Traditions and Recipes

(Birthday girls get birthday pie in the South)

Last night I made some pies for a rehearsal dinner. Every time I make pies now, it reminds me of my granny. She was the pie queen. Every single crust of hers was perfectly thin and flaky. Just enough of the filling would soak in to make it delicious and worth every calorie. Like most Southern cooks, she never measured; she just felt the give the mixture gave to let her know if more milk, sugar, etc. might be needed. It never mattered. They came out just right each time.I wish I had that talent. I, on the other hand, have scoured over a dozen recipes my granny had written down (just for chocolate meringue pie) to try to find one that remotely tastes like my granny’s did. Before she passed away, I had her try some, and she gave me pointers for improving it – let the crust bake for about 90 seconds longer, increase the temperature about 15 degrees. Suggestions like these. About six months before she passed away, she gave me the approval. But, truthfully, I think she said it to be nice. No pie could ever touch hers.

My mother-in-law has always joked that if someone asks for her recipe, she gives it to them with a minor alteration. Maybe a slight measurement change or missing an ingredient that isn’t vital to the dish. She said that way people think, “Hmmm, it just isn’t quite as good as when Jane Smith made it.” However, I truly believe that it never is the same anyway. Recipes keep memories alive. Sometimes that right bite takes us back to our granny’s house, with a window AC unit, open windows in the kitchen that had simple white curtains blowing in the summer breeze, our bare feet on the laminate flooring and the perfect creamy bite of chocolate meringue pie in our month. No earthly mansion could compare to the paradise we experienced in that moment. No need for keeping up with the Joneses, as we had something they never would – a pie made with love from arthritic hands and a beautiful heart.

Although I’m missing my granny a lot lately, I’m so thankful for every memory I had with her and the recipes I get to share with Katherine and Grant. I hope you have plenty of memories like these, as well. If so, I’d love to hear about them in the comment section. Let’s keep the memories alive.

As always, thank you for reading!

 

The Importance of Grammar

So, this blog post isn’t really about etiquette OR tradition. It’s about grammar. However, in truth, just like etiquette helps you put your best foot forward, so does correct grammar. This, by no means, implies you have to be perfectly correct every time you speak. I end sentences with prepositions. 😉 To be perfectly honest, my aunt is a very good English teacher, so I’ve been exposed to grammar from an early age. In fact, she taught me to nictitate (wink) before kindergarten. Still, I fall very short of proper grammar all of the time.

A good friend of mine (who blogs at www.kaylaprice.com) had a post recently about etiquette essentially helping us become better people – more civilized, more respectful and so on. There are a few areas of grammar that seem to have gotten away from us.

First, “could care less.” If you could care less, that means you care. The amount you care could be decreased. What most people likely mean when they say they “could care less” is that they “couldn’t care less.” If you couldn’t care less, the amount you care cannot decrease.

Secondly, the pronunciation of mischievous. It’s not mis-CHEE-vee-us. For some reason, the popularity of the wrong pronunciation has increased recently.

Finally, another common mistake I hear is people using “I” always instead of “me.” A hint my middle school English teacher taught us is to remove the other person. You wouldn’t say (or shouldn’t, at least) “This belongs to Sam and I.” Removing Sam, the sentence would read, “This belongs to I.”

I hope this was a helpful post, even if it isn’t specific to etiquette. Just like etiquette will help you in life, I believe grammar will, as well.

As always, thank you for reading!

Breaking Tradition

I speak (well, write) a lot on tradition. It’s important to me in so many ways. Tradition links generations together. It adds importance to holidays and other special occasions. It gives us something to remember loved ones by. It allows us to feel a sense of connection with others. Tradition eventually becomes almost like a habit – engrained in us. That’s what makes traditions hard to break.

I’m here today, though, to tell you – there are some traditions worth breaking.

Were your parents absent from you life? Did they do the bare minimum, maybe less?

Do you find youself always attracted to the same type…the type that ignores you or hits you?

Do you think you’re following in your parents’ footsteps by milking the system and doing drugs?

Stop. All of it. Break the cycle. I promise you, you can. The traditions you implement at first – cutting down a Christmas tree, Sunday dinners with friends, ice cream on the first day of school – won’t absolutely have that special feeling that traditions you’ve grown up with have. The safety net will be missing. That’s the cold, ugly truth. But for your children and family, THIS is what they’ll remember.

You are a good person. You are worthy of more than a mediocre life.

Traditions have to start somewhere. It is WONDERFUL that they start with you. I think traditions have a tendency to change, depending on what part each person found important. Regardless, like every generation, we tend to romanticize the past. I guarantee the ugliness has been wiped clean each time. The affairs and abuses tend to be overlooked. We can stop normalizing hurtful behavior.

