Category Archives: Saving Money

Thriving In My thrifty Week–July 21, 2019

I am posting this picture of raspberries for Marybeth of Making Cents of it All blog. She has some raspberries at her house that look very, very different. Around here, in the Pacific Northwest, we have 2 main kinds of these berries. We have the June-bearing, which these are, and the ever-bearing. They look similar. Hers have a fuzzy wrapper. I was astounded! I’m still picking berries from my bushes, although they are starting to wind down.

I was able to work in the garden some more. I pulled spent snow peas, added steer manure, and replanted lettuce. I have several more little projects out there to do and areas to replant when they open up.

I took Jake to Baskin Robbins for an ice cream as his prize from the chart he does over at my house. When he fills it doing chores and activities, he gets a prize. Later in the week, I sent Rob to Fred Meyers when they ran a super deal on ice cream for $1/carton and had him pick up the 5 allowed and a box of cones. Patsy and Jake feasted on ice cream cones several times for a fraction of the price it would have cost me to take them to the ice cream shop.

Michaela and Patsy gave the dog a bath, saving at least $40 for a grooming fee.

I froze raspberries from our bushes, blueberries from my mom, 11 or 12 baggies of broccoli from the garden, and canned a total of 12 quarts and 20 pints of green beans from the garden. One morning, when I was up super early to preserve food, I was surprised to see a hot air balloon sailing through the sky nearby!

I did two things this week that cost absolutely nothing, but gave me great joy. First, I went to a wedding reception for a young lady that used to play with my girls years ago. I got to see some old friends that I have not seen for quite a while.

Second, I got to hold this sweet 6-day-old bundle on Friday. I also got to attend her baby dedication today at church. Babies are so precious and I never get over the miracle that they are!

We attended the Farmer’s Market again this week with friends. Again, Patsy received the $2 coupon kids get for tasting an item–blueberries were the item this week—no hardship for her. Our friend’s 7 kids got their tickets as well. My sister brought Jake, as well, and he ate a blueberry and got his $2 coupon as well. We were amazed he ate one! I didn’t see that coming:). It was really fun, and we even saw a lady dressed as “Ima Blueberry” who handed out recipes and things. The kids were tickled with her. They picked the perfect woman for the job–she really hammed it up. They loved it. After all, it’s not every day you see a lady in a round, blue costume talking like she was a blueberry:)

I’ve got so many zinnias blooming now. These are all from 25c baggies of seeds Rob bought at a garage sale and volunteers. Jake’s case worker was coming to see him. He told me he wanted to take the man some flowers. When I asked where he thought he would get some, he said, “From your garden, auntie” like it was the most obvious thing. It was all his idea, and the caseworker said it was the first bouquet he had every received from a little kid on his caseload. I love how you can cut and cut these and they just make more blooms when you do!

Thriving In My thrifty Week–July 15, 2019

I’m enjoying my flowers, that are blooming like crazy right now. This is a poppy I grew from seed and put into a flowerbed. I also have dahlias that rebloomed from last year’s bulbs, zinnias, nasturtiums, and more.

I planted quite a few seeds here and there, and some made it, but some were eaten by slugs…..Still, I’m happy with the ones that made it.

My mom came and took Patsy and I out to lunch on Tuesday. She brought all these blueberries, which I froze. We had a great time. During the school year, she visits more frequently, since she is down in my area more often. We have to plan for it more during the summer, so it was nice to get it on the calendar.

Lovana went back to Hawaii at the end of the week. Ja’Ana went with her for a little while. But, all week, there was extra cooking, laundry, etc. and lots of extra commotion as people came and went. It was fun!

I worked in the garden several times, and we ate lettuce, snow peas, and berries frequently. I was able to pull lots of food from the freezers and pantry to cook along with the garden produce.

This week will be busy, as Jake and Michaela are back from their vacation and I’ll be working with them a lot. I need to rack up some extra hours, since they’ve been gone. I’ve got a lot of kid-friendly activities planned and I’m loaded up with Ramen noodles, mini-bagels, and lemonade for later in the week, but today, I’m going to help Jake unpack from his vacation and clean his room–not super fun for him, but a good skill to work on. Once we clean for a while, we will do some fun stuff, like read. I’m ready to get back to routine, and I’ll bet he is, too:)

Thriving In My thrifty Week–July 7, 2019

We had a pretty fun week. It started last Monday, when I went to the zoo with some of my favorite people. Weeks ago, I promised my friend, Harnet, that I would be delighted to spend time with little Danait while she worked that day. Her regular day care took the week off, and different friends pitched in to cover. I chose Monday, and Patsy and I planned a zoo trip, using my zoo membership. Then, much to my surprise, Jake and Michaela’s older sister decided to take them to the zoo that same day, too. So, we met up, of course.

