A Few Of My Favorite Things {September 2019}

posted by Andrea | 09/2/2019

I’m often asked if I “dread” September because it means Dave goes back to school… and I suppose in the past (when the kids were all so little and needed me to do everything for them) I didn’t especially look forward to Dave going back to school. 

However, I don’t think I’ve ever “dreaded” September! 

In fact, it’s one of my favorite months because it includes the start of Fall / Autumn — which is my most favorite season of the year (if you’ve never experienced a West Michigan Fall, you are totally missing out!) 

I’m glad to get back into a routine again (I love the school routine) and I’m excited about all the fun things Fall brings! 

I’m sharing a few more of my favorite things in today’s post! 

DISCLOSURE: None of these products are sponsored; however, some of the links below are affiliate links — which means that at no cost to you, I may get a small commission. Please know that I use these products daily in my own home and life. Read my full disclosure policy for more information.

Also, check out my Amazon Market for all my favorite things.

Unger Rectangular 6 Gallon Bucket

Dave and I got this 6-gallon bucket (in blue, not green) close to 10 years ago now. At the time, we almost returned it because we thought it would be “too big”. 

I’m glad we didn’t though because I can’t even count the number of times and variety of ways we have used this bucket over the last decade. 

It is SO easy to carry because of the rectangular shape — we use it to carry sand toys to the beach, we use it to wash the car, we use it as a place for little kiddos to play in the water without getting completely wet, and we’ve even used it to give our toddlers a bath outside. 

We take our “big blue bucket” with us all the time, and it’s always “in use” around our house!

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Vintage Blue Mason Jars

I’ve had a dozen pint and quart size mason jars sitting in a box in my basement since I got married.

Of course, they don’t all just “sit” there year-round — I use them throughout my home for various decorative purposes, and flower arrangements (especially this time of year). 

I feel like they fit my simple, casual, farmhouse decor style perfectly!

More recently, we started using them for our kids’ money banks (with these galvanized lids). They are a perfect size, and they look so fun in their rooms! 

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Precooked Sausage Links from Costco

A couple of weeks ago, I shared a detailed list of what I buy at Costco — and these sausages were on my list. 

We first tried them last winter at a friend’s house, and since I know this friend eats very healthfully, I was surprised she was serving pre-cooked frozen sausages. 

When I asked her about them, she pulled the bag from the freezer and showed me that they had very few extra ingredients and were pretty “clean” (pork, water, salt, spices, sugar). 

I was mainly just interested in the fact that my kids LOVED them, and that they were fairly reasonably priced at Costco ($10 for 3.5 pounds). 

Since then, we buy a bag (or 2) of these sausages every time we head to Costco — they certainly make it even easier for our family to enjoy a hot breakfast on school mornings

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Chalkboard Labels 

Although I’m a self-professed “non-labeler”, there are times when labeling is a must in order for things to stay organized in and around our home. 

Many times, the kids need things labeled so we can keep their things “separate” (like school supplies and the money banks I showed above), and now that I buy so much of our food in bulk, I need labels on many of our pantry foods as well.

 

I was given a large set of chalkboard labels YEARS ago — and for whatever reason, I hung on to them, even though I had no use for them at the time. 

Well, low and behold, I now have a use for them, and boy do I love them! 

They stick SOOOOOOOO much better than the masking tape or Post-it tape I was previously using… and they look a lot nicer too! 🙂

NOTE: if you are thinking of using chalkboard labels, I’d highly recommend buying a fine-point chalkboard marker as well — they make writing on the labels much easier — especially for smaller spice jars.

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Birkenstock Sandals ($2 from a garage sale)

Back in May, the boys and I happened to walk past a garage sale at a retirement condominium on our way to a park. I didn’t want to stop but the boys were begging me… so we stopped 🙂 

Of course, there were no toys or anything the boys were interested in, but can you believe I found a pair of Birkenstock sandals IN MY SIZE for $2!!!!! 

I have very wide feet and everyone always tells me I should try Birkenstocks — but I was never willing to spend that type of money on sandals (plus, I’m not really a “name brand” type of person.)

