Snack Around the Plate — Fall Edition! (Plus, Our Fall Break Photo Album)

Today is a big ‘ol combo of all the things — what we’ve been up to, fall break, fall stuff… I actually planned for a few of these sections to serve as independent, stand-alone posts but not wanting to let the season get away from us, I ultimately decided to dump it all together in one massive Snack Around the Plate! Don’t miss the fall break 2023 photo album at the bottom, if that’s your thing 😉 Let’s go ahead and jump in…

What is a “Snack Around the Plate”? Growing up, this was the phrase my mom called meals she would assemble with random favorites when scouring the pantry and fridge. And, while each item didn’t totally go together, assembled as one collective, I loved them! Basically, “Snack Around the Plate” posts are just a smorgasbord of randomness — “a little of this and a little of that” from all things lifestyle. It’s a mish-mosh highlight reel from a favorite recipes to favorite finds.

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1. Fall Movies

We talked about fall books in my top 10 fall book recs post HERE, but what about movies? Dave and I try to have an in-bed movie date each Friday night after Eliza goes to sleep, and I’ll definitely be resurrecting a few of my all time faves this season. If you get overly ambitious in your move watchlist, most actually carry over to the cozy holiday season pretty seamlessly 😉

Similar to the fall reads I mentioned in this post, below are some of my all time favorites and transport me right into fall — because of the setting, theme, cozy vibe, or something that I can’t quite put my finger on. Here’s a few you may or may not think of this season…

  • Practical Magic
  • Hocus Pocus (and Hocus Pocus 2)
  • Remember the Titans
  • You’ve Got Mail
  • Legends of the Fall
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • Sleepless In Seattle
  • Never Been Kissed
  • Pitch Perfect (all of them!)
  • The Replacements
  • Rudy
  • Autumn in New York
  • Friday Night Lights
  • Pearl Harbor
  • Twilight Series
  • Hope Floats
  • Mystic Pizza
  • Edward Scissorhands
  • Good Will Hunting
  • Kate & Leopold
  • Beetlejuice
  • Sweet November
  • The Devil Wears Prada
  • The Witches (the original)
  • Jerry Maguire
  • The Craft
  • A River Runs Through It

2. September Reads

I do plan on sharing all the books I read in 2023, along with my absolute favorites at the end of the year. And, while I shared a snapshot of the spreadsheet I created for my own personal log, I just found an app — Bookmory — that is fantastic as a visual aid. Since I jump around from audio books, e-books, and physical books and always have at least one in progress from each category, I started keeping a log in the app. I only select when I start and complete the book and opt for the book graphic to show on all days in-between (there’s several customizations). There are plenty of books I’m not reading every day but the below monthly snapshot shows the books I was currently on each day. For example, I started Fourth Wing on the 22nd and while it shows as in progress for the next several days, we went on fall break and I didn’t really pick it back up until around the 28th (and then binged it). Pretty cool!

I keep my ratings in my personal spreadsheet but if you want something simple, you can keep track of your own ratings, progress, and more in the app.

And, speaking of Fourth Wing, OMG, totally worth the hype. As many people who have said “I’m not really into fantasy and I still loved it,” I thought I would be the exception who wouldn’t get into it. I was wrong. I devoured it. I’m currently making my mom read it, also. But something that made it EXTRA enjoyable, since I’m all about personal soundtracks (if you missed it, you can catch my cozy, moody fall playlist HERE), is searching “Fourth Wing” on both Apple Music and Spotify and playing book playlists readers have created softly in the background. They set the mood and go along with the book perfectly. TRULY an enriching experience.

I’ve actually looked up playlists included in some books on the streaming apps but I’m going to start doing that more.

Fall 2023 Favorites

3. Trader Joe’s New Seasonal Faves

Big Trader Joe’s fan here, but my favorite time to go is right after the seasonal items launch (both in the fall and for the holidays). (You can find my regular go-to TJ items HERE.) Sadly, (and maybe fortunate, haha) I don’t have a Trader Joe’s close by, so typically only travel there every two months or so. So when we do schedule a day to go, we stock up.

We made it by a couple weeks ago, just after the fall items started hitting the shelves, and I tried a few new winners!

