Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mama Winnie's Pecan Pie

Mama Winnie’s Pecan Pie

3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup Karo corn syrup
¾ cup sugar
2 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups chopped pecans
1 unbaked pie crust

In a large bowl, mix eggs, syrup, sugar, butter, vanilla and flour until well blended. Stir in chopped pecans. Pour into pie crust.

Bake at 350˚F for 50 to 55 minutes.

Enjoy the pecan pie perfection!

All of the pies were made by scratch by Mama Winnie. 
Notice the pies on the left are stacked on top of each other.

*My grandma believed that it was just as easy to make two pies as one (as you can see evidence of in the photo above).  She would double the recipe to make two pecan pies.  Since the premade pie crusts usually come with two in a package I double the recipe.  Yes, I do use premade pie crusts, but I use a fork to crimp the pie crust edges just like Mama Winnie.  Very soon I'll be sharing my grandma's recipe for Chocolate Cream Pie and Coconut Cream Pie.  My great-grandmother and grandma also used to make a Pineapple Coconut Pie that I'll share with you, too. 
All so delicious!

You can read more reflections about my grandma's cooking here.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cyber Monday

I only made one Cyber Monday purchase.  I bought Christmas stockings from Pottery Barn.  I've always had a hard time deciding on what type of stocking I want to use at Christmas.  Last year I purchased two stockings for the boys at TJ Maxx.  I settled when I purchased them.  It wasn't exactly what I wanted, but I needed something so I just purchased them anyway.  Have you ever done that?  So, this morning I was checking my email, which was overflowing with Cyber Monday deals.  I spotted Pottery Barn's email about free shipping and monogramming.  I knew there was potential with those words.  It's exactly what I wanted--personalized stockings.  Plus the monogramming was free and so was shipping.  Happy Monday Morning to me!  I checked with my husband to get his opinion (he works just down the hall from me at school) at the morning break and made my purchase.  Hopefully they will be delivered soon.  I think I'll be really happy with this purchase and I know I didn't settle this time. 

Did you find any Cyber Monday deals?

Images from Pottery Barn

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Postpartum Memories

My sister-in-law, *Andrea, and I were talking at our family Thanksgiving.   We were talking about the phase of parenting I'm in right now and how my kids are at a challenging age.  Not that each age doesn't come with it's own unique set of challenges, but at this phase my boys are still very needy and the workload is demanding.  I told her I feel like I'm in the trenches. She understood where I was coming from.  She said it's like you work full-time and then come home to another full-time job.  Now don't get me wrong, we weren't complaining (well, I was a little bit).  We love our families more than words can express and wouldn't trade where we're at for anything in the world. We were just having a little heart-to-heart about the struggles of a working mom. 

So, the whole point of this story is to get to what I'm about to share.  She reminded me of one of the funniest things I ever told her regarding raising children.  It was something that happened just after Will was born.  Mark was warned by my doctor and others to watch for signs of postpartum depression.  Before I go any further, let me just say that I believe postpartum depression is a serious form of depression that should be treated professionally (I'm not going all Tom Cruise on ya!).  This story in no way makes light of that very serious condition.

Now, back to the story.  I digress.

I was feeling kind of weepy and down a few days after we came home from the hospital.  My friend *Terri's husband was told to check for postpartum depression signs by asking her, "Do you still love the baby?"  Mark knew that he was supposed to watch for this so he asked me, "Do you still love the baby?"  My answer was, "Yes.  I still love the baby.  I ONLY love the baby."  More or less it meant to Mark, I don't like you right now. Wow!  What can I say about my crazy, out of control, postpartum hormones?  Mix that with some sleep-deprivation and you just aren't yourself.  I'm usually very even keel and in my normal state of mind I would never say something like that to Mark. It's funny how I forgot about saying that.  When she reminded me, I had a good laugh. 

I just had to share that funny story before I forgot again. 

This photo was taken just after Will was born.  It's on my facebook page.  The caption under it says "It's all bliss and peaceful at this point.  The sleep-deprivation hadn't set it in."  It could also read "Dazed and Confused".  Once we were home that's how I felt.  We sure were rookies when it came to parenting!

Speaking of babies and being postpartum, Jared and Jacquelyn welcomed their new baby girl today.  Elin Avery was born at 12:02p.m.  Jacquelyn arrived at the hospital around 11a.m. and the baby was born less than an hour later!  Go Jacquelyn!  The baby was 8 pounds, 7 ounces and 19.5 inches long.  Mom and baby are healthy and well.  What a blessing!  If you haven't checked out Jacquelyn's baby shower, then you can read about it here.  We can't wait to meet the newest addition to the family in person.

