Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Folks, please forgive me. It has been a mighty long time since I've posted.

Some of you may recall we're expecting our second bundle of joy. We've frantically searched for a larger home (current one is sooo tiny!) - but, alas; people have slap lost their minds in the rental arena in our area. The prices they are asking - the condition of the homes - their locations... it has been one thing, or another. Since time is now of the essence, and we HAVE to start readying for our new little bundle of joy, we have decided to simply buck up, & batten down the hatches here. Yes, our ability to do all we'd like with prepping is limited here. Hopefully, the economic forecast won't take a massive downturn, and all such manner of doom & gloom will be afar off.

This is an unexpected turn of events for us. We really thought we'd have an easier time of finding a place. But we're simply unwilling to burden ourselves with too-high rent, bad location (often for more money, WHAT?) or have to pull a HAZMAT team in to decontaminate a home before we move in.

So, at least for the time being, here we will stay.

And I guess that's what I sort of wanted to write about: Prepping where you are in life.

When we begin prepping, it's often fraught with anxiety: about all we lack, about what we need, about where we live.

Just about 'where we are' at that point in time.

But I feel it's unnecessary stress we place on ourselves. The books & articles about how to be completely protected, provisioned & possessing the ability to be fully self-sustaining are multitudinous. I agree with all of it. What a beautifully prepped world it would be, if only we could all live in the country with a farm, a garden, a well or two, and enough land to sustain us, and our 'plans'. Reality, tho, in modern Americana, is a vast departure from this dream. For most of us, anyway.

On top of that, LIFE EVENTS will, necessarily & rightly, shift our focus from time to time. You'll never catch me saying that prepping shouldn't be one of our highest priorities; and yet, there are simply seasons of life that will require it take a lower position on the priority list. Family, work, illness, finances, even our spirituality, will take place front & center on our radar.

That is certainly the place in which we find ourselves currently. While we are still slowly working on the food storage, our primary goals & objectives of late revolve around preparing this tiny home for a whole new person.. a baby. Our work around this house will be to make accomodations for that. My chickens will have to wait. My garden for the year, which I *had* originally planned on, is put on hold for next year. We'll spend an inordinate amount of time rearranging our tiny space so that we can have a functioning kitchen, functioning space for baby AND food storage.

And frankly, that's ok. Life happens, and just goes right on & on, regardless of our 'readiness' for it. "All we can do," says my wise ol' father, "is the best we can do." I'd only add, "and the best we can do is enough."

Life is to be lived, experienced and enjoyed. So don't be too concerned about prepping where you're at. Do all you can do, and it'll be enough for now. PLEASE don't stress about all the things you 'should' be doing. What we should be doing, at any given moment, is meeting the demands of life.

So it's ok if you're healing, and not training.

It's ok if you're stretching your dollar to feed your family THIS WEEK, and not storing food.

It's ok if you're whole mind is wrapped up in a family reunion. Family is important, and none of us is guaranteed the morrow.

It's ok if you're nesting, and not prepping.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Man, I love the internet! You can just find all sortsa information!

So, it was via facebook that I found this neat little blog: Canarella.

I haven't done any blog posts, myself, on canning as a means to becoming a Mom more Prepared, yet.. but that's only because I feel some pressure to actually begin using the brand new canner I've got sitting in storage. :-/  The only reason I haven't, yet, is that my home is exceedingly small, and I'm having issues just making room for all the rest of my food storage!

But I WILL start canning, soon. I will, I will, I will ;-)

If YOU are a canner, or are new to it, or want to begin.. check out Ms. Canarella's blog.

In addition to it's natural fabulosity, Ms. Canarella is also doing a Giveaway, open thru January 31st.

Check out these goodies!

The give away includes the following items:
  • The Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving
  • Jams and Preserves - Gina Steer
  • Two jars of Vanilla Beans from Silver Cloud Estates (3 beans per jar)

Items by Ball
  • One 4.7 oz jar of classic pectin
  • One 5.5 oz. jar of pickle crisp granules
  • One Bread & Butter Mix
  • One Kosher Dill Pickle Mix
  • One box of Lids w/Bands (regular mouth)
  • One box of 12 lids

Just a neat little collection of goodies to get you and help you on your way into grander canning adventures!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Dinner Is In The Jar
by Kathy Clark

Yay! I got it!

This book is Awe. Some!

This goal of this book is to equip you, thru recipes, to create a 90 day supply of meals, using, primarily, your dried food storage - veggies, butter, milk, sour cream powders, and the like.

