This past week, we went camping down at the coast. Although we have been doing homeschool for the past couple of weeks, this was our outdoor school. We did regular schoolwork with the kids in the mornings and then did fun, outdoor activities in the afternoons.
One day, I read a book about a silly, fantastic sand castle contest and then we went down to a beach and the kids built their own.
We read fall-themed books and decorated fall-shaped sugar cookies.
We read about sea creatures, then went to the Oregon Coast Aquarium.
Rob organized this project. He melted old candles he collected from friends and family and some shells from the Dollar Store to make sand candles. He took the kids to the beach to collect the sand, and got the wicks from Amazon.
I thought they looked great.
There were lots of trips to the playground at the campground, and many, many times where the kids rode their bikes and I trotted along behind as fast as my short legs would trot:). We took a couple of drives down the coastline, and stopped at a candy store and for French fries. I read aloud for hours. The kids are enjoying Trixie Belden books right now. Of course Patsy has encountered them before, but they are all new to Jake and he’s loving them.
It was a very busy week, but a fun one. The weather was perfect and I’m so glad we got one last camping trip in before the fall rains come.
Once we got home, the garden needed attention. I picked tomatoes, we picked and chopped peppers to freeze. Just tonight, I canned 9 pints of crushed tomatoes. Rob’s been doing load after load of laundry and we’ve all been folding like crazy. There was more than usual because since this is our last camping trip for a while, there was extra bedding and such that needed washing.
We’ve been eating the leftover camping food for the past couple of days. I also unloaded the camper freezer, and we’ve been using the items that were in there. I always keep some chicken, hamburger, bread products, etc. in there for the entire summer, replacing as we use them on camping trips. So, I didn’t need to shop except for some milk, 1/2 and 1/2 and bananas.
Last evening, I dug up my old strawberry raised bed, put in some bags of steer manure, compost, coffee grounds and worm castings, and planted a few fall veggies. It may be too late to get much of anything, but it was worth a try and I simply couldn’t get it done before we went, as I was spending every minute canning. Those berries were done. They only last 3 years. I have some different berries in other places for next summer. So it feels good to have that mentally-daunting job done, whether I get any fall veggies or not.
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!
We finally got to go camping! We had hoped to go a week ago, but the ice storm ruined our fun. Last summer, trip after trip was cancelled from Rob’s surgery, wildfires, Covid closing campsites, and so on. We hardly got to go. It was starting to feel like de ja vu, but we found an available spot when we had to postpone.
Most of last week was spent busily cooking, cleaning, watching the baby and driving the girls around, as they did not get power until Tuesday night. They were out for 11 nights–they finally went home that very night once power was restored. That day was beyond busy, as there were so many errands, trips to take people here and there, that Rob and I think we drove out 13 times between the two of us to take someone somewhere, or get prescriptions, etc.! Yikes. Hands down, it’s the most we’ve done in one day since Covid started!!!
We even managed to squeeze in our son, Anthony’s, birthday party. We had to change times on him once, which is not good for autistic/Aspberger’s sons, as he loves his routine, so we had to just carry on by putting them on one end of the table, us on the other and all the girls and baby in the other room with their plates. It felt great to be able to get together at last and he had a good time.
I made him a cake–chocolate, as requested. Of course, this all happened on the same day as all the errands, and the power returning to the girls’ house. So, while Rob was taking him home, I took the girls home, helped turn on the breakers, helped clean the rotten food from the fridge, and took Lovana shopping. We went to Grocery Outlet, and she re-filled her fridge. At least most things were bargains at that store. The next day, I picked up a few other items for them that were forgotten, and took a few things from my storage. It was so nice to have extra to share.
The baby was gifted a port-a-crib by one of my friends, and he was popped right in it in front of their gas fireplace and was settling down all cozy and warm when I finally went home.
I finished getting ready Wednesday, then we finally got away on Thursday. We were pretty tired, so the first day, we didn’t do much, and in fact swapped off taking naps.
