November is the true heart of fall. Crisp air, sweaters, piles of leaves and warm goodies from the kitchen. Busy moms always have half an eye on the holidays by now. (I’ve already got one holiday pot luck sign-up sheet on the go!) But let’s not forget to enjoy the fall colours, pumpkin-spice everything, and our last few snowsuit-free days. This month’s guide will help you make the most of right now while planning for next month.
Plan to decorate
Why? There are only two options, really. You can dig up the holiday decorations, take a quick inventory of your stock, and then set aside an afternoon late in the month for decking the halls. Or you can frantically tear through boxes in mid-December searching for the tree stand while your kids scatter tinsel all over the rest of the house. It pays to plan. And if you need to pick up a few extras, Canadian Tire is actually a great place for one-stop holiday decor shopping; they have a large selection of everything from lights and trees to ornaments and wreaths.
To the Help Santa Toy Parade on November 19 at 11 am
Why? It’s a busy time of year for the man in red, so the Ottawa Professional Fire Fighters’ Association has been helping the big guy out by collecting new toys and cash donations for kids in need every year since 1969. We hear Santa, and the kids, really appreciate the helping hand.
Pipsticks sticker subscriptions
Why? Kids love stickers. Kids love getting mail. Your kids will go ape over getting stickers in the mail. Pipsticks is a sticker subscription service that sends you original, high-quality stickers that are sourced from all over the world every month. A subscription would make a fun gift or you can just order them for yourself for a never-ending supply of bribes. My kids will do anything for a sticker. Word to the wise, though: make sure you make clear where stickers DO NOT belong before doling them out.
Pumpkin ring toss
Why? Here’s one last fun thing to do with your leftover Halloween pumpkins before they go to the squirrels. Set out a few pumpkins of any shape or size; however many you have. (Go ahead and use a squash, we won’t tell.) Use any sort of ring-shaped circle to try to toss onto the pumpkin stems. Ideas include rope rings, plastic bangles, those glow-in-the-dark bracelets leftover from a Halloween party, or whatever you can find. Mark a starting line and see you can ring the most pumpkins. Halloween treats work for prizes, too!
Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton
Why? You might already know Glennon from her hugely popular blog, Momastery, where she shares how embracing motherhood has helped her move on from an addiction-addled past. Glennon always sets out to inspire others through candidly sharing her own experiences and insights. Love Warrior is the story of how her husband’s admission to affairs and betrayals blew up their marriage and how they found their way back together through deep introspection and acceptance.
Why? Screens can get a bad rap. Sure, you might be playing Bubble Mania or checking in with Facebook when you’re on your phone. But you might also be reading a novel on your Kobo app or researching something for work. Epic is a subscription-based app and service that unleashes an entire library for your kids to access on mobile devices too. For $5 a month, the app offers thousands of books categorized by subject and age level. So when your kid pulls out a tablet at a restaurant, you don’t need to feel guilty.
Why? We’ve all heard that what your kids are watching is just as important as how much they are watching. But constantly monitoring and researching which programs, apps, and books your kids are seeing is exhausting. SmartFeed is a brilliant resource that has curated tens of thousands of titles of family-friendly content to make our lives easier. You can set up a profile to access personalized recommendations based on your child’s age, interests, and personality, and then put together playlists for them to view on their own.
Mulch those leaves
Why? It turns out that giving the carpet of leaves on your lawn the once over with a lawn mower to dice them up into dime-sized pieces is both easier and better for your lawn and the environment. The mulched leaves will decompose over the winter, nourishing your lawn, and saving the cost, hassle and waste involved with fertilizing your yard and bagging leaves. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing, though. If you have so many leaves, you can’t see through to the grass, you should rake some of them up. And then let the kids jump in the piles, of course!
Why? This is the season for dusting off your favourite slow cooker recipes and seeking out a few new ones. Family schedules are full to bursting at this time of year and there’s nothing like coming home to find a satisfying meal hot and ready. Fall veggies like potatoes, carrots, beets and sweet potatoes stand up well to long cooking which means you also get to eat local and on budget. There are lots of fantastic slow cooker recipes here. I’ve got the beef chili and pulled chicken lined up for next week.
Support ill and injured Canadian Armed Forces members, veterans, and their families by purchasing a Wounded Warrior hoodie, tee, or tank
Why? Because your kids are asking why everyone is pinning poppies to their coats, or they’re learning about the meaning of Remembrance Day in school. Teach them that one of the best ways to show respect is to help veterans, military members, and their families living today. Wounded Warriors helps those in need cope with injury, PTSD, homelessness, and more.