The Swan Life: October 2016
Hey readers, its Lucy here again on The Green Swan. Last month’s update was well received so I thought I’d take another stab at it. You can find September’s recap here. This is a fun way to remember some smaller things from our month and to sprinkle in some of the ways we cut back on costs while still enjoying life.
Our month started out with an obligatory fall activity, visiting the pumpkin patch. We went to the same place as last year. Great thing about this activity is there’s relatively no cost. No entrance fee, most activities are complimentary and we can walk away with a happy little boy and a pumpkin for our front step. Yes, the pumpkins you buy here are not as cheap as say, the grocery store, but it’s worth it. We grabbed a wagon and walked through the patch to pick out the perfect pumpkin. The place even had slides, swings, toy cars, you name it. The perfect combination for a happy, and tired, little boy.
Unlike September, there was not much travel in October, which we enjoyed. No work trips for me and no bachelor parties for JW (he’s been on two this year!). We did take a trip to visit family in Atlanta over Halloween. Lucky for us we could drive there which is so much cheaper than buying two plane tickets. I also got us some discounted hotel rooms so that cut back on costs as well (I work for a large hotel company which provides some pretty good employee discounts).
Yes, we did dress up in costumes and hit the town. Couldn’t tell you the last time I dressed up for Halloween! We kept our costumes on the cheap side. We dug out some old Oakland A’s jerseys we got back when we lived in San Francisco, bought some A’s hats, eye black and there was our costume! JW’s brother even won a costume contest we stumbled across. He and his wife had the perfect couple costume that didn’t cost them much at all. He was Michael Phelps (complete with swim goggles, a gold medal and zip up hoodie… which he proceeded to remove during the contest and then stretched as if he were preparing for an Olympic race) and she was Michael’s fiancé… or I guess wife now (complete with a baby doll she held in a baby carrier that wore red, white and blue ear muffs). Thank you very much, we’ll take that $50 cash prize! Oh and if you’re wondering where our son was over the weekend, my parents visited and babysat. Hurray for free babysitters!
JW’s birthday was in October (cue the Happy Birthday wishes!)He’s not one to enjoy receiving gifts just for the sake of giving them. Instead of buying him a material item, I took him to lunch on his birthday. We work about 4 blocks away from each other, but really never meet up for lunch during the week. This was a treat for us both. What made the lunch even better was that I had a gift card to this nice Tuscan restaurant. There was literally no cost for us. Score!
We had our family pictures taken this month. It’s that time of year to get a good picture of the three of us to put on the Christmas card. This expense was something I decided a couple years ago was very important to me. Not only are you paying for the photographer, but you’re also paying to purchase the cards online and then postage. I know, it can really add up. The photographer we’ve used for the last three years actually lives near us. I found her through our neighborhood Facebook page and she does a great job. When I reached out to her this year about scheduling a session she said she’d keep the price same as last year for us (her prices had gone up the year before, I think her little business has done well). Great to hear our loyal business brings us some sort of discount. Now to get those pictures back and start on the Christmas card.
London vs. Dublin
This isn’t a big update on our London vs. Dublin decision, but we’ve done a lot of talking about the move and it sounds like London will be our best bet. JW has communicated with a leader in that office and it sounds like we’re more or less just waiting for them to send him an offer. There are things still up in the air (when they would add the new position, where the new person would sit in their small office, start date, etc). It doesn’t sound like there’s a big rush right now, which we’re completely fine with, given our new baby arriving in April. We’ve decided that an ideal situation would be a delivery here in the states, then moving to London a few months later (sooner for JW if he needs to be there to start the job).
I mentioned that my parents visited us this month to babysit while we were in Atlanta. Prior to their visit we did a complete overhaul of cleaning the house. Always good to have an excuse to do so, huh? It got me thinking more about hiring a maid service to clean and what is our time worth to clean ourselves. There are certain chores the two of us have no problem keeping up with (laundry, dishes, vacuuming, etc.) But others are a pain in the neck (cleaning baseboards, blinds, scrubbing floors, etc.) I was intrigued when I saw a posting about an individual with a small maid service on our neighborhood Facebook page. Just like our photographer for the family pictures, it’s someone who lives in our neighborhood just looking for extra cash. The services include: all floors, bathrooms, kitchen and dusting for $80. Worth it? Maybe, what do you think? I think I would be in favor if we made it a yearly or bi-yearly service.
Blue Apron & Hello Fresh
Have you ever tried Blue Apron? It’s a food delivery service that sends you all the ingredients to make three meals. We were introduced to the food service a couple years ago when we were gifted a free trial. We ordered it, we loved it and we were hooked. Well not hooked enough to buy it every week, but we get it about every 4-6 weeks. It’s a fun way to try new dishes and branch out of our norm a bit. Luckily neither of us are picky eaters so we look forward to trying new flavors (some of the dishes have spices I’ve never heard of so I have no idea how it will taste just by looking at the recipe). We recently got a coupon in the mail to try Hello Fresh, a very similar concept. Hello Fresh sends meals to your doorstop for you to prepare. It was fun to mix things up, but I couldn’t tell you which service I liked better. They’re both great!
That’s basically our October in a nutshell. It seemed to be a fairly ordinary month for us in terms of activities and expenses. Did any of you dress up for Halloween? Win a costume contest? Who loves fall, but is a bit bummed we’ve had such warm temps?