Snickers Cheesecake


 

There is nothing I love more than a good cheesecake. A few years ago we were living in Ireland. We spent about a year and a half in Dublin and then we moved to Dromod, Co. Leitrim. I loved it, but our Internet wasn’t as good. Since I couldn’t work online like I had in the past, I needed another way to make money. I started making and selling desserts; mostly cheesecakes. It was easier to get my home kitchen certified in Ireland than it would have been in the US and I quickly gained regular commercial clients (mostly coffee shops). By the time we returned to the US in 2014, I was getting pretty busy. (If it had been my choice, I would have stayed and continued to grow my business.)

Snickers Cheesecake was my most popular order. I’d sometimes make 5-10 of them a week.

Since it’s Easter, I decided to make one to celebrate and I’m so glad I did. I haven’t had a cheesecake this good in a very long time. For the first time EVER, I’m sharing my recipe here. (Usually only very close friends and family can get this recipe out of me…with a lot of begging and pleading.)

Ingredients

Snickers Cheesecake

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Servings:  8

Prep time: 2 hours

Ingredients

  • 3 (8-oz) packages of cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • pinch of salt
  • 1.5 cups chopped snickers candies (if you use the mini pieces, you can cut them into fourths)
  • Caramel sauce
  • Whipped cream (optional) 

Crust

  • 3 packages of graham crackers
  • 1 cup butter (melted)

You will also need:

  • 1 (9″) springform pan 
  • blender
  • 1 large roasting pan
  • parchment paper
  • foil
  • boiling hot water
  • cooking spray
  • pencil
  • scissors

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325º.
  2. Prepare everything for the cheesecake first. Use a pencil to trace the circular bottom of the springform pan onto the parchment paper. I save the insert that comes with the packaging for this also. Cut the circle out with a sharp pair of scissors. 
  3. Spray the bottom and sides of the springform pan. Place the parchment cutout in the bottom and spray it also.
  4. Wrap the bottom and sides of the springform pan with foil. I use four large pieces I can crisscross and then I press them firmly around the outside edge (up the sides). You are trying to prevent water from going inside the pan during baking. 
  5. Place the foiled springform pan inside the roasting pan and set aside. 
  6. Blend the graham crackers until they are fine crumbs. Stir the melted butter into the crumbs until they are all coated.
  7. Press crumb and butter mixture into the bottom of the springform pan. You can either make it one thick layer (or cut the crust ingredients in half) or you can press it up the sides a bit too. Use the back of a spoon. 
  8. For the batter: Cream softened cream cheese and sugar together until smooth.
  9. Add in vanilla extract.
  10. Mix in eggs, one at a time. 
  11. Add pinch of salt and cream and mix until smooth (don’t over-mix). 
  12. Gently fold in one cup of the chopped Snickers bars. Reserve remaining half a cup. 
  13. Pour mixture into the springform pan.
  14. Pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan 1/4 to 1/2 up the sides of the springform pan.
  15. Carefully bake for approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. 
  16. Do not open the oven for at least an hour. When the cheesecake is done, the top will turn a light caramel color and a knife inserted into the center will come out with a slight amount of cheesecake “goo” on the tip. This is okay. It won’t be completely set during the baking. 
  17. Sprinkle remaining Snickers pieces around the top of hot cheesecake just after taking it out of the oven. I like to decorate the edges of my cheesecake with cream cheese, so I place them in the middle about an inch away from the edge. 
  18. Cool at room temperature for 30 minutes and then cool in the fridge (don’t remove it from the pan) for at least 6 hours (8 is better).
  19. Remove the cheesecake from the pan onto a cake board (or plate or whatever you have). Drizzle caramel over the top for decoration and if you like, decorate the edges with whipped cream. I use homemade whipped cream frosting (recipe to come), but you can do what you like. 

If you like my recipe, please share, but please give me credit and include a link to my blog. Thank you!

Winded Gypsy Chronicles: Entry 1 – The Beginning


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This is me with my lab, Crixus. Photo taken a week ago.

This is my story. I’ve wanted to sit down and write it for a long time, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it until now. I justified my lack of enthusiasm by telling myself my story wasn’t done yet, but what is done? Death? I can’t write this down when I’m dead and given my health and the black cloud that seems to follow me around, that could happen at any moment.

I want to say first that I will try to post these memories in somewhat of an order, but I may jump around a bit as different things enter my mind.

Let’s jump back to June, 2010. I want to start here, because this was where the real trouble began. I was living with my boyfriend at the time and our 2-year-old daughter, Graywyn. (I’ll often refer to her as “G” for short.) I own a small 2-bedroom home in Wisconsin (hopefully not for long, though).

This was already a particularly low time for us. We had previously been doing very well with a commercial and residential construction company we were essentially running out of my garage. We had all the tools, the truck, the crew and we’d made a name for ourselves. We were doing big projects like Walmart, Sam’s Club, Victoria Secret, Harley Davidson and other name brands. We offered general construction, but tile was our specialty.

We’d been thriving before our daughter was born, but it took the two of us working together for one paycheck to make it happen. We always had money in our bank account. We had savings, were able to do things we wanted and we were pretty happy. I worked until I was about 6 months pregnant. We lived in Columbus, Ohio during my pregnancy and after we took a job that required us working on the 20th floor of a building with no elevator, I was pretty much done. I realized I didn’t have the energy to do the work. After I stopped going, things kind of went downhill.

By the time we found ourselves in June, 2010, the construction business was all but over with. Companies were filing for bankruptcy and homeowners didn’t have the money. We switched gears. I focused on writing and transcription, which is what I had done from home before the construction. I loved working with university research departments (still do for readers who may need transcription services). We were now focusing on flipping cars and doing car repairs out of that same garage.

The money just wasn’t there and we were struggling. We were still doing some construction and had a couple local homes (within a block of my house). My ex’s brother was living with us. Over a two year period we’d had a lot of people live with us to help balance out finances and to help them out. At one time, his brother and my sister were both sleeping in the finished basement and another worker of ours was living above the garage. It was a full household and I grew tired of being an adult and having to share my personal space.

By now, only his brother remained. I became aware that he was doing and most likely dealing drugs a few weeks prior to this. I’d seen him make a quick hand exchange (product for money) across the street of my house during a family party. I was pissed. I told me ex his brother had to move out…immediately. He didn’t right away, but by now he had.

He claimed he had work back in Ohio where more of their family lived. He said he was coming back, but we both knew he wasn’t and to be honest, we didn’t want him back. Enough home sharing and enough drug activity. He basically packed his stuff and left in the wee hours of the morning one day. There was something off about it.

A few days later, one of the guys who had worked for us, whose car my ex had been working on and who seemed to have some sort of beef with my ex and his brother, approached me. I’d always gotten along with him. I remember I had bought Christmas gifts for his children one year when I knew they were low on money. I do stuff like that when I can for people.

He told me that my ex was mixed up in something bad. He said it was drugs. I asked him to give me info I could verify (like where was he hiding the drugs, etc). His warning was simple. He has screwed someone over big time and these were the kind of guys who would come for me and my daughter, he said, to get to him. He told me I needed to leave.

I believed him about needing to get out of there. I’d had a dream a few months before about it. Sometimes I dream things. In the dream, I was home alone. I saw a man in my driveway with a gun. I remember locking the side door off the kitchen (the most likely door he’d go to) and then realizing my back door was unlocked. My dog was out in the back in the dream. I remember thinking he might help protect me. It’s silly now when I think about it. A bullet would stop him.

I was trying to figure out what to do next when I woke up. There were other elements in the dream, such as the knowledge that my ex’s brother was involved. The dream was vivid and served as a warning.

After the warning, I remember standing out in the yard with my ex telling him we needed to leave then. He didn’t say he didn’t believe me, but he did think my reaction was a bit extreme. He asked me where we should go? I had no idea and as I listened to my voice, a bit higher and more excited than usual, I sounded crazy to my own ears.

In the end, we didn’t leave. Instead, we went about our day. I sensed it coming, but had no idea I didn’t have more time.

Later that evening we were sitting in the living room watching a movie. It was about 10 o’clock at night and our daughter was asleep in her bed. I got up to make a later dinner. We were having egg-in-the-hole. I had the kitchen windows open and couldn’t shake the feeling that I was being watched when I was in the kitchen. I looked over at the kitchen door and noted the handle was unlocked. I started to go over to it to lock it, but something stopped me. This decision would make no sense to me until later.

I finished making our dinner and sat down on the couch with our plates to finish the movie. The house is rather small, so the kitchen, dining area and living room are all right there in an open space.

