It creeps up on me every year (yes, I know .. . it comes the same time every year, I get it . . . ) — suddenly weekends need to be filled with fall fests and cider and pumpkins and cute boots and fall scarves and kids’ sports and Thanksgiving planning . . . all while I’m still figuring out which day my kid has music class and which day is art, and what time school Open House starts.
If you’re a super-busy parent like me (aren’t we all?), here’s how to tackle all your fall family fun in one day if you need to.
Wake up. Put on a fall sweater, cute scarf, and super-cute boots. Then realize it’s probably still hot out (you just have fall fever created by retail and irresistible, adorable fall stuff), and change back into shorts and short sleeves to head out to the store.
Brew a pumpkin coffee before you head out, or swing by a drive through for a pumpkin spice latte.
Buy decorations. All of the super-cute ones that you don’t really need but just have to have. The wooden sign that says “welcome, friends!” and the pumpkin and the throw pillows that you don’t really have storage space for in the off-season but that you’re certain you can’t leave the store without today. Yes, those — the ones that your sons will jump on and throw until they’re floppy and ragged. Get those. And of course the cute little “grateful” and “thankful” and “gather” signs that you may or may not have a place to hang.
Realize it’s a good thing you didn’t wear cute new boots because they’d be too cute and new to get dirty, and you’re heading next to the orchard. For apple-picking. Or pumpkin-picking. Or both. Or maybe not picking but selecting out of a bin. While you’re there, grab some apple cider. No time for the orchard? Guess what — the grocery store also has pumpkins and apples and cider, so swing by there if you need to.
Make the house smell amazing — bake my favorite pumpkin bread . . . or simply put some cinnamon sticks on the counter. Even easier? Yankee candle. If you just bought apples, then of course you need to make apple crisp. YUM.
Choose one FEST — fall fest, pumpkin fest, apple fest, or create your own fest — here’s one: pick paint pint. Buy lots of little pumpkins, have friends/kids paint them, and enjoy a pint of something while you’re together — beer, ice cream . . .
Comment on the leaves — either when they’ll turn color, when they’ll fall, when they’ll stop falling, whether you use a rake or a leaf-blower, what kind of creatures you get all over you when you jump in the leaves, and then (if enough have fallen), make a big pile and jump in them — because YOLO. Then carefully pick leafy pieces and possibly little bugs out of your hair.
Time for your afternoon indulgence. Did you forget cider doughnuts at the orchard or the store earlier? Head out now to buy some . . . and swing by a drive-through for another pumpkin-something beverage. These things are only out for a limited time, so get them often while you can.
Wait, did you remember your fall shade of nail polish or lip gloss? Be sure to put that on before heading out. Preferably something that coordinates well with your new fall scarf, but isn’t too matchy matchy. Though I guess that doesn’t actually matter, since it’s actually still warm out and you already put your summer clothes back on anyway.
Swing by a high school football game and purchase the obligatory yellow and orange mums at the band fundraiser fall flower sale.
And make sure you hike — either with an extra-long shopping list pulling you through store aisles for hours, or through a corn maze.
In the corn maze, take a family picture, take corn pictures, take pictures eating your cider doughnuts, take a picture on a tractor, then post one by one on Instagram for the next month.
You have conquered fall, and you can now begin your regularly scheduled program of parenting, driving to kids’ activities, and getting back into the swing of the school year.