Showing posts with label Wifey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wifey. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Quote of the Day Wifey on Stocking Household Items

"I will conceed that sometimes it is helpful to have you. For example I forgot to buy any tin foil for thanksgiving but I have this crazy husband who stockpiles S&*T. Also there are times you go to the field that I do not go shopping for weeks."

-Wifey

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Life Update

Somebody asked so it seemed worthwhile to address it here. Wifey and I are still married with plans to stay that way. Haven't been talking about her or the the kids because they are not here. They went home to see family then Kiddo #2 got sick which extended the visit considerably. Kiddo #2 is better (at least for now and well enough to travel anyway) so they are coming back here in a couple weeks. Wish it would get here faster as I miss them a lot.


Friday, January 11, 2013

Hoss USMC Video plus Laundry Soap Recipe

 Saw a video on making your own laundry soap by Hoss USMC. He does it essentially the same way we do except Wifey just grates the bar soap and does not blend it. In any case here is the video:

Awhile back Wifey did a post on making laundry soap. Showing an excellent video someone else did that shows step by step how to do it was an easy decision. I will re post the recipe we use for those too uninitiated to follow the link.

Laundry Detergent
1 bar soap, finely grated (I use whatever is cheapest but make sure it's white or it could color your clothes)
1 cup washing soda
1 cup borax
1/2 cup baking soda
Mix all ingredients together. Use 1-2 tablespoons for each load.

Please thank Hoss USMC for taking the time to make this video and generally having an excellent YouTube Channel.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tonights Conversation

Wifey- I'm mad at you. I only have the energy to be nice to one person today, all things considered it should be Walker. Beside he didn't do anything to me.

Me-What did I do to you?

Wifey- Impregnated me!


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas To All!

Our Christmas got off to a great start with Walker sleeping in until 8 o'clock in the morning. Kiddo was mad that Santa was in our house (he does not like the man after a bad mall experience) and after finding a couple matchbox cars in his stocking decided he was done opening gifts. We helped him with the rest and then had some breakfast.

Kiddo got a cowboy outfit for Christmas and somehow it ended up on the dog. Dog is not amused by this. Anyway the picture came out well and we had to share it. Don't worry Dog is being well rewarded with all manner of (dog safe) people food so his Christmas is still going well.

Wifey got a nice designer wallet, a wool coat and some end tables. I got a CMMG Conversion kit for the AR and an IPOD Nano.

After breakfast we have just been hanging out. Kiddo played with toys and generally was himself and is down for a nap. Dog is sleeping. We are relaxing before dinner and doing some light snacking.

I pulled out my rifle (calling it Project AR Upgrade is getting old) and fiddled with the conversion kit a bit. It is a nicely manufactured little piece of kit. "Installation" is stupidly easy. Just take out the bolt and put in the kit bolt then insert a .22 magazine. I'm looking forward to testing it out at the range later this week. Will check the darn schedule this time though.

To me there are two real roles for this kit. As a survival toon and for affordable short range training with the AR. For me being able to carry a little bolt with a mag or two and shoot .22 ammo through my rifle would be really nice. A great option if I have to travel light for whatever reason. Secondly I can't afford to shoot anywhere near as much .223 as would be ideal but a trip to the range with this sucker won't break the bank.

For me two criteria will determine if this bolt is a useful tool or a little gimmick decent accuracy and OK reliability. What I want to be able to do is shoot .22lr accurately at 25, or ideally 50 meters, sufficiently to do SRM, plink and if need put some meat into the pot. Don't need or expect it to win small bore competitions, just to be accurate enough to fill a legitimate role. As to reliability I am a bit less concerned. So long as it doesn't jam every third round or in complicated unpleasant ways that make the whole thing a hassle I am prepared for a few eccentricities. Absolute best case some duds are inevitable with rim fire ammo anyway. I'll share some more thoughts after it gets some range time.

Well kiddo is up and it is almost time to start moving towards dinner so it is time to wrap this up.

Hope you all are having a wonderful Christmas



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Quote of the Day

"Here is a suggestion. If I die, even if you somehow get a bunch of money, don't be a stay at home dad. I have seen you less stressed about going to war then spending a day with a two year old. In fact you don't really get stressed about anything, except toddlers, and babies are worse."
-Wifey to me this morning

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Junk, Minimalism, What We Really Need and Survivalism

One of the interesting aspects of military life is that we move, a lot. We have moved 4 times in the last 4 years, one of them was across the country and another was across the world. One of the benefits of this lifestyle is that at least in theory you have a pretty good reason to toss stuff that is not important every so often. Also a very legitimate argument could be made that if you do not unpack stuff at one place it is not something you actually need and thus should not go to the next place. Since we are moving fairly soon it is only natural that I have been thinking a lot about stuff lately. How much of it we have, what it does, how often we use it and how it does and does not work with survivalism.

