Friday Love 9.14.18

We’ve had a pretty crazy week around here so I’m looking forward to some major relaxation this evening with the hubs and our girls. The temps didn’t get above 80 here the past couple of days and that has really put me in the mood for all things Fall! One of the things I love most about Northern California is the presence of actual seasons. I did not have that growing up in Florida, it was pretty much just hot all the time. Now, it won’t get really cold here until end of October/November but this little sneak peek of lower temps has me feelin’ pretty good, happy Friday!

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FALL DECOR

A couple of years ago, I decorated my house for Fall in September, took it down in October and put up Halloween, then took that down and put up Fall/Thanksgiving in November, and of course Christmas in December! It was quite a bit of work and so I didn’t do it last year but I found myself missing my decorations. Sophie and I got our Fall stuff out this week and it makes me so happy to see it, it’s Fall Y’all!

 

FALL COFFEE MUG

I’ve been on the search for a Fall mug. I have a Halloween mug and a Christmas mug but not one for Fall. Now my sensible husband couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t just get a regular mug that could last all year long… now what fun would that be? With a plethora of Fall mugs available at Target, Marshalls and Michaels, it took me a while to look around but I finally found it. This little cup makes me so, so happy. And the price (only $4 at Marshalls) made me even happier!

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CLASSES AT THE GRAND

We’ve been taking music classes at the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts since we moved to Tracy back in 2014. I cannot say enough good things about their art education program.  My girls just started two new classes there, well new to us. Lyla has wanted to take acting class for a few years now but was never old enough (age to start is 9). We gifted her with acting classes for her birthday this year and so far, she really loves it. Sophie started a pottery for preschoolers class and had her first session yesterday. I think it’s going be just like everything else they offer, great!

 

NEW MAKEUP FROM ULTA

I’ve used the Bare Minerals foundation powder for longer than I can remember. I really love that product but I’ve wanted to try something different for a while now. I feel like my skin has changed a lot and what I’m using now isn’t the right product for my face anymore. I worked for Clinique while I was in college and was pretty knowledgeable about makeup back then. Fast forward many years, and I feel like I know nothing at all! I headed into Ulta this week and after a great consultation, I left with three new products. I absolutely love them all! I decided to try a tinted moisturizer type of foundation and it’s working out wonderfully for me. I rely heavily on concealer and used to use a Bare Minerals one but the Ulta brand full coverage liquid concealer is awesome. I also picked up a hydrating face primer. This has been a game changer for me. It has helped my makeup and skin look so fresh. My budget for makeup is not what it used to be, nor would I want to spend a fortune on product these days anyways so the Ulta brand is perfect. They are high-quality products with an amazing price point. I’ve been loving putting on my makeup in the morning!

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HOMEMADE TUNA HELPER

I’ve always loved Tuna Helper. It’s a nostalgia thing – my stepdad would make it whenever my mom was out of town for work. I wanted to make a homemade version since we try not to eat many processed foods so I went searching online. This recipe was a hit with my family. I was worried how my kids would feel about it but my four year old even asked to eat it the next morning at 9am! I followed the recipe exactly but used whole milk instead of cream. It was so good.

 

 

 

 

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Lyla Rae’s birthday interview – nine years old

My big girl hit her last year of single digits on Friday, August 10, 2018. How is this even possible? At times, I truly feel like she was born yesterday. It’s hard to put into words just how much I love her and just how proud I am of her. She is growing into such a poised, curious, passionate, talented and smart young lady. As much as I wish she was still my chubby little baby, being her friend and watching her grow is pretty darn amazing. Happy 9 Lyla Rae!!

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Lyla Rae, Age 9

Nickname: Pies

How old are you? 9 years old

What is your favorite color? Mint green

What is your favorite animal? Unicorn

What is your favorite book? Sideways Stories from Wayside School

What is your favorite TV show? Mia and Me

What is your favorite movie? The Greatest Showman

What is your favorite song? Come Alive from The Greatest Showman

What is your favorite food? In-N-Out Cheeseburger

What is your favorite drink? Root beer

What is your favorite breakfast food? Pancakes

What is your favorite snack? Fruit snacks

What is your favorite outfit? Workout pants and top

What is your favorite game? Mario Cart

What is your favorite toy? LOL doll

Who is your best friend? Chloe & Stefanie

What is your favorite thing to do? Talk to Chloe on FaceTime

What is your favorite thing to do outside? Swim in the pool

What is your favorite holiday? Christmas

What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Polar Bear and Unicorn

Where is your favorite place to go? The Villages in Florida

What is your favorite restaurant? Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville in Hollywood, FL

Where do you want to go on vacation? New York

What do you want to be when you grow up? A pastry chef

What did you do on your birthday? We had a unicorn birthday bash with seven of her friends. It was a pool party and her first big sleepover. It was such a fun night!

