Chocolate-Peanut Butter-Banana {anytime} Smoothie

I started writing this recipe down with the name, “Chocolate-Peanut Butter-Banana Breakfast smoothie”, but quickly scratched that name.  Why?  Because this is an anytime smoothie.  Breakfast-Brunch-Lunch-Lupper-Supper Smoothie does not have the same ring to it, so we are naming this simple smoothie recipe (an old faithful) the “anytime” smoothie recipe.

On Friday at Jazzercise, I told my class that I often had this for breakfast, or that people could make this for dessert.  I saw people making strange faces as I tried to explain the recipe amidst an abdominal workout, and quickly realized that they couldn’t remember details of a recipe, while doing crunches.  So I promised to get it on the blog for my Jazzer-pals, so they could partake in this fantastic meal.

Seriously, friends, I eat this for breakfast quite often.  It’s super-filling, I get many servings of fruits and veggies, calcium, fiber, protein, etc…..and I can eat it on the go!  I’m not going to win any originality points for this recipe, as I’m not the first to share this idea on the interwebs, but here’s my version of a healthy breakfast smoothie.

The one caveat is that you drink your meal.  If you mentally need to “chew” something to feel like you’ve eaten and chewing carrots just isn’t going to cut it, I would recommend you drink half of this and a piece of whole wheat toast or something.  Occasionally, I’ll add an egg to the side of this meal (NOT IN THE SMOOTHIE), and seriously, I’m satisfied for a long while.

I have had a few tell me that they don’t like the flavor of banana in their smoothie.  Two thoughts:

1) Make sure your bananas are very ripe.

2) If that’s still not gonna cut it, just do other fruit!  This summer smoothie I posted last year seriously tastes like decadent sherbert.

Get ready for some super technical recipe skilz:

CPBB Smoothie Sarahandtehboysblog

To your blender add:

:: 1 cup of milk (1% around here, but you could use any milk product of your choice, almond, coconut, rice, etc)

:: 1 large handful (about 1 cup) of fresh spinach

:: 1.5 very ripe, frozen, medium bananas (or 1 large), sliced

:: Handful of frozen strawberries (about 1/2 cup?)

:: 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter (or any nut butter of your choice)

:: 2-3 teaspoons of cocoa or carob powder

:: Optional: chia seeds or flax seeds

strawberry smoothie sarahandtheboysblog

Blend.  Drink.  Be Satisfied.

XOSJ

Ch Ch Change……

Even though you wouldn’t know it from my blog posts, things have been changing around here on the lil’ ol’ house.  If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen bits of the progress, but I’m finally sharing some photos today on the blog.

If you remember from this past post, this is what our home looked like when we purchased it, about 4.5 years ago:

Our Home Then sarahandtheboysblog.com

Not totally awful, right? It was overgrown, and a festival of rusty-red, but I really liked the cape cod style, I like the architectural lines, and I was excited for what we could do with it.  Notice that it had rusty-red (peeling) shutters, rusty red door, rusty red bushes on the left, and you can’t see it, but a red brick walkway and a rusty red painted front porch floor.  Rust red, I tell you.  A festival of red.

Over the next few years, we did some minor work, nothing too costly, trying to reduce the rusty red by painting the shutters.  The other red items (like the porch floor and roof) were not really something simple to change.  Here’s how the house looked last fall:

Now home 1 exterior sarahandtheboysblog{this is not last night.  This is an old photo from last fall, lest you be confused}

Less red.  But oh so green and pretty {spring/summer/fall, please come back quickly!}

Now, I don’t hate red.  But this house has way too much rust red.  For the last few years I’ve been eying different homes, looking for inspiration on what direction to head with this home.

From my pinterest boards:

inspiration image 2 Via Miss Mustard Seed

What a beautiful home, huh?  Check out her post for more views of this home.  Between her great photography skills and this great home, it’s a good one to just sit and drool over 🙂

Also, this home had the style that I was going for:

AD Plan via Sarahandtheboysblog.comvia

This home design actually looks quite similar to ours!  I really liked the gray/slate roof.

