Saving Money–June 25, 2017

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I made 3 batches of jam this week.  One was peach, from some frozen peaches I wanted to use up.  We were out of peach jam, and that is Rob’s favorite, so I just made it when I made the other kinds.

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The second kind was strawberry.  Rob bought me a flat of strawberries and I was also able to throw a small handful in the jam from our bushes.

The third kind was berry-rhubarb.  I used the remaining strawberries, rhubarb and about 1 cup of raspberries from our bushes.  It is great.  We got that recipe from the internet ( I just added raspberries to use them and get enough mashed berries), but it’s pretty typical–4 cups berries, 4 cups rhubarb, sugar, and 1 box Sure-Jell pectin.  It turned out really tasty, and I was glad to use those raspberries, rhubarb and every berry from the flat of berries.  I am hoping that as the new strawberry bushes grow throughout the summer, I will get some to freeze by the end of the summer.  It’s easy to put even a small handful in a carton and add to it as berries ripen.

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We enjoyed the company of the nieces and nephew for 4 days and nights while their parents went to an out-of-town wedding.  We went to a park, drove the big girls around to activities they were signed up for or wanted to attend, and spent hours helping with a huge rummage sale at the church.  We had many more frugal, fun activities planned, but ran out of time.

The rummage sale occupied much of our time during the last few days.  Items were collected over the past few weeks by the youth pastor and his various crews, including Ja’Ana and Alissa.  Those 2 spent all day on Thursday, Friday and Saturday helping out.  We were more limited in our time, as we had the younger ones to care for, but did spend significant time each day helping out.  The weather cooperated.  It was sunny, which was far better than rainy.  In fact, it almost went overboard:) Every day was warmer and warmer, and by Saturday, the weather was actually super hot (around 100), which made the last day and clean-up a bit difficult.  There were so many donated items that the gym was full of tables, and an area about as large was full in the parking lot.  So, as you can imagine, there were thousands of items to sort, price, set out, and much to clean up in the end.  Then there were the workers (mostly teens) to feed, direct and keep hydrated. Thankfully, it was well organized and there were many adult leaders who were helping out in various ways.   There were cases of water which we constantly pressed on the kids.  One day, Rob went down to Taco Bell during the afternoon hours and grabbed a whole box of the $1 (super Happy Hour sale) slushies and handed them out.  We sure didn’t want any teens or adults getting sick from the heat.  By Saturday night, I’ll admit, I was pretty tired!  But, those teens!  There was a group that stayed until the bitter end yesterday afternoon, and they decided to go swimming.  So, they rounded up a place to go, and cooled off for a couple of hours.  Got to love that energy:)

The kids have been earning money in various ways so they can go to Mexico on a mission trip in August.  This was a big project, and I haven’t heard the final word on how much money they earned at this sale, but at last count, it was over $6,000.  I’m excited to hear the final count!

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In the meanwhile, the garden continues to grow nicely.  Rob did get in there and till one morning, and we put up a little trellis for the pole beans to climb.  Half of these are Purple-podded pole beans and the other half are Blue Lake.  Pole beans will produce until frost, which will mean we will have fresh beans for a long time and I won’t have to can as many.

We’ve been eating lettuce frequently and I picked a gallon of snow peas.  I harvested a little broccoli and made broccoli soup.  There have been a few raspberries each day.

Throughout the busy, busy week, we were able to pack picnics and cook at home.  I used my Instant Pot to make spaghetti sauce from scratch one busy night and we ate that and the soup several times.  We also had sandwiches frequently.  By Saturday night, Rob grabbed a little Chinese food for me, and Taco Bell for the others.  I was too tired to cook. I was even too tired to cut the crust off of Michaela’s peanut butter sandwich.  I cut it into quarters and I told her she had to bite out the middle and get rid of the crust herself.  (You have to understand autism to understand that that is a big deal to her–but I was proud of her–she went with the flow)  We got back to our house around 10, and I then slept like a rock and am now cheerful and ready for a new day!  It was a good week.

 

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Summer Fun–Zoo Trip

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What a difference 4 days makes!  Today, when we went to the zoo, it was sunny and warm.  On Thursday, I was bundled up with 2 sweatshirts on, and we were carrying umbrellas.  Today, I did not even take a jacket with me.  Instead, we froze water bottles and took the ice-filled bottles with us and drank them as they unthawed.  Then, we re-filled them with water from bottle-filling stations I did not even notice on Thursday.  On Thursday, a picnic was out of the question, but today, it was the perfect option.

