Some places around the world have extreme winter weather, such as snow and ice. I’m going to assume that in those places, people tend to stay inside more often than running around out and about in the cold. Well here in Arizona, at least in my area of Arizona, it’s the exact opposite. We stay inside for the duration of the summer because it’s just too dang hot to do anything except sit still inside with your AC and ceiling fans on full blast.
It is now at the tail end of October, and as we are about to roll into November it is still in the high 80s to low 90s here. However it is cooling off during the nighttime hours (something that does NOT happen in the summer – it stays 110 in the middle of the night!) and I am finally able to start opening the windows and doors for some fresh air in the mornings for a few hours before the AC kicks on (by about 10:30am). So for us, it’s finally (sort of) starting to feel like fall/autumn!
During the summer here, there is not much going on around town. Not really any cool events to go to because it’s miserable hot. All the kid activities are inside. Local parks look desolate because let’s face it, who the heck wants to go stand there and watch your kids at the park in 118-degree weather? Not to mention, everything at the park is too hot to touch anyway, and your kids can legitimately get first or second-degree burns. The 3 or so months of desert summer are brutal (especially the expensive electric bill!). But, when the weather starts to cool down, the town comes back alive!
Here are some of the activities and things I’ll be doing this fall…
All the Festivals!
I swear there is a festival for everything here in the non-summer months! Festivals I’ve never even heard of. Mac & Cheese Fest. Bacon Fest. Hot Air Balloon Fest. Taco Fest. Tequila Fest. Whiskey Fest. Children’s Fest. Donut Fest. Arts, pizza, vegan, wine, kite, blues, beer, YOU NAME IT – there’s a festival for it. Our babysitting budget has gone up this season simply because we are going to so many festivals! Some of them we bring the kids, but either way, they are just too much fun to pass up. All the different foods and drinks and music and art and street performers and gah, everything! It’s been a challenge to keep up making it to each and every one we want to go to. Sometimes we have to einie meenie miney mo which to go to because sometimes there are multiple good ones on the same day!
When “bike riding season” was over at the end of spring earlier this year (meaning, when it got too hot outside to make it enjoyable), the kids and I looked like the two kids from the Cat in the Hat who were sitting in front of the window staring out at the rain. Now that summer is over, we are back at it! You can read about our first bike trip of the season here. The kids go in the Burley double trailer, I hop on my bike, and we go exploring. Sometimes we go to the library. Sometimes we go feed the ducks at a nearby lake. Sometimes we go find new parks to play on. Sometimes we even ride over to the nearest fire department and knock on their door and ask them if we can look at their fire trucks! (My two toddlers absolutely love crawling inside real-life fire trucks.) It’s an adventure every single trip! And I get a little bit of exercise while we are at it.
We grab both of our Lillebaby carriers and strap both kids to our backs and we head out on the trails! We have a Lillebaby COMPLETE carrier (I have the Embossed) for the 18-month old that I have been using for him basically every day since birth that goes up to 45 lbs. And we also have the Lillebaby Carryon, which is a little bigger and can carry kids up to 60 lbs. We use the latter for our 3-year-old. Both are awesome when the kids get tired of hiking (super quick with little ones) and we just put them on our backs and all of us enjoy the scenery!
Hot tea in the summertime is definitely a no-go. Even my morning cup of coffee in the summer is changed to an iced coffee because drinking something hot when its 112 degrees outside is just not very appealing to me. (Yes, it is 112 at 6 and 7 am here in the summertime.) But now that it’s cooling off, I’m too excited to bring out my favorite teas again! I buy all my teas from Adagio.com. It is a night and day difference than grocery store bought teas. Once you try the real stuff, you’ll realize how much the grocery store crap totally tastes like you’re drinking paper.
Jasmine silver needle is my absolute favorite tea (hence my Blog’s name, heehee!). Unlike black tea, silver needle itself it a very light tasting tea, and when you add the hint of jasmine – It. Is. Heaven…in a teacup.
Tip: get your own tea bags and buy loose tea. Then you can make the tea as strong or as light as your taste desires!
Long pant, long sleeved, warm and cozy jammies. Yes, please! There’s nothing like curling up on the couch or in your favorite chair with your favorite book, favorite tea, and some nice and warm pajamas. Even better with your Snuggie wearable blanket. (Here’s a wearable blanket very similar to my Snuggie). I’ve had my Snuggie for years and it’s still my one and only blanket I use while reading, movie-watching, journal-writing, or blogging.
