After collecting beautifully coloured leaves outside with both my granddaughter and grandson, on two separate occasions, Grandma suggested some fall craftiness.
My three year old granddaughter was impressed with our crafty creation, my four year old grandson not so much.
This simple craft involves colourful leaves, waxed paper, and a hot iron. The leaves get sandwiched between two pieces of waxed paper, wax side inside the sandwich. The hot iron makes the wax paper pieces melt together. Kind of like a grilled cheese sandwich, an analogy my granddaughter came up with.
My grandson however, was adamant that I dismantle the fall craftiness, so the leaves were loose again.
My granddaughter took her craft home intact, my grandson took his leaves home loose. To each his/her own!
There is nothing like a delicious, comforting bowl of hot soup on a cold day. One of my favourite activities in fall is making homemade soup. I call it leftover soup because I use up all the broth and bones taking up space in my freezer as well as any leftover vegetables in my fridge. Homemade is also much more nutritious and tasty than store-bought soups.
How to Create Your Own Broth
I love to make my own broth, mainly because store-bought broth is laden with salt and other ingredients I cannot or don’t care to pronounce or put in my body. I use this homemade broth by the spoonful in sauces or larger amounts in soups and stews.
Save the pan drippings from roasted turkey, chicken, pork or beef in a bucket. Store the bucket in the freezer with additions of drippings in the same bucket. When the bucket is full, start a new one. Each addition freezes in a separate layer with the fat rising to the top of each layer. When you remove the broth for use, the fat is easy to scrape off and discard.
I also add the nutrient-packed liquid left at the bottom of the dish after steaming vegetables to my broth buckets. Another trick is to freeze the tough broccoli stalks you trim off the heads to prepare for meals. Freeze them in another bag.
Bones from roasted meat also store well in the freezer for later use in soups. Simply put them in a sealable plastic bag, squish the air out, and freeze. Turkey legs go right into a freezer bag as soon as they are cut from the turkey. That’s because no one in my household likes to eat them. These legs have lots of meat on them too, which falls off the bones as you simmer them on soup making day.
Freeze only large bones; it is more difficult to separate meat from the small ones. The larger leg bones are easily retrieved after simmering them.
Leftovers in Soup
Leftovers taking up space in your fridge are also great in soups. The remainder of last night’s broccoli, mushrooms, corn, rice, pasta or quinoa all add bulk to your hot soups. If you are not making soup within a few days of preparing these leftovers, add them to the collection in your freezer.
If you grow your own vegetables, as many decided to do during the pandemic, you can freeze any you harvest for later use. I don’t grow that many that I cannot eat as I harvest, but I know those that do! On a recent trip to my favourite farm, my aunt sent me home with lots of tomatoes and instructions on how to roast them with garlic. After following her instructions, I gave several buckets away, but ended up with some in my freezer too.
By now you can probably see why I enjoy making hot soup in the fall. Not only do I end up with a delicious and nutritious meal but my freezer gets cleaned out too!
What child doesn’t love collecting pinecone after pinecone? My grandchildren are no exception. They all love to collect them. The problem becomes what to do with the pinecones once they arrive at my home.
Pinecones and Summer Flowers
I got this idea somewhere, but cannot remember where. The last batch of pinecones my three-year-old granddaughter collected has become a summer flower arrangement, thanks to some spray paint in pretty colours and a plastic bowl.
The first step was to protect my garage floor. We painted the pinecones in the garage as it was raining out the day we decided to tackle this craft.
An old plastic-coated table cloth did the trick. I have several of these around, they come in handy in my gardening business to protect the floors of my van when transporting plants, soil and mulch.
Next, I protected my granddaughter’s clothing and hands as the spray paint I have on hand is not exactly kid-proof or easily removed from clothes or skin.
Although I have several aprons, including a few child-sized ones, they would not cover her arms or legs. So I used one of my favourite long-sleeved shirts designated as gardening wear; it fit her like a dress.
She also wore her garden gloves that stay at my place for our garden adventures/chores…
I had spray paint in green, purple, orange and two shades of pink, a nice assortment of summery colours. We saturated the pinecones with colour, then let them dry in the heat before arranging them in a plastic bowl…
Fall or Winter Pinecone Decorations
In fall or winter, pinecones can be painted white or silver or even left in their natural colour and used in Christmas or winter decorations.
Pinecones collected on our walks are usually small, perfect for holiday centrepieces and more craftiness.
Craft and even grocery stores carry larger ones in fall and winter. These jumbo pinecones look great in outdoor winter arrangements, some even have sticks attached to them for easy insertion into your decor.
Use your imagination to inspire your own pinecone craftiness!