Camping on the Columbia River with John


In June of 2016 I wrote a post called  on a Nickel, and I have done a ton of camping since then with my pitty Bella and we would sleep in the back of my Dodge Durango with the seats down on the self inflatable air mattress. This weekend John & I bought a second hard kayak so that we would both have one and we went camping down by the islands on the Columbia River in Woodland, Washington. It is so beautiful down there! We kayaked out to one of the islands and walked around the entire thing before kayaking back, we sat around our fire enjoying the beautiful sunset both nights we were there! It didn’t cost us anything to camp there… We brought food from home, packed up our gear and drove the 10 minutes from our house to get there. It was the best camping trip I’ve gone on in years! I love our new kayak, it is so easy to control on the water! We also ordered a new Field & Stream tent from Dick’s Sporting Goods, it is a 12 x 12 pop up canopy and the tent snaps right into it and it can be used as the tent or the pop up by itself. We’re super excited to get it because it’s eight feet tall John can stand up inside (he is 6’4″ tall) so finding a comfortable tent isn’t easy and this one is going to be a great fit for us! After we get it and take it out camping, I will write a review for you all so that you know how well we like it, the pro’s & con’s of it and whether we recommend it to you.

We also have bikes and John has been taking me for short bike rides to help strengthen my legs and practice my balance because I have been falling a lot again….(he says he wants to wrap me in bubble wrap so that I don’t get hurt, lol). He is very protective and caring and I make him nervous with how often I fall. He is an incredible boyfriend! John bough me a promise ring a month or so ago and then asked me to marry him a couple weeks later when we went to Long Beach for the day…of course I said YES!!! It won’t happen anytime soon; my divorce just got finalized but we are happily engaged; living together in Woodland Washington; with the Lewis River running through our back yard! I couldn’t be any happier! 

Thank you all for your love & support as always! Now that my life is situated I will get back to posting more regularly! Until next time, try to find the good in everything and let go of the negativity, it will generate happiness, better health and more love!

Camping On A Nickel With Will & Sandy Pepper


There are so many missed opportunities for people and their families to get outdoors and enjoy some good ol’ fashion camping! Many people I have talked to say it’s because it’s so expensive, but I’m here to share great news with you today, that it doesn’t have to be! People feel that if they don’t have the right gear, or the newest fancy gear (the phrase is keeping up with the Jones’s) that they can’t get out there and have fun with everyone else. This article is going to give you some insight and ideas of how to camp on just the cost of fuel it takes to get there and back. I know it sounds too good too be true but it really is this simple! This story is inspired by one man, Will M. & his 3 year old Pitty Sandy Pepper. He is a dear friend of mine and I will tell you a bit about him, the way he lives and how he survives.

I have adopted this man as my Grandpa (I call him Grandpa Billy & he calls me Granddaughter. He even calls my 4 year old Pitty, Bella, his Granddog). He is not even close to old enough to be my Grandpa at the age of 59 years young, and he is not related to me legally or by blood. I was introduced to him by a friend of mine who goes way back with him and she calls him Billy, so I know him as Grandpa Billy but everyone calls him Will. He reminds me so incredibly much of my Grandfather who passed away in 1999, that I’m just in awe over it. Their looks, manorizms, interests, certains ways of their lifestyles, their beliefs, even the way they roll their tobacco in the morning for the day ahead while we sit around and he shares stories. It is unbelievable how much he reminds me of my Grandpa Sunny. Anyways, just to give you a little insight into his way of life and how amazing this man is I’m going to start out by introducing you to him.Grandpa’s story will hopefully inspire and motivate some of you to challenge yourselves and see if you too can camp on the cheap!

Grandpa and Sandy Pepper, travelled to Oregon from the East Coast, walking & camping, carrying their food and gear on their backs (Sandy Pepper has her own pack and carries her own dog food and the pack is padded by her bed in between when they travel). They do a lot of hiking and camping; he makes a living by walking the sides of the highways and back roads picking up bottles and cans and special finds that he can use at camp, repurpose, or fix up to sell. (Bottles & cans are worth a nickel in Oregon, hence the title “Camping on a nickel”). He makes enough income by doing this and finding cans in dumpsters up at campsites after busy weekends & the gear people leave behind just because they don’t want to haul it home, they forgot it, or it has some small flaw in it- he will grab it and make use of the resource; that is enough he is able to get by each month and buy his food, dog food, tobacco and necessities without asking for much help. The only help he asks for is a ride into town twice a month for food and supplies, and he kicks me down some money for gas. I go up and visit him more often than that though because I worry about him and miss him too much to leave him up there alone for very long. Many people miss out on knowing how kind hearted and hard working this man is because they judge him by the way he looks or the way he lives and it is really their loss because he is such an incredible, grateful, giving, caring and loving man with so much to offer that those who judge have no idea what they’re losing out on. He is a minimalist and he’s very happy with the way he’s living right now. He is not homeless by any means he is camped out on a claim working as a watchman for the season.