Just like in the movies, we heard a twig snap/crack outside the windows. We turned off the movie and set our plates down. My dog, Horatio, a wirehaired pointer/lab mix stayed silent. This was unusual, because any other time someone even breathed in our direction, he’d be barking. He walked silently over to the kitchen door and listened, his head cocked to the side. My ex quietly said, “You stay here.” Just like any stubborn heroin in a book or movie, I completely ignored his command and followed him over to the door.

Whoever it was tried to open the kitchen door, but it would stick, so they couldn’t get it open on the first try. By the time they did open it, we were both there. Two men were on the other side, armed. Both had ski masks on and gloves, but the first guy stuck his gun hand through the door opening first. This was his mistake, because Horatio lunged for him, grabbed onto gun and hand. My ex and I dropped to the floor and the two of used our body weight to slam the door on his arm repeatedly until he pulled his arm out, falling backwards off the deck onto my car.

“You’re dead, mother fucker!” He yelled over his shoulder before both gunmen fled. As soon as he pulled his arm out, we’d gotten the door shut and the deadbolt locked.

Thinking like a mother, my instinct sent me rushing into my daughter’s room where she still slept peacefully, not knowing what had happened at the other end of the house. I didn’t know if they’d left, if they’d just start shooting or what, so I grabbed by baby out of her crib and crawled to the central part of the house (the hallway). I laid her down on the floor and shielded her with my body while my ex dialed 9-1-1.

Police came. They assumed it was drug-related. The ran a drug dog through our house, our vehicles and our garage and came up empty. The police never fully believed our story and began investigating us.

As far as not locking the door, I feel like if I had, they would have kicked it open; probably broken it and we would not have been able to lock them out.

It’s the kind of scenario you replay in your mind constantly. I do, at least, since the night it happened. There was a knife block right there. Why didn’t one of us grab a knife and cut him? Would the police have believed us if there had been blood/DNA? Then I think if one of us had cut  him, would his natural reaction had been to shoot? Would one of us be dead or injured? I guess it played out like it was supposed to.

We stayed awake all night. The next day, we packed some belongings and fled to the Dells. We stayed a couple of days and then went to a family member’s hard-to-find cottage.

We’d visit the house to get essentials. Neighbors would approach us and say they knew of the bad things that went down. They were scared. They didn’t want to get involved and would not be talking to police, but wanted us to know that my ex’s brother had left town with about $10,000 worth of drugs from a local gang (not to be named here, but a very well-known name) and that they wanted revenge. We were told by multiple people that there was a price on all three of our heads. $20,000 for me and him and $40,000 for my child. I guess the price doubles if you have to murder a baby.

I would never sleep a night in that house again and for years, I’d only go when I had to.

We didn’t know what to do next. At the time, I was managing about 250 writers for an online academic writing and research company. The owner lived half the time in the UK and the other half of the time in Cairo. Egypt was on my bucket list of “must visit” places, so when she heard what happened and offered to fly the three of us and my dog to Cairo and put us up in one of her apartment buildings, it seemed like a good plan.

And so the course would be set for worldwide travel….

The Flooring in the RV is Installed!


 

The flooring is in. I love the way it turned out. Quarter round still needs to be added, but I think it looks great. This flooring is very easy to install and I could have installed it by myself, but I had help. (Mostly I just sat and watched, but I have installed this before.)

In case you’re interested, the flooring is: SuperFast® RidgePlex Lite Mist Floating Vinyl Plank 7 x 36 (19.48 sq.ft/pkg). I bought it from Menard’s for $44.59 a package. I ended up needing 5 boxes. I figured approximately 70 sq. ft. was needed if you figure 10 % waste.

This flooring did not need any power tools for installation (it can be scored and snapped or if you have a snap cutter, which we did, you can cut it easily) and it’s a floating floor, so it did not have to be glued down.

I love this flooring and how everything is coming together. I also received the new outside step in the mail today and it’s supposed to be installed tomorrow, so that will be great too. The current step feels like it is going to break underneath you!

Getting the Countertop Done


I was excited when I realized I had everything I needed to do my resin countertop about three days ago. Because of the design I finally decided on, it cost me about $50 more than I had originally planned for. The entire thing was about $200. I suppose I could have just gone to a Menard’s or Home Depot and ordered a laminate countertop or I could have installed the charcoal roll of laminate the previous owner bought for the dash and counter, but it wouldn’t have been all that customized and it wouldn’t have looked like stone.

