50 things I love about Fall

So technically fall doesn’t start for 2 more weeks, but I couldn’t wait to post this. It is raining here in the Pacific Northwest (shocker! I know.) We had some awesome thunder and lightning storms today and my mums are already blossoming, so I’m going to go ahead and just pretend it has started already. I can’t wait. After all Fall is my favorite season. Sadly, I never even knew Fall existed, let alone liked it, until I moved to Oregon. I grew up in the Sacramento valley of California. We don’t have fall there. Okay, technically everywhere has an Autumn season, but ours did not have the idilic color changing trees and weeks of cool weather. Fall was identified as those two weeks, between the sweltering triple digits and the rainy season. I am so glad I moved somewhere we have all four seasons. I just love the fall. I love it so much, I decided to write a song about it… Just kidding. I am so not musically talented. I would have if I could have, so instead I made a list of all the things I love about it.

  1. Hunting season- I get to spend time outside with my hubby doing something we both enjoy. I believe it brings us closer every year. (and PS if you are against it, I’m sorry. You are entitled to your opinion, but so am I… and I love it.)
  2. Hiking in the rain- Seriously! It’s not hot and the air is so clean. Plus all the fall colors are beautiful!
  3. hot chocolate
  4. coffee (and all coffee related beverages)
  5. hot apple cider
  6. hot toddies
  7. scarfs
  8. sweaters
  9. boots
  10. wool socks
  11. pea coats
  12. layers
  13. hats
  14. mittens
  15. fall colors
  16. pumpkin patches
  17. corn mazes
  18. carving pumpkins
  19. designing Halloween costumes
  20. Thanksgiving
  21. back to school shopping
  22. back to school schedules- No, really. I am a creature of habit. While the freedom of Summer is fun, I secretly love an organized schedule. It satisfies the type A person in me.
  23. Daylight savings- getting dark earlier means more cuddle time on the couch.
  24. breaking out the quilts for the couch- I love cuddling on the couch with my hubby or my girls under a big warm cozy quilt, next to a blazing fire.
  25. firing up the wood stove- blazing fire, warm quilt, cup of hot beverage- need I say more?
  26. the smell of the rain
  27. the sound of the rain- I actually sleep with my window cracked quite often, so I can hear the rain better. I LOVE the sound of the rain.
  28. thunder & lightning storms
  29. apple picking
  30. apple cider
  31. caramel apple cider
  32. apple sauce
  33. apple pie
  34. canning apples
  35. pumpkin pie
  36. pumpkin doughnuts
  37. pumpkin muffins
  38. pumpkin lattes
  39. chai lattes- they just taste like Christmas to me.
  40. picking pears
  41. canning pears
  42. pear tarts
  43. pear sauce
  44. pears and fancy cheese
  45. cool misty mornings
  46. changing leaves
  47. naked trees
  48. the view of the sun rising through the naked trees
  49. mums
  50.  And the number one thing I love about fall (or number 50 in this case) spending time with family. Fall brings Holidays which means more time spent with family, and that, my friend, makes me a happy girl. . . Especially when I get to cuddle with them under a big quilt, next to a blazing fire, while listening to the rain come down, drinking hot toddies and wearing matching wool socks.  Wink wink. Okay, they don’t have to match, but that just makes it more fun.

Well my dear friends, I hope this fall brings as much fun and love for you as it does for me! Until next time, have a blessed day. Bye bye now!

8 Things Every Parent Should Know For A Successful And Affordable Family Fun Day

I could pretty much sum this post up in two words; PLAN AHEAD, but I will elaborate. If you want your family fun day to be both successful and affordable, planning ahead is key. Following is a list of things to consider when planning a fun and affordable Family Fun Day…

1. Create a checklist of items to take a few days in advance (not the morning of) and check them off as you prepare for the big day of fun. Think towels and dry clothes for beach or lake trips; snacks, meals and drinks; sunglasses and sunscreen for summer days, rain or snow gear for winter days, maps or directions, schedules for events, etc.

2. Check the weather the night before and be sure everyone dresses appropriately. Pack extra clothes, umbrellas, sun hats or whatever is appropriate the night before, so as not to forget in all the excitement of the next day.

3. Plan and pack meals and snacks. Not only will your family fun day go much smoother if your food is already prepared, but it can save you loads of money. The price of a snack at a movie theater could buy you a meal at the grocery store, and beverages are one of the highest marked up food items. Insulated beverage cups are a huge money saver in our house. I use mine every single day, and Little R’s milk stays cool and fresh for hours longer in her insulated sippy.

4. When planning your family fun day, check event schedules and business calendars for discount days and times. Everyone knows mattine movies cost less, but did you know, most zoos offer a discount day, as well as most county fairs? Even our local pool has one day a month when entry is half off. Just be prepared you may have to deal with larger crowds those days.

5. Speaking of crowds, check event calendars for special entry days and times. For example, our local pool offers “toddler time” for a few hours before it opens to all ages. This is great for little ones (or parents) who get a little overwhelmed by large crowds and noisy teenagers.

6. Consider your regular daily schedule and try to keep to it. Family fun time can quickly turn not-so-fun, when interrupting normal sleep and meal times. If your family is anything like mine, they get a little cranky when they are hungry and a lot cranky if they don’t get enough sleep. Try to avoid any activities or events that interfere with normal sleep patterns, and pack “emergency” snacks, meals and beverages. If you have nappers in your house, then be prepared to get out of the house early enough to be back in time for nap, or leave after they’ve woke from nap.

7. Dress appropriately. Okay, so I kind of touched on this one, but I want to remind parents that this one is for you too. As a stay-home mom, i don’t get out much. Sometimes I can get a little overexcited when I do leave the house and forget to dress for the occasion. Like I want to wear a skirt and strappy heals to the bounce house. Yeah, I actually did that. Oops! So remember, comfy clothes and tennies are best for keeping up with your kids, and trust me, they will want/expect you to do everything they do.

Last but most importantly…

8. Choose age appropriate activities. Remember, Family Fun Days are all about the kids! This is an opportunity to build lasting memories (as well as impressions) for your kids. You may be an avid fisherman, but your 2 year old daughter may not be ready to sit in a boat for hours on end waiting for something exciting to happen. Young kids have very short attention spans, so activities in which the entertainment changes as quickly as their interest is best. For example; the zoo has a ton of different exhibits, if your child gets bored with one, then you can simply move on to the next. Just remember to stop for drinks and snacks along the way!

Mrs. F’s Fabulous Budget Friendly Favorites

I actually started this post titled “my favorite kitchen tools” a while ago when I was on one of my infamous baking marathons. I have a few select items in my kitchen I just can’t live without! After reading  20+ Products I Can’t Live Without (Linky Party) this morning, I decided this was the perfect time to finish this post. I also realized there are items all over my house that I can’t live without. So without further ado, my fabulous favorites are here.

KITCHEN NECESSITIES:

Microplane Zesters

Picture borrowed from Cook.com Click to visit.

Image borrowed from The Spice House. Click for more info.


I love my Microplane zesters. I’ve had them for several years, use them a minimum of twice a week and they are still sharp enough to trim my nails if I’m not careful! I love fresh nutmeg and lemon zest. They are my two favorite “secret ingredients.” I put at least one of them in nearly every dish I make. If you have never tried fresh grated nutmeg, I highly recommend it. I feel ground nutmeg purchased from the store are much more bitter. I’ve also found the zesters grate the nutmeg much more finely than the grated nutmeg found in stores. Lemon zest has an interesting quality similar to that of salt in the sense that it really enhances the flavor of other ingredients when used in moderation. If too much is used, also similarly to salt, it can ruin the flavor of a dish, so use sparingly. I can’t imagine cooking without my zesters, nutmeg and lemon zest.

KitchenAid Stand Mixer

Borrowed from Stuff Cooks Want


OK, so these are not cheap, but definitely worth the money! Watch for sales and coupons and you can get this baby for $100. My friend even found one unopened in the box at Goodwill! Before I received my stand mixer for a bridal shower gift, I mixed everything by hand. By everything I mean EV-ER-Y-THING; bread dough, muffin and cookie batter, meringue, everything, and honestly, I didn’t mind at all. Now, after owning one for less than a year, I can’t imagine my life without one. It just makes baking so much faster and easier. Surprisingly, it cleans up fast too!

Cordless Hand Vac

Shark Hand Vac


I have a Shark Cordless as shown above, but I am sure there are plenty other great hand held vacuums out there. Again, this one may be a little spendier, but worth the investment. I just love mine. With a toddler, two dogs, a messy husband, a rabbit and a crafty mom all living under one roof; the possible uses are endless! My most common uses? Getting dog hair off the couch, car seat and small rugs. Sweeping up cereal and other dry foods out from under the high chair. Vacuuming up ash from around the wood stove. Cleaning dust, pet hair, dried mud, cheerios, gum-wrappers, etc from every crevice of my car. The brush attachment is also great for dusting vents and the computer keyboard. Longer attachment is great for cleaning the nasty stuff that collects in window and sliding door tracks. Like I said, “endless possibilities.

