Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cleaning out the Pantry

I should have taken a photo of the before and after.  But I didn't and I am sorry.  Yesterday I cleaned out my pantry.  I originally started doing it specifically because I have been tossing stuff in there and not sorting it out.  So by yesterday morning I could no longer close the door.  Something had to be done.  So I started cleaning it out.

I learned many things:

1.  If you keep it neat and organized you can fit a ton of food in there.
2.  I really need a rubbermaid tub for my flour.
3.  Only two items were out of date and needed to be tossed.
4.  I have a TON of dessert items.  So if we have a SHTF situation right now, we don't have to worry about running out of cake and frosting.
5.  I am low on pasta sauce, canned meats, and water.
6.  I think I have actually succeeded in storing a month's worth of food, plus some.

I have:

  • 6 months worth of desserts and sweets.
  • 3+ months worth of pasta (but need to stock up on some sauce)
  • 2+ months worth of canned veggies
  • 2-3 weeks worth of canned meats
  • 2 months worth of peanut butter
  • 3 months worth of flour
  • 3+ months worth of oatmeal
  • 3+ months worth of rice
  • 3-4 weeks worth of canned fruits
  • 2+ months worth of cooking oil (veggie and olive oil)
  • 3+ months worth of yeast
  • 1+ month worth of honey
  • 3+ months worth of baking powder, baking soda, salt, spices
I need:
  • water
  • canned meats (although my freezer is stocked with meats, enough for at least a month)
  • pasta sauce
  • powdered milk (I have none at this point and feel like I need it)
  • shelf stable milk
Now, If we lose power for a long period of time, in my freezer I have a variety of meats.  In my refrigerator I have 6 lbs of butter.  I am wondering if I could can my meats over an open flame and can my butter to make it last.  As we are going into winter I know that I could keep my meats and butter and other refrigerated items outside for a while and they would keep.  We also have a generator on our travel trailer that could help keep our frozen items for a longer period of time until we could eat them.

This was an awesome lesson in what we have and what more we need.  Now that I am more focused on my "holes" in my pantry, I know what I need to purchase.  In fact after I finished cleaning out my pantry I went to Sam's Club for paper towels and toilet paper and I was able to pick up another 5 cans of canned chicken, some more frozen chicken breasts, oatmeal, and a few other items that will go into the pantry.  My focus now is on powdered milk and shelf stable milk.  Oh and we need water.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What's in your stocking?

I know I posted a few down that I am trying to add preparedness items to my list of gifts that I am giving.  Now that I am pretty much done with my Christmas gift shopping I thought I would update and list the items that I am giving away.

1. baseball cap head lamp, clip on light.  This is a light that clips on to your baseball cap.  It is like a headlamp but you don't have to wear it like a goober.  It is a cool looking headlamp.  I just hope it works well.  (bought at Kohls $9.99)
2.  Hand and foot warmers.  I found these at Target in the $1 spot.  They will be great for adding to our 72 hour kit as well as for him when he is working. 
3.  New flannel lined jeans.  Why are these on the preparedness list?  Because they are awesome, warm and durable.
4. Pocket sized flashlight
5. A battery operated coin sorter.

1.  Pocket sized flashlight.
2.  small trinkets to go in his 72 hour kit for entertainment.

1.  pocket sized flashlights
2.  small trinkets to go in their 72 hour kits for entertainment.

Sister and boyfriend:
1. pocket sized flashlights
2. paracord bracelets
3. neck warmer (gators) scarves

I have on my list a multi-tool and I saw a cute small one at Kohls for $10 the other day.  Get this.  It was PINK!  How awesome is that.  It was in the men's section where they have the seasonal gift items.  I am hoping that my husband will find it.

By the way, while shopping at Kohls I was pleasantly surprised that there was so many items for sale that had to do with preparedness.  Many multitools, battery rechargers, pocket knives, flashlights, headlamps, car chargers, emergency kits for cars, first aid kits, and more.  Target also had many of these items also.

What is on your list this year?  What will be in your stocking?

Feeling the panic....but it will be over soon.

The panic will be over soon, hopefully not the holiday.  So here is the deal.  My job gives me off the last two weeks of December.  Tomorrow is my last day of work for two weeks.  I get paid twice a month on the 15th and the last day of the month.  Normally not a big deal.  However, in December this pay schedule gets screwed up because we close the last two weeks of December.  They adjust the pay schedule, and this year I got paid on the 9th and the 16th.  I don't get paid again until January 15th. (well the 13th because the 15th is a Sunday).

I am currently in the midst of scrambling to get last minute things for Christmas done.  Scrambling to do my baking for my coworkers which I have to finish and bring in tomorrow.  Scrambling to make my lists, lists of lists, etc.  Scrambling to get my Christmas cards finished and mailed. Scrambling to get other items which need to be wrapped, packaged and mailed out to the post office. Scrambling to get last minute things done for the kids' last few days of school.  Teacher gifts, friends' gifts, tests studied for, projects done, AHHHHH!!!  Scramble scramble scramble.  Oh and let's just complain about the house for a minute.  Every time I come home from work the house looks worse then it did when I left.  Breakfast dishes are still on the table, junk is everywhere, laundry tossed on the floor, oh and the bathrooms.  Well we just won't go there. So I have to clean before I can do anything else. 

Starting on Saturday life will be a bit easier.  The school stuff for the kids will be done, the coworker baking will be done, the job will be done for two weeks and we can start to focus on the true meaning of the holidays: family, friends, time, and of course Jesus.

So the point of my post today and what it has to do with preparing.  While preparing for the holidays I am also planning and preparing for a few weeks with no pay.  We are heading into the lean times anyway with my husband's job winding down for the season.  He usually takes most of January and February off which means less money in the bank for us.  I try to plan ahead for this time by stocking the pantry and the freezer of food that we will eat.  I also try to plan by stocking the bathrooms of toiletries so we don't have to run out and buy more shampoo or expensive items.  I plan by stocking the paper towels, toilet paper, and cleaning items, laundry detergent, etc. now so we don't have to worry until March.  This is almost like a test to see how much we consume in the next 2 1/2 months.  Can I stock the house?  What items do we run out of quickly?  What items do we forget about stocking that we end up needing?

Have you ever tested your stock?  Have you ever tested to see how long you could go?  Have you ever tried to live for two weeks without going to the grocery store?

We know we will have to go to the grocery.  But we only want to need milk, eggs, bread (if I don't make it), produce and fruit.  We will have to purchase meat at some point probably mid January and then again in mid February.  But we plan for this.  We will also be menu planning!!!  This is a big important thing for us to be able to use what we have and to be able to use it efficiently. 

I will be making a big run to our Sam's Club for items this weekend and then hopefully we will be pretty much done with our spending for a while.  On my list for Sam's Club is flour, sugar, toilet paper, paper towels, coffee, some spices we are low on, and oatmeal.  These items will go into our food storage because I know we will go through our storage in the next few months.  I will also be picking up a few more cans (20-25) of veggies from Target who has them on sale for $.49.  This should last us a while. 

I will keep you updated on our food storage and how it is faring.  Will it hold up to the three month supply?

I would love to hear if you have tested your food storage and what you learned.  Please leave me a comment.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Being Prepared - Christmas Style

Okay, I have talked a bunch about preparedness in the sense of emergencies, weather-related disasters, economic disasters, but today I will talk of preparedness for the holidays.  This blog is truly meant to be for all things family, preparedness, and ready for whatever comes my way.  The old boy scout saying is "Be prepared" and they truly mean to be prepared for anything and everything.  If you are prepared then there ARE no emergencies, right???

With the holidays in full swing now that we are in the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas if you are like me you are in a mix of household chaos, emotional chaos, and scheduling chaos.  If it were up to me, all extra curricular activities would cease to exist between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  There is just so much more going on in this time that it adds to the chaos of our house.  We have Christmas lights to see, shopping to do, friends to visit, parties and dinners to attend, along with decorating our home, and continuing other family traditions.  Just so much.

Right now my focus is on organization in my home.  I am working on decluttering and organization.  However, last week 15 boxes came down from the attic with Christmas decorations, three Christmas trees, and other holiday items like glassware, dinnerware, table linens, etc.  All my decluttering just went out the window. {sigh}

So here is what I am doing.  I am list making.  I have made a ton of lists and I keep these lists close with me.  I have shopping lists for gifts, lists of things I need to do, grocery lists, and decorating lists.   I mark off what has been done, sent and completed.  I add to the lists as I think of them.  Right now they are my saving grace.  I have done this in the past however, I never saved the lists.  This year I want to save them and then use them for next year as well.  In the least I will remember what I have given others as gifts.

