The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Pantries and Preparedness. The backup plan.

A little while ago I posted "Something is better than Nothing". It was about being practical. We might love our coffee pod machine and lattes but when the power is out SOME coffee is better than no coffee. And in a crisis it is no time to have a bad headache from not getting your coffee!
This is an example since I don't have a coffee machine but you get the idea!

This time we are looking at some substitutes that will help us get through a crisis. Our number one favourite thing might not be practical when the power is out or when supplies are short.

Anyone who has ever been camping or without something for a while will know how fantastic something can taste or feel when you have been doing without. Simple things turn out to be wonderful.
One of mine is billy tea. That is a cup of tea made over a fire. The water is heated in a tin bucket. Then a handful of tea leaves go in. Pretty basic. But it is so good! Out in the cold, around a fire, this sticks in my memory as so lovely. No tea bags, no kettle... who cares? It was better than any tea ever before! And when you are feeling like a cup of tea and this is produced well, it's the best thing ever!

Many of the things we think are necessary never even existed for our grand parents and they survived. And happily!

Other thoughts are that in a shortage or crisis some things just are not practical. Sarah commented last week that if the water was cut off having paper plates would mean you could conserve your water storage for drinking and washing yourself.  True. Washing dishes takes heaps of water. Back up disposables could be a real help and extend your water supplies greatly. If you only had a limited supply of water I think this would be wise. They are not something I normally use. But in those circumstances what a help they would be!
Thanks Sarah, that was a great comment.

Some of my useful stand bys are instant coffee or ground coffee that you can put in a plunger. That is good coffee and you just need to be able to boil water. (which we keep gas bottles and a BBQ to be able to do)

Velvet soap. This is a good old fashioned soap that can be used for just about anything! From washing hands, hair, bodies, clothes or dishes. Another is Sunlight soap. Some bars of this last a long time. They could replace a huge number of products we use now. Also small to store.

Bi carb soda. If you run out of toothpaste this cleans your teeth well. It also is handy as a finely abrasive cleaner. And it soothes an upset stomach.

Scented bars of soap. We have mostly got used to soap in pump packs, body wash, perfume and 101 products that didn't exist 50 years ago. Some pretty soap smells lovely and does all these things!

Talcum Powder. Makes you smell fresh, acts as a dry shampoo, freshens up sheets you can't wash. Acts as a dry cleaning agent.

Aside of having things that we can use as replacements there are things that would be useful just because they are quicker and easier. Things that are simple but good. When we normally wouldn't have baked beans for dinner a toasted sandwich in the jaffle maker and cooked in the fireplace would be a just fine meal when needed. Very welcome in fact! (this jaffle maker is cast iron with long handles. It goes onto the coals of a fire, it's the best!)

It was Vicky who got me thinking about these ideas. She wrote me this letter:

Having back up goods in our pantry can be just as important as an emergency fund itself. Times may arrive where we really do need foods that are "convenient".  And wouldn't our foremothers have loved to have a little of our conveniences! Foods come in many different forms and having a variety of them can help to ensure that our pantry can sustain us through many situations. Something is better than nothing! Why? Because a lot of the convenient foods can be stored for a long time, you can be creative with them and turn out a tasty meal even if they are not the foods you might prefer, most require very few if any ingredients other than hot water to make or can be eaten cold from the can if necessary. They can be affordable to buy while still adding to your everyday pantry. And during emergencies like power outages they can be the easiest foods to tend to. Job security? Is there such a thing anymore? Rising food costs, utilities and gas, hidden fees and extra charges, inflation or hyperinflation, crop losses or even global economics, are you 100% positive you will be able to always stock your pantry the way you normally do without having a back up plan? It is basically the same as doing your meal planning so if you have not considered having some of these packages in your pantry now is the time to do so. What if we could not get our regular pantry ingredients any more? And here are some examples:
First let's use coffee as an example:
Regular coffee -you need the pot, coffee filters, water and electricity
Instant coffee- you need hot water
If you could not get coffee wouldn't a cup of something be better than an empty cup?

