A Simple Knitted Scarf

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I’m not much of a knitter.  I don’t know how to follow directions very well, so only go back and forth with no fancy alterations.  That being said, I was very pleased with a scarf I just finished.  I was in the Dollar Store, and they had this Lion Brand Fun Fur yarn for, well, obviously, $1.

I grabbed a couple skeins of the 2 colors they had, and finally found my knitting needles with a little help from Rob.  They were still in a bin in the shop.  I used the really big ones–size 13.  After a few views on U-Tube, I remembered how to cast on, so I put 15 stitches onto my needles, and started knitting.  I just kept knitting back and forth (garter stitch) until I ran out of yarn, then bound off and knotted the yarn.  I wove the ends in with a crochet hook and I was done.

I did not need a super long scarf.  If I had wanted it longer, I would have continued with the second ball of yarn, or made the width skinnier, by casting on only 10 stitches.  What I wanted it for was to add some color to my winter coat, not for warmth or wrapping around a bunch of times.

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I got this coat after Christmas last year for only $10, on clearance.  Adding my $1 scarf made it much brighter, but still very inexpensive.  I think a scarf like this would be a good gift.  It was quick to make because the needles were so big.  Even for someone who doesn’t knit much, it only took a very few hours.  I don’t know how much yarn would cost if it wasn’t purchased at the Dollar Store, but I’m guessing not very much.  The only thing that was hard was sometimes all the extra fuzzy strands got in my way–smooth yarn would probably be easier, but it sure wouldn’t be a fluffy and soft.  I’m glad I used this yarn.

 

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Saving Money–November 27, 2016

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We had a lovely Thanksgiving.  Then, we had a lot of family fun for the rest of the weekend.

We are still cruising on leftovers from the holiday.  We still have several things left that we will use for lunches tomorrow and dinner tomorrow night.  I also have more than enough groceries left from all the shopping I did before the holiday that I don’t need to buy any for a few days–even milk and eggs.  One of the great things I was able to buy was a big carton of 5 dozen eggs for $4.05.  I made deviled eggs for Thanksgiving

I froze quite a bit of turkey in smaller baggies for use in casseroles, soups, and sandwiches.  I boiled the bones of the turkey and got over 12 pints.  I froze those for later.  I also used some of the home-made broth in stuffing, and made a soup already.  I used the crock pot so we would have a meal last night when we returned from our family outing.

Although we went to several family events over the week, we chose to eat out only once.  Otherwise, we packed food with us or ate before and after the events.

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My sister treated us all to a train ride.  We had a great week with a visit to a museum, Thanksgiving, the train ride, skating, dinner, and the Singing Christmas Tree.  We are happy, but a bit tired, and I am looking forward to a nice week of my regular schedule.  I do need to put my mind and get working on  Christmas.  We were able to make a good, simple plan and now know what we want to get for people.  It should not be difficult.  Now, if we could find as easy of a solution for the problem of where we should put the Christmas tree!

 

Black Friday, 2016

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This year we did not go shopping on Black Friday.  Not even to buy a single pair of socks at the annual Fred Meyer 1/2 price sock sale.  Not even for flannel at JoAnn’s.  Nothing was shopped for.  Instead, we went with family members to a very special outing.

We went to ride a historic holiday train.  My niece, Michaela, adores trains.  Her mother, my sister, decided to treat us all to a train ride.  So, today, we went.

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My niece, Rachel, and Lovana took they selfie.  I thought it turned out super good.  I love it!

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Everyone enjoyed the fun experience, but Michaela was in train heaven!  She LOVED the train ride.

The train departed from Oaks Amusement Park in Portland, Oregon, and traveled along the Willamette River almost to the Ross Island bridge, and then returned.  During the ride, we could see the river and some wetlands containing birds.  We also saw great views of Portland itself.

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After riding the train, we ate lunches out of our car trunks, and then headed for the roller skating rink at Oaks Park.  The rides are closed for the season, but the rink remains open year-round.  Bless Auntie Gail’s heart!  She helped Patsy skate.  I watched.  Although I admire her gumption, I wouldn’t want to be her tomorrow.  I’m sure she’ll be sore!!

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Alissa enjoyed her first time roller skating!

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Ja’Ana loved whizzing around with Kim, one of Alissa’s good friends.

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Even Michaela tried it out with help from her Mama.  It was a LONG trip around the rink, but she was proud and happy that she did it!  The non-skaters had a great time encouraging the skaters, sipping soda, and visiting.

