Mmmmm…can you smell that? Autumn is upon us, and I am ready to paint the town orange! I want to wear jeans and a sweatshirt each day while sipping on apple cider. The leaves reflect the colors of my soul (red, orange, yellow, green and gold). They crunch under my feet and I squeal with delight! I pile them up in glorious, enormous piles and burn them, the incense filling up my neighborhood …
Oh wait, that was years ago when I lived in Iowa! Currently, my thighs are stuck together because of the immense South Texas humidity. “You must be hitting those trails hard!” you assume. Nope. Merely typing in my car with the windows rolled down in September while I wait for my son to be done with his Tae Kwon Do lesson.
I grew up in Brownsville, lived in Iowa for seven years, and returned. I experienced reverse culture shock, especially in regards to the weather.
It is my goal, every fall, to bring the season into my home and our hearts. Below, you will find my favorite ways to bask in the autumnal glory, regardless of the temperature outside:
Host a Fall Gathering
This has taken different forms over the years. Pre-children, my husband and I would dress-up and ask those invited to do the same. Our policy was BYOP(Bring Your Own Pumpkin). We provided the space and pumpkin carving tools. Light refreshments and snacks were served while we created our sculptures, and we hit the Donna Corn Maze afterward.
Fun ensued with us climbing haystacks, wandering through the cornfield, and enjoying hayrides. Sure, there were a couple of years that we could see above the corn maze due to immense droughts we experience on the border, but even that made for entertaining stories!
I’m talking allspice, nutmeg, pumpkin spice, apple pie a la mode, and homemade pies and bread! I baked my first apple pie of the season this weekend and it was fulfilling beyond words. If baking is not your thing, eat the goods instead. You’ll be equally contented.
We still have our A/C going full blast, but a fresh dessert baking in the oven gives the illusion of cooler times. Share your bountiful harvest with others.
Plant a Garden
Go on, I triple dog dare you. A handful of years ago, I was in the “I have no desire to ever garden” crowd. I’m so glad I’ve come to the light. Square foot, raised cedar garden beds can be found at most home improvement stores (read: Home Depot and Lowe’s). Tomatoes, squash, green beans and herbs are ideal for our current planting season and tend to be kind to their growers.
The Brownsville Farmers’ Market is an excellent place to find seedlings (read: herb and veggie starters). To read about how I first became involved with gardening, visit this blog post. The spiritual lessons I have learned, and the family time spent bonding has made growing things a wise investment.
Visit a Pumpkin Patch
The United Methodist Church of Brownsville and the First United Methodist Church of Harlingen are home to annual pumpkin patches! Sporting pumpkins of all shapes and sizes, and plenty of picturesque areas, these hot spots are sure to get you and your family in the spirit!
Just last year, my tribe and I discovered Grace Heritage Ranch and it quickly became a favorite! There were plenty of activities for the littles: huge haystacks, apple slinging, playground climbing and pony riding, to name a few. Last year Curious George was the special guest, and it made for memorable photo ops. Check their website for schedules and times, as they vary year to year.
Take Family Photos
I’ve fallen off the annual family photo wagon. The wagon has run me over a few times… My youngest is two-years-old, and we have not had professional photos done since she was born. All those things you read about the third child…yup, guilty.
I am determined to check that off the list this fall. Even if it means standing behind and clicking my own Nikon while frequenting Pinterest. Whatever shape or form this takes for you (thank you, technologically advanced cell phones!), get it done!
Light It Up
I assume most of our readers are women. I bet most men don’t mind candles, either (even if it’s just in the bathroom). Find your preferred pomegranate, candied cranberry, perfect pumpkin, lavender leaves or tempting turkey scent and light that sucker!
If decorating is your forte, do that! I have found some of the cutest scarecrows and pumpkins, etc. at Dollar Tree and Wal-Mart. Celebrating the season does not need to equate breaking the bank.
If you find yourself, like me, lamenting the absence of cooler weather and changing leaves, I challenge you to get into the spirit of fall. Careful, it’s contagious!