October 2017 Goals

Pantry & Preparedness:
Purchase two cases of bottled water for our emergency supplies (DONE 18 Oct 2017)
Scan vital documents to a USB drive for evacuation bag
Walk 1x weekly with evacuation bag & with dog wearing her panniers (thanks to this little lesson learned!)

Finish knitting donation hat (Frogged this project & gave away the yarn. It is just way too hard on my hands.)
Re-start my Tesla shawl (Cast on [again!] 11 Oct 2017)

Education & Personal Enrichment:
Finish first quarter of kids’ homeschooling (DONE 13 Oct 2017)
Read a book from my fall/winter reading list (DONE: Finished reading Ghost Fleet 8 Oct 2017; finished John Adams 10/26; finished The Water Knife 10/30)
Finish the “Great Utopian and Dystopian Works of Literature” lecture series I am watching on The Great Courses Plus (This is on hold for me; reading John Adams took up most of my free time in October!)
Complete at least one FEMA Independent Study course

Writing & Professional Development:
Catch up on my LinkedIn messages/connection requests (DONE 15 Oct 2017)
Transfer clips list to this site
Type up final draft of the article I’m working on, and submitted to planned site
Work on my non-fiction book, Prepare Anywhere

Index at least 10 batches/100 image files (DONE 8 Oct 2017)
Participate in Worldwide Indexing Event sponsored by FamilySearch.org (DONE 21 Oct 2017)
Scan irreplaceable family photos to USB drive

Health & Wellness:
Dental exam/cleaning appointments for children (EDIT: Now in November)
Make appointments with specialists for myself & one child per primary doctors’ referrals
Walk at least twice weekly (without evacuation pack)

What are your goals for October? I’d love to hear from you in the comments! If you’d like to see what I was able to mark off my September goal list, click here.

Frugal Accomplishments ~ Week Ending 1 Oct 2017

Each week Brandy at The Prudent Homemaker shares her frugal accomplishments from the previous week. There is so much inspiration and encouragement in her posts and the many comments from her readers. Here’s a little run down of our frugal happenings for the past week:

Opened windows/doors as soon as the sun went down each evening to let cooler breezes in; opened house up several mornings before the sun came around to side of the house that heats up as well. Kept AC set to 79F and manually turned it up further to 80F whenever possible. We use ceiling fans to move the air in the room we are in and turn them off when not in a room.

Husband rode bike to work all week, saving on gas for his car.

Groomed dog at home using supplies we already own; my husband was able to help so we got her back toenails cut and trimmed more off the front (my hands are not strong enough to do them quickly, so I only got half done the first time). With his help I was also able to use her shampoo spray to give her a good cleaning in addition to her brush-out.

Meals were cooked from the pantry, using a menu plan. I purposely accounted for one slow cooker meal I didn’t have supplies for, the ingredients for which I purchased as the commissary this week. It will give us leftovers for a second meal.

Several of the dinners I planned for purposely created leftovers, some of which were eaten for lunches and one (baked ziti) served as two dinners and several small lunch servings for my family members.

Made (and used!) a list for our commissary trip. Included on this list were items specifically for lunch & snacks for the day that we are in another town for a homeschool program; this is much less costly than buying them at the campus store as we’ve done the last few weeks.

Used my rewards card at the local drug store when I restocked our feminine and first aid kit supplies – earned 3,000 “points” toward a future purchase. Right now I am over a $10 reward; I am saving up for a bigger one so I can combine with coupons and sales to really hit a trip out of the park. 😉

Inspired by the free preparedness challenge I participated in, I made time to inventory my food storage and get it all completely organized. (It was in our rotating racks since our move, but not “truly” organized.) Now I know what we have plenty of, and what we are running low on, and can adjust accordingly in my monthly rotation use and new purchases.

My son borrowed documentaries on DVD from the library, all on subjects he and his dad are interested in. We call these DVDs our weekend “edutainment” – they are all educational, but we find them entertaining as well.

