Saving Money–August 29, 2016


I planted a few fall/winter vegetables at our new house.  I focused on varieties I thought would have a chance of making some food before it gets too cold.  I put in some lettuce, spinach, snow peas, boc choi, chard, a few beets and carrots, green onions, and some Walla Walla onion plants.  I dug off a chunk of the parsley plant from the garden, but have serious doubts about its chances of survival.  It was almost 100 degrees for several days, so we watered this 2 times per day so that the seeds will have a chance of germinating.  As of yesterday, there were literally thousands of tiny weeds sprouting, but no veggies yet.  Hopefully, today….


Patsy worked on her embroidery a bit this week.  So did I.  Things are so chaotic right now, it was good to do something calming.  I like to use the finished towels for gifts or in my own kitchen.  I find the flour sack dish cloths at Walmart in a large bundle, and the last time I bought some they were less than $1 per towel.  Then, I stamp them with Aunt Martha brand iron-on stamps, which are not costly and can be re-used.  They work extremely well to dry dishes with–better than some other towels–and the hand embroidery makes them so pretty and turns them into a nice gift.


I’ve been working on the flowerbeds in the early mornings before it gets too hot.  There is quite a bit to do.  We got garbage cans delivered and there is a yard debris can.  I filled it 1/2 full already with branches and blackberry bushes and ivy clippings.  Otherwise, I’m making a compost pile with the weeds I pull.  Garbage service is much less per month than it was at our other place, so that was a welcome surprise.  I got the largest garbage can available, plus the recycle and yard debris cans for about the same price as a small can at the other house.  This is great because we haven’t had garbage service all summer and have been putting it in Rob’s Mom’s can as she does not fill it, throwing it away at parks when we are camped, and literally saving it when we have too much.  Also, we have generated quite a bit while painting.  Later, we may downgrade to a smaller can once we get caught up and unpacked and save even more, but I’m grateful for the extra room right now.

We are watering a lot.  There is an old well that is hooked up for irrigation purposes.  It’s hooked to an automatic watering system.  We feel spoiled, and delighted that we don’t have to pay for the water.  Hopefully, we can get the lawn greened up and the flowerbeds watered.  Some of the plants look pretty stressed.


I’m continuing to harvest from the garden at my sister’s house.  It is getting away from both of us, since she is working a lot right now, and I’m spending every day driving down to Salem, and working at the house.  Still, it is still producing well, and I’m taking the time to snatch veggies when I can, and so is she.

I’ve been able to do a lot of cooking this past week.  I have been able to get quite a few boxes of my food storage put onto shelves, with Lovana’s help.  It’s been nice to be able to pull food from that.  Boy, I have more dried beans than I remember–:)  At the new house, I’ve been working with 1 small frying pan and the microwave, and making lots of sandwiches.  I mean lots.  I’ve also been using my other sister’s house to cook some more substantial meals, like spaghetti from a jar, and hamburgers and tacos with lots of garden veggies.  I’ve cooked a little bit at the camper.  I found my pots and pans while unpacking boxes on Saturday.  I’ve also unearthed my silverware, glasses and tools like turners and scrapers.  No plates so far, but I’ve got paper ones.  It’s like finding old friends after several months!  I’m planning to cook more and more down there.  Such a luxury to have a big refrigerator!  Yesterday, my niece organized it–it just had some food thrown in there from all the coolers I keep dragging back and forth, and lots and lots of drinks for everyone to drink while working.  Now it looks better and I can find things more easily.

We will continue to take loads down from our remaining container.  Rob is rounding up guys to help on the next 2 weekends to get the heavy stuff moved.  Even though it’s a slow process, it is very helpful to us to not have to hire movers.  The shop is stacked with piles of bins and boxes, as is the garage.  I’m unpacking slowly, and have the kitchen and food storage well on it’s way to being organized.  There will be several things that don’t fit, and I’m sorting them out as I go.  Today, we can start setting up the beds and other rooms. I’m not sure when we will be able to sleep there–but I know it’s soon!  I’m very excited.





The Floors Are Done!


After working on the floors for 3 days and a little bit more this morning, they are done!  I’m so excited!!  They are just beautiful.  Bob, the hardwood floor refinisher, said they were in extremely good condition for floors that were so old.  I think the house was built in 1948 and they were from then.  When the previous owner moved in, it was in the 1970’s and he said they were already covered with ugly green shag carpet, which he replaced at least once.

I love how they look dark sometimes, and light at other times, according to the lighting in the room and also the character the boards have.  They are oak.


