Category Archives: Saving Money

Saving Money or NOT–July 17, 2016


Last week was busy and fun.  We traded kids out one day and left Ja’Ana with the cousins and brought Michaela home with us for 1 night.  On the way home, we stopped at historic Butteville store and enjoyed some ice cream.  Michaela and Patsy enjoyed playing checkers on the checkerboard that the store set up on the table.  They played for quite a while.

Patsy pulled up some unwanted plants in the garden to earn money for camp, and Michaela enjoyed watching her dramatically hit the ground with the plants, huff and puff, and put on quite a show.  So, Patsy got some attention, Michaela was entertained, and I got those plants pulled!  Win, win, win!!


Then they played Yahtzee for several rounds and cheerfully  ate up the odds and ends of my hamburger buns with peanut butter spread on them.  (No jam for Michaela–she doesn’t like it-Patsy will always eat double–she loves it).  The girls had a frugal, fun evening!

The next day, Rob swapped the girls back when he took Patsy to catch the bus for church camp.  Things went well until Wednesday…….

On Wednesday, I was just lallygagging around.  I had 1 thing planned for the day–lunch with 2 of my friends.  So, I let myself sleep in a bit.  But then…the phone rang.  It was the youth leader at camp and there was a problem.  I could hear Patsy dramatically carrying on in the background and many adult voices.  The leader informs me that Patsy’s front tooth is gone and all she has left is her braces and the chain and bracket where a tooth should be.  He’s never seen anything like it.  He can’t figure out where the tooth went.  As far as he knew, she went to bed with a tooth… there is no tooth….and so forth.

I have a vision of Patsy with 2 front teeth gone, since I knew that we had been working on getting the other one to come down for a year and a half, with oral surgery, orthodontics, etc.  I was feeling pretty worried, when it suddenly clicked.  He did not know that the other tooth had never been there.  With her sobbing “my tooth broke off” and things like that, he was assuming that her tooth had broken somehow in the night.  I quickly set him straight, saying  “it’s ok.” and things like that.  He put her on the phone, and I found out that, indeed, it was the bracket that had broken off and there was a small white thing attached to it, which she was convinced was part of the tooth (that is still up in her gums).

So, after a call to the ortho, we quickly started out for camp.  We had never been there, but are signed up to volunteer there next week for high school camp.  We went to camp, picked her up, used the interim time to do a little laundry, had an appointment at the ortho, had a meeting about camp, and then took her back.  It is a distance away, so we were gone for about 12+ hours.  They removed the dangling chain, assured us all it was just bonding material, no teeth were broken and put her back together.  We will still need to address the situation later, but for now, it’s fine.  Nothing is broken, except some hardware in her mouth.  Whew!!!  So, this was the NOT frugal day.  We used lots of gas and ate out twice, since we just jumped in the car and took off as quickly as we could.  The main thing is that she’s all right!  I will say that the counselors and leaders deserve high praise.  They handled it well.


We went house hunting again Friday.   This time, I knew I was leaving and packed a nice picnic lunch.  After viewing 5 houses and picking Patsy up from the church parking lot (back from camp), we went to a place called Sunset Park in Keizer, Oregon, and ate our packed lunch.  I’m not sure if you can see the hawk soaring over the Willamette, but there were several that we enjoyed watching.  Rob and Lovana saw a bald eagle, too.


These potatoes are from the garden.  I made potato salad for our family Sunday dinner today.  Rob b-b-qued chicken, and we had salad from garden lettuce.  My aunt brought rolls and ice cream.  It was great and so awesome to have so much of it come from things we’ve grown.  The chickens will run out before long, and we have no way to grow more, but we are enjoying them until that happens.

I cooked many, many meals at home this week, other than that one day.  I used so much garden produce.  It’s really helping with the grocery budget.

My sister and I canned 35 quarts of green beans during 2 pleasant mornings.  Rob and I spent quite a bit of time helping sell peaches at the u-pick stand Monday and Tuesday.  We enjoyed quite a few peaches, and wild blackberries.

I “Shopped” in our storage Conex.  I pulled out items worth at least $40 to use in the next 2 weeks.  I also shopped at the store, and bought things that we absolutely needed or were a great deal.