I am also making a time line of things that need to be done by a certain time.  This allows me to not get too freaked out by everything that I want to get done.  I have divided it all up by day and week.  If I stay on track then I won't have to worry too much the last week before Christmas and I will be able to sit back and enjoy the time with my family.

In addition to my preparations for the holidays, I am also still thinking about food storage and I am taking advantage of the sales right now for baking items.  I have added 20 lbs of flour to my storage.  I have added 3 cans of baking powder, 3 boxes of baking soda, 1 lb of yeast, and many bags of chocolate chips.  I have also added extra sweet bread mixes, pumpkin (canned), and 5 lbs of sugar, 2 lbs of brown sugar and 1 lb of powdered sugar.  I also picked up two turkeys during Thanksgiving time and I have saved these in my freezer for later cooking.

As I have been making my lists of items for family and friends as well as for me, I have been focused on thinking of items that they would like and that could help them and me in an emergency situation.  Everyone in my family will be getting small pocket flashlights.  My sister and her boyfriend will be receiving paracord survival bracelets.  I want a multi-tool for my purse, and a new freezer (because we need more freezer space).  I thought about asking for a wheat grinder but we are not there yet in our storage.  We have no whole wheat to grind yet.  So I will get one when we are ready to start storing whole wheat grains.

This month of December I have some preparedness goals.  I will have two weeks off for Christmas and I not only want to enjoy my time but I also want to use it to accomplish some things.

1.  Continue to use sales to stock up on food storage.
2.  Reorganize my food storage areas.  Explore other areas of the house to store items and food.
3.  Continue to declutter the house.  Look for areas where we need more storage units (furniture) and more effective areas for storing appropriate items. (ex. my closet is not the place for our steam cleaner)

Do you have items on your Christmas list that are preparedness related?

Do you have goals for preparedness for December?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

My food storage finds this week

I have been really focused on beefing up our food storage recently.  I have some meals planned, just in case, and I know what we all enjoy eating.  I have decided to focus right now on meals that I know my family will eat and meals that we eat often.  I will work on the extras of food storage including items that are more for longer term storage a bit later.

I figure that the most likely thing that will happen in the near future will probably be further increases in food prices, our income decrease and so by working to beef up our food storage we will be able to eat for cheaper longer.  Make sense?  Well that is okay, it does to me.

This week I had to run to the store to get some steaks that my husband wanted to have for dinner.  We had two rib eyes already but it wasn't enough for all of us so I was after rib eyes.  Well when I got to the store I found that a package of rib eyes were $13.  The package had two rib eyes in it.  I looked around a bit more and found a big tenderloin roast for $34.  I asked the butcher to cut it for me in 1 and 1/4 inch cuts.  He did and repackaged it for no extra charge.  So for $34 I got 9 tenderloins for us to grill.  We ate 5 of the smaller ones that night for dinner and we have another 4 larger ones for another night in the freezer.  Plus I still have the two rib eyes that we were going to eat in the freezer for another night.  I did the math and the tenderloin cut into 9 steaks came out to a bit over $3 a steak.  You can't beat that with a stick.

While I was there I also saw that they had Halloween candy on sale for $.50 a package.  Yup they did!  I scooped up 4 candy corn packages and they will go in the freezer and come out another time that we need a bit of something sweet in the house.

Another night I was at Target and they had Del Monte canned veggies on sale for $.65 a can.  Usual price on these are $1.08 a can so even though I didn't have a coupon I went ahead and grabbed a dozen cans.  They also had the "Cream of" soups for $.59 a can so I grabbed about 6 of them.  We use the "cream of" soups for lots of recipes, so I like to have these on hand.

While those veggies were a great price and I felt good about getting them I was a bit fumed to see when I was at the grocery store these same cans on sale for $.49 a can.  However, I kept my emotions in check and went ahead and bought 20 more cans.  With my family getting older my pre-teens are beginning to eat me out of house at home so I know we will go through these cans quickly.  What excited me more was when I got home and was able to fill in all my can holders with these cans.  They are now all full again.

Other items that I stocked up on was baking powder for $1 a container, a large package of pancake mix, strawberry jam (two large jars for $4.18). Oh and toilet paper and paper towels. (I buy the Sam's Club Members Mark brand for both).

Monday, October 31, 2011

Did you know??? Poor man's waterproof snow gloves...

So last winter we came across this problem.  The kids were out in the snow and their hands were getting wet through their gloves.  It didn't matter if they were knit gloves or the kind that are supposed to be waterproof.  They were getting wet.  You can't tell a kid they can go out in the snow but not get their hands in it.  You just can't.

I decided to remedy this problem in the only way I could at the time.  There was no way to get new gloves that were quality and waterproof in the short time that we had snow.  Plus the stores were out of gloves anyway.  So I did the next best thing.  I went to the grocery and bought kitchen rubber gloves.  Yup I did!!  I bought them in sizes that would fit over their gloves.  I put their stocking gloves on their hands and then stuck a rubber glove on top.  The gloves were long enough to go over their wrists and prevent snow from getting in there.  Then we put their coats on and Voila! waterproof gloves.  They went out and could touch the snow, play in it and get in all kinds of trouble out doors.  The rubber gloves helped them grip on to their sleds and form a great snowball without the snow sticking to their gloves.  How cool is that???  The best part is that their hands didn't get wet at all, and neither did their gloves underneath!  So when they came back in and then decided to go back out they didn't have to wait for their gloves to dry.  They already were!

I need a plan....

I am getting a bit frustrated and I know what my problem is.  Well, I have several problems I think.

First: My food storage is dwindling and that is because we are eating it.  I stock up and that is all good but then I don't feel the need to go to the grocery store because we have all this food in the house.  So we eat it until it starts dwindling away and then I realize we have just eaten our food storage. UGH!  I need to work on a better plan.

Second: I am trying to bite off more than I can chew right now.  I need to focus.  I am trying to get my 72 hour bags, my food storage, and our other emergency supplies all accomplished at the same time.  This is taking way too much energy, time, and money. UGH! I need to take baby steps.

Third: Along the same lines as the second problem, I am trying to complete a task in one sitting.  I want to get the 72 hour bag all done.  Done with clothes, food, water, other supplies.  All done at once.  This takes a lot of money if we don't have it just laying around plus, if it is laying around then I tend to steal from it also.  For example.  We have some flashlights in the house.  So I put one flashlight in each bag.  That is five bags.  Now we have no more flashlights in the house.  They are all in the bags.  What if we need a flashlight?  Well then we go get one out of the bag. {sigh} That is not what those bags are for.  So I can't use what we have unless it is totally extra stuff we don't need.  I have to buy 5 flashlights.  I don't want dinky ones because in an emergency then I want a flashlight that will work.  I will NEED it to work.  So 5 flashlights is expensive.  And that is just flashlights!!!  How about those backpacks that we need? UGH!  I need to work on this plan.

Fourth: I am all talk and no game apparently.  I know what I want to do, get done, and where I want to be with my preps but I never seem to be able to get this whole movement off the ground.

Fifth:  I don't have anyone else on board with me.  My kids don't count.  They are in their own little worlds right now.  My husband, while on board with the whole idea of prepping, is off in a different direction than I am.  He is looking for land in the country where we can move to.  I am not ready for that yet.  He says that we need to be more self sufficient.  He wants farmland.  He wants chickens, fruit trees, and land to farm have a big garden which I will take care of.   I am trying to focus on food storage and emergency bags.  He wants the big picture.  I am not ready to pack my family up and toss our world upside down.  Now that the kids would notice!

So I am thinking---------  I need a plan.  I need to go back to basics and focus on one thing at a time.  I just need to decide what that one thing is right now.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My New Scrap Room

I can't be more excited. I love my new space. After much thought and more thought and then discussion we decided to let me have the dining room as my space. I am closer to the kids who hang out in the living room and I am close to the kitchen so I can cook and such in there and slip into my scrap room and work on a project or two also.

I have a few pictures of my new scrap room.

Here is my new armoire I got from the Goodwill yesterday. It is solid wood and I love love love this piece.
New Armoire

This is the inside. The top of the armoire holds all my paper. My kits and inks are on the top shelf. Below is two 12x12 drawer sets with more paper in it. (and that isn't all my paper)

Inside Armoire - paper paper paper

In the bottom drawer is my cuttlebug and baby bug.

Cuttlebug drawer

The very bottom drawer holds empty albums and some of my ribbon.

lower drawer with albums

Then we have more "views" of the room. It is no where near being "done". I still have some sorting and straightening and putting away but it is so much better than this morning.

