Thriving In My thrifty Week–June 9, 2019

Here is our newly graduated Alissa, with her proud parents!

…..and the aunties!

…..and then there’s the “twins, separated at birth,” as they used to call themselves. It was quite an evening.

All I can say about this week is, “WOW!” All week, we seemed we were scrambling from one activity to another. But, in the end, we got everything done, and stayed somewhat frugal:).

Of course, Alissa’s graduation was a huge part of the week, but we did some other things as well.

Rob, Patsy and I went to the dentist. Because our dentist’s son is starting to slowly take over the practice, we had a new dentist. Let’s just say our teeth were thoroughly cleaned. He’s very good, but still somewhat new at it all. We ended up using a gift card I’ve had for over 2 years for lunch because it took much longer than we expected. I’m glad we have dental insurance, and have a place to use it at, and can still go to our same old dentist office, even though it’s a distance away.

I weeded and hoed quite a bit. I tucked in more green bean seeds where they got eaten by birds or slugs, and planted a short, new row of lettuce. I like to plant little bits often so we always have some.

I mowed the lawn and planted a couple of flowers here and there. Some of the seeds I’ve planted are starting to look like they will survive and I will have flowers eventually from them.

I found a ham for 69c/lb. It was the last one. It was close to expiration, but we’ve already been eating it and it won’t be a problem to use it up. I got Bugles for $1/bag (7.5 oz). I shared some today with the family, but most are for summer fun activities.

Patsy’s birthday was Friday. We took her to Red Robin, using a gift card from Christmas and let her have milkshakes and French fries for dinner. Yup. No healthy food for her. Just that!

Saturday was Abbie’s birthday. My oldest and my youngest. What a pair:). The 3 of us went to the zoo to celebrate. We used my zoo pass. It was my gift to Abbie–we just wanted to spend some time, and this was a super fun way to do that. Patsy borrowed my phone and took a lot of pictures.

We had a really nice time being together.

Thriving In My thrifty Week–June 2, 2019

The weather this week acted like summer, so the kids did, too! When we were over at my sister’s on Saturday, Jake asked to come home for the night, and that worked for me. The kids played water balloons, ate popsicles, and ran the sprinklers. Notice I say “ran the sprinklers” not “ran IN the sprinklers” cause that’s what actually happened:). I have no idea why!

My sister did a beautiful job of Alissa’s graduation party. The rest of us pitched in a bit here and there, especially my Mom. Alissa chose her cake, the verse on it, and the guitar picture, as those were all things that were special to her. She had a great time at the party. There was a great turn-out and the day was gorgeous.

Since I graduated from homeschool as well, I used some of my new-found time to clean the laundry room. Imagine this room piled high with odds and ends, and the floor covered with laundry and dirt. I worked on it for a couple of days, at times, and then finished Friday. On Saturday, when Jake came over, Patsy told him to go look at the laundry room. He dramatically fell into a fake faint when he saw how clean it was. Pretty soon, he ran into the room with a few items of his clothing and threw them on the newly cleaned floor. “There!,” he told me. “I fixed it for you, auntie!” Oh, boy! I just had to laugh my head off:)

My aunt gave me some beautiful roses from her flowerbeds.

I worked in the garden quite a bit this week. I planted some corn plants Rob grew and we covered them with row covering so the birds won’t peck them out. Things are really starting to grow. I’ve been trying to pull a few weeds or hoe a little each day so they won’t get ahead of me.

I hope your week went as well as mine did.

Strawberry Season

Yesterday, my sister and I and some friends went to the strawberry patch. In the end, there were 4 adults, 7 kids and Michaela. We picked and picked and I came home with enough to make a double batch of jam, and plenty for eating fresh. Since my berries are limping along, to put it nicely, I was glad to get a big bunch of them to get to work on.

I had never been to this strawberry patch before. It was a beautifully kept farm with many kinds of fruit, berries and veggies that are just starting to ripen, each in it’s own season. We had to walk a long ways just to get to the berries, but there were wagons to pull to make it easy to get the fruit back to the stand.

I just had to chuckle at the tiniest picker. She filled this bucket all by herself and insisted on carrying it all by herself. Finally, after she realized they were coming out of the bucket with each bouncy step she took, she allowed me to carry it back to the stand where we paid for the fruit. It was super cute! Not bad for a little one who just turned 4 a couple of weeks ago:)

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–May 27, 2019

My 2 sisters and I decided to take the kids to the Oregon Zoo today. Everyone had a blast. It was so awesome to use my zoo pass to the utmost–and we only had to pay for 2 of our large group. I have plans to use the pass again in the near future.

