Tag Archives: Frugal Accomplishments

Thriving In My Thrifty Week+Bits From Rob’s Trip to Kenya–May 29, 2024

I was able to use our OMSI membership again last week when Malcolm and I took Rob to the airport. Malcolm sure loves it there and it just seemed like a good way to get his mind off the fact that Papa was leaving on that airplane! It kind of worked. He had a lot of fun while we were there. He sure misses his Papa, though, and asks for him repeatedly.

I’ve been working in the yard and garden whenever I can get a few minutes. I’m purposing to work at least a little every day and I’ve reached that goal most days. I did get the back raised bed cleaned out at last! I planted a few veggies in there and a few seeds last evening. I put in a few more snow peas, lettuce and green onions for a succession planting, along with the 2 tomatoes, basil and parsley I planted. There are a few garlic plants that survived the winter. Frankly, I was surprised. I thought they were super hardy, but most did not live through our winter. I didn’t think it was very harsh, except for one week. But, for whatever reason, most died.

We had a nice day with the little boys. My daughter and I thought we could handle them together, so we had Zai over to play with Malcolm. They are quite a handful when they get together, but we all had a great time, I thought. They played outside a lot, I made them ice cream cones, they played with the car, the hose, and dug up my cucumbers before I caught them…..you know….just a simple afternoon in the yard:). They “helped” me plant a few flowerpots and did a thousand other things.

Rob is having a wonderful trip to Kenya. Communication is spotty, brief and intermittent. But some pictures have come through on What’s App, along with a few texts and even a few broken-up at times phone calls. It looks like he’s staying in a wonderful place…so beautiful.

I guess this is him doing devotions for the staff. Of what, I’m not sure, but maybe a children’s home. I do know he’s working there in the evenings. All will be explained fully once he gets home:). He has also taken several perilous rides on extremely bumpy, slippery roads, if his pictures are any indications. I know he’s gone to orphanages in the evenings and played with kids, helped with Sunday School for around 200 kids last Sunday (with only about 2 local helpers and the 4 of them that were on that project–yikes!!), toured several chicken farms, ate one of the chickens for lunch, went to a coffee farm, and worked at a hospice home yesterday. He actually rolled bandages! He also spent time with the residents.

The organization he’s gone to Kenya with is a mission organization that works with local organizations in each country. That is why the work is so diverse. On this trip, there is the work with children, the hospice center, and agriculture. Many women have enrolled in the program “Women of Change” and started agricultural businesses so they can have another option from brewing alcohol like they used to do. Many are becoming very successful. There is also a large coffee-growing componant that is part of the work. Rob did mention that although they grow wonderful coffee, most people there drink instant….???? I guess on this upcoming weekend, they will be inviting lots of people to church, and having a VBS for around 300 (they guess) kids, along with Sunday School for another group this weekend. They’ve asked for a few more helpers:).

My information is spotty, and may be a bit inaccurate, but that is what I’m gleaning fro the pictures and bits of information I’m getting here and there. Once he gets home next week, I’m very eager to hear all about it in every detail.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–April 21, 2024

We finally emptied the finished compost bin! This has been a process I’ve been working on for a few weeks. Malcolm loves to help me. When I said I was going out to dig up the compost heap, he yelled, “YEA! Let’s go!” Some compost went on 2 raised beds I’ve been cleaning out when I have a moment. Some went on one row of dahlias I cleaned out, some on the raspberry row and the rest was thrown onto the garden to be tilled in later on.

We tied up the raspberries. We are very late with that chore, but at least it’s done now. The Marion (black) berries were done a couple of weeks ago. Rob and I worked together–one held up floppy vines and the other tied the knots. Of course, our grandson was right in there helping out. At one point, he pulled the baling twine string out of the bucket all the way down the row, around the end, around my boots, around to the other side where Papa was, to try to give him some string. Once I got untangled, we continued on with the project. It really was quite cute, since I didn’t fall or anything.

