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By Daniel Troise, Marketing Intern, SEMCA
There is no doubt that these past six months have been very different and inconsistent. Not knowing what the next few weeks will bring, I have spent a bit more time at home and thinking of ways to reinvent some of my favorite fall activities. Surprisingly, there are many ways to adapt to all your activities and not miss out on them. Throughout this fall activity roundup, I plan to share with you some of the most adaptive and innovative ways to partake in family-fun fall activities without leaving home or practicing social distancing.
The only thing normal about this past year would be the weather, and the weather calls for certain activities. If you have children, it is important that you really capture these perfect fall moments with them so you can look back and remember them even if you alter them from the traditional format. Spending time with your loved ones doing seasonal and festive activities always brings out the best in everyone and puts a smile on everyone’s face.
As usual, we love to hear and see how our favorite readers are enjoying the tips and awesome content we love to deliver. If you have any favorite fall activities at home or enjoy any of these, feel free to let us know by connecting with us on social using #SharpHome on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
The Backyard Pumpkin Patch
You guessed as I spoiled it right at the party. As I look over my backyard right now, I see a large green space that could serve as the perfect pumpkin patches that my niece and nephew will absolutely love and remember forever. You can even sell the idea of telling them you have a private pumpkin patch. Surpassingly, with little work and a straightforward process, you can create a patch in your own backyard while making family memories without leaving your home.
It’s October, meaning pumpkins are for sale everywhere and not just a typical pumpkin patch at the farm. You can find them when you are walking into the grocery store or even at a stand on the sign of the road. So next time you are out picking up your favorite groceries, pick up a few pumpkins to spread across your lawn. Just make sure you have room in your trunk to carry them all. You may want to pick up a few more pumpkins than there are people so that the pickers still feel like they have a choice. The rest you can use for decorations on your front porch or anywhere you feel fit.
The next step is to unload them and place them in the garage or a place where the kids may not see them. If you check the weather beforehand, you may be able to put them outside right away. Spread them each 6 feet apart to ensure you practice social distancing guidelines and only invite close family and friends. Between limiting the number of people and keeping it outside, you should be good to go.
Once all the pumpkins are set, call all the pumpkin pickers outside to pick their pumpkins. Some may want the big ones, while some small, so having a few extras, so there are more options is ideal.
This does not need to stop here. If you want to take this a step further, set up a table with carving materials (under adult supervision, of course) and some paint to throw on the pumpkins. This will allow the children to tap into their creative side and make the pumpkin their own.
Overall, pumpkin picking is a staple activity every season, and this year it should be no different. Trust me, after thinking of this idea, and I just knew I had to share it with you. Have fun!
Old-Costume Fashion Show
Want to know a little secret? Everyone loves a rainy day now and then. It is a day to take a break from the sun and not feel guilty about staying indoors. This past weekend, it poured all weekend, and rain has been in the forecast in New Jersey. This can sometimes create a bit of mystery about what you are going to do. I mean, you can always revert to cleaning out closets or painting a room in your house but trust me, that can’t be too fun and seems like a lot of work.
In my attic and in the back of my closet, there are bins of old Halloween costumes that I probably spent a fortune on and never worn again. From vampires to famous singers and all the cool wigs and accessories, why not take this chance to get out those old bins and place them all in the middle. Have the children design and create their own costumes, mixing and matching all the old pieces. If you want to jump into the fun, be my guest.
Not only is this an opportunity to take a trip down memory lane, but for sure guarantee laughs along the way. As a child, I remember the whole month of October just being a countdown to the final day, Halloween. While picking out your design fit, put on a Halloween movie. This just will add and make the environment much more festive.
Once the kids have picked out and organized their costumes, send them to their rooms to change when they don’t need help getting into their new personas, clear and identify a runway to have your fashion show, and show your kids the way to come down. Once you have communicated it with them, grab a seat on the couch and make scorecards with the numbers 1-10 (or whichever interval you choose). And let the show begin!
Each child or participant will walk down and strut their custom costume in front of the judge’s panel. Once everyone is done, the ones with the highest score win. Feel free to make this go 2-3 rounds if everyone is down. Once we have declared a winner, you can reward them with candy, favorite dinners, etc. Overall, this is a fun and cheap way to have family fun indoors or on a rainy day.
DIY Pumpkin Bath Bomb
One recent trend that I have noticed to be skyrocketing are bath bombs. The concept is that it is a figure with specific colors that turns your body of water, most likely a bath, into the color that you desire, creating a specific vibe. Even though this trend is huge amongst young adults, the children will love them just as much and if not more.
If you have young ones at home, you may know that the nighttime routine can be quite difficult. Between getting everyone bathed, teeth brushed, and the pajamas on adding a bit of creativity to the process may engage them. This should overall make your evenings simpler and put a smile on their face.
So, I am sure you guessed it by now. We are going to make bath bombs! This awesome craft idea from “Fun at Home with Kids” is the perfect way to get everyone involved and have them look forward to bath time. Just make sure that you leave enough time to make them, approximately an hour and a half before bath time.
Surprisingly, you won’t need much to make these bath bombs, and you most likely have all the supplies in your home and throughout cabinets. Start searching for olive oil, citric acid powder, cinnamon, and baking soda. Additionally, you may want to look for a pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter and liquid food coloring. No cookie-cutter, no worries. You can always tap into your artistic craft and use your hands to form the shapes.
