Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Life's Little Speed Bumps

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When did life get so crazy?!?!  I thought after my move that I could settle down and get back to my "normal" routine.  Well, life can throw you curve balls at any moment.

 I half stepped off a bottom porch step and broke my foot the other day. This has slowed me down and is quite frustrating when I have so many people dependent on me.  So, cooking has been not so adventuresome and I have just been doing the bare minimum around the house.  I could totally look at this in a preparedness viewpoint, but I am just going to be so grateful for modern medicine right now.  I am so grateful for doctors down the street from my home, that work in a clean and fully stocked medical center.  I love knowing there is electricity and x-ray machines available at all times.  I will not take for granted these modern conveniences, but a small part of me really does think "what if?", and so maybe I'll stock up on some splints, just in case :) At least I can add a boot to my medical supplies now :)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Prepare Today Homemade: Flavored Popcorn

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As my children get older they are really enjoying their time in the kitchen.  After school snacks are becoming a little more than just apples or oranges.  My daughter wanted popcorn the other day and after she had made it she said she wished she could have chocolate popcorn.  I agreed with her that that would taste really yummy but she wasn't getting any chocolate for her after school snack.  Then I remembered my Mix-A-Meal powdered flavorings and told her to go wild with flavor combinations.

 The first flavor was, of course, chocolate cream.  It really tasted like chocolate popcorn and we both agreed it was good.  We then decided to add some orange flavor to it to see what that tasted like and it was ok.  It tasted good but we liked the plain chocolate better.

The orange flavor by itself was interesting but not our favorite.  It did make plain popcorn taste better though.

The cinnamon flavor was our favorite!!  Especially when we added some of the chocolate flavor to it.  We just eye balled the amount of flavoring and mixed it with our hands.  It sticks really well to the popcorn when you have melted butter on it, but we also used cooking spray to coat the popcorn.  

The possibilities are almost endless with all the flavor combinations.  It was fun to mix and match all of the flavors and to find out what worked and what didn't.  I found all of my flavors at Honeyville Grain in Salt Lake City.  They carry many more flavors then we used like, coconut, almond, strawberry, maple, lemon, pineapple, banana, and butterscotch.   

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Preparedness in the Right Direction

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I try to make preparedness a part of my everyday life, and accomplishing smalls things everyday allows me to live a self-reliant lifestyle.  I thought I would list a few of the things that I did this week that either used my food storage or my emergency preparedness items.  Not everything that I do is some big spectacular project, it is mostly small things that keep me going in the right direction.

Charging my Goal Zero unit.

  • I used dehydrated strawberries and apples in my children's lunches this week.
  • My dinners this week included many cans from my food storage, corn, beans, pears, mandarian oranges, mushrooms, spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, tomato paste.
  • I made homemade hamburger buns for sloppy joes.
  • We ate M&M's for dessert that had been sealed in a mason jar. 
  • We eat farina (cream of wheat) for breakfast every morning.
  • I bought 15 dozen eggs that were a great price at the grocery store. Eggs store for quite a long time and with Easter coming up we will go through these quite quick.
  • I used canned applesauce in place of butter in our chocolate chip cookies.
  • My daughter hurt her back and I have heat packs in my medicine stockpile.  She was able to put one on for some relief.
  • Another child has a cold and needed cold medicine.  One look in the medicine stockpile again and she found what she needed.
  • And the biggest project that I did this week was to charge my Goal Zero generator unit. It needs to be charged every 1-2 months to keep the battery going strong.  I started it in the sun and then moved it inside to plug it into the wall for faster charging.  The solar panel will charge the unit in about 8-10 hours, but I was running out of sun.      
As you can see, nothing major accomplished this week, but even just using a few cans here and there will rotate my stockpile.  I will look through the sale ads tomorrow as usual to see what drug store items are a good buy.  Then I will look through the grocery store ads on Wednesday to see what item are a great price and I can add them to my food storage.  I am constantly keeping on top of my preparedness so I don't get behind and become overwhelmed, and it doesn't take much to keep doing that.  Just think of something you can do everyday to keep you moving in the right direction!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Frugal Emergency Preparedness

