Work from home scams

I would love to be able to work from home considering all of my allergies. I have been looking for a work from home position for over 4 years.

The first scam I was taken on was a doosie.  Weston Distance Learning-Medical Billing and Coding. NO one! No one is hiring for someone that pays $5,000.00 to take this course. The only way to get into this position is to take more courses costing thousands of dollars more in the specific field. Take a look at your area. See what they are hiring for. I did a quick search before I enrolled. There are a bunch of practices hiring. None from home and none without certification in the specific field and 5 years experience. If no one is hiring how is anyone supposed to get experience? They suggested to me that I volunteer in a office for 5 years to get experience.  Volunteering doesn’t pay a single bill.

Scam number two- Idictate and Quicktate. Only cost me $20 for a supposed background check and hours and hours of my time. I put in two work order requests for payment for services rendered. They have yet to reply to my inquires as well as pay me for work done a full month and a half ago.

And ironically the same day I confirm my information my place of employment and random distant family members start receiving phone calls all on the same day claiming that they need to pay this business money on my behalf, they immediately hung up on me at work because it was my identity that they was being stolen and I knew that they didn’t need money.

A huge word of caution when looking into companies that are hiring work from home positions make sure you read all of the fine print. There are credit card companies that state that they are entitled to all of your personal information and that they will sell this information.

No Thanks! RickabaughReviews comletely disapproves!

Be careful with your personal information when using electronics 🙂

Reduce, Recycle, Reuse

I remember these words that public school worked very hard to instill in us. Throughout my adult life I have been very concerned with recycling when and wherever I can.  With my crafting projects I find ways in which I can use left overs from one project for another two or three projects.  I have more recently in the last few years have been working very hard on donating items in order to live a little bit less cluttered life. But this most recent craft project I am getting reuse some things I have thought about donating and recycling.

We light around one or two candles a day.  We only buy candles when they are on sale. It really helps take the slight chill out of the rooms in the winter. I have been trying to use less plug in night lights around the house, so in the evenings the candles give a nice cozy glow. I clean a lot but dogs will always smell, scented candles help that smell. This is the end result of a burned candle

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I have been making back up candles with the little wax that is left over. I melt the remaining on a jar warmer. Below is a picture of mine, it plugs in. When we have guests over I put this on the kitchen counter to give a nice scent with the fire hazard.

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I am a bit of a cheater when it comes to the wicks when making new candles.  I purchased a box of Hanukkah candles many years ago because I thought they were so pretty and never burned them.  They sure have come in handy.  I put one or two into the empty jar and as I melt wax from other candles I pour it into the jar with the old thin candles.  I have a partially started new candle in the candle cabinet at all times.  The new candles I am making with left over wax are not the most pretty candles in the world but they work and have saved us money.

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Now what to do with all the old empty jars? Well for a while I was recycling them, Then I saw an adorable post on Pinterest and thought they might be cute for my crafts.

First step is getting all the residual wax out of the jars.  My sister in law cleans out her jars with very hot water. I tried it.  I am too impatient for this process to work for me.  I happen to be cooking the one evening and set the empty waxy candle on the stove top next to the burner.  Not touching of course, nobody needs exploding glass.  What do you know it heated up the wax super easy, I just wiped it out with a paper towel. Jar nearly clean.  I hit it with some Windex.

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Perfectly clean now! ( cleaning tip-Windex is amazing on getting sticky, dusty grease off of the fan blades and light fixtures and stove hoods in the kitchen.)

I used to watch little kids in my home and I had a small indoor sandbox for the kids to play with when it was rainy outside.  I had beads, rocks, small sea shells and of course my favorite, small plastic dinosaurs to play with.  I also had a small set of plastic farm animals.  I have been thinking for the last year or so what to do with this and I haven’t had the heart to donate these toys.

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The dinosaurs and farm animals are perfect cute toppers for my jars. So we have clean jars and washed off my sandy dinosaurs.  Got the craft glue and put a little on their feet and sometimes tails. Let them sit a bit on the lids to dry.

