Tag Archives: Frugal Accomplishments

Thriving In My Thrifty Week-June 20, 2022

We went berry picking at a local farm. Jake had a blast on the playground and in the pipe, where other kids rolled him around!

I picked enough strawberries to fill 8 quart-sized ziplocks and to make another double batch of jam. We also ate a bunch of them fresh. This year, berries are almost $2/lb if you pick them yourself in our immediate area. They are $2.40/lb if you go up toward Portland. If you buy them already picked, in our area, they are anywhere from $32/flat to $46/flat. That’s about 10-12 pounds. I’m so glad we could pick them ourselves!

I made a bouquet from Japanese iris from my yard and the last bit of baby’s breath from Patsy’s party. I cleaned the bathroom really, really well and spruced it up with the flowers. I cleaned and mopped several times. Rob and I were joking around that it was hard to believe I had done it, after all the garden dirt was tracked in over and over. A few minutes after I got the bathroom done, Malcolm had a bath and when he took his boot off, it was full of dirt…which was dumped on the floor…and there I went again!

As is normal this time of year, I spent quite a bit of time weeding, hoeing and caring for the garden and flowerbeds. I harvested snow peas several times, along with a few green onions and lots of lettuce–gallons and gallons. I shared some, we had so much. It’s so good, but a person can only eat so much and I’m happy to know people who also like to eat it. Once I’ve gone to all the trouble to grow it, it’s satisfying to see it used! Since I have multiple succession plantings going, I rarely run out from spring until fall.

I did have a lot of help some days. Thankfully, the help got new boots “Pa” found at a yard sale for $1, as he grew out of his red ones. He has tools he received from his first birthday, and is all set.

We had to move locations after several veggies were in grave danger from the wild shoveler!

“Double trouble” kept our lives interesting. These are the M and M bandits here…..trying to get candy out of those big containers. They look guilty, for sure, but actually Grandpa lets them play with them. There are a few candies in the bottoms of the containers, and they shake them around a lot. There are a few M and M’s eaten over time, but not as many as Mac wishes.

This was a week filled with little boys. We had our grandsons several times, our nephew 3 times, as usual, and one day, I also had 2 neighbor boys for several hours, along with one grandson and nephew. It was a wild week! My neighbor gave me a gift card, to thank me for filling in when her normal sitter had a crisis, which was totally unnecessary, but gratefully received.

I did a lot of grocery shopping with some extra money we had, including Costco. It’s nice to have some of those things like Ziplock bags restocked. I use so many in the summer to preserve fruits and vegetables. Even with re-washing, bags are used up rapidly. Of course, I got a $4.99 rotisserie chicken. Easy for those busy days!

We went to several stores, and gleaned the bargains from each one. I was delighted to get 9c/lb watermelon at Safeway. Grocery Outlet had a large bag of Pamela’s gluten-free pancake and baking mix for $12, quite a savings, and a few other items I could use. We ended up at Winco for the 98c/can olives and a few other items that are less expensive there. I bought diapers. I have tried the Safeway diapers a couple of times now and I’m very satisfied. They are a few dollars less than the Huggies. I had an Ibotta reward for baby food, and got that, too.

Meals were made from scratch, as always. I made salad after salad–garden salad, chef salad with meat and cheese, crab salad, and turkey meat taco salad on the day my Mom came to visit. We had sandwiches and hamburgers. I made chicken-rice soup, which is a big hit with the babies. Monday evening, I just took things from the fridge and used them up. We had cooked carrots, stir-fried celery and snow peas, and mashed potatoes from the bottom of a bag of potatoes. I added a little chicken and there we were!

Our neighbor gave us 2 Dungeness crabs he caught. We cracked them out Sunday. I love crab, but don’t buy it because it’s very expensive and we can catch them occasionally. We haven’t been crabbing for a long time haven’t had any to eat lately, so it was a real treat.

