Category Archives: Holidays

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–April 18, 2022

We had a wonderful Easter Day, yesterday. We went to church, for the early service, and then came home to feast with our extended family.

I was especially happy with how the African violet my niece gave me for Christmas 2 years ago rose to the occasion and bloomed so festively. For decorations, I used several tablecloths I’ve had for years. They were either from yard sales or my grandmothers, and I love them.

One bunch of mini roses and one bunch of baby’s breath became additional bouquets for the tables. From those 2 bunches, I got 5 mini-bouquets and one large one.

I chose to use lots of real dishes this year. Although this decision was not made to save money, but to enjoy some pretty things I have, I was able to save the paper plates I bought for another occasion.

On Thursday, the egg-dippers did a wonderful job of coloring eggs. One dipped many.

One dipped only a very few, but they were very carefully decorated.

One was very new at the entire process, so just dropped lots of eggs into the yellow cup once he got the idea.

The supervisor supervised.

The 3 favorite eggs were given a “place of honor” on the mantle and enjoyed by all.

Many of the colored eggs were transformed and eaten on Easter. I still have several boiled ones in the fridge. With egg shortages and price hikes, I was super glad to have gotten 5 dozen for $5 a couple of weeks ago. This week, we found none on sale anywhere, and in fact, at 2 stores Rob visited for other items, he noticed there were no eggs at all in either store, except for a few super expensive organic ones.

As I mentioned last week, my menu was simple, and made ahead. Several people pitched in items, and I will say we ended up with so much dessert we all had several kinds:). There was purposefully way too much food, so everyone took home what they wanted and didn’t have to cook for a few days unless they wanted to.

My aunt brought lots of eggs stuffed with candy, as she does every year. It took Malcolm about 2 seconds to figure out that there was candy in those eggs. He quickly went over in a corner and started stuffing his mouth with chocolate. He did hunt for a few eggs, but quickly got distracted with the fact that there was CANDY in there Every. Single. Time.

Until there wasn’t:). Bummer!

Although much of my week was consumed with getting my house and food ready for Easter Day, we also a few other activities. We shopped for last minute items, but did not need much other than we got last week. We did pick up any great bargains that were offered, since we were at the store anyway.

Rob and I helped in the kitchen at a children’s event at church. We handed out donuts and fruit drink. Rob made coffee. They shot candy out of a cannon and the kids picked it up–like a glorified piƱata. There was so much candy and sugar–the kids thought it was perfect! It was a little overwhelming for the Malcolm, so he happily got into my friend, Debbie’s wagon with her nephew, and they munched candy for a short time!

We experienced a crazy weather week. Although Portland, north of us, got a lot of snow, and made national news, we did get a light amount one morning. It hailed a LOT, several times. It was sunny and warm at times. It frosted hard several mornings.

Somehow my baby veggies survived it all, although some of my little broccoli plants look battered. If any of this early crop survives, it will be a bonus. I was able to pick overwintered spinach to mix with purchased head lettuce for our Easter salad. I also used lots of chives for our baked potato bar. I also put them in some chip/veggie dip I made and picked some parsley for that, as well.

It looks like a lot of rain coming our way this week, but soon I will be able to get out there in the garden and yard and really get busy growing things for this summer. I’m looking forward to it.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week-April 12, 2022

We had just a few minutes Sunday evening before we had to be somewhere, and stopped at a park by the Willamette River to take a short walk. Before it started to rain heavily on our heads and we scurried back to the car, we saw this boat full of what we believe were tourists.

After some instruction from the person standing up in the back, the whole crew started to row as per her instructions and before we knew it, they navigated away from the dock and into the river. They are tougher than I felt yesterday. The rain was icy and the temperature in the 40’s with a wind whistling over the water. Rob and I marveled at their persistence, and happily got into our car, turned on the heater and went on our way. It’s been very cold here. Portland, Oregon, got SNOW! Rare at any time, but in mid April? Crazy! We didn’t. We are a bit to the south of there, but it’s not warm here, either.

We took several walks last week. On one of our walks, we found a lady setting out a twin-sized bed frame in excellent condition, so we happily grabbed it and carried it home. I’m sure people were marveling at OUR persistence. We now have a frame for the spare bed in my back room. We made that lady very happy, too, as she wanted it to go where someone would use it. Today, we set it up. Rob cut boards he had scavenged and put the slats in the frame and we added the mattresses that had previously been on the floor of the spare room. Now it will be higher and much, much better for laying my quilt squares out on so I can see how they look before I sew them together. Visiting kids will enjoy sleeping on it, as well, I hope, although they never seem to have minded the mattresses on the floor.