In the end, I got to choose my colors and I customized the design to look exactly like I wanted it to. Not to mention that it is 100% unique and I can say I did this myself!

The entire process didn’t take long. I think I spent more time taping everything off than I did on the coating. The coating itself only took about 15 or 20 minutes. The rest of the time is waiting for it to dry. It does need to dry for 24 hours before you can put a final clear coat of the resin and hardener mix on (I plan on doing that tomorrow).

I first had to paint the wood countertop with a paint/primer mix from Home Depot called Sued Grey. I don’t have a Home Depot close to me (there is one about an hour from where I live), so I ordered some product online. This was before I realized I was going to be near that Home Depot a couple days later and could have just gone into buy everything! As it turns out, I could not find what I ordered in the store, shipping was cheap and so it turned out well anyway. On the website, you can order a sample paint, so I think it cost about $4 for a sample of Sued Grey. The smallest containers of that color in the store were around $14 to $17. I had a very small amount of counter to do (approximately 3 to 4 sq. ft.), so the sample worked. I even had paint leftover.

I started by taping everything off, including taping on plastic drop cloth I bought from Dollar Tree down the front and side of the cabinet, because this stuff does drip over the edge when you use it. I also used Dollar Tree tape (hope that doesn’t prove to be a mistake later).

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I painted 2 coats of the paint/primer on the wood, sanding with 220 sandpaper in between.

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I then “fogged” some of the black spray paint over the grey. Fogging pretty much means that you lightly mist areas of the surface (randomly).

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After the black spray paint dried, it was time to to apply the resin/hardener mix that I got from Stone Coat Countertops. This was easy. You mix equal parts of the Resin and the Hardener. Because I had such a small amount of countertop to do, I was able to order their sample kit, which costs $50 plus shipping. I believe it does 10 square feet. I’ll have some leftover if I want to do the same treatment to the very small outdated countertop for the bathroom sink. At some point, I probably will, so they match.

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Now comes the fun part. I got to play around with the spray paint and the metallic sprays. At first I followed the instructions in the video I’d watched for this particular design (LIQUID EPOXY with a paint stick), but in the end I just did what I wanted until it looked the way I wanted. The color recipe for this particular design is called Lace Blue.

I bought three spray paints for this color recipe: Gloss Black, Gloss White and Gloss Dark Blue (on the video they say to get Cobalt blue, but I couldn’t find that, so I just pulled up Cobalt Blue on my phone and held it up to the paint can caps until I found one that was pretty close).

I also purchased three metallic powder colors from Stone Coat Countertops: Deep Silver, Bright Silver and White. These little guys were $15 a piece and from Walmart I bought three empty spray bottles and rubbing alcohol to mix them in. I eyeballed the alcohol and put approximately 6 to 8 ounces in each bottle, marked the bottles with a permanent marker and added each metallic color. You have to shake these really well before you use them. I put the spray on these at the finest mist I could.

I started by fogging in the black spray paint, followed by the blue spray paint and ending with the white. I did these one more time in random patterns. I then came back with the metallics, alternating between them.

After the colors had been added, I used a paint stick to kind of pat or chop certain areas in a random design. This created a very cool circular effect. We did this, playing with the colors, until it looked the way we wanted.

I was very pleased with the end result and left it alone to dry.  This is what it looked like when it was done:

Everything has to dry for 24 hours, so tomorrow after work (I work until about 11), I will stop over and put the final coat on. The guys from Stone Coat Countertops recommend buffing the finished product after it has cured. I will probably do that. I’m not using the RV right now, so this was the perfect time to get this done. If I remember correctly, you can’t use the countertops for something like 7 days.

I absolutely loved this process. For the dramatic effect I got, it really was not all that much work. One tip about taping everything off is to make sure to tape off the backsplash. I only did a line of painters tape and unwisely did not tape plastic up over the wall, so when I sprayed my metallics it splattered. It’s okay, because I will either touch up with paint or I may cover it with a backsplash, but now I have to do something with it.

Also, make sure you wear gloves! I got a 12 pack from Walmart’s paint section for $3 or $4. It’s worth it.

