A Very Autumn-ish List


With every entrance of fall comes our annual "meeting of the minds": the writing down of our fall plans. We take some time one afternoon or evening in early September & make our leaf-crunching, cider-sipping, pumpkin-carving list of all the autumnal delights we plan to enjoy.

Our list changes a bit with each year, especially with AK growing up & being able to lend her *almost* 6 year old little voice to the mix (which I rather love). But there are always the traditions that remain, the bits & pieces that, for us, are a integral part of making it fall.

And this year I have a new batch of sharpened colored pencils (which make me feel especially You've Got Mail-ish) & an empty journal to add a bit more creativity to our bullet list of ideas. There's something about seeing those reds & oranges spread across the page that give the words that make up that list a bit more life. It's the little things, right?

image via pinterest

image via pinterest

~ A Bucket List of Fall Things ~

collecting leaves on a walk through a park.

coffee shop runs for pumpkin, chai, and caramel flavored beverages.

picking apples at our favorite family farm.

a family photoshoot.

lighting pumpkin candles every single day.

making our "thankful" tree for November.

baking multiple loaves of pumpkin bread, with and without chunks of chocolate. 

multiple walks on our favorite trail in town. 

picking out new soup and stew recipes to try.

an evening of pumpkin carving and s'more making in the back yard.

game nights in the sunroom with candles lit, cider piping, and wool blankets spread out.

viewings of You've Got Mail and Anne of Green Gables.

rotating a sweet bowl with fillers from a variety of Target candy bags.

multiple trips to aforesaid family farm for pumpkin donuts, cheese, cider, and wine.

reading in the sunroom with the autumn breeze blowing through.

afternoons of more baking with AK while our soundtrack playlists serenade us.

Saturdays of college football and good food.

quiet times to think and be.

setting up baby boy's nursery and AK's big sister room.

visits from family and friends.

pumpkin donuts for breakfast.

buying pumpkins and mums for our front stoop.

re-reading Anne of Green Gables.

our family vacation to Rosemary Beach.

celebrating the birthdays of both my J and our AK.

walks in the evening in the crisp autumn air. 

recording our days and the happy moments and events that fill them. 

This list may be added to as the days go by, but already I think it's brimming with good things.....cozy things.....fall things. Sharing this season with my darlings is what makes these fall days what they are and each year, as AK grows up, there are more nuggets of happiness to be found.

I rather think next year I might just come undone when it's the F O U R of us and we are introducing little man to this most beloved season. I see it now: J carrying him on his shoulders through rows of apple trees, AK teaching him how to carve a pumpkin and handing him "his own" special leaves to hold, putting his little painted handprint on our thankful tree, and all of us just drinking him in as he's donned in his darling plaid shirt and his miniature-sized moccasin holding a piece of sugar-coated pumpkin donut in his chubby hand. Magic.

So tell me, sweet friends, what fills your fall bucket list? What are you favorite traditions, your most savored recipes, your go-to fall beverage? I'd love to know.

Have a gorgeous Tuesday!

recipe || chocolate crispy peanut butter balls

J and I were talking the other day about how there are certain things at Christmas time that instantly sends us back to our childhood; sights, sounds, tastes, that instantly cause a flood of memories to wash over us. We love those conversations because it reminds us of the grace of God to have given us the families He did, parents who formed the traditions yet flexed when it was needed, who let sprinkles and paint go everywhere and let us eat "one more" christmas cookie, who danced to the music and let us wrap presents with 150 pieces of tape and who made the memories that we've carried with us for years.

We love those conversations because they inspire us to carry on those traditions. We get to take the soundtracks of our childhood and the treats and the ornaments and mold them into our little family, sharing with Anna Kate where they came from and the memories attached to them. And we get to make our own, the memories, the traditions, the favorite treats and music that AK will carry with her for years to come and, Lord willing, into her own home one day. How beautiful is that when you stop to think about it?

These chocolate crispy peanut butter balls are one of those carried over traditions for me. I know many people make peanut butter balls but my mom's recipe is my absolute favorite and it comes from the Creme de Colorado cookbook. These were always a staple in the "thank the teacher" Christmas gifts and the neighbor goodie bags, plus being the treat that was so easy to sneak out of the container without a clear sign that you had been there. I am strictly a creamy peanut butter type gal but I make an exception for these little circles of goodness. They are far from looking magazine shoot ready but they certainly do the trick.

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Ingredients

3 3/4 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup margarine, softened*

2 cups crunchy peanut butter**

2 cups rice krispies cereal

Chocolate Coating:

6 ounces german sweet chocolate

6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

2 ounces parafin wax

Directions

Combine all ingredients in large bowl and mix well. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Chill.

In top of double boiler over boiling water, melt German and semisweet chocolates with parafin wax, stirring constantly until smooth. Using a wooden pick inserted in ball, dip balls into chocolate mixture, one at a time. Set on waxed paper to harden. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

*we use butter, always

**I might add a little creamy peanut butter in there to just help bind it all a bit more. as you're stirring it all together just see how it's coming along and go from there.

What are you favorite Christmas treat recipes? I always like to learn of new ones!

 

that annual campout

As soon as the weather turns warm each year AK begins asking one question on repeat, "when do we go camping??" This year makes the third year in a row that we have ventured into the great outdoors for a simple camping trip, and she's already talking about next year.....which I kinda really love.

We tried a new campground this year and I think we're going to keep it. We pulled up to our campsite, hopped out of the car, and walked into a little haven, a green canopy covered outdoor nest-egg. With the sunlight sneaking through the holes in the leaves and the gentlest breeze rustling the leaves I felt like Anne of Green Gables. Moments like that always make me think of Anne and her beautiful appreciation of the wondrous outdoors. And that perfect gentle breeze coupled with near silence of those few moments? Oh, I just want to bottle it up.

AK was J's shadow as he set up tent and, may I say, that girl can hold her own with a hammer. She loooooooves to help. It has been a learning curve for both J and I as, let's be honest, sometimes it's just a lot quicker to do things yourself; but, goodness taking the extra time is worth it. That extra time results in countless teaching moments with our girl, nurturing that helpful spirit that she possesses, and humbling our hearts to make sure that in that moment we are loving her more than clean countertops and extra minutes.

We fished, we captured a cricket for AK's new bug kit, we played candy land and go-fish by latern light in our tent, we read books under blankets by the fire. We cooked hot dogs and roasted marshmallows for s'mores, we took our time waking up and sipped our morning coffee in oversized sweatshirts, we had un-rushed conversations and moments of delicious quiet. 

It was a 24-hour span full of good things. 

As we drove home on Saturday I was struck by something that never ceases to be when we have times like this. I walk away from every single one not just with my memory box a bit more full, but with my heart having learned a few more wonderful things. The Lord uses it all, all of our everyday moments. I'm so thankful for that.