Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Little Something for a Couple of Important Ladies....


September marks a few important things.  For mother's, it often means a new school year for their children.  For some it is the month focusing on preparedness.  Still, for me, it is a month marking some important birthdays for my Mother and Mother-in-law.

Embroidering Hand Towels:

I was given a new toy a few months ago.  It came with classes that were scheduled during my work hours.  I didn't figure a way to take the classes right away, I had a wedding, family reunions, was hiring up for work, and just trying to stay afloat with all the other aspects of life.

Well, I finally figured a way to go to the classes to learn how.... to.....use ....my new Embroidery Sewing Machine! Yes, I got something I had never really looked into. I have always admired the beautiful things my sisters had made with their machines. However, with the very busy schedule I keep, I couldn't even justify it. Well, apparently my husband did not get this cryptic message I had stored in my head.  With the help of my daughter, they purchased one for me.  Would you like to see one of my first projects?


I ironed "wonder-under" on to my cotton fabric (the one with the circles) and cut out a circle after tracing a bowl from my cupboard.  I appliqu├ęd the circle on to the towel after ironing the circle on.  

Then I typed in my font and the name "A...n,,,n", tried to center the item...and..... then.....

 
I pushed the "Green button".  It magically moved the hoop all over the place as it embroidered the name.


I also just tried an initial to see how that would look.  I kind of liked it!


I made ruffles for the bottom of each towel. I used a rolled hem to finish the edges (using my serger).


Didn't they turn out really cute?

What is the cost break-down:

  • A set of 4 towels with 2 washcloths from the "Ross" store was $6.00. A second pack of 4 towels and one washcloth was $4.00.
  • The Thread I had, but the cost would have been minuscule
  • Stabilizer I calculate cost about $.75
  • Wonder-under ~$.50
  • Cotton Fabric $6.50 for a yard (I used 3/4 of a yard for 6 towels)
  • The look in the eyes of my Mother and Mother-in-law...Priceless!

So, I will be venturing out more and trying to make other projects using this new tool.....    More to come!



Sunday, September 14, 2014

It's a Matter of an Outdoor Kitchen


The Benefits of setting up an Outdoor Kitchen...

I have a new neighbor.  Actually, she is a friend from long ago who has moved just down the street from me. As I was visiting with her, we discussed her newly acquired apple tree....that was heavy laden.  Some of the branches were touching the ground as they were heavy.  She asked me if I wanted some.....well of course!!!!

I decided to make Apple Juice among other things.  However, I needed many burners and I really didn't want to heat up my kitchen.  So, I set up an outdoor kitchen.  


I have a bar outside.  I set up our Camp Chef Stove.


There are advantages to canning outside. See how easy it is to wash the apples.  No spilling on the floor!

Making Apple Juice

I quickly sliced the apples into wedges.  I did this because this tree was left to its own all summer.  Some of the apples were bound to have 'inhabitants'.  By slicing in wedges, I could move quickly and check for unwanted guests.  That way I could toss the wedges I did not want and keep the rest.

Making Apple Juice and Apple Sauce

Again, using my garden sprayer I filled the bottom container of the Steamer Juicer.  No hauling water...anywhere!  I turned on the burner and brought the water to a boil while I continued to slice the apples. 

Apples for Apple Juice

I filled the middle container of the device with the apple wedges.  I placed the apple-filled container on top of the boiling water and placed the lid on top.  Then I continued to fill the second device as well.  

Setting up a table with supplies

While the apples were processing, I set up a table with the lids (that I had heated in water and set on a hot pad), and a basket of rings.  Do you want to see what is under the towel?

Keeping the sterilized jar safe

I have my clean and sterilized bottles (from the dishwasher) under the cloth.

Juice flowing into bottles.

When the time came, I started to fill the jars with the fabulous golden liquid.

Using the Food Strainer to make Applesauce

So what do you do with the steamed apples after juicing?  I put them through my Strainer.

Mixing applesauce with Jello Powder

Lots of beautiful applesauce was extracted.  And, it wasn't runny!  So I decided to make flavored Fruit leather.  I chose my favorite Jello Flavor and mixed them together.

Making Fruit Leather

I spread the red deliciousness on my fruit leather tray and put the trays in the dehydrator.  

Take Home Message:

  • I was blessed enough to have a lovely gift from my neighbor who was stressing about what to do with all her apples. As she was just moving in, she didn't want to deal with them. She also didn't want any of the juice etc as she said she cannot think of bringing another thing into her new house.  I have been there and done that.  I can relate.  
  • I was able to can inside my house while I had apples processing in my 'outside kitchen'.  
  • Clean up was a breeze.  I just used my garden hose and sprayed down all the surfaces.  It took minutes!
  • I was able to add golden apple juice and fruit leathers to our Pantry.

