Saturday, March 12, 2011

Being Prepared - Water, Part 2

As promised, here are some personal notes about this as well as some alternative ideas. I encourage you to think about your habits and needs (as well as your loved ones) as you determine what would be best for you.

Now, I have to admit, I am behind in all my storage needs because we did consume quite a bit over the winter. Between the holidays and the snowstorms, I didn't get out as much and so it was nice to be able to "shop" from my own pantry. Another benefit to being prepared--makes financial sense. That said, I am now rebuilding my pantry, with water being all the way down (my kids will sneak my water bottles if I'm not careful, lol).

Typically, I prefer to use empty 2ltrs for storing "cleaning" and "cooking" water. And yes, to even flush those toilets. Honestly, that's been what they've been used for most often when our subdivision has had water issues.

I do purchase some bottled water as well for drinking. It may not be "pc" but when the kids are whining for something to drink and the water has been shut off, and the juice and tea have run out, it's nice to grab one and not have to worry if it's safe to drink. We do try to limit our useage of those bottles and try to recycle as much as possible.

When it is time to rotate out the stock, I try to check at the beginning of each month. Purchased water gets drank then the bottle goes in for the process of being used for "cleaning" (if larger). 2ltrs get emptied...I use those to water trees and plants out doors or to clean the deck, porch, etc.

Again, I cannot stress to watch what type of container you purchase/use. The flimsy milk-carton style plastic jugs will break down. Let's just say I've had to toss more than the bottles and wasn't happy about it. Lesson learned and now shared with you!

NOTE: I strongly suggest that if you use any of these methods that you look into sales to save yourself $$. If you buy when they are less expensive, you can often purchase 2 for the cost of one. Save the extra for your stock. For example, hand sanitizers--I was able to use register rewards and coupons to get these for pennies on the dollar rather than pay full price. If you keep an eye out, you can save money and prepare at the same time. It takes patience and organization, but it is doable to keep your budget!

Some alternatives to keep water consumption at minimum during low/no water periods could be:

When pre-made drinks (like teas or juices/juice boxes) go on sale purchase two--one for immediate use and one for your stock.

Use paper products (plates, cups, etc.) for a meal or two. Again, may not be "pc" but when you have kids running around wanting dinner and you don't have clean dishes these could be a sanity saver. Keep a small supply on hand.

Use hand sanitizers, wet wipes, or diaper wipes. I still use diaper wipes for all kinds of things (great on picnics) and my youngest will be 12 soon!

If you have preteens who "sweat" a lot and get stinky underarms and they can't get to a shower, use hand sanitizer before reapplying deodorant. The alcohol in it breaks down the bacteria that cause the odor.

Look into other alternatives for cooking, such as broths for cooking rices, potatoes, etc. If you have a few in your pantry, they will come in handy if the water is out. You might even like them enough to use them every day instead of your tap water (if you don't already).

What about no-poo shampoos? There are "recipes" all over the internet for these. Maybe have a fun experiment night (especially if you have little ones--make it a party) and whip up a batch or two and try them out.

Basically, try to think outside the box as you evaluate your family's needs and decide what you can do to help make your life easier when things like this crop up. :)

Planning and preparing to store even just a few gallons of water will help you save $$ in situations like these--you won't have to take the kids to the store or even to McDonald's. (If you want to do that, then by all means go ahead, lol).

Being Prepared - Water

Next to air for breathing, I would say water is second-most physical thing we need to survive. Our bodies are made up of so much water. We use it in so many ways--for play, for cooking, for cleaning, etc.

You never fully realize how much you depend on the water from your tap until the day you go to take a shower and the water company has shut off the water while they repair a pipe. Or maybe your neighbor dug up a line while trying to move earth for that fancy deck. Or maybe it's just something as simple as your pipes have frozen up.

My point here is that it does not have to be a "disaster scenario" for you to be without water. In our subdivision it's happened several times and it is one big inconvenience.

If you do not have your own well (as most of us don't) you might consider storing some water. It's not difficult to do and while it will take up some space (you might need to be creative here), even just a few bottles will come in handy during those times.

Here are some water storage tips I have picked up over the years.

~ Most emergency sites/sources/etc. recommend you store ONE (1) gallon of water per person, per day. Most adults will drink at least 1/2 gallon per day, and use more for cleaning, cooking, etc. Don't forget about your furry friends either!

~ If possible, keep at least enough to get your family through 72 hours. If you want more, you can build up one week at a time until you get to a point you feel that you have enough.

