Friday, January 28, 2011

Sew... What?

Since Hubby Dear and I became parents eight years ago, our home has grown to resemble less a place where civilized people live and more a daycare center. Some of that is to be expected when you have more kids than adults in the family. It doesn't help, though, that our kids' grandparents lavish them with more toys, gewgaws, and plain ol' plastic junk than we know what to do with. Our once spacious-seeming house is becoming overloaded. A garage sale or giant donation to the Salvation Army definitely needs to be in the works.

So when my mom emailed and told me that she was giving The Thinker a sewing machine, my first reaction was less than pleased. The Thinker loves craft projects and has been learning how to sew with Grandma over the past few months, so it wasn't totally out of the blue, but still! Something else to take up MORE space!

When I related my frustration to Hubby Dear, he gave me a wicked grin and said, "Don't you want to learn how to sew? Won't that be good for when the SHTWXYZ?" (He loves to tease me with his own creative prepper acronyms.)

I stopped mid-complaint. He had a point. Perhaps this sewing machine wouldn't be such a bad idea. Maybe I should learn sewing basics along with The Thinker.

Now, if you knew my mom, you'd know that she's not going to just go off and buy some plastic piddly kid's sewing machine. Nor is she going to get a brand new adult sewing machine. My mom owns an antique store and estate sale service and spends untold hours at auctions. That is where she came across our family's newest preparedness tool. (Not that Mom knows I prep or even what prepping is. I'm still strictly on the down-low.)

My The Thinker's new sewing machine was made about 1951. Mom assured me that it works fabulously, even better than her own sewing machine (which is a young'un made in the late 60s).

She had a brand new electrical cord installed on it and it came complete with instruction manuals and with a bunch of gadgets that I can't identify. When we're not using it, the machine slips right inside and we can use it as a desk.

The only problem is that I don't have a clue how to use it. I can sew on a button and do some basic mending, but the sewing gene seems to have skipped me. The manuals that come with the machine are pretty easy to understand, though, so I think I can figure this out.

It didn't take me long to come up with a candidate for my first sewing project. This project is definitely something I would NOT have considered a year ago. You'll never believe that I am getting so excited about sewing....... (wait for it....) .......

my own menstrual pads.

(I can hear all of my male readers clicking their browsers in a panic and finding something else very manly to read. I know I have a few guys that read my blog. Sorry dudes. This topic had to come up sometime.)

Cloth pad from
You can try to store a lot of feminine hygiene products, but in a SHTF situation, they will run out sooner or later. My journey toward self-reliance has also made me more aware of how much I'm spending on plastic crud that will sit in a landfill forever. I have also read testimonies from many women that say their periods became lighter, shorter in duration, and they experienced fewer cramps when they started using cloth pads.
You can buy cloth pads in several different places -Amazon, Ebay, Etsy are a few of them - but they are expensive. That's what started the whole train of thought that led me here. Things are about to get interesting.

Now I need to:   

A) figure out how to use this sewing machine
B) find a pattern for cloth pads that is easy for a beginner like me with an ancient sewing machine and
C) get brave, buy the materials and get started.

Wish me luck!

Do you sew? Do you use cloth pads? Have you sewn your own cloth pads and have some tips for me? Have I lost my mind?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Month Eight in Review and Month Nine Prepping Plans

What I accomplished this month:
  1. We bought and assembled a Shelf Reliance Harvest 72”. It looks maaah-velous and works great. I never did get around to getting a wooden board for the top. Hopefully next month.  
  2. I bought a Brother P-Touch Labeler. I love it! I can't believe we've gone so long without one of these things. Label makers might be old news to many of you, but I'm like a little kid with a new toy. 
 You simply type in your wording:

And it prints out a cute little label:

Et Voila!


Now there's no excuse for confusing the salt with baking soda. I'm looking at you, Hubby Dear....

3.   I continued to build up our food storage. This month I mostly bought canned goods to work on filling  up my Shelf Reliance unit. I planned to buy a lot more food storage, but I came to the end of the month and found that I had spent all my budget on regular groceries. This is because of item #4. All that fresh produce is expensive in the boonies!  

4.   Diet and exercise. Hubby Dear is competing in a "Biggest Loser"-type activity at his work and has shed nearly 15 pounds since he started on January 7th. I hate the male metabolism. I started before he did but have only lost somewhere between 5-8 lb. It's all about getting healthy anyway, right?

