Jalapeno Popper Potato Salad

I was going to save this recipe for a summer picnic type post but what the heck – might as well use it for a dish to pass this weekend for the big game, right? Heck yeah!

Bacon, potatoes, cheese and jalapenos, what could be better!

I tried this recipe last year from Christin Mahrlig’s blog, Spicy Southern Kitchen. 

This potato salad turned out just like the photo in the post and it also tastes as good as it looks. I found that the salad was best, made fresh, the day you want to serve it.

I love the texture the bacon adds to the salad and the cream cheese was something I would never have thought of but it adds a depth of creaminess that mayo alone cannot achieve.

If you would like the recipe head on over to Christin Mahrlig‘s blog and check it out by clicking on her name which is highlighted. You won’t be sorry!

Enjoy the Big Game! -MM

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Garage Sale and Thrift Store Finds

We have an obsession here at the Ripley household. All three of us are obsessed with garage sales, thrift stores and flea markets. Just about every week we head out to one of the local thrift stores such as Good Will or Plato’s Closet and in the summer we are at the flea markets and local garage sales hunting for things we collect or need for the house.

Doug, my 15 year old, collects vintage video games and consoles but also picks up things to adorn his room or buys something to make his life easier such as a new desk chair.

My husband Scott loves to check out the clothing but also looks for old car stuff and stuff for me that he thinks I will like.

My weakness is old dishware and I collect interesting milk glass pieces.

All three of us have our collections but we also look for things that will be useful for our everyday lives.

For almost 2 years I had been searching for a light fixture for over our dining room table. I wanted something old and not brand new. Something with character but not dated like brass.

Scott would text me photos of lights but I didn’t like any of them really and didn’t want to settle.

Then one day I was at a local Good Will store and I found what I was looking for. It was heavy and  made in Italy and it was only 6.99! Perfect! I bought it and Scott rewired it and now I have the perfect light. It was worth the wait. And only $7.

light-fixture2light-fixture

Another item we waited a long time for was an outdoor table and chairs set. We found this gorgeous iron and beveled glass dinette set in a local antique shop for only $75! And believe you me it is HEAVY. I reupholstered the chairs with a colorful new print but other than that just a good cleaning was all it needed.

table-and-chairs

Two years ago we got this new desk for Doug at the same antique mall that we got the dinette set from. It clearly is not an antique or vintage but it is a good solid desk with lots of space in it for him and it was only $45.

dougs-desk

As a gamer the above desk chair was not very comfortable for Doug so a couple of weeks ago we found this reclining, much more comfortable chair for him at the local Good Will again and for only $40 it was a steal. It acts as a desk chair but also works well while he makes his YouTube gaming videos.

desk-chair

I admit I have a bit of an addiction to pretty dishware. Not only do I collect them but they don’t just sit on a shelf and collect dust. I actually use them. Thanksgiving, dinner parties, lunch dates even if I am alone on a rare occasion for dinner I will break out a place setting for myself and eat off of something pretty. I love old patterns as well as modern patterns. Just depends on my mood at the time. Here are a couple of beautiful finds I discovered at again our favorite Good Will and a local church garage sale this summer.

dishes

cup

For Christmas Scott searched for a new watch for me. He found a beautiful watch in an antique shop right on our main street and I love it.

In the past few years I have started to seriously appreciate and enjoy items from the past more than I do modern items. I do like brand new things of course but older things have a story to tell. They belonged to someone and they were loved by them. We throw too many things away without regard for their usefulness and life left in them.

A few posts ago I wrote about how I wanted to add the old in with the new in my life. Finding these treasures is another way of enjoying our history without sacrificing our modern future.

I hope we aren’t the only ones who enjoy collecting. Do you enjoy collecting? -MM

From My Sewing Basket

A pair of pants to hem, a button to fix, a hole to repair in a sock. I don’t know about you, but my sewing basket always has something in it to fix. And some things have been in it for YEARS!

One day, instead of mindlessly wasting my morning surfing statuses online, I decided to fix whatever was in my sewing basket that I was putting off.

