My Favorite Things–Fall

Fall or Autumn?  I can never decide what to call it!  Either way, it’s my very favorite season, and I can’t wait!

Leaves Changing–Two years ago, when he was three and a half, Turkey told me that the leaves change during Fall because “God likes beautiful things.”  I agree with him 100%, and I’m so thankful that we have a God who loves little details.  I love the beautiful reds and yellows and oranges that decorate the trees.  Only God could make leaves that are really dying so pretty!

First Frost–There’s nothing like that first morning there’s frost on the grass, and it crunches underfoot.

Color–The leaves changing are not the only colors I admire in Fall.  The colors that show up on clothes, decorations and displays are so rich and beautiful, and such a pleasing contrast to the eye after looking at the light and bright colors of spring and summer.  All the beautiful eggplants, wines, rusts, and oranges–I can’t wear a lot of these colors (would hate to clash with my skin tone!), but I love seeing them everywhere!

Boots–After a long summer of wearing sandals, which are admittedly more conveinent, I can’t wait to wear a pair of tall boots with a knee length skirt!

Sweaters–Soft and cuddly, it’s as close to wearing a cozy blanket out as you can get.

Leaves Crunching–Like the first frost, there’s something magical about hearing dried leaves crunching under your feet when you go for a leisurely fall stroll.  And don’t even get me started on leaf piles…

Candles–Specifically, my very favorite candle, “Autumn Wreath” by Yankee Candle.  I only allow myself to buy one a year (too darn expensive–I remember when the big candle used to be $19.99, which I thought was a lot, and now they’re $24.99!), and won’t start burning it until October 1st.  And even then, I ration it, so it lasts as close to Christmas as possible.  But it smells heavenly–just like fall, full of spices, and a hint of leaves–and there’s something so homey and comforting about the flicker of candlelight.

Fashion–I love new fall fashions.  Granted, they come out in July or August, when you don’t even want to think about sweaters and long pants, but at least you can comfort yourself with the reminder that cool weather will appear eventually!  Maybe it goes back to my childhood fondness for back to school shopping. I just love seeing the new styles, criticizing the ridiculous ones, dreaming about what I’d like to have, drooling over the popular colors and cuts.  And the crowning glory of it all is the Glamour fall fashion issue.

Pumpkins–So round and cheerful (just like Ladybug!), such a quick and easy way to decorate, and a fun field trip if you are lucky enough to live near a pumpkin patch.  What’s not to love?

The Great Pumpkin–we don’t “do” Halloween.  Not our thing, and we don’t see the need for it.  But I love the tradition of watching The Great Pumpkin every year.  I love Charlie Brown and his friends, I love the music, and I really love the obvious poking of fun at the whole “Santa” thing (which we also don’t “do”) that is present in the story.  It’s cute and fun, and it’s a show I don’t have to worry about my children watching, which is something you can’t say about a lot of the current stuff out there!

Baking–I do my best baking during Fall (well, Fall, and of course, Christmas!).  There are several recipes that I will only make during this season–butterscotch haystacks, pumpkin and apple bread, caramel apple pie–and one thing that *I* don’t make, but will only allow myself to buy during Fall–the very delicious pumpkin butter!  I love all the spices–cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg–and the smells associated with them.  I also love the cozy feeling in the house when something delicious is baking.  Oh yeah–I love eating it all, too!

The Air–I love the air in fall.  A crisp fall breeze coming in the window and billowing the curtains.  The refreshing coolness after a hot summer.  The small of dry leaves.  The smell of burning leaves.  The smell of a chill in the air.  And, if you’re really lucky, the smell of the first snow.

Heavy Blankets–It’s so fun to put the good comforter back on the bed, after a summer of only a light blanket.  It makes me so happy to need the comforter to keep warm (because that means that I am finally, actually, cold!), and I love the weight of a heavy blanket.

Long Sleeves–particularly seeing my children in long sleeves.  After seeing them in shorts and t-shirts for so many months, the long pants and long sleeve shirts somehow emphasize how they’re grown, and make them seem smaller, at the same time.  I have no idea how that’s possible, but it is.  I’m always struck by how much older they look in long sleeves, but they seem littler, too.  Maybe because the bigger sizes and new styles make them look more grown-up, but they’re dwarfed by the length?  I don’t know.  Weird.

Being Cold–After the aforementioned long, hot summer, I love being a little cold.  Like when you forget to close the window before you go to bed, and you’re a little reluctant to get out from under the covers in the morning.  When your nose is just a little too cold.  When you think you may actually want to put on gloves and/or a scarf.  Or needing to wear a sweater or a great jacket for the first time.  What can I say?  My ancestors are from northern-ish Europe–being cold is in my blood, and I’m far more comfortable in chilly weather than I am in hot!