5.  I scored a few freebies like dental floss and OTC meds due to couponing

6.   My family was subjected to several rounds of canned meat taste tests (here, here, and here). I think I finally have the whole canned meat thing figured out now! ;)

What does Month Nine have in store?
    Piece of junk?
  1. I want to get a vacuum sealer like a FoodSaver. I mainly want to use it for vacuum sealing mason jars of nuts, chocolate chips, etc. I'm having a hard time figuring out which model to get, though, since the reviews of the most popular infomercial one aren't great. Do y'all have any recommendations for me?          
  2. Stock up on first aid items - bandages, OTC meds, and more. One of my goals this year is to broaden and deepen our medical preps. 
  3. Buy more items for food storage. I'm not sure what exactly, since it kind of depends on what goes on sale.   
  4. Firm up our plans and buy our seeds for the upcoming garden season. Hubby Dear needs to finish rounding up the material for our Square Foot Garden soil mix.
  5. Continue to diet and exercise. Oh the Joy.
  6. Make a wooden board to fit across the top of my Shelf Reliance unit.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Experiments in Canned Meat, Part Four: Switch hitter

I've used both the ground beef and the chicken breasts that I canned in December, but I thought it was time to switch it up a little. When I started to gather together the ingredients for tonight's dinner, I also got out some store-bought canned chicken.

The ingredients for my casserole including....duh, duh, DUH... Store-bought canned meat

It had been sitting in my storage room for months. Canning my own meat was one thing. Eating what some random factory canned was another. For all I knew, it could have both the taste and consistency of chum. Nothing says good eats like putting chum in your casserole.

It looked OK and didn't smell bad, either. It didn't overwhelm the kitchen with the dog food-like odor Hubby Dear loves so much.

What it looked like straight out of the can

It definitely was in much smaller chunks than the chicken I canned. Take a look at the difference:

My home-canned chicken

I looked over the meat carefully, trimming away some fat. I didn't have to do that with my home canned meat.

Into the my chicken and rice casserole it went. (If you're interested, you can find the recipe and a much better photo here.)  Here's what it looked like when it was ready to serve.

Baked Chicken and Rice with Black Beans with my secret ingredient

As usual, I didn't announce that I had used canned meat. When Hubby Dear went for a second helping, I thought everyone was none the wiser. That couldn't have been further from the truth. First of all, Hubby Dear is getting to the point where he's starting to analyze every dish I present to him. Secondly, Hubby Dear noticed the softer texture, but even more obvious was a tinny taste that my home canned meat doesn't have.

The consensus was clear: home-canned meat is indeed better than the store bought kind. It is so easy to can your own that there's no reason not to do it. (Did you miss my meat canning mini-tutorial? Check it out here.)

So, if you haven't tried it yet, get thee a pressure canner and some canning jars and get to work!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Using Your Food Storage: Baked Oatmeal

I thought I would share a tasty breakfast dish that can be made completely from items in your food storage. This recipe for baked oatmeal is healthy, delicious, and easy to make. What more can you ask for?

First, gather the ingredients:

Then, mix all the dry ingredients together.

Since I was using dry eggs and dry milk, I added those here. There is no need to rehydrate the milk and eggs before baking. Just add the appropriate amount of water to the wet ingredients and proceed with the recipe. Mix it all together and throw it in the oven.

Here is what it looked like when it was done baking. It became slightly puffed and lightly browned.

The texture is a bit more firm than regular stovetop or microwave oatmeal but is still creamy inside.

I measured exactly 2/3 cup (Did I mention I’m counting calories?) and just plopped it in a bowl, which doesn't make the most appetizing food photograph, but I promise you it's really good!  I resisted licking the serving spoon, and trust me, that was an extreme exercise of will power. This stuff is yummy. Do extreme exercises of will power burn any calories?

If you're not watching your caloric intake, I would definitely increase the nuts by another tablespoon or two. I would also drizzle a little maple syrup over the top of each individual serving because it wasn't quite sweet enough to satisfy my gigantic sweet tooth. I used store brand, unsweetened applesauce, though. If I had used my homemade sweetened applesauce, I might not have had that problem. I only have 15 quarts of that lovely stuff left, however, so I'm rationing it out!

Try it out and let me know if you like this as much as I do!

