A “Fairy” Good Birthday!

The other day we had a little lunch for my cousin Anne’s birthday. It was a special time for such a sweet lady!

The Beautiful Birthday Girl

We had a fairy themed table. I used the Crape Myrtle blooms, Zinnias and Black Eyed Susan flowers from the yard.


Silver serving pieces look beautiful when filled with flowers~ because really how often does a silver serving set get used?

kid’s table centerpiece

For lunch we had summer salads and then almond bites and cake for desert. I was invited to a Tastefully Simple party a while back and ordered the Almond Pound Cake mix. I bake them in a pettifor pan and then sift powdered sugar on top. They melt in your mouth and take about half the time to cook. Anything almond flavored is good to me!

Almond Pound Cake Bites served with berries and ice cream
Happy Birthday, Anne!

Here are a few other pictures from the day…

I watched this chalk artist on a link from Pinterest and tried my best.


Anne, Mom & William
Lynn & Jill holding Henrietta
Ava couldn’t believe how much they have grown. We are all ready for some eggs!



Sara Beth








Tweety Bird Update #3

She is about to fly! We went and picked Tweety Bird up from the mechanic last Friday night. That was exciting but was short lived. She was puttering along when we got to Mt. Juliet and so we decided to pull over. Not what we had planned but thankfully it was a minor $3 part that Zach picked up on Saturday.

Tweety Bird in flight!

I have been away from the blog because we have worked every night this week on fixing the RV. We have been tearing out old carpet- putting in new carpet and hardwood floors- fixing leaks and painting. Yesterday, we dropped it off to have the curtains installed. (Going by tonight to see them, can’t wait!)

new carpet from H&T carpet in Madison


One morning my legs were so sore from painting like this all evening! Annie Sloan chalk paint worked perfect on the cabinets and walls.


Love the white washed hardwood floors Zach put in. (Lucy looks possessed!)

I have learned a lot about cars and engines during this process- well a lot for me! I went part running two weeks ago for the mechanic and had a  breakdown in Napa- Like literally started crying! Then the salesman proceeded to say stuff to me all the way out the door- of all the nerve! I called Zach crying- telling him he needed to call the manager. Well that didn’t happen but from now on- I am anti- Napa, unless they are the last resort for a part. They act like you should know everything about the engine and make you feel stupid when you don’t. They all kept saying “Well what kind of chassie is it? What kind of chassie is it?” Ugh… All I know is the mechanic business is not for me- I am all about the look- Zach can take care of that part!

Until next time….

Hopefully we will have before and after pictures next week to show!


Sara Beth


It’s the Jam

Across from my grandmother’s house, we have an empty lot where blackberries grow. In high school, I would pick over 10 gallons a summer but in the last few years we have not had a very good crop. It was ok because it was so hot out and if there were lots I would have felt the need to pick as many as possible. When you pick blackberries you have to wear jeans, long sleeves and lots of insect repellent and with the temp, it was really hard to get all geared up to pick. I had about 3 evenings where I was able to get quite a few. We had enough for 2 cobblers, 1 batch of jam (6 jars),  enough to have on cereal for a week, and some to give away.

Here is the recipe for the jam I made. I have made it in the past and just made freezer jam instead of doing the whole canning process.

It doesn’t get much better than this!

What you need:

4 cups crushed blackberries (about 1 1/2 quarts whole berries)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 box (1 -3/4 or 2 ounces) powdered pectin

6 cups sugar



Wash 6 half-pint jars. Keep hot until needed. Prepare lids as manufacturer directs.

In large, non-aluminum pot, combine the crushed berries, lemon juice and pectin. Bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Quickly add sugar, still stirring. Return to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, then let boil while stirring, for 1 minute. (If using a 2-ounce box of pectin, boil for 2 minutes.)  Remove from heat and skim off any foam. (This batch didn’t have any foam so if yours doesn’t don’t worry.)

