I can't believe it's September already. I've always considered September to be the start of a new year. I guess it's because summer always seemed like the end of something special and once school started, it was time to begin fresh. My girls are now both in school. We dropped Kate off yesterday and she starts classes on Wednesday. College move-in day in Boston is always crazy busy, but the energy is just electric! May your September be filled with new beginnings.
1. Attend a country fair. A throw-back to another era, country fairs still exist. 4-H clubs show off their animals, candy apples and fried dough are a must, and of course you can't leave without going on some rides. David and Amanda went on this contraption while Kate and I (happily) watched from below.
2. Go apple picking. This is something we have done as a family every September for 24 years! We head back to the same apple orchard in Massachusetts, eat a picnic lunch on the town square lawn, and go home with enough apples to munch and bake with for a good month.
3. Enjoy some comfort food. I have already made a batch of beef stew, baked an apple pie, and today I'm baking a chocolate cake for Amanda's 17th birthday! Soon enough, I'll be baking peanut butter cookies for our apple picking picnic, a pot of chili for Sunday football watching, and a roasted chicken thrown in for good measure. Yum!
4. Makeover your garden. I just replanted my porch urns with two large burgundy-red mums. The plants that are partially dead have been cut down, and I'm getting ready to prune some bushes. Once flowers and plants have passed, it's a good idea to get ready for next season and cut back any over-growth as well as freshen up beds. This mini make-over will now allow me to transition into fall and make room for pumpkins and cornstalks in October.
5. Go crazy for magazines. I haven't subscribed to many magazines in a while now. Unfortunately, with all of the new technology, I can pretty much get my fix on a variety of subjects without having to purchase any. However...fall is the exception. Vogue, September issue—a must. Fashion and decorating magazines galore fill my cart. I just love the fall!
6. Spruce up inside. Spring cleaning is certainly something I do every year, but I also clean and organize in the fall as well. I get my home ready for winter by packing away summer items first. The flip flops are still out, but the straw bag is not. I will concentrate this week on transitioning my interior by swapping out accessories and warming up the color palette with pillows and blankets. I got to play decorator yesterday when I helped Kate with her dorm room. Her bedding was given a fall makeover this year. We added two leopard pillows, deep plum-colored pillows, and topped her comforter with a cream and coffee-colored spread. By the time we were done the room was too dark to photograph well, so you'll have to wait to see.
7. Plan for the holidays. Yes, I'm already making lists for gift-giving. The girls have mentioned a few things that they want, and I can tell you from past experience; if you don't buy it now, it won't be there later. I find that even if something costs a little extra, I'd rather get them something they truly want than run around in December trying to piecemeal together a few acceptable gifts. I keep a list and take photos of anything I come across. Sometimes I'll buy it on the spot (when they're out of my sight) or I'll simply go back or order it online. Once this practice becomes the norm, you can then concentrate on what the holidays are really about—family.
8. Enjoy the outdoors. Just because we start to focus inward as the temperatures drop, doesn't mean you can't enjoy fresh air and sunshine, even if it's only for a short time. Bike rides, picnics in the park or your backyard, a campfire, nature walks...it's still all there just waiting for you. So grab those sweaters and jackets, pull on some boots, and enjoy the changing scenery along with the changing temperatures.
9. Start something new. Since I think September is the month of new beginnings, why don't you take that to heart and jump in with two feet. Attend a class—art, yoga. Start a journal. Make something—a wreath for the front door, salvage an old piece of furniture and use it in your home. Consider starting a new hobby that you do at least once a month. Think bigger and consider starting a new career (maybe on the side). Do what you love and the money will follow. My husband put himself though college working construction. Between our house and other mini projects, we've actually talked about re-vamping houses in our next stage of life. The wheels are definitely turning.
10. Embrace family. Although I do see a lot of my extended family during the summer months, visits start to dwindle once we're all back to our school-year schedules. But, I've decided that I'm going to use those night-time hours to get things done around here and save the weekends for more family time. I'm definitely heading into Boston more to see Kate and it's a great meet-up destination to see other family members as well. Trips to a couple of museums are already in the works. If you live a good distance from your family like I do, maybe there is a destination spot where you all can meet up for lunch, dinner, or a bit of sight-seeing and catching up.