Tuesday, December 29, 2015

December Week 5: Bye Week!!!!

This is one of those four times a year when we have extra weeks in a month. You don't have any weekly assignments this week, but I  like to use it a as a time to get things organized and cleaned up. Maybe make more room on your shelves for the coming year.  Or if you feel like you have your storage area all under control, just take the week completely off! There are plenty of things to do this week (like take down Christmas decorations, try to fit the mounds of garbage into the garbage cans, dust the dust bunnies that have accumulated everywhere, clean out the fridge after the Christmas holiday... what the heck is in there, anyway?) Of course those are just suggestions. Not at all what needs doing in my own home. :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

December Week 4: Pam cooking spray, shortening

This week's food storage items are:

December Week 4: Pam cooking spray, shortening

If you use Pam (any of the varieties), figure out about what you might use in a year. Of course, this is only an estimate, but you can probably make a pretty educated guess. Do the same with shortening. Once you've come up a with a number for both items, write it on a shopping list, and go out in the next few days and pick up whatever you may need for the year. Once you have the items home, put them on your food storage shelves, and update your inventory sheet to reflect the new numbers.

Now since there are 5-ish weeks in December, next week will be a rest (or catch up) week. And then, we'll start all over again with January. Remember, this is never a job that is completely done. To have a good food storage with little waste, you will be purchasing and rotating constantly. But really, who doesn't have 15 minutes a week to handle that? That literally is all it takes. 15 minutes. Sooooo do-able!

And remember... we started working on the 72-hour kits. In about the middle of January, we'll continue on with the next step. For now, click on the 72-hour kit tab above to see where we are, and to catch up. There is still time, but try to get caught up by January 10 so you're ready for the next step.

If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the blogpost that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

December Week 3: Hand-Crank Radio

This week's emergency prep item is:

December Week 3: Hand-crank radio

This is one of those great weeks where once you've got the item, it's done. Next year, when this week comes up again, you shouldn't have to rotate it or refill it. That's why I've put it on week 3 of December. I figured you just may have other things to do that week. :)

There are several different types and price-ranges out there. I obviously haven't tried them all, so I can only go by what I've got for my own emergency supply. I already had a Voyager Dynamo & Solar V1 Radio. It can be powered by battery, solar power, and/or by hand-cranking. It also has a bright LED flashlight. This year I bought another one that is a bit larger, and can also charge a cell phone. So, I'll keep one with my 72-hour kit, and the other in my emergency supply closet.

The smaller one (shown in the above photo) was about $30.00.

The specs are as follows:

Solar / hand-cranking powered radio flashlight with a USB outlet for your electronic devices. The compact Voyager V1™ radio offers multiple benefits all bundled together. Get standard AM/FM stations as well as shortwave bands to receive stations from around the world. The built-in flashlight add additional convenience and functionality. A USB outlet powers many handheld electronics like most smart phones (does NOT charge Apple devices). 

Radio dimensions: 13 x 6 x 5 cm
  • 1 Minute of cranking powers up to 15 minutes of radio listening or 1 hour of light
  • A built-in USB port lets you charge your small USB-rechargeable device like smart phones (Does NOT charge apple products)
  • Bands include AM/FM, and Shortwave
  • Super-bright, 3-LED flashlight
  • Built in HD speaker and earphone jack

The Voyager V1 can be powered by multiple sources. You can recharge an internal Ni-MH battery via the built-in solar panel OR cranking dynamo. The battery can also be recharged by a USB outlet using a mini-USB to standard USB cable (not included). The V1 can also be powered by 3 standard AAA batteries. 

