Friday Photos 04.18.14

Samson waterlogue - An Oregon Cottage

Happy Friday friends! It’s time for another edition of Friday Photos where I share with you random pictures and some updated blog posts to keep you in the loop. I sure hope all is well with you all during this Easter week – I’m looking forward to our family’s celebrations this weekend. In honor of the […]

Tuesday Garden Party 04.01.14 {It Wasn’t A Mouse…}

Dog Destruction - An Oregon Cottage

Welcome to the first Tuesday Garden Party for April! And it’s starting off with a bang at our house since we woke up to this a few days ago: Some of you may remember something that looked very similar to this from last year – only slightly less destructive, as you’ll see in a moment. […]

Friday Photos 03.07.14

Daffodil Bud - An Oregon Cottage

I don’t know about you, but I was pretty happy to see that calendar turn to March! We’ve had some monsoon-type rains and of course there’ll still be cold days ahead, but all it takes are a few 55-60 days with sun and daffodils blooming and I feel hopeful again. It’s weird, ’cause it’s not […]

How to Pack For More Than a Week in a Carry On Suitcase

Traveling Outfit for 1 to 2 Week Packing Tips - An Oregon Cottage

Wondering how to bring all the things you need and want on a week or two week trip without having to pay to check a bag or lug around a lot of suitcases? I traveled to Greece and Kosovo last spring for 17 days and took only the suitcase in the photo above. I used […]

Ice Storm 2014

Ice Storm 2014 - An Oregon Cottage

**Update: SO happy to report that our power came back Wednesday night while we were sleeping – bless those electrical workers who’ve been working 24/7 for the last 5 days! Enjoying all the benefits of electricity in a new way now!** Pretty snow started falling last Thursday at our house, which turned into ugly freezing […]

Friday Photos 01.10.14

Maple Syrup Snow Candy - An Oregon Cottage

Happy January! While much of the country is under the snowy conditions pictured above, this was us a month ago when the Pacific Northwest was hit with record snow and negative temps.  I’m posting them for this month’s edition of Friday Photos because I didn’t get a chance to in December. It snowed for more […]

2014 Goals {& 2013 Recap}

2014 Goals - An Oregon Cottage

Every year I like to review the previous year and make a new set of small, achievable goals for the next year – and share them all with you here on An Oregon Cottage (see 2010 goals here, 2011 here, 2012 here, and 2013 here). And while I enjoy having a record of each year’s […]

2013 Top DIY & Gardening Projects

Top 10 Recipes - An Oregon Cottage

Here we are at the end of another year – can you believe it? One of the things I enjoy about the turn of another calendar year is looking back at the previous year to see what’s been accomplished, what I learned, and what I still have (actually would like) to do. So this week […]

Merry Christmas!

Christmas 2013 Family pic

From our family to yours, dear sweet readers, we wish you the happiest of days as we remember the birth of Christ! A thrill of hope; the weary world rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Green & White Christmas Decor {Friday Photos}

White and Green Christmas Mantel - An Oregon Cottage

For this month’s edition of Friday Photos, I thought I’d give you a little tour of our great room decked out in this year’s holiday finery (yep, I just said ‘finery’ – breakin’ out the fancy words today). We don’t have our tree up yet, that will happen this weekend. A few years ago I […]

Friday Photos 11.1.13

Yaquina Head Lighthouse5

Well, even though it’s the 1st of November (can you believe it?), I’m counting this as the October Friday Photos edition – better late than never. Though now that I’m thinking about it, you guys probably don’t keep track, but it makes me feel like I’m keeping to some sort of schedule {smile}. First up […]

Friday Photos 09.20.13

White Pumpkins in Wheelburrow ::

Welcome to September’s edition of Friday Photos where I share whatever I feel like in photos {well, and a few words!}. After writing about my lovely September Flowers just a bit ago and how I wasn’t ready for pumpkins, I caved and harvested our white pumpkins. Though in my defense, fall is officially only days […]

Friday Photos 08.09.13


Hello, all! For this month’s Friday Photos installment, I’m including a couple of updated recipes – some of my absolute favorites – and a few scenes from our life, including a crazed squirrel that has targeted us! First up are delicious Chocolate Topped Oatmeal Bars, something I’ve made since high school – except back then I’d […]

Making Flia {A National Dish of Kosovo}

Making Kosova Flia

I can’t believe I never shared these photos of making Flia from our trip to Kosovo! After sharing about Kosovo’s gardens and the crafts we made with a ladies group, they got buried in a file on my computer desktop. It’s such an unusual dish that we were so privileged to experience that I have […]

Friday Photos 07.12.13

rose-yarrow bouquet

So, I’m starting a new, occasional feature here at AOC – Friday Photos. This is born out of the fact that my computer desktop has been littered with random photos that I want to share with you all, but no blog post really to add them to. And it might have a little something to […]

My New Favorite Shoes

Sketchers Bikers-Favorite Shoe

This is way different for me here, but I find I just have to share about my new favorite shoes! I did a lot of searching for a comfortable but good-looking shoe to wear before we left for Greece and Kosovo, and let me tell you, comfort and cute do not usually go together! I […]

My Father-in-Law


This is without a doubt the hardest post I’ve had to write yet. When I shared a little more than four months ago about my sweet father-in-law’s glioblastoma brain tumor diagnosis, I never imagined come June I would be writing that he passed away. As a family, we were not ignorant of the statistics of […]

Crafting in Kosovo

Kosovo crafting

One of the highlights for me on our recent trip (of which there are many…is there a limit to highlights?) was getting to plan and present an easy craft to a group of ladies in Kosovo. This group, consisting of ladies from the village where we were staying as well as from a sister church […]

Greek Food – An Introduction

Greek pork gyros

To say we enjoyed the food on our recent trip to Greece is probably a bit of an understatement. And our wonderful hosts really went out of their way to make sure we tried many of the dishes Greece is known for like gyros (pronounced YEE-ros), kabobs, pita (which is a pocketless flatbread in Greece), […]

A Trip of a Lifetime


Hey there sweet friends – do any of you remember that back in January one of the goals I listed was to pay cash for a trip to Greece and Kosovo? Well, I’m thrilled to be able to tell you that we just returned from a two-and-a-half week trip of a lifetime for us visiting […]

Fabric Organization – Finally!

Organizing Fabric

Yeah – I’m happy to report that after almost two months of start-and-stop organizing, my fabric closet is done and my stash is significantly reduced. Whew, it’s a pretty good feeling, you know? How good? Let’s review (or avert your eyes if you need to, it’s nasty…): *shudder* I know I shared the picture on […]

Friday Links & Random Stuff

fabric shelves before

Whew, it’s been a busy, trying week! So I’m just gonna share some things that are on my mind and heart today. First of all, a couple weeks ago I mentioned two organizing projects I wanted to get done around here, a paper recipe purge-and-file, and dealing with my workroom fabric and craft shelves. The […]

Weight Loss Tips + Dinner Menus = Inspiration


Pssst: I’m SO sorry that the Winter Dinner Menus PDF link was not in the footer of the email update announcing the new ebook! I had put it in, but apparently I didn’t give it enough time to process (arrrgggg…) and I saw that it came through with the old Autumn ebook link. My appologies! […]

New Recipe Index

Recipe drop-down menu

I’m beyond excited today to share with you the newest feature at An Oregon Cottage: the all-new, updated pictorial Recipe Index!!! Yes, that’s three exclamation points, ’cause I’m that excited. I’ve long dreamed of a lovely-to-look-at recipe index where you guys could see all the recipes that have been posted over the life of the […]

Organizing Tips & Ideas

An Oregon Cottage's Organizing Round Up

Is getting all your stuff in order as much on your minds as it is on mine? I swear I could hardly wait to get all the Christmas decorations put away so I could start organizing two areas that have gotten out of control over the past year: my recipes and fabric/craft closet. I’m happy to report I […]