Last week, we worked a crazy amount of hours. We did a lot of fun activities as part of that work, and some just for fun. It was so busy, though, that Rob and I divided and conquered at times. One or both of us took kids to the aquarium, OMSI, swimming pool, store, church, a nerf gun war, to volunteer at the food bank, to volunteer at the after school program our church runs for a local school, school, preschool (back and forth on both counts), choir practice (one wanted to go watch one day, another wanted to “sing in the choir” as I practiced Sunday morning), played games, watched movies, ate popcorn, had my mom and sister over for a day, and had a hot dog roast in the back yard. My mom and sister played games and visited with whichever kids were there at the time. There were more things we did, but those were the highlights. We did as many of the mundane activities of life as we had time for, but everyone ate every meal they wanted and had snacks, if desired, as well. Laundry was done, and everyone washed and bathed, as needed. The rest….I didn’t sweat over.

I canned up several pineapples I got on sale for $1.49 each, right after Easter. I cooked a turkey I purchased last Thanksgiving and canned 7 quarts of broth from that. I froze bits of meat ate some and made soup, which is gone. I had an easy assignment for the Young Adult group and only needed to take some gf/df cookies this week.

We have a small section of garden that is planted. My peas and snow peas are up well. The beets and carrots are up a little–they are kind of patchy. The lettuce was up super well, but the slugs ate it. I have 3 left. Time to replant.

The bags of leaves have been decomposing in their plastic bags all winter. Since this picture was taken, the bags have been emptied and the leaves spread over the garden to be tilled in later this week.

I thought there was a good picture of the plants in the greenhouse, but I can’t find it if there is. The plants in there are doing very well. I’ll try to get some shots taken this week.

Rob has started having meetings concerning his Kenya trip, and is getting excited about the things he will be helping with when he goes. We are very thankful, as his support for the trip has been flowing in, as the Lord lays this ministry on people’s hearts. He has almost 3/4 of what he needs and we are very thankful, especially when you realize that he only found out that he was going on this trip a very few weeks ago. I am so excited that he gets to go and will hopefully be helping with a little pre-prep if something needs to be done. I’m planning out a few things to make my life easier while I’m holding down the fort here at home and have promises of family members who can help me like they did last year when Rob was gone to Bangladesh.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week-Feb. 28, 2024

The peppers in the greenhouse are up! Rob planted them a few weeks ago, but peppers are notorious for taking a long time and being a bit fussy in our greenhouse. I’m so glad they are up so strongly and we are almost ready to begin up-potting them when needed. The basil in the back certainly needs to be put into larger containers right now!

Rob has also planted several varieties of onions. We are doing Patterson (storage, yellow), Red Mountain (a new red one for us, supposed to be good for storage), Red Bull (leftover seeds from last year), white (don’t store well), and green onions. They are starting to come up.

He has planted some delphiniums and pansies and they are coming up, as well.

Today, we went out together and got cabbage (Quick Start, Pintree Mix, Red Acre) and celery (Tango) planted. We do need to get some broccoli started in the next few days, as well.

We did a few frugal fun things over the past couple of weeks. My niece and nephew stayed with us for a few days while their parents were out of town. On Sunday afternoon, we took them down to the carousel. Our grandson is still more comfortable in the wagon, vs. the horses that go up and down, but he had a great time playing on the playground equipment and riding a couple of times.

Our niece rode the entire time, as much as she was able. Because she is special needs, she can have 5 free rides per day, and she enjoyed every one of them.

There was also a day a couple of weeks ago, where a news station out of Portland did a feature on the adaptive horse riding organization my niece always rides at. Rob got to take her down there because she was asked to be a background rider. She got to have an extra ride that week as she was mounted on the horse and they took her through the arena, out for a ride on the trails outside and back in. She knew she wasn’t going to be interviewed, and didn’t care! She was just so happy for the extra ride! There was a time or two where the camera panned the arena as she and Rob were walking in, and you can see them standing in the entry, waiting for her turn. That was enough publicity for both of them, especially Rob:)

On President’s Day, we were not working and there was no preschool, so we loaded Malcolm and his bike up and drove down to the coast. We went to a paved trail at South Beach State Park and started at the rest area. We walked, and he pedaled over 2 miles. It was fun to get some exercise in a different place. We took a picnic lunch and drove over to a viewpoint where there is a great view of the ocean and ate it there. We were grateful that the morning was fairly sunny and pleasant, and that it waited to rain until we were safely in the car eating lunch.

