A Craft Fair Weekend

It’s been ages since I’ve been to an actual craft fair, so I was pretty excited to go to two last weekend! So excited, even a little rain on Saturday couldn’t keep me away from the first one I attended.

boots and leavesEver since starting my own candle company where I hand make my candles, I have such an appreciation for artisans and would love to show you some of the items that I saw. Enjoy!

soapHandmade soap is always fun to see. I love smelling the different scents and seeing their packaging choices. I regret not getting a bar from this vendor!

balloonThese balloons were by far the cutest thing I saw at the entire fair. Wouldn’t it go great in a babies room? That’s one to add to the idea board for our future kiddos for sure! The vendor was very kind and took the plastic off so I could get a picture.bottlesI’ve noticed it’s gotten quite popular to make a wine or liquor glass into a light fixture. I thought these were rather fun looking with the added glitter.

IMG_3533Just proof I got my apple cider (you know I can’t resist…) and breaded shrimp because the vendor didn’t take plastic for items under $5. Next year I’ll remember to bring cash. I’m so out of practice with having cash on me!

craft fair outfitThat burgundy sweater was calling my name for weeks! The rain made the weather just cool enough to wear it and stay warm. My apple cider also did a great job keeping my cozy. I loved it!

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IMG_3539Festive decor are my absolute favorite items to look for at a craft fair by far.

IMG_3541…Because Pumpkin Funnel Cakes…Are you serious?!? This is a thing?!?

tea pocket

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razorsThat’s a pretty fancy razor you’ve got there…

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IMG_3548It must be because of my childhood, but I love the wooden holiday decorations the best. I’m pretty sure one day I’ll bring something like this into my own home for my kids to grow up with as well.

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LavenderYou wouldn’t believe the amount of lavender wafting out of this tent. It was so strong (but in a good way) that as soon as I stood under the tent I felt relaxed and calm and ready to drift away into a far off fantasy land.

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IMG_3574The Bag Piper…He kept staring me down as I tried to take his picture…Also, note the guy on the left with the shades and the fur coat. I loved him! He was totally in his own element. Like an Andy Warhol or something… I wanted to take a picture of just him but decided that would be just too creepy.

IMG_3572This upside down pumpkin was just begging for it’s picture to be taken, let’s be honest…

Have a great weekend!

Chicken Soup | Using Rotisserie Chicken

Chicken Soup Using Rotisserie ChickenI remember getting this recipe from my mom sitting in a booth at a pizza shop, jotting down the ingredients on some scrap paper. It was my favorite soup she made and had the best comforting effects on a cold night. She did it mostly by feel (and I do a little of the same) but gave me the directions anyway, from memory no less.

The first time I made chicken soup, it made me feel like a real grown up. The first time I tasted it, I marveled how it tasted¬†just like Mom’s. Now the recipe is safely written on a recipe card nestled in my recipe box. And today I’m sharing it with you! The best (and easiest) part is that you get use a short cut and use rotisserie chicken! But if you want to go and make your own, I won’t stop you (Wonder Woman Status right there…).

Chicken Soup

What You’ll Need:

  • rotisserie chicken, cut
  • carrots (about 9 whole ones, or a bag of the the baby carrots)
  • 4-5 boxes of chicken stock (we use 4 but for a bigger family you may want to use 5)
  • organic red potatoes (I didn’t measure this, but at least 10 bigger ones or eye ball it)
  • 1 medium white onion, cut
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp – 1 tsp basil
  • 8 bullion cubes

The first thing you’ll need to do is cut up the potatoes, carrots, and onion.

Potatos for chicken soup

carrots

IMG_3468I just learned recently that orange is a newer color for the carrot. Further reading on this says that it started in about the 17th century when farmers grew it for political purposes (the House of Orange). Apparently it stuck since most of us use and have access to the orange carrot, but before then it was most common to see them as purple, red, yellow, and even white. When I saw at my local grocery store that they had a bag that included yellow and purple I had to try it! If you’re wondering if there are any differences than the orange carrot, I’d have to say that the purple carrot has a stronger “earthy” scent and taste and may have helped turn the chicken stock a darker color. Other than that, they tasted just like any carrot!

