Easy, No-fail Pie Crust

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The pie crust I am about to share with you is the one my Grandma always made. I learned to make this crust when I was still in high school. I actually taught myself how to make it since by the time I had any interest in baking my grandmother had already passed.

The only time I ever had this crust turn out nasty was because I left it in the oven for too long and it tasted burnt. (Another reason for a pie crust sheild.) Otherwise, this crust turns out great for me every time I whip it up in my tiny, little, camper kitchen.

If any of you have had a hard time making pie crust and have little confidence in your pie skills, I would recommend trying this recipe. I really don’t see how any one could mess it up. Only four ingrediants and BAM-It’s made, its tasty, and its just the right mix between crumbly and soft. Much like a shortbread cookie.

Please read through the instructions and you will find that I give a little advice on how to make the crust turn out just the way you want it. So, lets get started.

Ingredients:

  • white flour
  • salt
  • butter
  • water
  • lemon juice/apple cider vinegar

*This recipe yields one thin pie crust. I find the thickness perfect for pumpkin pie cause I am only filling the pie pan with crust and not putting more over top as with fruit pies. If making a fruit pie, I recommend doubling the recipe if you want your crust to be nice and thick.

 

Step 1:  Measure out 2 cups of flour. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir.

Step 2: Add 1 cup of lightly softened butter. Cut up into cubes or  use whole sticks. 

Step 3: Using a pastry cutter (use two forks if you do not have a pastry cutter), work the butter into the flour/salt mixture. Do so until it resembles lumpy sand. *I like to get it to a point where it is starting to clump together.*

Step 4: Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Then add 3 tablespoons of cold water.

Step 5: Stir with spoon or use hands to mold the dough into a ball. *Using your hands makes it a little faster and much easier* 

 

Step 6: *Here comes the part where you roll out the dough. I do not have wax paper most of the time so I have a little trick for you that makes this process a lot less frustrating.*  Take a plastic bag from the grocery store and cut it down the sides. Cutting the handles in half, right down the center. Lay bag flat on table and put flour on one side of bag. Place dough (cut dough in half if making a fruit pie that needs a cover crust over top) in the middle of the one floured side and place more flour on top of dough. Fold other side of bag over top of dough. Begin rolling out in a flat circle. 

Step 7: Grab two side of flat dough (still attached to bag) and flip top of pie pan. Walla!! Easy as Pie!! 😉

 

 

 

 

 

Step 8: Form dough into pan and cut off extra dough off of edges.

Step 9: Pour in Filling

Step 10: *If making Pumpkin Pie or others without a top crust, skip this step* Repeat Steps 6-8. Press edges of crust-the part laying along rim of pie pan-press down slightly to form both layers of dough together.

Step 11: Form pie edge by placing your index finger into dough edge and pinching that index finger with the opposites hand’s thumb and index finger. Repeat all around edge until finished.

 

 

 

 

Step 12: For Pumpkin Pie- Bake at 35o degrees Fahrenheit for an hour or until center is firm

For fruit pies- Bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. Turn heat down to  350 degrees and bake for another 30-40 minutes.

Take out of oven and let cool for 45 minutes before serving. Serve and Enjoy!!!!

If you are brave enough to try this recipe please let me know how it turned out. I hope that it becomes a family favorite for you. Make sure to take a look at the recipe cards below for ingredients and instructions.

~Shiree

 

 

“You’re Loved No Matter What” Book Review

Today I am struggling with another form of a stomach bug. I have been having writers block, not knowing what to write and not feeling at all like wanting to write a blog post. In all honesty, sometimes getting the gumption to write for an audience of a handful of people can be discouraging. Yet, God reminds me that this blog is more than just a platform for writing, it is a way to be a witness and an evangelist to the world. It is more than just words. The way I feel like I could do that today is by giving you my honest opinion on something.

So, as I mentioned in my last post, I have been reading the book, ‘You’re Loved No Matter What’, by Holley Gerth. I finished it and am ready to give you all a book review. Hopefully the opinion I give will encourage you to read it. It is a much needed message many women need to hear.

I first bought this book a month or so back because I could feel the dissatisfaction bubbling up in my soul. I couldn’t figure out why I was so glum and borderline depressed. Everything my kids did irritated me and my husband was driving me bonkers. Can anyone relate? No matter what I did, I couldn’t shake it. I was so frustrated with myself and wanted to curl up in a ball and go to sleep for a very long time.

By God’s grace I skimmed over a book review on a fellow bloggers site. She was reviewing Holley’s latest book, ‘Fierce Hearted‘. The book was not what I wanted to read at that moment but I decided to look up Holley’s other writings. When my eyes fell across the title, ‘You’re Loved No Matter What’, I knew I had to read that book. Because in all honesty, I read the title and doubted that to be true. How could I be loved no matter what when I was grumpy and inadvertently failing at life at the moment. I doubted God’s love everyday. And I knew it was not supposed to be that way. The doubt was eating at me and stealing my peace.


To say the least, I loved the book. It started out a little dry and at first I wasn’t sure if I should keep going but I believe the Spirit kept tugging at my heart to go on. I am so glad I did. The first part that struck home for me was her discussion on guilt. We all deal with it and those of us wanting to be perfect mom’s and wives, we struggle with it a lot. On page 50, she talks about a discussion she has with a friend that helped her battle with the guilt she kept experiencing….

‘..I asked her, “What replaces guilt?” She answered with one simple word: gratitude. Huh. That’s not what I expected. I was thinking more along the lines of my usual ”try harder.” But the more I pondered in the coming days and weeks, the more what she shared began making sense to me. For example, let’s say I go out to eat with my husband and feel guilty for spending money (even though it’s a special occasion and the meal fits our budget). That guilt keeps me from saying, Thank you, God, for my husband. Thank you, God, for this delicious food and those who prepared it. Thank you, God, for the blessing of this amount that we can set aside for celebrations.” Every time I make a list of all the things I feel guilty about, I discover each one offers ways to be grateful instead.’

That really spoke home to me on so many levels. If you are like me I can feel guilty for the silliest things. Yet, it is so true that there is more to be grateful for than guilty.

Holley goes on to speak more about grace. Saying on page 55, “You go to bed knowing that you’re are cherished just as much as when the day started.” Speaking about how everyday, when lived in grace rather than guilt, can be lived well, even though the mess ups and bumps along the way are still there.

Why is it so hard to believe that God cherishes us? I even feel guilty for thinking like that because maybe that’s pride creeping up in me. May be it is better to think that God merely tolerates me? It’s not!!!!! I’m sure it breaks His heart when we doubt him day after day even though His love and care are never failing.

God’s love. What a wonderful gift!!! And it’s not love that is from obligation. It is love that seeps from the very heart of Him. I love how Holly put it in chapter 4. – ‘We are born into families, but we pick our friendships. When God says you’re his friend (John 15:15, John 15:13), he’s saying he wants you. For many years I thought what God felt toward me was obligation. He had to love me. He had to put up with me. But when he calls us “friends,” it changes everything.”

I could continue on and give you more and more excerpts of the parts I liked about this book but I would rather you read it for yourself. If you found my review helpful and end up buying the book because of my review I would love to know about it in the comments below. Thank you all for reading and I hope God’s love is a truth spoken to your heart today.

