July was named for Julius Caesar, the person who was responsible for changing the Roman calendar in 46 BC to what became known as the Julian calendar, with 365 days and one extra day every 4 years, otherwise known as a “Leap Year”. By the way, the Julian calendar was refined in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII to correct the year by 0.002%: The Julian calendar has 365.25 days and the Gregorian calendar has 365.2425 days.
July Fun Facts
- July: the month that Julius Caesar was born; he reformed the Roman calendar, which is why it is known as the “Julian” calendar, and therefore, he named this month after himself.
- Flower: Larkspur and Water Lily: according to Almanac.com, each color of larkspur has a different meaning: pink – fickleness, white – happy nature, purpose – first love. Symbolizes a strong bond of love. Water Lily symbolizes purity and majesty. And, according to Teleflora.com, the dolphin shaped Delphinium, which is the botanical name of larkspur, symbolizes open heart and ardent attachment, feeling of lightness and levity, and gentle.
- Birthstone: Ruby / rumor has it that the Ruby’s red glow is from an internal flame that cannot be extinguished and therefore, the ruby symbolizes everlasting love. If worn on the left hand, ancient lore has it that the Ruby wing good fortune to its wearer.
- Zodiac Signs: Cancer Crab (June 22/July 22) / Leo Lion (July 23/Aug 22).
- Northern Hemisphere Full Moon Names: Thunder Moon, Hay Moon.
- Southern Hemisphere Full Moon Names: Wolf Moon, Old Moon, Ice Moon.
July Tasks and Tips
I always combine tasks with awareness events. Below is a list of awareness days (as close to the actual date as possible), mixed with some tasks to consider doing in and around your home, and also some fun things to do and in some cases, foods that are commonly served around awareness events.
Below are examples of tasks and celebrations that I do on the days of July:
- De-stress by clearing off any one area of your home. I suggest that you make the area that you clear one that you see as soon as you walk into the room or home. That will motivate you to want to clear another area.
- Eat Outdoors, Handling Food Safety tips in preparation for weekend picnics and barbeques and particularly because of the upcoming Independence Day celebrations. Be sure to handle food correctly during the hot summer day so that everyone remains healthy. Focus on Food Safety: Washing Fruits & Veggies; Good Serving Practices; Refrigerate for Safety; Produce/Salad Area (avoid cross contamination).
- International Plastic Bag Free Day:- The average plastic bag is only used for 25 minutes before being trashed- It takes between 100-500 years for a plastic bag to disintegrate- 1 trillion plastic bags are in use around the world at any given minute- 80% of marine litter is plastic
There is an easy fix so that you leave this world in better condition for your kids, grand kids, marine life, etc. Bring your own bags and reuse them. Just remember to toss all of your reusable bags in the laundry once every 2-3 months to keep germs and other nasty things from growing inside your reusable bags.
Happy Birthday America!!!
- National Blueberries Month: Blueberries are GREAT for your health no matter what time of year because you can get them fresh in the summer and freeze them so you can have them in the winter, too. Blueberries right now are great in salads, on cereal, in oatmeal, in smoothies, and just plain. In the winter, I use them in pancakes, waffles, blueberry scones and blueberry bread and blueberry smoothies. I also make blueberry syrup with them to put over the top of those pancakes and waffles! If you pick your own, use the tip that I provide in Keep Foods Fresh Longer in the section titled: “berries” to extend the life of your blueberries. For other ways to use blueberries, see Fruits & Veggies, More Matters for the Top 10 Ways to Enjoy Blueberries.
- Set aside the first week of each month to do monthly planning: This to-do list making should happen at a set time. Schedule the time for this on your weekly calendar. Do according to what you value.
- Take a few minutes to clear off at least ONE surface such as a nightstand, dining room table, dresser, coffee table, kitchen counter, bedroom dresser, etc. It does not matter what surface you clear off. The point is to clear a space that you see every time you walk into a room. You will immediately feel a reduced amount of stress every time you look at that surface for about a week.
- Have a Christmas in July Party! Have some fun with an informal “Christmas party”. If you live in the northern hemisphere, it is hot and recently, summers have become much hotter than ever before. Therefore, why not cool things off by having an impromptu Christmas spoof? During this informal get together, find out what kinds of things the people who attend might want for gifts during the real Christmas. Check out The Holiday Spot for all sorts of information about Christmas in July.
