Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Get Prepared : Water Storage

When preparing for the upcoming Hurricane season the first crucial step for us is water storage.
We live on well water and even in a Tropical Depression where we lose power we would be without
water since it needs electric. Even a few hours makes things uncomfortable for us to operate. We can't flush toilets, brush teeth, wash up...you get the picture. So water storage is vital for us. 
Storing enough water and safely is important part of surviving any disaster. We can go without food longer than
we can go without water. More so if you have infants, elderly or those who have special medical needs.
If you are at the beginning steps of preparing your home, I always suggest you start with water.

How much?
FEMA suggests 1 gallon per person for 3 days. 
I would consider this the bare bones minimum. It is borderline just surviving. A better starting 
point would be 2 gallons per person for 5 days. Again, a starting point. Our family personally
aims to store 3 gallons per person for 14 days. 

What to store it in?
What you will store your water in will depend heavily on how many is in your family and any medical concerns. Once you access your amount you will need to store then the possibilities are endless. You can store in 2 liter bottles all the way up to 55 gallon water barrels to #10 cans of canned water with 30 year shelf life. We personally use the 5 gallon water jugs that are easily found at big chain discount stores that are intended for water dispensers. Because we have 2 able body adults this not an issue for us. 
If picking up heavy objects is something that is a struggle for your family, consider smaller containers. Above all, make sure the seal is tight and secure. You don't want water leaking out and you certainly don't want the environment creeping into your water supply and ruining your hard work.

Where to store it?
Water and it's storage containers are susceptible to extreme heat and cold, so there are some issues to 
take into account for when your storing your water. We live in a high heat area so we store our containers in a dark cool environment in our home. To help combat this it would be ideal to store in an opaque container, which we are working on.

How long?
Your water storage should be rotated every 6 months. Unless you treat your water before hand.
Don't simply just throw it out! Water your garden, flower pots, use it to flush toilets, purify and use for drinking or cooking. Get creative! Before filling up your container again, sterilize it and inspect it for signs that it is breaking down and needs to be replaced. If this is overwhelming to you, please know you can buy 
canned water that is more expensive but has a shelf life of 30 years. There is also water pouches that 
have a shelf life of 5 years. We plan to use those pouches for our Bug Out Bags.

We have no room!

This is a common thing I hear, people simply do not have the space to store water safely. If this is the case for your family I would strongly suggest you locate the nearest body of water (lake, pond, stream etc.) and 
purchase the highest quality water purifier that you can afford. Our family is saving for a Berky. But you 
can readily find travel size ones if price and size is a concern. Research them thoroughly to make sure your water will be clean and safe for your family.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

I Fired My Dishwasher

In my quest to lower our electric consumption we have stopped using some 
of our modern conveniences. One of them is the dishwasher. 
I know there is an argument that dishwashers save money, water and energy.
I am not sure I believe that but I do know in our case, it wasn't saving us any of those. 
We have a rental and we are stuck with the relic that is installed here. 
On top of that, we have very hard well water and even when the dishwasher runs half way decent, 
the hard water drowns any attempt at cleaning. What should take one wash, takes two sometimes three. Wasting water, wasting electric, wasting soap and wasting my time. 
So, we hand wash.

Mostly the girls do and I help now and then. But we are seeing results.
Last's months electric bill was down $80 from the previous months. I am sure the dryer 
being off, the AC is off for 8 - 12 hours a day (it is getting harder to do 
that with temps in the upper 90's) and the dishwasher not running all dang time helped.
What it has also done is made us aware of our resources. 
Water is a precious resource. Clean water even more precious. 
And something that most Americans take for granted that it will always be available.
 Our family knew if we were going to be serious about using less resources and under consuming water 
was an important area to start with. Plus, whether you are on a well (like us) or on city water, when 
you use less water somewhere there is less electricity being used. When you have a well you see
the electricity reduction first hand, on the city water maybe not but it is there.
We are using less water, I know we are. 
Maybe if you have a highly efficient machine that runs once a day, then I can bet that 
hand washing would use more. But most of us run our dishwashers more than 
once a day. We home school so there are three meals made at home on any given day. 
Which resulted in the dishwasher being ran at the very least three times a day. 
More than likely it ran more like 5 times because the size of our family or it just wasn't getting clean. 
Most people I know pre-rinse before they load their machine.
That water should be taken in account when weighing which uses less. 
We could talk about convenience.
 But if our family was worried about making our lives more comfortable we wouldn't be 
doing half the things we do. 
Sometimes simpler isn't less work. 
It is however sometimes, better.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

You like me, you really really like me!

