Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween! Do You Want To Make A Snowman?

I know it's Halloween but we're talking Christmas right now!!  And I am super excited to share with you what we made this past weekend.

We were back at it Saturday morning crafting away on the second part of our Christmas projects.  We made the cutest little snowmen out of toddler size socks and more rice.  Pretty much the same concept as the ones we made last Sunday out of gloves.

You simply cut the sock straight across at the heel and fill her up with rice as full as you can.  These definitely use more rice than the miniature ones.  I bought a five pound bag and it was plenty to make at least dozen snowmen.  Tie it off with a rubber band at the top. 

Then add another band about 1/3 down and shape your snowman.  Trim the top fairly close to the band and then smear it with a good dollop of craft glue.  This will not only secure the sock full of rice but also the hat you'll put on his head.

Then you get to embellish him, or her.  I used more colorful toddler socks to make their hats and scarves.  You can get two sets of hats and scarves from just one sock so you don't need to buy as many of those.

The had is a toe of a sock and his scarf was trimmed from
the palm of a black glove I had left from making the mini penguins

I used orange craft foam to cut out the carrot noses and a hole punch to cut out the eyes.  Since I didn't have black craft foam I used a marker and colored them.  A Q-tip and some blush for cheeks.

I added buttons that I already had on the tummies and little bells and snowflake embellishments I'd picked up at Dollar Tree.  The candy canes were made by twisting a red and a white pipe cleaner together.  I also had a bag of assorted colored pom poms to add to their hats.

My friends and family are going to absolutely love these little darlings.  So stinkin' cute!!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Last Week's Thrifty Moves

Like the week before this last one sped right on by.  October has a tendency to be our busiest month by far.  It is full of activities right up to Halloween, including the huge push this past week leading up to the big district wide band competition on Saturday, which I love!  Plus the high school football team made it into the play offs so we had an extra game Thursday night to add to the mix.  Friday my youngest had a Halloween dance at her school.  So yeah, it was a little crazy around here.

Sunday we headed out early to pick up groceries as it turned out to be the only day for that to happen.  I didn't get much, mainly some produce and a few items to round out the weekly menu plan.  To save some money I made some slight alterations in order to use items we already had and it worked out just fine as you will see when I update you all on that.

We spent an entire afternoon and into the evening, all three of us girls, sitting around our extra folding table in the living doing Christmas crafts.  It went so well the girls decided to make more and we stopped at Walmart to pick up more gloves, felt and glue sticks Monday night after band practice.

Tuesday afternoon I popped into Dollar Tree to see if they had any new Christmas craft supplies and they did!  I picked up snowflake embellishments, bells, a package of glitter glue, another pair of red fuzzy gloves and a pair of red fuzzy socks.  I had earmarked $25 for craft supplies this year and so far I'm staying within my little budget.

While at the dollar store I also picked up a package of Christmas cards since my printer is beginning to show its age and I probably won't be making my own this year like I had originally planned.  The ones I picked out are fairly nice so I'm okay with it even though I'd much prefer to make my own.

Wednesday evening I redeemed all of my accumulated rewards points on my credit card for gift cards.  A Red Robin card to take my girls out to lunch, Home Depot for Laverne supplies and Dillards for clothing when they have their big clearance sale at the end of January.  I still have some gift cards in my stash to use and I'm going to make a point of doing just that.

Thursday was the football game and Friday the Halloween Dance.  We dropped off the youngest and her friend first and then the oldest and I headed off on our "date".  We had a coupon for one our favorite restauants so it only ended up costing $13 for dinner.  Afterward we went to Winco to do our grocery shopping for the week ahead.  We took our time so we could pick up the girls from  the dance on the way home and save an extra trip.

Here is a hint!

Saturday morning we did more Christmas crafts and you're going to want to check back tomorrow to see what we made.  More cuteness!!!

Saturday evening was the band competition.  I had bought my tickets ahead and saved $2 plus the band got a share of the proceeds that way.  We ate a late lunch just before we left to save on concessions as they are extremely expensive at the stadium.  Don't tell anyone but I also snuck in a couple of water bottles too.  It really bothers me how much they charge for a small bottle of water.  They should be ashamed of themselves.

I'm such a proud mama!!!

We ground up the rest of the ham I had cooked to make Ham Salad.  I put up two containers of ground ham in the freezer to use later and whipped up a nice size bowl, or at least I thought it was, of Ham Salad.  My girls seriously love this stuff and it was gone in two days. (sigh)  I didn't even get to take a picture of it before they were diving right in.  Good think I had my fingers out of the way.

We also did the other usual thrifty things too.  I washed out a two gallon Ziploc bag to reuse.  We gave the chickens lots of kitchen scraps.  The neighbors let us use their compost bins again this week to fill up with branches and set at the curb.  And that was that.

How was your thrifty week?

Friday, October 27, 2017

"Bedroom" Remodel

My latest project to do in the motorhome was to upgrade the upper bunk over the cab.  I managed to get the majority of it done before the weather changed so I thought I'd share with you what I have completed so far.  I plan to finish it up in the spring.

All RVs leak and at one time so did Laverne.  Fortunately the damage was relatively minor.  The previous two owners had repaired the roof and fixed those leaks, replaced the ceiling and most of the damage those leaks had created.  What remains is more hidden and superficial.

Narrow storage areas located on each side

The upper bunk had water damage in the front two corners, which is very common, and that is what I needed to repair.  None of the damage was structural, but it needed to be addressed.  The cushions that formed the bed were 30 years old.  The upholstery was starting to degrade as was the foam inside.  I removed the cushions and the storage dividers at the head and foot of the bed and then I got to work.

