Category Archives: Uncategorized

Saving Money–August 29, 2016


I planted a few fall/winter vegetables at our new house.  I focused on varieties I thought would have a chance of making some food before it gets too cold.  I put in some lettuce, spinach, snow peas, boc choi, chard, a few beets and carrots, green onions, and some Walla Walla onion plants.  I dug off a chunk of the parsley plant from the garden, but have serious doubts about its chances of survival.  It was almost 100 degrees for several days, so we watered this 2 times per day so that the seeds will have a chance of germinating.  As of yesterday, there were literally thousands of tiny weeds sprouting, but no veggies yet.  Hopefully, today….


Patsy worked on her embroidery a bit this week.  So did I.  Things are so chaotic right now, it was good to do something calming.  I like to use the finished towels for gifts or in my own kitchen.  I find the flour sack dish cloths at Walmart in a large bundle, and the last time I bought some they were less than $1 per towel.  Then, I stamp them with Aunt Martha brand iron-on stamps, which are not costly and can be re-used.  They work extremely well to dry dishes with–better than some other towels–and the hand embroidery makes them so pretty and turns them into a nice gift.


I’ve been working on the flowerbeds in the early mornings before it gets too hot.  There is quite a bit to do.  We got garbage cans delivered and there is a yard debris can.  I filled it 1/2 full already with branches and blackberry bushes and ivy clippings.  Otherwise, I’m making a compost pile with the weeds I pull.  Garbage service is much less per month than it was at our other place, so that was a welcome surprise.  I got the largest garbage can available, plus the recycle and yard debris cans for about the same price as a small can at the other house.  This is great because we haven’t had garbage service all summer and have been putting it in Rob’s Mom’s can as she does not fill it, throwing it away at parks when we are camped, and literally saving it when we have too much.  Also, we have generated quite a bit while painting.  Later, we may downgrade to a smaller can once we get caught up and unpacked and save even more, but I’m grateful for the extra room right now.

We are watering a lot.  There is an old well that is hooked up for irrigation purposes.  It’s hooked to an automatic watering system.  We feel spoiled, and delighted that we don’t have to pay for the water.  Hopefully, we can get the lawn greened up and the flowerbeds watered.  Some of the plants look pretty stressed.


I’m continuing to harvest from the garden at my sister’s house.  It is getting away from both of us, since she is working a lot right now, and I’m spending every day driving down to Salem, and working at the house.  Still, it is still producing well, and I’m taking the time to snatch veggies when I can, and so is she.

I’ve been able to do a lot of cooking this past week.  I have been able to get quite a few boxes of my food storage put onto shelves, with Lovana’s help.  It’s been nice to be able to pull food from that.  Boy, I have more dried beans than I remember–:)  At the new house, I’ve been working with 1 small frying pan and the microwave, and making lots of sandwiches.  I mean lots.  I’ve also been using my other sister’s house to cook some more substantial meals, like spaghetti from a jar, and hamburgers and tacos with lots of garden veggies.  I’ve cooked a little bit at the camper.  I found my pots and pans while unpacking boxes on Saturday.  I’ve also unearthed my silverware, glasses and tools like turners and scrapers.  No plates so far, but I’ve got paper ones.  It’s like finding old friends after several months!  I’m planning to cook more and more down there.  Such a luxury to have a big refrigerator!  Yesterday, my niece organized it–it just had some food thrown in there from all the coolers I keep dragging back and forth, and lots and lots of drinks for everyone to drink while working.  Now it looks better and I can find things more easily.

We will continue to take loads down from our remaining container.  Rob is rounding up guys to help on the next 2 weekends to get the heavy stuff moved.  Even though it’s a slow process, it is very helpful to us to not have to hire movers.  The shop is stacked with piles of bins and boxes, as is the garage.  I’m unpacking slowly, and have the kitchen and food storage well on it’s way to being organized.  There will be several things that don’t fit, and I’m sorting them out as I go.  Today, we can start setting up the beds and other rooms. I’m not sure when we will be able to sleep there–but I know it’s soon!  I’m very excited.




Saving Money–August 7, 2016


Today we had a fondue party at our Sunday family lunch.  The dessert was a chocolate fountain, cookies and fruit.  The food included shrimp, beef and chicken deep-fried in pots filled with oil.  We also made various veggies dipped in tempura batter and fried in the oil (gluten-free, of course).  There were at least 6-7 different sauces.  The nectarines were from my sister’s.  I took zucchini and green beans to batter and fry.  I also made cheese sauce, a favorite of my kids.  There was bread to dip into it and Brazilian Cheese Bites for those of us who were gluten-free.  I helped get things ready and washed a bunch of dishes.  To keep things safe (from raw meat contamination) and separate (gluten/non-gluten) my sister gave everyone several plates, small and large.  Since 21 people showed up today, the dishwasher was quickly filled and we hand washed a bunch.