Next example: Mashed potatoes- you have to peel, boil and mash, milk and butter
Instant potatoes- hot water

Will you be able to cook all from scratch meals if your living circumstances were to change drastically?
Next example: Pancakes- eggs, flour, oil, etc. what if you don't have all of the ingredients?
Instant pancake mix- requires water

Next: Stuffing- homemade you need dried bread, onions, celery, butter, spices, broth or stock and you have to bake it awhile
Instant stuffing- hot water and butter, but you can skip the butter or use powdered butter

Next: Milk- Requires refrigeration and or freezing if you stock up
Shelf stable- has a good shelf life and is ready to use, powdered only requires water or evaporated milk can replace regular milk in most things

Next: Soups-this one can be loosely based depending on ingredients, but still a great example!
Instant- These pouches of soup only require water.
And let's say it's a nasty storm or the power is out and it's cold and you want to make your neighbor's who have no one a hot meal these are tasty and quick!

Next: Fresh potatoes- don't last forever and need to be used before they rot
dehydrated potatoes- a long shelf life and has many uses. I included this one more as a stocking the pantry point. Convenience foods are everywhere and even though we may not do the bulk of our cooking with them they do have their place in the pantry, the same as beans and rice! These potatoes came from boxes of scalloped and au gratin potatoes. Alady that I was teaching to can was going to throw 15 boxes of them in the trash because her family didn't like them and they had expired. I asked if I could have them and brought them home and bagged them up! I have dehydrated potatoes and all of the work was done for me!

You can take any of the convenience foods and make them workable. For example maybe your not a Hamburger Helper eater, but instead of eating it that way (We'll use the lasagna one as an example) make lasagna soup add a can or two of tomatoes with the juice or take the instant potatoes and add some bacon bits and onion to add more flavor. Just remember something is better than nothing!!
 Thanks Vicky for getting me thinking on this. What are your own substitutes and back ups? Anyone who goes camping is good to ask about this. Also anyone who has lived without electricity or has been through times of doing without. There is nothing like experience as a teacher.
We need to have a back up plan for the way we cook, keep warm and wash.
We need a back up plan for items that we depend on and I try and include some comfort items as well as absolute must haves.

In recent years I have not been camping. When younger I did a lot of it though. I realize now that there are a lot of survival skills you learn through camping or living without electricity for a while. And we need to know them. Once people also learned survival skills through Girl Guides and Boy Scouts. I am sure many still do but I just don't see that so often now. I think there are probably plenty of people who have no way to cook if the power goes out. No idea how to cook on a fire etc. mmm maybe no idea how to light a fire!

I need a revision. There are so many things now that are brilliant and didn't exist before or I didn't know about them ... from solar chargers to sun ovens. Some of these things could be great back up plans.

There are probably some items we can simply store enough of to get us through. Others we need another plan, a replacement, a new way...
What are your "this will get me through" plans and replacements?

I hope between us we can come up with some ideas and end up better prepared. xxx


  1. Good things to think about. We store things like cocoa powder (with instant milk now it's chocolate), those cheap ramen soups (we put them in bags) and a box of strike anywhere matches is handy in the kitchen. I also keep some of the flavored powdered creamers around to add to desserts here and there for a little more flavor and for my coffee in a pinch. Melitta makes a coffee set that includes the funnel and a pot for camping and you just pour the water in by hand and voila fresh coffee. Thanks for getting me started thinking!

    1. Dear Kathy, I love the sound of the coffee maker. I started buying long life cream. It is the handiest stuff in a similar way to the creamer you mention. It's has been great.
      The matches are a good idea too. I have some stored in a waterproof container. I should take a look at types of matches that are available.
      Thanks for your comment! Love

  2. Great post! Our home is subject to power outages and so I went over everything to see if we could exist without it. Our outdoor BBQ will serve as a stove/oven, a plunger and 5 gallon bucket can serve as a washing machine, we have a percolator which can go over the BBQ for coffee (like you said, a caffeine headache is NEVER welcome), we have solar panels for hot water, we already use a clothesline, etc... The idea is to do the checklist to make sure you will survive without it... It is challenging but rewarding when you know you can function in a crisis. Great topic!

