Tag Archives: Easter

What Happened to March? 2024

My life has been such a whirlwind that I blinked…..and March was gone! I cannot believe it is April, but the calendar says it truly is:). What have I been doing? So many things. Here are a few of them.

Easter was amazing. First we went to church and had a wonderful service. I was in the choir, and we had been practicing for weeks on a couple of very powerful songs, and I enjoyed singing them. After church, we had a house full of family and friends…probably around 26 or 27….and I mean a house full, because, as you know, we live in a house with about 1,100 square feet. The weather cooperated and it was nice, which took a lot of pressure off the house itself since people could go out into the yard.

I cooked and cooked and cooked for that. So did Rob. He bbq’d shrimp, the huge fish he caught last summer, ham, chicken and pork. I mashed 10 lbs of potatoes. I used green beans from the garden (5 quarts) and made a huge green bean casserole and boiled some home-canned corn. I made black-bottomed cupcakes, ice cream angel food cake and a white chocolate-raspberry cheesecake. People brought things like salad, some drinks, pie. etc. Still others slipped me some cash to help buy the ham, etc. We put tables and chairs in every crack and corner of our house…. even some in Malcolm’s bedroom and outside.

After we ate, and ate and ate (there was very little left over–just enough for people to take a few leftovers), a friend set up an Easter egg hunt for the kids out on the lawn. They had a great time.

We did so many other fun things in March, as well. Spring break was an especially busy week. We took our grandsons and nephew up to OMSI one day. We took one grandson and our nephew to the Oregon Coast Aquarium one day. There was an afternoon at the church where kids could come play in the gym, and Rob and I were in charge of the snacks, Of course, we took boys to that, as well. There were other times during that week that we helped out with some organizing and cleaning down at the church, to get ready for the return of the kids that are in the after-school program. Thankfully, there were many volunteers and we did a minimum amount of that job, but we still wanted to help.

During the month, our weekly commitments of teaching Sunday School, and cooking for the young adult group continued. We cooked things like tacos, pulled pork and chicken, soups, muffins, desserts, and more…all with gluten-free and dairy-free options. You never know if there are going to be 25 or 40 people, so we all make lots! There are 3 families on the main cooking team, so it’s nice that I don’t need to make it all alone. One night, a lady that is not on the team bought lots of pizzas at Costco for the group because she wanted to be supportive. She sure was! We have breakfast-for-dinner, ham (bought before Easter at 77c/lb), and chicken legs (bought on clearance for 50c/lb and frozen) planned for this upcoming month.

We have also been working an exceeding amount of hours lately, for various reasons.

Rob and I are trying to slip out and take a walk whenever we can. On this day, we were being silly and trying to take a selfie in front of the gorgeous tulips. I was having to stand on my tiptoes to get tall enough for the phone to catch both me and the flowers….

If all this wasn’t enough, we received some exciting news. Rob was asked to go to Kenya in MAY (yes–this May!) to help with VBS for around 300 kids, Sunday School for 150-twice, and some work with children in children’s homes. The team will also be working with some of the people who are in the agriculture program…looking at their efforts and I’m not exactly sure what else Rob could do other than admiring what they’ve done. (We do grow a huge garden and Rob has some agricultural experience in raising our own pigs, chickens, turkeys, etc. in the past, plus some other farming experience, but I think they have experts who help them with the actual farming practices in their area, but I don’t really know. Some others on the team may be doing more with that part–time will tell). This is the same mission organization that Rob went to Bangladesh with last year, and, when they needed more help for this trip, they thought of Rob because he has a lot of experience in working with children. After praying about it for a couple of days, he said “yes” and we are in a whirlwind of planning now. I’m so excited for him.

I will be holding down the fort here, as I did last year–working as much as I can while I help take care of Malcolm and try to be in two different places at the same time quite often….. I can’t tell you how many times Rob is picking someone up while I’m picking someone else up at the same time, but we will figure out a way. This is too good of an opportunity to pass up! The same God who laid it on people’s hearts to ask him to go, the same God who laid it on his heart to accept that invitation is the same God who will provide both the funds for the trip and the strength and ability for both Rob who is going, and me, who is trying to organize all the things at home. I’m excited because I love to see God do amazing things!

Easter–2023

Happy Easter! We had a wonderful weekend around here and I hope you all did, too.

We started the weekend on Saturday with 6 adults and 2 babies all working together. Seriously, that’s what it took to dye eggs with 2 toddlers:). We had so much fun. Then, my sister and aunt helped clean and tidy up for Easter.

