Making memories one day at a time.......and then I write about it.

Sunday, January 31, 2010


Mr. C had two bunnies. A momma and her baby. Last week I posted this post. It was horrible. It was sad. It was devestating. And now this week....the same post could be posted.......for the baby bunny.........

Friday, January 29, 2010

Part two of a crusty story and The End!

Now that you've made your pie crust and it's been sitting in the fridge you are ready to make........a pie! Imagine that!

You can make whatever pie your little heart desires. Today, I'm going to show you how to make a blackberry pie since I have a gargantuan amount of blackberries frozen in my freezer.

Now, ideally fresh is better right? But! If it is January.......and you want blackberry pie....frozen works just as well!

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Flour your counter top, table, where ever you're going to roll out your crust. Take the bag of dough and turn it inside out. I know. It looks slurpy and disgusting. Just do it. Run your fingers over the bag to get it all or as much as you can of the sticky stuff.

Knead it into a ball. Knot too much! Just enough so it isn't quite so sticky.

Cut it in half. One is going to be your bottom crust, the other your top crust.

Set one ball of dough aside and make sure you have a cute tummy showing while you're at it. Makes the process easier and more enjoyable.

Start rolling out your bottom crust.

If you place your pie dish on your rolled out dough you can see if you've rolled it out enough.

Pick up your bottom crust and place it in your pie dish. There are different ways of doing this. Some I've seen roll the crust over their rolling pin and then unroll it over their pie dish, I just flop it over my arm.

And then place it over my pie dish.

After you get the crust in your dish you can take a pair of scissors and trim the edges so they are somewhat even. Don't stress over this part or people will think you bought your pie in a store instead of making it. "Homemade" looking is a good thing here! There! Your bottom crust is ready.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch......the filling is ready to be prepared. Now, here's the deal sparky. These berries were frozen so that means when they thawed there was a ton of juice. So, we have to cook the pie a little differently because there is more liquid. I strained the berries but I did leave in some juice. Juice is good!

Sugar. You'll need 1 Cup of sugar.

Pour the sugar into a seperate mixing bowl from the berries for now.

Dump in 1/2 Cup of flour. The recipe calls for 1/4 C. and if I were using fresh berries I'd use the 1/4 C. but because I have more liquid with frozen I'm upping the flour.

Question: Why do we pour in sugar and dump in flour?

Add 1/8 tsp. of salt. I know my measuring spoon says 1/4 tsp. I'm very well aware of that but all of my 1/8 teaspoons (and I have several) seem to be missing and not to steal a line from PW but I can guarantee they truly are out at the ditch or in the sand box. It's a boy thing.......

Lemon juice. You also need 2 TBL. of lemon juice and I'm sorry I didn't get photos of that but you try and pour a liquid into a measuring spoon AND hold a big luggy camera in the other. Try it!

Locate the nearest pirate, it's okay if his hand is missing and all he has is a hook and ask him to stir up the flour mix for you.

Now ask that same pirate to dump the flour mix in with the berries. He'll do it for you! If you ask nice.

Now carefully I tell ya! Fold in the flour mix with the berries. Don't mix! Fold as in go very easy and gently because you do not want to mash your berries. You want them as plump as their shriveled frozeness will allow.

Gently pour your berry mix into your pie dish with the bottom crust.

Take 1 TBl of butter and cut it up into a bunch of pieces. Confession: I never do this so uniformally. Normally I stand over the pie and break off pieces with my fingers and drop them evenly over the pie.

Look! A smiley face!

Take the dough you'd set aside earlier. The second ball and roll it out just like you did the bottom crust. Place it over your pie.

Again, trim your top crust so that it is about an inch larger than your pie dish. Some like it smaller. I really like pie crust so I tend to make mine a little bigger.

Grab both the bottom and the top crust and roll them tucking them down in the pie dish.

This seals the pie so that normally your pie filling will stay tucked away in the pie crust and not ooze all over the place. In theory anyway.....

Again, people tend to crimp their pie crust edges in a myriad of different ways. I just take the edge and place it between my thumb and pointer finger with one hand....

