How to Pick Summer Blackberries

Nothing says summertime in Texas like fresh, ripe blackberries.
This yummy fruit grows wild in many parts of the Texas country, and I have fond memories of growing up picking the blackberries that grew outside our home.
So, when I heard about a pick-your-own blackberry farm in north DFW, I knew it would be a fun place to take my niece, River.
And maybe I could share a few tips on picking this summertime fruit along the way.
So, early one Saturday morning, we headed to Duck Creek Blackberry Farm in Sanger, Texas.
Tip #1 – Arrive early to beat the crowds (and the Texas heat!)
If you get there too late, the bushes will already be picked over and you won’t get the best fruit.
Look at those berries, just ripe for pickin’!
Tip #2 – Know your pickin’ container. 
Many places, like Duck Creek Farm, will provide buckets for you to use as you pick your berries.
At Duck Creek Farm, we paid by the gallon.
Cash only.
Tip #3 – Prepare for the summer heat.
Wear a hat, sunglasses and apply *lots* of sunblock.
Even if you hit the fields early, you’ll probably still have to reckon with the sun.
Tip #4 – Know your colors.
You want the *black* berries (hence the name), not the *red* berries.
 You definitely don’t want the blackish red berries.
…not red.
Tip #5 – Give the berry a little tug.
If it separates from the stem easily, you know you have a ripe one.
If it’s a bit tougher to release, you need to give it a bit more time.
Tip #6 – Give it a once over.
If it’s plump and black and seems to be juicy, you’ve got a good one.
Plump, black and juicy is the way to go.
Tip #7 – Use a smaller container to keep the berries you just picked.
When it gets full, dump it into your bigger bucket.
Tip #8 – Don’t forget the bottom of the bushes! 
Lots of times, people don’t want to bend down to pick those lower berries. They’re just waiting for you.
Tip #9 – Look in the middle of the bushes for plump, ripe berries.
Sometimes, they hide.
Tip #10 – Enjoy yourself.
Spend the time picking berries with your family, and chasing your silly little niece.
Trust me, it’s worth it.
Happy summer!

Post It Note Tuesday

For the past several days, I’ve been holed up at my parents’ house with my niece, River.
Since The Nerd and I do not have kiddos of our own, she’s the closest thing we’ve got (other than the Minions).
There are many life lessons to be learned from almost-two-year-olds.
Here are just a few, Post It Note style.
Don’t forget to check out Supah Mommy’s blog to see what everyone else has to say, Post It Note style!
Thanks for looking!


This girl
is going
to be
a cheerleader.
But for now,
she’s content with
annoying the dogs.

Rolo Cookies

Last week, I posted the technique I used to edit this food photo.
But I left you wondering what exactly these cookies were.

Well, now here’s the answer!

If you can’t tell, I really like Rolo candies.
These chocolate cookies taste like brownies with the chewy caramel flavor in the center.
Can you say yummy?
My sister shared this recipe with me on our trip to New Mexico
And I’m so glad she did!
Rolo Cookies
 2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cups cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 pkg rolos
A bit of sugar for garnish 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Beat sugars and butter until fluffy. 
Add vanilla and eggs to mixture. 
Beat until combined.
Combine flour, coca, and soda. 
Add flour mixture to fluffy mixture. 
Unwrap the Rolo candies and get them ready for action!
Shape about a teaspoon of dough around each Rolo. 
Be sure to cover it completely.  
You want it to be about the size of a golf ball.
About this time, The Minions started to get interested in what I was doing.
I guess they were hoping for me to drop a few scraps…
They were sorely disappointed.
Look at all those future cookies!
Press one side of the dough ball into the leftover sugar. 
Place sugar-side up on a baking sheet, about two inches apart.
You’ll end up with about three dozen cookies. If you don’t want to make that many right away, just put the dough balls in a Ziploc bag and freeze them. 
 Bake for eight minutes until the edges start to crisp.
Doesn’t the caramel inside look good enough to eat?
Serve these bad boys just out of the oven with a glass of cold milk.

Not Me Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.
As for me, last week, I did *not* put off every single little thing I was supposed to do for work. Not me! I would *never* procrastinate just because it’s summer and I don’t want to have to work. And that means that I will now have to work this week just to take care of it all. Woohoo.
On Thursday, I packed up and headed to my parents’ house to hang out with them for the weekend. I did *not* check the UPS tracking for a very important package I was awaiting shortly after driving the hour trip to their house, only to find it was delivered just after I left.
So, what did I *not* do? I did *not* leave the package sitting outside our house for a night. Then, I did *not* drive back home to pick up the box and then head back to their house (a two-hour trip total) the very next day. Not me! I am way more organized than that.
And, I did *not* spend the whole day cooking yesterday to make a Father’s Day meal for my dad. Not me! I would *never* go overboard and insist on making everything from scratch. At least there will be good posts on the cooking section this week, right?
Oh, I did *not* forget to post an In My Mailbox post yesterday. Not me! I am *totally* on top of this blog thing and never miss a single post! hahahaha.
And, finally, I am *not* going to shamelessly plug my guest post on Screwed Up Texan today. Not me! I would *never* as my readers to head over there right now to check it out! :)
Happy Monday! 