Danait immediately started fixing Caitlyn’s hair. Over and over and over. Caitlyn loves kids. Good thing:).

….because Danait rode on Caitlyn’s shoulders for most of the zoo. Notice the zoo cup way up on top. Danait is trying to be as tall as a giraffe. Those cups are great. You can just keep bringing them back over and over and fill them with soda for $1.25 with your membership. This time, they told Caitlyn that refills were free in that certain cafe, so even better. Patsy has 2 cups from years past and we brought both–one for her and one for Danait to use and filled them up to go with the picnic food I brought.

The week continued full of fun and frugal activities. We had Jake and Michaela on Tuesday and mostly drove Michaela to appointments and did errands like shopping at Costco, etc. We took them to lunch at Costco. It is such a great bargain to eat there. Then, Wednesday, we only had Jake. One activity that day was making cupcakes for the 4th and Grandma’s birthday. We used ingredients we had on hand, and made them from scratch.

She loved them! We celebrated her birthday on the 4th, as often happens, as her birthday is the next day.

She never seems to mind the red, white and blue wrappings on her birthday presents. We do set fireworks off for her, though, and have a “blast” doing that:)

With Alissa and her dad in charge, every kid got a turn to choose a firework to be set off, poppers were thrown down, and lots of smoke bombs and sparklers were lit.

The kids had a ball! (The number of guests was somewhere in the upper 20’s, a mixture of friends and family) Jake was really into playing with his friends that were there. At one point, I was handed a light saber and a toy gun and told to sit in my lawn chair and I would be “safe” from the storm troopers that were coming! (We could see a group of lights across the river, which were dubbed storm troopers….). I also got invited to play Legos, which I did for a while. Otherwise, I just had fun being with everyone. Except Rob. He didn’t feel well, and decided to stay home with the new dog. It was a good call. Safari wasn’t fond of fireworks, but did ok with Rob there.

The best part of the 4th, though, was that Lovana flew in from Hawaii for a visit. We will be enjoying her company for a week. She was so glad to spend time with her cousins, aunties and uncle this week, and has more plans in the few days she has left with family and friends.

So, I’ve been cooking up a storm, since Ja’Ana was here to eat as well one day and I have been feeding extras. I also spent quite a bit of time restocking at Costco, Grocery Outlet, Azure Standard, and Natural Grocers. I’m almost finished. For 3 months, I have been using quite a bit from my pantry, freezers and canning cupboards. The truth is, if you cook from scratch a lot, sooner or later, things run out. (Thank you Mrs. Obvious). The only surprise to me is that so many things ran out at once. I’ve actually been substituting on some things for a while now. So, now I’m good to go again for a while, except for a couple of items I still need to get, like tin foil. I bought things where they were the best deal, to the best of my ability. I got a very few Ibotta rebates, but most things were not qualifiers for that program.

To give you an idea of what I bought, here are just a few of the items: 25lbs rice, baking powder and soda, salt, pepper, bulk spices (lots), cleaning supplies, laundry aids, ziplocks of all sizes, parmesan cheese, lots of gluten-free pasta, produce, cheese, and so on.

I made Rob hold the bag of rice to illustrate that he’s lost more weight than 4 of them so far!

To end the week on a high note, we visited the Salem Farmer’s Market with friends. The kids participated in the “Pops” program where this week, they tasted honey, and received little toys and each got a $2 voucher to spend at the market. Patsy bought a little carton of blackberries with hers and ate them while she wandered around.

They all had a great time at the market, and then Patsy’s friend came over to hang out for a while afterwards. The girls played a long game of Monopoly and painted their toenails. I fed them sandwiches and fruit for lunch. I love to see that there are still kids around who can enjoy themselves with simple things, and am especially glad that Patsy is one of them.

How did your week go?

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–June 30, 2019

After several months of looking, we finally got a dog this week. We had several criteria to meet. 1) It needed to be a gentle dog to be a companion for Rob since he is stretched out in pain for some time each day in the back room. 2)I needed to be able to handle the dog as I would be the main dog-walker. 3). We needed to be able to afford the rehoming/rescue fees.

It has been an insane journey. After all the media hype about how many dogs need homes, we were shocked at how hard some places made it to adopt the dogs they had.

One place wanted us to promise to never change the address and phone number on their dogs’ microchips. Really? What if the dog ran away and they couldn’t reach us, the new owners? That didn’t make sense to us.

