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June 2012
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Making pies can be fun...

Story by Jessica Toren Photography by Vicki Hunkler

The Straley family is one fun group of people. Tim and Becky have a blended family of five girls - Nicole, 22, Zibby, 19, Heather, 18, Gigi, 12 and Lexie, 9 - who are each home every Thanksgiving to share in the family tradition of making pies and delivering them to families in their Lone Oak neighborhood.

"We started in 2002," Becky said. "We both love to cook, and my grandma taught me to make pies. We decided to have a little fun in the kitchen over Thanksgiving break, and when you have seven people in the kitchen, you have to make more than one pie!"

The Straleys typically make 18-25 pies, buying as many ingredients as they think they may need, and baking until they run out of supplies. They also bake enough pies to save one for each girl's birthday.

"We only make one kind of pie, apple," Becky said. "It is a blend of recipes Tim and I have learned over time. It's a super-secret recipe that we have only shared with one new person, and she had to sign a non-disclosure agreement," Becky joked.

The family enjoys catching up with each other while working together to make the pies.

"It's always a fun time in the kitchen. The girls like to sing songs and work in an assembly line style." Becky said. "It's hard to get the first pie made because we blend the spices and ingredients in a bowl and the first few apples never make it to a pie because everyone is so excited to eat them!"

The Straleys freeze a few pies to take to family gatherings throughout the year. "The pies always travel. They have been to Missouri, Illinois, and Maryland," Straley said.

"Everyone looks forward to it. Thanksgiving becomes our command performance. We want everyone to come home to make pie and enjoy being together. We also have fun driving around the neighborhood, singing in the car and delivering our pies," Straley said.

Once all the pies are baked, the girls head outside to the yard to take part in the other family tradition of a "flour fight" with all the leftover flour.

"I don't really know how it started, but they love to throw flour at each other! They have been known to hijack flour throughout the day and save it to use in the flour fight!" Becky said.

The best part of the pie-making tradition is the time spent as a family.

"We have made great family memories by baking pies with the girls each year. Tim's grandfather will slice apples all day long with the girls."

Straley hopes the girls will choose to continue the tradition as they become older and their lives become busier. n

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