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Each person had an agenda today.  Michaela wanted to see big cats, and dressed in theme.   She even carried her 2 little stuffed cats around the entire day.   She was especially interested in the lioness she saw who was playing with a toy wrapped around a log in her enclosure.  What a treat to see the lioness being active.  Most animals were lying down today, because it was the first hot day in quite a while.

Jake wanted to ride the zoo train and eat.  He did both.  The zoo– once, the eating–all day long.  I was amazed as he isn’t usually so hungry.  Must be growing.

Patsy was a good sport and enjoyed all the animals we ended up visiting.  She had never been on the zoo train before, so enjoyed that especially.    I’ll probably slip up there one of these days so she can have a little more say-so in what she sees and where we go.   There were a lot of opinions floating around today.   The more we use the zoo pass, the better it is anyway, in my mind.

Rob and I wanted to keep everybody happy, hydrated, cool enough and fed.  We succeeded.  We took food with us that the kids like, several water bottles, took them to the misting areas 3 times, and negotiated between them all day long.   We also got Michaela to drink 3 full bottles of water.  Score!  (You have no idea what an accomplishment that is, but she is really trying to do better with that–we were so proud of her.)

Everyone wanted to go to “Africa” to see the big cats.   It was the primary goal, according to the kids. So, being the good auntie/uncle/parents we are, we started for “Africa” first thing.   “Africa” is harder to reach than you might think.  To get there, you enter the zoo, head down a big hill, stop and see the seals, continue on, have Michaela notice that there are tigers to the right, stop there and see a tiger and a leopard, have Jake notice that the train is running, stop and ride the train, have everyone want lunch, so stop and eat our picnic, have someone notice the insect and discovery area, go in there for a l-o-o-o-n-g time, and then notice that it’s already getting scorching hot and it’s afternoon.  Already.  So, you head off for “Africa” again, but there are the bats….and Jake has the zoo key….and there is one of the recorded messages about bats…..and you finally head off for “Africa” again.

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We finally succeeded in reaching “Africa.”  Jake picked the smallest lion statues to sit on, mainly because they were in the shade.  By this time, the sun was scorching and the metal lion family was smoking hot.  So, we pried them away from the artwork and headed off to see live animals.  We went through the lions, gazelles, African exhibits, giraffes, and hippos.

When we exited that area, we found ourselves just in time for a bird show on the lawn.  It was very exciting to watch, as the birds swooped extremely low over the heads of the spectators sitting on the lawn.  We all enjoyed it.  Then, they could view the birds from a closer distance at the base of the stage.

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The sun continued to beat down on our heads as there was no shade on that lawn, and Michaela, especially, began to suffer from the heat.  She is more sensitive than many to the heat.  We continued to press water on her, and she obligingly drank it.  Still….we were next to the elephants, so headed on over there.  By the time we had viewed them, we were all fried in the heat, and decided to start meandering towards the car.  Rob and I figured we would stop and see more animals on the way, but the kids were done, especially Michaela, who was not feeling very well in the heat by then.  So, we headed back up the hill, stopping frequently to coax the children along–offering drinks and lots of rest stops.  There was no food left by then, so we promised more once we got in the car.   There was another misting station at the top, so they got wet again.  Patsy and Michaela had birthday money burning holes in their pockets, so they revived at the gift shop and bought souvenirs.

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When we left the zoo, the air-conditioned car and the book-on-cd were both welcomed.  The cool drinks and snacks we bought were, too.  We stopped off on an errand and then headed home.  Everybody was happy, healthy, and they all want to go back.  No one got sunburned, as far as I know.  The sunscreen we used was powerful enough.  Whew!  I was a little worried as the day wore on.

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That’s how we like to leave a trip like this–with everyone hungry for more, including the adults.  In fact, Jake asked if we were coming to take him somewhere tomorrow, but we informed him that Mom and Dad didn’t have to work tomorrow like they did today, so it was their turn to spend time with him.  He was diplomatic enough to groan dramatically.   How gratifying!  We are, however, looking forward to the second half  of the week when we are spending all day, every day together while Mom and Dad head off to an out-of-town wedding.  So, I assured him that “many fun things” were in store for him, and they are—-for all of us.  It was a great start to summer.

 

 

 

Saving Money–June 18, 2017

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I harvested more lettuce, green onions, a little broccoli and quite a few snow peas this week.  I was able to use some of the produce at the 2 parties we had, as well as in meals and was able to share lettuce.

Jake and Patsy both got signed up for summer reading at the library.  We checked out lots of books and they’ve already started reading towards prizes, tickets for a drawing and an end-of-the summer party.

