Tag Archives: frugal accomplishemnts

Thriving In My Thrifty Week-Aug. 28, 2023

I spent a lot of time preserving last week. I also enjoyed my flowers as I went to and from the garden.

My table looked like this for most of the week. Early in the week, my sister shared beans, corn and peaches from her place. The tomatoes keep ripening on our vines and other veggies do, too.

This is how my outside table looked late that same night.

Rob dug out my drying racks and I pulled the onions. We had many more, but we have been eating, sharing and preserving with them. We have plenty left for winter use.

I used quite a few mild and spicy peppers to make a pepper sauce, canned whole and diced tomatoes and made bruschetta in a jar.

I used lots of odds and ends of food up. I made the rest of the tomatoes that wouldn’t fit in a canner into pizza sauce. I will make pizza soon or freeze it.

Bananas became banana bread. You can also see the melons I picked—Ha Ogen. We have had several from our bushes and there are more ripening. They are like a honeydew in many ways, but maybe a little firmer. Peppers were put into a big pot of refried beans. The last bit of a Costco chicken was boiled to make broth, then made into chicken and noodles. Because we’ve been preserving so much, some meals have been less than stellar, so it’s been nice to get time to make a few that are more tasty.

The yard and garden look terrible because they are so weedy. Once I get through this busy preserving time, I think they will be getting some serious attention. I’m glad the weather has cooled down—it’s so much easier to work out there?

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–July 5, 2022

This was a week of birthday parties. On Saturday, we celebrated Rob’s Mom’s 90th birthday. I finished her quilt just in time! The quilt shop I use (Will n’ Beez) did such a great job, but they have so much business the quilt was there until the week before the party.

Jeff, our machine quilter, even found a chicken design to quilt it with.

I was able to use the leftover pieces, scraps and coordinating fabrics to make the back of the quilt, so it is reversible. The chicken design shows up best on the plain part, though. But this way, I could use up a lot of the extra fabrics and not have to buy another big piece for the back.

We put up awnings in our yard. Flowerpots were moved from the deck to the yard, around the awnings and lawn chairs and tables were added. Rob sourced 2 wine barrels from a friend of a friend and put boards across for the burger bar. We also had pulled pork I had made a couple of weeks ago and froze for this occasion.

We left the awnings up, and the base pieces of decor, like the barrels and changed out the other more specific decorations for the boys’ birthday party the next day.

When I found out that I was babysitting BOTH babies that morning, unexpectedly, I called in the troops to help me. My aunt and sister answered the plea, and we managed to get everything done in time.

I only had time to work in the garden a couple of times. One time, I weeded, pulled spent plants and replanted lettuce. Another time, I harvested a few peas, snow peas and lettuce. I was able to pick and wash enough lettuce for both parties that were at our house this weekend, plus some to share. I picked a few strawberries and raspberries here and there, as well. I even got a very few, tiny, but ripe tomatoes!

Although I felt like I spent my life savings at Safeway this week because I needed so many things, I did get quite a few good bargains. I got chips for 97c/bag. There was a deal for diapers, and I ended up getting 2-64 count boxes of diapers for $20. Soda was a good price and we got 4 boxes for the first party.

We spent the 4th at my sister’s house, having a delightful, calm barbecue. It was nice to just sit and visit after all the entertaining.

I am ready for a quiet week now. If only the neighbors would run out of fireworks……

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–June 13, 2022

Toward the end of last summer, I was only getting a few strawberries each time I picked. I washed them and put them in a large baggie in the freezer, and ended up with about 8 cups, mashed. Today, I used that large bagful, together with the last 3 baggies from 2020 that had been lost in the freezer, the freshly picked ones from my bushes and a few from some my sister gave us to eat.

I made a double batch of jam and canned 17–1/2 pints. I will be u-picking or buying more berries to freeze for smoothies, and likely make more jam once it dries up a bit.

This flowerbed is looking great. The dahlias in the back come back every year. Rob grew the marigolds from a Dollar Tree packet (4/$1 at the time of purchase). The poppies came up volunteer from last year’s poppies and so did the nasturtiums. The geraniums were wintered-over by Rob, in the greenhouse. A neighbor told me last week she paid $9 for one geranium and $7 for one impatient. I told Rob he was worth a fortune…but not just for his geraniums:)

This flowerbed is shaping up, too. The dahlias are Rob’s project. The nasturtiums came up volunteer and I transplanted several volunteer zinnias into this area.

We helped chaperone a party for the 5th grade Sunday school class we teach. It was at an indoor trampoline park. Jake got to go with us, and had so much fun bouncing. We had fun watching all the kids we have been teaching have so much fun. Our church’s Children’s Director had to set it up as a birthday party to reserve one of the little eating areas, so the kids had pizza and pop and each got a pair of socks as part of the experience. Those kids moved up to mid-high last week, and yesterday we got a new batch of students. We are looking forward to getting to know these new-to-us kiddos and have lots planned for them.

