Well, here we are - fourth of July weekend already. Hard to believe.
So far our weekend has been great. Yesterday the sun was blazing and we spent the day at my in-laws pool. We sat poolside and snacked on homemade pizza and watermelon. Today we packed up our beach bags and spent the day sea side. Anyone that knows me knows that I am not a big fan of the sun and not the best swimmer, but I do LOVE to plop myself under an umbrella and watch the tide roll in. I love the smell of the salt air and the feel of the sand between my toes. Something about being at the beach lightens my mood. It's very relaxing. Plus my son loves it because he can get sandy and muddy and have Popsicle juice running down his arm and it's no big deal. Today we built sandcastles and stood in waist high water as huge waves crashed into us, which he thought was hysterical. The water was freezing, but he did not care one bit. The colder the water and the bigger the splash, more excited he got.
The mind of a three year old is a magnificent thing.
Tonight we had my mom's birthday dinner and tomorrow we have a family cookout at my hubbie's uncle's house. This is an annual extravaganza and we are looking forward to it very much. My hubbie's family sticks very close to their traditions and this one is a biggie. The cousin's will have their annual barefoot soccer game, there will be volleyball, cannonballs in the pools, and of course - Boccie. Rob's uncle will make his famous fish chowder, and that's just the beginning of the food. The grill will be on fire all day. It's really a great time. This year I'll be bringing blueberry pie.
My mother's actual birthday is on the fourth of July. She has a love/hate feeling about this. One of the great things about it is when she was a little girl her father told her that the fireworks every year were just for HER. Can you imagine being a kid and actually believing that? Sweet. Another great thing is that nobody ever forgets her birthday - so no matter where she is, she's getting a cake. I think that's where the hate part comes in. As a kid it was great, but as an adult she's not big into making a big deal about things. But it doesn't matter - no matter where she is - a cake will find her on the fourth of July. Personally, I think it's great.
I made my mom a blueberry pie for her birthday this year and I also made one to take to the cookout tomorrow. I learned how to make pies from my grandmother when I was a little girl. Here is her tried-and-true recipe for pie crust and blueberry pie. It's so simple.
First the crust. All you need is:
2 cups sifted flour
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup shortening
7-8 tbsp water
Sift flour and salt together in a medium bowl.
With a fork, cut in shortening until the pieces are the size of small peas...
...and the mixture is crumbly.
Add the smaller amount of water and toss with a fork until the flour is moistened. With your hands knead the ball until a soft dough is formed. If needed add more water if too dry.
This is a double crust recipe, so once a dough ball is formed, divide it into two equal pieces - one for the top crust and one for the bottom.
Grease and flour a 9 inch pie plate.
On a floured surface roll out dough (11 inches to fit a 9 inch pie plate) and fit into dish.
With a fork, make a few air holes in the bottom of the crust.
For the filling you will need:
4 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) blueberries
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp quick cooking tapioca
Wash and dry blueberries. Makes sure all the stems are discarded.
Pour blueberries into pie shell. Cover with sugar and tapioca.
By they way, in case you have never used tapioca it looks like this:
It has no taste, but acts as a thickening agent.
After covering with sugar and tapioca, mix with spoon until the blueberries are coated.
Roll out your top crust and cover pie.
Crimp edges with a fork and make a few vents in the top crust.
Melt 1 tbsp of butter and brush the top crust with it. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and you are done : )
Preheat oven to 375 and bake for 60 mins or until crust is golden brown.
Serve hot or cold with vanilla ice cream. (coffee ice cream works well too...mmmm)
Every year on the night before the fourth of July the people that live on the next street over have a block party. We have never met them, but for the last 12 years we have been enjoying their fireworks right from our own backyard. I took this picture tonight as I sat in my jammie's and slippers and enjoyed my own little private showing of fireworks, flying high above our trees. The smell reminded me of the fourth of July celebrations I had with my family growing up. My grandparents had a cottage on the beach and every year we would have a big party (much like the one I'm going to tomorrow). During the day there would be games of horseshoes, swimming, and canoeing. At night my cousins would light fireworks that would light up the sky and then we would have a big bonfire and toast marshmallows. And of course there would be a birthday came for my mother, which she loved.... Everyone was happy and everyone was together. Those are good memories. They don't make 'em like that anymore, do they? Funny how we sometimes don't appreciate things until they are a memory. I hope as my son gets older he will look back on his youth in the same fondness as I do. I'm sure that was my parent's wish as well.
Before I sign off for tonight, I wanted to show you how my shoes came out. With Arlene's Tacky Glue and a tweezers I applied the sequins and applique to the flip flops and let them dry overnight Here they are:
I'm crazy happy about how they came out, but because I am in need of a pedi, I won't model them for you... : )
Have a happy and safe weekend to all!
PS Happy Birthday Mom xo