<![CDATA[Annie's Aprons - Blog]]>Sat, 24 Jun 2017 19:53:09 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Five on Friday!]]>Fri, 23 Jun 2017 10:38:49 GMThttp://anniesaprons.net/blog/five-on-friday5281671
Happy Friday! A little of this and that this week. 

​One. This weekend I'm heading to the beach with two of my girlfriends for a girls weekend getaway. 

Two. I wanted to share one of my FAVORITE cleaning products with you this week. I have been using these stainless steel wipes to clean our kitchen appliances and I love them. One wipe cleans all of our kitchen appliances. 
Three. At my training this week for work I saw another momma have this super cute backpack/diaper bag. I was thinking this would be perfect for our trip to Colorado in a few weeks. It’s stylish and practical while chasing a toddler around. 
Four. I thought I would share what foods Ava is interested in eating these days. Sometimes I like to hear what other toddlers eat just to know I am not alone in the picky eater battle. 
  • broccoli 
  • bacon
  • eggs
  • yogurt
  • mac and cheese 
  • puffs
  • yogurt melts
  • oatmeal
  • lots of fruit 
  • applesauce
  • sweets 
  • fruit bars 
  • chips
  • sometimes cheese 
As you can see she isn’t interested in meats or many veggies yet. 

Five. Last but not least, I am going to take this moment and brag a little bit about my amazing husband. Last night, when I went to bed around 7:30 (I was so tired) there was a pile of laundry in the dryer. When I woke up this morning it was all neatly folded on the couch and ready to be put up. He's amazing! 

Happy Friday Everyone! 

<![CDATA[American as Apple Pie! The Easiest Apple Pie.]]>Tue, 20 Jun 2017 12:14:10 GMThttp://anniesaprons.net/blog/american-as-apple-pie-the-easiest-apple-pie
When I think of desserts for the 4th of July the first thing that comes to mind is apple pie! This apple pie is packed with delicious juicy cinnamon apples, topped with a brown sugar buttery topping and a flaky crust. Serve it warm over vanilla ice cream and your taste buds will love you forever! 

​What I love about this pie is how easy it is to throw together. Whether you're a new or seasoned baker this pie is a must try for everyone! 
To make this delicious apple pie you simply combine the apples (I always use green apples to break up the sweetness), sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.  
Then stir everything together until well blended.
For the topping, in a medium size bowl add the sugars, butter, and flour.
Mix all the the ingredients with a pastry blender or fork (I always use a fork) until well blended and the topping becomes coarsely crumbled.  
Lastly, fill your pie crust and add your topping. For this making of the apple pie I used the refrigerated rolls of pie crust and layered them into my pie dish. My mom loves pie crust so I added extra crust on the edges of the dish. I've also used the frozen pie crusts for this pie and both taste delicious! If you're wanting to make your own pie crust I recommend trying Sally's Baking Addiction recipe. She has some great tips and tricks to make the most delicious homemade pie crust. 

When your pie is ready for the oven bake it at 375 degrees for about 50 minutes.  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream and enjoy! 

Don't forget to check out my tips and tricks below!

The EASIEST Apple Pie 

  • 1 Deep Dish pie crust
  • 5 ½ cups peeled, cored & sliced cooking apples
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3 tbl flour
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup butter or margarine (room temp)
  • 1/4 cup of finely chopped pecans (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Put pie crust into pie plate. 
  2. In a large bowl, mix the next five ingredients and pile into crust. 
  3. Prepare the topping in a medium bowl with a pastry blender or fork.  Mix the flour, sugar, brown sugar, butter and pecans (if desired) until coarsely crumbled. 
  4. Sprinkle evenly over apples. 
  5. Bake at 375 for 50 minutes.  (If crust gets too brown early on then loosely cover the pie with tin foil and continue baking. I usually have to do this every time about halfway through the baking time.  
  6. Serve warm with ice cream and your taste buds will love you forever.  Enjoy!

Tips and Tricks !

  • I recommend using green apples to break up the sweetness. 
  • The thinner the apple slices the shorter the baking time. Last time I made this pie I left my apple slices about an inch thick and after 50 minutes of baking the apples were fully cooked but still had some firmness to them. However, this time I made my apple slices thinner (not sure why) and after 50 minutes of baking the apples were very, very soft. I think I prefer my apples to have a little crunch to them. 
  • When putting your pie together you want to make sure you fill the pie crust with a heaping amount of apples. The apples will cook down. 
  • For this particular making of this pie I didn’t have enough apples but I don’t think you could really go wrong with this apple pie recipe. It was still really delicious served warm with some vanilla ice cream. 
<![CDATA[Father's Day Weekend Recap]]>Mon, 19 Jun 2017 10:49:01 GMThttp://anniesaprons.net/blog/fathers-day-weekend-recap
We had such a wonderful weekend celebrating the fathers in our lives. 