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I took Ja’Ana shopping for clothes for her birthday.  We though she would enjoy picking things out for herself.  We hit an amazing sale.  Things were 60% off, with an additional 20% off coupon, and a $10 off 50.  So, she got a pair of shorts, a pair of capris, 2 tops and a dress for a little over $40 (after coupons, etc.)

We used our zoo pass one time last week, and plan to use it again tomorrow.  We had 2 birthday parties, and kept them simple and reasonable.  You can read about the tea party here and the BBQ and sugar donut birthday party here.

We all finished school this week, except the homeschoolers who still have to do math during the summer and take a test in July.  Now, I will be working more hours with Jake and Michaela since it’s summer.  This is Rob’s summer job, so he will be taking his turn often, and at times, we will both work at the same time–one of us will work with Jake and one with Michaela.  We will be doing some overnights as well, when their parents are out of town.  So, we are planning lots of summer fun for all the kids.  We will be doing lots of frugal activities such as Kids Bowl Free, going to the park, the library summer reading, hikes, swimming at the YMCA, the zoo with our pass, picnics, etc.  When we add in church activities, camps, volunteering and more that the big girls are signed up for…..whew!  Patsy is getting a little older, so she has a few of those kinds of activities as well.  Rob may be glad when his “vacation” is over–we’ll see:)  It’s shaping up to be a fun summer.

 

BBQ and Sugar Donut Birthday Party

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Birthday party #2 for the week was a huge success, thanks to the help of the aunties, uncles, parents, and cousins!  Whew!  This party was for Ja’Ana’s 17th birthday, and she really wanted fresh donuts–the raised kind with sugar on them that only Auntie Rosalie can make the way J wanted them.

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The decorations were very simple.  Ja’Ana chose gold stars, a garland, gold paper plates and 1 black and 1 white plastic tablecloth from a party store so she could have the theme she wanted.    The rest of the decor and paperware were gathered from less expensive sources.  The plastic silverware was from Winco, the cups and napkins were free from some we had been given a while back.  The invitations, plastic ice cream bowls, and gold ribbon to curl onto the table were from the Dollar Store.

We have an outdoor covered porch next to our deck and the weather cooperated so we could have the entire party outside.

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This isn’t the best picture, but it gives the idea–drinks on a tiny picnic table on the right, and food on the big table which was on the grass next to the concrete–just in case the grass was too wet.  There was some ice in the cooler, which they used as the afternoon wore on and the drinks were getting warm.  I might get a bowl and some tongs next time.  It was a little awkward getting the ice out of the bag out of the cooler……you get the idea.

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Rob barbecued hamburgers, hot dogs, and chicken drumsticks.

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Rob, and 2 nephews, Jake and Steven, lit a fire in the portable fire pit.  Ja’Ana thought some might want to roast marshmallows, but no one roasted even one.  We had an abundance of food, and they filled up on other things.  No worries, we’ll take the marshmallows camping.  Jake looks worried, but he was actually proud of himself for being part of that project!  We all enjoyed the time with Steven.  As these kids get older and older, it’s harder to find the time to be with them, so we were thankful for his presence today.

We kept the food simple, inexpensive and tasty.  We have hamburger from the 1/2 beef we purchased last fall.  I got hot dogs for 68c/package and buns for 88c/package.  We also had chicken drumsticks, and I bought about $5-6 worth–a big package.  I made home-made potato salad, which is always a money saver.  I picked lettuce for the burger toppings, added an onion and sliced tomatoes from the store.  One of my sisters put together a veggie tray using snow peas from the garden, and some veggies from the store, such as carrot sticks and celery.  I’ve been buying and stashing $1/2-litre bottles of soda and $1.88/package chips for a few weeks.  I got some of those things during the Memorial Day sales and hid them in the camper.  My other sister graciously brought all the donut-making items, including dough, oil and fryer.  I also made a big nacho dip using refried beans I made and froze last week, and put out corn chips that I had packaged into Ziplocks after buying the huge Costco bag for under $5 a few weeks ago.  Putting them in the gallon bags keeps them fresh.  We used the last 2 bags (probably about $2 worth).  I got bulk candy from Winco to scatter around to make the tables more festive.

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And then, the extremely popular donut crew!   Auntie Rosalie and Auntie Jan were the donut makers.  One girl confessed as she was leaving that those were the best donuts she had ever tasted, and she had eaten 3.

