Thursday, May 28, 2015


This year I've had some unaccountable things happen in my garden. The most obvious was that most of my new tulips were eaten clear down to the nubbins. No flowers... not even much of a leaf. We do have deer now and then, and I had seen many a dropping when I was cleaning up after winter, but still... The deer had always been kind enough to just chew the tar out of my euonymus, but left my flowers alone. Apparently this year their appetite had changed. I figured it was out of my hands, so I didn't spend much time thinking about it.

And then I noticed little holes being dug. Almost like a cat might do, but then the holes were just left empty, with dirt sprayed across my walks. What in the world? What kind of crazy hole-digging cat or dog has made their home in my yard? I couldn't figure it out for the life of me.

And then last Friday came. We were working on taking out all of the edging in our yard (to be replaced soon, I hope), and saw this...

At the risk of overusing the phrase, What in the World????

Oh, hello there, lop-eared rabbit. You have been enjoying my yard this year. You must be feeling rather chipper after having eaten hundreds of tulips -- greens, blooms, and all. You don't look as though you've missed many meals.

Hmmmm. I think you are looking far too comfortable here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

May Week 4: Portable Toilet & Supplies, Diapers, etc.

This week's food storage/emergency prep items are:

May Week 4: Portable toilet and supplies, cloth or disposable diapers and/or Depends undergarments (if needed), feminine products

I love the idea of this little portable toilet. It is basically a five gallon bucket -- but the lid, (as you can see in the photo) is a little toilet seat with a lid. It all snaps right into place and would provide the perfect little emergency toilet.

You can also buy these little toilet waste bags, which are brilliant. You fit them right around the bucket and under the seat, which makes it easy to dispose of the waste. Love it! The bags have a waste bio-gel in them, which makes the whole clean-up process easier and neater.

The toilets come with emergency hygiene items (toilet paper, wipes, toothbrushes and paste, soap, etc) stored right inside of them, so there is a complete kit that is easily carried out when needed. I bought my toilet and supplies from Emergency Essentials, but they are surely available through other stores.

This is also the week to buy some extra diapers and/or adult disposable undergarments. For whatever reason, I thought it a good idea to have a package of adult disposable undergarments on our emergency shelves. It seems like a good thing to have in case of illness during an emergency situation.

And lastly, store whatever feminine hygiene items your family might need for the year.

The great thing about this week's items is that from year to year, I shouldn't really have to re-stock (unless there is an emergency and we have used some of the items).

If you are not in a position to spring for one of these little toilets, I would get a 5 gallon bucket, find some bags that will fit over the edge of it, and store the bags and some toilet paper in the bucket. Also include some sort of hand sanitizer or soap. That would definitely work for an emergency!

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, May 21, 2015

A Robin's Nest

We were cutting off branches in some of our apple-pear trees the other day, and there was a mama robin who was not at all excited about us being near her tree. Bob carefully took a photo of her sweet little nest. Isn't it perfect?

And then about a week later, we were doing some other yard work, and Bob wanted to check on the progress. In between literal dive-bombing, he took this photo of some very hungry little birds.

A little blurred, but what can you expect
while the photographer is being dive-bombed?

Hungry is a relative term here. I've seen those mama birds tirelessly running back and forth to the next with food for those babies. They feed them non-stop all day long!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

May Week 3: Jello and Pudding Mixes

This week's food storage items are:

May Week 3: Jello and pudding mixes

Now, if you don't eat or cook with any jello and/or pudding mixes at all, then you have a week off! I have a few recipes that we use that use jello or pudding mixes in one way or another. So, I will decide how many times I think I'll make my salads and desserts that involve using a jello or pudding. Then, I'll check my inventory and see what I already have on my shelves, and add whatever I still need to my shopping list. Next time I'm at the grocery store, I can pick up a few boxes of jello and pudding, then update my inventory, and get the boxes on the shelves where they belong.

There you have it. Another week's food storage items are easily inventoried and added to the shelves. It truly should only take 5 minutes to decide how much and what you need. And then you just add that in to your next grocery trip. So, so easy, and so, so do-able! Remember... if you are just now starting this plan, not to worry. You don't need to make up the previous months of the year. You just start with this week, and move through the plan. A year from now, you will have gone through all of the weeks and should have a wonderful storage of food and emergency supplies. And since you'll continue your weekly checks and updates to your supplies, the plan really doesn't have an end. Just take that first step and start today!

