Showing posts with label food storage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label food storage. Show all posts

Monday, April 18, 2016

Monday Update From The Homestead - April 18


Hello! We are having some very lovely temperatures here! The wind seems to want to blow too, but it feels so good to be outside soaking up the sun.

We got a fair amount of yard work done. The branches are piled up in three piles around the house and will be loaded into a trailer. Some of it will be burned and some of it will become mulch for the garden. The kids did most of that work as well as picking up trash around the yard.

I have my raspberries dug up and will get the replanted as soon as I get a new spot ready. I am excited to have them out of my garden and ready to get a new, bigger patch going. We all love fresh raspberries!

I also found out yesterday that my garden will be tilled in two weeks. I am excited about that too. I want to get my own tiller, but I am shopping around for a decent used one. I bought my seed potatoes, onion sets, and shallot sets yesterday too. I might buy more seed potatoes, but I am waiting to see.

We, mostly Rob, got the garage cleaned out and organized. We still have some more cleaning and organizing to do, but the garden tools and shovels are all hanging up! I have dreamed of that for quite a while! Rob also tore out some shelves that were rotting and falling apart. He also did a lot of sweeping and dusting. The garage was pretty dirty!

Paige went to prom! She is only a freshman, but her date was a junior. Here is the pretty girl in all her finery:



She wore a dress that her older sister, Jordan, wore to her junior prom. This dress was in pretty decent condition, but I had to use my sewing and ironing skills. I fixed and sown back on the beads and larger rhinestones that came loose. The skirt had a couple minor tears that I sewed back up. We spent $26 to get her hair done and grandma bought her a new pair of heels to wear. Jordan applied her make-up and Paige wore jewerly that she already had. A fairly frugal prom!

The chickens are still alive. We have been free ranging them again and so far no hawk. We did find out it was illegal to shoot them. I am looking into other ways to discourage them from eating my chickens!

Other than that, we have been going to track meets, cleaning, and generally keeping up with life. The cats will go to the vet tomorrow and that should be more fun than it sounds. One of the cats is deathly afraid to even leave the house so this is always a fun trip.

I wanted to let you all know about a new site for starting and adding to your current food storage. Preppers Market carries healthy emergency food storage with none of the nasty stuff you don't want! It tastes delicious and offers a great variety for you and yours. It would make a great gift to help jumpstart someone's food storage or add to their existing food storage. Check it out!

Preppers Market LB pasta

What is going on around your homestead?

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

I Have Been Prepping For Five Years, Now What? A Review Checklist for the Long-Term Prepper


Many of us have been prepping for quite a while. We started by getting some more food, a few cases of water, and some gear. Then prepping took over our lives and we now have a lot of prepping things and a good size food and water storage. 

I have been prepping for longer than five years, but I know that I have areas of my prepping I need to revisit. I bet you do too. As I have been decluttering and reorganizing, I have noticed things getting a little out of date, maybe a little dusty, maybe a little rusty, and some of it definitely being unused. I know our emergency plans are out of date and we have a lot of revisions to make. 

Sound familiar?

Here is a list of things you need to check if you have been prepping awhile. While we should be checking our preps every six months to one year, time does get away from us and we get busy with other things. Now is as good time as any to get your preps in line for, you know, just in case!

Preps to Check:

Check Water



Check long-term food stores 

  • Freeze-dried foods need to be checked to make sure the seals are good and no containers are bulging 
  • Food stored in mylar bags needs to be checked and possibly opened to make sure there is no spoilage or bugs
  • Food buckets need to be checked for a good seal and no holes or breaks
  • Canned foods need to be checked over to either be eaten or thrown and again no bulges in the cans
  • Is the food still things you would eat or not? 
  • Is there any obvious holes in your food storage your need to fill?


Check supplies 

  • Does everything still work? 
  • Do batteries need to be replaced? 
  • Do I have a good stock of batteries?
  • Does the oil, gas, or propane need to be replaced?
  • Have you started or used this prep lately to make sure it works?
  • Is everything in good condition?
  • What needs to be repaired or replaced?


Check caches and supplies hidden at other places

  • Are they still there? 
  • How is everything holding up in the caches? 
  • Time to rotate the food in the caches?
  • Check clothing if stored for kids and replace
  • Hiding spot still good?
  • Cache container still have good camouflage? 


Check security

  • Ammo and guns still in good condition?
  • Knives sharpened and in good condition?
  • Other methods of defending yourself still in good condition?
  • Does everybody still know their role in the home security or does your plan need revision?
  • Is all your window and door locks in good condition?
  • Is your home still invader-proof? Walk around the house to make sure.


Check home emergency supplies

  • How are the fire extinguishers? Still in date and still functioning?
  • Rope ladders from upstairs rooms still in good condition?
  • How are your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors? Still working well or need to be replaced?
  • Generators still run well? 
  • Still have an adequate amount of gas, propane, and/or diesel on hand? Container still in good condition?
  • Do you still have a good amount of bedding and supplies for those that might show up in an emergency or disaster?


