Thriving in My Thrifty Week–June 10, 2018

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Yesterday, we had an open house for J’s graduation.  She bought this dress to wear with some birthday money she was given, plus her big sis paid for 1/2 of it as her graduation gift.

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My sister and niece made fresh donuts, fried on the spot in the outside porch area.  I’ll take everyone’s word for the fact that they were delicious since they were made from wheat flour:)  Other family members brought food, as well, and I spent a few hours on Friday cooking up a storm.  Besides this dessert table, there were rolls, lunchmeat and cheese so people could make their own sandwiches, pasta salad, veggie tray, pickle rolls, and punch.  The new recipe I tried for mint-chocolate fudge was a real hit.  It was SO good, and used up a lot of powdered sugar.  I am still working through the 25 lb. bag that was purchased on accident last summer when Rob was in a real hurry one day.  (He was tearing through Cash and Carry and only saw the word “sugar” on the bag, so…..). It has ended up being handy for icing for birthdays, and now this fudge uses it.  I love having a good stockpile when I’m entertaining.

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The croquet set got a good workout before the heavens opened up and it began to rain extremely hard.

It was so nice to see many family and friends, some of whom we have not seen for a long time.  After our party, Rob took Ja’Ana around to parties for 3 more of her friends.  I stayed home with Jake, and cleaned up.  (After arriving that morning, he informed me he would much rather stay with me than go with his parents to the 4-5 parties they were making the rounds to after our party–it worked for me and he loved playing with a little boy that came). We have a celebration to attend for 2 more girls next weekend, along with a birthday party for little Danait, our friend who is turning 4.  So, party season is in full force, but winding down, and my hardest part is now done.

Most of the week revolved around the graduation on Thursday, and the party yesterday, but we did put a celebration for Patsy’s birthday in there as well.

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Michaela and I made cupcakes, and I cooked Patsy’s choice for dinner—spaghetti with sauce from a jar, with salad from the garden (that was my choice–she would have been happy with a huge pile of pasta alone).  It ended up being a meatless dinner, because I was in such a hurry, so accidentally more frugal than usual.

I did a lot of shopping, and was able to utilize sales, and also got some Ibotta dollars from my purchases.  I have yet to cash out any Ibotta money, I’ve been much too busy to figure that out, so I have just left it all in there, and will have a nice payout when I do.  I bought more eggs, even though I had lots at home because they were around $1/dozen.  They keep a long time.  I was approached by a fellow customer in Fred Meyers while I looked at strawberries for dipping, who told me not to buy them–they were much cheaper at Safeway.  Since I was headed there next, I held off and bought them there for 99c/lb.  No worries, I bought plenty of groceries at both places and got my free Friday item.  I used dipping chocolate I had gotten on the Whoo-Hoo rack after the holidays.  It’s gone now, but I was so glad to have it to make the celebration nice. I got strawberry cream cheese for free by shopping a sale and using a coupon.  I got mark-down blocks of cream cheese for $1.09/block, and got a 25c rebate from Ibotta for each one.  I got the 5 they had.  They keep a long time, too.  I found my favorite Good Earth Sweet and Spicy Tea for 1/2 price, and got 4 boxes. I found plain bagels marked down and froze them for Jake.  There was also a marked-down package of ciabatta which I got and froze for Michaela.  I got Yoplait yogurt for 3/$1 and had a coupon for a few cents off on top of that.

We received news on Thursday that Rob’s contract will not be renewed at work.  He and another lady from his class were not renewed due to “budget constraints.”   At least we know, and are not in limbo any more.  He has been applying for other jobs, and has an interview next week.  It took 80 applications and 10 interviews to get this job.  I’m not holding my breath, yet, but do trust that he will find the right job with the Lord’s help.

We are fine through the summer.  He has his part-time summer job, and we planned for the summer off.  I have my work, as well. Insurance is an issue, and I will work on that this week.  This insurance ends June 30.  God has given me deep peace about this.  I mean deep, firm, heart-filling peace.  I’m grateful for that.  So, we are continuing our summer as planned, but will be pinching pennies a little more than usual until he gets some more work in case it takes a little longer than we wish for him to find a new job.

