On Shopping Small (LOCAL!)


I despise shopping for the most part, but these sweet spots in central Arkansas make it much easier to shop local.
Here are my favorites for this year:

Photo from the Box Turtle website


This is the coolest store on Kavanaugh with a mix of local artist’s work as well as fun things they’ve found in market.  Great clothes, gifts, cards, cool jewelery, and more!  Great t-shirts by my friend Erin of shop E.L.L.  can be bought here! (hint-hint)

Photo from Shop E.L.L.’s etsy page

We’ve lost pretty much all of our local toy stores in Little Rock except for this store.  It’s a great little toy store in the Pleasant Ridge Town Center.  Very helpful employees will wrap your gifts or make a gift registry for you.  My boys love that there are so many toys on display that you can test out before you buy!

Arkansas’ first legal distillery since prohibition is new (opened in 2010) but has already won national and worldwide acclaim with it’s delightful spirits.  Almost every aspect and ingredient is made in Arkansas, from barrels to grains. (I’ll be posting more about them soon!)
Some great picks:
The super cool American Whiskey Aging Kit comes complete with a tiny barrel (handmade in Arkansas) to age your whiskey to your taste.

The Moonshine Sampler Pack is a fun gift with Grape, Peach, Blackberry Cobbler and Apple Pie versions of Arkansas Lightning.  (My hubby loved the Apple Pie on the rocks!)

You can buy at better liquor stores in Arkansas or at the RockTown Distillery itself, which is located close to Heifer Project headquarters downtown.  (Fun tour if you have the time!)

 Run by the Friends of the Central Arkansas Library system (and in the
Rivermarket district) this store not only sells gently used library and
donated books, but also some quite unique gifts for readers and
thinkers.  Also some fantastic art galleries (with some art for sale.)  Get a
cup of coffee at the counter inside and browse!

  • Arkansas Institute Studies Art Gallery

    Another gem in the Rivermarket district- you might not have realized
    that this is a free art gallery with most of the work being for sale (by
    Arkansas artists!)  Jewelry,  hand turned woodwork,  books,
    hand knitted scarves, pottery- they’ve got it!

  •  
    Historic Arkansas Museum Gift Shop

    Looking for handmade gifts from Arkansas or unique historical toys and gifts?  This is
    the place!   You don’t have to pay admission to the museum to go inside
    the store, but you might want to!

  •  
    Clinton Museum Store


    No matter what your political affiliation, the Clinton museum store has
    something for you!  Books, handmade jewelery, recycled presents,
    and more.  Not actually inside the museum, but in the Rivermarket
    district.  (More great museum gift shops in the area include- Museum of
    Discovery, MacArthur Military Musuem gift shop, Old Statehouse Museum
    gift shop, and the Arkansas Arts Center gift shop.)

 The Heifer project is not only a cool place to visit, but houses a
wonderful gift shop.  They have lovely gifts and neat things from around the world.  While
you are there tour the center and think about getting a gift that keeps
on giving- animal donations for people in need around the world.  Great
organization.  Our family registers online now and gives animals
instead of gifts to ourselves.

Another sweet friend opened this store a couple of years ago on Kavanugh and it’s become “the place” for fashionistas.  I love how they group clothing by colors and ideas so even the fashion challenged like me can look good!  It’s also not expensive (which as a mom of a teenage daughter I LOVE!)  This week they are offering 40% off STOREWIDE at several of their stores so make sure to stock up on gifts!  (Did I mention she has a Little Rock, Conway, and Fayetteville store now?)

Once on Kavanaugh, this amazing antique store is now located on South Main Street in the SOMA district of Little Rock.   I love browsing (and buying) in this chic, but affordable store!  My son has a great antique school map on his wall that we bought there for $20!  While you’re there make sure to check out…

Also in SOMA, this quaint little store has great local gifts, all eco-friendly!  Also the home of Loblolly Creamery (get some and tour the Bernice Gardens nearby!)

Support your local businesses!  Where are some of your favorite places to shop locally?