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Afterwards, we ended the day with dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory.  The kids enjoyed the balloon toys a roving balloon-toymaker crafted for them.  It was a great follow-up to Thanksgiving Day, and gave many of us the chance to keep visiting.  On the way home, we enjoyed seeing many Christmas lights that busy people had hung up while we enjoyed our day.  It was a great start to our Christmas season!

Happy Thanksgiving, 2016

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Today we celebrated Thanksgiving.  It was the first major holiday in our new home, and we were privileged  to host it for the family.  As always, some could make it and some could not, but we had a wonderful time with the ones who could be here and missed the ones who were elsewhere.

We had a few challenges getting ready for the big day.  The first one was that when you do something in a new house, there is a lot to figure out.  The way we’ve done things in the past wouldn’t work in this much smaller house.  So, we tried out more than one way of arranging tables, and finally settled on an arrangement that looked like it would work.  We moved the dining table into the middle of the living room and made it into its larger size.  The table in the garage/family room was made as big as it could be made and, after a couple of tries, settled into a place where there would be enough room for people to get seated comfortable.  A few easy chairs were placed around with tv trays handy, and we were set.  With the table gone from the dining area, we had a nice space for 2 food tables, and some room to maneuver around.

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As you can see, I finally gave in and brought the old lamp in from the shop.  It is still dark in the living room, but the little lamp will do until I get a better one.

Another challenge I faced was the fact that we all needed to work a lot more than usual this week.  My sister needed to work extra, my brother-in-law did too, and my husband got to work 24 hours in 2 days.  All of that meant that I had a lot of quality time with my children, and my nieces and nephew who did not have school all of this week, but had virtually no time to prepare for the holiday.

Here’s how we made it work.  Everyone who came pitched in.  They all brought food and came early and helped finish up.  Rob got Wednesday off, and though exhausted from 2-12 hour days, did a massive amount of cooking and setting things up.  He did the turkey, a cheese ball, pickle-ham rolls, and set things up.  He went shopping, bought whatever he thought we needed (although we did most of it last weekend), and bought me a few bunches of flowers from Trader Joes and put them on the counter.  They were my favorite thing he did–I felt so special when I saw that big clump of plastic-wrapped flowers sitting in a vase.  I got up early and made stuffed mushrooms, stuffing, ham (in the crock pot), gravy, and arranged the flowers.  We used mashed potatoes left over from a youth event my sister cooked for a few days ago, and had several salads, veggie and fruit trays,  and desserts others brought.  I bought paper “platters” and used real silverware.  I borrowed tablecloths from one of my sisters, as I don’t have any that fit this new table.  We all took turns washing dishes and put things away as soon as we could, as the counters are small.

When everyone was done, several people stayed and helped me put it all away and put the tables, chairs, etc. back where they belonged.  Much of it went back out to the shop.  Thanks to everyone, I get to sit here relaxing on my bed tonight, basking in the beautiful day we all had, and glory in the fact that the house is clean, I get to rest a lot tonight, and we all have a wonderful day planned for tomorrow!  It truly has been a happy Thanksgiving!

 

Thanksgiving Week Fun–Mission Mill Museum

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The schools around here have the week off.  We decided to take the homeschooled girls on a field trip, and they are doing a small amount of work that was left over after they both got colds last week, but that’s it for them for the week, as well.  My sister planned it, and my aunt and I took the kids.  I had never visited this historical sight before, and enjoyed it tremendously.  It is located in Salem, Oregon.

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We toured the old woolen mill, and the houses surrounding it.  Some houses img_3593had been moved to this sight, but the mill was always there.  We were amazed to see that the machinery still worked (at least some of it) and they ran some of it while we were in there.  In other places, buttons could be pushed to start machinery, which was a hit with Jake especially.

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These homes were residences of early missionaries to the Oregon Territory.  They took a ship to Oregon before the time of the Oregon Trail, started out in one place which turned out to be flooded too often, so moved.  It was fun to see the houses.

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In the parsonage, there were quite a few interactive exhibits set up with kids in mind.  Jake loved “cooking” with the play food, building with blocks, and other fun activities.

Does anyone know the purpose of the crinkly cast iron base and iron pictured above?  The base has grooves in it, and the iron part (on top with a handle) has a matching grooved surface.  So, you can hold the handle and roll it back and forth.  But why?  It wouldn’t be good for ironing, since it is crinkly.  Our best guess was an old-fashioned panini press–ha-ha!

