10 Ways To Fight Rising Food Costs

Food costs are rising and eating up more and more of the food budget. Fight back with these 10 tips.

You can listen to this post as a podcast, as well as previous Cooke’s Frontier Podcasts, by visiting me on The Survival Mom Radio Network OR by downloading episodes on iTunes.

Oregon has finally gotten into summer and this past week we’ve had some really hot weather. We also had a lot of fires start during a lightning storm and it seems like most of the eastern side of the state is on fire. There have been homes lost, but so far I haven’t heard of anyone losing their life, so I’m thankful for that. This drought stuff is serious business! So, instead of living in such a lush green state, I’m kind of hanging out in a dry brown one right now. That’s what’s happening in my neck of the woods, but lets get back to our food budgets. Prices are skyrocketing on almost all food so if you haven’t made changes to how you shop and plan, now is the time to start!

10 Ways To Fight Rising Food Costs

1. Eat at home. I know a lot of you are probably already doing this, but the fact is- prices on meals out are rising just as fast as food prices. Unless you stop for a quick .99 cheeseburger at a fast food joint, a sit down meal is going to cost you more. When our family of 6 eats out, it’s at least $50.00. And we economize by ordering adult sized meals for the kids to share instead of pricier kids meals, we only drink water and we skip dessert. It’s just the way it is for our family- we can’t eat out very cheaply. So, I always think about it like this: How many groceries could I have bought with that $50.00 we just spent on dinner out? It used to be a lot more food than I can get now, but it’s still more than just one meals worth. So, if you aren’t cutting way, way back on eating out or cutting it out altogether- now is a good time to consider doing so.

2. Plan your meals. If you walk into the grocery store without a list, chances are that you are going to pick up random things that won’t really make a meal. That deal on canned green beans might be great, but if you don’t have a plan on how to use them what good does it do you? Plan your meals out at least a week in advance and take a list to the store. Stick to the list! Avoid the middle isles of the store, shopping the perimeter where the meats, dairy, produce and breads usually are. Try to get in and get out as quickly as you can to avoid adding extra items to your cart.

3. Buy in bulk. Everyone says this, but it isn’t always explained how to do that. The easiest way is to plan meals around a similar item, like chicken. You can buy a bag of boneless chicken breasts and make several meals from that. We would plan something like fried chicken, bbq chicken pizza, and chicken salad. As you can see, there are a lot of different flavors going on so it isn’t like you’re eating baked chicken every night of the week. Another example is oatmeal for breakfast. A large container of oats is very inexpensive, but you can mix it up by having baked oatmeal, oatmeal with mix ins and oatmeal breakfast cookies on your meal plan. If you plan around bulk purchases, you will save money.

4. Eat meatless meals. We eat at least 2 meatless meals a week to save on expensive protein costs. Let’s face it- beef and pork prices are skyrocketing and where I used to lean heavily on ground beef as a cheap source of red meat, I can no longer do that. So, we go meatless! And, honestly my kids and husband do not care. We make burritos with homemade refried beans, black beans, cheese, onion, tomato, mexican rice, lettuce, sour cream and salsa. They are filling and we are usually using up a bunch of leftover things out of the fridge from other meals throughout the week. Another meal we really love is breakfast for dinner. Our hens always lay really well, so I never have a shortage of eggs in my fridge. Biscuits and gravy with fried eggs, waffles, pancakes or french toast all have a place on a meatless meal night. We’ve also done HUGE salads, pasta dishes, baked potatoes with tons of veggies, cheese, and sour cream. There are a ton of meatless options out there and they really help the food budget.

5. Barter. If you can bake bread, but don’t have room for a garden, look around to see if you can barter with a friend or neighbor who gardens, but can’t or would rather not bake. Trading services for what you need is an excellent way to keep your bill low. Maybe you have a garden with a lot of extra produce, but you can’t keep chickens where you live. If you can find someone who would like to trade you garden scraps for their birds in trade for eggs, you’ve made a really great deal. Not everyone has the same talents, and I’ve found that people will generally be really open to options like bartering.

