Decorating with Fall Leaves

Creatively Living‘s leaves in a glass container.

There is no doubt that leaves are one of God’s most beautiful decorating creations.

  

BG&H‘s table centerpiece.

Their colors and shapes are magnificent!

Centsational Girl‘s fall mantel.

……and just like all awesome things from God,

…they are free.

BG&H ‘s leaves in a vase.

They look good basically anywhere, when you’re decorating for fall!

BG&H‘s leaf and pumpkin garland.

…and just like any great decorator, God changes them constantly, keeping the world wonderfully different everyday.

 

Creatively Living’s  Leaf Placecards

Sometimes I stop and wonder why I buy and make so many fall decorations.

Creatively Living’s Fall Chandelier

….when what is most beautiful, is just sitting outside my window, needing a little creativity.

HGTV by Layla Palmer

Although it is fun to pull the leaf decor out before anything outdoors has really changed.

Potterybarn

Because wonderfully colored fall leaves, never seem to last long enough.

Uncommon Designs‘ Glittered Leaf Wreath.

So even if your fall decor budget is at an all time low…

 

 HGTV

There’s no need to worry….

Parents.com

 As usual, God has provided everything you really need.

Creatively Living

 

 

Cheap and Healthy DIY Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte…. (Yes! It’s possible!)

Attn: Starbucks addicts!!!

Rest easy this fall….

even though the Pumpkin Spice Latte is now available, you can keep your $ in your wallet and your pants size in your closet!

I have the BEST Pumpkin Spice Latte syrup recipe…..and my “healthified” version, which (let’s be honest) is not the best, but is a close second.

I am a pretty thrifty person, but I do have a weakness……purchasing copius amounts of caffeine!

Yes, cheap-o me! I pay too much for a legal addictive stimulant!

Coffee and Jesus are how I function!

Really, I can stay away from Starbucks most the year….except for fall, when the Pumpkin Spice Latte comes out!

But this year will be different (and I’m sure my husband is thankful)

because a couple weeks ago, my friend Lindsey sent me a link to the best tasting Starbuck’s knock-off syrup I’ve ever tried.

Confections of a Foodie Bride Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte Syrup.

This stuff is seriously that good…..so good that I know I can save a lot of money NOT buying my beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks.

However…..the first day I made it, I drank a lot of homemade lattes (notice I didn’t write that amount…ya , the number is that embarrassing),

and that’s when I decided that although it saved me money, having to buy new pants to fit into wouldn’t– and that I’d better come up with a healthier version!

So….

If you don’t have any problems keeping you’re weight down, and you like to ingest absurd amounts of sugar, you can go to the link above….it’s pretty much like fall heaven.

But….if you’re like me and looking at lattes causes you to gain a pound, then I have a healthier version for you below.

I actually have two versions: One is an all-natural version and one is a low-cal version:

All Natural Pumpkin Spice Sauce (my fave):

* 1 1/4 cups water

* 3/4 cup Agave Nectar (I purchase this in the bulk food section of our super market, but you can also find it at any health food store)

* 3 Cinnamon Sticks

* 1/2 tsp of ginger

*1/2 tsp of ground cloves

* 1 tsp of nutmeg

(or if you’re lazy like me and that is too many ingredients, just shake on some all spice until you’re happy with it)

* 3 Tbs of canned pumpkin —or if you’re a go-gether, then use real pumpkins and puree

Low-Cal Version

* 1 cup water

* 3/4 cup Splenda

* 3 Cinnamon Sticks

* 1/2 tsp of ginger

*1/2 tsp of ground cloves

* 1 tsp of nutmeg

(or again, if you’re lazy like me and that is too many ingredients, just shake on some all spice until you’re happy with it)

* 3 Tbs of canned pumpkin

The recipe creator (link above) has different instructions, but am into “quick cooking”, so I threw all my ingredients together in a pan, waited for it to boil a bit while I stirred it and that was it…(still delicious)!

How to make the latte

Make some VERY strong coffee….

NOTE: To get strong coffee,  I take the leftover breakfast coffee (probably around 2-3 cups), and pour it back in the coffee maker (instead of water), add some grounds to the ones that were already used and re-brew. This makes awesomely strong coffee!

Use around 5 tbps of it (or so they suggest….I use more)

6-8 oz skim milk (for the low-cal version) -or- unsweetened coconut milk (for the all-natural version)

Heat the milk.

* note: the coconut milk is awesome, because it’s thicker than regular milk, it’s my preferred choice.

2-3 Tbps Pumpkin Spice Syrup —-or more if you like it sweet like I do.

Mix together, and add a little whipping cream, or a sprinkle of cinnamon is you want (the cream part isn’t low cal).

Enjoy!!!