Week in the Life 2014

I guess I didn’t do week in the life last year? I can’t find anything about it in my archives. That makes me more excited than ever to participate this week, as it’s the first time Bennie’s in the mix! See my archive of Week in the Life posts here. Inspired by Ali’s project.

9:19 AM

The only time I get to watch something for grown-ups, but Bennie’s almost catching on so it’s not going to last.

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10:03 AM

Watching the newest O.K. Go video. Brilliant. Squaring up small quilts.

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12:26 PM

Grandma is back from Japan!

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2:00 PM

Nursed Bennet down to sleep then laid her in our bed.

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2:00 PM

Tuesday is already in her leotard, starting rest time by looking at her book, “When I was a baby…” And asks me to get down the big scrapbook full of layouts of her (we keep it in her room now).

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2:33 PM

Walking up every half hour is becoming standard. Man, I miss those long naps.

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3:07 PM

Working on the binding. I should start Halloween costumes (yes, start), but I just can’t help myself I guess.

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3:09 PM

Up again, and still tired. I won’t be able to sneak out this time. Pat her back until she’s ready to get up.

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3:35 PM

Tuesday’s hair for dance.

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3:43 PM

Tuesday is ready to go, now I have to wake up Bennet since this is when she decides to sleep soundly.

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5:38 PM

We stopped to see gramps before he goes down to California for the winter. I hinted at dinner but they were still packing so hot deli items it is.

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6:08 PM

Jo-jos, fried burritos and chicken strips. Gross.

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6:48 PM

Mama can we paint? I need to paint the washer and dryer I made Tootsie.

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8:54 PM

Bj’s home, do a hand off and snuggle up to read to Tuesday.

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10:26 PM

In bed, Bennie asleep, Tuesday almost.

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Noticed: The day bookended by technology. Still lots of nursing going on, first thing in the morning, and at naps, falls, etc. I need to plan for meals. It always falls apart when I don’t. Harder to lug the big camera around with both the girls. I might have to give into Bj saying I need something smaller. Also I need more tops with pockets.

  • Julia - Love this post!! I love all the photos of you and the girls, and your house. You are doing a great job taking photos throughout the day. I am attempting to participate this time, but I really need to beef up my photos. I’ve posted on the Instagram my only photos so far, but I also need to post on my blog. I’ll try to do better tomorrow :)October 29, 2014 – 3:48 pmReplyCancel

  • mary m - Looks like we barely missed you at roth’s! LOL like by minutes (we were there around 5:15).

    You didn’t take any pictures of our lovely rain??? Our favorite activity currently is jumping in puddles.October 30, 2014 – 7:55 amReplyCancel

The Catskills

Our sweet friends were married a few weeks ago in New York, and Bj and I were so happy we were able to attend. It took a little schedule shuffling and baby sitter finding, as things do, but we did it! I decided at the beginning of the summer that Bennet would probably still be nursing (I was right) so I wanted to bring her (we were gone four days, and I’m a terrible pumper). This presented a little problem because the wedding was absolutely no kids; the hillside venue doesn’t allow it. I found a great baby sitter through the venue and she came to the little cabin we rented (an AirBNB). Tuesday stayed with Grandma and Grandpa (“only four days Mama???”). It was a great trip, and fun to travel just with Bennie (holy crap how easy is just one kid?!?!?!). We’d never explored this area before (Hudson River Valley/Catskills) and LOVED it.

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Of course I packed a ton, it is totally my weakness. In the end we used pretty much everything, though it wasn’t as cold as I thought. It’s hard when you have a messy toddler and no access to laundry facilities.

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Two of the nights we stayed just outside of the airport area, in Morristown, NJ. We ate at this super yummy grilled cheese sandwich place. Here you see mine, which had eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, and CHEESE. Plus a balsamic vinaigrette tip. OMG I loved this.

