Thursday, October 4, 2018

Tent Camping Tips To Make Camping Easy

We have been campers for over 30 years. Tents, trailers and now without a trailer, in a tent again this past weekend. I will share my tent camping tips to make camping easier that can be used while tenting it or camping in a RV.

camping hacks

Right now we are without our trailer, as we sold it in May, but I was really wanting a camping trip. We have everything to tent it so we pulled together our gear quickly and went to a back country campground you can;t pull a trailer to.

Tent Camping Tips To Make Camping Easy

1. Organize a camp kitchen box

Pull your kitchen gear into easy to access plastic drawers. My entire camping kitchen outside of the stove is contained in these two drawers. Pots. pans, cups, towels, wash pan and more all tucked into these drawers.

Here is some of what I keep in camping kitchen box: 

Pots and pans, cooking utensils
Foil and plastic wrap
Wash pan
Kitchen towels and scrubbie
Dish soap and bar soap for hand washing
Splatterware coffee mugs (these are the best for coffee and cocktails while camping)
Paper bowls
My container of plastic and tableware (see that great tip here)
Check out the post on my whole outdoor camp cook set up...
*A whole post on my camp kitchen set up is coming very soon.

2. Get an air mattress

Though we have a small cheap tent, we slept wonderfully cause we crammed our air mattress into it. It was worth it. Everything is easier when you are rested.

I covered our air mattress with an old memory foam topper from our trailer and we slept like babies.

3. Keep camp cooking very simple

I make as much ahead as I can. I premake soup or chili and freeze it and we always grill kabobs premade and marinated and frozen in large ziplocs on their skewers. Keep it simple. I also premake our sandwiches on rolls with mayo and mustard, meat and cheese and wrapped in saran wrap and placed in a plastic tub on top of the ice chest. This keeps me from having to pack meat, cheese and condiments in our ice chest. We add pickles and lettuce later. This is a genius camping hack to keep the ice chest free for other items.

ice chest organization, camping food

We always take our camping propane coffee maker. It makes the best coffee and a full pot that keeps warm. Just rinse out the pot after breakfast and you are done.

4. Make a camping list ahead of time

I make a list of all we need ahead of time and collect all the items in one area of our garage. Doing this ahead of time makes packing easier on the day we are leaving and when we return home we put it all back in this one spot so I can clean and put away at my leisure.

5. Store all your camping supplies together

We have a very inexpensive plastic cupboard in the garage most of our camping supplies fit in nicely. Our plastic bins sit next to it. Keeping everything in one place makes, organizing camping equipment makes it so much easier the next time you are ready for a camping trip.

camping equipment organization

These are a few of my camping tips for tent camping but we have tons of camping posts for RV camping too. You can find all our posts here.
Affiliate links in this post.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Sold Our Trailer, Now To Pick A New One

What will we choose as our next trailer? We sold our beloved trailer in May and our daughter married in June and now it is July and I really want to get our new trailer. Hubby is dragging his feet but I am of course obsessed with finding the right one.  That's half the fun is shopping for a new trailer.

vintage trailer art

We love the look of vintage trailers but we would never buy one. We just want a new one without the need or remodeling and restoration. And you know me I love a touch of red...

red vintage trailer kitchen

vintage trailer art

vintage camp decor

I have missed camping so much this summer we have thrown around the idea of going in our little tent but my arm and shoulder issues this summer will prevent that.

love is camping

So here is a real contender. These are new trailers called Vintage Cruisers and they have a real vintage look and feel but with all the new amenities. A/C a bathroom and a bed that fits my 6'4" husband is a must and one we can walk around as our old trailer had a bed we had to climb up into and now in our 50's we are over that. So I will keep you posted on what we get and of course a tour will be involved and let me know if you have ever seen one of these trailers??

vintage cruiser interior

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Sunflower Themed Party Ideas

This past week our we hosted our daughter's wedding rehearsal dinner. We, Dean and I, went with a sunflower themed party idea with black and white check table linens. Perfect idea for a June wedding with the rehearsal dinner in our back garden.

sunflower wedding decorating ideas

When my husband and I were gathering our sunflower wedding decorating ideas we wanted to save money as always and chose to use our collection of black and white enamelware. You can see we even used our wall hanging enamel flower market container. Jars were inserted to hold the mix of sunflowers and zinnias from our garden.

