Prepping for Vacation

Prepping for Vacation

3 kids relaxing on the lawn - ahhhh - vacation

Sam recently went on an extended vacation. She thought that maybe sharing a few thoughts might help you prepare for your long weekend or extended time away from home. (Apologies – I missed getting these up before the long Labor Day weekend!)

Sam offers these short videos: Tips to Prep for Your Vacation

Since they’re short videos, I’ve placed all 4 tips in the post.

Tip 1 is prepping your home so that there are no surprises when you return from your vacation! 

No one wants to return home to a bed that needs making before you can hit the sack, or dirty dishes in the sink that makes it frustrating to make a meal. Sam offers a few great tips to prevent potential catastrophes that will quickly ruin a fun vacation!

Tip 2 is prepping your pets for less anxiety on your leaving and less mess on your return home.

Do you have a dog that gets anxious as he watches you start to pack? If so, he’s probably underfoot, whiny, and a bit of a pain. Sam offers a few tips that just might make it easier on everyone!

Tip 3 is prepping your garden.

A couple of brief thoughts on helping to control those pesky weeds while you’re gone!

Tip 4 is for those folks who raise their own chickens.

Sam offers a few ideas to keep them safe and happy with no surprises, hopefully, on your return.

Prepping for Vacation Time can make returning a hundred times more pleasant with a few simple tasks. It’s so nice to return to no dishes in the sink, beds made and ready for you to crash from that ‘relaxing’ vacation, no ants and other bugs because you left food out somewhere, a pet that’s happy your home with no trauma while you were gone, a garden that doesn’t have 10′ weeds growing in it, and, if you have chickens, a hen house that’s happy and just as comfy when you get back as they were when you left.

As you plan for the upcoming holidays, the seasonal tips may change, but the concepts are the same. Prepping for vacation gives greater certainty that you’ll be happy to return. Consider your pets and any anxieties they may have. Be sure any gardening issues or animal care (such as your chickens) are taken into consideration.

Remember: The return from a wonderful time away will be a lot less frustrating if you’re not having to clean before you can sit down and relax. Enjoy that time away!

Easy Fresh Saladings

Easy Fresh Saladings

Prepare Your Saladings Ahead

Sam and I are always talking about tips and tricks to make your life easier while being prepared. While Sam’s enjoying a wonderful family vacation with friends, I’ll post my easy, fresh salad preparation which works great for one or two people, especially when you don’t eat it fast enough before it goes bad. But it would work for any family of any size.

yummy tossed salad

This is for a simple tossed salad, but you can prepare most items ahead, making it easier to enjoy a fresh, crisp salad at any time without a lot of preparation. This process will allow you to enjoy fresh salads for 10-14 days.

A few key points:

  • Keep your fridge colder – I keep mine close to the coldest setting. I feel it’s worth it if I’m trying to save on grocery trips.
  • Always be sure to wash your veggies and dry them. I don’t have one of those spinners, so I just use a clean dish towel or paper towels.

Steps for a simple tossed salad:

Iceberg lettuce – take off outer leaves, rinse if needed, and dry. I usually cut the core out and then cut it in half. It makes it easy to grab a few leaves for a sandwich or to cut up for your salad. I wrap them in paper towels and place in a large plastic bag (or your favorite container).

Romaine Lettuce – remove the outer leaves, cut the core off the bottom, separate the leaves, rinse and dry. Line a 9×13 cake pan with a couple of paper towels. Place your leaves in and cover with a paper towel. Place the lid on the cake pan and store in the bottom of your fridge (bottom is colder).

Peppers – wash, remove stem and seeds, and cut in half or quarters (lengthwise). Be sure to dry them off with a paper towel. I use a 32 oz yogurt container. Place a piece of paper towel on the bottom, place a few pieces, add another piece of paper towel, and place the rest of the pepper. The paper towel helps to absorb the moisture.

Peppers can also be chopped up and stored in the same manner as above.

Mushrooms – in this case, I have button mushrooms. I wash them and dry them. Slice them if you like. Pack them in a container in the same fashion as the peppers above.

Green Onions – Wash and trim. Lightly dry them off. Then wrap loosely in a paper towel and place in a plastic bag.

Regular onions can be peeled, cut in halves or quarters, wrap pieces in aluminum foil, and place in a large yogurt container. They will keep if kept cold and will not smell up your fridge.

Tomatoes – the best approach I’ve had is to cut them to your liking and place them in sour cream or yogurt container using paper towel pieces on the bottom and the top. I’ve done this because quite often I can’t eat them fast enough.