I’m still working on using up things from the freezers and pantry. This batch of food I just pulled out includes frozen meatballs, frozen chili, berries, cauliflower, cookies, and a pound of hamburger. We will eat the chili and meatballs for lunches and I plan to make an “impossible pie” from the hamburger as I have some gf Bisquick I want to finish up.

I really haven’t needed to buy much at the grocery store in February until this past week, when it seemed as if I was going there every few days! I grabbed a lot of chicken legs for 89c/lb. We ate some and Rob barbecued a lot of them for the young adult group we cook for. We also bought produce for salads a few times, along with milk. Rob found a huge stack of super heavy duty foil pans on the clearance rack for $1.26/each. That only 1 penny more than the dollar store and the quality is SO much better. We use those a lot when we cook for the group.

I also used fruit from the freezer and pie filling from the cupboard to make crisps for the group and for a potluck we attended at church.

I fed my niece English muffins we got for free when we volunteered at the food bank. She loves them and ate a lot! We go again this upcoming Saturday to help out, and I will see if they have any available. If they do, I will grab a couple more packs and freeze them for the next time she’s hungry while over here.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week-Feb. 12, 2024

I got to do some fun baking this past week. First, they were doing some kind of birthday celebration at the Young Adult group, so I did a couple kinds of cupcakes for that.

We also celebrated a couple of family birthdays yesterday, so I made cake for that. To make things simpler, I made all the cake and cupcakes last Tuesday and froze the ones I needed for the family party. I frosted them Saturday, after I defrosted them.

I soaked a large amount of pinto beans.

I cooked some and made chili and froze a baggie for later.

I made a huge crockpot of refried beans from many of them, along with peppers and onions from my freezer. I also pulled 8 lbs of hamburger from the freezers and made taco meat. Much of this I had gathered on super sales from Safeway and some was from the 1/4 beef we purchased last fall. When you volunteer at the food pantry, you can take whatever bread products you can use. I got quite a few packages of tortillas, even some gluten free ones when we were there last Saturday. That, plus cupcakes, was sent to the Young Adult meeting Tuesday. Other people brought taco toppings and sides. They had around 40 there this time….you just never know. There were still leftovers, which we ate. I also pulled out some refried beans and froze 3 cartons because I purposely made extra for that purpose. I was happy there was some left. When attendance ranges from 25-40, it’s hard to gauge what will be consumed on any given week. This was a week where I had volunteered to make extra because I had this burger I wanted to use up. This week, my part is much simpler since there are others helping out, too.

We used our membership to the Oregon Coast Aquarium and took our nephew and grandson.

As always, we all had a great time.

The play structure is very cool and both boys enjoyed playing for quite a while. Malcolm is too small to climb up the big slide, but Jake went up multiple times.

Malcolm had plenty to do on a smaller slide and a little fake mountain and these bouncy leaves. After we visited the aquarium, we took the boys out for lunch and to a candy store. It’s kind of a tradition to get a few pieces of taffy and let them choose candy and they really enjoy it when we do that.

We worked a lot of hours over the past couple of weeks, which kept us busy thinking up fun activities to keep everyone busy. We are always on the lookout for low-cost, but fun activities to do with the kids. Almost every night, when our nephew was here, we had a popcorn “party” which simply means I made popcorn and he ate it while he played his Switch. Easy-peasy. There was a free activity at a near-by center where he could play electronic games, do Legos, or play games, so we did that one day. Even a trip to Safeway where he could get a free cookie is a fun activity for him. Rob took him to the library one day and he chose books. They also went on a drive, searching for Pokemon on his phone. The aquarium was our “big wow” because our nephew didn’t have school one day and we wanted something that filled hours and hours and was fun.