Rob earned some money this week and used some of it to stock up at Grocery Outlet on items that we will use, and are a great deal.  So, that was extra, above and beyond our usual grocery budget.  So, that was nice.  There are just a few things that we consistently buy there and there are always “surprises” so we do have to be careful to only buy a few of those each time.  You never know what they will have from time to time, but they usually have inexpensive drinks for lunches, lunchmeat that is close to its pull date, but still good, etc.



Saving Money–July 10, 2016



Rob taught Ja’Ana how to replace the inner tube in her bike tire.  We’ve been giving the bikes a real workout lately on all our camping trips and she ran over something.  We spent 4 nights at Champoeg State Park.  It’s near my sister’s, so were able to do our regular things, while enjoying the park in between activities.


July the 5th is BOTH of our mothers’ birthdays!  So, on the 4th, we had a double birthday party.


Rob barbecued, my sister made lemon meringue pies for everyone (mine has no crust–it was great!), we used lots of garden produce, and we had a great time while celebrating the 4th of July, plus birthdays.


We drove past this flower seed field one evening.  It was so beautiful!


We are enjoying lots of baby kitties right now.   We need to tame some of them down because we have people who would like to have them.


We are eating peaches like crazy.  I helped sell u-pick peaches Saturday, and will do so on Monday and Tuesday, as well as help can beans.  I made peach upside down cake, gluten free bread from a mix, sweet and sour pork, chicken soup, coleslaw, lots of sandwiches and salads, Rob b-b-qued burgers, steak, chicken and the last of the trout for the 4th and other meals.  We are eating lots of lettuce, zucchini, onions, carrots, green onions, and just started getting beans from the garden.  We will can a load in the morning.  Wild blackberries are also ripe on the bushes here on the property.

We did quite a bit of work in the garden this evening.  We pulled out old lettuce, spinach and the broccoli plants, which turned out to be a very strange variety that was very odd and did not taste good.  We were so happy that it wasn’t the tomatoes that failed!  Usually, I carefully choose all of the varieties from seed catalogs and grow my own starts.  This year I was at the mercy of the stores for starts because of the move.  If broccoli was my greatest casualty, I’m relieved.


Saving Money–July 3, 2016


Patsy and I went with my sister to pick blueberries.  They were so delicious, only $1.25/lb, and are all gone now:)

I picked wild blackberries and made a crisp to take over to our friends’ house when we went for dinner.

I made pinto beans in the crock pot, lots of salads from garden lettuce, sandwiches, packed lunches, enchiladas, omelets from eggs we got for 88c/dozen, and numerous quesidillas.  I am trying to keep meals simple.  We got invited to my sister’s one morning for pancakes, a friend’s for dinner, a potluck for the last night of J’s camp where she was a junior counsellor (I took watermelon, cheese slices and crackers), and my aunt took us out for lunch after church today.

We did not get the house we bid on last week, and in fact got outbid by $15,000 (over the asking price).  So, you could say we saved $15,000:(  I spent 4-6 hours looking on the computer, have sent the real estate agent a list of properties we would like to see, and will go at it again this coming week.


Patsy and I went for a bike ride at Champoeg State Park.  I am happy to report I did not fall off of the bike, or have any other catastrophes.  (I would pretend I am teasing, but have done some crazy stuff on (off) of a bike in the past, so am trying to build myself up again after several years of not riding since we all have talents and that’s not one of mine!!!!)  We rode over 5 miles.  We packed a lunch, and got ice cream at the historic store that was the 1/2 way point of the ride.  We also played a game of checkers they had on the table while we ate our ice cream.  Cute and quaint.

I visited with a friend while Patsy and her daughter swam at a local pool.

We worked in the garden.  We are still eating the same vegetables–snow peas, lettuce, beets, carrots, cilantro, basil, spinich, and the zucchini is just starting.  I am also looking forward to green beans soon.

We got library books, movies and borrowed 2 movies from a friend.  We watched one movie tonight.  It was called “The Finest Hours” and was about a Coast Guard rescue.  It had a little bad language, but kept us riveted to our seats as the men battled the stormy sea.




The camper fridge gets full extremely fast.  Even so, I lose leftovers in there sometimes!  I don’t want to waste food, though, so today I searched out several bits and pieces and made enchiladas.  I usually use a tomato base with my enchiladas, but today I was focused on using some things up.

Here’s what I did:


I made a filling:

–1 cup (approximate) lite sour cream mixed with 1 small can of green chilies (I used 1/2 in the filling and 1/2 on top)

–Pork leftover from a few days ago, cooked in crockpot with salsa verde

–pinto beans I cooked yesterday with jalepenos and onions in the crockpot

I put a little bit of each of these things into 10 warmed corn tortillas, rolled them up, and placed into a pan sprayed with non-stick spray.