Looking from the living room

looking towards the kitchen

This is a big file cabinet that we have had for a while now.

File cabinet

The top drawer has embellies and stamps in it.

Top of File cabinet

The bottom drawer has alphabets and more smaller paper packs and pads. 8x8s 6x6s, and 4x6.

Bottom drawer of File Cabinet

And of course my desk, complete with a project on it already. I just had to play for a few minutes tonight.

My desk by the window

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Knitting Addiction

I have a favorite yarn store. It is in Kill Devil Hills, NC and called Knitting Addiction. I love this store because the owner is incredibly nice. She didn't bat an eye when I told her that I also crocheted. Then again, I was telling her of an experience with a lys in my town where the owner of that store DID bat an eye. I told that lady that I knitted and crocheted and she got all uppity with me and was really rude. Apparently you can't switch hit with yarn. LOL

Anyway, back to my favorite LYS and the owner Jeanne. She giggled a bit when I told her the story of my hometown LYS and the crochet story. I don't know if she didn't approve of crochet or not because she didn't let on. Good thing because if she had I would have to hate her too. People can "switch hit" with yarn, and I think it is a good thing. There are things that are better crocheted than knitted and things that are better when knitted instead of crocheted. If you can do both then you can have the best of both worlds. Right? Say 'right'.

Moving on. I don't get down to the Outer Banks but a couple times a year and I always try to get to the yarn store. She carries so many yarns that you just can't get in the big box stores. I love to touch and feel the yarns, wools, silks and cottons. They are just so yummy. Jeanne also displays incredible projects with the yarns that you need to make it as well as the patterns right there. Her patterns are $4.95 but if you buy enough yarn to complete the project the pattern is free. It is so good to actually see the project in true form so you know what it will look like before you begin. Jeanne is also so nice that she will sit down with you and teach you what you want to learn. Then help you with any problems that you have (knitting wise). She used to be a teacher so she is great at teaching knitting too. One can't help but fall in love with this store when they walk in. And if they don't then there is something wrong with them. LOL

I walked out with $113 worth of yarns and new knowledge of how to make cables. (Did I say I love this woman???)

Here is my first cable pattern that I made. It is a coffee cup cozy. It still needs a button and then it will go around a coffee mug. This will be so much fun to use in the winter time.

Cup cozy

I made the cozy out of Peaches and Cream cotton yarn that I got at Walmart, in purple. I thought it would be a good practice yarn to use and I had just enough to make it. This pattern doesn't take much yarn. You could probably get at least three out of a skein of Peaches and Cream yarn.

I also bought these yarns: (sorry these photos are so dark and blurry. They were taken with my phone. It is all I have today)

Knitcol sock yarn

Knitcol is a favorite yarn of mine. It is a little thicker than regular sock yarn but it feels so good. Knit them with #3 dpns. These skeins will be socks.

Pioneer Stiletto

Close up of Pioneer Stiletto

I really wish that these photos were a bit clearer. This yarn is so fun. It will also become a pair of socks. This is fun pretty colors AND sparkles. I love that I can make sparkly socks and with pretty colors. So fun! I had to buy it.

Princess by Elite

This is Princess by Elite, and it feels so snuggy. It is really soft yarn. Unfortunately Jeanne told me that this is discontinued by the manufacturer. I immediately went into mourning. I might need to get some more of this stuff.

Mission Falls

This Mission Falls yarn is also being discontinued. I love this yarn too. I made a gator scarf with it and I love the way it feels. These skeins will become a pair of socks for my hunny.

Merino 5 Yarn

This Merino 5 yarn is also soft but not fuzzy. Love it. It will be some more coffee cozies. I hope people like purple!

Sock in progress

And finally, this is what I have been working on recently. This is a pair of socks using Red Heart Heart and Sole yarn. I love self striping/patterning yarns. I love to knit with them and see the pattern emerge. It is very motivating. I am knitting on #2 dpns and it seems to take forever to knit with #2's. I am about two inches from the end and then I have another sock to make. Then I can start playing with my new yarns I just bought.

I am hoping that I can make a bunch of presents for Christmas this year. I really want to make this a "handmade Christmas".

Monday, October 17, 2011

Do you watch Glen Beck?

Over the past several years I have watched Glen Beck.  Sometimes I think he is a bit over the top but other times I think he is spot on politically.  Recently he has moved from Fox News Channel to his own internet based program.  I have yet to subscribe but I do watch the snippets that he posts on his other websites.

Last Thursday he did a show on preparing.  I don't know exactly why he is telling us to prepare, again, because I haven't subscribed.  But I do know one thing, he posted portions of his program on a couple different blogs and websites.  If you search around a bit you can see some parts of his program, but this is the jist of it.  He posted on his website this post which I find very interesting.  He does go on to allude to our economy collapsing or that there may even be some violence and looting in some places.  Actually he says no place will be immune from some sort of something.

He gives us a great list of things to think about when preparing too.

One thing I found interesting is under money he states that we should gather gold, cash, cigarettes and liquor.  He says the last two items will be great for trading.  He says that our economy will return to a barter system and even if we don't have items to barter we may have skills to barter with.  He encourages us to work to learn skills that were "lost" in recent years like mending, sewing, canning, etc.

I have always been concerned which is why I started this blog.  Mainly to express my feelings and not make myself start to sound like a "freak" amongst my coworkers, friends, and family.  I can tell you all what I am thinking and in essence get it out of my system.  However, I am now really beginning to get a bit scared.  There I said it, I am scared.  This fear is making me make lists, print out food storage recipes, and begin to get super serious about saving money.

We have a big expensive family vacation coming up that the family is looking forward to but I am wondering if we should scale it back and perhaps save that money that we would have spent and invest it in more food storage. 

How are you all feeling right now?  Tell me what you are doing.  Is this something that you are beginning to worry about?  Are you getting scared like me?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Story Tellers Kit Club

This past spring I joined Story Tellers Kit Club and thought I would like to get kits each month for scrapbooking. I love kits because they are already put together with coordinating papers and embellishments. I don't need to go searching for anything. It is all there in the kit. I heard great reviews from this club and I was anxious to join another club again. I love getting monthly "surprises" in the mail, even though I am expecting them and even though I pay for them they are still like presents to me, from me.

I got my first kit for $6 (can't beat that with a stick) and a discount on other past kits. I bought one more. I anxiously awaited the kits to come in the mail. I was so disappointed though when the first two came. They weren't packaged in a box, they were just in a clear cellophane bag. The post office had actually mutilated one of the kits in their automatic machines. It had punctured a couple holes in the kit's bag that it comes in. So sad but it didn't mess up any of the papers.

I looked at the kit and the paper was just okay. It was nice and heavy but it wasn't really my style of patterned papers. I set the kit aside. I forgot about it until the next month's kit came. I glanced at the kit and wasn't excited about it and planned to cancel the membership. But alas, I forgot until the next month's kit came. The kit's packaging again didn't protect the kit and it got damage. I again wasn't thrilled and I did cancel the club. At the same time I mentioned to their customer service that I was disappointed with the packaging and that two of the kit bags were damaged. They were nice enough to replace my bags and shipped two more out to me. But in the shipping one of them was damaged as well. I didn't worry with telling them though. It wasn't worth my time even though I would venture to bet they would have replaced it again. Their customer service is really good.

Here are a few layouts I did with one kit.

Storytellers Club Kit

Storytellers Club Kit

What I don't like is that the pp is not the kind that you can cut and use parts of on different layouts. It sort of is its own picture. I also didn't like the embellishments that you get. They are all die cuts and are slick. You punch them out and then use them on your layout just as they are. They are sort of difficult to use when you are used to using other types of embellies. The solid cardstock had a lot of linen in it and it tended to get fuzzy on the edges when you cut it.

I am still looking for a good kit club for the money. If you have any suggestions feel free to leave me a comment and let me know. I like to feel like I got a lot for my money, so I am looking for a kit that is packed with stuff.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Cute crochet flowers and hearts

First I have to apologize for not posting anything here in almost 6 months. I have still be crafting but I just haven't been posting. I will work on getting some great items up here particularly for Christmas gift giving.

Today I have been making these cute little gems. I just love these little flowers. I got the pattern from a friend of mine on Scrap Sisters Studio message board and I adjusted it just slightly to make a bit fuller petal. These little flowers are about an inch in diameter when crocheted with crochet thread and a size 0 hook.

Crocheted flower embellies

The pattern is super easy too.

Little Crochet Flower

Chain 5 and connect to first loop with sl st.

