Fall Decorating on a Budget

fall decorating on a budget

Vivid colors, the rich, spicy scents, and pumpkin flavored everything… Fall is my very favorite season.  Decorating is one of my treasured pastimes all year round.  Unfortunately, I am on an extremely tight budget this fall.  We’ve just had so many circumstances lately that are squeezing our budget dry.  I was a little bummed about it and really wasn’t even in the decorating mood.  I put it off and then reluctantly asked my sweet husband to get the decorations from the attic.  I started going through the boxes, seeing the lovely colors, and dreaming about the romantic and lovely aspects of fall.  I decided to make the best of it and see what I could do with what I have.

One of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to decorate on a budget is to use the foods of the season.  Most of us have glass bowls or dishes collecting dust in our cabinets. Displaying some shiny, red apples or other fall fruits on your counter is a beautiful way to decorate for fall.  The pops of color through the shiny glass add to the charm of your home, and I find it also reminds my kiddos to grab some fruit for snack time.

fall apples

It’s always a lovely idea to incorporate God’s creation by bringing the outdoord into your home.  I purchased a distressed wooden box from Hobby Lobby.  I painted some special and meaningful words on the outside.  It’s my go to decor for pretty much any season.  I just change the contents to items related to the season or holiday.  I had some old orange, yellow, and eggplant colored silk flowers, so I arranged them in the box with some burlap.  You could use real or silk flowers.  You could use real flowers from your yard, pinecones, etc.

fall box 2

Discount stores like Dollar Tree are great because they carry things like silk flowers and wired ribbon.  This fall printed wire ribbon adds a lovely touch to my dining room chairs.

fall bow

I couldn’t think of a tablescape for the dining room.  I usually struggle with the dining room trying to find a balance between casual and formal.  I like it to be big and bold, but sometimes less really is more and in this case that worked to my advantage.  I had a burlap runner and  silk fall garland, which I decided to use it to drape down the center of the table.  My sweet son and I searched the backyard for pinecones.  Magnolia leaves are beautiful all year long, so I gathered groups of leaves and filled in around the garland.   You could make your own all garland by stringing leaves and other natural items together.fall tablescape 2

fall tablescape

I already had some old rings of silk flowers most people use around hurricanes.  I decided to simply put them around my two wall candle sconces on either side of our window.

fall candle sconce

For decorating the outdoor of our home, I simply used the same fall garland I’ve had for years.  I also revamped an old grapevine wreath by adding silk flowers from the dollar store.

fall porch Fall Porch fall decorating on a budget www.ruckusandrubies.com

I have an old wooden crate that I use for all sorts of things.  I just turned it over and arranged some old artificial pumpkins.  You could use real pumpkins.  I’d prefer real, but I used artificial in keeping with our budget.

fall pumpkins 2

I kept my summer flowers on display as well.  I think they pair nicely with the fall colors. This also keeps my decorating costs low.

You don’t have to always use items for their intended purpose.  Get creative, be frugal, re-purpose, and decorate your lovely home for fall on a budget!

Peaches and Cream Oatmeal

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes find my Mondays lacking a little cheer and excitement.  My new recipe has me so thrilled that I am sharing my Tasteful Tuesday post a day early!!  I’m sharing this delicious oatmeal recipe with my sweet homemaking friends over at Raising Homemakers.  Drop by there for a visit and for the yummy recipe!

Peaches and Cream Oatmeal recipe shared on www.raisinghomemakers.com, www.ruckusandrubies.com

 

5 Fall Essentials – Fashionable Friday

5 Fall Essentials - Happy Fall Y'all! www.ruckusandrubies.com

On this Fashionable Friday, I thought I’d share with you 5 fall essentials.  This is a list of 5 of my favorite things I just simply cannot live without during this fall season!

 

1. 

Lauren Conrad Riding Boots – These are my very favorite pair of fall shoes! They are comfortable, stylish, and practical.  These are absolutely essential to any fall wardrobe!  They can be worn at work with your favorite skirt or at play when you go out on the town on Friday night.

2.  

12 mm 14k Gold Ball Earrings with hooks – These earrings are one of my very favorite classic pieces of jewelry and can be worn dressy or casual.  I love these because they are easy to see whether your hair is up or down. They add a touch of elegance to any outfit.

3. 

I simply LOVE my red wool coat.  It adds a dramatic pop of color.  Every girl needs red accessories!

4. 

This lovely, spicy, floral scent has been around a while, but it is still one of my favorites.  I receive loads of positive comments when I wear it.  It smells SO very good!

5.   

I simply CANNOT live without Trim Healthy Mama. My life is changed for the better!  I’ll never go back to eating junk.  I can’t wait to try some of these new recipes and take them to all of the upcoming holiday events.
If you are wondering where to get some of these fall essentials, simply click on the picture to see where you can find them.  Happy Fall, y’all!

