6 Things to do to Prepare for a New Season

Although it is still very steamy and hot out right now, the fall and winter season is coming up sooner than you think. I don’t know about you, but I am extremely excited for cool weather. Orange and red leaves, comfortable, layers clothes, and pumpkin everything. Just like most, fall is one of my favorite times of the year, and I’m especially looking forward to it this year, after the hottest summer ever! I mean, truly – it has been almost unbearable this year. And you know what they say? When we have an insanely hot summer, we will more than likely have a very cold winter. So, it’s time to gear up and prepare for the next season – the cool weather season. Here are a few things to do in order to prepare for a new season headed our way:

Check your wardrobe

Before the cool weather hits, check your wardrobe and make sure that you are prepared for the cold weather headed our way. Start with fall and do a simple run through of your closet. Do you have transition pieces and pants that fit? Fall is easier than winter because you do not need a ton, other than some warmer items, like pants instead of shorts. Winter, on the other hand, needs a little more thought put into it. You will want to make sure that you have a good weather-proofed jacket, hat, and gloves to be safe. You will also want to think about warm and waterproof foot gear – shoes, socks, and boots, if possible. 

Get ready to embrace the pumpkin

Pumpkin patches and pumpkin carving is one of the most fun, traditional home activities and for good reason, too – you need a pumpkin for Halloween! Don’t worry though, if you are not the Halloween type, there are so many great perks you can get from carving a pumpkin such as pumpkin pie, toasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin bread, and more. There is also awesome soup recipes that you can make with a whole pumpkin…and once it is made, fill the pumpkin with the soup. Festive AND tasty! But really, one of the best family activities that you could do this fall is by heading to North Georgia and visiting a pumpkin patch. Have fun with it! Another way to embrace the pumpkin? Pumpkin spice everything!!!! 

Change out your home decor

Now, getting out new decor is one of my favorite things about a season change! When it comes to fall specifically, it is my favorite because the decor just seems so cozy and inviting. Fall decor makes me feel like my house is cozier, more inviting, and honestly, warmer (which is needed in the colder months, anyway). If you are slacking on your fall decor pieces, head over to Home Goods – they already have fall items out on their shelves (crazy, right?). 

Meal prep like a pro

I am sure that your meal plan could use a little sprucing up. Now is the perfect time to make some freezer meals to get ready for the cooler weather, when you are not going to want to go to the grocery store every few days. Grab some frozen fall veggies, start making broths and soups to have on-hand just in case you get sick, and start thinking about warmer meals that you are going to want to make.

Spend time with loved ones

When it comes down to it, the best part of this beautiful fall weather is the fact that you get to spend time with the ones that are important to you outdoors. Grab a few chairs, enjoy the weather, and sit outside and just talk, eat, drink, and have time. Ultimately, this is what life is all about, right?

Do a goal check-in

Last but not least, do a goal check-in and then find ways to get back on track, or progress even further towards reaching those goals. If you’re anything like me, you need a “tribe” or support team to help you through. If one of your goals is getting in better shape, make sure you find a gym that has that support team to help you. Places such as CrossFit Solid Orange are committed to not only great workouts that are fun and effective, but also creating a community, which is so important. This Murfreesboro Crossfit Gym has everything that you need to be successful and reach your goal of getting into shape.

Guest post by Alex Berger

Welcome Back

“Welcome back, your dreams were your ticket out
Welcome back, to that same old place that you laughed about”

To say we have been rather busy lately is quite an understatement.

You see, fifty-seven days ago, I was playing around on Realtor.com just as I have for the last several years, pondering the possibilities of the many listings that were up at the moment, when something caught my eye.

I mean something REEEE-ally caught my eye.

So, I did something that I had never done in all my years of looking; with Audley’s guidance I reached out to a VA lender for a preapproval.

“Well the names have all changed since you hung around
But those dreams have remained and they’ve turned around”

Fifty-five days ago, we canceled our weekend plans and took a little road trip into Alabama. There, we looked at two houses. One was trashed and definitely showed what a little staging for the internet can do. The other was nearly perfect; close to everything we had in mind for a home.

“Who’d have thought they’d lead ya
Back here where we need ya”

Fifty- four days ago we made an offer on a house, wrote an earnest money check, and the very next day it was accepted.

We were under contract with “closing in thirty-five days.”

{GULP}

Thirty-one days ago, I accepted a position to teach pre-k in a newly established Christian Academy this coming autumn.

Twenty-four days ago, we met with our realtor in the small town of Scottsboro, Alabama to close, and at the same time became first time homeowners.

“Yeah we tease him a lot ’cause we got him on the spot, welcome back
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back…”

Fourteen days ago, we moved to Stevenson, Alabama, just 3 miles from where Audley grew up and where we moved away from almost exactly ten years ago.