However, I feel I am now “ruined” when it comes to future sandals because whenever this pair wears out, I will most definitely fork up the money for a new pair! 

They are AMAZING! They are so comfortable for my wider feet, and I can totally dress them up or down depending on what I’m wearing.

I’ve basically lived in these sandals all summer long, and Simon enjoys reminding me that if it weren’t for them begging me to go to the garage sale, I wouldn’t have found my favorite sandals! 

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That’s all for me this month.

Check out my previous months’ favorite things — and feel free to share some of YOUR favorite things in the comments below!

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31 comments

  1. Nancy

    09/06/2019

    I’m a fan of Birks! So comfy. I received a new pair from our daughters this year for Mother’s Day. Definitely a gift I use daily!

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  2. Carol Lorette

    09/03/2019

    I am also a Birkenstock fan. My hubby always teases me that I would probably wear them all winter if my feet would stay warm. They are on my feet from the time snow melts until snow falls again.
    I actually bought them in a few different colours over the years. Watching for sales is the only reason I did this but I cannot beat your cost.

    Your idea for the jar banks has given me an idea for Christmas gifts for a few of my grand kids. They love getting money and and this could help them get off to a saving start. Thank you.

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  3. Carol L Triebel

    09/03/2019

    Birkenstock sandals can be restored/repaired so you may be able to have them for a long, long time! Our local shoe repair store offers this service.

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    Andrea Reply:

    good to know — thanks

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  4. Natalia Gramada

    09/03/2019

    I love that Simon feels he has contributed to your happiness! So sweet!

    One of my favorite items that I use all the time, and I don’t know how I survived before having them:
    oven-safe glass food storage containers with locking lids
    I bought 2 different sizes – 14 pcs total. I love that I can transfer the food to them from frying pans, serve it, cover and refrigerate leftovers, reheat (microwave or oven), then serve again.
    They stack perfectly on top of each other, and it’s so easy to see what I have when I open the fridge – it makes me smile 🙂

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    Andrea Reply:

    I’ve been more interested in glass food storage containers too recently — it IS so nice to be able to move them from the fridge to the freezer to the oven, etc.
    And yes, Simon is the sweetest! 🙂

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  5. Allison

    09/02/2019

    I live in Birkenstocks in the Summer months. I generally wear them every day and each pair has lasted at least 10 years. I even have Birkenstocks that are not sandals that I bought at the factory store in Germany to wear in the Fall. This Summer I took my daughter to a Birkenstock outlet when we were in Germany and bought a pair for her and her cousin. They are both in love with them now. Just a tip, I once stained the inside of the footbed with tomato sauce and saddle soap works really well to clean them and keep them smelling good.

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  6. Margaret

    09/02/2019

    Been a Birkenstock fan since the early 1980s, when I was living in Ireland, and German friends would take orders before they went home, and then return with stuffed backpacks. If the rubber starts to wear down (always happens to me, since I walk like half a duck) you can try googling “birkenstock repair near me” or birkenstock repair by mail”. The cork footbeds last about forever, and replacing the rubber sole is much cheaper than buying a new pair. I replace mine when the tread starts to wear off, since you can skate on spilled water when they’re smooth.
    A great product, and (IMHO) totally worth the full retail price.

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    Andrea Reply:

    cool Thanks for sharing!

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    Linda Reply:

    Mieras Shoes on Leonard St in Grand Rapids repair Birkenstock’s. My husband usually gets a pair done once a year as he wears them to do his morning walks. They look brand new when he gets them back.

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    Andrea Reply:

    wow — morning walks in Birkenstocks! That’s impressive!

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  7. Amy

    09/02/2019

    Birkenstocks are so wonderful for wide feet! I wore them 10-15 miles per day at Disney with zero foot or back pain. I have worn mine nonstop since I got them. I highly recommend getting their cork sealer to keep your cork in good shape.

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    Andrea Reply:

    wow — good to know. I doubt I’ll need to test them out at Disney any time soon (LOL) but I’ll give them plenty of wear around here!

