Functional Friday: 10 Things to Schedule RIGHT NOW for This Fall

As Labor Day week-end arrives, tipping us into the unofficial start of autumn, my mind is busy concocting all sorts of fall fare.  As my own favorite season, fall enjoys prestige and privilege in our home. Today's list includes ten fall-ish festivities that I am making plans for right now.  Call a friend, make a plan and save the date now to enjoy the season's best. 

Picking apples - Call now to learn your local orchard's schedule for activities and apple picking.  Sign up for email to let you know which apples are ripe and ready each week.  Learn your favorite varieties and recipes.

Fall color drive - Do a little research now to discover when leaves in your area will turn (depending on your region and the weather.)  Many tourism or forestry websites will keep you apprised with color reports.  Plan your route now for a long country drive along a forested route with broad vistas.  Bonus points if you scout out a bed and breakfast, cafe, ferry, farmers' market or covered bridge along the way. 

Spiced cider - Nothing warms and comforts you like a hot and spicy beverage.  Research a few recipes now and buy the spices you'll need to make your favorite hot drink.  And take the opportunity to pick up bottles of your favorite wine or cider.

Tailgating - Although football games get the most attention, you could tailgate any fall sport, right? Call your friends and pick a date, research the best parking lot, and start planning the menu.  Make certain that your portable grill is all fueled up and well maintained. 

Baking - Whether it's cookies, bread, cakes, or a big pan of lasagna, fall is the perfect time to catch up on your baking.  As it warms your kitchen and wafts decadent aromas throughout your home, baking also speaks of the love you put into your goods.  Use a easy mix, bake from scratch with grandma's recipe or try something new.  And don't forget to share!

Farmers' markets - Enjoy the bounty.  Try new produce.  Meet new people.  Ask a farmer for a new recipe.  Make sure to get a new variety of squash to take home and roast.

Pumpkin decorating - Enjoy some old or new fashioned pumpkin carving or just decorate.  Hint: Decorating your pumpkin can be more kid friendly without knives. (P.S. The owl is my favorite!)

Chili - Spicy chili, bean chili, chili dogs, white chicken chili... however you like yours, whip up a batch ASAP!  Need some inspiration?  Try the International Chili Society's website where you can find chili history, chili recipes, chili cook-offs and more!

Hay Ride - Many youth groups, churches, schools, and farmers host a hayride each year.  Seek out your invite now and get it on the calendar.  In my area, we also have park districts and private companies that offer you a customized hayride, too.

Hiking - Cooler weather lends itself perfectly to hiking.  Campfires (in permitted areas) are more enjoyable with a chill in the air.  As your heart rate and temperature rise with the exertion, you can adjust your clothing layers to keep cool in the crisp weather.  And the scintillating gleam of the brilliant forest foliage will inspire anyone to go the extra distance.

Did I forget one?  Let me know!

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