~Shiree

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The Loss of a Mother Part 2

This is the follow-up article from our Tuesday blog post.We are on the subject of the loss of our mother and how it has affected us as moms. If you missed the first post you can go to this link here.
    Blog post #2 in honor of our mother is written by our older sister, Raquel. In regards to which daughter knew our mother the best, Raquel would be the one. We hope that this article is a blessing to those who read it and can be encouraged to be the mom God created you to be.
                 Raquel’s Memories: When I was about 9, I had a pretty heated argument with my mom that later left me feeling remorseful.  In an effort to lighten my conscience-stricken heart, I wrote an apology to her.
Now, my mother was a very busy woman… at that point she had 4 kids and was homeschooling.  She and my father owned and operated their own business, where she worked full-time.  She spoke at women’s events, sang at church, sewed us outfits… the list goes on and on.  She was BUSY.  And yet, in the midst of that chaos, she carved out some time to sit down and reply to a 9 year old’s letter of apology.
In that letter she wrote about how special I was.  She quoted the verse in Isaiah about “my name written on the palm of HIS hands.”  I literally thought it was my name (and my name only!) tattooed in God’s palm.  That letter gave me all the feels.  Even as a 9 year old child, I knew this was an important letter.  My mother not only forgave me, but took the time to write (in ink!) how very important I was to her – and to God.  That letter is one of my most cherished possessions.  As a 9 year old, that letter proved the importance of my existence.
Now, as a mother myself, that letter proves something new: my mother’s intentional parenting.  She knew what was most important at that very moment in that 9 year old’s heart: Not the cobwebs in the corners or the dirty dishes in the sink.  It was a life lesson.  A molding of my heart.  Even today, as a mother of three, that letter has taught me to be intentional in my mothering EVERY DAY.
Intentional in my actions
Intentional in my words to my children
Intentional in my words to my husband (because you know those kiddos are listening!)
Intentional in teaching my kids God’s Word
Intentional in making sure they know they are fully loved
Intentional in writing them letters
         Intentional, because our days are numbered and you don’t know how many you have.  I’m sure most people would have looked at my mom and thought she had plenty of time to mold and shape all six of those little ducklings’ of hers.  But, she didn’t.  She died at the young age of 38.
I’m in my 30’s now and the thought crosses my mind often.  “How many more days do I get with my children?”  That might sound morbid, but I don’t mean for it to.  It’s a way I stay intentional. It’s a reminder to look for “heart molding” opportunities in the daily grind of raising three children.   It’s a way I remain thankful.  Thankful for the days I do have with my family.  I wake up every morning and thank God for another day.  As my dad would say, “Another day to honor the Lord in all you do!”
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Now, don’t let this story fool you.  I am not a saint of a mother.  I’ve had some not-so-pretty parenting days.  And, that mom of mine I speak so fondly of…  Well, she was human, too.  Sometimes, after people die, we have a way of making them out to be a saint.  My mother was not a saint.   In the very short time that I knew my mother, I learned some very important life lessons.  Such as, buy white china because it never goes out of style. This life lesson bellowed from her pea-green china filled cupboards and burnt orange kitchen appliances.
 These little nuggets of wisdom arose from both good and bad parenting decisions on her part.  But, what I truly admired about my mom was she was able to look back at those occasions and own up to her failures.  She admitted to me when she had not been the kindest or most patient mother.  She used those moments to teach me… teach me how should act as a mom, as a woman, as a daughter of the One true King.  She did this to an 11 year old!  I appreciate that so much!  She shared nuggets of wisdom with me that were well beyond my years.  Ideas that I didn’t fully grasp until I became a mother myself.
 And, thank God she did!  Because, at the tender age of 11, I lost my mom to cancer.  The mom that taught me how to put my socks on.  The mom that led me to Christ.  The mom that trucked me to ballet and gymnastics and school and church and sleepovers and birthday parties and the pool.  The mom that stayed up all hours of the night sewing the most beautiful dresses just to make me feel special. Truly, a Proverbs 31 woman.   A mom that was INTENTIONAL.
~Raquel

Cold Season Survival Kit for Babies

Cold Season Survival Kit for Babies

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As November has blown into Montana a runny nose and chest coughs have blown in with it – and therefore the need for a cold season survival kit for babies has come again! The colds that have decided to make residence around our home so far have been particularly nasty, sometimes adding low-grade fevers and earaches to the already long list of typical cold symptoms. As much as I really dislike being sick, I hate watching my baby girl struggle with illness even more! I remember as a child, my dad would always say things like “if I could take the pain away I would” or “if I could be sick instead I would!” I totally get it now! At the time it was comforting and I felt loved, but I didn’t understand the depth of those words. But boy, I’m becoming my father. I say the same things to Lillian now!

The winter Lillian was born proved to be a hard one for Montana and the crazy amount of viruses that blew through the Bitterroot Valley was unavoidable. I honestly don’t know how she got so many colds during her first few months on this earth, considering I didn’t take her out terribly often. And I rarely let people other than family and close friends hold her. But her little body kept getting cold after cold. As a first-time mom, it just killed me watching her struggle and I wished I could trade places with her! So, like any normal first-time mother, I went on a mission to find everything I could in hopes to ease her discomfort. Throughout the past few months, I have collected my favorite products and perfected my “cold season survival” regime! I hope this Cold Season Survival Kit for babies helps other mamas who are in search of safe and effective ways to nurse and love on their sick babes.