Consider putting together an outdoor kitchen for canning.  It was really simple and is something I will do again.




Monday, September 8, 2014

Have you ever wondered what to do with older bottled fruit?


What to do with Old Bottled Fruit....

It's that time of year again.  I am referring to Canning Season, which is in full swing!  I was recently was reorganizing my storage room.  I had several bottles of "fruit somethings".  My family's tastes and preferences seemed to have morphed over the past few years.  It was very evident because of the bottles of fruit that were left behind.  I needed the space for this years harvest, so I decided to 'morph' these older bottles of fruit.


In particular, I had peaches and Apple Pie Filling.  I decided to try to make fruit leather from them.  I poured the contents of the bottles into the blender.


A quick whirl of the blend made a beautiful puree.


I poured the contents on to fruit leather trays (which are sprayed with a cooking spray).


I decided to add some variety to these leathers.  Here I added sesame seeds.


On this Peach leather tray, I added some cinnamon.  


Into the dehydrator it all went!


Once the fruit was properly dehydrated, I needed to repack it.  I cut a sheet of wax paper.


I removed the leather from the tray and placed it on the wax paper.


I cut the leather into sections.  Initially I cut the leather into fourths, but later decided on eighths.


It is important to work with the leather when it is warm.  I rolled the leather in the wax paper.


I then wrapped it into plastic wrap.

This is easy to do, just take the rolled fruit and roll it on an angle into the plastic wrap.  Tuck the edges along the length of the rolled fruit.


I needed to label the jars, but I hate removing adhesive from jars. So, I just printed off these 'labels' which are actually pieces of paper.


I laid the jar on its side, placed a paper label on the bottom of the jar and started to place the rolled leather into the jar.


Using my Food Saver, I vacuum-sealed each jar.


These jars of fruit leather are equivalent to 9 jars of canned fruit.  

Take home message:

  • What I like about this system is that you can take out one jar at a time and eat the leather.  
  • Or, you can take out a piece of different leathers from their respective jars and vacuum-seal them again.  
  • Also, you are using your old fruit in a new way.  Around here, leather does not last too long.
  • You can also embellish your fruit with seeds, flavor, and things like granola to make it more appealing.
  • This leather was essentially free to me as I had everything already.
  • Rethinking your bottle fruit and making it into something new is a frugal choice for your family.
  • The Apple-Pie-Filling was very scrumptious.  The added crunch of the seeds is a pleasant surprise as well.
  • I can take pureed fruit and add Jello to it to add new flavor to the leather and increase the variety of the leathers I have.  

Try it!



Monday, September 1, 2014

It's a Matter of......Emergency Kits.


The Following Post is written to celebrate National Preparedness month in September by focusing on a different topic for the "30 Days of Preparedness " sponsored by the amazing folks at Prepared Bloggers.  Please watch Prepared Bloggers every day in September to learn about many different aspects of being prepared and how you can begin, or add to your existing knowledge and skills sets.  This post is Day #8



Isn't it a beautiful setting?  Wouldn't you like to spend a few relaxing days or weeks here?  Perhaps you could view this in a different light, perhaps this might be a destination not for relaxation, but to seek shelter in light of an emergency. I believe that we all would like to think that we could quickly seek shelter in such a wonderful cabin, but in reality this may not be an option.

Many different things in life can happen, and too many are unforeseen. Although we cannot always know what the future holds, we can take steps to be prepared for the unforeseen not only for ourselves individually, but also for those we love and care for.  Take a minute to look at this video and see if any of it sound familiar.




Having had to live through several natural and man-made disasters, I have learned to appreciate the peace of mind that comes from having Emergency Kits.  Today, I will touch on a few for you. The purpose of this article is to get you thinking and to get you to spring into action.  When you are in the throws of a challenging situation, trying to locate all the parts and pieces is nearly impossible. We will start with 'doable' and then I will suggest 'suggested items' that you may want to consider and gather over time.  (The lists that I provide overall will be from a public source that allows sharing without violating copyright laws).

72 hour kit:

Hopefully you have heard of a "72 hour kit". The premise behind this kit is to have the supplies to survive for up to 3 days while waiting or seeking additional help from private or public resources.  These kits can be purchased from commercial suppliers, but you may be surprised at how easy they are to put together and customize for yourself.  