6. DIY it. There are very few things you can buy in the grocery store that you can’t make cheaper, better and more delicious with a homemade version. Learn to bake your breads, snacks, baked goods, and more. There are tons of websites out there with recipes to homemade crackers, granola bars, fruit snacks, cookies, cakes, pies, fast food knock off recipes and more. You can find just about everything you’d ever look want. Branch out and try making homemade yogurt, canning your own fruits and veggies, or even raising your own chickens for eggs or meat.

7. Hunt, fish or forage. Stretch your grocery budget by hunting, fishing or even foraging for wild edibles. Again, there are a ton of sites out there that cover foraging and they are super helpful. When our family fishes, we can put quite a bit of fish in the freezer on a good day. That means we get to have a super family day and save on groceries. Learn different ways to prepare wild game and fish.

8. Learn to stretch a meal into 2 or 3 or 4. This has been one of my best pieces of advice to offer to people wanting to make a dent in their food budget. A couple of examples of stretching a meal are these. Bake a whole chicken and make a nice meal of it. The, pick the leftovers off and use the bones to make a stock. Add some of the leftover chicken to the stock and make chicken noodle soup, chicken and rice soup or chicken and dumplings. Later in the week, you can use the tiniest leftover bits of chicken to make chicken fried rice for another completely different meal. You can do the same thing with a beef or pork roast….bake your roast the first night and have that meal, then stretch it to make BBQ pork or beef sandwiches, pork fried rice, beef barley soup, add the beef or pork to burritos or make tacos from it. Learn to take your leftovers and make a completely different tasting meal and watch your budget have a bunch more wiggle room.

9.Use coupons and shop sales, if possible. I know that there are not a lot of coupons out there for the items that I buy at the store when it comes to food, but I do try to use coupons on my non food items as much as possible. Things like parchment paper, plastic wrap, sandwich bags, toilet paper, dish soap, laundry detergent and those types of things are included in my grocery budget, so the less I spend on them the more I save for actual food. I make as many of my own cleaners and soaps as I can, and then use sales combined with coupons to cover the rest.

10. Stock up. When there are good sales and store it for times when the sales are slim. I know that this isn’t going to be possible for everyone, because space just doesn’t allow for it a lot of times. But, if you find a good deal on rice or beans, being able to stock up on those items IF YOUR FAMILY EATS THEM will save you money later on when they are no longer on sale. This also allows you to build up a really hefty pantry with a lot of basic staples so you are just purchasing perishables, spices and the other small things needed to make complete meals. Just be sure that you store your bulk purchases properly so that they will stay fresh and usable, or else you have just flushed money down the toilet.

That’s how I help my family keep the budget from inflating as fast as food prices are. What are your best tips?

Lemon Lime Sour Cream Pie

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Let’s face it- summer is hot, and sometimes, miserable. No one wants to eat heavy, dense, rich foods- especially for dessert. I’m kind of a big time chocolate lover, but when the temperatures start creeping up I just can’t stand the thought of something like a heavy piece of chocolate cake sitting on my stomach. I’m one of those weird people who exists on watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, and salad for much of the summer.The lighter I eat, the better I feel. Of course, all of that changes as soon as the weather cools down, but hey- a girl’s got to do what a girl’s gotta do!

My family still loves having sweets throughout the hot months, but I don’t like turning on the oven anymore. That’s what I whip out my trusty recipe binder and flip to the “Summer Desserts” section. In it I like to keep my recipes for the cooler treats. You know, the ones that don’t require the oven to be on for more than a few minutes and are generally lighter tasting. You know, refreshing.

http://cookesfrontier.com

 

I found this pile in an old stack of Country Woman magazines way back and I clipped it out, glued it to a recipe card, and stuck it into my recipe card holder. Then I promptly forgot about it for a few years until I got married. That summer we lived in a tiny (I mean TINY) mobile home that was the equivalent of a solar oven, so keeping the oven turned off was high on my list of priorities. I was searching one day, looking for a recipe I could make to impress my new husband when I found the recipe card again. It was a hit, and since then it’s been a pretty steady item on our menu rotation. I’ve made it all lemon, all lime, all orange and this mixture of lemon and lime. I’ve never tried a grapefruit version, but if that’s your thing I bet it would work.

