AYWtGS: Water Woes – How to Set Up a Portable Bathroom in an Emergency

A Year Without the Grocery Store talks about Water Woes – How to Set Up a Portable Bathroom in an Emergency. Being prepared and having a backup works for small events, like frozen pipes, as well as larger disasters.

Three years ago this week – Actually, on January 1st of 2018, I rolled out of bed and headed to the bathroom.  After “using the facilities” I flushed the toilet and went to wash my hands, but when I turned the faucet to the ‘open’ position, some sputtering water came out followed by nothing but air.

Water Woes - How to Set up a Portable BathroomYes, on January 1st, we found out that our pipes had frozen.  But. . . I was ready.  Awhile before, I had purchased everything that I needed to set up a portable bathroom.  Today, I want to walk you through the relatively easy process of making sure that you have what you need to set up a portable bathroom.  I’ll also share some tips and tricks on how to make it function more efficiently (and be less stinky).

***There are links in this post.  Some of the links may be affiliate links. My promise to you is that I will only recommend the most economical version of the best quality of items to serve you. All of these are the items that I have bought for my own family.  If you click on a link, your price will remain the same.  If you make a purchase, we may make a small commission that aids in the cost of the running of this website.***

Main parts of a Portable Bathroom System

There are two main parts to a portable bathroom – a portable toilet and a handwashing station.

Portable Toilet  Water Woes - How to Set up a Portable Bathroom

Getting ready to set up a portable toilet is fairly easy.

1.)  Find a place to put your portable bathroom.

On both instances that we had to set up our portable toilet, we have always used our main floor half-bath.  There is usually enough room to put a 5-6 gallon bucket where our legs would normally be with room around the outside to be able to step around it to get to the door.  If you don’t have anything like this, you could use the main larger bathroom in the house, or even the master bath.

If, however, you are completely devoid of any of these options,  you can work outside the box a bit.  There is such a thing as a pop-up privacy tent.  These are usually used for showers or portable toilets while camping.   You could set one of these up in an out-of-the-way room, but be warned, it won’t smell the best despite some suggestions that I will make later to keep the stench down.

2.)  Source your FREE 5-6 gallon bucket. 

Did you know that most grocery stores that have in-house bakeries will give away their frosting buckets (some of which are 5-6 gallons) for free?  So the next time that you’re in a grocery store that has a bakery, walk over and ask them if they have any empty frosting buckets that they are willing to give away.  Or you could even call ahead and ask for the bakery so that you can find out BEFORE you go whether or not they have any frosting buckets available at that moment.  Several bakeries have told me that they throw them out at the end of the day on the day that they empty them.

Once you get it home, you will have to clean it with warm soapy water – and maybe a smidge of bleach to get the residue out of it.  Once it’s clean and dried, you’re ready to use it when the need arises.

If, however, you prefer not to get free buckets, you can get cheap ones from any hardware store.  If you ONLY intend to use them for a portable toilet, you don’t need to bother with getting food-grade buckets.  Home Depot and Lowe’s both carry non-food grade buckets in their stores at reasonable prices.

Water Woes - How to Set up a Portable Toilet
Photo Credit: Amazon.com

3.)  Purchase your toilet seat and heavy-duty trashcan liners.

I purchased my snap-on toilet seat from Amazon, but I didn’t feel the need to purchase specialized “Doodie bags” or trash bags that are marketed to collect human waste.  We just used regular heavy-duty trash bags from Costco.

4.)  Purchase kitty litter or gather an alternative.

Kitty Litter?  Yes, kitty litter!  You need something that (1) will absorb liquid waste and (2) will help keep both the liquid and solid waste from smelling as bad as it otherwise would.  Kitty litter does passably at both of these.  It won’t keep it from stinking at all, but it will reduce the stench and will help absorb the liquid that you’ll be adding to the bag.

Don’t like the idea of using kitty litter?  There are other alternatives that you might have laying around for free.  Do you have a fireplace?  Start collecting the ashes in it.  They work fairly well at both absorbing the liquid as well as dealing with the smell.  Pine chips, sawdust, and newspapers torn into small strips also work.

Photo Credit: Amazon.com

Handwashing Station

We’ve covered what you need to be prepared to set up the portable toilet, but what do you need for a handwashing station.  You can go two different routes for this.

First off, you can use hand sanitizer.  And while this works fine if you just need to disinfect your hands, it doesn’t work if you also need to clean solid matter which may have gotten onto your hands from your ‘trip to the loo.’

We prefer to use our five-gallon water jug with a spigot.  This allows us to wash any dirt and debris from our hands after using the ‘facilities.’  But having both hand sanitizer and a five-gallon water jug with a spigot on hand can’t hurt.

Setting up a Portable Bathroom

So besides gathering the items that you need, there are few other points to help you set things up in a way that will serve you well.

In the “portable bathroom”

Whether this is an actual bathroom or a pop-up privy, it works similarly.  When you realize that you need to set up a portable toilet, grab your bucket, trash bags, snap-on lid, and odor fighter.

We double-line our bucket with two Costco heavy-duty trash bags and snap the toilet seat/lid onto the bucket over the two trash bags.

We take one of our glass bowls and fill it with kitty litter or ash and keep it in the sink.  If you are using a pop-up privy, then you’ll want something on which you can set your bowl – whether it’s just some newspaper on the ground to contain any stray particles or a stool to put it at a level easier to reach. Then we place a scoop of some sort – usually a measuring 1/2 cup into the bowl.  Once the facilities have been utilized, everyone is supposed to put a scoop of our anti-stink medium into the portable toilet.

Outside the Bathroom (or Privy)

Because we keep our bowl of kitty litter or ash in our bathroom sink, and because there isn’t much room on our bathroom sink, we have always placed our water jug with a spigot at the kitchen sink.  Our kitchen sink has always had ample counter space beside the sink on which to set our water jug.  It also allows for the flow of the jug into the sink, so we don’t have to worry about wastewater.

Another added benefit from doing it that way is that we always keep a hand towel near the sink, so we have a towel on which to dry our hands.

The process is a simple one, but if you haven’t thought it through, the first time could be more problematic than if you’d taken steps beforehand to know what you need to purchase and where you need to place it.

A practical benefit that we experienced

So before the incident when our pipes froze, my husband (the wonderful man that he is) only tolerated my prepping.  He acknowledged that at some nebulous day in the future we might have need of an item here or there, but he saw no practical purpose in keeping all this stuff around that we weren’t using on a regular basis.  And at that point, I would have said, “Don’t let me catch you getting him started on my food stash.”

But during Christmas vacation – while his dad was staying with us no less – our pipes froze, he realized that having items on hand was more than helpful.   By investing about $40, I had SAVED us hundreds of dollars.  It took four days for a professional company to figure out how to defrost our pipes so that we could have water.  We would have had to pay for 2 hotel rooms for 3 nights plus all the meals that we would have had to eat out.  It would have easily cost us $700-$1000.

But once he saw how a little money spent beforehand saved us a ton of money on a ‘regular day’ not some nebulous day after society collapses, his tone completely changed.  He went from reluctantly ‘allowing’ me to prep to being completely on board with my prepping.

