It was a quiet two days around here. An an unusual weekend with no commitments, we kept things easy and headed to the close-by Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis for Art at the Park and a stroll to the overlook. We had dinner out, watched lots of football, picked out favorites from the pumpkin patch to carve next week, and sipped apple sangria. Cheers to the week ahead!
As the leaves begin to turn and the themed aisles of Target quickly turn from back-to-school to an odd combination of both Halloween and Christmas, there’s no arguing autumn is in full swing. In previous years, this is usually the time when I accept that I won’t see my husband until the end of March due to a busy basketball-centered travel and work schedule. However, the beginning of this summer brought about a promotion and change of work responsibilities for J, and he’s no longer at the office until nine every evening or on road trips through the weekends. With a new found ability to spend more time together this fall and winter, I thought I’d brainstorm and share some inexpensive and low-key “date” ideas for the months ahead.
1. Spend a Saturday afternoon at a local watering hole sharing a pitcher and watching college football
Even non-sports enthusiasts can appreciate the atmosphere of a cold drink, greasy appetizers, and cheers from fans on game day.
2. Head to the kitchen together and spend the day making each other’s favorite cookies
With the exception of after-dinner dishes and heating up frozen pizza, J pretty much avoids the kitchen at all costs. However, if anything is going to lure him in, it’s the promise of cookies. This is a great opportunity to turn off the TV, put aside the cell phones, and maybe even learn something new about each other.
3. Paint a wall in your home and share takeout pizza when it’s complete
Quality time together and little home improvement? Sounds like a win in my book! Painting just one wall is an inexpensive and easy way to add a quick update to a tired space. If you’re anything like us, you’ll appreciate spending the money on paint and supplies much longer than you would a date out.
4. Carve pumpkins and enjoy a meal from the slow cooker
Throw your favorite one-pot meal or stew in the slow cooker and spend a Sunday afternoon carving pumpkins outside. When you come back in you’ll have a hot meal waiting for you to enjoy. This would be an awesome date-in to invite another couple to share in.
5. Go for a hike – or head out on a geocaching adventure
As part of our anniversary date last month, J planned an 8-mile hike and picnic around a local state park. It was fun to get a little lost together and enjoy the peacefulness of our surroundings. I also had a really fun time pretending to see snakes so J would freak out. I think we would love the added adventure of geocaching with our phones and finding “treasure” at the end.
6. Create your own Oktoberfest tasting
So many beer and wine stores around us are now offering customers the option to create their own six packs by purchasing individual bottles of premium beers. This is a great way to try new brands and flavors without too much commitment or expense. Head out with your partner and select a handful of pumpkin or Oktoberfest beers to try and then take back to your home to pour and share while you discuss what you like and don’t like.
Do you have a favorite or go-to low-key date? What’s something small you’re looking forward to enjoying this season?
Right before Memorial Day I shared my Summer Bucket List. As I recapped last week, not everything on the list got accomplished, but it was one heck of a good summer. Having the list in the back of my mind helped me to fully appreciate the season and the opportunities, so I decided to create one for fall as well.
1. Send a Surprise Gift to a Friend
I love to send mail, and try to make it a point to get some sort of written card out to a handful of friends every month. I want to bump that up a notch though and make it a goal to send one small surprise gift to a friend or two this season.
2. Carve Pumpkins
Each fall growing up we headed to the farmer’s market, chose our pumpkins, and sat outside on the porch carving our designs. Inevitably, my brother would pick the most difficult pattern, and I usually chose whatever cat design happened to be in that year’s kit. (You’re shocked, I know.) These days, the fall season gets so busy I usually forget it’s pumpkin carving time until Halloween (which also happens to be J’s birthday) is right around the corner. This year I’m making it a goal to take advantage of a cool autumn day and carve pumpkins with J outside on the patio.
3. Read Books
This is vague, I know, but over the summer I set a lofty goal of 8 books for myself and only got to 5. Despite the fact that I really do love to read, I’m the worst at making time to actually sit down and do it. Knowing that the season ahead is already looking to be a busy one, I’m going to scale back my expectations and just make reading a higher priority on my list.
4. Bake an Autumn Inspired Treat to Share
I love to cook and bake, but in our previous little nest our kitchen was pretty much non-existent, which took a bit of the fun out of it. Now that I’m in a kitchen I can turn around in and actually have enough cabinet space to store all my supplies, I’m looking forward to baking up some fun treats to enjoy and share.
5. Visit a Local Brewery
Like many other states around the country, Maryland’s craft beer scene has really been flourishing. We have a couple of breweries close-by, and I’d love to go check one out. Jailbreak Brewery is at the top of my list.
6. Go to a Football Game
As a former marching band member, nothing makes me more nostalgic for the fall season than the sound of a drum cadence at a football game. I couldn’t care less about watching the actual game, but the lights, sounds, and smells bring back some wonderful memories.
7. Host a Dinner Party
As I mentioned above, cooking in my old kitchen was more of a chore than I would have preferred, so now that we have a bit of a better layout I’m looking forward to having some friends over for a meal, some libations, and maybe even some board games sometime this fall. Who wants to come for dinner!? 🙂
8. Put Summer Vacation Photos into an Album
We live in a world where digital photos disappear into a computer never to be seen again. I used to love scrapbooking, and while that hobby has probably seen better days from me, I’d like to at least get my photos from the summer into an album. Whether I do it myself or order it from Shutterfly may be determined at a later date, but I’m making it a goal to get them captured in print.
9. Go on a Hike
With the temperatures cooling down and the leaves starting to change colors, there’s no better time to head outside for a hike at a local park or forest.
10. Make Our New Little Nest Feel like Home
As many of you know by now, we moved in August. After our move, we promptly left for ten days in Europe, returning just in time to get thrown back into work and end of summer craziness. We’ve unpacked and are starting to get into a groove around our new place, but we are still getting things organized and decorated. By Thanksgiving (when it is time to put out Christmas decorations!) I’d like to have the apartment cozy and situated. For those who may have not just gone through a move, fall is also a great time to take on an improvement project around your home or freshen up some tired decor.
What’s on your bucket list this season? Anything I should add to mine? What are you baking/crafting/reading/loving this fall?