New Goals and Word for 2013


One of the things I most enjoy about blogs and blogging is the incentive to improve yourself , and whether it’s to do things yourself, read more books, or get out of debt, blogs help to inspire, teach, and motivate me towards building a better life for my family. That’s part of my mission here […]

Most Popular Posts of 2012 {Old or New}

2012 Popular Posts

When I started looking at Google Analytics to find out the top recipes and top DIY projects from last year, I also started making a list of the most viewed posts, period. I mean, you guys are the reason I do this – and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all […]

Top DIY Projects from 2012

Top 2012 DIY Projects

I hope you enjoyed revisiting some of the best recipes from 2012 yesterday – I know it’s always interesting to me to see what proved to be popular from the previous year. Which is true for today’s list of the top DIY projects from 2012 as well. I wasn’t surprised at what topped the list, […]

Top Recipes of 2012


It’s that time of the year again where we look back just a bit to revisit some of the most popular posts of the year here at An Oregon Cottage. I actually learn a lot about what you guys like by looking back, plus it’s fun to remember some of the recipes and projects that […]

Updated Gift Wrapping System

Easy Wrapping System

Hey all! Way back in 2009 (seems like the dark ages in blog-years, huh?) I wrote about how I wrap our family’s Christmas gifts. Well, since I LOVE this gift wrapping system and how much time it saves me each year, I’ve updated it with better photos and clearer directions with the hope that it […]

Christmas Links & Monday’s Menu


Happy Monday – I hope you all had a great weekend! Ours was spent composting all the Thanksgiving decorations (well, the pumpkins and such – the ceramic turkeys were stored for next year…) and dragging out the Christmas decorating boxes. Though my daughter and I had high hopes, we didn’t accomplish as much as we’d […]

Ebates and Lilla Rose on Black Friday

black friday sale

Well, hello on this “black friday” um, national holiday? Longtime readers may remember this post on how I feel about shopping the day after Thanksgiving – where we’re thankful for everything we already have – so you probably know I’m not out elbowing fellow Americans in a crowded store. That said, I do like a […]

Simple Organizing Tips Using Martha Stewart Home Office™ with Avery™{and a Giveaway!}


This is a sponsored review from BlogHer and Martha Stewart Home Office™ with Avery™ Oh my goodness guys, am I excited to share this post and awesome giveaway with you! I’m honored to be among a group of bloggers chosen to receive some products from the Martha Stewart Home Office™ with Avery™ product line AND […]

Burlap Jewelry Organizer


For the inaugural edition of Tuesday Thrift Store Transformations (TTST when I get tired of writing the whole thing…), I thought I’d share with you how I’m actually using the .99 bulletin board that I made into a DIY Ballard Designs Monogram Burlap Message Board (featured in the 31 Days series). I decided to change the […]

Organizing with Thrift Store Trays

Silver oli-vinegar tray

Trays are always abundant at thrift stores. In addition to using them as decoration or as well, trays, I love to use them to corral things. I find it amazing how the same things just sitting on a counter all of a sudden look nice and organized when they’re housed on a tray. Organizing with […]

Organizing With Baskets


I don’t think I could do a series on thrift store items without doing something with baskets, could I? I mean, there’s usually a whole section dedicated to baskets. Unfortunately, most of the baskets have handles, which is great at Easter when you’re hunting for eggs, but not for much else that I’ve found. Which […]

Using Vintage Suitcases

Vintage Suitcases Used for Storage

Every once in awhile you can still find vintage suitcases at thrift stores, flea markets, and yard sales. They aren’t as plentiful as they were years ago, but they are out there, so it’s something I always keep in mind when I’m “thrifting.” Why suitcases? Because although we don’t use theses hard-sided vintage cases for […]

Vintage Trailer Camping { & Monday’s Menu}

vintage trailer camping

Those of you who’ve been reading AOC awhile may remember (from looooong ago) that we own a cute little vintage trailer – a Dalton “canned ham” circa 1957 (or ’59 – we’re not sure). We actually haven’t gone camping in more than a year for a variety of reasons – the main being that our […]

How Turmeric Helped Our Dog’s Hip

How Turmeric Helped Our Dog Walk Normally - An Oregon Cottage

Did you know all the medical benefits of turmeric? The spice that gives curry powder its distinctive hue? Well, I didn’t until just a few months ago when I found out that turmeric has been traditionally known to reduce inflammation and that current medical studies validate this time-honored use of turmeric. And after using it […]

Flag Story & Monday’s Menu


Happy Labor Day, friends! Even though fall doesn’t officially start for another couple of weeks, this weekend always seems like the end of summer because school starts for us on Tuesday. The weather feels like fall, too. However, I realized I never shared our recent flag story with you. This actually happened over July 4th, […]

Eliminate Update, Garage Sale Tips, And A Few Writing Links

garage sale collage

Eliminate Update: Remember when I chose “eliminate” for my word of 2012? No? Maybe because I’ve been pretty quiet about it around here. But that doesn’t mean I’ve resorted to hoarding. I really have continued to look at things in my house that I’ve just grown accustom to but were never my favorite. Some items […]

Paulina Lake And Monday’s Menu

Paulina Lake Family Picture

We got to spend a few days over the weekend with my dad, stepmama, and both our kids – it was fantastic spending time together doing fun, summer things: taking a road trip, kayaking, and hiking in the beautiful Paulina Lake area in central Oregon. Having extended time with both our kids is a big […]

6 Easy Late Summer Meals

Easy late summer meals

Late summer is all about vegetables – and the best late summer meals are centered around the season’s bounty. The abundance is sometimes overwhelming, but I’m always grateful for it. My favorite meals for August and September, then, all showcase what’s available from our gardens, farmer’s markets, CSA’s and stores: Asian Slaw and Spicy Noodle Salad […]

Five Favorite Friday Links

zucchini fries

1. Oh my goodness, how did I miss these Zucchini Fries on Pinterest? Apparently they’ve been repinned like crazy and I’ve only just found them through The Chubby Vegetarian (source of photo as well). Our zucchini is in full production, so I will definitely be making these! 2. I will also be making these Flourless […]

June’s Awesome Thrift Store Finds


Shopping at thrift stores has always been one of our favorite things to do when Brian and I are on a daytime date or visiting a new city. It’s pretty cheap entertainment, plus there’s the thrill-of-the-hunt factor. Sometimes we don’t find anything and sometimes we unearth a treasure. We found some pretty great things last […]

5 Favorite Early Summer Meals


Though we’ve had a slow start to summer here in the Northwest, I know the rest of the country is sweltering and thinking about staying cool – not about cooking. So while we may not need these yet, you all do, and I sure hope we’ll be in that grillin’-and-salad mood soon, too. Here are […]

A Simple, Easy Workout Routine {Plus A Free Printable}


Read about my take on exercise and weight loss here. Over the years I have tried lots of different types of exercise – running, going to a gym, workout videos, classes…well, you get the idea. What I’ve learned is: KISS (keep it simple, silly) – and yes I changed the last word, ’cause we don’t […]

Is Exercise Necessary For Weight Loss?


