Before I start babbling, I just need to let everyone know how excited I am ( and offer more evidence of what a big dork I am!). My Painter's Palette won the Craftster Challenge, I was featured for Foodie Friday, My Sex and the City Cupcakes are featured in Bakespace's newest newsletter, and my Oreo Crunch Fudge Bars are on the Hot 100 list. Fun! Now on to the babble...
I can't even believe that it is time to start thinking fall. I'm so resistant to letting summer end that I am just ignoring all of my usual late August rituals. Since I am yet to procure a full time teaching spot and may be subbing again in September, I am letting it all slide! Usually I do several things that help me to get ready for back to school without losing my mind:
A huge wardrobe once over: I pull out all of my fall clothes and try everything on. I then sort things into piles. One for the great-as-is stuff, one for anything that needs repair or tweaking, and one for items not worn in two years. The latter get photographed and posted to my Wardrobe Swap Shop. I use the next few weeks to do repairs and wash and iron all of the rest. Then I figure out what I need to buy. I love Tim Gunn's list of Ten Essentials, which I agree is the base of any great wardrobe. Once I'm happy that I have them all, I start scoping out new things I want to try out from fall collections, fashion blogs, or magazines. I'm a sucker for Lucky and InStyle since they tend to cater to more realistic shoppers like moi. Also, I like perusing Closet Couture, but many users have a style that can be a little too much for work wear! I make a list, check the sales and go to the stores, where I then STICK TO THE LIST! This is essential for me, since I am sometimes an impulsive shopper. It's for this same reason that I avoid online shopping. It would be the death of my bank account! All of that "Free Shipping for orders over $100!" and "10% off if you order by 9 PM!" is oh so tempting, but I've learned to stay away!
A freezer/pantry once over: I tend to buy food in bulk and when on sale, so my freezer fills up quickly. I take these next two weeks to pull out anything more than a month old and get cooking! Since the weather is still warm enough for grilling, I take full advantage of it. I absolutely love this Grilled Tuna with Mango Jalapeno Salsa and this Sweet and Sour Grilled Pork Loin with Apples and Onions is a fantastic meal for the transition into cooler weather. I also want to get the most out of late summer produce, so now is the time for freezing any berries, making jams, or canning fruits for the fall. I already made the blueberry preserves and raspberry dessert sauce that will likely make up part of many Christmas gifts this year (Yes, I just said Christmas. Ack!).
School Supply Shopping This is usually another big item on my to-do list, but if I'm subbing, I won't end up doing this at all. Normally I go through the same routine as I do with my wardrobe: check to see what I am low on or what new items I want to use, check sales and make a list. I still get all of my teacher discounts and specials, but I'm avoiding the office supply and book stores until I know for sure what I will be doing in September. I must admit, I'll miss it a bit. I love shopping for new books! For anyone who needs to boost their classroom libraries, end of summer yard sales and your local freecycle are the way to go! I have picked up most of my books there, especially from moms looking to clear out the bedrooms of their college bound kids!
Although I am sad that summer is ending, I must admit that I love autumn. I am looking forward to apple picking, wearing boots with tights, Halloween crafting, and costume parties, but still. The heat, the the food, the lazy afternoons are just bliss. However, it could be worse! If I had been on the beach at home all summer I would be suffering so much more! Wait, did I just discover a benefit of living in Michigan? Whoa.