Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Trailer Saga: Updates End of Week #4

Week #4 has basically finished with getting some essentials accomplished.  Dan finished rerouting water and drain lines and patching the roof to stop some of the leak problems that had cropped up.  This is the nature of homes...they leak and need maintenance.  For now, problem solved and a roof replacement (about due for any house) will be accomplished before next winter.

The big accomplishment for the week was getting our new floors installed.   Dan and I busted them out in ONE day.  We're pretty much awesome. They look GREAT and are so easy to clean--which is a must for living in the country with a dog and (almost) three boys on a farm.  Mud happens.  Be ready for it.

With the help of some awesome friends and family, we were able to get some large areas of painting done and get rid of the Greco-Grape wallpaper that was overtaking my kitchen and causing my new cherry floors to look purple!  I was NOT happy about having them look purple, lemme tell ya.  And, notice to the world, the vinyl-y wallpaper from the 1990s takes a LOT of coats of primer to cover.  It's pretty much gone after 3 coats  and when I finally have some time to relax and decide on my paint colors (I decided to give myself a more leisurely time to decide on colors I have to look at all the time), any lingering hints will be no more.

What hasn't gotten done? Lots. Painting bedrooms and bathrooms and pantry. My kitchen is non-existent. The skirting isn't on the trailer. Then there's my "would like to accomplish" list of the future, which we aren't even addressing here.

Myself and I have had some conversations this week.
Self, ultimately, is all this about having a turn-key trailer or is this about getting to move to the country?  
How long have we talked about moving to the country? Since we got married, 5+ years ago.
How long have I talked about having a perfect home to move into? A few months, maybe.
As I said to a friend this week, my type-A personality is getting a harsh pruning through this experience.  I hate not meeting goals, but I have to realize that I tend to set my goals ridiculously high--and then will raise the mental bar on myself at the last second to do more if I look like I'm about to meet my original goal.  A recipe for mental craziness, lemme tell ya.  Apparently, setting reasonable, moderate goals is not a strong point of mine--and I feel like I need to get better at this. Having some satisfaction at the end of the day for accomplishing what you set out to do is a healthy thing.

An appreciation and satisfaction with yourself for a job well done is oddly not something that I often experience.

Being stressed and disappointed that you didn't meet unacheivable goals is setting yourself up for failure and not a healthy place to be.  My brother-in-law apparently said that my mantra for life (after a crazy, all-day canning session of 80 quarts of applesauce, mind you) was "anything worth doing is worth over-doing."  As much as I hate to admit it, he was right.  Lesson to learn for Paige: Moderation. I should add that to my list of goals for 2014.  It seems pretty important.

Instead, I'm going to focus on essentials this week.  What do we need to live in the country THIS WEEK.
  1. A functional bathroom
  2. Running water
  3. Light fixtures so we can see
  4. Getting moved
And  here's what we (and by we, I mean mostly Dan) HAVE accomplished in ONE short month.
  1. Set up/move trailer
  2. Electrical hook-ups and turned on power
  3. Water lines rerouted
  4. Rot evaluated and nearly entirely repaired
  5. Pantry walls up/insulated/paneled and new door installed
  6. Master closet re-arranged and enlarged
  7. Electrical lines moved
  8. Jacuzzi tub out, floor repaired, carpet patched.
  9. Kitchen demo
  10. Bathroom demo
  11. Remove old flooring
  12. Primered main living areas
  13. New flooring installed
  14. And the "must-do" items for this week are right on schedule.
This is one benefit to a type-A, list-keeping personality. When you're having a mental-freak-out moment you can quickly and easily look back and realize just how far you've come and how much you HAVE gotten done.  To my wonderful husband who has worked tirelessly and put up with all my crazy, hormonal, third-trimester-pregnant, self-stressed-out, ridiculous me, thank you.  I appreciate it.  When, I've calmed down and had a good cry and talk myself down, mind you. ;)
My men, enjoying a walk by the pond.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Trailer Saga: End of Week #3 Updates

Monday saw us accomplishing all that we had hoped.  Right on schedule.  Neat, easy, clean.  Just the way I like it.  Electrical was rerouted, paneling and drywall were up for pantry.

