Menu Plans–Week of March 27, 2016

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Sunday:  We went to the beach and ate at Mo’s.   It was very different from our usual after-church tradition, but we enjoyed the scenery and the food, as always.

Monday:  Pork roast in the crock pot

Tuesday:  Lunch:  Chili (my sister is helping me do additional cleaning on this day)                 Dinner:  Fish tacos (with tilapia I got on super sale, and tortillas that need to be used)

Wednesday:  Pork enchiladas (Make Tuesday, as I work later on Wednesdays)

Thursday:  Lovana’s birthday.  We will take her out to eat, hopefully.

Friday:  Chicken  (If Rob feels better, we will have a garage sale, so oven-roasted.  If he doesn’t shake this super-bad cold I’ve had for 14 days now in time to sort and clean enough, maybe he will feel up to barbecuing)

Saturday:  Leftovers or soup in the crock pot. Maybe both.  My niece and nephew are coming to help with the sale, hopefully.

Sunday:  Dinner at my sister’s.  Since she is still on vacation, we have not discussed details.

Of course, this is all subject to change if they want to show the house.  I’ve noticed that the frequency of viewings is slowing down, which makes sense, so am hopeful that we will be able to work around them more easily with our meals.  I still hope they show it, though, and will happily leave, if need be.

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Saving Money–Week Ending March 27

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This past week, I had that horrible cold/thing everyone has been getting around here.  On Friday, Patsy didn’t feel well, either.  We went to the library and got some movies for her to watch.  We also made great use of the free tissues we were given last fall.  You may notice the box is very crushed, but they still work fine.  She’s pretty well done with it.  I, however, am still coughing a lot after 12 days of this.  Hmmmm…..Maybe I should watch more movies????   The Road to Avonlea dvd’s  are a tv show that was made years ago, using the setting of the Anne of Green Gables stories.  She enjoyed them, and Gilligan is always a favorite around here.

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Patsy and I spent quite a bit of time cleaning up our old Toyota Camry. My nephew, Steven, just put it back into working order.  He put a new door on it.  The old one had been crunched a while back and you could only get in by leaning across the passenger seat and reaching over and opening it from the inside.  That got to be quite inconvenient.  Then, the axle needed replacing, and finally, it’s battery went dead one too many times.  We didn’t run it for several months.  When Steven offered to fix it, we were very grateful.  It has been a great car for us, and still runs!  We would love for one of the older girls to learn to drive and use it.  J isn’t quite old enough, but Lovana is, and J soon will be.

It has almost 300,000 miles on it, and where I say it looks better, I’m not sure it will ever look super good ever again.   It’s as clean as we can get it without shampooing it.  We vacuumed it out at a do-it-yourself station at a car wash.  We used $3 in quarters.  I took some disinfectant wipes with us and we wiped and wiped.  There was even some mold growing in places, so we got that, too.  I was very grateful to have it, since our van was being fixed and I wanted to go somewhere!

A good friend fixed the van.  He did it for free, as he does for us, and we are thankful.  The shifting lever in the column was not shifting properly and would not go into “park” correctly, sometimes causing the van to start rolling backwards when we thought it was parked.  It only took a couple of times for us to put that on the top of the list!!!

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We went to the whale-watching center at Depoe Bay.  We didn’t see any whales, but had a good trip to the beach.  The center is free and they have lots of information and viewing stations to look out for whales.

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We went camping for a few more days, went to the zoo, the mall, the library, and the beach during spring break, mostly while getting out of the house so they could show it.  It was nice to do something different than sort, pre-pack, clean and scrub, etc.  So far, there have been 31 families/couples/people through the house.  It’s been on the market for a little over a week.  We don’t have an offer, yet, but feel encouraged with all of the interest.  I know this will all pay off in the end.  We tried to use coupons, get deals, share food, used gift cards, and whatever else we could do to save money during all of this running around, but it was still somewhat expensive.  Camping was actually the most economical, since we took our food with us, and got to stay there are cook it, for the most part, during the 2nd little part of the camping trip when we went back up there.

