Friday, October 29, 2010

Salem area Photographer needed:

• We are working on a fundraiser and need 8x10 quality pictures taken of food and/or portraits. 

• Number of proofs needed is unknown, but end result is approximately 20 photographs.

• Photos go to the printer in mid-Nov 2010.

If you can help, please comment here. 

If you know of someone who may be able to help, please pass this along. Thanks!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thrifty Nesting Index

Every morning my friend M greets me with a sparkle in her eye. "What Frugal Nesting blog post is coming up next? I can't wait!"

Since there are a lot of older posts here that fall into my concept of Frugal Nesting, I'm going to index them here, just to give M and everyone else some ideas to get you started on your own frugal nesting projects at home.

Bargain Decorating
The Cubes
Foggy Lens
The Red Poppy
My Goodwill Purchases which leads to The Shelves
Cheap Bargain Decorating and here's more about The Red Basket

Crafty Stuff
Bottlecap Magnets
Calorie-free Brownies
Cord Keepers
Cushion Cover Re-cover
Dressing up a pre-wrapped gift box
Spiffied up CD Jewel Case Liners
Stamp Picture Frames - The existing post shows them off. I'll write a tutorial on how to make them.
Tote Bag - I'll make another bag and include a tutorial on how to make one.
Wordle part I and part II (part I is the story and part II is the crafty part)

Handmade Christmas Gifts
Chicken Packages
Xmas BBQ Basket gift

Note: The holiday posts all involve doing traditional holiday activities without spending a buttload of money, but instead using a little imagination and/or craft supplies.  

Kitchen Tips

Note: Organization is important when you have a tight budget. Two huge benefits are you don't buy duplicates of stuff you already have and you save time because you never have to tear the house apart looking for something you think you have. 

Bacon Biscuits
Chai Date Bread
How NOT to make Orange Iced Tea
Meatballs (with variations)
Microwave Peanut Brittle
Mini Meatloaf
Navy Bean Hummus
Pork Shoulder, Ignored
Roasted Chicken Thighs

Roasted Potatoes with Chicken (aka "Blasted" Chicken)
note: Don't let the word "Blasted" scare you. Blasted refers to the cooking method but this chicken is so incredibly good you won't want to cook it any other way. Trust me. 

Taco Joes
The most dangerous cake in the world
Tortellini Ham Salad

Scrabble Time, Literally
Spooning in the Garden
Where old vinyl LPs go when they die

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Time for a change...

Three years ago today I started my first blog.

It was a way to share all the jokes emailed to me without bombarding my friends with zillions of nonsense email. I just put the word out and if they wanted to see that day's joke, they could. I also started to save fun websites that were accessible from my day job du jour in a call center. My co-workers visited my blog to find an interesting site to help pass the time during lag times between calls.

Since then, this simple blog turned into a portfolio of 18. Not all are public - in fact most are not - and I use them as my own sandbox to experiment, learn HTML, park future blog posts, etc. I keep them separate so I can work on the HTML of one while experimenting with some gadget in another. It's been a lot of fun and I have learned tons.

This blog, "The Adventures of Pam & Frank" is an extension of a series of emails I sent out in the late 1990's to keep friends informed on our hilarious adventures as DIY home-fixer-uppers. (They really were hilarious.) "The Adventures" emails later evolved to share funny parenting stories and to let everyone in our lives know what was happening with a job search which started in 2001, eventually landed us out here in Oregon in late 2002.

Since then, "The Adventures" has been an exploration, and often travelogue, of life in Oregon written for the folks back home. There have been posts in here about crafty and business stuff, social experiments (giveaways and blog parties) and lots of food.

But no real focus.

And other than my mom, no regular readers. Which doesn't really bother me, but why am I blogging when I can email her? Maybe on the off chance that my real life friends will read this? Maybe a few of my foodie friends in the call center.

I guess it's time to change the focus of this blog. It's been fun, and I don't want to kill it, but like my most hated cliche "Something for Everyone" my blog was all over the place and lacked focus. (I really do hate that cliche. Nobody has something for everyone. It's impossible.)

With the events of this past summer, I also have been struggling to find something to do. I'm not quitting my day job, but I am looking for something that I really enjoy doing that could lead to a new career. So I started contemplating what I am really good at, what I like doing, and what I have a lot of experience with.

