October 12, 2009

Prelude to the Holidays

I've always considered "the Holidays" to be the stretch of fall and winter encompassing Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. As a child growing up in areas with four seasons, Labor Day signaled the end of summer, school started with the purchase of new winter clothes, and we were off on a hard ride through fall eagerly anticipating costumes and trick or treating.

Living in Phoenix,  the one thing I really miss about the four seasons is fall. I miss the trees turning colors and the cooler temperatures. Although we'll be back up to 99 degrees on Friday (10/16), we've been fortunate to have some beautiful fall weather for this area already with temps in the low 80s.

Still, other than walking into a craft store stacked to the rafters with fall colors in flowers, leaves and ribbons, it can be tough to get that fall feeling here. There is a wonderful traveling arts and crafts show, the Briar Patch Marketplace, that moves from school to school in the Valley on the weekends. They have over 100 exhibitors with all kinds of great products, many hand-made, for purchase. Here is the video clip from their website taken during a Christmas show in late November. Check out the ladies shopping in shorts and sandals -- that's Phoenix!

We did a family girls' day out last Sunday and five of us attended the Briar Patch. Myself, both of my daughters, granddaughter and step-granddaughter went and had the best time. We looked at every little thing. We read every hand-painted sign -- some of our favorites ...
  • Who needs Halloween. I'm a witch all year.
  • Kiss me good night every night.
  • We've been through a lot together and most of it was your fault.
  • Family ... started with two people falling in love.
Halfway through, we stopped and shared a couple of the delicious, enormous cinnamon rolls they sell. Just, yum! I gave the kids a small allowance to spend and they worked it, each getting 3 items for $10 -- an animal jewelry box with a necklace inside, Avon body paint soap and a peanut brittle cookie. They are pretty good little shoppers! Having promised myself (and hubby) that I would not bring home one more decoration for the house, since we are currently organizing and getting rid of stuff, I was able to wander through and just enjoy the atmosphere. My two granddaughters out front, giggling and inspecting everything; my two daughters walking behind, talking non-stop. It was absolutely perfect.

peanut brittle
I did spend $5.00 on a package of peanut brittle for hubby made by Fresh From Rowie's in Glendale. This is one of his favorite treats that I've never even attempted to make. A woman who worked with him years ago is the grand master peanut brittle maker with an old family recipe. She makes it on the soft side so it melts in your mouth more than breaking your teeth. Hubby occasionally sees her during the holidays and I am always so glad because she gives him peanut brittle and cures his craving.

So we spent a lovely few hours at the craft fair, then had lunch at In-N-Out Burger. It was definitely not a low-fat day. But what a marvelous time and shopping at the craft fair sure helped kick me into the fall spirit.

A few years back, we spent a week on Cape Cod during September. The colors were just beginning to turn. I got a package of New England post cards to bring home. Here is one of my favorites ...
new england fall foliage photo by james randklev
photo by james randklev


Kelli said...

You have no idea how glad I am to hear about this perfect day - made me cry.

If it makes you feel any better, we (who usually get glorious leaf color in the fall) are currently watching our still green leaves....covered with snow....turn to smush and slide off the trees. The squirrels are absolutely befuddled. I brought my patio furniture in LAST WEEK! Do I have a right to whine, having chosen to live in Minnesota....? YES I DO!

jayaycee said...

It was a blessing of a day -- I'm still smiling!

Yes, you do have the right to whine. As far as I'm concerned, fall is the best part of the year. Missing that is a travesty! I keep picturing these cute little squirrels with this "What the ... !" expression on their faces. :-)