Life is about creating your own fun-filled and memorable experiences. Can I get an Amen! And, this time of the year we’re given a plethora of awesome and inexpensive opportunities for just that! In the past my kids and I have made a verbal check-list of the many things we want to explore. We’re usually good about getting around to it all, but there’s always a few things that we forget about. This year my daughter and I decided to put it all down on paper. I’m my experience, list making almost always guarantees 100% productivity. When it’s all listed out on paper you can better manage the what, when and where of each task. After sharing it with one of my fiends, she suggested I blog it! Whaaaaat? Brilliant! Why didn’t I think of that? LOL. So, I’m presenting you with Your Manageable 2018 Family Fall Bucket List.
Nothing Overwhelming, I Promise!
I’ve seen lists like this before. What cracks me up are those bucket lists with 100+ items on it! Really? I’d have to pull my kids out of school and make it a full time job just to get to everything on that list. THIS LIST, however, is super manageable, and packed with lots of fun stuff. Let’s go through it!
1. Visit a Pumpkin Patch
This is just plain fall, folks. If you can’t get to anything else, you must at least do this. A good pumpkin patch will have multiple varieties of pumpkins in all shades and sizes. Let the kids pick out a couple of pumpkins to carve, and don’t forget you’ll need a few pretty ones for your front porch, too! Usually there are beautiful baskets of hearty colorful florals, like mums, for sale. The more festive pumpkin patches will sell fall foods like fresh apple cider, pumpkin pies, cider donuts, and hot chocolate Good ones will include a fun corn maze, hay rides, crafts and maybe even a petting zoo. It’s a perfect fall experience to kick off the season!
2. Carve Pumpkins
This is best to do closer to Halloween because the shelf life of a carved pumpkin is little to none. Before you dive into carving your pumpkins head to your local dollar store or grocery store and buy a cheap disposable plastic tablecloth to work over. This makes clean up so much easier! My kids and I like to spend a little time on the web researching ideas before we make our first cut. You’ll find some pretty talented “pumpkin-carvers” out there.
3. Go Apple Picking
Now, I’ve heard many “a-friends” say they think apple picking is stupid because all you do is pick apples. But, they are missing the very point. It’s not picking the apples that is so super fun, it’s what you do with the apples after you pick them that is super fun! However, I actually like apple picking! And, just like a good pumpkin patch, a good apple farm will have lots other fun things to do. As for what you do with the apples after you’ve picked them???? Well, you can make your own fresh apple cider, apple sauce, apple pies, cider donuts, apple crisp, and more. And, I’ve built in a few of these very things right here on this bucket list! 😉
4. Roast S’mores
Get it! You’d done this before and you’re an expert. But, wait! You haven’t done it my way yet. I published a blog a while back titled Gourmet S’mores Bar and I shared with you a free printable. This was probably one of my most talked about posts for a while because IT’S REALLY GOOD & FUN for the entire family! I heard back from many of you about the unique s’mores creations you came up with on your own and some of your favorites from my gourmet list. When I say “gourmet”, by the way, I’m not talking fancy and expensive chocolates. I’m talking Ritz crackers and Reeces peanuts butter cups! This is a family-fun experience, my friends! You have to check it out. Click here to see that post.
5. Go on a Nature Walk
If you live in a part of the world that is likely to get super cold, like me, then you don’t have much time. My brother lives in Colorado and they already have snow. (Big gasp right here!). This happens to be one of my more favorites on the list because it’s is a time where you actually get to witness the changes in nature. Some people associate the vibrancy and bloom of color with spring, but I would have to disagree. In upstate New York we are blessed to see some of the most amazing explosions of color in the world. Get out, breath the fresh crisp air and experience the changes.
6. Travel a Corn Maze
You might be able to tackle the corn maze while you’re visiting the pumpkin patch. This twisted dirt path filled with dead-ends has you and your family or friends second guessing your built-in navigational system the entire time. Getting lost is part of the fun!
7. Halloween Movie Night
I’m not one to watch movies over and over, but give me a good “halloween themed” movie and I’m in! Did you say Hocus Pocus, heck yeah! I love Bette Midler. Ghostbusters, yep, Ill be there! Other movie favorites for this time of the year include, Beetlejuice, Halloweentown, and It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.
