The sweltering heat of summer is finally giving way to the crispness of fall.
The days become short as the darkness grows long, and the energy shift will bring a welcome change. As October begins, fall sets in, yard work slowly lessens, the growth of the landscape starts to slow, and the fall hues take over with newly fallen leaves and seasonal décor. The garden greens wither as the last goods collected are preserved for winter.
However, I find it strange that some ends bring new beginnings, and now I am ready to fall into autumn, as beauty comes through change, and change is everywhere we look.
Arts, Crafts, and October
Create masterpieces from nature’s gifts. Pinecone birdfeeders, leaf rubbings, and pressed flowers are not only timeless but easy to do—search media platforms such as Pinterest for more seasonal activities for the whole family.
Fall Foliage, When and Where
Always a sight, but when? Check out the 2022 schedule for Iowa as shared by the Department of Natural Resources HERE. Whether you plan to observe peak transitions from your backyard or travel away for a day (or two), enjoy the colors of the season before they are gone.
Pumpkins and Apples, Oh My!
October means pumpkins and apples! Bring the family together for a pumpkin carving or painting contest. Share pictures with family and friends to discover whose pumpkin is the fan favorite. Now while you wait, head to the kitchen, preheat the oven, and roast those pumpkin seeds for a crunchy snack.
Roast Pumpkin Seeds
Gather seeds and separate them from the pumpkin’s insides. Wash dry and lay seeds out on a sheet pan. Drizzle with [olive] oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper or try something new such as ranch or dill. Place in the oven at 325 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
Apple orchards are a good way to spend an afternoon with the family. You can check out one of these close-to-home locations:
Allens Orchard in Marion
The Big Apple Orchard in Mt Vernon
Wilson’s Apple Orchard and Farm in Iowa City
Homemade apple cider is an easy way to enjoy some fall sweetness while making your home smell like fall.
10 large apples, quartered 1 orange, halved 4 cinnamon sticks 1 tsp. whole cloves 1 tsp. whole allspice 1 whole nutmeg 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
- In a large stockpot over medium heat, add apples, oranges, spices, and brown sugar. Cover with water by at least 2″. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 2 hours.
- Remove orange halves, then use a potato masher or wooden spoon to mash apples. Return to a simmer and let simmer uncovered for 1 hour more.
- Strain through a fine mesh strainer, pressing on solids with a wooden spoon to squeeze all juices out. Discard solids.
- Serve apple cider warm.
Summer brings us outdoors with BBQs, chilled salads, and garden-fresh vegetables, but now, cool weather brings us back home. On-hand items, such as tomatoes, beans, rice, pasta, bullion base or broth, and various kinds of cheese are the beginning of almost any family meal. Add the ingredients to your favorite cooking pot (crockpot, instant pot, stovetop). Remember, when you cook with the heart, you feed the soul.
- Potato, Vegetable, Bean and Ham, Cheese, Chicken Noodle
- White Chicken, Beef, Chili Mac and Cheese
- Golaush, Alfredo with Chicken, Stuffed Manicotti
- Cabbage Rolls (can also be a soup), Chicken with Rice, Broccoli, and Cheese
Stuffed loaves of bread, toasted to perfection on a grill or in an oven.
- Butter, Garlic, and your choice of melty cheeses.
- Shredded Beef, browned hamburger, or sausage, topped with sauteed peppers, mushrooms, onions, and your favorite cheeses, serve with Aus Jus.
The best-kept secret of all: life is also good with ole fashioned tomato soup and a loaded grilled cheese sandwich.
Time to part with unwanted, unneeded, and space-hoarding items
- Recycle, upcycle, and donate to local charities, youth shelters, foster care organizations, and churches. Clothing items for all age groups can be donated year-round, but there is also a need for bedding such as comforters, blankets, and sheets this time of year.
- If you have gently used items, such as children’s furniture, toys, books, games, and clothes, check out options that pay cash or sell on consignment.
- Stuff Ect
- Once Upon a Child
- Polka Dots and Denim
- Puddle Jumpers
- Weetail has a seasonal sale twice a year in Cedar Rapids. Find this local mom’s story, details, guidelines, and volunteer information at WWW.WEETAILCONSIGNMENTSALE.com/ or on Facebook at WEETAIL SEASONAL CHILDREN’s SALE.
- Yard sales and social media sites such as Marketplace are also good resale options. You can check pricing guidelines for your area to help you get started.
Self-Love and Care
Even when life is busiest, investing in yourself and those you love is essential for needed growth and keeping relationships healthy, all while making the biggest impacts, from head to toe.
Chapped lips happen, so use a lip moisturizer such as Chapstick with SPF to help keep away the burn.
As the largest organ, damaged skin can be irritating and painful, not to mention severe areas can also become at risk for infection.
Our hands take on life daily. Almost everything we do has a counter. Sanitizers have become a valuable cosmetic. Meanwhile, hand washing has transitioned from preventative to excessive. Ordinary cleaning supplies, including dish soap, and lotions that contain alcohol, can all expedite damage such as dryness and cracked skin. Use an overnight treatment of cotton gloves with products such as Aquaphor to help relieve endured stress.
Abuse of sandals and bare feet need a little TLC; however, pedicures are not for everyone. Use a rich foot cream at home that contains healing and restoring properties. Once a month, slip into a pair of exfoliating booties and maintain with aloe-infused socks between treatments.
It is time to repair your summer hair, twisted and toiled. Freshen up your locks at a local salon and maintain them with strength-building products that also hydrate, soften and shine.
Just Breath … Zen
Consider this fall as a season of renewal. Allow yourself to change what no longer works and search for things that do. Reconnect with your family by a fire, add hot cocoa, and smores. Plan a lunch date with someone you adore. Splurge on a favorite latte, or maybe two, and don’t forget to set aside some time just for you.
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