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, May 14, 2015

72-Hour Kits: Task 10 - Miscellaneous B

With today's post, the 72-hour kits will be wrapped up! This is such a huge accomplishment. We hear over and over again to get our 72-hour kits ready, and there are always natural disasters happening all around the world. It's time to "get 'er done". No more excuses. No more procrastinating. This is the day to finally get your 72-hour kits done and on the shelves. If you haven't been following along, click the 72-hour Kit tab above, and start at the beginning -- step by step.

Today we'll finish up the Miscellaneous List for the Main 72-hour Kits:

2 whistles
2 flares
compass (may not be needed, but it's so small, it's easy to tuck in a corner)
magnifying glass
small sewing kit w/ upholstery thread
crayons, notebook
pencils & hand sharpener
puzzles, games (for small children)
newspaper (40 sheets)
contact information - family and friends
updated family photo
extra house key

Look at that list and decide which items you want or need in your own 72-hour kit. Remember, these lists are guidelines, and you should adjust to whatever your own needs are.

A few things to think about...
-you may wonder why you need an updated family photo. This helps in finding other members of your family, if it comes to that.
-contact information may seem unneeded too, with the technology we have today. If cell phones can't be used, would you know all of your family and friend's phone numbers by heart? I know I wouldn't. I'd be up a creek for sure.
-cash. Stash just a bit of cash in your 72-hour kits. $20 - $100. Somewhere in that area. Just for incidentals. Hopefully you'll have all of the items you'll need already, but just in case you need to purchase something, it's good to have some cash.
-newspaper. This is purely for using as liners, insulators, and whatever else you might come up with.

Now, if you're also working on your Children's Backpack Lists, the following list will wrap those up, too:

8 quarters
family photo
scriptures/book (mini)
notebook, pencil
contact information (family and friends)
list on outside of backpack of what else to grab (sleeping bag, winter wear, big first-aid kit, etc)

The list on outside of their backpacks is handy, if you have different kiddos in charge of different things. You could have someone in charge of bringing the portable toilet along with their backpack. Or the list could say that if it's winter, grab a parka.

Aaaaaaannnd, we're done! Now, you can place your 72-hour kits in a closet or space that is very easily accessible, and forget about it until the fall, when we pull out the main list (which you should keep on a clipboard with your 72-hour kit). At that point, you'll just take that list to the store and buy only the things that have or will expire that year. Then, when you have those items, you'll take out only the items that are expiring, and replace them with the newly purchased items. This way, you don't have to empty your whole kit and look at everything to see what has expired. And as you replace the old with the new, you'll note the new expiration dates on the clipboard. Then, close up your 72-hour kits, and forget about them for a whole year. Sooooooo easy!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

May Week 2: Dry and Canned Soups / Crackers

This week's food items are:

May Week 2: Dry soups, ramen, canned soups / Boxes of crackers: saltines, grahams, etc.

Pretty cut and dried. If you use dry soup in any way (as soup or in other recipes), decide how much you use in a year. Does your family eat ramen noodles? If so, add a year's supply of those to your list. Canned soups include all canned soups you eat, which also means any cream of chicken, cream of potato, cream of mushroom, etc. Estimate what you will use as far as all of those items go, and add the items to your grocery list.

As far as crackers go, I don't really keep crackers on my food storage shelf, because their expiration dates just seem to come too quickly. But, I do use this week as a time to go through my crackers -- saltines, grahams, Wheat Thins, etc. I toss out the old half-eaten boxes and add to my grocery list whatever it is that I need to replenish so that we have some on the shelves. There is nothing worse than making a pot of soup and not having the right crackers to go along with it. I also make sure I have enough grahams to get us through grandbabies' needs and also several s'more nights during the summer.

Next time you go to the grocery store, buy the items you have just put on your shopping list, and then get them on your shelves. Update your inventory sheets, and sit back until next week! Yippee! Another week completed!