I’m sure there are a lot of versions of this pie out there. In fact, I’ve seen some pinned lately that are pretty dang close to this one. But, I know that this is such a great recipe you won’t want to look any further! It’s a perfect blend of sweet and sour, but not overly tart. I hope you enjoy it just as much as we do. If you try this out, let me know how you like it- I’d love to hear from you!

If you’d like to see more of my recipes you can follow me on Pinterest on my Cooke’s Frontier page where I pin all sort of things. If you’re looking for more pie recipes, I’ve got you covered on my Pinterest Pie Board!

What’s your favorite hot weather treat?

 

 

 

Lemon Lime Sour Cream Pie

Prep Time: 20 Mins Total Time: 20 Mins

Ingredients:

  • 9- inch single pie crust, baked and cooled
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons PLUS 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 Tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 Tablespoon lime zest
  • 1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped and sweetened, if desired

Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan, mix the sugar and cornstarch. Stir in the lemon juice, lime juice, and the milk. Whisk until smooth. Cook over medium heat until thickened and bubble. Reduce heat to low and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. 
  2. Add a spoonful of the hot mixture to the egg yolks and stir briskly. Repeat 2 times. (You’re tempering the eggs here). 
  3. Add the tempered egg yolks to the hot pan; whisking continuously. Bring to a gentle boil, cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the citrus zest and butter. Cool without stirring. 
  4. When the filling in completely cool, mix int he sour cream. Pour into the cooked and cooled pie crust and top with sweetened whipped cream, if desired. Store in the fridge. 

My Irish Table Book Review

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I’m doing something a little different here on Cooke’s Frontier today! I love to cook and bake, I’m sure you’ve been able to tell that from the vast number of recipes and recipe posts here on this blog. I had recently joined the Blogging For Books program through Random House, and when I found out that there was a cookbook section, I was thrilled.

I chose this book, My Irish Table, for my first book. My family and I are very interested in Ireland, England and Cornwall because those are some of our roots. We love to explore the culture and food from those countries as much as possible without actually travelling there, although we do have a trip to England planned in the next few years. This cookbook could not be more beautiful. The food pictures are so appetizing! I wanted to make just about every recipe in this cookbook, from salads to desserts. It really had a lot of earthy, real people food. I think sometimes cookbooks end up with so many really out there recipes that are impossible to make unless you have a professional, commercial kitchen. That was not the case with this cookbook.

The thing I think I loved the most about this book had to be that you could read it like a book, it wasn’t just an instruction manual for getting food on the table. There are stories and experiences, tidbits and tips, all along the way. It was like sitting down and talking to the author, not just reading their instructions. I loved that. So far, I haven’t managed to make more than the Cheese Toast recipe, but I have great plans for this book when the weather cools off and heartier, longer cooking recipes become my favorites.

You can read more about the cookbook to see if it’s something you might be interested in too. I really love it, and if you are at all interested in Ireland or Irish cooking, you will enjoy it as well.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. All of the opinions are mine and totally honest.

Off Grid Cooking During Fire Season

Off Grid Cooking During Fire Season

 

You can listen to this as a podcast here: Off Grid Cooking During Fire Season

If you aren’t familiar with fire season, lucky you! Fire season is a set of restrictions that get gradually more and more restrictive as the summer/drought/heat carries on. This year seems to be especially bad because most of Oregon is experiencing extreme dry weather. We had a virtually snowless winter compared to normal and the rivers, lakes and water tables are really low. We have had a greta spring growin season for grasses, and now we’ve had a long, dry hot spell the grass has dried out to crispy and we are currently classified as a high fire danger.

What does that mean?

