Happy Fall

So it begins. Today is the first official day of Autumn {and my most favorite season ever}. Truth be told, I yanked out the Fall decor right after Labor Day. Soon I will switch it out for Halloween and then we are back to Fall til the Christmas decor makes an appearance. This time of year is full of things that I love. The colors, the weather, the clothes, the food. I mean seriously people, I could go on and on {and on and on}. I’ve made my obsession with Fall pretty clear over the years because I get random emails and texts from friends, “Thinking of you as I burn my pumpkin spice candle”. Yes, really. I get messages like that –  a lot –  around this time of year.

fallleavesEvery year I pull out my seasonal decor and I take some away and I add some. Styles change as does my taste. My most current obsession is gold. I love gold and well, it seems to be trending cause it’s everywhere. I recently bought a very cute gold pumpkin at Steinmart {click to be redirected to the item}. I also stumbled upon this amazing isle over at Target yesterday. Gold galore.

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Some of my favorite things this fall {click on item to be redirected}:

Boyfriend flannel//Old Navy
Pumpkin door mat//Target
Gold leaf pumpkin//Stein-mart
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread//Two Peas and Their Pod {My new go to recipe for pumpkin bread}
Apple Hill//High Hill Ranch {for awesome vendors, pies, apple milkshakes, The Fudge Factory}//Ables {for the best caramel apples}//Appleridge Farms {for kids}//Rainbow Orchards {made fresh as you order donuts}

Happy Fall ya’all ;)

Summer Entertaining

Well happy July — Almost August. Where did summer go? We have spent the better part of our summer traveling between home, Napa and Lake Tahoe. I feel so lucky that we are right in-between two beautiful places. My husband’s family is located primarily in Napa. We had out of state family visiting as well as my niece’s wedding and a surprise 50th birthday party for Steve’s brother. It was a lot of family time and amazing moments. Tahoe is just close enough to escape the heat. We did a few day trips, a camping trip to Camp Richardson and then a 2 night getaway to The Resort at Squaw Creek. It was go, go, go but every minute was wonderful.

I am a bit of a decorating and entertaining dreamer. I literally lie in bed at night and think of things I can decorate or parties I could throw. I thought I’d share some fun finds for summer entertaining. It’s a bit of decor, food, drinks and just all around fabulous party ideas.

First we have to start with some pretty decor.

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I love these jars of flowers that I found on Pinterest. Original source unknown.

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I love this simple tables cape at Style Me Pretty. You could use cloth napkins with a simple piece of rosemary or lavender sitting on top as well. I also love that using mixed patterns has become quite trendy and it’s a great way to up cycle as well. You never know what fabulous new pieces you might find at garage sales, flea markets or thrift stores.

 

Summer-Lemonade-BarGiggles Galore shared this adorable make your own lemonade bar. Kids would have a blast creating their own concoction.

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Of course a grown up version of a beverage bar would be a hit. So how about a mojito bar?

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Gourmande in the Kitchen shares this appetizer using herbed flatbread and then topped with arugula, almonds and fresh parmesan. It looks light and refreshing. Plus it’s gluten and grain free.

 

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I had to throw in a tomato recipe since tomatoes are in season and there really is nothing better then a fresh garden tomato. How about some grilled tomatoes with a basil vinaigrette? Yum! This was over at My Recipes.

 

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These kabobs at Natasha’s Kitchen would make a great main course. You could of course sub chicken or even shrimp for the beef if you wanted.

 

Delicious-Very-Berry-Cheesecake-Oat-BarsBeauty and Bedlam gives a step by step tutorial on these mouth watering berry cheesecake bars.

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Peach Cobbler is a great ‘go to’ summer desert. With fresh peaches available at Farmers Markets, you just can’t go wrong.

If you feel like throwing a little summer soiree I have given you some funny summer entertaining ideas. ;) Do you have go to receipts for hosting summer dinners? Please feel free to share.

 

Summer Fun

I decided to do a little searching for some creative summer fun ideas. Ya’ll know where I went first, right? Yep to my Summer Board over at Pinterest. My boys are getting big. One is 11 {going on 13} and the other is 9. They are all about being social. They would be happy just playing XBox and swimming all summer long with their friends. I should mention that we don’t have a pool. Thank goodness for amazing neighbors who fill this void. In my little Pinterest ‘hunt’ I found some stuff that just screams summer. Freebies, party ideas, bucket lists …

I love this idea of hosting a Sidewalk Chalk Festival over at My Kids Eat Off the Floor {formally June Bug Parties}. What a great idea to entertain the kiddos while the adults mingle and perhaps have some cocktails? ;)

invitationSew Home Grown created this fun printable. Wouldn’t it look great framed on a mantel with some fun summer accessories?

summerprintableI am a sucker for all things chalkboard related so this sign from Scrapping with Liz jumped out at me instantly. It’s a bucket list created on a chalkboard. Swoon.

swl_bucketlist_digitalscrapbook3Its a Lovely Life shares some sweet popsicle recipes. I think these are on my bucket list for tomorrow.

