Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Skills... No, not nunchuck skills.

Is there something you remember your mom or grandma doing growing up, that you'd love to know how to do? I look at all of the marvelous technology that we have, and the advancements in our daily lives, and I think it's wonderful, and I am very appreciative of it. But part of me inside wishes that life were still a little simpler and that we still NEEDED to learn skills to help us in everyday life. For example, I'm SOOOO thankful for a washer and dryer, but there is something so beautiful about seeing a load of clean clothes blowing in the spring breeze...
Or remember getting a beautiful handwritten letter in the mail? I LOVE writing Calligraphy, But now, the only time I use it is to write in my journal, like 4 times a year... I know I wish I were better at that. Maybe I'll be writing some letters soon...

What about sewing? There's something so fulfilling about creating, and a sense of accomplishment. I love sewing. But I only know how to because my wonderful mother taught me, Not because I NEED to know how. I could count on one hand the number of us {my generation and my mothers, sadly,} out there that could make a dress from start to finish from a pattern.
Making homemade loaves of bread, and canning homemade jam! MMMM, So much better than the store bought! Or making anything from SCRATCH these days? Or heck, make an entire meal not using the microwave... at all. I did that for 2 years after ours broke and I was too cheap to buy a new one. I went to my moms one night for dinner and started to fill a pot to cook the vegetables in, and she laughed at me and asked me what I was doing... She reminded me that they have a microwave.

Or playing a musical instrument? Now days we can just turn on the computer or Ipad and a song for family night is played for us. Or how often do we take the time to just play the piano or violin or flute or whatever, and use the talents that God gave us, just because...
Or knitting or crocheting? It may sound hokey or old fashioned, but this is a skill I would LOVE to learn! You can't tell me that this isn't cute and still applicable to our day...But how many people really know how to do that anymore?
Gardening? I think it's making a comeback, but it used to be something people did to survive! This is also a skill I'm working on developing... {remember my earth box...?} I'll be ordering it on payday! And then hopefully learning to grow and plant LOTS of things!! I'd love to be able to walk outside and pick the veggies I need for dinner, or the fruits I need for breakfast!
Don't get me wrong, I think that the world we live in is great! And I love technology, Most of the time. But I do think that it has made us lazy and some of the things we have take away from whats important. Like sticking the kids in front of the TV instead of reading them a book, or spending time to mix cookie dough with them, instead of having them cut open the package. Remember playing board games as a family? Probably not, they've been replaced with video games and computer games. So yes, I think it's so great, the things that we have, But I do think that there are a lot of things in life that we are missing out on simply because we live in a world where everything has been made simple and easy, or done for us.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Garage sale!

No, I'm not having one... But I thought I'd pass along these handy tips to help your sale be more of a success. The first garage sale I tried was a disaster! We made a few mistakes. So we ended up selling a ton of stuff and making no money. It didn't help that we had a few dishonest customers. Needless to say it was a learning experience and we got to clean out some junk. {Seriously I think we made just enough to go to lunch. So we did} Not the most successful business venture. So here's some tips to help you be more successful than we were that time!
  • Clearly mark every item with a price. And remember to price it a bit more than you want to sell it for. Crazy negotiators!
  • Being part of a community garage sale can be good, because it can bring more traffic, however, then you have competition. People will price shop you, and use it to their advantage in negotiations.
  • Have everything organized and easy to see. Use folding tables and something to hang nicer clothing items on.
  • Have some "test batteries" on hand so people can put them in and see if an item works. 
  • Make sure you have change. Lots of $1's and 5's and a few larger bills. And keep it on you! Unfortunately some people are shady and will take your money box, so use one of these instead.

  • Advertise! Get signs and put an ad on Craigslist listing a few "eye catching" items. I found these gems here! they could be a little pricey, but if you save them and use them at every years garage sale, they'd be worth it.

  • For more tips you can check out THIS website.
    Good luck and Go make some money and get rid of some clutter!

      Sunday, May 29, 2011

      A heavy heart.

