Monday, November 24, 2008

Counting Down To Thanksgiving

I can't believe it's three days to Thanksgiving. I have been very busy. Last week I was able to go to the grocery store and purchase everything to cook my Turkey feast. I'm going to my parents for Thanksgiving but I still like to cook at home.

Sunday I started prepping. First I thoroughly washed the collard and kale greens. I like to cook both (something I learned from my grandmother). While the greens were soaking, I cut up the potatoes for the potato salad and the sweet potatoes. Next I chopped onions, celery and green peppers to have ready to go into their assigned dishes. I even baked a cream cheese pound cake for dessert. After the greens soaked a few hours I cut them up and put in the crock pot. I love using the crock pot. I always cook my vegetables in it when preparing a large meal. It frees up space on the stove, plus you can tend to other things while the crock pot basically takes care of the vegetables for you.

Tonight I hope to start my crab stuffing and sauerkraut. When my grandmother used to cook, she'd put pigtails in her sauerkraut. I like to use salted pork or fat back as I call it. I started making crab stuffing a few Christmases ago and haven't looked back. The first time I made it I also made the traditional sausage/sage stuffing which no one wanted after trying the crab stuffing.

Here's how I make it:

1 bx corn muffin mix
4-8 tablespoons butter
1 lb crab meat
1 cup finely chopped celery
2 cups of chopped onions
dried parsley (if you use fresh parsley it's 1/4 - 1/2 cup; minced)
1 tablespoon sage
1 tablespoon thyme
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning (optional)
1 cup chicken stock (I like to use the stock from the turkey)
2 large eggs, well beaten (optional)

Prepare mix then bake in oven according to instructions on box .

Meanwhile in a skillet melt butter, add celery and onions and sautee until tender. Remove from heat and stir in the spices.

Combine ingredients in a large bowl. Add drained crab meat. Toss well until the stuffing is moist, but not packed together.

Stir in the stock and eggs, re-moisten and adjust spices as necessary.

Cooked in casserole dish at 350 until heated through with a crust on the outsides, 25 to 40 min.

I like to stuff my turkey with the dressing at least a 1/2 hour - 45 min before it's time for the turkey to be removed from the oven so that the stuffing gets some of the juices which really makes it taste 'o so good.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Week One of Thanksgiving Countdown

Here's what we did for the first week which was from Nov. 2nd to Nov. 5th:

1. Make the promise. Promise to spend 15 minutes each day to get organized for the big event. DONE

2. Set up a notebook or a section in your notebook to help organize. Remember to add some blank pages for notes and records. DONE

3. Create or print lists that might be needed. For example: Guest list, food list, budget party planner, etc. DONE

4. Review party planner pages and begin thinking about the menu. DONE

5. Print the home spruce-up worksheet and complete it. Examine the area of the gathering. What are some things that need to be spruced up before the event? I'm not hosting this year so there's no sprucing up for me to do.

6. Will you host overnight guests? If so add “get guest room ready” to your list. Create a pamper basket for the guest room. Not hosting any guests

7. Stock up on batteries for cameras and video recorders. DONE

House Prep – Cooking Space.

Also each week there's a neat project to do if you wish. For this week it is a tin can turkey. Isn't he the cutest. I made one to take to my parents house. Everyone will write what they are thankful for and place in the turkey. Then after dinner we'll gather around and read each one. It should be really nice.

So Busy!

Well for me the holidays are in full swing. Over at Magical Holiday Home we've started the countdown to Thanksgiving. I love the countdowns because they really keep me focused. I'm not hosting Thanksgiving this year but will still cook at home.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Happy Ghouls Day to everyone. I for one am excited. I'm going to a Halloween party tonight and it's gonna be a blast. My best friend and her husband have been working hard with the decorations and food prep for the last few weeks. She told me that the planner I gave her has been a big help.

As for my costume, I had to come up with a quick solution as I never got around to completing my original costume idea (I wanted to go as a swamp woman). So last night I went straight home and headed right to the closets. I found my wig from a 70's party I went to a few years ago and spiffed it up. Then I went to the drawers and pulled out a cute printed chemise. It's brown but has a really neat retro-like print all over it. Then back to the closets where I pulled out a pair of boots and my faux fur coat. I found a really big pair of hoop earrings in the jewelry box, a pair of thick tights to keep my legs warm and some really crazy looking eyelashes that I bought one year for a vampire costume but forgot I had them.