- Once/quarter wipe televisions, stereo fronts, etc., with a lightly moistened anti-static dryer sheet such as Bounce to remove the dust and make a better viewing area for when you watch TV or movies.
- Teddy Bears’ Picnic Day: Teddy Bear Picnic Day, a popular children’s holiday in Canada, Europe, and Australia, is held every year on July 10. On this day children and parents have tea parties with their teddy bears in parks or kindergarten and preschool classrooms. However, even though many people know that these adorable picnics are part of a tradition, not many people know how the tradition got started. I added this to tasks even though I live in the United States because I think it’s a very cool way to spend quality time with your young kids. What better way to teach them to be organized than to let THEM coordinate this celebration?!?!
- Take Back Your Unused Drugs: I looked for a long time to find out what day “National Take Back Your Prescription Drugs” day is and there does not seem to be any one date because each locality seems to hold their own dates. Therefore, I thought I would provide some flyers and information sheets so that no matter what time of year or where you are located, you will still have the information.
- The DEA offers a great resource that lets you search for centers in your location by filling in your zip code.
- The DEA also puts out a “General Public Fact Sheet”.
- This link also details how to get rid of medications that are either outdated or you no longer use: FDA Consumer Health Information.
- EPA provides a fact sheet: How to Dispose of Medications Properly.
- The FDA also provides a fact sheet with the names of medications (listed by active ingredient) that you CAN flush down the toilet.
- Drugs.com has their own information sheet
- If you use garden tools, even if you have pots that are inside your home, when you are finished with your tools, clean the dirt off (bang the tools on a hard surface to dislodge stuck on soil) and then slide the tools into a container that has kitty litter in it to keep the tools clean and rust-free. I re-purpose a plastic container like what Pupcorn or Cornballs or Pretzels come in to hold the kitty litter.
- Back up all of your financial statements and other important documents onto CDs or memory sticks. Set a task reminder for once each month to complete a full back up of your computer and once every week (or more frequently if you use your computer more) to back up just the documents that you updated since the last complete back up.
- Reduce your laundry costs by wearing some clothing twice before tossing it in the laundry to be washed. Some clothes get so dirty the first time you wear those items that this trick is impossible; however, for some items you can easily wear them two times. If you make a point of hanging all of the hangers in your closet so they face the same way, when you take an item off a hanger, turn the hanger around so it is “backwards” when you return the item to the hanger. The next time you wear it, you will know that it has been worn one time, so this time, remove the hanger so that you remember to toss it in the laundry hamper.
- It is already past the midpoint of the year. Did you accomplish everything you wanted to during the first half of the year? If not, there’s still plenty of time to make some headway before the year is over. Take a look at your New Year’s Resolutions and revise your personal goals and also adjust the steps that you set for yourself in order to reach your goals.
- High dusting and wipe down all ceiling fan blades, oscillating fans and box fan blades, light switch plates, door knobs, doors & door frames where fingerprints accumulate, and refrigerator & freezer doors. You can make snappy work of this and do all of the above in less than 10-15 minutes – no exaggeration!
- You will need a telescoped puffy duster to reach the tops of ceiling fan blades
- I use a reusable cloth with vinegar solution (1 part vinegar to 2 parts water) in a spray bottle; however, you can also use something like a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. I prefer the vinegar solution because vinegar also kills germs.
- Since the year is more than half over already, why not make this an annual event to request your annual credit report from the 3 major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, TransUnion. You can get your report for free from AnnualCreditReport.com. Although there seem to be many “free” annual report companies, this link is the actual and you can check that by going to the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information website. You can get your free credit score every month from CreditKarma. Many credit card companies are also showing your credit score on your monthly statement.
- NOTE: although I have read the suggestion that you should request your credit report from just one of the 3 agencies this month and then 4 months later, request the report from a 2nd agency and finally 4 months later, request it from the last credit reporting agency, my son (who used to work in the credit department of a credit card company) told me to request the report from all 3 agencies at the same time because that way, you can compare each of the reports to each other and immediately see if there is a discrepancy.
- You can get your credit score monthly from Credit Karma
- Backup the phone numbers on your cell phone every 6 months. You would be amazed at the number of people who lose information because their cell phone (SmartPhone, iPhone, etc.) accidentally got into the laundry or was dropped or stolen. It takes SECONDS to back up your information. Then, if your phone does break, get washed, or stolen, although you will still have to deal with getting it replaced, at least you will have the numbers to re-load onto your next phone. Being organized is all about being proactive.
