Diving into the Strawberry Patch

Every week Leo picks a new favorite book.  One that determines whether he goes to bed willingly and without a fight.  Even if the book of the week is a user manual, we just read it to him.  This week, the book is Blueberries for Sal.  I LOVE this book!!  On one side of the mountain, Sal and his mom go blueberry picking.  On the other side of the mountian, a baby bear and a momma bear go blueberry eating.
When we woke up on Saturday morning, I told Leo we were going to get ready to go strawberry picking.  He screamed "I KNOW!" and excitedly ran to the fridge.  He opened the fridge, grabbed a strawberry and came running to the bucket and dropped it in.  "I did it!!  I picked the strawberries!"

My kid...the genius.

After a quick round-up of our friends Jennie and Justin and their kids, we loaded up for the farm.

Leo was ready with his bucket and Elena's bucket.  And Elena was....well....

We're not quite sure what happened to her.  She's more of an "eater" than a "worker"...

She perked up after she saw the strawberries though :)

Initially, I had 4 good workers.  Myself, Jason, Leo and Elena.

Weeeeeellll...make that 3 good workers.  She just ate the strawberries all morning...

Leo picked a couple strawberries and then lost interest.

Jason had to wrangle Elena so she stopped eating all the strawberries we picked.

At one point, it looked like she was helping Jennie's kids pick strawberries and I was so proud!!

We heard Taylor said "No no no!" and we looked over to see Elena picking strawberries out of Taylors' bucket as soon as she put them in...

I managed to get 14 pounds of strawberries.  (Jennie's working team of five got 23 pounds or more!!)

Now I just have to get to work canning these for jam...

But first - a sampling of our hard work:

Strawberry Banana Kefir Smoothies!!

Fresh Strawberries, Homemade Chocolate Chip Shavings, and Homemade Pastry Cream!!
(It tastes better than it looks - PROMISE!!)

Pastry Cream Recipe (from Allrecipes.com)

2 cups raw milk
1/4 cup rapadura sugar or sucanat
2 farm fresh egg yolks
1 farm fresh egg
1/4 cup cornstarch or arrowroot powder
1/3 cup rapadura sugar or sucanat
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1.In a heavy saucepan, stir together the milk and 1/4 cup of sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat.

2.In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and egg. Stir together the remaining sugar and cornstarch; then stir them into the egg until smooth. When the milk comes to a boil, drizzle it into the bowl in a thin stream while mixing so that you do not cook the eggs. Return the mixture to the saucepan, and slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly so the eggs don't curdle or scorch on the bottom.

3.When the mixture comes to a boil and thickens, remove from the heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla, mixing until the butter is completely blended in. Pour into a heat-proof container and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled before using. 

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