Today when I get off I have to get home quickly to get ready. One of my nieces wants to go trick or treating before we go to the party. I told her we'll see. Well I have a little over an hour before I'm off the clock so I better finish this work on my desk. I'll let you know how the party was on Monday. Have a safe Halloween!

Friday, October 10, 2008

It's Fall at the Office

Earlier this week I finally got a chance to decorate the board behind my desk. Fall is definitely here in merry ole' Maryland. The trees are really starting to change to beautiful colors. I think by next weekend they will be at their peek and I've already planned to have a fun-filled weekend. Next Saturday, I will pick up my nieces and nephews early in the morning and take them to breakfast. Then later that day I'm taking the younger ones to a birthday party and will treat the older ones to the movies at the nearby mall. Then we'll all get back together head home, order pizza or whatever they're in the mood for and watch movies. Sunday will be all mine! I hope the weather is nice as I would like to take a drive along the back winding roads to get a closer look at the pretty trees, see the horses, cows and buffalo graze in the grasses all while listening to some contemporary jazz. Yep I said buffalo. There's a man who actually has buffalo. One year they somehow escaped and were spotted on a nearby tennis court (imagine the mess they made). It made national news on the Today Show. I'll also stop and buy some fresh strawberries from the local farmer who sets up his truck on one of my favorite roads to travel. Then I'll stop for some icecream, head home and have dinner, the just relax the rest of the evening.

This Sunday is my Harvest Breakfast. I'm very excited. So Saturday, before I go to work at my parttime job, I will go to the grocery store to pick up all the ingredients. After work I'll go home and start prepping - peel and cut potatoes, wash fruit, set the table, etc. I can't wait to see everyone. Now that I think of it I haven't seen or talked to anyone in weeks. I guess everyone's been busy - including me. I picked a good weekend to have this breakfast. The day is expected to be beautiful and we're off Monday for Columbus Day so we can hang out all day. I know someone's going to suggest that we go someplace after breakfast which will keep me out til the middle of the night.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Update on Fall Prep

I'm still cleaning for the Holiday Grand Plan. This week is the bathroom. My bathroom is small but boy was it a chore. It really looks good now. Last week was the master bedroom. I only managed to finish 3/4th of things on my list for this area but it looks pretty neat. I'll go back to this room during one of my free weeks. Right now I'm more concerned about getting the main areas finished.

My potted mums - well one in particular - doesn't seem to be doing so well. I have two of them on my balcony. The yellow one is blooming beautifully while the orange/red one looks as if it's drying up. I was wondering if it was due to the weather. It's nice and warm during the day but it gets really chilly at night. They are outdoor plants so they should be used to the change in temperatures, right!? I hope it gets better.

Moving on, my apartment is nearly overflowing with fall decor. Later this month MHH members will participate in a Fall tour of homes. The date is set for October 16th. I still have to do the guest room, dining room, and kitchen but I'll be ready. I have my curtains hung in the living room and they look great. They really add color and warmth to the room. I'll post pictures here on the 15th.

This weekend I'm going to my best friend's house as she and her husband will start putting up their Halloween decorations outside. I'm just as excited as they are. I can't wait to see what all they have. This is also the second week of the Halloween Countdown. I need to check with her to see what progress she's made. Plus I need to get ready for my Harvest Breakfast. So much to do.

Monday, September 22, 2008

HGP - Week Four

This week the HGP focuses on the master bedroom. I have half of the cleaning part done.


September 21st kicked off the Halloween Countdown over at MHH. It's a great plan for getting ready for the holiday and any festivities you are planning. I've never hosted a Halloween party. I leave that to my bestfriend and her husband. I did make her a notebook to help them keep things organized and offered my assistance if they need me. My BFF is pumped. She and her husband cleaned their house from top to bottom and already have their fall decorations up. The house looks so warm and welcoming. I bought her a Halloween countdown calendar from Avon I new she would like. When I gave it to her, she immediately hung it on her kitchen door. Plans to decorate will start the first weekend in October.

The first week of the countdown basically has you setting up a notebook. Fortunately, her book is done -- she's off to a good start.