I continued my project of cleaning out small areas or working on unfinished projects. Rob has been cleaning, too, which helps. Yesterday, he tackled a larger area in hopes of getting bags of trash since we had room in the garbage can. I joined him after Jake and I were done with school. We were not disappointed. We filled 2 whole bags and used every bit of space in that can. We may have a garage sale eventually, but some things just aren’t worth saving to that end or donating.

Many years ago, one of my children decided to make a “chicken” quilt. We cut out simple squares together, and they sewed a few together with my help, and then lost interest. I ripped quite a few blocks apart and started re-sewing them and made a few more. I threw away the squared with holes?? in them???? No idea what happened there… Now I’m working on putting a sashing between the blocks. Rob’s mom turns 90 this year. She loves chickens. I’m hoping to finish this one up before her birthday in July.

Jake and I got a morning of free entertainment and a free field trip all in one when two men parked this truck right in front of my house and proceeded to clean out a water line in the street. They were more than patient and answered every single one of the many questions he asked and explained it all to him in minute detail. His only disappointment was that no water shot up high and no one got squirted:). When that was shared with one of them men, he laughed and said he almost did get squirted, but they are supposed to do it in such a way that water is not wasted, so they don’t use any more than they absolutely need and reclaim it, but once in a while some does get away. Just not that day!

And, Jeannie in Tennessee, this picture is for you. Jake wants you to see this water line cleaner truck–since you’ve sent him interesting pictures of storms before. (Jeannie has been Jake’s pen pal for a few years now, although he tends to be a bit fickle–nothing for months, then out of the blue–demands I post something for her–it’s fun!)

Grocery shopping happened at 2 stores because they each had things on sale that we wanted. Rob did one store and I did the other. We got almost everything we wanted for Easter dinner along with things we were out of. I’m hoping I either don’t have to shop at all, or just buy a few things this Friday.

I spent some time today going through cupboards and pulling out some nice dishes I want to use for Easter dinner. I also pulled out any spring decorations I found and some tablecloths. I’m actually going to start pre-cooking several things over the next 2 days. We have some extra activities to do at church this weekend, including a kids’ activity we signed up to help with on Saturday. I want to have most of Easter dinner prepared ahead of time so I can enjoy the day.

I’m off to a good start. I’m keeping the meal itself simple. I’m planning ham (already in the fridge–87c/lb–great deal!–Rob will cook on the BBQ), twice-baked potatoes (ingredients already in the fridge and pantry–can be made ahead and baked easily that day after early service at church), canned corn (all the work done last summer), cupcakes (thank you, Jake–we got that done already and they are frozen waiting for frosting), cheesecake with gluten-free snickerdoodle cookie crust (again, Jake and I made the cookies last week, and I practiced in my Instant Pot already so that will go quick and you HAVE to make it ahead of time–blueberries frozen for topping from last summer, ingredients in fridge), green salad (spinach ready to pick in raised bed, head lettuce easy to get if we run out, salad dressing purchased on sale last week), dill pickle rolls (pickles made last summer, lunchmeat and cream cheese in fridge, bought on sale a couple of weeks ago), drinks purchased (seltzer and soda, tea, coffee, water), and so forth. This gives me time to indulge myself if I get a bee in my bonnet and decide to make something else at the last minute…I usually get an urge for deviled eggs…..You get the idea. Preplanning is the key for me. Then I don’t feel stressed out at all. I will even put out all the dishes and things the day before so I can focus on the family on the day itself.

I’m looking forward to the day.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–December 26, 2021

We have had a wonderful 2 weeks getting ready for, and celebrating Christmas. I found that it wasn’t feeling a lot like Christmas for me, after returning from our trip. So, Rob and I decided to spend time on some activities that made it more meaningful to us.

We made many batches of caramel corn and used some as gifts and ate some at holiday gatherings. My neighbor then borrowed my popper, as hers broke, and she made a lot, too. She gave us some, as well, which we gobbled up on Christmas Eve.

Most of the activities didn’t cost much, if anything. One day Rob and Patsy were at Grocery Outlet getting some lunchmeat I wanted to use for Christmas Eve. Just as they were leaving, as a total coincidence, the girls showed up with the boys. Rob and Patsy immediately took the babies into the car with them while the girls did their shopping and I guess there are lots of things to do with face masks:)

We made a gingerbread house.

He knew what to do with the candy….

Patsy, Michaela and Jake were invited to a cookie decorating party. I had fun taking them.

Rob, Michaela and Patsy delivered gifts to some friends and family we weren’t going to see on Christmas. Our gifts are simple–some home-canned items, cookies, caramel corn, etc., but it’s nice to say Merry Christmas to people.