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.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

In a world where there are so many influences pulling at us and our children, every which way, the quote below, hit home to me. Oh, how I depended on my mother for a positive, perfect role model. And still to this day, I find myself asking,"How would Mom handle this?" or "What would Mom say?" or "How often would Mom clean this" or "What would Mom serve for this occassion?", etc, etc. I am eternally grateful for a mother who never looked away or took a break from what she knew to be right and true, who mothered with love and tenderness, and yes... sternness when it was called for (sorry Mom!). And she was always, always a constant in my life. Always there at the crossroads when we'd come home from school. Always. And she still is. Love you forever, Mom!

"My dear young women, with all my heart I urge you not to look to contemporary culture for your role models and mentors. Please look to your faithful mothers for a pattern to follow. Model yourselves after them, not after celebrities whose standards are not the Lord’s standards and whose values may not reflect an eternal perspective. Look to your mother. Learn from her strengths, her courage, and her faithfulness. Listen to her. She may not be a whiz at texting; she may not even have a Facebook page. But when it comes to matters of the heart and the things of the Lord, she has a wealth of knowledge. As you approach the time for marriage and young motherhood, she will be your greatest source of wisdom. No other person on earth loves you in the same way or is willing to sacrifice as much to encourage you and help you find happiness—in this life and forever."

Friday, May 8, 2015

Last of the Baby Quilts

I've finished with this round of baby quilts. We had five grandbabies born in 2-1/2 months time, so I had a few to get done in a fairly short amount of time.

I posted earlier, about how I'm doing the strip quilt method for all of them so that they are similar to each other, but different fabrics. (To read that tutorial, click here) This is also a pretty quick quilt to work up, so it's do-able, even when there are five to make!

This is the one for Margo...

I add a quilt tag on the back of all of them with their name, the year, and that it's from Grandma and Grandpa (I do the sewing, he pays for the materials. :) )

And this one is for our youngest (just 6 weeks-ish old), Pi.

And just for good measure, I made one for our cabin. Actually, I had a jelly roll (a roll of fabric strips) sitting around and thought I might as well sew it up for a throw, and it reminds me a bit of the cabin.

And there you have it. Done for now. :)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

May Week 1: Flour, Wheat, & a Grinder

This week's food storage items are:

May Week 1: Flour - white, wheat, etc. Whole Wheat: white or hard red wheat, Wheat Grinder

First of all, notice that the highlight color is now green. That will be the color all month long, and will coordinate with colors on the Food Storage Inventory list. For the month of May, we'll concentrate on all the items that are highlighted in green on that Inventory. So, to begin with, this week is flour and wheat.

Flour includes white and wheat, and any other types of flour that you use. For instance, I use both white and wheat, and I also use Gold Medal Wondra, a super-fine flour used for thickening.

As far as wheat goes, I have my buckets of wheat that I bought several years ago.

Those should be good for 30+ years as long as they were packaged correctly. If you have whole wheat stored, you should really think about having a wheat grinder. Having said that, I'm going to go one step further and say that if the only wheat grinder you have is one that needs electricity, you might want to think about getting a hand grinder. If the power goes out for a prolonged period of time, and you are left with whole wheat and an electric wheat grinder, you might starve. Just saying. If you don't really use your whole wheat, so you don't have an electric grinder, just skip that and buy a hand grinder that you keep somewhere very near your whole wheat containers.

As with some of the other food storage items, I also have wheat and flour that I've canned at the Dry Pack Cannery. To read details and information about the Dry Pack Cannery, click here.

Whole wheat can keep for 30+ years, if it is stored correctly. Flour that is packaged with oxygen absorber packets can keep for 10+ years. And flour that you buy in the grocery store has an expiration date on the bag, and I stick pretty close to that. I remember years ago that I dipped into an older bag of flour that had weevils in it. Never again. Trust you me. I don't want to go into the sordid details, but suffice it to say, I had to throw out that batch of cinnamon roll dough. Ugh.

So, there you have it. Decide what your family's needs are for flour and wheat, both long term and short term. If it isn't really feasible to try to store the really long term stuff, then just think about this year and what your family might use for the year. Add it to your shopping list, and in the next couple of days, buy the items and get them on your shelves. Done. You can rest for a week.

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.