Happy Fall!!!

Hey today is the first day of Autumn. Can you believe it? I'm for one am psyched. I'm looking forward to spending more time indoors and just snuggling up. I've started putting up my fall decorations. So far the porch, half of the living room, and the foyer are done. I hung up my newly crafted broom on the front door and put out the doormat. Once I finish the living room and set up my wagon outside the front door those areas will be finished. I also hung up my newly purchased curtains at the patio door. Boy do they darken the room. I'm going to love laying across the sofa with just candles burning and dimmed lights, watching a movie, or listening to music or reading a book.

Sunday I took my nieces and nephews to a farm to pick apples. It was Johnny Appleseed Day. They had a blast. In addition to picking apples, there were lots of arts and crafts, games and a huge slide. The kids were good and tired by the day's end. Off to sleep they went almost immediately once they got into the car. One minute they were pumped talking about all they did, next minute -- silence. It was a nice drive home. Next month we're planning a trip the pumpkin patch.

Friday, September 19, 2008

HGP Week Three

We're near the end of week three of the HGP countdown. This week focuses on the foyer (or whatever area you choose). My foyer is small so I was able to finish most of it in a day. The only part that still needs doing is the coat closet.

I've got a lot on my plate this weekend... hope that I can get most of it done. Besides the coat closet and moving furniture, I want to start decorating all finished areas: balcony, livingroom, foyer, front door. Actually the balcony has had fall decor since the week it was cleaned. I just need to add the garland/lights to the railings and hang the candle chandaliers. The mums I bought a few weeks ago are starting to bloom. The yellow ones seem to be blooming faster that the red ones, though. Can't figure that out.

Not As Planned

Still haven't finished the livingroom... And I didn't get around to the Halloween invitations. I'll make an attempt on the cards at the end of September. Ike did not bring the rain as the weatherman predicted. Instead we got a bunch of heat the entire weekend. It was so hot that I wasn't in the mood for tackling that livingroom. I really need to finish it though. Now that it's feeling like fall, I'm anxious to hang up my curtains. Can't wait to see them hanging up at the patio doors.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Great Pumkin Day

Tomorrow is the first part of GPD for this month (the date is also celebrated at the end of each month). Now that I think about it, this is the last month as next month is Halloween. I have made some changes to my plans for decorating for fall so I will spend a little time making revisions. Then I'll start working on the invitations for my best friends Halloween party. Also I want to go over my plans for my Harvest Breakfast gathering. Ike's bringing us rain this weekend which will keep me in the house so I'll definitely get some work done.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I'm So Happy

Yes, I'm giddy. I found some curtains last night for my livingroom! My bestfriend and I met after work and went to the Walmart near her house. They're not the faux silk ones (which is what I really wanted), but the next best thing - Taffeta. I found some faux silk panels but in every fall color but cranberry/burgundy. No bother, the taffeta panels are nice too and look so rich. Plus they were only $10.88 per panel (the silk ones were a bit more). I can't wait to hang them up. We're supposed to get a lot of rain starting Friday and Saturday is expected to be washed out as well. So I'll take this as an opportunity to finish my livingroom. The only things left to do are vacuum/shampoo the sofa/chairs and carpet and rearrange the furniture. I'm really rearranging my furniture to make room for my Christmas tree.(LOL) Anyway I'm very excited. Once the furniture and carpet dries I think I will start putting up a few fall decorations in that room. I especially am looking forward to displaying my "Harvest" sign. I plan to dress it up a little with little pumpkins, silk leaves and miniature scarecrow.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Harvest Breakfast

Well I finished the invitations for the Harvest Breakfast.
They will go out in the mail on the 26th.

I used brown scrap-booking paper for the larger square, light green (like a yellow-green) color paper for the middle square and ivory card stock to print the information on for the smaller square. These were so easy to do and best part is I already had the materials, including the leaves. My guests are going to get a kick out of these.

One problem - they don't quite fit in the envelopes. I have the greeting card envelopes but the leaves stick out. I hate to have to bend the leaves...may mess up the look. I may have to make some envelopes. Oh well, time to pull out the American Greetings crafts cd's.

