Category Archives: Vacations

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.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–April 12, 2021

We had another nice, long weekend camping. This trip was different in several ways. One difference is in the amount of outdoor activities we were able to engage in, since the weather was so nice. I’m glad we had so much fun, because this is the last trip for a while.

We had some out-of-town relatives who were staying down at the beach and my aunt got a condo down there so she could visit with them. That condo comes with a crab dock. Need I say more?

After 2 afternoons of crabbing, a few were captured. They aren’t showing up well in this bucket, as they were Red Rock Crabs. One Dungeness was also caught. All were eaten by us, aunts/uncles/nieces/nephews/ etc.

We had one nice, group dinner over at the condo and enjoyed visiting. We were camped at a near-by campground and everyone came and went at will.

One day, our family hiked the Drift Creek Falls Trail.

We hiked 2.9 miles down into a canyon, along a little creek, up the other side, across a suspension bridge and to the water fall. We enjoyed the hike very much, especially the part where we climbed right back out of that canyon without too much trouble. We surprised ourselves, in a good way! I will say Rob overdid a little though, because with his 2 trips down to the ocean that day rock collecting, plus this hike, he did over 7 miles. He was a little sore the next day, but the dog couldn’t move for 2 days, so…..Rob wins:)

We raked for cockle clams at low tide one day. Patsy got 1 measly clam. The rest of us got skunked. We put the baby back to live another day. We will try again some day when the tide is lower.

The weather was gorgeous. It only rained one night, and not very much. There was quite a bit of wind at times, which felt cold, but mostly it was pleasant and sunny. Yesterday, while Rob and our older nephew were crabbing, Patsy, Jake and I walked to the boardwalk viewing area. I know the picture does not show them well, but those tiny specks in the sky are people surfing with large 1/2 parachutes (parasurfing?). There was also a windsurfer with a bright sail out in the water. I hadn’t seen that before in this location.

Another different thing for us was today. We needed to come home, but had nothing pressing in the afternoon to return early for, so decided to stay down there until early afternoon. (We usually leave first thing in the morning when coming home). We decided to drive to a nearby beach and take a walk before hooking up and driving home. I was delighted to find that beautiful rock/sand formation pictured above while I was walking. The rest of them hunted for rocks and shells and a certain little boy got his shoes completely wet in a creek, and had to come home barefoot. Now, that’s a beach trip. I love it!

As usual, we got a large amount of fun for a very small fist full of dollars. Obviously, nothing is free, and we used gas to drive around. Thankfully, we had some gas rewards on our Fred Meyer card, so we used those. We always save them for when the van needs gas.

We used our park pass to camp. We used the dock at my aunt’s condo to crab with equipment we have owned for years. Rob bought some chicken to crab with, but a lady on the dock gave him hers when she got tired of crabbing, so we cooked ours, as it was on ice and perfectly good, and used hers for crabbing. We used our rakes to rake for clams. Rob had recently picked up another one at a garage sale and painted its tines blue, just for this purpose.

The Drift Creek Falls Trail had a very small parking fee, which was nice since our park pass doesn’t cover that place.

Several times we put food from the camper in a bag and took it along when we drove somewhere. We got some food from McDonald’s and used the app to save money. (McD’s is Jake’s favorite and we wanted everyone to get to do something they wanted.). We ate meals at the camper and, once, at the condo. We enjoyed visiting with all family members who were there.

I was able to use up several items in the camper fridge, such as spreadable butter, from a couple of weeks ago, and many things from our fridge. I love putting leftovers from the house right into the camper fridge so they get used, and vice versa when we return. I bought a few things from Grocery Outlet before we went and we didn’t have to shop, except for milk, while we were there. There’s plenty left so I don’t have to shop for a few days now, unless I’m SO tempted by the 97c ice cream at Safeway that I can’t stand not to get it….

We don’t have any more camping trips planned for quite some time, and I’m o.k. with that–there’s lots to do around here. We’ve already started doing the laundry from the trip and I’m looking forward to getting out into the yard and garden as the week progresses. It should be a fun week, in its own way.