Right now, our fire restrictions look like this:

  • Smoking is prohibited while traveling through wildland areas, except in enclosed vehicles on improved roads.
  • Open fires are prohibited, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires, and warming fires, except at designated campgrounds. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed.
  • There are limits on Chainsaw use. In addition, a fire watch is required for at least one hour following the use of each saw.
  • The use of motor vehicles, including motorcycles and atv’s, is prohibited, except on improved roads and for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops.
  • The use of fireworks is prohibited.
  • The cutting, grinding and welding of metal in dry, grassy or forested areas is prohibited during certain hours.
  • Mowing of dead and cured grass with power driven equipment is prohibited, between the hours of 12:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., except for the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops.
  • Any electric fence controller in use shall be: 1) Listed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory or be certified by the Department of Consumer and Business Service; and 2) Operated in compliance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • In addition, the following activities are prohibited during fire season under Oregon House Bill 3199.
  • The use of exploding targets
  • The use of sky lanterns
  • The use of tracer ammunition or any bullet with a pyrotechnic charge in its base.

So, basically cooking off grid right now means NO fires and NO charcoal. So what do you do? If we faced an emergency situation and needed to cook? You wouldn’t want to light the world on fire by starting a fire, so you’ll have to be prepared to have other cooking options ready for summertime specifically. In the winter, we have a lof of options: we can cook on our woodstove, we can use our bbq, camp stove, open fire or charcoal briquettes.

Let’s explore our options for summertime emergency off grid cooking.

  1. BBQ. Your bbq can be a great way to cook, especially if you have one that has a burner or two off to the side so you can make complete meals. The upside to this is that you have it, it’s ready to go. The downside: you’ll have to store fuel and in the case of a prolonged emergency, you run the risk of running out of fuel.
  2. Camp stoves- we have a couple of different camp stoves. One type uses white fuel and the other uses propane canisters. The upside is the same as a bbq, these are easy to use and you proabably already have them and know how to use them. The downsides are the same, too- you’ll have to store fuel and run the risk of running out.
  3. Solar ovens: these are great because they use the sun to cook your food, so as long as you have that, and in the summer that’s not a problem, you’ll be able to cook and bake. The upside: you’ll be able to cook anywhere, anytime no matter how dry it is outside. The downside: they can be a little spendy and you may have a learning curve to use one. Also, they can take a while to cook/bake, so making multiple meals a day could be a challenge.
  4. Sterno Stoves: these are small, sterno fuel stoves. The major downsides to them, for me, are that they use a lot of fuel and don’t get as hot as other fuel type stoves. However, if you are just needing to heat water to rehydrate foods or boil water, they are a great option. You will have to store fuel for them and may run the risk of running out.

We all know that prepping for anything means being prepared for all the little hiccups that may happen, but I’m not sure how many people really think about how they are going to cook in the summer. I worry that if something were to happen, people would become desperate and have to build fires to cook. This could lead to widespread wildfires with no way to put them out. Let’s face it, cooking over an open fire may have been something that our great greandparents could do any time of the year. They knew the dangers of starting a fire and knew that it would be nearly impossible to put out. But, in today’s world, we don’t have that same kind of knowledge and experience, which will be a hindrance.

I know that since we deal with fire season every year, we have thought about this topic a lot. We’ve decided what kind of fuels and stoves or ovens we want to use and have stored fuel accordingly. We have backups for our backups backups in this case. We’ve stored freeze dried foods that are easy to use just for this season, specifically.

It’s just another thing to think about while getting your preps put together- on your homestead how will YOU cook in the dry, hot summer months?

This post contains affiliate links. When you click on them and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission.

Simple Life Sunday Blog Hop

simplelifebloghop1

It’s that time again! This week, I’m sharing a post from last week that I think you’ll like as much as I do. The bloggers that link up each week are so full of information and good Ideas!

Monkey Bread From Scratch

 

This recipe from Simple Life Mom on how to make Monkey Bread From Scratch! I haven’t made monkey bread since we kicked canned biscuit dough to the curb, so I was so excited to see this!

 

 


What Is “Real” Salt, Anyway?

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What is real salt? I find out and share what I’ve learned with you!

Exactly What IS Redmond Real Salt , Anyway?

So, I kept hearing about this salt called Real Salt and I couldn’t wrap my mind around what the heck it was. What did they mean “real salt”? Was my box of Morton’s Course Kosher salt FAKE?!?! How can one salt be any more real than another?

