Experiments in Self Reliance

Our ward is having an activity this Saturday.  They’re calling it a “Quake ‘n’ Bake” and it’s focused on preparedness, we’re supposed to bring our 72 hour kits with us and a treat made from our food storage.

Leading up to this activity the bishop announced in sacrament meeting that he’d been making  some phone calls.  A handful of families in the ward would be chosen to “practice”.   Each was given an assignment something along the lines of pretending that there’s been a disaster and go three days without electricity, or live off your 72 hour kit for 72 hours or… well I don’t know what all.  Guess who got a phone call? (Odds are I wouldn’t be telling you about it if I hadn’t.)

Before we got the call we talked about the whole concept over dinner in an effort to prepare the kids, and we talked about what we would want to do, I was hoping for having to live off our savings for a week (we could totally do that) and what we really wouldn’t want, no electricity (just kill me now).  But realistically I was pretty sure I knew what, if anything, we’d get.  Our family was invited to spend this week living off our food storage.

Anything in the house is fine but no shopping.

But see, last week when I did the bills things were a little bit tight so when I went grocery shopping then I only bought the necessities (milk, bread, Eggos) so already the cupboards are a little bare.  And I unintentionally skimped on the milk purchase as it was so we’re already nearly out and we just finished off the lettuce for the salad for Sunday’s dinner and… well, there are lots of reasons why this week isn’t good.  If we had had a little notice (you know, like the folks in Haiti got before the earthquake) then we could have restocked a bit and, you know, filled both fridges with milk (and fresh veggies) but then I figured, what the heck, let’s see how bad it would really be.

It’s not like we don’t have a week’s worth of food.  We don’t have a year, but a week, sure, no problem as long as you like peanut butter, cold cereal (with *shudder* powdered milk) and spaghetti.

Needless to say, it’s going to be an interesting week.

How about you?  Want to try it?  Start today and don’t shop again until Monday.

The End is Near

I hope you have your food storage in order because you’re going to need it.  Soon. 

How soon? You ask.

Well, no one knows the day or the hour but I’ve been watching the signs and I’d say you’d better make sure you have enough Morning Moo for the family within the next few days, a week at the most.

How do I know? Well, let me tell you.

I went hiking today. And if that’s not a sign of the end of days I don’t know what is.

For those of you who don’t know me very well or who haven’t known me for more than a year, let me ‘splain.  I’m not really what you would call the outdoorsy type.  I was raised with the belief that mankind had been through thousands of years of technological advances so that I wouldn’t have to sleep on the ground, or share my meals with the flies or *ahem* cook over an open flame (my father was resistant even to grilling) and so that I could have things like indoor plumbing and computers.  And that’s a belief that I proudly held for years.

Until this year when I made a resolution to take my family, my kids specifically, on some kind of vacation this year.  To begin with I was thinking Disney and then I looked up prices for Disney.  So then I was thinking … I don’t know, something else but well, frankly I couldn’t afford that either.  You know what I could afford?  Camping.  So I took a deep breath; got off my high horse (figuratively as I’ve never actually ridden a horse) and took the kids camping.  We’ve been twice and with the notable exception of the lantern attack it’s gone really well.  Well enough that we were planning on going again this weekend, to a campground that’s far(ish) away, for two nights.  This is serious commitment people!

Unfortunately, the Infantile Delinquent choose Wednesday night to spend puking and Thursday to be feverish and snuggly (which is semi-delightful for a mom but mostly really sad.) Not to be outdone, The Baby spent the majority of Thursday night screaming and  when Sean broke down and took him in to the ER (at about 2:30 this morning) we discovered that he had two enormous ulcers running down his throat (apparently this is somewhat common and not a sign of anything other than a lot of pain for the next few days).  We got him some meds and his pain seems to be fairly well managed but there wass no way I was taking him camping, especially not someplace far(ish) from home, with something like that going on.