Nathan and I drove around town and looked at a lot of roofs, and were nervous about our home, because our siding is just the slightest off-white.  It’s not cream or tan, or even ivory, but it’s not 100% bright white.  I worried the cool color of the roof would clash with the slightly off-white siding.  We debated going for a weathered wood color (which I don’t think would have been a bad choice).  But we decided the weathered wood was the “safe” choice, and this colonial slate would hopefully pop more, stand out more, and not be like every other house on the street.  But it’s a nervewracking decision!  Roofs are not cheap!  It’s not like a coat of paint that you can just re-paint later if you don’t like it or get sick of it.  But we went ahead and made the plunge.

We crossed our fingers and I felt nervous, but the contractor was waiting, so we couldn’t tarry any longer.  Besides, our kids were sick of looking at random roofs.  Y’all, if you knew how much we deliberated over paint colors, you can imagine how tough of a decision this was for us!

I had sweaty palms.  Would it clash with the chimney?  Clash with the siding?  Eek!

Turns out all my worry was for naught, we love the color.  Here it is today:

front of home jan 15

I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why the roofline to the the left looks crooked in this photo, because it’s not in real life.  Mysteries of photography, I tell you.

house today 1We didn’t just re-roof our home because we were sick of the red roof, because actually the roof was in fine shape and had a several more years of life left in it.  We are re-roofing the home because we are transforming our existing garage into a living space, and so we now have a new garage to replace the one that is no longer a garage.  It didn’t make sense to put an addition on without changing the roof.

Here are a few shots of the addition:

garage viewThe two windows to the right are the old garage (it was an oversized two-car space), the three bays to the left and the door are the new space.  Here’s a view from the top:

20150119_162214To get an idea of the space, here’s a sketchup image that Nathan made:

Screenshot 2014-08-24 15.11.15

As you can see, we’ll have a new patio, which excites me to no end.  But in the meantime, we have this:

backyard viewThe mud around here is overwhelming and all-consuming.  Seriously, I could spend all day cleaning my floors, but I’m just getting used to mud in the house, because there is no way to avoid it.  They will finish grading and pour concrete when it is a little warmer.  For now, we are the muddiest house on the block, for sure.

We are just beginning this major project, and I need to come up with a clever name for this new segment of posts you’ll see from time to time.  For now, I’m calling it the mud diaries. 🙂  {clever names are currently being accepted!}

We found a great contractor that was willing to work with our needs.  We wanted someone that would do the addition properly, and basically get it all done from the exterior, an then we can take it from there.  They have been GREAT and have moved very efficiently.  As fast as things have moved over these last few weeks, it’s going to be sad to start seeing the snail’s pace at which we move now that we have to take over!

I have a feeling we’ll be living in mud for some time to come:

hunter boots sarahandtheboysblog.com{little note: we are not just adding on to our home just because we need more room, because, in fact, I’m having a hard time keeping up with the space I have.  There is a long-term plan for this space that I won’t go into now, but please know we are actually quite satisfied with what we had before this addition.  Though I am over the moon about my dreamy slate roof) 🙂

More home improvement posts to come!

XOSJ

I Am Still Alive

Over Christmas break Nathan told me that he missed reading his favorite blog because the blogger had quit posting.  I stupidly replyed, “What’s  your favorite blog?”  Oh, wait.  That’s me.  Yep, I got busy and quit posting.  BUT I didn’t quit instagramming, so I’ll share a few of those photos with you.

I won’t bore you with the minute details of life, but I will say that life just got busy.  It happens to the best of us.  Throughout December I kept thinking of posts I wanted to write, things I wanted to say, but life just kept getting in the way.  I think if I ever wanted to make a career out of this blog thing, I would need to hire a sitter.  Because staying at home and mothering 3 boys, homeschooling, and teaching 5 Jazzercise classes takes about every ounce of me :-).  That’s an okay thing {correction–a great thing}, I like my jobs, my season of life, and I’m thankful for it.  But unfortunately, I write more blog posts in my head that never get put on paper…er…on a screen.

A big change for me that happened this December is that I quit teaching Jazzercise on Saturday mornings and moved to a Monday-Friday teaching schedule.  Teaching my last Saturday class was strange, as I’ve worked out on Saturday morning for as long as I have been working out.

But the boys were happy, they were ready to have a real Saturday morning. We adjusted quickly, celebrating our “Free” Saturdays with made-from-scratch pancakes.