We took a few walks. We saw this tree on a hike we took.
Rob and Patsy went rock hunting, but the surf was so wild, and high that they didn’t stay long. Rob felt it was actually dangerous where they were, so left after they scrambled higher onto the path and watched waves cover the path where they just were a minute before. We took a drive one day, and saw even more wild waves. That was the day we got candy at a candy store, and Rob waited in line outside of a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant next door to the candy shop and ordered 2 large fries, thinking we could all share. What he got was 2 huge take-out cartons of plank fries, piping hot and delicious, and we couldn’t even finish them between the 4 of us. What a nice treat!
I had been preparing the camper for this camping season for several weeks–cleaning, organizing, and so forth. I had already filled the fridge with fresh veggies and dairy products when we realized we were not actually going last week. I was able to bring all of that into the house, of course, and not waste it. I found great deals when I went to replace it when we found we could get away last Thursday. One item was milk for 44c/1/2 gallon. I prefer 1/2 gallons in the camper anyway, so it was a super sweet deal for me.
We take our own food, purchased at sale prices or in bulk and transferred into containers. Even the most hard-core McDonald’s lover realized that we cannot pull through a drive through on our way to camping, so he does not beg us to do that. Whew!!! I cooked several things ahead of time such as chili, pork Chile verde, taco meat, hard-boiled eggs and cooked white rice (for Jake mostly). I bought bagels and cream cheese for an easy breakfast in the car this morning on our way home. (Rob never wants to cook a big breakfast, or even sit down while he is packing up, so eats in the car on the day we go home.). Our camper has a very nice propane stove, fridge and freezer, they are just small. Rob often cooks outside, but we knew the weather was going to be rainy part of the time, so I made other arrangements this trip. We did manage one hot dog roast, though.
Of course, Jake went camping with us, as he does every time he can manage it. I did several hours of school with him Friday morning, but otherwise, he was free to play.
Rob and the kids found a garage sale and Jake bought a Mousetrap game for $1. He and I spent an afternoon building the trap and simply trapping the plastic mice. It was pretty fun. He and Patsy played with it another hour or so, and I put it away for next time we go. We also played Quixx and he built his camper Legos. I read aloud for hours, as he became interested in a book about the Dutch resistance in WWII, “The Winged Watchman.”
We even got to go to church on Sunday. We chose one Rob had heard good things about in the town near the campground, and had a nice, socially distanced service. They were following mask wearing to the max, so we felt very safe, and had a wonderful time. Since last Sunday was our first time back in any church building for a year, we didn’t want to miss the second chance we had to go! Everyone was as friendly as can be from 6 feet distance, the sermon was enlightening, and the kids got cookies in little packages afterwards, making them very happy!
It was fun to get away, and equally fun to come home. We got everything put away, and the laundry was started. The weather was so nice this afternoon, Rob and I took a good walk, then I worked outside in the yard, clipping and pruning and weeding, until the yard debris bin was full, just in time for it to be emptied tomorrow. I always like it when it starts to feel like spring and I can get outside!
Every day, Rob has been walking and doing his physical therapy exercises. He is getting a little bored of walking around and around the block near our house, so we’ve been venturing out to other areas. One day, we drove over to the coast and walked on a concrete trail at South Beach State Park. We started at the South Jetty, walked over to the campground and scenic boardwalk viewpoint, and back to the jetty. We are still looking for places that are relatively flat, and smooth, as he is still in the middle of the 6-week “be careful” phase after his surgery. He is easily walking around 2 miles at a time now.
Lovana had the day off, so we picked her up and took her along. It was nice to spend some time with her. Her job is just as busy as it was pre-Covid, in the little coffee/crepe shop. They had a time period, at first, where business was very slow, but now, it’s picked back up, due to the added orders coming in from Uber Eats and Grubhub, coupled with the fact that people can come in and eat at tables that are distanced from each other.