My niece Caitlyn, on the right, was the reason for this extra fancy party.  She will be returning to college in just a little over a week and we will miss her.  This other lovely young lady is Merry, one of Lovana’s dearest friends.  We also had an aunt and uncle visiting from Boise and a bunch of other teen-agers join us.  For several, it seemed to be the first time they had ever had this experience of fondue, and they seemed to enjoy it greatly.  Doing it ourselves saved a bundle when compared to taking that many people out for such an elaborate meal.


Another sweet niece, Rachel.


Ja’Ana and a couple of friends only had enough energy for phones and music after eating so much fried food!


Alissa and her friend Kim seemed to be even more lethargic!  (They were goofing off a bit, as well!)

After this feast, we were invited to a friend’s house for dinner.  It was perfect!  We had taco salad, and lots of good conversation.

On the few occasions we did eat at home this week-(pretty good week for getting asked over to other people’s houses, I think)–I cooked various meats, such as pork chops, roast beef, pork in peppers and chile verde sauce in the crockpot, baked potatoes, lots of garden veggies and pancakes.  I did white rice one time, and used the leftover noodles from last Sunday in a stir-fry with teriyaki noodles, which means I dumped soy sauce on the noodles and veggies which were all cooked together. I cooked the veggies first, then added the cooked rice noodles and soy sauce, along with some of my garlic/salt grinder.  My family loved it.


Ja’Ana and Alissa had more reason than the food to be tired.  On Saturday, they spent hours removing the bricks, dirt, daffodils bulbs and weeds from this flowerbed Auntie Rosalie did not want any more.  She paid them well for their work, which helped them both be able to afford a few more youth activities that are coming up.


This hot air balloon was soaring over the orchard early one morning when I went out of the camper around 6 a.m.  What a treat to see!

My husband towed the camper to the nearest state park to dump the tanks, then pulled it back and parked it here on the farm.  This saves us money over having a company come and pump out our tank.  We used the gray water to irrigate the garden.

We helped sell u-pick peaches for my sister and brother-in-law and sold a lot!

It was my birthday on Friday and there was a family gathering.  My uncle and aunt were visiting from Boise, so we combined the 2 occasions.  I took garden items for burgers, i.e. lettuce, onion, tomatoes, etc.  I found a jar of home-made pickles and took that, along with potato salad, using garden potatoes.  I had a great evening.  Most people gave me money for clothes or items for our new home.

We are definitely getting the house.  We need to sign some papers tomorrow and pay the money.  They hope to have it all done by Tuesday or Wednesday.  Now that it’s going through, I will take some pictures to share.

The garden keeps producing like mad and I planted another set of lettuce/spinich, etc.



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.

Saving Money–May 7, 2016


This week was full of packing, sorting, and gardening.  Still, we managed to have some frugal fun.  My niece, Rachel, dropped by her mom and dad’s while we were over there, and kindly showed Patsy how to do some Cat’s Cradle string formations.  In this picture, Patsy is making the Eiffel Tower with string and her teeth.  (I won’t tell the orthodontist) 🙂 Patsy loves Rachel very much, and is in fact chosen to have Rachel as one of her new middle names when she gets adopted, so she was especially excited to see her.  In the car on the way home, she mentioned how glad she was that Rachel had come by.  I was glad to see her, too.  When the kids grow up, it’s harder to get enough time with them.


Rob taught Ja’Ana how to till.  We’ve had this tiller for over 30 years.  Rob tuned it up and replaced a filter.  We have 3 tillers.  This is the biggest.  It still tills great.  It’s the one he uses when we have a large patch of ground to till.  My brother-in-law had tilled the garden once with the tractor, but it’s been a while and it needed to be done again.  My brother-in-law also did some tilling between rows with one of the smaller tillers.



Lovana and Ja’Ana planted more tomatoes and some peppers. They put a scoop of compost from our house, along with some organic fertilizer we had on hand in the bottom of each hole.


We planted green and yellow beans,tomatoes, peppers, Sweetmeat squash, Mammoth sunflowers, mixed flowers and zinnias, cucumbers, zucchini and other summer squash, Yukon Gold potatoes and removed the walls of water and caged those 4 tomatoes.  My sister will plant corn tonight when it cools off.  It got so hot, we stopped and ate lunch, and we went home.  The early garden vegetables are doing great.