Well, my inquisitive little self set off on a journey to find out exactly what makes Redmond Real Salt, real. I tell ya, I liked what I found out!

First, let’s get this straight all salt is basically sea salt because it comes from one of 3 places: modern oceans, dead seas, or ancient sea beds. The real difference comes down to HOW that salt gets to you. This is where the refined sea salt and the unrefined sea salts break off and become very different. Refined sea salt has no trace minerals, it’s white as white can be, it usually has additives to keep it from caking and clumping and it has a uniform shape.

Unrefined sea salt, on the other hand can contain up to 60+ trace minerals, you’ll notice that it has flacks of colors and is all different shapes, no additives to prevent clumping AND it has a pleasant flavor.

Both types of salt are salty, of course, but real salt can have a sweet or earthly flavor that you will not find in a refined salt.
Now, Redmond Real Salt is mined here in the US from an ancient sea in Utah. Now, you can also get ancient sea salt from Pakistan BUT it’s pricier and I like to support companies in the US whenever possible. So, for the same product, I’ll be picking the US variety every time. Also, the Redmond salt has a slightly sweet flavor vs the earth flavor from the salt from Pakistan and we’ve found that we much prefer the sweeter flavor of the Redmond salts.

Of course, you also have the option of the french sea salt that is harvested from evaporation ponds off the shores of France. The drawbacks to this, for me, are that 1) they are costly and 2) modern seas are full of all kinds of toxins and environmental issues that I’d much rather avoid.

So basically real salt is just that- salt that has been mined and crushed. Nothing added nothing taken away.

Salt always gets a bad wrap, but it is essential for life. The thing is, and I find this amazingly interesting, is that when people started consuming chemically altered salts 100 years ago, we started seeing high blood pressure and water retention. Prior to this, these things weren’t associated with salt….but once people started monkeying around with chemicals to strip out the trace minerals we started to see a problem. According to the Redmond Real Salt website, customers have reported these symptoms have gone away when real salt has replaced table salt. Go figure! Now, salt can be bad for you. We’ve all heard the phrase all things in moderation and it absolutely applies here. No one needs to salt food before they taste it, or add salt to processed foods.

Our family has eaten very little salt in the past years and it’s become nearly impossible to have a meal out somewhere because we are SO sensitive to the mass amounts of salt in foods these days.

So, what am I getting at…after all of the research I contacted Redmond Trading Company to see if I could review some of their Real Salt and they more than graciously sent me an entire box of real salt and redmond clay items for review. Now that we all understand WHAT real salt is, I want to talk about these products because I am completely sold on them. They are AMAZING!

Listen to my review of the Redmond Real Salt products in my podcast: What is Real Salt, Anyway? 

This post contains affiliate links. When you click one of these links and make a purchase, I receive a small commission that keeps this site free for everyone! Thanks for the support!

Dressing For Any Weather: The Bucket-O-Clothes Method

weather appropriate clothes

If you’d like to listen to me discus this topic, you can listen to it here: Cooke’s Frontier Radio on The Survival Mom Radio Network. Below this post, you’ll find the links to the other podcasts on the network from last week. Happy Listening! 

When the weather is nice and we’re just happily going about our days, it’s easy to put being prepared for anything on the back burner. Something else we tend to forget is that our clothing can be our first line of defense when it comes to preparedness situations. Today, I wanted to share a little bit about season appropriate clothing and how to be sure you’re always covered, no matter the weather.

Let’s start with Spring. I’m going to use my area of Oregon for my examples, and you’ll have to obviously change things up to suit your area. In the Spring, we have a lot of wet, rainy weather. We also tend to have a real chance for snow up until about May. The other thing that factors in to our situation here is that we are right on the I-5 corridor, so there are always a ton of people traveling north to Washington or South to California. That makes for some serious messes when we do get a snow event, because so many of the people on our roads aren’t used to driving in snow conditions. There are times every year that our freeway comes to a complete and total standstill, and drivers are stuck on the road, in their cars, for anywhere from minutes to hours.