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They are totally adorable.  I thought about spray painting the whole lids and dinosaurs all one color such as black but the husband said it will take away too much from their design and fun.  So this is how they will stay.

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Filled with odds and ends will help organize my craft shelves and make it unique to my taste as well as reducing waste and reusing what I have.

RickabaughReviews greatly approves of this super fun crafty, craft organizing project!

 

 

Old Sign-New Life

The whole idea of this blog is about trying new things. In this post I get to try my hand at using a Dremel. A coworker asked if I could help bring an old sign that was on her In-laws mailbox for many years, back to life.  It has their family name etched into it but it is bearly readable. When I first saw the sign I was very unsure of how I would tackle this project.  I try very hard to not let my doubts get to me.  So after studying it for a few minutes, I said something along the lines of my game plan. This was the shape of the board when I took it home to refinish.

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I knew I had my work cut out for me when I first touched it and it was a bit soft because it was so soaked through from rain.

Step one: Bring in the board, mold and all and let it dry out.

Step two: Hand sanding.  It has a large crack down the board and I was thinking too much vibration from the palm sander might break it right in half.

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I have a few stages of hand sanding. It looks better and better each time. I only do about 5 to 10 minutes of sanding per day so as not to wear out my hands or arms.   Most of the top layer was mold that had grown on the surface of the board.

Due to the great amount of mold I had no idea about the deer silhouette  after the name, at first. I am so glad I did find it and was able to save it.  It adds so much to the sign.

I found that I needed to refresh the slight engraving on the board.  I checked out my husbands tools. He is always so willing to share with me and help me with almost anything that I try.

I found a sharp pointy tool and slightly pushed deepening the outlines of the letters and the deer silhouette in order to continue to sand down to good solid board.

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It worked very well and helped me so much when I was able to try the Dremel for the first time. After it was mold and mildew free from sanding and mostly smooth we took the board outside to Dremel.

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This was the start! The husband showing me how to use the Dremel. And this was after all the Dremeling was complete.

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Next was painting! I used Black paint with a touch of pearly white which gave it a beautiful graphite look.

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I totally love this raw soft color, but my coworker was not sure if they were going to put the sign outside or inside. So I needed to have a sealer. Polyurethane is my favorite, it brings out the rich natural colors.

Putting on the polyurethane is not too hard. I do suggest using disposable paint brushes with the polyurethane, it is so much easier.

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And there you have it! Far better than I ever imagined it would turn out. My husband and I want to make one for ourselves already.

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All the coworkers and the RickabaughsReviews Approve! Hope you liked it too!

 

 

 

My January garden prep!

Fall fun is over. Winter is here. Garden with me while the snow is on the ground.

I have to be honest-I never stop gardening or thinking and researching how to better my garden for the upcoming season. I garden all winter long.  I have already started.  I looked up how to bake my dirt.  I am so frugal, I don’t spend a penny if I can do it myself.  So I got dirt out of the garden box put it in a (now designated) foil pan and popped it in the oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes. I have read that it is really stinky.  Well I lit 2 candles in the kitchen and I didn’t open the oven door until the timer went off. Then it was a tad stinky until it cooled. Why bake the dirt?

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Well it kills off fungus and bugs-good or bad.  When I was scooping it into my small seed starting greenhouses I saw steaming bits of worms. It was so gross and I was super happy my plants were going to love it. I want germ free dirt for my seeds to start them in.

So I put in my starter green house boxes:

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used coffee grounds. Freshly used from this mornings coffee pot.

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baked dirt,

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ashes straight from the fireplace, and a bit of water to moisten it all up well.

Then I got out my big box of seeds which includes my gardening book as well as my gathering apron my beautiful sister-in-law made for me.  In the move I some how misplaced the bottoms to my large greenhouse starters.  But I did find 4 of my small greenhouse starters. They will do for now. Wiped out the lids and got out the label maker.