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Friday was a travel day and we had a request from Bennet, “a pop-li-lick store” (a popsicle store). Um…. I was sure such a thing did not exist, but low and behold we found one in Cold Springs New York! And it was great. Go Go Pops had lots of flavors, Bennet’s favorite was the avocado kiwi one she’s holding, I loved this watermelon. I was happy to give her whatever she wanted for being so awesome in the car! She finally weighs enough for a half tablet of kids Dramamine, thank goodness. I didn’t know how we were going to survive the windy roads without it! All told we only had one full on throw up incident, which is awesome considering she gets sick driving to Target. This day she slept for two hours after we arrived at Cold Springs. Bj said he’d wait in the car and I spent the time slowly walking through antique stores, HEAVEN! I actually didn’t buy much. I shopped as a proxy for Sciarrino and got her a large metal platter for her collection and a Foley Food Mill in great condition. I got myself a large steel bento type container, and a quilt. Yes a quilt, I’ll save that for another post. This is the one I didn’t get:

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Check out the miles of binding! Wow! I loved it, but I loved the other one I got even more and had to choose.

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Everything people say about fall colors on the east coast is true, and then some! So beautiful!!! All Tuesday requested from the trip were leaves, so I pressed these in a press I brought to bring her as a souvenir.

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The leaves being crunchy vs. soggy certainly make it easier to play in them!

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Of course the real reason we were there was the wedding! Krista and Matt had lovely details everywhere. Um, vintage card catalog? YES! And vintage hankies for each guest. Matt is the one who designed my porch (he’s an architect) by sketching something out while we were having lunch like it was no big deal (and I’d been puzzling over what to do for a couple years!), so I shouldn’t have been surprised that he designed a wedding logo! I love the little framed card asking friends to let the professional photographers only take pictures of the ceremony. I think this is a MUST these days. Also, wedding hashtag. Yes to seeing what everyone else is snapping the rest of the night!

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The reception tent.

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Cell phone pic of the view. Imagine this but ten times more awesome. The bride emailed me a few times warning that it was going to be outside and cold. I think it finally clicked for me the night before we left when I realized I had NO even remotely dressy coat that fit! I panicked, called Sciarrino and told her it was a shopping emergency and could she please meet me at the shops to find something! I did, a lovely (and warm!) wool jacket at Anthropology. It was fun being all cozy and snuggled next to Bj while I teared up during the ceremony.

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The lovely couple, first dance.

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Bj and Bennie at the venue the next day for the bagel breakfast. Holy crap have you seen huge New York style bagels?!?! They are yummy! Because of the aforementioned hashtag I realized that we would be passing close by Storm King. STORM KING. Totally not planned and amazing. I have been so limited on what kind of art I’ve seen lately, and this just fed my soul. I loved it.

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Me in front of Andy Goldsworthy’s wall. Ahh!!!!!! I must say I was a bit worried because the place was INSANE packed. We parked so far away from any kind of parking lot (of which there are many) that I feared the amount of people would spoil the views of the art. Not so (though I was a bit grumbly about people touching, leaning on and CLIMBING on the art; what the hell people?!?! And why aren’t there more docents out there???).

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One area you’re encouraged to climb and roll around, Maya Lin’s Storm King Wavefield. Bennet just loved it here. I mean here the whole place. We were able to hope on the little tram to take us part way around, as this was unplanned an the little stroller would not have handled all the natural paths well. Then we walked back up… the grasses, the leaves, the various types of trails. Oh man, if I lived any where near here I would be getting an annual pass for sure. I can only imagine how it changes with the seasons.

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I didn’t take many pictures. I did buy a book about the place, but wanted to spend my time there mostly soaking things in, instead of getting pictures.

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We finished off the day back in Morristown at a combo sushi/Japanese/Korean place. BEST IDEA EVER. Sushi for him, Korean for me. mmmmm. That stone bowl is no joke though, keeps the food so freaking hot I burned the side of my mouth.