Here's a rough list of random things that I like to do or have a lot of experience with:

Being funny
Write stuff
City driving
Baking cookies and desserts
Folding laundry
Eating ice cream
Living frugally
Marketing (as in business and advertising stuff, not shopping at the grocery store. Although I have a lot of experience with that, too.)
Crafty stuff
Managing curly hair
Watching tv
Salem & Portland

I decided to start with the thing I like the most and the thing I think the most about: Marketing.
Oh wait, I've already got a blog about that.

Next on the list - what do I have the most experience with? I hate to say it, but Living Frugally is at the top of the list. I wish I didn't need to know how to do it, but I do.

(This is the part where the little lightbulb goes off. Can you see the glow?)

I have already decided to change the focus of this blog from random stuff to... something, so why not blog about frugal-ness for a while and see how that works out? If I don't like it, I give myself permission to change once again.

You're already asking, why not blog about food? Eh, I read more about food in blogs than I write about here. If you want to read a food blog, you can start with Frank's blog. It's pretty good.

Oh - last thing. I know this is "The Adventures of Pam & Frank," and it will still be, even though I'm the only one writing the darn thing. As long as we are still alive it will continue to be an adventure.

So onward. From today forward, this will be a blog about Frugal Nesting. (Do you like that? Nesting is a joke on our last name.)  I think Frugal Nesting fits so much better than simply "frugal living." Frugal Living to me makes me think of something like a bowl of plain oatmeal that was bought in the bulk section of the grocery store but Frugal Nesting makes me think of a bowl of oatmeal topped with a little bit of leftover yogurt, some sliced apples from the tree in the back yard, drizzled with honey that you got from a neighbor for watching their cats while they were out of town, and eaten for brunch with the family while playing a game of cards.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Our Latest Adventure: 29 days in the hospital

It's been a long time since our last post. Did you think we died?
Not to be dramatic, but one of us came close. 

I've been quiet about what's going on here until things settled down, but now I'm able to talk about it. Here's our latest adventure in a nutshell. In April Frank was diagnosed with cancer in his large intestine. (Colon cancer is not just in the butt but can also be in the gut.) He finished his radiation and chemo this summer and did very well. He still has all his hair, which is nice, because I think he looks silly without a moustache. 

Yes, if chemo makes your hair fall out, ALL of your hair falls out. Frank was lucky.

He had the tumor removed in August and that's when the adventure took a rocky turn and turned our lives upside down. He developed a nasty infection, got terribly sick, had an ambulance ride to the hospital, 3 more surgeries, kidney failure, antibiotics, etc etc... It was touch and go and for the first two weeks his doctors wouldn't say if he would make it or not. They would just say, "Well, he's very sick. We have to wait and see."

Very scary. I cried a lot and spent a week by his side in the hospital. Poor Rachel was stressed out and worried about her dad while trying to get ready to start high school. She just had to wait her turn for my attention. 

When it was all done, we counted up how many days Frank was hospitalized: 29.

At this point he he healing very well. Due to the 3 surgeries to clean up the infection, he was left with a large open wound. At the beginning it was 6" long (his belly button is gone forever) and 3" wide and about 2 1/2" deep. Something this large can only heal from the inside out, and so he has been wearing a wound vac since he was finally discharged from the hospital a few weeks ago. Yesterday when his nurses changed the dressing they told him it has healed to the point where he may only need to wear the wound vac for maybe one more week. Yay! Wearing it means he has a tube from his abdomen to the vacuum unit and cannister that he has to wear like a fanny pack or purse. It's a hassle and he hates it. I don't blame him.

Now that he's healing, the other side effect of his illness is starting to kick in: the financial side. We've got health insurance but with the deductibles (his own insurance ended during this ordeal and so I switched him over to mine, which means we have to meet two deductibles this year) the medical bills we're responsible for are whopping big. On top of that, he hasn't been working, of course, but I've been taking time off work to take care of him, so our income is ... wait. What income? 

Meanwhile, we have set up a page on Facebook for Frank called Support Team Brown. Yes, you are correct. It is a poo joke. Please visit Support Team Brown - And please Like the page to spread the word about Salem Oregon's very own Deaf Chef and help him as he recovers from cancer.

Our goal is to have 10,000 likes by the end of October. Thanks!