Yes! That right there!
Vague hints of burning leaves, a little cinnamon here and there? That's Fall, my friends. Fall. And with Fall comes....
The Annual Fall Preparation List!!
Only this year, we are upgrading the list to Extravaganza status. You know! As much as I love my lists (and you know I love my lists), I do heart me a good extravaganza. And since I have two other extravaganzas in the works, I had to make it a trifecta. And there is nothing more worthy of an Extravaganza title, than Fall.
If you are chomping at the bit to bite into one of those pumpkin candy corns, if you've been eyeing the Farmer's Market to see when the mums will make their appearance, if you just bought three scarves even though the temperature has yet to dip below 60 degrees, then friend - this Extravaganza was made for you!
So, grab a pen and paper, light that cinnamon scented Yankee Candle, throw open the windows and join me, as we stand and sing.
1. Fast & Furious Fall Cleaning: As this year we added a whole 'nother person to the mix, my house is what we would like to call.... out of sorts. And by "sorts" I mean "laundry". I have piles upon piles of laundry just waiting for my attention. I don't like to ignore them, but when pressed to choose between washing my only-slightly-dirty jeans and Allies sweet-mother-dirty cloth diapers, well, the diapers win every time. And so there are piles of clothes, and there are closets with hastily stuffed shelves, and there are cabinets whose contents have not been examined in many, many moons. But Fall is no time for an unexamined life, and we will conquer those piles and those closets, one at a time. Who wants to face winter not knowing where your favorite long sleeved tshirt is? Not The Unsinkable! So, each day this week I'll be diving into a room during nap time and cleaning that sucker like it's never been cleaned before. And since I hurt my shoulder last week, I'll take the week off yoga and count the furious decluttering and cleaning as my exercise.
2. Fall Decorating: Sigh. Don't you just love walking into stores in the Fall and seeing what little autumn hued knick knacks they have out? Since your house will be super clean, this is the perfect time to hit those stores and see what you can hunt and gather to make your clean house a cozy home. I'll be hitting the attic and pulling out my fall decorations and trying to locate the scarecrow behind our front bushes. Every year I buy a scare crow to decorate the front of our house with, and every year it falls down behind the bushes and I forget about it until the next Fall. By then, it's bug ridden and icky, so I buy a new one. Maybe "clean up fall(en) things" should be on my list this year... But regardless, get thee to a Michaels or a Walmart or just your own neighborhood for leaves, and pretty up your place. I'm seeing pumpkins and mums on the porch, glass jars filled with pine cones, and lots of candles (of the Yankee variety, of course).
3. Cold Weather Preparation (a.k.a. The Weather Outside Is Frightful-ish): See? Doesn't it feel better having all that done? The house is clean and all your crannies are organized, and when you look around there are pretty autumn touches. Form and Function. Now it's time to get to the nitty gritty. Since Fall is really a lead up to Winter, it makes sense that we use that time to stock up for when the weather really does turn. Here in Texas it really isn't that bad until January and February (and even then it's mild), but it never hurts to be prepared, folks. And a week of preparation, will go a long way towards seeing cold weather as something to be enjoyed, not just tolerated. Here's where we'll do our work:
- A. Clothing - First off is the kids. We have a rockin' consignment sale (JBF) twice a year, and this year it falls the first weekend of October. I get the kids to try on all their fall/winter things and see what fits and what doesn't. That which fits gets hung up, and that which doesn't gets boxed up or taken to Good Will. Then I make a list of everything that I need to pick up at the sale. This year we splurged and bought the older kids brand new winter coats already. We found a great sale on coats that should last two winters and have zip in liners. Other than that, Tot needs some winter dresses (per usual) and some long sleeved tshirts. Little David needs jeans, khakis for church, and long sleeved tshirts. And they both need new shoes that aren't crocs :). After the kids are taken care of, I get down the grown up clothes from the attic and switch them out with the summer-only clothes, and see what needs to be added. This year I will be adding those rockin' clogs I posted last week and anything from the Gap I can get my grubby little hands on.
- B. Bedding - For those of you in colder places, this would be the time to lose the thin blankets and heft that bad-boy duvet out. We used to do this, but over the years have grown to appreciate our worn in quilts and now we simply add more of them. Dave and I add another quilt to our bed and change our cotton jersey sheets to flannel, and the kids get a big fleece blanket underneath their comforters. Bed clothes also just pumped up about now, with sweat pants replacing no pants, and the kids getting new house shoes. I have had the same red winter robe for almost 10 years now, and using it daily is one of my favorite things about cold weather. It was a gift from my Mammaw, after noticing how much I liked hers one visit. It's terry cloth and fleece, and it's from a Tall Girl shop so it comes all the way down to the floor. Anyone who has ever seen me near bedtime/or waking has seen this robe. The kids have a sort of fascination with my robes (I have a light summer one as well) and so this year they may be getting their own. And lastly, we'll break out the heated mattress topper so we can slide into a toasty warm bed on those chilly nights
- House Stuff: It wouldn't do us any good to have a clean and pretty house if we were with out power or freezing our fannies off, would it? Clean out a shelf in your hall closet or linen closet or closet closet, whatever, and fill it with things that will be useful when all those storms come in. Flashlights (with working batteries and spares), candles and matches (it's helpful to have these scattered around the house as well), extra blankets, and anything else you think you might need. An ice storm is a truly crappy time to find out you ran out of matches last year! Also, on our list is to chop up the remaining firewood from a couple of years ago. We didn't make as many fires as usual last winter, due to Dave traveling so much, but this year we plan to make up for it in spades. Last, but sweet fancy moses not least, make sure you pick up plenty of graham crackers, hershey bars, and marshmallows. What kind of preparation excludes S'mores??
4. Holiday Preparation: Sweet Holidays, how I need you. Without holidays, life would be no fun at all. Personally, I have a tendency to over plan (stop laughing.). I can get so wrapped up in planning for something, that I forget to actually enjoy it. So this year, I am dispensing with my anal holiday planning and I'm just going to do a little planning, during the actual month of the holiday, and really enjoy myself. On the roster for our family - Talk Like A Pirate Day (of course.), Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and all of those special days that are only recognized by the internet. You know - Homemade Cookie Day, National Grouch Day, Plush Animal Lover's Day, and the list goes on. Basically, this is a season for having fun and for celebrating all the things you can celebrate. Taking a day and making it more fun than it would have been by doing something ridiculous and over the top. You know I love me some pirates, so Talk Like A Pirate Day has been elevated to Real Live Holiday in our house. We really do talk like pirates, we dress up, and we do pirate-y things. The kids go on a treasure hunt and we read pirate books. If we didn't do that, it would just be some totally normal day in September. But it's not. It's a Pirate-y day. So, this fall, don't just focus on the regular holidays (although I really should be thinking about what my kids will be for Halloween, where we are going for Thanksgiving, and what my Christmas budget will be), think about how you can make the season more fun, not just more busy.
5. Festivities: As always, The. Best. Part. Hayrides, nature walks, hiking in cool weather, decorating pumpkins (and have I found the cutest ideas for pumpkins in all those magazines I've been reading!), baking pumpkin-y thing, dressing up as pilgrims and Indians, watching Charlie Brown, eating Halloween candy until you die, leaf rubbings, jumping in leaf piles, ugh. Could you not just die from all the fall awesomeness that you can do?? This is when you throw those windows open, light your candles, drink your coffee, snuggle under soft blankets, and listen to the breeze in the trees.
So, hop on board with me. Clean that house, decorate it up nicely, get those blankets out, and ready your self for the best Fall your family has had yet. Fall is basically a synonym for snuggling, anyways.