The World’s Longest Yard Sale

On August 2-5, we will be heading up to Signal Mountain for the World’s Longest Yard Sale. It begins in Addison, Michigan and ends in Gadsden, Alabama- 690 miles of pickin’! Grab some friends and come find some treasures!

I have heard that Signal Mountain is one of the best parts of the whole sale. There you can park and walk for a while instead of making so many stops. Also, lots of vendors set up on the mountain and there is a great selection. I think right outside of Crossville there are some good places too! Our new friends from Country Mouse City Mouse set up outside of Crossville. They also just opened the cutest store on the square in Gallatin. Go by and see them Thurs.- Sat.

Here are a few pics from our set-up from years past:

Our booth last year


This will be our 4th year to set up. My great aunt Sara and uncle Sam have had a booth since the yard sale began so we set up next to them.  They love pickin’ and are the cutest couple you have ever seen!

Aunt Sara and I

 One of my favorite parts of the weekend is all of the people we meet!

This little girl saw this chair and wouldn’t leave it. It was the cutest thing!
Our first customer was from HGTV the first year we set up! That was pretty exciting!

If you make plans to attend, let us know- we would love for you to stop by!


Sara Beth

The Southern Intitute


Writing Down Memories

A week ago today, we celebrated our 2nd anniversary. It is hard to believe that it has already been two years! One thing we started was a book  to record what we do on each anniversary. (Thank you dad for the idea!) It will be great to look back and see what we have done each year and how we have changed.

anniversary scrapbook

On the first page, I wrote about our year together and what we did on our anniversary. It will be fun to look back and see what we do to celebrate each year.

recording how we celebrated and events from the year

On the next page, I made a pocket for cards and a place to record our gifts we have given each other or received.

a place to record gifts and a pocket for cards

I still have to print off the pictures for this year. We had a low key evening and stayed home and fixed dinner and watched our wedding video. We made dinner a little more special than usual. (Recipes to come from that meal :)) Watching our wedding video is becoming our tradition. I wouldn’t trade anything for that video!

Does anyone keep an anniversary scrapbook or have any anniversary traditions?

Sara Beth

The Southern Intitute

Flower Arranging Idea

I have seen in several magazines to use old bottles as vases. I really liked this idea around the time of our wedding for the centerpieces but it would take so many for something like that! I have about 20 bottles that are old pharmacy bottles that my mom had collected and just other ones that I have picked up at yard sales. I had picked some flowers out of my great-aunt’s yard over the weekend and brought them home to arrange.

a handful of flowers

Since you only have to put one flower per bottle it doesn’t take many and makes it look like you have more flowers than you do.

different size bottles

I like the simple-vintage look and how it accents each individual flower. It also seems like the flowers last longer being in their own individual container.

Placing the flowers in separate containers makes it look like you have more

I decided to spread them out on my mantle. The different color bottles look so pretty with the light shinning through.

Last year, I helped host a lingerie shower and we did something like this for the centerpiece. It is an inexpensive alternative to a large flower arrangement.

lingerie shower centerpiece

Also, if you only have a couple of flowers they look cute in a grouping.

Zinnias in vintage bottles

I planted some Zinnias this year from seeds and they are doing so well! My neighbor had some last year and told me that you only put a thin layer of dirt over the seeds. I had planted some way to deep and they didn’t do good. Zinnias look great in flower arrangements and last a while after you cut them. They also grow until early fall so you can cut them all summer.

Happy Monday!

Sara Beth

The Southern Intitute

Apples, Oranges & Bananas

A couple of Saturdays ago, I had all kinds of plans for the day but, woke up and decided to forget them all.  I decided to just be around the house- catching up, cleaning up, and cooking up some stuff for the week. When trying to budget,  planning and putting in the time to prep is key. There have been so many times when I have gotten a great deal on produce but didn’t have time to do anything with it and had to end up throwing it away.

So this post is mainly about “old fruit” not really old, but almost ready to be tossed fruit- fruit that isn’t good to just eat raw. I was cleaning out my fridge and had a bunch of apples, some frozen bananas and oranges that needed to be used. So I came up with stuff to do with them instead of tossing them.

To start, I searched on Pinterest for some ideas. I found several recipes for crock-pot apple butter. It sounded easy and would be good for several weeks after making it.  Not only was it great- but my house smelled like homemade apple pie for 2 days!

Begin by peeling all of your apples and then chopping them up. I cut them on my cutting board then used a hand chopper once they were in the crock- pot.

Peal and chop up apples and place in crock pot

In a seperate bowl mix up all of your dry ingredients.

1/4 cup Brown Sugar

1/4 cup Sugar

1-1.5 teaspoons of Cinnamon

1 teaspoon All Spice

1 teaspoon Nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt

I found so many recipes online that I just combined some of them based on what sounded good to me.

Dry ingredients

Once your dry ingredients are mixed, pour them over the apples and mix around so they are all covered in the mixture.

Ready to put the lid on and cook all day

I cooked on high for about 5 hours and then on low for about 4 hours. On some recipes I read, they then would use an immersion blender to make it more like apple butter but I liked it the way it turned out. It was delicious with homemade biscuits or just by itself.