We had a great fall/Christmas/holiday season. The boys and I worked very hard on keeping up on school, even when that meant doing it on days we were sick with the flu (as in the real influenza or some other virus masquerading a the flu). We made it to the end of our school semester, and there was much celebrating.

I spent the small amount of time I had between the end of school and Christmas crafting. Cause that’s what I do best. Ignore the long lists of things that need to be done, all in the name of creating.

View this post on Instagram

Saturday morning creativity.

A post shared by Sarah Pierce (@sarahand_theboys) on

I waited till the very last minute to order many gifts, so there was much panic when I couldn’t find one on the 23rd of December. Amazon said it had been delivered by FedEx, but I searched high and low, to no avail. Turns out FedEx thought it was delivering to the Keebler Elves, and brought our package to a front yard tree (look closely and see the delivery tag around a nearby branch).

Christmas came and went (much fun, much mess, many new Legos to step on). We had lots of company the week following Christmas. As many as 16 folks on any given day, for a ten days. It was a lot of fun, but tiring, too (apparently so fun that I didn’t take a single photo?).

The day after company left I should have been vegging out, but we don’t know how to do that around here. I decided that Monday after a major holiday and a week of company was a good day to start potty-training a 23-month old.

He’s young to potty-train, but he was showing some signs of interest, so I siezed the day, and one week later, he’s staying dry. Today was his first accident-free day. #winning #holla

Meanwhile, this is happening outside our back door.

But, really, who cares about what’s happening outside, when one can admire this, inside?

I hope your holidays were great, that you have toddlers with dry pants, and that all your packages made it to your front door #stillbitterfedex

much love, XOSJ
Follow me on Instagram for more regular updates! (or facebook, where I’m two likes away from 200.  So if you have not liked me yet, you should throw me a bone and press the “like” button) 🙂

Holiday Card Ideas {and a giveaway!}

snow11

It’s that time of year.  Holidays are upon us and one of my favorite parts of this season is the sending and receiving of cards.  I feel like many of us are giving up on card sending for a variety of reasons: too busy (I totally get that), and younger generations are not in the habit of sending Christmas cards, or mail at all.  Additionally, have you checked out he price of a stamp recently? That makes things add up quickly!

I know with the advent of social media, like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, we are constantly inundated with photos and feel like we are up to date with everyone so we don’t need to send a card.  Truth be told, I miss a lot of what happens on Facebook, Instagram, etc., so I LOVE Christmas cards.  There is something so personal, so lovely, so exciting about receiving a card in the mail from someone from near or far.

My opinions about holiday cards:

*If you have growing kids that change leaps and bounds each year, a photo is nice.

*If you have taken a recent vacation and want to use that as your holiday photo, great.  But if you do it year after year, your photo just looks like a vacation bragging card.

*If you choose to write a holiday letter, that’s a really fun way to stay in touch with people.  Keep it short, simple, to the point.  If you drag on for pages and pages, sharing details of trips, kid’s grades, your beautiful home upgrades, etc. you lose people’s interest quickly.

*Don’t fret too much if you don’t have time to write a letter or send a card with a beautiful, perfectly matching family.  Two of our most popular Christmas card photos were not posed, planned, or well-thought out:

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2008

2010 (the one and only day Harrison insisted on that special “whale spout” hairdo…which somehow looks better than mine)

share what’s real.  share love.  spread cheer.

Don’t wait for the perfect picture or the perfect year to send or give a card.

Here are a few sources I’ve complied to help you with your holiday card sending, in no particular order:

holiday cards college

1:: Mpix 2::Two More Days 3:: Minted 4:: Laura Schembre

 

LetItSnowCyan-5x7PopCircle-Front1:: Mpix is a local company that specializes in the printing of high-quality photography-related items.  I used Mpix for Knox’s birth announcements and I was very happy with the quality for the price.  It’s easy to go to Tiny Prints or Minted and spent a small fortune.  Mpix is a great choice if you don’t want to give up on quality!

merrybright_large2::  Two More Days is a talented local friend here in Mizzou Country that has an online store selling digital scrapbook supplies, among other things.  She has a BARGAIN template that you can purchase and customize for your family, and print off anyplace that works for you {do you recognize that family???  I’m pretty sure it’s our first and last modeling gig 🙂 }.  Buy any of Kim’s items and take comfort in knowing you are buying a quality product from a busy mom that creates this beautiful art in her spare time. {and if you are into digital scrapbooking, she has lots of selection!}

 

brilliant_joy-holiday_postcards-sarah_hawkins_designs-black3:: Have you ever considered sending a Christmas Postcard?  I’ve received a few, and I think they are a really fun and cheery way way to send cards, yet at the same time stand out, because it’s a postcard!  An added bonus would be that you save on postage. I found many cute postcard formats on Minted {they can be pretty pricey},  but consider this option for your next card.  Perhaps you can have it personally designed by the next gal below!