    1. Dear Jes, it could turn out to be kind of a good thing that you have needed to establish alternatives to power. If yours goes out you will be doing well because of practice and being prepared.
      When I was a teenager our holidays were spent in the country where the house had no power. Mum made it look easy but I'm sure this was a lot of work for her. However we never missed TV or anything and she made water hot for abets in a wood stove. Evenings were near the fire where we played board games. There was a way to do everything and we loved it there.
      I need to ask Mum how she managed so well.
      So it can be done!
      Many thanks Jes, love

    2. Our mums are chock-full of information, aren't they! That also brings up another blessing, wood stoves!!! They keep you warm and you can cook on them when there is no power... We LOVE ours... Have a lovely weekend! :)

  3. A great post as usual, Annabel. With storm season coming up in a few months it is a good time to go through the checklist and see if anything is missing. I did have a look at some solar phone chargers a while back at a camping store so might invest in one of those this year. I always have plenty of coffee on hand. Can't afford to get a headache as you say :-) I really should just give it up like I have been intending to for years. That would solve that problem. LOL!

    1. Dear Nanna Chel, There are some really helpful inventions now. I need to get up to date with them. Storm season is a good motivation for back ups. Even not going on the road during or after a storm is a reason to be prepared.
      I hope you are having a lovely week. I get to baby sit for a little while today! With love,

  4. Great post and reminders! We keep most of the items mentioned for the ice storms we get here in the winter. It is best to have foods that can just be heated and eaten. My husband purchased a crank up weather radio this summer so that will be a help for knowing the weather situation and not needing electricity. We have a supply of firewood in our garage so that it is dry and at hand for use in case of a power outage. If the power will be out for an extended time we have a small and cute wood stove that can be brought in and installed. We can cook on the top of that too. I do need to get another bottle of propane for the gas grill before winter so that we have a backup.

    1. Thanks Lana. I cannot even imagine experiencing an ice storm. The radio is a fantastic purchase. Hearing the warnings and weather report can be so important.
      Also the wood stove is so handy! As long as you can heat stuff life can be pretty good, there are so many things you can cook on top. And boil water of course. Having the wood stored in the shed is great too. You are well prepared and I love it!
      Hope you are having a good week. It is flying by me. With love,

  5. Enjoyed this post. I have hesitated to stock up on too much freezer stuff because of power outage concerns. Several years ago during a bad hurricane, we lost a lot of stuff when the power was off several weeks (we do not have a generator). But canned goods and package mixes that only require water would be "better than nothing" for sure. Thanks for the helpful postings. I believe we are going to need them. Blessings, Sharon D.

    1. Thank you very much Sharon and thank you for commenting. Yes I worry too about the freezer and think non frozen supplies are a must. In normal times the freezer is a great help to me but after a few days of now power it would be useless. Canned and dry goods are fantastic. Even last night I made a meal of canned and packet things (tuna mornay) and it was yum and easy. I had a busy day yesterday!
      I agree with you... Many thanks,

  6. We lost power for a week with hurricane Irene and another week a year later with hurricane Sandy. You are SO right that you may not feel like making a huge meal during these times. I though I'd want to spend time creating meals because the TV, computer, phones, etc. were off, but all I wanted to do during these times was curl up with books and a lantern. Ready made meals were all we ate. It's good to have them on hand because I think the first week or so of such an event are too traumatic and life changing to make you feel up to creating home cooked meals.

    1. Dear Kim,
      You have been through a lot. Experience is a great teacher! Thats the upside but its not too good at the time.
      And yes, easy, fast meals can be a huge help. There are a lot of things to deal with. Something is better than nothing. And its amazing how good simple things can be.
      In reality if I didnt keep easy and emergency meals even if I have a migraine I would be in trouble. We save heaps probably by having some easy alternatives on hand.
      Thank you so much for commenting. Love