Sunday was a super busy day at church. I was in choir and then Rob and I helped in a classroom 2nd hour after attending 1st–he held down the fort while I sang for 2nd, then I hoofed it upstairs ASAP. So, I wanted Easter dinner to be done ahead as much as possible. I wanted to be in the moment during services on Easter. It is a highly significant day for me, and I didn’t want my mind distracted by the meal. It wasn’t!

I got to make the angel-food, rainbow sherbet cake because I finally made room in my freezer for it! I hadn’t made this cake for several years, so it was nice to have it again. I did it all ahead, except for the fresh raspberries, which I added when I pulled it out to serve it.

I made a banana-walnut bundt cake early Saturday morning.

I made a gluten-free bread bunny last week and froze it. I hadn’t done this for years, and was happy with how it turned out. I cut all the veggies and dip the day before Easter, and only had to fill his “tummy” and put the veggies around right before we ate.

It served as the centerpiece and candy served as the main decor along with the eggs the babies colored.

We did not have an egg hunt for the big kids, who are mainly in their 20’s. Instead, I put a few coins in about 12 eggs and candy in another 10 and the babies and my nephew hunted for those. I told all the adults to just eat the candy off the tables. Everyone was happy.

The babies got a small Easter basket with toys. Play Dough was the biggest hit and Mac played with it for a long time. Zai played with the container….:)

We had a joyous Easter!

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–April 18, 2022

We had a wonderful Easter Day, yesterday. We went to church, for the early service, and then came home to feast with our extended family.

I was especially happy with how the African violet my niece gave me for Christmas 2 years ago rose to the occasion and bloomed so festively. For decorations, I used several tablecloths I’ve had for years. They were either from yard sales or my grandmothers, and I love them.

One bunch of mini roses and one bunch of baby’s breath became additional bouquets for the tables. From those 2 bunches, I got 5 mini-bouquets and one large one.

I chose to use lots of real dishes this year. Although this decision was not made to save money, but to enjoy some pretty things I have, I was able to save the paper plates I bought for another occasion.

On Thursday, the egg-dippers did a wonderful job of coloring eggs. One dipped many.

One dipped only a very few, but they were very carefully decorated.

One was very new at the entire process, so just dropped lots of eggs into the yellow cup once he got the idea.

The supervisor supervised.

The 3 favorite eggs were given a “place of honor” on the mantle and enjoyed by all.

Many of the colored eggs were transformed and eaten on Easter. I still have several boiled ones in the fridge. With egg shortages and price hikes, I was super glad to have gotten 5 dozen for $5 a couple of weeks ago. This week, we found none on sale anywhere, and in fact, at 2 stores Rob visited for other items, he noticed there were no eggs at all in either store, except for a few super expensive organic ones.

As I mentioned last week, my menu was simple, and made ahead. Several people pitched in items, and I will say we ended up with so much dessert we all had several kinds:). There was purposefully way too much food, so everyone took home what they wanted and didn’t have to cook for a few days unless they wanted to.

My aunt brought lots of eggs stuffed with candy, as she does every year. It took Malcolm about 2 seconds to figure out that there was candy in those eggs. He quickly went over in a corner and started stuffing his mouth with chocolate. He did hunt for a few eggs, but quickly got distracted with the fact that there was CANDY in there Every. Single. Time.

Until there wasn’t:). Bummer!

Although much of my week was consumed with getting my house and food ready for Easter Day, we also a few other activities. We shopped for last minute items, but did not need much other than we got last week. We did pick up any great bargains that were offered, since we were at the store anyway.

Rob and I helped in the kitchen at a children’s event at church. We handed out donuts and fruit drink. Rob made coffee. They shot candy out of a cannon and the kids picked it up–like a glorified piƱata. There was so much candy and sugar–the kids thought it was perfect! It was a little overwhelming for the Malcolm, so he happily got into my friend, Debbie’s wagon with her nephew, and they munched candy for a short time!

We experienced a crazy weather week. Although Portland, north of us, got a lot of snow, and made national news, we did get a light amount one morning. It hailed a LOT, several times. It was sunny and warm at times. It frosted hard several mornings.

Somehow my baby veggies survived it all, although some of my little broccoli plants look battered. If any of this early crop survives, it will be a bonus. I was able to pick overwintered spinach to mix with purchased head lettuce for our Easter salad. I also used lots of chives for our baked potato bar. I also put them in some chip/veggie dip I made and picked some parsley for that, as well.

It looks like a lot of rain coming our way this week, but soon I will be able to get out there in the garden and yard and really get busy growing things for this summer. I’m looking forward to it.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week-April 12, 2022

We had just a few minutes Sunday evening before we had to be somewhere, and stopped at a park by the Willamette River to take a short walk. Before it started to rain heavily on our heads and we scurried back to the car, we saw this boat full of what we believe were tourists.

