Gosh, it’s hard to believe that we are more than halfway through October. I know it’s a bit cliche to talk about the passage of time but this time of year – and this season of life – seem to be moving at warp speed.
Last weekend I caught myself in a mental spiral of not wanting to miss out on allllll of the fall things there are to do with Finn…the state fair, pumpkin patches, fall festivals, apple picking, a trip to the NC Zoo, Scarowinds, the Renaissance Festival, trunk or treating…the list is endless. Finn is at an age where he really enjoys activities and adventures and then I sometimes feel this added pressure to make the weekends we spend together fun and special since I don’t have him all the time.
We took a Friday afternoon outing to the Schiele Museum with my mom. We dropped her off at the airport early on Saturday and then hit the farmers market right when it opened. Virginia came over and met us for a walk and then Finn and I baked cookies and watched some college football. On Saturday evening we had a neighborhood block party where Finn spent two hours having the time of his life in a bounce house and I made new connections with some of my neighbors.
I found myself in bed on my phone at 11:30p on Saturday night in said spiral about what to do with Finn on Sunday. Somehow I found myself thisclose to making a reservation at Great Wolf Lodge. What does that even have to do with fall!? I checked myself, put my phone down and went to sleep.
Our Sunday ended up being the opposite of all the fall activities and it was absolutely perfect. What started as organizing the laundry room turned into an all day cleaning marathon that included deep cleaning my area rugs, taking my dishwasher apart for a thorough cleaning of the filter and the main tub, cleaning the washing machine filters and drain lines and running a cleaning cycle, organizing Finn’s clothes for fall, dumping out all the toys in the playroom and reorganizing them, vacuuming and mopping the whole house…and more. We stayed in our PJs until 1p and Finn stayed entertained with a mix of Play-Doh, toys, shows and helping me with various tasks. Finn has always liked to “help” with household tasks. To this day, he still gets his toy Dyson out every time I vacuum and he loves to help push a mop around or wipe down various surfaces with a rag.
We finally got of the house around 5p for an evening walk with the pups and I just felt so grounded after a day at home with my crew taking care of our space. And you know what? When I was putting Finn to bed Sunday night, I asked what his favorite part of the weekend was and he said, “just snuggling with you mommy.” It wasn’t the bounce house, outings or activities, it was the quality time we spent together.
While I can think of tons of fun activities and adventures that my parents took us out to do when we were growing up, I can also remember a whole lot of downtime at home and my mom telling us repeatedly, “you can’t be entertained all the time. It’s good for you to be bored.” I have equally as many sweet memories of being at home with my nose in a book or coming up with all sorts of games and things to do with my brother, neighbors and friends.
Here’s Finn in the midst of the great toy dump out and organization. He was in heaven rediscovering everything and wouldn’t let me get rid of a single toy, haha.
And just a few cleaning reminders and recommendations for you!
- I watched YouTube videos to learn how to take my dishwasher apart for a deep cleaning. If you haven’t done this, I cannot recommend it enough. It’s HORRIFYING but my dishwasher is working so much better now. I took everything apart and deep cleaned the parts, filter and the tub. Then I put it all back together and ran the dishwasher on a heavy duty sanitizing cycle with a dishwasher cleaner tab.
- Same for the washing machine – I watched YouTube videos on how to deep clean my specific machine. I emptied the drain line, cleaned the filter and ran a tub clean cycle with bleach.
- I am obsessed with my Hoover SmartWash carpet cleaner. I’ve had this machine for a few years now and it is a lifesaver as someone with a small child and two big dogs. I use it every few months to clean my area rugs and just look at the dirt and grime that pulls out! I frequently loan it out to neighbors and everyone raves about it! Every time I post about this carpet cleaner, I get asked about using it on area rugs on hardwoods. I’ve never had an issue. I have thick carpet pads under my rugs and this machine has an awesome feature where you can set it on dry and it really pull most of the moisture out. I just make sure to wipe the floors down if any water/cleaner happens to get on them.
And here are a few more photo highlights from the weekend!
TOT TIME AT PERFECT BALANCE
Finn loves going to “gymnastics gym” for their tot time. It’s offered from 11:30a-12:30p Monday-Friday at Perfect Balance for children up to age five. He hadn’t been since last spring since they only offer tot time during the school year. I wanted my mom to see it so we let Finn run around there last Friday before heading to The Schiele Museum.
THE SCHIELE MUSEUM
My mom was in town last week for a visit to Duke for some routine appointments. She always likes to stay a few days extra to spend time with me and Finn. I sent her a list of 4-5 different things we could do on Friday and she chose The Schiele Museum of Natural History in Gastonia. We’d never been and I’d heard really good things so I was excited to check it out! (You can read some great/helpful reviews on Charlotte’s Got A Lot.)
The Schiele Museum exceeded our expectations. The tickets were affordable and we were amazed by the size of the museum and the abundance of things to do and see. Inside was a Dino safari, a mineral exhibit, galleries of natural history, the largest collection of mounted land mammals in the Southeast (it was something to see!) and a planetarium. We did not do the planetarium because timing didn’t work out and the ticket agent recommended it for slightly older children than Finn.
While we enjoyed the indoor exhibits, the outdoor area was truly something special! There is a 0.7 mile nature trail and our first stop along it was to a small working farm with goats, sheep, chickens, alpacas, pigs, turkeys and vegetable gardens. It also had an old log-cabin farmhouse that Finn enjoyed exploring.
The nature trail winds through a pine forest, mixed hardwood forest and pond and stream communities that are typical of the NC Piedmont area. Finn made a beeline to the steps leading down to the creek and had fun hopping on the rocks. We also explored a Stone Age heritage site and saw a Catawba Indian Village but it wasn’t open.
We ended our nature trail experience with a stop by the pond and some time in the play scape.
The Schiele Museum has the coolest outdoor playground with things like rocks and trees to climb on, a big sand area, sheds and huts and a wooden fort kind of thing with a slide.
I can honestly say that we loved our time at The Schiele Museum and will definitely be visiting again – especially on a pretty day to enjoy all that the outdoor area has to offer. One final note…the 0.7 mile nature trail is FREE for the community to enjoy regardless of whether you’ve paid for museum admission that day! The only paid area along the nature trail is the farm.
CHARLOTTE REGIONAL FARMERS MARKET
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, we stopped by the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market on Saturday morning after dropping my mom off at the airport. It was probably my first time arriving right as the market opened and I loved seeing the booths overflowing with gorgeous fall produce.
Here’s what came home with me. Kale, eggs, sweet potatoes, carrots, fennel, ground pork and ground Italian sausage from Bluebird Farm. Cherry pistachio goat cheese and cottage cheese from UAV. I have thoroughly enjoyed my haul this week!
Okay, I’ve now been working on this post on and off for three days so it’s time to hit post and move on before the next weekend arrives! 😛
How do you find balance between all the fall/holiday things to do and the need to also have down/quiet time at home?
What cleaning task brings you the most satisfaction?
What fall produce are you enjoying right now?