Just looked out my boss's window, it's raining. I'm supposed to work my second job tonight but I'm going home. I'll go in tomorrow. Besides, I'm super tired. I'm going home and go to bed.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Fall Crafts

A few posts ago, you may remember me mentioning some projects I hoped to finish before the HGP countdown started. Well needless to say that didn't happen. So what I did was if time permitted, do a couple of projects along with the cleaning. I'm happy to tell you that I have completed all but three projects. Here's the latest.

Broom Swag

Broom Swag (closer look)

Grapevine Wreath

I'm so proud of my self. The broom will hang on my front door. I've decided to go with the deep green paper to put on the front door. I think the broom will look nice against a green background. I made four wreaths to hang in the bedroom windows. The wreaths are small but will look nice and will be seen with the help of electric candles.

I didn't get to start the invitations. My best friend called to say she was making chili, except when I got there she had changed her mind and instead her cousin fried some party wings, made Spanish rice and collard greens. It was great but my mouth sure was set for some chili. For desert the kids made cupcakes.

In addition to the invitations, there's the centerpiece and wreath for the office to make. Then I'm done with any fall craft projects. Let's hope.

HGP - Week Two

Over at MHH we're into the second week of the Holiday Grand Plan countdown. This week focuses on the livingroom and answering questions about traditions and the way we celebrate Christmas. So when I got up this morning I went and sat out on the balcony to look over my list of 'to dos'. I love my balcony, especially now that it's clean. Those flower pots are still sitting on my balcony waiting to be taken to the dumpster. I even put out a few fall decorations.

Back to the livingroom. So far I've polished all of the furniture, cleaned the inside of the patio doors/windows (they were dirtier on the inside than on the outside - go figure), took down summer decorations(didn't have a lot really) and made space for my fall stuff to go up by clearing of shelves and tables. I've decided to change my livingroom around but didn't feel like doing it Sunday and I won't be able to get to it until the upcoming weekend. Plus I still need to clean the sofa and chairs. They are white and I have to clean them at least twice a year. Hopefully around the first of the new year I can get a new set.

Friday, September 5, 2008

More Shopping

After work I went to my favorite two places - Walmart and Dollar Tree - and to a party store. I picked up a pumpkin spice 3-wick candle for the living room, a jar scented candle for the office, a couple of autumn fragrance room air fresheners that you plug into the wall, more faux Indian corn, cushions for the patio chairs, and a couple pots of mums. I grabbed a few bags of my favorite fall mix (peanuts, m&m's and candy corn) but put them back. They would be gone in less than a day if I bought them now. I'll just wait until the end of September - first of October. There were folks already buying their Halloween candy. Walmart had an entire isle (both sides) of nothing but bags/containers of Halloween candy. Dollar Tree also had lots of Halloween candy.

At the party supply store I picked up some pretty leaf print plastic cups and napkins for the breakfast gathering. I asked the manager of the store if they would be getting in any fall print wrapping paper but they don't sell it. The lady did give me a great idea though. She suggested using a fall print table cover. That is a great idea! I have a huge poster board behind my desk at the office I plan to decorate for fall. I keep changing my mind on how to decorate it. I'll have a finalized plan by the time I decorate it.

Really Feelling Good

Since yesterday I've been feeling really good. I spent a couple of hours in Walmart yesterday just walking around looking at everything. While there this warm feeling came over me and I began to smile. All types of thoughts went through my mind. I thought how nice and cozy my little place is going to feel once it's cleaned from top to bottom. Wearing my jeans, turtleneck sweaters and boots. Taking my nieces and nephews out to pick apples, run through the corn maze, going on a haunted hayride - such fun. Being home cooking hearty meals, baking sweets, and so on. In the car on the way home I was listening to Sirius 8 satellite radio station (Big 80's)just singing along and looking at the mounds of trees. I thought, "Soon these trees will be so full of color. I can't wait to see them." That made me even happier.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Shopping Excursion

I don't have to work my second job tonight so later today I'm heading to Walmart and Dollar Tree. I had plan to go yesterday but instead I went to my second job. It pays double time when you work on your off days and the extra money will come in handy.

