Thursday, June 28, 2012

Going Offline for a Short Time

Because of some re-arranging of house and furniture, etc. I am going to be taking our computer offline for an unknown amount of time. If you need to get in touch for anything, I can be reached at 662.801.1755. I always return calls even though I do not immediately answer the call.

Anyone that is interested in soap or eggs can always call and arrange pick-up/drop-off with us.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer, I think this is great timing for me to get a much needed break from too much computer use, and get some much needed time doing projects with the kids and around the house.

See you all soon!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Two Years Old...

Happy Birthday Evelyn!

 Our sweet baby girl turns 2 today!

One year Old
What a complete joy she has been! I have to admit she was a big surprise for us and after having three boys we were a bit apprehensive about entering the world of princess and the life of girl. 

About 15 Months: All dressed
and ready for Tea.
It has been wonderful getting to know this beautiful, bright, energetic, little bundle since we brought her home from the hospital. She has us all wrapped around those short, chubby little two year old fingers. 
About 18 Months: Loves her
pretty princess dress
 Even the boys have fallen under her manipulative little spell. Her smile and the twinkle in her eyes has just captured all our hearts. 

21Months Old: Sword Play
She is all girl(well mostly at least)she is all about pink and princess, loves her babies and playing tea. She can even get the boys(Daddy included) to sit and play tea party or have a picnic. She doesn't like bugs and is very cautious around the critters that the boys bring home...but she can sword fight like a seasoned veteran and loves digging in the dirt, exploring in the woods, and helping in the garden.
23 Months: Garden Helper

20 Months: Daddy Love
Evelyn loves her Momma it's easy to see, because she is never far from my side or my lap, but she knows she has an extra special place in her Daddy's heart and it is very obvious. It is so very sweet to see the two of them together. She has a very special love for her daddy and I love watching the two of them interact. 

23Months: Happy Smiles
This past year it has been lots of fun to watch her grow from the wobbly little tot to the sweet little girl who loves to dance and twirl into the kitchen when she needs to make an entrance. She has started talking a lot later than the boys did. Probably because she was so good at directing everyone to what she needed with just a look, but in the past few weeks she has been picking up so many new words. Her quest for new words is really cute too. She brings things to us so that we can tell her what they are then she tries to repeat the words. This week colors are her favorite thing to explore. I think her favorite is least that's the one she says the most.

23Months: Evelyn Loves
her Papa
Love and Birthday Blessings to you our little girl. Thank you for two beautiful years and many more in the future. You have made our life brighter, funnier, and happier just by being here. You are smart, witty, charming, and loving, full of sweetness and so very cuddly. We love you.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Nothing Says Lovin' Like Blackberry Pie

The fruits of the season, I love this time of year. It is the best time of year for so many fresh fruits and vegetables...especially wild fruits. I remember growing up how much fun it was to go out and find wild blackberries, and pecans, going fishing or crabbing...all in their respective seasons of course.We would pack a lunch and go out for the day armed with lots and lots of old gallon sized ice cream buckets. Yes, there were always the little inconveniences that you always had to deal with...the bugs, the heat, the briers, getting fussed at for being hot, tired and ready to go way too early. These trips always instilled something in us that I will definitely do my best to pass on to my children...a love and respect for nature, a knowledge of where our food comes from, a sense of gratefulness, and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with the harvesting of  food. 

After a day of picking, many times our grandmother was with us, we would go back to my grandparents house and Ma-mom would immediately start working on a pie dough. There was nothing better than unpacking, sorting rinsing and packing all of our finds while the smell of fresh blackberry pie filling was cooking on the stove. So yesterday, since I didn't have quite enough berries to make blackberry preserves, I made a pie like Ma-mom would have made. 

So Back to the subject at hand:

The Pie!
Blackberry Pie

Pie Filling:
5-6 cups of bzlackberries

1/2 - 3/4 cup of sugar (depending on the sweetness of the berries and your personal taste.)
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
3 table spoons of corn starch(or other thickener)
a little water

Pie Dough:
2 1/2 cups of flour
1 cup of butter cut into small chunks
1/4-1/2 cup of ice water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract(optional)

Make the filling: On the stove combine the sugar, water and lemon juice and cook and stir on low heat until sugar is melted. Add the berries bringing to a boil and cooking until the water is reduced. Add the corn starch mixed with a little water and stir until it comes back to a boil and thickens. Set aside to cool a bit.

Make pie dough: Put flour in the mixing bowl and add small chunks of cold butter cut the butter in with two knives or a pastry cutter(or use a food processor for that step) until it reaches the consistency of a coarse cornmeal.  Slowly add the water just until it comes together and forms a ball you may or may not need all of the water. Chill the dough up to an hour to let the butter cool and the gluten in the flour relax. Cut the dough in half and leave half in the fridge until you use it. Roll out the bottom crust  and put it into the pan. Add the pie filling. Roll out the top crust if you want to make it decorative you can use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes, or cut out strips and make a lattice top by weaving the pieces on top.

Bake the pie at 350 degrees F. until the crust is just beginning to brown on the edges, about 15 min. depending on your oven.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Foraging in the Woods Today

Today Nathan discovered that the Farkle Berries(Sparkle Berry, Tree Huckleberry) were beginning to ripen, so we went on a foraging expedition around our woods.

 It took a while to figure out exactly what kind of berry we had and to find out if they were even edible...But I am almost positive that it is a Farkle Berry. 
As far as the edible-ness of them, we like them. They are blueberry like, a little tart, a little sweet, not lots of flavor, but fun to pick and great for wildlife. 

The tree is very attractive all year round. The leaves are green shiny and oval and they often turn orange and red in the keeps some of it's leaves even in the winter. 
The bark is a peeling type that is smooth and redish-orange. In the spring bunches of little bell/lantern shaped flowers hang from the branches and the fruits start to ripen in early June just like blueberries. The trees are full of many tiny green fruits right now that the kids are anxiously waiting to ripen so that they can pick. 

We used some of them yesterday in a fruit salad that we made with peaches, plums, and a sprinkle of the berries for color. I think the rest of them will be made into muffins.

In addition to our farkle berry find, we also picked up a few blackberries, and some wild cherries. Sadly, there really aren't enough blackberries to do much with except eat off of the branches, and most of the cherries are so high in the tree that we just can't get to them, but the birds are really enjoying them. So we are enjoying the ones that we could reach and hope to find more soon. If you look closely in the cherries Nathan also found a pint sized friend for us to play with for a while.