July Recap

I completely skipped recapping the month of June and in July, I set aside my bullet journal and tried not to track every little detail of our life on paper. What I learned from this experiment was that while I might not always enjoy jotting down what we ate for dinner, I miss seeing the results at the end of the month. I miss looking back at what we’ve done to see how far we’ve progressed toward where we want to be. Alas, I guess I am a goal-oriented person after all (*big sigh*).

Once upon a time, shortly after leaving my career in corporate training, I rebelled against goal-setting. I even wrote a post about the importance of not having goals. But that was then and for as much as I like the thought of embracing each day as it comes, I think it’s equally as important to have some sense of direction in one’s life. Goals do that for us – even the small ones. 

So I’m back to bullet journaling and thankfully, Angie did not take a break from her goal tracking efforts so I have some idea of how our July went.

Angie made this nifty thermometer for our fridge.
  • We removed 55 items from our home, bringing our decluttering total up to 696 items for the year.
  • We earned $62 in side-hustles, which will go toward our trip to Canada this fall. We tried a new app for side hustling this month called GigSpot. The jobs are mostly mystery shops but we found one fairly easy audit among the bunch. It’s an ongoing gig through September so we will probably do a few more over the next few weeks.
  • We enjoyed 10 completely meatless days (or 61 meatless meals).
  • We hiked 28.4 miles and walked only 13.5 miles. I’m not sure if it’s the heat or the fact that my back was out for a few days after our long hike that kept us indoors but we plan to do more walking in August.
  • Our dumpster finds have slowed down (mostly because the hot weather makes most perishable dumpster items…well, perish…before we can get to them) but we did find: 2 giant baking potatoes, a Vidalia onion, 1 can of blackeye peas, a 12 ounce bag of hazlenut coffee, an 18 ounce jar of crunchy peanut butter, a 30 ounce jar of cashews, an 8.5 ounce bag of dried tropical fruits, and 6 mini Coca-Colas. All items were unopened and in-date.

After having such a wonderful visit with our friend and former neighbor, Suzanne, this month, we decided it might be a good idea to meet some of our current neighbors. You never know when and where you’ll find those lifelong friends but one thing’s for sure, they aren’t hiding behind the couch inside your own apartment. You have to get out to meet them. So we went to our apartment’s “Summer Pool Party”. The food was awesome! I can’t rave enough about that. The games were fun too. But meeting new people…yeah, that did not happen. We spoke to lots of our neighbors but sadly, none wanted to carry on a conversation…or share a picnic table. It was pretty sad really. Folks here just don’t seem to want to mingle outside their family or clique.

Undeterred by the pool party, we’ve decided our best bet for making new friends probably lies in finding folks who share our interests. To that end, we’ve decided to kill two birds with one stone – knock out our volunteerism goal for the year and meet new like-minded folks at the same time – by joining a farm gleaning with the Society of St. Andrews. Angie is diligently monitoring Facebook for one near us and we hope to participate in August. We’re also looking at other volunteer/recreational opportunities as well, including an overnight paddle trip and a river clean-up event.

No bites = big smiles!

Speaking of being outdoors, I want to give a shout-out to my niece for her suggestion to use Baby Magic Creamy Baby Oil as mosquito repellent. Trust me, we were very skeptical. We have tried 4 different kinds of bug spray this year – 1 homemade, 2 naturals, and 1 with DEET – and we still get eaten alive by mosquitoes when we go outside. Yesterday we used only the Baby Magic and hiked 2 miles in the woods by the lake. I kid you not, neither of us has a bite today. I read that the oil in it creates a barrier that mosquitoes can’t land on or bite through very easily but I’m not sure how true this is. All I know is that it worked for us on this occasion and it smells really good too.

How was your July? Did you discover any new things? Make any new friends? Read or watch anything interesting? We’d love to hear about it.

February Recap

February was the month that couldn’t make up it’s mind. One minute it was freezing cold, the next, it was warm and pleasant; then just before you could get coordinated to go for a walk, it was pouring down rain. The weather wasn’t the only thing being wishy-washy though. All month long, I couldn’t seem to make up my mind on just what I wanted to do with my free time – declutter, organize the kitchen, sew curtains, plan the garden, play outside, read a book, write, try a new recipe, or just take a nap? They all sounded equally appealing and I wanted to do every one of them, so February became the month of scattered ideas.

On the upside…

  • We removed an additional 67 items from our home, bringing our grand total to 217 for the year. Most of these items were donated to charity. One item sold on Ebay for $5.60.
  • Angie read 3 books and I read 2. Check out my page or Angie’s page on Goodreads for more details.
  • I posted 6 articles to the blog and did a fair job of keeping up with our Instagram and Facebook pages.
  • We walked 35 miles and hiked 4.2 miles.
  • We enjoyed 11 completely vegetarian days. In March, I think I may count meatless meals instead of whole days because some days were counted out due to a slice of ham on a sandwich or a piece of turkey bacon for breakfast. If we were counting that way this month, we had 52 meatless meals (breakfast, lunches, and dinners).
  • On our quest to try new fruits and veggies, Angie ate blackberries for the first time (and has since eaten them several more times!) and I had a blood orange (well, more like a bag of them).
  • We watched 6 documentaries on Netflix, including two that we highly recommend, Sugar Coated and Salam Neighbor.
  • We made $298.98 in side hustles (which included rolling the change from our vacation jar).

We also participated in the Super Lean Spending Month Challenge. Here’s how we did:

febfinalspend

We managed 13 No Spend Days and stayed within budget for our groceries and household goods. Toward the end of the month, we decided to stock up on pantry items and purchase a vacuum sealer (for better food storage) and a new hair clipper set (after 3 years of monthly home haircuts, ours finally gave out). Even with the extra spending, I’d call this a successful super lean month. Our groceries and household spending was 3.8% of our income and discretionary spending was 6.9%. We also saved $2012 toward paying off our car early.

On the downside…

  • We still didn’t get outside as much as we wanted to. The crazy, uncooperative weather remains to blame.
  • I spent most of yesterday drafting a post that I ended up deleting. It was about an unfortunate bit of drama with our neighbor that happened last Thursday and my feelings on how chaos affects happiness. The post would probably have been okay to publish but after thinking about it, I decided doing so was not in keeping with my own happiness goals. One day when I read back over these posts, I want to remember the fun and the trials and errors of minimalist living, not those inconvenient things that make no real difference in the long run.

Here are some of the highlights of the month:

We picked up our new rain barrel from Cumberland River Compact.
We picked up our new rain barrel from Cumberland River Compact. It barely fit in the car LOL!
Finally made it to Centennial Park in Nashville, where took a nice long walk and discovered a "love locks" bridge.
Finally made it to Centennial Park in Nashville, where we took a nice long walk and discovered a “love locks” bridge.
Angie found 9 pounds of apples. We dried them for a road trip snack.
Angie found 9 pounds of apples. We dried them for a delicious road trip snack.
panera
We picked up 26 out of 28 bagels during our FREE Bagel Month from Panera. At an average cost of $1.39 each, we scored $36.14 in free food.

How was your February?