I’ve talked to enough people to know that it’s not just me, but August is a particularly hard month. In many ways, it feels emotionally more like March than June or July, except that we’ve been in it for that much longer. For us, at least, it feels like we are holding our breath for what feels inevitable this fall; cases haven’t dropped like they should have, and we’re looking at school re-openings and then the start of flu season.

Up til now, being outside with people (socially distanced) has been a reasonable way to see people and keep my extroverted self somewhat happy. But lately, it feels like there are fewer and fewer people we feel we can and should be around, especially when so many seem to just be *over* taking things seriously. I am absolutely over this whole pandemic, but it’s not over with us, so we will continue to be cautious. And stock back up in preparation of this fall, where I hope we don’t see supply line failures and skyrocketing COVID cases. No matter what, we plan to be prepared.

Really, I really, really hope I’m wrong, but I don’t see things getting better for a good while yet. And that’s definitely wearing. So if things feel extra hard again now, know you aren’t alone.



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Friday’s Frugal Five

1. We’ve decided that we will for sure be homeschooling the kiddo for his kindergarten year, or at least this fall. Our school district has announced that they are starting the year fully remote, but that just didn’t seem like a great deal for kindergarten and his start to K-12 school. Homeschooling was something we never thought was in the cards for us, but then again, neither was a global pandemic.

We haven’t started preparing in earnest yet like One Frugal Girl, but my mother did send us a dry erase lap board for the kiddo to practice his writing on. He’s had a blast with it, and we don’t have to keep finding scrap pieces of paper for him to practice on (or use up new sheets of paper).

blueberry picking
Gardening will definitely factor in to the homeschooling curriculum

2. I racked up enough Bing rewards points again and cashed them out for another $10 in Amazon gift cards. There are a few other options (Starbucks, REI) that we might have used, but it’s easy to just put the money into our Amazon account and then have a “discount” the next time we go to order something.

While I am definitely working on making more of our purchases off-Amazon, we are nowhere near perfect. And until then, I’ll continue to appreciate the small gift cards I get for doing nothing other than regular internet searching.

3. As of last month, I cut back to my 80% time at work, but unlike before, I now have a whole day off with the kiddo (Thursdays) instead of simply shorter hours at work. This was to help solve part of our childcare issue, but I’m finding that I love the full day break in the middle of the week. It feels like I have two Fridays now – Wednesday and Friday.

For whatever reason too, I don’t feel the same pressure to get things done at a rapid clip like I sometimes do on the weekends. Thursdays are there for whatever the two of us feel like doing. If we are productive, great, but if we spend an hour doing nothing much, that’s great too. We are so lucky to have this flexibility, and Thursdays are perhaps the best part of my life right now.

4. We went to our favorite farmer’s market over the weekend, and I picked up a good size bag of jalapeno “seconds” to do some canning. We can devour cowboy candy in large quantities throughout the year if we have it on hand, so I’m working on making sure we have enough to last us the winter.

We also picked a bunch of blackberries and put up some jam. My anxiety about possible supply chain and lockdown issues for this fall has definitely gotten me more focused on growing and preserving more of our food, but it’s a habit I plan to continue into the future. Looking at a well stocked cabinet full of food I’ve canned (and often grown) myself fills me with a real sense of security and contentedness. Canning supplies have been scare in many areas lately as well, so I’ve picked up more lids and rings as well as some reusable lids (since I use Mason jars for fridge and pantry storage as well – they are NOT for canning!).

garden bounty
A day’s garden bounty (squash from my MIL)

5. I’ve started working on my fall and winter garden in earnest. In this past week, I’ve continued to harvest the summer garden, but I’ve also planted purple sprouting broccoli, kale, leeks, green onions, carrots, peas (both snap and shelling), fava beans, and beets. I’ve also purchased cabbage, leek, and celery starts.

I’ll continue to plant and transplant into the fall, and I’m still hoping that enough of my peppers and tomatoes ripen to be able to can some of those as well. Regardless, I want to be harvesting something from the garden through the winter until the earliest shoots come up in the spring. I’ve had a decent garden for a while, but I’ve taken my Coronavirus victory garden up a level this year.

Exercise Update

The kiddo ran twice again with me this week, Sunday and Thursday. I then also ran by myself Tuesday and Wednesday, with Tuesday being a HIIT workout as well (trading off sprints and walking around the track at the elementary school near our house). I also did some body weight workouts Tuesday and some real lifting on Wednesday (thanks, gym of mom and dad!). They might be a bit out of my way, but lifting there made me think I need to figure out a way to do it more often.

I’m stretching my heel out often, but I still haven’t gotten back to a regular yoga routine. Perhaps a goal for September? I keep find myself working out in the garden in the time I could be doing a yoga routine.

