Category Archives: Holidays

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–April 5, 2021

Yesterday, we had such a nice Easter. After missing going to church in person for almost a year, it was very meaningful to attend yesterday. We went bright and early, since I was having extended family over for lunch.

It was the first family gathering we have had in over a year. Now that so many of us are vaccinated, we feel safe to get together again. Of course, we were careful anyway. The weather cooperated and quite a few ended up outside on the sunny, but chilly, deck. I had areas set up in almost every main room, bedroom and the garage so people could spread out as much as they needed to. We had a reduced menu and sent a few people into the kitchen at a time to get food, then a couple more went in. It worked very well and we had a wonderful time together.

Everyone had fun passing the baby around.

He’s learned to kiss Grandpa now, and of course, stole the show in his cute Easter sweater.

This was a busy week. We had a birthday party for Lovana on Wednesday.

The girls brought over seafood and did a seafood boil. It was delicious. They also brought a cake. I cooked the rest of the meal. We had a wonderful time. It was just our little family and one sweet cousin, and Lovana loved it.

I spent most of the week getting ready to entertain, and entertaining, but still did a few frugal activities.

We took a couple of walks, but I’ll admit I wasn’t as diligent as I should have been with that. I ran out of time.

Rob went to the store right after we got back from camping, got milk, salad stuff, a ham and potatoes, stuff for that night’s dinner, and didn’t go again. Instead, we made out with whatever we had on hand for the rest of Easter dinner. I bought a few jelly beans for decorations, and that was it! Family members brought various foods and it turned out great. He did find a turkey for $5 and cooked that as well. We just couldn’t pass that up!

Today, he went again for about $23 worth of odds and ends, and that’s all I need for a few days, so I”m getting off easy this week where groceries are concerned. I plan pulling lots of food from the freezers for the next couple of weeks. It’s time to start clearing out room for the upcoming summer’s garden . I was already able to pick cilantro and lettuce from some volunteer plants in the garden to use in meals. I still have quite a few onions from last summer’s garden, and we are using those daily.

I went out and worked in the yard for several hours last Friday, just because I was in the mood to be out in the sun! The benefit is a flowerbed out front that looks great. I can’t wait to do more.

Quite a few seeds have sprouted in the raised beds and the small portion of the garden Rob tilled with the tiny tiller a couple of weeks ago. It won’t be long….

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–December 27, 2020

Let’s see…..a choice between a picture of my super cute grandson, or 2 kind of ugly turkeys…….hmmmm……no contest–baby wins!

Back to the turkeys, then….. Rob found 2 fresh turkeys on clearance yesterday. We baked them both, boiled the bones and made tons of broth, and stocked the freezers with broth and turkey chunks. We did not make turkey for Christmas, so saved some out to eat.

I made a turkey-rice soup while I was at it. I also boiled the ham bone and then filled the crock pot with ham and beans. I do have a menu plan for this week, but I will save several of those meals for next week. In January, I always try to eat a lot from the pantry and freezers, and I plan to do the same this year, so it will nice to have a few meals already planned.

My amaryllis lily bloomed, just in time for Christmas. We’ve been enjoying watching it grow all month.

This week was very full of Christmas. We got all the presents finished and delivered in a timely fashion, and had short visits with some. We decided to drive to the beach Christmas Day. The weather was not very good, but we didn’t care. We had a great time. I took a short walk, and Rob and Patsy walked down to the beach to look for rocks for a little while. We took all of our own food, changes of clothes, blankets, towels, and pretty much everything else we could possible think of, knowing no stores would be open. Of course, we didn’t need any of it except the lunch, but, hey….it’s 2020. Better safe than sorry!

Contrary to what happened to others, 2020 was not the worst year I’ve lived through. After all, Rob had a life-changing hip surgery, some other people I care for had medical things that literally saved their lives, and I had an amazing gardening season. Although I know several people who had Covid, none of them caught it badly. I have a lot to be thankful for.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and are looking forward to the new year as much as I am. I always love January. It always feels so fresh and new. I’m excited to see what it has in store for us:)

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–November 29, 2020

We had a nice, quiet Thanksgiving at home. I used table decorations from past years, and a lovely table runner my aunt made for me as a gift one year. Even though it was just the 3 of us, Patsy enjoyed decorating the table and we cooked all of our traditional favorites like turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and gravy, cupcakes, and more.

