My reason for writing, “The Journey”

The Why
Many of my fondest childhood memories involve my grandmother, Mary Louise Parker. She was petite Southern woman – born and raised in a little town in South Carolina. A lady in all respects and made baking and cooking look effortless. I still remember the aroma coming from her tiny kitchen and how she “made do” with a large mixing bowl and a wooden spoon. The smells…a mixture of cinnamon, coffee and a summer breeze blowing through her kitchen sink window makes me want to travel back in time. She was Southern in every way except she no longer lived in the South. She fell in love with my grandfather, a Midwesterner, who was what her Daddy called, a “Yankee.” She left her family farm, her mother and father and all nine of her siblings to marry my grandfather and start a family in the Midwest. She went “back home” every summer and many times I went with her – a trip I looked forward to all year long.
The older I become the more I realize the courage it took for her to leave home as a young woman. I often think that her cooking and baking must have reminded her of “back home.” Her cookie jar lives in my kitchen now. My mother gave it to me when I had my first daughter. It’s one of the things that means the most to me in my home. It reminds me of her and I wonder if she knew as she was placing warm homemade chocolate chip cookies in it, if someday, her great-granddaughters would be baking from her recipes and placing cookies in her very jar.
My mom and I talk often about the courage she showed to start a new life based on love. Like her, we both have had to dig deep many times in my own lives to find a new path like many of us do. Like others, I have experienced the loss of loved ones, been devastated by the serious illness of a child, had crushing disappointments with work and with personal relationships. Each time I have had to find my way “back home” and start new. It is apart of life – the courage to honor the past, live the present and push forward and find the courage to embrace the future.
The Journey is about just that…the journey along the way that defines us and brings us full circle. In sorts, it is a roadmap for my own three girls to serve as a reminder that courage and hope live within us. That love and forgiveness shape us and our lives and that “back home” can be as simple as standing in your kitchen and baking from your great-grandmothers recipe.
I invite you to experience a little bit of the South this summer by slowing down just a bit and sipping on a sweet tea, feeling the summer breeze and meeting Savanah and her family in The Journey.
Mary Susan

Continue reading “My reason for writing, “The Journey””

The Journey Photo Contest!

IMG_5427The Journey Photo Contest!

I am so excited to announce the launch of my first novel- The Journey! I wanted to write a summer read that we, as women, could get lost in and escape the mental “to do list” in our own heads! I wanted to create characters that told a deeply personal story based on the twists and turns of family and everyday life, but always finding the power in truth, love and hope.

I hope you enjoy, The Journey, and share it will those who have helped you along you’re own journey!

Take a selfie of you and someone who has inspired you in your own journey using #Journey2018 and post it on Mommy Magic’s Facebook or Twitter @Mommy_Magic 

Several winners will receive a “Fun In The Sun Summer Swag Bag” and an autographed copy of The Journey!

BBQ Tots

I love this recipe from “The South’s Best Butts.”  BBQ Tots are a crowd pleaser.  The best part of this recipe is that the hands-on time is only 25 minutes!  Try these this weekend at your Memorial Day BBQ!


  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 sweet onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 green bell petter, cut into 1/2- inch pieces
  • 4 baked potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons Greg’s Dry Rub (recipe below)

Melt the butter in a large cast-iron skillet over medium high.  Add the onion and bell pepper; cook stirring often, until tender, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the potatoes and dry rub, making sure potatoes are in contact with the bottom of the skillet.  Cook, without stirring, 8 minutes.  Using a spatula, flip the mixture, and cook until browned, about 8 more minutes.

Greg’s Dry Rub

  • 1 cup loosely packed light brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard

Stir together all the ingredients in a small bowl.  Use immediately, or store in an airtight container up to 6 months to 1 year.  Makes 1 3/4 cup.

BBQ & Memorial Day Weekend

IMG_1220Kick off summer with these perfect Memorial Day food ideas!  My new favorite cookbook is Southern Living’s, “South’s Best Butts.”  This book was featured last year on the Today Show and it did not disappoint.   The below recipes are some of my favorites from the cookbook.  The recipes easy and got rave reviews from guests.  Let me know what you think!

