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Fall Decorating


When it comes to seasonal decorating, nothing gets me more excited than Fall.

It must be because change is happening all around you.  It’s a lot like what Spring time does to someone who has been experiencing Winter for so long.  Those long cold days that finally see the warmth of Spring, accompanied by the that first sign of new life in a budding flower.

It’s exactly the same thing for me after a long hot Summer.

Those first few true days of Fall when I start to see the leaves change colors with all the vibrant oranges and yellows and browns.  The crisp cool air that begs you to grab that first hot chocolate or apple cider.


The thought of those endless ideas running through a little child’s head of what their imagination tells them they can be for that one special night on Halloween.


I think I enjoy all those Halloween movies more than my own children.  I force them to watch the countless reruns of Halloween Town, Halloween Town Part 2, 3, 4………………  so that if someone comes in and catches me, I can blame it on them.  It’s a good thing no one knows I can recite the entire movie of Hocus Pocus without even thinking about it.  Don’t tell anyone I told you that! 


Freshening up your front entry way can do wonders for your home.  I had majority of the items already like the wood box, haystack, and pumpkins.  I added a few mums and the corn stalks that I found at Lowes.

Small changes like even painting your front door can really freshen up the space as well.  We used a dark gray on our doors that used to be red.  I love gray for so many reasons.  The best reason is that because it is so neutral, it goes well with any color scheme.


The silk leaves are left overs I had from last season and can be found at any craft store or even places like Walmart.


The window box on the front window got seasonal flowers as well.  I couldn’t wait to try out this beautiful ornamental kale I found.


I have always seen these in pictures in magazines and as silly as it seems, I just had to get them.


I really love the way they look.  It almost seems like they could be Cabbage Patch Kids…….. Admit it!  You thought about it.  😉


Whatever you go with for your seasonal decorating, make sure to only use things that you really love!  Don’t settle for anything else!

Happy Decorating!





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Rustic Apple Pie

Pic Monkey Apple Pie

A lot has been happening around here lately.  For starters………………..


We are so so so happy for him and his new wife.  We gained a sister, friend, and an entire new family that we deeply care for and love!

Now they just need to start having babies and my life will be complete.  No pressure, right?  LOL!

Well, Mom and Dad were here as well and one of the last nights they were here, we had everyone over for Sunday dinner and mom made Apple Pie!  I have made it before, but when Mom is in town, it’s best to just leave things like this to the “professionals”.  😉



It always has this Rustic quality to it and I love that she never tries to make it too “fake looking”.  Everything is from scratch, including the crust.


Just let me set the stage for you.  It’s a crisp cool day in Fall.  The aroma from the kitchen is taking over the house as the cinnamon and sugar fills the air. As you bring your fork to your mouth filled with that bite of perfection……..   um YEAH!  That happened here that day!  The crust was slightly crunchy, while the filling was a thick cinnamon apple yumminess!

Come on y’all, it’s FALL!!!

Why not get in the kitchen and bake you up some Apple Pie?


You know you want too!  And just in case, because I love you so much……..Here is Mom’s recipe!

Recipe: Rustic Apple Pie

– 2 Homemade or Prepared Deep Dish Pie Crusts  (*You will need 2 crusts, one for the bottom and one for the top. *NOTE: Crusts perform better when refrigerated well.  If frozen, make sure to thaw completely and chill in fridge until you need it.)

– 15 Granny Smith Apples, Peeled, Cored and Sliced (*NOTE: Slice no larger than a 1/2 inch in thickness or apples will not cook properly)

– 1 Heaping Tbsp. Cinnamon

– 2 Cups Sugar

– 1 Tbsp. Cornstarch

– 4 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter

– 2 Tbsp. Milk

– Small amount of additional cinnamon and sugar for dusting the top of pie.


– Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

– Take a 9in. pie plate and spread first crust evenly over bottom.  Refrigerate.

– Place apple slices into a large mixing bowl.

– In a separate bowl, combine cinnamon and sugar and cornstarch.

– Add Cinnamon mixture to apples and mix well using hands, making sure all apples are coated well.

– Remove pie plate from fridge and add apple slice mixture.  *NOTE:  Apples will mound up in dish.  This is normal and makes for a great pie!

– Cut 4 Tbsp. Butter in half and dot over apple mixture evenly.

– Top apples with remaining pie crust.  Pinch all around edges of pie to “seal” crusts together.  *NOTE: This can be done by using a fork or by index finger and thumb method all the way around.

– Brush top of pie with 2 Tbsp. Milk.

– Lightly dust top of pie with additional cinnamon and sugar.

-Cut 2-3 slits (1 in. long)  in top of pie crust for steam to escape during baking.

– Bake pie in oven for 15 minutes.

– Turn temperature down to 350 degrees and continue baking pie for an additional 45 minutes.

