What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Friday, January 16, 2009

Back Door is always open

2009 resolutions.

I've told you the WHYs of my yearly self-inflicted challenges to myself, but the telling took so long I never did get to the WHATs. At least not directly. If you've followed my blog the past week or so and are exceptionally clever, you might have realized that I've alluded to *some* of my goals already. The Book List reveals my value of literature and my hope to further myself BY it in the coming year. The list was created with the hope of staying motivated and with the intention to reevaluate next year. I've also shared how I long for my tongue to be more an instrument and less a weapon, and have written verses that I do hope will encourage me in the coming year, to become more sanctified in that area.

There are several more things that I have prepared for and begun working towards this coming year. Many of them will be highlighted here in the very near future. One of which I will share now. Anyone who checks my Mattie's (more sporatically published) blog might know what is coming.

One of our goals for the coming year is to become more...prepared. And by doing so, less DEPENDENT. "Prepared for what?" you ask. WHATEVER. A large snowstorm. A month without very much cashflow. An economic collapse. You name it. Whatever the reason and for whatever length of time, we realize we are ill-prepared in any (and every) way to deal with poor circumstances appropriately.

I've just finished reading a bunch of Dave Ramsey books (the Christian financial guru) and even HE suggests being prepared in the cash realm with a $1,000.00 emergency fund. I agree...and would expound on that notion to include other areas of life also.

Our goal in 2009 (which, in effect, is MY responsibility) is to get necessities stored and a pantry stockpiled; Matt calls it "food insurance". The idea is to be PREPARED so we don't depend on (or burden others by the need for) charity or kindnesses of others if/when it really matters. No, I'm not suggesting you get together five years worth of food and hoard it in your basement. Not at all. While it would be wonderfully handy for an emergency situation like power outtages and so forth, stocking a cupboard makes sense for a number of other reasons to.

1) Unexpected company. We are called to be hospitable and charitable and I fear a lack of preparedness has, in the past, hindered me from fulfilling that duty. How many times have I opted not to invite people over because the grocery budget was too tight that week? That would be far less likely, if you have a running supply.

2) Stockpiling allows you to spend money on sale items ONCE and then not worry about them for a while. (Read: stock up on things when they are on sale) I have already found this to encourage real savings in the food department. For example: a few weeks ago Walmart had Chex cereal for $1.66 a box. I had a ton of Chex coupons for $1.00 off a box. I stocked up on tons of cereal and didn't have to pay full price for cereal for a LONG time! I saved myself money as I was able to not purchase cereal until it was on sale again.

3) It also gives you peace of mind-knowing that your family is cared for in times of crisis. I know how many people are losing their jobs these days. I read in December alone it was 500,000! That's alot of people. I don't want to take Matt's job for granted and I don't want to be panicked and afraid if something like that happens to us too. It is just WISE to plan and prepare for meeting the needs of your household-in good times and bad. The Proverbs 31 woman was not afraid for her household when the snow came , and neither shall I be.

Not knowing where to begin, or the first thing about stockpiling food, I went blog-scouting (something I try to avoid at all costs because I just can't afford to find any more wonderful blogs to follow!) and found a few that I have found very helpful. And yes. I now follow them. These two blogs: Safely Gathered In and Preparedness Brings Peace have both been incredibly helpful to me. Both, I believe, are written from Seventh Day Adventists which I certainly do not ascribe to, but they offer a wealth of information on food storage. That is, after all, their name of the game. I think it would be imprudent to disregard the good that can be learned from them, just because of their beliefs. After all, no matter what your religious background or denomination~yours is not perfect and we all have differing gifts. It is WISE for us to learn from the gifts of others so that we too, might grow in those areas that do not come naturally to ourselves.

Anyway. This is a tremendously long post-bunny trailed it, I guess.

Basically, what I am saying is this:

One of my goals for the coming year, is to start a PANTRY.

To that end, I have been on the lookout for some opportunities to stockpile while not breaking the bank. Coincidentally, I've found after-Christmas to be the perfect time! Hickory Farms, producer of those delicious meat smoked sausage logs that sell at Christmas~ happened to be packing up the week I went to the mall to use up a giftcard. Their meat rolls were 80% off. Perfectly wonderful summer sausage marked down to under $2.00 a roll! They are good for almost a YEAR. So, I stockpiled. And let me tell you: $14.00 bought me a LOT of delicious summer sausage! I don't know about the electricity going out or food shortages-but I DO know that those will be some welcome treats sometime in the future!

