Friday, November 30, 2012

B. Fiddlesticks picks a Winner!!

 
 
Before B. Fiddlesticks lost himself in some cupcakes,
he picked 10 winners from his hijack giveaway.
 
Today is my busy day, so this is all I can post.
If you are a winner, you should get an email me on Sunday.
 
Happy Friday and thanks to all who entered!!
Congrats to these winners!!
 

 
 
 
 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Memory Lane {keep writing your story}

 
 
There is something to be said about memory lane.  It's like re-reading a chapter out of your own story.  Sometimes the story is good, sometimes the story is sad, but that never matters.  It's part of you.  I had the chance to take a stroll down memory lane last weekend.  I wasn't planning on it, but walking on my college campus, lined with autunm leaves, I couldn't resist.  I had to re-read this chapter of my life.
 
Not much as changed on campus.  The leaves look incredibly the same.  The air is decidedly as crisp, as it was on those fall days.  The campus today looks almost identical to the one I left twelve years ago.  Yes, twelve years ago.  But I'm completely different.
 
The last fall I spent on campus, under a canopy of leaves, I was sad and heartbroken.  I spent that last fall in a haze of booze and boys.  Drowning my sorrows and my broken heart.  It was the biggest breakup the Hubbs and I had gone through.  What I like to call the final one, before we actually committed.  I spent that fall trying to hold on to every last bit of our relationship.  And I failed miserably.
 
I'll never forget walking that campus and knowing that he wouldn't call.  That I wouldn't call.  That I probably would call, later in a boozy haze, just to have my heart broken again.  I'd do stupid things that broken hearted girls do, like stay out too late, smoke too many cigarettes, call just to hear his voice mail.  I'm not proud of any of these.
 
Yet during my walk down memory lane, I was thankful for every one of those cigarettes.  Every single drunk dial.  Every friend that guided me through my boozy haze.  Because as I took my short stroll under that canopy of leaves, I was headed to a life that seemed impossible twelve years prior.
 
Waiting at that tailgate was the Hubbs.  The one who broke my heart, the one I thought was gone, the one I thought would never commit.  What seemed impossible to me so many years ago, is now reality.  It's not unicorns and flowers, now way.  This marriage thing is hard work.  We are still working on this life, twelve years later.  I still do stupid things, but now they are things like overdraw the checking account at Target.  Instead of cigarettes it's too many Starbucks.  I no longer drunk dial, I stress dial, and yell at him because our girls are driving me nuts.  The heartache, the fights, the drunk girl stupidity all seem like someone else.  Almost forgotten, unless we are talking about our love story.  Was that really happening that last fall under the leaves?
 
My friends were there on Saturday too.  The friends that saw me through that fall.  Who picked me up when I was a mess.  The ones who thought I was crazy for loving "that guy".  Now we can walk down memory lane together and laugh.  How could we have ever known it would one day be this way?  I think it's better that we couldn't.
 
Saturday was a beautiful fall day, perfect for a trip down memory lane.  The campus looks the same.  I look the same.  Yet, life has happened around me.  Life has happened to me.  My story started out one way, but is living another.  I'd never go back and rewrite chapters, but I'm always game to reread them.  Our stories will never end, as long as we keep writing, or walking down memory lane.
 
Because your story can start out one way:
One upon a time, there was a girl, under a canopy of leaves...
 
But you can keep writing another:
...Currently she is living her happily ever after...
 
 
 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wore: November {mom style)


 
With November almost at it's close, I thought I'd show what I wore this month.
I don't always post my attempts at fashion, but I think I did pretty good this month.
Plus, I've got about a million real life things to do right now.
And blogging is going to have to be short and sweet.
 
Here's a recap of WIW this Month.
 
Election Day begs for stripes and red Toms.
 
 
It's hard to have a fall party when it's 75 out.
Oxblood Skinnies, Crochet Toms, and a breezy top.
 
 
Fall in Fresno is unpredictable.
Picture one is kindergarten drop off, about 50 degrees.
Picture two is kindergarten pick up, about 70 degrees.
Picture three is going to a friends house at about six pm, 60ish degrees.
Yes, 3 different outfits, one crazy day.
 
