10 Uses for Mint Leaves

I have been growing mint for a while now. I am trying to plant all edible plants in my flower gardens. I figure if I am putting in the work in the garden, I might as well get something out of it. Honestly other than making a couple of mojitos out of the mint I haven’t done much else with it. Once I get my dehydrator out of storage I will try some leaves so I can make some mint tea. Why not check out these great ideas for mint.

10 Best Uses for Mint Leaves

How Much Cash to Keep on Hand

There are times when credit cards and debit cards will not be accepted. Living in the South losing power, due to hurricane or a strong storm is not unusual. What happens when you lose power, the ability to use a credit or debit card is lost. What should you do? Keep some cash on hand. There are times when cash is king. I hate to say how many times after a hurricane people are willing to cut down trees for less money if you have cash to offer. Keeping cash on hand enables you to continue making financial transactions without being encumbered by the loss of power.

The real question might be exactly how much cash you need. Did you know the average family keeps less than $300 dollars in their home including their piggy banks? How long would $300 dollars last you? If you do not have a food supply on hand and you need to purchase food during a power outage, you will need to spend some of that cash. You may want to consider keeping enough cash at home to pay bills for one month. If you need to pay rent, utilities, or anything else, it would give such peace of mind knowing you have enough money on hand to keep trouble away.

Of course you need to keep money at home in a safe place. Perhaps you have a sturdy safe, or you may want to create a special hiding place, examples might be an envelope tapped to the bottom of a cat litter box, or in a random pocket in a shirt or a coat in your closet, in a zip top bag in your flour. Be creative, storing money under your mattress is not the only place where you can store money. Be sure to put it in a safe place.

It may be hard to suddenly put together a month’s worth of expenses, so what can you do? You can save pocket change, each time you go to the atm be sure to grab an extra couple of dollars so you can start to build your cash at home. Dave Ramsey has a wonderful sense of by being prepared you keep trouble away. Why not eliminate the problem of not having cash at home in case of an emergency.

How to begin to build a long term food storage

One of the biggest concerns of prepping is building a long-term food storage. You may not need food storage for man-made disaster, but sometimes there are natural disasters that we need to be prepared for. The images of Katrina are in the minds of many people. In addition to natural disasters you may want to stock up to have in case of a loss of employment. I know personally, I have been laid off more than once, and wouldn’t it be nice to know you have something in your cup boards to help tide you over during the lean times. Why not take a few moments each and every time you go to the grocery store and buy a can or two of food that you can store to use later.

Starting food storage doesn’t need to be daunting, or even overwhelming. It can be very easy to do. You want to make a list of items you like to eat, and then plan around food that you already eat. Starting out you may want to start a food storage of three or even seven days to start. After you have a a week worth’s of food stored, you may want to then build up to a thirty-day or even longer supply.

If you haven’t already started building up a supply of food. Consider starting with items like canned soups, peanut butter, or even shelf stable foods. You will want to start with foods that can be simply heated up or even eaten cold. Purchase food that is ready to eat when starting your food storage. Once you get your ready to eat food supply build up, then start to work on items that need to be cooked. You will want to plan out how to cook raw ingredients, buying a ton of flour, and beans without a means to prepare this food will not be fruitful.

How do you build up your supply? Each time you go to the store pick up an extra can or two of soup, spam, canned beans. Doing this will help you flesh out your pantry. An emergency isn’t the time to try out new foods. Consider writing out a menu plan for two weeks, and then build your food storage to your plan.

Ten Tips for Food Storage
1. Buy only what you will eat. Do not buy foods that you are not familiar with, you may not want to eat new foods.
2. Write out a meal plan for two weeks, and purchase the foods you need to fulfill your plan.
3. Pick up a few items for your food storage each time you go to the grocery store.
4. Make sure you store a couple of can openers. Food, and no easy way to open the food is not a good situation.
5. Be sure to store water, 1 gallon a day is recommended per person.
6. Ideally, food should be stored between 32 and 70 degrees.
7. If you are transferring food into storage containers, make sure they are food safe.
8. When you design your food storage area, make sure it is free of bugs/insects/rodents.
9. Rotate your stock of food storage, first in, first out. Consider writing the dates on the cans in large numbers so you can easily see when your food expires.
10. Consider food items that can be prepared or heated without electricity.