We took plenty of walks! Sometimes we found a few pop cans laying around and hauled them home. Rob did Bottle Drop and with all the cans everyone gave us, plus our own, he put $49 on the card. That will be worth even more groceries, as I use the 20% + feature when I redeem them at the store.

This pretty well sums up how we felt at the end of some days! Happy, but ready for our rest:)

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–June 5, 2022

Oregon State Parks had a celebration commemorating the first park that was donated, 100 years ago. Rob was asked to barbecue for the event. I was asked to hand food out.

It rained. That was not really a surprise. We do live in Oregon:). There was another couple, the park hosts, who helped at our station, as well.

The organizer made it easy, and had him do hot dogs. We served them with chips and packages of condiments in a little paper boat. There were also Oregon State Park birthday cupcakes in our area, and a huge cake and more cupcakes in another area. She got all the supplies and had the park rangers put up tarps and tables and all we had to do was show up and deal with the food.

I got to walk around a little and enjoyed the classic car show. They had various booths set up all around the park. One was recreation through the ages and had a mini frisbee golf course, croquet, and nerf sports set up. I wasn’t there when children were actually playing on the games, but I’m sure they had a blast between rain showers.

There were speeches, a birthday song for Oregon, a huge cake, and they even found several descendants of the lady who donated this first state park in 1922 and had them take part in the ceremonies. I did not listen to those speeches, as I was at the hot dog station, but Patsy did and said they were nice.

Rob and I had a lot of fun. We have benefitted so much from the Oregon State Parks through the years and it felt good to be able to give back a little. I talked to some people I have never met before, went to a state park I had never visited, and found out about another place I’d like to visit that isn’t too far from home. They gave us a pin and a picnic blanket as a thank-you gift.

I cooked basic foods this week, and focused on using up any leftover party food.

I just finished making a huge batch of refried beans. They are in old cottage cheese cartons, cooling on the counter so I can freeze them. I’ve had to buy a few cans lately. Although they are not expensive, making them is even less expensive, and we love all the peppers and onions I add in. I’m also still working on the 50 pound bag of pinto beans Rob got at the beginning of Covid. At that point, there were shortages, and it was 50 pounds, or nothing, and he took the big bag. It was only about $22, if I remember correctly, and that’s a lot of chili and refried beans! I’m doing chili next.

Rob worked in the greenhouse. It’s really getting funny. Now that the word is out that he enjoys growing dahlias, he continues to be given dahlias, dahlias and more dahlias. He planted another bag full someone gave him. We have many, many plants in the back of the garden, the side of the shop, the front of the house, and anywhere else we could fit some in. It is going to be gorgeous around here in a few months.

He started me some head lettuce, which was promptly chewed off by bugs or slugs, so he started some more. There is a succession planting of cabbage and broccoli growing in there, as well. I worked several hours weeding and hoeing in the garden until it started raining again and became too muddy. I re-planted a couple of things that didn’t come up.

I have been very pleased with the germination of Rob’s home-saved seeds. This is something he has only been doing for the past 2-3 years, and he knows he is still learning. All of our pole beans, both Blue Lake and Purple/Violet Podded have come up very well from saved seeds. We still buy seeds–lots and lots of seeds, but it’s so nice to be able to cut that down whenever we can. It’s also a skill he enjoys learning.

We were given a pickup load of chopped, split wood. We are very excited to have it and will be stacking it up in the back for next winter’s fires. There will be more to come, and that’s exciting, as well.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–May 24, 2022

I spent hours and hours weeding and clipping in this flowerbed. I filled the entire yard debris bin. Then, Rob drove me to a business that leaves its excess sawdust in a pile for people to take, free of charge. Patsy helped me shovel it and we got 4 huge trash cans full–enough to spread over the entire bed. Now the weeds will have a harder time re-growing. It also helps that this bed is not irrigated. The bulbs are not harmed by drying up in the summer and it keeps the weeds down. Let’s hope it doesn’t keep raining so much that I have to weed it all again!

