Autumn Inspiration

Hey friends,

Thanks so much for stopping by.  In case you haven’t heard, I started a new blog and soon will have some other snazzy additions as well.  I’ll still be posting here periodically, but I’d love to have you come over and visit me at and tell your friends, too.

I’m sharing regularly over there on these topics and even more.

  • Learning for Fun while Traveling
  • Service-oriented and Volunteer Travel
  • Money-saving Mondays
  • Travel-related Gift Ideas (just in time for the holidays)
  • Travel Inspiration – Photos and Quotes
  • Travel Gear Reviews
  • Travel-related contests, giveaways, etc.

Please sign up for my newsletter there, so you won’t miss a thing.  I hope to see you soon!

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Here’s a bit of autumn inspiration for today.

Robert Frost bench with leaves

This is a bench at the former home of the great American poet, Robert Frost.

View from Robert Frost porch

And this is the view from his front porch out onto the mountains of New Hampshire.  Now wouldn’t that inspire you to write like a poet all the time?

Do you have plans for Thanksgiving?  We’ll have lots of family time with both sides of the family.  Have a blessed holiday!

Last chance to win a pound of bacon!

Hey friends,

This is last call for the Oscar Mayer Bacon Contest and the odds of winning are excellent!  I will be away from my computer until about 6pm (MT), so I’m leaving the contest open until then.

Just to get your creative juices flowing, I thought I’d share a Dutch Oven recipe that I found in my November issue of Taste of Home magazine.  (FYI, This recipe and others can also be found online, but you need to “register” by setting up a login.  There’s no cost to join.)

Pumpkin Bisque with Smoked Gouda

Take a look at the first ingredient!  Ah yes, bacon!

Ingredients for Pumpkin Bisque with Smoked Gouda

  • 4 bacon strips, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can (29 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup shredded Gouda cheese
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • Additional shredded Gouda cheese, optional


  • In a Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towels with a slotted spoon; drain, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings. Saute onion in drippings until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
  • Stir in the broth, pumpkin, salt, nutmeg and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Cool slightly.
  • In a blender, process soup in batches until smooth. Return all to pan. Stir in cream; heat through. Add cheese; stir until melted. Sprinkle each serving with parsley, bacon and additional cheese if desired. Yield: 9 servings (2-1/4 quarts).

Can’t you just taste that warm bacony, cheesy goodness?

I also wanted to clarify how we’ll choose a winner.  Since I can see the names of the people that submitted and I don’t want to show preferential treatment, I’m going to show just the recipes to my husband and have him choose a winner based on which one sounds the most delicious to him.  Good news is he LOVES bacon, so they’ll all be in the running.

And here’s a little clarification on the fine print.  I now have the coupons in my hot little hand and this is what they say:

FREE – One package of any OSCAR MAYER Bacon (up to $9.00).  Expiration 3/31/2012  

The images show Center Cut Bacon, Fully Cooked Bacon and Naturally Hardwood Smoked Bacon just to name a few.

Thanks for joining in the fun!  Keep your eyes open for more contests in the future.

Happy Anniversary Andy & Julie!

Just wanted to give a shout out to our precious friends, Andy & Julie and wish them a happy happy anniversary!  I don’t normally do this, but I just happened to be going thru some old photos on Saturday for a different project and came across this one, which is one of my favorites of them.  And it just HAPPENS to be their anniversary today.

The photo was taken in Sedona in 2004 in the Fall (as you can tell).  Sedona is one of my favorite places to be in Autumn, since it has some amazing color, especially considering you’re in Arizona after all.  And since Andy & Julie are one of my favorite couples, it makes the photo that much more special.

So, I hope you two have an amazing year ahead!  Thanks for being such great friends.

We love you guys!

Autumn Plant Stand

This Saturday I had the chance to do some exploring and shopping with some dear friends at the 7th Avenue Melrose District in Phoenix.  If you haven’t been there before, it’s a mile stretch between Camelback and Indian School Roads on what else, 7th Avenue.   I’ll do another post about our shopping day, but today I wanted to share about one of my fun finds!  This is the gang as we met to get our energy boost at Copper Star Coffee, right in the middle of shopping heaven!  More on that later too.

Our first stop was the Salvation Army at the corner of Indian School and 7th Avenue.  The sign outside said that they were having a 50% off everything sale.  Score!  Well, when we got inside we found out that until 10 am (just 10 minutes away) everything was 55% OFF!  Awesome!  So, while we didn’t have much time for browsing, we set out for some treasures.  One of the first things I saw was this metal plant stand.  Originally priced $29.95.  Discounted price $13.48!  How could I say no?  I was thinking that our front entry patio needed some Fall decor, so I picked it up and loaded in the car with the help of my friend Cathy.

And here’s what I was able to put together after I got home.  For now I just repurposed some of my other Autumn decor.   Some of the flowers are newly purchased, but otherwise it was things I had around the house.

