Sunday, July 31, 2016

Preparing for rough weather -part 2 - food/water

Time for part 2 of my get ready for hurricane season.  Food & water!

Make sure you have food that is shelf stable and a way to cook it.  Practice cooking a meal using no oven or microwave.  It can be done.

I'm lucky, I gave a gas cooktop instead of an electric range.  I do have an electric wall oven though - so roasting or baking is out for me.  If I fire up the generator it's to keep the well pump and freezer going.

Long term power outage?  Grocery shortages?  How to make your ow bread with no oven or power?  Look into a Dutch oven - those cast iron things...try to locate one at a tag or church sale....or bite the bullet and buy a lodge brand one (cabelas, Walmart). They last just about forever if cared for properly.  I have biscuit making from scratch down in one of those, corn bread too.  I know someone who can even bake loaf bread in one - we are happy with biscuits and cornbread for now....

If you don't have a camp stove (propane or Coleman fuel) I reccomend one. If you've never used one and have to buy one new- Go for propane.  I'm pretty experienced with both but get nervous with Coleman fuel.  Another good option is a butane stove (they look like a hot plate with a cylinder for the gas). They are a little more pricey but are a stable single burner option.

Going back to hussicane sandy....I knew there would be a substantial power outage. Rather than panicking about bread and milk I pulled out meat in the freezer, thawed it and fired up the crock pots.  I had a huge vat of meat sauce and white chicken chili going and done before the power went out.  I even froze a couple quarts of each.  I can reheat those on the gas cooktop.  I also cooked a pound of pasta super al dents in case in the fridge.  I did stock up on bread at the grocery store but not deli meats....peanut butter doesn't spoil.  We survived.  Because of the generator we didn't lose the freezers, but before the storm we consolidated what we could to the chest freezer bringing up smaller faster thawing items to the kitchen freezer to get used first just in case.

Of course you should have plenty of canned and no cook items on hand.

plan on 1 gallon per person/day minimum!  I hate to admit it but we have a few gallons of water from the grocery store on hand at all times.  When I know there is a hurricane coming or any bad weather, we fill the bathtub (I will use pool water to flush with though). I also have 2 5gallon drink cooler jugs that get filled 1 for kitchen use and 1 in reserve, and 2 1.5 gallon ones that are for the bathroom sinks (hygiene use).

Without power you may need to bucket flush, the bathtub can hold water for that.  Or if you have a generator use, put a bucket in while you shower to collect rinse and extra water....the toilet doesn't care if there's some shampoo in it.

If you feel like keeping small bottles of water on hand, stock up and rotate them through before the words weather alert are uttered on the news.  Watch sales!

Friday, July 29, 2016


Thank Goodness It's Raining!

Nothing better than waking up to the steady sound of rain - it's been so awfully dry here I can't complain.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Prepare for rough weather Part 1 -lighting

It's almost August....we are having a very dry summer....we are in hurricane season.
Now is the time for me to remind everyone it's time yo be sure you have a rough weather plan.  Not very long ago (in the last 5 years) we had serious hurricanes, freakish snowmageddon blizzard & bad ice storms.  I've decided to write a budget friendly series yo help folks prepare....nothing earth shattering or so new just reminders and cheap hints.

Today's theme is light!

I get the ocean state job lot flyers & coupons emailed go me.  Good deal this week I see are the led lanterns.  Coleman!  The LED bulbs sip battery power compared to the other kind of bulbs in the past.

Good end of summer purchase if you haven't already listened to me are the solar stake lights.  They aren't exceptionally bright but....when hurricane Sandy hit I got ours out of the garage & camping equipment and made sure they were charged up.  They make great night lights.  Stick one in the bathroom, end of the hallway - wherever you like.  By the time the sun starts to come up they're ready for recharge but a comfort when there is no power on your street.