PopsiclesI’ve always wanted to host an outside movie night for the kids and their friends. Prairie Hive shared their version of a movie night complete with cute decor.

UnknownDo you have any fun and fabulous Summer plans? I’d love to hear them. Creative, fun, different .. feel free to share. Happy Summer friends!

 

 

 

Valentine’s Day Fun

Valentine’s Day is just a week away and my house is all a glow in red {but not pink … I don’t know why but I am not into pinks for decor so I stick to red}. Still, my decor is pretty cute if I can toot my own horn. Toot toot. I thought I’d share a photo of my mantel and one of a cute buffet table in my entry as well.

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My 3 Reed Dotters hosted the cutest cookie party. What a fun idea to celebrate a sweet holiday like Valentine’s.

Cookie Bar

Tatortots and Jello always wows in her holiday and everyday decor. I love how she made these pretty paper rosettes and I am a sucker for anything xo.

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She’s Crafty used so many of my faves – chevron, black, white and red, owls, letters. I could go on and on {and on}.

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The Happy Scraps created this fun display using the word L-O-V-E and added a little bunting to make it even cuter {if that is even possible!}

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I make yarn wrapped wreaths but I have yet to try yarn wrapping letters. How cute are these over at My Sister’s Suitcase?

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Crafty Texas Girls did a cute dresser display. I love the ‘love’ banner, don’t you?

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Sources for my decor:

  • Pom pom flowers and chalkboard – made by me
  • Hobnail vase & numbered plates – Rodworks
  • Pom Pom garland – Target dollar bins at Christmas time
  • Old window frame – found by my dad, painted by me
  • Vase filled with glittery red hearts, hearts are from – Joann’s
  • #4 – Steinmart
  • Be Kind printable {this is one of my favorite quotes in the whole world} – Three Little Monkeys Studio

Wishing you all sweet things everyday. Hugs and kisses to each and everyone of you sweet blog followers out there.

 

New Year — New Goals

I prefer to call them goals and not resolutions. Resolutions seems so predictable and are often {OK, almost always} broken. I’m also trying to come up with my word of the year. I was torn between two but starting this post gave me the clarity that I needed to settle on one. The two I love  are ‘breathe’ and ‘focus’. I love them both but I have chosen breathe as my 2014 word. I might have to repeat it to myself a million times but hopefully I can get it to stick.  Both apply to my main goal of being more present and less stressed. If I can remind myself to just breathe in stressful situations then the focus comes. Or so I have been reminded by some of my super smart Facebook friends ;)

I’m playing over at Pinterest {and this is where focus or the lack of comes into play} and I found this great list of goals. I think it’s a great way to assess goals and by writing typing them out, I can maybe be a bit more accountable. I love this quote that I found on Pinterest. Little things are much more achievable and can still make us feel like we succeeded.

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I also found this list over at Run Lucas Run. I think we will wrap up our Winter Break tomorrow as a family by having a yummy dinner and then we can each fill out these lists. There are actually two lists to download, one is for grownups and the other for kids. The kids version is so much more simple. Lucky kids.

2014I’m getting a jump start on mine to share with you.

A BAD HABIT I’M GOING TO BREAK: Getting so worked up about things that really aren’t worth it.
A NEW SKILL I’D LIKE TO LEARN: Canning 
A PERSON I HOPE TO BE MORE LIKE: This is a loaded question, there are so many people that inspire me.
A GOOD DEED I’M GOING TO DO: Dedicate more time to Hands 4 Hope
A PLACE I’D LIKE TO VISIT: The Oregon/Washington Coast.
A BOOK I’D LIKE TO READ: Fly Away by Kristen Hannah
A LETTER I’M GOING TO WRITE: Be more consistent in the letters I write to my boys.
A NEW FOOD I’D LIKE TO TRY: Eggplant — it kinda freaks me out.
I’M GOING TO BE BETTER AT: Using my time wisely/Gardening more/Being patient/Exercising and eating better  for my mental and physical health {not aiming for perfection but being better}/spending less and saving more/blog more

There you have it. My 2014 goals. Do you set goals or resolutions? I’d love to hear them and how you stick to them as well.

Cheers to a New Year. I hope 2014 is a good one for you!

 

 

Fall Entertaining

Sometimes I just want to jump into a magazine that features the perfect tablescape. Tonight I was inspired by this amazing photo on Joss & Main.

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I love this table over at Bird’s Party. The sprinkles of gold confetti are a fun addition to an already whimsical table.

thanksgiving-fall-tablescape-ideasClassy in the City shared this simple yet inviting table for 4.

Fall2 I love this photo on LampsPlus page. I think the whole property just works for that rustic feel that I adore.

Fall3I love how Sew Fine a Seam incorporated some blue into her table. I love adding blue into my holiday color scheme. Light blue, robins egg blue, soft aqua. It’s a soothing color and adds a fun pop to any decor.

fall-tablescape-3-620x1014The Happier Homemaker kept it simple with whites and a burst of green. I love the addition of the initial as a table marker {I have a slight obsession with initials}.

autumn-tablescapeSo there you have it, a few of my favorite fall tablescapes although I have a confession, I grew up spending holidays with my dad, siblings, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. so we all ended up eating wherever we found a seat and this involved paper plates and plastic utensils but guess what? It was the best and even though we didn’t have fancy place settings, there wasn’t a lack of blessings and things to be thankful for. Still, I do love pretty table.