It turned out to be quite a feast! We even remembered to light the candles:). My sister, her family, and my aunt dropped off a little Thanksgiving cheer during the afternoon in the form of caramel corn and M and M’s. It was especially nice to briefly see their cheerful faces. For dinner, we watched a movie as we munched finger foods. I made artichoke/spinach dip, clam dip, and dill dip and we had raw veggies and chips to dip into them. We also played a few rounds of “King’s Corners,” a card game.

We cooked a couple of the squash Rob purchased at a roadside stand. His cousin has since given us a couple more, so we will get those cooked up soon. I have 6– 2-cup cartons in the freezer now, and in addition, we ate and cooked with a bunch. Since that is another thing I was completely out of, I am delighted to get the freezer stocked again. I use cooked winter squash in any recipe calling for pumpkin. We like the flavor better.

I took the kids for the free school lunches a couple of times. They got some things they liked, such as a hot dog, white and chocolate milk, apples and baby carrots.

We ate pretty simply throughout the week and made a special effort to clean up any leftovers to make more room in the fridge for holiday food. We ate leftovers Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, I made vegetable soup, and turkey burgers. I made such a large pot of soup that we will eat that all week, and I’m sure I will need to freeze some. I also made a new menu plan for the week, focusing on using home-frozen and home-canned foods, along with pantry foods. I don’t need groceries for a couple of days, but am getting quite a list of things we’ve used up. I hope Safeway runs another $10 off $50, because I have enough of a list to easily use the coupon this time. Last month, I struggled to use it. That coupon usually is at the beginning of the month, so it would start next Wednesday if they run it this month. It will last until the following Tuesday. By then, there will be even more things on my list, I’m sure. I may need a little milk to get through, but I hope to limit my shopping again this month.

Patsy and Rob got the Christmas decorations out, and Patsy put them up.

It was a simple week. We are on a Covid “freeze” here in Oregon. We are supposed to stay home. So, I did. I haven’t left the house since Wednesday, and that was just to pick up Jake to watch him for the day. I’m a bit of a homebody anyway, but that is longer than usual, even for me. Rob only left once, and that was to take some bins over to Lovana’s house. He’s been cleaning the loft of the shop and found quite a few bins of her things that belong over there. He actually put in quite a bit of time up in that loft, cleaning, this week, and I hear it looks much better. I’m sure when I go up there, I will be thrilled that there are less bins and things are more organized.

The “freeze” is supposed to lighten up next Wednesday. But, until then, I plan to stay home and eat cupcakes. There could be worse things that could happen to me in this world:).

Rob’s Surgery Update #2–Happy INDEPENDENCE DAY!

Happy Independence Day to all of you, and especially to Rob! With each day that passes, he’s gaining more and more ground in his recovery from his recent total hip replacement.

His surgery was Monday. This is Saturday. He’s doing amazing! They had him up and walking the first day in the hospital and had physical therapy sessions and exercises assigned before he went home on Tuesday evening.

By Thursday morning, he was cooking little pancakes for our nephew, Jake, and his usual morning scramble for himself. Because there are precautions, he can’t bend down and pick things up or do some other actions. But, we fetched him some ingredients and supplies, and he cooked away. No one thought Jake could spend the night Wednesday, as he has almost every week since Covid started, but when he asked, we were able to say “yes” because Rob was doing so well.

He had his first physical therapy yesterday, Friday. By this morning, he had worn the plastic tips off of his walker from so many trips down the road, including the one this morning which was over 1/2 mile.

Jake’s Dad, Ron, came over every day at first to help, mostly for my peace of mind, and to keep Rob company, and take him for walks, etc., and to bring us food. I ended up doing homeschool with Patsy and Jake a couple of times. Everyone welcomed the routine. Another day, my sister came and helped me weed the garden and brought food.

Patsy has been spoiled rotten by Grandma and Aunties and cousins this week. She’s played endless games, and been treated and treated and treated and treated! The day Grandma came, Patsy cooked for her. It’s something all the other kids have done over the years, and Patsy wanted her turn. Grandma is a good sport. She’s eaten many, many interesting meals over the years from many of the cousins, some wonderful, some…….well, interesting. This time, Patsy made her peanut chicken stir-fry, which is amazing, so Grandma was full and happy when she went home. Tonight, she’s off with Michaela and her parents to watch some fireworks from the back of their truck. Jake stayed with me, since neither of us were up for that experience.

