I'm also reviewing my garden.  I need the burly men of the house to shift a few barrels around.  There are a couple totally in shade, thanks to the evergreen tree, that I think would be a much happier spot for my blueberries.  Though the temps are supposed to be in the 80's this weekend, I might convince them to break a sweat before the temps fall off again next week.  Fingers crossed.

Meals this time of year vary from need-to-have-fresh and comfort casseroles.

Dessert time.  Tiger Eye Brownies up.  Bonus points for having everything on hand.  Extra credit for it being fast and easy.  They received thumbs up all around.  They were soft and peanut buttery, without being overly sweet.  And somehow four people managed to polish off 14 in two days.  I was not one of the four people, neither was the 18 y.o.  So I believe we have our suspect base - who had how many will, likely, forever be a mystery, though I have my suspicions.

Friday.  Lent.  No meat.  I thought about going healthy and loading up on something packed with veggies, but then I saw this Sour Cream and Onion Tuna Noodle Casserole, and well . . .  It's from Pioneer Woman, so I know it will be good, creamy and loaded with things that some may say are less than healthy.  But hey, it's got peas.  It's got celery and onion.  All three of which fall in the veggie category.  Pasta, that's a grain.  And tuna . . . fish . . . Omega 3's.  Gooood.  See?  Totally healthy and really good.  Now, I used heavy cream, but cut it with 2% milk, because that's what I had on hand.  I would have liked it just a scosh creamier, so I will probably add a bit more milk and a tad less cream (because I almost always have both those on hand and don't see the need to buy half-and-half when I do.)

My 8 y.o., who has a PhD in manipulation, mentioned that it had been a while since we'd had brownies (his personal choice for desserts) and before I knew it I was making Perfect Chocolate Brownies.  To which he was delighted.  They are almost as good as my mom's brownie recipe.  They are rich and more cakey, than gooey (not a gooey brownie fan), but moist.  Plus they make a 9x13 pan size!  To which I added a note that only ONE PER DAY, lest we have a repeat of the Tiger Eye Brownie situation.

I found two pints of enchilada sauce stowed way in the back of my 'fridge, so I figured I needed a recipe to use up at least one of them.  Unfortunately, this Slow Cooker Fiesta Ranch Cream Cheese Chicken uses zero cups.  AND I don't have anything else on the menu this week that will use the bounty of sauce I will still have at the end of the week.  Brilliant.  I did put some sauce on the refried bean sides I served up with this chicken that found it's way into tacos (both crunchy and soft) for dinner.  The chicken was easy to set up and forget about - it smells amazing.  I used thighs instead of breasts - no worries about dried out chicken - it was super moist even before the cream cheese.  I also found it sacrilegious to be tossing out the drippings from the bottom, so I sneakily kept about a tablespoon, before moving on in the recipe.  After tasting the chicken before the addition of ranch and cream cheese, and then, obviously, after, I have to say, I preferred it before.  I really liked the seasoning rub, and had I kept all the drippings, it would have been all the better.  I think next time I'll drop the ranch and cut back on the cream cheese.  Dare I say leave it out, too?  This chicken would be great on salads and nachos, in taquitos (maybe keep the cream cheese here) and tacos.  We served it up with Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded romaine and avocado.

Holy crap, these Easy French Dip Sliders were awesome!  I used my grocer's "pan rolls" rather than the Hawaiian Rolls.  The grocer rolls were a little larger, but still 12, and over $1 less expensive.  Soooo good.  Soft, warm, gooey, meaty, a slight crunch from the tops of the buns.  I had a package of deli roast beef on hand (it was under a pound), and eyeballed the meat on the sandwiches; could have probably gone a bit more, I only used about half the package, but two sliders per person seemed to fill everyone up.  The sauce you pour on top, we brushed on.  It also seems to do a weird coagulating thing (maybe I didn't whip it together sufficiently, I don't know.)  I'm sure it's the packaged sauce's thickener, but it was still weird so I didn't keep any leftover sauce.  Whatever it was, I didn't care once it was on the buns, baked and in my mouth.