On Shopping Locally

Christmas is almost here!
With the crazy rush of the season I was happy to take some time
to visit with some bloggy friends and taste some goodies from
Chef Brian telling us about some of the goodies from their catering menu.
We sampled:  
  • Buffalo sausage bites from Ratchford Farms in Marshall, AR (well, I didn’t try them as I don’t eat red meat, but they looked good) 
  • Wonderful Coconut Shrimp with Cranberry dipping sauce.  (Argenta Market has very fresh seafood flown in weekly from the Gulf- see their website for what’s in this week!)
  • Lovely fruit and cheese tray with Honeysuckle Lane Arkansas cheeses from Daley Dairy in Rosebud, AR. 
  • White Chocolate and Cranberry cheese ball with cookies from a mix by Resident Chef in Maumelle, AR.  *I normally don’t like sweet dips but this was so yummy.  Like a cheesecake on a cracker!
  • Spinach Parmesean dip also by Resident Chef.  Everyone loved this but I thought it had a tad too much onion for me.  My hubby would love it.
  • Croque Monsieur- a lovely Monte Cristo-esque sandwich made on jalapeno cornbread by Arkansas Fresh bakery, with Petit Jean ham, Argenta Market’s smoked turkey (my kids ADORE this,) and chipotle mayonnaise.  It’s dipped in an egg wash and panko breadcrumbs and oven-fried.  (Again, I didn’t try this but it had rave reviews by fellow bloggers!)
Need fruit or cheese trays in a hurry?  I’ve gotten entire fresh smoked salmons for parties that are DELICIOUS.  Just give them a few days notice as they smoke meat once a week I believe.
Entire holiday meals are even available!  
Small Turkey Dinner (serves 10-12) – $89.99
Large Turkey Dinner (serves 20-24) – $149.99
Small Ham Dinner (serves 10-12) – $99.99
Large Ham Dinner (serves 20-24) – $169.99

Dinners include meat, gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, dressing, cranberry sauce and rolls.

Pie is also available (a necessity.)
Call 501-379-9980 to order!
(Ordering information can also be found online.)
For Christmas dinner the deadline is December 14th and pick up by December 24th at noon. 

 My family adores Argenta Market.  It’s on the way to school so if we have time we stop for snacks or last minute dinner ideas.   One of those local places where people remember you and 
make you feel at home.  My kids beg for their smoked turkey. 
 It’s also a great place for lunch!  During the season it’s across from the North Little Rock Farmer’s market (all organic and local!) 
Our favorite cashier! 

We were given wonderful gift baskets to sample.  The baskets are made in Little Rock and contain all Arkansas made products.  Beautiful and already wrapped!  They have two options available and both are limited so call and reserve yours today! (I’m going to!)

My basket had:

  1. K-Bee’s Cream Honey & Blueberries great on fresh biscuits
  2. My Brother’s Salsa (medium) 
  3. The Resident Chef’s Spinach Parmesan gourmet dip mix
  4. Stutzman’s Pantry Peach Jam
  5. War Eagle Mills– Hot Roll Mix
  6. Southern Girl Soapery’s Home Brew Soap (made with Diamond Bear beer!) Great manly gift!
It was so nice to see my AR Women Bloggers friends again and get great holiday ideas.
Thank you Stephanie and Argenta Market!

For more Arkansas goodness enter for a chance to win a Petit Jean gift basket
on Arkansas Women Bloggers.

 

Local Gift Giving

Christmas always stresses me out. 
Seems like our society has become so materialistic with people rushing to max out credit cards at the malls.   I can’t abide shopping on a normal day, let alone the holidays!  
So, if you live in central AR (or are visiting) and want to avoid crowds and the usual holiday hoo-hah, I’ve made a list of 10 local places with neat (some homemade) gifts that you might enjoy.
 

1.  Box Turtle

This is an awesome store!  Top floor is really cool clothing (albeit a bit pricey, but check out the sale rack by the front door for great bargains)  Middle floor has the coolest gifts and jewelry (most of it is handmade and local.)  In the basement you’ll find a cute little toy store called “Cheeky Marshmallow” which has some of the most unique candy and toys you’ll find in LR. 

2.  Heights Toy Center

Cool toy store with lots of unique gifts.  Out of the way of the mall crowds too! Next door is another great bookstore with cool gifts (Wordsworth books.)

This weekend ride the trolley for FREE to these places:
3.  RiverMarket Books and Gifts

Run by the friends of the Central AR library system (and in the Rivermarket district) this store not only sells gently used library and donated books, but also some quite unique gifts for readers and thinkers.  Also some fantastic art galleries (with some for sale.)  Get a cup of coffee or a cookie at the cute counter inside.  

4. Arkansas Institute Studies Art Gallery

Another gem in the Rivermarket district- you might not have realized that this is a free art gallery with much of the work being for sale (by Arkansas artists!)  Stempunk Jewelry,  hand turned woodwork,  books, hand knitted scarves, pottery- they’ve got it!

5.  Historic Arkansas Museum Gift Shop

Looking for handmade gifts or unique historical toys and gifts?  This is the place!   You don’t have to pay admission to the museum to go inside the store.