I continued using things from the pantry and cupboards and had to go put away my basket of emptied jars more than once, which is always a good sign that I’m using things up the way I want to. I went through the potatoes I had in the garage and threw away the few that were spoiling and used a lot of what was left. We made Swiss Steak with mashed potatoes, potato salad, fried potatoes and threw some in soup. Rob made bacon-wrapped pork bites after we had them at our oldest daughter’s house when we went there for lunch last weekend. We also had some pretty lame meals because we were busy, such as pieces of lunchmeat on a plate with other odds and ends from the fridge, salad with the last of a head of lettuce and a jar of giardinera stirred in because I was out of toppings (actually pretty good), leftovers that did not go together AT ALL, the same leftovers 3 days in a row because it was easy…..what can I say? We all got fed. It all worked out:)

Thriving In My Thrifty Week-Keep Using It up!–January 30, 2024

Although we had a somewhat stressful week, I continued to use things from the pantry, freezers and canning cupboard to continue my project of clearing out some of the items that need using. I also received an Azure Standard order and did a small Costco run. Even with those purchases, there are starting to be small spaces showing up on the shelves and in the freezers. That is good, because I need to do some cooking ahead and want some freezer space to put it in.

As people know that have been reading the blog for some time, I cook every Tuesday for the Young Adult Group from our church. Usually, this entails 5 servings of gluten-free, dairy-free food. Lately, though, I’ve been asked to just bring dessert for the entire group, including some for the allergy-friendly eaters. Last week, I made 2 tarts. I used cream cheese for the crust and for the layer of yummy goodness under the fruit. I purchased 10 before Christmas for 99c/each, and have slowly been working my way through them. They don’t expire until March. In those tarts, I also used some kiwis. My sister grows them, and gave us 2 big boxes in the fall. They have been slowly ripening on the porch and now a whole bunch are ripe. We cannot use them all, so I took a bunch of them down to the church and they were used for the after school program we run down there.

I took some gluten-free, dairy-free cupcakes I had made previously and frozen, and baked a box of brownies that were also gf and df. There are around 25 people, typically, but it can be up to 30 or even 40, so lots of dessert is always welcome. We did get some leftover tart back, and it was delicious.

Today, I just finished a huge batch of peanut butter cookies. They are gf and df. I was hoping this recipe would come out good that way, as peanut butter has a lot of fat so less other fat was needed. I used an alternate butter I had purchased B1, get 1 free a while back, but it is more expensive than butter and I don’t enjoy the taste as well. It worked in these, though. They taste great. I used peanut butter purchased long ago for $1. When we had our youngest daughter living here, she ate a tremendous amount of peanut butter because she really loves it. I guess the rest of us aren’t so fond of it because I found jars and jars out in the pantry, left over from she lived here. I used more than a jar in these peanut-butter, chocolate chip cookies. Trader Joe’s has gf/df chocolate chips, I recently found out, and they are much less expensive than other alternate kinds and taste great.

The group will also be munching on lemon (lime) bars and a few Krispie treats. I used up some lime juice I had frozen a while back and used a lemon bar recipe with gf flour in it instead of all-purpose.

I had quite a few meals to make for people, as well as the cooking for the family. As I often do, I made some soup. I’ve actually made, eaten and shared chicken-rice and vegetable-beef recently. I was able to pull lots of frozen things like onions, broth, and chicken to use. I was able to open jars of broth, use beef that was canned last summer but didn’t seal so was frozen,

The first kind of muffin I made was applesauce, using canned applesauce. That is another item that I have too much of, as the daughter who loves it is off doing her own thing. Even when she visited for a couple of weeks over the holidays, she didn’t make a dent in the applesauce supply! The second kind was lemon-poppyseed. I had one lonely carton of lemon yogurt that had been hanging around the fridge for ages, so it got targeted. Boy were those good. Makes me with there was another carton in there:). I do have some applesauce ones frozen for later, but the lemon ones….all gone!

My aunt gave me some thyme she couldn’t finish up, along with a couple other things. I put the thyme in a 250 degree oven for a little while and it dried quickly. I was almost out of thyme, except for a small amount I dried from the garden last summer, so I was happy to add it to my stash.

A chicken noodle casserole was made, using canned chicken from the pantry and peas frozen from our garden. I made about 1/4 of it with no peas for those who don’t like them or cannot have them. One person I shared with cannot have peas.

Enchilada casserole was also made. I used frozen(by me previously) whole-grain rice, a can of corn I had won at the grocery store in the past and never used because we preserve our own, home-canned enchilada sauce, canned beans, beef previously canned and frozen when the seal didn’t seal, corn tortillas I received for free when we volunteered at the food pantry (volunteers can have bread products when they help out), and cheese I had.