Rnd 1: ch 3, 9 dc in loop. (counts as 10 dc)
rnd 2: *ch 2, 4 dc in next dc, ch 2 sl st in next dc* repeat from * to* making 5 petals. Tie off in back.

Now, check out these little heart gems! I {heart} these so much! I found the pattern online and I can't for the life of me find it again. I will edit this post when I find it to give the credit to the right person.

Crochet Hearts

This pattern is super easy too. I memorized it quickly!

Super Cute Crochet Hearts

Chain 4.

3 tc in first loop of chain (all these stitches are in first loop of chain), 3 dc, ch 1, 1 tc, ch 1, 3 dc, 3tc, ch 3 and connect in loop with sl st.

To make a larger heart after you sl st at end do not tie off but continue around again for a second round.

Rnd 2: 4 sc in first ch 3, 2 sc in next 2 tc, sc around in each st to tc at the bottom of the heart. In bottom tc make 2 sc, sc around in each st to second tc. 2 sc in second tc, 2 sc in next tc, 4 sc in final ch 3 space. sl st to first sc and tie off.

See how easy that is???

Friday, September 30, 2011

Another reason for a car emergency kit

Check out this news story that I saw this morning on the Today Show. This man crashed his car into a ravine and then survived there for six days drinking water from the river close by and eating bugs and insects. His kids were out looking for him and calling into ravines and hear his cry "help" from the bottom of the ravine. NOW, if this guy had an emergency kit (supposing he could access it in his car after the crash) he would have possibly had a whistle to call for help and emergency food to eat and water to drink. If he had a three day supply of calories he could have survived literally for weeks if need be. He had several broken bones including bones in his back (if I am remembering correctly from this mornings newscast). This would have been excruciating for him to drag his broken body from his car to the river below for water.

Six days after cliff plunge, kids find dad

Interestingly, there was another car which had crashed many months earlier on this same stretch of road and into the same ravine. No one had rescued this other person who was dead in his car and decomposing.

I know that I am going to get that whistle that I have been wanting for a while and I am putting it on my keychain for just those emergencies.

Go get yourself a whistle too today!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

When is it too much?

Okay, work with me here.  As I scour the web looking for lists of items for preparation.  I find a zillion different lists, with a zillion different items.  Let's take the 72 hour emergency grab and go bag for example.  I thought the idea was to grab a backpack and go.  That is the premise right?  So some 72 hour grab and go lists include lots of things that won't fit in a back pack.  Now I understand that if you are going to hold out at home then you can have items that are larger.  HOWEVER, do you really need them all in one place or can they be in your everyday place.  Do you need a second something in the "emergency" place or can you just check off that you have a manual can opener in the drawer?  Does that manual can opener need to be with your food?

Now, let's talk about other stuff.  When does prepping become hoarding?  When does prepping become clutter?  I am struggling with this now.  I am trying to declutter my house and in the process plan and prep for emergencies or even a "end of the world as we know it situation" and while decluttering I find myself questioning whether or not I should keep an item just in case I might need it again and not be able to repurchase it or trade for it.  Oh the dilemma!

So while I am working on this decluttering process in our house I am also trying to reorganize stuff.

My question today is:

Where do you store your stuff?  Emergency supplies?  Food storage?  Is your food storage all in your pantry?  Do you have a basement to store your items in?  Do you store your food storage in other areas of the house?
If so, where?  Is it hidden or in plain sight?

Monday, September 19, 2011

More on Hurricane Preparedness specially for RVers.

This article I just found is specifically for Rvers but goes over a lot of basics that we all should just know by heart.

I love that they suggest exactly what my family did and that was to take your RV, stock it with food and water and supplies, and head out of the way of the hurricane.

This second article is a great layman's terms explanation of what a hurricane is and how it is destructive.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

How is your garden growing?

Mine is done - well pretty much done.  We are still getting a few random tomatoes off the vines.  There are plenty of green ones left to ripen.  Other than that, it is done!

This year I planted:
yellow squash
green beans

The corn did nothing. Cantaloupe and watermelon made fruit but they didn't taste or look right.  I think they cross pollinated with the cucumbers.  The watermelons were really little and ripened way too fast.  The cantaloupe had a bitter taste to it and didn't really taste like cantaloupe at all.  We had another banner year with squash and zucchini.  But we ate as much as we harvested.  So there was nothing to put away for winter.  The tomatoes did well and I now know not to waste my time on odd varieties.  I need to focus on the varieties that we love and not plant the rest.  Some turned out quite odd looking.  No one in my house at the green beans fresh.  I need to work on them.  The cilantro is a cooler climate plant and didn't do so well when the hot sun shined on it.  It shriveled up and died.  We had lots of lettuce and cucumbers and enjoyed them in our salads all summer long.  We harvested a ton of carrots but ended up not having a chance to clean and freeze them so they shriveled and died.  It was sad.  The beets didn't do much either, unfortunately.

Looking to next year, I need to be more on top of my garden.  I need to plant at the right times and then keep other plants from cross pollinating with others.  I am not sure our fruits are doing well at all and I might not plant them next year.

As for bugs and varmints, we did pretty well this year until late summer.  The bugs were manageable until the rabbits found our garden.  Oh and the squirrels.  the squirrels ate every single apple and peach off our trees.  We need to do some squirrel control next year.

At this point I am not thinking I will have a winter garden.  I will just wait until February and begin planting then for cole crops.  This winter though I am going to research better varieties of vegetables and look into installing a sort of "greenhouse" over some of my squares.

How is your garden growing?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Progress on my Prepping

Hurricane Irene wiped out our freezer and fridge.  We have been dwindling down over the past couple weeks on pantry storage too.  I have gone back to baking bread but our schedule isn't consistent enough to bake a loaf each day so I have ended up wasting some batches.  I mix a batch and then refrigerate it and use the dough over the next couple days, but I have had two batches sit in the fridge a week before I get back to making another loaf.  I need to work on this organization.

With our freezer empty and our fridge having only a small amount of food in it I am getting ready to make a large grocery run.  I would like to use coupons but at this point I don't have the time for that.  So I am going and will just shop the sales at this point.

My pantry has plenty of pasta, rice, and cake mix in it.  LOL  I think I need to add some other items there too.  I also need to replenish the water bottles that we have been using in the kids lunches recently.

My BOB is suffering terribly.  I have lists and lists. I have lots of research and I think about items that should go in the bags all the time.  HOWEVER, I haven't actually gotten it together.

I need to go back to baby steps and work on one thing at a time.  My priority right now feels like it should be my food storage.  That is most immediate.  We have another potential looming in the Atlantic. If it doesn't turn it could hit us. So food should be top on the list.  I have my big BOB (our trailer) still sitting in the driveway that we can evacuate with like we did the last one.  It is still stocked.

My goal for food is a three month supply.  I want to also begin talking to my husband about freeze dried foods and longer term storage.

My garden this summer was killed in the last hurricane.  I have only a few tomatoes that are still working on turning ripe.  Everything else just needs to come out at this point.   I don't think I am going to mess with a winter garden this year.  I will start everything again in the early spring.

How are you doing in your food storage?  How long will you last on what you have do you think? 3 months, 1 month, a year???

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Old Saying.....

Failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.  I heard this for the first time about 20 years ago and I was floored by the circumstance in which someone had said that to me.  I have kept this saying in my head since then.  Now I disliked the person who said it and this comment made me dislike this man even more after it.  The situation was completely different than poor planning for a weather emergency or an emergency in general.  Basically they didn't think that they should have to help out others who didn't prepare for a situation beyond their control. 

But in the same time, it does pertain to us "preppers".  I honestly don't think that the world is going to come to an end.  I do think that our country can continue to fall into worse governmental meltdown than it has.  I think that it is possible for our economy to collapse or for another country or even a group of terrorists to invade us and terrorize us on our soil.  I also think that even more realistic is that my husband or I could lose our job, or severe weather can reek havoc.  If these very real scenerios can happen to us then they can also happen to our neighbors, other family members, and our friends.

So the question is: do we prepare to help our neighbors as well?  Do we tell our neighbors that we are preparing?  Do we ask our neighbors to prepare also?  How is the best way to prevent us from saying to a neighbor "I am sorry but failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine."  I would hate to have to say it to them.  Should we stock extra so we can share?  Should we teach our neighbors to prepare also?  These are all things I am thinking about right now. 

We "preppers" can be known in some circles as "extremists", "crazies", and "nutjobs".  I don't think I am any of those.  I am not extreme.  I am prepared.  I am not crazy.  I am just ready.  I am not a nut job.  I am protective of my family.  So how do I approach this subject with my neighbors?

