Apple Chips

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Apple chips. Baked Apple Slices. Whatever you call them – they. are. delicious!

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If you’re like us, then you’ll go apple picking at least once this fall and find yourself with a large amount of apples. I love to eat them as is but we were searching for a way to use our freshly picked apples above and beyond the standard pie and crisp. We love our mandolin so we thought we’d try making our own apple chips and boy did they come out great. It’s a bit of work to mandolin all your apples and then bake for 2 hours in batches, but the results are just so yummy I think it’s totally worth it.

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Slice your apples with the 1/8″ size on your mandolin and place on a parchment paper or Silpat lined cookie sheet.

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Remove any actual seeds but you don’t need to remove the core.

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Sprinkle with a little cinnamon sugar mixture (for 6 apples we used 2 Tbs sugar and 1 Tsp cinnamon).

Then bake at 225 degrees for 2 hours or more until they get crunchy. A few notes:
- You’ll want to use an “eating” apple for these like a Honey Crisp rather than a “baking” apple like Macintosh.
- We fit 3 cut apples on 2 baking sheets.
- 2 baking sheets don’t fit side by side in my oven so each sheet was on a different rack. To make sure the apple chips baked evenly, we rotated the baking sheets halfway through baking at 1 hour.
- You can use your own judgement on how much cinnamon sugar to add, or don’t use any at all!
- We used one baking sheet with a silpat and one with parchment paper and I would say the apples baked on parchment paper came out slightly better.

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Enjoy!

Tomato Sauce from Scratch

Every year around this time we find ourselves with an overabundance of tomatoes. We grow our own AND we belong to a CSA where we get pounds of tomatoes each week. We eat them in every way imaginable but this year we decided to take the plunge and make something with them we’ve been thinking about making for years….tomato sauce. And you know what? It wasn’t as hard as we thought! Sure, it was hours of work for not much yield (in quantity) but the sauce was quite yummy and seemingly extra sweet due to the fresh tomatoes. We made our sauce with about a dozen saladette tomatoes (plum tomatoes), 4 or 5 regular tomatoes, and a handful of cherry tomatoes because I had some leftover from last week. We went through the process of prepping the tomatoes (see below) and then used our trusty marinara recipe that we always use for our sauce.

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Start by coring the tomato and then cutting and X on the bottom (so it doesn’t burst in the next step).

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Drop a few of your tomatoes into boiling water and let boil for 60 to 90 seconds.

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Take the tomatoes out and put right into a bowl of ice water. Once the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them. The skins will come right off. We then blended about 3/4 of the tomatoes and chopped the rest so there would be some tecture and chunkiness to our sauce. Then we used these tomatoes as we do the canned tomatoes from this recipe.

 

To answer the questions I know you’ll ask:

Did I notice a difference between using canned tomatoes vs. fresh? Definitely. The sauce was sweeter for one thing and a lot more liquid-y so we left it to cook down longer on the stove. You could also taste a freshness to the sauce, if that makes sense.

Was it all worth the extra effort? Ummm, maybe not. We really appreciate the invention of canning after this experience, ha! The sauce was great but it was a lot of work to prep the tomatoes and after using a small amount of sauce to make a healthy eggplant parm we were left with enough for just one other use.

Do you have tons of tomatoes this time of year? Let me know if you make your own tomato sauce from scratch!

Couple Things…

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She did it, my little Z started school. On Monday, there was a little open house to meet the teachers, check out where your cubby is, and see your classroom. I should have known the first day drop-off would be rough as she was saying “I no go school” all Monday morning long, uh oh. But we went, she had fun with the toys and I chatted with her teachers. Then the next day was the first day. She woke up in a mood and once her first day of school outfit was on she refused to let me take pictures, erupting in tears. I let her take over saying we’d go wherever she wanted to take pictures and she opted for our front yard. Then we got to school and the little arm wrapped around my leg and her little voice kept saying “you go school too, mommy. You stay.” Eek. When I told her I was dropping her off it was tears, crying, screaming. One of her teachers came and showed her the play kitchen with play hot dogs and play spaghetti (nothing better!) to take the edge off and then baby M and I made a run for it.

Pick up was a reunion as if we hadn’t seen each other in years and I don’t think she’s ever hugged me so tight with a smile so big.  And 2 days later she went back for her second day with nothing but smiles. Phew!

