Posted in Musing & Stories

A Few Months of Change

Indiana Trail Border Collie Pup Creek
Nosey Rosey #bordercolliemix #halflab #rescuepet

There were several mid May trials that got the best of me. It took time to crumble. More time to rebuild.  In June, I gave myself permission to put the worries & stress on hold; just breathe.  Go be outdoors, plant flowers, play and walk with the pup. I got out of the office; out of the house. Soaked up consecutive days of sunshine… and rain.

Indianapolis Zoo MeerkatIndiana flowers 1IND blue flowers 2

 

 

I binged watched true crime and inspiring documentaries. My wandering thoughts became a sporadic gratitude journal. Orchestrating both chaos and self care continue.

House hunting is tedious business: Meanwhile- in anticipation- I chased cobwebs, sorted boxes and added color to a couple rooms. Bought a new desk and office chair 🙂 Yay!

Be safe and have a Happy Independence Day!!! – It’s early ’cause I have a crazy busy week lined up with drs. and vet appointments; micro jobs and pet sitting…  and of course there will be plenty of meat and veggies on the grill  😉

Indiana CreekWhat are your plans {or summer recipes} for this week, Friends and Confidantes? – Gma Auburn {Jen}

#turned50 #weddinganniversary  #summerrecipes  #midwestlife #bordercollie #flowers #zoo

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Posted in Musing & Stories

Saving Money to Move (with totals) and More Nostalgia

wooden house on a forest
Photo by Mateas Petru on Pexels.com

Moving & Saving: Part 2 – In the 70’s there was a gas shortage in the U.S.  “The line is around the corner.” Mom said to Dad as we three sisters sat quiet, unbelted in the back seat of forest green Dodge Dart. (Back then, if you needed belted, Dad would do it. HA!)

Though the folks both worked, we also stood in line for butter and  cheese in the early 80’s. Mom was creative in many ways, but not so in the kitchen. The staples were boiled potatoes, gravy made from the grease of the meat she fried well every time, and fresh or canned veggies. (depending on the season) As far as spices, we were true Hoosiers; salt, pepper and ketchup. 😉 We camped and fished. Wandered the woods. Dad taught us to till the ground and care for plants. Taught me to drive at 14… an old blue Chevy half ton, with a load of fresh cut firewood in the bed. 

—Some time later, my husband and I taught our daughter to appreciate country life, too. But we’ve missed it for over a decade. Now, after clawing through 5 rough years, we have a sense of direction and a time frame. 

business-money-pink-coins-e1552981107487.jpg
Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

-> Finally, a homestead!! 10 months to a year away hopefully.   (and 10ish years until retirement.) As the budget gets tighter, I’m researching economical Prefab home kits under $35K here.

Money Saving Totals:  These are some examples of consistently cutting back, in the past 80 days–

  • $24/mo. Husband found a shorter route to work.
  • $12/mo. I’m making all DIY household cleaners.
  • $78/mo. Groceries/Eating out: Cut our trips in half. Found closer places. Continue to use coupons & sales ads. Used GoodRx app at Kroger.
  • $20/mo. Stock Up: on frozen veggies- which we seem to eat more and waste less than fresh or canned.
  • $40/mo. Fewer Gifts- giving & receiving: With extended family, we are pitching in to give gifts that are longer-lasting, durable and functional. We’ve asked for restaurant gift cards in return. (b/c we don’t need more ‘stuff’)
  • $40/mo. General Purchases: Secondhand store first. (clothes, office chair) Spending freeze on Amazon & home improvement stores.
  • $12/mo. Utility bills: We light & heat the room, not the house. Smaller lamps.  Shorter showers. Unplugged cords not in use. Lightweight laundry dries flat or in front of the heater.
  • TOTAL $226.00/mo. additional savings so far this year. Not too shabby!
  • Mindset & Replacing Old Habits: Enjoying free or cheap activities together-  Crafts, games, books and movies we already bought. Take walks around the neighborhood.  We hold planks together on the living room floor.  We’re also trying new cooking styles & spices. He helps wash dishes and cooks on Sundays.
  • Things we decided NOT to do… to save money: Didn’t pick up gym memberships in January. Didn’t buy state park passes. No bikes, appliances or fancy boots. Decided not to get cable TV or buy a new recliner. No vehicle loans, but maintained the 2 that we own.

It’s encouraging to see that incremental numbers DO add up over time. Saving 3 bucks a week doesn’t seem like much by itself. But get a little momentum going and it becomes $2500+ a year toward debt, retirement, or a replacement transmission sometime down the road.  (HA!)  –Have patience and be thrifty, Friends and Confidantes -Gma Auburn

Posted in Musing & Stories

Moving: Housing Hunt on a Budget

Moving Part 1 – Is a prefab home kit an option?

What have I been up to? Planning a MOVE! My husband and I have decided to move further out into the country. {but still near family.} We are tightening our 2019 budget even further. {some saving examples here} It all started with a campfire… or lack thereof. And what we thought we wanted, we didn’t. 

