Category Archives: wedding

Thriving In My Thrifty Week-July 9, 2023

We have been gone quite a lot the last couple of weeks and working like crazy when we were home. First, we took our grandson camping for his very first camping trip. The first morning, he woke up at 4 a.m., he was so excited. So we went fishing at this mountain lake in the Oregon Coast range. Although there were no fish to be caught by us, we had a blast.

It took 5 minutes for him to begin to pelt the water with rocks. It took 10 minutes for him to wade in, roll his fishing line up and start wading in, despite the fact that it was 6:45 a.m., and 45 minutes to fall in:). It was a perfect place to take him on his first fishing trip and we had so much fun!

They did catch a salamander!

He did all the usual camping activities: He washed dishes outside, even though our camper has a sink inside. He played trucks in the sand for hours.

We went down to the beach several times and built sand castles and collected rocks. His one disappointment was the kite we tried to fly would not fly from lack of wind. One time, we struck up a conversation with a perch fisherman and by the time we were done, we had a fish for dinner and some bait to try it ourselves the next day.

We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows, cooked in a Dutch Oven over the coals, and enjoyed food cooked in foil.

We took walks, visited the Oregon Coast Aquarium, a candy store, an ice cream store and ate out at Mo’s, which is a restaurant.

On the last night, the girls brought little brother down and they played together on the campground playground equipment. When you added endless walks around the campground, we had a busy week. A man in a neighboring campground asked us how we were still standing:). I’m not sure, but boy did we have fun!

Once we got home, we immediately started weeding, picking and preserving garden produce……and working at our job, of course.

My carrots are acting funny and some are trying to bolt. I pulled a lot of them and canned 10 pints. Some were not thinned well and are very small, some are nicer. Most of the family took some to eat. I will pull the rest soon and I’ve planted another row for fall. I also picked lettuce, snow peas, green onions, a few zucchini, broccoli and cabbage.

The 4th of July went well with a barbecue with the family and a double birthday party for both babies. Now they are 2 and 3.

By Thursday afternoon, Rob and I were off to Central Oregon to the wedding of our dear friends’ daughter. Rob had a prayer to say in the wedding and I was there to help with the food and the reception. Friday and Saturday were very full and we came home Sunday. The wedding was lovely and we had so much fun.

Rob did slip away Friday morning to a mountain lake to do some fishing while I helped prepare food.

I will say that the last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind. We were able to keep it frugal in several ways. First, we packed food everywhere we went, or ate at my friend’s house. We ate out 1 time, each trip and did not choose extravagant meals. Second, we took the trailer camping, but not for the second trip, as it was going to be very expensive to pull it that far for only 3 days. Instead, we rented a cabin. It wasn’t fancy–only 1 bedroom and very small, but perfect for our needs with a price we could afford. Rob was able to make one of his hand-crafted cutting boards for a wedding gift. We bought no souvenirs at the beach, but instead took and used things we already had. For instance, we have old sand toys and a cottage cheese carton we used on the beach one time, old kites we took, and one time we just dug piles of sand with our hands and put rocks and shells on top. Rob used fishing bait and equipment he already had, even though there was a “better” weight he could have bought. ..and son on. We had such fun both time, and it was even sweeter to know we stayed in the budget we had planned for each trip.

At the wedding, we helped my friend save a lot of money by helping her self-cater the reception. It was so fun!!! I was so glad to be there.

The Big Wedding–Oct. 2022

The wedding was beautiful! My sister’s watermelon cake impressed everybody, especially me:). Because my sister and I (and our husbands) were in charge of the reception, this post will focus on much of those details.

The old ladders Rob sourced from friends’ basements transformed into an amazing decoration for their cookie bar. I think many people were worried that there were not going to be enough cookies, so they brought extra, including my oldest daughter, who made dozens and dozens. There were plenty for the event and many to spare. Perfect!

People were greeted with the lighted sign on the fence, a guest table, a banner and a table for gifts. We didn’t decorate most of those areas and sadly, we didn’t get pictures.

Early in the morning before the wedding, I picked all of these dahlias and zinnias in the colors I was using, plunged them into water immediately, and then arranged them the night before. Any that were wilted or sad looking by evening were tossed and I used the good ones. The flowers easily lasted through the wedding that way. I made 2 large arrangements in baskets and then used up the extra blooms in vases and canning jars tied with tulle to math the decor. We just put those here and there when we decorated. I took a bucket full of extras to the venue to use for filling the vases on the fences and the ladder with the silverware. Mums were purchased to fill out the decor.

After the tablecloths and skirts were put on the tables, thin laminate was placed over them to give the look of wood to the buffet. The buffet was set up in duplicate, so people could go down both sides. Rob’s utensil caddy, on another rickety ladder, worked very well. We put dahlia bouquets here and there, and I used the small ones for this piece.

Several of us had chopped and cut and made garnishes the afternoon before the wedding. The dips were made as well, and the yogurt-spinach one needed cups and cups of finely chopped fresh herbs and 14 bunches of green onions, sliced thinly….as you can imagine, it took some time. The cheese one was delicious, as well, but not quite so time consuming. The hummus was the easiest, as it was purchased and just decorated on the top.

The fruit could not be cut until the morning of the wedding, and we had a couple of champions fruit cutters who chopped for hours. Literally. They sliced oranges to line the bowl, and had a huge container of salad for refills.

Rob’s meat was done ahead. He did it all in various marinades and smoked it slowly on his Green Mountain Grill. We sliced for 3 hours, even with a borrowed slicer, and there was plenty.

The galvanized tubs held salad mix on the bottom piled high with toppings in a mountain on top. It got mixed as they took it. Toppings were in the jars and dressings on the pitchers. The veggies were placed in baskets and tipped over onto fancy waxed paper.

Everything was labeled with it’s name, and if it was gluten free, dairy free, nut free, which were the 3 allergens my niece wanted labeled.

Fancy cheeses were sliced and decorated with cheese hearts. I’m not sure if you can tell that the “roses” were carved from strawberries! My sister has a touch with garnishes. There are even little hearts made from fruit on top of the fruit salad. So cute!

Assorted breads were near the end of the buffet line and there were condiments in case anyone wanted to make a sandwich.

There were 4 tables in a block with one additional table turned the other direction on the very end. That’s where the watermelon cake, other fruit, the tangerine tree and various fruit were.

We were asked by the bride and groom to incorporate tangerines in the buffet, so my sister figured out how to make this tree. I’m so glad she found a better way to showcase them than throwing them down the table:).

We did have some mozzarella/tomato/basil/basalmic appetizers and they were a big hit.

The kids’ table came out super cute. We used a board across the barrels and all kind of kid (and adult) friendly goodies were added. There were goldfish crackers, fruit by the foot, fruit, pretzels, many kinds of candy, heart-shaped marshmallows, and more. There were wedding-themed M and M’s, layered with blue ones to match the decor.

Kids loved it! (You may notice Malcolm’s mouth is stuffed with candy, but he’s going back for more). Adults loved it, too.

The wedding went off without a hitch. It was a lovely ceremony.

The sweetheart table! Rob couldn’t help teasing them a little and had them “practice” kissing, which is why they are laughing:). We all toasted them with peach sparkling cider, which was carried to each table.

….And they were off to their honeymoon, tired, but happy!

We cleaned up, went home and collapsed into heaps;).

We could not have done this big of a production without a lot of help. Thank you so much to each and every one of you who had a part in this huge endeavor. Together, we pulled it off!

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–Sept. 27, 2022

Our fall crop of veggies is producing. We’ve been eating the new crop of broccoli, cabbage, the new cucumbers, the mixed summer squash (all sorts in the same packet from Pinetree), along with the tail end of cucumbers, tomatoes, green and purple beans, peppers, etc. Our squash and cucumbers from spring planting is succumbing to powdery mildew, as normal, so I usually plant a small bit of those for fall eating.

I was able to freeze a few more packets of broccoli, which was one of my goals for this fall crop. Now I have enough for the winter.

I pulled all of the beets that were still in the garden. Both Mom and I kept what we wanted to eat and I pickled 9 more pints.

I have started to pull onions, and clear away other plants in the garden that are finished. I’m hoping to get that done so it can be tilled before the fall rains begin. It’s a big job, so I will try to work at it a little most days.

On the same day Rob picked up my Azure Standard order and did a very small Costco run, the girls decided to buy a LOT of groceries. I believe it was around 10 bags full or more. Then, a few days later, Lovana shopped for her party food, which was many more bags full. I picked up the specials at Safeway last Friday, as there were a few things I needed. Then you add in the wedding food as Rob is doing all the meat for 175 people. It’s not a small amount. Our fridges are bursting. We’ve used coolers with lots and lots of ice for overflow. We have the kitchen one, one small one in the camper and one ancient, rickety college dorm-sized one on the porch. That’s it. I have declared this to be NO MORE SHOPPING FOR FOOD week. But, then I ran out of something. And we need 20 bunches of green onions and 12 cucumbers for the wedding that we can get at our local Safeway for a great price. What can I say? I’m sending Rob and Michaela out on Thursday. Everybody better eat fast between now and Thursday.

We were invited to Allison’s birthday at the group home she and Anthony live in. It’s the first time we’ve visited their new home and it is super nice! I’m happy for them.

We took Malcolm. Boy did he have fun. We had not realized we WERE the party, other then the residents, so we were super glad we took him along. Everyone enjoyed him so much and he was the center of attention as he pushed and rolled his cars along the floor and enjoyed his cake!

Lovana cooked and baked for a costume party for her friend’s birthday. It was a Marie Antionette-themed party and she made 2 cakes, decorated beautifully, brownies, cookies (more than one kind), and cupcakes. There may have been more items, but I can’t quite keep track of that girl when she bakes. She really has a knack for it.

She also arranged many, many flower bouquets for the decor. She said the party turned out really nice, but she couldn’t get any pictures in time:(. Now I’m enjoying this gorgeous bouquet every day.

This upcoming weekend is the big wedding for my niece. We are going to be working very hard to prepare all the food. Much has been done ahead of time, but there are many things that have to be done the day before or even the day of the wedding, such as cutting fruit for salad. There are several people coming to help. My sister and I will spend quite a bit of time Friday evening putting together “kits” with instructions so people can be handed a box with apples, for example, with instructions to cut them into bite-sized pieces and add to the fruit salad. Hopefully, that will get all the jobs done and leave no one standing around wanting to know what to do.

I picked up this picnic basket at a yard sale. Rob oiled it with a little wood oil after this picture was taken, so it looks even prettier now. The bride has asked for some of the wedding food to take with them on their honeymoon, as she feels she won’t get to eat much. We will pack the food in here with ice packs. She also wants an assortment of cookies from her cookie bar, so we will add those, too.

I’m bringing containers, plastic wrap, dishcloths, soap, knives, cutting boards, scissors, etc., etc., etc., as the venue provides nothing but appliances. I’ve got a huge pile already and it’s only Tuesday!!! You should see my sister’s living room. She has decor for the food tables and will have all the food. Yikes! Rob has the van completely full of his projects shown in the last post. Let’s hope that set up crew is on time and very, very strong.

Wedding Decor Projects

My niece will be married in a couple of weeks. My sister and I (and husbands) are in charge of the reception. We’ve been planning for months.

Rob has been working hard on building decorative items. I’ve been working hard helping him set his projects up, wrestle them around our yard, and adding ideas and finishing touches to them. (Meaning he is the master builder and I am his assistant!). This fence will be behind the sweetheart table where the bride and groom will sit during the reception. He built it in 2 sections, because we have to man-handle it up an elevator in the venue to the second floor. It won’t fit in its entirety, and is also too heavy in one piece. There is a crew coming to do this lifting, as we are really not able to do it ourselves. We have a LOT of heavy stuff!

The flowers on top are made from the bases of pinecones and will match the wooden flowers she is choosing to use in some of her decor/bouquets. The dahlias will be chosen from our garden in white, yellow, bronze, apricot, and other fall colors and picked the day ahead.

Our extremely talented friend cut this metal sign for Rob. Then, Rob finished the metal, and built a frame box for it with the lights inside. It will be hung on a fence that is much smaller than the previous one with chrysanthemums along the bottom and will be placed in an area where people will see it when they first come in. Then the newlyweds will get this sign for their new home. Her new hubby is a young man we have known and loved for years, so this wedding is doubly exciting for us and Uncle wanted to make something super special for them.

These rickety old ladders were scrounged from basements and garages from friends. He did have to do a little fixing, but they were left rustic on purpose, as the bride wanted. Rob cut old boards he also scrounged to put across them for a cookie bar. They will be decorated up the day of the wedding with various items. I’m hoping to get pictures of the final results. It will be a busy day.

The third rickety ladder was transformed into a holder for the paperware for the buffet. The very top holds 3 bottles for flowers, which will be in wedding and fall colors, not purple. The napkins are next, then the square paper plates she has purchased and silverware at the bottom. We may set more flowers at the base, or just leave alone as this needs to be functional and not trip people up.

These barrels (shown here at a party in July) will have the board across them and have a kids’ buffet area with goldfish crackers, licorice, gummy bears, and other items they will like. The bread will also go on there so the buffet stays gluten free. Our niece asked that allergies be respected and food labeled and that there were options for many of her friends and family who have the need for that.

The actual buffet tables have a base of normal tables the venue provides. Rob has cut a thin laminate to lay across them and scads of crates and baskets have been gathered for the base of the food. Dishes, plates, wood rounds and more have been sourced, along with all the drink items, which will be in a different area.

The table will have bouquets of dahlias and the white zinnias we planted in the spring.

Rob will prepare the meat in his barbeque. We hope to have turkey, roast beef and ham. It will be served sliced thin and cold. We have borrowed a meat slicer for that. There will be bread and condiments for those who want to make sandwiches and lots of veggies cascading out of baskets. We will have dips and salad dressing and salad toppings in little jars so hopefully people will pour some out, and not dip in and contaminate things. There will be a cheese board, salad bar, fruit salad, and a watermelon wedding cake. That cake is all my sister–I can’t wait to see how she makes that!

The venue provides nothing in the kitchen except appliances, counters, and a sink. I’m putting together a kit of things like towels, soap, scissors, tools, Saran Wrap, etc. I am started, but will work hard on that in the next few days.

Then, of course, there’s the actual cooking…….We’ve tried to make it as easy as possible and have pulled in some friends and family to help on the day of.

There has been a lot of planning and work done already, and much more to do next weekend. I’m excited to see how it looks when we get it all done and even more excited to see two special people we love so much start their new life together!

Thriving In My Thrifty Week-Aug.22, 2022

My sister has a peach orchard. Their crop was terrible this year. They did not have enough to open the orchard for u-pick at all. Walking through the orchard, except for the one section, the other trees are completely bare. I feel so bad for them. There were enough of one kind to offer to family and friends, and we picked some on Saturday.

I froze some. I ended up with 3 trays, which is about 9-10 quart baggies full.

I dried some. I did not can any. Thankfully, there are still 50 quarts left over, since last year was such a good peach year and I did extra. That will be enough. This is one reason I always try to preserve extra of everything when I can get it.

I had a jam-making day. I did one batch of peach jam from the fresh peaches. I pulled frozen peaches and frozen raspberries and made a double batch of peach/raspberry. We did not freeze any raspberries this year, our crop was so poor we easily ate them all, and I was glad I had extra peaches and berries from last year. While I was at it, I pulled the California strawberries I had purchased one carton at a time on super, super sales and froze and made a batch and a half of strawberry jam while I was at it.

There is a fruit stand where our family buys pears and apples if we need them. Rob will call again tomorrow and see how those things are ripening up, but the owner indicated to him a few weeks ago that those things would be readily available–no shortage was expected.

50 quarts gives one jar per week, most weeks. I expect there may be some weeks where people eat more pears and applesauce then they have in the past, so I will do a little more of those 2 items, especially since there are only 13 jars of pears left on the shelf! After years of no one eating many pears, they have suddenly become the favorite. Who knew? That’s how it goes around here. It keeps me on my toes.

Although some crops aren’t doing well this year, the zucchini is taking over! This is a tromboncini zucchini. There are so, so many, along with the yellow and green traditional ones. And, oh yes, the scallopini ones. Hmmmm. What was I thinking when I planted so many?

We are really starting to work on the logistics for the reception for my niece’s wedding. My sister and I have a good plan, we have Rob building a few things, and we were able to tour the venue last Friday. The mother of the bride took us all out to lunch so we could all keep making plans, and we had a really nice time. The dahlias and white zinnias are growing nicely in the garden, and I keep dead-heading the spent blossoms. Hopefully, we can keep them blooming until the wedding, because we plan to use a lot of them at the reception.