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.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Pantries and Preparedness. The boy who cried wolf.

A few things have happened lately that have reminded me of the old "boy who cried wolf story".  In a nutshell this is someone who cries distress over and over until everyone is tired of hearing about it.  Then when something really does happen now one comes to their aid as everyone has had too many false warnings!

In the last couple of weeks we have watched countless news reports about Australians stuck in Bali.  Most are much the same, tired and distressed people wanting to come home but flights are grounded. This is due to a volcanic eruption that they were warned about for months but still thought it was a good idea to go to this area anyway as SURELY the volcano would not dare to interrupt their holiday.
The warnings have been clear,  well circulated,  there was no way to miss them.  But people grew tired of the warnings and went anyway.  Now they are saying things like "But I have children to get home to!"   Possibly they could have considered this before they left!

Some of GardenPats Pantry! 

Another one has been the on and off baby formula shortages.  People in China still do not trust their own supply of infant formula and love to get it from Australia and New Zealand and I don't blame them one bit.  If I was them I would do the same.  But consequently our shelves are often bare or very low.
Quite often I see formula buyers in the car park at the supermarket.  There is usually a three tin limit so they operate in teams to each go in to one supermarket, get three tins, put them in the car, then swap until the car is full.  I have chatted to them as you know me I have to investigate!  They are pleased to tell me how they are making a great profit with this little business.
Because of understanding this shortage and the reasons for it I have always kept back up formula at my place.  Mum keeps it too.  We covered Harper with spares at all times and now we cover spares for Scarlett.  It is not hard to see the need.
I have told Lucy a thousand times to always keep ahead in formula!
The other day Lucy messaged me.  "Mum.... do you have any formula?"
Why yes I do!
She had ordered three cans of formula (the limit) three times on her grocery order.
And now three times NONE had arrived.
This could be a very scary situation.  But having a Mum and Nan who keep their eyes open Scarlett has formula.
One of my missions today is to try to replenish my reserve supply.

Part of Vicky's Cellar Pantry. 

I have written over and over about the importance of being watchful.  But we all get fatigue. The news is mixed with rubbish, social engineering type stuff that has nothing to do with actual events.
So it can be quite difficult.
We also are weary of hearing the same old thing over and over.
And we are busy. It is December!  

There are a few ways of dealing with this so that you are not caught wondering how you missed the signs and in trouble!
One is to always keep your pantry and preparations in good order and as a matter of habit.   Most of us have been working hard on it and I am now at my three year point as it was this time in 2014 that I got the strongest feeling to do something.  We have come so far since then!
But still being busy, distracted, letting things get a bit low... these all happen easily.

Right now I see a situation that I think is like the volcano.  For years a little fat man has been threatening people and everyone is tired of him.  While everyone tires he uses his time to work on being able to follow through with his threats!  Could this be another case of the boy who cried wolf?
There are angels watching over us even when we are blissfully unaware.

More of GardenPats pantry.

The other day I was reading Frugal Measures Blog.  Becky said the nicest thing.
She had just come home with huge boxes of bargain bananas.  She said "Yes, it will be some work but I always said if Heavenly Father sends food to me, I will work hard to put it up."
You can read that post here. 

How beautiful is that!?
Then I saw that GardenPat had found a huge bargain on tomatoes.  And there she was (even though she was busy already) putting it up!

I think it is really hard to discern the important stuff from the rubbish as far as the media is concerned.  I try and was at least successful with the baby formula!  But I don't want to be like the stranded in Bali where I have ignored every warning and now am stuck somewhere I don't want to be.
It is not living in fear to be watchful.  It is our responsibility to look after our families.  This involves being watchful!

Our Heavenly Father watches over us and we watch over those we care for .
And just as I sign off Lucy has phoned saying there is "out of stock" on formula everywhere and can I try to get more?