  7. Hi Annabel. A timely post for us too. As Nanna Chel mentioned, we are moving into storm season here, and that always requires a bit of forethought and planning. Mainly where we are, we simply lose power for a couple of hours. So simple things like (believe it or not) keeping the freezer full, to prevent food defrosting in those few hours, or having freshly boiled hot water in thermoses to make a cuppa, and enough ice bricks or frozen water to keep perishables cold in an Esky (thermal camping bin) is smart thinking. I love Vickys list and although I'm not actually fond of some of those instant foods, certainly in an emergency situation, they're better than nothing. The other thing here too, is to have enough food on hand that doesn't require heating to make it appetising. Tinned ham whilst again, not my favourite thing, can make an acceptable meal with some salad greens and a potato salad made from tinned potatoes, when power is out and dinner time rolls around. As you know, most of our big storms occur in the late afternoon, so this can actually be a regular thing! I also always have hard boiled eggs on hand, a bit of steamed rice (easily made into a delicious salad too), and a home made iced tea concentrate, so a cool drink can replace a cup of tea in a pinch. Again, if the mantra is 'something is better than nothing' then we're ahead of the game! Love, Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi, If I dont have a full freezer I add bottles of water. Thats like packing the food in iceblocks plus then you also later have good cold water if needed. But I have to say mainly the freezer is pretty full due to bargain stashing.
      In normal times we dont eat a lot of packet mixes at all. But I learned from Dad how good some are. He heads off up north and long trips. He has a whole range of dried and tinned foods he takes and he makes all kinds of good dinners from them. They are life savers!
      Even when I have a bad headache or the wheels fall off some other way! lol back up stop us getting takeaway or suffering in misery! Probably saving money too.
      I remember your storms last year. You had some epic ones!
      Hope your week is going well. With lots of love,

  8. Google "Solar Oven" or Youtube can make your own solar oven from cardboard box and tinfoil ...I understand it takes a LOT longer to cook anything with the sun, but you can do it.

    My tip/back up plan for hot water is a hose coiled up and left in the sun all the end of the day, the water will be warm enough in the hose to wash with. Get one of those nozzles with a choice of "shower" on it, put on a bathing suit and wash away those blues. (or that man right out of your hair, so to speak) Will work in most parts of the country year round, but not sure I want to stand outside in minimal clothing in an Upstate NY winter, so I would probably bring the warm water inside in a bucket to wash with. Could use the warmed water to wash anything with and save fuel for heating water for food stuffs and boiling for drinking, if so directed.

    Very good thoughts to think about....having back ups to your original plans.

    I read an article written by someone who lived in Long Island, after Sandy, and he said that lighters were the most sought after item....many had things they could burn for heat and cooking, but nothing to light the fire with. (Another casualty of the "Quit smoking" campaign. Every household used to have many books of matches brought home from every motel, bar and wedding they had ever been to. Now? Notta match to be found in most households.) I have over 40 lighters in the house for a total cost of $14....7 for $2 at Walmart (in front register area, as an add on item every time I go in there) Having all the fuel in the world won't do you a bit of good if you have no way to start the fire.

    Remember that Fondue pot you got for a shower gift? Get some fuel for it and you will be able to heat soup, hot cocoa, boil water , etc, safely inside the house. (right after you find which closet you put it in the back of. LOL) Sometimes Dollar Tree have Sterno in a can....good source of fuel for fondue pot or Solo stove (if you want to use it inside)

    (Can't figure out how to "log in"....So I have to post as Anonymous...Cass)

    1. Dear Cass,
      Thank you so much for your comment. You have made some brilliant points. The coiled up hose in the sun is the smartest thing ever! Why didnt I think of that? Its true, certainly in warm weather it would work.
      Also matches. Such a basic thing many people do not have. Like an old fashioned non electric can opener!
      And the fondue pot and candle... brilliant!
      I think the solar oven cooks all day as a crock pot would so I could get used to that.
      Posting this way and adding your name is just fine thank you!
      Thank you for your great ideas. Just wonderful! Love Annabel.xxxx

  9. Dear Annabel,
    You've given me a lot of good ideas. I will have to pay more attention to deals on convenience foods. Since we don't normally eat them, I don't usually pay much attention to the sales. I especially like Vicky's idea of using Hamburger Helper to make soup. With coupons and sales, Hamburger Helper is quite cheap.