We met some of our friends at a park for a fun picnic. My sister, Jake, and Michaela were there and my daughter and both grandsons. Our mutual friend brought several children of her own, plus some daycare kids. Rob made a fire in the BBQ box and the kids roasted hot dogs and made s’mores. I made potato salad and coleslaw and brought some graham crackers. Others brought chips, buns, drinks, etc. We all had fun.

Yum!

This guy was happy to cling to Grandpa for most of the picnic. Grandpa was not sad about that!

Of course, if Auntie Patsy will take me swinging, I might just let go of Grandpa for a while:). And, yes, those are chips all over my face. With so many kids to hand me one whenever I squawked…..what can I say, but yes, please!!!

Jars came in full and went out empty, as always. I’ve had to buy very few groceries the past couple of weeks. I did grab milk, a little produce and some cheese slices that were only 84c/package. Since we are having a big party next Saturday to celebrate Patsy’s graduation from homeschool high school, I am working on emptying the fridge to hold the party food. Over the past few weeks, I’ve bought most of what I need for the party, but will go out Friday and get perishable items, such as strawberries to dip in chocolate and other yummy items.

I used some of my home-canned tomatoes and salsa to make taco soup. I pulled frozen pork bits and frozen black beans in, as well. My cilantro is going to seed in the overwintered raised bed, so I put a lot of that in there, as well. I baked a pan of cornbread to go with the soup.

Other meals were cooked. Rob BBQ’d chicken legs, and made chicken-fried steak. I baked several potatoes and they were eaten for dinner or diced and fried for breakfasts along with our usual eggs. Some rice was cooked. We used various veggies and fruits from our food preservation, as well. We make large batches of food and eat the same foods for several days–mix and match style. It’s not fancy, but it tastes good and is especially handy when I’m out in the yard so much at this time of year.

I’m enjoying the flowers that are starting to bloom in the flowerbeds. Even more, I’m enjoying the fact that there are many, many more to come. Rob grew or overwintered so many flowers. I have planted almost everything from the greenhouse now, but I had him start some little head lettuce and kale for me and I will have him do a succession planting of broccoli and cabbage for a fall crop.

The extra plants have either been tucked away in corners here and there, or given away. Rob has a dahlia on every corner, so to speak, with a few more to plant or find a home for. I have to say that if even half of his flowers bloom, it will be a real showplace around here.

My aunt gave us tiny little Delphinium/Larkspur seedlings from her friend and we are trying to grow them to a bigger size in the greenhouse. I’m expecting them to be large enough to plant out later in the spring or early summer.

My sister attended a charity auction and bought us 2 beautiful flower baskets. They are full of shade-loving plants so I’ve put them in places they will hopefully like.

The wild daisies are beautiful down at our local park. We visit there frequently. Yesterday, Ja’Ana and Patsy and I wheeled the boys down there for a nice, long play time. Zai loves the swing and Malcolm loves the play equipment, the flowers and throwing sticks into a little stream that is there at the park.

The weather has finally warmed up a bit and most of the garden veggies that were already established have literally doubled in the past week. The poor, spindly tomatoes are starting to sprout new growth at every joint, which is hopeful. The newly planted peppers are looking good, too, but I still am waiting for seeds to come up. Patience, patience, patience:). My earliest planting of English peas (Maestro) have burst into bloom, so it won’t be long until we have those. In the meanwhile, we are eating garden lettuce, chives, cilantro, and I even snipped off a piece of an onion here and there when I was in a pinch for green onions one day.

Quite a bit of hoeing and weeding was accomplished. If you look carefully, you can see volunteer dill plants on the top right hand corner of the picture. I weeded around all those so I can start snipping bits to use in cooking without waiting for my row to sprout.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–May 17, 2022

We pulled the camper down to the Oregon Coast for a few days. The wild rhododendrons were in full bloom and we marveled at their beauty during one of our walks.

Jake really, really, really wanted to go camping, so we did. We had 2 gorgeous days and a couple that were very rainy and wet.

