Last Friday the kiddo and I took the train down to Portland for Uriah’s third birthday party. It was an absolutely lovely trip and I’m so glad that the two of them got to hang in real life instead of just by FaceTime, and seeing and hugging his mama just fed my soul. Love you friend, and wish we could see each other in person more regularly. We’ll be back.

While we spent the bulk of our time at Ronald McDonald House with their family, I also got to meet up with some other bloggers in person over the weekend. Uriah’s mom (That Frugal Pharmacist) and I, along with the kiddo, went out to brunch Saturday morning with Amanda of Dumpster Dog Blog and Financial Mechanic, who I’d met in person for the first time in Seattle last month.

We also managed a short park trip with Joe from Retire By 40 and his son, though our attempts at meeting up during better weather completely failed and we had to cut the meet up short thanks to some crazy hail and a torrential downpour. Joe is a blogger I’ve been following along with for a good part of a decade, and he was the one who got me to finally start writing my own blog, so it was great to finally meet him face to face. Here’s to hoping we get better weather next time.

Yellow is her color, don’t you think? 

Friday’s Frugal Five

1. Since we took the train down to Portland and didn’t bring the car seat along on the trip, we mostly got around via the city’s public transportation system over the weekend, outside of a couple of car trips with Frugal Pharm while her kiddo was sleeping. We ended up riding the MAX, the Portland Streetcar, and the bus, as well as doing a ton of walking.

Leaving the car at home was definitely the cheaper option overall, and it was obviously the superior environmental choice, but it also just made the trip better. On the way down and back the kiddo was able to walk up and down the train cars to stretch his legs, we got to snuggle together and watch the miles go by, and I just straight up didn’t have to drive or have to deal with traffic. Unfortunately, it gets more expensive with three or four people so we don’t often travel that way, but I think I’ll reconsider the extra cost in the future because it’s such a more pleasant way to travel.

Playing UNO with a new friend on the train

2. We ended up with some leftover pizza dough and sauce after the kiddo’s birthday party last month, so we froze the extra and brought it out on Sunday to have a mini pizza party with some neighbors. The dough and the sauce take a while to mix up initially, but I’m realizing now that we will always make extra in the future because it makes it SO easy to throw together homemade pizza when you have the ingredients in the freezer and ready to go. Homemade pizza costs a fraction of even cheap premade pizza, and it tastes so much better.

3. Another neighbor wandered over earlier this week while we were out in the garden with a couple of boxes of food for us. She works with a food bank in this area but they were closed for a week and she ended up with a ton of close to expiration food that had nowhere to go but the garbage. She knows that there are a bunch of us in the neighborhood (us included, obviously) who are pretty frugal and serious about minimizing food waste, so she’s done this a couple times now.

We ended up with an entire case of asparagus, so we’ve been eating it a lot this week (but in a couple different recipes like these ones), so it hasn’t felt like too much of the same. I also took some over to both of our parents and distributed among some other neighbors, and I think we’ll get through the majority of the case before it finally goes bad. And then we probably won’t eat much asparagus for a while.

So. much. asparagus.

4. When our neighbor found us out in the front yard, we were actually gardening! The weather has warmed up and stayed warm long enough for the soil to finally thaw and make it possible for us to start planting some spring crops. Since then, the kiddo has been telling everyone that we planted “Little Finger” carrots and is so proud of the garden.

We also somehow ended up with some garlic that has sprouted in the garden outside of the raised beds as well as growing in the planter we’ve tried – and failed – to remove it from the last couple of years. I hope Lily remembers that she was promised garlic scapes this summer, because I expect to have a lot of them.

Digging through one of the other pots in preparation to start planting found us a couple handfuls of potatoes that had somehow escaped being dug up in previous years, and a half dozen of them were solid and starting to sprout, so they will be replanted soon and hopefully grow us another full crop of potatoes.

5. While my son’s birthday was over a month and a half ago, we hadn’t seen one of my closest friends since then as she is currently working full time and going to school. Somehow, though, she managed to find some craft time in that packed schedule of hers and made my son a dinosaur patterned blanket AND a quiet book. She did such an amazing job on it and he absolutely loves it. I really do have the best friends.

Of course it has a clothes line 🙂

Exercise Update

Thanks to that car free train trip, I logged over 20,000 steps both Friday and Sunday as well as coming up just shy of 15,000 on Saturday. Monday and Tuesday were both limited ten minute elliptical days, but they happened. Wednesday was not my typical running day but I met up with the friend who made the quiet book for my son instead and walked around while we chatted.

I missed my run, but I missed my friend more, and I still did end the day with 15,000 steps. She was my regular running and work out partner for years before school and a kid got in the way, and I’m hopeful that we can get back there again some day in the future.

Have you done any train travel? Do you enjoy traveling that way?

33 thoughts on “Friday’s Frugal Five (2019 – Week 12)

  1. Yay, you took the train! I love trains. They were probably my favorite thing about living in Europe.

    And that quiet book is so precious! A lot of my friends kids are getting to the age where I’m starting to craft them things OTHER than baby blankets, and I hadn’t even thought of something like that. Your friend is a genius! Sheer genius, and I’m totally stealing her idea for future use.

    1. I wish trains were a more viable option here like they are in Europe. Maybe someday.

      And go on Etsy – they have TONS of quiet book page ideas!

  2. the trains where we live are a disaster. they’re usually filled with degenerates and bozos, even beyond the level which i usually find entertaining. that would give you a clue. however, about 10 years ago i was taking the choo choo across the state for my best friend’s super bowl party. he lived right across the street from the station. on the way there was a korean woman who didn’t speak too much english and she was getting stinking loaded and just came on over and sat next to me without being invited. the silver lining was that she ordered each of us a beer and then had little airline bottles of jack daniels in her purse to share too. i ordered us a second round of beers right before i was set to get off then left her there for the train crew to wrangle for another 7 hours to philly. so i guess the train has its bright points.

