Mrs. Fancy Pants loves holidays!

Not really.  No one is getting any golden rings.  But the song inspired me to try something a little different this year with William’s Christmas gifts.  Instead of getting him one or a couple of bigger gifts, I decided to try (within a set budget) to get him 25 gifts.  One for every day of December.

All his presents wrapped up tight!  As a side note, I am so pleased with my wrapping choices for this year.  Brown craft paper, alternating 3 types of thick ribbon, topped with red or green raffia! 

I had several reasons behind wanting to do this.  I start celebrating Christmas the day after Halloween. Thanksgiving is a nice hiccup in the middle, but basically to me all roads are headed towards the most wonderful time of the year.  We have a house rule, however, that I am not allowed to talk about Christmas (and if I do I am not to expect William to share my enthusiasm or get my feelings hurt should he not share my feelings) prior to the day after Thanksgiving.  He, and 90% of America, like to enjoy Thanksgiving before Christmas sets in.  I thought starting him off unwrapping presents on Dec. 1 might get him all excited earlier!  And it seems to have worked!  Ha!

We’re through day 5 (thus the 5 golden rings title)!  He’s collected some goodies!  I’ve snapped a photo of him every day so I can document everything.  How precious is this kiddo?

So I don't know how to use Photoshop or Illustrator or anything of the this is my attempt at showing you Days 1-5 out of Word! Probably should have my husband teach me a better method, huh?

  • Day 1: New scarf (Really needed because it is so cold here!  I actually had this as Day 21’s present but moved it so he could be using it sooner!)
  • Day 2: His FIRST Alabama tshirt!  So proud.
  • Day 3: Tooth ornament (Tradition!  I give him an ornament every year, and how fitting that this year’s is a tooth as he is still missing his!)
  • Day 4: Pocket-knife/camping tool (He’s really needed one of these as well–every time we go to the airport they confiscate his pocket knives)
  • Day 5: Shoelaces!
The Eagle Scout and his campfire!

Presenting…..The Eagle Scout and his campfire!!!  Mr. Fancy Pants and I were invited to a Halloween party this past weekend.  We had such a great time with new friends we’ve made up here in Portland. We threw around a few ideas of what to be but I had seen this idea on a sweet girl from my hometown’s blog and I decided we could do this too!  So, I’m sad to say this was not an original idea, BUT it still turned out great!  I began our costume gathering by asking my amazing mother-in-law to ship us William’s Eagle Scout uniform/get up from Dallas.  Not much else we had to do for him but buy him a pair of pants that would fit!  I used the ole Google tool to find some campfire costume inspiration and ran across this.

Now this lady made this costume for her daughter and theirs looks way more legit than mine (not to mention the fact that it lights up like a real fire), but I used theirs as inspiration and I was very pleased with the turn out!  I used a hula hoop as my structure, vinyl table cloths for the flames, fabric and tissue for the rocks, and foam sheets for the logs!

The campfire, flight attendant, egg (her other half was bacon), and an Ewok (costume contest winners! AMAZING costume!)
William & Eric (who will soon become some lucky Portland high school football team’s biggest fans)
The flight attendant and campfire (aka Sally & Rachel)

There were so many creative costumes at the party!  I was very impressed!  I will say that traditionally I am not one to plan and plan on my Halloween costume.  I’m more your ‘throw it together at the last second with whatever you have’ type girl when it comes to Halloween.  Not this year though!  I was SO excited about our costume.  I ended up wearing just some black running gear underneath the costume (hence the camera flash catching the reflector on my shirt in 90% of the photos).  Not sure if you can see my shoes in any of the photos, but I had on red shoes!

The ONLY thing that would have made it better (minus the lights like my inspiration costume had–which was WAY beyond my crafting abilities) would have been if my headband had been smoke not more flames.  But I never could find a way to make the cotton stand up!

Bacon and Eggs (aka Josh and Shannon)
Us with Margot and Chad who were in from Chicago!!!
My sweet friend Elsa aka the Ewok!! She made these costumes for her and her husband! They were amazing!