      It's with a very heavy heart that I write this. These two ladies are Miss Barbara, and Miss Gail. Miss Barbara is the one pictured on top. Miss Gail is in the red. {the other cute little red head is our friends daughter} These two ladies have taken care of all 3 of my children. Along with a host of wonderful people, but these two have snatched our hearts} Blake since he was 14 months old, Lexi since she was 4 weeks old, and Kynzi since she was 3 weeks. Almost every day except Sunday. More than my children's own grandparents. They mean the world to us, and I know my children mean the world to them. These wonderful women have fed my children, Changed their diapers, helped them learn to walk and talk, Rocked them to sleep, sang them lullabys. They know that Blake picks at their fingernails when he's tired, they know that Lala will always take her bow out as soon as I'm out of sight and then ask them to put it back in as soon as she knows I'm coming, They know that kynzi loves to cuddle, but gets fussy when she gets very tired, but they know that if they let her suck on their pinky instead of a binkey, she will fall right asleep. They know my children's favorite toys and books, They know what they like and don't like. My children have barfed on them, peed on them, pooped on them, and bit them and they love them all the more. They are so patient and loving. We are so grateful to have them in our lives. It makes my heart so happy when Kynzi jumps out of my arms to get to them. Recently Miss Barbara had some serious complications from a very routine procedure. She is now in the ICU and we aren't sure what her outcome will be. I've always known what was important in this life, but sometimes we lose sight of that. I know that the only things that we will take with us on to the eternities is our knowledge that we have gained, and the relationships that we have built. I am so grateful for these women and the love for God's children that they have. And grateful to have been blessed to see their examples. I am so grateful to have a knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ that fills the answers to life's questions. Why I am here, and Where I am going. And grateful for a testimony of my Savior and his gospel. Whatever the outcome, I know that she was placed in our lives and so many others to be an example of Christs love and compassion. I know and so does she, that her life is in our Father in Heavens hands and that if he calls her to the other side, that she will be a great missionary to many, and that she will rock, sing and comfort my other babies or grandbabies until they are sent to us on this earth. We will hope and pray for what is in her best interest and ask that the Lord's will would be done, and that either way, peace and comfort would be brought to the hearts of all those who love her.

      Friday, May 27, 2011


      I love everything about them. I MUCH prefer to make cupcakes vs. cakes.
      This is my cupcake stand, I'm pretty much obsessed with it!
      Fyi, yellow with fudge frosting is my favorite. And my husbands.
      But "homemade hostess ain't got nothin' on me" cream filled is a close second.
      These are super beautiful and super easy! Its just chocolate shavings.

      I frost mine really tall like this only because I like the way it looks, But I actually like minimal frosting with my cupcake. I usually scrape some off the top. 

      Okay so let's talk basics...
      • Don't over bake them. Actually if you want a moist cupcake then you need to slightly underbake them because they finish baking in the pan while cooling. 
      • DON'T EVER ruin a cupcake with canned frosting. It's as gross as smoking. Good frosting takes 5 minutes to make from scratch.
      • If you're going for taste, don't use shortening. Use butter and a bit of cream cheese. I only use shortening if I need the frosting to hold really stiff. 
      • Don't over fill the liner. Invest in a cupcake scoop. 
      • Don't use dark pans. They burn the bottom and the rest of the cake will be dry.
      • If you want your liners to look pretty you need to use two per cupcake.
      • Get a cupcake caddy. And leave your cupcakes in it overnight with the frosting on it. Oh it makes them GOOOOOOD! 

      Thursday, May 26, 2011

      Perfection... get over it.

