Thursday, September 18, 2014

Recipe Box - Peach Pie

The end of peach season is upon us, and I had not yet made a peach pie. Clearly I needed to do something about that!  ;-)  So yesterday evening, while Jeff was away at a meeting, I made a couple of peach pies and let them bake while I sat down with the kids to watch The Apple Dumpling Gang (a movie we had never watched, but which provided barrels of laughs for us).  :)  The house filled with the delicious smell of pie baking in the oven until finally the time was right and we got to cut big slices to eat while we finished watching the movie.  It was pretty much a perfect way to spend an evening.  :)

Making this pie is not complicated at all; in fact, it's just about as simple a pie as one could possibly make.  But this is the way my mother always made peach pie, so this is my favorite way, too.  :)

What You Need

Crust for 9" pie
4 large fresh peaches, slightly less than 3 c. sliced (or just fill pie shell with sliced peaches)
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. half & half (or less)
3 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. butter

What You Do

Arrange peaches in unbaked 9" crust.  Mix sugar and flour, then add half & half to make a batter (the consistency should be like runny cake icing or pancake batter).  Pour batter over the peaches in the crust.
Dot the butter over the top.  Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees for 35 minutes or longer.  Shielding the crust with foil will ensure it doesn't burn before the rest of the pie is done.  The filling will be runny when hot, then solidify as it gets cooler (but we never seem to have enough patience to wait until it sets up enough, so our first pieces of pie are always runny).  ;-)
When I was thinking about making this pie yesterday, I wondered if I had ever blogged about the recipe before; but a quick search of both this blog and my old one showed me that I had not.  I had, however, mentioned the pie before, and even shown a picture of my mother holding one that she had made and shared with us back in 2008.  Six years have flowed past since then, and my mother's Alzheimer's Disease has progressed so much in these six years that it's hard to even imagine that back in 2008, she was capable of making a pie!  I'm immensely grateful for this blog post that reminds me that it was so.

For me, much of the sweetness when I eat this pie comes not from the fruit itself or the added sugar, but from the memory of my mother making this pie so many times through the years.  I'll probably never make it (or eat it!) without thinking of her.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Saturday, September 13, 2014

I'm Not a Child Anymore...

...but I still get excited when I hear the sound of tractors in the field next to our house and I see our neighbor-over-the-hill chopping his corn.  
Roughly 26 of my 38 years have been spent in this house beside this field, so you might think I'd be used to the sight of this by now.
 But no.  It never gets old to me...
 ...and every time I hear the chopper coming, I want to drop what I'm doing and go out and watch them.
 Sometimes I do!  And sometimes, my kids even come with me.  :)

I'm not a child anymore, but at times I find myself wishing for the pace of life I had in my childhood--especially in times like now when I feel like the workload of adulthood is about to do me in.  (And I don't even "work"!!)  ;-)

Wouldn't it be nice, for a little while, to go back to the time when the agenda of the day included items like listening to a story, coloring a picture, building with blocks...
 ...and going outside to play?

Sometimes I long for the carefree spirit of those days--when the biggest excitement was the sound of a pair of tractors coming up over the rise in the field and the sight of chopped corn shooting into a wagon.

Oh, wait.  Sometimes that's still the biggest excitement of the day.  ;-)  I guess maybe that pig-tailed little girl who grew up in this house is still somewhere inside me; but I think every time she pokes her head out, she catches sight of her 38-year-old version's to-do list, and it scares her so much she disappears.  Maybe one of these days she'll stick around for a while.

After all, there are tractors in the field to watch.  ;-)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday {Tobin Keeps His Photographer Busy}

"Mom, will you take a picture of this for me?"

"Only if you get in the picture, too!"


Harvest's End

Did you hear that sound just now?  That was the sound of a huge sigh of relief coming from my lips.  Why?  Because the grape harvest is officially over!!!  :)  (For me, at least.  There are actually still some grapes on the vine, but my neighbor is coming tomorrow to get the rest--a blessing for her, and a blessing for me!)  :)
When I mentioned in this post that the harvest was plentiful, I wasn't kidding; and although I am truly thankful for such abundance, I am also tired.  ;-)  After thinking about and working with grapes for eight days...and after canning 17 half-gallons and 24 quarts, and putting a half-gallon in the refrigerator to drink fresh, making a grand total of 15 gallons of, making grape jelly for the first time ever, ending up with 9 pints and 2 half-pints of that...I am relieved to be able to say it is finished. 
This year's harvest was our second-best, surpassed only by the 2011 season in which we canned 17.25 gallons; but our 15 gallons this year was almost double our third-place finish of 8 gallons in 2012.  And then there was the year we didn't get any, but let's not talk about that...  ;-)

My house smells like grape juice, my counters are stained in various shades of purple and blue, rows of jars need carried down to the cellar and put away, and I'm sticky.  ;-)  But most of all, I'm relieved.  :)

With no more grapes to think about tomorrow, maybe I should head to the orchard and get a couple bushels of fruit, you think??  :)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Tobin Drew a Bus

Back in August, on the first day of school for our county, Tobin drew a school bus.
I'm not exactly sure why, since we really hadn't made a big deal out of it being the first day for public school-goers--plus, school buses are not what he normally draws.  But for whatever reason, on that day, he drew one, and I thought his drawing was great.  :)

As I watched him drawing, I thought more than I normally do about what life would be like for me if my kids went off to school.  This year, that would mean that all four boys would be leaving on a school bus, and only Moriah would be here during the day with me.  It's hard to even imagine what that would be like.

Tomorrow is our official first day of school--a little later in the year than we normally start; but with Josiah and David spending a week in California, it seemed best to wait until their return for our beginning.  Tomorrow we'll make funnel cakes for breakfast, take pictures of each child on the front steps, take turns saying something to be written in our gratitude journal, read some, write some--and we'll do it together.

I want to be clear about this: I never want our choice to homeschool to be seen by other families as a criticism of their decision not to.  I know parents who send their kids to public schools, and that's a great choice for them--same with private schools.  Surely there is room within the realm of Parents Who Love Their Children and Want the Best for Them for a variety of educational options.

But as I stand on the brink of another year of homeschooling my children, I breathe a quiet prayer of fervent thanks to God for the freedom to homeschool, for His direction that led us to this path, for the lessons that will be learned this year, for the memories we'll make together, and for the uncountable blessings that await us in the coming months.

And it all begins tomorrow morning...  :)