 

JingleBell2

4:: Last, but certainly not least, is my friend, Laura Schembre!  She is another very talented professional graphic designer, and I’ve been very impressed and inspired by her work.  She is offering a STEAL on custom card design and printing.  Friends, if you’ve ever looked into custom card designs, you’ll be astounded by her pricing.  Check her out and be confident that you’ll be working with a cool, creative gal and you’ll have a custom design like no other {she also does amazing invites, logos, and other graphic design work, so please keep her in mind for all of your design needs.}  Laura is in the process of opening an Etsy shop, so watch out!!!

And to top off all of this holiday cheer, I have a giveaway for you!  I contacted Kim & Laura and they have generously offered to give one winner:

From Laura Schembre:

Laura Schembre Card Set

*a six-pack of these adorable holiday cards (two of each design)

From Kim, at Two More Days:

two more days greeting card set

two more days adventual set

*a 3 pack template of Christmas Card designs (you use her template and fill in with your photo, and boom!  Adorable, personalized card!) ALSO, the Adventual Digital scrapbooking kit!

If you win you’ll have no excuse as to why you didn’t send or give holiday cards this year!

***Giveaway closed!  Congrats to Molly!****

Here’s what you need to do to enter:

comment below {in comments section} on your favorite part of the holiday season.

If you want extra entries:

If you want extra entries, link this giveaway on either your Facebook or Twitter page and leave a second comment naming where you shared (FB or Twitter).

You are entered!  Thank you to Laura & Kim for your generosity!  Don’t forget to check out their websites at lauraschembre.com and twomoredays.org

The fine print: Void where prohibited by law.  No purchase necessary.  Available to anyone in the contiguous United States, must be 18 or older to win. One winner will be chosen at random from comment(s) approved on this blog in comments section (not on FB or any other platform of social media).  Winner will contacted by sarahandtheboysblog via email. Deadline to enter is Saturday, November 21st, @ 10pm cst. 

Use of a private social media accounts (Facebook or Twitter) to promote this giveaway is at the entrant’s sole discretion and not required to enter.  Note, promotion of a giveaway via social media accounts such as Facebook and/or Twitter are commonly used as a marketing tool, and also to provide entrant with an extra chance to win.

 

My $5 Bed: How To Refinish Furniture

Wow.  Something happened and I was just totally steamrolled in the month of October.  Once I got off-track blogging it just seemed hard to get back at it…then I questioned myself.  What do I do I write about first?  It’s been so long?  Does anyone really enjoy reading this blog?  Do I enjoy writing?  And the span just kept getting longer and longer.  Then my Sarah And The Boys Facebook page started reminding me I needed to post something.  The truth is, I love posting, I just don’t have the time I want to post as much as I want!  The boys and I have been really working hard at going full steam ahead with school work, and between that, working out, and attempting to keep the house clean-ish, this blog project has been pushed to the back burner.  😦

Anyway, here I am.  My friend Katie at Redeeming Simple Living recently did a blog post on how she refinished a piece of furniture.  She encouraged me to write my “how-tos”, so here goes nothing!

First of all, I have to say I love painted furniture.  I think it’s cute, adds a nice contrast to a world full of wood, and can quickly change a room for a low price.  BUT (you knew there would be a but), it’s not as durable when you live in a world of rough-and-tumble boys.  Boys easily scuff and chip things….plus it kills me to take a pretty piece of wood and cover all the grain.  I enjoy homes where the painted wood and wood grain are mixed to create the perfect amount of personality and warmth.

We are in the middle of a “redo” of the ugliest bedroom on earth.  This remodel is going at a slow crawl.  Partially because of time, partially because of money, and partially because we are juggling a lot of different balls.  A few months ago we tackled all of the nasty wallpaper, removed the popcorn ceiling, added new lights, and painted.  It’s been a long road just to get to a blank slate.  I’ve sort of stalled out a bit, but I’m currently in the process of getting inspired, deciding what the purpose of this room will be, and waiting for some bedding to go on sale (hint hint, L.L. Bean!!!)

