Party Planning and Gratitude

Loveys, I've given in to fall. Today was gorgeous, with cool breezes, and it felt so much like fall that I almost bought a pumpkin--then I remembered that I have children who like to pick them out. I did go ahead and pull out a little décor (I'm going minimal this year) and brought autumn to my mantel. It feels delicious outside and it's just what I need at the end of a tired week. Something about fallish weather makes me hopeful. And thankful. Sometimes being thankful takes work--you know those times, amid lots of doctor bills rolling in and when your car is suddenly making a scary noise and leaking something--but beautiful weather and candy corn candles and brownies and pizza do help.

Loveys, the countdown to our 90s bash is officially here and I'm feeling just a little anxiety. I love throwing parties. I love having friends over. But because this is specifically for the Jeffster, and because I want it to be really special for him, I'm probably more nervous than usual. I've been party planning a little at a time--so I'm not completely freaking out the day of (I read somewhere that a good hostess is calm and happy for all her guests. Oh dear). I still have a lot to finish by the big day. Keep your fingers crossed for me that all goes well. The cleaning alone....heaven help me.

The fun part about having a big party at the end of September, is that it's almost a kick-off to fall. I'm hoping it's not too cold, so we're still comfortable hanging out outside around the fire-pit. Cool nights and the smoky smell of a fire. Drinks and music and friends. It's our first fall party of the season and I can't wait! What do you love about fall, lovey? Are you one of those pumpkin-spice-latte fans? For me, one of the things I love about fall is having fallish get-togethers. The weather is cool and crisp but you're not usually having to trek through snow up your friend's sidewalk. You get to wear adorable boots and sweaters (and eat more). I like warm drinks and wine and fall flavors. My BFF Michelle reminded me that last year we were together for the Harvest Moon and together we hosted a Harvest Moon tea party. (Michelle, by the way, I miss you and love you tons.) I'm not doing a Harvest Moon tea this year--obviously I'm freaking out about Jeff's 40th. But I hope to host a few small gatherings before winter.

Fall tends to be fast in Colorado so we try to enjoy every second. Seriously, all the leaves could fall in a day! At least, it feels that way. I LOVE fall foods. Give me chili and beef stew and corn bread and pecan pie and apple cider. Pumpkin dip with ginger cookies. Soups like chicken and dumplings and tomato bisque. Cinnamon scones. I like candy corn and chocolate. Black tea with cream and sugar. Fall is such a fabulous time to make memories. Pumpkin patches and apple picking--while those kinds of things can be super fun, have you found that they can also be so expensive? Maybe it's just Colorado. But if you're going to a pumpkin patch or a place to pick apples, it can be frustrating that it costs so much. I was thinking about the fact that my favorite memories growing up didn't cost anything--watching Anne of Green Gables at home with my family and eating popcorn. Drinking hot chocolate while we watched The Night They Saved Christmas. Pot roast at Mimi's house. Enchiladas at Grandma Dori's restaurant. (Yes, all my favorite memories involve food! For real, it's Friday night and the Jeffster and I are watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and wanting to try Cuban food. We're food people.)

Amazing fall memories don't have to be expensive either. We buy pumpkins from Walmart and the kids LOVE carving them outside on the deck. Ash loves to bake so I'm thinking we'll buy a big bag of apples this year and try to make a homemade apple pie. Thrift-store shopping for Halloween costumes. Trips to the library for fall-themed movies and books. Hot cocoa with jumbo marshmallows.

Family life is awesome, loveys, even if it needs to be managed on a budget. I'm all about party planning on a budget as well. If every gathering cost a fortune, they would be few and far between at my house. But coffee and scones and breakfast casserole are doable. Add in a couple of friends and you've got yourself a fall memory in the making.

My first party of the fall season is almost here, lovey. I'm ready to make some memories that will last a lifetime. It's not every day my other half turns 40. I'm so thankful for the years we've had together, and I hope for many more. It's time to celebrate. Bring on the champagne!

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