I have also found that stockpiling has required some creativity. Thinking outside of the box. Prime example---yesterday.

I was doing my CVS routine when I noticed all the Christmas items were 90% off. 90%!!!! I swooned. Nearly fainted with my good fortune! There, up on the top shelf, were these brown Santa MONSTROSITIES made from Hollow Chocolate marked $5.99. I crossed my eyes and imaged a foot long chocolate Santa being given to me. Then I imagined sending $6.00 on a foot long chocolate Santa. But I couldn't. I couldn't even IMAGINE it. People actually BUY this stuff?!?! Frankly, my kids might fly to the moon if they consumed so much chocolate. And I would never spend $6.00 bucks on CHOCOLATE for heavens sake.


90% off?!?!

Gears started turning. Smoke poured from my ears. (Almost.) Then a light flickered above my head and I promptly loaded the cart with as many as would fit. Five. WHY?!

What in the WORLD was I going to do with FIVE chocolate Santas as large as a ruler?

Why, I was going to let the children smash them to smithereens, of course!!!

Not intending, for FINGERS to also be a part of that equation...

And who knew--I'd actually capture it (or the quick Panda reaction TO it) on a photo?!?

Meanwhile, Little Miss pounds away, totally oblivious to the finger smashing the had given.

Okay. Bunny trail again. Point is~ because I was thinking "outside the box", I figured a way to get five quart-sized bags of chocolate chunks for just .59 cents a piece. And those quart-sized bags have WAY more chunks then the Hershey's Chocolate Chunks bags that sell for over $2.00 a piece thankyouverymuch.

It's turning out, that this pantry business is not only "not as hard as I thought" but also, kind of FUN.


Anonymous said...

It's pretty safe to say the blogs are from members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons). They both have links to LDS sites.

Here's another LDS link for you for food storage: www.providentliving.org
There's lots of helpful info to help you get started!

Being prepared for whatever is a smart choice! I've been reading you for a while now and I enjoy your blog.

Anonymous said...

Yep, those sites are Mormons, not Seventh Day Adventist.

abigail said...

I'm an idiot. (Again!) I went back to the site that I talked about with you at church, and it was authored by someone with LDS affiliations. I think I had told you it was Seventh Day Adventist. Not that it matters much in regards to useful food storage information, but I wanted to correct my error.

And thanks for these links. I, too, have now added them to my brimful reader!

Meredith@MerchantShips said...

And THIS is why I love your blog! (Not just for the lovely photos either!)

Most food storage sites are LDS, but that doesn't bother me. I have also felt called to set aside more emergency food this year and have been reading the funwithfoodstorage.net blog for information.

Hannah said...

Hi Rebecca!
I really enjoy your blog and this is one thing God has been speaking to me also, along the lines of being prepared to be a blessing, if that makes sense. So many times I wish I had more time to drop something to a neighbor or friend and so I'm making an effort to prepare ahead of time, before we hear of the need.
I also believe that you are in NY, as I am. Would you like to meet up sometime? I'm pretty sure my kids would love your kids. If you'd like, you can send me a note at cultivatinghome (at) uticasystems (dot) com.

...they call me mommy... said...

The chocolate idea was BRILLIANT! Sheer stroke of genius! :) Wish I had thought of that too! We use a lot of baking stuff around here...

Great blog! :)
PS-Do you store wheat flour, oatmeal, those kind of things? What kinds of containers to you use? Do you buy in bulk and if so where? I want to stock these things, but don't want to get TOO much or store then incorrectly so they go bad...sorry, just thinking out loud!

Peggy in Alaska said...

We just made a list of what we have in stock in our "pantry" and I realized we have quite a bit. If you ever need any ideas for storage space or containers let me know. I could send you my most recent "pantry/freezer" list if you are interested. It is quite extensive as we have been doing this a while. During the summer we pick wild berries on our property which is made into jam or frozen. When we still lived in Ohio (in town) we picked had several elderly neighbors who fruit that they no longer picked. We were able to get grapes, pears, apples, elderberries, mulberries, raspberries, peaches, and tomatoes for no cost to us aside from sharing the bounty of the harvest. We made jams, jellies, preserves, sauce, and butter which we gladly shared with those who had allowed us to pick. Sorry for prattling so long.... 90% off, wow that was an incredible deal. The best we saw this year was 50% the day after Christmas but then we did not make it to town again until Thursday...

lady jane said...

