I may as well admit that I am on the ‘Pumpkin Spice Bandwagon’. I have always LOVED fall. I love the cooler weather, I love the crisp mornings, I love the changing colors of the leaves, I love the smell. I also love all the things that can add up and cost you a bundle! I mean who can resist heirloom pumpkins, mum bushes, cozy sweaters, fall leaf inspired decorations, and apple everything!? Read on and I will share with you my tips for fabricating your fall festival and still saving a few cents for cider!
Come August, the garden is often looking a little ‘tired’. I find that my fall wouldn’t be complete without some fresh flowers to help me shake off the dog days. I’m not sure if there is an official flower of fall, but I feel you can’t start the season without mums and sunflowers. My trick for the sunflowers actually starts in the spring with a trip to the Dollar Tree. Infallibly, they will have sunflower seeds along with all the other vegetable seeds- four for a dollar. I have a favorite flower pot that I plant them in every year and I cover that with a metal screening until the seeds sprout to prevent the squirrels from turning them into a buffet. I’ll admit, it takes premeditation, but I don’t know anywhere else you can buy the mature plants for less than twenty-five cents each. As for mums, Walmart has mini mums for a dollar a piece. I will plant 2 or three of theses in the same planter, giving the illusion of a larger, more expensive plant. What do I plant them in? Pots, baskets, buckets, anything cute I find at the resale shop- be creative! Throw in a mini scarecrow from the The Dollar Tree and you have a pretty impressive little planter for around five dollars.
Next up- produce! Can we say pumpkins and apples?! Yes we can! I love to mix in some pumpkins and gourds with my mini mums to make a nice fall display. Walmart has mini pie pumpkins for two dollars each as well as larger albino pumpkins for four dollars each. I also spotted some fun funky colored heirloom pumpkins there too, but I couldn’t wedge them into the cart and the milk was more important so I didn’t catch the price. The nice thing about the pie pumpkins is that the squirrels either don’t like eating them or can’t bite through them so your decorations are safe. Just don’t try carving them with your kids- you need a chainsaw to cut through them! Walmart also sells bags of assorted gourds, bags of apples, apple cider, and caramel apples for a fraction of the price that the orchards and farms sell them. For apple cider doughnuts and carving pumpkins I’m afraid I must insist on the real deal! We love to support local family owned farms so we usually get our carving pumpkins from Windy Acres and do the whole apple picking/doughnut experience at Kuipers. If you’re in the mood for a drive the BEST and freshest apple cider doughnuts around are at Edwards orchard. There’s two locations-east and west.
For decorations I love scouring the target dollar bin as usual. I just scored some adorable mini scented candles with fall phrases on them for three dollars each. Dollar Tree never fails to deliver reasonably priced mini scarecrows, signs, knic knacks, candy corn, and fake fall flowers. Goodwill has an endless supply of baskets, fall flowers, fall bric a brac, candles, fuzzy sweaters, and some really impressive wreathes. I even found the adorable fall window clings pictured below. Remember, Goodwill puts things out more or less seasonally, so now should be prime picking for the fall, Halloween, and thanksgiving stuff. I found some geeky and awesome fall scented soap at Walmart for ninety-eight cents each, and let’s not forget TJmaxx/Homegoods. I faithfully find the cutest holiday dish towels there.
Last, but not least, I love to do fall crafts and activities with my kids. The Dollar Tree has fall painting sets- wooden ones and also ones that look like little artist easels and canvases (my kids got a real kick out of them) and I also found some fabric fall leaves there. I used fabric paint to put on the letters of the alphabet and we use them to practice finding letters and spelling their names. I also use candy corns (cheapest at the Dollar Tree) to practice counting, adding, and their favorite- subtraction (where they get to eat them).
So, with all these fabulous fall tips in mind- let’s get our pumpkin spice on folks! Have fun!