The names and identities have not been changed to protect their identity and privacy.  Sorry girls!   ;)
Here's a little more info to explain the relationships of the ones I was referring to in the story above.
*Andrea's married to Mark's brother Craig.  Their children (16 yrs old and 11 yrs old) are a lot older than mine and Mark's.  She's able to look back at the phase of child rearing I'm currently in with a been-there-done-that attitude. Andrea, Craig and their kiddos have been some of our biggest fans and supporters in raising our children.  Andrea is a first grade teacher and she'll be making more appearances on the blog in the near future.

*Terri's one of my best friends from college.  She and her husband Benjie have three little ones.  Her oldest son is about 4 months older than Will.  Her middle daughter is about 4 months older than Ben.  And, her youngest daughter is just the youngest.  I wrote about visiting her after she had the newest baby here.  We don't plan to have anymore children so I didn't keep up with her on #3.  It was really neat to have such a good friend going through all of the phases of pregnancy together.  It's also good for sanity when we need to vent about the frustrating things our kids are doing (i.e. potty training, discipline, sibling rivalry).

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving {Part Two}

Give Thanks {Part Two}

Today we spent time with Mark's family and celebrated Thanksgiving.  Because it's difficult to coordinate schedules on holidays we celebrate the day after Thanksgiving.  It works really well for us.  It was such a beautiful, cool, crisp, fall day.  We had a good time hanging out and eating a delicious meal.  My boys had such a good time with their cousins.  They were exhausted when we got home from playing and having fun.

One of my mother-in-law's delicious pies.

 More desserts!

Take one of the family photo

Take two of the family photo

 Mark's parents and the grandkids
The grandkids range in age from 16 years to 18 months.

Hope your day was blessed!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Give Thanks

We spent Thanksgiving day with my grandparents.  We took my grandpa to visit my grandma at the nursing home.  After our visit, we went back to his assisted living home and had Thanksgiving dinner with him.  The boys were so good throughout the entire day.  They even were well behaved eating dinner.  I wasn't sure how that would go, but they made it through without any major meltdowns.  I'm so thankful for my precious grandparents and getting to spend time with them today. 

On Friday, we will celebrate Thanksgiving with Mark's family.  I just took my pecan pie out of the oven.  The house smells amazing.  I'll share the recipe for my grandma's pecan pie soon.  In the morning at 5:00A.M. I'll be getting up to let 72 Rhodes dinner rolls thaw and rise.  It's my contribution every year for the Thanksgiving meal.  It's not really that technical, it just takes a lot of counter space and baking pans.

I hope your Thanksgiving was full of good food, family and fun.  Enjoy the remaining days of the holiday and good luck to any of you who are braving the Black Friday sales! 

Monday, November 22, 2010


The lovely fall leaves are on the crape {crepe} myrtle trees in my backyard.  Crape Myrtle trees are beautiful in the spring and summer when they are in full bloom with colorful flowers.  We have them planted in our front and backyard.  The trees in the photos have white flowers when they are in bloom.  We also have pink and red crape myrtles.  In the fall our crape myrtle trees have the most vibrant leaves.  I love how the trees are beautiful for different reasons in different seasons.  I took the photos a few days ago before the wind started blowing like crazy.  Now so many of the leaves have fallen to the ground, but while they were on the trees they were such a beautiful sight to see.  It's nice to find beauty in the simple things.

Go to the Blessed Little Nest for more lovely inspiration.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Vintage Calendar

The vintage 7 Up calendar from 1953 belonged to my great-grandmother, Mama Lynn.  I've already shared an important piece of furniture from her home at Sentimental Sundays, and I wanted to share this neat calendar, too.  I don't know of any special stories about why she saved this calendar.  It could be because the date was significant.  It could just be because she really liked the image of the little boy hiding behind the dog house trying to avoid the chore of mowing the yard.  I know that's the reason I really like this calendar.  It's an adorable image that makes me smile.  I'm in the process of redecorating Will's bedroom.  This vintage calendar has been the inspiration for the entire room.  Currently the calendar hangs in my laundry room, but I have big plans for it in the next few weeks.  I'll be making some major changes in Will's room.  I can't wait to see it hanging in it's new spot in our home.  It's kind of neat to think that the calendar my great-grandmother saved years ago will be hanging in her great-great-grandson's room. 