In other news….

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We squeezed in 1 last beach day with friends.

Our sweet M was baptized, these are flowers from his Godmother.

Proof how great it is to be a toddler – sitting on the coffee table, wearing the dress I bought for her to wear on Christmas (it came in the mail that day and she just had to try it on), reading a catalog of Halloween costumes over and over again…

Baby M doing tummy time with his new lovey (the white one) which is sitting with Z’s old lovey (the pink one) that she got at 6 mos old and was never interested in until 2 days ago when M received a lovey in the mail as a baptism gift. Typical.

Have a great weekend everyone!

7 Facts About Me

There’s a fun little game making its way around the blog world asking bloggers to post 7 facts about themselves. I was nominated by the lovely Carolina of Mama Instincts – have you read her blog where she writes about her motherhood journey and healthy lifestyle? If not, you should! She shares TONS of helpful information and photos of her sweet daughter. Anyway…here goes!

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1. I handmade our wedding invitations – all 102 of them. You know I’m a crafter but making my own wedding invitations was slightly over the top, no? Anyway, I loved how they came out so it was worth all time it took to stamp, emboss, tape, print, fold, and stuff. And if you got one in the mail, I certainly hope you saved it – ha!

2. I had an all black cat named Silky growing up that I lovvvvved. He was the sweetest most affectionate cat ever, no cat will ever be the same (sorry Maxine). He was an indoor cat that occasionally escaped and when he did, I would get so upset. He always came back though, even the time he was gone for like a month and he came back in the middle of the night, mewing at my sister’s 2nd floor bedroom window outside on the roof.

3. I have an addiction to iced tea lemonade, aka Arnold Palmers. Specifically the shaken iced tea lemonade from Starbucks. It’s so refreshing with a slight sweetness from the lemonade! Add a shot of vodka or even iced tea vodka and you have an awesome cocktail.

4. I’ve never seen Star Wars. Any of them. And I don’t plan on ever seeing them.

5. I can’t dive. I used to take swim lessons so I don’t know if I always missed the day when they taught you how to dive but I never learned how. I even had a pool growing up and would occasionally try but it always ended with a face slap of water as I fell in.

6. I am a horrible speller. I am constantly relying on automatic spell check to correct my spelling while typing something. And if I’m really unsure before I send a tweet or write a hand written note I’ll Google the word. Sometimes I’ll ask my husband, but his spelling isn’t much better than mine and then I’ll end up Googling the word anyway.

7. I’ve always been obsessed with taking photos. I was always the one with the camera at every event even when cameras had actual film in them and I have dozens of old photo albums in our basement FILLED with photos from every part of my life. Even now, I take so many photos that I can’t have much else on my iPhone because most of my memory is taken up by photos. It was inevitable that I would have a blog where I share tons of photos, right?

 

Phew, done – that was actually kind of fun! I nominate some other blogs that are my daily reads:

Mree from TwinLiving

Tine from Rules for the Modern Girl

Hilary and Jessica from Domestic Bliss Squared

 

Ps. My Z has recently started taking my phone to take pictures and the one above she took of me earlier this week as I was trying to get her dressed.

Off to Nursery School

We had the big first day of nursery school this week. I could tell my Z was slightly intimidated at the thought of going to “skewl” as we got closer and closer to the date of the first day. One comforting thing for her (and me) is that kids don’t need to be 100% potty trained yet at her school, but they gently push them into going on the potty. And let me tell you – we could use a little help in that department because our Z has had less than no interest lately in going on the potty. Enter Pull-ups. At the first Parents Meeting on the eve of the first day, I confirmed with Z’s teacher that it would be a good idea to send her in a Pull-Up to make trying on the potty even easier.

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So we picked up a package of Pull-Ups with her favorite Disney characters on them (she loves Doc McStuffins, who doesn’t?) and she wore it under her first day of school outfit.

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I even packed an extra in her tiny backpack, I mean – there was nothing else in there anyway.

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The next step we took to potty train her was to sign up for the Pull-Ups Big Kids Academy! It’s a great support system for parents in the potty training process no matter what stage you’re in (thinking about when to start, trying to potty train, or nearly potty trained). Plus there are fun activities and celebrations for your kids. Enroll now and wish us luck on the road to potty training our Z!

*Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Pull-Ups, I received compensation and goods for this post, however all above opinions and thoughts are my very own. Pull-ups are a potty training necessity, we all know that. Thanks for supporting Styled by Jess by clicking through the link(s) above – please and thank you!

Couple Things…

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We had a good week here, finally getting back into our routine after the highs and lows of our summer. Our Z starts school next week so I’m trying to savor the days with both my babies at home with me, however few there have been.  My Z is the most outgoing, friendly toddler I know so we think she’s going to just love school. I wonder if I’ll be a teary mom at drop-off the first official day…I guess we’ll see! I think Baby M will enjoy the one on one time, I notice during her naps when we hang together I seem to get extra smiles and giggles. I’ll be sure to share some first day photos next Friday, but today I leave you with just one photo from our week. We made a batch of the most amazing giant chocolate chip cookies (I just searched my archives to link to the recipe but I guess I’ve never blogged about these amazing cookies – next time!) as part of a thank you gift to the neighbor who drove me to the hospital when I had my accident. I saved some dough for Z to make her favorite M&M cookies, how could I not? She had a tough time waiting until they were cool to try one…

 

Have a great weekend everyone!

DIY Pompom Shirt

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Pompoms have been everywhere this summer as the latest adornment to regular old shirts, dresses, even shorts. I have a cute dress from crewcuts I’ve been wearing recently with pompoms around the armholes, a cute texture to the dress that I love. Well, someone else in this house has taken a liking to pompoms on clothes – I bet you can guess who! Her first day of school skirt has mini pompoms lining the bottom but other than that, we couldn’t find too many items in her size when we did her back to school shopping. So! As any crafty mom would, I decided we’d make our own.

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After stopping into Old Navy for a t shirt (I found this striped one for 50% off) Z, a sleeping M, and I popped into JoAnn’s to get our supplies – they had quite a few pompom color options.

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To make your own pompom adorned clothing item you will need: a shirt (or whatever you want to add pompoms to), pins, needle & thread, and the pompoms. I added a little yellow ribbon to Z’s shirt for more color, too.

diy-pompom-shirt-3Start by pinning your pompom strip to the inside seem of the shirt, then sew. I hand sewed Z’s shirt because I’m a mess with my sewing machine and it was easier for me to hand sew.

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I sewed a stripe of yellow ribbon to the back and cuffed the sleeves so now they’re 3/4″ with yellow ribbon trim, too.

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Here’s the back, so cute and pretty simple to do!

Taking Temps

Kids get sick, it’s a fact of life. As a parent, you always want to figure out what’s wrong with them ASAP so you can begin to make them better. And when you have little, little babies the first step is almost always to take their temperature. But to get an accurate reading, we’ve always done it the good old fashioned way which, let me tell you, is pleasant for no one. So, I was so thrilled to receive a Braun ThermoScan 5 to try out. I had heard this thermometer gives you an accurate result in a matter of seconds, you just slightly stick the prewarmed tip into your ear and press the button. And it turns out it was even quicker, it was maybe 1 second before I got a reading! I decided to take the temperature of both my kids to see how they would react to having their temp taken in their ear and in both cases the process was so quick neither minded at all.

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I mean, have you ever seen a toddler so willing to have her temperature taken?

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And an infant actually smiling while getting his taken?

And ps. you can use this thermometer on adults, too!

*Disclaimer: I received complimentary product in exchange for this review, however all above opinions and thoughts are my very own – this thermometer makes taking the temperatures of kids SO easy.

Goodbye, Summer!

The end of summer is always an inevitable bummer. We had a particularly awesome summer (summer of us) that ended with a big bummer (accident) so we decided to really live it up as best we could on Labor Day weekend. We were down in Newport, RI and made sure to do all of our favorite things…

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One last beach day…

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“mommy, take a pick-cha of my toys…”

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…a picnic at Newport Polo. This wasn’t a huge highlight as it was crazy crowded and both our littles ended up spitting up and my husband and I both got hit…but hey, we hadn’t been yet this summer (we did go last summer too!).

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Walking down Thames Street, popping into shops…

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Dinner at Diego’s our fave Mexican place, I almost always get the quesadilla, Z gets the calamari, and my husband gets the enchilada of the day.

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And last, it was a little breezy some nights so we dressed in some fall fashion to get us in the mood for fall! You were a good one, Summer of 2014!!!