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I decided quickly on marigolds and bell peppers.  The two things I have always planted in the early spring by seed like nearly everything else and they are only just ready by October.  We really enjoy bell peppers and would eat them every week and all year long if they were not so expensive.  When ever I purchase a pepper in the grocery store I 9 times out of 10 “harvest the seeds” when I cut them up.  This makes so many less seeds I am purchasing come growing season.  In October of this year I also harvested my orange marigolds that grew from the previous years seeds. I had about a dozen plants come up from all the seeds I put down after all 200 sugar snap peas were half grown and eaten down to the dirt in one day by bunnies. I pulled and laid out to dry about 100 flower tops. In full bloom petals and all. I only planted orange marigolds last year.  I need a bunch more marigolds this year because BUNNIES. And also chipmunks were scaling the fencing and eating my beets right down to the dirt. Marigolds are very pretty to the human eye, attract bees to pollinate your garden and deter bunnies, squirrels, chipmunks and deer from eating in your garden. Yes I want every fourth plant to be a marigold.  Also not one but two of our friends have moved to the area which means I am working on getting marigolds started for three gardens not just one. In my seed stash I had left over yellow marigold seeds from a few years back.  So as Sherlock would say-the game is a foot! I have one container of yellow marigold seeds and one container of orange marigold seeds planted.  I also started one container of green bell peppers and one container of red bell pepper seeds.  We shall see which sprouts first! We are very competitive in the Rickabaugh home.

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So that is just a bit of my summer garden-winter prep.   And since the snow is now on the ground it is indoor gardening from here until spring. If your your winter gardening is just watering the house plants.  I do that too and RickabaughReviews approve.

 

Stepping stone too thin?

Last year we had a honey bee hive relocated to our back yard.  We put it at the edge of the woods and behind the shed where they would get less noise and not direct sunlight so as to not get too hot in the summer.  We also put up a small fence so that our big dog would not be too curious and upset them.  We have a rocky pathway from the veggie beds to behind the shed that leads to the picnic table where the bee box lives.  What I did not realize is how many weeds would grow up between those rocks.  I am not a huge fan of weeding around a bunch of buzzing bees. The husband doesn’t like to weed at all. Well the queen swarmed and left half the hive behind without any queen, so what remained died.  Alas we will try again this upcoming spring. But until then I get to kick butt on trying to make a better pathway, so no weeding will need to be done around the hive.

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I first started making concrete stepping stones in order to make a pathway down to the creek.  They are adorable and work okay, but I think we need much larger, sturdier steps for getting down to the creek, and I would not mind a hand rail either, it is so steep. I still have around 30 stepping stones that I made earlier this summer, most of which are still in the shed continuing to cure. I have been bringing them out one at a time to paint and waterproof, and set aside for placement on the First of March.  The husband and I decided that we can use the stepping stones in among the rocky/pebble pathway back to the bees. Much better pathway with less weeds and when we start laying them down we can add a barrier under where the rocks are so that no more weeds come through.

I discovered earlier this summer that my first three stepping stones were good and sturdy, being and inch thick each. I thought well maybe I can make them thinner and they will be much more cost effective for us.  Well when I made this paver we didn’t know it was too thin.

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When placed in the pathway down to the creek I was able to walk carefully on it just fine.  But I am small and did not think how it would hold up to a bunch of guys going down to the creek to fish. Well the step cracked in half, and then in half again.  Live and Learn!

So the rest of my stepping stone are going to be too thin no matter where I put them.  This means I need to thicken them up.

But How?

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Well take this step that I just finished painting the top. I just flipped it over. I mixed up concrete pretty thick and chunky ( be careful not to make it too runny I didn’t want it running down overy the counter everywhere) just a small amount at a time so that I wouldn’t have too much.

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I mix small amounts in a disposable cup with a disposable knife.  Then I used the knife and spread the concrete on the bottom side of the step like I was icing a cake.

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This before photo shows it was kinda thin and it also shows where the bottom of the cardboard box came together. The other step first cracked right along this line perfectly.

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This after shot shows the old half of the step with its new sturdy backer. It really is as easy as helping it slide out of the mixing cup and spreading it out evenly with the knife, its easier than cold butter on fresh bread.

I am letting it harden up for 24 hours in the garage, and then bring it inside to the painting table to harden completely for 2 days, then it will be put in storage to cure for 30 days then I can waterproof front and back and then back into storage till spring!

