Happy Halloween! Before sharing the details of our spooky fall mantel, I want to share a few other ways that we've been getting into the fall spirit this past week with yard work, spicy cookies, pumpkin carving and our new pet monster...
We started Sunday with a ton of yard work. You know, all of the weeds I've been neglecting to pull all summer? I finally gave them what they deserve: execution. I'm a bit of a sissy when it comes to bugs so I really hate doing yard work in the summertime. Bugs are constantly buzzing my messy, high bun (Andy calls this my tower), spiders and other creepy crawlers are everywhere and I don't like it when the mysterious weeds and plants touch my sensitive skin so I like to be covered up while gardening and then I'm hot and itchy. It is all gross and uncomfortable. This fall weather really sets me up for success so we're embracing this motivation and getting some sh*t done before winter to have a nice starting point in the print. Andy had the sprinkler system blown out so the pipes don't freeze this winter and then gave the yard a short hair cut while mulching the leaves that are insisting they take over yard. It feels so good to accomplish something that has been hanging over our heads all summer and now pulling up to our house is so pleasant, with the freshly churned dirt instead of the unkempt beds of weeds!
I haven't made this Ginger Snap Molasses Cookie recipe in months and months. But today it just felt right. We needed these cookies and I made a very exciting discovery since I had to swap out a few ingredients and WHOA, these cookies got chewier, more flavorful and crunchier on the outside. I put stars next to my changes in the ingredients here (see the original recipe here).
2 c flour
1 tbsp ground ginger (I've used fresh grated ginger and it's not as good)
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
*1/2 c white sugar
*1/2 c DARK brown sugar
*3/4 c EUROPEAN butter, softened
1/4 c dark molasses
*Sugar in the Raw on the side for dipping
Dark brown sugar is a different animal than light brown sugar. Andy picked it up for me when I wasn't specific about what I needed and I'm so glad he did! It is sticky and molasses-y and it has upped my cooking game in all good ways.
I've also started swapping in European butter and Irish butter for 'regular' butter sticks. I think the fat content in these butters are higher and it makes everything better. If you're worried about "more fat" just chill. Fat is good for you in moderation and I'd much rather eat the real deal and let my body metabolize this real, good fat than give my body some modified version of butter flavor and say good luck! Plus the recipe makes about 30 cookies from only 3/4 c of butter, you do the math. These cookies are basically good for you :)
We managed to carve our pumpkins in time to put them on display before Halloween. Let me preface my story with the fact that I go to bed at like 9pm these days. When I told my best friend, who now has a 10 month old, that I was pregnant one of the things she said is "get as much sleep as you can!" and I've really taken this to heart. I don't mess around with me time and I shamelessly schedule as much me/me &Andy time as possible right now.
It was 8pm on Monday by the time we were finished making dinner and cleaning up. We had plans every day after work on Tuesday (spin), Wednesday (work happy hour) and Thursday (book club, oh ya!) so Monday was the only day that made sense to carve these suckers. It was now or never. So we two adults decided to set up shop in our kitchen and dig in. It turns out carving pumpkins is a lot of work. I was shocked when I couldn't even pierce the top with my 6" chef's knife, so I had to have Andy do it. Then I was able to free hand the design with a super dull pairing knife that I took from my mom's kitchen when I moved away at 18. I love this knife. It's perfect for peeling and cutting anything softer than a carrot and I've been thankful many a time that the knife is in fact very dull.
Enough about my favorite dull knife. We felt slightly silly but also charmed and nostalgic about carving pumpkins together without any kids around. The moment we got to carry them outside and light candles in them was pretty fun :) Jack-o-lanterns are so cute!
We could not wait for Jules' costume to arrive in the mail! The second it arrived we excitedly ripped open the package, wrangled our cat and shove him into it. He loves soft things and the costume is soft so that was a plus. Other than that he was pretty confused why we would do this to him. Because we love you so damn much, Jules, that's why. This is LOVE.
^^ A few head scratches in his favorite box made him feel a little better about being dressed up!
Now, I can tell you about our spooky fall mantel...
After purchasing a few small items from Crate and Barrel and rearranging a few things around the house I put together a subtle, spooky mantel for our fireplace, yay! (Since I didn't take a before picture, check out this Spring post if you want to see.)
For the first few weeks of my pregnancy I was 100%, hands-down convinced I was having a girl, nbd. My sisters both had girls first, my mom had all girls, the writing was on the wall. Surprise! That's not at all how things work. I won't get into the details and mostly people probably already know this, but it's all up to dad!
The point that I am trying to get to is that I bought this white mirror at Target thinking it would look really sweet in our little girl's nursery. (Since this is happening, it is not going in the nursery, ha!) I like it because it gives an oval shape while still being a sturdy square that I can lean against the wall instead of mount.
We've had this "Ant with Acorn" art floating around our house in various places and it looks very fall while fitting with the black and white vibe. I've been wanting to get it framed but I think the lack of frame is better here for now. I bought this Wire Votive Candle Holder from Crate and Barrel because it reminds me of a raven and ravens are kind of spooky. Andy loves it too, yess...
I framed some of our ultrasound photos because our baby looks kind of like a spooky skeleton (am I right?!) and it fits with the black and white theme AND because it is fun to have them on display for now rather than a pile in a drawer where Jules can't destroy them. I also purchased two small Black Pillar Candle Holders from Crate & Barrel because I knew I had two flameless candles I could employ and I wanted a little height with this mantel. The Figuier Diptyque candle was a gift I received and smells of warm fig wood and leaves, yummy.
Like I said, the spookiness is subtle. The real fun is when the lights go out and we get to light all of the candles!
Happy and safe trick-or-treating tonight!