We attended special services at church. That one thing, especially the one on Christmas Eve, makes it feel like Christmas to me. Afterwards, as we have done for many, many years, we open our gifts in our immediate family. This year, the girls came and brought the babies over, so it was twice as fun.

As babies often do, Zai liked the paper better than the presents:)

My sister made a very special spread for Christmas Day.

Everyone contributed things, but she orchestrated the entire thing. (And, yes, I know the proper term for it, but please, please don’t ask me to spell it!)

My niece, Alissa, wanted mashed potatoes, and even teased that she wasn’t coming if there couldn’t be potatoes. So, I was given the job of bringing potatoes. I made her mashed potatoes, potato soup, twice-baked cheesy potatoes and potato skins. Just to be silly.

Christmas night, it snowed. What can I say? The perfect ending to a wonderful Christmas week!

We did a few mundane activities, as well. There were lots of incredible grocery deals, such as pineapple for 99c at one store and $1.50 at another. We gathered several, getting the limits at both places, and I canned 16 small jars of pineapple, as well as enjoyed them fresh.

We got 97c/carton ice cream, 77c/loaf bread and eggs, and many other inexpensive groceries. Our freezers are so full that we almost didn’t get the ice cream–no room–but Rob remembered the camper freezer was empty so we loaded it up with bread and ice cream. We also got the items we needed for our holiday gatherings. I’m doubting I need much this week, other than perhaps a little produce or dairy. I have quite a few leftovers to use, as well.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–December 3, 2021

We’ve had more spare time this week than we’ve had for quite some time. The main reason for that is because we babysat the grandsons less this week. That is one reason I’m writing this post early. We spent a little of that time decorating for Christmas, did some shopping, cooking, and extra cleaning.

My sister and brother-in-law put a wreath on our door while we were out. I added a few decorations to it from my stash.

I was able to use some art my niece made as a backdrop to the little trees Rob made last year. I love putting things I already have together in new ways to get a whole new effect from them.

Now I feel ready for the next few weeks. We kept it simple. I will not host the “big family” for Christmas, instead, I will go to my sister’s house. I will have a few of my children over at least once, my niece and nephew staying for a few days later in the month, and our own nuclear family to enjoy the Christmas cheer.

Most of our gifts are already purchased, and those remained simple this year, as well. As tempting as it was, we did not go overboard with buying things for the babies. Instead, we got a few useful items, and we plan to spend time with them.

This was clean-the-fridge week. I only bought a couple of items, including whole milk for the baby. For the rest of the meals, I used all the leftovers I could find in the fridge from Thanksgiving and we pulled several proteins from the freezers and thawed them in readiness for quick meals. This picture is spaghetti made with home-canned pizza/pasta sauce and some buckwheat noodles we got at a scatch-and-dent store for 99c/box. They look kind of funny, but taste great. Contrary to their name, “buckwheat”, they are a gluten-free option and I’m all for it when I get anything gf for 99c!

My Mom left some cranberry relish here after Thanksgiving dinner. I ate a bunch of it because it tasted amazing, but could not eat it all. I decided to make some cranberry bread with the rest of it. I just put it in instead of the cranberries called for. The bread came out great, even though I was afraid it would be too moist. I have no idea how much I put in or anything, so I can’t exactly make it again, but I’m glad I found a way to use that delicious relish up! We will eat one or two of the mini loaves and freeze the others for later.

As always, we filled our days with simple activities and children. I took my niece and nephew to the park. We got some library books and movies for the now-open (finally) library–ahhhh:). We watched some movies on Disney+ since one daughter put it on our t.v. and we could.

I did watch Malcolm one afternoon/evening while his mother and auntie cleaned like maniacs for a walk-through by their landlord. They had plenty of notice, but the babies are messy so they wanted to finish without the 16-month-old. It went well for them, and I’m glad. While he was here, I pushed him up and down some surrounding streets in his stroller as it was getting near dusk. We both really enjoyed the lights and decorations we saw. He’s at the stage where he waved at every car, called out “dog” to every reindeer he saw and craned his neck almost backwards to see things he really liked. Fun! I’m glad to let the girls clean and keep all the fun in these cases:). Then we danced to the Wiggles, played with the cloth Nativity set, looked at books with Grandpa, and the girls ended the evening by bringing take-and-bake pizza for us all.

Enjoy the season. That’s our plan for the next few weeks. We’ve made a good start.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–November 29, 2021

The kids and I made a turkey platter just for them:). One kind of turkey was rice cereal treat balls on gluten-free Oreos with candy corn feathers and beaks.