Then Tuesday reminded us that when you do a remodel, there will ALWAYS be something that comes up that is unexpected.  A significantly larger area of rot.  Bummer.  Not a complete mess, given Dan's awesome construction skills, but certainly a bit of a set back.  Time to reevaluate our priorities and triage the to-do list...

Wednesday got us all prepped after a MASSIVE day of shopping for the "big items" on the remodel list. Slight hiccup with our 10% off coupon that the managers were reading us a line couldn't figure out.  The obviously super pregnant woman got OUT of the car to go back into the store to make them fix it explain the problem to them.  Our cashier was awesome, though, and was totally reasonable and smart and knew what to do from the get-go.  Management.  Psh.

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday got us out to the farm and alllllll the rot removed and partially repaired.  The roof was evaluated and we tried a few ways of repairing it.  One windy night later, and we had to regroup and rethink the repair--Dan decided on the simple tarring method and we'll just replace/update sooner rather than later (truly, it's a basic house maintenance thing after 15 years or so, so it's not that unexpected). The painting did NOT get done (*I will not freak out, I will not freak out) but essentially all the painting prep is done--new pretty bead-board up in the kitchen, most of the drywall fixed and replaced, all the old flooring removed for our new cherry floors. (I am SOOOO excited about that part!)

Little Helper Man
Goals for Week #4 : Monday, Feb 17th
  • (M) Finish hooking up water lines.  Do drain line rerouting
  • (T) Finish last of the demo and painting prep. Drywall in the kitchen and living room.  Move the hot water heater in prep for paint.  Patch roof.
  • (W) Get prepped for our "work weekend" and recover from my night shifts.
  • (H) Prime the rooms that flooring is going into.
  • (F) Re-install light fixtures and lay flooring.
  • (S) Prime remaining rooms while Dan builds the kitchens.
Can we do it?!?!?!  We only have one more full week after this to get everything ready for the big move-in!  I have my triaged mental list going and know what (and in what order) will wait if we don't get to it.  Overall, I'm hopeful to get it all done basically, but Mrs. Planner over here does WAY better when she has Scenarios A, B, C, D and E prepared in her brain.  It makes accepting Scenario D much more palatable when you're behind schedule. :)  

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Trailer Saga: End of Week #2 Updates

I simply CANNOT believe how much has happened on the homestead in TWO weeks!  I know that I have been stressed out, concerned, worried, and fretting over not meeting time tables.

Y'all.  This momma is pregnant--and everyone keeps asking if it's my due date.  I'm getting big and uncomfortable and I only have about 2 months before this little man makes his debut.  I want to be moved and settled.  Not delivering and having one house half packed up and the other half-finished.

It's at times like these that I remind myself: breathe.

And more than that, take a minute to look back at how far we've come...in TWO weeks!

Two weeks ago, I was making a phone call on a Monday afternoon, asking a gentleman about his bright, neon green poster that he had up in a local trailer park. "Sure, come look at it tomorrow,"  he said.  By 6pm on Tuesday, we had a handshake and a verbal deal.  Wednesday, I had called every moving company in a 50 mile radius and found our mover--again verbal deal.  Thursday, we (i.e. mostly Dan) spent a long 14-hour day pulling off skirting and getting the thing prepped to move.  Friday was moving day and by day's end, we had our new home in position.  The weekend was for pow-wows, plan-making, and recovering from nearly 30-hours worth of work on 6 hours of sleep.  (Moving companies get there EARLY!!!)

Dan got the electric done on Monday, most of the water lines on Tuesday.  We had a few down days due to weather, outstanding jobs on Dan's docket, and waiting for the power company to turn on our service.  Some awesome friends came over on Friday and helped me get my house pre-packed for moving day--which is supposed to be in EIGHTEEN DAYS!!!!  AHHHHHH!!!

Ok... we're NOT freaking out.  We're going to count our successes (and less-than-successes).