Whenever anyone asks me about exercise and weight loss, I always hesitate to answer because my answer is not “politically correct.” The short answer to the question, “Is exercise necessary for weight loss?” is… No. Before you hit that button to leave, though, hear me out: I’m not saying exercise isn’t important – it is […]

Portion Control: Real Life, Real Food


After sharing with you my history, how I lost weight eating real, whole foods, and then the tips and “rules” I implemented to lose the weight and keep it off (part one and part two), I thought I’d share with you what I actually eat in a typical day (or two). In order to keep […]

More Tips, Tricks, And Techniques For Weight Loss

Real Food Weight Loss

If you missed it, see the first six tips here. See other parts of this series to find out my history with weight, and how I lost more weight than I ever have eating real food. I hope you found something in the first six tips I shared to help you towards your food goals, […]

Tips, Tricks, And Techniques For Weight Loss


While talking about weight is not my favorite thing in the world, I’ve really been enjoying all the comments and interaction we’ve been having the last couple of weeks that this weight loss series has run. Thank you for taking the time to post here or on AOC’s Facebook page! Today I’m going into a […]

How I Lost Weight Eating Real Food {More Than Ever!}


Thank you for all your wonderful comments and feedback (love you guys!) to my weighty issue! I’ve decided to do a series here on AOC about weight loss and real food, because if I can help even one person get healthy and feel better by my story and tips, it’s beyond worth sharing my struggles! Read all […]

A Weighty Issue


Well…have you guessed from the title what this is about? Yep, I’m about to get real personal here at AOC. And I might as well tell you that I have sat down to write this series of posts on weight many times – only to have it languish in a folder on my desktop. It’s […]

Friday Favorites


My favorites today include things I’ve found lately through my RSS Reader as well as a couple of articles I’ve written for other sites that I wanted to share with you all. One is the delicious cookie pictured – Whole Grain-Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies. A version of this recipe has been in my life since […]

13 Ways To Organize A Workroom WIth Vintage {And Thrifted} Finds


Looking through the photos for my article about updating and refreshing my workroom, I realized that I used many of my favorite vintage finds to organize all the little things that are a part of most offices and studios. Most of the things I now use as containers were purchased super-cheap at thrift stores and […]

Workroom Update: Before And After Photos

Use Vintage Items in Workroom

Ahhhh…. That’s me breathing a sigh of relief every time I walk into my workroom now- a room I walk into every day, so you can imagine the impact this has made on me. OK, that sounded way out of perspective – it’s just a clean and more organized room, after all – but what […]

The Unfinished DIY Post

Garden shelf-1 basket

  Here I am on a Thursday, thinking about what post I could have up for Friday (what- you thought I always had them done way in advance? I am SO not that person). I like to have some sort of DIY article for Fridays (though obviously, that’s not a hard-and-fast rule around here…uh-hem), but […]

Thirty Minute Laundry Room Spruce-Up


We’ve recently finished the last few finishing touches on our laundry room (started years ago, but better late than never!) – beadboard molding, floor molding, and cabinet brackets. I still need to paint everything- including the cabinet- to match the painted beadboard. With our track record, I didn’t think I should wait to do a […]

Vacation Pictures and A Few Recent Pins


I thought I’d share two pictures from our recent trip to Arizona, as the garden pictures from Agritopia didn’t have any people in them (and what fun is that?). But just two – ’cause I don’t want to be that person who shares “just a few pictures” and 45 minutes later your eyes are glazed […]

Guest Posts & A Few Favorite Links


Hi all! I hope you have a great weekend planned…and for any extra computer time you have (a-hem) I thought I’d share some links you might be interested in: Here are a few guest posts I’ve done in the last few weeks: 6 Simple And Easy Laundry Tips at About One 7 Things To Stop […]

Thrift Store Finds

I mentioned on Monday that we had taken a trip to Bend for Brian’s work and visited a couple of thrift stores while we were there. As you know, it is one of our favorite things to do – even if we don’t find anything we’d like to buy. And I am trying to be […]

7 Things To Do With Sprouted Potatoes

7 Things to Do With Sprouted Potatoes - An Oregon Cottage

I recently found 5-pound bags of organic potatoes on sale for .99 each, so of course I had to buy two. However, since organic potatoes are not sprayed with a sprout inhibitor, I was confronted with about seven pounds of sprouting potatoes about a week later. You know I try very hard not to throw […]

Spice Cabinet Cleanup: Before And After

spice shelf after

Our spices are housed in a ridiculously narrow cupboard to the right of the stove. It has bugged me since we moved here seven years ago. Of course, not enough to do much more than stuff things in there and quickly shut the door. See what I mean? When we first set up our kitchen […]

First Eliminate Update

I wrote in January about my decision to make “eliminate” my word of the year – a word that will help me see areas of our cottage in a new light. Not: “What can I do/clean/organize to make this work?” But instead: “What can I get rid of – that I don’t find useful, functional, […]

Beginner Pinterest Q & A

Pinterest Logo

Even though there are lots of tutorials out there, I’ve gotten a number of questions- here and in real life – about the basics of Pinterest, so I thought I’d do a quick introduction for those who need it. If you are a Pinterest-pinning fool, this isn’t for you, however- I’d love for you to […]

Five Favorite Links

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared some interesting, inspiring, or just plain fun things I’ve found while reading some of my favorite blogs and sites- and of course, pinning on Pinterest! Be sure to check out other things I’m pinning by following my Pinterest boards- oh, and if you need an invite, leave a comment […]

My “Word Of The Year”

I mentioned in my goals for the coming year that I decided to follow some of my favorite bloggers (like Layla at The Lettered Cottage) and adopt a “word of the year.” Although I have to admit, I thought it was kinda odd at first – why a word? But as I was writing my […]

2012 Goals: A Quick Recap and Looking Forward

I set goals in three areas last year- Home, Financial, and Blog. Writing them down really did help to keep them in my mind. Mainly as I realized some were just not gonna get done. Sigh. I’m going to keep this short and sweet (I’ve got to get some new stuff published for you!) by […]

Top 10 Gardening Ideas From 2011

Gardening, DIY projects, and recipes – these are my passions that I’m so happy to be able to share with you all here at AOC. And finding like-minded readers who I can learn more from and who always inspire me has been a HUGE benefit since starting this blog. Thank you! So today we have […]

Top Ten DIY Projects from 2011

Sometimes it feels like all we do are do-it-yourself projects. One of our kids asked during the summer, “Is this place ever going to be finished?” Little do they know…little do they know. However as I looked back through the year’s posts, I found only 10 that qualified as DIY. Really? Surprised myself there- although […]

Top Ten Recipes From 2011

I had such a great time coming up with this list. At first, I revisited the recipes I posted through the year and picked my favorites that I’ve made over and over. But then I decided to see what recipes you all liked the most…and guess what? Some were the same and some were not. […]

Ten Things From 2011 That Changed My World

Welcome to AOC’s “Top Ten” series for 2011! Can you believe we’re so close to 2012? I’m still working on getting all our Christmas decorations put away – even though it seems like we just put them up! Anyway…when I made some top ten lists last year, I found it to be a great way […]

Fixing A Waffle Maker Instead of Buying New

Let me introduce to you our 15-year old Toastmaster Belgian waffle maker. It used to be bright white and had a cute little red cover on the “ready light” that has been gone for awhile. We’ve used it almost monthly since we received it as a gift and it still makes light and fluffy Belgian […]

Family Traditions: Now and Throughout The Year


At the holidays, many of us are thinking about traditions and the things we look forward to doing with our families- both immediate and extended. Our desire is to make memories that will last a lifetime. Which is wonderful – but let’s not forget about family traditions we can create all year long as well. […]

Ten Thankful Things

I could easily fill a post about thankfulness just with the “normal” things I’m grateful for: my husband my kids my extended family friends our church health work lovely house Well, see, that’s almost ten right there- pretty much a no brainer. But what if I go deeper? Try to remember some things from the […]

Five Favorite Friday Links

Here are some of the cool things I found this week around the web- things I want to do now, some later, and three things I’ve earmarked for the Thanksgiving weekend (oh, and if you’d like to see some more things I’m bookmarking, come see my boards at Pinterest!): 1. I have all the things […]

Vintage Jars

My in-laws gave me a ton of old canning jars last week with the declaration, “you are rich in jars.” Indeed I am. I seem to always need jars. But when I saw the labels on some of the boxes, I became kinda excited – don’t they seem rather old to you? They had come […]

Five Favorite Links

I can’t believe how excited I am to find time to browse through my Google Reader. I love all the ideas, inspiration, information, stories, and humor I find out there in blogland. What an awesome resource! Here are five things from this week that I’ve bookmarked and thought I’d pass on to you: 1. I […]

Awesome Thrift Store Finds!