      We all get caught up in it... you know trying to be "perfect." Honestly I don't even know if I could tell you what the perfect mom or woman is... But I can tell you I am not it. I had a comment made to me the other day referring to my blog, That my life seems perfect, and I seem perfect. In my head I thought "Child please!" ...but... I graciously said, "thanks." C'mon, who wouldn't want someone to think they're perfect. I think what they were failing to realize is that what you see on my blog is what I want you to see... Yes, I do have a very happy and blessed life, But I am in no way perfect... Here's a list of a few of my shortcomings... I've embraced them, Nobody does everything... There's lots of things I do well and there's lots of things I don't do well, Little known secret...If I'm not good at it, I don't do it. On purpose. So nobody knows I'm not perfect at everything. And well, there's lots of things I don't do well, or at all. And there's lots of things I try that turn out like crap, Or I have to re do. So here goes...Don't think any less of me after you read this...
      • I do not iron. At all. Ever. Period. Never ever. Mike irons his own shirts or I throw them back in the dryer.
      • I don't bathe my kids everyday. Heck if we go to the pool every other day, in my mind that counts. Chlorine = soap.
      • I don't brush my teeth after every meal. Or my kids.
      • I have a terrible driving record. And I cut people off.
      • I don't dust. I wait until I'm pregnant and one of my moms feels bad for me and comes and does it for me. So far it's worked out about once a year.
      • I don't fold underwear or socks, they get shoved in the drawer.
      • I'm never out of bed before 8am
      • I don't decorate my house for every holiday. I hate clutter and froo froo crap as my dad would say.
      • I don't shave my legs everyday. Really, do people do that? 
      • I don't make my bed everyday.
      • I don't wash windows.
      • I don't save anything, including receipts, and it bites me in the butt all the time.
      • I don't take the kids to the zoo by myself. I admire you moms who will.
      • I make up excuses not to have to see extended family...... {I know. I am a terrible person.}
      • I don't do things out of obligation or guilt. Sometimes it makes me look cold and heartless.
      • I don't make my kids eat everything on their plate. I think that that trains them to be over eaters.
      • I rarely hold my tongue. I think I'm getting better, But still offend quite a few people.
      • I don't "read." I hate books. I read my scriptures, gospel material and books to my kids (mostly picture books). Other than that, I HATE them and think they are boring and that watching a movie goes much faster.
      • I don't wash my car. I bribe the detail guy at Mike's work with cookies because I'm lazy.
      • I don't cater to Mike's picky eating. Mean wife, I know. But he seriously doesn't eat anything.
      • I don't catch bugs or lizards for my son regardless of how many times he asks. He has a dad for that. 
      • I listen to my music way too loud. I was putting the kids in the mini van this morning after driving to the store by myself yesterday, and went to turn the car on and out of the speakers deafening loud comes "gangsters paradise"... whoops a daisy. Perfect mom? I think not.   
      Okay that's enough. I can't put it all out there, I still need you to think I do everything and live the perfect life. And that I'm the perfect mother and wife.

        Wednesday, May 25, 2011

        Chicken Brodies... Aka chicken broccoli pockets.

        1 can cream of chicken soup
        8 oz. low fat cream cheese
        1/2 tea. Season salt.
        1/4 tea. Pepper
        1 can of chicken breasts drained. (Costco)
        6 oz shredded cheddar cheese
        3/4 cup of finely chopped broccoli
        pastry dough. I use Whole foods whole wheat pizza dough
        but you could also use Pillsbury crescent rolls (2 cans)

        Stir together soup, cream cheese, salt and pepper. Add chicken, cheddar, and broccoli. Take one crescent triangle spread it thin, and place a big spoonful of mix into center. {Sorry, it's not pretty.} Then wrap to 2 corners of triangle over the filling, and then roll up so no filling shows. Bake at 375 for 12-13 min. 

        Freezer day{s}

        YAY! Yesterday was very successful! I wish I could have gotten more done, but this pregnant body just moves a little slower and gets tired a little faster these days. So what I didn't finish yesterday will be done today. The kids helped and enjoyed the day too. Mostly by eating cookies. I'm really excited to have REAL food after the baby comes, Instead of Mike's specialty, Little Caesars. {It's not til August, But I'm stocking up while I have the energy to.} And I am really excited to make it a habit. I think in the future it's going to make it so that I don't have to take as much time away from my day and spending time with the kids to prepare dinner. At least one or 2 nights a week. But man, It does take preparation, planning, and if I have one tip... Clean up as you go. I ran the dishwasher 4 times. Here's what is filling our freezer...And all of it cost me about $60. The only things that were expensive were the chicken breasts, I bought a huge bag at Costco. That was $13, But it was enough for all of this. And the Cheese, Also Costco. I bought 1 huge bag of mozzarella and still have 1/2 of it, and 2 big blocks of cheddar. A huge thing of cottage cheese,  All the pasta was whole grain pasta and it was .25 cents a box, {see couponing can be useful} And Then I bought Super lean ground turkey from Publix which was $8 for enough to do all the lasagna. Prego Spaghetti sauce that was .50 a jar. Everything else was pantry Items. So it will absolutely save us money, especially in those times when I want to run to the store for something I forgot for dinner, And end up spending $50! It's happened to all of us, So instead of having to do that I will just make something that's already in the freezer instead. Or the nights that I'm too lazy to make dinner, Instead of running to Chick Fil A and spending $30 to feed our family, I can just pop something in the oven!

