Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Small Home Improvement Project - Our Backyard Deck Part 2

The pergola is complete!  And we absolutely love it.  So happy to finally have this structure added onto our back deck.  It offers just the right amount of light filtering without making our living room dark at all.


We were able to get this project constructed over a period of four days, two of which were work days so just a couple hours available, but it really went together pretty quick.


We acquired our supplies and stained all of our wood on Saturday.  I even sprayed the brackets with black spray paint so they would blend in and not stick out like a sore thumb.  Speaking of which there were no sore thumbs due to this project.


I opted to use PVC lattice on top for a couple reasons.  Number one being that I did not relish the idea of staining wood lattice at all.  The other was for the look of it and the durability.


Once the pergola was complete we cleaned up our tools and construction mess and I moved our stored lumber and supplies.  Then we put the patio furniture back in place and we are enjoying it immensely.  I still have loads of ideas of more things to do out here, but for now I am just really happy with it.



Monday, June 29, 2020

Last Week's Thrifty Moves

My girls spoiled me Sunday with a very nice Father's Day gift and a handmade card.  It always makes me feel super special that they acknowledge me for playing both roles in their lives.  They gave me a six pack of Snapple, more for the bottles than what is inside, and a gift card to Home Depot with instructions to use it on Laverne.  Will do!


Here's a shot taken from my living room window

This week was all about our hectic work schedules while trying to build a pergola.  I have to admit the week seemed to fly right by as both of the girls and I ended up working a lot of hours at work.  We are grateful to be employed and even more grateful for the opportunity of overtime pay.  In spite of all the time spent working we still managed to complete our project and I will be sharing more about that in tomorrow's post.


My daughter found Keto hamburger buns!!

We kept our meals very basic and simple with hamburgers, hotdogs, sandwiches and my youngest made some gnocchi one evening.  Have I mentioned how thankful I am for Keto bread?  I was able to enjoy a quick and easy meal including a delicious burger.


Tuesday evening we loaded up my oldest daughter's refurbished table and the two chairs I found for her on Facebook Marketplace into the truck and we headed over to her new place and set it up in her kitchen.  It looks great and she is thrilled with it.  On the way back home we stopped in at Lowes to look at a few things for the pergola and ended up leaving without buying anything.  We decided we had exactly what we needed to build what we had planned originally so no need to change plans mid stream or spend additional money.


Late Wednesday night we had another earthquake measuring 4.8.  I slept right through it, but my youngest did not.  We've had quite a bit of that activity this year.  Yellowstone must be getting grumpy.  I was happy to see my Pergola was still standing so I must've done it right.


Steady progress

We kept our house cool by setting box fans in the upstairs windows and our back door to bring in cool air each morning and at night after the sun set.  We kept things pretty closed up in between with the shades drawn making it quite comfortable.


Last month I pulled up all the plastic lawn edging
 and started replacing it with rocks

We listed our old patio umbrella and stand on Facebook Marketplace for FREE.  It was gone in an hour.  We also listed an old window we had as well as some lawn edging I had pulled up in the backyard.  That worked our really well.


One of my very favorite helpers!

Saturday morning I was up early with no set plans for the day.  I wanted a weekend where I just did things I wanted to do instead of things I felt I had to do.  We began with a quick shopping trip to Cash & Carry and Winco.  My oldest wanted to do some grocery shopping and my youngest wanted to tag along.  It ended up being a nice morning spent with my girls.


Stella was my helper this time

When we got home I felt the need to play with my motorhome and that is exactly what I ended up doing until well past dark.  I finished the bedroom renovation and tackled another other project before heading outside to do some exterior work.  Needless to say I got far more done than I originally intended and I was just thrilled about it.  My plans for the outside of the  motorhome are coming to fruition and I am so excited about it.  I can't wait to show you what I have been doing.


Prepper Pantry
= Dehydrated green beans.  Vacuum sealed oatmeal packets, stuffing, hot chocolate packets.  Canned goods - pork & beans, green beans, olives, baking powder, tomato sauce, salt, ketchup.


Jack napping on the footrest of my recliner

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

Laundry Room & Half Bathroom - scrubbed sink, vacuumed & mopped floors.  Daily swish & swipe. 

Dining Room - vacuumed floor. 

Kitchen -  vacuumed floor, bleached the sink, cleaned range hood & stove. 