And this is the larger one:

For the larger one, which was $45.00 on sale, the specs are:

  • This radio is durable, yet lightweight with a rubberized body that is water resistant<./li>
  • NOAA stands for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • When using the NOAA Weather Alert, it is recommended that the radio is plugged into a power source through the USB Port (In) or AC Adapter 3.5 mm jack (AC adapter not included)
  • One minute of winding will give roughly 12 minutes of radio play
  • The optional AA batteries cannot be recharged in the radio, only the internal Ni-MH battery is rechargeable.
  • 6 ways to power the Radio: Hand Crank Dynamo, Solar Panel, USB Power In, AC Power In, 3 AA Batteries, Built-in Rechargeable Ni-MH Battery.
  • Red or Green LED lights on the front of the radio indicate when the radio is on or when the batteries are low
  • 3 lighting options: 5 LED reading lamp lights (under solar panel), white LED light, flashlight red S.O.S. LED for emergencies
  • - See more at: http://beprepared.com/kaito-black-voyager.html#sthash.5i0IkbVt.dpuf

    Weight: 1.22 lbs. (19.5 oz.) Dimensions: 5.5” high x 8” wide x 2” thick Radio Size: 8” x 5” x 2.6” Radio Ports:

    • Earphone Jack
    • USB Port Charge Out (Many cellphones, mp3 player, etc.) Charge Built-in Battery
    • AC Adapter 3.5 mm Jack (adapter sold separately)
    Radio Reception:
    • AM: 520-1710 KHz
    • FM: 87.00-108.00 MHz
    • SW1: 3.20-9.00 MHz
    • SW2: 9.00-22.00 MHz
    • Weather Band: 7 Pre-set Channels
    - See more at: http://beprepared.com/kaito-black-voyager.html#sthash.5i0IkbVt.dpuf

    I'm sure there are many different hand-crank radios on the market. It would be smart to do some research and find the one that best suits your needs.

    After I got mine and saw what a nice small size it is, I thought it would be a great idea for stocking stuffers for my married kids. Hmmmm.

    Once you've acquired your hand-crank radio, update your Inventory Sheets and then sit back and relax and enjoy your holiday. Remember, this is a week-by-week plan, so you can jump in whenever. I received an email from a reader last week asking if it started in January, and though the lists do go from January through December, you can start the plan anytime throughout the year without having to back up and "make up for lost time". It really is an easy, manageable plan that is completely do-able even for the busiest families. You can adjust it to your needs as your family's size changes. We have adjusted through the years quite easily. As you adjust and buy more or less what your family really uses in a year (and rotate, as planned), you will have less waste at the end of the year. Yay!

    If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the blogpost that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

    Tuesday, December 8, 2015

    December Week 2: Popcorn

    This week's food storage items are:

    December Week 2: Popcorn - microwave and regular kernels

    You may be wondering... Why popcorn? I've purposely put popcorn in December because it makes it a very easy food storage week (which, for me, is a necessary thing in December). And if you don't really eat popcorn at all in your home, then you're free and easy this week. Which means you can do one of three things: scratch "food storage" off your list for the week, and just do Christmas shopping; or, you can catch up on a previous week that may not have been completed; or, you can take a few minutes to organize your food storage shelves.

    Now, if your family eats popcorn, then figure out what you use in a year's time and get to the store and pick up the popcorn. Then, add the popcorn to your food storage shelves, and update your inventory sheets. It's that simple!

    Before you completely dismiss popcorn as a food storage item, check out the article included below, from USA Emergency Supply. (to read the entire original article, click on USA Emergency Supply). Note also that popcorn, if stored properly, can last 10-15 years. You can buy it canned, online from food storage warehouses.

    "You may have considered popcorn to be junk-food. However, it actually supplies a lot of nutrition and is suggested as a snack by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Dietetic Association (ADA). Popcorn contains substantial amounts of carbohydrates, fiber, many of the B vitamins, Potassium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Iron, Zinc, Pantothenic acid, Copper, Manganese, Linoleic acid and all the essential amino acids. And for how inexpensive popcorn is, popcorn will give you very good nutritional bang for the buck in your food storage or every-day eating. It's inexpensive, easy to pop and great fun to eat.

