My number one storage item: Water

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Just last week two cities in my area were ordered to boil all their culinary water.  The cities supply contained traces of E. Coli and Coliform Bacteria.  They will likely have to do this for a whole week or more.  Not fun! And NOT a rare occurance.

The number one item on my “Get Prepared” list is water storage.

Do you know why?  Dehydration, followed closely by death, happens super quick and water sources are easily contaminated.  Having access to a trusted supply in major to minor emergencies is essential.

My plan:

  1. Have 7 gallons drinking/cooking water for each family member.  (I have these Aqua-Tainer 7 Gallon Rigid Water Containers from Reliance Products.  They stack great and all I need is one per person.)
  2. Have 55 gallon barrel of water for cleaning purposes.  (I have one like this: Augason FarmsTM Emergency Water Storage Kit.)
  3. Have a case or two of commercially bottled water as a back-up.
  4. Rotate the water in the Aqua-tainers and the bottled water at least annually.


How am I doing with said plan?

I only have six of eight needed Aqua-tainers and only three are currently filled with water.  Bad I know.  Two are brand new and need to be washed and filled and one has a broken valve that I need to get a replacement part for.  Washing and filling is on my TO DO list this week and I will buy two new containers and a valve in the coming months.

My big water barrel is currently sitting empty in my garage.  We are in the middle of finishing the basement and storage room so we had to move it for that, but once everything is finished down there the barrel will be moved back down and filled up.

There is NO commercial bottled water in my house.  Sigh.  The kids used the last of it up this past month with all the end of school activities.  But, that’s okay, as the case I had was a little over a year old and needed to be rotated anyway.  I’m on the outlook for a sale on bottled water.  In the past I’ve found the store brand for $2.50 for a 24pk. of 16oz. bottles.  Crossing my fingers for a sale soon.

I rotated the water in the Aqua-tainers in April so they are good.

Yes, I have lots to do on the water storage front.  I’ll check back here on the blog in a few months and hopefully be doing better.

How about you?  Do you have a plan for emergency water storage?  Care to share?

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Sweet Distraction


A new baby joined our family the first week in December.  Christmas was a simple time spent loving a squishy new born.

IMG_0717Having six little people in the house was (and is!) a huge adjustment.  But, babies are worth it and grow up way too fast.

IMG_0990Six months have gone so quickly.  Yet, it also seems like we have always had him.  He brings the count to 2 girls and 4 boys.

IMG_1157(Yes, the curls on top are natural.  No, I do not shave the sides of his head…)

This little Sweet Distraction has kept me from cooking, cleaning, blogging and gardening and I don’t mind one little bit.

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June in the Garden


It’s been a while since I posted on the garden.  We added a new little person to our household and I took a year off from blogging and most garden work.  He will be 6 months old in June and things are finally starting to feel normal so I’d like to get back to posting, and gardening, more regularly.

May was crazy rainy in my neck of the woods.


A few seeds are starting to come up, but I’m afraid I may have to replant a large portion of the garden boxes.  There was no Spring Garden because of the baby and I really missed it.  None of the herbs I planted around Mother’s Day have come up yet.  Too much water is not a good thing!


My husband took a day off work and helped me set up my drip system.  Last year we had half the garden on a timed drip system and it worked absolutely wonderful.  All my plants did great and I didn’t have to worry about watering while I was off on vacation.  We finished adding the garden boxes to the system and I’m excited to see how well they do.


The raspberries and other perennial bushes loved all the moisture in May.  I’ll have lots of berries soon.

IMG_1155And the strawberries are starting to turn so I need to put my net up so the birds don’t eat them all.


The blackberry bushes are doing great.  Remember how they looked last year?


They have the sweetest white blossoms on them.  I would plant them just for the beautiful flowers.  Fruit is a bonus.


The rhubarb we planted with the blackberry bushes have given us a few ribs.  I’m waiting for the root system to get a little stronger before I take major quantities.


That’s a little peek into our Garden this year.  How about you?  Are you planting/harvesting anything fun this year?

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Menu Plan: Thursday, May 8th

This week I’m doing a little pantry challenge and not going grocery shopping. I’ve spent a lot the last few weeks and we are fairly well stocked on everything. All the meals will come from my pantry and garden.

