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Thanksgiving Table Setting Ideas

With Thanksgiving just around the corner and families heading over, we are all thinking about how to decorate the main gathering area for the holiday…the table!  Are you wanting to make it look a little more festive than pizza night on the weekend with the kids?   I’m always looking for new ideas and here are some settings that really inspire me and are easy enough that you can use things already in your house, or backyard.

I always feel under pressure to set the table right, especially when there’s guests.  If you’re like me, and still a little confused where the soup spoon goes, then check out the place setting chart below!

Love the soft gold.  Pick a main color and go with it.  The elegant placemats can go with any holiday or special occasion. So simple and elegant.

Take out the special plates and use a pear as a decor or attach a name tag around it for fun.  Berries can be used in so many different ways.  Love how they are set along the table.  Easy, quick and very pretty.

 Creative way to use candles and highlights the reason for the dinner.

Oh I just love the fall colored roses on the table.  Most of us have white plates, white linens and white serving trays.  The roses add beauty, warmth and elegance.  Classy.  Love this!

Adding white pumpkins are a pretty centerpiece, since they have a clean fresh look.  And the berries in the candle bases and wrapped around the pumpkins dress up the table.

Grab some leaves from the yard, pine cones and simple fall colored flowers and use them like a table runner.

Mixing modern and traditional.  Love the pop of color and the subtle traditional table runner.

Why not bring the cabin to the city.  Using wood decor pieces (can find in a lot of home stores), fall leaves and white accessories.  Fresh, simple, classy.

And if you want to go all out – grab some sticks, put them in a vase with rice, tie string to a few pumpkins and start decorating!!  Fun and festive!

Need a refresher on how to arrange a proper place setting?  I know, I do!  And who knows it better than Emily Post!  Click here

How do you dress up your Thanksgiving table?  Would love to hear about it.

Pumpkin Carvings & Creations

What do you look forward to during the Halloween season?  Is it dressing up in costume? Is it the treats and candy?  Is it the spooky tales and haunted houses, or is it just another excuse to plan a party?  Well for me, it’s the pumpkin carvings and creations!  I love seeing the random carved pumpkins and pumpkin creations around the city, the rows of pumpkins lining the city squares, and checking out the glowing jack-o-lantern trails in the area.

This is the time of year when the parties and gatherings begin!  One of my favorite themed parties I’ve hosted is a pumpkin carving contest.  It’s fun for kids and adults, and most people are buying and carving pumpkins, so why not make it a party!  Check off one of your to-do’s while drinking, eating and laughing with friends.  And no need for a babysitter, invite the kids too.  It’s a simple party to get ready for.  Everyone brings their own pumpkin (BYOP), while you supply the stencils (free online) and individual pumpkin carving kits (they’re inexpensive) and a plastic trash bag for each person to carve their pumpkin on.  It’s fun watching each other create pumpkin designs and great for conversation.  I’ve planned one in the past and everyone had a blast!

Whatever your plans might be this year, either needing inspiration to design your own jack-o-lantern or ideas to help you win your pumpkin design contest, then check out below my favorite pumpkin ideas to get you in the spirit

So many ways to have fun with pumpkins!  There’s a lot more cool ideas out there, but these are my favorite pics!

Click here for free pumpkin carving stencils.

Click here to see the largest carved pumpkin.

Do you plan to carve or create something fun with your pumpkins this year?  Please share!  I would love to see and hear your ideas.

Halloween Treat

This week I was looking for some type of holiday treat to have around the apartment.  I wanted to try something new.  Something that would get us a little more in the Halloween spirit.  I found this recipe on Easy Baked and thought it looked yummy and fun.  And, of course, fairly quick and easy.  If you’re inclined to make this Halloween bundt, it’s very simple.  Make two cake batches -  one chocolate, one vanilla.  Split the vanilla batch in half and color one half orange and the other half purple, then layer the cake dough, bake, decorate, and you’re finished!  I’ll take you through my steps and maybe this cake might be the Halloween treat your family will be spellbound for!

