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Published: Sunday, September 22, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

10 ways to celebrate the return of autumn

Sure, the summer was gorgeous. Loved the sun. Loved the long days. Loved the light.
But I would be lying if I said I was sorry to see the season change. You might as well embrace it because you can't stop it. The days will get shorter, the wind will blow and the rain, yes, the rain, the incessant rain, will fall.
So drag out your woolly socks and your cuddly throw and settle in to recount the joys of autumn.
1. Is there anything cozier than a fire in the fireplace? Crackling logs and dancing flames give me a sense of well-being.
2. It's time to lay in a supply of cider, mulling spices, hot cocoa and marshmallows. Don't forget a can of squirt whipped cream, some cinnamon sticks for the cider and maybe a little peppermint schnapps to give the hot chocolate an adult point of view.
3. Speaking of a cuddly throw, I keep a stack of small blankets in a chest near the fireplace. You don't want to catch a chill when you have a date with your favorite book.
4. Before the weather gets too damp and the trees are bare, enjoy a walk in the crisp air. Soon the leaves will begin to turn. Take in the colors. Collect a few perfect specimens for a display at home.
5. Revive your needlework. No one wants to knit with a big pile of wool in your lap during the heat of summer. But when temperatures drop and the evenings stretch longer, your project looks more enticing. A new sweater, perhaps?
6. Invite friends over. In the summer, everyone scatters to the winds. Once school starts, it's easier to get together for game night. Make popcorn. Dust off Scattergories, Boggle or Trivial Pursuit. You know you've forgotten whatever trivia you learned playing the game years ago.
7. Make an apple pie. Or an apple crisp or a baked apple. The fruits of fall -- apples and pears -- make wonderful desserts, sweetened with brown sugar or maple syrup, and flavored with cinnamon, ginger and freshly grated nutmeg. The aroma alone is worth the effort.
8. Organize your recipe cards, or your digital photos, or your Christmas card list. Do it now before the frenzy sets in.
9. Take in a football game. You don't have to be a big fan or buy pricey tickets: Head to the nearest high school and cheer on the home team.
10. Plant your bulbs. You have until Thanksgiving to get those bulbs in the ground. Create a drift of daffodils or fill some beautiful pots with striking tulips. Try crocuses or hyacinths. Planting is fun, but the big payoff comes in the spring.
Story tags » Leisure (general)

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