Screwed Up For a Day

A few weeks ago, I got to meet Allie from Screwed Up Texan.
I love her blog — she’s witty, funny and oh-so-honest.
Next week, Allie is headed to Utah for a camping vacation with her family, and she’s asked several bloggers to write guest posts for her blog while she’s gone.
And guess what? She picked *me*!
Then, I had to put my thinking cap on and come up with something that would be worthy of her blog.
I think I’ve got something good, and I hope you agree!
My post will go up on her site at 9 a.m. CST Monday.
That’s right, I’m first up!
So, be sure to check it out.
Thanks for looking!

Flower Power

I have a confession to make: I am not trendy or cool.
You will never see me sporting skinny jeans (my hips just can’t handle that!).
In fact, the only jewelry I wore for the longest time was my Aggie Ring.
Next month, I’m hosting a bridal shower for my cousin, Courtney. In the next few weeks, you’ll get to see lots of posts about invitations and centerpieces and appetizers.
‘Cause I know you *all* want to hear about that.
Hey, it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want!
Yesterday, I went out hunting for shower things. When I take on a project, I take in O-N!
We’re doing a luau theme, tropical flowers and the whole nine yards.
So, when I stumbled upon these babies at Pier 1 Imports, I put my non-jewelry-wearingness aside. I *had* to have them!
Cute little rings in the shape of tropical flowers!
What could be more perfect for shower prizes?
There’s this cute black one you could wear with anything.
Or so I’m told.
And the green one! It’s my favorite!
White…so pure…so dainty…so…BRIDAL!
This photo does not do justice to the awesome coral pink of this flower. It’s gorgeous!
And, finally, the blue. So bright! So beautiful!
Each ring has an adjustable back, so it could fit anyone!
Ok, ok… jewelry binge over.I’m going to link this post up on Tidy Mom’s I’m Loving It Fridays!

Thanks for looking!

Book Blogger Hop

Happy Friday, y’all!

I thought it would be a good idea to compile a list of contests and giveaways from around the blogosphere each week.

And what better day to do it than Friday?

So, welcome to Friday Finds from The Nerd’s Wife.

These are just a few giveaways I’ve found in my reading. If you have a giveaway or contest that you’d like to see featured, please e-mail me the contest information, including the entry deadline and a link where I can find the contest details.


Matched Giveaway from Steph Su Reads

Steph is giving away an ARC of the high-anticipated Matched by Ally Condie.

There’s a lot of buzz surrounding this book, and I’m anxious to see if it lives up to the hype!

Contest ends July 2.


Sapphique Giveaway from Steph Su Reads

This is another ARC giveaway from Steph.

This time, she’s sharing her BEA loot and giving away Sapphique by Catherine Fischer.

This is the sequel to Incarceron, which is in my TBR pile!

Contest ends July 9.


Paranormal 5 Giveaway from The Undercover Book Lover
Reggie is giving away *five* ARCs and five packs of 5 gum!
I’ve been *dying* to read several of these titles!
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller
Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
Pegasus by Robin McKinley
The contest is open internationally.
Contest ends July 15.

If you’re here from the Book Blogger Hop, welcome!

Be sure to leave me a comment so I can come visit your blog, too!

If you like what you see here, become a follower of my blog by clicking the “Join this Site” button in my right sidebar. Tell me that you did so in the comments, and I’ll follow your blog, too!

Thanks for looking!

Chicken Quesadillas with Mango Salsa

This home-made quesadillas are super-easy to make and oh-so-yummy.
The Nerd definitely approved this addition to our weeknight menu!
Add in some fresh mango salsa, and you’ve got a winning dish!
Chicken Quesadillas with Mango Salsa
(Makes four quesadillas)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cooked and diced)
1 small red onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 medium tomato, diced
Shredded cheese
8 tortillas
Lots of butter
Add some butter to a medium skillet and saute the onion and bell pepper.
You want them to be just turning soft, with just a bit of crunch left.
Without cleaning the pan, add a bit more butter and throw in a tortilla.
You want to cook it until it starts to harden and browns just a bit.
As my tortillas were finished, I started assembling the quesadillas on a griddle.
First, came the cheese.
Then, the peppers and onion.
More cheese (the melted cheese will be the glue that holds it all together).
Top with another fried tortilla, and cook until the bottom tortilla is golden brown.
Then, flip.
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