I'm always on the lookout for what to do with leftover chili.  In this case, I actually made chili earlier in the week so that I could make this Chili Cheese Crescent Hot Dog Bake (I don't have a canned chili recipe that I like, if you do - go for it.)  The recipe is set to make eight, being a family of six, that's not gonna be enough, so I managed to squeeze out four more.  They were good - warm, cheesy (in a way that only American Cheese can be), with that soft crescent dough-thing.  I didn't get a taste of the garlic in the butter, that goes on top of the crescents but my chili recipe has some good spice, so that may be why.

Don't forget about the current savings deal on the website - 15% off your entire order (prices are already discounted on line) and a FREE Second Helping of Paper when you buy in multiples of three (buy three get one, buy six get two, etc.)  Use code CLOSING15 at check out.  Offers good thru March 25th.

Happy Friday,

Thursday, March 16, 2017

New Close Out Deals

Ready for new deals?

Ready to save 15%?

Ready for something FREE?

Well, get ready then, because today is your day.  

First up, you'll save 15% on your entire order, of already discounted goods.  Enter Code:  CLOSING15 at check out.  Code is good for one use and must be present at the time of checkout; refunds cannot be given for missing codes.

PLUS you can get a FREE Second Helping of Paper, simply by purchasing three Second Helpings of Paper.  You pick the first three, I'll pick the Freebie.  This works in multiples too, so buy three, get one free.  Buy six, get two free, etc.  

Can I just say, Second Helpings are great for extending your TV Dinner, of the same line.  Seriously, sometimes I want to use both sides, but have to choose, because I don't have two full sheets.  Second Helpings are great for making cards and tags (check out PageMaps for their CardMaps.  Becky's designs are alwasy awesome.)  Second Helpings are great for dishing a bit of something new into something you already have, whether it's stretching out a kit, mixing it up with scraps, or something to prompt you to use embellishments from your stash.

Both the Code and the FREE paper offer are good through March 25th.

Go Shop!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

We Are

I continue to receive, and am so grateful for, all the lovely wishes, remembered memories and the "what Apron Strings means to me" comments I've received.  Thank you!

It was a mostly-quiet week.  Just settling into routines, that will soon change because end-of-school will be upon us.  Another graduate.  Summer jobs.  Summer classes.  Summer breaks.

  • Her photo and words, though I share the sentiment
  • I'm not a word-problem fan, but I, too, would like to see this one play out
  • Star Wars . . . it spans the generations
  • When, after the first swim of the season in the duck pond, the garden hose only removes so much duck. . .it's time to for a bath.  Good thing she loves water.
  • Saturdays are for squirrels who taunt and tease #theywillpay
  • As my daughter so nicely put it when I posted this to Instagram, "You know you're a hockey mom when you get pissed about the ice conditions."  Hey, it was sloppy ice, looked like a melting snow cone.  #puddles
  • Last "take a knee" meeting
  • Enjoying the after-party with teammates
  • Home Healthcare - it's not as glamorous as it looks, but it'll pay for nursing school
  • I'm not sure I'd classify 97.5% as sucky
  • Though you aren't less "moral" in these clothes, they are the clothes of a full-time student working two part-time jobs
  • I think he might like hockey - he wants to set up his goal to practice his shooting skills. . .in the house.  I'm thinking, ah, no.
  • Spring is on its way
Happy Wednesday,

Friday, March 10, 2017

Food For Thought

First, thank you for your sweet words after I announced the closing of Apron Strings.  Like I said, it is those things that I will miss.  

Also, if you are among those taking advantage of the good selection and discounts during the Clearance Sale, thank you.  There is still time to take advantage of the good selection and get an extra 10% off your order through the weekend.  Simply enter:  BLOGCLEARANCE when you check out.  Code is good thru 3.12.17.  Refunds cannot be given for missing codes.

I'm more or less back in the grove of planning, shopping and cooking, which I'm sure my family appreciates.  Except for Wednesday, when there were two of us home and I opted to rely on leftovers.  Some people were not so happy when they came home and found that out.

I was looking for something different for dessert and this Almond Apricot Biscotti seemed different enough.  I've made biscotti before, using a cake mix to start; this was from scratch.  It made two small loaves, which I forgot to round a bit, but it still worked just fine.  They were good.  Just the right crunch.  It's a good base to switch things up. . .cherries, walnuts, apples, pecans.  