Before he would do anything at camp he pulled out his small close blade saw and cut some small branches and cut notches in them…building himself a hand made bow saw with the wood pieces and a bow saw blade he found. He was then able to cut some decent firewood to get a good fire going before getting to work so that it’s building a nice bed of coals while he’s busy working on other things. After he has enough firewood to keep him going for a little bit he’s able to get working on his sleeping arrangements because that has to be done in the daylight of your first day unless you’re planning on sleeping under the stars or in your rig. As long as it’s not raining, sleeping under the stars is amazing! This is how Grandpa set up his hand built hut/tent and bed.

He started out his camp by getting ready to build a hut tent out of materials he had found on the side of the road and brought home to wash. It was a lightweight boat cover, and he cut up a downed cedar tree with his bow saw and ax. He split the cedar into small/long boards that he used as beams, joists & studs, and twine/screws to hold it all together; making a hut that is A-frame roof, and is oval in shape, measuring 8′ tall x 16′ wide x 6′ deep. The boat cover is strapped down over it and has a door cut for an opening that he rolls up and ties open, which is how he leaves it most of the time. He cut the rounded poles out of large branches for the studs and the rest of the wood is cedar boards he cut. It smells really nice.

His bed was originally made out of (2) 1 x 4’s he had found, filled the bed with moss for padding, covered it with plastic and layed his bedding down. (Over Memorial Day weekend in his really cool dumpster finds, someone threw a 3″ foam mattress pad away and it was on top of the dumpster and clean so he put that over the moss to add more padding and the plastic over that and then his blankets down). He also found 3 camping chairs and tons of already bagged up bottles and cans that people didn’t want to haul back with them. People gave him left over food they didn’t want to take home, all sorts of cool things. God is Great! We ask and we shall receive and Will is such a great example of that. He is a very gateful and humble man, who gives as much as he receives and works harder than many men half his age. He did purchase a large tarp that is double the size of his hut and he set it up with poles he cut to size and rope at an angle that the rain would all drain off the back and that you have an awning all the way around, a bit larger in the front so you can come out of the tent and enjoy the fire and the outdoors still if it’s raining. He is camped out where he is for the summer and he’s panning for minerals and just putsin’ around.

The rest of his hut is large enough for dry good storage, all of his gear, clothing, supplies, Sandy Pepper’s food in 5 gallon buckets, etc. When I come up to camp I just set up my sleeping bag on the other side of his hut. I have a self inflatable air mattress and it fits in a standard sleeping bag, so I inflate it and put it inside my bag so I don’t slide off in the middle of the night. Then I bring Bella’s bed and she sleeps over to the side of me on the edge of my bed because it makes us both feel safe & Sandy Pepper’s bed is on the edge of Grandpa’s bed. That is her spot and she has never shared it with anyone but Grandpa and now me when I took a nap there one day, but she let Bella crawl up there and nap with her. It was pretty cute!

                CAMP POTTY    
The dredded “potty” thing that people are so embarrassed to talk about and do around others. Tehehe… This is why we chose a spot off to the far side of his large camp site where he dug a deep hole, used a 5 gallon bucket over two cedar boards that he cut to stabalize the bucket,  the bottom of the bucket cut out (lined with a bag for disposal) and two cedar boards on top for a seat. (I just ordered a bucket seat toilet seat from for $2.50, it is a toilet seat with lid that snaps onto any 5 or 6 gallon bucket top). (I AM NOT A PAID ENDORSER, VENDOR, OR, ADVERTISER FOR THIS COMPANY OR THEIR PRODUCTS, I AM SHARING MY OWN PERSONAL OPINION/INFORMATION ABOUT A PRODUCT I PURCHASED). We used a coffee can to keep our toilet paper rolls in and a bucket of ash next to it with a lid so that it doesn’t get wet and you sprinkle the ash from the fire pit (as long as you know it’s not hot) into the hole if you go poop so that it doesn’t stink up camp or attract flies. That Grandpa is one smart cookie! He is a very intelligent, educated, experienced, self taught man; and the experiences he’s lived I hope we can pass down some of the lessons to generations to come so that it’s not a lost art. 


What always comes after potty talk but food talk… For the dry foods it is stored in it’s original packaging in containers/buckets/crates with lids to keep the critters out (the buckets and crates were found at grocery stores and fast food restaurants and taken home and bleached out). One 5 gallon bucket full of beans and rice he buried so that it will keep longer. He did the same thing with the cooler box. He dug a hole, covered it with moss on the inside for insulation because under ground stays a consistent cool temperature and caged in the moss with left over wire he had from building his panning classifier. Then he made a little safe lid for it out of wood so the critters or worse the bears wouldn’t try to get into it.