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Sophie Gray’s birthday interview – four years old

Per usual, I’m running about six months behind on birthday interviews AND also per usual, I live the mantra, its better late than never!! Sophie had her first party with friends this year and she was so incredibly excited. She has watched her sister have many friend parties and this was the year she really understood it. She and I planned the entire party together and I let her take the reins where as in the past, I may have tried to take over. She chose a very merry theme and really embraced her very close to Christmas birthday with Christmas sweaters, headbands, themed food, cupcakes and favors. All of her little friends had so much fun despite the cold temps.

Here is my sweet little four year old!!

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Sophie Gray, Age 4

Nickname: Soph

How old are you? 4

What is your favorite color? Orange

What is your favorite animal? Unicorn

What is your favorite book? Muddle and Match

What is your favorite TV show? Shimmer & Shine

What is your favorite movie? The Greatest Showman

What is your favorite song? When You Wish Upon a Star

What is your favorite food? Sausage

What is your favorite drink? Lemonade

What is your favorite breakfast food? Eggs & sausage

What is your favorite snack? Mini-muffins

What is your favorite outfit? Polka dot jean shorts, tank top and flip flops

What is your favorite game? Mii Fashion Plaza

What is your favorite toy? LOL dolls

Who is your best friend? Annabelle & Stella

What is your favorite thing to do? Play with LOL dolls

What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play in the pool

What is your favorite holiday? Halloween

What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Violet

Where is your favorite place to go? Florida

What is your favorite restaurant? Grimaldi’s Pizzeria in Palm Beach

Where do you want to go on vacation? Hawaii

What do you want to be when you grow up? Cupcake baker and rock climber

What did you do on your birthday? On Sophie’s actual birthday, we went to Dell’Osso farms and went snow tubing. She had her friend party at her favorite park a few days before her birthday.25552091_10155714775992254_7516327833362055567_n25659746_10155714776822254_5812866398599680826_n

Halloween 2015

We had quite the Halloween this year. Lyla got to wear her costume five days in a row! I know this was fun and exciting for her but quite a bit of work for mom – hello hair curling, hair color, glitter spray and full makeup five different times! But I’ll do anything for my baby. Our week started on Tuesday night when Lyla’s dance studio held a studio-wide costume contest. Lyla was so excited to wear her costume “officially” for the first time and she was determined to win the contest. She went as a Shopkin this year, the limited edition Cupcake Queen.

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On Wednesday, we headed to the Bass Pro Shop. We live about 20 minutes away and I have to say, I’m always very impressed with their special holiday events. The store is always beautifully decorated for each holiday, they offer one free 4×6 picture and have free crafts for the kids, I mean, how can you beat that?

Before moving to Tracy, I had never even been to a Bass Pro Shop. We went for the first time during Christmas last year and again for Easter. The girls love the store, its huge and there’s so much to see. They have a big fish tank and waterfall, a fun country store, its really neat but I have learned a few tips if you plan to go for a holiday event. Arrive EARLY! At least an hour early. We skipped the picture with Santa on our first visit because the line was out the door and this is a BIG store. For Easter, we came about 30 minutes early and were maybe 20th in line. For Halloween this year, we got to the store an hour before and were the first in line for pictures, the first! We got some popcorn, fudge and a drink from the country store, trust me, a little snack makes all the difference when waiting in line with children. They had the cutest set-up for Halloween and offered one free picture with characters from the Peanuts gang. Such a fun outing!

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On Thursday, Lyla’s Girl Scout troop had their Halloween party. She had a blast with her friends.

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Friday was the big Halloween celebration at school. She walked in the Halloween parade and showed off her costume to the entire school.

