Category Archives: Projects

Thriving In My thrifty Week-November 17, 2019

We took the kids to the Oregon Coast Aquarium this week. We have a zoo pass. The reciprocal attraction for the month of November was the Aquarium. We eagerly set a date to use this amazing deal, because I had not been there for many years. Our niece, Caitlyn, went along, too. She has a zoo pass as well, so her admission was free also. We saved over $130 in admission costs. We all rode together in the van, and saved gas, as well. It was so fun!

We packed a lunch, and then stopped for little snacks like sea foam candy, French fries….you get the idea.

It took a lot of photos to get one of Michaela with a shark behind her, but that was her hope, so we persevered until we captured it!

The jellyfish are always a favorite of mine.

Patsy and Jake went in the hurricane simulator. They were the only 2 brave ones, but they had a blast.

There were so many interesting fish and other sea creatures.

The week was an extra busy one. It started on Monday with the field trip to the End of the Oregon Trail Museum. Then, on Tuesday, we needed to feed the college group at church, as we occasionally do. We made 3 kinds of soup, corn muffins and lemon poppyseed and raspberry bars, all from boxed mixes that I got on a great sale. It still took several hours to cook, but wasn’t hard to do.

In the meanwhile, Patsy was cramming schoolwork into every extra moment, since we were gone so much. We have a week’s worth of school to get through each week (right?), and I’m happy to say she did get through it by Friday. Some weeks she gets done sooner, and does hands-on activities on Fridays, but not this week. We were too busy with other things. That’s the beauty of the the flexibility of homeschool.

Jake had an event at his school Friday night. We had him for the entire weekend, so, it fell to me to take him. There was a raffle. He won a prize– a game. Amazing! I was extremely surprised, but oh, so happy, when they called his number so we could head on home. He had done what he could do at the event, and was just sitting on a chair, nervously chewing his ticket, in hopes that he would win. I’m not sure who was happier, him or me!

Last night, the sweet boy threw his pants into the laundry, as he should have. He did not remove his precious Pokeman trading cards from the pockets, which he also should have done. So, they got washed. :(. Oops! After agonizing over a solution for a while, Uncle sneaked the soggy cards down to a gaming card shop this afternoon so he could match them, and replaced the ruined ones that he could get for a reasonable price. He got all but 2. He also got an extra packets of cards. He then explained the situation to Jake, immediately handed him the new cards, and thereby avoided a huge vale of tears and a valley of sorrow. I never would have thought of such a solution, but I’m glad Rob did. Thank goodness there were only a few in those pockets:). If you’ve never had much to do with special needs kids, this action will not make sense to you. If you have……no explanation is needed:)

We had a family birthday party today, and I made a couple of salads from ingredients I had on hand. They were potato salad and quinoa salad. Yum!

I worked on some projects for Christmas and a sewing project for Patsy.

Rob did, too. (And, no, it’s not quite finished. The yellow lines will be gone!). The people who get these gifts do not read the blog. I’m not putting up pictures of the gifts for people who do. Just in case any of you are wondering:).

I cleaned a little here and there. I cooked a lot. I got a little creative, because we seem to be emptying out the fridge faster than normal, and I need to go shopping yet again. Tomorrow is soon enough, and we made out fine, using some ingredients that had lingered for a while. Win-win! Some weeks/months are like that!

I redeemed a few more Ibotta rebates. We cashed out most of the Ibotta money I’ve been saving and plan to use that plus the Bottle Drop money for groceries in the next couple of weeks. I usually buy extra in November anyway, since there are so many great deals.

My sister gave me a free turkey she had obtained. My Mom bought me one of the 68c/lb ones from Winco. (If we want to be technical, she gave me the $ and I did the actual shopping while I was out, but now I’ve got turkeys for both Thanksgiving and Christmas tucked away in the freezers).

The coming week promises to be a little less scheduled with outside activities. I’m glad we did our fun events while the weather was so nice. I’m equally glad that this week will give me more time at home. There is much I want to accomplish.

Gardening Project–Compost Bins–April, 2019

Rob has been working on this 2-compartment compost bin. First, he had to scrounge up as much free lumber as he could. He says this is 95% reclaimed/recycled lumber. At our last place, he made a 3-compartment one for me. Here, I actually want 2 of these guys instead, because I want them in 2 different parts of the back yard garden. This one will be moved into place once I get done shoveling away the old compost that I have in a heap right now. The cool thing about these bins is that Rob makes the front boards removable. They are just set into a slot. Then, when it is full and the compost is ready, I just remove the top board or two, shovel out that compost, remove some more, etc, until I’m down to the bottom.

There is a screen between the 2 compartments to allow for more air flow.

Yesterday, he finished the first one. He was able to find some boards towards the second one today already! He just goes around to the wood manufacturers in our town, and picks through their “free” piles.

Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes–2018

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This year, we signed up for one morning to help at the drop-off for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.  My husband and I, 1 daughter, 2 nieces and our nephew all joined others at our church which was a drop site for the first time.

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We had a slow trickle of people bringing boxes all morning.  Most people brought in from 1-6 boxes.  Some of those were individuals, and some were small church groups.  One group brought over 100, though, the entire back of a pickup truck full.

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Michaela especially enjoyed helping the volunteers that were packing the boxes into huge cardboard boxes and they had her write the number of small boxes contained in the big box on the side, in the designated place, each time.

It was our first time volunteering at a drop-site before, and we quickly learned to check the boxes for labels, have the contributors sign the correct form, and how to pack them up.  We had a really good time and it was good for the kids to help.

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We had 2 families working together on 2 boxes.  We let the children choose what ages/gender we wanted to make boxes for.  They chose toddler girls.  Patsy helped sew this skirt, and I finished it and another one for the other box.  I was glad we could work on her sewing skills for such a good project.

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I would like to say the rest of the things were hand-made from ideas off of Pinterest, but they weren’t.  I struggle for time.  We hit up the school supply sales in late August, the Dollar Tree, super sales of t-shirts from the internet, and got a few things at Fred Meyers.  It doesn’t have to be fancy, although I’ve seen some really cool ideas out there, which would be loved, I’m sure.  The children are grateful for whatever they get, and I’m happy to be a part of the project as we have been for many years.  When we had to look into some  boxes to determine who they were for because they were not labeled, I noticed a vast difference in the amount and kinds of items in the boxes.  Each one is individually packed by a person or family, and they vary greatly.  I was told that if a box is really lightly packed, they will add a thing or two at the warehouse, but will never remove items from a full box.  (One of the ladies I worked with today had spent time volunteering at the large warehouse in California)

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Everything fitted!  The special boxes were at a restaurant my husband went to with a friend.  We would have used empty shoe boxes as we have always done if he had not stumbled upon these.

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Rob went on the internet and paid for the shipping.  He signed up for tracking for our boxes.  Hopefully, we will remember to look and see where they go!  The only other time we did that option, last year, we forgot to look, as we were so used to just sending them off with a prayer and never knowing where they went for so many years before:). This is a newer feature that is available.

There is still time if you haven’t filled a box this year, but wanted to!  They are collecting all week, until the 19th of November.  The internet is chock-full of ideas, both easy and time-consuming.  It’s a way to bless a child that you will never see, and share God’s love with them–something everyone needs to know, whatever their age, wherever they live or whatever their circumstances.  God uses all of us to spread His love to those little ones He cares for so very, very much.  I’m happy I got to be a part of that this year.

 

 

A Simple Knitted Scarf

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I’m not much of a knitter.  I don’t know how to follow directions very well, so only go back and forth with no fancy alterations.  That being said, I was very pleased with a scarf I just finished.  I was in the Dollar Store, and they had this Lion Brand Fun Fur yarn for, well, obviously, $1.

I grabbed a couple skeins of the 2 colors they had, and finally found my knitting needles with a little help from Rob.  They were still in a bin in the shop.  I used the really big ones–size 13.  After a few views on U-Tube, I remembered how to cast on, so I put 15 stitches onto my needles, and started knitting.  I just kept knitting back and forth (garter stitch) until I ran out of yarn, then bound off and knotted the yarn.  I wove the ends in with a crochet hook and I was done.