I got my first canner-load of beans this morning, and every one sealed! That makes it a very good morning for me:). I also got my first dill pickles canned–just 4 pints, but it’s a great start. Rob eats a lot of pickles, so I’m hoping to get lots more.
I keep doing yard and garden work at every opportunity. The weeks keep growing, produce needs harvesting, and we did some tilling and transplanting where crops were finished.
I’ve been picking berries and freezing them and now have many, many baggies in the freezers. I was able to freeze 3 baggies of green beans this morning, as well, from what wouldn’t fit into the canner load. We’ve been eating lettuce daily, as well, and the zucchini is trying to take over my fridge! I’ve been sharing, both with the relatives, and also with my neighbor over the fence…I wonder if she would notice if there were zucchini scattered over her yard one morning–maybe the boys would think they grew there……..or not. Actually, I think I’ll shred some up and freeze the baggies.
It’s been pretty hot, for our area–upper 80’s and low 90’s. I dug out some squirt guns and water balloons, and the kids, small and large, had a nice afternoon getting wet.
Those kiddie pools have come in handy since last summer when we bought them! They ended up using buckets, milk jugs, bowls that had berries in them for a snack, and a plastic water pitcher when they felt the squirt guns weren’t enough! Lots of fun for everyone:)
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.
I have been planning an outdoor school experience for Patsy for a few weeks. When Jake heard she was going camping and doing school, he insisted on some school, too:). He was always going camping—he loves it so much. So, along with the notebook I was making for Patsy to do, I had to make one for Jake, too. For his, I had Rob run off some word searches from the internet, and let him do those. I planned lots of fun, outdoor activities, as well, along with “messy” crafts that were perfect for doing outside.
Here’s where the big surprise came in…..I wrote the date down wrong. Really, I did! So, we woke up on Saturday and I leisurely asked Rob to look up which campsite we had, just for fun, and YIKES! we were due down there at the coast that day!!! I called my sister to see if Jake could go with us earlier than we had planned, so they packed him up, came over and helped us get ready and hustled us off on our adventure.
The very first day, there was a ranger program about agates. Rob took the kids down to it and they were hooked! The ranger gave them each 2 agates and they spent hours hunting for more down on the beach in 3 different places. On the 3rd beach we tried, they finally found some. They were excited.
Patsy did bookwork each morning, like language arts, Bible, math, and science. Jake did a few word finds. I read aloud to both of them, mostly things Patsy needed to hear for school–good for them both. I also read a beloved Boxcar Children book to Jake in the evenings. In the afternoons, we did fun activities.
Patsy had chosen 2 simple cooking projects to do on the trip. One was trail mix …
and the other one was Camping Haystacks–mostly a can of chili on top of Fritos with some salad toppings. She loved it! I mean, who wouldn’t want chips for the main part of dinner, right?
Patsy and I went clamming and caught nothing. Jake and Rob did not walk out with us, but instead, Jake dug for gold. He did not find any gold, either, but he made it clear that if he had found any, it was, and I quote, “ALL MINE!”
The weather was amazing. It was in the upper 80’s (or warmer) most of the time. There was wind or a breeze frequently. I heard we escaped some awfully hot weather back in the valley. In this picture, we had gone for a drive and stopped to feed some seagulls.
Patsy and I took a few walks. I have been working on training our dog— if she pulls, the “Haltie” on her nose (black leash) tightens on her nose, which she doesn’t like. If she isn’t pulling, I let her run on the blue leash and let the other one hang loosely. I only tighten the black one if she pulls. I have no idea if anyone else does it that way, but it’s working well. She managed to walk calmly through the entire campground full of dogs and children without going ballistic by the end of the time. I’m starting to take her places with more and more people and animals, and she’s not comfortable, in fact shivering and shaking on the crowded beach one day, but I want her to get used to it.
We read books about fall and decorated fall cookies. I had hoped to bake them before we went, but with our hasty departure I couldn’t, so I had to make them in the camper. It worked, but the oven isn’t the best. Of course, this activity was geared for Jake, but no one argues with cookies around here.
