September is always a good time for starting new things – the seasons are changing, school starts (or, now that I’m out of school myself, I get to see lots and lots of kids at the library starting the school year, and boy does that change the rhythm at work), the church calendar restarts.  I’m a fan of fall in general (hello, sweaters!) and this year I got my own little kick-start by moving at the end of August.  So September has been all about settling in and developing new (hopefully good) habits.

While I can’t say I’ve done anything impressive with my reading this month (pretty ho-hum-average with 12 books read so far – the day isn’t over), I’ve made a few other small steps.  I’m back in a super-walkable neighborhood, so I’m trying to develop two habits here.  One is walking to stuff I can, like the cluster of restaurants that’s 15 minutes away.  So far we’ve walked to eat out once a weekend.  Sometimes I’m super hungry and have to fight the urge to jump in the car because it’s faster, but I’m always glad walking back to have a chance to let dinner settle (plus, if I wanted to I could have more than one beer and still make it home!)

The other walkable-neighborhood habit is to just walk.  The neighborhood is pretty flat, there are sidewalks, and there are lots of great houses to drool over.  My old neighborhood only had the houses, and not even as many of those.  Over the summer, I got into the habit of driving to a nearby park where I could do my loop without fear of getting run over.  Here, I can even walk after dark, which is especially handy in the winter.  Or I can do what I did today and go for a nice long walk up soak up the sunshine while it lasts.

Another step is to get more organized about food and cooking.  This involves planning, which I’m still figuring out, and finding a balance between frugality and deliciousness.  I’ll feel super-frugal one day and daydream about big pots of beans from scratch, and then I’ll go buy $20 worth of nuts at Trader Joe’s.  So far I’ve been planning two meals per week, we’re eating out once, and the other nights are a combination of leftovers and sandwiches.  I might work up to planning 3 meals and leaving more leftovers for my lunches.

The nuts remind me of another new food habit – homemade granola.  I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve made that recipe, each time ever-so-slightly different.  The last batch has oats, a double-helping of pecans, a heap of coconut, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, butter, maple syrup, a big scoop of peanut butter, and vanilla.  I’m also going through tubs of yogurt with it, so I’ve been slacking on my raw milk drinking, but this is so much more satisfying than cheerios with banana (and raw milk) for breakfast.  I’ve been going through enough oats that I think it’s time to invest in more canisters so I can buy oats (and maybe coconut) in bulk from Bob’s Red Mill, instead of buying it by the bag.

Next up on the to-do list: start having people over for meals!  The apartment is cozy, but I can fit 6 people around the table.

Now I just need to figure out how it came to be the last day of September…