​On Friday, I went to Trader Joe's in Tampa and picked up so goodies for Joey to enjoy this Father's Day. 
On Saturday, we headed to my parent's house to celebrate Father's Day with my Dad. My brother and I cooked a steak lunch with a homemade dutch apple pie for dessert. We had a wonderful day visiting with my parents and Uncle Andrew. 
I was reminded how hard it is to get everyone to look at the camera at the same time. 
Ava loved playing with Uncle Andrew. He carried her around like she was flying through the air. 
On Sunday, we stayed in town and celebrated Father's day with my amazing husband. There is truly nothing better than watching your husband be a father to your child. Ava is such a daddy's girl and I love it! 
We started the day with a homemade egg sandwich, then we headed to town to run some errands. Afterwards, we came home and took a nap, made pancakes for a snack, had a delicious parmesan chicken dinner and relaxed for the rest of the evening, enjoying the time together and thanking God for this amazing father. 
Last weekend, we celebrated Father's Day early with my father in-law. You can read about it here. 

Here are some sillies for fun! Oh, how we love them! 

Hoping everyone had a wonderful Father's Day!

<![CDATA[Five on Friday!]]>Fri, 16 Jun 2017 10:53:38 GMThttp://anniesaprons.net/blog/five-on-friday2246196
Happy Friday! Lots of great things this week...

​Thank you Pasta Jay's and Allura Boutique for sponsoring this post. As always at Annie's Aprons all opinions are 100% my own! 

One. This week we received a jar of Pasta Jay's Marinara sauce. This is a restaurant we will be trying out when we head to Boulder this summer. Their known to be one of the best places to eat in Boulder, CO. Coming from an Italian, their marinara sauce is so good! I am such a foodie and someone who likes to study a menu before I visit a restaurant. I have been drooling over their menu for weeks now. I think I might try their meatball stroganoff. Yum!
Two. Speaking of our trip to Boulder. Mentally I have been packing ever since we booked our flights. I'm weird like that. I have been mentally planning what I want to pack. I told my husband I want to pack really light so I have room for some shopping! I recently received these two pieces of clothing from Allura Boutique that will definitely be in my suitcase. Both the blouse and the dress have a crisscross neckline and are so soft! They will be perfect for Boulder's summer weather. My favorite thing about Allura Boutique is that they quality fashionable clothing at a great price. Check out their new arrivals here. 
Three. My husband and I just finished watching season one of the show "Anne with An E" on Netflix. I LOVED it! The series is based off of the books Anne of Green Gables. I haven't read any of the books so I can't really compare the two but I loved the show. The actress for Anne is so good! Unfortunately we finished the season in just over a week and now I have to wait until Spring of 2018 for the next season! Oh well! It was worth it. 

Four. Last weekend, we went for our annual blackberry picking adventure. I posted about it in my weekend recap. We had such a wonderful time. You can read about it here. 
Five. This month I am teaching a few weeks of summer school for our ESOL students and have a training I will be attending next week. My schedule is actually pretty nice. I work half days Mon.-Thurs. every other week. I really could get used to these new hours. Anyhow, yesterday one of my students had his mom make us some breakfast tacos, and my coworker made homemade tortillas with chorizo, eggs, and potatoes. Oh my goodness...it was so delicious! A LOVE Mexican food. I seriously think I could eat it every day. 
So while I have you hear I thought I would ask how you get greasy toddler fingerprints off the walls? Our walls have Ava's little fingers all over them! Please help!  

Happy Friday everyone and a BIG Happy Father's Day to all the amazing dads out there! 

<![CDATA[Know You’re Not Alone: My Journey with Motherhood and Breastfeeding]]>Wed, 14 Jun 2017 18:14:49 GMThttp://anniesaprons.net/blog/know-youre-not-alone-my-journey-with-motherhood-and-breastfeeding
Our daughter is 22 months old now and I often reflect back on our infant feeding journey. Would I have done things differently? I don't know. 

