Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Emergency Preparedness in the Car

Good Morning!

Today I am going to tell you about my continuing efforts to be ready for emergencies.  I have been doing a little bit here and there in the areas of home, car, purse, and work. 

These are the things I have in place in my car now:

5 bottles of water
A tube of snack crackers
2 rolls of toilet paper
1 roll of paper towels
2 old cloth towels
2 wash cloths
1 complete set of clothes
1 pair of sturdy shoes and socks
1 package of baby wipes
A list of phone numbers
2 garbage bags and some plastic grocery bags
Flashlight with extra batteries

Some very basic first aid supplies:  (still adding to this)

Bandaids of different sizes
Tape for bandages that tears easily
Antiseptic wipes


New cell phone car charger
Gallon jug of water

I already had this, but there is also a car emergency kit that contains things like jumper cables, gloves, flashlight, flat tire fixer, and more.  My son gave me this a few years ago and it is very nice to have in case of a car breakdown or other problems.

I think the most important thing to have in your car for emergencies is a fully charged cell phone.   I try to get in the habit of charging my phone every day at home.  The car charger that I have doesn't work.  That's a bad thing.  I really need to take care of getting a new one.

If there is a major emergency like a car wreck, either you or somebody else, being able to call for help is the main thing that would be needed.  I don't have the training to start helping somebody who is injured and wouldn't know where to begin.  Visions of pulling someone out of a burning car come to mind, but lets hope and PRAY that this never happens!

We need to make sure that everything is there and in working order in case of a flat tire!  My car has a bag of tools in the glove compartment that would be necessary.  I don't know how to change a tire, but I need to know where everything is!  I'm afraid I would be no help in this area.  Luckily, there are guys who know all about this. 

Keep gas in your car!  Wouldn't it be terrible to have an emergency in the middle of the night and discover that you are almost out of gas.  Enough said!

I also think having a pair of sturdy shoes is important.  What if you had to get out of the car and walk.  Those flip flops, sandals or heels wouldn't be too good for walking through the tall grass on the side of a highway.

The old towels could really come in handy in either a major emergency or just when something has been spilled or a person gets sick to their stomach.  I can think of all kinds of ways that an old towel would come in handy.

I really was able to use the extra set of clothes recently!  On my job, I walk back and forth to the courthouse in the small town I work in.  On this particular day, the bottom fell out (southern expression for a sudden downpour of rain) and even though I had an umbrella, the blowing rain completely soaked me from the knees down.  I literally would have had to go home, if I had not had the extra clothes.  Now mind you, they weren't my normal work attire, but I was able to get through the rest of the day in them.

My point with all this is that a little thought and preparation can make our life easier in small and big emergencies.

The peak part of hurricane season is almost here for our area, so I need to make sure we are up to date on batteries, flashlights, candles, matches.... and all that kind of stuff.

This is a work in progress for me.   I'm still adding to our emergency food, first aid supplies and more, in all areas of our life.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Approval Junkie...

Are you an Approval Junkie?

I think I am.  I love to get complements, feedback and yes... blog comments.  But, if I have done my best on a meal, blog post, or quilt, do I really need to be told?

Yes, to a certain extent, but shouldn't I be secure enough not to care?

On a more significant level, what about my daily life?  Am I trying to please my fellow man, or my God?

I was already thinking about this subject when I was looking through my weekly devotional book "Encouraging Words for a Discouraged World", yesterday.  I chose this topic as my study for the week.

Constantly seeking the approval of others, whether or not it agrees with my own convictions, is crazy. 

I like to think that I am a peace maker and a peace lover.  I do hate controversy!  But, I should be able to stand up for my beliefs without worrying about what others think and trying to please them. 

Of course, some approval is healthy and needed!  Why would I keep trying, if everybody hated my efforts? 

Reputation is an important thing, but its time for me to stop worrying about what "so and so will think".  Only God knows what is in my heart and therefore, only He can judge me.

Meanwhile, my hubby should be relieved that I am trying not to ask him three times during every meal, "Is it good?  Don't you like it?"  

Monday, July 29, 2013

Making Vegetable Soup From Fresh Grape or Cherry Tomatoes

I've been playing with my food again.....