Right now, they have apple, maple, pumpkin, and winter squash everything. They have a huge assortment of fall florals, along with baby potted mums and I even grabbed a miniature Venus Fly Trap for Eliza and Dave. They had their mini pumpkins ready to go and the end caps were loaded. A few new-to-me fall items I picked up…

  • Apple Cider Donuts (So delish! I heated them up a bit and wow.)
  • Strawberry & Rhubarb Hand Pies (Ok, I don’t think these are actually seasonal but I’ve never seen them at our store before. Incredible. I bet the seasonal hand pies are fab, too.)
  • Spiced Cider (Not new to me but a staple.)
  • Mini Maple Marshmallows (Eliza loves to eat them by themselves but also fun for hot cocoa and cereal mixes.)
  • Halloween Joe Joe’s (I love the pumpkin Joe Joe’s but my fam isn’t big on pumpkin flavor so we went with the traditional chocolate & cream flavor)
  • Pumpkin Bread Mix (I LOVE this mix and typically add chopped nuts and chocolate chips to mine!)
  • Pecan Praline Granola (There was also a Honey Crisp Apple granola. Dave is really big on garnola and the value and taste of this fall bag can’t be beat. We will be making a repeat trip sooner than usual just to make sure we get more of this!)

Regret: I did not get the butternut squash ravioli, but wish I had!

Also random and if they aren’t new, I haven’t seen them at our store. But, the (Almost) Everything Bagle Sandwich Crackers are awesome!

You can find a more comprehensive list of seasonal items HERE. It looks like I missed some things so I’ll definitely be checking to see if our store has a few new wishlist items.

4. Amazon Plaid Shacket

Shackets still reign supreme in my closet for fall 2023 — probably because they’re cozy, easy, and simple to layer on top of the tees I live in year round.

My mom just found this affordable plaid shacket on Amazon that comes in a TON of colors and ships for free via Prime. After trying hers on, I had to have one too. And then, she ordered a second one, haha. Mine is the far right, primarily tan color; I may break down and order the dark green plaid, too…

Fall 2023 Favorites

5. Fall Coffee Table Styling Ideas

A week or so ago, I went through an entire process of styling a small/medium sized rectangle coffee table in Instagram stories. A lot of you liked seeing the start to finish in action and off the cuff. I essentially, divided the table in half in my mind, styled each side independently and then worked to balance the weight of the sides. I went through a few different options with affordable seasonal decor and practical year-round pieces. Here were a few of the “working options”, along with the sources…

Styling a coffee table was one of my very first posts on KN and I’ve had it on my list to update/re-do it for a LONG time. Let’s put it in the “early 2024” goals bucket 😉

6. Eliza’s Boo Basket

A couple weeks ago, Eliza unearthed her favorite pumpkin throw from her storage trunk and proudly stated, “It’s time for my favorite throw!” So , while she was at school, I added a couple Halloween touches and gifted Eliza her annual “Boo Basket” a little early. No matter how inexpensive or how often it gets washed, the $10 jack o’lantern fleece throw that I had to persuade Eliza to retire when the season was over last year is still perfect.

Here are a few of the patterns this year, and despite inflation, it’s still $10 😉

Eliza picked up a couple of mini striped pumpkins from our pumpkin patch trip for her bookcase, but also made me promise I would save a small orange and a small white pumpkin for her. While she was at school, I added this beaded bat pillow to her bed, a trick or treat headband to her favorite stuffed bear, a special light up Halloween snow globe from last year to her nightstand and added the orange and white mini pumpkins to the others. Her Boo Basket included a few Halloween books (Where’s Waldo Spooky Spotlight Search and The Creepy Crayon) and Halloween coloring book, a jack o’ lantern flashlight, small paint kits from Walmart, and some special Halloween-inspired treats.

Boo Basket Ideas for Kids

Along with the few new additions, I brought out last year’s Halloween books and we’ve been going through all the Halloween books checked out from the library.

Great Kids Halloween Books

Everything from Eliza’s Boo Basket from last year is still in use/was brought back out. Her pjs still fit and because (minimizing), there was no need/urge to buy new. She’s been using her special Halloween plate and she was most excited to get that black cat snow globe back on her nightstand. The basket gets put away and re-used annually.

7. Fall Break 2023 Photo Album

Eliza had her first “Fall Break” and we used the time as an excuse to escape for a few days, head south, and visit family. Coming off a Whiskey Myers concert (Eric Church was actually the headliner) and trip to the pumpkin patch, we drove down to Lower Alabama to visit some family and bop around the county.

