Thursday, January 29, 2015

THIS SIMPLE DIY WHITE BOARD PROJECT CHANGED OUR LIVES!

  • Do you have notes and lists all over your counters?
  • Do you struggle to keep track of things?
  • Do you get to the grocery store and still don't know why you are there?
  • Do you make a plan just to forget all the details in a few hours?

KITCHEN CABINET


We recently decided we needed a new system in our RV to help us keep track of all our pieces of paper - grocery lists, to do lists, business plans, etc. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that we are getting older and have to write everything down! We got to the point where we had papers, lists, and notes everywhere! There is limited room in the camper to begin with, so we were overwhelmed and wanted to just throw it all away! Eek! No matter how much room YOU have, this would also be a great project for your home, business, apartment, or condo!

We ultimately decided to use the inside of our cabinets as our base for our new organizing project. This would also keep things out of sight. We looked into white boards or chalk boards, but they can get fairly expensive. One of the other requirements was that it was thin enough to easily fit inside our cabinet doors. We also looked at white board and chalk board paint to apply to inside of the cabinets. This would also be a great option but we felt it would be a lot more expensive and certainly more time consuming. I believe they also have chalk board contact paper.

So white contact paper as white board in our cabinets it is!



SUPPLIES FOR OUR PROJECT


Supplies:
  • WHITE CONTACT PAPER
  • SCISSORS
  • RAZOR BLADE OR BOX CUTTER
  • TAPE MEASURE
  • SPATULA OR FLAT SURFACE
  • WET OR DRY ERASE MARKERS
  • DECORATIVE TAPE if desired

Plain White Contact Paper can be found at almost any general store like Walmart, Target, etc.  It should have a fairly shiny finish. They also have other colors and patterns, if you find something that would add a little excitement to your cabinets - go ahead and splurge and make it your own style! The contact paper we used was 18 inches wide and has a grid pattern on the back to help with measuring.

The other supplies you probably already have in your home - scissors, razor blade and tape measure. We also used a regular plastic kitchen spatula to help smooth out the contact paper.  Just use what you have!


1.   The first step is make sure your surface of the cabinet is clean and free of dust or lint. Give it a quick cleaning and make sure it is dry.

2.   The back of the contact paper usually has a grid with 1/2 inch increments which really assists in measurement. You can either measure the width and length of the area you want to cover OR simply hold the contact paper up to the surface with the right side down and then make a mark on the back side to show where you should cut.

3.   Cut the contact paper to fit as close to the measurements as you can. It doesn't have to be exact in fact a little overage is probably best. You will trim the excess later with the razor.

4.   Start by peeling back the backing on one side tucking it in the corners of the cabinet door. It is important to get this edge straight as it will determine the fit of the other edges. You can start from the top, bottom or one of the sides - whichever is most comfortable for you.




 5.   Gradually smooth the sheet as you move using either your hand or a spatula. Try not to pull on the sheet too tight as it could stretch. Press it down firmly tucking it into the corners and edges. There should be some extra around some of the edges.
  
 6.   Using your razor, carefully trim the excess paper. You can also add decorative tape if you wish to spruce it up a little. And that's it! You are done! 



CABINET FOR MY BUSINESS SUPPLIES

Now get out your markers and have some fun! It is a great idea to color code with your markers and use a different cabinet for different things. We have one cabinet just for the things my husband wants to track, one for grocery list and menu planning, one for my  business, etc. You can pretty it up with decorative tape or other colors to personalize it for yourself. As you can see we split up one of our cabinets for menus and grocery lists. We also have a printed sheet of the common items we buy at the grocery store. We keep this by our cabinet door list so we know what we will need.  

The total cost was probably around $12. The contact paper was about $5, markers $5 and the decorative tape was $2. However, I have so much contact paper left I could probably do every cabinet and bunk door in our RV and still have plenty left to do a couple more RVs. There's an idea - I think My Man should try it out in the bunks so we know what is in each section! We will keep you posted on that project! It is also good to note the contact paper is removable if it would get damaged somehow and you could just apply a new sheet.


All of those little pieces of paper are gone - out of site and out of mind, we have more important things to think about!

Have you done a similar organizing project in your RV or home - I would love to hear from you?






Tuesday, January 20, 2015

OUR ANNUAL TREK TO FLORIDA!


After working at Amazon in Coffeyville, Kansas for 3 long months (more on that experience another time), it was time for our now annual trek to Florida.  This is always so exciting as we know what awaits us in Florida - warm weather, sun, sand, and great friends and family! 


We left Coffeyville on December 31st where the temperature was a bone-chilling 12 degrees with a nasty wind blowing. While unhooking the water, etc., Doug had to come in several times to warm up as it was soooo cold! When we decided to travel and become workampers, one of the things we really wanted to avoid was cold and snow! It is amazing how quickly your body adjusts to being warm so this cold was especially making our teeth chatter! We really wanted to get going as rain and sleet were in the forecast for many of the states we were going to be traveling through.

The first night we made it as far as Pine Bluff, Arkansas and stayed at a small campground right off of Highway 65. It was dark when we arrived, but a very nice man with a flashlight came out, took our $20 cash, and showed us to our site. There was a definite smell in the air and later we learned it was from the paper mills in the area. Even though it was New Years Eve, not much celebrating was accomplished as we were both very tired from travel and still recuperating from the night shift at Amazon. 2015 here we come!

The second day, January 1, 2015, we headed south towards Jackson, Mississippi, through Hattiesburg, and to Mobile, Alabama. I think it is always exciting going through Mobile as you venture through this great tunnel downtown that goes under the water and then when you come out of the tunnel you cross the bay on a very long bridge!