I want to get those cushions for the chairs on my balcony. They have the fall colors - pumpkin, green, and cranberry. I also will be looking for a flag to hang on the dividing wall and maybe a nice fall sign. Because I sit out there a lot I'm going to also put a small lamp on a table to use at night. I was in a Dollar Tree briefly and they had a whole isle of Halloween stuff. A person could clean up in there on decorations and party supplies. I couldn't really look around to see if the Halloween candy was out. I called my bestfriend to tell her to get there quick because very soon people are going to hit those shelves. During the fall I love to eat a mixture of honey roasted peanuts, candy corn and m&m chocolate candies - yummmy! I keep a jar on my desk at work for my co-workers too. They love it.

I've been looking for some faux silk curtains for my bedroom and livingroom. I've been to Bed, Bath and Beyond, Target, K-Mart and Walmart. It's wearing me out. Either the price is a bit too high or they don't have the color I want or if they do have the color, there may be one or two panels - I need five for the livingroom. I won't even waste my time looking in a department store because I know I'm not paying those prices. I really like the look of those faux silk curtains. I hope I find them soon.

Fall's Almost Here

In 18 days Fall will be here. Right now it's not feeling too much like it. The heat has come back - yuck!. I'm sooo ready for the slightly warm sunny days and cool, crisp nights. I've been looking at the trees and many of them are beginning to change. Over at Magical Holiday Home we were talking about what we love about the season. Here was my response:

"...I love the colors that fall brings. Something about the colors really awakens something in me. I get energized and just want to do all kinds of things - from cooking to cleaning, spending time with family and friends to spending quite time alone. I love the rustling sounds of the leaves under my feet, the smell of the neighbors fireplaces in the air, cozying up on the sofa with soft light while scented candles fill the rooms of pumpkin, apples and cinnamon and other spices. I love to drive through the neighborhoods in the morning on my way to work and look at the big beautiful old trees and the vibrant fall colors of the leaves...the people out there raking them up on a Saturday afternoon... stuffing them in pumpkin trash bags. I love to get up in the morning and sit out on my balcony with a cup of hot chocolate and just listen to the birds sing their final tunes or watch the squirrls gather their food before going into hibernation for the winter months and watching flocks of geese flying overhead heading to warmer climates. All these things and everything you ladies have mentioned are what makes me fall in love with fall."

Aaahh! I just love this time of year. (gjggling)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What a Workout!

Sunday started the HGP over at OC and MHH and let me tell you I put in some work. This week we were to get our porches in order. I live in an apartment so my balcony was my porch.
  • I swept all the leaves and dust off the outdoor carpet as well as knocked down all the spider webs
  • Wiped down the railing and dividing wall which seperates my balcony from my neighbor's. We just got them over the last two years and they are great. They're made of that hard resin like you see in people's yards as fences. Very easy to clean.
  • Then I wiped down the patio table and chairs. Boy were they dirty. I have trees right outside my balcony... you can almost touch the branches. So everything- pollen, dirt, leaves, pineneedles fall on my balcony.
  • Next I cleaned the patio doors/windows. Surprisingly they weren't that dirty. I also wiped the screen. Now that was filthy. I couldn't believe how much dirt came out of that screen. Now I can see through it. (LOL)
The only thing I didn't do was throw out those flower pots. By the time I finished cleaning, I was too tired to tackle them. I have two and they are filled with old potting soil. They are extremely heavy and I was not in the mood for taking them down three flights of steps. I think I will get my boyfriend to take those out for me this week.

After I was done I just sat out there and enjoyed my new, cleaned balcony until the sun started going down (or rather until the bugs ran me back inside). While out on the balcony, I decided to work on a few fall crafts. I made this acrylic post-it holder which will go on my office desk once I decorate it a little for the season. Isn't it cute. I found the paper and the ribbon at the dollar store (my favorite place).

This arrangement I saw in Michael's and decided to copy it. So I went to the dollar store and bought the grass, twigs, brown ribbon and a tall glass cylinder candle holder. My plan was to hot glue the branches around the glass, fill the glass with some stones, add the grass then tie the branches with decorative ribbon. Well the next day I was in Walmart and they had the base part already made up. Plus it was much nicer than mines would have been as it also had eucolyptus stems mixed in too. So I bought it and added the grass to the center of that and finished it with brown ribbon. I think it will sit next to the tv armoire in the livingroom. Now what to do with the branches I bought at the dollar store? I have a burgundy tall metal vase that I can place the branches in. That will likely go in my bedroom or maybe in the bathroom.

