Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Fun Festive Fall Ideas

I'll give you a second to recover from the shock of seeing TWO POSTS in one day.

Moving along now...

I read your blogs and I know what creative people you are. Whether it's cooking, crafting, entertaining, you name it - I have a lot of talented bloggy (and non bloggy) friends out there. I need your help! For the past three years Matt and I have hosted an event called Fall Fest - it's basically a fun night to get together with a bunch of friends and basically tailgate in our backyard. We have tons of food, music, a fire pit to roast s'mores or cook hotdogs, hot cider and cold adult beverages (oooh - typing that I just imagined how yummy it would be to have some warm spiced wine/punch as well). Everyone is encouraged to bring their favorite fall dish to share and I usually make two or three things because the thought that there might not be enough real food makes me get all twitchy.

Last year I made a a big batch of a simple crock pot roast beef that we used for sandwiches as well as a big batch of my favorite
corn chowder. I did some other easy things like spiced cider and mac-n-cheese for the kids and I plan on doing those again this year. But for some reason it goes against my nature to just make the same stuff two years in a row. It would be easy and I might end up doing it, but I am looking for some good ideas from you guys. I like the idea of hearty things and I don't want to have two soups because that gets hard logistically (you can manage one soup bowl and a plate of other food, but two soup bowls and a plate? that's pushing it!). I love the corn chowder so much that there's a good chance I'll make it again. Unless you guys inspire me that much! Something on the grill is also an option so please don't feel limited to crock pot ideas. Put on your thinking caps and send me some suggestions. A full recipe isn't needed - if you sell it enough in the comments I'll hunt you down to get the details.

I also am going to make a hot spinach artichoke dip served with warmed pita slices. Mmmmmm...I might have to make a practice batch of that ahead of time!

Second way I need help. I want do some type of table decoration - something simple and not too time consuming. I like the idea of using mini pumpkins, but obviously there has to be more than just plopping a mini pumpkin down on a (round) table. I am not super crafty - I have a tendency to get set on an idea that ends up taking forever and I drive Matt crazy with it, because I can't stop once I've started. I know some of you are more crafty in this way than others (you know who you are -both ways!) - I want ideas from all levels of craftiness. The ambitious to the simple - or maybe something that looks ambitious but is really simple. I went
HERE and saw a few cute ideas. If you have a second, check them out and let me know what you think.

I'll give you the rest of the week to think and come up with some great recipes and ideas! And who knows I may never use them because there's always the chance it will rain and we'll have to postpone/cancel/move indoors - who knows!

Some I have to pass along...if you're in need of a laugh, check out Angie's blog to read the top ten winners of her funny kid story contest. I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes - probably because ALL of them hit waaaay to close to home. Angie's blog is a beautiful balance of laughter and sorrow and hopefully you'll be able to check out more than just the most recent post. Seriously - head back to January and start reading her story. Her honesty throughout her family's heartbreaking ordeal is so moving and your faith will be stretched and strengthened and challenged just by reading. If you're not in the mood for all that though, at least go check out today's post!


renee said...

ahhhhhhh i love fall decorating!!! you definitely just made me want to fly home JUST for fall fest :) good job megs.

loved your corn chowder, and you should definitely make that again. other ideas are a pot roast cooked with apples (i have that recipe somewhere but i'm sure you could find some good ones online), bbq beef sandwhiches (similar to the roast beef, just a little different), i absolutely love a beef stew recipe i use in the crock pot - with potatoes, carrots, celery, onion.... i also absolutely love this turkey breast i make in the crock pot that is SO easy and it's so unbelievably flavorful - with whole berry cranberry sauce in it, O.J, dry onion soup mix, salt and pepper (EASY!).....

for decorating, you could get little pumpkins (the white ones are beautiful!) and carve them out (just a little for the tiny ones) and put a tea light candle in them so they "glow".... tie a bunch of wheat together with a wide ribbon (cheap and makes great centerpieces - molly used them for her fall wedding on the tables so i have pics), spray paint some leaves gold and scatter them, mums of course - maybe even planted in some bigger hallowed out pumpkins (more time consuming though), some hay bales for seating....
okay, i could probably think of more, but i'll leave some room for others to respond! sorry i'm rambling! i should have just called you :) nevertheless, looking forward to seeing what you do - it will look gorgeous and it will be so fun! wish i could be there! love you.

