Weekly Update–Happy Easter! 2018


Happy Easter!  We had a wonderful day, full of family and food.  We got up super early and went to the 6:30 sunrise service.  It was a great service, and I loved being there, even though I felt like I needed toothpicks to hold my eyes open:)


My decor was simple.  Rob bought me some flowers, and I put them on the tables.   Some tables had candles, some just had flowers. He also grabbed a couple of plastic tablecloths, which I used on 2 tables and used a cloth one on the other table.  I put more pansies on the table outside, as the weather looked like it would be nice and some people might choose to eat out there.  Contrary to the promises made by the weather apps yesterday, it rained!  We enjoyed ourselves despite the rain, and also celebrated both Ron and Lovana’s birthdays.  We also enjoyed the company of one of my cousins who I have not seen for a long time.  That was very special to hear about all she has been doing in her mission work in Nicaragua.


The cake looked great.  It turned out terrible!  I had experimented with some egg replacer and a gluten-free mix, and it didn’t turn out well.  You win some, and you lose some.  Thankfully, we had 2 kinds of cookies and an apple crisp and no one went hungry or missed out on dessert.  Besides all that, my aunt brought her usual basket of candy-filled eggs and Jake and Patsy found them after Alissa hid them.  Then, as is tradition, they insisted hiding them for Alissa to find.  Everyone got a little baggie of candy, even the adults!


We had mixed grill.  Rob grilled a ham in a pan on the bbq, basically because I tried it in both crock pots and couldn’t get it in either.  Boy did it turn out great.  He also did some shrimp skewers and some teriyaki chicken.  I made easy choices so people ate according to their allergies and needs.  They included apple-celery-walnut salad, veggie tray and dip, sunflower seed romesco dip for crackers, and a fruit plate.  I also put out pickles today, that I had canned last summer.



I love what we gave Ron for his birthday! It was a “May you never be hungry again” kit.  There are days when he comes in from work, starving, because he didn’t take the time for lunch, or didn’t have any cash on him at the moment.  We divided a handful of 1’s and 5’s between several envelopes, and then Rob wrote funny locations on the outside such as “put this in your socks, put this in your visor, for your pocket, glovebox, with your toothbrush” and so forth.  It was not costly, but added some fun to the day.

I spent several hours over the last couple of days cooking, cleaning and organizing myself for the dinner itself.  Thankfully, I was able to get a few other activities done as well.


I hardened off cabbage, broccoli, artichokes and onions.


I used the tiny tiller to till up 2 small parts of the garden and got cabbage, broccoli and artichokes planted.  Patsy and I also planted seeds.  We planted carrots, beets, several kinds of lettuce, snow peas, and spinach.  We also planted some potatoes.


I found some overwintered cilantro, and tilled around it.  I also saved 1 tiny volunteer lettuce, and some beets that had lived all winter.  I actually picked about 1 cup of tiny beets and 1 small artichoke.  The peas I planted are starting to poke up out of the soil, always a cheering sight.


Rob decided to have a garage sale.  He had some old items from our previous property that had been cluttering up my brother-in-law’s barn.  He filled the van a couple of times in the past few weeks, and hauled the items down here.  Lots of it was still in the van, so he was eager to get it out.  I grabbed a few items here and there from the house and shop as I found things I could live without, and Lovana cleaned out some clothing.  Rob put a Craig’s List add up, and hung some signs Friday morning.  I had an appointment, so left him to it!  When I got back, almost all of his stuff was gone, and the garage sale was slim pickins’ indeed. Most of the junky household stuff and clothing did not sell, but a little of it did.  I made him  some lunch and he kept selling, but by 3:30, the horde had diminished to a tiny trickle, mostly because the good items were gone and people started slowing, looking, and just driving on. He even sold a large item he was trying to sell at the same time.  He packed up the remaining items, which consisted of a few boxes and items, and donated them.  In the end, he made around $200, plus the cost of the other large item he sold.  Garage sales are always a lot of work, but it was worth it this time!  It’s also nice to know that all of that stuff is no longer cluttering up the place.

