Here Come the Pumpkins

Man, what a weekend! I can’t believe it’s Monday already … and I definitely have a case of them this morning. What is it with the Mondays anyway? It’s got to be totally mental, so I’d like to think I could overcome it, but I just can’t seem to. Anyone with me?

I had good intentions of getting this post up yesterday, but I had some really good shopping luck so I kept on keeping on in that area (way longer than I intended to), plus my son was behaving quite well so I took that as a sign to continue shopping since he was enjoying it so much. Then Netflix decided to release the last season of The Walking Dead yesterday (which I originally missed), so there was that. I attempted to blog during my TV watching, but quickly realized there is no working of any sort during The Walking Dead – way too intense.

Anyways, I finally got my hands on some pumpkins this past weekend which means I was able to complete my exterior Fall decorating. Yay! I feel like I kept things pretty simple on the outside, especially compared to some of those IG posts I’ve seen. Geez, maybe I’m shopping at the wrong places but those pumpkins and mums add up fast. I think I’d need a second job to mimic some of those displays.

I kind of hate to admit that we did not venture to an actual pumpkin patch this year – we did venture to Home Depot, Lowe’s and Pike Nurseries though (and then back to Home Depot again). Who knew buying pumpkins was such an ordeal? I thank God everyday for my husband’s patience.

The Front Porch

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I had the most fun decorating this area and I’m quite happy with the way everything turned out. I usually don’t put pillows or any other decor on my chippy yellow bench, except at Christmas time, but I felt like it needed a little something that screamed Fall. I was pretty proud of myself for coming up with this crate display all on my own, using pumpkins, (fake) wheat and a dish towel! We had the crate in our basement storing all of our painting supplies, so I decided to use this rather than searching for one and spending more money – see how frugal I can be? Of course now all of our painting supplies are just laying on our basement floor, but that’s beside the point. My husband had to do a little spider/spider web removal because this chick here is beyond terrified of those things. Once all that was done, I just laid the crate on its side and went at it with the decorating. I kept it simple on the porch steps and just added a few pumpkins. Most of my plants are still looking good and some are even still flowering, so I couldn’t bring them inside just yet. This made it lighter on my wallet as well since I had less pumpkins to buy – always a plus 🙂

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rosewood & pine cone wreath (Homegoods) / give thanks pillow (Target Dollar Spot) / black & burlap pumpkin (Target)

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large psychedelic-looking heirloom pumpkin (Home Depot) / miniature pumpkins (Pike Nurseries) / fake wheat bundle (Target) / wish bone dish towel (Target)

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A wreath hung by the exterior light rounded out the porch decor. I bought this wreath last year at Burlington Coat Factory after Thanksgiving and paid $10 for it. Those of you who buy wreaths know that’s a major steal!

I keep a large flower pot to the right of the porch steps year-round and change out the flowers with the seasons – it’s one of my favorite things to do because I just adore anything flower/garden related. For the Fall plantings, I did a mix of mums, kale, pansies & snapdragons. To the left of the porch steps, I added a purple mum to fall-ify the area.

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The Mailbox

There’s not much to say here. I placed 2 pumpkins on the left side & a mum on the right side. I was a little more elaborate last year with a Chinese Lantern plant, several pumpkins, an enormous mum, and burlap & leaf garland around the mailbox post. Now that I planted a jasmine at the mailbox, it’s doing a pretty good job disguising as year-round garland. The Chinese Lantern plants are seriously so cool (look them up if you’re not familiar), but I decided simpler is better this year, plus I didn’t want to spend the extra $30.

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The Back Patio

I kept the back patio pretty simple this year as well. I ended up with several rotting pumpkins and some dead flowers last year, so I didn’t want to get more than I could handle this time around. I’m starting to know my limits, slowly but surely.

Just like by the front porch, I keep a large flower pot on the back patio year-round and change out the flowers with each season. This pot is actually identical to the front flower pot with mums, kale, pansies & snapdragons. I added a mum and a fake pumpkin to finish off this little Fall scene.

