Tuesday, December 29, 2015

No Room at the Inn; Storage Space Part Two

When we left off last, we had covered a couple of ideas for adding storage to your home. Shall we look at more? There are many more, I assure you.

I think we should start with the kitchen. Tell me about your cabinets. Are they organized and alphabetized? All containers facing the exact same direction(out), like good little soldiers? No? Why not? Just kidding! Well, just a little. If you are one of those that comes home from the grocery store and just shoves what you bought in the cabinets, please rethink that. First of all, it is very hard to inventory when you don't have things together. Second, how do you ever find anything? You don't have to be as anal about it as I am, but do put some order to it. Rotation is key to food storage. ( I will cover this in another post right around the corner.) Also, look in that cabinet that you store all your gadgets. Do you use all of them? If not, donate them. Just keep the ones you actually use. If you really want to go hog wild with purging gadgets, consider the space the microwave takes up. I went a long time without one. Believe it or not, you can live without one. If you can live without a microwave, you can live without most kitchen gadgets. If you can't, no problem, I am not here to judge you! We have one on our counter now.

Look around your kitchen and see where you can add storage. Can you add a shelf anywhere just under the ceiling? Think those handy little containers again. Can you add a bookcase or any kind of cabinet with doors somewhere in a corner? Do you have that cabinet that has wasted space because the shelves inside are so far apart? Any big box store has these handy little wire shelved that stack together to create more space. They are relatively cheap as well.

Don't forget wall space. Years ago, I put rings on all my regularly used cooking utensils and hung them above the stove. All I had to do was grab them while I was cooking. Can you put up one of those magnetic strips to hang your knives? What about your pots and pans? Do you have nice ones, like cast iron? Instead of taking up cabinet space, show them off. Hang them from the ceiling if you are able or have a space you can, or hang them on the wall over the stove. Just make sure they are anchored well, you are not after ripping a hole in the wall if they fall. I have an enamel covered cast iron dutch oven that I love. I keep it out on the stove all the time. It adds a nice splash of color and shows it off at the same time. And if my husband misbehaves, I can simply grab it and smack him upside the head with it! I love double duty items, especially when they double as an attitude adjuster!

We also have a large spice rack that my grandpa made. We hung it on the wall above the window. Displays my spice rack, keeps the spices easy to grab and use and frees up that valuable real estate in those cabinets. Don't let those vertical spaces go to waste!

Do you have hard to reach cabinets or spaces in your cabinets? Who doesn't? I think that the folks that put cabinets in think that everyone is either 7 feet tall or 2 feet tall. Anyway, that space is a wonderful place to store those items that you want to keep for long term.

Now on to the living room. But my wife/husband would never let me store things in there! Oh, but you can. Be creative. Look around and see what you have in there. I am not suggesting that you just put in a bookcase and start filling it up for everyone to see and look at. But what about the end tables? What could you fit under them? Then all you have to do is cover them with a table cloth, of which you can find many styles to suit your living room colors. You can do the same with a coffee table. Replace the footstool with an ottoman. Is your couch and chairs flat against the floor? If not, next time you buy some canned goods, keep one of the boxes they stack them in and slide it right under there. Is your couch flush against the wall? Put some items back there. Is it out in the middle of the room as a divider? Buy or build a table to stand behind the couch. Put some pretties on top of it and either cover it or add cabinets and doors under to store more items. Also consider freeing up closet space by using your couch and chairs to store your extra blankets. Especially in the winter time, or in my case all year! Fold the blankets and put them on the back of the couch or chair. If you are not overly fussy about these things, let everyone pick their favorite and mark their spot. You do have favorite or usual places where you all sit, right?

Again, look at the walls. Do you have a corner you could build a set of shelves? You may need to take a chance and see what's behind a wall. We found a marvelous amount of space on one side of our fireplace. We took a chance and ripped part of the wall down to see what was behind it. Loads of room! We put in a bookcase. Of course with my love of books, we filled it up immediately...But doing that allowed us to free up another moveable bookcase for other uses. And by using as much scrap lumber and pieces from other projects as we could, we didn't really spend any money on it. What we did buy was red cedar to frame it with. It smells wonderful and looks good too.

Be critical. What can you get rid of? What do see when you look around your house? Where can you "add" more storage? It's there, all you have to do now is find it.

Monday, December 28, 2015

No Room at the Inn; Storage Space Part One

We have not done a lot for stocking the past few weeks. We have picked up a few extra things at the store since this time of year there are a lot of baking and food items that go on sale for the holidays. We always buy water when we go to the store. We originally were buying water a gallon at a time. Then we found the 2 1/2 gallon containers. That is what we buy now. They definitely stack better.

But where to store all this water? The past couple of days I have been trying to tackle that problem. Most folks do not have any where near enough storage space to store all the things that they want to stock up on. Especially water. It is bulky, heavy and just plain hard to store out of the way. Should you skip it and look at things you can store more easily? ABSOLUTLY NOT! It should be a priority. So let's look at all the places you have and never thought about. Of course, this may mean it's time to purge your home. This is a good time of year for it anyway, what with the new gifts that you have.

My first suggestion is to think in 3-D. Don't look at the floor in a room and say that you have no space. You have walls, too, don't you? You do have a least one or two closets in your home, right? Now is the time to think outside the box, so to speak. Let's look at all the ways you can add storage in your home for all the things that you are going to start stocking up on.

Let's start with your closet, or your children's or spare room closet (if you have a spare room closet, you are already ahead of the game). What do you have in the closet and how much can you get rid of? Take a good long look at the clothes and shoes in there. Decide what you can purge. If it's in good shape, send it off to your favorite charity. Did that clear up some space? Next, think of the ways you can take advantage of that space. How much space do you have under the clothes hanging in there and the stuff you have stored under it? Could you add a small shelf under there? Put some items for storing underneath and shoes on top. If your wife doesn't like the way that looks, put it in a box or tub, closed up and put your shoes on top of that. Need to sell the idea? Look Honey, now you don't have crawl around on the floor looking for your shoes, here they are all set up together nice and neat. Now keep them that way so the idea doesn't get taken away, lol.

Let's move on to the width of your closet. When you got done purging, do you now have extra space at the end of your closet vertically? Can you stack some items in there? How about enough space to actually put some shelves? If you are going to take over a woman's closet space, I would recommend that you make this as nice and neat as possible! If you can add some shelves, put water in the back and other items in front. This way you can still see what you have stored in there. You can even take some material or an old sheet and hang on the front of it to cover it up and keep the illusion of neatness.