Helpful links
Building An Emergency Food Supply.
Management Plan for Food Storage.

Storing up a few extra items in your pantry is easy to do. By having a pantry that can feed your family for an extra couple of days, weeks, or even longer is a good idea. You never know when a natural disaster may occur. By having food in your pantry means you will not have to rush out to the grocery store, and get what ever you can. By planning ahead you can be relaxed in knowing you have taken care of your family properly in case of a natural disaster.

You can make Yo-cheese

Yo-cheese is a type of cheese made from yogurt. It is very easy to make. All you need is some plain yogurt, a lint-free towel, and a strainer. You can make yo-cheese in just a few hours. Simply pour the yogurt into a towel that you have placed in a strainer. Let the whey drain out of the yogurt for several hours. After a few hours whey will have drained out, and you will have a stiff cheese that will resemble something like cream cheese.

If you like you can season the yo-cheese with salt and your favorite seasonings. This seasoned yo-cheese tastes great on bread and crackers. You can make this anytime. It is so easy to do.

How to make Homemade Yogurt

You can make homemade yogurt easily at home.  I have typically made my homemade yogurt with whole organic milk, and yeast.  I have made my yogurt with my Excalibur food dehydrator.    Making your own homemade yogurt helps you save a lot of money in the course of a year.   Making yogurt is easy to do, and homemade yogurt tastes better, it is fresher, and you can make it the way you desire.  Check out this video from the YankeePrepper.  He adds vanilla and sweetness with honey and sugar in his making process.

Advantages of a Berkey Water Filter

Berkley Water Filters are some of the best water filters you can buy. Clean water is an essential commodity for every type of work. But, water pollution has become a major problem now, and is life-threatening too.
Water pollution is very common in big cities despite of a lot of care being taken in purification of water. It is caused due to a myriad number of reasons and is difficult to find an effective way to purify water thoroughly.
Berkey filters can get out most kinds of water contamination and make water taste pleasurable at the same time. These filters have come a long way to assist this case and are now being used extensively. These ably protect us from microorganisms and dangerous chemicals as well.
Berkey water filtration purifier is an important part of history of water purifiers. The company that manufactures these water filters is as much as 200 years old. Berkey filters are very popular all around the world for their ability to work in all kind of environments. These filters are also used to operate on kitchen counterpart.
A gasoline addictive named MTBE is found in water. And, if a person consumes even a very minute quantity of it, it may destroy the kidneys and the liver of the person who consumed this water. This harmful additive is water soluble and it is very difficult to eliminate it. But Berkey water filters has ability to eliminate it.
Berkey filters are very cheap and easy to use as well. Sub-parts of these filters are easily available in market in case of damage. Again, each and every part is cleanable and, can be maintained very well.
Berkey water filters last long time even if it is used for longer durations. Berkey water filters are easy to reinstate and can purify water for few pennies per gallon. There are various models available and choice depends on how many people will be needing water per gallons.
Berkey manufactures a range of rain water filters. Making their use for household work will provide whole family with healthy, thorough clean water usable for drinking, bathing, cooking, etc.
All these benefits make Berkey water systems a terrific choice for both people in residential areas as well as people relying on well water in rural areas.

Living on Less

If you are trying to become more self-reliant the most important thing you can do is to become self-reliant financially. This will give you the freedom to do other things. Honestly, it is the most difficult thing to do as well. Honestly, it involves sacrifice. Living on less involves paying down debt, and to quote Dave Ramsey, you need to live like no one else, so you can live like no one else. My first step in becoming more self-reliant has been to eliminate debt from my life. This process took a couple of years. When I started, I had more bills than I had income. I was falling into debt each and every month.
how to save lots of money
How did I stop this cycle?
1. Eliminated extra expense each month. For me, this was Starbucks, I learned to make some of my favorites at home. I stopped magazine subscriptions, I stopped anything that I had to pay monthly on, this meant gym memberships, monthly heath and beauty products from the Home Shopping Club.