It’s been a long time since I’ve found anything really good at thrift stores. I’ve just figured with the rise of eBay and the popularity of antiques & collectibles that I don’t stand a chance against the people who shop for a living. I’m happy to find something I like every now and then. So […]

Tips To Edit and Simplify Your Wardrobe

closet storage

Do you switch out your wardrobe each spring and fall? I’ve found this to be one of the best ways to edit and simplify my wardrobe. Of course the real reason I do this change of cooler clothes for warmer is because I don’t have enough room in my closet or dresser for both seasons, but […]

Apple Day 2011!

We had a lovely break from our rainy weather last Saturday, which made our annual apple picking and pressing day a wonderful, fun event. I’m sure it would’ve been fun in the clouds and rain but, oh, did that sun feel great. We have not seen nearly enough of it this summer and fall. Most […]

October Baking (Half) Day

Baking day bread

Monday was rainy and dreary- the perfect day for baking! All of the baking pictured was done using my sourdough starter- I simply took it out of the fridge the night before, fed it, and left it on the counter so it would be active and ready in the morning. It took only one hour […]

Ten Random Things

I have a couple of posts in the works, but no desire to work on them right now, so… “We interrupt our normally scheduled program to bring you this very (un)important list:” 1. My workroom is so messy right now that I only have a narrow trail from the door to my computer. Seriously. 2. […]

Simplicity And Thankfulness

I read about One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp last spring and after waiting a few months for it from the library (yes, it’s popular…), I was able to read it a few weeks ago. To be honest, I had to get past her poetic way of writing prose- many times I just wanted her […]

Does Homemade Deodorant Work?

This post is going to get a little personal. As in: something I’ve never told anyone. And since no one (including Brian) ever mentioned it, I’m assuming it was only me who was bothered so much about this thing. Huh? OK, here goes. *deep breath* I smelled. Stunk. Couldn’t stand the smell of myself in […]

Dog Poo On A Jute Rug

What’s wrong with this picture? You can see the beautiful new wood floor that we put in just two weeks ago, but not the jute/wool rug that I’ve been sorta in love with since we put it down. It was a good deal, soft to the touch, and just the look I wanted. The perfect […]

How to Paint a Faded Outdoor Umbrella

Revive a Faded Outdoor Umbrella with Spray Paint - An Oregon Cottage

***See Update below to find out how this technique lasted*** We’ve had our black canvas outdoor umbrella for about five years. During most of that time we did not have a garage or anyplace to store it for the winter and the constant exposure has caused the black to slowly fade to gray. Surprisingly, though, it’s […]

Fresh And Frugal Cottage Ideas, Part 2- A Better Homes And Garden Comparison

Fresh-Frugal Cottage Ideas-2

In the first part of Frugal Cottage Ideas, I used a list from the Better Homes and Gardens website to see how our Oregon Cottage does interpreting the “cottage look.” In this second part we’ll look at the rest of the items on the list. So far, it’s been a lot of fun for me […]

Fresh And Frugal Cottage Ideas, Part 1- A Better Homes And Garden Comparison

Beadboard wall-cottage ideas-1

One of my favorite magazines has always been Better Homes and Gardens. I love the accessible decor, food, and crafts. As I was checking out their website the other day, an article that caught my eye titled Fresh and Frugal Cottage Ideas. Can you guess why it might have appealed to me? Frugal and cottage in […]

Example Of A Daily Schedule (for Blogging, Gardening, Cooking, Working, & Living)

A few readers have asked about my daily schedule and how to accomplish making food from scratch, gardening, and homemaking while working part time and blogging. I’ve hesitated to write about this because, honestly, each of us is so different and our lives rarely look the same. Plus, I firmly believe that some people just […]

Family Work Day: Garden Before and After

I love my family! Remember when I shared last fall how the work day became my new favorite family tradition as we worked together to paint houses and transform yards. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish in a day when people come together. We decided we’d have a round of spring workdays spread throughout […]

Favorite Ikea Finds

Ikea is a 2-plus hour car trip from our house, so even though I love it, it had been a couple of years since I had been there. In that time I had seen a number of things in magazines that I had been putting on my mental Ikea shopping list. Plus, I needed to […]

Staycation Links: Fun & Thrifty Things To Do Everywhere!

Yesterday I shared with you some of our family’s favorite things to do and places to visit in the Willamette Valley that don’t cost an arm and a leg as part of the “Year Of The Staycation” project hosted by The Happy Housewife and Springs Bargains. The purpose is to provide you with lots of […]

Willamette Valley: Ten Fun & Thrifty Things (Plus A Coastal Bonus)

An Oregon Cottage is pleased to be participating in the Year of the Staycation, hosted by The Happy Housewife, and Springs Bargains. We live and play in Lane County, in the heart of the Willamette Valley which encompasses an area all the way from the town of Florence on the coast to Oakridge in the […]

How To Buy Chips In Bulk And Keep Them Fresh

I use to avoid the huge bags of chips at the warehouse stores because the one time I bought them, almost a third of the bag went stale before we could eat them all. Wasting food is no savings. And yes, I know you can re-crisp chips by heating them in the oven for a […]

Paper Floor Inspiration

Since being featured in the April edition of Cottages and Bungalows, I’ve heard from a number of people who’ve either taken the leap and ripped up their carpet, replacing it with paper like we detailed in our DIY Paper Floor/Alternative to Wood Flooring video, or are planning to. Rachel from Lovely Crafty Home has transformed […]

2011 Goals Update

I thought I’d take a few moments and share how we’re coming along on some of our goals for 2011. It’s important to look at the goals every few months for a couple of reasons: To be encouraged if there’s anything you can check off the list To be reminded about what you put on […]

What I Did Last Saturday (Or: What My Husband Roped Me Into)

Have you ever said “yes” to something you were asked to do that sounded simple and then it morphed into something much bigger? As in, if you knew everything that was involved you would’ve never said “yes?” Well, that’s exactly what happened when Brian asked me to do “a couple of sewing and written projects […]

Five Favorite Friday Links (Plus A Bonus)

Here are my top five (technically 6 with the bonus, but the title works so much better with five, don’t you think?) things I’ve read or bookmarked in the past couple of weeks- some are fun reads and some have something to teach, but all are inspiring: 1. Thanks to Gina from Home Joys, I […]

Ways To Save (Or Rather Earn): Ebates

It’s been awhile since I’ve mentioned Ebates- almost exactly a year, in fact. That would be because I don’t do a lot of shopping- online or not. Um, yeah…that would be why I’m writing a frugal lifestyle blog. Do you think thrift stores will be added any time soon? *smile* For those who don’t know, […]

Tips For Buying Natural Peanut Butter In Bulk

peanut butter

After sharing with you some things I like to make with peanut butter, you’ve probably guessed that we go through quite a bit around here. I like it on apples, too, and it’s a pretty good source for protein and snacks. I’ve always been a peanut butter snob, though, and have bought only real peanut […]

Two Projects Started

Whoo-hoo- we’re on our way to checking off a couple of projects on our 2011 To-Do List! Notice how I wrote on our way and not finished. Hey, we’ve got to celebrate the baby steps around here. It might take us longer to do-it-ourselves, but it eventually gets done, even if it’s 6 years later- […]

Vegetable Garden Planning- How Do You Plan and Organize?

main garden plan

Hopefully we’ve got our seeds ordered- or at least a list of seeds to order or purchase – and our heads full of the potential of this year’s garden. Which we all know is greatest this time of year. Oh the hope! *smile* Now it’s time to plan were we’d like to put those seeds and […]

Five Favorite Friday Links

Today I thought I’d share with you some of the interesting things I’ve found lately in blogland. Of course there are recipes (one you won’t believe), but I’m also including some great information for bloggers and a blog I enjoy all about thrift-store shopping (surprising, I know). 1. Check out the Pesto Stromboli at This […]

Top 10 Things From 2010 That Changed My Life

How’s that for drama? Now that I have your attention, what I really want to talk about are the things that impacted my life the most from last year. Stuff that was hard. Stuff that was wonderful. And one thing that was both hard and wonderful. But first I must say I’m blessed that the […]

Favorite DIY Projects From 2010

On behalf of all of us here at An Oregon Cottage (Sounds grand, doesn’t it? Much better than the reality of just me, Brian, and two kids who would rather do anything else that help with DIY projects!), I present to you our 10 favorite projects from 2010: 1. Painting the outside of our house. […]

My Favorite Ten Recipes From 2010

Since it seems most people did their “Top 10″ lists last week, I realize I’m a bit late to the game. But the first week of January’s not too late, is it? Obviously I’ve decided it isn’t, so today I’m listing the Top 10 Recipes From 2010 I make all the time. Look for my […]

Goals: Looking Forward in 2011

After looking back at 2010, now comes the time to look forward. Why put this out there for you? Well, a couple of reasons: 1. I think it’s healthy to set goals and aim to accomplish things over a period of time. This helps us see our progress and be better able to evaluate. There’s […]

Recap of 2010 Goals- How’d We Do?

