Fabulous Family Fun: S’mores and Chili Cookoff

Today we’re sharing some fabulous family fun ideas, especially as the weather turns colder.

First up is one of my favorites from childhood, S’mores!

Fabulous Family Fun S'mores

Make you’re own ready to go s’mores kit with these colorful robin’s egg blue paper crates that I got from the farmers market.

Fabulous Family Fun S'mores

Instead of boring plan chocolate, use Reese Peanut Butter Cups.

Fabulous Family Fun Smores

Kids of all ages enjoy the dessert making activity!

Fabulous Family Fun Smores

Chili night is another family favorite, especially come football season!

Fabulous Family Fun Chili Cookoff Make a fun night of it and have the kids help prep the chili and then after dinner make s’mores. We also like to host chili cook-offs, where you devour more than one delicious bowl of chili!

Fabulous Family Fun Chili

These are my two fabulous favorite chili recipes, the first is with ground beef, and the second is with ground turkey.  

Fabulous Chili Recipe

Ingredients: Serves 6-8

  • 1 pound lean ground round beef
  • 3 sliced and diced bell peppers (green, orange & red)
  • 2 cans kidney beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 5 Aidells Chicken & Apple sausages sliced
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper or to taste
  • 1 packet McCormick’s mild or medium chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon parsley

In a large skillet cook beef, drain accesses fat and add to large pot. Sauté chicken sausage and bell peppers in skillet and add basil, oregano and parsley. Cook on medium heat for 8 minutes or until lightly brown. Remove and add to large pot. Add remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce hear and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. Ready to serve with Frito Lays and cheddar cheese.

To make Fabulous Turkey Chili (shown in photo #1) substitute the ground beef and follow the directions.

For more Family fun ideas check out our other posts here and here.


Styling and design – Sarah Sofia Productions

Photography – Sarah Sofia Productions


Thanksgiving Inspiration: Get The Look For Less

Fall Entertaining 2011

Now that Halloween is over and we’re entering the second week of November I wanted to share some more fall and Thanksgiving inspiration with you.

Fall Entertaining 1 2011

Glamming up your pumpkins, gourds, and eggplants not only add color but dimension to your Thanksgiving décor. For the easy DIY tutorial check out here.

Fall Entertaining 2012

You’re Thanksgiving tablescape doesn’t have to be fancy or traditional to be festive and colorful! Adding décor pieces that you already own and mix and matching them with one or two new pieces work great. Get the details for this look here.

Festive Fall Decor Tablescape

Here’s another simple Thanksgiving tablescape that I shared with you to kick off fall! I love the pop of orange, yellow, and red against the blue and burlap. You can check out the details of this look here.

Don’t forget the front of your home is the first thing that will greet your guests.

p 1 Fall Decor

Get the look and details from my previous post here.

Pottery Barn is always a source of inspiration for me during the holidays. Get the look for less and in 15 minutes.

Thanksgiving Decor

First step is to use accessories you already own! Everything you see here is something I’ve pulled from different areas of our home.

Thanksgiving Decor & Tablescape

I absolutely love these black lanterns from Ikea! I usually have them displayed outside but brought the outside in for a rustic look. The faux sparkle pumpkin is one of my favorite buys from Michael’s, but you can easily do it yourself. This gold sea urchin was pulled from our master bedroom. Don’t have colorful table linens? Make your own. I bought this fabric from Hobby Lobby for an event and have used it several times since then.

Thanksgiving Decor & Tablescape

I’ve wanted to try pumpkin carved votive for a few years now and love how it turned out. All you need is a small pumpkin, knife, spoon, candle, and electric drill.

Thanksgiving Tabelscape

I was easy and took less than 10 minutes. Simply slice off the tops, carve a small hole, and scoop out the flesh & seeds of the pumpkin.

Thanksgiving Decor & Tablescape

I decided to use pumpkins again this year as place settings. Simply write the name on the pumpkin with chalk paint or permanent maker.

