Monthly Archives: June 2016

Family Game Night


When you have young children, family game night looks a little differently than it does when you have older children.  Fortunately, we have a few games for young children that we can all enjoy.  One of our favorites is The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game!  Grandmother bought this game for the twins for Christmas, I believe, and they play it with everyone who comes to visit. 

My little girls, who have trouble making the “s” sound at the beginning of words, call it “neaky, nacky quirrel,” which makes the rest of us giggle every time.  This game is for ages three and up.  It is simple and teaches them colors, matching, numbers, taking turns, fine motor skills, and strategic thinking skills.  If you have a preschooler, we highly recommend this game. 


Blackberry Cobbler


Blackberry cobbler is one of my favorite desserts (I have several!), so I learned how to make cobblers from my grandma many years ago.  I like extra crust in my cobbler, so I prepare enough pie crust dough to have a solid crust on the bottom and a lattice crust on the top.  (My mom always made pretty pie crusts and cobblers with lattice tops, so I automatically do the same.)

Before I had children, I would take little balls of dough and mix them in with the berries for extra crust pieces throughout the cobbler, but now my children stand around our kitchen island waiting for me to give out pieces of dough to each one of them.  They aren’t satisfied with one piece either!  Just know that this is an option for your cobbler if you love crust and don’t have hungry little people clamoring for more.  

Back in October, I shared one of my pie crust recipes when I made a crust for a quiche, and I used the same recipe this evening for my cobbler, but I used butter this time and included the sugar.  (That’s probably why my children kept asking for more!)  I usually need to double this recipe for a double-crust pie/cobbler, but I only had about three cups of fresh blackberries (from our garden), so I used a small 8×8 baking dish.  If you make a 9×13 cobbler, you will need to double the recipe for this crust (unless you only want crust on the top). 

Sweet Pie Crust

1 1/2 cups flour

2 TBSP sugar

1/4 tsp salt

8 TBSP shortening or 10 TBSP butter, room temperature

4 TBSP cold milk

Combine all ingredients except milk.  Use a pastry blender or fork to cut the butter into the flour mixture.  Add milk and work into flour mixture with a spoon until dough begins to form a ball.  At this point, you can roll out your dough on your counter or on waxed paper.  I place about half of the dough in the baking dish and use a small roller to roll it out in the dish. For the lattice, I roll out the dough on a cutting board.  The dough doesn’t stick to the cutting board like it does to other things.

After you prepare your pie crust recipe, you can make a cobbler using your favorite fruit or berries–fresh or frozen.  I’ve had blueberry, cherry, strawberry, peach, and, of course, blackberry.  I have also used frozen mixed berries in a cobbler.  

My grandma doesn’t use many cookbooks or recipe cards.  She has cooked for so long that she just knows how much of each ingredient to add.  A scoop of this, a pinch of that, etc.   This makes it difficult for me to replicate her recipes, but she and I came up with this recipe for cobbler a long time ago.  I’ve never tried to find a different recipe because I like this one just fine.  It’s sweet and simple. 

Berry Cobbler

16 oz (about 4 cups) berries

1 cup sugar

1 TBSP flour

1 TBSP butter

Pour berries in baking dish.  (Place bottom crust in dish first if desired.)  Sprinkle sugar and flour over berries.  Cut butter into pats in baking dish.  Cover with top crust.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until berry juice is bubbling and crust is nicely browned.  

I hope you will try making this recipe sometime.  It’s worth the effort. 

Another Work in Progress

Another Work in Progress

When we built this house, we didn’t want a huge, concrete sidewalk in our front yard.  We wanted something unique and more rustic, so we came up with a design using the bricks that were leftover.  I had seen a similar design on Pinterest and helped my husband figure out how wide to make the sidewalk and what angle to lay the bricks to make the design work.  

After he had everything laid out and made sure there were enough bricks, he dug out some of the dirt, leveled it, and then added sand to completely level the bricks.  He also placed heavy-duty plastic edging along either side of the sidewalk to prevent the bricks from shifting from side to side.

We loved the look, and the bricks held up well until last summer.  We had a tremendous amount of rain last May and then a drought the next few months.  This caused the ground to shift under the bricks, and our beautiful sidewalk was ruined.  Several bricks sunk in the middle about halfway down, and some bricks were raised in other places so that we were afraid someone would trip and injure themselves.  We decided to replace the bricks with large flagstones. 

My husband dug out all the bricks as well as the sand and dirt beneath them because the new stones were about twice as tall as the bricks.  This was a lot of work, so he only removed a few sections of brick at a time so that we would still have a sidewalk even though he wasn’t finished.  He removed the plastic edging too because we wanted grass to grow between the stones, and we didn’t need the edging to contain the bricks anymore.

He added sand again and made sure each stone was level and wouldn’t shift.  These stones are so wide and heavy that they shouldn’t ever need to be replaced.  

He placed the flagstones about four inches apart to accommodate all of the little feet that walk this path frequently.  After he finishing placing all the stones, he added topsoil over the sand so that the grass would fill in between the stones.

He finished the new sidewalk on April 10th, and the grass has already grown between the flagstones.  My father-in-law had already built a similar path on the other side of the driveway along their flower beds.  This area receives too much shade for grass to grow well, so my father-in-law put decomposed granite between the flagstones and bordered each side with Oklahoma chopped stone.  

We have been very pleased with our new sidewalk and love how it blends with the stone on the front of our house.

Summer Berries

Summer Berries

Is it just me or do berries from your own garden taste better than any others?  We planted a thornless blackberry bush three years ago, and we got several berries from it last summer, but we are getting at least two cups a day now!  

There are only three of us who like blackberries (Big Brother, Little Sister, and me), but we have been able to eat most of them the day we pick them. However, we did not eat all the blackberries Saturday because we ate dinner out after church, so we had twice as many as usual by Sunday evening. I decided to make a small blackberry cobbler with them. I forgot to take photos, but I’m sure I’ll be able to make another one soon!

Our blackberry bush has grown so much that it was covering the end of one of our raised garden beds, and I couldn’t pull weeds under it or get to all the berries. My husband and I constructed two side fences to drape the vines over, so the vines stay off the ground, the berries are easier to find, and I can weed under the vines. It is working pretty well. 

 The only problem is that the fence is so tall that I can hardly reach some of the ripe berries in the back, but I couldn’t reach them before either.  It would probably help if we hadn’t put the blackberry bush between the garden and the wood rack or three feet from the pasture fence, but we are making it work.  Now if I could just stay on top of those weeds!

Once upon a time…

Once upon a time…

Big Sister was the little sister, and she had these two pair of pajamas that she loved to wear because they were comfortable and cute.  

She was two years old, and we weren’t planning to have any more children, so we gave away the pajamas and never thought about them again.  
Then, one day last week, my sister was at a garage sale and found some little girl clothes and sent them to our house with my mom who came for a visit last weekend.  The little girls were trying the “new” clothes on with Grammy, and they came into the kitchen to show me.  I couldn’t believe they had the same pajamas on as their big sister had worn five years earlier!  Sweet memories.

I couldn’t get the girls to pose for a photo together except to do this:  

They are so silly!