Doing the best she can to raise happy, healthy children

Food Storage Made Easy

One of the easiest ways to prep for unplanned events is building up your food storage. This is a great idea for everyone. I look at the recent natural disasters that occurred this year including the fires, mudslides, and hurricanes and I’ve realized that life can change without notice. Loss of income can also come along with little notice and can impact the ability to purchase food. Having a stocked pantry can help decrease the blow to any of those things.

There are plenty of websites and blogs that can give you a list of things to stock-up on. These lists can be a good starting point. Keep in mind, each person/blogger prepares for different things and their food list/pantry guide will reflect this. So I recommend looking at several lists and determine what you want to be prepared for and plan your pantry accordingly.

Here are my 3 tips for beginner food storage

  1. Store what you like to eat. Let’s face, if you don’t like eating it now, you probably won’t like eating it in an emergency situation. If your kids don’t want to eat it now, they won’t like eating it for 3 days straight. I like to buy a little extra of the things we normally eat to put away.
  2. Start with essentials first. A good place to start is with the basics. Start thinking about a 3 day supply just in case there’s a bad storm. What do you need to survive for three days. You’re most certainly going to need water and basic easy to prepare food. Tackle these first. Then move on to add either variety or quantity to your storage.
  3. Canned food is your friend. Canned food is a great staple to your food storage. Canned foods are cheap. Sometimes I can get 4 cans for $1. It can store for long periods of time. Its easy to store by stacking. You can easily rotate the food so you are eating the oldest first. All sorts of food comes canned. You can get canned meats in the form of tuna or chicken, an assortment of vegetables, lots of fruits, juices, potatoes, etc. Its pretty amazing what you can easily stock-up on.

These tips are pretty simple and common sense. I know when I first looked into building up my food storage, I was a bit overwhelmed by all the options and people’s opinions. This was my starting point.

Have you been building a food storage? What are your beginner tips? Did I miss a basic tip you think should be included? Let me know what you think!

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Book Review: The Proving

My first book finished in 2018! If you’ve been following my blog, you know one of my goals is to read/finish at least 1 book a month. I’ve also started my second book for the year.

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The Proving by Beverly Lewis

Amanda Dienner has run away from her Amish roots and living in the Englisher world. She was surprised when she found out her mother had died and she will inherit the Amish bed and breakfast. The one caveat is she must successfully run the bed and breakfast for 1 year. Trina has been mourning the loss of her fiance. She found comfort in caring for an elderly woman. When the elderly woman fell and was unable to return home, Trina found herself out of job. With time on her hands, she decided to go on a mystery vacation which landed her in an Amish bed and breakfast.

Lewis is a gifted story teller and this book is no exception. Her characters have colorful and varied. The story focuses around Amanda and Trina. Their unlikely friendship helps guide both woman to healing. Trina is a bit rough around the edges sometimes as she tends to say what she’s thinking. But she has a helping heart and helps Amanda not only with her physical needs but also with emotional needs to help heal. Amanda is kind and hardworking but is impulsive and tends to hold a grudge.  Lewis uses her story telling skills to help us gently see potential flaws and ways to improve on them.

Sense this is an Amish book, one should expect references to church, God and praying. This book does a good job intertwining the story with Christian activities. The book also has several Christian themes. These include the importance of family, trusting God, and forgiveness.

Overall, I give this book a 5 out of 5 bookends.

Disclaimer: I did receive this book for free from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Have you read this book? If so I’d love to hear what you thought of it. What are you currently reading? Share your reviews as a comment and maybe I can find my next book!

Book Review: Sweet Potatoes

Oh boy! Here is a review of a cookbook I received this fall. I am a bit late in my review and I apologize.

Sweet Potatoes by Mary-Francis Heck

This book has 60 recipes. These recipes vary from simple to more complex. The recipe ingredients are basic and traditional to less traditional such has chocolate or coconut milk. It has recipes for different types of Sweet Potatoes.