Thanksgiving Decor & Tablescape

You can easily turn this pumpkin into a DIY decorating craft for kids to keep them occupied during dinner. Simply add fun stickers to the table.

Did you catch Mama’s Cranberry and Apple Dish, that will WOW your guests?

Mamas Cranberry and Apple Dish

If not check out the recipe and more Thanksgiving décor inspiration here.

Thanksgiving Inspiration and Recipes

We’re also teaming up with wedding and event pros this holiday season! Make sure you check out all the dessert inspiration, dessert table, and mini pumpkin pie recipe here just in time for Thanksgiving!

Holiday Dessert Bar

Mini Pumpin Pies Home is where the boat is


Design and Styling – Sarah Sofia Productions

Photography – Sarah Sofia Productions

Black Lanterns – Ikea

China and silverware – Villeroy & Boch

Orange chevron table runner – Hobby Lobby

Gold sea urchins – Target

Gold pumpkins – Michael’s Craft Store


FREE Halloween Portraits for Charlotte Families + Portrait Innovations Giveaway!

Free Halloween Portraits by Portait InnovationsNew Portrait Innovations Studio is offering Free Halloween Portraits during Movies on the Green and Trick ‘r Treat Family Event at Promenade on Providence Shopping Center!

If you’re like me, you try to get a good photo on Halloween, but run out of time between getting everyone ready and out the door. Now you have the opportunity to enjoy some family fun and have a professional photo of your little ones dressed up in their Halloween costumes.

Here are the details:
Portrait Innovations is offering parents with children dressed in costume FREE portraits during the Trick ‘r Treat event taking place at the Promenade on Providence Shopping Center on Friday, October 24th.  Photo opportunities will be from 4 – 6pm, and parents will receive three free high-resolution portraits on a CD of each child.

pirate sm

The portraits will be offered during the Trick ‘r Treat Event at Promenade on Providence.  Kids can collect candy from shopping center merchants between 4 & 7 pm.  After collecting their treats, families are invited to enjoy their candy under the stars while watching Monsters University on the green.  The movie will start at 7pm.

The Portrait Innovations store, located at Providence Road and I-485, is newly renovated.  What does this mean for your freebie Halloween Portraits? You’re gonna get those Pinterest-inspired, drool-worthy photos of your kids this year!

owl sm

With new camera rooms equipped with  lighting and background textures including brick, plank and slate and photographers trained in the newest posing and shooting techniques, those free photos are gonna look awesome.

Join the fun at the Promenade on Providence Shopping Center on Friday, October 24th.  The rain date for the event is Sunday, October 26th.

Connect and share with Portrait Innovations at www.portraitinnovations.com,  on Facebook (www.facebook.com/portraitsdotcom) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/portraitsdotcom).

Want another opportunity for FREE portraits with Portrait Innovations? Enter our exclusive giveaway for a session valued at $100 by commenting on how you could use the $100 free portrait session!


Shop Small This Fall Giveaway: Support Small Business

shop small this fallLauren Stauffer, The Stauffer Home, & It’s All Chevron are hosting a Shop Small This Fall Giveaway! It has over 60 items in the giveaway! The items are listed below along with how to get entered! Make sure you comment on this post once you have entered and let me know what you are excited to win!