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I made 4 pizzas, and froze 2 for future meals.  2 ended up being combination and I used all the odds and end in the fridge of things like sausage with olives added, and the other 2 ended up being Canadian Bacon and Pineapple.  I made popsicles from the leftover pineapple juice, and the last few pieces of fruit in the can.

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I made “egg muffins” which are basically quiche fillings, baked in muffin tins.  They can be heated up quickly in the mornings for a quick breakfast for Rob or myself.  He still has 3 days left, then he’s off.  I also made brownies, cookies, soup, and all that party food.  Today we ate leftovers.

I haven’t had much time to think about a menu plan, but want to make one up targeting the food that is now beginning to grow in the garden.  I have many plans of things I want to organize around here now that I don’t need to teach school.  I will have several hours a day that are now free for those kinds of activities, and I’m excited about that.  I will also be working more hours, as Michaela is out of school now, and Jake will be out on Wednesday, but there will be plenty of hours left over to organize with…..I hope:)

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I picked the first small picking of snow peas.  The bushes are covered with blossoms and tiny pods.  I suddenly have lots and lots of great lettuce to use. I picked and used a whole handful of green onions in my cooking this week.

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The raspberries and strawberries are just starting to ripen. My niece picked them during the party yesterday, and I let her take them home. There are many more coming ripe, and I thought it was so thoughtful of her to pick them.  They will produce more, and none will be wasted that way.  Other things are growing well, but are a ways off from harvesting.  We got a soaking rain today after heavy showers yesterday.  It was badly needed.  I can just see the plants perking up and can almost watch them grow.  It’s going to heat up again, and they should just grow and grow.

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So, I will leave all of you with a picture of Jake in his new suit.  His mama got it for him on Tuesday for a choir concert he was in.  Sadly, I missed it, as I had car trouble on the way (that’s another story for another day).  He won’t stop wearing it.  He’s worn it to school daily since he got it, to Ja’Ana’s graduation, and to church.  He loves, loves, loves it and I think he is so cute in it:).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thriving in My Thrifty Week–June 3, 2018

 

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I met up with a friend and went for a walk at a nearby park, which had a beautiful rose garden.  We admired the roses, walked a long ways around the huge park, then took off across town to a coffee shop she knew about, where she bought me a sugar-free Italian soda.  I had a great time, and really enjoyed the coconut Italian soda, which I had not had before.  I thought it was a great thing to do with my first day off from teaching homeschool!

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Ja’Ana had her last dance recital last night.  She does tap.  It has turned out to be her favorite kind of dance, after trying many kinds over the years.  The recital was lovely, and very tasteful.  The frugal part, you may ask?   Unless Patsy decides to take dance again, we are done paying fees for lessons, costumes, and gas to get to endless classes and rehearsals!  She has had 2 years of dance in the past, but did not want to continue.  Every one of the 6 girls had an opportunity to take dance, and most of them did it for several years.  That’s a lot of shoes, tights, bobby pins, costumes and leotards.  But, it’s bittersweet, because I’ve loved having them in dance!

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They gave her a lovely bouquet of roses because she is a graduating senior.

I turned in all the schoolwork to the diploma program we are going through.  Ja’Ana’s diploma was signed, because we got done!!!  The last few weeks have been rough, to say the least, getting her to finish up, but it’s done now and she has cheered up tremendously.  We all have.  Alissa is done with this year’s work as well, but does not graduate until next year.

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Alissa had a birthday party.  This is a custom that they have done for years, as her birthday is in January.  When she was younger, it made things much better.  Now, she just wanted to have party, so had a big luau.  When we dropped Ja’Ana off, I helped out a bit (very little truthfully–they were super well organized), and we ended up eating there.  Boy was it good, and we will get the same thing (leftovers) for Family Sunday Dinner–so an easy week for me!  There were lots of kids there, and they looked like they were having lots of fun.  Alissa had planned a few games, but mostly, they visited and ate, as teenagers do.

Patsy got an opportunity to work with the high school group for 3 hours, earning money towards camp.  I drove around a lot on Saturday, with 3 events, plus some grocery shopping.  I still am grateful that she could earn money.  I want to promote that work ethic, and it’s worth some gas to me.

