Simplicity – Small & Cheap

Living simply & cheaply…wherever you are!

Frugal Friday – Link Love – Coupons + Sales

This is the coupon and cooking link love edition of Frugal Friday.

My favorite websites for deal searching.

These blogs are my favorites for finding all the best deals, coupon + sale matchups, freebies, and coupons.

Cooking and meal planning makes quite an impact on your budget so I’m also going to share my favorite meal planning and menu blogs.

These sites will give you great information about being frugal.   Enjoy!!

Advertisements

February 27, 2009 Posted by | coupon craziness, Frugal Friday, grocery shopping | , , | Leave a comment

Useful kitchenware in a minimal space

Now that we’ve been in the camper for about a month and we have settled into a routine, I am getting a good feel for what I NEED and what I don’t. I actually feel pretty good about most of what we packed.

First of all, when I originally packed, I thought we would be in a MUCH smaller camper so I invested in some collapsible essentials.

– mixing bowl
– strainer
– measuring cups

These have been invaluable. I’ve used the measuring cups and strainer a lot and used the mixing bowl to let pizza dough rise the other day.

If you are going to rely on the toaster oven (i.e. no microwave), ramekins are a must. I think ours are only 6-8 oz. but 10 oz. would be better.

These items have also earned their place in our kitchen:
– Bowls
– Storage bowls
– 2 qt. Saucepan with lid
– Wooden spoons, slotted & regular
– Hamburger flipper (or spatula, depending on your local usage)
– Silverware
– Cups
– Cutting boards (1 meat, 1 veggie)
– Meat thermometer
– butcher knife, paring knife & some other knife that usually comes with a set that I don’t know the name of

The jury is still out on these. I haven’t used them yet but everything I make is pretty simple:

– spatula
– adjustible measuring spoons
– steak knives
– wire wisk
– insulated cups
– gallon pitcher — too big

I did have a thing or two on my wish list.
– a silicon pastry brush. I keep wishing I had one and I had regular wood handled ones at home but always had problems getting the oil out.
– a 2 quart pitcher. It doesn’t need to seal tight like it would have had to in a cooler and it perfectly fits a packet of kook-aid without eating my whole fridge. I bought on last time we were on the mainland and am really glad we did.

Also, I determined that 2 absorbing towels are not enough. I bought a hot pad/towel set that had 2 absorbing towels (terry?) and 2 push-the-water-around towels (linen?). Not enough. I got a set of 3 absorbing/3 waffle weave last time we were on the mainland too. I’d say I’m glad but we haven’t been cooking much since we got back so it hasn’t been that big a deal. Yet! Also, lots of washcloths are good too. I went through as many as 6 one week, when we ate particularly greasy canned chili with our hot dogs.

I brought a few microfiber cleaning cloths but not nearly enough to use those exclusively to clean up our messes. I brought 3 and we generally still use a roll of paper towels every 2 weeks.

Aluminum foil and baggies have proved themselves highly useful in this warm, nomadic and child-filled existance. But only mildly. Baggie or no baggie things still go stale here–QUICKLY! The same day, even, only hour(s) later.

What do you find indespensible in YOUR small space?

February 18, 2009 Posted by | 100 things challenge | , | Leave a comment

Useful appliances in a small camper

We bought lots of different things before we left in an effort to make life in a small space easier. Now that we’ve been here a month, it’s easy to see what is worth it’s space.

Most of the stuff we purchased was for the kitchen.

A toaster oven. I’ve never used one of these before but the camper we were going to use didn’t have an oven. Even though this one DOES, we find it easier to use this. It comes out almost daily and we use it to rehear leftovers. I make cookies a LOT thanks to refridgerated dough. All things considered, if you have room and are traveling long term, bring it.

An electric frying pan. We use this a lot also. Still getting used to the fact that it cycles. Again, this isn’t something that I use at home, so I don’t know if they all do that or not. I’ve found that it DOES get hot enough to boil noodles in almost the same amount of time. Over easy eggs are tough to do. Otherwise, this is pretty useful for long-term living, too.

An electric water kettle. Priceless! We bought it to give Dagny baths here in the camper, but use it for dishes and oatmeal, too. I think I would pack one for short trips, too, especially if you need your morning coffee.

A 4 quart crockpot. I have a HUGE one (6 qt.) at home but this one has a smaller footprint. I think I’ve only used it twice but I think once I get in the groove, I’ll use it more. I have a few recipes that I want to make soon that are easiest in that. I could take it or leave it.

Wish list. Well, maybe.

Microwave. I have mixed thoughts in this one. Having one would make the toaster oven less useful. But it’s easier to find containers to heat things up in. And more convenience foods are made for it. And it won’t make the camper hotter.

A grill. Propane, charcoal, whatever. It can probably make abetted burger & again, won’t make the camper hotter because you use it outside.

February 11, 2009 Posted by | 100 things challenge | , , | Leave a comment

Packing – Cookbooks, Office, & Fun Stuff

Today, I completed a few other areas of packing.

First, I finished the cookbook portion of the cookbook list.   I corralled them all into one pile and labeled them.    If all goes well and we stay for a while, I will review them all for their applicability.

The visual:

100_0964

The original list:

  • Recipe Book
  • Baby Food Book
  • Timing Book
  • 5 Ingredient Favorites
  • Cheap Fast Good
  • Fix It & Forget it with 5 Ingredients
  • Toaster Oven Cookbook

I eliminated the recipe book (as in my own tried & true recipes).   First of all, they are mostly cookies and such or recipes for large batches or entertaining and I won’t be doing any of that.   Second, I didn’t feel like it.

