Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Fall & The Apartment Challenge

Fall is by far my favorite season. By the time mid-September hits, I am ready to say goodbye to summer. Any hot days that we have after September, are not really welcome by me. While I do love the warm sun, I get frustrated with extremes. I don't like that we need to dress for winter in the morning (I have seen hats, mittens and winter coats on the kids at school) and by the afternoon we are back in summer clothes. It is next to impossible to know how to dress a kid for this weather, let alone ourselves! Just give me fall... and sweaters and blankets, slipper-socks and tea. I'm so done with being hot! When you have too much of a good thing, you stop appreciating it. Extreme hot to extreme cold with nothing much in between, is a crying shame if you ask me. Each of our four seasons are crucial and they each play their part. They have their time and place. I like to honour each of our beautiful seasons... and now it is time to honour Autumn.

(Automne/Autumn, 1896, Alphonse Mucha)

To help celebrate this bountiful time, I want all of the things around me. And guess what? The possibilities for decorating are abundant... even with apartment living!

When I think of fall decorating, I think about thanksgiving and Halloween. And when I think of Halloween, I think of pumpkins on the front porch and trick-or-treating. But wait! What happens if you don't have a front porch!? Marc and I live in a 2 bedroom apartment with 2 young girls who live here half of the time (they go back and forth between our house and their mom's). They celebrate the holidays with each of their families, and we love sharing our traditions with them, regardless of our time and space constraints.


I have found that having kids around actually makes the holidays much more enjoyable. When I was little, Halloween was my mom's favourite holiday. Carving pumpkins and going trick-or-treating was a tradition that she shared with us religiously. Today I enjoy sharing that tradition with the girls, even though we don't have a front porch for trick-or-treating or for displaying jack-o-lanterns. I think it is important to encourage holiday traditions, regardless of what it might look like in your home.


For the past 2 years in a row Marc and I have taken the girls to Great Lakes Farm for apple and pumpkin picking. Last year we were so impressed that we didn't hesitate about going back this year. They have it all there. There is a fenced-in play area for kids complete with a zip line, tractor rides and a huge family-friendly cafe with indoor and outdoor seating (depending on the weather). There are so many areas for kids to play, and there really is something for everyone. This place is so well designed for a relaxing day with the family (they even have cartoons playing inside if your busy kid just needs to zone out while you sip a coffee or cider and grab a bite) but if t.v isn't your thing, they have an activity area with a piano and colouring space. The baked goods are mouth watering (I went back for seconds) and I took home some of their wildflower honey and sparkling cider (both superb). I'm almost afraid to write about this place too much- for fear that it would bring an element of commercialism that I would hate to see ruin the place. It has a rustic vibe that makes it so enjoyable and unique. Even though it was busy, line-ups were not long and the vibe was so friendly.


My favorite thing about this place though, is the pumpkin patch! I love that they keep the pumpkins on the vine for the customers to pick. For me, this is all part of the experience. We don't have a yard, so I definitely appreciate any opportunity I have to get (literally) down to earth.


You can't see us, but we are in there, getting dirty and picking out our pumpkins!


We won't be carving jack-o-lanterns this year because the girls will be with their mom for Halloween, but I do love having pumpkins on display in our kitchen (who needs a front porch!) and then cooking with them when the time is right. Last year I made pumpkin puree from scratch and made Melissa Ramos's hormone balancing pumpkin spice latte. It was divine, and I will be making it again this year.


A couple years ago we carved a pumpkin with the girls and put it out on our balcony/patio. It quickly became squirrel food. It was pretty funny actually- they were quite clever and managed a cool 'Trompe l'oeil' effect (trick of the eye) and turned the pumpkin face into what looked like a 3D bird! The middle part is actually concave (the pumpkin is hallow). Ha!


Since then we have tried growing different things in our balcony gardens- and the squirrels have gotten into everything. They dig it all up and toss it aside. Sigh! We googled some deterrents and read that cayenne pepper works great. Apparently they don't like the peppery spice and so they leave your garden be. My mom had the same problem this year. Apparently some cities are catching onto the cayenne trick and are using it in park gardens. I hear it works great in bird feeders too- as it doesn't bother the birds but the other creatures won't touch it. My niece and I sprinkled cayenne all over my mom's tulip garden the other day and we are just waiting to see if it works. We had great results with our balcony plants- but I didn't feel like tempting them with my decorations this year. I saw this neat idea on Pintrest: displaying gourds in lanterns. This idea was used for indoors, but I figured it would be a perfect solution to keeping the animals away from them outside. They can't get them now!



Gourds are beautiful in centrepieces or on their own. I love the look of them just about anywhere. 


So last but not least...the smells of autumn! Fall is a feast for the senses. The most important element of any interior if you ask me, is the scent. Lately I will have incense or a pumpkin pie candle burning in our living room....


...and thieves in the diffuser in our bedroom. Today I brought it into the living room as I was writing, just to inspire me. Thieves is an excellent immune booster (perfect for cold season) and the bonus is that it smells like fall and Christmas combined. It is a combination of clove, lemon, cinnamon, rosemary and eucalyptus. It is truly heavenly.


So happy fall-ing readers! I hope you have been inspired to make the most of the season...wherever you are.



xo Lindsay




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