I made sure to finish off the pork, but have lots of beans left for another day.

On top I put:

–the rest of the sour cream/chile mixture

–the last of 2 small bags of cheese–1 cheddar and 1 Mexican blend

–5 green onions, chopped up with kitchen scissors

I covered with foil and baked in 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes-1 hour, until warmed through.

Makes 10 enchiladas.

It would be so easy to use chicken, hamburger, or whatever meat you have left over.  Any cooked beans would work.  There could be more cheese, or less cheese.  Olives could be added on top, too.  It is a great way to use lots of little bits of meat that are leftover.  Everyone will feel as if they got a whole new meal.  I’m sure looking forward to dinner tonight!


Saving Money–June 26, 2016


One of the things we did this past week was visit a fish hatchery.  They didn’t have very many fish right now, since this particular one has more going on when the fish are running in the fall, but we were able to see baby Chinook salmon, and show Patsy how the whole operation works.


We harvested lettuce, basil, cilantro, beets, carrots, spinach, snow peas and green onions from the garden.  I used the produce in salad, marinade, Pico de Gallo, stir fry and to eat.


Rob was fishing for rock fish and caught a crab on accident, instead of any fish.  It was a male, and a keeper, and he has his license to crab, so—Yum!  What a happy surprise!  We ate it:)


We enjoyed some beautiful days down at the coast and watched many boats going in and out of the harbor.

We had to drive a lot, as Ja’Ana had a couple of days of training for her junior counsellor opportunity next week.  Since we were driving anyway, we went house hunting again, used our Kids Bowl Free coupons with Patsy, and enjoyed some sights on the way.   We took food with us in the van a lot, and cooked in the camper most of the time.  We also ate out a little bit on the road, and chose as wisely as we could.  We used a lot of gas, but are so glad to do so for such a good reason.

We put in an offer on a house.  They already have several offers because the market is so strong right now, so we are looking at it again today to see if we want to “up” our offer.  I’m ok either way.  I know we can’t go “up” very much, so it’s in the Lord’s hands.  I know if this isn’t the one, we will find another one with time.  We should find out tomorrow.  They have so much interest, they have been collecting offers since Thursday, and will decide tomorrow.  Even the crummiest houses are getting multiple offers right now.  (Except the one with the broken windows, tremendous patches of mold, doors ajar and unlocked, and the dead rat on the floor–hmmmm–we’ve seen some beauties)

Saving Money–June 19, 2016


On our recent trip to Ft. Stevens, Patsy and I enjoyed climbing a watchtower in Astoria, and enjoying the view of the big bridge that spans the Columbia River.  Beautiful, and free:)  The girls rode bikes, clammed, fished, read, and I continued to work on school with Ja’Ana.  We are not quite finished, having lost some time with the move.  We had to go over to the valley for a family event, and brought one of the cousins back with us.


We enjoyed roasting marshmallows and hot dogs one night with her.


I sewed Patsy a dress.  I used 50% off patriotic fabric from JoAnn’s, but chose one that was summery enough to go past the 4th of July.


We got the garden in shape before taking off for the beach again.  We were able to harvest veggies to take with us.  We used lettuce in many meals the past few days.  I was able to take a huge salad with us to my sister’s house for our family Sunday meal.

I had not grocery shopped since we moved, except for a few dollars here and there.  This past week, I spent $58 on groceries.  I am finding it do-able with the new $50/week budget I am sticking with.  I “shopped” from my food storage in our storage bins and freezer and used as much garden produce as I could.  I also made another meal from the fish we caught and froze.


We are at Newport, Oregon this week.  We took our bikes.  We took our first family bike ride in years.  Rob wisely bought me a helmet, as bike riding is not my strong suite.  I am happy to report that neither I, nor anyone else, fell off.  We had a great time.

Since we have a foster/adopt park pass, we save around $30/night, every time we camp.  Of course, there are rules about how often you can use it, etc., but they are very generous.  We are really loving having this option during this summer of change.