Not only that, but he has become a driver in our prepping.  If I need something built, he’s right there to do it.  He makes suggestions on what we should do next.  He helps as we look for ways to make ourselves more self-sufficient right where we are.  We are much more of a team than we were before our pipes froze…

AYWtGS: Survival Applications and Everyday Uses for Activated Charcoal

This article at A Year Without the Grocery Store talks about the Survival Applications and Everyday Uses for Activated Charcoal

Old Wives’ Tales?

There are so many old wives’ tales about health.  Your grandmother’s chicken soup for a cold.  Feed the flu, starve a fever.  Drink chamomile tea to help you sleep.  Upset stomach?  Try peppermint tea.

But several of those things have more than a shred of truth to them.  Did you know that chicken broth is one of the best items to soothe your digestive tract and give your immune system – which many people believe is centered in your gut – a boost.  Chamomile tea has been proven to help aid in sleep.  And while “Feed a cold and starve a fever came into being in the 1500s, there’s very little truth to it.  But Peppermint tea has been shown to help digestive issues.  In a former article, I discussed eight OTC’s that could save your life.  Activated Charcoal is one of those.

Another Well-Known Remedy 

But there’s another natural remedy that many people tout as almost a cureall – Activated Charcoal.

Activated charcoal was first used by the Egyptians for medicinal purposes as early as 1500BC.  But it was also used by the Phonecians by 400 for its antiseptic properties.  By 50 AD was used by Hippocrates and the Greeks.  But it was lost for a long time during the dark ages.  It re-emerged in the 1700s as a medicinal treatment for many things.

But today, not only does activated charcoal have a ton of every-day applications.  It also has many survival applications.  So let’s jump in!

***There are links in this post.  The FCC wants me to tell you that some of the links may be affiliate links. My promise to you is that I will only recommend the most economical version of the best quality of items to serve you. All of these are the items that I have bought for my own family.  If you click on a link, your price will remain the same.  If you make a purchase, we may make a small commission that aids in covering the cost of running this website.***

Pertinent Info and Cautions

If you are on medicines, Activated Charcoal will nullify any medicines that you’ve taken in the last 4-6 hours.  So if you do decide to use it and you’re on medicines, make sure that you don’t take it with the medicines or even near the time when you took the medicines.

Activated charcoal is NOT the same thing as the charcoal that you find at the grocery store and that you use in your grill.  Not only will they not work the same, but charcoal briquettes have chemicals in them which are harmful.  Please do not mistake the one for the other.

What is it?

Activated charcoal is created when organic materials like wood, bamboo, coconut husks, or coal are burned at temperatures of 600-900 degrees celsius to create a charcoal powder.  Between that and charring it with chloride salts and exposing it to steam, a vast network of pores is created.  It’s this network of pores that gives activated charcoal it’s properties.

So much additional surface area is created during the activation process that 50 grams of activated charcoal (which is about the weight of 20 U.S. pennies) has 17.5 times more surface area than a full-size football field, according to a 2016 study in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

Forms of Activated Charcoal

I personally purchase activated charcoal in two forms.  I purchase it in a powder and in a pill form.  Each has its uses.

Powder form

As you read below, you’ll find that activated charcoal can be used to make poultices for various medical applications.  In order to use activated charcoal in this manner, having a powder form on hand is more than helpful.  This is the one that I personally choose.  It’s USDA Certified organic and food grade.

Pill Form

But at the same time, you may not want to try to drink activated charcoal mixed with water in a powder form because it will temporarily discolor your teeth and mouth.  If you have somewhere to go quickly, but you want to take some activated charcoal, having it if pill form is much more convenient.

So if you’re looking for a convenient pill form of activated charcoal that is highly rated, I’d recommend this one.

Survival Applications 

Before we jump right into this.  I need to remind you all that I am NOT a doctor.  I’ve researched these treatments, but I don’t understand 100% of everything I’m writing about.  Please make sure that you do your own research before you commit to any course of action.  I’m also not suggesting that anyone should use activated charcoal instead of heading to see a doctor.  Survival applications are just that – these are for a time where you can’t get to a doctor either because there are none around that you can find or you’re in a SHTF situation where you can’t leave your house.

1.) Poisoning and Overdose

Activated charcoal has been used to treat poisonings or overdoses since the 1700s.  It’s one of the oldest documented medicinal uses of Activated Charcoal.  Even here in the United States, activated charcoal is used in hospitals to treat poisoning and accidental overdoses.  As far as survival goes, having a way to treat an overdose or accidental poisoning is more than important.

There are certain types of poisonous substances that activated charcoal cannot counteract.  Anything caustic – something that burns on contact, poisonous gasses, lye, petroleum products, metals such as lithium and iron.

2.) Bites/stings

Making a paste of activated charcoal will help draw out the toxins.  I had a friend whose fairly young child (around 3) had gotten a bite, but because it was on the inside of his thigh, she didn’t find it right away.  When she did, it was a weekend, and she didn’t feel it warranted a trip to the ER, so she made a thick paste of activated charcoal and wrapped his leg in saran wrap to keep the moisture in.  It drew out the toxins and left a bit of a crater in his leg – until it filled in, but he healed just fine!

If you’re not living through a survival situation, if you have a snake bite or something else serious, please do seek medical help, though.

3.)  Skin abscesses

Activated charcoal poultices don’t only work on stings and bites, but they also work on other skin problems like abscesses and cysts.

You make a poultice by starting with the dry activated charcoal powder, drip enough water into it to make a wet paste.  Apply the paste to the skin and cover it with something like saran wrap to keep the paste wet.  Change it every 12 hours.

Survival and Everyday Applications for Activatec Charcoal4.) Water filtration

Because activated charcoal has so much surface area and so many pores, it makes a great water filter.  Many companies that make water filters used activated charcoal in the filters – Including Brita.  Just go to Amazon and search activated charcoal water filters.  You’ll find a ton of them.  Brita uses charcoal filters in their pitchers.

5.)  Can improve kidney function in people with kidney disease

Activated charcoal is able to remove excess phosphorus, urea, and other toxins from the blood.  Some patients in end-stage renal disease use it to lessen the time that they have to be hooked up to a dialysis machine.  Since it removes excess urea from your blood, it may also improve/prevent gout.

6.) Digestive issues

These would vary from vomiting to diarrhea to bloating to stomach cramps to gas/flatulence.  Because activated charcoal is able to adsorb (yes, that is the correct word) various contaminants in your digestive system, it is a great way to help quell and calm digestive upset throughout your digestive tract.  When my children have an upset stomach or start throwing up, I will mix 1 capsule (about 1/4 tsp of activated charcoal with some water.  For my littlest one, I will add a packet of stevia.  Then I have them drink the concoction through a straw.  If you don’t use a straw, they’ll have to brush their teeth as you’ll leave your teeth stained by the activated charcoal.

7.)  Lymes disease

Lymes patients often suffer from die off reactions also called herxheimer reactions.  It’s where dying bad bacteria give off toxins as they die.  In research for this article, I went to article, after article, after article which talked about how people with Lyme’s disease benefit from using activated charcoal.