IMG_3470Once you’ve cut up your veggies, fill the pot with the chicken stock. Add garlic salt, onion powder, and bullion. Boil until veggies are half way soft.

chickenAfter your veggies are half way soft, then you can add your chicken. While you’re waiting for your veggies, this is a great time to break apart that chicken into pieces to throw into your soup when the veggies are ready. Next, you’ll add your basil and cook on medium heat for 45 minutes. It takes time but it’s so worth it in the end!

Chicken Soup (2)This is the best soup on dreary days and of course tastes even better the longer you let it sit. I always love this on Day 2 after making it.

If you make this, let me know how you enjoy it!

Stay cozy, my peeps!

Waterford Fall Festival

I remember going to this festival with my family as a kid once, and I remember it was such a new experience for us since we didn’t typically do Fall festivals back then. I believe that’s where I first tried apple cider, even! We made such warm memories of that time that I knew once I moved back in to the area a while ago, I had to experience it as an adult.¬† So I was pretty excited when David and I got to go with friends this weekend!

Waterford is definitely one of the cutest towns I’ve ever seen and it seems to take you back in time. During the Fall festival they bring in artisans of all kinds (seriously, if it wasn’t for the price tag on their homemade goods, I could walk away with a truck load!), food vendors, music, and even do a Civil War reenactment.

The Parking FieldFor starters, the ride out is beautiful with those rolling hills and mountainous views. They directed us to one of those hills to park and the view is just gorgeous and open.

Barn in The Parking FieldOnce we crossed the street and headed towards the area where a few vendors were set up (in our attempt to find food), I couldn’t help but get excited and start snapping pictures. One artisan who was busily working away in front of his tent on his next project, put his hand up and said kindly “no pictures, please”. Darn. His work was of beautiful paintings on wood.

pumpkinsThere were so many vendors with pumpkin and Halloween decorations! This just made it more festive for me and got me excited every time I saw one. You can’t have a Fall festival without some pumpkins! And Apple Cider, but we’ll get to that later…

cookie cutters

wreathsWay back when I was a kid, I remember my mom going to craft fairs, and these homemade wreaths always make me think of her for some reason. They bring back that cozy feeling I had when I was a kid during this time of year.

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Red Coats

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Taco FritoWhen we did find food, it was Hot Dogs, some type of “taco” in a Frito’s bag with sour cream, salsa, and cheese, lemonade, and a hot chocolate to warm us up a bit (it was just enough breezy to feel a slight chill the first hour we were there).

Brandie and David on A Hay Stack

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Church

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IMG_3398There are so many historical homes in Waterford (some of which you can tour during the fair), and a good handful were for sale. My thinking was we’ll take them! Any of them!

IMG_3399This colorful rooster caught my eye while walking by one of the homes. I may have jumped up on someone’s front porch, I’m acutally not entirely sure…

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Jail

IMG_3405I’m so glad I caught this while walking by! Who doesn’t love A Christmas Story? That leg lamp is just too classic…

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IMG_3409While at the festival, David and I each had our own food agenda. His was to find Funnel Cake after seeing passerby’s with them (“What? Funnel Cake?!? Where’d they get that?!”), and mine was to find Apple Cider (…because of course…). I can gladly say that both missions were successful! The Apple Cider came from a “fresh foods” kind of truck and it was seriously the best cider I’ve probably ever had, tasting like it was freshly pressed.

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IMG_3411Walking through a field of vendors, this caught my attention in front of a tent that was selling herbs. What about this looks so tasty to me? Isn’t that weird? I guess it reminds me somewhat of a nice chicken soup and broth (which I should be sharing soon!).

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IMG_3416After walking around a bit, we couldn’t miss the Civil War reenactment. Considering that I’ve never really seen a reenactment before, I thought it was pretty cool!

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Did any of you go a festival this weekend? I think there’s a few more to look forward to!

Fall on, my peeps!