Since I am putting a larger emphasis, lately, on my freeze dried & dehydrated food storage, I knew this was a book I wanted!

Now, the meals all have Add-Ons; the pint of canned (or pound of fresh) meat; a can or two of diced or crushed tomatoes. But even these items can be 'converted' by using TVPs for the meat, and dried tomatoes.

Each recipe does include a page of labels to photocopy to adhere to your jar or mylar bag.

An additional feature I like about the book is that the author included an Appendix of Ingredients *and* Add-ons that the recipes require, as well as what recipe that ingredient corresponds with. This way, I can go thru the list, then check the recipe, to see if it's one I'd even like to prepare, before I go out & purchase an ingredient I may not have on hand (altho, most of the ingredients are used in multiple recipes, of course).

I read the reviews on Amazon by those complaining about how it doesn't look 'professionally done' inside, but I think that's just silliness, honestly. I am pleased with it, inside & out.

The recipes, too, appear to be pleasers, so I really can't wait to choose which one I'll try first. Back to Amazon reviews, here, tho... I've read very positive reviews that the food is delish.

That works for me!

If you are looking for more recipes that will incorporate your freeze dried/dehydrated long term food storage... I highly recommend you snag this book!

Well done, Mrs. Clark!

SOG Specialty Knives & Tools F01T Tactical Tomahawk, Black


I scored big with this one! My husband has been drooling over this little tool for months & months!

He wanted this item because this brand is evidently regarded highly by military & law enforcement.. which I'd say is a pretty good reputation to have.

It reviewed (on Amazon) extremely well, and does as fine a job as some reviewers have experienced from other, larger SOG models of the Tomahawk.

One review I noticed, in particular, was that, due to its light weight & smaller size, it fits nicely in a backpack or on an attached hoop, AND is ideal for *women* to carry. So, I might be asking for one, myself, next Christmas ;-)

The description reads that it's a: "Compact tool for breaching operations, excavation, obstacle removal, extraction, and other utility applications" so think of clearing brush out of your path, and the like; but it also can be used as a hammer (tent stakes, anyone?). I suppose, if needed, it could be used as a weapon, altho the reviews for that particular purpose are mixed on whether it could or not.

But for outdoor survival, whether you're going camping, or are - for whatever reason - stuck out in the wilderness, this is a great tool to have in your gear.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I Can't Believe It's Food Storage
by Crystal Godfrey

This is one of the very first books I bought about food storage. I must say, I'm rather pleased with it.

Mrs. Godfrey is most assuredly a Mom, Prepared! She was among the first whose blog & videos I frequented. I learned a great deal from her. She's clearly rather experienced in what she teaches, and her heart is evident in her efforts to educate the rest of us. So, naturally, it didn't take me long to purchase her book. I'd actually seen her book on Amazon a few weeks before I happened upon her; once I realized that it was she who wrote 'that book I saw', I purchased it right away!

This fine lady is a believer, and there is a small bit of Scripture-quotin' in this book. I am a Christian, (though not LDS, as is Mrs. Godfrey), so I personally do not mind this aspect in the slightest.

What You'll Find In The Book:

* Simple equations to determine how much of what you'd need to store for your family.

* Ideas to get the whole family involved in the food storage goals.

* TONS of recipes using some of the more common dried food storage ingredients, such as: Powdered Milk, Powdered Eggs, Whole Wheat, Dried Beans, Dried Fruits & Veggies.

* Unlike some books on Food Storage, the recipes are NOT all long-term food storage ingredients. They may call for fresh ingredients, or something canned, such as a can of corn, or diced tomatoes. So these are easy-to-incorporate-into-your-daily-use types of recipes.

* She's included conversion charts - so yes, you can use these food storage ingredients in YOUR OWN recipes, too!

* Special Recipes, such as "Magic Mix", a basic white sauce recipe, and a recipe to make your own sweetened condensed milk.

* So much more.

I really like her style, and her heart toward helping others. I don't know Mrs. Godfrey personally, but you just get the sense that her primary motivation is to help others, and by doing so, equipping them to, in turn, help others still. I admire the boo-diggity outta that! Go, Crystal!

I just can't find a single thing to make this book not worth every cent you'll pay for it. I absolutely give this book a bright, sparkly, 5-star recommendation!

Being nearly half way through my second pregnancy has my mind on prepping for baby. It has inspired me to post a comprehensive list of  "Baby Preps", which I am still working on, well, because I really want it to be comprehensive. Look for it in the coming weeks.

