Happy, Blustery Fall Day Y’all!

I love this time of year. I always have these grand ideas for Fall decorating. You know – corn stalks, bales of hay, loads of pumpkins…(sigh). I still like to decorate for fall, but I now put just a few Halloween items out. And I strategically plan for items that can easily be removed, with the remainder of the fall decor items left in place through Thanksgiving… then quickly whisked away and poof! Christmas decorations magically appear!   Aaargh!!!

I always feel like once October is over, well, you can pretty much start making your Christmas decorating plans, purchasing your coordinating wrapping paper, stocking up on big bolts of ribbon for all of the wrapped packages. It’s always  one big blur after Halloween, so might as well enjoy fall a little – right?

So, without further adieux – Here are some of my fall primping pics from around the house.

Front Door

Front Door

Front Entry Way

Front Entry Way

Touch of Fall in the dining room

Touch of Fall in the dining room

Pumpkin spiced candle surrounding by little pumpkins

Pumpkin spiced candle surrounded by little pumpkins

Fall decorations on entry way table

Fall decorations on entry way table

A happy fall welcome by our front porch

A happy fall welcome by our front porch

And, to end on a sweet note, here’s a recipe for DE-Li-CIOUS pumpkin pie cupcakes from 58 Day Dreams blog  I made these for my sister’s birthday and got rave reviews.  I served them with whipped cream and fresh nutmeg grated on top!

1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup evaporated milk
2/3 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 cup muffin tin with silicone liners, foil liners sprayed with cooking spray or just spray the cups with cooking spray. Either of these three methods will make it easy to take the cupcake out after it’s cooked. Paper liners make it difficult to remove the cupcakes.

Mix the pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and milk. Add the flour, pumpkin spice, salt, baking powder and baking soda to the mixture. Fill each muffin cup with 1/3 cup of the mixture. Bake for twenty minutes and let cool for twenty minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle more pumpkin pie spice on top and serve. Makes 12 cupcakes.

 

Happy Fall Y’all!

 

Breast Cancer Paid a Visit to our Family

Every year, over 1.5 million women will be told, “You have breast cancer.

This is a frightening and shocking statistic, and it’s especially frightening when you or someone close to you hears this news. This was the case for my family this past summer. My mom, who was 75 at the time, scheduled her annual mammogram. She received a call back and immediately said, “I have the feeling this isn’t good news.” The doctor told her they saw a small, pinhead area on her left breast that they wanted to biopsy. The day she had her follow-up appointment my sister and I both went with her to the doctor’s office. The news… She had stage 0 breast cancer. This was the best news if you’re going to be told you have breast cancer. In fact, the doctor told her, “You just need a lumpectomy, with 6 weeks of radiation, 5 days each week.” We left feeling fortunate that it was a very early stage, but encouraged my mom to take her time to think about the lumpectomy, as often times 2-5 years later you’re dealing with another breast cancer diagnosis.

After much consideration and speaking to people that had had a double mastectomy, my mom opted for this. She didn’t want to worry about breast cancer coming back. She wanted it over and done with!

So, in mid-August, my mom had a double mastectomy with reconstruction. She was a trooper. I know it wasn’t an easy surgery, but my mom put all of our fears to rest – even though I’m sure she was scared, concerned, mourning a part of her that was being taken away – she didn’t show that to us. We are so very thankful that she had a wonderful doctor and surgical team taking care of her, and I will forever be in awe of my mom’s candor, humor and strength. And, as a side note, after her surgery the doctor shared her pathology report… there was cancer in her right breast as well, and none of it had even shown up in any of the testing. Someone was watching over her and providing the divine intervention needed to make the right choice.

While she tells us now that she thought, for a split second, “ Do I really need to keep getting a mammogram at 75? “ I thank God every day that she did schedule that mammogram. In fact, it makes me mad that 2 articles in the past couple of weeks stated that, “Not enough evidence exists to suggest that it’s helpful or beneficial for women over 70 to continue with mammograms.” REALLY??? I’m confused and angered that this information is being put out there to women – I read this in a recent Dr. Oz eNewsletter and the October issue of Real Simple, in their special breast cancer section.

