Weekly Ramble 6/8/24

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Hello! Are you in summer mode yet? For me summer is a great big reset, for home, time management, and my regular routines. I’m working on it, but not quite there.

clean bedroom with vacuum lines on the carpet.

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In fact, this week was more about self care than anything else. I tried to sleep, read, clean my bedroom, and take things slower — when I wasn’t running chauffeur for children with busy social calendars.

This was a week of lots of local graduations and grad parties for FishChick17 as well as her first week at her first job. Since our kids don’t typically get their licenses before 18, running an unpaid uber-service is just part of my job description.

I don’t actually mind it that much – well, I suppose it depends on the day. It can be one of the perks of the job if I’ve got the right mindset.

When I’ve got company in the car, we get a chance to talk. When I’m alone in the car, I get a chance to be by myself, something I love with every fiber of my being, but something that I’ll one day have lots of time to do, so I am trying to pace myself on the alone time while I’ve got kids who still want to hang.

One child I will never need to chauffeur again as he just bought his first car today. That was fun! FisherMan23 has been looking for months with input from Bryan. They’ve gone looking several times and today they found a used Honda CRX in really good condition with low miles.

Hearing the tale of the saleswoman trying to talk him into financing was amusing. This son graduated debt-free from a state university and has been saving money living at home (and paying rent and running chauffeur duty for his siblings) so that he doesn’t have to deal with paying off debt like we did.

I’m so proud of him for making better decisions than we did!

We still have our ancient 2002 SUV that’s approaching 200k. I haven’t driven it in awhile, it might already be there. We are ready to trade it in for a smaller crossover for the younger kids to share. Just need to beef up the sinking fund.

The lady also asked Bryan why we had six kids. He’s had this conversation very often lately. The miscarriages are always part of the answer. But so is God.

It never occurred to me until today that God would use the worst experience of our life for us to witness of what He’s done. Duh. I guess that’s what He does, isn’t it?

strawberry cow stuffy.

Here’s FishChick15’s creation of the week: A strawberry cow. So cute! She seriously amazes me with her creativity! (Yes, we know it looks like a pig. This is the pattern she used. She is currently working to change his snout to be more cow-like.

My girl is also exploring the idea of starting an Etsy shop or selling things in a local maker’s market. She super realistic, though. She knows that some of her custom work (like the bag I showed you last week) won’t pencil out for the time it takes to make.

We’ve discussed simple things that are easy to make, like this cup cozy.

If you’ve got experience selling handicrafts, I’d love to hear about it. Do you have any words of wisdom for my young creative?

I love the colors popping in this picture…Bryan spent some time recently sprucing the backyard. It’s so nice for resting and relaxing.

And eating yummy salads.

summer salad in backyard with summer decor.

Getting sick in May really through me off my health and nutrition goals. I’ve regained 3-4 pounds that I had lost, so now it feels like I’m starting all over again.

Thankfully, when the girls start their summer camp jobs, I’ll be in a regular routine of chauffeur/remote worker. It’s easier to stay on track with a packed lunch than at home.

Since the girls are packing lunch also, we’re talking about cooking up the meals in this cookbook for the summer.

I’m looking forward to some routine, that is for sure!

Five Favorite Things

Here are some of my favorite things from my week…

This foldable, travel-friendly sun hat

jessica in straw sun hat.

My girls are so much better at skin care than I ever have been. Since I don’t love putting on sunscreen — or forget to reapply — having a hat solves a lot of my problems, especially now that summer weather is rolling in.

THIS HAT is amazing. I bought the one with the white band last spring and then gave it to FishChick17 for her trip to Guatemala this April. I bought myself the black banded version this spring right before our trip to Hawaii.

This hat is my go-to for sun coverage all year long! It’s foldable meaning you can pack it in a suitcase without it losing its shape, making it perfect for travel.

Happy Hour Date Nights

a plate of tacos on date night.

We didn’t plan it this way, but we happened to arrive at one of our favorite local taco places to find that we arrived just ten minutes before happy hour ended. That meant I saved $1 on my veggie taco (bottom) and $2 off the Paloma. Even better they still had their Baja fish tacos priced at $1.99.

That meant that 3 tacos for B and 2 tacos + paloma for me = $22! It’s so nice when we can still find some cheap eats out and about.

