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

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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 f…

Ten Lessons Learned About Food From The Depression and Wartime

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The Great Depression was a time of lean years for many in the United States as well as all over the world. Many people learned valuable lessons on how to make food stretch and take advantage of cheaper processed food that came out during this time. Many people learned to survive on less and some people went hungry. 

When World War II came around, many of these lessons were needed to survive the war and stretch their rationing coupons. People were encouraged to garden during the Depression and were heavily encouraged to do during the war. Victory gardens appeared everywhere to help feed the people while more and more food was shipped overseas. 

Many of these lessons learned during these eras have been lost. We as a people are incredibly wasteful now. Our grocery budgets would be better off if we learned these same lessons and kept them in our kitchens. Then if we have lean times, we would be better off.

10 Lessons Learned About Food From The Depression and Wartime

1. Fat was never wasted. …

Egg and Spinach Open Faced Sandwiches

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Things to know about me:

1. I am not a fancy cook. Not at all. I could be if I wanted to, but I really like making uncomplicated things. This sandwich is one of them.

2. I will eat cold sandwiches, but I really, really like hot sandwiches with crusty or toasted bread.

I make these Egg and Spinach Open Faced Sandwiches for breakfast or lunch. I like them that much and I will eat breakfast at any meal. Also, this is a good way to get in your greens!

Gather your ingredients. Since I was making this for lunch I used 3 eggs. Sometimes I only use 2 eggs. I stuffed a sandwich sized baggie full of spinach. I also used 2 pieces of bread, but I have also been known to use leftover baked potatoes instead of bread. I also used a liberal amount of butter and some salt, but you can also use coconut oil and whatever seasoning you love.


Start by getting your skillet hot and add butter to melt. Drop your 2 slices of bread in the toaster.

Add your spinach to the skillet. Put it all in there. If you are using…

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

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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

Once A Month Shopping Challenge: Month 2 Update & Month 3 Beginning

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Month 2 Update:

November started out with really great intentions. I was set up for the month with one grocery trip and two trips to other stores. I was hosting Thanksgiving and thought I knew how many people were coming. 

Then two days before Thanksgiving hit. We made a trip to the store when I figured I did not have enough food (I was wrong, of course). We had more people coming along with bad weather and I started to panic a wee bit about having enough food. So I went to the store and spent another $50 I should not have spent. 

If that was not bad enough, I went back the next day too! However, I am not sure I am counting that since it was Rob's food I was buying and being reimbursed for. He just couldn't make to the store after he got off work (he's a trucker).

I also made a trip to Dollar General. I had a $30 gift card that I had earned a while ago for trying a product and taking a survey. It wasn't a specific card to Dollar General, but could only be spent in certain …

Once A Month Shopping Challenge: Month 2 and November's Meal Plans

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Here we are, Month 2 of the Once A Month Shopping Challenge!

I tried to be a little more prepared for this month. I have officially made my three planned stops as of yesterday. The first stop was to K-Mart to get:

2 bags of dog food
2 bags of cat food (grain-free for the cat with a sensitive stomach)
1 bag of cat litter
1 bottle of shampoo (for me)
1 bottle of shampoo/conditioner (for Dane)
2 bottles of conditioner (1 for me, 1 for Paige)
2 bottles of Vitamin C gummies (buy 1, get 1 free)

I cannot find the receipt right now, but I know I spent $76 with taxes and we saved $25 with coupons and discounts. Some things like cat litter have gone up a bit and that surprised me. 

The second stop was to Menards. I have this receipt! At Menards, I bought:

1 Plastic Window Kit to cover my inside windows
1 Plastic Door Kit to cover my back door until I get a new storm door
1 Garden Hand Shovel to replace the one the dog chewed up
2 different size drill bits because the ones I had were dull
1 set of sticky mouse…

Frugal Refrigerator Clean-out Frittata

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So when you have a lot of eggs that need to be used up, some vegetables in the fridge that needs to be used up, and need a quick meal, what do you do?
You make Fritatta! I love frittata. I love saying the word frittata. So much fun!
Below is a couple days worth of eggs. While I sell them or send home with the college kids some of the extras, we still have to step up and eat them.

One of my favorite ways is Frugal Refrigerator Clean-out Frittata. How to make it you ask?
Ingredients: 8-12 eggs 3-4 vegetables you need to use up Butter or coconut oil for sauteing vegetables 1 cup of shredded cheese salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 
Crack 8-12 eggs into a bowl. I usually use about 10 eggs for the 3 of us. You can use more or less depending on how many you are feeding. You can also add a little water or milk if you want your frittata fluffier. I don't bother with that. Whisk the eggs until well blended and all the yolks broken.

In a nonstick skillet or a very wel…

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

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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. …

Fajita Vegetable Packets: A Great Way To Use Up The Garden Bounty!

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Looking for a way to use up the summer produce from the garden? Scored a good deal on onions and peppers at the farmers market? Let me introduce you to one of my favorite ways to use onions and bell peppers!
Fajita vegetable packets! 
I love fajitas. Love isn't a strong enough word. Fajitas would be my last meal in prison. Yum!
However, I don't always dig the price of bell peppers in the winter. Talk about sticker shock! One summer I had a abundance of both bell peppers and onions and decided to make some of these up! 
I also love having ingredients ready to use in the freezer. Who wouldn't?
First, slice your bell peppers in to strips. 

I did red bells and green bells. You can use whatever colors suit you.


Put the bell peppers into quart size bags or whatever containers you have on hand.

Slice up onions and add them to the bags too. 


If you want to add other vegetables or peppers, feel free. This is what I use in my fajitas. Seal and label the bags and freeze.


This is how I use them…

Preppers and Homesteaders Need To Eat Healthy Too!

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I have been thinking about healthy eating and diets a lot lately. I hate diets. I hate the idea of depriving myself of something that can be good for me if I eat in moderation and make wise choices. I have been following a modified low-carb diet lately because Rob needs to for his health and I know I need to cut out more sugar in my diet. 

However, I refuse to cut out any fruits or vegetables out of my diet. Ever. I like them way too much! I just don't understand any diet that tells you something grown in nature is bad for you. 

So you will get a rare post from me on healthy eating. I truly believe it is important and crucial to being in good health. Prepping, homesteading, parenting, and just daily living become easier when you are eating healthy. Eating healthy also lead to other good habits, such as exercising and sleeping well, because you have great energy during the day and actually feel tired when you go to bed.

Everyone has a different idea of eating healthy. We do the best w…

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

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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, th…

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

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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. Sometimes 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 are 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 worthl…

Why You Should Grow And Preserve Rhubarb!

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Rhubarb is an excellent addition to any garden! Being that rhubarb is a perennial, you can get a crop every year and fill your refrigerator/freezer with its deliciousness.

I was blessed to grow up with a mother that loved rhubarb and canned it into jams. I was doubly blessed to move on to a farm that has it growing abundantly.

Why Should You Grow Rhubarb?

1. Rhubarb is very easy to grow. Get some plants from a garden center or find a neighbor/friend willing to thin out their patch. Plant your rhubarb in a sunny location and fertilize with some well-rotted manure. Do not pick the first year, only pick the thick stalks the second year, and pick all you want the third year!

2. Rhubarb is easy to maintain. Rhubarb just need a sunny location and adequate moisture. You do not have to dig it up in the fall because it likes to have its roots frozen in the winter. Give the rhubarb some well-rotted manure in the spring or fall to help fertilize it, but this is not necessary every year.

3. Rhubarb gi…