The two years previous to this on our journey to Florida, I had driven our van separately from Doug in the camper. Since I have a long history of an aversion to bridges - and there are lots of bridges in this area - this bridge in particular is very intimidating.  I was always hanging on tight and praying that I would make it safely to land! But this trip was a great opportunity for me to look around and enjoy the view - as long as Doug keeps his eyes on the road! 

 
The view of the bay from the bridge in Mobile, AL, in a moving vehicle!


 We had made reservations at Azalea Acres near Robertsdale, AL. It is located only about a mile off the Interstate. The very informative lady on the phone met us at the gate and guided us to our very large, cement site. Not all of the sites were cement but they were all very large. There was plenty of room in the front and the back of the camper to park several vehicles. It was pretty warm when we got there and it was easy to remember why so many people head south in the winter months. This RV Park is only 25 miles from Mobile, Alabama, and about 40 miles from Pensacola, FL, making it a great central location when you are traveling through this area. It was such a great location we decided to relax and stay for 2 nights! There is a direct expressway that will take you to the Gulf Shores and Perdido Beaches, which we took the opportunity to check out on the second day we were there even though it was a little cloudy. 


Gulf Shores Beach

The weather was supposed to get colder with the possibility of freezing rain so we decided to take off fairly early the next morning to head just 55 miles east near Holt, Florida. The campground we chose was River's Edge just a few miles off the interstate. We knew they had previously hired workampers so we wanted to check them out. It is set next to the Yellow River in a great wooded area. The staff was very friendly, even though we wanted to check in early. There were a few empty spots but you could tell there were quite a few snowbirds that made their winter home there. We easily got settled into a pull through that was grass and sand. We soon remembered we were in Florida and now there would be sand everywhere! There are wide open spaces and a boat ramp with apparently good fishing right there in the river. This definitely looks like it would be a great place to work!


River's Edge RV next to the Yellow River



The next day we took off for our final destination, Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park. We wanted to stay in the panhandle of Florida for a few months so this looked like a good place to start. It isn't right on the beach but it is a lot cheaper than even the state parks on the beach at $16 a night. Bonus! You also get a pass to use the Henderson Beach State Park facilities which are only 10 miles down the road! We found a couple downsides - you can only stay 14 nights at a time and there is no sewer. But, we wanted a place to land to check out other campgrounds in the area, and the dump station was easily accessible. Our campsite was very large with lots of trees and surrounded by a wooden fence.



It is right on the bayou so there is a boat ramp and some beach areas. This was a beautiful setting, as are most Florida State Parks, with lots of trees and hiking trails.We went for a walk pretty much every day and it was very peaceful and serene. Loved seeing the "Prayer of the Woods."

























 
Well that was our exciting adventure to Florida this year! If you ever have the chance to visit a warmer climate in the winter - or even better yet call yourself a snowbird for the entire winter - DO IT! For many years we knew people headed south for the winter but we really did't realize how wonderful it is until you have been here. I really don't know how to describe it! I lived my whole life in South Dakota enduring the cold winters and all the time hating the cold! I mean really hating the cold - talk about hibernation! Now it is such a great feeling to be able to go outside and be active during the winter months. In fact, I think it is healthier! We eat better, exercise more, meet new people and have new experiences!  I guess what I am trying to convey is get out and LIVE YOUR DREAM - what ever it is!

What is YOUR dream? What are the steps YOU need to take to make it happen? If I can provide any information or encouragement, I would be happy to help you in any way I can!



Thursday, January 8, 2015

Great for These Cold Winter Nights! Sausage Tortellini Soup


SENTIMENTAL SUE RECIPES!



Can you relate? It is probably one of the coldest nights of the winter and this is a great comfort food to warm you up!


I have mentioned before that My Man loves to cook and he is always searching for new recipes online - his favorite is All Recipes! He starts browsing for something new to try and asks my opinion but usually I respond with a resounding "Yes Honey, whatever you want to make!"  I am definitely not the cook in the family so when he wants to try something new I am ready to be the taste tester!  

At one point I think my Mom was a little offended when I told her - or even bragged - that Doug did most of the cooking because he was so good at it.  She said "Well Sue can cook if she wants to!" I think somehow she thought it reflected back on her for not teaching me to cook! Haha! Not true at all - she was a great cook and kept all 7 of us very well fed! I have always liked to eat but making a big fuss over making a meal is just not for me! I want it quick and easy!  And what she says is true - I can cook when I want to - I just usually don't want to!




This recipe is for Sausage Tortellini Soup and it is delicious! It isn't too spicy and the cheese tortellini really adds a great flavor and texture. This makes a hearty meal!

1 pound of mild Italian Sausage
1 medium onion, diced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups Prego tomato sauce or any jar sauce
4 cups of chicken broth
2 cups of water
10 ounces cheese tortellini, either frozen or fresh

In a large saucepan, brown the Italian Sausage, then add the onion and fry til tender. Add all of the rest of the ingredients except the tortellini. Simmer on medium heat for 15 minutes. Add the cheese tortellini for the last 5-10 minutes of cooking. If the tortellini cooks too long it really increases in size and gets kind of mushy.

You could definitely use fresh tomatoes instead of canned and your own red sauce instead of Prego, but we went the short cut route and it still tastes great! This soup is so easy even I can make it!



Ladle into your favorite soup bowl and top with grated Parmesan cheese - Yummy! This final ingredient really makes the dish!  

This is a great soup to warm you up on these cold winter nights!