Our grape tomato vine is still going strong, but has slowed down a little.  However, one can only eat so many in salads.  I had to find some other way to use them up.

Tomatoes on the counter ripening.

A little experimenting with cooking them yielded a pot of soup for now and one for later.  They are delicious in this soup and I would think in other tomato dishes like chili.  I cooked them alone first by cutting them in half and adding a little water.  Once they were done I added some browned ground beef, 1/2 small can of tomato paste, one can of mixed vegetables (undrained) and enough water to cover it all.   Then it simmered for a while and made a wonderful meal.

Delicious and Nutritious
One half of this batch was used in the vegetable soup above and I was able to put a starter meal in the freezer for later using the other half.   All I will have to do is add a can of mixed vegetables and a little water.  This one is earmarked for the first cool day in the fall. 

The other half of the meat, tomatoes and  tomato paste for the freezer.
There are lots of healthy vitamins in this soup. All of the ingredients were in my pantry or freezer.   I was worried that the little tomato skins would come off when cooked, since I remove the skins on larger tomatoes before cooking them.  They didn't.  There were little chunks of tomatoes, but no loose skins.   This makes using the grape tomatoes in soup very easy!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Eli's Here!

Born July 24, 2013 at 12:57 PM.  7 pounds 6 ounces, 20 inches long.

Cute toes:

Big Brother:


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Summer Glimpses From the Farmhouse....

The Humid North Carolina Summer days are moving along quickly and will soon be a memory to recall when a cold Winter wind is nipping at our heels. Its time to savor those warm days while we can.

A sunflower

Country baskets of vegetables nestled in blue checked farmhouse napkins.

Picklers of all sizes and shapes.

Out the kitchen window I can see very tall corn, loaded with ears.  May be genetically modified?

Stained Glass Art courtesy of Mama.
Juicy, ripe, sliced tomatoes

A week night supper of corn on the cob, marinated cucumbers and grape tomatoes, nacho meat with tortilla chips and lemonade.    The nacho meat is browned and drained hamburger, a can of Rotel tomatoes, cheese sprinkled on top, and heated in the oven until hot and the cheese is melted.

Puffy, white summer clouds over the farmhouse.

I dug out the bread machine last Sunday and made raisin bread. I had all the ingredients on hand..  The yeast was out of date, but had been stored in the refrigerator and seemed to work just fine.  Slices of this are really yummy when they are toasted and then slathered with butter or grape jelly.

I hope you have enjoyed this little tour across the summer of 2013 at the farmhouse!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My Zero Cost CVS Deals This Week

I received a $3.00 bonus Extra Bucks coupon from CVS by email yesterday, which was only good for a couple of days.  If you want to play the drug store game at CVS, you really need to sign up for their emails. 

I found a great 75% off clearance on CVS brand Cold and Flu medicine that my hubby takes for allergies.  The ingredients in this one do not cause one's blood pressure to go up. 

There's a 79 cents off Just the Basics paper towels, that prints at the coupon center, which makes the paper towels free for everybody..... unless they run out.  Its not worth a special trip, but I was there anyway.

Here's the break down:

4 packs of CVS Cold and Flu HBP medicine $5.76 (total)
1 bottle of Wisk Laundry Detergent 4.99
1 roll of JTB paper towels .79

Less coupons and extra bucks

$2.00 off Wisk
$1.00 off CVS allergy medicine (printed at the coupon center)
$3.00 bonus extra bucks
.79 off the paper towels (printed at the coupon center)
$4.75 extra bucks


1.  CVS has wonderful clearance sales if you can find them.  The CVS allergy medicine was only marked 50% off on the tag, but when I got to the cash register, they came up 75% off.  I ran back and grabbed 2 more at that price.  It would be a good idea to scan items at the coupon center to check prices.  I love to find a clearance item for which I also have a coupon.

2.  We don't use many paper towels at our house, since we have converted to cloth napkins, dish cloths and dish towels.  But, I'll take them anytime they are free!  I have 3 rolls in my stash right now that were all free with coupons.

3.  You can scan your CVS card at the coupon center more than once.  I always scan twice and save the coupons for when the items are on sale.  Lots of times, a week or 2 later, I will be able to combine these CVS coupons with other coupons and sales to get an unbelievable deal.