Now my big fear is that with as fantastic as the countertop looks right now, something will be messed up when I pulled the tape and plastic away! I hope not, but I am dying to know. I won’t be able to do this until Sunday. *sigh*

I will post final photos once the tape is removed, so you can see how it looks with the sink and oven, etc.

Here is one final photo of my daughter, Graywyn, chopping areas with the paint stick:

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Progress Costs $$!


I feel somewhat accomplished this week. I ordered the stone coating for the countertops yesterday, as well as some other supplies I need. Tonight I intend to go pickup the rest of the flooring and some plastic drop clothes and tape for taping off edges.

I wish I’d gotten my act together and ordered sooner, so that I’d have it. It would be nice to get the primer painted on the countertop tomorrow so that on Sunday I could do the coating. Instead I’ll plan on spending one or two days over there next week.

I will also have to buy what’s necessary for re-coating the roof, because I noted a leak over the mattress when I was there last. Luckily, I am replacing the mattress, but now I can’t do that until the leak is fixed. It’s a real bummer.

The biggest issue I’m having right now is with trying to be patient for repairs. I can’t move forward with certain things until they are done. Once it’s safe to drive it again, I’ll need to take it to have the propane tank re-filled (also waiting on the sanding and painting of that tank) and then once that is done, I can determine if everything works. I am sure I will have to have the AC recharged. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I don’t have to replace any appliances or other water-related parts. I can find things for a reasonable price, but it all adds up.

I have made no progress in emptying my house. I made progress last weekend with my garage and I got rid of a ton of garage garbage in a bulk pickup that they do around here just once a year. They weren’t even supposed to take everything I put out, but were nice enough to do so. I still have a ton of garbage to pull out of the basement, because it floods and a lot of things got ruined.

Meanwhile, there are tons of boxes and bins to go through in the garage–or that’s how it feels. I’d like to empty the dining room and office this weekend, but I know I cannot do it all.

Other things on my list include getting my Great Dane current on his vaccinations and begin going through the food in the kitchen.

Once again, I’ll say it: my dream/goal is so close, but still so far! It’s a lot of work to try to carry out on your own when you only get one day a week off!!

I will post pictures after I re-do the countertop and install the floor. I’m very excited!

 

Things Are Progressing!


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Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve had a moment to write, but I really wanted to update those of you who are following.

At first things were at a standstill due to the winter. As the weather got cold last fall, I really couldn’t paint or do much in it and then in February I moved the RV to a repair shop where it sat until recently. Unfortunately, there was no progress made. The mechanic I had working on it made a lot of promises about the RV, my Firebird and a Mitsubishi Montero I bought. It’s a long story about how ALL of my vehicles ended up in one place (I’ll save it for another blog entry) and why no progress was made. The good news is that I have people helping me who actually are making progress!

The countertop, oven and sink have been installed. The last owner actually build a new lower cabinet frame for the small kitchen area and built a wooden countertop. He was going to cover it in dark laminate and gave me the roll. I thought that was too much effort and decided to do a Stone Coat Countertop. I can only hope that my version turns out as good as the video I’m trying to copy, but this is the look I plan to go for:  LIQUID EPOXY with a paint stick. I plan to order what I need this week and I’m very excited. I’m also going to be picking up the flooring, which will be a vinyl plank in a light grey.

If you’ve been following my blog, you may have read where I make small investments each week out of my paycheck. I decided to sell the stocks I had, which wasn’t much. I’d been giving $5 here and there once a week for about a year and 3 of the 4 I was giving to were doing well. I cashed about somewhere around $950. It just so happens that I figured I need about $1,000 in things for the RV to leave, so that was very helpful and once I get moved, I will start re-investing again. In case you’re interested, I do have a referral link. You can do it for just $5 and you can control when it comes out. I had mine set up to automatically come out weekly, because I get paid weekly. I started with two and when they were doing well, I added one or two more. Here is the link: Stash Invest.

The countertop will cost about $70 for what I need to order from the site. I can get away with a sampler kit because I have such little space to cover. I believe I will have enough leftover to do the small countertop for the bathroom area too.

I have a case and a half left of the flooring already. I put the same flooring in my bathroom earlier this year and that’s what I had left. I believe I only need to purchase 2 more cases, but I will purchase 3, because it is not available locally and I have to drive about an hour to get it. I’d rather have one too many that I can either return later or keep for repairs then be one less and have all the stores be out. It will cost me about $150 to finish purchasing the flooring and since I’m buying it from Menard’s right now, I’ll get a 11% rebate.