I worked a few extra hours.  We are still figuring out the best way to serve Michaela’s needs now that she is done with her schooling.  One thing we did was have her continue her volunteering work at Meals on Wheels.  So, I went down there with her.  I would have been happy to help, but they didn’t need me, so I sat down for the time she was there, just being available in case she needed anything.

I have been shopping quite a bit more than normal.  I have so many events coming up that I need food or other things for:  Ja’Ana’s graduation party open house, a dress for her to graduate in (unsuccessful after 2 tries–I hope the 3rd time is a charm), a birthday party for Danait I am helping with later on in June (she and Ja’Ana share a birthday, but she’s turning 4 and J is turning 18), gifts for Patsy, Abbie, Danait, and Ja’Ana’s birthdays, all in the same  week, several graduates that we know and love and want to at least send a card to, picnics with the kids, and so on.  So, I’ve been scanning the store flyers and the internet and grabbing the best deals at several stores when I see something that will be useful for these upcoming events.  I have been working pretty hard at it to stretch my money as far as it can go, and I’m feeling successful.  I didn’t have to buy lettuce, as there is some in the garden now, so that’s one thing I could skip!

We did a Costco run, and I got a chicken, which we ate and I turned the bones into chicken soup.  I have been serving lots of refried beans and soup and chili from last week’s cooking spree.  Meals have not been exciting, but they have been filling.  We ate Costco food the night we were there.  I made a batch of muffins, which were scarfed down, probably because people were a wee bit tired of beans:)

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I cleaned a bit more in the garage, and used more odds and ends of food I found lurking out there.  I’ve been using canned pears in more popsicles, along with what ever berries I can grab.  Some of those pears have been around a long time, and I’m delighted to find a way to get them eaten!

We did more yard work, but did not buy  bark dust for the $250 Rob was quoted.  We will explore more options, or skip it!  The garden is growing well, but that’s for another post. This one is getting too long, and I want to go to church:). I hope your week was as satisfying!

 

 

Weekly Update–Saving Money–May 20, 2018–Everybody Loves a Parade!

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Yesterday, we enjoyed the Iris Festival Parade with the family.

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We had never been to this particular parade before, although my sister and brother-in-law have been every year, for years and years.  So, they knew things we did not.  I read a sign that said the road closed at 9, so figured we needed to be much earlier than that.  So, we were extremely early, and wondered why there were a few empty chairs along the sidewalk, but no people.  So, we waited, and waited, and waited, and wondered where they all were.  We did have a great time talking, something that is rare these days to find enough time for:) A few people trickled in, but around 9:30-10, all of a sudden, they all showed up from the side streets, carrying lawn chairs, snacks, drinks, and so on!  All of a sudden, the road was full of eager, chattering people, and soon after that the parade came along.

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It was my favorite kind of parade.  There were a couple of marching bands, choirs of elementary school kids, fire trucks, classic cars, and trucks with hay bales on the back, bearing princesses of various sorts, and in one case, Santa Clause!  There were iris flowers stuck all over the vehicles, which were pretty.

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A couple of ladies that Rob works with came to join us, and one brought her son.  He struck up an acquaintance with Patsy right away and we all enjoyed watching how much he enjoyed the parade.  Someone from one of the floats gave him an iris, and he promptly brought it to Patsy.  How sweet!  I really enjoyed putting some faces to names of people he works with.

There were many freebies for the kids–a bounce house, free snow cones and bubbles, candy galore…..they had a blast!   Even the Chinese food restaurant gave out free teriyaki chicken after the parade!  It was a very inexpensive outing for the family–Rob got a coffee early on, and our group bought and shared a few candy bars from the school kids who very ingeniously went along the parade route selling them before the parade started for their fundraiser and I got a cup of egg flower soup because I couldn’t eat the chicken.  We skipped the rides at the carnival, and buying anything at the booths that were set up.  It was a super fun morning!

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Before the parade, Rob made this cheesy, ham and olive-filled biscuit that was probably awful for us, but tasted oh, so good!

I cleaned for several hours on Friday.  I am trying to do some deep cleaning, and worked on the kitchen.  I even got the window washed, inside and out!  The more I clean, the more dirt and clutter I see!  At least I got started:). I had to put cleaning on the calendar and was ruthless to decline other things that tried to steal my cleaning time!  Sad, but it worked, at least this time!