black and white enamel decor

I used white table linens I already had and ordered the black and white check table runners from Amazon and a pack of black and white check napkins. It was very inexpensive to use these to bring in the checks we wanted.

black and white farmhouse decorating ideas

sunflower black and white check decor

I knew I wanted sunflower cupcakes for the dessert table and found a friend who is a talented baker and hired her to make them. They really were cute and set off the sunflower themed dessert table.

sunflower dessert table

sunflower cupcakes

We rented white chairs and filled all of our mason jars with sunflowers for table centerpieces with sunflowers. Along with yellow napkins from the dollar store, we had very frugal sunflower centerpieces for parties or wedding receptions.

table centerpieces with sunflowers, check table runner
 I hope you enjoyed a peek into our daughter's rehearsal dinner.
Affiliate links in this post.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Growing Dutch Iris

Tips for growing Dutch Iris, the easiest spring bulb.

My irises are blooming!!

Dutch Iris

Tips for Growing Dutch Iris:

I love spring blooming Dutch Iris as they are carefree and every year you get more and more. My garden is full of purple and yellow Dutch iris that are from the first bulbs I bought over 20 years ago and have moved from one house to another.

1. In fall buy a bag of the bulbs and plant according to package directions. I have never even fed mine. They seem to thrive on neglect.

2. Water at least once a week through winter and when the green tips emerge.

3. Mine bloom in March and April. I enjoy and cut for bouquets.

4. Once blooms are spent I cut the plant back to about 6-8 inches to clean up the area but leave the greenery until it has full browned and then they are easy to pull out and toss. The dying stalks are what feeds the bulbs for next year. 

5. Every few years, dig up in winter and divide. This keeps them coming back year after year in mass and better than ever!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Spring Garden Tour 2018

Come for a video tour of our spring garden for 2018.  When you have a small lot you have to cram a lot in a small space. I hope you can gather some small backyard garden ideas. With our daughter's wedding in a month, we are getting our yard ready for the rehearsal dinner.

southern California cottage garden

Southern California Cottage Garden

Lots of flowers and some edible gardening along with lots of pots and containers are my go to very small garden ideas. I am totally in love with this liquid flower fertilizer. It is amazing! My flowers are just bursting and I use it about every 10 days. You just use a cap full so it lasts a long time.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Gathering Items For A Tea Party Themed Bridal Shower

My daughter's bridal shower is fast approaching and we decided on a Tea Party theme for her shower. I thought it might be fun to share with you some of our ideas and how we are going to set up and decorate for her shower.

tea party ideas, china tea set

Items For A Tea Party Shower

I inherited a lot of china tea cups. Those are the inspiration for our tea party decor. I decided on  floral and floral fabric decor. Every frugal we are using a lot of what we have and will fill tea pots with fresh flowers and outdoors we are filling all of my galvanized water cans with loads of fresh flowers.

china tea cups

Because it will be warm, we will probably stay mostly indoors but the patio and garden are ready for the party loaded with blooms. You can watch a video of the garden on our Facebook page here.

The tea pots will be filled with flowers as centerpieces and I will gather all my linens, some of which I was given as wedding gifts. Stay tuned as I will post the final shower pics and show you how it came out.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

How to Grow Tomatoes In Containers

With a small urban backyard, I have to be creative with growing areas so besides in the ground, or vertical I am also a fan of how to grow tomatoes in containers. Even in an apartment, if you had sun on a patio, you could grow a nice hanging pot of tomatoes.

container gardening, patio gardening, apartment garden

7 Tips For Growing Tomatoes In Containers

1. Pick a spot with at least six hours of sun.

2. Choose varieties that grow best in your area or for containers. I do cherry tomatoes as those don't need much support due to weight.

3. Choose the correct container. One large enough so that it doesn't dry out too fast and can support the root growth.

4. Use premium potting soil for vegetables. Tomatoes produce a lot so need a good soil.

5. Feed regularly. I mix in a slow release vegetable fertilizer as well as feed when I am watering using a liquid form. When plant is first starting out I use Miracle Grow but once buds set, I switch over to a blooming fertilizer. It this point I want lots of blooms and not lots of leaves. This is my all time favorite liquid bloom fertilizer and it will help your tomatoes set tons of fruit.

