When I returned from Hawaii mid-week, I was struck by the amount of fall changes that occurred while I was gone. Trees had turned scarlet, yellow and orange, leaves dropped all over and the weather turned windy and rainy. I felt like I was truly home again.
These pumpkins and squash are from my garden. We got a freeze warning while in Hawaii, so I expected everything to be dead. Instead, I see that there are a few stragglers still alive in my garden area. I will go check them out this week to see if there’s anything usable still out there.
I picked the remaining few green tomatoes before I left on my trip. Upon returning, several of those had ripened and we’ve had tomatoes on our salads all week.
I did a fairly large shopping trip, since I had emptied the fridge quite well before I left. I focused on the sales, things I was out of, and was able to do some Ibotta rebates. I ended up qualifying for several bonuses, as well.
On Saturday, there was a county-wide 4H event. We have not had much of a club since we moved, but are excited to now have another family that wants to join. We rounded them up, along with Jake, our nephew, and Patsy, our daughter and took them all to the event. We are sticking to our old county, since we know them there, and know what to do, about events, etc., so we had to drive little bit, but it’s worth it to us. It was a bake sale. We took caramel corn to donate. Patsy and I made it, as we often do. While there, our clubbers made brownies and Chex Muddy Buddie Mix to send good smells through out the building, in hopes of building sales, and those were sold, too. There were lot of other clubs that donated and helped, and it was a success.
After we did our part there, we took our new club to Champoeg State Park and Rob had them do a scavenger hunt. He talked to them about identifying the native plants and objects, such as acorns, and rewarded them with little candies when they found them. We had a picnic and then all went up to the visitors’ center where the volunteers had another scavenger hunt for them to do about the history of the area, a movie to watch about helping the bluebird population and plied them with stickers for their efforts. They were super nice and helpful to us.
It was the first 4H experience for most of the kids, and it was very successful. I’m sure we will have many more fun times in the future. This year, we are going to concentrate on Cooking and Outdoors as our main projects. Once we get started, we can always add more projects if there’s an interest. Patsy’s super excited, since she’s been longing for other friends to do 4H with.
We had a wonderful time in Maui. So, the thriving part of my weekly post was easy and enjoyable.
We saw so many flowers. This one is a protea blossom.
A banyon tree that took up almost a block in Lahaina….
And so much more!
Now, the thrifty part…. I will start by saying that traveling is not inexpensive. We had a lot of friends and family help us financially to be able to go on this trip. It all started when our daughter sent us 2 plane tickets for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Wasn’t that sweet? We thought so. So, people helped a lot. But, we also needed to save diligently for months to be able to do this on our limited budget.
The first thing Rob did was make out a budget. It was modest, compared to some travel budgets, but he was realistic in the fact that Maui is an expensive place to be, we needed to rent a car and a spot to stay, and food would be outrageous. We knew from day one of our trip how much we would need to spend on each category. We stuck to it. We frequently checked in with each other on how we were doing.
We flew out late in the day. It was less expensive.
My aunt went with us. She, along with the rest of us, searched on-line diligently for an affordable option to stay in. We ended up with a condo unit with a kitchen, bedrooms, etc, and it was very near to our daughter’s apartment. It had a pool, which Patsy enjoyed the most—one day she stayed in there for 3 hours or more. It had a washer and dryer, and I took soap pods with me.
We went to Safeway on the first morning and stocked up on groceries. I used all my Safeway rewards I had been saving to get a free box of butter, a package of bacon and some bananas. We packed a few food items in our backpacks and suitcases–a loaf of cheese, 2 boxes of cereal, nuts, even mayonnaise, and a baggie of packets of hot sauce and ketchup that had been saved when someone had too many in their take-out order over the past couple of years. (We don’t get much take-out and there aren’t very many extras, but they sure came in handy in this case!). We also put in empty baggies, but still had to buy a few. I put in a small amount of taco seasoning.
You don’t even want to know how much I spent at that Safeway during the week. My daughter was told that it was the 2nd busiest Safeway in the United States, and I believe whoever told her that! We stepped gingerly around crates and boxes and people unpacking them, picked things from near-bare shelves, and wound our way from the bread aisle where bread was $7.50/loaf, to the dairy where the milk was at least $6/gallon.. The 18 eggs we bought were around $5, and I thankfully found a less-expensive option than the $13 case of water.