Since all of 2010 was lived out on this blog, it’s much easier to look back and see what we accomplished here at An Oregon Cottage, what we had hoped to accomplish, and what still needs to be considered as goals for the new year. One thing I’ve learned above all else? The writing-it-down part […]

Happy New Year!

While we didn’t get the white Christmas many of you in the East got, we did get a few hours of the white stuff a couple days ago. Of course, it’s mostly gone now- just patches here and there that are not melting in our clear, cold days (27 degrees this morning). But we’ll take […]

A Couple of Rite Aid Deals

(Note: The Tuesday Garden Party will return next week and the theme is Favorite Garden Catalogs AND your Favorite Veggies and Flowers you buy seeds for every year. We want to know your favs, so please be sure to share next week, ’cause I know we’ve all been getting those catalogs in the mail- and […]

It’s Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours! -Jami, Brian, & kids           

Greeting Card Organizer


This is a gift we received from my sister at our early Christmas celebration (make sure to see the other four cool gifts, too) which I couldn’t wait to share with you all. It’s a greeting card organizer that came with cards and even important family events for us to remember and I am really excited […]

Tuesday Garden Party- Favorite Garden Books (Hint: Gift Ideas!)

Today we’re talking favorite garden books. I wouldn’t be the gardener I am today without all the books I’ve read and learned from through the years. I did not grow up gardening or surrounded by gardeners, so I’ve found books to indispensable for guidance and inspiration. Here are some of my favorites, with links if […]

What I’m Doing On Black Friday

The short answer is, “Not shopping.” I gave a long answer last year around this time, complete with suggestions of homemade gifts you could give if you like to avoid all the “black Friday” hubbub, too. Some of them will sound familiar because I’ve gone into more detail on some for the Handmade Gifts series […]

Family Work Day: My Favorite New Tradition

Last week I told you about a new tradition my sister started in our family, a seasonal work day, and I shared with you the before and after pictures from her backyard makeover. On another work day we helped my other sister’s family prep and spray the exterior of their house. Can you guess what […]

The Family Traditions “Master List”

Here it is (better late than never…), the “Master List” of family tradition ideas compiled from not only my Family Traditions Series, but also readers who left comments and emailed ideas to me. There are some great ideas here! If you need inspiration to start new traditions for your family, this is it. If you’re […]

Apple Day

I mentioned yesterday that last weekend was our family’s annual “Apple Day.” My extended family all gather to collect and pick apples from where ever we can find them. There’s only one rule: they have to be free. You can see I came by frugality naturally. Though to be honest, what we need the apples […]

Holiday Traditions

See the other parts of this series for:Why traditions are importantTraditions around the tableWeekly traditionsOnce-a-year traditions In some ways it’s much easier to establish traditions around holidays. There are usually plenty of family gatherings and planned activities. Actually, there are often too many things. I think the real challenge for holidays is creating some special […]

Our Top Five Yearly Family Traditions

While traditions around the table and activities done weekly will be remembered as a whole, the things we do as a family, and many times extended family, only once a year are remembered in a much different light. Maybe because they are usually out of the realm of every-day life. These yearly activities are anticipated […]

Weekly Family Traditions

In part one of this series (why traditions are important) and part 2 (traditions around the table)I’ve gotten some great additions for our list of family traditions- keep ‘em coming and I will list them all in one document at the end of the series. Today I’d like to highlight some of the simple and […]

Family Traditions Around The Table

Some of the most important traditions our family has occur around our table. Food draws people together and creates an environment of nurturing and comfort. We use our time around the table to socialize our kids (one of our favorite things is to explain our emphasis on table manners by having them imagine visiting a […]

Family Traditions: Why Are They Important?

I love family traditions. They were very important to me growing up. I remember being very proud to tell my friends that our family always did this or that and I counted on the holidays being the same each year- even serving the same foods. Even now I think back on things I looked forward […]

My Five Favorite Friday Links

It’s been awhile since I shared some of the sites I’ve been enjoying, so I thought I’d pass my top five along to see if you might enjoy them, too. The first two have to do with canning, since I am managing to ripen enough tomatoes inside to put up a minimum of our favorites […]

A Simple Laundry System

simple laundry system

Laundry is one of those things that I’ve always thought would be too basic even to talk about. I mean, no one I know talks about laundry unless it’s to say there’s too much of it. However, over the years I did notice friends always seemed to have laundry piled on the dining room table or […]

Twenty-Two Years Ago Today

We got married. I felt so mature then but when I look at these photos now we just seem so…young. We were in our mid-twenties, though, a perfectly respectable age to be married. We were just finishing college- Brian had graduated the spring before and I was waiting to do my student teaching and finish […]

Blast From My Past: 1970s Barbie

I am not a saver, in the general sense. There are people who have saved as much as they could from their past, keeping it in boxes and moving it with them. I, on the other hand, have always felt like getting rid of things was a bit, um…cleansing (for lack of a better word). […]

Two Rite Aid Deals

Rite Aid has been having some great sales the past couple of weeks. So in addition to last week’s deal, I did two more this week that I wanted to show you. The first illustrates how you can not only get items for free, but you can make money combining manufacturer coupons (mfc), Rite Aid […]

Rite Aid Deal

I don’t regularly share shopping trips anymore (I was getting kinda bored with it, plus I don’t use coupons as much in grocery stores) but every once in awhile I have such savings using coupons, sales, and store promotions that I want to share so you all will be inspired to make some deals, too. […]

View From The Cottage

I just had to share this “view” from our cottage- makes me want to grab a book and a glass of ice tea. And I mean, right now. Darn, I’m still writing this. Well, you guys are fun to be with, too. We have wanted some comfortable chairs to enjoy our garden from for a […]

Organizing Strategies: Card-Making And Scrapbook Supplies


I used to scrapbook more than I do now (the baby books are finished), but when I did, I found I needed a place to store all the little tools, paper scraps and supplies. Not only did I need a place to store them, but I needed some of the papers and tools to be […]

Organizing: Garden Paperwork

garden planning binder

Do you organize your gardening paperwork? Keep track of what you grew and when? What you’d like to grow again? It is possible to garden without keeping any records. People do it all the time. But there are some very good reasons to keep at least some records, especially with regards to the organic vegetable […]

Back to Basics: Defrosting The Freezer

I got some great feedback on the The Back to Basics series that ran a few weeks ago. We looked at simple, easy, and cost-saving homemaking skills like making bread, jams, and pantry items, starting a garden, and creating simple cards and pillows. Since there’s a lot more basics we can cover, I’ve decided to […]

Collecting Original Artwork and a Video

I’ve always been drawn to amateur paintings at thrift stores and garage sales. Maybe it’s because I can’t paint worth a dime, but I like to think it’s because I find them pretty and I’m “rescuing” them from the trash pile. Not to mention that they are as close to owning “original artwork” as I’m […]

Favorite Easy Summer Meals

Now that the weather here finally feels like summer, it’s time to bring out some of our family’s favorite summer meals. These meals all fit certain summer criteria: they have to use some produce from the garden, do not rely on heavy oven use, are seemingly “light” (and I don’t mean calories, as attested to […]