When we went to see my mom, she had this gorgeous amaryllis lily that is blooming. It was cheerful and encouraging in a pretty busy, stressful week. We’ve had 2 deaths in the extended family, one funeral so far, a family member who slipped and fell in the aftermath of the ice storm and is hurt pretty badly, a friend who’s wife has received a hard diagnosis, a couple of other hard things I won’t name, and many people who need a little extra care…all added to our normal busy, crazy life. Through it all, I can say, with assurance, that God has been with us every step of the way. On Sunday, one of my favorite hymns was sung at church. It’s an old one, and we rarely sing those, but this Sunday, we did. It was as if God knew I needed to hear it and I can truly say, it IS well with my soul. Because it is. Because of Him.

Thriving In My Thrifty (Frozen) Week–Continuing to Use-It-Up–Jan. 17, 2024

We had a rare snow event here in our part of the Pacific Northwest. Then, it turned into a freezing rain/ice event. Hopefully, it will be over tomorrow morning and things can go back to normal. The birds were really, really hungry. We were not! They weren’t either, once Rob and Malcolm fed them. They continued to do that every day, until this morning, when they used up the last bit of bird food, including the bag I gave them as a joint gift for Christmas. Thankfully, things are melting as I write, and Rob plans to buy another bag tomorrow.

This picture was from the first morning of snow–Saturday. It snowed more than this, but it still was so exciting on that first morning, that yes…he is out there in his Christmas pajamas…

We made the decision to stay home during this storm. Saturday was a day off work, church was cancelled, and so forth. I haven’t left the house since I got home from work Friday night and this is Wednesday night. Choir was supposed to start back up again tonight, but the ice is so bad in the church parking lot, they cancelled all activities.

We did not suffer a bit. I had gone to the grocery store last week, as I mentioned in my last post. I wanted to work on using things up, still, so I made out very well with the things I gathered from the store, plus the freezers, pantries, and canning cupboards. We are down to 3 carrots, but that’s the only thing I can think of that is running low.

For breakfasts, we had omelets more than once, pancakes, oatmeal (for the oatmeal-loving boy), fruit (especially canned peaches), cereal, scrambles, fried potatoes, sausage from the freezer, and biscuits and gravy. Rob likes to make breakfast, so he does most days.

We had spaghetti pie using the rest of the spaghetti sauce and noodles from last week.

I cooked some quinoa that has been in the pantry for a long time. I used home-canned chicken broth and spices to make it more flavorful. I intended to make a salad or something, but instead, we ate it with a little butter on it, and in a chicken-taco bowl, using more of those frozen thighs I’ve been finishing up.

I pulled a roast from the freezer and cooked it in the crock pot with potatoes, carrots and frozen onions. The potatoes are some I got a few weeks ago and need to be used. I also made potato salad from them during the week. Rob has been frying them at breakfast as well.

We have eaten the beef in slices on a plate a couple of times. I also made a French dip sandwich with a home-made gluten-free bun, toasted in a frying pan with a slice of pepper jack cheese melted on it. I dipped it into some chicken bouillon I mixed up. Not traditional at all, but it’s what I had on hand and it was delicious!

We made some cut-out sugar cookies in the shape of snowflakes and hearts. I froze the hearts for closer to Valentine’s Day. We also made Krispie treats.

This is still the first day–we got even more after that!

The ice storm really got going yesterday afternoon. I really enjoyed the icicles that formed last night on the deck, as well as on the eves, birdhouses, and so forth. I also enjoyed the fact that we did not lost power, and it’s all melting already. Those ice storms can cause terrible damage around here.

We stayed as thrifty as we could during the storm. We used wood to heat our home most of the time, but did turn on the furnace at one point. The temperatures got very low.

Our nephew rode out part of the storm with us–schools were canceled, and our grandson had no preschool, so we spent each day planning fun things we could do here at home, such as reading aloud, listening to recorded (on Audible) Hardy Boys books, playing games, puzzles, cooking together, eating popcorn, watching t.v., and playing with Rob’s huge bins of Legos from the shop–the biggest hit of all. Rob played with them, and they had a blast. He just keeps those Legos out there for special occasions. They are some we’ve had for a long time so it’s nice to see them used.