I'm back to work today and I've bought in my supplies to work on the broom swag for my front door. I've been thinking about my door and I want to cover it with moss green (or some type of green-fall related) paper. The door is an ugly color. I hate it. During my lunch break I will go into a empty room and work on it. If I finish it today I'll come back and post a picture. I've decided to keep my digital camera with me at all times so that I won't miss important photo ops.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Keeping Occupied

It's raining again today (Yesssss). I almost called-in to take the day off. I'm sitting here at my desk eating oatmeal (cinnamon roll) for lunch, putting together my plans for the Autumn breakfast I'll be hosting. I've set the date for October 12th. There will be about 15 people attending. I'm trying to keep it small but I know it will be more than that. I'll be ready for any extra guests (LOL)

Here's my menu:

Eggs (any style)
Bacon (Turkey/Regular)
Sausage (Turkey/Regular)
French Toast
Grits/Oatmeal (Instant packages)
Cream of wheat
Fried Potatoes
Apple Butter
Fresh Fruits
Bakes apples slices
Orange juice
Hot chocolate
Munchkin Donuts
Milk & Cereal for the kids (if they prefer)

It's nothing special. Just things we regularly eat (not all at once). I've written my grocery list and scheduled dates to go shopping for supplies and food.

Now I'm stuck. I would like to make some take-home favors for my guests. I've been searching the internet for ideas. Haven't found anything yet. Last year I made crackers and masks using silk fall leaves. I will continue looking.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

Well we finally got some rain. I for one am glad but unfortunately I'm stuck at work and am bored to death. On a day like today if I wasn't lying around watching movies I would be working on some crafts. I met my stepdad for lunch today (he and my mom live minutes away from my job). While we were eating I started thinking of what I could do to keep myself occupied once I got back to the office. Surprisingly it's a slow, quite day. That's probably because there are only a few courtrooms open today. Anyway once I got back to my desk, I started writing out some things.

This year I am having a few family members over for an Autumn breakfast. I've planned my menu and set the date. These are the invitations I will make for the occasion. It's pretty simple and I already have the supplies I will need to make them. Also this centerpiece will look lovely on the dining table. I plan to visit Michael's this weekend to get the supplies.

I recently went to the dollar store and picked up some clear plastic serving trays and bowls. They look like that heavy cut-glass you see in department stores. I also picked up a couple packages of clear plastic serving utensils (6 in a pack). I bought them specifically for Christmas but will also use them for the breakfast gathering. Well that's it for now. Time to write my guest list and shopping lists.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Wonderful Surprise!

Today when I arrived to work a co-worker surprised me with a wonderful gift. It was the "Harvest" sign that I had seen in Walmart but the colors are darker than the ones I saw. The ones I saw were lighter which I didn't like. I was soooo happy. She said she immediately thought of me when she saw it and picked it up for me. She was telling her husband that she knew that I would be soon getting ready to decorate for fall. I told her she was right.

I spent half of Sunday doing inventory of my fall decorations and making plans to start cleaning. Isn't it cute. It's going to go on one of my floating shelves with some fall garland and pumpkins. I'm very happy (doing the happy dance). Now I need to find another sign for the other shelf or maybe I'll display something different. Yea. I think I will display something different.

With the HGP countdown starting August 31st, I've decided to work on my fall craft projects this week. The HGP will have me busy and I know I won't have time to work on them. Besides I need them ready when I start to decorate. I would have started this past weekend but I found myself down in Ocean City, Maryland again with friends. Anyway the crafts I hope to get done:
  1. A fall broom swag (Dollar Tree had instruction sheets on how to make one).
  2. 4 small fall grapevine wreaths for the bedroom windows.
  3. A large fall grapevine wreath for the office.
  4. Fall acrylic post-it note holder (Will make one for Halloween while I'm at it to give to my BFF).
  5. Twig and grass arrangement.
All the supplies needed for these projects I picked up at the dollar store. Talk about savings.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Ventures at Dollar Tree

I am a big, Big, BIG Dollar Tree shopper. I'm there several times a week and every Saturday and Sunday.

