Apple cider, leaves turning, warm fires and cozy sweaters. All of the staples of fall. And no city welcomes fall with such delight as Phoenix, Arizona. The end of a hot summer is here fellow Phoenicians, and the best way to celebrate cooler weather just might be a casual, cozy backyard party.

Whether you love the bohemian look with tossed pillows and blankets or an evening outdoors watching the football game, we have some ideas to help you throw a backyard fall party to remember.

Let’s start with necessities. Regardless of your style or extent of your guest list, every fall bash needs the following:

1. Warm Drinks… Nothing says fall like a big pot of hot chocolate or spiced apple cider. Get the timeless recipes here:

2. Warm Fire… Well, I suppose a warm fire might help those warm drinks along. It is getting below 70 degrees these days. Here are some ideas for building a cute fire pit in your backyard. Or just pop by your local home improvement store for a pre-built option!

3. Warm Desserts… Are you sensing a theme here? But seriously, is there anything better than a big pan of apple crisp or brownies to make it a true fall party? Your mother will be proud and your friends will thank you (unless you eat the whole pan like we wanted to) after you try one of these easy recipes:

4. Grab a few blankets and pile on the pillows to give your backyard a warm (yep, there it is again) and inviting appeal. We love these unique ideas.

If you want to get creative and bring in some extra ambiance, try a few of these comfy additions:

5. Bring out some sweet sparkles with stringed lights. Every yard is different, so take a look at these creative ideas and see what might work for you.

6. Or go for more of a garden glow with some of these lighting ideas.

For a little extra fun or an added theme:

7. Turn it into a movie night with a DIY projector and yes, you guessed it… even more blankets and pillows.

8. Or liven things up with a host of backyard DIY games. There are lots of adult and kid friendly options depending on your crowd.

And if you’re feeling artsy:

9. Here are some lovely chalkboard ideas. (If you can do them by hand, we’re inviting you to come and decorate for our upcoming fall party.)

10. Finally, if you do make those brownies, be sure to invite your good friends at Shea Homes, or maybe just a new neighbor or two. Brownies and fire pits have been known to start a few good friendships.

Check out the ideas above and more on our Backyard Fall Party Pinterest Board!


Thanksgiving Tips for the Procrastinators

by Shea Homes Arizona on November 21, 2013

Thanksgiving is less than a week away and there’s a lot of prep to be done! Have you browsed through our Pinterest (Shea Homes Arizona) yet? Whether you’re trying to update the look and feel of your home for fall, or you need to cram in some recipes so you can get your grocery list together, stay calm and read on! We’ve got all of our Thanksgiving favorites for the home below, and the last thing you’ll have to worry about is impressing your guests!

We all know how valuable oven space is on this crazy day, and not all of us are blessed with dual ovens! So put your crockpot to good use! This crockpot stuffing really helps with space and frees up your hands to do other things that need attention. Even better… it still comes out with a layer of crunch!








Learn how to make the crockpot stuffing here.

Are you lacking in the beautiful table setting area? Well, it doesn’t have to be difficult with several components. Keep it simple, with just a few materials to spruce it up. Use old paper grocery bags for place settings. Cut them into rectangles, and face the inside of the cut outs (without the print) face-up. Take a ballpoint pen or sharpie and write “I am thankful for…” and then trace a few lines underneath of it. Simple, quick, cheap, it looks nice and makes for great table conversation!











A great appetizer to start is always pumpkin soup! It can be served warm or cold. After throwing in all the ingredients at once, you can let it sit while you work on other things, similar to the stuffing above! Garnish with a few pumpkin seeds, and tide over your guests with a small cup before dinner is served!









Learn how to make the pumpkin soup here.

Another way to grab your guests’ attention and add to your tablescape is to create beautiful centerpieces. It sounds expensive, and while flowers can be, your centerpieces do not always have to include flowers. For example, use an empty vase you already have, fill it with popcorn kernels that you can buy at the grocery store, ties a plastic maple leaf with twine around a candle and slightly wedge the candle so it stands up in the kernels. Light the candle and you’re done! Another quick idea is to tie cinnamon sticks all the way around a candle with twine. Light the candle and it will get the room smelling amazing!










Lastly, here is a great dessert that the kids can help with. These chocolate acorns only require 50 Hershey’s kisses, 50 vanilla wafers, 50 mini chocolate chips and ½ a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Melt the semi-sweet chips for about 45 seconds in the microwave. Lightly dip the bottom of a Hershey kiss with the melted chocolate and place in the middle on the flat end of the vanilla wafer.  Dab just a dollop of the melted chocolate on the rounded side of the vanilla wafer and place a mini chocolate chip there as the stem of the acorn. These are so cute to look at and guests will be popping them in their mouths left and right!











For more detailed instructions, please click here.

We hope you take advantage of our quick and easy Thanksgiving tips for all of you procrastinators out there! For more holiday and home inspiration, pin your way through our Pinterest boards!  For more information on Shea Homes and what we’re up to at the Arizona division, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and watch our fun and informational videos on YouTube.