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Auntie Gail passed them around.  Michaela (her daughter) and Ron (her husband) stopped by for a bit on their way to the horse ranch where Michaela volunteers.  We enjoyed seeing them, too.  Alissa and Jake both stayed for the entire party.

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There was another girl who does not show in this picture.  In my mind, the perfect number showed up–enough to have a great time, eat a bunch of food, and to easily fit in our yard and deck.  One of Ja’Ana’s friends from before we moved drove clear down here to join the party, and made Ja’Ana feel very special and loved.  The new friends were very kind and gracious and made her feel welcome–they are a lovely bunch of girls.

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And, the relatives.  What a blessing they are to us.  So supportive, generous and kind.  I’m very thankful for their part in making J’s birthday so special.  And, I’ll have to say, we had a very nice time visiting with each other during the several hours we had together.  It feels good to put my feet up tonight.  This has been a busy week.  Now I can bask in the memories and the feeling of a successful week of birthdays:)

 

 

 

 

Double Birthday at the Zoo

 

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Today, there were 2 birthday girls celebrating at the Oregon Zoo in Portland,Oregon.  Both Ja’Ana and our little friend, Danait had their birthdays today.  J is 17, and Danait is 3.  We decided to have a celebration together and chose the zoo for the big day.  My sister, Rosalie, Danait’s mother, Harnet, Alissa and myself all went along.

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After several great sunshiny days, the weather man began to predict that today would include heavy rain, up to 45 mile per hour winds gusts, and cool temperatures.  Rosalie and I debated the issue and decided that we needed to go anyway, even if we didn’t stay too long.  When a little 3 year-old is promised animals, she needs to have animals.  The big girls would have done something else without blinking an eye, but cheerfully agreed to give it a try.  Our plan was to dart from covered area to covered area, dodging the raindrops in-between and holding big umbrellas over our heads when needed.  We did decide not to pack a picnic as planned, but instead to buy lunch at the little cafe, where we would be assured of a roof over our heads while we ate.

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We had a blast!  The rain held off until we were eating, praise the Lord!  We chased after a very excited little girl, who was enthusiastic, to put it mildly, to see all of the animals, but especially the monkeys.

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She loved climbing on this toy, as long as Alissa helped her stay on.

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Harnet sure appreciated how much the big girls helped chase little Danait around.  That child is quick.  She reminds me so much of Ja’Ana when she was little.  Harnet is so kind to the girls, always telling them how much she appreciates them playing with Danait, and how she wants Danait to grow up just like them.  What an encourager!

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They enjoyed the African exhibit a lot.  The giraffes reminded Harnet of her home in Africa, as they had them there.  The elephants and lions were also a hit, but little Danait wanted to see the monkeys the most, and watched them for a long time.  They obliged by throwing their food (some kind of leaves and fruit) around after taking a bite or two, and jumping around a bit.  So exciting!

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It was a great day and both girls had a great birthday.   It was so special that they could spend it with each other.  Little Danait loves Alissa and Ja’Ana and often says “they coming’ mama, they coming’.”  Even when they aren’t.  Then she will pout because they aren’t.  Of course, the big girls think she is adorable, and who doesn’t love to be looked up to and adored right back!  We 3 ladies had a great time visiting, laughing and watching the girls have fun.    Once it started pouring rain and the wind picked up, as the weatherman had promised, we finished our lunch and headed for our respective homes.  Both Ja’Ana and Alissa had driver’s ed drives this afternoon and evening.  Ja’Ana drove all the way there in the rain, on 2 freeways, and home again through rain, a huge traffic jam, and windy conditions.  I was so proud of how she is doing with her driving.

Rosalie went back with Harnet to her house so they could work on making appointments, and other things that needed to be done.  Sometimes Harnet has Rosalie make phone calls for her, to make sure the person on the other end understands exactly what is needed.  Her English just keeps getting better and better–I can really tell a big difference in the few months I have known her, but sometimes, she just wants a little help.   Rosalie is really good at that kind of thing.   We are already making some plans for summer.  Once we get Harnet’s school schedule, we will made another date to do something together.  It will be fun.

I’m glad we had such a fun time, because Rob and I are taking Jake, Michaela (niece and nephew), and Patsy (daughter) on Monday.  We have a zoo pass, so want to use it as much as possible.  We are planning the trips so that everyone we take will get in on the pass, so we have to take a few at a time.  The other 3 were all in school today, so were feeling left out until I explained that we would go Monday and NOT take Ja’Ana and Alissa.  Just them.  The big girls are going to the beach with the youth group on Monday anyway.  So, it’s all good.  Tomorrow is Rob’s last day of school and then he’s out for the summer!  Yea, and double yea!!!  Let summer begin!

