A few days ago our lingering Midwest summer decided to call it quits and trade places with autumn. Overnight, a few golden, cripsy leaves had drifted onto our driveway and the weather had shifted from begging for popsicles to all things cozy, like chili and cornbread. In fact, we had our very first fire in our new home last night to commence what is my favorite time of the year. The kids and I gathered some small twigs and branches from our wood pile earlier in the day and Andrew came home to chop the big stuff. It was his first time using our axe and I could tell he felt rather manly, whacking away at those old, walnut tree logs that have made their home on the side of our wooden fence for who knows how long. Together, we brought them in and made our first fire. We listened to it crackle and warm our toes, making our house smelled like a forest.
Here’s a little list to help you make your nest all ready for the upcoming season, which in my opinion, is the best one:
– Think comfort. Make your couches and chairs and nooks more nap-friendly by adding a few more throws across the arms, with down pillows tucked into the corners. In this scenario, less is not more. More is better and cozier. I like to put a good majority of our throw blankets away for the warmer months because it is fun getting them out once September rolls around. I love that moment when you realize your special wool throw was down in storage, it makes snuggling under that blankie in the cooler months pretty special.
– Collect pinecones and leaves from your walks and bring them indoors. Put them in big wooden bowls or string them as a simple seasonal decoration.
– Re-arrange your furniture. When we moved into our new home we decided to take what was a very large living space and turn it into two areas: one for sitting and chatting and the other for watching tv. So silly of us because in the center of the room, anchoring our home as old home’s do, is one gorgeous hearth. A beeeeautiful fireplace. It is outlined in detailed crown molding and is a grand focal point of this home. Why we neglected to make our fireplace thee center of attention before now I do not know. But we did a little rearranging and now when one plops down on the sofa all you see is the promise of a warm fire and perhaps a few styled branches from our garden overhead. I love it so.
– Stock your pantry. Now is the time to harvest your garden and preserve all that you can. Bring in your herbs and pot them for beautiful kitchen decoration or tie them up to dry. Take that unruly bunch of sage and make a wreath. And time to start making stocks and soups to freeze. We love waking up on a slow saturday morning with lunch all ready to go with a simple thawing from our freezer. To do this, I double all of my recipes during this autumn season when they are freezer friendly. Then, voila! A home cooked meal of comfort ready to go in a matter of minutes.
– Now would be a good time audit your pantry. Throw out those old mixes and things you thought you’d use over the summer but just sat and collected dust. You probably won’t use them if you haven’t already.
– Get your flannel on. From your bed to your wardrobe, just go crazy.
– It’s a good time to clean the oven (Thanksgiving is on the horizon) and maybe dust those baseboards. I’m not talking spring cleaning here, but give spots you tend to neglect a good scrubbing. The turn of the seasons is a wonderful time to do this. I think the start of every season is a good opportunity to make things good and clean again.
– Spruce up and dust off your kettle. Set your tea leaves out within an arms reach where you can easily get at it if you need a bit of warming up in the afternoon.
– Think about your guests. When the holidays roll around we tend to have quite a bit of company. Dinner parties become apart of our weeknight routines and guests from out of town tend to stroll in and stay the night. Make a space for them to feel most welcome. Give them plenty of towels. Extra blankets. Maybe even a pair of slippers if you have cold hardwood floors like we do.
– Get a yummy pumpkin candle or something with sandalwood or cedar. Light it in the mornings and savor the warmth it brings to your home. It’s always the little things.
– Do a wardrobe swap. Get out your knits, hats, scarves, boots, tights, coats and wool everything and put away your summery items. I like putting my summer things in a tub to store in the basement to make room in my little closet for chunky sweaters and chambray button downs. I tend to keep a few dresses out for layering but put most away, out of sight and more hanging room for the bigger items.
– Time to get out your little one’s snow suit and/or warm jacket. Theodore’s thermal moose snow suit was a gift and one of his most cherished items of clothing. I want him to wear it forever. I love knowing that when we walk to the market for eggs or milk he will be all warm and toasty with his little nose peaking through.
– Make your entryway cold weather friendly. Set out an old chair or stool for helping you out when that boot won’t tug on and place a nice basket next to it to house all things knit. Make it easy and effortless when you walk in the door and need to peel those toasty layers off.
– Put pumpkins everywhere. Real ones, folks. White ones and bumpy green gourd looking ones. I do not buy much seasonal decor because I don’t like storing it, but plucking things from nature and buying little pumpkins at the patch is a beautiful way to embrace the season. Then you can throw them away or compost them when December arrives. Easy peasy and no storage required.
– Try your hand at making things from scratch. As the days get cooler baking is a fun way to spend an afternoon. This autumn, I am going to learn how to make bread and different pies with stella.
– Check out the local farms that let you apple pick and choose a weekend to go with your family. We are planning on going when the leaves start to turn a bit more.
– Now would probably be a good time to check your home for drafts. We live in an old home and I’ve been noticing them here and there. Choose to fix them or just get more wool socks.
– Bring your outdoor furniture in and make your patios and porches autumn friendly. Put a few mums out and maybe a nice wreathe. I got a grapevine branch one from target and love it. Simple but classy.
– In between preparing for autumn, drink big mugs of cider and make time to curl up with a new book wearing your husband’s sweater. Give your babies longer bubble baths and take walks in the crisp air with your family. Enjoy this season, for like all good things, it’s beautiful but brief.