Before reading this book, I had not realized there were any other types of sweet potatoes besides the orange fleshed ones. The book is thin so it’s easy to add it to your collection of recipe books. It has beautiful pictures. I tried two of the recipes. They both turned out good and my family ate them well.

My only disappointment is thinness of the book. Overall, I really like my cookbooks to have a bit more thickness to it. I do know this was a very focused cookbook but I would have liked a bit more from the book.

Overall, this is a good cookbook. I give it a 4 out of 5 on the scale of 1-5 book-ends.

I did receive this book for free from the publishers for an honest review.

New Year 2018: 1 Word, Goals, and Bible Verse

I can hardly believe its almost 2018. This last year has gone by quickly. As every new year approaches, I find myself reflecting a bit on the previous year and what’s possible in the next. I had so many changes last year and a few more to come in the beginning of next year as well. 2017 brought me a graduation and a new career. It brought me some new friends and time to re-connect with some old friends. It brought me laughter and tears. Overall, 2017 was a good year. I’m facing 2018 with ongoing faith of the greatness of a new year and (hopefully) some grace to face the challenges.

I have some pretty BIG goals for 2018. Some will be easier than others. Some will require some Grit. And others will require some flexibility.  Some will just take some time. All are with it.

My Goals
1) Read 1 book a month
2) Complete 2 half-marathons (after I start running again!)
3) Approach change with optimism
4) Take time to REST
5) Re-connect with friends and family

Every year I try to come up with a word that I want to use to keep me grounded in my goals. I use it as a way to refocus myself. The word becomes a mantra of sort. It helps push me toward my goals. In the previous years, this word helped define how I look at my circumstances.

My word this year is confidence.

Confidence: self-assurance; certain one can do something. 

I chose this word because I need to remind myself to be confident. I’ve started a new career and I find myself often questioning myself. This is part of the process, but boy do I wish I was a bit more confident. I also feel like I need to be more confident in my social interactions. I feel so socially awkward and feel like some of my new relationships have me feeling insecure. I want to feel confident in my interactions. Finally, I’m re-entering the running world. I know the struggle ahead of me to accomplish that will take confidence.

With my word now chosen, I now need to choose a Bible verse for the year. I really wanted a Bible verse that not only helped me gain some confidence but also helped remind me who I am in Him. I wanted something to encourage me and move me. Here is what I picked.

In whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in Him
- Ephesians 3:12

So there it is. My New Years goals, word and Bible verse.

Do you have New Years Resolutions? Do you pick a word or Bible verse? I’d love to hear all about your new year plans.

Carry Gear Review: Greystone Holster shirt

As I’ve stated in other posts, I did recently obtain a permit to carry. You can read my previous posts HERE. I will say, I’ve not exercised my right to carry as I’m working on practicing with my 9mm. I feel like that’s responsible thing to do.  So far I’ve logged 1 CCW class and another 1.5 hour of shooting at a range. To be honest, I’m not sure what the right number of hours one should have before carrying. I think it depends a little on the skill and comfort level of the person.

But alas, I am rambling. Here is my review.

Greystone Holster Shirt for Conceal carry

This shirt is designed for deep concealment. It allows for left or right hand draw. It has the added benefit of a compression shirt which also aids in concealment. You can view the product on Amazon HERE.

The Pros
Comfortable: I wore this over 12 hours while at work and hanging out at home
Easy to conceal: I was able to easily conceal wearing multiple shirts, blazers
and sweaters.
Its Flattering: The compression of the material helps to suck-in fat where
needed.
Its Ambidextrous: You can draw either way. This is a nice feature so you
don’t need to worry about ordering the wrong one. I also, believe you could
carry two at one time if you wanted.

