by Melanie

Food Storage Your Family Will Actually Eat

September 17, 2014 in Kitchen by Melanie

food-storage


You know you should be storing food for an emergency, and you even think it’s a great idea, but when it comes to getting started you’re completely lost. Sound familiar? Or maybe it’s just me…

We’ve all seen the lists: buckets and buckets of wheat, pound after pound of rice, so many cans of tomato sauce. And then there’s the cookbooks full of recipes for meals you can make with your food storage. But does any of it actually taste good?

I remember a church activity a few years back where the pot luck was made up of dishes made from food storage. The only thing I knew how to make with my limited food storage was bread, so I brought a loaf of my favorite homemade wheat bread (which was quickly devoured because it’s amazing). As we sampled the variety of food storage dishes, over and over again I kept hearing, “This isn’t too bad for food storage.”

Maybe I’m just a food snob, but that didn’t sound like a glowing recommendation to me. What if I want my food storage to be full of food my family actually enjoys eating? What if my standard of what tastes good doesn’t adjust according to how long it lasts on a shelf?

That was the beginning of my search for a better way to do food storage. My goal was simple: stock my shelves with food that has a good shelf life and we can eat without gritting our teeth and holding our noses.

Noah 1

This is the #1 key that I have learned:

If you want your food storage to be full of food your family will enjoy, stock up on the food your family eats!

Simple, right? Absolutely!

 

So what does that look like in practice? There are 3 simple, basic steps.

  1. Do your meal planning as usual
  2. Buy a little extra to store
  3. “Shop” from your food storage first to rotate your food


 
Start with your regular meal planning. After you have planned your menu, look it over to find what would store well. When you make your grocery list, indicate where you will buy a few extra of something. Bring it home, write the date on it, and add it to your food storage.

The next week make your menu and grocery list like usual, but before you go the store, shop in your food storage first. Anything on your list that you have in storage, move to the kitchen pantry to be eaten. The new food you buy goes straight to food storage to replace what you took. Always be sure to take the oldest food off the storage shelf. This will help you rotate your food storage so it doesn’t go bad sitting too long on the shelf.

For example,  my family is having spaghetti this week. That stores great, so I am going to buy a few extra packages of noodles and jars of sauce and add them to my food storage. Since I already have spaghetti sauce on my storage shelf, I will use that old sauce for dinner this week and add the new sauce to my storage shelf. That’s it!

How much extra you buy will depend entirely on your budget and storage space. It’s completely up to you. If you don’t eat a lot of canned/non-perishable food, you may have to adapt this to your lifestyle a little more.

 
Here are a few more ideas of simple ways to put this into practice:

• chili is on the menu, so buy a case instead of a can

• your kids love chicken noodle soup for lunch, so buy enough soup for a week instead of a day

• try out some “dump” recipes – recipes that call for a few cans of something to be dumped together in a pan and heated. That kind of meal is perfect for food storage!

 

Buying extra of what you are already eating and storing it away for an emergency gives you an entire food storage full of food you family loves to eat.

Do you have any food storage tips for me? I am always looking for a little extra help when it comes to food storage! :)

If you want a little extra help with your emergency preparedness (and really, who doesn’t???), you are going to love the giveaway I have for you today. Kristina from Mother’s Niche put this one together, too, and I would be so excited to win these prizes!

First let me tell you a little about the generous company who is providing the prizes: Honeyville. Since 1951 Honeyville has grown from a specialty grain mill into a national food supplier leader specializing in storable foods, quality baking ingredients, and kitchen appliances. We strive to offer excellent quality foods at competitive prices to all of our customers no matter what your volume requirement is. Honeyville’s diverse line of products includes freeze dried and dehydrated foods, whole grains, flours, baking ingredients, canned foods, corn products, and much, much more.