8.)  Mold toxicity

We’ve had several families that used to attend our church that suffered from mold toxicity reactions. We had mold removed from the church, but apparently, the toxins are persistent even if the mold is removed. One of these families said that whenever they left the church building, they would experience reactions to being exposed to these mold toxins.  One family would take activated charcoal every time they left the building.  They said that it helped immensely.

But don’t take my word on their word.  There are studies that have been done that discuss the benefits of taking activated charcoal for mold toxicity.

Survival and Everyday Applications for Activatec Charcoal9.) Deodorant

Activated Charcoal doesn’t just adsorb toxins, it is able to adsorb unpleasant smells.  Besides being able to be used in a refrigerator to remove persistent stenches, it can also do the same with your underarms.  Want to give it a try?  Here’s a DIY recipe for activated charcoal deodorant.

10.)  Plant Poisons

I’m not talking about poisonous plants that you ingest.  I’m talking about plants like poison ivy, poison oak, stinging nettle.  This is another instance that you can create a poultice using activated charcoal and cover the affected area with it.  Wrap it in something that will keep the moisture in (plastic wrap works well) and change it every 6-12 hours…(continues)

AYWtGS: How My Christianity Affects My Prepping In Positive Ways

This morning’s article comes from A Year Without the Grocery Store – How My Christianity Affects My Prepping In Positive Ways.

I believe in preparedness.  I know.  It’s shocking coming from a preparedness author who runs a preparedness blog.  But I think that sometimes Christians fall into onto of two categories.  One group believes that being prepared is lacking faith.  The other group understands that preparedness flows out of their Christianity.  I fall into the latter category.  And today, I want to talk about how my preparedness flows out of my Christianity.

I will be using Bible verses to prove my point.  If you will be offended, please just close this post now.  I really don’t want to offend anyone.

***There are links in this post.  Some of the links may be affiliate links. My promise to you is that I will only recommend the most economical version of the best quality of items to serve you. All of these are the items that I have bought for my own family.  If you click on a link, your price will remain the same.  If you make a purchase, we may make a small commission that aids in the cost of the running of this website.***

But first a funny.

Optimistic Outlook

Now, I am Presbyterian, and in general, we do have an optimistic view of future things sometimes known as Post-millennialism.

Do things look bleak here in America right now – Oh my goodness – YES!  However, did you know that there are almost 8 billion people on the planet?  Two billion of those claim the name of Christ.  And, did you realize that the Christian population in South America, Africa, and Asia rival that of North America and Europe?  And the number of Christians is growing in South America, Africa, and Asia, while the Christian population of North America and Europa is shrinking.  Just because when we look around and see what looks like everything around us crumbling down HERE, doesn’t mean that it is everywhere.

I believe that the Lord is still working and growing his kingdom.  Part of my preparedness should be to witness to those around me.  I want people to love God and worship Him out of a heart full of praise.  Why?  Because in doing so, their joy will be full.  And because their joy is full – mine will be more so.

How my Christianity affects my preparedness?

My Christianity Affects My Prepping in Positive Ways1.)  I believe that we’re given the example in scripture to be prepare

Where do I believe the Bible gives us the command to prepare? This example comes from Christ himself in Matthew 25:1-10.

Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.

Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 

Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 

but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 

But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.

“And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’

Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. 

And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 

But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ 

And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.

Five wise virgins prepared.  Five foolish ones didn’t.  The first five entered the kingdom.  The second five didn’t.  And, yes, I get that the picture of the kingdom really is discussing being ready for meeting our King.  But there’s also a secondary meaning.  Be prepared.

2.) Because of my Christianity, I believe that my preparedness will be effective.

Will it be perfect?  No, but I believe that it will be effective.  Like the oil for the widow of Zarephath in I Kings 17:7-15, I believe that my efforts will be multiplied.

But that doesn’t mean that I sit on my laurels.  I can go “A Year Without the Grocery Store.”  I also have worked on preparing our house.  Right now, we’re working on preparing our house for winter.  We’re stocked on wood and propane for the cold season as well. I’ve also worked on getting our vehicle in order to take care of us if something happens while we’re on the road or out and about.

We’ve also worked a lot as we’ve learned about “Homesteading in the Burbs” on .24 acres.  We’ve planted apple trees, peach trees, grapevines, black raspberry vines.  We’re working on water barrel towers.  We’ve got a clothesline put up.

So I haven’t been lax, but because I’ve worked at this, I do believe that that Lord will bless it.  Psalm 37:25 says, “I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread.”

3.)  Because of my Christianity, I prepare because I have the responsibility of some taking care of others.

Acts 2:44-45 says, “ Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.”  This isn’t a verse that supports socialism.  These people sold what they had of their own accord and helped people of their own accord.  

And if things go poorly, I had a responsibility to help take care of others.  I don’t just prepare for myself.  My husband and I are hoping to purchase acreage so that we can help others if things go poorly.   The hope is that we’ll have enough acreage to help people – starting with people in our family and then moving to people in our church.  Then we’ll see who else we would help.  I can’t speak to more than family and church yet.

4.)  Because of my Christianity, if things fall apart, I believe that if I survive, I have the responsibility to rebuild.

Those who survive should embrace the responsibility of rebuilding – even if it is incredibly hard.   And it’s something that we really need to start talking about now.  On what principles do we want to rebuild society?  What will be the basis for governmental structure and law?

There’s a lot to talk about and think about.  Do you have a preparedness group?  Discuss this with them.  Get their thoughts and input.

I would highly recommend this book – sometimes you’ll see it broken down into a three-book series.  It’s called God and Government by Gary Demar.  It’s a great read to understand how our government could be.  The American Vision website describes this book by saying, “Relying on clear historical and biblical research, author Gary DeMar demonstrated how America had been great and how she could be great again.”

So What About You?

Are you a Christian who is preparing?  What drives your preparedness efforts?  Where do you root them?  I’d love to hear. Share with us in the comments below so that we can all be better prepared.

Together let’s Love, Live, Practice, and Overcome!

AYWtGS: How to Ensure That You Have Seeds for Next Year!

Kim Deel at A Year Without the Grocery Store gives some ideas for having seeds for next year’s garden in The 2020 US Seed Shortage – How to Ensure That You Have Seeds for Next Year!

Whether we’ve been gardening for years or learning how to Guerilla Garden more recently, we’re at a point in the US where many feel the need to grow at least some of their own food.  For most of us, just the word “shortage” can bring up some powerful emotions, perhaps a bit of fear? anxiety? Or worse, panic?  Do you feel like giving up on gardening because you believe there is nothing you can grow without seeds?  Let’s dig deeper and investigate what the seed shortage of 2020 really means. Let’s explore what we can do about it because this is about getting-food-on-the-table!  I hope you are ready for a FUN challenge!

***There are links in this post.  Some of the links may be affiliate links. My promise to you is that I will only recommend the most economical version of the best quality of items to serve you. Many of these are the items that I have bought for my own family.  If you click on a link, your price will remain the same.  If you make a purchase, we may make a small commission which aids in the cost of running of this website.***

Seed Shortages and What to DO About Them!There are some lies being perpetuated.  But we’re going to speak the truth.

LIE:  There are no seeds available.

TRUTH:  Seed companies have not been able to keep up with the overwhelming demand for seeds this year.