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I worked in the yard and garden for many hours, in little blocks of time.  If I had 15 minutes, I used it! If I had an hour, I used that.  I am really getting somewhere, but have lots left to go:) We got the sprinkler system set up in the garden, and the grass chopped out around the permanent sprinkler heads in almost all of the yard.  I keep finding one here and there that I missed, but we are getting them freed from grass!

I used herbs from my herb bed.  I used rosemary on some roasted potatoes.  Yum!  I used thyme in split pea soup.  Double yum!  It’s nice to have them out there, freed from weeds and more established than they were last year.  I hoed up quite a few of the 1000 or so baby parsley plants, but there are still lots left, surrounding the turtle!  I noticed I am low on chives and parsley in the spice cabinet, so I hope to eventually dry some of each.

I was able to get both Friday Freebies from Fred Meyer this week, because I went early on Friday.  They’ve been running out of the more desirable items.  I got a free car charger and a Lara bar.  While there, I got the odds and ends of groceries I needed.

I stopped at a garage sale on my way home and purchased some picture frames to put some of Ja’Ana’s graduation pictures in for the upcoming party and the table display I have to make for the actual graduation.  I paid $2.50 for 3, in various sizes.  IMG_7040

 

I used a string, clothespins, and some push pins to put up the graduation cards we’ve received.  There are a couple more kids who may send one, so I can put up another string underneath this one if they do.

Rob and Lovana stopped and picked up some free wood and Rob plans to chop it into firewood-sized chunks.  It’s time to start preparing for next winter, and while not a lot, it’s something and was free!  He will keep his eyes out for more, and may buy a cord if he finds a good deal.

 

 

Weekly Update and Saving Money–May 12, 2018

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This week has gone so quickly, that I can’t believe it’s time for another weekly update post already!  Let’s hope I can remember what I did!

I made several food items.  The picture is of a fruit tart.  I made 2 of them, one for us, and one for the teens on Tuesday night.  They were well-received in both places.

I cooked broccoli soup with a mixture of frozen garden broccoli from last summer and some frozen mixed veggies that weren’t looking too good anymore.  It came out great, and I felt virtuous using up those veggies in a way that made them taste good.

We ate a lot of the ham I got for $1.29/lb last week, and froze the rest.  I also made broth from the bone, and will cook with it tomorrow or Monday.  Rob BBQ’d chicken.  We are still working on the pulled pork I made last week, as well.  It seems that food lasts much longer around here than it used to when more kids were around, eating more.  I will freeze some of that, too.

I helped with another brunch for the teens’ mission trip.  This time it was a Mexican-themed meal with breakfast burritos.  I took fruit, cheese, and tortillas.  I was especially happy to sign up for the tortillas, since I got them on super sale for 49c/package last week.

I made homemade popsicles several times from apple juice and from leftover peach juice from home-canned peaches.  Some of those even had the last peach in the jar in them, in chunks.  It’s been quite warm and those get eaten as soon as they get frozen and then I make more right away!

I exercised twice at the YMCA, and took several walks.

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The senior pictures (not this one, clearly) got chosen, edited, and sent in to Walgreens, where the graduation announcements/party invitations got printed.  Now, to send them out. My husband found a coupon code for Mother’s Day for the pictures, and we saved a bundle.  Since we were buying them regardless, I was delighted to get a discount.

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I signed up for the Ibotta app. I’m going to try it out and see if it is worth the time it takes, or not.  At this point, I have 1/2 of the amount of points loaded onto it to get the free $10 they offer you to try it.  (If you are as clueless as I was, it’s an app that you load coupons onto before you go grocery shopping, then take pictures of your receipt and send them in, and they basically give you a few cents of rebate money for each offer you redeem). I did not buy items I did not want, and have $5 in rebates already.  There were things like 25c off of bananas, 25c off of anything, and 75c off of Udi’s gluten-free bread and so forth.   My plan is to finish up the other $5 this next week, to get the free $10, then decide if it’s worth it or not.  You can cash it out when you reach $20, which I will do next week, if all goes as planned.  If you want to try as well, my code is: dxkbnkp.  (When you sign up, you can enter that referral code, you will get $10 and I will get $5). I’m also just fine if you don’t want to mess with it—I sure stayed on the fence for a long time before I signed up:).

