Fall Color Scavenger Hunt

Have you ever found yourself with a gaggle of kids to entertain? With 4 of my own and lots of little buddies, it’s a position I find myself in pretty often. Usually I let them fend for themselves, but sometime they need an idea to get them started.

Leaf Rainbow

We were working in the yard the other night and had some cousins over. They needed a little nudge, so I told them to go collect leaves of every color they could find. Maybe they could even find all the colors of the rainbow? They scattered to go hunting and when they came back I had to put down my rake and grab my camera. No doubt, the prettiest scavenger hunt I’ve ever seen.

Fall Leaf Scavenger Hunt

From the 9 year old down to the 3 year old, they all collected their favorite treasures. First, they laid out their “rainbows”.

Fall Scavenger Hunt

Then they put all the leaves together to make a combined rainbow. We’re going on 45 minutes at this point. That’s my kinda kid-directed project.

Leaf Rainbow

Next, they wanted to make art out of them. Some paper and a bottle of glue was all it took. They spend lots of time making their perfect leaf rainbows, each their very own.

Fall Art Project
Fall Kids Art
Leaf Rainbow

So, if you’ve got work to do and need to get some little hands occupied, this is a great way to do it. I’ve been first grade art mom several times and this would be a great art project for that too. An outdoor art project is a guaranteed hit.

Kids Fall Art

I’m crossing my fingers that this beautiful fall weather holds on a little while longer. I hope you can find some little people and go exploring!

Fall Art Project

Decorating Hack-- Outdoor Rugs

I have a thing for rugs. 90% of the time, I think a rug and a pair of curtains is a game changer for any room—tying the components together and making it look finished. While I have a love for good quality rugs, filling a whole home with them isn’t easy on a budget.

White Piano

When we moved into our home, I wanted rugs for several spaces, but I knew it would be a long time coming. Until one day, I took a stroll in the Target outdoor section. I filled my cart with 4 rugs 8 x 10 rugs for the price of one indoor rug. I know they won’t last forever, but I am so happy with the neutral colors and the washability. I’m a believer.

White Piano

We turned our formal dining room into a music room. It doesn’t get a ton of traffic, but we wanted to break up all the wood floors, so an outdoor one was the perfect choice. This one ha neutral colors and a mild pattern to coordinate with other rugs in sight, which is important too.

Dining Room Rug

I have never had a rug under my dining room table because ewww. But, my kids have gotten older so the bananas are fewer. This outdoor rug cleans up super easy. It’s going on 1.5 years with no stains so far. That’s money well spent.

Kids Art Area

My kids art room definitely called for a rug to protect the carpet underneath without breaking the bank. I am expecting this one to get a little beat up, but for the price, I’m good with it. This rug still reads as a neutral and works just like I hoped.

Kids Art Room

Last but not least, never underestimate the power of an outdoor rug for your outdoor space. You can easily sweep or hose them off and they tie a space together to create a nice outdoor living room. Recognize this one? I bought 2 this one, one for my art room and one for this outdoor space. I love the blue!

Back Patio

They also work great for a front entry and a mudroom. Since they are thinner than a more expensive rug, the corners might have a tendency to curl. At Home Depot, you can buy peel and stick tiles. I like to buy one “tile” for each rug, use a utility knife to cut it into 4 pieces and stick a piece to the bottom of the rug in every corner. It will make sure it stays smooth and flat. Or if it will be on a hard surface with no furniture to anchor it down, you may want to get some rug grips tape. Works like a charm!

Target, Amazon, RugsUSA and Overstock are great places to buy outdoor rugs. The ones pictured are all from Target. Happy Rug Hunting!

Best Homemade Oreos (No Box Mix)

I grew up hating chocolate. If my mom was going in to a store with the the promise of bringing us a surprise, all of my siblings would always confirm that she WOULDN’T choose chocolate, because obviously that would be the worst. Whatever. We were weird. But these cookies—I remember my mom making these cookies. Chewy and chocolaty and just so good. These guys started my love affair with chocolate.

Best Homemade Oreos (No Box Mix)

Fast forward a few years and I had someone share a recipe with me for homemade oreos. Super yummy, but they used a box cake mix which kind tastes like box cake mix. I remembered this childhood cookie recipe and thought I’d give it a try. The combo is pretty magical.

Homemade Oreos

A tower of these bad boys is my son’s current treat of choice. I’m all for it—easier than a big cake—this is what he has chosen for his bday treat the last couple of years. He gets it.

Homemade Oreos
HomemadeOreos

So mix some of these babies up for a special occasion or for a quiet Tuesday. They freeze well and work great to pull out for visitors. Grab the printable below, or pin it for later! Happy chocolate eating!