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And Bennet, how did she travel? Great! She loved having all our attention. Despite the pain that is carrying on carseats (through security, schlepping them around, etc.), I still recommend it. She’s used to sitting in one in the car, and she took two hours naps on both cross country flights, which was relaxing for us since she was in here (I just nursed her and then carefully laid her in and buckled her). I did make a indestructible toddler mini book. Because apparently I HAVE to stay up super late before we leave on every trip and I absolutely MUST leave my knitting packing until the car ride up there. I know how much Bj loves to get the car started while I wind one more skein of yarn! Ha! We brought snacks and stickers and silly putty and it was great. I mean not relaxing like we were on our own, but you know. And we managed to sit by a totally out of control family not once, BUT TWICE, there and back. This is where someone might say they sat by terrible kids, but I have to put this on the parents. Telling your kid, “Stop running or you’ll be kicked off the plane” is just stupid and hearing the mom tell her screaming nearly two year old, “Nobody cares about your problems” made my heart hurt. But their screaming made my ears hurt. It IS a lot of work to take care of little kids on a plane. And it IS exhausting. And I’ll never forget the first flight I took with just me and toddler Tuesday. A man said to me as he was leaving what a good job I did. I think he said something like, “You worked your butt off that flight, and we all appreciate it.” So that’s what I continue to do, work my butt off on the flights and have a happy kid. So far so good (minus that one sick Tuesday coming home from Hawaii time, but I swear I did try everything).

  • mary m - A trip in the fall to that area is definitely on my must do list.

    Sounds like you had a fantastic time. And one on one time with kiddos is so great.October 22, 2014 – 8:02 amReplyCancel

  • Julia - Yay for happy and safe travels!! I was hoping you would post about this trip. It looks like everyone had an amazing time! And Bennet looks so much like you here. Yes, the east coast leave are always so lovely. They are just beginning to turn where we live. The wedding photos are so pretty. What a lovely location for a wedding! Also, I love the pink sweater you are wearing! Is it from Anthropologie?October 22, 2014 – 12:38 pmReplyCancel

  • Mary Lou - Very interesting post. You do such a good job! I feel like I just got back from the trip you took!
    I was wondering about the reception place settings: what were the placemats made from and what was in the little bag?
    Also, thank you for the information about Stone King. I have never heard about it and it sounds wonderful.
    Finally, the last picture of Bennett is just awesome! Beautiful girl!October 24, 2014 – 8:57 pmReplyCancel

  • carmen - This looks like such an amazing trip!!October 27, 2014 – 11:01 amReplyCancel

The Garden – into fall 2014

Wow, I can’t believe I haven’t posted about the garden since the end of August. I have been out there lots, the weather was crazy insane for a while. We had a rainy day or two so I was super proactive and got out all our winter gear, put away the sundresses, etc. Only to have a week of days with 80+ weather in OCTOBER. What?!?! So then I dragged out the bins and now there are clothes everywhere (as it seems fall rain has really settled in).

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How about this, eating fresh watermelon and cantaloupe I picked, from my yard, on October 3rd?!?! All the other pictures are from the 5th.

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Because of the sunny weather (these pictures were taken near dusk, that’s why they look so melancholy) I even did some fall clean up, filling up my bin, as well as two of the neighbor’s bins! You can see on this picture and the next where I’ve cleaned things up a bit.

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Usually I deal with a soggy mess of stuff in the spring. The bean tee-pee is dying back, and I’ve harvested lots of dried beans for next year’s plantings.

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I took out all of the pumpkin vines after harvesting the last one in early October. I was going to take out the melon vines, but I still have a few more on there, and they still taste great! Super impressed with my melons this year, though I only got two watermelons, so I think I’ll stick to cantaloupe from now on. I need to clean up the strawberries, I don’t like the ever bearing variety in there right now, so I need to find all the plants that have strawberries and pull them.