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We worked in the garden several times.  Rob finished tilling.   Patsy and I both did some planting and watering.  The red mulch in the background is an experiment.  It is supposed to improve production of tomatoes. So, I certainly won’t need more yield on my  cherry tomatoes, they are so prolific, so I’m trying it on the regular ones.  Green mulch is supposed to help cucumbers and melons.   I hope to try some of that, too, especially on the melons I am starting.  I hope to do a garden update post later in the week and go into a little more detail.

Hopefully, this week won’t get away from me like the last one did!!!   No promises, though.  I only have 2 more weeks to get those girls to finish up all their schoolwork before I need to turn it in.  I’ve been really pushing it the last couple of weeks, and I think we might just make it.  Now, the correcting–not my favorite, but necessary:).    I will be very glad when this project is over for the year–I’m ready to put more time into the house and garden for a while.

 

Weekly Update and Saving Money–May 6, 2018

 

 

 

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I brought Jake and Michaela home on Thursday after school.  Michaela left on Saturday at 12:30 to go to horses with her big sister and spend the rest of the weekend with her.  Jake stayed until Sunday afternoon.  Friday was a whirlwind of commotion as there was much to do, and the kids had school, which involved a lot of driving back and forth.  On Saturday, Michaela went off with her sister to do horses and Rob took the other kids, while I stayed home to work on the garden.

Ja’Ana played Pooh Sticks with Jake from a bridge at a park they went to.  She got several hours of work on Friday, as well.

I cashed in a large handful of Safeway Monopoly tickets, and got many free items, including aspirin, gravy mix, tomato sauce, French bread, sour cream, bagels,  yogurt, and water.  One reason I’m getting so many free things is because they are now handing out large handfuls of tickets every time I go there, even if all I’m getting is mostly free stuff.  So, I will stop in frequently until after Tuesday, when the game is over.  I want to redeem all the free item coupons I have, and they keep giving me more. Patsy and Jake spent a long time opening the tickets, and Patsy is keeping track on her game board.  Rob told her that if she won the million dollars, he would take her to Disneyland, so she keeps trying.  The store did some substituting when they were out of things, and I have a small handful of coupons to redeem after today’s run.

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Rob took Ja’Ana’s senior pictures, and got about 200 shots for me to choose from, plus shots of the other kids as well.

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He got some great shots.  I haven’t chosen, yet.  I can’t.  He had to replace a lens on his good camera, which he did by purchasing a refurbished one on-line.  That saved him a great deal of money.   He also saved us a bundle by taking the pictures himself.  We will get invitations done at Walgreens for her graduation party, as we did with Lovana’s graduation.

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They had a lot of fun.  He cheerfully drove from park to park with a van load of kids, apparently stopped at 3 fast food places to get each one of them their preferred snack, after the crew downed the entire small cooler of snacks he took with them.  Of course, the kids had to play on each set of equipment, throw rocks and sticks into every creek and river, and so forth.  But, through it all, he got lots of great pictures.

There is some editing that needs to go on, but there are so many great ones, it will be difficult to choose, for sure!

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In the meanwhile, I worked in the garden.  Rob did some tilling before he left. I worked out in the garden for several hours.  It’s looking better all the time, and some things are just planted, and some are already growing well.  We had a heavy thunderstorm during the night, so the things I planted yesterday got well watered in.

The week to come does not look boring.  I don’t like to be bored, so I should be happy.  It was nice to sit down in church this morning and re-charge my batteries. That’s a good thing:).  I’ve spent time with my niece and/or nephew 6 out of past 7 days, and will again tomorrow and Tuesday.   My house looks like a train wreck, and that’s after putting in 2 hours cleaning this afternoon.  I’m not done at all.  Just tired and sitting down and done for today.  I can, however, walk across the floor, Rob has clean socks for tomorrow, and clean dishes to eat breakfast from.  We have a few appointments this week, as usual, and a bunch of schoolwork to finish, as the end of school deadline is very close.  Things need to be handed in so Ja’Ana can get her diploma, so the kids have to finish so I can correct it and score it.  I will rest this evening, and hit it again in the morning.   Tomorrow is a new day, a busy and full one, just as I like it.

