Football. Apple Cider. Colorful leaves. Crisp, cool evenings. Caramel apples. Harvest. Cinnamon. Indian corn. Fall festivals. Jack O’ Lanterns. Mums. Scarecrows. Cranberries. Chili and hot dogs. Halloween candy. Sweaters. Plaid wool blankets. Candy corn. Bonfires. Pumpkins. Pumpkin Spice lattes. Pumpkin scented candles. Pumpkin cookies. Pumpkin bread. Pumpkins everywhere.
Fall has arrived! I love summer and I am really going to miss it, but there are lots of things to love about fall. I have listed a few of them in the paragraph above. I love the new colors of autumn: the leaves, orange pumpkins, and red apples. I love the cozy smell of bon fires and cinnamon and pumpkin spice. I love eating all the yummy foods and treats. I love the taste of apple cider and pumpkin spice coffee. I love the soft, warm texture of thick socks and sweaters, flannel shirts, and wool blankets. I love decorating my house for fall.
Pinterest is my inspiration for decorating and celebrating holidays. I love the holiday ideas and the craft ideas and the recipes. I have probably only tried about 5% of my pins and I have had just as many successes as failures. This might seem like a waste of time to some people, but I really like the creative possibilities of Pinterest. I continue to look and pin and I love it. One thing I do not like about Pinterest is it’s ability to make me feel inferior. I was and am still happy with my fall decorations this year. They are simple and elegant and will be easy to take down and put away when the time comes. My decorations make me happy. Now, however, when I am looking at Pinterest, I see decorating ideas that look better mine. I get the urge to start over or add Pinterest ideas.
So, Pinterest is an amazing source for holiday decorating ideas, recipes, and crafts. I also like Houzz.com, hgtv.com, and MarthaStewart.com. There are many other websites and blogs that offer ideas, crafts, and recipes. I also like to read magazines and shop for books at garage sales. You can find a lot of old , unique ideas and recipes in older books. One of my favorite recipe books is Gooseberry Patch Taste of Autumn. Gooseberry Patch has a website with recipes and information about their books.
When decorating for a holiday, I have learned to keep things simple. After thirty-six years of decorating and living in four different homes, I have accumulated too much stuff. Last year, I cleaned out my fall decorating boxes and sent some of it to my children. Some of my holiday stuff has sentimental value and I just have to keep it even though I can’t really use it. A lot of memories are tied up in these things. I never understood why my mother kept everything but now I know.
Usually I decorate with pumpkin candles, leaf garlands, and pumpkins. I start with a scarecrow theme and replace the scarecrows with turkeys and pilgrims for Thanksgiving. I am only using a few scarecrows this year. I am a little tired of scarecrows and my cats won’t leave them alone. I avoid a strictly Halloween theme as there are no children around to enjoy them and I don’t have to put them away for Thanksgiving. I like the look of corn stalks but have found them to be too messy and difficult to attach to my latest home. Bales of straw are messy too and will mold quickly. If you buy corn stalks or bales of hay, be sure to wrap them in an old sheet before putting them in your car.
Scent is the most important aspect of my decorating. I love the smell of spices, vanilla, apples, and pumpkin. I began my decorating with a big shopping trip to Bath and Body Works and Michaels. I bought pumpkin spice hand soap, candles, and wallflowers at Bath and Body Works. Every time I wash my hands, they smell like pumpkin spice. Wallflowers are plug-in fragrance bulbs that radiate scent. This year I chose caramel pumpkin swirl. Every time I come home, I am enchanted by the smell which makes me think of freshly baked pumpkin bars and cake. I am a huge fan of Bath and Body Works. Their soaps, candles, lotions, and wallflowers are pretty, they smell good, and they are not overpowering. I have dozens and dozens of pumpkin scented candles scattered all over the house.
Mailbox covers are very popular in my neighborhood. Mailbox covers wrap around the mailbox and are magnetically attached. There are many, many designs to chose from and they are easy to attach. They are durable and weather resistant. There are two sizes: standard and oversized plus a strip that will fit on your mailbox or metal door. I purchased mine on eBay.com but discountdecorativeflags.com has an enormous selection.
My front door area is very simple this year. I have some repotted purple mums and my new scarecrows sitting by the front door next to my old leaf doormat. I hung an orange and green wooden pumpkin plaque on the door. I scattered a few pumpkins around the doorway. I like it. I would like to have a few more pumpkins and plan to pick some up next weekend when we will be visiting a pumpkin farm.
I don’t like a lot of clutter in my house so my decorations are minimal. Although I have tucked pumpkins, jack-o lanterns, and candles all over the house, most of my focus is on my fireplace mantel, my dining room table, and sideboard. My fireplace mantel is gorgeous. Everything is orange and glittery. I have a leaf garland with glittery pumpkins and pumpkin scented candles.
I bought new fall themed linens last year. I have fall themed towels and pumpkin candles in my kitchen. I have fall themed kitchen towels and pumpkin candles in my kitchen. I have four placemats and a runner in cranberry, green, and gold plaid. I found a matching centerpiece with fall leaves and vegetables that holds three candles.
Each bathroom has pumpkin spice scented soap and a candle. New hand towels would be a nice touch.
My home is feeling very cozy and festive. I am excited about the next few months. There will be football games to watch, world series baseball games to watch, wiener roasts, and fall festivals to attend.
Happy Fall Ya’ll!
Make a pot of potato soup for dinner. Potato soup is easy to make. It is a delicious and filling meal on these chilly fall nights. It takes about 15 minutes to prepare. Cooking time is at least 30 – 40 minutes.
2 tablespoons butter or margarine 3/4 cup finely chopped onion 6 slices of bacon - diced 2.5 pounds potatoes - peeled and diced 4-5 cups low sodium chicken broth 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 1/2 cups non fat half and half or milk 1/2 cup corn (optional)
optional: 2 tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in 1/2 cup of water or instant mashed potatoes for thickening soup.
Toppings: shredded cheese, ham chunks, bacon bits, chopped onion, chives, butter
Melt butter in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and bacon and sauté until lightly browned, or about 10 minutes. Peel and dice potatoes as onion and bacon are cooking. Add potatoes, broth, salt, pepper, and corn to pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally so potatoes will not stick to the bottom, for at least 30 minutes. Mash potatoes with potato masher for a smoother soup. Stir half and half into potato mixture; bring to a boil for a minute or two. Stir in cornstarch mixture or instant mashed potatoes to thicken if necessary.
Add toppings. Serve with grilled cheese sandwiches for extra protein or with crackers, bread stick, or roll and a salad. Fresh fruit or jello for dessert.
This is an quick and easy soup to prepare and serve. The ingredients are inexpensive. There is a good chance that most of the ingredients will be in your pantry. Leftover soup should be stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator and can be kept for three to four days. Reheat over low heat stirring occasionally.