We are also saving money by not having internet, but I must admit it is frustrating to have to drive somewhere to catch wi-fi.  We also have been able to use Rob’s Mom’s garbage can each week, as she does not fill it, so we have no bill for that.  Of course, at campgrounds, you can throw your trash and recycling away there in the proper area.  We don’t have our phone land line anymore.  We have no house payment.  We are still spending money for gas, food, cell phones, the camper, and a few other things.  Overall, though, we have reduced the bills tremendously, and that is helping us get through the summer without feeling any pain at all!  What a blessing!


Saving Money–June 14, 2016


My sister noticed that we were losing some water where the hoses were connected.  She fixed it so that the watering can now catches the drip.  Patsy has been using that water to pour into her watering can and water the garden.  We have a lot of water in Oregon, but there’s not use wasting it.


We spent a morning fishing in a lake near the campground.  We caught 15 trout, and the man fishing beside us on the dock gave us his 3.  Wow!  So far, we had them for 1 meal, gave a few to the neighbors camping next to us in the campground, and froze some for future meals.  My teeny, tiny camper fridge is extremely full, so we kept 4 out for a meal very soon.  That was fun!


We went clamming again.  We all 4 limited out, catching 60 clams total.  Rob and helpers got them cleaned, and I minced them up in my mini-chop.  Last time, they were quite tough, so I thought mincing them would help, and it did.  I made clam chowder and froze the rest.


We had a really good time.  This time, we tried another place because we did not want to climb over the jetty.  So, we went through the woods, up a sand dune, and straight down the steep side to the beach.   Right as we were finishing, we got to enjoy these parasailers, who were using the wind to power their sails.  It was amazing.  It reminded me of huge kites, catching the wind, and giving them rides.


If you look closely, you can see Rob and Ja’Ana on the top of the “cliff.”  That was no picnic to climb, but it was an adventure:)

Saving Money–June 7, 2016


This past week was a mixture of very good, and very hard.  Life is like that sometimes, and this was one of those times.

We returned from camping last Monday, and began settling down into camper life pretty well.  I weeded the garden, and Rob tilled it all up.  I planted new plantings of a few things.

On Thursday, we took off for our trip to see our dear friends in Eastern Oregon, and had a wonderful time.  On the trip, we took food along in the cooler, and ate that quite a bit.  We ate out 1 time going over and 1 time coming back.  While there, we ate at our friends’ house the entire time.  I was able to take a few things, including a lot of garden lettuce, which we ate up for the most part.  I have so much growing right now, it was awesome to have a place to share it.


Ja’Ana, Patsy and Abbie (3 of my girls) have birthdays within a 1-week period.  We celebrated them all last evening with a barbecue outside of our camper.  It was awesome.

Yesterday was the bad day.  When we went over to Rob’s mom’s house to get some meat from the freezer, we were dismayed to find that it had broken over the weekend.  Rob had removed some items before we left, and it was fine, but clearly had stopped working sometime since then.  The temperatures have been close to 100 degrees here, and we lost about 3/4 of what was inside.  Fruit, vegetables, and worst of all–a lot of the pig Rob just raised.  Some was still partially frozen or very cold, so we were able to quickly put it in another freezer, but if anything was warm, or questionable, we threw it away.  We cooked up a bunch of it yesterday afternoon to serve over the next couple of days. But still, it was a garbage can full of meat.

I was very upset.  I know that it is not a question of whether or not we will starve, but I was counting on that meat for the next few months. I especially was mourning the amount of time Rob spent raising that pig, and the fact that we are no longer in the position for him to raise another one.   I confess–I had a big “boo-hoo” over the whole thing.  After that was over, I gained some perspective.  We still have beef and poultry in another freezer.  The garden is growing very well.   We caught it in time to save some of it.  And, through my daily Bible reading, I had been reminded just that morning that we are not to put our trust in anything but God, and God alone.  Not a freezer.  Not pork.  Not corn, beans, or blueberries.  Just God.  He is our Provider and He will provide.

I’m feeling much better today.  Rob and I both agree it is a good day.  We don’t understand everything that happens in this life, but we do know that we choose to believe that what God promised, He will do.  So, we are waiting to see what will happen next.  We trust it will be good.

Saving Money–May 29, 2016


I picked spinach, lettuce, boc choi, parsley and cilantro from the garden.  I put it in various containers and filled them with water outside.  Then, I carried them into the camper, washed them (putting the wash water into the pots) and then dumped the water on my flower pots outside.