    As I was organizing one of the cupboards, I came across some instant coffee and ground coffee that my son brought home from his dorm and he left here when he moved back into an apartment. I might have otherwise tossed it since we do use the Keurig K-cups, but I remember you saying that something is better than nothing - so I tucked the coffee into the back of the cupboard to keep for an emergency.

    1. Dear Debbie, Thank you! Yes some coffee is better than none! Every time. With instant, if you have milk, I find stirring the milk well with the coffee before adding the hot water makes it much better. I like it then!
      I have decided some fast foods help me to never really need to get takeaway. Mostly I have meals made that I have frozen or make a quick pizza or something but tonight I had chicken which I cooked and I used an instant rice as a side. It was fast and nice. A help sometimes!
      Thank you for commenting. Each week we do a little, plan a little... it all helps! With love

  10. Dear Annabel, This is a great post!! Both you and Vicky helped me "think outside the box". I've done my "convenience" foods a little different. I can lots of soups, chili, spaghetti sauce and baked beans. So, those can be heated and served. However, I'm thinking I will add some instant rice to my pantry.

    Vicky, thank you for all the comparisons. Cooking from scratch during a power outage or other crisis is not something I would manage well. Thank you everyone who has commented. Great ideas!

    Annabel, I bet your dad could write a "convenience" cookbook!! :) Have a good rest of the week! Love, Teri

    1. Dear Teri,
      You have done so well with your canned chilli and spaghetti sauce etc. They make fast and tasty meals.
      Yes Dad would have a lot of ideas. The men who drive trucks long distances and drove cattle... they take all food with them and eat on the road side. They know that they need easy stuff they can transport and maybe last two weeks. They are good at cooking over a fire.
      Dont miss Cass' ideas... the hose, the fondue pot and the matches. Really good!
      Lots of love,

  11. Thank you Annabel and Vicky for another helpful, thought-provoking post!

    Ideally, i make my own broths by simmering bones and scraps of meat and vegetables. I use that broth, along with other fresh ingredients, to make soups, potpies and other dishes. I also like to cook my own beans. However, you will find cans of ready to heat and eat soups, broth, and cans of beans in my pantry. I find them very helpful for when I lack time or energy for preparing them. I know my family could easily prepare dishes with them and I have given them to others in need of a quick meal. Back when I worked full-time, I would keep a can or two of soup for a quick lunch for myself or friends who needed a bite. I can totally relate to the thought that something is better than nothing!

    We have a small gas grill, camping cook stove, charcoal grill and wood burning fireplace. We would be able to heat and cook for at least a while if the power were to go out. Living in the desert, we don't have to worry about snow, ice and freezing temperatures.

    I am including bars of soap, laundry detergent, shampoo, dish soap, disinfectant wipes, clean rags, etc. in the things I am keeping stocked that are not part of my food pantry.

    Although we routinely have fresh fruit and vegetables, I include canned, frozen and dried both as a regular supplement to our meals and as back up for if fresh is unavailable or too expensive. For example, we love fresh pineapple. When I find it for a good price, we enjoy it and I usually freeze some for a frosty treat. Other times, we have it canned or dried from the pantry.

    Have a lovely week! Elaine

    1. Dear Elaine,
      I agree canned can be good. Pineapple is one we use. Also tomatoes. Sometimes tomatoes are expensive here and for cooking a can of tomato works wonderfully well and is cheaper. A great stand by for sure.
      Your climate sounds more like ours. We do get cold but not freezing. Heat is more the problem in summer.
      I have been making stock in my crockpot. It is wonderful. But there are times when a can of soup, stock cubes etc are so handy. I keep them all. Plus they last such a long time.
      It is great you have back up cooking plans. Even being able to boil water is such a good thing.
      Thanks so much Elaine, with love

  12. Annabel,
    Thank you for sharing! Although we hope an emergency would be short term, that is not always the case. and it is not always a power outage due to a storm. I spoke to a lady at the store who was buying all kinds of "instant foods" so my nosy self asked her if that was her normal groceries and she said no, but they had been without electric for 6 months because they couldn't pay the bill and even though they had finally gotten the money to get it turned back on and get food again with her husband's work being insecure she would need easy foods to cook if they couldn't pay the power bill and it gets shut off again. I asked her if she likes the way they taste and she said I make them taste good! She said her biggest complaint was bathing and washing their clothes. She said I have had the feast and I have had the famine and next time I will make sure I'm in between! Ah what a great and inspiring story to hear.