6. Water daily if your weather is dry. The tomato I have in the hanging basket with moss, I will water twice a day if hot or windy. If you wonder how often should I water my tomato plants in pots...everyday unless it is raining or you have standing water in a saucer below.

7. Trim off the lower branches and sucker shoots. You don't want a huge out of control plant that tips your container over. Focus on blooms and fruit. Growing tomato plants in pots and pruning is usually a must.

Here are some of my current tomatoes:

hanging tomato plant

cherry tomatoes in pots

Other great tomato articles:
How To Save Tomato Seeds
How To Grow Tomatoes From Cuttings
How To Plant Tomatoes The Right Way

Friday, February 23, 2018

How To Save Money On Dishwasher Tablets

Why are those little dishwasher soap tablets so expensive? Here is my tip on how to save money on dishwasher tablets. I have tested using a half tablet and they work fine but now I am using a third and here is what I do to still get super clean dishes.

Dawn for dishwasher

I use the tabs because they seem to leave the dishes spot free the best. I have tried powder and liquid and have not had as best results. If you know of a good one let me know in the comments.

How To Get Three Washes From One Dishwasher Tablet

1. Take a knife and roughly cut your dishwasher tab into a third. I throw right in the bottom of my dishwasher. I find when I put in the receptacle, the tabs do not always dissolve and I don't want that soap residue on our dishes.

2. I then take my Dawn dish soap and squirt literally just a few drops on the bottom of the dishwasher. Yes, you can use dish soap in your dishwasher but I only use Dawn. The best out there to me. But only use very small amounts along with a bit of your tablet.

3. I always make sure I have regular white vinegar in the little rinse aid receptacle. About every 4-5 days I top it off.

4. Run dishwasher as usual.

Find all of our tips on our Frugal Tips Page...

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Cheeseburger Quesadillas - Frugal Cooking

Who doesn't love a simple week night easy meal idea? I like to buy my ground beef and cook up in big batches for easy meals and cheeseburger quesadillas are great for those quick dinners.

Lately we eat a lot of soups, various quesadillas and mixed bowl meals on weeknights. Remember to check out entire recipe page for tons of meal and frugal cooking ideas.

easy dinner ideas

cheap dinners

Cheeseburger Quesadillas

Recipe by Elaine @ Sunny Simple Life
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Flour tortillas
  • Ground beef
  • Taco seasoning
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Sliced pickles
  • Butter
  • Toppings of choice
Cooking Directions
  1. Cook your ground beef and season with taco seasoning. Assemble all of your ingredients and a large flat bottom pan or griddle pan. Heat your pan and spread a little bit of butter on the pan on half the tortilla. Lay tortilla flat and spread a layer of cheese, the meat and finally a layer of sliced pickles. Fold over the tortilla and brown on both sides. Serve with thousand island dressing or ketchup or even salsa. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup - Frugal Cooking With Sunny Simple Life

It is soup weather and I have been making a variety of healthy homemade soup recipes. This is my favorite frugal recipe this year and I have made creamy tomato tortellini soup a few times already since the new year.

The hearty soup makes for a filling dinner and I have even frozen it. Freezing dairy based soups can separate a bit but I found it was still super delicious. Let's do some frugal cooking with Sunny Simple Life.

frugal recipe, soup recipe

Watch our video of the simmering creamy tomato tortellini soup...

Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup

Recipe by Elaine @ Sunny Simple Life
This is a hearty frugal soup recipe.
Yield: Family size
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup diced bell pepper
  • 1 cup diced zuchinni
  • 1/2 cup green beans (frozen, fresh or canned)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend
  • Dash Garlic Powder
  • To taste Salt and Pepper
  • One box Vegetable Broth
  • 1 can Condensed Tomato Soup
  • 1 1/2 can Water
  • 1/2 cup Half and Half
  • Garnish Fresh parsley (optional)
  • One small package Cheese tortellini or kind of your choice
Cooking Directions
  1. In a large pot, saute onion, celery and carrots. Add the vegetable broth and simmer for a few minutes. Add condensed soup and water, stirring well to mix. Dump in rest of vegetables and seasonings. Simmer until veggies are tender about 10 minutes. Add tortellini and simmer until tender about 8-10 minutes but don't overcook. Add half and half, stir to mix and bring to boil. Ready to serve, garnish with fresh herbs if you like. Enjoy.