Girls.  Be watchful. xxx


  1. Dear Annabel, this formula thing is just a world gone mad, isn't it? When my eldest son was a baby, and I was unable to breastfeed due to Mastitis, we tried various formulas and they all made him sick. These days of course we know that he has a dairy intolerance, but those things were not widely recognised in the 70s. The older sister at the Baby Clinic, gave me a recipe using diluted Carnation Evaporated (not sweetened condensed!) milk (something about the way it's treated makes it easier to digest), and Pentavite drops, and I fed my son that. He also drank Delrosa, which was a vitamin C rosehip syrup drink, popular at the time. How things have changed! I wish I'd kept the recipe. Anyway, the combination of the milk and Pentavite, plus the Rosehip syrup, meant that he thrived and we never looked back. What a shame that political correctness and a certain amount of paranoia, has put a stop to what were some very simple and worthwhile solutions from that era. I can assure you that my son did not become addicted to sugar, his teeth did not rot, he did not become Hyperactive. He actually grew into a strong healthy little boy, who later became a strong and healthy adult who represented the state in his chosen sport. But there you go. Poor Lucy and what a worry! Thank goodness for prepared Mums and Nannas! Lots of love, Mimi xxx

    1. Butting in here, love Annabels blog but felt I had to reply to you Mimi, regarding the Carnation Milk formula - it was brilliant, my daughter thrived - and still loves the stuff. Her eldest, because I couldn't feed her due to health issues, was put on cow's milk and she was so sick from that all the time - wish I'd know about Carnation then. We had all those other things you mention as well - and a very well informed clinic sister also gave me a recipe using condensed milk if there was an emergency - good to know these things. And like your son, no teething problems or addictions or hyperactivity - go figure. Pam

    2. Dear Mimi, I fed Chloe past One then used a bottle. I couldnt work out what was wrong with her! Again... allergies weren't known. She would cough until she was sick. Finally I realised it was cows milk. I think Vicky has the recipe for what you are talking about. She says it was used in her family and kept babies alive that otherwise had nothing!
      It must have been used quite widely. Lets face it formula didn't always exist!
      I found ONE can of formula today. Got the last one in Coles. But we have some in the cellar and Mum has some. We will all be watching for them! Yes thank goodness for family! With love

    3. I'm a baby of the 60's and I was raised on Carnation milk and vitamin drops. :)))) That was the thing in those days and we all seem to be doing pretty well. Sorry about the formula shortage there... it is very unsettling, for sure!

    4. Like you my daughter could not take baby formula milk, we are in the UK. We used Condensed Carnation milk 50/50 with boiled water and she thrive, I feed my second daughter on it as well. Now over here we are told it is dangerous to use Carnation but both the girls are in their 40s and thriving.

    5. When I was a baby, my mom couldn't breast feed me either and I couldn't handle formula. An old doctor told my mom to use whole cow's milk with a little honey. I was able to drink that and I became a health, happy baby. Of course back then, whole milk was whole milk not milk from cows that have been pumped full of vitamins and antibiotics. Paula in Kansas

    6. This is the recipe that Vickys Mother, Aunts and Uncles were raised on...Baby's First Formula

      6 oz. Evaporated Milk
      10 oz. Water, Boiled
      1 1/2 Tbsp. Sugar OR Corn Syrup

      Baby's Second Formula

      10 oz. Evaporated Milk
      15 oz. Water, Boiled
      2 1/2 Tbsp. Sugar OR Corn Syrup

      Baby's Third Formula

      13 oz. Evaporated Milk
      19 oz. Water, Boiled
      3 Tbsp. Sugar OR Corn Syrup

      Gradually shift from the first formula to the third formula over the first 4 months, increasing
      the amount as your baby grows. After this, if the baby is gaining weight and eating solids,
      you would give undiluted whole milk or evaporated milk diluted with equal parts of water,
      and omit the sugar. If you use this you will want to add some vitamins like liquid baby vitamins.
      They all did well too. So this must have been a pretty common thing. When you think about it back before formula they had to do something!

  2. That is a very scary situation with the baby formula. A number of years ago the only brand of a med that I could tolerate was out of stock everywhere as the manufacturer had a problem. There was no way to plan for that since only so much can be gotten at a time. Thankfully it became available again just as I was almost out of what I had on hand. I pray that you will be able to find the formula that is needed and never be without.