Baked Oatmeal

2 c. quick oats
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. raisins
1 T. chopped pecans
1 t. baking powder
1-1/2 c. skim milk (or 4-1/2 T non-instant, non-fat dry milk and 1-1/2 c. water)
1/2 c. applesauce
2 T butter, melted (or canned butter such as Red Feather)
1 large egg, beaten (or 2 T dry egg powder and 4 T water)

Preheat the oven to 375. Combine the first five ingredients in a medium bowl. If using dry milk and dry eggs, add those powders to the dry ingredients. Combine the milk (or water), applesauce, butter, and egg (or water) in a separate bowl. Add wet mixture to dry ingredients; stir well. Pour into a greased 8" square baking dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until just set. Makes 4-5 servings.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Shelf Reliance Harvest 72”: A Review

Whew! Finally my Internet seems to be working again. Hopefully I'm back up and running again permanently. Keep your fingers crossed!

My Fed Ex man really must hate seeing our address pop up on his list of daily deliveries. He had the pleasure of delivering yet another heavy, unwieldy load to my house today. He shouldn’t complain too much –at least I did him the courtesy of  shoveling our sidewalk clear of snow!

So what did my long-suffering delivery man bring? These boxes:

They held a Shelf Reliance Harvest 72” Food Rotation System (FRS), which is merely a fancy way of saying a canned goods shelving unit. I’ve wanted to get one of these things for the longest time, but had to wait since these suckers are ridiculously expensive. Shelf Reliance has got to be making a killing on them.

There are two places that I know of to buy a Shelf Reliance FRS. One is the Shelf Reliance website. The other is at Costco, either in selected stores or online. It is far less expensive to buy it through Costco if you are a member. Since I am not a member, I would have to pay a 5% penalty if I ordered it through them. Even so, it would have been cheaper for me to buy it there if I had not happened to have a $10 gift card to Shelf Reliance.

It took nearly two weeks for my FRS to arrive, but thankfully, on the day it came, Hubby Dear didn’t have to work and he could put it together. It is definitely a two person job for at least the first part of the build. It wasn’t too hard to follow the instructions and put together (much more intuitive than The Can Organizer, for example), but it was fussy. You definitely need to know what cans you are planning on storing on the FRS so that you have them on hand to set the track diameter. You also need to have either a rubber mallet or a block of wood and hammer to pound the pieces together.  It took us quite a bit of time to put together – there are many pieces and we spent a lot of time trying to figure out the best configuration.

The metal rails up

Installing the can tracks. You need to have your cans available to help you size the openings.  

Here’s what it looked like when it was completely constructed and loaded with my canned goods:

The Harvest 72” is the largest unit Shelf Reliance sells. It comes with 3 small, 1 medium, and 1 large (#10 can size) sized tracks, although you can customize it to your needs (for an extra fee, of course).

Things I don’t like about the Shelf Reliance Harvest FRS:

They used cheap paint on the rails and it was already flaking off in spots before we even began to construct it. Shelf Reliance definitely needs to use a more heavy-duty paint. There is no excuse for shoddy workmanship when you are charging over $300 for some bits of metal and plastic. (Although I like this item overall, I have to say I do think it is overpriced.) Also, the very prominent Shelf Reliance logo on the front of the shelving unit looked like it had been applied by someone who had drank a little too much cough syrup. Now, if a person is OCD enough to get excited about plunking down the money for a FRS, you know they are going to notice those sorts of things!

I do like the cute magnetic labels that come with the FRS, but they are easily knocked off. I’ve already lost one that way and my kids haven’t even been playing with it yet.

One of the cute little magnetic labels

I also wish that it came with a board or shelf across the top of the unit. I’m going to get Hubby Dear to buy and cut one to size because I can’t afford to not to use that space. My little basement storage room is quickly getting very full.

If you buy one of these, don’t expect that it will hold a whole year’s worth of cans or anything. I still have cans in several other locations in my house.

What I love about the Shelf Reliance FRS:

I love organizational products, so something like this is right up my alley. It's really cool. It might look like there is a lot of wasted space between the rails, but once I have completely filled it up with cans, there really won’t be. Right now I only have it about halfway full, if that. 

Side view
It can hold up to 460 cans while only taking up about seven square feet of floor space. It is not too difficult to set up and is very easy to use. Simply load the cans in and you have automatic rotation.

