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Friday, July 13, 2012

Autumn Block Party Ideas

Autumn is the perfect time of the year to host an outdoor gathering for your neighbors. The days are warm and the nights are cool which makes it the ideal weather for leaf pile jumps, carving pumpkins and bobbing for apples.  

My husband and I plan a autumn block party as an outdoor event.  The party marks the end of the season and is the last time that we will see everyone until the spring season.  Each year the event seems to grow and new activities are added.  This year we intend on having a chili cook-off with a panel of judges a a scavenger’s hunt and we are thinking about adding a talent show for the children. We always decorate our outdoor space with an autumn theme as neighbors will gather in this area.  Here are some ideas that you may like,

Zazzle Decor for Outdoor Space


The block party is for our friends, family and neighbors and all enjoy the activities.   If you are interested in hosting a autumn block party then here are some ideas:

Decide on the location for your autumn party.  For a small event you could host it in your yard or for a larger event set the block party up in the community common area.   Once you have decided on the location for the autumn party you will need to choose a date and a time. 

Gather names and contact information for your guest list.  When you have a tentative guest list you will then know how many flyers are needed for invitations.  

Order invitation from, choose a template design that you like and fill in your special event information. 

Contact your friends and ask them to help you with planning the harvest gathering.  Delegate tasks to them and ask them to complete by a certain date.  You may want to assign the following duties:  Decorating, event set-up, sending out invitations, food preparation, organizing activities.
Choose a menu for the harvest gathering.  Decide it will be a pot luck meal where everyone brings something, or will you provide the food. 

Basic Menu ideas for Harvest Gathering

Pumpkin Soup
Corn Chowder

Chicken Wings
Hot Dogs
Baked Beans
Macaroni and Cheese
Grilled Corn on the Cob
Squash Casserole

Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Cupcakes
Carrot Cake
Caramel Apples
Marshmallows for roasting

When we hosted our harvest block party we supplied the tables for the crafts, and food buffet as well as the beverages; apple cider, ice tea, hot chocolate and water. We also hang the lights and decorate our yard for the autumn season.

Our guests bring a wide assortment of delicious comfort foods.  I usually list the type of food that I would like them to bring on their invitation; appetizer, casserole, soup, chili entree, dessert.  

You may need to rent banquet tables, and chafing dishes at your local party store.  Ask your neighbors to bring their own chair.

Deliver the invitation  two weeks before the event. For a neighborhood gathering you may want to hand them out or put in mailbox.  

Ask all to RSVP with the type of food they are bringing and how many quests will be attending.  This will help you in setting up an area that will accommodate all.

Meet with our party helpers to organize the event and to go over the details. Plan to set up for the harvest gathering the night before.  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Autumn Home Décor Ideas

When you decorate your home with a autumn theme your home will feel warm and cozy. A splash of orange and brown color will set the stage for all of your seasonal get-together.  

The autumn season is when summer has ended and the leaves on the deciduous trees turn to lovely shades of yellow, orange and gold.  

During this season one will put away their summer décor items and bring out their seasonal decorations; harvest fruits and vegetables; pumpkins, squash, corn to name a few, chrysanthemum flowers, corn stalks and bales of hay.  All of these décor items will be displayed throughout the home as points of interest.

Before you begin your autumn theme you need to decide if you will be decorating your entire home or living areas; kitchen, den, living room, dining room and guest bathroom.  

Once you have decided you would then clean the slate by removing the entire out of season décor items.  Pack these items in plastic storage containers.

Take note of the seasonal décor items that are needed to complete your autumn theme.  Walk through your living areas with a note pad and make a list of colors and home accessories that would complement the room.

View my collection of autumn home accessories.  I created throw pillow, tablecloth, and posters from my original photographs that I captured while hiking in the Ozark Mountains in fall season.  Any of these products would look stunning in your home.  


Here are some ideas:
  1. If your sofa is a floral print cover it with an earth tone slipcover and accent the sofa with autumn maple leaf toss pillows. 
  2. You can also cover your floors with runners or area carpets and update your windows treatments with a warm brown or burnt orange insulated drape. 
  3. An arrangement of chrysanthemums would be eye appealing on your dining table, coffee table or foyer table. 
  4. Utilize silk autumn leaves, an assortment of different sizes of pumpkins, autumn spice candles and a cornucopia for your coffee table.  All of these décor items will add a sense of warmth to your living rooms.
  5. Select the feature walls or areas in your home that you would like to enhance.  These are the walls in which your eyes focus on, these accent walls need to be eye appealing.  Paint the wall with an autumn color then dress up your walls by hanging an autumn theme canvas print or poster.  Choose a single print, double or a quad to accent your walls.
  6. In your kitchen add fall themed towels, placemats, napkins, plates and mugs. Consider adding autumn décor items above your shelves or on top of your refrigerator.  Add splashes of autumn color orange, wheat, brown, yellow and green and your kitchen will have ambiance, a gathering place, for friends and family.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Cranberry Citrus Compote Recipe

This cranberry recipe relies on very little sugar, as the fresh citrus fruit and apples additives naturally sweeten it.  You can make this recipe a few days before and chill in your refrigerator before serving.  

This cranberry citrus compote is delicious and nutritious. A 6oz serving of this compote is equivalent to three servings of fruit.

Things you’ll need:
  • 12 ounces fresh
  • cranberries
  • ½ cup of freshly brewed Lipton Green tea with passion fruit and Jasmine
  • ½ cut of Tropicana orange juice with pulp
  • 2 Ruby Red Grapefruits
  • 2 Tangerines
  • 3 Macintosh apples
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Chef knife
  • 2 tablespoons of Cointreau or other orange liqueur
  • Medium size saucepan
  • Spoon
  • Chopping board
  • Chef knife 
I like to increase my families intake of antioxidants so instead of cooking the fruit down in water I will cook in green with passion fruit and orange juice.  Brew a 1/2 cup of the green tea.

Let the tea seep for 4 minutes then pour the tea into the saucepan.  Then add the orange juice.  Set the saucepan on the burner and heat to simmer. While the liquid is heating up you would rinse the fresh cranberries with cold water.

Check the cranberries by removing any that are bruised. Add your cranberries to the pan and increase the heat to medium-high

Remove the skin from grapefruit, tangerines and apples. Remove the seeds before chopping.  Add this fruit to the saucepan.

Bring the compote to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook for an additional 10 minutes.  Stir so that the fruit does not stick to the bottom of the pan.

Add the sugar and the Cointreau or other orange liqueur and stir.  Set the heat on simmer and cook 10 more minutes. Remove from the heat and cool before covering for refrigerate storage.

Here is another  recipe for cranberry relish:

Cranberries contain antioxidants that are beneficial for overall health.  The phytonutrients are naturally derived from the plant and are beneficial for the treatment of urinary tract infection and will inhibit the bacteria found in gum disease, heart disease cancer and stomach ulcers.  Increasing your intake of cranberries will be a step in the right direction for preventing many diseases.