2. Commit to bringing lunch to work more times a week than you go out. For me this was a struggle, I worked in high pressure finance and my office didn’t have a place where I could go eat undisturbed. So I started with bringing my lunch 3 times a week. I also committed to eating breakfast at home. This was a continual leak in my budget, dining out around work.

3. Limit eating out. You know, I love to eat out. This was reeled back into once a week. I prepared food at home. I used Sundays to make things like chilis, stews, and the like so I could eat on them all week-long.

4. Review utilities, I live in Texas, so I can shop my electric rates. I reviewed these carefully, and looked where I could save. I bundled long distance and internet, this helped me to save too. I also purchased some fans so I could cut back on the AC.

5. Pay down debt. From Dave Ramsey, I used his methodology of paying down my smallest debt first, and then worked on larger amounts. This was helpful. I stopped using credit cards because of this. Look at the interest rates, if that doesn’t make you mad, I don’t know what will.

6. Put some emergency money aside. Start with 500, then work up to more. You need to have money put aside for a flat tire, an emergency trip to the doctor and more. If you have this cushion it is what I consider to be trouble insurance. If you have this, trouble can be kept at bay.

Once you get in a cycle of doing this, you will begin to have money at the end of the month, and this will start a new cycle that will become intoxicating. These are just a few tips that I have to help you live on less. The message that we receive from our society, we don’t need to have everything. We can live on less. I drive an older car, and I live in a paid for house. My house and car aren’t as nice as my peers, but I know that I don’t owe anything and that my friend, is a beautiful feeling.

10 Items that go scarce in a hurricane

Having lived through multiple hurricane preparations and subsequent storms I have learned a few items that I try to plan on having. I am a single woman, so my concerns tend to be what I can keep on hand, and they tend to be items that I can handle. I am not particularly handy or skilled in the finer points of how to handle fallen trees, or how to swap out wiring or other more complex things. My list here is what I strive for, to keep myself well taken care of for about a month of limited electricity and water.
matches are needed after a hurricane

1. Water – I have a house with multiple pets. I strive to keep about 60 or so gallons of regular drinking water on hand at all times. This gives me about a gallon a day, and it gives my pets about a gallon of water a day as well. In addition to this, I have a very large rain collection barrel of a capacity of about 100 gallons. I also keep a berkley water filter on hand as well. This filter will help me filter out other water should I need it.

2. Fuel for cooking. I have a gas grill with a couple of large tanks of fuel. I also have a very nice Green Egg ceramic grill that uses charcol. The green egg can make bread, or even act as an oven. In addition to these two items I also keep a solar oven that is ready to be used.

3. Storage food. Keep a supply of canned, dry, or instant foods on hand. These can come in forms of instant meals, instant breakfasts, or even cans you simply need to reheat. You can keep things on hand such as spaghetti sauce, canned soups, canned meats, and other foods that you might enjoy. If you have never been around during a hurricane, suddenly the stores are well empty. I hate fighting the crowds for a loaf of bread, and other items. It is easy to stock up on food that you and your family will enjoy ahead of time.

4. Hygine products – these include soaps, deoderant, laundry soap, feminine hygiene products and more should always be kept on hand. These are items that are easy to stock up and have on hand. You don’t have to go hog wild, but buy an extra or two on hand when you go to the store. There are a lot of products that I try to keep up a years supply on hand at any time. A lot of these types of products don’t go bad.

5. First Aid Kit – Have your basics on hand. Are you on a prescription, try to have a week or two extra on hand just in case. Work on having basic pain relief, anti-diareaal, cough and cold, and allergy medicine on hand. Also have clean bandages, and some products like neosporin on hand. You don’t need to stock up on lots of exotic bandages, start with the basics.

6. Lighters and Matches. How are you going to cook without these? We all may be able to work up our own fire, but next time you are in the grocery store pick up a box or two of “strike anywhere” matches, and have some on hand. If you like buy some that come in smaller boxes, so you have a box or two to give out to your neighbor.

7. Battery or solar powered radios. Many models are now made that will charge up your cell phones. You will want to know what is going on, check your radio at the start of the season that you might need it.  Don’t wait until you need these things, check them before hand, in  fact long before you will need that radio.