The seed shortage is real, and it is a simple case of supply and demand.  Seed companies, like all other businesses, base their expected future sales on averages of sales from past years to help determine how much inventory they anticipate will be needed for the upcoming season. Since seed companies prepare more than a year ahead, there is no way anyone could have predicted that COVID-19 was going to hit and skyrocket the demand for seeds.   It is important to remember:  This is only a TEMPORARY setback!

New Demands

Now that the demand for seeds is higher, companies and individuals will begin to save more seeds to meet consumer demand.  The bad news is, it might take a year or so to “get back to normal” and adjust to the increased demand.  There **will** be seeds available, it just might be a bit tricky to find a specific variety for a little while.

Getting Creative

So, we have a big question—What are we going to do about it?  Well, we are going to get creative and find seeds!  This is going to be a challenge.  But I hope you will choose to make it fun, like going on a treasure hunt!  I need you to shift gears a bit, I want you to focus on our mission, which is to save seeds for our future.  In the past, we’ve been all about growing the biggest, get-food-on-the-table harvest, but today we will take a step back, and focus on seed saving to prepare for our future, because the tortoise wins in the end, right?

Seed Shortage Challenge#1  Seed Shortages and What to DO About Them!

Learn how to save seeds.  Any time spent on learning how to save seeds will give back more seeds than you can possibly plant in your lifetime.  My favorite, hands-down winner of a reference guide is “Seed to Seed” by Suzanne Ashworth.  My copy was published in 2002 and it has paid for itself many times over.  This book will teach you how to properly gather and prepare seeds for storage. This is an absolute must for your prepping library.

Seed Shortage tip #1

Choose your sacrificial fruit wisely.  For example, tomatoes– choose the most beautifully-perfect tomato from your entire plant, even if a worm has chewed on part of it, it’s still a great choice for saving seeds for next year. You don’t want to save the seeds from a sickly tomato because we don’t need sickly tomato plants in our future gardens.   Seed saving is a savings account and as we invest those beautifully-perfect seeds, you and your family can enjoy many beautifully-perfect tomatoes in the coming years.

(Your future self will thank you!)

Seed Shortage Tip #2

Let your sacrificial fruits stay on the vine until they are over-ripe, past the point that you want to eat it, but not rotten.  Doing so will yield large seeds that are hardy and will give you the best success at growing plants next season.

Saving Problematic Seeds

Start in your own backyard.  Look around and see what you can “pay forward” to your future garden.  Do you have any herbs that have flowered and “gone to seed”, if so, snip those flowery seeds off, stuff into a paper bag, and let dry?  Remember to label them because once they are drying on your dining room table, they all look the same! (Trust me on this: been there, done that.) Transplant something.  Even if you don’t want to, please transplant!  Divide some of your overgrown herbs and place them into pots to bring in the house over the winter.  Share with a friend or pay-it-forward — put out a curb alert on social media and share your bounty with a total stranger!  Got Flowers?  Marigolds, zinnias, cosmos, sunflowers, or hundreds of other varieties?  Even if these always re-seed for you, pick off a few dried flowers anyway and save them to share with someone.

Back to the garden – cucumbers, and tomatoes – these seeds need to be fermented before storing.  Simply put the seeds in a bowl of water to break down the slick coating for a few days until a white film forms at the surface, then rinse well and place on a paper towel until dry and you are ready to store.  I like to store my seeds in snack-size plastic baggies, as paper envelopes can absorb moisture and ruin the seeds.

My Melon Story

Last spring I purchased Kajari melon seeds.  I was super excited, as this was my first time growing them.  I only planted 5 seeds, but they grew quickly and soon began to sprout softball-size melons—they are so good!  Below you will find a picture of the seeds that I was able to harvest from ONE single melon.  Beyond that one melon, one Kajari plant has over a dozen melons on one single plant!    One tiny seed has the potential for thousands of Kajari melon plants!   How cool is that?  Now you understand why I say there isn’t a shortage of seeds, there is a shortage of SAVED SEEDS.  We must band together to collect, save, and share the seeds!!  If every gardener would save their seeds and share with others, we could go from the Seed Shortage to the Seed Abundance in a very short period of time!

What About You?

Have you ever saved seeds before?  Do you know about any good seed exchanges?  Are there any other creative ways of which you are aware that people can obtain seeds?  Share with us in the comments below so that we can all be better prepared!

Together lets Love, Learn, Practice, and Overcome.

AYWtGS: Homeschooling Is Preparedness

From A Year Without the Grocery Store blog comes Homeschooling Is Preparedness.

Wow, what a year and a summer it’s been!  Are you apprehensive about sending your children back to school wearing masks?  Have you considered homeschooling, but you’re – if you’re very honest – kinda scared?  Is there even an apprehension that you may even screw something up so badly that your child’s education will be skewed for life?

***There are links in this post.  Some of the links may be affiliate links. My promise to you is that I will only recommend the most economical version of the best quality of items to serve you. Many of these are the items that I have bought for my own family.  If you click on a link, your price will remain the same.  If you make a purchase, we may make a small commission which aids in the cost of running of this website.***

Homeschooling As Preparedness - It's Honestly Very Simple

Homeschooling as Preparedness

Have you ever considered that schooling your kids CAN BE a part of preparedness?  Last year, I wrote about the fact that there may come a time when you may HAVE TO homeschool your kids.  I’m sure that almost no one believed me!  I have to kind of chuckle sitting here now.  I was……well…..kinda right.

But the truth of the matter is we are “sitting” here now and many people have had to do a version of homeschooling earlier this year, and now, some people are considering homeschooling.

But why should you listen to me?  Well, I’ve been homeschooling for more than 14 years, and I’ve graduated two children.  I’ve got three more children still in school.  I’m not perfect, but I’ve been at this a LONG time and tried all different kinds of curricula from boxed to DIY to combining multiple curricula together.  I’ve also been writing and homeschooling as a part of preparedness and discussing cheap schooling supplies for a long time.

I have a revelation.  Homeschooling is actually VERY simple though not always easy.  But anyone can do it!

The hardest part of homeschooling can be just being with your kids, but even then, you CAN do that!  And, it honestly does get easier over time.  I’m to the point that I hand my kids their assignment sheets (which I create an entire semester in an evening) once a week, and then give me their assignments at the end of the week.  I do have to grade their work, but I’m fairly hands-off other than that.

Homeschooling As Preparedness - It's Honestly Very Simple

Homeschooling Options

So in writing this article, I was trying to figure out the way that I could most simplify this for you.

I want you to ask yourself these questions, and choose the one that fits you best.

1.)  Do you need someone else to plan the curriculum AND do the teaching?

2.)  Want to do the actual teaching yourself, but you need someone to plan it for you?

3.)  Do you want to create something for your kids yourself so you can play to their interests?

4.)  Or does this fit you?  You want your kids to learn, but you don’t want them to feel like their actually doing school.

Homeschooling As Preparedness - It's Honestly Very SimpleWhich number fits you?  #1?

If #1 fits you best, you have a lot of options.  I mostly know if Christian curricula, so that’s going to be mostly my focus.  If you want someone to do the actual teaching, you have several awesome options.

