Pumpkin Spice Latte Brownies + Oktoberfest 2017

In the beginning of September there is all this hype for pumpkin spice everything. I’m someone who likes to spread out my pumpkin spice love so I’m not burnt out by Thanksgiving. Because I’m basic, just not thaaaaattt basic. I wanted to make Pumpkin Spice Latte Brownies for my birthday back in September, but then went with mermaid funnfetti cupcakes instead. So, then I thought, why not make them for Oktoberfest! Not super German, I know, but perfect for a fall party.

BTW, the mermaid cupcakes were boxed Funfetti mix and swirled blue and green frosting topped with sprinkles.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Brownies

These are so quick and easy! And it uses a boxed brownie mix too!!

P.S. to make your own Pumpkin Spice click here

Pumpkin Spice Latte Brownies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
Ingredients
  • 1 box brownie mix
  • ⅔ cup pumpkin
  • ¼ cup pumpkin spice flavored coffee
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin spice
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 Degrees F and spray 9x13 pan with coconut oil
  2. Combine pumpkin, coffee, brownie mix and eggs, mix well.
  3. Pour mixture into pan and bake 28-31 minutes.
  4. note: if you don't have pumpkin spice flavored coffee, use an extra tsp of pumpkin spice with regular coffee.
  5. note 2: basically follow the box directions, just substitute pumpkin for oil and coffee for water.

 

Oktoberfest 2017

This years Oktoberfest featured our Pumpkin Beer and Red Ale, along with brats, sauerkraut, caramelized onion, red cabbage and apple salad, Kase-spatzle, an array of mustards, pretzel cheese bites, apple cider punch, pumpkin wine keg, pumpkin spice latte brownies, stout chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, fruit tray, veggie tray, cheese plate, and a make your own pretzel necklace station. We had about 18 people show up this year, slightly less than last year. We did pretty good with the food this year, but still have quite a bit of beer left.

Featured here the beverage table, with the apple cider punch, beverage tub that later had growlers of of our wheat beer and the pumpkin wine keg. The pumpkin wine keg was made with a craft pumpkin from Michaels and BOTA boxed wine (red and white). Cut the top like a traditional pumpkin, and cut two holes for the dispensers. Just trace the dispensers and carefully use a sharp knife or drill out.

Recipe for stout chocolate cake here. I also made them for the Mustache & Beer Bash back in May.

Notice those amazing tire seats! DIY here.

Last year I made a rustic Biergarten sign that now sits in the new bar area of the family room. I found this other sign at a local party store for our outdoor decorating.

DIY sun sail project here.

I found this awesome Chafing Buffet set on amazon that worked really well for keeping the food warm outside and we can use it for many other events in the future.

Goodbye Shed, Hello Garden

Back in the spring, we had our AC unit serviced and it turned out the unit was 35 years old! Not only did it rely on the an older cooling agent thats no longer used in the state of CA, but it needed about $2000+ work just to get it to maybe limp through the summer. We opted to invest in a new AC unit and had the ducts redone as well as add a vent in the master bedroom. However, during the attempt to get the AC project permitted we found out that the shed attached to the back of our garage was un-permitted and we were faced with the choice of getting permitted ($$$) or take it down. We chose to take it down. Which was a shame because we (my dad and brother) had worked fairly hard fixing it up to actually use it.

Before:

It’s been very nice having new AC, the the nest thermostat is really fun to play with. BTW, they just came out with the new nest E thermostat!

Demolition

For a few months we were left with a lovely mess in the back as we tried to figure out what exactly we wanted to do with the space.

The last couple of weekends we’ve been working really hard at breaking the rest of the debris down and getting it out of there. There’s still some debris back there, but we didn’t want to rent a truck and take it all to the dump. We’ve been trying to do this project without spending a lot of money. However we did buy two saws and a crowbar…

Plans for the space

At first we thought we would do a big raised bed in the middle with narrow beds around the parameter and somehow extend the four foot brick wall to add privacy. But that was sounding like a much larger project. So instead we found some picture inspiration for “movable privacy planters” which we wouldn’t need a permit for and can block out our crazy neighbor!

 

One of the challenges with the space is its all concrete so we’ll have to focus on mostly container gardening so the plants can drain. Another challenge is that the back of the garage and yard get a lot of afternoon sun with the SSW exposure. We’ll have to focus on drought tolerant and/or native plants that can climb the planters.

The concrete behind the garage is also this patchy green paint. So I’m hoping we can rent a power washer and clean it up and paint it. Maybe with a design, make it look like a cool rug or something.

Hopefully in November or January we can start cracking away at building the “movable privacy planters” and I’ll be able to tell you how to make them yourselves!

DIY Tire Ottoman

Shortly after we moved into the house, J got some much needed new tires for his car. He had the wheels and tires mounted and balanced by the company so all we had to do was pop off the old ones and put on the new ones. This left us with 4 tires that sat in the garage and old shed for quite a few months. Then the shed had to come down so the tires got relocated to the driveway for a few more months. Until last week we had just thought about putting them out at the curb with a free sign, but who would want 4 very worn and mismatched tires with wheels? Luckily, I had a stroke of genius, DIY tire ottoman! We’re prepping for our big Oktoberfest party here next weekend and can always use more seating for the event so why not!! For less than $40 I was able to create 4 tire ottomans for the patio. Plus, its an up-cycle, repurposed, greenish project!!

