Saving Money–May 29, 2016

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I picked spinach, lettuce, boc choi, parsley and cilantro from the garden.  I put it in various containers and filled them with water outside.  Then, I carried them into the camper, washed them (putting the wash water into the pots) and then dumped the water on my flower pots outside.

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We went camping on Thursday, at Ft. Stevens State Park.  We stopped at the store and got a few groceries and have eaten from the camper the entire time.  Usually, we go out to eat at least once when we go camping, but not this time.  We packed a lunch for the road (that is usual–we don’t pull through drive-ups in the camper) and took a lunch today when we visited Ft. Clatsop with the 4H club.  We’ve gone fishing, clamming and hiking, and right now the kids are down at the beach with some of their friends while Rob and I are doing laundry.

This laundry-mat is less expensive than the one we used the first time, so we are finishing all of our laundry before heading  back tomorrow.  Patsy needs to go to school Tuesday, or we would stay a day longer.

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The clamming was very successful.  We had 1 clam gun, and one shovel.  The clam gun worked the best, although I did dig up one little one with the shovel and Rob got a couple that way.  We had not clammed for over 25 years, so this was the first time for the girls.  It didn’t take long to learn to spot the tell-tale circles where the clams were, and Ja’Ana got the knack of it quickly.  She got 15, her limit, Patsy and Rob got 10 each, and I got 4.  Did I mention we had only 1 clam gun? Frankly, it was very fun to watch the excitement as they got their clams.  Patsy pointed out that we were the only ones on the beach whooping and hollering every time we caught one.  I just pointed out that we were having more fun! It took us a long time to clean those clams. They are very sandy and the broken ones were super bad.  You have to keep all you find, even if broken.  It makes sense, since they probable wouldn’t survive after being whacked with a shovel or sliced with a clam gun:)   I have saved some in a dish to attempt clam strips tonight, and froze the rest for chowder later.

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Rob caught 1 trout.

I am still getting used to camper life.  At first, it felt like a vacation.  Last night it did not feel like a vacation.  It felt like I needed to clear out more stuff because it was overwhelming me!  So, I did move some things around, and have some plans to take even more out when I get home.  I’m starting to get a sense of what I’m using and what I’m not.  I’m starting to use some of the excess food, and have a little more wiggle room in the cupboards.  I’ll figure it out.  I just need a little more time where I can focus on organization.  Hopefully, Tuesday.

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Menu Plans-May 27, 2016

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For the last week, since we’ve moved, we have tried to eat all of the extra food that was in the fridge and the freezer connected to the fridge at the old house.  At the last minute, at my direction, all extra food was crammed into 2 coolers and brought over to the camper.  I purposely left extra food in the freezer to defrost for this past week, but I misjudged and left too much out.  Things went very smoothly, so if that’s the worst that happened, I’m satisfied.  Some of the meals included meatloaf, beef brisket on the barbecue, chicken marinated in zippy sauce, and lots of salad from the garden.  Also, strawberry spinach salad was yummy, made from garden spinich and strawberries I u-picked.

Thursday:  Macaroni and Cheese (this was some my sister gave me–yummy!) Sandwiches in the car with some chicken thighs I had cooked before we moved.

Friday:  Tacos with the turkey burger that was thawed.  Other leftovers in fridge.

Saturday:  Hamburgers (there was a pack that finished thawing a couple of days ago)  Also, clam chowder with the clams we caught.  We had not clammed for over 25 years until this morning.  We had great success, had to watch U-Tube to figure out how to clean them, and can’t wait to cook them.

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I have to say, mine is the bucket with only 4 clams in it.  J limited out, with 15, Patsy 10, Rob 10, and me—4.  What a great outing:)

Sunday:  Turkey soup.  I boiled the bones of the turkey legs my sister gave me and have the broth to use.  If Rob wants to cook over the fire, he can, or I will do it over the stove.  It also could become turkey and dumplings. There is also some leftover beef that could be turned into stew or soup.  We may have a potluck for the 4H families that are camping with us.

Monday:  We will travel this day, back to my sister’s.  So, sandwiches for lunch in the lunch pail while on the road.  We never go through drive-throughs while pulling the camper–doesn’t work:)  Dinner:   Leftovers from the weekend.

Tuesday:  Pack dinner.  We need to pick Patsy up from school and will kill the time between school letting out and her band concert by me getting my hair done, and everyone else having a little picnic at the library park.

Wednesday:  Chicken strips.

Thursday:  We will pack food for the road.  We are off to see our very dear friends who live about 8 hours away.  I will take some food, but she will feed us all weekend.

I am still adjusting to the small space of the camper kitchen.  I still can’t find much of anything, but seem to have way too much stuff sitting around.  I’ll figure it out.  We are all eating, and it tastes great, so that’s what matters!