Take stock of your batteries and flashlights.  Have the right size for what you need.  Place a small flashlight in every bedside table drawer.  I use the freebie trade show ones.   Here is a counter intuitive trick.....don't store batteries in the flashlight for a long term storage. The batteries will leak - it will ruin your flashlight.  Rubber and them to the light or only store 1 rubber banded to the outside of the light,  you can pop it in when you need to.  (We use led maglights and after losing a few non-led maglights we learned that expensive lesson)

Consider a headlamp for each person - we bought dome nice ones at Walmart for under $10.  LED And they use aaa batteries!  You can wear it or hold it-very helpful

Candles - nice to have, watch your pets and small kids with them.  My family only uses them on flat sturdy surfaces like the dining table and mantle.  They are for non-task related lighting, no romantic images of homework or knitting by candlelight. They illuminate the table while we eat and keep us from bumping into stuff.  You get what you pay for with candles too.  I prefer the large jar type, no drips of wax plus any wax that is left over at the end can be melted by my youngest who makes fire starters with it as a hobby....  You can get the prayer candles in glass jars expensively at shop rite and dollar tree. It's never a bad idea to have a couple around.
Before hurricane sandy I had lots of used pillar & taper non-jar candles around waiting to be recycled, youngest and I gathered up the salsa jars I had (great for this) and melted the wax in a double boiler fashioned of a pot and metal coffee can with a spout pinched in it (now the wax pot). We poured waited a few minutes after melting for the wax to cool a little so the jars didn't shatter....using wicks from the craft store we had a 4 bizarrely colored vanilla-floral scented candles ready to go.  Be sure you have some matches or grill lighter too.
Always blow then out before leaving the house or going to bed!!!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sewing table adventure!

i think I've found a solution!

I was up late searching craigslist for a sewing table.  I've come across a solution, maybe...I have my sister the DIY Queen in the family evaluating my possible project....

See I have a front load bobbin machine and it's kinda a free arm machine in that respect, sometimes I use that.

Googling last night I came across a YouTube video called "redneck quilting table". I can't get the link here to work but the gist of it is you take rigid home insulation foam board sheets (in my case I would cut it to fit my existing 4x2 folding table.  Stack the foam boards and tick them together with some adhesive, trim out machine area with razor knife and then seal the cut edges.  Looks like they used duct tape.  I would probably wrap it in contact paper.  

I know those foam boards are around $12-15 so I could still guy my under $30 mark.  Then I could just store it in the corner until I need to sew.

Waiting go see what sister says

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Mend, make do or do with out

Feeling super proud of myself today....
Last night I mended a table cloth that we've had a while.  It's cotton jacquard type material.  I don't recall where it came from but it's been thru the washer more times than I can count, once it went in the whites load and the lovely deep green hues turned a shade of avocado - but it faded evenly so it lcontinues to be in the rotation.  (We go thru 2 a week minimum).

At some point I think someone (young child) wanted to test some scissors on the hem and whacked. Bit off.  I zigzagged that spot in haste and had to always remember  to put that spot on the spot where the empty chair is.  Well, since I had the house to myself and the table was clear....I took my trusty scissors and took it from the drying rack and whacked off the offending bit the full length of the  affected side. , turned, pinned and ran it thru the sewing machine!

Next on my list is to make some queen size pillow cases from an old full size top sheet.  We don't have full size beds and one kiddo has a tempur molded foam pillow.  We only have 2 queen size cases so I'm constantly either double casing it with regular ones.  I want this kiddo changing the case every other day at least because of some acne issues that are developing so recycled cases will work well to add to this stash for this bed. And they won't cost me a dime!

The quest for. Sewing table continues.  I e been eyeing a cabinet at goodwill - but I have portables and they're is no way to mount either in it - especially if I want to close the top of it.  So I've moved on to plan b. Find a rectangular table and create my own.  Trouble is I want it to be sturdy, cheap and look decent.  Which takes me back to the goodwill one.  My friend's husband said he could attach a shelf so my basic portable machine could sit flush with the table portion. I would just have to put it in each time.  That's the cheapest way at around $35-40.  I think having a level surface to sew with so fabric lies flatter as it feeds through will improve my skills and pleasure of sewing.

For now it's the dining room table until I figure out what's going on with this all.....I only have a couple months - we start costuming the school's December play in October. And there will be concert gowns to hem too - I really want to do that with the new blind hem foot I got rather than by hand this year.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Comcast sucks

what a bunch of crap.  I'm so irritated with Comcast and their service. Well lack of service.  We have no option of service in my area...
I wanted to watch something on HBO which I just ordered earlier this week to watch.  But I keep getting an unable to process request message. I called and was told sorry but no credit because there are other items to watch.