I would love any advice that others might have on this subject.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Active Hurricane Season

Just when we think it is okay to go back in the water......

Ha ha ha.  Isn't that the tag line from the movie Jaws?  Anyway, this year so far has been pretty active for hurricanes.  Many years we don't have to worry too much about them because they just rage out in the sea and most never touch or come close to land.  This year we have had quite a few that has started to threaten us on the east coast.

Irene, which actually came on shore, got us all thinking about preparations even though the weather forecasters didn't think it was going to be much of a big deal where I am.  Well it was.  We were out of power for 7+ days and I think that is a big deal.  However, it allowed us all to remember that we aren't safe from these storms and we learned what we needed most in this situation.  Then comes Katia, which now looks like it will be pretty much not really a threat to us.  Lee comes on shore but weakens just before he gets here and then dumps a whole lot of rain where we just had a bunch from Irene.  We are flooding again!  Now we have a new storm Maria which is in the same path and could threaten us once again. 

One thing that I know is before each of these threats I check my supplies and then go ahead and stock up on items that I know I will be using even though I already have them.  Batteries for one.  If I have the time and money, why not buy extra and rotate that stock.  Can't have enough water and extra food on hand.  If you know I will be using it then it is not an emergency and my supply is for emergencies, so why not replenish prior to the storm.  Just makes sense to me.

After each storm or event. I take stock in what I used, replace it and get ready for the next one.  I also look at what I used, learned and wanted or needed.  I stock up on those supplies too.  It just makes sense.

One thing that became apparent to me this past time was that if I can stock up or have time to prepare for an emergency then it hardly is an emergency at all.  It becomes just an event.  If I have a  plan then I am more at ease during the event and my family is too.  It just makes sense.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Don't be afraid

to leave me a comment or become a follower.  I would love to hear from those who are reading.

Do you like my blog?  Do you like what I am saying?  Did you learn something new from this?  Do you think I am wrong?

Tell me your ideas.  What would you like to see me write about?  What information will help you out?  Where are you in your planning?  What are you thinking about today?

Don't be afraid to leave a comment or even just click the boxes below.  Was this helpful?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

September is Emergency Preparedness Month

All this month I will be posting topics that we should be thinking about when preparing for an emergency.

Today let's talk about the basics:  Food, Water, Shelter

The national government has advertised that we need to have at least a three day supply of food in case of emergencies.  Since we don't know what kind of emergency we will be preparing for all the time if we are going to talk "basics" here then we need to think about a variety of food items that will sustain us for at least three days.  We might have power, we might not.  So we should prepare for both.  If we have power then we can cook on an electric stove or oven.  We could also include foods from our freezer, fresh veggies on hand and canned foods that need to be heated to eat.  If we don't have electricity then we should be prepared to eat foods straight out of the package or canned foods cold.  If we don't have electricity we might still have a cooking source like our grill or a campstove.  It is a good idea to include an alternate cooking source in our emergency kit that way you have a way to cook other than relying on power.

Recommendations say we should have a three day supply of water for each member of our family and for our pets.  This is a gallon a day per person.  So for my family a three day supply of water is 15 gallons.  That sounds like a lot, especially if we have to move.  If you can't keep a three day supply of water or if you have to evacuate and can't carry it then consider a filter system or purification tablets.  They are much easier to carry.

This will vary from emergency to emergency and from season to season.  The best place for shelter is our own home.  If we can stay there it will be best.  However, that is not always  possible.  A shelter may be a tent, a trailer if you have one, a hotel room or possibly your car.  When thinking about shelter we also need to consider the season and the weather.  Again sheltering in place seems the most logical but if it is the dead of winter then we need a heating source.  If we have to evacuate our home then we need to think about another type of shelter.  A tent would be logical but in the dead of winter that may not be reasonable.  Sheltering in your car might not be logical either.  If we keep a small amount of emergency money in our BOB (Bug out bag) then we might be able to afford a hotel room or other accommodations for a while.

Once you have these basics then you can begin to expand upon them.

Here are a link to help get started:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hurricane Irene: Lessons Learned

I love that you can learn lessons all the time.  Some lessons though you don't necessarily want to learn by living them, but I feel like this hurricane taught many people many things. I for one, learned a few, others that I already knew were just confirmed.

1. Preparation - when this storm was approaching there were some forecasters that were telling us to get ready and get ready early.  Others were telling us it wasn't going to be so bad.  Some still were telling us, we weren't going to get anything really where we lived.  I am glad that I prepared and prepared early.  This storm gave us time.  Some storms won't.  When I went through what I already had and made a list of what I needed to prepared, there wasn't much on the list other than a regularly scheduled grocery shopping trip.  I made a point though to only pick up items that could keep in the space we had in coolers (in case of power outages) and items that I could cook on my grill, and items that would keep on the counter for a few days (like fruits and veggies).  I also made sure I picked up an extra couple cases of water.  This way I wouldn't go through my already stored water, I could rotate my stock and already have enough to replenish it.

2. Stay or Go??? - we have a travel trailer that has a generator and we are very comfortable living in it for long periods of time.  When we got to the two day out (before the storm) mark my husband and I discussed again the idea of leaving and moving out of the storm's path.  We decided that we should leave.  Now, I have to tell you that many thought we were pretty crazy for leaving including family members.  We left and headed 4 1/2 hours away from our town.  We figured that there was nothing that we could do during the storm if our house got hit by a tree or with power outages, etc.  We figured that we could come back and assess the damage after the storm and deal with it then.  Nothing lost except a dark windy night at our house without power.  We packed up the trailer with all the food and meats from the freezer that I could pack into our freezer in the trailer. We loaded up a few extra pair of clothes, not knowing what we might come back to and headed on our way.  Our decision to go put us in a quaint town and a campground on a beautiful lake.  We swam in the lake while our home town was being pummeled by falling trees, 90mph winds, and rains, not to mention the fact that our neighborhood lost power about 1 pm the day of the storm, pretty early for the rest of the city.  That evening we enjoyed hot dogs on the grill, a campfire, and a nice bed with air conditioning.  The next morning we awoke and had our coffee overlooking the lake through the beautiful forest listening to the locusts chirp.  My neighbors and other family members awoke to damage, debris, and no hot coffee because their coffee makers did not work on battery power.

3.  Stay put after the storm - If you prepared correctly then you have enough food to last you a few days and a cooking source to cook your meals.  You really should stay put.  I followed this storm via Facebook through my friends, neighbors and family who stayed home.  I received this one post that cracked me up.  It said something to the point of "The storm is over. I am off to find a cup of coffee with the rest of the city."  I giggled thinking of our last big storm in 2003 where we did the same thing.  We got up the next morning and packed the kids in the car to go find breakfast somewhere along with 10,000 other people.  We learned then that everyone else will be out doing just that and we don't have to be a part of it.  If you prepare correctly you don't have to get into those crowds.  You can sustain yourself and your coffee habit right at home. (PS if you boil water on your camp stove and then pour it slowly into your coffee maker filter with the pot underneath it makes just as good a coffee as if your coffee maker had perked it with electricity).

4.  Be Patient - We are currently on day 4 of no power.  I don't expect it to come on today or tomorrow either.  I know that the electric company is working hard to get power restored, and I keep checking on the big tree that took down the electric line.  The tree is still there along with a bunch of other trees in other places.  I am patient.  This clean up takes time.  No matter how much we yell, call the electric company, and complain to others I am only getting myself worked up and in the end they will fix my power in due time.  Right now, I have a pretty good set up.  I have the trailer in the driveway with our food in the fridge and the generator running.  We use the house toilets and the sinks for water and washing.  Cooking, TV watching, and sleeping are done in the trailer. I have a pile of clothes that will eventually need to be washed. I will find a laundromat in a day or two.  I have cleaned out our house refrigerators and freezers and packed as much as possible in coolers and in the trailer refrigerator and freezer.  The house freezers and refrigerators needed to be cleaned out anyway.  We also have internet.  We plugged up an extension cord to the internet router and have wifi in the trailer.  I am getting close to empty on gas and will need to fill up the gas tank soon for the generator but other than that we are getting along fine.  Showers on the other hand are getting chilly and we will need to find a new place for a shower soon.  But we can get by on a shower every other day.  I am being patient.

Even if we didn't have a generator, I know we would be okay.

Oh, and guess what???? Another hurricane is looming in our future.  I just heard that Katia may be knocking on our doors in another week or so.  Am I prepared for that one???  You Betcha!!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

First 100 Items to Disappear in an Emergency Situation

I found this post from Carolyn Barber on BlogHer.  I thought it was a pretty good and comprehensive list of items that we should have on hand because others will be wanting them.

Just yesterday in preparing for the Hurricane that is coming to our area my husband was telling me that he was a hardware store (not big box) and the cashier was saying that they had sold 80 generators in the past 2 days and they had another 80 coming in the next day on a truck.  I am sure that they were gone in no time!

Check out her blog too.  I found a bunch of great information there.

The first 100 items to disappear in an emergency, disaster type situation:
1. Generators
2. Water Filters/Purifiers
3. Portable Toilets
4. Seasoned Firewood. Wood takes about 6 – 12 months to become dried, for home use
5. Lamp Oil, Wicks, Lamps (First Choice: Buy CLEAR oil. If scarce, stockpile ANY!)
6. Coleman Fuel. Impossible to stockpile too much.
7. Guns, Ammunition, Pepper Spray, Knives, Clubs, Bats & Slingshots.
8. Hand-can openers, & hand egg beaters, whisks.
9. Honey/Syrups/white, brown sugar
10. Rice – Beans – Wheat
11. Vegetable Oil (for cooking) Without it food burns/must be boiled etc.
12. Charcoal, Lighter Fluid (Will become scarce suddenly)
13. Water Containers (Urgent Item to obtain.) Any size. Small: HARD CLEAR PLASTIC ONLY – note – food grade if for drinking.
16. Propane Cylinders (Urgent: Definite shortages will occur).
17. Survival Guide Book.
18. Mantles: Aladdin, Coleman, etc. (Without this item, longer-term lighting is difficult.)
19. Baby Supplies: Diapers/formula. ointments/aspirin, etc.
20. Washboards, Mop Bucket w/wringer (for Laundry)
21. Cook stoves (Propane, Coleman & Kerosene)
22. Vitamins
23. Propane Cylinder Handle-Holder (Urgent: Small canister use is dangerous without this item
24. Feminine Hygiene/Haircare/Skin products
25. Thermal underwear (Tops & Bottoms)
26. Bow saws, axes and hatchets, Wedges (also, honing oil
27. Aluminum Foil Reg. & Heavy Duty (Great Cooking and Barter Item)
28. Gasoline Containers (Plastic & Metal)
29. Garbage Bags (Impossible To Have Too Many).
30. Toilet Paper, Kleenex, Paper Towels
31. Milk – Powdered & Condensed (Shake Liquid every 3 to 4 months)
32. Garden Seeds (Non-Hybrid) (A MUST)
33. Clothes pins/line/hangers (A MUST)
34. Coleman’s Pump Repair Kit
35. Tuna Fish (in oil)
36. Fire Extinguishers (or..large box of Baking Soda in every room)
37. First aid kits
38. Batteries (all sizes…buy furthest-out for Expiration Dates)
39. Garlic, spices & vinegar, baking supplies
40. Big Dogs (and plenty of dog food)
41. Flour, yeast & salt
42. Matches. Boxed, wooden matches will go first
43. Writing paper/pads/pencils, solar calculator
44. Insulated ice chests (good for keeping items from freezing in Wintertime.)
45. Work boots, belts, Levis & durable shirts
46. Flashlights/LIGHT STICKS & torches, “No. 76 Dietz” Lanterns
47. Journals, Diaries & Scrapbooks (jot down ideas, feelings, experience; Historic Times)
48. Garbage cans Plastic (great for storage, water, transporting – if with wheels)
49. Men’s Hygiene: Shampoo, Toothbrush/paste, Mouthwash/floss, nail clippers, etc
50. Cast iron cookware (sturdy, efficient)
51. Fishing supplies/tools
52. Mosquito coils/repellent, sprays/creams
53. Duct Tape
54. Tarps/stakes/twine/nails/rope/spikes
55. Candles
56. Laundry Detergent (liquid)
57. Backpacks, Duffel Bags
58. Garden tools & supplies
59. Scissors, fabrics & sewing supplies
60. Canned Fruits, Veggies, Soups, stews, etc.
61. Bleach (plain, NOT scented)
62. Canning supplies, (Jars/lids/wax)
63. Knives & Sharpening tools: files, stones, steel
64. Bicycles…Tires/tubes/pumps/chains, etc
65. Sleeping Bags & blankets/pillows/mats
66. Carbon Monoxide Alarm (battery powered)
67. Board Games, Cards, Dice
68. d-con Rat poison, MOUSE PRUFE II, Roach Killer
69. Mousetraps, Ant traps & roach magnets
70. Paper plates/cups/utensils
71. Baby wipes, oils, waterless & Antibacterial soap
72. Rain gear, rubberized boots, etc.
73. Shaving supplies (razors & creams, talc, after shave)
74. Hand pumps & siphons (for water and for fuels)
75. Soy sauce, vinegar, bullion/gravy/soup base
76. Reading glasses
77. Chocolate/Cocoa/Tang/Punch (water enhancers)
78. “Survival-in-a-Can”
79. Woolen clothing, scarves/ear-muffs/mittens
80. Boy Scout Handbook
81. Roll-on Window Insulation Kit
82. Graham crackers, saltines, pretzels, Trail mix/Jerky
83. Popcorn, Peanut Butter, Nuts
84. Socks, Underwear, T-shirts, etc. (extras)
85. Lumber (all types)
86. Wagons & carts (for transport to and from)
87. Cots & Inflatable mattress’s
88. Gloves: Work/warming/gardening, etc.
89. Lantern Hangers
90. Screen Patches, glue, nails, screws, nuts & bolts
91. Teas
92. Coffee
93. Cigarettes
94. Wine/Liquors (for bribes, medicinal, etc,)
95. Paraffin wax
96. Glue, nails, nuts, bolts, screws, etc.
97. Chewing gum/candies
98. Atomizers (for cooling/bathing)
99. Hats & cotton neckerchiefs
100. Goats/chickens

Thursday, August 25, 2011

New Forecast for Hurricane Irene

I was at the grocery store this afternoon and it was more crowded than usual.  Also I noticed that most everyone had a case of water bottles in the bottom of their carts.  I also heard several people talking to others they knew and saying things like, "I ran out of milk this morning and needed it anyway." and "I needed batteries for my kid's toy".  I spoke with a worker there in a friendly way said, "have you all been busy today?" and he said "Yeah with all the crazies stocking up for the end of the world. ha ha ha. With all the talk on the TV scaring everyone".

I thought it was really interesting that so many are embarrassed to say they are buying supplies for the storm.  They say they are buying things because they need it or ran out or whatever.  Why can't we tell others proudly that we are just stocking up for the storm.  Just in case, you know.  I don't understand why we have to be embarrassed about it.  Why are we trying to belittle the warnings that are given by the authorities or better yet, why are we trying to convince people that is really won't happen? Honestly I don't know what will or will not happen.  I am not thinking that we will necessarily have an "end of the world" situation, but I do think that we can be prepared for weather emergencies, economic downfall, and other financial emergencies in our homes due to loss of job or illness.  It just makes sense.

So next time you are in the store and you are stocking up on milk, bread, eggs, butter, or like me extra batteries, yeast, and chocolate cupcakes (because that is what we are low in) and someone says, "ah preparing for the big storm, huh?"  Smile at that person and say "Yup, you never know!!!" :)

Saving Money While Stocking Up

Many blogs and other sites talk about stocking up your food storage and other emergency supplies slowly so you don't go into debt doing it.  They talk about waiting for items to go on sale and then stocking up.

This can be a daunting task for someone like me who wants to get prepared NOW, and not wait for items to go on sale.  It can also me daunting to try to figure out what a "rock bottom" price is for an item and if you have never really used coupons for items before either. 

However, I have decided to not stress out about this.  I decided to use the coupons that I have and not search too hard for other coupons on the internet and other places.  I DO have a life you know.  One can spend hours collecting and clipping coupons for one shopping trip.  This doesn't seem time efficient to me and if I spend a bit more money on an item because I didn't spend an extra hour getting that $0.25 coupon for it then it is worth the extra quarter to me.  In the end if I feel like I got a good deal on something even if it wasn't the rock bottom price then I have won.

This past weekend I glanced through the ads in the Sunday paper.  I noticed that CVS had a sale on paper products.  Buy $25 in paper products, get $10 back.  Then they also had a deal on cleaning supplies like bleach, 409, and Tilex.  This deal was spend $30 in product, get a $10 gift card for gas.