Perfection isn’t expected, so don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Give yourself grace. Aim for better. No matter where you came from, I think each person wants more for the next generation. I wouldn’t change a thing from my childhood. I somehow still want better for my own children. We all do.

What tradition will you start today?

Special Anniversaries

Mother’s Day 2017 was a double dose of special for me. Not only did I get to celebrate Mother’s Day, but it was also the 6th anniversary of the day Garrett and I exchanged our wedding vows. With the craziness of life, it’s easy to overlook little occasions like that, but I think it’s important for us to stop and enjoy the little things in life.

Initially we didn’t have any big plans to celebrate our anniversary. In our town, a couple is currently about to open a new bed and breakfast – something we’re sorely lacking in Sulphur Springs. They were looking for Guinea pigs and asked if we’d be up for the task. We sure were. J Amazing doesn’t begin to describe the beautiful transformation that has taken place at this once run-down home. It could be in any city or town and fit right in. They outside is stately, and the inside is breathtaking. The details were not overlooked here, and they made us feel like their guests – exactly the feel you want while staying at a bed and breakfast.

We were staying there to review and let them know what might be added before paying guests stay, so I didn’t want to mess up anything at all or put them out in any way. However, when we got to our room (the beautiful bridal suite), there was a bottle of wine and two wine glasses waiting for us. After sharing the evening with friends, we started to forget we were in the same town where we live. There was something wonderful about that moment. The wonderfulness of simply being is often overlooked in favor of the busyness of life. And that’s a cycle I’m going to break.

My husband and I are both bankers, so, financially, we know the risks of keeping up with the Joneses and have no desire to participate. However, socially, we were on a vicious wheel and at risk of falling on that same sword. We are both very involved people, but there are no people on Earth who I love more than my family. I’m ready to get back to relaxed family meals and multiple, slowly read books at bedtime.

One way I choose to slowdown is to better recognize the milestones in our lives. If you’re like me, you may not always remember the traditional anniversary gift ideas, and I thought now would be a good refresher for us all. Enjoy!

By the way, I would highly recommend The Oaks Bed and Breakfast to celebrate your anniversary or to simply have a night away. The breakfast of migas and stuffed brioche french toast was to die for!

1st Paper

2nd Cotton

3rd Leather

4th Linen

5th Wood

6th Iron

7th Wool

8th Bronze

9th Pottery

10th Tin

15th Crystal

20th China

25th Silver

30th Pearl

40th Ruby

50th Gold

60th Diamond

 

Guest Post: Mother’s Day…for the Non-Mother

I’m excited to bring you Freaky Friday again! Today’s Guest Post is by Kayla Price Mitchell, who blogs at www.kaylaprice.com about cooking, crafting and the fun she has along the way! Here is her post on Mother’s Day…for the Non-Mother

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I grew up with three amazing parents: my dad, my mom, and my Aunt E. Aunt E saved me from many a spanking, she rubbed my back until I fell asleep, she picked me up from elementary school at 3:30 p.m. everyday, she taught me to crochet, craft and draw.

Aunt E gave me raw potatoes and lots of treats. She cooked for our family on most nights, so I must have gotten my love of cooking from her (my mom was not a fan of cooking).

Mother’s Day has always been a day that we celebrated my mom and my Aunt E. Both women are now gone, but I do think of each of them on this day. I am appreciative to both women for teaching me to be a strong, independent woman.

Now, life has repeated itself. I am an aunt and a step-mom, but not a mom in the traditional sense. I have never been one for being traditional, so it is fitting.

My nephew always gives me a card, takes me to lunch, and all the other things he does for my sister. He makes me feel like a queen (and a mom). I appreciate that he thinks of me on these special days.

When he was born, my sister was very ill and had to be taken to Dallas for emergency care. My nephew had a breathing issue, so he needed around the clock monitoring. Aunt E and I took care of him together so that my parents and brother-in-law could be with my sister. We three bonded.

Life isn’t always traditional or clear cut. Sometimes we are blessed with moms who did not give birth to us, but cared for us as if we were their own.

Do you have women in your life who took care of you as a mother would take care of a child? It might be a dad who filled the role of a mom as well. It might be your best friend’s mom or even a special teacher. Whoever it was that made or makes you feel safe, loved and cared for, please don’t forget them on Mother’s Day.

A card, flowers, phone call and/or visit is all it would take to make that person feel appreciated, remembered and loved. And, as we get older, that is all we really want from this world.

To all the non-moms out there who are caring for a young person as if they were their own, Happy Mother’s Day! To me, it is so special to be a mom and also to choose to be a mom.