I'll be linking up to Cha Cha at Sit Relax and Read to share this little treasure at Sentimental Sundays.
Sit Relax and Read

Friday, November 19, 2010

Attitude Adjustment

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

I have to admit that sometimes it's a little too easy for me to look around and see the mistakes or shortcomings of others.  I've been feeling kind of bad about my negative attitude concerning some issues and people.  These verses have been on my mind a great deal today.  In fact, I can't stop thinking about it.  It's a sign that instead of pointing my finger at others, I need to point my finger at myself. 

I need an attitude adjustment

Here's my three-step program to adjust my attitude and apply 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. 

1.  I should be joyful and celebrate all of the good things in my life instead of groaning and complaining about trivial things that don't really matter. 

2.  When I feel tempted to be negative and criticize others, I should pray.  Pray for that person, pray for the situation and pray for my attitude and that my actions will be pleasing to God.

3.  My life is full of blessings, which I should thank God for continually.  If I am consistently being thankful for the good in my life then there's not going to be a lot of time to dwell on the negative. 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 is such a good reminder on how to change your attitude and perspective.  Maybe the circumstances in which I'm involved won't change, but I know my point of view will if I apply these verses.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What I Wore Wednesday Wk 16 and 17

I combined two weeks for this post.  I really like WIWW, but I've decided to take a break for the rest of the year.  Hopefully I'll be back in January 2011 (2011, that was really crazy to type!). 

Thanks so much for taking time to check out my What I Wore!

Monday: school (I'm a junior high history teacher.)
Pants: Old Navy (really old!)
Green and white print top: Old Navy
Cream sweater: Gap outlet
Flats: Aeropostale
A close up of my green and white top and sweater. 

Tuesday or Wednesday (can't remember): school
Jeans and Beige top: Gap
Gray layer tank: Old Navy
Olive Hoodie: Target
Shoes: Privo bought at Nordstrom Rack
Necklace: Lisa Leonard
Still loving my Lisa Leonard family tree necklace.  It's the first and only blog giveaway I've ever won.  I wrote about it here

Thursday: school
We have a special Veterans Day program at school to honor all of the veterans in our community.  It's such a touching program that pays tribute to all who have so bravely served our country and protected our freedom.  Thank you, Veterans!  
We also attended my nephew's basketball scrimmage and went to eat at my favorite local Tex-Mex restaurant.  You can see on my pants where I spilled salsa.
Gray pants: Old Navy (really old)
Dark gray top: Gap outlet
Flats: Ann Taylor LOFT
Necklace: Premier Designs
I came straight home and took my photo before I forgot. 
Will was still carrying his to go cup from the restaurant. 

Friday: Took Will to his 4-year check up (shots are awful, by the way) and then went shopping.  There was a torrential downpour as we were leaving the pediatrician's office and my TOMS were soaked through and through.  I wish I would have watched the weather before I left home that morning.   I would have chosen different shoes, for sure!
Jeans: J Crew outlet (only $7!)
White top: Gap
Yellow/Ocher tank: Target
Olive Hoodie: Target
Shoes: TOMS bought at Whole Foods

Sunday: church
Plum ruffle dress: Banana Republic outlet (only $17)
Black sweater: Old Navy (only $11)
Gray leggings: Forever 21 bought this summer on a shopping trip with my friend, Shelly.
Black boots: Gap outlet (new $35, thank you, give and get coupon!) 

Monday: school
Pants, Or is it Chinos?:  J Crew outlet
Green top: Banana Republic outlet
Brown Cardi: Old Navy
Scarf: American Eagle
Brown shoes: Born bought at Nordstrom Rack
Gold Ring: Sundance
Gold wave ring from my husband for my 32nd birthday.  I love this ring and I love him!

Ben making a silly face.

Tuesday: school
Navy pants (chinos): Banana Republic
Top: Target (It's new.  I bought it on clearance this weekend for $4.98!!!  My students and the teachers I work with loved this top.  My husband said he just thought it was a white top with dots, nothing special.  He's a total guy!)
Gray cardi: J Crew outlet
Bronze flats: Old Navy
Ring: Sundance
Cute four-year-old: Will 

The last photo is Tuesday after school.  I think this outfit it the main reason Lindsey started WIWW. 
To be accountable to NOT look like this :)
Black pajama pants: Gap outlet, these pants are awesome!  So comfy!
Gray top: Gap 

I'll be linking up to Lindsey at the Pleated Poppy
Go check it out.  It's one of my favorite blogs.

the pleated poppy blog

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Happiness Is...

Happiness is limited edition holiday candy and cookies.

This weekend we were in Target and Mark spotted the
Ghiradelli Peppermint Bark with dark chocolate
Pepperidge Farm Linzer cookies.

Both are so delicious! 

