Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Goods on Household Goods

I am an overstocker.  I read 50 lbs of wheat per person and I over do it.  I read a sewing pattern it says 3 yards and I buy 6 yards.  Its just who I am.  I go overboard on EVERYTHING.  It is a huge personality flaw, but it does come in handy.  So where am I going with this.  I have overstocked on household goods.  I have found that there are three categories in house hold goods when thinking about preparedness.
#1 Things that will never go bad.
#2 Things that have experation dates that are still good after they "expire"
#3 Things that expire on their expiration dates. 

#1 Things that never go bad.
Think paper products.
These could be stored in a shed that is not temperature controlled and should be just fine. 
Paper Towels
Paper Plates
Toilet Paper
Cotton Balls
Pads and Tampons
Wax Paper
Aluminum Foil
There are products that will deteriorate if not temperature controlled but will last forever if stored inside.
(Under a bed is the perfect place)
Plastic Silverware
Plastic Cups
Hair Ties

#2 Things that have a expiration date that stay good after they "expire"
Toothpaste~ I'm currently using a tube that expired 8 months ago
Lotion~The lotion will thin out a bit but will still be good.  Currently using lotion that I bought 5 years ago.
Body Wash~ Yep 5 years old and still smells amazing, and cleans me.
Hand Soap~ Once again 5 years old and still working.
Dish Soap
Cleaning Products~Ours aren't 5 years old, but I do know they are expired.
Medicines~ I find that medicines in pill form last much longer then their liquid counterparts. 

#3 Things that expire on their expiration dates
Deodorant~ I'm trying to use up a stick that expired a year ago.  I'm not a smelly person, but it just doesn't keep the smell away.

There really are not a multitude of products that expire on their expiration dates, but trust me deodorant is one of them.

There are a few down sides to stocking up.  If you live in a flood zone, find some way to protect your paper products.  Having a year supply of toilet paper won't do you any good if it happens to become soggy.  Another down side is not being able to stay current on your body wash or lotion. Working at a mall specialty store, I've found that they like to come out with a scent for only 3 months and then discontinue it.  One of the con's of stocking up is that you might not be able to "keep up with the Smith's" so to speak.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Loaded Broccoli and Cheese Soup

 September is National Preparedness month.  All month I've been thinking of being prepared.  All I can thinking of is prepared for what?  I live in the high desert of Colorado.  I live on a hill so no flooding here.  Tornado,ummm unlikely.  I do have to cross a bridge to get into town, and if all 4 bridges out of here fail I could be in trouble.  The biggest threat?  A massive blizzard.  That is a real possibility.  We have had snow day's around here.  Wet snow two feet deep.  Not bad, but if the conditions were just right I could have to deal with a blizzard.  So in light of National Preparedness Month I've decided to use some of our prepping items, and then tell you about them.  We love Augason Farms Cheesy Broccoli Soup Mix.  It is wonderful to have on hand, and has a shelf life of 10 years.

Tonight for dinner I used up the last of my Cheesy Broccoli Soup Mix.  I hope you enjoy this recipe for Loaded Broccoli and Cheese Soup. 
Loaded Broccoli and Cheese Soup
4 Servings.
2/3 cup Soup Mix
3 1/2 cups Water
1lb Ground Beef
1 cup Green Beans
1/2 cup Carrots

Mix water and soup mix.  Turn stove on and bring to a boil.
Add green beans and carrots.
Boil 13 minutes.
Brown ground beef. 
Add ground beef to soup.


I served our soup with Grilled Cheese Pull-A-Parts.  This was a very satisfying dinner!