 

Welcome Fall Party

If having a Welcome Fall party wasn’t a thing, this year I certainly made it one! I’ve been wanting to throw a little shindig like this for ages and I’m so thankful for my in-laws for lending me their space to do it!

This is another one of those posts where the pictures did not come out as well as I wanted and I didn’t get the shots that I wanted, mainly because by the time everything was laid out, guests had arrived and my mind was in fifty million different places making sure everything was ready and in place (I’m learning that’s probably always the case when throwing a party). And no one really gets it when you’re taking pictures of food for your blog, so I tried to snap some pretty quickly with hardly no questions asked or weird looks!

food break down for Welcome Fall PartyWhen inviting my guests, I requested everyone bring their favorite Fall inspired dish. Here’s a list of the things that I would be making:

IMG_3339My Mother-in-law made her famous Apples and Sausage, the hubby made Chicken Bacon Wraps (which were gone pretty quickly). We had a ton of desserts including Apple fritter muffins, pumpkin pie with a pecan topping, and a walnut pie. My Father-in-law made sure we had some pumpkin beer on hand and got us some Angry Orchard apple beer/hard cider as well (yum!). It turned out to truly be a feast and we had such a great time just spending time catching up with friends.

mulling spicesFor the mulled wine and cider, I was able to get mulling spices from a local spice market that included a bag to put them in, and then my Mother-in-law had mulling spices on hand from Williams-Sonoma. The mulling mix that I got at the spice market had Anise added in, which I took out since I don’t like licorice flavors. The balance of Cinnamon, Clove, and All Spice was perfect!

*By the way, if you ever go into a grocery store asking someone where their mulling spices are, be prepared for strange looks. Is this not a thing? No one knew what I was even saying! “What spices? Melon spices?” NO. That’s not it, never mind, you clearly don’t have what I’m looking for.

mulled wine and ciderI kept the mulled wine on the stove in the pot on simmer since it’s best served warm and had everyone dish out their own in a wine glass. The majority of it was gone by the end of the night! I’m so glad they liked it!

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IMG_3342These quilted mason jars were a must to enjoy our mulled cider! I blame Pinterest for this inspiration, including the paper straws (that I got for $1.50 at Michaels!). Luckily, I already had these jars on hand from a previous project, so I was very glad to use them and turn them into drinking glasses.

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autumn plates and cutleryAnd let’s not forget the Fall themed plates, cups, and cutlery I scoured around for! The plates were a great (and fair priced) find at Michael’s, and the rest were found at a party store. You have no idea how happy I was to find Fall themed paper plates and napkins! It just makes it more fun and festive for me, which I want to extend to my guests.

coxcomb 2If you saw the flowers in the background of those pictures, it’s these velvet looking flowers called coxcomb! I had never seen them before, but pretty much had to pick these up for the party. How cool are these?

coxcombIt was so much fun to get creative and put it all together. Hopefully we can do this again in years to come!

 

Route 11 Potato Chip Factory

Route 11 Chip FactoryLast weekend after we visited the Shenandoah Caverns, we went to the Route 11 potato chip factory. Personally, I was excited because I haven’t been to a potato factory before and I planned on buying some awesome chips.

When you go through the red door, you enter a room where you can sample the chip flavors and then pick which ones to buy. Then, separated by glass, you can peak into just a few rooms of the factory and watch a little bit of the process including picking out the bad chips and then packaging. Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to take pictures inside of the process, but stole a few others.

Route 11

Route 11 is cooking

Route 11 canvas

Route 11 signage

Route 11 chipsThis may have been a short post with not a whole lot to show, but wanted to share anyway because these chips are so good! Nice, crisp, and imperfect – the way a chip should be! Would you believe this haul is already gone?

Autumn Mug Giveaway (closed)

Autumn Mug GiveawayI’ve realized that I’ve only done one other giveaway, and that was to celebrate one whole year as a blogger. That was almost a two years ago! How time flies…

Today, I wanted to share with my readers my love for a mug…and Autumn! A few weeks ago, I posted a picture of my mug (shown above) and decided to get the same one for my readers (twinsies!). I love how cute, cozy, and happy the colors are and want to pass that on to one of you!

