September is coming in a blaze of high hopes, mostly for two reasons: 1) it’s my birthday month, which always feels like a bit of a fresh start, and 2) Raven starts preschool again, which should hopefully buy me about 4 hours a week of “me” time to work on personal projects (since it’s right during Mathias’s naptime). I also tend to be more motivated when it’s not quite so hot outside, so fingers crossed we at least see *some* dip in the temps over the next few weeks.
August was a good month though, even if it was definitely not as productive on the monthly goals front as some that we’ve had. We were able to celebrate the end of summer with pool parties, garden harvest, time with friends and family, and time at the park. I’ve gotta say though, we are more than ready for the beauty of a more structured routine to set in once preschool starts tomorrow!
Before we get into all my Big Plans for this month, however, let’s revisit how August went. (As always, anything that’s
crossed out means I’m counting the goal as completed, and anything in red means I made measurable progress on that goal but didn’t complete it for whatever reason.)
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- Retest radon levels
- Nope. With all the other big expenses that unexpectedly came up this month (see more below), buying another radon kit was not a top priority, especially as the results from our first test weren’t nearly as bad as I anticipated.
Send in insurance application
- This one basically had to get done if we wanted our kids to keep receiving health insurance (we have to apply yearly through the state since my husband’s job doesn’t offer any), but I did get it done.
- Hang up shelf in kids’ room or playroom
- There’s not much room on the walls in the kids’ room now that the hammock is up (see below), so I’m going to have to do this downstairs. Still haven’t gotten it done, though.
- Finish going through 12-month size clothes
- Nope, but this wasn’t entirely my fault–I’m actually waiting on the rest of the 12-month clothes from my sister, and this will definitely have to happen next month as Mathias is now solidly in 12-month clothes, and we don’t have very many currently that work for this season (until we get that bin from her).
Buy stuffed animal hammock + hang up
- My mom hung this up for me real quick while she was up here one day, and it makes such a difference to have a place where all the stuffed animals are contained! (We ended up getting this one, which cost me all of $3.99 after I used my $5 Amazon gift card from my Bing credits, which you can learn more about here.)
- Finish the chicken coop
- *Sob.* Still no…but we’re soooo close! It’s basically just the roof that needs to be put on at this point (and then we need to figure out the Herculean task of getting it moved to the correct spot…)
Buy two things for food storage
- We’ve been trying to prioritize building up our food storage/pantry more, which is all part of our overall plan of being more prepared in case of an emergency. This last month we just bought a big bag of sugar and some vegetable oil, but it feels good to have a plan and to be going in the right direction!
Install new (to us) fridge + list the old one
- Yep! Turns out, the new fridge/freezer has a bit of a leaking problem too (#justourluck), but thankfully, this one was solved by simply turning the ice machine off. Of course, then the whole freezer and fridge randomly turned off the other night and we almost lost a bunch of our food, but we’ve now figured that one out, too. Ah, the joys of home ownership.
- We not only listed the fridge, but we ended up selling it, too, which ended up helping us recoup half the cost of what it took to buy the newer one.
Get oil changed in Mazda
- Sure did, and it actually didn’t cost us anything this month because my husband bought a discount punch card a few months back that gave us a steep discount on future services and a certain number of oil changes for just $75.
- Start morning routine again
- Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha…
- Finish Unit 5 of Elite Blog Academy
- I made some pretty good progress on this during August, even though I didn’t finish. Hopefully I’ll be able to share soon what I’ve been working on!
- Mail tripod to be repaired
- Sigh. Nope. The eternal rollover goal will continue to be eternal, it looks like.
- List 10 things on Ebay/KSL
- I listed 4, and I ended up selling 2.
- Make 5 new Food Nanny recipes
- Womp womp…I only made one. I’ve really been struggling with motivation to cook lately–I’m hoping once the heat abates, I’ll be better at this.
Go on day adventure
- I wanted to do a day at Bear Lake for this, but that idea was nixed when Matt declared that we weren’t leaving the house any Saturday until the chicken coop was all finished. We did still end up doing something for this though when we went to a free community party one weekday night at our local aquatic center, which we’d never been to before. (Many of the pics in this post are from that very thing, actually.)
Research swimming lessons for Raven
- I was only able to find one local indoor pool that offered preschool-level swim lessons in the fall and winter, but I think we’re going to sign her up for lessons in October.
- Mail someone a letter or card
- Another no-go, but I have plans to send one at the very beginning of September, so this will get done shortly (which will finish off my 101 in 1001 goal of sending out a dozen!).
Host book club
- The last couple hours right before were a bit stressful, but thank goodness my mom was around to help (and Matt too), and I feel like the discussion went really well. I enjoyed myself immensely, at any rate! (For the record, we discussed the book Educated by Tara Westover, which provided a TON of great discussion topics for us!)
Go to splash pad with my sister and her family
- The original day we drove down for this, it literally poured rain the whole time (the only time that whole month when we got any kind of precipitation), but we were able to go down the following week and make it happen. And really, no one was complaining that we got to spend two separate days down south with cousins!
Other Notable Accomplishments in August (that were not pre-planned):
- We switched from Verizon to Tello, which will save us about $45 a month on our phone plan.
- A couple months ago, we’d talked about switching over to Tello because we knew it would save us a bunch (we’d pay $16 a month for both of us to have unlimited minutes and texts rather than almost $60), but the catch was, we needed to purchase new phones through them. When Matt accidentally drove off with his phone on top of his car the other week, we decided it was time to switch over. We still ended up getting flip phones (we’ve never had smartphones and don’t intend to switch over anytime soon) and ended up spending about $90 for both of them, but we’re planning on our investment paying back big starting in about two months (when we’ve recouped the cost we put in to switching).