ABeka

ABeka has a video curriculum for grades 1-12.  They have an option where they will even grade it for you and keep your transcripts.  This is a Christian based curriculum with Bible stories in grade school and Bible as one of the subjects in high school.  It is rigorous – so do be aware.  We used the online class portal with one of our children three years ago.  As the parent, we tracked their video watching and had to check to see which videos this child watched (or skipped as was the case sometimes) and which assignments they still needed to submit.

Pluses – It’s all done for you.  It’s very comprehensive.  The videos are first class – and every class is on video.  It’s like your child is a member of the classroom, so in many ways, they will feel like they are at school.  It’s immersive in that way.

Minuses – if you can call this a minus – it’s very rigorous.  I had a child (in 8th grade) who was struggling terribly with grammar.  I took him back to do some remedial grammar, but because Abeka is rigorous, I took him all the way back to A Beka’s second-grade grammar and spelling.  It really started at the beginning.  Another minus is the cost.  Because it’s almost like your child is attending a classroom with a teacher and fellow students, it is more expensive.  Costs range between $110 and $140/month for 10 months or one single payment of $959 for grades 1-6 or $1219 for grades 7-12.

Monarch

Monarch homeschooling is through Alpha Omega press.  It’s a completely online homeschooling option that allows you to use it for up to three kids and you get access to up to 50 courses.  Each student takes five different core courses including Bible, History and Geography, Language Arts, Math, and Science.  The student reads (or watches) all the lessons online and does the work that goes along with it.  They also take tests and quizzes online.  The grading is done automatically.  This is really a great “Hands-Off” option if you work from home, but want to homeschool.

We’ve used the DVD curriculum version of this about four years ago.  So we’re fairly familiar with it.

Pluses – You can do up to 3 children for $70/month or just one child for $40/month.  It’s so very hands-off for people who need someone else to teach their children or for a mom or dad who works from home but doesn’t want to send their child to school.

Minuses – If you’re child is really at different grade levels in different subjects, it’s hard to figure out which grade to put them in.  It’s not all a video, but there are some videos.  Many of the lessons, however, are mostly read.  If you have a child who does better as an audio or visual learner, this may not be the curriculum for you.

Which number fits you?  #2?  Homeschooling As Preparedness - It's Honestly Very Simple

Do you really want to teach your children yourself, but you need someone to tell you what to do?  There are several options, but I want to give you a word of encouragement.  You are the teacher.  When you read through the curriculum, if you see something you don’t want to do, you don’t have to do everything that the curriculum tells you to.  You can choose what you want your children to do and what is too much for them.  No matter what curriculum you use, you can still tailor it to them!

ABeka Book Curriculum

This is different from the video school curriculum.  It’s still rigorous – you use the same books for your classes, but you teach them and direct their education.  You will grade their work and help them as they work through their classes.  We used this curriculum for K4 and K5, and honestly loved it!

My Father’s World

Ever heard of the Charlotte Mason approach to schooling?  My Father’s World is a Bible-based curriculum that employs the Charlotte Mason approach.  History is studied in chronological order.  Great books are read.  Notebooking and narration are employed techniques of learning.  We’ve never used My Father’s World, but I have to admit, it intrigues me…(continues)

AYWtGS: Flattening the Curve Vs. Staying Ahead of the Curve

A Year Without the Grocery Store has an article about planning ahead for the next waves of the virus and associated second and third order effects in Flattening the Curve Vs. Staying Ahead of the Curve.

All of us have heard a lot about flattening the curve.  And according to many experts, we have successfully flattened the curve – to a greater or lesser degree depending on where in the country you live.  But we have a new problem now.  People are thinking about re-emerging from their respective lockdowns – whether self-imposed or government imposed.  And all that many people want is for life to return to normal.  Okay, I’ll level with you.  *I* want life to return to normal, but that isn’t my focus right now.  My focus is on getting ahead of the curve.

<img class=”alignleft wp-image-17894 size-medium” src=”https://i2.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_81393979.jpeg?resize=300%2C240&ssl=1″ alt=”” width=”300″ height=”240″ srcset=”https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_81393979-scaled.jpeg?resize=300%2C240&ssl=1 300w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_81393979-scaled.jpeg?resize=1024%2C819&ssl=1 1024w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_81393979-scaled.jpeg?resize=768%2C614&ssl=1 768w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_81393979-scaled.jpeg?resize=1536%2C1229&ssl=1 1536w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_81393979-scaled.jpeg?resize=2048%2C1638&ssl=1 2048w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_81393979-scaled.jpeg?resize=650%2C520&ssl=1 650w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_81393979-scaled.jpeg?resize=600%2C480&ssl=1 600w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />

Getting Ahead of the Curve?

So what I do mean by ‘getting ahead of the curve?’    It’s a fairly common phrase – “getting ahead of the curve.”  In our circumstances, I mean that we need to be able to look toward the future and see what actions we need to take NOW to take care of our families down the road.

Don’t be deceived – this is only the first wave of the virus.  If the pattern of the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 holds true, there will be at least 3 waves of this virus.  So if we are seeing an end to the first wave of the Covid-19, we need to start about thinking about preparing for the second and third waves.  We also need to start trying to figure out what will the financial and practical fallout be for our country, region, state, county, city, and family.

Practical Fallout

One way that we’re already experiencing practical fallout is in the breakdown of our supply chain.  When I was at church yesterday – and yes, for the first time in seven weeks, we actually went to church I spent some time talking with a friend who lives in rural Illinois.  She was telling us that they have friends who work in pig farming.  They started probably two months ago, killing off any baby pigs that they didn’t think were going to be among the best of the litter.  Since then, they’ve taken measures to abort any baby pigs at all.  They know that they aren’t going to have the money to feed those pigs until the meat production plants reopen.

We’re already hearing about how Tyson has been shutting down plants because workers have tested positive for the coronavirus.  We’ve seen shortages of hand sanitizer, toilet paper, garden seeds, soups, pasta, masks, gloves, and so many other things.

So what can we do?  Flattening the Curve vs. Staying Ahead of the Curve<img class=”alignright wp-image-17895 size-medium” src=”https://i2.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873.jpeg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1″ alt=”Flattening the Curve vs. Staying Ahead of the Curve” width=”300″ height=”200″ srcset=”https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873-scaled.jpeg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1 300w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873-scaled.jpeg?resize=1024%2C681&ssl=1 1024w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873-scaled.jpeg?resize=768%2C511&ssl=1 768w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873-scaled.jpeg?resize=1536%2C1022&ssl=1 1536w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873-scaled.jpeg?resize=2048%2C1363&ssl=1 2048w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873-scaled.jpeg?resize=650%2C433&ssl=1 650w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873-scaled.jpeg?resize=600%2C399&ssl=1 600w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />

Start now and watch the news.  What item or items (whether in your area or in the entire country) is likely going to become scarce in the near future?

1.)  Right now, if you have room in your freezer or you can pressure can, picking up extra meat is very important.  Bacon was already out of stock at Costco when I went out (with gloves and mask) last week.  They didn’t even have beef in the form that I usually pick it up.  Pork and chicken are the two types of meat that are in the greatest danger of seeing shortages.  The sooner you can get out and stock up, the better off you are.