Rob is using an ice pack for several hours per day. He’s taking Celebrex, which is like Ibuprofen but stronger, and Tylenol. He’s doing every exercise faithfully, and walking as they said to do, several times per day. He feels very little pain. Some of what he feels is muscle pain as there are muscles in his legs and hip that have not been used for a very long time. That’s it! Can you believe it? I can’t:)

He felt well enough today to have a small 4th of July party with the very small group of family members that we spend so much time with. He and Ron bbq-ed chicken and hot dogs, salads were brought, I made some from garden veggies and lettuce, and my sisters brought ice cream and cake to celebrate Grandma’s birthday.

I know he has a long road ahead of him to build those muscles back up. We’ve been told there will be days that are hard. But, today, we are grateful, we are thankful, we are feeling very blessed by God for the miracle Rob has been granted.

Thriving In My thrifty Week–December 29, 2019

This is one of my favorite Christmas presents. Rob built me this rack for my cast iron frying pans. He used reclaimed lumber and a piece of tin he also salvaged. This picture really doesn’t do it justice–it’s amazing! Another gift he made that I really like is a bundle of garden stakes. He painted the ends white so I can write on them with a marker and mark my rows. He also used re-claimed wood for those.

I had a lot of help with the table decorations this year. Rob made me the wooden tree, the small wooden trees and found the right ribbon for me. Little Danait (a 5-year-old friend) carefully arranged the chocolate Santa candies the best way she knew how. I had given her a bag of candy and told her to spread it along the table–thinking she would sprinkle them here and there. She liked a line better. I left them, and people ate them! I even remembered to light the candles I dug out of the cupboard.

I used things I had for decor. Patsy made snowflakes to put on the table. I found a stash of candles in a bin in the shop that had never been unpacked when we moved. I used a ton of them!

Lovana made a chocolate-peppermint cake. Yum! We served tacos for our meal–buffet style. Everyone brought parts and pieces. We had taco bar, shrimp, other desserts, Eritrean food including injera and spicy lentils and African beef (I think it is called Coal-wa or something similar), and mashed potatoes. At one point, I made Michaela some cinnamon-sugar toast–that’s what she wanted. As far as I could tell, all 27 people were happy with the food, and everyone seemed to have a really good time. Since I spread them out all over the house, they had enough room–some in the living room, some in the garage, some in the kitchen, and even a few at a table in Patsy’s bedroom–mostly kids. We had guests that we had never met before, along with family and friends that usually come. They were all good sports. So fun! Since so many pitched in to provide parts of the meal, it was not a burden for anyone.

There were not a ton of leftovers after Christmas, so we ate what there were and I’ve been cooking. I was given 2 Butternut squash for Christmas. I cut them both up and we’ve already eaten one of them. I will roast the other one very soon.

Rob used our new cutting boards to make fried potatoes and onions.

I made Puffy Green Bean Bake from the More With Less Cookbook. Twice.

I shopped for a few groceries. Eggs were 99c/dozen. I bought the 3 dozen I could. I boiled a bunch for snacks, lunches and breakfasts. I also got the random items I needed, such as seasoning salt, and milk. I stayed around $50, which I thought was great for my weekly shopping, since we had 5 extra people for 3 days, and the Christmas meal.

After all my guests left, including the ones that were staying here, and the ones who came over the day after Christmas, I was pretty tired. I rested a lot , but am now feeling like myself again. It was nice today to go to church and have our regular family Sunday dinner. It was great that baby Allie and her parents could join us today. She’s grown so much. I will admit that I saw the baby very briefly at church on Christmas Eve, but she was more sociable today and I got to hold her, which is always a treat! (This little girl is like a grand-daughter to my sister and brother-in-law, as her daddy is like a son to them. So, by default, I get to be an auntie. My pleasure for sure!)

My sister did all the cooking today and we had soup and sandwiches, so I got a big break from cooking, and so we brought Jake home for the night. I haven’t seen him much this week. We miss our extra boy, so it’s our lucky day:).

Happy Day After Thanksgiving–2019

Today, after a wonderful day full of family, friends and food yesterday, I feel as if I’ve eaten all that food myself! I’ve had a relaxing day today, and have not accomplished much at all. Don’t you just love the turkey veggie tray my sister made? So cute!

Rob cooked the ham and the turkey on the barbecues the day before Thanksgiving. He cooked them to perfection, as always.

Everyone brought food, including Lovana, who made a delicious salad. After I took this picture, she added sliced apples, some candied walnuts and some balsamic salad dressing. It was all eaten, which was quite a compliment to Lovana, as the table was groaning with delightful options. We had an eclectic mix of the classic holiday food with some Eritrean lentils and injera bread, tons of dessert, and assorted side dishes.