He set his kitchen up between two trees and he built shelves out of cut poles, cross cut poles and particle board. He also made some shelves out of boards covering some stackable crates holding stored items (seasonings, canned goods, dishes, towels, wash cloths, cleaners & soaps, etc). The kitchen is covered by two tarps that were found on one of his trips. He has two tubs for washing dishes one for wash, one for rinse. He heats up his water on the fire, cooks on the fire, gets his water from the creek and runs it through a purifier. Bring food from home, you don’t need anything fancy…cheap and easy, stuff you already have works perfect. I do baked potatoes, wrapped in foil and thrown in the fire for 30 minutes, hot dogs on sticks, meat thrown down on the grill, breakfast… I think camp food cooked on the fire is the best experience of food you can have as a child or adult!

         IT’S THAT EASY!

My family does a lot of impromto camping trips…spur of the moment, just go somewhere we want to go! We tent camp and so I always have our gear clean and ready to go so all we have to do is fill the cooler and dry box with food, load up and drive off. We have gear that the both of us have collected over the years, it’s mostly pretty nice gear, some of it is just getting worn out from good ol’ wear n’ tear. I organize it in storage bins accordingly, one for kitchen goods, one for toiletries and one that stores our very large tent. Then all of our camping gear is stored together so we know where it is when we’re ready to go.

There are many places that allow you to camp for very cheap prices or even free, things that can make it cheaper as well is seasonal passes to your favorite spot. However many camping areas on Forest Service and BLM land are free to camp on as long as it has a fire ring and is not marked fee area or no camping. You can check out their websites for the area you’re looking at going to and find out all the free camping spots before heading in that direction and what the regulations are for staying there..

· You don’t need expensive gear to get out there and have fun.

· Bring food and supplies from home, don’t go out and spend a bunch of money that isn’t necessary.

· If you don’t have certain things, improvise…no sleeping bags? Use blankets… No tent? Build a hut…

· If you don’t have a cooler, get a cheap cooler bag and weight it down in the creek to keep it cool if you are only camping for a few days.

· Drag in firewood that is already down around your camp and cut it with eith a bow saw or chain saw. (You can pick up a bow saw for pretty cheap).

· If it’s okay to have a fire, use your fire to heat your water and cook on rather than wasting propane or charcoal or whatever you have to use. Cooking on the fire is so much better!

· Be safe! Don’t forget sun block & bug spray! HAVE FUN!!!

Now that you have these tips I hope to hear about some of your fun camping adventures. I would also love to hear what tips and what things you do to make your hobbies affordable and still have a great time doing them! Will, Sandy Pepper, Bella and I challenge you to camp on the cheap between now and July 5th, 2016 and respond to this post about it by July 7th, 2016 at 5:00pm PST with the header Nickel Camp Callenge, tell me who you are, town & state you’re from and tell me where you went, how you stayed on the cheap, what tips you may have for us for the summer. At the end of the challenge I will randomly select a name from those of you who respond to my Challenge on this blog page and I will send you a private message to exchange shipping information so that I can send you a free gift, no cost to you. I cover the gift and the shipping cost straight from the store. Thank you always for your continued love and support! I really look forward to hearing back from you all on this one! Have a safe and Happy Father’s Day!

Camp photos, hut, kitchen,


2 tired dogs…Sandy Pepper is Red and Bella is white & Brindle


Camp kitchen (which has been updated since this photo was taken)


Inside of hut


Grandpa & Sandy Pepper’s Bed


Craft Fairs & Festivals + 5 Tips for a Great Booth & My Crib Spring Chandelier


It’s getting to be that time of year again where we are preparing for craft fairs and upcoming festivals. My husband Chris, with his henna art and myself with antinqued and refurbished items that I buy, make-over and flip. (which I didn’t do any of this year so all I have is what’s left over from last year). I am however hoping to get a couple aprons done between now and then and possibly a quick throw quilt or two.

I really dislike feeling rushed to get things done especially when I’m the one who’s procrastination is the reason for rushing in late in the game. I signed us up to do a festival with my friend Sicily in June for more of a Dad’s craft fair that’s Rockabilly themed and so I want to make some work aprons and men’s bbq aprons. I know I can get some things done in time to add them plus all the stuff I have from last year. Chris and I will be dressed up in Rockabilly style, (which is a pretty regular day for me, I dress rockabilly style frequently) it’s going to be a lot of fun, I’m really looking forward to it. Chris is going to make some things that the men might want to buy or that their wives might want to buy for them for Father’s Day.

We still have the white washed pallet coffee table and the bandana rag throw that I made which will brighten up and spruce up our space quite a bit plus our curtains and back drop curtains will add to the decor and set up we’re trying to achieve. When I’m planning large events like this I really try to focus on how my booth set up is going to generate not only the most amount of visitors and income it can for me but that people feel comfortable, can find what they’re looking for and don’t feel pressured.


