What I Learned...

What I Learned in October

Today I’m taking a page from the Emily P Freeman and Modern Mrs. Darcy blogs and doing a post all about what I’ve been learning lately in October.

1- The best $14 I’ve ever spent was on getting our knives professionally sharpened.

Five and a half years ago, when we got married, we used some of our wedding money to buy the nicest set of knives that Target offered.

And then we never bothered getting the knives sharpened, even when we’d been using them for, well, almost five and a half years.

Then, about three or four months ago, our knives were getting so dull that it was getting to be a bit of a dangerous game to actually use them to cut up anything. So, using some of the money I got for my birthday, I took them down to a local place in town (Kitchen Kneads) about two weeks ago and asked them to sharpen whatever knives they were able (which basically ended up being the ones that weren’t serrated).

At $3.50/knife, it was honestly the best possible use of birthday money for me, considering that the knives are something I use daily. Also–bonus!– having them sharpened has made cooking about a hundred times more enjoyable now, too (as well as WAY more easily accomplished).

2 – Selling things through sites like KSL and Facebook Yard Sales is kind of a pain sometimes.

Since we’ve purchased a few storage sheds up for auction lately, we’ve had a LOT of stuff we’re trying to sell, which has meant that I’m becoming quite familiar with using online classifieds and social media to try and sell things.

While the sites themselves make it very easy to put up any items for sale, the process itself is kind of a pain, mostly because you have to deal with a LOT of flaky people and/or people who don’t read the ad very carefully (and who are therefore shocked when they find that you live three hours away from them, even though it states right at the top of the ad which city you’re located in).

I could (already!) tell you soooo many stories of people trying to scam me, people just stringing me on for days and then suddenly flaking out last minute, people texting me that they were interested and then not hearing from them for hours or even days afterwards (and sometimes, never again).


Overall, I have found Facebook Yard Sales to be much more reliable (as it’s more obviously comprised of local people), but KSL seems to get a wider pool of people looking altogether, so we’ll continue to list on both, even though the whole thing can kind of drive you nuts.

3 – Making a more concerted effort to comment on blogs and find new blogs to read lately has totally refreshed my enthusiasm for blogging in general.

For awhile there, I was kind of blogging in a bubble—I had my usual readers (and commenters), and there were a few select blogs that I would read myself (and sometimes comment on, but more often than not, I would exit out without commenting). About a month ago, I made an unofficial resolution to get more involved in the blogging community, and it has been SO MUCH more rewarding to be much more interactive and “meet” new bloggers online. Not only have I discovered a ton of new blogs that I adore, but I’ve also been noticing that people are more engaged with my blog as well, so it’s just been fun all around.

It reminds me of blogging “back in the day” (like, in 2013), where people in general commented a lot more and were more actively searching out fun new blogs to follow. (Funny how much blogging has changed in just the few years that I’ve been doing it consistently!)

4 – If you’re looking for a small change that makes a BIG difference, shine your shoes.

During my third year of teaching, I finally splurged on a pair of leather flats because I was so sick of totally wearing through pair after pair of cheap shoes every year. While the integrity of those shoes is still holding on strong, they had been looking distinctly shabby and scuffed lately.

Enter a superhero husband to save the day—while cleaning out his closet, he came across his old shoe shining kit back from when he was on a mission in Canada, and he proceeded to shine up my shoes so effectively that they literally looked brand new again.

Who knew that 15 minutes of elbow grease and polish could produce such stunning results? It *almost* makes me want to take up other, previously scorned activities, like ironing. Or sewing missing buttons back on.

5. Coursera lets you audit hundreds of classes for free.

One of my new year’s resolutions was to take another photography class this year, but because money’s tighter now that we’re down to one income (and any time commitment outside of the home now is harder than it was before because of childcare concerns), I had half decided just to give up on that particular goal this year (and the other half of me thought I could maybe look around online to see if I could find anything worthwhile that would count).

Although I’d been on the Coursera site before, I had mistakenly thought that to access the classes that you ALWAYS had to pay for them.

Not true!

In order to get “credit” and get a grade for the classes, yes, you must pay for them, but if you simply want to audit a class, it’s usually free. Sure, you don’t get to take the quizzes or tests or participate in the forums or get feedback on (or even submit) any kind of assignment, but you DO get total access to all the reading material, videos, and many of the extra resources included as links. Nice!

(As a result, I’m currently enrolled in a Photo Composition and Post-Processing class offered through Michigan State!)


What have you learned lately?

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