Fresh Strawberry Pie

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A few months back I took the kids strawberry picking. This is an activity we do every year when the U-pick em’s open up. While we were picking Dakota was listing all the things we could make with our strawberries. Then I hear, “Momma, I want a strawberry pie. Can you make a strawberry pie?” So of course I say yes, because I can’t say no to him. And there began our strawberry pie challenge.

When I am making something new, I usually read several recipes and then mix and mingle them together to accommodate it to my family’s taste or to my pantry supply.

The original recipe is from 2006 Taste of Home Annual Recipes, but this is my version of it.

Fresh Strawberry Pie

1 pre-made pie crust, frozen or refrigerated. I used the refrigerated Pillsbury pie crust.

1 package of cream cheese, softened

2 tbs sugar

1 tbs milk

Fresh strawberries about a quart, sliced

1 container Sugar free Strawberry Glaze, my kids grabbed the sugar free when I sent them to get it. I couldn’t tell the difference.

1)Preheat oven to 450

2) Unroll your pie crust and place in your pan. Trim edge and flute. Line unpricked crust with heavy duty foil.

3) Bake for 8 minutes, remove foil and bake 7 minutes longer. Cool completely.

4) Beat cream cheese, sugar and milk in a small bowl until smooth.

5) Spread over the crust and arrange strawberries on top.

6) Spread Strawberry Glaze over the top and chill until serving.

Young bucks nowadays

I’m 32 years old and really the only thing I have accomplished in my life is being a mom. I never went to college. I never traveled the world. I never had any dreams or aspirations because I never thought I could reach them. So I just didn’t. And now at 32 years old, I struggle to know who I am and feel as though I am just watching the world go by.

Then I see a young 19 year old. Who is top of the class at culinary school and is just letting the opportunities pass by. They’re right there in arms reach, a hand starts to reach for it, then hesitates and draws back. The 19 year old and the chip on the shoulder settles with many excuses to go around about why not now.

My question exactly WHY NOT NOW?

Why not go to London and cook at a 5 star restaurant? Life back home will still be there.

Why not go and intern with Graham Elliot from Masterchef in Chicago? Home will still be here.

Why not take a leap of faith and explore the world? Family will still be here.

I am just a low man on the totem pole home cook, but I would jump at those opportunities. Going to culinary school alone, would make me over the moon! But to have these kind of opportunities is amazing and once in a lifetime opportunities.

So to all the young bucks, children, kids or teenagers! Take it from someone who wishes she made more of her life. Just a little friendly advice or encouragement.

I wish I had the opportunities you have or will have in your lives. Don’t be afraid to go out there and explore this world. Yes, it will be scary. But take that leap. Take as many opportunities that come your way. Go to London to cook with a 5 star restaurant. Or go to college in another state where they have 4 seasons. If you fall in love with that place, don’t be sad that you left us behind because we will still be here cheering you on. Leave the nest and spread your wings. Don’t ever settle in life. Make your life what you want it to be.

I wish I had to opportunity to live in a different state or country. To experience a new culture and see new things.

I wish I had a career goal and knew what I wanted to be and went for it.

I wish I had some passions and just went for it.

It’s not going to be easy but life never is. Things may not always work out how you pictured, but life never does.

In the end, you will make mistakes and you will live and learn. And you will grow!

But at least you lived your life, instead of watching it pass you by.

Because no matter what path you choose, you always end up where you need to be.

Home.

Family

 

Here comes the chicks…..

Now that our babies are getting bigger and have their feathers coming in, I am able to give them proper names to fit them and their personality.

Introducing our flock……

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This is Big Bertha. She is the oldest by a few days and the biggest of our chickens.

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This is Luna. It took me forever to come up with a name for her. She is starting to get more comfortable with me and will jump on me every once and a while.

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This is Precious. This one belongs to Brianna. Which is appropriate because she is the same age as Luna but so much smaller, just like her owner.

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Twinsies! They were easy to name because they are always into something. Thing 1 is at the top, she has a smaller and lighter colored beak. Thing 2 at the bottom, much larger beak and even has some black lines running through it.

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This is Speckles. This one belongs to Alissa. UMMM I am not sure what it is; girl or boy! But it’s pretty.