After some instruction from the person standing up in the back, the whole crew started to row as per her instructions and before we knew it, they navigated away from the dock and into the river. They are tougher than I felt yesterday. The rain was icy and the temperature in the 40’s with a wind whistling over the water. Rob and I marveled at their persistence, and happily got into our car, turned on the heater and went on our way. It’s been very cold here. Portland, Oregon, got SNOW! Rare at any time, but in mid April? Crazy! We didn’t. We are a bit to the south of there, but it’s not warm here, either.

We took several walks last week. On one of our walks, we found a lady setting out a twin-sized bed frame in excellent condition, so we happily grabbed it and carried it home. I’m sure people were marveling at OUR persistence. We now have a frame for the spare bed in my back room. We made that lady very happy, too, as she wanted it to go where someone would use it. Today, we set it up. Rob cut boards he had scavenged and put the slats in the frame and we added the mattresses that had previously been on the floor of the spare room. Now it will be higher and much, much better for laying my quilt squares out on so I can see how they look before I sew them together. Visiting kids will enjoy sleeping on it, as well, I hope, although they never seem to have minded the mattresses on the floor.

I continued my project of cleaning out small areas or working on unfinished projects. Rob has been cleaning, too, which helps. Yesterday, he tackled a larger area in hopes of getting bags of trash since we had room in the garbage can. I joined him after Jake and I were done with school. We were not disappointed. We filled 2 whole bags and used every bit of space in that can. We may have a garage sale eventually, but some things just aren’t worth saving to that end or donating.

Many years ago, one of my children decided to make a “chicken” quilt. We cut out simple squares together, and they sewed a few together with my help, and then lost interest. I ripped quite a few blocks apart and started re-sewing them and made a few more. I threw away the squared with holes?? in them???? No idea what happened there… Now I’m working on putting a sashing between the blocks. Rob’s mom turns 90 this year. She loves chickens. I’m hoping to finish this one up before her birthday in July.

Jake and I got a morning of free entertainment and a free field trip all in one when two men parked this truck right in front of my house and proceeded to clean out a water line in the street. They were more than patient and answered every single one of the many questions he asked and explained it all to him in minute detail. His only disappointment was that no water shot up high and no one got squirted:). When that was shared with one of them men, he laughed and said he almost did get squirted, but they are supposed to do it in such a way that water is not wasted, so they don’t use any more than they absolutely need and reclaim it, but once in a while some does get away. Just not that day!

And, Jeannie in Tennessee, this picture is for you. Jake wants you to see this water line cleaner truck–since you’ve sent him interesting pictures of storms before. (Jeannie has been Jake’s pen pal for a few years now, although he tends to be a bit fickle–nothing for months, then out of the blue–demands I post something for her–it’s fun!)

Grocery shopping happened at 2 stores because they each had things on sale that we wanted. Rob did one store and I did the other. We got almost everything we wanted for Easter dinner along with things we were out of. I’m hoping I either don’t have to shop at all, or just buy a few things this Friday.

I spent some time today going through cupboards and pulling out some nice dishes I want to use for Easter dinner. I also pulled out any spring decorations I found and some tablecloths. I’m actually going to start pre-cooking several things over the next 2 days. We have some extra activities to do at church this weekend, including a kids’ activity we signed up to help with on Saturday. I want to have most of Easter dinner prepared ahead of time so I can enjoy the day.

I’m off to a good start. I’m keeping the meal itself simple. I’m planning ham (already in the fridge–87c/lb–great deal!–Rob will cook on the BBQ), twice-baked potatoes (ingredients already in the fridge and pantry–can be made ahead and baked easily that day after early service at church), canned corn (all the work done last summer), cupcakes (thank you, Jake–we got that done already and they are frozen waiting for frosting), cheesecake with gluten-free snickerdoodle cookie crust (again, Jake and I made the cookies last week, and I practiced in my Instant Pot already so that will go quick and you HAVE to make it ahead of time–blueberries frozen for topping from last summer, ingredients in fridge), green salad (spinach ready to pick in raised bed, head lettuce easy to get if we run out, salad dressing purchased on sale last week), dill pickle rolls (pickles made last summer, lunchmeat and cream cheese in fridge, bought on sale a couple of weeks ago), drinks purchased (seltzer and soda, tea, coffee, water), and so forth. This gives me time to indulge myself if I get a bee in my bonnet and decide to make something else at the last minute…I usually get an urge for deviled eggs…..You get the idea. Preplanning is the key for me. Then I don’t feel stressed out at all. I will even put out all the dishes and things the day before so I can focus on the family on the day itself.

I’m looking forward to the day.