 
I can't get enough of this sweatshirt.
A gift from my cousin.
It's from Forever 21.
 

This was yesterday as a parent volunteer in the class room.
New black boots, oxblood skinnies, and my grandpa cardigan.
Is it just me, or are grandpa cardigans the new yoga pants?
Seriously, I want to live in one.
 
 
 
What did you wear this month?
Have a WIW post up today?
Leave a link in the comments so we can see your November style!
 
 
 
 
Don't forget this giveaway!
A chance to be in my sidebar for two months!
Up to 10 winners.
Ends Friday at midnight.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Making "mollies" {Bucket List}

 
When I was a little girl, I spent my days with my Grandma Chila.  My mom was a working mom, and I started going to Grandma's at six weeks old.  This just about killed my mother.  To this day, she claims I'm an only child because leaving another child at six weeks old would have killed her.  I don't doubt this.  But what she could have never known then, was that she was giving me one of the greatest gifts of my life.  Not only did my mother provide a life beyond riches, she also shared me with others, who provided the same. 
My Grandma Chila is one of those people.
 
This is Mac making "mollies".
She loved making those "mollies", once she figured it out.
 
I remember her apple cake, made with apples from her apple trees.  Fresh tortillas with butter right after I walked home from school to her house.  The perfect bowl of cornflakes and strawberries, a ratio I still can't mix to this day.  One of my earliest memories is playing in her kitchen.  At one time I knew where everything was.  Later when I was older, I'd do homework in her kitchen while she made delicious feast after delicious feast.  There were no measuring cups or spoons, no recipes or cook books.  Just memories and her small brown hands at work in masa, getting it just right for tortillas.
 
I grew up, and out of her kitchen.  I went to jr high and took the bus home.  I walked home from high school.  Then later I moved to Fresno and went to college.  Every trip "home" I'd go back to her kitchen.  It's my favorite place to be.  Even now, I can spend hours at her kitchen table with her.  I realized as the years continued to pass that this joy, this treasured spot, would not be here for always, and that got me thinking.  What is the one thing I have always wanted to do, in this kitchen, with her, and her secrets of recipe success?

Make tamales.
 
Grandma Chila is known for her tamales.  Every year her and my grandpa make dozens and dozens.  To eat and to share, but mostly for us, her family to eat.
 
Team Tamale!!
Me, Laura, Rachel, Grandma, and my Mom
 
With the help of my mom and Laura, we organized a Tamale Making Party.  We got out the notebooks and our iPhones to snap pictures of ingredients and finished products.  We learned about food items we never knew existed.  We laughed and giggled, and successfully made almost two dozen overstuffed tamales.  It was one of the best afternoons to date.
 
Here are my grandparents showing us how this tamale thing is done.
Grandpa is showing us how to spread the masa, as he will tell you grandma doesn't do it right.
Grandma is showing me how to fold.  Folding is the hardest part.
 
It seems most of my life has been spent in this kitchen.  The dining room set is still the same one from my child hood.  Her sugar lives sits in the same crystal bowl, many of her pans are still cooking up refried beans and rice.  Items that stir nostalgia.  That make me feel like I'm in another world, the one where I'm waiting for my mom to pick me up.  Where I'm a kid, and this place with these people will always be right here at arms length.
 
I had no idea that while crossing one item off my bucket list, I'd cross another I didn't know was there.  Making tamales with my Grandma was on the list.  Showing my girls a little glimpse at my own childhood wasn't.  A glimpse that will one day only exist in pictures.  All I've ever wanted is for them to share their love with these two amazing grandparents.  To see them for who they are, and how they have shaped who I am today.  My grandparents, who became great grandparents, and if possible, have even more love to share.  The joy and laughter they have with my girls is enough to make my heart explode.

Of course this little Missy had no problem folding her tamale.
I told her it's because she was born that way.
 
Watching my girls spread masa, fold tamales, and play with masa balls, was precious.  Sharing tradition with my grandparents, my parents, and my girls, was priceless.  Starting a new tradition with Team Tamale (Hernandez/Crutch) was a blessing.
 
My heart is bursting.
 
Bucket list.
 
Check and double check.
 
