A Few of My Favorite Things {October 2019}

posted by Andrea | 10/1/2019

October is such a good month for our family…

We’re settled into the back-to-school schedule and the busyness of the first month is behind us.

We’re anticipating all the fun holiday festivities coming up in the next few months, but we don’t have the busyness upon us just yet.

The weather is cooler but not cold.

The leaves are starting to change but we don’t have any leaves to rake yet.

Candy Corn is on sale at almost every grocery store — this is my favorite candy corn snack mix

It’s apple season in Michigan… enough said! 

These are just a few of the MANY reasons Fall is my favorite season! 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.

Waterproof Work Boots

Believe it or not, I’ve actually never had a pair of work boots — even after so many years of house projects and landscaping work. 

I’ve always just worn grubby shoes that I no longer cared much about. 

However, this past year, I didn’t have any shoes grubby enough, so I finally decided to buy myself a pair of real work boots.

Best of all… they are waterproof! 

I can’t tell you how many times my feet have gotten wet while doing yard work — now I don’t need to worry about that anymore. 

These are the exact boots I purchased (Magellan Outdoor brand from Academy.com)

One thing I specifically wanted to mention is that I had a VERY difficult time finding “women’s work boots” so I ended up buying them from the boys’ department (which also meant they were considerably cheaper). If you have larger feet, you might just want to buy men’s boots in a smaller size. 

I’ve had my boots for 7 months now and am thrilled with my purchase! 

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Thrift Store Costumes

Truthfully, our family does almost nothing to ‘celebrate’ Halloween… however, our kids absolutely LOVE playing dress-up all year round, and we do like getting dressed up for various birthday party themes (see photo above taken from Nora’s Cinderella Pary). 

Every October, we hit up our local thrift stores at least 2 or 3 times to scope out the fabulous deals on costumes… we always have a healthy supply in our dress-up closet

We usually buy a handful of new-to-us costumes every year (often for only $1 or $2 per costume) and we enjoy wearing them ALL year long — for birthday parties, for special days at school or in the community, playing dress-up at home, and for Halloween. 

Two years ago, I found Melissa & Doug costumes for everyone (Police Officer, Vet, Fire Fighter, and Waitress)… and this year, we already scored 2 awesome costumes for the boys and a fun little pink fairy costume for Clara (no pictures of this one yet). 

If you have thrift stores in your area (and little kids who love playing dress-up) this is one of the BEST months of the year to find amazing deals on costumes. 

I’ve even bought them in October but saved them for Christmas gifts — the kids were thrilled to open their gently-used gifts! 

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Cambro Food Storage Containers

An older friend gave me her old set of 3 very large food storage containers soon after Dave and I got married. I used them for sugar, flour, and other baking necessities over the years. 

They are HUGE, and so handy for a variety of food storage uses — especially making my refrigerator bread dough (I shared this recipe many years ago) and now baking lots of whole-grain bread.

I feel like they are basically in constant rotation in my kitchen — either on the counter, in the pantry, in the fridge, or waiting to be washed. 

I realize not everyone will have a need for such large food storage containers, but if you regularly make big batches of bread dough (or big batches of anything) or if you buy lots of bulk foods, I HIGHLY recommend the Cambro brand. 

They are extremely well made, they come in a variety of sizes, the lids fit quite tight, and they are clear so you can easily see what’s inside. 

I currently have two 6-quart containers and two 12-quart containers. If I were to purchase more, I would most likely buy the round 6-quart container

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Land’s End Backpacks 

When Nora was in preschool, she wanted a Frozen-themed backpack (the kind with Elsa’s braided hair that actually hung down from the backpack!) I found her one on clearance and thought I got a deal of a lifetime since it was less than $10 (originally over $40!) 

The zipper broke after 2 months and the braid was pulled off by another student (on accident) about halfway through the year. 

Needless to say, it wasn’t a great deal. 

When she started Kindergarten, I decided I wanted to “invest” in a great backpack that would last her throughout elementary school. I heard excellent reviews on Land’s End backpacks so I started browsing online. 

This just so happened to be the week Land’s End was having their back-to-school sale and selling backpacks for as low as $7.99 after all the coupons and discount codes! 

