By Mary Heyl

Now that the candy is eaten and the jack-o-lanterns are enjoying their final resting place in the compost pile, it’s time to look ahead to the new season. This weekend is Veteran’s Day, a time to honor those who served our country. Take the time to share the significance of this day with a delicious recipe that will help you explain the meaning of the holiday to your children. Now is also the time to get those outdoor decorations ready for the upcoming holiday season! Read on for easy DIY wreath ideas that will help you welcome guests into your home from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day.

Nov. 11 marks Veterans Day in the U.S. and Remembrance Day in Canada. The two holidays commemorate the sacrifice made by so many brave men and women for the freedoms that both countries enjoy. The poem “In Flanders Fields” was written during the First World War by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae; in it, he describes the poppies that grew on a desecrated battlefield—one of the only plants to grow in the otherwise barren battlefields. The poppy became a lasting symbol of a soldier’s sacrifice, and you can introduce it to your children with these delicious, but meaningful, lemon poppy sugar cookies.

Beat a ½ cup of softened butter, ¾ cup of powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1 ½ tablespoons of lemon zest and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice until combined. Beat in 2 cups of flour, ½ teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of poppy seeds. Form dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Turn the dough out onto lightly floured surface and roll out to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out cookies using two or three different size flower shaped cookie cutters. Transfer to a baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Bake until the edges just start to brown, 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Decorate with red and white icing and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Enjoy!

As the final weeks of fall transform into winter, let nature be your inspiration! The natural nut wreath is a great, easy project that you can use year after year. Start with a foam wreath form and a spool of burlap. Wrap the burlap around the wreath, securing to the wreath form with a hot glue gun as you go. Then, hot glue a variety of mixed nuts (shop the bulk section of your grocery store) to the wreath until there are no empty spaces. Finally, spray the wreath with a sealer before hanging!

Combine nature with a little bit of sparkle to make a ribbon pinecone wreath. Head outdoors or to your local craft store for a variety of pinecones: you’ll want nine 6-inch long pinecones, three or four medium size ones, and several small pinecones. First, space the nine long pinecones evenly around a 20-inch foam wreath form (with the tops of the pinecones pointing toward the center) and wire in place. Then, place three or four medium pinecones between the large ones, wiring them in place.

Next, pour some gold glitter into a small bag. Spray several of the small pinecones with adhesive and put them in the glitter bag. Give it a good shake or two and remove the pinecones—don’t forget to shake off the extra glitter! Hot glue these around the edges of the wreath in between the other pinecones, leaving no open spaces. Create a large bow using one or two colors of 3 ¾ -inch satin ribbon to hang your wreath!

Embrace your crafty side with a yarn ball wreath! Wrap a 20-inch wreath form with green or red yarn so that the form is no longer visible. Then, wrap Styrofoam balls in different sizes with yarn. Go traditional with a red and green theme or create a frosty look using white, gray or blue yarns. Hot glue the yarn balls to your wreath form and spray with a protective finish, especially if your wreath will be hung on an outside door.