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I have another flower pot (which happens to be one of those whiskey barrel pots – so cool) out by our back patio that stays out year-round. I decided to do something different this year and surround a pumpkin with different cabbages/kales. I ended up buying 6 although I’m thinking I could have squeezed in 9, but I’m still digging the way it looks.

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And that does it for our exterior Fall decor! Hope you enjoyed the mini tour of our yard and maybe even got some fun ideas for your decorating. ‘Til next time!

Fall Redo

Yes, that’s right, it’s technically not even Fall yet and I have already redone the Fall decor inside my house. I realize that this probably isn’t normal, but I also realize that I have these two things I deal with on a daily basis called indecisiveness and perfectionism … and together they’re like a time bomb continuously ticking inside my head. I’m half kidding and I do realize there are much worse things, but I do feel like dealing with these two qualities on a constant basis is somewhat of a curse. Let’s just take a moment right now to thank God that I did not become an emergency room doctor – it’s pretty apparent that I’m not the best decision maker when time matters. Indecisive Perfection probably should have been the name of my blog rather than My House of Love. I may change it, so don’t go stealing it 🙂

I blame my “Fall Redo” on two things (besides myself) – Instagram & the Target Dollar Spot. I’ve always been a fan of the Dollar Tree for certain things, like wrapping supplies and cheap solutions to a creative dilemma, but I have not even set foot inside a Dollar Tree since the Target Dollar Spot became a thing. And I swear the stuff just keeps getting cuter and cuter and the selection keeps getting bigger and bigger. And of course it’s right at the front of the store. You can’t go into a Target for toothpaste without passing by it, so of course you’re going to stop, right? Anyways, I digress. Let’s talk about Instagram. Instagram is new for me; I’ve always been a Facebook fan, if you can call it that. I only created an Instagram account when I started this blog as a way of promoting my blog, but now I’m officially addicted. Facebook who? I follow some really creative and talented people on Instagram, and their ideas get inside my head and don’t leave until I do something about them. So I recently did, and now I’d like to share …

The Entryway Table (before) –

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The Entryway Table (after) –

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The changes –

I got rid of the mercury glass, my beloved Tuesday Morning wreath, and my metal bull. As much as I love mercury glass, the table wasn’t throwing off the vibe I wanted. It was a little too fancy for my liking, to be quite honest. And I was just tired of that wreath. The bull wasn’t really holiday decor to begin with, so he just got moved back to where he came from.

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I replaced the mercury glass candles with a fabric pumpkin (Target) and chalkboard (Target Dollar Spot), and I replaced the wreath with an old mason jar filled with my cotton picks, my twigs, and fake leaves (Kroger). I also added the adorable felt pumpkin garland (Marshalls).

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The Fireplace (before) –

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The Fireplace (after) –

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The changes –

The vase of dried garlic and twigs got moved from the mantle to the hearth. It was replaced by a Welcome sign (Target). Our fabric wedding birds got moved to another area in our house, and I decided to add a gold/white pumpkin (Target Dollar Spot), as well as another personal picture to the mantle.

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The pumpkins that were in the Farmhouse Lotus Bowl got moved, which you’ll see later on in this post; every time I looked at that bowl, I thought I was looking at a bowl full of oranges. I opted to throw a few adorable pillows (Target Dollar Spot) in the bowl instead, because doesn’t everyone keep their pillows in a bowl? Mr. Turkey also got moved and you’ll see him later on. He was replaced by a couple more gold/white pumpkins (Target). The mason jar of twigs & cotton (which is now on my entryway table) got replaced by the vase of dried garlic & twigs.

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As for the garland, I found this fun burlap banner (Target Dollar Spot) and just had to have it; of course I had no idea where I was going to put it but something told me I couldn’t live without it. It’s already fraying so I’m happy it came from the Dollar Spot and not a regular-priced Target aisle, but it’s still cute as long as you don’t look too closely. I’m kind of digging the double garland look, for now at least.

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The Dining Room Table (before) –

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The Dining Room Table (after) –

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The changes – I added pine cones!

