Thursday, October 17, 2019

Winter Ready

I feel adequately ready to embrace the coming winter.  Nothing reminds me of how blessed I truly am than to be winter ready.  Our pantry, our chest freezer in the garage and the freezer in our kitchen are very full at the moment.  I've even got almost all I need for Thanksgiving and Christmas meals and well into the New Year.  We will definitely not go hungry.

Our garage is well supplied with pet and chicken feed and all the supplies they should need.  We have plenty of propane and other fuel sources should the power go out for any length of time.  There is a new bag of briquettes in case we need or want to grill outside too.

The coop has been cleaned and fresh bedding added so the girls will be snug and warm.  We employ the deep bedding method in our coop so it stays dry and produces its own heat.  There is also a heater in there should the temperatures dip into the single digits and they need to be warmer.

I picked up these items on sale super cheap for Christmas baking

We have plenty of warm weather clothing, boots, coats, hats and gloves.  Fuzzy socks and warm winter pajamas as well as robes and slippers.  We've added our winter blankets to our beds as well so we are ready to sleep through some chilly nights, which we've had quite a few of already.

There are plenty of toiletries, medicines, tissues and toilet paper, laundry and cleaning supplies as well as candles, batteries and matches stocked in the house.  I don't expect to need to purchase anything until the spring.  I think the only thing that would compel me to do so any sooner would be a really good sale and some coupons.

Our vehicles are winter ready as well.  Both my car and the truck have good tires and batteries.  They've had their preventive maintenance and all the fluids have been topped up.  I'd like to replace the wiper blades on my car soon and will add snow chains and our jumper cables to the truck so we have them should they be needed.  Both vehicles have ice scrapers and plenty of anti freeze in the radiator.

Snowmaggedon 2017

Our snow shovel is beginning to show its age so I've got it on my list to get a replacement this year.  There is a new bag of ice melt as well as a partial bag so we are good to go there.  In the meantime, before the snow flies, we are doing our best to keep up on raking the falling leaves and keep things tidy.  The hoses and sprinklers have been drained and put up and I've pulled up all the spent flowers and plants from our planters on the porch.  I usually have flowers until Thanksgiving, however not this year as we've already had some good hard freezes.

Warm bedding helps us sleep well when the temperatures dip

Knowing we have much of what we need takes a load off of my mind and frees up my money to go toward the higher electric bills we will have.  This year we are about a month early on using our heat so I am expecting the higher electric bills to start arriving next month through March or April.  Our coldest month is typically January with our highest bill arriving at the first of February.  This year we may see some of those cold temperatures much earlier.  It is hard to say, but I am prepared for it.

I sure hope we don't see snow like this again anytime soon

Are you prepared for winter?  What are some of the things you do to get ready?

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Crocktober Meal Prep #3

Once again I gave my slow cookers a workout over the weekend.  I put a big pot of chili in my largest slow cooker and let it go on high for about four hours.  In my smallest one I placed some red kidney beans in it to cook on high for four hours as well.  Since my youngest doesn't like beans and I'm not supposed to eat them I prepared them on the side so I could add them to my oldest daughter's chili.

Dried bean cook up really nice in the slow cooker

After we had eaten dinner, topping our chili with some grated sharp cheddar, I put up two containers of beans and two containers of chili with beans for my oldest daughter who is away at college.  I will add some of these to her next care package I take to her and she can reheat them in her dorm room for a quick supper.

Fall weather just calls for chili 

The next day I took a large container of the shredded pork I made in my first Crocktober Meal Prep out of the freezer and added green chile sauce to it.  I let it cook for a few hours to make pork verde.  I made some rice for my daughter and we enjoyed the pork verde with some sour cream on top.  We also like it with tortillas.

Shredded pork from the freezer, a chopped onion and some green enchilada sauce

The last thing I made on the stove top was some Coconut Curry Soup although this does wonderfully in a slow cooker as well.  Whenever I am cold or in my case right now I have a cold this is my favorite go-to soup.  Just the right amount of spice and heat to make me feel much better.  And it is really delicious.

Coconut Curry Soup

More than enough food to hold us throughout the week I think with plenty to add to the freezer as well.  I like having a little stockpile of quick and easy thaw and reheat options in the freezer and I think Crocktober is going to help me make that happen.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

2020 Goal Planning Starts Now

As we are in the beginning of the final three months of the year (yes we really are!) I like to take the time to review my goals for 2019 and begin to plan for 2020.  Not all of my goals for this year have been met and some won't be, but I won't despair about that.  This is the time to reevaluate and tweak things to see if that goal is still relevant and if so, how I can get it accomplished by year end or if it should become a 2020 goal.