If preparing jam for the pantry, ladle into one hot jar at a time, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims with a clean, damp cloth. Attach lid. Fill and close remaining jars. Proccess in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. ( 15 minutes at 1,000 ro 6,000 feet; 20 minutes above 6,000 feet)

Blackberry Jam

There is a great story that our pastor told one Sunday about the Kerr jar plant in San Francisco back in the early 1900’s. The quick version is that Mr. Kerr began to tithe and unseen blessings kept coming to him and he was able to open the Kerr Glass company. He held Malachi 3:10-12 in his heart and knew that God would stay faithful to his word.

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe, ” says the Lord Almighty. 12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty.” Malachi 3:10-12

In 1906, there was an earthquake in San Francisco. All of his friends were telling him he was a ruined man because his factory was surely destroyed but he knew God would stay faithful! He wired to San Fran and found out his factory was in the heart of a huge fire and was undoubtedly destroyed.

He kept believeing what Malachi 3:10 said, ” “I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground.” A week later he received a message saying: “Everything for a mile and a half on all sides of the factory burned; but your factory was miraculously saved.”

He returned to his wooden factory in San Fran that was full of oil for melting glass to see that his factory was as it was before. God is faithful to his word!!!

I googled the story and found the full version here. 


Sara Beth

The Southern Intitute

Squash and Zucchini Puffs

My mom passed on this recipe f0r Squash Puffs to me a few years ago. It is another great recipe for the abundance of zucchini from the garden. My husband couldn’t get enough of them when I made them the other night. Try them and you’ll see!



4 or 5 small squash and or zucchini

1 egg (beaten)

1/3 cup flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 medium onion grated or finely chopped

Cook squash and drain. Mash to make about 1/2 cups. Add egg. Stir in onion. Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Mix well. Add to squash mixture. Stir until blended.

Drop squash mixture by large spoonfuls into hot skillet with about 1/3 cup oil. Cook until golden brown. (Make sure oil is not too hot or the inside of patties will not get done.)

Drain on a paper towel. Yields about 1 dozen. Great served with black-eyed peas, cornbread, slaw and a home-grown tomato!

Zucchini & Squash Puffs


Sara Beth

The Southern Intitute

Miss Daisy’s Zucchini Bread

If you don’t have a Miss Daisy cookbook, it is worth picking up. My grandmother always used one and I liked everything out of it that she would make. The recipes are simple and call for ingredients that I usually have on hand. I picked one up at a yard sale called Miss Daisy Entertains. I like how there are special occasion menus already planned out. When I was looking for a recipe for Zucchini Bread, I remembered that I had used Miss Daisy’s before and thought it turned out perfectly.

Zucchini Bread

Zucchini bread is good to make with the zucchini in the garden that get to big. I just use my food processor to shred it up. Since I have been trying to think of things to do with all of the zucchini from the garden, I have started shredding it,  measuring it out (2 cups) and freezing it. That way I will have it on hand to make zucchini bread throughout the year.

Miss Daisy’s Zucchini Bread 

3 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

2 cups sugar

2 cups peeled and grated zucchini ( I don’t peel it because I like the texture and color in the bread)

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups flour ( I use whole wheat)

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

2 Tablespoons sour cream (this is my addition it helps keep the bread moist)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Beat eggs until light and foamy. Add oil, sugar, zucchini, and vanilla and beat well. Sift flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and baking powder and add to creamed mixture. Fold in nuts. Pour into 2 well-greased and floured 9x5x3-inch loaf pans. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes. (I usually only bake for 45-50- just keep an eye on it and test the middle with a toothpick. You don’t want it to be dried out.) Cool in pan 5 minutes; remove to wire rack to cool.


Sara Beth

all crafts Homemade Projects ~ Add Yours! {7 3}

Bread & Butter

Ever wondered why Bread & Butter Pickles were called “bread & butter”? According to my online research (aka- google), they got their name because they were a staple during the Great Depression and were eaten on sandwiches with butter. Interesting! A pickle and butter sandwich doesn’t sound great but neither does a green bean sandwich which happens to be one of my favorites!