Friday night saw a very cold, very failed attempt at sleeping out at our trailer.  As I posted on Facebook, a 6'2" man, a third-trimester pregnant woman, a 19-month old failing sleep monster, and a 45-lb dog do NOT all fit on a full-sized bed.  (We were piled on in an attempt to stay warm.  Warm we stayed, but asleep we did not.)

Dan was the level headed one of the group and called retreat at 3:30 a.m.  Pregnant, sleep-deprived, hormonal, disappointed me (I had planned for this overnight stay for 3 days, mind you, complete with food for the week-end all prepped and ready to go.) was relatively quickly swayed, but not without considerable grumblings.

Saturday and Sunday saw us refreshed.  And our trailer was all toasty and warm and welcoming.  Moving of a few walls and assessing some rot damage (that we were aware of) was accomplished.

Goals for this week:
  1. Finish moving electrical and re-paneling/drywalling the moved walls that now create an awesome master closet and a large, walk-in pantry. Yes, y'all, all this in a single-wide trailer.  Just you wait until it's finished. It will be awesome.
  2. Do kitchen and bathroom demo and prep. Remove old flooring. Take out the jacuzzi tub (bye-bye, 1999!).  And no, the pregnant woman has NOT lost her mind.  The thing very quite possibly leaks, has a massive draft under the unit, and is a perfect mouse hibernation area.  Trust me, I checked under the skirting of the tub and was not happy. Besides, I still have a tub and would rather have more space in the master bedroom since we took up part of it with a massive and awesome pantry.
  3. Get our ginormous materials shopping done and prepare for the 3-day marathon of remodeling. (Maximize that 10% off coupon!)
  4. Painting prep--remove fixtures, mirror "windows" from the 90s, take down extra hooks, knobs, and vanities, patch holes, clean walls.  Lay down the carpet protection 
  5. Prime EVERYTHING.  This will likely take two days. (I might be a bit ambitious....*fingers crossed*)
The Little Man, helping Daddy, as usual. 

Spaghetti Pizza Casserole

This is an old stand-by from my childhood. Dad used to always cook it up for us as kids.  Comfort food to the max. But all my ingredients are pronounceable and I do get the organic pasta, home-make my spaghetti sauce (and freeze in pints) to keep down the added sugar, and splurge on the nitrate free pepperoni.  You could easily substitute the pepperoni for a spicy sausage, which is much easier to make at home nitrate-free from organic ground-pork.

Spaghetti Pizza
  • 1 package spaghetti or linguine noodles, cooked and drained (keep al dente)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce (about 3-4 cups home-made)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 oz if you shred your own--which I do, to avoid the cellulose anti-caking stuff)
  • 1/2 package pepperoni (I try to get the nitrate-free kind if I can.  This meal stretches the meat, so I splurge on higher quality stuff)
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cook and drain your pasta
  3. Whisk together the milk and eggs, mix with the pre-cooked pasta and place in a greased 9x13 pan.
  4. Top with spaghetti sauce, cheese, and a single layer of pepperoni.  Cover and bake for 30 minutes.  Let stand for 5 minutes and enjoy.
I will say that this is MUCH easier to cut the next day as leftovers.  So don't struggle getting those leftovers divvied up after dinner. Wait until the next day.  You'll thank me.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Meal Planning: Week #6

I was smart and sat down to plan two weeks at once--both for my sanity (so much easier to just look at the plan) and also to get myself organized for twice the time in one sitting.

Note the repeats--trying to clear our the pantry, fridges, and freezers in preparation for the move. Also, casseroles, crock-pots and easily pre-prepped foods are high on our list, hence the pasta heaviness.  Paleo friends, I am sorry.