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Since I had my hori hori out I decided to do a little test. This is after a couple weeks of not watering and a day or so of rain in that time. The wood chips I put out in the late spring work amazing to hold in moisture! Here is an area that had no wood chips for comparison:

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I didn’t have many areas to choose from since most of my yard was mulched, but I hope you can see the difference. If not let me tell you about it, the ground here is hard. Where I’ve had the wood chips all summer, even where I’ve been walking (as above) the ground has gotten a lot softer. I am worried about one thing, doing some clean up I found the most insane amount of slug eggs. I’m not sure exactly how this is going to pan out, but it makes me want a duck (they love slugs).

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The last pumpkin harvested (the variety is Jarrahdale and it is a green-grey when cured). I stuffed one already and it was AMAZING and the girls are like, more more more and I’m like, that was a lot of heavy cream ladies. The tomatoes are still putting out fairly well. Before the rains just started up again I was able to pick about 12 lbs. They will continue to ripen, but the wet weather will split them. SAD FACE.

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The winter garden is growing well. Bj is going to make me a little PVC hoop house over those far two beds for the winter and to give me an earlier start in the spring.

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Carrots that I can harvest whenever I need, and little swiss chard growing, my spinach isn’t doing so great here. The small containers on the deck railing are doing better, those have some lettuce as well. The hot weather did drive some of my lettuce to bold, unfortunately. I should probably throw in a last planting when I go out to plant garlic (my seed garlic just came!).

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I have gotten so many figs this year. Even though the squirrels are getting in on the action, I’ve still had plenty. They are a kid favorite and I harvested enough at once to make a yummy jam. Plus I dried some and froze at least seven pounds. I’ll cut those and the maple back significantly this winter.

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Even though the weather is starting to turn Tuesday is wanting to play down here as much as possible. I’ve got her cleaning up the toys every time so they stay dry in the shed in between her little coffee shop play business.

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A terrible picture of my front yard, which despite weeds and craziness is still bright and colorful. Tuesday has been playing a lot with all the neighborhood kids so I’m out here more, and instead of lounging trying to trim something or pull a weed while I watch over the craziness.

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Look at this crazy tree that won’t die. We need to cut it to the ground soon to prep the area of the little mini dwarf orchard tree trio I want to try. The clematis is also coming back from being chopped to the ground (it had a fungus problem). It looks better than ever (you can barely see it here to the left of the stairs).

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And roses still delight, though would more so if I dead headed them in a timely manner!

Probably not much more to share about my garden this year as I get it all tucked in for the winter. How about you, is your garden all put away or are you trying winter gardening this year?

  • Amanda - Your garden looks lovely! So much color still, and I’m super impressed by your melons. I’ve never had success with them.

    I usually put off clean up til the spring as well but I’m thinking I really need to change that to the fall – it’s such a pain regardless.October 19, 2014 – 4:28 amReplyCancel

  • mary m - It looks great Amber–you’ve already made lots of progress cleaning it up.

    this weekend was just perfect with the mid seventies and sun. I was a little sad for the rain to be back today, and for the next 5-6 months.October 20, 2014 – 7:58 amReplyCancel

  • Place under the pine - Your garden looks great, especially considering it is October. I’m impressed as well at the melons, I have never had much success growing them. Your winter garden looks great, I hope it works out well and you have lots of fresh stuff in the dark days of January. Be sure to keep us updated.

    Our garden is pretty much done as well. My one little guy is interested in any kind of yard work, so I got him to help me put the garden to rest recently. I even added some video to my blog http://theplaceunderthepine.blogspot.ca/2014/10/garden-update-october.htmlOctober 20, 2014 – 8:52 pmReplyCancel

How Learning Looked

I don’t think this will be a weekly feature, at least not now. I just don’t find myself having enough time at the computer (usually late in the evening, when the girls are in bed, is the only time I can write uninterrupted). Also I am trying to be more present with the girls during our main learning time (mornings I would say) and that includes not having the phone or camera get between us. So maybe bi-weekly is a good goal for now. Tuesday is 5.5 and Bennet is 2.


Tuesday asked me about money. So we got some out and investigated it. I wasn’t sure what she was trying to find out at first so I got out a bunch of different materials. We weighted rolls of coins, looked at them with a magnifying glass, talked about quarters being a quarter of a dollar and looked at other types of money. She wasn’t so interested in how much they are worth right now, and I don’t think she understands that a nickel is five pennies.


