Friday, May 26, 2017

Laverne's Maiden Voyage

One thing you can always count on in Idaho is sweeping changes in our weather.  In less than a week we went from hail storms and frozen rain all over everything the next day to a gloriously warm and sunny weekend.  And when that happens RVs and campers hit the road!

We were more than ready for a weekend getaway, let me tell you.  Have I mentioned it was a loooooong winter?  I got off work early that day to take my youngest to the orthodontist with the idea in my head that we could get home, throw food in the RV refrigerator and get the heck out of Dodge.  And that is exactly what we did.

I knew that a quick trip to an RV park, not too far from home, would be a great way to test out Laverne and she did great.  Me on the other hand, not so much.  I could feel that blasted migraine creeping up on me all day Friday, but I wasn't about to change plans.  No way!!

I put this first aid kit together with $ store items, a few
items we already had and a plastic bin I had out in the garage

We stayed at a lovely RV park in Hagerman, Idaho about 100 miles from home and we were able to completely hook her up and give her a go.  Everything worked as promised, even the AC.  And I made a list of a few things to add and adjust, but for the most part she is pretty much good to go.

The girls were very excited to cook supper on the old campstove

Saturday was a bust.  Our plans to head to Balanced Rock State Park didn't materialize as I was pretty much down for the count.  But I did discover that Laverne makes a cozy cocoon to be laid up in when you don't feel well.

I love my log cabin plates

It worked out fine for the girls.  My oldest had a ton of homework to get done that day and we had WiFi so my youngest downloaded a new game from Amazon Prime onto her Kindle and was pretty happy with that.  In the meantime I found out that the bed and the couch are both extremely comfortable.

Playing cards

Saturday evening we did a complete walk through the RV park and I took some pictures.  The weather was perfect and even though a storm rolled in around 8:00 that evening and thoroughly drenched everything overnight we were snug and dry in our RV.

The next morning the sun was out once and so was I.  With my head much improved we enjoyed a lovely Sunday breakfast before packing up and heading out.  I washed all of the dishes and cleaned up the place while the girls rolled up their sleeping bags and gathered up dirty clothes in a bag.  My youngest took out the trash while the oldest helped me finish up.

Log cabins to rent at the RV park

Working together it only took us about 30 minutes to get Laverne ready to hit the road which included dumping and flushing the holding tanks as well as rolling up the water and electric lines.  We pulled out at 10:30 and were home by noon.

Pretty snowball bushes
Our old habits from our days with our Scamp apparently haven't left us.  Once home we unloaded the bag of laundry, emptied out the fridge and I vacuumed Laverne from one end to the other while the girls put the food away in the house.  The motorhome  is ready to hit the road once again whenever we are.  Just like we did with our Scamp we are travel ready whenever the urge strikes, which is one of the reasons I really like having an RV.

So I consider our maiden voyage a whopping success with the only headache being the one in my head.  Everything else went as well as we could have hoped for.  Now, whereto next?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Christmas Prep 2017 - Only 7 Months To Go!

As crazy as it sounds five months have passed since we celebrated Christmas.  It blows me away at how fast time seems to be going.  My girls are out of school next week!  That, to me, is even crazier!

I only managed to shop once for Christmas and I did absolutely nothing else to get ready.  What I did do, however, was pretty spectacular if I do say so myself.  I used a $10 OFF a $10 Purchase coupon at JC Penney and picked up two workout tops for my girls that were on sale for $5 each.  I walked out of there for FREE!  They didn't even charge me sales tax!

I did manage to come up with a couple more gift ideas to add to my list, but other than that that's it.  Pretty much sums it up for me.  How about you?  Did you do anything to get ready for Christmas?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Poor Man's "Egg McMuffin"

I love egg sandwiches.  Breakfast, lunch or dinner.  A quick and satisfying meal that is easy on the pocket.  But I don't need to head to a fast food restaurant to get my egg sandwiches.  I make them at home and for a fraction of the cost too.