The other one was from a library book and was a Rolo on a gf pretzel, candy corn feathers and an M and M beak. You put the candy on the pretzel and put it in the oven for a little bit. But, although I did 2-3 minutes, it was too much and the Rolos melted way too much, so I will do 1 minute next time. Most of the kids in the family don’t actually like turkey, but they liked this turkey platter.

I only had 2 days of school with Jake last week, so we read more about Pilgrims, made these special treats, I read aloud a book called “Molly’s Pilgrim” plus finished up a Hardy Boys book we were reading. He read aloud to us, choosing any story he wanted from his easy reader Bible and some others. Some of the books were from recent yard sales, or left over from years past, so he got a week of what we called “fun school” for pennies. The kids also worked on a fall-themed puzzle while I read and at other times for hours. Funny thing about that puzzle. We ended up with 2 of the same fall-themed puzzles, due to the fact that we purchase them at yard sales and thrift stores. The first time they did it, it was missing a piece. This is the second one. They are hoping it’s all there. If not, I guess they will be very busy trying to find the missing piece in the first box! Anything to keep kids busy with good projects, right?

I also tried a new gf pie crust recipe and filled it with “pumpkin” pie made from butternut squash that was given to me and I cooked and pureed. It was crisp, to put it mildly. It had a good flavor, so I may do some more experimenting. That is one thing I have not figured out how to make well, gluten free, so usually make crustless pumpkin pie and lots of crisps.

I decorated the entire house with tablecloths I already owned and with selections from a huge box of artificial flower arrangements Rob got in a free box on the side of the road last summer. I thought he bought them at a garage sale, which I mentioned last week, but it was even better than that! I’m keeping that man! After 39 years of marriage, he still surprises me with some of the amazing things he finds and does. I’m blessed with so much more than dried flowers with that man.

I threw some little candy bars around and was done. Since I didn’t get to really buckle down and do the final cleaning and decorating until Wednesday night before the big day, I was thankful that, first, it was so easy and, second, my sister had helped me clean on Monday. I had a lot of little ones in and out, so had some major clutter to pick up, but it was clean underneath so didn’t take long–whew!!!

Rob and I took several walks. On Thanksgiving, one sister and I grabbed a couple of kids and took them on a short walk.

The parade of jars continues. We get the full ones from the shop, where they are stored, empty them, and carry the jars back out…repeat….repeat…repeat! On most days, we wash anywhere between 1 and 5 or even more jars. I’m so glad we have so many full ones still left out there and will happily trot out there with the basket I use every day if I need to.

I cooked the Thanksgiving meal in a very traditional manner, since we had to skip the family gathering last year. Rob did a turkey and a ham on the Green Mountain Grill. I made mashed potatoes with turkey gravy, cooked home-canned corn, deviled eggs, gluten-free stuffing with apples, celery and onion, and sweet potatoes with butter, brown sugar, orange juice and topped with marshmallows. I made crab-stuffed mushrooms with some huge mushrooms my sister brought me and some crab we caught and canned a couple of years ago and they were impressive, I just have to say! I wanted one thing that was not traditional, and they turned out as good as I hoped. We used our home-canned green beans to make traditional green bean casserole with gluten-free cream of mushroom soup and some Rob-made fried onions. He toiled over them the day before after we checked 3 or 4 stores and could not buy any. In years past, we did. Not this year. His turned out great! We put out home-canned pickles galore, and people brought rolls, desserts, home-made fudge, candy, salads, and more. Several family members pitched in significantly for the meat and other groceries so it was a burden on none.

I think everyone loved it, as there were not all that many leftovers left over! Everyone got some to eat the next day and no one had to eat it daily until we were tired of it. Perfect! I finished up my turkey portion yesterday in turkey-rice soup. All the bones were boiled right after Rob cooked the turkey and I used the broth for the gravy and stuffing, plus froze some.

At the end of the day, a couple of grown kids were still left over here for a while:), so I made a turkey enchilada casserole real quick while they watched movies. One daughter puts Netflix on our tv each year for her Dad’s Christmas gift. We get Prime because we like the 2-day shipping on Amazon. Another daughter just put Disney Plus on the tv so the baby could watch Mickey Mouse. With all that, we still ended up watching a disk of Princess Bride from the library:). So funny!