We are going to have so much produce to eat, and some of the early items like spinach, boc choi and lettuce are getting close to being ready.


We made our mothers pots of flowers for Mother’s Day.  We re-used some pots we had on hand from previous years.   We also had the soil already.  We were able to combine errands and pick up the flowers.

I took the rest of my un-needed home-school books in and got $90 for them from the used book store.  I got J’s Biology curriculum for next year and a vocabulary.  I still had some credit from another time and used that, too.  (Biology is expensive, so I’m thrilled to have been able to get it) I have $40 left on credit there for another time.  If I never need to spend it, I can get a pay-out from them in cash, which I have done on occasion.

I made some basil salad dressing with the basil my aunt brought me to put in the windowsill when our house was being shown.  It was the recipe from the current issue of Taste of Home magazine and was delicious.  I did not have a green onion, so put a small regular onion in instead.  I think I forgot the lemon juice, but  it still tasted delicious.  It was far cheaper to make then to buy an equal amount of salad dressing from the store.

I’ve been using up more items from my storage in preparation for my upcoming move and have not had to shop in May so far for groceries.  I will have Rob pick up a few items tonight when he gets Lovana from work, though, but I don’t need many.

I received a check from some work I did a while back and put it into my “fix-up-the-new-house” bank account.

We received a card in the mail with a $100 gift card in it from an anonymous person.  We are very thankful.  I set it aside with the other gift cards I am saving.  I plan to use a bunch more in a couple of weeks when we are in the midst of the move.


Saving Money–Week ending April 7, 2016


Today, we accepted an offer on our house!  Now, we just need to wait until things move along for a couple of weeks and then we will be packing in earnest.  The plan is to be moved by May 25th.  Although we have worked for many, many days pre-packing and organizing, I know it will be a big job.  As long as things go as planned, I will teach piano through April, have a recital, then stop teaching so I can pack fervently for the 3 weeks of May that I will have.  Everything will be put in storage, except things for our immediate needs, which will be in the camper.

In the meanwhile, my sister’s husband got the garden tilled up over at their place.  Patsy and I spent the afternoon with my sister, planting early vegetables.  We planted broccoli, onions and cabbage as plants.  We planted carrots, beets, lettuce, spinach, boc choi, and some basil and cilantro from seeds.  I took 4 buckets of good compost from my house and we put a scoop under each new transplant to encourage growth.  After watering in the seeds, I put slug bait around all of the newly planted areas and plants.  I’m so excited that I get to do a garden with my sister this year!


It’s too early around here to plant things like tomatoes or peppers.  We will get going on those in a few weeks.  In the meanwhile, I plan to let the rain water these things and am going back over in a week or so to see if I need to weed.   They are predicting nicer weather then, after a few rainy days.  Rosalie will keep an eye on things in-between, since it’s at her house.

We had our last 4H club meeting.  It was not held at my house so mine would stay clean.  It was a lovely day, but full of emotion.  They gave us a basket of presents, including yummy things like chocolate and peanuts, as well as a big handful of gift cards for the movies and Subway.  There was a funny pillow that said, “The house was clean yesterday, sorry you missed it!”  I laughed over that.  I will say that after 30 people or so go through your house, it is a bit of a mess!  There is a possibility that we will continue next fall, it just won’t be at this house, so they were thanking us for having it here for so many years.  They gathered around us and prayed for us, as our future is still unknown to us.  (Everyone’s future is unknown, ours is just so obviously unknown right now!)

During the day at 4H, I received a text for another showing.  I had cleaned and spiffed up before leaving for 4H, but ran home and cleaned for another couple of hours and then we took off to use some of the Subway gift cards, together with coupons, for our dinner.  By 9 p.m., we had our offer, signed things electronically yesterday, and do not have to spiff up anything this morning before church!  I feel as free as a bird, for today, at least.

On Saturday, Rob invited several men over to help him continue cleaning up outside and in the shop and barn.  He has decided to hold a sale this coming weekend, as it was too much to get done before.  So, they moved things around, organized for the sale, and my nephew mowed the lawn.  Some of them sawed wood to take home with them from the leftover logs from last fall’s logging.  Rob gave several pick-up loads of items away to them, and they were hauled away yesterday, as well.