Football Party Food

 

Well, it’s our favorite time of year again.  Time for some college football!  I am a die-hard USC Gamecock fan, but I have to admit I am a huge fan of football party food!!

You may think it’s difficult to eat healthy during the football season, but it’s really pretty simple.  As you may know, I am a Trim Healthy Mama.  I’ve lost 40  pounds on the plan.  I’ve worked hard, and I am not about to let football season spoil all of my hard work!

This Saturday, we had a delicious football party spread with boneless chicken wings, stuffed sweet peppers, veggies and dip, cashews, and ice cream sandwiches.  All of these recipes were sugar free, low carb, and made with clean, whole foods.

Spicy Parmesan Boneless Chicken Wings

Spicy Parmesan Boneless Chicken WIngs Football Party Food THM S #trimhealthymama #glutenfree www.ruckusandrubies.com

1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 tbsp olive oil

Cut chicken into bite-sized wing-like pieces.  In a large gallon storage bag, mix seasonings, parmesan cheese and oil.  Add the chicken pieces to the bag and seal tightly.  Shake and rub chicken and seasoning picture together from the outside of the bag.  Lay chicken on parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake on 375 for 20 minutes.

Veggie Dip

Football Party Food Veggie Dip THM S #trimhealthymama #glutenfree www.ruckusandrubies.com

16 oz sour cream

2 tbsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

2 tbsp dried chives

salt and pepper to taste

Stir all of the seasonings into sour cream until mixed well.  Serve with low carb veggies (stay away from carrots and limit tomatoes to keep this a THM S), or Trim Healthy Mama Just Like Wheat Thins crackers page 396 in the cookbook.  These crackers are delicious, low carb, and gluten free!

Stuffed Sweet Peppers

Stuffed Sweet Peppers Football Party Food THM S #trimhealthymama #glutenfree www.ruckusandrubies.com

4 oz cream cheese

garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste

1/8 cup Parmesan cheese

Simply cut peppers from top or lengthwise (My sweet youngest daughter made this dish for me.  I would have cut the peppers in half lengthwise and stuffed them but her method actually worked better because the cheese stayed in the peppers instead of sliding out of the sides.)  Mix ingredients and stuff peppers.  You can eat them raw or you can roast them in the oven on 375 for 8-10 minutes.

Ice Cream Sandwiches

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream THM variation Delicious football party food

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream (Make this recipe or buy a carton of Breyer’s Carb Smart if you are not a purist because it contains Splenda.  I stay away from Splenda so we had homemade.)

football party food www.ruckusandrubies.com Mrs. Criddles Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies www.mrscriddleskitchen.com

Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies from Mrs. Criddle’s Kitchen

Both of these recipes take no time to make, especially the ice cream.  Simply sandwich that yummy ice cream between two cookies.  You can wrap in wax paper and freeze ahead of time or just make them on the spot during half time like we did!  Sorry I didn’t get a picture of them together.  They were too yummy!

You can add a bowl of nuts to this spread yummy spread like we did.  What’s a party without nuts, right?!  Well, you’ll go nuts over these football party recipes that’s for sure!

GO Gamecocks!!!

DIY College Football wreath gamecocks www.ruckusandrubies.com
DIY College Football wreath gamecocks Make your team wreath tips

 

Pumpkin Cheesecake Shake – Tasteful Tuesday

Fall is a beautiful season!  In fact, it is my favorite time of year.  I enjoy the fall colors, cooler weather, scents, and foods.  I love anything pumpkin!  It’s not quite fall yet, but I have fall fever.  This week I have already eaten Trim Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes.  I’ll share the recipe for those; just click here.  Yesterday I had a yummy Pumpkin Cheesecake Shake.  It was so delicious!  It can be eaten as a snack or a meal.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Shake Trim Healthy Mama

It is also Trim Healthy Mama friendly as a fuel pull (FP) or Satisfying (S) meal.  If you aren’t familiar with Trim Healthy Mama, check out the Trim Healthy Mama Plan: The Easy-Does-It Approach to Vibrant Health and a Slim Waistline  and the  Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook: Eat Up and Slim Down with More Than 350 Healthy Recipes.  I have been a Trim Healthy Mama for almost two years now and have lost 40+ pounds.  Here’s a little about my health and weight loss journey.  I hope you enjoy this Pumpkin Cheesecake Shake.  It’s amazing that something so delicious can be so healthy!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Shake

1/2 c low fat or fat free cottage cheese

1 oz fat free cream cheese, softened

3/4 almond milk

2 tbsp pure pumpkin puree

1 tsp vanilla

2 tsp Sweet Blend natural sweetener (you can also find it at Amazon here)

1 tsp pumpkin spice

pinch of salt

pinch of glucomoannan (optional all natural thickener that supports steady blood sugar)

2 small handfuls of ice (optional)

1/2-1 scoop Whey Protein Powder (optional)

DSCN2818

Blend cottage cheese and cream cheese in Ninja or other blender.  Keep blending until it is smooth and creamy like this:

#THM Pumpkin Cheesecake Shake

Once the lumps are all blended, add the pumpkin puree, almond milk vanilla, pumpkin spice, Sweet Blend, and salt. Blend until mixed well.