One person on Craig’s list wanted a $900 rehoming fee. Really? What was it? A SOLID GOLDEN retriever?

We understand that the rescue places put money into the dogs. We understand they often spay or neuter them, and get them veterinarian care when they need it. We planned to spend some money, but so many places wanted several hundred. When a dog was cheap or free, it went so quickly we couldn’t even get out to see it before it was gone. We began to make this a matter of prayer–that we could find the right dog for us.

One night, Rob searched the local county dog control/pound’s website to see what they had available right now. (He also searched several others, as he has been doing regularly). They had a couple of options available that looked good, so he ran over there on Tuesday while I was up visiting a friend to take a closer look. They were easy to work with, brought out several dogs for him to meet, accepted his application and approved him on the spot, and he brought home a dog that same day! He was so surprised that he had found the right one, and it was so easy, that he had to leave the pound and come back after he purchased some dog food! This dog was only $20. Yes, $20. She is older, very sweet and quiet, but we think she was slated for the happy hunting grounds in the sky pretty soon if she had not been adopted, and they really wanted to get her to a good home. She is a Boxer mix. We think mixed with Pit Bull, to look at her, but who knows what else. She seems to have had some training in the past, but I’m already working with her each day to learn more things. Her name is Safari, and I think we are going to be very happy with her.

We bought a large crate and she happily went into it while we were gone to church this morning. I’ve been walking her for 1-2 miles each day, broken up in shorter walks. She has not had an accident in the house and seems to be letting us know she wants out. She hasn’t been barking or chewing things. She’s been gentle with Rob, not jumping on him or pulling him over as he is unsteady. I’m not sure what they told her at the pound, but she clearly took the adage, “be a good girl for them” to heart. I’m hoping she will keep up these good behaviors. So far, I’m delighted.

We received a free vet check-up when we adopted the dog, so we will go to that on Tuesday.

I did do some other things this week to stay frugal. I cooked a lot from scratch. We were going with some friends to a potluck at the day camp where 4 of our friend’s kids attended this week. I volunteered to make the potluck food, and took plenty. I did berry-peach crisp, brownie bars, zucchini bread and taco salad, which I assembled right before we ate. I made lots of salad this week, as our lettuce is prolific right now. I made Mexican-flavored pork, using home-canned salsa verde. I’ve used or shared almost all of the pea pods from the first crop. I’m making vegetarian taco lentils to take to a friend tomorrow, and for us to eat. Rob loves them.

Speaking of Rob, he goes to the doctor for a weight check-in tomorrow. We are pretty sure he is more than 10 pounds down since last month. He’s been working so hard, and staying within the 1000 calorie/day limit the doctor set for him. It should be a fun weigh-in.

I worked in the garden several times.

Patsy gets to go swimming at an aquatic center for free with her youth group tonight after evening church. She’s excited.

Rob scored big-time at a garage sale. They were selling absolutely everything. He bought unopened peanut butter for 25c and a can of Costco chicken for 25c. He got lots of spices for 25c each. The only thing I threw away was the baking powder–it was so expired I didn’t think it would rise any more. The large container of pepper alone……several dollars worth.

We read library books and watched library movies and I took Jake to a mid-week show as part of the summer reading program. I took Michaela to a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese–she had fun with her friends. Rob took her shopping for a gift, and the stuffed animal she chose for her friends was under $10, and the girl seemed happy with it. The summer will involve more activities with Jake, as well as a few extra hours now and then, as Jake doesn’t have school. There is plenty to do that is not expensive, but still fun, as well as the chores, reading, etc. I have him do daily.

Well, I’m off to check those lentils. I hope your week goes well, and that you have a great 4th of July!

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–June 22, 2019

We slipped away to Ft. Stevens State Park for a few days this week. We used our park pass to pay the fees. We spent a small amount of money on things like French fries and ice cream, and very little else. We took lots of food from home, cooked in the camper, and roasted things on the fire.

As the long-time readers of my blog know, my nephew Jake asks repeatedly to take “our” camper out. So, of course we couldn’t leave him home when it was time to go. We went to one new attraction that we have never visited before, the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria, Oregon. Our zoo pass allows us to visit one reciprocal attraction for free each month. The month of June happened to be this museum and we were going to be near that area in June…..so we planned a visit. We saved almost $40 in admission costs, and enjoyed the museum a lot. I especially enjoyed touring a lighthouse boat they had as part of the museum. (The picture is not it–I forgot to take one). It was a boat that went out and was anchored 6 miles out and the crew kept a floating lighthouse burning all the time. It has been replaced with a buoy, but the boat was fascinating. We could see where the crew slept, ate, worked, etc.

