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 1 December 2015

Pantries and Preparedness. Laines Pantry.

It is about a year since I felt the strong prompting to really build up my pantry and supplies. And from that I decided to make 2016 a challenge to fill my empty cellar with supplies and stock up my pantry until it's full.

And I have! With four weeks to go for the year I can say I have really gone from an empty cellar to a little shop. I love it! It has added a lot of security and back up to our family.

Roses just now in my garden. Yesterday was the first day of summer.

I am extra happy if I have encouraged or helped any other family to do that same. That is a family better prepared for whatever life throws at them!

Thank you to everyone who helped! I had encouragers, commenters who contributed enormously and guest posters who helped so much. Many have emailed me and helped me so much along the way. Thank you, I have learned so much!

As my Nana and Mum did I always kept plenty of basics on hand and a pretty full pantry, first aid, candles and so on. Living in the country you did that out of commonsense. So I am glad of that.
Then when I had children I was reading Laines Letters and I was inspired by Laines methods of doing things. Many things stuck with me form Laines Letters. Some of you also "grew up" with Laine and all who did tell me how much she changed their attitude and encouraged them. It is true.

Other younger ladies may not know Laine. Fortunately you can still read her letters even though she no longer has a website as there is an archive. The link to the letters is here. Helen, Kaye and I have them all printed out thanks to Helen's efforts and thanks to Helen also Laine has them all printed into books.

Today I want to go full circle and share with you Laines kitchen and pantry. Laine has kindly said I can reprint what I like if it will help teach younger ladies. And I am sure it will.

Picture in your mind Laines kitchen. It is a vintage style kitchen with red and pale green accents...

Dear Sisters in Christ,
"When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet." Proverbs 31:21
"Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer." Proverbs 30:25
I was organizing my pantry the other day. It is a small closet in the hall that my husband converted into a shelve-lined pantry for me. These verses popped into my mind as I worked. To not have fear for our household in the winter as mentioned in the verse above, we must prepare in the summer. The LORD gives us extra long days for our much needed preparations. We are filling our pantries with the good things from the harvest that He so bountifully provides. And summer time is harvest time!
Remember my telling you yesterday how I love to come in on the back end of a project to learn and accomplish something rather quickly that I might be encouraged to continue on? Well, this has been my experience with pantry stocking. I cannot grow everything I need to grow in order to stock my pantry, so I often stock with items already canned or dried for me. I am always learning new things from the writings of other women. So I stock with what I have learned from them and pick up the rest here and there in my travels during "harvest time".
For example, last year I was able to grow red chilies and dry them. I dried some of my herbs. I also canned some yellow wax chilies that I grew and made several batches of peach and apricot jam from our trees. I made pickles from cucumbers grown at a local vegetable stand and dried some sweetened orange rinds for cakes and donuts. That was all I could do. But those few items taught me a lot. This year I am encouraged to go a step further and try my hand at making raisins and grape jam along with the above items again. And perhaps I will can some tomatoes if my tomato plants do well.
But what about the rest of my pantry? How do I fill it? Well, I have learned that a well stocked pantry keeps me from going to the supermarket often and spending needless money. So these are the things I try to regularly keep on hand. The items marked (bulk) means I buy these in larger quantities as we use them the most often.
Wheat Grain (Bulk)
Rice (Bulk)
Pinto Beans (Bulk)
Pasta (Bulk)
Whole Oats (Bulk)
Olive Oil (Bulk)
Tea & Herbal Tea (Bulk)
Popcorn (bulk)
Water (bulk)
Bread Flour (bulk)
Spices (Bulk: Sea Salt, Pepper, Cinnamon, Oregano, Basil, Dried chilies, & Bay Leaves)
Tomato Products (lots)
Cooking Oil
Applesauce & Other unsweetened fruits
Lentils & Other Beans
Brown Sugar
Peanut Butter
Dried Milk
Rice Vinegar
Toilet Paper
Soap (for bathing, dishes, and clothing)
With these items kept freshly stocked in my pantry I am able to make a lot of recipes and keep my house fairly clean. And should there be an emergency, it is good if I am prepared. (We had a big boom of an earthquake wake us up last night which made me glad I was somewhat prepared should the need arise.) Therefore I try to keep these items well stocked in my pantry. I also try to keep them rotated to prevent bug infestation.
The summer officially begins in only a few weeks. What a privilege we have as women of God to take the "harvest" brought into our hands by our husbands' hard work and stock our pantry for the winter months ahead. I get a little at a time just like the ant in the verse above. A little gathered here and a little gathered there either from my small garden, or someone else's garden, or the specials at my supermarket turns my pantry into a mini-supermarket in itself. A little work done to prepare it for storage and the job is not that overwhelming. Where do I store it? Oh, the LORD shows me so many areas in my home that are not being used to their full potential. Today I stored several gallons of water in an obscure place in the garage.
This year I hope to learn how to can a few more items. I hope to learn how to dry some things for those months in the future when fresh fruit is expensive. There is always so much to learn! The blessings of being the keeper of the home never cease to amaze me. And a pantry persistently well stocked during the summer months is just one of those blessings.

