Tag Archives: camping

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–July 1, 2018


I was able to pick enough flowers from the yard for a bouquet today.  Even better, I was able to clean off the table so there was a nice place to put it!  I’m slowly chipping away at the mess left over from both the backpack trip and the camping trip.

Today, the nieces and my aunt joined us for Family Sunday Dinner.  I made lasagna, and used up some cottage cheese, ricotta, parmesan, and some frozen pasta sauce.  These were all items that had been lingering in the fridge and freezer, so it felt good to use them up.  I made an extra lasagna to freeze, and a tiny one to freeze in the camper.  I also made salad from garden lettuce and some Brazilian Bite rolls I bought a while back.

Yesterday, I defrosted the camper freezer and wiped both it and the fridge out.  Now, I’m starting to restock both for the next trip, using fresher items.  I’ve put the older things in the house freezer to use up in the near future.


We had a very nice and frugal week at Ft. Stevens State Park.  We kept things extremely simple. One thing Jake has wanted to do since last summer was to ride the big “Beast” army truck at the historic area.  So, one day, we went over there and did that, as well as let him crawl all over the batteries and play with the replica guns/cannons.  We had to pay for the ride, but it was less since Rob did not care to ride.  The museum was free, and the kids enjoyed seeing that yet again.


One morning, Rob took only Patsy out fishing, and she was successful!  Another day, I took just her around the tiny outlet mall near the campground, and got her 2 shirts and a sweatshirt at a sweatshirt shop.  I am still working on her wardrobe, and slowly acquiring items for her as I find them on a good sale.  I also wanted to pay some extra attention to her, and that was a good way, since it’s a project I’ve been working on.  She wore the shorts I fixed for her, and I will keep looking at yard sales and at store sales to keep stretching that small amount of money I have set aside for this purpose.


We caught a few fish.  You should have seen the one that got away!  I lost a big one.  Much, much, much bigger than this one, I’m sure.  Too bad I couldn’t measure it, but I’m sure it was practically a whale:)


They were nice size and we ate them over the course of the week.


It wasn’t Jake’s turn to catch one.  Still, he went fishing several times, and I spent quite a bit of time working with him on his casting skills.  He hooked other people’s lines.  I moved him to a less populated area. He hooked mine.  He moved right back to where the people were. He hooked uncle’s chair.  I moved him again.  He wrapped his line around his pole numerous times.  He cast so hard he flipped the end of his pole right off and into the water.  After I freaked out, thinking we lost it forever, several calm male voices from the surrounding fishermen just said, “keep reeling, it will come.”  And, it did.  I guess all those fishermen in the area had seen this before:). He moved back over near all the people.  And on, and on it went.  Finally, one day, the dock came available, and we moved out there.  Even though he didn’t catch one, he spent quite a bit of time bragging to everyone about his “huge” one he caught at Detroit recently, and seemed happy.


The kids fed the seagulls every stale cracker we could round up, and probably some that weren’t so stale.


Fire poking was an on-going activity.  Occasionally hot dogs or marshmallows were roasted as well.


We saw quite a few elk wandering around the area.  One day, we even saw them in the tiny town near the park.


The kids and I took a lot of hikes.  One day, Jake and I got on a wrong trail and though we thought we were going .4 miles, we actually went 1-1/2 miles.  He was a little grumpy, but made it.  With a couple of other little hikes we took that day, we ended up hiking a total of 3 miles.  Other times, Patsy went as well.  Rob’s having a lot of trouble with his hip, so he did not hike at all but he was always willing to drive us out to a trail and drop us off so we could hike back to camp for exercise.


Every night, glow sticks came out, and were enjoyed.  One night, I got up in the middle of the night, and saw that Jake had them around his ankles, wrists, and neck, making a nice glow in the night:). So cute!  Most of these were from the dollar store, or from the after-Halloween clearance rack at Safeway, so were quite inexpensive.


The rose garden at the museum was lovely.  Patsy took about 14 pictures of roses, each more beautiful than the last.


Once I got home, I got right to work on the berries.  There were lots of raspberries to pick, and I popped all these berries right into the freezer to save for winter.  I froze them on the tray I picked them on, and will transfer them to cartons or baggies once they freeze.  I was able to package up 4 pints from the ones I put in there before I left.  Those were the first of the blueberries and blackberries, and I got a quart and a pint from each.  They are also in the freezer.  The few strawberries I picked are in the fridge.  I ran out of time.  We may just eat them, there aren’t many.


