Ah, Fall. It’s a great time of year to take the kids to all sorts of events and celebrate harvest season. I used to think after becoming a mom I would all of a sudden know how to dress real cute and basic mom for Fall and know which pumpkin patches and apple orchards have the best spaces for cute photo shoots of my kids. Turns out, becoming a mom just made me real aware that I don’t want to drive 5 hours to the closest real pumpkin patch or apple orchard and that I’m going to be in a black t-shirt with a topknot until my kids stop staining and pulling on everything else I own.
So, today if there are any other moms out there who are not amazing at finding the most authentic rustic hayride for their kids on a Saturday I want to share some things I’ve learned that can be just as fun and way less stressful.
Just rake up some damn leaves in your yard. Seriously. My kids love it. My dog loves it. And when they’re done and ready to go inside, I throw the pile in a yard bag and stick it at the end of the road. I never get the whole yard done in a day like I did before kids, but they have fun, and I can take some cute pictures of them without having to worry about a line building behind me of other parents waiting to get the just right shot of their child kicking up leaves down a dirt trail.
Before throwing away all the leaves, let the kids pick out a handful each to bring inside and then glue on construction paper. It doesn’t seem like much and you could definitely get a little fancier if you want to be real crafty, but my kids are perfectly content gluing leaves to paper and then forgetting about it 2 days later when I toss them because they’re starting to fall apart.
If you’re the person who likes to bake with your kids, bake a pie/bread/cake/whatever other fall dessert you want. My kids love love love pumpkin pie. And so do I, so I buy the huge cans of pumpkin at Costco as soon as September hits and the premade pie crust and go to town. When I was growing up, my mom and I used to make baked apples constantly. They’re easy, they don’t make too much of a mess, and they make your whole house smell like fall. We even cheated and would just cook them in the microwave sometimes, cause when you’re a kid you don’t have time for any of the oven preheating business. I want my baked apple with some vanilla ice cream on top now dammit! And if you’re not the baking person, buy a premade pie and a scented candle. Totally the same thing. Don’t let anyone tell you different.
Go to whatever department store is selling the most pumpkins. Walmart, Target, Costco… Which ever one has them displayed outside and not just in boxes in the store. This is just as fun for the kids as a real pumpkin patch. I know the ambiance isn’t great for you as a grown adult who knows these 5 dollar pumpkins are probably grown on some big commercial farm instead of the 30 dollar pumpkin you get from the farmer who also set up haybales for your kids to ruin and get all over your car later. But guess what? Kids don’t care about ambiance. And I can get a fake haybale inside that same store and just set up my own in my front yard for my kids to continuously destroy until I get so angry about cleaning it up that I throw it away before Halloween.
Lastly, of course, buy a couple of those 5 dollar pumpkins and carve the crap out of them. We can’t do this until like the day before Halloween because of the heat here, but I also like to buy the fake pumpkins when they go on sale in November and then the next year let the kids paint faces on them, so we can decorate a little earlier.
I will admit, I can’t help out with the fashion department for Fall. I wish I could. But being in the Lowcountry means I’ll be in shorts and tank tops sweating my butt off every day until Thanksgiving. Hopefully, these other things help it feel a little more cozy and Autumn like in my home until then.