DIY – Fall Basket Centerpiece

Fall is upon us, and for all of my fellow crafters/decorators out there, it’s go time!  Now is the perfect time to get thinking about all of those fun fall crafts you want to get started on.

The other day my Grandma asked me to help her with a project consisting of finding purpose for some of her Longaberger baskets.  She had three coordinating octagon baskets in different sizes.

She found herself inspired by this arrangement:

BHG – Bountiful Fall Baskets

 

By all means this is a gorgeous arrangment most definitely.  However, this arrangement called for real oranges and kumquats.  Gram wasn’t too keen on putting perishables in it, instead she wanted to go artificial.

Of course shopping for all of the supplies was a grand old time.  Gram let me find the goodies, but she has a great eye so I made sure she agreed with my decisions.  Considering this was going on her table once we were finished.

We found two different kinds of artificial greens, a combo bag of pinecones and acorns, and some faux mini pumpkins to use in place of the oranges.

 

DIY Fall Basket Centerpiece

What You Need:

  • 10 inch octagon or round basket
  • 8 inch octagon or round basket
  • 6 inch octagon or round basket
  • Floral foam (enough to fill every basket)
  • Floral wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Glue gun
  • Artificial mini pumpkins
  • Two types of faux greenery
  • Pinecones
  • Acorns (preferably with wire ends)
  • Small pillar candle
  1. Start by cutting your floral foam and arranging it to fill each of your three baskets.  (Note: this doesn’t have to be perfect or pretty as it will be covered up by your florals)
  2. Once your foam fills your basket, cut a circular piece about a half inch high which is what each of your baskets will be propped up on.
  3. Stack your baskets and arrange them and level them out as needed.
  4. Trim your top basket floral foam to allow your candle to fit snugly.
  5. Start trimming your greenery alternating long and short pieces to fill out your basket layers.  Use both types of greenery to allow for dimension.
  6. Fill the baskets with pinecones, acorns, and mini pumpkins.  Use the floral wire if you’d like these items secured in your floral foam.
  7. Place your beautiful creation on your desired location of choice, and admire!

 

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A dozen things to do in Austin, TX with kids!

A dozen things to do in Austin, TX with kids!

When we vacation, I’m into research and prepping.  It’s a great way to familiarize yourself with attractions when you are counting down the days ’til you take off.

Here’s the thing, no matter how many kid friendly articles I read featuring this stop and that stop for the littles, I was PLEASANTLY surprised at how truly accommodating it is for them.

When I think of Austin I think of food trucks, bars o’plenty, culture for days, and obviously it’s overall notoriety for being “weird”.  It definitely was all of those things…but then throw in the kid friendly environment and it’s a winner for the whole family.

There are literally loads of places to experience with the kids, which makes a family trip all the better when everyone can have fun.

Here’s some great noteworthy stops we personally experienced:

  1. The Thinkery – A wonderful children’s museum with exhibits for toddlers to teens.  This place was so clean and modern and just downright wonderful.  From farm exhibits to water play to the amazing outdoor playground, you can’t beat it.  Price per person is reasonable @ $10.00 for admission, children 2 and under – free.
  2. Toy Joy – A super colorful and quirky toy shop located in downtown Austin.  My kids are big into rare and unique toys, this place definitely fit the bill.  You’ll find a little bit of everything there from: new and popular toys, to the retro stuff, and a plethora of out of country faves like Sanrio.  The staff is also incredibly friendly and relaxed, which makes for a really fun time in such a cool environment.
  3. Mt. Playmore – My kids love the idea of an indoor play center where they can kick their shoes off and run around like crazies.  It did rain while we were in Texas so indoor fun was in order.  This place truly has the biggest playscape I’ve ever seen, keeping with the “everything’s bigger in Texas” theme.  My kids absolutely loved it here, and I loved the cleanliness and how well kept it was.  When they weren’t climbing, they were playing the arcade games or grabbing a bite at their little restaurant.  There was also a toddler area with soft toys and ride-ons which was really great for our 23 month old.
  4. Zilker Park – You can literally spend the whole day here exploring the different areas.  It’s best to familiarize yourself with the map, we had sort of a difficult navigating around.  However this place is equipped is a great park where you’ll find festivals, live music, a spring you can swim in, a playground for the kids, botanical gardens, nature center, and the list goes on…
  5. The Picnic (Food Truck Park) – If visiting Austin taught me anything, it showed me how to eat and try the unusual.  I was so excited to literally have a cool and unique food option around every corner (no hangry debates necessary).  If you into a food truck experience in one of the coolest foodie cities in the U.S., check this place out.  Food ranges from Italian to Greek to the sweetest little cupcake place, something for even the pickiest of people.  It was sprinkling when we traveled, but that didn’t stop us, the picnic tables have a rain proof covering atop to keep your heads dry and bellies full! 
  6. Cow Tipping Creamery –  While the buzz is all about Amy’s Ice Cream in Austin, I truly feel like this place is underrated.  We did try Amy’s but we must have missed the awe factor.  I feel like CTC is the way to go.  I’m not an ice cream expert, but I do dabble…quite…frequently.  This one gets my vote!  If you are as into S’mores as I, their “Gimme S’more” Stacker (sundae) is for you.

