Category Archives: Baby

Thriving In My Thrifty Week-Nov. 27, 2022

Most of the past 2 weeks have been busy with Thanksgiving preparations–shopping, decorating, cooking, and then enjoying the day itself.

I gathered groceries from several sources over the past few weeks, gleaning sales and good prices where I could. Our menu was a little different this year, but only a little. We are traditionalists at heart, I guess! Besides the traditional turkey, we had shrimp skewers, beef teriyaki skewers, quinoa pilaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, grilled jalapeƱos, yams with marshmallows, gf stuffing, apple crisp, gf chocolate and pumpkin pies, Krispie treat turkeys (Malcolm’s contribution), salads, and other treats. We skipped the ham this time. Some relatives brought sides and desserts. Some generously gave me $ to buy extra goodies with. Everyone ate and ate, and there was plenty for people to take home, with the hopes that no one would need to cook for a day or two, at least.

I got the recipe for the shrimp skewers from a cookbook I downloaded onto my iPad from the library. They were threaded onto stalks of rosemary. Although much of my garden is gone, the rosemary is in good shape, so I had all I wanted to experiment with. There was a marinade I poured on and Rob grilled them.

He also grilled stuffed jalapeƱos. He used cheese and cream cheese and 3 different flavorings: crab, bacon, and cranberry/cheese. They were good, but mine was pretty spicy, so I stopped after one:) A few of the peppers were left from our garden, and the rest were purchased.

The teriyaki beef kabobs were a hit, as well. Rob also did the turkey on the BBQ, a day or two ahead, and we re-warmed it on Thursday. It helps me so much that he likes to cook outside and does so much on the grill. On Wednesday, I cooked everything I could do ahead and on Thursday morning, I just needed to finish things up (like warm, glaze and add marshmallows to the pre-cooked yams, warm and add topping to the green bean casserole, etc.) and mash the potatoes.

We have been extremely busy around here, besides the Thanksgiving preparations. Through it all, we have tried to stay as frugal as possible, while having as much fun as possible!

We have been utilizing the YMCA frequently. Jake, Michaela, and Malcolm all like to go into the pool as often as possible.

Our oldest daughter and her husband invited us to come to the beach last Saturday. They spent Friday night, but we joined them for the day Saturday.

The most surprising thing we saw was a bearded dragon lizard that a family had down on the beach, enjoying the weather. They graciously let Malcolm pet it all he wanted, then went on their way.

It was a perfect day at the beach! Our son-in-law showed us a place to drive right down onto the beach that we had not ever been to before and we all enjoyed some time on the sand. Then we went to Mo’s for lunch.

Last Sunday afternoon, we had both babies and did some serious leaf throwing while we were on a walk.

We all had fun!

After the whirlwind that was my past 2 weeks, I did absolutely nothing Friday. Nothing. I laid in bed, ate leftovers, played Candy Crush, took a nap, and read books. Saturday, we hit a few Black Friday sales, mostly on-line, and I did enjoy a trip to JoAnn’s to finish up my remaining gift card. I’m glad I did rest up, because tomorrow is Monday! It all starts up again, first thing in the morning.

I am in the Christmas choir at church and our drama/singing is next weekend, so I need to go to practice every day except one, then do the performance 3 times over the weekend. I have not done anything like this for a very long time, and I’m excited to participate.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–Sept. 13, 2022

Rob and I got away to the Oregon Coast for a few days over the weekend to celebrate our 40th anniversary. We stayed in a hotel with an ocean view, and spent hours staring out our window, reading, and relaxing.

We took several short hikes. The above pictures were taken down near the town of Yachats, Oregon. There is a trail there that runs along the beach. It’s easy to hike and you get to look down at the ocean and these rocks the entire time. I’ve always wanted to hike along it, and finally got to. We also hiked a little bit at South Beach State Park in Newport, Oregon.

Although we did stop in at the Lincoln City outlet mall, we did not find a single thing we could not live without. It was fun to look around, though.

We did not go down onto the beach this trip, as Rob is still recovering from his wound on his leg. Since the wound care clinic was kind enough to give him a lighter wrap and let me change the bandages for this trip, we did not want to get sand on his leg…..and it paid off. They were very happy with how it looked Monday morning when he went in! He goes 3 times each week.

We went out for a couple of meals, and ate food I took for the rest of the time. Although it was such a momentous occasion, we could have eaten out the entire time, I feel better when I cook my own food, for the most part.