Great served with hot biscuits

So on to what I did with the bananas… Growing up we always had these old ripe bananas in the freezer- and I hated it! I couldn’t understand why my mom wouldn’t just throw them away! But she makes some great banana bread and that is what she uses. As I have grown up, I realize that I do all of those same things that use to drive me nuts as a kid 🙂

like mother- like daughter 🙂

1 cup sugar

½ cup or 1 stick of butter

2 eggs

3 mashed ripe bananas

1 tsp soda

½ tsp salt

2 cups of all purpose flour (sift twice)

½ tsp vanilla

Nuts (optional)

I added about 1.5 Tbs of sour cream to make it moist

Mix sugar, butter and eggs together. Sift soda, salt and flour together.

Sift the flour, baking soda and salt

Mix both mixtures together. Add bananas, vanilla and (optional) nuts. Bake at 375* for 15 minutes and then for 45 minutes at 350*

Mom’s  Banana Bread

And last,  what I did with the oranges… I flash froze them for smoothies. (I posted about flash freezing a few weeks ago so if you didn’t see it, check it out.)

flash frozen oranges for smoothies


Sara Beth

Come Get Your Lemonade and Give To A GREAT Cause!

This weekend was National Lemonade Days. Kids all over the country set up stands and some were to raise money for *Alex’s Lemonade Stand. My sister-in-law had heard about the event through a friend and signed up online. The organization sent a kit with materials for them to use. Some of the neighborhood girls got together and made signs and baked cookies to sell. 

*Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation evolved from the front yard lemonade stand of Alexandra “Alex” Scott who at 4-years-old decided she wanted to raise money for kids like her with cancer. Since Alex’s first stand, the Foundation has raised more than $50 million toward childhood cancer research.  Every June, just like Alex, supporters coast to coast hold Alex’s Lemonade Stands during National Lemonade Days, to help continue Alex’s dream– to find a cure for all kids with cancer.

cute bright signs were put in the neighborhood

The girls were so excited and really pitched in to help get ready for the day.  One of their neighbors donated all of the balloons and at the end they let them go and I heard them say “We are sending these to Alex in heaven.” So sweet… 

  the cutest lemonade stand I have ever seen!
            Running to greet the first customer
                               the first customer

A long time ago I was reading a “Life’s Little Instruction Book” and the main thing I remember said “Always stop when you see a lemonade stand.” I always have and always will and hope you will too! (Lord knows how many I had growing up and how many people were so kind!) The girls had the stand from 10am -12pm and very busy the entire time.

   A big thank you to all of you who stopped by!

All of the sales were on a donation basis. People were so generous!!!  All together the girls made around $500 to send in to Alex’s Lemonade Stand for cancer research. 

      Counting to see how much they raised

Here are a few other pictures from the day 🙂 

                the organizers with their girls
           Loved their cute aprons!
          ready to sell some lemonade….
                       and cookies!

I made some sugar cookies that looked like lemon slices for them to sell. All I did was use pre-made dough and then rolled it out and cut it with a large biscuit cutter. Then cut the circles in half. Once they were baked I dipped them in a glaze and then used a writing icing for the lines. You can click here to go to this previous post I did where I have the glaze recipe. I just did vanilla glaze but lemon flavor would be great too! 

                      lemon shaped cookies

If anyone is interested in hosting a lemonade stand to benefit childhood cancer check out


Sara Beth 

Beef Empanadas

I didn’t have much in my fridge the other day and came up with this Beef Empanada recipe. All you need is a pack of crescent rolls, ground beef, cheese, red peppers and onions. I am loving the Hot Habernero and Pepper Jack cheese from Cabot. It is spicy and great on any Mexican dish.


These are so easy! Just spread out half of your crescent roll triangles on a  greased cookie sheet. Layer your cheese, beef, peppers, onion and then more cheese on each triangle. This recipe only makes 4 empanadas so if you are cooking for a group, I would at least double the recipe.

layer ingredients~ cheese, meat, peppers, cheese

Top with the other half of crescent rolls and then take a fork and close the edges. Bake according to the crescent roll package. Keep your eye on them so they don’t over cook or get too brown.

top with crescent roll and bake

Serve with fresh guacamole and sour cream.


Sara Beth

Drop the Dough

I had heard my grandmother talk about drop biscuits but had never made them. The other morning I was looking for an easy biscuit recipe without yeast and found several different recipes for drop biscuits. They are super easy, pretty crumbly but overall tasty!

Sift dry ingredients


2 cups flour

1 tsp salt

3 tsp baking powder

1/3 cup cooking oil

2/3 cup milk

Start by sifting flour, salt and baking powder in one bowl. In a seperate bowl mix oil and milk.  Then combine both mixtures together.

Mix “dry” and “wet” mixture together

On a greased cookie sheet, spoon out with a tablespoon. Bake at 475 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Serve with your favorite jelly or jam and butter.

I served with butter and homemade apple butter and organic sausage.


Sara Beth