~ If you store water from the tap, be sure to use food-grade (PETE) containers. (I do recommend you not use milk jugs or materials similar because they break down too quickly and will leak! I have had this happen before). Containers like 2-ltrs are good storage material.

~ Some sites recommend you stay away from juice containers, especially from pasteurized juices because of increased opportunities for bacteria to be in the water. My thought is that if you are going to use these, perhaps clean them well and use those particular jugs for toilets, hard cleaning jobs, etc. and save others for drinking water.) DO NOT use non-food containers to store water (ie shampoo, detergents, etc.) to keep chances of ingestion to a minimum.

~ Store water away from too much light and heat. You should also not store your water directly on the floor (especially if concrete). Use a carpet pad or even a flattened cardboard box to set the bottles on.

~ Clean, sanitize and rinse all containers prior to use. You can boil them, but personally, I wash them in hot, sudsy water, then use a solution of 9 parts water/1 part bleach to sanitize, then rinse thoroughly and fill immediately. Seal tight. If you want, you could even use a tape around cap to ensure it will remain sealed.

~ MARK your bottles (even store-bought ones) with a sharpee. I typically write the month and the year on them so I know when they need to be rotated out. You should not let your water sit in storage for more than 1 year.

~ Consider using different sized containers for different sized jobs. Dishes and cleaning will require more water, but you only need a bit to flush a toilet. If you have different sizes you can accommodate the task and keep other bottles sealed up (not to mention, having to heft a too-big bottle around).

~ When you open it, if for consuming, you can boil the water (make sure it's a rolling boil for at least 20 mins) or you can add a tiny bit of plain (unscented) household bleach (see below).

~ If your water tastes "stale" you can remedy this by pouring it back and forth from one clean container to another clean container to "re-oxigenate" it.

This ratio chart for adding bleach to water to "clean" it comes from Food Storage 101 by Peggy Layton.

If your water is clear:
1 quart water + 2 drops household (plain) bleach
1 gallon water + 8 drops household (plain) bleach
5 gallons water + 1/2 teaspoon household (plain) bleach

If your water is cloudy:
1 quart water + 4 drops household (plain) bleach
1 gallon water + 16 drops household (plain) bleach
5 gallons water + 1 teaspoon household (plain) bleach

Up next, some personal notes and alternatives to help you conserve water.


My heart breaks tonight as I watch the news reports from the earthquake out of Japan and resulting tsunamis, volcanic activity, etc. What a day it has been. If you are a praying woman, I encourage you to join with me in lifting those people up in prayer.

It also has me thinking, some of us are not prepared for any type of emergency--be it a disaster like the ones mentioned above or even just a minor inconvenience.

I'd like to do a series of posts related to being prepared. I know you cannot predict the outcome of anything nor should you live in fear. That is not the intent of these posts. Instead I want to get you thinking about things and your family and doing what you can to prepare for difficult or stressful times that can arise. We know that being organized is half the battle. Some of us are better at it than others and some of us are good in certain areas, weak in others and some of us haven't even considered it at all. That's where our paths converge and we can learn from each other.

Most of us within the continental US live in some type of zone--earthquake, tornado, wildfire, hurricane, etc. We try to plan for those things.

What we don't always plan for are the smaller things like a burst pipe, shorted paycheck, etc.

I hope that through this series of posts that you consider these topics and adapt them to your own lifestyle and family needs. Because that's really what organization and "being prepared" are all about -- lifetstyle! If it's a part of you to plan and prepare, then you won't be caught short when you need an extra dollar in the checkout line, or you won't worry about feeding an extra mouth at the dinner table or even if you have candles should the power go out.

These topics and suggestions are by no means "expert", though this is an area that I have been working on most of the past twenty years. (RAISING HAND) Who doesn't have all the answers? I sure don't. But have acquired a lot of information and practical suggestions from my own experiences.

If you do these things, please comment away if you have extra tips or help! We can always learn something new from each other and look forward to hearing from you.

If you don't practice these things, I just ask that perhaps you consider it and look at it as a way to help you help your family.

I'll be posting as time allows, in between other posts, most likely. And praying for each of you and your precious loved ones. Hold them close tonight and be thankful.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

FREE Photo Book from Picaboo - $39.99 Value

NOTE: This offer is only good for first-time Picaboo customers

I cannot claim credit for finding this offer, it comes from Couponing to be Deft Free, but it's such an awesome deal I had to make sure as many people as possible saw it.