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We looked at and photographed wildflowers wherever we went.

While cleaning, I was able to find a couple of home-school books that I will use for Ja’Ana now. She had finished up a couple of things a few weeks ago. She hasn’t been doing very much school lately, with all of the other things we have been doing, but I wrote out a pretty hefty 2-week schedule for her, so she can get back on track and caught up. I also had time to work with her on math during the first part of camping, before she went on her mission trip.  So, she’s set, and no money out for new things right now.

I weeded my herb raised bed.  It is right by the house, and is handy to use when cooking.  I might as well enjoy it while I still have it, and everything I make a little nicer can only help with selling the house.

Under the Umbrellas–Spring Break 2016

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Spring vacation here in Oregon was very rainy!   Lovana was working quite a bit, so hung around with us for one night, then went to stay with Grandma in town.  Ja’Ana was with us for the first part of our camping trip.  Then, she went on her long-anticipated mission trip with her youth group.  Patsy was stuck with us for quite a bit of the remaining time.  She was not sorry to be an only child for a few days:)  We wanted to give her some special attention no matter what the weather.  So, we did quite a few things under our umbrellas!

The first place we went was Detroit Lake State Park.  We went camping and had a couple of nice days during the first part of our trip.  We came down the mountain a couple of times for a 4H event and Sunday for church.  When we went camping again for a couple of days, the weather turned to rain, rain, and more rain.  IMG_2286

Patsy wasn’t convinced that  a hike in the rain would be fun.  In fact, she was pretty resistant to the idea.  She was enjoying her crafts and books inside the cozy camper.  But we wanted to get out and get some exercise!  When we were done, she told me it was a LOT more fun than she thought it would be.  I’m glad she enjoyed herself.  It was a nice hike, in my opinion.IMG_2281

The lake and forest have a beauty during the rain that is different, but still lovely to me.

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When zoo day came, there were no more protests about going out on a rainy day.  The zoo is a place Patsy has not been to for several years and she has been wishing to go.  So, we went, and had a wonderful time.IMG_2327

The rain came and went.  We didn’t see all of the zoo, but did make it to most of the animal exhibits.  We had to leave, as it was closing, but will go back another day.

We didn’t use our umbrellas every day.  Patsy and I went to the mall on Thursday.  After trying on a LOT of clothes, she was able to choose the perfect dress.  We are anticipating that we will get a call from a lawyer or the state within the next month or two, giving us a date to appear before the judge and finalize her adoption.  For all of the other girls, I have sewn dresses for their adoptions.  This time, with so many things packed up in the basement in anticipation of moving and the extra work involved with moving, I can’t be sure I will get any sewing done.  So, we bought one, and put it in my closet, so there will be no pressure on the big day, no matter what the circumstances.

So, that was the first time I had ever taken her to mall by herself, and we enjoyed ourselves.  In fact, we so rarely go, that I think it’s only the 4th or 5th time I’ve ever taken her.  We got her some jeans and a couple of clearance items she could use along with “THE DRESS”, some tops for me, our piece of See’s candy, and ate lunch there.  Finally, she asked to go home.  It was overwhelming for her, as it’s very rare, and she was tired.  So, we went home, tired and happy.

Now, she has the yucky cold that I’ve had all week, so she’s just watching movies that we got at the library this morning.  The other girls will all be home by tonight, so her special time is over.  Hopefully, she will have some good memories to treasure.  I know I do.

 

Moving Update–March 23

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As of tonight, we have had 30 couples through our house, including the 24 that came to the open house.  We have 2 more lined up for Friday.  There have been over 1,000 hits on Zillow, the most our realtor has ever seen.  But, we still don’t have an offer.  So, we are trying to be patient, and just wait, while keeping things sparkling clean and leaving the house a lot.  I am encouraged by all the interest, though.  I have little experience with selling houses, but I’m figuring that the more interest, the better chances we have of selling sooner, rather than later.  I can see that keeping things perfect and leaving all the time, will wear on us all if it goes on too long.  But, again, patience.  It’s only been 1 week tomorrow:)

So far, we’ve gone camping and had a blast.  They wanted to show the house some more, so we went camping a little bit more.  Today, we went to the zoo with Patsy, and then out to dinner.  We are trying to spoil her a bit, as she is the only one here with us for a few days this week.  All of our attention has gone to the house lately, and she needs some.