I recently spent a year in Afghanistan.  I brought an assault pack, a rucksack and two duffel bags with me. One of the duffels was filled with stuff I was issued but never used. So basically I lived out of a small daypack, a ruck and a duffel bag worth of stuff for a year. I wasn't really short on anything or lacking stuff. I had all the various tactical stuff, 4 sets of clothes, about 8 t shirts and pair of socks, spare boots, workout gear, plenty of warm clothes, a knife and a multi tool, a couple of books, my kindle and laptop (with external HD, muy importante), a wooby and a sleep system. I wasn't really hurting for anything in terms of clothing, gear or whatever. It would be reasonable to say that I could live with roughly that amount of stuff indefinitely. [I wasn't cooking and had the benefit of some other infrastructure such as showers, latrines, etc. My point is just to illustrate the relative amount of clothes, gear, bedding, etc one can get by with. I should also note that my experiences were not in any way abnormal and I am not griping about them. Some folks have it worse and others have it better.]

At home we rather obviously have a lot more stuff than that. Probably way too much stuff. What we (and particularly I) actually use is a reasonably small percentage of the stuff we actually have. Probably around 30-40% if I had to guess. This is spread across the board, clothes that are not work, kitchen tools not used, etc all. Honestly this is part of my nature. I tend to hold onto anything that may be useful in the future. I (and somewhat we) have been working on that recently.

For no particular reason clothes came first. I made two piles, one to throw away and another to donate. The junk was easy. I don't really need stained white t shirts or stuff with a lot of holes in it. The donate pile was a bit more complicated. Things I do not wear or see myself wearing went into there. I definitely could have been more aggressive here.  The best I can say is that it was probably the first of a few cuts.


Today we went through our storage area and tossed a whole bunch of stuff. Most of it has just sat for 3 years so with few exceptions (like our 110 toaster) it went to the dumpster. Pieces of old furniture and all kinds of junk. The bad stuff went into the dumpster and the good stuff went beside it for folks to grab if they wanted it. I almost surely threw away some stuff we could potentially use in the future and likely we will need to replace a thing or two. Really don't care at all, it was worth it to get rid of all of that junk.

Wifey is less of a pack rat than I am but is still helping with the effort. She went through a bunch of cabinets and tossed out the junk. I probably made 10 trips to the dumpster today and we have a couple big garbage bags of stuff to donate set aside. 

We still aren't done. I am going to put some work in over the next few weekends to get things trimmed down to a closer representation of what we really use.

The part that has thrown me off about the whole thing is how this desire to rid myself of clutter relates to survivalism. By the nature of emergency situations disrupting the normal supply chain and our desire for redundancy we tend to stock pretty much everything deep. We don't have a knife, we have 10 knives, etc.

After a lot of consideration I have an answer that makes sense, if just to me. Planned stocking useful stuff in an organized manner to support a plan against eventual need makes sense. The three important phrases there are planned, useful stuff, and organized. Without a plan you are just flapping in the wind which is never good. Useful stuff is pretty obvious, if I need say a cutting edge stashing an extra Buck 110, Buck 119, Ka Bar or whatever else suits your fancy makes sense, keeping every old rusty Walmart steak knife that crosses your path would not make sense. Wifey pointed out that organization is also huge. It doesn't matter if you own a spare knife to replace the one which was lost if you do not know that you have it and where it is. What it boils down to is that having a plan to get the right stuff and keeping it organized makes sense and the further away from that you go the less it makes sense.

Anyway those are my thoughts on that. Input is welcome.








Monday, July 30, 2012

Wifey is Awesome

Today we were driving to the store and making conversation. I was relaying that a buyer might have been found for the Garand. There is potential for a swap in the deal. Wifey said "that isn't worth as much as a Garand!" I was very proud that she knew the value of the Garand and the other item. "It would be a part cash part stuff kind of thing."
Also she used "if it doesn't involve them they can stay out of our lives" in reference to a state worker/ agency which shows that my liberterian tendencies are wearing off on her slowly but surely.
She never ceases to amaze me.

Monday, June 4, 2012

A Week in Preps, Free Downloads, Kits and Other Stuff

I couldn't quite decide what to write today. I didn't want to skip a week in preps/ what did you do to prepare this week but there is other stuff floating around my head also. Anyway you are going to get all sorts of stuff today.

