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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Six Great Ways to Celebrate the Season

November is here. The leaves are changing color and falling down. Frost is starting to appear. While we are moving quickly into winter, here are some late fall gems to keep you going for the rest of the season. 1) Multi-color Leaf Creations If you live anywhere near trees as they are losing their leaves, you are probably overwhelmed at this time by the magnitude of leaves accumulating in the street, on the sidewalk, and in yards everywhere. While you might not be thinking of these leaves as anything special, take a second to really observe. Their colors, from deep red to pale green and everywhere in between, are really beautiful. For your kids or for the child inside, consider celebrating the colors of the leaves by making a piece of art. While a leaf crown, wreath, or bouquet may only last a few days, the joy it will bring is definitely worth it. First, pick leaves towards the top of the piles, meaning they are fresher and are less likely to have been stepped on or gotten dirty. Rinse and dry the leaves gently, then go for it! Try sewing or tying the leaves together with thread at their stalks. The results will be stunning. 2) Autumn is for Vegetables After having binged on the extra candy and while still picking up the spider webs, streamers, and ghoulish decorations that made our houses so scarily festive just a week ago, we all know that Halloween has come and gone. While the pumpkin, a Halloween decorative classic, is clearly in season, there are many other autumnal vegetables can really be special this time of year. Jerusalem artichokes, glorious varieties of mushrooms, red cabbage, cauliflower, and members of the kale family are particularly delicious right now. Check out your local farmer’s market or websites such as the World Community Cookbooks, which has a comprehensive “simply in season” section including recipes of the week. 3) Fall is for Fruit November is also a great time to enjoy certain fruits. Beautifully fresh pomegranates, apples, and figs have begun making their appearances, and though they are available all year round, autumn is also the best season for grapes. Whether as a snack or incorporated into a recipe, these fruits are a delicious way to enjoy the end of fall. 4) A Party this Season What could be more fun then an autumnal celebration? Whether it is celebrating a birthday, a relationship milestone, or just because, having a party in fall is a great way to pay homage to this wonderful season. For decorating, there are many gorgeous flowers that are most abundant at this time of year, such as dahlias, hydrangeas, and chrysanthemums. Even the fruits or vegetables mentioned previously could be worked into a beautiful decorative piece. 5) Seasonal Ice Cream While the weather might be turning colder, that doesn’t mean that ice cream is off the menu as flavors such as pumpkin spice, apple cider, and ginger fig start popping up at homemade ice cream shops everywhere. Even the flavors with less of a natural approach, such as candy corn and salted caramel can still be a special seasonal treat. Additionally, most of the more adventurous ice cream shops are locally owned and operated, ensuring that your scoop wasn’t shipped all the way across the country. A quick online search of “ice cream shops” and your location will likely yield a multitude of options. When I searched for “ice cream shops Pittsburgh” I came across a very helpful site that listed and gave background on many of the local ice cream options. 6) Take a Picture November is a great time to take out the camera, as the colors and the clarity that comes with the cold make for ideal conditions. Taking walks with your camera before it is too cold will yield an opportunity for some strikingly beautiful nature photographs. One idea is to find a tree that still has some leaves, preferably one near your home or that you would pass by frequently. Once you have a tree in mind, pick an angle that you find particularly beautiful. Then, take a picture everyday from the same angle to watch the development and change taking place with this tree. Once all the leaves have dropped, there likely will not be not too much change in the winter months. Once spring returns, however, you can pick up this project and document the re-growth. If art is really a part of your life, you could even choose your favorite fall shots and use them as inspiration to paint during the dead of winter when this wonderful transitional period is over. So, great joy can be found in even the simplest elements of nature and I hope that these tips can help you enjoy what’s left of fall. Image Credits: Wikimedia, Mother Earth News, Healthy Eating Made Easy, Wedding Flowers Guide, Diana’s Desserts, IFOH Designs

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