I made some gluten-free pumpkin pie. I struggle with gluten-free pie crust. It rarely tastes good when I make it. This time, it turned out! Yea:). The pie crust recipe was one my daughter found on-line. And, actually, she mixed it up. So, technically, all I did was roll it out and make the filling……so now you know the secret of good gluten-free pie crust…you need a Lovana at your house:)



The cookies Jake helped make on Monday were in the cookie jar. My little friend, Danait, carefully put the Cracker Jacks in the bowl and then passed them around the room. She also passed the bowl of candy. One piece for you, one for my mouth–that was her motto. It was very cute.

Everyone visited for a long time, and my good-natured nephew, Steven, was buried with all kinds of goodies by a laughing little girl…

Everyone went home happy and well-fed. It was a great day. We have much to be thankful for on this weekend, and always. We had a few family and friends who could not join us, due to work, but we will catch up with them very soon, because Christmas is right around the corner….and it’s only 3-1/2 weeks away! Yikes!

happy Valentine’s Day-2019

I hope you all have a very nice Valentine’s Day this year.

I made cupcakes for my daughter, nieces and nephew. Rob is delivering the ones to the kids this morning, when he goes to put Jake on the bus and get Michaela for their bi-weekly trip to the swimming pool. We added a small gift card for each of them.

The little sugar hearts were purchased last year after Valentine’s Day, so were on clearance. As long as you keep them dry, they last a very long time. There are plenty left for next year. The cupcakes were made into hearts by putting a marble in the edge between the paper and the tin before baking to make the paper push in, forming a rough heart shape. The tops were frosted using a Ziplock bag with a little hole cut into it so the frosting could squirt out. It was a fun, quick, inexpensive project. The cupcakes themselves were from a boxed mix, purchased for 39c on clearance after Christmas because it had little red and green sprinkles in it. I just added a bunch more sprinkles from my pantry, so they became multi-colored, like Funfetti. They are loaded with sugar and gluten, so I won’t be tempted to eat any. At all. I loved making them for the kids, though.

I made 6 of these cupcakes in regular round shape and froze them, unfrosted and clearly labeled “NOT gluten-free” for an upcoming birthday party. I’ll frost them when that day comes.

Yesterday, Rob and I had a wonderful, rare day. We decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a drive. We decided to visit quilt shops, so we drove around and went to a few. We chose ones out in the country so we could just enjoy the scenery. Since it’s a shop hop, we were given a kit for a 6″ block at each place. We only had a few hours, and didn’t worry about how many places we got to, but instead just meandered along. There are 16 shops spread out along a long, wide path that are participating and there is no possible way to get to all of them without spending way more time than we had–so we didn’t try to do them all. After I finish this baby quilt I’m working on, I will make up the blocks I got and figure out something to do with them. They are very pretty.

It was so much fun to be able to just visit and spend time together. You would think that we would have lots of time with just us, but in truth, hardly a day goes by that we are not surrounded by children, so we really enjoyed a few hours of “just us” time. And, we made it to pick up Patsy at school with 5 or 10 minutes to spare. Whew! Then, I had several hours to make cupcakes, cook dinner, and we went to evening church, so I was still able to get some thing done at home. Hopefully, we can remember to carve out some time again, soon! It’s such a good memory already:)

Thriving In My Thrifty Christmas Week–December 26, 2018

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Merry Christmas to everyone!  The post that usually goes up on Sunday?  I think I wrapped it on accident and put it under the tree:). Now that I have a moment to breathe, I thought I’d catch everyone up on our week before Christmas.

We spent a lot of time on Christmas this year, instead of a lot of money, so it was a mad whirl until the very end.  Despite the hustle and bustle we engaged in, there were plenty of times to just do fun things, relax and visit.  I’m very happy with how things ended up.

And, we stayed thrifty.

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A while back, I was given some super-cute Christmas sprinkles.  Jake used this entire jar up on his 2 projects.  He had so much fun, and took the wrapped Krispie treats to his teachers and bus drivers.  They loved them.

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We made lots of gifts.  Rob made gorgeous cutting boards for quite a few family members and friends.  This photo is in process, when he was treating them with oil so they would stay nice.  He made them all from reclaimed wood.