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We gave the latest batch of prospective buyers over an hour to look around, but they were still here when we got home from dinner, so we drove on by and got gas, and took a small drive.  Tomorrow should be easier, we both have appointments, and we have no one lined up, yet.  So, we will spiff up in the morning and leave, just in case anyone texts us and wants to go through while we are gone.   Then, Thursday, and then Friday, the other girls will be home, so it’s “clean up” times 3—Yikes!  It took us 2 hours to spiff up this morning and we haven’t even been home from camping for very long.IMG_2312

The new elephant exhibit at the Oregon Zoo is amazing.  Those elephants have a huge enclosure and can walk for a long ways.  There are cameras to look at so you can find out where the keepers have the elephants at the moment, as the exhibit is in sections.  I can remember a time when I was young when we would go to the zoo armed with bags of cut up apples to feed the giraffes and maybe the elephants.  Those days are long gone, but it is amazing that the oldest elephant, Packy, is about the same age as both Rob and I and we both saw him many times growing up.  (This elephant in the picture is not him–we saw him and he is MUCH larger and more mature looking).  We had not been to the zoo for several years, and enjoyed ourselves very much.  Patsy loved both the zoo and her time of “getting spoiled.”  IMG_2316

 

 

Menu Plans

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I have a few minutes to plan meals for the week, so here goes.  I just love having them planned.  It sure saves me a lot of agony during the week.  This week I don’t have to work, since it’s spring vacation.

Sunday:  Turkey meat loaf, green beans, instant mashed potatoes.

Monday:  Chicken sausage shish kabobs

Tuesday:  Clam chowder

Wednesday:  Tamale Pie

Thursday:  Barbecue pork chops (our pig should be picked up by then–can’t wait to try)

Friday:  Leftovers or pizza

Saturday:  Soup

Some of this menu is going to depend on how many times we are asked to vacate our home so it can be shown.  I’m reserving a large handful of gift cards for everywhere from Subway to pizza, to Applebees that I’ve had for a few months.  I’ve saved them for this time.  Here’s hoping we will have to get out often:)

Lunches will be leftovers, and breakfasts will be the usual things like pancakes, cereal, oatmeal, muffins, etc.

Saving Money–Week Ending March 20

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We went camping at Detroit Lake Campground.  We needed to clear out of our home so they could have an open house yesterday.  That is Mt. Jefferson peeking out behind the hills.  We can camp for free, a few days a month, using our foster and adoptive Oregon State Parks special access pass.  We only took one vehicle, the van we use to tow the camper, to save the $8/day extra car fee.  It did cost a bit more in gas than the smaller car would have used, since we had to run home for a 4H event and so Rob could ship things for his e-Bay business, but it was still cheaper over all.

This time in our lives is going to cost us something, we are finding, while at the same time, we can still save money in many ways.  It just looks way different than our usual way of living.  It’s going to take some adjusting, but I am confident we will figure it out.

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We went to the bowling alley for a 4H junior leader party that had been planned for a long time.  Patsy wasn’t really supposed to be there, being too young, but no one fussed.  Aunt Rosalie made sure the big kids welcomed her in.  The club funds paid for the bowling and shoes.  I paid for 2 additional games for my girls, as we had to stay there longer, since Rob was at our house, tending to business, and driving Lovana to work.  Since the shoes were already paid for, and we had a group rate, it only cost me $4 more.  I sprung for a couple of sodas and fries for the kids, and that was it.  One club member had a birthday, and another brought him cupcakes, so that was a nice way to combine things.