Cold Season Survival Kit for Babies
Cold Season Survival Kit for Babies

 Unfortunately, with newborns and babies under age 1, your options are a bit limited. But there are a handful of things you can do to ease pain and encourage a swift recovery. I used these for Lillian as a newborn and continue to use them to this day!

The first thing to remember as you let the cold work its course is to keep baby hydrated! The best thing for baby is your breast milk, which is full of antibodies that will help baby fight off the cold faster and stay hydrated! If you aren’t able to breastfeed and using formula instead that’s totally fine and just as good! Just make sure baby isn’t lacking for liquids!


 

MY FAVORITE THINGS – COLD SEASON SURVIVAL KIT for babies

  • Nose Frida – seriously, this thing is awesome! When I first had Lillian I remember seeing reviews for these on Pinterest and going, “EW!”  But decided to buy one and have on hand just in case. Boy, am I glad I made that decision! I have used this nose aspirator more times than I can even count. And don’t worry, you aren’t ACTUALLY sucking their snot into your mouth or anything. Ya silly goose! You can get the Nose Frida HERE. But if you still can’t get past the “ew” factor there are battery powered nose aspirators you can buy like THIS ONE. I personally like the Nose Frida as I can determine the sucking strength. Hahaha, that sounds so weird 😛 I recommend having extra filters on hand as needed!
  • Saline Mist – I love the baby’s saline mist as it can help loosen up baby’s boogies so they have an easier time breathing! Be sure to do a spray test before spraying in your baby’s nose so you don’t over-do it! You can pick up the “Little Remedies” brand HERE. I also liked this brand as well.
  • Boogie Wipes – When I first saw these I was definitely skeptical. There is NO WAY I was going to spend $4 on 30 moist towelettes! But I decided to test them out for myself and I’m pretty happy with the decision. I don’t use these wipes for every single nose wiping but like to have them around for the crusty noses. It was uncomfortable for Lillian’s little nose when I would try to clean the crustiness off with a normal Kleenex. The saline in these wipes really helps loosen everything up so that wiping their little noses is so much easier and less painful! You can also save money and buy this three pack or this six-pack on Amazon. Score!
  • Vick’s Baby Rub – I seriously LOVE this stuff. It’s one of my absolute essentials for cold season! Vick's Baby Rub Soothing Ointment The smell is subtle, pleasant and comforting, especially when a cough and stuffy head are attacking! I like to rub this on Lillian’s chest and feet and even put a little tiny dab on the tip of her nose to help encourage easy breathing! You can find off brands at most drug stores as well.
  • Humidifier – having a humidifier around for cold season is SO nice. Every time Lillian is fighting a cold I like to plug in her humidifier when she’s sleeping. A large humidifier can run you anywhere from $35 and up, and if you’re anything like me (aka cheap) oftentimes you don’t feel like spending the money. I found THIS nice little humidifier on Amazonurpower humidifier for a nice price and have been really happy with it! Lillian’s room is small enough – but I would recommend looking into a larger humidifier like this for a larger area – and it’s only $35. I sometimes drop some essential oils into our humidifier as well – double check this is compatible with your humidifier before doing so!
  • Aquaphor BabyI like to keep Aquaphor Baby around all the time, not just for cold seasons! I love how thick and moisturizing this lotion is for dry skin and eczema. I’ll use some Aquaphor on Lillian’s little nose every day to keep it from getting too dry and scaly. A little bit goes a long way so you won’t need to buy a new bottle every month! A++ Get Aquaphor Baby HERE.
  • Zarbee’s Baby Immune Support & Vitamins this is not a necessary item for cold season but I personally like having it around to give Lillian’s immune support an extra boost! I would warn to be careful when giving this to a newborn, as it’s a bit thick and harder to swallow. When Lillian was a newborn, I would give her slow little sips of it so not to overwhelm her! Get Zarbee’s Immune Support HERE. Probiotics are also something I am all about! There are many different kinds and be sure to check labels on ages – this one on Amazon is a good probiotic – and once your kiddos are older, Plexus has an awesome Multi-Vitamin + Probiotic for kiddos you can get HERE.
  • Essential Oilsthe first time Lillian got a cold as a baby a friend of mine (thank you, Dani!) came over and gave me some wonderful oils to help!essential oils set rahda beauty I have since continued using these oils every time a cold comes knocking. A lemon citrus concoction that I rub on her feet and a peppermint, tea tree, eucalyptus and olive oil mixture I will put on her chest and behind her ears (and a few drops in her humidifier!) I find these oils to be incredibly comforting and relaxing for a sick babe! You can find oils just about anywhere, but this set I find on Amazon and include just about everything you may need for cold season survival!
  • Shea Moisture Baby Oilthis baby oil is my absolute favorite! shea moisture baby oil rub This is not a necessity but who doesn’t love a nice warm bath when you don’t feel well! Put a few drops of this baby oil in the bath, set up a space heater in the bathroom and give your little one a nice little soak. They will smell glorious afterward and I’m sure they will be happier. You can get this two pack on Amazon!
  • Hyland’s Tiny Cold Tablets – PLEASE NOTE: these are NOT for newborns. I personally like to steer away from medicine for babies as much as possible but there are times you just need a little something extra to help them sleep and get a little relief. These tiny cold tablets are for babies 6 months and up (unless instructed by a physician) and can truly be wonderful if your little one is suffering miserably. I realize everyone has mixed opinions on these sorts of things, and I am in no way trying to tell you your need to use these! I am not a doctor and these opinions are my own. But these can truly be helpful when needed. Be sure to read your labels for usage directions!
  • Steaming – one thing you can do to help a baby with congestion and a stuffy nose is steaming. I’ll go into our bathroom and close the door and turn the shower on as hot as it will go and let the bathroom steam up. Sit in the bathroom with your little one and let them breathe in some warm steamy air to help clear out their nasal passages and breathe easier! Steaming can be especially helpful if your baby is suffering from croup. (If your baby is suffering from croup, stepping outside briefly for a breath of cool fresh air can do serious wonders!)