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The parade ends in the large field behind her school. All of the students (K-8) form a very large square. The school brings in a DJ and the kids get to watch the 8th graders perform to Thriller. It’s a really fun time. Afterwards, we spent the day in her classroom for her class Halloween party. It was a fun, but long day.

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On Friday afternoon/night, we did an easy Halloween craft (pumpkin magnets), carved pumpkins, made Halloween Rice Krispie treats, ate Jack-o-Lantern pizza from Papa Murphy’s and watched Hocus Pocus. That movie is one of my all time favorite Halloween movies and was worried about Lyla being too young to watch it and getting scared but she ended up loving it. It was a busy, exhausting but very fulfilling day.

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On Saturday, we had a very, yummy, festive Halloween morning breakfast. I used this amazing mix from William Sonoma and added orange food coloring and chocolate chips to make Jack-o-Lantern pancakes. A hit all around except that I forgot to pick-up syrup while at the grocery store and we only had enough for the girls pancakes…. wah, wah, wah. I put butter and cinnamon on mine and it was still good. Just had to work with what we had.

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We spent the rest of the day just being lazy and lounging around the house. I wanted to get ready in time to take some pictures outside but I underestimated how long it would take all of us to get ready and by the time we were, the sun had gone down – momFAIL! The lighting definitely wasn’t as good inside the house but at least we got our pictures. Only one kid smiling but you can’t win em’ all. I went as a baker and my girls were my two little cupcakes, my sweetest creations 😉

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We met up with some friends in our neighborhood and were ready to trick-or-treat! Because it rained last year, this was Sophie’s first experience trick-or-treating door-to-door. It didn’t take her long to figure out how to get the candy. We had such a fun time and Lyla filled her basket pretty quickly. It was a successful Halloween!

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Throwback Thursday – Halloween 2014

With Halloween quickly approaching (this Saturday! ekkk!), I thought it would be fun to look back at last year’s festivities. Halloween has become Lyla’s favorite holiday (that is until Christmas arrives) so I do my best and try to make it really special for her. Halloween fell on a Friday last year, so I surprised her with a Halloween themed breakfast, a balloon, card, and a fun, little message on the chalkboard.

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We had been watching the forecast like crazy because it had been raining on and off earlier in the week and rain was scheduled for that day but thankfully it held off and we were able to enjoy the festivities at Lyla’s school.

Here’s my girl dressed as Kiera from the Barbie movie, Princess and the Pop Star. The picture does not do her dress justice, it was absolutely beautiful! We ordered it from Etsy and fell in love. Not only did it look exactly like Kiera’s dress, the quality just blew me away. It was so well-made and she’s worn it many times since Halloween. I thought she looked awesome and so much like Kiera. She loved getting into character and singing and dancing along to the movie.

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PicMonkey Collage

Lyla’s school does a Halloween parade and then everyone watches the eighth graders (her school is K-8) perform Thriller. I have to say, it was such a fun day. She had a class party afterwards, which I helped plan and organize, and it was just great. I’m so sad I didn’t take more pictures. It was a busy, hectic day and I barely had time to pull out my phone or camera. Normally, I’m snapping away like crazy, especially since it was Sophie’s first Halloween but between the parade and the party, I just wasn’t able to.

We ended up at the mall that evening because the rain came back with a vengeance. Here’s my little cat Sophie at the mall play area. Again, I’m so sad I don’t have more pictures of her. She wore Lyla’s old Pottery Barn Kids cat costume and looked just adorable.

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I love to do family costumes so Sophie was the Figaro to my Minnie (again so sad we didn’t take more pictures). The mall has an inflatable indoor play area and they were letting the first 50 kids jump and eat for free. We got lucky and happened to be at the right place at the right time. We met Lyla’s best friend and her family there and the kids had a great time. I think this made up for not being able to go Trick-or-Treating outside. Lyla was so tired by the time we got home, she didn’t even want to go to one house. In my book, that makes for a successful Halloween.

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Christmas 2014

I’m going to try and keep this as brief as possible and mostly share our holiday through pictures. I believe pictures tell the greatest story so here are a few from our Christmas last year…

Our Elf on the Shelf Terrance arrived for the season with presents and a donut breakfast. He was also sporting a new jersey. He knew we were nuts about football in this house.