Depending on how much space all my buckets and home canned items end up taking up, I might get another Shelf Reliance System. It's definitely a great convenience and will encourage me to use and rotate through our food storage.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I haven't abandoned you

Sorry I have been MIA for a week. My home Internet service has decided to stop working, which is something it decides to do periodically. I am pecking this post out on the tiny keyboard on Hubby Dear's Droid and it is driving me nuts. When my Internet comes back, I've got a review to post about a new food storage toy I got this week, another adventure with canned meat, and a sneaky trick I played on my unsuspecting family.

Lost without my cyberspace,

The exceedingly harried homemaker

Monday, January 10, 2011

Couponing for the Dumb and Lazy

This blog post is called "Couponing for the Dumb and Lazy", but it's not because I think my readers are lazy dummies. Far from it!

I gave this that title because I can be one clueless, lazy broad, at least when it comes to things like exercising, target shooting, and couponing. I've read about the awesome savings people like my blogging buddy Organized Prepper get from couponing. And I've watched the people on TLC's "Extreme Couponing" get $600 worth of groceries for only $2. Invariably, this leads me to castigate myself for being such a spendthrift with Hubby Dear's hard-earned money. I'm fortunate that Hubby Dear makes a good living and we live comfortably, but everyone has a budget. (Or should have a budget. Did you read this?) I could definitely make our budget stretch further if I bargained shopped, but I don't always give it my best effort.

Although I fall far short, I try to live up to the example of the virtuous wife in Proverbs 31.  Most of the verses of Proverbs 31 are applicable to the prepping lifestyle, but consider verse 27 in this instance:

She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.

If the Proverbs 31 woman lived in 2011, would she coupon? Quite possibly.
OK, I've admitted that I'm not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer when it comes to spotting the best deals. And I definitely do not want to spend a lot of time on couponing. I've got better (read: more fun) things to do. Even so, I have saved LOTS of money with couponing over the past few months and you can, too, with only a modicum of effort.
How, you may ask? It's easy.
Subscribe to the RSS feed of The Krazy Coupon Lady. Most of the hard work will be done for you!
I get the feed sent to Google Reader and every day I learn about all the bargains that are out there.
For example, today they posted that you can buy bottles of Motrin for 78 cents at Wal-Mart using a coupon. They posted a direct link to the coupon, which I printed off and added to my coupon file. Easy Peasy! All I have to do is remember to put Motrin on my shopping list and bring the coupon with me.
Stockpile OTC meds for pennies
Obviously, you need sources for coupons. I get a Sunday paper and my extended family has started saving their coupon inserts for me since none of them coupon. You can print a ton of coupons at sites like,, and I find that there are a wider variety of coupons available online, but unfortunately there are some stores that act like you're trying to cheat them by using computer printed coupons. My nearest Wal-Mart will not accept BOGO (buy one, get one free) coupons that are home printed, but my little mom and pop grocery store does, so I just use them there.
Each week, The Krazy Coupon Lady site gives a rundown of the coupons that are available and the best places and ways to use them. If you live somewhere where there's a Walgreens or CVS, you can score a lot of free stuff. Since I live out in the boonies, I'm unable to take advantage of those offers, but even so I've saved a lot of money.
There! That's my lazy method of couponing. I let other people do the hard work (finding the bargains) and with a few coupons printed and clipped later, I've got some significant savings off my grocery bill. That makes me feel like I'm a better steward of our money AND I get to stockpile some preps in the meantime.

Friday, January 7, 2011

'Tis the Season

 'Tis the Season....

for gardening catalogs.

Every time I open our mailbox, it seems like there's another two or three seed catalogs mixed in amidst the bills and late-arriving Christmas cards. There's nothing like thinking about sun-warmed, ripe tomatoes growing in your backyard to cheer you up on a gloomy winter's day. All this is to say: The time to plan your 2011 garden is now, so get to crackin'! :)