- Catch up on your filing. If it seems overwhelming, tackle it in 10-minute segments for a period of days. Filing can be the paper type or electronic files. Clean up your computer so your system moves faster. File paperwork to get it out of sight and into file folders.
- Go through your closet and donate any items that you no longer wear for any reason. Make a pile of items that need to be mended or ironed
- Cook your dinner on your barbecue grille rather than going out to restaurants. Food always tastes better when you cook it on your grille than on your stove or in your oven. Another benefit is cooking on your grille is cheaper than eating in restaurants. Everything tastes better when cooked on the grill, don’t you agree?!
- The Garden Helper advises that you continue to dead head your annual plants to encourage continued blooming (dead heading is to remove dead flowers). Also, when your annuals die, pull them out and toss them in your compost pile.
- Find one place around your home that you and your family would like to visit and then make a day of it and spend quality time with your family. Use resources such as these to find places to visit that are near you: www.local.com or Entertainment Guide/Local Places to Visit, Fun in the 50 States, ONE Thing You Must Do in Each State, Attractions of America, the US 50, Things To Do, Places Online, Virtual Tourist: Things to Do, 50 States Spots Natural Wonders, Parents.com: 50 States: 50 Landmarks, Discover America, 50 States.
- Cook out instead of eating out and save money. Everything tastes better when cooked on the grill, don’t you agree?!
- High dusting and regular dusting, wipe down switch plates followed by wiping with hydrogen peroxide to sanitize door knobs, switch plates, and other places that you commonly touch.
- Check to see if your state will offer a Tax-Free weekend in August 2015 at NASDAQ.
- Fun Fact: The first state to initiate a “sales tax holiday” was New York in 1996. Other states started doing the same thing when they realized that many people buy MORE items during sales than they would buy otherwise. Just be sure to know what items will and will not be included in a tax free holiday in your state.
- Clear your drains using baking soda and white vinegar. Pour baking soda down the drain first (bathroom sinks, shower drains, etc.) and then pour vinegar down. Wait for 10 minutes and then use a plunger to force all of the gunk down the drain, which will be loosened with the baking soda/vinegar solution. If you do this every month, all you will need to do going forward is to pour baking soda down a drain followed by vinegar; let it set for 5 minutes and then run hot water down the drain.
- Delete any email messages that are sitting in your inbox that you no longer need. (Note: for most people it is likely more than half of them).
- Hamburger Day: according to Foodimentary, the USA population eats more hamburgers on the go and at restaurants than they do in their own homes.
- Review your DayTimer or whatever organizer that you use: Plan several months ahead for normal purchases so you can buy in bulk and take advantage of sales. This includes food staples, paper goods, toiletries, clothing and gifts.
- It’s already past the midpoint of the year. Did you accomplish everything you wanted to during the first half of the year? If not, there’s still plenty of time to make some headway before the year is up. Take a look at your New Year’s Resolutions and revise, if necessary to focus on the most important ones.
- Choose one resolution and then break it down into ‘bite sized’ goals. Set one goal to be completed each week. Next, break that weekly goal down into 15-minute tasks that you can complete each day. Make it your mantra to complete 15 minutes working on your goal before you go to bed each night.
- After you set up a weekly goal, tell at least one other person about your goal. Let this person know that this goal is very important to you and you’d appreciate any motivation that person could send your way. Just telling others about your plans may give you the incentive to actually work towards reaching them.
- If you haven’t reached your goal by the end of the week, rather than beating up yourself, decide to spend one full hour on any day to catch up. What’s important is that you continue working toward your goals. As long as you’re working on it a little bit each day, and progressing, you’re a lot further than you were when you first set your goal.
- Once your goal is met, reward yourself! Make yourself a promise that you will only permit yourself to celebrate and reward yourself when your goal has been met – no cheating. Keep your rewards equivalent to the size goals. For example, for small goals you’ve accomplished, appropriate rewards may be sipping a cool iced tea in your backyard or working on a hobby for 15 minutes or even just playing a game of solitaire. For larger goals accomplished, appropriate rewards may be buying a new outfit for yourself, going to the movies, or even taking a mini vacation! The more excited you are about getting your reward, the more likely you are to work harder at achieving your goals.
Good: August travel
Bad: Back-to-school items, grills, patio furniture