    1. Dear Vicky, lol I do the same thing, I ask people questions! I had not thought of this even though I know that here many people end up with no electricity for this exact reason. That woman was planning due to experience. Its sad but a reality. For many electricity prices have risen so much that instead of a given it has become more of a luxury. You will have a fit but I know people here in average homes who spend something like $6000 a year on electricity per year. And water is similar. That is not a typo. We do not but our own would be over $2000 a year.
      So this maybe a problem coming to many in the future.
      Thanks so much Vicky. Love

  13. As Mimi said we are heading into our storm season but storms are not the only way we can end up with no power - years ago the transformer went up because a snake had crawled in it for some warmth.

    If anything is going to happen it is going to be as you are preparing the evening meal and that was the case that time too. Luckily we had a gas stove so dinner went on as per usual but the lighting was another matter.


    1. Dear Lynette, The tropical weather is so different to here. We are dry and seldom humid at all. However we do get snakes! The later afternoon storm as Mimi said seems to be a tropical thing? Either way we need to know the likely scenarios where we live. It helps us plan.
      Also the time of year for storms seems different. I know Jan/Feb seems to be a time for flooding etc up there... probably not only then. Our real storms are usually winter.
      Thanks so much Lynette, I hope you are having a good week. And had a good time at the wedding! With love,

  14. I lived in southeast texas a few years ago, and when hurricane Rita hit, it knocked out everything... was very hot, humid, and "buggy". we cooked on our bbq and had water stored up as well as wind up lanterns and karosene lamps for light, and a battery powered weather radio. what we DIDN'T have, but needed desperately was mosquito spray. would suggest getting some for anyone living in that climate. :) Denise (I don't know how to do the profile thingy, so am anonymous, too)

    1. oops Denise your reply is one post down... xxx

  15. Dear Denise,
    Thank you so much for commenting. And this a fine way to post, thanks for including your name. I feel rude if I cant call someone by their name.
    You are an example of someone who has had an experience and knows lots on what is needed... and I didnt think of bug spray. I have been reading a lot about 72 hour kits etc and that should be in those... imagine being out doors, sleeping outdoors with no bug protection!? Could be eaten alive. But at home, cooking outdoors etc.... this is an excellent suggestion. Experience is a really good teacher.
    Thank you so much, love

  16. We seem to have power outages on a regular basis ... ice storms in the winter and hurricanes in the summer so we've kind of developed a routine of what to do when the lights go out. I stock our pantry with foods that can be heated and eaten, most are home canned. If I know a storm is on it's way, I cook up convenience foods that don't need refrigeration. It pays to have a plan and then at least one back up plan! Great post Annabel and Vicki!

    1. Dear Patsi, Despite the problems at the time I am starting to think some power outages area good thing as they get us to be prepared and consider how to manage without power. Better than being completely vulnerable and shocked. It sounds like you are well organized. You are an example of experiences being a good teacher. With love,

  17. Excellent post and very sensible and wise ideas from the others! We have a wood burning stove, and I've an assortment of cast iron pans and a cooking pot with lid that I could use on the stove top. I have seen several Youtube videos on baking bread in a cast iron pot on top of wood stoves. I have plenty of canned vegetables, fruits, soups, meats, etc. These could be eaten cold and right out of the can if necessary. I've just had the thought that I should place our boxes of matches in a Zip-lock bag to keep moisture away... and the paper plate thing, I do that too. I also have plenty of plastic forks, spoons, knives, and paper cups and bowls on hand. This would save precious water for a few days. We also have an out door gas grill, but then the neighbors would be showing up and want our food...

