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It’s been about a week now since we officially closed on our house, but it feels like we’ve been here much longer. I am always very quick to create a comfortable space for my family no matter what the situation, and in this new house although we are in the process of planning for renovations, it’s no different. My kids always joke with me about how I have to add my “Carli touch” to everything, but I know deep down inside they appreciate the extra care I put into making our house a home.
This month for my Better Homes & Garden’s challenge, I was asked how I like to spend my fall nights at home, but of course, things are looking a little different this fall for us, being in a new home, and a very different environment-hello new wooded yard. Our typical Fall evenings include family game nights, cooking or baking together, movie nights or ice cream sundae bars. But since we’ve been here at our new house, and we aren’t even remotely unpacked yet, we are spending a lot more time outdoors— like way more time than we usually do.
Although we’ve been spending a lot of time together at home, we’ve all been very busy between, working from home, doing school at home, and moving–the quality family time was missing. I decided to set up a fun family food activity. Typically we would go apple picking but we decided to pass on that activity this year and have some apple fun at home.
We started with this crazily overgrown area in the yard . . .
When we first came to the house, we had no idea what this area was supposed to be, it was overgrown, and to be honest, it felt a little creepy. Once we got some yard work done, cleared the overgrown hostas, and trimmed some trees we discovered a concrete pad under all that brush! My husband wanted to chop up the fallen tree (you can see below), but all I could envision was string lights strung from it, creating the perfect ambiance for an evening in “the woods.” I’d have to say that the tree is totally what inspired this entire setup. Who woulda thought???
Updated Bobbing For Apples Game
I decided to make this a sweet little space to dine al fresco on cool fall nights and enjoy some fun family time with our favorite fall activities–I remember back when my two oldest were little we used to play an alternative to bobbing for apples, that didn’t involve actually sharing drooly water with your peers (sorry not sorry) the real bobbing for apples always grossed me out, however the new version is super simple and involves 3 items you probably already have on hand:
- Apples with stem (or use donuts or mini donuts for small children, or those missing teeth, hehe)
- A tree or pole
How to play the Updated Bobbing for Apples Game:
- Tie the twine in a knot around the stem of a nice clean apple (or you can use donuts for smaller kids for less of a challenge)
2. Hang the apples according to the mouth height of the participant
3. Player puts arms behind head and attempts to bite into the apple/donut without using their hands.
4. Whoever bites the apple first is the winner
To make this space feel extra cozy for dining or autumn game nights, I ordered these adorable Better Homes & Gardens metal bistro chairs (although meant for indoors, I figured they’d work perfectly for outdoors as long as I don’t leave them in the rain–in fact, I may just use them in our breakfast nook to replace the heavy wooden chairs that we inherited from the previous owners.)
These chairs are sturdy and their classic shape goes perfectly with almost any decor.
I grabbed a few of my favorite lanterns you may recall from last month, a bunch of mums, a couple of large faux galvanized metal planters, and this white planter which is probably one of my favorite planters—I just love the shape and texture of it. I also grabbed a cute striped planter to pot some mums, which really helped to tie the look all together.
We used the old grill to build a fire for warmth and then my daughter’s boyfriend helped me string 2 sets of string lights for ambiance. I created a makeshift table using an old workbench sort of thing that was left in the garage from the previous owners, and topped it off with the top to our DIY coffee Table from the old house. Lastly, the little vintage wood bench, also from the garage, was added to the space and draped with a cozy Sherpa throw.
I am so smitten with how this area turned out! This little area that seemed like it had no potential, is now the perfect space to enjoy an evening outdoors as a family.
What we snacked on:
Rather than making candied or caramel apples that get stuck in the kids teeth, we sliced up some apples and created some DIY loaded Caramel apple kabobs!
Loaded Caramel Apple Kabobs
All you need is:
- Apples (we used Gala)
- Warm caramel apple dip
- Melted chocolate
- Wooden skewers
- Shredded coconut
- Halloween sprinkles
- Milk Chocolate chips
I also had chopped peanuts but I forgot to put them out!
I also didn’t get pics of any of the completed kabobs because the kids ate them all as soon as I put them out-haha!
I’m a sucker for tiny bowls—they’re so great for entertaining! So I picked up a few of the Better Homes & Gardens Small Coupe Bowls for the toppings, and the slightly larger coupe bowls for the dips. Once placed upon this Acacia wood cake stand they were functional, as they allowed more space on the table for fresh pine cones, mini pumpkins, a great apple scented jar candle, and more fun decor, and are super stylish.
We had such a blast this evening, and even after we were ready to call it a night, Kyle came back for one last go at the apple bobbing. He was determined I tell ya!
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String Lights (now on clearance!)