4th of July

4th of July + Thoughts on Withdawing

This weekend was one for the books you guys. So many sweet memories were made. We kicked off the weekend with a fun date night Thursday night, and it was full speed ahead from there! Ben took me to my favorite little downtown restaurant for some yummy chocolate cheesecake, and then we watched a movie at home, and cuddle with little Piper girl. It was so fun, and such a needed time together!

Friday we got up early, made homemade blueberry lemon sweet rolls(remember I told you I was craving them last week?), and began our 4th of July. We went to the refuge for the morning, and had so much fun letter Piper run around. The refuge is a big wildlife reserve a few miles away from Starkville, and it is just the perfect place to relax and get away. 

Self timer pictures with a puppy cause lots of giggles. We finally got a few good shots, but not until after many ones like these above. Friday we grilled stuffed burgers, and had loads of watermelon. We watched fireworks, and then crashed hard. Saturday was spent working on projects, and cleaning up around the house. 

So seriously it was the best weekend. I think another reason why I enjoyed it so much is because I had decided on Wednesday of last week to just take some time to withdraw. First things first, I am a TOTAL extrovert. I get my energy from people, and so when it comes to withdrawing, I really do not enjoy it. I hate being alone for long periods of time, and really do not require "me" time. BUT..."But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray." Luke 5:16 Jesus withdrew. 

So this past weekend starting on Thursday I just signed off social media. I deleted my Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook apps on my phone, and did not look at them all weekend. For me this was a way to withdraw, and to stop, slow down time, and press into my here and now. I often find myself with my nose in my phone, halfheartedly listening to Ben talk, absorbed in the media world. Don't get me wrong, as a blogger, there is totally a time for social media, but it must be held into check. 

So I have decided to more actively set aside time to withdraw. I want to be present in my day to day life, and relish the gifts the Lord has given me like blue skies with no clouds, loud fireworks that you feel in your chest, watermelon dripping down my fingers, and the smell of burgers on the grill. (all of these are from my gratitude journal). 

Withdrawing helps to clear the skies in our life, slow down time, and it helps us to live fully in the everyday "mundane" moments! 

How was your 4th of July? I would love to hear about your fun holiday traditions! 

4th of July Berry Slab Pie

Can you guys believe it is July!? Like what?? Goodness this summer is seriously flying by. Whew, it just blows me away. Well I am eagerly anticipating the 4th of July with my little fam this weekend. We have some fun traditions we started last year that I am excited to continue this year. Traditions like: grilling out yummy burgers (this year we are trying out chorizo and Munster cheese stuffed burger!), going to see fireworks at the Sportplex, eating loads of watermelon, and playing board games! I am really excited about a day with Ben that he won't have to work, or at least won't have to work the whole day!

So what says America, and 4th of July better than a classic pie? Have you ever heard of a slab pie? I have only had one once, and this is my first time making one. Basically, a slab pie is just a regular pie, made larger in a slab (aka a 9x13 pan). So it is perfect to feed a crowd, like our church! This exact pie is headed to our church potluck tonight! We have a large group Bible study during the summer as a church family, and we have a potluck every Tuesday to go along with the study...so this week my dessert is 4th of July themed, and so delicious! 

Perfect pie to celebrate America! Berry Slab Pie!

This is a simple recipe, and is a spin off of key lime pie sort of. It is refreshing because of all the citrus in the filling, and the berries! Seriously friends, this is a must try for your festivities this weekend, and hello, it is red, white, and blue!!


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter flavored Crisco (shortening) cubed
1 whole egg
5 tbsp ice water
1 tbsp white vinegar

3 (14 oz) cans of sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks
1/4 tsp salt
1-2 tbsp lemon zest
1 cup lemon juice

(also you could use blackberries, raspberries or any combo of the 4)
Whipped cream or Cool Whip

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix salt and flour in bowl. Cut shortening into flour, with pastry cutter, two forks, or a food processor (I used a food processor because it is so quick). Pulse until pea sized pieces are formed. The crumbles are good! They will help create a flaky crust.
2. Add egg, 5 tbsp of ice water, and vinegar. Pulse until dough comes together. Remove dough, form a flattened disc. Cover in plastic wrap and place in freezer for 15 minutes. (this helps to make rolling out easy as pie....haha see what I did there?)
3.While dough is chilling, mix together all ingredients for the filling with a whisk. 
4. Roll out dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Place in 9x13 pan as best you can...mine was a mess and I had to transfer it in pieces...but that is okay, because you are making homemade crust, so it should look homemade! 
5. Poke crust with a fork, place in oven for 15 minutes until golden brown and no longer wet looking. 
6. Pour lemon filling into hot crust. Place back in the oven for 15 minutes until filling has set completely. Allow to cool to room temperature. 
7. Once pie is cool, top with berries. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Slice into squares, and serve with whipped cream. 

This makes enough for 12-15 servings depending on how big you slices are! :)

Yummy Berry Pie, patriotic and perfect for the 4th of July!
So now I want to hear from you! What are your favorite 4th of July traditions and recipes? 

A Harvest of Blessing