    Hints for getting the best popped corn: Don't pop popcorn in butter as the butter will burn before it can get hot enough. Popcorn pops best in temperatures of 400-460 degrees F. If your oil starts to smoke which happens at 500 degrees F, you've got it too hot. Any oil will work. Use enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. For your health, you should choose a light cooking oil or better yet, skip the oil all together and use an air popper. The movie houses use yellow dyed coconut oil which does a great job of popping the popcorn although there are healthier oils you can use than coconut oil. To see if you have the oil hot enough, drop a couple of kernels into the hot oil. If it's hot enough, they should pop in just a few seconds. If you don't have a popper, any thick bottomed, high walled pan will do. Popcorn can even be easily made in a Dutch oven over a camp fire. When your oil is the right temperature, pour in your popcorn, shaking the pan to cover all the seeds in oil. Do this with the lid on to prevent burns should the hot oil try to splash out of the pan. Using a lid helps the kernels to heat more evenly and keeps the popping corn from flying all over the place. (If you are using a popcorn popper, shaking it isn't necessary because of it's rounded bottom.) As it begins popping, it's important to continue to shake a flat-bottomed pan. This helps any un-popped kernels to settle to the bottom of the pan where they can pop. As soon as you hear the popcorn stop popping, pull the pan off the heat and pour the popcorn into another container. It will burn if you leave it in the hot pan."

    If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the blogpost that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

    Tuesday, December 1, 2015

    December Week 1: Matches, 100-hour candles, 12-hour light sticks

    This week's food storage items are:

    December Week 1: Matches, 100 hour candles, 12 hour light sticks

    We are getting to the end of the year! Now for those of you who have been following, and thinking you'll start on January 1, that isn't how this plan works. Start today! You can start anywhere at all during the year, and continue through. It isn't a plan that actually has an end, since every week from here til kingdom come, you'll be checking on (and updating, if necessary) your food storage and emergency supply. It's the only way to have a supply that is current and isn't full of expired goods. Sooooo, get started this very week!

    This happens to be one of those weeks where once you have it done, you shouldn't have to rotate or replenish it (as long as you haven't used any of your stock). It's handy to have a week like this scheduled at the beginning of December when life is a tiny bit crazy.

    The large can in the photo is one of two emergency cooking candles that I made years ago at homemaking night (that tells you how long ago it was). I wish I had the instructions, but I wasn't teaching the class, so I just came home with the cooking candles. I can tell you that the candle is made of sawdust and wax (a messy process), and has a wick down the center of it. The theory is that you can use it to cook over in an emergency. I haven't had to use them yet, but they are there, waiting just in case!

    The other items I have are the 100-hour candles from Emergency Essentials (on line). They are around $5.00, which seems pretty affordable for 100 hours of light. I'm pretty sure that in an emergency, I would pay the $5.00 to have light that I could rely on. I like the idea of having those around.

    Don't forget the matches. Buy a few good-sized boxes and keep them with the candles on your emergency supply shelves.

    I also have some light sticks. I think these might come in handy in a lot of different ways. These are also available at Emergency Essentials.

    Since these are items that you won't rotate through, you'll need to think of them in a different way. How many do you think you'll need in an emergency situation? If you didn't have electricity for several days or weeks, what might you need on your shelves? It's difficult to guess, but at least get some of the items on your shelves, and you can add to them later on, if you feel the need. 

    Now, I have seen a few other sources on Pinterest of ways to use household items as candles. This one, in particular, caught my eye. Since most of us have crayons somewhere in our homes, I thought this might be one to try out. In the particular Pin that I saw, it said that crayons will burn for 30 minutes. So, I figured it would be worth a try. I got a crayon, and secured it with a clothespin, and then put it in a pie tin.

    It took a few tries to get it to light, but it finally did light. And the flame actually grew to about 6" in height. (Yikes)

    Five minutes later, it went out in a flash.

    So, if you are relying on crayons for your emergency light source, you may have to buy several boxes of them, since the flame only lasts for about 5 minutes.

    I think I'll stick with the 100-hour candles. :)

    If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the blogpost that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

    Tuesday, November 24, 2015

    November Week 4: Potatoes

    This week's food storage items are:

    November Week 4: Potatoes: buds, pearls, scalloped, etc.