Even with the high prices, it was cheaper to cook our own food, than to eat out every meal. A meal was typically $15-$25/per person, except McDonald’s, where I was surprised to find the prices about the same as at home. I was determined that Rob’s diet would not be blown, so we happily got the $1 Diet Cokes and iced tea, and limited the French fries to one time. Also, what we cooked was very healthy.
We chose to cook meals of things like tacos, sandwiches, salads, etc.
My daughter had some food she wanted used up, as she is moving home at the end of the month. So, we gratefully worked that into our meals. She also let us “borrow” her olive oil, Lowrey’s seasoning salt, and a few other things.
We went to Costco one morning on our way to somewhere else. We were going to eat out that day, but so many people grabbed a substantial snack at Costco, that we didn’t end up stopping anywhere. We got water much less expensively there than at Safeway. I could have got a rotisserie chicken for very reasonable there, but we had no where to store it as we were sight-seeing.
We packed a picnic for the all-day trip. There are no restaurants on the top of the volcanic mountain anyway. We often ate breakfast, or lunch at the condo, went off exploring, and then returned to the condo for the next meal, eating snacks in the car if we needed to.
We went out one time to a restaurant. The name was Brick Oven. If I look excited, it’s because I was over the moon. The food there is ALL gluten-free. I could have anything I wanted from the menu. And, I did! I had fried mushrooms, fried mozzarella sticks, French fries, coconut shrimp, fish and chips…….you get the drift! Now, to clarify, we ordered several things and shared, but I ate some of each, and am still smiling at the memory. I did not get even a tiny bit sick, although I would have deserved to ’cause that’s more fried food than I’ve eaten for many a day…..
We chose simple, inexpensive entertainment. Some things did cost money, but they were not expensive. We drove to look at beaches. The ones who wanted to walked out closer, the rest enjoyed the view from the car. One time, my daughter coaxed me down a long, long set of stairs to a gorgeous beach below. I loved it! We drove around a lot, just looking. We looked for turtles several times, but will have to go back another time if we want to see any:)
My aunt and I went to 2 quilt shops. It was fun to see different fabrics. I bought a few pieces with some money I had been given for my birthday. We went to a lavender farm, that had a large area with various blooming plants to wander though, in addition to the lavender. We went through a free museum, highlighting Lahaina history. We strolled under the banyon tree.
Lovana and I went for walks. Patsy and I swam in the pool. We took our daughter back and forth to work every time. Rob and I spent time at Lovana’s work with her–just sitting at the cafe for a while while she did her thing. I enjoyed wandering through the large hotel where her second job is–so beautiful! One day was spent packing up her apartment, taking things to Salvation Army, and mailing a few things home. I’m so glad she was well organized and knew what she wanted me to help with. We brought the 3 biggest suitcases in the world home with us (I got to manhandle them, so I’m sticking to that assessment!)–it was much, much less expensive to pay the fee as checked luggage than it would have been to ship those things home any other way. We had planned that, so had only travelled with carry-ons on the way there.
We did not go on excursions, tours, helicopter rides, horseback rides or snorkeling trips. We almost got to go to a luau, because at one of Lovana’s jobs they let the employees have tickets for a very cheap price, IF they didn’t sell them all. They sold them all this time, but we were running out of time anyway. There’s always a next time, and alway more to look forward to.
We found so many more things to do than we had time to do! We didn’t push ourselves, but instead allowed hours and hours for spending time with our daughter, reading, stretching out, swimming in the pool and sitting on the balcony watching the waves crash. We had so much fun! We really took time to explore the island. We love the outdoors, so focused on those kind of activities. I have many memories to reflect on during this upcoming rainy, wet, cold winter. And, I still have enough money left over to buy all the tea and hot chocolate I can drink while I sit in front of my cozy, warm fire, thinking of my time in Maui:)
We spent one day driving to Haleakalā National Park. We went from where we were staying in Lahaina, with it’s warmth and humidity, up into the clouds, rain and wind. The view was beautiful and the cooler temperature felt more like what we are used to at home. I’m glad our daughter had mentioned that we would need jackets. It was COLD up there!
