Friday, June 30, 2017

July Sale Items I'll Be Adding to My Pantry!

A new month is before us and time to take a look at the things that usually go on sale in July. I'll be working towards adding these items to my pantry as I find them on sale!

Hot Dogs ...
Into the freezer they’ll go!  We don't eat alot of hot dogs but for those times when we need a quick and easy meal, they're perfect!

Hamburgers (ground beef) ...
I plan to make meatloaves, meatballs, hamburger patties, stuffed peppers and brown some with onions for sauces and casseroles.  Into the freezer all these entrĂ©e’s will go.  A good way to make hamburger patties for the freezer is to make up your mixture, flash freeze them in something like this, turn them out and vacuum seal them in a bag.

Condiments ...
It’s time to restock ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, salad dressing etc.  (I’ll be on the lookout for coupons to make these sale items even better deals.)

Back to school supplies ...
The back to school sales will begin toward the end of the month and I always try to anticipate our stationary needs for the upcoming year and purchase enough to last until the next back to school sale rolls around.  (Notebook paper, notebooks, folders, composition books, colored pencils, envelopes, glue sticks, etc.)

What sale items will you be looking for in the month of July?

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

My other blog:  She Hath Done What She Could

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and place an order, etc I earn a small fee at no increased cost to you. Thank you for your support through these means. 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Disaster Preparedness Class Q & A ... part 2

As promised, here’s part 2 of the Q & A from our disaster preparedness class.  Part 1 can be found HERE.

Let’s get started …

Neighbors …

Were your closest neighbors as prepared as you?

Some were and some weren’t!

Were you aware of any neighbors who did not prepare for the disaster and then imposed on others?

Sad to say, yes!

Misc Questions …

Did you or husband have any medical issues while this was going on?

No we did not, other than minor scraps, bumps and bruises.  We were again blessed!

The thing I've been thinking about is trash. How long was it before trash service was restored in your area? How badly did it pile up? We have paper- and plastic-ware set aside for emergencies so that we won't waste precious water stores, but that generates a lot of trash. Food scraps can be composted or fed to the dog, cat, or chickens. Uncoated paper plates and bowls, paper towels, paper napkins, and tissues can be burned, but what to do with plastic or Styrofoam cups, plastic cutlery, and coated plates? We don't want to attract ants, raccoons, etc.

Trash pick-up was determined by ‘if the trucks could get to you or not.’  I think we missed one week of trash pick-up.   It really was not an issue for us because we have a burn barrel that we can burn trash in if we need to.

Oh, and what about the toilet? did you have water to flush or did you do something else? I've always thought an outhouse could come in handy during an emergency.

Our water to flush the toilets came from rain water we caught and from water we had stored in empty soda bottles and empty milk jugs.  We adopted the rule … ‘if it’s yellow, let it mellow, if it’s brown, flush it down.’

From the most recent posts, I'd be interested to learn what to REALLY do once the power comes back on.

We immediately started flushing toilets and cleaning.  We cooked inside on our electric stove and did lots of laundry.  We took showers!!!! It was so nice when it came back on!  We were also very watchful of brownouts, which we had.  At the first sign of lights going dim or appliances slowing down we immediately turned them off.  A few times we lost power again, but it was only out for a couple of hours at a time.

Looking back and forward …

What did you learn?

I learned that there are some amazing people in this world. I learned that there are some incredibly greedy people in this world.  I learned that there is no such thing as storing too much water (it takes a lot more than one thinks when it’s not a simple fact of turning on the facet) and I had re-enforced the value of a well-stocked pantry!

In what way were you inadequately prepared for this disaster?

We did not have enough water stored!

What are you doing now to prepare for another disaster?

Keeping all areas of my pantry stocked and storing more water!

What are the top 3 (or most important) things you would have done differently considering the disaster?

Stored more water.
Stored more water.
Stored more water.

I realize that this is not the answer the reader was looking for but in our situation, that is the only thing I would have done differently.

There are a couple more suggestions I’d like to make.  One is that you need to remember when there is no electricity, ATM’s do not work.   Neither do cash registers, gas pumps and other things that we take for granted on a daily basis.  Take this into consideration when you are preparing.

The other suggestion I would make is to start preparing at the first sign of a pending disaster.  We weren’t supposed to get a direct hit from Hurricane Matthew, but we did.  It’s better to be prepared and not need your preparations, then not prepare and wish you had.

This concludes my series on disaster preparedness.  I hope it has been helpful to you!

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and place an order, etc I earn a small fee at no increased cost to you. Thank you for your support through these means. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

My Pantry Is ...

