Musings from Home

Catching Fall

I love fall. It is my favorite season. I love the cooler weather. I love the clothes. I love the foliage. I love all the family activities and festivals. The apple orchard. The pumpkin patch. Halloween. Highland Games. Arts & Crafts festivals . . .

But this year, fall got away from me. With all of the other things we had going, I just couldn’t get to all the things I love most about the season. I just ordered the kids’ Halloween costumes last Friday. I usually have those by the first week of October. I mentioned before that I love to make pumpkin pies from scratch, just as my mom used to. Nope, I hadn’t even gotten to that.

Finally, on Friday, I carved out the time (pun sort of intended) to spend the afternoon with Sapphire cooking, peeling, and pureeing two pumpkin pie pumpkins that we’d had in our kitchen for about two weeks. The last few years, I have been so busy working that I have hardly cooked and prepared pumpkins, much less involved the kids. But last Friday, Sapphire and I did it together (and had a ball!) and when we were finished mashing pumpkin, we made yummy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies.

We put the rest of the pumpkin in the refrigerator to be made into pumpkin pies over the weekend. Well, actually today, as all of the weekend activities (more on that below) took longer than expected.

Emerald had a playdate with a neighborhood pal after school on Friday and when we went to pick her up at around 8:00 p.m., we were treated to a whole host of fun, funny, and spooky Halloween decorations at our neighbor’s house. There was a fake rat caught in a trap at the top of the stairs on their porch. There were furry spiders hanging around, a graveyard, a spooky laughing man at the doorbell, and lots more. I’ve never been one to decorate much for Halloween, but this house made me want to start.

Saturday, after a morning of baton, we headed to a nearby city to finally get some fall/winter shoes and a new school backpack for Emerald. We then purchased some plants (including Mums for the deck) at a local nursery and were about to head back home when we noticed it was nearing dinner time. Home was about an hour away and we had not planned, or started preparing, anything. So on the spur of the moment, we decided to dine (and play) at Chuck E. Cheese’s (we hadn’t been in years, so it was Sapphire’s first visit, which she has been begging for for months as it is advertised heavily on PBS Kids). Say what you want about that place, our family had the most fun. I’m not sure who smiled and laughed more, the girls or Jim and me. We left with big smiles, 186 tickets, and 50 leftover tokens. It was the perfect ending to a perfect family Saturday. We will definitely have to go again.

Yesterday we got up and dressed fairly early and drove out to a pumpkin patch in the area. We were a bit late in the season, in a bad year for pumpkins, for much selection (although we did manage to pick a few pumpkins for painting, one of our favorite annual Halloween activities, and we selected some gourds for a little fall color).

But the highlight was a fantastic corn maze in the shape of Mt. Rushmore, complete with quiz questions strategically placed throughout (if you got all the multiple choice quiz answers correct and could rearrange the letters of the answers to fill in the blanks at the bottom — 2 seven letter words — you were entered into a drawing for two tickets to the Virginia/Virginia Tech football game). No, we did not find or answer all the questions, but neither did we call 911. We did walk around in circles a bit, trying to find the quiz questions and therefore not using the map to find the way out. But then the being-lost-in-a-corn-maze thing lost its excitement with one of the kids in particular so Jim used his wonderful sense of direction in addition to the map (everybody knows not to rely on me to get them unlost :-)) and out we wandered. It was then off to the hay ride, which was the bumpiest one I’ve ever been on — but it sure was fun!

We came home after that to watch my beloved Redskins (something we haven’t been able to catch for the last couple of weeks for one reason or another). [Unfortunately, their season has not continued as well as it started and we had a very disappointing loss.]

But all in all, we had the perfect fall weekend and I am feeling like I finally caught that rascally season by the tail and will not let it get away just yet. Next weekend is the Highland Games and maybe a trip to the orchard for Apple Cider Donuts (it may be too late for much apple picking, but that’s OK). And there’ll be more pumpkin pies and cookies, Trick or Treating, and Thanksgiving before it’s time to decorate for Christmas.

I’ll say it again, I LOVE FALL!!

What are your favorite fall activities? Have you had a chance to do them yet?


Comments on: "Catching Fall" (4)

  1. Three years here and I have yet to find any good activities to do for fall. We usually do a corn maze and pick out pumpkins with my Mom, but that didn’t happen this year. Fall here just isn’t like fall in VA. I miss that so much. I am so hungry for apple cider donuts! I wish you could put some in the mail to me… 😉

  2. The cookie recipe looks really yummy. I have a few that I’ve tried, but none have been quite right, so I’m looking forward to trying this one. Question: I see that the recipe specifies milk chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet. What kind of chips did you use and how did that affect the flavor?

    • Jen, I used milk chocolate chips because the reviews I read said that it was very important to do so, as the semi-sweet chips combined with the spices in the cookies were overpowering. I am not usually a fan of milk chocolate chips in cookies, but these were perfect. The blend of flavors was just right. I would recommend going with them. You can always tweak the recipe the next time, if you don’t agree. Last year I made my usual pumpkin cookie recipe and just added semi-sweet chips and was underwhelmed. We will definitely be making these again. Let me know what you think.

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