Check your bug-out bags and 72-hour kit


  • Is the clothing and shoes still size appropriate for who is using it?
  • Is the food still good? Do you still have an adequate amount?
  • Does everything function correctly and is still appropriate for the person carrying it?
  • Does the batteries need to be replaced in anything?
  • Is there adequate amount of supplies for the people in your family? 

Check your first-aid kit and supplies

  • What needs to be replaced?
  • Do the bandages look old and/or might not stick anymore?
  • Have your family's needs changed? Do you need baby stuff or not anymore?
  • Is the over-the-counter medicines still in good standing or need to be replaced?
  • Is everything still well-organized or need to be again?
  • What do you need to add to your first-aid supplies?


Other Questions you should be asking yourself

  • Is your evacuation plans still good?
  • Does your emergency family plan need to be revised?
  • Are your kids older or do you have kids now?
  • Do you need plans for your kids in college or on their own?
  • Do you need to have plans for your parents and older family members?
  • Is your emergency information updated?
  • Is your phone list still current?
  • Do you need to update your personal information in your family emergency binder?
  • Do you have an updated list of all medications your family is taking?
  • Do you have current health histories on everybody?
  • Is your vehicle emergency kit current? Does anything need to be replaced?
  • Is your Every Day Carry current and still useful?
  • How is your emergency cash fund? Does it need to be replenished or increased?

There is so much to think about and do when you are prepping. Checking your preps can sometimes get lost in the busyness of prepping and living life. While I am sure I missed some things that need to be checked, this basic list can get you started on making sure you are covered in an emergency or disaster.

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Monday, March 14, 2016

Monday Update From The Homestead - March 14


This has been another busy week on the homestead. Every week seems busy, but some weeks just wear you out. However, this last week wasn't too bad. 

We have been doing a lot of little things. Cleaning out the garage and getting the doors to work right has been fun. I had to go to Menards Saturday morning and I got two new springs which should make all three garage doors operational now. Rob is also adding buttons to the outside of the doors to make getting in and out of the garage easier.

I got two new tires put on the Escape. I wasn't very happy about doing that since I had just put four tires on a year ago. However, lack of knowledge on tire rotation, a tie rod going out in November, and not having a good alignment done after that caused undue tire wear on my vehicle. 

While getting the tires put on, I bought two live traps for the barn. We have a few opossums living in there that need to be relocated or just dealt with. I am not sure which option we are choosing, but they do not belong in the barn and they are way too close to the chickens. The opossums must go. 

The sump pump has not been fixed yet. The sump pump drains into a tile in the yard and the water is really running right now. To change the sump pump, the check valve, and PVC in the basement would be a really wet and miserable experience right now. We can wait until the ground dries up a bit. We still have the old sump pump in the basement and Rob keeps a close eye on it to make sure it is running correctly.

We had some beautiful weather last week and part of Saturday. Rob got some yard work done and he identified some areas around the outside of the house that we will have to build up or landscape so the water will run away from the house. We have gutters where we can, but some of the roof is not conducive to having gutters hung. He also fixed the gutters and downspouts so they work well again. Some of the downspouts had an unfortunate meeting with a very fast lawnmower driver!

I started cleaning up the basement. The basement has been very unorganized for awhile. I cleaned off a set of shelves that we are getting rid of to put newer, sturdier shelves in that place. I cleaned under the stairs and moved a bunch of totes into that space. I also started cleaning up and organizing my food storage better. I should have bought more of these storage baskets because the size is perfect for what I am doing.  I hopefully will get that project done very soon. 

The rhubarb has started to poke through the ground. I am thrilled about that! I love rhubarb (learn to grow it here)! No asparagus yet which is okay with me. I think I might get some radishes and possibly some spinach or lettuce started in the ground soon on the edge of the garden. I am really looking forward to some fresh vegetables!

I am still keeping up on the food storage and prepping. My goal was to increase our water storage which I am working on. One of my other goals was to get our food storage up to a year or more and I have been adding to what we have already. I have a continuous food storage which means we eat from, rotate, and continuously add to the food storage at all times. This time of year I really add to our food storage using part of my tax refund. 

What have you been doing around your homestead?

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Tax Refund Prepping: Time To Do A MAJOR Food Stock-Up


What should you do with that good-sized tax refund you get every year? You can blow it on meaningless toys or a trip somewhere. You can save it for a rainy day. However, those things won't keep you alive though when a financial crisis or job loss happens. 

You need to invest your refund into your preps, mainly food storage. 

My tax refund is a welcome gift every year. I don't ask for a refund and make sure I pay just enough taxes to not pay in. However, with the child tax credit and earned income credit, I get back a goodly sum every year. The first thing I do is pay off any outstanding debts I may have. 

The next thing  I do with my tax refund is to do a major food stock-up. I place orders online for pantry staples and freeze dried food. I go to Aldi's and do a major trip(s) because I can buy food there by the flat. I also really take advantage of the loss leaders at my local grocery stores for some great deals. 