And with my other hand, or a willing pirates, using the back of my other pointer finger make a kind of "V". All the way around.

Now this next part is a must. This makes the crust out of this world delish. Take some milk and brush it all over the top crust.

This is my favorite part! Sprinkle sugar all over the top. Sprinkle liberally!!

As your pie cooks it becomes a living breathing thing. It needs vents. It needs vents so the steam can be released. Once again, everyone seems to have their "design" they like to cut into the tops of their pies. My mom always did a leaf so naturally......

I do a leaf! Throw it into the oven at 450 for ten minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and cook for another 25-30 minutes.

Side note: Because my pies are quite full and deep I cook for literally twenty minutes more. Look at the center of your pie and when you can see it boiling then it is done. Not boiling....add more time.

When it is done it should look like this. Oh heavens my house smells absolutely delish!!!

Blackberry Pie Filling

5 Cups fresh blackberries or 2lbs. frozen
1 Cup sugar
1/4 Cup flour
2 TBL. lemon juice
1/8 tsp. salt
1 TBL. butter

Part one of a crusty story.

"That is a pie crust promise. Easily made, easily broken."

I've never understood that saying because when ever I made pie crust it was never easy to make and because I man handled the dough so much it didn't turn out light and flaky so it was a bit harder to break than say, my mother's pie crust.

The SM's sister gave me a recipe for pie crust and I took a class. Yes, a class on making a decent pie crust because........I love pie! And I wanted to figure this out!

I was always taught that you should handle the dough as little as possible so it would remain light and fluffy, the shortening should be cold from the fridge, and the water, ice cold. Roll it out with a marble rolling pin that you've had sitting in the fridge so it too is ice cold.

Does this sound easy to you? Oh, and before you roll it out cover your entire counter top with about six inches of flour. Six inches deep because by the end after you've added the flour.....too much. Then you add more water......too much.....add more're gonna need all of that flour.

Well, I have been bound and determined to figure out how to make pie crust and make it easy. I want easy, light and flaky, pie crust!

During the summer we harvest gallons and I mean gallons (for once I'm not exaggerating) of black berries. The SM washes and bags them and puts them in the freezer for us to enjoy later in the year. Notice I said The SM. I hate picking berries.......

I felt like making a blackberry pie today so guess what? I'm a gonna show ye how.

First, we start out with the pie crust. This is The SM's sister's recipe. It's a good one. This recipe will make enough dough for two deep 9" pie crusts. One for the bottom and one to go over the top of your pie.

Flour. You'll need 2 Cups of flour.

1/2 tsp. of salt

Just dump it in on top of the flour. Don't worry about mixing it in. The next few steps will take care of mixing. I promise!

Shortening. Good ol' lard! If you can, try to use butter flavored shortening. The other white stuff is okay too. The butter just gives the crust a bit of a richer taste. Ya know. I'm such a culinary artist. My palette totally knows the difference......

1 Cup of shortening. If you don't have one of these gizmos that's okay. It just makes things like greasy shortening, peanut butter, etc. a lot easier to measure and dump. Watch. I'll show ya!

When you've filled this little gadget (I LOVE KITCHEN GADGETS!!!) tip it over and puuuuuuush it oooooooout. Puuuuuuush!

Plop! Should we sit and try to decide what animal shape it came out as? Sorry......I'm surrounded by toddler boys.....


Another cool gizmo/gadget. Again, if you don't have one of these you can use a fork or two knives. This is called cutting the shortening into the flour. Remember the salt? It's going to get mixed in, now.

Cut that shortening! Cut it I say!! Keep cutting until it looks like.....

This! See how the yellow butter flavored shortening makes it all yellow purdy lookin?

Now, here's where I start to go really weird on ya. Pour your shortening/salt/flour mix into a plastic bag. Just trust me okay? It's all gonna work out.

Measure a 1/2 C. cold water.

And pour it into the bag. Then seal the bag letting out as much air as you can.

Weirding out yet? It gets better. This is totally unorthodox. Put your bag on top of a dish towel.

