Yes, the sun still high in the blue sky September sky, but the new school year has begun with the Autumn term! It’s time to put away the bathing suits and the sun cream and prepare for a new season. Here’s some tricks to stay happy in September and keep those Back to School Blues at bay!
A brand-new school bag:
It’s always fun to have new articles to start the new school year with, especially a new bag. In a lot of French supermarkets (Carrefour for example) you can return your old bag (cleaned and in good shape) and the supermarket will give you a coupon to buy a new one in their stores. The old one will be given to children in need. This is a great solution: you can buy a new bag for your child with a good reduction AND you are help people in need.
Cooking bramble jam for winter:
The bramble season starts at the end of August or the beginning of September. These little fruits can be found everywhere in the countryside, and also in towns, along paths in the woods, in parks, or even on wasteland. Picking brambles is a great family activity, but watch out for these thorns! Give them a good wash with water and white vinegar and then squeeze them to keep only the juice and pulp or alternatively, cook the entire fruits (with the latter option, you will of course have the seeds in your jam) with jam sugar. You’ll find loads of recipes on the internet but here is my own tried and tested way to prepare bramble jam:
- 1 portion of fresh cleaned and mashed brambles
- The same amount of jam sugar
- Lemon juice (will help the jam to set)
Before starting the cooking, place a saucer in the freezer – this will help to check if the jam is ready.
Mix the sugar with the fruits and the lemon juice in a pan and cook everything at a low to medium heat for 10 to 15minutes. Then put a spoonful of jam on the frozen saucer and push the jam with your finger. Setting point has been reached when the jam wrinkles and sets.
Remove any scum from the top of the cooking jam, and then pour the jam into warm, clean and sterilized jars while it still hot. Put the lids on the jars and put them upside down for a couple of minutes to help seal the lids.
While you are cooking, why not get the kids to design and draw beautiful labels that you can put on the jars to personalise your jam! During winter you’ll love to open your own jam for delicious breakfasts!
Start to collect natural objects for Christmas decorations:
While the weather still nice and warm, why not go to the woods or the countryside and start to collect pinecones, leaves, pieces of wood, stones…? Before Christmas you can take them out and paint them to make wonderful homemade decorations: tree ornaments with the pinecones painted with gold or made into owls, place cards decorated with nice leaves and a painting pen….let your child’s imagination work…..the result may surprise you!
Try a new sport:
Here in France, the sport clubs start their new season in September. You can check them out at the “forum des associations” which held in September in almost all the towns, which is a great way to find out what’s on and available for your kids to do in the Autumn. The local libraries are also a good source of inspiration.
Once you choose the sport or activity you would like to do, you generally have 1 or 2 free classes so that you can ‘try before you buy’. It’s a great way to discover new sports and it’s of course a great way to meet new friends!
Remember, September is only 4 months away from Christmas and in the meantime Halloween will be here! Cheer up – school is fun – most of the time 😉