I am so impressed with Honeyville’s amazing products to help us prepare for an emergency. Look at these amazing prizes you could win!

survival backpack5-Day Survival Backpack: This includes food for 5 days (38 entrees), a portable stove and 24 fuel tablets, stainless steel cup, squeeze flashlight, 5-in-1 survival whistle, waterproof matches, mylar blanket, emergency poncho, playing cards, 47-piece first aid and hygiene kit (including 37 piece bandage kit, N95 dust mask, pocket tissues, 3 wet naps, and waste bag). The backpack is light weight with plenty of extra room for clothes and other personal items you may want to add.

lifestrawLifeStraw: This is a portable, personal water filter that fits in your back pocket and cleans enough drinking water for one person for one full year! That’s a minimum of 264 gallons. This amazing little straw only weighs 2 ounces, is made of durable plastic, is chemical free, and does not require batteries or power of any kind.

water brick2 Water Bricks: A water storage system that can hold water, food, or other items you would want to keep dry and safe. One large brick can hold up to 3.5 gallons of water, and the small brick holds up to 1.6 gallons of water. These can be stacked up to 4 feet high without toppling over. They have a long shelf life and can last indefinitely when used properly.

In addition to this giveaway, Honeyville is also offering a special sale just for you! Use code READY10 to get 10% off your purchase. So if you just can’t wait to see if you’re the winner, happy shopping! Good Luck!!

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

by Melanie

Managing the Morning Madness

September 15, 2014 in Linen Closet by Melanie

morning-rush


I am generally not a first day of school crier. I remember shedding a few tears when Chuck started kindergarten. My baby started school! That’s the ONE time in all of the first days of school over the past 12 years that these cheeks have been wet, until today… oh my, did I shed a tear or two.

Mr. 4018 and I learned about a K-8 school in our community that sounded like the perfect fit for our girls, so we got on the waiting list and waited. Last week the call came that a spot was open for each of them! We got all of the paper work turned in, said goodbye to the old school, and this morning was The First Day of School: Take 2 for Babs, Joy, and Chuck.

They’re going from a regular public school to a charter school with some different rules. One of those new rules is the requirement to wear school uniforms! We spent the weekend trying to find just the right clothes to meet the uniform guidelines and help the girls feel cute and confident.

uniforms confidence

Just look at those cute, confident kids. Have you ever tried shopping for an entire school uniform wardrobe 3 weeks after school has already started? For 3 kids? In 2 days? During soccer season? We had about 2 hours on Thursday night and some time on Saturday, and not a single store we needed to visit was in town. The uniform sections of every store we visited were picked over and hardly had anything available in the sizes we needed.

Somehow we ended up with enough outfits to make it from laundry day to laundry day for each kid. Tender mercies and blessings. That’s the only way we got it done. We even got some funky Old Navy pricing that helped a lot with the budget – shirts for a penny and the jumper Joy fell in love with for 97 cents!

school bell clock

Another big change with the new school is the starting time. It works out perfectly for Mr. 4018 to take them to school on his way to work (hooray!!!!), but since they start earlier and have to drop off Bree at junior high on their way, they have to leave an hour earlier than they are used to.

There are some mornings that they barely get out the door on time as it is, but now we’re cutting off an entire hour every morning. There really is no reason why getting ready should take them so long. Most of their time is spent lollygagging and playing with the toys they find while searching for their shoes. Which means most of my morning is spent reminding, nagging, and eventually yelling. Not exactly how I like to send my kids off to school every morning.

And don’t even get me started on our issues with shoes. I can’t even begin to count how many hours of my life I have spent searching for lost shoes, but I’m pretty sure if I could get all of that time back, I could write the great American novel… or 7. But there’s no time for shoe hunting anymore – or shirt hunting, or underwear hunting, or “Mom, where is the sock basket???” or “I can’t find any pants without holes!”

I know it sounds like we never do laundry, but I do! Unfortunately, they don’t feel any need to put those piles of clean clothes away… We’ll work on that issue another day.

Basically, if we’re going to make this new schedule work, we are going to need some help. So here’s my brilliant idea to make the mornings run smoother.

closet-organizer

So simple, and I am so in love with it already. I picked up a 6-shelf hanging closet organizer and  labeled each shelf with a day of the week. The labels are simple and straight forward – days of the week printed on cardstock, different colors so it’s easy for the girls who share a closet to keep it straight. I folded the top of each word strip over and used duct tape to attach them to the shelves. There is probably a fancier way to do it, but I’m trying to stop making my life more complicated than it needs to be. (HA!)