I'm not a gardening expert, but I have been doing it for a while and I do know a few things.
  1. Find out when to plant for your area. If you do not know your plant hardiness zone, try this map. Once you know your hardiness zone, find out when it is the best time to plant your desired crops. There's a huge range of climate variation in the US and if you're not careful, you'll plant things too early or too late. Too late or too early = reduced harvest or maybe even killing your plants. Around here, we aim to get potatoes into the ground by St. Patrick's Day. Those of you in the South probably aim for sometime in February, so you see how important it is that you know your planting dates.
  2. Decide what to plant. If you're a rank beginner, start small. Pick four or five types of things that sound fun and grow well in your area. If you start with a giant garden, you may find yourself overwhelmed. I've learned the hard way that it is better to start small and get bigger every successive year. 
  3. Ask for advice. Ask friends who are experienced gardeners for their recommendations. What plants are ideal for your area? What problems are commonly encountered? My family has a vineyard and my Dad knows a lot about the diseases common to fruit in our area. He warned me that fire blight runs rampant around here, so if I want to grow apples and pears organically, I should select varieties resistant to it. Good to know! At the same time, don't be afraid to try things your friends might say are impossible. A person Hubby Dear works with is a fabulous gardener and he insisted that we wouldn't be able to grow watermelons - the coyotes would run off with them! Well, we tried growing watermelon last year and the coyotes left them alone.  
And finally, something we learned the hard way...

4.   If you're going on vacation this summer, think about that when you plan. We were gone for two weeks in July 2009 and missed the peak of our garden. We didn't think about that in May and June when we spent all that time planting, watering and weeding.  

Hubby Dear and I made our 2011 garden plan this past fall. We are ordering most of our seeds from Johnny's Selected Seeds. Their seeds are of high quality and many organically-grown varieties are available.We're planting some old favorites as well as some vegetables that are new to us:

- Tomatoes - several varieties. San Marzano for canning.
- Cucumbers. I always plant a variety for pickling and that does fine for fresh eating as well.
- Sweet peppers
- Peas - both sugar snap and English peas.
- Bush beans - For fresh eating and canning
- Cantaloupe - Minnesota Midget is the BEST variety I have ever tasted.
- Watermelon
- Corn
One of our Minnesota Midget Cantaloupe hills last year. (Ignore the weeds!)

New for 2011:

- Onion - We've never tried to grow onions and they're something my family didn't grow when I was a kid, so this is a new realm for us.
- Radishes
- Carrots - We tried to grow carrots at our old house and it was a miserable failure. The plants died off right after germination, even before they were large enough to thin.
- Lettuce - Both head and loose leaf varieties.
- Potatoes - Hubby Dear and I have never grown these at our house. I've helped my parents, though.
- Strawberries

 We have also reserved part of our garden for the children. Our oldest two kids get to pick what they would like to grow and they will be in complete charge of planting, watering, weeding, etc.

In addition to our vegetable garden, we have an herb garden planted up close to our house. It has:

-Sweet Basil

My herb garden in early May. It'svery near my kitchen, which is so convenient.

Most of these are perennials, although I have to replant tender plants like basil and rosemary each year.

We also have a row of raspberries that we are going to expand as well as some thornless blackberry bushes. Our "orchard" consists of a solitary dwarf sour cherry tree that we got as a freebie from Stark Brothers. One of these days we intend to plant many more fruit trees, but I think we have enough on our plate for 2011, don't you?  

I said it was a dwarf! This is one of the three trees total that we have on our 5 acres.

Are you planning to garden in 2011? If so, what are your plans?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Experiments in Canned Meat, Part Three: Ground Beef

I wanted to make soft tacos for a quick lunch today but I didn't have any ground beef thawed. No worries! Time for another experiment with my home canned meat.

I grabbed a pint jar from my storage room.

I popped the lid off and plopped the contents in a skillet.

Just like the canned chicken, it was less than appetizing in appearance.

I had added quite a bit of water to each jar when I canned the meat. So what happened to all the water? 

I don't know if you can see in this photo, but there are little bits of gelatin glistening on the meat. I'm familiar with gelatin forming when you cook meat on the bone, but I've never seen such a thing with ground meat.

Sure enough, when I heated it up the gelatin melted, producing quite a bit of liquid. I drained the meat before adding taco seasoning and proceeding with my recipe.

Taco meat, seasoned and ready to go

The verdict:

Thumbs up! We all enjoyed our lunch and you couldn't really tell anything was different with the meat. It was softer in texture and the beef was definitely broken down into small pieces, but it tasted fine. Hubby Dear and I agree that we much prefer canned ground beef to canned chicken.

I should mention, however, that as I was cooking lunch Hubby Dear groaned, "Ugh! What's that smell?"