2.)  Restock any foodstuffs that you can to bring your food numbers back to where they need to be.  If you’ve been using my book and workbook system to get your long-term food storage to where it needs to be and your short-term food storage to 3 months, then you know what areas you’ve been taking from during these last two months. Make sure that you fill them back up.  We’ve used significant amounts of oatmeal and tomato sauce.  When I was out at the post office today, we stopped at a store to refill our personal stores.

3.)  Restock any non-foodstuff items.  Have you worked your way through almost an entire pack of gloves?  See if you can replenish them.  Do you have to wear a mask when you’re out in public?  Are you running low?  Can you make your own, purchase single-use face masks, or another reusable alternative?  How are you on shampoo, soap, laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent?

Flattening the Curve vs. Staying Ahead of the Curve<img class=”alignleft wp-image-17896 size-medium” src=”https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1″ alt=”Flattening the Curve vs. Staying Ahead of the Curve” width=”300″ height=”200″ srcset=”https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1 300w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=1024%2C683&ssl=1 1024w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=768%2C512&ssl=1 768w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=1536%2C1024&ssl=1 1536w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=2048%2C1365&ssl=1 2048w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=650%2C433&ssl=1 650w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=600%2C400&ssl=1 600w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />Financial Fallout

How stable do you believe your job is?  How about your spouse’s job?  I known and met people who have lost parts of their income because of Covid-19.  I know people who have lost their entire income because of the virus as well.

Even if you think that things are on sure footing, it is a good time now to create an alternate budget.   We have the regular budget that we operate on a month to month basis, but then we have an alternative budget.  First off, If you’ve never used YNAB – You Need A Budget – then I would highly recommend that you check it out.  It is a yearly subscription fee, but it has saved us so much money during the four years that we’ve used it.

So we’ve back to this alternate budget.  It’s a bare-bones budget with every convenience that we feel like we could live without cut out of it.  We aren’t living on that budget, but we’re looking at a time when that might be necessary to live on less.  This enables us to ask, “How much less can we live on?”  And allows us to have concrete numbers as to what we HAVE to bring home…(continues)

YWtGS: Quarantine Week 1 Menu and Food Storage Recipe

A Year Without the Grocery Store has a post up about their first week of quarantine and how to plan meals from storage food – Quarantine Week 1 Menu & Food Storage Recipe . Also check out Rural Revolution’s recipe for Beef and Mushroom Pie, resulting from a cleaning out the fridge moment.

So many of our lives have been turned upside down.  Whether you are now homeschooling your kids – since many schools have been closed.  Are you eating at home on a regular basis now when normally you would have gone out to eat one or two times during the week?  Are you used to precooked or prepackaged meals?  Each of these things can be so hard to navigate in their own, so what is one thing that we can do to make one of these things easier?  Make a Menu!

So it’s hard to think about what to feed families during a crisis.  And even for those of us who have a food storage menu set up, some of those meals might not sound appetizing at the moment.  How do you go about making up a menu for while you’re in quarantine?

Principles for Making a Quarantine Menu

Quarantine Menu - Week 11) Start with what you already have

Are you like me?  Do you buy food for a specific meal and at least once a week you don’t eat it?  More than that, oftentimes, you don’t reschedule those meals for the next week?  Yeah, me too!  So when looking through my freezer, I found a lot of food that is easily incorporated into this week’s menu.

I have a fairly deep pantry that I’ve been developing over the course of several years.  I built it using a food storage menu.   When I started making this week’s menu though, I didn’t major on my food storage menu.  I started with what I already have in my freezer.

(2) Eat “normal” foods as much as possible.

This is a really scary time for us as adults.  California has already been given a “shelter in place” order.  It’s been rumored that Illinois will be under the same order starting tomorrow.  This can raise our anxiety level – and we’re adults!  Imagine what it is like for your kids!

If you feed your kids normal foods, this will actually help them emotionally deal with this situation.  The greater a level of “normal” you can give to your children, the better off they will be during this crisis.

Don’t think that introducing crazy, strange foods at a time like this will do anything good for their (or your) digestive system.  Don’t think that your kids will all of a sudden eat canned asparagus if you never fed it to them before.  The same goes for

(3)  If you’re struggling, make a schedule.

I’m not talking about a menu.  I’m talking about a dinner schedule from which to make your menu.  A schedule might look like this.

  • Monday – Mexican Dish
  • Tuesday – Italian meal
  • Wednesday – Oriental Dish
  • Thursday –  American/Casserole
  • Friday – Soup
  • Saturday – Pizza (either frozen or homemade)
  • Sunday – Left Overs

OR maybe you’re “schedule” will look like this

  • Monday – Beef
  • Tuesday – Chicken
  • Wednesday – Pork
  • Thursday – Vegetarian
  • Friday – Beef
  • Saturday – Chicken
  • Sunday – Pork

Then when you go to make a menu, you don’t have to stress too much because the hardest part is already set up for you!

My breakfast and lunch meals are almost always identical from week to week.  This is how our breakfasts and lunches go in general.  I plan on keeping it the same as MUCH as possible even in quarantine.  I do know how to make bread, bagels, granola, biscuits, pizza, and cinnamon rolls, so I can keep that up even if I have to make it from scratch.

  • Monday Breakfast – Oatmeal / Lunch – Grilled cheese
  • Tuesday Breakfast – Bagels / Lunch – Beefaroni or soup
  • Wednesday Breakfast –  Homemade granola / Lunch – Sandwiches
  • Thursday Breakfast – Eggs and bacon / Lunch – Mac and Cheese
  • Friday Breakfast – Homemade Granola / Lunch – Pizza
  • Saturday Breakfast – Biscuits and Gravy / Lunch – Get Your Own
  • Sunday  Breakfast – Cinnamon Rolls / Lunch – Meatballs

4.) Don’t hesitate to learn new things!

Making bread really isn’t hard!

And if you can make bread, you can make cinnamon rolls, pizza crust, and bagels.  Making noodles is actually really easy too.  These things are just time-consuming, but when you’re forced to be at home, it’s a great way to spend your time.

Making homemade granola is even easier to make, and then you have several days worth of breakfasts ready at once.  One batch of our granola lasts us 2 weeks eating it twice each week.

My Menu for Quarantine Week 1

So here is an actual picture of my menu for this next week.  It goes on my fridge today and will stay up.  One of the reasons why I post it is so that I don’t get “What’s for breakfast, Mom?”  ALL-THE-STINKING-TIME!  I have one child who will finish dinner and go, “Hey, Mom! What’s for breakfast?”

The second reason that I post a menu is that my oldest daughter is responsible for breakfast every day.  My middle daughter is responsible for lunches every day, and I’m responsible for dinner every day.  This way, they don’t have to ask me what they should be making.  They know because it’s listed.

So here’s my menu.  Some of this will be from scratch.  This week, I’ll make the cinnamon rolls from scratch, but we still have “canned” biscuits” to make things easier on my daughter.  We still also have frozen pizzas, so we’ll do those instead of making those from scratch.  In future weeks, these will eventually be made from scratch.

 

Food Storage Recipe – Homemade Granola

We double this recipe and it makes at least 4 breakfasts for a family of 7.