- If you’re interested in switching to Tello, you can use my referral link to get you $10 in Tello dollars to apply towards your phone plan, and you can also currently use the code CL6TMP for 5% off your whole order.
- I got an MRI done on my back.
- Longtime readers will know that back in November, I tweaked my back doing a workout in the BBG (if you want my thoughts on that workout program, you can check out this post I wrote on it), and I’ve basically had problems ever since. Pregnancy has made the problem worse (as you’d expect), so it finally got to the point I decided to run an MRI. Nothing came up that was super conclusive, but we at least have a direction to move in based on the results, and now I know for sure that at least nothing is obviously out of alignment (such as a slipped disc).
- We fixed the A/C in the Mazda.
- Our A/C blew out at the hottest time of the year (naturally), and it took two visits to our mechanic and over $300 to fix it. We talked about simply trying to sell the car without fixing it (since we’re going to be buying a new vehicle soon anyway), but we decided that it would hopefully help it to sell a lot better if we had that working again. (Plus, in the meantime it’s been a lifesaver being able to use it again ourselves!)
- We started researching out our options for purchasing a bigger vehicle and figured out financing.
- We’d planned on waiting as long as possible before purchasing a bigger vehicle (so, right before we expect the baby to arrive in late December/early January), but thanks to the A/C blowing out in the Mazda (and the ensuing desperate state of mind it put me in), I discovered a brand new financing plan through our credit union that’s exactly what we’re looking for, so we won’t be waiting nearly as long as we thought.
- We got a bunch of bloomed-out perennials on clearance and continued filling in our flower beds.
- Our local nursery offers bloomed-out gallon-size perennials for just $3 at this time of year, so we availed ourselves of the fabulous deal (for the second year running) and bought 6 new plants. Some of our favorite plants that came up this year were from that same sale last year, so we’re excited to see how our garden looks next summer!
- We figured out a way to make the monotony of my husband’s job a little more bearable.
- About half of my husband’s time at work is spent doing pretty mindless, monotonous tasks, and it was starting to really take its toll on him. We ended up finding a relatively inexpensive solution in the purchase of these highly-rated Bluetooth headphones, which he now uses to listen to audiobooks during those slow times. It’s made a huge difference!
- Start hypnobirthing practice
- I have mixed feelings about my next birthing experience (which I hope to address as a separate post soon), but I am going to start listening to my hypnobirthing c.d.’s again, hopefully starting this week. (For more background on why I chose the hypnobirthing method for my previous two birthing experiences, you can click on this post.)
- Buy bigger car
- EEK! This is such a big thing for me! I’ve only ever bought two cars in my life, and both were paid for in cash and were bought from family members. I’ve also never had a car payment. However, with this new (to us) vehicle, we weren’t able to save up enough money fast enough to buy one all in cash, so we’re going to be going through a used car dealer. We originally thought we wanted a 3-seat SUV, but we’ve since been swayed over to The Minivan and plan to get either a Honda Odyssey or a Toyota Sienna. Wish us luck!
- List Mazda
- This goal is contingent on us buying another vehicle, as it’s the one we currently use to transport our whole family anytime we go anywhere. We’ll use the cash from this to go towards paying off the new car early.
- List van
- About a year and a half ago, we acquired my in-laws’ old Dodge Ram van, which we’ve basically only used for hauling stuff for Matt’s wordworking and yard projects. Since we hope that our new vehicle will allow us to haul some big things in the future, it doesn’t make sense to keep 3 cars, so we’re listing this one, too.
- Mail tripod to be repaired
- The eternal rollover goal, which needs to be done before November while it’s still under warranty.
- Weed the front yard
- I’ve hardly been weeding at all this year because of all my back problems, but I think I’ve found a way to do it without causing myself further pain and injury. Our front yard is awash in weeds at the moment, so it would be awesome to see it get under control again.
- Prune all shrubs in the front yard
- I happen to really enjoy pruning, and as long as I’m careful about it, I’m hoping this won’t aggravate my back, either.
- Finish the coop
- PLEEEEEASE let this get done this month!!!!
- Make $200 in extra income
- We’ve got a lot of expenses coming up and a lot of big financial goals we’re working on, and I’m hoping to use the extra hours that preschool will buy me to work on this.
- Finish EBA Unit 5
- If I can wisely use those extra 4 hours a week that pre-K buys me, I’m really hoping to finally cross this off.
- Start meal planning again
- Ugh, cooking has been such a struggle lately. At first, I could blame first trimester nausea and fatigue, but lately my only excuse is that I just don’t want to, which has meant that we’ve been buying fast food WAAAAY too often. Meal planning is 80% of the dinner battle for me, so I need to get back on it again. (If you’re curious as to how I meal plan + a sample month’s worth of meal plans, you can check out this post.)
- Make homemade salsa
- We’ve got tomatoes coming out of our ears and our peppers aren’t far behind. One of my goals of our suburban homestead is to become better at preserving food, so this would be a good start in the right direction.
- Make 5 recipes from Food Nanny
- This basically has to be a goal every month to even get close to finishing my 101 in 1001 goal of cooking my way through a whole cookbook. (For my thoughts on all I’ve learned from this cookbook experiment so far, check out this post.)
- Go on a hike
- I adore hiking, but we haven’t gone in a long time because we’ve needed a hiking backpack for the baby. Thanks to our siblings who are willing to let us have their old ones, we should hopefully be able to squeeze in a family hike real soon!
- Go on a birthday date
- Both my husband and I have our birthdays this month, so we’ve made it a tradition to make sure we go out to celebrate every year, just the two of us. This year’s date might involve going out to buy a new car, but hey—a date is still a date!
And now—lay all your best car-buying tricks on me, since I’m a total newbie and don’t want to look like an idiot!