When we think of our pantries most of the time we think of using them to get through the 'here and now' ... the daily stuff ... getting the family fed and such.  But, my pantry is so much more than a means to get through the daily stuff, its ...

Our rainy day fund …
… it helps us deal with short term/temporary financial setbacks.  Setbacks such as unexpected medical bills, vehicle repairs, etc that use up the weekly or monthly food budget allotment.

Our insurance policy …
…  it has seen us through long term financial upsets like job loss and income reduction.

Our store house …
… it gives us the convenience of shopping when we want instead of when we have too. It allows us to be able to wait for sales and not have to pay full price which in turn stretches our food budget even more.

… it saw us through the aftermath of all the devastation of Hurricane Matthew last fall with ease and enabled us to be able to help others.  Enough said!

What is your pantry to you?

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and place an order, etc I earn a small fee at no increased cost to you. Thank you for your support through these means. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Disaster Preparedness Class Q & A ... part 1

This is the first installment of the questions you asked regarding the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew and the disaster preparedness classes I taught.  I’ve broken them down into categories and combined questions when they were asked more than once.

Water …

 I'm curious did you have enough water? Did you only have what is recommended, if so, was that enough?

We barely had enough water and yes, we had more than the daily recommendation.  The daily recommendation is 1 -2 gallons per person per day … in my opinion, that is not enough to cover cooking, cleaning, flushing and washing up.

Did you ration the water you had such as most for drinking and cooking, etc?  Did you have an alternate source for water for washing bodies/dishes?  

Yes, we rationed our water and kept water suitable for drinking and cooking separate from water used for flushing, cleaning and washing up.  Our washing up water for our bodies and dishes came from the water we had stored in soda bottles, milk jugs, etc. We also caught water in 5 gallon buckets from the rain that helped with flushing.

Let me say here that we had a generator and when we ran it our well pump worked which meant we had running water in the house.  However, we had to ration our gas for the generator as we didn’t know when we would be able to get more and we were sharing what we had with an elderly couple in our community who had been out of town and had not been able to prepare.

How long before municipal sewer systems are up and running (and what to expect / how long before it occurs) if you start using water and flushing, if it's NOT up to 100%?

This was different all over our area depending on where you were and the amount of damage you received.   In towns, it was longer than out in the country due to the flooding affecting the water treatment stations.  Not being on a municipal sewer system, this was not an issue for us.  We have our own sewer system.

How long before municipal water is potable?

Again, not being on a municipal water system, we did not have to deal with this.  We have our own well.  This would depend on how much flooding there was and the damage done.

How much water to have on hand per person, for each day without power?

In my opinion, being really conservative in usage … 3 gallons/person/day.  My goal is 5 gallons/person/day, 3 of which would be potable.

Here's a post I did  on water that talks about being prepared in this area.

Food …

What foods did you eat? Did you have to get really creative with cooking, did you open your home canned goods or how did you genetically go about preparing a meal?

The first day after the disaster we ate what was in the refrigerator.  After that we started eating from the freezer.  We made sure to run the generator 3 – 4 hours each day to keep the food in the freezer frozen.  We ate things that could be cooked on our grill since we couldn’t run our electric cook stove on the generator.

What foods/recipes that you thought would work, didn't?   

We just ate what we had that could be cooked on our grill or heated up on our grill.

What would you have had more of in your pantry? Less of?

I can’t think of anything, keeping a well-stocked pantry pretty much assured us of having something we could cook and eat at all meals including snack type foods.

What meal(s) did you plan to prepare and did that work out okay considering meal ingredients and method of preparing (for instance, did you boil rice on a grill, etc.) Or had you planned on making a certain meal and then realize that oops, you couldn't cook an item a certain way and the whole idea fell apart? You probably didn't make elaborate meals, but what simple meals worked for you? Did you use canned meat or go without?

Like I said earlier, we ate what we had.  We didn’t do any menu planning beyond what to fix for the next meal.  Everything was just so ‘up in the air’ and we never knew what each morning or evening for that matter was going to bring.  For breakfast most mornings, until the power came back on, we cooked bacon or sausage in a skillet on the grill and cooked fresh eggs from our chickens.  I believe I did have some home-made granola one morning too.  We had to cook just what we would eat at every meal and take things out of the freezer in time for them to thaw and cook for the next meal.  For lunch we would open up a jar of something home-canned, heat and eat it.  Dinner was some kind of meat from the freezer.  Our vegetables either came from the freezer or were home-canned.  All of our meals were cooked on our grill until the power came back on.