One thing I do know is that this room will probably host a couple or a family sometime over the holidays, so I wanted a bed to be in place.  I snagged a headboard that my parents were getting rid of, and while it was old an sad, it was a sturdy, maple headboard, and I couldn’t pass up it’s simple design and clean lines.  And it was free.  Free never hurts.

bedframe before sarahandtheboysblog.comIt’s a very 1950’s Betty Draper style {have you watched Mad Men?} headboard.  It had never been painted and the original coat of finish was fairly rough and worn off.  This made it pretty simple to refinish.  Honestly, even though this still was a lot of work, it was nothing compared to some other things I have refinished over the years.  So the first step of removing the finish was not as bad as it could have been.

Steps To Refinishing A Piece Of Furniture

IMG_6964

Supplies needed (all items not pictured)

For the stripping of the finish:

*metal putty knife/scraper

*steel wool (medium grit and fine grit, and depending on the severity of the stripping that needs to be done you may even be able to use a course grit)

*liquid/gel stripper (I used Citrastrip)

*cheap paintbrush to apply stripper

*protective gloves

*newspaper

*drop cloths

*well-ventilated area

Step One: Prep

First step is to put down drop cloths, and choose a good work space that is okay getting messy.  Make sure are not working in an enclosed space, have plenty of ventilation.  Even though I use the more natural Citrastrip, it is still strong!

Step Two: Apply Chemical Stripper

Once your area is prepped, put on your gloves and dip a cheap or old paint brush in Citrastrip and apply a coat to your piece.  You can also use a typical gel stripper.  It would probably work better than Citrastrip, as it is more strong, but I prefer to reduce chemical use and I’ve been able to get by just fine with the Citrastrip.

applying stripper

Step Three: Wait

This is the hardest part!  You need to wait awhile to let the stripper penetrate the finish.  The time will vary depending on how thick you apply the stripper, how cold/warm it is, the type of finish you are trying to penetrate.  I’ve found I have to be patient, and wait for that small window of time where the stripper has ample time to penetrate, but before it dries.  Once you get going you can apply a section ahead of where you are working, so there’s no lag time, but it’s that first coat that seems to take forever to be ready! {forever, meaning 15 minutes…I have no patience once I get going}.

IMG_6963

Step 4: Scrape off finish

I don’t have a photo of this, but the idea is that once your stripper has softened, the finish will be ready to remove.  Scrape off the top coats of finish.  If you have a thin finish, once around everything will be enough.  If you have several coats of old paint on a piece or a really old stubborn varnish, you’ll probably need to repeat this step a few times.  Usually I’ll have a bunch of gummy finish mess on my scraper, and I use newspaper to wipe off, then throw the newspaper in a trash bag.  Contains the mess.

Step 5: “scrub” with steel wool

IMG_6956

Once you have the majority of your finish off, dip some paint remover in a small piece of steel wool (I usually rip my steel wool into pieces, as it gums up quickly).  Sand/scrub/work out the remaining finish with the steel wool.  Try to work with the grain (not against the grain).  Start with a more course steel wool, and as you go, work yourself down to a fine steel wool.  Wipe off excess “junk” between coats with a rags or paper towels.

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Continue to dip and sand until you have removed all the finish and are down to raw wood.

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Step 6: Cracks & Crevices

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This is where my child labor kids came into the picture.  I gave them a bunch of toothpicks and had them pick out any remaining bits of finish, stripper, etc that was buried deep within the cracks.

IMG_6988

They did a great job of removing all of the finish.  After you are done digging in the cracks, it’s good to wash down your piece with some stripper wash, or wipe down with paint thinner/mineral spirits just to make sure you have all the stripper residue removed.

Step 7: More Patience

Once you are satisfied and feel like you have the finish removed you need to let the wood dry out.  I would give it at least 48 hours or more and let it totally dry out.  Once your wood is dry, you can finish in whatever way you choose.  I stained with two coats of Minwax Special Walnut, and let dry according to manufactur’s directions.  I finished with Old Master’s satin polyurethane (vacuum before finishing if you have a good handheld vacuum, or clean with a lint-free rag.  Last step before adding poly is to wipe over with your hand, as your fingers, believe it or not, will pick up the last bit of lint).  Maybe someday I will do a separate tutorial on how to finish with polyurethane….but I’m just happy to be posting, so that will have to wait till another day!!