It was such a treat to have some of the big cousins with us, too. Jake decided Auntie Rosalie and cousin Rachel were the best ones to hang with for quite a while and even though the search for a snow cone was unsuccessful…. even though we hiked around for 2.5 miles looking for one…..even though we never, ever found one…..we saw a lot of animal along the way:)

Michaela loves trains and had a great time riding the zoo train.

We did quite a few other frugal things this week.

We took Patsy, Anthony and Allison bowling, using the Kids Bowl Free passes, along with the family pass I bought at the beginning of the season for less than $25. I bowled as well, making a total of 4 bowlers. You are supposed to pay for shoe rental, plus Allison wasn’t on the pass. In the end, the bowling alley chose to charge us only $6. I think I owed a little more than that, but when I pointed it out, the gentleman would not take any more. How nice of them.

I let the garden grow, which it did all on its own. We had rain almost daily, so I was only able to get out there and hoe a couple of times. I did do more pruning and filled the yard debris bin again.

We had a family house cleaning party over at my sister’s house. We were all pitching in because there was a birthday party there Sunday, and Alissa’s graduation party next Saturday. With all of us who showed up, we whipped that place into shape quickly, and then enjoyed a nice potluck lunch.

My oldest sister has a talent for cleaning, and Jake was waiting and waiting for Auntie to come help clean his room. He sat on the bed declaring that he was the “boss” and helping us clean off and on, having so much fun telling us aunties what to do:). Jake’s room is so clean now that I took him home for 2 nights, and so it could stay that way for a little while (but mostly because he wanted to come over). He’s home now, so……..

2 Unexpected Blessings

We received 2 unexpected blessings this week. I just thought I’d share them, since I’m bursting with thankfulness and excitement this morning!

First, our daughter, who lives in Hawaii, sent us ticket vouchers to come see her. It was our Mother’s Day and Father’s Day gifts. We are blown away with surprise and appreciation. We are planning the trip now, and will go in a few months. Our aunt is going, too, and Patsy. It’s going to be so fun, and amazing!

The second thing is a little odd, but also amazing. Our local Fred Meyers store has a person who anonymously gives out money by dropping it into people’s carts when they are not looking. I had heard of this person from ladies at my exercise class. Well, last night, it happened to me! There was an unexpected $100 bill, signed “Bernie” or “Bennie” (I really can’t tell which one) in my cart–just floating around near my purse. I was so surprised and shocked! I NEVER saw anyone lurking near me, or anything. I have no idea how or who did that! When I mentioned the whole thing to the checker, she was not surprised, but was pleased for me. When I asked if she knew how to thank this person, she said they did not even know if it was a man or woman who did this, but her suggestion was to send up a prayer for them, and thank them that way. And, that is just what I did!

Picnic Packs

We have a lot of picnics planned in the near future. The weather has been getting nicer and nicer and there are a lot of fun activities planned.

I decided to make my life easier by planning ahead for these picnics.

First, I went to Winco and purchased a bag full of munchy, yummy and non-perishable snacks. My criteria was simple: They had to be inexpensive or on a good sale, and be something I thought some of the kids would eat. I got little boxes of raisins using Ibotta rebates to bring the cost down. I got Lay’s chips in a tube so they wouldn’t crush and Winco chips for another time, since they were only around $1.50/bag. I put this bag in a safe place so the goodies would be there for the picnics.

Then, I had a baking day. I made many containers of cookies and several loaves of zucchini bread from frozen zucchini from the garden. I froze these items in containers that would be easy to grab when packing the picnic. I actually have a couple other items that I want to make and freeze when I get the time.

Finally, I went to Fred Meyers and got 4 boxes of soda on the 4/$10 sale.

I will make sandwiches, pack baby carrots, and whatever else I feel like on the day of the picnic and then grab items from these stashed items to make up the rest. Since these picnics are with various kids, they each like what they like, so I’ll pack accordingly.

