by Alisa Murray

In the garden, it is time to pull out all the sad and lonely veggies from the summer and rematch and reseed for a fall bounty. Right now you should plant new tomatoes, Plant long-term, frost-tolerant vegetables together. Frost-tolerant vegetables include beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflowers, chard, collards, garlic, kale, lettuce, mustards, onions, parsley, spinach and turnips.


In the herb garden you should snip oregano, dill, thyme, rosemary, basil and sage and freeze in little cubed containers for use all winter long. The mint will make it through any frost so that can stay hearty in the garden and the same can be said of lemon balm.


Reading is a very important skill that should be maintained and the best way to do that is to always keep a book our two on your night-side table. Your children are watching what you do and for them to see you reading will encourage them to pick up that habit! On my night-side table now is “Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald” by Therese Anne Fowler and “The Song of Achilles” by Madeline Miller.


Pick a room … any room will do. Go through the closets and drawers to begin again boxing up items you don’t need. Plan for a date near the holidays to go drop off stuff at Goodwill. Many needy families will shop there for items for the holidays and finding treasures is what they have to do to create their holiday magic. As we are more fortunate we should always try to give back and share things that we no longer need.


If you have not done it yet you should ask for a CMA and find out what your home is worth. Keeping abreast of the values of your home can help you decide if you should sell and make a profit and also let you know the current market of your investments.


Planning for the holidays in September is a very smart thing indeed. Take a moment and write a list of everyone on your list and begin asking them about what things they would like. Having several months to search for deals and run across the perfect gifts is way less stressful than trying to rush and throw your holiday together at the last moment.


Ask the children what they would like to do for Thanksgiving to give back to the community. There’s plenty of opportunities to volunteer in a kitchen, create art and goody bags for veterans or just spend time helping organize a shut in’s home. Ask your local church for a family that they know is in need and you could even work towards giving them their Thanksgiving meal. These things take time to organize which is why September gets you going so that by November it’s a breeze to pull off.


Now that it’s not as hot, it’s time to paint the exterior of your home or fix any repairs that have been hanging in the balance. I usually replace doorknobs, touch up baseboard paint and give the once over outside to make sure anything that can be improved is addressed. It’s so hot where we live and sitting in the sun can be quite dangerous so painting is best done in the fall.


Creating a menu that can be turned to and depended on rotation is vital to save money and teach children how to cook. Starting at around 11, I began showing the children how to make certain dishes. Now they are able to create own their own dishes that they love without any stress. The Sun-Dried Chicken with Spinach and Mushrooms over Linguine has been staple in my house for years and in the fall it’s delightfully paired with a spot of spinach and mushrooms. It is heavy enough for a supper entree and also warm up nicely as a leftover for a lunchbox during the school days. (see recipe below)


As always spot with the children, spend time with each other without those devices and listen to things such as the birds and music. Just the other day I was floating in my pool and heard the bees buzzing in the garden and then much to my surprise one decided to rest in my hand and drink the water pooled there. I have missed the bees… those men sprayed for mosquitos and killed them, but now thankfully they are back and my yard is a healthier place under heaven because of them!

Auntie A’s Sun-Dried Chicken with Spinach and Mushrooms over Linguine

You’ll need:
– 12 Chicken thighs skinned sprinkled with salt and pepper both sides
– A handful of fresh Spinach (16-24 leaves)
– 8 large basil leaves from the garden sliced and diced
– 1 cup of sliced thin Baby Bella mushrooms
– 1/2 cup of cream
– 1/2 stick of butter
– 2 tablespoons of garlic salt
– 7 sun dried tomatoes
– 3 tablespoons of sun-dried tomato infused oil
– 1 red onion diced
– 1 package of linguine cooked according to the box

In a pan heat the sun dried tomato oil. Add in the chicken and brown up the meat. Remove from pan and add in the sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, onions, mushrooms with butter and garlic salt and herb and cook till tender. Add back in the chicken and pour in the cream. Let sit simmering under a cover for ten minutes while you finish up cooking the pasta. Drain the pasta and plate it. Scoop chicken and veggies over the pasta and skim over the top to gather and pour the creamy sauce.

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