Gingerbread Cupcakes

Here we are at the most wonderful time of the year! Yes, I love all the Christmas things: trees, lights, stockings, nutcrackers, cookies, candy, hot cocoa, family time, fun get togethers, wrapping and giving presents. All the good stuff. It can also get overwhelming and stressful (remind me to tell you about my meltdown over not being able to find my mini gingerbread cookie cutter sometime). I try to not fall into the chaos but there are moments when it doesn’t feel like everything on my list will get finished. Anyone else?

Holiday baking is usually at the top of that long list! It’s in full swing at my house. One of the amazing things about holiday baking for me is that the flavors and smells can transport me to a wonderful memory of a person or place, and make me feel happy, cozy and loved. These Gingerbread Cupcakes are no stranger to incredible flavor and they fill the air with the most delightful smell while they’re baking.

When I was selling baked goods, Gingerbread Cupcakes were one of my most requested holiday orders. Why wouldn’t they be? The cake is a perfectly spiced, molasses and brown sugar concoction of goodness. Then there’s the rich, tangy cinnamon cream cheese frosting. To top it all off is a sweet little gingerbread cookie! So charming and incredibly delicious! You don’t have to choose between a cookie and a cupcake. Have BOTH! You’re welcome!

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I know I always say this but it’s mostly why I love to bake. These cupcakes make great gifts! Teachers, neighbors, hair stylists, and friends will be thrilled with such a fun treat. The day I made these, I ran some out to our mail carrier and she was pleasantly surprised and excited to dig in! I also took some to a friend who’s recovering from surgery. It just so happened, she was feeling a little down that day. I opened the box and six of these adorable fellas were smiling at her and she smiled right back! Bake people happy! Yes!

Let’s get going on making these! The cupcakes include lots of gingerbread spices, eggs, molasses, brown sugar, butter, flour and baking soda (not pictured–water).

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You don’t even need a mixer to whip these up! It can all be done by hand. Melt the butter. Have I ever mentioned we don’t own a microwave? I melt my butter double-boiler style.

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Combine the molasses, brown sugar, eggs and melted butter in a mixing bowl.

Daisy Mae heard me whisking and ran into my “photo studio” to see if I needed help! Sweet beagle!

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Combine the flour, spices, baking soda and salt and add to the wet ingredients. Lots of spices in these! I don’t like a bland gingerbread anything. I want to taste all the spices!

The finished batter will be gooey and smell amazing! Breathe it all in!

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Line the cupcake pan and fill. I like to use an ice cream scoop to fill to make them all even. It’s easier too! Once the pan is full, bake them and let them cool completely.

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Time to make the frosting. I didn’t get a picture of the ingredients before I started mixing. I was a little eager to get these finished so I could eat one! It’s just a basic cream cheese frosting with the addition of cinnamon. My version is included in the recipe below.

Tip: Before I add the cinnamon, I scoop a little out into a small baggie to use for the gingerbread cookies. It’s easy to pipe and I don’t have to make another kind of frosting. 

Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes and top each one with a little gingerbread cookie.

As soon as I put these together, I smile! They truly bring me joy and what could be better than that during this season of hustle and bustle? These guys aren’t in any hurry and I could take a lesson from them!

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Delicious doesn’t even begin to describe how wonderful these cupcakes are. Make them, eat them (while guzzling a cup of coffee) and share them. I promise you’ll be energized to finish all the items on your to-do list! You might even accomplish all the tasks with a smile on your face!

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From the heart,
Shannon

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Gingerbread Cupcakes

Ingredients
Cupcakes (this recipe makes about 20 standard size cupcakes)
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
4 tsp ground cinnamon
4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup molasses
2 large eggs (room temp)
1 cup water

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan/muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar, molasses, and egg.
  4. Add 1/2 cup of the water to the melted butter mixture, then half the dry mixture, and stir. Add the remaining water and dry mixture, stirring until thoroughly combined.
  5. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan.
  6. Bake the cupcakes for 20 to 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the oven, and transfer them to a rack to cool completely.
  7. Frost with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting (below) and top with a gingerbread cookie.
  8. Smile and enjoy the holidays!