I recently had my annual check up with my doctor and asked her about mammograms for women over 70. She said she encourages her patients to continue mammograms as long as they’re able to get them, as a woman’s chances increase as she ages, which is represented by information from two well-respected cancer sites below.

www.Cancer.gov

National Cancer Institute

  • Based on current breast cancer incidence rates, experts estimate that about one out of every eight women born today will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some time during her life.
  • The strongest risk factor for breast cancer is age. A woman’s risk of developing this disease increases as she gets older.

www.Breastcancer.org

  • If your current age is 40, the probability of developing invasive breast cancer in the next 10 years is 1.45%, or 1 in 69.
  • If your current age is 50, the probability of developing invasive breast cancer in the next 10 years is 2.31%, or 1 in 43.
  • If your current age is 60, the probability of developing invasive breast cancer in the next 10 years is 3.49%, or 1 in 29.
  • If your current age is 70, the probability of developing invasive breast cancer in the next 10 years is 3.84%, or 1 in 26.

As you can see, the older you are, the higher your absolute risk of breast cancer. Keep in mind that these numbers and percentages are averages for the whole population. Your individual breast cancer risk may be higher or lower, depending on a number of factors, including family history, reproductive history (such as menstrual and childbearing history), race/ethnicity, and other factors

So, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, in honor of my mom – Please, schedule a mammogram, take care of yourself and become informed.

 

My mom and dad this past spring before her diagnosis

My mom and dad this past spring before her diagnosis

Here’s to your health!

 

Want to go to the Country Living Fair?

Ahhh, Fall!  I love the changing colors of the trees, the cooler temps, fall cooking, decorating and… THE COUNTRY LIVING FAIR!

The Country Living Fair is an annual event that two of my besties and I go to.  We always find some fun, wonderful item(s) to buy, enjoy a day of catching up, some good fair food and maybe a beer… if the beer booth is open!

We’ve been when the weather’s beautiful and when the weather’s been down right cold!  The year it was cold, one of my friends and I purchased some hand knit mittens because we were freezing! (We always have to get pics in front of the big pumpkin/gourd pile!)  I was taking this pic… My two friends Kelli and Joanne below.

Oct. 2012 Country Living Fair

Oct. 2012 Country Living Fair

 

Pumpkins/Gourds on a pretty sunny day

Pumpkins/Gourds on a pretty sunny day

There are a ton of great, creative booths to take in, fun stuff to look at, famous magazine people to meet :) – last year we got to meet, and talk with, the editor-in-chief of Country Living at that time, Sarah Gray Miller.  We also met up with the HomeTalk Blogging team.  HomeTalk has a wealth of information on diy projects, decorating, yard/garden tips.  I love it, and a lot of bloggers post their fun ideas on projects they’ve recently done  Check it out at hometalk.com

Here are some of my purchases from last year’s fair… (a burlap pendant light, burlap cord cover, old marquee sign letters, yummy smelling star candle)

Country Living Finds from 2013 Fair

Country Living Finds from 2013 Fair

And of course, lots of cute, fall decorating/display ideas…

Cute display of antique spools

Cute display of antique spools

Also, be sure to stop by Explore Gwinnett‘s booth at the fair.  They’ll have lots of great info on Gwinnett and you can find some great coupons on their website as well!

 

And – a quick shout out to  everyone at Explore Gwinnett, as they are sponsoring this fun give away for free Country Living tickets!

So, who wants to go???

Leave a comment on my blog about why you’re dying to go to the Country Living Fair and you’ll be entered into a drawing for two free weekend passes to the fair.  One for you and for your bestie!  I’m doing the drawing next Saturday (10/18) and will contact the winner then.

Good luck!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Super-Easy, Yummy Energy Bar Recipe

I found a super easy energy bar recipe that’s satisfying and provides me with the nutrition I need after a morning workout.

The recipe is from Dr. Oz and only contains 5 ingredients. Peanut butter, quick oats, vanilla, dried cherries and honey. You can pretty much substitute any type of dried fruit and nuts. I typically use dried cranberries and have been adding pepitas (also known as pumpkin seeds) to mine. I love dried cherries, but they can be a little pricey sometimes, so I’ve used dried cranberries, and I usually have them on-hand.

Ingredients for Energy Bars

Ingredients for Energy Bars

 

Pepitas or Pumpkin Seeds

Pepitas or Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quick-cook oats
  • 1/3 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1/2 cup all-natural peanut butter
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla

**I double the recipe, and press it into a 9” square pan. This makes the bars a bit more substantial and easier to hold together instead of a thin bar.