I will also say that today I finished the office section (minus electronics).

The original list:

  • Paper
  • Manila Folders
  • Hanging Folders
  • Sharpies (2)
  • Pens (10ish)
  • Pencils w/extra lead/erasers
  • Highlighters (4)
  • Envelopes
  • Window Envelopes
  • Manila envelopes
  • Scrap paper
  • Post It’s & Flags (various sizes)
  • Labeler w/extra cartridge
  • Legal Pads (3)
  • Notebooks (2)
  • Clipboard w/scrap paper
  • Dry Erase Board
  • Dry Erase Markers (3)
  • Dry Erase Eraser
  • White Out Tape
  • Scotch Tape (buy on arrival, if needed)
  • Paper Clips
  • Binder Clips
  • Stapler (buy on arrival, if needed)
  • Stamps
  • Checks – personal, 2 businesses
  • Deposit Slips – personal, my business
  • Check stamp – my business
  • PT CEU info (3 classes on CD)
  • Tax return info (state, personal, business, etc)
  • Estate Doc copies

The visual:

100_0961

Yes it includes this whole list AND closes.

100_0962

I also finished our general stuff to do/stuff we love packing.    I was making such a big deal out of taking pictures of all this junk and I started packing it before I had taken a picture of it.    So the pic isn’t as good as I wanted it to be, but here it is:

100_0963

The original list:

  • Green Books for Lent and After Advent
  • Small Russian Icon
  • A candle
  • Crucifix w/Palms
  • Liturgical Color Placemats
  • Plastic Mary

  • Pic of daughter & family pic
  • 2 decks of cards (one for her and one for us)

  • Timer (new)
  • Address Book
  • Calendar (flylady)
  • Lanyard

  • Bible
  • Bible Study (scanned?)
  • Catechism of Catholic Church
  • Rosaries
  • Catholic Prayer Book
  • Mary Day-by-Day
  • Weekly Missalette

  • Camcorder w/charger
  • DV Tapes
  • Kodak w/SD Card
  • AAA Batteries
  • Camera Case to hold all

  • iPod w/cord and charger
  • iPhone w/cord and charger

  • Florida Atlas
  • US Atlas

  • Crochet Needles
  • Yarn (2 small skeins)
  • Thread
  • Needles
  • Pins
  • Safety Pins
  • Leggings (to finish for Dagny)

  • Weight Training Bungees
  • iPod armband w/headphones
  • pedometer
  • water bottle (SS)

I managed to get nearly all of it into one kid’s size backpack.    Except the calendar–I’ll add that to the office in a box.   That also doesn’t include a large CD binder that we will be putting movies and CD’s.    Also, the Kodak is not pictured — I’m using it to take the pictures ;P.    My iPhone w/charger and the Catholic Prayer Book & Weekly Missalette are not pictured either because those live in my purse and glovebox, respectively.   The phone charger is not pictured either, it’s in use and will be in the van anyway.

Phew!    Just clothes and baby stuff left plus electronics to go in the van.   Oh yeah, and the household type stuff – extension cords, heaters, tools, etc.

More will be posted on Monday!   Have a great weekend!!

~J

December 19, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Packing – Kitchen

As I started typing up my list, I got a little worried.   It was 9 pages long for starters.

Then I started piling and got even more worried.   Here is the majority of the kitchen items, not including food/pantry stuff, or cookbooks.

Kitchen - A

I have approximately 1.5 cubic feet of space to put this stuff in, maybe a little more.   It’s an oddly shaped space under the sink.

Here is the detailed list:

  • Knives – Cutting & Steak
  • Cutting Boards – Plastic & Wood – 1 each
  • Can Opener
  • Spatula (hamburger kind)
  • Tongs
  • Spatula (regular)
  • Measuring cup(s)
  • Small bowls – 2 or 3
  • Meat Thermometer
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Drink Pitcher (sealed)
  • Mixing bowl – one
  • Silverware – 4 each knives, spoons, forks
  • Plates – 4
  • Bowls – 4
  • Glasses – 4
  • Wooden Spoon – 2
  • Veggie Peeler
  • Food Storage Containers
  • Cereal Box – 1
  • Plastic Baskets for spices – 1 or 2
  • Royal Caribbean cups – 2
  • Saucepan – 2 qt w/lid
  • Koozies
  • Collapsible Strainer
  • Ramekins – 2
  • Wisk

  • Crock Pot
  • Electric Frying Pan
  • Toaster Oven
  • Wash Basin
  • Dish Soap
  • Hand Soap
  • Paper Towels (buy on arrival)
  • Washcloths – 6
  • Hot Pads/Mitt – 2
  • Towels – 4
  • Microfiber cloths – 3
  • Napkins – 4
  • Apron
  • Brush & Dustpan
  • Plastic Bags (for garbage)

Added while packing:

  • a honing steel (for the knives)
  • a soup ladle

Missing from picture:

  • the meat thermometer
  • can opener
  • measuring spoons
  • the mixing bowl (which will be a collapsible bowl)
  • the forks (all dirty right now)
  • the washcloths.

I also didn’t picture the plastic bags because, well they smush and who cares.   I’ll be using all the old grocery bags that are cluttering up my house.   It will work well since we have a small space and be excellent for dirty diapers as well.  I love using cloth, but when we have to use a laundromat and will be going once a week in a small hot camper?   No thanks.

My HOPE is to fit this all in the space under the sink & stove.   I’m not sure if that will be possible, but we’ll try it and see.   Wish us luck!

~J

December 17, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment