Category Archives: Saving Money

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–September 21, 2021

My garden looks like a complete mess! Still, on Sunday after church when I went out to pick a few things, I got all this and another huge bowl of beans. They were the surprise, since I found the bulk of them on the 3 short rows of bushes I just haven’t gotten time to pull out. They obviously bloomed again and reset more beans. So, among the dried-up, too-old beans was another batch of beautiful, just-right beans.

I cooked a pan full for eating. I gave a bag to my sister and one to my aunt. Then, I froze 4 bags. We don’t eat that many frozen beans, but always use a few each winter. I had only frozen about 4-6 previously this way, so these will be used with no problem. The pole beans should continue to give us enough for fresh eating for a few more weeks.

With my freezers groaning with all of this summer’s bounty, I need room! I pulled a turkey I purchased last fall when they were very inexpensive and Rob cooked it on the bbq. Then, I de-boned it, made broth and canned most of it. The rest was eaten fresh and some is for turkey enchiladas.

I used the boxes and bowls of tomatoes and finished up the salsa. I believe I have enough for these salsa-crazy people around here. With the few that were left over and what I made, I now have 72 jars of assorted sizes–everything from 1/2 pint to quart. Salsa is one of the more time-consuming things I can, so I’m glad to have that project finished.

I also got one canner load of tomato juice and one of crushed tomatoes. I need to do a few more whole tomatoes, but those are easy.

There are still tomatoes on the bushes, but they are winding down. There will be plenty for us and the extended family to eat for several more weeks, until frost.

I froze jalapeƱo peppers and Hungarian Wax peppers together, as they have about the same level of heat. It was very easy to pick and food-process them while I was making salsa. We don’t use very many of those in a winter, but it’s nice to have some. I package them very thin and flat in a quart-sized ziplock bag so I can break off little chunks when I want to throw just a few into a recipe.

Even though I’m still canning, and school is going full-force, meals need to be cooked. I made this breakfast “egg pie” with a frozen hash brown crust and eggs, a little ham, some leftover garlic cream cheese, spinach, ham and cheddar cheese. It came out great.

I’ve used all the chicken, meat and baked goods from the camper freezer, and am concentrating on using things from the house fridge freezer. It seems to cause an avalanche every time we open it, so it’s time:). Past time. Since we crack out our ice from ice cube trays and fill a Ziplock in the door, AND use a lot of ice daily, this can happen multiple of times each day. It’s getting annoying, to say the least. I can see why housewives of years gone by did fall cleaning. After all the food preservation and gardening, there are just too many areas that have been left to themselves around here.

The grocery money that was spent this week was for basics such as turmeric, salt, milk, eggs……you get the idea. As with most spices we buy, Rob was able to get the turmeric in bulk so it was not expensive. I don’t use much, but it was depleted in some of my pickles recently. It was nice to not need much else so I could fill those things up (and more) with my regular grocery budget. I did get a Coke Zero and some riced cauliflower for free from my Safeway card. The Coke Zero is long gone. The riced cauliflower—-hmmmmm. I’m going to try it soon so it doesn’t linger longer and make that freezer problem worse.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–September 15, 2021

This past week, we went camping down at the coast. Although we have been doing homeschool for the past couple of weeks, this was our outdoor school. We did regular schoolwork with the kids in the mornings and then did fun, outdoor activities in the afternoons.

One day, I read a book about a silly, fantastic sand castle contest and then we went down to a beach and the kids built their own.

We read fall-themed books and decorated fall-shaped sugar cookies.

We read about sea creatures, then went to the Oregon Coast Aquarium.

Rob organized this project. He melted old candles he collected from friends and family and some shells from the Dollar Store to make sand candles. He took the kids to the beach to collect the sand, and got the wicks from Amazon.

I thought they looked great.

There were lots of trips to the playground at the campground, and many, many times where the kids rode their bikes and I trotted along behind as fast as my short legs would trot:). We took a couple of drives down the coastline, and stopped at a candy store and for French fries. I read aloud for hours. The kids are enjoying Trixie Belden books right now. Of course Patsy has encountered them before, but they are all new to Jake and he’s loving them.

It was a very busy week, but a fun one. The weather was perfect and I’m so glad we got one last camping trip in before the fall rains come.

Once we got home, the garden needed attention. I picked tomatoes, we picked and chopped peppers to freeze. Just tonight, I canned 9 pints of crushed tomatoes. Rob’s been doing load after load of laundry and we’ve all been folding like crazy. There was more than usual because since this is our last camping trip for a while, there was extra bedding and such that needed washing.

We’ve been eating the leftover camping food for the past couple of days. I also unloaded the camper freezer, and we’ve been using the items that were in there. I always keep some chicken, hamburger, bread products, etc. in there for the entire summer, replacing as we use them on camping trips. So, I didn’t need to shop except for some milk, 1/2 and 1/2 and bananas.

Last evening, I dug up my old strawberry raised bed, put in some bags of steer manure, compost, coffee grounds and worm castings, and planted a few fall veggies. It may be too late to get much of anything, but it was worth a try and I simply couldn’t get it done before we went, as I was spending every minute canning. Those berries were done. They only last 3 years. I have some different berries in other places for next summer. So it feels good to have that mentally-daunting job done, whether I get any fall veggies or not.

Thriving In My thrifty Week–August 27, 2021

This past week, we were blessed with so much produce! My sister had already frozen a lot of corn from her garden, so offered us the extra. We happily accepted. (The pan of meatballs was something I made early Tuesday morning. Our mantra soon became, “At least we have meatballs,” as the week got busier and busier and my cooking got less and less!).

It was more than any of us thought. We ended up with 2 coolers full! She added some pears she was given, the Gravestein apples she had purchased for us at our request (she got everybody’s at once), some tomatoes from her garden, and lots of peaches. (The tomatoes on the chair are only part of what I got from my own garden!)

But wait….there’s more! The same day we were making plans to pick all the produce from my sister’s house, Rob’s cousin offered him two rows of corn they did not need. So, we went on Monday night to pick from my sister’s and he and Patsy went the next morning to get the additional corn. It was also more than anyone thought! It ended up being 3 rows. He got 3 coolers full of shucked corn! I cannot tell you how much corn that is. There are no words. And then, she gave him 3 boxes of tomatoes, which we were not expecting!

We canned 14 quarts and 36 pints of corn. We froze a bunch of corn. I made peach salsa and peach pie filling. I’ve made pizza/pasta sauce, canned whole tomatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce so far. I still have a large bowl of Roma tomatoes to made salsa from. Thankfully, they hold well.

Little Z is obviously too little to enjoy corn like his brother does, but he sure grew in the short time that passed between visits.

I made 14 jars of dill pickles and 4 small jars of dilly beans from the produce from my garden. I canned 7 quarts of pears and we dried several dryers full. I also dried some zucchini.

So it’s a Very. Good. Thing. that we spent a few days down at the beach last week. We went camping at Ft. Stevens State Park. We spent some time with Jake and Michaela, and we spent some time completely alone since Patsy went to spend a couple of nights with their family at the condo they had in a nearby town. We had planned all along to swap kids back and forth a bit. Rob and I haven’t gotten away alone together for so long, I can’t remember. It was amazing and I got a LOT of sleep. I knew I was going to be busy when I got back, so I made a 4 page, both-sided list. Then all that produce showed up……Needless to say, I’ve only got a few items done from my list, but I’m thrilled to have all that canning done. Things are ripening early and so prolific this year. My October is going to be so much easier!

My sister and brother-in-law took us out for dinner. It was so awesome to eat at a restaurant. We ate outdoors and were delighted to feel mist coming down as we ate. At least Rob and I were. We’ve been so hot. It felt great, mostly because it didn’t last long. We’ve had a little rain here, too. It wasn’t much, but it’s not hot and miserable here anymore. Whew! What a great week for canning.

As always, we ate at the camper most of the time. I had pre-made food, as usual, and kept it very simple. I realized I had forgotten some things in my haste to take care of the garden produce before we left, but we made out just fine. I did send Rob to the Safeway for the 99c/lb turkey burger, along with new toothbrushes. There was a little mix-up. Someone used mine a couple of times before I figured out what was going on. I cooked with one turkey burger there, and saved the other one I was allowed for next time. I did not save the new toothbrushes for later. šŸ™‚

We walked on the beach a lot, and on the trails. We didn’t crab, clam or fish this time. Instead, I read and napped. One day, I played games with Jake all morning. That day, Rob took Patsy and Micheala on a drive across the bridge from Oregon to Washington. It’s becoming a tradition since Michaela loves doing that.

We visited the Ft. Stevens Military museum, which includes a small indoor museum and a large outdoor compound of bunkers and ruins from the past. Even thought the kids got behind bars, they soon showed that they could “break out” from a different window. They had fun crawling out of the “jail.” We found a nearby playground and let them swing and play. It’s the simple things that go over the best with our crew.

We saw lots of wildlife including elk, deer, baby fawns, birds of many kinds and even whales! It was an amazing week on a lot of levels and I’m glad we could go.

Before we left, I did slip away one day to the 4-H fair where we used to live and judge the food preservation for the 4-H. I haven’t been able to do that for a couple of years, and it’s so fun to do. As a bonus, I also got paid, but it’s so fun I’d probably do it for free. Shhh….don’t tell them. I’ve already got plans for that little bit of extra money.

I’ve got 2 big boxes of apples to preserve in the next few days. There is salsa to make. I’m ignoring the fact that I can see red tomatoes appearing on the bushes again. I’m also ignoring all the weeds. After ignoring the house cleaning all week, Patsy and I got busy with that for a while this morning and at least there is a place to sit down in peace between canning. And, there’s hope that a person could actually sit at the table to eat in a day or two. Thank goodness, Rob did not ignore the laundry and has washed and folded it all. I don’t have to can wearing my Sunday clothes. Whew!

I plan to get back to regular posting, hopefully early in the week as is my habit, but I make no promises until this pile of produce is safely in jars and the freezer. It’s that time of year. So, I may be spotty for a little while longer before I can bask in the glory of full cupboards and freezers.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–August 16, 2021

Every other day, I’m getting this huge Tupperware bowl full or half full of cucumbers. On Saturday, there were 7 full quarts in there. Some days, it works out to several pints and a few quarts. That’s a lot of pickles, folks! I’ve been making jalapeƱo dills this week, plain dills, and today, Rob plans to try some sweet-hot pickles. I hope they turn out. I’ve got all the Bread and Butter pickles, sweet pickles, and relish I can eat or give away. I’ve also made a fresh pickle salad with cucumbers, onions, salt, pepper, a little sugar and a little rice wine vinegar and water sauce. Rob loves it and eats it by the bowl full. What a year for cucumbers! It’s the most I have ever grown.

We used the bowlful of tomatoes and all the cherry tomatoes we could find and made 9 pints of tomato sauce on Saturday. My tomatoes are coming on slowly, but it was nice to get started when we had too many to eat.

We’ve had all the garden produce we care to eat, except for lettuce. The heat is not it’s friend. Fall is going to be better for that, and I have some baby lettuce up in a row out in the garden.

We haven’t just canned this week. We spent a couple of days with our grandson. He loves the peaches his auntie grows. Patsy cut this up for him and he ate it all!

One day, Jake and I took the baby to the park. We walk there quite frequently. It’s been super hot around here, so we went early in the morning.

We took the kids to the library. I has only recently re-opened–like in the last month, then will close again for 2 weeks to move back to it’s original location. It’s been rough getting any books from there for the past 2 years. The kids were super excited and hauled home tons of books. There’s no better deal on earth for books than the library…if it would just stay open long enough for us to get some of them. Once you get books from our library, you can basically keep them forever…..since even the drop box is usually closed. No fines are charged, so that’s nice. I’m hoping once they get re-opened, back in their renovated building, things will improve greatly. I’ve got books that have been on hold for a year, books I really need for school that I can’t get….you get the idea. Hopefully, it will get better in September.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–August 8, 2021–Food Preservation Edition

I have canned so much in the past 2 weeks, I haven’t had time to post. I’m feeling really good about how much Rob and I have accomplished.

Last night, I picked the green bowl and the yellow one full of strawberries. (This picture just shows the bowls, this time they were full). I’m getting so many berries. The problem is that they seem very sour this year. That’s kind of frustrating as it’s been one of the hottest summers I can ever remember. They should be sweet. I’ve frozen quite a few and today, I decided to make a batch of jam. I did that this afternoon. When I’ve been freezing them, I’ve started adding a little sugar. They will be great in smoothies this winter, regardless of their sour flavor, as we can add sugar when we blend the smoothie. Oddly enough, Jake likes them sour, so he’s been picking and eating them cut up with sugar sprinkled on top. I’m glad someone likes them this way.

My sister gave us so many peaches from her farm. These are New Havens. This picture only shows part of them. We canned 70 quarts. Some are for me, some my mother graciously agreed to take, even though she wanted to can another kind, when I realized how many I was going to end up with. They are really, really good, so I know she will enjoy them, and we will as well.

They came out beautifully.

We dried several gallons of peaches. I also dried zucchini for soups. I froze broccoli a couple of times. Then, I pulled the bushes. All they were producing anymore were side shoots that were getting smaller and smaller each time. The last picking was about 1/2 cup, so that was the end for me. In the place where the broccoli was, I planted lettuce, kale, snow peas and spinach for a fall crop. They have not come up yet.

While up at the farm, Rob picked a lot of wild blackberries. We made jam from those. I froze several baggies as well, with what was left over from the jam making.

We have canned green/yellow beans every-other-day and I’ve done many, many pickles. These bowls are the first step for sweet pickles. I finished them Thursday. They involve a process where you pour boiling water, then syrup/brine over them each morning and night for 4 days. I canned 18–1/2 pints when I was done following all the steps.

I’ve made many dill pickles which were a mixture of plain (with garlic) and zippy (with jalapeƱos) and a batch of Bread-and-Butter Pickles.

I pulled all the carrots in the garden and we canned 7 pints, plus put some in the fridge in bags. I could fit the jars of carrots, in the pressure canner with the pints of green beans, so I did. My big one holds a double layer of pints.

I was able to can a few pints of crushed tomatoes on a different day.

I froze quite a few peaches, strawberries, and blueberries as well as the broccoli I mentioned above.

When I wasn’t preserving food, I was working on the garden and yard or working with the kids. I’ve pulled several old bushes up and composted them in the garden.. I’ve weeded there and in a couple of flowerbeds. After picking beans today, I’m all geared up to pull the bean bushes in a couple of places. They seem to be finished. I have a few more bush beans that still have some life left in them and all of the pole beans. They haven’t got any large beans on them, but small ones are starting to form so we will eat those fresh until frost.

My garden is large, and is yielding well this year. I’m very thankful to have so much to work with, along with what we got from my sister’s farm. There are still a few items to can later in the summer/fall, but I made huge strides on the project this past couple of weeks. We are also eating daily from the fruits and veggies we are picking.

We ate so much garden produce and things from the pantry and freezers that I didn’t shop for most of 2 weeks. When I did, I used the $10 off $50 at Safeway. I bought some things to stock up the camper for our next excursion and some items I don’t normally buy, such as first aid items. I also got some things at Grocery Outlet. It felt good to be able to stock up on things with the extra money I had left over from last month’s grocery budget due to eating so much garden produce.

Rob and I inventoried our canning shelves. I like to keep a detailed record of my food preservation, recording what was left over of each item and what new jars have been added this year. Last year, I was out of so many items that I over-canned on purpose. I like to have a little carry-over in case of a poor crop, an item being hard to get for some reason, etc. There’s not as much left over as I thought there would be. So, I’m taking care of that!

Although canning has taken up a huge portion of my time this past 2 weeks, that’s not all. we did.

Jake and I made cinnamon sugar toast cut-outs one day. This is a birdhouse, in case you didn’t know. All we did is toast bread, spread with butter and cinnamon sugar and cut out shapes with cookie cutters, but he had a wonderful time doing it and eating his concoction.

Rob filled the kiddie pools for the kids one day and watched both the pressure canner and the kids at the same time, as we do all of our canning outside in an enclosed porch area.

I started science with Patsy this week and she and Jake did an experiment. We’ve been reading aloud for hours and I’ve received Jake’s science from his Mom so we will start that this week. I like to do some school in August, to ease into the process. We will go full-bore in September.

We had a family gathering potluck for Rob’s side of the family one evening and had a nice time. We had an aunt and uncle from Idaho visiting our aunt who lives here and spent some time over at her house visiting, which was also nice. Of course, the babies have been through the house a few times, and we have seen some other relatives from time to time. We aren’t bored, but will admit to being quite tired once night comes! It’s a busy time of year:)

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thriving In my thrifty Week–July 26, 2021

We are spent much of our time with babies this past week, with Jake 5 days in a row, and watching the Olympics.

Our daughter has a friend from out of state visiting with her little 8-month-old daughter. So, this week, we enjoyed between 1 and 3 babies on several occasions. We watched our older grandson a couple of times and had the whole group over for a couple of visits and meals.

We all went to the park one morning. We walked down there, pushing Malcolm in his stroller and the girls and younger babies drove to join us. Jake enjoyed riding his new “bike” there and back 3 times this past week. His new toy has 3 wheels, is very low to the ground, is pedaled like a bike but in the recumbent position, and he holds handles on the sides to steer and brake. I should have taken a picture of it, so I could describe it better, but lets just say it looks very, very fun and he loves it because he can manage it and it’s really, really cool.