I fall for the marketing ploy every time I see "Limited Edition". I think I must buy this now or I'll miss out.  Gets me every time! 

I was photographing the chocolate in Ben's room because it has the best light in the morning.  Ben caught me and had to see what was inside the shiny bag.

Sweet goodness!

Don't judge! Instead head to Target, buy yourself a bag, eat one, and then you'll understand. 

Sweet holiday treat. 

They are pretty and tasty. 

The most wonderful time of the year! 
Bring on the holiday goodies!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cozy Corner

I added a few things to this little corner in our entry. Our house is only 1500 sq ft. I like to think of it as cozy rather than small. This small corner area is an awkward space and I've never been quite sure what to put here.

I decided to add this ladder back chair that I bought at a garage sale several years ago.

The basket was a gift to myself on my birthday this year (my husband lets me pick out my own gifts.  the element of surprise is overrated in my opinion).

The pillows are special because we bought them when we first moved into our house over eight years ago! They are from Anthropologie. It just goes to show that Anthro stuff will be around for years. I still love these pillows as much as the day we first got them.

The black and white photos were taken in August 2009. Will was 2 1/2 and Ben was 10 weeks old. I don't know if I'll ever replace these sweet photos of my boys. They are some of my all-time favorite. I bought the black frames with white mats at Big Lots.



I'll be linking up to Heather at Blessed Little Nest for Life Made Lovely Monday.  I'm a new follower of this blog, but it's already been such an encouragement to me.  Check it out, I think you'll really like it, too.


Beehive Measuring Cups

This yellow beehive measuring cup set belonged to my grandmother, Mama Winnie.

Mama Winnie could cook like nobody's business (think home cooking like Paula Deen).  Now my grandmother is in the nursing home with advanced stages of Alzheimer's.  Sadly it's been years since she was able to cook.  Her big family meals are something we all miss greatly.  My uncle always said she could feed forty people easier than most women can feed four.  He's right.  Growing up I took for granted all of the meals she prepared.  Now that I'm a wife and mom, I have a new found appreciation and respect for all of the hard work it takes to prepare a meal. She so selflessly did all of the hard work and never expected any praise. I only hope that I can be so giving and generous.

The thing I'll probably remember most about her cooking is that she would make the most delicious desserts I've ever eaten.  Mama Winnie was known in our small town for her pineapple coconut pies, chocolate cream pies, coconut cream pies and pecan pies.  Whenever there was a church bake sale she always went above and beyond.  I once had a photo of her standing by our dining room table.  It was literally covered with pies she had baked.  There were probably 30 or more pies!  And, she would make everything from scratch.  There were no premade pie crusts used.  Truly amazing.  I'd be lucky if I inherited a small portion of her talent in the kitchen.
Well, back to the beehive measuring cups.
Before the yellow beehive measuring cups ended up on my windowsill, they used to set in a built-in shelf by the stove in Mama Winnie's kitchen.  She had a large collection of salt and pepper shakers and this was mixed in with that collection.  I love the color of the measuring cups.  It's so bright and cheery.  It's such a lovely reminder of my precious, sweet grandmother.

Showing you the beehive measuring cups kind of sent me down memory lane. But isn't that just want Sentimental Sundays is for? I think that's what Cha Cha intended. Not that we cry over every single post each week, but that we reflect and remember those special times and special people connected to these precious items in our homes. (And if we happen to cry or get teary-eyed while we're at it, that's okay.)

Join Cha Cha at Sit Relax and Read and enjoy reminiscing with others who have shared their sweet memories.

Sit Relax and Read

Updated on December 4, 2010
My dear aunt (the aunt with all of the great milk glass finds and adventures, you can read about them here and here) wrote me the sweetest comment concerning this post.  After getting her permission, I added it to this post.  Since one purpose of the blog is to preserve memories, I felt this should be included. 
Well said, dear aunt.  Thank you!

I miss those coconut cream pies so much. I was wondering if I could make one. I know I could do the custard part, but I doubt that I could do the meringue. I read all the scientific ways to make meringues stand up---copper bowl, cream of tartar, don't make on a hot or humid day. But Winnie never subscribed to any of that. She got out a bowl, whipped those egg whites, piled it a mile high on the pie, then slid it into the oven to brown. We'd start talking and I'd have to remind her that she had pies in the oven. "Ohmylands," she'd say as she grabbed that dish towel and opened the oven door. And there would be perfectly golden meringues that never fell. She didn't take extraordinary methods; she just had the gift.

I miss those pies.

I miss those pies, too.

My husband found the photo of my grandmother that I had referred to in the original post. 
It's truly a family treasure.


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