Tuesday, October 21, 2014

My Own Special CREAM OF EVERYTHING SOUP for long term storage

The word PREPPER carries a lot of connotations that are not complimentary.  And - in a lot of cases - well deserved.

Where I come from, it was just called common sense and nothing to brag about.

In summer we had tornadoes.  In winter we had ice storms.  We just dealt with it by having a generator and emergency food.

But our particular house had the added disadvantage of having its own electric line that DID NOT show up on the service truck's grid.

My house was there for over 65 years and homes built later were on a newer power line.  

Every time we were left without electricity, we remained without electricity even after the service trucks had returned power to the other houses.

Many are the times Joe ran through knee deep snow trying to wave down the utility trucks as they were leaving, to advise them of our separate power line.

But we were never in a precarious position, due to foresight and planning.

Enter my world famous  -  imitated but never mastered - high quality, highly flavorful, CREAM OF EVERYTHING SOUP.

I eat this "as is" at night when I'm hungry and want something comforting as well as delicious.  (and we're out of ice cream or chips)

I've added canned chicken to it at times, as well as mushrooms or rice.  But I prefer it as is.

And YOU are going to learn how to make it yourself.

AND you'll receive, *absolutely free of charge for the first 500 callers*,  my own recipe label to print out!

Yeah.  All callers will be put on indefinite hold and forced to listen to:  MAH NA MAH NA

So, just print out the label.

First, into the invisible bowl measure:

1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
2 tablespoons of onion flakes
1/4 Cup of chicken bouillon

3/4 Cups of cornstarch

2 Cups of "Carnation Milk"
Mix it up thoroughly.

Store in any jar, and use within a year.

But for long term storage, DRY CAN IT, using sterilized jars & lids, and removing the air.

Some of my storage.

Store by the date, not by the product. 
Use as you go.  
Know what is stored. 

It's silly to want corn for supper and think you have to run to the grocery if you already have it in storage.

Keep a list of what you've used
and replace it when you go shopping.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


It's not often I'm overwhelmed.  I'm overwhelming, but rarely overwhelmed.

Okay.  EVERY day is overwhelming, but I was trying a new mantra and it didn't work.  

But this particular day demanded I get a lot of things accomplished.  So, first I stopped and took a photo of our giant blackbirds down here.  

It's not a good quality picture because I shot the photo through the window.  Why?  Cuz no way am I going near this black condor.

Compare his size to the largest feeder on the left.  And that's a LARGE feeder, and that bird's not as large as they get.

I am not exaggerating when I say that some of these guys are SO large that when they're standing in the middle of the sidewalk, Beau stops and refuses to walk toward them.  Two of them can dwarf Beau, and they don't back down. 

(We'll actually cross the street, because they intimidate even me.  ME!)

And here's my brave widdle boy.  A bundle of nerves.

This wall was bothering me.  So, I put on my big girl panties (they come in small?) and got to it.

I smushed up the mirror so you wouldn't see me taking the photo.  (You understand....wearing nothing but big girl panties...)

A can of "Rough Coat Light Bronze" and they were just the color I wanted.  

A few times up and down the ladder, hammer held between my teeth (I had to hold up my big girl panties) . . .

And the job was done.

Now we'll always know where we are.

Next up I need to sterilize some Ball jars: make butter, and do an upcoming video showing you how I make my world famous, CREAM OF EVERYTHING prepper soup.

Thursday, October 16, 2014


There's a wide line between taking precautions and being a doomsday nut.  

And it's a slippery slope between being sensible versus wasting happy days seeing doom and disaster where there are only roses.

I guess it's the difference between "prudent" and "fanatic paranoia".

Some people might think they're prepared for the long haul, and having taken all the extreme precautions, one would believe that.  But all it takes is ONE keystone  to fall, and all the planning could be for naught.

Fire?  Flood? Tornado? Hurricane? 
One of the family becoming ill 
with a contagious disease?

Years of prepping and planning gone.
Prudent action is a requirement of responsibility for all of us.  It also allows us to smell the roses along the way,  and maybe buy a few - instead of emptying our pockets and doing without before it's even necessary.