After we had gone through all of the buildings, we browsed our way out through the gift shops, bypassed the cafe although it looked good, and enjoyed a wonderful lunch my sister packed for us–in the parking lot.  It was a great day!

 

Saving Money-November 20, 2016

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I enjoyed watching my very confused iris, and keep it will go ahead and bloom before it freezes!  Cheap entertainment, for sure:)

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I think Legos are one of the best investments on this earth–the kids play with them for hours on end.  Today, when Jake came over, he brought some of his with him and played for a LONG time with them.

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It’s so nice to have the camper parked at our house now.  Rob moved it down here last week.  I was able to take advantage of some bulk items at Costco because I have another refrigerator to put the excess in.  My extra fridge broke in the move, and I have not replaced it yet, so I’ve been lacking for space for extra food.  The camper fridge works very well, so it’s a great help.  We figure we saved over $4,000 in rent by living in this camper this past summer while we were between houses.

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Sometimes it’s easy to overlook the many, many things that I (and others) do on a weekly basis to keep our home running smoothly and economically.  Here are just a few.

Dishes are one of my favorite things–they can be washed and re-used so many times.  Everyone pitches in to wash them, as we do not have a dishwasher in this house.  I did buy paper plates for Thanksgiving as over 20 people will be coming.

We heat with wood and use our cardboard and paper scraps to help light the stove up.  We pack food a lot of the time when we are going to be away from home at mealtime.  When we do stop in for something, we are very careful to order wisely.  We try to combine errands to save gas.  We mowed the lawn ourselves on Saturday, and do not have a yard service.

We have been shopping the sales this past week, and also did some stocking up at Costco.  I store the food for a time when things are not priced so low.

I garden, then freeze, can and otherwise store the excess.  I’m excited because I received my first seed catalog in the mail this past week.  Last year, I did not order seeds.  I bought what I absolutely needed from the store and used up lots of odds and ends.  This year, I’m in a new place, with a new garden area.  It’s a great challenge to look forward to.

What ordinary things did you do this week to keep your household moving along smoothly?

 

Saving Money–Week of November 13, 2016

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I am amazed that I am still getting lettuce from my little garden in my yard!   I was able to make salad a couple of times this week, and there’s still more out there.  It’s been unseasonably warm here, but we are now past our usual frost date, so this won’t go on forever.  I’m hoping to go pick some more today.

This past week, I was able to concentrate on getting some things done around my home.  Friday was a holiday for both the kids and Rob, so I did not need to do school with the girls.  Instead, I cleaned a lot, weeded in the yard a bit and unpacked a few more bins.  I also pruned the blueberry bushes and Lovana cleaned up the rhubarb plants.  I have not pruned blueberries very often, so I just trimmed off any dead wood and cut them back slightly, being careful to open them up a little in the middle and cut off any straggly branches, but I left as many of the new little buds as I could to hopefully make blueberries next summer.

I got some great deals at Fred Meyers over the weekend–apple juice for 99c/container (I bought 10), Life Cereal for $1.49/box, 2 chickens for 88c/lb, and potatoes for 88c for 10lbs (I got 5).  I still have some potatoes left from the garden this summer, but this is a potato-loving family and we are burning through them.  Lovana especially loves them and eats them almost every day.  I put them in the shop so they will stay cool and last longer.  I have been working on using up food-storage items that I’ve had for a while, but also have been working on building things back up when I find a great deal.  I keep pretty good track of things and like to rotate them often.  I was especially glad to get the apple juice as it is a favorite of the kids, both mine and my nieces and nephew, so we will drink that quickly.  I could have used 20, but am glad for the 10 I chose to buy.  The cart was certainly heavy enough with all those potatoes, 10 juices and other things I bought–so I called it good!  I love being well-stocked.  I couldn’t have made it through the last year as nicely without such a well-stocked pantry, freezers and garden.  There were many, many weeks where we spent only $50 on groceries, and ate very well.  It’s great to have the chance to fill it back up.

I was also able to get a few items for Christmas gifts from the 70% off the lowest marked price clearance section.  I have some plans for the girls that are well on their way now.

We got the camper moved down here and parked.  It is so nice to have it here.  I hope to get in there and do some cleaning before too long–it could use a thorough going-over after living in it for 3 months, and the dust that accumulated in it since then is significant.  I’m also excited since there are items in there that I’ve been missing, and a bunch of food that it would be good to just use up.   We plan to make some reservations and go camping in the next few months–living in it did not dampen our enthusiasm in the slightest.  We can’t wait to go!