Now, move on to the bathroom. But the bathroom is small, I hear you now. So is ours. We have no hall closet or bathroom closet. So how to solve that problem? Shelves. Last year when we redid our bathroom, we added shelves on the wall. I put a small wooden crate on the shelves to hold washcloths and hand towels. As long as you keep your towels folded, it will look much neater that you think. If you do have a closet that you put all of your bathroom necessities, you can still add shelves. We also added shelves around the bathroom about a foot down from the ceiling. We have added baskets to the shelves to hold extra storage items. Baskets are a great way to store bandages and other medical or miscellaneous supplies. They keep everything neat and organized and look nice (have you noticed the theme of keeping it all organized and neat yet?). It doesn't have to be baskets if you or yours don't really care for baskets. Any container that will hold the items is going to work. Maybe you like old cigar boxes or pretty bowls. Although if you go with bowls, I would suggest not getting clear ones. you aren't trying to advertise here. One thing to keep in mind when adding storage to the bathroom is to keep to items that will not be harmed by the humidity in the bathroom.

Do you have a laundry room? Or just a laundry area? If you have a laundry room, lucky you. If not, I am right there with you. Again, what can you purge? Do you have 10,000 bottles of different cleaners? Why? Get rid of them or use them up and don't replace them. There is virtually nothing that you cannot clean with plain old vinegar and baking soda. And bonus, you can show your kids a science project when you mix them together! Just use common sense with that. :) Now that you have room by eliminating all those extra bottles, you can store useful items there. Think extra vinegar and baking soda, think toilet paper, paper towels, etc.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. As I will show you in future posts, you have even more space than this. Stay tuned for more ideas. If you have an idea that I didn't cover, send it along and share. Everyone could use more ideas. Who doesn't need more space?

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas is Coming, Christmas is Coming!

We are just a couple of days from Christmas. Do you have your shopping done, or are you a last minute shopper like we are? If you are done shopping, do you have all your presents wrapped up and under the tree?

What are your traditions for the holiday? Do you gather with your entire family? Or do you stay at home with your spouse and children? Do you have any special food that you eat every year for Christmas dinner? I will not be traveling to see my family this year. Not working has it's ups and downs. On one hand, I am off so I don't have to fight to get the time off, but on the other hand, I am off and that means travel is not in the budget this year. Catch 22, I guess.

Of course, every family's traditions are different. Every family celebrates Christmas just a little bit differently than the next. Or a lot different, I guess. :)

Regardless of how you and yours celebrate Christmas, I hope that you have a wonderful time. This time of year, there are many people that get depressed or sad. They do not have any family left to celebrate with. Keep these people in your thoughts and prayers. Invite them over for dinner. Do you have a neighbor with no family left? Consider them and include them. Remember what the holiday is about. Remember that it is about giving, not receiving. Give your time to someone who may need it.

Maybe you are not looking forward to spending time with your family. Maybe you have a strained relationship. Think long and hard about that this year. What if this is the last Christmas that you see your family? As we look at the way the world is heading, it seems like every one could be the last. Obviously, a lot of people thought there was no way we would make it through 2015, yet here we are at the end of the year again. But I am not willing to take that chance. I want to see family and friends. Of course I want to see them other than just Christmas as well, but more especially at Christmas.

Through all the hustle and bustle of these next few days, please keep vigilant. As you are out and about, or traveling, please keep an eye on what you see others doing. Might be that it is a situation that you can help in some way. Be the generous stranger and ask them to pay it forward. Maybe it is a situation that you can prevent something bad from happening. The attack on Paris and the attack in San Bernadino were almost three weeks apart to the day. Please keep in mind that this weekend is three weeks. I am sure it was coincidence, but please just keep an eye on what going on around you.

But above all of this, remember to live. Don't hunker down in fear. Get up and live every day with happiness and enjoyment. Prepare for the future, but don't forget that you are alive and well today. And don't forget the reason for this season, in particular. Give your time and attention to someone. More importantly, give your love to someone.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Getting Started

No one can tell you exactly how to prepare. I can give you examples, advice and the like, but how you go about it is ultimately up to you.

A good way to start learning what you need to do to balance a budget is to keep a notebook of all the things you spend money on. Then at the end of a specified time, usually a month, you know how much you spent and where you can/should cut back.

You can apply this same principle to preparing. Keep a log for one month. You can go all out and record everything in great detail as to exactly how much you used (how many squares of toilet paper!) or you can be a whole lot more general (approx. two rolls a week for your family for toilet paper). Or you can focus on one group of items. Like what your family uses in the bathroom, what your family ate for meals for the month. A breakdown of exact amounts or estimates. Either way will get you started.

If you are going to keep track of all the food that your family eats for one month, don't forget meals that you eat out or that the kids eat at school.

If you are going to keep track of what your family uses in the bathroom, write down preferred brands and acceptable alternatives.

If you are going to keep track of disposables, don't forget to include things like toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates, disposable utensils, pads, tissues, coffee filters, etc.

If you are going to track cleaning supplies, don't forget to include items like dish soap, laundry detergent or the items used to make your own, bleach, vinegar, baking soda, etc.

The variations for this are endless. There is no hard and fast rule for preparing for anything. Well, except one. Do it. Other than that, there are some guidelines, advice, suggestions. But what it boils down to is you stepping up and getting started in whatever way you can.

Speaking of suggestions, I do have a suggestion. This is one that my family follows. Buy water every time you go to the store. Not everyone has a way to store the 50-55 gallon drums for water, but nearly everyone can find a way to store jugs of water. There are many many hiding places to stash water. Consider investing or making a rain barrel. As long as it doesn't freeze, that is another option for water storage. Outside, yes, but still useable even if not drinkable.

So how are you deciding what to start storing? How much have you paid attention to all the items that you and your family members use each day? Where have you decided to start? Let me know.

Monday, December 14, 2015

What did you do?

Ok. The weekend is over. It's back to the grind for everyone. Well, most everyone.

So, did you get anything done? Did you get some chores done? Shopping? Did you pick up a few extra items at the store?

We did pick up a few things at the store this weekend. We found some mushrooms on clearance at the grocery store so we bought what they had. Even better was the fact that they were organic. The price we paid for three containers of organic mushrooms was the same as one of just regular mushrooms. So we got what they had. I will dehydrate them today.

We also bought our tree for Christmas. Not what you consider getting prepared? Well keeping life as normal and comfortable as you can is also part of it. Just because you realize that you need to start getting prepared does not mean that you stop living life and be afraid of everything. That is part of being mentally prepared.