Thriving In My thrifty Week–March 29, 2021

We spent last week at Beverly Beach State Park, camping. We had an extreme mix between gorgeous, sunny weather and windy, rainy days! Thankfully, we had a great travel day to drive down to the coast, and a showery mix on the way back today. During the first part of the week, it was just Patsy, Rob and myself. The second part of the week, we were joined by our niece and nephew. We specifically planned some activities just for Patsy, to spoil her a little while the other kids were not with us, and plenty of fun things for them all, once they arrived. We did crafts, played “hot and cold” as is tradition on our camping trips (with small prizes for them to find), and had glow sticks. There was lots of candy, movies, games and chips, involved. We were thrilled to take the lot of them to church in the nearby town on Sunday morning. Besides the obvious spiritual reasons to attend church, it provided a great outing for our “camper-bound” crew on a rainy morning. The wind blew so fiercely that night that the camper was actually shaking and we could hear it howling. It was an adventure, for sure.

We took many walks and hikes, some on the beach and some on the trail that winds its way around the campground along a pleasant stream.

Trails like this tempt me every time and I can rarely resist following them. I hiked this one twice. It wasn’t long, but it was lovely.

Another day, we drove down the coast, and yet another time we hiked a trail from the Newport Jetty to the South Beach State Park day use area.

We visited the Oregon Coast Aquarium twice. We got a membership on-line before we went. The first time, we just took Patsy. She got to look at everything she wanted to without having to share her trip with the other kids. Then, we went back once the other two joined us, and we all enjoyed it again, together.

We had to call and get a ticket reservation each time, which was waiting at the ticket booth for us, for a certain time. We had to wear masks, and there were markings on the floor, so we could distance ourselves from others. Everyone waited patiently for everyone else, and surprisingly, we didn’t feel rushed and everyone got to see everything for as long as they wanted to. It was a one-way walk through the aquarium, and you could not backtrack. But, I believe you could have gone around again, if you wished. We were tired by then, so went out. By going those two times, we’ve already paid for our membership, but still can go all we want for the next year. We are thinking Patsy wants to do Marine Biology next year, so I’m sure she will want to visit again, and Michaela, especially, loves all kinds of animals.

On one of our walks, when we were out quite early, we came upon several salamanders. This one was plodding along, but was quite clumsy, and tumbled off this wooden block placed over a marshy spot on the trail. It was clear that he already had a owie on his back from some previous excursion, but Rob put him upright, and tried to steady him a bit and put him on a better path, but he just started on again immediately, tearing off to run into another little rock or dirt clod. It brought to mind Matthew West’s song, “Truth Be Told.” It’s one of Jake’s favorites and he can sing it all the way through, but it goes something like this: “I’m fine, yes I’m fine, oh I’m fine, yes, I’m fine, but I’m not, “I’m broken.” (It’s easy to find on U-tube). We got a chuckle out of this salamander, who did not have the sense to even rest up a minute or take the help Rob was offering….and while we were laughing at that silly salamander, we knew there was a lesson in there somewhere…..

Rob and Patsy went down to the beach frequently and collected agates, beach glass and other rocks and shells. Rob and I took walks together down the beach, then I took them alone when the kids got there. We switched off so someone could stay with them, once they were there.

The campsite we got this time was such a treat. It was up at the front of the campground, and I had an ocean view out of my camper window. Rob got this one by getting up at midnight, the very first day they were taking reservations for this time period, and clicked the button just in time. We’ve only been able to get reservations in that part of the park once before in our whole life, so we enjoyed every minute. Next time, we will camp elsewhere, but that will be fun, too!

I’ve been doing laundry since the moment I walked in the door, but there’s more. We used a lot of old towels, due to the mud and sand. I’m glad I have a washing machine, and we were able to take enough clothes and towels that we did not have to visit a laundromat, as we’ve done when the big kids were small. It’s always nice to not have to spend a lot of quarters:). Tomorrow, we will have a day to get back into the groove of things, and back to work on Wednesday. I have a bit of cleaning to do in preparation for Easter, a little cooking to do, and the garden is starting to need some attention. Last week was fun, and this one will be, too, in a different way!