Pull up the four corners of the towel around the bag of dough and.......start beating the living daylights out of it on your counter top. What? Am I serious? Yes! I am! Totally serious. Beat the dickens out of it. This is your moment! Your moment to let out ever aggravated emotion you've been stockpiling for the past month.

This is where I beat mine. I stand between the island and the fridge and I smack it back and forth between the two like a pendulum. Wham! Wham! Wham! Wham! Dang it feels good! As our grandmothers roll over in their graves.......

When you're done it pretty much looks like this. Aint it gorgeous? cracks me up when people who actually know what they are talking about when it comes to food says it looks gorgeous. I wanted to sound like I knew what I was doing. Was I convincing?

Last step. Throw it in your fridge. Throw it in there and leave it. Leave it for a few hours. If you're in a hurry you can throw it in the freezer just don't do like me and forget only to find out a few hours later that you can't roll out a frozen baseball.

Next post: The rest of the crusty story! Stay tuned!

Pie Crust Ingredients
2 C. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C. shortening
1/2 C. water

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The knock! It's coming. I just know it!

Today has been one of those days that if Social Services knocked on my door I wouldn't be surprised! In fact, I've been waiting all day for......the knock.

It all started with breakfast. The breakfast of champions. Champion gaggers that is. Cream of Wheat. Yeah baby! Much better than oatmeal right? Yesterday it was oatmeal and my baby girl sat at the table for 2 hours!!! retching and gagging telling me how abusive I am ESPECIALLY since I wouldn't let her go to school until she'd finished! Wasn't that a crime? Capital punishment for keeping The Natives home from school over a bowl of oatmeal. Or cream of wheat.

The abuse wasn't necessarily in the cream of wheat or oatmeal. It was not letting The Natives fill their bowls to the brim with brown sugar and cinnamon sugar to mask what was underneath. Unrestrained, an entire 2 lb. bag of br. sugar gets dumped in one sitting.

The second crime was sending The Natives to school in their jammies. Again, the crime wasn't in the wearing of jammies to school since today was "pajama day" at the local elementary. No, the crime was in the fact that pajamas get handed down here on a regular basis and they look it! Nothing matches anymore because chances are the pajama pants and shirt that went together, one of the items had so many holes in it it was thrown away so the lone shirt or bottoms went with another top or bottom that....doesn't match.....or has only a few holes in them. Pajama day was not cutesy. More like totally embarrassed my classmates are going to see what my mom makes me sleep in! As in no cute little girl jammies........"I have to wear my brothers hand me downs!!!!!"

The third crime was when school got out. I'd really blown it now. There was NOTHING and I mean NOTHING in this dang house to eat! We're STARVING MOM!!! How come you didn't go to the store and get us something to eat??

My plea of wanting to spend just one day at home on my fanny doing absolutely nothing fell on deaf ears. But hey! Look on the bright side. There's some cold congealed cream of wheat still left in the pot I haven't washed yet! Happy Day! Or not.....

Fourth crime of the day. Levi was outside playing and came in asking me for the nozzle. Meaning, can I have the nozzle mom so I can play in the hose? We keep the nozzle under lock and key or else the hose would run non-stop. I told Levi that no, he couldn't have the nozzle. The water doesn't run in the winter. A few minutes later Levi comes to me in nothing but his swimming trunks. He wants to go swimming! I told Levi that he couldn't. It is winter. It is too cold! What? He says? And heads out the door. I let him. I ignored him. And The Natives said, Moooooooom! Levi is outside almost naked! I ignored them. And I waited for Social Services to come knocking. They'd say, Do you know that your almost 8 year old child is outside in freezing temperatures almost naked? And I'd have to tell them that actually he's more like three years old cuz he's mentally handicapped and then they'd throw me in the slammer for abusing a mentally handicapped child!

A few minutes later Levi came in shivering and asked me if it was winter out there. I knew he'd come in eventually.....much faster than if I forced him....That is if Social Services didn't get to me first.

The night is still young and as I continue to commit crimes against The Natives I'm waiting.....for the knock.....cuz I know it's coming.......

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I'm a Non-Conformist!