We bought more water this weekend. I cannot stress how important water is to stock up on. I have potable and non-potable water stored. Even if it's not the end of the world, water is still valuable to have on hand. We have twice now needed to shut the water off to our house while doing repairs and having this water was great.

We also did a little bit of research on pressure canners. I would absolutely love to have and All American Canner. With the price though, I cannot see that happening any time soon. I learned this weekend that the Presto Canner is safe to use on a glass top stove. That is what we have, and being able to use the Presto now is wonderful. I was worried that we would have to buy a propane burner in order to start pressure canning. Now I won't have to. And at around $70, it is definitely more in my price range.

My husband made chili yesterday. We make a big pot and usually have plenty for leftovers and to stick in the freezer for later.

We made our meal plan for the week based on the sales that we found at the grocery store.

In general, it was a rather slow, laid back weekend. We got out and enjoyed the weather as we all know 70 degrees in December will not last.

So, tell me, what did you do this weekend?

Friday, December 11, 2015

Love, But Not the T.V.

We do not watch much tv. We do not even have cable. WHAT?!? GASP! SPUTTER, CHOKE, COUGH! How can you possibly live without cable you ask. In short, easy. We do have an antenna that picks up local channels and PBS. That's good enough for us. Even with a teenager in the house, we have managed just fine without it.

That doesn't mean that we never watch any tv. My son watches tv virtually every day. My husband and I can go days, even weeks without ever turning the tv on. But then there will be something that caught our attention and that we would like to watch.

Last night, that was The Coat of Many Colors. It was based on the true story of Dolly Parton. I admire Dolly Parton a lot. She is a classy lady. You do not hear scandals about her. You don't hear stories or gossip about the "Latest Stupid Thing She Did" like so many other celebrities. She knows how to behave.

The movie was really good. As I told my husband last night, my eyes sure leaked a lot, lol. There were tears from joy and tears from sadness. If you have the opportunity to see the movie at some point, I would recommend it.

I will not be a spoiler for it in case you have the chance to see it. I do want to say something about it though.

The message of love and family was huge. And I believe it. Love and family can get you through anything, as long as you stay together. It does not have to be physically. My family lives quite a distance from me. I still talk to them and know that I can count on their love and support in anything in my life. The same as I would give them.

What about your family? Do you have that love? Do you have any connection with your family? When life gets hard and tough, and it does without fail at some point, do you have the love of your family to fall back on? Please note, family can also mean the ones that you choose to be your family. We are all born with a family of some sort. We all also have the option of expanding that family with love and friendship in our hearts. Just like in the movie we watched last night.

Be willing to open your heart and forgive when necessary. Be willing to be forgiven when you need it. Greif and guilt can do a lot to tear a family apart. Love is what continues to hold it together. Don't give that love up. Don't let it fade. Show your spouse you still care just as much now as you did when you first got together. Hopefully you know your spouse. What small treasure can you give to them to tell them you love them? And if your first thought is to go out and buy something, well, you have it all wrong. I mean a true treasure. You put the kids to bed tonight so she can enjoy a bubble bath. You take the trash out so he can have a few extra minutes with the kids. You do the dishes so he or she can have a break from it. Give a back rub. Give a foot rub. Hold hands. Kiss. The ideas can be endless.

When times get tough, understand just how much that love will help you and yours. Make sure you have that strong foundation in place now. It will be hard to build a foundation like that in stressful times. Build it now so you have something firm to stand on later.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Beans and Rice? Maybe Neither.

One thing that is said over and over with trying to get prepared is "there is no money". There is almost always a way to find the money to prepare. If preparing is something that you actually want to do, you will find a way. Kind of like if your kid needs braces and you weren't planning on that. You will find a way to come up with the money. Think about your wants versus needs. Do you need to have steak for dinner? Do you need to go out to the restaurant? Do you need that new (fill in the blank here)?

We all seem to think that, well, we deserve it. We had a rough week at work. The kids were awful this week. My boss is an idiot. Well, of course your boss is an idiot. That goes without saying. I don't care where you work, that is likely the case. Bad week at work? What if you had no job? What if you were not able to get to that job? On and on it can go.

Start today. Don't put it off any longer. Take a look at what you can pick up today. Or maybe this weekend if running to the store or library is not an option during the week. When you make out your grocery list, add a few extra items that you already buy. Look for sales and stock up on something. It doesn't need to be double what you normally buy. Just one or two extra every single week will add up before you realize it.

Let me give a little advice, though. Do NOT stock up on beans and rice. Unless of course they are already part of your diet. If you don't like beans or rice now, why would you think that you would like them when you are under a whole lot of stress? Do not think that you can suddenly change your diet to something that you don't like when things go bad. You will simply not eat. Stock up the foods that you and your family already eat on a regular basis. Do not underestimate the value of having normal-for-you foods on hand. Just think about that. When you have a rough time of something now, what do you reach for? Ice cream? Cookies? Chips? Some of these items may not be something you can keep on hand all the time. In my house, if I buy chips of any kind, I have two options. I can put them in the kitchen where my son will have them devoured in about 30 seconds. Or I can hide them. He can't eat what he doesn't know is there. I do have to make sure to get them out of hiding before they go stale though or I have wasted my money. (Not an issue here, my son would eat junk food over any other single option.)

If you do eat beans and rice, as we do, then by all means stock up on them. Find new and creative ways to cook with them. The same old boring stand-by's will be just that. After how many meals will you decide that you simply do not want to see another bean or grain of rice? This is called appetite fatigue. You can starve to death if appetite fatigue sets in. Even with piles of food around you. I know you say that won't happen to me! Well it can. Think about it this way. Make a big pot of soup. Or chili, or whatever. Now, that is all you can eat for the next seven days. Every meal, same thing, over and over. How many meals will go by before you simply cannot eat another bite? That would be a good thing to know. I have tried it. I can go about three days, max. Sometimes, less.

If you have kids, think about some of their favorite foods. These items are some of the first thing you should stock up on. It can be a great comfort for your children to have a meal of their favorites. If you can keep your children calm in an emergency situation, even if it's just a power outage, that leaves you free to deal with things.

Another thing to keep in mind when starting your stocking: think about items that do not need to be cooked. Some of these things would be canned soups, canned meats, etc. May not be the tastiest cold out of the can, but would sure beat going hungry.

One more thing. Rotate. Rotate. Oh yeah, one more thing. Rotate. It does you absolutely no good to stock up on anything if you put it on the shelf and it goes bad before you ever open it up to eat. (See why stocking up on what you already use is a good idea?) Think FIFO. First in, First out. That will save many dollars that you don't have to waste on lost stocks.