The Cons 
It takes practice:
I picked this shirt because I wanted an easy way to conceal
which would work with multiple outfit types. I didn’t think through the need
to practice drawing and replacing. When I first placed my 9mm in it, it went
pretty smooth. Then the second time, I realized I had my weapon pointed at
myself and had the risk of accidental shooting myself! OUCH! So, I need to
practice some.
Its all soft: Again, I didn’t think about this originally when considering
this holster. I’d worried about it with the abdominal bands because its
easier for little fingers to slip into the trigger. A soft trigger guard
can be problematic.

Overall, I think its a great option. I’m a bit curvy and not a small woman by any means. This makes it a bit more challenging to conceal. I was glad to find this shirt that can make concealing less challenging. I also like how it looks nice under a blazer or sweater if one didn’t want to add another layer.

On a scale of 1-5, with 1 being not recommended at all to 5 being you can’t live without it, I give this a 4.  I marked it down for the lack of a firm trigger guard and the need to practice to easily holster and draw. I know that regardless of the holster, one needs to practice; However, I’ve found a belt holster to be a bit easier for a beginner.

Do you have this holster? What do you think of it? Do you have a favorite holster? I’d love to hear what you use to conceal carry.

How I ended up with a Permit to Carry

I totally understand not everyone is pro-guns. I don’t intend to get into any debates on here. Comments that are rude or an attempt to pick a fight will not be approved.

Now with that stated, let’s move on to how I ended up with a permit to carry. I’ll admit, I’ve yet to carry. I don’t have any plans in the near future to do so. However, after the party mentioned in the previous post (which you can read here), I and my friend began talking about going to a range to shoot, for fun. We thought it might be a fun girls night. I’ll be honest, I’d been wanting to shoot since I left the military.

So we started investigating and I found most of the ranges required you to have a permit to shoot/rent. Uncertain how to get around this, I began researching how to obtain a permit. This lead me to getting my permit to carry. Since that time, several things have happened both in the local news and national news. So, I’ve explored the option of carrying.

This is what it took to get a permit to carry in my sate. Please note every state is different.

  1. Register for and take a basic permit to carry which includes passing a shooting portion
  2. Apply for a permit to carry and pass a FBI criminal background check
  3.  Have your picture taken for the permit to carry

That really is it. Its pretty simple to get a permit. One must remember  this is a big responsibility. Once you start carrying, you have increased legal risk and you need to understand those risks and accept responsibility for anything that may (hopefully not) happen.

My next post will discuss what’s next after obtaining your permit.  I’ll also be writing a product review soon.

It took one game….

I feel like my late 30’s has been this HUGE re-identification time. I went back and obtained an advanced degree and am now doing something I NEVER would’ve consider in my 20’s. I have switched the church we attended through most of my adult life. I’m looking for meaning and meaningful relationships which included evaluated my current relationships. This season of life has created a lot of change. I’m embracing it completely.

One change started the beginning of October, so about 2 months ago. It started with some friends inviting us over for an evening of socializing and playing games. One game was a what if game that focused on preparedness. The questions asked were similar to this, what would you do if your traveling and a major event occurred. You had to get home and travel by vehicle isn’t an option?

That got me to thinking. What would I do? How would I handle it? Then I started thinking about the hurricanes that had occurred this year in Texas and Puerto Rico. It occurred to me, there are some BIG changes I could easily make that would help my family if something happened. Specifically thinking about natural disasters because realistically, they are most common.

I made 3 changes in the last month. I started buying extra food to begin a modest food storage. I put together two backpacks with basic survival items (one for my car and one for the house), and finally, I obtained my permit to carry. That was a BIG step for me. I’ve never not liked firearms. I was in the military after all. However, I’d never really felt like I needed to own one.

I’ll be honest, I’ve always had some idea of what I’d do if something really bad happened. But, its much better to have some items here at the house in case there is a bad winter storm. It’s certainly better to have it here then having to run out with all the crowds to stock-up.

I thought I’d write a little about my experiences of what we’re doing to help our family be a bit more secure with food and financial resources but also with safety. At this point, I’m planning this to be an ongoing blog series.

My next entry will be about the my decision to obtain a conceal carry and to purchase my first firearm.

It only took one game……