While most of the time we are doing things that Tuesday wants to investigate, Bennet gets to have fun too. Here she was using some fashion plates a friend gave us. I’m trying to be more aware of where Bennet is an what she wants to do.


She surprised me the other day by wanting to zoom through some cut and paste books. She really liked using the glue stick once she got the hang of it!


I stayed up late one night re-arranging our basement. We are just too loud to work right next to Bj’s home office all day (he has to take calls that require us to be VERY quiet). I have goals set to rotate materials. Especially for Bennet who can not sit and work on one project as long as Tuesday wants too.


I moved Tuesday’s desk over to this area. The bookshelves behind her are full of our encyclopedia’s and childcraft books. She loves diving into these things. We had fun reading an old Indian legend in one and learning about lungs in another.


I’m never sure exactly how much Tuesday soaks up, since I don’t test her. Well we had an interesting conversation with a friend that we picked up from school one day. She was talking about the various ways kids get in trouble and told us that one had said another girl had “dirty blood”. Tuesday looked thoughtful for a minute and then said, “perhaps he was just saying her blood wasn’t oxygenated enough.” I thought it was quite amazing that she put that together with what we had casually read about the day before!


Bennet checked out our new block area. I made the little platform to get her started, but so far neither girl has taken much of a liking to this area. And oh I am determined for them to try it out! I’m going to use some of these great ideas to spice it up a bit.


Tuesday draws all day every day and recently made this for me, which I love. It’s her representation of our house, from the front. I think my favorite detail is the small bit of polka dot curtain peeking out from the front picture window.


She asked me for a coloring book with people and I have a ton of the dover ones, they are easy to spot on the Goodwill shelve with the little red, yellow and blue strip on the spine, and are always 99 cents. Well I’ve amassed quite the collection, but was saving them until Tuesday was older, because they are so detailed. I showed her one and then went to put Bennet down for a nap. Twenty minutes later I came to find her like this. She found the same page colored and was copying it as exactly as she could. She is not happy with the skin tones and I told her at art supply shops you can buy individual colored pencils, so we’re hoping to do that this week.


She also wrote more letters. This is how I help her do that independently. She has a little notebook she helped me make with pictures of friends and family and then address stickers. I got this idea from Meg.


Tuesday wanted to work on a scrapbook of her babies so she set up this little scene and let all her dollies take a turn in the tub. I particularly like the water coming out of the faucet.


Bennet just loved this sandbox at a birthday party we went to. We were some ways off, watching her in the distance for a good half hour happily digging and pouring. It makes me want to get a sandbox… almost.


I’m happy to say that Bennet seems to like books as much as her sister. Here she is with one of her favorites, a little animal book just the right size for her hands.

Speaking of reading, I thought I’d share our current reads.

-Tuesday is reading Tales of a Forth Grade Nothing for a second time, this time Papa is reading it to her. I’m reading her These Happy Golden Years in the little house series. We read about three chapters a night.


This is what Tuesday has tucked up next to her top bunk (it’s a high window that also works as a shelf!). The Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa series. One of the annuals from the set of encyclopedias we got. Dance Spirit magazines, The Quiet Book, It’s so Amazing and It’s not the Stork. Tuesday has not asked me to read any of these to her. She can not “read” to herself yet, but that doesn’t stop her from reading alone quite often in rest time or with a lantern before bed.


Bennet LOVES these cozy classics. We have almost all of them, and she knows them by heart. The illustrations are all needle felted and pretty much amazing. Of course my favorite is Pride and Prejudice. She also regularly requests “Where’s Spot?” by wagging her finger wildly (the ASL sign for where) and saying “Where’s Spot????”. We picked it up from one of the Little Free Libraries around town.

I so love this free learning style! It is working very well for us right now.