We had one short-lived scare, as a grassfire broke out just a few short miles from our home. People in our area were put on alert. After we figured out that the evacuation center was the school very near our house, we relaxed a bit, and figured that if people were told to go to our neighborhood, it was probably a safe place to be. Lovana, who was home taking care of things at the house, ran the sprinkles anyway, just to keep things damp, just in case.

On our way home, we stopped at the docks in Newport and got tuna to can. We last canned tuna 2 years ago, so it was time to do some more.

I was canning right up until I left for the trip, and started in right away when I got back. It’s that time of year. I gave away several boxes of tomatoes right before I left, as I couldn’t quite finish.

I am typing this on Tuesday. Over the past 2 days, I’ve picked 8-10 buckets full of tomatoes. It might have been more. I lost count. Yikes!!! Talk about a bumper crop. We are still laughing, as last spring, those were the worst looking tomato plants Rob has ever grown!

I canned 7 quarts of diced tomatoes from the Romas that were left home over the weekend. I knew they would keep. I did a few jars of dilly beans from the pole beans. I took the very small tomatoes I picked and made tomato juice (10 pints) and taco/enchilada sauce (12 assorted pints and 1/2 pints). I chopped and froze some peppers that ripened.

There are still quite a few boxes of tomatoes. I have several tomato products to can, but I’m gaining on the project.

I sent produce to my sister and my next-door-neighbor. I cooked with it, as well.

One day last week, we took Jake and both babies to the library. There was a baby story time, which I attended with the babies and their mom. Rob took Jake to the library to choose books. Then, Rob and I took Jake and Malcolm for a walk in the area and enjoyed ducks and a pond. It was fun to go somewhere new.

It’s becoming a tradition for whatever babies are here to pile onto the bed and look at books with Grandpa.

Of course, there’s lots of tickling involved, as well as jumping, flashlight waving, and more. But, they can call it reading if they want:)

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–Gardening, Gardening, Gardening!–July 18, 2022

We started last week off with 90 degree temperatures, but it quickly cooled off. I seized the opportunity to do some extra yard and garden work.

I picked all the remaining peas over a 2-day period. My mom came over and helped shell out the first batch. The second batch felt like it took all day, but it really didn’t. We ate some and froze some.

After dealing with the last of the peas, I pulled all the vines up and put them in the compost heap. Compost was spread on the area from a finished bin and tilled in. The small cabbage and broccoli plants Rob grew were planted in that spot. More lettuce (Buttercrunch, a mixture, and Drunken Frizzy-Headed Woman) was planted in several places, along with spinach and snow peas. At this point, despite the few hot days we’ve had, we have had enough lettuce to eat and give away all anyone wants.

Although good help is hard to find, I found some. He will work for berries and peas.

And rides in the wheelbarrow!

Despite all my help (of course I mean “since I had so much help”), I was able to take out all of the broccoli that was finished, leaving 2 plants that looked like they had some shoots still coming. I cut and used several cabbages or gave them away, and lots of lettuce was harvested. I cleaned out patches of lettuce, as some was starting to bolt. It was still good, though, so I gave some away and ate some.

Both the yellow and green zucchini are ready to start harvesting and we’ve had a few small ones with many more to come.

Some onions are sizing up enough to use. I just used the last one from last summer’s garden so will pick a few of the new ones, use them, then pick some more, as they will only gain in size until it’s time to harvest them for winter.

I picked and froze the Marion blackberries. I got more than I thought I would. I picked and we ate the raspberries. It is a very small crop this year, so we are just eating them fresh. I have leftover frozen ones from last year, thank goodness.

I pulled weeds in the garden and the flowerbeds. There are enough left to keep me busy another day. And another. And another.

Rob’s dahlias are starting to bloom. Whenever I get stressed, I just go take a little walk down the rows and it calms me right down. They are so lovely. They seem to be every shape and size and color you can imagine. I’ll be taking more pictures, as you can imagine.

I also have a large cleaning/rearranging project going on. My sister and aunt came and helped me one day. I’ve gone through and sorted or filled so many bins, boxes, etc. Our garbage can is stuffed for the second week in a row. I’ve carried many, many bins upstairs into the shop attic. I have a growing pile up there that will be for a yard sale in the future. I have many items packed away that I don’t use often. My house is getting less cluttered all the time.

