Friday, October 2, 2015

Fixin' It Up For Fall:17 Weeks of Learning to Live a Beautiful Life

Week of 4 of my 17 Weeks of Learning to Live a Beautiful Life is here!

I am a bit late this week. I was busy living a beautiful life!

Mainly, I hung out with my guys and watched the new Avengers with my guys. It just came out on DVD. Josiah and I had already seen it in the theatres, but The Muffin had yet to have the pleasure.

Josiah was so cute. He kept looking back to see how his Dad was reacting to the movie.

I also blessed my family with hot dogs.

My menu plan included a corn chowder and banana bread pudding.

I don't think they missed anything.


Have you ever gone through a season in auto pilot? I, myself, have floated through the Christmas season only to come out the other end feeling like I never really got to enjoy it.

I was just plain busy or unprepared.

Some of Living a Beautiful Life is to prepare for it. Sometimes we have to intentionally make it happen. Our efforts don't have to be Martha Stewart worthy, but they need to be done with love.

This week I want to share some of my fall rituals. There is something so invigorating about the fall season. We live in a part of the country where you can see and smell the change in seasons.

I don't like to perform my rituals (I sound like some sort of occultist!) too early. In fact, the first day of fall fell on a warm and balmy day. I wore flip flops and vowed not to hang my fall wreath until I felt like throwing on some real shoes.

This week, however, it has been in the 40's overnight.

That, my friends, is real shoe wearing weather. At least first thing in the morning. After that I'm good for flip flops. Some people change clothes according to weather....I change shoes.

Flip Flops are cool. Unless you wear flip flops year round in the snow. You know who you are. You crazy people.

Back to the topic at hand.

Maybe some of what I do will inspire you to make your home and your life welcoming and a blessing.

Remember! It's those little moments that make a difference.

I literally have buckets and buckets of fall decorations in my storage building. Beautiful willow pumpkins, ceramic pumpkins....But because I live in such a small place I try and keep it simple.

These beautiful gourds are ones my Mom spiffed up. My Dad grew a whole bunch of them one year and she made some beautiful art out of a couple. They are some of my favorite things in her house.

Notice I said her house.  I am not as talented. Maybe you don't feel like you can do the same kind of work.  Don't be afraid to add a touch of fall art to your home.

Even if your "art" tends to be more of the cut and paste kind. Every November we put up a Thanksgiving Tree. I make leaf shapes and everyday we write out a blessing. This picture is from a few years ago. Thank goodness. I can see I need to approve the idea. 

I am a BIG believer in using what you have. I have had this tea pot for a few years. It's missing a lid, but it is a perfect vase for some twigs we gathered from the yard.

My door gets adorned with my fall wreath. I made this one a couple of years ago. I didn't have much money. I found the wreath at a thrift store with some of the grass already on it. I added the berries and everything else. The flowers I made from bits of fabric I had around the house. Use what you have! You can even see buttons on my wreath.

This year I added a string of orange lights and leaf garland (from the Dollar Tree) around our white board. I tried to take a picture of it...cause it is quite cute. It doesn't look as cute in my picture! I'm not sure this is before or after I said rotten things about my camera (it's misbehaving).

I also brought out my pumpkin candles and some fall hand towels that I had. Nothing big. My table is now covered in a tablecloth featuring fall colors and I found a pretty green cake platter at the Thrift Store to put in the middle.

My kitchen needed a little fall love, too!

Did you know you can make pumpkin muffins from just a can of pumpkin and a cake mix?

I made sure my baking spices were stocked up. Savory spices are a lot less expensive than those baking ones. I had to buy some over a few trips. I use cinnamon like some people use salt (not really, but it sounds healthier) so I had plenty of that. Think about the kinds of spices you use for this time of the year or for the holidays. This is a good recipe for pumpkin pie spice. It is so expensive in the store for such a little bit!  Making your own spice mixes can really help the budget. Don't forget any extracts you might use.

I also checked on my stash of canned apples and pumpkin puree. It's a good thing I have a reliable dealer (also known as Dad) who keeps me in all of the above. I don't think his pumpkins took off this year. I still have access to some pumpkin puree from last year. Next year is going to be messy. Our supply won't last another year.

 If you don't have your own dealer it doesn't cost a lot to stock up on canned pumpkin and applesauce. Either add such a wonderful flavor and texture to almost anything. Bits of apples or pumpkin might find their way in my pancakes, muffins and even chili (pumpkin!).  There is nothing better than blessing my family with an easy apple cake on a chilly evening.

I am sure you're the same, but many of my favorite chili and soup recipes have found their rotation in my menu planning once again. When I buy ingredients for any of my favorite recipes I try and buy extra if it is in my budget. For example, I have a wonderful recipe we love for Mexican Corn Chowder. If I have to purchase Rotel I buy and extra can or two. I can't always do this, but when I try when it's possible. It's my goal to have one or two warm suppers ready to put together.

 Because we are homeschoolers, I am able to add a bit of fall fun into our schooling. I also teach a reading club and will focus many of our activities around the fall season.

This year I have a few surprises in my lesson plan for my student (and students). Then I have a couple of activities that always make the rotation. Pumpkin science always has a place in our schedule....along with all these Pumpkin activities.  This is a Autumn Leaves study that you might find useful.

I haven't changed out my wardrobe yet from summer to fall. If you live in a seasonal climate you'll know what I'm talking about.  We can also be a hardy bunch here in the Ozarks. If it gets just a little sunny in the winter you will see fellas walking down the street with their shirts off. Really? Nothing like a little Hillbilly exhibition.

One of my Melted Flower Pins

If you have kids you understand that it can be even more of a challenging effort. Josiah has grown so much this summer. I had him try on some of his jeans the other day and OOPS! Boy is going to go pantless if we don't get on the ball. Thankfully, we have a cousin who has supplied us with hoodies and t-shirts . Don't you love hand-me-downs?

I am not one of the those girls who buys a whole new wardrobe with every season. I will make a few purchases if necessary. I also make sure I move my scarves to the head of my closet and my boots get an honored position. Accessorizing is a very important of making a frugal wardrobe look fancy so I need to make sure that I have jewelry and other fun accessories to complete my favorite outfits. You can check out my tutorial for making melted flower pins. So easy!

More than any other time of the year I start thinking about family time. I want to make sure we are seizing the day and spending quality time together. As the weather starts to change The Muffin will be cycling outdoors less. We will spend more of our free time at the Y and just hanging together as a family. Just the other day I took a peek at our games to see which ones we had added this year (Thrift Stores or Reviews!). I also have begun to make a list of movies we might want to "feature" on Family Movie Night. My guys like to eat so I make sure I stock on popcorn and hot chocolate. If they are really lucky I might bring out a batch of Christmas Fudge now and again! Just make a plan. Don't let those moments get away from you.

One of our favorite games is Headbandz Jr. This is my niece Alex a few years ago. How can you not spend time with a face like that? 

Enjoy the fall, my friends! Embrace it! Smell it! Breath it in! Bake that Pumpkin Pie...and don't wait for Thanksgiving.

Don't miss my other posts!

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