I’m Loving…Fall Edition

Fall is absolutely my favorite season. Even though the weather hasn’t exactly cooperated this year (we’ve averaged highs in the 80s way more often than the 60s) it’s still cooled off enough to make outdoor adventures enjoyable rather than miserable. Which brings me to the first thing I’m loving right now:
1. Family Outings
Tessa was just a baby last fall and still needed a morning nap, so it was hard to go anywhere as a family for more than an hour or two. This year she’s old enough to participate (actually she thinks she’s the same age as my four year old, which brings a whole different set of challenges).

We had some really great family day trips, including visiting an apple festival,

exploring a new (to us) park that featured a castle,

and experiencing a local spot called Farmland Adventures. The girls had an incredible time climbing a haystack, going on a tractor ride, feeding goats and sheep, and finding our way through a mini corn maze.

Tessa even had her first pony ride, to her utter delight. It’s been such fun to fit in all these outdoor adventures before the cold weather arrives, and I’m trying to soak up every second.

2. Halloween
Lots of people have understandable reservations about this holiday, and yes it certainly has its dark side (pun intended?) but when we focus on the innocent delight of dressing up and celebrating with family and friends it’s pretty great.

Charlotte got to pick our family costumes again this year (next year it will be Tessa’s turn) and she chose characters from her favorite movie Rio. She wanted us all to be blue macaws, but I decided I only had it in me to make two bird costumes (no luck buying them online). So C was Jewel, T was a baby blue macaw, and Chris and I were Tulio and Linda, the human sidekicks who run the bird preserve in Brazil. Between celebrating at our church’s annual Streetfest carnival, reverse trick-or-treating at the local hospital, and actual T or T through our friends’ neighborhood we got some good wear out of these costumes!

3. Early Voting
Don’t worry, I’m not about to make a political pitch, but I will say that early voting is absolutely the best idea ever. I went by our local chamber of commerce after dropping C off at preschool, and was in and out in under ten minutes.

My voting assistant

I’ve heard the lines are much longer around lunchtime (obviously) but it will still take much less time than waiting until election day. If you have the opportunity to vote early it’s pretty much a no-brainer (I know not all states offer early voting…I’m so sorry if you don’t have this option). The right to vote is such an important responsibility and privilege,  but being able doing it quickly definitely makes exercising this right more enjoyable!

4. Bible Study
I just wrapped up an eight week women’s Bible study, and it was such a growing experience. I debated whether it was worth adding to our already busy schedule, but it was definitely the right decision to participate. We studied feminine design from a biblical perspective, and it was so eye-opening, encouraging, and affirming. Even better than just the content of the study was the chance to get to know and connect with women from my church on a deeper level. Our church is very big (we actually have four separate congregations, ours meets on Saturday night) and since we have a community group model rather than Sunday school it can be hard to get to know people. The small group discussion we had as part of the study gave me the chance to go deeper with women from all walks of life, which was such a blessing. The girls had a great time with all their friends in childcare too, which was a huge plus.

5. Cinnamon Apple Tea

I am a huge fan of apple cider (I actually prefer it to hot chocolate) but since I started Trim Healthy Mama I needed a new, sugar free alternative. I discovered Cinnamon Apple Spice tea from Celestial Seasonings (you can find it at Walmart) and started tweaking it until I figured out the perfect concoction to satisfy that apple cider craving. I add two tea bags to just off the boil hot water and let them steep for five minutes. Then I stick the tea in a blender along with some sweetener (I use stevia but you could do sugar or honey), a tablespoon or two of half and half, and a teaspoon of protein powder (makes it foam) and blend it up for a few minutes. It smells heavenly, and tastes just as good!

Your turn! What adventures, celebrations, and flavors of fall are you loving right now? Despite the Christmas decorations that have appeared in all the stores we actually still have at least a month of autumn left, so let’s savor it!

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