Fall This and That

Happy Fall! This fall has been busier than ever. This post I will share a few short updates on what I have been cooking, where I have been going and a few fall items I purchased that I am loving. Grab a pumpkin/apple spiced beverage and let’s discuss.

First, with high school gal applying to colleges we have been doing some last minute rounds to see local schools (if you missed our tour of a few southern and PA schools you can read about it here). We made it to the Boston College home game, and boy it was fun. I loved the latest game day look for girls which included some cute tennis skirts (why do I remember us wearing baggie jeans?!). Our team (BC) won so it was a huge celebration and so great to see old friends.

We also headed up to see college girl in Vermont and catch some fall foliage. I had made a mean care package (if I do say so myself) a few weeks ago for a first bout of homesickness. I created the perfect cookie for care packages as it does not crumble. This time I planned to bring one with a fall theme.

With not much time to spare I lucked out with an easy pumpkin oatmeal cookie mix from Trader Joes. Chewy, oatmeal cookies with chocolate chunks and plenty of pumpkin flavor…I did add a few extra chocolate chips. These are another care package win as the cookies hold their shape and flavor. Pick up a mix when at TJs. I am adding some spiced tea and latte easily made with the electric kettle along with a few other goodies.

For some reason this fall I have wanted to buy clothes! Maybe after last year’s imposed home stay and nowhere to go it feels good to get out. I bought this J Crew coat. I love the raspberry color and think it works for both fall and spring. With temps falling in CT, I have been wearing it everywhere.

Anyone else craving sneakers? Stylish sneakers are my go-to shoes as I work from home and am often shuttling between the gym, car pools, dog walks and zoom calls. These New Balance ones caught my eye. Can’t wait until they arrive as they are so comfortable. I like the subtle animal print on the back too.

Next up? I have a bunch of fall recipes on the blog which I will be making for football games, hiking picnics and more. You can make them too:

One bowl pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting

Pumpkin crisp

Apple crisp

What have you been doing to celebrate fall? Mums on the porch? Pumpkins everywhere? Halloween decorating? This is one of my most favorite times of the year, and I hope you are enjoying it as much as I am. Cheers!

Care package chocolate chip cookies

Hi there! Fall for many of us means our kids are heading back to college. This year my daughter is a sophomore. Last year was a tough one. She ended up transferring from her dream school to a college closer to home. Transferring is never easy but during a pandemic it is even harder. So this year it is like she is almost like a freshman again. Along with getting into a routine, meeting two new room mates and taking on a full academic load comes some homesickness. What could be better than a care package to cheer her up? Cookies have to be part of it, but most of recipes create cookies that break easily or crumble. Not a problem at home, but throw UPS into the mix and she would have a mess by the time she opened the package. So, after experimenting a bit, I am sharing the perfect care package chocolate chip cookies.

What makes these cookies perfect for care packages?

These cookies are thick and chewy with some heft. They won’t break easily and are compact diameter wise. After completely cooling them, I put them into small zip lock bags and packed them snugly. I used UPS to send them to her dorm, and she received them two days later and said they were “yummy.” Apparently the room mates loved them too.

What are other items to put in a care package?

For my girl, I decided to add her favorite candy along with some hair styling product that I picked up inexpensively at TJ Maxx. I had some paper basket filler so I filled the bottom with it. Then I added a card and some funny print outs with reminders such as “share with your room mates.” Other ideas could include gum, other favorite foods that will keep a few days such as granola bars, dried fruit. Nail polish or self care items could work too.

A few other notes on missing your college student

Did you know that 70% of freshman are homesick the first semester? Don’t be surprised if this happens and frankly with the pandemic I can tell you it is hitting sophomores and other classes too who were online last year and now readjusting to college. If you are the one missing your kid, don’t feel bad. This is a huge adjustment for you too. I have been really enjoying articles from Grown and Flown and in particular the following posts:

How to Help Your College Freshman When They’re Homesick (grownandflown.com)

With My Daughter in College, It’s the Little Stuff I Miss the Most (grownandflown.com)

Nine Keys to College Success: What the Research Shows (grownandflown.com)

So much to learn and think about…parenting really is a lifelong journey! Without further ado, make these perfect care package chocolate chip cookies…save a few for yourself if you are feeling blue and send some to your student. He/she will thank you for them!

The Perfect Care Package Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies that are easy to make, withstand travel and taste delicious. Make a batch for your college student or anytime you wish to send some love (or just eat some delicious cookies!).
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword Care package, Cookies, Dessert
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes


  • Cookie sheets
  • Mixing bowls
  • Electric or stand mixer
  • Parchment paper (or baking liner)


  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons softened
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 12 ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup of semi-sweet mini chocolate chips


  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), cream the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined.
  • Add the flour mixture and beat at medium speed just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Note: the dough will be very firm and a bit crumbly but should form a ball when pressed together.
  • Shape cookies into small balls.
  • Preheat the oven to 375F.
  • Watch cookies carefully after about 10 minutes. I usually switch trays from top to middle and spin them around so far side is now the close side to the oven door for even baking. Remove when firm and with just the hint of toasted light brown tops.
  • Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • The cookies can be served warm or at room temperature.
  • Allow to cool completely before putting into zip locks bags or another wrapping for your care package.