Saturday, September 21, 2013


October of 2012
Its fall!  The leaves are starting to turn colors, the air is crisp, and the garden is winding down.  The holiday season is upon us and most people are perfectly happy.  I on the other hand and starting to get nervous.  I look forward to Halloween, Thanksgiving and most of all Christmas.  I love celebrating the birth of our Savior, we even make a birthday cake for Jesus.  That is not the problem.  The problem is seasonal depression.  Crippling, aching, empty, fearful depression.  Its hard to imagine now, I have a smile on my face, puppy liking me till I laugh, happy mind set now.  In a few months that will all change.  The happy goes away and I'm left with nothingness.  I don't want to do anything, go anywhere, or see anyone.  I smile, laugh, and enjoy moments, but for the most part there is nothingness.  After 10 years I think I have finally figured a few things out.  First and foremost: Prepare!  I'll share a ton of ideas, as I start prepping.  Second: Come to terms with what is going to happen.  I know its coming, so I just have to accept it.  As horrid as it sounds, accepting that the depression is going to happen helps.  Third:  Do things ahead of time.  When I say things I mean everything humanly possible.  Buy/make Christmas presents and wrap them.  Make waffle mix, cake mix, and bread mixes.  Have things ready so that in those happy moments all you have to do is add a few ingredients here, or a special bow there and the magic can continue.  Even if you don't feel like it you will be able to create happy moments.  That in turn will help with the depression.  Forth: Know what kills your depression.  For me its baking.  The wonderful smells, the smiles on my families face, the pleasure of biting into bread fresh out of the oven. 

I know there is someone out there that is going to say:"See a doctor." or "Go get depression medicine."  Dandy thoughts, and I have done both of those things. Four yes 4 different kinds of depression medicine later.  With none of the working, I have realized that western medicine does not always work.  So get ready for a series on dealing with depression.  I hope you will enjoy the ride!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Not your Grandmother's Meatloaf

This is one amazing recipe!  Its about 4 lbs of meat, and will keep you full for a while.  Bacon plays a major role in this meat loaf, so I don't make it often, but when I do the left overs are always gone with in a day.  Ok enough about this recipe......  Here it is.

Bacon Meatloaf
 2 lbs Ground Beef
1lb Ground Pork
1lb Bacon
2 Eggs
1 cup Ketchup
1 cup Bread Crumbs
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 cup Onion
1cup Bell Pepper
 Cut the Bacon so that it will cover the meatloaf.  I always have to guess but it will not be directly in half.
Chop up remaining bacon.
Combine bacon pieces, ground beef, ground pork, eggs, ketchup, bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
I always place 2 pieces of bread on the bottom of my loaf pan to soak up the grease.
Place meat in the pan and make a rounded top. 
Place bacon on top of meat loaf.
Bake at 350° for 1 hour.  Take meatloaf out of the oven and drain the grease.  Bake for another 30 minutes. 
Take out of the oven.
Slice and Enjoy!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Making the Most of Your Community Part 4

 Part 4 Do It Yourself
I can not believe in 13 years of living on the Western Slope of Colorado I've never been Peach Picking!  I live in an amazing area.  U-pick Cherries, Peaches, and Apples.  The area was beautiful, up on a mesa overlooking a lake.  The farm dog came and greeted us.  Isn't he beautiful!  I did spend money on this adventure.  U-pick Peaches at Antelope Hill $.50 per pound.   The only reason I knew they were $.50 a pound was a sign on the highway.  So keep you eyes open.  You never know when you will find something.  I picked 28 pounds in about 20 minutes.  The peaches were huge, ripe and a wonderful maroon color.  If I had just bought peaches it would have been $1.25 per pound. 

 I saved:   $ 21
Not a huge savings, but I did save money.  All it took was some effort on my part.  If I had picked enough peaches to can for the whole year I would have saved about $60.  I had a box to can, and some leftover peaches from last year.  I was able to get some exercise, spend time with an amazing friend, and bring home delicious peaches.  Well worth the money. 
 I hope you have enjoyed this mini-series on making the most out of your community.  I hope you have some new ideas, and are able to save some money. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Making the Most of your Community Part 3

Part 3 Use Your Talents!
This year I was able to get a free box of peaches.  What did I have to do for them?  Can a box of peaches for someone else.  They didn't have the time or talent and I did.  So I spent a day canning peaches for someone.  The provided everything, peaches, jars, and sugar.  I provided the time and talent.  Total Savings: $8 not a huge savings, but if I were to do this for a few families I could save more. 