Thriving In My thrifty Week–August 2, 2020

Way before Rob’s surgery, my sister booked a cabin at Detroit Lake and invited us to come with their family for a few days. She wanted him to have something to look forward to post-surgery. As we discussed the upcoming trip, we talked about how he would probably need help up the few stairs, a ground level room so he could lie down when needed, and maybe could or maybe could not walk the 50 feet to the lake or go out on a boat one day. What a different, and wonderful, scenario it was!

Instead of sitting in the cabin, he went down to the lake several times. While down there, he fished, helped the kids fish and swam more than once. He had no trouble on the stairs or anywhere else, but made sure to use his trekker poles and follow his hip surgery precautions at all times. One morning, he and I walked all over the tiny lake town for exercise. It was nice to have a different change of scenery.

He took some of the kids rock collecting and creek walking.

On the day my sister rented a pontoon boat, we all fished for the morning, and swam during the afternoon. We took a picnic with us to enjoy at lunch time. Michaela got a fishing license before she went on the trip, with Rob’s help. Then, of course, she wanted to fish. He helped her hook this one, and she landed it. She was SO excited.

I caught a fish, too! It was the biggest trout I’ve caught in years, well over 12 inches, and we ate it for dinner that night, along with the one Rob helped Michaela catch.

Jake’s parents have chosen to continue homeschooling next fall, and are continuing his education during the summer. So, 2 of the days we were there, he did schoolwork. His mom organized it all, and his dad and mom both worked with him at times. Uncle helped him with science projects twice. I read two entire short chapter books to him. One was school, one was for fun. He would lay in wait for me to come out to where ever he was and get me to read to him,–it was so cute and fun. He commandeered everyone he could to play air hockey and foosball in the basement game room the cabin had, and although he beat me at air hockey, I did win the foosball game:). He talked every single one of us into Yahtzee at one time or another, and even used my phone to text Grandma for her Yahtzee-winning secrets one time, and then won the game!

We took all of our food, and cooked every meal at the cabin. We had a blast, and got some rest. Which was good because……

When we got home…..yikes! I had picked the garden produce before we went and processed everything or packed it for the trip. I needed to work for 12-16 hours a couple of days to get it taken care of before we left, but nothing was neglected or forgotten, except 3 pickling cucumbers that grew too big to use while we were gone, and about 10 beans that went over the hill. I can so totally live with that!

Since I’ve been home, I’ve canned beet pickles, dill pickles, blueberry pie filling and green beans. I’ve frozen the last of the peaches, some strawberries and blueberries.

Yesterday afternoon, we had a bean-snapping/canning party at my sister’s house. My other sister is growing tons of beans and is sharing. So after virtual church, Rob and I went over to Gail’s and joined their family and my aunt, who were all snapping like crazy. We got 28 quarts done! We took our canner, used their canner, and one that Rob’s friend gave us just last week. They never use it anymore, so we gratefully accepted. Rob stood by the canners, keeping time and keeping them all at correct pressure–that was his exclusive job, and the rest of us snapped and filled jars. When I left, they were all sealed, except one, and I’m sure it did. It sure speeds things up with multiple canners and lots of help!

I’ve been working on my garden in the evenings and mornings. I’m removing old bushes, harvesting produce, and weeding. I’m getting an area ready because I plan to plant a fall garden.

We ordered some more seeds from Territorial Seed Company for fall planting. They were out of a lot of things in their on-line winter gardening catalog, but we were able to get enough. We just wanted a few things like spinach, cabbage, etc. If they didn’t have the variety I wanted, I just chose another one, figuring they all must have some merit or they wouldn’t have made it into the seed catalog in the first place! Maybe I’ll find a new favorite. We have eaten and shared so many of our vegetables this summer–much more than we usually do, so I’m excited to get more going.