    This is a reminder to me that it is starting to look like we will have a hard winter here. I am in need of getting some meat into the pressure canner so that we have a shelf stable supply that can be eaten right out of the jars if we are without power for a time. I am thankful to be a part of this group of ladies who have common sense when it is so lacking these days. Keep up the good work of stocking those pantries and caring for your loved ones!

    1. Dear Lana, Common sense is lacking these days! I have seen some things that make me roll my eyes! haha! Everyone wants convenience. No one will be put out by anything. This is why I love the ladies who say ok! I have a case of tomatoes so I better get to work! Sensible!
      We are just looking out for our families especially the little ones.
      I headed off and found ONE can of formula this afternoon. I have several in my cellar though! We will work to stay ahead, the wider family is all on the hunt. Mum also has several cans safely at her house. I wonder how many families are worried or have run out!
      The medications are one that could easily happen. Even just with shipping or supply. Doctors usually have samples which could be a help possibly. It is something that is hard to get very far ahead with though. With love

  3. It is pouring with rain and we have been warned there could be flash flooding in our area. Our home is well out of the flooding level but our town could easily be boxed in by water over roads. We are well prepared with a pantry and fridge/freezer full of food and gas bottles full to keep the barby going.
    When Bluey was so ill, Katie and I didn't have to worry about shopping for groceries, as we had plenty here at home. It was a case of taking something out of the freezer and then cooking it up at night.
    Life can get turned on its head without notice. Not having to worry about purchasing food, either at the supermarket or take away, can mean that already high stress levels don't become overwhelming. By having on hand what you need for something quick, simple and nutritious, allows your brains working memory the space you need to keep on top of what needs to be done.
    I agree with you Annabel that we need to just keep on top of our pantry supplies, for the issues we can see building, and for those we cannot plan for. It does not mean with have a Doomsday approach to life but a healthy respect and love of our positions as family stewards.
    Life is soggy, wet and run in the rain good.

    1. Dear Jane, You are so right. Having all those meals and your pantry... everyone continued to be fed. How wonderful. Of course this is why we have to do stuff in the good times and get ahead. I know you will be back filling the gaps as you can.
      I think you are right, its not doomsday in anyway it is looking after our families. Our Grandparents thought ahead for bad years, good years, this is life. Just sensible!
      I hope there is no serious flooding. Just full rainwater tanks would be nice! With love,

    2. I so agree with everything Jane said in her comment. Our life got turned on its head just a few weeks ago, when my dear husband had a major heart attack at only 51 years of age. I admit that I didn't do great with getting all my food from home. I just took the kids out to eat and ate out myself. It was a worry to me, I tell you, because I felt that I was making a terrible and expensive time worse.

      When I got home, I considered my preps, as Annabel always tells us. I decided that next time I would be more prepared. I was able to see many places that I had pretty big holes and was able to fill a few of them. It's only been 3 weeks, but I have already had to use some of these things. (It's been a rough few weeks here and my husband is not even now as well as I would like.)

      May God bless all the Bluebirds as they work to keep watchful and vigilent. I find it easy to grow weary in the vigilence, but O what a difference it makes! Love to all, Cristy

  4. Very interesting! I would have never known about the formula. I guess the best thing to do would be to nurse the babies; which I always did just to save money and in the 1980's there was a big push to do that (when I started out having kids). If this can happen with formula, it can happen with any other food also so it is smart to think ahead and be prepared. Those ladies' pantries are very impressive. (Lucy is such a pretty name...happy st. Lucy's day to her in 10 days!) Andrea

    1. Dear Andrea, Yes nursing is best. Lucy was dreadful ill and put on a medication when Scarlett was four months old. She is not allowed to feed taking this. It was quite awful but we are glad she fed so well for that time.
      You are exactly right this kind of shortage can happen with anything. There are shortages of butter in many places and butter prices rising world wide. I know St Lucy is patron saint of eyesight. My friend who I lost when I was young loved the name Lucy and this is why I named Lucy... for her. She never got a Lucy so I helped!
      Today I shopped around for half the day. I found ONE tine of formula. Luckily I have another five in my cellar. I knew this was on the cards! With love

  5. I don't keep as much food in case of emergency as I should. My husband isn't very "on board" with it. I do have enough to keep us going for a while though. I worry about my asthma medications, high blood pressure medicine, and thyroid medicine. The asthma inhalers are too expensive for me to be able to stock up on without the insurance paying a portion, the other medicines come with the same problem, plus they don't have the shelf life of the inhalers.