So, in the Spring anytime we leave our house and get in the car- no matter how far we are travelling, we dress in the following:

  • T-shirt
  • Long sleeve shirt
  • Vest
  • Pants
  • wool socks
  • sturdy boots/shoes

We also take along:

  • Jacket
  • Hat
  • gloves
  • extra pair of socks
  • wool blanket
  • Hand Warmers (from our affiliate partner Amazon)
  • extra pair of pants
  • extra long sleeve shirt

The way that we take our extra clothes, no matter the season, is pretty smart if I do say so myself. We have a square, 4 gallon bucket that we got from a fast food restaurant. We just pop our extra supplies in it and put it in the car. The great thing about having our stuff in the bucket is that it’s completely waterproof and airtight, so if we need to set it outside on the ground in the snow or rain, everything inside isn’t going to get completely soaked.

On to summer. Too often, it’s tempting to just trot off in shorts, a tank top and a pair of flip flops. BUT, what happens if something happens and you have to hoof it back home?? You’re going to be footsore and sunburnt before you can blink. So, into our bucket we’ll pop:

  • Long sleeve, lightweight shirt
  • socks
  • study walking shoes/boots
  • sunscreen
  • Sun Hat (from our affiliate partner Amazon)
  • lightweight pants (we really like the convertible ones that can roll up to be shorts)
  • light jacket

I know adding a jacket seems like overkill, but at times nighttime temperatures can get downright chilly, and if you’re going to be out in it you may as well be prepared for a cool night out.

In the fall, we tend to see a lot of rain but not so much snow. While snow is always possible, we just don’t usually see it until around Thanksgiving or Christmas. When we leave the house we dress like this:

  • t-shirt
  • long sleeve shirt
  • vest
  • pants
  • wool socks
  • sturdy shoes/boots

We take along:

  • Hat
  • gloves
  • extra socks
  • extra pants
  • another long sleeve shirt
  • jacket
  • wool blanket
  • jacket

This looks a lot like the list for Spring for good reason- it’s pretty much the same type of weather!

That brings us to Winter and our most treacherous season for driving and possibilities of being stranded. This is the season that all of our family members absolutely, positively DO NOT leave the house unless they are 100% prepared to walk themselves back home.
In the winter when we are leaving to drive any distance, we wear:

  • t-shirt
  • long sleeve shirt
  • Vest (affiliate link from our partner Amazon)
    (heavy weight, mine is a sherpa lined carhartt one)
  • pants
  • wool socks
  • waterproof boots or shoes

We take along:

  • a beanie style hat
  • a hat with ear flaps (sometimes you see them with fake fur or flannel inside)
  • long john or thermal underwear tops and bottoms
  • extra pair of heavy pants
  • extra heavy long sleeve shirt
  • two extra pairs of wool socks
  • extra pair of shoes
  • gloves- both thin pull on gloves and heavy, fleece lined mittens
  • hand warmers
  • wool blanket
  • Heavy weight jacket
  • Wool scarf or cowl, or my husband prefers a Polar Fleece Balaclava (Amazon affiliate partner link)

So, that’s how we roll when it comes to appropriate clothing and weather. My kids are really great about knowing how to dress in layers and appropriately for the weather. It’s a very rare day when I have to remind them to get a jacket or to change their shoes. Once you get in the habit of dressing for the weather, it really isn’t a big deal. We just change out our buckets as the seasons change, adding or taking away from what we keep inside. It’s a real blessing to have that extra layer of comfort hanging out in the back of the car if we need it, and there have been a couple of times in recent years that we actually HAVE needed to break into our stash while we were out and about and it made the difference between just being and being incredibly comfortable.

I also want to point out that this is in ADDITION to our car kit that we keep in there that has emergency medical supplies, food and fuel to cook that food. While clothing can be your first layer of preparedness, you also need to be prepared for the possibility of being trapped in your car, stranded, lost, or needing to leave your car and walk yourself back home. Our other in-car kits cover this, but we found that with having our 4 kids, keeping the clothing separate and in a different container is a lot easier. Sometimes you just need another shirt and digging out the other emergency kits is kind of a pain for just one item, so this way makes it a lot simpler.