    Let's first talk about long-term storage. The potato flakes you see in the can in the photo, are from the Family Home Storage Center, and I dry-packed them myself. They last 30+ years. You add milk, butter and salt, as well as hot water, but since I have all of those items in long-term storage, it should work out just fine. I like these potatoes really well, so we are able to use them in a pinch. But, since they have such a long shelf life, there really isn't much need to rotate through them at this point. You can order these by the 6-can case by clicking here.

    The other package is also from the Family Home Storage Center, but these already have the milk and butter incorporated into them. You only have to add hot water to them. Since they have the fats in them, they have a much shorter shelf life. These generally last a year or so. That means that these ones I definitely have to rotate through. Again, they make a good mashed potato, and I generally would much rather whip up a batch of these than go through the rigors of making mashed potatoes from scratch. But that's just me.

    Also, if you use any other sort of potato that is boxed, such as scalloped, this would be the time that you would re-stock your shelves. These have a shorter shelf life as well, so take that into consideration.

    Now, decide your family's needs for potatoes. If you have a Family Home Storage Center nearby (to locate the Centers, click here), I would encourage you to make a visit. You can buy the instant potatoes there easily, and sometimes they even have some Potato Flakes canned and ready for the taking. Even if you have to can your own, it is a quick and fun process to learn. To see an order form of all that is available at the center when you visit, click here.

    If you don't have access to a Center nearby, you can look into Emergency Essentials, or any other on-line provider of food storage items. I haven't ever ordered potatoes from any of them, so you're on your own with that venture.

    Otherwise, you can do a shorter term storage and be sure to rotate through before they expire in a year's time. After you have your list of items to purchase, buy them the next time you are in a grocery store, and get the items on your shelves. Update your Inventory Sheets, and sit back and enjoy Thanksgiving with your family!

    If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the blogpost that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

    Tuesday, November 17, 2015

    November Week 3: Rolled oats, oatmeal, cornmeal, cream of wheat, boxed cereal

    This week's food storage items are:

    November Week 3: Rolled oats, oatmeal, cornmeal, cream of wheat, boxed cereal

    For this week, try to consider all of the cereal items you use, as well as cornmeal. There will likely be some that you use for breakfast, but also think about the cookies and baking you do. How much of these items would you go through in a year's time? Just make an estimation, and make a list. Do you already have some of these things in storage? If so, take that into consideration, and adjust your list accordingly. Now you have a shopping list of what you will need this week. In the next couple of days, make a point to go to a grocery store where you can pick up the things you need. After you bring them home, update your Inventory Sheets and get the items on your food storage shelves. Woohoo! You are done for this week, and you are one week closer to having what your family will need for their food storage.

    Now, if oats are packaged for long-term storage (like at the dry-pack cannery), then they can stay good for 30+ years! So, that means that you can have some long-term oats on the shelves, as well as some that you can rotate through for the next year. This is a food storage system that is meant for rotation. As I've mentioned before, I hate to throw away food storage that has gone bad. It feels like such a waste, and then it doesn't get me that excited about replacing it, UNLESS I rotate through the food and use what I am storing. If you check your shelves before you go grocery shopping, you can easily rotate through what you already have. That's why I like to have a little more than a year's supply of most items... so that when I get to the end of my year of "rolled oats", say, then I'm not completely out, but have some to get me by til my shelves are replenished.

    Be sure to look at dates on your packages. Many cereals don't have a long shelf life, so work that into your plan.

    You could also fill your shelves with everything BUT cold cereal, which is what I do. We don't eat enough of it for me to be concerned about putting it on my inventory sheet, but if you feel that's an item you want to keep track of, then add it to your sheet.