We slowly meandered our way up the curvy, winding mountain side. At each new curve, we were treated to another breath-taking view. The air was thin when we reached the top of the mountain. I’ve not experienced that before and it took me a few minutes to adjust to it. But I was quickly hiking from one little viewing station to another.
There were panoramic views, breath-taking rock formations, and clouds and mist that rolled in and out, sometimes obscuring our view completely, only to clear out so we could again glimpse the scene below.
Our daughter has been to the top of this mountain a couple of times to watch the sunset and really wanted us to see how beautiful it was. Instead, as the time for sunset came nearer, the clouds rolled right in and put a cold, wet blanket on our hopes of seeing anything but our immediate surroundings. We stayed up there for over an hour and a half, to see if it would clear and decided to give it up when it only worsened. The road was was both unfamiliar and curvy, so we were not sad to go down it in the daylight.
We had a wonderful day, with or without the sunset!
We left our home in Oregon with rain showers, a freeze warning and temperatures begging for a cozy fire, and flew into sunshine, warm temperatures and tropical breezes. We are on the island of Maui right now.
We are so grateful to everyone who helped us get here. It was a group effort, for sure, and we are truly thankful.
It was so nice to leave everything in Alissa’s capable hands—the house, the dog, and, to sweeten the deal—the car.
Patsy is in the pool again right now, and Rob and I dipped our toes in the ocean this morning. We are enjoying the sights and sounds—the surf is crashing outside our hotel and tropical birds are chirping Sailboats, snorkeling excursion boats and paddle-boaters are frequently passing by, and we even saw a cruise ship a couple of days ago.
The sunsets are gorgeous.
We had a great day of driving to the center of the island to Haleakalā, which is a volcanic mountain crater. I will do another post about that, as we stopped several other places along the way. It was amazing!
I can’t believe I found MORE veggies out in that garden! Every time I say, “This is the last zucchini, or whatever,” I find more. Still, I think I picked the last zucchini today. The beans were on a row covered with weeds, but these were down there. The tomato bushes are pulled now, so they really are gone, but there are a couple of cherry tomato plants that are still alive. We have been hit with a couple of light frosts and so things have been scorched slightly, and will die before long, I’m sure. We’ve been having the veggies daily, and when there are none, we’ve been eating canned and frozen. I had a 1/2 head of lettuce and a little spinach we ate as salads.
I roasted one of the 2 –79c/lb chickens I bought on sale this past week. I froze the other one. I made bone broth from the carcass and froze most of it. I made potato soup with the rest. The spots in the broth are herbs that I sprinkled on the chicken before I roasted it.
I went on part of a quilt shop hop. We will not choose to travel the entire route this time. Some of the shops are very far from my house, and I just don’t have enough time to do that. Still, I had a great time visiting the ones nearer to my house, getting some more free quilt block kits and buying some matching fabrics so I can make another quilt. It’s very fun to visit several quilt stores in one day:).
I worked on the quilt I’m currently making. I sewed up 2 of the new blocks I got, just for fun.
Also, Patsy chose some additional fabric for the project she is working on. She’s very new at quilting, so it’s taking her a while, but she’s making slow, but steady progress. Jake chose a Star Wars print, and I will glue a spaceship onto his blankie, using some of that double-sided iron-on interfacing and a zigzag stitch. I’m sure those circus animals will enjoy having a spaceship flying above their circus:)
I read library books. Jake listened to a Boxcar Children book on c.d., watched a Boxcar Children movie, and had me read aloud from …..you guessed it, A Boxcar Children book.
I was able to use up quite a few odds and ends from both my refrigerator and my sister’s, preventing food waste. I will finish cleaning mine out in the morning, I think. If I get time, I’d love to wash it out. It’s a good time to do that when it’s not very full.
I had my mom and niece over for lunch on Wednesday. I made an Asian chicken salad from some cabbage my sister gave me, and potato soup. Then, on the same day, we had friends over for dinner. I made ham, a refried bean and cheese nacho, guacamole and chips, salad and coleslaw. Patsy made double chocolate cookies. I have to admit, it was a bit of a strange mixture for dinner, but it all went down the hatches! Good thing I love to cook:).