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So, you pretty much dump everything into the bowl at once, give it a good mix with the mixer and you’re done!

 

 

IMG_2140

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After you’ve pressed the mixture into the pan (no need to grease the pan!) Store the pan in the fridge, as this helps the bars solidify a bit more and makes them easier to handle.

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I usually make a pan each Sunday and the pan takes us through the entire week. (for me and my husband)

 

Feel free to experiment a bit with this. I’m thinking of doing dried apricots and cashews for my next batch.

 

Let me know what you come up with, would love to hear your version of some energy bars.

 

To your health!

What I did with a second hand wicker chair and ottoman

I’ve had the itch lately to revamp my family room area.  I want a fresher, brighter look.  So, the first change I’ve made is switching out our old, sturdy wing back chair for a wicker chair.  I recently started following a group on Facebook that lists furniture and decorative items for sale and was lucky enough to see this wonderful wicker chair and ottoman that were for sale.

Second hand wicker chair

Second hand wicker chair

The previous owner said she had stained it every few years, as it was on her screened in porch.  As luck would have it, I had some Minwax® Staining and Finishing Cloths that I had received in my Haven swag bag!  It was a dark mahogany stain, which was perfect!  The staining cloths were so much easier to use than a paint brush – especially on wicker.  I even had a few cloths left in the packet and I stained the ottoman and the chair!

Minwax staining cloths

Minwax® staining cloths

After staining, I had the cushions recovered (no I didn’t make the covers).  I had a pale yellow matelasse fabric that I had purchased several years ago on clearance, so I was thrilled I was able to use that!  I found this great flame stitch pillow in Blueridge at my favorite store – Gatewood Hall Gracious Home.   Make sure to stop by this store if you’re ever in Blueridge.  My friends and I ALWAYS find something to buy in this store!  And the owner is such a great guy!

Flame stitch pillow

Flame stitch pillow

I then found a wonderful 2′x 3′ sheepskin to place over the back of the chair to give it that cozy feeling.  I love it!  I found it on Amazon, after comparing prices on several sites, and this had some great reviews as well.

Here’s the finished styling of the chair with its complete new look.  I’m so excited!  This is my first step in the re-do of the family room.  Stay tuned – not sure what my next step will be!

Finished chair with new cushion covers, pillow and sheepskin

Finished chair and ottoman with new cushion covers, pillow and sheepskin

Finished chair with better view of ottoman

Finished chair with better view of ottoman

 

Have a great, project-filled weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you looking for a fall garden container idea?

I love pretty garden container arrangements, and when I attended Haven this year Carmen Johnston, along with Southern Living Plant Collection and Home Depot, provided some wonderful container ideas.  Plus, at the end of the class, we each got to take a few of the plants home.  I couldn’t wait to use my plants – especially the nandina, which Carmen had used for a gorgeous fall garden container.

By the way… did you know you’re supposed to plant in a triangular pattern in the containers?  You know, it’s all about the spill, the fill and the THRILL!

Spill – a plant that will “spill” out of the container as it grows, the Fill – a plant that will fill in the container and provide a punch of color, the THRILL – a fabulous plant that has some height for the arrangement.

So, here’s where I started… with a large container – making sure to have drainage holes in the bottom of the container, and good potting soil.

Container with good potting soil mix

Container with good potting soil mix

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, I got busy adding the plants:

Sweet potato vine, Cordyline, Mesa Bright Bicolor Blanket Flower, and Nandina

Also, be sure to “rough up” the roots.  You don’t want them super compact, so loosen them up a bit before planting.

Loosen up the roots

Loosen up the roots

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I placed the sweet potato vine in the front, next I placed the  Nandina, the Cordyline and the Mesa Bright Bicolor Blanket Flower

 

Sweet Potato Vine

Sweet Potato Vine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nandina

Nandina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cordyline

Cordyline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tah-dah!  My Fall Container!  All the plants take full – partial sun, so they’re a good end- of- summer selection.

Finished Container

Finished Container

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we head into fall, I can’t wait to add some baby pumpkins to the arrangement.  I’ll be sure to share pics of that and a little pointer that Carmen Johnston shared with us when adding the pumpkins.

 

What are your plans for some fall garden containers? Would love to see your ideas!

 

Have a great week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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