To the best of our ability, 
we are cocked, locked, and stocked 
 not for what some would define as "long term". 
every person's definition of "long term" is different.

But for any of  you who may just now be wondering "if", "what", and "when", I will attempt to give a few common sense ideas.

Medications.  Planning ahead, you can have your necessary medications refilled 5 days before the refill date on your bottle.  Do this often enough, and it does add up.  I've been doing this for twenty years.  And rotate your dates.  Medicine from the last decade might not be useful - or safe.

Aquarium/fish pet stores sell most of the very same generic drugs that you may already be taking, and they certainly sell the most common.

Your veterinarian has been writing prescriptions for your pet that match your family's medical doctor's prescriptions.  Don't short change your pet.  When your pet recovers, refill the prescription with a call to your vet's office.

Do you like milk?  Do you like warm milk?  Do you like milk with a horrendous taste that makes you gag even when chilled?  If you do: Then stock up on Carnation.  

Not so keen on that?  Stock up on powdered protein/mineral/vitamin "milk-like" flavored products. 

Check the expiration date, then the difference between stores.  A store with a fast turnover is better than buying a dusty supply off a dusty shelf.

MUSCLE MILK is my go-to drink under the best of conditions.  It tastes good and is nutritious. Room temp?  Not preferable to chilled, but drinkable.  And Beau isn't going to be shortchanged either.  He loves his nightly treat of vanilla Muscle Milk and water.

Speaking of pets, and their humans, lol, stock up on every BOGO advertisement for canned chicken, beef, and albacore tuna.  

And now is not the time to be frugal:  do not buy the largest cans (cheaper per ounce) you can find.  Buy smaller.  Remember, there might not be electricity after a disaster and you won't be able to refrigerate half that large can of food.

Don't forget variety.  Canned fruits have a very long shelf life.  Just make sure to check the date!!

If water becomes a premium, you also don't want to waste your precious supply by soaking dried beans.  I can't say this enough:  if you don't like to eat it now, you won't eat it THEN.  And we hate dried beans for a number of reasons, water usage will be the primary reason.  

Buy canned beans.  They're already moist and seasoned. Ahhh.  Did you forget about SEASONINGS?  

And I can't say this enough: Check the "best by" date and know that it won't suddenly kill you if you're past that date!  

TANG.  Buy it.  You'll need variety for your taste buds and lots, and lots, of familiarity with what you USED to enjoy.  

I've never seen this mentioned anywhere, but you're familiar with those poisonously green and yellow plastic "lime" and "lemonade" reconstituted "juices" we pass by in the vegetable department?  Well, they'll last longer than the real fruit will and might appeal to you in a pinch.

Water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to drink.  THAT'S a good reason right there not to depend on having to reconstitute too many foods in your storage:  Dried beans being high on my ignore list.  Have I mentioned that already?

Have I mentioned water?  No?  Then you haven't been reading this, have you.
Berkey water filtration systems:  they work.

Cooking:  We have the EcoZoom Versa Stove. America sends this particular stove to third world countries, and we only send THE BEST to other countries. *insert sarcasm due to the truth of the statement*

It can cook an entire meal on twigs.  TWIGS people!! Or, if you actually have wood available, like grandma's ladderback chair you've always hated, it will burn that too.

In small amounts, it causes unbelievable heat - on demand.  

(Never burn chemically treated, painted, or insect repellent sprayed, wood.)  

This powerhouse needs equally strong cookware due to the extreme heat it produces.  I bought, seasoned, and use my cast iron skillets for frying AND baking.

After proper seasoning, my cast iron rivals the stick-free qualities of my best teflon.  Even cheese and eggs won't stick, and that says everything.

As a family adrift in a small, country feeling, (one stoplight) Florida town, we might outlast zombies, or a pandemic, but not a direct hit by bomb or a sharknado. 

Although some live with the false idealism that they will, I have to ask "why"?

There comes a time everyone will have to stick their heads above ground, to whatever awaits. 

