Posted in Musing & Stories

The Adventures of Teddy and Z

pexels-photo-59676.jpeg
Photo by Wopke on Pexels.com

{Teddy has been with my granddaughter, “Z” since she was a few days old. She’ll be 5 years in the fall.}

Teddy has been slobbered on by dogs, left in the yard, and at the sitters. He rides in her bike basket. He’s been washed, bleached, and re-sewn– though I didn’t do a very good job on his eyeball button; so he’s starting to look a little Tim Burton-ish! HA!

He lost his bow a long time ago; but he’s still her best friend. So her Daddy entered Teddy in the Lysol Teddy Bear Repair Contest.

SO… from recently being in the lost- and found at the local gas station; to NEW YORK! For a makeover from Lysol. I’m as excited as she is! {I really hope all the Teddy Bears make it back home safely!}

Friends and Confidantes, file it under random cuteness – Gma Auburn {Jen}

“I’m gonna give hearts to everybody in the whole world!”- Z 

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Posted in Homesteading, Musing & Stories

Recipe- Beefy Hash Brown Bake

Beefy hashbrown plate 1Beef up your mealtime potatoes! The whole family will want generous portions.  Budget: under $9.00 total/Feeds 4-6 people. Total Time: 30-45 min.

  • Pre-heat oven: 400F.  2- 8 or 9 in. square or round baking dishes. Buttered or sprayed.
  • 1 pkg. Frozen Shredded hash browns–
    • Thaw. Squeeze excess water out. Divide in half.
    • Press evenly into bottom of both baking dishes. Set aside.
  • 1 lb. Ground beef– cooked, crumbled, drained.
  • Return to the skillet.
  • Add: 1 med. Onion- chopped
  • 2 sm. Cans Mushrooms, drained.
  • 1 pkg. powdered Beefy soup mix [or Lipton onion soup mix]
  • PLUS: 2.5 to 3 c. Water.
  • 1/2 tsp. each garlic and onion powder. S&P to taste.
  • Bring to a boil. Stir frequently. Then reduce heat to simmer for 6-8 min.
  • Make the SAUCE: In a small bowl combine until smooth:
    • 2 T. each flour & milk.
    • Then add: 1 T. of the hamburger soup broth. Mix well. Set aside.
  • When hamburger broth has reduced by 1/4, remove from heat.
  • Pour 1/3 of the flour mixture into soup.
  • Yet more stirring! Pour more… Repeat until there’s no lumps.
  • Re-heat to a low boil once more. Stir 2-3 min longer.
  • POUR: equally over hash browns; Spread mixture evenly to edges.
  • BAKE: 400F/15-18 min. Uncovered. Sauce firms & edges get crispy!
  • Last 3 min: Optional-Top with Shredded mozzarella [pictured] or cheddar.
  • Serve hot – with peas or salad with radicchio. 
  • Want more recipes, plus quick tips, reviews and money saving/making ideas>?
    • Sign up below! – Thanks for stopping by! Grandma Auburn

  1. There’s exciting news at Grandma’s! A Digest/Newsletter called
  2. Tidbits!” For every busy household. {First issue next week}
  3. It’s a free- bite sized, mid-week spark of ideas & inspiration.
  4.  —>>Email gma.auburn@gmail.com put TIDBITS’ in the subject. 
  5. Privacy policy: Your email will never be used for nefarious purposes!
  6. Newsletter use only. Full policy will be included in the first issue. -Gma Auburn
Posted in Musing & Stories

Moving! Pt 3- Hypothetical Homesteading

How can we plan for retirement with very little savings; and get our homestead sooner?

SO HERE’S THE GRAND PLAN {HA! as if those ever worked out…}

Also! “How we saved the Down Payment in two years”

  • Vibrant Rose
    Almost time to plant!

    $75k Budget for HOMESTEAD over 18-24 months.

  1. Spring 2019
  2. $5-6k- Used truck
  3. $27-33k- Raw Land- (+/- 2 acres)
  4. July/August
  5. $8k- Used Travel Trailer
  6. MOVE onto land
  7. $500/mo. Savings!!
  8. Autumn ’19
  9. $2-3k- DIY Shed, Generator, Wood stove, Livestock/Garden prep.
  10. Spring/Summer 2020
  11. $10k- Well/septic/block foundation/electric hook up/permits etc.
  12. Autumn 2020
  13. $12-18k- Used Single wide MH 3bd/2bth {actually bigger than what I have now!}

After extensive research: we nixed the notion of a Pre-fab cabin, yurt

viewfromthetruck falltrees-jsm

or modular kit as a year-round residence. A tiny house under 400sf would suck long term. We lived 2 yrs on the truck… just ask me anything about teeeeny living... O.o

Prefab Kit builds over 600sf: Adding any electrical, plumbing, etc. is pricey. Though we’re still considering a tiny ‘something’ as a guest room or AirBnB, but not for a couple years.

