For my family, this time of year is about the changing of seasons and fun traditions.
We celebrate Harvest because I absolutely love the Fall season, and pumpkins, and I’m particularly fond of pumpkin spice flavored coffee! I also love the beautiful Fall colors, the changing of the leaves, the cooler temperatures allowing me to reach for my favorite sweaters and boots, and did I mention pumpkin spice coffee?
Family traditions are pretty important to me. I don't want my kids looking back on their childhood one day thinking, "we never did anything fun or meaningful as a family," so hubby and I try really hard to make our family time together special.
Yesterday was one such day. We had our annual Family Fall Party. In years past, we've invited friends and their children over to join us for the fun, but this year we opted to keep things simple - just us. If you've followed my blog for any amount of time or know me personally, you know we've been through a pretty emotional 12 months. As such, there are days we just need to be together without the distraction of outside voices.
What are our favorite Harvest time traditions?
For some reason, every year I try a different recipe. They're always tasty, so there's no reason to switch to a new way of making them, but I just do. I don't know why.
This year we used a recipe from Tasty Kitchen.
My only gripe about this recipe was that the marshmallow sauce was too sticky and clumpy to get it evenly mixed with our popcorn. Perhaps I was too impatient and didn't let it cook long enough before pouring it.
No worries though. They turned out quite delicious. This is also the first year we added candy corns, chocolate chips and butterscotch chips to the mix. Mmmm...so good!
Same story with the caramel apples. Every year I try a different method. This year I used a recipe from The Pioneer Woman.
The caramels are mixed with heavy cream and are melted in a bowl over simmering water. Lots of patience is required as this process takes a long time for the caramels to melt. We carved two pumpkins while we waited.
I had my daughters wash the green apples and insert popsicle sticks into them. Then they each got to dip the apple in caramel sauce (you need to move quickly as the caramel starts to stiffen as soon as it's removed from the heat) and then their choice of topping.
We had Harvest sprinkles and more chocolate and butterscotch chips. Nuts are also a good option, but I didn't bother with them since my girls don't like them.
This year we only had the girls each carve a pumpkin, but in years past we've had a pumpkin for each family member.
Sometimes we use carving kits with the pictures provided and other times we just draw a face on the pumpkin and carve it out. Last year we heard about using cookie cutters and a hammer and that method worked really well.
This year both girls opted for the carving kit pictures. My 8 year old picked a friendly looking ghost and my 4 year old picked a skeleton with flames coming out of his head. Hubby and I quickly shook our head no at her skeleton choice (too "dark") so she chose a cat instead.
While we carved pumpkins I thought it would be fun to listen to some music. I went to the new iTunes Radio on my computer and streamed a Classic Halloween Themes station to a wireless speaker in my kitchen. That lasted for about 30 seconds when I realized it was not a wholesome choice for our family, so we switched over to 1 Girl Nation, which is a really good all-girl group singing Christian rock/pop music.
Yes, we let our daughters dress up in fun costumes and enjoy the experience of trick-or-treating.
In our neighborhood, there is a specific two hour window scheduled the Saturday before Halloween when all of the kids go out trick-or-treating. We walk with our daughters the entire time and they thoroughly enjoy themselves. Well, except for when it's 38 degrees and raining... then we drive them around the neighborhood.
Either way, they're in the house before dark and have visited homes in a safe area where everyone knows everyone. Then, October 31st is just another day of the week.
This year my daughters are dressing up as a rock star and a unicorn.
A few other things we've done to enjoy the Harvest season...
- Visit the local apple orchard
- Visit the local corn or hay maze
- Collect different colored / shaped leaves and talk about them
- Decorate the house with fun Fall decor
- Pumpkin or Scarecrow arts and crafts
What are your favorite Harvest time traditions? I'd love for you to share in the comments!
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