This week I finished up the kit/ bag that I have been working on. That meant buying the last few things like plastic bags and granola bars, digging around closets and storage to find things and just taking the time to get it all put together. We will revisit this later. Also we put some more money into our emergency fund. In the last couple months we have increased it by about 40%. Mostly this was needed for the fund to keep up with our family and life situation.

Today I noticed that John Galt's The Day The Dollar Died blovel is being offered as a free PDF download. I really enjoyed reading it the first time. Being able to read it at my own pace, not all broken up, will be nice. I strongly recommend it. Now onto kits.

So like I said I got done building the kit I have been working on. It started out to be a get home bag. I am not exactly sure what it turned into. Maybe there was a sort of mission creep but it definitely got bigger, heavier and more comprehensive than I planned. While it fit into my Tactical Tailor assault bag it was too heavy for such a bag and carried badly. I put the contents into one of the smallish packs I got from REI awhhile back. What I have is sort of straddling the fence between what I would consider a pretty comprehensive and relatively heavy get home bag and a slightly minimalist bug out bag. It has stuff to purify water, change clothes, sleep in reasonable (spring/summer, winter would need a different module) comfort, treat a variety of injuries and all of that good stuff.

I am not sure if I am thrilled with it or unhappy. In any case it definitely did not fit the intended purpose. If I commuted 50 miles one way to work every day it would probably live in my vehicle. However I do not do that. I do like the setup but am not entirely sure what I will do with it. Maybe it will stay the same or change or get parted out. For the time being it will be my bugout bag. Down the road I think it might get slightly tweeked and become Wifey's bag.

After putting that bag together and realizing the problem we just talked about I immediately set out to making the sort of get home bag that I actually need. So I put together a pretty light get home bag.  One that fits my life. I was determined not to let it suffer from any sort of creep. Basically I took my TT assault pack, tossed in a pair of boots, socks, some water and a bunch of various bars to munch on.  Of course the usual suspects like a knife, compass, fire making stuff, etc are present. Much more geared toward a 25 mile walk than a multi day treck.

Thoughts or ideas would be appreciated.

I may get around to doing posts on these. However I want to mull recent developments and maybe fill some gaps first. It might be awhile as I am lazy when it comes to that sort of posts.

Gas prices are down some here. About 30 cents from the high if memory serves me correctly. I noticed that gold shot up a bit recently but silver is still well under $30 which is a pretty good deal. It may stay there and may not, I can't say.

Anyway that is about all I have for now. Hope Monday wasn't too painful for anybody.



Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Winning and Losing: Eating Well, Couch to 5k, Berkey Water Filter and Solar Power

We have been making some changes lately. We have started eating a lot better. More fresh fruit and veggies, lean protien and better carbs. Less eating out, just plain junk and carbtastic blah meals. Most of it is pretty intuitive. If there are not chips in the house you won't eat chips. Having some discipline and not going out to eat every time we feel like it and that sort of thing. The carb thing is kind of a grey area with lots of folks taking different views. We have both tried the super low/ no carb thing before and it doesn't work for us. She just hates it and I am tired and weak all the time. Instead we are trying to eat more reasonable portions of wheat bread or tortillas and brown rice. Just avoiding the huge bowl of white rice or plate of pasta kind of meals. We both feel a lot better and are getting healthier.
Wifey has been doing Couch to 5k. She is midway through week 6 right now. While she, like many people, does not currently and probably never will like running it is working for her. She noticed that dragging the kid up stairs has gotten easier. I would say this is a real good program for lots of people to seriously look at. If you are a fairly healthy person who is of a reasonable (like not morbidly obese) body weight but have not been very physically active this is a great way to get back to it. Toss in some sort of weight training program and you will be good to go. If you are seriously overweight or woefully out of shape it might be wise to do some sort of build up to this program, like eating reasonably and walking 1-2 times a day several days a week for a month or two to build up some conditioning and drop some fat. As always everybody should consult a general practice doctor, a dietitian, a cardiologist and a physical therapist before any sort of change to their diet or beginning any exercise program.

Personally I am cutting back to 2 times at the weight pile a week and upping my conditioning. Still doing the big lifts, just a bit more geared toward holding what I've got while conditioning gets tightened up. The human body only has so much work capacity and most of us only have so much time so there is a sort of push/ pull relationship. If you add or up the intensity in one thing you are going to almost inevitably lose ground in some other. Also inherantly between weight training and running/ cardio/ conditioning there is an inherant trade off. It isn't a bad thing really, especially for someone without many sport specific goals. Unless you plan to be a competitive marathoner or powerlifter it really isn't an issue.