        A few dozen Chocolate Chip Cookies
        8-Chicken and broccoli pockets-{cooked and ready for the microwave}
        4-Chicken alfredo
        4-Chicken marinara
        4-Garlic Parmesan Chicken and pasta
        6- Lasagna {single servings cooked and ready for microwave}
        6-salsa chicken and rice.
        4- teriyaki chicken and rice. 
        12- Chicken broccoli pockets {not cooked but ready for the oven}
        4-Chicken enchaladas
        4-Mac n cheese
        4-salsa chicken
        3-Alfredo casseroles
        2-Chicken chili
        12-Breakfast burritos

        I meant to get some more breakfast in too, But then I realized I don't have a waffle maker. And ran out of other ideas. So if anyone is interested in a freezer day with me I'd love to have the company! I'm too lazy to post all of the recipes so if you see one  you'd like just let me know and I'll put it up.
        Um and hello? I just came across this...GENIUS...

        What a great Idea! Ashlar and Kylee, If I had thought of this sooner, I totally would thrown one for you! I'm a loser...Sorry. But I will bring you food! PROMISE!

        Tuesday, May 24, 2011

        The best dang chocolate chip cookies ever. End of story.

        I love it when things work out!! That never happens for me. Especially when it comes to baking or cooking. So I was guessing at a recipe and combined a few different ones and came up with pure GOLD! Not to toot my own horn, but beep ba beep beep beep! I've really been wanting to try ways of using my food storage, especially the "weird stuff" Just in case we ever need to really use it. So I broke out the ol' powdered eggs. Here's a recipe for the best dang chocolate chip cookies ever. {Seriously I have tried DOZENS of CC cookie recipes and I will never make any other recipe again.} So, go order some food storage and make these cookies! It's a win win really.

        3 1/3 cup all purpose flour
        3/4 tea. baking soda
        1/2 tea. salt
        2 sticks butter {softened}
        1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
        1/2 cup sugar
        3 Tablespoons whole egg powder
        6 Tablespoons water
        1 1/2 Tablespoons vanilla
        1/2 bag or 1 bag of semi sweet chocolate chips. {We don't like a lot of chips.}

        Pre heat oven to 325 degress. Mix egg powder and water with hand blender. Set aside. Beat butter and sugars until combined. Slowly add egg mixture. Add baking soda, salt, and vanilla. Slowly add flour. scrape down sides as needed. By hand, stir in the chocolate chips in. Bake at 325 for 15 min.

        It's the perfect mix of a tiny golden caramel-y crunch around the edges and a fluffy gooey in the middle! The trouble makers took a break to enjoy a few, and they were very pleased! I also scooped out, vacuum sealed and froze the extra dough for later! And I have to say... Get ready to hear all about the food saver vacuum sealer, because I am obsessed with it!

        a few pretties...

        Yesterday was crazy... to say the least. I started prepping everything so that I can have my freezer cooking today! We had to clean out the freezer in the garage, I am putting off buying a big freezer until the next house because I don't want to worry about moving the food. SO... Much more on that later...But in the meantime... Here's to daydreaming.
            I love the wallpaper in the Shelf's idea. 
        I LOVE marble counter tops and fresh flowers and fruit in the kitchen.
        A wall of shoes in my closet!!!! 
        A little built in dining nook! I think they are so cute.
        I would love a pretty little swing in the yard...
        I can't describe how much I love this sink for the laundry room...lots of stains could be soaked in this.
        Blake always asks me to go to our smaller (old) house so he can play in the backyard. It's crushing... So I explained to him that we are going to live in this house for a little bit so mommy and daddy can save money and buy a bigger house with a bigger backyard, and I promised him a giant wood swing set...and while he had me feeling guilty he threw in "and a trampoline mom!" And in my moment of feeling guilty for making my son live without a backyard for a year I gave in and am now reminded daily of his big backyard with a giant swing set and trampoline. For safety and well, so it's not as much of an eye sore, it will be in ground. 

