Annual “WELCOME FALL!” Picnic

[CLICK ON ANY PHOTO, for a more detailed & larger view]

This weekend was our Annual “WELCOME FALL!” Picnic at The Seasonal Home… a celebration that I started, several years ago, with the daughters of one of my best friends (who happens to live next door). The first year, it was simply my way of giving her a little parent-break, but has now become an annual tradition. Once my boys were grown, I really missed the creativity of doing fun things like this so now, I’m creating new memories with my 2 sweet neighbors – Emme and Gretta.

This celebration is our way of welcoming in the Autumnal Equinox (a/k/a Fall) and even though it is usually still hot outside, a good fan and our imaginations help us pretend that it’s breezy & cool. Here’s a peek at some of our fun, in case you want to start this tradition yourself.

We always have our picnic first. This year, we decided to make grilled cheese sandwiches (cut into pumpkins), homemade sweet potato fries (Sandra Lee’s recipe, Food Network), and diced apples over graham cracker crumbs with a drizzle of hot caramel (an idea we thought up ourselves). P.S. If you ever want to see a young child have fun, give them some graham crackers in a plastic bag and show them how to turn them into crumbs, using a wooden rolling pin – hilarious!

For dessert, we made a healthier chocolate muffin from a new mix called “Simple Mornings”. They served as our cupcakes, topped with a little homemade cream cheese frosting (Food Network recipe), sprinkles and a small, candy pumpkin.

We had SO much fun making all the food… together!

Of course, we decorated for our picnic too! I found over-sized, felt, fall leaves (in 3 different colors) at The Dollar Tree and we simply used a piece of fishing line to hang them from the pergola beams.

They looked so pretty (moving), when a breeze finally kicked up! Check it out in this short YouTube video I made:

With the addition of a few scarecrows, pumpkins and fall flowers, we were ready to enjoy our “WELCOME FALL” picnic.

And funny enough, every year, we seem to be visited by a representative of Mother Nature. Last year, it was a caterpillar and this year, we enjoyed the company of a beautiful & HUGE Swallowtail Butterfly, who really liked the flowers in my up-cycled wheelbarrow Fairy Garden.

And he didn’t even seem to mind that I was following him around with my camera.

The girls were really hoping he would land on their fingers.

Once he fluttered off, it was time for lunch!

Uhhh… please ignore the well done sweet potato fries – they were the unfortunate casualty of our hectic kitchen preparation.

Once we saw that a few of our fries were slightly overcooked, the girls tried to make lemonade out of lemons by suggesting that “maybe adding some ketchup will help”…. soooooo sweet!

After we ate, it was time for crafts and games! We usually have an apple bobbing contest, but little Gretta is about to lose a front tooth, so we decided to try some new things this year.

So, first up…. a little painting of face masks.

And ta-dum…. the cute, personalized results. Hey, that looks a awful lot like my hair!!

Next, a competitive game of Halloween B-I-N-G-O. Check out the concentration on their faces (LOL).

And last, but not least…. a game of PIN THE HAT ON THE WITCH.

I’m not sure who was the best spinner or worst pin-er, but when you’re having fun, the results don’t really matter.

First up was Gretta….

Hmmm… close! Then, it was Emme’s turn.

In the end, it really didn’t matter who won because I had gathered a few inexpensive, special treats, as a surprise for both of the girls.

I found a cute $1.00 pumpkin box (Wal mart) to place them all in and added a “Happy 1st Day of Fall” note to each.

Once we headed back inside (we had enjoyed the Florida heat & humidity quite enough, thank you very much!), the girls had fun opening their goodie boxes.

Two of their favorite things were the Spider rings, modeled here by Emme –

and a small bag of the newest M & M flavor “Candy Corn White Chocolate”…. YUM!

In the end, we all agreed we had tons of fun and that cupcakes taste even better in air-conditioned comfort! (LOL)

I hope we inspired you to consider starting your own “Welcome Fall Picnic” tradition. 🙂

Enjoy the Creativity!

EILEEN

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Unique Easter Baskets!

Receiving an Easter Basket is so much fun for young children and I know some parents stop this gift-giving tradition once children reach their teens.  My children are grown, but I still love to give them a few goodies (mostly things they need) at Easter, like new toothbrushes, modest gifts cards (to help out with lunch on their tight budgets), etc.  And now that some of them have S.O.s (significant others – lol), I’m including them too!

Once kids reach their teenage years, it doesn’t make sense to hand them woven baskets, so I prefer putting their gifts into a container that is also useful, which then… becomes part of their gift.  In case this gifting idea works for your family as well, below are a few container suggestions that I’ve utilized in the past – as well as this years.  And here’s a helpful hint – if you choose a LARGE gift-container, simply use boxes, plastic bags, tissue paper, etc. to fill up the bottom,  so your gifts can rest near the top, on a bed of Easter grass.

Always keeping my budget in mind,  I never pay more than $5.00 for a container, so I keep an eye out for inexpensive or clearanced items, all year long.  Today, I walked into Walmart and they had just marked down their large, canvas totes (office supply dept.) to $3.50…. SOLD! 😉 [see it in use below].

Enjoy the Creativity!

Eileen

Click on any photo for a larger view

Over-the-shoulder Cooler

Lidded Storage Containers

Collapsible Canvas Storage & Insulated, Personalized Lunch Bag

New Year’s Tradition

As evidenced, by my book, I absolutely “heart” family traditions.  This post is about someone “famous” who also appears to enjoy celebrating, with family traditions.

