For me, a life beyond money is making choices so that you can live the best possible life, regardless of your income level. Obviously, you have to make a living, but there are many ways to improve your quality of life without increasing your income levels and correspondingly your expenses. This regular post will be some of the ways that we improve our quality of life beyond just trying to make more money.
* I harvested peppers (Padron, jalapeno, Jimmy Nardello and serrano), okra, and tomatoes (cherry and some just slightly ripening larger tomatoes. I pick them early this time of year so the remaining ones have time to mature).
* I made sausage gravy and biscuits one evening with a fried egg. Not the healthiest meal, but we enjoyed it.
* We have been eating a lot more farm veggies. Usually if I'm at a loss for what to make, I saute some greens and serve those with salt and pepper.
* Trucker has been cooking for me a lot lately. I come home on lunch break and he has something waiting for me. Once it was pasta with bacon, caramelized onions and sauteed mushrooms, another time sandwiches, another time quesadillas and soup. He always goes all out, making sure I have a few sides, something cold to drink and a little something sweet.
* I froze more peppers and kale.
* I dehydrated more okra and sweet peppers.
* We went to my friend's wedding. We picked up Doodles (who also worked with her) and stopped by Target. I got her a rough-edged wooden serving tray she had on her registry (on sale for $17) since I wanted to get her something lovely that she might not buy for herself otherwise. We picked up cards at Dollar Tree ($.50). She got married at the historical society, which was the best idea ever. She got married in the little chapel in the historic village, then we walked over to the museum for the reception and dinner. It was so good to get to see her get married and her husband seems really nice. After dinner, the three of us walked around the museum a bit and played in the 50s era (a perfect little house filled with lots of vintage goodies) and in the comic book area (we all put on superman capes and flew around a bit...because of course we did).
* I met up with my sister and her boyfriend for coffee one afternoon. It was so good to talk with them and get to know him better. Somehow 2.5 hours just flew by!
* We went out with some friends that meet every week, but we are rarely able to see. Unfortunately, we spent more than we anticipated. We resolved to be better about keeping each other to our frugal standards.
* On our day off together, we took a day trip up north a bit. We enjoyed walking around antique malls, got coffee and visited a park. It was drizzling, but was still a pleasant day to walk.
* I put a couple hundred dollars into savings this week.
* I love having my car loan come out of my account automatically. Not only do I not have to worry about forgetting, but I set it up for 10 days early to be safe, which means that I pay interest on the money for 10 fewer days.
* We went on a couple walks. On one we saw 4 deer: 2 does and 2 fawns. They let us get pretty close. It was amazing.
* I composted everything I could.
House and Home:
* We cleared out more stuff.
* Trucker bought a new lock for the back door
* Trucker got an edger for $2 at auction. He really does an amazing job. Householding is a lot easier with someone so skilled at getting what we need at such ridiculously low prices.
* Trucker worked a lot because the deliveries were late or no-show, so he worked extra hours and days.
* I worked a little overtime. The boss said I could flex some time if I wanted to this coming week.
* I went home for lunch each day.
* I got loads of free seconds produce: peppers, eggplants, kale, and leeks.
* My boss talked with me about extending my assignment by two weeks. It will only be 3-4 days a week, but it will be enough to survive and allows me two more weeks to find another position with the foodbank.
* Trucker had had some scary health issues earlier this summer and I wasn't getting any answers. After a couple months of late night Dr. Google inquiries (most of which told me he was dying...because of course), I narrowed it down to a handful of possible causes, some scary, some simple things like excessive caffeine and electrolyte or iron imbalances. He started exercising more, significantly reduced his coffee consumption and started taking a multivitamin. There was little change for awhile. I noticed that his multivitamin didn't contain iron, so I switched him to one that did. Well, after a few weeks, we noticed a difference. He saw his GP and the doctor said that he thought it was low iron and to double his iron supplement. Now there is drastic improvement. We are still going to a specialist in a couple weeks to rule out scary possibilities, but hopefully we are on the better side of things. Just a friendly reminder to make sure you are considering nutritional needs often. We had significantly cut back on our red meat consumption (for financial and heart-health reasons), I don't eat liver (yet...I do know that I'm a total hypocrite for not eating organ meats) and Trucker doesn't like a lot of the nonheme iron-rich foods. Plus, caffeine can make it harder for your body to assimilate iron. All of this meant that he wasn't getting adequate iron (I seem to be okay, but I do eat a lot more leafy greens than he does). It is so hard to balance all of the responsibilities in life, but pay attention to little health clues so you have time to make changes before things get bad and require more heroic measures. Also know that if you aren't getting answers and you know something is wrong, be your own (or your partner's) advocate and look for things to try at home to improve the situation.
* The main thing we considered when making lifestyle changes was that even if exercise, reducing alcohol and caffeine, taking a multivitamin, eating less sugar and eating more vegetables had no affect on this issue, they were good things to do that would have positive affects in other areas.
* Trucker had another two games with his softball league. I was able to come watch these games since they were earlier in the day than the last two weeks. He ran a little before the game!
* I went to the eye doctor for the first time in 15 years. My near vision is perfect, but I got a light prescription for far vision. I had a coupon to get it very cheaply.
* Well, we had a big exciting week. My younger sister got married! She had been engaged for a little over a year without really making any plans. This week they decided to go for it and went to the courthouse. We are all helping to get them established; for now they are living with his parents. They are looking at a double-wide to move onto the slab at my parents' property. For their wedding gift, Ashley will come out to the city and I will take her shopping at thrift stores. I've set a certain budget that I'll spend to get as much as I can to help them get set up. She did buy a bedroom set of bed, dressers, nightstand, etc, but will need many things still, such as linens, cleaning supplies, pantry items and kitchen supplies. Trucker found a basic kitchen tool set on clearance for $6: a few knives, kitchen shears, spatula, spoon, and a couple other items in a storage block.
* We had our year-end party at the farm. My friends volunteered to do face painting and balloon animals. They were quite popular!
* Trucker's boss's wife sent me three large bags of vegetable rotini noodles.