We were delighted to find that the Mark Hatfield Marine Science Center has re-opened after a very long Covid closure. I made reservations and bought tickets on-line and we went on one of the very rainy days. Our other special activity was visiting a candy store. We took several walks, visited the campground play ground and did school in the camper.

The price of gas is high, so we decided not to do any extra drives on this trip. We also saved gas by choosing a campground that was closer to us, vs. one we like that takes 3-1/2 hours to get to, or another one we like that takes even longer to travel to. We went to South Beach State Park, in Newport, and it took about 2 hours to get there, including a stop.

I didn’t have much time to pack, due to helping Lovana with that marvelous party I mentioned last week. So, I just grabbed a lot of food from my freezer and crammed it into the camper freezer. I had put some celery and carrots in the fridge, some potatoes and onions in the cupboard The camper has lots of pantry items that stay in there all the time. I was pleased to find that I had stuffed so much in that we didn’t need to eat out at all, and only had to get $9 worth of groceries during the week. We did not suffer at all. Rob even made steak over the fire.

Once we got home, we had a couple more rainy days, and then got to work on the garden. Over the past 2 days, I have been out there for many hours. I transplanted jalapeño, ancho, mixed bell, Hungarian Wax, Anaheim, and Serrano peppers from the greenhouse. I planted seeds for pole beans, bush beans, more lettuce, slicing cucumbers, lemon cucumbers, pickling cucumbers, dill, basil, more snow peas, and what seemed like endless little onion plants. I planted hills of Tromboncini zucchini, yellow zucchini, green zucchini and scallopini zucchini. I even dug up some potato plants that had come up volunteer in my compost bins and transplanted them into the garden. We have a potato tower Rob made a year or so ago, and is didn’t work because there was not enough sun where it was. I thought I’d try again in a sunnier spot, with absolutely free potato starts, so I’m not out anything if it fails again.

I also worked on the flowerbeds a little and filled the yard debris bin 1/2 way up with mostly clipped ivy. I got the lawn mowed, but it was so tall, I’ll need to do it again pretty soon as I had to set the mower up pretty high.

I picked and froze all the rest of the overwintered spinach. I’ve been picking off leaves and using them, but it was time to pull the plants.

I picked Boc Choi for the first time this season. So far, I’ve made chicken stir-fry with it and added some to the chicken and dumplings I made yesterday. There was also some lettuce to pick.

The irises are starting to bloom. I divided quite a few of these last fall and I’m enjoying the extra blooms now.

I plan to crawl into bed early tonight. I’m quite stiff and sore after so much yard work. The reason there was so much pressure to get a lot done is because our spring has been very, very wet. I prefer to spread my yard work and garden work out over many evenings, not do marathons. But, this year, it has been too wet and muddy to work out there very often. Rain is predicted again tomorrow. I took my window of opportunity and am very happy that I got one! There are many weeds to pull and a few more things to plant, but I made huge progress and I’m pleased.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–May 7, 2022

Lovana had a big project this week. She was asked to do food for one of her best friend’s college graduation party. Her friend’s mom, also my friend, gave her money to use, but could not personally do this party as she wanted to attend the actual graduation, which was at 9 a.m. the same day. Once Lovana got a plan in her mind, she asked me for some help in carrying it out. She sent me recipes to print off on my computer, I compiled a notebook, and then was able to cook a few items while she was at work. Even my mom was called into service one morning to thread skewers.

We made a small gluten-free section on the board, and I baked flatbread and French bread for that. The rest used purchased wheat breads and purchased crackers of all kind. There were fancy cheeses, meats, crackers, dips and spreads, skewers, desserts, nuts, and more. It was quite a production and took many shopping trips and cooking sessions. The bulk of the cooking was done all day Friday and Saturday morning, and the set-up and finishing touches were done at the event, which started at 2 p.m. We didn’t get home until around 7 p.m.

We had a really good time doing this event. When asked by a few guests if we did catering, and how many of “these events” we were doing this spring, I quickly answered..”ONE.” This was it for us.

