Sunday, September 1, 2019

Prepping for a Hurricane

It is hurricane season again.  Hurricane Dorian is expected to give us quite a beating in Florida.  If you live in Florida you are already preparing for this storm.  If this is your first storm you may have gotten advice from neighbors and "old-timers" about what to do and what not to do.  Everyone likes to tell you their story.  Many will tell you not to worry, nothing will happen.

For one family I know, this will be their first major storm.  They just moved to Florida and they feel they are ready.  They have basic supplies, food, water, batteries.  They have a plan.  They plan to leave town.  They made reservations at three different hotels in three different areas and plan to leave. They made these reservations a week ago when Dorian was just a little storm "not likely to hit mainland".  They were smart.  What they weren't smart about is that they will find themselves stuck in traffic, lots of it, if they wait too much longer.  My suggestion to them is if you are going to leave, leave now before they start evacuation plans.

A couple years ago I heard of incredible traffic jams, people sitting for hours on the highway, going nowhere and running out of gas.  I heard of shelters already full.  If you plan to leave, leave early.

Most Floridians will stay home and shelter in place unless they live in a highly "floodible" area or right on the coast.  What do they need?  How do they prepare?

Remember you need 5 things always.
1. Water
2. Food
3. Shelter
4. Alternative Cooking
5. Alternative Lighting

Check out my other articles on basic supplies.

Other things that make life a bit easier.
1. Emergency repair kits. This would include duct tape, sheets of heavy plastic, tarps, extra wood (Plywood, 2x4s, etc for minor repairs and quick fixes)
2. chainsaw - to remove fallen trees, limbs, etc.
3. Ice.  If you can get extra ice or make extra ice now, you will be happy you did.  Fill coolers with ice to keep food cool after you lose power.  As close to the beginning of the storm my husband would go buy 50 lbs of ice and put it in our freezers.  After a few hours with no power he would get the ice and fill coolers with it and we would clean our our fridge.  This ice kept our perishables cool for a few days.  Eventually we would add frozen foods from our freezers too to continue to keep our food cool as we ate through our food.
4. Generator - If you can afford it, buy a generator.  You will be so happy you did.  With this you will need gasoline, so don't forget that.  Running this a couple hours at a time help with the monotony of not having power.
5. Heavy duty trashbags.  You can get these at Lowes or Home Depot.  These help with clean up, trash, etc.
6. Paper plates and bowls, plastic forks, spoons, knives.  Life is so much easier when you don't have to hand wash so many dishes.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

We are so spoiled!

Oh my goodness!  We are so spoiled.  When I thought about writing about what happened the last few days, I thought it would be an interesting lesson in why it is important to stock up and save for those "little emergencies".  It was a real life experience and one that we are thankful that we can rely on our resources and our emergency stock. 

When I started this post. I had to think of a title.  And it popped into my head, "We are so spoiled!" And I think it is perfect for this post.  The lesson at the end may not be what you predict.

Here is my story.

It begins last Monday. (It is now Saturday)

Monday morning comes and I am in the office with my husband and he tells me his plans of the week and tells me he is going to pick up a check for half the money for a project that he will be doing over the next two weeks (starting yesterday, going through this coming Tuesday).  It is a BIG check.  He also announces that our landlord has texted him reminding him that we need to leave him a check for our rent for this month.  We don't really have the money, but with this first half of the money for the project we can pay it but then will need to come up with more money to pay for the materials for the job later this week.  We "gamble" and I write the check, hoping that others will pay us and we can cover our expenses for the project.  Fast forward to yesterday, (Friday). No real money has come in all week and we have been living on next to nothing saving for him to pay for the materials for the project. Yesterday was also "pay day" for our workers.  One is my son, who can wait on his money.  Another is a friend of his who won't pick his check up until he works again on Tuesday. But the third is a guy who we need to pay so he won't quit on us.  I go to our PO Box and say a little prayer that there is a nice sized check in there.  Nope, nothing.

I go to our "stash" of cash in the house in hopes that my husband put a bit in there.  Nope.

I look at all our bank accounts and start to add the pennies in each account.  Yes, some have pennies in them.  They aren't going to add up to $50.  This isn't going to cover a $325 paycheck.

I notice that my daughter has $400 in her account.  This is her hard earned money she has saved from working this summer.  I very humbly ask if I can borrow some of it until Dad gets paid for the job he is doing. She gladly says yes. 

Lesson #1: I am humble, so humble, and feel horrible that I have to ask.  She is happy to help.  She is proud that she has the ability to help us short term.  I am so grateful for her.

We cover the paycheck.  I go through the house to see if there is anything we can sell and possibly have a yard sale on Saturday, but I have nothing of real value nor do I have enough to even lure people to our house to even look at our junk.

In the process, I do have a lady who wants to buy a textbook I have had up online for sale for months.  She pays me to ship it to her.  I get $16.50.  It goes straight into our bank account.