One of the funniest parts of this whole experience was William telling everyone about being an Eagle. He spent about 30 minutes filling me in on all of his patches while I finished getting ready and then everyone at the party was so intrigued by it!  Several people didn’t realize that it was his actual get up from being an Eagle Scout.  We had to fill them in that he wasn’t EXACTLY dressed to regulation.  He didn’t have on his official scout belt or pants.  But considering the last time he was in those pants he was 18 years old…we weren’t going there.  A greenish pair from JCREW was as close as we were getting!

As great of a costume as it was, I would just like to digress for a second and say how proud I am that he finished his Eagle.  We dated throughout high school so I was there through all of the times he wanted to throw in the towel.  And while he was teaching me about the merit badges the other night was the first time I realized how much went in to and was required for each one that he earned!  Let me just say…for an 18 year old boy interested in sports and his friends and a little bit of me…I’m just impressed that he pushed through!  HUGE honor!  Way to go Eagle Scout William! 🙂  He would have NEVER finished had it not been for his best friend Ryan (also an Eagle Scout), Ryan’s dad Dr. B (who was his Scout Master–wrote a little something about him here), and his own daddy-o (my incredible father-in-law)!

The Eagle, the campfire, and the greaser witch (aka KBB!)
Just poppin’ a squat on the floor…because I was too round to sit on any of the furniture. So I sat in the middle of the floor.
Just sitting around the campfire…

One downside to the costume?  I took up a LOT of room.  I had a hard time mingling once all the guests started to arrive.  I camped (pun intended) myself in the living room and let people wander in my direction.  I had many a crowd gathered around the campfire throughout the evening.  What better place to tell stories!?  Ha!

I’ll leave you with one last picture of the Eagle Scout and his campfire!  Happy Halloween y’all!

The Bryants!
Ladies Crafting Spectacular Pumpkin Carving!

On Monday evening, the ladies of the Ladies Crafting Spectacular carved us up some pumpkins!  We had such a great time! I had posted about our get together in conjunction with promoting Paperless Post which I used for the invitations (read about that here).  I have been looking forward to this for quite some time!  This is an amazing, crafting, funny group of girls and I was ready to carve me a punkin’!  We decided to include our men for this particular event–we needed someone to get all the pumpkin guts out.  Or that was our thought process.  Turns out the girls did most of the work and guys socialized.  Strange.

We, sadly, were missing a few LCS (yes, it now has an acronym) ladies, but we still had ourselves a grand ole time!  Some of my pictures aren’t the best and they are all grainy because it was dark outside, but I’m still pleased with how we captured our good times!

Gettin’ started with the carving!
Miss Natalie working really hard on her pumpkin!  She gets the award for cleanest pumpkin insides.  Mine still had all kinds of goop in it…I just gave up after a while.
And here’s my face about the whole matter. I had NO help getting the pumpkin guts out!

HUGE thanks to Rachel who thought to bring pumpkin carving knives.  They were WAY better than my kitchen knives we were trying to use. Embarrassing fact about me, our knives haven’t been sharpened since we got married.  3 years with 1 set of knives makes for VERY VERY dull knives.  I’m pretty sure someone might have lost a finger or a leg or something without Mrs. Rachel’s fancy knives that saved the day!

Here I go getting started!

Surprise surprise, I carved an Alabama ‘A’.  I did have a pattern that William traced onto the pumpkin for me.  I didn’t freehand it so don’t go getting all impressed on me.

OOOoooo… Ahhhhhh…
Some pretty girls I know.
Me and the pumpkin gutting champion!
Roll Tide!

Elsa of Always with Honor took the pumpkin guts, picked out a ton of seeds and made some amazing roasted pumpkin seeds for us.  She used maple syrup on one and the other had some great spices on it…I am forgetting right now what she used but they were great!  I have, strangely enough, never eaten pumpkin seeds before but they were quite tasty!

The best thing about the whole evening, besides the company of course, was the weather.  I cannot remember the last time I carved a pumpkin when it was COLD and felt like fall outside!  Actually I do, it was freezing in Mississippi one year when Mr. Fancy Pants and I carved pumpkins at MSU, but other than that…I can’t remember another time!  We discovered a new need for our backyard…a FIRE PIT!

This picture is so awkward and I love it. William was trying to use the lighter to make the ‘A’ light up…and this is what we ended up with.
TWINSIES! Let’s match more often!
Finished products!

