Water is Required

This post will ultimately be used as a resource for people for sharing who are interested in water sources for storing, purifying etc.

Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.

So let’s get started.

you need water to live.  Period.

When you are in the city and are preparing for water shortage events, what do you need to stock? According to Ready.gov ~ there is a minimum of a gallon of water per day per person for 3 days.  I’m going to be BLUNTLY honest with you.  If you lose power for a storm,  are dealing with blizzards, earthquakes or other natural disasters… 3 days can be nothing. That is for drinking and hygiene.  (and dont forget on top of your personal water storage, store for any animals you might have also!)  (yes, I know you have a pond in your development, but so does everyone else, where else?). scope out the paper maps,  be prepared to go to harder to find places, and be prepared by having it on hand ahead of time.

But… if you are going to store longer, you may need to plan on rotating and purifying!

You’ll want to check your water every so often, at least every 6 months.  Water just can get gross, undrinkable or worse! Inhabited…

Also, you’ll want multiples of all of the below.   In my head I hear, two is one and one is none… Don’t let this become like toilet paper, instead of playing “I dont have any! I need a leaf”.  You’re playing, “I was prepared, I need to restock.”  One is a whole lot less panicky then then other! Or worse yet, what if the emergency is blizzards and the pond is frozen, OR there is a chemical fire and what you thought would be your go to, isn’t.  You need water storage. 

I really like Rain Cachements ~ I can’t even understand how these aren’t legal everywhere but this is a truth.  Double check your laws.   You might be able to find “food grade” locally, BE SURE that you know what was in your bucket previously.  You’ll then need to do the adaptations yourself,    if you can’t find a clean bucket locally, this is my favorite. best reviews, decent cost. https://amzn.to/38dPJcm.

Multiple storage kinds. (see my favs below)

So I’m a fan of cheap, but let’s be honest, milk jugs just dont hold up over time.  I personally do use old apple juice containers for water that is stored primarily for toilet flushing etc.   Big family, lots of apple juice containers and it’s a thicker plastic,  even thicker than the plastic from the gallons of water you buy (and yes, I have those too..)

Storage cupboard by each toilet ~ we have storms all winter long that risk power outages!

Next up  blocks for water,  I like these because sturdy, and the blue blocks light so things dont tend to grow as easy.

This is literally my fav set here for the price:

and check out this gorgeous system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pM6a64ga8sE

Multiple Purifying plans! Now, some people think you treat it going in and coming out, personally I believe the bigger deal is coming out.  I plan on BOTH purifying and Filtering if need be. You’ll want to have multiple thoughts here so here are some of my favorites :

The Aquamira Treatment is 4 years for 30 gallons for a great price.  We have some bags we carry on the way,  we have these tablets.   one table does 2 quarts of water in 3o minutes.  We carried these traveling internationally and we have them in our emergency bags!   ~

Then you need a filter system *or 2!*.   We have a Berkey. We live in the country and we filter everything we drink (hello farm run-off).

We have these LifeStraws  in our storage. They are the best of the best for on the go.

So you can see water gathering, storage and cleaning can be very overwhelming.  I’d love to hear from you if you have started this process and if this blog post has helped you figure out some steps!



Soap Making Part 1 (Intro and Easy!)

Let’s Learn About Soap Making! 

So approximately 10 years ago, I learned about making soap.  I honestly can’t remember right now why I tried this for the very first time.   I had a friend and I thought it would be fun to do together and  I was really into DIY things.  I’m not to terribly sure any other great reasons but I definitely am thankful for this event in my life because it eventually led me to Young Living and real essential oils.  I will be forever grateful to this journey. ❤

So there are 3 different ways to make soap.

  • Melt and Pour
  • Cold Process Soap
  • Hot Process Soap

Many many people start with the melt and pour because it’s easy and fun. It’s also a great craft to do with children because you don’t use Lye actively (more on that in a bit).

