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It’s a Love/Hate Relationship

The lot our house sits on is nearly two-thirds of an acre, and the front part is nice and shady.  We liked that part when we bought the house a little over eight years ago.  In August.  When it was 147 degrees in the shade and all of the leaves were on the trees.

Lo and behold, a few months later, the sky began to fall. Oh, wait.  It was just leaves from the sycamore tree.

OHHHH, that sycamore tree!

We love it in the summer because it shades half our house.  And it is pretty, with its big old green leaves spread out like giant fans.

But we hate it in the fall because of THIS:

leaves

more-leaves

Poor Tater Daddy.  Two days after he gets the leaves blown off the driveway, mulched up and bagged, the scene is the same.  

It’s kind of like anything else, though.  If you ever get caught up on laundry, everyone in the house gets ready for bed, and there’s a whole new batch of dirty clothes.  As soon as you get the house completely vacuumed, someone will inevitably walk through mud and sand, then wander around in every room until he’s found you to tell you that the house sure looks nice.  And we all know that as soon as you wash your car, it’s going to become a target for every bird within 25 miles.

Eventually those leaves will stop falling, and because we live in the south, about 12 days later it will be spring.  Then we’ll love our sycamore tree again.

Right now, though…not so much.

Thank Goodness for Elastic-Waist Pants, Among Other Things

I’m thankful for a lot of things.  But after having eaten two HUGE meals within five hours of each other, I am eternally grateful for whomever cinched up a pair of pants with a strip of elastic and called it a day.

We started off at my mother’s house Thursday at around 12:30 with turkey, dressing, corn pudding, sweet potato casserole, asparagus casserole, cranberry salad, pumpkin pie, and chess pie.  Then we all fell out and napped until we were really good for nothing.

I grabbed a pecan pie out of the oven, and the hubs and the young’un and I headed deep into the country for his extended family’s get-together where we did it all over again.  Only this time, there was double the food.  Plus ham.  And a coconut cake that would’ve made you slap the person sitting next to you had you been there.

Tater Daddy headed back to Memphis because we have all of these dogs to fool with, but the Tot and I stayed with Poopsie for another night.  My brother, Jim, was home.  And there is nothing better to a two-year-old than an uncle who’ll give you his undivided attention.  For the 36 hours we were together, Tater Tot had probably the best playmate ever.  At one point I looked up and he was being pushed down the hall in a box making train noises.  When I asked my brother how he got talked into THAT one, he said, “Well, he got in the box and I just started pushing it.”  It was kind of like, You’re such a girl sometimes.

So anyway, we finally left late this afternoon, and I’m sure my poor tired brother was a little relieved when we left.  I mean, entertaining a toddler will take it out of you.

But it’ll also put something into you.

Both of you.

nothin-like-an-uncle

When Tater Tot was going to sleep tonight, and we were telling God who and what we were thankful for, the first thing he said was, “Uncle Jim!”

I’m thankful for Uncle Jim, too.

The Origin (or not) of Chess Pie

A couple of you have asked

  • What in the world is chess pie? and
  • How did it get it’s name?

Well, because I love new bloggyland friends, and my mother is entertaining Tater Tot, or vice versa, I’ve found a link for you with a couple of theories.  You can read them and decide which one you like best.

Anyway, a chess pie is delicious.  It’s butter, sugar, and eggs.  HELLO?!

The Easiest Chess Pie EVER

The only thing I’ve been asked to contribute to Thanksgiving dinner at my mother’s house is a chess pie.  

DONE.

I have what must be the easiest recipe in the history of chess pie recipes, and I have no idea where it came from or how long I’ve had it.  This one is so simple, y’all, and it is soooooo yummy.  For me to say that about something that I cook is rare, because I generally think that I am a lousy cook except for a handful of things.  And this chess pie is one of those.

My Daddy, who didn’t have too much of a sweet tooth, LOVED these pies and asked for them on special occasions like Father’s Day and his birthday.  He said he’d rather have one of these than anything from a store.  I don’t think I’ve made one since his last birthday in February, and even though he didn’t have much of an appetite by then, he managed to eat a pretty good-sized slice.  