We have a picnic tomorrow–we are taking Patsy, our adult son, Anthony, Allison (the love of his life), and our niece, Michaela, bowling. Then, we will go to a park and eat. It should be a lot of fun as long as I remember lots of peanut butter sandwiches:)

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–May 19, 2019

We could call this the weekend of paper airplanes and croquet! Jake had a couple of books from his school library and used a LOT of paper trying out various plane designs. It is such an inexpensive and wholesome activity. I love it that he is “in” to that right now.

We had fun with the kids at the Iris Parade! You can see they enjoyed the “Breakfast of Champions!” That was our fun, but frugal, activity for the weekend.

I think Jake enjoyed the policemen who were closing the road as much as he did the parade! This one was especially nice to the kids.

It was an old-fashioned parade with a couple of local school bands, lots of vehicles with irises stuck in the front grills, a few kids on bikes, and so forth. I always like old firetrucks, and we were all amazed by a huge truck that the driver jumped out of and drove with remote control! It was actually a little freaky!

After the parade, the Chinese restaurant gave away orders of teriyaki chicken the the first 100 people who got in line. We were right in front of the restaurant and Rob and Patsy got some. (It’s got wheat in it, so I didn’t and Jake doesn’t like it)

Both kids spent Friday night, and then, right after the parade, Michaela went with her older sister to spend Saturday night. Their parents were able to go to an event with Alissa all weekend–they had a great time as well.

The geranium I dug out of the compost heap and overwintered is going to bloom! So exciting for a “plant geek” like me! I come by it naturally. I remember my grandfather taking me to see each and every one of the new dahlia blooms in his garden and my other grandmother showing me each new bud and bloom in her flowerbeds! I get it from both sides of the family! What a gift:)

I was given this pot of flowers. I love it! The pots in the background lived all winter. I have plans for some of the extra sedums that have filled in that one.

We took a large group to the bowling alley and used the Kids Bowl Free program. We took a friend with her 7 children, my sister’s family, my family, and 2 kids Alissa was babysitting. My sister also grabbed a young man she knew to help with the mob, and we divided the older young adults amongst the little kids, so everyone had the help he or she needed. Patsy got to bowl with the “big girls” and she had a ball. Then we went to a nearby park and ate a picnic we packed. It was wild, but fun!

The rest of the week was filled with ordinary activities–things like work, cooking meals, gardening in odd moments, mowing the lawn, and finally—a lot of laundry! I’m hoping to keep up on the laundry a little better, as well as cut the lawn again very soon. Both were horrendous jobs by the time we got to them. I’ll see how this week shapes up–it’s worth a try anyway!

Garden Update–May, 2019

The garden is really starting to grow. We had unseasonably hot weather for about a week, then it has rained off and on for the past week. Things are getting a great start! Rob’s little tomatoes exceeded all expectations. I think I’ll let him grow them every year!

Do you notice all those squash-like sprouts amongst the green beans? I think every single squash seed we composted came up in the garden. Some squash and pumpkins rotted, and we threw them out there, too. I have areas where it seems like the sprouts are raising a mound, like a molehill, of baby plants. I’ve never seen that many before! The sad thing is that we have no idea what is what–they are too close, there are too many, they could be crossed with other things, a seed from a hybrid, etc., so I’m pulling and hoeing them up:(. Still, it’s amazing to watch. And, I have lots of baby green bean plants up, too, and I’m glad. I need to can and can green beans!

The new raised beds are growing great, although I kind of think the lettuce doesn’t like the coffee grounds as much as the strawberries do.

It’s still pretty small. I think the garden lettuce will soon catch up, even though it was planted so much later.

One blueberry bush is loaded. The other one isn’t. The 2 baby bushes have a few on them. There will be plenty.

I think there will be lots of raspberries before long!

The established strawberries are happy with all the attention I’ve given them this spring.

All in all, I’m very pleased with how it’s all coming along. I really have quite a bit of canning and freezing to do this summer, since vegetable man has been eating so many this past year! It’s so worth it to me. So healthy and fun:). I really enjoy gardening, and love the exercise I get while doing it.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–May 13, 2019

This week was all about gardening. The artichokes have exceeded my expectations! We have been enjoying them and there are many more to come.

Rob spent a few sessions tilling. He has to break up big jobs to accommodate his bad hip. He finished Saturday morning. We bought some plants and also planted the small peppers we grew in the greenhouse. They’ve already grown since we planted them, so who knows! They didn’t get as big as we’d like, but we thought they were worth a shot. His tomatoes came out beautifully, and he saw ones smaller than his for around $3/plant. Since he grew way over 25 plants, he grew a worth of more than $75, minus the cost of seeds.