So here is what I bought:
First Transaction:
4 boxes of Puffs Plus tissue (sale price - saved $0.99 each)
1 16 double rolls of Charmin toilet tissue(sale price - saved $6.00)
1 12 rolls of Bounty paper towels(sale price - saved $5.00)
Total with tax $27.98
Got back $10 in Extra Bucks

Second Transaction:
2 bottles of 32 oz Formula 409 (sale price - saved $2.49 each)
2 bottles of 32 oz Clorox Cleanup (sale price - saved $2.29 each)
5 bottles of 10 oz Palmolive Dish Soap (sale price - saved $0.98 each)
2 bottles of 96 oz Clorox Bleach (sale price - saved 1.00 each)
3 Oral B toothbrushes (sale price - saved $0.38 each)
2 boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios (sale price - saved $1.69 each)
2 jars of Planters Mixed Nuts (Buy one get one free - saved $5.79)

1 composition book (for daughter for school)

Used $2.25 in manufacturers coupons
Used $10 extra bucks from first transaction

Total spent with tax $27.57
Got $10 gas gift card back. 

In all I saved 50% off the total nonsale prices not including getting the gas for FREE!!!  The gas will go in my tank for my generator.

In the end, I can't worry about "rock bottom" prices, spending a zillion hours clipping coupons and I have to remember to take this prepping in baby steps.  But if I feel like I got a good deal in the end then I am happy.  I buy things on sale, clip coupons when I see them and use them when I remember to, and will keep my lists of items I need for food storage and emergency supplies.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Easy Baking Bread

I found this recipe on line but I don't bake it exactly the way they say to.  If we are going to store wheat and flour then we need to learn to bake bread.  I don't know about you but I have always been afraid of baking bread because I thought it took so much time kneading the dough and so much room on your counter.

This bread couldn't be easier and it is so delicious.


6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (white or whole wheat or a combo of the two)
1 1/2 TBS dry active yeast
1 1/2 TBS course Kosher salt
3 cups warm water

Mix flour, yeast and salt together and add the water slowly until all is mixed and wet.  It doesn't have to be soaking wet, you want a dough.  On more humid days I use a bit less water, on drier days I use a bit more water.  Mix in a bowl with a fork until all wet.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 2 hours.  Once it has risen to double its size cut into thirds and form a loaf.  You can put it in a greased loaf pan or just leave it on a cooking stone or a cookie sheet.  Let it rise for another 15-20 minutes while your oven is heating up.  Pre-heat your oven at 400 degrees.  Slice the top of the loaf about 1/2 inch into the dough all the way across length-wise or do a couple slices width-wise.  Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is golden brown.

The beauty is that you don't have to bake all three loaves at the same time.  You can just do one and then store the rest of the dough covered in your refrigerator for a couple days until you use it.  When you do this, after you take the dough out of the fridge form your loaf and let sit for 30-45 minutes.  Then bake.

I like a softer crust.  If you want a harder crust, put a metal cake pan in the oven  on the lower shelf while preheating and preheat to 450.  Once your oven is ready, pour about 2 cups of water into the pan to make steam and bake your bread on a cookie sheet or preferably a stone.  The steam with make your bread more crusty.

If you want rolls then form little rolls on a cookie sheet and let rise the second time.  Bake at 400 for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown on top.  Check them at 15 minutes.

If you want to make freezer rolls form the rolls and bake like above but bake for only about 12 minutes, when they are not quite done yet and not golden brown on top.  Then take them out and let them cool.  Put in freezer Ziploc bags and freeze until you are ready to eat them.  When you take them out of the freezer bake them frozen at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes.  Yum!!!

This bread is delicious with white flour.  I also love it in whole wheat.  I mix half white and half whole wheat flour and increase the yeast to 2 TBS yeast.  This gives it a bit more fluffiness and it won't be so dense.

The bread should last 3-4 days on your counter covered or in a Ziploc bag.  Great for toast in the morning or sandwiches, as well as a wonderful loaf at dinner.  Oh and it makes your house smell so good!!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Great blog post on Hurricane Preparedness

I came across this post on Totally Ready blog tonight.  It is awesome.  It asks 21 questions that you should ask yourself when preparing for a hurricane.  Go there and check it out.

Things I learned today with the earthquake

I learned two things today.

 No damage occurred to me or my family or my property, but one interesting thing to note was that in the next two hours after the quake it was difficult to use your cell phone or land line phones. Everyone was calling people and it was bogging down the phone system.
Another thing to note was that in the couple hours after the quake people were not driving safely. They were one their cell phones in their cars and they were driving carelessly. This caused a bunch of unnecessary accidents in the area. While there wasn’t much damage in the surrounding areas (most damage was at the epicenter) people were “excited” to talk about it and to find out if their family and friends felt it. It happened just before I got off of work and the drive home was more dangerous than the event itself.
I learned two things today: 1. phones shouldn’t be used to contact others right away, only for emergencies. Use other forms of communication or wait to contact friends to chat. Facebook and email were great for this. 2. if at all possible don’t get in your car right after an event like this. Stay put for a while to let others calm down.

How did I forget???


I was at Cosco this evening picking up another case of water bottles and a few other items I needed and I picked up a big package of paper plates.  It occurred to me, well more like a slap in the face moment, that these can be essential in an emergency.  Everyone will still eat and it is so much easier to eat on paper plates when your power is out.  That way you don't have to worry so much about cleaning the dishes you use.  I always try to have these on hand anyway but in an emergency they can be a stress-freeing item.  Who wants to wash a bunch of dirty plates when you have no electricity and have to hand wash your dishes??? Not me, that's for sure!!

So add them to your list and keep a supply on hand for those times you are feeling lazy emergencies.

Being Prepared for Everything

This afternoon an earthquake occurred in Virginia.  It affected much of the entire eastern seaboard, as far north as Rhode Island and Massachusetts and as far south as northern Georgia.  This was the largest earthquake on this side of the US since the late 1890s.  That means that this was a "once in a hundred years" events.  While the damage was minor even in the epicenter we all need to be prepared for anything.

This area was warned a few days ago to start preparing for a hurricane.  No one said anything about preparing for an earthquake.  

How does one prepare for an earthquake?

1.  Bug out Bag and car kits. This is important so you can grab and go and have supplies ready for you in case you can't return to your home due to damage.

2.  Have a plan and a place to go.

3.  Have a contact not in the area to contact and check on other loved ones in the area but that you can't reach.

4.  Have an adequate supply of water in case your water supply is compromised.

5.  Have a supply of food, batteries, and an alternate cooking source in case your power goes out.

After the quake occurs:

1.  Check your home for structural damage and other damage.

2.  Check for gas leaks both in your home and outside as gas lines may have been damaged and gas might be leaking up from the ground.

3.  Check for water main leaks and other pipe leaks.

4.  Turn on your radio or TV (if you have power) and follow the advised directions from officials.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hurricane Readiness

The news is calling for a possible CAT 3 hurricane to hit the southern east coast in 5-6 days.  Where we are we won't have a direct hit but will most likely deal with the aftermath of this storm coming on land.  They are expecting heavy winds, lots of rain, and possible flooding.

The news caster just announced that people should start to prepare for this now, just in case it hits us.  These preparations should include:
1. an emergency evacuation plan for those along the coastal areas, low lying areas and in the path of the storm.
2. have at least a 3 day supply of food and water for each member of your family including medications, and pets.
3. update and confirm your homeowners insurance policy, car insurance policy, and medical plans.
4. have candles, flashlights, battery operated/hand crank radio and weather radio ready and in working order as well as extra batteries or each item.
5. have a back up plan for cooking, heating water, etc.
6. if the power is expected to go out and you are sheltering at home, prior to the storm buy some bags of ice and put them in your freezer to help keep your refrigerated and freezer items from spoiling. I put them in a Rubbermaid bin like a dishpan so that if they melt then they don't flood all over the place.  Also take out items that you will most likely need from the refrigerator and put it in a cooler.  This way you don't have to open the refrigerator and freezer while the power is out.  The less you open the doors the more time you have before items begin to spoil.  As a bonus, eat the ice cream.  That will be the first to go anyway. :)
7.  have at least three days of water on hand.  If the local water gets contaminated you have water on hand.
8. tarps and duct tape are good things to have on hand.  These items are good for emergencies.
9. have a back up plan.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Very Useful Information

In blog hopping I came across this awesome website.

There is a whole Preppers Network for all the states.  Each state has their own.  This is super cool because you can scan down on this page, (the Colorado site) and on the left hand side you will see a window where you can click on your own state and find pertinent information specific to your state.

I think this is so awesome because not everyone has to deal with winter blizzards or horrific heat waves or earthquakes.  This way you can prep according to your locality.  How awesome is that???

I also found that the Prepper's Network has a huge resource of e-books and e-pamphlets. Here is the direct link.