Here's a post I did on ways to cook when there is not power.

Mentally Coping …

How has the disaster affected you mentally and emotionally? Did it change how you think about human nature?

As for how the disaster affected me mentally and emotionally, it has definitely left a few scars.  I saw things and experienced things that were hard to wrap my mind around.  It took a while for me to process it all, sometimes I was sad, sometimes I cried, sometimes I needed to talk about it, sometimes I didn’t want to talk about it at all and sometimes I just needed to escape into a good book for a while. 

One of my most heartfelt emotional moments was when I saw power truck … after power truck … after power truck … after power truck roll into our area.  Help had finally arrived!  I cried and so did everyone else who witnessed their arrival.

Did it change how I feel about human nature … it made me more aware.  We saw the best in people and the worst in people.  We saw it all … incredibly spoiled, greedy and selfish people, people who were beyond generous and people who were so thankful for the help they were given.  It reminded me that how we react is our choice.  We can’t always control the situation but we can control how we react to it. We can choose to be greedy and selfish or we can join hands with others helping where and when we can with thankful hearts.

How did you cope with the disaster?

During the immediate aftermath … the first week … I just kept putting one foot in front of the other doing the next thing.  There was no time to think, the needs were too urgent.  Yes, I was exhausted, but so was everyone else.  After the first week, the pace slowed a little but there were still so many needs that we just continued doing the next thing.  When we had done all we could do for others and it was time for us to focus on us, I crashed.  I had nothing left to give; I needed to rest and did for about a week.

We had only minor damage at our house and we were so thankful, many, many, many others were not so fortunate.

That’s all for this installment, I’ll answer the rest of your questions on Thursday.

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and place an order, etc I earn a small fee at no increased cost to you. Thank you for your support through these means. 

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Ways of My Household ... 6/26/2017

We were involved with Vacation Bible School this past week which left very little time until after Wednesday to do anything.  Then, I was so exhausted on Thursday that I didn’t feel like doing anything … so, it was one of those weeks were nothing much was done to build up my pantry except …

I had some tomatoes in the refrigerator that we had gotten on mark down the last time we went grocery shopping so I sliced and dehydrated them.  I made tomato powder out of them.
I also peeled and chopped some apples we had gotten on clearance during the same shopping trip.  I dehydrated the apples and started a batch of apple cider vinegar with the peelings and cores.  Learning how to make apple cider vinegar has been on my ‘to-do’ for quite some time and since I had these apple peelings and cores, now seemed like the right time.  I’m using this method to make the apple cider vinegar.  I looked at several and this one seemed to me to be the most concise and easy to understand in its directions … of the ones I looked at.  I’ll keep you updated on how this goes!  What will I do with the dehydrated chopped apples?  I’ll use them in baking and cooking, of course!  I might even grind some up into powder to go in smoothies!  Clearanced or marked-down fruit can be used to help build up our pantries … waste not, want not!  

We’ve been enjoying squash from our garden as well as giving it away.  I did fill up a couple of trays in the dehydrator with some I chopped using my handy dandy chopper and dried it.  I'll use this to drop in soups this winter.  

We harvested our first okra this week too.  It wasn't enough for a meal so I sliced it and added it to the dehydrator.  I'd like to add several jars of dehydrated okra to my pantry this year.

It was time to strain up a batch of cider fire so I got that done.  I have one more batch to strain up and then we should have enough to see us through the rest of the year.   

I noticed that 3 of my husband’s work t-shirts were getting pretty stained when doing laundry so, after they were clean I cut them up into cleaning size rags.  I plan to make a quick stitch around the outside edges and then call them done. I call this 'repurposing!'

I downloaded 4 free e-books from Amazon this week.  This one and this one were on camp cooking, one on fermenting foods and the other one is a 'just for fun' reading Amish book.  

That’s it!  A slow week considering we’re in the middle of preserving season in our area, but some is better than none!

What did you do to build up your pantry or live frugally last week?

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

My other blog:  She Hath Done What She Could

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and place an order, etc I earn a small fee at no increased cost to you. Thank you for your support through these means. 

Friday, June 23, 2017

What Are You Preparing For?

In trying to finish off the disaster preparedness series and classes I've been doing the last few months, I found this article that Vicky from the Vicky Challenge wrote for this series.  I forgot all about it due to my recent unexpected blogging break but now that I'm back to blogging I want to include it in this series before I close it out.