As you can see- the step doubled up in thickness quickly and easily.

RickabaughReviews Approves!

Bonus!!! Below are a few of my other stepping stones that are in process!

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How we fight off winter blues!

Its cold outside, but I can still do some garden prepping for the spring, to help fight off the winter blues.

Winter blues get me down, even before the Christmas holidays and with New years parties I still feel a little low.  I have tried anti-depressants which just made me more sad and fat which made me angry and sad.  Gardening makes me the happiest, so I needed to figure out how to garden in the winter.  I had a friend who was a nurse tell me once that what helps reduce winter blues is sunlight.  She told me that her sister would get a tanning package in the winter, not to keep up with a tan but to get more “light therapy” Sunlight gives you vitamin D and vitamin K which reduce sadness and loss of energy.

There is very little sunlight to go around during the winter so I work really hard at being outside when it is light out.  I can do inside chores when it is dark out. But I live in Pennsylvania. It is a balmy 41 degrees Fahrenheit outside right now, how do I garden? Got to be honest it’s not a lot of gardening, its much more of garden prep for spring since I do not have any greenhouses for winter veggies. It gets me outside in the light and the fresh air.

We have a few pine trees on our property and a whole bunch of other trees that drop their leaves every year. Oaks, Maples, Dog woods, Sweet gums. I have super high expectations of making a whole bunch of gardening space in the next couple of years and the huz is mostly on board. I noticed that most of the neighbors collect their leaves at the curb and the city picks them up. Life is crazy busy, I get that works for most people.  I am greedy I want to keep my leaves, I have read that they make some of the best mulch/compost for gardening and flowers.  Most importantly I am into free or super cheap! I don’t mind getting my hands dirty and I don’t mind putting in the sweat work.

Earlier this fall when most the leaves were falling and we had to keep up with appearances we raked and used our Torro leaf blower/vac to get a lot of leaves contained.  We super underestimated how many leaves would have at the new place! We put leaves in the raised beds.

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We used chicken wire and stakes and made a three foot high by eight feet long by four foot wide leaf corral and filled it.

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And then we piled up the leaves in the flower beds and raked them around all the bases of the trees and raked them under all the pine trees.

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Lastly my husband just started blowing all of them into the woods.

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Now that it is winter and colder out, no more leaves to rake. Yahoo! but all the plants are dying off from the frosts over night and it isn’t snowing yet.  I have read that leaves break down faster to make amazing compost/soil/fertilizer quicker if they are mulched and if you add used coffee grounds. So I have done some asking and Starbucks has a grounds to garden program where you can just take used coffee grounds for free! I have also found that not all Starbucks locations do this.  The Starbucks that is located close to my work is situated inside of the Target, so do not participate.  The manager was super sweet. I asked if I could just stop by and ask if they needed to empty their used grounds bin.  He said he can’t promise any but they are more than happy to give me whatever they have when I stop by.

So until the snow gets here I have gone out with my vac/mulcher and have sucked up leaves already piled high in the gardens and are mulching them down smaller and putting them almost right back where I sucked them up from.

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Might seem a bit silly but I didn’t have time earlier in the fall to mulch them all then. I have time now. It gets me outside for about an hour to two hours before the sun sets. In that amount of time I can fill the collection bag two to three times. Yes I even mulch them when they are soaking wet from all the rain, because this summer it rained ALL THE TIME.

The trick is to have a big long screwdriver in your back pocket. One that the husband won’t freak out if it gets dirty or a bit nicked up. About every other minute you need to take off the collection bag and un-jam the leaves using the screwdriver.  The other place leaves get jammed up is the big tube you suck them up with.  You have to just reach in with your arm and pull them out. The last place you have to un-jam is inside where the blades rotate.  UNPLUG the Vac/mulcher before cleaning any leaves out. You have to take off the big black tube and use the screwdriver in around the blades, it is going to look and act like mud caked up in there. It might be a bit of mud too but it is very finely chopped up leaves, and because they are wet they stick together and clump up.

