It’s no secret that September is my favorite month of the year. I love summertime because the weather in New England isn’t terrible and filled with snow, but the heat and humidity are not friends of mine. September means cooler weather, fall activities, and lots of life events I love – my birthday, my anniversary, football starting up again, the Big E (a New England must), other fairs and festivals, pumpkin and/or apple picking, and so many other things. This post is to share some of my goals for the rest of this month and the season ahead, wrap up some of the things I’ve done so far in September, share my birthday book haul, and talk football.
I didn’t post about my birthday when it happened last week (September 9th) because I had a blog tour that day. I’ve been trying to be better about saving money and budgeting so unfortunately a giveaway didn’t happen either. Regardless, Chris took the day off from work so we could hit up some of my favorite places all day… and end with my favorite food. Here’s how we celebrated throughout the week since I was on vacation all week!
Earlier in the week, I went to Dave & Buster’s on half-price-game-Wednesday with my friends. We had some good food then played games all night. Chris and I have been saving our points for about a year and, even though we don’t go that often, we have over 18,000 right now. The following day, I had lunch with my mom at one of our favorite spots and then hung around the pool with her all afternoon. It was a gorgeous day and I’m glad we can both read in companionable silence 😉
Friday was the big day. 25 years old. So weird. I didn’t take a lot of pictures on my actual birthday for some reason, but you can see what the Book Barn looks like here in this post. So as you can tell by that sentence, we went down to the Book Barn for the day! We also went to my favorite “chain” bookstore, Books-a-Million. BAM and the Book Barn are basically in the same area, an hour away from us, so it’s a good place to spend the whole day. After the bookish adventures, we went home for a few minutes to relax. For dinner, we went to Willington Pizza – home of the amazing red potato pizza! It’s unreal how good it is. We spent the rest of the night watching a movie (Ocean’s Eleven – Chris had never seen it!) and I colored in my new coloring book.
Birthday Book Haul
Between Book Barn and BAM, I ended up with quite a few books! I’m pretty sure I spent around $35 on all of them? Not too bad. I’d been looking to get the entire Secrets of my Hollywood Life series because I’ve been meaning to reread and finish the series. I’ve read the first two but keep letting the library fines pile up on them. Now I own them! They were each $1 thanks to the Book Barn. I also got a few other books I’ve been meaning to pick up: A Midsummer’s Nightmare, one of my favorite Keplinger books, was on sale at BAM for like nothing. I got this rude coloring book that’s so funny. All the pictures and quotes are so fun to color in too. I was afraid I wouldn’t get into the coloring fad, but I’m really enjoying it while I watch TV at night.
Football is Back!
I don’t really even want to talk about football right now because yes I’m still bitter about the Superbowl and the previous game to start the season. (I will talk to you if you’d like to talk about the extremely dirty helmet-to-helmet hits that the refs never called and how the Panthers should have won.) Regardless, football season is my absolute FAVORITE time of year. There’s nothing better than keeping Sundays wide open for football. Seriously, it’s the best kind of day. I love making football food and hanging around the house (or my dad’s, since he has Sunday Ticket for us to watch the Panthers). Speaking of football food, here are some things I plan on making this season:
My Tried-and-True Buffalo Chicken Dip
1 block of cream cheese
1 large can of chicken or cooked, shredded chicken
Shredded Mexican cheese (as much as you’d like)
Ranch dressing (same guideline as above)
Buffalo sauce to taste
Bleu cheese crumbles (optional topping or mix-in)
Directions: I just mix everything together in a small crock-pot and cook it on high until it’s all melted. I add buffalo sauce and ranch dressing as needed to decide on the taste I’m going for. It really is an easy trial-and-error system. Alternatively, you could microwave the dip until it all blends together smooth. It doesn’t alter the flavor at all!
New Favorite: Crack Dip
16 oz sour cream
1 packet Ranch dressing mix
3 oz precooked bacon pieces (in the bag)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Directions: Mix everything together and let it chill for 24 hours if possible. It’ll taste fine otherwise though! I made this dip once I saw it on Erin’s blog and I have to say, it’s super addicting once you start eating it. We like to have it with chips with ridges, but I think it would be good with tortilla chips and Fritos!
Anniversary and Other September Things
Chris and I started going out on September 16, 2012, so this year marks our four year anniversary. It’s crazy to think that we’ve lived together for three of those years too! Chris is such a hilarious, fun person, and I love being around him regardless of what we’re doing. For our anniversary, we went to a Korean BBQ place we’d been wanting to try for a while. Otherwise, we just hung out at home afterwards.