We have a house with 1,100 square feet. 3 small bedrooms and one bathroom, a modest living area, a dining room so small the table barely fits, an adequate kitchen and tiny laundry room. We use the garage for extra living space, but mostly put junk out there, and some of my food storage. We have many, many people and babies that go through this space, and a dog.

One adult daughter will be staying here for a short time in-between rentals. It was time to clear the clutter and move some things around. Although there is always work to be done and things to sort, this one part of the project is done. She has a place to stay, I have the things I want accessible to me, and the rest is stored. I’ll bet when I put it all back before long, I’ll get rid of more. In the process, several areas got deep cleaned and one room is almost entirely empty. It is so clean right now. I love it!! (Except for all the toys spread across the living room floor……always more to be done!)

Through all these projects and gardening, we did our best to stay frugal. We took our nephew and grandson to the park and on walks.

I made several batches of popsicles and also fed them ice cream purchased on sale because the weather turned hot again.

The little pool on the deck continues to be a blessing during these hot days.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–Feb. 21, 2022

Grandpa with sweet Zai, who finally fell asleep on Grandpa’s lap after resisting everyone else.

Friday was dubbed, “The Day I Was Buried In Boys!” It was a super exciting, busy day. My nephew, Jake, had spent the previous night and the 2 neighbor boys were coming over to play with him since both of their parents had to go into work that day and there was no school here. It was a golden opportunity for Jake to have someone to play with, as well. All 3 boys had a great time. I expended a LOT of energy, especially when we all went to the park–those boys can RUN!!! Everyone was good and waited for me at the next bush, next car, next whatever while I trotted along behind, always catching up, but always making it just in time for them to run to the next bush, car, whatever:). Whew! So glad they all listened so well. On the way back, Rob trailed behind carrying badminton racquets, discarded coats, and enough other things that one neighbor lady stopped and spoke to him about it:). “Out for your daily walk ? ? ?” “need help?” etc. :):)

Badminton was played in the back yard, board games were played, books were read, bubbles were blown and there was lots of running. Jake was so tired and happy afterwards. I’m so pleased. THEN… our daughter, J, got called into work unexpectedly and I got to keep the babies for 8 hours. Thank goodness for Patsy and Rob. We divided and conquered and had a great day, at least on my end. I had fun. My life is not boring, and I love that!

I also was able to enjoy a day celebrating one sister’s birthday with our other sister, Mom, Aunt and some nieces. I had a very relaxing day. It was a week of contrasts, for sure.

I was able to slip outside a couple of times this week and get to work on my raised beds. I cleaned this double one out from all the dry plants from last fall and weeds that grew. Raised beds dry out faster than the regular garden, which is one reason I do both. The kids planted radish seeds as a fitting ending to their 4-week, 20 experiment radish science unit. I want Jake to see how much better radish seeds actually grow in the ground compared to the little planters and glass jars, etc. I got the strawberries weeded, and some early seeds planted, such as lettuce, snow peas, green onions, etc. It’s a bit of a gamble for some of them. It’s very early. But, most are pretty hardy and we’ll see what happens.

I actually got into the garden a little and planted a few things in there, such as carrots, beets, boc choi, a very few Swiss chard seeds, spinach, and winter lettuce. The garden is a little wet, but we were able to get a small area ready to plant things in. One thing I did was put some bagged steer manure/compost in that small area, and some compost from one of my bins to improve fertility. I have 2 sections of my compost bins that need to be shoveled out sooner, rather than later so we have somewhere empty to put weeds/scraps, etc. I was a bit sore from shoveling after a winter of not shoveling, so I obviously need to get out there more frequently and build up my shoveling muscles. It’s great exercise!

Malcolm tried to use his little tricycle. He’s not quite big enough to manage it alone, but between the two of us, and Donald, he had a pretty good time. This trike was given to him by another child who grew out of it. The bell is his favorite part. We took him on several stroller rides this past week, and sometimes we even let him out to walk at times now, when it is safe.

After having so many people and babies through the house, I couldn’t put off the grocery store for another week. I needed diapers for one thing, and I’m not willing to go without those when I just never know when I will need them! Saturday afternoon I finally went. I grabbed the specials and items we were out of from both Fred Meyers and Safeway and hopefully won’t have to go again for 2 more weeks. I downloaded coupons from both stores onto my phone before I went and used a gift card and Bottle Drop money for part of the bill, so that helped tremendously. At this point, I’m well within my grocery budget for the month.