Manufactured Homes: Why yes! I have spent weeks researching every tidbit. Craigslist. LandWatch. AutoTrader and RVTrader. Finally, we found one used MH dealer Homenation.com (by state). ALSO Factory Direct.

 

A pot of turkey hash feeds a big family.

Land Loans {and/or rolled into a  ‘Land/Home’ next year}: Most require 20% down payment. Pre-Approved is not the same as Pre-Qualified. 

  • HOW WE SAVED THE MONEY:
  • Baseline figures: 20% x $33,000=$6,600.
  • Down payment:
    • [1 year: $132.00 x 50 weeks]
    • [2 years: $66.00 x 100 weeks]
  • OUR 2 year method: $50 weekly; [Feb. 2017-2019]
    • then added: bonuses, overtime, tax returns.
  • Top money saving tips:
    • Write out a budget. Say “no more stuff.” Repeat often.
    • Secondhand only, DIY or do without.
    • Plan less trips to the store. Plan meals around sales.
    • Get a side gig. Use your skills.
      • Upwork, Thumbtack or Taskrabbit
      • Or find free courses to learn new skills.
      • [I walk dogs and Mturk in between writing & merch]

OUR #1 prerequisite for all of this — It all must be paid for in 8 years. Hubby retires in 10. Thus why we’re doing this in increments, and saving additional money by holding over this winter [and budgeted for] a travel trailer.

Other considerations: Grid-tied for health reasons. Yet enough land to sustain a simple, back-to-basics lifestyle. Close to our jobs. Close to daughter’s family AND close to my Dad. Must have trees and a good stretch between neighbors. 😀

Frugal now; peace of mind later, Friends and Confidantes – Grandma Auburn

#homesteading #retirement #budget #truckerswife
Posted in Musing & Stories

Oven Roasted Acorn Squash and Variations

Grandma Auburn's Kitchen
If squash is difficult to cut raw; Roast it whole.

PICTURE AND RECIPE: {from my TinyTrailer Kitchen 10/18 jsm}

Whole or Halves- Roasted Acorn Squash

1. Preheat oven to 425-450 degrees F. 

2a. Wash Squash. Cut off stem end.  Cut in half from point to stem (lengthwise)  and gut seeds  – Place on a cookie sheet. The bowls facing up; lightly score the inside with a knife.  then add…

Step 3. Into each half  ** 1 to 2 Tablespoons of almond milk or apple juice.  [water with raisins], **1 tsp. butter, **1/2 tsp. of cinnamon **1/8 tsp. vanilla.  **Optional additions: brown sugar, syrup, pecans or dates . See step 4 to ROAST…

OR  Step 2b.  {Roast Whole} – NO CUT METHOD- Poke 12-15 holes all over the squash-it’s OK if some water seeps out.  See Step 4 to roast.  THEN; Let cool somewhat before cutting and discarding (or roasting) the seeds. FINALLY-> scoop the warm squash into a bowl and mash. See Steps 3 & 5 to incorporate the milk and mix-ins}

Step 4. ROAST at 425-450 F [you know your oven. Mine runs a little hot]: for HALVES place on baking sheet on middle rack in oven for  35 to 45 mins .  –>Whole: -50 minutes to ONE HOUR {Maybe 65 minutes}; depending on the size of squash.  TEST FOR DONE: Skin will wrinkle slightly at the edges, Slide a spoon next to the skin or poke through with a knife in a few spots. Should pierce easily. Orange insides turn a shade darker.

It’s scoopable- like mashed potatoes.

Step 5. SERVE:  in the skin as is – or scooped into bowls and add fruit and yogurt for breakfast.  FOR KIDS: Try acorn squash mashed with banana and honey on toast.

More recipes or tips being added under these tags:  Quick RecipesFrugal/SavingFood Budget – Household Tips – Thanks for stopping by! – Grandma Auburn, workin’ & whiskin’ in the kitchen 😉

Posted in Musing & Stories

Winter Home maintenance tips; add ‘life’ to your purchases

Winter Home maintenance tips; add ‘life’ to your purchases

A lengthy list of 7 ‘in-depth’ pointers; a walk-through, really... For new homeowners, first time apartment life or young people with families (my daughter included).