I was really excited to check out Page & Palette in downtown Fairhope and we swung into the used book exchange in Foley, too.

We went to Sunset Pointe in Fairhope for our first night dinner, just beside Aunt Suze’s house, and then walked the Fairhope Pier at sunset (the jazzy saxophone player set the tone). We also all had blueberry pancakes at Julwin’s for breakfast and they were fabulous.

Here’s the view from dinner…

Fall 2023 Fall Break Lower Alabama
Fall 2023 Fall Break Lower Alabama

And when we relocated to the pier…

Fall 2023 Fall Break Lower Alabama
Fall 2023 Fall Break Lower Alabama

Eliza played mini golf for the first time in Gulf Shores — Dave and Eliza both got holes-in-one; I did not.

Fall 2023 Fall Break Lower Alabama

We stayed at a hotel near The Wharf, which I love for the convenience and accessibility to go between the different areas of Baldwin County.

Fall 2023 Fall Break Lower Alabama

Eliza was stoked to ride in the Ferris Wheel and we took in the laser show during dinner that evening.

We walked the beach and as pleasant as the weather has been back home in Georgia, it was HOT down south in Alabama.

Fall 2023 Fall Break Lower Alabama
Fall 2023 Fall Break Lower Alabama
Fall 2023 Fall Break Lower Alabama
Fall 2023 Fall Break Lower Alabama
Fall 2023 Fall Break Lower Alabama
Fall 2023 Fall Break Lower Alabama
Fall 2023 Fall Break Lower Alabama

My mom lived in L.A. for more than 10 years and I actually lived there for a short while back in 2007-2008. It was fun to play tourist and do some things I hadn’t done in a long time…

Fall 2023 Fall Break Lower Alabama

The Orange Beach area is a huge boating and fishing area. I hadn’t been to the Gulf State Pier in ages.

Fall 2023 Fall Break Lower Alabama

Alligator Alley in Foley was a highlight and Eliza loved feeding all the gators in the swamp. She couldn’t wait to get her hands on a live gator 😉 She is fearless in everything

Fall 2023 Fall Break Lower Alabama

They actually had more reptiles and snakes than even the Atlanta zoo. Again though, it was hot.

We ate and shopped and ate and did things like buy the dumb, overpriced souvenir cups, because “mermaid water” aka sprite and orange juice concoction, haha.

Fall 2023 Fall Break Lower Alabama

We visited with my brother’s family and Eliza met her younger cousin for the first time. And the pups at Shades at The Wharf were the best!

Fall 2023 Fall Break Lower Alabama

Did I mention we definitely didn’t shy away from the food on our trip? They had all sorts of caramel and candy apples at the ice cream shop and by the way, not a great photo but trust — the loaded tots at Mile Marker 158 dockside restaurant are it.

And Eliza had the hotel pool to herself. We LOVED being down there when the crowds were not.

Fall 2023 Fall Break Lower Alabama

It was a quick trip and we loved doing a lot and then coming home for a few days before it was time to head back to school. We got another swim day in at home, settled in, and spent this past Saturday at Uncle Shuck’s corn maze (in North Georgia, about 10 minutes from our house). Highly highly recommend and they have TONS to do.

Fall 2023 Fall Break Lower Alabama
Fall 2023 Fall Break Lower Alabama

Because it was fall break, we continued to eat all the things, haha. If you visit, don’t miss their bbq sandwich they smoke on-site, or their boiled peanuts 😉

Fall 2023 Fall Break Lower Alabama

Or their funnel cakes, or fresh strawberry lemonade… you get it 😉

I need to re-make and share the recipe for the chicken pot pie I made, too. I hadn’t made one in years and with Dave’s request, resurrected it this past weekend. It was so good and perfect for fall comfort.

Fall 2023 Fall Break Lower Alabama

By Sunday after church, after a busy week of trips and chores and events and lunches, and all the things, this is basically how we all felt post-church. Tired, happy, and grateful to be in fall.

Fall 2023 Fall Break Lower Alabama

Wow, that was a long SAP and like I said, probably could have/should have been split into multiple posts, but I didn’t want to delay. So, if you made it all the way here, you rock and thank you! I hope you’re all having the best start to fall and are enjoying bits of happiness where you find them.

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