Giveaway Rules:

  • be a follower on my twitter
  • be a follower on my instagram
  • comment on this post about your favorite part of Fall
  • make sure to be a subscriber

I’ll pick a winner a week from today. And not to discriminate my international readers (love you all), but the giveaway is U.S. only.

Good luck!

Fall Is Near, My Dear!

Tomorrow is the official day of Autumn! I’m pretty excited that this is happening officially. Because everyone knows I’ve been prepping for it for weeks!

The September IssueLet’s start with the September issue of Vogue and Marie Claire. I’ll be honest, I haven’t looked into the pages of a glossy magazine in ages, but by the time these landed for free in my office, knowing no one else would be interested in seeing such thick pages filled with the next inspirational Fall outfit or makeup, it was mine. Seriously, the Vogue issue is like a dictionary.

M&M'sI enjoyed all too much finding these maroon, orange, and gold M&M’s and candy corn to go along with my upcoming Welcome Fall get-together. I love festive touches and the colors are perfect for Fall.

Fall Planner FunI spotted these fun October inspired sticky notes at Target for $1!

BBW CandlesLast year was the first year I had ever bought Bath and Body Works candles, and I knew that once they went on sale for 2 for $24 (because there’s no way I’m paying full price for these things!) I had to add these ones to my collection this year.

Fields of GoldAlmost harvest time for this corn!

CandyIndian corn, Candy Corn, and M&M’s all displayed colorfully in flat 8oz mason jars. I can’t wait to eat them at the party!

owl mugPretty much fell in love with this owl mug.

shoesMaroon or “wine” colored anything is my color of the season.

car scentsLook at the gorgeous designs for the Yankee Candle Car Jars! This reminds me that it’s time to open up that Autumn Wreath…My car is going to smell awesome!CostumesCostumes! Even though I haven’t dressed up for anything in ages, it’s still fun to see this wall of costumes where kids can pick and imagine what they want to be for Halloween. I remember my mom taking us in the days I was still trick-or-treating and how fun it was.

Candy cornOkay, one more picture of candy corn. Because I couldn’t resist. I’m going to blame my recent obsession for candy corn on my Welcome Fall Party. And then this will be done, I promise.

Happy Fall, ya’ll!

Shenandoah Caverns

Shenandoah CavernsYesterday morning we headed out the door around 7:30 to start our venture into the Shenandoah Valley. As we drove, we were surrounded by early morning sunlight and fog, which made me wish I had a better camera because the views as we left the city behind and watched as the land became more rural and mountains outstretched before us was simply stunning. I managed to snag a few pictures anyway on my phone and I’m so glad I did. Of course the quality does not do it justice. We did bring our digital camera and found a lot of the pictures we took ended up being blurry. Apparently it proved to be a difficult task to take pictures in a group tour setting and wait for the little green light on our camera to stop blinking and the “no shake” hand symbol to come up on the screen to get a perfect picture. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Eventually I gave up and used my phone again which actually ended up taking better pictures than the camera!

*warning – picture heavy post!

Behind the Wheel

Fields of Gold

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{notice how we both have our headphones in. Listening to music is a must on a long trip!}

Mountains and sky

moutain range

Some days it’s so refreshing to see fields spread out all around you and rolling hills that go on for days. When we pulled up to the caverns site, I soaked in every second I could, seeing the beautiful and peaceful landscape around us.

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As we were waiting for our tour guide, we took a step back in time and explored the Main St. of Yesteryear display. These were figurines that were displayed in the window of stores on Main St. during the Holiday seasons and provided entertainment for the little ones and sparked their imaginations. At times, I catch myself wishing we could go back to those simpler times and toss all of our electronics!

Main St. of Yesteryear

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Main St of yesteryear

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After the tour of Yesteryear, we spend some time looking at rocks and crystals in the gift shop awaiting our descent into the earth to see the caverns.