    It seems to me that we live in more nerve racking times in the last couple of years than I ever remember from the past.

    You and your pantry organization skills are an inspiration.

    1. Dear Susie,
      Medications are more difficult than food to be ahead with that is for sure. Just do your best to be as far ahead as you can. This is all we can do here. I use inhalers myself so I have the same issue.
      With the general stocking of your pantry and supplies just squirrel away as you can. It all helps! Many things are small but would be terribly valuable in a situation that lasted any length of time i.e. bars of soap. And at the end of the day skills are a big thing as supplies always run out in the end but the ability to do things, make things etc goes on!
      Thank you so much! With love

  6. My pantry looks like Garden Pat's pantry. Last year I gave blankets
    for Christmas gifts. This year its socks( that's what the men ask for). Hope you can find more baby formula for Scarlett.

    1. I love the idea of giving practical gifts for Christmas--wish everyone was on board with that idea!

    2. Great post Annabel, and as you mentioned, it's easy to slack off a bit on our preps. So, with that thought in mind, I'm heading to the store to get a few more basics while there is 'still time'. We never know when a disaster can affect our lives. With that thought in mind, a concern I have is when my husband or I gently suggest to our grown children the need to have emergency supplies on hand, they brush it off. I've asked my own daughter if she had extra food and water in case of an emergency, she quickly said "Yes", but I know it was just her way of brushing me off as she has done this before. She lives in a large U.S. city and I shudder to think how on earth she is going to handle a food or water shortage for more than 3 days. Ditto my husband's son in law. He brought up the need to be prepared, and the son in law essentially said he didn't feel the need to be concerned. He and the family (including young children) also live in a large U.S. city, and even if these folks had a full tank of gas in their cars, they couldn't leave the city due to everyone else on the congested highways. The writing is on the wall, we mustn't have our heads in the sand as to what could potentially happen in this world. Thanks for all the wise and common sense ladies here who contribute their wisdom and expertise. I especially admired Garden Pat's pantry!

    3. Dear Sue, What great gifts. I think sensible gifts are great. My Mum always gives torches (flash lights) to everyone so we all have great supplies of solar, wind up and battery torches.
      First aid kits is another good one. We can help people out with gifts like these maybe more than they know! With love

    4. Dear Joy, The young ones have never experienced any shortage, war, nothing.... I know that Nan and Pa lived through two world wars and the Great Depression. The young ones have nothing to remember to make them even think its possible. We can tell them but they cant see it. The majority of people have no supplies after about 24 hours. And what you say about the city... this is all true. We live in a really nice area and everything but we can see that even with a lengthy blackout all hell would break loose. This is really bothering me... we would be better off in the country in many ways.... so that may be coming!
      Thanks so much! Yes Garden Pats pantry is heavenly! With love

  7. A very timely post thank you Annabel and some wise things to be aware of:) .

    I am sorry that Lucy is experiencing shortages of baby formula it is a big worry everywhere it was on the news that if you contact the baby formula companies directly they will supply you as well which is another option. On that note I thought I would offer you & Lucy some alternatives should she find herself in a situation where baby formula is not available, as we are LDS or more commonly known as Mormon. This information comes from one of our churches publications on page 35 called "Basic Physical Health with Limited Resources" found here to read online which gives alternatives on making your own baby formula in an emergency - . I hope you and Lucy find this helpful.