Ingredients

  • 6 C Oats
  • 1 C Nuts (we prefer pecans)
  • 1 C Chocolate Chips
  • 1 C Coconut (can be omitted)
  • 1/2 C Cocoa powder
  • 1 C Coconut oil
  • 1 C Honey
  • 1 T Vanilla

Directions:

Grease a 9×13 two-inch deep casserole dish.  Mix the oats, nuts, chocolate chips, coconut, and cocoa powder together.  In a saucepan melt the coconut oil and honey together.  Once they are melted together, remove from heat and add vanilla.  Pour the mixture over the oat mixture in the 9×13 dish, and stir thoroughly.  Bake for 1 hour at 250.

Do you need help setting up a food storage menu?  I have written a FREE 7-page  Fast and Easy Food Storage Solution Guide to help you through the process.

What About You?

How are you setting up your menu for this time during quarantine?  Do you feel like you’ve got a good handle on it?  If you’re doing well, do you have any tips and tricks to share with the rest of our readers?  I’d love to hear.  Leave a comment below in the comments section so that we can all be better prepared.

Together lets Love, Learn, Practice, and Overcome!

There are links in this post.  Some of the links may be affiliate links.  Some of the links may not be.  My promise to you is that I will only recommend the most economical version of the best quality of items to serve you. These are the items that I have bought for my own family.  You can feel free to use my affiliate links, of which I will get a small amount in compensation, or you can choose to search out your products on your own.

Please note that any affiliate links above are for A Year Without the Grocery Store and not for the Lower Valley Assembly.

AYWtGS: Covid-19 Quarantine Day 1

A Year Without the Grocery Store related their first day of quarantine – Covid-19 Quarantine Day 1 – in which a perhaps surprising number of issues pop up.

I had planned on making one more trip to Costco before going into quarantine.  Did we NEED anything?  Probably not, but there were a few items that I really wanted to get a few more of – mostly dairy type items. I do have other alternatives, but they take preparing, and I’m by nature lazy.  I wanted another package or two of shredded cheese, some more heavy whipping cream and maybe some more eggs.

I messaged my mom to ask her if she wanted me to pick up anything for her.  She asked me not to leave the house.  I was willing to head out, but I understood her hesitancy.  So because I wanted to honor my mother, I stayed home.  It was the right decision.

Bad News from Texas<img class=”alignright size-medium wp-image-17746″ src=”https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/benjamin-bousquet-PDVvoXRAmCY-unsplash.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1″ alt=”” width=”300″ height=”200″ srcset=”https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/benjamin-bousquet-PDVvoXRAmCY-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1 300w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/benjamin-bousquet-PDVvoXRAmCY-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=1024%2C683&ssl=1 1024w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/benjamin-bousquet-PDVvoXRAmCY-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=768%2C512&ssl=1 768w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/benjamin-bousquet-PDVvoXRAmCY-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=1536%2C1024&ssl=1 1536w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/benjamin-bousquet-PDVvoXRAmCY-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=2048%2C1365&ssl=1 2048w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/benjamin-bousquet-PDVvoXRAmCY-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=650%2C433&ssl=1 650w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/benjamin-bousquet-PDVvoXRAmCY-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=600%2C400&ssl=1 600w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” data-recalc-dims=”1″>

I got a phone call from my father-in-law.  We had asked him to join us up here in Illinois because he really wasn’t ready for this.  But in his phone call, he let me know that one of his friends was presumptive positive for Covid-19.  While he hasn’t been in contact with this friend, he had other friends who have spent time with his presumptive positive friend with whom he has spent time.  So he won’t be coming up, but he needs items to get him through this next bit – where hopefully he doesn’t come down with the virus.

In case he does get sick, we’re sending him “just add water” dry soup mixes to help feed him past these next two weeks (which he only has 1 can of soup per day).  We’re also sending him Xlear to help keep his nasal passages clear and zinc lozenges.  I found a great article on the benefits and problems with zinc, so make sure you read it before you run out and start taking zinc.

The plan is for him to shelter in place for 2 weeks.  If he doesn’t come down with it during the next 2 weeks, then he’ll drive up here.  We’re also sending him PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) so that if he does come up here he will be protected during his trip.

If he does come up here, he will be quarantined for an additional two weeks, so make sure that he doesn’t get sick from his trip up and it gives us an additional two weeks to make sure that he doesn’t have a latent infection from his being exposed in Texas.

<img class=”alignleft size-medium wp-image-17747″ src=”https://i2.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/hermes-rivera-qbf59TU077Q-unsplash.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1″ alt=”” width=”300″ height=”200″ srcset=”https://i0.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/hermes-rivera-qbf59TU077Q-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/hermes-rivera-qbf59TU077Q-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=1024%2C683&ssl=1 1024w, https://i0.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/hermes-rivera-qbf59TU077Q-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=768%2C512&ssl=1 768w, https://i0.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/hermes-rivera-qbf59TU077Q-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=1536%2C1024&ssl=1 1536w, https://i0.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/hermes-rivera-qbf59TU077Q-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=2048%2C1365&ssl=1 2048w, https://i0.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/hermes-rivera-qbf59TU077Q-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=650%2C433&ssl=1 650w, https://i0.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/hermes-rivera-qbf59TU077Q-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=600%2C400&ssl=1 600w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” data-recalc-dims=”1″>Conflict

I am not putting this out there to throw my husband “under the bus.”  I’m putting this out there so that all of you can understand that the conflicts that you’re experiencing right now are (very unfortunately) a part of this situation… (continues)

AYWtGS: Handling Quarantine with Kids

Karen at A Year Without the Grocery Store has an article up – Got Kids? How Do You Handle a Coronavirus Quarantine With Them? – with some suggestions on handling quarantine without going crazy.

We all love our children.  But despite that love, want to see parents cringe quickly?  Tell them that they are going to be stuck inside with their children for three months or more.  More than that, they cannot leave their home.

That thought in itself is incredibly overwhelming!  Add to it, getting ready to cut yourselves off from the world, it’s enough to devastate any parent.  How do you handle being cooped up with your kids for months on end?  Don’t stress, there are answers that don’t include 24/7 TV.

Let me start by saying, I’m a mom to five kids ages 8-17.  I don’t take the notion of being stuck inside my home for months with my kids lightly.  While younger kids will have an easier time staying home, older kids are going to feel the isolation much more.

So how do we handle a quarantine with kids?

When I was pregnant with my second set of twins, I was in the hospital every week for a non-stress test.  I had a friend who was pregnant at the same time.  She was hospitalized with placenta previa.  She wasn’t just hospitalized for a week or two.  No, she was hospitalized for more than TWELVE weeks.  And during that time, she was mostly confined to half of a small room.

How in the world did she keep herself sane being remanded to that small room for so long?  Some of her tips and tricks will work for us as we talk about how we’re going to help our kids (and ourselves) through what could be a long quarantine.

(1) Start Your Day Off Healthy

Make sure that you are starting your day off with a multi-vitamin, vitamin C, and a probiotic.  I would also suggest that you spend time in God’s word and prayer at the beginning of your day.  We love to sing together as a family, and this would be a good time to do that as well.