Here’s the meal plan for this week:

Thursday: Velvety Vegetable Soup, Artisan Bread, Salad

Friday: Homemade Pizza, Salad, Veggies

Saturday: Sloppy Joes, Oven Fries, Carrot Sticks

Sunday: Beef Roast, Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Carrots, Rolls

Monday: Lasagna, Caesar Salad, Parmesan Bread Bites

Tuesday: Stew, Cornbread

Wednesday: Spicy Chicken Skillet, Rice

MP Thursday

I’m linking to Org Junkies weekly round-up of menu plans. Check them out!

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May in the Garden

Main Garden

Things are really starting to happen in the garden this month.  We have the main Garden all prepped and ready.  I’ll be getting everything planted over the course of the next two weeks.  The teepee in the back is support for my pole beans.


The strawberries are starting to flower.  Hopefully we will have a bumper crop this year.  I need to build a cage with some netting to keep the birds out.  Last year they ate most of our harvest.

Garden Boxes

The garden boxes are cruising right along.  I lost a few broccoli plants in a huge wind storm a few weeks ago, so I have a couple of squares to plant, carrots maybe?  I think I can squeeze another batch of radishes in before it gets too warm as well.


The lettuce is lovely and is providing several big salads a week.  We will be sad when it gets too hot for fresh from the garden salads.  I think I may need to start a few seeds in my basement under the grow lights and see if I can keep us in salads that way.

Side Yard

The raspberries are growing like crazy.  I even saw a few flower buds yesterday so we may have our first crop in a few weeks.


The sticks in the mud, aka the Blackberry Bushes, are starting to show signs of life too.


And, the tulips are on the way out.  They were super gorgeous this year.  I need to decide if it is time to dig them up and divide them or let them go one more year.

Well, that’s it for May in my garden.  How is your garden growing?


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Adding Compost and other Frugal Accomplishments

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R Compost

Bought a yard of compost for the garden and flower beds.  Only spent $20 and I’m fairly certain we got a lot more than a yard.  The place we got it from filled my father-in-laws truck to the brim and more and we were able to spread it thicker and over more space than my calculations said we should have so I feel very blessed.

adding compost

Harvested lettuce, spinach, cilantro, radishes, and chives from the garden boxes.

Ground around 28 pounds of wheat in my NutriMill Grain Mill.  I split it into 4 – 75 oz. bags and stashed in the freezer to be used over the next 4 weeks to make bread.  Another 75 oz. portion went to make this weeks 6 loaves of bread.  Then, the leftover portion went to make 5 pancake mixes and a small stash for other baking in the upstairs freezer.  I try to only grind once a month or less because it is messy, loud, and time consuming.  But, doing my own is cheaper, fresher, and healthier than buying at the store so I make the time.

Every month or so I make up pancake mixes in quart jars and stash in my pantry for quick easy breakfasts (or dinners, ahem).  I simply layer all the dry ingredients for our favorite recipe plus powder milk and all we have to add is eggs, oil and water.  Such a simple thing, but it saves a lot of time in the morning (and dishes) and it only takes a few minutes to compile the mixes assembly style.  Plus, it is quite a bit cheaper than the store bought mixes and taster too.

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Tomato Seedlings and Other Frugal Accomplishments

tomato seedlings

Prepped some 2-liter bottles I have been collecting to use as pots for my tomato seedlings.  I started the plants several weeks back and they have outgrown their containers.  I’ll transplant them to these larger pots for the next month or until it is warm enough to plant them outside.  I just cut the bottle in half and used a drill to punch holes in the bottom for drainage.  I may or may not have planted way too many, 18 plants at last count.

I have lots of gardening planned for this week so I hope the weather cooperates.  We’ve been having lots of strange spring weather;  wind storms, rain, lovely warm days, snow, cool days, you name it.  Last week I didn’t get out much and I could totally tell a difference in my mood.  I’ve decided gardening is my depression therapy.  So much cheaper than a pill and works just as good (in my case anyway).  I’m shooting for an hour a day outside this week.

Birthday cake and ice cream served on regular plates instead of paper.  Made the cake from scratch but, didn’t love the recipe so I will need to keep trying to find a good one.

Made six loaves of bread.

Mended a little boys church shirt.

Stayed at home several days this week.  Since we’ve been having fairly nice weather lately the husband has been riding his bike and the train to work everyday leaving me with the car.  We only save money on this arrangement if I don’t use the car either.  I’ve tried to limit my use to Tuesdays and Thursdays when I have carpool and run my other errands.

The kids have also started walking to school in the morning.  We have been dropping them off because of the morning cold.  They already walk home from school.

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