Category Archives: Birthdays

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–June 5, 2022

Oregon State Parks had a celebration commemorating the first park that was donated, 100 years ago. Rob was asked to barbecue for the event. I was asked to hand food out.

It rained. That was not really a surprise. We do live in Oregon:). There was another couple, the park hosts, who helped at our station, as well.

The organizer made it easy, and had him do hot dogs. We served them with chips and packages of condiments in a little paper boat. There were also Oregon State Park birthday cupcakes in our area, and a huge cake and more cupcakes in another area. She got all the supplies and had the park rangers put up tarps and tables and all we had to do was show up and deal with the food.

I got to walk around a little and enjoyed the classic car show. They had various booths set up all around the park. One was recreation through the ages and had a mini frisbee golf course, croquet, and nerf sports set up. I wasn’t there when children were actually playing on the games, but I’m sure they had a blast between rain showers.

There were speeches, a birthday song for Oregon, a huge cake, and they even found several descendants of the lady who donated this first state park in 1922 and had them take part in the ceremonies. I did not listen to those speeches, as I was at the hot dog station, but Patsy did and said they were nice.

Rob and I had a lot of fun. We have benefitted so much from the Oregon State Parks through the years and it felt good to be able to give back a little. I talked to some people I have never met before, went to a state park I had never visited, and found out about another place I’d like to visit that isn’t too far from home. They gave us a pin and a picnic blanket as a thank-you gift.

I cooked basic foods this week, and focused on using up any leftover party food.

I just finished making a huge batch of refried beans. They are in old cottage cheese cartons, cooling on the counter so I can freeze them. I’ve had to buy a few cans lately. Although they are not expensive, making them is even less expensive, and we love all the peppers and onions I add in. I’m also still working on the 50 pound bag of pinto beans Rob got at the beginning of Covid. At that point, there were shortages, and it was 50 pounds, or nothing, and he took the big bag. It was only about $22, if I remember correctly, and that’s a lot of chili and refried beans! I’m doing chili next.

Rob worked in the greenhouse. It’s really getting funny. Now that the word is out that he enjoys growing dahlias, he continues to be given dahlias, dahlias and more dahlias. He planted another bag full someone gave him. We have many, many plants in the back of the garden, the side of the shop, the front of the house, and anywhere else we could fit some in. It is going to be gorgeous around here in a few months.

He started me some head lettuce, which was promptly chewed off by bugs or slugs, so he started some more. There is a succession planting of cabbage and broccoli growing in there, as well. I worked several hours weeding and hoeing in the garden until it started raining again and became too muddy. I re-planted a couple of things that didn’t come up.

I have been very pleased with the germination of Rob’s home-saved seeds. This is something he has only been doing for the past 2-3 years, and he knows he is still learning. All of our pole beans, both Blue Lake and Purple/Violet Podded have come up very well from saved seeds. We still buy seeds–lots and lots of seeds, but it’s so nice to be able to cut that down whenever we can. It’s also a skill he enjoys learning.

We were given a pickup load of chopped, split wood. We are very excited to have it and will be stacking it up in the back for next winter’s fires. There will be more to come, and that’s exciting, as well.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–February 1, 2022

My daughter asked me if I would help her do my grandson’s hair. So, yesterday, we did it! Since he was wiggling and squirming while we pressed snacks, toys and other treats on him, at the same time as singing to The Wiggles and trying to distract him in any way possible, I thought it turned out great! I washed his hair, Ja’Ana made parts and combed it, and we both started braiding like crazy from both sides. Now it’s clean, his head is moisturized, and he looks great! It’s a big job, but by doing it ourselves, we saved at least $75-$100. It brought back a lot of memories to me of years and years of doing hair….

My daughter has been at a new job for a few weeks now. She works mostly at night. This has been difficult, but we are all pitching in as we can to help with babysitting so she can keep her money in her pocket. I’ve been babysitting a lot as they have been calling her in due to people not coming to work due to Covid symptoms. These were afternoon shifts, so I was able to help her out. Patsy’s been babysitting a lot, as well, as has anyone else who will take a shift. Today, my sister and I had a great visit while she helped me with Jake, the boys, school, and life while my daughter got some sleep after working all night last night. My Mom helped while we visited last Friday. As you can see, we are using any one with arms that will come over:). They are happy to work for soup, so……..Seriously, I am very grateful for the help and J is, too.

