Keeping Up This Fall

This post was originally published on October 2, 2022.

Anyone else feeling the go-go-go of the fall season upon us? School is back in session, fall sports and after-school activities are beginning… then there’s the constant family stuff, the church stuff, keeping in touch with friends… and on top of all that, now there’s pumpkin patches, fall festivals, Halloween costumes, trick-or-treating, school fundraisers, football games, and on and on and on.  

How do you keep up? 

Before we know it, this season of busyness will bleed right into Thanksgiving and then Christmas and then New Year’s, and life just doesn’t slow down, does it? 

Here are some ways to calm the chaos this fall before things really ramp up with the holidays, so you’ll be able to (hopefully) enjoy more of this season:

Have (and maintain!) a master calendar

For my family, I keep a giant paper monthly planner (I love this one — lots of room to write and tabs to easily flip to each month). Every single thing we have to do goes on this calendar. I meal plan here, I keep track of sports schedules here, I add fun events here. Everything goes on this calendar, and I check it often. If paper doesn’t work for you, there are lots of apps and online options that you can also share with others! 

Speaking of meal planning…

Yes, we know that sitting down to a meal as a family is the gold standard. It also has to be understood that sometimes life doesn’t always allow that. When you’re rushing from school to football practice to church to bedtime, there’s not always time for a sit-down meal. I like to get ahead of this craziness and plan meals that work with our schedule. Yes, this sometimes includes hitting a drive-thru in between activities. 

When I can, I definitely plan sit-down meals. I am a big fan of throwing things in the crock pot in the morning to make things easy for the evening. Look at your master calendar to see what nights you can plan to make nicer meals, when you can make quick meals, when you can put something in the Crock pot or Instant pot, or when you need to budget for eating out.  Taking the guesswork out of meals can significantly lessen the mental burden in the evenings. 

Pick and choose your fall priorities

You don’t have to go to every pumpkin patch and fall festival in the area. Be picky about your favorites and forget the rest. Your family will be grateful to not be jerked around to every event in El Paso County. And you will be grateful to not have to juggle everything. 

Go easy on the costumes

Feeling like you need Pinterest-worthy family Halloween costumes? Just don’t. If that’s your jam, then go for it, but it’s not necessary. Chances are, your kids’ costumes will probably have pieces taken off or be completely covered with a jacket anyway (thanks Colorado!), so there’s no need to go all out. And before dropping a ton of money on new costumes, check secondhand stores or Facebook Marketplace first to see if there’s something that strikes your fancy — for a fraction of the cost! 

It’s okay to say “no” this fall

If you can’t fit another thing into your family’s jam-packed schedule, it’s totally fine to decline. It’s okay to say you can’t make it to a third trunk-or-treat. You won’t be shunned because you weren’t “extra” for your kids’ spirit week at school that you didn’t even know about until the night before. We ALL get it. Keep your sanity in check and say “no” to things if you feel the need.