I do not try to go broke when doing this stocking up. That is foolish. I shop the deals, use coupons for things I will actually buy, use store cards and coupons, and use online or phone apps like Ibotta and SavingStar. Just because you feel temporarily rich doesn't mean you should just throw your money away. Saving money and possibly earning money back is still important. 

You do not have to do this stocking up in one trip or one day. Take your time, plan according to your needs, and shop wisely. You also do not want to attract too much unwanted attention by leaving the store with 3-4 fully loaded carts. Then your friends and neighbors will be banging on your door for food when they get desperate!

What should you buy when you are stocking up? Walk into your pantry and look at what you have. Think about what you normally buy. Don't buy a lot of applesauce if your family doesn't like it. Buy what you use now, just in much greater quantity. 

If starting or building a food storage causes you to panic, I give some great tips in these articles:

Top 10 Items You Need For Your Food Storage

Nourishing Foods For Your Food Storage

What Meats Will Meet Your Needs?

Could You Please Pass The Legumes?

What Place Do Grains Have In Your Food Storage?

What Do You Plan To Put On Your Food?

Spicing Up Your Food Storage and Pantry

How much food should you buy to store? I would start with one month of food and work your way up to a year or longer. You don't know when a crisis could happen and you will be unable to get groceries. Having enough food on hand to get through these times is crucial. 

Do yourself  and your family a favor? Invest your refund into your food storage.

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2015 Best of Living Life In Rural Iowa - Top Ten Posts!

You all read these posts, shared these posts, and shown this blog some love! Thank you so much! I couldn't do this without you all and I wouldn't want to!

These posts were the most popular posts in 2015! Counting down from 10 to 1 in popularity, here they are:

10. 

9.

8. 

7. 

6. 

5. 

4. 

3.

2. 

1.

Thank you again and have a great 2016!
Erica


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Top 10 Items You Need For Your Food Storage


When I started my food storage stockpile ten or so years ago, I made a list of the top ten food items I used almost everyday in the kitchen. I was already making most of our food from scratch so I knew what I would need to stock up on. 

I would carry this list to the store when I was getting groceries. If I saw a good deal or could afford a little extra, I would stock up on these things. After awhile, I had a decent stockpile going that I could rotate through and keep adding to it. Now I have this list memorized and just naturally keep buying these things. 

For anyone looking to start their food storage stockpile or to fill in the holes, I highly recommend making a list of what you use almost everyday and every week. This might look different for you and that is good. Your food storage should reflect what you use and what you need!

However, I believe these are the basics that everyone should have in their storage: 

1. Flour. I buy all-purpose unbleached white flour, whole wheat flour, sprouted wheat flour, almond flour, and oat flour. These are the flours I regularly use in all my baking and daily cooking. I do not have a grinder yet so I do not buy whole wheat for that reason. I do keep raw almonds on hand for making almond meal/flour which I can do in the food processor.

2. Oats. I buy rolled oats, quick cooking oats, and steel cut oats. I use oats for everyday baking, granola, oatmeal, and to grind in the food processor as flour when need. I am still getting the hang of using steel cut oats, but I think they are heartier addition to my food storage. 

3. Salt. I usually buy sea salt, kosher salt, and some Real Salt. I also keep table salt on hand for cleaning, but in a pinch can be used for cooking. Salt is essential because our bodies need some sodium everyday and food would be bland without it!

4. Sugar and Honey. I use both. I try to stay away from white sugar, but it has its place. I use a lot of whole cane sugar in various forms, stevia, honey, and maple syrup so that is what I stock up on. 

5. Yeast. I haven't figured out how to make bread without yeast yet so I consider this an essential item. However, don't buy those little jars. Buy the one pound packages on yeast. You will get a much better bang for your buck!

6. Peanut Butter. I personally do not like peanut butter, but my kids devour it. I use it in granola bars, energy bites, no bake cookies, and cookies. The kids eat it on sandwiches, waffles, pancakes, crackers, and apples. 

7. Seasonings. Yes, you need them. Meat, vegetables, soups, salads, most baked goods, and whatnot need seasonings. I buy a wide variety, but keep cinnamon, chili powder, cumin, black pepper, onion powder, and garlic salt on hand at all times. I also keep a variety of dried herbs too. 

8. Canned Fruits and Vegetables. I do can a lot of my own, but I have never been able to can enough for the next year. I just don't get enough from my garden. If you can produce enough and can it, great. Otherwise, I keep a healthy amount of commercially canned goods in my food storage. You just never know when that can come in handy. 

9. Canned Tomatoes. This could go under #8, but I always gave this its own category. However the reasons do not change from #8. I buy a lot of crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, salsa, pasta sauce, pizza sauce, and ketchup. 

10. Beans. I have dried and canned beans. Beans are a good source of protein when meat is not readily available or needs to be rationed a bit. They are an excellent filler and addition to casseroles, soups, and stews. 

Would your list look like this? What would you add to it or change? 