 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

He's back {and he's hosting a giveaway}



Meet Buddy.  Or as I like to call him B. Fiddlesticks.  I fell in love with this elf last year.  More than my girls.  As all my friends like to remind me, we don't follow the Elf on The Shelf rules in this house.  B. leaves the shelf, the girls like to have him over for tea, he goes to the mall with us, and even has dinner with us.  I have come to the conclusion that the hubbs and I have more fun with B., than the girls.  So B. Fiddlesticks is offically back.  Follow me on Instagram for the (highly inappropriate) adventures of B. this holiday season. 

And since B. is delighted to be out of the box, he has taken it upon himself to hack rafflecopter and set up a giveaway.  B. changed all my passwords for Rafflecopter and Passion Fruit Ads last night.  He said he won't give them back until January.  So instead of me organizing ads and such, B's just giving them away.  Five Features and Five Mediums.  So TEN of you could win free space for two whole months.

That B.  he's a naughty little elf.  Just look at what I found on Friday night...





a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday {Shop in your PJs}

It's Black Friday.  I'm sure many of you have been out since last night raking in the steals and deals.  Hopefully you've had some breakfast and a nap.  Maybe you're at Starbucks checking your phone while you post a picture of your Peppermint Latte to Instagram.  My hope is that you are at home relaxing and reading this post.  That way you can continue to shop in your pjs.  It's my favorite thing to do on Black Friday while my kids run off the pumpkin pie they ate for breakfast... 

Looking for a unique Christmas gift for yourself or a friend? Be sure to check out Livy Love Designs Diana is offering 50% off ALL orders!  Use the coupon code BLACKFRIDAY50 at checkout to take half off.  Look at these cute prints!  I know some peeps that need these in their lives.  Plus she has buttons that say "I love you more than diet coke".  Seriously, check out this shop!  It's to. DIE.  FOR.  She's got something for everyone on your Christmas list, if you don't blow your budget on yourself! 

This sale is open until Monday, November 26th, Midnight PST.  You can customize any print with colors from her provided color chart to match the colors of your room or for a gift.  To check out the sale, click here and dont forget to enter BLACKFRIDAY50 at checkout to receive your discount.  This discount makes some of her 5x7 prints $5.  FIVE BUCKS!!  It's a steal!

Per Diana, please note that all orders during this sale will be shipped no later than December 3rd to ensure delivery by Christmas.  If you need them sooner please contact Diana via Etsy Conversations.




Also don't forget that I'm giving away swag over at Through The Eyes of The Mrs.  Beth is going to rock your Black Friday with this huge giveaway with multiple winners!!

Happy Black Friday!  I'll be in my pjs if you need me.

 
 
 
 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I'm thankful for Blogging {Happy Thanksgiving}

 
In the spirit that is Thanksgiving, I thought I would write about why I'm thankful for blogging.  This post originally appeared here, but with the manic bronchitis, I thought it be best to repost.  I was thinking about all the reasons I'm thankful for blogging.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.  I had a few, heartfelt reasons, but I figured that sarcasm is the best side dish you can have on Thanksgiving...  PS: you can find a serious post here.
 
Here are my reasons for being thankful for blogging:
 
I would have never known that this was a thing:
 

Not only the headband, but the self portrait thing as well.
Here are a few of the dorky attempts.
And my dirty bathroom that is a constant in my selfies.
I made the headband as part of a link up challenge.
So thank you blogging for dorky self pictures, weirdly placed headbands,
and DIY fabric flowers I now put on everything.
Including my daughters.
 
How else would I know what to wear or what others are wearing?
 
 
Yes, I blog, and yes, I do these posts.
My hubbs thinks they are ridiculous.
I told him he just doesn't understand.
Thank you blogging world for understanding that
Wednesdays are made for a Fashion post.
 
 
I would never know that Starbucks is serving Pumpkin Spice Lattes.
Or that they are serving them in a red cup.
You know exactly what I'm talking about.
Thank you bloggers for alerting me to the magic of the season.
 
 
I would have never discovered Instagram.
favorite Instagram of the moment.
Which I love almost as much as my iPhone.
How else would I take my WIW photos, or pictures of my kids eating at Panera Bread.
Thank you Instagram, you make my everyday life look like art,
and my unwashed hair look terrific.
 