    1. Amtrak trains? That’s definitely never been my experience on the west coast.

  3. I love travelling by train! I grew up in Spain and as a teenager trains were how I got to high school, music class, anywhere I wanted to go. They gave me independence (can’t drive until 18 in spain). To this day I love travelling by train (although not in over crowded rush hour travel).

    I’m also super impressed at your 20,000 step count, especially with a kid in tow!
    Recently on holiday I was averaging around 12,000 steps per day and that felt good after too many days in the office… roll on spring and evening walks when the sun sets later!

    PS love the quiet book- that’s amazing

    1. Europe definitely has us beat on train travel 😉 I was amazed at how many places you can get around that way there. Not quite as convenient here.

  4. I love train rides! You get to explore scenic views without remaining 100% tied down. Sounds like you had a great weekend.

    I’m impressed with your ability to go through asparagus. I don’t like wasting but I couldn’t have managed. Even with giving some away.

    1. Agreed! And the tracks tend to wind through some pretty fabulous views (generally better than the freeway as well).

  5. I did Seattle to Portland once. It took too long for my taste — there were a lot of stops since this was before the express option was available — but it was cool to have done it. And certainly better than hours and hours of driving.

    I’m out in Phoenix now, where there’s not a lot of call for train travel, but if I were on the West Coast again I’d consider taking a Seattle to Portland train if I wanted to visit both. Maybe I’d enjoy it more with a good book. Last time, all I had was schoolwork that I was supposed to be doing, which is never as fun.

    1. Yeah, I took it a number of times back home when I was in college in Oregon, but there were a couple times where it took ridiculously long because of having to pull off to the side to let other trains go by. Thankfully we weren’t on that train this trip.

  6. I love that you’ve been able to see so many local bloggers in-person. I’m hoping to do more of that here in Vancouver as there are quite a number of FI bloggers here.

    Nice to hear that you could visit Uriah and family. I just read Frugal Pharm’s latest update, and am amazed at the level of normalcy they’ve been able to provide him with. He’s a tough little guy!

    Your friend is amazing to hand make such lovely gifts for your kiddo. Projects like that are a totally labor of love. I have no doubt that she’s happy to do it for you, not just because you’re a good friend, but because you obviously appreciate it!

    1. I definitely love this community, and I think it shows 🙂 If you haven’t done much of that yet, I would highly recommend reaching out! It’s amazing how effortless it usually is to hang with people I’ve met through the FIRE community.

  7. Vancouver Island has talks right now about bringing a commuter rail system to life. Seeing how well it worked for your trip shows how badly it is needed. Walking on to a ferry in Victoria and connecting to a train in Seattle and riding to Portland could be a fun adventure.

    1. Oh I dream of the day we have that kind of connected regional transportation system!

      1. On a side note, Victoria City council is introducing a proposal for staff to be able to apply for E-bikes for their commute to work. The city will pay for them up front and then a small monthly payroll deduction to pay the bike off.

  8. I used to take the train for shorter work trips and found it a better way to travel. Not just on the train itself, where you can spread out more and stretch your legs easier, but at the train station as well. Security is way quicker and passing time is easier than at the airport.

    And I hear you on the weather finally (!) cooperating to do some gardening. We spent a chunk of yesterday thinning and transplanting our raspberry bushes. I’m looking forward to your garden updates.

    1. It is SO much faster than the airport! For short trips I don’t know why anyone bothers with the airport (plus you have to get all the way to the airport first).

      Just noticed buds on our raspberries yesterday:)

  9. That is so much asparagus! 😀 Could you can any of it for later? Or pickle it and can it? i love asparagus, but I could definitely not eat that fast enough!

    1. If I’d had time, pickling would have been a good option, but I didn’t expect the big haul and didn’t have an evening cut out for it.

  10. Hi Angela, I just found your blog after listening to you on Choose FI, and I must say, you remind me of my younger self in many ways (although I did not find financial independence and literacy as such a young woman). You are doing a wonderful job, and I love to hear what you are doing! Keep up the writing, gardening, mothering and general awesomeness!

    1. Thank you so much for this kind comment! And finally back to the gardening awesomeness now that the weather is warming up 😄

  11. That must be $50 worth of asparagus!!! :O We never buy it unless it’s in season because they’re like $7/lb. In season, it’s a $2 and that’s the best I’ve seen it around Seattle. I’m JELLY.

    1. Have you ever eaten it cut fresh from the garden?? If not, I may have to entice you to come out to Kirkland to try 😉

  12. Hello! I heard you on ChooseFI today. I wanted to reach out and thank you for all you are doing. Everything you said really resonated with me, it was pretty intense actually! Especially the part about new motherhood being a bigger shock than anticipated. Phew, been there mama! Keep it up, please!

    1. Thank you for those kind words! And motherhood has definitely gotten easier as the kiddo had gotten a bit older (he’s four now) ☺️

  13. I love the idea of using the train for some great family time and social time. We’ve never traveled by train before but really want to. We traveled by public transportation around San Francisco during a visit once when we only had one child. That was rough not having a car and a car seat. We did A TON of walking that day, but it was really an awesome experience to just be outside in a city unfamiliar to us. Plus we saved so much compared to if we had to pay for parking!

    1. We LOVE doing a ton of walking when we have the time, so that’s an upside to me! 🙂 Even at 4yo though I bring the ergo with me and occasionally carry the kiddo and that helps a lot.

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