We thought we wanted to travel. Buy an RV. Have a campsite as homebase while he still drove day routes part-time through a temp service. Live a bit nomadic before we got too many ailments. However, I believe this was a passing phase due to living on the truck for 2 years; then renting a place with no yard but a ream full of rules.  Now that the wanderlust has abated-  What replaced it was the simple, silly {yet pervasive} notion that we need to have a campfire out our back door… and land to forage and garden as we had in the past. So we started to research  -30-

pexels-photo-145685.jpeg
Photo by Mikes Photos on Pexels.com

Affordable housing options under $35K and up to 600 sq ft. 

On our quick price guide and list of Prefab Home Kit Companies: Cabins, Containers, Cottages, and YURTS- DIY Oh my!  

SQUARE FOOTAGE & PRICE RANGES by Kit Type

  • $24K-$35K   Tiny home on wheels, partially finished +/- 192 sq ft
  • $11K-$22K   Cabin Kits- 4 season, various sizes: 320, 420, 560, and 600 sq ft
  • $10K-$18K   Yurts- including some upgrades:  Larger sizes $25K-$29K
    •  Yurts –  Sizes include: 16/20/24/26/30/39 ft diameter, 7+ ft tall
  • $7K-$27K    Container homes: 1/2/3 br., 20, 30 and 40 ft. (160-600 sq ft)
    •  Containers – Studio or Expandable, Easy set-up, MANY features included.
  • $5K-$15K     Cottage/Cabin- “shell only” Kits  250-600 sq. ft
  • $Free-$3K  +/- shipping and DIY assembly help (If needed) Shipping area, price per mile and down payment can vary for each company. Building/zoning codes can vary also. 
  • Weeks to Complete: Differs greatly by kit style, etc +/-  2 to 10 weeks
  • Upgrades can include: Customized floor plans,
  • Insulation/moisture barriers and roof material.
  • Windows/doors, plumbing, electrical, solar.
  • Finished/pre-installed: cabinets, light fixtures, sinks, wood stain.
  • Optional features for handicapped and elderly.
  • Other possibilities: wood stove, compost toilet, porch and loft. {or turn-key!}

8 companies making prefab and a alternative house kits across the US. Most offer upgrades, have clearance sales, online price lists and finance options.

These kits are both durable and adorable!  Choose your own build, order online. My husband likes the containers, while I’m fond of the 4 season cabins. What’s your preference and why? Thanks for stopping by today. Be well. Be frugal.  – Gma Auburn

Posted in Musing & Stories

Bi Polar Backstory

Emoji Mug
Coffee Lovers Emoji Mug

—- mental health Backstory Diagnosed Bi-Polar 23 years ago. (I’m nearing 50 now) Off and on various medications over the years and one counselor I din’t care for. I lost jobs, projects, and people. Even the manic highs, while productive; were exhausting. Being an introvert does not help. I did manage to have a career and raise a well-adjusted kid, but still, I can look back on 30+ years of marriage and pinpoint the struggles.

I acknowledged 18 months ago-that I couldn’t see my way out of this long, low swing… I was living barely functional. Narrowing tasks to the “have-to’s” at the last minute. About 2 months ago- relatives began to step in. Kept on me until I made very necessary appointments. (And was driven to them. Which was both humbling and a relief.)

Recently–  Saw my first new doctor last month. Rx for a tame psych med. And I’m tellin’ you… it has changed my entire demeanor for the better. Helped me UP and out of a scary, crying, raging place. I had understood the mire. Knew the wrong and blackness of it. The ‘don’t care’ was louder than the ‘give a shit.’  Unmedicated; Trying but spiraling. In the last 18 months, I didn’t think it could happen; But Bad got Worse. To the point I couldn’t keep my granddaughter overnight.

So today... 6 weeks with a new psych med;  I’m “Pleasantly Focused.” Which may sound corny, but I have attention over the course of days for projects that were stagnant. More patience with people and situations; not bone-achingly exhausted. Genuine joy has returned. I can look forward again. My stomach quit hurting. A few show-stopping panic attacks and ‘phobia’ type things linger. I mentioned those at the re-check appointment. She upped the dosage. We’ll see how that goes.

While my writing has come back to me, designing has not. I’ll run with what’s in front of me for now.

Thanks for stopping by today!  If you see something in yourself, mirroring this muse; Acknowledge it. It doesn’t define you. Find a buoy; those people and activities that matter most.  Take help, seek help.  Open that door just a crack. You deserve joy. -Grandma Auburn

This unique hotline is available via text message to anyone experiencing mental health difficulties or an emotional crisis. Highly trained counselors offer support and guidance to calm you down and make sure you are safe

ARTICLE – In-Depth Mental Health Questions Answered- Anxiety, OCD, Depression, Bi-Polar  Learn about symptoms and questions to ask when calling a HELPLINE. Plus more resources and phone numbers.

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 😉