The following list is a good, but basic list that comes from "Be Ready Utah"

Note that there are suggested items for food, water, clothing, hygiene, and shelter.  As you look at the list, I am guessing that you may be pleasantly surprised that you have many of these items around the house. Although the suggested containers to hold the kit vary in this list, I would encourage you to consider using a container that is easy to carry and move. For example, if you use a chest to store your items, how difficult will this be to move and carry by foot if you cannot drive.

I am going to show you some of the items I have included in our 72-hour kits that you may want to consider.


First of all, we have ours in individual Backpacks for each family member. Hopefully you can see that we keep these in our pantry, which is near our garage door.  In an emergency, we can quickly grab our kits and go.  They are ready and we do not have to spend extra time looking for needed items.  Would you like to see some of the things we have inside?


In an outside pocket, we have many hygiene items.  In the green container, we have a toothbrush that comes with toothpaste on the bristles. We have enough for 3 days. See the razor?  There are wipes as well. See the small zippered pocket on the upper right of this picture?  Let me show you the contents:


These are travel sized soap and deodorant.  They are small and fit very well into this small pocket.  


Each kits contains medications etc.  This kit has "Dental gum" which also can be used to 'brush' your teeth as well.  It is a very small compartmented box traditionally used for small fishing lures.  It works well for this purpose.


Although I preferred to use a wool blanket, I have included a Mylar blanket. The orange item is a small tent that can be set up for a basic shelter.  It is small and easily fits inside the large compartment of the Backpack.


Because space is minimal, I have included "Tooblite" in addition to a small flashlight.  These tubes absorb light during the day and glow all night.  They can be used over and over again.  See the chain, I can hang the tube on the outside of my Backpack to allow it to 'charge' during the day as I move along.


I have included this Fresnel lens, which is essentially a large but flexible magnifying glass. This can be used for a variety of uses including starting fires. Matches are important as are lighters, but they require fuel to work.  This device can be used again and again to start a fire in the daylight hours.  


Each 72-hour kit has a small military type stove.  This is light-weight fuel that can easily be carried and is dry.  If you are traveling during the rain or snow, finding dry fuel may be very difficult.


I am including these photos of the "Universal Portable Urinal Unisex". Although unpleasant to think about, you really need to think of the hygiene aspects of the 72-hour kit. The red part is for males. The bottom picture shows the attachment that you would place on top of the red part of the device for females to use.  Also, don't forget to include toilet paper and or baby wipes.


You will need copies of your important documents.  Although this information from "Be Ready Utah" suggests paper copies, I have chosen to use a Memory Stick/Flash Drive to keep these important documents.  Remember, space is at a premium.  You will also need cash, in small bills and some change. Remember, in the case of an emergency no one is going to have lots of change. If you have large bills, you may have to trade the bill for a needed items and loose the change you normally would get back.  You should also consider maps and a First Aid/Emergency Preparedness book such as a Boy Scout book.


Finally, you cannot be to careful about water.  Our 72-hour kits do have water, but carrying 72 hours worth (1-2 gallons a day) is impractical.  We have two items in our kits. This is a type of water-bottle with a filter.  We also have "Life Straws" which are compact, light-weight and can filter some pretty nasty water.  

Car Kits:

There will be times that you won't be home....just think about your daily routine. Few of us are able to be home all day.  This is why having a Car Kit is very important.  Here is a list from Be Ready Car Survival and Emergency Kit.


Again, notice that there are items for emergencies of all types, including car related emergencies.  As stated above, this list is a good starting point and you most likely have many of the items on the list.  I would like to highlight a few items for you to consider:


I have a number of things in my car kit.  It is contained in one container and I often have a wool blanket that covers the top.  


I have 2 very small 72-hour kits in the boxes, water, a tent, life straw, wipes, whistle with matches, paper, pen, and shoes with socks in this side of the kit.  I often wear heels to work, and walking miles in them does not appeal to me.  


The back section has a Battery Charger, jumper cables, oil, a foldable shovel, "Fix a Flat", WD-40, an air pump and other items. I plan to add a container of light-weight Kitty Litter to help me during the winter should I need it. 

Sanitation Kit:

If you have the luxury of traveling in a car, or don't mind hauling yet another item, consider a Sanitation Kit.  


This is the "Waterless Gotta Go Toilet".  It collapses into this flat container and has 7 bags to catch the 'waste'. The green circular item behind it is a pop-up tent for this item to provide privacy. Again, it is light-weight and could be carried if desired. There are other options as well such as the "Luggable Loo", but it is a bit more awkward to carry if you are on foot.