Birthday Tea Party

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Today was the first birthday party we are hosting this week.  Here’s how we made it simple, affordable, yet very nice.

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I started by giving Patsy a handful of invitations I had saved when we moved.  She wanted a small, special party so I have plenty from another occasion in my card bin.   We chose a day after school when I knew I would have plenty of time to get ready during that day.  She handed them out about a week and a half ago.  Although we asked for RSVP’s, we only got one firm one, and a couple of “iffy” ones.  So, we were not quite sure how many to expect.  Then, I dug around in the cupboards and pulled out fancy dishes.  These little luncheon tea plates are from garage sales and a junk store and I have had them for about 20-30 years.  There are a couple that match, but mostly they are different floral patterns.  I have 8 or 9, and got 4 chosen and washed and the others set aside in case we had any surprise guests that forgot to tell Patsy they were coming.

We are still quite new here, and had to also face the possibility that we would have only 1 girl, or even none if something prevented her from coming.  There was a lot of anxiety going around here this morning.  I was very proud of Patsy.  It’s hard to keep trying and trying in life when there are lots of changes, and so much history of disappointment in the past.  But, she was brave, and my prayers were answered.  In the end, 3 girls ended up being able to come.  They were delightful young ladies, and I enjoyed them very much.  Patsy was so happy.

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Alissa and Ja’Ana helped get ready this morning.  They also worked a bit on school.  They are almost done, and have very little to complete.  Alissa brought decorating supplies and worked on the cupcakes.

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She had frosted cupcakes I had baked and frozen last week.  She added the candies on top, and we picked and added violas to make it special.  We put Baby’s Breath on the fancy dish and…..gorgeous and special for pennies.

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I bought 1–$5 bunch of Baby’s Breath.  I used teapots I own, and roses and violas from the yard.  I put one bouquet on top of the piano and one on the table.

 

I used a tea cup and put one in the bathroom to take the elegance even further.  No extra money involved.IMG_4637

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We bought some fancy mints and candy from the bulk bins at Winco.  We used sugar cubes in the sugar bowl.  The girls were excited about the cubes.  They emptied half the bowl.

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Ja’Ana and Alissa worked on the chocolate and white chocolate-dipped strawberries.  I bought one carton of berries and a few melting chocolate disks from the bulk bins at Winco.  Alissa brought some red sugar to use as well to make them even prettier.

I worked on pickle rolls.  They are very simple.  You spread cream cheese onto lunchmeat and put a pickle on it, then roll up and cut into circles.  It is a family favorite at holiday times and Patsy wanted the treat for her birthday party.

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I worked on little sandwiches, too.  I cut white bread I got on sale for 69c for the loaf into circles with a biscuit cutter.  I threw away the edges.  If I was not gluten-free, I would have made crumbs from them, but we have no use for regular bread crumbs around here.  I just make and use gluten-free ones.

I used some of the circles for cream cheese/olive open faced sandwiches.  Then, I added 1/4 piece of turkey pepperoni on top.  I spread cream cheese, then placed 1 cucumber slice and a piece of dill on the rest.  I also made some egg salad sandwiches from whole pieces of bread.  I cut the crusts off  and cut into quarters.  I used fancy toothpicks for those.  I also made a veggie tray in a fancy dish.  Snow peas, the remaining slices of cucumbers, celery, carrots, and cherry tomatoes filled it nicely.

The last thing I served was zucchini chocolate chip bread, baked and frozen last week.  I also made 2 pots of tea.  I let them choose and they chose Chai and Peppermint.  That was easy enough, using my insta-hot on my sink.  We used 4 tea bags, total.

The girls visited for a bit.  They then proceeded to polish off almost ALL of the food on the table.  How gratifying!  I was very pleased that they were so verbally appreciative,  polite, and apparently very hungry!  Afterwards, they went outside and played croquet on the lawn until it was time to go home.

The items I made this food from were all inexpensive, common ingredients.  It was the fancy dishes, the flowers, and making all the food tiny, decorated and fancy that made the tea party seem special. I did as much of it ahead of time as I could, even freezing a couple of items last week. I shopped yesterday for the things I needed.   I washed dishes as I went, and then put all the fancy dishes away directly after the guests went home.  I cleaned the house first thing this morning and some more after lunch.  That is something that would just have to be re-done if I did it too far ahead:)

I made a list of food I wanted to serve on the whiteboard as I thought of it, and then used the list to shop and cook.  I bought dill and used it more than once to get the best use of my purchase.  I did the same with the Baby’s Breath.  I figure if I’m going to buy it, I want to use it a lot.