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
8 TBSP unsalted butter (room temp)
12 oz. cream cheese (room temp)
8 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon (or to taste)

  1. Combine all ingredients with a mixer until light and fluffy.
  2. Spoon into a pastry bag and pipe onto cupcakes or use a knife to spread the frosting onto each cupcake.

 

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Week 4: Exceeding our goal AND a sneak peek at Rosie!

Hello!  Wow!  At this exact minute, Kickstarter site shows 40 hours remain on our campaign.  Yikes!  We did it, everyone!  I’m so excited and overwhelmed and can’t wait to get out there and bake my heart away!  Our progress went quickly and all the support and words of encouragement have made this such an amazing experience!

  IMG_0417   Progress Halfway   Progress 75  Progress 100

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Today, I went to visit Noah at American Vintage Camper.  I have been dying to see Rosie and want to share all the details with you!  I didn’t really know what to expect but I’m happy with where she is and the plans for the next couple weeks!  Noah told me she will get her beautiful black and white floor tiles today and he’s ready to start covering the exterior and she’ll head to the painter late next week.  I am in the process of ordering all the equipment so Noah can install all the good stuff!  We are really rolling!

This is Noah, the master builder! (sorry it’s a little blurry)

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Here’s Rosie!  This is the service window side.

IMG_0661I had to climb in and get my picture!  Oh my gosh, so amazing!  This will be super fun!

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Here’s a view of the other side.  We’ll have a little door on this side.

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Here’s one more from a different angle of that side.

IMG_0670Seriously, how cute is she?  I can’t wait to see the next phase and share it with you!  I’ll be putting together all the Kickstarter reward info and thank you pages over the next week along with finalizing details for community events I want to be part of. I am so happy you are part of this, thank you!

From the heart, Shannon

We did it (on wonderful timing, too)!

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If you didn’t hear the big SCREAM last night at 10:45 then you are just finding out that WE HIT OUR GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is incredible!! Thank you for all you’ve done to make this happen! We are truly blessed to have so many generous and kind people in our lives! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

Want to hear something really neat?  If you watched our video or if you’ve read our story, you know my grandma was a big influence in my life.  Well, today would have been her birthday!  What a way to pay tribute to someone who touched so many with her cooking and baking!  This dream is about to become a reality and it’s all because of you!  I’m truly touched!

The campaign will stay active until our end date of 3/22/15. Please keep sharing and let’s see how far we can go!

Floured Apron Kickstarter

From the heart, Shannon

New reward level and incentive added!

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We made a slight change to the apron giveaway!  We’ve made a new reward level for a LIMITED EDITION apron!

We’ve connected with a local seamstress who is custom making some adorable aprons for us! We’re really excited to wear them the first day we introduce Rosie to our community!

Our goal is just within reach!

Thank you for your support and please keep sharing–we’re almost there!!!   From the heart, Shannon

Floured Apron Kickstarter Campaign

Week 2: Beyond amazing + Rosie’s sweet name!

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It’s the end of week 2 and we are 89% funded!  See our pan filling up?  I am so excited!  No, I’m WAY past excited!   This has been a magnificent ride!

I am surprised every time I see a new backer.  It’s remarkable that many of the backers are people I know, people I haven’t seen for many years and some are people I haven’t met.  What continues to blow me away are the number of generous, kind hearts out there and it’s an incredible feeling to be part of this Floured Apron family!  It’s not just the financial generosity.  It’s everything from the sweet texts, Facebook and email messages to people I run into and give me a hug and say, “I’m behind you–this is so neat!” to all those who’ve given their hard-earned money.  I will NEVER forget this feeling as long as I live.  It’s difficult to put into words.  Please know I’m touched and enlightened by every single piece of this adventure.   Okay, enough sappy stuff…let’s move on…

Rosie.  I’ve been asked many times how we came up with that name.  She just looks like a Rosie, doesn’t she?

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During the initial discussions with the craftsmen at American Vintage Camper, I mostly talked about what I wanted to do with the camper and what style I was fond of.  I was crystal clear on the design and size and function.  It wasn’t until I stood inside a model of one that I realized the camper was so much more than a hunk of wood and metal. 