We were able to use Subway coupons to get our lunch.  We had 2 “buy one, get one free” coupons, and Lovana had just eaten a huge breakfast at the camper and didn’t want one, so that worked out.

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I made 2 turkey meat loaves.  I froze one, and kept one for Sunday dinner.  Only one niece is at my sister’s house this week, the rest of the crew are on vacation.  But, we are hanging around anyway after church, eating, playing with the dog, etc.  Our house is being shown at least 2 more times today, so…….I have instant mashed potatoes, green beans, and salad stuff for a quick lunch today.

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Lovana only got to go camping for one night.  She had to go to work, and could stay with Grandma after work.  She wanted to roast things on the fire for dinner on her one night up there, so we did.  The weather was lovely.  We had a simple meal of hot dogs, baked beans from a can, cut up veggies and ranch dressing and marshmallows.  The other meals were pretty simple, too.  I have my camper stocked with food from home, plus I added fresh veggies for salad and munching, some sausage, some lunchmeat and a few more items.

My nephew came up for the day yesterday, and he and Rob cooked chicken over the fire. This was 1/2 of a bag I got at Safeway for $4.90 for 10 lbs.–so $2.50 worth for all of us, including that hungry young adult!  I marinaded it before I left home, and put it all in the camper fridge.  They also threw some foil-wrapped potatoes into the fire and baked them, and we cooked home-canned green beans.  I have spent quite a bit of time loading the camper so that we could have many tasty meals from the cupboards in there, and also have one bench seat where I put quite a bit of my home-canned items.  I will spend some time this coming week re-stocking what we ate for the next time.

We spent about an hour one morning making campground reservations for the coming months.  We made the maximum we were allowed to make with our free pass.  We have no idea when our house will sell, so it is wiser to make reservations, and then cancel, then not have anywhere to go.  (It will cost us a few dollars each time if we cancel, but it’s worth it in the long run).   Many of the campgrounds are already full for summer. We will park our camper at my sister’s house, then go camping , then back to her house, etc.  She doesn’t have full hook-ups, so we need to go somewhere to empty our tanks between her house.   Once it sells, we will be spending a lot of time looking for the new place, buying it and then moving in.  It may need some work (for sure, because we aren’t going to have enough money for another house in as good of shape as our current one, or as large.)  Rob’s very handy, so no worries there, it just may take some time.

They went fishing, but nothing was biting.  We took several walks.  There is a trail around the campground, plus the roads that run through the campground.

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Ja’Ana used her battered scooter she bought for $2 long ago at a swap meet.  It doesn’t go very well on the gravel, but she rode it a lot on the pavement and carried it when the gravel was too rough.  FullSizeRender

She also spent a bit of time playing with the different filter choices on my phone, taking different pictures of the lake at dusk.  The kids and I read free kindle books I had downloaded before we left, and we watched a Disney movie from the library each night.  Patsy and I played a game as well.

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We also got quite a bit of free entertainment watching this near-by hillside.  They are doing a “log-recovery operation”  (logging), with helicopters.  It is fascinating to see how they come over that hill with a helicopter.  The helicopter has a long chain attached.  At the bottom of the chain is a bundle of logs.  The bring it to a landing place on the left, and leave their logs there, and go back for another load.  I could not get a good picture with my phone.  I would have needed a good camera with a better lens for distances, but we enjoyed watching.

Our Rav4 was fixed and we have it back.  It was a warranty issue, and they re-built the whole engine!!!!  So, now our car with over 100,000 miles on it is in excellent shape to go 100,000 more or even further.  We paid to get the water pump replaced and a timing belt, as they were worn and it was time to replace them.  The rest was free to us, including the rental car for a week.  I’m excited about that.

