Monday, February 24, 2014

Look What I Found at Sam's Club! Awesome Addition to Your Food Storage

Check this out!  I found this box of dried potatoes, hash brown style at our local Sam's Club this week.  We bought this 2.125 lb box for $5.98.  It makes 72 1/2 cup servings. It is lightweight and easy to store and pour.

These Idahoan Fresh Cut Hash Browns were so easy to make too.  I was a bit concerned because you have to rehydrate the potatoes prior to cooking but they soaked up the water quickly and left no mushy mess at the bottom of the bowl.  I rehydrated according to the package, about 30 minutes prior to cooking and then stored the left over hydrated potatoes in the fridge for the next day.  The next day they turned out as perfect as the first day.

rehydrated potatoes

The first time I served these my family went nuts!  They loved them.  I fried them up in oil with a bit of onion (like Waffle House does).  Now mine didn't come out as crispy as theirs but they were still delicious. If I had a flat top griddle like they do, mine would be as crispy as theirs.

This will become a staple product in our food storage.  This with a bit of dehydrated onions and it makes a great hash brown.

I found this at Sam's Club but with a quick search on line you can also get it from Amazon and eBay or online at in the case (6 cartons) for $36.98.

*I was not paid to blog about this item.  These words are all my own and my honest opinion.  I just thought you all might want to know also!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

What to do with your kids on a snow day???

Most families who live in a region where there is a possibility of snow should come to expect a day or two or more SNOW DAYS where school and offices are closed.  My most unfavorite Facebook posts are those where moms complain that their "kids are home yet again from school" or "I think I will go crazy if they are  home again tomorrow" sort of comments.  First, I have no patience for these moms.  These are YOUR kids, you shouldn't be complaining that you were blessed with whole day with your children.  Second, prepare for these days.  Have something up your sleeve for some fun activities that you all can do together during these days that you are snowed in.  Make some memories and enjoy the time you have with your kids.  They are only kids for short time. You WILL miss these days when they are no longer living in your home.

Prepared Mom Tips:

1.  Scan Pinterest for fun, easy activities to do with the kids. You can do this the morning of. I mean you are already awake from the 5 am phone call notifying you school was closed.  Hop on the computer right then and start planning your day while the kids are still asleep.

2. Bake something with them.  Make it easy like a box cake mix and then decorate with snowflakes and celebrate the snow. Or make cookies with snowflake cookie cutters or whatever you have on hand. Better yet, just make the "drop and bake" cookies.  Mixes last a long time in your pantry so stock up on a few cakes and cookies mixes when they are on sale.  Nothing better than a cup of hot cocoa and a warm cookie.

3. Play board games, card games, or even I Spy with them.

4. If you can, go out and play in the snow with the kids. Build a snow man or even a snow family in your yard.

5. Hike to a local convenience store and buy some hot chocolate or hike to a friends house and visit with them for a bit.

6. Pop popcorn and have a movie marathon of everyone's favorite movies. Have them write the title on a slip of paper and then draw the strips out of a hat for fairness and random selections. If you have a sofa bed in the living room, open it up and everyone lay on the bed to watch TV.

7. Create a scavenger hunt in the house for random objects or for things you have been looking for.

8. If you want to get overly ambitious, use the snow days for a major cleaning in their rooms.  Sort and organize toys, make piles for donation, and maybe even rearrange the furniture.

9. Sit together and go through old photo albums and tell stories of when the kids were really little.

10.  Get out those cookbooks and cook up a great big dinner with everyone helping. Don't worry about the mess, you are making memories!  Take a few pictures while you are at it.

11. Pull out old wrapping paper or butcher paper and the crayons and markers and make huge wall murals.

12. Pull a book off the shelf and read it out loud to your kids.  My teens still love to be read to. I will bet that yours will too.

13. Have a family competition using your Wii, XBox, or Playstation games. Get everyone involved.

Nothing frustrates me more than a mom who says, snow days are an unplanned day "so we have nothing to do".  Plan for these days. Tuck some activities in a box in your closet and pull out the "fun box" on these days. Don't be frustrated because you have to spend yet another day with your kids.  Make those days fun and make some memories.

I hope these suggestions get your creative juices running and you are able to make the best of these snow days.

Storm Preparations - Tips from A Prepared Mom

With the recent rash of winter storms plaguing the eastern half of the United States I am blessed to now be living where these winter storms don't hit.  However, upon reading my Facebook wall and newsfeed I am compelled to write this blog today.

When we were living in a place where we were crippled by any type of winter storm I learned several easy to follow rules to follow.  One year we were crippled by an ice storm that took out our power.  We arrived home one evening late from a dinner with family and saw our neighbors putting suitcases in their minivan and heading out.  It was late and when they drove down our road they stopped and said they were going to a hotel room.  The power was out in our neighborhood because of the ice storm and they said it would be 5 days before we would see power again.  We, of course, didn't believe them and went inside and put an extra blanket on the bed that night.  The next day we still had no power and in the end our neighbors were right. We had no power for 5 days. It was our first year living in this neighborhood.  After that we worked diligently to make sure we had enough provisions, ways to cook and ways to heat our house when we had power outages.

When it came to our BIG hurricane, Isabel, we were prepared.  We had everything we needed and didn't have to really worry about not having power for 14 days.  No, we didn't leave our house during this time and we had three kids under the age of 5.  We were fine because we were prepared.