Other items that you will need for Sanitation are a collapsable shovel to bury waste, toilet paper or baby wipes, bleach, Feminine hygiene products, hand sanitizer, and possibly paper towels.

School Kits:

It is that time of year again.  Our children are going back to school.  Students spend 6 hours or more a day at school and are away from their parents. Although schools are encouraged to have emergency plans for various scenarios, it is still important to have individual emergency kits in your child's Backpack.  These could be placed in a Zip Lock baggie.  However, I would encourage you to seal the kit in a "Food Saver" type bag to hopefully deter inquiring minds from playing with the whistle, and getting the funds you may put in there for emergencies.

Here is a list form Be Ready Utah:

  • 1 7" x 8" size zip lock bag to place emergency items in
  • 1 emergency (Mylar) blanket
  • 1 emergency poncho (one size fits all and children's sizes also available at any stores with a camping section)
  • 1 or more hand/body warmer (usually comes 2 per packet at any stores in the camping section)
  • Trial size tooth paste and toot brush (great to use if you are checking them out of school and going to the dentist!)
  • Trial size hand/body moisture lotions.
  • 4 moist hand wipes/small package of baby wipes
  • 4 sterile alcohol swabs to clean wounds or cuts
  • variety size band aids
  • 2 pocket size facial tissues
  • Various sized safety pins (in case you pop a button or a broken zipper)
  • 1 blow whistle with lanyard to hand on Backpack).
I would add, some food items like granola bars, and a few dollars in cash.  


So, take the challenge to get started today.  Gather items that you may have around your home already and begin to put your 72-hour kit together first. Teach your family members not only to help put these kits together, but also when to use them.

The time to prepare....is now!  Good Luck!




 30-days-prep2

Thanks for joining the Prepared Bloggers as we work our way through 30 Days of Preparedness. September is National Preparedness Month so you will find everything you need to get your preparedness knowledge and skills into shape. Take one post each day, learn as much as you can about the topic and make it a part of your preparedness plan.

Day 1 - Ready, Set, Get Prepared! Welcome to 30 Days of Preparedness from PreparednessMama 
Day 2 - The Family Meeting Place and Escape from Laughingbear Adventures
Day 3 - I'm Safe! How to Communicate with Family in an Emergency from PreparednessMama
Day 4 - Does Your Family Have a Fire Escape Plan? from Home Ready Home
Day 5 - Preparedness For Pets from The Busy B Homemaker
Day 6 - The Escape Exercise from Laughingbear Adventures
Day 7 - It all Falls Apart Without Mental Preparedness from PreparednessMama
Day 8 - It's a Matter of Emergency Kits from A Matter of Preparedness
Day 9 - Nine Great Emergency Light Sources Other Than Flashlights from Food Storage & Survival
Day 10 - Cooking Without Power from Mama Kautz
Day 11 - The Importance of a Shelter & Staying Warm and Dry from Trayer Wilderness
Day 12 - The Importance of Having The Right Tools In Your Pack from Trayer Wilderness
Day 13 - Practice Living Without Electricity from Food Storage Made Easy
Day 14 - How We Choose The Right Gear - (including the MultiFlame Tool) from Trayer Wilderness
Day 15 - Water Storage & Purification from The Busy B Homemaker
Day 16 - Food and Water for a 72 Hour "Go Bag" from Homestead Dreamer
Day 17 - 8 Foods You Should Be Storing and How from Melissa K Norris
Day 18 - Planning Your Pantry from The Organic Prepper
Day 19 - Stocking Up on Non-Food Items from Living in Rural Iowa
Day 20 - Dutch Oven Cooking: Off-Grid Before Off-Grid Was Cool from The Backyard Pioneer
Day 21 - Pressure Canning the Harvest from Timber Creek Farm
Day 22 - Personal Protection & Awareness from Living in Rural Iowa
Day 23 - KISS First Aid from Herbal Prepper
Day 24 - Mommy, I have to go Potty! from Mom With a Prep
Day 25 - Fire Starting 101: The Why and How of Lighting a Fire for Survival from Food Storage & Survival
Day 26 - How to Filter and Purify Water from Prepared Housewives
Day 27 - How To Make A Shelter from Trayer Wilderness
Day 28 - Put Your Preps to the Test with 24 Hours Unplugged from The Organic Prepper
Day 29 - What Is Char and Why You Should Have It To Start A Fire from Trayer Wilderness
Day 30 - How To Utilize Bushcraft Skills and Forage From The Wild from Trayer Wilderness
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