Common sense is not over-rated, but it's long gone.

Just do what you can, what you want, what makes sense, and don't let others influence you by their panic.

 As the old saying goes:  "Man plans while God laughs."

Monday, October 13, 2014


A few days ago we left the house and I didn't take my purse or gun along.  I recently stopped carrying either.  I know. *gasp*  But I was feeling "safe" in my stupidity and wondering if I was just being paranoid.

Besides, Joe has these huge cargo pockets, and doesn't mind being my wing man.

But this day was different.  I felt funny without my purse and gun and I said so.

"Here I am without my diabetes supplies, blood tester, and gun, and something is telling me I shouldn't do this anymore."

I was assuming my feelings had to do with breaking down on the side of the highway several months ago, so when we left the house today, I made sure to take my small, ratty purse - and my Sig.

We got our flu and pneumonia shots at the pharmacy then went to PetSmart.  I stayed in the car while Joe walked across the parking lot to buy Beau some snacks.  After all, he was just going to be a few minutes.

As Joe walked away, I hit the door locks.  This is something else I never do.  I also made sure my window was just open an inch.  In this heat, I always have my window down.

Suddenly, a man popped up beside my window and said:  "Hey, can I ask you a question?"  while making a motion with his hand for me to lower my window.

Now, yesterday, I would have said  "Sure!"

Today, unlike the me I'm used to, I said "NO", and turned my head away in dismissal.  (my first mistake that I'll never make again)

To my surprise, he instantly moved forward and turned to better face me and see inside the truck.  

"Hey, lady.  Be NICE.  I just want to ask you a question!"

I don't like confrontation, and will go out of my way to avoid it.  I'm not one who sees danger or a threat around every rosebush.  I also don't go around looking for ways to be reactionary, and I keep a low profile. 

This was different.  

I'm also not paranoid, but this was 'different'.  

I was SO grateful I had listened to my own advice as I slid my Sig onto my lap, in plain view, my hand on the grip as I said:

"I'm NOT 'nice', and I already said "NO!"

And as quickly as he showed up, he was gone.  And I mean, totally out of sight.  If I didn't know better, I could have sworn he'd never been there in the first place.

And to be totally honest, I don't care if he was just being rude, off his meds, out to do damage, or Father Flannery needing assistance.  

I also don't care if I scared the crap out of him.  In any case, he needed it, and I'm glad I listened to myself for once.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


What you're seeing is a post that will be on Pinterest. 

So if you're one of my usual folks and don't care about this kind of stuff, I'll understand and will have a new post up in a few days.








*insert 'MAH NA MAH NA' song here*

But before we break into a wild rendition of  RIVERDANCE,  

let's contemplate the HORROR of trying to han
six,  8 1/2" x 11" frames
by a woman who insists things be aligned perfectly.                                       

If it looks wonky, I hadn't finished "finger pushing" everything into perfect perfection.



Stop yelling and I'll tell you!

I had six frames to hang, so I got six pieces of paper size 8 1/2" x 11" and six short straight pins.

I laid one frame, back side up.

I then laid the six pieces of typing paper on top,
found the hanger hole and inserted a straight pin into it.

Can you see the widdle red headed pin?  

I then had a mark at dead center in six templates at the same time.

NO measuring!

I decided I wanted each frame to hang apart, top, bottom, and sides, the width of my painter's tape.
NO measuring!

So I stuck a piece of painter's tape onto the carpet.
And free-hand aligned each sheet of paper.

When I had all of them aligned, I taped them in place with scotch tape.

Still with me?
NO measuring!
And look at those feet!

At this stage, I ran down the hall to the bedroom, carrying my template, and taped the TOP TWO sheets of paper to the wall until I found the exact place for them.

Too high?   Too low?
No problem!

It was so easy, I was able to watch 
THE WALKING DEAD at the same time.

(using a light touch on my hammer)
I pushed the straight pin in the holes 
I had made in the living room!


Still with me?  Cuz this is going to be easy.