The Coffee Table (before) –

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The Coffee Table (after) –

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The changes –

I was not a fan of my Fall coffee table decor and I kept wondering why I felt the desire to even share it in my original Fall Home Tour post. I mean what was with the pine cones sticking out from the burlap? It looked like some kind of armor for the orchid. Needless to say, that exists no longer. My orchid is sitting happily on our kitchen table with no shield around it. And, better yet, I am finally happy with the coffee table centerpiece and it’s all thanks to the Target Dollar Spot. I found the burlap placemat and the little wooden crate during my last Target trip. Add a few small mason jars and some fresh-cut flowers, and there you have it. It may not be very Fall-like, but I don’t care. It took me a long time to get to this point in my life.

So that does it for the ‘changes’ I made, but now it’s time for the ‘additions’ (I’ll be quick I promise) …

The Dining Room Cabinet –

As much as I would love to Fall-ify (new word?) every single shelf in this cabinet, I will not do it. I found this adorable acorn garland (Target Dollar Spot) and thought it would add a nice Fall touch.

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The Bar –

The bar felt very left out from all the Fall decorating, so I had to work a little magic to make it feel better. This is where those pumpkins originally in my Farmhouse Bowl ended up, but as you can see I decided to have a painting party and make 1/2 of them cream. I like the mix. I originally bought the wire storage basket (Target Dollar Spot) to store my scrap fabric in, but the pumpkins looked better.

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Mr. Turkey got relocated to the bar as well. I found the wheat bundle at Target (yes it’s fake, which I kind of hate, but it’ll do for now). I placed the wheat in a blue mason jar which I already had, and I scoured our house until I found something else that would mix in well … a candle always works.

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I’m seriously loving everything now and I’d be surprised myself if I make any more changes, but I’m not going to promise anything (I wouldn’t want to lie to you). I do promise, however, that if anything else does change, I won’t bore you with another ‘tour’ … unless it’s magazine-worthy 🙂
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the before vs. after (good or bad)!

Be sure to follow me on FB and IG to see behind-the-scenes pics of all the projects I get my hands onto throughout the week!

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I’ll leave you with a sneak peak of our exterior Fall decor. I haven’t succumbed to buying pumpkins yet for fear that they’ll rot because it’s still a little hot out, but stay tuned for more!

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Healthy(ish) Cookies

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I figured since I shared a healthier version of a brownie a few weeks ago, it was due time for me to share a healthier version of a cookie. To be perfectly honest I was hoping to have two recipes to share with you, but considering the house was almost set on fire while attempting to make the apple pie meringues, I only have one. This latest baking experience proved to be way more exciting than my last, in part due to almost setting the house on fire, but also because it involved my sister-in-law (Jillian), pizza & wine … a pretty awesome Friday night if you ask me. These cookies I’ll be sharing with you are seriously good, end of story, and I give full credit to two people – Jillian for finding the recipe and thesmoothielover.com for coming up with the recipe.

I’ll go ahead and warn you that these cookies are made with avocado BUT I promise they don’t taste like avocado. I actually swear, which is even better than promising, so I hope you’ll trust me. I had made lemon pudding in the past using avocado and dates and it turned out to be quite delicious, so the avocado didn’t deter me at all, but I can imagine it might make some of you a little hesitant.

These cookies were so tasty that I quickly whipped up another batch the following night. I mean, I had 1.5 avocados left and they were just going to go bad so what was I to do? I’ll admit that I added a few more dark chocolate chips the second night AND I let them cool longer, and I swear they were even better … so good that I may have even had a couple for breakfast.

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HEALTHY AVOCADO CHOCOLATE COOKIES (makes 10 cookies)

(recipe adapted from thesmoothielover.com)

INGREDIENTS ~

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  • 3/4 cup avocado flesh (very ripe, but not brown) ***
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (or maybe a few more)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

DIRECTIONS ~

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Using a hand mixer or food processor, mix together avocado and coconut sugar until smooth.
  • Add egg and mix until combined.
  • Slowly add dark cocoa powder & baking soda while mixing (mix until combined).
  • Stir in dark chocolate chips.
  • Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper and place spoonfuls of batter onto sheet. The batter’s pretty sticky so you probably won’t get perfect drops of dough on your sheets (I surely didn’t as you can see in the pic below. A little funky looking maybe, but definitely not funky tasting).

