Fall Decor House Tour

Fall has arrived in the Fox Valley and I’ve been decorating the house. Or as Squishy says “You are making it Halloween in here!” I’ve been taking photos as I’ve finished areas, so I thought I would take you on a little fall decor house tour! Let’s start at the front door, shall we?

front steps decorated for fall, pumpkin stack, scarecrow
It’s Scarecrow Fest weekend, so we added a little guy that Squishy named Harvey. We’re waiting for someone to show up on our doorstep worried about the toddler left out in the cold. The pumpkin stack and gourd are from Frank Pumpkin Farm near Atkinson, IL.

rat silhouettes climbing steps, pumpkins, skull, fall decor
Yes, those are rats on the steps. Aren’t they cute? They’re Martha Stewart from Michael’s. They were on sale and I had a coupon, so I just couldn’t resist them.

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Salted Caramel Ice Cream

salted caramel ice cream with white pumpkins
If there is one thing I crave as the weather gets cooler it’s caramel. Creamy, rich, smooth and full of delicious. A few days ago I was in the kitchen watching Gilmore Girls on my phone and decided to make caramel sauce. I blame Sookie. I have to admit, I’ve never had much luck making caramel. Last year I tried to make caramels at Christmas and they ended up like hard candies. Good, but wrong. For this Salted Caramel Sauce I used Two Peas and Their Pods recipe. The only change I made was that I only used about a teaspoon of fresh cracked salt instead of a tablespoon of flaked salt and it was plenty. As usual I had some difficulties. Sugar stuck to the corner edge of the pan and some stayed in clumps… I thought the butter would never whisk in, but it did. And after whisking in the cream I just poured the sauce through a fine strainer and into a big ceramic bowl to cool before pouring into jars.

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Peanut Butter Party Ball

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As we were walking among the apple trees this past Sunday, Squishy was eating a Nutter Butter cookie and said “Mom try dis!”. I took a bite of cookie and I guess I had that look, because the Mr said “Oh, you’ve got that look.”… Apparently I have a ‘recipe brewing’ look. I passed Squishy an apple for a bite and he got the look too!

This recipe is so easy, only 4 ingredients! It comes together in minutes, it’s a total crowd pleaser and would be great for a fall party! Football parties, Halloween gatherings, thanksgiving snacks… Or even just an easy play date treat. And if you have a bigger crowd, it’s so easy to double or even triple!

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Woodstock Country Orchard

senshu apples on the tree at woodstock country orchard, il
Yesterday we decided to go pick apples. After looking around on Yelp!, reading reviews and scanning the map, we decided on Woodstock Country Orchard. There is no admission, no rides, no petting zoos, no gimmicks… Just what we were looking for! They have a tent at the entrance where you can buy some pre-picked apples, local honey, garlic and maple syrup from Wisconsin. There you can pick up bags to gather your apples and pint containers in little tubs for raspberries.

2014 fall price list, woodstock country orchard

apple picking schedule, woodstock country orchard, il
There’s no guessing how many pounds you’ve picked, which was not the case at some places we looked at. I like to be able to have a rough idea of how much I’m getting while picking fruit. It was nice to relax, pick fruit with the family and take photos on a beautiful day among the rows and rows of apple trees and raspberry bushes!

raspberries sign, arrow sign, raspberry bushes, woodstock country orchard
Oh, I know, I was thinking raspberry season was over too! But their bushes were just full of gorgeous and delicious berries!

cloudy skies, raspberry picking, woodstock country orchards, mc henry county, IL
Yep, that’s the Mr picking berries! We started out thinking we’d just get a pint, but after seeing how nice they were and Squishy tasting a few, we decided to get 2 pints.

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Once we had enough berries we moved on to apples. And did I mention they have wagons? Squishy loved helping to pull ours and rode in it for a bit too.
They were picking Cortland and Senshu apples this past weekend. (You can call ahead to ask what is ready for picking the day you plan to go.) Cortland are great for baking while the senshu is a nice snacking apple. They have signs at the ends of the rows that let you know what is ready to pick and what is growing in that row.

senshu apple tree, woodstock country orchard, mc henry county, IL
After sampling each type we decided senshu was our favorite. Tart, sweet and crisp! Just what my little family loves the best. They are the perfect size for snacking. Seriously, these little apples couldn’t get much cuter.

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We had a great time picking apples and sampling them, along with a few snacks we brought from home, while we walked among the trees.

fall leaves, apple tree, senshu apple tree, cloudy sky, orchard, woodstock country orchard, IL

senshu apples, woodstock country orchard, IL

senshu apple tree, apples, woodstock country orchard
After filling our bag, we headed back up to the front tent where we picked out a few heads of garlic and a jar of honey to take home with our fruit.

homegrown garlic, siberian garlic, market basket, woodstock country orchard
The prices are very reasonable. We got a peck of senshu apples, 2 pints of raspberries, a jar of honey and 3 heads of garlic for $30.00! Tax is included, just be sure to bring cash, they do not accept cards. Below is just a sampling of what we brought home. One pint of raspberries is already washed and in the freezer. A whole peck of apples would never fit in that bowl…but I’ve been waiting all year to get it back out.

apples in a hall bowl, raspberries, local honey, garlic, vintage hutch, girlsavage
Woodstock Country Orchard is an easy, just under an hour drive for us from St Charles. Google Maps says it’s about 1.5 hours from our old neighborhood (Lincoln Square) in the city and only about 40 minutes from Lake Geneva, WI. If you’re looking for a spot for lunch or dinner, Woodstock IL is only 7 miles up the road. If you didn’t know, Woodstock is where Ground Hog Day was filmed.

woodstock opera house, woodstock IL
In case you’re wondering, I am not being compensated in any way by Woodstock Country Orchard for writing this post. We just really enjoyed their beautiful orchard, the friendly staff and the fact that it was all about the fruit, not rides and petting zoos. Do not be fooled by the look on Squishy’s face, he had a blast, but it’s hard to smile while your cheeks are packed with apple.

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Thank you Woodstock Country Orchard! We’ll be back soon!