Just HANG the framed pictures right onto the straight pins that are STILL in the paper. 
Then remove the frames and rip down the sheets of paper:  the pins will stay in place.

Hang the frames back up.  Stand back, and take photos.

Oh, yeah!


Saturday, October 11, 2014


As some of you are aware from my email rantings, there's one wall in this house that drives me nuts. 

Andi said to hold on until she gets here, and she'll do the decorating, painting, and climbing ladders.  But I think we'll both end up too drunk to be trusted with paint rollers in our hands.

I personally don't like making nail holes in walls in case I don't like what I hang up, and then have to stare at nail holes for years.  But in THIS case, I'm going to make a exception.  

Nail holes would be an improvement.


Those aren't small doors.  The angle does that, but this is my walk-in closet.  And if you can see down the hall to the right, you'll see the fire extinguisher. 

Hey, firefighters have one in every room.  Maybe I should hang THEM on the walls and call it 'art'.

So, we spent yesterday at Hobby Lobby buying everything they had.  Hey, I had to make a FIVE HOUR DRIVE count for something!!

Up next is Joe's bathroom, and believe it or not, but HE chose this sign.  

I hung it directly across from where he spends some of his time, contemplating the subliminal message........

The following photos are of my haul, and now I've got to figure out what the heck I'm going to do with it. Whatever happens, that wall will be FULL of nail holes.  Did I mention I hate making nail holes?

For two days I've been making my own designer paper to be placed in frames.  I have chosen six, but only three of them are shown.

Joe thought this rustic burlap panel that is three feet long would look good with our favorite paper that I will "antique" and glue to the burlap.

Something like this.  Kinda.  Sorta.

We have NO idea why our tastes are changing, but we're getting all jazzy in our declining years. 

This Moroccan stencil costs $49 online, plus $480 shipping and handling.  So when I found it laying on the floor at Hobby Lobby for $9, I grabbed it and ran for the door, guns a'blazin'.

 If I could find this woman with the crooked finger, I'd have her paint the wall for me.

My dream wall:  minus the ugly thing.

Since my painting days are over, I'll just amuse myself by staring at the stencil and contemplating nail holes.

These letters are HUGE and I bought a can of bronze paint to color coordinate with the living room.  Then I'm going to hang them about ten feet off the floor so we'll always know where we are.*

*for future use when we 
forget where we live.

I'll do this today....or right after Christmas.  
We're retired.  What the hell.

Joe grabbed fifteen packages of these velcro hanger thingees hoping they'll work like they say they will.  LOL  We'll see. 

Just in case the velcro hangers don't work, I plan on making soap in my padded cell. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


I love my house.  Seriously.  I always wanted large windows when I lived up north, and lots of them.  I now have my wish.  

Floor to ceiling windows in every room:  three 'full wall' patio doors, which means they disappear when fully open and the entire wall is open to the outdoor air and scenery.  

100% enclosed by a pool cage and garage door screen, no insects can get in.

In the fall and winter, having the entire house open is a joy of ocean breezes.   At night, even though every opening is locked up tight,  let's just say I get a wee bit paranoid.

We immediately had special locks installed, motion detectors in every room, and a burglar alarm attached to all possible openings.  

But the one bug up my butt are the five windows that go down the wall beside the front door.  On the side where the deadbolt is!! And this is common down here!  (idiots)

Knock out one little window and Leroy has direct access to our lock.  BUT, did you know if you cover a window with transparent contact paper, it become break resistant glass?  Yowza.

Here's the before:

I know the photos makes it look big, 
but it's merely 6" x 12", 
and I have five of them.

Joe thinks it's nice to look out, 
I think it's icky to know that someone can look IN.

So I gave him two choices:  "You can look OUT through the side lights during the day, but you won't have any more naked parties with me in the living room after dark."


He chose:

I didn't care for the large design, but since I had to measure and cut it out, it's easier than a lot of small tiles.   From inside or outside, it looks like frosted glass.  

All I have to do now is add the black imitation "soldering" between the pieces, and there ya go. 

Now we won't have any size 14 Michael Jordans coming through the glass.