Our taxes are finished and filed.  Rob always organizes that process and we pay our accountant to do it.  We’ve had this accountant for a few years now, and they always find something that saves us, or gets us, money that we did not know about.  This year was no exception.  We will be getting a refund (whew!) from Federal, and need to pay State (boo).  Thankfully, the refund is the larger one!  (double whew!). It’s not as big of a refund as we have had in the past, but since I don’t have to pay, I’m delighted.

I was able to go shopping for clothing for myself.  I had gift cards and birthday money from my last birthday and Christmas.  I needed a few things for our upcoming trip to Washington D.C.  Ja’Ana and I will be traveling with my sister, 2 nieces and my aunt as a homeschool trip for the 2 girls.  They are studying government this year, and my sister got the idea for this trip.  So, she’s taking us on a big adventure and we leave next Saturday!  I’ve been trying to find the time to go to shopping, and finally made it.  I was able to hit really good sales at Macy’s and got several things I needed.  I had a specific list, including a light jacket, prayed before I went, and found everything I needed for a price I could afford.

After eating dinner, we went over the plans we have made.  My aunt has done a lot of work figuring out what tours we can go on.  We were accepted for a tour of the White House, along with several others she had requested for us. It’s going to be pretty exciting, and the girls will be receiving 1/2 of a school credit for the trip, once they do some write-ups when we get back.  This will be a busy week for me!





30 thoughts on “Weekly Update–Happy Easter! 2018”

    1. I’ll tell you, it’s the first time a cake was left mostly uneaten at any of our family gatherings. Good thing we had a couple of other desserts!

    2. Your cake is beautiful! I have had my fair share of cooking failures. Looks like you had a nice spread of food, also! We got our taxes out of the way this weekend. Haven’t heard if we have to pay in or if we get money back yet, fingers crossed!

  1. Happy Easter! What a great thing to get rid of unwanted stuff and pocket the cash! Your cake looked lovely. Something strange happened with the frosting on my Easter cake. You win some and you lose some! Years ago for my Mom and Dad’s 50th anniversary party my sister and I bought flowers and took them out of the pots and stuffed them into tea cups for the tables. Afterward Mom planted them in her yard and enjoyed them all summer. Enjoy your trip! It sounds like a big adventure!

    1. I’m sure those flowers looked great in tea cups. Sometimes I arrange bouquets in tea cups, but this time I was really scrambling, took the quick route, and still was pleased with the results.

      Cakes are like that. They have a mind of their own:)

  2. What a glorious celebration of Easter – sunrise service and time with family!

    Here are my tips for Washington DC – from years ago when I visited. There used to be a shuttle on the Mall where you could buy an all day ticket and jump on and off the trolley/bus. All the museums and the zoo are free but it was quite a walk between them all. They looked close on the tourist map but weren’t. Wish I had bought the trolley/bus tickets. Also take the subway into DC rather then drive – parking was very expensive as I remember.

    1. Thank you for the tips. We are going to use public transportation the entire time–from the airport, to the attractions, etc. We are hoping to get the hop-on, hop-off bus for at least one day, and see the monuments that way. At this time, my aunt has arranged for tours for the White House, capitol building, federal engraving building, Supreme Court, and I think Library of Congress. We have tickets for a play at the Kennedy Center, and are visiting the Smithsonian (not sure which ones yet) and Mt. Vernon. We very much hope to get tickets to the African American museum, but we have to call at 6 am each morning to try to get some. The pre-sold ones have been gone for months, so we are down to the ones they reserve for daily purchase. So, there are a few days that are very tightly scheduled, and days that are still a little loose, as we finalize the schedule. Go auntie!!!

      1. The holocaust museum was very interesting…so raw and emotional to see. It is also free to visit. There is a children’s exhibit called “Daniel’s Diary” that is sooo well done! I highly recommend going through this, even if you don’t think the rest is appropriate for the girls to see.