WHAT! 

Obviously, I bought one — and 3 years later, it’s still going strong! 

Since then, I’ve purchased both boys’ backpacks from Land’s End (both for $7.99) and I even bought one for Dave and one for myself (they were $9.99). 

The backpacks are amazingly well made — to the point where they can withstand elementary school brutality for many years without showing a thing! 🙂

If you need a new backpack, wait until the 1st or 2nd week in August, then check out the Land’s End selection and enjoy not shopping for backpacks again for many years! 🙂

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Craft Paper Cutter

Growing up, I always thought these paper cutters were SOOOOO cool (probably because I never had one).  

Soon after Dave and I got married, I bought myself a craft cutter — and although I truly am not a very crafty person, I use this cutter ALLLL the time. Now the older 3 kids are to the point where they can use it too — and in my opinion, it’s actually a lot safer than using scissors for really little kids. 

We use them anytime we make our beloved countdown chains (which is fairly regularly around here!)

I love how compact and portable it is. I love how accurately it cuts, and I love how sharp the blade is (I’ve never replaced it in 13 years). 

Even if you are not a crafter, I’m certain you can find a use for this handy-dandy paper cutter! 

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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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29 comments

  1. Stacie Kats

    10/17/2019

    Hi! I’ve been enjoying your site and fb posts over the last month or so! I love thrift store costumes! or 2nd hand or hand me down or any kind of costumes I don’t have to buy from an actual store for $30+ 🙂 I actually also have a super random question….nothing related to this post, was wondering if you have any tips or tricks to your white teeth. I’ve been looking/asking around for myself and my 9 year old daughter whose teeth are yellowing a bit. (although for me drinking coffee I’m sure doesn’t help:( ) Anyway, if you have any tips or recommendations, I’d love to hear them!
    Looking forward to going back in your posts and looking at recipes and parenting advice, etc.! Have a great day!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Stacie,
    I honestly have no secrets for whiter teeth — but I don’t drink wine, coffee, pop, or any other things that could stain my teeth.
    I just use crest whitening toothpaste and that’s it!

    [Reply]

  2. Susanne

    10/05/2019

    YES to the paper cutter and good quality book bags!!! I use a paper cutter at home for so many small tasks. My son is a senior in high school and he has only used 3 backpacks since PreK. I feel like he could have gotten away with 2 but we switched to a team colors pack for high school since he plays so many sports and it doubles as his sports bag. My daughter just started high school and she just got her third pack. Her previous bag is still going strong and I still use it occasionally.

    [Reply]

  3. Gillian E Delledonne

    10/05/2019

    Cambro containers are well worth the money that is spent on them. Foodservice quality, meaning they will last you longer than almost any product you can buy retail.

    The paper cutter is awesome. I have one and I use it on a regular basis.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, the food containers have lasted for 15 years already (and I got them used!)

    [Reply]

  4. Stephanie

    10/02/2019

    I also love having a paper cutter! I used to make cards back when I was kid less and then recently started using these craft items for kids projects! I agree on spending the money on good backpacks—we have been going strong for 2 years with pottery barn backpacks. This is my favorite post of the month!! Thanks for sharing!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Stephanie — and you’re welcome!

    [Reply]

  5. Margaret

    10/01/2019

    I’ve always been happy with Lands’ End, both with the quality of their product and their customer service. My winter coat (over 20 years old and still going strong) is one of their Squall line. A few years ago one of my guide dog puppies pulled the coat down and destroyed the zipper. When I called the company to see what could be done they sent me a free zipper, even though I told them I didn’t expect anything to be Lab-puppy-proof. I found someone who does alterations and has a heavy-duty machine, and voila!
    I use their All-Weather Mocs as nursing shoes. Comfortable, stiff enough to deflect a wheelchair wheel, and waterproof.
    Good company, good products.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    sorry your comment got caught in the trash!
    Glad to hear you like their coat (we have a couple coats form them too!)

    [Reply]

  6. Leigh

    10/01/2019

    Cambro Food Storage Containers are also usually at Business Costco in a variety of sizes. They are on my list.