We kept it simple. There were lots of stick wars. There were bubbles. I took a huge bag of library books and movies. I took my old Kindle loaded with games for Jake. Every day, Rob played either “hot and cold” or “pirate treasure” with Jake. Each day, there was a small prize for Jake after the games.

On “hot and cold” he simply has to find the prize. In “pirate treasure” he had to follow lots of instructions like “hop forward 6 steps” or “run around a tree 2 x” and so forth. Then, he had to dig it up.

He liked those games so much that he hid 3 pea pods one day and made Rob find them using the hot and cold method. Another time, he buried a pine cone for Patsy to find. I’m glad he had a good time.

One reason we chose this location was because Patsy’s (and Alissa’s) youth group had a planned trip to nearby Seaside on Thursday. We took her down there and dropped her off with the group and picked her up afterwards.

Then, we spoiled Jake all day.

He rode the Seaside carousel.

We drove over the bridge to Washington. We bought ice cream. We played the game, Trouble, watched movies and ate French fries.

The other thing I did a lot was walk. Most days I walked 2 miles or more, for exercise. We did not do much fishing, and caught none. I went clamming with Patsy once, but no luck there, either. We didn’t even go crabbing at all! All in all, it was a good week, and now I’m ready to tackle my garden, which seems to have doubled in a few short days, especially the weeds. It was fun, and I’m glad to be home again.

Thriving In My thrifty Week–June 16, 2019

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

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

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

carry the gummy bear in a plastic spoon relay,

bubbles,

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

and throw the plastic frog at the ring.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thriving In My thrifty Week–June 9, 2019

Here is our newly graduated Alissa, with her proud parents!

…..and the aunties!

…..and then there’s the “twins, separated at birth,” as they used to call themselves. It was quite an evening.

All I can say about this week is, “WOW!” All week, we seemed we were scrambling from one activity to another. But, in the end, we got everything done, and stayed somewhat frugal:).

Of course, Alissa’s graduation was a huge part of the week, but we did some other things as well.

Rob, Patsy and I went to the dentist. Because our dentist’s son is starting to slowly take over the practice, we had a new dentist. Let’s just say our teeth were thoroughly cleaned. He’s very good, but still somewhat new at it all. We ended up using a gift card I’ve had for over 2 years for lunch because it took much longer than we expected. I’m glad we have dental insurance, and have a place to use it at, and can still go to our same old dentist office, even though it’s a distance away.

I weeded and hoed quite a bit. I tucked in more green bean seeds where they got eaten by birds or slugs, and planted a short, new row of lettuce. I like to plant little bits often so we always have some.

I mowed the lawn and planted a couple of flowers here and there. Some of the seeds I’ve planted are starting to look like they will survive and I will have flowers eventually from them.

I found a ham for 69c/lb. It was the last one. It was close to expiration, but we’ve already been eating it and it won’t be a problem to use it up. I got Bugles for $1/bag (7.5 oz). I shared some today with the family, but most are for summer fun activities.

Patsy’s birthday was Friday. We took her to Red Robin, using a gift card from Christmas and let her have milkshakes and French fries for dinner. Yup. No healthy food for her. Just that!

Saturday was Abbie’s birthday. My oldest and my youngest. What a pair:). The 3 of us went to the zoo to celebrate. We used my zoo pass. It was my gift to Abbie–we just wanted to spend some time, and this was a super fun way to do that. Patsy borrowed my phone and took a lot of pictures.

We had a really nice time being together.

Thriving In My thrifty Week–June 2, 2019

The weather this week acted like summer, so the kids did, too! When we were over at my sister’s on Saturday, Jake asked to come home for the night, and that worked for me. The kids played water balloons, ate popsicles, and ran the sprinklers. Notice I say “ran the sprinklers” not “ran IN the sprinklers” cause that’s what actually happened:). I have no idea why!

My sister did a beautiful job of Alissa’s graduation party. The rest of us pitched in a bit here and there, especially my Mom. Alissa chose her cake, the verse on it, and the guitar picture, as those were all things that were special to her. She had a great time at the party. There was a great turn-out and the day was gorgeous.

Since I graduated from homeschool as well, I used some of my new-found time to clean the laundry room. Imagine this room piled high with odds and ends, and the floor covered with laundry and dirt. I worked on it for a couple of days, at times, and then finished Friday. On Saturday, when Jake came over, Patsy told him to go look at the laundry room. He dramatically fell into a fake faint when he saw how clean it was. Pretty soon, he ran into the room with a few items of his clothing and threw them on the newly cleaned floor. “There!,” he told me. “I fixed it for you, auntie!” Oh, boy! I just had to laugh my head off:)

My aunt gave me some beautiful roses from her flowerbeds.