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Here are the girls on our annual trip to pick out our Christmas tree. We are super fancy and get our tree from Home Depot every year. What can I say? It’s become our tradition 🙂

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Terrance brought Sophie a plush Elf and she just loved her.

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Lyla walked in our town’s holiday parade with her Girl Scout troupe. The parade ended with the tree lighting ceremony. This was Lyla’s first time walking in a parade (I walked along with her). It was a fun night and a great experience.

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Lyla performed a routine with her gymnastics class in their annual holiday show. Our girl did so great!

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Lyla and I went to see the Nutcracker with my mom. This is one of my favorite holiday traditions.

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On Christmas Eve, we went to a local farm where they had snow tubing. We had so much fun!

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On Christmas Eve night, we baked cookies for Santa.

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And Sophie woke up with a major case of bed head.

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We had a very low-key night at home, it was perfect.

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Here the girls are opening their one gift on Christmas Eve.

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Someone was loving Christmas.

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Santa came!

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Lyla had been begging for a pajanimal. She reminds me of Ralphie from A Christmas Story.

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We went to my in-laws house for a quick drink and appetizers. Here are the ladies of the family.

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We ended the night at my parents house. That was our Christmas in a nutshell!! It was a lovely time.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

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Today is one of my favorite holidays. It used to be my favorite but since I’ve had kids, Christmas has definitely taken its place BUT in my heart, Thanksgiving still reigns supreme. I love being with my family, just hanging out, eating good food, drinking good wine, laughing, and spending quality time together. Plus all the yummy food, I mean how can you not love Thanksgiving!

So from my family to yours, happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! We are beyond excited over here and ready to start one of our very favorite holidays. I love looking back at old pictures of Halloweens past. We love to dress-up and of course Lyla adores this holiday. This is her first year celebrating it as a Kindergartner and her school has some really fun activities planned for today. Here is a look back at Halloween…

Pre-baby – October 2008

I got pregnant with Lyla in November so this was our last hurrah as non-parents out on the town for Halloween or at a house party. We went as Princess and Mario and had so much fun.

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1st Halloween – October 2008

Lyla was only three months old for her first Halloween and, of course, she had to go as a our little pumpkin!

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2nd Halloween – October 2010

Pottery Barn Kids had the cutest cat costume and I couldn’t resist! We are actually reusing the costume for Sophie this year. I can’t wait to take pictures of her tonight and compare them to Lyla. We had a blast visiting my work at the time for a party.

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3rd Halloween – October 2011

Lyla went through an obsession with the Monsters Inc. movie so when she saw this costume in the Pottery Barn Kids catalog, she had to have it. She called herself, Wazowski, as in Mike Wazowski and wanted John to go as Sully and myself to go as Boo, and how could we say no to her? This year was especially fun, I loved that we coordinated as a family. And I have to give myself a little shout-out on the bangs. I did not have bangs at the time and I watched a YouTube video on how to make fake bangs and I was really impressed at how they came out.

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4th Halloween – October 2012

This year Lyla was obsessed with Jake and the Never Land Pirates on the Disney Channel so she went as Izzy. John and I didn’t really dress-up this year. I reused my ears from a couple years prior and went as a cat.

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5th Halloween – October 2013

I was thrilled to pieces with Lyla’s Halloween costume choice last year. She saw this in the Chasing Fireflies catalog and after a few weeks of going back and forth, she decided on the Fab 50’s girl costume. John and I coordinated with her and I loved out it turned out. These costumes were super fun to wear and I think Lyla just looked fabulous, Fabulous 50’s! I was pregnant with Sophie at the time (due in December) so this costumer worked well with my pregnant belly.

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I can’t wait to post a weekend recap to share what we all went as this year. It’s also Sophie’s first Halloween so it makes this holiday extra special – Happy Halloween!

Fall decorations.

Tomorrow is October 1st. Lyla is so excited about this. I love that she gets so happy about the seasons and holidays and all of that. I love to make a big deal out of holidays and I think being in Kindergarten intensifies it for her since they make a big deal of it too – so much fun!