For those of you that are familiar with Face Book you know that you can type in a status report for all to see. Just a few words like, "I just saw Avatar and it was SO COOL MAN!" Or like I did last night, "I've been off of sugar now for three weeks and I'm feeling really ornery and feel like ripping someones head off!" Something to the effect of that........

And people can comment on your status report or they can just read it and know that our household was not one you'd want to come and visit last night or you'd get your head ripped off!

It's a fun way of keeping in touch. It is also a way to find out that your niece is okay after rolling her car. GASP! Some things are not fun to find out over Face Book but I'm so glad she was okay!!!!

Anyway, every so often in someones status they'll put a quote and then at the end tell you if you agree to copy and paste it in your own status. There was one that really bugged me. It had to do with being Christian and how only like 2% would actually forward the status on and was I one who was brave enough to do so?

Kind of like the e-mails you get that talk about something "special" and then say if you believe in God forward it on but only if you've got the guts kind of thing.

Well, when that happens.....and it seems to be happening a lot lately, something ugly rears up in me and I refuse! I refuse to do it. You heard me correct. No way ho-zay! I aint a gonna do it! I don't care if I believe and feel deeply that the status report or e-mail is correct or right in line with my thinking, I won't do it.

If the status or e-mail were sent and that last little, "I dare ya" weren't in there I'd be more inclined to hit the "like" or "forward" button but because someone had to go and say........"DO THIS......if....."

It turns me off and I delete or ignore.......I'm stubborn that way.....and it puzzles me as to why.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Crackpot Tuesday

Today has been busy. Just busy I tell ya! And so, because I was busy yesterday.....and today......I didn't do a crackpot BUT, someone else that I know made something rather delish and so I am going to send you over there. Trust me. You'll thank me after you go and see what she's got cookin'.

In the meantime, we've some grandparents we've adopted...or they've adopted us.....

Grandpa got his knee replaced on Monday so we've been back and forth to the hospital visiting and taking grandma to see grandpa cuz she doesn't drive anymore.

Ya know. If you're like us and family isn't living next door real close I would encourage you to adopt. It's a beautiful thing. We've adopted and been adopted by several sets of grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins.... It's nice to be surrounded by family.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I'm not as tough as I thought......and somehow.......that's okay.

I always thought I would make a great frontiers woman. A pioneer woman. I'm a pretty tough gal. I'm not afraid of hard work, roughing it, doing what needs to be done.

When I gave birth to The Natives no one told me or warned me of the pain I'd feel when my babies are in pain. Plenty talked about the joy! Oh the joy! Yes, much talk about that.......but not the pain.

This evening I looked at Mr. C (third oldest boy punk) and said:

Me: Mr. C, when you are rich and making millions of dollars will you remember that I am the best mommy in the world and take good care of me?

Mr. C: You mean you'd like me to buy your retirement home? (Falls off of his chair laughing hysterically at his own joke.)

Mr. C is twelve and a half. And if all I ever told you was the'd think he was a typical insensitive twelve year old.

Only.....he's not. Mr. C is sensitive beyond his years. Mr. C is the lover of bunnies.

Mr. C's bunny this weekend became very sick. As the weekend progressed the prognosis wasn't good. As I sat and watched Mr. C with his bunny my heart broke. His pain was mine. We nursed the bunny day and night hoping and praying that this little creature could fight and make it. Today as the day progressed it became obvious that the bunny was not going to make it and that it was suffering. Mr. C had to make the hardest decision of his little life. Which he did. Because he is sensitive and loves his bunny and didn't want her to suffer anymore.

Big brother took the responsibility on himself. Another sensitive soul who didn't want to see his younger brother suffer. Big brother and another sensitive soul down the street, two young men with a heavy burden on their shoulders took care of that which I, the one who thought I could be a pioneer woman, could not do myself. They did it quickly, quietly, painlessly, and with great dignity.

I'm not as tough as I thought. And as I sit with my twelve year old curled up in my lap, both of us sobbing.....and my sixteen year old trying to be stoic blinking back tears, I find that feeling your children's pain hurts far worse than your own pain.

And yet, I wouldn't give up these experiences that being a mother brings for the world......because these children are my world.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Laundry Parlor.