I’m quite happy with how it turned out.  It’s great, strong old wood with a beautiful grain, it’s durable, and it’s, most importantly, DONE!

finished product

finished product 2

finished product

It’s not perfect, and the perfectionist in me sees the mistakes, but it’s much better than I could have afforded and the quality is much better than new!!!

All in all, I spent about $5 on this project,  because most of what I had was already on hand.  But if you were to get started, I would estimate total materials used would be $25-$50 if you had to buy every single thing to get started.  Old Master’s polyurethane is not cheap, but a little goes a long way so it will last a long time.

I’m not a professional, and perhaps a professional would laugh at my methods…but they’ve worked for me on more than one piece.  Most of what I have learned came from my mom, who is pretty experienced in furniture refinishing.  So between the two of us, I would say this is reliable information that has been road-tested.

For the whole room reveal, you may need to wait until about 2020 at the rate we are going 🙂  Big projects happening around here!  Hope to have more to share with you soon!!!

Much Love,

xosj

Scratch Made Apple Pie That Is Easy As Pie!

What What?  I don’t think pies are easy to make.  Where did that saying come from? Because it’s certainly not true!

Even though it’s much easier to whip out a batch of cookies than a made-from-scratch pie, it’s very possible to impress the masses with a simple apple pie.  Since we are in apple season and baseball playoff season, I thought I’d share with your a very “American” treat {from the old saying “as American as baseball and apple pie”}.

It seems like there are a million theories on pie crust. Use vodka instead of water. No, use 7-Up instead of vodka or water. Use your food processor…or maybe that’s not a good plan after all. Everyone has a different opinion on crust.

I have tried a lot of fancy pie crusts, and it seemed like they were not as good as mine, or were good, but took way more work and mess. And ain’t nobody got time for that.

So this pie crust isn’t going to win any awards from Martha Stewart, or put me in the pages of Better Homes & Gardens, but, as I’ve mentioned it always seems to be popular…and easy. Win-win.

Scratch Made Apple Pie
In fact, this pie is so simple that my 9 year old made the entire thing, from start to finish.  If he can do it, you certainly can!

First, we need to talk about the crust.  This is a “press in” pie crust.

Preheat your oven to about 375.  You start by mixing the flour, sugar and salt directly into your 9″ or 9 1/2″ pie plate

easy apple pie 3 sarahandtheboysblog.com
Mix up your oil & COLD milk. You simply add your wet ingredients to the pie plate.  Gently fold into the middle of the plate, just until combined.  Over-mixing will lead to tough crust.

easy apple pie 4 sarahandtheboysblog.com 
This is where your hands have to get messy.  Press your wet pie crust evenly into the pie plate.  It’s not pretty and you can’t really make a pretty edge, but that’s okay.  For some reason the only photo I got was blurry, but this will have to do!!!

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When your pie crust has been evenly pressed-in, it will look like this:

apple pie 6 sarahandtheboysblog.com
“par bake” your pie crust for about 15 minutes.  It won’t be done, but it helps so that you don’t have a mushy pie crust later.

Now, on to the apple pie.  This little contraption helps our apple peeling and cutting.  It peels, cuts & cores all in one movement! If you like apples, this contraption is worth the storage space and money.

Easy Apple PIe
Cut & peel apples.  Mix with spices and sugar.  Set aside till crust is ready.  Make crumb topping.  You want your crumb topping to look like course sand.  You could do this in the food processor, but it’s pretty easy to do with your fingers.

aple pie 8 sarahandtheboysblog.com
Now, once your par-baked shell is ready, gently pour apple mix and then top with crumb topping.

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Bake.  Watch Baseball.  Eat.  Enjoy.  Then eat for breakfast the next day!

Here’s the full recipe….let me know if you make this!!!

 easy apple pie 9
Simple Scratch-Made Apple Pie by Sarah and the Boys {or in this case, Sarah and a Boy :-)}

Press-In Pie Crust
Mix together in 9.5" pie plate
1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons of sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Then add:
1/2 cup oil (vegetable, canola, etc)
2 tablespoons of COLD water or milk

Gently fold together in pie plate until mixed.  
Press in.  Par-bake shell at 375 for 15 min.