September also means the Big E, which is a huuuuge fair in Springfield, Mass, and people from all over New England come to it. Mini donuts are my favorite things about the Big E. This year my two friends are coming down to go with me, my mom, and Chris. It’ll be an excellent time; I can’t wait for another day off from work 😉
I saw the idea somewhere online to do a “17 by 2017” list for all of the goals you’d like to hit before next year. I want to do something like that but in the form of an autumn bucket list. (I also saw a great New England-based list here too.) I’ll keep things related to the season and this kind of weather obviously. Because there are 89 days in fall (about 12 weeks), I wanted to make a list that would give me at least one thing to do each week – so there’s 15!
- Visit at least one restaurant on the “Connecticut’s Best” list. We looked through the magazine that recently came out and wrote down some places we’d like to try. My favorite idea is a chicken and waffle place that happens to be right near our favorite local Lego store. Yesssss.
- Go pumpkin picking. This is an obvious one, especially where we live. I love picking pumpkins or visiting a different pumpkin patch each year. There are so so many nearby! Along those same lines…
- Go apple or some other fruit picking. I’m not great about keeping up with what fruits grow during which seasons, but there are lots of you-pick farms nearby too. We’ve been talking about picking apples or some other kind of fruit, depending on what’s around, so I want to make that a priority.
- Try out a new fair or carnival in Connecticut. Obviously September is festival and fair season! We always go to the Big E, like I mentioned, but we want to try a new one. There are some on our radar and some that already passed. We’ve been thinking of the Durham Fair. We had a lot of fun at the Woodstock Fair last year even though it was a million degrees outside.
- Finally clean out and sort through our garage. We’re currently lucky to have so much storage space in the garage, but it becomes a dumping ground… especially since my mom came by and gave me way too much shit from my old bedroom. We’ve been talking about going through everything and getting rid of stuff when the weather is okay. We also want to get big Rubbermaid totes for things instead of cardboard boxes.
- Get a pumpkin spice-related thing every week. I’ve been SO good about not buying coffee anymore. I don’t go to Dunkin Donuts on my way to work pretty much ever. I used to go once a week on Fridays to treat myself but I even cut that back. So, I hope to change that a bit during these few months because PUMPKIN SPICE SEASON. I can’t believe I’ve only had one PSL so far. I definitely want to get it once a week – no more, no less. If I don’t do the coffee, maybe try some other pumpkin things.
- Research a recipe or dessert and bring it for Thanksgiving(s). We always have 2 houses to hit up on Thanksgiving and I’d love to come up with a recipe. I have a good, easy pumpkin pie one but I want to try something new. Along the same lines…
- Find new football food ideas. As I said, Sundays = football. (Mondays and Thursdays too of course but you get the idea.) I usually stick with the basics above but I would love to have other fall-time recipes that I can bring through the winter. I’m thinking crockpot soups and more dips of all kinds! I love having something easy to toss in the crockpot. If there’s a 1:00 Panthers game and we go to my dad’s house for it, I can put something in the crockpot before we leave and it could be done when we get home.
- Keep eating and making new breakfast things. I made a reaaaally good breakfast casserole last week and we ate the majority of it. It’s hard for Chris to heat anything up in the morning before work though. I’d love to do the homemade frozen breakfast burrito thing so he can hold it in his hands instead of needing a plate. I want to experiment with heavier breakfasts and lighter meals later on.
- Go to the gym at least 2 times a week and start dieting of some kind. We did a good job of going to the gym for like three weeks. I seriously need to get my ass in gear. I feel so much better when I go! I’ve also wanted to get better about counting calories because I think that’s the only diet I could maybe keep up with. I plan to keep up with it over the weekdays because it’s much easier than the weekends. I think it’ll help.
- Start watching Christmas movies earlier than ever before (YES). I love Christmas and don’t care about Thanksgiving at all. I like to start listening to Christmas music right before Thanksgiving but I never get my ass going on the movie part. I want to watch so many sappy Hallmark Christmas movies this year in addition to my usual favorites. I really hope to do this the minute it hits November…
- Get into a good planner routine. As usual, I’m still struggling on the planner front. I want to bullet journal but stress too much about using pretty colors. I have my small Day Designer but it’s really hard to use it for goals and non-time-oriented events. I hope to find a winning combination of both of them maybe? I’m absolutely determined to have this squared away soon.
- Start couponing again. I hate the process of printing and clipping coupons but I think it’s a necessary evil. I have a cute coupon organizer from my dad and I want to pair that with the weekly flyer sales. We’ll see how I fare at this!
- Read, read, read. There’s nothing I love more than watching the snow fall while reading a book and drinking hot chocolate. This is just as good in the fall when I can still sit on the porch with a blanket and hot chocolate as the leaves change! I hope to get through lots of books I own and ARCs this autumn. I need to cut back on the library and book buying again.
- Do five things on my 101 in 1001 list. I started this list in 2015 and it ends in 2017. I’ve done so few of them! A lot are totally easy and I just checked a bunch off this summer. I just need to remember the list and actively try to work on it. This season, I hope to check off at least five more things from the list.