Crafty P said...

I have 2 quick ideas;

one that italian beef recipe (I think I told you about it) is FAB-U-LOUS and I highly recommend it. I'm sure you could get a decent amt of meat for a good price at Wal-mart or Sam's club.

Second. Table decoration... I'll email you a picture, but I saw a VERY SIMPLE but elegant looking pumpkin decoration using some ribbon and pictures. Have each family bring a favorite fall picture and you'll attach it to the pumpkin through the ribbon. think of those bulletin boards that have the criss/cross ribbons that you can just slide reminders/photos in. Like I said, I'll hunt it down and email you a picture. This craft would only necessitate you getting some nice size pumpins and some ribbon. the guests could supply the photos!
As an added bonus you could have a game in which you guess the pumpkin's weight (for each pumpkin) and the winners could take home that pumpkin as the prize!

I have a fall harvest popcorn recipe on my blog as well- just search my blog in the upper left hand corner.

gotta run....

Anonymous said...

Just a suggestion for edible easy decorations....Find the little sugar pumpkins. You know, the ones that compliment candy corn? .... Get several bags of those and get some type of small container, like a small round fish bowl, or a small flower base/bowl. Fill the clear container with the pumpkins (and if you wanted to alternate, you could do candycorns in other containers on the table). Then, you have a festive centerpiece that also serves as a snack.

Rebecca said...

Megan, Megan, Megan....

I have nothing.

It's hard being uncrafty in a world of craftiness.

But the good news is that I'm getting help. I started a support group for non-crafters.

We participate in simple activities like coloring in a coloring book. At our last meeting there were several tears shed when almost everyone stayed in the lines. Ha, ha, ha.

But your fall fest sounds like so much fun. I'm upset I don't know you well enough to be invited not to mention I don't live close enough either.

Good luck...I'm sure with all these other great ideas and your own combined it will be fabulous.

Teri said...

Megan - I know that someone mentioned carving out a pumpkin and planting flowers inside, can actually just open up a pumpkin, scoop out enough of the seeds that you can fit the stems down inside & just put in some mums that you've clipped off of the plant. It's a little bit less of a fuss since you don't have to mess with the whole planting-in-dirt part. The "pumpkin guts" keep the flowers moist enough that you don't have to add extra water. This is how we decorated for my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary party 2 years ago. :)

Jenn said...

Thanks for sharing Angie's blog link. I couldn't stop reading--it is amazing that they could go through so much yet their faith remains so strong. What an impactful testimony to share. She gave me so much to think about--listening to such a genuine expression of life's trials and simple joys..amazing. thanks for sharing--I really enjoyed Selah before but I have a whole new appreciation for their music!

Courtney said...

Oh I LOVE the idea of a fall fest party! I think I'm going to host my own! I'll just wait to see how yours turns out and copy all of your ideas! :)

I DO have a cute idea for a mom just made the cutest thing with mini pumpkins. She wrapped thin dotted or striped ribbon around them, and glued it down and then piled them all in a trifle dish. Then tie some ribbons around the stem of the dish. Done! (I have a picture i can find and send you...but you really can't mess it up)

Megan said...

So many great ideas! I would get set on one and then I'd see a new idea and want to do that. Who knows - maybe I'll incorporate them all. As far as food, roasts are on sale this week so I might try either bbq beef or italian beef sandwiches.
Rebecca - consider yourself invited! It's a long drive - but you can always throw up a tent in our backyard! Everyone who reads this can consider themselves invited - I think most of you are a bit far, but it's up to you! ;)
Court - if you find some pics of the pumpkins, PLEASE send them my way - I am intrigued by the idea but really CANNOT imagine attempting it without a picture!
Thanks for input - feel free to keep posting more ideas...

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