– If at end of baking, pie is not golden brown, turn temperature back to 400 degrees and watch closely for 5 minutes.  *That should do the trick! 😉


I hope you enjoy the recipe!




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Who doesn’t love a good pot of Chili????

I’ll eat it anytime of the year, but there is something about a nice hot bowl of Chili when the air outside is cool and crisp and leaves are starting to fall…….

Ok Esther!  Stop watching one of your “Chick Flicks”. 

But, seriously….

How could you say no to this?!?

Well, I bet you can’t.


Because I love you . . . . . .

Very, very much . . . . . . .

And because I meant to do this last week, but couldn’t because my house got TORE UP AGAIN . . . . . .

I shall now give you the Recipe to this Wonderful thing called, CHILI!

(Please hold your applause until the end)


It goes a little something like this,


Recipe:  Chili



– 2 lbs. Ground Beef

– Nonstick cooking Spray

– 1 Large Onion

– 1 Green Bell Pepper

– 2 cups Chopped Celery

– 2 (28 oz.) Cans Diced Tomatoes

– 1 (28oz.) Can Whole Peeled Tomatoes

– Ground Cumin (to taste)

– Chili Powder (to taste)

– 1 Packet Chili Seasoning (I use reduced Sodium)

– 1 (14.5 oz) Can Black Beans, (drained and rinsed)

– 1 (14.5 oz) Can Light Red Kidney Beans, (drained and rinsed)

– 1 (14.5 oz) Can Pinto Beans, (drained and rinsed)

– Toppings: Shredded Cheddar Cheese, Sour Cream, Chopped Green Onions



– Brown beef in skillet, drain and set aside.

– Spray large pot with nonstick  cooking spray and heat over medium heat.

– Add onion, green bell pepper, and celery and saute for 10 minutes or until vegetables start to soften.

– Stir in diced and whole tomatoes.  Break whole tomatoes up just a little bit so they aren’t too big and bulky.

– Add cumin and chili powder, to taste, and allow to cook for 10 more minutes.

– Add the beans, reserved brown meat, and chili seasoning packet.

– Partially cover and let simmer for 2 hours.

– Serve with cheddar cheese, sour cream, and green onions.

NOTE:  If you want, make 1 day ahead.  Chili gets even better the day after! 





Happy Monday! 


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The Great Smokey Mountains ! ! ! (Part 1)

October is THE month to take a trip and explore some of the South’s most beautiful scenery.


That is exactly what my family and I did this passed weekend.

When I was a child, my family went to places like Tweetsie Railroad in Blowing Rock, NC and Grandfather Mountain, in Linville.  We did this for two reasons.  One, they happen to be in North Carolina where I am from.  Two, the trees are so beautiful this time of the year with their ever changing colors and it’s crisp Fall air.  I wanted to let my kid’s experience this too.

Since, they have never been to the Mountains before, I knew they were going to have a blast!

We couldn’t have picked a better weekend to go.  It was almost as if the leaves were literally changing color right in front of our eyes.  NO KIDDING!

Our first stop was Tweetsie Railroad.  It is the best place to take your kids!  It has everything from Cowboys to Indians……..

to even TRAINS!  (Hence, Tweetsie Railroad).

The Cowboys put on a little skit for you and you go for a train ride.  Along the way, the train stops a few times……

and you even get ambushed by Indians!  Oh my!   This guys was great, because bless his heart!  He held that pose for me for a few minutes because he could see I was trying to take his picture!  Haha!  I guess he felt sorry for the lady with the bulky camera and all her settings.  (Note to self:  Sometimes, you just need to keep it on auto!)

Let me just tell you, all the landscaping was beautiful too.  I need to hire the same landscaper.

I honestly don’t know what is wrong with me.  Ever since I started to have children, I have become afraid of my own shadow.  I remember riding on these ski lifts when I was a kid and purposely trying to shake them and scare the bajeezus out of my mom.  Now, I have become my mom.  I couldn’t even breathe without thinking that one or all of us were going to fall out of those things!  Oh well, there goes ever trying to attempt to ski on a mountain.

At the top of the ski lift, they had more fun things to do.  They had a little petting zoo with goats, white deer, and even llamas.

Not sure if “Oscar” was trying to kiss me or spit on me!  He was THAT close.  No zoom lens here!

I know they say you aren’t suppose to show people pictures of your home because of Paparazzi and all, but I thought I would share a picture of my “home in the mountains”.

AND while I was at it, I thought I would share a second picture of my 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th homes as well.


We had such a great time at Tweetsie!


While we were there, we got to. . . . . . . . . . . .

Let our 3 year old son play with firearms . . . . . . . . .

Lock our children up . . . . . . . . . .

And even embarrass my husband.  *Don’t ask me what the girls are doing???

So I would say we had a fantabulous time!


Check out part 2 tomorrow.  (Grandfather Mountain)  : )



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