Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Be Prepared - February: Foil, Trash Bags & Paper Towels

Told you I'd be back with more info for February's emergency preparedness.

The additional items you should be collecting are:

  • axe
  • paper towels
  • trash bags
  • foil
You're probably wondering thinking, huh? Why these items? Ok, an axe you would need to be able to cut things down. But paper towels? Trash Bags? Foil?

Let me tell you that these things would serve you in ways you probably never would have thought of.

Foil: has many uses. Let me name a few.
  • line containers for increased insulation: it will help keep food hot longer or colder
  • great for covering things
  • you can cook things in them, you know the hobo style meals you make while camping
  • you can make a funnel with foil, probably best to use the heavy duty foil for that
  • you can sharpen scissors
  • make a solar cooker
Paper towels: what would you use paper towels for?
  • use in your garden when planting
  • wrap your clean produce after it has been washed to keep fresh
  • use as a strainer
  • soften brown sugar
Trash Bags
  • use as a poncho
  • protect your sleeping bags and pillows
  • use as a tarp
  • stuff with leaves to make a pillow out of it
  • use to catch water in
  • white trash bags can be used to signal for help
So not as un-useful as you might have thought, huh?

I didn't buy the expensive ones, bargain brand will do just fine.

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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Be Prepared - February: Grains

It's February! How did you do in collecting your items for January? I wanted to share with you before I got into what we need to do for February, my awesome finds for the January items.

Small can of instant milk, and egg powder from Emergency Essentials

Large cans of instant milk and powdered cheese also from Emergency Essentials

I found the toothbrush kits at the dollar store and the soap at target for less than $1.

These are for the 72 hour kits, I also found these at the dollar store.
Now, onto what we need to do for February. This month we are collecting grains: wheat, rice, corn, etc. Grains are such an essential staple for any food storage. You need to make sure that you are collecting enough for each member in you family.

You can collect flour or hard/soft wheat kernels. Freshly ground wheat is one of the most nutritious foods we can eat. It's a great source of fiber and it is fairly inexpensive.

What you need to know for collecting wheat: A minimum of 200 lbs per adult is a general guideline to use. You can even go up to about 350 lbs per person max. The thing is that you don't want to be short of have an excess that you may end up wasting. I will be the first to admit that I'm no good with math so I have found a couple of sites that have done some math and give some great examples. Living Prepared has done a great example for a family 4. He has done a breakdown of how much wheat a person may consume in a year. I even found an online calculator that can help you determine how much you need.

So, using the calculator my family of 5 needs about 600 lbs of wheat for 1 year. That sounds like a LOT but when an emergency hits, it will be just right!

Where am I going to store 600 lbs of wheat?! That is a very good question. I don't have a lot of space and here in Arizona it gets hot, so storing it out in a shed is not an option, unless it has its own air cooling system. Something to look into for the future. I'm going to need to get creative in my storage place, but I discuss that at a later time.

When collecting your grains make sure you're storing the grains that your family will use and eat. Don't just store anything just to store it. Be smart about it.

Here are a few other things to consider for storing grains.

Rice: There are different kinds of rice. Long grain white rice is a popular rice to collect and it usually available in bulk through the emergency preparedness sites. But if you prefer the other types of rice collect that and make sure it is stored correctly to last. Brown rice is very nutritious, but the downside is that it does not keep as well as white rice. You may want to consider brown rice as a 3 month food storage item and not long term. Again figure out what you need, use the calculator that I mentioned above as a guide to help you out.

Corn: you can collect kernels that you can grind to make up cornmeal or use to make popcorn. Or get already made cornmeal to store.

Oats: How much oatmeal will my family need? Do I plan to use it for breakfast daily and in many other recipes? Or will I use it primarily for cookies? Are questions we should ask when storing oats. Not everyone uses oats. Again only store what you need. Side note: a #10 can holds about 12 cups of oats.

Most importantly make sure you are rotating your food storage and replacing items. Use your food storage, it doesn't have to only for an emergency. By using it you will gain a better understanding of how to use it so that when a disaster does strike you aren't scared of how to use it.

I will touch back later this month with the other items on the list that we should be collecting.

February preparedness file.

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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Valentine's Day Wreath

It's been a while since I posted a craft on here. 

The other day I was at the dollar store and they had their Valentine's Day stuff out and I saw red rose bouquets with hearts and the the idea just hit me that I needed to make a wreath using those flowers. I didn't have a wreath for Valentine's Day and it was probably time that I make one.

I bought a stick wreath, those flowers, foam glitter hearts that I also found at the dollar store, wood letters, and went to work. 

I painted my letters first so that they would dry as I was gluing the flowers. I placed my flowers and the hearts and then glued in place. I had found a ribbon bow at Michaels, it was badly made so I re-tied it so that it looked prettier.

Once the letters were dried I glued them into place with foam hearts next to them. Here is my final result.

I loved how it turned out!!

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Friday, January 9, 2015

Homemade Baby Food - Take 2

I'm at it again. I'm making baby food for little miss Zoey. I found that when I made it for miss Summer it saved us a lot of money, than had I bought pre-made baby food. I was able to make big batches for less.

