Skeletons (and Mancandy) in the Attic

For the past week and a half, kidlet and I have been staying with my parents in New Orleans. I'm happy to be home and back to my routine (and hubs) today, but I did have a lot of fun hanging out back home. And one of the things I had the chance to do while I was there was dig through my parents' attic (I use the term "dig" loosely because its actually perfectly organized up there. My mom's organization skills are like a page out of Real Simple magazine.) And what I discovered was that a) My mom doesn't get rid of anything, b) I'm thankful for that, and c) you can tell a lot about a life going through a few childhood boxes.

So in case you didn't catch my live #tweetsFromTheAttic session on Twitter, I'll share some of what I found up there.

See, I've always been into mancandy. My mom has folders and folders filled with all the Big Bopper and Teen Beat pages I used to have on my wall.


Signs of my New Kids on the Block obsession. The bottom pic is trading cards. And no, I didn't really have backstage passes (above). I'm sure I ordered those from some magazine at some point.


The book that made me want to be a writer


Some of my favorite middle grade books


The first sex scene I ever read. It left quite an impression. I remember being shocked they could actually write that stuff in books. (I was 13.)


Where I first learned I loved a good horror story.


Yes, they made books. Of course I had them. (And can you believe in the first one, Baby was Francis Kellerman not Houseman. They actually set it up that her dad owned the resort. *shocked face* What were they thinking?)


Proof that vampires existed before Twilight ;)


Found a notebook where me and my stepsister filled out answers to questions. This is "What would you like to do for a living?" My answer is #1 - "writer/editor" and hers is "pharmasist". (She may have needed a bit of an editor there on spelling, but she was 10 so we'll give her a pass.) So at 14, I had a plan. I probably didn't realize it'd take another 18 years to reach that goal. :)  (And for those wondering, my stepsister is an accountant, not a pharmacist.)


And look, I told y'all I was really serious at 15 about querying that first novel (the New Kids fan fiction.) Luckily, I never got further than buying the 1995 Writer's Market book. :)


Look, my natural haircolor. Haven't seen that in a while...


Alright, so that's what I found in the attic. It's kind of scary how much you can distill about a person from a few boxes. But it's also kind of cool to see that my journey to becoming a writer started all the way back then. I was always preparing for this career, even when I didn't realize it.

So what would you find in your childhood boxes? What do you wish you would've kept? Would people be able to figure out who you are now based on what was in those old boxes?

Shameless Saturday: Childhood Comfort Foo

 Welcome to another edition of Shameless Saturday where we air our guilty pleasures without shame or judgment.

I'm sure we've all watched our share of Oprah and shows like the Biggest Loser and such. We all know it's probably not a good idea to be an "emotional eater", meaning when we're down or stressed for some reason, we go looking for comfort in food.

Well you know what? I say screw that. Sure, you don't want to drown your sorrows in fried chicken every night, but every now and then you just need to retreat to something really, really not good for you and enjoy yourself. Comfort food didn't get it's name for nothing. And the comfort foods of our childhood are some of the best balm for the soul. It reminds us of a simpler time--before we had to count calories, before we had heaps of responsibility, and before we knew to feel guilty after eating it.

Now, as I've grown into adulthood, I've become a bit of a foodie. I love cooking and trying new cuisines. I get almost as excited to go to the gourmet grocery store as I do the bookstore. And I watch way more Food Network than is healthy. I also can be kind of a food snob now. I seek out restaurants that prepare their food fresh and don't just open up bags of already prepared stuff and deep fry it or reheat it.

However ,when it comes to the food I want when I'm seeking comfort, my palate is decidely less refined. Before my mom got remarried, there were many years where it was just me and her. She worked two jobs and I played sports, so in between all of that, it was hard to find time for a homecooked meal. So often things came from a box or a can. And those things have become the items I seek out when I'm feeling a little out of sorts.

So here are my top five childhood comfort foods that, yes, I will still totally chow down on if I need to:



Pillsbury canned cinnamon rolls

Not cinnabon, not the kind with cream cheese icing, straight up cinnamon rolls--preferably slightly undercooked so that the centers are still a little doughy. And yes I can eat the entire can of 5-rolls for a meal. Don't judge. It's Shameless Saturday.



Kraft Boxed Mac and Cheese

Once again, none of the fancy stuff. I don't need deluxe cheese and all that jazz. Give me the orange powdered stuff that I have no idea what it's made of.



Spaghettios with Franks

No, I don't know what's in the franks. I don't want to. But this is a whole bowl of delicious childhood goodness right here.



Rotel cheese dip with tortilla chips

For those of you not familiar, all you do is melt cubed velveeta and a can of rotel tomatoes to make queso. Yes, my mother used to let me eat this for dinner. :)



Hubig's Pies - (Lemon or Apple preferred)

So most of you have probably never heard of these because they are a New Orleans only thing. But OMG, they are the most flaky delicious little fried pies you'll ever taste. I've tried other brands since I've moved away and none come close. This is a bucket list food if you've never had them, you can order them here. My mom occasionally brings a few with her when she visits, which makes me very happy. Probably good I can't get my hands on them regularly.


So those are my go-tos when I need a little taste of childhood. I will say, in my mom's defense, that she has now done a 180. She's become Ms. Organic, Whole Foods-shopping, Whole-wheat eating, Anti-processsed food lady since then. She just called me the other day to make me swear I wouldn't feed my kidlet McD's chicken nuggets because of the crap she heard are put into them. So I'd never be able to get away with the stuff above now (well except for the Hubig's pies. We both still love those.)

So what are your childhood comfort foods? Do you find yourself seeking those foods out at certain times in your life? And what can you shamelessly eat the whole box/can/whatever of?