An Oregon Cottage On The Road: Video of Breckenridge, CO

We’ve been enjoying a few days in Breckenridge, Colorado, thanks to the Savvy Bloggy Summit and rewards points that provided Brian’s free ticket (and mine, too) so he could tag along. And before I hear from Dear Ramsey fans about credit cards and why those tickets weren’t free, I’ll just say we use it for […]

Back to Basics: Simple Straight-Stitch Sewing

If you’ve got bread cooling on the counter, lettuce growing in a raised bed, cards ready for the next birthday, ketchup, mayo, and chocolate syrup in the fridge and jam in the freezer, what better thing to do now than sew some simple projects? And we’re talking projects that can be made with only a […]

Back to Basics: Pantry Items

You’ll find lots of Pantry Basics here at An Oregon Cottage. What are Pantry Basics? It’s simply the term I use for items that are in everybody’s pantry or fridge door. The things I never once thought about making…I just threw them in the shopping cart on a regular basis. I started years ago making […]

Back To Basics: Simple All-Occasion Cards To Make

homemade cards

I hope you have made your first bread and scoped out where you are going to build your first raised garden bed! Today we are talking crafts for Back to Basics Week. But not the kind of craft that makes you feel like all thumbs. No, we’re talking about making cards which easily falls into […]

Tuesday Garden Party-Back To Basics In The Garden

How much more basic can you get than gardening? Growing your own flowers, fruits, herbs, and vegetables is as old as humankind. Problem is, we’ve sorta lost our foundation in the last half of the 20th century and grown far removed from time-honored traditions of working the soil. Now, as I sit here typing on […]

Back To Basics: Simple Breads To Make

To kick off the “Back to Basics” week here at An Oregon Cottage, we’re going to be making bread. Why bread? Shouldn’t we start with something simpler? My answer is this: bread is the staff of life. There’s something so elemental about baking bread to serve your family that it is…well, for lack of another […]

Back To Basics Week: Introduction

Are you wanting to save money, make nourishing foods, and do things for yourself and your family, but don’t know where to start? Or worse, you’re overwhelmed with all the information out there and give up before you start because it seems like too much work? Then next week, July 5th through the 9th, is […]

Favorite Family Recipes

In addition to finding menus according to season and An Oregon Cottage recipes in the Kitchen button, here is another way to find recipes for menu planning. This list of our favorite family recipes will be kept on the Menu Planning page for future reference and will be updated regularly. These are the recipes our […]

Goodbye To Plastic Flatware

I briefly mentioned my solution to plastic flatware for large gatherings last week when I gave some tips for frugal parties. I had so many comments that I thought the concept deserved a post of it’s own instead of being buried at the end of a longer post. I’ve always hated plastic flatware, but felt […]

The Fun (And Frugal) Graduation Party

We had a party for our son’s graduation (combined with his birthday this month) last weekend for more than 30 people. I’m asked a lot how to host a party for bigger groups without breaking the budget, so I thought I’d use this party to tell you about some of the tips I’ve learned over […]

A Bittersweet Moment

OK, I’m telling you right off the bat that this is going to be an emotional post. Sorry, feel free to look away and visit another site if you need to (there are some great ideas at the Garden Party), but my son is graduating today and that’s the kind of mood I’m in. Let’s […]

Weekly Deals (Or: What I Buy Without Coupons)

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a weekly shopping deal post, mainly because I only shop sporadically with coupons at grocery stores anymore. When I find coupons for olive oil, flour, spices, nuts or the like, I will use them, but that doesn’t make for really exciting deal posts. I’m not regularly buying […]

Organizing: Family Paperwork

organizing paperwork

The paperwork we deal with on a daily basis can be overwhelming. Bills. Notes to call people. Kids progress reports. Kids sports, youth, and school schedules. Well, I could keep listing things, but that would be boring, wouldn’t it? Let’s just agree to say there’s a lot. Over the years I’ve tried various ways for organizing […]

The Beauty Of A Sunset

Sometimes our children say and do things that embarrass us or make us cringe. But most of the time they are a source of joy, amazement, and pride. Like last night when my daughter asked me to look at these pictures she had just taken of the sunset. I told her she had gotten some […]

Cook More Real Food

I wanted to mention a new series that Keeper of the Home is running which is right in line with one of the goals I had for 2010 to cook more real foods. I thought it would help me get some more ideas for cooking real food on a budget. There is a series of […]

Video: Hard-Hitting Recipe Organization Interview

An Oregon Cottage has produced another video for your viewing pleasure. Brian has conducted a investigative “20/20″ like interview with me about the organizing strategy I use for all the recipe cards and clippings I’ve collected. It’s all very serious. Hope you’re ready for a good laugh. See this video full size on YouTube. What […]

Organizing Strategies: Recipes

organizing recipes

One of the goals I had for 2010 was to do an organization series. Hmmm. It’s May and so far I’ve only written about how I organize the contents of my freezer. You don’t think I need to be more organized, do you? I admit I’m not a super-organized person. But I do like organizing […]

Mice- Ugh

This last weekend we had some family visiting and one of our nieces heard us talking about our mice/vole problems in the garden (remember the video about the lengths the little varmits made us go to?) . She asked Brian to take her and see if they could find any baby mice. He tried to […]

Is A Closet Worthy Of Beautification?

Years ago while reading a Rachel Ashwell book (wish I could remember which one…) I was inspired by her encouragement to add beauty to all the areas of our life. Specifically, she mentioned making the cupboards and closets we see daily into something lovely that would bring us joy. Up to that point I always […]

A Video And A Guest Post About Searching For Frugal, Nutritious Dog Food

You may remember (or not…) when I told the story of our dog a few months ago. No matter how I was drug into dog ownership, he is a big part of our lives now, especially my husband’s who is definitely the “master.” So who better than to do a guest post on our search […]

Some Garden Pictures

I’ve shared some of the beautiful pictures my daughter has taken before, so I was looking forward to seeing what she captured yesterday when we had a lovely 70 degree and sunny day. These are cherry blossoms. I think they look spectacular against the blue sky. This picture might make you think we have a […]

An Ode to Cottage Living Magazine

What do you think is behind these unassuming magazine holders? Every issue of Cottage Living, from the very first issue in September of 2004 to the last Nov/Dec issue of 2008. They hold a place of honor in my nicest holders on the living room shelves. And they did not leave during the living room […]

This Is What 14 Looks Like (and A Hair Story)

She’s my baby and she’s fourteen. How does this happen? Oh, I know how it happens, but, ugggh…how does it happen? My heart bursts with love and pride at the same time it’s crying. This is a weird, weird thing that just has no sane explanation. Although I’m comforted by all the generations that have […]

First Day of Spring

It rarely happens that the first day of spring is warm and sunny here. And by warm I mean 59 degrees, not California warm of 75 degrees. We dared to go to a softball game in just our shirtsleeves, seduced by the sun, and came to regret it as we huddled under begged and borrowed […]

Family Snow Trip

We’ve gone to this lake with my extended family every winter for more than 10 years. It’s an annual tradition that we plan a year or more in advance so that all my siblings and their families can come. We all feel it’s important to get together, so we save during the year to be […]

Fun Friday Links

I’m off for our annual family snow weekend, but thought I’d pass along some fun places I’ve visited this last week. I shared with you my system for starting seeds and where I do it now (the kitchen was supposed to be temporary…5 years ago, *harrumph*), so I thought it would be good to share […]

Drugstore Deals

There were lots of good deals I could’ve bought at Rite Aid this week and I did plan on going back to use another $3 off $15 coupon but never had the time. I’m OK, though, with the deal I ended up with: 2 Kashi cereals, BOGO @ $4.99 -FREE Kashi cereal coupon from vocalpoint= […]

Save Paper: Use Family Cloth Napkins

Family Cloth Napkins

I grew up using paper napkins. Cloth napkins were reserved for holidays and special occasions, if even then. When I married I was introduced to the concept of cloth napkins used daily by my lovely mother-in-law. Not only did she use them for “Sunday dinner” but also for every day (she was way ahead of […]

