Fall Fashion: Flaunt Milan Handbag Giveaway!

Are you ready for the fall season?  Here are some extra special accessories that will liven up your fall wardrobe!  Designer, Faith Nicole, is my former 4th grade student from when I was a teacher in Norman, Oklahoma!  She is now a freshman at the University of Oklahoma in Norman pursuing her degree in International Business.

She started her business while in high school at age 16 after making some doodles on the back of a fashion magazine creating her own looks.  I am so proud of her and her accomplishments at such a young age!  Faith has stores carrying her products both nationwide and worldwide.  I know you will LOVE what she has to offer!  She carries accessories like handbags, wallets, tablet cases, jewelry boxes, frames, keychains, and much more!  Please check out her site at Flaunt Fashion!

This giveaway is for a Milan style fall handbag.  The winner can choose either pink or black.  Fill out the Rafflecopter at MamaLuvsBooks to enter.  The more you fill out the more chances you will have to WIN!  Good luck!

Here are your choices of handbags:


Kristin Wheeler

Falling in Love with Fall & a Recipe for Pumpkin Donut Holes

It’s fall in most parts of the country right now. Here in Arizona, fall makes me want to get out my, well, t-shirt and shorts. Yes, we pretty much don’t get to start the fall wardrobe wearing till just about Thanksgiving. It is like the opposite of growing up in Ohio. There, when it reaches 50 degrees in the spring, people start getting out their jean shorts and bikini tops. Here, when it gets down to a breezy 65, we break out the long sleeves and jeans (and then suffer miserably through most of the day!). In the meantime, I am trying to get my “fall” on in a variety of other ways. I start to get out the Halloween decorations, I light the pumpkin spice candles, I merit the pros and cons of wasting half my daily calorie consumption on a new “fall” drink at Starbucks. (Seriously, who are these demons of torture? Salted caramel latte, anyone? You had me at hello!) During the rest of my downtime, I peruse the J.Crew catalog and wonder how many days I can actually wear the sweaters in there over the winter and using some homemade mathematic ratio that is completely fair and balanced, I decide yes! I should have that cable-knit in Angora, please. I also drool over these boots in all colors and combinations.

One of the more productive things I have done, though, is to start baking anything and everything that includes pumpkin. Productive for my productivity and for little mouths around me, not for my thighs, exactly. However, recently I came across this recipe for Pumpkin Donut Holes and they are actually pretty healthy. These donuts are not fried and include plenty of real pumpkin. The whole family loved them and they are one of my few non-guilty fall pleasures. Take them to the kids’ fall parties at school, take them to a Halloween get together, take them to book club or the Rotary! (Does anyone go to Rotary anymore? What is Rotary?) Let’s get started; here’s what you need:

Pumpkin Donut Holes

1 Cup all purpose flour

3/4 Cup whole wheat flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tso sakt

1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 Cup canned pumpkin

1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 Cup skim milk (or almond, rice, or soy milk)

Topping:

3 Tblsp butter, melted

1/3 cup white sugar

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray each cup in a mini muffin tin with baking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice. In a larger bowl, whisk together oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin and milk until smooth. Add dry ingredients  and mix until just moist. Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full with batter. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool. Transfer to wax paper. Topping: melt butter in one bowl and combine sugar and pumpkin pie spice in another. Brush each donut with butter and roll in sugar mixture to coat. Place back on waxed paper to set and then store in an airtight container. Of note, if you are not serving donuts until the next day, wait till then to do the topping. Enjoy!

Fall Festivities in New England

The Fall season in New England brings about a slew of requisite fun family activities.  Below are  my top five favorites not to be missed.

1. Apple Picking! To be honest my older kids kind of roll their eyes at this one, yet I drag them every year, and every year they love it once I get them there.  There a many places to apple pick in Rhode Island, my favorite is Narrow Lane Orchard in North Kingstown because they also have peaches when in season, and a beautiful (but short enough for the kids) nature trail around the orchard.   There is something about picking your own apples and then taking them home to make an apple pie.  I love giving my kids that farm to table experience whenever possible.  My pie recipe is super easy, and the kids love to help.  I buy ready- made Pillsbury pie Crusts, frankly, because I haven’t mastered the pie crust, and mine  have just never come out as good as the ready- made! For the filling:

8 apples cut up into chunks or slices

1/2 stick unsalted butter

1/2 cup sugar

2 T cornstarch

3/4 t. cinnamon

1 t. vanilla

Mix it all together and bake at 350 until top is golden and the filling is bubbling, about 1 hr.

2. The Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular! This takes place every October in R.I., this year it will run October 6th through 31st from 6pm to 10pm at the Roger Williams Park Zoo. Similar events are spread throughout the area. In fact  Women’s Day magazine had a great article last year listing these displays around the country.  Thousands of pumpkins are carved, lit and lined up on a trail with music setting the mood to create an enchanting evening experience not to be missed. It is truly unique, and my whole family enjoys it.  I recommend going either on the early or late side to avoid a long wait in line, since this event is so popular.

 

 

3. The RISD sale. Don’t miss the fall student & alumni RISD sale held outdoors on Benefit street between Waterman and Hopkins streets in Providence. October 15th from 10am to 4pm. Be inspired by amazing creativity, meet the artists, and pick up distinctive art at affordable prices.  Also a great place to find gifts of Jewelry, textiles, ceramics, paintings or paper goods, for yourself or others.

4. Pumpkin Picking.  Yes, there is still a place where, like Charlie Brown, you can go to a real pumpkin patch and pick your own pumpkin off the vine. You don’t have to just buy it at the supermarket. (although admittedly, in this area with plentiful pumpkin crops, they can be much less expensive at supermarkets) For the experience, Spring Hill Sugar House is located at 522 Gardner Rd.in Richmond, RI, and is an 8 acre farm that produces it’s own maple syrup and apple cider . It also has a fantastic corn maze and pumkin patch that makes it the perfect fall day family outing. Be sure to bring your camera to capture all the great photo opportunities.

5. Leaf Collecting.  Remember as a kid picking out colorful leaves and bringing them home to iron between wax paper?  I had somehow forgotten to do this for a while, but the beauty of having children is rediscovering some of the simple pleasures we sometimes forget as adults.  Now we go on a leaf hunt, in our yard, the neighborhood, or on a trail, and bring home beautiful leaves.  I iron them between wax paper, punch two holes in the top, tie on a string, and hang them in the windows for pretty (and for me, nostalgic) home-made fall decorations.

 

The air is crisp, time to get cozy and enjoy the beauty of the Fall! What are some of your favorite fall activities?

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