I have a black, double-breasted peacoat that I stuck in my sewing basket 2 years ago simply because all three big, gold, buttons fell off. Before I put it in the basket for fixing I was holding the coat closed with my hands like a bathrobe and that really wasn’t working.

With my two cuddly companions keeping me company, in 15 minutes I had all 3 buttons sewn back on and re-enforced so they wouldn’t ever come off again. Viola!  It was like having a new coat!

Also in the basket were tons of pairs of socks with holes in the toes. Not the heel but the toe. They are perfectly good socks but they must rub just right in my sneakers because all of them had a hole in the same spot. My husband says I need to cut my toenails more often but I laugh and say that’s not why.

I spent that evening repairing the holes in six pairs of socks and put them right back into service. Heck at $15 a pair it’s worth repairing them instead of throwing them out, right?

Lastly I have a red, half zip, collared, cable knit sweater that would be my greatest challenge so I saved it for last. In fact I didn’t even know if I could repair it.

My skills in sewing are limited. I cross-stitch and can repair small things but I don’t know how to sew much beyond that and have only used a sewing machine a couple of times.

This sweater was completely shredded and ripped unevenly in the arm pit. Don’t ask me how it got that way because I have no idea. I like wearing it for work because it’s warm, but it got embarrassing having a gigantic hole in my arm pit so I benched it into the black hole of my sewing basket more than a year ago.

It took me a while. About 45 minutes but I did get it repaired. It isn’t perfect but I got it closed the best I could. Hey it’s a work sweater. I beat the heck out of my clothes at work so it doesn’t have to be perfect.

So to recap. Instead of throwing perfectly good clothes out, I repaired a coat, a sweater and six pairs of socks. That’s got to be about $150 I saved!

Also I wasn’t on the Internet or Facebook or in any other way connected to the cyber world while doing it. That made me feel wonderful!

Ok folks admit it. You’ve got stuff you have been putting off because you say you don’t have the time. However, you have time to check out your Facebook news feed or read what Kylie Jenner is wearing on an airplane or how Mariah screwed up on New Years Eve, right? I know, I am guilty too. It’s so easy to get distracted and lose an hour on the computer.

Now when I start to lose my personal focus I just ask myself “what else should I be doing?” Works every time! There is always something that needs to be done.

What have you been putting off? I bet there is something. -MM

Love with Food Gift Subscriptions

Have you ever been in the situation where you have absolutely no idea what to get someone for a gift?

My Step-Daughter and her boyfriend live in Boise, Idaho. Being over 2000 miles away from us in Western NY, we haven’t had a chance to visit them yet.

Not knowing much about their life makes it hard to pick the perfect Christmas gift for them because, heck – I don’t even know the color of their bathroom!

I was mindlessly searching Amazon.com two weeks before Christmas and an idea came to me. I remembered my parents getting a fruit of the month subscription as a Christmas gift one year from my grandparents. Getting stuff in the mail was super cool back in 1985 and I couldn’t wait to see what was in that box, which came the first week of every month for a year.

I searched the Internet for “Of The Month Subscriptions” and an article published by Real Simple magazine called, “20 Surprising Subscription Box Ideas” caught my eye.

The usual Beer of the Month, Coffee of the Month and Tea of the Month were on their list but we couldn’t afford $35-50 dollars a month for a year and I wanted to get them a subscription that lasted longer than three months.

Then I saw that they included a subscription box idea for a company called Love with Food.

Love with Food is a California based company that sells snacks that are good for you. Every month they send a box that contains 6 to 8 snack samples and the monthly subscriptions start at just $7.99! Woo hoo! AND Love with Food also donates a portion of the proceeds to a local food bank for every month you subscribe. Even better right? Plus they have a gluten-free snack box option and ship worldwide.

I am not in the habit of doing a lot of promoting on my blog but it was so nice to find a gift that can be given and received all year long and at a very reasonable price to boot!

I’ll post this link to Love with Food so you can check it out for yourself. Love with Food

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and here’s to an exciting 2017! -MM