Get started today. Or this weekend if you must wait. But do not put this off. Get to the store. Get to the library. There is all kinds of info out there to learn. Find it.

Hard times are coming our way and we all need to get ready. Be vigilant.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Of Garlic and Government

Just like many other people we have had a whole lotta rain. I dumped our rain gauge out on Saturday when we were out working in the yard. This is the picture I took yesterday when I ventured outside again.
That is a five inch rain gauge. It was overflowing. It was on the five in mark on Tuesday afternoon when I noticed it. And it just kept raining. I am not sure how much we actually got at my house as I was lazy and did not want to go out into the rain to dump it before it got full and overflowing.

I planted garlic in our garden this fall. It is doing well. I planted nine cloves so that I could hopefully have nine bulbs. With many cloves. We really love garlic. It is good for so many things, both culinary and medicinal. We use a LOT of garlic.

Since I do not have any garlic from the garden yet, we bought some. I decided to try my hand at dehydrating it. So, here I have my garlic:
Then I peeled it:
You get very sticky peeling that much garlic.
Wow, they kind of look like lumpy potatoes that close up.

Then I chopped them up. The book said to cut them in half, but I figured they might dry faster if they were cut up a little smaller.

They are still in the dehydrator and will be for several hours. They are still very flexible. I need them to be crisp. I can use them by chopping them up and have garlic pieces. Or I can put them in my mortar and pestle and grind them up for powder. Or I can just throw them in as is into soups or any other dish I would add garlic. Wait, is there anything I don't add garlic to?? Maybe some desserts, that's about it.

I was not going to put anything on this blog about politics, but it seems I can't help myself right now.

I have been following the terrorist attack in California just as everyone else has. This is unacceptable for our country. When did we allow ourselves to turn into such a place? How did we let our country turn into such a politically correct pansy state that we refuse to call a spade a spade?

It appalls me that there were people that saw these people coming and going into the house of one of the shooters that was involved in this. And didn't report it. Why? They didn't want to get into trouble for "racial profiling". Are you kidding me? What difference does that make? I feel like they are also responsible for this attack. All they had to do was call the cops and report suspicious behavior.

I want to know why it's acceptable to keep bringing these "refugees" to our country. We have seen firsthand what happened when these so called refugees were allowed into France. I also want to know why most if not all the pictures of these so called refugees are men. If they are truly seeking safety, why are there not more women and children?

I just heard on the news this afternoon that ISIS is expected to claim credit for this attack in California. This piece of news today, when yesterday TPTB (the powers that be) said there was not enough evidence to call this a terrorist attack. This is where we should be calling a spade a spade. These shooters were terrorists, plain and simple. Should we also be calling our government terrorists for allowing these terrorists into our country? For allowing them in our country to kill our citizens, we should all be shouting to our government. Even if they stopping bringing in "refugees" right now, it's too late. They are already here. They are crossing our borders in the southwest at an alarming rate as well.

We should all be paying very close attention to what is going on around us. Please watch closely the things going on in your neck of the woods. And for Pete's sake, if you see something report it. Do not run the risk that another attack can happen because we didn't want to hurt someone's feelings. I would rather hurt someone's feelings and no one die, than to spare a few people getting feelings hurt and many people die. I won't have that on my conscious.

Please be careful and be safe.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Blood and Joints, Really?

I am truly astounded. And not in a good way.

I recently had a conversation with my son. We don't have too many of those. We were waiting for an appointment, so we had time to sit and chat. Most conversations are something of a trial with him. At his age, of course he knows everything. And of course, I know nothing. Typical teenager of today's society.

But back to the conversation. I am not sure exactly how the topic came up as we were talking about his dog. He said to me something along the lines of how there should be more blood between joints to cushion them. What? I asked, totally confused about what he was talking about. He said you know the blood between your joints to cushion your bones. Then I was very confused. I asked him if he really thought that blood is what is between joints. He said yes. So at this point I tried to give him a very quick short biology lesson. I then asked him if has ever studied the human body in his science classes. No is the answer.

Now, my son is in high school. (A very short history - he lived with his dad until just over a year ago when I got custody back.) I'll repeat. High School. And he has never had a biology or science class that covered the human body.

What has happened to our schools? I started learning human biology in grade school. I believe somewhere around the third grade. My sister did as well. We sat at the dinner table every night and compared notes on what we learned in school about the various functions of the body. Yes, we had some mighty strange discussions at our dinner table. Never ruined any of our appetites, though. Well, at least my sister or me... I can't say for sure for my mom and step-dad.

But when did it become okay for our schools to drop this kind of information? When did it happen that our children were no longer taught the basics about the human body? What other information are they not teaching our children in school? Is this all schools, or just the one that he went to while living with his dad?

With our children not learning things that should be considered mandatory, how can we ever expect them to grow into intelligent adults? How the heck am I supposed to send my child to college (At this point that is provided he actually graduates high school with good enough grades to even go) when he would have to take remedial classes just to finish his high school education?

I want to know where our standards went. Why do we not expect more out of our schools and teachers? The curriculum? The students?

If my son were younger, I would yank his butt out of public schools. (I put him in a private school when I had custody and he was much younger.) I would put him back in a private school or home school him. I find it completely unacceptable that my son doesn't even know what cartilage is, or what tendons and ligaments are. I am not sure at this point what my options are. At his age, he is more interested in his "own life" than learning anything. Because of course, he already knows everything that he needs to know.

So have you asked your children about what they are learning? Or more accurately, what they are not learning. You might want to.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Stuck Inside -- But No Worries

Today was a dreary, rainy day. So we stayed inside. We did not get a whole lot done. We organized our freezer so we could see what we actually have. After that, we made our list of meals for the week. Actually, we set up a meal plan for the next two weeks. Meal lists allow us to plan for leftovers and try to eliminate food waste.

Then we dehydrated mushrooms. We really like mushrooms. Except on pizza. Then they are just slimy and gross. When we bought mushrooms at the store last time we went, we decided we should try drying them. But we had to eat some of them first. So, this is what we had left to work with:

After we washed them and cut them up, this is what we had:

One tray. I could not add anything else to dry with the mushrooms as the temp they start out at is much lower than anything else. So, into the dehydrator they went. They are still in there right now. I thought they might have a strong smell while drying but they don't. I was worried the house might smell like musty dirt. No need to worry though as they have not had any smell that I noticed.

Then we decided to make up some more rolls. We all really like bread. Especially home made bread. Fresh and hot right out of the oven. Oh, pardon me, I was drooling...

Anyway. Rolls. For these rolls, Crisco is your friend. Grease your pan, grease your hands. Then roll them up. See? Rolling:
Then, slimy, Crisco-y hands and a dough ball:

Put two of these in each muffin cup. Greased, though, or you will never be able to scrape it out of your pan.

