Autumn

Here in the Southern Hemisphere the start of March signals the start of Autumn. While many mourn the end of summer, I say lets celebrate the harvest season and no one has better ideas to do this than RealSimple.com. So take advantage of the crisp weather and beautiful foliage with these following lists of fun things to do in the fall.

The Great Outdoors

  1. Go apple picking
  2. Go leaf-peeping
  3. Get lost in a corn maze
  4. Take a hot-air balloon ride
  5. Play a game of two-hand touch football
  6. Go for a hike
  7. Go for a hayride
  8. Collect colourful fall leaves
  9. Rent a cabin in the mountains
  10. Tailgate at your local football game
  11. Plant bulbs in your garden for next spring
  12. Run a race
  13. Take a drive in the country

Nostalgic

  1. Eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  2. Make a pinecone bird feeder
  3. Buy something from a bake sale
  4. Borrow a book from the library
  5. Make rice Krispy treats
  6. Buy a new notebook
  7. Jump in a pile of leaves

Eat and Drink

  1. Bake an apple or pumpkin pie
  2. Buy winter squash & Brussels sprouts at a farmers’ market
  3. Eat a candy apple (March Inspiration)
  4. Make butternut squash soup
  5. Drink hot spiced cider (March Inspiration)
  6. Roast vegetables for a tasty side dish
  7. Eat a slice of warm pumpkin bread
  8. Make a big batch of chili

Just Because

  1. Tour a winery
  2. Dig up your sweaters from storage (March Inspiration)
  3. Learn to knit
  4. Listen to the sound of leaves crunching under your feet
  5. Watch geese flying north for the winter
  6. Spend a day antiquing
  7. Build a bonfire
  8. Collect pinecones & display them in a glass bowl
  9. Watch a kids’ soccer game
  10. Attend a fall festival
  11. Wear your favourite jeans
  12. Remember what you’re thankful for in your Gratitude Journal

Add To The Wardrobe

  1. A cotton waffle Robe
  2. A crisp tuxedo shirt
  3. A fleece vest
  4. An athletic Sweatshirt
  5. A lightweight waterproof coat
  6. A structured & stylish classic khaki trench coat
  7. A Trim Leather Blazer
  8. A navy blue peacoat
  9. A pair of black or brown flat knee high leather riding boots
  10. A pair of black high heeled ankle grazing booties
  11. A pair of sophisticated leather gloves

Makeup

  1. Switch from gold blusher & bronzer to an orangey blush.

Add To The Home:

  1. A serving platter
  2. A chip & dip tray
  3. A rolling cooler
  4. A soup tureen
  5. A roasting pan
  6. A leaf blower

Fall isn’t all play and no work unfortunately, remember as the leaves start to fly, its also time to prepare your house for the winter with the following fall cleaning checklists.

Inside Your House

  1. Wash all windows. Use glass cleaner, or one squirt of dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle filled with water, & wipe down with a microfiber cloth. Pick a cloudy day so you can better see any streaks.
  2. Vacuum dusty canvas, cotton, & treated fabric blinds. Use a low setting with a brush attachment. Vinyl shades can be wiped down with a dampened microfiber cloth if they need a little more attention.
  3. Moderately dirty window treatments need a two-step approach. Start by dusting or vacuuming the valance & frame, then vacuum from top to bottom using the upholstery attachment for drapes, & the brush attachment for blinds. Or submerge blinds or shades in a few inches of cool water & two teaspoons of dishwashing liquid (check labels first to make sure this is safe). Take out the metal weights first; they can rust.
  4. If your window coverings are very dirty, check labels for cleaning instructions. Some cotton, polyester, rayon, & wool drapes can be machine washed on delicate. Always send lace, linen, satin, & silk drapes & shades to a professional cleaner.
  5. Clean the walls, dust, wash, rinse, & dry painted or wood-paneled walls.
  6. Clean ceiling-mounted light fixtures.
  7. Vacuum & spot-clean upholstered furniture and cushions.
  8. Wipe down the kitchen cupboards, empty them, wash them down, replace liners (if you use them), de-clutter, & reorganize.
  9. Dust off the refrigerator condenser coil, use your vacuum’s brush attachment & gently vacuum it.
  10. Have carpets professionally cleaned if needed.
  11. Evaluate any wooden floors, have scratched or dull wood floors professionally scuff-sanded & recoated, or completely refinished.
  12. Spruce up your computer, dust the CPU, clean & wipe down the keyboard, & dust off the monitor with a microfiber cloth.
  13. Straighten the closets. Declutter & reorganize.
  14. Test smoke & carbon monoxide detectors, or install them, if you haven’t yet.
  15. Replace the furnace filter.
  16. Have the wood-burning fireplace & stove flues & chimneys professionally inspected & swept.
  17. Declutter & clean out the attic.

Outside Your House

  1. Check weather stripping & caulking around doors & windows & repair or replace as needed.
  2. Check & clean the gutters, do the downspouts, too.
  3. Clean the patio furniture, then store away.
  4. Drain & store garden hoses.
  5. Check the exterior paint & touch up as needed.
  6. Drain the pool, if applicable.

 

The Absolute Yes List

Cheryl Richardson in her book Life Makeovers: 52 Practical and Inspiring Ways to Improve Your Life One Week at a Time asks you “when is the last time you stopped to consider where your time is being spent and how you feel about it?” “How long do you really work in a week?” “How much time do you spend caring for others?” “How much time is spent caring for yourself?”

She says that most people work an average of 55 hours per week once you factor in time at work, commuting, preparing for work and worrying about work. Add to that an average of 50 hours a week spent sleeping, your only left with 63 hours for parenting, shopping, cooking, cleaning, exercising, fun, friends, family, volunteering and so on.

One of the ways to take control of where you spend your time is to create what she calls an Absolute Yes List. This is a list of the top 5 priorities that need your attention for the next 3 – 6 months. Unlike goals or dreams the first place to focus your time and energy when building a strong foundation for your life is on those things that need your attention now.

This week create your own Absolute Yes List. Start by choosing a quiet afternoon or evening when you’ll have at least an hour of uninterrupted time to yourself. Have your journal handy and during this time get comfortable and relax. While in a relaxed state ask yourself the following 2 questions, giving yourself ample time for each one:

What needs your attention at this time in your life?

What do you need to let go of?

Don’t censor your answers, just notice what occurs to you as you ponder each of these questions separately and write the answers down in your journal. Consider the different areas of your life – relationships, family, community, work, emotional & physical health, finances and so on, make a note of those things that you know need your attention. When you’re finished choose the top 5 answers and put them in order of priority.  Next copy the list onto 3×5 inch index cards and label them “My Absolute Yes List”. Place these index cards in various places around your home and workplace. Keeping this list nearby will remind you of what really matters and will challenge you to say no to things that are not on the list.  The process of creating an Absolute Yes List should be repeated every 3 months so that you always have an updated list of your priorities Once you know your priorities challenge yourself to say no to at least two requests of your time everyday for the next week. Learning to say no with grace and love is a key way to protect your gift of time. If saying no is differcult for you remember the following 3 tips

  1. Your self-care is always a valid excuse
  2. You don’t need to over explain or defend your actions, just tell the simple truth
  3. Doing things out of guilt & obligation is not doing things out of love.

So that next time someone asks you to do something that you’d rather not do, simply smile and tell them you’re not available.