We put Malcolm to work to help out (ha, ha). He’s happy to work for crackers, so the price is right. Rob ordered this little cleaning set and we’ve had so much fun watching him sweep and mop. Little brother was not amused today, when he got “swept” in the process.

Rob’s seeds are popping up like crazy in the greenhouse. Our second batch of ordered seeds arrived yesterday and he planted some of them today. I had forgotten to order the Carmen pepper seeds the first time. I got Rob some flower seeds while I was at it and he’s excited about them.

I successfully cooked the beans I was soaking. Now I have both red and black beans frozen for quick use. The previous post details a lot of what I cooked this past week. After I posted it, I ended up making a huge vegetable-pesto soup, cornbread, brownies and potato salad. Our neighbor with Covid is feeling a little better and has food from some other places, so I’m haven’t sent more over after today unless he runs out or feels worse. (Rob just talks to him on the phone and leaves it on the doorstep. He’s a truck driver and basically crept home feeling awful a few days ago and called asking if we had broth or chicken soup. He doesn’t keep much food in the house as he’s away so much. We were glad to help out.). The soup got away from me and become too large, so I shared with a couple of other people and there’s still plenty for us. I used onions, celery, hamburger, canned carrots, broth and tomato products, frozen beans and corn, frozen pesto, frozen white beans, Italian seasoning, water, salt and pepper and a little corn pasta in it.

We didn’t need many groceries from Safeway this past week. We are still using things from the freezers and pantry. I used the last of January’s grocery money for another Azure order of mostly bulk food products such as rice mix, white beans, popcorn, etc.

I read library books on line, and a couple actual books. We watched U-Tube, Netflix, etc. for entertainment…(We Don’t Talk About Bruno in 21 languages, anyone? Jake loves that song in English, Patsy in other languages….you see how it is). Thankfully, U-Tube is free so they can both have their way. I worked on a baby quilt a bit, using fabric I’ve had for years with just a couple of small pieces I bought to go with it. There is no baby in mind for this. At the rate I’m going, that’s just as well as they would be a teen before I get done. But, I cleaned up an entire basket of miscellaneous sewing items/scraps, along with going through a couple of other drawers of sewing things and found this fabric, some scraps from other projects that matched, so…why not?)

Rob’s been taking Lovana, our daughter, driving. She really wants to pursue getting her license. She’s a little older, but feels ready at this time. They delivered a meal to a family who needed it. That was good double use of time and gas.

Rob had a birthday. He had a great day. I made the cake he loves so much. It’s a sour cream chocolate cake and it’s great. You really cannot tell it’s gluten-free, or so they say:). Making it that way means I get some, too. Yum!

Thriving In My thrifty Week–September 28, 2021

This week, we celebrated the arrival of fall by doing some extra activities with the kids. On the first day of fall, we decorated the extra fall-shaped sugar cookies I had frozen before we went to the beach. Then, we made fall cards.

Rob organized the project. It involved collecting fall leaves on our walk, then spattering them with watercolors so that when the leaf was removed, the shape of the leaf was left on the card.

Another day, we made some cinnamon puffs. They are like little fritters. The kids enjoyed the project and they were soon eaten, especially when the big girls and babies dropped by later in that afternoon and helped eat them.

We had 2 birthday parties. One was for sweet Allison and one was for my aunt. I made hamburgers, coleslaw, and beans along with the big chocolate cake and we had some ice cream for Allison’s party. We played games and had fun with our son, Anthony and his girl, Allison. For my aunt’s party, my sister did the hosting. I took a pan of enchiladas–easy! Both gatherings were kept extremely small, but it was nice to get together.

A friend gave us some dahlia starts in pots earlier in the summer. A few of them recently bloomed. I’m trying to get an idea of what they look like and how tall they are before I plant them in the flowerbeds. This one is especially pretty.

I canned the rest of the whole tomatoes I needed and 3 more pints of diced tomatoes. I also made 7 pints of enchilada sauce, using all the tiny tomatoes, yellow ones and cherry tomatoes I could gather. There are just too many for us to eat fresh. They are winding down, though, so I’m glad I pretty much have what I need. When Rob’s cousin graciously offered us more tomatoes, I was able to say “no,” gratefully and thankfully for the offer, of course, but still “no.” Truthfully, many of my jars are filled now. The shelves have only a few small spaces left. I have plans for those spots and will fill them, but there comes a time where I need to move on to other things that need to be done and not can just to can, not fill jars just because I have a few empty ones left…. Other than things that are ready yet, like cauliflower, I’ve preserved what I need and a little more for a carry-over.