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This is Nutmeg. She has adopted herself as mine. When she sees me, she finds a way to jump on my back. She likes to look me eye to eye and talk to me. She is a gossiper.

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This is Midnight. She too has become a Momma’s girl. Her and Nutmeg like to fight over who sits where on Momma’s back.

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This is Ninja and in case you can’t tell; yup he’s a rooster. No eggs from this little fellow. He belongs to Cailin. And she changed his name from Fizzy to Ninja when he started running around and karate kicking the other chickens. Now before you say what happened to his feathers. It’s okay; He is a Frizzle chicken. Let me just say if anyone was going to pick the odd ball of the bunch it was going to be Cailin. And she is very proud of herself.

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Last but not least, Lil Baby. This one was named by Dakota. He took a liking to the youngest of the group. I am 95% sure Lil baby is a rooster. But he is so darn cute!

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Look at that he could be a chicken model! Adorable!

So here they are! We have had no health problems and they are the highlight of our day. Someone is always checking on them, feeding them snacks or thinking of something new to make for them. It really has been a fun family project.

 

 

 

Family Dinners

Growing up, my parents were divorced and working. So instead of splitting my time between Mom and Dad, I went from one grandparents house to the other. Now most people say their grandparents were the ones that always had family dinners. Well not mine. I grew up in the age of TV dinners. You know those fantastically, nasty trays of food that you could cook in 2 minutes and eat while watching your favorite show. So most of the time that is what happened. And I have to admit, in the beginning of my Mommy years, I let my kids do the same thing.

Then one day it all changed. We just moved into a house that actually had a dining room. And so our tradition began. Every night, with a few exceptions, we eat dinner at the table as a family. I’ll admit at first it was just a way to keep my white rug looking nice. But now it has become a tradition. A moment in time where we can all sit around and talk, joke and laugh. Or in my son’s case to have the attention of everyone in the house at one time. It’s hard to get him to be quiet long enough to stick some food in his mouth. But that’s okay because we are together.

But being a homeschooling family and eating almost 3 meals a day together, we now have family breakfasts and lunches sometimes.

Sometimes I am that cool mom that says yes you can enjoy pizza with a movie.

On holidays the kids get the TV table, so the adults can talk and eat in peace, but it’s still as a family.

Very rarely is there a constant flow of people in and out of the kitchen eating.

I am hoping that my kids will pass on these little traditions to their children. Family dinners are essential to knowing about your child and what is going on. We don’t always talk sometimes we are way too tired. But being around each other is comforting. Like a blanket on a cold day. It’s knowing your family is there no matter what.

 

I’m Southern and I can’t bake biscuits!?

I was born and raised Southern. But no matter what I do, I can’t bake biscuits! I have tried! And I can’t!

Every Southern Gal or Guy should be able to whip up a batch of homemade biscuits. It is a staple at meals in every southern home. But I can’t! And it’s frustrating!

I don’t know if I knead the dough to much. Or roll it out too much. I don’t know if I am suppose to use a rolling pin or if I am suppose to pat it out with my hands.

WHY? you ask. Because my mom, grandma or grandmom should have taught me right. Because that is what all good Southerners do. WELL…..they ain’t southern. I am only second generation born and raised southerner. And I am only half at that because my Dad was born….somewhere not in the south….because I don’t remember right now. But I know it was not in the south.

Anyways. My grandparents on my Dad’s side is from Illinois and my grandparents on my Mom’s side is from Jersey. And before anyone ask no I can’t make pasta from scratch either (though I might be able to but never tried).

Back to biscuits, it is embarrassing to buy a bag of frozen premade biscuits when you want some because you can’t make them.

Look here is the list to qualify as Southern:

Sweet Tea~ check

Cornbread~ check

Grits~ check

Chicken and Dumplings~ check

Biscuits~ NO!!!

So if anyone can help me out with some tips or a recipe. I am determined to learn how to make biscuits this summer. Though after all my attempts, my family may never want to see a biscuit again. BUT BY GOLLY, I am going to do it!

Here is my last sad attempt.

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It was a Bobby Deen recipe.

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Decent Flavor. But not light and fluffy at all.

Help!!!

Desperately Seeking good biscuit making tips.