Goals need to be reasonable in order to be accomplished.  Life happens and that has to be factored in.  You can't plan for everything so you need to be flexible.  That holds true when it comes to my goals as well.  I have to be flexible in order to be more successful.  And sometimes I have to realize that some of the goals I set and the timelines may not be reasonable or in fact, no longer relevant.

Every year I draft a list of goals I would like to achieve.  I have a list of short term goals, 2 year goals, 5 year goals and a Wish List of goals that would be nice, but not the most important.  Then I prioritize and rationalize these goals.  Are they realistic?  Attainable?  How will they benefit me?  Are they important?  Will it matter and why?  All really good questions to ask yourself when you set goals.

I then do a final copy of my goals and I print it out on a sheet of paper to carry with me in my day planner.  I review it daily and as goals are accomplished I check them off the list.  Each year I review that list and rethink it as I prepare my goals for the coming year.

By starting now I have plenty of time to prioritize the goals I still want to achieve this year.  I also have plenty of time to plan ahead for next year.  I find by starting now I don't feel the pressure to "come up with something" by year end.  My goals are thought out and planned, well in advance.  When the end of the year arrives there is no pressure to get planning and when the new year begins I've already got a plan in place.  It is never too soon to get started.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Last Week's Thrifty Moves

Sunday was a busy day for me.  First thing was to pick up a "new" to us piece of furniture off of Facebook Marketplace.  I'm not going to tell you what I found yet because you have to know there is a project planned for it and I'm super excited about it too.  What I will tell you is that I only spent $20 and I couldn't be any happier about that.

Once we arrived home from picking up the furniture piece I headed off to Winco to finish up my winter stock up list.  I found pretty much everything I wanted to add to our pantry and stocked up on frozen veggies.  Our chest freezer is stuffed with every nook and cranny filled and our kitchen freezer is pretty full too.  The pantry has only a few gaps in it which I plan to fill in soon, but I am pretty happy with where we are at as far as groceries, toiletries and cleaning supplies go right now.

I got the doorknobs painted on Sunday afternoon and over the course of a few days got them all installed on the new doors in our upstairs hallway.  I love how they turned out and even more that I can officially mark this home improvement project as finished.  And even more than that these door knobs cost me $0!

Wednesday I left work early after only eight hours and took my youngest in to be fit with her new retainer.  We stopped in at Wal-Mart on the way home to get a few items and then I was able to pop in for a quick haircut at my salon, they had room for me, and get a much needed trim.  I cannot believe it had been almost a year since my last visit.  Time flies way too fast!  We were home by 6:00, ate some reheated leftovers for supper and I did a load of laundry and relaxed while my daughter did her homework.

So happy these are done! 😤

The weather really started to turn cold on Wednesday with record lows predicted for Thursday so much to my displeasure I turned on the main heat in the house.  A total month early!  We didn't even get fall!  We went from hot to cold with no in between so the higher electric bills will be starting up much sooner than usual for us.  I figured with the chickens molting in August we were likely in for an early winter.

I picked these up for a project I have in mind

Thursday morning we awoke to our first official frost at 27° and it was very cold outside.  Definitely not typical for us this time of year.  But we were warm and cozy inside our lovely little home so for that I have no complaints at all.

I added a few more cans of cat food and some treats to our winter stash

By Friday I was planning a productive weekend when I felt the beginnings of a head cold taking hold of me.  By the time I left work I was pretty much coming to terms with the fact that I was sick.  Sidelined by a cold is definitely not how I wanted to spend my weekend but that is pretty much how it ended up.  I snuggled in my jammies and a warm blanket with both kitties and made the best of it.  Plenty of rest, fluids and tissues while watching Vampire Diaries with my daughter.  Not the worst day I've ever had.

Egg Roll In A Bowl for dinner

I worked a lot of overtime last week.  I cannot believe the workload we have going on right now, but I'm very grateful to have the opportunity to earn some extra money.  With all the overtime I've been earning we've managed to get quite a bit accomplished and saved.  I decided, with that in mind, to bump up my 401(k) contribution up a percentage point and funnel some of those extra earnings in that direction as well.

I mended a hole in one of my socks

We enjoyed several golden delicious apples that we picked from our tree.  Nothing quite like enjoying food you've grown yourself.  Almost makes me think about giving it another try next spring at a garden.  Not sure if that is wise or not.

Investment cooking = pear butter to give as Christmas gifts and homemade chili.  I made extra chili so I could put some into the freezer for my college student.

Pear butter for Christmas

Some of the 15 Minute Chores I accomplished to keep my home in order:

Laundry Room & Half Bathroom - Wiped down the bathroom cabinets.  Daily swish & swipe.

Dining Room - vacuumed floor.

Kitchen -  tidied up the drawer of pans under the stove, vacuumed & spot mopped the floor, scrubbed trash can, cleaned the K cup coffee maker.

Bedrooms & Main Bathroom - vacuumed & dusted.  Scrubbed tub & toilet in the bathroom, washed bath mat.  Daily swish & swipe.