One of those things that desperately needs done is cleaning. My house is a disaster. It makes sense. I’ve spent up to 14 hours some days growing or picking produce and dealing with it. So I started with the garage, which became a handy place to drop boxes, buckets, food items, toys, crafts and garage sale items over the past few months. I’ve put in about 2-1/2 hours so far, over 2 days, and you can hardly tell at all. I plan to clean a little, in short increments, several times a week until it is done. Once things are sorted through and organized, I will be able to tell if I have enough for a garage sale, or just want to donate the excess. I go through my food storage pantry shelves a couple of times a year out there, so I should make faster progress when I get to that section as it shouldn’t be too messy.

I cleaned out the freezer over the fridge in the kitchen. I found lots of food I had frozen for future meals so we are eating a lot of that this week. I put empty ice cream buckets I’d saved in there, one for baggies of frozen fruits and one for frozen vegetables. I’m hoping I have stopped the avalanche each time the freezer is opened. So far, so good!

I made vegetable soup, clam chowder, enchiladas, zucchini noodle lasagna, and thawed several pre-cooked items I’d cooked in the past.

We were able to get 24 cans of Progresso clam chowder on the 99c/can sale this week. All of my regularly budgeted grocery money this week has gone on stocking the pantry–things like this soup, 25 pounds of 1 to 1 flour, etc. and a little dairy and produce. Since we ate the camper freezer food, and now the house freezer food, I really don’t need much so this is a perfect time to load up on pantry items.

Thriving In My Thrifty 2 Weeks, and Why Rob’s Been Running Red Lights–July 5, 2021

We have had a crazy 2 weeks since I last posted. I know we seem very busy most of the time, but these 2 weeks were amazingly full of activity.

We planned and carried out a 4th of July party, combined with 3 birthdays. Rob’s mom and my mom both share the same birthday. One grandma is 89 and the other 80. Our grandson has his birthday the very next day and he is 1. These birthdays are all close enough to each other and the 4th to celebrate them all on the same day. So we had the “2 Grandmas and a Baby, 4th of July Birthday Bash.” We set up the back yard for lots of people. There were lawn chairs under the awning, along with a table full of desserts, drink coolers full of lemonade and water along the bench, along with sodas. All of the food was inside of the house and there were several places to sit for those who didn’t want to be outside in the near-90-degree heat.

We were delighted that some of Rob’s relatives were able to come from a great distance to help celebrate, along with all the people who live nearer. It was a huge success. People were ready to see one another after being apart for so long.

The baby scarfed his cupcake in a most satisfying manner. The grandmas ate their dessert more politely, although we all decided that they could eat it any way they wanted, due to their advanced age:). I made them each a cheesecake in my Instant Pot to put their candle on and we decorated them with berries from my garden. There were also some great brownies that showed up, along with some cinnamon rolls and the tasty cupcakes, so there was plenty for all.

I made 4th of July Krispie treats, but all my houseguests, niece and nephew and Rob, Patsy and I ate them all up before the party even started. Oops.

Rob BBQ’d teriyaki chicken breast, a huge trout he caught recently, shrimp skewers, hamburgers and hot dogs. Many, many pot luck side dishes, drinks and desserts were brought. I made coleslaw from a huge cabbage I grew, lettuce salad, mixed veggies with rosemary, olive oil and other spices cooked on the grill by Rob. I had a huge tub of ice cream as well to fill in the cracks.

Although it wasn’t my most inexpensive grocery shopping week, by far, I was able to use a $10 off $50 coupon as well as many good digitally downloaded coupons at Safeway. I was also able to use things like ice cream previously purchased for only $3 for a huge tub, my garden produce, meat purchased on sale, shrimp bought for only $3/lb a couple of months ago, and the trout Rob caught to keep the cost down.

Rob’s been wanting to sand and paint the deck for several years, but he wasn’t up to it until this summer. It was peeling badly and got very slick when wet. We rented a sander ahead of time for last Monday. Then it got hot. We broke the all-time record for heat in our city and reached 117 degrees here in Salem, Oregon. One day was 114. Several other days it “only” reached 104 or so. At this point it was too late to cancel without losing our money, so…..we carried on.

Rob worked early and late, trying to prep the deck before sanding. Then we all helped as he sanded on that blistering Monday morning. We were pretty quick with Rob running the sander and Patsy and I sweeping and holding the cord out of the way. He then painted it with 2 coats of textured deck paint over the next couple of days. There’s a little bit of hand painting to do still, and the bench needs painting, but what he did looks great!