1. Organization: your booth must be organized in a manor that makes sense to customers, that is pleasing to the eye and is also easy for you to run. By this I mean you should be able to see everything in your booth so that you can keep an eye on your customers to make sure you are meeting their needs and your products to ensure their safety as you’ve worked hard to make them.

2. Inventory: you need just the right amount of inventory and the right kinds of inventory for a good booth. Your inventory should be different enough that you have a good selection of items, yet the items should compliment each other as well. The order you set your inventory up in matters as we go back to that organization area again, it’s important to have the right amount of inventory so that you have enough yet don’t have a cluttered over abundance of things. Know your inventory and also shop around with the other vendors and get to know their inventory a little bit, maybe you can help a customer find something that you don’t have. They will often cone back and shop with you because they were pleased with your customer service. By knowing your own inventory you will know right away if you have something or not and because you’re organized you’ll know right where to find it. This could bring in quite a bit more revenue by not losing sales and by finding the itens they’re looking for in a timely, organized manor.

3. Props: I noticed a huge difference in our sales once we took the time to really decorate up our booth and have fun with it. We used pretty sheets for back curtains, and burlap and lace as our front curtains that tied up to the sides of the tent. I use items I’m selling to create little areas as you would when decorating your own home so my customers can picure it in their home. If I’m setting things out on tables I use boxes or books under table cloths to put things at different hights, we use a lattice wall that my Father in Law built to hang things up on for display. We hang up lights and add decorations that we make.

4. Customer Service: knowing where to draw the line between good customer service and being a pushy sales person is very valuable knowledge. Many people don’t understand why their customers leave their booth so quickly. They are there to shop, get ideas for their own DIY projects, and spend time with who they came with. My experience not only in craft fairs but work and education experience as well has provided me with a range that works well for me. You have to find that right area that works well for you. For example: I’m a very high energy and loud person by nature and I’m a social butterfly, so I being my bubbly self say something like “Hi, I really hope you’re enjoying your day with us. My name is Elle (and if Chris is right there he usually introduces himself) and I say well please look around, ask questions, we do custom orders so just let us know if there’s anything we can help you with or anything you’re in the market for that you don’t see here, maybe one of the other vendors here have something that matches what you’re looking for.” Chris usually will say something about his henna tattoo art that he does and he has a binder of ideas and prices out so people can look and get ideas first. He also has a nice area set up to make his customers comfortable while getting henna work done. I might say more if they seem interested in conversation but I usually wait until they ask me something so I’m not the pushy sales person. Also if they offer up information about their life don’t try to ‘one up’ their story, even if you do have a similar story keep it to yourself or at least don’t try to make it sound like you are competing with them but more that you share something in common (many times when people have a common interest they are going to feel more connected to you but if they feel you are over powering them or competing against them they feel threatened or offended and will leave so nows not the time for that). Don’t talk about drama in your life, if you talk about anything talk about your business. Make sure you are not gossiping or complaining about anything or anyone when someone is within ear range of your booth. (Don’t say I don’t do that either folks! We are all guilty of it at least a time or two…even me). That being said, nothing turns me away from a booth faster than when the person running it is gossiping or complaining about anything or anyone, I will turn around and leave their booth even if I was interested in buying something. Try not to look bored, looking bored is a sign that you’re not enjoying yourself which gives off a vibe that you don’t care about your products, your time or your customers.

5. Have fun!: Pretty self explanitory one would think…however, many times we get wrapped up in the stress of getting everything ready and having it all just right that we forget to unwind that mantality to kick back and actually enjoy ourselves for a well deserved little bit. (Notice I say “little bit” here, I know as well as the next person we deserve one hell of a break with everything we put ourselves through, however I know it’s not feasible…the jobs not done yet). Whether you’re doing this just for fun or this is your fulltime job you really do need to make sure you’re enjoying yourself or you will come to resent it, don’t forget the reasons you started doing this and how much you enjoyed it in the beginning. The networking you did, all the new people you’ve met and new friendships you’ve made along the way, the goals you’ve reached and the things you’ve accomplished on this journey have been well worth those moments of choas we go through to get here!!!

Staying busy, happy, smiling, without complaining or gossiping, with a pretty organized and decorated booth will bring you monetary gain along with a fun day/event to remember forever, and if you listened and stayed organized packing up will be a beeze. Here’s where we are at with 2016’s Craft Fairs, Festivals and Events that we are signed up to do. I’m getting more and more excited for the Rockabilly Themed one we’re doing this summer!