As I dumped in load number I'm not gonna count because if I do I'll cry into the washing machine this morning I had a thought. Remember this post?

Here's the deal. I hear commercials all of the time for plastic surgery, lypo, lifts, and tucks. Well, I've been taught that being frugal is a good thing and I'm all about good things so I have decided to ask you for a favor since doing it myself would be quite difficult.

Would you please wash me? Yes, you heard right. Just throw me in the washing machine and make sure you put it on the hottest setting because when I come out I wanna be HOT! When the wash cycle is done toss me in the dryer. All I ask is that you throw in a nice dryer sheet because static cling with long hair is mighty obnoxious.

This part is really important. I'll pay you extra for this part. Don't let me sit in the dryer after the drying cycle is over. I don't want the wrinkles to set. You know what I'm saying? Just yank me out and slap me on an ironing board and this part is critical. Use the PERMANENT Press setting. Steam those wrinkles away.

Oh and one more thing. Starch. Heavy starch please. I'm hoping for major shrinkage in the wash and drying and what is left to all be pressed nice and smooth and starched quite firm for years to come.

Thank you. Peace. Love. And happiness.

Oh. And world peace. Of course.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Destructive. On many levels.

I don't even know where to begin today's post. At the beginning you say? Yes, that is normally a good place to start.

Levi is home from school. Today, tomorrow, who knows how long. This is a decision that has been in the making for quite some time and after yesterday, was made final.

Levi is a parrot. Everything he learns is by observing and copying. For a long time he could speak but not communicate. There's a difference because when Levi speaks, he is repeating words and phrases that he's heard. Over time, he has learned enough that he can now communicate. Sort of.

Along with everything else Levi learns and parrots is behavior. A behavior problem has never been a word that Levi has been called.......until this year. With the changing of school teachers, what was never a problem, has now become a huge problem. As other children in his class act out, Levi joins in the "fun".

Yesterday was the last straw and as I try to figure out what in the world happened, and what went wrong, trying to understand the public educations lack of being able to discipline students I realize that in a lot of ways they have their hands tied behind their backs. They are not allowed to touch students. I get that and although I don't agree, sadly I understand why.

In the case of yesterdays disaster lack of control is not something I am willing to mess with. I can not allow Levi to be in danger because when there is no control, that is exactly what it is. Danger. A dangerous situation. Especially when children are displaying violent behavior.

Yesterday I received a phone call from Levi's teacher. Before I go on, may I just say that I truly appreciate and love Levi's teacher. I place no blame on her, she is victim to a institution that forces her to stay within certain rules and when children cross certain lines the teachers really do have their hands tied behind their backs.

Anyway, the phone call. Levi is out of control. Having behavior issues, will I please talk to him on the phone to calm him down. Knowing Levi doesn't understand the phone I jumped in the truck and ran over to the school. Something I've been asked to do more and more lately. As I walked into the school I was met by Levi running down the halls in his socks with several teachers and aids running after him and another student who had escaped the classroom. When Levi saw me he stopped. He knew he was in doo doo. I took his hand and marched him back to his classroom as the teachers continued to chase the other perpetrator.

When I came to the classroom I could not believe my eyes and the destruction that had taken place. To say Levi and this other child had ransacked the room is an understatement. Chairs thrown and over turned, crayons thrown across the room, papers, a gazillion games thrown from their containers across the room. It was unreal and as I sat and looked at the mess I was puzzled. Puzzled at how this had been allowed to take place in the first place and secondly to go on for such an amount of time as it obviously had been!

Levi and the other student eventually cleaned up the mess.

I still sit here quite puzzled today. Behavior specialists were in the classroom yesterday along with the teachers and aids and yet....

What took place yesterday and has been taking place this school year is destructive. On many levels. And I won't allow Levi to be a victim of it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

If anybody asks.......I'm not here.

Hi! This is me. Who is me? I'm not telling cuz then you can't ask for me. And if anybody asks for me, I'm not answering anymore. No matter how fast I run today I still can't catch my tail. I see it coming when I am going.....or going when I'm coming.......or.......nevermind.