From the top left down/top right down you have:

  • Tyler & Elsa’s lighthouse
  • Rachel & Eric’s initials
  • Natalie’s amazing faced pumpkin…that to me looks like he’s wearing an eye patch but I’m not quite sure if he actually is
  • Shannon’s (with the help of her hubby) cyclops
  • Lizy’s BOO pumpkin (with the help of Travis)
  • My Alabama ‘A’ pumpkin
  • And the winner, winner chicken dinner…best pumpkin I’ve ever seen… DEXTER!  Abby carved this so carefully and it turned out AMAZING!  If there was a prize, which there wasn’t, she would have won!
Two pretty pretty ladies that I love!
Two more lovely ladies!

I’ll leave you with this picture.  Mainly because Rachel and Shannon’s faces are hilarious.  And I am awkwardly about to fall into/on top of my rosemary bush.  That staircase is NOT very wide! Regardless, great time was had by all!  I love fall!  I love pumpkin carving!  And I LOVE the Ladies Crafting Spectacular!  Can’t wait for next month!!!!

We were about tired of the picture taking by this point!

It’s beginning to look a lot like fall around these parts! I have so many decorating ideas floating around in my head! I promise Mr. Fancy Pants to keep the glitter to a minimum. Sometimes though, when the holidays roll around, a little glitter or sequins is 100% necessary!

Anyway, I’ve had my eye on these two pictures as inspiration for a while now.  Sunday afternoon I created my own version of both!  I saw the pine cone garland last year I think.  I never got around to it, but the idea was held up in the decorating depths back in the back of my brain.

Pine Cone garland

The instructions on Twig and Thistle make the project seem so easy.  I am happy to say that it actually was.  The only change I would recommend would be a pair of crafting gloves.  My garland strand has 15 pine cones on it and by cone #8 my hands were getting a little sore!  You can see the original post about the garland (including directions and materials) here.

I had also seen this idea for a fireplace on none other than Pinterest.  I actually just spotted this a few weeks ago (thankfully) because I haven’t had a fireplace until we moved to Portland!  This one would have been another that made it into the decorating vault!

Pumpkin filled fire place!

I took both of these ideas and put my own spin on things.  I love the pumpkin filled fire place, however I didn’t want painted gourds.  We used the pumpkins we snagged at the pumpkin patch this weekend to fill our fireplace.  I also used burlap for my garland strand instead of ribbon.  I think it adds a more fall/rustic touch AND it matches the bow on my front door wreath!

Pine cones on the hearth, pumpkins in the fire place! It’s fall y’all!
Close up shot of the fireplace & garland
Up close and personal

I’m not sure if I wrote about my wreath last year.  If not, I made a wreath out of dried corn husks.  Other than the fact that my hands were sore for a week afterwards, it was a great project!  My favorite part about it is that it’s re-useable.  I pulled out my fall wreath the other day and its still looking great!  I gave it a new bow this year and had to re-wet a few of the pieces to reshape them a bit, but other than that it’s looking great!

Here she is! Awaking from winter/spring/summer slumber inside the wreath container!
TA-DA! Ready to welcome guests!

I have a few more elements left to add.  I need to photograph our porch.  It’s looking mighty fall-ish if I say so myself.  I have red/orange and yellow mums planted and a host of pumpkins on the steps.  I put my Round Top Collection pumpkins in a planter by the front door.  I love their stuff.  Mr. Fancy Pants does not.  Ha!

I purchased a runner for our dining room table made of burlap (can you tell I’m really in to burlap these days??).  It is a flat runner with a ruffle on each side.  I can’t wait to see it!  I have a few more pumpkins to spread out here and there and that may be the gist of it for this year.  I feel like the house doesn’t need as much “help” bringing in fall when it actually feels like fall outside.  Ha!  I have a few other things from last year that I probably won’t use but I’ve put out most of my decor already.  I have to ease Mr. Fancy Pants into the holiday season.  Before he knows it, Christmas decor will have thrown up all over the place.  And I do NOT hold back!

Happy Fall!