We cooked brownies, chicken soup, banana muffins, steak, home-baked chicken nuggets, sandwiches, peach crisp, and more. We used a lot of home-canned and frozen items, along with many, many pantry items. I’m actually noticing a few emptier spaces in my freezers and blank spots on my canning shelves. That’s good, because Rob has my little baby plants going in the greenhouse and the cycle will start all over again.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–Nov. 1, 2021

A cowboy….

…and his cow:)

Last night, we helped at a harvest party at the church. It was especially nice that the grandsons could come. I think the girls did a great job dressing them up. We signed up to help with whatever Miss Carol needed at the event, so along with set up and clean up. Rob and I were assigned the “treat walk.” We used piles and piles of cookies and treats many church ladies made and donated. We played the music, stopped it, drew numbers….and what do you know? Every single person won! :). :). There were so many treats, so why not? We had a ball. I was surprised at how many children did not know what a cakewalk was or how to play. So I ended up leading them around and around the circle. Since we had several hundred children come to the event, and the ones who chose to play this game could do it as many times as they wanted, I ended up with over 12,000 steps by the end of the evening when they were added to the walk and the lawn mowing I had done earlier in the day. It was a double bonus to me! Rob figured some of them were young enough that with things being cancelled for Covid, they likely had never played the kinds of games that were there (cakewalk, ring toss, etc.). There was also a super cool blown-up slide no one had to tell them how to play, and a parking lot full of trunk-or-treat cars, each with a game inside.

Although much of the week was filled with babysitting, I slipped out to the garden one day and was delighted to find some good lettuce and snow peas. I also kept pulling up old tomato plants and other spent bushes. There’s a lot of outside work left to do, but I’m cleaning out the old plants whenever I get a chance, between rain showers. While cleaning out one raised bed, I found some small onions. I thought I had planted some green onions there, but…small, round onions there were. So I pulled them and we are eating them fresh.

Although we do have a bin full of baby toys that were given to us, Malcolm has decided a partially emptied water jug is a really good toy. He carries it up and down the hall, in and out of the rooms……for quite a while.

He also has his own style when it comes to hats….although I’m sure the rain won’t stay out of that hat! (It’s a colander)

I continue cooking from the freezers and pantries. This crisp was made from lots of odds and ends of frozen fruit. It’s mostly blackberries, with a few raspberries, blueberries and peaches thrown in. Ice cream was 77c/carton this week, so we got some. We also got cheese for $5/brick, 67c/lb whole chickens, 97c frozen pizzas, cream cheese for $1/pkg and some other basic cooking things.

Of course, we used our pantry, home-canned and frozen food, and made lots of tasty meals. We cooked the last older chicken left in the freezers, boiled the bones and made chicken-noodle soup, chicken salads, and just plain roasted chicken. I got 2 new packages of ground turkey, so used an older one to make meatballs. I saved the last bit of spinach in a bag by using them in the meatballs, even though they had been placed in a bad spot in the fridge and were starting to freeze a bit. All this rotation, and constantly using things that are coming to the end of their days is a bit of work, but it’s what keeps us eating food that is not freezer burned or old, purchased at the lowest possible prices.

Peanut butter was $1 a jar, so I bought 10 and used 1 to make peanut-butter/chocolate chip cookies. Most were frozen. I only have to make these every 2-3 months, as we don’t eat many cookies, but I like to have some frozen for times when we want them for one reason or another.

I’ve had the pleasure of watching babies, mostly Malcolm, for the past 9 days, for at least a little while each day and one overnight, as his mama and auntie are packing. I mostly did that during the evenings, as Jake and Michaela were here for their usual times, plus Jake stayed over one night. Rob, Patsy, and a couple of friends’ kids are over there today, helping them actually move it over to the new place. They’ve been dropping in for meals at unexpected moments, so I’ve been cooking extra. I’m glad they are finally actually moving now, although I think it will take a few days for them to get settled and the old place cleaned all the way. With the housing market the way it is around here, we are more than thrilled that they finally found a place to move into. It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t cheap. But, they have another roommate so they can split the cost, and that helps, so they were able to get a 3-bedroom house. I’m happy for them. I’m itching to get my fingers into their boxes and help them unpack, but they were convinced that it would be more help for me to watch the baby today, so….I’m having a pretty relaxing day after all.

thriving In My thrifty Week–July 20, 2021

The weather has remained hot, but manageable. Rob has been making jar after jar of sun tea so he always has a cool drink.