I gave my new friend at AVC a check, we shook hands and he began building.  I got in my car and started the 2 hour drive home.  I was full of excitement and fear and every emotion in between!  It dawned on me that this camper would be part of our family (totally crazy!).  As I drove, I realized I wanted a better name than “this camper bakery thing”.  I thought and thought and thought.  I had a few ideas and then the name Rosie came to me.  It had some meaning, so I held onto it for a bit to make sure that was the best name.  I wanted to get this right. 

We are big Cincinnati Reds baseball fans and Rosie Red, one of the mascots, has been a long time favorite!  We have baseball caps adorned with her stylish autograph, we seek her out at games to say hi and grab a hug and just think she’s super classy and really fun!  I mean, look at that cute skirt, those eyelashes and that big smile!  Love her!

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                Han and Carrie     Carrie and Kassie at the game

The roses on our logo were intentionally part of the design.  We love roses for several reasons.

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To pay tribute to our Cincinnati roots and the meaning and fondness for roses, Rosie seemed like the BEST NAME EVER!  It’s sort of retro, it’s cheerful and lighthearted.  All good things. 

I ran the idea past the Floured Apron leadership team (Casey, Hannah and Carrie) and they were on board immediately! It was unanimous that our new family member would definitely be named Rosie!  YAY!

I can feel myself beam every time I say her name!  Try it…Rosie!  You have to say it quickly with a little pep in your voice…Rosie!  I bet you’re smiling!

Until Rosie is up and rolling, let’s keep making progress to our funding goal!  Thank you, again, for your unconditional support and please keep sharing!  Here’s the link.  Let’s make the next 15 days count!

Floured Apron Kickstarter Campaign

From the heart, Shannon

Week 2 (almost): AMAZING!

Progress Halfway

What an AMAZING week!  We are 57% to our goal (a little ahead of the two week mark)!

In the last update I shared so many kind words from many of our backers.  This week I’d like to share a private message I received from one of our new backers:

“More than happy to back floured apron I didn’t get to tell you but your frosting is the only frosting I’ve ever had that tastes like my grandmas, which made me really happy. Super corny but I jut wanted you to know!!  I was honestly so excited and taken aback, sure do miss her! I had the blueberry lemon and I can’t remember what the other white one was I think raspberry in the middle! “

This captures the true essence of what I love about baking and why I am so excited to get out there and share with as many people as I can!

Bake people happy…Rosie can’t get here soon enough!

Thanks to all of you for your support!  I know we can reach our goal!  Please keep sharing and please know your generosity means the world to me!   xoxo

From the heart, Shannon

Floured Apron is going mobile!

You may have heard the news!  We are taking our home based business to the next level this spring!

Meet Rosie (pictured below), our vintage inspired mobile bakery and the newest member of the Floured Apron family.  Now we can share more of what we love with the community we love!  We are so excited!

In the meantime, we are trying to secure additional funding for the equipment we need.  We hope you’ll consider helping us get Rosie to her full potential. 

All the details are available here:   Kickstarter

Share it with EVERYONE and, most importantly, come see us this spring!  Stay tuned for updates on Rosie’s progress and her grand introduction.

From the heart,

Shannon

Rosie Drawing 3

Sweet Thanks

Hello friends!  I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  November flew by for me and I can’t believe tomorrow marks the start of December!  I filled many orders on Wednesday and spent Thursday morning at the Aurora Turkey Trot.  Casey and Carrie participated in the Mashed Potato Mile and many others turned out for the 4 mile run.  It was a beautiful, snowy morning and I was thrilled to have an opportunity to sell goodies at the event!

Turkey Trot 1

This time last year, we were just settling into our house after a challenging move from Cincinnati to NE Ohio.  I didn’t know which end of me was up!  A year later, I’m happy to share this has been Floured Apron’s highest sales month ever!  Woo hoo!  I am touched by the tremendous support of people who have trusted me with their baking needs and many who have opened doors of opportunity.  Thank you doesn’t seem like enough to express my gratitude.

Honestly, I have considered giving up on this business many times, especially, since we moved.  It has been challenging to start over and build a customer base in an area that was completely new to me.  There have been many tears, confusion, frustration and several agonizing moments over business decisions.  What keeps me going on this business venture?  I think it’s a combination of meeting new people, making great friends and fulfilling my passion for baking.  Countless supporters push me to be better and try harder.  Thanks to them, the difficult moments pass and I get to keep doing what I truly love!

Motivation comes in many forms.  For me, it’s receiving phone calls or emails sharing positive feedback.  It’s a wonderful feeling to know I’ve brought a little joy to someone’s life because that’s what sharing food is all about to me.  It’s rewarding and fulfilling on so many levels!  This year, I’ve been fortunate to be part of baby showers, bridal showers, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, rehearsals, shopping events, small business events, baking classes, 4th of July festivities, Halloween parties, office parties, races and Thanksgiving.  Countless pumpkin rolls, pies and cupcakes consumed my November and I couldn’t be happier!

Pumpkin Roll    Apple Pie Nov 2014    Pumpkin Single 2

Thank you SO MUCH!  I hope your support continues because we have amazing plans for Spring and I can’t wait to share all the details!  I’m taking the pursuit of my dreams to the next level and I want all of you to be part of it.  You’re going to LOVE what’s next!  In the meantime, bring on December!  I’m excited to spend time with my daughters baking our favorite holiday treats, decorating the house and simply hanging out!  Enjoy this magical time of year with friends and family and thank you for all you do to make Floured Apron the best it can be!

From the heart, Shannon

Sweet and Sticky Caramel Love

Things have been pretty exciting lately in my little Floured Apron world!  I conducted my first baking class and it was wonderful!  The theme was “Falling for Cupcakes” and I featured my Pumpkin Patch and Caramel Apple cupcakes.  This class was a dream come true for me because I’ve always wanted to share my passion for baking with others.  The women who attended were fun, enthusiastic and so supportive.  I can’t even explain how fulfilling and rewarding this was!

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The prep for this class was the perfect opportunity for me to start my annual caramel making.  As I was making it, I decided to snap some photos so I could share.  I remember the first time I tried making caramel.  It was a disaster because I had no idea what I was doing.  Now, I’m kind of addicted to the process and, of course, the final product!  These pictures aren’t the best because I was trying to take them while I was making it but you’ll get the idea.

Start by heating the sugar and water in a pan on medium-high heat.  Stir constantly!  The sugar will burn (trust me).

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Keep stirring.  You will see some of the sugar begin to turn brown.  Keep stirring.  I promise it will liquefy!

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As the sugar dissolves, you will see it transform to a beautiful golden brown liquid.  Keep stirring.

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Once the sugar is dissolved, add butter and vanilla.  Remove from heat and slowly whisk in heavy cream.
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Once the cream is whisked in and you have the gorgeous color, set aside to thicken for about 15 minutes then refrigerate. It is an absolute must to keep a small spoon near the pan, as it’s cooling, so you can test the temp. 🙂 YUM!

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I love to pour my cooled caramel into jars.  They make great gifts and I keep plenty on hand this time of year so I can make Caramel Apple Cupcakes whenever the urge strikes (which is pretty often).  I also like to eat a spoonful every time I open the fridge.  It’s fall, right?  I gotta do it!  Look at this cute jar full of deliciousness.

Caramel Jar

One of the best things about having homemade caramel around is our Caramel Apple Cupcakes!  These cupcakes are the perfect combination of everything fall…cinnamon, apples and caramel.  They are a mouthful of gooey goodness!  When you finish eating one, you are a sticky mess and it’s wonderful!  Did I mention these are filled with caramel?  I could just drink caramel so the more the better for these little beauties!

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Caramel Apple Cupcakes are available to order now.  Please contact us if you want some for your fall festivities!

Here is the full recipe for the caramel.  I’m going apple picking next week and I can’t wait to make more caramel and apple concoctions!  I’m on a pumpkin kick too, but that’s another post!  Yay for fall!

From the heart, Shannon

Caramel
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon water
12 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temp
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1 cup heavy cream, at room temp

Pour the sugar and water into a large sauce-pan. Heat on medium-high heat and stir constantly until the sugar completely liquefies. After sugar has dissolved, add the butter and vanilla extract to the saucepan and mix thoroughly. Once the butter has melted and the butter and sugar are completely mixed, remove from heat and using a whisk, slowly whisk in the heavy cream until you reach a beautiful golden brown caramel color. Set aside and let cool and thicken for 15 minutes at room temp. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to thicken further before using.

 

Apron Strings Part 3

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This is the third and final post of my Apron Strings series.  I’ve told you how much I adore my aprons but I am crazy about the apron collection we have for Hannah and Carrie!

I have not purchased a single one of these aprons.  They have all been gifts, with the exception of one Carrie made.  This little collection started when Hannah was about 3 years old and has, fortunately, extended to Carrie.

These are sure to bring out the kid in you!  If you haven’t made something in the kitchen with a child, please try it!  If you are lucky enough to have a cute apron, it makes him/her feel extra special so don’t waste another second and make some wonderful memories together!  I am thankful for special baking moments with the girls.  I am also thankful for cute aprons that have served as dropcloths to splattered eggs, flour, batter, dough and anything else that somehow ended up on them.  If these aprons could talk, they’d say most of the baking sessions were full of smiles and kisses.  You just can’t beat it!

Here’s the oldest member of our kid apron collection.  My mom gave this to Hannah when she was about 3 years old.  Hannah thought she was the bee’s knees playing with her toy kitchen while wearing her special apron.  It was a staple for Christmas cookie making!  I have fond memories of her wearing it over her pajamas, sitting on the counter, cutting out sugar cookies.  There are little pieces of velcro on the front that once held bright red oven mitts.  I’m not sure where those are but the idea of velcro to hold mitts on an apron is genius!

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Here is a set of Christmas aprons my mother-in-law gave to Hannah and Carrie.  I’m so glad she gave them matching aprons!  These aprons have seen lots of peanut butter kiss cookies and Hannah’s amazing holiday pizzelles!

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Here is another of Hannah’s aprons.  This one was given to her by our cousin as a Christmas gift about 5 years ago.  I kind of have a thing for snowman stuff and think this is adorable and really wish it was mine!  That snowman face melts me.  Hannah wore this many times when we made snowball cookies (one of her favorites!).  Lots of confectioner’s sugar and lots of deliciousness!

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The same cousin who sent Hannah the snowman apron, sent this Santa apron to Carrie.  So cute, right?  Carrie thought she hit the big time in her very own Christmas apron.  She wore it all day, everyday for weeks.  She seriously thought it was part of her outfit most days of December!  Why would I ever object?  Cutie!

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Carrie Apron 2    Carrie Apron 3

Now, let’s think SPRING!  Casey gave this charming chick to Carrie for Easter the same time he gave me the cute mint green/orange apron featured in Part 2.  First, it’s yellow with lavender gingham ruffles.  Second, it’s a chick!  This apron screams spring!  It is the perfect thing to wear when we make carrot cake!  It also doubles as a prop for our Easter Egg Vanilla Cakelets.

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The next few aprons are really special.  The first may look familiar!  It’s the other side of the matching Christmas aprons above.  This side is a bright red cherry pattern with classic black and white details.  The reversible idea is so clever!  I have also used this pattern as a background for Swiss Meringue (YUM!).

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My mother-in-law gave these to us for Christmas and we can wear our matching cherry side year round.  Here’s mine from Part 2.  I always wanted to get a photo of all three of us in these but never did.  I’m going to work on that this summer because I love that they match!

 

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This apron is so cute!  Carrie made this at Vacation Bible School the year we had a cooking theme.  It’s artsy, fun and one of a kind!  The kids used stamps and paint to make their individual creations.  Carrie’s name completes this apron and it is truly a keepsake!

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The final apron is one Hannah gave to Carrie.  It was from her mission trip I talk about in Part 2.  It’s perfectly endearing and dainty and all things girly.  At first glance, it makes me think dress instead of apron.  Carrie looks adorable in it and it’s my favorite apron on her.  The color makes her eyes look extra beautiful!  The back is just as lovely as the front.  Precious.

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Aprons captivated me at a very early age and I have had a soft spot for them for quite some time.  After putting this post together, I realize how much I cherish each one.  I wish I had more photos of Hannah, Carrie and me wearing them.  The truth is, they are just part of what we do when we bake and I never think to snap a photo of us.  I will try to do that moving forward.  In the meantime, I hope you will share any apron photos you have.  I have seen some really cute ones and plan to expand my collection.  Don’t be surprised to see an Apron Strings Part 4 in my future! 🙂

From the heart, Shannon