    I thought I would pass this information on that was on the ABC about shortages. Because of the droughts, floods, crop failures etc and the predicted lowering of our currency against the U.S currency next year they are predicting quite dramatic price rises across all our grocery lines here. They particularly mentioned a shortage of grains and huge price rises there as of next year because most grains will be shipped from New South Wales and South Australia adding the cost of increased freight to other Australian States and of course that will flow on to us in the supermarket product prices.

    Not wishing to cause alarm to anyone but I thought it important to pass on this information to those who hadn't seen it. If people look at the grain prices compared to earlier you will notice the prices have spiked of late because of this.

    So on that note as I am being "watched over" by heavenly father I had a bad feeling about 3 - 4 months ago about the need to stock up on certain items, and did so gradually over those months.

    Here is what we have been stocking up on which are more of the basic pantry items being flour, butter, sugar, rolled oats and rice. We have also been stocking up on tinned items being long life meat and vegetables, tinned tomatoes, corn, tinned mushrooms and sauces.


    1. Thank you for posting this helpful information. I hadn't seen this report and am grateful for the opportunity to be even better prepared! Putting rice, oats, and flour on my list for Sam's Club.

    2. Hi Kathy this was news for Australian residents :), so I don't think it may affect you there in the United States so much. If you live in Canada which is level pegging with the currency conversion rate here in Australia and the U.S dollar raises then it will effect you as your currency will drop making most things across the board more expensive if that happens.

      However I do think it is wise to stock up anyway as all of us are able due to inflation I find that our stockpiles are earn better than bank interest for us anyway.


    3. It is definitely good advice, even if the announcement was for Australia. I keep a good pantry and freezer stock, but do have space/means for more.

      For the US folks, we have had so much odd weather this year that I think it surely will affect our prices and harvests. Wheat prices are down , coupled with the holiday sales it is a *great* time to stock up (this week Aldi has 5 lb bags for $1.19). US rice acreage is also expected to drop 22% in 2018 - eegad!

      I would *never* have thought to investigate these without your post, so thank you again!

  8. Annnabel I will start getting a few tins of formula in for my daughter just in case. She hasn't mentioned whether there are problems with supply herein Qld but I will certainly check.
    About the Bali situation, I agree completely with your comments! my thoughts and prayers are with the local Balinese. What traumas are they going through with evacuations and livelihoods disrupted? Why does the media concentrate on 'poor' tourists who are stranded due to ignoring warnings for all that time.

  9. Dear Annabel and Blue Bird Friends - just a quick comment on the formula problem. Do not forget about rain checks - this week I noticed formula on special at both Woolworths and Coles - starts Wednesday.

    I would also be visiting pharmacies - some of them may price match and they may also have a special that you are not aware of. Look at on line pharmacy stores as well.

    I am spring cleaning this week - keeping busy as my mother in law gets closer to passing.

    Our water tanks are full from the rain we had today.There is supposed to be more tomorrow.


  10. As I opened your blog this morning, I looked at the first photo and thought- "those are the same kind of shelves that we built!" Then I saw that they were ours! We are humbled to be ncluded in this timely post! Our shelves were built years ago with wood that was scrounged as much as possible but reinforced at ever juncture to provide adequate strength to hold full canning jars! They have stood the test of time over the past 24 years!