Imagine my surprise when I log on to the blog and see I won an award! 
I know, me? An award? I am honored!

Thank you so much to Carla & DeAnn over at Our Journey To Self Reliance for honoring me this award!
If you haven't stopped by their place, I urge you to. So much information there, it's not to be missed. 

Now for the rules of this award... I have to list 7 things you may not know about me.
And then pass this award on to 7 other worthy bloggers. 

Seven Things You Wish You Never Knew About Me

1. I will run like you are an axe murderer if you try to make me touch the cotton
out of a pill bottle. It hurts my teeth to touch it and I make my children take it out.

2. I may or may not own a pair of Jason Aldean's jeans. Autographed.

3. I think milking a cow is better than any cruise you could ever take.

4. I am deathly afraid of water and can not swim (hence why #3 is so appealing).

5. I am a night owl and morning person but despise afternoons.

6.  I have gall stones and refuse to let the Dr. take my gall bladder out. So far.

7. I made my daughters take piano lessons for 6 months. They abandoned
their lesson book after 6 months and instead taught themselves to play Guns n' Roses and
Motley Crue ballads on the piano instead. I am so proud.

Seven Bloggers Who Deserve This Award Way More Than Me 

I have learned so much from her blog. I have always wanted
to know how to use herbs and such, and thanks to her willingness
to share I am learning!

Sarah constantly inspires me to think outside of the box.
And I am always amazed at her love to teach others too. 
Her ideas and recipes are out of this world!

C'mon, if you don't know who Kelly is....then your living in a
van.....down by the river. Seriously, how awesome is she?
Her posts make me think and almost always inspire me to 
keep taking baby steps in this journey! 

This girl knows her stuff! She took me to  school with her post
about plastics!  She is a Mama after my own heart. :)

If there is one thing I love to do is organize.
And if there is one thing I hate to do, it is clean. But
Thanks to her, she helps me organize and get my dreaded 
cleaning over with so I can enjoy my day!

Random Recycling
Emily has so much good info she passes on! 
A variety of posts on just about any subject, as long it is green. It is
my go to place when I am needing to know something!

Jill's Home Remedies
This is exactly what it sounds like, Jill posts some of the best
home remedies. I love her blog and it never fails to teach me something!

Here are the rules for those nominated by us:
1. Copy the Kreativ Blogger Award logo and place it in your post.
2. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
3. List 7 things about you that people might find interesting.
4. Nominate 7 other bloggers for their own Kreativ Blogger Award.
5. Leave a comment on the blogs you nominate to let them know about the award.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Cost of Being Unprepared

Some of you may or may not know that our family resides in South Florida.
We live in an area prone to the occasional hurricane, yearly tropical storms and
daily severe thunder storms in the summer time. We deal with power
outages almost regularly during our storm season.  Our family is some
what prepared for them but we are seriously under prepared if truth be told.
We do have a generator. My husband does a wonderful job of
pulling it out at the beginning of each season and he checks it over. He
maintains it and starts it up to make sure it in good operating order.
We have had since 2005 when we were 10 days without power due to
Hurricane Wilma, which also took our home.
Our family as of late has become concerned about the approaching
hurricane season and just economic times itself. We have decided to
step up our preparations and get ourselves truly prepared.
I thought I would share with you some of the ways we are doing that
and maybe encourage you, no matter where you live, to do the same.
Also there are areas we are still quite naive about and are learning.
Maybe you have some tips or advice for us and everyone else to help
get our preps up and running more smoothly.
Here is some of the areas we are working on.

FEMA suggests one gallon per person per day for 3 days. 
We were out power for 10 days during our hurricane ordeal. 
So I feel like that amount is just a bare bones minimum. We are
going to store 2 gallons per day per person for 7 days. Or
more if we can store it. We will be purchasing 5 gallon containers like
above and keep them sealed until we need to use them. Our long
term goal is to add a Berky Water Filter to our home. 
 While various sources recommend food for 3 to 5 days, our family
is wanting to be prepared not just a natural disaster but for an economic
disaster one as well, such as a job loss. So, we are starting our with a plan for
7 days but then we will be building on that. Since we do have dietary concerns
we are also trying to do as much of this ourselves through home canning and preserving.
That is a large task that can not be accomplished easily or quickly. But in the 
meantime we will make the best choices we can to have a 7 days food
supply on hand then work on replacing it with our own home canned/preserved food.
Lights & Power
We talked about our generator we have. But one thing we don't do is
store any gas for it. Oxymoron, I know! We have plenty of empty
gas cans, so we are going to fill one each week. Two or three
cans should be sufficient supply to run the generator. For lights while
the common suggestion is to store is flashlights, we have found during our experience
that preserving batteries can be an issue. We will be storing some flashlights but
we will also be storing candles and oil lamps as well. If you are
buying lamp oil please make sure you get the kind that is safe to use indoors.
Don't forget the matches!