Other things I need to purchase include a new step for the entrance, a new mattress, and curtains (I’m purchasing some curtains from Walmart and cutting them down to the right size and sewing them. I believe I can get 3 curtains out of a panel and each window needs 4 short panels. I already have one set I use in my bedroom currently, so I’ll recycle that and since there are three big windows to cover, I’ll need to buy just two more panels at about $13 each. I’ll work on something for the front windshield later on and am focusing on just the side windows. The back windows by the mattress already have shades I like and so does the doorway and the small kitchen window. I also have a divider between the bedroom and bathroom area and the rest of the RV, so for now, changing can be done behind it.)

I am keeping my fingers crossed that all of my appliances and things work. Things like the refrigerator, oven/stove, microwave, water pump, water heater and the air conditioner.

Mice chewed through the built-in power cord, so that has to be replaced, but the current mechanic was able to find a 40 foot replacement for FREE (my favorite word). Also, one of the vent covers on the roof has cracked and is broken since moving the RV and the other guy working on it was able to bring me an extra one he had for FREE also.

I have decided not to move my TVs. First of all, my 55 or 60″ TV is about 3 or 4 years old and was a cheap brand when I bought it. I think I paid $350 for it from Walmart’s website. The sound is terrible on it and last year I finally purchased a soundbar so I could hear it!! I have to move my stuff (eventually) 2200 miles. Chances are, the TVs might not make it. Smaller TVs I have in other rooms are older and heavier. I’m looking for a thin, lightweight TV that is good quality. I can buy something reasonable at Walmart and figure if I sell what I have, I can repurpose the money for a new small TV and then when I move into a house again some day, I’ll just have to buy a TV.

I rented a 10 x 20 storage building last weekend and began putting things in it. The process for emptying my house is very difficult with my 6 day a week work schedule and being the only adult working on it! My 10-year-old daughter is a huge help, but there is only so much she can do. A second adult helping would be great!

The best plan I can come up with was to pull as much garbage/throw away stuff as I could out last weekend. This week is the “bulky” pickup for my city. They only do it once a year and claim that only certain things can be picked up; however, each year everyone throws out whatever they want and they seem to take it. Now watch, this will be the year I do that and they leave most of it! We will see. So I piled my curb pretty high with stuff and paid $25 for two old couches and a baby mattress to be hauled away. I took two loads over to the storage building on Sunday and I actually can see a difference in the garage.

I wanted to have a garage sale last weekend, because it was also the big garage sale weekend for my city, but I realized much too late that I was not prepared. I was up until 1 a.m. Friday night working and could not bring myself to be up at 6 to set up a garage sale. Also, the weather had turned cold (in the 40s) and was raining and so I decided to just put it off until I am ready.

In order to make all of this work, I have to sell two vehicles AND about $1500 worth of my stuff before I leave! Ha, doesn’t really sound like it’s going to work, does it? Especially when I’m shooting for being out of here the first two weeks of June.

Worse case scenario I will have to hang around WI in the RV in order to come up with the gas money and one month’s site rental in OR, but the important thing is getting out of this house and making sure it is empty and clean for my landlord.

My goal this week is to take down the dining room table set and baker’s rack in the dining room and to move those thing into storage. I also have random things I can take now (such as a fake knight and armor – short human sized – that I have in the living room. The goal is to get anything out of the house that I’m not currently using. I’d like to get the garage and basement cleared out first, as well as use the empty dining room (once it is empty) store a pile of boxes and items ready to go to storage. I figure if I work on it a little bit each evening, I’ll see some real progress.

One massively obnoxious thing that has to be done before I move is to have help literally pulling apart the staircase leading up to the second floor where my bedroom is. When moving in, all the steps but one had to be removed in order to fit the queen box spring up the stairs. I’m not about to leave my Sterns & Foster box spring and mattress behind, so the effort will have to be repeated.

So a lot of progress is happening, but I am still so far away from being ready! I just have to keep plugging away at it. The more I do over the next two or three weeks, the less of a burden it will be when it’s time to go.

One thing I’d like to do is have my RV outfitted with about 300 watts of solar panels before I go and have the help. I don’t want to get the kind that I have to set up each time, because I am worried about theft. It’s about $300 to buy the three panels online and $15 for the mounting brackets for each panel, plus there is a handful of stuff I have to buy to hook it into the system. I’d like to be able to boondock if needed. Between the solar panels and my holding tank, it should be possible.

One other issue I ran into is that because my RV is older, my propane tank is actually built-in. Many places will not refill them if they are built-in, because they don’t realize you can. If they are built-in, I discovered, they do not have to be re-certified and can be re-filled as long as they are in good condition, so we are going to sand the rust spots off and repaint mine. I bought three cans of a primer and paint mix from Walmart this morning.

I was lucky enough to find a gas station in the same town where the RV is being stored that is willing to refill the tank for me. In the future, I will have to find another place like that or will have to get an adapter that hooks my current system up to a refillable tank like you’d use on a grill. That’s not ideal for me, so I am hoping that since I am going to an area that has a high amount of long-term RV residents, I won’t have a problem getting it filled.

The current goal is Waldport, Oregon. After a lot of research, I decided this is the place I want to go to. It’s right on the ocean and seems to have a lot of the qualities we’re looking for. I was hesitant in choosing beach life over city life (worried I’d get bored), but my dream is to be by the water and this is how I can do that.

The ultimate plan is to buy a piece of land (in about a year) that I can move my RV too and then work on putting up a tiny house. Eventually I want to build my dream house, but this is how I want to start. I’m tired of renting and at the moment, cannot get a mortgage. A lot of that may change in the next year as I reduce my bills and live a simpler life. As long as I keep the mortgage payments up on a piece of property I use as a rental and continue to make repairs on that rental, in a year I should be able to finish repairs and sell the home. I actually have equity in the house, so that would be huge in helping me achieve my dream home.

This post has been long. I thank readers who are following along and hope to have more time to blog about this experience as we go

My RV Journey: Things Are Moving A long….Aren’t They?


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In some ways things are moving along for me. Tomorrow is the day my RV is supposed to be towed to the mechanic who is going to work on it for me. I was pretty proud of myself when I was able to pay for a Good Sam membership (roadside assistance).  It was cheaper to do that for a little more than $100 than to pay for a tow.

If that weren’t exciting enough, I received the new kitchen faucet I ordered on Friday. I’m very happy with it. The faucet pulls out and doubles as a sprayer. It’s hard to see in the photo, but the faucet is a dark bronze type of color. On Saturday, we received the bone colored sink. I ordered both on eBay for about $110 for both. I’m excited to see them installed with the newly painted white cabinets and the faux stone countertop I plan to refinish the wooden one to.

I also ordered some king sized sheets I plan to use for the ceiling instead of continuing to paint it. I hate painting ceilings and things a soft design would look much better. If I change my mind, the sheets will be nice on my bed.

Once the re-wiring is done in the RV (and I buy the second battery–so far I’ve only replaced the one that runs the motor), I can start working on painting the inside again. I’ve realized that I will need the top cabinets painted before I can put my fabric on the ceiling (it may sound strange, but I promise it will look cool).

Off my checklist this:

  • Sign up for Good Sam
  • Purchase an Interstate battery for the engine
  • Ordered and received new sink and faucet for kitchen area
  • Ordered fabric for the ceiling

Here are decorating purchases I have left to make so far:

  • The flooring – I’m going to get vinyl plank flooring, because it’s easy to install and only requires a carpet knife and a snap cutter. I don’t need to plug anything in to install it. I’m thinking of going with grey, but will see what the paint and countertop looks before I decide 100%.
  • I am sure I will need more white paint for the cabinets.
  • Something for a back splash behind the sink. I’m thinking of using decorative tin tile.
  • Replacement mattress – I found one I want that in theory should fit from Overstock.com. That is an expense I plan to make sooner to using it, because you are supposed to unwrap the mattress right away and let it puff up itself and I don’t want to put it in there until the construction is done.

There are some other things that are more mechanical that I will have to pay for (parts and labor):

  • Brake lines
  • Fuel lines
  • U-Joints
  • Replacement steering column

Beyond that, I have grandiose ideas of having the entire outside of the RV painted black. I also want chrome wheel hub covers, an air horn, new steps put in for the main door plus more steps on the driver’s side because there are none, and a variety of other things that I may or may not need, but want. Things like solar panels. I also want backup cameras, an air horn, to re-do the roof and I need to find a good used generator.