Rob and I took great pleasure in giving our grandson a spaghetti dinner.

He really, really liked it. Afterwards, I gave him a bath and gave Rob his clothes to wash. It was worth the extra effort to see him having so much fun. My sister suggested we feed him his spaghetti IN the bathtub next time:)

Even though kids and babies were the most fun activity we did this past week, we did some more mundane things, as well, such as go to the dentist. It’s so nice to have dental insurance. We didn’t have any for so many years.

I weeded several times. Rob planted some fall crops. So far, he has a few types of lettuce, some broccoli, cabbage, and a little kale that have sprouted. My next planting of lettuce is up in a raised bed, along with some snow peas.

Two times, I picked cucumbers and made dill pickles. Although the batches were both just a few jars, it’s nice to get that process going. I started counting and recording how many jars of different items are left out on the shelves. That way, after I look at last year’s records, I know how many jars I want to can of each item.

I did 6 quarts of pickles and just 3 pints this week because I had good pickings of cucumbers. It saves jar lids when I do that as long as it’s something we can eat a quart of. Rob can definitely eat a quart of dill pickles. We all love them, but it’s nice to have a mixture of sizes for different occasions.

I’ve picked tomatoes, zucchinis galore, cabbage, lettuce, snow peas, a few assorted peppers, cucumbers and lemon cucumbers, and a very few beans this week. I’ve been able to get a few raspberries and a couple bowls of blueberries as well.

Patsy helped with a Science Camp at church 4 days this past week. It was basically a Vacation Bible School. She had a really good time and we were able to go down to the church last evening to watch the kids sing a few songs, hear about the week, and watch them shoot off a candy cannon. Like Rob said, “it was either going to be the coolest thing ever, or a big mistake…” Thank goodness it was a rousing success and all the kids were kept away from the flying candy until it had been shot into a field. Then, they could run and pick it up. What fun!

thriving In My thrifty Week–July 20, 2021

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

The garden keeps pumping out the produce.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–July 13, 2021

A few years ago, Rob picked up quart-sized ziplock bags full of home-saved zinnia seeds at a yard sale for 25c/bag. He got several. I planted some in the garden then, and then they started dropping seeds. This is one of many volunteers in my garden that I am enjoying immensely. I found one bag left in my seed stash and I planted in in a front flowerbed. Many of them came up and a bunch of them survived the slugs. They are blooming now, which makes me happy.

My newest planting of lettuce came up. I like to keep it going all summer so we can have salad all the time. I was doubtful that this planting would sprout because it’s been so hot, so I was delighted to see them pop up. A few snow peas sprouted, too, and so far I have one new summer squash sprout. Succession planting is one way to keep the veggies coming until frost.

I was down at the hospital all day yesterday. A family member broke their leg and needs surgery. We are taking turns going over there until they get fixed and released. While I was gone, Rob took leftover fruit and made a mixed cobbler. He used canned cherries, a handful of blueberries from our bush, leftover pie filling from the 4th of July and whatever else he could find that was getting old. The fruit was not wasted and tasted great.

He also made a sweet and sour chicken and rice. I’m still getting snow peas from the garden and he used chicken I got on sale for 97c/lb for boneless/skinless breast. Carrots and celery are almost always in my fridge. We are still working on the 50 lbs of Jasmine rice Rob got at the beginning of Covid for only $10. It was marked down because the store had gotten in the wrong item, so were selling it quickly.

I cooked a lot this week, and made chicken-rice soup, salmon, sandwiches with potato salad, and lots more.

We have had our older grandson quite a bit this past week. Our daughter also brought new baby over for us to hold several times. With both Rob and I on baby-holding duty and Patsy and Jake to amuse Malcolm at times, she can keep getting stronger and we can have fun:). I also went to several doctor appointments with them, driving, carrying kids and/or carseats and carriers from here to there, and so forth. A few food items were cooked and sent over to their house, and I helped facilitate grocery shopping.

I made 2 receiving blankets. I used flannel purchased on sale some time ago. My daughter wanted ones that were slightly larger than the 30″ x 30″ size they come in around here, I just cut the flannel and narrow-hemmed it. It wasn’t hard.

The flowers Rob grew or wintered over continue to amaze me with their beauty. I look at them every day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And, about those red lights…..

