Last week's checklist got partially completed - very partially. I did accomplish Emma's 1-2 year-old book, so I'll call it a win!
Another big "win" was the after school Caramel Popcorn (recipe here).
A side not about making actual (non-microwave) popcorn : I haven't had real stove-top popped popcorn since we got a microwave in 1985. It was such a treat. Emma and I were both amazed that just a small scoop of kernels filled the pot! We enjoy our fair share of treats (Emma's slightly obsessed with Starbucks cake pops...), but I do love being able to show her how food is made - and that it doesn't have come out of a package to be a treat. I really do try to avoid things that coming in fancy packages (kid yogurts, snacks, etc.) because I like her food to look like food instead of a fun toy/treat. So, "homemade" popcorn is going to be a new favorite... especially topped with caramel.
The entire recipe was very simple and easy. I added a lot of extra sea salt and we both gobbled it up. I plan to make this often - and might throw in some cashews next time, too. Yum!
I've been getting requests for more unedited photos and snippets of our home. I love the idea of that - and it is actually much easier than staging anyway. I took my camera around this morning a captured a couple of favorite moments happening in our home this October.
I love this pumpkin! From one side he looks green and from the other he looks orange. Very pretty in our hearth room. Clearly, Mr. Darcy couldn't care less.
Emma and I've been collecting leaves for a new project. Last year when we didn't have a house (ok, that's a little dramatic - we were living with Mike's parents while our house was being built), I would dream about all of the projects and crafts we would do to decorate each season. I love seeing our real life strewn about the house. It might be a pile of leaves, Emma's "notes" she's been writing or a stack of thank you notes received. I feel like all of these signs of life make a home feel so good. Did you spot that playdoh creation in the background with the copper cookie cutter? A playdoh cupcake topped with a My Little Pony - a house specialty.
This is our leaf project. I bought a foam wreath form and wrapped it with Gold Ribbon (2" grosgrain from my store). We'll collect favorite leaves throughout the fall and pin them on the wreath as we go. I'm always up for activities that will help engage her in nature and changing of the seasons. Whatever I can do to avoid requests for shows/ipad... the never ending battle.
By Thanksgiving I hope to have a wreath full of leaves to hang on our door. Emma loved using the pins - now she wants to start sewing... eeeek!
Our dining/kitchen table has evolved from apples a couple of weeks ago to mini pie pumpkins. I've also been lighting these bayberry candles I had left over from last year. They will be back in the store in a couple of weeks. The scent is so earthy and everything I love. Usually I don't burn scented candles at the table - and these aren't really "scented." They are naturally fragrant because of the bayberry wax used.
Shoes, two by two, on the stairs. I buy Emma the same pair of shoes every year in the same color - Navy and Pale Pink. I'm so glad she still loves them and picks them out to wear. I dread the year she no longer wants to wear her leather Mary Janes.
*my flats are from j.crew.
*emma's are L'Amour found here.
We made our first "real" rug purchase over the weekend - an antique persian for Mike's Office. I love the colors. Normally, I lean toward warm neutrals, so this is a big departure. I'm hoping to add a rug like these to each room of our house - especially to use during the colder months. It will take some time to collect (and be able to afford...) them and I look forward to the hunt. The next on my list is a runner for the kitchen. I'm hoping to find one that is well worn and a steal, since it will take a beating between my stove and the sink.
Now that we have the rug, I'll be sharing the design board for his Office/Library tomorrow - the chairs are arriving today.
I'm so glad that we left some of the original hardware in the house when we re-built. Many times my builder and Mike tried to talk me into a new door and new hardware for the front entry.
But then, I would've missed moments like this that show some age and life. Stick to your guns.
Some pumpkin piles from last weekend and leaves beginning to pile up, too. Mr. is using all of his restraint not to dart out of the front door. I still need to fill my basket. I'm hoping to find some branches of leaves this week that will fit the bill.
I'm obsessed with these little "copper" salt and peppers I found at target last week. Just this tiny bit of copper color gives the kitchen a warmer feel. And they were a steal. I don't know if they are "heirloom quality" (maybe plastic/copper?), but they do the job.
This week's menu :
Braised Beef & Vegetable Stew
I am sure that I sound like a broken record when it comes to recommending this stew, but it is my absolute favorite. It is also my go-to for delivering to friends with new babies... as we did yesterday for a friend with new twin girls. It is just so, so good.
I had to reach way back into the archives for this one. I have been in the mood for really yummy gravy and mashed potatoes. Maybe I've been looking at too many Thanksgiving inspiration photos.
Ginger Spice Cookies
I'm looking to experiment with these this week - maybe a cross between this recipe and a snicker-doodle. If I fail, at least the kitchen will smell amazing : )