 

Cinnamon & Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Pie Cookies

Heeeeelllllo Fall! So it’s that season {yeah yeah yeah .. I’m so redundant in expressing my love of Fall, sorry if it gets annoying but I just can not help myself} for baking. Today I had three goals, #1 – Bake with pumpkin, #2 – make some goodies for our schools Fall Festival Cake Walk tomorrow and #3 – Appease my neighbor who has been relentless in reminding me that I have not made anything pumpkin for him yet. So I went to my recipe book Pinterest and found these goodies which were over at Keep it Sweet Deserts. I whipped them up and of course had my delivery boy run them to the neighbors house which resulted in a text telling me that it was a keeper. Oh whew! ;) Then I bagged them up for the cake fight. Oh yes, prior to these two things my taste tester and I sampled the goods and yes, this recipe is a keeper.

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Cinnamon & Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Pie Cookies

Yield: Makes 5 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie seasoning
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup cinnamon chips

Cooking Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda and pumpkin pie seasoning; set aside
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugars until light and fluffy
  4. Beat in eggs and vanilla; beat in pumpkin until well-combined
  5. Stir in dry ingredients just until combined
  6. Stir in chocolate and cinnamon chips
  7. Use a cookie dough scoop or tablespoon to place cookie dough mounds (about 1 1/2 tablespoons each) onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper about 1 inch apart
  8. Bake 9-11 minutes or until cookies are puffed up and no longer wet
  9. Allow cookies to cool on cooling rack before serving

Valentine’s Day Goodies

I have a serious sweet tooth and I am afraid my pants have proven that since Christmas. Yikes. So instead of eating my way through Valentine’s, I’m going to pass along my finds for YOU to make and eat. I know, so very sweet of me eh? ;) You’re welcome!

This deliciousness over at Glorious Treats has some sweet and salty which is a very dangerous combo!

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How about some corny Valentine’s sweetness? Shaken Together Life used a Mason jar to put together this treat.

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I always love the M&M, pretzel and Kiss recipe but this one is different. What’s Cooking Love used Raspberry Kisses. Yum!

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Iowa Girl Eats made these Brownie Mix Truffles. OMG!!!

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Of course you need some pink milk to wash it all down. Lil Luna has a fun Valentine’s party going on including printables to pull it all together.

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Wishing you a Valentine’s Day full of sweet treats and zero calories.

 

Love is in the Air. My Valentine’s Decor

A new season or holiday = a new mantel!! I love changing this up with the seasons and it’s fun to make it different every year. So this year I have added some new to the old.

Valentins Mantel

  • Burlap garland – made by me. I just used the burlap ribbon with red pinstripes found at JoAnn’s, cut it down and wrapped in half over twine and then I cut some hearts and added them for that pop.
  • Burlap covered letter M – also my creation. The letter is from JoAnn’s Superstore and so is the red burlap.
  • Vase and hydrangeas – The flowers are from Michaels and the vase is Cost Plus.
  • Candle holders and candles – I’ve had them so long that I can’t remember where they came from but I love them!
  • Framed art – Of course I had to add some words so I found this printable on-line and added to an already on hand frame. I spent a 1/2 hour searching and I can not find the original source! I printed this a couple of weeks back.
  • Candle – on clearance at Target.
  • Of course I had to add a couple of close ups of my true loves.

A few other fun Valentine’s spots in my house:

Front door wreath {outside} – I created this using a large straw wreath form and lots of burlap and fabric for the flowers and base.

outside wreath

Front door wreath {inside} – A small straw wreath form wrapped in yarn and covered with pretty rosettes made of felt, burlap and pretty fabrics.

inside wreath

 

Do you change things up for the holidays? I’d love to see your creative side!

Neighbor Gifts

I love giving gifts and there are so many people on my gift list. I am about done but I still have my neighbors. Well, I typically do platters of cookies but then I started to think that I wanted to be different this year. So this is what I have come up with — I have 6 neighbors that I deliver too. This is my plan:

I love these oh so practicable soaps. The attached gift card is adorable and personalizes it a bit. I found the idea over at g*rated but she linked back to Crafts reDesigned for the printable. I picked up the soaps at Bath & Body Works. They have some great coupons right now too!

soap gifts

I think I will also add a mini loaf of egg nog bread. It’s a holiday favorite in our house. I love how Knead to Cook wrapped them up all sweet with a very simple hole punched gift tag and a pretty ribbon.

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Last but not least, I like to include a little something special for the kids. Every year my boys and I whip up some Reindeer Food. This tradition is a sweet one and of course, super simple {notice my pattern here — SIMPLE!}. I love the *free* printable over at TomKat Studios. I love that it allows the children to feel the magic of Christmas by leaving something special to bring Santa and his reindeer to their homes.

reindeer food label - tomkat studio

There you have it – a few fun and simple gift ideas :)