Friday, September 13

Fall Assignments

I've always loved fall, but my love for the season grew significantly the first fall after I graduated high school when I worked at a local farm stand called Beans & Greens in Gilford, New Hampshire. I will admit I did not love that job while I was there (it was a lot of hard work) but looking back, it was a really fun job to have for a season. The store was a giant old barn on lots of land where we sold fresh procured honey, jams, milk (the chocolate milk was so freaking fresh and good!), baked goods, green beans, tomatoes, corn, apples, fresh berries, and a zillion other vegetables.

While working there I got to help decorate for Halloween, paint pumpkins to be sold in store (I painted things like Snoopy and Woodstock, funny faces, a haunted house, etc.), paint children's faces (and make some sweet tips I might add), organize a children's pumpkin maze, have a jack-o-lantern carving contest, give tours to elementary school children and lead them through a hay maze, decorate with fall flowers (zinnias, chrysanthemums, and others), tie my own pumpkin-hangers with hemp, work the haunted corn maze at night, and many other things. I also acquired a love for country music while working there...that probably had something to do with the same country soundtrack being played on repeat for the entire season. So basically while working there I participated in, what I would label, the epitome of fun fall activities, so I feel like I really know what a fun autumn season can be like.

Fall in New England is locked in a three-way tie with summer and spring for my favorite time of year for (what I feel are) obvious reasons. One less obvious reason maybe is that I think the fall is romantic. Maybe it's just me, but being with your sweetheart in the cool and colorful fall-time has something about it that just makes me feel capricious and adventurous and even more in love with my husband. I think for me it's the fresh start of new school year (even when I'm taking a break this semester) and feeling like Dalin is my hot boyfriend that I get to spend my afternoons with after work and classes. It's even better now (if possible) having a sweet daughter that we get to share our new experiences and adventures with!

Anyway, since fall is mostly about school starting, here are some assignments I've made for myself so that I can get an A+ in fall.

1. Bake an apple pie. Bonus: Do it with apples we picked ourselves. My absolute favorite type of apples apparently don't exist out here in Utah (as I've tried every freaking type at the store,) but two falls ago I had my mom send me a dozen or so of them--fresh-picked at an orchard in New Hampshire--and I plan on begging her to do the same thing this fall. So maybe I'll use those for my pie.

2. Eat a candy apple. This might be a little harder than it seems. I can never find places that sell candy apples, which I much prefer over caramel apples (call me crazy, but I am not a big caramel fan unless it is very fresh). I might just have to make one myself.

3. Find some fresh apple cider and also some hot apple cider. Two of my favorite things in the fall. Sold all over the place in New Hampshire, but there has to be some sold out here somewhere and I will find it.

4. Do something not involving apples...just kidding haha, I just noticed the last three were all about that and thought I should change it up.

4. Watch some corny Halloween movies. I love Halloween. I know it's kind of a creepy, pointless holiday, but I love the things that come with it (aka trick-or-treating, Halloween parties, pumpkin carving, etc.).

5. Go to a Halloween party. Check. We're going to one in Boise in October. Maybe I should revise this to say "Win a prize from the costume contest." We did two years ago and it really got us motivated to make that a regular thing. Our dear sister Cassie and her husband Shay stole the prize from us last year, but never again ;).

6. Decorate for Halloween and then for Thanksgiving. I have decorations (many are crafts from years past) stored away and normally I'm good at getting them out because I get bored when our apartment looks the same month after month, but when I was pregnant that was not a priority (with the exception of Christmas and Easter).

7. Find a place to serve people on Thanksgiving. This is a tradition in my family that I haven't participated in the last two years because I haven't been with my family, but I always loved going to the community center and serving Thanksgiving lunch to the elderly. It made me feel happy inside and extra grateful for my family and health. It also made Thanksgiving dinner later taste even better ;)

8. Own at Fantasy Football. Do I care about football? No. Do I even watch the games? Not really. But I am competitive and I want to beat my sister, Shaina and her husband, Layton in particular. Not sure why I chose to target them, but they both like football and I think it would be satisfying to beat them ;)

9. Go through a corn maze or on a hay ride. I don't know where they have those out here, but there has to be one or the other somewhere and I really want to go. Even if it means Dalin and I have to drive outside our Provo/Orem bubble.

10. See more of our family! I want to visit with Dalin's family as much as possible this fall and I want to try to get my family to come visit me at some point before or around the holidays. I miss them too much otherwise. A year is way too long to go without seeing my dad, mom, or brothers.

11. Roast pumpkin seeds. Love this tradition. Maybe I'll try a new recipe this year. I could try to make them taste like kettle corn or something!

12. Go to the Farmer's Market as much as possible. It's on Thursdays and not only do they sell the best kettle corn (mentioned above) but the produce is fresh and delicious. And I like supporting farmers.

13. Make more blackberry smoothies. This means I need to see more of my brother-in-law, Layton because he makes AMAZING ones. With fresh blackberries. So does his mom. I'm seriously obsessed with them and crave them daily.

14. Make squash. Real squash. My mom tells me it's easy to do year after year, but year after year I fail to make it because I get nervous it won't come out right. But this year, I'm doing it.

15. Read and watch Harry Potter. Definitely a fall activity. And it makes me feel happy and like a teenager again.

16. Drink Butterbeer. I've never had it, but anything Harry Potter is fallish to me, and maybe I can find a recipe if I can't find a place that makes it. Someday Dalin, Tenley, and I will go to Universal Studios and have some in Harry Potter World.

17. Visit Provo Canyon. I want to be outside and take a hike or have a picnic. I just want to smell the fall air and teach my daughter to love nature. Hopefully we will get to see something of the leaves changing color (maybe we'll take another drive through Nebo Loop) and I can pretend I'm home in New England ;)

18. Paint pumpkins. Carving is fun, but it makes such a huge mess once the pumpkin gets old and leaks all over the place.

19. Make fried dough or scones. Warm bread dough and cookie dough are always so comforting. Maybe I'll even make some Mexican buñuelos for Halloween, too.

20. Take lots of photos. I pretty much do this anyway, but now I need to record it for Tenley's sake. So she can look back and see how much we loved her and all the fun things we did as a family.

Do you have other fun fall ideas? 
What are your absolute favorite three things to do in the fall? I want to make this the best fall of our life thus far so don't hesitate to share something you've loved from falls past!

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