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{steps down into the cavern, although we used the elevator}

DSC03799{down below on the flip side}

VA Fault LineWhat was interesting to learn was that we were standing right under…a fault line (pictured above). The tour guide said that currently the fault line is inactive, but my imagination couldn’t help but run wild and think of what could happen that very moment if an earthquake occurred!

IMG_3290One of the first things we saw was a wishing well and we were all amused that people had thrown in dollar bills. Look at all the pennies on the bottom!

DSC03817Not far from the well, there was a barricaded off area, and on a rock sat a lone penny, which my niece pointed out to me. I had to take a picture of it because pennies hold a huge significance for my family (on my mom’s side), reminding us of my Aunt who passed away a while back. You can read about it on the Pennies From Heaven “Like” page I started!

DSC03820This was the grand room that started it all. Two boys playing in a field back in the early 1900’s discovered the caverns at this site, although they didn’t quite go deep enough with their candle sticks to see the room we’re standing in. Our tour guide said the boys didn’t tell anyone of their discovery for a year! What a secret to keep (not to mention a great hideaway and play area!).

IMG_3253{probably not the best picture due to lighting and whatnot, but hey – we were there!}

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{can you spot the elephant?}

IMG_3261This was a beautiful area in the caverns where you can really see the rocks glitter. People have actually gotten married at this site as well. Can you imagine the wedding pictures? Gorgeous!

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IMG_3292{They called the long thin strips bacon. Not good when you’re already hungry…}

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IMG_3295{Lovely rock from the caverns that sat outside the elevator}

Visiting the caverns was such an experience and I loved every minute of being down there with family and seeing our gorgeous earth from the inside out.

Fried Green Tomatoes | In Olive Oil

Fried Green Tomatoes 2When I was a little girl, my mom introduced me to the movie Fried Green Tomatoes. It was (and still is) one of her favorites and it quickly became one of mine as well. I’ve always wondered how those fried green tomatoes tasted and coming from a family who lives in the South, I’m still wondering how I’ve gotten by with never having this very southern dish. So when I got to pick some fresh tomatoes straight off the vine with my dad earlier in the month, we made sure to grab quite a few of those green ones so I could try it out! Now, we did wait a little too long grabbing the ingredients to make this dish and some of them began to ripen, but that didn’t stop me from frying them anyway!

Colorful TomatoesI knew that I didn’t want to fry the tomatoes in vegetable oil (personal choice) and wanted to find a recipe that called for olive oil instead. Between google and pinterest, I found a fantastic recipe that I would love to share with you! I know the season is coming to a close, so if you grow your own tomatoes or if you can get your hands on some green tomatoes, hopefully you can grab a few to try this recipe and enjoy! You can do this with red tomatoes as well, but green ones are much more sturdy to fry. Believe me on this one!

Green TomatoesOkay, first of all, how gorgeous are these tomatoes? I loved when I cut into the ones that were beginning to ripen and could see some of the red beginning to spread throughout. So beautiful. Never thought I’d think that about a tomato, but there you have it!

What You’ll Need:

  • tomatoes for fryin’, cut thin
  • 1 tsp salt (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup corn meal
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • olive oil

Fried Tomato IngredientsCombine the corn meal and flour. Then season your tomatoes with the salt and pepper. Heat a large pan over medium heat. Pour your olive oil in the pan (the recipe suggests 1/3 cup for a 12 inch pan). Coat (or “dust” as the recipe says…yeah right…) your tomatoes with the cornmeal and flour mixture and lay into the pan. Do not crowd the tomatoes. Cook 3-4 minutes on each side or until well browned. Add more oil if needed (I did and fried them in batches, as well). Place on a paper towel for draining. Sprinkle with extra salt (I did).

Salt and pepper tomatoes

Flour and Cornmeal

Frying Green Tomatoes

Fried Red TomatoesThis recipe was so much fun to do, not to mention super easy and quick! I think my first batch turned out slightly over done, but they still tasted great! If you’ve never had them before, the best way I can describe them is like eating a french fry covered in ketchup.

I hope I can get my hands on some more green tomatoes next year and make this again. It’s too yummy not to!

Fried Green TomatoesTowanda!