Shelter :
We were given a 6 person tent a few weeks ago. We plan to store that
with our supplies, along with some extra tarps. Our long term goal is to
either purchase an RV or camper in case we are unable to stay in our
home or have to leave this area. We don't want to rely on shelters.
Government run shelters are usually over ran with people
during these situations and can also be a cesspool of bacteria and germs.
They also can promote crime and general feeling of panic. We prefer not
to use them. But since we do not own a trailer or RV yet we are
going to use our enclosed trailer with a few slight modifications in the event
we have to leave. I realize not everyone can  afford the choices we have made,
but I would encourage you to have a plan in place for your own shelter.
Especially if you have pets who are near and dear to you, as most of these
shelters do not allow you to bring them.


Your will want to know what is going on in the world. We have found the
most reliable way to do this is with a weather radio. I strongly suggest you
get one that runs on batteries and hand cranked when your batteries run out.
We own one and it has been invaluable at alerting us to many of Mother
Nature's foul mood swings.  Also, it would be a good idea to keep a car cell phone
charger with your supplies. You might have to call someone for help or just to
let your family know you are okay.

First Aid:
We have a basic First Aid Kit that is store bought but we have some
medical concerns that prompts to use this as an addition to our own homemade
First Aid Kit. If you have any medications that you take on a daily or weekly
basis it is a good idea for you to have a good supply of those on hand. For our
family, we suffer from numerous allergies so we stock more than necessary. We
also like to stock ours with natural healing remedies, herbs and such as well.

Other areas we are working on:
Heat & Cooking
Pet Supplies
Rain gear for our family

Gathering supplies need not be costly. I have seen plenty of the above items and suggestions
from FEMA & Red Cross readily available at Dollar stores.  Do you have a
suggestion or an area we left out? Please comment so we can all stay prepared together.

(Note: While our family are not fearful or extremist, we do however believe current times
and nature calls for everyone to be more prepared. As evidenced with while trying to 
upload this article we lost power twice just in a causal afternoon thunder storm.)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

5 Easy Ways To Be Green

Sometimes in the quest to become better stewards of this earth we get  overwhelmed in all there is that we can do.  There are a lot of aspects of being more green in our homes, offices and world. It can get
to be too much when we think about it. Do we throw that away or do we compost it? Do we recycle this
or should we be purchasing it to begin with? There is simply a lot of information to process in this lifestyle.
I know from my own experience for years I didn't cross over that line because I simply felt like 
I couldn't implement it all. The good news is you don't have to do it all. Yay! 
I drive home baby steps to everyone I speak with. Choose an area you are most concerned 
about and focus on that. Once you feel as if you have got this under control, move on to the next.
Change makes impact and it does not happen over night. In an instant world we live in
it is hard for us to take our time and focus on one thing. We are instant satisfaction
people. So in that thought I came up with five painless ways you can make a change in your
home and not be overwhelmed. These are for those who are new to being green or for those
who are feeling overwhelmed by all there is to do. This tips will help you be green with very
little change or effort in your current lifestyle but they make a HUGE impact for the environment.

1. Use recycled paper products.
If you haven't made it to being a paper free home, that is okay.
In the mean time, simply just choose paper products that are 
made from recycled paper. The change is easy & effortless. 

2. Recycle your shopping bags.
Okay, so maybe you keep forgetting your reusable bags. Or maybe
your just not there yet. That is okay! Most stores now offer a box for
you to drop off those dreaded plastic bags, so you don't have to feel
bad about using them in the first place. 

3. Buy in bulk.
This is the most over looked tip I give but one I feel can make an immediate
change in your home. Next time you reach small servings of your favorite snack 
item, instead buy a bigger size and divide it up in your own container. Or better yet
hit the bulk section of your favorite store. Less containers & packaging, less waste.

4. Ditch the plastic water bottle. 
Single serving water bottles are one of the most common excessive waste there
is. To combat the waste, buy a reusable water bottle. Preferably made out of metal 
or glass. We prefer glass but there are tons of options out there to make this
a easy and simple change.