A rose that Dan bought me for our first married Valentine's Day. 
  • Breakfasts: Muffins and Oatmeal.  Smoothies and Shredded stuff.  You know our drill.
  • Lunch: You guessed it, leftovers.
Dinner Menu
  • Sunday: Fish 'n Chips with Green Beans (Salmon with home-made french fries--so easy and we love it!  Plus, I'm trying to get salmon used up, and get used to the taste, so a consolation of some awesome fried french fries makes me happy).  We've been baking our salmon with some yummy creamy pesto sauce.
    • Make the muffins for the week and get some yogurt going.  Our yogurt is home-made and wonderful for smoothies. I make it into Greek yogurt and use the whey for muffins.  They go hand in hand and minimize waste. 
  • Monday: Pizza, Dan's homemade (use home-made sauce from last week, pulled out of the freezer)
  • Tuesday: Shrimp Scampi with Broccoli
  • Wednesday: Salisbury Steak with Roasted Cabbage (recipe coming this week)
    • Also, I'll brown up my bacon for Thursday's crock-pot meal, soak beans, and lay out a lasagna or Spaghetti Pizza Casserole to bake up on Friday. The plan is to stay out at the farm again for long work-days and I need to have things prepped.
  • Thursday: White Bean Chili/stew (use soaked beans from previous day and browned up bacon) with Green Beans
  • Friday: Lasagna or Spaghetti Pizza Casserole with Steamed Broccoli
  • Saturday: Broccoli Cheddar Soup or LEFTOVERS.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Meal Planning: Week #5

Things have been RIDICULOUSLY busy here on the homestead!  We are definitely in go-mode now that we've found our trailer. Thirty days is what we've given ourselves to get it hooked up and remodeled before we move--and that also includes my packing everything up here in town as well!

To that end, meal planning has been very hectic.  Thankfully, I did take stock of my pantry and I really want to use up as much as I can so we don't have to move it.  So, I'm starting a self-challenge --how long can I go with a $50 food budget?!?!  Can I get through the entire month until the move? Time to clear out the cupboards!

And, I have a confession....we had been eating out a ton last week and my meal plan has gotten tossed out the window!  It's been ridiculously busy and with 12-15 hour days gone from home working, trailer hunting, trailer prepping, and trailer moving on all my "off work" days (normally spent catching up on cooking), this family has barely been home long enough for a proper sleep, let alone cooking!  We need to have a strict budget (using just the envelope method this month for food, since I'm limiting my shopping to Aldi's), to keep us on financial target and also to force me to cook real food at home.

Here's where we've been this week. I'm debating taking tomorrow to get all prepped for big push days the next week and just cook up a bunch of casseroles that I can easily plop in the oven, or take with us on our "camping out" work trips. (i.e. spending the night out at the trailer to minimize travel time).  So tempted to just get out to the farm and start working, but it would probably be a better use of my time to just prepare for a bunch of easy meals.  Not to mention, most of the roads around here look like this.  Pretty, but slow going--and the farm is nearly 45 minutes away as it is.


  • Breakfast: Back to eggs and oatmeal.  Fresh pineapple (on sale this week!), shredded stuff, and smoothies round out the mix. Glad to be back to our oatmeal--rib-stickin' good.  I love soaking my oatmeal--makes for easy prep for Dan and I.  He doesn't even heat his. Just adds maple syrup.  I like cooking mine up with strawberries and cream.
  • Lunch: Leftovers, per our norm.
Dinner Schedule
  • Sunday: Pizza
  • Monday: Shrimp Scampi
  • Tuesday: Leftovers
  • Wednesday: Spaghetti Pizza Casserole with Steamed Broccoli (recipe coming soon)
  • Thursday: Fish  n' Chips (Baked Salmon and home-made French fries)
    • This will likely be my big food prep day.  Muffins for the rest of the week, yogurt, and home-made spaghetti sauce (for lasagna, crockpot cabbage rolls, pizza, and spaghetti pizza casserole)  are on the agenda.
  • Friday: Spicy Sausage Lentil Soup
    • We have a pre-packing party for this day with some wonderful friends.  Easy to simmer this away on the stove and I'll be whipping up the lasagna for Saturday.  We hope to get to the farm in the afternoon and spend the night for an all-day work-day on Saturday.
  • Saturday: Lasagna and Steamed Broccoli
Hang tight!  It's going to be a hectic ride!