So, after getting John's Call on Sunday, we headed out for pre-planned week of vacation at one of Minnesota's beautiful State Parks. We spent part of Monday down at the beach, the kids and John swam and I waded around, skipping rocks and taking photos. It rained Tuesday and the water levels were quite high and trails were damp so we limited ourselves to hiking the groomed trails on Wednesday and then did a 7 mile hilly/rocky/rugged hike on Thursday. The beauty always astounds me! The weather was too cool to return to the beech but the hikes were plenty. We had a wonderful week, though now I have a mountain of laundry and a whole bunch of other things that need cleaning before they can be put away until we need them again.
Every year, we take a week and go "camping" at one of the State Parks. I put camping in quotes because we rent a cabin with a solid roof and actual beds. It's beautiful and peaceful and free of things like distractions from work and there's no wifi so we can't jump back into the internet life unless we make a specific effort to. We cook over a campfire while there - using food we previously bought and what have at home and using our grocery budget to get a few treats - makings for s'more's and wieners for roasting.
This week was a much needed break before all the hustle and bustle of the next few weeks sets in. It was just what my soul needed and we all came home a little disappointed that it was ending "so quick". We have the long weekend for Labor Day here in the US this week so we'll ease into things slowly this next week. The children and I are all back to school on Tuesday and John is over at his new parish for meetings and things like that.
Here's what we did this week that might be considered frugal:
Before leaving for camping we:
* Picked tomatoes, green beans, and a pumpkin from the garden.
* I blanched and froze green beans and kohlrabi.
* We put together a menu plan from what we had in the house for the week ahead.
* I had woken up Saturday morning last with massive pain in my right side. I had been having trouble last week with what we all thought was a pinched nerve and had talked to the nurse at the clinic on Friday to see if I needed to come in. Since it was much worse, I went to our provider's Urgent Care clinic rather than the ER. No big fees (only an office visit copay), quick service and I ended up with an X-ray (showed nothing - which was expected) and a prescription for a low dose of prednisone, which cost only $8 with our insurance. By Sunday I was feeling MUCH better and after my appointment today (Friday) I may need PT again rather than anything else - the doctor suspects I may be moving in a way that repeatedly pinches a nerve, rather than something more permanent. We'll see when the tests come back next week.
* I did a ton of ironing so we start the semester with all of our clothes actually in the closets rather than hanging on the "to iron" rod in the laundry room! :)
While Camping We:
* Enjoyed many park trails for hiking adventures and the beach for swimming. Both were wonderful. The scenic overviews were amazing!
* Our whole family greatly enjoyed the antics of a squirrel pair that were harvesting pine nuts from the trees next to our cabin. One would stand in the tree and shake the branches and the other would collect the nuts as they fell. Hilarious!
* Used our own wood for campfires rather than paying $6/bundle for the camp wood. Since we live within 100 miles of where we camp, we can bring our own. We had a lot of wood from taking out several small trees last year it was nice to use a bunch of it up.
* We played UNO, put together puzzles and read a lot when we were in the cabin. All items we already owned except for some books checked out from the library.
* I did quite a bit of work on The Big Embroidery project. I'm hoping to give you a sneak peek this week on Wednesday along with some other gifts I've made.
* We ate from food we already had in the home or that was purchased from our regular grocery budget.
* We returned to our home mid-week to shower, update the goodies in our cooler, and take the children to Back-To-School night at school. That is where they drop off all their school supplies, get their locker combinations, turn in back-to-school paperwork and get their school photos taken. We did order photos since we have a lot of relatives who like to receive them!
* While at back to school night I dropped off several school clothing items that didn't fit our children anymore and picked up a pair of shorts for our son at the Uniform Swap.
After camping we have:
* Picked more tomatoes and green beans from our garden. I'll need to pick another pumpkin in the next week or so and maybe some winter squash too.
* Bought athletic shoes for the children using a buy one get one 50% coupon that was good this weekend only. Our children are in adult sizes for shoes now - every little bit helps in saving on shoe costs! We do have to buy them uniform-compliant dress shoes still but we don't need those right away.
* While we were out and about, we returned to unneeded school items that we had purchased, receiving a credit back into our account (we had used the debit card to purchase them).
* Used baking soda, hot water, vinegar and elbow grease to clean soot off two aluminum camping cooking items.
I have a number of things that I'm hoping to get done this weekend before school starts - painting our master bedroom, canning beet pickles, transplanting some plants in the garden and some mending. We'll see how it all goes. I kind of feel like life is waiting to start up again on Tuesday for us. Exciting times ahead, for sure!
Have a wonderful weekend!