Thanks for reading,
Erica



Tuesday, December 15, 2015

What This Prepper Buys: The $1 Dollar General Challenge


A few months ago, I wrote a post on What This Prepper Buys: A Trip To The Store With Me. I wanted to give you all an idea on what I purchase for my preps and my everyday life. Since I use my preps in my daily life, I buy a lot of things knowing I can and will use them in both. 

Since then, I have had some requests to do more of these posts and maybe explain why I buy what I do. I can gladly indulge you by doing that! 

I had a prepaid gift card that I needed to use up last month. It expired the end of November and could only be used at certain stores. I had taken some survey a few years back for what I don't remember. I do remember getting a $35 card for taking it. That is all I need to remember. 

In the massive decluttering I have undertaken in my home, I have been cleaning out my desk and found this card in a little basket. I immediately saw the expiration date and thought I can't throw away free money! That is against everything I believe!

Then I thought I would challenge myself. We have a Dollar General in the town where I work. Even though I feel the same way most of the time, many people complain that you can not find many things for just $1 at Dollar General anymore. I wanted to see what I could find for $1 or less to add to my preps. 



Above is the picture of everything I bought. I kept track as I was going through the store. I did have to buy drain cleaner for $3.00 which put me around the $35. However, my upstairs bathroom drain is now running a lot smoother!

What did I buy and for how much?

2 bags of cough drops - $1.00 each 
5 pack of ramen noodles - $1.00
2 boxes of baking soda - $.50 each
1 can of pineapple chunks - $1.00
1 bottle of Ajax dish soap - $1.00 
2 canisters of non-iodized salt - $.50 each
1 gallon of drinking water - $1.00 
2 bottles of white vinegar - $1.00 each
1 bottle of drain cleaner - $3.00
2 boxes of Jiffy corn bread - $.50 each
4 cans of Friskies wet cat food - $.50 each
1 jar of sliced pickles - $1.00 
1 bottle of body wash - $1.00  
1 small canister of creamer - $1.00
2 plastic drop clothes 9' x 12'  - $1.00 each
1 bar of soap - $1.00
1 box of 25 bandages - $1.00
1 pack of 8 vinyl gloves - $1.00
2 packages of oyster crackers - $1.00 each (will be repackaged)
2 cans of carrots - $.50 each
2 cans of mixed vegetables - $.50 each
2 cans of diced tomatoes - $.50 each
2 cans of beans (chili and kidney) - $.50 each
2 pack of microfiber cleaning cloths - $1.00
2 packages of cotton swabs - $1.00 each
1 package of all-purpose thread - $1.00
1 tube of Vasoline lip balm - $1.00

I was able to get 42 items for $35.00 which is doing pretty well!

I have trying to focus on getting my food supply up for my pets. The cat food can be a tricky thing if you have cats with stomach sensitivities like I do. My fourteen year old cat has to be on a grain-free diet. She does not eat canned cat food, only dry food. I am trying to buy extra dry cat food and store in buckets for her. My three year old cat is not at all finicky. He will eat anything moving or not moving (including mice and sparrows). Since canned cat food can last a while, I am stocking up on that for him. Normally, I feed both cats the same thing. However, I want options if I need them.

Salt, baking soda, and vinegar will be used for food and cleaning. The rest of the food went into storage. I always buy soap in some form and shape. I usually always add to the first-aid stockpile. 

The rest of the items are holes I am trying to fill in my preps. I needed more thread to sew and mend. The vinyl gloves, drop cloths, and microfiber cleaning cloths are for clean-up. The drop cloths will also be handy for covering broken windows and covering floors. 

My friend, Patrick at Survival at Home, has also posted about his finds at the dollar stores for his preps! Check him out here: Dollar Store Preps - Packing Your Bug-Out Bag for Cheap!

What would you buy for $35? What items would you pick for $1 at Dollar General?

Thanks for reading,
Erica


(This is not an advertisement or endorsement for Dollar General. I am not getting paid to write this. That is simply where I do a lot of my odds and ends shopping and is close by for me to get to. Thanks!)

Monday, November 2, 2015

I Have A Gun! I Don't Need Anything Else!


Have you heard this phrase?

"I have a gun! I don't need anything else!"

For someone who believes in being a well-rounded prepper, this phrase really grates on me. 

Am I anti-gun? Heck no! I believe in having guns for self-defense and hunting. I believe they are a great tool to have when the situation calls for their necessity.

For those people who think having a gun is all they need to survive a SHTF situtaion, well...they aren't thinking clearly. People who think that all they need is a gun is under one of these impressions:

1. I can just go hunt whatever food my family needs to eat. 

      That is just not going to work. Animals to hunt will be depleted very quickly in a SHTF situation if there are even any animals around to hunt. They can be killed in the right SHTF situation too. 

      These people won't be the only ones hunting for food in the wild. Their family will also need more than just protein to survive and thrive. While hunting is a good idea, it should not be the only means a person has to survive.