8. Make Handmade Apple Hand Pies.
One GREAT reason to head to the apple farm is to come home with your own fresh picked apples so you can make these delicious caramelized apple hand pies. I sent this recipe out a few weeks ago and the feedback was great! Its crips and flakey, buttery crust is one of my favorites and I use it for a multitude of pastry recipes. The spiced apple filling is to-die-for! And, really there’s no better food than farm to table. I love sharing the “fruits of my labor” with my family.
9. Sip on a Pumpkin Spice Latte
This is definitely a treat that can’t be passed up. The kids and I love popping out in the early morning for a piping hot cup of goodness. Bonus if we can find a fresh cider donut to go with it!
10. Pumpkin Melted Crayon Art
One word to describe this craft: OBSESSED! This was my first time at this one and I thought that I was only going to do one, but I couldn’t stop. It was something about the crayons melting into hot wax, dripping down the sides of the pumpkin and blending with its neighboring colors to create a new color. My daughter and I actually did three in one day and then another 2 a week later. Like a leaf blower blows leaves, the blow dryer slowly directs the melted wax whichever way you want it to go. This Pumpkin Melted Crayon Art Craft is fun for all ages and is a MUST-DO. Click here to get directions on how to do this craft.
11. Create a DIY Fall Floral Arrangement
I published a post on this a few weeks ago. It was about using what you find along your nature walk (and in your backyard) to create a professional arrangement. I grow hydrangeas and dahlias and have a ton of color to choose from, but if you don’t have that same color, don’t be discouraged. Your local grocery store or farmers market will have plenty of inexpensive floral stem options. Our local Wegmans and Trader Joes have a beautiful selection. Everything else is really in your backyard or along any hiking path. Take the kids out to go hunting and gathering for everything you need. Then head home and put it all together. Get my 5 tips on how to make the perfect fall floral arrangement here!
12. Make Caramel Corn
I have a REALLY REALLY good recipe for this, but I haven’t posted it yet! I know, I’m super sorry. There’s only so much time in a day! I plan on getting to this soon, so be on the look out for the post in your inbox. BTW- caramel corn is the best treat for your Halloween movie night. You may want to do these two bucket list items in one day. Head over to Pinterest and search a few recipes. Have your kids join you in this search and decide together which one you want to settle on making. Maybe your caramel corn includes candy corn or chocolate candies????
13. Can Your Own How Apple Jelly
I love making and canning jellies and jams. We use them for so many fall favorites including hot (spicy) apple jelly over a block of cream cheese served with crackers, pork loin glazed with apple jelly, apple and chicken stir fry, or chicken tenders with apple jelly dipping sauce. I haven’t posted my hot apple jelly (there are a ton of recipes available online), but I have posted my Easiest Ever Hot Pepper Jelly and you really should try it. It’s so delicious and insanely easy. Click here to find out how I did it.
14. Decorate Your Front Porch
Pick up a few extra decorative pumpkins and colorful mums for your front porch when you visit the pumpkin patch. You don’t need to go all-out crazy, but fancying things up bit is a sure way to embrace the festivities. The kids always love when the porch is decorated. I usually start on Labor Day by decorating my front porch for fall. Click here to see what my Pumpkin-filled Fall Front Porch looked like. Then, as it gets closer to Halloween I just add to it. See what my Not-So-Haunted Halloween Mummy Door looks like now. It was really easy and I spent less than $20 on it! Then, once Halloween is over I will remove the Halloween decor and bring it back to looking like a fall decorated porch.
15. Go on a Haunted Hay Ride
I saved this one for last…because if you know me, then you know that for me this will be the hardest bucket list item of them all. The kids had to add this one to the list (eeeeeeks). We did this 3 years ago and it’s taken me this long to recoup. I’m not a big fan of scary anything and the scenes these haunted hay rides come up with are so real and haunting. So, I’m gonna put my big girl panties on and my husband and I are going to take our teenagers to this horribly scary place of doom. They can all watch me cry and wither away. I’ll probably post photos on my Instagram. The things we do for our kids! Maybe you might have better luck with the little tots hay ride at your local pumpkin patch.
With so many fun things to do and so little time to do it all, you have no time to waste. 15 items on this list! Can you get to them all? Who are we kidding…of course you can!
Good luck and happy fall!