Friday, July 21, 2017

What's With All The Haters?

I don't know how much time you spend on Facebook or Youtube, but have you ever noticed the some of the comments people will leave?  Downright mean.  And not just a snide comment here or there, but tear you down, chew you up and spit you out.  What inspires people to want to post nasty comments on a public forum like that?

I used to follow the Food Network 's page on Facebook.  I'm always looking for meal ideas and while I no longer have access to that channel since we gave up satellite I thought this would be an excellent alternative.  But the onslaught of hateful comments made it so unpleasant, despite my best efforts to ignore them, that I decided to unsubscribe.  Sad, really.

But the people that rip into bloggers and vloggers really bothers me the most.  I know how hard it can be to put yourself out there in the first place and how much work goes into posting blogs.  And I'd imagine video blogs are ten times that much work plus the vlogger has the expense of cameras and drones and editing software.

So for someone to rip apart and demean someone else after that much effort and hard work really floors me.  Why?  Are you truly that miserable and insensitive?  And there are a lot of them out there posting these cruel remarks.

I'm a firm believer in that if you have nothing nice to say, then keep your mouth shut.  If you can't be positive, then go away.  If you don't like someone's content then don't read or view it and move on.  And if you disagree, it is okay to keep your opinions to yourself.

When did kindness and courtesy become the exception and not the norm?  Don't even get me started on good manners and class.

P.S.  I love my readers.  They are positively the nicest, classiest, well mannered, kind people out there.  Thank you!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

How I Plan To Power This Girl Up

When I bought Laverne the generator was long gone, which was really no surprise to me.  She's thirty years old, after all.  It probably broke down or was sold, who knows?  The generator compartment was being used as storage for the old sewer hose and some junk, which came with her at no additional charge.  I cleared all that out and decided to revamp it inside to make a better and much cleaner storage area.

Some of you have inquired as to what my plans are for various things, including the generator.  Can I just tell you it thrills me to death how much interest you all seem to have in Laverne, my plans with her and the improvement projects I've been doing?  I love sharing all of this with you and I am so happy you enjoy hearing about it.

I like simple systems.  Things that are easy enough to work on and maintain as well as to use work really well for me.  On board generators are great and if Laverne still had hers I'd work with it, but since she doesn't I have no desire to seek out a replacement.  They are expensive and have to be hooked up to the motorhomes's engine fuel system.  I've heard of people running their generators so much they didn't have enough fuel to make it back to town and I don't want to have worry about that.  Instead I'll be outfitting her with a portable generator and a gas can.

Whenever I'm boondocking or dry camping, whichever you prefer, I'll be able to use the generator to run the A/C or a vacuum cleaner, or even my sewing machine.  Laverne is very well equipped to run on 12 volt power and propane so I won't need much electricity, but if I want it, it would be nice to have.  So a smaller generator with enough guts to run the A/C will be all I'll need.  Laverne came with a receiver hitch and one possible scenario is to add a cargo tray to the back to hold a tool box, gas can and the generator.  I have a few ideas in my head and that is one of them.

I am not going to put in any type of elaborate solar setup.  I do not want to put solar panels on the roof and I don't want to give up precious cargo space to store a bank of batteries and all the equipment that is required to run everything.  I do have my eye on a Yeti generator with a portable solar panel that will work for charging electronics and run my little Crockpot or a toaster.  That is as elaborate as I want to get.

There is room in my current coach battery bay to add more deep cycle batteries and more than likely I will.  I believe I have enough room to add two more in there to extend my 12 volt systems to run longer between charges.  I can charge those batteries using the generator, shore power or by flipping a switch while the engine is running and I drive down the road.

My current plan will be to alternate between dry camping and RV parks.  I figure I'll be out in the wilds, so to speak, about a week at a time and then head to an RV park for some civilization, a long hot shower and to dump my holding tanks and refill with fresh water.  Then back out I'll go.

So that is the plan so far.  Always subject to change, of course.  You will just have to hang in there with me to see how it all turns out.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What We've Been Eating Lately #5

It has been really hot lately and that often means getting into the mood to cook, let alone eat, can be a little iffy.  But I think we managed it fairly well in spite of that.  I mean, much as we'd like to, we can't eat ice cream for dinner every night, right?

Grilled chicken & avocado sandwich
on homemade whole wheat bread

Sliced turkey sandwich

My daughters made pan pizzas

Black bean enchiladas ready for the oven

Chinese chicken salad

Veggie cheddar quiche

Teryaki sirloin steak & asian coleslaw

Vanilla ice cream & sliced strawberries

Blueberry muffins & coffee for breakfast

Shredded wheat with sliced banana & strawberries

Garlic shrimp & cabbage salad with artichoke hearts

My daughter's version of Mongolian noodles

Salmon & spinach salad

Sirloin steak & sauteed green beans

Mushroom & red pepper omelet

Egg salad on dill rye bread

Fruit salad

Oatmeal with dried fruit, sliced almonds & vanilla almond milk

Tomato & avocado sandwich with fruit salad

Salads and sandwich played a key role in a lot of our meals lately.  What are some of your go-to meals during the dog days of summer?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Spare Bed

We've had a lot of company this summer and I love it!  As many of you know our home is rather small so to accommodate overnight guests we have to get a bit creative.  Lately, my oldest has been graciously giving up her room to our guests while bunking with little sister and it is working out quite well.