In winter storms we made sure we had enough wood and propane (our two alternative sources of heat) to make it through any power outages.

I learned that the worst time to prepare for a storm is just before the storm hits. Yes, I said it! BEFORE THE STORM HITS is the worst time to prepare.  Why you ask??  Easy.  That is when everyone else is preparing.  The stores are packed and the stores know that everyone is coming to get provisions.  None of the items you need are necessarily on sale so you won't be saving any money either.

The BEST time to prepare is AFTER the storm hits.  Once everything settles down and you can safely drive again restock the items you used during the storm and then you will be prepared for the next storm.  Now doesn't that make sense???

If you aren't prepared prior to the storm then shop at the first mention of a "possible" storm.  If it hits you are prepared and didn't have to deal with empty shelves, fighting for the last loaf of bread, or crowds of people. Then shop again after the storm and restock any provisions you used so you are ready for the next storm.

Use the following below as a guide to help prepare.

Winter Storm Prep Checklist

To Do:

  • Pick up all toys and tools in the yard and straighten up the leaves and twigs that fall from the trees.
  • Cover lawn furniture and the wood pile.
  • Stack firewood.
  • Finish winterizing the garden. 
  • Enough food and water storage for at least one week.
  • Get generator, snow blower, snow mobile, etc. in good working order. 
  • Top off oil and gasoline so it is ready to use.
  • Prepare for an alternative source of heat and cooking.
  • Check battery supply, alternative lighting supply, emergency items. 
  • Top off other gasses like propane, kerosene, or any other fluids.
  • Unpack winter blankets, flannel sheets, and freshen them for use.
  • Unpack winter clothing such as coats, boots, gloves, hats.  Try them on to make sure they fit and are wearable this season.

Monday, February 3, 2014

God is GOOD!

This past weekend we continued to have more and more "drama" at the flea.  I told you the start of the weekend and on Sunday I was at the information booth chatting with our friendly "rules enforcer" Billy.  He is nice enough but he is the one when there is a problem with a vendor or someone selling the same stuff too close then he gets involved.  He also makes sure that all the booths that are taken are paid for and that someone isn't using an empty booth for free, etc.  So he and I are chatting about stuff in general.  A lady walks up and she is looking for a map and then she turns to me and asks me if I work here.  I am thinking she is looking for a particular booth and I say yes.  Billy says, "This is one of our vendors, how can I help?"  She then says, is it okay for a vendor to cuss at a customer?  Billy says, "This is a family friendly place, cussing at a customer is not allowed, no."  She says, well I just heard a vendor cuss at a customer.  Billy asks if she could describe the vendor, where he worked, etc.  She says, "His name is Chad and he sells dips. He just told a customer that he could F---ing do whatever he wanted."  I then walked away, and told Billy I would talk to him later.  Ha ha.... Chad is getting in trouble!!!!

I don't know the end of that and probably won't.  I do know that there are many people in the market who don't like him or have had run ins with him.  The market should throw him out but in the end he will get what he deserves whatever that is.

We came out of this weekend making our average.  It was rent weekend at the market and I went up to pay the rent on Sunday.  Billy was at that window and I told him I wanted to pay the rent and he handed me my bill.  So I hand him my cash and the lady who normally works the booth starts telling me that she was able to adjust our account and get one booth off the bill (the eggs booth) that we don't want anymore.  At the same time my husband calls me and tells me NOT to pay the rent.  He had already talked with the lady who works the rent window and they agreed to wait until next weekend to let her get everything straight.  Well, too late.  I had already given the money to Billy and he had already put it on my account. Sorry. My husband had asked my son to tell me not to worry about the rent payment that he had already taken care of it.

Because of the rent confusion, we ended up not having enough money to make an order from the factory this week.  We woke up this morning knowing that we couldn't make an order and that we would have to wait another week before we could.  We hoped that there wouldn't be anything on the inventory list and we wouldn't feel bad about not being able to make an order. However, we got a phone call about 10 am.  It was a guy who wanted to buy beef jerky wholesale from us.  He wants to sell it at his flea market that he owns about 25 miles away.  He said he got a bag from a guy selling it at his market and wants to start selling it when the guy leaves.

So we discussed it and decided to wholesale to him.  We also knew that he would help us make an order this week.  So we call him back and tell him we will sell to him.  Now we just need to wait for the inventory list to come out by email. The inventory sheet comes out and there are some great  flavors on there that we are desperate for.  So we go ahead and place the order adding the new guy's order too.  Thank GOD we had his order because otherwise we wouldn't be able to pay for the order. Nor would we have been able to make an order at all for us.  We make about $3 a bag selling it wholesale. So we are making a bit of money on his order too.  This is what we used to pay for part of our order.

God is so perfect and has perfect timing for everything.  We are so thankful.

We met up with the guy, today and he tasted some of the flavors that he would be getting from us.  We hit it off right from the beginning.  He is from our home state and he reminds me a lot of my uncle.  We talked for a long time and he told us to put our label on the jerky that we put on it for us to sell.  He said he would be happy to promote our website. He also asked if he could sell our product at local festivals and at the speedway during their events and such.  UH YEAH!!  We have wanted to sell ours there but the fees to get a booth is high and we don't have enough manpower to do that.  So by him doing it then our product gets into more hands and it will promote our website!!  :D  We love that idea.  We don't have to pay the fees, he will and we won't have to man the booth, he will.

So now we are in the wholesale business and we are still promoting our website too.  What wonderful blessings.