Thriving In My Thrifty Week–September 12, 2020

I want to say thank you to all of you who have offered prayers on our behalf here in Oregon, and all along the west coast. The fires are still raging in our area and thick, choking smoke fills the air and ashes cover our yard and garden. The town where we recently vacationed with my sister and family, Detroit, is almost gone, as our many other towns around the state. So many of our family and friends who live in different towns than us, are evacuated. Many others are on Level 2, which means “get ready to leave.” Hopefully, the weather system they are forecasting will bring rain in the next few days, and that will help the situation out.

But while we waited for rain, hunkered down, inside, trying not to take big breaths when we were outside, I finished a few projects. I had the assorted hot peppers my sister and aunt gave me. I dashed out to pick the ones from my bushes and Rob cut them all up and we pickled and canned them. Rob will eat some of these on salads and sandwiches and I will use some of them when I make refried beans. They are so pretty in the jars, even with the light coating of ashes that persists in spite of wiping and dusting them. No worries…after this picture I got it all off!

After my pathetic carrot crop was exhausted, in one afternoon I might add, I knew I wanted to can a few more. Rob found a 25 pound bag for under $9, so I canned 20 pints. There are lots left to cook with in other ways. You may ask me why I bother canning carrots when you can buy them cheaply and store them easily. It’s because there are occasions when I want to make my chicken-rice soup in a hurry. Like yesterday. And the day before. At those times, I just dump in one of my little jars and I’m good to go. We do occasionally eat a jar as our vegetable at dinner, but that’s pretty rare. I tend to use fresh ones for that. I don’t can carrots every year, but this year, I’m out so…… I kid you not. I ran out of so many things this year–things I usually only can every 2 or 3 years. It was the summer of canning, for sure. This batch of carrots will last quite a while.

We cooked several things this week. I made chicken-rice soup twice, using frozen broth, and frozen bits of turkey. I shared a couple of large bowls, and we ate the rest. Jake was with us quite a bit this past week, in fact, he still is as of Saturday night, and he likes that kind of soup. He was quite put out to hear I have given away the last of the first batch, even if it was to evacuated friends in a hotel near us…. who had no food because they had to leave home in a hurry…..who really needed dinner…….No matter. He was fine with helping out, and wanted uncle to check on them the next day, as long as there would be more soup coming. (They are fine, by the way, and will stay in the hotel for a few nights and then hopefully return to their home, which was still standing yesterday, anyway). So I made more soup. It’s one of the few things he will eat that is full of veggies and other good vitamins.

We made a lot of white rice. Jake eats that, too. Rob made some pork chops, I baked a chicken with a spice rub from a cookbook. It came out great. We also had a Costco chicken. You can’t beat the $5 price. Since Rob cleaned out the freezers last week, we found a few things that needed to be used. One was ham bits, so we’ve had scrambled eggs with ham, baked potatoes with ham, ham sandwich filling…..it was a fairly big bag, but it’s gone now.

We bought 10 butters at $1.99/box and 10 peanut butters for .99/small jar. He got eggs for 89c/dozen. Rob did a Costco run for heartworm medicine for the dog (good price there), lemon juice (I’ve used so much in the canning…), and got a few other things we needed while he was there. So most of the groceries this week were for stocking up at low prices to use in meals later, keeping the grocery budget down.

Our neighbor gave me 2 Kiwi Co. crate kits. They were for her boys and they enjoyed them, but there were extra parts in the box, so she sent them over for Jake. They were science projects. He’s done one of them, and has the other one left to do. He really liked doing them.

We did school. I read and read to both Jake and Patsy. Jake’s mom just finished a book called “The Skippack School.” She read it to him for school and she sent it so we could talk about ideas about the character. (A modified character study.). He loves the book so much he made me start all the way over. We are almost finished reading it, again. It’s just a simple book about a little boy who lived long ago, who had a few struggles paying attention in school, and got into some mischief, but did learn to do better and learned to read. It is nice he enjoys it, and so nice that being homeschooled this term allows him to get to hear it again. (Everyone is homeschooled this term around here, due to Corona virus).

It’s been a strange week. We just feel like we are waiting for something, and we have a vague feeling of anxiety, especially when the sky is dark, or glowing orange, or so smoky it feels like it’s foggy. Or when it’s both smoky and foggy, like today. I’m sure when the smoke lifts, and the fires are under control, things will feel more normal. Until then, we will continue to pray and see if there are practical things we can do as well. It’s what you do at times like these.

20 thoughts on “Thriving In My Thrifty Week–September 12, 2020”

  1. I’m in Central California and we’ve had smoke too from all the fires, not as bad as yours though it would seem. My husband passed away six years ago but the campground where he took me once, and where he took his dad annually for fishing for his dad’s birthday is all burned up. People had to be evacuated from there by helicopter. Your canning looks lovely. I hope you get that much needed rain soon to put out or at least help with the fires. One of my son in laws is a fire captain and is very busy this time of year. I no longer have any kids at home but all my grandkids have virtual learning here too, some are enjoying it, some would prefer to be in school with their friends.