On the downside our Berkey water filter is currently deadlined. I couldn't get it to seal and pass the dye test then (maybe while slightly frusterated;) I broke one of the white plastic nut/ bolt combo's that seal up the holes without an element in it while putting it back on. So I am not sure what exactly was wrong but now there is a new problem to deal with. Talk about not moving in the right direction!

This happened about three weeks ago and I put it away in frustration. I am going to get a replacement nut/ bolt and some more elements (either to replace the faulty ones or as spares) then go from there. On the bright side the good folks at Directive 21 have been great in helping me trouble shoot things and have just been a huge help with this. If I weren't such a slacking procrastinator this problem would likely already be fixed. Had I bought our Berkey from some no name fly by night folks who knows where I would be.  There are no problems that money (hopefully not very much, I really want it to be just the washer, not the element(s)!) and time can't fix. It hasn't been a huge concern because we have another water filter. Maybe there is a lesson there.

On a nice sunny day recently I busted out my little solar charger. I fiddled with it until I had a decent idea how it was supposed to work and then plugged in my kindle. After several hours in direct sunlight nothing happened and my dead kindle was still dead. This lead to a good amount of not very nice language.

 I realised a few things from this. First of all I do not know anywhere near enough about electricity. Second since we have added all sort of stuff, some pure entertainment and some useful since picking this charger up we may have already outgrown it. Third I need to test it at it's primary purpose which will be charging AA and AAA sized batteries. I am waiting for a sunny day when I have time to mess with it. Another more substantial (probably 15-26 watts) portable solar charger and maybe some sort of battery bank could be in order. However I have to do some more testing and become a more educated consumer before putting something else onto the wish list. If anybody has good resources to check out on this front I would be interested. Specifically good primers on electricity in general and a good breakdown of what watt/ size pannels can charge what sort of stuff and in how long would be great.

These two events were pretty frusterating for me. Nothing like having to go back to the drawing board or adding something else to the shopping list in an area where you thought things were good. Then again testing stuff is a good thing, even if you don't get the answers that you would like. Far better to have issues now, with the worst case being spending a little bit of money (water filter) or adjusting my expectations and maybe searching for a new piece of gear (solar charger), then some time down the road during an emergency when I need this stuff to work.

I guess the closing point is to look at eating healthier, getting into better shape plus alsp really start testing and retesting your equipment. Odds are something that should work might not.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Great Sale On Cloth Diapers!

The folks at Cottonbabies are selling factory second flip covers and inserts for great prices. The covers are about half off regular price and the and the inserts at about 3/4 price. This is the system we use with Walker. Wifey recommends the ones with snaps as snaps are less prone to wear than velcro. As to quantities we have 8 covers and 24 inserts for Walker. We needed all of them when he was little and pooped all the time but now we could probably get by with a few less of each. With those numbers we need to wash them about every other day.
Anyway that is a real good deal on a product we use and recommend. I wanted you all to know about it so maybe you can save a few bucks. The only relationship we have with this company is as satisfied customers.

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Day in the Life

Today was kind of a busy day for us. This afternoon I went and picked up a bunch of used 2T clothes for Walker for $25 that Wifey found on the interwebz. He will still need some more pajama's but the bulk of the shopping is done. The lady tossed in some 3T stuff also. We washed and folded it so everything is ready for when the stuff is needed in a couple months.
Walker is currently wearing 18 month clothes and we have already got his 24 month stuff. We have bought almost all of it used for great deals. Buying stuff used often takes time, especially when you want something specific and are cheap. It is sort of like that saying about construction "you can have fast, right or cheap but only get to pick two." We could get him a bunch of  clothes that he needs tomorrow but we would be paying a lot more. On the other hand if we anticipate our needs a few months in advance we can wait for the right deal to come along.

I found a bunch of toys in a bag by a dumpster. Needless to say I grabbed it up. Wifey went through it all and decided what to keep. We got a ton of new stuff for Walker. Also I found a toddler bed that somebody had thrown away. We will have to put it together and check it out but it appears servicable. We cleaned and sterilized everything (though it seemed clean but you never know) and it is ready for Walker. He really likes the fire truck and having another ball to carry around.

Dumpster diving is one of my favorite things to do. I just love finding free stuff.

Later Wifey decided to figure out how to make some snacks. First she made wheat crackers. The recipe came from Frugal and Simple and they resemble wheat thins. The first picture is before. The dough is rolled out then cut with a pizza cutter before baking.