In the meanwhile, the girls and baby moved in with us for the duration of the heat wave, since they don’t have air conditioning. Rob and I cooked like maniacs the day before they came, to have food that could be eaten cold or warmed in the microwave. The plan worked great until we lost power one evening. That night, we ate ice cream for dinner. It worked for me:).

After the heat wave broke, they went home. We spent one morning at their house chopping, trimming, clipping, weeding and so forth in their front yard. It was extremely overgrown and they asked for help trimming it up. I was sore after that! You’d think I do enough yard work that I wouldn’t have been, but I guess all that chopping used different muscles than hoeing.

I weeded and hoed for a bit each evening in my garden and yard, except a couple times that were just too hot. Today, my sister came and helped me weed for a couple of hours. Little by little, the job is getting done. The “problem” is that the warm nights and watering I’m doing are causing the weeds to grow super fast. I can hardly keep up. The good news is that the vegetables are, too. The heat ruined my peas, some lettuce, some spinach, and some snow peas. It annihilated most of my blackberries and burned many raspberries and blueberries. It encouraged some other veggies, though, and I have a few ripe tomatoes, zucchini and other things coming right along.

And, about those red lights…..

The 4th of July, the day of the party, we felt confident that we would be able to go to church, come home in plenty of time to do the last minute things for the party, and have a pretty relaxing day with all the relatives who were coming. About 6 am, we received a frantic call that our daughter was in labor. Rob rushed over there, collected our grandson, and took our 2 daughters to the hospital, one to deliver a baby and one to support her sister. She felt she needed to get there fast, and she kept saying, “Dad, just run that red light. Hurry. Just run that red light!” Thankfully, there wasn’t much traffic at that time on a Sunday/holiday, so he did. He dropped the girls off at the birthing center and brought Malcolm home to me and we figured we had a little time to calm ourselves down. Nope.

By 8:05 we had a new, precious grandson, delivered by emergency c-section. I rushed over to the hospital, my sister rushed to our house to help Rob with both the party and our grandson, and the day became a little more exciting by the minute. His name is Zaire. He was 7 lbs., 4 ounces and 21-1/2 inches long.

We’ve been enjoying having a little one around the house the past couple of days. He’s keeps us hopping. I am happy to help in that way.. Only one person is allowed at the hospital once they move the new mom to a room, and her sister is that person, so I’m just thankful I got there before they moved her out of the labor and delivery area. They will likely discharge her tomorrow, and I plan to hold new baby again then. I need to be here with big brother right now anyway.

I doubt our lives will become boring any time soon. With 2 babies exactly 1 year apart, I have a feeling I will be able to spend time with kids any time I feel lonely in the least, and likely some times when I’m not lonely at all:). I feel very blessed to be surrounded by all of these healthy, happy kids. They say it keeps you young to spend lots of time with young people. Maybe someone should start sewing me a baby blanket……

Thriving In My thrifty Week–June 8, 2020

My sister and niece, Michaela, u-picked some strawberries for us and drove them by as a very nice surprise. Rob and I had just been discussing whether or not our patch at our house would yield enough for all the jam we wanted to make, and we had just decided to go pick a few, so it was a very timely gift!

I used all the little odds and ends from our patch, plus some I froze, plus the ones they brought and made 18 jars of jam.

My friend, Jeannie, sent me some Tattler, reusable, canning jar lids. Because I’ve never used them before, I used one in this batch. I followed her instructions, did not tighten the ring very tight, and as far as I can tell, it sealed nicely. I only did one jar in case I got it wrong, but it worked! I appreciate her thoughtfulness, as I don’t think I would have had the courage to try these without her encouragement.

She also sent Rob some seeds for various greens she saved from her garden. He chose a few and already has little babies sprouting in the greenhouse to plant out when space frees up in the garden. He’s excited to see what grows.

I am picking a small bowl full of berries every few days from our patch. We are eating those fresh, and I’ve been freezing a few here and there. It’s very easy to just add to a bag of berries until it is full, and transfer it to the big freezer so not a berry gets wasted. We use the frozen strawberries for smoothies during the winter.

I picked raspberries, strawberries, green onions, lettuce, snow peas, cabbage, boc choi, cilantro, and thinned out a few collard green plants from my very small planting. That is a new vegetable for us, and it seemed a bit tough in Rob’s stir-fry. I’m going to do some research and see if I need to cook it differently.

