Highlights Reel- Autumn 2016

pumpkins

Fall… our favorite time of the year. Cool crisp air, beautiful leaves and pumpkin spice everything (this year I discovered Ghiradelli has pumpkin spice chocolate..). We usually start off the Halloween season by going to a local farm for pumpkin picking, hayrides and a corn maze. Unfortunately, this October was a little hectic and we settled for just getting the pumpkins at a local farm stand. But we have enjoyed a few fall family traditions over the last several years and we were excited to bring them into our new home, despite our crazy schedules. First up was pumpkin carving! My stepdad, Bryan, is the master pumpkin carver, or so we like to call him. The truth is he just really enjoys carving with the kids and doesn’t mind pulling out the pumpkin guts that the boys usually complain about. We were able to host the carving this year and got great use of our outdoor patio space. This was one of those days that I was so relieved to have the patio. In our old condo, we would have had to sit in the grass or carve inside which is not nearly as fun when it comes to cleanup time.

carving-pumpkins

The kids came up with some great Jack-o-lanterns this year and carved them mostly themselves (which was scary…knives…kids….AH!). Liam was very proud of his “pumpkin puke” and the animals of the neighborhood sure appreciated it.

jackolanterns

Back when we lived in the condo we used to host Halloween for my sister’s family and my mom and stepdad. It worked out well because we lived in a development and the kids could go trick-or-treating there and then come back to our house for pizza and our traditional ghost cake (it’s devils food cake in the shape of a ghost with white frosting and it is fantastic). I was afraid that because we moved to the middle of the woods, we wouldn’t be hosting Halloween anymore. Luckily, we worked it out to where we went trick-or-treating in another development close by and then all came back to the house to celebrate afterwards. I love that we have a space that we can comfortably entertain in! We still have a lot of work to do in the house and that can be super stressful but as long as our families can comfortably visit us, I can make peace with our crazy abode. Halloween 2016 was a success!

halloween-2016

Part of the reason we were so busy this fall was because we had a big family trip planned for Disney World (and Universal Studios) in early November. It was pretty insane, with 9 adults and 6 kids staying in one house and all going in different directions, but we had  a blast. Our kids particularly loved Universal Studios and Seth and I totally nerded out in Harry Potter World. It was an expensive trip to say the least so it probably won’t be happening again for a long time but we are very lucky that we got to experience Disney with our kids for the first time!

epcot-family

Disney also gave me some ideas for the house (because when you are renovating, you find inspiration everywhere). The curtains in our house were absolutely gorgeous and I decided I need that fabric in my life. My good friend Ariel found a similar pattern online so now I just need to think about what I want to do with it (pillows, curtains, so many options!). I also really loved a scarf display at a store in Disney Springs (Sugarboo & Co., awesome stuff but WHOA to those prices!) and thought it fit in really well with our bedroom and my massive scarf collection. I can’t afford your coasters, Sugarboo, but thanks for the free idea. Another inspiration was from the master suite in the house we were staying in. Every room had a theme and the master suite was Frozen. The Frozen bathroom had a great color scheme and these beautiful chandeliers hanging over the double sinks. I decided that our new bathroom would look awesome with fancy chandeliers (I’m not sure that I told Seth about this one yet so….surprise hunny!!).

When we got home from Disney we needed to get back to work. A week out of state was great but man, we felt like the clock was ticking, especially since daylight savings time had hit and we were now in the dark by 4:30pm. We also felt set back because the trees decided to retaliate while we were gone and shed pretty much ALL of their leaves at once. Raking would have been okay if they were in the yard but the majority of the leaves were on the patio and the stairs. It was time to purchase some heavy duty artillery to get this job done. Never in my life have a used a leaf blower but a nice lady at Home Depot helped me pick out a comfortable backpack kind that was fairly user friendly. I am not going to say I was “good” at leaf blowing but hey, there’s a learning curve for everything. By next fall I should be an expert (or maybe just much less terrible).

Our trip to Disney was also a shock to our system because it was 80 degrees down in sunny Florida and pretty damn cold when we got back to NJ. Luckily we had a warm day before we left for vacation where we were able to convince the boys to help us stack up the cord of firewood we ordered. They were pretty miserable about it (seriously… kids used to do this crap all day! What the heck!) but we all worked together to get the job done.

We are now ready to bring on the next season in our new home, our very first winter in the woods! We have a few big projects to get done before it starts getting really nasty out, including redoing outdoor stairs and setting up better outdoor lighting. We also need to finish up Liam’s room and then get started on the bathroom and laundry room upstairs. So much to do, so little time!

Thanks for reading folks. Time to go snack on my pumpkin spice toast with pumpkin spice cream cheese… nom nom nom.

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