I have been collecting things from the house, which we will add to the sale.  I still don’t regret taking the things to the charity shop or Ja’Ana’s rummage sale, but I still have sorted out more in the meantime.  What doesn’t sell will be donated.  I cooked chili-mac, salad, a bowl of home-canned peaches, and bought a bag of chips and a $5, 1/2-price, day-old cake from Safeway to serve, as I did not have time to bake.  I didn’t taste it, as it was filled with wheat, but it looked very good.

We enjoyed watching a pileated woodpecker that loves to come to the dead log.  Patsy loves grabbing my phone and taking pictures with it.



Menu Plan–Week of February 14, 2016


Yup, this is late.  The week has already started and we have already been eating.  Imagine that!  We had the pleasure of bringing a niece and nephew home yesterday evening for the night.  Their mama is out of town, their dad had to work today, and Uncle Rob was available.  Win-win!  Due to their special needs, feeding them has been a breeze.  They only like a few select items.  We simply fed them what they liked, and all was well.  When I left for work this morning, Rob was frantically frying bacon (they both like that), french toast (Michaela), scrambled eggs (Jake), and doling out the medications to the cousins and our kids.  Some “magic medicine” needs to be stirred into apple juice and given in a drink, some kids have pills, there is one patch involved, and that doesn’t even count my meds, which I gave to myself before waltzing off to work!  After eating their mega breakfast (not-they pick at it, especially Jake), they followed me into town and picked up Ja’Ana, who had her guitar lesson this morning.  They watched a movie, using a gift card my brother-in-law had, for most of the cost.  Then, as french fries are always involved on these visits, they grabbed lunch, and then came home. We fed them dinner, and he took them home.  Everyone had a great time.

Sunday:  We ate at my sister’s house at noon and brought hamburgers.  We had tuna melts and peanut butter sandwiches for dinner.

Monday:  We ate the tuna casserole I made a few days ago, plus more peanut butter sandwiches.

Tuesday:  baked chicken, baked potatoes, green beans

Wednesday:  chicken soup

Thursday:  Lovana’s choice, maybe chicken enchiladas

Friday:  Pizza

Saturday:  Leftovers for lunch, dinner in Salem with our special needs son–we will hopefully get him from his group home and take him to a movie and dinner for his birthday.

Sunday:  family dinner- my aunt is bringing lasagna, I am bringing birthday cake for my sister, green beans and salad–no idea yet of how many people are coming.


Moving Update–Feb. 12–Working My Plan


I have been taking every piece of advice all of you and my friends and family have offered up and am getting a good start on my pre-packing. I haven’t had to show a house for over 20 years.  The last time we sold, around 10+ years ago, there was someone who wanted the property, they didn’t care about the house at all, so they pre-bought the property and gave us 6 months to sort and get out, and used the property even thought we were still there.  This is a totally different situation, and is making me feel more stressed then that did!

Here’s what I got done this week.  The two pieces of advice I have used the most this week were to be ruthless when I’m sorting and get rid of a lot of stuff, and to label well. (I am trying not to flit from room to room, either, but am having limited success with that) I am still feeling overwhelmed, because the task is so great, but am starting to feel like I’m getting somewhere.

I sorted shelves and shelves of books that I have been collecting and using for over the many years we have home-schooled.   Ja’Ana is almost done with school, and Patsy goes to school.  So, now’s the time to get rid of a lot of it.  Rob and Lovana took 10-12 boxes away for me.  We sold some of them for around $100 and donated the rest.  I am putting that money into my fund for the new house.  I cleaned out a lot of craft supplies that my girls have outgrown.  I also got rid of most of the huge bin of toys I had been keeping for when small children come over to play.  I kept a small box full.  The sad thing is that there is still so much stuff in that schoolroom/sewing room, I have quite a few more hours in there.

Rob has been putting items up on e-bay and we have sold and shipped a few.  The kind of things we are selling are a few dishes that I did not need, a few more expensive books, some small tools he has unearthed in the shop, and things like that.  I am donating the small stuff that is worth less.  I could do a garage sale, but I don’t have time right now because the sorting is such a big job.

We collected more boxes at the liquor store today.  They are small, but sturdy and good for heavy things.  Rob and Ja’Ana took the first load from the shop over to my brother-in-law’s to store.  Long story, but he has an empty semi-truck trailer on his property.  We are going to be able to store quite a bit for free in there, and rent an unit for the rest.  It is all going to have to be stored while we are between houses.

My mom and aunt came one afternoon.  My mom sat with Ja’Ana in her room and did the second sorting out. (She is unable to stand for very long due to some problems with her feet, but she can sure help with decisions, and encouragement, and has been instrumental for the last few years helping Ja’Ana keep her room tidy.  It’s their special thing, and I’m grateful.  At first, it was awful, they cleaned it, J kept it that way for a while, then Mom came again and helped her get it back in order.  J was able to keep it clean longer, and so forth, until I can say she keeps her room the best of anyone in the house now.). They came out of there with a black garbage sack to throw away and a bag to donate and left things in pristine order.  Last week, she picked out 2 bags of clothes to give to her cousin, and several bags of trash and donations. So of all the children’s rooms, hers is actually ready to show.  It would just need a few more things out of there to make it look more roomy.  My aunt helped me sort things downstairs and do some of the household chores that are getting neglected.  She sold her house a couple of years ago and had lots of advice to offer.  Hers sold in the first week.  I’m listening.


We had 4H club yesterday.  So, bins like these, and boxes, were stacked in corners, the schoolroom, and the garage–out of the way because we needed the garage table for club projects.  Starting first thing this morning, I started filling more bins and boxes and placing them right in the living room and garage.  We will rent a storage unit before next month’s 4H meeting, and put it all in there, so I don’t mind that it is in the way for 2-3 weeks.  We don’t want to rent the unit until the last minute.  We hope to list the house during the first week of March, so we will rent the unit right before we list. We will take as much as we can to storage and leave only what makes the house look roomy, spacious, clean, and hopefully very desirable to buyers.

I worked several hours in the garage today, cleaning and sorting, and I burned a huge pile of trash.  That makes the 3rd huge trash fire this week.  (These are things that I don’t think are nice enough to give to anyone, as well as literal trash such as the paper products from 4H yesterday)  We had a friend offer to take things to the thrift shop yesterday, so she loaded the back of her van up after 4H and took it away.

Today, Rob took another van load, his second this week.  I think he did amazing this week, especially in light of the fact that he stepped on a piece of glass about a  week ago.  On Wednesday, the same day he picked up a day’s work helping out a friend at a sportsman’s show and was on his feet all day, it developed an abscess.  I had worked on it, removed the glass, and put lots of stuff on it, and it was healing, so I hadn’t checked it for a couple of days.   When he hobbled home Wednesday night,  the minute I looked at it, I knew I wanted him to be seen by a doctor.  Thursday morning, she lanced it, cleaned it out, didn’t find any more glass, told him to soak, soak, soak in epsom salt-water, and put him on antibiotics.  It looked worse yesterday, but finally today, it’s improving.  I’m so glad we didn’t mess around.  He’s supposed to stay off of it, and he has, for several hours per day.  The rest of the time……..

So, this week, I’ll keep working my plan.  One corner, one area, one room at a time, as I keep marching through the house.  I will work for 2 days, busy with church on Sunday, have a few appointments with the kids, and sort and pack like a maniac the rest of the time.



A Successful, Happy Thanksgiving 2015

IMG_1771I could ask myself what constitutes a “happy” Thanksgiving.  Is it the food? The decorations? The company?  In our family, I have to say it is all of that, plus more.  As I looked around the table and into the next room, which was overflowing with more company, I realized that there were people in those rooms with chronic diseases, job losses, dehibilitating special needs, schedules that were overwhelming to them, sick people, exhausted people, people with spouses missing for different reasons, lonely people and those who had suffered deep, grievious loss. And, that was only the ones who could come!  But, each and every one of those people had a hard time choosing which blessing they wanted to share when Rob asked them to share before the prayer.  There were so many choices!  Even the youngest had no problem choosing things, such as good water, food, a house, etc.

IMG_1752.We took the meat off the bones last evening and they were placed into our 2 crockpots. Then we filled them with water, salted them, and then put them on low for the night.  This morning, Abbie (my eldest) and I picked the meat off the bones and froze the broth into cartons.  I smell soup coming up!

After we ate, we cleaned up and everyone sat around eating dessert and visiting.  The 2 big cousins went and picked Lovana up from work and that was a great surprise for her, as one of her close cousins is just in from California for the weekend. Everyone enjoyed being with her for the day!

IMG_5007Patsy did a great job in her play at school on Tuesday afternoon.  It lasted 6-10 minutes so was just the right length for the young cousins to enjoy.  It was really cute and it really put us in the Thanksgiving mood!

Today,  after things were put away, and people had visited as long as they wanted to, they went home leaving me with a super-clean house.  Amazing.  To me, it was more than just  a happy day–it was a successful, happy Thanksgiving.  I hope you had a great day, too.

