Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wyoming takes things seriously!

I was just forwarded this link from a friend who thought I might be interested in reading it.  AND I WAS!!!  Thank you so much for showing this to me.

How awesome is Wyoming right now???  They have passed in their House a bill to create a task force to research and plan for catastrophies from simple storms to food shortages, to full on economic and governmental collapse.  It passed on the first reading by voice vote which shows that they are all for this measure. 

Here is the article for you to see.


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Prepping for a Snow Storm

This weekend it is likely that we will be getting a nice blanket of snow.  My family loves snow and loves to play in it, walk in it, and sled in it.  It is supposed to start some time tomorrow and last through the evening.  We are expected to get about 2-4 inches.  Not much but a nice blanket to make everything look different for a little while.

In prepping for a snow storm, particularly this one which will begin as rain and then change over to snow, I want to make sure that we are prepared for a power outage as well.  Power outages in the winter are a bit different than in the summer because in the winter we rely mainly on the electricity to run our furnace.  Without power we have no heat.  We have two alternative sources of heat in our house.  One is a propane fireplace in our living room which does a pretty good job of heating the living room dining room and kitchen.  The second is our good ole trusty wood burning fireplace.  It is located on the basement level of our home and is in our family room.  If power goes out for a long time we can sleep down in the family room by the fireplace.  

Also thinking ahead, because it will be chilly if the power goes out we will most likely want warm meals to keep us warm on the inside.  We can cook by grill but we also have a Coleman Camp Stove that will serve us well if we need to cook.  Baking and other cooking can be done in our travel trailer using the generator.

This morning I took a quick look at my pantry to make sure that I had food that we could heat and eat easily if we have a power outage.  I also made sure we had other 'winter standards' like hot chocolate and marshmallows.  I had everything I needed and I knew that already.  We have had some warning about this storm and a couple days ago I went out and purchased an extra dozen eggs, some bread (for french toast) and another gallon of milk.  We had everything else we needed already so it wasn't a big trip. 

Later tonight I will gather the snow boots, hats, gloves, and scarves, the snow pants, and winter parkas so we have them all together for play tomorrow and Monday.

My Winter Storm Checklist:
  • Food that is easy to heat and eat. (plus the snowy essentials like hot chocolate, marshmallows and other winter foods you enjoy when it is snowing)
  • Alternative heating and cooking
  • Batteries, flashlights, lanterns, etc. in case of power outage
  • Check batteries in weather radio
  • Stack wood on porch and cover
  • Put snow shovel on porch near door
  • Gather and sort winter clothing like gloves, hats, coats, scarves, and boots.
  • Wash dishes/clothing in case power does go out.
The one thing I absolutely hate is to have to go out in the car and purchase something in the snow before the roads have been cleared.  We may not get this snow but if we do, I will be ready.  If not, then it was a good practice for when we do have a storm.

**image from Freefoto.com

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

When danger is in the area....

The other night I took my girls to a Walmart in an area of town that is not very safe.  It was early in the evening and I figured that we would be fine.  I had my alerts up and was very aware of my surroundings.  I did everything right, keeping my hand on my purse in the store, keeping my kids with me and close.  I scanned my environment for anything unusual.  We shopped and I had my girls keep their hands on the cart while we walked out to our car.  I put my girls in the car first and then put the bags in the car.  It was as we were getting in the car that we realized that I had a flat tire.  Well it wasn't flat flat but it was super super low.  I climbed in and one of my girls said to me, "well, what are you going to do?".  I had some options:
  1. get out and change the tire.
  2. call for back up help either from my husband or from someone else.
  3. drive out of there to a safer place.
I weighed all my options and I chose to drive.  I figured that the tire didn't get flat like that while we were in the store and that I had driven on it on the way to the store so it would be fine for a mile or two until we could get to a safer place.  So I drove.  In the process though my husband happened to call me so I told him what was going on and to meet me at a service station in our community to help me out. 

This got me thinking a bit.  So often we try to prepare for the emergencies by having what we need with us or being able to handle the situation as it stands but we don't often think about the fact that we can often leave the situation and get out of the area.  For me the panic wasn't the flat tire but it was the unsafe area we were in.  We had already seen some "characters" in the Walmart so we knew what was around. I had all the equipment I needed and the skills to change the flat tire myself.  For me though the real situation was the place where we were.  I needed to get us out of there.  The tire would be fine but if I were to try to change the tire myself someone might want to come and "help" me and they may not like taking a "no thanks" for an answer.  They may also have wanted to take advantage of the situation for something not so good.  My best option was to leave, slowly and safely with me and the girls locked in the car and to get the car and the very low tire to a gas station in a safer area for either air or repair.

The evening turned out fine in the end.  I got the tire filled with air and my gas tank filled too.

We can often learn so much from these "little" situations if we just stop and think about them.  Always keep the option to just leave if you can as an option to consider in those type of situations.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Chicken Noodle Soup Warms My Soul

There is something soothing to the soul in chicken noodle soup.  I truly believe it has wonderful healing properties.  There is enough warm mild broth, enough protein, enough hardy vegetables, and enough carbohydrates to be healthy, filling and soul warming.  It is one meal that my kids and husband go back for seconds almost every time.