Passenger side

Driver's side - where the most damage was

Anytime you start a project like this you worry that you will find more damage than you initially expect, but not so this time.  It was actually less and while it looked bad once the demolition was completed it really wasn't.  I spend about an hour and a half and got that part done and all cleaned up.  All I needed was a screwdriver, my 5 in 1 tool (love that thing), a small trash can and the vacuum cleaner.

This wood came from the FREE WOOD bin near my work

Here's a tip.  Don't sit in this.

It ain't pretty but it got the job done

The next morning I replaced the missing wood in the corners and prepared it for some filler to not just fill in the gaps, but add additional strength.  I used Bondo for that part of the project.  Once it was dry I then cut out and covered the entire surface with a sheet of 3/8" plywood.   I sanded the curved edge with my sander to round it over and attached it with construction adhesive and some 1 1/4" screws.

There was a small hole in the wall where one of the curtain rods had been attached as well as another spot that looked like someone had accidentally put their foot into it.  I patched the holes and caulked all of the seams and screw holes.  Then I taped everything off, primed the walls and gave it two coats of the same paint (Beach Sand) I used in the bathroom.

Taped up and ready for paint
Notice my little patch on the right - cardboard, cardstock & Modge Podge

Amazing how paint transforms!

Looking good!

Rather than replace the cushions I decided to simply add some low pile carpet.  I found exactly what I wanted in the chocolate brown (my accent color) at Lowes and they were very happy to cut me a 5 foot piece off of a huge roll.

In the midst of this project we had a few days of rain and cold weather but once that cleared and the sun was out I was back to work.  I used a plastic trowel to spread out a small container of carpet glue and got that carpet down.  The glue needs at least 60° in order to properly set so I was anxious to get it down.  I used staples to reinforce the curved edge so it won't peel up.

Nice, new and clean.  Very happy with how it turned out.

Come spring I plan to add the sliding piece that will cover the curved area and support the bed.  I'll add some nice trim pieces along the edges of the carpet and I may even put a little chair rail across the front under the window.  New insulated window coverings are also on the list.  I want to get a nice memory foam mattress to put up there and I'll add some storage as well.

So still plenty left to do, but once it is all done it will be a very nice and cozy place to sleep.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Meals We Prepped #10

We have just completed week 10!  How is that even possible?

We were so busy with our winter preparations I thought I might have to give up a week of meal prepping.  We didn't even make our usual Sunday dinner, we were so busy and by the time we finished up we were exhausted and ended up having quesadillas.

The more I thought about skipping it the more I didn't like it one bit.  Especially as our week ahead looked pretty daunting.  I had an hour and a half available on Monday right after work so I did it then.

Our Sunday dinner of Chicken Pot Pie became a quicker to prepare meal of Chicken and Bisuits that I made and served on Monday.  I diced up chicken and onions and got that going in a pan.  While that cooked I sliced up a sirloin steak I had thawed, more onions, some mushrooms and julienned a couple handfuls of baby carrots.  I put that into containers for the Broccoli Beef.  I also started a pot of rice.

I sliced up the rest of the container of mushrooms and put those into a bowl for the Mushroom Fettucine.  I put together two cups of water, a packet of chicken bouillon, a packet of chicken gravy and a teaspoon of dried parsley.  I added that to the chicken along with half a package of frozen peas and carrots and some leftover frozen corn.  I whisked two tablespoons of cornstarch into a cup of milk and added that to the simmering chicken and vegetables.

After a quick clean up I had to go pick up the girls at their schools.  When I got home I poured the chicken mixture into a lightly oiled baking dish.  I made a batch of biscuits and placed them on top of that and baked them for 20 minutes at 400°.  While that baked I put together a salad from a bag of mixed greens and a diced tomato.

Sunday - The girls made cheese quesadillas and we called it good.

Monday - Chicken & Biscuits and a green salad

Tuesday - I sautéed the sliced steak in some oil with the onions, carrots and mushrooms.  Then I whisked a packet of brown gravy and some soy sauce into two cups of water and added that with a 160z. package of broccoli cuts.  While that simmered a bit I reheated the rice in the microwave.  Lastly I stirred two tablespoons of cornstarch into a little bit of water and added that to thicken up the gravy.  Dinner was served in a bout 20 minutes.

Wednesday - I cooked up some pasta and then drained that into a colander.  In the pasta pot I heated up some oil, sauteed the mushrooms with garlic and dried basil, then added a pint of cream and 1/4 cup of grated parmesan.  I tossed the noodles in the sauce and served that up with leftover salad.

Thursday - We were all in the mood for hamburgers so I made three patties from ground beef I had thawed and those cooked while we baked curly fries in the little convection oven.  I set out some sliced tomato, onion, dill pickle, lettuce leaves and condiments.  Boy, were those good.

My girls love fettucine!

Friday - The youngest went to a friend's house for a sleepover.  The oldest and I pulled leftovers out of the refrigerator and enjoyed a bit of a buffet for supper.

Saturday - Saturday I spent the afternoon playing pinochle with my girlfriends until past 6:00.  It is always a food fest so I knew I wouldn't need to make supper.  I had picked up a salad kit I'd found on markdown so I put that together to take along and contribute.  Super quick and easy and it tasted really good too!

So even with a bumpy start to the week it still worked out just fine.  I just tweaked a few things and we were off and running.  The Shrimp Scampi didn't get made so we'll just save that for another day. 

I'm glad it still works, even if our schedule interferes with myplans.  Anybody else meal prepping or meal planning?

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