The second picture is from after baking. The white stuff is a bit of flour that helps minimize stickiness. It is the only white flour used in the recipe.

After that she made dehydrated yogurt bites in the dehydrator. Walker loves these things but they are like $3 for a tiny package! He gets them when we travel and we keep some around for various reasons but they are too expensive to feed to him all the time.

If it wasn't obvious almost all of this stuff except the dumpster diving was Wifey. She does all sorts of things like haunting used stuff boards and cooking snacks to stretch my earnings as far as possible. Also feeding the kid healthy stuff is important to her. It is also worth noting that she can do these things because she has time. If Wifey was working at a full time job she would not be able to do these things.

Anyway that is what we did today.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Eating Expired Shelf Stable Foods

As a bit of background I recently returned from a year in Afghanistan. During that time Wifey went back home to stay with family in the PNW. We kept our residence in Germany through this time. We left all the shelf stable food in the kitchen. Over this time pretty much everything that was in the kitchen expired. Being cheap we want to use whatever we can. After all food storage is budget neutral or even positive (you can buy at sales since you don't need it for dinner that night) BUT ONLY IF YOU ACTUALLY EAT THE FOOD. Also I was just plain curious.

Before any more discussion there should probably be a disclaimer. I am going to write some anecdotal observations which come from evaluating and eating food that is past the "best by" date. Please do not take this as anything more than one families individual experiences. I am not a doctor or a nutrition expert or a scientist or in any way qualified to say that expired food is safe to consume.  I am just some yahoo sitting at home eating expired food and writing about it on the internet. Do your own research, talk to some experts and make your own decisions. If you eat a can of oysters that have been in a shed in Alabama for a decade, get sick an die don't have your survivors come complaining to me.

I think it is important to consider three things when it comes to the dates put on food. The first is that the dates are "best by" not "you will die if you eat after". Secondly we live in a very litigious society so companies have to error seriously (like belt and suspenders with pants that fit) on the side of caution. Lastly knowing that many people toss stuff at the date on the package and then go out and replace it companies have financial motivation to make the date a bit earlier to (over time and a large customer base) increase their sales. Due to these three things I think the dates on packages are often far earlier than the practical date where food is seriously degraded or unsafe to consume.

We will go item by item in no particular order discussing the edible then those deemed inedible. All items were in their original packaging.

The following items were solidly edible:

Cereal (Cherios 11 months past date, Captain Crunch 13 months past and generic Frosted Flakes 9 months past). No identifiable changes. Smells and tastes fine.

Flour, sealed, 6 months past best by date. It didn't rise quite as much as normal but tasted fine.

Folgers coffee opened 8 months past best by date. Maybe a little bit stale but perfectly drinkable.

Peter Pan chunky peanut butter, opened and partially used, 8 months past best by date. Starting to separate into solid and oil but smells and tastes fine.

Peter Pan creamy peanut butter opened and partially used, 10 months past best by date. No identifiable changes. Smells and tastes fine.

Crisco vegitable oil, 7 months past date. No identifiable changes. Smells and tastes fine. Used for cooking and baking.

Campbells tomato soup, 8 months past date. Slightly gelatinous and the soup came out with some lumps but otherwise tasted fine.
The below items were deemed inedible:
 
Manwich BBQ Sloppy Joe Sauce, 13 months past date. Opened the can and the contents were gelatinous and seemed to have some pockets of green discoloratation on the top that may have been some sort of mold. Needless to say we did not eat it.
 
Grape Jelly, Smuckers sugarless, unopened and 6 months past date. Smelled slightly like vinegar and we did not eat it.
 
It bears repeating that I am just some yahoo sitting at home eating expired food and writing about it on the internet. Just because something worked once for me does not mean it is necessarily so for all people under all circumstances. Do your own research, consult experts if necessary and use common sense before eating any food that is beyond the best by date or has been preserved/ stored questionably.
 
Anyway I thought this stuff might interest you all. As we try some more stuff I will keep track of it and report the results.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Angry

The concept of student loan repayment forgiveness as a public program fills me with rage. I have talked about this before so there is no need to rehash it in full. It doesn’t bother me that for a year we put a huge amount (something like 1/3rd) of my wages toward paying off my loan. We decided that instead of making normal payments forever we would knock it out and of course I borrowed it so paying it back is only fair. However that some folks should get a pass because they borrowed a lot will have a hard time and (probably in part due to degrees in underwater basket weaving and gay transgender Eskimo studies) paying it back seems insane to me. We could debate the politics and economics of higher education all day long but if you borrow money you should pay it back. A guy who makes $25k a year and was stupid enough to borrow 40k for a big shiny truck shouldn’t get a pass anymore than someone who goes to an expensive private school and gets a degree which tends to pay poorly. Hint; don’t borrow a ton of money to go to a private school and study communications or education or sociology. If you want to go into those fields I recommend a much more reasonably priced public school.