Rob took this picture of the clouds. I really like it, so thought I’d end the blog post with it, just because:)

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–January 6, 2019

This past week was so restful, compared to the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Months ago, my sister had planned a get-away for our families down at the beach. We all packed up and headed down there on New Year’s Day. She graciously got us wonderful accommodations, using her time-share points.

My sister took us all out to lunch to celebrate Alissa’s birthday. Most other food was eaten in our hotel.

Because we were in a time-share, there were full kitchens in our units. We planned the meals ahead of time and took turns cooking the dinners. One of my dinners was spaghetti and turkey meatballs with salad and home-canned green beans. I pre-made the meatballs at home and used jarred sauce that was purchased a while back for 99c/jar.

Our other meal was steak, baked potatoes and cauliflower. Because we buy 1/4 beef each fall, it’s the same price for steak as it is for hamburger. Of course, we need to pace the steak dinners throughout the year, or they would be gone quickly, but Alissa’s birthday dinner was a worthy occasion! That girl loves steak:).

The process of cooking the steaks was quite comical. As Rob was attempting to barbecue this steak on the little balcony outside of our room, the wind was blowing so hard that it was whistling through the windows of our room, blowing rain sideways and blowing out the flame on the barbecue, but he managed! Afterwards, he said they were on fire at one point, not cooking at all at another point, and he was absolutely amazed that they turned out so well. But, they were wonderful, so all’s well that ends well:)

Rob ate the zucchini-noodle lasagna for several lunches. We also took salad stuff, sandwich ingredients, and gluten-free pizza crust to made quick meals. Breakfasts were things like eggs, sausage, and cereal. We ate breakfasts and lunches in our own rooms, and ate all the dinners together.

I exercised several times at the small gym in the hotel. We didn’t take many walks. On the few occasions we ventured out, we were hit with ferocious winds, driving rain, and even hail pellets in my hair one morning when a walk was attempted by my sister and I. We turned around immediately and headed for the stationary bikes!

I read a couple of library books and watched a little t.v.

The kids played a game borrowed from the hotel’s stash, Jake build Legos, Patsy did a little school, her friend Celeste did a lot of school, I read an entire chapter book to Jake, my sister took them all to play arcade games in the town of Seaside, Rob took Patsy rock collecting, we took them all to the small aquarium, they watched movies, Rob took Michaela down to Costco for a hot dog while he got a case of water, my sister braved the outdoor swimming pool several times with the kids IN THE RAIN!!, and we all played Bingo when the hotel offered it as an activity.

Everyone took turns with the kids, so I feel relaxed and rested. The only thing that would have made the trip better was our other sister who intended to come down for a little bit, but her plans changed and she was not able to make it:(

The girls got a real kick out of the seal-feeding at the small aquarium. Those seals sure got excited. Water was splashing like crazy! The girls were squealing as loud as the seals, I think. Everyone had a great time.

We all arrived home late afternoon yesterday, and today, the week starts with a flurry of activity. I’ve got lots of good ideas for this week. January is a favorite month of mine and I’m eager to get started on all the projects and plans that fill my mind at this time of year.

Happy New Year to you all!

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–October 16, 2019

We had a wonderful time in Maui. So, the thriving part of my weekly post was easy and enjoyable.

We saw so many flowers. This one is a protea blossom.

Butterflies…

A banyon tree that took up almost a block in Lahaina….

Beaches everywhere……

And so much more!

Now, the thrifty part…. I will start by saying that traveling is not inexpensive. We had a lot of friends and family help us financially to be able to go on this trip. It all started when our daughter sent us 2 plane tickets for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Wasn’t that sweet? We thought so. So, people helped a lot. But, we also needed to save diligently for months to be able to do this on our limited budget.

The first thing Rob did was make out a budget. It was modest, compared to some travel budgets, but he was realistic in the fact that Maui is an expensive place to be, we needed to rent a car and a spot to stay, and food would be outrageous. We knew from day one of our trip how much we would need to spend on each category. We stuck to it. We frequently checked in with each other on how we were doing.

We flew out late in the day. It was less expensive.