Last year we did the Lavender + Vintage Festival, which was a weekend event during the Lavender Farms Festival Tour and we set up at one of the Lavender Farms in Newberg, Oregon for the weekend and also camped there. We had a blast and did pretty decent in sales as well. We also did a weekend Craft Fair camp out up McDowell Creek that was a lot of fun. We plan on doing both of these events again this year again. There is also one we are planning on doing Memorial Day. All of the Craft Fairs we are doing are with my friend Sicily from The Fancy Flea. She is amazing and inspiring! She has a shop in Lebanon, Oregon where she sells antinques, refurbished items, shabby chic and so much more; it is called the Antiquery. She is also an amazing Mother, wife and works full-time. She is a fearless leader when it comes to putting these events together, I can’t give enough praise and appriciation for all that she does! Thank you Sicily!

I’m also in the middle of making some gifts right now. I’m currently working on a quilt face for a queen size quilt. I have all of the squares sewn into strips and I’m about a third of the way done sewing the strips into rows to complete the front of the quilt. I’m making several aprons for gifts right now and I have a couple baby blankets to work on. Some of these items aren’t needed right away so that’s helpful.

We also needed a light in our entry way area (the area used to be our living room until my hubby rearranged the house and now it’s a lot more open, at least when my sewing mess isn’t right there of course). A friend of mine had an old baby crib spring board still connected to one of the wooden crib sides, but when I saw it I knew I had to have it! I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it and so she let me take it. When Chris took the wooden side off for me I spray painted the spring board heirloom white, then I wove burlap through each square, lace through each square of every other row and every other column and white Christmas lights along each row attaching them at the corner of each square with small pieces of lace. I picked up the large silicone coated ceiling hooks from Wal Mart (the boys painted them heirloom white to match the spring board for me) and Chris hung it where a light would normally be if centered in that room. It turned out so beautiful and shabby chic! It goes perfect with our rustic shoe rack made out of our repurposed wooden fence from the front yard.

I have that wooden side piece to that crib, the one that was attached to the side of the spring board; it would be perfect to sand down and paint the outsides, frame & legs with chalk paint and the inner square with chalkboard paint. It has two legs and is framed in, I could attach a folding leg in the back so it folds closed yet is able to stand on it’s own like an eisel. What do you guys think?

Thank you all for your love and support! Check out The Fancy Flea on my friends FB page Sicily Scott. Hope you all have a wonderful day and that you enjoy this post. As always I look forward to hearing back from you with feedback, questions and answers to my questions. Thank you all for following my blog, and sharing to get my name out there. Your support is much appreciated!

My crib spring board chandelier



Happy 60th Birthday!



Today is my Mom’s 60th birthday. Happy Birthday Momma!!! (I’m sure she didn’t want everyone to know that, lol). Becky France is not only my Mom but my hero and my best friend, our relationship goes far beyond a deep rooted Mother/Daughter relationship, much deeper into a best girlfriend relationship. I can tell my Momma anything without any worries of judgment, distrust or shame, I can be open and honest with her always and she with me. I love that about her!

She is one of the kindest people I know who would trust and give to anyone once but don’t mess with her because you’re not getting a second chance. She has a bad ass woman side that says “mess with the bull, you get the horns, you damn idiot!” That is my mom, the woman who brought me into this world, raised me, continued her education and worked her way up the line at the VA hospital during her 25 years of current employment there. She has went to Senate and helped get laws passed that had to do with the laws surrounding her ability to drive and is now on her second new vehicle. She hears about a certification program opportunity through her career path she jumps on it and hits the books to study day and night until she has that certification and the certificate in her hot little hands. Whatever it is that she wants, that she’s after, look out, stay out of her way because she’s going for it and nothing’s going to stop her!

I’m an only child and I’m very close to both of my parents. I’m 35 years old and my health problem have sure added a lot of stress on everyone including my husband and my parents. I’m grateful that has not strained the relationship between my parents or my husband and I. My Mom is a very young 60, she can run circle around me! She is beautiful, intelligent, kind, generous & full of life! I could blog all day to my Momma and about how wonderful she is but words can’t express it alone. I’m attaching some photos of my Mom & Dad, my Mom and some of the jewelry that she has made. I can’t believe I don’t have any more photos than that saved on my phone.

I couldn’t be more proud to call you my Mom, I couldn’t be more blessed than to have you for my Momma & my best friend, I couldn’t be more happy that you’re happy & healthy and enjoying life to the fullest! Mom, you’ve come so far in life from being a clerk at the VA to being Cyber Security Officer at the VA, being legally blide yet being able to drive, being legally blind yet making amazing pieces of jewelry on the side of working, working out diligently & eating healthy because you want to lose weight. Whatever it is, you see a goal or get an idea you put your goal in your sights and boom it’s yours! You work your ass off until you have accomplished your goals and reached completion. I couldn’t ever in my mind imagine my life without you in it! You’re so much fun to be around and you’re a fun Grandma! Imd glad my boys have you in their lives as well!

There are a million and one reasons why I love you and why I love that you’re my Mom so that was to name a few. I know you always have my back, you and Dad will always support me in anything I do (within reason), you love me no matter how much stress I’ve put you through, I’m forever grateful to you; you’ve never let let have surgery in fear of being alone, you’ve been to all but my two most recent surgeries and that’s because Chris was there. You have always, always been here for me Mom and I pray I can be there for you someday like you have always been here for me.