There are two kinds of preparedness (1) short term preparedness for things like natural disasters and (2) long term preparedness for situations where you need to think sustainability.  So, the question is, what are you preparing for …. now, over to Vicky …

I have been asked this question again, but I think this time from a serious interest aspect. To have to answer that question isn't as simple as the non preparers think. I get a lot of, "Oh your one of those nutty Dooms day, SHTF prepper people!" Not this time this person expressed a true interest, but also confusion. Many newbies feel pressure and are not really sure what they're preparing for, all they hear is the word prepare! Really you can't help someone unless you know what your main goal is and a clear plan as to getting there.

The biggest pitfall to preparing is ‘not really knowing’ what is going to happen when and the outcome of it. We have a history that is rich with lessons to learn from.  We also have a nation that has changed much by each governing hand. The air crackles these days with what looks to be an upcoming conflict that could very well effect us all and other countries as well. We can't really know at the moment if this will come to fruition, but can we at least take a step back from saying that'll never happen.

I have seen a lot of people who prepare and then stop because "nothing happened." That is very common; people will go full force into stockpiling and adding this and that and then get burned out and stop because they feel it takes over their life. That is a mistake! It is not about always being gung ho and living in fear! We have lives, we live them. We go places, we have fun, we have jobs and families. The preparing part is part of a lifestyle not a life.

Now to change topics for a bit here, if you have a 3 month supply and you are happy with that that is really good, but I always suggest at least a year's supply in the pantry of as many things you use as you can get. Many of those things are economical items or foods that are easy to stock a year's supply of in one way or another such as through couponing, sales or gardening.  Think about it and how easy that is.

Say you stock a 3 month supply and something happens and it runs out what do you do?  Before it runs out I would start rationing to make what you have last longer and making sure you’re getting the most out of the ingredients you have. If you don't have a lot of food even though a pork chop is tasty how can you stretch it? What are the foods that you have in your 3 month supply? Are they good filling foods so that you’re not hungry again in a short time?

When the food starts running out do you intend on growing a garden? They take months before you can harvest from them.

Do you know how to forage and what wild edibles you have near that you can pick. Do you know what the nutritional value is and would your family be willing to eat "weeds"? There are so many of them that have more nutritional benefits than what we grow in our gardens.

Can you catch and eat any kind of wild game? During the Depression the pigeon population was almost wiped out because that is what people were able to catch and eat in the city.

Do you have anything you could barter for food?

When the food runs out these are the options we have.

We each have to make our own decisions, but the reason I go beyond a 3 month supply is I can tell you for a fact a long term loss of income and you make a big dent in a year's supply for us a 3 month supply would have been a band aid and not the bandage that we needed.  And also paying attention to history and times of conflict, supplies were cut off, rationing occurred and black markets developed.

No preparing isn't burning yourself out on stockpiling and then stopping it is a continual process that is a part of life, taking advantage of any information we can get and using it to our benefit, being prepared, not scared of situations as they come and using what we have to make the best of them.

I think for older people it can be a bit hard because they have seen so many things and feel they have had enough worry in their life and don't care to worry anymore. If you can, help them out. The time may come where we will really need each other.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Disaster Preparedness Class #16

This is the last entry for the class.  I hope the class has been beneficial to you.   After Hurricane Matthew I felt an overwhelming need to help others prepare for disaster type situations; the preparedness posts I’ve written, the Hurricane Matthew posts I’ve written, the why prepare posts I’ve written and this class have all been for the sole purpose of helping others prepare. 
Thank you to all who took the time to comment and participate in the class, I hope you feel it has been worthwhile. 

I will begin to answer the questions you've submitted in the near future.  I've gotten several so there will be more than one post! 

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and place an order, etc I earn a small fee at no increased cost to you. Thank you for your support through these means. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Use It ALL Up! ... Fruit

Here's a timely post by Vicky from the Vicky Challenge for finding a use for fruit ... all of the fruit ... not just the meat part.  There's lots to be gleaned ....  (Thank you Vicky!)

Over to Vicky ...

Today let's talk about fruit. Summer many of us find that we have an abundance of it and of course we can and freeze the extra, but we can do much more with it and add variety to the weekly menu plan, use up some of the excess we have and in some cases use up some of the items in the pantry that need used and rotated and also have some gifts and add to the medicinals. Over the years I have strived to have as little waste as possible when it comes to food, but sometimes one does get tired of the same thing over and over. And the animals getting some and composting is a given, but we can do more! For some this may not be new information, but for some it will be so let's have a look.

A few sliced and frozen bananas and a couple of cups of frozen fruit blended in the blender and frozen in a container make a great sherbet.

