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

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



Posted in Musing & Stories

Quick Cleaning Tips for Neglected Areas

 It’s been 18 months since we’ve lived on a semi truck. All our ‘stuff’ was in storage for 2 years. Half of it is still here at the TinyTrailer. Bins in corners, etc.  I’ve sorted, purged, SHIFTED, and re-boxed, but finally It’s almost finished! 

Got stuck, stagnant  stuff??   Dealing with disorganization due to closets (or no closets) full of kids’ outgrown clothes/toys? Is it a home or a dorm? Nearing retirement?(pick me!) Ready to part with decades of accumulation and take up a hobby on the porch?

Friends and Confidantes, Do the small things that lead to bigger things. {Like having a weekend with family & fun without chores, exhaustion or guilt}  Sometimes ‘stuck’ is for a reason. Is it Within or without? With people, situations or stuff?   Listen to what thoughts are reoccurring; the good, the bad; the floundering and the freeing.

 FOUR [week]DAYS to less stress and household sanity! 

SET A TIMER:  :: 20 minutes a day — over a 4 day cycle :: 

 Pick 2 neglected areas each week to purge, organize and/or clean.

Envision a finish line on Friday. Don’t start on Monday. ;-D  Who wants to do that??? 

Household Tips to PowerClean:  A->Don’t buy anything that doesn’t help organize what’s in the ‘keep pile’.  B-> Ask Yourself: “What have I been meaning to get around to for months?” C->**Finish Line Friday:  🙂 You can Tear it apart on Tuesday, but it must be clean, organized (or re-purposed) and Completed/Usable on Friday.  D. Use 3 bags or Boxes: Keep/Trash/Donate- then -Take out!   E. Find where you can COMBINE (trips to town, dresser drawers or organizing the bathroom while bathing a toddler.)

  1. Pick 2 areas to tackle {idea starters below} or target your own ( ONE can be online things as long as 20 min are devoted to forward progress of your time, career &/or income goals)
  2. . Cut out one 20-30 min unproductive activity. (Any TV/internet time suck)

3.  Toss or donate 4 items {at least} per family member/or per area (per 4-day cycle)

4. Morning routines & loosing things- (spend 20 min. on weekly Schedules/add cubbies for kids- 10 min ‘clean-up’ timer for young ones)

5. Saving/Spending Get real with bills. Know what you need. Find the bleed(s)- stash the savings (Automate $5-$25 to a specific account per week or target your smallest debt first. Unplug energy vampire electronics. Take 20 min to research cheaper providers for any insurance, cell phones. etc.) {Clean the pet hair and dust bunnies under the fridge. It will run more efficiently.}

6.   -Kitchen organization Evening meals are disastrous. Pantry Items, drawers/prep areas. Plus meal planning via an app or list taped to the fridge.)

7. Closets first, then dressers, then laundry , Oh My!  Ideas for those with tiny closets: seasonal clothes, books, extra linen & picture albums: Put in Lidded totes. Make a ‘tote tower’ by adding a thin board [or old game board] on top and drape a tapestry over to use as a nightstand.  Keep extra canned goods or crafts in a re-purposed video storage cabinet)

8.  Bathroom = Bio-hazard? Safety hazards? (Old &/or duplicate OTC meds?)

9. Income issues/Career/Side gigs  (Research side hustles, online or while the kids are in school. A job closer to home or heart.)

10. Sleep/Phys. Health/Nutrition (20 min outdoor activity/preparing 20 min quick meals, go to bed/get up 20 mins earlier or later.)

11. Add or integrate: (home)work/creative/hobby space.

12. Mental Health-Decor, Colors & Things you keep: Create a soothing sanctuary. A family nest. Playful place to relax, recharge, learn.  It should accentuate your version of joy. Not a manic distopia where no one can sleep or feel upbeat.

RE-CAP:  Working Mom or a home business owner… Less stress & more space begins with bite-sized increments. – PLUS +4 days to finish 2 stagnant, cluttered areas. Have the weekend to do as you please!  DONE; with less than 90 minutes total, teased out of your busy week. _PS Teenager Friendly!

I’ll be elaborating on the above 12 points (scattershot as they are) and linking them to future posts. I hope this post helped you in some way. Please follow and find Grandma Auburn on Facebook and ->Instagram [still bare, but JUST LAUNCHED!!]  Visit the store: Grandma Auburn’s Emporium.   My Summer Baby infant design -one-piece outfit.  With Free Shipping, is the newest addition to the family!


Posted in Musing & Stories

Knowing How to Walk Away?

… And where’s the next trail?

It’s never pretty to end something that isn’t working. At least I’ve never been known for having tact. Often, runaway feelings take possession of my mouth (or fingers, if I’m typin’.) I’m not proud. I’m human.

Doing the hard thing with dignity: In 10 years, I had amazing experiences as a provider/teacher/helper in my field. To end with a sour taste in my mouth would be heart-breaking.  I’m pausing and breathing, rather than typing a PM while anxiety is high. Never was one to solve anything with an ounce of detachment. But I’m sure it’s for the best if feelings, when typed, are for personal, cathartic purposes only.

I lost sleep last night just to come to that conclusion this morning. Also made bittersweet friends with the fact that I’m stepping off a decade-long path. Sometimes we are looking DOWN at the dirt and stone, trudging along. Ahead, is there a smoother trail? Better view? Or a cliff? It’s strange how quickly grief can turn to relief when you’ve decided to stop and look UP at the surrounding terrain. I believe I’ve found the next color Blaze and that makes walking away from the last one a little easier.

There’s no map, Friends and Confidantes. Just bootprints, determination and possibilities.

Posted in Musing & Stories

Spring Cleaning the Tiny Kitchen

Per last post, you’ll know that the Cleanin’ Bug bit me

An hour’s worth of organization happened in the Tiny Kitchen today. Scrubbed some baseboards, even. Hubby was due home a tad earlier than usual, so I took a break! HA! 😉 Roughly thirty percent of the kitchen stuff is more accessible now, better flow – Feel that fresh Energy? *~*~*~Claim your spaces, Friends and Confidantes, even if it’s one corner at a time.

Tiny Tips of the Day: 1. Switch cupboards (top to bottom) for seasonal small appliances (holiday baking/canning) and over sized utensils. 2. Downsize your canisters, coffee maker, crock pot. 3. Re-purpose a tall, narrow bookshelf to store canned goods.

In The Creative Dept: My FIRST BABY DESIGN has launched! YaY! “Summer Baby!” in 8 colors –> And For {soon-to-be} New MOMS –> Here is a Hippy Heart Mug for Mom . Free shipping code expires soon – SPRING18 (rush shipping is available) Follow me for more tips & creativity {And Father’s Day Specials}– Browse Grandma Auburn’s Emporium here

Baby Swimwear, Birthday Tee shirt, Toddler Tee, Baby Shower Gift