Portland Pumpkin Farm

Making family traditions, though we’re not “technically” a family (with children) yet, has been one of my favorite parts of being married.  I cannot say if Mr. Fancy Pants would agree with me.  I know he tags along to humor me, but I hope that if he digs down real real deep, he finds some enjoyment in it too.

This October marks the third fall we’ve been married.  It also marks the third time I have carried him along with me to a pumpkin patch to pick pumpkins.  Our first two falls were spent in Austin, TX, and we traveled to Marble Falls, TX to Sweet Berry Farms two years in a row for some pumpkin fun.  (I wrote about the first trip here and apparently didn’t blog in October last year (yikes) so you can see pictures here.) The first year it rained but we went anyway.  We were almost the only people there and we had so much fun.  There really are few words for me to express how happy these memories make me.  Last year, my dear friend Tiffany came along with us.  It was a beautiful afternoon and there were TONS of people there–very different from the year before.  We still had a blast.  It quickly became an annual tradition.

This year we of course were not able to make it back to Marble Falls, but no fret.  There is still pumpkin fun to be had!  The two BEST things about fall in the NW are 1. that it actually feels like fall outside and 2. Sauvie Island.  Digressing for just a second, Sauvie Island is one of my favorite parts of Portland.  It is actually located about 10 miles NW of downtown Portland.  It is an island, hence the name, that is separated from mainland Portland by the Columbia River, Multnomah Channel, and the Williamette River.  The island is FULL of amazing organic farms, one of which we visited and I blogged about here, beaches, wildlife, rivers, lakes, etc. etc.  It is AMAZING how close to Portland it is, yet how far away you feel once you’re there.  And because I love a good map…here’s one of the island:

Map of Sauvie Island in Portland, OR

Alright, enough putting off the inevitable.  I again was in my happy place in a field full of pumpkins. William pulled our wagon of amazing pumpkins and gourds.  I again did not have a child like everyone else there.  But what the hay (pun intended).  It makes me unbelievably happy.  I did think it would be funny to look at pictures of us from the last three years.  Aren’t we just growing up!?  (and isn’t my husband a fantastic sport!?)

Pumpkin patch x3 (2009, 2010, 2011)

Here are some of the pictures from our day.  It rained on us a little bit but we didn’t mind.  We both wore our boots and rain coats and had a great time.  No corn for me this year but we did actually PICK the pumpkins off the vines which you couldn’t do in Texas.  And yes, Mr. Fancy Pants and his mad Eagle Scouting skills navigated us through the corn maze in record time.  What a wonderful, wonderful afternoon!

Pumpkins still on the vines! They are prickly little suckers!
Holding one of our punkins after I plucked it from the vine!
Oh don’t mind me. I just tripped on a pumpkin and almost fell over. Second time this week!
Us in our L.L. Bean boots! William is so happy to finally have some! Thanks Mom and Dad Bryant!  Great day to break his in!

OH and for any Portland-iers out there wondering where we went, we were at the Portland Pumpkin Farm. (though, Kruger Farms seemed to have a lot going on there too.  We would recommend either!)

Trying to show off his boots. While also falling over.
One happy, happy wife.
Mr. Fancy Pants with our wagon! He’s having a good time! I promise.
Our loot!
Me with the wagon!
Yes, there were rules. Yes, we broke them.
Here we on on a bridge that was in the corn maze.
Navigating and probably checking Twitter while in the maze.
Mr. Pumpkin Scarecrow man
One happy lady. (with really bad posture)

I realized this afternoon as I was plopped on the couch watching football with William how overwhelmed I am.  But not in the traditional way that you would think when someone says they are overwhelmed.  I’m overwhelmed in a strangely good way.

Today starts October.  Which starts (in my mind) fall, though here in Portland it has felt like fall for about a month now.  Keeping in mind that I’m from Texas and the weather in October there most of the time doesn’t even feel like fall, but that’s still my mindset.  Apparently it needs to be readjusted. Regardless, October enters in pumpkins, and sweaters, and boots, and my birthday, and Christmas is around the corner, AND my mind is FULL of parties and events and gatherings I want to host.  I, like every other female in America it seems, have a growing addiction to Pinterest which has just made my condition worse.