Supplies

old tires

Spray paint primer

spray paint colors are vintage turquoise and green apple

plywood (had from shed demo)

Jig Saw

cushion material 

outdoor fabric ~ 1.5 yards for 4 tires (watch for sale or use a coupon)

staple gun with staples

Tires

Start by cleaning the tires really good. I used car wash soap with a sturdy brush, followed by a degreaser to really get the dirt off.

 

Measure the wheel well of the tire and cut rounds with jig saw out of plywood to cover it. You can math it and use a pencil with string or do like I did and find an object that was the same size and trace it, in this case an empty planter. I would recommend sanding the wood a bit if its rough, I however failed to do this step until it was too late.

 

Pick up a priming spray paint and give it a quick coat to help the spray paint adhere to the tire. Also, if you don’t want spray paint all over your patio, cover it with a plastic tarp or cardboard.

It took about a can and a half to cover two tires with spray paint. I did two coats, flipping the tires between the coast to get all directions of the tread.

Cushions

I knew for my tires that they were 19′ inches across so I would need fabric that was slightly bigger to fold over the ends. The foam cushion doesn’t fit 100% but it was the best/ cheapest option.

Make a sandwich with the fabric, cushion and wood. Notice I painted the wood, that part was optional.

Wrap the fabric around the wood like a present and staple away!

 

Finish

Place the tires where you would like them and top with the cushions you just made! I plan on bringing in my cushions most days when the tires are not in use. This will help to preserve the fabric from the CA sun and dust.

Kitchen Refresh + Coffee Bar

Kitchen Refresh

If you’ve been following along on Instagram recently you may have seen that I was on a painting roll recently. I painted the bedroom hallways, the living room, the dining room and the kitchen! I’m hoping to get to the family room next month. It’s so nice to have put our own personal touch on our house and not have that horrid brown color. It was also all flat paint, which is not ideal for a kitchen area so it’s nice to have a surface that can easily be cleaned now.

I’m tempted to add a stainless steal backsplash piece behind the stove like this one here.

Paint is Toasty Gray by BEHR found at The Home Depot. I chose to do the same color for the dining room, living room, bedroom hallways and the family room since they are all somewhat open to each other.

Coffee Bar

I’ve been wanting to do a coffee bar in the kitchen for a while now and after painting the kitchen it seemed like the perfect time. I love being able to hang up my pretty mugs and have all of my whale-y fun coffee and tea stuff out. It helps that the kitchen is big enough for this. For specific items you see here keep reading.

Coffee Bar details:

Rail | S hooks | Under cabinet lightMugs | Cream and sugar set | Reusable coffee pods | Coffee scoop, similar here and here| Whale bowl, gift but you can find similar and similar | Whale spoon rest/ tea bag holder, also a gift but this one is cute | Tea box, similar here |

Nectarine Blueberry Greek Yogurt Cake

You may have also seen on Instagram I posted a picture of a nectarine blueberry greek yogurt cake. Recipe can be found here

Guest Bedroom Refresh

Before:

Here’s the bedroom shortly after we moved in. My original plan was to have the room be purple and gray with a bit of teal but it made the room feel much too dark. The purple duvet cover was from when I was in college too.

After:

Please forgive the questionable quality of photos, my nice camera is acting up and sadly I’m out of practice shooting things. Until I can get the nice(er) camera working again and get back into practice taking pictures these will have to do. The room has a nice new refreshing paint color, called permafrost by BEHR. Scroll down for all the individual details about the room and where to find it all.

I’d love to update the light fixture, find a different clock and replace the carpet. The closet doors are mirrored currently (not pictured) but I’d love to frost those over as well. There is also one more picture that needs to be framed and hung up. Also, doors for the bottom half of the book case to hide all of our old college text books… maybe? or I guess we could just donate them because they are so dang heavy and every time we move thats a lot of weight.

In the room:

Curtains: similar here | Shades | Curtain rod: similar here | Lamp: shade, base, and here | Bed frame| Duvet | Sheets | Quilt: I made it, check it out here | Paint | Rug tutorial here | Hook rack tutorial here | Bookcase| trunk: similar here | Magazine file holders | Side tables: here and an old piece that I spray painted… can’t find anything similar | Art: custom 😉 but check this place out | Picture ledge tutorial here | I’d love to add this light fixture | How cool would this clock look? |

This room features quite a bit of my gramma’s watercolor artwork.

Want to make your guests feel at home? Provide your wifi password in a cute frame! Sometimes we feel like we’re running a bed and breakfast with the amount of people visiting. Its not a bad thing by any means, we missed seeing people frequently while we were in Virginia. California is a better vacation destination for our west coast based friends and family.

This quilt I made after I graduated college, it’s a twin sized quilt so it works well as a throw on this guest bed. Not that this bed needs more bedding on it because it stays relatively warm here in southern California. It’s more for ‘decoration’ haha.

The vase is something that my brother got for me in Montana, isn’t it cool?

This trunk is from J’s old academy days. Honestly we’re surprised it’s lasted this long. At least it looks kinda cool in the guest bedroom?