We went camping on Thursday, at Ft. Stevens State Park.  We stopped at the store and got a few groceries and have eaten from the camper the entire time.  Usually, we go out to eat at least once when we go camping, but not this time.  We packed a lunch for the road (that is usual–we don’t pull through drive-ups in the camper) and took a lunch today when we visited Ft. Clatsop with the 4H club.  We’ve gone fishing, clamming and hiking, and right now the kids are down at the beach with some of their friends while Rob and I are doing laundry.

This laundry-mat is less expensive than the one we used the first time, so we are finishing all of our laundry before heading  back tomorrow.  Patsy needs to go to school Tuesday, or we would stay a day longer.



The clamming was very successful.  We had 1 clam gun, and one shovel.  The clam gun worked the best, although I did dig up one little one with the shovel and Rob got a couple that way.  We had not clammed for over 25 years, so this was the first time for the girls.  It didn’t take long to learn to spot the tell-tale circles where the clams were, and Ja’Ana got the knack of it quickly.  She got 15, her limit, Patsy and Rob got 10 each, and I got 4.  Did I mention we had only 1 clam gun? Frankly, it was very fun to watch the excitement as they got their clams.  Patsy pointed out that we were the only ones on the beach whooping and hollering every time we caught one.  I just pointed out that we were having more fun! It took us a long time to clean those clams. They are very sandy and the broken ones were super bad.  You have to keep all you find, even if broken.  It makes sense, since they probable wouldn’t survive after being whacked with a shovel or sliced with a clam gun:)   I have saved some in a dish to attempt clam strips tonight, and froze the rest for chowder later.


Rob caught 1 trout.

I am still getting used to camper life.  At first, it felt like a vacation.  Last night it did not feel like a vacation.  It felt like I needed to clear out more stuff because it was overwhelming me!  So, I did move some things around, and have some plans to take even more out when I get home.  I’m starting to get a sense of what I’m using and what I’m not.  I’m starting to use some of the excess food, and have a little more wiggle room in the cupboards.  I’ll figure it out.  I just need a little more time where I can focus on organization.  Hopefully, Tuesday.

Menu Plans-May 27, 2016


For the last week, since we’ve moved, we have tried to eat all of the extra food that was in the fridge and the freezer connected to the fridge at the old house.  At the last minute, at my direction, all extra food was crammed into 2 coolers and brought over to the camper.  I purposely left extra food in the freezer to defrost for this past week, but I misjudged and left too much out.  Things went very smoothly, so if that’s the worst that happened, I’m satisfied.  Some of the meals included meatloaf, beef brisket on the barbecue, chicken marinated in zippy sauce, and lots of salad from the garden.  Also, strawberry spinach salad was yummy, made from garden spinich and strawberries I u-picked.

Thursday:  Macaroni and Cheese (this was some my sister gave me–yummy!) Sandwiches in the car with some chicken thighs I had cooked before we moved.

Friday:  Tacos with the turkey burger that was thawed.  Other leftovers in fridge.

Saturday:  Hamburgers (there was a pack that finished thawing a couple of days ago)  Also, clam chowder with the clams we caught.  We had not clammed for over 25 years until this morning.  We had great success, had to watch U-Tube to figure out how to clean them, and can’t wait to cook them.


I have to say, mine is the bucket with only 4 clams in it.  J limited out, with 15, Patsy 10, Rob 10, and me—4.  What a great outing:)

Sunday:  Turkey soup.  I boiled the bones of the turkey legs my sister gave me and have the broth to use.  If Rob wants to cook over the fire, he can, or I will do it over the stove.  It also could become turkey and dumplings. There is also some leftover beef that could be turned into stew or soup.  We may have a potluck for the 4H families that are camping with us.

Monday:  We will travel this day, back to my sister’s.  So, sandwiches for lunch in the lunch pail while on the road.  We never go through drive-throughs while pulling the camper–doesn’t work:)  Dinner:   Leftovers from the weekend.

Tuesday:  Pack dinner.  We need to pick Patsy up from school and will kill the time between school letting out and her band concert by me getting my hair done, and everyone else having a little picnic at the library park.

Wednesday:  Chicken strips.

Thursday:  We will pack food for the road.  We are off to see our very dear friends who live about 8 hours away.  I will take some food, but she will feed us all weekend.

I am still adjusting to the small space of the camper kitchen.  I still can’t find much of anything, but seem to have way too much stuff sitting around.  I’ll figure it out.  We are all eating, and it tastes great, so that’s what matters!