Patsy had her 16th birthday yesterday. She felt very spoiled as 3 different groups brought her treats, flowers, and gifts and left them on our doorstep. I made a chocolate cake and thankfully we let her start it Saturday night, since another friend brought a cake and ice cream over on Sunday. She and Rob drove out for a Little Caesar’s pizza Saturday and I made tacos on Sunday.

Rob made her a jewelry box. The brave man also did the ear piercing she asked for by ordering an ear-piercing gun off the internet and doing the job. He’s much, much braver than I am, but it was the only way we felt comfortable granting her birthday request so we had to get what we are calling “Covid Creative.”

Now she’s got that little second earring right above the one she got when she was very, very young. It’s what she has been wanting for the last several months for this birthday, so….whew–he found a way.

Of course, he had to play a trick on her first. He made a very crude jewelry box with garish paintings on the top and a necklace made from a rusty chain and a wood disk with her name and other words on it and wrapped it elaborately. When she opened it, he told her she had asked for jewelry and a jewelry box. Then, he gave her the real gift which was out on the porch. She about died laughing.

I do think we are making memories that will last far beyond Covid19. It’s different. That’s for sure. But, at least she will have a story to tell her whole life long, about these unusual, strange, but sometimes wonderful, times.

Thriving In My thrifty Week–January 13, 2020–Chewbacca Came To Visit Jake and I cooked!

It was Jake’s birthday this week. Chewbaca came to Family Sunday Dinner to see him. The Millennium Falcon apparently dropped him off so he could visit Jake during his birthday lunch. Jake was surprised and pleased, but later confided to me that “there was a guy in there, auntie!” Good to know, I said:)

A few family photos were taken.

Everyone had fun! There were quite a few other family members present, and we thoroughly celebrated Rob, Alissa and Jake’s birthdays.

I managed to save quite a bit of money during the week in the food department. I had several meals I wanted to cook for friends and family who had various needs, such as recovery from surgery, sickness, etc. I also had a lunch to pack to share when I went visiting another family and food to make for our meals, too, of course. It was a busy week, I’m telling you!

First, I did a large (for me) grocery shop at Safeway, using a $10/off $50. I purchased more than $50 worth, but it was still nice to have that discount. I used several coupons that I downloaded, one I picked up in the store, and 4 Ibotta rebates, which gained me a $5 Ibotta bonus.

We cooked both a large turkey and a ham this week. They were bought on great sales over the holidays and pulled from the freezers for this super busy week. I boiled the bones from both of them. All of the turkey broth, 2 big kettles of it and a 3rd small one, was used up in 3 large batches of turkey soup.

Several pans of turkey enchiladas were made. When I found a large baggie of frozen corn tortillas leftover from Christmas, I thawed them out and used them up on this project.

I sliced turkey breast very thinly for sandwiches, and turkey pieces were given to some of the families. I made sandwiches with turkey and some 99c/day-old-bread-rack buns when I took the picnic, along with some carrots and cupcakes.

Patsy made a double batch of lemon poppy seed muffins. I made a double batch of pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins, and most of those went out with various meals.

A while back, I was given a bag of white rice. While we love it, we don’t eat it often, as Rob is dieting and I’m diabetic. So, I took the opportunity to made up a huge batch of fried rice with some of it. I added grated carrot, peas, scrambled eggs, onion, some water chestnuts and 1 can of bamboo shoots that I’ve had for quite some time. I seasoned with soy sauce, and made enough for 2 families to have some, and kept a small bowl for us, since we love it so much!

I sliced up ham for one family to go with their fried rice. We ate ham in several ways this week.

Salads were made and shared and also eaten here. Rob eats a lot of salad! A huge chocolate cake was baked for the birthday party on Sunday. I also did some white cupcakes from a boxed mix, which I divided between the birthday party and one family.

The amazing thing is that cooking all this food was not a huge drain on my budget because I chose foods we had in the pantry and freezer to base the meals on, with some additions from the store. Sharing food is one of my favorite things to do and I am always happy when I can make it work as nicely as it did this time. It was a fun, rewarding week, though I must confess that all that cooking made it a busy one!

Now that people are feeling better from their various surgeries and other things, my cooking frenzy is over. It was kind of funny how it all came at once, but that’s how life goes sometimes. This week, I’ll put my energies in other directions, and that’s ok, too. I like variety in my life:)

Thriving In My thrifty Week–June 16, 2019

Happy birthday, Danait! And Ja’Ana. And Patsy. And Abbie……It’s been a packed 8 days:). Yesterday was Danait’s birthday party. Her mama cooked tons of delicious African food, a cake was purchased, and there were plenty of family and friends to celebrate with her. I’m super pleased with the little outfit I sewed for her. It fits beautifully, and the top was made from a scrap of eyelet fabric, some white cotton, and some scraps of lace.