4.  I did what is known as "burning extra bucks" in this transaction.  This means that I used extra bucks coupons on items that did not generate more extra bucks.  In other words I didn't "roll" them.  Sometimes I just want to start over from scratch when I see some good deals.  I'll get more extra bucks, soon enough!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Another Mason Jar Magic Trick

A Mason Jar Salt Box:

I got this idea somewhere on the web. Just cut the top out of an ordinary cardboard salt box. Using the inner jar lid part as a pattern, trace around it and trim. It will be a perfect circle that fits perfectly on top of the jar with the ring holding it on.  Then just cover it with paper, fabric or you could just leave it as is.

Put some salt, or other shakable product, in the jar, put the lid on top and tighten down the ring. It looks much nicer than the cardboard salt box sitting in your cabinet or on the counter.

Some ideas I have for these would be for powdered parmesan cheese, pepper and sugar.  A cute spice set could be made using the really small mason jars with nice labels.   They would work well for measuring because you could slowly pour the contents into a measuring spoon or cup.

There are so many uses for Mason Jars.  I saw that the aqua blue ones are for sale again.  If I see any of them, I just may have to splurge on a few.

Friday, July 19, 2013

2013 Tobacco Harvest Begins

Its been a wet summer so far, but this week the rains have let up and the tobacco harvest has begun behind the farmhouse. A bus load of farm workers, several tractors and many trailers descended on the tobacco field early one morning and stayed for a couple of days.

Early morning loads of tobacco leaves

The bottom leaves are harvested first as you can see from this picture.

Then the workers will come back about once every ten days or so and work their way up the plants a little each time.   The plants' leaves turn slightly yellow from the bottom up and those leaves are considered ripe.  We estimate that it will take a total of four harvests to reach the top of the plants.

When all the leaves are harvested, the farmers will bush hog down the remaining stalks.  I'm thankful for crop rotation, because I'm thinking we'll go back to having cotton or sweet potatoes next year.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.  One of our plans for the weekend is to attend a baby shower for little Eli.   There's not much time left before he makes his arrival!  I just hope the Mom-to-be can hold off on the delivery until after the shower!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Mason Jar Magic

I made this Mason Jar soap dispenser after work yesterday. There are tons of tutorials for these on the web.

... tobacco in the background

Here are the tools I used.  The brick was laying on this outdoor table and so I used it instead of going to get a hammer.  The pump came from an empty face wash bottle.  I made the hole in the lid by tapping the top of the small screwdriver until it broke through.  Then I used the needle nose pliers to enlarge the hole.  I was careful to leave the hole as small as possible, yet be able to force the pump through.  This way, it fit tightly and so I didn't use any glue.  Some hot glue on the underside would have secured it better and I may still do that.   But, for now, its working great!

The Tools

If I had more time I would have spray painted the lid black to match the pump.  I can't wait to make more of these.  I need one in each bathroom filled with colorful hand soap.  They'd make great gifts.

It is filled with a small bottle of dish soap and water, sitting on the kitchen sink.  Don't you think it fits our farmhouse kitchen perfectly?

Country Kitchen

After making the mason jar soap dispenser, I checked on the rose I had been rooting under a mason jar.  There's new growth, so I know the roots have grown.  After letting it adjust to life outside the mason jar, I'll set it out in the yard. CLICK HERE to read about how I root roses with a mason jar.

Mason Jar Rose

Here's an old gallon size jar, but not technically a Mason jar.  I found it at Mama's.  I have lots of ideas for it.

Gallon Size Jar

One idea.

One is the loneliest number that'll you'll ever see.... lalalalala

More ideas to come soon.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What's in your pocketbook? Purse Size Emergency Supplies

Mine's a mess!  Sometimes that happens.... things get busy and I keep putting things in and never taking anything out.  Stuff going in gets put where ever it will fit.

How could it be so full and still did not contain any emergency toilet paper when I went into the CVS bathroom last week and there wasn't even a TP holder, much less any actually TP?  Well, I did at least have three McDonald's napkins......

Time to organize it a little bit and put in a few emergency items.  I'm not talking about a major emergency, but those small emergencies that us ladies run into from time to time, like there not being any TP in a public restroom.  I also like to have things my hubby, a friend or family member might need.  Its so nice to say, "I've got one of those right here!".