I decided big sister needed a better sleeping set up than her sleeping bag and camp pad on the floor so I perused my options.  A foam mattress that would roll up or a roll-a-way bed were both high on the list, however storing them seemed problematic.  We really don't have much space available for that.

In the end I opted for a twin air bed with a built in pump.  This one was on Amazon for about $30 and had great ratings.  I had spent a lot more money on a full sized bed several years ago and we got three good years of heavy use out of it.  In fact, that was what I slept on for a couple of months when we first moved back into our house.  I'm hoping this one lasts us awhile too, but if not I don't feel like I have made a huge investment.

My daughter says it is surprisingly comfortable.  We like that it inflates quickly and it sits higher off the ground than most making it easy to get on and off.  It fits regular sheets too.

The bed came with a carry tote for storage and when not in use deflates, folds up and tucks right inside.  We are able to keep it on a shelf in my youngest's bedroom closet and it takes up very little space.  Much better than trying to store a roll-a-way bed or even a foam mattress.

The girls have mentioned taking it with us next time we stay in a hotel.  Pretty good idea really.  All in all, air beds are not a bad way to go.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Last Week's Thrifty Moves

This week whizzed right on by.  Was it a quick one for you too?  Heck, the month is half way over already!

I went through my sewing stash and made a few small gifts.  One will be a stocking stuffer and another one is going to be part of a gift basket I made.

I mended a bra and a hole in one of my socks.  I stitched up the sock while it was on my foot!  No better time than the present.

We did our best to keep ahead of the heat by using the box fan at the back door in the early morning to bring in cool air and closing up the house and drawing the shades while the A/C ran during the hot afternoons and evenings.  So far, so good.  And it has bee HOT!

I baked homemade pizza in our convection oven in the garage so I didn't need to use the big oven and heat up the kitchen.  I am liking this set up more and more.

I downloaded a gob of digital coupons to both my Fred Meyer and Albertson's store rewards cards.

I made a list for back to school items we will need.  Mostly it is comprised of grocery items for school lunches and new lunch boxes.  It does not look like the girls will need much, if anything, in the way of shoes or clothing.  Yes!

My youngest needed a ride home from her book club at the public library Friday evening.  On the way to pick her up I made a quick stop in at the dollar store to pick up a few things on my list.  Since Trader Joe's is nearby too we picked her up and headed over there for my weekly shop.  I also picked up a few back to school and gift items while I was shopping.  I feel so accomplished.

I renewed my Tracfone cell phone service for the next three months for $30.  I used a promotional code I found online to add 60 additional minutes for talk or texting.  Usually I only spend $20 each time I renew service as I rarely use all of my minutes and I rollover quite a bit, however lately I've used my phone a lot so I wanted to stock up on some extra time.  Still, $30 for three months of cell phone service, not too shabby.

Saturday morning I finished up my regular shopping with a quick trip to Fred Meyer.  I had downloaded my Friday Freebie the day before so I had accumulated three items to pick up, but despite the fact that I had a list I forgot to grab up my freebies.  Oh well, next time.

The girls and I got busy and did some more work on the chicken coop.  I'll be putting up a post soon about what all we've been doing once we get this project finished up.  It's looking really good out there!

We composted egg shells, coffee grounds, banana peels, onion skins and chicken manure.  We also gave our kitchen scraps to the chickens.

Despite the hot weather the hens laid plenty of eggs and Saturday after we got done working on it they all four laid.  It is funny, but every time we work on the coop the girls make sure we know how much it is appreciated.

How was your thrifty week?

Friday, July 14, 2017

Personal Care While Camping

Okay ladies, I'm venturing into territory here I normally wouldn't but I think it's kind of important.  Especially if you enjoy camping, but find it kind of uncomfortable during a certain time of the month or for extended periods of time.

If you dry camp there won't be much, if anything, in the way of amenities depending on where you happen to be.  Most campgrounds have vault toilets while dispersed campgrounds have nothing.  You are either providing your own or crouching behind a bush.  And shower facilities, well you can pretty much forget about that notion.

I'm fine for a couple of days but any longer than that and I'm dreaming about a hot shower and fantasizing about bubble baths.  I admit it, I like to be clean as I'm sure you do too.  Baby wipes are great, but sometimes not quite enough.  So what is a girl to do?

Make yourself a peri-kit (harkening back to my days in the medical field here) to take with you.  A peri bottle is a soft sided bottle with a tip that you fill with water and squeeze to dispense it onto your girlie parts.  Most of you who have had babies will most likely recall using one of these.  You can get them at medical supply stores or online.  Or you can make your own.