8.  Extra fuel and some extra cash.  When trouble is brewing go to the cash machine, and get cash, try to keep some small bills at the house at all times.  This way when the power is down, you still have a way to conduct commerce.  You aren’t going to be popular with all big bills.  Have a little extra gas on hand too.  You may need it to refill your car, chain saw, or even generator.

9. Extra batteries, and an extra phone charger.  So maybe you still have an old fashioned phone that uses a cord.  These typically always work as long as the phone company has power.  If you have a cell phone, try to get a radio that charges cell phones too.  Also, pick up that extra pack of batteries, before everyone else does.  Stores like Sam’s and Costco, have tons of batteries before a natural diaster, and less so, when one is coming on. Be prepared.

10. Clean clothes, I know, I may be stating the obvious here, but make sure you have some clothes that you can wear, make sure you have comfortable shoes.

 

There are many other items you should have on hand before you have an emergency.  But a lot of items are things you can have on hand long before diaster strikes.  So when doom an gloom is coming, you can focus on other things and not spend your time trying to nail down the essentials.

 

A Weaponized World

While I personally don’t have beliefs that are this strong, many of their bits and pieces of the information will give you pause for thought. I personally think food additives, and genetically modified food is doing unknown damage to our food supply, and possibly future generations. I would encourage people to food from clean food sources. Unfortunately this means that food can be more expensive, and that you may be at times very limited in the food choices you can make.

I find mandatory vaccines to be scary, because at times these vaccines that are being released such as the swine flu vaccines were never tested on real people. How can we release vaccines to real live human beings without adequate testing?
Swine Flu Vaccine Passes Safety Test
People Refuse Swine Flue Vaccine Testing Due to Fears

While I don’t subscribe to all viewpoints in this video, I do think it raises many valid points, an it should give one a little food for thought.

How to Build up Food Storage

It is important to have some extra food stored away for a “rainy day”.  You would be surprised how helpful a well stocked pantry or storage area can be. Of course, it is best to have supply of food and other items on hand in case of some sort of natural disaster.  However, the reality is that there will be days when you are too sick or your kids are too sick to go out to the store for some chicken noodle soup and jello. Having a supply on hand can really save the day.

How do you build up your food storage reserves?  The answer is a little bit at a time.  It will take about 6 months to stock up doing it this way, but it is worth it.  Not only will your pocketbook thank you, but the task will be a little less overwhelming.

The best way to begin building up your food storage reserves is simply to purchase extra supplies as they go on sale.  For example, you might purchase 2 more cans of tomato sauce than you actually need.  Keep what you need in your pantry, and put the rest into your storage area.

I have found it is best to separate the food, especially when you have kids.  This is because I have found that if I buy more food, my kids will eat more food.  I know from talking to other moms that have a food storage plan that this happens to them too.  Therefore, I have found it necessary to lay down some ground rules.  My children know that whatever is in the kitchen pantry is “fair game” for eating!  Whatever is in the storage area is off limits unless they ask first.

I have also gotten in the habit of stocking the pantry when we get any “extra” cash.  For example, part of the tax return goes to stocking the pantry each year.

A small note:  having a food storage area does not mean it is ok to hoard food or to get upset if you need to use your food storage items.  This is the purpose of having some extra food in storage–to use it when you need to use it.  My great-grandmother lived through the Depression and struggled to feed her 5 children and disabled husband.  After the Depression was over and their financial situation leveled out, she started to purchase large quantities of pasta “just in case”.  When she passed away in the early 1980‘s, the family was shocked to discover that the basement was full of pasta.  It appeared that she had bought pasta for over 40 years and never ever used any of it!  Of course, most of the food had gone bad by that time and it had to be thrown out.  The mental images of my grandmother and mother throwing away damaged food is something that has always stayed with me, even to this day.  Because of that, I make a habit of donating to the food bank regularly from my food supply.  I also check the supply regularly and use food before it gets moldy or spoiled.

Do you have extra food stored for your family?  If not, you might want to consider creating a food storage plan and taking steps to purchase extra food at the store or the bulk food store.  The sooner you start, the sooner you will have a full pantry.

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