Ahh this is the good stuff I grew with almost daily when the girls were small. I would read these and get up and get going! They encouraged me so much. I KNEW what my mission was. It was wonderful.

I am going to feature more of Laines Letters coming up. I hope they bless you as much as they did me!

How have you built up your pantry this year? I hope it has been a year of possibilities that have helped you greatly add to your preparedness. xxx


  1. I have just recently discovered Laine's Letters thru your blog, and have gone back and read them all. Would love to have them printed out but at least I can go back on computer and read them. I love them, and I also love your blog. So informative and so many good ideas. Thank you and the other ladies for sharing your wisdom and experience. Blessings, Sharon D.

    1. Dear Sharon,
      Before Helen printed them all I had the idea to print one or two letters a week and scrap book them into a book with pretty pictures. I thought over time I would get them all done and build up an album to keep. This could be a beautiful project and also some LL in a pretty book would make a lovely gift.
      Thank you so much ! Love

  2. So thankful for Laine-Happy you are going to use more of her articles. It will help the next generation who have never heard of her:) She radically changed my way of thinking. Her joy and excitement about home making.

    1. Dear Becky,
      Yes I am hoping a whole new generation will read these letters. They have not dated. They will never date because they are scriptural. She also changed my thinking on many things and set me straight! With love

  3. Annabel, I was just reading this very post by Laine then I come here and find it here. I do believe we think a lot alike! I too followed Laine's posts regularly and learned much from her. I sure wish she would start writing again!

    1. Patsy this happens with us often we both are writing and talking about the same thing! Well thats not a bad thing, these are good things to be thinking on.
      And it seems that several of my best friends and ladies I admire all read Laines Letters way back then and are still talking about them! It is amazing to me. Then the biggest amazing thing was to get to talk to her as I was certain that would never happen. Life it truly full of surprises.
      I wish she would write again too. I am hoping she may write an article for this series.... With love,

  4. Thank you Annabel and Laine for the wonderful blessing of this article. I never grow tired of hearing Laine's encouragement no matter how many new voices there are out there in Blog Land.
    Love Helen xxx

    1. Helen I know... no one has ever done what Laine did. I have never found anything as complete for me. Today and then it is just when I need to be hearing. xxx

  5. Dear Annabel,

    Thank you for sharing a precious Laine's Letter with us! I'm with Helen. I never tire of Laine's timeless wisdom, and that incredible, soothing ENCOURAGEMENT! That is why I read Bluebirds too, Annabel. For the beauty, blessings, and the encouragement. We all need it. I can't help but just gush when I read this. There's a blanket of peace that comes when you focus on what is in front of you, and do what you can with what you have. Even if you can only put one thing back a week when times are tough, it adds up. This past year has been a remarkable journey watching your empty cellar grow. Mine has grown too, and I'm a better manager of my home week by week because of posts like this. I'm so grateful. Thank you for all you put into this. Thank you for sharing Teri, Helen, Vicky, Glenda, Laine, all the ladies who comment and participate, everyone. Thank you to all!

    Colette xxx

    1. Dear Colette, Thank you so much.Thank you foe all your contributions throughout the year. They are a joy to me.
      This year has been a big learning year and I am really happy! I have achieved some things and learned a lot. It makes me excited for next year!
      With lots of love,

  6. Annabel, This is a wonderful post! Thank you so much for sharing one of Laines' letters! Looking forward to more.

    You have really done a wonderful job this year of not only stocking up on food/supplies but you have been very creative with making more space to store all your food/supplies! Well done!!! :)

    Love, Teri

    1. Thanks Teri. You have helped me enormously in more ways than one. Thank you so much! xxx

  7. Thanks for sharing this! I have been building my pantry since 2000. I was encouraged by Laine's letters via email when my older 3 were small. But then we went for a time when we didn't have a computer. So glad you have been able to find them with Helen's help. I have had the link bookmarked for months now. When I need encouragement, I go to the site and read "In my home" section.

    I should add that I just don't know very many moms that stay home and work. And I certainly didn't have any peers years ago. If they stayed at home, they just shuttled their kids from one activity to another. This makes my heart sad. They really are missing out on knowing some great people in their lives because the world tells them their child must learn from a "professional."
    There are allot of Amish and Mennonite's in my area. When I drive past their homes my heart just sings! Big gardens and clotheslines full of laundry hung out to dry.