So tell me, how often do you think about what you’re wearing when you step out of the door? Do you think what would happen if you needed to walk back home? Now’s the time to build another layer into your preps with a bucket-o-clothes :)

**This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on the links and make a purchase, it does not change your purchase price, but it does send me a small commission. With those commissions, I can continue to make this website a free place to hang out :)**


Wireless Emergency Alerts Could Save Your Life

 

It’s Hurricane season, and a good time for EVERYONE to review their emergency preparedness. Disasters can strike anyone, anywhere no one is immune to the power of Mother Nature. One thing we should all have in common is our ability to cope and prepare for a disaster that might come our way.

What is an Wireless Emergency Alert? 

  • It’s a text-like message that’s sent directly to your phone. They can be alerts about extreme weather or threatening emergencies in your area.
  • Notifications of Amber Alerts in your area.
  • Presidential Alerts during a national emergency

What Do I Do If I Receive An Alert?

  • The alert will tell you of any action you should take.
  • Seek more information from news sources
  • Begin to put your own emergency plans into place.

Who Receives Wireless Emergency Alerts? 

  • WEA capabilities began rolling out in 2012, BUT if you have an older phone, or a phone that isn’t WEA capable you may not be receiving the alerts. You can check with your mobile carrier to make sure that they are participating in the program. If you are like my family, and just upgrading your phone for the first time in nearly a decade, your new phone will most likely be WEA capable.

The Bottom Line. 

In any emergency, knowing what you are facing ahead of time will gain you a little breathing room. However, having an emergency plan in place, along with stored food, water, cooking fuel, heating fuel (if weather appropriate), and first aid supplies prior to any emergency is absolutely critical.

Below, I’m going to link to some resources I think will be helpful to you. I urge you to watch the video at the beginning of this post, as well as visit the links below to help you build and carry out an emergency plan for you and for your family.

Do you have an emergency plan? If you do, now is a good time to double-check your emergency kit and to brush up with your emergency plan with your family. If you don’t yet have an emergency plan, please consider putting one together TODAY!

Stranger Danger: What Adults Are Doing Wrong

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This post can also be listened to as a podcast on my Cooke’s Frontier Radio Show on The Survival Mom Radio Network. If you aren’t listening yet- what are you waiting for? There are podcasts on so many different subjects each week, there is something for everyone. 

We’ve been busy this past week cutting, raking and bailing hay. Since our farming and homesteading efforts have to happen after my husband is off work and on weekends, we can’t start our projects until about 6:30 or so at night on work nights. When you only have a small window for doing something, like making hay, that means all hands help. So, I was driving a tractor and so was my husband trying to get things done before the rain hit. We got mostly lucky, we had a few bales of hay get wet, but we can handle that. It’s hard to have to fit chores that really need time and attention into a few hours a day, but we’re managing to do it and as soon as the rain we’re having lets up, we’ll be back at it again.
This week, I wanted to share with you a couple of thoughts on stranger danger with kids and I don’t mean on how to teach your kids about it. Adults, I’m looking at you this time! While we were camping, we saw a few things that adults do that make it really hard for kids to follow the “rules” of stranger danger.
For example, we teach out kids Not to talk to strangers. It’s quite possibly the first and most important rule of stranger danger. However, and I’ve seen this happen a lot not just while we were camping, my kids would be within my sight and an adult would stop to talk to them. Now, my kids know that if they are right with my husband or myself, and an adult asks them a question or talks to them, they can answer that’s fine. However, when they aren’t right with me, then they need to not speak to the adult and leave to find me. When an adult approaches them while they are away from me, but within my sight, it leaves them with a problem. Do they leave or do they answer?
We adults should know better than to approach and speak to a child that doesn’t isn’t with a parent UNLESS you think they are lost or in trouble. In this case, the woman wanted to know if my girls were having fun camping. They felt bad for not answering and leaving, but in the end that’s what they needed to do.
Next, do not, I mean DO NOT OFFER A CHILD FOOD! This happened as well. Some elderly people a couple campsites over offered my girls some candy orange slices out of their camper (sweet, I know), and as bad as I felt for turning it down the sad fact is that in this day and age you can’t trust ANYONE with your kids and food. Anyone. I’m sure that it would have been just fine and that this couple posed no threat, but you have to stay diligent while teaching your kids stranger danger rules- so we had to say no.
And lastly, and this is probably the weirdest thing we’ve ever had happen- my daughter was in the restroom and I was waiting for her outside. She came out and said, “MOM, there is a woman in there and she just asked me to go out to the blue can and tell someone in it that she’s stuck in the stall and can’t get out.” For heavens sake people, Don’t ask a child to go to go to a car in a parking lot! Just no. It’s such a bad idea, and again, puts a good kid with good manners in a tough spot. They want to help, but know that they shouldn’t approach cars that they don’t know….ask a kid to get their parents and let an adult handle your situation.
I think that as adults we need to be doing a better job making sure that we are not only teaching our kids about stranger dangers, but also being sure that we are not putting kids who’ve been taught to avoid stranger in a tough position by approaching or talking to them. We need to stop and think, If this was our child, would we want someone to speak to or approach them? before you interact with a child. Because honestly, these kids want to do what’s right and they don’t want to be rude, so when an adult talks to them they feel like they should respectfully answer. It’s tough on the little ones and it isn’t fair to them. So, please, while you are out and about, just give it a second thought before interacting with a child. Our world is a scary place and keeping the littles safe is my top priority. That’s my PSA for the day :)