Let’s go through the steps:
- Grab a large bowl and pour in 1 1/2 cups of baking soda and a tablespoon of cinnamon, stirring them together.
- Once stirred, we are going to add in some color. If you have liquid watercolors, add about 3/4 teaspoon, or have food coloring drops, add a few along with 3/4 teaspoon of water.
- Next, add in about 6 tablespoons of citric acid powder and completely mix it. Don’t worry if it is a bit cold, that’s known to be normal.
- Add in 2 teaspoons of olive oil and mix it to create a dry dough. At this point, you can act like it is cookie dough and create the bath bombs. Use the pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter or your hands to make the shape. Allow for it to dry for about an hour or more, then take it to the bath and watch the magic happen!
Nature Walks Are Key
When we all think of the Fall season, the biggest indicator is the leaves changing. Ask anyone to pull out their phone or camera. I can almost guarantee that they have pictures of orange and yellow leaves changing from green on trees, whether in a large wooded area, along the highway, or even outside their local shopping center.
This has been a stressful time over the past few months, without a doubt, with so much uncertainty and adaptation to a new normal, relaxing your mind. Do a quick online search or think back to a favorite walking trail near or around your home that will allow you to observe all the fall leaves on a beautiful day and practice social distancing. Whenever I go on a walk outdoors, especially in 2020, here are my top 5 must-haves (in addition to a mask, of course):
- Comfortable footwear is a must. No matter how long you plan to be walking, make sure to wear a nice pair of sneakers so you can really maximize the most out of your trip.
- A sweater or a light jacket. Be sure always to check the weather conditions and see the temperature. Keep in mind to check the temperature of where you are going; if you live along the shoreline (like me) and drive to the mountains, there could be a change in the weather.
- A small umbrella, you never know what could happen. My second-grade teacher taught me many years ago, “it is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.” Corny, but true!
- This one is my favorite, but make sure to pack some extra water and some snacks from home. Be sure to check out “Simply Better Living” for awesome snack recipes and ideas for you and your family. Pack something everyone will like.
- I know you are probably thinking, how am I going to fit this all? Well, you guessed it! The final must-have on your fall leave tour is a backpack for you to carry all your essentials in. This will take up fewer worries and give you less distraction to observe the beautiful landscape of nature.
You can add two more things (because you are all my favorite) are a portable charger for your phone and a camera. While your phone may have an awesome quality camera, bringing a portable charger will ensure that you can really capture every moment and save each memory forever.
Candy Scavenger Hunt
Ask any child what their favorite part of Halloween is. You will get one of two answers, candy or costumes. This is the one day of the year where dressing up and pretending to be one of your favorite characters or creatures is embraced, rewarding kids with candy. Looking back, some of my fondest memories include getting in my costumes. In fact, if you were to look at old photos, most of them are from Halloweens of past years, proving that it is memorable.
With the nature of everything going on, many have been thinking of creative and innovative ways to reinvent the typical trick or treating idea. Instead of going door to door, there is no reason why you can’t practice your own candy exchange within the walls of your own home and throughout your property.
An awesome way to make sure that the children don’t miss out on one of their best days of the year is to design a trick or treat scavenger hunt throughout the house. While searching the internet, I stumbled upon this awesome pre-arranged candy hunt from “Hey, Let’s Make Stuff By Cori George.” They offer free activities and worksheets that allow you to set it up in your own home.
Simply go online or mask up and go to the store to buy Halloween candy. Your children may even enjoy this more as you can be selective of the candy and pick out their favorites. You can also be aware of any food allergies or nutritional restrictions and ensure that all the candy will be perfect. Here are a few more tips that you may want to include:
- If the weather is cooperating, feel free to hunt inside and outside, creating more of a feel. Going from one end of the house or property to the other will make the hunt longer and build their adrenaline.
- Set up some other Halloween-like activities. This could include painting small pumpkins, playing Halloween bingo with candy, putting on a movie, etc. It does not take much to set up your house and convert it to Halloween headquarters.
- If you want to take it a step further, set up a virtual video call with some friends and family to show off your costumes and say a Happy Halloween!
It’s Microwave Appreciation Monday! What’s on our shoutout list? The Sharp Microwave Drawer Oven! This line of microwave ovens both look and cook incredible – one is even #IoT enabled.
By Daniel Troise
As soon as October rolls around, you see pumpkin-shaped figures all over the place, seriously everywhere! From the entrance to the grocery store to the doorsteps of your neighbor’s home, it’s no secret that the pumpkin is the perfect representation of the season, serving as a mascot for fall.
Some of my fondest memories of fall come from going to the pumpkin patch with my siblings, where we would each go and pick our favorite pumpkins (yes, I was the kid who always would pick the smallest ones because I felt bad they never got picked.) After our time at the farm, we would go on home to put on dirty clothes and grab carving utensils to create our favorite designs adding personality to the pumpkin tuned Jack-O-Lantern.
After realizing that while this process is fun and practiced by many families, not many choose to save the pumpkins and throw out what there is. Well, you’re in for a special treat. Literally! Instead of just throwing the insides of the pumpkin away, save them.
Over the past few weeks, I have found the best and most unique recipes containing pumpkin on social media and throughout the web. There is no better time than ever to share these delicious and sweet recipes with you. As tempting as it may be, I ask that you read all the recipes even though these amazing creations may drive you to put down your tablet and head to the kitchen.