My friend brought her 7 children and they moved Rob’s wood pile from where he and Patsy had thrown it out of the van into the woodshed. That was so nice of them to gift us their time to do something Rob simply cannot do right now. The wood was a gift from my sister and her husband as he took down some trees. It adds to the woodpile we have. We are always gathering wood and will be warm all winter with the large stack we have. (If we had room, we would store 3 years’ worth like we did at our other place, so we would always have plenty and we would always have very dry wood. Because this place is small, we only have a little over 1 year’s supply, but feel grateful for that.)
We received several other gifts during the past few weeks. We are extremely grateful for each and every one of them and feel very blessed. Thank you to each of you who blessed us with either a gift of time, or another kind of gift.
Rob made some great dinners this week. One of the things he did was barbecue up a large package of chicken drumsticks. At the same time, he made foil packets with chicken breast, beans and carrots. He always loves to cook a lot at once to save energy–both his energy and fuel for the BBQ:)
I spent most of my week over at my sister’s house, caring for the children, and at the hospital with a sick family member. In between those place, I kept track of Patsy and her schoolwork, giving directions to both her and Rob so she could stay on track. They also got to do the laundry, dishes, and cooking.
I read some library books. I played games on my iPad.
The first day at the hospital, since the whole occasion was unplanned (right?) I was without a lunch. After being graciously offered a couple of bland, tasteless bites of the patient’s lunch, I took a little walk and was able to buy a small trip through the salad bar for only $2.50. The patient immediately swiped a tiny bit of my cheese and a few olives for her tasteless meal, and we were both much happier:). The second day, I packed a gluten-free sandwich and some carrots.
By Saturday, I was very tired and did absolutely nothing except attend a short birthday party, which was held at a restaurant. I had nothing to do but show up. Otherwise, I rested. My brother-in-law ordered Chinese food for family Sunday dinner, so there were no dishes and no one had to cook. On Sunday afternoon, I was more than happy to join Jake on the couch and watch “Arthur” reruns on tv. He also asked me to work on a puzzle with him, which I did. Every Sunday afternoon, Jake comes home with us after lunch to spend the afternoon. Every Sunday night, Rob accompanies him to his Sunday night program at church, then takes him home, gets Patsy to her youth group, and so on. I putzed around a little while they were gone, doing a few little things around the house, but mostly rested. I still have not caught the cold that is running from family member to family member, and I’m hoping all that rest will keep it away from me. Only time will tell. I do feel rested up this morning, and plan to get right in and tackle this house and some of the other undone things!
I harvested a few tomatoes, the last of the beets, and a few cucumbers from the fast-waning garden.
I sewed a little bit on the quilt I started last winter. I had to set it aside all summer so I could work in the garden, but am glad to get it out again. I’m far from done, but can see real progress has been made in the past couple of weeks.
Miss Patsy has been cooking again. This time, she made gluten-free calzones.
They were really good. She used a pizza crust mix from Bob’s Red Mill that had been given to us a while back. She made the crust as the package directed, added cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms and olives, folded them over and baked them. She made a dipping sauce with some tomato sauce thickened with a partial can of tomato paste she had opened last week, and some Italian seasoning. It was great, and I know Grandma enjoyed it along with us when she came to lunch this week. I’m pretty sure I won’t get such a nice lunch this week, as Grandma has other plans on Wednesday, but she’ll come back very soon:)
We spent a lot of time with Jake and Michaela this week. Their daddy and sister returned from Israel today. Rob picked them up at the airport. He says they are extremely tired, as would be expected, but it will be so nice to have them back.
My sister invited Patsy and I to accompany her, the kids, and some friends to Bauman Farms. It’s a farm that has many fall activities and a pumpkin patch. There are also animals, a garden store, and lots and lots of food booths. We ate many yummy, bad-for-us treats, the kids did lots of activities, and we all went home tired. It was a good homeschool field trip–we saw cider being pressed, along with the other activities.
They all went “mining” for rocks and gold with a bag of “pay dirt” my sister bought. They had a blast. Jake was convinced he had gotten enough “gold” to buy a lot of Legos. Once Rob convinced him what he had were pretty, but not expensive rocks, he reconciled himself to having the nice rocks.
Michaela loved shooting the apple cannon and she tried her best to shoot and knock down a pumpkin target, but….not this year!
She also loved the big swings.