Also the topic of mortgage write downs came up again somewhere. That might fill me with even more rage. The reason why is simple. I haven’t bought a house yet, dun dun dun, because I couldn’t afford it. Sure I could make the mortgage but I didn’t have any savings, let alone a down payment. Idiots and hopeful fools who made bad choices I was smart enough to avoid should not be rewarded. However if it is any conciliation to me I don’t see this one happening. It is clear to me that the trend is to hook up the banks at the expense of the people, not the other way around.

It pisses me off when we bail out individuals or companies who make stupid choices. Here is an n unavoidable truth, people learn from stupid choices by suffering their consequences. A person who makes stupid choices and feels the consequences stands (assuming he doesn’t blame everybody else) a good chance of learning a thing or two and just maybe making better decisions in the future. If we bail these idiots out they will not learn how to make good choices. Also there is significant risk that we are telling a whole other group of up and coming idiots to go ahead and be idiots as the government has got their stupid back.
Both of these things make we want to start a fire bombing campaign to show my displeasure. I don’t even know who I want to firebomb, I am just really angry.

On the bright side I had a really good talk with Wifey today which as always, helped turn down the burner under the boiling pot that is my rage. She pointed out that we can take a good amount of pride in knowing that we are doing the right thing. Also that in years to come (these programs come and go, woe is a person or a business who is only viable because of a government subsidy or tax deduction) we will be fine and able to take care of ourselves because that is the sort of people we are.

Note, this article is about a month old. I am trying to clean out my writing folder a bit.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Building Food Storage in Small Spaces

My long time friend Maggy dropped me a line the other day. She has been on hiatus from our sister blog for awhile as she has been busy having a kid. Anyway she has relocated to a very small apartment (she said the size of a postage stamp) and is looking to rebuild some food storage that got eaten up. She asked my advice on small spaces noting that under the bed was full of baby stuff and thoughts on stocking up beyond ‘if you need one buy two’ plan. Here is my sanitized and slightly edited reply to her:
First of all it has been awhile so I want to congratulate you on the kid and all that stuff. I am happy for you guys. Next there are two separate issues: space and stocking up.

For space: I am really not a huge fan of under the bed. Been there and done that, it just didn't work great. The issue with it is that stuff under there tends to stay under there and not get used, because it is a pain to get to under the bed. Not an issue for a water filter, a case of rifle ammo and some MRE's but for food you want to rotate regularly it is problematic. In my experience if accessing and thus rotating stored food is hard folks won’t do it. If you don’t somewhat regularly rotate food the whole storage thing doesn’t work so well.

I would say first to be more organized in the kitchen (example instead of having 3 drawers of tupperware and other crap have 1 or 2 organized ones) to get the most of the space you do have. Throw away any junk and organize the rest. This should free up some space. Next I would say to look at other shelving/ storage areas in your place. Wifey and I did this with success in the RV. Having a cupboard full of food in a different place isn't ideal but we have to work with what we have available.

Another idea to free up some space is to use small quart or whatever sized containers for staples, rice, beans, flour, etc and keep those in the kitchen. The big bags could then live in a closet or someplace a bit less accessible as you don't need to access them daily, just to refill the jars/ tupperware things.
Really it comes down to prioritization. Thinks we decide are important tend to happen and those we prioritize lower often stall out when they meet any resistance. If you start from the perspective of “I am going to fit X amount of food in my residence, where is it going to go” instead of “How much food can I conveniently fit in the kitchen as it is organized now, without adjusting anything?” there answer is going to be very different.

So in review; first organize the kitchen and then consider using other available cupboards and such outside the kitchen. If it is important, and food is important, then you can find a way.

Restocking on food: The buy 2 cans/ boxes/ packages when you really only need one plan is good. It lets you stock things you are actually eating in better varieties than say buying a case of chili and a case of stew.

The thing is that nobody, except maybe Redacted (her significant other and my longtime friend who doesn’t have a name on here, or I can’t remember it) and he probably did it because he is lazy, wants to eat chili for a month in a row. Far better to have 6 cans of chili, 3 cans of stew, 3 cans of clam chowder and 6 meals worth of pasta with both red and white sauce, etc.