        Sunday, May 22, 2011

        The best kids playdough.

        I am always looking for easy cheap ways to entertain my kiddos. Since my mom and I are always making cakes this one kind of just fell in our laps. We were decorating a cake one day and the kiddos started playing with the extra fondant. It's so yummy too! Here's the recipe.
          (Marshmallow) Fondant 

        16 ounces white mini-marshmallows(They have to be jet puffed. No other brand works right, as much as I love natural marshmallows they don't work)
        2 to 5 tablespoons water

        2 pounds icing sugar
        1/2 cup Crisco shortening (you will be digging into it so place in a very easily accessed bowl)

        NOTE:  Please be careful, this first stage can get hot.
        Melt marshmallows and 2 tablespoons of water in a microwave or double boiler. To microwave, place the bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds, open microwave and stir, back in microwave for 30 seconds more, open microwave and stir again, and continue doing this until melted. It usually takes about 2 1/2 minutes total. 
        Place 3/4 of the powdered sugar on the top of the melted marshmallow mix.
        Now grease your hands GENEROUSLY (palms, backs, and in between fingers), then heavily grease the counter you will be using and dump the bowl of marshmallow/sugar mixture in the middle.
        Start kneading like you would bread dough. You will immediately see why you have greased your hands. If you have children in the room they will either laugh at you or look at you with a questioning expression. You might even hear a muttered, “What are you doing?” 

        Keep kneading, this stuff is sticky at this stage! Add the rest of the powdered sugar and knead some more. Re-grease your hands and counter when the fondant starts sticking. If the mix is tearing easily, it is to dry, so add water (about 1/2 tablespoon at a time and then knead it in). It usually takes me about 8 minutes to get a firm smooth elastic ball.

        Prepare the fondant icing for storing by coating it with a good layer of Crisco shortening, wrap in a plastic-type wrap product and then put it in a re-sealable or Ziploc bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible. 
        MM Fondant icing will hold very well in the refrigerator for weeks. If you want to color it, I would suggest using gel colors, otherwise be careful, and maybe instead of adding the last few drops of water, use your liquid food coloring drops. Otherwise it may get sticky if you try to color it after the fact. If that happens just add more powdered sugar.

        Saturday, May 21, 2011

        What I really want...

        "I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails.
        I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp.
        I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbors children.
        I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone's garden.
        I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder.
        I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived."
        — Marjorie Pay Hinckley

         {Maybe I could drive up in a Toyota Land Cruiser with mud on the wheels instead of the station wagon, and maybe I could have my hair beautifully messy from babies pulling at it, And maybe a chip in my french manicure from helping weed someones garden, And I don't mind if there's peanut butter smeared on a cute blouse, Or sticky kisses on my cheeks, over my makeup, Could I do it that way?} I still have a way to go, in loosing myself in the service of others, But I'd like to be better, and the only way to do that is to practice. I look at my grandmother who was the epitome of a compassionate, loving woman who did EVERYTHING for everyone, and served the wants of others before her own needs. I want to be like her. I love the joy that comes from service. It's the little acts of service that make the biggest difference. Comforting a sobbing child, Providing a meal for someone in need, The small and mundane things of this mortal life. 

        “God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs. Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other in the kingdom. So often, our acts of service consist of simple encouragement or of giving mundane [ordinary] help with mundane tasks, but what glorious consequences can flow from mundane acts and from small but deliberate deeds!”
        - Spencer W. Kimball

         “The sweetest experience I know in life is to feel a prompting and act upon it and later find out that it was the fulfillment of someone’s prayer or someone’s need. And I always want the Lord to know that if He needs an errand run, Tom Monson will run that errand for Him.”
        Thomas S. Monson

        I want the Lord to know that he can call on me and trust me to listen. For him to know that if he tells me something through the spirit, that I will drop whatever I'm doing and run that errand for him. I want to be an answer to someones prayer. Even if it's helping a little boy find his lost lightening Mcqueen tent after he's prayed with all sincerity of his heart to find it. Give yourself credit for the little acts of service you provide without even knowing it. And listen to know who you can be an Angel of the Lord to.