 

Weekly Update–Saving Money–April 28, 2018

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This week ended up being a bit busier than I thought it was going to be.

One thing I did was help my sister with a brunch she was giving at her house.  She and my brother-in-law are leading a team on a mission trip this next summer, and this brunch was to inform people about it and give them a chance to visit with the team, so they can pray and support the team more effectively.  She did a lot of the cooking, and I made several items as well.

One was chocolate-dipped strawberries.  I used dipping chocolate I got on the Whoo-Hoo (reduced) rack after the holidays, white chocolate chips from holiday sales and on-sale strawberries.

It ended up being a lovely spread of food, and there was a wonderful turn-out and a large part of it was consumed! We had no idea of how many were coming, so I’m glad there was enough, but not way, way too much.  We have some leftovers, but not too many.  Whew!

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I took Michaela to her Horses of Hope afternoon.  She gets to ride, and gets to help around the arena.  Her dad or sister usually take her, but today they were busy, so I went.  I have many talents.  Taking care of horses is not one of them.  I was very appreciative that they respected my feelings and let me pet a horse if I felt like it, and did not require me to do anything else:).  So, I just took pictures, and admired Michaela’s skills. Michaela was delighted to show me around, introduce me to the different horses, and have me walk along with her as she took her horse ride.  Because the horse she rode is new to the facility, there were 3 workers who assisted her, one on each side, and one in front.  They are using her and a few other seasoned riders to help train the new horse to be a good therapy horse.  I thought that was really nice of them to say and she was so proud to show off her skills to me!

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Rob hung out with Jake and Patsy today.  Between the two of us, we logged in quite a few extra hours with Jake this week.  He was sick on Thursday, so I spent the entire day over there with him.  Have homeschool….will travel:). So, I took the books and Ja’Ana, and we did school over there that day.

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I had tickets to Peter Pan up at the Northwest Children’s Theater in Portland for Friday.  When I found out that Rob, Jake and Patsy did not have school Friday, we were able to get them tickets, too.  It is so nice that they let the homeschoolers purchase tickets to the school matinees for a very reduced price.  Rob got to spend time and visit with a friend he has not seen for a while, who also attended the play with his daughter.  He had such a good time and it was especially rewarding to take Jake to his first play up there.  He loved it.

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I decided to shop at Safeway for the fruit and other things I needed this week. The produce is so nice at our Safeway, and I needed a bunch of fruit for the brunch.  When I casually mentioned to the cashier how much my daughter is enjoying playing the Monopoly game, she said it was almost over and gave us some extra tickets.  We ended up winning 4 cans of tomato sauce, which Rob picked up today.  He also got 12 apple juices, because they were only 77c/ 64 oz. bottle.  We were delighted to stock up at that price!  He only got a few more tickets today,  but we still won a few more things.  There were some tickets from another day that did not get redeemed today, so we will pick these items up tomorrow after church.  I didn’t know Patsy had a little stash on the fridge under a magnet, but I’m glad to have found them before the game was over.

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We keep eating home-frozen beans, and other goodies from our freezer, cupboards, and pantry.  I am pleased with how one of the freezers is starting to look—there is some wiggle room in there now.  I’m going to keep focusing on that project.

This week, it was nice to receive some very useful items from people.

My mom saved some pots for me to use in the greenhouse.  I have been hardening off plants, and was able to give her the flowers I grew for her from the seeds my sister brought her from England.  She kindly left enough for me to plant around here, too.  It was amazing how many flower plants we got from that little packet.

While in D.C., my aunt noticed 2 things.  1) My travel-sized bottles of shampoo leaked (thankfully they were in a ziplock bag) and 2) My phone ran out of charge before we were done with our daily sightseeing.  So, she had some extra silicon bottles she gave me, and a portable charger she did not need, and she gave it to me as well.   Those are going to come in very handy.

One of my sisters gave me a lovely flower, which I have been enjoying, and will enjoy some more once I get the table cleaned off again!  Right now, it’s hidden behind the pile of stuff that has migrated to the table after this wild weekend!!  Between the brunch and the boy who ended up spending 2 nights….Wow, just wow!  I have a pretty big mess:). I expect tomorrow afternoon after church will be the time to do a bit of tidying up.  My sister has a meeting, so I will be coming right home after church for once, eating leftovers, and then I’ll have some time to clean, I hope.

