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

Posted in Musing & Stories

Thrifty People, The Holiday Edition

This is just one of the recipes in my upcoming cookbook.
Cheesy! With a ‘kinda’ homemade crust. I experimented with sliced zucchini to make red & green Christmas colors.

Before the winter bills and holiday gatherings start sucking the life out of your wallet, here are 10 tips to plan ahead and save time and headaches in the months ahead… oh, and money for groceries! – part 1

  1. Start an ongoing holiday gift list NOW. Find out who’s selling what- near you.  Try OfferUp or LetGO apps (enter your location, etc.) Find A “Buy, Sell, Trade” Facebook group for your county. Look for items around your house to sell or donate.
  2.  Set a (bi)weekly spending limit and/or sales goal. {Recent scores: 2 non-stick muffin tins, and a Weeble Farm set from the 70’s was a road-side pick-up!}
  3. WATCH & WAIT- for gently used households goods at the local thrift stores.  They may have 1/2 Off Day, discounts in certain departments, or give an extra $5 during your birthday month. Spruce up the holiday table: Glass bakeware, gold-rimmed serving trays. and vintage stemware 😉
  4. One or more of these: search coupon codes or sale flyers. Use a grocery store app.  Compare prices to distance traveled and time spent.  {The goals include: Fewer stores, less trips. Less food waste. Less money spent on take-out. Save money while buying a ‘stash‘ of extra ingredients on sale}
  5. Start a ‘Master’ grocery list NOW for ingredients you use regularly (and holidays) that can be stored for 3-10 months in the pantry or freezer. THIS is the list to work from when comparing flyers, or coupons. It will help with meal ideas, too.
  6. Start small, just a few extra dollars or items. {These are examples of some staples to keep… based on sales (or Aldi and similar stores) in your area! – Week 1. buy an extra pack of chicken quarters. In 2 weeks, pick up a 2nd box of baking mix and crackers plus a few bags of frozen veggies. Week 3. Extra flat of canned goods: chicken & mushroom soups, a variety of beans, fruits, etc. Week 4 Dairy, eggs and bread.}
  7. Create more meals at home. Tomato pie (pictured above). Chicken and dumplings, beef stew. Baked cabbage or breakfast for dinner.  It’s your kitchen. Shoot for having something assembled and in the oven in 20 minutes.
  8. More meal-time oven baking... this winter it will help heat your house at the same time.
  9. Rearrange cupboards. The things you use most should be near and accessible. Purge cookware, plates, pans, etc. with scratches or chips. Countertop appliances and specialty gadgets need sorting. Leave an open shelf or pantry space to store the extra ‘stash’ food accumulated in #4.
  10. Repair or replace outdated, inefficient appliances. Some power companies will pay YOU, AND haul it away. [ours said $50 for an old fridge]

Plan and practice in a few areas. It doesn’t take long to find a kitchen rhythm that works for you.  —Grandma Auburn-–  Part 2 (re: appliances) Is Here: Winter Home maintenance tips;  add ‘life’ to your purchases  

Posted in Musing & Stories

Put the ‘Bi’ in Polar

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If you’ve never experienced the part where depression meets anxiety, meets manic cleaning… it’s kinda like on the old TV show ‘Malcolm in the Middle,’ where Dewey is scrubbing the bathroom floor along side the German[?] lady. He says his knees are beginning to bleed; and the German lady enthusiastically commends him and says it’s great work to do penance. Or some such.

What’s worse than being unmedicated for a very long time, Friends and Confidantes? Calling a new doctor, so they can ‘start finding what works.” – good grief #unamused #alittlescared- Gma Auburn  Picture 07/2018 – Central Indiana “Naked Lady”> Back Porch.

Posted in Musing & Stories

Your Own Company

Haven’t been around in a hot minute. 3 people on the internet missed me. HA! That’s OK, I like my own company. And sometimes one must weed out the company one keeps.

“…The forest for the trees”

In the last 2 weeks I’ve “taken control of the scroll.” On FB {and across life in general}: Unfriended some old acquaintances, peeps who’s purpose is politics, the ones who whine, and 2 dozen others for varied reasons….  Well now, that’s MUCH better. (from 125 ish to 65 ish friends) Pitched a lil bitch. Deleted it. Felt good- Ha!

A Crisis on Unnamed Side Roads: I’m not quite up to par yet, from life giving me a swift kick in the gut recently, either. Exhaustion has crept in- bone deep. No work.  Little food. Strength comes back slowly.   Mending.

Dig in with all fours, Friends and Confidantes – sometimes those forest roads are slippery.  – Gma Auburn, staying true

Posted in Musing & Stories

Gardening, Flat Surfaces and Pain

For two days there’s been much fun chaos at the tiny trailer. Playing with buckets of bubbles watering the flower & veggie gardens and babysitting Grandchildren. They left Monday afternoon.

When the kids left:  Every surface was wiped, each toy part, craft piece shoved away, carpets were swept etc… However, Somewhere in the following night, I tripped over poorly stacked, trained[!] attack toys; and bruised three toes. My fault entirely :-/

Toys, puzzles, games and plastic-odd shaped bits are not truly put away if they are puking out of a bin a dark hallway. I stopped kidding myself! At it’s core- the act of cleaning means ANY Flat Surface: desk top, counter top, and floors, too. Framed pics leaning against a dresser, next to a catch-all box …Where the vacuum hasn’t reached baseboards since move in day….

Well Friends and Confidantes, if pain is the catalyst for Accomplishment, mark it DUN! Ha! There’s more room to walk in the TinyTrailer today! Please Like and follow for more misadventures. In outdoor adventures –>  limping slightly while tending flowers! #ilovemossroses

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