Camping Preparation

Here in beautiful North Idaho, one of the most common past times in the summer is camping! Whether you pull an RV or rough it with a tent, it’s a hobby most enjoy. Although the first camping trip of the year can be exciting, it may also seem a little overwhelming. It’s been months since your last trip and you have nothing prepared. We’ve got you covered! Below are checklists, tips, cooking ideas and more! 

 

Before Your First Trip

First thing on your to-do list in spring is to make sure your tent or RV and all gear is ready ready. Camping would not be very fun if you realized during your trip that something wasn’t working or missing and you weren’t fully prepared.   These things can ruin any  camping trip.

 

Tents are pretty easy, but still it is very important to make sure your tent is in top shape and ready to go. Here are a few things to remember when prepping you tent and gear:

  1. Inspect your tent and tarps for any holes. Apply waterproof sealant where necessary.
  2. Wash and fully dry all of your gear made of fabric, this includes any sleeping bags, pillows and blankets.
  3. Check all your fasteners and ropes. Replace any broken or frayed ones.
  4. Make sure all your tent poles and stakes are accounted for
  5. Make sure you have a hammer for the stakes and a hatchet for wood
  6. Be sure all your battery powered gear has new and fully charged batteries and works.
  7. Wash, dry, inspect, and check that all camping equipment is acceptable working order.

 

Now, RV‘s are much more complex to prepare.  Although every RV is going to be a bit different, the items detailed below will fit most RV’s and will be need to be completed.  Always best to check the manual for the specifics on your RV.

  1. Clean and inspect the inside and the outside of the RV.
  2. If you winterized your RV in the fall, steps will need to be taken to de-winterize the trailer. This is typically flushing the lines with clean water.
  3. Fill your water tank, run the water pump and check for leaks.
  4. Be sure your dump hose is in good and working order, with no holes or tears.
  5. Check all your fresh water, black and grey valves when at a dump station. Be sure they open and close property and these are no leaks.
  6. Inspect the caulking, tires, towing equipment, awning, appliances, lights, batteries and A/C Unit.
  7. Make sure all your safety equipment is on board along with a tool box with most often used items for small repairs

 

Image result for making a listThings to Pack

Although everybody camps a little differently, there are several things we all need to bring on every camping trip. We’ll save you the trouble of writing your own list, because we did it for you. Here are just a few very important items to remember:

1. Bedding – includes pillows, blankets and sleeping bags

2. Clothes – Plan for all types of weather from swim suits to coats

3. Toiletries – includes soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, hairbrush, hair-ties, shaving items and deodorant

4. Lighting – lantern, flashlight and don’t forget the batteries or matches

5. Cook wear and utensils – Stove, dutch oven, griddle, coffee pot, knife, spatula and more

6. Don’t forget packing for your pups.  Leashes, food bowls, water bowls, dog bed, dog food

7. First Aid Kit, Stuff to Bug Bites,  Sunscreen, Ibuprofen etc.

 

That list is only scratching the surface. Need a more in depth list? Check out our Camping Checklist!

 

Cooking At Camp

Cooking while camping can seem like an overwhelming, difficult, and dreaded task. But, it can be easy and enjoyable if you follow some basic steps.

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Step 1: Plan Ahead.

Seems a little obvious, but it is one of the most important steps. Creating a list of everything you’ll need, even the little things, will insure less forgotten items. Things to consider in this step: the space and weight the food will take up, how you plan to cook things (stove, dutch oven, cast iron skillet), and that you eat food that spoils first.Image result for cleanup after meal in camp

Step 2: Choose your Equipment.

This step will mostly depend on how you camp and the amount of work you’re willing to do. If you prefer not to have any work while camping, pre made meals and snacks would be your go to. That would mean more prep work before you went camping. If you’re willing to do a little cooking, foil meals would be a great idea, that would be a little less prep work before you left.  If you can manage the extra weight and the extra work, dutch oven or a cast iron skillet would be a great way to prepare your food.  Dutch ovens seem to be a popular choice in cookware these days. Check out a video about dutch oven cooking for beginners by clicking here!

Step 3: Know how to Store Food.

A little organization will help big time when storing your food. There is a science behind stocking a cooler or fridge to ensure no wasted space and easy access to items you will need most often. A few ideas would be to bring a separate cooler for drinks, remove items from bulky packages, pack ingredients you’ll be using last at the bottom, and fill every nook and cranny with ice. Others things to keep in mind in regards to storing food is to be sure to keep everything clean, never to leave food unattended, and be aware of the wildlife in the area you’re camping and plan accordingly. Example would be bear proofing.