One of the other girls in Lovana’s close circle of friends did a gorgeous display of flowers. She had bouquets and bouquets, all displayed on carts and other places, following her theme of “flower stand.” I got to bring home one of the bouquets as a “thank you” gift for my help. It’s beautiful.

The house where it was held was up in the hills, with a lovely view. The kitchen was huge, with multiple sinks, 2 dishwashers, a huge gas range, and spacious counters. It was a dream to work in and the owners were so gracious to leave word that we could use anything we needed. Thankfully, we remembered almost everything, and only needed to use a few spoons, bowls, and a couple of other things.

We were able to use chives, parsley and rosemary from my garden. Almost every pansy bloom in the yard was picked and used. They will bloom again, even better.

At the beginning of the week, I made chili, chicken-rice soup, potato soup and we ate them all week, in-between cooking. Rob made some home-baked fish sticks and baked potatoes. We also got a Costco chicken. It’s amazing they are still $5. I boiled the bones for broth, and froze that for another time.

I also made some rice in my Instant Pot, and this ham-pineapple dinner. It was basically sweet and sour sauce with ham in it. It was great. I used some of my home-canned pineapple, frozen peppers from the garden and ham leftover from easter. It was quick and easy and kept everyone fed on a week where I was extra busy. I wanted to keep my grocery bill low this week, and not get caught in the trap of driving through fast food on such a super busy week, and I met that goal.

One morning, we spread out 4 huge garbage cans of sawdust around the blueberry plants. The sawdust is piled along the road where it is a by-product of a business, and is free for the taking. I did get a little weeding done in the flowerbeds at the beginning of the week. I’m still having to take an hour/day here and there when it’s not so wet. It has been exceptionally wet this April.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–May 2, 2022

I spent a lot of time in the garden one dry morning. The tomatoes plants were getting away from Rob, so I dug deep holes, we put in fertilizer, a little dirt and IO planted them deep. They will grow roots along the stem that is buried and should grow into nice big bushes, full of juicy tomatoes.

It has been a challenging year in the garden because it has been so wet. Even when I do get out into the garden or yard, I’m often digging in dirt that is close to mud, or, at best, slightly too wet to be ideal. Still, I have been able to get it done, slowly, bit by bit. Every year I put the tomatoes and other veggies closer and closer together to see how many veggies I can cram into the garden. Last year, I found that I had planted too closely and I didn’t get as good of a yield per bush and couldn’t walk between them, so this year, I spaced things out a little more. I’m always experimenting, and we will see if I have reached the ideal spacing, yet, or not:).

I was able to get the front flowerbed weeded and planted. I planted some geraniums Rob wintered over in the greenhouse, and marigolds he started from seed. I also added a few poppies to go with the 2 that came up volunteer.

Rob’s dahlias are starting to come up in the greenhouse. We have tubers that were given to us last year, tubers dug up from the corner of our garden, tubers from his birthday, tubers from the store and THEN his friend gave him a grocery bag half full of tubers.

That’s a lot of dahlia tubers. Some were very small and may not do much this year, but many will be gorgeous and the rest will grow. (He did not grow these in the picture, they are from a flower show, but he hopes his get this big!)

Rob got to go to a flower sale/show with his mom and got inspiration. He had a wonderful time looking at all the blooms.

This is one of the many pansies he grew this year. He is really enjoying working in the greenhouse more than ever and I’m happy with all the plants I’m getting.

Rob was able to get some clothes for the babies at a yard sale–about 10 garments for $2, some red rubber boots for $1 and some Mega Block toys for $3. Malcolm found the boots sitting on the floor and put them on right away– over his sleeper while he ate, wore them all day to play, wore them after his bath with nothing but a diaper and a scarf (quite the fashion statement) and wore them to church with his nice church shirt. We think he likes them. Rob’s already looking for a new, larger pair, as these won’t fit for long.

