As my dear friend Chrissy (she's a huge fan, too!) knows, some of my all-time favorite books are the Little House on the Prairie series, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I have 2 sets of the books, along with a number of the "My First Little House" versions, which are great for introducing little ones to Laura's stories. My 6 year old and I have been reading those for several years now, and soon she'll be on to the originals, I'm sure. Anyway, one of my favorite things to read about in the books, is how the family prepares for winter. Pa is out hunting for food for the winter, Ma is harvesting food from her garden and storing it away in the attic -- the whole family is stocking the home to keep themselves warm and well fed through the winter months. Every time I read those passages I imagine a warm, cozy, home full of love.
Our house has also been buzzing with preparations for winter and holiday season, but in our own, modern way! The Sunday before Halloween, our family went out to one of our favorite places -- Brown's Berry Patch -- and enjoyed a sunny, but brisk fall day. We went out and picked our pumpkins -- 4, one for each of us, although our 6 year old had to narrow it down from about 10... We went on a hay ride (pretty sure it was a tractor pulling us, and not a horse... quite different from the Little House days!), enjoyed seeing the animals in the barn and all of the great scarecrows -- everything from Blue (from Blue's Clues) to Harry Potter -- you name it! They have a great Barnyard Adventure, with a huge slide that you get to by climbing a rope "wall", a corn maze, the new jumping pillow, and more. Lots of fun for kids! We also picked up cider and apples -- stocking up for apple crisps and homemade pies!
My older daughter decided to paint her pumpkin this year, so that it would last longer, but I carved two of them and toasted pumpkin seeds -- my girl LOVED scooping out the "goop" as she called it, to get to the seeds -- another fall favorite! I'm not baking all day like Ma did, but I've got the cinnamon-scented candles burning at a frequent pace, which adds to the coziness of the house. Last year when we went out "pumpkin-picking" we stopped at one country store along the way and there was a table with candles being sold at a discounted price -- my daughter told my stepmother (Gramby & Grandpa were with us) "Don't let my mom see those! She's got a drawer full at home!" I go through them quickly this time of year though...
We're also getting the house ready with decorations for the upcoming holiday season. My girl and her grandpa made a lovely fall spray with some evergreens, pine cones, acorns, burning bush leaves, etc. that they glued together for a decorative fall project. And of course, our scarecrow (made by my daughter at Brown's a couple of years ago) is sitting on the front steps, ready to greet visitors.
We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of my brother-in-law, sister-in-law and their two little ones who will be coming out from Long Island to join us for Thanksgiving for the first time this year. Nothing makes a home feel cozier than having loved ones come to visit!
My family and I are looking forward to a great holiday season, and a cozy winter all snug in our "little house."