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I got 1/2 of my strawberry bed cleaned up.  The plants I cleaned around are the new ones I planted last spring, and this end are very old plants that were here when I moved in.  The new ones are thriving, the old ones, not so much, which is normal when strawberries get too old.  I plan to put some bags of dirt around the berry plants and some bone meal and fertilizer, and will likely transplant runners from the new berries down to this end where there are huge gaps.  But, first, it needs to dry out again after the recent rain so I can get out there again.  It’s quite a bit of work, as the grass is trying to take over.

We are having to work outside in small bits of time we can carve out between work, homeschool and the rainy weather.  Sometimes I feel frustrated because I can’t finish up jobs I start in one session, but I keep reminding myself that breaking it into 2 days still gets it done!  Little by little:)  Patsy and I mowed the lawn again, this time lowering the blades after our first “mow” last week. Rob tilled a little bit in the garden.  It needs another time through on another day.  I have little seedlings up from a few weeks ago when I got into the garden for a short while.  I always enjoy seeing that!

I have several appointments this week, again.  We continue going to doctors/dentists/eye appointments/therapy, etc. for ourselves and the children.  Because Rob’s job is on a year-to-year basis (he only has a 1-school year contract each year), there is always a possibility that he won’t have insurance during the summer if they don’t promise him a job in the fall.  In that case, he would have to apply again in the fall for another position.  This can happen if the dynamics change in the classroom in any way, such as if a child that he work with moves or changes schools.    In any case, it won’t hurt to get these things done anyway!

I hope your week went well.

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Update and Saving Money–April 22, 2018

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This week was all about getting back to normal after our wonderful, but exhausting, trip to Washington D.C.

Traveling is not inexpensive.  But,even  with the high costs of food, travel, Ubers, etc., we did manage to save money in some areas.

We cooked in our rented townhouse a lot, and ate out only when we were out and about sightseeing.  Because eating out is expensive at any time, we saved hundreds of dollars that way.

We had many, many tours and visited Smithsonian museums that were free.  There were a couple of places we went that cost money–Mt. Vernon and Museum of the Bible, but almost everything else we saw had no admission cost.

There was food left in the fridge and cupboards that was left by previous guests of this VRBO townhouse we had rented.  There was a note stating that we were to eat all we wanted.  So we ate a lot of it.

We used public transportation and did not rent a car, saving on car rental and parking.  We used public transportation.

We ordered groceries in from Safeway and used a Promo Code to get free delivery.

Once home, I went shopping and spent $200 in groceries.  I had over $100 left from last month, and used the rest from the new grocery envelope.  I had not been shopping for a week or so before the trip, and I was gone for 11 days.  It was time.

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On Saturday, we went to the beach with our friends Harnet and Danait.  Because both of the older girls were working, we were able to take the smaller car, saving gas.  It was sunny, but quite cold, with a wind that could cut right through any coat.  So, we briefly went down to the beach, where Danait wanted to pick up all the rocks (millions) and throw them in the small stream or ocean.  She finally decided to chase birds:). It was adorable.

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I packed a picnic.  I had purchased portable food such as Go-Gurt, made potato salad, packed lunchmeat and cheese and bread for those who wanted it, and took along some fruits and veggies that my sister brought down on Friday.  We were fortunate enough to find a picnic table that was sheltered from the wind, and had a very fun time.

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We went over to the Mark Hatfield Marine Science Center and enjoyed the exhibits. They have just re-done many of them, and we enjoyed seeing both the old familiar ones, and the new ones. The Center is by donation only, and we did donate, but it was not expensive.

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We stopped off to see the sea lions on the dock at Newport.

After that, we drove to a couple of view points along the coast to admire the waves and the gorgeous blue sky and ocean in the comfort of the car and ended up at Dairy Queen for some ice cream.  No surprise there:)

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At the rest stop on the way back, Danait loved the field of English daisies and dandelions.  She and I ran around the grassy patch, then she picked a flower for every person she could remember the name of–quite a few flowers.  Then, she handed them out to those of us in the car and went back for more.

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It was a good day.  Even our patient driver was tired!  But, we all had a wonderful time.

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How did your week go?