My sister got all the kids wristbands for unlimited fun, and they all played laser tag, slid huge slides, rode trikes, jumped on bounce houses, swung on swings, and ran and ran and ran. They were all tired that night!
Patsy got a long turn holding baby Allie on Friday. It was her lucky day, because baby was good as gold, and slept for a long time in her arms:)(Baby’s daddy is doing some work over at my sister’s house, so we are getting to see more of her than usual—my sister lives on the river and there was extensive flooding this past spring–he’s tilling and re-seeding the area that got ruined. In time, it should get established and handle the seasonal floods better, at least my sister hopes so–the neighbor’s place does pretty well. We were able to loan them our biggest Troy-built tiller and it’s doing the job, but it’s a garden tiller and it takes some time.)
I picked a few veggies from the garden. There’s not much left out there, but I got a few tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, lemon cucumbers, peppers and green beans. The rain has returned and things are cracking and getting rotten, but that’s what it does this time of year. I’m having trouble keeping up with all there is to do anyway, and am ready for the seasonal changes. I’d sure like a few more nice days to work outside, cleaning things up, but we will see what comes along.
We still have a flowers all over the place. Patsy took this picture of this rose somewhere. It’s lovely.
We have only been shopping for the groceries we absolutely need, so there’s not much to report from the grocery deals. We just don’t seem to need the things they put on super sale the past couple of weeks, so settled for 99c/1/2 gallon milk, celery, lettuce, and a couple of other things Rob bought.
He made some enchilada casserole, cooked a pork roast, made lots of salads, and generally kept things going at home this past week as I homeschooled, worked many, many hours over at my sister’s house with the kids, and had Jake over here quite a bit as he caught a cold and couldn’t go to school part of the week. My sister has not been well this week and needed extra help since her husband was away. She still had to work, of course. I was glad the family was there for her–we all pitched in–my sister, my mom, my aunt, my niece, and us. Now, I prefer not to catch the family cold they are passing around, but we will see how that goes. So far, so good!!
Rob was super blessed to hold not only 1 tiny baby, but 2 tiny babies today! I never stop marveling at tiny babies. So precious, and such a gift from God. This precious babe has been hanging around my sister’s house a lot while Mommy and Daddy crash on the couch for a little bit while everybody in the house takes turns holding her. That’s what life is all about, isn’t it? Her daddy is like a son to my sister and brother-in-law, but I just can’t wrap my brain around my sister as a….. grandma? But, I guess if I can be one, she can, too. I’m so glad she shares:). We feel blessed.
We canned chicken and broth. At 89c/lb, the price could not be beat. We canned more tuna than we needed last summer. We found that Rob likes canned chicken on his salads in addition to the tuna. We decided to just do a batch of chicken and use up the rest of the tuna, then can more tuna next summer. Tuna varies in price, but often is around $3.50/lb., so this a way to get him variety while saving money.
I bought approximately $13.50 of split chicken breasts and made broth and canned chicken. We got 17 or 18 little jars of assorted sized (most 1/2 pint) of chicken chunks, 7 quarts and 12 pints and a couple of tiny jars of broth.
Patsy decided to cook up a storm for the first time in a long time. I joined her. We made tamale pie.
She made Cashew Chicken with rice noodles. Twice. We made some blondies, and some chicken soup.
Then she went back to her regular favorites of tacos, quesadillas, and p.b.j. sandwiches with apples.
What brought this “cooking fit” on? Grandma and Auntie Jan were coming for lunch. She’s been waiting for years to be a part of the “make lunch for Grandma” team. I guess she thought Grandma and Auntie were starving:). The food came in handy. We did have a great lunch. They got to take little bits home for future meals. We had these things for our meals for a couple of days. I hauled little dishes over to my sister’s house for them to eat. Let’s hope she gets in a mood again:). She felt wonderful. All of our tummies felt wonderful! Win-Win!
Patsy is still plugging along on school, and finished week 6. We ran into some roadblocks due to information she had somehow missed over the years , but worked through a plan to correct the problem.
She joined the Christmas Choir at church and had her first practice. There is going to be a big program. This year, she felt confident enough to join in. Last year, she did not, but later confessed she had wanted to and helped with stage crew at the last minute. Grandma helped her work on her quilt block from the shop hop we took her on last winter/spring. None of these things cost money, but they all enrich all our lives and I have a great Christmas program to look forward to watching in December!