My aunt went with us. She, along with the rest of us, searched on-line diligently for an affordable option to stay in. We ended up with a condo unit with a kitchen, bedrooms, etc, and it was very near to our daughter’s apartment. It had a pool, which Patsy enjoyed the most—one day she stayed in there for 3 hours or more. It had a washer and dryer, and I took soap pods with me.

We went to Safeway on the first morning and stocked up on groceries. I used all my Safeway rewards I had been saving to get a free box of butter, a package of bacon and some bananas. We packed a few food items in our backpacks and suitcases–a loaf of cheese, 2 boxes of cereal, nuts, even mayonnaise, and a baggie of packets of hot sauce and ketchup that had been saved when someone had too many in their take-out order over the past couple of years. (We don’t get much take-out and there aren’t very many extras, but they sure came in handy in this case!). We also put in empty baggies, but still had to buy a few. I put in a small amount of taco seasoning.

You don’t even want to know how much I spent at that Safeway during the week. My daughter was told that it was the 2nd busiest Safeway in the United States, and I believe whoever told her that! We stepped gingerly around crates and boxes and people unpacking them, picked things from near-bare shelves, and wound our way from the bread aisle where bread was $7.50/loaf, to the dairy where the milk was at least $6/gallon.. The 18 eggs we bought were around $5, and I thankfully found a less-expensive option than the $13 case of water.

Even with the high prices, it was cheaper to cook our own food, than to eat out every meal. A meal was typically $15-$25/per person, except McDonald’s, where I was surprised to find the prices about the same as at home. I was determined that Rob’s diet would not be blown, so we happily got the $1 Diet Cokes and iced tea, and limited the French fries to one time. Also, what we cooked was very healthy.

We chose to cook meals of things like tacos, sandwiches, salads, etc.

My daughter had some food she wanted used up, as she is moving home at the end of the month. So, we gratefully worked that into our meals. She also let us “borrow” her olive oil, Lowrey’s seasoning salt, and a few other things.

We went to Costco one morning on our way to somewhere else. We were going to eat out that day, but so many people grabbed a substantial snack at Costco, that we didn’t end up stopping anywhere. We got water much less expensively there than at Safeway. I could have got a rotisserie chicken for very reasonable there, but we had no where to store it as we were sight-seeing.

We packed a picnic for the all-day trip. There are no restaurants on the top of the volcanic mountain anyway. We often ate breakfast, or lunch at the condo, went off exploring, and then returned to the condo for the next meal, eating snacks in the car if we needed to.

We went out one time to a restaurant. The name was Brick Oven. If I look excited, it’s because I was over the moon. The food there is ALL gluten-free. I could have anything I wanted from the menu. And, I did! I had fried mushrooms, fried mozzarella sticks, French fries, coconut shrimp, fish and chips…….you get the drift! Now, to clarify, we ordered several things and shared, but I ate some of each, and am still smiling at the memory. I did not get even a tiny bit sick, although I would have deserved to ’cause that’s more fried food than I’ve eaten for many a day…..

We chose simple, inexpensive entertainment. Some things did cost money, but they were not expensive. We drove to look at beaches. The ones who wanted to walked out closer, the rest enjoyed the view from the car. One time, my daughter coaxed me down a long, long set of stairs to a gorgeous beach below. I loved it! We drove around a lot, just looking. We looked for turtles several times, but will have to go back another time if we want to see any:)

My aunt and I went to 2 quilt shops. It was fun to see different fabrics. I bought a few pieces with some money I had been given for my birthday. We went to a lavender farm, that had a large area with various blooming plants to wander though, in addition to the lavender. We went through a free museum, highlighting Lahaina history. We strolled under the banyon tree.

Lovana and I went for walks. Patsy and I swam in the pool. We took our daughter back and forth to work every time. Rob and I spent time at Lovana’s work with her–just sitting at the cafe for a while while she did her thing. I enjoyed wandering through the large hotel where her second job is–so beautiful! One day was spent packing up her apartment, taking things to Salvation Army, and mailing a few things home. I’m so glad she was well organized and knew what she wanted me to help with. We brought the 3 biggest suitcases in the world home with us (I got to manhandle them, so I’m sticking to that assessment!)–it was much, much less expensive to pay the fee as checked luggage than it would have been to ship those things home any other way. We had planned that, so had only travelled with carry-ons on the way there.