All I need is a package of English muffins, eggs, cheese and some ham, bacon or sausage.  Most of the time I make mine without meat which is even thriftier but a slice of ham or a sausage patty every once in awhile is nice.  Bacon strips are really good.

In the time it takes to toast the muffin I can prepare everything else so I start that first.  While the muffin is in the toaster I use a cast iron skillet and a little pan spray to cook the meat and an egg.  I like to break the yolk and then turn it so it cooks on both sides.  The I remove the pan from the heat and lay a thin slice of cheese on top of the egg.

Once the toaster pops up I lay the ham on one half of the muffin, lay the fried egg with cheese on top of that and then top it with the other muffin half.  It is that simple.  And delicious!

Bakery outlet haul

Purchase your meat, eggs, cheese and muffins on sale or better yet on markdown and you can make a lot of these very inexpensively.  This is just one of the ways I feed myself and my family tasty and nutritious food on a budget.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Chicken Feeder Improvement

There was an obvious design flaw with our chicken feeder.  The hens could easily tip it over and spill out the pellets, which they have done and often.  Lately it has seemed like they are going through more feed than usual and there has been plenty on the ground.  Normally not an issue as chickens enjoy scratching in the dirt and pecking at their food, however with all the moisture we've had lately I do think it was dissolving and getting wasted.

After a bit of thought I decided the best thing to do to rectify this situation would be to build something to place the feeder in that would hold it and protect it from being tipped by the hens. 

I used three fence board ends leftover from our fencing project several years ago to build a rectangle frame.  I used screws from my can of miscellaneous screws to hold it together.

Then I cut a piece of 1" X 2" I had in my scrap wood bin to make a pair of feet to stabilize the box and keep it from tipping.  The feet also provide a way for the galvanized feeder to rest so it won't fall through.

It has been more than a week now and so far no food waste or mess in the coop.  The hens seem to appreciate their newly improved feeder too.  They've laid a lot of eggs ever since. 

Did I mention that this thrifty little project cost me exactly zero dollars and zero pennies? 😁

Monday, May 22, 2017

Last Week's Thrifty Moves

My Mother's Day was delightful and I hope all of you mothers out there enjoyed a very special day as well.  Much to no one's great surprised I spent the majority of my day doing some small Laverne projects.  Mostly I cleaned out and spruced up the outside storage areas.  I also revamped our chicken feeder.  I'll share more about what I did to it tomorrow.  I think it deserves its own post.

Tuesday evening we had a tremendous storm come through.  Thunder, lightning, wind and hail followed by a torrential downpour that thoroughly soaked everything.  It was incredible and it left an incredible mess for us to clean up the next day.  The temperatures dropped that night and when I went out to go to work the next morning everything was coated in a layer of ice.  It has been a super crazy winter and spring for us weatherwise this year.

We worked on eating from our freezers and pantry quite a bit throughout the week.  I did stop into Albertsons to take advantage of some loss leader items that were very well priced.  I also found some turkey sausage on markdown.  I think the sausage filled in the spaces I made in the freezer so not much progress made there - ha, ha.

Friday I left work early to take my youngest to an orthodontic appointment.  We got home shortly after 3:00 and started throwing some stuff together, grabbed food out of the house and climbed into Laverne for a quick weekend getaway.  I'll be posting more about our little trip later in the week.

I received my free energy savings kit from the power company.  It was full of light bulbs and lots of other fun goodies to try out.  I am really glad my coworker told me about it so I could order it.

I used a digital coupon worth $5 OFF a $25 purchase when I did my shopping at Albertsons.

I rinsed out the laundry detergent bottle and had enough soap to wash an extra load of clothes.

I shopped the house to fill up the pantry and refrigerator in the motorhome.

I used my Fred Meyer rewards points to save me 10¢ a gallon and fueled up the motorhome.

We gave the chickens our kitchen scraps and some stale bread.  They gave us plenty of delicious eggs for us to enjoy throughout the week.

Not much more to report.  How was your thrifty week?