There was a little rain.  Rob was able to capture a raindrop falling into a little puddle.

The week was extremely fun and very frugal, and we worked hard to keep it that way.  I guess it’s a matter of what we did not do that added up as well.  We did not go to the movies or ride rides in nearby Seaside, or any of the other attractions that were available.  We did not eat out, except once and that was with money we had saved in a can for this purpose.  That can paid for the truck ride at the museum, as well.  There is $14 left for the next time.  We did not buy excess groceries, but instead used many items up from the camper stockpile and freezer. I cooked a lot more than normal, because I didn’t pre-cook food, but it worked out well.   We did not drive around a lot, and when we did, we went short distances.  We brought wood from home to burn and did not buy any.  Because we have a park pass, we camped for free, so we only paid the $6 registration fee.  We took lots of naps and hikes and did simple things for entertainment.  There is so much more to do that we didn’t get done, such as clamming (tide was low at 5 a.m.–too early for our crew), more hikes to take, digging in the sand (too cloudy and rainy the day we wanted to do that), and much more.

Jake’s already asking to go again:). I love going, but also love the fact that this week I have plans to get a lot of things done here at my house.  He’s going on vacation with his parents, so I have high hopes that I will get some of “those” projects done while he and Michaela are away!



What Did We Eat? June 29, 2018


Before we left for camping, I grabbed whatever I could from the garden and fridge.  There were some sad and sorry carrots, the end of a bunch of celery, some nice fresh snow peas, and an onion.  I made stir fry and cooked some white rice I unearthed in the camper cupboard.  I did go to the store and buy another fresh bunch of celery and a few carrots.  Jake ate 1 piece of chicken under duress, and 1 snow pea, and noodles.


Since we are camping this week,  we got to enjoy trout, fresh from the lake.  The first one I fried in a pan for breakfast.  These 4 got better treatment.  We put fresh dill from the garden in side, along with Lowrie’s seasoning salt, and Rob grilled them.  Yum!  Jake ate 1 bite of trout under duress, and noodles.


We had some hot dogs, so grabbed those, of course.  We had to buy marshmallows to roast.  There were none in the camper cupboards.  That’s probably a good thing.  Last summer’s marshmallows don’t sound very tasty to me;). We just went without chocolate bars this time.  Jake ate noodles and bread.

We also had lots of cereal from the camper cupboard, plus various bread products I grabbed from home.  Jake was on a Top Ramen and Cup-o-Noodle kick, and wanted bread, bread, bread with butter, butter, butter.  We’ve used almost an entire tub of “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” I got on sale before the trip.  I was happy to buy another loaf of 100% Whole Wheat Bread for him.  It’s better than those noodles for him.

As I cleaned out the camper cupboards, things like a few pieces of hard candy, some cookies, a hidden package of Bugles, and other treats were revealed and wolfed down.  I made some cookies from chocolate chips that had seen better days.   Anything that was really, really over the hill went to the sea gulls, so provided entertainment of another sort.  Jake ate Bugles and cookies.  I put oatmeal in the cookies, so felt pretty good about that one.


Rob grilled a couple of steaks from the freezer and 4 ears of corn Jake talked me into buying at the store.  He ate noodles and bread with butter.

I made one simple soup from the end of the sad carrots, celery and bullion.  I put rice in it, too.

In the end, we ate like kings and queens.  I spent a little grocery money, and we did go out to eat one time with the coins we saved in a tin can for that purpose. (Thankfully, Rob changed it into bills before we left–it would have been awkward to take that many coins to a restaurant:) ). We went to a pizza place for an all-you-can-eat salad and pizza buffet.  I asked if they had gluten-free, figuring I might just be eating salad.   They surprised me by making me a pizza, after asking me what kind I wanted, and then they sent me home with the rest of it–for no extra charge.  We felt bad and offered to pay whatever was fair for the rest (I know how expensive gluten-free ingredients are), but they would not take any money.  That was an unexpected blessing, so I had pizza for breakfast today:). Jake ate pepperoni off Rob’s pizza, and watermelon.

I had one day where Jake and I walked a total of 3 miles, broken into pieces.  Another time, we did almost 2 miles.  We’ve done other walks, too. I’ve done more cooking in the camper than I usually do because I didn’t get to prepare ahead of time.  I’ve used up lots of odds and ends. It’s been fun to get in there and get creative, and fun that we’ve walked so much that I have felt like I could eat a little more and enjoy it!