        It is worth taking a trip to Arlington Cemetery as well (also free), which is where JFK and Robert Kennedy are buried. You can watch the changing of the guard of the unknown soldier (if you make too much noise during this ceremony, they WILL stop the ceremony and give you trouble…very serious stuff!), plus you can tour General Lee’s estate if you hike up to the top of the hill (wear comfortable shoes..it’s a steep hill!).

        If you go early in the morning (when it first opens), you can get free tickets to go up the Washington Monument. The earlier you get there, the more choice you will have for what time you want to go up. So even if you want to do it later in the day, go early in the morning to get the tickets. Otherwise they may be gone, as these are limited and given on a first come first serve basis.

        When I was in grade 12, I had the opportunity to visit Washington D.C. through a school trip. Best school trip, EVER!!!! A few years ago I convinced my family it was worth them visiting too. We specifically planned our trip so we were there for Veterans day. On November 10th, we visited the monuments. My most memorable moment was visiting the Vietnam Memorial and seeing men touching the names of people they had served with on the wall. On Veterans day, we went to the service at Arlington Cemetery and listen to then Vice President Joe Biden give a speech. Only time I ever remember the line up for the men’s washroom actually being longer than the women’s! We were also accepted for a tour of the Pentagon. That was really interesting, especially the area where the plane crashed during 9/11. You have to sign up weeks in advance to do it, though, if memory serves correctly, so probably too late for you to look into it. Pretty amazing trip, for Canadian’s who loves history!

        1. We have reservations for the Holocaust museum. The girls have studied it extensively last year, for homeschool. But, if we end up getting tickets for the African American museum, Ja’Ana really wants to do that instead. So we will have to flex according to what we end up doing. We are pretty aggressive when we need to be, so I would not be surprised if we do get ticket by calling at 6 am, but not sure which day we would hit the jackpot and how many times we would have to try before we did!

          My aunt is encouraging the cemetery as well, so we will probably go there. She also really wants to go to the Vietnam memorial, so since she has been making us a little agenda, I’ll bet we go:). I so appreciate her enormous amount of work on my behalf on this project–our own personal tour guide. Both she and my sister have been there before, I’m the only one besides the kids who have not.

          Thank you for all the tips. I appreciate them.

          1. My husband and I went last summer. He had a work trip so his flight was paid for as well as our hotel. I definitely think you should go to the cemetery and watch the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier. It was very meaningful. Our favorites were the Supreme Court and the National Archives. Our best meal of the trip was at the Supreme Court cafeteria. I don’t know if it was really good or we just didn’t make good choices otherwise. :). We didn’t get to tour the the White House. We were so disappointed. I had sent in the request so early I really thought we would. The only bad part was we were there in the hottest part of the summer and it was so hot and so humid! We walked for miles! It was such an interesting trip – I am so glad you get to go! Our two daughters are going with my husband this year. I should try for the White House tour for them. I had forgotten about requesting it.

          2. That is amazing! We were very surprised we got the White House tour because they do say it’s very hard to get in. We are going to be challenged with our eating because my sister and I are so very gluten-sensitive–it’s always a gamble to eat out anywhere:). I’ll keep the cafeteria in mind. I know we are touring there one day.

            My aunt has seen the changing of the guards and she really liked it as well. I think she will put that stop on our tour:). Right now, I can’t remember if we are going to the National Archives or not. I have it written down, and think I’ll have to read the list often to remember where I’m supposed to go on which day! And, we still have a few days that are not set in stone, but plenty of places we want to go.

  3. The cake looks good. I wonder if it was the egg replacer that caused it to be off- tasting? Love your photos!

    1. It was the texture more than anything. It did not get a good rise, it was soggy. It was actually watery and soggy and flat…. I’m sure it was the egg replacer. I will likely try the mix again with regular eggs another time.