So camping’s out at least for tonight, but my kids have just been sitting around the house for three weeks.  And while that’s really short for a summer break (as previously discussed) it’s plenty of time for the intake of Suite Life on Deck to reach critical levels.  I had to get them out of the house.  I had to get out of the house.  And because Sean hasn’t been paid in about a month (and because I’m cheap and we had already paid for a campsite that we’re not using) it had to be something free.

Walking’s free.

So I took my two oldest kids and we hiked.  We did the Silver Lake loop and just like the reviews I read, it was steep (and that sucked) but actually, it wasn’t too bad.  The kids whined a fair amount and they were each reduced to tears at least once, but I figure that’s about par for the course.  It’s four(ish) miles and we did it in a little under three hours and no one died or even ended up very seriously maimed.  So altogether I’m calling it a win.

But seriously, if I were you I’d make sure I had my affairs in order.  Just in case.


Since you asked:

102_1171 If you look close you can see the cut from the lantern-> 102_1170102_1168 Poor sick Baby 102_1177

Essential Book

No, not that essential book.

I’ve found a book that you all need to get immediately to put with your food storage. It’s a virtual how to for 19th century provident living. Need to know how to slaughter, skin and smoke a pig? It’s in this book. How to build your own smoker for the pig? You’ll also find that there. And what to do with those pesky left over parts, the bladder, the tail? Oh, you’ll find that there too.

You’ll also find out how to make maple candy, how to churn butter and how to store veggies.

What is this fantastic, indispensable book you ask?

It’s called “Little House In the Big Woods” by a lady named Laura Ingalls Wilder. You might have heard of it.

Seriously, if it been a while check it out.  You don’t want to be the only one who doesn’t know how to tan a deer hide.


P.S. You should have a copy of that other book in there too.


Apparently I’m stripping my kitchen table.

This was not what I had intended to do today.

Or at all.

See, I got this kitchen table from my sister and it was cute but not super cute (sorry, Mel) and of course everything that’s going to be in my new super cute kitchen needs to be super cute so obviously something was going to need to be done.  I looked at it and decided that it needed a little more sanding to really distress the sort of distressed look that it had going on.  (I’m going with a distressed look because let’s face it, any furniture in my house is going to be distressed anyway because- well, it’s in my house.)

So I got out my sander to do a little additional distressing but I realized before to long that in addition to the paint and the spots of previously sanded off paint (did I mention that the table was already minimally distressed?) the table had been treated with a clear coat of sealer.

Now I know that that is standard operating procedure when going for a distressed look but I can not for the life of me figure out why.  Why do you paint something and then sand it so that it looks like it’s been used for years and then put a protective finish on it?  Why not just use it and then over time your worn in look might look even better because now it’s actually worn in?

Back to my point.  Do you know what happens when you sand polyurethane?  It gets cloudy and makes your piece of furniture, say a table top for example, look dusty.  Not exactly the look I was going for.  So I thought I’d try a little paint thinner, just to take the clear layer off.

It made no difference.

So I spread a little stripper on there, just for a minute, just to take the top layer off.

Do I need to mention that it didn’t work?  Let’s not belabor the point ok?

Mom, Dad, Please Don’t Read This Post

Now, we’re all girlfriends here right?

So I have to tell you about the lengths I’ll go to perpetuate my own stupidity.

It’s that time of the month for me (as if you didn’t know that, remember all the depressed posts of last week?) but good ol’ aunt flo is on her way out.  I noticed yesterday that I was running a bit low on protection (no, not that kind of protection, stay with me here girls) but I didn’t worry too much about it.  I was almost done anyway right?  So I got out of the shower this afternoon and open the drawer in my bathroom vanity and … NOTHING.  Um, ah, that’s going to be a problem.  Aunt flo’s on her way out but she isn’t gone yet.

I’m home alone with four children (I didn’t mention that my kids are off track did I?  Well, they are.)  And it’s cold and rainish and I am not taking four children to the grocery store alone to buy feminine hygiene products.  (Especially since the Pea earned the entire day in his room this morning and taking him to the store means letting him out of his room.)