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  • Flatten each with back of spoon.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes (cookies should come off parchment paper pretty easily at this point).
  • Let cool. It’s recommended that you store them in the fridge in an airtight container overnight, but who’s that patient?

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*** My local grocer didn’t have very ripe avocados at the time, so the ones we used were still pretty firm. This made it really difficult to blend the avocados up completely since we were using a hand mixer. I even ended up with some unblended avocado in one of my cookies (see pic below). I promise it was still delicious, it just startled me for a minute.

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As for those apple pie meringues, I’ll leave you with a picture that pretty much sums up why I’m not sharing that recipe with you (this was the good pan too; the other one was so burned that I had to get the Scrub Daddy out and it basically ruined him). I determined that I might need a little practice making meringue, as well as a little practice with oven chemistry. Jillian & I may tackle the recipe again though, so I might be able to share it with you someday 🙂 Hope everyone has a great week!

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It’s Fall Y’all!

… at least inside my house it is. With it still being in the 80’s and humid outside, and with the mosquitos still attacking and me still sweating, I can’t quite let myself pull out the boots, leggings & sweaters yet. Soon though, hopefully. Each year I always decide to wait until it actually feels like Fall outside before decorating the house, and I always regret that decision when Fall quickly comes to an end and it’s time to decorate for Christmas. Now don’t get me wrong, I love decorating for Christmas as much as the next person. I take that back; I’m pretty sure I love decorating for Christmas way more than the next person, but that’s beside the point. The point is that Fall is just way too short, at least down here in the south. So this year I’ve decided to decorate now rather than wait until it actually feels like Fall outside. I just don’t have the patience anymore. Besides, everyone I follow on Instagram is already doing it so it must be okay …

So with the day off from my real job, my husband working, and my 20-month old pretty good at entertaining himself when I need him to, I thought today would be the perfect day to get the house Fall-ready. Apparently my toddler did too. What should have taken me a little over an hour ended up taking about four hours. I’m beginning to second-guess my placement of certain items considering my toddler repeatedly rearranged some things and then had meltdowns when I messed his arrangements up. Who knows, maybe he has better taste than me. Maybe the pumpkins do look better underneath the coffee table and maybe the burlap garland does look better wrapped around the dog. Regardless, the inside of the house is finally decorated. I even learned a couple things from my morning/afternoon of decorating – (1) It’s close to, if not entirely, impossible to do anything productive with a toddler (how I don’t know this by now, I’m not really sure) and (2) I sure could use some more Fall stuff. I imagine Target might be seeing my face sometime this week. I don’t feel like I have a lot to show off, but here I go anyway – a little Fall tour if you will. The areas I’ll be showcasing are my entryway table, fireplace (mantle & hearth), and dining room table. Hope you enjoy!

The Entryway Table (Cost Plus World Market) –

I originally had the metal bull sitting on the table, but everything seemed a little too dark for my liking. I need my color so I switched out the bull for a wedding pic inside a turquoise frame. I’m hoping I made the right decision but now looking at the pictures I’m leaning back towards the bull … ugh, someone decide for me.

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The decorations on this table cost next to nothing, which is always a plus.

Pine Cone Jars – I’ve saved a bunch of jars over the years, so I took two small ones and one larger one and filled them with pine cones – can’t get much simpler than that. I bought the pine cone picks at Michaels and just cut the ‘pick’ part off. Turn the jars upside down and there you have it.

Pumpkin – A Classy Flea (antiques & consignment shop). I actually found 2 of these & you’ll see the other one on the dining room table shortly.

Large Mercury Glass Candle – Kohls after Christmas a couple years ago. I believe I paid about $5 for it and it smells heavenly. I think mercury glass screams holidays in general … Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, who cares.