You motivate me to do better in my life, to be a better person, to be a healthier person. You’re a very motivating person to be around. You’re upbeat personality and your get things done attitude is the perfect combination so that you can get things done and out of the way to go have fun! Thank you for being incredible! You are an amazing woman who inspires me to be the best woman I can be everyday! I love you and look forward to seeing you soon Momma! Happy 60th Birthday!! Have a wonderful day!

Thank y’all for your love and support please give my Mom a shout out for her birthday in the comments below. As always I’d appreciate any feedback, questions, comments, shout outs… Feel free to contact me via email as well.








Out on the Water


I love the water! It doesn’t matter what body of water it is as long as I’m close to it. (I happen to be a Pieces) We just so happen to live in a wonderland for me with multiple rivers, two good size lakes, many creeks, mountains, hiking trails, the Cascade Mtn Range all out our back door and we are about a 1 hour 20 minutes to the ocean.

This past week I purchased a hard sit on top kayak that I had been saving up for. I chose the Sun Dolphin Bali 10′ SS in Orange. (THIS IS IN NO WAY AN ENDORSEMENT OR ADVERTISEMENT FOR THIS PRODUCT, COMPANY OR IT’S AFFILIATES. THIS IS BASED ON MY OWN PURCHASE AND OPINION) It was not the one I was originally looking at but all of the local stores were out of the one I wanted and this one was available, it was the closest one to the other one that I wanted and it had good reviews online. So I went and picked it up and I immediately drove it out to the lake and flipped it within the first 15 minutes…I got right back on it and tried some more. This time managing to actually stay on it for my trip to the bend and back. Who knew those things would be so difficult to get back onto? Lol. I absolutely fell in love with the way this kayak handles, turns and glides on the water (it’s even easy to flip back over after you’ve flipped, just not so easy to wrangle yourself back on)

With my body being the way it is I can’t go very far from shore and I can’t paddle very far before I’m done but because my doctor says I should be strengthening my arms, legs and core muscles so that I don’t lose the ability to use them that kayaking is a very good exercise for me to do. That news  is exciting for me to hear and get to follow through on! We already had 2 inflatable kayaks that we would take camping with us but I have always wanted a hard kayak. I won’t ever be able to do it on my own because I can’t load and unload my kayak, nor do I want to be on the water alone. Even though I didn’t make it very far my arms were sure sore the next day and my shoulder was in a lot of pain it locked up on me; but to be able to say I did it, I got out there and I did that…feels so amazing! Then there’s the 2 days in bed because I can’t move after I do anything that pushes my body, not only do I end up in exteme pain all over but I get physically ill from it as well. I’m hoping on more good days as the weather gets better and I think the more I try to condition my body the better it will get. If you don’t remember or if you’re new to my blog and don’t know I was in a wheelchair almost fulltime just 2 years ago, so I’m still conditioning my legs with walking. So many times I have fallen because my legs give out on me or balance issues.

I’m very much looking forward to summer time and being out at the lake during the day and bbq’ing at night! It’s time to say good bye to the rain for a couple months and bring out the sunshine and good moods! I’ve taken note the different attitudes you get from people during different seasons and climates. People in our small town of 9K have been in better moods lately and we’ve been having a lot more sunny days as we’re cruising through Spring. It’s just interesting food for thought.

I’m hoping I can save up a few dollars and do a family day at the beach soon with one of these nice sunny days that we’re going to be having an abundance of before we know it. It has been a while since we have taken the family to the coast and I’m kind of missing it.

I’m still not doing as stringent as I should be with my finances. I’m very disappointed in myself because I know what needs to be done and I was doing really well sticking to my game plan for a while and then I don’t know what happened but I recognize it and am motivated to fix the problem so that’s a good start. As I’ve already started making myself checkin with what I’m spending on I’m also putting notes each time I tranfer money to my account I put a notation of what it’s for so I can see where all my money is going and where I can cut back. I’m just disappointed in myself because I can see where I need to cut back and I didn’t, I am starting from now. I am also sticking to my goal end smoking date of June 1st, which is going to be hard because I’m very much a habitual smoker. (Wish me luck, I know I have to do this for my health, for my husband and for our finances). My health has been about the same. I’ve been living on medications to mask the symptoms because what they’ve tried to date has not worked. I’m on another run of antibiotics, this time Vancomycin and I’m praying they work. I will write another post as to what my last resort option is because it has sensitive information in it that not everyone may want to read.

Thank you all for your love and support. I appreciate you all following my blog and keeping up on what’s going on with my life, I love to hear back from you…feedback? What’s going on in your life? What’s keeping you busy?