 Apple Filling
8 healthy cups of peeled and thinly sliced tart baking apples
3/4 cup of sugar (can reduce to 2/3 if apples are sweeter)
1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 tsp (or less) of freshly grated nutmeg (can omit)
dash of salt

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  
Pour apples and any juice into a par-baked crust.
Be careful to be gentle pouring in if pie crust is still warm.
 Crumb Topping
1 scant cup of all-purpose flour 
3/4 cup sugar
1 slightly softened stick of butter (1/2 cup)

Mix together until topping resembles course sand.  
Pour on top of unbaked apple pie.

**preheat oven to 425.  When pie goes in oven, reduce to 325 and
bake until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through.

Random Randomness

A few bits of info I’ve been wanting to pass along your way, not exactly enough to warrant an entire post on one subject, but for sure things you might want to read or check out!

two shoes 1 Simple Way To Prevent Injury By Amy Livesay [I have found this to be so true and helpful for me in my fitness endeavors]


comfort food nprComfort Foods May Not Be So Comforting After All from NPR [Really interesting!  Are you a comfort food gal?  What is your go-to comfort food?]


chicken broth From The Nato'sHomemade Chicken Stock From The Nato’s [I’m a big fan of homemade stock, and this is a great recipe…so try it and I’ll be sharing some more of my recipes soon that use homemade stock]


target skinny jeansThese skinny jeans are from Target and called “Curvy Fit” and they are perfect for girls that are bringin’ bootie back as Meghan Trainor would say.  I still want to lose 10-15 more lbs, and so I’m not ready to spend a lot on a pair of jeans.  Through today they are $20.99 if you use Cartwheel.  And thanks to the “curvyness” factor, I was able to buy the smallest size I’ve ever bought.  holla!  (I do think they run long though, so beware if purchasing online).


spider infested homeIf you struggle with gratefulness regarding your home–perhaps it’s smaller than you’d like, or older and more out-of-date than you would hope for, or you want a new kitchen, blah blah blah blah, you’ll suddenly be grateful for your home just the way it is after you read this crazy story about a spider-infested home.  EEK!


I am so glad that a friend shared this awesome math website with me.   I want my kids to be super duper smart when it comes to doing math in their head (without paper–you know what I mean), and the first step is being able to efficiently do basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, & division, and quickly.  This website will do basic math drills, keep track of your child’s progress….and it’s free.  And I’m in love.

That’s all for this week.  What are you doing this weekend?  I have some playoff baseball and college football on the mind!

XOSJ

The Death of Denim and the Danger Of Leggings

Did you click through on this post because you thought I was going to tell you they were ugly?  Or immodest?  Or not flattering?

Nope. That’s not my deal.  If you are looking for a post to bash leggings, it’s not here.  I actually think they are cute!  If you are looking for someone to tell you when you should or should not wear them, you’ve come to the wrong spot.  Because I am no fashionista.

But I am going to give you fair warning about the leggings.  I read an article in the Huffington Post about how denim jeans sales are falling for the first time ever, and that Levi had to lay off workers, and re-vamp their product line to appeal to a new generation of ladies that are not wearing jeans.  Why?  Because of the lovely legging.

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The denim jean has always been a staple in this culture, and I think it will continue to be a staple (though these days it seems to be higher-waisted slim jeans instead of low-waisted boot cut), but the jean is currently taking a beating.  In some parts of the market, sales are down 34 percent.  That’s a lot.  Leggings are ranked as the most popular trend, thanks to the new style, coined “athleisure”–clothes with stretch that work inside and outside the yoga studio or gym.

It’s true.  When I go grocery shopping, half of the ladies on an average weekend morning are in their Lululemon workout gear, from head to toe.  Perhaps it’s because they just came from the gym, but I don’t think that’s always the case.  It’s just cute, trendy, and a-ok to go out and about in your “athleisure”.

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I am in the same boat most days, and I have to admit, there’s nothing more comfy than a pair of leggings and a sweatshirt.  Especially cozy this time of year.  And you can change your flats into booties, and BAM!  Night on the town.

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So, what’s the problem you ask?  Leggings are:

// comfy.