For example: 1 small bag of frozen green beans with a container of fresh kale made 2 and half ice cube trays for about $3. Each ice cube is about 1 serving. So if you figure that, for about 36 servings it comes out to about $0.09 a serving. Say What?!!? So compared to a jar baby food that is about $0.99 each. That's CHEAP!!

There are benefits to making your own baby food. You know exactly what is going in it. It is also very easy. The other day I had my steamer and 2 pots on the stove. On the stove I had the greens cooking. In one pot I had green beans and kale, and in the other I had peas, spinach and kale. I like to mix the leafy greens with a more solid green. Then in the steamer I had sweet potatoes (yams) cooking.

After each batch was done cooking I used my soup puree mixer and using water from the pots blended up the food. Then poured them into the ice trays and put them in the freezer. I like to let them set up for about a day, then transfer them to ziploc freezer quart sized bags labeled with what's in them and dated.

I fed Zoey her first bowl of solids with oatmeal and she loved it!

To prepare to feed the baby, you can put 1 to 2 cubes in a microwave safe bowl, heat for 40 seconds. The good thing about homemade food, I'm not afraid to taste to make sure it isn't too hot to give to the baby. The store bought stuff tastes kind of icky, bleh!

As miss Zoey gets bigger, I can't wait to use the reusable pouches that I bought!

The possibilities are endless for making your own baby food. The only drawback is that you have to keep it refrigerated or frozen until time of use, if not it will spoil.

Good luck! I will post some ideas of combos that I have made in the past and new ones that I have come up with in my printables section.

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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Be Prepared - January: Milk, Eggs and Cheese

I wanted to do something a little different this year with the monthly food storage/ emergency kit items for the month. I will break it down better into smaller categories so that you don’t feel overwhelmed trying to get the things. I will give you tips and where to find them for a good deal.

So with that being said, this month’s focus for food storage is milk, eggs and cheese. Along with a few other items, which I will share later in the month.

I thought that I would share how to use these products so that when an emergency strikes you aren’t scrambling (haha get it scrambling since I’m talking about eggs), on how to use them.

I will first start off with eggs. Did you know that you could get freeze dried and powdered eggs? I didn’t, that tells you how far food storage food items have come in the last several years. You can get just about anything now. Ok back to the eggs, using powdered eggs is pretty easy from the research I’ve done, or you can also use the directions on the can. I just bought my first couple of cans from Emergency Essentials, and can’t wait to try them. I found a simple recipe at Cooking with my Food Storage. She has a lot of helpful hints. In this recipe she is also using dry milk. You can also purchase freeze dried cans of eggs with sausage.

Emergency Essentials

Now onto milk, this is a staple for any emergency food storage, you can use it to bake with and drink. I’ve always been scared of dried milk, maybe b/c I had a bad experience with it. I had a friend in high school whose mom always made them dried milk b/c it was cheaper than having to buy milk almost every day. They were milk lovers. In my January Be Prepared file I have included ways in how to use milk and how to store it. Also the difference between instant and non-instant. I believe that most places sell the instant as it is easier to prepare.

To make a gallon of milk:
3 ¾ qts water
5 2/3 cup instant dry milk
Mix well and chill. You can also add ½ tsp of sugar with a 1 tsp of vanilla for some added flavor.

Cheese is fairly new to the scene, and will last up to 30 years. It’s not a powder but freeze dried shredded cheese. It comes in a variety of flavors: cheddar and mozzarella for example. You can add them to any dish that calls for cheese. Although you can also buy blocks of cheese, shred it and freeze it; the freeze dried is a good alternative if/ or when the electricity goes out, you have a back-up!

I believe that having a good variety of foods in your food storage other than the basic beans, rice and wheat will save you from getting bored of your food when a disaster does strike.

*please note that there are affiliate links in this post.

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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Earn Extra Cash for the Holidays

Are you in need of some extra cash this holiday season? If you are come check out this site called Fast Track MyCashFreebies.

This site is guaranteed to earn you some cash. The site has offers to make this happen. So as long as someone has completed 1, just 1, offer you are guaranteed $10! The easiest offer to have some complete is the My Score. All they have to do is sign up, they get their score and then after the 7 day trial they can cancel. EASY!

To sign up though you must have a Paypal account for the deposits to go.

What are you waiting for!? Come on check it out!!

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Easy Pot of Beans

I totally meant to get this out a few days ago. Better late than never, right? 

I love making homemade beans and so does my family. This year for Thanksgiving on my side of the family we didn't do the traditional turkey and all the fixings. You see you when you get a family of Mexicans together you're gonna eat mexican food. Mmm so I was so happily volunteered by my SIL to make the beans. 

This is how I make a pot of beans. First off I use my crockpot. 

I used my small crockpot because I can put it on the low setting without a timer. I filled the pot with a 2 lb bag of pinto beans. Then I seasoned with garlic salt, onion powder, pepper and chicken bouillon. (Sorry no actual measurements, do it to taste) Then filled to the top with water. I let them soak for a couple of hours. Then just before I went to bed I turned on the crockpot to low and let them cook all night long.

I woke up to the smell of beans in the morning. Mmmm I checked on them, stirred them and added some more water and let them finish cooking for another couple of hours. So by 7 am they were completely cooked and tasty if I do say so myself. I let them cool just before we had to leave. 

My family totally scarfed them down. I hardly had any left to bring home.

Happy cooking.

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