    If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the blogpost that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

    Friday, November 13, 2015

    Country Living Fair 2015 - Stone Mountain Georgia

    Bob and I had a trip planned to Florida for quite a while to visit friends who are serving a mission there. We were to come back on the 23rd of October. Do you know that there is a layover in Atlanta on many flights home from Florida? I did happen to know that, and as I got an email about the Country Living Fair at Stone Mountain Georgia on the 23rd of October, I sent a text to my husband asking how long of a layover we could manage to have in Georgia. After questioning me a bit more as to my motive for asking, he said he'd look into it. And voila! He arranged for us to fly to Atlanta on the 22nd, stay there for two days, and then fly the rest of the way home on the 24th. Yippee!

    We had been to the Country Living Fair a few years ago, and loved it. I couldn't believe how the stars aligned for us to go again this year! We had a wonderful time in Florida with our friends, and then off for a few days on our own to catch our breath and relax a bit. And then on to Georgia... If you've never been to Stone Mountain, you should go. It's a beautiful area surrounding a huge stone hill. In the hill is a huge (larger than Mount Rushmore) carving of three confederate heroes of the civil war (President Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, Robert E Lee). There are lakes, camping and hiking areas all around the mountain.

    And The Fair is located smack dab in the middle of all of this. Sooooo lovely!

    Of course, if you're going to make that much effort to get to the fair, you most certainly should cough up the extra dough to have an early-bird ticket. Which means waiting in a line to get in.

    But once you're in, you have an hour and a half of no crowds. It is heaven. Pure, sweet heaven.

    Just look at the excitement on Bob's face. He was definitely in the minority there, though not the absolute only man. There was a sort of brotherhood amongst the few brave men who were shopping alongside their wives. When they'd pass each other they'd give a little nod of the head and an understanding smile. Generally they'd have their arms full of bags and treasures.

    I love this pic below. Bob is in line with a bunch of ladies. In his left arm, he is cradling gifts that we picked out for our daughters and daughters-in-law. 

    A special treat was to be able to hear Ree Drummond (Pioneer Woman) talk and answer questions. She is exactly what you'd think her to be, in real life -- darling, funny, and down-to-earth. I've always loved her, and now I love her even more!

    The fact that The Fair is located in such beautiful surroundings is just a huge win-win. We stayed at a hotel their in the park, and enjoyed this ride several times a day...

    And in between our going to The Fair, we climbed to the top of the mountain a couple of times. Soooo beautiful!

    And the best part of the trip? With all the fun and adventures we had, the best part was just being away with Bob. As Walt Whitman so aptly put...

    Tuesday, November 10, 2015

    November Week 2: Chocolate Baking Supplies

    This week's items are:

    November Week 2: Chocolate Baking Supplies

    Now, you may say to yourself that you can do without chocolate in an emergency situation. I beg to differ. If you find yourself in a long-term emergency situation, don't you think a little chocolate treat might be just the thing to put a smile on your face, along with everyone else's face (who will think you're the cat's pajamas because you have chocolate amid the chaos)? I rest my case.

    But, even if you didn't plan for chocolate in an emergency situation, if you use chocolate at all throughout the year in your baking, then you'll want to have it in your year's supply. That way you'll always have it on hand when the chocolate need arises.

    Figure out what you normally use in a year's time as far as chocolate chips (milk and semi-sweet), Nutella, cocoa, and baking chocolate squares. Keep in mind that Thanksgiving and Christmas are ahead, so you may go through a little more in the next couple of months then the rest of the year.

    After you've come up with the chocolate you'd like on your shelves, then add that list to your grocery list and pick up the items in the next couple of days. Get them on your shelves and update your inventory sheet. It's as easy as that! You are done for the week, and you can feel good knowing you have a few more (yummy) supplies on your shelves for the days ahead.

    If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the blogpost that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

    Tuesday, November 3, 2015

    A New Etsy Store - Grass Roots Home!

    I have the best news! My amazing and creative daughters (all four of them) have opened an Etsy store. I'm in on it with them, but I feel like I just sit back and watch as they come up with idea after idea. It is brand spanking new, and has just barely become stocked with the first few items. It will continue to grow and expand as new items are designed and developed, but they have begun with some real stunners! And can I say how much fun it is to see the girls all working on a family business together? For a long time, the men in the family have worked hard together in building up the cable and metal shop, and now it's the girls' turn to work shoulder-to-shoulder to create their own business. So much fun!