One good way to give your food storage a sort of jump start without getting sucked into too much of any one thing is to get a good baseline of staples. A 20 pound bag of flour, 20 pounds of rice, 10 pounds of corn meal, 10 pounds of beans, a big bag of pancake mix with a large jug of syrup, some peanut butter, jelly, oil and spices and you can eat for a pretty long time, especially since you can cook. That stuff just about doesn't go bad (you can't store a ton of it just in bags but if you cook at all a big bag will get used up well before it would go bad). It doesn't cost a lot and in a pinch you could eat off it for awhile. Maybe do that to get the ball rolling and keep up with the need one buy two and pretty quickly you will accumulate a lot of food you will actually eat.

FWIW the one shelf stable food we probably can't stock enough of in my house is pasta. It is cheap and easy and can be used a lot of ways. Cook a package of pasta, maybe do up some meat and veggies (or not) and toss it in some sauce and you have an easy dinner. In my observation one of the biggest ways for a plan of staple cooking to break down is getting busy. If you get busy and don’t have some reasonable options to get dinner on the table in 15-20 minutes with minimal hassle it is going to be convenience foods or pizza. Pasta is great for this.
Also we eat a lot of rice and I have cereal for breakfast most mornings so we usually have a dozen or so boxes of whatever has been on sale recently.
I hope this gives you some ideas. Feel free to hit me up with any questions it may bring.
-Ryan
If you have anything to add please do so in the comments section.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Well it is Turkey Day. This is the second time I have spent Thanksgiving in a war zone. The first was a lot easier, maybe in part because of the rose colored glasses of time but mostly because missing my wife and kid is very different from the rents, siblings, extended family and friends.It was as good of a day as it could be. The dining hall did a bang up job. They had everything I wanted and it was all great. Things were pretty quiet and I got to do some reading which was nice.

I have been thinking about what I am thankful for. I am thankful that we aren't worried about keeping a roof over our heads, buying groceries and other basic things. I am thankful that we are able to have Wifey stay at home with Walker. I am also thankful that they are home with family. She gets a bit of help with kiddo when she needs it and if anything happens I know they are in the best place they can be. That is a huge thing off my mind while I am over here. I am also thankful for preparedness books in kindle format, gymnastics rings, bumper plates, crocks, lightweight boots that you can run in, one point adjustable slings, pmag's and my snuggie. Yes, you heard that right I have a snuggie in Afghanistan and it is great.

Well I hope that everyone has a great Thanksgiving. Enjoy great food and drink and time with family. Who knows what can happen by this time next year.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Back To The Stan

They say all good things must come to an end and at least that is true with leave. R and R was great. I got to spend a lot of time (minus a trip or two to the store all of it) with Wifey and Walker. Walker is a totally different kid and a complete riot. I caught up with my family and saw almost all of the friends in that area.
We got to take a scenic drive and stay in a great place for several days which was awesome. I ate and drank everything I wanted to so no complaints on that front. I accomplished my modest preparedness goal which was good also.

Now it is back to work. On the bright side I took leave late in the deployment so at least the end is somewhere in sight. I am eager to get back to the track and weight pile but other than that the only thing I am looking forward to is leaving this country and getting back to my family.

As Wifey noted having two stay at home parents is really the way to go. However the economics of that are to say the least difficult as we do not want to stay at home parents in a tent in a national forest. Our hopes in that department rest on winning multi millions in the lottery and since I do not buy lottery tickets and Wifey rarely does (less than $20 a year) the odds of that one are slim. Oh well I guess you can always dream.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Blog Changes Time Now

Hey All. As you know I am going to be deploying to Afghanistan. There are going to be some changes here. Effective immediately posting is going to be cut back to 3 times a week. It will be a regular schedule, probably Tues, Thurs and Sat.  I am doing this because we have a lot going on now, I will likely be busy for the foreseeable future and there will be some black out periods for me. Posting less frequently on here will let us save posts for the busy/ black out times. Also since I won't be reading blogs a lot of my inspiration for posts will be gone.  I think it will be better for readers to have some regularity versus feast and famine.

Once I get settled into a regular battle rhythm in Afghanistan we may revisit this schedule. Then again maybe I will try to improve my quality to quantity ratio a bit. Also you will not see me in the comments section so much. I will answer emails as quickly as possible in the order they are received.

Anyway I hope this doesn't bother you all too much. However part of me having a family, being in the military, and just having a real job in general is that the blog is not anywhere close to #1 for me. It's not that I don't like you all bunches and bunches, just that other stuff is going on.