You can make this healthy comfort food from your food storage too.

Chicken Noodle Soup

1 can mixed vegetables (drained)
1 tbs olive oil
1 can chicken
2 quarts of chicken broth (or chicken boulion with 2 quarts water)
1/3 lb linguini noodles (broken into 1 inch pieces)

Mix all together, cook to boiling, boil for 10-12 minutes or until noodles are cooked.

See how easy that is!  Now you can doctor it up and add some spices or other left over vegetables, maybe a potato.

This is how I make it fresh.

3-4 stalks celery (diced)
1 onion (diced)
3-4 carrots (diced)
1 lb chicken, cooked, chopped (I use left over chicken usually)
1/3 lb linguini, broken into 1 inch pieces
2-3 quarts of chicken broth (either from cans or boullion)
1 TBS olive oil

In a large stock pot heat oil and add vegetables.  Stir and cook until partly soft.  Add chicken broth, chicken and bring to a boil.  Add noodles and boil for 10-12 minutes until noodles are done.  Serve with warm bread or crackers.

Monday, February 6, 2012

My Daughter Did NOT just Say THAT!!!

Super Bowl Sunday and I am making Chex Mix.  I get out the big pan I use and I start mixing up all the ingredients.  Now I had bought this "party mix" version of the cereal and I assumed that it had all the dry ingredients in the box.  I was thinking it had the three types of Chex cereal, some pretzels, and some bagel chips in it. They were pictured on the box so I assumed it was in there.  I pour in a can of mixed nuts on top of the cereal mix after realizing that there was nothing else in there other than just the cereal.  My youngest daughter walks into the kitchen and looks in the pan.

Daughter: Mom you forgot the pretzels.
Me: I know honey. I thought it was in the box mix I bought but I guess not.
Daughter: I will get you some. (and she runs off to the pantry)
I call out to her: We don't have any in there but you can check the snack drawer here in the kitchen.
Daughter opens the snack drawer and searches through, not finding any.  She gets a sad face and walks to me and says: Mom you really need to be better prepared.

Oh no she DIDN'T!!!  Yeah she did!!!  I was shocked.  I was stunned.  I had no response.

Seriously, she didn't just tell ME that I need to be better PREPARED did she?????  I try really hard to be prepared and I seriously thought the box had pretzels in it.

Then again, I am really glad that she said that because it shows me that she knows I pride myself on being prepared and having a fully stocked pantry and she is learning that it is nice to have that.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Verdict is in! ~~~ Maple Syrup~~~

I said I would test out the new maple syrup recipes I found recently.  Here and here.  I said I would test them out on my family and report back with the verdict.  Well, the verdict is in.

Given our druthers we would all rather have the store bought version.

The recipe with the brown sugar and vanilla (additional ingredients) has more depth of flavor than the recipe with just sugar, water, and maple flavoring.  So we did like the brown sugar and vanilla version better than the sugar and water one.

However, we used it warm, well hot and we think that it was a bit thin.  It needed to thicken up just a bit and are wondering if that would happen if we let it cool more.  We also tested it with our favorite syrup "Mrs. Butterworth" and while that is a bit buttery we didn't taste the butter flavoring as much as the vanilla in the store bought brand.  The vanilla was a bit stronger in the store bought version.

So in a pinch the kids said that we could make the homemade version and it would do.  But they would like for me to stock up on the store bought version so we don't have to go homemade.  ha ha.

I am going to work on it a bit more and play with the amounts some and see if I can get it thicker a bit.  It is worth a try on your family and it is so much cheaper than the store bought version.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Another Maple Syrup Recipe

I found another maple syrup recipe and this one sounds really good.  It adds a few more ingredients than the last one I posted.  I am going to try both and test them out on my kids this weekend.

Here is the newest one:  It comes from Safely Gathered In Blog

Homemade Syrup

2 cups water
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp maple flavoring
1 tsp vanilla flavoring

Boil water in a saucepan. Add sugars and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in flavorings.  Serve!  Store in the refrigerator.

I am wondering if the brown sugar and the vanilla flavoring with add more depth to the flavor.  What do you think?

I would also like to give a shout out to my first follower!!!  Woo hoo.  Thanks for taking the plunge with me.  I hope that you will start commenting and we can begin a conversation about some of these topics I am thinking about.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What Warm Weather We Are Having

For the next couple days our temps will be in the mid 60s to lower 70s!!  I got the itch to get in my garden boxes and start to weed and prepare them for planting.

To Do List:

  1. Weed all beds (7 of them total)
  2. Add fertilizer and other nutrients and turn the soil.
  3. Add new soil/compost to the beds that need topping off.
  4. Plan planting schedule and a chart where things will be planted.
  5. Add planting schedule to the calendar so I don't forget. (LOL)
Here are a few places I go for assistance:

http://www.mysquarefootgarden.net/ - all around great information about this type of gardening.

My local extension office website - great for when to plant things

Google images (search for square foot garden) - I love looking at photos of other gardens

Do you garden?  I would love your ideas and tips.