I used a pattern I’ve had for years and years and modified it to suit my scraps. So, I paid absolutely nothing out of pocket for this outfit, but made up for it in time:). We added a few inexpensive toys from the Dollar Store, such as a coloring book and some crayons I bought last summer, and so forth.

Our family and my sister were in charge of a few simple games. Patsy led them in such games as:

carry the gummy bear in a plastic spoon relay,

bubbles,

–carry the paper cup full of water up to Rob and no worries if you spill it on him when you are putting it into the container,

and throw the plastic frog at the ring.

Then my sister, Rosalie, dumped a bag of prizes on the ground and let them each pick one. There were a few younger siblings running around, too, and they all got things, too. These were all Dollar Store prizes, and they all got a bottle of bubbles, but it was amazing how long they all played with their inexpensive toys. It was good to see them having so much fun.

It was very simple but it was amazing how much fun they all had between the food, simple games, and playground equipment.

Pretty soon, the coffee was made and passed around for all the adults. Popcorn was brought out for all to enjoy.

With that nice shot of caffeine, we were able to finish and clean up a bit. When our family finally left at around 4, several others were still enjoying the party–no one wanted to leave–it was that nice of a party, but we had things we needed to do at home, so we reluctantly left.

I enjoyed meeting several new people, and loved the hospitality that is always shown by that crew. Coffee, cake and popcorn were offered to any and all who walked by at the park and a surprising number of people accepted. There was a man and his wife who actually sat down and joined the party for a while. I have met and enjoyed the wives of a few of the dads who brought their kids to the party on other occasions, but it was nice for both Rob and myself to visit with the dads.

I did a few other things other than plan games and go to the party. I took my son Anthony and Allison to the zoo, using my zoo pass. Patsy went too, as it was her idea. They had a great time as neither had been there for a long time. I packed food and water and I told them to bring their own money if they wanted souvenirs, so it was very frugal for me.

I’ve been picking raspberries and strawberries, artichokes and a head of lettuce that grew volunteer by the compost heap. My aunt gave me some lettuce she grew. I harvested my first snow peas yesterday. I weeded and hoed several times, mostly in the evenings or early mornings as it was very hot for a couple of days.

The scale is starting to move in the right direction for Rob again, after a plateau. The doctor put him down to 1000 calories per day–yikes!–but it’s starting to work. He’s been working hard at this for over a year now, and is very close to being 100 pounds less than he was a year ago. He’s going to have to break down and get some new clothes.

I bought loss leaders at the grocery store this week. We grabbed the mayonnaise for $1.49/jar, the baked beans for $.99/big can and got several of each. We got a few other groceries, but are not shopping much this month. I have several frozen items I want to finish up before the new crop gets ready in the garden and fields, so we are targeting those foods. I’ve been making lots of zucchini bread, for example, from frozen zucchini. Since we are not eating a lot around here, that keeps the need for groceries low as well, other than produce.

It was a good week, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Still, I’m looking forward to a calmer week ahead. How about you?

thriving In My Thrifty Week–April 1, 2109

This week was all about family, friends and the beautiful Oregon coast. We spent quite a bit of time traveling back and forth, getting kids where they needed to be, and visiting, but in-between those drives, we had a lot of frugal fun. In truth, we even enjoyed the drives. The weather was mild and the spring flowers were blooming, the trees were budding, the grass was spring-green, and there were many days with blue skies and puffy clouds to look at as we travelled.

We camped for a few days last week with Patsy. We came home so she could go on her youth group service project trip. Rob and I went back to the beach for 2 nights alone. We came back on Tuesday to pick Patsy up and to get Lovana who had been picked up at the airport by friends and was spending time with them. We took both girls back down to the beach and loved having a few days to really get caught up with Lovana. Then, we came home and she went off with friends for a night, other friends for dinner the next day…..you get the idea! Sunday was her birthday, so we had a big party for her with both friends and family.

We enjoyed days of gorgeous sunshine, and days of steady, pouring rain. We stayed in the camper and at the campsite most of the time we were down at the beach. We didn’t go clamming, fishing or crabbing this trip. Instead, we rested and I sewed and read lots of books. We ate out one night when Rob and I were having our 2-night get-away. We went to a restaurant and ate seafood while enjoying some live music. We cooked the rest of the meals in the camper or packed them for the car rides. I enjoyed several nice walks on the beach. I even found a heart-shaped fossil in a rock!