Saving Money–May 23, 2016

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We did it!  We are all the way moved and out of the old house.  This is the thing, by far, that saved us the most money this week.  We now have no house payment.  By selling the house quickly, we don’t have to continue paying a house payment we cannot afford, since Rob is still not working.  By agreeing to close early, and getting out early, we saved a few more days’ worth of money.

We were so thankful.  over 30 people showed up to help in the rain, and we were settled in our little house by 6 p.m.

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The garden is growing like crazy.  I picked some lettuce and boc choi and used them in meals already.FullSizeRender

Patsy got some free entertainment out of the tiny baby kittens Auntie showed her when we arrived.  Auntie is going to have Patsy help feed the cats every day for a job, and because Patsy loves animals so much.  It was nice to have something for her to look forward to.  FullSizeRender

I don’t have a menu plan, yet.  I  stuffed 2 coolers and the tiny fridge with leftover food from the old house and I’m just trying to use it up before it rots.  I have an idea for what I want to do, I’m just still figuring things out.

I have a lot of figuring out to do.  It’s going to be an adjustment going from 3200 square feet to a camper.  We had a family birthday party and a graduation party to attend after church yesterday.  Today, we had to drive Patsy to school (now over 45 minutes away) and Lovana to work, plus attend a play Patsy was in at school tonight.  It lasted only 20 minutes, but we were happy to see her play she had worked hard for, but we stayed in that area anyway and did some laundry.  I did a lot of school with Ja’Ana today.  She has a bunch to do, now that we are settled.  I can’t find things, yet, in the camper.  I’ve already removed a large pile of clothes and other things from the cupboards.  They are going into the storage unit.  I packed too much:)  I’ll get it figured out.  It may just take a little while.

So, I’m going to be patient with myself and others.  Since that task is going to be so hard, I plan to spend a little more time reading my Bible and praying.  Especially verses about patience, kindness, gentleness and love:)  Especially when they are already fighting and yelling at each other to get their “foot/hand/arm” off MY BUNK/PILLOW/ETC.  Especially when one of them pours a quantity of milk on the floor because she was watching tv instead of her cup.  There were, however, gales of laughter at other times, lots of giggles and joy, as well.  We are all going to grow and change.  I’m determined it will be for the better, as much as it is within my power.

 

Moving Update and Use-It-Up May 19, 2016

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Wow!  What a week, and it’s not even over yet.  Last Saturday, the girls had a dance recital and received flowers.  They are gorgeous.  Tuesday, Patsy was adopted and received more beautiful flowers. They are lovely, too.  Tuesday, we also signed the papers for the house sale, and Saturday, (2 days from now), we have to be completely out by 5 p.m.

Who does that??????  In a week???? Right????

Believe it or not, I think we are going to make it.  Room after room is getting finished, boxes are stacked up in the garage and front room, the camper is loaded down with WAY too much stuff (hope the van can pull it–LOL), I go around smelling like Woodsman Goat Milk Soap because that’s all that’s left in the shower, and the meals are getting very creative.

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You can do a lot with 1 frying pan, which is all that is in the kitchen right now.  These are some frozen waffles I made some time ago, and I fried them in the pan.  I also made some soup from veggies and a jar of tomatoes and some leftover hamburger meat in the pan.  I have purchased very few groceries this month.  I have used old cans of soup that have been around forever, boxes of this and that, frozen veggies, muffins and other frozen baked products, cereal (boxed–no one’s favorite), instant oatmeal packets we made with 4H (they needed salt), and more.  It feels good to have used so many things up.

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The last of some sour cream, some mayo, garlic and the leaves that were not brown, wilted or rotten off of the lovely basil plant my aunt got me to put in the kitchen when we were showing the house, were all whirled together to make some dressing/dip, which is now in the camper.

Several pieces of meat were saved out and will go into a cooler to slowly defrost over the next few days for meals in the week to come.  I made myself super sick eating out too much–my gluten intolerance reared its ugly head, and so I’ve made time to cook this week.  I’m feeling much better this week.  Some has been frozen foods that were given to me, some salads, and people brought food or cooked for me.  My daughter made a delicious ham dinner and we ate with them Tuesday, my aunt brought yummy soup Wednesday, and both sisters sent food as well.

Several people will come to help tomorrow, but the bulk of them will be here on Saturday, bright and early.  Rob will pull the camper over to my sister’s tomorrow, and we will sleep there tomorrow night.  We have been doing laundry and all items are either going in the camper, or in a bin.  We have finished packing all the canning in the basement.  Beds will come down tomorrow.  Then, Saturday, it will all be carried away to storage, and we will be finished with this phase, at last.  We have family plans on Sunday afternoon, and a graduation party for a boy who we are close to.  Then, we are going to slow down, and stop and smell the roses for a few days.  Kind of. There are still a few things to do that we have been neglecting while we moved.  At least, it will be easier than this week, and then we are going camping on Thursday:)  I’m ready!