(2) Make sure your kids are learning.

Whether you homeschool or not, make sure that your kids are still learning.   Even if you send your kids to school, make sure that they are bringing their school books home with them as you get closer to keeping them home from school in a quarantine.   Or you could put together a school kit so that you will always have items to help your children learn if they can’t go to school.

For me, it’s really simple.  I have three children still in school.  And since we homeschool, they will all continue doing their school just like normal.  That will go a HUGE way toward helping things still feel normal.

What about older kids who have graduated and are working while still living at home?  Make sure that you have conversations with them now about when you are going to tell them that they can’t continue working for a while.  Have them talk to their employers NOW to manage expectations.

These older children should still be learning!  As I was going through totes today taking stock of everything for our quarantine, I found suture needles and other implements for doing stitches and practice skin.  Find a YouTube video on practice suturing and have them learn how to do sutures.  Or have you or your kids ever made bread or noodles from scratch?  Why not use some of that time to learn how to do a new skill?

(3) Make sure that you and your kids are moving daily.

If you have little kids, it’s obvious why they should do physical activity every day.  But what about older kids who aren’t bouncing off the walls?  Why should they (and you) exercise daily?

Studies have shown that mice were divided into three groups and all infected with the flu.  One group was sedentary.  One group jogged on a wheel for 20-30 minutes (modest activity for mice), and another group of mice was kept on a wheel for 2 1/2 – 3 hours.  Fifty percent of the sedentary group died.  SEVENTY percent of the mice who ran for 2 1/2-3 hours died!  Only 12 percent of the mice who were kept on the wheel for 20-30 minutes died.

Even if you aren’t going to expose yourself to the virus, keeping your body moving a modest amount can help your body better handle whatever is thrown at it.

Now, not everyone has a treadmill or a stationary bike, I get that.  But do you have Amazon Prime?  You can learn (or practice) yoga with your kids using this free video.  Don’t like yoga?  Here’s an exercise video called “Marching Low Impact.”  Or buy a digital copy of “Sweating to the Oldies” and sweat (and laugh and laugh) with your kids.

(4)  Play at least one game a day with your kids. 

This is a great time to spend time playing some of those games that you don’t play regularly either because you haven’t taken the time to learn them or because they take a little more time to play.

Do you have two decks of cards?  All you need is a Hoyle Card book, and you’ll have hours of fun at your hands.

Another thing that might fall into this category is putting together puzzles.

(5) Take a skill that you have to the next level.

Do you have a skill that you enjoy – like knitting?  Take it to the next level.  Maybe you could learn how to do cables or knit in multiple colors.  I’ve learned a bit about spinning, but don’t take a lot of time to actually practice it.  This would be the perfect time to take that skill to the next level.

How Do You Handle a Quarantine with Kids?(6) Schedule time for kids to talk with their friends using Facetime or Skype.

Only one of our kids has a cell phone.  And her cell phone is one for which we purchase minutes.  That means that calls aren’t a regular part of our kids lives.  Even if your kids have cell phones, talking with friends makes so much more of an impact when they can see them.

What if your kids could ‘virtually’ get together with their friends regularly during a quarantine?  They would be able share stories of what’s going on, what they are learning, and the time would pass so much faster.

(7) Enjoy movies and TV shows in moderation.

There are few things that make me feel more claustrophobic than sitting in front of a screen watching mindless TV too long.  I will often feel the need to get up and do something when I’ve got an Amazon or Netflix show going too much.  But that being said, sometimes, we just need to let our minds go to a more fun place and a movie or a TV show can do that for us.

(8) Most Importantly set a routine for your days.  How Do You Handle a Quarantine with Kids?

I say this last because I wanted to give you a lot of options for filling a routine.  Why do you need a routine?

When I was pregnant with my second set of twins, I was in the hospital on a weekly basis for non-stress tests.  I had a friend who was pregnant at the same time, but she was admitted to the hospital because of placenta previa and was at high risk for hemorrhaging.

The thing is that she wasn’t just in the hospital for one or two weeks, she was in the hospital for TWELVE weeks!  She wasn’t just confined to the limits of the hospital.  She was almost exclusively confined to her small hospital room, which she had to share with another person from time to time.

How did she keep from going crazy while she was confined to such a small space?!?

The most important thing that she did (by her own admission) was to set a routine for her day.  She would start it with time in God’s word and prayer.  Then she would spend around two hours scrapbooking.  After that, she would watch TV for about two hours.  Then she would work on a crocheting something for an hour or two.  Her kids and her husband would come and visit her for a couple of hours later in the day.  She would spend some time reading after that.  Then she would spend some time coloring in a coloring book.

Her routine kept her from going completely stir crazy.  So I want you to take 10-15 minutes and using activities from above or others that you come up with on your own to set a schedule for yourself and your children so that you have a routine for when you all are quarantined.

Will the routine change once you get into your quarantine?  Absolutely!  Some things will work.  Some things won’t work as you envisioned them, but you’ll be giving yourself a framework for your family.  Change it around, turn it on its head if need be.  But make sure that you actually have a routine so that everyone doesn’t go completely crazy!

What About You?

What other ideas do you have on how to keep your kids from going crazy during a quarantine?  How long do you anticipate that your family will need to be in quarantine?  Are you concerned about missing any really big events because of the quarantine?  I’d love to hear!  Share with us in the comments so that we can all be better prepared.

Together lets Love, Learn, Practice, and Overcome!

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AYWTGS: 10 Kits to Put Together Today

Karen at A Year Without the Grocery Store has had to bug out three times, twice for riots and once for a tornado. She has enough to say about preparedness that she’s written a book and started a website. In the article, 10 Kits to Put Together Today to Be Ready for Tomorrow she talks about a variety of kits to have prepared so that you aren’t spending precious time rummaging around trying to find a light or cook stove.

1.) Where is the closest flashlight to you at this moment?

2.) Do you have an air filtration mask and could you put your hand on it in two minutes or less?

3.) What items do you have to keep your house cool and where do you keep them?

4.) If you had to remove stitches yourself, do you have the tools to do it?

5.) What’s your secondary method of communication?  Is it charged and ready?

So how did you do on the quiz?  Obviously, there’s no right or wrong answer.  The bigger question is  – could you answer each question.

Each of these things above is integral to preparedness.  Sometimes, we have these things – which is HUGE!  If you just have these things – high five!

More often than not though, if we have these things, we don’t know where they are.  So how do we organize things so that we KNOW that we KNOW where things are?

We develop kits!

Each kit is self-contained and is kept in tote.  For larger items, I keep them in large totes from Costco.  For smaller kits, I keep them in smaller totes which fit in the large Costco totes.   So what kinds of kits should we be putting together?  I’m going to be giving you a list of 11 kits.  I’m going to give you an overview here, but I’ll be doing a post on each of these so I can dive deeper.

Now there is one very well known kit that I am not including in this and it’s called a Bug out Bag or Grab and Go Bag or many other things.  A Bug Out Bag is for leaving the area, and we’ll cover that at some time.  These kits are all about what you are ready for at home.  So we’ll jump right in with kit #1.

Click here to read the entire article at A Year Without the Grocery Store.