Happy Halloween!!

Thursday, October 31, 2013
It's looking a lot like Halloween around here! And you can't have Halloween without jack-o-lanterns. So our great pumpkin from our pumpkin patch excursion (see here) needed a little personality, and we decided on making it an owl. We set to work while watching Nightmare Before Christmas and enjoying the warmth from our fireplace. In the end, even though our intention was to make it look like the cutest owl you've ever seen, our giant pumpkin turned out looking not so much like an owl (until you really stare at it). But, we'll take it because it's ours and we lovingly carved it. 

And you can't just toss the pumpkin seeds aside, oh no! We baked some sugar-cinnamon and salty pumpkin seeds for our lazy Sunday afternoon enjoyment the next day. 

Happy Halloween and have a safe and festive day/night!!!

Fall Sprucing

Wednesday, October 30, 2013
I have an affinity for decorating of any kind. Whether it's putting a room together and adding the right accent pieces or sprucing up the room with holiday and seasonal décor, I'm your girl. I love nothing more than making a place feel cozy and like you're right at home, even when it's not your home. Fall, being my favorite season is no exception for some well-thought-out decorating. This year, because September came and I Pete and I were still not married, I didn't have my own place to decorate. So I got a late start, but I made up for it and invested some time and a little bit of money into some new pieces to really make our home feel like us during the holidays. 

My word of advice for anyone decorating for the season and the impending holidays is to find items that can easily transition from one month to the next. For instance, I bought pumpkins, without faces or any trace of Halloween inspiration. Pumpkins are so easy to carry from September straight through November because they are a traditional Autumn icon. By collecting pumpkins of different shapes, sizes, and textures, you can really make a simple little gourd turn your seasonal décor into festive and unique pieces. And collect all kinds of decorations throughout the years until you build yourself up with a good stockpile. It will take some time, but it is so worth it and helps keep the cost of such décor low, especially when you go to look for items after the holiday/season has passed and almost everything is discounted. It's also okay to splurge sometimes on really key pieces (like my fireplace garland). Because one piece can really make up for a bunch of little pieces. 

When it comes to putting it all together, I love to mix and match and put items together that might not immediately look as if they could sit side-by-side. But, to me, that's the fun in decorating, being able to take artistic license and make it your own. I am so excited to get some Thanksgiving pieces (just a few) to trade out for my couple of Halloween items. And if you haven't guessed, I am way too excited to decorate for Christmas. I've already been eyeing some really great stuff. 

Here are some of the Fall touches around the Hill home:

^^This wood piece was a wedding gift, from Pete's oldest brother. How cool is it?!^^
And some of these decorations were gifts from two nieces who felt they're uncle and new aunt would need some fall pieces for their new home (see the pumpkin above, and squirrel below). They really were wonderful additions to our budding collection.
^^The fireplace is statement in the room and thus, needs a rotating touch of garnish as the seasons change. It's also one of my favorite places to decorate and I am so excited to finally have a fireplace of my own to adorn as I like!^^
 ^^Tabletops are another favorite of mine. As I collect decorations throughout the years, my centerpieces really start to come together.^^
Get creative with your decorating. Mix and match and be bold! It's fun to see the final product and call it your own!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Fluffs

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

There really is no better name for this fall treat. And since October is in full swing, I feel that it is officially okay to indulge in all the pumpkin goodness that I have, somewhat impatiently, kept myself from. Hence, the baking frenzy of these chocolate chip pumpkin fluffs (plus they're melt-in-your-mouth delicious!). 

With only three ingredients (yes 3, which is baking miracle) these are the simplest delights to make and taste every bit like Autumn should taste. With Halloween two days away and parties impending either for your child or for yourself, these fluffs are the quickest way to throw together a simple but super tasty dessert to share with all the other party animals. So what's stopping you? Get to the store and start baking! You're going to be h-o-o-k-e-d. Happy Fall, Happy Almost-Halloween, and Happy Eating! 

  • What You'll Need:
    • Duncan Hines Spice Cake Mix
    • 1 can of Libby's pumpkin puree
    • 3/4 cup of mini chocolate chips 
  • What You'll Do:
    • Preheat the oven at 350°
    • Put the spice cake mix* in a bowl and add the pumpkin puree. 
    • Stir well and add the mini chocolate chips, stirring again to mix them in.
    • Drop by tablespoon on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
    • Bake for 12 minutes. 
*just the dry mix, do not include the oil nor the eggs listed on the back of the box

To The Pumpkin Patch We Go

Monday, October 28, 2013
Sharing all the wedding and honeymoon photos has been a joy! But, I am excited to share some seasonal photos now, because truly it's the greatest time of year. And what do you do to get in the spirit? You go to the pumpkin patch, why of course! And I am a pumpkin lover, so we couldn't have been in a more perfect place, with chillier weather, to really soak up the beauty of fall. 

So on a Saturday afternoon, we loaded up the extended Hill family and friends and headed to Joe's Trees. This tree farm has been a family tradition for years with my own family, where we went yearly to tag a Christmas tree and a cut it down. In the past few years, they have begun a pumpkin patch, and this year was my first experience with my new family. I never realized just how much they had to offer for the pumpkin season, but boy do they have a wonderful event going on. There are vendors with homemade goods (yum!), tractor rides, a pumpkin patch full of an assortment of pumpkins (the blue and white ones are my favorite), and a corn maze. It was such a lovely day, surrounded by family, the colors of autumn, a setting sun, and a windy ambiance that really set the scene. 

 ^^Don't I have a handsome husband?! Probably my favorite photo from the day.^^
^^Two very excited boys about their pumpkin patch finds. Who can blame them??^^
 ^^Boys will be boys. And in this case, brothers will be brothers. To the corn maze they race.^^

Until next year, because we will certainly be back!