Our local Safeway had a grand re-opening celebration. The store was recently renovated and, although it stayed open the entire time, it was kind of hard to navigate at times. Patsy and I went down early. I grabbed my groceries–about $20 worth, as that’s all I needed, and was given this bag of groceries, along with a bag of granola which is not pictured. Patsy was buying an item for herself and was given a bag, as well. I love having new bags, too, as some of mine are getting sad-looking.

The groceries were in limited supply, but there were fun activities that were going to start, so Rob took Jake by there a while later after he picked him up for the day. To our surprise, Rob also was given a bag of groceries, plus many free products and coupons from the produce area. Now I have coupons for free salad dressing, baby potatoes, sourkrout, and more, along with the free products he got. Jake got to sample things, play games, spin wheels, and ended up with chap stick, which he adores! Although it would have been fun to stay at Safeway all day, they came home and left the hot dogs and Mac and cheese behind for others.

Patsy cut Rob’s hair. He just couldn’t find time to go to the barber shop, so he had her do it. It is cool for summer now.

I took the kids to the library and got books and movies.

We have 3 birthdays in 8 days, for 3 daughters. I made cupcakes and a spaghetti dinner for Patsy on Tuesday, went to dinner with Abbie on Wednesday, and am still waiting for the 3rd one to happen this week. I sent Jake and Rob to the mall to buy gifts and they did a great job using coupons at Bath and Body Works, and got what I asked for at Macy’s. I made the cupcakes and Rob decorated them.

Those two also went to a few yard sales. Jake was given all kinds of Pokemon items, which he loves. We will be helping with the reception for our niece’s wedding this fall. A loose plan has been formulated for decor of the food area, and now Rob has some items to source. He will be looking at yard sales to see what he can find. For instance, they want a cookie bar. Boards will be placed between 2 old, but decorated rustic ladders and used for shelves for platters of cookies. Crates and baskets will add height to the food display. Food will be simple, but decorated with garnishes to look catered and fancy. Rob’s 100 dahlia plants (that’s kind of a joke–not sure how many he actually has) will hopefully give some blooms of good colors and we will use those and chrysanthemums–probably white mainly.

We will be using things around the house, as well. Our niece asked me and Jake’s mom to organize the reception and do the cooking. Our husbands just got lucky and get to help as well:). We are all very excited! Rob sent a text to quite a few of his friends saying: I need ___, ___, and ____ for a wedding reception I’m helping with. If you have any of those items that you never want to see again, let me know, because I won’t be returning them. If you want to keep your things, do not feel bad, I just want the things people are finished with. He got quite a bit of response already, even offers to go through basements, etc. He’s going to gather up what he can and start from there re-using the items. My sister and I can add bows, paint things, etc. , if needed. We are a long ways out from this event, but I will certainly post when that day comes, or items are finished. Not only is this a frugal way to do things, it uses items that are simply languishing in basements and putting them to good purpose. It’s win-win!

Thriving In My Thrifty Week-April 25, 2022

The weather finally perked up and we got outside a couple of times. Grandpa has a new helper who happily watered the pots.


And again…..

And again…..

You may notice he got a little wet and the pots got a LOT wet.

Even though the most fun is playing with the boys, we did do a few other things this week.

I cooked chicken-curry-rice casserole.

I baked peanut-butter chocolate chip cookies and banana muffins. There were just a few pieces of very brown, frozen bananas in a baggie that fell out of the freezer one day, and I found a better place for them to be–in muffins! We had BBQ’d chicken drumsticks, mashed potatoes and green beans several times. The girls brought take-and-bake pizza one day and that also lasted several days. Easter leftovers were eaten up and the fridge is about empty enough for me to cook a couple of things again.

I worked on some quilting projects and finished the chicken quilt. It was turned into the shop to be machine quilted. We took a few walks, and Rob took our niece down to the Kroc center to swim.

Rob continues to plant his little starts in pots and has put them here and there. They are going to be so pretty as they grow.

He saved many, many dahlia bulbs from some a friend gave us last summer plus the ones he dug up from the corner of the garden. He also received some for his birthday. They are starting to come up in the greenhouse and he has a few places he plans to plant them once they get larger.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–April 4, 2022

Rob and I were able to take a couple of interesting walks this week. One was to Bush Pasture Park. This house is a museum, which I have never toured, but we really enjoyed the flowers today.

There were hundreds of tulips blooming in different areas.

In a different area of the park, there are large areas of Camas Bulbs. The Native American people who lived in our area used to dig them up and eat the bulbs.

There were other gorgeous wild flowers blooming, as well.