Looking at this list, I am pretty sure I will not be able to get all this done before I have to leave, but we’ll see what can be done. Where there is a will there is a way!

My next dilemma is that I have no drive to work on the house I am in anymore. I have tons to do before I move. I have things in the basement, garage and my daughter’s room to go through. Not to mention getting rid of pretty much anything I can.

Meanwhile, I know that Sunday is my only day to do anything and what did I do today? I spent a lot of the day sitting around watching TV. I did some dishes, made dinner, got grocery shopping done and I worked on this post, but I didn’t go through laundry with my daughter and sift out old clothes that neither of us wants anymore, or help her fill at least one or two big bags with things she wants to get rid of from her room.  I didn’t even take the three boxes out to the garage from the dining room. *big sigh*

Sometimes I am more productive with cleaning and organizing during the work week. It seems like weekends I just want to sit and relax. I think it would be better if I used Saturday afternoon/evenings to run my errands, so I did not necessarily have to go anywhere on Sundays, my full day off.

I know I am overly stressed. One thing is weighing heavily on my mind. Next Friday I go for a PET scan and a cat scan of my sinuses. It started when I went in because I was sick and had started wheezing. They did a chest x-ray and saw two rather large spots on my right lung. They sent me for a chest cat scan and discovered that my lymph nodes in my chest were also enlarged. Last Thursday I went to see a pulmonologist, who said he is concerned about these lymph nodes and they scheduled me for these new tests next Friday.

In the mean time, I am freaking out about how long I will be able to stay in my rented house. I know my own rental property will be empty in the next couple of months and that house needs a ton of work also. What I really want is to be on the road without all these worries. I’m feeling confined. For now, I just have to keep doing as much as I can on a daily basis.

One final thought that goes back to the sink. When I ordered it, I ordered it so it came with the cover for it, so I can have more work space, but also so I knew it would fit.

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5 Ways You Can Make Money With Your Cell Phone Now!


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There are several ways you can make money with your phone and doing it won’t cost you an extra penny. Payouts are generally small, but if you allow them to accumulate, they can really add up.

  1.  I have been using S’more for over a year now and I’m very happy with it. S’more is an app you can download for free. Once installed in your phone, you answer a few questions (to determine your interests) and then the app is ready to use. S’more makes money by posting ads on your phone. What does this mean? It only means that you will have to swipe the add aside whenever you want to get into your phone. This may be slightly annoying to some people, but for me, I’ve gotten used to it. Sometimes the ads are of interest to me and it’s something I actually want to see. Over the course of a year, I have earned over $50 in points, which you can trade for things like Amazon gift cards and gift cards to other places to shop and eat.S’more gives you 10 points (1 point = 1 cent) a day just for having the app and using it, but they also offer surveys, so if you have some free time you can take some surveys and earn more. I’m not sure if they are still doing it, but for a while they had deals in which you got a good deal and earned points. For example, last year I got Norton Antivirus through S’more at a very discounted rate and I also earned $10 in points.

    If you think S’more sounds right for you, click here for more information: S’more. If you want to help fund my RV adventure and you think you want the app, please use referral code MQKXTZ. By doing so, you’ll get an extra 25 points to start!

     

  2. Are you trying to count your steps? Maybe you just have your phone with you all the time. Sweatcoin is pretty neat. Not only is it a built-in pedometer, but every 1,000 steps converts to 1 dollar in sweatcoin. Sweatcoins can be turned in for things like PayPal and Amazon gift cards. Be sure to connect with if you do join Sweatcoin! I’d love to see what you are all doing you can find me @beth539091!
  3. Pay Your Selfie is fun and you can earn anywhere from $0.20 to $1.00 for doing different things. For example, you can earn $1.00 for posting your profile shot, another dollar for telling your story, and $0.25 for taking a picture of your breakfast. You can connect your PayPal account to the app, so it’s easy to get paid.
  4. Stash is a way to cheaply invest in many different types of companies. I’ve been doing this for several months now and I’ve already made some money. I do just $5 a week for each business I want to invest in. I hardly notice the money is missing from my account (it automatically comes out). You get $5 to start investing with Stash!
  5. Ibotta is easy to use. Simply install the app, set up an account and start scanning your receipts. You can also link your loyalty cards to Ibotta. Cash back for your purchases is deposited in your account within 48 hours.

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