Now that we live somewhere that the weather is actually reflecting what time of year it is, I have so many things that I want to do and what feels like so little time to do it.  How much of a serious problem do I have that I am anxious about being able to host all of the get togethers that I want to before the rain sets in?  Answer: a large problem.

Not everything has a date set in stone yet, but here are the things I have planned for the next month and a half:

  • Hosting my first supper club with an amazing group of girls from the Junior League of Portland (that I have recently joined)
  • Making a trip, tomorrow actually, to Sauvie Island to not 1 but 2 amazing pumpkin farms.  And yes, William is thrilled this tradition has followed us to Portland
  • Hosting a pumpkin carving party with our newly created little “woman’s crafting group” started by the amazingly talented lady behind Always With Honor.  (side note, I was PUMPED to be included in this group.  All of the ladies are incredibly talented and I was thrown in the mix–thank God!! They are inspiring and crafty and just plain amazing.)
  • Celebrating my 25th birthday with new friends in less than 2 weeks
  • Heading to the Oregon Coast for the first time since we’ve moved here with my parents to celebrate my birthday when they come in town
  • Potentially hosting a Halloween party at our house!  I should rephrase.  I want to host a Fall Carnival.  I’m not kidding.  I’m really excited about this one.
  • Host a weekly dinner for those who are “cashing in” their wooden nickels at Dixieland Delight.  I’m going to make posts about these…I’m pretty excited about them.
  • Lastly, hosting a football/tailgating party at our place a little later in the season (might have to move into November for this one).  Our new friends up here think our passion for football is quite comical and I want to have people over for a real football party to give them a taste of what being a fan (in the South) is really about!
WHEW!  I’m telling you I could be the world’s best party planner.  Not really, but I do enjoy throwing a good party.  I am making a post about this mostly because I think getting all of my ideas out in the open will force me to see them through.  I am so thankful our new friends here in Portland are just plain fun people.  They’d totally be down for all of this.  Otherwise we’d be partyin’ alone!  Calling out to all my party people in Portland!  Get ready.  The Bryants are about to show you some fun!
I have also promised myself to post 3-4 days out of the week until the end of 2011.  Starting today October 1.  I am actually doing a little personal experiment with this.  Hoping I impress myself.  Happy Fall everyone!
Mrs. Fancy Pants with our 18 pound Fairy Tale pumpkin

Mrs. Fancy Pants with our 18.35 pound Fairy Tale pumpkin

Mr. and Mrs. Fancy Pants on the hayride

Mr. and Mrs. Fancy Pants on the hayride

Mr. Fancy Pants and I made the trip out to Sweet Berry Farms on Sunday afternoon. Granted, I was so excited about this trip after a week of built up anticipation and honestly expected to be a little let down by the whole experience.  I am happy to say that this was not the case–not even bit.  It was a rainy afternoon in Central Texas and it drizzled on us off and on for the two hours we spent on the farm, however, both of us agreed afterwards it didn’t bother us a bit!  This place was a Mecca of fall fun!  As you can presumably tell already, I am a HUGE sucker for holidays, decorating, seasonal spirit and the like; and maybe I was skipping towards the entrance of the farm with my hair in pig-tails right along-side a herd of 4 year olds, but even the Ebenezer Scrooge of fall (if there was such a thing) would leave with happy memories from Sweet Berry Farm.

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Beautiful Fall Foliage

Even though it’s still 400 degrees outside here in Austin, TX, my fall spirit is in full swing.  This will be mine and Mr. Fancy Pants’ first fall in Austin.  I will say, I didn’t think there would be a huge difference in between here and Northeast Texas where we both grew up, however, i am quickly realizing that there is.  By now in our good-ole hometown of Texarkana, TX it’s at least five to ten degrees cooler than it is here.  One of my favorite things about fall is how beautiful everything is when the leaves change and begin to fall off the trees.  With all of the color, I think it’s one of the times in the year that the world around me looks its best; it’s like the rare days that I actually take the time to put on make up–it’s amazing what a little color will do.  Ha.  Back to the leaves, apparently don’t change into such beautiful colors here.  From what I gather they go from green to brown to dead.  However, don’t be dismayed, I have plenty of enthusiasm stored up to get me through.

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