While looking in our garage for stuff to sell, I notice (well it is hard not to notice) all the aluminum cans we started collecting months ago to recycle.  They aren't crushed and they are quite numerous.  I announce that we are going to take them to a recycling center and turn them in for cash.  I pile them all in my car and head to the recycling center.  $9.60 later I decide it was not worth it to collect them for so so so long.  However, now I have $26.10.

A few days before, my daughter asked if she could have a few friends over on Saturday night for a spaghetti and gelato party.  They had all gone to Italy together and wanted to get back together and reminisce.  No problem then, but problem now!  I need some food for this party.

All my $26.10 will have to go towards #1. shipping the textbook which will run me about $5. and #2. Groceries for this party.  Take the postage fees out, I am left with $21.10.

I come home yesterday evening and am ready to cook dinner of which no one "wants" what I had planned.  It was STEAK!  But no one wanted it.  They wanted something else.  So I gave them a choice of having a breakfast for dinner night.  I had all the ingredients for that.  But noooooo....

My youngest wanted corndogs and tater tots, which we had. {check}

My husband wants PIZZA! Ugh!  I dig through and find a can of tomato sauce, we have cheese and I have a package mix for pizza dough.  He really wanted me to cave and say we could order pizza but I held my ground and fixed him homemade pizza with salami, ham, and onions on it.  He had the choice to put Italian meatballs on it too but he chose to opt out. {check}

Lesson #2:  We are truly spoiled.  We don't always want what we had planned, but with my food storage (as measly as it is right now), I was able to give my family what they wanted without having to spend any money.

I still have that $21.10 and will use it in a little while to purchase just a few things we need for dinner tonight.  Hamburger meat, tomatoes, spaghetti noodles (I can't believe we are out but we are). We will make homemade garlic bread and my daughter made gelato last night in preparation for tonight's party.  I might even splurge on some antipasta if I have enough money left over.

We will be fine even though we don't have any money for a few days.  We have gas in our car, food at home, and love in our hearts.  The girls who are coming over tonight will never know how little money we have or how little money we spent on their enjoyment.  It doesn't really matter.

Lesson #3:  If your family is "spoiled" like mine, you have to be a bit extra vigilant to make sure you keep stocked up on the things they love.  If you do, then you will never feel like you are poor.

The job will be finished on Tuesday if all goes as planned and we will have lots of money back in our bank account. Some of that money will go into our emergency fund to start building that back up too.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Little Emergencies....

There was a movie back in the late eighties.  I don't remember the name of the movie, but I remember the basic plot.  It was about a young woman who ended up becoming a sharp shooter (assassin) for a bad organization.  She wanted out but couldn't find a way. The plot isn't important here, though.  One line from the movie was "It's the little things.....".  I quote that quite often and today it is appropriate here.

It's the little things....

It is the time that you thought you would have time to make dinner but couldn't because your car broke down, a meeting ran late, or you ended up having to take a child somewhere unplanned.

It is the time you thought all was going as planned and then the lights go out because someone ran into a telephone pole down the street or the wind was blowing too hard and a tree fell down.

It is the time when you were expecting to get paid for a job you did but the money didn't come in as fast as you thought.

It's the little things.

We sometimes get so wrapped up in preparing for big things that we forget about the little things.

It can be easy to think that if you get caught up in a meeting that runs late to just run through the drive thru and grab dinner or order take out and pick it up on the way home, but what if you don't have the money for that?  What if you are tapped out for the month and don't have any extra discretionary money until your next payday?  What do you do then?

It can be easy to think that the electricity will come back on quickly after a power failure. But what if you live a bit further away from town and it takes them a day or so to fix the problem?  It could be an easy fix to stay overnight in a hotel or eat out.  But what if you don't have the money for that?

What if you ..... had a budget where every month you put a little bit aside for these little emergencies?  $20 a month - $50 a month - $10 a month   It doesn't matter how much really but it does help to put this money aside. 

We call this our little emergency fund.  We put a bit of money in it each month and it is amazing to see how many little emergencies we end up having. It seems to us that as soon as we get a couple hundred dollars in there we end up needing it for something. 

In the past we have used it on an emergency trip for a funeral, a hot water heater, a washing machine, and a two day no power situation where we just ate out instead of cooked on our grill. While we hated to have to use the money, we were so glad that we had it to use.

So I challenge you to start a "little emergency" fund.  We keep ours in cash so we don't have to rely on getting it out of the bank.  It never gets over a couple hundred dollars but that is okay.  Little emergencies aren't usually that expensive.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Influenza - A Possible Remedy

It is flu season again.  It happens every year. 