Other - three loads of laundry, vacuumed & dusted living room, hallway & entry.  Swept front porch & garage.

This gift card arrived in the mail Friday
My rebate on my Labor Day paint purchase

How was your thrifty week?

Friday, October 11, 2019

Doing It Myself & Saving My $$

I'm sure you've gathered by now I'm a wee bit of a "do-it-yourselfer".  My DIY skills have been challenged and honed quite a bit over the years and I've amassed quite a few abilities I would've never dreamed possible.  I love to do projects.  My mind is always whirling with the next great thing I could do.  My aunt teases me that as soon as I run out of projects around here I'll probably sell and go buy something else so I have plenty to work on.  She is probably right about that, although right now it is hard to imagine running out of things to do around here.

You can learn to do anything

I prefer to do things myself for a number of reasons.  I like that things get done on my schedule, instead of someone else's and they get done the way I want them done instead of someone else's way.  I get to decide the quality of the workmanship as well as the material used in my projects as well.  Quality is important to me.  The work turns out better and holds up.

Electrical work isn't as difficult as you might think

I am constantly watching and reading about how to do things, especially if it is something I've never done before.  Things change and there are better ways of doing things so I like to keep up on that as well.  It never hurts to learn and so I am always learning.  Youtube and the internet have become invaluable resources for me as well as all the books at our local library.  You can pretty much learn to do anything.

You can learn to set tile

Becoming capable and self sufficient has been really empowering.  For a woman who hasn't always been so self assured becoming a "do-it-yourselfer" has helped me become a better person as well as much more confident.  There is nothing that boosts one's self esteem quite as much as a well completed project, no matter what it is.

You can learn about plumbing

As a modest single income family doing things myself has enabled us to get a lot more done as we are able to really stretch those dollars instead of having to pay someone else to do it for us.  We have so much more than we otherwise would have as a result.

Home Sweet Home

Patience plays a big part for me as well.  Saving up the money (or the rewards points to cash in for gift cards to Home Depot) for a project takes time.  Learning to do something new and putting it into practice takes time and patience too.  But in the end it is all worth it.  Knowledge and skills are powerful tools to have.  I'll keep learning and putting my skill set to good use.  In the process I'll build a better life and save a lot of money doing it.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Another Small Home Improvement Project - Door Knobs!

We got a sunny and warmer day last weekend so I took advantage of it and got busy.  I scrubbed up the forty year old doorknobs I'd removed from the old doors we used to have upstairs and they were looking pretty shabby.

Old becomes new again

40 years takes its toll

Once they had thoroughly dried I cut some Xs into a cardboard box and put the door knobs into those so they all stood upright.  I stuck the screws into another box I had used before for this very thing so I could paint them too.

Shiny and new!

Three coats of Aluminum Metallic (by Rustoleum) spray paint later and they were looking much, much better.  Good as new I'd say.  Because it was a bit chilly I carried the box inside to the garage where they sat for a few days so the paint could dry thoroughly and cure.

Then it was time to install them and I think they turned out fantastic.  Painting the doorknobs, screw heads and all the hardware was a great idea.  It saved them from going to the landfill and save me some $$ in the process.  I already had the paint so no special trip to the hardware store was needed.  Definitely a thrifty upgrade.

What do you think?  Worth saving?

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Crocktober Meal Prep #2

I had all three slow cookers going this time.  First I put four chicken breasts into my medium sized cooker along with a small can of red enchilada sauce and a block of cream cheese and let that cook on high for four hours.  I shredded that up with a fork and stirred it all together for a creamy chicken enchilada filling that would work well in a casserole with tortillas and cheese.  We eat it on a bed of shredded lettuce topped with some shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream.  Wonderful!

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

Pears from our tree

I diced up pears from our tree to make a batch of pear butter to give as Christmas gifts to my co-workers this year.  I used my masher to make the pears saucy and added a large jar of applesauce I had in the pantry that no one was eating as well as cinnamon, allspice, cloves and ginger.  A few cups of sugar and I let that continue to cook until it thickened.  Then I spooned it into some jelly jars and water bath canned it.

Melting spent candle wax in the slow cooker

In my largest slow cooker I put a cup of water and some spent candle jars so I could melt the leftover wax in them.  I kept similar scented candles together and combined the wax.  I was able to make two more candles out of the leftover wax for us to light and enjoy.

Egg Roll In A Bowl

My last meal prep was to brown up some ground meat and combine it with three bags of coleslaw mix and a bunch of sliced green onions to make egg roll in a bowl.  This one I did in my wok and we enjoyed it for supper as well as a couple lunches throughout the week.

Making a candle

Pear butter

I'm definitely giving my slow cookers a workout this month.  How about you?  Any great meals prepared in a slow cooker lately?

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