I also wanted to share with you a recipe for Crockpot Baby Back Ribs. The weather is heating up and I don’t know about you but I hate standing around the grill, waiting for food to cook. I’m impatient like that ;) So, I cook my ribs in my kitchen workhorse, my Crockpot, and then just finish them for a few minutes on each side to get that crispy, caramelized crust on the ribs. It works every time and I haven’t met a person yet who hasn’t loved them!

Meal Planning Made Easy with eMeals


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Meal planning is one of those things that I do, but don’t really love. I’ll admit it, I get a little tired of trying to decide what to make for dinners sometimes, and I tend to make the same favorites over and over so that I don’t have to try to come up with something new. I was talking about this with one of my friends, and she told me about eMeals.

eMeals has a TON of different recipe plans to choose from- classic, paleo, low carb, vegetarian, & more, so everyone can find a menu that suits their needs. I chose to sign up for a classic meal plan. What happens is this: every week, you receive an email with 7 dinners planned out. There are instructions and grocery lists for the meals all together in one place so you just have to download it and go to the store. Oh, and speaking f stores- you can choose your store of choice and your grocery list will include a price total for your week of dinner groceries. I’m finding that I’m not spending as much as the totals on my menus are, mostly because I have a lot of meat already in my freezer and because I tend to buy a lot of the items that are regularly used in the meal in bulk.

I feel like this is seriously a lifesaver for me right now. I was so stuck in a dinner rut for so long, and now we’ve been trying out about 3 weeks worth of these menus and my family is loving them! I’m super excited to be using this service and it’s completely, totally worth taking a look at.

Ready for great food and good times on Independence Day? Get inspired with eMeals’ FREE Fourth of July Menu!

This menu includes:

  • Easy Baby Back Ribs
  • Bacon Potato Salad
  • Marinated Slaw
  • Crunch-Topped Squash Casserole
  • Watermelon Salad
  • Berry-Topped Thunder Cake

It is FREE with any eMeals subscription purchase, so check out 1 of their 60 meal plans on their website today to help you get dinner on the table in a snap every night. Now, onto the sneak peek recipe for Bacon Potato Salad from the July 4th menu!

Bacon Potato Salad:

  • 4 lb Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomato
  1. Cook potatoes in boiling water to cover with 1 teaspoon salt 20 minutes or until tender; drain and cool 15 minutes.
  2. Cook bacon until crisp.
  3. Stir together mayonnaise, mustard, pepper and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in a large bowl.
  4. Peel potatoes; cut into 1-inch pieces.
  5. Add potatoes and eggs to mayonnaise mixture.
  6. Stir in bacon.
  7. Sprinkle with tomatoes.
  8. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe serves 8-10.

eMeals provided me with a subscription to their service for review purposes. All opinions in this review are mine and 100% honest.