Thriving in My Thrifty Week–June 25, 2018


Patsy, Alissa and I had a wonderful time on our backpack trip. We went to Tumble Lake, which is near Detroit Lake.  It was very frugal.  We had to chip in $5 each for gas.  Some of those Mountain House dehydrated meals were donated to the youth group, and we had those a couple of times.  I actually bought one gluten-free one at the store, not knowing if there would be any gluten-free options, and I also took a bunch of other food for myself, but did find a breakfast in the available options that I could have, so used that.


The hike was extremely rigorous.  Patsy and I were not as fast as the others, especially the football player.  So, we came along at our own pace, and enjoyed the view.  Going out was extremely difficult.  My phone’s app claims we climbed the equivalent of  27 flights of stairs.  I believe it!  But, we made it:).IMG_7370

There were tons of salamanders that the girls enjoyed playing with.  Several of the guys fished for hours, but let them all go but one, since they were so small.  The kids roasted hot dogs and marshmallows, and we played a game that was like charades for hours around the campfire. One girls had an app on her phone and you chose a category, then held the phone up to your forehead so everyone could read the word.  They were to describe it to you, and you had to guess.  If you got it, you ducked your head, if not, you tipped your head back to pass, and the phone kept track of the score.  It was really fun to spend time with the kids, and they were a cheerful, happy group.  Of course, there was no phone service, but the game still worked.IMG_7392


When we arrived home, we were SO tired, but I was super happy.  I had a really good time.  We put those things away and packed the trailer for camping.  We traded our niece for our nephew and were off again.

I did not have time to pack the usual picnic for our ride to the campground.  Instead, I just fed everyone well (Rob made omelets and there was cereal) and when we stopped at a rest area, I climbed into the camper and  grabbed snacks, bars, drinks, etc. and let them eat what they wanted.  It wasn’t the healthiest, but it worked.

I picked lettuce, snow peas, green onions, parsley, cilantro and mint from the garden to take with me.  I found some chili in the camper freezer that I defrosted and put half with some noodles to make chili Mac for our first supper when we arrived.  I also made a cornbread mix I found in the cupboard.  We used some for dinner, and some for breakfast, and I froze a bunch of it, as it made a LOT!  Usually, I make a casserole or something for the first night, but had no time to do it this trip.  I cleaned out one of the cupboards in the camper as I found a home-canned jar that had popped its seal.  I plan to clean under the seats on this trip, as I think there is food under there as well.  I have a goal to use as much food as I can this trip out of the camper since it’s been in there for a long time.  That will also save on the grocery bill, since it’s all been purchased long ago.

I’m looking forward to a restful week!


Weekly Update and Saving Money for the Week of Thanksgiving, 2017


Last week was a holiday week.  None of the kids went to school, and Rob only worked Monday morning.  So, we spent the first part of the week spending time with Jake and Patsy, cleaning like crazy, setting up tables for the dinner on Thursday, and pre-cooking food.  We had plans Wednesday, so that day was not available.

In the meanwhile, the computer crashed.  Completely.  We had to use 1/2 of Tuesday, which was the day I had saved to completely finish cleaning, to take it in to the only Apple store around–over an hour from our house.  After waiting to see what the problem was, we left it there with 2 choices of issues it might have, and told them to call us when they figured it out.  In the end, the hard drive was unfixable, and we had to have it replaced, which meant it was blank when we got it back.  So, we’ve spent hours trying to put things back on it where they belong.  We are not computer geniuses, so it’s taking us a while.  A long while!!!  After several hours of work, I finally got some pictures to load, although I’ve tried many, many things to get them all to load from my phone, and they are not all there yet.  I just need to spend more time at it, and I’m about out of that this week:)

On Wednesday, we went out all day.  We visited my oldest daughter, who was not going to be able to make it Thursday due to a badly sprained ankle.  Then, we did a few errands in her area, and headed up to see Harnet.  After spending some more time on errands,  Rob graciously agreed to drive myself and Harnet, plus Jake, Ja’Ana, Patsy and Danait up to an Ethiopian grocery store up in Portland. On MLK Blvd.  During rush hour.  In our 15 passenger van.  In the pouring rain.  To buy special green Ethiopean coffee that Harnet needed. What a man!  Have I mentioned I’m married to a saint?  (At least that day he acted like one!!).   We hit bad traffic going up, but found a really great parking spot right away, got what was needed, and sailed on to drop her off, then home.  So, it all worked out!