With melt and pour, you can choose your base (clear or creamy, goat milk or glycerin) and all you do is melt it in a double broiler and then pour it into molds.  You can add ALL KINDS of things

I personally love this little kit https://amzn.to/2S575B8

What kinds of things can you add:

  •  salts, oats, coffee
  • herbs and plants
  • essential oils (you knew I’d say it!)
  • color! (dyes, pigments, etc)

Some of our favorites have been rose petals or lavender buds.  They are easy to find online or at craft stores.   You can also press in small pieces of plants.  We love oatmeal in our soap, just whip it in a blender quick or use quick oats!

I love finding fun molds but so many things can be used, I linked one above in the little kit but you can also use plumbing molds, even a Pringles can (and cut into circles).  I personally prefer sillicone molds and watch for them at Goodwill etc all the time! This is a fun set for making a very traditional bar! https://amzn.to/2W7zsAb

Once you have your supplies, you’ll break your base up. You can cut it or break it into smaller chunks.  All you do then is create a double broiler (with a pot and a stainless steel or glass bowl. The bowl must be able to be placed on top of the pot without it touching the bottom (so bigger on top than inside) and melt.  For the next method of soap, we’ll be talking about hot process soap and for that we use a crock pot – I grab them at goodwills or garage sales! (they dont have to look pretty!). so if you have a crock pot, you can also use it for this method.

For every 1lb of soap you use, you’ll add 4 oz of water.  Regardless of the way you are melting, melt it slow on low!  and Stir it low,  if you stir too fast, you’ll get like a foam.

Once melted you pour into your molds ~ and you an add more fun on top (press with oatmeal for exfoliation etc!)

Let harden  and wala! your first taste of soap making. Stay tuned for cold and hot process soap blogs to come!

This is a fun intro to the project, it’s a great way to control your ingredients and it’s safe for kids to be able to be involved!




Dehydrating Or Freezing Hashbrowns

Freezing and dehydrating Potatoes is one of my FAVORITE ways to put them away.

First disclosure:  I dont’ love buying conventional potatoes from the store, they are heavily sprayed so I prefer to purchase organic ones.  I get mine from AzureStandard.com and we grow a lot of our own.   When I buy from Azure, they come in LARGE lots.  This is one way I love to preserve potatoes.  (also super handy for potato sales!)

Potato, FREE Stock Photo, Image, Picture: Potatoes, Tubers ...

Steps To Dehydrate Potatoes 

  1. Bake the potatoes. ( there are other ways to do this, but this is the easiest for us!)
  2. Let Potatoes cool
  3. Shred the potatoes  (I usually do by hand but food processor also works!)
  4. lay on cookie tray to freeze and then portion into Ziploc bags OR
  5. lay on dehydrator trays and dehydrate ~ we do 135 degrees for approx 6 hours ~ (they should be crispy) then store in quart jars.

Don’t have a dehydrator yet?   I recommend watching craigslist or the marketplace because they can be pricey ~. the King of the Kings for us is the 9 square tray Excalibur, we have 2 for the full swing of garden season!  https://amzn.to/3apQy0V

If that’s a bit out of your budget, one of the things I think is the must have would be a temperature control!   I really like the looks of this one for the price.  We do have a smaller one like this and I use it for herbal drying! https://amzn.to/3eBaGAv

MasterChef Food Dehydrator w 5 Trays and Digital Temperature Controls- Dehydrating Machine includes FREE Recipe Guide- Overheating Protection + 8L Capacity- Dry Fruits, Vegetables Beef Jerky and More

To rehydrate.  1 cup dried usually yields approx 2 cups rehydrated.

To rehydrate vegetables, combine 1 part vegetable with 2 parts water.  We leave it for 15 minutes or so, drain off the water and then fry up!!

hope that helps!


Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.







Food Storage For Beginners

Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.


So you’ve bought some extra food and now need to store it!

Here are some great tips!

First off ~ you’ll want to make sure your food is free of infestation before you start!  Pop your bags of flour, rice or food into a freezer for approx. 2 weeks to make sure you kill off any mites, etc.

Your first thing is to create an organized system: I personally love what we own: https://amzn.to/2KdT0Nw

you can make your own!  check out this beauty!!  https://cara.creapic.net/diy-rotating-canned-food-system/.   so many ideas over on pinterest if you are crafty!