I was weeding during our sunny afternoon. Can you see what was under the weeds? I cleaned out all the old parsley and weeds, and propped the volunteer cherry tomato plant up on a wire cage–we may end up with a few more late cherry tomatoes. Not that we are out. I just hate to kill a plant with so much tenacity!
Can you see Alissa on the left? She is having the trip of a lifetime with her Daddy. They are in Israel, walking where Jesus walked, visiting Biblical places, and seeing for themselves what they have studied for years. In the meanwhile…..
Rob and I, my sister and older niece and Grandma and Auntie Jan and anyone else we can round up are all working together to keep the home fires burning for Jake and Michaela. It’s going well, but we will all welcome their return in a few days!
It was Homeschool Days at the Oregon Gardens. Although the event was advertised for students slightly younger than Patsy, I decided to take her anyway. I’m glad I did. There was plenty for her to learn and see.
We did go to every learning center, but took plenty of time in-between to admire everything we wanted to see. It was lovely.
It was our anniversary. My “hopeless romantic” of a husband knows the way to my heart! Olives and tea. Cupid’s arrow knows how to strike, even after 37 years of marriage. I have been truly blessed to have such a wonderful husband and a best friend for so many years.
I finished canning the applesauce and all the tomatoes. I just kept picking, and picking, and picking. Believe it or not, we eat multiple tomatoes each day, I shared a lot with my sister, and there were still all these! The bushes are winding down, though. I will miss them when they do finally finish, but there are still plenty for fresh eating left on those bushes!
We pulled all the onions and I braided them in 5 braids. They are getting their final cleaning in the gentle rain that is falling today and we will either hang the ropes on hooks or put in a box to finish drying.
There were some logs left from last year that were too long for our stove. Rob got them cut off with a little help, and we stacked the newly-shortened logs in the woodshed. With all the free wood Rob has gathered, what our friends brought us last fall will last through this winter as well. Then, we will have to gather more, but it’s nice to know there’s so much left.
We had a nice birthday party for my aunt at my sister’s home. Different ones brought food, and we enjoyed our time with friends and family.
Rob got 8 boxes of cereal for $3 by using the Safeway app, and some coupons he cut out! I was amazed and proud of him. We have plenty of cereal for a while now.
Well, I have to say I’ve done something this week that I’ve never done before. I took Patsy to join friends at a monster truck show at the Oregon State Fair.
She had a blast! I had no idea of what to expect. I had a lot of fun, too.
It was amazing what those drivers could do with their trucks. I was glad to be watching, not in the vehicles.
We were able to use a prize Patsy had received from her summer reading program to get us both into the fair for $8, total. The monster truck show was free. Her auntie gave her some snack money to spend for her and her friends, and she got cotton candy and an elephant ear. Our friends got her a corn dog. I was unable to eat any of the food, as it was filled with gluten, so I saved a lot of money that way (Trust me, I would have had a little fair food if I could have, though!)
Earlier in the week, while camping, a man came around the campground offering anyone who wanted them some extra red rock crab he had not only caught, but cooked. I took a bunch of them, and once home, cleaned them and picked the meat out and ate a crab salad one day for lunch. Red rocks don’t have much meat in them, but I do like a little crab now and then, so it was a treat for me.
Tomatoes are still prolific in the garden. I got some canned before I went camping and have some more in a bucket to work on soon.
I got another baggie of strawberries to freeze. There were more, but the slugs are totally ruining many of them.
I spent Saturday making applesauce. I got 14 quarts and 11 pints. Rob bought 2 boxes from a favorite farmer before we went camping. One box got ripe quickly, but the other one will not be ready for a few more days. I won’t get quite so many jars next time, since we are eating from the second box as it ripens.
And then there was the lonely jar of dill pickles. The cucumbers are not having a good year, but you win some and you lose some.
This week, we will be getting back into the school routine with Jake, which means my working hours will shift into the afternoon and evenings when he gets home. Rob will do early mornings Tuesday and Thursdays, and take Michaela all over on those days while I do school with Patsy. It will take a couple of weeks, but we will be back into the routine before we know it.