Patsy did another craft..a coconut oil-brown sugar scrub. They both folded some origami animals as well, and decorated sunglasses with duct tape. They had a lot of squirt gun fights.
The tree was a favorite perch all week.
Our other nephew came down the last night after he finished work. Jake immediately roped him into game playing. We had a great visit, although short, and we all headed back to the valley the next morning.
I had Rob develop some pictures of our activities and we put them into a notebook for each kid so they would have good memories to keep about their fun outdoor school.
I am very satisfied with the fact that we are now most of the way through the first 4 weeks of school with Patsy. I hope to finish week 4 today. I love getting started in August. It will give me more leeway during the year when I get super busy. I also love the fact that we could take school on the road, get a lot done, but still have so much time to enjoy the outdoors. It took a lot of planning and a lot of supplies for so many crafts and hands-on activities, but I love to do that.
On Wednesday, the weather started to change. I enjoyed the cooler weather, and came home Thursday to a city that was considerably cooler than it has been, which was a relief. I gave a happy, sun-tanned boy back to his daddy and he’s going to spend the next couple of days snuggling with his mama. I’m going to put the house back together, can up some applesauce and start working outside in the garden and yard a bit over the next few days. Things are quite messy after 2 trips away, but then again, the work will always be here. Little boys and teen-age girls won’t.
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.
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.
This week, one of Patsy’s new daffodils bloomed! This past fall, she planted a few special ones amongst the yellow ones she planted the first fall we moved in here. We didn’t buy many, and they were from Winco, so I was hoping we would get a nice one or two. We were not disappointed. I notice there is another one like it about to bloom, too! Hopefully, they will multiply in time as well as the yellow ones do.
We finally got some seeds planted, and just today a few broccoli plants have popped up.
We camped for 3 nights at the beach, using the park pass. We enjoyed some exceptionally nice weather, for the Oregon coast. Patsy and I took 2 nice walks and she collected rocks. Our second walk was abruptly terminated when a sneaker wave filled my rubber boots. Then, we got a lot of cheap entertainment trying to dry out the boots:). And me! Rob made a contraption from duct tape and boards and we propped them up on that until the duct tape gave out and they collapsed. Then, he rigged up a paper plate between the 2 boots, put that over the heater in the camper, and conducted the air into each boot that way. We didn’t want to set rubber boots right on top of a heater vent. We wanted the heat to go inside. By last night, they were about dry.
We enjoyed our camp spot. We got near enough to the ocean that we could see it from the door of our camper when it was not blocked by another camper–so part of the time. It was a short walk to the beach from our site and was easy to see–I walked a few steps and soaked in the beauty a few times. Rob made a big fire, and he and Patsy sat by it a lot. They played cards. Rob roasted things over the fire. I had pre-cooked some things, cooked a lot of veggies and made salads in the camper.
I have a quilt that I started 15-20 years ago. Yes. Really. That long. It has lived in the camper for a few years now because sometimes that was the only time in an entire year I could find the time to quilt. This trip, I really made some progress on it while Patsy watched some DVD’s. We’ve been taking Mr. Jake camping the past few times, and there’s no quilting to be done when that boy is there! After all, how could I quilt with the table covered with Legos? :). This time, he’s on vacation with his family. He will get a turn later in the summer.
I finally have hope that this quilt may someday get finished. It took me quite a while to even figure out what needed to be done and find the parts and pieces, but once I did, the project started moving along. Everything still seems to be there so far!
I worked on my current quilt at home quite a bit this week as well, before we went camping. I have only 1 more 6″ square to complete of the 20 needed for the main body. Then, there is quite a bit more to do to make it larger–there are going to be 2 special rows down below, plus borders all around, but I’m really gaining on it.
We drove back this morning so Patsy could go on her Spring Break Service Project with the youth group. It’s just a couple of days long, but we didn’t want her to have to miss it.