2. I will just use my gun to take whatever food I need from other people.

      That will not work either for long or if ever. Most people with food storage also have guns and are very willing to defend their food storage. Even if they don't have guns, they will still defend their food storage any way they can. Never ever underestimate what other people will do to defend themselves and what they have. Besides that, the food will probably run out very quickly for the person stealing the food. Not a good plan.

3. I will use my gun to rob stores and take what they have.

      Good luck with that. Other desperate people are already on that idea. In a SHTF situation, stores will be robbed and looted very quickly. Most stores will only have a three day supply of goods on hand. They will be cleaned out very quickly. What happens to these people when the stores are cleaned out? Where are they going to get food from next?

For those who think that by having a gun, they don't really need anything else if a SHTF situation happens, need to really readjust their arrogant thinking. Many people will or do have the same attitude unfortunately. Just as I pointed out in the scenarios above, guns will not get them far in any circumstance. They might allow them to live for a few days longer, but someone else will have the same idea as them or will be defending against people like them. 

Most preppers have already figured out what to do about people like them and have planned accordingly. A lot of preppers have formed groups and will have a plan to take care of marauders before they even get close to the food storage. Not every plan is perfect, but defending the food supply will be a top priority.

The only worry most preppers have is if the marauders become a horde. A horde is not well organized and can be defended against, but enough people grouped together can be trouble. However, this scenario is not very likely. I am not saying it couldn't happen, just not likely that it would happen. 

The other problem with just using guns to survive? Eventually they will run out of ammo. I know most gun people have lots of ammo and probably reloading equipment. In a SHTF situation, they might get to far from home to get to the ammo, use up their ammo, or run out of reloading supplies. Then what?

Like I said before, guns are a great tool. They have a purpose and should be used accordingly. Guns, however, do not replace the need for:

  • food storage
  • gardening
  • livestock
  • foraging 
  • gleaning

Being a well-rounded prepper is what is going to save someone from starving or forced into a position of stealing and possibly murdering others just to eat. I am not saying that it couldn't happen, but the probability of losing your food storage is less risky than relying on just guns to survive. 

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Friday, October 9, 2015

Do You Want To Join The Once A Month Shopping Challenge?


Do you want to save money? Do you want to shop at the store less?

I know I do! I used to shop only once a month for groceries and I have fallen off the wagon. Sad, but true.

However, my friend Daisy at The Organic Prepper has issued a Once A Month Shopping Challenge! She is challenging fellow bloggers and readers to only shop once a month for the next six months with a little leeway for the holidays. Check her out here to see the rules and what she has planned! 

Yesterday was my grocery shopping day. I got paid on Tuesday, but was a little too busy (and lazy) to run to the store. I knew I would need some cheese, milk, meat, and produce to make through the month. 


I am going to tell you all some things up front so you will know where I am in my grocery shopping and food storage as well as what challenges we have:


1. I have a very full refrigerator right now. Some of the leftovers were ignored and need to be fed to the dog.

2. We are following a more unprocessed, low carb diet for my health. I hope I can get through this month on what we have. Having to eat more protein to keep my energy up has been very eye-opening!

3. Paige is lactose intolerant which really limits what I can use for dairy and substitutes. She drinks lactose-free milk and I use unsweetened almond milk in my baking and some cooking. However, I can see making a run just for milk. She drinks at least a half gallon a week. I bought three half-gallons of Lactaid knowing we had a full one in the fridge already. Dane and I do not like the taste of milk and normally just drink water.

4. I have a very full freezer with at least ten freezer meals in it. I hope to use up some of the older meat this month. I also have a full pantry which needs some using up of the older food.

5. We make almost everything homemade with bread, snacks, and breakfasts being the big ones. We have chickens which means we have a constant source of eggs. 

6. I take cold lunches or leftovers for lunch everyday. Paige takes a cold lunch at least twice a week.

7. We will be gone at least two weekends this month to Rob's place. We still make our own meals, rarely eating out (too expensive), and cook a lot on the grill. One of those weekends, we will be at his sister's house, but again everything will be about the same as if we were at his house.

With that in mind, what did I buy yesterday at the grocery store for the month?

1 - 16 oz. bag each of shredded Mozzarella, Colby Jack, and Sharp Cheddar cheese ($2.99 ea.)
16 oz. container of sour cream ($2.19)
1 - 8 oz. chunk each of Colby Jack and Monterrey Jack cheese ($1.66 ea.)
8 oz. container of sliced mushrooms ($1.99)
1 head of broccoli ($1.48)
1 box of saltine crackers ($1.49) (I have not learned to make these well yet.)
1 box of Go-Gurt for Dane ($2.00)
1 big box of fruit snacks for the kids ($5.99)
2 whole chickens ($.99 a pound - $7.94 total)
1 pound container of sliced ham ($3.99)
2 - 2 pound bags of carrots ($.88 each)
3.17 pounds of pears ($.88 a pound - $2.79 total)
1 box of organic spinach ($2.50)
1 bunch of green onions ($.88)
10 pound bag of russet potatoes ($2.49)
3 pound bag of yellow onions ($.99)
4 pack of mixed bell peppers ($4.99)
3 - 3 pound bags of Jonathan apples ($.99 each - $2.97 total)
2 bottles of reduced sugar grape juice ($.99 each - $1.98 total)
1 - half-gallon of unsweetened almond milk ($2.97)
4 pack of Activa yogurt for Paige ($2.50) (Paige can handle this yogurt.)
1 - 32 oz. container of plain yogurt ($2.99)
3 - half-gallons of Lactaid milk ($3.99 ea.) 

