Fall weather is very reluctant to visit us in south central Arizona. So we have to bring the fall spirit ourselves. A list of fall activities reminds me of the fun seasonal things we can still do despite the over-eager sun. The boys are old enough that they're excited to think about fall activities too which makes a family bucket list much more fun. We brainstormed ideas together with the boys one night after Maeve's bedtime. Some of the boys’ ideas are not quite fall themed (like "play with friends") but I love hearing what they come up with. Cedric had the idea to write our ideas on pieces of paper and put them all into a bowl. Then he wanted us to take turns pulling them out one by one and read them aloud. We oooed and ahhed over each one. I wouldn't have thought to do that and I love that he did. Dash had the idea for "making fall leaf cookies" and my heart swelled at this new fall idea and getting to make it happen for him. I love being surprised and delighted by the ideas my children have.
Later I wrote our list of ideas down on an autumn bucket list printable (A Beautiful Mess) and now it's on our fridge. I glance at it here and there and am reminded of the things we said we wanted to do. It inspired me to pull out the ingredients for sugar cookies yesterday and make the fall leaf cookies from the list. The yellow color turned out a tad aggressive but they were tasty and fun. To make them I whipped up a batch of sugar cookie dough and then divided it into three bowls. I mixed food coloring into each one to turn them yellow, orange, and red. Then I wrapped the dough disks in plastic wrap and popped them in the fridge. When they were chilled I cut the blobs into chunks and arranged all the different colored chunks together on wax paper. I covered the dough with another sheet of wax paper and used a rolling pin to flatten the dough and smoosh the colors together. Then we used leaf cookie cutters to cut out the shapes.
Last week when I saw that Tuesday's high was "only" 70 degrees I knew I needed to take advantage of the most autumnal weather we would have for a while. I wore a cardigan and dressed Maeve in a dress striped with fall colors. Together we baked the Smitten Kitchen pumpkin bread with Maeve at her new Learning Tower. I was impressed at how focused she was on her tasks of stirring flour or "helping" me crack an egg. It was our first time baking together and I love that it was a fall recipe. That day I also made homemade play-dough with pumpkin pie spice mixed in and later we read two new fall board books. I loved having a cozy fall day with my girl.
A genius tip I heard is to buy everything you need all at once for your bucket list. I thought of this for the fall leaf cookies so just after we made the bucket list I ordered the leaf cookie cutters and food coloring and saved a sugar cookie recipe that we could use. Then when we had a free afternoon I was able to make the cookies with the kids without scrambling to gather what we needed. Thanks, Elsie and Emma!
I will admit that in the past the idea of a seasonal bucket list has made me feel a little stressed. It felt like an extra to-do list when I already have a long to-do list, thank you very much. But I think I'm getting smarter about what kinds of things to add to a seasonal bucket list. This includes activities I know we're likely to do anyway like carve pumpkins and decorate for Halloween. And very do-able things I would actually be excited to do like having a backyard fire or making pumpkin bread. I don't see the list as something that needs to be completed. It's a list of ideas that bring fun anticipation and help nudge us towards enjoying the season as a family. Plus it's so fun now that the boys are involved in coming up with the list. So I am officially on Team Seasonal Bucket List. But I also don't think you need to make one if it's not for you.
Here's what's on our fall family bucket list this year:
+ Have a backyard fire and drink apple cider (although I bet the boys will also convince us to have s'mores)
+ Carve pumpkins
+ Play with friends
+ Make leaf cookies
+ Read books
+ Watch Halloween movies
+ Listen to audiobooks
+ Make a fall craft as a family
+ Make pumpkin bread
+ Eat fall snacks
+ Go on a spooky drive to look at Halloween decorations
+ Make fall play-dough
+ Make a pumpkin pie
+ Go to a basketball game
+ Watch fall movies
+ Decorate for Halloween
+ Eat apple cider donuts
+ Go on walks
+ Buy some new fall books
+ Drink hot cocoa
Do you have any favorite fall activities? I'd love to hear! And here's my simple fall bucket list for the year that was 2020 if you'd like to see.