I do not claim to have done anything all that creative with our fall decor. To the contrary, we displayed only the most basic of fall decorations; pumpkins and gourds, with the exception of a few little touches here and there. Still, they put my wife and I in the spirit of things, and give my son something new and exciting to freak out over.
The kid flips out over pumpkins, especially. We took him to the pumpkin patch twice and both times he ran around like a little crazy spider, picking out the biggest orangey things he could carry and placing them in a neat row. Yup, he loves his pumpkins. I originally placed them by the doorstep, but since we never see them there, I placed them along the path in the garden for one of two reasons: So that we could see them from the highchair in the kitchen, or because they make for a prettier photo there.
You can't freakin' do fall decorations without freakin' gourds. They present a totally inedible cornucopia that lasts well past the pumpkin on your doorstep devolves into slime and attracts icky bugs. It happens a lot faster here in warm and muggy Florida. Oh, and remind me to throw out the pumpkin before that happens this year.
I've arranged the gourds around my mother's piano lesson sign, which she would hang on the doorknob while kiddos expertly plunked away at the keys and parents waited outside in their minivans. The sign brings me comfort and a little daily inspiration, reminding me that every day is a lesson in progress.
As much as I love that piano lesson sign, it needed a little extra height. Since there wasn't really much in the way of cut flowers in my garden, I resorted to using Mexican tarragon and found that it works just as nicely as anything else. Actually, I think it's pretty awesome since the foliage has a nice licorice aroma, the yellow flowers last a long time and I can pinch off some leaves for recipes when I don't feel like going outside and getting the little guy all worked up.
My mom always used to brew apple cider in the slow cooker for her family, guests and piano students, but I couldn't seem to get it right this time around. Luckily Aromatique sent me some potpourri with an awesome apple cinnamon scent that rivals my mom's crockpot cider, but not strong enough to overpower the smells of my cooking and my wife's baking. I was tempted to put it by the changing table, but didn't out of fear that apples would then be forever ruined for me.
There are these bags of caramels that I'm not allowed to touch, since they'll be used for caramel apples. They tempt me every hour of the day. So, Mrs. Rainforest Gardener had an awesome idea. She decided to display them in a cute ceramic frog (I love frogs) so that they're an even bigger temptation. I haven't eaten any yet, but I suppose I could buy a whole new bag and stash it in another ceramic animal somewhere.
The pumpkins, potpourri, gourds and stuff are nice, but my favorite festive fall decorations are the ones you can eat. So you can imagine my joy when I came into the kitchen to make lemon basil martinis and found that there were so many cooling muffins that I had no room to messily juice lemons. Oh, I should probably mention that the Meyer lemons are from my garden. Just putting that out there.
The house smelled so good that I could have snapped my mouth at the air and gained some nutrition from the pumpkin spice molecules floating around. No one saw me doing that, luckily.
After she had bagged up the majority of the muffins for other people who totally deserved them less than I (Family members actually. And I guess they did deserve them...) cocktails were made. I should probably get a legit muddler, shaker and strainer, because scooping out lemon seeds with a spoon is a pain. That and I'd feel a lot cooler with the proper gear.
Since my wife had so selflessly thrown herself into the fall festivities, last night I decided to do my part. I looked up a recipe for slow cooker apple cider bought ten apples, an orange and some spices, cut them all up and let them sit in the slow cooker for eight hours.
What I thought was a really large orange turned out to be a grapefruit, but I put half in the slowcooker anyways, neglecting to remove the thick and bitter rinds. Yeah, that was a big mistake. Trust me, this slow cooker cider tastes as bad as it looks, and no amount of sugar and good intentions could save it.