I've also sold a few items on facebook.  Most people just don't sew, crochet, or knit anymore.  I just happened to post the cute backpacks on my personal page and a few friends wanted some too. 

So go head and share your talents on-line you never know what others are needing.  

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Making the Most of Your Community Part 2

Part 2
So yesterday I talked about getting free horse manure, and having a fun time.  Right?  Yes!  Today I'll share my dirty little secret.  A blackberry patch.  I pick about 5 gallons of blackberries a year for free.  
Total savings:
Yep if I did the math right I save $2560 per year just by picking blackberries.  $8 per pint, 2 pints to a quart, 4 quarts to a gallon and I pick about 5 gallons per year.  Whats the secret?  I asked to go pick them.  What to the owners get in return?  A jar out of every batch of blackberries I can.  So far this year they have received a jar of Blackberry Pie Filling, a jar of Blackberry Jam and a jar of Blackberry Jelly.  How did I find it?  Someone asked, on facebook in a community group, if anyone had any blackberries to pick.  I followed the conversation and asked if I could pick as well.  I have since become friends with the owners of the blackberry patch.  We helped clean up and destroy their house when it caught on fire.  I have helped them make cute kitchen towels for their new kitchen.  Its a wonderful relationship.  Today's lesson: Ask!  The worst you could hear is no.  The best answer yes, and you make new friends. 
Blackberry Jam from free blackberries.

Tomorrow?  Another freebie you wouldn't expect. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Making the Most of you Community Part 1

 This is the first searies I've ever considered.  I've been thinking about it for a while.  First of all I have to mention that we don't have a big income.  Think one part-time job income.  Yep that is what we live on.  I would not trade it for anything.  Expecially since we have been with out jobs for 3 years!!  We have lived with my parents for our entire marriage.  My father has been disabled for the last 6 years and 2 years ago my mother was fired, and it took her a year to find a new job.

4 adults no income. All home.  OH MY!  Talk about stress! 

This all brings me to my topic making the most of YOUR community.  In the year that all of us were home I had to find other ways to supplement the little income that we had.  The next few posts are about finding the amazing ways to save money in your community.  They will not work everywhere, some of them might not work for you.  I found all of these places slowly, but I found them.  I still use them, why not?  They are a great way to add to our house. 

Thank goodness I already knew how to garden, but our soil is almost pure clay.  I needed some manure, but didn't have any money.  The neighbors went on vacation, and said that I could take as much horse manure as I wanted.  hmmmmmm.  I cleaned out the poo pile for a few hours.  The garden took off!  My plants doubled!  I was ecstatic, and sad.  I had cleaned out the pen.  Whats a girl to do?  Call a family friend that rescues horses.  So here is Zane.  This year I cleaned out his pin, while he was in the pasture.  I helped a non-profit organization, and I was able to keep the manure.  The manure will sit, covered till next spring.  Then I will work it into the garden, and the plants will grow big and bushy.  One bag of 2 cubic foot Miricle Grow is almost $9 in my area.  I filled 6 bags worth for free.   
I saved $54 and I plan on going back for more!

 Plus we always have fun.  There are rabbits, goats, chickens, a cat, a dog, and we found a snake! The most exotic animal is the wallaby, we love sitting the the swing watching the wallaby.  Christopher even gets to help groom the miniature ponies.  So for a little work, we get to have an amazing day and all of the free manure I can load.  What a deal! 

