I love fall. And winter. And spring. And summer. In short, I can't imagine living in a place where the seasons don't change. I enjoy the cyclical aspect of living in the Midwest.
It occurred to me not long ago, that if the average life span is eighty years, I am just at the beginning of autumn in my life. That suits me just fine. Autumn is a beautiful place to be each year and in the cycle of life as well. Winter is coming, yes, but not for many years. (Sorry I could not pass up this Game of Thrones reference opportunity here. It was too perfect.) There are lots of things I appreciate about winter as well.
So in a way, I am entering an autumn within an autumn. With this in mind, I thought I'd share a top ten of what's been going on at the beginning of this particular autumn in the beginning of the autumn of my life.
One of my husband's co-workers lives on what once was a functioning apple orchard. He has generously given us several boxes of these apples this year. I've made several batches of crockpot applesauce and apple crisp. I've also taken them to school and fed them to my class for snack at least three times. I adore apples and eat one for lunch every day all year.
Homemade applesauce, mmmmm!
2. The Apple Orchard
It probably seems crazy, but the same weekend we were gifted with all these apples, we also made a trip to an apple orchard about 15 miles away. We had never been to this one before as a family, although both of my kids went on a class field trip in kindergarten. We've always gone to a larger one that is farther away for some reason. This one is really lovely. It is smaller but less commercial.
3. Apple DecorationsYes, I am one of those people who change my decorations each month. Although I am sad to see my August sunflowers go, I love my September apples.
My daughter is on a junior cheerleader squad for a junior football league this year. She's enjoyed this, and it has been fun to see some of the boys she's been in school with since preschool play football.
5. Arts in the Park
Our city has a yearly juried art fair in our Central Park. Somehow it is always on the most gorgeous fall weekend. My daughter and I always enjoy going. They have an incredible art boutique where only children can shop. I may or may not have had my daughter purchase a picture for my classroom for me since I am not allowed to buy anything.
They had the most fabulous face painter there. She was painting faces for free!
The spoils of the afternoon
6. Caramel Apples
We have a local popcorn store that makes its own caramel. It's not fall until we have caramel apples from Del's.
7. The Return of Crockpot Oatmeal
Last year in the fall I started making a monthly menu plan. I can't tell you how this has simplified things in our house. My husband gets off of work earlier than I do and does a lot of the cooking. Before menu planning, he would call me at 5:00 sometimes and say, "What are your thoughts on dinner?" It was the last thing either of wanted to think about at the end of the work day. It wasn't that he didn't want to make it. He just didn't want to decide. Adding to the problems, I did all the grocery shopping. Sometimes what he thought he would make just wasn't in the cupboards. Now we have a menu for the month so I know what to buy and neither one of us has to try to be creative with two cranky, hungry kids to feed in the evening. I know what to buy; he knows what to cook. In the fall and winter, we have crockpot oatmeal once or twice a month. Throw in some dried cranberries or frozen blueberries, pop some toast in the toaster, and warm up some turkey bacon and you've got yourself a meal. It's been several months since it's been on the menu, but it's baaaaack. So good and so easy! I set it on low before I leave for work in the morning, and it's ready by the time we are ready for dinner. Check out the recipe here.
8. Hello, old friend
9. And you as well, old friend
10. A Late Surprise
Although we only got a few of these flowers, it was a meaningful surprise that we did. You can read about why that is here.