I sewed quite a few items.  We put together several photo gifts–some enlarged pictures, and a couple of photo albums.  We used coupon codes from Walgreens when we ordered the prints and went through Ibotta to get a few cents back.  One album was put together by Patsy for the cousins’ grandma who is visiting from Florida.  That way, she can have pictures of her far-away grandchildren all the time.  She loved it!

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Patsy and Rachel got matching hats.  When Patsy chose her new middle name, she chose 2 middle names.  Rachel is one of them.  She’s a pretty special cousin and they like hanging out together when they can.

Patsy made super-cute bird houses for lots of us, and Chex Muddy Buddy mix for the rest.  Everyone was happy!

Harnet and Danait came and stayed for a couple of nights.  We had so much fun!

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Danait loved seeing the Christmas train at the church before service on Christmas Eve.  She remembered it from last year and was so happy to see it again.  The service was lovely, too.

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I love this picture of my sister, Rosalie, and Harnet!  We had such a good time spending time and visiting.  Rosalie gave Rob such a funny gift–It was box inside of box, inside of box, inside of box, with cute little signs and keys wrapped in it and a toy truck!  Can you guess what was inside?

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The signs read, “Ft. Knox” and the keys were to open the fort.  The truck was a “get-away” car to haul it away with:). Then inside was a bag of gold coins (chocolate, of course!). It was very clever and everyone loved watching him open it.

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The glitter was in there, too.  I mean, gold glitters, doesn’t it?

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Of course, Rob was up to tricks, too.  He nailed and glued Alissa’s gift together, then finally gave her a hammer and chisel so she could pound it open.  Once she got in, she was baffled by the Home Depot and PetCo gift cards (both blank).  He finally pulled her real gift out of his backpack, but sure had fun teasing her first!

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Of course, she paid him back by wrapping his gift in miles of bubble wrap, yards of tape, saran wrap, and lot of other sticky stuff.

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There was an ice rink of “Frozen” going around the place!  Little girls are so fun to buy Christmas gifts for, and the family had fun, I’ll just say:). Her little costume (not in this picture, this is a nightie), actually has lights on it and it sings, “Let it Go.”  Crazy!

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Believe it or not, I got a few non-Christmas-related frugal things done as well.  I re-covered Rob’s pillow with some quilted fabric I’ve had for a long time.  It was worn out, but he likes that exact amount of stuffing, so I just made a new cover.

We did some deep cleaning and organizing on several days, spending several hours we probably should have used for other purposes, but it sure feels good to have some areas clean and things organized that were messy before.

I cooked many meals.  I spent every last cent of my reduced $50/week, plus and extra $50 grocery budget, and have to admit, I dipped into the “little extra” I had set aside.  I will still end up the month under $300 instead of $250, and that includes several food gifts for people, all paper products and toiletries we needed, Christmas extras like cream cheese,  plus lots and lots of produce for my salad eater, Rob.  One thing I bought was 5 boxes of Chex cereal for $1.49/box.  Pasty used a lot of them for her Chex mixture.  The lady behind me in line said she had never, ever seen anyone buy so many boxes of Chex at once.  (She was nice, it just wasn’t part of her world to stock up like that). I politely made conversation with her, but later, to Rob, I said, “who COULDN”T eat 5 boxes of Chex!!!”  Frankly, she might just faint if she every saw my garage:)

Patsy got to do work projects with the youth group at church twice, racking up money in her account for youth group activities. There is a retreat in February she is working hard for.

Today, when I took Harnet home, I got stuck in traffic on the way back.  It took me a long time to get home.  Thankfully, I had a piece of candy in my purse, which I ate,  and then grabbed a little ziplock of frozen ham and bean soup from the freezer, and warmed it up right away once I got home.  I was so glad that was in there!  I almost had to stop and grab something, but made it home without a low blood sugar, saving at least $5-$7.

Rob grabbed some wrapping paper, bows and ribbons today at 70% off.  We wrapped most gifts this year instead of using bags, using paper bought on clearance another year.

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The holiday was wonderful.  There are many more pictures I could show, and many more people who shared the week with us, but this post is way too long already.  We had a great time together as a family, and with friends over the past few weeks.  Tomorrow, we start our routine again, by taking the kids to the pool in the morning and I’m going to my exercise class.  Let’s just say….. it’s time:). I had a lot of turkey.  and ham.  and…….

 

 

 

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–Nov. 25, 2018

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I was given a beautiful bouquet on Thanksgiving.  They made such a nice addition to the holiday atmosphere.  They were special to me because they were a very thoughtful gift from Allison.  She is the love of my autistic son, Anthony’s life.  Rob was able to pick them both up on Thursday so they could join us.  Although they live in different homes, they are very committed to each other and are very sweet.