Saving Money–Week of November 23rd


This week, Rob and I got to have a night away ALONE for the first time in over 2-1/2 years!  Last Christmas, we received a gift certificate for a 1-night stay at the Oregon Gardens, in Silverton, Oregon.  We used that certificate on Friday night.  Better yet, it came with babysitting!  We used that, too.  Although entrance to the gardens was included with our stay, we did not have much time to wander through them because it got dark very early and we slept in a bit on Saturday morning.  During the walk we did take, these purple berries really caught my eye.  They were so beautiful.  I do not know what they are called.  I just know we liked them!

We were able to talk very deeply about our financial situation, our plans for Christmas giving, and other matters that are not easily discussed at home with a house full of listening ears.  Those talks were probably my greatest frugal accomplishment this week.  I feel like we are on the same page, have lots of hope even in a rough situation, and are both headed in the same direction–something that is very important to both of us.

We had many appointments this week, but did not succumb to fast food as much as we used to do.  In fact, we have cut that out since Rob’s job loss, except for rare occasions.  Because we had let the habit of stopping “just for a few french fries, a Frosty, etc.” creep into our routines, it has been a battle with the children.  Clearly, they like doing that.  It has been a battle with myself.  Clearly, I like taking them.  But, even though they cannot understand it the way I can, this is a way for the $10’s and $20’s to stack up in my purse instead of being frittered away.  I will say that ice cream was still in order for the child who got a shot at the doctor and she enjoyed every bite!  I have been able to put $ away for later.  I know I will need it more then.

I made split pea and potato soup.  We ate it for several meals.  It was meatless, flavored with ham broth.  My husband loved it, even though he usually likes his meat!

I let my niece choose her own pajama fabric from my stash for her Christmas gift.  She is autistic and likes knowing what she is getting.  She is with us for a few days.  I plan to sew the pajamas and let her try them on, then wrap them.  That helps her handle her anxiety about Christmas more easily.  We will add some Reeses peanut butter cups to them, since they are her candy flavor of choice.

I gave another niece a piece of flannel to use for a school project.

I used lots of eggs for meals this week.  Our chickens are laying well right now.  I also used a lot of ham bits from the ham Rob cooked a few days ago.  We did ham and eggs several times, as well as plain ham, ham sandwiches, etc.  I made broth from the bone.


I was able to work on several sewing projects that are for Christmas.

We were able to do some medical appointments before our good insurance runs out.

One daughter was able to pay off extremely large library fines she had. She took in food items to the library during their “food for fines” week.  She did jobs for me to pay for the food items.  That is extremely nice of our library and helps the food bank.  I have not let her check any more items out until the fines were taken care of since they were due to her not being responsible. (She passed up opportunities to return them when we were going to the library by just not paying attention to due dates)  We are both happy now.  She’s so excited to have library privileges back.

Our dentist was extremely kind and gave us a greatly reduced rate on our check-ups because he knows us and our situation and wanted to be kind.  We have no cavities, which is good, and saves money, as well.

I have been practicing purposeful thankfulness.  We are so blessed.

Split Pea and Potato Soup


Soup is one of the best ways to fill up a hungry family.  This particular recipe is especially frugal because it does not use any meat.  It’s wonderful flavor is gained from using ham broth, though, so it’s not considered vegetarian.  If I wanted it to be completely vegetarian, I could use a boullion cube to turn water into broth, instead of using ham broth.

8 cups ham broth

2 cups green split peas, sorted and rinsed

2 small onions, or 1 medium onion (our garden onions grew tiny this year)

2 carrots, peeled and diced

3 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a large pot.  Turn burner on high, and cook until soup comes to a boil.  Stir.  Turn burner down to low.  The soup should simmer, so adjust burner if necessary.  Cook for 1-3 hours on low, stirring occasionally.  The potatoes and carrots should be tender.  The split peas should get very soft and have no shape left to them.  This is the kind of soup that can hold on the stove for a long time on a busy day, so family members can dip out a bowl-full whenever they arrive to eat.  The leftovers keep well and can be warmed up for quick lunches for about a week.  This recipe makes about 10-14 servings, depending on how hungry everyone is.

To make this in the slow cooker, just put all ingredients in the insert the night before and store in the refrigerator until the next morning.  Before work or on a busy day, pop the insert into the appliance, and set it on low.  My slow cooker will cook for about 6 hours, then automatically turn to “keep warm” until I get home.  That is another way to have a warm meal waiting on a day when I have no time to cook during the late afternoon.