Saturday, August 31, 2013

31 August :: Just two days of summer vacation left

Yes, so hard to believe, but tomorrow is Sept. 1!

The children start back on Tuesday. The classroom is ready to go with the exception of one or two last-minute items I can do quickly on Monday.

I'm excited but always a little sad to see summer go, and a little shocked at how quickly it has seemed to pass. We have been so busy though, between completely changing the classroom, planning our wedding, and moving to a new home closer to work.

I have started knitting like crazy. Must be nearly fall. I've really come into my own with this gentle craft, have gotten serious about learning new skills and just overall do it much more often. I would like to try to knit for an hour or two every day. I also just taught myself how to wind my own hank of yarn into a ball. I found it so relaxing! Are you on Ravelry? My page is just in the beginning stages, but feel free to friend me at karbear1103.

I'm also gearing up to start spending more time in the kitchen! Already a warming lentil dish has made its way onto the menu plan for the coming week. On another food note, I've decided to go back to eating strictly vegetarian. I know I waffle on this a lot, but I'm diving in now and I'm a little nervous about it sticking for me again (last time I tried it stuck for nearly six years, the meat eating has only stuck for 16 months off and on, and not without a lot of hesitation on my part as far as health, ethics, etc. go). The good news is that John seems to be okay with being vegetarian in the house. He has recently told me that he is sure I've added years to his life with the way I cook. I'll never forget what was in his fridge when I moved in :: a loaf of zucchini bread from his sister, a bottle of ketchup, and a huge 2-liter of Mountain Dew. Oh my ... how far we have come from those days :-) I LOVE feeding myself and those I love. Tomorrow is my at-home all day day, where I "laze around" by prepping (hee) -- on deck is pizza dough, homemade crackers and hummus, zucchini raisin muffins, zucchini to freeze, and I will prep lasagna for dinner. Two weeks or so till our big grocery shop so I'm trying to get creative with what we already have with maybe just a store run for stuff like parsley. One dish I'm excited about is baked tofu nuggets (homemade) with homemade tartar sauce and a homemade slaw with green apple and toasted sunflower seeds mixed with just a bit of vegan mayo and cider vinegar. YUM. fast food MY way. I recently experimented with a very yummy homemade pizza sauce, after it gets a bit more tweaking I'll probably try to freeze some for future use. We usually do homemade pizza about three times a month (once a week, on Fridays) and the fourth one we do pizza at a local parlor for a break for me. But some weeks we might just do all homemade. It just depends.

We have gotten tons better at not going out to eat. There are slips here and there of course, it's life after all but I've learned to not be super hard on myself as I work to further entrench myself in a frugal lifestyle. I can easily say "no" to so many things now (except this one dreamy red and white enamel-top and wood bottom table, but I've been pondering that for weeks, it's a wonder it hasn't been scooped up yet. A practical investment purchase, though, for use as a kitchen or craft table for um, the rest of my life....) ... I have been writing down everything I spend not to nickel and dime myself but to hold myself accountable for what I'm doing. In fact I read something recently that had me deciding to switch from a line-item subtraction type budget to a spending plan where I basically split off monthly fixed costs from discretionary income. After the wedding, it looks like I actually have a good amount there. I hope to start socking some away in the savings and also start contributing again to my retirement plan after not contributing at all the past 2-3 years. I also want to pay almost double on one of my student loans. So ... all good things. I'm not perfect on the spending stuff yet but I've come so, so far. And all the good things I do that I can just think of off the top of my head that never would have occurred to me when I was so plastic-happy (debit card included, oy) over the last five years as I struggled to begin this frugal journey :: I menu plan, I consistently go through pantry and fridge to keep things organized so leftovers are utilized, and waste is minimized, I plan to make a pair of slippers I need instead of buying them at a much higher price, I convinced myself not to order a pricey bachelorette night dress online, instead opting to try and find both this and a wedding rehearsal dress at a consignment shop, I only buy yarn and needles I'm actually going to use rather than buying because it's pretty and I "might" make something with it someday, I use cloth napkins, I don't buy makeup (okay, mascara from Aveda), I use the same antique furniture from place to place and only buy another antique bowl, or table, or utensil if it's something I know will both please my aesthetic and get a lot of use, I use paperback swap and have a real ability to wait for the books I want or scour thrift stores for useful tomes, I am at the moment considering eliminating my YMCA membership because they don't offer one just for a pool (I'll take super long walks instead) and putting that money toward debt or savings ... and, the list really goes on similarly. I can be proud of where I'm at, don't you think?

Wow. Guess I had a lot to say!! Thanks for listening. September just feels like a time of renewal for me, even more so than January, but I do think those two times of the year are when the most personal growth is begun.

Hoping you have a peaceful week filled with the things and people you love best.


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