 
I would have never known the genius that is Passion Fruit Ads or Rafflecopter.
Oh, you're not a blogger?
Sorry, but this is like when sliced bread was invented.
Thank you PF Ads and Rafflecopter for changing my blogging life.
I can now spend the time I would on sponsors and giveways over at Pinterest.
 
 
I would have never known the difference between"mint" and "teal".
In regards to skinny jeans.
Because there is a difference.
Thanks to some serious fashion bloggers I know what too look for.
Also thank you for clearing up "oxblood" and "maroon".
 
 
I would have never known how to do anything.
 
Fabric flower poof?  Check.
T-shirt Infinity Scar?  Check.
Cake mix cookies?  Check.
The list goes on and on.
While I should thank Pinterest, why should Miz Pin get all the credit.
I would have never been able to make these things if it weren't for
the awesome blogs that provide the tutorials.
 
 
I would have never "linked" up.
Hi, I'm Megan, and I'm addicted to Link ups.
I have yet to meet one I don't like.
I've done a vlog.
I love lists.
I have even posted a craft or two.
If you give a blogger a link party...
Which I'm so thankful you do, it's how I've met some amazing bloggers.
 
 
Sarcasm aside, I'm thankful for the blogging world. Little did I know when I started my blog almost two years ago that there was an entire community of friendship to be had. I found amazing blogs sharing ideas on parenting, faith, community, photography, and life.  
I'm thankful for this blogging community who likes to laugh with me,
share with me and when asked, say a prayer for me. 
  
So Happy Thanksgiving.  I'm sure I'll know all about it via Instagram.  I'll also know exactly what you are wearing, eating, and drinking.  Also I can't wait for your Black Friday posts.  You bloggers are nuts.  I'll check out your tweets and Instagrams from my couch, in my pjs, while I do some shopping of my own.  On the iPad. 
 
Don't worry, if you need a visual, just check Instagram.
 
 
 
 
 
Beth's Black Friday Giveaway.
Multiple giveaways = Multiple Winners
Stop by at Midnight!
 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

That's Living {Instagram}

 
Things sometimes don't work out the way you plan.
That's life.
 
So I would have rather written this post in a different way.
Like Hello Monday or Coffee Date.
 Instead I'm writing it as is, because that's living.
 
 
 
I blogged about my sweet potato pie that was almost a disaster.
John won an iPad from work.
Miss Mac finished all her meds, a first in this house!
Caitlin can now write love notes.
Kindergarten makes life sweeter.

 
Mac got all gussied up for dinner.
Caitlin is practicing for her recital.
Two awesome comments from some awesome readers!

Can you see Mac?
She really didn't want to go to bed.
Family Circus preached the truth last week.
People Magazine rocked my world.
There was sexy on top of sexy, with a side of sexy.
Hey, can I get fries with that sexy?

 
My cousin Kim got me this rad crazy cat lady sweatshirt.
It's from Forever 21.
Go get one right meow.

 
And would you look at that.
Crazy cat lady runs in the family.
Caitlin rocked her "boots with da furrr".

 
Saturday we lived it up fancy with a fancy family photographer.
You all know Laura Hernandez.
But did you know she's my Aunt?
Crazy, small world right?
Well she did a fantastic family portrait session,
and then rocked my world with some head shots.
Self indulgent?
Yes.
Super fun?
Absolutely.
Do I look like that in real life?
Hardly ever.
 
 
Then Monday, with just 4 days before Turkey day, this.
I think it was to force me to slow down.
To catch up on Scandal, Christmas shop on the iPad,
and wear yoga pants all day.
 
Sometimes life hands you lemons.
And all you can do is add hot water and lemon to suppress your cough.
Or tequila.
You can always add tequila.
 
 
 
 
Beth's awesome Black Friday Giveaway.
Don't miss it!
 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Emotional Detour

This isn't the post I intended to write.  As you can see from yesterday's post, I'm a little under the weather.  This post was supposed to be your regular run of the mill, my life in Instagrams, "bs" that I always post.  I was all ready for it, until I took an emotional detour.
 