Crock-pot Meals and Soup–I do make these kind of meals all year long.  But I make them a lot more when it gets cooler out.  For one thing, the weather is more conducive to it–when it’s chilly, you want to eat something warm and comforting, something that will stick to your ribs and keep you warm, especially if you’re going to be outside.  I love the wonderful smell in the house when something is cooking in the crock-pot all day.  Or the smell of soup simmering for several hours.  And the delicious flavors in those dishes…yum!  Which brings me to…

Spices–Not just the baking kind, although I do love baking spices.  The smell and taste of delicious flavors like cloves and cinnamon–and they seem more prevalent in recipes I make at this time of year.  But savory flavors, too, like curry and cumin, mean Fall to me.  Probably because there are a lot of big flavors in crock-pot dishes and soups.  Maybe because you’re more likely to eat heavier flavors and richer foods in Fall and Winter than other times of the year.  But Fall mean using lots of different spices to me, and since I like both cooking and baking, this is good news!

Apple Cider–I hate apple juice.  Just can’t stand it, and I have to be pretty desperate to drink it.  But apple cider is another story altogether.  It’s a good thing it’s so expensive (I guess), or I would drink entirely too much of it.  It’s just so good and full of flavor.  And if you’re feeling really ambitious, and want to heat it with mulling spices, Oh. My. Goodness!  It’s just the perfect fall beverage!

Running the Heat for the First Time–There’s a special smell in the house when you run the heat for the first time.  I have very strong memories of this from my childhood, and I was afraid when I moved to my own home that maybe it was something particular about my parents’ house.  Nope–it seems to be universal, and I look forward to it every year.

The First Snow–Usually, at least in the places I’ve lived, the first snowfall of the year technically occurs in Fall (even if it’s usually the very tail end).  The world is just magical when it snows, and even though I’ll be sick of it by mid-January, there’s something so special about that first dusting…

Christmas–I know, Christmas is in Winter (but only by a few days!), but I love the anticipation of the Advent/Christmas season.  Starting about mid-October, I start getting really excited, and by the time we put the tree up after Thanksgiving, I’m ready to go.  Fall is my specials pre-Christmas time, which I know sounds silly, but is really important to me.  I’ve never met anybody who likes Christmas as much as I do, and I like having that time to myself where I’m excited about the upcoming Holiday, when other people aren’t really thinking about it yet.  It’s my favorite!

I love Fall–can you tell?

My Favorite Things–My House

Thought I’d take a departure from my usual lists of things to write about what I like best about my house.

Upstairs Laundry Room–First of all, after living in three different apartments, I’m still just grateful to have my own washer and dryer!  And, ever since my vicarage-induced fear of basements, the idea of having to go down into one almost daily has terrified me.  I love that the machines are upstairs, where most of the stuff I wash is located.  I also love that it’s right next to the playroom, so I don’t have to wonder what my children are up to when I’m doing one of the at least ten loads of laundry that need to be washed every week.

Upstairs Playroom–I suppose if we had a finished playroom in the basement, that could be on the list as well (basement phobia aside).  The point is, I like having a place for our toys that’s not in the main living area of the house.  It helps at least contain the clutter when the bulk of the toys are upstairs.

Open Kitchen/Living Room–It’s so nice to be able to be a part of what’s going on in the main area of the house when I’m cooking, cleaning, or doing something at the table like clipping coupons.

Kitchen Faucet–Silly thing to like, I know, but it pulls out from the fixture to become the dish sprayer. Genius!

Pantry–Big enough to hold everything I want it to, and also keep the trash can and the craft bin out of the way.  I applaud the person who decided that kitchens deserved closets, too!

Kitchen Island–(Can you tell I love my kitchen?!?)  I love the extra work space and cabinet space.  But what I really love about the island is that it allows me to work at the counter without turning my back on the rest of the kitchen/my children/the TV/the door (I’m weird about having my back to the door).  I can see what’s going on, and still prepare my meals–the best of both worlds!

Blankets–We have a stack of blankets in the corner (when the children haven’t draped them all over) of our living room.  They don’t match each other or anything else–we have fleece and chenille, character blankets and quilts, animal and sports themed blankets.  But I love knowing that if someone is chilly when watching a movie, or just wants to snuggle in a blanky because it’s soft, they can just grab a blanket off the pile.