On Friday, I was very tired, so I told my daughter to bring the baby over so I could play all afternoon. (The 16 month old, not the 4 month old, as he is still wanting Mama most of the time.) I guess he was screaming his way through Walmart, and was very happy to come see Grandma. I had absolutely no desire to do any work on Friday. We read, laid on the bed, he slept a while, we played, ate, and watched the Wiggles. We both had a great afternoon. She cleaned and organized at her house for a while without his help. Win-win! In this picture, he’s kissing his baby brother. They already love each other. It’s so cute to see.

We had a nice visit with our oldest daughter and son-in-law on Saturday, as they couldn’t come on Thanksgiving Day. That’s one of the perks of having so many kids…we can enjoy them for days! I made ground turkey tacos/taco salad bar–since I could do it fast while they were driving down. I still have a few tomatoes we have ripened from green ones from the garden, so I used those with the taco bar. I thawed ground turkey purchased on a great sale a while back, head lettuce, pre-shredded cheese, canned olives, canned refried beans, etc. and it was easy and fast! I had a bag of corn chips from a huge bag from Costco. I buy the huge bag and re-package in gallon Ziplocks so they don’t get stale fast and you can’t beat the price! I have lots of home-canned salsa, so dug out a jar of that. I didn’t choose to make dessert, and everyone still had a wonderful time. Just sayin’.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! I hope you had a wonderful holiday and that you are looking forward to the next month as much as I am.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–October 25, 2021

We had a great week filled with family and fall fun. One thing we did was get a pumpkin for Malcolm for only 9c/lb at Safeway. Auntie Patsy helped him carve it. Actually, as fast as she scooped the insides out, he tried to load them back in…it was really cute to watch. We got way more than $1.80 worth of entertainment, just watching the show!

In fact, it was so fun, they did it again the next day with Patsy’s pumpkin. All the pumpkins, plus the 3 little pie pumpkins are decorating our front porch and look great.

I cooked several “slow” foods this week. First, I made another batch of refried beans. I froze several cartons of those as we have been burning through the ones I made the other day. I also cooked several packages of pinto beans and froze them for future quick meals. I made some split pea soup and also some vegetarian black bean taco soup. I call these slow foods because first I soaked the beans all night, then cooked them in various ways over the next couple of days. They also take a few hours to cook down. After that process, they become “fast food” for me as I have the finished products ready for quick thawing and eating on busy days. I have quite a few dry beans, lentils and split peas out in my pantry as I buy them in bulk when I get low. They are very inexpensive when purchased this way and keep a long, long time.

Mom came over one day and the grandbabies came over to play with her. We all had fun.

I got to spend quite a bit of time with the boys this week, as they and their Mama and Auntie are moving. The landlord where they rent wants the house back, and they just finally found a new place to live. So, I anticipate spending quite a few hours with one boy or the other this week as packing and moving goes on. Rob and Patsy already took one van-load of items to Union Gospel Mission for them, but they have a ways to go.

I’ve been using the grocery ads to keep the pantry stocked up. Butter has been under $2/lb around here lately, and I got 5 dozen eggs for $5. Milk has been 88c for 1/2 gallon and there was Safeway cheese for $5/2-lb brick or bag of shreds.

I fed people the soups I made, a vegetable-beef soup, burritos, salads, bbq’d chicken Rob made, some cube steak he fried, baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, and a big batch of deviled eggs. We used canned and frozen fruits and veggies as well and many other items I have preserved like pickles and relish, red cabbage and apples, peach crisp from home-canned pie filling, dilly green beans and more. The girls and babies are eating over here quite a bit lately, so I just keep cooking. Good thing I love to cook! I’m very thankful for all that I was able to preserve. Once they get moved, they won’t eat here as much, but for now, this just works for all of us.

I’ve also grabbed napkins and paper plates for Thanksgiving, as the shelves continue to empty as fast as they are stocked for some items. We had Patsy run into the Dollar Tree for some plain colored napkins–I wanted red, orange and yellow, since I was having trouble finding fall-decorated ones. She said the shelves looked empty in many places and there were few choices of any kind of fall decor. She got red and yellow. I’m going to use those to supplement the few “pretty” ones I found at JoAnn’s on Saturday. I can use my plain-colored tablecloths and Rob found some artificial fall blooms at a yard sale in a free box a while back, and I’m going to make centerpieces from them, so I feel pretty well set now.

The weather has turned rainy and windy. I’m still dashing outside whenever there’s a break and pulling old flowers, and weeds so was able to fill the yard debris bin this week, always a triumph for me. I transplanted strawberry runners into a raised bed and pulled out some spent vegetable vines/plants. I was able to pick a few more flowers and bring them in to enjoy.

Rob and I continue to exercise by taking frequent walks. I also push the baby down the street in the stroller whenever I get an opportunity. It’s win-win for both of us.

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:).