So I check the upstairs bathroom, it used to be my bathroom afterall, it’s not unlikely that there will be some stray tampons in there.


Now, it’s been about half an hour since I got out of the shower and I’m starting to get a little desperate.  I mentally catalog the things that I did find while looking through the bathroom vanities.  I have a few options.  A breast pad, (hey, they’re made to be absorbent right?) the huge gigantic diaper like pad the hospital sends home with you when you have a baby, rolled up TP (not a good idea) or an actual diaper (I have plenty of those lying around).  Do I need to say that not one of these is a good option.

I’m reaching back under the vanity to pull out my options for a side by side comparison when I hear angels singing.  There it is.  The lone, forgotten, lost tampon.  The packaging is old but undamaged and I’m saved.


Hey, while I have you here and we’re having this girly talk and all, I want to take a minute to plug this website.  It’s an open forum for Mormon (and other) women to talk about sex.  It’s not porny and I don’t think that it’s overly graphic and I think that it’s a great thing!  I think that as LDS girls most of us don’t really learn how to talk about sex so when we grow up and get married and then have questions (how to get the spark back, how to keep things interesting, how best to prevent UTIs…) a lot of us have no where to go.  Now we do.


That is all, Mom and Dad, you can come back in now.

Do They Teach This Stuff in the Discussions?

I hosted book club at my house tonight at 7:30.  A few months ago some evil kind, well meaning sister who hosted book club made the mistake very kind gesture of serving refreshments at book club  because well, we’re Mormon and we can’t meet without refreshments (I’m pretty sure that’s in the Book of Mormon somewhere) and it’s best if its a baked good of some kind.  And because we’re Mormon women once one sister served refreshments now we all have to serve refreshments.  I was not going to serve refreshments.  It’s book club dangit!  We’re here to talk about books, we don’t need baked goods!

It’s not that I don’t want to serve a refreshment, it’s not even that I don’t like to bake.  Most of my problem was that I had no time.  I worked the last two nights and Sean was home with me this afternoon and we had sheetrock that desperately needed hanging, i had no time to prepare something.  But, I decided, I’d put out a bowl of that Halloween candy I bought, since I bought the good stuff and no one’s going to be here tomorrow night anyway.

Ok, that’s the plan, no real refreshments, but a bowl of Halloween candy, that’ll look ok right?  And I’m leaving the dishes that are in the sink, i do not have time to wash them.  What are the odds someone will be in the kitchen anyway?  Zero.

Ok so, Halloween candy for refreshments and dirty dishes in the sink.

It’ll be fine,  I can totally have women from my ward ove to my house and not serve them a baked good.  I can have multiple women form the ward in my house and have dirty dishes in the sink.  I’ll be fine.

At six o’clock I broke down and pulled out my recipe book and made cookies.  And then I did the dishes.

Peach Days

My mother gave me a half a bushel of peaches. Now I
realize that to the average bear, or even the average Mormon
housewife, half a bushel is hardly even enough to be getting
started with. For most of you half a bushel is a paltry
amount, not even really worth the effort. Except for you,
using up that number of peaches isn’t a effort. But well, for
someone as domestically challenged as I it’s a daunting task.
The box of produce on my counter, I find very intimidating.
I’ve already seen a fruit fly or two and the peaches are starting
to get a little soft and I know I’ve got to get them taken care
of. I just don’t know what to do about them. One can only eat
so many bowls of peaches and Cheerios. (Despite the fact that
the one I’ had last night was quite good and the one I’m eating now
is even better.) I’m planning on making a peach crisp for
desert tonight. (That’s right, it’ll be peach crisp and ice
cream instead of brownies. Oh, who am I kidding, I’ll
probably have both.) But that is the extent of my definite
plans. Sean says that he’d like to make peach jam, (that may even
really mean that he’d be willing to
make peach jam) but neither of us knows how to make peach jam and
we don’t really have any bottles so I think that may not be the
best option. I know, in theory, how to bottle peaches. I’ve
been a part of the peach bottling process several times, but I’ve
never come anywhere near running that show and I don’t have any
bottles (as previously mentioned) nor a canner nor an army of slave
labor (kids) to do the de-skinning, pealing and slicing
necessary. (Although, my mother’s having had seven kids is
starting to make a little more sense.) realistically I think that
I’m going to slice them up, toss them into a few freezer bags and
throw them into the freezer. And then I’m going to hang some
insulation. Now if you’ll excuse me…