    1. Dear Leslie,
      We dont have Amish or Mennonite families here or at least not that I know of! But the sounds of it I wish we did!
      It is wonderful to know you used to read these letters and still do!
      I find them very soothing. Good when I need putting back on track. Helen used to go to the library as she didnt have a computer and print out a Laines Letter then go home to read it! This is how she started out. There are so many of us all reading these years ago and meeting now! It is like meeting long lost friends! With love

  8. The Lord must have been speaking to both our hearts about Laine and her wonderfully encouraging letters. I printed off most of them and have them in binders. Last night, when I could not sleep, I got up and "rediscovered" some of her letters in a binder that I had forgotten I had put some in. I laid in bed and read for awhile and was so encouraged once again by her sharing of what God had placed on her heart. I looked at the date at the bottom of the page from when I had printed the letters off and it was in 2006. I wonder if Laine realizes how much she encouraged so many of us then and still continues to do so. I also would love to know how she, Art and all their kids and grandkids are doing. The last thing I read on her website was when they finally got to bring their precious Lucy home and how much joy she had brought into all their lives.

    1. Dear Debbie,
      A little while ago Laine wrote an update and you can find it in the Laine section... see my side bar index... I can tell you that she just like ever before. She is homeschooling Lucy and is a grandma.
      I also find great comfort in the letters and now all these years later I see them from another point of view. It is like fresh letters as I have changed but not them.
      Thanks Debbie it is like a little club when someone read Laines Letters you know you have so much in common already just from that! With love

  9. Today I got extra beetroot and tinned corn half price for my stockpile but some of us are still beginners at this and I did not realise you had a link to Laines Letters here before so I will eagerly read them. Also I have to be careful what I put in pantry as we get an invasion of pantry moths every year even through jars and sealed tupperware. Ruth.

    1. Dear Ruth,
      That is a really good addition to your stockpile.
      While tinned goods are safe with pantry moths I can help. I couldnt get rid of them! They would always return! I read that if you have bay leaves in you pantry and jars you will not get them. As Mum has a bay leaf tree I picked big bunches and I cleaned out the pantry, washed everything... and put bunches of bay leaves in there. I keep whole jars of bay leaves without lids so the smell to the bugs is strong. I have never had a single one since and that is about four years. I refresh the bay leaves every year.
      Are you in Australia? I would be glad to send you some. With love

    2. Thankyou for your offer but I have tried bayleaves and has not helped. Am now trying cloves. It is ok at the moment and I now keep all pasta,rice,,flour etc in fridge. Yes am in Perth WA. Learning so much from your blog, Thankyou.

  10. You are such an encouragement to me! I only wish I had looked into this years ago and found you sooner.
    I found Laines letters through another blog and am very thankful that we can still access her wonderful letters.
    Going to give your challenge a go in the new year by the way- curious to know if the money you save gets put by or do you keep an account of what you save simply to encourage?
    Hope your dad is on the mend?
    Much love, Heidi x

    1. Dear Heidi, Thank you so much!
      Well this year sometimes the savings just helped us manage. Other times the savings actually meant cash in my hand. Those times I either added to the pantry/cellar or the emergency fund. I was really pleased with that.
      I have to decide these things for next year...
      Thanks for asking, yes Dad has improved so much! Its amazing really. I just want to all have Christmas together, that will be my Christmas present... With love,

    2. Good to hear about your Dad! Praying for his healing.

  11. I have heard of these letters recently but never read any. They are wonderful! Thank you for sharing them with us :)

    1. Dear Jes,
      I know you are going to love these letters. I have no doubt. Enjoy! With love

  12. I so agree that Laine's letters are as fresh and minister to us just as much today as when they were first written. We have changed and are in a different season
    of our lives, but the wisdom and encouragement Laine has derived from scripture is at the heart of these letters. I have the letters in the books Helen made up near my bed, and often read a letter or two before bed. They are a huge blessing to all who have ever read or just discovered them. I am so very grateful to Laine for these beautiful letters. xoxoxo

    1. Dear Kaye, Thank you! The letters settle me down and make good reading when I feel off track. I think they should be read by a whole new generation. I hope I can direct attention to them.
      Here we are as Grandmothers instead of young mums! Goodness... Love

  13. Wise words! I built up my pantry by making turkey broth from the Thanksgiving turkey carcass and canning 20 pints. I dreamed a few nights ago that we only had one pkg of toilet paper! We always have 15 -20 pkg on hand. Another thought on the pantry comes from the Blue House Journal blog. They are keeping basic hardware and repair parts such as toilet parts. I am encouraging my husband to do the same. We had a toilet flapper break on Christmas one year with a house full of company and there was not a store open to purchase the parts. Having them on hand would have been a 15 minute fix but it had to wait until the next day.