DIY Rotating Canned Food System #canned #DIY #Food #rotating #system

What about your bulk storage?

A few ways to consider:   buckets/ mylar bags/ glass jars

you’ll probably be depending on what you store based on what the quantity you are storing PLUS how long you plan to store it.  I personally do not mylar bag for anything I plan to use in the next 6-12 months.    If I’m buying for long term storage, I do.

I find free pickle jars perfect for many short term things! I’ve even seen people use leftover 2 liter soda bottles (We dont’ drink pop but this may work for some!) for rice/ beans, wheat berries and more!

You can also use a food sealer and use quart jars :: We do this. A LOT especially with our dehydrated items!   If you don’t have a food saver, here is a smaller version: https://amzn.to/2KjXKRT

Need a food saver anyway?  this is one of the cheapest versions you can use the food saver can attachment with : https://amzn.to/2VmfLFe

now to be fair, the mother of all storage for preparedness efforts is the white bucket.  Since 1999 (the Y2K prep) I’ve had these white buckets with beans, wheat berries, oats and more!   I’m throwing an Amazon link here but I want you to know our local large box home stores have them (I dont know about Home Depot or Lowe’s. we live in the midwest, so we have Menard’s and both the buckets and the Gamma Seals are readily available and cheaper!    I’ve also purchased them from our AzureStandard.com pickup! https://amzn.to/2VmfUZi.

The Gamma seal is what you use for ease of entry (and are included in the above link)

The biggest game-up ante is the mylar bag and use use a sealer with that and usually desiccants ~ which remove the air. ~ you can then double layer these into the white buckets!   Make sure you label them!    This video is one of my favorite tools because they so clearly explain how to use most of those tools!     We really enjoy our product we purchase from azurestandard.com and were thrilled with the ease of this video.  https://www.azurestandard.com/healthy-living/smart-long-term-food-storage/

so I hope it helps you the same way!



Banana Muffins/bread Mania

banana muffin mania

stored here for posterity’s sake

our favorite banana bread recipe (the cookbook is missing btw. had to find it online – thank goodness I did!)

I made 6 (I can count!) 8 doz muffins and 3 mini-loafs tonight.



  1. Heat oven to 350°F; grease bottom only of 9 x 5 or 8 x 4 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the sugar and margarine, and beat until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs and beat well, then add the bananas, milk and vanilla–blending well.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the flour, nuts (if using), baking soda and salt–mix well.
  5. Add to the banana mixture, and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.
  6. Pour into the prepared pan.
  7. Bake at 350°F for 50-60 minutes or until tester inserted in center comes out clean.
  8. Cool 5 minutes, then remove from pan.

and that is it…  thank you pillsbury!

Frugal Meal Recipe: Meat/Potato (GF)

So when you grow your own food, you need to know how to use it!   This is a recipe I love to use, especially when it is cold outside  ~ it’s comfort food to me!

meat and potatoes

So – hamburger or pork ground – and you can use canned meat if you have it!  Simply drain it and fry it up a bit with some onion!

You’re going to add it to some potatoes.  If you don’t have canned ones, you can cut them up and boil them in some chicken broth for 20 minutes.

When I make it ~ I like to use one more part potato than I do meat.   Family of 16 here so we used 4 quarts of potatoes and 3 quarts of meat.   When we make it fresh, I cut up 1.5 potatoes per person.  (so for 8, I’d do 2 quarts of potatoes, etc)

Then we cover it with a little sauce to make it more stew like.  I don’t drain all of the broth off the potatoes and I add a homemade cream soup to it.  I make it with gluten free flour so we can all eat it.

I start with butter.  I make 8 Tbsp and melt it gently.  Once that is melted, I add a cup of flour and mix that together.  I then add milk – usually start at about 2 cups and add more if I want to.   Since I’m mixing it with the broth in this recipe, I go for thicker 🙂

I then season it. We use Einkorn flour from Young Living   Our gluten free son and my husband tolerate Einkorn well!   (what? you didn’t know they had more than oils… oh YES!)   If I needed the flour to be certified gluten free, I’d get it where I get my seasonings, from Azure Standard 

It’s a cheap, filling, warm meal,  you can use stuff you have on hand and stuff from your food storage super easy.  It’s something I always keep on the shelf.