  4. Happy Easter. The cake looks so pretty. The fresh flowers on it are lovely. Sorry it didn’t taste as good as it looked. Rob did great on the garage sale. And you got some room now too. have a wonderful time in D.C. It is beautiful this time of year with all of the cherry blossoms. Most of the museums are free so make sure to check out a bunch. I posted my frugal list at https://mcoia.blogspot.com/2018/04/my-frugal-list-week-of-march-25-2018.html

    1. It is great to know we don’t have stuff cluttering up someone else’s barn anymore! I hope the cherry blossoms are blooming. I’ll find out in a few days:)

  5. Hi again. I just read your post on Brandy’s site and thought of something else. When I used to travel to conventions ( a week or so at a time), I’d actually pack a small crockpot in my checkin bag. I’d also pack the ingredients for two standby meals – split pea soup with canned ham as well as chicken (canned) and rice. None of the hotels we stayed in every complained that we were cooking in the room. Seems strange, I know, but having two dinners waiting for us and not having to go out to eat every meal really helped and was worth the space in my bag. Also would pack instant oatmeal and ramen to cook using the hotel’s inroom coffee pot. That’s about the only time I’d eat instant oatmeal but it was sure a savings.

    1. I know someone else who drove down the road with a small crock pot plugged into their cigarette lighter, cooking their dinner as they traveled! I was amazed, but the had pot roast when they got where they were going.

      Thanks for all the great tips!

      1. I also have a crockpot that runs on propane. Bought it at Fred Meyer’s years ago. Don’t take that one on the plane though…lol

  6. Well the cake looked pretty. 😉 So much food there, oh my goodness! I’m amazed at how far along your plants are already. We are still getting freezing temperatures here so I don’t dare even try to start anything. I made that mistake last year and even though the seedlings were protected and in the hot tub area, their growth was stunted by the cold and they did not produce well at all.

    I’m excited for your upcoming trip! Josh told me that the Museum of Natural History was his favorite of all of them followed closely by the Space Museum. I so wish we could have made it back there when he still lived there but alas, it was not to be.

    1. I know–it’s tempting to plant too soon and stunt everything like tomatoes and corn for me, too. I’ve even planted green beans too soon, and the second planting catches up with the first one!

      I’m excited, too. It will be an experience I’ve never had before, and I love history.

  7. The cake looks beautiful! Too bad it didn’t come out as well as it looks! Nothing like fresh flowers to decorate the table! And the Easter lunch spread looks good, too.

    I’m so excited to see your garden coming up! I am hoping I’ll be able to get some seeds planted, this weekend. Maybe I’ll cheat a bit and get a couple of plants from the garden center!

    Hope you have a lovely visit to D.C.! Sounds like a very fun, yet educational, trip!

    1. The girls are receiving 1/2 credit of Government for this trip, so we are planning to go to a lot of very educational places that fit in with the book we’ve been going through, plus a few extra places because someone has an interesting them.

      We got another gentle rain in the night, and I was glad to see it so the little seeds can get wet. I would get plants if I had not grown them for things like cabbage, broccoli and artichokes. I have extra broccoli and cabbage. Too bad you don’t live closer! I need to find a home for them.

  8. Your seedlings look awesome! Mine are about 1/2 inch tall. They are far behind normal because it has been too cold this year. According to the calendar I should be planting the garden in 10 days but it will not possible. Snow is forecast for this weekend! Cabin fever got to me and I did plant some beets in empty spots beside my swiss chard. It felt good to get something planted.

    Reese will be leaving (again) today. He left last week and his trip was a disaster. There were NO apartments available anywhere. He had emailed, called and searched hard before he left but had no success. He did find one, not in his price range, which he grabbed. It would not be available for 2 weeks (long waiting lines) so his start date at his new job was delayed. He is an expert at living frugally (I have taught him well) so he will be able to handle the high rent. The plan is to get settled, try out the new job, decide if he is going to stay, then begin looking again for a better-priced apartment.

    No matter how many times they leave home, I still cry.

    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry.blogspot.com

    1. That’s too bad that he is having such trouble finding a good place to live. At least he found something:)

      I’ll say you have cabin fever. Snow? That’s crazy! I hope you can get that over with soon, and get out there and dig in the dirt. I so enjoyed seeing your pictures of your garden and flowerbeds now–the rocks are lovely how you have them arranged.

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