But what I wanted to address today is sparked by a question recently posed, and it's a question on the hearts & minds of a lot of women, whether they already have children, or have yet to begin their families.

"Should I have a (or another) child?"

Personally, I don't think family planning should be a decision made upon the possibility that TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) could happen. Of ALL the things we take into consideration when planning our family, that should, generally speaking, be on THE bottom of the list.

The only time it *MIGHT* be a worthy consideration is if the mother has significant health issues.

Otherwise, what's to consider?

Not much beyond that, in my estimation. Adding a child to your family means adding more prep storage. As long as mother is healthy, then why not go for it?

Ya know, the thing is, none of us know when/if this life-altering scenario might take place. It *could* be tomorrow. Or six months from now.

Or it could take years.

A decade.

What if it's two?

On the other hand, women are created with a very specific window of fertility. We can't just get pregnant any ol' time, nor do we have the option to, forever.

What happens if you put off having children because you think society is falling apart.. but then, it turns out, that it doesn't?

If you will regret having never had children, or not having another... then there's your answer to "Should I have a baby?"

No, the world is not perfect. Yes, it seems to be going to hell in a handbasket, as we speak. We don't know, though, when it will arrive at that particular destination.

But Life Goes On.

And, if you ask me, it should.

'Cause life's always worth livin' :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I wrote that I'd be getting some Bega Processed Cheese 'in a few days' in a recent post. Just due to circumstances, I wasn't able to get it in those few days. But I *DID* order it, and it has arrived. My review is below.

First let me tell you: I'm a cheese lover, and I'm also picky about it. Going in, I was worried about the taste of this cheese. After all, I'm not purchasing this cheese for day-to-day use; I'm purchasing it, because, should everything come crashing down around us, and access to cheese is limited or eliminated... life would be very bleak for me, indeed. Soon, I'll write a post about why we need to store various 'eats' that our family truly enjoys.. simply for the 'quality-of-life' aspect. In an emergency scenario, perhaps you and your loved ones could go without foods you love, for the short-term... but for the long term, you will definitely want to have these foods on hand, or the ingredients and know-how to make them.

Anyway, CHEESE is the 'must-have-on-hand' food for this Mama.

Alright, now that I've enlightened you to my unique perspective on cheese ;-) - on to the review.

I could cheer! No, seriously!

Alright, the specifics :)

It's labeled "Bega Processed Cheese". It does not read "Cheese Food" or "Cheese Product". It's a bit the size of a tuna can.. tho smaller around, and deeper. Made in Australia, and 200g Net Wt.

As I open the can, I see just what I've seen described on the 'net: A cheese, tightly packed within the can, the color of any ordinary white cheddar cheese. Indeed, the flavor of this cheese *is* a mild, white cheddar flavor.

It will not pop or slide out of the can; it must be sliced out.

Also, as I'd read in reviews online, it has the look of Velveeta.. altho it's not that way thru & thru; it also has a bit of a crumby texture to it, also... rather like real cheese. If you made a hybrid of Velveeta's texture, and real cheese's texture... this may well be what you'd end up with.

The taste testers were myself, the hubster, and our elementary grade daughter.

We tried it both alone, and on crackers.

Reviews as follows:

Dear Daughter: She doesn't like it. Sadly, this didn't surprise me a whole lot; she is the 2nd pickiest eater that I've ever known in my WHOLE. ENTIRE. LIFE. Haha! She doesn't even like Macaroni n' Cheese.. save for ONE kind (and no, its not Kraft!)  But she's also the kind of kiddo that gets ONE THING in mind that she loves, and she kind of closes herself off to anything else like it.. for a long time. Eventually, she comes around... and I think she would on this cheese. Mama's experience.

Da Hubster: "It reminded me of a spreadable, processed cheese.. like cheese & crackers. It was tasty. Yes, it was. It was tasty."

Mom, Prepared: I really could've cheered! I was so pleasantly surprised at how good it was. It does taste like a mild, white cheddar. The texture was acceptable.. nothing weird to me. And.. it was just GOOD. I bet this *would* make a good mac n' cheese, as one reviewer noted. I also think (and Hubby agrees) that it would be good anywhere: in a sandwich, in/on eggs, for Mexican.. I think mostly anywhere.

I am personally such a 'Cheesie' (my husband called me that - think: Foodie) that I won't limit my cheese food storage to just this brand. As a cheese lover, I need & desire OPTIONS here. But I can definitely tell you that this product has earned it way into the food storage budget.

Well done, Bega!