Game Cabinet–I love this for two reasons.  One, I love the armoire itself.  It’s pretty, I like the color of the wood, and it matches the rest of the furniture.  Two, I love that it’s filled with all kinds of games.  Games for kids and games for adults, family games, group games, and, of course, my favorite, our collection of Ticket to Ride games.  The place to go if you’re looking for some fun!

TV–Just in case the fun we’re looking for is a little more passive than games, I’m happy that we have a nice TV (and a nice collections of DVDs to go with it!) where we can veg out together, watch movies, the news, the Olympics (can you tell I can’t wait?)–whatever strikes our fancy.

Living Room Picture–We bought this picture of Jesus as a toddler helping Joseph in his carpentry shop as a wedding gift to each other.  It is one of the few things that has been with us on all our moves, and displayed proudly in all our homes.  My favorite thing about it is the shadow cast behind toddler Jesus, not in the shape of a child, but the shape of a cross.  Very cool.

Mission Theme–I didn’t even realize at first that our house had a theme, decor-wise.  Then, one day it hit me–we have a lot of mission furniture, and the other decorations, especially in the living room, also kind of fit the theme.  Maybe I have decorating talent I wasn’t even aware of!

Master Bathroom–Maybe it’s because my parent’s house didn’t have a master bedroom/bathroom, but it’s still a novelty to me that we have a bathroom connected our bedroom.  I also love the garden style tub and separate shower–it’s as close to a spa as I’ll ever get.

Walk-in Closets–The three bedrooms we use as such all have walk-in closets.  It’s so nice to have the extra space for all our stuff–we’ve even put our dressers for two of the bedrooms in the closets!  It’s almost decadent!

Bookshelves–I love our bookshelves, not for themselves, because they’re the cheap, put-it-together-yourself from Target kind, but for the massive number of books we have on them.  I still use the library a lot, but I love knowing that I can find a book from pretty much any genre right here in my own home if I so desire.

Bedding–I love the bedding we have.  I’m specifically referring to our fall/winter bedding, because we just have a light blanket for the summer.  But our heavy comforter is the prettiest shade of indigo, and has matching shams and Euro shams, which I am a total sucker for–just love them.  Makes it seem like a hotel. And the high thread count sheets–I’ll never go back to cheap-o sheets again.  For that matter, I also love the bedding in our guest room–also has high thread count sheets, and I think the plaid comforter is very nice.

Back Door–I like having an actual door in kitchen.  Not a sliding door, but a regular old six panel door.  I am grateful not to have to worry about having blinds or curtains across a sliding door.

Photo Groupings–I spent a lot of time figuring out how I wanted to arrange the special photos I had framed.  I moved them around a bit, but for now, I think I have them way I want them.  Two black and white and three color groupings in the den (including one of our wedding photos, and one of the children’s first birthday portraits), as well as a Christmas-themed grouping in the living room.  I love having pictures of family and happy times to look at!

Christmas Decorations–They’re only out for four to six weeks of the year, but I love the decorations we’ve put together–our house definitely looks prettiest in December!

Americana Wall–My theme wall in the kitchen.  If we ever finish painting (it’s looking doubtful), all the kitchen walls will be red, and the valance and one curtain we have are navy blue.  Right next to the window with the blue curtain is my wall grouping of Americana “stuff.”  Rustic looking flags, stars, Uncle Sam, a “liberty” sign–you get the idea.  I’ve been collecting the stuff in that grouping (and it’s not that huge–less than ten things) since before we got married.  I really like what I’ve accumulated and the way I’ve arranged it, although I am looking for one last piece to balance it out.  I’ll know it if I ever see it–I’m waiting for something of a very specific size and shape!

Den Table–My in-laws gave us this neat table for our first Christmas in this house.  It’s a skinny table (What do you call that?  A cocktail table maybe? A console table?) in our mission style.  What makes it special, though, is that they mod-podged pictures of our house at the various stages of the building process (and a cool picture of the first snow after we moved in!) on to the top.  Such a thoughtful gift, and such special memories.

Rocking Chair–Also a gift from my in-laws, this is something of a family heirloom.  They wrote on the underside of the chair who it belonged to and when they gave it to us.  I enjoyed rocking Ladybug in this chair when she was tiny, and now it’s going to be the “teacher chair” in our schoolroom.

Schoolroom–I have to brag on myself a bit, here.  I love the way our schoolroom (also known as the guest room) has come together.  I didn’t have a lot of money to spend on it, but I really think it looks quite school-y, and is quickly becoming a favorite room in the house for everyone!

My Family–I would be remiss if I left out my family, since they are in the house most of the time.  It wouldn’t be my home without my family in it, and they are the best thing I’ve got going!