    You need to go to the store and check it out. It's called Grass Roots Home, and you can get there by clicking here.

    The store has some gorgeous metal products, which are made right here in good old Draper, Utah, at our own metal shop! I've highlighted a few of the products below.

    We have a couple of different large metal signs with awesome phrases. We've got lots more in the works, too.

    These birdhouses are amazing! They're cut, bent and welded in the shop, and then sent out to be powder-coated in this perfect mint color! I've got a few of these in my own backyard. Soooo cute!

    I'm already thinking friend gifts with this Joy sign...

    And talk about the perfect neighbor gift, or Christmas tree ornament!

    The metal is heavy-duty and I love the way it looks. We are so excited about these products and the others that are in the works. We've got a good stock right now, so it's a great time to order for Christmas. I can't believe I'm talking about Christmas gifts (and maybe feeling a little bit panicky about getting my own Christmas shopping done!).

    November Week 1: Vitamins

    November Week 1: Vitamins

    What vitamins do you and your family take? Keep an extra bottle of each of the vitamins with your food storage items. I keep mine in a bin in my food storage room with medicines and extra first-aid items. Make a list of the vitamins your family takes, and plan on getting at least one bottle extra of each of the vitamins. In a perfect world, you'll want to have a full year's supply of the vitamins, but if you want to start slowly, just buy one extra bottle of each. It helps to buy larger bottles, and be sure to check the expiration date on whatever vitamins you purchase so that you know they'll stay good for at least a year.

    In the next day or two, when you have an opportunity to get to the store, pick up the vitamins you'll need, and get them on your food storage shelves. Update your inventory, and pat yourself on the back for doing something to provide for you and your family in the case of an emergency. Yay for you!

    And be sure to rotate through the vitamins. When you need more of your daily vitamins, run to your food storage and grab from there. One of the beautiful things about this system is that you shouldn't have things expiring and having to be thrown out. You rotate through and use what you have. Before I started this plan, I used to throw away too much of my food storage. Not any more. Rotate. Rotate. Rotate.

    If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the most up-to-date post that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

    Thursday, October 29, 2015

    Halloween Decorating, Easy Style

    Halloween is coming and going in just a flash. Can't believe how quickly this month has flown by! It may have something to do with being gone for 9 days smack dab in the middle of it, but more on that in another post.

    I did my usual quick and simple Halloween decorating this year, keeping in mind that we have seven grandchildren, 2 years and under, so whatever I have within reach needs to be touchable and even playable. Notice all of the things in the picture below, that are at child-level. They can play with the ghosts, car, pumpkin and scarecrow to their heart's delight.

    We went up to the cabin and cut some gorgeous maple branches to begin with. I don't care a bit that the leaves curl up and shrivel a little. I am so in love with the color that I don't even notice it. I wonder if people who come to my house try to figure out why I have branches of dead leaves strewn all about. Oh well. Maybe it adds to the spooky effect?

    After I placed the leaves around, I just took out one box (Yay!) of Halloween decor, and placed items here and there around the house.

    I don't love the creepy or gory side of this holiday. I don't even really like dressing up. (My costume usually involves an orange jack-o-lantern t-shirt, or some such thing.) But I do love how much the kiddos love it, and I love to see their costumes and how excited they get. I love fall and the smells and colors of it. So.... that's pretty much how my decorating goes. Oh, and some Fisher Price Halloween toys to go along with it all. After all, I'm a grandma, and the littles need to have lots of fun at our house!

    The best thing about fall decorating with branches as the base, is that the day after Halloween, I just take out the Halloween-specific items, and throw in a few Thanksgiving ones, and voila! Another holiday decorated for! Fall decorations seriously can last for more than two months. I sure wish Christmas decorations could be up that long, because they take the most work.

    How much do you love this old Alfred Hitchcock book? It's the perfect Halloween decoration!