Now you’ll need to decide on your optional ingredients.  If you want it to be a little thicker, you can sprinkle in a pinch of glucomannan.  Some people prefer their shakes to be thin, more like a milk consistency.  I like my shakes to be thicker and fluffier, kind of like a milkshake.  If you are like me, add ice.  You can stop right there if you’re making this for a snack or you can add half a scoop of protein powder for extra protein.  However, if you’d like to eat this for a meal like a smoothie, you can add a scoop of protein powder.  This also makes it more frothy and fluffy.  You could top it with fat free whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.  At this point your shake is low carb and low fat, so it is a fuel pull.

 

If you would like to make it even more indulgent but still healthy, you can add regular whipped cream instead of fat free.  I am a purist when it comes to food, so I try to stay away from chemicals in fat free foods.  I usually just whip my own heavy cream and sweeten it to taste with Sweet Blend. However, you could just squirt on a little dollop of regular whipped cream.  Using full fat whipped cream makes this a satisfying (S) meal.

Just writing this post is making me crave another shake.  I hope I can wait until tomorrow!

#THM Trim Healthy Mama Pumpkin Cheesecake Shake

It’s Fall Y’all–Time to Decorate

Well, I finally finished decorating for one of my very favorite seasons: FALL!  In a previous post I shared with you some ideas I pinned from some awesome sites and Pinterest.  Now I’ll share with you some of my ideas or variations of other ideas:

Curb Appeal:

I absolutely LOVE garland!  Garland can range anywhere from $1 up to $100+.  I usually purchase garland from the dollar store for smaller projects as it tends to be sparse and short.  I usually pay a little more to get longer garland for my front door.  I believe I paid less than $10 for this garland a few years ago.  It is very simple with just leaves on it, but it is long enough to frame the door nicely.  I didn’t spring for the fuller, more detailed garland with berries, etc., because from the road you cannot see those types of details.  This is fine for the front door.  Be sure to store it properly when not in use, and it will last a long time.  I purchased the grapevine wreath a few years ago as well.  The elements and weather will fade and dirty the decorations on the wreath, so I usually go to the dollar store or craft store to pick up a few replacement pieces.

It wasn’t in our budget to purchase large pumpkins this year, so we decided on smaller ones.  As you can see, we painted one ivory and added our monogram.  We painted the other two with “autumn blessings” and decorated one with painted polka dots and the other with a few stripes made of black buttons.  Since the pumpkins are on the smaller side, I decided to elevate them by using our outdoor planter table.  Between the stacked pumpkins are a few candle rings made with silk leaves, which I purchased last year at the dollar store.

I have had this crate for years.  I can’t remember where or when I purchased it, but it is very versatile.  I’ve used it to hold books, to carry covered dishes to church dinners, and I usually use it in my fall decor.  I added a little southern charm with a plaque wired to the outside of the crate that originally came from an old wreath.

I purchased mums for less than a dollar and added them to my potted plant.  I purchased gourds and corn for a few dollars as well, and used them to decorate the table and crate.

Now for the inside:

I used a candle, dried red beans, split peas and corn to fill my hurricane and added this old garland.  I twisted it around the hurricane and in a few other places and then filled in with smaller scented votives and a few mini pumpkins.  This is a Martha Stewart tablecloth I purchased a few years ago.  It works well for Fall or Christmas.  I was going to make a table runner from burlap, but decided to fold the tablecloth and use it as a runner.

Filling up the china cabinet with fall colored plates, gourds, and a basket of fall flowers was simple and elegant!

 

I love to dress up my dining room chairs with wired ribbon.  I purchased this ribbon from the dollar store.  I store it carefully and it lasts a few years!

Then on our kitchen bar, I put my own spin on an idea I saw on Pinterest.  Instead of buying mason jars or votive holders, I utilized my collection of empty candle jars.  Choosing various sizes and shapes, I arranged them on the bar.  I filled them with some acorn and pumpkin shaped marbles I got from the dollar store.  Then dropped in an LED everlasting tealight .  Then I added leaves cut from a dollar store garland.  I painted letters to spell “THANKS” on the jars. I can easily remove the paint so I can reuse the jars for other projects.

I threw in some small fall pumpkins, candles and other decorations here and there:

 

As you can see, there are many ways to decorate your home for fall by re-purposing and reusing old objects.  This will save you time and money in the long run.  I hope you enjoy decorating your home for fall and that your season is full of God’s blessings!

Mandy