    1. Dear Joy, You are well prepared. There are so many things that can be cooked in a skillet or a cook pot. And boiling water of course gives us lots of things too.
      Yes keeping matches dry is a factor. I am doing that too.
      I agree with you very much also on the hand sanitizer and wet wipes. I am going to mention that on the next blog on this subject. Thank you!
      I loved your thoughts on this! With love

  18. I've thought of something else, and this will fall in the hygiene category: stock a supply of gel hand sanitizer. In an emergency either long range or for a short period of time, we will need to be very careful about our personal sanitary needs so as to not spread infection. The hand gel would be a great substitute in lieu of water for hand washing. Also, have a supply of personal wet-wipes. Toilet tissue is something we don't want to be without, and wet wipes would do a great job of cleaning up the 'messy' parts, and for the not-so-messy needs, what about having a supply of absorbent cloths ready. These could be rinsed out (perhaps with melted snow?) dried by air and used again.

  19. And on another totally unrelated topic... when I was in a thrift shop last week, I saw some old, pretty plates with Bluebirds on them... I thought of you and how I'd like to send them to you, but perhaps the cost for sending half way around the world might be prohibitive. And they might break... or not get there. But I thought of you! :)

    1. Dear Joy, Thank you for thinking of me. If they are the old ones I think they are I have seen pictures of them on the internet. Oh I love them! If you see them again at a bargain I would gladly repay you the cost and the postage. I would never buy them from an antique store so this is the only way I would get them! I have pictures of them pinned on my pinterest Bluebirds board! Thanks for thinking of me like that! Love

  20. I would agree with this but find it difficult to rotate these types of items as we don't really want to eat them except in a pinch. Any tips for that?

    1. I just try to stock stuff I would normally use. I keep powdered milk, for instance, and if it looks like it's coming up on expiration date, I use it for cooking or baking, then replenish when I go grocery shopping. Same with everything else. The only problem I haven't figured out yet is meats. I don't stockpile my freezer much because if the power went out for a long time I would lose everything. I rotate stuff all the time to make sure I use things before they go out of date. Also, don't forget pet food!

    2. Dear Cat,
      I havent totally solved this either. Partly I have at least found some easy and instant things that we like so finding these is one thing.
      Another is my husband goes camping now and then and so some things can be used and are handy on those trips and so I can rotate.
      Another is if making 72 hour kits they need to be light, non cook, easy things to eat. These are for true emergencies. I figure we may never need gauze bandages or eyedrops in the first aid kit... they may expire before ever used. But we must have them anyway. So I think of it like that. But largely I am trying to have things we do use and can rotate as far as possible. I hope that helps... Love

  21. How do I find your Pinterest board? I'll see if the Bluebirds I saw are the same ones you like.

    1. Dear Joy, The link you sent me... thats the one! Its on my Bluebirds of Happiness Board I think... maybe a close up. I just adore it. But see the prices on Ebay?
      However I never knew the proper name, now I do, thank you! With love,

  22. This has made me think of something else...Practice makes Perfect. When I was in the Physical Rehab hospital, I couldn't shower or bathe. I was given each evening a quart of hot water. I asked for my water pitcher (also one quart) to be filled with warm water.
    With those 2 quarts of water, I washed my hair, shaved my legs and bathed. Now of course, I didn't shave nightly but I did wash my hair each evening. The point is, I learned to make do with a small amount of water and that has made me very conscious of how little water is truly needed for something as basic as bathing. Well why not put this into practice once a week or so to accustom ourselves to make do with less?

  23. This has made me think of something else...Practice makes Perfect. When I was in the Physical Rehab hospital, I couldn't shower or bathe. I was given each evening a quart of hot water. I asked for my water pitcher (also one quart) to be filled with warm water.
    With those 2 quarts of water, I washed my hair, shaved my legs and bathed. Now of course, I didn't shave nightly but I did wash my hair each evening. The point is, I learned to make do with a small amount of water and that has made me very conscious of how little water is truly needed for something as basic as bathing. Well why not put this into practice once a week or so to accustom ourselves to make do with less?

    1. Dear Terri,
      You and I are very alike in this way! In hospital I did a similar thing as I could not stand to not wash. I also washed my hair and everyone was amazed. But yes we can adapt and do it with little water. I felt so much better! It was worth it!
      I keep a plastic tub that if worst came to worst I could wash with minimal water. That would be something!
      Afterwards having a decent bath or show is pure joy! With thanks,


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