        Friday, May 20, 2011

        Easy ways I trimmed my budget.

        • I keep track of what I spend. You may think "well how is that trimming your budget?" Try it. And you'll know. Once you see how much is spent unnecessarily, You'll be inspired to stop. 
        • We have one T.V. with cable. We have VERY basic cable and not the fastest internet. No DVR, no movie channels, nothing extra.
        • We don't have a house phone. 
        • I turned the thermostat from 73 to 78 and watched my electric bill go from $400 a month to $111. no joke.
        • I try to limit my driving. If I know I have to go to the other side of town for something I try to do everything I need to do or will need to do on that side of town in one day instead of driving there twice.
        • I don't buy pre packaged snack foods. It saves tons to make the kids healthy snacks. Like fruits and veggies.
        • We don't eat out hardly at all. And when we do go, we usually have a gift card or something. But try ordering your meal from the kids menu. It's way cheaper and it's plenty of food. Mike and I usually get out of Outback steakhouse for $20. tip included. Mike gets a bacon cheeseburger, I get a kids chicken breast, and we eat tons of free bread! And free water! LOL. {Ashlar I know your laughing at this.} Mike and I embarrass people because we're so cheap sometimes.  I don't care. One night we went to Capital Grill not knowing how expensive it was and I told Mike nothing even looked good on the menu and he said then lets go. This was after they had brought our water and bread. We hadn't eaten any, and got up and left. Mike and I both had the feeling that we either get up and feel bad/ dumb leaving, or we could feel bad/dumb about spending $100 on one meal. So we left and opted for wendys or chick fil a, I can't remember.  Which brings me to my next point.
        • Be honest with yourself, and with others. If someone invites you to dinner or another activity with them and you don't have the money to spend on it, just say so. Shoot, even if you do have the money and just don't want to spend it. Don't feel obligated...ever.
        • Give up something you think you can't live without. Mike has learned to live without fast food.
        • Set a budget and stick to it. Use cash and you'll soon learn to determine needs from wants.
        • I know this might sound mean, but we took our kids extra activities out. No Karate, no dance, no swim lessons. My kids are small, so this is do-able. If they were bigger I would maybe just make them pick one, instead of 2 or 3 per kid. 
        • Lower your car payment. Get a cheaper car. I'm sure Mike would LOVE his truck back, but the payments were more, and the gas was insane.
        • Buy second hand. SAY WHAT???? Yep. Try it. Just be picky, don't buy stuff that looks worn out, I get really lucky at kids consignment shops for clothes, shoes, toys, and all the other junk kids come along with. Besides, the day after you get it brand new the kids destroy it anyways.
        • I cut Mikes and the kids hair. And I color my own, Using hair dye or bleach for highlights that I've gotten super cheap or free with coupons.
        • We don't go to the dry cleaners hardly ever anymore. Invest in a home dry cleaning product instead. That way your taking just a few things every once in a while. Like suits.
        • WE don't have video games or blue ray. Heck we still have a VHS. Yes we have a dvd player too, but we have a lot of movies on vhs and the kids dont care if its high def.
        • Try couponing. But don't make the mistake of buying things you'll never use, Because you'll end up spending $300 and only saving $25 in coupon. Do the research and do it right.
        • Use cash, and bigger bills (20s and up). It’s a mind thing… ninety dollars on your debit card isn’t a big deal, but breaking a 100 bill and only getting nine dollars? Yeah, you’ll rethink that purchase!
         How do y'all pinch pennies? I'm all about new ways to save some more money!

        Thursday, May 19, 2011

        Provident living...Where do I start?