I did not need a super long scarf.  If I had wanted it longer, I would have continued with the second ball of yarn, or made the width skinnier, by casting on only 10 stitches.  What I wanted it for was to add some color to my winter coat, not for warmth or wrapping around a bunch of times.

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I got this coat after Christmas last year for only $10, on clearance.  Adding my $1 scarf made it much brighter, but still very inexpensive.  I think a scarf like this would be a good gift.  It was quick to make because the needles were so big.  Even for someone who doesn’t knit much, it only took a very few hours.  I don’t know how much yarn would cost if it wasn’t purchased at the Dollar Store, but I’m guessing not very much.  The only thing that was hard was sometimes all the extra fuzzy strands got in my way–smooth yarn would probably be easier, but it sure wouldn’t be a fluffy and soft.  I’m glad I used this yarn.

 

The Painting is Done!

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We, and several relatives, have worked many hours this week, and we have completed painting the inside of the house.  First, we painted it with Kilz to get rid of any smoke smell that might be lingering.  Then, we added the color.

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The living room, dining area, hall and Rob and my bedroom were all painted this creamy tan color.  It is light, airy, warm and inviting.  I love how it turned out.  This picture actually shows it being a little darker than it appears.  There are no lights in the living room.  Yet.

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Patsy’s room is mostly white, with the one wall that is light green.  A)  It also appears darker in this picture and B) Yes, I missed several spots, which I went back and painted with a brush after viewing this picture.  In fact, I went over several such spots in every room after I thought I was done!  The white is a nice, bright white and the green is much softer.  She has a huge closet in her room, and I will store quite a few of my things in 1/2 of it.  I also may put a community bookcase in her room, but I need to see how things fit in.

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The big girls will share a room.  Their ceiling and closet are white.  Their walls are a blue-gray.  It is really this dark, maybe even a little bit darker.

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The big girls painted almost all of their own room.  It was good experience for them and took them most of 2 days, since they were new at painting.  The previous painters had not been careful in any room and there is old paint on most of the woodwork, often blobbed or striped as if they did not tape at all. We did it properly, and it has been suggested that we paint over the woodwork in the places that are blobbed with a paint that matches the brown trim  or color over with a brown Sharpie.  I’m not sure if we are going to do any of that.  By the time we get furniture in there, we won’t see much of the baseboard:)

We’ve been moving loads from our storage unit over to store in the shop until after the floors are re-done.  We did another load today, even though the temperatures have been over 100 degrees this week.  (Very rare for our part of Oregon, so we are uncomfortable)  The only reason we could actually paint in this heat is that our new house has air conditioning.  Otherwise, I think the paint would have dried up too fast.  It’s supposed to cool down a bit, so hopefully I can get lots of loads moved next week, and some yard work done.  Things have grown up while the house was for sale, but I can tell the previous owner kept things in good shape.  I want to do the same.

We’ve also been working with the stove insert company, getting the details settled for the chimney preparation and installation of a new insert stove.  After filling out forms in 2 places, mail has finally arrived, today, at our new address.  Not long now until I get to go get a library card to the Salem Public Library!  That excites me tremendously.  I was last inside about 25 years ago, and thought it was really large then.  I will really feel like I live there (which I don’t actually, yet) once I check out books!

 

The New House–At Last

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And, here it is!  The new house.  Rob and Patsy are going in for the first time after it became ours!

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It is on .3 acres.  It has a large garden area with Marion berries on one side and raspberries on the other.  Clearly, there are a lot of weeds to remove, but it has grown the former owner a good garden for years, and the soil has been amended.

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It has a shop!

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And a cute little partially enclosed patio.  Behind the patio is a paved area where the camper can be parked behind a locked chain link fence.

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Here is the kitchen and the laundry room behind.

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The living room has a fireplace.  The carpets smelled badly of cigarette smoke.  Our first project was removing them.

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After 2 days spent pulling up carpet tacking strips, pulling carpet staples as well as the carpet and pads, the lovely hardwood was revealed.  We have an appointment scheduled to get them refinished.

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It’s already a huge improvement!  We have several other things planned.  We will have to wait a bit to move in, but it will be worth it in the end to have them done before we do:)

We are super excited and can’t wait to start living here!  I will admit that I have muscles I never knew existed after crawling around on the floor for 2 days.  I am very happy that I’ve leaned a new skill, though.  I’ll bet there are several new experiences ahead!