Patsy had really been wanting to fly a kite. Rob dug out the kites we’ve had for over 30 years and took her to a beach with easy access for him so she could fly one. They broke a dowel (go figure–it was very old) and then they went to the hardware store and got a new one and Rob fixed the kite for a little over a dollar.

I did several things to make Lovana’s birthday special and not too stressful for me. First, when we came back home to collect children on Tuesday, I sent Rob to pick her up at our friends’ house, and I stayed back at our house and cleaned. Then, it stayed clean because no one was home:) On Friday, we put all the camping paraphernalia away, so on Saturday, I could concentrate on cooking.

She wanted an apron for her birthday. I made a couple of them in the camper, after she got there, so they would be the way she wanted them. I got the coffee fabric for the pockets from apron #1 at a yard sale. It was a scrap and I paid either 25 or 50 c for it. I was happy to get it, since she wants the aprons to wear in her work at the 2 coffee shops she works at on Maui. I used some fabric I’ve had for years for the base of both aprons. For the rest of her gift, Rob is taking her to Trader Joe’s for some food items she can’t get for a reasonable price over there in Hawaii. Food in general is very expensive over there, but some things are SUPER expensive. She brought an extra suitcase to fill with things from here.

We had several of our kids at the party, plus aunties and uncles, a family of friends and cousins. We ended up with a lot of people, and I was delighted that it was a nice day, so quite a few people could overflow outside. Our oldest daughter and her husband made it, as did Ja’Ana, who moved out a few weeks ago. All of the relatives who were on vacation made it as well, even my sister and Jake, who got bumped from their airplane ride back from vacation Saturday night and stayed an extra night in LA. Rob picked up the crew that returned at the airport Saturday night, but Ron and Michaela had to go pick Gail and Jake up Sunday morning, and they got here for the end of lunch. It was good that Rob put a little chicken and salmon in the cupboard for them–this crew was hungry! (I was like, “Why are you putting that plate of food in the cupboard, Rob?” —but he was so right! It was needed for them!) I made rice salad, green beans (home-canned), home-frozen corn, twice baked-potato casserole, one of my sisters brought broccoli salad, Rob did chicken and salmon on the BBQ, and I made mixed fruit crisp and chocolate birthday cake. Rob went out and bought some rolls from the bread outlet store yesterday and I chose not to shop at all. I simply ran out of time. I mowed the lawn instead, and we made out fine! I put out some seltzers that were in the garage, Rob found 2 bottles of soda pop out there behind some stuff and put those out, and I made lemonade from lemon juice from a bottle. None of it was fancy, but they ate and ate! There was plenty, but not a lot left over. At all!

I picked flowers from the yard to put on the table. The house was pretty full, so they kept getting moved around, out of the way of people’s elbows. I think I will enjoy them more this week when they are not in danger of getting knocked over!

One of our friends who came to the party asked me if I used 1-1 flour, and did I want some. Of course I did!!!! He actually had it in the car, and shortly walked in the house with 25 lbs!!! I thanked him profusely, and let him know I would be sharing some of it, which he was happy for me to do. It was given to him, and he doesn’t use it enough to finish off a bag that size, so I was the lucky recipient!

Lovana flies back to Hawaii Monday afternoon, and then our lives will return to routine. It’s been a whirlwind, but I’ve enjoyed the week tremendously.


Thriving In My Thrifty Week–January 7, 2018

Rob was able to get these clamps very inexpensively using a coupon from Ace Hardware combined with a sale. He was mailed the coupon because he has a birthday in the month of January. I think in the end, the price tag was about $5 for both.

Patsy took this picture on New Year’s Day. Its a view of the Willamette River, from my sister’s deck. She especially loved that she got the cat in there. I love how it shows how very frosty and cold that morning was! We get a lot of enjoyment from the river.

Today, at church, my aunt noticed a bin of potatoes and celery that were for people to take. She got me one of each, since she didn’t need them and I looked after second service and there were some left, so I grabbed another one of each. The potatoes need to be used quickly. How handy! I just finished turning the ones I had at home that were sprouting just like these into potato salad!