How is August holding up for you? Are you feeling the same oppressive weight that I am? 

18 thoughts on “Friday’s Frugal Five (COVID-19 Week 24)

  1. Ah, I like your antiquey 2019 photo! Often these days when I see a crowd in a movie or something, it’s a little jarring. (Even more jarring was seeing a local baseball diamond looking just like a normal summer night, with lots of kids and families together sans masks.) I keep thinking that the isolation of today feels quite different from the isolation of spring. We felt such solidarity with each other then, I think, because even though we still had our differences, most of us were sheltering in place. Now, we’re still living isolated but much of the country has gone back to normal. It’s weird. Hard to stick with the caution we believe is best while others are gathering with friends, going out, and assuming this virus can’t touch them personally.

    Glad you’re enjoying your Thursdays off! What a great chance to recharge mid-week. I’m sure your kiddo will do great with homeschool kindergarten (gardening is a great addition!). While we are going to follow our school’s curriculum from home, we are looking forward to incorporating lots of practical learning into our days, with music and personal finance and nature hikes. I do feel badly for the many families who have been counting on in-person school this fall and now have to figure out backup plans and don’t have the flexibility we do to make the best of things.

    Always good to read your updates!

    1. I feel the same way about movies! And it’s not even always a crowd – sometimes it’s just a scene of a few characters in a room acting “normal” that makes me do a double-take and worry for a moment about the characters’ and the actors’ safety! It’s so bizarre.

      1. And it’s only been six months of this…. no wonder those who grew up in the Great Depression were impacted for life.

    2. Not “my” photo, but I loved it and had to share! And I 100% agree with you on the feeling different than March and April – and harder in many ways.

  2. Buy dry erase pockets so you don’t have to waste paper. You can print out one sheet of lined paper, tuck it inside the envelope, let the kid practice handwriting on the lines, then dry erase, and do it all over again! You can also use these for other worksheets. If you’ve never seen them before text me and I’ll send you a link!

    1. Thank you for sending me that link! Will definitely be getting some of those.

  3. Your motivation level is on point! Gardening, home schooling, working out, candying jalapenos (gosh darn that looks so good!)… seriously impressive.

    This month I’ve definitely noticed a shift in moods and perspectives as well… and I’m worried for those friends and loved ones of mine that are starting to honestly express their feelings of depression around the whole thing. I just keep trying to think one day at at time, and will continue to encourage everyone to not give up. I am still holding out hope we may start seeing positive changes in the beginning of 2021. Hang in there <3

    1. Hi! I’m new here. 🙂 August has been exciting for me as I prepared to launch my blog, something I hadn’t expected to do prior to reaching FIRE (and building a life exciting enough to blog about). Curious how a lack of alternatives can change our point of view! I appreciate your willingness to document your thoughts and feelings as the weeks unfold.

      1. Make sure to join Twitter! Where all the PF bloggers (and some non bloggers) hang out ☺️

    2. One day at a time is definitely harder six months in. But hard to look too far out when you realize we are still in this for so long yet.

  4. Yeah, we’re in the same homeschooling boat—I didn’t want my daughter’s kindergarten year to be so strange and to have her introduction to school be so up and down (especially as we’ll be moving–again–within the next few months). We plan to start this Wednesday, and it’s been funny to see all my old teacher tendencies come up again (I used to teach 7th grade before I quit to stay at home with my kids).

    Anyway, good luck with the next little while and with your homeschooling! I’m sure you’ll be great <3

    1. Well, you definitely have more experience than me in this! But I figure that it will be much better than trying to navigate online kinder for this year.

  5. I’ve been following on Instagram and your garden bounty has been awesome this year. ALSO yes ! lets not let our covid guard down, physical distancing and maintaining our bubbles is still so very important

    1. My garden has been my saving grace this year for sure, and my extra time definitely shows.

  6. Interestingly, I felt like July was much harder for me than August currently is. I decided to not renew my lease and move in indefinitely with my parents (I’ve been crashing with them since March) and making that official decision ended a lot of uncertainty I was dealing with. The weather has also been nicer. That being said, I do feel myself longing for community and belonging more often. Like you, I worry a lot about the fall – and especially the winter. It’s going to get harder from here. I feel deep sadness at times; but I think that’s better than the apathy I felt throughout July.

    I love reading & seeing your garden updates! I’ve enjoyed the fruits of my dad’s garden, which he expanded this year. He hasn’t done any fall or winter planting, but we do also have a local CSA, which assuages some of my supply-chain fears.

    Lastly just want to say (again) that I love reading your blog and following along with your life. You hold so much inspiration for me!

    1. Making that decision officially had to be a weight off, even if it was a hard one. Here’s to hoping winter isn’t quite as bad as we both expect it to be ❤️

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