Image result for washing dishes in campStep 4: Clean Up. 

Proper clean up after your meal is also important, no matter how little we want to do it, as it prevents the spread of bacteria and the arrival of unwanted guests. Be prepared with items you’ll need: 2 dish tubs, dish cloth, drying towel and biodegradable soap. Thoroughly clean, dry and store your items. Store your unused food in airtight containers. Make sure all your trash has been picked up around your camp site and dispose of it properly. Either in the designated receptacle or pack it up and bring it out of the woods with you.  Remember, pack it in – pack it out.  Leave your camp spot or location better than when you arrived.

 

 

Have a great camping season! Be sure you’re prepared, have fun, and always be safe! 

 

Credit: Camping for Foodies, Camping with Gus, Chow Hound, National Park Service,

Posted on May 23, 2019 at 4:14 pm
John and Tracey Tindall | Category: Helpful Tips, Things to Do and See in North Idaho | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Rules for Saving & Paying Down Debt

Saving money can be such a challenge for most of us.   When it comes time to buy a home or invest in real estate it can become even more of a struggle.   With mortgage financing, we must be sure to keep our debts low, while having  enough assets on hand to get our loan approved.  We will need to consider the budget for new mortgage payments while paying of credit card or consumer debts each month.  AND we must be mindful about putting money away into a 401K or other investments and maybe having a little extra to enjoy life. 

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Below are 7 simple rules for saving your money and paying off debts. Following these rules will make it easier to get where we’d like to be financially before taking the steps to get your dream home. 

 

1. Automate It! 

Most places of employment offer direct deposit. Use that to your advantage. Set your direct deposit up for a portion of your paycheck to be deposited into several different accounts. One for your 401K, another into a savings account for the purpose of emergencies, also an account to save for home projects, vacations, etc. Then, set up your bills to be paid automatically. It would be beneficial to check with your loan holders to see if that would be an option. Ultimately, it comes down to this: if you can’t see the money then you won’t have the temptation to spend it.

 

2. Know How to Prioritize

Should you start paying down debt or saving first? Which debts should you start with? You need to know how to prioritize and compare the numbers. First, start by checking the interest rates on your loans and credit cards. The higher the interest rate, the more of a priority that should be to pay off. Save any extra money you get. Tax return? Put that into savings! Get a raise at work? Automatically deposit that extra percentage into savings each month. Eventually, you will have enough in that account for a nice down payment on your home. 

 

3. Imagine Your Future Self

Where do you want to be in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? Owning your own home? Not drowning in debt? Studies show if you imagine where you’d like to be in the future that will motivate you to take the necessary steps for the purpose of achieving those goals.

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4. Stop Unnecessary Spending

Take a good look at your finances and what you spend money on regularly. Do this with the intention of determining what can be dropped or scaled back on. Maybe a gym membership that you pay for monthly and only go once every 3 months or so. Another common unnecessary expense is cable TV; streaming services are cheaper, and they have a great selection. Additionally, rather than getting a coffee at Starbucks every day, make your own coffee at home. You may be surprised to know that could save over $100 a month. Also, eat meals at home instead of going out to eat. Even dropping one expenditure mentioned will make a huge difference on your bank account. 

 

5. Reward Yourself

You can’t live your life to save and pay down debt. Every now and then you need a reward for all your hard work. Use that as a motivation to save. Got a bill paid off? Get yourself something! Reached your goal on an amount of money you wanted to save? Treat yourself! Be sure to make these rewards sensible, but you could be getting perks while saving and paying off bills.  

 

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6. Take Advantage of Bank & Credit Cards Offers & Rewards

Take a good look at your credit card rewards, it may surprise you what they offer. There may be an opportunity for you to receive a percentage of what you spend in cash back. Who wouldn’t benefit from that? Make sure your bank account doesn’t charge you a monthly maintenance fee. If it does, research how to waive it or get a different account.

 

7. Start Young (Its never early or late to Start)

If this applies to you, pay attention. Starting off at a young age will set you up in the future. Even if you’re working at your very first job, you can start taking the necessary steps. Apply the rules above and your savings will grow faster than you could ever anticipate.

By following these rules, you can save, pay off debt   Whether your goal is to save for a home or prepare for the future, it’s all possible with a little hard work and knowledge on your side.