5. Buy green cleaners.
If you haven't stepped up to making your own cleaners, then don't fear!
There are tons of green cleaners on the market for you to choose from. 
From every aspect of cleaning your home, there is a cleaner out there to help
you out and it need not be made of harmful chemicals.

 These are good areas to make a quick and easy change. They won't overwhelm you and your
family. Whether your new to being green or if your getting overwhelmed with earth friendly, these
five tips will help you over that hurdle. Small baby steps lead to a big impact.
Do you have any tips to add?  I would love to hear them!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Green Cleaning Series : Microwave

I realize that sounded a bit oxymoron.
If your really natural, you don't use your microwave, do you?
We aren't there yet. Though we are getting better.
But if your like me you may need to warm up or defrost something because you
wasn't dutifully prepared. It's okay, it happens to the best of us.
In this case in our home, it was defrosting some frozen black beans
I had frozen in a glass jar. I told my oldest daughter just heat them 
up enough to slide them out of the jar. Some how that got lost
in the translation. What she heard was, Heat that mutha UP!

And this was the end result.....

And to make matter worse, she did not know it had exploded. 
So, she kept right on nuking the contents that had splattered all over the microwave. 
It was nice and baked on by the time we noticed. But did I get upset?
Well, maybe I had strong words about listening to all directions with her.
But I wasn't worried about the mess. 
After dinner that night I poured some of my citrus vinegar into a bowl 
and then mixed it with some filtered water.
I placed it in the microwave uncovered and heated it on high for 3 minutes.
When it was done, I set the timer for 5 minutes. During this time I 
was hand washing the nightly dishes and cleaning up in general. 
When the 5 minutes was up I could tell the glass "plate" was going to need
to be soaked. I simply slipped it into my dish water I had in my sink.
Then I took a dish cloth and without much elbow grease wiped the  microwave clean.
Yes, it was that effortless.
The water and vinegar had made steam in the microwave, therefore loosening all 
the baked on, caked on, splattered gunk. To the point all I had to was simply
wipe it away. It took me less than 3 minutes to wipe it out. Once I was 
done I turned my attention to the turntable. It had soaked in warm/hot dish water
for nearly 3 minutes. It also wiped clean with very little effort at all. 
Don't dismiss the power of steam! 5 minutes after I started to wipe 
the microwave down it looked like this...

Not too shabby and done without using any harmful chemicals or much effort on my part!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Project One a Day : April 2012

 A little background on this project. My hope is by removing clutter and items 
in my home which hold no value to me, that my family is able to live 
a more simple life. We are able to focus on the Lord more, be more grateful for 
His blessings and to get off the roller coaster of excess that Americans indulge in. I post monthly, sometimes weekly and sometimes daily. How do you like that for well thought out? ;)

I spent much of April either packing for a trip or on said trip. 
So there was not a lot of purging that normally has been going on.
But still there was more than enough.
At least one very full trip to Goodwill for donations took place.
And there is plenty more where that came from.
I am beginning to realize that even though we do not
buy things like we have in the past, there is still things coming in.
For instance, while on vacation my children were given large
amounts of hand me down clothing. Which was needed and 
we were extremely grateful!
But that means now we need to weed out clothes that do not fit.
And there is a lot. Well, I think it is a lot. My teenage daughter would
kindly disagree with you. She does not share in our less is more idea.
Go figure.

I would say just by guessing this month we let go of approximately
200 items in our home. That is good progress and one would think
there is much more to do. Oh, but you would be wrong.
Have I mentioned there are nearly 6 large Rubbermaid totes full of
Thanksgiving decorations in my garage?
Yes, there is so much more to let go of.

This coming month of May instead of focusing on how much is going
out when clearly there is enough to meet the 30 or 31 items monthly
goal, I am going to focus on areas. Ideally I should do the whole house
in the month of May but let's be honest here....I home school and my
hubby is gone offshore long periods of time, leaving me to be a single
parent half the year. I don't want to overwhelm myself to the point I shut down.
Which I do when there is too much to do.
I shut down completely.
So, instead I thought I would post a list of a few areas I wish to declutter
in the upcoming month. Hopefully this will help me be accountable.

May Declutter Projects
Over the fridge cabinet - I have no clue what is in there
Pots & Pans
All clothing (whole family)
Kids Bathroom

I will be checking in mid month to tell you how it is going.
I will try to keep better track of how much is leaving.
We are moving in less than 10 months and I really don't want
to drag most of this stuff with us. Clean slate and keep what matters!

March & April Total Items :