  2. I’ll be keeping you in my prayers, Becky. Thanks so much for sharing the Kiwi crates. I saw a few I think our granddaughter would like. Hang in there, friend.

  3. We are having fires and smoke, too; the last couple of days have been really hazy and grey! Today, we have some hazy sunshine. The air quality is quite bad, too. But, my daughter and I are safe and I am very grateful for that.

    You were such a blessing, providing dinner to your friends who had to evacuate in a hurry.

    Hope you are safe where you are, Becky. Take care.

    1. We are very safe, just breathing smoke for a few more days. I’m glad you and your daughter are doing fine, too.
      The good news is that the particular friend who got the soup the other day has been allowed to go home, and his house was still standing. So, there are some good things happening. He said the hotel they stayed at ended up having restuarants donate food for the evacuees, so he was very happy to say they never had to buy any food to eat during the days they were there. He was grateful for that during this tough time.

  4. So good to see you’re keeping busy doing this harrowing week, and ministering to others . I can’t imagine what you all are dealing with there. But know that you’re covered in prayer.
    I enjoy hearing what you’re doing with Jake and Pasty in homeschool. We also have used Sonlight for years, and “The Skippack School “ is a familiar title. This is my daughter’s Senior year; we’re doing American Literature and government , so our third go around in American studies with Sonlight. I love it! Keep up the good work!

    1. I have to say I love Sonlight, too. When my sister realized that Jake was going to need to be homeschooled this year, I highly recommended the curriculum. Because he’s so special needs, we are modifying it to suit his needs, and that’s working just fine! Where there is distance learning set up by his school district, this is working much better for him. First, the uncertainty was taken away as the district figured out what they were doing. He can’t handle not knowing what’s happening. Second, my sister chose to keep his learning going all summer so he would gain ground, instead of lose it during this time. Third, she can pick and choose the books that work for him, instead of him being expected to do the same work as the other regular-level classmates, with a few modifications. That wasn’t working very well last spring, I must say. We could all do his homework pretty well for him. Him…..not so much, which defeats the purpose.

  5. “It’s what you do at times like these ”
    I’m so sorry that you and everyone are going through such times. Praying for rain.

  6. I have thought of your family often along with so many we know on the west coast. We have been praying for many weeks now. A dear friend here is concerned about her very elderly Mom in CA. She doesn’t drive and if she is told to evacuate my friend is not sure she would go. Poor dear woke up to the first morning of orange skies and thought Jesus had come back and she had been left behind. She called everyone she knew and no one answered the phone. She finally talked to someone later in the day who assured her that everyone is still here. I just can’t hardly imagine how you all must feel with the smoke and the uncertainty. We continue to pray for you all and the firefighters especially.. Your jars of peppers look like wonderful!

    1. Thank you. I have thought of what people would do if they were unable to drive or evacuate…I would hope there would be someone they knew who could help out. Scary!

  7. Thanks for mentioning the KiwiCo boxes. I had my younger daughter look into it and she liked it so I ordered the first month for her 12yo son and 7yo daughter. There is a first time half price discount code so it was $26.70 for both boxes.

    The wind had changed here last week and we had less smoke, today, no wind and the smoke has been socked in like fog all day. Usually it lessens as the day goes on, not today. I continue to pray for all those concerned with the fires in whatever way. Thanks for your blog, I really enjoy it.

    1. Yes, no matter how hard the weather people tried to get the weather to clear this smoke out, it’s not going anywhere for a few days. It’s not in our hands. Or theirs. But, we were all hoping for rain. Another chance in a couple of days.

      I’m glad you like the KiwiCo boxes. I’ve never had the occasion to see one before the neighbor gave me the extra parts and pieces of theirs. Jake really liked both of them. We had to improvise 1 items that they must have used all the way up, but we aren’t arguing for free. It’s a very good price:).

      I’m glad you like the blog. That’s nice of you to say.

  8. I am sad to hear about the destruction of the fires. The sky looked ominous in your pictures and it would make me apprehensive too. You seem to be doing the best you can under the circumstances. I am impressed with how well you are handling it.
    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

    1. Thanks, Jeannie.
      They say the smoke will clear a bit tonight. We may finally get some welcome rain. I sure hope so. In the meanwhile, I just keep canning. It’s fun, and keeps me mostly indoors. Today, I’m making apple wedges canned in red-hot candy syrup. It’s gotten down to recreational canning, I’ll admit.

      1. “Recreational canning!” NO. That sounds impossible to me. My feet are hurting too much from canning right now to consider any of it “recreational”!
        Jeannie

        1. Well…..it’s stuff like pickled pepper rings. And basil pizza-pasta sauce. Things I don’t actually need, but think would be fun or interesting. What can I say? It’s fun to try new things on occasion:). That being said…I totally “get” the super tired part. I am that tired some days.

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