So, I’m very tired, but satisfied and happy.  Patsy had a great party, I did not break the bank, we DID have some girls come to the party and they had a great time, my house is clean, and I have bouquets of flowers to look at.  I should sleep well tonight.

 

 

 

Saving Money–June 10, 2017

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Patsy’s Sunday School class/mid-high youth group had a luau.  They got to dress up for the fun party.  We wanted her to get to dress up without spending a fortune for a 1-night event. She had started sewing this skirt a while back and so I finished it up today.  While not quite Hawaiian, exactly, there were large flowers, right?  So, we started with that.  When paired with a top that she got for Christmas a while ago and last summer’s flip flops, she was well on her way.  She used a large flower in her hair from a couple of summer’s ago, and we made a trip to the Dollar Tree for the lei and the fancy tropical cup.  Total out-of-pocket for costume=$2.

She had a really good time, and was also thinking of her cousin, Rachel.  They both have the same top, and wearing it made her think of Rachel tonight.  Since Rachel is in Ireland right now, and has been for almost 6 months, Patsy was glad to think of her today!  She misses her, as we all do, but we are all glad she is getting this experience.

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Lots of frugal fun!

Jake:   “Help, help, doctor, I’ve got these things sticking out of my head!  I need car surgery.”

Auntie:  “Do you mean surgery on cars, or with cars?”

Jake:  “Both.”

Dr. Patsy:  “I’ll rescue you!”

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Looks pretty sick, huh?

She proceeded to drive cars up and down his leg, and he was cured!  Amazing!

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The patient was in high spirits and recovering rapidly when we left on Friday:)  And the bill?  Definitely frugal!  Dr. Patsy didn’t charge a dime for her “car surgery.”

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I happily destroyed my lettuce row today!  I cut 4-5 large Tupperware bowl-fulls of lettuce from this row.  Although it looks pretty bad, there is still a lot of lettuce left, especially on the far end.  Tomorrow, I am making a lettuce platter for a barbecue the youth group is having, and then torn lettuce for a parents’ meeting/taco feed. So, I have 2 gallon Ziplocks of lettuce leaves for burgers and 4 gallon bags of torn pieces in the fridge for tomorrow.  Any leftover meant-for-burger leaves will be torn and added to the taco lettuce, if needed.   I also sent a huge bag to my sister, and have lots for myself in the fridge.  I have 2 more plantings of lettuce in various stages growing nicely in other parts of the garden, and I made sure to plant another row to the right of this one today, so the goodness will just keep coming all summer long.  The other thing that often happens is that this lettuce will sprout new leaves where I gave it a haircut.  So, I was delighted to find a good use for so much of it, since it is growing so rapidly!

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I made a lot of refried beans.  Some of them are for the taco feed tomorrow.  The rest are for later in the week.  I plan to make a nacho for J’s party.  I also cooked white rice, spaghetti, double chocolate loaf cake, zucchini bread, salads, baked chicken and more.  We often eat the same thing for dinner more than one time in a week–I always make big batches of everything with that in mind.  We also ate chicken-rice soup, and sausage and beans that I cooked last weekend.

We are having 2 parties during this coming week.  On Wednesday, Patsy has invited a few girls in after school to celebrate her birthday, which was last Wednesday.  That one will be a tea party.  I have already begun preparing things so I won’t have too much work to do on that day.  I’ve even dug out some of my nice dishes to make sure they could be found on the big day.

The second one will be next Saturday.  Ja’Ana’s birthday is next Thursday, and she has invited some friends over to celebrate with her.  That one will be a barbecue, with home-made donuts, courtesy of a couple of her aunties.  There, again, I’ve begun preparations.

If that wasn’t enough birthday fun, we do have a third daughter that had a birthday last Thursday.  I was glad to see her at the dance recital and was able to give her a card and gift then.  Yes, that’s 3 birthdays in 8 days.  Really.  We don’t do birthday parties every year with friends.  In fact, Patsy hasn’t had a “friend” party yet with us.  This is a good year for it, so we are going for it.  I will post how we did it all frugally, kept our sanity (I hope) and made it all work after the parties are over.

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The children found a dead dragonfly on the deck.  They enjoyed looking at it for quite a while.  I find that looking at birds, wild flowers/weeds, the river, etc. is a marvelous source of free entertainment that never grows old.

How did your week go?