Friday, December 24, 2010

It's Christmas Eve, I'm Smoked and Random Observations

Yesterday and today have been a definite success. We got together yesterday with some family friends for an annual holiday thing. That was a ton of fun and the White Elephant was a definite success. Today was Christmas with my family. Between multiple families, a couple divorces and other stuff it cracks out that we end up doing the steriotypical Christmas thing twice when we are home. We did presents with my folks then everyone came over. Did the whole drinks, snacks and cookies thing followed by a big prime rib dinner. It was nice to be able to catch up with some folks I don't see a lot, catch up and just talk about life. It was one of those times we get rare combinations of people which is always entertaining.

This has all been a ton of fun but I am just about worn out. A real good friend who I don't see a lot had texted me about getting together this evening. At 2pm I was pretty receptive but at 7pm when people had cleared out and things were cleaned up it was a different story. On the bright side things are starting to settle down, the kids have gotten over the days sensory overload and I don't have much to do. Really just plan to finish up this post, call a friend to wish him a Merry Christmas then try to get a decent nights sleep.

Last night at happy hour a close family friend said a few things about money, finances and spending which could have easily came out of my mouth on this blog. It was like a breath of fresh air for me. Wifey and I realized over this trip is that we really enjoy being around people who are cheap/ frugal and proud of it. It is really great for me to hear other people use and talk about the same sort of common sense thinking we do. Not needing to worry about offending anyone or making it awkward with someone when you mention the concept of saving or living below your means. While I know lots of these people in the blogosphere the ones in my real actual life are especially prized.

I thought about common denominators with these folks. Stuff other than the obvious that they are in our life and are cheap/ frugal. Most of them have decent to above average incomes. Most of them own a nice relatively large TV. Most of them forgo any sort of debt/ financing except maybe some student loans or a modest mortgage. They are without exception not people you would see walking down the street and think, man that guy is really cheap. Most of them have a few nice things/ toys/ whatever you wanna call it. One has a motorcycle and another enjoys ATV's. Some put a bit of their extra money into vehicles and others travel a lot.

The additional common denominators are that while they all have a thing or two they splurge on they do it in a reasonable manner (saving a few bucks every paycheck to get a nice TV in a few months vs putting the biggest best TV the store has on the Visa and making minimum payments forever.) and probably more importantly they pick and choose there they put extra money. They do this because they simply cannot splurge on every single thing and have reasonable finances. They also at the end of the day live a lifestyle that is solidly reasonable with their spending and debt load when compared to their income.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas with their family and loved ones. Unfortunately there are a lot of accidents this time of year. Remember not to drink and drive. Also be extra careful with firearms. Stay safe and I look forward to finishing out another year here with you folks.

MERRY CHRISTMAS! A very happy whateverelseitisyoucelebrate to readers who do not celebrate Christmas too. However since I am not going to say some junk like happy holidays, I always misspell the Jewish holiday (it's really nothing personal guys:) and Kwanza is as real as Dolly Partons boobs it is just going to be Merry Christmas. Sort of how Army manuals say in one sentence "Unless otherwise noted all male pronounse are gender neutral" just consider it Merry Christmasandorwhateverelseitisyoucelebrate unless otherwise noted.

I will post tomorrow if it is convenient and the mood strikes me. Otherwise I will resume regular posting on the 26th.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Stay At Home Mom's, Lifestyle Choices and the American Family.

In a recent discussion I saw stay at home mom refered to by the acronym SAHM. I am unsure where this came from and until proven otherwise I will credit it to Patrice who writes the great blog Rural Revolution. Anyway moving forward. I have been thinking about the whole stay at home mom thing.

I find the excuses for why people say they can't have mom (or I suppose dad) at home to be just that, excuses. The fundamental issue is that to be able to have mom at home you need to be able to live on what dad makes. Simply take the amount he brings in, subtract some for savings and a cushion then the rest is what you've got to live on. Simple but not easy.

All the excuses boil down to we would rather have stuff than mom at home. Living on less may well mean a smaller, simpler residence like most things in life, it is attainable if you want it bad enough. I can however see that not every woman wants to be a SAHM. They may have goals outside of the home, want the social interaction that comes with working outside of the home. I guess my point is that having momma at home is possible if you are willing to make the sacrifices.

For some reason I am still not clear on I watched a couple hours of 16 and Pregnant today. My first thought was "life is hard; its harder if you're stupid".  John Wayne said that. The whole getting pregnant really young thing is stupid.

Seriously the impact of lifestyle choices like having a kid cannot be overstated. These kids are going to have a seriously rough go of it based upon the stupid choice they made.

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