One morning last week, I got up before sunrise and tiptoed out to the back patio with my journal and pen. The temps had dipped below 90 (fall in Austin!!) and it inspired me to spend some time thinking about those things that I absolutely want to make sure our family does this fall before the craziness of the holidays kicks in.

You know, the apple cider/jumping in leaves/hay rides kind of things that never get old or cheesy because they’re just so darn awesome.

Especially now that we have kids, I want to be building those memories for our family, but as I’m sure any fellow parent out there can attest: it takes major planning and intention to make sure they actually happen between the school, work, sports, and busy schedules that can so easily take over our lives.

My solution that works just as well for summer, spring and the holiday season as it does for fall? A weekend bucket list. When the bliss of a free weekend stretches before us, instead of whiling it away just hanging out or watching movies (though there’s nothing wrong with that once in awhile), we can seize the day and have an adventure in our own hometown. Hopefully by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, we’ll be feeling like this guy and walking around with alll the cozy feels.

Scroll on for what’s on our family bucket list this fall, and I’d love to hear in the comments what fun fall things you guys are planning!

image: kristen kilpatrick

Visit a pumpkin patch and corn maze.

Last year, we discovered this awesome place outside Austin that has pretty much everything that autumn dreams are made of, especially for kids. You can get lost in the corn maze, take home pumpkins from the pumpkin patch, play corn hole, snack on kettle corn, and take lots of adorable photos. Our only mistake last year was going the first weekend the fall festival opened, which in Texas equals major heat in the middle of the day. This year we’ll wait until late October when things have cooled down a bit so we don’t all get cranky spending hours in a corn field. 🙂

Take an evening stroll around the neighborhood to collect fall leaves – then press them into a photo album.

Even though we take loads of morning walks as a family, my kids think there’s something really novel and fun about going for an evening stroll around the neighborhood. Every once in awhile when it’s usually time to get ready for bed, we instead tell everyone to put on their sneakers — and the excitement is next-level.

As soon as the leaves turn this year (hurry ’cause it lasts about three days in Austin), we’ll take an evening walk where we take time to reflect on the beauty of the season by collecting pretty leaves and acorns as we go. The next day, we’ll use our little flower press to preserve them, and later we can put them in a photo album along with photos from the season to mark fall 2019 as one for the books.

image: kristen kilpatrick

Carve pumpkins with grandparents.

In the past, our pumpkin carving has been kind of a last-minute attempt – and honestly felt like kind of a pain. As a kid, I really never appreciated what a major task carving a big pumpkin can be until I grew up and had to do it myself! This year, I want to set aside an evening and invite my parents to join us for pumpkin carving as the main event. I’ll roast the seeds for snacking on, and we can take time to relax and enjoy the process. Fingers crossed I can delegate the actual carving to someone else (thanks Dad!) Otherwise I may just have to resort to decorating our pumpkins with this.

Take a road trip to a small town in Texas.

I have this fall fantasy of climbing into the car, turning up the radio, and driving down country roads with dappled sunlight filtering through turning leaves. We haven’t done a real road trip with the kids yet, and this season feels like the perfect time to make the most of a weekend and explore a small Texas town for hiking, antiques hunting, and maybe we’ll even hit up a winery. I’d love to hear in the comments if y’all have any favorite towns to visit that would be a good little drive from Austin!

Host a Soup & Wine Sunday.

Pretty much exactly what it sounds like, I’ll invite a few friends to come over on a Sunday evening for a big pot of soup, crusty loaf of sourdough, and a good bottle of Pinot. Entertaining doesn’t get much easier (or more cozy) than that.

Browse all my favorite soup recipes right here.

image: hannah haston

Family game night.

A deck of cards, Jenga, a new puzzle, and a big pot of apple cider (oh, and popcorn.) Family game night, sorted. Also mandatory: this candle. Yum.

image: kristen kilpatrick

Pumpkin bread decorating with friends and kids.

Who on earth doesn’t love a fresh-from-the-oven loaf of pumpkin bread? If that person exists, I don’t want to know them (just kidding!!!) Instead of making and gifting all my friends loaves this year, I’ll invite them to come over one Saturday with their littles for a baking afternoon. I’ll bake the loaves in advance using this pan (is it not the cutest thing you’ve ever seen?!), then give everyone little bags of cream cheese frosting so they can decorate their own to take home.



I’d love to hear in the comments what fun fall things y’all have on your lists this year!

  1. 1
    Kerry | October 1, 2019 at 1:21 pm

    Castroville! Twenty five miles west of San Antonio with a European charm. Walk along the river. There is an Alsatian bakery and a blacksmith.

  2. 2
    Caitlin Lane | October 2, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    The city of Rockwall/Heath are both lovely small towns to visit! And if you wanted to go a little further to experience a TRULY small town I suggest driving up to Alba, TX or Canton, TX! Every month they (Canton) hosts a special antique buying and selling weekend where you can find anything from cute little furniture gently loved or pet baby bunnies for sale and even enjoy some carnival foods like corn dogs and funnel cakes while you walk around to shop! It’s such a fun experience and my family and I go all the time. (My family lives in Rockwall so it’s a fun monthly thing for us to do, especially in the fall!)

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