I like the idea of making my own because you can make it any size you want.  An empty shampoo or conditioner bottle, all cleaned out, works perfectly and holds up to a quart of water.  Pair that with a dozen paper towels you've folded into quarters and a small bottle of mild liquid soap or feminine wash and you are good to go.  It's that simple.

Get yourself a little bag or you can even make one to keep everything in.  Add extra pads or tampons too.  A few empty ziploc bags tucked inside will be handy to put your trash inside for discreet disposal.

To use your kit fill the bottle with lukewarm water (remember it's a sensitive area down there so don't get it to hot), grab the rest of your stuff and head off to wherever you have some privacy.  The vault toilet, a luggable loo in a tent, or a large bush, wherever you are comfortable.  Wet one of the towels and put a little dollop of soap on it.  Then squirt some water on your nether regions and use the soapy towel to wash.  Rinse yourself off and use another towel to dry.  All done.

It is amazing what that little wash up will do for your psyche.  Puts a little spring in your step, it does.  Put on some clean undies and you're ready for the fancy dress ball, I tell ya.

Oh, and watch for bears.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

4th Of July Mini Projects

I  really love to tackle big projects and then mark them off my list, but I also find tackling a bunch of mini projects to be just as satisfying.  Our holiday was a bit fragmented with the 4th falling on a Tuesday this year and me working that Monday.  I decided knocking a bunch of smaller tasks off my "To Do" list might be the best thing for a week like this.

We started with a family project by making stars, which I've already shared with you.  We enjoyed that so much we picked up some more paint at Home Depot and plan to make a few more.

The youngest helped me mount the countertop extension in the motorhome.  We managed to get that puppy installed in about 20 minutes and it works like a charm.  I'm so happy with this and I love the Modge Podge vintage labels.  I am so glad I decided to do this rather than just leave it plain.

I added a new handle to the inside of the gate to make it easier to close.

And as I mentioned in a previous post I installed a handrail for our front porch which has been really nice for our company that came to visit.

When the previous owner had the new refrigerator installed it was just a bit longer than the original one.  This meant the cabinet door would no longer fit properly.  I found it in the storage bin underneath one of the dinette seats.  It had fallen apart so I planned to glue it back together and cut it down to fit.  A friend of mine is a cabinet builder and offered to do it for me.  He returned it to me a couple of weeks ago so I was excited to get it hung up.

The original hinges and hardware were missing, but I found hinges at Home Depot and amazingly enough I had a matching handle in my garage because for some crazy reason I had been compelled to buy a package of them while out thrift shopping.  With no idea what I would use them for it is so not like me to do something like that, but boy oh boy am I glad I did.

I hit is with some Restor-A-Finish first and got it all prettied up and one it was dry I put on the hinges and the new handle.  The oldest was on hand to help me hold the door in place while I marked the screw holes, predrilled them and got her hung up.  Then I added a new catch so it won't swing open while I'm driving down the road.

I haven't quite decided yet how I want to finish the inside of the cabinet.  Not sure whether to add a shelf or leave it open and use it for "canister" storage.  It is the perfect width for the half gallon size Mason jars so I could keep my flour, sugar, rice and some beans or pasta in there.  The back of the cabinet is the access panel to the fridge so whatever I decide to do needs to be removable.  I'm kind of leaning toward the canisters.

And I have a neat idea for keeping those glass jars safe for travel.  I can hardly wait to get going on that project and share it with all of you.

Lastly, I was able to fit in one other project which was to button up door to the old generator bay on the motorhome since I've turned it into my new area to store the sewer and water lines.  It is the perfect spot as it has an upper shelf for the water hose and the lower area holds the sewer line and connectors.  Plus neither one touches the other.

Notice the two wads of duct tape on the right side?

The only problem was the vent needed to be covered up so the compartment won't fill up with dirt when I drive down the road.  Since the door is curved I made a template out of cardboard I pulled out of our recycle bin.  I then traced it onto a piece of leftover luan I had in the garage and cut it out with my jigsaw.

After some sanding and a couple of coats of ivory spray paint (the same can I used to repaint the door to the hot water heater and the water inlet cover) I put it in place, drilled two pilot holes and then screwed in a couple of short screws with large heads on them.  I found those in my can of miscellaneous screws.  That can has been invaluable with all of these projects lately.

While waiting for the paint to dry I removed the duct tape from the previous owner and replaced the missing gasket along the inside of the door.  I used some I had leftover from our previous RV so I didn't have to order any new stuff.

I even painted the heads of the screws.  I'm anal that way. 😉

It was pretty much a week of finishing up unfinished projects, which I find very satisfying, and dodging the heat.  Summer has definitely arrived here!  Phew!

Sneak peak of another project in the works
Hmmmm, wonder who's getting new wheels?

The only additional expense I had on these projects was for couple sets of hinges.  One set for the cabinet door and another for the countertop extension.  And a handle for the gate.  Everything else I needed I already had on hand.  Yaay!

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