Saturday, August 27, 2016

Mason Jars, I Love Them!

Why am I so excited about Mason Jars?

Yes, the very same ones that are used for canning and preserving. The ones that when you go home mom or grandma start handing you all those delicious jars of pickles, jams, fruits, etc..

Well, I was being lazy the other day and making a chicken salad, however, I have as of yet, not purchased any storage containers so I started putting everything in what I had, a small Mason jar.

I placed the chicken in first, then chopped cashews, then celery put the seal and ring on, shook it up real good and placed it in my fridge and it was at that moment I could hear the harp music of my epiphany. Well, okay, there wasn't any music!

I realized I have been struggling to make room in our small RV fridge for all my fruits, veggies, pre-cooked chicken and all I have to do is chop and place in a storage jar and they store easily in our fridge without having to rearrange things due to the size of the fridge or the container.

My granddaughter even stated it might be a great way for her to take lunches and then said, 'Nah! It would probably get busted when we goof around at school!' However, she liked the idea of the chicken salad pre-made.

School is right around the corner and this year will be very different because for the first time in over 15 years, I will not be a part of the first day of school rush. 

Our grands no longer live with us, they live with their dad and his girlfriend about half a mile away, so they are close, just not the same as waking them up, seeing the excitement on their faces, but I will be there because fresh cinnamon and orange rolls are a first day of school tradition and I haven't missed a picture opportunity yet.

In many ways, nothing has changed and yet, everything has changed.

I took all the kids instruments in for repairs and cleaning, picked up new reeds, slide oil, cork grease as I do every year and I am just waiting to hear which books I have to purchase. Diva girl (our 14 year old) is playing percussion and Trombone this year and we are getting her back into piano lessons to keep her focused.

We have interviewed a few high school kids for math tutors for grandson and he is playing both Soccer and Football when school starts as well as being back in band. Last year he was in transitional math and math and still failed and he wanted to be back in band so much I made the decision to pay for a math tutor. 

Brother as we call him, busted out the grades last year all B's and 1 F and you guessed it, math! I just think children need at least one class to NOT be blasted with homework and he loves his Saxophone and the group of others he plays with.  Our grandson also has ADHD and band and sports keep him focused.  Last year he was the champion Javelin thrower for his group of middle schools and there were six schools and no one even came close to his final toss!

The oldest is of course playing clarinet, taking Spanish which she is really excited for, has had an amazing young man and his family in her life for awhile now, wants to join FFA (Future Farmers Association) this year and has been caring this summer for a local ladies ducks, rabbits, chickens, dogs and goats when she has had to be out of town. This young lady is also doing community service each month and is very focused on having a better year than last.

As always, I caught a great deal on shoes at Famous Footwear (I swear if they had a Platinum membership that I would be triple platinum with the amount of shoes I buy in a year) buy one pair and get the second half off, so as always, I purchased each grand two pair of shoes. With the exception of grandson who also required soccer and football cleats! Thank You Ross stores for recently having track shoes on sale for $17, got them a size up and we are ready for the school year.

I have taught my grands the value of a dollar and while they do pretty good (savings account, stock accounts) they get more excited finding great bargains on things such as school shirts that were buy one and get the second for one cent at JCPenney and NONE of them are into: PINK, HOLLISTER, GUESS, etc.. AND, they told me they still have good clothes from last year. I am so blessed! Not to mention the girls aren't all into make-up yet either!

I purchased all school supplies for the the grands and my son's girlfriends daughter, but I did not buy the young lady school clothes or shoes as she has a dad and grandparents that can do that for her, my grands have us as their dad cannot work due to a fractured back.

Not to mention it saddened me that all summer long she wouldn't even talk to me when I went over but now that school is almost here the past two weeks she has been trying to be sweet as pie and I just do not play those childish games and cannot believe her mom allows her to play them.  But, that is another story for another time.

Pray for my grandchildren, their dad, his GF and her two children that this school year will be great and that my son can get back on his feet and get back to work. This transition has not been easy for me, but for the children it has been an adventure!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

I Miss Quilting So Much

I miss quilting as in everyday several times a day, I wish I had my quilting things. I didn't realize how much until the past few days when I have been finishing up the binding on a quilt project for the surviving member of the Granite Mountain Hotshot team.  I seriously believe I am taking so much time to finish it just so I can quilt!

Last Friday was the worst! My son needed his flagging gear for a job he was asked to do and it was packed up when we moved because he wasn't able to work at the time and his girlfriends home is just to small.

As we went through storage box by box, my quilting table, sewing machines, fabric boxes were all uncovered and I told my husband I just wanted to look. His firm reply was, 'No, it will lead to the 5th wheel being overrun with stuff and babe, I know you miss it, but we have no room.'