Financial Fitness


Hello everyone, hope you are enjoying some Spring weather! I have still been on and off really sick, but on the days that I feel well I am actually able to do some things. I love getting outdoors and I’ve been able to do so a handful of times in the beautiful weather we are having in Oregon.

My hubby and I are trying to come to an even kill with our finances. We are currently living in the red each month. It makes it very easy to point fingers at each other for spending rather than fixing the issue. I know we both spend unnecessary money and I am more guilty of this than he is. I have been reading different posts on Pinterest about saving money, budgeting, snowballing debt, and making money from home.

I happened to stumble across this article on Annie and Everything blog called Tips for Surviving a No Spend Month and Frugal Fridays # 13.

Read the rest of this entry

A No Spending Month


Hello everyone, I hope you are getting the beautiful weather we are in Oregon right now! I want to discuss a very touchy topic for me and probably many others as well. We have a budget made out but sticking within that budget is another story for multiple reasons. First big reason is because my income lowered by almost $700/month and our medical insurance premiums started coming out of our pocket rather than a paycheck so we make out 2 checks for that each month $461 and $230. That was the biggest problem… Next is that I spend money on unnecessary items (the biggest are my cigarettes and diet coke, both terribly bad for me), I used to spend a ton of money on clothes and crafts and I have really almost stopped doing that except when necessary. When I first got sick I became really depressed and tried to fill that void of feeling like I didn’t add up anymore with shopping and spending sprees.

Getting our budget under control has not exactly been easy on us and I will admit that I carry most of the bad spending habits. I’ve been working really hard to break this dangerous cycle and have been getting a lot better about it. I am working on quitting smoking (I have made a goal to reduce smoking 3 cigarettes/day every four days if that makes sense: and a final end date of no later than June 1st.) I have also reduced my spending habits tremendously. My constant addiction of reading blog posts on budgets, finances, how to snowball debt, I’ve even taken Dave Ramsey’s class. My husband and I didn’t really see eye to eye on our debt and finances for a while but handing it over to him was a good start.

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I'm sure he will be on board with this as he is the one telling me I'm doing better but still over spending our budget (and he is right).

In marriage, financial burdens are the biggest cause for disagreements, fights over money and even divorces in the United States. We have enought burdens with my health and the bills that follow, we don't need to have financial burdens adding to the pressure that is already there.

During our "No Spend Month" we will track things out separately for mine and his and anytime we spend money on anything other than bills, gas, groceries and prescriptions; we are to track, item, price, & category so that we can see where to make changes in our budget and where we can make cut backs to save money.

My problem is that I can get really organized and motivated to do these things and then I fizzle out and don't always follow through with them. I do have some organization going on with meal planning and medical bills; I also have a couple of projects that I need to get done. I am making Dianne 2 aprons; I'm making cutains for under the sinks in Toni's bathroom and I'm making a small throw quilt for a friends birthday. I have plently of things to keep me busy that I already have fabric for so I won't be spending more money to do any of these projects.

Each week I have been meal planning and either Chris or I will go to the store and get only what's on the list (unless we see something we need that I forgot to add). The majority of the nights I stick to my meal plans and make enough for him to take for lunch the next day, that is much cheaper than eating out as often as we were. The nights I don't cook are on the nights I am not feeling well and to be honest some weeks that 2-3 days and other weeks it's 5-7 days that I am completely down for the entire time.

The house is by far not cleaned out yet but I've made steady forward progress on it and that what Chris asks for. I still have a lot to go through and get rid of, I'm hoping I can sell some of it to earn extra cash.

Anyways, sorry I get easily side tracked. I really think this "No Spend Month" will be a kick off to a great beginning for Chris and I to work towards our financial goals. It could be really fun to see if we can beat each other by having spent the lowest amount each month, and beat our own lowest scores. We could even have fun little prizes at the end of each month to make you both realize how great you're doing. (they don't have to be anything expensive or even something that you have to you pay for, things like: 1 free car wash & detail from your spouse, 1 free back massage from your spouse, if he wins cook him his favorite dinner and wear something a little risky to bed…you get the drift).

In the beginning, when you're not seeing the impact your hard work is going towards yet; I think coming up with your own little game that works for you and going for it is a sound idea. Not only does it give you something to work towards and look forward to doing something that's not easy or fun but it really motivates you. As you begin to track your expenses and see just how much money you're throwing away each month, it will become easier for you to cut back those expenses that you don't need and motivate you to stick to a budget to make it easier to tell your money where to go. If you're anything like me the past few years I've let my money tell my money where to go with the idea of getting things, "I thought I needed or just had to have" it is time that I sit down and know where every penny of our money is going and when, so that I can be the boss of my money rather than the other way around.

I think that kicking off with a "No Spending Month" will help us to clearly see where the bulk of our money is going, where we can make cut backs so that we can try to stay within budget, and it will motivate us to do better at it each moth. I will keep you posted as to how well it works for us. I will also write posts for Meal Planning On a Budget, Beginning Your Budget, and Snowballing Debt When You Live Paycheck to Paycheck.