    Yummy CTC Banana Split
  7. Cathedral of Junk – Take a stroll through an attraction that make you understand Austin’s weird side.  You’ll find a little bit of everything to make up this huge sculpture: bikes, toys, guitars, recyclables, building materials, signs, car parts.  You’ll want to all ahead and make an appointment, but it’s worth fitting into your schedule.  The owner does require a small donation ($10 or so) to take a tour of his masterpiece, but that’s a small price for what you will take away from this place after visiting.
  8. South Congress Bridge Bats – Check out the nightly display as the South Congress bats take flight.  This usually occurs every summer night from 8 – 9p.m. and can last anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour.  Who can resist a completely batty story (I couldn’t resist) to tell their friends when they return home?
  9. Dino Park – These incredibly realistic dinosaurs will have you thinking you traveled back to the prehistoric days.  This unique outdoor museum features static statues ranging from the smallest to largest Dinosaurs situated amongst their habitats.  This is not only a fun and mesmerizing experience for the little ones, but they will even learn a little something.
  10. South Congress Ave (SoCo) – Great little strip of shops, galleries, and yummy treats that’ll have you in and out exploring for hours.  One of my husbands favorite beard guy gets his coffee on this part of town, so you might even run into someone you consider a celebrity.
  11. Urban Air Trampoline Park – This place is ideal when the kids need to go jump off some of energy for the afternoon.  My toddler and 7 year old had a ball jumping to their hearts content.  And yes, us adults found ourselves partaking in some friendly jumping contests as well.  There are dodgeball arena’s, free jump areas with wall-to-wall trampolines, foam pits, toddler jump, slam dunk areas, and even an urban warrior course…need I say more?
  12. Hat Creek Burger Company – If you are new to visiting Texas, you may have never heard of this burger joint before.  This is a great go-to if you’re looking for food the kids are familiar with a different face.  All of their locations offer outdoor playscape for the kids, so you can continue to grub down while they go wild.  It offers a great incentive for the kids to eat well…and did I mention they offer beer?  It’s a win, win.
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Cookie Dough Frosting

Cookie Dough Frosting

No cupcakes necessary really, you can eat this up by the spoonful!

We basically love cupcakes in our household.  There’s always a birthday or party or some sort of occasion where cupcakes find themselves almost a permanent location on the counter.

However, in this case, it wasn’t about the cupcake…it was all about this amazing cookie dough frosting.

I didn’t like the idea of a cream cheese based frosting, I could basically taste the cream cheese just thinking about it.  I was really looking for something more…authentic!  Being able to taste the guilt makes a big difference to me. 🙂

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How to make this Yummy Cookie Dough Frosting:

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup (2 Sticks) butter, at room temp.
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown Sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 16 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Combine butter and brown sugar in a large bowl and use mixer on medium speed, beating until smooth and creamy.
  2. Reduce speed to low and add in flour, vanilla extract, and salt and mix until combined.
  3. Slowly add the milk by tablespoon full, continue mixing until desired consistency.  You may choose to use a little less or a little more milk depending on how thick you prefer your frosting.
  4. Lastly, add in your chocolate chips and fold them into your frosting by hand.

 

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This one is a real winner in my book!  Put it on a cupcake, use it as a dip, or just eat it by the spoon…you can’t go wrong however you choose to devour this delicious frosting.

My kids especially loved it, they are really big on frosting.  Generally the cupcake wrapping doesn’t even come off, they eat the tops and move onto their next cupcake before even finishing the first.

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