Monday Medley: Embracing Different Seasons

We typically plan our road trips to Maine for the end of August.  They represent one of our last chances to enjoy the summer season.  Now, with pumpkins everywhere and leaves changing color, it’s time to come to terms with the fact that Fall is here.  Summer is definitely my favorite season, so I tend to get a little sad when we put all of our sunshine accessories away.  Although somewhat there, these feelings are not that strong just yet.  It might be due to the fact that it’s still pretty warm and we’re not yet trapped inside by mountains of snow.  However, I think it’s also because we packed so much fun into the past few months and have a lot to look forward to with the changing seasons.



Back To School

Goofball started 1st Grade a couple of weeks ago and is doing really well so far.  He likes his teacher and is making friends.  I was happy about the cost of school supplies.  He received new sneakers, a new book bag, and the usually things like composition notebooks.  The total cost was less than $50.  Thankfully, we didn’t buy any new clothing for him as I had already stocked up at a consignment sale in the spring.

I’m not sure how I feel about all of the technology that they use.  It’s neat that they use some programs that he can log on to at home.  They are fun and educational, and he like to play them.  These programs even have analytics on how he’s doing, showing the new skills he has mastered and total time spent using the programs each day.  I don’t really like how he says it’s a lot easier to use it on the iPad at school.  Mr. Smith and I discussed whether it was time to give in and buy something for the family.  The idea is more persuasive now that it would be for educational and not just entertainment, but it’s really a question of wants versus needs.  Nevertheless, we’re looking at an Amazon tablet instead of an iPad, MAYBE, for Christmas.


The Zoo

We’ve been meaning to go to the zoo all summer, but were always busy with other things.   We were happy to hear about our local zoo recently doing a $2 admission day, so we took advantage of the deal.  Yes, it was a bit crowded, but we still had a chance to see everything, and for an awesome price.  We parked on a side street so there was no fee and brought along a picnic lunch.  It was a super fun and frugal day!




The tomatoes are finally starting to slow down, but we’ve already canned a ton of sauce.  In addition, we tried out canning banana peppers this year.  I loved how you don’t have to boil the jars in a canning pot.  All you have to do is boil a mixture of 50% water and 50% vinegar to add to the peppers.  It’s hot enough that it will seal on its own.  So easy!  Now, we’ll just have to wait and see how they taste.




Apple Picking

It’s about time to replenish our supply of applesauce.  Two years ago we found a gentleman (via Craigslist) who has apple trees behind his house.  He doesn’t do much with the apples (no pesticides or anything), so they aren’t very pretty, but he lets people pick them for a very cheap price.  We filled up buckets and buckets of apples for the small price of $10.  These apples are perfect for making applesauce, a treat that the kids particularly enjoy and makes a great addition to school lunches.

Related: Frugal Family Activity That Keeps On Giving




I’ve reserved a table at an holiday craft sale that takes place in about two months.  Thus far, the fact that I’m making items to sell has not diminished my enjoyment of crochet.  I’m working on baby blankets, winter hats, ornaments, baskets, and whatever else I can find time to create.  My plan is to also bring along some DIY items that I’ve learned to make as Christmas gifts.  It costs $30 for the table, but is a well-advertised event with no admission fees.  This is an experiment in making money, but I’m hopeful that there will be a significant profit.

Any suggestions on ways to increase sales or other things to make for event?



Halloween Costumes

As you may recall, last year I made some cute dinosaur costumes for Goofball and Tornado.  It’s about time to get started on some new costumes.  Tornado want to be a butterfly and Goofball wants to be a Velociraptor . . . for now.


Preparing For Winter

Mr. Smith has been going crazy collecting wood for the fireplace.  He’s also getting to work replacing stones in the fireplace (I’m not quite so sure about the purpose of those) and getting it cleaned.  We should be all set for a nice and toasty winter.

Mr. Smith estimates he has 4-5 face cords.
Mr. Smith estimates he has 4-5 face cords.