 

Saving Money–March 15, 2016

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Although I keep saying it, the main way I saved money this week was through the generosity of family and friends who came over to my house and worked for free this past weekend.  I figure there were 45-50 people that passed through our house over the long weekend, and helped do many, many chores.  One of the biggest jobs they did was the landscaping.  It was very weed-filled, completely rainy and muddy when they worked on it, and it still came out looking great.  I will have to say the realtor was very impressed today when she and a photographer came to finalize the paperwork for the listing and take the pictures that will be put on to a brochure and on the internet.  I cannot imagine the dollar amount that the landscaping, pressure washing, and cleaning would have cost me to hire it out.  I know Rob and I could have never finished without all of the help.

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I was given several gifts this weekend, too, to make the house look better.  My aunt brought these 2 orchids to put on the mantle.  They will last, and won’t have to be replaced often as fresh flowers would.

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My aunt also brought the basil for the windowsill.  My oldest daughter brought the lemons and limes, suggested by a reader.  The photographer did not put them away, but we did find quite a few little things moved out of sight:) You can also see the wonderful job a couple of friends did on my cabinets–they cleaned them and rubbed them down with lemon oil.  My daughter also brought me a new dish towel to put out for the showings.

We cooked a turkey to feed many of the people.  Ja’Ana and I made 2 batches of the rice-lentil salad.  The second time, she made it with quinoa, rice, and beans, because that is what we had left to use.  It was amazing to me how quickly that went down the hatches.  I had also cooked some pinto beans with peppers in the crock pot.  They had been out in the camper and I replaced them with fresh ones.  Those were devoured on Saturday.

On Sunday, an entire small church came as their service project to help us.  We have never been anyone’s service project before, and we were grateful for their help.  We were very touched that they thought of us.  They brought soup and rolls.  My daughter Abbie brought cupcakes, muffins and chicken chili.  We put out more turkey, salad and drinks.  I was able to get 2-litre bottles of pop for $1.25 at one store, and then found them for $1 at another, so bought more.  I also got chocolate milk for $1 for 1/2 gallon and orange juice for the same price.  We also offered hot drinks, such as coffee and tea.  The organizer for the church group brought some of those beverages and I provided some.

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As usual, I walked on the treadmill while watching a movie we checked out from the library instead of buying a gym membership or paying for cable.

We went to the library tonight and got quite a few movies and books.  We will be staying in the camper for a few days and want them to watch and read.   We will go back and forth from the campground to our house, church, and other activities, but want to be out of here for the open house and multiple showings (hopefully).  The inventory in our area is very low, and the realtor expects to hit it hard this first weekend.  After that, it will be shown by appointment only.  Apparently, a house not far from here sold during the first week recently, but of course, we can’t count on that happening.  Average is 30-45 days.  So, only time will tell what will happen here.  I just don’t want to have to police every room, nag people, etc.  Hopefully, it won’t take too long to sell, as my kids are MESSY!

I needed to go to work yesterday.  While I was gone, Ja’Ana took it into her head to cook me dinner.  She used things we had on hand, and it came out great.  As usual, I packed a lunch to take with me.

Patsy was supposed to dress up for school as a tacky tourist.  She used things we had on hand–a flowered dress, a map Rob found, and a hat she owned.  She topped it off with last summer’s river sandals.  Pretty cute!  Tomorrow is tie-dye day, and she has a top she can wear.

Today, I spent several hours putting everything to rights for the photographer.  After he and the realtor left, I hit the wall with exhaustion and took a nap. Rob fell asleep, too.  The girls sat on chairs in front of the fire.   I usually can’t sleep during the day, but I guess I was finally tired enough. Patsy was at school, but I woke up right before she got home.  After that, having not cooked dinner, or instructed anyone else to cook it, we got into the car and went to town to do errands and ate out.  We got our fishing licenses, the fresh food for the camper, such as lettuce, and went to the library as well as having dinner.  I think we all enjoyed a break from working so hard.  I cannot express how much we appreciated all of the help we have received.  One thing, though, is that they all come and go as their schedules permit.  We are here through it all, and ended up working for 10-12 hours many days during the past 2 months, and especially the last 2-3 weeks.  It’s no wonder we are tired!  Hopefully, this will be a little calm in the storm for a few days while we get rested up for the “real” move after the house sells.