The Bonus Zone

Since it’s still hot and getting hotter this week (temperatures are expected in the 106-108 range), there are no trips in our immediate future. We are in the middle of Mercury Retrograde, which is a time of going over old ground. It’s a period that lasts about three weeks several times a year, and rules travel and communications. Susan Miller writes Astrology Zone and explains it very well if you’re interested in why sometimes it feels like we can only take one step forward, before taking two steps back. I like to keep a record of the “old ground” I’m going over during these phases, which in hindsight is always quite revealing.

Since Mercury Retrograde is usually  a good time to revisit what came before, I noticed the last real trip revealed some things that were working for me. It’s not like I was surprised exactly, since I’d put some thought into how things would function.  You never really know how well your plans will work out in reality though, until the opportunity comes to put them into practice. I bought some specialty items in order to make more workable space, and theory turned into practice! Here are a few of the best items I find are working quite well:

Silicone Collapsible Lunch Box

These ECO silicone lunch boxes have clip-on lids, collapse to fold flat, and store in very little space when not in use.  They come in different colors, and I  use erasable labels with these.  You can find these at The Container Store, or look at TJMaxx, Marshalls or Home Goods, which is where I found mine.

Erasable Labels

From The Container Store, or also found at my local Tuesday Morning.   I put these on everything and find them quite useful.  These are stored with a large pink eraser to make quick work of relabeling.

https://i0.wp.com/img2.targetimg2.com/wcsstore/TargetSAS//img/p/14/16/14160681_120626163000.jpgProgressive Produce Keeper

This also folds flat, has humidity control and the lid is see-through.  When you remove the bottom, you also have a colander.  Dual Purpose!  I bought a couple of these.   A friend told me once I like things in pairs.  I guess she was right.

Progressive Collapsible Dish Drainer - Red/White

Progressive Collapsible Dish Drainer

I like how the ends pull out to fit any size sink.  My sink is very small, but the dish drainer fits perfectly.   The end pulled out makes a great place to air dry a dishcloth or tea towel.  When I’m done with it, the dish drainer becomes very compact and stores in a fraction of the space.

Progressive Collapsible Tubs

Yes I bought two, so I have a pair.  Really, why go against my true nature?  There is one for cleaning, and one for food; both appropriately labeled.   I often need a large vessel for mixing, mashing or stirring, and this fits the bill.   The dish drainer is also a perfect fit, and everything stores flat.  Do you see a recurring theme here?  My favorite things seem to be  flat, or have the capacity for turning into flat, for compact storage.  Dual Purpose Rule!

Clear Handled Bins

I use these to store separate categories of things overhead.  Since I’m…uh…vertically challenged, I can grab the handle to easily reach what I need to. The small baskets fit perfectly into the overhead cabinets in our Airstream.   One holds mugs/teapot/tea things, there’s one for glasses, and another for dishtowels/dishcloths.  Since they are see-through, it’s easy to put your hands on what you need.  These are Very Convenient.

One thing I’ve discovered about myself living in a small space, is a need to cut down on the visual clutter.  I prefer to use things and put them away.  Since storage is limited, I figured anything useful that could be made smaller when it’s not being used lives in the Bonus Zone.  There are still a few areas I could tweak, but all in all, I’m finding my little space is easy to use and I can easily find what I need.  How nice!

Upgrades and Installations

When the microwave fried itself (Oops!  How did that happen?), I decided to use it as an opportunity for good.  You see, it was a “good” time to replace the 10 year old microwave with a convection microwave.  As much as I like cooking with gas, propane fumes require ventilation.  Lots of ventilation.  I’m not about to get rid of my propane oven however, since there are times it can come in handy, and as someone who actually cooks, this gives me the option of double ovens.  (When it’s not in use, it’s also a handy dandy storage box which makes it dual purpose!)  A convection microwave also fulfills my Dual Purpose Rule, so it’s a Win/Win all the way around.  I decided on a Sharp, Convection Microwave, since according to the dimensions on the website, it would fit without any problems.  Well, long-freakin’-story-short, the dimensions for height were written as depth and vice versa (let’s see, lost in Chinese translation?)  It was installed with much ado, and finally plugged in to be used.

Our last trip in the RollingSilver2ndHome was to visit my mother-in-law.  How nice to have your very own home when visiting relatives!  One of the things I like to do for her is make food that she likes and freeze it in individual portions, so some of her meals are hassle free.  I decided on a Triple Corn Casserole for the first item to try in my new convection oven.  It turned out beautifully, and was a hit with her.  The recipe came from The Patrick Sisters Full Circle Dutch Oven Cookbook, and one of their most requested.  The book seems to be out of print now, so I’ll share the recipe with you.

TRIPLE CORN CASSEROLE

1 egg

1-8 ounce sour cream

1/2 cup melted butter

1/4 t. butter flavoring

1 can whole corn, drained

1 can creamed corn

1 small package Jiffy cornbread mix

Mix all ingredients together and place in a 12-inch Dutch oven, or a 2-quart baking dish in a conventional oven.  Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Good news!  Our floor has arrived and ready for installation soon.  I’m ready.  What was my most important lesson that week of the fried microwave?  Now that my upgrade is in place, it would be Two Words:   Surge Protector.

Do you need a “Goldilocks” chair?

Of course you do!  Everyone does.  While I’m waiting for the planets to align and balance to be restored to our little rolling home, I thought I’d tell you about mine.

Everything in our Airstream is built in, which makes it wonderfully efficient.  We opted for the floor plan that has a dining table in front of the sofa.  The table pulls out and extends so two can sit side-by-side, however I prefer being face to face at mealtimes.  Also, if I choose to sit on the other side of the table, it’s nice to enjoy the view.   Since my husband is tall and I am not, finding a chair to fit both of us is a special challenge.  I was walking through Marshall’s one day and Lo and Behold, there it was…my “Goldilocks” chair!  I had found a petite, chrome and leather office chair with a gas lift.  It came home with me and is a perfect fit in the Airstream.  Not only does it work for us without taking up a lot of room, it’s incredibly comfortable.  It fulfills my Dual Purpose Rule in order to claim space in our tiny home.  Isn’t it great when Form and Function combine to meet a special need?  Just call me Goldilocks.