We did not go on excursions, tours, helicopter rides, horseback rides or snorkeling trips. We almost got to go to a luau, because at one of Lovana’s jobs they let the employees have tickets for a very cheap price, IF they didn’t sell them all. They sold them all this time, but we were running out of time anyway. There’s always a next time, and alway more to look forward to.

We found so many more things to do than we had time to do! We didn’t push ourselves, but instead allowed hours and hours for spending time with our daughter, reading, stretching out, swimming in the pool and sitting on the balcony watching the waves crash. We had so much fun! We really took time to explore the island. We love the outdoors, so focused on those kind of activities. I have many memories to reflect on during this upcoming rainy, wet, cold winter. And, I still have enough money left over to buy all the tea and hot chocolate I can drink while I sit in front of my cozy, warm fire, thinking of my time in Maui:)

Hawaii—Haleakala National Park

We spent one day driving to Haleakalā National Park. We went from where we were staying in Lahaina, with it’s warmth and humidity, up into the clouds, rain and wind. The view was beautiful and the cooler temperature felt more like what we are used to at home. I’m glad our daughter had mentioned that we would need jackets. It was COLD up there!

We slowly meandered our way up the curvy, winding mountain side. At each new curve, we were treated to another breath-taking view. The air was thin when we reached the top of the mountain. I’ve not experienced that before and it took me a few minutes to adjust to it. But I was quickly hiking from one little viewing station to another.

There were panoramic views, breath-taking rock formations, and clouds and mist that rolled in and out, sometimes obscuring our view completely, only to clear out so we could again glimpse the scene below.

Our daughter has been to the top of this mountain a couple of times to watch the sunset and really wanted us to see how beautiful it was. Instead, as the time for sunset came nearer, the clouds rolled right in and put a cold, wet blanket on our hopes of seeing anything but our immediate surroundings. We stayed up there for over an hour and a half, to see if it would clear and decided to give it up when it only worsened. The road was was both unfamiliar and curvy, so we were not sad to go down it in the daylight.

We had a wonderful day, with or without the sunset!

Hawaii—October, 2019

We left our home in Oregon with rain showers, a freeze warning and temperatures begging for a cozy fire, and flew into sunshine, warm temperatures and tropical breezes. We are on the island of Maui right now.

We are so grateful to everyone who helped us get here. It was a group effort, for sure, and we are truly thankful.

It was so nice to leave everything in Alissa’s capable hands—the house, the dog, and, to sweeten the deal—the car.

Patsy is in the pool again right now, and Rob and I dipped our toes in the ocean this morning. We are enjoying the sights and sounds—the surf is crashing outside our hotel and tropical birds are chirping Sailboats, snorkeling excursion boats and paddle-boaters are frequently passing by, and we even saw a cruise ship a couple of days ago.

The sunsets are gorgeous.

We had a great day of driving to the center of the island to Haleakalā, which is a volcanic mountain crater. I will do another post about that, as we stopped several other places along the way. It was amazing!

Our Adventure: A Trip Up The Rogue River and Beach–August, 2019–Part 2

After riding on the boat all day last Sunday, we travelled to Bandon by the Sea, a town about an hour from the town where the boat was.

We served out a quick dinner of tacos. I had pre-cooked the beans and meat and the rest was quickly put together. It was all devoured! Everyone was starving.

The next morning, Rob and I made pancakes, eggs, fried ham, and fruit. Patsy got a pancake shaped like a fish. It was a complete accident, but she really liked it! We decided it was a perfect beach breakfast;)

Most of us went to the West Coast Wildlife Game Park. It was a place where the kids could pet animals. There were also lots of big cats in cages. Michaela loves those more than anything. This trip was especially for her, but all the kids enjoyed themselves.