Handel’s Ice Cream

4 scoop sampler from handels.

We NEVER go out for ice cream, but TWICE this week we indulged in the 4-scoop sampler from Handel’s – at two different locations. I don’t know what came over us, especially since we’d never been there.

Honestly, I think it’s the novelty of having so many flavors to choose from.

The 4-scoop sampler is $8 so that made sense to split it. Spoiler: it was still too much ice cream, but they don’t do one scoops.

It is so interesting to me that after 30 years of marriage, we still have very disparate tastes in ice cream.

  • He chose: mint and chip, coffee chocolate chip, and brownie dough (twice!)
  • I chose: praline pecan, caramel pretzel crunch, butter pecan, and vanilla caramel brownie.

The last two (butter pecan and vanilla caramel brownie) are an amazing combo, but 2 scoops is still too much.

That won’t stop me from going back, though; I haven’t yet tried the fruit flavors that are calling my name. Just remind me to pack a cooler so that I don’t have to stuff myself!

Stitch Fix

woman wearing cream blouse and khaki overalls.

Yes, after all these years, I still do an occasional Stitch Fix. Why? Some of my very favorite pieces are ones that I got from Stitch Fix.

Plus, FisherMan26 and his wife got me a big juicy gift card last year and I still haven’t spent it. This week I had high hopes for the pieces I got. I only kept one piece, but I really like it.

Have you tried Stitch Fix recently? What’s been your experience?

–> Get a $25 credit to try it out for the first time.

Spare Keys

spare key with a dog keychain.

We bought my newest car four years ago this week. It came with an automatic key and a not-so automatic key. I kept the first while Bryan got the latter.

About six months ago, he lost his key. We waited awhile in case it resurfaced and I was super careful about checking and double checking that I had my key on me before I EVER locked the door. I knew that if I lost the only key we would be stuck with getting towed to the dealer and paying through the nose.

Replacement keys are not cheap. A month ago Bryan found a source that would cut you a key and send you instructions to program it. It was about half the price of a dealer or locksmith key. Sold!

Only programming it was not as easy as they claimed. Thankfully, Bryan has a coworker who is mechanic, formerly with Honda. He took the van one day and got it all sorted.

And as luck would have it, I got myself locked out of the van at ALDI this week with a full car of groceries. I had set it on the bumper with my purse, grabbed the purse and clicked the close button.

I heard the crunch of my keys getting trapped between the door and the bumper while I was patting my pockets for the key. Oy!

Thankfully, one of the boys was able to leave work and bring me the spare key. Hallelujah! I am so thankful for a spare key — and a car full of groceries that made it home without spoiling.

Speaking of groceries…. have you checked out this month’s featured Meal Plan?

A Month of Simpler Summer Meal Plans

simpler summer meal plan on iPad with flowers and apple pencil nearby.

Wanna take things easy this summer when it comes to dinner prep? I gotcha covered with A Month of Simpler Summer Meal Plans. ​

It’s so good, so easy, and so much easier on the budget. It’s free to members of the Good Cheap Eats Club in the month of June.

Alrighty then, that’s it for me. We’re celebrating FisherMan22’s bday tomorrow, so I’ve got some food to prep. I hope you have a lovely week ahead of you!

How was your week? How can we pray for you?

Leave a comment below and let me know how us moms here can pray for you or how we can help you troubleshoot your current challenges.

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  1. Congratulations to your son for graduating debt free! My daughter graduated from high school on Friday and will be commuting to a state university in the fall. She received a nice scholarship from the school (that is renewable each year) as well as two others that will pay for her first year. She has worked hard the last few years at her part time job, so she has a lot saved and is looking for her first car. She has been driving an old truck with 300,000 miles that used to be her great-grandfather’s. Talk about a frugal win! Financial wisdom is such a gift, especially at a young age.

  2. I love how you point to God!! It blesses my heart that we still have people ask us how we have 7 children. Do they really want to know?
    Please pray that the changes I need to make for our homeschool girls, go smoothly.
    Lesson planning is a lot of work and I want to make sure I do it right the first time.
    Thank you,

  3. Thank you for this beautiful post. It’s so real and down to earth. I love it!! The cow DOES look like a cow. Thanks again for all you do!