Building our coop deville

As my husband puts it, I put the cart before the horse. I bought the chickens and then looked for a coop only to realize that all of the reviews were awful. I wanted something nice that would hold up more than 6 months. And then when I bought 6 more chicks, well it sealed our fate. We were building a coop.

Before I even got home with our new babies, my hubby had already found and print out of one he liked and was making a material list. Luckily, he was between jobs and had the time or else I am not sure what we would have done. After that we were off to Lowes for one of our 2-3 hour shopping trips.  That place is the equivalent of a mall to my hubby.

By the time we got home, we only had enough time to get the outline laid out.

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Day 2: The girls and I dug out all of the grass and leveled the dirt while Hubby was working. When he got home, we laid some hardware netting and rocks under the timbers for support where the ground was uneven.

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Day 3: I didn’t get any pictures because I had a lunch date with some family from out of town and then we had a severe storm come through. But the kids basically painted all the roof support beams and hubby started cutting and assembling. All of this was done in the his workshop since we knew we had bad weather coming.

Day 4: After a very early morning run to Lowes for more material,  we finished painting all of the structure pieces and started assembling in the yard.

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Day 4 was Easter so I was busy in the kitchen and didn’t get pics. But all we got done was painting the coop.

Day 5: we were making doors and painting them and adding the trim around everything.

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Day 6: We added the hardware cloth around the outside except where we are putting the entrance door.

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We had to take a break because Hubby had an important job he needed to work on. But after a couple weeks off, we were back at it to finish it up. Which is good because my chicks weren’t so little anymore and were trying to fly the coop. (Haha)

 

Gravel in chicken coop

Finally, we were able to get some gravel to put on the bottom. It was more like dirt and some rocks but it works.

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Then we put in a top layer of sand to complete the run area.

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We also  finished up the ramp and added our roosting poles to the inside.

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Now to test it out…..

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Success! The chicks loved their new home. Of course right now, I only put them out in the daytime and then bring them in the house at night. I am still protective of my little babies.

 

 

 

Ford Funny Farm

 

 

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When we decided to move out to the country 7 years ago, my Grandpa and I always talked about having a garden and chickens. Grandpa passed a few years ago, but I feel like I am honoring him by enjoying the things he wanted us to do together.

 

I started a garden last year and it did okay. But this year, I expanded it and did A LOT more research to know what I am doing. I am really good at growing tomatoes until the plant all of a sudden dies on me. That’s okay. Learning is living. More on my garden in another post.

 

And a couple weeks ago, I decided that I needed some chickens. So the kids and I loaded up in the car and headed to Tractor Supply.

DSC_0237We got 6 to begin with.

 

DSC_0240Look at Justice, our cocker spaniel! Such a good momma, unfortunately someone forgot to tell him he is a boy. It drove him crazy not to be able to get to the chicks.

 

 

Then a few days later, I went back to get something else and instead got 6 more. I couldn’t resist! They were so cute!

DSC_0298 We did lose 2 of the smaller ones. But the rest are doing great.

 

I have a confession to make! I am not a bird person at all. I mean to the point where I fear when groups are flying over me that they are going to poop on me. Or attack and peck my eyes out. You know lovely thoughts like that. I have never owned chickens and neither has Hubby. So why would I decide to raise chickens?

The eggs, of course. I get about 3 dozen fresh eggs from my neighbor every 1 1/2 to 2 weeks. They only charge me a $1 a dozen. But there for a while, something was getting their chickens and they were running low. I felt bad asking for the eggs. And the farm fresh eggs in the store are outrageous in price.

Another reason was for my special needs daughter. I noticed that unless someone had a job for her or wanted to do the same things as her, she would just lay around and sleep all day. She had no initiative to get up and find something to do. She had no hobbies except watching TV. She wouldn’t play with any of the toys we got her. She just laid there on the couch and slept. So I thought by getting chickens it would give her some responsibilities. She is an animal lover so maybe this will be good for her.

 

I have to admit,  I do find their little chirps to be soothing and relaxing. It wasn’t as hard as training a dog and easier than a kitten because they stay contained in one area.

 

At first, Hubby acted like he wasn’t thrilled with the idea. It took me weeks of convincing before he said whatever you want.  But when I brought home the first 6, he was really interactive and interested. He likes to try to get them to stand on his hand. When I brought home the second bunch, he decided we were building a chicken coop. But that is another post.