Snuggle Time

It’s absolutely no fun to watch your little one suffer – but with prayer, time and TLC your little one will be back to normal before you know it. Don’t forget the power of some comfy PJ’s, cuddles and a warm cozy room! More often than not, you are the best medicine for your little one. Lots of love all around! Relax and enjoy those snuggles.

P.S.  If you are worried about your baby’s cold and your inner mommy radar is giving you a red flag, call your doctor. You know your little one the best and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Most doctors’ offices have nurses on hand that you can call and simply talk to about your questions and concerns, with no cost to you. Don’t be afraid to ask if you are concerned! For me personally, it was comforting to have the reassurance that everything was totally fine and normal.

Do you have any products or home remedies you use to help your sick babies?? Let me know!

3 Things I Use to Bring Joy to my Children.


bring joy to my childrenWe are members of Amazon Associates. We receive a small commission off any items you purchase through our site, with no extra cost to you. Thank you.        

Hello Everyone! 🙂

There are countless ways for us to bring joy into our children’s day. For me personally, there are three things I use often if not almost every day to bring joy into my children’s lives. These are merely simple but fun products and activities that I would love to share. I hope they give you and your little ones as much joy as they have given us!

It is so important to help bring joy into our kids’ lives. As you may have guessed, I am emphatic about being a joyful woman! But what about helping our kids possess joy as well?

Many times, our own joy will rub off on our kids. If we are happy, smiling mothers we can help our children’s grumpy countenance transform into a joyful one. Our little ones do not know how to reign in their emotions. They know little of how to grasp onto joy and keep clinging to it even when life gets hard. We have to do a large part of that for them. We need to cultivate joy in our children’s lives and help them enjoy life.

How? Well, I’m glad you ask.