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Emergency preparedness can be an overwhelming and expensive, but there are ways around each of those barriers.  I covered the overwhelming feeling of food storage HERE a few weeks ago.  But today I want to cover the expense of emergency preparedness

Most of you probably recognize this store front from the Dollar Tree Dollar Store.  I noticed a sign they had in the window advertising their emergency supplies.  They do have quite a few items that work great for emergency preparedness.  I have found duct tape, bungee cords, water, batteries, canned food (they carry canned strawberries that are really great for pureeing and dehydrating into fruit leather), small organizing containers for my storage room, lots of first aid items, baby items, solar yard lights, etc.

Some of the items from the dollar store may have fewer in a box or not as much tape on a roll, but the quality, I feel, is pretty close to other brands.  

Don't shy away from discount stores like Big Lots and the Dollar Stores.  There is nothing to be afraid of shopping at these stores and no one is judging you for it either.  Big Lots even has 20% off days where everything in the store is 20% off.  Read about one of my shopping trips to Big Lots HERE.  Just sign up for email alerts and you'll know when the next sale day will be.  

If you don't have a Dollar Store or Big Lots try your local Army Navy store, or camping store.  In Utah, Recreation Outlet carries a large variety of camping and emergency prep items for a fraction of retail prices.  I purchased all 7 of our sleeping bags from them and they were all under $60 dollars.  The children's bags were only $39.95, and they are quality sleeping bags with a -20 rating.
Keep your eyes open wherever you shop for clearance bins and percent off baskets.  Especially check stores the week after a holiday for deeply discounted items.  I found LED small flashlights at Walgreens after Halloween for .50.  They had vampires on them, but they were the same as any other LED flashlight. They had the same metal casing that non-vampire flashlights have and work just as well.  Plus, they are kind of fun to talk about when people give you weird looks :)

After holiday sales are also a great time to stock up on candy.  I store my candy in mason jars and then I seal it with my foodsaver. 

Have an open mind when you are shopping and don't look over something because it may have a vampire picture on it :) Think outside of the box when it comes to prepping and you'll be able to save money.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Do You Have A Landline?

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From the moment I started my food storage I have always heard that I need a landline and a phone that can hook into the wall, not a cordless phone, in my supplies.  Up until a month ago when I moved we have always had a landline.  My husband decided in our new home that we are going to use our cell phones and a special phone jack that uses our wireless internet for our home phone, instead of a traditional landline.  I am totally against this and everything I said didn't convince him otherwise. So here I am, no landline and feeling nervous daily that we don't have one.  But I have also always heard that you can call 911 from any phone jack without having a landline service, so I thought we would be OK if we just had a cord phone in our home for emergencies.

So with this information in my head, and totally thinking it is correct information, I have been on the lookout for a cord phone.  While shopping at a toy store recently I found this absolutely hideous phone on clearance for $3.48.  Yes it was ugly, but it had a cord and I knew I needed it in my preparedness supplies.  I was excited that it was so inexpensive and like I have mentioned before, if you keep a running list of items that you are hunting for in the back of your mind, you may come across them at the strangest times.  I took my ugly phone home (can you tell I can't stand Sponge Bob) and couldn't wait to feel the security of having a land-line phone in my home.

But guess what....I plugged into my phone jack and there wasn't a dial tone.....nothing!!!  After googling landline info, I found you have to have some kind of phone service hooked up to your home to even get a dial tone.  I can't even dial 911 on this phone when it is hooked up to my phone jack.  Yeah....lesson learned here.  Do research first before purchasing.  This wasn't a huge purchase and I will need this phone, but after researching further I realized I will need to talk to our phone company.  

Landlines are a good idea to have in an emergency and everyone should have a landline in their home.  It makes it much easier when dialing 911 for them to find your home.  Cell phones will not work in an emergency and having a back up phone is a smart idea.  In some areas the phone company may offer a phone line where you can only call 911 and not receive calls, but you need to check with your carrier.  I have further investigation to do on this subject, but I thought I would share with what I have learned just in case you had the same information that I had about using a landline.   
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