My favorite time of year has arrived - that glorious and fleeting window of time when we say farewell to summer, and turn our gaze forward to crisp autumn days ahead. I know, I know... fall fun is so cliché. I can't help it though! There's something irresistible in this midwestern air that makes every day seem so magically cozy and full of anticipation. The holidays loom happily in the near future, and I'm so relieved to have a break from the sticky summer heat. It brings me great joy to reach for chunky sweaters and fall booties each day, to drink hot coffee on a cold front porch, and to watch with bated breath as the leaves turn outside our windows.
I also can't help but be more inspired by the changing seasons with each passing year. Brad has finally convinced me that "midwest is best" because of our vast variety in weather and seasons - getting a little taste of everything in one calendar year, and sometimes even within the same month. As our family forms new traditions and forges new rhythms, there is great comfort in moving with the seasons - letting nature's natural cycles influence our food, activities, and rest. There is, indeed:
"...a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens" [ Ecclesiastes 3 ].
With two sweet little ones along for the fun this year, I'm motivated to make the most of this brief and beautiful season. Autumn may technically span from September 21st until December 21st, but winter always sneaks up on us and turns our attention towards Christmas far too early. So I'm committed to living large this fall - enjoying each breath of cool air, crunchy leaves, and taste of autumn before it's over all too soon.
Below is our official 2018 Autumn Bucket List - and because there's just so much to enjoy, I broke down our family's bucket list into categories so that we always have a new activity or recipe at the ready. Of course this year's list is specific to our geographical location and stage of life, which includes a 3-year-old boy, nearly 1-year-old girl, and a homestead in rural Northeastern Ohio - so our list reflects those details. But I'm excited to see what other activities, books, and recipes others are looking to enjoy this Autumn - and I can't help but dream of how our annual fall traditions will shift through the years as our children grow.
Download and print our free Autumn Bucket List Printable here - and then be sure to share with us how you plan to enjoy this lovely season! Tag us on social media or comment below with your favorite fall traditions and festive plans for Autumn. If you need some ideas, our family's list with relevant links are below - so you can spend less time scrolling Pinterest for recipes and crafts and more time enjoying all this season has to offer.
• Go for a hayride
• Visit a local pumpkin patch and pick pumpkins and gather gourds
• Visit an apple orchard and pick apples
• Decorate the front porch with mums and pumpkins
• Go on a nature scavenger hunt with the kids and gather pinecones, acorns, leaves, and more
• Rake leaves together and play in the piles
• Take family photos outside
• Go trick-or-treating on Halloween
• Enjoy an evening bonfire
• Bundle up and go for an outdoor hike
• Drive through Amish County and leaf peep (we're fortunate to live just a stone's throw from Holmes County, Ohio - which National Geographic named the #3 best place in the world to see fall foliage!)
• Heavily seasoned and roasted pumpkin seeds
• Roasted hot dogs and s'mores around a fire
• Pumpkin waffles (topped with cream cheese and cinnamon sugar!)
• Apple cider
• Autumn Spice Lattes from our favorite local coffee shop
• Botanical Leaf Collages from sun art paper
• Let Amos practice his scissor skills and cut out leaf shapes from construction paper
• Fall tree painting with wine cork stamps
• A list of things we're thankful for
• Stovetop potpourri with spare apple cores, cinnamon sticks, orange rinds and cloves
• Cozy corners in our home - extra throw blankets in baskets, Autumn tea towels draped over the oven handle, and little pumpkins scattered throughout
TO READ (with little ones!):
• Autumn by Gerda Mueller
• Leaves by David Ezra Stein
• Little Critter: The Fall Festival by Mercer Mayer
• The Fall of Freddie the Leaf: A Story of Life for All Ages by Leo Buscaglia
• Halloween Day by Anne and Lizzy Rockwell
• Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak
• Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson and Tiphanie Beeke