  1. Check yourself. How is your attitude today? As the mom, our attitudes can set the tone for the whole house, for the whole day. Where are the smiles? Are you showing your children that you delight in them or do you get them out of bed, annoyed that they woke you up too early?
  2. Don’t let your kids’ grumpiness get to you and ruin your own attitude. This is extremely important but also extremely difficult. I struggle with this one more than I like to admit. It’s hard to keep a smile on your face and joy in your heart when your child is an ungrateful grumpy butt that seems bound and determined to ruin your day. Don’t give in!! Even if you have, take a deep breath and count to ten. Start all over again.
  3. Initiate fun and enjoyable experiences with your children. This doesn’t have to be elaborate or time-consuming. It can merely be small acts that help bring a smile to your children’s face and make them enjoy being with you. Here are a few things I do to make that happen…..

The 3 Things I use to Bring my Children Joy:

  1. The Jesus Story Book Biblejesus bible

I love this Bible and the beautiful artistry. Sally Lloyd-Jones is amazing at putting the gospel into words that are fit for children but can also touch the heart of an adult. Every morning at breakfast I try to read a small excerpt from this bible. We will start at the beginning and read a section at a time until we reach the end. Then, we start all over again.

As we all know, God’s word is living and active. This may not be a direct translation of the writing word but it speaks God’s truth and therefore, I believe, can do mighty works in our children’s hearts. Even if they do not fully understand what I am reading, I know that God is planting seeds.

My 3-year-old will ask lots of questions about the pictures. I can also use it as a way to bring homeschooling into our day. If he points to an animal or a certain object we will look up information about it so we can learn more.

heart sing*Sally Lloyd-Jones also wrote a little devotional that is phenomenal. “Thoughts to make your heart sing”. I literally cry when I read it. I read it to the boys but I read it more for myself. It is simplistically beautiful and the Spirit is present in those pages. 

 

 

 

2. Slugs and Bugs CD’s  Mobile Image

There are 5 options for this one!! Randall Goodgame has made some incredible children’s CDs.

Sing the Bible 1

Sing the Bible 2

Slugs and Bugs, Under Where?

Slugs and Bugs, Lullabies

Slugs and Bugs, Christmas   *(This is the only one I do not own at this time)

My kids and I LOVE these CDs. I usually do not like listening to children’s music but I put this on in the car almost every day and rarely get tired of it. I find myself laughing more than my kids do. The songs bring a smile to our faces.

We listen to one of these CDs every day. Whether that be dancing in the 5th wheel to the fun Chicken Wiggle song or learning bible verses in the car as we run errands. I find these songs to be real joy givers and they give me an excuse to be silly with my boys. 🙂

Now, they are rather pricier than a regular CD. I was a little shocked when I looked up the price for the first time. I never regretted spending that money though. I dare you to buy only one and keep yourself from buying more.

*Thank you, Raquel, for first introducing to me all the items above. I have never loved kid products as much as I do these.

3. Snap-Chat

Now, I know what you are thinking.

“Snap chat? Really? That’s just ridiculous.”

This may seem like an odd thing for me to use with my children, I know, but they really love it. There is nothing like laughter to brighten your day and snap-chat makes me and my kids laugh ALOT!! We make funny faces together and send them to their fun-loving Aunts who, in return, send us funny faces.

The only downside I have found to using snap chat is some of the face options are strange or even scary. During the Halloween season, they had a bunch of creepy themes and we ended up not using snap chat for a week or two for that reason. But that is only a certain time of year, thank goodness. Usually, the themes are goofy or silly. The shape-shifting options are the boys’ favorites because they can change your voice as well. They giggle and have a grand old time. 🙂 (Except for when they argue over who gets to go next, which we are working on nipping in the butt.)

So there you have it. The three things I use to bring joy into my children’s day. See how simple they are! We don’t have to work extra hard to make our kids lives joyful. It’s the simple things in life that we remember. And I know that our kids will grow up and look back and remember dancing in the kitchen to silly songs or reading Bible stories at breakfast or taking funny pictures. Or maybe even remember getting whip cream sprayed in their mouth. (That’s for another blog post. 😉 )

There are many more fun ideas I could tell but I thought we should stick with three for now. If I kept going your eyes would glaze over and you would get bored!

If you enjoyed this list and would like more ideas, let me know! Leave your comments below or subscribe to our mailing list.

I would love to hear what you do to bring joy into your children’s lives! I am always looking for new ideas.

Signing off,

Shiree

*These items mentioned above are also great Christmas gifts. 😉