A big project deadline recently was extended, by a couple of months.  My stress level immediately decreased.  However, I’m a bit worried that my chronic procrastination tendencies will prevent me from using this extension to my benefit.  I go back and forth on work, seemingly on a daily basis.  There are some days when I can focus and be super productive and other days when I could really care less about it.  The problem is that I am the breadwinner and more recently, the only source of steady income for our family.

I’m starting to get into a rhythm of steady freelance work.  This side-hustle income is going towards paying off our debt.  We should be on track to pay off ALL OF THE CREDIT CARDS by the end of the year!  We still have a debt consolidation loan, but it would be wonderful not to have any credit card balances as we enter 2017.


Fall & Winter Plans

For now, I’m actually fine with the change in season.  I will be very busy with making crochet items for the craft sale and as Christmas presents, working on Halloween costumes, trying to get ahead on work at my primary employment and freelance writing, and I want to finally publish my e-book.  It’s been a work in progress over the past couple years.  I just need to give it a final bit of focused effort and then I can share it with all of you!  Everyone who is an email subscriber receives a free copy (just use the box on the right side of your screen or the pop-up one).

I’m hoping to use the time indoors this winter to get ahead on a lot of work and other responsibilities.  We have some plans for special family time next year . . . more on that soon 😉


  1. I love how you celebrate the changing seasons in beautifully simple ways. We apple picked this weekend from a local orchard by my parents’ cottage. We pay about a dollar a pound, maybe a little less, but they’re delicious varieties that we can’t get in the grocery stores, there’s something about picking food yourself, AND apple donuts! 😉 Oh, and supporting a family farm makes me happy.
    Penny @ She Picks Up Pennies recently posted…Frugally Awesome…Or Awkward: Haircut EditionMy Profile

    1. Thanks Penny! Yum, apple donuts. It sounds like your family is doing a great job of embracing the changing seasons as well. Good point about supporting a family farm – in comparison to buying some apples from Walmart.

    1. That’s too bad that you don’t have any zoos close by, and it makes me feel a little bad that we don’t take advantage of our zoo more often. We have discussed buying a season pass next year. I just have to remember to buy it in the spring, before it goes up in price.

  2. Impressive pile of wood. Mr. Smith must be tired after that effort. Did he cut it all himself?

    Fall around the corner is always exciting although it will be interesting to see what the lack of water in NE this summer does to the foliage colors. It is also that time when Mrs. PIE homes her decorating skills further with some seriously awesome pumpkin carving. Although don’t show me any pumpkin pie. Yuck!

    Need to clear out the shed and get our Halloween look for the yard planned out. Scarecrows for the yard. Ghosties and bats to hang from the trees.
    Mr. PIE recently posted…Greatest Financial Hits – Volume 1My Profile

    1. Mr. Smith says “Thanks!” He has been working pretty hard on collecting and cutting up the wood. He did do it all himself and it’s from the woods behind our house, so completely FREE 🙂

      LOL – I hate pumpkin pie too, thought I was the only one.

      Love, love, love the yards that are all decked out for Halloween. Post some pictures on twitter!

    1. I guess pumpkin pie might not be too bad if you diluted the flavor with lots of cream cheese, but I think I’d rather save room for pecan and apple pie after Thanksgiving dinner.

      There will definitely be an update after the craft sale – I’m getting pretty excited though!

  3. Summer is also my favorite season, but we are also embracing the seasonal change (which was a bit delayed here this year) and just picked the apples off our tree yesterday and made caramel apples. Today it’s finally cool enough in our house to start baking again, and my kids are excited to help with that. I do dread how long winter is, but the beginning of winter is also fun with the holidays.

    That’s awesome you’re on track to pay off all the credit cards soon!

    1. Hi Kalie! Yes, we’re definitely feeling a lot of relief from the debt payoff success. The kids saw something about caramel apples on TV the other day and keep asking to make some at home. Any tips?

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