Homemade Oreos
Yield: 12 big sandwich cookies

Homemade Oreos

These start with an awesome Chewy Chocolate cookie that's great on its own. Fill it with a cream cheese frosting and you won't know what hit you! At our house, we like to serve them cold. Bonus--they freeze well!

ingredients:

Chewy Chocolate Cookies
  • 1 C Butter
  • 2 C Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Tsp Vanilla
  • 2 C Flour
  • 3/4 C Cocoa
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1/2 C Butter (room temp)
  • 8 oz Cream Cheese (room temp)
  • 4 C Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla

instructions:

Chewy Chocolate Cookies
  1. Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla, blend well.    Combine dry ingredients and blend into creamed mixture.   Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.  bake at 350 degrees for 8-9 minutes.  (Don't over bake.   Cookies will be soft and puffy, they will flatten during cooling.)   Move to wire rack and cool completely before filling.
Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. Cream butter and cream cheese, add vanilla.  After well mixed, whip for an additional 2 minutes.   Add powdered sugar and a splash of milk if needed.
Assembly
  1. Once cookies are completely cooled,  put frosting into a 1 gallon ziploc with a large tip snipped off the corner.    Generously pipe frosting onto flat side of one cookie and make sandwiches.    Good for several days in the fridge or freezer.
Created using The Recipes Generator
Homemade Oreos

DIY Boho Wedding Reception

My beautiful baby sister was married last weekend.   Because of her new husbands job, they were either going to wait several months to get married, or pull of a DIY wedding in 5 weeks.  Can you guess which one they chose?     

DIY Boho Wedding Recption

The night after they decided to pull the trigger, we went for it.  We went shopping for all the things.  A dress, dresses for kids, ties, flowers, decorations.   By some miracle, we came home with a car filled with beautiful things and crossed almost everything off in one night.   That's my kind of night.  

It helps that she is the complete opposite of Bridezilla.  She has visions of a lots of greenery, a flowy, beautfiful dress and some boho vibes.   The next couple of weeks, we gathered often to make it all happen.

We did all the bouquets from artificial flowers.   That first night, we loaded a cart at hobby lobby during a 50% off florals sale.    We set up a little work station in my basement and had my sister send us her inspo photos.   None of us have any flower arranging experience, but I was surprised how fun it was.   We found tutorial for a floral crown and the bouquets were a little trial and error. Floral tape, clear elastics, wire cutters and scissors and we were feeling like a regular flower shop. It was so fun to see that shopping cart full of flowers come to life just like she imagined.   

I tested several cake recipes and this white cake recipe by A Bountiful Kitchen was the winner.  It was super flavorful and dense enough to stack.  I actually made and assembled the cake 2 weeks before and froze it tightly wrapped until the day before.   It worked perfectly! 

I made her buttercream recipe as well, but added seedless 100% raspberry preserves to the filling.    I am usually not a huge cake fan, but the little bit of leftover cake was calling to me for a couple of days afterwards.  It was pretty dang good.

This backdrop. My mom whipped it up.  What?   I know.   She has been playing around with macrame lately and we knew it would be perfect for a backdrop.  It turned out even more beautiful that I could have imagined.  It was a labor of love.  She swears youtube will teach everything you need to know about macrame, but she also has more skills than any human should possess, so I'm not sure I believe it.

My brother built the beautiful wooden stands and my mom and I arranged the flowers.    We just laid everything out on the floor and tweeked it until it was just the way we wanted it.   Then, we used zip ties to secure everything together.  Who knew zip ties were so handy?

My sister made this sign and another that directed guest to our backyard with a lighted path.  We used these shepherds hooks and more twinkle lights to create a pathway.   Someday I will get her to teach us how to make signs like this.  She's the master and they were so beautiful.

We did 2 of these backdrops made from embroidery hoops.  First, we hot glued some of the greenery we found at hobby lobby along with some delicate blush pink flowers onto the hoops.  Then, we laid the hoops out and arranged them until we loved it and zip tied them all together.  The second set of hoops also had twine strung in the middle and had photos of the bride and groom clipped across them.  Of course I didn't get photos.  Whoops. 

Like the macrame backdrop, it was hung on a beautiful wooden stand built by my brothers. I wish I had a million more photos.

For the tables, we used these beautiful candle holders we found on Amazon.  They are such beautiful quality--I was surprised at the value!    We also cut stumps of varying shapes and sizes, added strings of twinkle lights and some fresh greenery to each table.  

We bought 10 of these umbrellas and borrowed stands from family.  We knew the 100 degree heat would be tricky, so the umbrellas, along with popsicles passed out every 30 minutes were a huge help. 

Everything was so beautiful.  I was busy taking photos during the reception and planned to take some afterwards in the beautiful evening light, but we had a whole crew of people help take down before I had a chance.   A little bummed about the missed photos, but I was so thankful for the help!

The moral of the story is this:  There is nothing more rewarding than a little DIY.   Usually things aren't as difficult as we make them in our minds.  Sure, we could have paid someone to do all of these things, but working side by side with people I love to make this magic happen--those are some treasured memories.    The biggest reward?  Seeing the beautiful bride enjoying her perfect day.