I cooked chili, chicken-rice soup, berry cobbler, tacos, tilapia, and many other meals. I have plenty to get me through several days, which is good because I’m super busy this week. One of my daughters is doing food for her friend’s college graduation party and wants some help from me. This is one of our former 4H kids, so I am super excited to be a part of this momentous occasion. Last week I printed off recipes as she sent them to me and made her a notebook. Today, we went shopping for the bulk of the food. She will do some cooking ahead in the evenings, we will shop again on Thursday for produce, then I will help her cook last minute things on Friday. The party is Saturday.

I was able to use many jars of home-canned and frozen food this week and buy minimal groceries. It’s a good thing I have so much food on hand. It really helps. Our stores have a few nice loss leaders, and we are grateful for them. I have noticed that the limits are lower–i.e. you can get 2 of the item instead of the 4 you used to be able to get, and that prices are going up, little-by-little every week or two. Still, in our area, I can still get plenty of food and stay in my budget, which makes me very happy.

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 piñata. 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.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–March 27, 2022–The First Week of Spring!

Many flowers are blooming right now. We took many walks this week and enjoyed looking at the various yards. I worked in our yard a little bit. There is so much to do this time of year! I planted a row of little pansies in a flowerbed. These were grown, by Rob, from seeds he saved from last year. They are not blooming yet, but they will. I also planted some Sweet William plants he grew. They are biannual, so won’t bloom this year, but will fill the area nicely and bloom next summer.

I’m very happy with how these primroses came back from previous years and are blooming so well. Sometimes, in the past, I haven’t had such good luck with them re-blooming, but these are gorgeous.

It’s always nice to see all the cheery daffodils. Years ago, we got most of these bulbs from my sister’s yard. They needed to be divided at that time. They have been so pretty every spring since. The tulips were here when we moved in. I dug up some from another flowerbed and transplanted them here last fall. I missed quite a few, though, so want to get the rest moved over here this year. This flower bed does not get watered in the summer, so the bulbs can grow with the spring rains, then dry up in the summer.

We took the boys for a walk and to the park to play and enjoy the nice weather and flowers along the way. They also enjoy kitties, birds and any dogs we see. Mac looks so sleepy in this picture. It must have been relaxing. We took bubbles to blow, he threw sticks into a little creek, and played on the equipment.

This week, we did a lot of extra laundry and cleaning. Patsy decided to wash most of her blankets, along with lots of clothes in preparation for camp. I had her work on deep cleaning her room, although there’s quite a bit still to clean in there. She officially departed on Tuesday, late in the day. Although she does not work on weekends, there was a first aid class she needed to take and some other things she needed to do on Saturday, so she only came home briefly to grab some things she forgot.

Rob and I have been on vacation ever since. A few weeks ago, we were supposed to have a little vacation, and ended up with a severe flu. We decided to do all the fun things we had planned, and didn’t get to do, this week to make up for it. We ordered Chinese food “to go” and watched a movie we checked out from the library. We went out to Mexican food another night, using a gift card we had. We took several long walks, including one that was several miles in a park that runs along the Willamette River corridor.

We spent a day with the boys and my Mom came over for lunch one day. Mom and I folded laundry while we chatted. There was so much this week with all of Patsy’s extra! We even went to the movies–the matinee, of course! It’s still quite expensive, but less. We have not been to a theatre for several years. We didn’t buy popcorn or anything this time, more because we didn’t want any than for any economical reasons.

One morning , Rob went to visit his Mom and I sewed on the quilt I’m currently constructing.

Even though we were on “party” mode for a few days, we still were able to do a few things around here in-between our more exciting activities.

I decided to deep clean the laundry room. There was so much dirt and grime on the floor and clutter covering the dryer. I cleaned and scrubbed and organized to my heart’s content and it looks much better now. I have several more areas in the house that need attention, and I want to tackle them one by one.

I cleaned the bathroom, which is now my chore every week, instead of every-other-week. Patsy and I used to switch off. There are a few other chores she usually did before she left, so Rob and I are working together to make sure they still get done. We used to pay her to mow the lawn, I did it yesterday. I put the clippings on the corner of the garden where the soil could use amending.