Dishcloths

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Our house has been on the market for over 3 weeks now.  I clean and tidy up each morning, and force the children to, as well, so we can be ready if we get a call that they want to show it that same day.  On the days that we do have showings, we have to go somewhere else until they are done looking.  The most memorable day, last Thursday, the people stayed for 2-1/2 hours.  So, while I waited last Thursday, I worked on a crocheted dish cloth, the one on the bottom, in this picture.  The knitted one was in progress and I finished it while I was camping the last time.

I have a large spool of variegated cotton thread, and used it for both dishcloths.  There is still enough on the spool to make at least another cloth.

I do not know how to knit well, and didn’t use a pattern for this cloth.  I just used the garter stitch and went back and forth until it was a good size.  I do not know how to do harder stitches.

The other one was from a booklet put out by the Lily yarn company.  I had to concentrate to figure out the pattern, as I am not a very experienced crocheter.  I can, however, follow a pattern better when it comes to crochet then knit, so I figured it out.  Now, I plan to make another one from this pattern soon, so I don’t forget.  The only other time I ever made it was so long ago, I had forgotten, so I don’t want that to happen again.

I was pleased with these cloths, and will probably add them to my gift stash.

Service Project for Christmas, 2015

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Every year, our family usually chooses some kind of service project to do at Christmas time.  This year, since we have changed churches, some of the opportunities we usually do were no longer as readily available.  So, we chose one from the new church we have been attending.  It was very different because they wanted each child–well over 100–to receive the same 4 items.  They asked everyone to get a pillow, pillowcase, blanket and some socks.  They told us what age and size the child was and if it was a boy or girl.  We chose an 11-year-old girl, because that is Patsy’s age and we thought it would be fun to help out someone the same age as she is.

We were able to easily find the socks and pillow at a Walmart near the church last Sunday.  The blanket was made and tied from fleece I had on hand from a JoAnn’s sale a while back.  I am happy to report that I am now out of plain-colored fleece.  There is still lots of printed choices in my stash.  The kids voted that a hand-made blanket would be better than buying one.  They love theirs that they have made or received as gifts.  I totally agreed with them.  I love it when they can participate in the giving somehow.  I also love giving hand-made items.  It makes it more personal, to me.

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Today, I was able to sew the pillowcase.  I was able to use up 2 left-over pieces of fabric from other projects, as well as some lace I had on hand.  I was able to find pretty, pastel colors and we hope the little girl that receives them will enjoy having them as much as we enjoyed making them.

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Playing With Dolls

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I could not resist making some doll clothes for a young friend of ours for Christmas.  Patsy has an American Girl doll and graciously offered to have her doll, Rose, model the finished product.   We had a pretty good time setting Rose up for her photo shoot.

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Then I made a sleeping bag and pillow for the 18″ doll.  It was a little tricky, especially putting the zipper in, but it all worked out.

Both of these items were made from commercial patterns I have had for a long time.  I used scraps of cloth and lace, and a zipper I already had.  It was a large separating zipper.  I think a smaller zipper would work well, but that is what I had.  My stash comes from projects not completed, things bought by mistake, garage sales and thrift shops, and gifts from people who don’t want to sew anymore.  I have a large supply of sewing things, and I’m trying to use some of them up, and have been for the last few years.  Because of this, I paid no money out of pocket for these doll things.  They did, however, take quite a bit of time.  It was very fun to play with dolls, and I hope to get a few other things made before Christmas.

Friday Project

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On Friday, Patsy finished the potholder she has been working on for a couple of weeks.  Aunt Janet came and worked with her.  The pattern was purchased at a quilt shop in Sister’s Oregon.  It was called Flutterby Pot Holders by Valori Wells.  She also chose a fat quarter to make her project with.  We purchased Insulbrite interfacing/batting elsewhere so that no one would get burned when they used this potholder.  Although the pattern showed exactly where to do the machine quilting, Patsy chose to make her own designs.  They turned out great!  Now she has her first Christmas project done.  Go Patsy!