If I had to name a person in Hollywood that I admire, it would definitely be RON HOWARD.  I’ve been watching and enjoying his career my entire life.  But, I don’t think I admired him any more than after I saw an interview he did with Jay Leno right after Christmas 2010.  During the interview, Ron discussed his (grown) family’s New Year’s tradition where they create a small bon fire (you could also use a portable fire pit) to sit around.  

They each write down something negative (in their life… maybe a bad habit or memory) and throw it into the fire, in a ceremonial gesture to rid themselves of it.  Below is a video link to http://www.Hulu.com if you’d like to check out the actual interview with Ron Howard and Jay Leno (there’s a short commercial first, unfortunately, but the video will begin immediately after that).  It’s short and pretty funny, so I think you’ll enjoy the giggle.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Eileen

The “THANKFUL” Notes

There are a lot of people going through tough times right now.   That fact made me realize that many people could use a little “feel good” moment and Thanksgiving is the perfect occasion.  So, I designed the following page of “Thankful” Notes for you to print and either mail ahead of time (locally should take 1 day) or hand-out as your family’s Thanksgiving guests arrive.  I would tell each of your guests to keep the “AUTHOR” anonymous so they feel free to express themselves in a generous and yes, gushy manner, if they want to.   The instructions are included, so why not print something that, when filled out and given, will make someone feel good (about themselves) heading into this beautiful holiday season!   Here’s the link to the full, printable version: https://seasonalhome.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/thankful-slips.jpg

“WELCOME FALL” Picnic

This idea has been a tradition at THE SEASONAL HOME for the past 4 years.  Having 4 sons, I spent many years doing “boy” things for Fall and Halloween.  So, when they grew up and moved away, I switched things up and started something new… a gathering for the neighborhood “girls” (on my street) to enjoy each others company in a “WELCOME FALL” picnic!   Because it’s still so warm, during the first few weeks of Fall – in Florida – we all secretly hope this tradition works (along the lines of a rain dance) and brings us some cooler weather (lol) soon!

Do I see ghosts floating in this photo? EEK!

The first order of Fall business is a menu for the picnic.  We keep it simple, inexpensive and anyone who wants to make something to bring does.  Because the oldest in our group (Emmeline) can now bake, she made our frosted brownies that accompanied pumpkin-shaped PB&J sandwiches, watermelon and popcorn. 

The girls also had the awesome idea of bringing sparkly water and food color so we could make our drinks any color we chose –

Funny how food coloring turned the drinks into spooky potions!

I found some fun, Fall-theme headbands in the Target’s $1.00 bins (front of the store) for the girls to wear.  And a couple of coupons (I had) guided our “activity” choices: a $1.00 off fresh produce coupon from Target made a small bag of apples less than $2.00 so the girls could enjoy the traditional Fall game of bobbing for apples.

And at Michael’s craft store, I scooped up a “Pin the Nose on the Pumpkin” game for only $1.80 (using a 40% off coupon) for the girls to enjoy –

During our picnic, we had an unexpected, multi-legged visitor show up, on the arm of Stella… EEK again!!

In the end, I kept within my budget so well, I hit the Target “dollar” bins again as well as their Halloween Dept. where I found multi-party-packs of fun toys and writing pads.  For a few dollars, I created some sweet, take-home gifts for the girls to remember our “WELCOME FALL” picnic by.  I hope you like our annual Fall tradition idea well enough to try it yourself.

HAPPY FALL and…

Enjoy the Creativity,

Eileen

Creative Wall Art

Here are a few creative wall art ideas I think my readers will enjoy.  Not only do they demonstrate creative re-purposing, but they are also budget-minded.

First, if you have or find some old frames (maybe chunky, dated gold ones?), head to your DIY store for a can of spray paint.  After a few coats of paint…Presto!  You’ll have a whole new look!  Don’t have anything to place inside them yet?  Use scrapbook paper!  If you have more than one frame, choose coordinated (by color) patterns, keeping in mind that they will really POP if you make sure that they include the color of the wall (you’re hanging them on).

  

This idea is a wonderful everyday look, especially when paired with a framed mirror in the same color.  You could also change things up by centering a family photo or die-cut holiday creature in the center of one or all 3 of these frames.  Simply place and mount them in front of the scrapbook paper.

  

Also, if you have some odd-colored framed metal work wall art, once again… spray paint is your answer!  And why not go one step further by drilling a small hole in the middle of the framed art and a painted, rosette (wood block), which can then be glued to the back of the metal art center.  Next, purchase and install a clock kit through the center of both.  You’ll have wall art in a color you like AND it will be useful too!

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Here’s one more idea, which is an inexpensive way to display a few family photos (possibly of your children or grandchildren) in combination with your favorite saying.   Type the favorite saying into a word document on a computer, breaking it up (by page) in any way that fits your framed display.  Next, increase the font to the best size for your display, print and frame.  Combine this saying with your family photos, in coordinated frames, to create a heartfelt wall display for all to enjoy!

As always, click on any of the photos above to view them larger & in greater detail.

Enjoy the Creativity!

Eileen

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!

On this reflective holiday, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of our protectors, past and present, and wish all of my readers a wonderful weekend and a…. 

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