Keep rolling and filling. Then you have filled pans:

Or almost full. I ran out of dough. This is the second half of this batch of dough. Depending on the size you roll the dough hunks out, you will wind up with 18-24 rolls. Then you let them sit on the counter to rise for 2-3 hours. Turn on your oven when you are ready to 450* and bake on the middle rack for about 10 minutes. The middle rack is vital. On any other rack they will not bake right and will not turn into the yummy goodness they are supposed to be.

See? That is yummy goodness.
Pssst: You do know to fill any empty muffin cups with water before baking, right? Make sure you do that.

Here is the easy-peasy recipe:

1/2 C sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 C Crisco - do not use oil, butter, margarine, etc. Use Crisco or lard
3/4 C boiling water
3/4 C cold water
1 egg, beaten
1 pkg yeast
1/2 C warm water
5 1/2 C white flour

Mix sugar, salt and Crisco in boiling water. Mix cold water and egg. Add egg mixture to the sugar mixture. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add to sugar and egg mixture. Stir in flour. Do NOT add any more flour. This dough is really really sticky.

At this point you can wrap it up in plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge until you are ready for it. Then when you want rolls, just start rolling and filling your pan. But don't forget to grease your pans and hands. Let them rise for 2-3 hours and then bake about 10 minutes at 450*. Remove from pan and eat. And then another one. Maybe just one more to be sure they are safe for anyone else to eat.

If you do happen to have any leftover, pop them in the microwave to warm them up and they are still tasty. Try them plain. Try them with butter. Try them with jelly. You really can't go wrong with them.  What are you waiting for? Go make some.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope that today finds you with your family. If not the family you were born with, then the family that you chose. I hope that today finds your belly full, a smile on your face and love in your heart. I hope that you have much to be thankful for. We have much to be thankful for in our lives.

Please take some time today and give thanks for all of your blessings. Please take time today to say a prayer of thanks and safety for our service men and women who cannot be home today with their families. Please take some time today to share with your family all of the things that you are thankful for.



Also: be thankful you aren't the turkey.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Chemical-Free Cleaning

Have you ever looked at that bottle of cleaner you are using? Not the front of it where you see the brand name to make sure you are grabbing the right bottle. The back of the bottle, where the ingredients are listed. Maybe you have to lift up the top label to even see that list of ingredients. Go look, I'll wait a minute...

Ok, now you have looked at the list. How much of it was stuff you couldn't pronounce? How much of it was stuff that you aren't even sure what the heck it is? How much of it just sounds a little scary or creepy? Are you ready to put that bottle away and not look at it again? Good.

Let's look at some "alternative" ways to clean.

My go to cleaning option is good ole vinegar. I have been using vinegar as a household cleaner for years. It can clean and disinfect. Here and here are a couple of examples to start your research. Do more research. I assume if you are reading this, you are not one to "just take my word for it". Good for you!

I have used vinegar for cleaning mirrors, bathroom sinks, counters, toilets and tubs. I have used vinegar in the kitchen for sticky messes and cleaning counters. I have used vinegar in the rinse cycle for laundry. I have used vinegar for mopping floors. Believe it or not, it does not leave a smell behind. Of course you can smell it while you are using it, but that's it.

Another option for cleaning that I like is Tea Tree Oil. If you are in for some dry reading, try here, if you are just looking for how to use it, try here. I also like to put a few drops into a pot of water on the stove and set it to simmer. It adds a wonderful smell to the air while adding some moisture. Very important in the winter with all the dry heat. A caution for tea tree oil - do NOT consume it. It is for external use only. Never eat or drink anything with TTO in it. TTO can also be used for health applications. Here is another site to go to that has a wealth of info on using essential oils.

These two options are just two of the available choices for alternative cleaning products. If you look into it, you can find a wealth of articles on how to make your own cleaning products that do not use harsh chemicals. If you can eliminate those harsh cleaning chemicals from your home, why wouldn't you? Also, what would you do if you couldn't get to the store to buy more of those commercial cleansers? Vinegar can be made at home. Essential oils can be made from plants you can grow in your own yard. If you don't have a yard, you can plant them in a container on a patio or balcony. There are many essential oils that can be used for cleaning. Look them up and decide which ones you like. For example, lavender is easy enough to grow and can also be used for cleaning. It smells good, too.

One more thing, plain old soap and water will do a whole lot for cleaning. There are a variety of "soap plants" out there. Depending on your location in the US, there is a soap plant that will grow in your region. Start here to get some ideas on which plants you could grow in your own yard.

Now, look these ideas up, see which ones you like and get some plants growing in your yard. Then even if you can't get to the store to buy those chemical cleaners, you can march yourself out the door and pick your cleaners.  

Monday, November 23, 2015

Sicky Germs


Obviously, illness is something that everyone needs to be prepared for. What I thought was a yucky cold just kept coming and getting worse. Last week, I thought that I was on the way back to health.

Wrong. I started running a fever. Which lasted on and off for three days. I am not big on going to the doctor so true to form I did not this time either. The fever was a low grade fever so I do not believe that I had the flu. Aside from the fact that I ran a fever, all of my symptoms fell solidly into the camp of cold. Turns out, you can run a fever with a cold. Wow. I learned something new.

I am a firm believer that herbal remedies work for many things. That is what I used(after my husband went to the store when I ran out!) If you have specific questions about herbal remedies, please, look them up. There is all kinds of info out there online and in books to refer to. I have several.

What made me think this time was my situation. I am currently not working. If I had been working, I would have had the time to take off work or lose pay. If I had "pressing" chores to do, I would have had to do them, fever or not. Or, someone would have had to do my chores on top of theirs. That could create a big problem.

It did create a few small problems. Most notably, I was not up to cooking any meals. While I do not have any small children in my house, I do try to cook dinner every day for leftovers for lunch and to make sure my son eats decent food in the evening. Otherwise he would snack or eat a can of soup, or three, and call it good. I would much prefer him to eat a meal. My husband is also perfectly capable of cooking dinner as well. And he did, but this goes back to someone else having to pick up the slack. Right now, not a major problem, but it could become one.

I was not really prepared for this in any way. As noted above, my husband had to make a trip to the store to get me more of one of my choice herbal remedies. I had not taken any meat out of the freezer for meals. I did not have any more premade meals in the freezer for my family to grab in the event that we did not have a cooked dinner.

Another aspect of this: If you could not run to the store and buy bleach, or Lysol, or your preferred method of disinfecting, what would you use? How would you try to prevent the spread of the "sicky" germs?