Total spent with tax was $81.69. A lot of this was on sale which is how I determine what I am going to make for meals for the month. 

I still have to make a run for pet food and possibly chicken feed. The kids should not need any personal products and we should be good on household items. 

I also still need to find Dane a Halloween costume. He is outgrowing everything! And, of course, he wants to be the Joker this year. 

In the next few days, I will post what I am making for meals for the month as well as any snack food and breakfast. I am still finalizing some of this due to still evaluating what needs to be used up.

Please join us in The Once A Month Shopping Challenge! I promise you will learn a lot about yourself, your shopping habits, and your family!

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

What This Prepper Buys - A Look At A Trip To The Store With Me

Many people ask me what I buy and I have addresses this in other posts. Besides being a huge fan of Amazon Prime Pantry and Amazon Subscribe and Save, I shop at dollar stores. I love dollar stores!

Where I live, I only have a Dollar General. If I know I will be driving by a Dollar Tree, I will stop there too. I love these places for filling in the holes in my preps as well as adding to them. This weekend, I stopped at both places with some cash I had saved up. 

 The first trip I took was to Dollar General. For $11.00, I was able to purchase:


4 cans of cream of chicken soup - $4.00
2 bags of yellow rice - $2.00
2 boxes of raisins - $2.00
1 box of Naproxen Sodium 50 ct. pills - $3.00

I don't consider Dollar General to be a true dollar store. However, I find better deals there then Kmart which is my other local option. Although, Kmart is starting to mark down their camping supplies this month. I got 4 - 40 ct. waterproof matches for $1.74 and a 3 pack of Sterno cans for $2.73. Not bad. 

The second trip I took was to Dollar Tree. For $26.00, I was able to purchase:


2 boxes of cereal
2 boxes of raisins
2 tubs of petroleum jelly
1 jar of minced garlic
1 all-purpose super glue
2 rolls of duct tape
1 roll of masking tape
1 roll of clear packaging tape
2 bars of soap for laundry detergent
2 lighters
1 eyeglass repair kit
3 cans of chicken noodle soup
1 hand soap refill package
1 bottle of body wash
2 boxes of lasagna noodles
2 boxes of resealable freezer bags

Everything cost $1.00 each.

As I said before, I shop to fill holes and to add to what I have. I ran out of raisins for I bought four more boxes of them. I bought a jar of minced garlic because I like having already minced garlic on hand when I need to cook quickly. Plus I think it will be a good thing to have on hand when you need to add flavor to a meal, but don't want to deal with having to clean a press when water is limited.

You will notice I picked up some processed food. Sometimes it is just a necessary evil. If the stuff hits the fan, I will appreciate having food on hand that I can feed to my kids quickly and easily. I do still prefer to make and can my own food. However, I see the wisdom in keeping a few cans of soup and some boxes of cereal on hand.

I realized I did not have any petroleum jelly so I got some of that to help with chapped lips, moisturizer, and use with first aid items. I always pick up all sorts of tape and lighters. I don't think anyone can have too many of them! I did not have an eyeglass repair kit and I have three daughters with glasses. I think this will good to have on hand too.

I know some of you will tell me you can get stuff cheaper at other places. I respect that because if I can get it cheaper too, I will. We do not have any scratch and dent stores or salvage stores near us. I wish we did. I hear about Sharp Shopper or other stores like that and almost get jealous! We also do not have a Sam's Club or Costco near us. The closest one is 1.5 hours away and I cannot justify the gas for that on a regular basis or getting a membership that I am not sure I would use regularly.

I will make a trip about once a month to Aldi's because I do a lot of my grocery shopping there. I drive by one on my way home from Rob's house and stop then. They have so much stuff at such a good cost! I will often buy a flat of cans or a case of noodles when I can there to take advantage of their prices and to add to my stockpile.

Altogether, I spent $37.00 for quite a few things. What you spend $37.00 on?

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Monday, July 13, 2015

Using Amazon Subscribe and Save for Prepping and Stockpiling


I actually hate shopping. I rarely buy more than what is on my list and do not really want to go into any store. I also don't like that people give you weird looks when you buy 4-5 items when you should only need one. I also don't like to explain myself when they ask questions. 

So I am an online shopper. I know some preppers don't like to buy online because it is easier to track what is purchased, but I also live in rural area and don't have big box stores near me to pay cash for my preps. With the advent of security spy cameras, they know who is buying what and where at anyway.