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Patsy’s Adoption

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The big day finally arrived!  On May 17, 2016, everything was officially signed, sealed and delivered and Patsy finally became Patricia Rachel Mae!  We will still call her Patsy, but as is tradition after 8 adoptions, the adopted child gets to choose his or her new name.  We always call them the same thing they have always been called, but several of them have chosen “longer/bigger” names and sometime go by them when they are grown.  They choose a family middle name beginning with “R” and keep, add or discard as many other middle names as they wish.

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Several of the family were able to come, even given the short notice.  Patsy was showered with gifts.  Her caseworker, Nicole, brought flowers.  The lawyer from the DA’s office brought balloons and cupcakes.  Her CASA worker was there, as was her former SSA/driver.  They were so happy.  This is a happy ending for them, too.  They have all worked so hard for years on Patsy’s behalf, and we are so grateful.   Both grandmas, Aunt Janet, and Auntie Abbie were all there.  The ones who had to work were sad, but we will have a root beer float party later for both Patsy and cousin Jake, whose adoption will finalize soon.

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The judge had us go through a very nice ceremony, similar to a wedding ceremony, and then signed the papers.

After the ceremony, we headed straight to Dairy Queen, where Patsy was showered with even more presents from family members. She got a locket, a bracelet and a notebook to write down the “New Adventures of Patsy Rachel Mae” in, along with Grandma’s favorite Bible verses scattered throughout the otherwise blank journal.  She loves to write and has already written 2 pages of her story.  I must say it starts “I hate, hate, hate moving, but have decided I will do it because, since I’m adopted now, I’d better stay with my new parents and not the new buyers……”  It moves on to say “I put my things in boxes, which I also hate, but decided I’d better move if I ever want to see my things again.”  And so forth. It’s cute and funny.

Families are complicated.  They are messy and each one is unique.  They are also sometimes hard to figure out.  Patsy has figured out that we are both her grandparents and parents.  She will call us whatever she wants to.  The grandmas have figured out that they used to be great-grandmas but are now just grandmas.  They caseworker pointed out that it makes all of us younger with one stoke of a pen:)  Auntie Abbie is her biological aunt, and is now her sister.  That makes Abbie an “aunster” and Patsy a “niece-ter.”  (aunt-sister, niece-sister) Hmmmm.  I guess when our heads begin to spin too much, all we have to remember is that no matter what we call each other, or what our title is–we are a family, for better or for worse, forever.

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Dance Recital

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The girls had their dance recital on Saturday.  It was lovely.  Grandma and Aunt Janet were able to come and watch, too.

I took some pictures ahead of time.  They will have photographs taken at the studio next Thursday.

They were in one dance together.  It was called “Rotten To The Core.”  They had fun with it, and I’ve had fun teasing them about the title.

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Ja’Ana was in one dance with a bunch of her friends.  It was called “Dear Mr. President.”  J has been out of dance for a few years, and of course, Patsy has had very limited experience with it, so I’m super glad they had this opportunity for the past year.  We like this studio, and  will be sad that we are not able to continue next year, but we will live too far away.

Even though our lives are a bit complicated right now, we were able to fully enjoy their recital, and I think they did, too.

Saving Money–May 15, 2016

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This is my water bucket.  When we go to work in the garden, or on car trips, I fill up the containers with water and ice.  We drink the uninsulated ones first, while still cold, and save the others for last.  It saves us a bunch of money because we don’t buy drinks and they don’t tip over while we travel.

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Rob put a few more things on the trailer and took it to the auction.  He got over $100 for the items. That was after the auction took its share and we paid a disposal fee for the items that did not sell.  Since it was going to be thrown away, we were fine with the amount.  Otherwise, we would have had to pay the dump to take it, so we actually earned more than the $100+ we got.

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Recently Safeway had a Monopoly game.  I did not shop very much during the game time period, but we got some tickets.  Patsy had fun sorting through them, and a lady at the store gave her a whole handful she did not want.  She was thrilled when we won something. We got our free popcorn last week.  I put it in the camper for when we move into it for the summer.

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I made re-fried beans one last time before the crock pot was packed.

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Rob and I went for a walk while waiting for the girls to finish dance recital dress rehearsal. We saw several nutria, ducks, geese, flowers and enjoyed both the pond and river.

We continued packing.  I had a lot of help on Friday and the house is coming along.  The lender for the buyer can close early.  We are going to see if we can get done on Saturday, since we were planning to get out that day anyway.  That is when all of our family and friends are coming to help us, so it just makes sense.  Since we are moving out that day, anyway, they might as well start paying the house payment as soon as they can, so we don’t have to:)  It’s going to be a crazy, busy week!