Family traditions are an essential part of our fall season. As the weather begins to cool, and our days get shorter. We find ways to create our family fun in the fall. Apple picking, hayrides, visiting a pumpkin patch, and spending hours baking are ways our family embraces fall.
Last weekend, we explored Rock Cut State Park, where the leaves were starting to change color. We bundle up a little better and tend to hike later in the day after the sun has warmed us up. Cloudy, rainy days seem to be rather frequent in the fall, so when the sun is out so are we.
As September winds down, I usually feel stretched thin with all the new beginnings such as: school activities, dance lessons, music lessons, and church groups. This year is different since we were much more selective about what to participate in. Our fall schedule has been full of intentional plans but not overwhelming.
Now that our school year has hit its flow, I am able to start putting energy into our fall family traditions. I have written in the past about how my girls love family traditions and can make a tradition out of almost anything. As the pumpkins started hitting the store shelves, the girls began asking about whether some of our favorite fall traditions were going to take place this year.
I decided it was time to flip the script on events and family traditions that were canceled due to COVID. As a family, we are in the process of rethinking our traditions to make them both meaningful and doable this year. I do not want our fall table conversation to be about all that we are missing. I want us to talk about how we can create new opportunities for our family. There has definitely been plenty of grieving what was, which is important, but equally important is using creativity and ingenuity to make positive family memories this fall.
The girls and I look forward to the Autumn Drive each September. The Autumn Drive takes place in the country not far from our home. Many farms and private homes open up their properties to sell knick-knacks, homemade treasures, fall treats, pumpkins, and antiques.
The Autumn Drive is where the girls buy Christmas gifts for friends + family. This event has great prices on unusual trinkets. Last year, Mike was given a Shih Tzu coaster and I was given a snowman votive candle holder. Of course, we can’t pass up the fresh kettle corn or smoked BBQ while we are browsing all of the booths.
This year will be a bit different as the Autumn Drive isn’t taking place. However, so many fun flea markets and shop hops are taking place that we are pulling together our own autumn shopping day.
We enjoy the energy of getting up early and hunting for great deals. It will be a day of fun, food, and shopping. The girls are excited about seeing new shops, vendors, and booths. They are saving up all their money in hopes to find Christmas presents. I am excited that our shopping day will take place and anticipate it to be even better than last year.
“Just because we Can” DAy
One benefit of homeschooling is the “Just Because We Can” Day. The first time I heard this idea was at a homeschool talk by Sarah McKenzie, and I was sold. Sarah McKenzie says the goal of a “Just Because We Can Day” (JBWC) is to enjoy your children. It is a day that school is in session, but instead, I plan a day to relax and appreciate one another. I try to surprise the girls with a JBWC day once every three months.
The most challenging part for me when planning JBWC days is that the sole purpose is fun, not education. I love it when we hit up one of the great Chicago Museums or check out a local historical site since it is a great learning experience and just a lot of fun. Those field trips do not count as a JBWC day though.
Some of our past JBWC days have included skiing/snowboarding, swimming at Lake Michigan, traveling to an indoor waterpark, or shopping in a quaint town. This year, I have to rethink and simplify our JBWC days.
Fall + Winter JBWC Ideas:
- Top Golf
- Paint Pottery
- Picnic + Frisbee Golf
- Shopping (the girls’ favorite activity)
DIY Women’s Events
This time of the year, the local church community usually hosts a fall women’s event. In the past, my mom, daughters, and I have enjoyed being part of a team that put these events together. It is satisfying to help set up an event where women are able to create crafts and fellowship over delicious food.
One event that we all remember fondly was the DIY event, where we made pumpkin sugar scrub, decorated prayer journals, and made our apple nachos.
Last year, Adelynn attended a women’s craft day with my mom, where they each painted a fall canvas. Adelynn’s birch trees are now part of our fall decor. I love to incorporate the girls’ artwork in our home to make it cozier.
Our fall DIY event will be just for the us this year. My mom found the perfect craft, a DIY Fall Wood Bead Garland. These fun garlands are great accents to a fall dough bowl or add texture to a tablescape. I am looking forward to a fun morning of crafting with my mom and my girls.
Even though some of our family traditions may look different this fall we will still be keeping them up. Traditions help us build memories over time that make our family bonds even closer. Using our creativity to come up with the ideas, working together to pull the necessary pieces together, and enjoying the tradition as a family is all part of the experience.
Fall is just the beginning of all the festivities to come. It is a time of the year when our days get shorter, yet we get outside as much as possible. It is a time to embrace routine, yet add special moments that mark this season. It is the time I use to plan with purpose what our holidays will look like. This year is the perfect time to switch up traditions, revamp some, and toss ones that don’t work.
What are your fall family traditions?
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