    Another good thing about gathering branches and leaves as your base for decorating? You don't have to store them. You just toss them in the garbage when Thanksgiving is over! Doesn't get any easier than that!

    And last night we had a trunk-or-treat in the church parking lot. I'm generally not a fan of the old trunk-or-treating in our neighborhood, simply because the kids that show up to trunk-or-treat are the the exact same kids who show up at our house only a few days later for round #2. Does that sound Humbug-ish? Maybe. But I've always thought trunk-or-treating was great for areas that might be iffy to trick-or-treat in, or if your church group was spread out over a large area, but wanted an opportunity to trunk-or-treat together. That makes so much sense. But going to the same car trunks as the houses they will trick-or-treat to a couple of days later seems a little much. Having said that, we whole-heartedly got into the spirit of things, because I certainly know the kiddies love getting twice as much candy, and I also know that if I was one of those kids, I would have loved the heck out of it.

    We decided to decorate the tractor and use that as our "trunk", since Bob is known for his tractoring around these parts. I had a little bug the day I was planning on decorating it, so I literally opened a closet or two, pulled out some things, cut a few vines off of an errant (understatement of the year) trumpet vine, and draped them all over the bucket of the tractor. Done.

    Tuesday, October 27, 2015

    October Week 4: Stay Warm and Dry!

    Today's food storage/emergency prep items are:

    October Week 4: Stay Warm and Dry! - Wool blankets, emergency reflective blankets, rain ponchos, hand warmers

    These should be items that you won't have to replenish every year. All of these items can be purchased at an online store such as Emergency Essentials, or you can also find most of the items at stores like WalMart.

    I like the wool-blend utility blankets I got from Emergency Essentials. They were somewhere around $15 and measure a good-sized 60X80 inches. I also have some wool Indian blankets that I will keep in the stack in my emergency supply room. This is what Emergency Essentials has to say about their wool blankets:

    Stay toasty warm with this fire-retardant, economical wool blend blanket. Comfortable, soft, and breathable, this blanket will keep you warm without trapping condensation or sweat against your body in cold weather. It measures 60 x 80 inches, and is 65% wool and 35% polyester. A great addition to any emergency or car kit.

    The rain ponchos are $3.50, so very affordable. I think I will add a few to my supply so that I have enough for each of my family members, regardless of whether they live here at home or not. Just in case...

    The PVC Poncho with Hood is a full-size cut and is made out of waterproof PVC Material. Keep one in your car and in your emergency kit, so you won’t be caught unprepared in bad weather. Lightweight and reusable. Each emergency poncho includes an attached hood. One size fits most.

    The reflective blankets are very affordable, too. They're under $2.00, and can be critical in keeping body heat in. This is what Emergency Essentials has in their description about them:

    This lightweight and compact blanket fits in any emergency kit or bug out bag. The Emergency Blanket’s unique reflective material maintains up to 80% of your radiant body heat to help preserve crucial warmth. The emergency blanket is large enough to cover from head to toe (84" x 52") or to wrap around the upper body front to back. Small enough to fit in a pocket. It's lightweight and waterproof. Thicker material than other reflective blankets of this size and price range. With an Emergency Blanket you’ll have a powerful pocketful of warmth.

    I think I'll get a few more of those, too. Can't hurt to have plenty of them on hand.

    And of course, hand warmers. If you've ever used these beauties when your fingers feel like they are so cold they'll fall off your hand, then you know they can really come in handy. Here in Utah, we get cold winters, and I can imagine how useful handwarmers might be in some wintery situations:

    These hand warmers provide up to 8 hours of continuous warmth—in any place, at any time. Keep several on hand in emergency kits, camping gear, and the trunk of your car. The Hand, Pocket & Glove Warmers heat up in minutes. Ideal for winter sporting events, outdoor activities, camping, fishing, and other outdoor situations. Invaluable as an instant heat source in emergency situations. Environmentally safe and disposable. Inner contents are biodegradable. 