I worked many mornings, planting beefsteak, Glacier, Ultra Early, Sungold, Black Cherry, Striped German, Black Japanese, Roma and Willamette tomatoes, head and leaf lettuces, snow peas, beets, carrots, Anaheim, Jalapeño, green, yellow, banana and lunchbox peppers, spinach, SO many little onions, potatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, 3 small groupings of green beans, yellow beans, pickling and slicing cucumbers, butternut squash, acorn squash, pumpkins, basil, cilantro, dill and watermelon. I may have planted more, but that’s what I can remember. The garden area has one more spot for corn, and a few places to fill in with transplants of head lettuce I’m growing in another spot, plus succession plantings of lettuce, basil and cilantro all summer.

I also worked on my flowerbeds quite a bit. Rob bought me this lobelia to add to a pot that I had overwintered a geranium in. It’s not blooming yet, but there’s a bud:). I planted a lot of flower seeds that had been around for a long time. Some have not come up. Some have.

I finished cleaning out the old strawberry patch, and added a lot of compost to top-dress the plants.

I have some more edging to do in front of the house but the back yard is pretty much finished. Because I’m doing some extra landscaping, it’s taking a while in each area.

We got the sprinklers set up so the garden will be watered when the system does it’s rounds, saving me hours. I was hand-watering until I got the garden all planted.

I did do a few other things this week, but sadly they didn’t include much laundry, cleaning in the house, or cooking beyond what absolutely needed to be done:). Oh, well. I was pretty happy to be outside and the dirt will still be there inside when I get to cleaning! Hope I don’t need a shovel:) 🙂

My sister took us all out to lunch for Mother’s Day. We had a really good time, and it was nice to not have to cook.

Alissa and I have been working for hours and hours to complete her schooling. We just finished the rest of the bookwork a little while ago. Now, she is happily watching “The Hobbit” while I type this. I have some correcting to do, and scores to add up, then I’ll take it all to the Homeschool Satellite School we use on Friday–she will get a high school diploma, graduate in a cap and gown, etc. once they get the final credits recorded. What a weight off my mind to know we have completed all the requirements! We are both pretty happy today:)

Rob took Patsy and they got 4 garbage cans full of free sawdust to use as mulch on the front of the house where she planted her bulbs. She trimmed the leaves of the spent bulbs and put down the sawdust. It looks great.

Thriving In My thrifty week–May 5, 2019

There were a lot of branches in our garden area from the apple tree we heavily pruned earlier in the spring. Rob worked on cutting them up several times during the week. Even though he’s having a very hard time getting around, he finds he can still get some things done if he divides the jobs up into several short work sessions rather than the marathons he’s used to doing. We have the yard debris bin full, and another pile of cut sticks to put in it when it gets emptied.

On Saturday, Patsy mowed down the many, many weeds. Although it was being very difficult, and kept dying at first, Rob got the tiller going and tilled most of the garden. He said it must have been having trouble running with the old gas leftover in the engine from last summer, because it died over and over, but finally started running better. There is still a little more to do another time, but it’s well on it’s way. Patsy and I spread 20 bags of steer manure/compost as he was tilling. Then, Patsy planted a couple of things and I did many more. I’ve been hand-watering the little starts and seeded rows. We don’t want to run sprinklers until we have all of it planted.

Before it was mowed, I scurried thought the garden picking the volunteer lettuce, green onions and cilantro that were growing in the weeds and under the brush pile. I washed it all up, and we will eat it this week.

I made up a lot of frozen bean, rice and cheese burritos for future meals. Tortillas were $1/package this week, due to Cinco de Mayo. Many evenings when I am still at work, it makes an easy meal for Rob to give Patsy. She loves them.

I worked on homeschool with Alissa for many, many hours this week as well. I have an appointment to turn her work and grades in, in 2 weeks, so we are both working hard to get it done. One of our projects was visiting 4 different stores with a list of food items. We priced them out at each store, and added up the cost of the list. In the process, I gleaned the loss leaders from each store. I got plenty of bargains, and won’t shop this coming week unless I see an amazing deal, or run out of something small.

I did a lot of cooking, a fair amount of gardening, a little cleaning, no sewing at all, and stayed frugal through it all! How did your week go?

Making My Home A Haven

%d bloggers like this: