fallifying

We haven’t made it out to get any pumpkins yet (if we do, it will be the white ones. I’m kind of in love with them), but I have been adding a few fall touches around the house.

I found these fun ironstone plates at Goodwill a while ago. I’m thinking that I might use a couple of them for the plate arrangement I’ve been thinking about for the dining room wall.

There was only one bowl, so I filled it with nuts to add a little coziness to the hoosier cabinet.

This bowl was a Christmas gift from my dad. We found it at a local craft fair, and had an amazing conversation with the man who made it about the extensive process behind it. It wasn’t cheap, but the craftsmanship is shown in its quality.

Now, if we could just do something about this 80-degree weather…

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things i like

I promise I tried to come up with a really creative title for this post. No dice. This is assessment (report card) week and I have a day full of parent/teacher conferences tomorrow. So, all I can muster today is a look at other people’s creativity. That being said, it’s pretty awesome. I’m constantly blown away by the things people come up with. I hope you’ll enjoy this snapshot of stuff I’ve been drooling over on Etsy lately!

from Etsy seller pocketstudio

We spend the majority of our time each day in the City of Oaks. How cute would this be to add some local pride to a nursery? Adorable.

Etsy seller thewheatfield

Happy, happy, happy. Just like I would be to see either of these hanging in our hallway.

Etsy seller ponderandstitch

A much needed reminder for me. Come to think of it, maybe this would be better for Zach than for me. That way he can just hold up his wrist when I’m stressing out over some unnecessary rediculousness. Which is all the time.

Etsy seller vintagetwee

Love this idea for an Alice in Wonderland themed party…or shall we say, Mad Hatter’s Tea?

Etsy seller mrsdazo

For the sake of children everywhere, it’s a very good thing I am not a math teacher. However, if I were, I would totally wear this.

Etsy seller ahpeele

I’m thinking this could be a pretty perfect Friday school shirt.

Hope you enjoyed this round-up as much as I enjoyed browsing the creative incredibleness that is Etsy! Much like the title, please insert your own clever conclusion to this post here.

you say potato, i say… bacon

Zach and I have been seriously craving some comfort food lately, particularly in the soup genre, so when I found this recipe in our former church’s cookbook (one of my favorite places to get new ideas), I knew it would be perfect. So, I quickly told my thighs to look the other way and got to work.

**Two disclaimers:
1) I totally did not come up with this recipe. It was contributed by Gwen Brodd. If you see her and would like to give her a hug and thank her for this deliciousness, go for it.
2) You could substitute a lot of these ingredients to come up with a low-fat version. But then again, what fun would that be?

Without further adieu, may I present:

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Ingredients:
4 large baking potatoes
12 slices of bacon, cooked, crumbled, and divided
4 scallions, chopped and divided
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup butter
6 cups milk
1 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 (8oz.) carton sour cream

Bake potatoes. Cool. Cut lengthwise in half. Scoop out pulp. (don’t show the picture of the busted potato skins that clearly prove you are not an expert in potato gutting)

In the meantime, when your husband asks how he can help, tell him he can cook the bacon. It’s the manly thing to do.

When he’s done, tell him he did a great job, then steal a couple pieces of bacon, because bacon is irresistible.

 

Melt butter over low heat. Add flour, stirring until smooth. Cook one minute, stirring. Gradually add milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring until mixture is thickened and bubbly. (Do not burn.) Add potato pulp, salt, pepper, 2T. scallions, 1/2 c. bacon, and 1 c. cheese. Cook until heated. Stir in sour cream. Add extra milk if needed. Serve. Top with remaining onion, bacon, and cheese. Watch the Amazing Race. Pull for the father and son. Save the leftovers for work. Because it is now a proven fact that potatoes and bacon make Mondays a little less Mondayish.

Makes 10 cups.

one man’s trash…

Zach and I just got back from three wonderful days in the mountains of NC where we got to spend time with his family and enjoy this:

The perfect place to ring in fall!

Tonight is low-key. Zach has been watching sports (he was watching a rugby game when the announcement “Serbia toughens stance on hooliganism after Euro debacle,” came across the screen. Bad news for Serbia and all, but the fact that the word “hooliganism” was used made us both laugh) and we have big plans to watch Three Men and a Little Lady (a $5 Wal-Mart snag) tonight. I was super excited to find it, since it was my FAVORITE movie when I was younger. Some kids were hooked on Snow White. I rented Three Men and a Little Lady pretty much every single time we went to Blockbuster. No joke. Love it.

Last Saturday, we had so much fun holding a yard sale with our friends Ben and Abby (somehow the word ‘friends’ doesn’t seem quite adequate here. We love them). We ended up making a pretty solid profit, and enjoyed spending the morning laughing at the craziness that is yard sales. For example, while Abby was selling cute things like these (that I grabbed):

I was selling (yes, selling- this wasn’t my first rodeo) my used nailpolish from middle school. And people bought it. And people didn’t buy brand new in the box platters, photo albums, and clocks. Because people. are. crazy.

