Time For Gratitude

TIME FOR GRATITUDE

When I was brainstorming fall ideas to share here on the blog, gratitude, of course, immediately came to mind. After all, this is the season of gratitude.  It seems this word is everywhere, on pillows, in art, and in so many online advertisements.

I had to ask myself, what is gratefulness? Is it Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family?

Certainly, that is what we think of most and logically during this fall season, as many of us will be gathering around a Thanksgiving table to share a meal and each other’s company.

Personally, the person I am most grateful for is my husband, Gary.

He never lets a day go by that he does not hug me and tell me how much he loves me.  He has been there with me throughout the good times, the financially low times, and he has also been my business partner- always advising me and offering me support and when it came to my blog, my business, my need to express my creativity on a daily basis, the best supportive and encouraging partner in business and in marriage.  My happiness and business would not be what is today, without him.

However, this Thanksgiving season, I wanted to challenge my own mindset and really examine what I am grateful for in my everyday life?  I want to truly focus on connecting to the people already in my life that have supported me on this crazy self-employment journey.  Those friends and family that I value and that support me.  It is time for me to give back to them.

I challenge you to do the same. Each of us is a conduit of love and each time we connect we have the ability to transform and shape one another, even through the smallest acts of love – such as simply listening to a friend, instead of focusing on what to say next.  Calm your mind and really listen.

We don’t need to fire off fireworks, bend over backwards for a loved one, or give a physical gift to those we want to express gratitude. The smallest act, such as listening, and truly being present for others can be the simplest and the hardest thing to do.  Why is it hard?  We have so many distractions in our busy modern tech times.  The cell phone has replaced our voice and our live contact with others.

Simple acts of love are like when you skip a stone on water – we can see the ripples that extend all the way across a big body of water, when we dedicate ourselves to one moment and to one person, that act multiplies itself in the lives of those people around us.

Think of all the fall leaves that have been around you this fall season. They are everywhere – in abundance  and in full color on the trees, on the front yards of homes, in raked piles, or even blowing in the wind.  But did you really see them?

Those who live their lives filled with gratefulness see more fall leaves, because they are looking for them.  They see what is right in front of them, while many of us blear them out as part of the background.  They see love and friendship in the closest people around them for the same reason they see many more fall leaves – they are looking for  them and for those momentary connections.

So this Thanksgiving season, think of gratitude as a moment in time, but also as an expression of time that magnifies beyond just yourself.  Express gratitude by giving your full attention as a simple gift, a ripple that grows and extends to others and live in that present moment.

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Thanksgiving & Fall Porch Decorating Ideas

25 Fall Porch Decorating Ideas To Greet Your Guests For Thanksgiving

It’s time to transition from Halloween to Fall home decor to greet your guests in style for your upcoming Thanksgiving gathering.  Before you start planning your Thanksgiving dinner menu, today I have 25 ideas to get you going in the right direction for decorating your porch for a stunning autumn front entrance.

Having a seasonally decorated front porch helps to create a mood within your home as well as stating something deeper about your personality. By going with simpler decorations, you can communicate to others that you appreciate simple yet stylish touches. Through your choice of decorations, you can also make your porch a more inviting space for visitors during the fall season.

Effective fall decorating is all about choosing the right combination of color palettes and schemes. With fall decorations, this means combining browns, oranges, yellows, reds and greens in a way that is pleasing to the eye and right for your porch space.

When choosing from different fall porch decors, it is important to take the overall style of your home into consideration. The wrong porch decorations could detract from your home’s charm if not done correctly. You should take time to consider different fall porch design ideas and choose one that works best for your porch.

Before we get to the stunning 25 fall porches, but sure to stop by any of my Etsy shops for all your fall home decor, tableware, Thanksgiving favors and more-

