Monday, April 18, 2011

Snicker Doodle Cookies

Yesterday Grann sent home cookies with the girls. They were with their daddy and were on their way home but stopped to visit a bit. She packed  up some goodies like she always does, this time is was snicker doodle cookies.
Today they are having the snicker doodle cookies as an after school snack with a tall glass of ice cold milk. The girls  have a good bit of homework to do and I am sure Grann's cookies will be gone by the time they are finished (I tucked a few of them away for Spencer).
 I remember the first time I made snicker doodle cookies. I was about ten years old, the age Natalie is now. My parents gave me a cookbook for Christmas. It was red and white gingham and was full of recipes, easy recipes to learn to cook by. This was the first recipe I picked to bake. I remember mom helping me make them the first time. My favorite part about the cookie was the cinnamon and sugar on top.

Grann also sent home her recipe box home with Jerome and the girls yesterday. I can't wait to make some of her recipes and to put this book together.

~Amber Hope

Thursday, April 7, 2011


About this time of year is when we start seeing big red juicy strawberries at the grocery. My kids love strawberries. I can barely have the strawberries washed and sliced before my kids are in the kitchen filling their bowls full of them.
We plan to garden this year. We have three square foot garden spaces set up so far. One of them will be only for strawberries, lots and lots of strawberries. The rest of the spaces for vegetables. I can't wait to start planting and see strawberries like this come out of our garden that we planted ourselves.

One of our favorite things to make is strawberry lemonade. It makes me anxious for summer to arrive.

Strawberry Lemonade

4-6 lemons, enough to equal 1 cup of lemon juice
1-1 1/2 c. sugar syrup (recipe follows)
16 oz. container of strawberries, cleaned and hulled
1 quart sparkling water
strawberries to garnish
Juice the lemons to get 1 cup of lemon juice. Blend the strawberries and 1/2 c. of the simple syrup in a blender until smooth. Strain to remove the seeds. Pour lemon juice, strawberry puree, 1/2 c. simple syrup, and sparkling water into a pitcher. Add more simple syrup if needed to achieve the sweetness you like. Add ice and chill.
Recipe: Sugar Syrup
1 part sugar to 1 part water
Combine sugar and warm water. Stir to dissolve sugar.
~Amber Hope

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sunday Afternoons

"When I stopped seeing my mother with the eyes of a child,
     I saw the woman who helped me give birth to myself."

This is a cherished picture I have of my mother and me. I could tell from the swinging bridge far in the back of the picture that this was taken at my Great Granny and Grandpa Saunder's house. I asked my mom the history of the picture, I explained that there was the initials "FC" on the back, which I knew were for my grandma's name. 
She told me that this was probably taken on a Sunday afternoon. She often visited Granny and Grandpa on Sunday afternoons and so did Sis and her children. I could hear when she was telling me about Sunday afternoons that that was a memory she cherished.

I originally started Heirloom Stories to keep family recipes in. I want to give something special this Christmas and it started with wanting to collect family recipes and turn them into a book to give as a gift. It started with my husband's grandmother but then I realized for myself that I wanted a book with my family recipes too. So I decided to combine them and start here, right here on this blog. There are so many memories I have of summer family reunions, camping at Watoga, family get togethers at Christmas and simple little moments that are special. I want to remember all of these, I want to share these memories with my children and hope that someday they will share these memories with their children.

After going through some family pictures I decided that I could not devote this blog only to recipes. Yes, a lot of things are remembered through heirloom recipes in the family, such as my husband making cookies with  Grann in her kitchen and my Great Grandpa Saunder's always having something special made when we visited. But there are those other memories that aren't kept with recipes. Memories of playing on the merry go round at a family reunion with all of my cousins and my grandpa spinning us while we laughed and yelled at him to push us some more. Memories of holidays and my mother sewing in the late hours of the night making us beautiful dresses that matched perfectly. These are also the things I want to remember and for my children to remember and someday share.

But for today, today it starts with this little picture I cherish of my mother and me. The way she is looking at me and smiling, her gentle hands around me holding me close and the way she has me all dressed up from the little yellow dress to the patten leather shoes. My mother is someone I love very much. Someone I know helped me become the woman, wife and mother that I am today. 

Thank you Mom, for raising me in a loving, Christian home. Thank you for being my mom. I love you.

~Amber Hope

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ice Milk Aprons

I love these aprons, such a timeless look to them. There are so many different styles to choose from but I believe this one is my favorite, rollings of cinnamon full apron. I hope to soon have one hanging in my kitchen!

 These two aprons are also a favorite, pecan orchard pleasantries and vanilla churned sundays.

I can just imagine all the family recipes I could be baking in these aprons.

The aprons are beautifully made, and the idea of the heirloom kits that come wrapped in a mason jar with a heritage tag, apron story and recipe cards is wonderful.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Vintage Pillow Case Dresses

The birds outside my window are chirping, there is a  breeze blowing and my neighbor is cutting his grass. It feels like spring outside finally.  The winter days have gone and I hope the warm, sunny days decide to stay. Pretty soon we'll be loading the car up for vacations, running through the grass barefoot, eating melting popsicles in the summer heat.
The picture of Natalie and Katie above is from a trip to Camp Lejeune where Jerome was stationed for medical hold after his return from Afghanistan. Onslow Beach was something the kids and I looked forward to on many of our trips down to Camp Lejeune to see their daddy.
I knew I wanted to get some pictures on the beach to remember these days. I spent that morning sewing these dresses for the girls. There wasn't a lot to do in the tiny cramped room while waiting on Jerome to be released for the day. The kids ate cereal while they watched cartoons and I spent that morning sewing these dresses. I'm glad I did. These are some of my very favorite pictures of them.

Pillow Case Dress Directions

Materials Needed:
-vintage pillow case (cases with detailing or lace on the open side lend interest to hemline)
-fabric (approx. 1 yard), scarf or any other type of fabric if you do not want to use a vintage pillow case
-matching thread
-seam ripper
-grosgrain ribbon

1. Cut neckline: pillow case's opening becomes dress bottom.... cut along the closed seam at top, to open for neckline.
2. Cut armholes: lay pillow case flat and mark measurement with a pencil for a diagonal cut. First mark 2 inches from side seam towards the neckline on both sides. Next mark 3 inches from top of side seam down each side. Use a ruler to connect your marks on both sides and cut out triangles.
3. Fold over armhole's raw edge 2x. Pin. Sew.
4. Fold over neckline 2x (creating a channel wide enough for ribbon). Pin and sew.
5. Feed ribbon through front and back neckline and adjust to fit on child. 
6. Depending on the style of pillow case and size of child, you may want to add slits on the bottom sides.

For the dresses I made my daughters, I used white vintage fabric and kept several different colors of ribbon hanging in the closet with the dress, to change in the dress whenever I wanted to. Another little tip to run the ribbon through the seams of the dress is to use a bobby pin, attach it to the end of the ribbon and pull through. That was a tip my mother gave me when making these dresses. 

~Amber Hope

Thursday, March 31, 2011