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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Autumn Leaf Jump Party Planning

Child size leaf pile for "Jumping" image by sgolis
Every year my neighbors and I participate in an annual autumn party.  We get together on the Saturday before Thanksgiving to enjoy a food, fun, conversation season activities which include everyone jumping into an enormous leaf pile. 

In preparation for this annual event I started to remove the leaves from the yard and gardens by raking 10 piles of leaves onto a tarp and then carried the tarp to the end of the street where the woods is and started to make the official leaf jump pile. 

My neighbor did the same and by the end of the day the pile was 8 high and 12 feet wide.  I was pleased with the size of the leaf pile.  However I will continue to enlarge the pile so that it will accommodate all of the adult leaf jumpers.  

We will also have a leaf pile for children. You see the bigger the pile of leaves the better the autumn party. An autumn  party is a good way to make those autumn leaves useful and is a way to make new friends and happy memories.


Beautiful Fall Scene flyer
Click to view Flyer by GAZoomIn

Choose a date and time for your party
Make a invitation flyer for the event that includes the particulars;
Name of event
Contact name
Phone number and email address 
Make a List of things needed:
Chicken wings
Baked beans
Mac and Cheese
Grill and hot dogs
Hot dog buns
Mustard, ketchup, pickle relish
Marshmallows and roasting
10 cleaned sturdy sticks for roasting marshmallows
Hot apple cider
Hot chocolate
Hot coffee

Paper bowls and plates
Plastic Utensils
Assorted homemade cookies

Other items needed:
Bring your own crock pots
Folding tables
Entertainment (donation of time)
Story teller for children
Bin and apples for bobbing

Please drop off tables, chairs and grill before the event begins and set up.

Planning is the secret to any special event.  Start to plan your autumn neighborhood party one month in advance and it will be a success.  When all of the planning is done, you can eat, drink and jump into the leaf pile .  

Pass out flyer two weeks before the party.  If you are friendly with neighbors you can always plan a party one week in advance.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Turkey Vegetable Soup Recipe

Here is a delicious soup recipe that you can make with your leftover turkey.  

I make this recipe every year on Black Friday and leave the soup pot simmer on the stove all day.  That way when weary shoppers arrive they can have a hearty bowl of soup.  You can also serve the soup with a salad or with crusty hot from the oven popovers. 

Make this recipe with a chicken stock or low sodium broth and leftover vegetables or frozen vegetables. I will then add fresh herbs and seasonings.  Serve this turkey soup to your family and it will warm them on a cold day and also help them to fight off flu and cold. 

Gather your ingredients:
2 /32 oz of low sodium chicken stock
2 cups cubed cooked turkey  
1 cup left over mashed potatoes  
2 boxes of garden blend frozen vegetables
1 stalk of fine chopped celery  
1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice
½ cup of egg noodles (precooked)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic
1 sprig of Rosemary chopped
add salt or pepper to taste 
Heat the chicken broth, in a large pot, Cook at a medium-heat. Add the mashed potatoes, vegetables, and celery. Cook the vegetables, stirring so they do not burn. Continue to cook all of the ingredients for 10 minutes.  

Add the turkey; stir to mix turkey into the soup. Reduce the heat to simmer and allow the soup to cook. Add the garlic, lime juice,rosemary salt and pepper and stir. 

Continue cooking until the vegetables are done.  Next, add the ½ cup of egg noodles.

Simmer the soup until the egg noodles are cooked. Stir the soup to prevent soup from sticking to pan. When soup is fully cooked remove from the heat  and allow soup to set for 5 minutes before serving.


  •  Store any remaining soup in an air tight container. Refrigerate your soup for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 2 months.

  • Add more flavor of your soup by adding red curry paste. 
  •  Turkey Vegetable Soup: Image by Susan Golis
    View video for another leftover turkey soup recipe:

    Thursday, November 3, 2011

    Cornucopia Thanksgiving Centerpiece

    The cornucopia is Latin for horn of plenty.  This horn shaped basket is filled with a bountiful harvest that is to be shared with others.  

    When you fill the cornucopia with squash, gourds, pomegranates, apples, pears, grapes, oranges, pecans, walnuts, acorns, Indian corn, pine cones and miniature pumpkins, fill it so that the harvest bounty spills over.  