Last week I called my great aunt and uncle, Sara & Sam, for some pickle advice. Everything they can is wonderful so I knew they would have a good bread & butter recipe.  Here it is 🙂

Also, I would recommend starting before 10PM like we did!

Bread & Butter
4 qt sliced medium cucumbers
1/3 coarse-medium salt                          
5 cups sugar
3 cups cider vinegar
6 medium white onions, sliced
1 1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 1/2 tsp. celery seed
2 green peppers, chopped (I left this out)  
2 Tbsp. mustard seed
3 cloves garlic 
  • Do not pare cucumber, slice thin. Add onions, peppers and whole garlic cloves. 
  • Add salt; cover with cracked ice. Mix thoroughly.
  • Let stand 3 hours; drain well. (this helps to make them crisp and pull out the excess water)
  • Combine remaining ingredients; pour over cucumber mixture. 
  • Heat just to boil.  Seal in hot, sterilized jars. 
  • Makes 8 pints.
If you have any questions, I will be happy to answer them! 
Sara Beth
The Southern Intitute


From the Garden

This year we decided to double the size of our garden since we have a bigger yard. I knew that we were going to have to make time to do stuff with everything we were growing but, I had no idea how much it would produce. Every night we have been in the kitchen making stuff so that nothing goes to waste.

Garden 2012

The goal is to freeze, can, pickle, ect. to have food to use through the year.  We have had soooo many cucumbers and zucchinis. I have been making all kinds of things with them.  I will be sharing some veggie recipes this week.  Today’s post is all about Zucchini 🙂 and tomorrows might be too! and the next day after that. 🙂

Zucchini Fries and Tater Tots

Below are some recipes I found on Pinterest with my edits/additions and link to the sites where they originated. (Check out both blogs, they are super cute with lots of great info!) Both of these recipes are great as a side dish or appetizer!

Zucchini Fries 

Olive oil, for frying
1 3/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan- (I used Asiago and Parmesan) 
1 1/2 cups panko Japanese breadcrumbs- (I used the Asian seasoned bread crumbs)
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3 medium zucchini, cut into 3-inch long by 1/2-inch wide strips
Pour enough oil into a large frying pan to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees F.Stir 1 1/2 cups Parmesan,(I used Assiago and Parmesan) the panko, and salt in a medium bowl to blend. Whisk the eggs in another medium bowl to blend. Working in batches, *dip the zucchini in the eggs to coat completely and allow the excess egg to drip back into the bowl. Coat the zucchini in the panko mixture, patting to adhere and coat completely. Place the zucchini strips on a baking sheet.
When the oil is hot, working in batches, fry the zucchini sticks until they are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon (or tongs), transfer the fried zucchini to paper towels and drain.Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and serve. (We served with Jalapeno Ranch dressing and they were AMAZING! We will be making these again!)
1 cups zucchini, grated
1 egg
1/4 yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup cheese (I used Asiago again but the recipe called for Parmesan or Cheddar)
1/4 cup bread crumbs – I used Italian style
Salt and Pepper1. Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a mini-muffin tin with non-stick spray, set aside.
2. Grate the zucchini and then place in a dish towel to squeeze out the excess water- like when using frozen spinach; if you skip this part, the middle of the zucchini tots will be really soggy while the outside gets crispy and no one wants that.(mine were a little softer than I thought they would be but still really good. I thought they tasted more like a mini quiche bite) 
3. In a bowl combine, the egg, onion, cheese, bread crumbs, zucchini, salt and pepper.
4. Using a spoon or a cookie scoop, fill the muffin cups to the top. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the top is browned and set.
today’s pickins’

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Sara Beth

The Southern Intitute

all crafts Homemade Projects ~ Add Yours! {7 3}