Thursday, July 29, 2010

Small town weekends

As much as we have tried to deny it there is really no way around it. We live in a small town.

Now don't get me wrong. There is more than one stop light and we do have access to many modern conveniences, but to us city folk, this is a small town.

There's not a lot to do in this small town. We have a movie theater but the thought of paying $8.75 for a movie, not to mention the extra $3.50 for 3D, makes me cringe. Many people like to pass the late summer evenings perusing the aisles of the local Walmart. No thank you. I don't step foot in the place unless I absolutely have to. I also don't care to spend my evenings with parentless, bored teenagers so the mall is not for me. You get the picture.

However, it just so happens that this small town is located very near some other small towns that do offer something to do, namely, antique shopping.

I'm not quite sure how it started, but over the last year Will and I have turned thrift/antique store shopping into somewhat of a pastime. Sometimes we buy books or home decor items. Other times we just look. Often times we'll each take note of the weirdest item we see and report back to each other. I have to say the strangest thing to date for me was an astronaut helmet in a thrift store.

This last weekend we decided to take a trip over to Jefferson and have a look around, but we wanted to spice things up a bit. So, Friday evening we each took time to make a list of 20 items that the other would have to find....a friendly little scavenger hunt.

My list for Will:

1. blue glass bird
2. yellow Fiestaware salt & pepper shakers
3. oval picture frame
4. peanut butter fudge
5. horse and buggy
6. Stillwater Inn and Restaurant
7. Blueberry jam
8. neon sign
9. TN license plate
10. house with a red door
11. antique church pew
12. graveyard
13. pie
14. "B" to photograph
15. Dr. Pepper sign
16. wrought iron gate
17. cowboy boots
18. barrel of monkeys
19. cookie cutter
20. Jefferson postcard

Will's list for me:

1. a Nat'l Geographic from 1966
2. jar of blackberry jam
3. glass 7-up bottle
4. Nancy Drew book
5. tri-cycle
6. Santa Claus in non-traditional clothing
7. a hand crank mixer
8. cast iron corn-shaped cornbread mold
9. a 45 or LP on the Motown label
10. anything from Memphis
11. a purple chair
12. a book w/at least 2500 pages
13. can of Prince Albert tobacco
14. a church pew
15. a crab
16. salt water taffy
17. a pink Barbie car/jeep
18. picture of JFK
19. copy of "Joy of Cooking"
20. any toy one of us owned in our childhood

We didn't reveal our lists until Saturday morning during our drive over. At first glance I thought I was sunk. To me Will's list for me seemed much more challenging than the one I had written for him. Along the way we took pictures of our found items with our cell phone to serve as proof if there were any questions.

In the end we each had some that slowed us down a bit. I had the most difficulty with the crab, Barbie car and "anything from Memphis". We eventually did find a Barbie car but it wasn't pink, it was blue. I know, who would have thought, so we counted it. Also, the largest book I was able to find was around 2300 pages.

Will had an extra little wrench with those that weren't in the immediate town center, but I afforded him some time to drive so he could equal out a bit. He never was able to locate a TN license plate or a barrel of monkeys. I was certain the general store would have a barrel of monkeys as part of its vintage toy display.

I think I was named "winner" but I had some help along the way. We had agreed that winner got to pick a piece of pie to share for dessert but after our vigorous hunting we were ready to head back to our small town. We did eat lunch at Kitt's, known for their cornbread sandwiches. Very good! We also took home some local Blackburn's jam, raspberry and apricot.

A little creativity resulting in several hours of inexpensive fun and only a couple of questioning glances from shop keepers as we walked around marking things off our lists, I'd call it a successful Saturday.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

What's Cool, Creamy, and Blue all over?

Blueberry Cheescake Bars!

A couple weeks ago we had our monthly salad supper with some of our church's choir members. For several months I stuck with the salad theme (those recipes to come later), but this month I was ready to bake something for dessert. Thanks to my mom and a blueberry farm in Nesbit, MS, my freezer was stocked with the little blue gems. Thanks to couponing and a sale at Kroger, there was an abundance of cream cheese in my refrigerator. A match made in heaven.

With a little help from Mrs. Crocker...Betty, to be specific, I decided what better for a hot summer night than a cool, creamy blueberry cheesecake bar? I mean really, just look at them.