Bedrooms & Main Bathroom - vacuumed & dusted.  Scrubbed sink.  Daily swish & swipe. 

Other - two large loads of laundry, vacuumed & dusted living room, hallway & entry.  Swept front porch, deck & tidied the garage.


Lots of great projects on my list!

How was your thrifty week?


Friday, June 26, 2020

My Thrifty Grocery Budget 2020 - June

This month was a little bit different for me as far as my regular shopping.  As you know I've been really focusing on putting together a prepper pantry and using only extra cash I'm earning by working overtime hours to finance it.  That has been working very well and takes up most of my spare time too.


I found quite a few markdown items including some meat

This month I only needed to pick up fresh produce and dairy items as we are currently working off of our pantry and freezer items I put up last year.  I really want to make sure we use up the frozen meats and veggies so they don't succumb to any freezer burn.  Because of that I haven't needed to purchase much so I didn't bother to track it.  I gave myself $100 budget and when it was gone it was gone.  I still have about $40 left but no need to use it so I'll just hang onto it until I do.


In the meantime I've exhausted all of my extra cash on prepper pantry items so until next payday I'm done shopping for the time being.  I'm sure this isn't a terribly exciting post, but my grocery shopping this month hasn't been all that exciting lately.  We've been keeping our meals pretty simple and using up what we have to minimize any waste.  Not a bad position to be in at the moment so I'm feeling pretty grateful about that.


Small budget friendly hauls this month

How have you been fairing at the grocery store this month?  Any great sales?



Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Prepper Pantry - Supplies

I am trying to keep my prepping simple and thrifty.  I want to spend my money on the food more than what I'm storing it in, but I recognize that if I don't use quality items to do the storage I will have wasted my money on the food.  So finding good and economical sources for the supplies I need has really helped me keep my costs in check.


The first tool I began with was a vacuum sealer and a couple rolls of sealer bag material.  After shopping around online quite a bit I purchased both of these things from sellers on eBay at a significant savings and so far have not regretted that decision.  The vacuum sealer does its job and the bags are maintaining their seal.


I was able to use bags and paper bags I already had on hand to get myself started.  When I ran low I was able to pick up extras while they were on sale at our neighborhood grocery store.


I made my food and nutrition labels out of scrap copy paper, cutting them out and using packing tape to place them on the paper bags.  I also re used a lot of the original packaging whenever possible, sometimes copying it on my printer to make extra labels as needed.  A permanent marker and scissors also come in very handy.


The second thing I added was a dehydrator which I also purchased from eBay.  I watched a lot of Youtube videos on the subject beforehand to make sure this was something I wanted to do, which I quickly determined I did, and to see the various types of appliances people had.  I then shopped around online and ended up back at eBay and the dehydrator has been a great addition.


I use a lot of canning jars for food storage, especially my dehydrated foods.  I used mostly jars and lids I already had on hand and once I had a few extra dollars I invested in some oxygen absorbers.  I purchased a package of 100 of them from Amazon and add one to each pint and quart jar and two to a gallon jar.  So far my dehydrated foods seem to be doing very well.


Lastly I added an electric pressure canner.  Once again I watched a lot of Youtube videos on the subject and checked out what they were using before shopping around online and making my decision.  This was the most expensive addition and I found it on Amazon.  I've used it several times already and I'm sure it will see a lot of action in the coming months and years.


Extra canning jars were picked up whenever I found them at various thrift stores.  I still keep my eyes out for them trying to keep the cost at 50¢ a jar or less.  I've managed to acquire quite a few.  I have loads of rings and buy my flat lids at Wal-Mart as they seem to have the best price on the Mainstays brand.


I find that using banker boxes to store all of my sealed foods, canned goods and dehydrated foods works really well.  They are inexpensive, I bought mine on Amazon a few years ago, a dozen to a box, have handles and are a size that even when full they are still manageable.  Plus you can label and stack them.  Copy paper boxes would work well too if you can get them.


I've already explained why I use the things I use in previous posts so I won't go into all of that.  I'm still working on my prepper pantry and will still be looking for thrifty ways to add on and maintain it.  For now this is what I've done and what I have purchased or reused to make it all happen.  

I am definitely no expert on the subject so please do your own research to make sound and informed decisions for your food storage.  Happy Prepping!


Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Small Home Improvement Project - Our Backyard Deck Part 1

Our backyard has been a pitiful site for a very long time.  Often neglected and ignored it has become a storage lot more than a yard housing the remnants of past projects and items for future ones as well.  This year is our year to move outside and take care of some much needed home improvement projects moving beyond basic maintenance and adding in some pretty.  I am super excited about the things we have planned.

It has been looking a little rough back here

We initially began this project during my staycation

We decided to begin in the backyard and as time goes on we'll be moving forward until we reach the end of our driveway.  That's the goal anyway, but we have had a few obstacles lately, mostly to do with weather.  Two weeks of downpours have hampered our efforts, but now the sun is out and we are back in project mode.


Last Friday evening I re-sanded the deck and
then the young one and I got it stained - Yay!

First up was to sand our upper section of the deck and get a fresh coat of stain applied.  We thoroughly sanded and got it ready for stain and then the rains came.  Once the deck had dried out we sanded it again and got the stain on allowing it to cure for a good twenty four hours before we did anything else.


The upper deck and the steps have been stained

The lower deck where we currently have our grill will be a separate project of its own, but for now we have the upper deck ready to receive a major face lift.  As if the staining wasn't enough we are finally adding a pergola to our deck for some much needed shade and a pretty factor to boot.  I have wanted to have a pergola for ages and after a very long wait, the wait is over.


Here is a sneak peak as the first pieces go up 😄

We began construction of the pergola over the weekend and hope to have it completed by this coming weekend so I will be sharing that project very soon.  I am so excited about this you guys, you have no idea.  I've waited a long, long time for this to become reality and it finally is!  Stay tuned!


Monday, June 22, 2020

Last Week's Thrifty Moves

Sunday morning I awoke to, you guessed it.  More rain.  So once again my outside projects remained on hold and I ended up making three batches of granola instead.  I used my dehydrated blueberries, strawberries and bananas in my various batches too.  In a word - Yum!


I made a bottle of pancake syrup to replace the one I used to make the granola.  Then I divided up all of the granola into 4 cup packages to vacuum seal.  I sent one package home with my oldest.


Making chicken broth for soup

Beginning on Thursday we finally got a break in the weather with the promise of sunshine and clear skies for a while so I was ready to get back into project mode.  After allowing things to dry out a bit the youngest and I headed back outside on Friday once I got home from work to re-sand our back deck and get a coat of stain on it.  Finally!


Saturday we were all up early.  I went through the wood we had on hand and took an inventory of all the leftovers I'd saved from previous projects.  I also took an inventory of our supplies, updated my list and then we headed off to Home Depot for a load of lumber and supplies.  It was a pretty big haul too.


Our big load from Home Depot!

Once we were home we got to work.  I am so very happy to be working once again on home improvement projects and I can hardly wait to share with all of you what we are up to.  Lots of good stuff!


Sneak peek 😉

Throughout the week I spent some quality time with Laverne planning, taking measurements and installing a new mattress in the overhead cab area also known as my bedroom.  I am super excited to be back in motorhome mode again.


Another sneak peek

A rotisserie chicken that was on markdown at the deli the Saturday night before made for several meals throughout the week including a delicious chicken vegetable soup.  I used the bones to make broth and the last of the chicken meat as well as all the leftover odds and ends of frozen vegetables I had in the freezer from previous meals and recipes.


I added water to the empty laundry detergent bottle and gave it a good shake making enough soapy solution to wash another load of clothes.


I picked up several jars of peanut butter that were on sale.  I ordered more vacuum sealer bags off eBay as they were the best price with free shipping.


A hardy Saturday morning breakfast to get us going

Prepper Pantry = Dehydrated carrots.  Vacuum sealed homemade granola, all purpose flour, sugar, quick cooking oats.  Peanut butter.


I kept our meals simple & thrifty last week

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

Laundry Room & Half Bathroom - Clean mirrors & light fixture, vacuumed floors.  Daily swish & swipe. 

Dining Room - vacuumed floor, cleaned windowsill & chair rail. 

Kitchen -  vacuumed & mopped floor, scrubbed sink. 

Bedrooms & Main Bathroom - vacuumed & dusted.  Scrubbed sink, cleaned mirror & light fixture, wiped down trim.  Daily swish & swipe. 

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


How was your thrifty week?


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