Try the Short Train Trip

Taking a train trip has been on my “Bucket List” for a long time. I thought we would ride to California to visit relatives, but Mr. Frugalfish came up with a better plan!

We were in Boone IA at the deployment ceremony of our nephew when he saw information about the “Boone Scenic Valley Railroad,” see bsvrr.com.

He purchased tickets for my birthday/vacation. We rode the “City of San Francisco” car that was built in 1950, modified in 1985, and donated to the Iowa Railroad Historical Society.

When we arrived at the station we saw a hummer limo and the occupants really thought they were hot stuff…until it was time to board and we were one of the first ones because he paid extra for a private compartment.

There was a table set for two and the compartment looked the same as it did in 1950. I could just imagine Cary Grant riding in the car.

 

Caesar Salad, Shrimp Cocktail and Multi-Grain mini loaves.

Caesar Salad, Shrimp Cocktail and Multi-Grain mini loaves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were just finishing this course when we crossed the “Bass Point Creek High Bridge.” It is 156 feet tall and 784 feet long. I tried to concentrate on snapping pictures because I am not a fan of heights. It didn’t help that the train seemed to slow down to 5 mph as we crawled over the bridge. They had a great lookout on the caboose, but I stuck to my compartment!

 

View from the Bass Point Creek High Bridge.

View from the Bass Point Creek High Bridge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our main course was served as we passed through “Don Williams Park.”

 

Prime Rib, Baked Potato, & Mixed Veggies

Prime Rib, Baked Potato, & Mixed Veggies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was in “Don Williams Park” that we passed over the only privately owned area on the Des Moines River. It was called “Tillie’s Pond,” and of course the train slowed way down as we crossed that bridge.

 

Tillie's Pond a privately owned area on the Des Moines River.

Tillie’s Pond a privately owned area on the Des Moines River.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the sun set, they brought our dessert…Cheesecake!”

 

Cheesecake!

Cheesecake!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The train was up to speed by then and that made picture taking more difficult. On the ride back they slowed down over the “Bass Point Creek High Bridge.” In the dark, the lights under the train reflected on the top of the trees, and along with the rocking from side to side, it was enough to make me cling to my husband’s arm!

He didn’t mind.

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Another One Off of My Bucket List

Last weekend I crossed another item off of my bucket list. We have set aside money each week for these items, and one by one, I was able to cross them off of my list.

Frugalfish Bucket List

  1. Pay off medical bills/credit cards. April, 2009
  2. Pay off Van & Truck. April, 2009
  3. Pay off Mortgage. December, 2011
  4. Swim in an ocean, (Iowa Girl). August, 2012
  5. Buy a van with cash. November, 2013
  6. Go on a scenic train ride. October 17, 2014

We paid more than the minimum payment on our credit cards. Unfortunately, we ended up putting medical expenses on one of the cards. It was a huge mistake that I will not repeat!

We paid $15.00 extra on our mortgage payment for over a decade and rounded up on our vehicle payments, putting the extra directly on principle.

Every tax refund was applied to debt until we were able to adjust our withholding to end up owing nothing.

We saved for our vacation to swim in the ocean for six years and have not taken a vacation every year. We take small trips or just stay home and relax!

We took our new van for a test drive on July 3, 2013 and told the dealer we didn’t have the money yet. He fixed the broken air conditioner, and a few other things, and it was still on his lot in November.

“What God intended for you, no one can take away. And what’s not intended for you, you don’t need.” Rabbi Meir Fund

My first train trip was in this car.

My first train trip was in this car.

Day Two, Beef Stew

My son asked for Beef & Noodles and Green Bean Casserole for his birthday dinner. I mixed up a batch of homemade noodles and cooked up a 2 1/2 lb. roast beef.

We had 8 for dinner that evening and ate leftovers for lunch the next day. I wanted to stretch that roast as far as possible and decided to make Beef Stew out of it.

Luckily, (Or unluckily), the mashed potatoes did not turn out smooth and creamy. They were so dry that I was able to cut them into chunks.

I mixed them in with the Beef & Noodles, and then added the leftover Green Bean Casserole. Hey, those French Fried Onions added zip!

I cooked up a partial package of carrots and added it to the stew. It tasted great. The mushroom soup from the Green Bean Casserole added even more flavor!

We warmed up just one serving of the stew at a time in the microwave. (Once it is reheated, it will have to be eaten or tossed.)

Who knows, for day three I may add more Beef Broth, vegetables, and call it Beef and Noodle soup. That is if we don’t finish it off for lunch!

Beef Stew made from: Beef & Noodles, Mashed Potatoes, Green Bean Casserole, and frozen Carrots.

Beef Stew made from: Beef & Noodles, Mashed Potatoes, Green Bean Casserole, and frozen Carrots.