Small Mercury Glass Candles – Dollar Spot at Target – if you’re not familiar with this spot, you need to be. It’s the perfect place to find cute cheap decorations, wrapping supplies, etc. These were $3 each versus the ideal $1, but they smell like pumpkin butter and I’d pay a lot more than $3 for that smell any day.

Wreath – Tuesday Morning a long, long, long time ago.

Burlap – Michaels (hint – buy the really wide rolls of burlap ribbon and cut to the size you need … much easier & cheaper than trying to find actual table runners, etc)

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Fireplace –

Yes we painted our brick, but trust me when I say it needed it. The previous owners had covered the beautiful brick with some sort of shiny finish and it was impossible to get off. We tried everything. So we painted it and we never looked back. Antique mantle – A Classy Flea /// Smith & Hawken fireplace screen – Target

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Mercury Glass Pumpkin Candle Holders – Target

Dried Garlic Flowers – local farmers market (these make such a unique and beautiful addition to any vase)

White Porcelain Squirrel – Target

Fall-Colored Candle – Michaels

Wreath – handmade by yours truly. I simply bought a decently thick grapevine wreath, lace ribbon, & some stick-on flowers (all from Michaels). Cut lace to the length of your liking and wrap around wreath (glue as you’re wrapping). Glue on flowers. The end. I just love simple crafts.

Leaf Garland – Dollar Spot at Target ($3). Notice in the picture below how it’s actually glittery? I just flipped it around and let the backside show because I wanted the more rustic look.

Bowl O’ Pumpkins – Lotus Farmhouse Bowl from Painted Fox Treasures & 12-pack of pumpkins from Homegoods.

Turkey – probably my favorite Fall decor item ever. This delightful guy came from Urban Farmhouse in Milton, GA.

Cotton stems – Blue Ridge Cotton Company in Blue Ridge, GA.

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Dining Room Table (JC Penny)   

This is probably my favorite Fall decor vignette in our house. I just love the rustic natural feel it gives off, as well as all the different textures of the pumpkins. The vase (Pottery Barn), including the twigs, owls, and birds, stays on our table year-round except for Christmas, as do the salt/pepper shakers (Bed, Bath & Beyond) and the water pitcher (Target).

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Orange Pumpkin – A Classy Flea (2nd one from the pair I found)

Bark Pumpkin / Twine Pumpkin / Owl Candle / Squirrel – Target (gosh they have cute stuff)

Pine Cone Jars – Just as simple as before. This time I left the lid off and tied some twine & eggplant ribbon around the neck of the jar, and I used actual pine cones from Michaels (versus the pine cone picks).

Wreath – handmade by yours truly. I simply bought a grapevine wreath from the Target Dollar Spot and used some of my leftover pine cones, as well as some twine. Cut twine to the length of your liking and wrap around wreath. Tie on pine cones with twine and glue for extra security.

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Coffee Table –

I wasn’t even planning on including this and I’m actually pretty embarrassed to even share this with anyone at the moment, but I’ll go ahead and do it. I love and hate having a round coffee table. Such strong feelings towards a table, I know. It’s so hard, for me at least, to decorate it for any occasion and have it look good. But I love the way the table itself looks. I’ll probably be playing around with this some more because I’m pretty sure I’m not quite satisfied. All I did here was pull out my old Southern Living magazines from previous Fall months (decorating tip 101 – save your favorite magazines with seasonal covers – they make great decor. I do the same with our Garden & Gun magazines – see fireplace hearth pics above). I found this cool gold sphere thingy at Homegoods a couple weeks ago and I figured it works good for any season. Lastly I wrapped the flower pot in burlap and stuck some pine cone picks into the burlap to give it a bit of a Fall feel.

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And we’re done, already (short tour I know). I’m thinking it will be a bit longer next year as I plan on hitting up the after season sales for some more Fall-inspired goodies to add to my collection. As for the outside of our house, I’m hoping I can find some real pumpkins and mums next weekend and get our outside decorated, so stay tuned 🙂