This weekend we’ll be hauling out our Halloween decorations so I thought it would be fun to take a look at what I put up for Fall. I put these decorations out in September, and this year we did it on September 22nd, the first day of Fall. Some of this will stay up during October for Halloween and some it will be put away and then put back out again in November. To me, the Fall season spans three months: September (Harvest), October (Halloween) and November (Thanksgiving), and I like to decorate for all of it! Some pieces can go all three months while some are more specific. I truly hope you enjoy this little home tour of my Fall decorations. This may not seem like much to some but to me its beautiful. Now it may have come out a little differently if I was rolling in the dough but I do what I can on a budget and I love how everything looks. Nothing makes me happier than walking through my home and loving what I see – Happy Fall Y’all!

Welcome to my home.

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This is our entryway table. I love that I can change out each piece here – the flowers, sign, picture, candy bowl – to match the other seasons.

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I would like to make a burlap runner to go on our dining table, its needs a little something more.

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This pumpkin sits on the side table in our sitting area.

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This ceramic pumpkin is one of my favorite decorations. We have a built-in office area and I was hesitant to put it there because its kind of out of sight but this is its home for now. I love this pumpkin.

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I love how the mantle turned out. I only had the pumpkins out and it felt like something was missing. Then I found the golden wheat. It’s hard to tell how beautiful it is in the picture but it is so pretty. And it glistens when the light shines through the window behind the mantle, so pretty.

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I absolutely love this little area behind the sink. It’s the best place for decorations and I’ll be able to easily customize the area for each holiday, the possibilities are endless! The best part is that the Hello Fall print was free! I found it online by googling free fall printables, so easy and hello, free!

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Here are more of decorations from around the kitchen including the best pumpkin spice candle there ever was.

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This cute scarecrow welcomes you into Lyla’s room. She has two small Fall decorations in her room.

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And of course pumpkin soap in her bathroom.

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I only added one thing to our bathroom and that is a tiny sweet cinnamon pumpkin candle from Bath & Body Works. OMG that smell. I could take a bath in it and I do… I have the body wash too. I love this candle so much because it’s the favor we gave out at Sophie’s baby shower. It always makes me think of my sweet girl.

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And there you have it, my Fall decorations. I honestly enjoy decorating my house for each season so much. It makes me so happy to make my house into a home and the best part is that my family truly loves and appreciates all the effort that I put in to doing this. That is what makes it all worthwhile, making my family happy, and the older Lyla gets, the more she gets into it and its so fun so go shopping with her. I can’t wait until Sophie can partake too. Now on to Halloween!

Welcome Fall treats.

Today is the first day of Fall. That gets us really excited over here. Lyla has been jumping up and down talking about it for days. She knows this because she had to do a special Fall project to celebrate the turning of the season and because her mother likes to put pumpkins all over the house. All joking aside, we adore this season. The sights, the smells, the colors, we love Fall.

This idea was born after I made these amazing apple oatmeal bars last week. They came out so good and were so easy to make and I knew immediately that I wanted to share these with friends. I also knew immediately that I wanted to try and make them with pumpkin – they came out just as good. I thought these would be the perfect treat to hand out to my neighbors and Lyla’s teacher. Last night, while burning a pumpkin spice candle, I assembled my welcome Fall treats. I think they came out so cute and I just love doing projects like this. Easy, simple and, hopefully, well received.

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The Internet is overflowing with adorable, free printables. Sometimes, most of the time, I have a hard time deciding which ones to use because they are all so darn cute. I am so thankful to the talented people who share these with the world. I knew I wanted use twine to tie a tag onto a bakery type box with the bars inside. I found these beautiful tags here. The colors and design fit my vision perfectly and they just screamed Fall, plus they said, “Welcome Fall,” … they couldn’t be more perfect.

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I thought I would have to go to Michael’s for twine but I ended up finding some at Target in the dollar bins. How cool is that? I’ve never seen really crafty stuff in the bins but I found the twine along with several other cute, packaging type items like bags, labels and stickers. I bought some bags and other tags that I know I use in the future, maybe for Halloween treats?

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Here are the pumpkin oatmeal bars. I cut them up into small squares and put two or three (depending on the size) into these white gift boxes. I’d been searching for bakery boxes in Tracy and hadn’t been able to find exactly what I was looking for. Sadly, there is no Container Store anywhere near me and that used to be my go to place for packaging. Luckily, I have the best mom in the world and she picked up and delivered these boxes to me, thanks mom!

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I love how these turned out and I cannot wait to give them to our neighbors today.

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