I worked in the garden quite a bit this week. I planted some corn plants Rob grew and we covered them with row covering so the birds won’t peck them out. Things are really starting to grow. I’ve been trying to pull a few weeds or hoe a little each day so they won’t get ahead of me.

I hope your week went as well as mine did.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–May 27, 2019

My 2 sisters and I decided to take the kids to the Oregon Zoo today. Everyone had a blast. It was so awesome to use my zoo pass to the utmost–and we only had to pay for 2 of our large group. I have plans to use the pass again in the near future.

It was such a treat to have some of the big cousins with us, too. Jake decided Auntie Rosalie and cousin Rachel were the best ones to hang with for quite a while and even though the search for a snow cone was unsuccessful…. even though we hiked around for 2.5 miles looking for one…..even though we never, ever found one…..we saw a lot of animal along the way:)

Michaela loves trains and had a great time riding the zoo train.

We did quite a few other frugal things this week.

We took Patsy, Anthony and Allison bowling, using the Kids Bowl Free passes, along with the family pass I bought at the beginning of the season for less than $25. I bowled as well, making a total of 4 bowlers. You are supposed to pay for shoe rental, plus Allison wasn’t on the pass. In the end, the bowling alley chose to charge us only $6. I think I owed a little more than that, but when I pointed it out, the gentleman would not take any more. How nice of them.

I let the garden grow, which it did all on its own. We had rain almost daily, so I was only able to get out there and hoe a couple of times. I did do more pruning and filled the yard debris bin again.

We had a family house cleaning party over at my sister’s house. We were all pitching in because there was a birthday party there Sunday, and Alissa’s graduation party next Saturday. With all of us who showed up, we whipped that place into shape quickly, and then enjoyed a nice potluck lunch.

My oldest sister has a talent for cleaning, and Jake was waiting and waiting for Auntie to come help clean his room. He sat on the bed declaring that he was the “boss” and helping us clean off and on, having so much fun telling us aunties what to do:). Jake’s room is so clean now that I took him home for 2 nights, and so it could stay that way for a little while (but mostly because he wanted to come over). He’s home now, so……..

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–May 19, 2019

We could call this the weekend of paper airplanes and croquet! Jake had a couple of books from his school library and used a LOT of paper trying out various plane designs. It is such an inexpensive and wholesome activity. I love it that he is “in” to that right now.

We had fun with the kids at the Iris Parade! You can see they enjoyed the “Breakfast of Champions!” That was our fun, but frugal, activity for the weekend.

I think Jake enjoyed the policemen who were closing the road as much as he did the parade! This one was especially nice to the kids.

It was an old-fashioned parade with a couple of local school bands, lots of vehicles with irises stuck in the front grills, a few kids on bikes, and so forth. I always like old firetrucks, and we were all amazed by a huge truck that the driver jumped out of and drove with remote control! It was actually a little freaky!

After the parade, the Chinese restaurant gave away orders of teriyaki chicken the the first 100 people who got in line. We were right in front of the restaurant and Rob and Patsy got some. (It’s got wheat in it, so I didn’t and Jake doesn’t like it)

Both kids spent Friday night, and then, right after the parade, Michaela went with her older sister to spend Saturday night. Their parents were able to go to an event with Alissa all weekend–they had a great time as well.

The geranium I dug out of the compost heap and overwintered is going to bloom! So exciting for a “plant geek” like me! I come by it naturally. I remember my grandfather taking me to see each and every one of the new dahlia blooms in his garden and my other grandmother showing me each new bud and bloom in her flowerbeds! I get it from both sides of the family! What a gift:)

I was given this pot of flowers. I love it! The pots in the background lived all winter. I have plans for some of the extra sedums that have filled in that one.

We took a large group to the bowling alley and used the Kids Bowl Free program. We took a friend with her 7 children, my sister’s family, my family, and 2 kids Alissa was babysitting. My sister also grabbed a young man she knew to help with the mob, and we divided the older young adults amongst the little kids, so everyone had the help he or she needed. Patsy got to bowl with the “big girls” and she had a ball. Then we went to a nearby park and ate a picnic we packed. It was wild, but fun!

The rest of the week was filled with ordinary activities–things like work, cooking meals, gardening in odd moments, mowing the lawn, and finally—a lot of laundry! I’m hoping to keep up on the laundry a little better, as well as cut the lawn again very soon. Both were horrendous jobs by the time we got to them. I’ll see how this week shapes up–it’s worth a try anyway!