We both worked on cleaning our outside covered porch area. I recycled many boxes and empty milk jugs that were previously used to water the greenhouse. Rob got the automatic waterer going in the greenhouse, so we don’t need so many jugs filled with water. That porch area is where I do my canning in the summer and it’s a step closer to being ready for that. The plants are growing like crazy, and it will be time to plant some of them soon.

Rob spent some time cutting up onions. The red ones from last year’s garden are wanting to grow, so he froze 10 cups of chopped onion pieces. There are still lots of onions to use fresh. The yellow ones we grow keep longer than the red ones, so he targeted any soft red ones this time and will do this again another day to get them all saved and used. It’s also very handy during canning season to grab out the frozen 1 or 2-cup baggies to throw into relishes and salsas. I also use them when I’m making soup in a hurry sometimes, although right now, I’m grabbing and using any onions that seem to be getting soft or wanting to grow.

I made vegetable soup, chicken soup and potato soup this week. The potato soup is for Sunday, when my niece, Alissa is coming to lunch after church. It’s her favorite. I fed the other soups to the boys, and ate them for breakfasts and lunches. We had salads a few times. We cooked a pork roast I got for $1.99/lb. I made enchiladas, we sliced and ate it, had it on salad, and froze the rest for another day. Safeway was selling pizza for 8c. Rob stopped in and got that along with a few other things we needed. It’s not gluten-free, so it will be for him, and any kids who come over. Cheese was $5 for a 2-lb loaf, so we got a couple. We shopped a couple of times this week, gathering things we needed in smaller-than-usual quantities. I’m adjusting to feeding one less person and would rather shop more than waste food, as I make this adjustment in our family. We still have so many people though the house that I don’t think it’s going to be that drastic of a change, but I’ll find out. I don’t know if I will be sticking to the every-other-week shopping as I go through this transition, but I’d like to eventually make that work again, as I like doing that.

We went to the eye doctor. Both of us didn’t need new prescriptions as our vision had not changed much, but I always have to go each year for my diabetic eye exam. I had recently had my lenses replaced under warranty, after I got hit with a flying coaster launched by a baby, and Rob’s were just replaced under warranty as well. We had benefits available to use, though. I ended up getting new frames with lenses that are just for distance, with no reflective coatings or sunglass feature for absolutely free, covered by my insurance. They are for walks and driving on days when I don’t want my world darkened with sunglasses. Later, I can replace the lenses with a new prescription if I need to, and will need to pay for all the bells and whistles, but have this nice new pair of frames or my current frames to use when I do so. Rob did the same thing.

There’s never a dull moment around here, and this coming week is no exception. I plan to enjoy the spring weather that is expected and hope to be outside frequently. I love this time of year.

Happy spring to all of you readers!

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–March 20, 2022

We slipped away for a few days this past week to rest and spoil Patsy before she leaves for camp. We pulled the camper down to the Oregon Coast, at South Beach State Park, one of our favorite spots to camp. An added bonus this time is that it’s fairly close to home. We can get there in under 2 hours, even pulling, so even with the gas prices rising like crazy, we could still go.

It was not Oregon’s spring break, yet, so the campground was quite empty and peaceful. Pouring rain was promised and only happened during one night. We actually had quite mild, sometimes even sunny weather with a few sprinkles or mist at times. One day we did take a drive, but otherwise stayed close to the campground.

We spent quite a bit of time studying for the new Sunday school class we started teaching today. We get to take on the 5th graders. Because the curriculum is new to both of us, it needed some extra studying. We are team teaching so we split the lesson up and each of us took different parts to get illustrations, examples or little scripture cards ready or study more in depth. I’ve been helping in 3rd and 4th since Christmas and Rob’s been observing this class for 2 weeks, so that helped a lot. The class went well this morning, and each week we will have a better idea of how much time things take, which activities the kids like best, and so forth. I’m excited. It seems like we have a really nice group of kids to work with.