I seriously wanted to cry!

Yet, I know he is right. No matter how I try, there is no extra room for a sewing machine. However, outside there is plenty and we know a young man who builds picnic tables.

I asked hubby if we could get a picnic table and 3 sided cover from Costco and I can set up outside when it warms up. He looked at me like my head had just fallen off my shoulders!

If we weren't in debt up to our eyeballs with attorney fee's right now for our grandchildren and other costs we have had to take on since our move so abruptly, he did tell me he would build me a deck and cover so in good weather I would have a clean safe place to quilt.

He is right and I know it. We were in an amazing home, we were just getting ready to get out of our lease and take over payments, we had a huge vegetable garden, flower beds, fruit tree's and our grandchildren were happy. Life was amazing!

Then, life crashed and I am still trying to figure our new life out. I find myself reading, sitting outside when I can, walking and looking for opportunities where I can help others. In the back of my head, my quilting brain is dying!

We have a huge storage unit that costs a fortune every month and each time I go into it, I wonder why. Why are we keeping all of this stuff? Why do we need it? When will the kids get their things back? When will life be normal again? 

Then I realize, I am blessed to have a roof over my head, food to cook, a small home to clean and laundry to wash. This is my new normal and the sooner I accept it, the easier it will be.

I so want our own washer/dryer. I dislike going to the laundry mat but honestly, hubby or one of the grands go with me and it takes about an hour and a half from wash to going home.

However, WOW! Have you priced an all in one ventless washer/dryer combo? Yikes! They run between $1000 and almost $2000 and right now we are spending under $600 per year to do laundry so I can't justify it with summer projects!

Hubby is taking a week off in July, we have to pressure wash and wax the 5th wheel as we refuse to have allow it to be moss/mildew covered the way many are in our area of the state. Yes, it just curdles my stomach to see people driving cars that are green with moss on them, homes covered in it, roofs, etc. Ewww!!!

After the wash and wax, we must add a new rubberized roof coating, replace a fan shroud, put up skirting, wrap our pipes and hoses and put in a large surge protector. 

We have already put in the new screens to keep the yellow jackets out of places they do not belong! What a pain those critters are!

Our hope this year is to be able to purchase a generator as our rig is wired for it and when power goes out, to just push a button and be back in business. 

Ohhhh, that would run my sewing machine in storage! 

My mind is like a quilting pattern, it loops around and always comes back to the same spot to rest!

I have been invited by many people to come and quilt with them, but I am not a social quilter. Perhaps I might need to just step out my front door and go one day!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Make It Home

My husband keeps teasing me about all the 'stuff,' I keep adding to our new tiny home the 5th wheel. But in all honesty, this is our home, it is not something we can just pack up and take a road trip in right now as we have no other home to go to.

Right after we moved in, I began to feel if this was going to be our home for any length of time, it was going to feel homey and warm and that meant adding some comfort touches such as pictures, my grands pottery, candles, etc.

Reading Area

Here is my reading area. The couch pulls into a twin sized bed for company, the windows are large and the blinds pull up to sheer blinds or completely open and there are 3 windows in this area that open up.

If you look to the left, you can see a small wall sconce and there is another on on the other wall, so in the evenings I can turn these lights on and read. There are also two small speakers, so when I have my music on, I can hear very well.

We have an air purifier and I have my crochet supplies under the sconce. The couch holds my books, bibles, my note taking books and markers and there is a small table next to the couch that holds a basket and more books.  

I love wind chimes and I know when it comes to wind chimes you either love them or hate them. This one was given to me several years ago by my dad and step-mom and is ceramic so leaving it outside in WA winds it would shatter. Instead, I leave it where it is which believe it or not, is not in the way and at times when we walk around you can hear the gentle chimes.

Office, entertainment area
This area is one of our slides. I do not like blank shelves, I love to put homey things on them and the pictures are of hubby and I in our much younger years, but these pics have sat on our night stands since we have been married. We no longer have night stands, so I brought them into the living area.

I then added the battery operated oil type lamp, the 'Let Your Faith, Be Bigger Than Your Fear,' plaque a gift someone gave us in February, the vase my grand daughter made me, the little sailor swabbing the deck and the cross has my favorite verse of the bible Isaiah 40:31. I am still waiting to get into my angels box in storage and add a few around the house.

You will see the large coffee maker is my hubbies, the fish tank holds my oldest granddaughters beta fish 'Spike,' our landline (yes, I still use a landline!), my office center (stamps, envelopes, address labels, paper clips, etc.), our printer and 2 pics of our grandchildren who live in Arizona.  There are 2 drawers under this one for me and one for hubby, perfect!

Kitchen Area
This is the area right above my stove and fridge and as you can tell, it is not at all complete. I started with the wrought iron cross my grandchildren gave us for Christmas a few years back, added the burnished metal HOPE, then discovered the 'Pinch of Patience, Dash of Kindness...,' at a local Ross store. I had purchased it for the area above my pantry, but it didn't fit.

I love the oval portal window, it brings so much light in, so I will find a few things to put up there, but I will probably use them to frame the window and not block the amazing light that comes through.

Our middle grandchild had basketball camp this past week at a local seaside area and I took her sister and two friends to go watch a game the day before she was coming home and stopped in at a few local shops.

Above our electrical panel is a wooden sign with a Boxer on it (our beloved Venus is a Boxer) it states, 'No Bones about it, This Boxer is the Boss!' and above my chair where I sit, a beachy type sign that states, 'If you're NOT Barefoot, you're overdressed.'

So you may live in a tiny home, a 5th wheel, a travel trailer or maybe even recently downsized to living in an apartment. But wherever you live, make it home!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

What Is That Smell? Life In A 5th Wheel

It is amazing how when living in a large home, you don't notice the smells all the time, get used to them, some of them, definitely NOT smelly teen socks!

However, when you are living in a 34' 5th wheel with four 'pop outs, roll outs, tip outs, whatever your name for them is,' smells seem to linger longer.

Now, it is hubby, I, our Boxer and a Beta fish. 

We no longer have stinky teen feet, or a 13 year old boy and his friends who think bodily noises and smells are just the greatest, but at times, ewwww...this place smells!

I know, another stinky post, but if I can help someone else just going 'full-time,' I will do so.

We have cured the stinky potty smell. Hubby flushes several buckets of hot water down the toilet each week and then when it flows clear, he adds some orange or lemon smelling cleaner to his last bucket and flushes it out.  Works great!

Fish? Not in this place! If we want fish we either go out to eat or smoke it on the grill. Fried or baked fish smells linger for several days!  Even with all the windows and fans open.

Once a week, I squeeze fresh lemons down the kitchen sink and that helps and I never flush grease into our drains.  

I purchased a plastic grease container that has heavy foil bags, drain into that and toss them out. Saves the pipes and the smells.

I think soon I will own stock in Febreze and Renuzit as I spray Febreze several times a week everywhere, in the closets, blinds, carpet, our hoodies and coats that are hanging up, chairs, cabinets and that helps.

We also learned in a smaller home, you can't leave garbage in the can very long, so we make sure at night, the bath and kitchen trash has nothing in them that leads to stinkiness.

It also helps to get your favorite smelling oil and soak a few cotton balls in it and place it directly in the trash bag or close to the trash can.

One other thing no one thinks about and we discovered quite by accident is that your kitchen dish rag, wash rags or even dish towels go sour and in a small confined area, they really stink.

My favorite option is opening windows and the front door. Nothing works as well as fresh air!


Monday, June 6, 2016

Love This Pan!

First and foremost, let me add a little caveat here:
*I have NOT been contacted by Greenpan and asked to write a review. I am NOT being compensated to write the following, I am doing this because I simply believe in this cookware!*

One of my Green Pans
I love the fact that my husband pays so much attention to what I am doing that he presents me with amazing gifts that make my life truly easier.

After watching me struggle with cooking due to kids that totally ruined my non-stick cookware, having my electric skillet bite the dust, at Christmas last year, hubby presented me with 5 new skillets and 2 of them are Green pans.

I was so happy and so thrilled with these, that I refused to allow them to be kept in the kitchen for fear the kids or their dad would get them and they would be destroyed.

When we were selling everything we could, I told my husband I could not possibly get rid of my brand new pans and I hoped he understood. He did! So these came along with us to the 5th wheel.

What can I say about these that would make you understand why I love them so much and why you might want to try one?

First, I read the instructions on how to care for them. 

Did you know that when you are done cooking, you are supposed to set your pans aside to cool before adding water? I never knew that. 

However, my husbands mom who was a professional cook must have because her egg pan never had a drop of water in it ever!
Mom would fry eggs, let the pan cool, wipe it out with a paper towel and put it up.

I have learned unless I get something spilled on the outside of these pans, they do NOT need water for clean up, they just wipe clean with a paper towel.

These pans do NOT require oil, butter, shortening or cooking spray to fry up perfectly fried foods and since I have been losing weight since January, this makes me smile!  Now, I am NOT saying you can't use these things, I am just saying they are NOT necessary at all.

They won't chip like traditional non-stick surfaces do and I love that!

They are induction pans and can be used on induction cook tops and in an oven!

GreenPan also makes bakeware! Who knew? They make saucepans, grilling pans, complete sets in delicious colors such as Azure, Burgundy and Turquoise and your traditional shiny or black.

What I really want is the set with a steamer insert as I steam lots of fresh veggies from our local farmers markets this time of the year, so thinking ahead, I may need to list GreenPan on my upcoming Christmas list. 

Hmmm, I wonder if my hubby will think I have finally flipped my lid if I ask for a new set of pans, a Dyson V6 stick vacuum and a new vacuum sealer?

I have discovered had I NOT sent my vacuum sealer to my son and his wife in AZ, I could have used it for my little freezer and given us a bit more room. Oh well, they love it as much as I did!

Be Blessed today!


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Mind Mentality

Since my last post about feeling sorry for myself for everything we have lost, I have truly given it some thought and realized what is really bothering me and that is....

I don't know what to do or how to act without children in my life. 
I got married the first time at 16, had 3 children spaced evenly out and during that time, tragedy struck and I lost my youngest child to an unknown lung condition that haunts me to this day.

I went to work and worked two jobs several months after and during this time, separated and then took my sons and moved to Washington state, lived with some friends, worked, helped them with their 2 little girls and eventually met and married the love of my life.

My husband married me with 2 sons and then we had 2 more sons and as they got older, family dynamics changed, my 2 oldest sons moved in with their dad to be around more family, the 2 youngest attended school.

My oldest married, had 2 children, left his wife behind and she called me one day to take on a temporary basis my 2 grandchildren until she got back on her feet. 

During this time, I was raising 2 sons, 2 grands, working full-time, going to school full-time and my husband (the very same love of my life) and I were separated. I am thankful to him that during our separation, he took the kids on days I had no daycare or sitter.

My daughter-in-law got on her feet and took her children back with her and I am so proud of her and how her life changed for the best.

Hubby and I got back together, we moved out in the country, we were working the 2 boys at home were going to school and or working and then we discover we are going to be grandparents and with no place to go, we took in mom as well.

That baby changed our life in 2001, but we still did things like long motorcycle rides, overnight trips, vacations to WA (we were living in AZ at the time), working full-time jobs, I was completing my Masters in Human Resources.

Our youngest moved out and then our oldest son, wife and baby girl left to northern AZ.  Soon, we wound up with custody of her and then in 2004, we were granted guardianship of 3 of 4 of the siblings as the 4th had not been born yet.

In 2008, I was granted sole and legal custody of all 3 and for the past 15 or so years since the oldest was a baby, we have taken care of them. 

We have bandages cuts, sat with them through tonsil surgery and nursed them back to health, rushed them to emergency rooms for dog bites, high fevers, walked the youngest into the operating room when he needed his ears repaired, nursed tummy aches, held them crying with broken hearts, refereed arguments, celebrated birthdays, attended musical and sports performances and just been there as if we were their parents, day in and day out without fail.

We were a family. We always knew a day would come and their dad would get out of prison, he would move in and a transitional phase would happen and we would be phased out to be grandparents just like we are to our 2 youngest grandchildren who live in AZ.

The 2 youngest we video chat with, talk on the phone, send gifts, help with school clothes and when they came to visit in December, it was a great time to spend with them.  They have always been raised by their parents. 

When I see grandparents flying to visit their grandchildren or whom live close to each other and they don't see them for months, I try to figure out why my mind and heart feels so broken.

Then, it dawned on me. This wasn't transitional at all. One minute they were in our home and the next, they were ripped away. It is a long story and one to exhausting to tell. To much pain and heartache in the past few months. Had it been slow, I think I would have adapted, but this is painful!

I do NOT know how to be a grandparent to these 3 kids. I do NOT like having to be chastised for doing things for them by their dad I have always done without permission like texting them to go on a walk and then finding out they didn't ask to go. When I have always just taken them with me.

I am trying to adapt. I am trying to be just 'Ranny,' to visit when invited, to still have family dinners once in awhile, to do family things but it is hard.

Yesterday my granddaughter told me she was getting off at the bus stop near my house to come and do some cleaning for me. I told her she had to talk to her dad so he knows. This I do understand.

But it is hard when I see all of their grades falling, they don't care anymore about school, they have no place to be because the home they are in is crowded and not meant for 7 people, when I see my granddaughter who has been bullied at her middle school for years with nothing being done, all of a sudden getting into trouble for fighting back with the bullies and she is the one being punished.

I need to remember, I am a grandparent. Life should be about my husband and I and doing some traveling, enjoying life, NOT about being afraid what is going to happen if I don't answer a text on the first try.

God has us where we should have been many years ago, together in our twilight years, without children and an opportunity to do things and enjoy life.