Think that your credit is hopeless and that you may never be in a position to buy a home? Don’t!  There is always a way with a good plan and a good team.  We have helped so many buyers get into homes when they thought it would never be a reality for them.  We have a great team that can help you build the roadmap to get there.  Want to know more about how to get started?  Let’ Connect

Credit: NPR Public Radio – https://www.npr.org/2018/12/12/676120025/get-started-saving & http://time.com/money/4266906/save-for-new-home-tips/

Posted on January 3, 2019 at 6:23 pm
John and Tracey Tindall | Category: Costs and Spending, First Time Home Buyer, Helpful Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Home Maintenance

Home Maintenance for Fall/Winter

 

 

The purchase of a home will likely be the biggest invest anybody will make in their life. Our homes are the centers of our lives because they hold everything and everyone important to us. Our top priorities are taking care of that invest.  Winter is a harsh season here in North Idaho as a result it can cause some damage to our homes, properties, our loved ones, or even our wallets! It can be avoided if we take extra steps this fall or start of winter to prepare.

 

The next question is where do I start? Not knowing can be overwhelming and stressful. Below is just a small list of some important home maintenance ideas. Included is the reason you should do them. It can make a huge difference on your home and property this year.

 

For a full list of maintenance ideas as well as a printable checklist, go to our website by clicking here!

 

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What to do

Why

Clean gutters and downspouts throughout fall         A build up of leaves and other debris could lead to wood rot, pest issues, and ruined gutters.
Change summer screens to cool weather storm windows & doors         Removing screens stop snow from getting trapped between the window and screen. That avoids damage to the sill and frame as well as lets in more light. Installing storm windows & doors helps keep your home insulated through the cold months.
Replace the filter in your furnace This helps the lifespan of your heater, reduces energy bills and improves air quality.
Flush and insulate your hot water tank Flushing removes sediment which in turn could extend the life of your tank. Insulating can help conserve energy, in turn saving you money.
Place a sheet of plywood held down by a few bricks on top and your AC, not a waterproof cover    Plywood can stop falling icicles and other debris which in turn would cause damage to the unit. Waterproof covers creates a warm environment for unwanted guests to stay for the winter.
Trim limps that are close to power lines or the  roof of your home Avoids heavy snow/ice building up causing damage.
Image result for pruning trees and shrubs in fall Image result for air conditioners in the winter

 

For a full list of maintenance ideas as well as a printable checklist, go to our website by clicking here!

 

Posted on December 27, 2018 at 6:24 pm
John and Tracey Tindall | Category: Helpful Tips, Home & Projects | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Preparation for Winter Driving and Snow

Here in beautiful North Idaho we are lucky to have 4 very distinct seasons. Everybody loves the warmth of Summer, the freshness of Spring, the colors of Fall, and the coziness of Winter.  

With winter comes SNOW and that can mean snow storms!   Driving in the snow and knowing how to be prepared for winter driving can be a bit stressful. 

Knowing what to do or even where to start preparation can be one of the biggest hurdles. There are simple preparations that can be done to your vehicle and with your family to get through the longest and coldest season. Check out the below tips to help avoid winter from sneaking up on you and those you love.

 

 

Preparation Tips for Successfully Surviving the Winter:

 

Get a Vehicle Winter Maintenance Check-up Before Winter Hits:

~ Don’t wait to check your battery, belts, hoses, radiator, lights, brakes, heater/defroster and wipers ~

~ Tire shops and mechanics are busiest just before and during winter storms, so get your check-up scheduled NOW ~

Keep a Basic Winter Survival Kit in Your Vehicle:

~ Flashlight ~ Batteries ~ Blanket ~ Snacks ~

Water ~ Gloves ~ Boots ~ First-aid kit ~

Load Your Car with Basic Travel Gear:

~ Tire chains ~ Ice scraper/snowbrush ~ Jumper cables ~ Road flares ~

Keep Your Fuel Tank Full:

~ Don’t let it fall below half a tank ~

Plan With Your Family

~ Create a plan that works well with your family ~

~ Practice it each year before the snow falls ~

Stay Informed:

~ Be sure to find your local station for traffic reports and emergency messages ~

~ Know the weather approaching so you are prepared for its arrival ~

Check Your Tires:

~ Make sure your chains fit before the first winter storm ~

~ Check tire pressure during cold weather ~

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Click on the Checklists Below for More Information:

Get Ready for Freezing Temperatures & Snowfall

Get Ready for Winter Weather Driving

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AND REMEMBER TO ALWAYS BE SAFE OUT THERE!!

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Sources:

Washington State Dept of Transportation https://www.wsdot.com/winter/emergencykit.htm

Take the Winter by Storm https://takewinterbystorm.org/

Posted on November 21, 2018 at 12:21 am
John and Tracey Tindall | Category: Helpful Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,