I did my own personal quilting retreat. Rob and Patsy went rock collecting on the beach a couple of times and I stayed back at the camper and sewed. I continued my project of sorting out old projects to see if I still had all the parts and pieces and using up scraps and pieces of fabric I’ve had on hand for a long time. I am happy to report I’ve organized yet another old project and am ready to sew on that one soon. I actually sewed on a baby quilt I’m working on that uses both scraps and fabric purchased in the past. I’m not fast, and I have a lot of old projects and fabric, so I’ll be at this for a long time.

We took walks on a trail that surrounds the campground, down on the beach, and around the campground. When we took our little drive, we walked a short distance on a trail near the town of Yachats. It runs along a rocky area of the coast. We want to go back another time and go much further as the area was beautiful, but Patsy had elected to stay in the van with the dog after Rob walked her, so we couldn’t go far. Patsy wasn’t in the mood for a hike right then and we didn’t want to just hike off and leave her in the van, so…..more to look forward to in the future.

The beachcombers were happy with their haul.

We cooked at the camper. These brand-new pans were part of a set Rob and I found on one of our walks in a “free” box alongside the road. They were much better than what we had in the camper, so we snagged them, popped them into the bottom of the stroller, and gratefully wheeled them home. Thankfully we had the baby along that day!

I felt very ill-prepared for this camping trip. Usually, I cook lots of food ahead, and all I have to do is warm it up. This time, I was too busy to get that done. We worked over 80 hours, plus babysitting and our normal life projects last week. We made out just fine in spite of it. I had to ride down to the beach with an almost-forgotten mayonnaise at my feet, and we had to loop around the block (with the camper of course) for another forgotten item, but we survived! I baked cheesy biscuits from a box. I warmed up canned chili. We used assorted crackers and chips, ate hot dogs and opened a can of pork and beans. I’m glad I always keep the camper well stocked with those kind of foods, and it’s good to use them up when the occasion arises. I emptied and took leftover food from our home fridge and we ate it the first day or so. I did get 4 potatoes baked to take and we fried them, or ate them with meals.

Part of the purpose of this trip was to spoil Patsy. So, we did Taco Bell one time, got French fries another time, and some candy another time. The beach-combing was something she loves and she got down there 2 or 3 times. We even got her a t-shirt. She also got to sleep in a lot, stay up late watching movies, and read books.

We saw the babies for hours the day before we left, and had no sooner got parked and unpacked when they showed up again Saturday afternoon. We saw them again today, so although we missed them while we were gone, we got our “baby fix” right away. Mac was a little mad at me for being gone, and I got the cold shoulder for a couple of minutes, but he soon got over it. So funny! We took him to church again this morning, and he’s loving the nursery so much now, it’s heartwarming to see.

Our camper is starting to show how much we have used it and we had a couple of things break on this trip. Although it was very annoying, we were so happy that Rob could get down on the ground to peer at the broken jack and could get up again! For you new readers, that sounds funny, but for years, before his total hip replacement, he never could have done that. We felt so blessed that he could do that and that between the two of us, we got the problem fixed enough to go home. I mean, you can’t drive around with a jack half up and half down. It involved bungee cords, an electric drill I ineptly ran, a long iron bar we got pulled out, and so forth. He was on the ground, peering up, calling out directions that I was just terrible at following, but we made it through and will make it to our 40th anniversary this fall, still happily married. That jack is completely broken and will be replaced, not a huge issue. The heater stopped working. He figures it may be a fuse and will fix it or get it fixed here at home. We just used a space heater when we felt cold, and were toasty warm.

We were talking the whole week about how 2 years ago he could not have gone down to the beach 3-4 times, walked along the trails, or any of those things. We are constantly grateful to God for His healing through this surgery.

I’m heading into a somewhat quiet week. I got a lot of rest at the beach. I slept in a lot, and even took a nap one day. Even with all that, I won’t argue if I get a little more rest after the hustle and bustle of getting Patsy off to camp. We’ll see how that works out for me:)