Have you ever had the flu?  I have.  I got it several years ago.  I am pretty sure I caught it while we were in Disney World.  On the drive home I started to get a funny cough.  As the day wore on it got worse.  The next day I woke up with a fever, chills, body aches and persistent cough.  It was 2009 and it was the Swine (H1N1) Flu.  It was also Christmas Eve.  I took a ton of over the counter meds and struggled through Christmas and then spent the next week doing nothing but watching tv and recovering from this awful mess.

Yes, I had gotten the flu shot.  We get it every year.  That year the Swine flu wasn't in the flu shot.

This year (2018) the experts say the flu shot is only about 30% effective.  This year's flu is particularly awful.  They say it is the worst flu season since 2009.  This particular strand is rough on kids who haven't built up an immunity to any flu strains and those with compromised immune systems. 

Influenza is a virus.  It doesn't respond at all to antibiotics, as those only kill bacteria.  It has to run its course and your body has to fight it off.  However, there are some things you can do to help your body out.
1. fluids
2. rest
3. fever reducer (Tylenol, Advil, etc)
4. and this:

I have heard that taking these two items will help to reduce your symptoms and boost your immune system to fight the virus.  I have heard it shortens the time you have the flu by up to 50%.

I don't have the flu and hope I don't get it this year, but I will be stocking this in our medicine cabinet.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Our "Poor" times

Years ago, when I was a school teacher I would get paid monthly.  I adjusted my budgets and spending habits to reflect the one time a month I would get paid.  I paid all my bills as soon as I got my check, went grocery shopping, and bought other necessaries (and sometimes a new shirt or skirt) and then the rest was saved for gas and food later in the month.  In December we would get paid on the last working day of the month which was the last day of school before Christmas.  I would splurge a bit on Christmas gifts, a big Christmas dinner, and some other extras for the holiday.  The next pay day was a LONG time away - not till the end of January.  January was a "poor" month for us.

Fast forward to now. 

January is still a "poor" month for us.  I no longer teach but our business is slow this time of year.  Very slow!

We know it is a "poor" time for us and we prepare.  It would be easy to say that we have a savings account for this and we put a little money in each month to offset our lack of income but that would be too easy.  With three teenagers it is hard for us to save right now.  They always "need" something and we have never been the type to be able to save very well.  So we prepare in other ways.

Over the fall we stock up on food and other necessities.  We stock our fridge and freezer full of food and I mean FULL.  We stock the pantry.  We stock up on toilet paper and paper towels (two pretty expensive items comparatively).  I stock up on  bathroom necessities: toothpaste, shampoo, soaps, etc.  We also give the kids and us a new toothbrush, new soaps, shampoos, lotions, chapstick, razors, etc for Christmas too.  This way in January we are using our "new" stuff and feeling pampered in our "poor" time.

Prepping isn't always for end of the world times.  It can be for your "poor" times.  I spend a bit extra when we have it and fill our pantry and freezers.  When I find a great sale (like the one I found not long ago at a hair cut place that was going out of business - they were selling everything "buy one get three free". I spent $100 and got a TON of shampoos and conditioners, and other hair products.  Retail on these was over $400!) I stock up.

The house we live in now isn't very conducive to food storage.  We don't have a pantry per say. It is a broom closet and extremely tiny.  But I like to have at least a month's worth of food here.  In our old house I was proud to boast I had 3 months supply of food, sometimes more!

Knowing we have "poor" times of the year.  We prepare so we don't have to worry about running to the grocery store.  For us it is the cheapest way to "save" money is to use our food storage during our poor times.  When we run low on food that is when the panic sets in.  I don't like that panic.  As long as we are eating like we normally do here at home then we don't feel as poor as we are. 

Think about your "poor" times and what you might be able to do to alleviate it.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Where have I been???

Where have I been, you ask?  Well, I will tell you!

I have been right here.  My husband lovingly convinced me to buy an embroidery machine the end of October and it arrived mid November.  Since then I have been embroidering away.  One of the main reasons for purchasing a several thousand dollar embroidery machine was that we would start a "little" business with it.  I immediately began making and selling embroidered towels.  I sell them on and in a local storefront. For a start up business we have been busy.

Here are a few of our towels:

You can purchase them here:

You can like my facebook page here:

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Prayer Shawls - a Free Crochet Pattern

And now for something completely different!!  :)

Did you know that I love to create?  I crochet, knit, quilt, sew, scrapbook, and cross stitch.  I love to make things with my hands.  It is relaxing, satisfying, and helps me relieve stress.

I enjoy making prayers shawls.  I give them away always.  If I have a friend struggling with illness, grieving, or just needs some comfort I tend to lean towards making them a prayer shawl.  I also make them for others who I don't know.  While, creating them I pray over the stitches, think about their needs, pray for comfort, strength and healing.  The shawls that I don't give to a loved one or friend I donate to my church for their healing ministry. (No we don't "heal" people, but help and comfort them while healing.) 

I have another blog where I share patterns and such from time to time.  Here is the link to the prayer shawl pattern I created.