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Creative Family Ideas in the Pacific Northwest

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5 Ways to Make the Fall Feel Festive

We all have our favorite seasons and I love things about all of them; summer’s fragrant green grass and flowers, winter’s crisp icy days, and fall’s gorgeous landscape of color — just to name a few. We had a lovely summer this year with some family travel and lots of backyard play, but now I’m ready for fall! Here are some things our family has already done to make the changing of the seasons feel festive and fun!

1. Homemade Pumpkin Spice Lattes

Who doesn’t love a homemade coffee drink on a cold day? Delicious coffee drinks are easy to make at home and can be just as yummy as your favorites from the coffee shop! All you need is 4 ingredients to make homemade Pumpkin Spice Lattes!

Espresso – The coffee flavor is the highlight of every latte! Home espresso machines with pods allow you to customize your drink with ease. We love some of the rich coffee flavors available in gourmesso coffee capsules that you can easily use in your capsule espresso machine. These capsules allow me to make a coffee drink for much cheaper than ordering from a coffee shop.

Steamed Milk is easy to make with a variety of milk frothers. You can choose from wand-style milk frothers that require some manual effort or hands-off canister milk steamers that make a generous amount of froth using a spinning mechanism. A milk frother is a great investment because you can make all sorts of coffee drinks; we use ours multiple times a week!

Homemade pumpkin spice latte coffee drink - Mommy Scene

Pumpkin Spice Flavor – Easily mix up the pumpkin flavor for your Pumpkin Spice Latte using this simple recipe!

1/2 cup steamed milk
1 tbsp. pumpkin puree
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon + nutmeg mixed)

  • Steam your milk (using a milk steamer or by heating milk in a small pot until just bubbly). The milk steamer will require you to fill to the measurement line, to produce a 1/2 cup of steamed milk (it expands).
  • Once the milk is heated, add 1 shot of espresso and mix in the pumpkin puree, sugar, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice.

Easy DIY Pumpkin Spice Latte - Mommy Scene

Caramel Syrup – Top with a drizzle of caramel syrup! Place 2-3 caramel candies and 1 tbsp. milk in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 30 seconds at a time until melted. Give it a stir and drizzle it over your homemade coffee drink.

I love being able to make my own Pumpkin Spice Lattes at home!

Related Post: Homemade 30-Second Caramel Sauce »

Easy homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte - Mommy Scene

2. Leaf Painting Art

Celebrate fall with your kids by painting leaves! These hand painted leaves make pretty home decor and kids will have a blast doing this fun afternoon art project.

Use acrylic craft paint to decorate fallen leaves. Try to find leaves that are dry but not crumbly. Allow the painted leaves to fully dry before handling. Kids will love designing their own painted leaves!

Colorful painted leaves kids activity for fall - Mommy Scene

3. Make Fresh Apple Cider

Pressing apple cider is a festive way to enjoy the fall with the whole family! We have several apple trees in our yard and it would be impossible for one family to eat all those apples! I’ve already made an apple pie and last week we pressed several gallons of fresh apple cider. All you need to make homemade apple cider is a bunch of fresh apples and an old crank apple cider press. We found our cider press on Craigslist. Here are the steps we took to make fresh apple cider.

Homemade pressed apple cider - Mommy Scene

Pick the apples – Apples fresh off the tree make amazing apple cider and it’s a great way to use your apple harvest. Bruised and over-ripe apples are totally fine to use, they actually make sweeter cider.

Wash the apples – It’s important to give your fresh apples a quick rinse. We dunked our apples in a solution of 1 tablespoon household bleach per gallon of water, followed by a clean water rinse.

Washing apples for pressed cider - Mommy Scene

Press the apples –  Next the apples go into the apple cider press. Crank presses usually need to be set up with a straining cloth at the bottom. We placed the apples one by one into the cider press while a second person cranked the handle to chop up the apples. Next we added the top and used the pressing lever to squeeze out all the fresh apple cider. We gave the leftover apple pulp to our neighbor to use for chicken feed.

Homemade Pressed Apple Cider Family Activity - Mommy Scene

Preserve the cider – You can pasteurize homemade apple cider by heating it to 160 degrees and then pouring it into warm jars. We froze some of our apple cider in empty milk jugs to keep it from fermenting too quickly or growing bacteria.

Home-pressed apple cider has a unique taste and every batch can taste a little different!

4. DIY Pumpkin Planter

Design a custom pumpkin planter to display pretty fall blooms! This fall-inspired flower pot is a fun decoration for a fall party or a festive fall yard. To maximize the life of your planter and keep it fresh, I’d recommend displaying it in a cold location such as your front porch or back deck. You can also use this pumpkin planter as a gorgeous buffet table decoration for a holiday party and put it back outside after the party ends to make it last; heat from the house will cause the pumpkin to get soft faster. If you want to design a long-lasting pumpkin planter, you could even use one of those carvable artificial pumpkins!

Simple Kid-friendly Fall Decorations and Pumpking Flower Pot - Mommy Scene

Cut the top off the pumpkin and clean out the insides. Fill with dirt and a small plant or flowering bush. Enjoy for a few weeks indoors or for up to a month if you place this pumpkin flower pot outdoors on your porch or back deck. You can find full details on how to make a Pumpkin Planter here.

Easy DIY Caramel Apples - Mommy Scene

5. Make Caramel Apples

Homemade caramel apples is another fun fall-inspired treat that kids can help with too! Pick the best and prettiest apples from your apple tree and dip them into melted caramel.

Homemade Caramel Sauce:  1 bag soft caramel candies (unwrapped) + 2 tbsp. water

Combine the caramel candies and water in a sauce pan over medium heat and stir until fully melted. Rinse the apples and pat dry, Insert a paper stick, wooden skewer, or washed twig into each apple. Dip each apple in the warm caramel sauce and place on a piece of parchment paper to cool. You can sprinkle each caramel apple with nuts, sprinkles, or even drizzle with melted chocolate!

Homemade Caramel Apples - Mommy Scene

What are your favorite ways to celebrate fall? I hope you enjoyed our fall ideas and family activities!

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