Organizing: Track Frozen Foods with a Chalkboard Freezer

chalkboard freezer

This is our freezer. What started out as a circa 1992 white freezer with rusted edges and a nifty (?) black and gray “racing stripe” down the left side has turned into one of my favorite things in our laundry room (that we created during our garage remodel). And it was as easy as painting […]

Visa and Ebates in the Mail

Look what came in the mail today! Whoa…so cool! Much better than the regular stuff. The $35 Visa card is from Rite Aid’s Go For the Gold rebate on P&G products. And were they ever quick with this! I just requested it two weeks ago. Gotta love Rite Aid. I got this card by spending […]

Frugal Friday: Repairing Shoes

When both our kid’s had shoes that were separating from the soles (but otherwise in good condition) and one of them were expensive track spikes, The Writer remembered a product called “Shoe Goo” that he had used once to repair some shoes. Sure enough, Target sold it right in the shoe section. We weren’t sure […]

Using Up: Leftover Bean Dip

*Here begins an occasional series where I will share with you how I use leftover foods before they go bad- all in the spirit of “using it up.” * Did you know that roughly 25% of the food Americans buy goes to waste? Almost a year ago I did a post on waste that included […]

Goals Update

Well, well, well. We are off to an interesting start to the new year. It’s a good thing I wrote about 2010 “goals” and not “resolutions” or they’d be broken already! That’s one of the nice things about goals, it doesn’t really matter when I reach them, as long as sometime in the future I […]

A Decluttering Challenge

I had mentioned to my sister over the holidays that I was feeling a little cluttery in my home and that I felt like I needed to clear some things out and lighten up a bit. Lo and behold, Amy at The Finer Things in Life has issued a “Declutter Challenge” for the whole year! […]

Substituting Processed Ingredients With Real Ones

Sometimes a good recipe will have one or two things in them that are not “real food.” Cream of mushroom (or whatever) soup. Baking mixes. Canned tomato soup. Or, like the Slow Cooker Italian Stew on our menu this week, a jar of gravy. A jar of gravy? In Italian Stew? Do you think Italians […]

Are Natural And Organic Ingredients Better For Skin?

I’ve seen a lot of talk about “natural” skin care and not putting “chemicals” on our skin, but since I know that there is no organic certification for body products like there is for food, I wondered if it’s worth the price. First of all, a chemical is just “a material with a specific chemical […]

Our Dog

Let me tell you a little about our dog. I did not want a dog, but we promised the kids one when we moved. We were looking for a small to medium sized dog who would live outside most of the time. Our dog is not small to medium and lives inside most of the […]

What Can We Do?

Wow. I just now had the chance to catch up on some blogs I read and I am so amazed at the ladies in the blogosphere! Hundreds are donating money and asking readers to leave comments and/or links and they will donate more (see Money Saving Mom). I’m very impressed with the testimonies and what […]

Family Cleaning Night

Guess what we did last night? What our family has done every Thursday for about eight years? I’m sure my children wish I would be alluding to some movie night or the like, but I’m talking about something I like. No, something I LOVE. We cleaned. Yep, ALL of us. We cranked up the music, […]

Can Healthy Food Be Frugal? Part 2

“What am I putting in my grocery bag? This is the question that I left you with in Part 1 (sorry for leaving you hanging…), the question that started dancing around my head a few months ago when I came out of the fog of “coupon world” mania. Don’t get me wrong, I still love […]

Can Healthy Food Be Frugal? Part 1

This is a question I’ve been asking myself lately: “What am I putting in my grocery bag?” I alluded to this here when I talked about our goals for the new year. Because of this question, one of my goals is to explore some new methods of getting more real foods into our house while […]

Rite Aid Deals

I know this is too late for anyone to do this, but I wanted to illustrate again how combining sales, coupons, and store and manufacturer’s rebates can not only save money- it can make money! The key to this is to take advantage of all the savings areas and be open to how they might […]

2010 Goals

Happy New Year everyone! The year 2010 always seemed so far away (and sort of science fiction-y) and now it’s here… And my “little” boy graduates from high school…aaaaack! Time marches on, people, even if it bowls right over you. I’ve been thinking (along with everyone else, it seems) about some personal and blogging goals […]

Oregon Cottage Joins The Challenge

The ladies at two of my favorite blogs are hosting an “Eating From the Pantry” challenge that with my loaded freezer and bulging stockpile sounds good to me! It also coincides with some new goals I have here at the OC (isn’t that funny? I think I’m exactly the opposite of what people think of […]

A Simpler, Frugal Christmas Brunch

Every year for 15 years I have hosted a Christmas brunch for any family members who would like to come. When we lived in the city, all my husband’s family would come and there were years we had 15 people. Now we’re a smaller group, but I hold to the tradition. I have to confess […]

An Easy Gift Wrapping System

Easy Wrapping System

Do you stay up to 2 am wrapping Christmas presents? Or spend hours wrapping gifts? Do you buy loads of paper, ribbon, tags and bows at the after-Christmas sales only to see them end up in a recycling bin or trash can the next year? Well, that was my life during the holidays for a […]

Live Well On Less Update

Two significant things happened in the month of November: I was able to stay under (if only by a few dollars!) our $375 food/household budget and start stocking up on Christmas baking supplies. This is significant because I like to make cookie plates to give to family and friends and in the past, this has […]

Thanksgiving Dinner: Budget Buster?

Does a Thanksgiving Dinner really have to break the budget? I’m sure it can if there are a lot of dishes involved and a lot of ingredients that aren’t normally on the shopping list. But what about the “typical” Thanksgiving meal? I’m thinking of one that would include: TurkeyMashed PotatoesSausage DressingVegetable (ours is Broccoli Parmesan […]

Saving Money on Senior Pictures

I’ve written before how children get more expensive as they get older. Instead of needing some gifts for them to take to children’s birthday parties ($5-$10 dollars), they need money to go to camps or retreats ($80-$100 and no coupons!). And braces. And sports fees. And sports clothing items. And regular adult-sized clothes. Gone are […]

How To Start Saving On Your Grocery Bill

During the month of October Angela over at The Coupon Project had a series of lessons about how to start saving money at grocery and drug stores. She touches on the subjects of using sales and coupons, stockpiling, and even rebates, as well as coupon etiquette. A number of people have asked me how to […]

October Update

I had read somewhere that October was traditionally a month that the best sales were going on and that a lot of savings could happen. I had never experienced this, though I’m not sure if it was because I wasn’t paying attention or that it wasn’t true. It was true for me this month, though. […]

How Sad Is This?

Carving your pumpkin all by yourself. Our beautiful and creative thirteen year old daughter had to take matters into her own hands after seeing that it was Halloween Day and the pumpkins had not been carved. Gone are the days of pumpkin carving parties (hard when you have a mom who gets nauseous at the […]

New Ebates Card Option!

OK, I don’t do a lot of online shopping (maybe once a month average), but when I do I always check Ebates first to see if the store I’m ordering from offers rebates. I’m sorry that doesn’t, but I’ve used Old Navy, Eddie Bauer, Ebay (can you believe it? It’s like getting a little […]

A Welcome Break

I spent this last weekend at the coast with the girls in my family. It was a nice time to get away from all the normal things and the weather on Saturday was incredible for late October! As you can see, it was nice enough for sunglasses. If you’ve ever spent time on the Oregon […]

Has This Ever Happened To You?