I found a new Dollar Tree yesterday and in it were some stuff that the other one's don't have. I bought a few black crows to give to my BFF. She and her husband go all out for Halloween and I put together a nice Halloween notebook which I gave to her as a Christmas gift last year. Anyway, a member over at MHH showed us a neat idea using twigs from outside, ribbon, black spray paint, moss, an inexpensive flower pot and crows. I've added this project and other great stuff in her notebook. At another Dollar Tree I found an orange clear plastic trick-or-treat bag that she can keep her notebook in.

Outside my front door my plans are to sit a small red wagon filled with fall leaves, pumpkins and a scarecrow. Well I found three free-standing scarecrows that will look great in the wagon. First I went to Walmart and they had a nice one for about $7 but I thought it would look awkward inside the wagon because it was about 3ft tall. Then I saw another one, great size and fit but was $20. Sunday I will go to Home Depot and get a small, thick piece of board to glue them to that way they'll stand in the wagon more sturdy. Oooh I'm getting excited thinking of how it will look.

I went to two other Dollar Trees before going home yesterday. I bought more fall garland, more fall scented candles, ribbon, clear plastic serving trays and bowls, and these cute little pumpkin baskets.

Now I'm thinking about going back to the newly found dollar tree to get more scarecrows for the office. My plans for the office is to cover the main door with fall color wrapping paper and hang a grapevine wreath. The scarecrows can sit on top of the file cabinet. I may get a few of those black crows too and some fake pumpkins. That $Tree also has the faux Indian corn. I can add those to my front door display as well. I have a huge board behind my desk that use to display an organizational chart. I will cover that with fall paper too and tape silk leaves all over with a large sign in the center that says "Fall Festival", and drape fall garland around the entire board. I may add orange lights - not sure yet. I also have this pumpkin floral arrangement which will sit on my desk.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

More Room Decorating Ideas

Well here are the plans for the balcony, livingroom and diningroom.

Balcony. If you look at the photo at the top of my blog, you see a glimpse of what it will look like. What you don't see are a set of candle chandeliers which hang from the roof line. (You can see them here) Also this year I plan to purchase or make chair cushions for the chairs and add a new fall welcome mat. During the fall I love to sit out on my balcony and watch the colors of the leaves, drinking hot chocolate.

  • On the tv armoire will hang a grapevine fall wreath I made last year. On top of the armoire will be a fall floral basket of leaves and grapes.
  • On the coffee table will be an iron pumpkin shape candle holder with a fall candle ring. Next to that will be a basket of pine cones I got from the pine trees behind my apartment building.
  • I made another fall wreath last year which will sit around the table lamp on the book case
  • Change the candles in the wall sconces with fall tones.
  • I was going to add fall foliage to the pictures on my floating wall shelves like last year, but if I can find some of those wooden words (Harvest, Fall, etc.) at a reasonable price I will remove the photos and just have those on the shelf along with the foliage.
  • I want to replace the curtains at the patio door/windows. I've shopped around and the curtains I want are very expensive. My patio door/windows measure 14 ft wide by 9 ft tall. Then a few days ago it hit me, Buy two window scarves. They measure 216ft in length. I can cut them in half and sew up the end, giving me four panels and hang them from the rods. (The same thing I did with the ones hanging up now - duh!) Target has some pretty faux silk ones I like for about $35-$40. I really need five panels but what I can do is put a couple of coordinating sheer panels in the center. Problem solved.
  • Dress up toss pillows with new fabric.
  • Pull out heavy throws.
  • Add scented candles and a few fall arrangements everywhere.
I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and we were discussing all the family photos we have everywhere in our homes. I decided that I am going to buy several of those digital photo frames and add all my family photos to them - to get rid of some of the picture frames I've got displayed on nearly every surface a picture can be placed (LOL).


My diningroom will probably be dressed the same way it was last year. Here are a few pics from 2007.

Fun Activities

Last week I visited a few websites of places in my area to see what kind of activities they have planned for the fall season. One place I love to go - Webber's Farm - has things going on from September through November. I don't have kids so I love to spend time with my nieces and nephews. We'll go pick apples, take them home to make candied apples and baked sliced apples. I may even try to bake an apple pie (LOL). They have a maze made out of hay that the kids will love to run through along with wall climbing, a huge hill slide, wagon rides and lots more fun stuff. Maybe too, we will make a scarecrow.