    Decorate your home or business with a Thanksgiving cornucopia.  If you are a gardener you can fill the horn shaped basket with harvested fruits and vegetables or you could take a walk in your local park and gather pine cones, dried flowers, acorns, dried wheat and wineberry branches.  

    The best cornucopias are the ones that are made with fresh ingredients. If your harvest was not plentiful you can purchase what you need at your local farmers market. 

    Make a cornucopia in November and enjoy it as an edible centerpiece throughout the month.   I like to make cornucopias that are edible, I do this by adding decorative tissue paper of orange on the bottom of the basket then I fill it up with harvest pears, apples oranges and assorted nuts.   

    This horn of plenty basket is then set on my coffee table along with nut cracker, cocktail napkins and dessert plates.   It is a centerpiece that your family and friends will gather around.

    View this video to learn more about a cornucopia.

    Image credit
    Cornucopia:  Free downloads

    Saturday, October 1, 2011

    Best Autumn Travel Destinations

    My  gorgeous silver maple

    The autumn season is a perfect time to travel.  The weather is cooler, the air is crisp and the foliage with its golden, red and bronze leaves is stunning.  During the season of autumn many cities and state parks host activities; scenic off trail hikes, botanical garden tours, church bizarre, harvest festivals, county fairs, maple leaf parades and ghost walking tours.  Many people will partake in the autumn activities by traveling to the destinations.  They will make travel plans from September through October, as it is peak season for the autumn foliage; when leaves turn from green to gold, orange and red.

    Some people will travel to state parks and will camp along an open stream or hike to a mountain ridge that overlooks a valley and will set up camp. Others will make reservations at cozy inns or a bed and breakfast in Ashville North Carolina or Stowe Vermont. 

    Autumn is a time of year to when you relieve your fond memories; you may jump into a pile of leaves, sit by and open camp fire, roast marshmallows, tell your children a spooky story, ride bikes in the country side or take a scenic drive in the smoky mountains.   If you enjoy a sense of adventure and also love the autumn season then pack your luggage and make plans to travel to one of the best autumn foliage and activity destinations.

    Travel Destinations
    Tour national parks, historic cities and quaint cities the choice is yours.  Autumn is the best time to travel and here is a list of the best autumn travel destinations.  Peak foliage-viewing is from the middle of September through October. Check the weather channel for updates of peak fall foliage.

    Friday, September 9, 2011

    Chrysanthemums Autumns Official Flower

     In the United States the Chrysanthemum is autumns official flower as it is featured growing in gardens, containers and many people decorate with the chrysanthemum by adding the flower to centerpieces, focal lawn displays and to harvest wreaths.  This autumn choose a chrysanthemum flower that will compliment your home and garden and celebrate the season with the beautiful blooms in a variety of colors;white, cream, yellow, gold, bronze, red, burgundy, pink, purple and mauve .

    Image Credit: Wikipedia Creative Commons 

     Chrysanthemum can be grown as an annual or a perennial.  If you want to plant the mum in your yard and garden then select hardy mum's or garden mums.  Florist mums are not grown to be planted in the ground they are more for seasonal decorations.  

    If you look at the florist mum and the hardy mum they appear the same, with exception that the hardy or garden mum is a higher quality mum and will look fuller and stronger.  When in doubt ask the nursery salesperson.

    Grow chrysanthemums by planting them in the ground as they are herbaceous perennials for USDA zone 4 to 10. If you plant chrysanthemum flowers they will return every year and brighten your garden with with stunning autumn hued flowers.

    View this video for inexpensive decorating ideas and pop up your home this autumn with Chrysanthemums. 

    Tuesday, September 6, 2011

    Easy to Make a Halloween Wreath

    This year when you set out to decorate your home for Halloween, be sure to stop by the craft store to pick up products to decorate a wreath for your front door.  

    Last year I recycled a Christmas wreath and turned it into a festive Halloween wealth.  I used the products that I had; balsam Christmas wreath, 100 strand of battery operated orange lights, black and white ribbon and black pipe cleaners. I bought orange spray paint, black feathers, small white skeletons, silk candy corn attached to a stem and other small Halloween decorations.  

     Decorating the wreath was fun and I was able to get some help from my neighbors children.  When it comes to kids I tend to let them be creative.  I tell them how to balance the wreath with color and decor items and then I step back to oversee and help when needed.   I think the best wreaths are decorated by children because they are so cute.  