 

Drying White Jeans

I was surprised when I got the “Big Fall Preview 2014″ from missussmartypants.com, because one of the trends is to wear all white. So much for that old rule, “No white after Labor Day!”

Washing those white jeans can be a problem. You can’t bleach them if you wash them with regular blue jeans and they get all twisted and wrinkled if you dry them with your regular white load.

I fold my white jeans in a “Z” form before I place them in the dryer. Then when I put the other clothes in, they are not wrapped around some other clothing item. This means they won’t need ironed which saves energy and money.

"Z" folded white jeans.

“Z” folded white jeans.

 

Easiest Spaghetti Ever!

My daughter moved out last month and I have been able to alter my recipes to include mushrooms. (She hates them.)

I got excited last night because I had a package of fresh mushrooms and I was making…

Easiest Spaghetti Ever!

16 oz. Spaghetti

1 lb. Hamburger

1 T. Minced Onion or Fresh

1 t. Minced Garlic or Fresh

Dash of Salt and Pepper

1 can Tomato Soup

1 can Mushroom Soup

1 can Water

1 can or Fresh Mushrooms

Cook spaghetti as directed. Cook hamburger with the onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix together the two soups and mushrooms. Add the hamburger and mix. Add drained spaghetti. Heat in microwave for 10 minutes. You may top it with Parmesan Cheese or Cheddar Cheese, if desired.

This is great for kids because it is not spicy and the sauce sticks to the pasta. If you like to serve your pasta and sauce separately, I recommend using only 8 oz. of spaghetti.

Easiest Spaghettie Ever!

College Gear for Camping?

When my oldest son went to college out-of-state I purchased the extra long mattress pad and sheets.

I still have the mattress pad and I use it to cover an air mattress when my granddaughter comes to visit. I found the extra length allows the elastic to rest in the seam on the sides of the air mattress.

College is in full swing now, and you may be able to find the extra long bedding at a deep discount.

You will be glad you picked it up when you use it camping next summer. You cannot feel the vinyl when you use the mattress pad like you do when you are only using a sheet.

Extra long twin mattress pad designed for college dorm beds used on an air mattress.

Extra long twin mattress pad designed for college dorm beds used on an air mattress.

No Longer Getting Posts?

I have been getting my posts sent to my email, (to proofread again), for a few years. Last week, they started being sent to my junk mail.

If you use Outlook and are having the same problem you need to click on the post in your junk mail; at the top of the page click on the “…”; and go down to “Create Rule.” You will be able to create a rule that anytime they receive an email from this sender, to send it to your inbox.

If you are following both of my blogs, you will need to do this for posts from both of them. I’m sorry for the inconvenience.

Refinished Drums

My son turns 22 in 2 days. I am pleased to note that he has inherited a few frugal tendencies!

He bought himself a drums set a few years ago since he was a music major and attending college on a drum scholarship. At the time he played for a few bands, and one band played at the local county fair.

It was so hot you could fry eggs on the sidewalk. His drum set was up on a trailer in the full sun and the hard black plastic started to melt! When he noticed it, he covered the entire set with a blanket until it was their turn to play.

When he told me about it, I expected him to ask me to buy him a new drum. I was relieved that he did not do that!

Last spring, he decided to fix it himself. He got together with his best friend, Jordan, and using a hair dryer, they melted the glue backing and peeled the black plastic off. It came off in one piece!

They removed the black from three of the drums and left the snare black. He’s gotten many compliments on his “Retro” set of drums.

My son’s drums, before and after.

 

Removing Stubborn Odors From Plastic Dishware

I recently made Ranch dressing from scratch. I accidentally spilled the garlic and it was a little stronger than planned. Unfortunately, it left every container I used smelling even after running it through the dishwasher twice!

I tried the newspaper trick I used when I “painted” my small thermos, (see “Baby Yourself”). But it did not work. The odor was so strong the newspaper could not absorb it overnight.

I put fresh newspaper in them, sealed the lids and tucked them in the corner of my kitchen. I ignored them for a week or so.

I am not sure how long it took, but when I finally checked them, the odor was gone. Sometimes, all it takes is a little more time.

Plastic containers stuffed with newspaper and sealed for several days to absorb garlic smell.

Plastic containers stuffed with newspaper and sealed for several days to absorb garlic smell.

No Fresh Carrots, Broccoli, or Cauliflower for My Salad

We are still reaping the produce from our gardens, but there will come a time when the garden is empty. What will we do then?

What if we want to make a salad, but will be unable to go to the store to get them?

Frozen vegetables to the rescue!

Vegetables are frozen right after harvest and that means they keep their nutrients. If you thaw a small portion of them in the refrigerator overnight, they are good on salads. The consistency is the same as “al dente” pasta.

Be sure to thaw a small portion because whatever you do not use will need to be cooked right away.

 

Thawing a small portion of frozen vegetables.

Thawing a small portion of frozen vegetables.