Want to shout out to my new readers.  Please think about "following" me.  I would love to connect with others who are just starting out like me so we can share our experiences and what we have learned.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Love this Poster

Isn't it pretty cool??  I love it and would love to have one framed in my house, maybe in my pantry, just for motivation.

I am working on a budget for food storage and emergency supplies.

Over the next week my husband and I will have many conversations about prepping, emergency preparedness, family preparedness and food storage.  Our kids will be away with their grandparents so this it the time that we can have extended, uninterrupted conversations about this stuff.

I want to get a plan together for gathering the needed supplies. I have already started a list of things I want to accomplish.  Here are a few things on the list.

  1. car emergency kits - water, food, blanket, first aid kit, flashlight, batteries, light sticks, etc.
  2. 72 hour grab and go back packs - 
  3. update my purse with items for emergencies
  4. food storage plan.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Prepping on a Small Budget

I came across this article this evening and it is exactly everything that I was compiling for a post here.  I couldn't have said it better than this blogger.

I love all the suggestions in this article.  I use many of these suggestions as I prep.

Head on over and read it today.

Our First Aid Kit

I need to take a photo of this for you all.  I got this idea from a blog Prepared LDS Family who got the idea from somewhere else.  I love this and it has really helped us keep our supplies together. Plus this is easily transportable.

We keep our first aid kit in a tool box now.  Actually ours is probably an art box.  There is a removable tray on the top so we have two layers for items.  In the bottom we store various boxes of bandaids of different sizes, shapes and materials.  We have waterproof ones, fabric ones, regular ones, big ones, little ones, ones that go over your knee, around your knuckle, you get the idea.  We also have a box of alcohol wipes, anti itch cream and an ace bandage.  I also keep a clean cotton cloth in there.  The top layer is for smaller items like loose bandaids, tweezers, scissors, and medications like Tylenol, Advil, Neosporin, etc.  I love that it is all in one place and it is organized.  Prior to this method we had a haphazzard first aid kit in a small box under the sink in the bathroom.  Some of our items were scattered through the house too.  So you had to hunt for what you were looking for.  Now it is all in one place and if we go camping, we grab the box and go.  If we need to evacuate quickly we can grab the box and go.  So easy.

About first aid supplies:  I also keep a small first aid kit in my purse.  I used to keep a first aid kit in the car too.  It was really handy when the kids were really small and they would fall and bump their knees.  I need to get a first aid kit for the car back in the car, well one for each of our cars would be nice.  I also have a small first aid kit for my 72 hour grab and go bag (bug out bag).  In it is the basics - bandaids, hand sanitizer, first aid spray (like Bactine).  Not much.  Ideally it would be good to grab our big kit to go with us.

We purchased the bulk of these items when I needed to spend some money in my flex benifits plan from work.  It was getting late in the year and I some money left over.  Our plan at the time allowed for first aid supplies and over the counter medications.  I stocked up on these items.  Now our plan doesn't allow for them so I pick them up as I see them on clearance or on sale in the grocery stores or pharmacies.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Like Grandparents-Like Grandchild

Years ago, like 20 years ago my grandfather died.  My father and I went to his house a few months later to clean out some of his items.  My grandmother had died several years before my grandfather.  We were in the basement and I noticed a stash of canned goods.  I was young and not of the mind I am today.  I mentioned to my dad that they had a lot of food stored in the basement (when I mean a lot it was maybe 40-50 cans).  My dad said yes that they always kept a bit extra food just in case they couldn't get to the store or in case of a winter storm.  Made sense to me and nothing more was said.  My dad was the cook in our house and he always kept a stocked pantry too.

Fast forward many years and I am having a conversation with my mother about emergencies and disaster, in general terms this conversation was.  Nothing serious and nothing alerting.  She told me that my uncle had gone to my grandparents and told them that in case of a nuclear attack that they needed to have extra food and supplies ready for them to survive.  So he convinced them (she said) to buy all this extra food and it sat for years for the nuclear attack to never come.  She said it was such a waste of money and she was so glad that my dad and her weren't sucked in to spending a ton of money on needless food for an attack that would never happen.  Oh, I remember now, we were talking about bomb shelters back in the 50's and 60's.  This purchase of the stock of food was in the 70's apparently.  I remember when we were talking about it that it made sense to me to be prepared and I remember thinking that my mom was so reckless in her opinions and her idea that nothing will happen and she will be fine.

I know that my dad was a smart man, and I know that my dad enjoyed having a variety of items on hand at any given time.  He loved his stocked freezers and his stocked pantry.  I can only wonder if he was storing food for the "just in case" too.  Even if my mom thought it was foolish to stockpile food I wonder if he did anyway, secretly by just keeping our pantry full.

And now today, as I stock my pantry, purchase extra supplies for first aid kits, 72 hour bug out bags, and stock our trailer for the "just in case", I know I can't tell my mother about it.  I know that if I did she would think of me as being foolish, wasteful, and worrying about something that will never happen.

I keep this all a secret.  This blog. My pantry. My prepping.  It protects me and keeps me safe.

Disaster Preparedness Brochure

AMAZING AGAIN!  Today I was at an expo at my county.  There were lots of booths there that had to do with new technology the county is using or thinking of using, local businesses and banks, and other vendors.  I walked past this one county service that is a medical volunteer group.  They are a group of volunteers and they go out and help with flu vaccines, medical clinics, and such.  This volunteer was very nice and before we left his booth he handed me a brochure.  I thanked him and went on my way.  I looked at the brochure and lo and behold it is a brochure on disaster preparedness!  God works in great ways.  I think I was supposed to start this blog and blog about all things preparedness.

The brochure does a really good job of covering the basics.  It has three simple steps:
1.  Get a kit.
2. Make a plan,
3. Stay informed.

The kit they are talking about is a 3-Day kit.
You should include the following for each member of your family to last three days.

  • food that won't spoil, such as canned goods and packaged foods 
  • water, one gallon per person per day
  • a working battery-operated radio and extra batteries
  • a written family emergency plan
Once you have those items you are to add:
  • flashlights and extra batteries
  • first aid kit including a list of allergies and extra contact lenses or glasses
  • a written list of your prescriptions and the prescribing doctor(s) and at least a week's supply of medications
  • Sanitation supplies: toilet paper, soap, plastic garbage bags, and personal hygiene items
  • change of clothing, sturdy shoes and a blanket or sleeping bag.
  • food and water for your pets
  • special items for infant, elderly or disabled family members
Once you have the kit you are to make a plan:
  • discuss with your family the types of possible emergencies and disasters that threaten the area you live in and what to do in each case.
  • Talk with school personnel to learn how they handle emergencies and how you will be informed if an emergency occurs.
  • Know where you will go if you have to evacuate your home and how you can take your pets.
  • Decide on a meeting place, and choose an out of town friend or family member to be a contact person.
  • Keep all important phone numbers with you at all times, just in case.
Now your job is to stay informed:
  • You should keep up with local up to date information before, during and after a disaster.
  • Follow any orders to evacuate or remain in your home.
  • Keep informed of weather watches and warnings and educate yourself on what to do in these times
  • Keep your battery-powered radio in working condition and make sure you have extra batteries in case the electricity goes out.
Here are a few links that I have found to help with preparing an emergency kit.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pending Doom: A Skill Set for Success

Over the last several years whenever I take up a new craft or attempt to learn a new skill by husband will tease me about "preparing for pending doom".  Or "PD" as we call it in our home.

This evening I was quilting and started thinking about our conversations and the various skills I have taught myself over the years that would be helpful in a pending doom situation. I can make quilts and I quilt by hand.  I can knit and crochet and I have knitted sweaters, hats, socks, mittens, scarves and bags.  I can sew with a sewing machine and by hand.  I can cook and bake from scratch.  I can bake bread.  I can cook over hot coals if need be.  I can cook using my grill as a "stove".  I can can foods.  I make a great jam and canned pickles and other foods. I can re-purpose items.  I can garden and grow all sorts of produce including fruit.

I never took home economics in school so many of these skills were learned as an adult.

There are a few skills though that I would like to learn how to do.

I want to learn how to shoot a gun.  A handgun and a shotgun or rifle.  I think this is an important skill.
I want to take a refresher course in first aid.
I want to learn how to identify and use edible plants in the wild.

We own a few books that also help us with other skills that we don't necessarily need to learn now but to be able to do if needed.

My husband has a pretty wide skill set for PD as well.  He can fix just about anything. He can build simple structures.  He can cut firewood, create a good fire, and he knows how to shoot a gun.

We also have the Army Survival Manual.  

What other skills do you think I need?