So think ahead. How would you clean, feed, accomplish tasks? Let me know your thoughts.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Day in The Life

Yesterday was a fairly busy day for me. I did not get anything posted as we were forecast storms and I wanted to get the computer off and unplugged before they hit. Turns out, we did not get storms like the weather dummies said.

I started my day just like usual. I get up with my husband and start coffee. I then make sure my son is up. He swears to me every time I talk to him about responsibility that he gets himself up most mornings. So not true. So I make sure to wake him up. If it's cold, I start a fire if needed. I get my husbands lunch for the day ready. About this time, we sit down for a cup of coffee together before he leaves. Then it's time to make sure my son gets out the door on time to catch the bus. As we only have one working vehicle, unless it's a day my husband can take the bike, I cannot get my son to school if he misses the bus.

Since I knew we were supposed to be in for strong winds and storms, I figured that I would finish my coffee, have my cup of tea (I switch after one cup as I have found that too much coffee doesn't agree with me), and then get started on my day.

I started outside as I wanted all the outside stuff done before the weather moved in. First, I chopped wood.

See, no firewood.
Pile growing.
Some of the pieces to be chopped.


A mostly full tub.
Then it was time to take the awning down. We put up the awning to give us some shade and a place to sit outside in case it was raining. My mom had a gazebo that blew over a few years ago and she gave us the screening from it when she got rid of it. We attached that to the awning to help cut down on bugs. Mostly the mosquitos as wherever I am, there are also mosquitos having dinner on me. We also set up a table, which I had already removed, the grill/smoker and our cowboy grill. We hope to set up a "more permanent" moveable outdoor kitchen so that when the time comes for us to move we can take it with us. But that's for another day.
See? Gone.
This is where the pictures stop. Once I got the awning down and put away and the grills moved and covered, it was time to bring in the wood. I got distracted by one last look of summer.
It was the only one left in the yard. I love dandelions. They may be considered a weed, but in my book they are a welcome addition in the yard. They are very beneficial. And I hear they can make a pretty good wine.

Anyway, back to the wood. I knew there was no way I was going to be able to haul the tub all the way to the door and up the steps. So I got out my trusty dolly. I wheeled it out there and slid it under the tub and off I went. For about five feet. Then the tub dumped over. So I tipped it back upright and tried again, holding the dolly a lot lower trying to avoid another mishap. No such luck. It tipped a second time. So I picked it back up again and thankfully made it into the house. Out I went to get the wood that fell out. I stacked it on the dolly, kept the handle low again and still the wood would not stay on it. So I gathered about half of it and tried again. I got about 3/4 of the way to the door when it tipped and some of that wood fell off. I got it picked up and finally into the house. The third load, Woohoo!, I got it inside without a hitch.

By this time, the morning had gone by and I still had plenty I wanted to get done. I wanted to take a shower because it is true, using wood to heat with definitely warms you more than once!

I had already started a load of laundry before going out to chop wood. I took that out and hung it on our drying rack and started a new load. Remember, I am trying to save as much money as possible, a dryer does not do that. A hanging clothes dryer can.

Then I sat down to eat lunch. Leftovers from dinner the night before. Still trying to save money and throwing food out does not do that either.

After lunch, I hung the second load of clothes. I only have one of the clothes drying racks, but I do have hangers and a shower rod. So that's where I hung the second load.

Then it was time to get started in the kitchen. I mixed up some bread dough and set it aside to rise. Then I got all the clean dishes put up and the dirty dishes washed. Next I went looking for chocolate chips as I was going to make cookies. I DON'T HAVE ANY!! Wow, that is just sad. So I decided to make brownies. And popcorn. And most definitely not the microwave kind.
With all the snacks out of the way, it was time to bake the bread and get started on dinner. Hamburgers, mushroom gravy and roasted potatoes. I think it was yummy. My husband and son said so. Did I not eat any, you ask? Oh, I did. I just couldn't taste it. You see, I woke up with a really yucky cold yesterday.
By this time, Hubby is home and he makes me a hot toddy. I think it was good, too, but again, I couldn't really taste it. It did ease my sore throat and I coughed a little bit less. We spent the evening vegging out since at that time I was about done for. We do not have cable, but do have an antenna so we can watch local channels and stations like PBS. We watched a really neat show about some cultures and their manhood ceremonies and how they earn money for a living for their families, and about the people that lived in America before it was "discovered". I do like shows like that. Then another hot toddy and off to bed. To hack and cough and not sleep.
Needless to say, I have not gotten much done today, except try to get rid of this cold. And try to sleep some. Didn't work too much better today. I have started a productive cough now and my throat doesn't hurt anymore, so I believe I am on the mend.
This does make me wonder though... Today I was able to just take it easy and rest. What would I have done if we had some sort of catastrophe going on? Pick any one of the things that could happen. Snow/ice storms, thunderstorms with power outages like many parts of the country right now, the myriad of social/economic issues, etc. Would I have had time to rest? To take a day off?  What would happen if my family's survival counted on me being at the top of my game? Or even if not that drastic, just their comfort. What if we already lived out in the country and I had animals and chores to do? Take a bit and ponder that for your situation.
Until tomorrow.


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Let There Be Light

As we ease our way to the end of November, we are getting cooler temps and cloudier skies. Our forecast for tomorrow is possible storms. Fortunately, it is not going to be terribly cold tonight or tomorrow.

Something to think about, is with every storm comes the possibility of a power outage. Some areas are more prone to this than others, obviously. I have lived in a couple of different towns since I moved to Tennessee over five years ago, and apparently I have found the places that the power goes out the most! Since it is not that cold out yet, heating will not be the main concern. However, lights will. Now that we are off DST, it gets dark early. By the time my husband gets home from work, it's dark. I would like to do what I can to make sure that when he gets home from work, he is greeted in an inviting manner. So, I ask - Does a dark house do that? Not so much. If the power goes out, I can flip that wall switch as often as I want to and it will not work (We have all done that? Right? I am surely not the only one!).

What I can do, is light the oil lamps. Also known as kerosene lamps, hurricane lamps, etc. They all will do the same thing. Give light.

Candles will also do that. I have a love of candles. I would buy candles every time I left my house if I could. Individually, they don't put out a lot of light, though.

Both oil lamps and candles will put out some heat. It won't, of course, heat your house, but it will add a little bit of heat to a room. If I had to choose between an eternal source for one or the other, it would  be oil lamps. The amount of light they put out is much greater than candles. They also have the flame enclosed in the globe. The flame isn't as affected by any passing air. Since we purchase lamp oil, there is not much in the way of soot and there is no odor.