-$15 Gift Card to Arbor Bowtique
-Newborn Tieback (your choice in color) from Daisy & Lucy Lockets Fabulous Photo Props
-$25 Gift Card to Cary’d Away Creations
-$15 Gift Card to Precious Pennants
-$10 Gift Card to Tastefully Simple with Jenny Porta
-$15 Gift Card to Buttons, Bows, & Blessings
-Two Free Books from Barefoot In Jersey
-Newborn Heart Stitch Pant & Hat Set from Puddy Pad Designs
-Newborn Camo Pant & Hat Set from Southern Sewista
-A Bloomer Set from The Blushing Apple
-A Bonnet from Lynetta’s Creations
-$35 Gift Card to Christy’s Cornerx3
-$10 Gift Card to Elise DeAnne Designs
-A Scarecrow Hat from Sew Funktastic
-Romper & Headband from SPONSOR It’s All Chevron
-Three Day Plexus & Booster Trial from Ashley Osborne
-Thirty One Goodie Bag from Stephanie Hebert
-Wrap, Facial & Greens Package from It Works with Alicia McClure
-$10 Gift Card to Mary Kay with Christina Doyle
-3D Fiber Mascara from Younique with Anna
– Simply Created Kit & Simply Sent Kit from Stampin’ Up with Jillian
-$5 Gift Card to Cute N Cuddly Crochet

Get entered here!

Now go out and support small businesses in your local city!


Fall Family Fun Series

Guest Blogger Series Badge

I’m thrilled to be guest posting for Katie, at MomFavorites.com today! As a wedding and event planner and stylist I usually blog about my events, entertaining and décor tips. However, this post allows me to step out of my normal comfort blogging zone and share my personal life with y’all!

Charlotte offers a variety of fall fun from apple picking, to pumpkin picking, to hay rides and animal petting farms, to hiking trails.

Once October hits, it’s all about pumpkin patches! Here’s a sneak peek from our recent pumpkin patch adventure at Hodges Farm in North Charlotte!

Fall Family FunFall Family FunFall Family FunNot to mention our fun memories of hiking in Grand Father Mountain before Charlotte was born!

grandfather mountain 3

grandfather mountain 4

Come on over to MomFavorites.com for more fall family fun ideas!

Happy Fall Y’all!


Festival Fall Decor: Tablescape

Since Monday is the official first day of fall we are sharing some festive fall décor with you today.

Festive Fall Decor

The colors red, orange and brown usually come to mind when I think of fall décor.  However, don’t be afraid to mix it up with blue and green or even some pink and purple.  You can still be classic and elegant with being different!

Festive Fall Decor Tablescap

Use décor items that you already have but in a new way to showcases your fall tablescape. Such as this turquoise table runner over a burlap table runner.  Adding new décor items to your tablescape doesn’t have to break the budget. For example, these colorful branches of leaves we a great find at my local grocery store for under $10. Wondering what to do with all those apples you just picked? I used mine as centerpiece here.

Festive Fall Decor Tablescape

I love mixing high and low items such as my Villeroy & Boch china with Pottery Barn blue plates and my Target linen napkins.  The combination really makes the colors pop.

Fall Festive Decor Tablescape

While I am all about pumpkins, try using another vegetable like squash, which makes your tablescape unique and adds dimension with the various colors.

Festive Fall Decor Tablescape

Another easy décor item is switching out your candles.  I love how these gold and white striped candles look against the array of colors.  These candles were a hostess gift from my friend and fellow blogger Summer, Simply Stylings and they add just the right touch to this tablescape.

Happy Fall Y’all!


Styling, design and photography – Sarah Sofia Productions

Burlap Table Runner – Hobby Lobby

Linen Napkins – Target

Blue Rope Plates – Pottery Barn

China – Villeroy & Boch


Fall Family Fun Series

Fall Fun

I’m thrilled to be guest posting for Katie, at MomFavorites.com, and today I’m giving you a teaser of my Fall Family Fun article. As a wedding and event planner and stylist I usually blog about my events, entertaining and décor tips. However, this post allows me to step out of my normal comfort blogging zone and share my personal life with y’all!

The beginning of a new school year has become the unofficial welcome of fall for many of us. The smells of pumpkin, cinnamon, apples, and spice fill the air and we welcome the crisp mornings and chilly nights.

Charlotte offers a variety of fall fun from apple picking, to pumpkin picking, to hay rides and animal petting farms, to hiking trails.