Barbecue Baked Beans

  • 1/2 medium onion chopped
  • 1/2 pound of ground beef (optional)
  • 10 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 (6 ounces) barbecue sauce
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pork and beans
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  1.  Cook onion and, if desired, ground beef in a Dutch oven, stirring until meat crumbles and is no longer pink; drain.  Stir in the bacon and remaining ingredients, and spoon into a lightly greases 2 1/2 quart baking dish.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake bean mixture for 1 house stirring once.






How to Plan a Royal Wedding Viewing Party

Get the tea, scones, English breakfast, and champagne ready to toast the couple—plus, stock up on these decorations and entertaining essentials.

  1. Set up a tea bar – Have plenty of tea varieties on hand for the big day.  You can get standard forms like Earl Grey and English breakfast.  Set up trays with tea cups and a tea pot.
  2. Serve scones and tea sandwiches – Since the wedding begins in the morning in the U.S you can save time with @TheFreshMarket classic tea cakes platter.
  3. Say Cheers! – It may be early, but it is not too early to cheers the Royal Couple.  Mix champagne with a splash of elderflower lemonade.


Spring It On: Gift Guide: Top Trends for Mother’s Day


– Personalize It! Every mom loves personal gifts so get creative and head to your favorite website to design and order something amazing using your family photos and her monogram!
– Tune It Up! Vinyl is back in! It’s time to dust off her favorite LP’s in the basement or attic and get her a record player. They come in assorted fun colors like lime green, turquoise and like this Crosley record player in pink!
– Fashion Sense! Every mom like a little something special they wouldn’t normally by themselves! You can’t go wrong with one of these spring trends must haves! Cork/Leather handbag is all the rage this summer. Turquoise and gold jewelry is a perfect gift and a must have for summer 2016. Bright tropical colors are in and can be perfect for anything from a blouse to a cosmetic bag!

Natural Bathroom Cleaning

Did you know around 150 chemicals found in homes are connected to allergies, birth defects, cancer and physiological disorders? Most of these chemicals are found in bathroom cleaning products. Our friends at Modern Bathroom sent us these natural cleaning ideas to help with alternate bathroom cleaning solutions.


How to Clean Your Bathroom…Naturally by Modern Bathroom.


Kentucky Derby Party

More than just a world famous horse race, the Kentucky Derby is the perfect reason to throw a party! From food and drink to great décor, we’ll help you bring the fun and spectacle of the Derby home to your guests. So break out the mint juleps and put on your hat, it’s time to start planning your perfect Derby party.

Thank you @Fox59 and @RayCortopassi for letting me share my Kentucky Derby ideas!


Planning the Perfect Kentucky Derby Party

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The Kentucky Derby is the perfect reason to throw a party! From food and drink to great décor, we’ll help you bring the fun and spectacle of the Derby home to your guests. So break out the mint juleps and put on your hat, it’s time to start planning your perfect Derby party.

Remember, you do not need to spend a lot of money.  A lot of these items I found at Party City, Michaels and Target.

1. Kentucky Derby Dessert Bar – Who doesn’t love a dessert bar?  Add all your favorite desserts from pie to derby themed cookies.  This is the perfect treat for adults and kiddos alike.  We found a lot of inspiration on Pinterest.

2.  Cocktails – It’s time for mint juleps!  To make the drinks fun for guests we suggest serving your cocktails out of mason jars.

3. Decorations – Try the above pictured “Run for Roses” centerpiece.  All you need is roses and spray paint a toy plastic horse gold and you have the perfect centerpiece for your party.

4. Games – We found these games on  Since the actual race is so short these games were perfect for both kids and adults.

  • Hat Contest
    Ask your guests to wear hats to your party and encourage creativity by offering a prize for best hat. Award the winner with a homemade Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan Pie or a bottle of bourbon so they can take home a little taste of the Kentucky Derby.
  • Game of Luck
    Let each guest draw a horse’s name out of a hat to cheer for during the race. The guest paired with the winning horse wins a prize. Up the ante by making the prize a Jockey Silks Scarf for women or the Off to the Races Bow Tie for men from Vineyard Vines, The Official Style of the Kentucky Derby.
  • For the Kids
    Set up a game of horseshoes in the yard, or have the kids bring their own stick horses for their very own Run for the Roses. (game cred.