​​I was lucky to have a good start with breast feeding. I had tons of colostrum and Ava latched on like a champ! The hospital I delivered at had great lactation specialists who helped me figure out the whole breast feeding thing. They were there around the clock to check on me throughout my stay in the hospital and answer any questions I had, but then it was time to go home. 

As any first time parent I was so nervous and so worried about how my breastfeeding journey would continue. 

Towards the end of my pregnancy I had pre-eclampsia. Due to my rising high blood pressure I was induced to have Ava two weeks early. Within a few days of being home with our newborn, I was admitted back into the hospital with extremely high blood pressure. So high, that they padded the rails of the hospital bed as a precaution incase I had any seizures from my rising blood pressure. Luckily, Ava was able to stay with me in the hospital so I could continue to breast feed. After some monitoring and getting everything under control the doctor released me. This time with blood pressure medicine and orders to take it easy and relax. Clearly he forgot that I just had a baby!

Within just a few days of returning home I started pumping and we introduced her to the bottle so my husband could help with the feedings. Figuring out the whole bottle thing was frustrating. We had a couple different brands of bottles so we could figure out which nipple she preferred. After several tries, and lots of, “Do you think she likes this one? Maybe she prefers this one? Is she full? Did she drink enough?” We finally figured out which bottle she liked. 

Now it was time to pump, pump, pump! Pumping was awful. For me it was like watching paint dry. I pumped for 30 to 40 minutes (not even sure if you should pump that long) and only got about 2 ounces per breast. I did this once in morning and once in the evening. 

I hated pumping but I really enjoyed breast feeding Ava in her early months. I loved our feedings together and that bond we shared. After about the third month of breast feeding things started to get harder. I couldn’t tell if she was getting enough milk, pumping was still a pain, she became such a fussy baby and my maternity leave was coming to an end. The thought of pumping at work as a teacher was dreadful. I decided that it wasn’t something I wanted to do. When Ava was about 3 1/2 months old we introduced formula to her and slowly weaned her off breast milk.

I stopped pumping (thank goodness), and slowly my milk stopped coming in. I was able to rest more, Ava was happy and I was happy. Life was great!
Sometimes I think that I wish my breast feeding journey had lasted longer but I know we did what was best for our family at that time. If I had to do it all over again I’m not sure that I would do anything differently. 

I think what’s important to remember is that no matter how you choose to feed your little one, whether it’s breastmilk, pumped milk through a bottle, or formula, you must do what is best for YOUR family and YOUR situation. Everyone is different, and everyone’s needs are different. Do what works for you and your family! 

Feeding Your Little One Just Got Easier! 

I am so happy to share with my infant feeding families that you aren't alone! There is support out there for you! Happy Family created an amazing platform that supports families through their infant feeding journey. The Happy Family Feeding Platform has a team of ‘Mama Milk Mentors’ on hand for live chat through their website, 8am-8pm (EST), Mon-Fri. These lactation specialists and Cornell-Certified nutritionists are all moms themselves, and are here to support your infant feeding choices. 

I love that Happy Family supports all three ways that you can feed your baby and offer great tips and tricks for breastfeeding and formula feeding families. 

Check out their infant feeding support platform here! 

​Get tips and support on:
  •  Infant feeding support
  • Breastfeeding support
  • Infant feeding advice
  • Breastfeeding tips
  • Bottle feeding tips

Our daughter is now 22 months old and is doing great! She loves fruits, especially berries and we're still working on the whole vegetable thing. Our feeding journey still has it’s challenges but we take it one day at a time. 

​Where are you in your infant feeding journey? 

<![CDATA[Weekend Recap: Blackberry Picking]]>Mon, 12 Jun 2017 23:58:18 GMThttp://anniesaprons.net/blog/weekend-recap-blackberry-picking
Joey and I originally decided that we were going to stay home last weekend and keep things low key.  That quickly changed Saturday morning when Joey asked me if I wanted to go pick blackberries. 

This year we headed back to H&H Berry Farm to pick this season's berries. We love their farm! They have thornless blackberries making it a great experience for the whole family. We recommend getting their early, especially on the weekends. When we went last year Ava wasn't walking yet. This year she had a ball and did such a great job of only picking the ripe berries. I think at some point she just started eating the blackberries she was picking. 
Look at this little ham eating all the blackberries. 
After, we finished picking blackberries we headed to the park to play. 
Then we ate lunch at Culver's. They have the best butterburger and yummy custard. 
The next day we headed to Nana and Pop's house to celebrate Father's day early with my father in-law. I made a Shepard's pie for lunch and a delicious blackberry crisp. We had such a wonderful time visiting with family. 
<![CDATA[Five on Friday!]]>Fri, 09 Jun 2017 10:32:10 GMThttp://anniesaprons.net/blog/five-on-friday7880648
Oh happy summer days! Here are my five this week...
One. Sausage Ball Recipe. Last weekend I made this sausage ball recipe. It's so easy to throw together and they are delicious! You can also freeze them for later. I usually mix everything by hand but this time I used my electric mixer and it worked like a boss! Then I used my cookie scoop to scoop them out. 