Purchased a case of small propane containers at the feed store – I hope to use our Mr. Buddy heater to take the chill off our main room come winter, rather than using the furnace. Since I’m usually the first to get cold, I make use of wool socks, good layers, heavy blankets, and hot cocoa or herbal tea in my favorite mugs to try to warm up, but I do have a harder time staying warm (and keeping my joint pain lower) in the low humidity of the desert.

Purchased topical flea & tick protection for the dog at the feed store. We had been using an oral prescription medication for her, but it only protected against fleas and was costly. We decided to go back to what we used to use to give her better protection without the cost of a vet visit/prescription.

Walked several evenings once the temperatures dropped. Two nights we did bigger walks (more free exercise); one night I weighed my emergency bag and got the dog into hers, to test how far we could walk in an evacuation. Full disclosure: I only did 0.13 mi with my 20# pack – I’m not proud to say we did such a short loop, but it’s a start, at least. I also learned that the dog didn’t remember her bag from hiking in 2016, and had to be given treats to get walking. That would be VERY unhelpful in an emergency; I’m really glad to have learned it in a test situation so we can start training with it more frequently again! (And now I know to add some treats to *my* waist strap just in case.)

Baked brownies and cookies at home for snacks.

National Preparedness Month 2017

Did you know that September is National Preparedness Month? While this is a vital topic year round, each September sees resources being shared for families, congregations, schools, government organizations, and businesses to become better prepared. With fall on its way, this is the time of year to start readying ourselves for potential events that arrive as winter sweeps into the Northern Hemisphere. This year these matters are particularly on our minds, thanks to the devastating effects of hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

If you would like to become better prepared, you can click on thru to the Ready.gov website (via the image to the right). There you’ll find a wealth of information from the United States’ Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) – whether you are looking to get started because of what you’re seeing in the news this month; or because of a change in your life, such as becoming a caregiver to a child or elderly family member; or if you just think it’s time to review things at your business or place of worship and see where you can improve.

Additionally, Continue reading

Summer 2017 Reading List

As I mentioned earlier this week, my summer reading list for 2017 focused on dyes and colorants. I have several titles on my fiber shelf that deal with the mechanics of dyeing fiber and fabric, particularly with natural items such as roots, flowers, and the like. A few years ago I had the opportunity to take a class on natural dyeing at Arbutus Folk School (located in the Pacific Northwest). The class included a trip to the local farmers market, where we purchased or found items we could dye our silk scarves with, and some foraging for items along the trail to and from the market. I chose to dye my scarves with the bark of the Pacific madrone tree (Arbutus menziesii) for three reasons: 1, it was readily accessible around the base of multiple madrones along the path since the trees naturally shed their bark; 2, because it is one of my favorite trees; and 3, because it is the tree the folk school was named after and a perfect memento of the day.

This year my studies are less on the “how to” facets of dyes and dyeing and more on the history of the science of dye stuffs and the cultural uses of them. If you’d like to learn more about these aspects of dyeing, here’s the list I’ve worked from. You may, of course, have already spotted the titles on my reading list page – I just thought it would be nice to make it a little more convenient for you to create a list for your next library trip or Kindle splurge. Enjoy!

The Modern Natural Dyer – Vejar
Indigo: In Search of the Color that Seduced the World – McKinley
Colors: the Story of Dyes and Pigments – Delamare
Mauve: How One Man Invented a Color that Changed the World – Garfield
A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire – Greenfield
Fifty Animals That Changed the Course of History – Chaline
The Rarest Blue: The Remarkable Story of an Ancient Color Lost to History and Rediscovered – Sterman
A Red Like No Other: How Cochineal Colored the World – Padilla

September 2017 Goals

One of my favorite bloggers, Brandy at The Prudent Homemaker, shares her goals at the beginning of each month, broken down into categories such as garden, sewing, and the like. I usually have a mental list going, but since one of my goals for the upcoming months is to get back to blogging more, I’m going to go ahead and get them in writing here on ye olde blog.

Pantry & Preparedness: Continue reading