After my doctor's appointment yesterday, I stopped at Whole Foods for some Turkey Day supplies.  It was a quick trip and before I knew it, I was back in the car on my way home.  I was frustrated, and feeling awful.  I had planned a million things for Monday.  A play date for Caitlin with one of my dearest friends and her kiddos.  I've missed her and since school started we just can't seem to get together.  I was also a tad peeved that I was going to have to cancel my Breaking Dawn date with my bestie.  She's the reason I even fell in love with the books, and we have seen every movie together.  Plus I couldn't breathe, I felt like I had an elephant sitting on my chest.  So there I was, focused, annoyed, and inconvenienced.
 
Then I saw her.  At the stoplight.  With her tattered coat and dirty hands.  Holding a small sign.  The fact that she was there wasn't a surprise.  It's common to see people asking for spare change at that intersection.  What did surprise me was her sign.  It didn't say "Need Money" or "Need Food", it simply said, "Anything will help".
 
Anything.
 
Like a warmer coat.  A warm meal.  A cup of coffee.  A prayer.
 
So I got out my wallet and gave her $5.  As I handed it to her out of my window she said "Happy Thanksgiving", and I said "Thank you", which left me feeling cold.  I'm thanking her for wishing me a Happy Thanksgiving?  Seriously?
 
I'm sure it was my illness, or my over all tiredness and frustration, but I started to cry.  I realized that that $5 wouldn't even buy a sandwich at the Whole Foods I just left.  That I would indeed have a Happy Thanksgiving, yet all I had to offer was $5.  Here I was frustrated and annoyed at breaking plans and being sick.  What a punch in the gut.
 
Emotional detour can really put life in perspective.
 
This Thanksgiving I will be warm and fed, and quite possibly still nursing this cough. But I will have the blessing of the loved ones around me, the warmth of a winter coat, the luxury of a bed.  All things that I take incredible advantage.  I'd be lying if I said that I thought about those less fortunate than me while I stuff my face with my portion of a 20 pound bird.  This year though, I'm thinking about it a lot.
 
It's been a rough year at my house.  We have gotten by, but it hasn't been easy.  There are luxuries that we go without.  I don't talk about money or status on my blog, but I'm a stay at home mom.  My hubby works hard.  We do what we have to do.  But it's by no means a walk in the park.  How easily we could be on the other side of giving. 
I can't ignore that any longer.
 
Last week on the Embrace Your Life Blog, I wrote about being thankful for the messy, the annoying, and the inconvenient.  Dirty dishes mean we have food to make and eat.  Dirty clothes mean we have more than one shirt for our backs.  A living room full of toys means that we have children and they are playing.  All things that at first glance we may overlook as messy or inconvenient.  But in reality they are the greatest blessings of our lives.
 
Today I'm thankful for one stranger, who sent me on an emotional detour,
where there is perspective at every turn.
 
 
 
 
 
Mark your calendars!
 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Even my illnesses have psychological problems

Friends, I seriously can't make this up.  One day, I hope to write a screen play of all the ridiculous shizz that is my life.  I swear sometimes it feels like a Modern Family episode!
 
I woke up today feeling like death.  My chest hurt.  My armpits hurt.  I had what I like to call a 2 pack a day cough.  It was ugly.  Since Turkey Day is Thursday, I didn't want to mess around, so I made a doctors appointment as soon as the office opened. 
 
When I got there I was greeted by a large sight that said, and I'm paraphrasing:
 
If you have a cough or flu like symptoms,
don't be an a-hole and hack all over us.
Put on this mask.
 
Noted.
 
I'm sexy and I know it.
 
 
So I put on the mask, and of course I had to immediately post a picture to Instagram.  It's what bloggers do, am I right?
 
I was quickly quarantined to an exam room.  I didn't pass go, get weighed, or collect $200.  The mask apparently is very intimidating, and others view you as an extra from Contagion or The Stand.
 
Me and the hubbs having a laugh.
 
 
I didn't have to wait long for my doctor.  Who is a bowl of sunshine let me tell you.  The woman looks like a fairy went through menopause, gained a good 30 pounds, and sports a grey pixie cut.  Dare I say she sings her diagnosis?  Well she does, and my diagnosis was manic bronchitis.
 
Let me type that again.
 
MANIC BRONCHITIS
 
Of course I couldn't wait to call my BF and relay the news that even my illnesses have psychological problems.  Which she laughed hysterically, and I tried to laugh but hacked up a lung.  It also forced me to write this blog post.
 