Patsy has an interest in rocks, shells, and fossils. We found this interesting fossil-filled rock on one of our walks. She also collected 2 small rocks with fossils in them. We will hopefully see many more when we go back down to the beach. Last year, Rob and one of his best friends took her on a rock-hunting expedition. Maybe this will turn into a nice hobby for her–time will tell.
Down at the coast again–crazy, I know! We took one last quick trip camping at the beach this weekend. We were fortunate enough that Lovana had the ability to get time off and go along, so we took her down there. She hasn’t been able to go at all this summer until now. It was a whirlwind trip, and we are back home already. Because I knew we were going again, I was able to leave a lot of things in the fridge of the camper last week. I left clothing enough in there for this time, and things like my embroidery were also just left in there. After we returned this afternoon, we really cleaned it out of perishable things and things I would want. I’m also going to wash some bedding, and actually got in the bunkhouse where the girls sleep while we were down there, and cleaned out a lot of cluttery things and wiped off the window ledges, etc. That’s not necessarily frugal, but it counts as a feel-good moment, for sure:)
We went clamming in Yaquina Bay, where Patsy skunked me–getting 11 clams while I only got 5, and mine were smaller:). We just cleaned and froze them, and another meal of clam chowder is on the horizon in the future. Rob went down with us, and he did get one. It was a different kind, and he dug for it in a different area while we were raking for ours out further.
Before we left on Friday afternoon, we had a busy, productive week. Patsy started school, and Rob and I worked many, many hours with the kids, as they are now on vacation and we will not work with them this week at all. We got the chore routine going, by having the kids do them several days this week. Rob took Michaela to her volunteering. I took her to the zoo on Jake’s first day of school. She had so much fun. We went to the tigers 3 times, some other things twice, and skipped several animals entirely. A cheetah decided to sit down by the viewing window, and Michaela sat there for at least 15-20 minutes, just enjoying the big cat. I took food with us, and we re-filled the 2 water bottles purchased at the zoo in years past. If you take the time to wash them and bring them back, they will re-fill them with soda for $1. We also got one order of fries for us girls to share. (J went with us.). I used our zoo pass for admission. It was a frugal, fun day. It was so nice to have a relaxing day after all the canning I had been doing before and after watching the kids.
I pre-cooked and prepared some of our food for camping so it would be easy while we were there. I made it super easy, and just used the jarred sauce and didn’t even add meat this time. We used up parmesan cheese packets that I’d had in a ziplock for ages. They were from when the older girls ordered pizza at some point. Lovana took us out to lunch yesterday. It was a nice treat, and we ate the food I took the rest of the time.
Before my sister’s family went on vacation, I was over there working with the kids. My brother-in-law kindly offered me all the rest of the perishable food that would go bad while they were gone. I got 2 sad bananas and made banana-coconut bread for the trip. There was cilantro and 2 halves of white onion, so I added garden tomatoes and peppers and made Pico de Gallo. There were corn chips in the camper, so we ate it with them. There were some limes, so I juiced them out and froze the juice in tiny containers for when I have a recipe that calls for them, after I used what I needed for the Pico. Rob saved them a fortune by taking them to the airport and he will pick them up. Parking is quite expensive up at the airport.
Rob made stuffed zucchini one night for dinner. It was great, and a welcome meal after coming home from work. The zucchini has slowed down to a nice level of production, and we enjoy having it in more moderate quantities.
My aunt passed a few tomatoes on to me, and I got 5 more pints with what I had on hand from my garden, plus hers. I hope to get another small batch of pints this week, as well. Little by little, I’m coming to the end of the canning season. I still have a few more things I want to make, though, like salsa, salsa verde from the remaining green tomatoes once the season is over, maybe taco sauce if I can find a good recipe, some dried herbs, etc. My focus is still on using the fresh items as much as possible while they are available, but we have started popping open a few jars. That’s what they are for, and I’m glad to have them.
How did your week go? Did you have any “feel-good” cleaning moments or save money in a creative way?