    Here is a orange themed Halloween wreath that would be fun to create. 

    Before you begin this craft choose a work area that has good air circulation.  Then cover your work table with a tarp so it is protected from the paint and the hot glue.   It is best to work with a wreath that is not plastic as the plastic does not hold the paint.  If you do not have a Christmas wreath then you can buy an inexpensive wreath from a craft store or the Dollar store.

    Set the wreath in the middle of the tarp. Spray the paint evenly on the wreath.  Wait 20 minutes and then repeat. When the wreath is fully dry in about an hour you would then flip it over and paint the other side. 

    Before you decorate the wreath make sure that the paint is completely dry.

    Wrap the the lights around the wreath.  Allow space between the lights, this space is needed so you can decorate with spooky effects. 

    Heat your hot glue gun so that you can attach the decorations to the wreath.  Before you glue the decorations to the wreath set them on the wreath so that they are balanced.  Then glue them onto the wreath.

    Next add the feathers by gluing the end of the stem between the wreaths branches. You can also add interest with black pipe cleaners.  Bent the pipe cleaners and add a little pop to the Halloween wreath. Gather the stems or sticks from the candy corn and wrap them together in a bunch.  Attach the bunch to the wreath. 

    Tie a bow with the Halloween wired ribbon. Attach the bow to the wreath with craft wire. Add smaller bows throughout the wreath by attaching them with craft wire.  

    • Wear a mask when using the spray paint
    • Hang wreath behind storm door or under an awning to protect from the weather
    • Balance wreath decorations so that they are eye appealing
    • Make several wreaths and sell them at a church bizarre, flea market or at a yard sale.
    View this YouTube video for another orange Halloween wreath idea:

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    Outdoor Halloween Decoration Ideas for Tree

    Turn your outdoor trees into spooky lighted monsters.  This Halloween decoration is quick and easy to do and you will receive compliments from trick or treaters. 

    Halloween is a festive time of the year and many people decorate their lawns with blow up figurines and other store bought decorations.  

    These decorations are rather costly and if you are on a budget you may not be able to decorate for Halloween. However if you are creative and have outdoor trees you can turn your trees into ghoulish monsters.  If you have time to spare, you can purchase the supplies for this project or use the lights that you have.  I turned the tree trunk into a 12 foot monster. 

    From start to finish this DIY project took me two hours to complete and I saved on the lights by purchasing them at the Dollar store. 

    Things you'll need to Decorate Trees for Halloween:

    200 bulb orange tree trunk net lights
    200 bulb strand of orange lights
     Staple gun with large staples
    Lighted plastic pumpkin head
    Two 3 to 4 foot branches; thickness not to exceed 1/8 of an inch
    Outdoor extension cord


    • Choose a mature tree with a nice trunk. Your tree should be in a good focal point, so the children on the sidewalk can see it when they approach your yard.  
    • Stretch out your net lights so that they are flat. Wrap the lights on the side of the tree facing the front of your home. 
    • Attach the net lights to the trunk of the tree with a staple gun. Use caution to not staple through the net wires. The staple will hold the net in place. 
    •  When the body of the tree monster is covered with lights, you would then move on to the features of the tree monster. 
    • Look for 3 to 4 foot branches that you could use for the  arms.  Attach the branch arms to the net lights.  
    • Use wire to secure branch/arms to the net lights.
    •  Attach a wire at the end of the branch (hand area) and secure this wire to an upper branch on the tree. 
    • Create a head for the tree monster by attaching a lighted pumpkin head to the tree; you will need wire to keep head in place. If your tree is narrow you can wrap the wire around the tree and secure the wire tightly.
    • Finish the Halloween tree decoration by adding the 200 orange bulb strand at the base of the tree.  Arrange the lights so they are spread out.  It is helpful to decorate the tree at dusk so you can see how it looks.  When the the strand of lights protrude outward it looks like the tree monster is walking...see photo above.
    1. Before starting the outdoor Halloween decorating check your lights to make sure all of the bulbs are in good working order. 
    2. Buy everything that you need for the Halloween decoration so you do not have to stop and run to the store.
    3. You may want to decorate your yard with tombstones and make it look like a graveyard.  Or add a bale of straw, pumpkins and a scarecrow.  Set this Halloween display close to the base of your tree. 
    4. Consider adding a flood light off to the side to illuminate your yards Halloween decorations.