    Dave (my hubby for 46 years) used to wonder why I kept our pantry at the 13 member household level after 10 of our 11 children had moved out and started families themselves. He learned quickly that they (like your Lucy) can be helped as needed by our "supplemental" storage! Just last week, over Thanksgiving holiday, 2 of my out of town/state daughters stayed with us for 4 days, adding 11 hungry adult size appetites to our 3! I was able to feed them without running to the store or take-out, by using some things I had pre made in the freezer as well as on the pantry shelves and making the rest of the meals from scratch with pantry basics! What could have been a financial nightmare became a nice family time! As the 2 families were leaving, my oldest daughter (a school teacher, whose husband has Parkinson's and has 3 teenagers) quietly took me aside and asked if she could "shop" in my pantry. I was happy to agree! They have their own food storage, but are limited by funds as well as space(they are in a modest apartment)!
    My other daughter, who just moved from CA to Missouri (about 8 hours driving time away from our house) also asked if she could shop since she is just starting to rebuild the food storage that they left behind in their move. Now, they have a house with a big basement and much more room than they did in CA.
    Both daughters went home with big canisters of chocolate chips, rolled oats, home canned sweet and sauce sauce, pineapples I had canned, wheat,cheese, fresh salad greens, and yes- home canned tomatoes!! What a blessing to be able to share!! They are both working hard to build their storage up and I am happy to encourage them!
    I have been remarkably blessed but I know that a big part of it has been as a result of prayer to find "opportunities" to add to our pantry and sometimes that means looking at things more creatively to see the possibilities!! 🙂
    Today- it's on to the $5 bushel of apples that I got along with my 25 pounds of (now canned) tomatoes! Some will be given to our local kids for their families to eat and enjoy. We will add fresh apples into many of our meals- snacks, muffins, salads, cookies- and then I'm thinking about adding spiced apple rings to our pantry shelves since I have the jars and all the ingredients!
    So many ways to add to the pantry helps us feel more prepared come what may! We will have enough and to share!
    Thanks for all you, Annabel, and your fellow bluebirds share that helps me see new opportunities to learn and grow! It means the world to me!

  11. This is why every time we need to eat from our pantry because are low, first thing I do is scrape together enough money to buy a big bag of rice and anotger ofanotgereans or lentils. That ensures that we never run out of food!

    Loved the reference to a little fat man everyone is tired of and no one is taking seriously. This is exactly how I feel about the situation. We just can not become complacent about anything, or we will regret it.

  12. Wonderful and timely advise. Regardless of the threats, I will continue to keep my pantry full. That 'little fat boy' is bound to act one day - bullies will always be bullies.
    Responsibility for ones self and family should be our priority always.
    Great read and words everyone should listen to. Thanks

  13. When my daughter was born (1978) we did not know about milk allergies, neither did the doctors. She spent 10 days in hospital trying to figure it out. When I was born (1953), the formula to use was carnation tinned milk. We were poor, and I was always sick on the carnation milk, but my parents had goats. They took me off the formula, put me on goats milk and I thrived. I had a suspicion that G was allergic to milk, however I could not find anyone with milking goats. She ended up being on soy milk which she was also allergic to. My youngest son was the same way. Fast forward to 2006 when my granddaughter was born. I recognized the symptoms and told them to try goats milk. She thrived on it. When the two younger siblings were born, they too went to goats milk. Goats process the milk differently, but make a great formula for babies. If you run short on formula, maybe there is someone with goats willing to sell or swap the milk.

  14. Hi ladies,

    I really appreciate these posts and comments! I have a friend here in the states who needed to supplement nursing so instead of formula they have successfully used goats milk for her babies. It is easier for infants to digest than cows milk. I hope this might help someone.

  15. Great post Annabel, also a belated congrats to Chloe and Luke, what a lovely looking young couple. Heard this bible quote on a Dave Ramsay podcast and thought it fitting. "In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil - Proverbs 21:20".
    Love Lisa

  16. This is so true. Our Father in heaven gives us warnings and asks us to heed. He provides and we need to do what we can with what we have. I think it is terrible that people buy more formula than they need and then sell for a profits. Wat about the poor mom's that need this? i breast fed my babies, but My oldest could not. Scary. Love your blog.

  17. Dear Annabel,
    Right on target post, once again. I just placed another order for our food storage this evening. We buy organically grown and Vitacost had a savings of 35% off of many items we eat. We have been most pleased with their customer service and products.
    Garden Pat, your food storage is a feast for the eyes. You have done ALOT of hard work to prepare for your family. Very impressive. I used to can like that, but as we have aged and some health issues crept in we can no longer do that; dehydrating is our go-to these days.
    Many blessings to all the Bluebirds,

  18. I was a Carnation milk baby. We fortunately have no problems with formula in the USA. Not sure what it would cost to ship, but I could look into it. That is so sad that "Buyers" are taking it and moving it out of the country or hiking up the price. I can give you my personal email if it would be helpful.
    Sheila USA


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