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

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

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

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

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–June 21, 2021

We took a vacation this past week. We pulled the camper over to Central Oregon to visit friends. We camped at LaPine State Park and spent the week doing outdoor activities and visiting. Our friends live only a very short drive away from the park so it was easy to go back and forth. We had planned this trip last summer, but most of our trips got cancelled due to a combination of Covid, Rob’s surgery and wildfires. So you can imagine how excited we were to see our friends. It had been way too long.

This is North Twin Lake.

Rob went up to that lake several times to fish. He saw lots of wildlife and birds and was delighted when he caught several huge fish. His friend caught some, too, but poor Patsy didn’t this time. She still had fun. I went over to my friend’s house and visited once and another time we took a walk along the trails in the park where we were camped.

During the trips, he saw this dragon fly, bald eagles, red-wing blackbirds, goldfinches, deer, and more.

Both he and our friend had great luck. We brought home several large trout for our freezer. Thankfully, he caught the most on the last day before we left and there was room in our camper freezer for several. He brought the rest home in a cooler, on ice.

Rob grilled a couple over the fire one evening for us and our friends, along with some marinated chicken legs. I made a large stir-fry that included my home-grown snow peas, broccoli, and onions along with carrots, celery and mushrooms I took along. We also had green salad and home-canned corn. As always, I took food with us and we packed picnics whenever we weren’t at the campsite. We got early starts on our travel days, as it was a distance. On the way over, we stopped at a park in Sisters for lunch and a good walk. On the way back, it was tremendously hot, so we forged forward to get over the mountains before the temperature rose too high. It’s easier on the van that way and easier to unpack at home before the day reaches it’s hottest. We ate over at our friends’ house one night, and the last day, after they guys went fishing all morning, our friends took us to a cider company in town with a food truck, live music, a small farmer’s market, and relaxing chairs for us to sit on while we ate our Mexican food and visited.

One day we went rock hunting.

Rob and Patsy dug for thunder eggs. They found a few small ones.

They found rainbow obsidian in one place and mahogany obsidian in another.

We had a great picnic along the Crooked River.

We took several hikes during the week. This one was to Benham Falls. We had not been there before. We hiked down the trail, dodging huge mud puddles from recent thunderstorms, and quite a few bicyclists who were also dodging those same puddles. At least most of them dodged the puddles. It kept us on our toes to leap out of the way of those who went right through those above mentioned puddles….until we reached our destination–we think. We weren’t sure we had found the falls, as it was not like we were used to. We were looking for water going over a tall cliff, like at Silver Falls. These falls were more like large, turbulent rapids. We figured it was the falls, though, because of the railings, well-worn path, and large stream of people going to view it:). And, it does fall a bit, especially on the left hand side of the picture.

Whether or not it was a typical waterfall like we are used to seeing in our area, it was very breath-taking and beautiful, and we were glad we went to see it. We definitely wouldn’t want to go over it in a kayak, even though it’s listed in my friend’s book as part of the “Paddle Trail of the Deschutes.” Yikes!

Another day, we drove up to the top of Lava Butte. Patsy had been there once when we first got her, and thought it would be fun to go there again.

We went up to the fire lookout and had just started to listen to the guide give his spiel, when he said, “Folks, it looks like lightening is on the way. (as a large strike lit up the sky in the distance) You are at the highest point up here. So, it you want to walk around the crater, get going, or I may have to kick you all off this mountain in a few minutes.” The next thing you know, Rob had his trekker poles and off we went, along with every other person there. Just so you know….the storm did not reach us after all.

Rob has not been able to walk around the crater for years, so he was eager to go. It wasn’t a long hike, but parts were uneven and steep. Like he said several times–“I’m not turning anything down this trip, because I can do it now!”

You really do feel as if you are on top of the world up there.

The visitors’ center is closed down below, due to Covid. There were some trails through the lava flow that were open, but we did not hike them this time.

Another day, we drove out to the Lava Cast Forest and hiked the trail through there. We bought a forest pass to use here, at the crater and at the Benham Fall area. We are going to see if there are any places around home that we can go to and use it more.

It’s amazing to see flowers growing in such harsh conditions.

Although is seems as if we got no rest at all, we actually did. It’s a good thing, because I’ve been working outside since I got back home, especially in the garden and yard. I hope to do a garden update post later in the week, if I can find the time. It really grew a lot while we were gone, and so did the weeds. These are Rob’s poppies that he grew, next to the alyssum and pansies that he also grew. I loved being greeted by them we we drove in.

It was a great vacation. I’m glad we went, and so glad to have seen our friends, and had ample time to spend with them.