    1. Dear Lana,
      Broth is such a good thing. Last winter I made more and more. Recently Jess has a lovely article on bone broth in Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth and this week a friend told me how broth helps her health/stomach so much. It is good stuff.
      That is a good idea re plumbing parts. I had not thought of that before. With love

    2. Lana is right, we are keeping basic plumbing supplies on hand. It seems nothing ever breaks but what it's not evening or a holiday or Sunday when local hardware stores are closed. Then we must drive 65 miles round trip to the big DIY store to get parts, if they have them! Just this week John sorted out a basket on top of the kitchen armoire where he'd put a lot of small tools etc and said "Oh we've got three of the outdoor faucets now." That's not a bad thing as we've had two in the past year spring a pin hole leak right through the brass! Hopefully we'll be good for another ten years on them but it's nice to have extras on hand all the same and they really didn't cost much at all. Ditto on for fresh pipes to go on hot water heater (we ended up having to replace two copper pipes in the same day as one sprung a leak the moment we turned on water after replacing the first one. It's all about looking ahead and making sure you have the supply for the need.

  14. Thank you, Annabel and Laine, for sharing! These letters will be a huge encouragement and perhaps a prodding when I need them. I'll look forward to the next installment.

    And it's nice to read in the comments that your father is improving, Annabel. Blessings to you and your family.

    1. Thank you! In a quiet moment these letters are perfect for me. They do me good. And Dad is much better! With love,

  15. I'm so glad you introduced me to Laine as well Annabel. There is a sweet yet persistent maternal nudge in them, that is inspiring in the gentlest possible way. I have always kept a stockpile, but with the help of your series and other ladies like Patsi, Wendy, and Terri, my stockpile now truly is our 'shop'. We can relax knowing that our 'shop' can look after all of our basic needs in any crisis, and that is a really good feeling. Thankyou. Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi, I call my cellar The Shop now because of you. Thats what its like. I really never need to run to the actual shops as I have back up of everything. It is a wonderful feeling. And it shows how the gradual approach gets us there! Have a great weekend! With love,

  16. I like organizing our pantry sometimes. :)
    I really like your blog. It's so cute. :)

    1. Thank you Ashley... I am looking at your blog, thank you. I love the thought of creating precious

  17. I am having a break from reorganizing my pantry - there is method in the madness.

    I wanted to get the few kitchen appliances we have off the small bench space we have and then when I started thinking about the old freezer and gentleman's wardrobe in the shed that is going to be used for extra food storage I decided that I could cut down what was being stored in the house and create that space for the few appliances we have.

    I didn't realise that I had stockpiled so much - the bathroom cupboard has been reorganised as well, just needed a basket to keep a few things tidy in the cupboard.

    Annabel I am glad to hear that your father is on the improve.

    Off to have a cool drink while my husband has a coffee then I will be back to it in the kitchen.


    1. Dear Lynette, It is good to have a re arrange! And also to hear that doing this you discovered your stockpile has really grown!
      Thank you very much, yes Dad has improved remarkably!
      Have a lovely weekend, with love,

  18. Annabel,
    I love Laine's Letters. She has always seemed so calm to me as she goes about her days. A very gentle spirit. I am so happy you have your little shop now I know you have come a long way! Security is always a good feeling. This last year has been a real challenge for me, but I have learned a lot! My pantry is still good and I am happy with the preparedness we have done. Everyday is a new day!

    1. Dear Vicky, Thank you for helping me so much! And we have made it fun along the way! Now to plan for next year. With love

  19. Thanks for sharing Annabelle! I learned about Laine through your blog, and I have bookmarked the archive of her letters. What a blessing!

    1. Dear Marie, I just know as you read those letters you will have life changing and encouraging things happen as I did. The effects lasted all my life so far! Love

  20. Add me to the long list of those encouraged and strengthened and enabled by Laine! I was in my 'second parenting' stage at that point with my tag along girl at home but it was such a huge help to me!. I had all her letters saved to an email file for the longest time and would go there to re-read them but when they were archived I deleted them. I was so sorry I'd done that when I could no longer access the archived letters. I plan to take time to print them all out this coming year and keep them for referral.

    As for the savings thing, I've done that two different years on my blog. There were savings costs I couldn't quite figure out how to figure the savings but I was still not sorry that I'd done it. The first year, I figured we'd saved about $27000...that was the year we had to replace our roof and went with metal sheeting and also the year the AC quit on us and we had to replace that whole unit. The second year I figured it came in lower but it still extended our income by that much in my opinion. I don't think I'll blog it this coming year, at least not as a daily savings, but I will try and keep track and report it at month's end...It truly is an encouragement to keep doing the things we do when we see an actual value in it!

    1. Dear Terri,
      Another Laines follower! Truly she must have had millions of followers if I have "met" so many of them. She would not have known it.
      You are right that some things are very hard to figure out money wise. But at least we know that we can live way above our actual incomes by doing the things we do. It makes such a difference.
      Many thanks Terri, with love

  21. What a great post to share at Five Star Frou-Frou, Annabel. Thankyou. Mimi xxx


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