Friday, May 19, 2017

What We've Been Eating Lately - #3

I thought I'd share with you some of what we have been eating lately as it has been about a month.  Most of what we have been eating is homemade from scratch.  We had a few days when the girls and I indulged in some highly processed pre-prepared frozen foods like pizza, corn dogs, fish sticks and chicken nuggets.  I had turned some of the cooking and menu planning over to them along with a little cash from our dining out budget to use one weekend while I worked on the new motorhome, but they soon discovered it wasn't all that tasty.  Much to my surprise they made homemade macaroni and cheese and spaghetti that weekend too.  I am glad all my encouragement to eat healthy all these years didn't completely fly out the window in just one weekend.

On to the food!  The real food.

Whole wheat cheese quesadilla, salsa, sour cream and avocado

Egg & cheese sandwich

Fish sandwich

Pasta with meat sauce

Lots of fresh salads
Lots of delicious veggies

Lots of fresh fruit
Cheddar & vegetarian chili filled omelet topped with salsa

Lots of reheated leftovers from our freezer
Vegetable lasagna in the foil plus shredded pork, soup and chicken verde

Scrambled eggs, muffins, fruit salad 

Cereal & a sliced banana

Beef tips & gravy, sauteed green beans

So not too bad, despite all of the school activities and projects we had going on around here.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Motorhome Storage - The Microwave Cabinet

In the past few weeks I have spent a fair amount of time working on the cabinets in the motorhome, inside and out.  For anyone who has had an RV or lived in a tiny house or apartment knows that good, well structured storage space is really important.

Two things became paramount to me when it came to storage in the motorhome.  One is safely storing items so things wouldn't become broken in transit or end up falling on my feet whenever I opened the cupboards.  The second was having a clean and well organized space.

I started by vacuuming and then washing out the insides of the cabinets with hot soapy water, simple enough.  Then I got busy with rebuilding (squeal - I love building!).  I quickly realized that some of the cabinets had had their shelves removed, for whatever reason, and were long gone.  Newer RVs don't have those shelves to begin with, why would you take those out?  I knew right away I wanted those shelves re-installed so I wouldn't have any wasted space.  The first place I started was with the microwave cabinet.

I removed the monster sized microwave which was extremely heavy and pretty much took up the entire space necessitating the removal of one of the original shelves at some time.  The original shelf was nowhere to be found but I did find the cleats for that shelf under one of the dinette seats.  All I needed to do was re-install the cleats and build a new shelf.

I decided I should build one with a lip all the way around to help keep things from falling off and with a space in the back to allow not only for the microwave cord, but also adequate air flow when the microwave was in use.  Amazingly, I found I had everything I needed to build said shelf in my garage.

I found a nice thick piece of plywood in my scrap wood stash that was leftover after cutting the boards to fit the windows when the A/C units are in.  It was the perfect size I needed too, I didn't need to cut it at all.  I added flat trim pieces I cut to length to the back and sides along the edges attaching them with a little construction adhesive and some finish nails.  I then cut a decorative trim piece to go across the front.  After a dry fit I painted the cleats and the new shelf a pretty chocolate brown color (Rustoleum spray paint + primer - Kona Brown - $3.87) and once everything was dry I screwed the cleats back inside the cabinet with some drywall screws and set the shelf in place.

I left the cabinet alone for 24 hours to make sure the paint cured before lining the bottom of the cabinet and the new shelf with rubber gripper shelf liner.  Then I put the new microwave (Amazon - $50) in place and plugged it into the wall outlet inside the cabinet.

The space beside the microwave holds my little collection of vintage cookbooks, some salt and pepper shakers and such.  The shelf above holds a mixing bowl, measuring cups & spoons, and an assortment of plastic food storage containers.  I love it!

Once this cabinet was completed I decided to make my way around the motorhome one cabinet at a time.  So stay tuned to see how I revamped the rest of the cupboards, a pantry and even a clothes closet!  So much fun!!

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