There is something totally odd about holidays that fall on a Wednesday when you don’t take any time off to make it a long weekend on either end, but as we returned from our two week vacation just over a month ago, we really couldn’t take any more time off right now. Work is a bit odd this week because of it because so many people are on vacation, but it also means that my not so bad commute turned into a very not bad commute, so there are upsides to be sure.
Our son was particularly thrown off this week because Wednesday’s are usually Nana days (my mom) and so he kept asking and talking about going to Nana’s house on Thursday because he didn’t realize we’d skipped over a day. The good news is he loves going over there so much that he requests to go all the time.
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Friday’s Frugal Five
1. We had a car free day on Wednesday for the 4th of July. The morning was spent at home having breakfast and then doing a quick clean up before having friends over later in the day, and then my friend and her kids joined us for the bus ride down to the Kirkland 4th of July parade. It was really heartening to see the bus completely full on a non work day. The downtown was extremely busy, but most people have chosen to drive in the past, so it was good to see that at least some people were making new routines for the holiday. My only comment would be that it would be nice to have a few MORE bus runs on holidays mid day rather than fewer in order to encourage more people to leave their cars at home.
We had a bit of time after the parade before the next bus arrived, so we spent a good half hour at the park just up from the transit center letting the kids run off a little bit more energy. We ran into one of my son’s preschool classmates, which is always fun when it happens.
2. The parade itself lasted a good hour, plus the short “Kid’s Parade” before that. We decided to skip the bike decorating and walking in the parade this year because our son is still a little bit young and it would be a long bike ride on his balance bike, which he adores, but isn’t so fast on it yet. That turned out to be a really good choice because it was absolutely packed solid with kids and their parents and he wouldn’t have had a lot of fun, though he did have fun watching the kids go by.
We ended up getting a couple of Chick-fil-A coupons and a bottle of bubbles that were being handed out to the crowd, though thankfully we didn’t end up with a ton of candy, which was also being handed out, because we were farther back from the parade during the first half. As people eventually got too hot and wandered away, we moved forward to the front, which is how we got the coupons and bubbles.
3. After we got home from the parade, we had a number of friends over for a BBQ pot luck, complete with a bonfire in our backyard. Our friends brought a bunch of snacks and drinks to supplement the steaks and sausages that we grilled over the fire, and my husband cooked up some ears of corn in the smoker. Honestly one of my very favorite ways to spend an afternoon is hanging with a group of people at a house or a campground, and the 4th of July definitely qualified. Laid back, frugal, and way easier to hear everyone than at a crowded restaurant or bar, plus a place for the kids to run where they aren’t likely to get into too much trouble.
4. One friend brought a veggie tray with ranch dip and hummus. The vegetables started to run out way faster than the dip, so we went out to the front yard and picked a bowl of fresh sugar snap peas out of the garden – the first of the season – to supplement the original vegetables. While we were out there, we picked a bowl of raspberries to share as well. There is absolutely nothing better than getting to pick food right out of your yard, and my friend’s daughter did an admirable job filling her belly with a good quantity of both. There’s something about fresh fruits and vegetables that gets even a 4 year old excited about healthy food.
5. We didn’t spend any money on fireworks. While this may not be seen as a frugal “win” by some, our older dog is extremely scared of them and is the reason why we stay home every 4th of July to begin with. Our town doesn’t technically allow private fireworks, but there are plenty of people who obviously don’t listen to that law. My husband enjoys setting them off, but I think he had just as much fun hanging with his friends in our backyard, especially since he had to get up at his normal 5AM the next morning to go to work (and it wasn’t dark until close to 10PM anyway). I’m amazed at just how much money fireworks cost to set them off yourself, so they’ve never been a big draw for me anyway, and I can think of a much better use of the hundreds of dollars spent for a few minutes of entertainment.
Since we went camping again over the weekend, I didn’t do any running, but we did do some decent walking on both days as is normal for any non-work day for me. I ran for an hour on Monday, though completely wiped out 45 minutes in, and ended up being a little stiff and sore for a few days afterward. There’s a good reason I have my phone in a Lifeproof case, because while the backside is pretty beat up now, the phone still works fine. I’d blame the toddler, but no, that’s all me. Even with the fall on Monday, I did manage to squeeze in another 35 minute run on Tuesday, though the first few minutes were a little slow as my knee warmed up to the movement. I meant to run again after work on Thursday, but forgot a change of clothes so didn’t end up getting to go.
I did squeak by the 500,000 step June Challenge by The Smart FI and ended up with 506,541 steps for the month! This was a MUCH more difficult challenge than I’d expected when I agreed to it, but now I’m hooked. Anyone want to join us in July?