My absolute favorite time of year is fall.  I love all the smells and flavors of the season!  I love the holidays and the wardrobe.  I love it all.  And though we don’t actually experience fall in this part of the country the way that everyone else does, I love to do fall activities with our toddler girls.  And I have been kind of neglecting doing the fun things we are used to doing lately, so I thought I would challenge myself to complete a bucket list with our girls this season.

It is a busy time of year for us, but I am hoping to this bucket list will help me to focus in on the joys of the season while teaching my girls (and having FUN!).  We have already done some of these activities in previous years, but I am hoping keeping and making traditions will be something the girls love as much as I do.

Here’s what is on our bucket list for fall this year

Pumpkin decorating – I have seen some of these neat new fake pumpkins at the dollar store that you can carve, so I am thinking we are going to pick up a couple of those and let the girls work on them in different ways.  Last year, we decorated our store bought candy pail pumpkins with stickers.  It was a fine motor activity that G really enjoyed.   Notice I haven’t said carve pumpkins because, to be honest, I wouldn’t know where to begin…especially with toddlers.  Maybe next year on that one.

pumpkin decorations

“boo” our close friends – I have seen this idea on Pinterest in the past and I think the girls are definitely ready for this at this point.  We will bake some yummy cookies and add some of our favorite candies and set them on the door of our close friends houses with a note encouraging them to pass it on.  I really like this free printable from Catch My Party to make it easy to “boo.” 

You've been BOOed free printable kit |

apple picking – we have got to get on this one quick so we don’t miss out!  Our closest apple picking place is up a mountain (so it is a little cooler) and we already have plans for a family photographer to get some pictures of us up there.  But I think we are going to take the girls for the day up the mountain to pick apples and have a picnic.  Sounds like great fun!

Autumn leaf craft – there are so many great leaf crafts out there!  And sadly, I can’t get real leaves around here for the girls to play with (unless they are palm fronds!), so I love this leaf craft made from coffee filters from Frugal Fun 4 Boys.  Isn’t it so cute?

Coffee Filter Fall Leaf Sign


slow cooker applesauce activity – we made applesauce when G was very young and loved it!  I have been thinking we need to make some more with W, since she loves it so much.  It is so simple to make when you use the slow cooker and can be very educational for toddlers.  Here’s our recipe for Slow Cooker Applesauce.

Cooking with kids_Slow cooker applesauce

pumpkin crisp to take to a friend – this is hand’s down my favorite fall dessert EVER!  I just can’t get enough of it.  I used to have a small business during the holidays baking and selling them . And it is always fun to take a fun dessert to a friend.  The recipe is so simple the girls can help with the entire process and I know they will love taking it to some one we love.  We just might have to make one for ourselves while we are at it!

Mickey’s Halloween Party – I am so excited about this new tradition for our family.  We took the girls to Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland for the first time last year and had a little bit of fun.  But this year the girls are already talking about the party – it is going to be so much better than last year!  We are all dressing up (including Gran and Grandpa!) and are looking forward to this special event.  I don’t know who is more excited – me or the girls?

Taking Toddlers to Mickey's Halloween Party

Count our blessings – I love the idea of teaching our girls to be thankful for the many blessings we have (gifts from the Father of Lights, every one!).  And I want to be intentional about reminding them of God’s daily blessings.  I love this Thankful Tree from Bargain Bound and the activity she did with her family throughout the month of November.   We will probably do something similar for the girls this year.


That is what we are going to be doing this fall.  What are you planning for your family this season?

Fall Bucket list for Toddlers

One of my favorite things in life is a morning cup of coffee.  In fact it has really become a necessity for me.  I just don’t feel right before I have had my coffee.  So, when Coffee-mate offered to let me try out their newest flavors of Coffee-mate, I knew I would be a happy camper because I do like a little cream in my coffee.   But, when I found out what the new flavors were: Abuelita® Mexican Chocolate and La Lechera® Dulce de Leche, I knew I didn’t just want to have them in my coffee, I wanted to use them to play in the kitchen and make an awesome new dessert.

hope for homemakers text

Last week, we talked about the first step in Saying Goodbye to Survival Mode: prayerfully setting and focusing on our personal priorities.  And this week I have begun to work on the next steps Crystal lays out in chapter one: clearing the schedule clutter, cutting out time and energy suckers, and counting the costs.  And let me tell you, this has been a challenge for me.  Yes, I have clearly defined priorities now, but I need the discipline to break some habits so I can focus on what truly matters.

I was reading in Proverbs last week and came across this verse:

“He who tills this land will have plenty of food, But he who follows empty pursuits will have poverty in plenty.” – Proverbs 28:19

And then the very next verse says, ” A faithful man will abound with blessings”  – Proverbs 28:20a

Traveling with Toddlers - Top Southern California Destinations

We are nearing the end of the summer.  It doesn’t officially end until later, but Labor Day is usually considered, “Summer Over.”  And I am itching to sweep into Fall as much as the next girl, but I have a little more I want to do before the summer is over.  I have been trying to convince my husband for weeks to take a day trip with the family.  And as I was doing some research I discovered that the largest part of Americans wait to take their “summer” road trips until September!  Who knew!  So since, you will be, likely, be heading out on the road this month, I thought it would be fun to give you our top destinations in Southern California for families with toddlers.

I gathered up the advice and suggestions of a number of my mama friends to put together this list.  So you will see what other moms think of various places in Southern California alongside my favorite spots to take our girls.   Feel free to leave a comment with your favorites, too!

Ready to jump in the car with your toddler?  Grab a sippy cup and a spill-proof snack bowl and let’s go!

hope for homemakers text

If we want to get organized and feel more free to love and laugh in our lives, the first thing we need to is set priorities.  They are the anchor, the organizing principle that should set our homes in order.  When we stray from the anchor of our priorities we will feel the tug.  We will not be as happy because we are not doing the things that are truly and most important to us.  There will be a pull we feel, trying to bring us back on track.  And if we ignore the tug, we can sometimes suffer the physical consequences of our wandering.

In the first chapter of Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, Crystal suggests that the first step to moving away from simply surviving is to “Stop Trying to Do it All.”  We get run down when we try to say yes to everything that comes our way, every opportunity, every request, and (even) every standard.  “Yes” is what gets us into trouble.  She encourages us to begin to create margin in our lives by beginning to say, “No” to the less-than important things in our lives.