Cerama-Bryte

If you have a ceramic cooktop, then you need this and the burnt on grease remover. Seriously, no scrubbing required. So easy to use, simple as one, two, three. Really.

  1. Scrape chunky stuff off with scraper.
  2. Wipe on a layer of cleaner, allow to sit for a few minutes then buff off with dry cloth or paper towel.
  3. If any stains remain, use a little more cleaner or the Burnt on Remover and buff off with pad and then wipe again with towel.

Method Cleaners
I don’t know what the people of Method Soap Co are putting in their cleaners, but they smell fantastic! I, personally, have never had a problem with any of their cleaners streaking, but I also follow their directions. (My husband has a hard time with that sometimes.) Plus, they are made with natural ingredients, so I don’t worry about using them around my baby or pets. Here are my three favorite cleaners.

Almond Scented Squirt and Mop $6 at Soap.com

Method Steel for Real $5 at Soap.com

Method Lemon Verbana Antibac $5 at Soap.com

My 5 Minute Face- Don’t leave home without it!
I admit it. I am in love with Mary Kay Products. Some of you may have picked up on that? I have had a life long battle with acne and other skin issues. OK, well maybe not life long but it feels that way sometimes. Mary Kay skin care products are the only products I have found that work without stripping the natural oils from my skin and bleaching my T-shirts. (You know what mail order product I am talking about, and if you don’t, just ask Jessica Simpson.) Anyhow, I start and finish my day with the TimeWise Basic Skin care Set everyday, (that’s cleanser and moisturizer; just two products) plus MK TW Microderm Abrassion Set (also two products) once a week. That little regimen keeps my skin looking good enough to skip foundation on most occassions. I don’t like to wear a lot of make-up on a daily basis, so this little bundle makes me feel presentable without feeling overdone. It’s super quick and simple, and takes less than five minutes!

Beach Blonde Cream Eye Color $13

Lash Love Mascara for amazingly long and natural looking lashes! Retail price: $15

Mineral Cheek Color $10 (Sparkling Cider shown)

Obviously, you can pick any cheek color you like, but I like Sparkling Cider, because it is neutral with just a little pink. Same goes for the cream eye colors, there are several colors to chose from, but I like the Beach Blonde for it’s neutrality. Finally…

Nourishine Plus Lip Gloss in your favorite color! ($14)

Nourishine Plus lip gloss contains antioxidants and botanical extracts to fight aging and give you super soft kissable lips. My favorite color is Fancy Nancy; again, neutral with a little extra pink. That’s it! You are ready to walk out the door! Oh, but you might want to get dressed first! He he!

This is my honest opinion on these products based on personal experience and regular use. I do not receive any commission or ad sales on any of these products, unless in the event you purchase a Mary Kay product directly from me. Any other purchase of items through anybody else do not effect me in any way. I just hope you enjoy these items as much as I do!

**If you are interested in purchasing any Mary Kay products you can leave me a comment or message me and I’ll ship them to you with free shipping, as well as a free sample and catalog. Or you can go to MaryKay.com to find an Independent Beauty Consultant near you.**

 

A tiny Brag and Giveaway Details

The first part of this post has nothing to do with cooking or crafting, but it’s something that is sure to make my life even more fabulous soon! My little girl pooped on the potty this morning! I’m so excited and so proud of her. Okay, it’s out of my system now we can move on.

Blog Launch Party Giveaway

Now about the giveaway, I just want to clarify a few things to be sure nobody misses out on an entry. For more information and photos on the prize, click on the photo link above.

First Entry: The first entry is required in order to receive additional entries. In order to receive the first entry please leave a comment on your favorite Fabulously-Homemade blog post thus far, telling me what you like about it AND follow me via e-mail, FB or Twitter.

Additional Entries: You may receive an additional entry for each of the following, but you also need to post a separate comment on my blog telling me you did each one:

  • Post a blog about my Blog Launch Party and giveaway on your blog or website with the following link: http://fabulously-homemade.com/casual-country-dining-giveaway/
  • Post a Facebook update about the Launch Party and giveaway with the following link http://fabulously-homemade.com/casual-country-dining-giveaway/
  • Tweet about it with the link http://fabulously-homemade.com/casual-country-dining-giveaway/
  • NEW! Pin me on Pinterest!

It’s that simple! Just blab about me to your friends, then comment every time you link my page and when you follow me. If you are already a follower please let me know. Thanks! Mrs. F.

 

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