To increase the amount of light you are getting from your lamps or candles, try placing them in front of a mirror. I have a "barn" lamp that has a plate attached to the side of the lamp. It is supposed to be reflective but due to age, it no longer is. I can simply glue a mirror to this and increase the brightness.  Most of my oil lamps sit on the mantle just waiting for use. We plan to hit some salvage stores and see if we can find a length of mirror to run behind the lamps and candles placed there. If not, then I will buy a cheap back of the door mirror from the big box store, take the frame off and mount that over the mantle. No need to spend a lot of money on a mirror "cut to size".

Flashlights are another source of light and they definitely have a purpose. I for one do not want to hold a flashlight while trying to cook dinner. Or take a shower. or a myriad of other tasks. Would I like one to walk around in the yard or outside anywhere for any reason? Heck ya! I would prefer a flashlight over a candle or lamp in that scenario any day, and for many other uses. In fact, I carry one on my belt everyday as part of my everyday carry. Just not so much for the daily tasks I would be doing inside.

Today, I topped off all the oil lamps and made sure that all our candle holders were full, just in case. Have you dusted off those oil lamps and filled those candle holders to Let There Be Light when times are tough?

Monday, November 16, 2015

What Did You Do?

So, did you do anything this weekend to prepare? No, I hear you saying...

Well, did you go to the grocery store? Did you buy exactly what you need for the next seven or so days until you go back? Or did you buy a few more items than you needed? If so, then you prepared some.

Well, did you do yard work, house work, etc. to "Prepare" for winter? Then you prepared some.

Well, did you get out and hike or camp or do any physical activity? Then you prepared some.

We went to the grocery store and stocked up on some sale items. It is that time of year that there are some really good sales with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up. This is the time of year to catch those loss leaders and really stock up. Don't know what a loss leader is? Look at the front of your local grocery store ad. See that really good, don't want to pass it up, deal? Like turkey for 60 cents a pound? That is a loss leader. See that ad for butter for $1.99? That is a loss leader. The store will lose money if all you do is come in and buy that particular item. What they are counting on is for you to come in and buy that "super" sale item and lots of other stuff along with it. Then they make their profit.

What would be ideal, is having enough stock in your kitchen to only shop sales and loss leaders. Are we there yet? Heck no. But to me, that is a goal worth having. To buy only when I want to! That is my kind of shopping. The more I save, the more I have. Or can have.

The more I can have, the more prepared I can be. If I save money each time I go to the grocery store, by buying the items I normally use that are on sale, the better off I can be. If I buy an item on sale, butter for example which I use a lot of, then I should buy it every time it goes on sale. Especially when it is a loss leader. Then I can put it up and have it for future times when it is not on sale. If you buy items that you normally use when they are on sale, why not buy a couple of more?  Each time you do that, you are adding to your stock. That makes you more prepared.

We also dehydrated some carrots and some cherry tomatoes that we bought. We chopped more wood for the fireplace. We bought some kerosene for the heaters. We made sure that we were caught up on laundry. We made a trip to Walmart (uggg I do not like Walmart) for the things that we couldn't get at other stores (at least for as cheaply as we could there). All this for life's uncertainties.

So, tell me, what did you do to prepare?

Friday, November 13, 2015

Baby, It's Cold Outside! (Or maybe it's just me)

We have a bit of a cold snap coming in this weekend. Possibly some freezing temps overnight. Well, it's November so we can't complain.

Most people who know me, they will tell you I am always cold. Where I used to work, it was something of a joke to everyone. Here comes M with her layers and layers. How many layers do you have on today? Except the days I had hot flashes - I mean "power surges". Then the new comments started - Where's your jacket? Oh, you do have skin on your arms! Like I am some kind of alien and the skin on my face was a farce and really the rest of my body must have been make of some kind of metal or something. What am I, The Terminator? No I am not, but that would be bad-ass!

I am working on the cold thing. My hands and feet get cold very easy. Like painfully cold. Many people have made the comment to me, especially in the summer, oh it must be nice not getting hot. Well, I have news for you, it's not. Imagine it's 80 degrees outside and your hands are hurting and so cold that it's hard to type. When your job requires working on a computer, that really sucks. But, I have learned that some of the coldness is mental and just requires some conditioning. This summer and fall, I have been working on "teaching" myself not to be so cold. I have actually been outside on days when the highs are in the 60's just in jeans and a t-shirt. I do get cold eventually, but to be able to go outside like that is a huge step for me.

I also set "requirements" for myself about heating the house. We do not have a furnace. We have a fireplace, space heaters and kerosene heaters. We have a temp gauge in the living room. I set the "rule" that I cannot use any heat source until the temp gets down to at least 64. I have stuck with this rule most of the time. (I've had a couple of fallbacks.) I am proud of myself. It used to be that if it was below 75 or so, I was cold and "had" to have some heat. Now I just tell myself that I am not cold. Believe it or not, it does work. Not every time as I have had a couple of days that I was cold no matter what I told myself. So I bundled up. I can't turn on the space heaters and start a fire every time I get chilly if I am going to save us money. More layers are free. Heat sources are not.

I guess what this ultimately boils down to, is mind over matter. If I believe I am cold, then I will be. If I don't believe it, then I won't be cold. This works with so many things.

What does this have to do with being prepared for things? A lot, actually. If I am wrapped up in 2903657 layers because I am always cold, what do I do when a winter storm rolls through and knocks the power out? Remember, I live in a trailer. In about 5 seconds, all the heat in our home would be gone if we relied only on electric heat (which we use in the bathrooms). I would freeze in about 10 seconds. Also, in those 2903657 layers, how do I function? I look like the Michelin Man and am just about as graceful. Teaching myself to not be so cold, however, I can wear less layers and be less affected by the cold. I can move about without bouncing off the walls and furniture. It means that we don't have to use as much fuel for heat, regardless of the source. It also means that I can be outside in cooler weather to help with the work that needs done around the house and yard and not be in pain from the cold. And what a difference that has made for me. And my husband. Just think the amount of work I am saving him. How, you ask? He can chop less wood! I do help him. I just am no where near as fast, efficient or capable as he is.

So, what are some things that you are doing to get yourself mentally prepared?

Thursday, November 12, 2015

An Experiment

I recently received an Excalibur dehydrator for the wonderful price of FREE! Who doesn't like free?

