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  Only two items were out of date and needed to be tossed.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?