I used to lie on my bed as a child and ponder the world . . . I wished I had a very long crayon so I could draw on the ceiling, add eyes and a fluffy tail to the crack up there, and make it into a REAL rabbit. Now I wake up pondering and start making lists in my head! November is a huge list month, and I couldn’t get through a day without one. What with Thanksgiving and the looming Christmas season, I have LOTS of things to remember. 🤔 (And P.S. They don’t make MUSICA like they used to ~ love this clarinet!)
The moon woke me up last night . . . knocked on the window and came through the curtains and directly through my extremely thin eyelids (at least they seem that way to me, since I was little, one speck of light wakes me up!).
So up I got to write you ~ and here’s the moon-view from a downstairs window. The aptly named, “Frost” moon ~ I went outside to take pictures and got my first real feel of winter! Brrr! And tonight we turn our clocks back! It’s that time of year….Days get shorter, but mornings are longer!
We had a wonderful Halloween.🎃 Simple, old-fashioned and shared with the people we love.
Jack enjoyed watching Joe bring out the decorations . . . 👻
Joe loves it as much as I do . . . we always decorate the front hall . . .
Because that’s where the kids come . . . the door to the street is right behind me . . . We don’t want to scare them, we want to delight them. 🎃
And after the trick-or-treating is over, our friends pop by for a drink or cup of hot spiced cider and a fall dinner . . . so I have fun cooking and decorating . . .
Our street is wildness on Halloween, windy and leaf blowy. 🍂🎃🍂 We think we had over a thousand kids this year . . .
Too jostled out there to keep the camera focused!
I always escape to take pictures. . . we have friends who live out in the country who come to our house just to give candy to the children! We share the wealth! With so many kids, it takes a village! Where’s Jack? While the front door was open, he was upstairs in his bed (our bed), quiet and cozy and safe, but after everyone left, he joined the party! 😻
By 7:30 it was all over . . . we go in and get cozy in front of the fire and munch on the corns . . . candy corn, popcorn and kettle corn.
Table is set, the candles are lit . . .
I layered while Joe sliced for Scalloped Potatoes with Sausages ~ we made three pans of these ~ it was dinner for 30, tummy warmingest, most creamy (but made with milk and no cheese), wonderful scalloped potatoes, my mom’s recipe, simply perfect, probably came from the way back machine, she’s made them for as long as I can remember. If you’d like to try them, they’re on page 97 of Vineyard Seasons. Everyone loved them.
We had a big salad to go with it . . . spinach, spiced pecans, red onion, chopped apples and my favorite holiday saladPomegranate seeds! Put them on your list! They’re better than croutons!
I also made this scary layered Pumpkin-Chocolate Trifle . . . well, like a trifle, but no alcohol, no preserves, no custard … it’s broken up chocolate cake, crushed Oreo cookies, whipped cream, and pumpkin mousse ~ it was DELICIOUS! I saw a photo of it on Twitter, thought it was so cute with the hershey’s syrup spider web (the plastic spider goes on top) ~ the perfect thing for a party, I went looking for the recipe ~ in case you want to try it next year . . . go HERE . . .
I also made my grandma’s Molasses Cookies . . . I think I put that recipe in our last WILLARD (there’s a link for it at the bottom of this page.) 🍂
And there they are, frosted and ready to go. I borrowed one of my new Home Cooking tea plates from the WINNER of our newest drawing and filled it with cookies for our guests. Oh, yeah. Don’t worry, it’s all washed and clean and back with the others, waiting for Vanna to hand me the winning name. 😘 Shall we? You’ve been so patient and she’s right here . . . . . . already kicking off her trademark pink-satin slippers with polka-dot bows! There she goes, she’s UP, her French-manicured polished toes are curled over the edge of my art table (wearing a sleek gold lame body suit and a pink bathing cap with rubber flowers). With the unique and quirky but delightful Vanna around, you can And now, her very deep, very graceful dive into the vat of almost 3,000 names! 🤗 Down she goes . . . Vanna’s a swirling-whirling dervish of a girl, scissor-kicking her way to the bottom, side-stroking round and round at top speed, circling the vat, not unlike a very large goldfish, mixing the names ~ my studio has teeny slips of paper with names flying around like confetti …. but I only need one! Out pops a long golden arm, one slip of paper in a hand with a thin jeweled ring on every finger . . . I take what she gives me. A big smile comes over my face . . . Vanna waves goodbye . . .