I really dislike the "choice" we have if we want cable, Internet and in my case phone since I bundle....

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Being careful with cash - Coupons!

i love a good coupon!  Yesterday I was at BJs and I had a 2.75 coupon for Clorox toilet cleaner.  Normally I but this stuff at Walmart or dollar tree and never Clorox brand since its $$y.
Well a '6pack' of the 24oz bottles was only 9.29 so still cheaper than Walmart/target....then the coupon I got them fir $1.09 ea!!  Score!!!

My other nice find is a big bag of fresh cauliflower florets for 3.99!  This bag weighs more than the head I bought last time at big y on sale for 4.99 - I have no idea why it's so expensive.

A friend of mine in town shared a great deal she got a dollar general lately.  She was able to stack a mfg coupon on top of a DG online/app coupon for Tide and paid less than $2!  I will be looking through my coupons and matching up what I can stack together for deals like that - there is a dollar general near the kids' school so I will be there when it works to my advantage you can bet!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

I'm back - hopefully in a better mood soon

Been so swamped busy - both physically and in my head....I couldn't post one positive thing last week I was in such a funk.

Everyone came home last weekend, it was great to have the house nice and clean to welcome them home.    They didn't care.  After a week it looks like a tornado went through.  The teens and hubby have stuff strewn all over the place in the common areas.  My clean kitchen is a thing of the past, dishes filling the sink, papers/mail all over the counters....piles everywhere.

I volunteered helping at a camp all week and returned home hot and tired from watching and working with little kids all day.  So to have to clean up after 3 capable people really sticks in my craw.

They all leave tomorrow for another week away.  I'm staying home and cleaning again.  Sadly most of the areas I had already deep cleaned, but the kid bedrooms are next and they are in for a rude surprise when they return home.

Hubs and I have been arguing about division of labor and how to deal with some other issues lately, so much so that I have started looking into brushing off my resume in earnest  - I am getting myself ready for life changes.  The first will be getting a job.  Subbing is great for flexibility but I need consistency.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Grocery changes

I've been really lucky the last 2 weeks - haven't had to do much shopping for groceries.  I've been out of milk since last Saturday but since I don't pug it in coffee, I've survived on yogurt and cheese and veggies that was here for my dairy/calcium.

Saturday I have a plan in place to hit the grocery store hard.  Need to stock up on some things.  Unfortunately they aren't on sale, but there are some things on sale I wasn't planning on getting so it won't be a total loss.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Holy Hotness Batman!

I am so thankful for AC!  Even if the central unit croaked - I know how to install our backup window unit in my bedroom so if I had to I would literally move in there with the pets (in their smaller cages) but we would be cool and more comfortable.

After a couple advils and cups of coffee I started another item on my list....mud room shelves!  
They aren't too awful - but it's July so I guess I should do the mitten/glove/hat sort and purge.  I've also made a trip to the vet for planned visit and  organized all the hotel size toiletries into a plastic 3drawer paper organizer a goodwill find at 2.99 {near habitat restore}, (9.99 at my local goodwill and 8.97 at Walmart). They were in a tote bag in my bathroom on the door a it was way to unorganized for me.

I love getting a bargain that helps us stay organized!

Overdid it - Owww!

Well I went overboard.  My back and shoulders are hurting for it too.  Way too much bending & reaching and twisting...but I Finished the under sink project!  Easier than I thought and it sounds dorky - but I'm very happy with the results.

I've also washed and polished all the wood cabinet doors and framework.  Looks amazing!

Today looks like a terribly hot one with poor air quality called for.  I'm going to stay inside as much as possible. - lights out & ceiling fans on to help the central air run as efficiently as possible.  I have laundry to wash but will wait until tonight.