“…And I know what a scene you were learning in
Was there something that made you come back again”

There is a lot to the hows, whys, and whats of all this, but the Reader’s Digest version is Audley changed industries back in December and works from home, when he is not traveling. After nearly 27 years of moving with power company and paper mill construction, we have been given the opportunity to control our own path.

“And what could ever lead ya
Back here where we need ya”

Our “First” Home

We decided the time was right to purchase a home, but with the market what it is, this was not so easy. We looked near Atlanta (where we had been living). We looked in South Carolina (to be near our grandbaby). We looked in Tennessee. We looked in Alabama. But we weren’t serious until the right property became available. We really wanted out of the city, we wanted property, preferably not new construction, and a ranch style. We wanted character and potential. Something move-in ready that we could add our own spin on to turn into our home.

Who knew where it would lead us?!

The craziness, busyness, chaotic mess of the last fifty-seven days was an answered prayer in so many ways, especially with the ease of purchasing our first home. We stayed within our budget, worked with a great realtor and lender, and found what I hope is our forever home!

Back Porch Views

And the song lyrics scatter throughout my post? As we were driving on I-24 with a moving van, our pups and kitty I was listening to a 70’s station on Spotify. The theme song to “Welcome Back Kotter” by John Sebastion began playing on the radio. I laughed as I thought back to all the times we’ve left this area to chase our dreams, only to return.

“Yeah we tease him a lot ’cause we got him on the spot, welcome back
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back”

God sure does have a sense of humor.

Celebrate Thanksgiving With A Family Potluck

With just seven days until Thanksgiving, most of us probably have our holiday plans in place. If you are still looking for ideas, I highly recommend a potluck style Thanksgiving dinner for you and your loved ones!

Thanksgiving day is all about the gathering together of family and friends, sharing our blessings with one another. Whether we celebrate with family or friends one of the beautiful parts of this holiday is communing with others, generally around a table laden with food. The potluck approach allows for more than sharing, it allows everyone, especially the host to spend more time with those they love. It shouldn’t be a day filled with stress as one person tries to create the perfect event. The beauty of a potluck style dinner is it’s ideal for all sized gatherings.

Believe me, I understand wanting total control over a meal that I am hosting, but over the years our family left the one-person-does-it-all approach behind and we’ve made some amazing memories in my parents kitchen as own when we hosted. From husbands playfully arguing over who was going to lick the beaters and taste testing all the desserts hidden under foil, kids hovering over the desserts to sharing tips and tricks with one another and repeating family tall tales, every Thanksgiving has left a lasting impression in my heart.

Here are a few ideas to help you pull off this communal Thanksgiving dinner, even in as few as seven days!

First, as the host, take it upon yourself to cover the basics. It’s so much easier since you know the logistics of serving, eating and clean up. Choose your dinnerware; china, crystal, paper, or Solo cups; as the host you know best what is needed. If you want to set a table (even if using disposable wares), do so a day or two ahead of time just because it’s easy to knock out. A palette of white ceramics and autumn colored linens create a simple foundation and perfect backdrop for pumpkins, candles, mums or garlands. Lay your tablecloth, place a centerpiece and let it come together.

Second, set up the actual potluck. Let your guest know what you are preparing in advance. Generally a host will provide the main dish, but if your sister’s turkey is better than yours, or your Momma makes a mean ham, by all means ask if they would like to bring those things! Once the basic menu is laid out, everyone can let you know what they are contributing.

*Elevate your celebration: If you have time, request your guests share the recipes they are preparing for dinner in advance. Print off recipe cards decorated for the season,. Separate the recipes into mini booklets and tie together with ribbon for everyone to keep. Who knows, this could become a treasured keepsake as the years pass.

Third, If you want to provide serving pieces for all the food for the sake of aesthetics (I’m obsessed with aesthetics), let your guest know in advance that they can plate at your house. If they brings items in easy to transport containers they have something to carry leftovers home in as well. You can also share with your guests in advance what your color scheme is so they can compliment it using their own serveware. As the host, you can keep things as simple or as elaborate as you desire!

*Elevate your celebration: Grab a box of assorted sized Glad-Ware from Walmart or Target for everyone to make plates to carry home.

Fourth, set up stations for appetizers, main dishes, and desserts in separate areas if room allows and have it so everything is buffet style. Family can serve themselves, then gather together around the table for socializing and dining without having to spend 20-minutes passing food around.

Finally, sit down and pray, enjoy your meal, laugh, and genuinely enjoy every moment together.

Americans unfortunately have bad reputation for dining in a hurry and moving on. For some reason we think all aspects of life have to go at warp speed. This year I challenge you to savor every moment as you laugh, talk, and share in this precious day together. Don’t bring your phones to the table, leave the football game off, and truly appreciate not only the meal, but the company you are gathered with. If 2020 and 2021 have taught us anything it should be to savor every, single moment and treasure all the time we have with family and friends!

Happy Planning!