The house was filled with a very strong smell this morning, and I spent several hours there today airing it out.  We will open it up some more tomorrow after church.  Bob doesn’t want us to put any furniture in until Monday, no rugs for 2 weeks, and no washing it for a month.  He was lamenting that the recent heat wave with 97-99 degree days is over–ummm, Bob?…..But I guess it cures better in the heat.  We won’t be running the air conditioning for a few days.


I spent several hours doing yard work (Patsy wanted me to take a “before” picture), emptying boxes into the kitchen (existing linoleum is fine to work on) and got a new library card!  Imagine my surprise when they informed me that movies are going to cost me $1 for each one I take out–otherwise, I’m in city limits and my card is free.  Wait?  What?  It’s going to be cheaper to subscribe to some kind of service like Netflix, etc. More information will be gathered, but I’m sure excited to be able to check out books only 6 minutes from my new house, even if movies are not included here.  It’s definitely the closest I’ve lived to a library since Rob was in college!  Exciting for sure!

Saving Money–August 22, 2016


I am a little late posting this because we have been so busy saving money:)

We have been working early and late to empty the storage unit.  You have to pay for the whole month even if we only stay one day into September, so I am happy to report, it is empty as of noon today.  We piled most of the boxes in the shop.

I found a few tomatoes on the bush at the new house.  We have been eating down there a lot, as we work, and they have come in handy.


My aunt found my crock pot in her garage, so I was able to make some broth with the carcass of a chicken Rob had barbecued.  I froze the broth today, along with a baggie of bits so I can make soup soon.


There was enough chicken to make chicken salad for lunch.  I had planned to grab a can of tuna off of the shelves, as my food storage has been slowy making its way onto the garage shelves, but realized there was no can opener yet!  So, thank goodness for the remaining chicken.  The soup will be a little less meaty, but no one cares:)


My aunt was given more pears, apples and potatoes than she could eat from a friend, so she shared.  We have been eating pears with our lunches for the last 2 days–yum!

My sister is watching Patsy, so Rob and I are off to a date, for the first time in a long time!  Because of where we are in our lives, the first thing we are going to do is unload boxes into the van from his mother’s garage…..but then, probably out to dinner!

I can’t put anything into the main house until the floors are done.  They start that tomorrow.  But, the kitchen, laundry room, and garage are not affected, and the shop is available, also.  So, we are going to keep getting our things from wherever they are and putting them in there.  I have already emptied several boxes into the kitchen and garage and will continue to do so as things surface.  We are busy, but I’m pretty excited to get to move to this phase!


The Painting is Done!


We, and several relatives, have worked many hours this week, and we have completed painting the inside of the house.  First, we painted it with Kilz to get rid of any smoke smell that might be lingering.  Then, we added the color.


The living room, dining area, hall and Rob and my bedroom were all painted this creamy tan color.  It is light, airy, warm and inviting.  I love how it turned out.  This picture actually shows it being a little darker than it appears.  There are no lights in the living room.  Yet.


Patsy’s room is mostly white, with the one wall that is light green.  A)  It also appears darker in this picture and B) Yes, I missed several spots, which I went back and painted with a brush after viewing this picture.  In fact, I went over several such spots in every room after I thought I was done!  The white is a nice, bright white and the green is much softer.  She has a huge closet in her room, and I will store quite a few of my things in 1/2 of it.  I also may put a community bookcase in her room, but I need to see how things fit in.


The big girls will share a room.  Their ceiling and closet are white.  Their walls are a blue-gray.  It is really this dark, maybe even a little bit darker.


The big girls painted almost all of their own room.  It was good experience for them and took them most of 2 days, since they were new at painting.  The previous painters had not been careful in any room and there is old paint on most of the woodwork, often blobbed or striped as if they did not tape at all. We did it properly, and it has been suggested that we paint over the woodwork in the places that are blobbed with a paint that matches the brown trim  or color over with a brown Sharpie.  I’m not sure if we are going to do any of that.  By the time we get furniture in there, we won’t see much of the baseboard:)

We’ve been moving loads from our storage unit over to store in the shop until after the floors are re-done.  We did another load today, even though the temperatures have been over 100 degrees this week.  (Very rare for our part of Oregon, so we are uncomfortable)  The only reason we could actually paint in this heat is that our new house has air conditioning.  Otherwise, I think the paint would have dried up too fast.  It’s supposed to cool down a bit, so hopefully I can get lots of loads moved next week, and some yard work done.  Things have grown up while the house was for sale, but I can tell the previous owner kept things in good shape.  I want to do the same.

We’ve also been working with the stove insert company, getting the details settled for the chimney preparation and installation of a new insert stove.  After filling out forms in 2 places, mail has finally arrived, today, at our new address.  Not long now until I get to go get a library card to the Salem Public Library!  That excites me tremendously.  I was last inside about 25 years ago, and thought it was really large then.  I will really feel like I live there (which I don’t actually, yet) once I check out books!