That took until early afternoon. We returned to the beach house for lunch and the kids played down on the beach. Then, a dinner of spaghetti was enjoyed, and we dropped into bed. On Tuesday, it was time to make the long journey home after a quick breakfast of muffins and cereal.

My sister decided we’d had enough cooking, and treated us all to lunch at Mo’s. Yum! I hadn’t eaten there for quite some time and enjoyed it very much.

We returned home late in the day, tired, but very happy and full of wonderful memories to cherish for years to come.

Our Adventure: A Trip Up the Rogue River and A Beach Trip–August, 2019–Part 1

We just returned from a big adventure, complements of my sister. She should have been a travel guide…..She planned the trip out to the last minute, got all the accommodations and tickets, and arranged everything. It was amazing. Here’s what we did.

Months ago, she had purchased tickets for the play, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” up at the Keller Auditorium in Portland (Oregon). It was for my birthday present, and started at 2 p.m. on Saturday. We had a wonderful time. It was so well done. I loved it!

When planning the trip, she found the beach house she wanted to rent was only available on this past weekend, the same weekend as the play. She also wanted to go ride the jet boats that go from Gold Beach, Oregon, up the Rogue River 52 miles and back down again. So, we needed to leave on Saturday to make all of that happen. The play caused us to get a late start.

I was in charge of the meals for everyone. Everyone included: My sister, Gail, 3 of her children, myself, Rob and Patsy, and a friend, Debbie, and her 7 children. Jake and his big sister, Caitlyn, came on Sunday night, as he doesn’t do well on boats. So, I packed a picnic for 13 to eat in the cars on the road. We pulled into the hotel around 12:30 a.m. Sunday morning. It’s a distance from here, and we didn’t leave until early evening.

The hotel included breakfast the next morning, which we enjoyed tremendously. The kids loved the waffles with the heart shapes in the center. Rob and I packed a large picnic for the 13 of us who where going on the boats, plus drinks, while the rest of the crew enjoyed the hotel swimming pool. Then, we were off for our 11:30 departure time.

Rob really, really wanted to do this trip. In fact, he declared to Gail (my sister) that he would crawl into the boat if he had to, when the subject was first brought up. He had to!

It was so worth it to him!

At the 2 rest stops, they sent a van down a steep hill to drive him (and us) up to the top, where we could use the restrooms and at lunch time, eat our picnic.

I had a blast, too! My little friend, Delaney, fell asleep between Rob and I on the way back. It was super funny because we were getting splashed with large amounts of water going down the rapids. We tried to shield her the best we could with a blanket that was for that purpose, but in the process, I was absolutely soaked. It was dripping off my hair and down my face. Some got on her, too. Through it all, she never woke up. The people behind us (and us) kept looking down and asking if she woke up, and each time the answer was “no.” Pretty soon, we were all in gales of laughter as each new wave of water doused us, and the child still slept. I guess she was tired:). When she was good and ready, she woke up and enjoyed the rest of the ride.

We saw so much beautiful scenery. There was a lot of wildlife. We saw ducks, egrets, osprey, a bald eagle, otters, deer, and a seal or sea lion–not sure which, and more.

There were a couple balancing on various small rocks. The boat driver was very skilled and got us up pretty close to this one.

We were on the water for around 6-1/2 –7 hours. We went the 104 miles, and had 2 stops. We went from the cool, balmy coast to the dry, scorching hot interior, and back down to the cooler coast once again. The driver did a great job of cooling us off with water when it was hot, and keeping us dry when it wasn’t. Running the rapids was fun. We all had a blast.

We got back into the vehicles, handed each kid a granola bar, and headed an hour north to the town of Bandon.

It was pretty late by the time we arrived, but I had dinner all planned and it didn’t take long to get it on the table. I had taco meat and refried beans premade and they were warmed up. Tortillas, garden tomatoes, lettuce and pre-shredded cheese were put out, along with a Costco bag of corn chips and some salsa. Every scrap was devoured.

Our Monday was very full of fun, as well. I’ll continue writing about our trip tomorrow in Part 2, as this post is getting pretty long, and there’s lots more to tell.