How to know when to pause and clean out the vac/mulcher! Very important-you don’t want to blow out your motor. When you hear-or actually don’t hear the blades mulching your leaves. Another key indicator of when to clean out around the blades on the inside is when you hear the motor of the the vac/mulcher increase in pitch, it will start to whine high and loud.  It will not be long before you smell a burning.

When the snow hits usually around the end of January is when I start some of my seeds inside such as Bell peppers.  They can sit in that dirt for 6-8 weeks before poking out their little leaves. Just in time to start gardening outside again.

This is how the RickabaughReviews get rid of their Winter blues!

Snowman cheese ball

Headed to a party this evening. And we are taking a snow man cheese ball.  We made one for a holiday party a few years back and of course did not write down the directions. I have a few food allergies so everything we end up making ends up different.  I usually look up several different types of recipes and than mash them together to get something both the husband and I will like.

The husband cooked the bacon yesterday. Today I am warming it up a bit in order to have as much grease drain off as possible. I crumbled about 5 full pieces once warmed up.  It has to be crispy but not burnt.

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The base of the ingredients is cream cheese, we used 2 8oz. packages. Cream cheese is kinda the glue and what helps give our little snow man his shape.  But you do need to let the cream cheese warm up a bit before building so that it mixes well. He will go back in the refrigerator to get chilly once built.

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I put in a bowl 3 cups of Mexican mix shredded cheese and 1 cup of the shredded mild cheddar cheese. Tossed them a bit to get them well mixed and then added my bacon crumbles to the mix and tossed that mix. Then comes the super messy part. I added my softened cream cheese.

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Wash your hands good, then wash them again and then get your hands in there.  You have got the blend it really well. Nothing works better than your hands and eyes.  And then you need to split up the mix and remember the head is just a bit smaller than the snowman butt.

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Yes you will see that my snowman isn’t really white. this is where your grated Parmesan (and Ramano) comes in. You will coat the outside of the head and butt with the grated cheese. this is your fluffy snow look. I used about 1/2 of a cup.  Press in into the cheese balls gently with your hands and this also helps to further shape your head and butt into nice round balls.

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We used pretzel sticks as our construction beams.  Because they are edible.  You should never put anything into a dish that is not edible such as toothpicks for structure stability, there might be smaller children who are helping themselves. Safety first!

I gently pushed the pretzel sticks into the base, didn’t want them to break, because if they break then you have to dig out pretzel sticks and that is not fun. One pretzel stick easily breaks, and two  does as well, but three you have more support, so if you trip while carrying your little snow man he is less likely to have his little head roll right off and onto the floor. then I gently push his had onto the three pretzel sticks, very careful not to snap the sticks. Then he goes into the refrigerator to chill a bit while I make his little outfit.

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Twizzler’s pull and peel! They have a bunch of different flavors and colors so you can go with which ever flavor is your favorite to eat, there will be left over Twizzlers. I used a total of one section. I pulled them a part in three sections, two strips I smashed together to make one long scarf.  The other section I chopped up into pieces to make gloves and a smile.

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I needed to get a small kitchen knife to scoop out where the smile was going because it wasn’t staying/ sticking very well because of the Parmesan on the outside. I also used this technique to put in the olive eyes. Pretzel bit for the nose and pretzels for the arms. The gloves were just a bit of a challenge because once you pull apart the Twizzlers they are finicky to get back together.  Just a touch of water and a bit of squishing and they stay in place enough for presentation.

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I do not have any fresh rosemary growing at our new house yet, that will be put in in the spring. But I do have lavender still green out side.  I snipped off two sprigs and washed it very well, and poked a few into the head because I don’t have a top hat for the little guy, so I made him a little girl.  Cute as a button!

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We have our party pack of crackers and a plastic knife for spreading and we are ready to party!

So an hour to thaw the cream cheese and an hour maybe to build. You probably will not be taking photos for each step and typing in between. So I am sure you can put your little snow man together quicker.  You night even want to use a carrot for a nose too.

Snowman/lady cheese ball was a total success! Yours will be too!

RickabaughReviews approves!