The electric bill in the summertime is not fun when the weather is between 112-118 degrees day and night for about 3-4 months straight. Our air conditioner was running non-stop just trying to keep the house at 76. And, on the 118 degree days, it would run and run and could only keep the house at 78/79 degrees.
Needless to say, turning on a hot oven is not ideal when trying to keep the heat in the house at bay. So baking was something I did on rare occasion. That included baking for meals. Instead, I used my Instant Pot pressure cooker quite often during the summer (You guys gotta try one of these things. Cooking time cut way down!)
But now that the temp has cooled down, the AC isn’t running every second of the 24 hours. So, commence the baking! My kids ask for banana bread or some kind of muffins at least once a week. And now I can keep the kitchen stocked with homemade goodies!
Some of our favorite recipes are:
- Healthy Oatmeal Cookies – I left out the raisins, substituted some almond flour for a little bit of the regular flour, and doubled the cinnamon. Cookies were all eaten up immediately!
- Zucchini Bread – I cut out some of the sugar in this recipe. It calls for too much in my opinion. I instead used 1 cup of white sugar and 1/4 cup of applesauce.
- Vegetable Enchilada Casserole – I use a can of enchilada sauce instead of making my own as the recipe calls for. Still comes out SO GOOD!
- Italian Sausage Tin Foil Dinner – I add Italian seasoning, onion powder, seasoned salt, olive oil, and a minced garlic clove. So flavorful!
Usually, when you think of summertime, you think grilling out, right? Well, not here in the desert. It’s too hot! Seriously, just stepping outside to take my trash out calls for a reapplication of my deodorant. You can forget standing in front of a hot grill. Nope. I’ll just fake it til I make it with some Hickory Liquid Smoke added to my meats. No shame.
Cooler weather means we can grill to our heart’s content! I got a really good deal on this Char-Broil Gas2Coal Propane and Charcoal Hybrid Grill during labor day weekend this year, so since then the hubs and I have been grilling multiple times a week. Kabobs, foil packet meals (the Italian Sausage Tin Foil recipe I just recommended above can be cooked on the grill as well!), steaks, fish, brats, corn on the cob. We’ve been grilling fools!
And, the best part about this hybrid grill we got is that you can do either charcoal or gas in a matter of minutes. The switch out to or from charcoal is just taking out or putting in one tray. And, you don’t have to do the traditional crazy getting-the-charcoal-to-light-and-actually-stay-lit techniques and then wait forever for the charcoal to warm up. You just turn on the gas for about 15 minutes and walk away. When the charcoal turns white, you turn off the gas and now you’re ready to cook! It’s that easy!
Soups, Chilis, and Stews… Oh, My!
At the beginning of this past summer, I made the mistake of making a crockpot full of some type of super awesome tasting soup. (I can’t remember what it was.) When I excitedly sat down to devour my masterpiece, a few bites in and I was a sweating mess. Not because I made the soup spicy. It was because I, like a dummy, was eating hot soup in 110-degree weather.
Soups, chilis, and stews have been shelved from my weekly meal plan ever since. Sad for me, because I love a good bowl of soup!
I’m ready for a nice big bowl of hot homemade chili topped with shredded cheese and oyster crackers. *Drooooool*
Or how about some slow cooked crockpot potato soup topped with bacon bits and cheese. UGH! I’ve cooked this Slow Cooker Potato Soup so many times and my mouth melts every time I do. It’s definitely a cold weather favorite!
Side note: I’m excited to explore new soup, chili, and stew recipes with my Instant Pot because it does the job of a crockpot in a fraction of the time. I’m not a cooking pro by any means. As a matter of fact, I think I suck at cooking. But the idea of throwing a bunch of ingredients into a pot and pushing start and it being done in like 30 minutes, sounds like the best idea ever. Check out this Instant Pot Meatloaf with Potatoes and Carrots recipe I made. You throw it ALL in the instant pot and it’s done in about 50 minutes!
I’m obsessed with scarves, you guys. I love them so very, very much. It’s almost as if I collect them, but not on purpose. I basically have one of every color, and each year I add more to the collection. If anyone ever wanted to get me a Christmas gift, a scarf would make me childishly happy! 😉
And I swear, I can be wearing a big jacket, pants, and boots, but if my neck is cold, then I’m cold. I must have my scarf!
Fall weather means I get to dig out my scarves. Every outfit deserves a comfy cozy scarf, and they can be an easy way to throw in a pop of color to your outfit ensemble.
There you have it! My autumn to-do list. 🙂
What are some of your fall favorites? Comment below!
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