Appliances and houses: can cost you hundreds of dollars if they aren’t functioning up to par. Plus the January heating bill is always a shock. Saving is about small things we do over time. {see also, this post:  “Thrifty People, The Holiday Edition”  10+ Money Saving Holiday and winter grocery tips to start now}

TIP 1:  Tear your vacuum apart at least weekly. Open the filter compartments. Unblock clogs or tangles. Take scissors around the bristles if it isn’t rotating. Take a screwdriver to open the bottom plate if the belt is stuck or breaks. Turn it upside down for loose change and small toys that were accidentally run-over. Clear the hose. Clean catchments and replace all vacuum filters/bags as needed. Sweep carpets twice weekly- more often with children.

TIP 2:  Next the refrigerator. {Easier if fridge is unplugged and emptied first.}Take everything off the top and sides – magnets, etc. Take the front, bottom plate off the fridge.  Get eye level with the floor.  O.o  If its just fur and such. use the vacuum hose… OR use a metal hanger and a long sock or old sweatshirt sleeve. (rubber band to secure it) Pull the hanger into an oblong shape and fit the cloth over it. Slide it under the fridge- pull out dropped food, pet hair, trapped dirt.

TIP 3:  Pull the fridge out from the walls and Counter tops (they have wheels). Tackle the grease streaks and dust. This might require a pail of hot water with pine cleaner or all purpose kitchen cleaner. Mop or cloth. Wipe walls. Cupboard doors. Wipe handles and sides. Push the fridge back and plug it IN again. With fresh water and cloth, wipe inside fridge. Pull out drawers and shelves. Clean the tracks. Bring older freezer food to the front. {Thaw something out for tomorrow.}

There are vents at the back wall of both fridge and freezer. Don’t cover these when restocking. Leave few inches space between vents and food. This improves the cold air circulation and efficiency for the times the motor runs.

TIP 4:  Next for EACH room: take the vacuum hose to all the furnace intake vents (The ‘cold air returns.’)  Don’t set bulky things in front of them. Wipe the grates with all purpose cleaner. (Unscrew and) Pull up floor vents. Remove debris and hairballs. If you can’t reach down far enough, put a bandana or panty hose over the vacuum hose (secure with rubber band) to reach and trap the items. Wipe and replace vents. Keep them closed in rooms you seldom use.

Replace furnace filters every 2-3 months, depending on number of pets, people, season, etc. Wipe away or sweep any cobwebs lurking around the furnace and filter spaces. Don’t pile boxes or clothing near it. If using electric space/room heaters; Remove any fuzz collecting on the back. Make sure the safety works. Don’t set it near pets or kids.

WINTER TIP 5:  Find and fix drafts. Cold air leaks around doors, window sills, along baseboards and in attics/crawlspaces. Inspect both inside and out. {Hire a professional contractor when necessary, please!} Replace missing boards, siding, roof tiles or cracked window panes. Roll insulation and foam spray are options. Seal with plastic window film and tape or blankets and tacks. Use foam tape(around door & window seals.) Drape off rooms or hallways.

Under the house: wrap your pipes in heat tape. Make certain that all the duct work is in place and connected. Double check for frayed or chewed wires. Fix more drafts. Do the same in the attic. {Again, hire a licensed home inspector, professional HVAC or electrician when you find something amiss.}

TIP 6:  Turn the thermostat down (5-8 degrees) BEFORE leaving for work and before bedtime.  Don’t keep heating the whole house when no one is there or everyone is sleeping under warm covers.

TIP 7:  Outside: First -be careful with ladders and yard tools. You’ll need something or someone to reach the gutters. Employ a yard service, or find a  ‘tasker’ near you on sites like www.taskrabbit.com. Let someone else pull out the wet leaves clogging the eaves. There may be clogs or overgrown weeds at the bottom of the downspouts, too.   Trim bushes and branches so they aren’t touching the house. Rake all the leaves and clippings away from the foundation. Helps keep mildew from growing.  Use a broom to sweep corners of the porch, steps and around doors. This encourages spiders and bugs move along and not seek refuge at your place.

Thanks for reading! I hope you take away a new tip or some money-saving motivation. Signed, Grandma Auburn- All bundled up