Here are a few things that I like to have in my pocketbook for those occasions:

1.  Enough toilet paper for an emergency.... or two, and of course some regular tissues.

2.  Having an emotional day?  A little bit of makeup will save the day.

3.  Extra deposit and/or withdrawal slips for the bank.

4.  I know we live in a debit/credit card world, but always have some cash on you.

5.  Phone numbers written down on paper.  Nobody knows any phone numbers, even their own, these days.  If my phone isn't working, I wouldn't have a clue what anybody's phone number is.

6.  Pocket size bottles of ibuprofen, Tylenol or other medicine that you sometimes need.  (antacid, anti-diarrhea, etc.)

7.  Breath mints, gum, cough drops, etc.

8.  Some bandaids.  The small first aid kit in a plastic case is also a good place to put my back up pair of contacts since they are protected inside the hard plastic.

9. Extra contact lens, solution, and case.  If you wear contacts, you MUST have a back up pair of glasses with you. 

10.  Nail file and nail clipper.

11.  A few wipes in a small zip lock bag.

12.  Extra car and house key.

13.  Extra Pens and note paper.  I have a small notebook that contains my "lists".

14.  Small sewing kit, safety pins

15.  Hair brush

16.  Feminine supplies, (to suit what ever stage of life you are in), extra pair of undies.

17.  Small flashlight, like a pen light or one of those that hangs on your key chain.

After a little organizing, it looks better!  I made an inventory of what is in there and added some of the things on my list.  I need to pick up few items, such as cough drops and pocket size wipes.

Things I don't have in my purse, but would be nice to have:

1.  Mini umbrella

2.  Spare phone charger

3. Small bottle of water and a small snack of some kind

I would need a bigger bag if I add anything else!

This is a long list, but most of these items don't take up much room.  Some of these items could just be kept in my car.  Usually, wherever the car is, I am... except in the CVS bathroom....

Each person's list would be different based on their own needs.  A mom of a baby would certainly need other things.  If a person has diabetes, their list would contain other necessary items.

But, I know I've forgotten something.  What do you have in your purse that you consider essential?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Re-visiting Emergency Preparedness

I've kept the "Would you be ready for an emergency" post from last week in the back of my mind ever since, and am slowly working on improving our emergency preparedness status.

I bought several of these pocket size first aid kits a few years ago when they were almost free with coupons and extrabucks at CVS.  These are a good start on a first aid kit, but not for a big emergency.  At any rate, I handed one to hubby this morning for his vehicle and I will put one in my vehicle and one in my pocketbook.    Each one contains 2 cleansing wipes, 2 gauzes, and several sizes of bandaids.  That could really come in handy for small cuts or scrapes, etc.  I checked the prices of first aid supplies at CVS and:  number one, they were expensive; number two, I didn't really know what to buy.  I do realize that in an emergency, the correct first aid supplies would be priceless!  So I am going to pursue this until I am satisfied that I have what we need.

I've never been one to purchase much water, because it comes free out of the spigot.  But, I bought one of these last week at CVS, using my 20% off coupon.  Just the Basics Water.... how much more basic can you get than water?  A name brand water, or store brand water.  Is there a difference?  Anyway, a 24 pack of these are on sale this week at CVS for $2.77  So I intend to pick up 1 or 2 more to have on hand.  I also checked the prices of gallon size jugs of water and will be stocking up on some of these as well.

The toilet paper supply is growing.  I'll pick up a Northern TP at CVS this week, on sale, with coupon and extra bucks.

No, I'm not going to stock pile soda for an emergency!  But we are going to store water in the empty 2 liter bottles.  I read the Federal Government's emergency preparedness site and storing water in clean and sanitized soda bottles is ok, but using empty milk jugs is a no no.  I have the perfect spot in the outside storage building for these.

It seems to me that expiration dates of emergency foods is important.  I noticed that the dates on Chex Mix is pretty long.  This bag is good until February 2014.  So, Chex Mix would be a good item to store.  I could just replace them as the expiration date nears.

Another good emergency food, if you like them, is Vienna Sausage.  The expiration date of this pack is about 3 years away. 