ONCE UPON A HOME DESIGNS

THE PARTY FETTI SHOP

READY SET CRAFT KITS

PINWHEEL PRETTIES

1. A Playful, Country-themed Fall Porch Décor

A Playful, Country-themed Fall Porch Décor

2. A New Take on the Classic Pumpkin

A New Take on the Classic Pumpkin

3. A Glowing Homage to Fall

A Glowing Homage to Fall

4. Cute Rustic Fall Porch Decoration

Cute Rustic Fall Porch Decoration

5. A Pumpkin and Flower Harvest

A Pumpkin and Flower Harvest

6. Porch Lamps with a Twist

Porch Lamps with a Twist

7. Words of Gratitude for a Good Harvest

Words of Gratitude for a Good Harvest

8. Welcoming in the Season

Welcoming in the Season

9. An Homage to Season Traditions of the Past

An Homage to Season Traditions of the Past

10. A Classic Take on the Harvest

A Classic Take on the Harvest

11. A Subtle Yet Colorful Fall Combination

A Subtle Yet Colorful Fall Combination

12. Wreaths aren’t Just for Christmas

Wreaths aren’t Just for Christmas

13. The Vast Possibilities of Simple Decor

The Vast Possibilities of Simple Decor

14. With Wood Decor, No Actual Pumpkins Needed

With Wood Decor, No Actual Pumpkins Needed

15. Pumpkins Can be Stylish Too

Pumpkins Can be Stylish Too

16. Fall Porch Design with the Basics

Fall Porch Design with the Basics

17. A Multicolored Perspective of Fall

A Multicolored Perspective of Fall

18. Southern Charm With a Fall Flair

Southern Charm With a Fall Flair

19. Multiple Steps to a Fantastic Fall Season

Multiple Steps to a Fantastic Fall Season

20. Pumpkin with Personality

Pumpkin with Personality

21. A Combination of Everything Fall

A Combination of Everything Fall

22. A Chic Take on Burning Leaves

A Chic Take on Burning Leaves

23. A Touch of White in the Fall

A Touch of White in the Fall

24. Birds Like Fall Too

Birds Like Fall Too

25. An Homage to Fall Gardening

An Homage to Fall Gardening

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Caramel Apple Cake Recipe

CARAMEL APPLE CAKE RECIPE

Caramel Apple Cake

This is a great recipe for Thanksgiving but I love it anytime during the fall season.  Caramel and autumn go perfect together.  Wait until you try a bite- it is simply divine!

The recipe is below –  but before we get to baking, stop by any of my shops over the Thanksgiving holiday for some early online Christmas shopping.

ONCE UPON A HOME

Christmas Gifts

THE PARTY FETTI SHOP

Party Decorations

READY SET CRAFT KITS

Craft Supplies

PINWHEEL PRETTIES

Paper Pinwheels

Browse all the new holiday decor and gift items available in my shops –  I am adding more new items every day!

CARAMEL APPLE CAKE RECIPE 

Recipe for Thanksgiving Cake

Applesauce Ingredients:
3 Fuji apples, peeled, cored and quartered
3 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and quartered
1/4 Boiled Apple cider
3/4 cups apple juice
2 tablespoons of brandy
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons honey (I like clover honey)
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

How To Make The Applesauce:  
In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients, and stir to combine. Cover the saucepan, and cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until apples are soft. Allow to cool, then mash with a fork or potato masher to your desired consistency. Chill sauce to room temperature before adding to cake batter (see recipe below).

Apple Cake Ingredients:
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
4 cups homemade applesauce (see recipe above) or store-bought unsweetened applesauce

How To Make The Apple Cake:
Preheat the oven to 325-degrees. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Dust the parchment with flour and knock out the excess flour.

Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves together into a large bowl. Set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy, about 4 minutes. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until combined.

Add the flour mixture to the mixer bowl in three parts, alternating with the applesauce, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl, then mix on low speed for a few more seconds.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool for 20 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto the rack, remove the parchment, and let cool completely.

Caramel Sauce Ingredients:
(Yield: about 2 cups)

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter, softened, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 ½ cups heavy cream

How To Make The Caramel Sauce: 
In a medium saucepan with high sides, combine the sugar and corn syrup with 1/2 cup water. Stir the mixture gently so you don’t slosh any of it up the sides of the pan. Turn the heat to medium-high and continue stirring until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high, stop stirring, and allow the mixture to boil. Once it begins to turn a rich caramel color (if you don’t want to eyeball it, take the caramel to 300 degrees F on a candy thermometer), remove it from the heat, add the butter and cream, and stir until combined.

You can save the caramel sauce, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Let it come to room temperature before using it on cakes, ice creams, or quick breads.

If you want a warm topping, heat the caramel sauce in short bursts in the microwave or in the top of a double boiler.

Caramel Buttercream Ingredients:
1½ cups sugar
1⁄3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1⁄3 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1⁄3 cup plus 2 tablespoons Classic Caramel Sauce (see recipe above), at room temperature 

How To Make The Buttercream: 

In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together. Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter and vanilla; mix until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Add 1⁄3 cup of the caramel and continue mixing until combined. If the frosting is too soft, put the bowl in the refrigerator to chill slightly, then beat again until it is the proper consistency. If the frosting is too firm, set the bowl over a pot of simmering water and beat with a wooden spoon until it is the proper consistency.

Assemble The Cake:
Place one of the cake layers on the cake base and level off the top. Put a thin layer of caramel sauce on the layers and then spread caramel buttercream on top. Next, add another layer of cake and level and frost as you did with the first layer. Trim the top of the last layer and then place it on top of the cake bottom side up. Spread a very thin layer of frosting over the entire cake (crumb coat) and place the cake on the fridge for 30 minutes. Remove the cake fro the fridge and use the remaining frosting to ice the top and sides.  Use the remaining caramel to drizzle over the top. Add chopped peanuts, if desired.

 

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