The garden keeps pumping out the produce.

This morning, I got 2 small bowls of cucumbers, so I will make pickles later today. I noticed a few dill heads beginning to form, so they will be dill this time.

I picked all this broccoli this morning, as well, and it is soaking in salt water while I do some other things. That gets rid of any critters that might try to hide in the florets. Then, I will put it with what I got the other day and blanch and freeze it. Last time, we ate a bunch fresh, but I’m not sure we can eat all the veggies we are picking right now, so I’m happy to freeze some for later.

We froze several baggies of blueberries and ate raspberries and blueberries fresh. The June-bearing raspberries are winding down, but there are still a few every couple of days.

We are spending as much time as possible with the babies. So cute, and so much fun:). This one gained a pound in the last week. Go, baby!!

We took a drive on Saturday and hit a community garage sale. We found a man who was selling grocery bags of kids books for $2. We filled a bag. Since I’m going to be working with my nephew this fall, doing part of his schooling, I grabbed several educational books for the whopping price of 25c each. Even if I only use one idea from each, it’s worth it. We also scored a few fall flannel shirts and pants for $1 each for our older grandson. The baby has plenty for now and there’s a huge bag of the next couple of sizes up Rob got at a yard sale a while back, plus the outgrown clothes of his brother. So, right now, we look for the bigger sizes.

Yesterday, Rob cooked a small turkey we got last fall for a very low price. He put it on the BBQ, so it didn’t heat up the house, and we will use a lot and share some.

I’m off to Safeway to get a couple of things. 74c ice cream tops my list. I can have 2, so I will get them if there are any left. I don’t need much, actually, as we are eating mainly from the garden and freezers. It’s a good time of year for my grocery budget!

Thriving In My thrifty Week–May 24, 2021

Rob, with help from our nephew Jake, cleaned out the heat pump. He noticed there was so much ash and smoke from last summer’s wildfires he was scared to use it without giving it a good cleaning. He called at least one person to possible come do it for us, but they were unavailable, so he watched U-Tube videos and did it himself. Now when it gets hot, we will be ready. Doing basic cleaning and maintenance on our things saves us a ton of money, as they last longer. Doing it himself saves us even more, but it isn’t always possible, even for Rob. I’m glad it worked this time.

Rob took Michaela, our niece, to see horses twice this week. She loves going places and doing things and this is a totally free activity, other than a little gas, as both places were at friends.’ He’s always looking for fun things for them to do and is always excited when he finds good activities.

This past week, we mostly finished planting the garden. I worked a couple of long, hard days doing that. I didn’t take pictures because there’s nothing to show–the seeds aren’t up yet. So you get pictures of my other obsession–the baby:). There are a few small things to finish, but the bulk of it is done, and I’m not sorry it’s raining today. We need it badly.

I got into the flowerbeds a little bit, but there’s a lot left to do on those. The weeds will wait.

I cooked quite a bit as we had meals to deliver to a couple of places, plus our normal cooking. Patsy has been in a mood to cook, so baked brownies, lemon bars and lemon-poppyseed muffins, twice. Rob has been BBQ-ing everything in sight, so it was a group effort.

I spent quite a bit of time taking my rotation with a family member who is recovering from surgery, and we scheduled out the next bit of time as well on a Zoom call with the family. It’s one good thing that has come out of the pandemic–we just set the time up and all got on there and said which days worked for each one of us, then sent out the schedule via text. Now we know who goes over there and when, who cooks, who takes to appointments, etc. all without leaving home. This should eliminate people being scheduled on days that they are already busy and having to trade, but we can trade if we need to. It’s so nice to have several of us able and willing to take turns and to be able to choose convenient times to do so. And, it’s been great to have so much time to visit with that person more than I usually get to.

By Saturday, I was ready for time with the baby. So, I borrowed him for about 6 or 7 hours and Patsy and I just played with him. Rob was gone to a mens’ conference, but he got a turn once he got home. When his mama came and got him, she surprised me with pizza, which we gobbled right up:).

Rob really enjoyed his conference. It was the first thing like that he has been able to attend in a long, long time. It’s very encouraging to see things like that starting back up in our area. Our family is ready to get out there a little more, now that we’ve all had our vaccinations. Patsy got her second dose this week, so she needs to be patient a little longer, but things are definitely looking up.