Rob and I spent some time going through Malcolm’s toys and organizing them. We cleaned in his room a little. I cleaned the garage on 2 occasions. I did accomplish a goal of clearing out an area that needed organizing, making a place for my nephew to do puzzles and have a place to safely play his Pokemon cards, and for Rob to be able to more easily walk to the breaker box (his request!). There’s still lots to clean around here but I feel I made some progress.

We used no gas, as we did not drive anywhere and did all our cooking at home (obviously!). I was pretty tired on Saturday, and I think I slept 10 hours that night. I feel rested up now and ready for normal life to resume tomorrow, which it will. I’m glad I got some rest.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week-Jan. 4, 2024

We take a lot of pleasure in feeding birds and looking at them. Much to our surprise, when we pulled the car over so someone could stretch, there was this woodpecker on a tree right outside the car window. It didn’t seem much bothered by us, so we stayed and watched it for a while. Finally, we got bold and Rob crept the car closer, and it scooted around to the other side of the tree–but still didn’t fly away.

Rob and Malcolm feed the birds in our yard on a regular basis. They got a joint Christmas gift of some bird food and suet, so are looking forward to doing that soon.

Malcolm enjoyed the age-old excitement of mud-puddle stomping while his cousin was in her horse lesson. Rob turned his head for one minute and …..let’s just say we had to change the pants once they got home. So fun!

Rob, my niece Alissa and my nephew, Jake, all celebrated their January birthdays at a family birthday party. We figured it out that Rob and Alissa have not missed one co-party for the past 23 years, since she was 1 year old. That’s so special to us all! We had a family dinner. My sister cooked delicious steak (Alissa and Rob’s favorite), chicken curry, mashed potatoes (because that’s Alissa’s favorite), and broccoli. I made the chocolate cake (Rob and Alissa’s choice) and Alissa made the vanilla cake with Pokemon decorations (Jake’s favorite). Everyone had a great time.

My Territorial seeds came. I wanted to order them before December 31 because I had saved a postcard from my last order (last spring) that gave me 10% off my order before that date. I had gift cards from this Christmas, some left on the ones from last year, and some cash that paid for it easily. The 10% paid for postage and a few packs of seeds. I was delighted that a couple of old favorites were back on the available list, but we are going to have to try a new kind of Roma tomato this year. I picked out 2, both with the most disease resistance I could find, as I had a lot of trouble with disease last summer.

I had ordered the ones I wanted from Pinetree earlier when I first got that catalog and they are here, as well. The bulk of my seeds are from Territorial, but there are a few things I really like from Pinetree, and now I have them all.

I plan to do a post on seed choices later on. I’m planning a lot of posts, actually. I am so excited to say that I have a new computer that WORKS!!!! I’m so excited. I was gifted a significant part of the money for that for Christmas, and we made up the difference. It wasn’t just my blog that was no longer working on our old one….but now a lot of things work very well. I’m hoping to get back into the habit of blogging once again. It was so tedious on my iPad, since I can’t type properly on it, that it killed some of the joy in the process. I guess one-fingered hunt and peck with do that to a person:).

Thriving In My Thrifty Week—Dec. 27, 2023

We have spent the past few weeks working a tremendous number of hours, getting ready for Christmas and enjoying ourselves tremendously in the process!

Because we work with our niece and nephew, and because there was a school holiday, we searched for fun things to do together on the days they were with us. We had the added joy of having our daughter, Patsy, home for a couple of weeks. Of course, there were our grandsons and many other family members and friends to spend time with, as well, so we were never bored.

We snacked on popcorn many times. We did puzzles. We played games. I read aloud an entire advent story that is basically a chapter a day in a serial story leading up to Christmas. Rob and I had a really fun Christmas party with our Sunday School class.

We visited an attraction called Storybook Lane, where scenes from books and movies were set up with stuffed toys, lots of lights and other items, a model train, etc.

Malcolm liked Santa, but mostly the candy cane he got. My nephew and Patsy liked the churros and donuts they got at the concession stand. Other than food for a food drive and snacks we bought, this was free.