Here are the details:
- Offer good 3/8/11 to 3/22/11 - for first-time Picaboo customers only
- This offer is for a 20-pg Large Classic Custom photo book (appx 39.99 value). The cost will be deducted from your cart when you use the coupon code FREECC at checkout. Additional pages (over 20) will be charged at .99 each.
- Taxes and shipping are not included- you must pay those

These would make a wonderful remembrance of a recent holiday or vacation.

They would even make excellent gifts for Mother's Day, loved-one's birthday, etc.

Go HERE to get to Couponing to be Debt Free to hit the link to the offer!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Shame on you, ABC/Disney

I'm sorry to blog again today, but I came across this information and feelin' like I need to get up on my soapbox, first as a Daughter of the Great I Am, second as a woman (no matter what my "affiliation"). You all know I don't do this often, so please, bear with me.

ABC has plans to air a show originally titled "Good Christian B-xxx" (sorry, I just can't bring myself to type even a portion of the word out). They have apparently already shortened it to simply "GCB" yet are keeping the story line. It is being promoted as "devilishly fun" and the tagline for the show is, "For Heaven's sake, don't let God get in the way of a good story."

Simply outrageous.

Most women I am acquainted with do not have any desire to be called by that less-than-desirable name--Christian or not. Me thinks ABC/Disney has either lost their collective minds or are letting their true colors show.

In general, a lot of these stations and networks could be "lumped" in with that opinion. The programs put out today do nothing to improve our society or lift up the spirits, but rather are (in large part) about the worst of humanity. Watch most shows (especially those for children) and parents/guardians are more often than not portrayed as inept, dumb and clueless. Watch most prime time "dramedies" and the women involved are nothing but salacious, money-grabbing bitter and scornful creatures. So on and so on. And we have allowed this to continue by sitting quietly by.

Personally, I'm tired of seeing my sex portrayed in such a light, when I know so many woman who try to do the right thing, who live to raise happy, healthy children who are also respectful and intelligent. Many women who don't have to cheat on their husbands to feel "fulfilled" nor do they need to relegate to calling each other names to feel like they "fit in."

This is a direct, targeted attack of hatred and bigotry against Christian women. You would not see any other religious, ethnic or socio group in the title of this show. That would be in poor taste. The same people who mock Christianity would not have gone into a bidding war over a similar show regarding Islamic women or those who support Wicca. No profit in it.

And that's what it is about. Money

Yes, I understand they have the right to produce whatever they want within the bounds of the law. Just the same, understand that those opposed have the right to boycott the stations/network and sponsors of such programming. I'm not debating that at all.

So, what can we do?

The American Family Association released THIS press release on March 7th. If you agree that this is going to far against women in general and Christianity in specific, then please consider visiting their website and adding your name to the petition.

One Million Moms also has a petition to ABC and it's parent company, Disney requesting the company drop plans to air this program. Go HERE. Yes, I have joined my name to the 10,000+ names already added to this petition.

No matter what, pray. Pray for the people affected by programming such as this, pray for the people putting this type of show out and pray for our country who would never have allowed it to get this far 30 years ago. I am all for growth, but it seems that our nation has diminished in value(s) instead of increased, thanks in part to our "entertainments". Glorifying the negative and mocking any good. This particular show and others like it are just examples of how far we have fallen.

Wordless Wednesday ~ High Jump

Today's Memory Verse(s) - The Beatitudes

Yesterday I reviewed and re-memorized the 23rd Psalm. Easing back into this by reviewing the ones that I can recall half. Today and Tomorrow I will be working on the Beatitudes.

Matthew 5:2-12

2And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

3Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

5Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

6Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

7Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

8Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

9Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

10Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

12Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Memory Verse(s) for the day

Recently, I began trying to think of ways to increase my Biblical knowledge and also "hide the Word" in my heart. It's been a weak point of mine, especially when you consider that before marriage, children, mortgages, and little blessings like those entered my life I had bulk passages memorized word for word. I'm not bragging (or pray that I am not, and if so, forgive me), it's just that I long for the days when I could recall the Words of God in an instant.

Then it hit me, I used to study it for hours at a time. I no longer have that luxury and if I were brutally honest with you, I barely have time to read the Word, much less memorize it. I know the first step is to make it a priority. CHECK. So, what else can I do? Even making it a priority I still don't have extra hours in the day. I began thinking, time is short and I want to do this, but how?

One verse at a time.