We walked a little over a mile there, and had a great time. The weather could not make up it’s mind. First, there would be sunshine and blue sky. It felt like 2 minutes later, there was strong wind and a heavy rain shower. Crazy!

It’s a good thing I took my heavy coat and my garage sale find–a $2 umbrella. The wind was so strong it blew my hair back severely and almost turned my “new” umbrella inside out. Invigorating, to be sure!

We were able to get a few flowerpots at the same garage sale. We also got baby books for 25c/each and a couple of flannel shirts for $1/each. We only stopped at the one sale, as we were on our way somewhere, but were pleased at our finds.

Rob was the chauffeur for my aunt and I, and drove us up and down the valley on a quilt shop hop. It’s the first one I’ve heard up since before Covid, so it was fun to go to 6 shops in one day and just look at all the goodies they had. At every shop, they gave us a free kit for a block to make up at home. We did the other 2 shops the next day, making a total of 8 visited in two days. We saved the ones near to home for last so they were easy for me to stop at on Saturday.

We had a lovely picnic lunch during our day out, and the weather was warm and sunny. We stopped in a little park with only one picnic table, but the solitary woman eating her first picnic of the season was cheerful and willing to share the table with us. It was really fun to get out.

Now I have 8 blocks to sew up. It feels a little like backward progress on my use-it-up project, but it was a very fun day and will be fun to have a new project.

I’ve been choosing areas and cleaning them out. I worked on the garage a little this week, but there’s lots of stuff left to go through out there. I’ve been sorting and organizing quilting fabric and unfinished projects during that project in a different room. Although I have so very many places left to clean and so very, very many projects to finish from over the years, I have been making progress.

I finished the baby/toddler quilt that used fabric purchased years ago, along with scraps from other projects. I went down to my local quilt shop to buy a backing piece and turned it in to be machine quilted. I’m kicking myself because I forgot to take a picture before I did that. I was so excited to have finished another project. I’ll post one once it comes back.

We spent quite a bit of time studying and preparing for our 5th grade Sunday school lesson. Each weeks gets easier as we adjust to the curriculum, which is set up very differently than any we have used in the past. One thing that is different is that it’s all on-line. This time there were slides that you could download onto a memory stick from one place onto our Chromebook and then fasten the Chromebook up to the tv in the classroom and show pictures/slides that went with the lesson during class. Um-huh. Right. Uhhhhh…..We figured out how to download it all from the web to our memory stick to the Chromebook, but had no idea which cord plugged in where…..

We are learning fast. You could say Rob got a free class from one of the patient pastors after he made an appointment and just went down there to figure out where each cord was supposed to attach. We didn’t want to figure it out Sunday morning. I guess the kids hadn’t had that option very many times because they were very excited to get to see something up on the tv, but not nearly as excited as we were when Rob got something to show up on the tv….. I got the easy part this week. I taught the Bible lesson, read off the review questions and kept score during the games. And ate chocolate. We actually team teach, so we decide ahead of time who does which part, and we each spend some time talking during class.

This was one of my favorite parts of class this week. Rob held the 2 Hula Hoops while the kids threw paper airplanes at him. If they got it through the hoops, they could choose the review question to answer. If they missed, Rob chose. It was Rob vs. the TEAM, and the TEAM won! Everyone had a blast, especially when one kid nailed him right between the eyes with the plane, in the stomach, and even in the sink. (He was not hurt in the slightest). Rob, being Rob, let everyone who made a spectacular hit of any kind choose the number of the question to answer. There were 42. We didn’t get quite all of them done, but had fun trying! They even got a lot of answers right, which we can take absolutely no credit for as we just started, but their previous teacher obviously taught the material well, or they are all geniuses, or maybe both:)

We also practiced the memory verse while passing a chocolate egg down the line with a plastic spoon, behind their backs, under their legs, with their left hands, etc. Then we ate chocolate. It’s turning out to be a lot of fun. They are a great bunch of kids and turning out to be delightful to work with. We have had about 9 or 10 each time, so far, so it’s a nice sized group.

I made a big batch of spaghetti sauce, using my home-canned tomatoes/tomato sauce, plus lots of onions. They have kept well. This is April, after all. But the red ones are wanting to grow, so it’s a race to use as many as I can and freeze a few now and then for later. I also made chicken soup, biscuits, and sweet and sour pork. I cooked brown rice in the Instant Pot and froze some for quick meals later one. We had pork roast meat, also, on salads and for meals. I thawed squash and corn, and cooked green beans.

Patsy came home for the weekend and I had her choose senior picture options from the 273 ones her Dad took. We will order some announcements and get some printed up from her choices very soon, along with some prints for the relatives. We picked her up Friday evening and took her back Sunday evening, so enjoyed a couple of pleasant country drives.