Lest You Think I’m Going All Girly on You

I pulled out my beloved power tools and built this.It’s not the most professional thing I’ve ever put together but it is built entirely out of scraps so I think that counts for something.

What is it? you ask.  It’s a cage for the bunny that I’m allowing my mother-in-law to give to my children, against my better judgment.

It does have some cool features though, like a removable floor and a big door with the little door in it.  The big door’s good for cleaning and getting the bunny out, the small door should be perfect for changing food and water with minimal bunny escapage.

So that was today’s project.  Tomorrow maybe I’ll repaint the bench.

What’s going on with the kitchen?

Well, we have a friend from the ward who frames (in addition to other things) for a living.  And he’s framing it for us but he’s doing it for free (I’m going to try to pay him but I’m sure not anywhere near his usual rate) so I can’t expect him to be here when he’s got real paying gigs so it’s going slowly.

I’ll post pictures as soon as it’s all framed in.

PS The rug has already started unraveling.  *Sigh*

Who Says I’m Not Crafty?

Well, I do, on a pretty regular basis.  And I’m not.  But I did make This:It’s not quite straight and I suspect that it will fall apart really soon but as a first attempt I think it’s ok.  And there’s plenty more where that came from.  it’s made out of one day’s worth of towels from work that would just have been thrown away.  It’s a good thing blue works for me.

Morror, Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the Handiest of Them All?

That would be me.

No, I didn’t put it together. I BUILT IT. I had very specific needs and I knew that Ikea just wasn’t going to do it on this one (no slight intended to Ikea, love them) so I got out my tape measure and I did some quick (or possibly really really slow) calculations and I drew some plans.

And I went to Home Depot and bought some wood lumber (there’s a possibility that they cut it for me at Home Depot but this in no way diminishes my achievement) and I took it home and I measured some more and I got out my superfun cordless drill and screwed some stuff together. I even got out my newly purchased jigsaw and cut the little swoopies (that’s a technical term) on the back and sides. And after only four trips to Home Depot (including one aborted trip because the hammers were starting to be a temptation and I was afraid I’d use one to kill the Pea I ran out of time) I had a big ol’ storage bench for my kids to sit on in my kitchen.

Now for some of you this is not a major accomplishment. My husband’s family is full of very handy people. I’m not sure I’ve ever been to a gathering with his entire family in which the pouring of cement was not involved. In fact the first real family experience I had with those who were soon to be my in-laws was when we all gathered in Blanding (UT, hit Moab and head south for another hour) to finish Grandma and Grandpa’s basement. Not just normal finishing either. If I recall correctly we were framing walls, pulling wires (a talent that may come in handy soon Deb, we’ll be calling you), there may even have been some plumbing involved. Anyway, my point is that Sean would come by any handiness naturally (although there’s a possibility that that particular gene skipped a generation). His parents built a house, as in brick on brick, with their own two (four?) hands for cripes sake.

My family on the other hand. NOT HANDY. We don’t pour cement, we don’t frame walls, we can only just be prevailed upon to put up shelves (That’s a shout out to my fam and FHEs as a kid). We’ll argue politics or religion or music or movies or whatever with you all day (sometimes even if we don’t disagree with you) but we’re not much for getting things done.

But me I got it done.

Now I just have to sew a cushion for it.