In tiny letters, I see the name of the winner … so here we go … I hope it’s you! The winner is …. N A N C Y E L L I O T and her daughter A B B Y! Congratulations you two! This entire set of dishes now belongs to YOU! ❤️It’s the little things that mean the most. And the reason I smiled? Vanna didn’t give me one name, she gave me THREE . . . so I thought, maybe we should add on two more giveaways! . . . Because it’s November ~ and in honor of Winston Churchill who said,
Let’s “make a life” and give this now out-of-stock, impossible-to-get Santa Mug to the second name ~ which turns out to be a Girlfriend from the Netherlands 🇳🇱 ~ IRENE PIETERS! Yay! Sinterklaas! You’ll have him before December 5th!
And for our last name? A little gift package that includes my new 2018 wall calendar AND . . .
. . . the 10th Anniversary edition of Autumn from the Heart of the Home! 💋Both the book and the calendar will be signed and sent to . . . CONNIE HOWARD! And KAREN and JULIA too . . . (because Connie’s household includes a Nana, a Daughter, and a Granddaughter ❤️) ~ perfect! Happy Fall Y’all! 🍂 I’ll write all three of our winners an email and let them know they won and get their addresses so we can send everything asap, 💞 all tied up with heartstrings!
And for the rest of us . . . still many lovely things, plenty of reasons to go on . . . and a little reminder …
Ahhhh, November . . . Mas MUSICA?
Let’s have a little bit of nature to sooth our ravaged souls . . . This is the dirt road in the woods we walk everyday, and to us, it’s a little bit of heaven. 🍁 It won’t be long now and all those leaves will be on the ground. Below is a photo of where we were this time last year . . . taking photos in a field next to the “car park” (that’s British for “parking lot”) for Hidcote Manor Garden in England, a stunning place if you are ever in the neighborhood!
And here’s Joe, happy out at the water at the end of our walk where it smells so good, and the colors are more subtle …
So you can see we have everything we need around here to be inspired . . .
The sun shines through the leaves and makes them glow . . .
It was freezing outside this morning at daybreak . . . I hurried!
I found this on the Internet . . . if you think we’re Fall-Crazy, this display is in Slindon, England . . . where they make an art of it! Isn’t it creative? They had others … so perfectly English!
And this is where I go to get my inspiration for home this time of year 🍂. . . because when I wrote this Autumn book, I put in every single detail I could think of about fall, so now, very conveniently, it’s all written down … my biggest list ever . . . and all in one place! All I have to do when the season comes is pull it out and I’m reminded of how I decorate the guest rooms, what fun things I love to do in “sweater weather,” how to make autumn cocktails, all about cozy lighting and hygge collections, how to give a good party, and all my best recipes for everything.🍂 Very handy!
I’ve already been cooking up a storm . . .
YUM! Right? It makes your house warm and smell so good. The meat is pure tenderness . . . What else is in it? Good flavorful things, it’s not your run of the mill stew ~ there are parsnips and sweet potatoes, orange zest and orange juice, nutmeg and raisins and cayenne too ~ a bottle of red wine makes a wonderful gravy, and the whole thing is served over wide egg noodles. Or by itself, with a slice of soft buttered bread. It’s on page 111 of my new 30th Anniversary edition of Heart of the Home, and it makes Joe very happy!
And I’ve already made this oldie but goodie ~ it’s that time of year . . . requested by Joe, from my Christmas book!
It’s Bread Pudding with apples and fresh cranberries and egg custard . . . and tons of cinnamon and nutmeg . . . filled with texture, both smooth and pudding-like, but crisp and crunchy on the edges, then served with the coup de gras . . .
Yes, Love is the best ingredient of all, but also, this has the most delicious Whiskey Sauce to go with it. The recipe’s on page 98 of my Christmas book, or you can click HERE and print it out.
Me neither, Julia. Just like you, I love to cook! Joe went to get the paper, stopped on the way home and surprised me with a bag of cider donuts . . . I put them in the microwave for about 25 seconds and heated up some left-over spiced cider . . .
And then out to the yard we went . . . we want the house to be festive next spring when everyone needs flowers and color so much . . . so out in the windy, sunny, chilly day we planted new parrot tulips to go with what’s already in the ground . . . 🌷Every year we add a few new ones . . .
Okay Girlfriends, off I go! Thank you so much for all your WONDERFUL comments . . . you truly are the very BEST!! And just in cases someone didn’t get their WILLARD, here’s a LINK to it. If you’d like to sign yourself or your friends or your mom up for the next one, go HERE.
And don’t forget Poppy Day 🌺, and the quiet moment of silent remembrance and gratitude for our Vets, at 11 am, the 11th day, the 11th month . . . Pray, Love, Remember. Enjoy the little things of the season for yourself and the ones you love, slow down, don’t move too fast, ya got to make the moment last . . . 🌺 Don’t forget your list! Later tater, XOXO