He was in an adjoining room and the distinctive smell of canned meat filled the air as soon as I started to cook the beef.

Yes, it smells a little bit like canned dog food at first. That part takes some getting used to. After it is cooked and seasoned it doesn't taste like dog food, though, and that's what's important!

I'll definitely continue to can ground beef. The jury is still out on canned chicken, but I plan to try another approach with that soon.

Monday, January 3, 2011

But How Does It Taste? Home Canned Meat, Take Two

Last month I canned both chicken and ground beef. It was surprisingly easy but the question remained – would it be tasty? Recently, I decided to put the canned chicken to the test.

I picked a recipe that I knew would be a true test of the chicken's abilities. It’s called Creamy Chicken Fettuccine - sautéed chicken breasts thrown together with a quick cream sauce, peas, fettuccine, and Parmesan cheese. It's the kind of dish that is easy to put together on a weeknight and is definitely a crowd-pleaser. It’s also a dish where funky chicken would have nowhere to hide. I knew my canned chicken was going to have its work cut out for it in this recipe. I didn't tell Hubby Dear or the kids that I was using canned chicken so as not to prejudice their opinions beforehand.

I brought up one of the jars of chicken from my storage room and this is what it looked like upon opening:

Looks a little scary, doesn't it? I had to remind myself that this was going to be edible and deeee-licious.
I knew the chicken would be tender after being pressure cooked, but even so, I was a bit surprised at how soft it ended up being. If you've ever cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts in the crockpot, the texture was similar but even more yielding.
The original recipe calls for sauteeing the raw chicken breast in a couple of tablespoons of butter. Obviously my chicken was already cooked, but I thought briefly cooking it in the butter might liven it up and get rid of some of the canned taste.

Not so much. Mainly it served to break the chicken down even further. I continued on with the recipe as it was written and here's what it looked like:

In the finished product
The verdict:

Although I didn't reveal my secret ingredient until he had gone back for seconds, Hubby Dear could tell there was something up right away. He later told me the texture of the chicken reminded him of tuna.  We both agreed that canned chicken would be much better in a casserole. Of course, I knew that ahead of time, but I just couldn't resist the challenge.

Was the canned chicken horrible? No. But it was also not as good as fresh. 

Was canning chicken worth it? Definitely. It is a huge time saver to pop open a jar of pre-cooked, pre-trimmed chicken. Canning meat is super easy and you just need the right application for using it.

Coming up: Canned chicken in one of my family's favorite casseroles. Will anyone notice this time?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A New Definition of Luxury


I sat bolt upright. I had been in bed all of five minutes when I heard Mini Me wail my name. She was crying incoherently and was still half asleep, but one glance told me that the stomach flu had set in. 

Eventually every member of my family was struck down with this abominable abdominal illness... except me. I don't remember too many details of those joyful days leading up to Christmas, but I do know that I made a lot of toast for children with upset stomachs, washed some absolutely horrifying laundry, and cleaned many square feet of carpet.

Nothing would make a round of the stomach flu pleasant, but I did take a few moments to appreciate the sense of calm my preps enabled me to have. I was thankful that I had a large box of gloves to protect my hands while I was scrubbing the carpet for the third time in one day. I didn't have to run to the store for Pedialyte, hand sanitizer, or laundry detergent since I had plenty on hand. All that applesauce I canned this fall made a perfect food for babies with sensitive tummies.

I know most people would disagree, but in all of this, I felt a sense of luxury. Check out the Merriam-Webster Dicitionary's definitions of luxury:

 - a condition of abundance or great ease and comfort
 - something adding to pleasure or comfort but not absolutely necessary 
 - an indulgence in something that provides pleasure, satisfaction, or ease

I was prepared and therefore reaped some "ease and comfort" during our time of need.

Pretty, but useless. Not the kind of luxury I'm talking about.
 The best thing about this is that preparedness is a "luxury" that is not out anyone's reach. We all can do something to increase the quality of our life. You can buy an extra can of tuna, a bottle of Pedialyte, or a bucket of wheat. If you have a large budget, you can make some serious preps very quickly, but that shouldn't stop anyone from starting. Do what you can with what you have.

When the storms come in your life - and they will come, be they the stomach flu or something more dire - you can experience a little luxury and be thankful that you planned ahead. And that beats a diamond ring or a fancy vacation in my book.