I plan to put my emergency foods in a plastic tote of some kind, in an out of the way place like the bottom of my side of the closet, because if they are mixed in with the regular food in the pantry, they will be eaten.

I will be updating this subject more as I go along!   Some topics will be emergency preparedness in the car and in the pocketbook or purse.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Organizing The Back Entry

Among many other chores and commitments this weekend, I did some organization in our back entry, also known as the mud room. I think when the farmhouse was originally built in the 1940s the area of the house that now consists of the laundry room/half bath, mud room/back entry and the master bedroom walk-in closet was a porch. This was a great use of the space by the person who remodeled the home.

I have a pretty big collection of cookbooks and when I brought home some of Mama's, I had to do some straightening.  This wooden box turned on its side on top of a storage cabinet works well for storing the cookbooks.  The iron frying pans and the grater belonged to Mama.  I tied a lavender scrap of fabric, which was her favorite color, on the grater so that I would know which one was hers, because I already had two of my own.  I wrote her name in the front of her cookbooks, because with my middle aged mind, I know I wouldn't remember which were hers in a few months time.

This display is a work in progress.  I tried to achieve a "cooking" theme by displaying some of Mama's vintage kitchen items.  Some of them are rolling pins, biscuit pan, biscuit cutter, flour sifter, vintage potato masher, some old tarnished knives in a mason jar, swing top mason jars,  the old rusty breadbox and a couple of cookbooks.  The cross stitch piece, which I bought at a yard sale years ago, has a recipe on it for biscuits.  In a couple of the jars I have stored tea light candles.  Mama's smallest iron frying pan serves as a place for me to toss my keys when I come in the door.

As I said, this is a work in progress.  I'm not really satisfied with he results yet, but it can be changed easily. 

Underneath the cooking display, these jars of pickles are stored.  These are the last batch that Mama had a hand in making.  They were stored on the floor of her linen closet and so had been kept in a dry dark, cool place.  Thanks to her, I won't be concerned about making pickles this summer.  There are 19 quarts and 4 pints stored in this spot.

Getting a space organized gives me such a good sense of accomplishment!   Did any of you get any organizing done? 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Would you be ready in an emergency?

You may have noticed that I've been posting some good deals that I've gotten at CVS and Food Lion lately.  After reading THIS POST  at Backwoods Home Magazine, called "Common Sense Preparedness", I realized I was well on the way to growing an emergency preparedness stockpile. 

But would we really be ready for a major emergency, or even a small one?  Probably not.

Stormy Sky
Reading this article really made me think about being prepared for big emergencies and small ones.  I hadn't thought about having some emergency supplies in the car.  At the very least a couple bottles of water and a snack in the glove compartment would come in handy sometimes.  I need to think about this some more to figure out what would be appropriate to have on hand. 

No matter where you live in this world, there are certain types of emergencies that can happen.  While, it would be rare for us to have a Winter weather emergency as described in the article, it does happen, even here in the Mid-South.   Of more concern in this area would be hurricanes and tornadoes.  Don't even want to think about all the things that could happen like gas shortages, terrorist attacks and the like. 

But, not to make this post all gloom and doom, I thought I'd share some of what we have on hand and what we don't have, but should have.

Toilet Paper:  You can never have too much toilet paper.  At our house, if there isn't at least one unopened large pack of toilet paper on hand, we start to get nervous!  Right now there are 3 packages of Charmin Basic on hand, that I bought at CVS earlier this week.  I took advantage of the Extra Bucks deal where you spend $30.00 on certain items, you get back $10.00 Extra Bucks.  With this deal I bought 3 large packs of Charmin Basic, 2 bottles of Pantene shampoo, 2 bottles of Dawn dish liquid and 1 bottle of Crest ProHealth Rinse.  After coupons and last week's extra bucks, I spent $11.00 out of pocket and got $10.00 back for my next purchase.

At Food Lion this week, large packages of Scott Extra Soft are on sale for $6.99.  Not as cheap as I'd like, but hey, toilet paper isn't cheap any more.  I would never pay the regular price, which is over $10.00 a pack!   I have a Food Lion coupon for $3.00 off  3 packages, so I intend to purchase 3.  I plan to put one of these packages in storage some where and try to forget that I have it.  That way it will be there for an emergency.