Funny thing,  I’m trying to decide if I should keep the whole thing inside my entry because I like looking at it so much…plus with our Phoenix sun, things can get quite faded even in the Fall months.  Tell me what you think.  Does it belong outside or inside?  The outdoor entry patio is pretty bare too.  Or maybe I should take pics of it in both locations.  Let me know your thoughts on indoor vs. outdoors.

And here’s a bit of personal trivia.  Do you see the sign above the plant stand that says “Grandma Perkins Pumpkin Patch”?  Well, I bought that at a craft store in Ohio, near where I grew up and where much of my extended family lives.  Guess what?  My grandmother’s last name was PERKINS!  Is that cool or what?  AND she made her living running a roadside fruit and vegetable stand along one of the highways on the coast of Lake Erie.  In the Fall they sold pumpkins from their PUMPKIN PATCH!!!  Do you think whoever made the sign knew of that fruit stand?  Seems awfully coincidental.  In any case, I was so thrilled when I found it!  It reminds me of her every time I bring it out in the Fall.

So let me know your thoughts about the location and come back to hear more about our awesome shopping trip in the Melrose District.  Thanks for stopping by!

I’m linking back to Metamorphosis Monday!

Free Classes at Pottery Barn!

Did you know that Pottery Barn offers free decorating classes?

That’s right!  You can search for the store nearest you and sign up for classes anytime.  And remember, just because they’re demonstrating with Pottery Barn items, doesn’t mean that you have to buy from the store (although that’s what they’re hoping for).   You can find many similar styles and pieces at other stores (like Target or Ikea) or even nice used items if you’re patient and enjoy the thrill of the hunt.

A few that they’re offering in the coming month that sound really interesting are:

Now here’s a class that could be really fun and inspiring!  Since we live in Phoenix and we don’t see much in the way of seasonal change, I make sure to do what I can to make it feel like fall around the house.   And again, you don’t have to buy all your decorations from PB, although they always have some great accent items for the seasons.

Can you dream?  Of course!  Imagine all the great tips you could get from a class like this.  Wow!  I hope I get a chance to stop by one or both of these.

We’re enjoying Fall in North Carolina!

For those few people out there that check my blog but are NOT on Facebook, here’s a link to some photos that I’ve been posting of our trip to see Terry’s Dad and his wife, Ginny in Hendersonville, NC.  This is them in the photo (left).  They do a lot of walking around town.  They live less than a mile from Main Street, so have access to a bunch of fun places to visit when they’re out and about.

Tomorrow  we’ll drive to Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  The park is celebrating their 75th Anniversary this year.  I will be taking my National Parks passport book to get stamped and we’ll try to find a poster or postcard from the park that we can include in our collection of places that we’ve visited that hangs in our office. 

Check out these gorgeous red leaves that were on a tree right on main street.  Aren’t they amazing?

I hope you enjoy the other pics too.  I’m trying to post a few more each day, so check back again later too.

This post doesn’t need much explanation…

Yesterday we expected a rainy day, so we chose to do something that was mostly indoors. We checked out some antique shops and craft stores along Route 4 from Chichester to Portsmouth, NH.
The photos explain it best.

I love this felt pumpkin piece above. It looks so simple. I might even be able to tackle it.
Oh, and we did see a moose! Unfortunately, it was stuffed and ready to hang on a wall.

After shopping, we ended up at the seashore, had dinner near a marina, then had an hour or so when the sun poked thru the clouds.

The neighborhood we drove thru is called Rye Beach and it had lots of similarities to Pacific Grove and the 17 Mile Drive (Pebble Beach area) in California. There was a wide range of homes. Some were tiny beach cottages and others were massive (beach) mansions that had been there for decades. So many of them had great character and charm and we were amazed at the size of some of the lots. They had to have been there for many generations to own that much land.
Today we took a chance and headed for the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, which includes Lake Winnipesaukee, Squam Lake, Mirror Lake and many more. The weather forecast was for rain only in the morning, but we did get a few sprinkles in the afternoon and some on and off cloud cover. Overall it was better than some of the previous days, but we still didn’t wander too far from the car outdoors, since we never knew when it might start raining. To give you an idea of the look of the area, Squam Lake was the location for one of my favorite movies, “On Golden Pond“. Henry Fonda reminds me so much of my dad in that movie and the setting was so gorgeous.

Cottages like the ones shown here are sprinkled throughout the area. They’re so quaint and nostalgic. I love them!

Here are some other pictures of that area too.

One of my first acquisitions was to buy a gourd like the one I had seen in Stowe from a roadside stand for just a few dollars. I plan to take it home, dry it out and paint it like a snowman. We’ll see how it goes.

Aren’t these ghostly cupcakes from the Holderness General Store just adorable?

Here are some other pics of things that struck a chord with me.

Antique tools reminded me of my brother, Rusty who used to collect them.
Vintage albums and 45’s reminded me of Andrew.

Vintage children’s books reminded me of Amy.

Ginger beer reminded me of Kevin…wish I could ship it to you, but I don’t think it would make it.

So all in all it was a day filled with reminiscing…I look forward to someday being able to take a vacation with Amy & Andrew & Kevin again. They’re always a great addition to any outing. We miss having them with us.