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This is a picture from a few weeks ago–they are such a cute couple!

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Jake was happy to show Anthony and Allison how to play Wii, after the meal.  (As if they didn’t know how, but they were good sports!)

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My oldest daughter, Abbie, was stressed after a long work week, so baked and baked and baked until midnight.  Boy did we eat good.  When you added all these tasty desserts to the lemon meringue pie my nephew made, the apple one I made, and the cookies Patsy made…..boy, oh, boy!  And, the best part (or the worst), was it was all gluten free.  Some was dairy free as well, for those who needed it.  I ate WAY too much, but Rob, the determined did not.  We got all the extra food out of here–sent home with our guests, except the part of the feast we felt was best to keep.

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Of course, we had coffee, made by queen of coffee herself:). It is so good.  There’s nothing quite like it.  Needless to say, the other coffee remained neglected on Thursday.

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When I went to Fred Meyers on Saturday, I was surprised with several freebies.  I knew the gum was the Friday freebie, but was not expecting condiment cups, a can opener, and a little candle.  I was doing a little grocery shopping, because that’s all I seem to do lately:), and got the bulk curry powder and cloves I was after from there, along with several items such as 99c pasta sauce (5), 99c gluten-free crackers (3), and $1.99/lb butter (5).  I was not able to get bulk poultry seasoning there.  They were out.  I guess the “secret” of buying bulk spices to save lots of money has gotten out.  Ibotta has been doing a rebate at Safeway only (it’s not offered at other stores I shop at) of red lentil pasta.  The first time I bought it, it cost $2.79.  I got a $3 rebate.  I also got a coupon for $1.50 off 2 boxes and the rebate popped back up.  I went back Saturday and got 2 boxes.  They were a little more expensive–a little more than $3/box.  The cashier ran my $1.50 coupon twice, and took off $3.  I pointed it out to her, not wanting to cheat anyone, and she said she was leaving it, and have a nice day.  So, I ended up paying around $4, and will get $3 back for one box, making the average of the 2 boxes around 50c/box.  Today, the rebate popped up again, expiring in 12 hours.  I’ve sent Rob for one last box.  This is simply a new product that they clearly want people to try, and I’m delighted!  I’m sending some to Lovana in her next care package, since she eats vegetarian and it’s high protein, and am eating a box soon, since it’s gluten-free. With these high-value rebates and many other lower-value ones on things I needed to buy,  plus some bonuses I qualified for, I’ve been able to get my Ibotta account built back up again, which is awesome since I cleaned it out for some of the great holiday sales.  My comedy still continues–I went to the store at least 7 times over the past few days–no matter what I buy, I seem to out of something daily–odd things like Dijon mustard, cornstarch, cloves, curry powder, along with normal things like milk and eggs–we are just cracking up every time I announce that I’m now out of ____!  I guess I’d better start serving 99c pasta sauce on free red lentil pasta:)

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I’ve been able to do a little sewing lately.  This skirt was one I’ve had in progress for a while, but finally finished in time for Patsy to wear for Thanksgiving.  I got the top for only $10 at Fred Meyers and was super happy at how nicely it went with the skirt.  You cannot see in this picture, but there are pink buttons all down the front of the skirt.  I have so many buttons from a large boxful  Rob bought years ago at a yard sale. It was great to use some up and it kept the cost down.

I was able to get in on some great sales at JoAnn’s on Saturday.  I used up the last of 2 gift cards I still had from either my birthday or Christmas, and added some cash to get things like interfacing and some fabric for a few projects with the large discounts that were being offered this weekend.  It was fun.  I haven’t allowed myself inside of JoAnn’s much lately.  I was amazed at the carts piled to the top with fabric, AFTER the cloth was cut–not bolts before it was cut.  There are some ladies out there who are going to do some major sewing or crafting!  I’m sure they must be making blankets or other items for charity.  Or perhaps making something to sell.  Those are the only explanations I can think of for any one person buying that much fabric!!!  In fact, since I was not quite the early bird I planned on being, much of the calico was already in carts, or behind the cutting counter. But, I still found 2 pieces I liked at 70% off.  It was crowded, but people were patient and nice, and I had a good experience.

We had a wonderful holiday week with no school, lots of kids, a huge feast, and time with family and friends, but this week is back to normal.  The routine started again today.  That always feels good, too.  How was your week?