I hope this has inspired you to find the freebies in your community.  Come back tomorrow I'll have another freebie post for you!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Simple Pleasuers~ French Toast Recipe

 I love every other Friday.  Simply because I get to pick up this amazing cutie!  We have split custody, so I only get him every other week.  When he is here I try to make the most of it.  Homemade breakfast, trips to the library, family trips to the Drive In.  This boy is spoiled, and I wouldn't have it any other way.  We enjoy our time together and wouldn't trade it for anything.  He is the best helper, and loves our animals and garden.  So when it comes to making breakfast he is right there in the kitchen helping.  This just happens to be us making french toast.  His favorite part?  Cracking the eggs.
 French Toast
2 eggs per person

Crack eggs in flat dish.
Add a splash of milk, cinnamon, and vanilla.
Coat bread.
Slather on your favorite topping.

I haven't learned how to take a good picture with his glasses on.

I like my French Toast with Peanut Butter and Syrup.  I added some cantaloupe, to round out my breakfast.  
                                                     Little guy enjoying his French Toast. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Pollinating Squash Plants

 Back story:  I was talking to a wonderful lady at church about how my garden was doing, a few years ago.  She asked if I had any female squash flowers.  I must have given her that "What??" look.  She then started to explain male and female flowers.  It is so simple, and I thought I would share.  The top 2 pictures are of a male flower.  Pretty flower with a straight stem.  The bottom pictures are of a female squash plant.  They look like they have been pollinated, but they haven't yet....         And if you know the difference between a male and female flower you can hand pollinate them.


 To hand pollinate a female flower take the pedals off of a male flower.  Use the male flower like a paint brush to pollinate the female flower. 

 You can tell you have done it right if the flowers wilt by the next morning. 
Here is the squash that will grow from our hand pollinating. 

Present time:  I'm so glad I learned how to do this.  I have seen a few bees pollinating the squash flowers, but not as many as last year.  There have not been as many bees in the garden at all.  Scary though.  No bees meas no produce.

I did this to a Spaghetti Squash, but this will work for all squash plants, cucumbers, and pumpkin plants. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Canning Green Beans

I have finally mastered growing Green Beans!  It took me 3 years to get it right and I'm so excited to finally have a huge green bean harvest.  I love home canned green beans in the winter and have grown to hate the store bought stuff.  I know exactly what is going into my jars, and what kind of seeds I planted.  
Before Shot
Snap off the ends.
 Snap in half
 Save the ends for the chickens

Wash green beans.  
Pack into jars leaving 1 inch of head space. 
Add 1 teaspoon of Salt (optional).
Add water leaving 1 inch of head space. 
Wipe rim.
Add lid and ring.  Tighten fingertip tight.  
Process in a Pressure Canner.
25 minutes for Quarts 
20 minutes for Pints. 
Label with contents and date. 

Enjoy the fact that you know everything that went into your jar. 

It takes me about 2 hours to pick enough green beans for 6 quarts.  Another 2-3 hours to snap them all so that they are ready to pack in to jars.  This is a great activity to do while watching a movie or two.  

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Blackberry Pie Filling

Blackberry Pie Filling

16 cups Blackberries
3 cups Water
3/4 cup Clear Jel
4 cups water
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon All Spice
1/2 cup Lemon Juice

 Add Sugar, Clear Jel, Cinnamon, All Spice to the pot.  Wisk it together.  Slowly add the water.  Bring to a bubble.  So not quite a full boil, but more then just steaming. 

Its going to look milky for a while.  It freaked me out the first time. 
Add Lemon Juice and boil for 1 minute.

At this point the Clear Jel is starting to thicken, just like in a gravy.  Keep going!

At the boiling point.  
 Fold in Blackberries.  Ladle into jars

Isn't this pretty!

I intended this to fit into 7 quart jars, but my math must be off.  I ended up with 4 quarts, 1 pint, and 1 1/2 pint.
 Wipe rims.  Add lids and rings.  Process for 45 minutes at 6000 ft.  If you are lower in elevation you will have to subtract some time. 
Out of the canner and cooling down.  Label, make sure you put the date. 

Use in between your favorite pie crust, or make cobbler.  Enjoy~