6.  Clinton Museum Store

No matter what your political affiliation, the Clinton museum store has something for you!  Tom’s Shoes, handmade jewelery, recycled presents, and more.  Not actually inside the museum, but in the Rivermarket district.  (More great museum gift shops in the area include- Museum of Discovery, MacArthur Military Musuem gift shop, Old Statehouse Museum gift shop, and the Arkansas Arts Center gift shop.)

7.  Heifer Project Gift Shop

The Heifer project is not only a cool place to visit, but houses a wonderful gift shop.  I got a fantastic book on beekeeping (for myself) and they have lovely gifts and neat things from around the world.  While you are there tour the center and think about getting a gift that keeps on giving- animal donations for people in need around the world.  Great organization.  Our family registers online now and gives animals instead of gifts to ourselves. 

8.  Ten Thousand Villages

I adore this store and secretly wish they would come decorate my house.  A non-profit, fair trade store with items from around the world.  What more could you wish for!  ALSO- ALL holiday items are 25% off on the 19th!

9.  Argenta Bead Company

Across the river in North Little Rock (but also on the trolley line…)
Not just for the avid beader, Argenta Bead company also showcases work by local beaders and jewelry makers.  You can special order almost anything you want made. 

10.  Argenta Market

This quaint local grocery store showcases many yummy gifts for foodies.  Arkansas jellies and jams, as well as great cheese and meat trays. 

Wishing you happy, stress-free holiday shopping! 

On Pumpkins

Our school had a family outing yesterday afternoon to a local pumpkin patch.

Sugar Pumpkins

Spooky Dancers
Lost in the Hay Maze
This is the “one!”

Granny, is that you?

Trick-or-Treaters?

Into the Corn Maze!

If you live in central AR I highly suggest you visit BoBrook Farms
Not far from Pinnacle Mountain. Very nice folks.
In the summer they have berries also and will have Christmas trees this winter! 

Groceries (or to Farmer’s Market we go)

I’ve been trying for the past year or so to really attempt to buy local as much as possible. 

Market in Winter

Pro-

  • When I buy local I support local farmers.
  • I get fresh, yummy produce (the grocery stores can’t compare.)
  • I can get fresh, local, milk from a woman-owned dairy! 
  • I can get FRESH eggs!  (I’d still like a few chickens.)
  • I get to chat with my favorite farmers and neighbors while picking up my goods. (And in the summer the kids love the samples!)
  • I can take all my own bags and don’t even have to most of the time.
  • I get fresh milk (most of the time.)
  • Our local organic farmer’s market has online ordering which is awesome for a busy mom!
  • I don’t spend as much on junk at the grocery store because I plan and only get what I need (especially when I order online.)
  • I don’t have things going bad in the fridge because I don’t use them fast enough.

Cons:

  • Sometimes, when I pre-order from our local organic farmer’s market online I don’t get what I think I’m ordering.  (Example: I ordered “Cracked Pecans” thinking they would be well, cracked shelled pecans.  I got a bag of the shells and the pecans, not picked through.  Quite strange.)  
  • On occasion, if I pre-order online I don’t get the freshest things.  (Milk has been almost sour twice and apples were so gross I couldn’t make a pie even.)  *Now, if I just get it from the farmer’s I can choose my own, but in the winter online ordering is sooo  much easier.
  • I spend about $1 more per gallon for milk than at the grocery store, $1 more for a dozen eggs, (but they are much better!)
  • I can’t always get everything I want at the market, but I’m learning to compromise.  
  • In the summer, if I don’t watch out I can spend WAY too much money. 

 Goodies from this summer’s market

My goals for this year:

  • This spring I’m going to try and plant more in my tiny, shady, garden.   I want to get lettuces and spinach in early because I always forget! 
  • Also I want to utilize container gardens more so I can take advantage of the sun on my deck.  Worked great for my basils last year and some tomatoes.
  • I want to make more homemade bread and buy virtually no store bought bread.  If I can co-op with my mom we can both benefit.  (Anyone else?)
  • I want to put away more of my herbs, and try to make more things from them. (Shampoo, soap?)
  • Keep up buying at the market and only going to the grocery store for a few things.   
  • My mom has a lovely garden and I’m trying to convince her to register to sell at the organic market this year for extra income.  I need to help her in her garden more!

Mom’s Summer Bounty
(She brought these for us!)

*Thanks to Jen at 11th Heaven’s Homemaking Haven for featuring me this week in her “Homemaker Monday” carnival!  I’m so tickled! 🙂   If you haven’t visited her site, check it out here!