Our first stop is always the Yiasou Greek Festival, which is the first weekend in September located in Dilworth at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church.  The Greek Festival is rated the best festival in Charlotte, and we agree!  We’ve been going for a few years now as a family and have figured out Sunday is the best day to go for several reasons: It’s as crowded and usually you can find someone handing out free tickets. The kids love riding on the rides and the food is too delicious to pass up! The outdoor vendors are our favorite, especially the spanakopita and lamb gyro!

Greek Fest

As a native Ohioan living in Charlotte I miss the apple picking days of my childhood. However, just outside of Charlotte there is one apple picking farm that is perfect for a Saturday morning activity with the family.

Carrigan Farms, just outside of Charlotte in Mooresville, is the best place in the area to go apple picking. After apple picking we enjoyed the delicious apple cider and watching the bees make honey.  You can also pay a small fee for a hayride tour of the farm. However, unlike other areas in the country, apple picking season in the Charlotte area is very short, August 31-End of September.

Apple Picking

For more Fall Family Fun check back here on October 10 or hop on over to MomFavorites.com for my full article, including pumpkin patch round up!



Festive Fall Decorations



Happy fall y’all! I love this time of year, especially with the upcoming holiday fun with family and friends!

This year I decided to add a burlap wreath to my fall and Halloween décor outside.  I used this as a guide I wanted a whimsical wreath for my kids that I can use year round, changing the ornaments with the holidays and seasons.

Gather your supplies from Michael’s or your local crafts store.  You will need a 20″ wire wreath, 2 rolls of  4″ burlap ribbon,  a letter for your family’s initial, and floral wire, which totals $40.

To personalize the wreath, use items you already own or your children’s arts and crafts.  I used a bat my daughter had made, a scarecrow, and chevron burlap ribbon.  To create a little more pop of color I tied an orange ribbon to the pink chevron burlap bow.

The best thing about the wreath besides the price for supplies, is that it took me 30 minutes to make and another 10 minutes to style!

One of the best secrets about decorating is buying a few staple items and reusing them each year in a different arrangement, while adding a few new items.  In my arrangement I love the contrast of the lanterns next to the pumpkins. Add a little glitter to glam up your décor!

Don’t be afraid to mix and match. I have a few orange and white artificial pumpkins that I arrange next to green and multicolored pumpkins.  I also use pumpkins that come in different sizes and shapes to make the arrangement more interesting.

For more fall décor and entertaining inspiration check out our previous posts here and here.

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Fall Decor

Vendor Credits

Styling and photography – Sarah Sofia Productions www.sarahsofiaproductions.com

Orange, white, and gold pumpkins – Michael’s

Welcome sign – Target

Burlap ribbon – Michael’s

Chevron burlap ribbon – Hobby Lobby

Wire wreath – Michael’s

Scarecrow – Target

K initial – Michael’s

Lanterns – Ikea

Fall Entertaining

There’s something about Fall when the kids go back to school, the air becomes crisp and football, apple and pumpkin picking are family past times. Using the flavors and the colors of the season it’s easy to decorate your front porch and tablescape with seasonal squash, apples, flowers, eggplant and a little glam with glitter!   Host a fall dinner party, pumpkin carving or decorating party with stickers and glitter, or a Halloween party. Fall entertaining and decor isn’t just for the September and October months, but can be carried over for Thanksgiving entertaining as well.  Be creative in your design by using other vegetables for a punch of color like I did on this tablescape above with artichokes.  You can cut a hole in the top of the artichoke or a small pumpkin and place a votive candle in the middle, which will make your setting perfect for an evening event.  For decorating tips and ideas please check out last years post on Fall Entertaining.

Fall Entertaining

Looking for an easy, but sophisticated  design to dress up your fall event or Thanksgiving dinner?  Why not use the season’s fruit and vegetables such as pumpkins, squash, and eggplant (large and small) and add a little sparkle to them! All you need are fruits, vegetables, glitter, glue, and a little imagine.  I arranged the decorations on a mantle, but you can arrange them on a table, or in bowl for a centerpiece.