I met Harnet through my oldest sister. They have been friends for a couple of years.  Now that we are friends, too, and my niece Alissa has become part of that loop as well, we all really wanted her and Danait to come to Thanksgiving.  And, we wanted her to make coffee for all of us.  So, it was really our fault she needed special coffee.  We were happy to help her get some.  Now that I know what she needs, exactly, I may just order a small bag from Amazon, just in case this coffee crisis comes up again:). Everyone enjoyed the coffee tremendously, but little Danait really kept everyone entertained.  We all enjoyed the day so much.  A little person really adds to the fun in our family, and she went from person to person, happily and cheerfully.  Such a charmer!

The day after Thanksgiving, we took off for a couple of days camping.  Jake went, of course, as he has been asking frequently when “we” were going to take “our” camper out and go camping.  It was rainy and cold, and we had a ball.


He built Legos for hours.  We all ate junk food for hours.  He played with his junk food for hours.  We visited the Dollar Store and let them spend their chore money.  He bought a gumball machine and some beads to put through it.  That way he can get “gum” over and over and put it back. He doesn’t want to chew gum.  At least not bubble gum, he says.


We had glow sticks each evening.  They were dollar store and clearance finds.  Patsy waved them.  Jake turned them into light sabers, and he and I had a war.  Darth Vader (Jake) won that one for sure!


He built a camper in the camper:). He liked that little nook so well that he slept in there the 2nd night, instead of on the couch as he usually does.  The first night, the jacks shifted a bit, as they often do, and the camper had a slight downhill slant.  He loved it so much because his toy would roll better.  When Rob tightened them the next morning, he was really quite put out at him for a little bit.

It was very economical to camp.  We used our park pass that we get for adopting children out of the state system.  We have to pay the registration fee. $8, I think.  We ate all meals in the camper, except one.  Rob keeps change as he gets it, then cashes it in before trips so we can eat out at least one time, if possible.  We grabbed Thanksgiving leftovers and things from our fridge at home and used the pantry in the camper for the rest.  I keep it stocked and it is good to use those items up sometimes.


It was very windy, but we fed the seagulls some old bread.  They were quite entertaining, and even caught some of the pieces mid-air.   Other entertainment included looking at the beach from the warm van, looking at the outlet mall from the warm van, and getting out of the warm van to go back into the warm camper to build more Legos, read more books, and watch endless movies.  We watched Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Paw Patrol (thank you so much, Abbie!), and part of a couple of others.  I finished the chapter book we were reading aloud–“Snowbound With Betsy” by Carolyn Haywood.  It is very good for young readers.  It kept his interest, and it’s cute.  Even Rob liked the part he heard.  In fact, when I finished, Jake wanted me to start over, but I didn’t.  Instead, I got another book about Betsy from the same author from the library today, and will start it with him tomorrow.  I read “The Girl of the Limberlost” by Gene Stratton Porter.  I’ve read it many times, but it was in the camper, and I enjoyed reading it again.  Ja’Ana basically read and slept all weekend, and made Rob watch “Soul Surfer” with her.  She knew he would cry all the way through, and he did not disappoint:).

It was fun to get away.  Winter camping is much different from Summer camping, but we still like to do it.  We needed to get some rest, and did rest, but were a bit tired anyway when we got home.  That is because on the last night, the wind kicked up so much, that Rob woke up around midnight and put the awning in.  You don’t want it to get twisted in the wind.  I woke up, too.  Then, around 2, the power went out in the campground, so he got up again to turn things to propane so I could still shower in the morning.  I woke up, too.  Then, just as we were drifting off, the power came back on, and that woke us up again around 4.   He fell back to sleep, and they all slept until after 9.  I didn’t.  After we came home, I took about an hour nap.  Ahhh…..It was a new week before I knew it!!

IMG_6043 3We’ve been cooking.  Baked potatoes with cottage cheese and cheddar cheese were one night’s dinner.  Rob BBQ’d chicken for Monday and made shrimp fettuccine for Tuesday.  Tonight, I made homemade chicken strips.   I’m sure I’ll cook some more, as there are several days left in the week!  LOL!  But, this is it for now.  I hope your week went well, too.




Happy Thanksgiving Weekend

FC514CB2-830E-4A36-BA2F-6CD18AFC1649We had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with 20 people sharing the day at our house.  I had a few anxious thoughts about where they were all going to sit, but it all worked out beautifully once I figured things out.