One of my favorite ways to save money and continually add to my preps is to use Amazon's Subscribe and Save. I like that I can set it and forget about it. Around the 20th of every month, they send me an email asking to make sure this is what I want to be delivered or give me a chance to change my mind. 

Using Amazon's Subscribe and Save is easy!
1  If an item is available for Subscribe and Save, it will say on the same side as the "Add to Cart" option. Just click "Subscribe and Save". 
2. Select how often you want delivery, and click on "Review Subscription". 
3. You will go to another page where you can click "Subscribe Now" and you will be set. You will also get an email from Amazon letting you know what you did. 

You can always go into your account and edit your Subscribe and Save. I will go in and change how often they are delivered, the quantity of the delivery, or delete the subscription if I no longer want that item. If the budget dictates I need to skip a month, I can do that too.

What do I order? My orders change from month to month and I continually add items or change delivery months. Here is a idea of what I am getting for the next four months:

August 5th: AA Batteries, AAA Batteries, Larabars, Vitamins, Raw Honey, Sanitary Pads, and Tea
September 5th: Powerade (kids and sports), Toliet Paper, Tea, Toothpaste, 
October 5th: Rolled Oats (pack of four), Coconut Oil, Tea, Deodorant, Vitamins, Sanitary Pads, Raw Honey
November 5th: Powerade (kids and sports), Toliet Paper, Tea, Larabars, Face Wash, Sanitary Pads

I watch a few blogs that let the readers know of some great deals on Subscribe and Save and I add according to what we need. I will probably add a lot more to these in the next week or two when I go through what I need at home. I always add more than five items to get the 15% discount. Less than five items gets only a 5% discount. 

I have actually compared prices from Amazon and my local stores. I find that I save more money doing this than store shopping. Since I don't like store shopping and I am still saving money, I am a pretty happy girl!

Thanks for reading,
Erica

(This post contains affiliate links, but I was not paid by Amazon for writing this. You are just a witness to my love affair with Amazon!)

Friday, June 26, 2015

10 Preparedness Items You Should Be Buying Every Month


As crazy as it seems, some people make prepping harder than it has to be. Learning skills can be hard, but the end rewards are so worth it. The work can be hard, but the pay off is that jobs get done and you have accomplished something for the future.

However...preppers still need stuff. We can produce a lot of our own things and survive just fine. We still need the items that will make survival easier now and, heaven forbid, if anything bad happens. We need things to keep our lifestyle simpler and easier if something happens.

Over the eight years or so that I have been prepping, I have some things that I buy almost every month. Some months when the budget is tight, I might not purchase any of these. Then I appreciate having these things on hand!

Below is my list of things I buy every month. I don't make one big trip and buy all these things in one trip. I add them to my cart at the grocery store, department store, online shopping, and whatnot. I spend a little bit every shopping trip or online order to spread out the cost over the month. 

10 Preparedness Items You Should Be Buying Every Month

1. Canning lids, rings, and jars. I buy canning lids every month. Without fail. At least 3-4 packs of them. I pick up canning rings and jars when I have more room in the budget. I don't really think you can have too many of these things. 

2. Soap in any form: bar soap, body wash, dish soap, laundry detergent, castile soap, all purpose soap, disinfectant soap, etc. I usually buy at least 2-3 things of soap every month. Castile soap is probably my favorite soap, but I keep a good variety at home. I really don't think one can have too much soap when you have kids, have a garden, and have livestock. Staying clean is a good thing.

3. Toliet paper. Enough said. I really don't want to be without it. 

4. Paper, pens, and pencils. Especially paper. I write a lot down just to remember it. My kids use a fair amount of paper, pens, and pencils for school even though they have computers. We use paper and pencils to draw and to entertain. Paper is important. 

5. Ammo - whether ammo for guns, arrows for bows, refill cartridges for anything else. Really, this can not understated. I also think if you buy a little every month, you might not draw as much attention to yourself. 

6. Food that will store well: salt, rice, beans, honey, spices, etc. Again, enough said. Food is more than important. It is necessary. Learning how to cook long storing food is a necessary skill. We need food and water.

7. First aid items and medicine. I buy ibuprofen and/or naproxen every month as well as 2-3 first aid items every month without fail. I don't want to be without it even though I have plenty of natural remedies on hand too. Something you just need the little pill to take the aches away. 

8. Seeds. I realize you might not be able to find these every month. As soon as they come into the stores, I start buying. I look for seeds that will actually produce food like squash, beans, peas, carrots, etc. I do not buy flower seeds unless they are edible. During the winter, I buy packages of heirloom seeds already packaged in mylar and oxygen absorbers. I have a garden already, but if you don't, please get one started. Gardening is a skill you can't be without.

9. Water. As important as life itself. You need water and liquids to stay hydrated. You and I will not live long without fliuds. Enough said. 

10. Reading materials and reference materials. I think this is underestimated by a lot of people, but a good reference library is necessary. As much as I have learned about everything, I still look up things. IN BOOKS. Whoa. I also keep books for enjoyment and to relieve stress. Maybe someday, the internet might be not as reliable or may be heavily censured. You might just want to have a paper copy of things you want to remember. 