Can I just say that now that I have the bronchitis, I really ain't got time for this?
 
Mentally unstable bronchitis aside, it's not that bad.  Things could be worse.  Like a bloggy friend of mine who posted a picture to Instagram this morning of her kiddos lying on the floor with a bucket.
 
A Bucket.
 
I'll take my multiple personality bronchitis over the stomach bug any day.
 
Any.  Day.
 
It wasn't so bad.  My momma brought me my first red cup of the season
 
 
Next time you all have a cough or the sniffles, know that your illness is probably relatively normal.  Like the common cold or strep throat.  Because I would guess that you are most likely normal. 
 
Not like me. 
My illnesses must have psychological problems. 
 
 
 
PS: emailing and posting is going to be spotty at best.
This bug is a real bitch.
So if you need me - send me a tweet!
 
Don't miss the Black Friday Giveaway at Beth's place!!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Hold on to your red cup {coffee date}

Old pic but it's a red cup kind of date.
 
It's been awhile since a coffee date.
I think it's time we have a chat.
But let's meet at Starbucks, because my house is a mess.
My bathroom looks like my kids had a pool party.
My living room is covered in Oreo crumbs and Littlest Pet Shops.
Laundry baskets line the wall in the kitchen.
 
So Starbucks it is, hold on to your red cup.
 
This week started off with Veteran's Day.
Which meant Caitlin was home from school.
It was fine, we hung out, we went to Costco.
It seemed like we were on the right track.
 
Then the hubbs got some news at work.
Not really bad, but not so great either.
This is a time to be thankful for opportunities.
It's hard when you're not sure they are the right ones.
So I have decided to do something that I rarely do...
I'm handing it over to Jesus.
This is not a joke, I'm seriously handing it over.
I'm going to pray about it, and try to have faith in what lies ahead.
I'm no longer in control.
The longer I try to stay in control the crazier I get.
So I'm handing it over.
 
Wednesday the school called 20 minutes into the day.
Caitlin was crying and not feeling well.
This is another Mommy fail.
She didn't feel well when I dropped her off.
But she didn't have a fever so I told her to tough it out.
My mama instinct said otherwise, but...
I picked her up in the nurses office where she was laying down,
with a blanket.
And she looked like the smallest kindergartner in the world!
 
Just when I thought we were home free...
My car wouldn't start.
Yup, in the roundabout, kids in car seats, battery dead.
Awesome.
Thank God the hubbs was still in Fresno.
My mom met me and got the kids.
Sadly I was more worried about my hair appointment to cover my grays.
Perspective, I needed a slice.
 
Yesterday I took Caitlin to the doctor.
I bought her a peppermint brownie cake pop from Starbucks.
Because going to the doctor is hard, right?
She then had to get $75 worth of inhalers.
I also made crock pot soup for dinner.
Thank God for the crock pot.
The best part was even Caitlin had some.
That's was a first!
 
Looking forward, this gal is taking our family pictures on Saturday.
Rain or shine.
Hear that mother nature?
I also get to knock something off my bucket list.
Making tamales with my Grandma.
 
Since Caitlin is still sick, and had a not so fun reaction to her antibiotics,
we are home today.
The three of us girls.
Just like the old days before kindergarten.
Before volunteering.
Before I became a room mothers.
 
This calls for a small celebration.
Like cookies for breakfast.
 
And since I have completely manipulated this conversation,
let me make it up to you by buying you another coffee, and perhaps a cake pop.
 
What's new with you?
 
 
 
I didn't do a vlog, but I'm linking up anyway.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sweet (potato) surprises {a recipe}


 
Yesterday, my mom reminded me that it's been a year since she fell in a hotel room and broke her shoulder.  It not only brought up the fact that she indeed tripped over my kids' mess, but the extreme stress which was the Holidays of 2011.  You see, my mom is the the patron saint of mothers.  In such a way that she ends up acting like every one's mother.  Case in point, the holidays.  My mother makes 4 hams, 4 sweet potato pies, 4 pecan cheesecakes, 4 chocolate cakes and 2 pumpkin cheesecakes between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Imagine my utter terror, when that task fell to me last year.
 
