• Madmom Stephanie

5 Fall Ideas for the Tired (Broke) Mom

Fall is my favorite season and I am personally obsessed with everything Halloween. When I had my son in late August, I was afraid this would damper my ability (a.k.a. energy & funds) to decorate once Starbucks announced the official start of Fall with the release of their pumpkin spice flavors. If you're like me, you may also not be blessed with the ability to get your craft projects to actually look like your Pinterest board. Many of the ideas are great in theory, but much more challenging in practice when you are also juggling a hungry baby, hyperactive dog and a husband who would rather binge watch YouTube car videos than do anything involving glitter or fake cobwebs. So here's a few of my favorite Fall idea for moms who have a budget and an energy limit:

Pumpkin Pail Flowerpots

I found this idea on one of my social media accounts and the idea immediately stuck because there is almost no way to mess it up! It is super simple, fast and look amazing when done. I have a small front porch so I only made one, but you can make however many you like in pretty much the span of your baby's afternoon nap time. This is an actual photo of mine last year, and I'm definitely not gifted with the ability to craft well. As a side note - you may want to consider removing the handle from the pails before painting them, unless you plan to hang them up.

Shopping List (from Walmart)
$1 Pumpkin Pail
$7 Spray Paint
$5 Orange Mums (or any fall flowers)
$13 per pail

Pumpkin Spice Quick Bread

I LOVE baking so this was a fun, clean and yummy treat for everyone in my family that took 5 minutes to mix and one hour of set-it-and-forget-it in the oven. If you're wanting to try a healthier alternative, try using apple sauce instead of vegetable oil (the same amount). It will cut back on the calories/fat and you can technically call it "Apple Pumpkin Spice" which just sounds Pinterest-worthy,

Shopping List (from Walmart)
$2 Great Value Pumpkin Spice Quick Bread Mix
$0.46 6 Large Eggs (You only need 2)
$2 Great Value Vegetable Oil -or- Great Value Unsweetened Applesauce
$1 Mainstays Foil 5" Mini Loaf Pans 
$6 per loaf

DIY Leaf Lanterns

Photo Credit: Hallmark Channel

Watch out HGTV binge watchers! These lanterns are such a cute home decor idea and take minimal effort. These are great for entryway tables, coffee tables or on a decorative shelf. Grab a few pine cones and some artificial leaves to spruce up the lanterns wherever your display them.

Pro tip: Use an old t-shirt ad save money on an "ironing cloth". Try using wire or cardboard to provide a solid base for your lamps, then place a flamless LED candle on the inside to get the flickering light effect.

Shopping List (from Walmart)
$3 Scotch Expressions Washi Tape (whatever design you like)
$2 Reynolds Cut-Rite Wax Paper (75 sq ft)
$13 Steamfast SF-727 Travel Mini Steam Iron
$1 Scissors 
$5 Fake Leaves (or use real ones and save the $5)
$5 Mainstays Flameless Tea Lights
$27 for However Many You Can Make During Nap Time

Natural Fall Centerpieces

Photo Credit: Jenna Burger

When my husband and I lived in our apartment pre-baby, my dog literally bit a chunk out of our kitchen table...like some kind of land version of JAWS. Because good tables are expensive and we suddenly had a baby to budget for not long after, I focused more on covering this mishap rather than replacing the table, A perfect solution to make any dining area suddenly seasonal is a clean tablecloth and fun centerpiece. Add a cheap table runner, a branch from your backyard, and some fake leaves and gourds and suddenly your 5 minute centerpiece is the center of conversation for any new-baby visitors. That's right. Showcase your decorative stability (lack of sleep nonwithstanding).

Pro tip: Skip the drill and inserted candles if you don't already have them laying around.

Shopping List (from Walmart)
$5 Fake Leaves (or use real ones and save the $5)
$5 Decorative Gourds
$10 Vinyl 13" x 72" Woven Basket Weave Tobacco Runner
$11 Mainstays 60" x 84" Fraser Tablecloth
$31 per centerpiece

Corn Kernel Candles

Photo Credit: Passionate Penny Pincher

Have a favorite Fall candle? Pair it with some dollar store glass candle holders, twine or raffia and some unpopped popcorn for a $7 seasonal decoration! I did this for purely decorative reasons, but if you choose to actually light the candles then you may want to keep the twine/raffia down low on the candle (or even leave it off entirely) to prevent any fire hazards.

Shopping List (from Dollar Tree)
$1 Candle (x2)
$1 Candle Holder (x2)
$1 Twine -or- Raffia
$2 Unpopped Popcorn
$31 per centerpiece