Life

Hosting a Fall Party | 2016

Happy autumn! The most wonderful time of year. I think it’s pretty obvious that everyone’s favorite season is fall – look at all of the pumpkin spice and seasonal items out right now. I’ve loved fall for years, since I was in my teens. Something about the crispness of the air makes me feel cozy and warm – maybe that’s the extra layers of warmth. I’m also on the pumpkin spice train, however I don’t love the ever so popular #pumpkinspicelatte.

Every fall us and our friends have a big fall party to celebrate the new season and since we put a fire pit in the backyardwe were itching to host this year. I went a little bit beyond the normal hosting duties and tried to make a bit of theme with a few simple decor items and food.

DECOR

mason jars with leaves

I saw this floating around on Pinterest when I was looking for fall decor items and I thought these were going to be pretty easy to put together – I was wrong. I’m not a big craft person, though I wish I was, so I went out and bought all of these items for the project including the mason jars. Jake’s mom ended up bringing us a bunch of mason jars that were quite large that I ended up saving for another project, but for this project I really wanted the smaller jars.

Photo Courtesy of We Heart It
Inspiration for my DIY candles – photo courtesy of We Heart It

what you’ll need
– mason jars
– craft leaves
– mod podge
– sponge tip brush
– raffia or twine
– battery operated tea lights
– scissors
– newspaper
– paper plate

Layout the newspapers on a table to prep for any of the mod podge that may drop during application. Use mod podge on two or three leaves at a time and place into the mason jars. Hold the leaves down and then lay the mason jar on its side to prevent the leaves from moving. I found that it was easiest to let the three leaves dry overnight before moving onto more otherwise the leaves moved around too much or would fall off the side. Do the same to however many jars you’re making – I made four – let dry overnight before moving onto more leaves. I’m not going to lie, this took much longer than I thought it was going to, but I love the way they turned out. They make for good vases or center pieces for a dining table. I even used one of the jars to place silverware in when we had family over for dinner.

mason jar candles with sand

Our backyard can be a bit dark so to light up the sidewalk I wanted to add mason jar candles along the walkway or around the fencing. I didn’t quite turn up with as many mason jars as it would have taken for the fencing, but I did have enough for a cute lit up sidewalk. For these candles I used sand for the base and placed a tea light on top. Super easy and fast! In this case I used battery operated lights because the weather was looking a little dodgy and I wouldn’t have to worry about the flame going out. Our friends had a lot of leftover sand from their summer patio project, but if you’re looking for free sand I suggest checking on Craigslist.

Hay Bails

Our friends ended up picking up four smaller sized hay bails for around the fire pit. We placed the hail bails around the fire pit with some blankets on top for extra seating for our guests. If you’re living in the city, I wouldn’t recommend anything more than a few bails unless you have arrangements to dispose of them. We’ll break ours down in a few weeks, but they can sometimes be a pain to get rid of.

what you’ll need

  • mason jars – I used quart size and ones with lids
  • sand
  • tea lights – I used battery operated
  • small garden shovel

Fill the mason jars about 1/3 full of sand and place the tea lights on top. Turn on the light and decorate as you like. It’s that simple! My mason jars had lids so I put those before placing the jars along our sidewalk for the evening since the weather looked like it was going to rain. Battery operated lights means no oxygen needed for the candle to burn. Sadly, I didn’t get a picture of mine, but there’s lots of inspiration on Pinterest.

FOOD

chili 

Fall isn’t complete without a good, old slow cooker chili. When we host the fall party (we switch off every other year with our friends) I love to make a Crock Pot of chicken chili for everyone. It’s easy, affordable, and it’s a crowd pleaser. The week leading up to the party I made my own batch of chili without chicken so I’d have a bowl for myself. Honestly, I don’t usually follow recipes for chili. Instead I just add everything into the Crock Pot that sounds good and let it cook. Pretty simple!

what you’ll need
– 4 – 5 chicken breasts
– 15 oz black beans
– 15 oz kidney beans
– 2-15 oz diced tomatoes – we like the kind with added spices
– 1 package of your favorite chili mix or make your own
– diced onion

Add all of your ingredients into your slow cooker and set to low for eight hours. At the six hour mark check the chicken and shred if it’s ready. Add the chicken back into the slow cooker for another hour or two. Serve on its own or with tortillas chips, saltines, avocado, or a little cheese on top.

fall trail mix

I found this recipe on Pinterest and knew I had to make it – check it out here! I made a few modifications to my mix so this recipe can be personalized to your liking. The only thing I would recommend is keeping this away from a bon fire because the smokey smell will get into the puppy chow and chips leaving the leftovers not so tasty.

fall-trail-mix

I definitely recommend having a fall party with your friends and making it an annual thing. It’s a fun traditional and I way to keep friends connected over time.

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