I appreciate y'all stopping by to visit my blog, I am really wanting to learn to grow my blog and get sponsers and advertisers. If I was to start getting paid for my blogging even if was just a little bit, I would start working on my blog for a couple hours every day.

So now that you know all my future plans, I hope you can help hold me accountable to quit smoking and motivate me to do well with our budget. Maybe this will kick start you as well if you are getting lazy in your budget or not working with a budget at all yet. I've been thinking of teaching some online classes for budgeting, meal planning on a budget, and how to snowball your debt.

Thank you for joining in with me and dropping by today. I appreciate all of your love and support!


Weight Loss & Health Update


Hello y’all! I hope everyone is having a great weekend! I’m feeling pretty good today but was sick yesterday morning and the day before. Something in my autoimmune disease is making me down and out sick to my stomach, cold sweats and being down in bed for anywhere from 24-36 hours at a time. When I first started getting sick it was every 3-4 weeks and now it’s almost every week.

I had an appointment with my doctor on Thursday and she ordered a bunch of labs and another set of MRI’s of my back and hips to see if it is another punched nerve issue that is irritating things or if it’s something else.

I also have Hashimoto’s Disease, which is an autoimmune disease that attacks your thyroid and para thyroid. Once you have Hashimoto’s Disease you have it for life and it also usually brings out other autoimmune diseases with it, just as I have multiple. For many people it is difficult to understand how I could feel so bad from a thyroid disease. I’ve had both my thyroid and parathyroid removed because they were so enlarged and diseaesed that I was having trouble swallowing my food and even drinks. I have a large number of combinations that play into my health situation so it is not just Hashimoto’s that effects me. This is a great example of many different ways it can effect me and there are still many more not shown here. This letter on Thyroid Sexy FB page is a letter as it would be written from the disease itself to the patient.

I have been struggling with my weight for some time now. Around the time I met my husband I was 217 lbs. So I wrote this post a month ago and have since had my MRI’s done and my labs. I’ve had very little changes since my last set of MRI’s which is good but that also means that my pain is caused from arthritis and there isn’t any thing they can really do more than they are now. I did test positive for c-diff again. To make a long story short I have been living with this for an entire year now. We are discussing the possibility of doing a Fecal Matter Transplant because it is not responding to medications. I won’t get into details because they are pretty gross but it may just save my life. Well worth it!

Thank you all for stopping by. Have a wonderful rest of your week!

Elle’s Trash2Treasure

Bathroom painting complete


I promised y’all photos of the bathroom after my painting project was complete. I painted the shelves a bright coral and the wall with the door and the one with the cabinets a very light blue. It really brightened up and livened up the tiny little bathroom we have.

As I said before the bathroom isn’t complete yet. Chris purchased a pedestal sink from the Habitat for Humanity store in Albany and I plan on redoing the floors whether it be laying down some new flooring that I can get from the restore for really cheap or painting the nasty lenolioum floors we have in there now. I know putting in the new front door is at the top of his priority list for projects before we do anything more with the bathroom. We also need to hopefully find a new shower wall insert before we go back to working on the bathroom.

I feel like today was a pretty good day! I’m hurting really bad now but Jill came over and helped me and we got some things done. She finished cleaning the kitchen, and we folded 3 loads of laundry and washed some bedding. I picked things up and organized them and I cleaned off the table by my chair that Chris made. It is a beautiful table! (He made it for his Grandmother years ago and when she past away he inherited it back from her. It has so much meaning to him and every time I look at it I think of her! She was such an amazing woman, so full of life and love!)

I finished putting the shelves in and put the bathroom back together…as you can see in the photos, (you know the ones I forgot to attach to my last post, lol.) I’m thinking about painting the big mirror frame in there the same bright coral as the shelves. What do y’all think about that? Please I’d love your input on whether I should paint it or not.

My next upcoming projects are going to be: painting a mirror frame for my bestie Jillybean in a brighter coral color for her dining room; making a chandelier out of a crib spring board; and continuing to work on my craft room. I will post pics and tutorials as I go along.

I forgot to mention earlier that we didn’t end up going to comi-con last week for my birthday. We are saving money right now for my hubby and our son to go on an all guys Alaksan fishing trip this summer with some friends of ours who just purchased a 48′ fishing boat. They will be staying on the boat for just over a week and are so excited to go, so we decided to put it off until a later comi-con. We also slowed down on working on our costumes since we aren’t in a rush now to get them done. That is another project to add to my list… I will attach a pic of the costume I am making for myself, it is a really great costume and I’m trying to stay as close to this costume as possible. I will post pics as I go along.

Thank you all for your love & support! I look forward to hearing your feedback. Until next time…stay positive & be well. Take care y’all.







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