Since shoes are the bane of my motherly existence, I made the sixth shelf for shoes. It’s empty right now because the shoes are on those cute little feet at school. Hallelujah!

On laundry day, the girls put together 5 outfits – including everything they need to get dressed and ready that day (underwear, socks, hair clips, etc.) – and put one outfit on each shelf. When they wake up in the morning, they don’t even have to think about it or search for anything. They cheerfully get out of bed (right???), hop on over to the closet, and put on the clothes on that day’s shelf. Voila! Instant morning awesomeness.

This morning they were completely dressed even before family scripture study. Usually they’re still half asleep and wearing half of their bedding because they dragged it with them when they dragged themselves out of bed. I know the first day of school excitement will wear off, but this simple system will keep on helping our mornings run smoothly and our sweet little students get out the door on time. I wish I had thought of it 12 years ago. Just think of all of the time I could have spent *not* searching for clothes and shoes every school morning and all of those mornings I could have sent my cuties off to school without being nagged out the door.

How do you improve the morning rush?
school-clothes


by Melanie

Are you prepared for an emergency?

September 9, 2014 in Junk Drawer, Mailbox by Melanie

Last night I had just fallen asleep when a HUGE boom woke me up. Heart racing, wide awake, I watched an AMAZING light show put on by Mother Nature while I tried to go back to sleep. Mr 4018 also woke up at the loud boom, jumped up from the bed and took a minute to realize he wasn’t back in Iraq and didn’t have to get to a bomb shelter.

In the morning I found out we had missed all of the excitement. The HUGE bang preceded the lightning that struck the field behind a few friends’ homes and started a fire. We have really wonderful neighbors who did everything they could to help – from calling 911, to grabbing hoses and working to put out the fire, and even taking care of the kids from the houses closest to the fire until it was safe for them to go back home.

Way too much excitement for the middle of the night! One of the fire trucks who responded to the call even lost control on a turn and drove through a few front yards, tearing up the landscaping before regaining control. Mr. 4018 and I slept through all of it!

emergency-preparedness-pin


As we were getting ready this morning we talked about our reactions to our midnight wake-up call and what we would have done in an actual emergency. Our kids generally know what to do in case of a fire thanks to some unplanned fire drills in the wee hours of the morning, but we haven’t talked with them about any other kind of emergency. Our food storage looks a little more like Mother Hubbard’s cupboard than a well stocked supply. Our 72-hour kits are woefully sparse after we got rid of all of the expired food and haven’t replaced it yet.

Basically we are NOT ready for an emergency.

emergency

Luckily for me September is National Preparedness Month! We’re “celebrating” by working on getting our 72-hour kits fixed up.

I know the basics… food, water, first aid, but I want to be prepared in case of emergency. That’s what the kit is for after all. So I’ve been searching for answers and compiling a list of what I need to put in a very well-stocked 72-hour kit. Here is what I have come up with so far.

  • water – 1 gallon per person per day
  • hand crank radio or battery powered radio and extra batteries
  • flashlight and extra batteries
  • first aid kit
  • whistle to signal for help
  • dust mask to help filter contaminated air
  • baby wipes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • wrench or pliers to turn off electricity
  • plastic sheeting and duct tape
  • manual can opener for food
  • lighter, waterproof matches
  • emergency blanket
  • clothes, especially cold weather gear
  • toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • soap – dish soap works as hand soap, shampoo, for washing wounds, and washing dishes
  • deodorant
  • medications
  • eye glasses, contact lenses and supplies
  • diapers, wipes, formula, bottles, diaper rash ointment
  • feminine supplies
  • pet food and extra water for your pet
  • water purifier/bleach
  • mess kits
  • books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
  • identification for children, photos and emergency numbers of family members
  • cell phone, charger/solar charger
  • Important family documents in a waterproof, portable container
  • cash
  • food, non-perishable and portable

What am I missing? What do you have in your 72-hour emergency kits?

Wouldn’t it be nice if someone else put together a comprehensive emergency kit for you… and you didn’t have to pay a dime??? This could be the day that dream comes true.

Kristina at Mother’s Niche and some other fabulous bloggers and I have all gotten together with Nitro-Pak to talk about Emergency Preparedness AND give away 3 amazing prizes. And believe me, if you want to be prepared, you WANT these prizes!

Nitro-Pak is a premium Emergency Preparedness company. Featured in magazines and newspapers as well as numerous radio and television programs, Nitro-Pak has been recognized as one of the leading authorities in on emergency preparedness and awarded the highest rating a business can be awarded. Nitro-Pak provides high quality and unique products along with excellent customer service.

Now a little more about the THREE amazing prizes they are generously giving away.

72 hour kitExecutive 72-hour kit: Nitro-Pak was highlighted in a Wall Street Journal “Catalog Critic” article that selected their Executive 72 Hour Kit as the “Best Overall” kit for completeness and best design compared to a host of other competitor kits. Click here to see what is included.

 

1monthMountain House 1 Month Entree Reserve. This one month entree reserve from Mountain House is the perfect unit for those wanting to prepare of a short-term emergency.  Everyday you will have a delicious entree for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  This unit has 12 different meal choices to provide you with plenty of variety.  With a 10+ year shelf life you can rest assured that when disaster strikes and you need good nutritious food, this unit will be ready!

6monthMountain House 6 Month Supply of Entrees: For those desiring a 6 month supply of Mountain House gourmet tasting foods for one person, this awesome unit was made for you. We included some of every main course entree available. Now you and your family can enjoy fast, delicious tasting meals anytime with no preparation hassles or cooking! Just add water…and eat! We call it ‘no-brainer’ food storage. All Mountain House #10 canned freeze-dried foods have a 30 YEAR Shelf-Life… the LONGEST of ANY storable foods!  No other dehydrated or freeze-dried foods have a longer shelf-life than Mountain House.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

It’s time to get ready for an emergency! What is the next step for you?

emergency-preparedness-blue


by Melanie

Spiritual Sundays

September 7, 2014 in Family Room by Melanie

Welcome to Spiritual Sundays!

This is the place to share your faith-promoting blog posts so that we can all have something uplifting to read on Sundays. This linkup is always open, and the most recently added posts will go to the top so we’ll always have plenty of great new stuff to read!

Since the primary goal of this linkup is to uplift and inspire, there are no “rules.” We won’t make you follow us, but we would love to get to know you!

Meet your hosts below. If you visit us, make sure to let us know you stopped by! Interested in being a co-host? Go here.

spiritual-sundays (1)

Your Hosts, Brittany at Brittany Bullen, Melanie at Forty Eighteen, Ashley at Keeping Up With Ashley and Cody
Have fun! Make sure you read and comment on some of the other posts here if you submit yours. Happy Sunday!

by Melanie

Go Clean Your Room: Help for Young Kids

September 3, 2014 in Linen Closet by Melanie

clean-your-room-chart


Do you ever walk into a room you know you need to clean, take a look around, and get completely overwhelmed? You have no idea where to start or how to get organized, and you feel like you can’t possibly get it done.

Right now I’m dreading the storage room I know I need to clean out and organize. Help!

Now imagine you’re 4 years old. Mom says to clean your room, but you take a look around and get completely overwhelmed. You have no idea where to start and feel like you can’t possibly get it all done. And it’s probably all someone else’s mess anyway.

I have to admit, there have been times when I have sent my kids to clean their room just so the house would be quiet for awhile. I know they’re just in there playing with their toys while the mess gets bigger, but I’m totally okay with that. Am I the only one?

When my kids got overwhelmed about cleaning their rooms, I made some checklists to help them make it manageable. “First, clean off your bed so you have a place to sleep tonight, then take care of the laundry so you can see the floor…” That sort of thing.

But I still had a problem to solve. The younger kids really had no idea what they were doing and they couldn’t read the checklists. Clip art to the rescue!

clean-room-chart



They needed some extra help, so I put together this nifty little chart to help my pre-readers follow the steps to clean their room.

Here’s how it works:

  • Print on cardstock
  • Laminate (mostly because I’m completely addicted to my laminator)
  • Attach to clipboard because my kids feel cool when they get to use a clipboard
  • Attach a whiteboard marker

Mark off the steps as you go and Voila! The room is clean.

Click here or on either image to download the chart and see your kids’ bedrooms get cleaner in no time.

Do your kids clean their own rooms?

 

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