This is an **excellent** post! I just spent oodles of time over at one of your links: Preparedness Brings Peace. I was intrigued, motivated and blessed.

While most of the food storage sites are indeed LDS, we shouldn't refuse the wisdom they bring to this very important subject. We're entering wabbly times and it's important to become true managers of our homes. This is one way to do that.

Bless you,

Kim said...

Keeping a well stocked pantry is always a wonderful idea! It has served us so well over the years. Many times bad weather, break downs, lay offs etc. have happend and having a good cushion helps a lot!
I always get the discounted Easter bunnies after the holiday to. They make great cookie chips!

Dana said...

I looked and looked for chocolate like this to do the same thing! Never found any.

We've been stocking for the same reasons you are. I just feel better knowing we're at least semi-prepared for whatever may come.

Still lovin' your blog!

Michelle said...

My trouble is I probably would've eaten all the bags of chocolate myself before I ever made anything out of them! ;)

When we were in PA, we stocked up a lot. We used empty, clean 5 gallon pails with lids that closed tightly. You can get them from the discount store I told you about.

I would love to stock up, too, but being in the military and in a hurricane prone area, it is a bit hard for us. We actually haven't even plugged in our chest freezer yet, can you believe it?

Elizabeth said...

You know, I saw the same Santa's and thought the same thing, unfortunately I DIDN'T use your ingenuity, stinks for me, but great for you! I will remember it though for next year, what a GREAT IDEA!!! :)

Peggy in Alaska said...

Hey Rebecca,

I think I forgot to mention in my comment that we are a military family (since birth for me) yet have always had a stocked pantry. As a child I lived in military housing or military contract housing and Mom always had enough on hand to go a few months without grocery shopping. She did not drive and Dad was often times gone on manuevers so we walked. Most people don't realize the military will ship food items as long as they are dry goods and in sealed containers. Mom always used Tupperware for storage so we had rice, flour, sugar, beans, and noodles shipped from one location to another, even overseas. We stored canned goods and excess items under our beds or in the "hall" closet. We never had a freezer growing up aside the one with the refridgerator but mom kept it very well stocked! I love this post and am so glad that you brought it up. We have been reveiwing our needs and what we actually have on hand so this couldn't have come at a better time!

Rebecca said...

Hannah~ we are living in PA, which would mean we are neighboring states. Unforunately, that doesn't always mean we are neighboring drives though! ;-)

and they call me mommy~ I am planning another (more specific post) to answer all your questions. In the VERY near future. So don't think I am ignoring you!

Peggy in Alaska~not only would I be interested in your lists and information, I am sure several other readers would be too! So, by all means~ bring it on!!! :-)

Peggy in Alaska said...


Would you prefer I e-mail you the list as it is pretty lengthy. I think it is 2 1/2 to 3 pages long in a Word document. For years I got teased about being a pack rat because we almost always have a surplus of toiletry products, food products, and batteries. Since moving to Alaska our stockpiling has increased to include ammunition (at 2007 prices, yah woo hoo!), medical supplies, gasoline, wood and candles. I will sit down tomorrow (Tuesday and make a comprehensive descriptive listing of how and what we do.) I really have learned so much from others over the years to include my grandmother and mother who are the master organizers for small spaces!!

Michelle said...

Hey Peggy!

Nice to "meet" another military family here. :) I just wanted to clarify that I do know that we can move food stored as you said while in the military. We just don't have a lot of "weight allowance" at this point. We do move what drygoods we have in our buckets with us, and I do have a stocked pantry, but not to the extent that I would like it to be if we were still in one place. :)

I would also love it if you could email me your list. Here is my email: herbalgirl3 (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks!

I don't mean to hijack the thread, Rebecca. :D It is a good post, and definitely somethjng we should all be thinking about doing more of!

Rebecca said...


My email is sgrbear724atyahoodotcom

I would really appreciate it!