New House Projects–Aug. 17, 2016


We are spending most of our time these days working on the new house.  After both Rob and I worked for quite some time, we finally got the linoleum removed that was glued to the hardwood by the door.  The flooring man said he could sand the rest off–hurray!!!


Aunt Janet has been on the paint crew the past 2 days with us.  Yesterday, with my brother-in-law, Ron’s, help as well, we got the layer of Kilz on the walls all over the house.    Today, we got most of Patsy’s room done, as well as a good start on Lovana and Ja’Ana’s. (They will share).  Tomorrow, we will see what we can get done!



Michaela was delighted with a train calendar the former owner left in the shop.  Rob gave it to her, because trains are one of her absolute favorites!  She was a good helper yesterday, too.


Ja’Ana pulled purslane out the the garden area for a long time.  Those huge piles in the back of the garden are pulled and she will move them to a compost pile soon.  It  got too hot and she came in.  She and Lovana both painted today for quite a while, too.  Yesterday, Lovana unpacked a few boxes of food items and kitchen things.  J did some more today.  We can’t unpack other rooms, but the kitchen and garage can be filled as boxes come up in the small loads we are moving in our van each day.  The rest can be stored in the shop until the floors are done.  We are pretty committed to emptying the one storage unit before the end of August to save on rent.  They will charge us for the entire month of September, even if we take the things out on the 1st.  Hmmmm……Not a hard decision!!



This is a rare shot of Rob and I with 5 of the children.  We took some time to mourn the passing of a close family relative this morning.  It was a beautiful service and it was nice to have so many of the kids with us.  The young lady Rob has his arm around is our oldest daughter, Abbie.  The young man by me is our son, Anthony.  The rest, you already know.  Clearly, there were several relatives with phones, all calling out for everyone to smile at them, so everyone is looking around, but….life is like that sometimes–kind of messy!



Saving Money–August 14, 2016


I got 3 cups of blueberries off the 2 bushes at my new house.  They are nearing the end of their crop, but I loved getting what I did.


We did 2 days of work on the new house, in preparation for refinishing the hardwood floors.  By the front door, there were 2 layers.  Layer #1 came up easily.  Layer #2—Yikes!  They had glued linoleum to the hardwood, probably in the 60’s (?)  The heat gun was useless.  The tool (above) that we borrowed worked the best.  We had to use several blades.  That white glue is very hard to remove without gouging the actual floor.  We are still not quite finished, but will finish that soon.  The work we did ourselves saved us a bundle.



I made pico de gallo from peppers, cilantro, onion and tomatoes from the garden.  I was also able to make a lot of meals at home this week, and was able to take food down to Salem when we were working on the new house.

I was able to weed a bit, and harvest a lot from the garden.  I was also able to help out with my sister’s u-pick peach business a couple of days.  It’s fun and I enjoy doing it and it helps them out during their busy time.  When they are really busy, sometimes I get to cook for everyone–super fun!  I love cooking for a crowd.

I’ve recently realized that you can buy a large cup of ice for 25c at McDonald’s.   I often take a child in and use the facilities when we are out and about, and always buy a small item, figuring that that is only fair.  I love eating a cup of ice when I’m hot, so have been getting that for my “treat.”  (I just can’t make or store much ice in the camper and it’s much better for me than the other options)  And, don’t worry, the company will never go out of business because of us–my children love those french fries way too much!  It is much less expensive to buy one large fry and have them share than 3 small ones when we do make that choice.

Here’s hoping your week went well, also…

The New House–At Last


And, here it is!  The new house.  Rob and Patsy are going in for the first time after it became ours!


It is on .3 acres.  It has a large garden area with Marion berries on one side and raspberries on the other.  Clearly, there are a lot of weeds to remove, but it has grown the former owner a good garden for years, and the soil has been amended.


It has a shop!


And a cute little partially enclosed patio.  Behind the patio is a paved area where the camper can be parked behind a locked chain link fence.


Here is the kitchen and the laundry room behind.


The living room has a fireplace.  The carpets smelled badly of cigarette smoke.  Our first project was removing them.


After 2 days spent pulling up carpet tacking strips, pulling carpet staples as well as the carpet and pads, the lovely hardwood was revealed.  We have an appointment scheduled to get them refinished.


It’s already a huge improvement!  We have several other things planned.  We will have to wait a bit to move in, but it will be worth it in the end to have them done before we do:)

We are super excited and can’t wait to start living here!  I will admit that I have muscles I never knew existed after crawling around on the floor for 2 days.  I am very happy that I’ve leaned a new skill, though.  I’ll bet there are several new experiences ahead!