9 Things on My Fall Bucket List

I love this time of year. The weather is finally getting cooler, which means I can pull out my boots, sweaters and jackets (layering makes me so happy!), watch as the leaves change from green to yellow to orange, and cozy up with my family over hearty stews and roasted root vegetables. I also love that it reminds me to be more present and enjoy family time before we launch into the chaos of the holidays—which inspired me to make a fall bucket list this year.

Here are some of the things I hope to do this season with our family (or just for me). Check out my list below and let me know what your fall bucket list looks like. There’s even a graphic you can pin and print for yourself if you need some inspo!

Spend one-on-one time with each of my kids

As my kids grow up and participate in more sports and after-school activities, I’m finding it harder and harder to spend quality time together. And the older they get, I’m finding the more different they are and the more unique their experiences. For instance, Tom isn’t as vocal about what’s going on at school and I’ve learned that throwing the football around or kicking the soccer ball together helps him discuss his feelings with me. I want to be mindful of what they are into individually—it changes so often!—and do a date night or a cool activity that honors and explores it.

Watch a movie under the stars

When I lived in Whitefish, Montana, there was a really cool drive-in movie theater that we used to go to. I loved watching movies under the stars, curled up under a blanket and breathing in the cool evening air. I just discovered Blue Starlight Drive-In here in Austin and can’t wait to share the experience with my own kids. They love movies that give them just enough of a fright, so something spooky for Halloween will be perfect.

Have an outdoor adventure

This season can be a whirlwind of school activities and sports practices, so I want to be sure to carve out time to slow down and just play in nature. I’m working on a top secret outdoor adventure with the boys (shhh!) and a little mommy & me day trip with Odette. I hope they will remember it forever. 

Get crafty

As a kid, I looked forward to Halloween every year. Full disclosure: It was mainly for the candy, but I also loved the traditions. For us, it meant picking out pumpkins at the pumpkin patch, using our imaginations to carve them into jack o’ lanterns and decorating the house with all our spooky creations. I love the macabre and dressing up, so using Halloween as an excuse to channel my inner dark side and try some new crafts with the kids makes me giddy. It’s so cool seeing them flex their creativity through their costumes and by decorating their rooms in a fun way. 

Plant something new

We have one garden bed that just doesn’t want to grow. We’ve planted it twice, and, for whatever reason, it doesn’t lend itself to fruit-bearing plants or to anything edible. But I’m determined not to give up! This time I’m thinking maybe we’ll try some pollinator plants to attract butterflies, bees, and lady bugs…

Master a killer classic cocktail

I love a good holiday cocktail, but I’ve always wanted to master the classic Manhattan. I’m a big fan of the sweetness of bourbon, and I love the idea of making my own muddled cherries. I imagine myself drinking one at the end of a long day. What a great start to a relaxing night or the weekend! 

Create a new work space

I thought working from home would be a great idea, and I could easily carve out a space for myself. Boy, was I wrong! The truth is that I often hear my kids, or my husband, or my dog and I get distracted or am unable to dedicate the right amount of time to my work. I think having an actual room where I can lock the door and remain undisturbed would be a positive for my work life.

Try a new recipe

I love a great fall dish like this Ribollita by Mark Bittman. My friend Virginia Davidson introduced me to Mark’s recipes, and I love how he simplifies cooking.

Take a quilting class

Things I rebelled against as a young woman, like cooking and sewing, I now really wish I had learned. Not because I think women are meant to hone those skill sets, but because they make me feel independent and self-reliant. And some of these skills, like quilting, feel like they’re becoming a lost art. I’ve always admired the craftsmanship of quilts and love the idea of making something that can be used everyday and kept as a family heirloom.


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  • Joyce Li

    Thank you for the great read! This inspires me to slow down and really think about my priorities and what I want to learn and do in these upcoming months!

  • HallieBing

    Love these ideas, Gen! Especially the movie under the stars (I know I’ll appreciate getting myself outside more often in this cooler Texas weather!) + carving out a dedicated space for work where distractions are minimal. That’s a huge issue for my content creation work! I’m far too easily distracted by sounds/people/other things I could be doing around the house, and I know it would help me to get my workspace organized and ready to be utilized to its fullest potential. Good luck with your fall list, and give the fam big hugs for me!

  • michaela kilbride

    Hi Gen,

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post so much. I love Autumn, thats what we call it in England. I have always admired the american way when it comes to fall – Halloween, thanksgiving (we don’t have that ) and christmas. You treat the holidays with so much energy, love,and pride. I have wanted to emigrate for years but I just leave my family. I admire you so much as an individual, as a mum who focuses on her kids and being a teacher that makes me smile. I am going to a fall bucket list Gen, maybe I will post it in the comments here. Not presuming you will read it – if you do thia is for you 😉 x

    • Jean

      Hi Michaela,
      I’m glad you enjoy our American ways, and wanted to remind you there is no reason you can’t start some Autumn traditions of your own. From Halloween to a Harvest Dinner (instead of Thanksgiving), take them and make them your own. If you don’t want to be the only house/apartment decorated for Autumn or Halloween, see if you can get the neighbors interested in having a contest for best door or porch decorations.

      • michaela

        Thank you for your kind words jean. Lots to think about ☺ xx

  • Ligia

    I love everything about this post!! Feeling very inspired! 💓

  • Renae

    Sounds like a really fantastic list! I might have to steal a couple of these for my own list this fall!

  • Sarah

    Love all these ideas, Autumn is definitely my favourite time of year 😁

  • Sadie

    I love how this list is easily adaptable for my own family! And totally down to earth! Most of it’s stuff I already do with my kids (so I don’t feel like a complete failure!) Great inspiration for autumn!!

  • Jean

    What a great to-do list for fall. I hope you do a new one each season. You have such clever ideas. Even those, like me, who don’t have little ones can get inspired since almost everything on your list can be adapted to do with friends, siblings, and other relatives. Re the garden bed that wont produce: have the soil checked for ph and nutrients. If it’s acidic, certain plants wont like it, but strawberries should thrive. You need to choose what to plant based on the soil content. Good luck with your pollinator garden!

  • Robin Tomblin

    All things Jared padalecki

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