Another favorite place I like to visit is Valley View Farms. In September they will feature a Dept. 56 Halloween event and in October it's painting pumpkins and decorating fun.

I know AC Moore and Michael's craft stores will have fun activities for myself as well as for the kids. I remember one year my cousin and I went to AC Moore to pick up ornaments to make a wreath for her front door. So happens they were teaching a bow making class. It was so fun. I learned how to use the "Bowdabbra" and purchased one for half price with the coupon they gave out after you took the class. Now I make all my bows.

The kids and I will visit the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore City where they will be celebrating their 25th Anniversary ZooBooo Halloween Fest.

These are just a few outdoor things I hope to do this season. I also have a few indoor activities planned too, for rainy days and such. We'll have movie nights and work on some crafts together.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Room by Room Decorating Ideas

As I stated in my first post, I've started planning to get my place in shape for fall. I have two areas already mapped out as to how they will be decorated.

Front Door Area: I just bought a red metal wagon from Michael's on sale for $15 but when the cashier rang it up, it was marked down again to $12. I'm going to cover my door with orange wrapping paper. I hope to find metallic orange or bronze paper (any suggestions?). Hang my two-in-one wreath I made last year on the door. Drape fall garland around door frame with orange lights. Next to the door will be my new wagon with fall fabric that will hang over wagon onto the floor. I'm going to add faux pumpkins, gourds, fall leaves inside and around the wagon. I saw a large carved pumpkin that says "Welcome Friends" at Walmart for $9 that I will pick up today to sit next to wagon. Inside the wagon amongst the smaller pumpkins and gourds will be a friendly scarecrow. Finally put out my fall welcome mat.

Foyer: I will have a pumpkin floral arrangement I made last year will sit on the small pedestal. I also have a console table which displays a few family photos. I plan to drape some fall garland among the photos and place two small hurricane candle holders at either end. Also on the table will sit a brass vase filled with dried wheat. I need to replace the area rug. It has seen better days.

HGP Countdown

Over at Organized Christmas, the Holiday Grand Plan will start in a few weeks (August 31st) and I really need to give my apartment a thorough cleaning. The summer months have keep me outdoors thus leaving my poor apartment neglected.

Here's my plans for the countdown:

Week of August 31st - Front Porch Week (I live in an apartment so I will work on the balcony this week)

Week of Sept 7th - Living Room Week

Week of Sept 14th - Entry/Foyer Week (Fall Decorations start going up)

Week of Sept 21st - Master Bedroom Week

Week of Sept 28th - Master Bathroom Week (One and only bathroom)

Week of Oct 5th - Kids Room Week (No kids - Will use this week to shampoo carpets)

Week of Oct 12th - Spare Room Week

Week of Oct 19th - Kitchen Week

Week of Oct 26th - Kitchen/Pantry Week (This is a free week for me. Not sure what to do.)

Week of Nov 2nd - Family Room Week (Another free week. Will put up Thanksgiving decorations)

Week of Nov 9th - Garage/Storage Week (Free Week)

Week of Nov 16th - Attic Week (Free week.)

Week of Nov 23rd - Dining Room Week (I start putting up my Christmas decorations Friday after Turkey Day and throughout the weekend.)

Week of Nov 30th - Holiday Decor Week (Decorations will be done. Just need to set all the lights on timers.)

Week of Dec 7th - Finish Up Week (Will put up decorations in the office.)

Week of Dec 14th - Maintenance Week (Free week)


Hi everyone. This blog will feature everything I do to celebrate the Fall Season. Next to Christmas, Fall is my favorite time of year. The smell of wood burning in the fireplace, soft glowing candles, warm foods, cool sunny days and crisp nights. Oh yeah! Before you know it, Fall will be here.

I've been doing a little pre-planning. I created a list.
  1. Inventory fall decorations
  2. Deep clean my house
  3. Plan weekly meals (well Sunday meals)
  4. Put together grocery list
  5. Decorate for Fall
  6. Plan some fun family outdoor/indoor activities.
  7. Plan for harvest dinner party or family breakfast.
  8. Go through fall/winter wardrobe.
It's not much now but I'm sure it will grow as the season draws closer.