So, let’s make Papa’s Chess Pie, shall we?

With a nod to Noble Pig’s style, if she won’t mind, here’s a picture of what you will need.  (Check out Tater Tot’s reflection in the back-splash!)

ingredients

In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs.  Add the salt and vanilla.  Set aside.  (What can I say?  I had time on my hands and I got picture-happy.)

egg-mixture

Melt the margarine in a medium-sized saucepan.  Add the sugar and vinegar, and bring it to a boil.

bring-to-a-boil

Pour it into the egg mixture and whisk for a few seconds until well blended.  Pour into a pie shell.

pour-into-shell

Here’s what your finished product should look like.  I told you it was easy!

right-out-of-the-oven

Since pie crusts come in packages of two, you may as well go ahead and make two.  I promise you that they won’t go to waste.  If you’re disciplined enough to just keep one around for your family, you can always take the other one to a friend or neighbor and be their favorite person for, like, FOREVER!

PAPA’S CHESS PIE

1 stick margarine

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 TBSP vinegar

3 eggs, beaten

Pinch salt

1 tsp vanilla

1 frozen pie crust

Melt margarine.  Add sugar and vinegar.  Bring mixture to a boil.  Add mixture to beaten eggs, salt, and vanilla.  Beat well.  Pour into unbaked pie crust.  Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes.

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I hope you and your families and friends have a very happy Thanksgiving.  If you are traveling, no matter the distance, be safe.  I hope the next few days are filled with laughter and kindness, thoughtfulness and peace.

Tater Daddy Caves

Who says men don’t fall for a little sweet talkin’.

A tutorial is in the works.  Apparently the ladies in Tater Daddy’s office have been after him to show them how to make the garland, too.  So he’s worked out a deal.  They’ve agreed to make all kinds of things they know he likes to eat — fudge, Chex mix, cheese balls, sausage balls, and I think someone is making homemade chicken and dumplings, which I think is going a little too far, but it gets me out of cooking for a night or two, so, you know, SCORE.

The event is to take place next Friday, the 5th.  So look for some pictures to be up a day or so later.

In other news, check back in a little while if you like CHESS PIE.  I’m sharing my recipe.  And pictures.  The pie is in the oven now, and it smells sooooo good.

Will Tater Daddy Do It Again?

Two years ago, when Tater Tot was about four-and-a-half months old, Tater Daddy volunteered to have the whole department’s Christmas party at our house.  Not just his group’s little get-together.  I’m talking THE WHOLE DEPARTMENT.  Our little 2,100 square-foot home (one a good day), which is crammed corner-to-corner with furniture, ironically not much of which is for sitting upon, was about to host anywhere from 30 to 45 people.

The party was to take place, let’s say, around the 17th of December.  And Tater Daddy sprung this information on me on, oh, let’s say, the 7th.  Up to that point, not a lot of decorating had been done, and there’s a huge difference between normal holiday decorating and 40 People Are Coming In Ten Days decorating.  Needless to say, the Taters got to work.

For years I’ve  made our wreath out of magnolia leaves, and several years ago I saw an article in Southern Living that explained how to make a frame for your front door so that you can use a staple-gun and easily frame your home’s entry in magnolia.  I’ve been after Tater Daddy to make that thing for me for years.  It’s never happened.  Well, all of a sudden, two years ago, he wanted our front door to have more than a wreath, but time was short.  No time to make that frame.  I was happy to decorate and help get things together, but there was also an infant to take care of, so, you know….

Lo and behold, Tater Daddy drove to his Mama’s house, stripped her huge magnolia tree to the point of embarrassment, came home and got to work.  While I puttered around inside, drinking hot chocolate cleaning furiously and working on the tree, this is what my creative better half did.

magnolia-garland-06

I’m hoping he’ll do it again this year.  It’s so festive and happy.  

And I really don’t want to make a wreath.

What do y’all think?  Will he do it again?  Or will he bah-humbug out on me?

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