This is my list of things I find necessary to stock up on every month. I find other things necessary to have too, but this list is my buy every month list. Your list might look different and that is okay! 

What do you stock up on every month? 

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Preppers, Stop Bashing Each Other's Food Stockpiles Because No One Is Right or Wrong



Over the last month at home, we have been talking about how we need to increase our food storage for more people and for a longer period of time. As much as I want to believe I would have enough for three months and longer, reality tells me that might not be the case. 

In researching what I need to keep increasing my food stockpile, I have come across some severe prepper bashing in blog posts and in the comments. Mainly preppers bashing other preppers. As much as I agree with some of the viewpoints, there are some really misguided people too. Some don't believe anyone else has stocked up on food as well as they have. Some believe in just a one-prong approach is best whether that be prepackaged food, MREs, canned food, or raising their own food.

Why do we need to bash each other and make each other feel incompetent? That just is not necessary! Preppers are doing what they can now to make the future better in times of trouble. We all may be wrong or we all may be right, but for me, these truths are what keep me happy:

1. I am just happy that they are stocking food in any form. At least they are trying! Many aren't trying at all!  

2. They will be able to feed themselves for awhile and not want to knock on my door for food. That makes me a very happy camper. 

3. As misguided (in my opinion) as it is that they are just stocking on one kind of food source, they are stocking up on food. I do believe in a multi-pronged approach with having a garden and livestock, prepackaged foods, canned foods, etc. Some don't and I don't agree, but that is what is great about opinions. We each have our own.

4. As long as they have the means to prepare that food with or without power, I am still happy that they are stocking up. They can feed themselves no matter what.

5. If they are stocking up on beans, wheat, oats, and other bulk items, I hope again they have the means to prepare them. I hope they have some way to process the wheat, cook the beans, make oatmeal, and make bread. Otherwise, they were not thinking all the way ahead. If they did, great! That means they will be eating at home and not be knocking at my door. 

Along with bashing what other preppers stockpile, many are critical about how they stockpile. Why so much criticism?!?! There really is no right or wrong way to stockpile, only how you take care of that stockpile. Take me for example. I use these methods to stock up:

* Grocery Stores, mainly Aldi's, but wherever I can find a good deal
* Online mainly through Emergency Essentials, Auguson Farms, and Thrive Life
* Amazon using Subscribe and Save, Prime Pantry, and just shopping the deals
* Mass Merchandisers like Target, Dollar General, and KMart
* Gardening, eating straight from the garden, preserving and canning the harvest
* Raising chickens for eggs and, in the future, for meat
* Gleaning and Foraging, eating what I find or preserving for future use

I make sure everything is stored properly and taken care of. I don't put everything in one place in the house, but have a little stashed everywhere with a main storage room for a most of it. 

I don't believe in putting all my eggs in one basket because I have learned a few hard lessons about that. Some people do believe in putting all their eggs in one basket and that is okay. It may or may not work out for them, but we shouldn't criticize them for it. 

Unless they show up at my door for food. Then I will be a little critical. 

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Monday, April 13, 2015

Nine Ways Food Is Money (And Better Than Money!)


From reading a lot of preparedness articles and listening to what other people have to say, I am continually amazed by how many people do not make food storage a priority. Whether you have food storage, the ability to grow and preserve food, the ability to hunt or forage for food, or any kind of resupply plan, you have something that is better than money.

In fact, I have been seeing an upswing in articles talking about holding on to your money in case of emergencies. Some times that is good advice especially when talking about home and car repairs, medical emergencies, and what not. I will never be against having an emergency fund. However, when talking about a disaster, crisis, or other situations, money may not do a person a whole lot of good.

Why? Here is nine reasons why:

1. Money does not keep you alive. Food does.

2. You can barter with food. Especially food you decided you don't like for food you do like.

3. If there is a time where money is worthless, food will never be worthless unless it is contaminated or severely expired.

4. You need food more than money to live when you have a disaster, crisis, or a situation.

5. Storing foods and seeds will give you peace in case of future events. Money is nice for retirement, but may not be there when you need it or it is stolen from you.

6. Having food storage and/or the ability to grow, hunt, raise, and/or forage for food will definitely up your survival chances in any situation. Having money, but no real way to spend it, will not help you to survive.

7. Food can be made into medicine or used for medicinal purposes. Money can buy medicine, but if medicine is not available, then what?

8. By-products from food packaging, gardening, foraging, and hunting can be used to make more food. You can use food packaging for storing more food or containers to raise food. Food waste can be used for compost to enrich soil to grow more food. Livestock waste can be used for enriching the soil also. Money does not do any of that.

9. Food helps keep the family happy and healthy. Food brings comfort when times are not so comfortable. Food brings people together and keeps the morale up when times are tough. Money can do these things, but it is a temporary and cold comfort. If money comes to mean nothing, money will lose that little bit of advantage too.

Which would you rather have: food or money?

Thanks for reading,
Erica

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