I've made White Chicken Enchiladas before, but I believe this was the first time I received any response to them, other than a lackadaisical head nod.  They were creamy and warm.  I might add a little cilantro - because I love cilantro with Mexican food, and I totally spaced out adding avocado to them.  I used rotisserie chicken, which might have benefited from a bit of spice.

I can never find small spaghetti squash, and this week, I also couldn't find them in non-organic.  All my grocer had was large, and organic, which was $0.50 more per pound!  I almost ditched this Sausage and Pepper Stuffed Spaghetti Squash recipe because of that.  But, I stuck to it and glad I did.  I'm a fan of spaghetti squash though I couldn't convince my 18 y.o., who is no fan.  If I even say "squash" he turns his nose up and it's the devil to get him to try it. . .but the 8 y.o. chowed down.  Because I used two large, I got eight servings by cutting each into fourths.  It reheats well, so that's good, too.

I needed a side for the In-Law Dinner on Monday.  I was making the below casserole and forgot to pick up salad stuff.  I knew I had carrots and opted to make Garlic Butter Roasted Carrots.  It seemed an odd choice for a Mexican dish, but I thought I could tie it in by add a dash of taco seasoning to the recipe.  And, given the ooos and ahhs, it worked.  The carrots got caramelized, which is always yummy, and they had a dash of Mexican spice.  The only thing I'd do next time is make sure I have big fat carrots.  They shrink while roasting, so thinner carrots shrink to almost nothing.  

I had been craving Mexican, and thought multiple times over the weekend I needed to make a "run for the boarder," so instead I just planned it into the coming week.  This Bubble Up Enchilada Bake was great for Monday.  I wasn't sure if I'd need to double it since I was serving eight,, but the biscuits were plenty.  I just added a can of rinsed and drained black beans to the meat mixture.  I served it sprinkled with cilantro and we topped servings with sour cream and avocado.

Dont' forget to shop the Clearance Sale this weekend.

Happy Friday,

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

We Are. . .Changes

I'm preempting the usual We Are because, well, one I don't have any photos from last week . . . not a one, but, more to announce that We Are Closing.

Yep, it's true.  I am closing Apron Strings.  February was the last kit, and that feels right since 12 years ago, it was February that saw Apron Strings' first kits.

A lot has changed in the scrapbooking world in those 12 years.  A. LOT.  It's some of those changes, along with family things, that has me deciding that now is the time, though I've thought about it for a long while.  I'm actually a bit surprised, because I wasn't expecting it, but I'm quite comfortable with the decision - I thought I'd be uncertain and unsure, nervous even.  However, I'm excited as to what my life will look like without Apron Strings having first dibs on my schedule.

It's been such an adventure over the years.  The people I've "met," all the great products from companies still around, and those that have gone (whose product still lives in my stash.)  The CHA's I've attended and met people at. . .it's where I met Becky Fleck, who does our exclusive sketches in the monthly scrapbook kits and operates PageMaps.  Crops I hosted for Colorado members, or those I met up with at other crops.

I'll miss seeing the new releases and choosing the fun papers and embellishments.  It used to be I'd sit with tons of catalogs flipping through, marking pages and trying to match up printed photos to be sure things coordinated (so fun. . .not).  Those catalogs are gone now, everything is online.

Mostly, I'll miss all the connections with customers and designers I've met and worked with over the years.  Though I rarely saw any of them face-to-face, it felt like we'd been friends for years.  Funny how you can connect with someone simply through an email, or recognize a kindred spirit during the simple act of handling someone's invoices every month and labeling their box.  It was even more fun when I saw your stories played out on the layouts you shared, especially if they used an Apron Strings kit ;).

So for all you've been to Apron Strings, and myself, thank you!

Now, for some business stuff. . .I have stock that needs to be re-homed.  I'll be running a clearance sale so all these lovely things can come and live with you.  You do know the best way to use your old stash is to inject a couple new things into it?  You knew that, right?  I thought so.  Anyway, it's a great time to stock-up and save.  Shop now, while the selection is good.  Stock is already discounted on the website, but you can save 10% more on your entire order through the end of this week, by using code:  BLOGCLEARANCE when you check out.  Code is good thru 3.12.17.  Refunds cannot be given for missing codes.

I'll still be around, here on the blog - I don't expect to stop writing anytime soon.  I'm also on Instagram and I stalk around on Facebook.

Happy Wednesday,