  • Sara @ Happiness is here - What a beautiful week! I love your learning space! :)October 5, 2014 – 11:25 pmReplyCancel

  • Julia - You really do have the perfect learning space. I love Tuesday’s desk! You and the girls are doing an awesome job with homeschool!October 6, 2014 – 8:11 amReplyCancel

  • Julie - Life is certainly full in your home! Love the way your girls are learning! and I need that cozy hanging chair that Bennet is sitting in!October 7, 2014 – 6:33 amReplyCancel

No Spend September wrap up

Bj and I did another no spend month this September. We did this last year, and LOVED it. It was a great way to reset our goals and priorities. Just like last year we gave ourselves $400 to spend on essentials. We came in way under budget and it was even easier than last time. I think my favorite thing about the no spend month is that we are together a lot more. There are less “errands” and more activities at home. We don’t really stock up any more than usual for the month, but it’s just our style to have a bit of extra food, especially the stuff we put up ourselves. Here is our fridge:

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We also have a freezer in the basement, as well as all my home canned stuff. Because of the season there was no shortage of fresh produce, and I was perfectly willing to spend $100 on tomatoes, as I did last year, because this is the time I put them up. But our friend generously gave us a ton because this year was crazy amazing for the PNW and tomatoes (except  for mine, grumble).

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These were extra after she canned all she wanted! Crazy!

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We also participated in a few Salem Harvests. My kids were tons of help of course:

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The main difference between this month and the others is that we DON’T EAT OUT!

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Which encourages me to try new things, like baba ganoush!

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But mostly easy, seasonal things are where it’s at for September.

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We’re lucky to ALL get free hair cuts from Nana!

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We even went camping (in my Grandpa’s backyard). Turns out you can go camping with out going to the grocery store first and buying bags full of junk food:)

So how did we total up?

Week 1
$19.64 kickstarter (this was an unfortunate over site on my part, I didn’t realize when the kickstarter ended and thus the charge)
$.25 library parking
Total $19.89
Week 2
$2.50 organic celery
$0 movies
$25.58 canning tools for a friend
$17 Saturday market (food & corn)
$0 ($14) Jo-Ann’s
Total $45.08
Week 3
$25 doctor co-pay
$21.48 salt & straw ice cream
$17.78 toy store
$19.27 Burgerville
$22.18 Costco
$2.89  malt vinegar
$28 encyclopedia set
$20 carousel rides
$10 elephants car wash
Total $166.60
Week 4
$15 two dozen half pint jars
$6.78 milk and cilantro
Total $21.78
Monthly Total: $253.35
We don’t usually use gift cards, as it kind of defeats the purpose, but we HAD to go to the movies. Bj proposed to me while we were watching Ghostbusters and they re-released it to the theaters, obviously we couldn’t miss it! And I did use a gift card at Jo-Ann’s. Tuesday’s new dance class required a very specific black skirt that I just couldn’t bring myself to buy so I made one instead. The ice cream and toy store was a doctor’s reward, and we were up in Portland and starving so we got Burgerville on the way home.  So there are expenses that were not necessary to survive the month, but overall I’m super happy. You may notice there is no gas on the list. We did end up getting an electric car after the last no spend September. We love it! It cost us 44 cents to “fill” it at home, which I probably did a handful of times.
Have you ever tried something like this? What did you think?


  • carmen - Nice work!! How you got out of costco for 22.18 is beyond me!! Looks like you are eating so well! All that fresh produce makes me drool!October 3, 2014 – 8:16 amReplyCancel

  • Amanda - You did so well! I’m really impressed. My husband and I should definitely try this.October 3, 2014 – 1:56 pmReplyCancel

  • mary m - You guys did great! I did a 1/2 assed attempt last month, and doing it again this month. If anything, it’s just cutting out all of the extra and saying NO a lot more. I think it’s a great way to get on track with goals like you said :)October 6, 2014 – 1:07 pmReplyCancel

  • Julie - I’m very impressed! It’s a good reminder for me to spend less!October 7, 2014 – 6:31 amReplyCancel