This homeschool year I am trying something new. Seasonal “Bucket Lists.”
There are times when we are just going about our daily lives and I realize, hey, we missed doing such and such activity. I don’t want our days to be filled with activities but I do want to experience the beautiful changes each season brings.
Our Fall Bucket List is short and sweet:
- One last trip to the beach. Here in New England, September boasts beautiful days (both when it’s still summer hot and when it’s breezy and cool) where a beach trip after the crowds are gone is totally worth it. We did get a chance to go last month and we just may get another chance to go this month in October, when we can wear sweatshirts and enjoy the cool salty air.
- Visit the orchard. We love going apple picking! My daughter also enjoys the pears. We actually go to many different orchards throughout the season. They each have a charm all their own. One favorite orchard we go to pick, then get lost in the corn maze, then go to their market and get a homemade cherry pie. Oh yum, can’t get any better than this. We love pie, cherry pie, oh so delicious! In fact, Little Buddy requested pie (instead of cake) for his 2nd Birthday. He’s a funny fellow, he asked for ice cream cones for his 3rd, then wanted cupcakes like his sister had for his 4th. Another favorite orchard has a great playground, corn maze, and pumpkin picking.
- Get fresh apple cider donuts and apple cider. There’s one particular orchard in the next town over that specializes in fresh apple cider donuts. The line is always crazy on weekends, so this homeschooling momma is taking the kids on a lazy afternoon when we can pick up a pack and then drive around the back roads enjoying the leaves changing colors.
- Make (and can?) applesauce. I haven’t actually made applesauce and canned it yet. But I’d like to this year. My kids go through applesauce so quickly. It would be nice to have some homemade for them throughout the year. We were able to get to pick the peaches towards the end of the summer and I was able to make a cobbler, and two bags of peaches for peach pie that I froze. My husband will love it when I bring them out and make a crumble pie. Last year I made a few pies and froze them. We brought one out for Thanksgiving and it was fabulous. This year, we weren’t quick enough processing the peaches, so I could only freeze the beginnings of the filling. I’m hoping to pick apples a few more times so I have time to also can apples and make and freeze some pies. Yum. Did I mention we love pie?
- Go to the Apple Harvest Festival. This is a New England small town event that we are sure to do each year. We love to get the apple fritters and to see family around the festival.
- Go to the Garlic Festival. GAH-lic!! Yes, I said garlic festival. We usually get mixed responses from people when we tell them we’re going. It’s either “oh really, there’s a festival for garlic?” or “wow, I love garlic.” It’s a pretty big event spread out over the fairgrounds of a town about 40 minutes from us. I love seeing all interesting food vendors and the crafty vendors, hubby loves tasting all the garlic samples, hot sauce samples, and any other sample at the booths. We usually plan this in advance and it’s a line item in our budget, because we buy garlic and gifts.
- Enjoy a bonfire. We didn’t have a lot of fires this summer and I think the kids would love to sit by the fire with a hot cocoa, layered in sweatshirts and blankets and cozy up. I know I’d love to do this. And all the better with family and friends.
- Get lost in a corn maze. There are a few choices around here. We like to try a new one each year. Oh and I almost got to celebrate my birthday at a corn maze and wine tasting event, but I was too late getting tickets. I’m such a kid at heart (and I do enjoy a glass of wine), when hubby and I lived in Dallas and family came to visit we always took them to the Fort Worth Stockyards. There was a little maze there that I just had to do every time. Because, why not?
- Go to the zoo. I hear that the animals are a little more active in colder weather because who wants to run around in the heat of summer? So I’d love to layer up and bring the kids to a zoo this fall.
- Kids Clothing Swap. Each fall and spring I host a kids clothing swap for the community at our church. I love being able to help parents by providing a way for them to meet the basic need of clothing for their kids. My daughter is well aware of this ministry and excitedly helps me in many ways.
- Leaf peeping and fall hiking. There is one particular place I’d like to take the kids hiking because it’s challenging without being too difficult. The view is amazing, and we haven’t hiked it probably in a few years. There is another place in particular my mother in law loves to go each fall. It’s a bit more of a challenge but once you get to the top of the mountain you reach a small festival, which is so fun.
- Pumpkins. We are not a Halloween family, but sometimes we paint pumpkins or get them to scoop out the seeds and roast. Maybe if I feel ambitious enough we’ll scoop out the flesh with the intent of making pumpkin pie for the sake of making it completely from scratch. Pumpkin is not my hubby’s favorite kind of pie, but it’s pie. We love pie. And serve a fresh warm pumpkin pie and vanilla bean ice cream and I’ll be your best friend. In fact, any dessert served warm a la mode, and I’ll love you forever, absolutely love the contrast between hot and cold. Like hot cocoa and mint ice cream scooped into it, mmm.
- Make something nice for Thanksgiving. A few years ago, my mother in law found flat little wooden turkeys that the kids painted and used as name place cards for Thanksgiving dinner. I’d like to be a little more intentional this year and involve the kids in making something special for our Thanksgiving dinner.
- Operation Christmas Child. Every year it seems like this sneaks up on us. And the shoeboxes get collected early in November. Our church supports this ministry and it is so good for our children to see that they too can be involved in helping people.
- Make homemade gifts for family for Christmas. I’m not a very good gift giver. It’s not a strength of mine. I have to work hard at thinking of something thoughtful. Through the year, I’m learning to keep a running list of gift ideas that I can refer to when a gift giving occasion arises. I’d also like to follow in my mother’s example and make something thoughtful for neighbors and friends for Christmas. When I was a kid I remember my mom would bake special breads and wrap them in special paper to give to co-workers and friends of hers. I want the kids to be involved and to start a tradition of sorts. Teach them better gift giving skills than I have.
I envision a season of slow afternoons enjoying all that fall has to offer. I see us spending beautiful days outside in the cool, crisp air. Having a bucket list will help me to stay intentional in what we do and to help cultivate our relationships as we spend time savoring this most favorite season of fall.
Do you create a bucket list each season for your homeschool?