Another item that Abby had that was way cooler than the junk we were selling was her mom’s old Halloween mask. I almost snagged this one, until this lovely lady (another person that the ‘friend’ title doesn’t quite fit for) came and bought it. No harm done. I can’t think of a better, more hilarious person to own this gem. (Don’t worry, I gave her fair warning that this was going up on the blog)

The lesson to be learned from all of this: some people don’t yard sale shop because they think all of the good stuff will be gone by the time they get there. From our experience, the only things you’ll be missing out on are some used nailpolish and summer camp craft projects (yep, sold that too). No harm in trying!

go, team, go

One thing that I love about the craft room is that there really isn’t a set color scheme. It’s just sort of crazy colorful, and I like that. It gives me a chance to do fun things (like buy an ugly couch) without worrying if they match. After making these pom poms for a couple of baby showers, I thought they would add a little more pep to the craft room. After all, that’s what pom poms are for, right?

So, one morning while I was on a 7am Wal-Mart run (if you’ve ever experienced the feeling of waking up realizing you’ve totally forgotten the supplies you need for that day’s lesson, you know it’s not a good one), I decided to snag a few colors of tissue paper. Now that I’ve hung a few, I’d like to add some more to the bunch to fill out the grouping. For now, I’m just enjoying having them over my head cheering me on while I crank out sewing projects.

secondhand finds: uncovered

This weekend we had some people that we love over and we were talking about yard sale shopping. During our conversation, one of the things that came up was that, while it’s easy to look around a yard sale and see lots of junk, sometimes it helps to rethink what you’re looking at.
 
Take, for example, ugly pillows. They are everywhere. What most people don’t think about is that a lot of those horribly ugly pillows have perfectly wonderful, comfy inserts just a zipper away. By looking for ugly pillows with zippers, I can usually get them for between $1 and $3, saving me a lot of money compared to things like these.

As a bonus, you can put the old, ugly covers into your own yard sale and, who knows? They just might appeal to someone. Or you can give them to Goodwill.
 
After getting high-quality inserts for a steal, I’ve found that my home-sewn pillow covers look a lot more professional. (Because who really enjoys lumpy bumpy pillows?)
 
To provide myself with even more flexibility (given that I have a hard time deciding what to eat on any given night, let alone settling on one color scheme for the rest of my life), I like to make either zippered or envelope covers. Both are super easy, and give me peace of mind when curling up on the couch with a big mug of hot chocolate. Because I. spill. Everything. Sometimes I change clothes just so I can eat. Yes, pathetic.
 
Lately I’ve been wanting to add a punch of color to our fireplace room, so I used a few Saturdays worth of yard sale finds and some cheerful fabric to come up with this:

I know that it’s a little bright, but I like how they liven up the oak pew that my husband is such a fan of. (not that I’m not a fan, it’s just very…orangey)
 
I also added a couple of pillows to our family room to bring some modern fall/winter accents into the space (fabric from Ikea).


 
A small tip, but hopefully a helpful one! Happy yard sale hunting!

because fall break is next week…

…and I wasn’t really counting down the days until today. Today, I am very ready for sleeping in and having a break from work, even though we do have a pretty amazing, adorable batch of kids this year, if I do say so myself. So, for today, I have a bunch of random.

1) I have a feeling that this is going to get me through many frigid, dark mornings this winter. Thank you free 60-day membership to BJs.

2) I’m currently reading the last book in the Hunger Games trilogy. I started them this summer when I was looking for a literature circle book to read at school this year, and now I’m borrowing our school copies because I have to know how they end. Really entertaining. Kind of depressing, but I’ve always been a fan of survival/ dystopian literature (my favorite book we read in high school was Lord of the Flies). Why can I not figure out how to underline in WordPress?

 

3) We have ants in our kitchen. This is driving me insane, mainly because I take it personally. I don’t leave dishes in the sink and I’m kind of a cleaning maniac. Somehow, seeing little black things crawling around in our sink is kind of like a slap in the face. Currently, one side of our sink is filled with bleach water in a homemade extermination effort. I will not be defeated.

4) I’m not sure what it is about fall, but this time of year always helps me get my rear in gear (wow rhyming overload) as far as craftiness and projects are concerned. I have a few things to share with you, but it was too dark by the time I got home today to take any pictures. Soon!

5) I heard this song for the first time on the way home from work today and I totally loved it. Zach and I are both Train fans. We got to see them in concert at our favorite local venue a few years ago…even though the salesperson we got the tickets from accidentally sold us tickets to Celtic Woman and would not refund our money. Fye I will never buy concert tickets from you again.

6) We took our students gleaning a few weeks ago and had a great time. We gleaned a total of 3 tons of apples! The trip was done in conjunction with our Food unit. We are reading the youth edition of Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma (again with the not underlining) and looking at where our food comes from and why. It’s been so much fun to watch the kids processing these ideas, not to mention thinking and learning more myself.

7) Pumpkin candles amaze me. Their ability to create instant coziness is crazy. I tried discussing this concept with Zach…he didn’t get it.

8) Baby Moses is out of the hospital!! Zane had a second surgery today to repair his intestine, and we are waiting to hear the results. Please continue to keep Robby, Emily and my nephews in your prayers. I may or may not have bought them matching NC State snowsuits at a recent yard sale and can’t wait to see them in them (even though we’ll have to wait a year).

9) My creativity is zapped for the night, so I’m off to check the bleach water and rejoice over the fatalities.