We set up a table in front of our fireplace.  Luckily the day was so warm that I did not have to build a fire, so those guests did not get roasted:)  In the garage, I put an extra leaf in the table that stays out there and put some tv trays by the chairs.  I also put extra chairs and tv trays where ever there was a corner.  Lastly, I broke my “don’t eat on the couch” rule, and no one spilled.  Patsy’s room became the play room, and the kids played games in there.

We had SO much food!  We had all the traditional foods, with a few twists.  I cooked the turkey on Tuesday, and just warmed it up.  The potatoes, though, I mashed that morning, and made gravy.  Our family loves potatoes, and we ate the entire 10 lbs!


Then we took off for a couple of days of camping at the beach.  No matter how rainy and wet, we still love it!  And, boy did it turn out to be rainy and wet!!  Last night, Rob had to get up around midnight and put the awning in, it was so windy.  Then, a little later in the night, the power went out.  He got up again to change the water heater to propane, the the fridge does it by itself. Then it came back on, and woke us up again.  We drove home today, very slowly and safely, wishing we had a couple more days because we needed a nap!!!

We took Jake with us, as he has been longing to go camping for months.  This morning, he was already asking when the next camping trip would be.  We stayed inside for the most part, watching movies, reading books.  The kids did lots of craft kits and  Legos.

The sad news is that my main computer crashed   It’s in the shop.  So, my phone will have to do for now, and I find blogging much harder.  (Note:  The phone did not work at all, nothing posted, there just was not any reception there in most places, so I’m now switched out to an old computer that we had at home and am making a better post.  Sadly, this computer will not do pictures, so I have to use the one poor one I was able to load on my phone, plus there are old pictures I can use.  But, no new ones from this trip until the good computer comes home.)  Hopefully, it will be fixed soon.  (Note:  It’s fixed.  We lost the entire hard drive and everything on it.  I’m bummed.  We can pick it up whenever we can drive up there–a day or two)




Saving Money–Camping Edition!-Memorial Day Weekend, 2017


We decided to camp at Detroit Lake State Park (in Oregon) for our Memorial Day campout.  Most of the week was used in getting ready for the trip, along with school, work, and lots and lots of doctors appointments.

I got both younger girls through the dentist’s office (over an hour away), myself to a doctor I see up in Portland, (so 1-1/2 hour away in good traffic), and 2 more for Patsy (one of those was actually here in Salem–the other one a bit farther away but not bad). You may ask what I was thinking to schedule so many in one week–but I was trying to cram them in because Alissa’s family went down to California to watch her big sister graduate (again) from the second college she is receiving a degree from this spring. So we did school M-Wed. and then I did not need to watch her siblings or do school.  I used insurance for each and every one of those appointments, along with the medicine I bought.  I really appreciate the insurance.

Rob needed to work all day Friday, so we could not leave early.  We just got ready ahead of time, and chose a campground that was relatively close to home, jumped into the van and took off.  It does cost something to camp, but here’s how we kept it frugal:

  1.  We used our State Park Pass to pay for the campground fee.  We have it because we adopted children from the state foster care system here in Oregon.  This perk comes and goes through out the years, but a few years ago, they brought it back to include adoptive parents, so we were pleasantly excited!  We do pay for our reservation fee.
  2. We chose a campground relatively close to home, so gas was less.
  3. We never left the campground once we got there, except to return home, so gas was less.
  4. We took all of our food with us.  Some was cooked ahead of time, some we cooked there.IMG_4516
  5. We had some family members join us on Saturday, and they all generously brought some food items to share with us, as well.
  6. Our entertainment was frugal.  We walked down to the lake shore and fished one time.  We did not catch any fish, but had a great time.  We already had fishing licenses from the last time we went camping, and they will last all season, so the more we use them, the better.  We took walks around the campground–they have a hiking trail.  Some went swimming in the lake. We saw a lot of wildlife and wild flowers, and enjoyed it all.  The wild rhodedendrons are especially lovely to me.  It amazes me that they just grow out there in the forest.IMG_4544IMG_4558IMG_4559IMG_4537We also too walks each morning at home during the beginning part of the week, and saw lots of lovely flowerbeds, and this woodpecker.IMG_4514The garden is growing nicely, and with the warmer weather we had this past week, I can see that we will have food soon from many plants.  I even noticed a tiny green tomato had formed while I was camping.  Yum!