For the record I only made 2 sweet potato, 2 hams, and 5 chocolate cakes, last year.  
 
That said I really wanted to share a funny little story that came out of the Holiday of 2011.  It wouldn't be my life if I couldn't laugh about it.  Also, I now have a story of my own, along with a recipe (that's kind of my own) to pass down to my kids and grandkids.
 
Last year, I was tasked with making sweet potato pies.  I don't make pies.  Cakes, cupcakes, pudding, scratch frosting, cookies by the dozen, yes.  Pies, no way.  I'm 34 years old and up until last holiday I had never once made a pie.  Not a pumpkin, not a cheesecake, not a single fill in with pie filling pie.
 
  I was terrified to say the least. 
 
Not bad for a first pie, am I right?
 
Also batting against me was the passed down recipe from my Great Grandma Mamie.  Mamie was superwoman.  I only knew her late in her life, but even then if you left a cup out she washed it and put it away before you could finish it.  If you left your jacket on the couch, it was washing when you went to put it on, and if you liked things like southern home style cooking, she had the touch.  Years ago, when I was a little girl, and Granny was no longer able to make her pies for the holidays, my mom set out to rediscover her recipe for sweet potato pies.  My grandpa loves them, I'm sure for the sheer memory of happy holidays when he was a boy. 
 
When mom had asked Granny for the recipe, she didn't have it written somewhere, it was just in her mind.  So mom had to guess and experiment as she went.  For years my mom worked and tried, and literally trashed pies trying to come up with the one. The one that was the right texture, consistency, and spiced just right.  Finally she found one that worked, and sweet potato pie was back as a Thanksgiving and Christmas staple.
 
Then I crashed the kitchen. 
 
I was so nervous.  This was the pie.  This was what my grandpa waited for all year.  Now I was the one who was going to make or break his holiday.  I almost cried at the idea.  Still, I put on my big girl apron, I went out and bought the ingredients, and I baked that pie. 
From scratch.
 
I delivered the pies to my grandpa the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.  I waited a few hours before I called to see if they had tried them.  My Grandma answered the phone, and I asked her if Grandpa had tried the pies.  Not only had Grandpa tried the pies, but she tried them too, and guess what?
 
"You could give your mama a run for her money in pie making".
 
Whoa.  What?
 
Grandma and Grandpa raved about my pies.  The texture, the flavor, the richness.  What did you do differently they asked.  I didn't know.  I followed the recipe, I baked the sweet potatoes instead of boiled.  I even used my electric mixer to make it all smooth.  But that was it.  Even my mom said they were better, and that my new contribution to the holidays would be this pie.
 
Then it was time for the Christmas baking.
And guess what the secret was?
Sweetened Condensed Milk.
 
When I was in my terrified haze at Thanksgiving, I wasn't paying attention to the "canned milk".  Granny said that her pies used "canned milk", my mother took that as evaporated.  So for years evaporated milk was the ingredient.  Since I wasn't paying attention while shopping with my then 4 year old and 1.5 year old, while being blindsided by terror, I picked the first can off the shelf.  That can was sweetened condensed milk.
 
Thanksgiving is next week, and thank God we have all our limbs in tact and not in traction.  I'm looking forward to baking my 3 cakes, buying my pumpkin pie at Costco, and baking 24 vintage cupcakes.  My mom will be baking the sweet potatoes, adding the sweetened condensed milk, and providing the memories of Christmas past to my Grandpa. 
 
Not all baking disasters end badly. 
Sometimes you get a sweet (potato) surprise.
 
 
 
Granny's Sweet Potato Pie
2 large Sweet Potatoes baked
3 eggs
1/2 cup butter  (do not use margarine)
2 T. Flour
1 t. baking powder
3/4 c.  sweetened condensed milk
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. cinnamon
2 T. Vanilla (yes, tablespoons)
1 c. sugar
2 unbaked pie crusts (scratch or store bought)
Bake sweet potatoes at 400 degrees for 2-4 hours depending on size. Mash.  Add in the rest of the ingredients until smooth, by hand or hand mixer.  Pour into 2 unbaked pie shells and bake for 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven until firm on top.
*Note:  I baked my pie on a cookie sheet.