If I can memorize one verse (or passage) each day, in a year I'll have at least 365 verses memorized! WOW.

I think today I'll begin with reviewing and re-memorizing the 23rd Psalm. I know most of it, but after years bottles and binkies, tag and play-doh, my brain is a little out of practice.

So, please, if you're interested in joining in, please keep an eye out for updates on verse memorization and keep praying for all of us as we strive to draw near to Him.

March Hares

Not sure if I'll have time to blog later today, so will instead share a gardening tip regarding wascally wabbits.

(The Elmer Fudd voice not doing it for you? Oh, okay. Moving on...)

With spring right around the corner, my mind turns to gardens and growing things. Now mind you, my thumb is not green but I am determined to grow something this year--even if it's a single, solitary carrot, poor lonely thing--and I have all my supplies sitting here, ready to begin seeding for the late spring planting. :) I have been reading up and gathering all kinds of information to help.

This tip comes from the book Gardening Magic (Joey Greens) and while it is specific in brand useage, I would think your average wascally wabbit (cough...cough, okay, will stop now) wouldn't know the difference between McCormick and store brand. It's also a great alternative to other expensive, messy or just plain drastic (chemicals, anyone?) measures.

If you want to keep those rabbits (there!) out of your carrot patch, lettuce or whatever, then sprinkle pepper around the edge of the patch and also throughout the patch. The pepper won't harm your plants but most rabbits have strong sense of smell and do NOT like pepper.

I wonder if pepper makes rabbits sneeze too?

Hmmm...potential science experiment?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Throw them in the Pot

Yesterday, my dear mother sent some apples my way and while they are delicious (literally--they are Red Delicious, teehee), I was afraid they would not be eaten up before they turned mealy. Was pondering what to do when SnoWhite over at Finding Joy In My Kitchen put up this recipe for Crock Pot Apple Cake. (If you want the recipe, click the website name/link, it will take you there.)

Anyway, I have a small confession...I have never baked bread or cake in my crock pot. GASP! I know, scandalous, right?! So, what better to blog about today than my first attempts at baking a crockpot cake. My sons are dubious. My husband is a bit curious. My daughter, darling that she is, crinkled up her nose a bit then said, "I've never had apple cake before. And you cook it in the crock pot?"

After gathering all the needed tools and supplies, I took a deep breath and dove right in. Here are some pics of the adventure thus far...

(Don't you just love my "vintage retro" wheat flour container? LOL Yes, it's an actual Tupperware product from the '70s. One of my favorite thrift store finds from last year. )

At that point, I was thinking YUM because the smell of cinnamon wafted upward as I mixed all the dry ingredients.

Typically I would use Granny Smith for baking, but these were here. These were on the small side so I used four. Trying to make sure I had a pretty picture for you, didn't think about peeling the apples first. LOL

Next up, Mixed them with the dry ingredients. Another YUM moment as the scent of apples and cinnamon blended together.

The next step was to mix egg and vanilla then I poured it over the apple mixture, then spooned it all into the crock pot.

And here it is in the crock pot, waiting to be baked into yummy apple cakeness!

Stay tuned for the results of this kitchen adventure...

The verdict is in!

While we probably won't make this often (our children don't care for spice cakes) it will go in my keeper file for those times when craving a spice cake. It's not large, so no worries on over-indulging. It is amazingly moist considering it doesn't have any butter or oil in it. I do think next time I will chop the apples just a bit smaller. Maybe even throw in a handful or two of raisins or nuts. It would be unbelievable with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! Not to mention, the house smells incredibly delicious right now.

So, if you like apples and you like spice cakes I definitely recommend giving this recipe a try!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Welcome... my new home on the web. It's still under construction, so bear with me. :)

After much prayer and consideration (combined with an--at times frustrating--inability to access my craft blog), I decided to start fresh. This year holds a milestone birthday for me and the need to simplify is greater than ever.

Most of you know that I am far from perfect (and for anyone who doesn't, bless you! LOL). Please don't expect perfection, but I do hope that along the way I might be able to share something to help you out and pray you can do the same so we can strive for excellence together.

I also hope that by keeping it all in one place (versus three or four different blogs), this blog will be easier to keep up with and make it more of a joy for you to read. We'll cover everything from homeschooling to homekeeping, crafting and of course, Holy things. I hope to share our laughs and tears as well as the failures and successes along this journey blessed by Grace. To keep it real.

So, look forward to talking to you more soon. Lots of hugs, prayers and love to you.