Who else does a garden? Do you plant mostly vegetables or do you enjoy flowers?
We pretty much only do veggies here on the farm, mostly because we feed 12 kiddos and that means we need LOTS of veggies.
We buy our seeds from Baker Creek Seeds and Seed Savers. If quality and Non-GMO are important to you, that’s where to start!  
So our goals for a given year are to plant enough for our family for the entire year in the following vegetables that we can.
Tomatoes… this is huge to us – we can as close to 500 quarts as we can.
Potatoes …
Beans,  canned would be mostly green but I do can dried beans too
tomatos from garden
dry storage of
pumpkins (we dehydrate and can)
potatoes and carrots
pop corn
Then we plant seasonal eating in the following:
Lettuce, lots and lots of lettuce
Radishes (I’ve attempted fermenting these but it’s primarily immediate eating)
I will admit, we are dependent on our friends for our supply of sweet corn.  We just can’t make it through.
What are you planting this year?
See you soon!

Freeze the Budget Part 2

So, now you’ve made your menu. I want to talk to you about freezing your spending.

First – set your dollar amount you are aiming to.   I find that 20$ per person per week  which is recommended in the War on Debt by Dani Johnson tends to be high at our house!  (We have 17 people here much of the time.)

Then, make your menu!!  (hey do you need help on your Sunday dishes? This is how I do Sundays )

Make your grocery list according to your menu.   Seriously, if you aren’t eating it on the menu, don’t buy it!

Don’t shop when you are hungry! (Truth!)

Don’t shop with kids (ok, that isn’t possible for some of us but if you do, then turn it into a game! have helpers, price checkers, calculator people.. whatever you need!)

What do you not need to buy?  Time to hit you with a truth.  Mommas, we need to be making more from scratch. If you are buying food made with preservatives and a whole bunch of pre-made stuff, it’s time to start learning more about what it means to say home-made!  if you are on facebook, look me up, I’ll get you added to a beginner group for real food cooking!   In the beginning, I thought things like hamburger helper was home-made, I was so wrong!!  We  need to get back to eating food closest to how God made it, whole and good for our bodies! That means limiting white sugar,white flour, pasta and preservatives!

Alrighty,  clearly more to come. Take some baby-steps with me, and help get your food budget under control.



Freeze the Food Budget (Part 1)

a Good morning to you!

I’m labeling this Part 1!  I *think* we’re going to do more than a couple of posts on freezing the food budget.  The funniest part about this series maybe that this isn’t directed at you, my normal readers!  We know you are generally big family mamas yourself and you may have amazing tips to bring that food budget done! (share in the comments).

I went to a Dani Johnson workshop last month (ORLANDO in January, very nice!)  and one of the things she focuses on is DEBT and if you’ve been reading here, you know that I also am trying to be out of debt!  We were down to our mortgage until we ended up with 2 mortgages and not enough for living expenses!  We are back in debt and that is like JAIL.


The key to this is when you look at your budget – some expenses are fixed… but some aren’t and  our food budget is often one of those!  So what we need to do is look at bringing that expense down!  Folks, there are wayy wayy too many choices for our dollars.  We need to watch where we spend that money, so Step 1 is going to be

a) set a budget – FIRST!  (take your total you spent last time and trim it a bit!)

b) MAKE a Menu!  Account for your life stuff.  We plan morning, lunch and dinner every single day. Makes a huge difference.  Put snacks on the menu if your family does snacks.

c) Make a grocery list according to the MENU and purpose to NOT add to it at the store because you are *hungry *tempted * or caught by *eye candy*.

This is just the first step!  We’re going to be taking the budget post and the menu post into the next level in coming posts! We’re going to talk about trimming the fat and ways to break the spending cycle!

The menu graphic I love is found here: http://teachingwhatisgood.com/

whats for dinner

So – until next time, start making small changes!