Batteries:  My mother bought lots of batteries and had them stored in odd places around her home.  As I was cleaning in her house, I would often come across unopened packs, partially used packs and loose batteries.  I brought them all home, not being sure if they had any life left in them.  Hubby has a little gizmo that checks the strength of batteries.  So, he checked all the batteries and we ended up with a pretty good stash of all sizes of batteries.  It would have been easy to just toss those batteries and assume they weren't any good.  I feel good that we are going to make use of them.

But do we have enough of the correct sizes that fit our radios and flashlights?  Probably not.

 We use rechargeable size AA batteries in the camera and other things that use that size.  This is a real money saver!

Water:  We are very lacking in this area.  We have lots of empty milk jugs and soda bottles that we have filled with water, but those wouldn't be suitable for drinking in an emergency.  So, one of my missions this week is to get some bottled water.  I'll be looking for the best deal.

Canned and other nonperishable foods:  We have a small supply of all this, but I need to look at this some more and I'm sure we need to add to it.  I don't think salad dressing and BBQ sauce count toward emergency preparedness!

After taking a look in the pantry......

I need to make a list of what we would actually use in an emergency and make an effort to stock up on those things when on sale and/or with coupons or extra bucks!

First Aid:  NOT READY!  We only have a some bandaids and are woefully lacking in any real first aid supplies.  ARGH!

So, how do you stand in your emergency preparedness?

I will re-visit this topic next week after doing some more serious looking into what we need to do to have at least a minimum emergency supply.  Of course I need to make a list! 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The "What To Wear" List and the "Menu Planning" List

I am a list maker.  I have a list for just about everything.  I can't keep all that stuff in my brain, so I let the lists do the work for me.  I make a CVS list, Food Lion list, daily to do list,   There's a list of sewing projects.  If company's coming for a meal, there's a list of each item of food and what needs to be done to it.

I guess I inherited this list making tendency because I have found dozens of scraps of paper at my mother's house with grocery lists, Christmas lists, recipe lists, what to cook for dinner lists, etc. on them.

My favorite lists in recent times are my "Menu Planning" list and my "What To Wear" list. 

A favorite "go to" outfit for summer.
I don't have that many clothes, but I mix and match things to make several outfits for work or church.  I don't want to have to think about this too much.  So I wrote down what I wore each day for a couple of weeks on a list which is on the shelf in the closet. 

Now all I have to do is see what's next on the list.  Its kind of the same idea as the menu planning list.  I just wrote down everything that was available and then choose from that each day.  Its just one less thing to think about in the morning. 

If only all those pants still fit.....

This means I can get ready for work in a flash, if I have spent too much time sewing or blogging!

The menu planning list is working and I finally feel like a success at menu planning!  Its just a list of available foods or dishes.  I bought some cheese, so on the list went "grilled cheese sandwiches".  Over abundance of tomatoes equals:  pasta salad, green salad, tomato sandwiches, BLTs.

I did a quick inventory of the freezer, pantry and fridge.  I add to it as new foods come in the house and mark off those that have been eaten.  Some foods stay on the list indefinitely because we keep them on hand and eat them regularly, such as hamburgers, chicken, pork chops, etc.

Here are our menus for this week, thanks to the list: 

Sunday:  Sauteed chicken breast, peas, corn on the cob

Monday:  Chef's salad

Tuesday:  BLTs, (Almost free turkey bacon from Walgreens, tomatoes from garden) corn on the cob (gift). 

Wednesday:  Veggie burgers (freezer), boiled and fried new potatoes (from the garden), field peas seasoned with country ham (gift), peeled and sliced cucumbers in vinegar (garden) 

Thursday:  Grilled cheese sandwiches, butterbeans cooked with turkey smoked sausage.

Friday:  Spaghetti, salad

Next week's plan will include the BBQed or roasted chicken that I froze a couple of weeks ago, some of the frozen sausage and all the fresh vegetables that are coming into the house faster than we can eat them.

Glimpses of Home - HOOKS!

Now that's an exciting title, isn't it?  HaHa  While working around the house the other day I realized that I have a lot of over t...