    Decide what you and your family might need in an emergency situation. This is aside from your 72 hour kit, remember. Just imagine that your family is without heat, or without shelter for some time. What can you provide, in your emergency supply, to help your family through a catastrophe? If you have extra blankets in your home, you can stack those on the shelves, too. Make sure they're plenty warm and optimally have at least some wool in them.

    Once you have decided what you think you'll need, start collecting the items. Purchase what you need either online or at a store. Get the items on your shelves and update your inventory sheets, and feel at peace that you have provided warmth and comfort for your family for an emergency situation.

    If your budget doesn't allow you to purchase all of the items at once, begin with one or two of the items, and get them on your shelves. As your finances allow, add to your storage, or next year, when this week comes up again, finish up the list. Just be sure to do something this week, even if its just putting a few blankets on the shelves, or buying a couple of reflective blankets for a couple of dollars each.

    If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the most up-to-date post that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

    Tuesday, October 20, 2015

    October Week 3: Apples

    This week's food storage items are:

    October Week 3: Apples -- applesauce, apple butter, dried apples, apple pie filling etc.

    Couldn't be easier. If you and your family eat apple sauce, estimate how much you will eat in the coming year, and either buy it or can it. Same goes with the apple slices. I like to can the dried apple slices at the Family Home Storage Cannery. They last for 30+ years, so they seem like a good thing to have around for those long-term emergencies. And since I have started drying my own apple-pears, I have some of those on my shelf also (and I'm told they'll last for at least a year). If you use any other apple product (apple filling, apple butter, etc), think about how much of that item you may need in a year's time, and write it down.

    Make your shopping list of what you will need to complete this week's items, and in the next couple of days, get to the store. Once you have the items on your shelves, update the inventory sheet, and voila! You've got another good week under your belt.

    Now, you may be saying to yourself that you and your family wouldn't eat apple sauce or apples slices, or any other apple product. If that's the case, then you will have this week to catch up on any weeks you haven't quite finished. But remember... in a long-term emergency, it may be really nice to have some dried fruit that you're able to eat in place of fresh fruit. Just saying.

    If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the most up-to-date post that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

    Thursday, October 15, 2015

    Early Fall Ramblings

    I still can't quite believe summer is over and we're well into fall. How does time seem to fly by faster and faster with each passing year? I can honestly say I feel like we packed about as much as we possibly could into summer, though, so I don't have any regrets. Just trying to keep up, though, kept us hopping. I think we both lost weight over the summer, because we just didn't have time to eat a regular meal on some of those busy days. I love looking back at the photos, and thinking about the treasured family time we had.

    And it seems we're just as busy now that it's fall!

    How can you not smile with so many babies around. This photo was taken after our family pics a few weeks ago, so the kiddos were tired out, but still as sweet as can be. We can't get enough of them. Arms full of babies... what can be better?

    The surroundings up at the cabin are gorgeous and fall-ish. We did our annual maple leaf cuttings, and brought them home to decorate with. (By "we", I mean Bob, with me pointing out just the perfect colored leaves to cut).

    There is always wildlife to be seen at or around the cabin. This porcupine was just a few feet away from us, and didn't seem to mind that we were there at all.

    Lots of family dinners. This picture is totally representative of what they're like. Babies everywhere in high chairs and walkers and laps.

    What you don't see in the photo above, is to the left of that picture is the kid's table, which Grandpa was at, helping to get food down the older grands.

    We had the perfect amount of apple-pears this year. There was a bit of a freeze in the late spring, which thinned out the harvest quite a bit. Towards the end, we just picked all of the remaining apple-pears and boxed them. We delivered them all around, and ate plenty!

    A perfect specimen. (That goes for the hand holding the apple-pear as well as the apple-pear itself)

    Of course pumpkin harvesting had to happen so that we could set the pumpkins out on the porch to decorate. The grand kids helped harvest the small crop that we had this year.

    Such perfect times. I can't imagine not having photos to remind us of the sweet, happy moments in life. They have a way of slipping away from the forefront of our memory if we don't have the photos to look back on. Or is that just me?