Other things we did was watch the movie “Elf” for free in a theater near us. Again, it was a food drive, so we just popped into Wilco and bought a bunch of cans of food. We got some snacks just because it made the exceedingly rare occasion even more fun. We did have a blast.

2 Costco gingerbread houses were decorated by different sets of kids. We attended a free ornament-making event and a simple gift making event, and a friend’s cookie decorating party with various kids.

The grandsons had a preschool Christmas program, where all the adorable kids got up and sang (or didn’t sing) for all of us. Zai crawled around the stage during his song. Malcolm sang a bit and then would randomly leap into the air. So cute.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were spent with various family members. Then we sat around like zombies all day yesterday, except for a trip to the dentist. We have one more small gathering on Saturday, after a few days of work this week. I’ve got to say the exciting activities seem to have dried up in our area, so we plan to do mundane, but fun, things like library, YMCA swimming pool, more popcorn, more puzzles and games, and perhaps a little cooking. We will see what we actually get done. It should be a good week, whatever we choose.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week-Dec. 5, 2023

After a crazy, busy week, I went outside and was surprised to see that my garlic had really started to grow. This was some organic garlic I had purchased from Azure Standard. I forgot to take it out of the plastic bag it came in and it started to grow. I decided to plant it and now it’s growing!

You can see some leeks and parsley still growing in that raised bed, as well.

Our Christmas program went very well. I’m guessing there were between 90-100 people involved in it, maybe more. The true message of Christmas was given and many people attended.

I was excited to be a part for the second year. We had rehearsals every night, except one, and one final dress rehearsal, then 3 performances. The final rehearsal offered a chance for special needs guests to come and enjoy a quieter atmosphere so there was a small audience that night, which was good practice.

I have cooked a lot with my home preserved food this past week. I’ve made vegetable soup, several apple crisps, spaghetti, applesauce muffins, and more. We’ve eaten canned fruit and jam along with frozen bread, veggies and various proteins. Some meals went out to others and many were gobbled up by us.

I was super tired Monday, but am bouncing back quickly. That’s a good thing because I’ve needed to work a little extra already this week and it’s only Tuesday! Some weeks are like that.

Thriving in My Thrifty Week-Oct. 18, 2023

We are still getting a few scraggly vegetables from the garden; a few cucumbers, snow peas, tomatoes, boc choi, a handful of green beans, and carrots. It’s nice to have more manageable quantities, but to not be entirely finished with produce.

I’m delighted with my new mixer. One day, on the way to church, Rob noticed a “free” box on the sidewalk. This mixer caught his eye and he hopped out and snagged it. Of course, we had no idea if it worked, but after church he found the switch wasn’t working properly. He tore it apart, and fixed it, which I find quite amazing, especially with a toddler 2 inches away, “helping.” Now it works great. It looks like it was used very little. So fun to have!

I have lots of kitchen help. He’s especially fascinated with washing dishes right now. That is good because I have been cooking and cooking lately. We have so much good food and it makes me happy to use it, so we eat at home. Since I’m in an extra-busy season of life, I have been writing out my menu plans. This helps me use food I already have from my abundant harvest this summer, but more importantly gives me a list to follow when I’m in a hurry. I don’t have to think it up AND make it, and I can get some things prepped ahead. There are a couple of evenings where people here need to eat before I get home from work on my new schedule and I like to leave easy home-made healthy options.

Although the flowers are waning, I’ve been picking bouquets. There are still many lovely blooms.

We’ve saved seeds from some zinnias and marigolds, dill, and some other plants. I was also unable to keep up with it all and I noticed the dill has reseeded and is about 3 inches tall. It won’t survive the winter but I hope there are plenty of volunteers next spring. I’ve been using what did come up—just snipped off entire tiny plants and cooked with them.

We’ve been utilizing free and inexpensive activities with the kids, since my niece and nephew have been spending the week with us. Our grandson loves to run so we try to get him out as much as possible. Our nephew likes Pokémon Go annd for me to read aloud to him. Our niece likes car rides. They all like popcorn and a movie. We ate SO much popcorn this week. Thankfully, we had plenty as my mom gave us a big bag not long ago. And butter…….we kept the dairy industry going this week? It was a fun week and I think we all had fun most of the time. I will admit I’m looking forward to a few more restful days that are coming up before long, though.