You know you want one. Yes?! I thought so.

Adapted from here

Prep time: 40 min
Total time: 4 hours 10 min
Makes: 28 bars


1 Pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker oatmeal cookie mix
½ cup of butter or margarine, softened
1 egg


3 packages (8oz ea) Neufchatel - 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softned
¾ cup sugar
½ cup whipping cream
3 eggs
1/2 jar (5oz) blueberry preserves
1 ½ cups fresh or frozen (thawed and drained) whole blueberries


1. Heat oven to 350°. Spray bottom and sides of 13 x 9 inch pan with cooking spray. In large bowl, beat cookie mix, butter, and egg with electric mixer on low until soft dough forms. Press in bottom of pan.

2. Bake 15 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in another large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar with mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Add whipping cream and eggs; beat on low speed until well blended.

3. Spread preserves over partially cooled crust. Sprinkle with blueberries. Pour cream cheese mixture evenly over blueberries, spreading gently to cover.

4. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until center is set. Cool 30 minutes. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. For bars, cut into 7 rows by 4 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.

That's it. Easy as blueberry cheesecake bars and oh, so yummy.
Unfortunately, I had to drop these off at the party and tend to my sick guy at home, but I heard they got rave reviews. We also enjoyed a couple here at home that I saved for us. I will definitely be making these again. I think it would also be fun to throw some raspberries in the mix. Can anyone say Fourth of July favorite!

Let's just take one more look at those beauties....


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Free Sample to the Rescue

Another project on my to-do list while Will is away this week was to revamp my floating shelves. I bought these two Pottery Barn shelves at the Countrywood Garage Sale last year. I think I paid around $30 for the two. One is 3' long and the other is 4'. At our last house they hung in our living room.

In our apartment they are hung in our dining area. We have a dark top table with a wrought iron base and wrought iron padded chairs. I thought the light colored wood stood out from the dark pieces to much. Also, I've never been a big fan of light wood.
So, after a quick sand and prime, in came the free sample of Glidden paint that I received in the mail recently...Onyx Black. And drumroll please...


I really like the way they turned out. Amazingly I was able to completely cover (minus the back of the 4') with the paint from one 2oz sample. All I had to purchase for this project was a can of spray primer that cost me about $4. Four dollars and a totally new look. I'm pleased.
What can I paint next?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Weekend Projects

This weekend I had a little streak of craftiness. Months ago I bought three Ikea mirrors from a thrift store in Canton, MS. When I purchased the mirrors they were hunter green in color, not a color I often use in my decorating. At some point I painted them to coordinate with the colors in our bedroom. For the past several months they have been hanging on a wall that leads from our bedroom to the bathroom. I haven't been satisfied with them for a while but couldn't quite decide how to improve on them. Finally, after seeing some different projects on other blogs I decided to go with a quatrefoil design for the mirrors. I ended up having to hand paint the pattern. Had I thought this project through from the get go I could have cut my work in half by using spray paint and the stencil I created. Oh well, live and learn, and make it up as you go. :)

I'm satisfied with the overall look now. Will likes to point out that the pattern is not centered on any of the mirrors. It's interesting how different the same pattern looks when positioned differenlty.

On top of my craftiness, I had a Martha Stewart moment. I made a batch of strawberry freezer jam. It's actually my third batch of the summer, but we're eating through it pretty quickly. It feels good to know all three ingredients that go into the jam I put on my pbjs, biscuits, etc. The hardest part of the whole process is cutting and mashing the berries. This go around I had to use a fork to mash the berries. As Alton likes to say, having the right tools makes things much easier. Let's just say this will be my next kitchen gadget purchase.

How did I not receive a potato masher as a wedding gift?

Despite my mashing travails I will continue to stock my freezer with this goodness...

I expect to get a few more projects accomplished this week. At 5am this morning I saw Will off for a 10 day trip to Sheridan, Wyoming. He and a group of youth are going to do VBS and face to face witnessing at the rodeo there. I'm going to try to keep myself busy and find ways to get out of this little apartment as much as possible. But since 4:30am is not something I'm used to seeing I think I'll start the week by taking a nap.
Good morning and good night.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Missing Anniversary Photos

Some pictures of our time at the Fort Worth Stockyards.

Memorial Day dinner on our patio.

My 1st anniversary gift from Will.