We had a family birthday party scheduled for today. Unfortunately, we had to cancel as the birthday boy (Jake) was sick. (The birthday young lady (Alissa) and the birthday man (Rob) were not, but they will have to patiently wait for the reschedule date!). Thankfully, we were able to parcel out the enormous bowl of potato salad amongst the relatives anyway!

Rob and Alissa have not missed one year of celebrating together in all of her 18 years. Of course, Jake joined in when he was a baby, sitting on a table at Chuck-E-Cheese in his carrier. What a birthday surprise that was for Rob and all of us! So many memories of birthday parties in many places with many themes……. One of the best was when my sister put on a “Beauty and the Beast” birthday party with all girly things and a princess at one end of the cake for Alissa and the Beast on the other end, for Rob. I can’t believe she’s 18! But, she is. It’s been amazing to see that little, cute, curly-headed blond baby become a strong, confident young lady in what felt like a blink of an eye.

One of my Christmas gifts was a little planter with some seeds to grow basil on the windowsill. There were extra seeds so I used the container that my Christmas poinsettia was in, filled with new potting soil. Since the flower died because I think it got too hot near the wood stove where it was, I was glad to repurpose the pot and use all the seeds up, and hopefully, I will have basil in 2 pots.

I’ve been sorting through my seeds and hope to get my order finished up soon. I have quite a few 1/2 packets left from last year.

Birthday Party #4 –June, 2018

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Happy 4th birthday, Danait!

Danait’s birthday party went very well.  Harnet, her mother, had asked Rob to barbecue months ago, and so of course, he agreed.

We picked up Jake and Alissa, who agreed to help, bright and early this morning, and headed up to the park where a covered area had been reserved.  We set up while my sister Rosalie took Jake and went for balloons and the cake.  It was fun for Patsy and Alissa to be handed a bag full of “Frozen” themed decorations, and get to put them up any way they wanted.  A friend had made a poster of Danait since birth, which really added to the decorations.

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They did a great job, and there were decorations all over the place.

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Several families arrived, and soon everyone was feasting on hamburgers, hot dogs, injera bread, lentils, Coalwa (beef), chicken in beriberi sauce, vegetables, potato salad, and fruit.  Harnet had been cooking up a storm.  The kids played and played on the equipment, and with bubbles Patsy patiently blew and blew and blew and blew.  Rob barbequed the meat.  I noticed that some of the parents could not get enough of the African food.  It was a new, very delicious treat for them.  Of course, the American food went down well, too, especially the hot dogs with this crew.

 

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There was a really cool “Star Wars” themed party near us on the lawn.  It was so cool, that Jake joined it.  I went to fetch him back to the “Frozen” party, and he told me the people said he could stay.  They were very welcoming to him, and indeed had said he could stay, but I pulled him away after a few minutes, and we went back to our own party.

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The kids weren’t too excited about eating.  Playing was more fun!

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Pretty soon, it was cake time.

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Alissa was such a big help with everything!

Jake and the other kids ate some cake, the presents were opened, and they went off to play again. Jake joined the Star Wars crew again.  I wouldn’t let him stay over there for very long during the time, since we didn’t even know the people AT ALL, but he came back pretty soon on his own to sadly tell me that Darth Vader floated away.  It was a balloon and we explained that all the kids hitting the balloons with the pool-noodle foam light sabers were supposed to get rid of Darth Vader!  It was a very clever idea where they had staked out many white (storm trooper) balloons, and 1 Darth Vader balloon, and let the kids hit the tar out of those “bad guys” until they were gone!

Families started leaving, and as I was cleaning up, Jake re-appeared wearing a mask, holding a foam light saber, and clutching a goodie bag from the Star Wars party.    I went and thanked them for their kindness, and they said, “Well, he’s a boy, and it was “Frozen” or “Star Wars” and we don’t blame him for choosing Star Wars!  They were so kind and gracious.  I’m grateful to them for that.  He had a great day, because he got to have some fun there, as well as the party cake, candy, and company at Danait’s party.  It is a big deal for him to get an invitation in the mail for any party.

Soon after transporting the remaining items back to Harnet’s house, we took our crew and headed back towards home. We stopped off at a double graduation party–2 sisters from church–one graduating from college and one from high school.  It was really a nice party and we ended up staying for and hour and a half.  Then, home to collapse.  Tomorrow, we will serve leftovers.

At last communication with my die-hard sister who was still there, more people had shown up at Harnet’s house and she was pulling out more food and the fun was continuing!  I’ll bet none of us are too full of pep tomorrow, but we had a good day, and it was worth it to see a little girl who was so happy.