Make 2 cake batters – 1 chocolate and 1 white.  Split the white cake batter in half and color 1 orange and the other purple.  My purple could have been a little darker.  Layer the batters – first chocolate, then purple, then orange and finally top it off with a chocolate layer.

Make sure the chocolate top layer completely covers all the colors so they will be hidden in the baked bundt.  Now bake the cake at 325 degrees for 45-55 mins.  I added a lot of dough and it took mine 65 mins to bake.

Once the cake is done baking it will probably look a little spotted like mine.  Don’t worry.  Once we’re done decorating it, all flaws will be hidden!

Cover the cake in a light layer of chocolate frosting.  I used chocolate fudge frosting.  Oh so yummy!  Plus the color is very dark.  Now all inside colors are hidden, for a little surprise, when cutting into it.  Halloween is all about surprises, right :)

Now the fun part, adding the colors.  I used food coloring, orange and black, in vanilla frosting and pipped on the lines.  I’ve seen this done in purple pipping, as well, and it looks really nice!

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INGREDIENTS:

  • One box of white cake mix
  • One box of chocolate cake mix
  • Orange, Black and/or Purple food coloring (use food coloring in your vanilla frosting and pipe onto cake)
  • One tub of pre-made chocolate frosting
  • One tub of pre-made vanilla frosting (use for colored pipping)

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Make both cake mixes according to packages.
  • Divide the white cake batter into two bowls, equally.
  • Add black coloring to the chocolate cake to darken it.
  • Add purple to 1/2 of the white batter and orange to the other half.
  • Pour about 1/3 of the chocolate batter into the bottom of a well-greased bundt pan.
  • Pour all of the purple batter over the chocolate
  • Pour all of the orange batter over the purple
  • Pour another 1/3 of the chocolate batter over the colors.  You can use more than 1/3, but you want to give the cake room to rise- so leave a bit of room.  You can discard the remaining chocolate batter or make a couple of cupcakes with it.
  • Bake at 325 degrees for about 45-55 minutes (until the center is set and a cake tester inserted comes out clean).
  • Tip over on a cake rack and cool completely
  • To finish, cover cake with chocolate frosting that is room temp or melt the tub of frosting in the microwave (about 15-30 seconds) and stir well.
  • Place colored frosting (food coloring in vanilla frosting) in a zip-top bag, clip a corner and drizzle over entire top of cake.

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We have already dug into ours and we’re enjoying it!  Plus it looks fun and festive on the counter.

What Halloween treats are you making this year or enjoy having around the house?  Please share!  I would love to get some fun and yummy new ideas.

Fun Fourth Favorites

Happy 4th of July everyone!  What a fun time to plan family and friend gatherings, hitting the nearest fireworks show, or heading out of town.  We all get busy; therefore, I love to keep things simple – quick and easy!  One of my favorite magazines is Real Simple.  They always have lots of easy, fun, creative ideas that anyone can do.  It’s my go-to stress free guide!!!  This year we’re going to Mystic, Connecticut for some family fun, but if we were celebrating at home these would be my simple favorite picks for the 4th of July!  (Click on the pictures for more info from Real Simple)

1. Red, White and Blue Cocktails for the adults!  What’s a 4th without drinks!!!

Cocktails

2. A fun drink for the kids and everyone else.  Mix different types of fruit with anything – even water!

Drinks for everyone

3. Don’t forget the snacks!  A simple and festive idea.

Snacks

4. There’s always something delicious on the grill.  Kabobs are easy and fun!  Love this honey glazed chicken idea with grilled corn.  Cook them both at the same time.  Yummy, easy, and quick!

Honey chicken skewers

5. Everyone will be waiting for a light refreshing dessert!

Dessert

6. Dessert or Snack!  Everyone loved these berry marshmallow kabobs when I made them for Maddie’s party!  With the colors, they look very 4th of July.   My shot doesn’t compare to the pictures above but you can get the idea.

7. Lets keep the kids happy, having fun and busy!  Making pom-poms is easy to do, only a few supplies are needed, and they can use them all day.

Kid's project

 

Do you have some fun creative ideas for the 4th of July?  I could always use more great ideas!  Enjoy your 4th everyone!!!

Until next ride,

Amy

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