// cozy.

// feel like you are wearing your pajamas all day, except you can look trendy and cute, instead of looking like you just rolled out of bed.

// affordable. (goodbye 7 For All Mankind, hello $20 leggings!)

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Herein lies the problem.  A life lived athleisure pants is a life of bliss–for awhile.  Why?

Because your leggings always fit.

Yep.  There’s not an area where your butt must fit…so if you gain a few pounds, no biggie, right?  The lycra stretches.  If you eat one too many pieces of candy corn, or have a few too many pumpkin spice lattes (read my rant on those here), you probably won’t notice in your stretch pants.  There’s no zipper to call you accountable.  No tight waistline to call attention to your habits.  There’s nothing to reign you in.  I would venture to guess it would take a solid 10lbs or more before you would notice your leggings getting tight.

Am I a total buzzkill?  Yeah, probably.  But the truth is, Americans are terribly obese and gaining weight at a rapid pace each year.  I completely understand that it’s hard to keep weight under control.  I really really do.  But adding lycra to our jeans and ditching our fixed waistline pants all together may just be another piece of the obesity puzzle.

Am I calling out for you to throw out all of your leggings?  NO WAY!  But what I am saying, is be aware.  Do continue to incorporate non-stretchy pants/skirts/trousers into your wardrobe, if for no other reason than accountability.

I have heard several people jokingly say that wearing around yoga pants all day is like wearing a pair of “give up” pants.  You are giving up on holding yourself accountable.

So, continue to rock your leggings, but don’t give up.  Keep yourself in check and be mindful, and remember: the problem with leggings is that they always fit.

Much love to y’all.

XOSJ

PS GO CARDINALS!

**all these photos were found on Pinterest. Unfortunately, it’s really hard to figure out the original source. If you search “legging style” you’ll see many of these photos. If you can find the original photographer, please let me know 🙂

I’m Back In The Groove–Fall Party

I got out of my blogging groove.  First it was no internet, then we got the internet back, but I was getting ready for a fall party.  I like hosting an event, because it gives me a deadline to finish up projects and cleaning.  I need deadlines!  Anyway, it was our first time to host a fall event, but hopefully we will do it every year.  It was just a small casual group, and I was too busy hanging out and taking care of business to take as many pictures as I would have hoped…but here’s our first fall party–done on a modest budget, but still hopefully pleasing to the eye.

I made some simple signs (with help from the boys) with chalk paint and scrap pieces of wood.

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There’s something so charming about pale orange and white pumpkins. They all came from a local nursery, Strawberry Hill, and my favorite grocery store, Hy-Vee (P.S., local friends, they had some amazing pumpkins at wonderful prices, if you have not bought any pumpkins yet)

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I made little food labels from scrap pieces of old barn wood that were leftover from making our farmhouse table.

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Nathan smoked some wonderful pork & chicken.

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The table cloth is just basic yards of fabric that I’ve had for several years that are measured and cut to fit our two tables.  I didn’t even sew hems on these.  The long sides are just the finished edges of fabric and after several washes, all sides are frayed to finish 🙂
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Hopefully everyone had a good time…I know we did!!!

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I am kicking myself for not getting photos of the scene in the evening, when the lights were illuminating everything so beautifully.  Also, no photos of my apple pies!  Tutorial on my pie coming soon though.

Hope you have a happy week and are enjoying fall.

I’m off the grid

So Friday I was driving away from my home and I saw a century link fellow messing with the box at the end of our street. I thought, “that man does not look like he’s confident in what he’s doing. I wonder if our internet will work when we get home”

Well, it does not. I ignored it until Nathan decided to deal with it. I have a window of “sometime on Tuesday” when they will come and look at it… But  I wanted to let you know something that could not wait until Tuesday.

My friend is having a great giveaway on her blog. You need to go read her post on marriage and enter asap. Asap, as in right now.

It’s http://everyonewasstaring.blogspot.com

I think this is the direct link:

http://everyonewasstaring.blogspot.com/2014/09/marriage-encounter-and-giveaway.html?showComment=1412032830280&m=1#c857237396304016408

Now, here to hoping this loads to my blog from my phone, while at soccer practice. *fingers crossed*

And even more fingers crossed that Mr Internet man is more proficient tomorrow than he was last Friday.

xosj