        I've been waiting to do this post until I had the time to do it justice. I am asked all the time "Where on earth do I start?' Food storage and preparedness is really overwhelming. I get that. I was there. I did the research and learned along the way, and am still learning along the way. I don't have all the answers and I'm not an expert. But I've done extensive research and this is how I have concluded is the easiest way to get your house in order. Take one day a week or one day a month and just chip away at it. It's a process and a lifestyle. Don't think you're going to accomplish this in a day, a week or a month. It's going to take time... A lot of time. And some money. A huge part of the reason Mike and I chose a  townhouse for this in between year was so that we could take the money we save and use it to get our provident living in order. And having a healthy savings account even after we put a down payment on a new house. I tell you this because I want you to realize it takes sacrifice.

        STEP 1: Emergency Preparedness. Start with 72 hour kits for your family. This is super important. I have a previous post on that here. Here is a peek into ours.  One back pack per person. Plus a rolling duffel bag of family needs. A camp stove/oven, {and propane for it.} Water, lots of gallons and bottles of water. And extra food. We have enough for 6 people for two weeks. And an emergency plan.


        STEP 2: A 3 month supply. We kind of did things backwards. We took care of our longer term storage first. I did it this way because our 3 month storage is going to be more time consuming for me. I'm not suggesting it, I'm just saying that's how it worked out for us. The important thing is that you get it all done. We are currently working on our 3 month storage. Remember my list... The things I still wanted. Like the chest freezer and foodsaver? That's where this comes in handy. Fill the Pantry and the freezer with enough food for 3 months. You know, things you cook with everyday, or pre make meals and seal them and freeze them. That's my plan. It's also going to come in handy to have meals that mike can throw in the microwave or in the oven, right after I have the baby, So my kids aren't eating Chick fil a and little Caesars everyday. {Bless Mike's heart, I really do think he's perfect, but the man can only cook instant grits and eggs.} So I'll make sure to do a big post on how that goes. I'm planning one day of mass bulk cooking and freezing. Casseroles, enchiladas, chicken broccoli pockets, whole grain waffles, spaghetti and meatballs, Chicken Alfredo, lemon chicken and rice, fish and veggies, soups, I also would love to stock up on Publix deli's Boars head honey maple turkey and vacuum seal it and freeze it when it's on sale. But all of that has to wait until next month. {We tackle one thing a month on our "bucket list." Also, It's really important to have on hand a 3 month supply of necessities. {This is where you picture extreme couponers stockpiles} Use those coupons to stock up on toilet paper, paper towels, Diapers, wet wipes, ziplock bags, Soap, deodorant, shampoo, Cleaning Items, toothpaste, trash bags, First aid products, laundry products, Etc. I mean think about it, If you lost your source of income for any amount of time, You'd still need those things too. And I'm sure those aren't the things I would want to be spending my financial reserves on.

        STEP 3: Longer term storage. A years supply of food. This is where the longer shelf life food comes in handy. It's really hard to know how much you need. Here's the best calculator I've found. There really isn't a way to tell you exactly what to buy. Dietary needs are different, tastes are different, and budgets are different. It's really a guesstimate of what we'd go through in a year. You can order pre done one year supplies through Costco or Thrive, But It's not the most cost efficient, and it's all TVP {Textured Vegetable protein. AKA fake Soy meat} and not real meat and it grosses me out. And Mike is a VERY picky eater and doesn't eat a lot of the things that come in those packages.  Here is a list of our families supply, and in all honesty I am working on doubling a good bit of it. A little at a time.
        Step 4: Learn to cook with your longer term storage. There are TONS of food storage recipes out there. And they are DANG good! I don't use my more expensive things {things from the thrive website}, like the meat, and fruits and veggies, on a regular basis, because it defeats the purpose. But the things I get at the cannery like oatmeal, flour, rice, etc. I use instead of buying it at the store. It's way cheaper! Those are the things I rotate on a frequent basis. P.S. when you're reading other blogs and things, rotate just means use and replace. It sounds scarier than it actually is. Here are my favorite sites.

        Food storage made easy.  I have their binder and LOVE it!
        Cooking with my food storage.
        Deals to meals.
        I don't love her approach to food storage, I don't think it's practical and I don't like artificial food. But she does have a lot of good recipes and info.

        It takes time, It takes effort. And it's an on going process. But Start small and get the needs and then add the wants. If you have questions or want help, Just ask! I promise it's not a bother!