    We love the kids Lands End and LL Bean backpacks and they are going strong and washable. The Lands End lunch boxes are great too.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Good to know about the food storage containers! Thanks!

    [Reply]

  7. Elizabeth

    10/01/2019

    I love the Lands End backpack! My middle schooler has had hers for a few years. Although she asks me every year for a new one, I haven’t given in. Her’s looks practically brand new! This year they barely have a passing period so they carry all there books in their bags, the book bag is still going strong (her back???).

    Bought the one you have pictured for my pre school age daughter. She was a little bummed about not having a “cool” bag, but has grown to love it!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Nora did ask for another one this year (because both boys were getting one) but I decided she really did not need one and she let it go after a simple “not this year” — obviously her heart wasn’t too set on a new backpack!

    [Reply]

  8. Tonya

    10/01/2019

    YES Lands End back packs are the best! My daughter had her previous one 3 years and NO issues. She wanted a different one this year so I bought Lands end back pack There is an issue with production this year. Her new back pack ripped in 3 weeks. Land’s End will replace them free but all are on back order till November.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh my — II might need to look into this as I bought both boy’s backpacks this August! Thanks for letting me know!

    [Reply]

  9. ALM

    10/01/2019

    Land’s End backpacks are the best. Our ninth grader has only had three back packs in 9 years of school! I offered him a new one this year, but he declined & said his current one will last for the year.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    that’s awesome — minimalist kiddo!

    [Reply]

  10. PW

    10/01/2019

    I am an avid gardener and avid hiker. I have found the brand SLOGGERS gardening shoes and switched from my waterproof hiking boots & shoes when I found sloggers years ago. They come in various heights and you just slip into them instead of tying laces. Easier to clean than hiking boots I had to take a stick or brush to get the mud off the boots soles with sloggers I just hose them down or use a bucket of water and brush easy and fast. They are expensive but I have had mine for about 10 years and they finally split and hit the trash. Use them to rake leaves, gardening, messy inside projects. Wait till mud dries then bend and crack off mud then hose down lay in sun. Much easier than hiking boots. The soles are heavy so it you step on something sharp they can’t penetrate. I also had a 2nd pair of LL Bean got them on sale so I can switch off.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I will have to look into SLOGGERS — never heard of them before! I do love the idea of slip-on shoes!

    [Reply]

  11. Kellie

    10/01/2019

    I got so excited to see your Land’s End backpack on here! I got a lime green one when I was going into 6th grade (in 1998 ha) and that thing lasted all the way through middle school, high school, college, countless travels – I even took it on my honeymoon! I actually sent it in in 2014 because the zipper piece broke off (note that the zipper didn’t actually break, just the handle) and they replaced it for free no questions asked. I literally can think of no better quality item.

    [Reply]

    Rhonda Reply:

    I have a similar experience with Eddie Bauer backpacks. I had one for a long time in high school and college, took it travelling around Europe, and then after the zipper broke I brought it to their store, and they swapped it out with a brand new one – no questions asked!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    that’s amazing customer service!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    This is awesome! I actually still have my Jansport backpack from 6th grade too (circa 1996)!

    [Reply]

  12. jennifer

    10/01/2019

    How do you handle shipping on Land’s End’s site? I have always loved Land’s End (my kids do own backpacks from here) but if I don’t have enough to order, I skip them b/c I don’t want to pay their shipping. I also no longer use them for clothing for myself since our Sears went out of business (where we used to return items that did not fit).

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I just order extra things to make my total enough for free shipping. Then I return the extras to Sears. So yes, if I didn’t have a Sears store nearby, I might not order Land’s End items as often.

    [Reply]

    Rhonda Reply:

    If you have a Lands End retail store nearby, you can go to the computer kiosk in the store and order what you want with free shipping (to your home) with no minimum purchase requirement for the free shipping. I am not sure if Sears does this, but I would ask!

    [Reply]

    Debbie Reply:

    If you use PayPal to pay for your purchases at Land’s End, you can request a refund of your return shipping charges from PayPal. I haven’t had to use it yet, but I checked it out and it is legit! (I also read about that tip from another frugal blogging website).

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    interesting — glad to know this too!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    cool — thanks for sharing!

    [Reply]