So I just really needed to share this today. As I was making room for all the apple juice we pressed and canned this last weekend and preparing the canning pantry for yesterday’s post, my hand brushed up against a little string hanging down from the upper shelf. You can see it in the picture […]

Rebates Are Real

I’ve talked about getting rebates in some of my deal posts, so I thought I’d take a minute to show that they ARE real. For a few minutes of my time filling out a form and the price of the stamp (in the Rite Aid case-no stamp, just typing the receipt info. onto their web […]

Ways to Save: Samples and Surveys

These all came in the mail last week, and I thought I’d take a picture to illustrate how a few minutes time can save a few dollars. I always take a few minutes to fill out my address at a site that offers a sample and coupon for things we like, like the Honey Nut […]

Mid-Week Drugstore Deals

Lately I’ve been talking to some people about the deals I get shopping at drugstores. Other than picking up a prescription, I had never shopped at a drugstore before last January. I believe it has been the most important element of being able to lower our monthly house/food budget. I didn’t realize how those trips […]

The Fairness Post

As I was basking in the late summer sunshine in Central Oregon this last weekend, I realized I needed, in all fairness, to post about the sunshine that can make Oregon summers glorious. I groused about the lack of warm weather last July here at the Oregon Coast. It’s all about location here- the coast […]

Garage Sale Update

It had been awhile since we had a garage sale (probably 15 years!), so in my post on Friday I had questioned if was worth the work and time. We spent Thursday pricing and setting up, probably about 6-7 hours. We opened at 9:00 am on Friday and had people right away just from signs […]

Garage and Yard Sale!

It’s been years since we’ve attempted a garage/yard sale, but we thought we’d try one again and see if it’s worth it. We live in a great area that we can draw quite a few people with only signs out on the highway, so our only advertising was a Craigslist post. We did spend time […]

Ways to Save, Part 6: Drugstore Games at Rite Aid

I had not shopped at Rite Aid much before I started couponing. But it has become one of the best places to get some really good rebate deals, which, for me seem to be one of the best ways to get free and cheap items consistently. When I combine their monthly Single Check Rebates (SCR) […]


We’ve been really enjoying our time here at a lake near the Oregon coast. One thing about the coast here is the weather is rarely “summer-like.” This picture was taken on our first day here, the last time we had sun most of the day here. And the high temperature topped out at 65 degrees. […]

Feeding A Crowd Wisely (aka, Cheaply)

In the areas of meal planning and budgeting, there are some potential “budget busters” that can cause us (well, me anyway!) to want to throw in the towel and forget about the budget for awhile. One of these areas for me is the few times a year when our extended family gets together and we […]

The Grocery Budget Update

The end of June marks 6 months of trying to lower our food and household budget category from $500 a month (or more!) to $400 consistently every month. Those who’ve been with me awhile may remember my post on the mysteries of why our food costs were rising so much when it seemed like I […]

Ways to Save, Part 5: Drugstore Games at Walgreens

Not to long ago, I never went in a drugstore except maybe to pick up a prescription. I wondered who would buy all those varieties of products (tomato sauce? flip-flops?) and there never seemed to be that many people in the stores. I would look at the ads in the Sunday paper occasionally, but I […]

Oregon Cottage at Wallowa Lake

We came through the town of Joseph on our way to Wallowa Lake. It’s known for the cute the main street and all the bronze statues and artist studios found there. I was more taken with this view. The town sits at the foot of the Swiss-Alps-like Wallowa Mountains. Do you think after living there […]

Oregon Cottage On The Road: Hell’s Canyon

I did not know before we started researching our trip that Hell’s Canyon was the deepest river-carved gorge in the United States. I just assumed it was the Grand Canyon. This is a well-kept secret. There are no crowds to fight to see this, as it’s a little harder to reach than the Grand Canyon […]

Oregon Cottage On The Oregon Trail

Sorry all, I can’t help but brag a little bit about our gorgeous state! I’ve got a couple more posts up my sleeve to see if I can’t get anyone else to make the trip here to see some truly beautiful sights. On a frugal note, a road trip is one of the least expensive […]

Oregon Cottage On The Road: John Day Fossil Beds

The John Day Fossil Beds are one of the treasures in our state that we wanted to share with our kids. They hold more fossils of the mammal era than anywhere else in the world, which is pretty special. The terrain looks kinda like the Southwest (except the John Day River makes the valley much […]

Oregon Cottage On The Road: The Vintage Trailer

Vintage Dalton trailer

  We found this vintage trailer about five years ago, just as we were moving out of our old neighborhood in the city. We love vintage things- the quality and inherent style speak to us. Trailers especially. I would check out books on vintage trailers and we would dream about them. Then we saw this […]

Toothbrushes: Expensive Electric Vs. Battery Drugstore

Whenever I’ve gone to the dentist, they’ve talked to me about the Sonic Care brushes (or others) they sell and how good they are for your gums. I’ve been seriously tempted to shell out the $90 or so dollars. Compared to dental work for gum disease, it seemed like a bargain. But my inner frugal […]

Have You Tried Ebates Yet?

Ebates is a rebate program for online shopping. You sign up with them and then start your shopping through their site if the store you’re interested in ordering from is a part of their program. I signed up for Ebates a few months ago even though I don’t do a lot of web shopping. I […]

A Mother’s Thoughts

My 16 year-old son (who turns 17 this June) had his school Prom on the Saturday before Mother’s Day. I don’t know what it was about these two events together, but it really brought home to me one of the mysteries of motherhood. When I think about him, I tend to see something like this: […]

Money Wasters

For years I have griped about all the throw-away items that companies have created and marketed as things we need. I was so amazed at how fast everyone bought these items. I’m talking about disposable dusters, mops (or mop heads), plastic air fresheners, and various things including the ubiquitous paper towel (I’m ducking now as […]

Frugal (i.e., Smart) Skin Care

I learned about Paula Begoun (aka, “The Cosmetic Cop”) years ago after getting her book “Don’t Go To The Cosmetic Counter Without Me” from the library. She provides information that is hard to find elsewhere, like what ingredients are in skin care products, what they do, and product reviews based on those ingredients. Over the […]

Live Well On Less End of Month Review

I’m so excited to share how our food and household budget fared in March! For the first time in…well, I can’t remember, our monthly food bill was…are you ready?…$367.00!!! We now have $130.00 to put towards our garage debt or towards a used truck that we did not expect to have. This is really encouraging […]

Spring Break

This week is Spring Break in Oregon. Last year we were in Arizona and were able to wear our shorts and swimsuits (and we were able to fly there because we used our credit card reward points and stayed with family. Love those kind of vacations…) But in Oregon, we are lucky to see the […]

Ways to Save, Part 4: Steps to Grocery Savings

I started sharing my motivation to save on groceries in part 2 of this series and showed how I started using coupons in part 3. Today in part 4 I’m detailing the individual steps I’ve taken to lower what we spend monthly on food and household products. My goal here is to hopefully show that […]

Friday “Live Well On Less” Update

I’ve mentioned in previous weekly shopping posts that one of our goals this year is to reduce our monthly groceries/household budget area. My goal originally was to be at $400.00 or less EVERY month, but am now realizing that it’s very possible to aim lower as I build my stockpile, optimize the use of my […]

Waste Not, Want Not

Sometimes those old sayings are based on a very wise sentiment. This morning on Yahoo, I found this little statistic: “Prepare for shock and awe (and national embarrassment): According to government sources, roughly 25% of the food Americans buy goes to waste. That’s about one pound of food, per American, per day — thrown in […]

Ways to Save, Part 3: Coupons

So, coupons. Seems like people fall into one of three camps when it comes to coupons: those who never touch the things, those who are coupon queens, cutting and even buying (yes, I said buying) coupons on ebay, or like me, those who would cut a few out every Sunday, put them in an envelope […]

Ways to Save, Part 2: Groceries

People have always told me I was a thrifty shopper, and for many years the way I shopped for groceries was working for our family of four when the kids were little. In the past couple of years our food budget has crept ever upward, and I was at a loss as to how to […]

Ways To Save, Part 1: Sale Shopping

Let’s talk about ways to save money! This subject is near and dear to my heart. I have, out of necessity, been frugal when I was a stay-at-home-mom and my kids were little. Even though I’m working part-time now, I’m here to tell you- kids get WAY more expensive as they get older. There’s not […]

Look here for some of the Ways To Save I’ve talked about: Swagbucks Ebates Rite Aid Walgreens Steps to Grocery Savings and Grocery Savings Tips Frugal Tips Family Savings Ideas Christmas Thanksgiving Live Well On Less Updates   

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