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  8. Susanne

    09/02/2019

    My family gave me my first pair of Birkenstocks for Mother’s Day. I have lived in them ever since!

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    Andrea Reply:

    now you’re “ruined” too — you’ll need to spend the money to buy more if they ever wear out! haha!!

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  9. Ashley

    09/02/2019

    Andrea, with your love of Mason jars you have to check out Mason Jar Lifestyle! They have so many neat accessories for jars, practically all of which are useful and expand the number of ways you can utilize jars. They’re a little family run company that ships super fast and everything is very reasonably priced. They have sales, too

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    Andrea Reply:

    sweet — I just checked them out this afternoon! Wow, such cool stuff! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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  10. Barb

    09/02/2019

    I never wanted to buy used shoes, especially sandals where people would wear them without socks, because of the sanitary issue. How did you clean your sandals?

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    Andrea Reply:

    you know, I normally am not a “used sandle” person either, but these just fit me so well and were so cheap that I couldn’t pass it up.
    I’ll be honest, I didn’t really clean them all that much! I used a disinfectant wipe to wipe them down but that’s it. Based on the house they came from and the lady who was selling them (and the fact that they hardly looked worn) I felt OK about wearing them with no socks.

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  11. Ashley

    09/02/2019

    I highly recommend buying Birkenstock’s EVA sandals for your next pair. Much much less expensive than the leather ones, all lightweight and comfy EVA plastic, so they’re waterproof and indestructible (they also come in great colors, several styles, and kid’s sizes too!)

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    Andrea Reply:

    so kind of like the Crocs material?
    I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge fan of that plastic/rubber feel on my feet (I’ve never liked crocs for myself) but I suppose it’s worth a try. I’d have to find a store that sells them so I could actually try them on!

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    Ashley Reply:

    Yes, but they look and feel just like Birks. I know Famous footwear sells them in stores, not sure if you have that chain in MI. Amazon and Zappos should let you return for free as well. Unlike how crocs can rub on my feet, these have been great since day one!

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    Andrea Reply:

    good to know! And yes, we have Famous Footwear stores around here — I’ll have to look them up! Thanks!

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  12. Lisa K.

    09/02/2019

    I’ve always loved Birkenstocks as they are one of the few shoes that provide the adequate arch support I need. The only downside for me is that the cork on the bottom eventually starts to crumble. This summer I tried their new style that is made out of foam. I don’t think they look as nice as original Birkenstocks, but I actually find them even more comfortable (very lightweight), they are way cheaper ($40), and there is no cork to eventually break down.

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    Andrea Reply:

    yes, someone else recommended these as well. I’m with you in the sense that I don’t like the look as much, but I will look into them if/when I need to replace my sandals!

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  13. Christina

    09/02/2019

    Birks! Love them! I’ve had mine for a few years (bought with a gift card I received). I think I’m going to have to replace them next summer. I will gladly fork over my own money for a new pair. They’re so comfortable and I wear them constantly through the summer. I recently read that you can buy cork sealer to protect the cork and extend the life of the shoe. I’m going to give that a try with the next pair.

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    Andrea Reply:

    yes, someone else recommended the cork sealer to me too! Good to know!

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  14. Annette Silveira

    09/02/2019

    My favorite thing from August is finding Imperfect Produce. It’s a delivery service that focuses on sourcing food that might go to waste. Your carrots may be wonky, your avocados may be small, your squash may be from an excess order.

    You can customize your box each week from the available produce. They also have non-produce items that are about to expire so can’t be sold at a store and lots of other things offered in an effort to allow you to complete your shopping list in one place.

    They deliver right to your doorstep. Unpack the box and leave it out the next week. They donate them to food banks to reduce expenses for the food bank.

    Go to imperfectproduce.com to enter your zip code to see if they deliver to your area.

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    Andrea Reply:

    wow — so cool! Thanks for sharing Annette!

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    Shan K Lao Reply:

    Wow, definitely will try it out! They deliver to our zip code.

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  15. Chris

    09/02/2019

    How cute of Simon to say that! 🙂 I bought my Skechers after reafing your post on them years ago. They are comfortable!

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