No ice cream maker needed ice cream is a can of sweetened condensed milk and a few cups of whipping cream whipped(before it's added)  with a little vanilla and add whatever kind of goodies you like from chunks of fruit to nuts, raisins, chocolate, etc. If you have sweetened condensed milk that needs used up this tastes good.

With some fruit puree, juice and gelatin homemade fruit snacks can be made for the kids

Ice and fresh or frozen fruit pureed in the blender and topped of with 7Up, ginger ale or club soda is refreshing in the summer

Sorbet is easy to make and popped in the freezer even without an ice cream maker

Apple peels, peach and pear peels and cores can be used to make cider vinegar or any peels can make flavored vinegars or vodkas

Citrus peels can be candied and if someone likes them they make great gifts too

Citrus peels can be dehydrated and ground into powder and then dissolved in water to make homemade vitamin C powder

Citrus peels can be grated and frozen for zest

Of course citrus peels steeped in vinegar for cleaning

A few cups of whipping cream whipped, a little sugar and vanilla and pureed fruit makes a tasty whip (one of my favorites)

Some fruit in the crockpot topped with a cake mix and some dots of butter is an easy cobbler

Sugar cookie dough can have bits of fruit added

Add bits of fruit to pancakes before making them

And although not a fruit I save potato peels in cold water and then drain them really well and coat them in a little oil and seasoning and then bake them for crispy potato skins

I hope there are some ideas here that are helpful!

Can you add anything to Vicky's list of ways to use every part of the fruit?

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

Disasater Preparedness Class #15

(Picture is of disaster relief boxes waiting to be distributed.)

Before I post the next topic of discussion I want to mention a couple of things.  It is common when power is being restored after a disaster for there to be power surges. Please make a note of this in your disaster notes and have a plan that will prevent your appliances/electronics from being fried should there be any. Learn what to look for that would indicate a power surge is taking place and then act accordingly.

Another thing I want to address is that your grocery store shelves will more than likely be empty or greatly reduced even after power has been turned back on making buying groceries impossible or hard to do. In addition, just because the power comes back on doesn't mean that the roads have been cleared or that they are passable.  You may have power and still be trapped in your neighborhood.   Make sure you factor these in when planning your disaster preparedness.

Okay, here's our next topic....

You were without power for 3 weeks, what did you run out of?

What did you learn about your preparedness level? In the very first day of class I asked you to rate where you thought you were preparedness wise. 

Do you remember what you put? 

Which of these did you think you were? 

Which are you now?

Level 1 - 3: Polly Put Off (I know I should but …)

Level 4 - 7: Cathy Can Do (I’ve got a plan and I’m working it!)

Level 8 - 10: Confident Connie (I got this under control!)

Are you a Polly Put Off? If so, which level, 1, 2 or 3?

Are you a Cathy Can Do? If so, which level, 4, 5, 6 or 7?

Are you a Confident Connie? If so, which level, 8, 9 or 10?

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Disaster Preparedness Q & A

I received the following comment from a reader recently ... 

Patsi... a thought I've been having: You have been presenting these disaster scenarios, and your students have been brain storming as to what they could do in each situation. Our responses reveal how much we are or are not prepared to meet each disaster. We are learning some great tips from other commenters as to ways to survive this disaster. But I think something huge is missing... I think the instructor who has survived these disasters needs to be instructing us not only as to whether we are making good decisions, but also how wrong or inadequate choices could affect an outcome. We need to hear from you, Patsi, how you coped with this disaster. What did you learn? In what way were you inadequately prepared for this disaster? What worked for you? What would you have done differently? What foods/recipes that you thought would work, didn't? What would you have had more of in your pantry? Less of? What are you doing now to prepare for another disaster? We can comment all day til the cows come home (and thanks for your input/reply to some comments), but we're just basically sharing what we THINK will work.. what we THINK we will do. I am turning to the teacher for wisdom.

While I have attempted to reply and respond to as many comments as I could ... and answer specific questions when asked, there was and is no way I could include everything in this class.  I chose to approach the class in the manner that I did thinking it would be the best way to get everyone to think about how they would or could handle each scenario.  We are all at different places in our disaster preparedness journey and what works for one might not work for another.  We need to be able to come up with a disaster plan that would work for each of our individual needs.  That was my mindset when thinking about how to approach teaching the class.  

So, here's your chance to 'pick my brain,' tell me what you want to know.  What questions do you want to ask me about the disaster?  I will do my best to answer your questions in-depth but please keep in mind, what worked for us, might not be the solution for you.

I plan to do at least one post or more if there are enough questions, so, let me hear from you.

What do you want to know?

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

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