Sausage Balls

  • 3 cups Bisquick 
  • 1 pound pork sausage
  • 4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. Mix all ingredients together until well blended. I used my electric mixer and it worked great! 
  3. Scoop sausage into balls onto prepared baking sheet. 
  4. Bake until sausage balls are no longer pink in the middle and browned on the outside, about 25 to 30 minutes. 
Two. Summer Adventures. Remember how I mentioned Ava didn't like the big pool? Well, with some prodding and encouragement we got her to like the little kiddie pool. So far she only likes it if she is going down her slide into the pool. She won't just sit in it and hang out, but maybe we will get there soon. 
Deep thoughts...
Three. Week Recap. This was my first full week of summer. We kept Ava in daycare for this month because I will be teaching a summer program starting next week and have some work trainings to attend. This week I spent my time working in the yard, planting some herbs and some pretty flowers, baking, doing laundry, went to a training for work, and did some binge watching on Netflix and Hulu. Here is my current watch list. 
  • The Handmaid's Tale (Really dark but good)
  • Nashville
  • Arrow 
  • Flash 
Do you have any shows to suggest? We watched the movie Deep Water Horizon this week and it was really good. 
Four. Ava's Kitchen. We purchased Ava this kitchen for Christmas and it has been so much fun to watch her use her imagination and play in her kitchen
Currently Cooking in Ava's Kitchen
  • A One Pan Meal: Chicken drumsticks, with banana, lemon, hot dogs and fries with a dash of watermelon. Yummy! 
  • In the oven we have pizza and cookies. 
Five. Kitchen Wishlist. These are some things that I think Ava would love to have in her kitchen. Her 2nd birthday is coming up soon so maybe we will add these to her birthday list. They're all Melissa and Dough items. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Melissa and Doug toys. 

Happy Friday Everyone! 

<![CDATA[Favorite Spaces Summer Home Tour: Ava's Nursery Reveal]]>Wed, 07 Jun 2017 07:00:00 GMThttp://anniesaprons.net/blog/favorite-spaces-summer-home-tour-avas-nursery-reveal
This summer I thought I would open up our home and show you some of my favorite spaces. Today, I'm sharing Ava's nursery. Before we know it, she'll be in a big girl room (hopefully not too soon) so I thought I would start here. 

When planning Ava's nursery we decided we wanted to leave it the color it already was. Mainly, because I hate painting. One of my favorite spaces in Ava's nursery is her little reading corner.  I spent many wee hours of the night and the morning feeding her in this little corner. 
Her books shelves are spice racks from IKEA that we spray painted white. 
My sister made these cute letters for her name. 
I found the green rolling cabinet at the Lakeland Vintage Warehouse on clearance for $6.00 and used it as an end table. It also stores Ava's seasonal holiday books. 
For the lamp, I bought a plain lamp shade from Target and a clear base. On the lamp shade I used a fine point black marker and hand wrote several bible verses that I wanted in her room. I filled the base with wooden buttons from my baby shower decor. 
For her changing table we purchased a refurnished dresser from an antique store in downtown lakeland. That way we could use it to store her clothes and as a changing table.  The baskets hung above are for diapers and wipes. 
My Great Aunt Tink made this ABC's embroidery stitching...
...and I played many times in this little antique rocking chair with my baby dolls when I was little. 
I made the hoops above her crib using embroidery hoops and fabric. I feel like it took me forever to decide on which fabrics I wanted to use, but after 9 months I finally figured it out. 
Ava's room is one of my favorite spaces in our home. I remember sitting in her room just a few days after we brought her home. I was in tears on the phone with my mom. I was so scared and so emotional. The feelings of motherhood were so overwhelming. There have been many late nights and early mornings spent feeding and rocking her to sleep in this room. Currently, there are toys, clothes, shoes and pretty much anything else a toddler gets into sprawled everywhere. We have shared many laughs, hugs and kisses, and tons of memories in this special place.