(this is a post that should have been sent out forever ago. but it wasn’t. you’ll live.)

A few summers ago, my mom put all of our stuff in her garage and told us to come get it or she was going to set fire to it.

Let me splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

Throughout the years I kept a lot of stuff. And then I got married and started traveling, so we stored some stuff at my parent’s house. Then, after a while, we lived in a house that wouldn’t sell, so my parents moved into that house, and we just left our stuff in the attic. My poor parents not only moved my stuff with them each time they moved, but now they inherited my attic stuff.

So my mom wanted to have a bonfire.

Of course, most of that stuff was totally not worth keeping, except for maybe my many love letters and my thighmaster.

Anyway, we went through box after box of memories until we came across one that was amazing. It was Brad’s Dad’s collection of vinyl records. These were definitely going home with us.

Except we didn’t have a record player. My brother has it. It’s the one we had as a family and usually only played on holidays or listened to baseball games on while I fell asleep on a huge  dining room wingback chair. And it’s the one I stole money out of to give to my mom to help her pay bills.

Long bitter story about that. Still working that one out with fear and trembling.

Yep,  Jeffie has it. That’s okay though, because I don’t think it even works anymore.

And I have this guy.

I found it on Craigslist for $50. It turns out it’s worth a whole lot more than that.

And all its parts work. All the little lights still blink and the turntable still turns. I even think it still has its original needle. Classic.

Something magical happened when vinyl entered my life.

Something named Frank Sinatra.

I had no idea how much I loved and needed Frank. He brings out the best in people. He makes me want to be a better person. Kids don’t argue when he’s singing. He takes me to a simple and peaceful place.

And he makes me want to wear an apron and bake things.

He also makes me want to walk around with a martini in my hand, but since I bake in the afternoons, that’s probably not a great idea. I’ll just have that olive on a toothpick, pretty please.

Frank made me fall in love with my super ugly kitchen.

And then I came across this. Something about this made sense. It sort of matched my feelings about what I wanted to learn in the kitchen. And it was a pretty color. I bought it for a dollar at the library.

And it had the Family Hostess’ Creed in the front. It seriously doesn’t get any better than this.

Awww, geez. Magnify it and read it.

Okay, that sounded like a command.

So just do it. What?

I brought it home and Torrie and I picked out a cake recipe and made it together. Frank joined us.

It tasted terrible. But it made me super happy. I was using real mom ingredients and that felt right. Now I just needed to improve on the recipes.

And that’s when I met Ree. Ree Drummond, Pioneer Woman. And all the pieces fell into place.

She’s smart. She’s funny. She has 4 kids, just like me. And she showed me how to cook. Literally showed me. Picture by picture by picture.

And she’s from Oklahoma. She gets me.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

More on aprons later. And Ree. Dangit, you stole my idea! Before I even had any.

It’s almost like Jesus holds onto aprons until you grow into them.

Or maybe your Mom does.

I make sense to myself.

That’s all that matters.