Actually, my mom gave it to me. She bought it several years ago and used it sporadically and decided she would be more than happy to part with it. So, now it's mine, and I love it. So far I have dehydrated carrots, celery, apples, onions and green peppers. I just dried more green peppers a couple of days ago. My pepper plants have finally called it quits this year and of course I didn't want to waste those yummy pieces of deliciousness. Let me tell you, it is amazing how small those pieces become once all the water has been sucked out. They are tiny. I have a quart mason jar full of them now and it was like 30 peppers. Talk about saving space!

I have giant red mustard growing in my fall garden. If you have never heard of it or had it, oh my goodness you need to. It really is red. It starts off green just like any other greens do, then starts getting red veins in it. Talk about yum. We just eat it fresh like lettuce on a sandwich or in a salad. I have read, however, that you can cook them just like any other greens. If you eat it fresh, it has a spicy peppery flavor. Apparently once you cook it, it loses that punch. We like the punch so we eat it fresh. Now, would you like to hear the sad part? Most people who grow this plant use it for a border plant in their landscaping. They never eat it! Boy, are they missing out.

Anyway, my experiment. I decided to try dehydrating the red mustard. I can crumble or powder it and add it to soups and stews. Or any dish I choose, I suppose. My haul today:

Several radishes, a variety of lettuce and those yummy red mustard leaves(on the left-see the red?). I washed them up and steamed them for a couple minutes until they were just wilted. Then I laid them out on the trays. Talk about tedious. They can't overlap according to the book I have and since they were steamed, they all stuck to each other and wadded up on themselves. They also seemed to lose some the red coloring as well.

I now have three trays of these beauties in the dehydrator. I didn't want to dry a bunch because if they turn out awful, I will be sad of the lost yummies. I am sure the dehydration will work just fine, but until I use them, I have no idea if this will be a successful experiment. I will have to figure out something to make for dinner this weekend to give them a whirl.

 I am really happy with the salad that we will have with dinner tonight.

Nothing like a fresh salad from your garden. In November. And it's still going strong.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Thank A Vet

Thank a Vet today.

My husband and I neither one have a military background, although we both have family members that are current and former military. We both know the fear when they leave and the joy when they came back. My heart goes out to all those whose family didn't come back. They have paid the ultimate price for our freedom. To say "Thank You" just doesn't seem to be enough.


I want to live in the country. I haunt blogs like Patrice's.  I know that it is hard work and can be very frustrating. The way I see it though, what could be more satisfying than that lifestyle? Knowing where your food comes from, knowing that the animals you are eating were cared for humanely and knowing that the food you eat doesn't have some weird chemicals that you can't pronounce.

However, I live in a trailer park. I know, I know. Most people don't think that living in a trailer park is the "American Dream". I know it was not what I dreamed about as a child. No rolling hills with cattle roaming. No horses running through the fields. Not even any chickens in the backyard. However, my little slice of the trailer park is my dream for now. My husband and I are making it everything that we can. Trying to care for ourselves and help our neighbors when we can. Sharing the bounty of our garden... When it grows! because everyone knows that growing a garden is simple, right? We also want to be ready for as many of the things that life throws at us as we can. But you live in a trailer park! I hear the comments now.

Most folks also don't think that you can prepare for anything in a trailer park. But why can't you? No one says that you have to prepare for The End Of The World As We Know It. Why can't you just prepare for the everyday-life-happens sort of stuff? Why can't you grow your own little garden so you can at least know where some of your veggies come from? Why can't you store some water for those unknown events that might occur?

I am not talking about major catastrophe's. I am talking about the things that you didn't see coming and now you aren't sure what to do. Or maybe you do know what to do, but you weren't ready for it.

Let me give you a couple of examples:

I am out of work. I have now been out of work for a couple of months. I did look for a job and had a few interviews. Unfortunately, I apparently have not been what those companies are looking for. I won't give up, although my husband has suggested that I wait until after the holidays. I am ok with that. It gives me a chance to learn some things while I am home. Which has been more than I thought it could be.

Also, we had a water leak a couple of weeks ago. I was digging through the bottom of the closet trying to get our BOB straps out of the way so I could vacuum. It was wet. Oh no, a bottle must have started leaking, that was my first thought. Then I realized the floor was wet. Crap, did all the bottles leak? Until I realized that is not the bag with the water. All dry stuff. BIG OH NO at this point. The carpet was wet, the other bag on the floor was wet. Everything in the bottom of the closet was wet. Then I realized the walls were wet. Holy Cow! how long as this leak been there? I called my husband, turned the water off and cut the power to the house as I didn't know which breaker was the water heater. (I have since remedied that.) Long story short, we did not have to replace the water heater as it was a joint in the pipes feeding the water heater. However, we had to rip up carpet, flooring, subflooring, rip out the walls and the wet insulation. It was a mess. And we fixed it all ourselves.

This is the point of preppin' in a trailer park. We are not preparing for TEOTWAWKI. We are preparing for our own personal SHTF. Everyone has them. We do, our neighbors do, you do. Sooooo, why not plan for them? If I hadn't known how to shut the water off, it would have just continued to leak until my husband got home. If I hadn't known where the panel box was at and how to shut the power off, we would have just had water leaking all over the place and power still running to all the wires nearby. Granted, nothing had happened previously even though the water had been leaking apparently for ages, but I do live in a trailer and I wasn't about to take any chances.

Fortunately, we had gallon jugs of water and a couple of cases of bottles. I also filled up every bucket I could find, all sinks and the tub so we could flush the toilet. We were just fine.

And if you are wondering why we had so much water? Well a couple of months ago, not too far from our house, a train carrying toxic chemicals derailed and caught on fire. My husband and I didn't even know it had happened until we were on our way to work. I drove back home as my son was home to see what the heck we needed to do. I made phone call after phone call (no answer-please leave a message and we will get back to you- soooo very helpful). When I finally started packing to evacuate ( I know I am apparently a little slow on the uptake!) my boss called and demanded that I return to work. No concern about my son and what the heck I was supposed to do with him, and no I was not allowed to take him to work with me (Now do you see why I no longer work there?) So in the interest of keeping my job, I left my son at home and went to work. And felt like crap about it all day long. What the heck was wrong with me putting my job before my son? So when we came home from work, there were roadblocks we had to get through. They were advising us to gather our son and any pets and evacuate. OH, and maybe don't drink the water. We think it's ok but maybe go get a gallon or two.

So that is why we now have water on hand and BOB's. If I had had those to begin with, I wouldn't have had to waste time packing and could have had my son and pets out of the area before I ever had to worry when my boss called and demanded me to come back to work. All of these things have happened in the last few months. I know I am not the only one that seems to have things that just keep happening. It's different things for everyone, but we all have them.

So, let's be ready for them, shall we?