Otherwise it's a frugal day planned - staying home and doing projects means not spending!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy Independence Day

Happy Independence Day!  I'm feeling very independent today....I've changed the hinges all my myself!  And I took the glass shower doors off and washed them outside, super scrubbed down the tub & surround.  Tomorrow is under the kitchen sink day.  I will be sooo relieved when it's done.  I'm sick of deep cleaning & repair projects.  Haven't even gotten to the kids rooms scrub down yet  - I might only get their linens changed we will see.  As of today I'm exhausted.  But very independent!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Productive morning

I fell  asleep last night watching tv. This means I was up early because there was an annoying infomercial on...not a biggie.  I made the most of it - 2 cups of coffee in me by 9 am and a huge pasta salad made for a picnic later today and a roasted broccoli/quinoa salad in the fridge for my lunches / dinners during the week....and all my veggies prepped for the week!  Not only that but I've located the replacement hinges for the kitchen cabinets (brushed nickel rather than antique brass). And I have a plan in place to clean out under the kitchen sink later today....(there has been mouse activity - drat!)
The plan includes emptying and cleaning with Clorox bleach...and I'm going to tear out the contact paper that lines the wood base and am replacing with self stick floor tiles - hopefully it will be easier to clean if the mice return in the fall and hopefully hubby doesn't flip out that I'm putting them in.
I'm also going to install a couple of the little battery operated tap lights in there since it's usually very very dark and I don't like it.

I'm off to attempt cleaning the shower doors in the hall bathroom!  More once I accomplish more :-)

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Bread, habitat & price rite

This morning found me up earlier than I wanted and feeling iffy too.  But I had a volunteer meeting at 9 so I showered gulped a cuppa coffee and for out if the house.  

Meeting was quick and I grabbed an iced coffee and bagel twist as my fuel gor the rest of my errands

First stop was habitat restore - needed to take a poke around to make sure I wasn't missing anything stellar - nope not a thing....although there was a lovely old secretary but it's the space stayed at the store!  I did see they had a ton of spices in glass jars (like the ones in racks) $.25 each!  If I knew for sure I needed the jars or could repurpose them somehow I should have grabbed some - age on the spices is was unknown but they would have composted fine I'm sure.   They also had reuseable k-cup pods.  2/$.50.  I did buy one set of those.  Tried it when I hit home with some maxwell house and it worked better and cleaned up faster than the milita ones and there was no little filter to deal with.  These could be a $$ saver for me.  Although I really like my big y dark roast pods - these could help stretch them out.

Bread store was next.....picked up rolls and buns and dome Thomas' english muffins.  Why anyone would buy these at the grocery is beyond me - I paid 1.49 for them and the freeze great!  Also bought some dried minced onion and dried minced garlic.  $1 each but the garlic is tough to find for me.

Then to price rite: which was a flipping zoo!  Holiday weekend and early in the month.  Yikes it was busy.  But seedless watermelon was 3,99 each and I needed a few staples like white sugar, corn starch, chocolate chips (none to be found). Picked up some pasta salad fixings and got out of there!  Now home lunched and thinking a nap is in order....

Friday, July 1, 2016

Shampooed Carpet

I just couldn't stand it any longer.  The carpet under the dining table (living/dining combo room) with a kitchen that has a bar pass through....
Anyhow it's a rectangular rug under a rectangular table - the corner closest to the kitchen was been showing gray dirty stains....I vacume every other day or daily.....depending on the grime level.  Well it's not a $$ rig but we like it and it's still in decent shape and there are other more important things to spend money on.  So today I pull out the Hoover steam vac and get to work on it....moved the table in ancipation of this....vacuumed the carpet twice yesterday and this mornin.  Follow instructions on the bottle of cleaner to the letter. Guess what - grey parts still grey :-(

Didn't want to chance it with the Pinterest dawn and peroxide mixture...was afraid of stripping the colored bits out.  So I grabbed a scrub brush and bottle of Simple Green cleaner (original, concentrate) spritzed some in a little spot and scrubbed away like a crazy woman - rinsed with hot clean water and dried it with a few paper towels. It really worked!  Lots of the grime came up.
So I spritzed all the creamy /gray area (it's a border) and scrubbed and scrubbed....luckily the carpet was still damp from the First shampoo & rinse.  Then I rinsed it with plain hot water.

Looks so do so much better!!  

I wish I had covered the picnic table in the yard with plastic and laid the rug unside down on it then power washed it from the underside when we had the sunny, not too hot and dry days earlier in the month. I remember doing that to similar carpets growing up and they always turned out clean & fluffy.  When you use olefin that happens.  My mom use to just soak them with the hose and scrub with an amoinia water mix then rinse the hell out of hers.  

I'm thankful I keep a gallon of Simple Green on hand - it really cleZns a lot and doesn't small like pinesol.