it’s october 1st!

family time

i love this season. i love it, i love it, i love it! it is during this time of the year that i get so giddy i can hardly deal with the energy inside my chest! i love october. i love halloween. but really, i just love autumn. i feel so full of life during these next couple months. everything feels exciting. the colors are beautiful, and the time with family is always so necessary.

i just decorated my desk at work for halloween. i plan on buying a mum and putting it in here, as well. tonight, i am going to decorate my house, which means buying pumpkins and mums, making cider, and maybe even baking some cookies. i wish it were a little cooler outside so i could make chili. where we live, we don’t really have a backyard, so i will be recruiting someone to donate their home and their time for roasting of marshmallows. i can’t wait for sweatshirts, boots, and hats.

it really is an amazing time of the year. and God is so good to my family. this month my husband and i celebrate 4 years of “dating”….next month i celebrate my niece’s birthday. she was a miracle baby, and i cannot believe she is about to be 4! my parents will celebrate 38 years of marriage! WOW!

let’s just say that this season i will choose to be nothing but thankful. i will work hard not to complain. i will let praise come from my lips, and i will take time to LIVE…to really slow down and enjoy moments of life with people i love, as i know these moments are fleeting.

a surprise halloween date!

ok…so i need to credit several places with this Halloween date idea. i have been wanting to plan something creative and fun for adam, and i finally got my inspiration. we all know by now how much i love halloween, so i themed this date with pumpkins. i got the idea of a theme date from “The Dating Divas” blog online. there are a ton of ideas on here for dating your spouse, so i thought i would make my own. and, of course, Martha came along, as always.

i started the date out with creating an invitation. i was going to put this in adam’s car on my way home from work, but he ended up getting off work earlier and i wouldn’t let him come home. 😉

i strung it to the front door so it was the first thing he saw when he walked up!

the second idea was really just to get him laughing. i bought a dog costume and put it on my giant cat…and yes, i know she is huge, but we love her that way!

a bat-cat!
…waiting on her daddy to get home, and praying he will save her from this terror.

to buy myself some decorating time, i had adam go pick up sushi that i had ordered at our favorite sushi restaurant in nashville of all time, Samurai! my whole plan with dinner was to do “dinner and a movie”, so i prepared an area for the sushi and “the feature presentation”…

we watched one of my all time favorite holiday movies, “the nightmare before christmas” and enjoyed a sushi dinner.

next up was picking out something sweet to eat! i got the ingredients for 3 separate desserts, and i let him choose. all had a pumpkin theme!

the first option i blogged about recently, Martha Stewart‘s Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Icing, and actually ended up making for my office. adam didn’t choose these, but i must say, they were completely unbelievable. i recommend making these, because they do not take long and are completely worth it.

the second option, Pumpkin Muffins (also courtesy of Martha), he skipped on as well. but i plan on trying these out next! i found these at Delish.com

the last treat he jumped on, Pumpkin-Swirl Brownies (again, found on Delish and courtesy of Martha)….but not until he informed me that he doesn’t like pumpkin!! ahhh! so we made these anyway, without the pumpkin. they tasted great, but were not as moist as i had hoped for. so, be sure to make these with pumpkin, or just go with a standard brownie recipe.

we prepared the sweets, which needed about 40 minutes to bake. so while we waited, we moved onto the next phase of the date! pumpkin theme revived!

i found some templates online for him to follow, or for him to mix and match the parts. he could have gotten really crazy here!

i put all the template pieces in bowls labeled on hand-stamped cards. this way he could mix and match any way he wanted!

the timing was perfect…just as he finished carving his pumpkin, the timer went off for the brownies…

we left nothing to waste! i got another Martha recipe (somebody was playing on marthastewart.com a wee bit too much that day!) for “Spiced Pumpkin Seeds“, so we put the seeds to good, tasty use.

this was the aftermath of the roasting process…

lastly, what would a night be with adam without a lot of laughing?

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

halloween preparations…

ok, so i haven’t fully decided yet, but i am seriously considering this “costume” for halloween. having been an art major in college, i studied the pieces of Roy Lichtenstein, which is what this is based on. i also love color. unfortunately, i don’t usually dress up for halloween, although i decorate like crazy. i just struggle spending the money on costumes. this idea seems right up my alley, so what do you think?….

pumpkin sugar love.

so, i swiped this blog from “Just Baked“, a blog i recently stumbled upon. of course, it is a martha recipe, but no joking guys, every treat i have ever made or tasted by martha is right up my alley. so, for those that are not martha fans, i do apologize for the bombardment! i have not made these yet, but my office is having a halloween party next tuesday, and it seems like the perfect time to try out my new halloween cookie cutters and a tasty recipe! so, we can try this one out together. enjoy!

Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Icing
Yield: 6 dozen (I got 4 dozen)

For the cookies:

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin (14 ounces) Almost a whole 15 oz can
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, mix the butter and brown sugar on medium until pale and fluffy, ~3 minutes. Mix in eggs one at a time. Reduce the speed to low. Add the pumpkin, evaporated milk, and vanilla. Mix until well blended, ~ 2 minutes. Note: The mixture will look curdled, don’t worry. Add flour mixture and mix until combined. It shouldn’t look curdled anymore.

Martha says: Transfer 1 1/2 cups batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip (such as Ateco #806) and pipe 1 1/2-inch rounds onto parchment-lined baking sheets, 1 inch apart. I used a cookie scoop and it worked great. Bake the cookies, rotating sheets halfway through baking. When done, the tops should spring back, ~ 12 minutes. Cool on sheets on wire racks for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire rack and cool completely before frosting.

For the brown butter icing:

-4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
-10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
-1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon evaporated milk Save the remaining milk to thin the frosting out if it thickens too much while frosting all the cookies
-2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract I used vanilla bean paste….I love those specks!

Measure the confectioners’ sugar and put into a large bowl. Set aside. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Cook the butter, swirling pan occasionally, until golden brown, ~ 3 minutes. Watch carefully, you want brown bits, not black. Immediately pour the browned butter into the bowl of confectioners’ sugar. Make sure to scrape any browned bits from sides and bottom of pan. Pour in the evaporated milk and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Spread about 1 teaspoon icing onto each cookie. If icing stiffens, stir in more evaporated milk, a little at a time. Let sit for a few hours to set before packing up for storage. Make sure to place wax paper in between each layer to prevent sticking.”

Monday i will share a DIY date night i am making for adam. i am pretty excited about it, so i hope all goes well!

happy thursday!

BATS!

so, a simple DIY for your home or office (i personally used it for both!) what you will need…

black construction paper
white colored pencil (or any light color)
scissors
painters tape
joy joy and more holiday halloween joy

if i knew how to post online templates for you to cut out, i would do that. however, i am leaning on your ability to copy something you see and the confidence to remember that it does not have to look like mine! i am no bat expert, just playing around and having fun. basically, all you do is draw out several different bat shapes onto your black construction paper, cut out your shapes, and use painters tape to tape them up on the wall. it won’t damage your paint, and it looks very festive! Here are a few close ups of my bat shapes:

Happy October!

october…

i had a really hard time getting into October this year! how could that be?!? i have been looking forward to it for so long! well, my fried Kate got married the first weekend in the month, so the first week was spent completing preparations for the wedding. my brain was in wedding decor mode, and i couldn’t slip out into oranges and browns. but now! oh now….my home is in full swing. all it took was stopping off on the side of the road to look at mums and pumpkins being sold by a family in a small town near Nashville. as soon as i got those on my porch, game on. i cannot wait to share with you! i even have a small DIY for you. it is very simple. and i will share with you tomorrow!

some other good news is i got a new job! it has kept me very distracted over the last few weeks, but God is very good. His timing is perfect. this is my first 9-5 type job, and i am open to any and all advice and experienced tips you have.

thanks for following my blog. i know i fell off the radar for awhile. life takes control in a non-virtual way and i struggle to keep up on this side of it. however, this week i have a new recipe to share, my DIY halloween crafts, and some beautiful photos to stir your heart.

happy sunday!

sixty-six…

sixty-six….that’s how many albums i have in my iphoto. everytime i upload photos from my camera, i ought to catagorize them….and honestly, i ought to do it more often. but editing photos, lumping them together to decide what event was what…it all seemed like an awful lot of work on certain days. well, today was my day to make it right.

my husband taught himself lacrosse about 2 years ago, just because, and i wanted to put up some pictures of him in action. unfortunately, once i got on here, i jumped into an exhausting task of reorganizing everything in my photo albums. and to be honest, 66 albums is probably nothing to some of you. if this were my sister, she would most likely have so many albums that she had to buy an external hard drive AND a second computer just to hold all of the pictures. but for me, 66 is so, so many.

although it was an exhausting task, i did enjoy getting to look through all these photos again. here are a few to delight you…

one of my best friend’s daughter….she is now 4 and 1/2.

family vacation to Edisto Beach in 2009

the birth of my niece in 2009

one of the few snows we get in Tennessee….this is on Vanderbilt campus (2009)

my days of coaching a larger swim team, in fact, the one i swam on my whole childhood. (2010)

the flood in may, 2010, ….and us not being smart and wading through it.

the night adam proposed….

the perfection of Asheville, NC

the ceiling at the MOST perfect coffee shop in Charleston, SC….Hope and Union

about a 100 photos of this large animal…my first and only child, Charlie.

“one’s real life is so often the life one does not lead”–Oscar Wilde