Of course, you can search online and find dozens of suggestions to try. The above works well for me.

When I’m ready to create my salad, I just tear up some lettuce, add mushrooms, chop a bit of pepper and onion, feta cheese, top with tomatoes, and add the dressing of choice.

You can certainly add radishes, different mushrooms, meat, nuts and seeds, and any other items of choice. I like to add some of those nut and raisin mixes, croutons, and even fruit.

The point is to make it easy to enjoy a fresh salad and not throw anything away because it went bad!

Let me know any tips or tricks you might have on our Facebook page. Most of all – enjoy your fresh salad!

Warmly, Ellie

Preparing for Disasters

Preparing for Disasters

family preparedness listIRS Suggestions for Disaster Preparation

Sam found this video that she thought we should share with our readers. Along with a well-stocked food pantry, ready go-bags, first-aid kits, and such, this video discusses Important Papers you may need. Whether it’s a hurricane, fire, or another disaster, there are some very important papers you might need to have to restore your lives. Personal IDs, birth certificates, passports, tax info, SS and/or medical cards and information, and even such things as home titles. and insurances are all items that will make recovery after a disaster easier.

WAYS to SAVE Your Important Papers

The video mentions saving electronic copies (scan those that are not in electronic form). They also suggest creating duplicate copies and storing them in another location.

A few thoughts/concerns:

  • If you store it on your computer, you better plan to grab it when you need to leave your home or business.
  • Better yet, save them in online storage, such as Google docs or Drive, DropBox, etc.
  • You could save them on a USB drive (thumb drive) and easily take them with you.
  • If you store electronically, don’t forget to have passwords easily available. Of course, using a site like RoboForm, Last Pass, etc would be very helpful because you’ll only need to remember one password (the one for your password manager program).
  • You could also take photos on your phone, though this could be less secure.

Remember, you don’t want to be worrying about this as you’re rushing to leave your home or business. And it will be too late to gather it in a crisis. So think about this now! Fireproof safes are another option but sometimes aren’t easily retrieved after a disaster.

Click this page on their website for some IRS guidance for papers you may need as a family and/or a business.

As always, you are encouraged to make a plan. Don’t forget to keep those documents updated. It’s a bit of a chore now, but will save a lot of headaches should you be in a position to need them!

REMEMBER: When you’re prepared, you have less fear and are able to take action!

Satisfaction of Preparedness

Satisfaction of Preparedness

Satisfaction – Inner Calm – Just Plain Smart

Food-storage-closet-from-Unsplash-by-Annie_SprattNo matter what you call it, or how you feel about it, being prepared feels GREAT! As we discuss in our Sunday Snacks today, prices fluctuating, news that can’t help but put us on edge, supply chain issues still occurring with no real end in sight, and so much more, Sam and Ellie share their philosophies about preparedness!

We’re not talking about long-term storage as much as 3 months, 6 months, or up to a year. For instance, if you’d begun adding to your pantry last fall and through the winter, the savings on those items, if you had to purchase them today, would most certainly help your budget.

We’ve discussed in other posts how to get started. You can visit our blog page for more information. You can also join our email list and receive a pdf with tips and lists to start your 30-day food supply.

If you like to read the transcript of the video below, CLICK HERE.

Key Tips for Why Preparedness Can Be Satisfying

  • No panic.
    When you see a store with empty shelves, especially items that you use regularly, you’ll be prepared. Always purchase a few items to keep in your pantry staples.
  • Less worry.
    Price fluctuations won’t be so worrying, especially if you were smart enough to purchase ahead when prices were less expensive.
  • Calm.
    When you know you can care for yourself and/or your family, the latest headlines won’t feel so frightening.
  • Family action.
    When the family works together to be prepared, there’s a sense of “We’ve got this” rather than fear.
  • Sense of community.
    If you have an elderly or needy neighbor, you may be able to help.Note of caution: do NOT broadcast about your food storage. Just know you can quietly help if you so choose.

In the video, Sam shares how pleasantly surprised she was to learn that her kids are much more aware and knowledgeable about being prepared than she realized. In recent storms, her daughter did an amazing job of taking leadership at their Scout Camp. And her son takes personal responsibility in noticing and noting on the grocery list when they need to add items to their storage. If you think about it in the same way you would plan for a trip, you’ll soon discover that it’s not as difficult as you might have feared.

It’s never too late to start. Add an extra item or two with each shopping trip. Think about items you use every day and figure out ways to add an extra for your pantry storage.

Find ways to add calm and a sense of satisfaction by being prepared.

One other thought: knowing you have a little extra means that you can quietly help a neighbor or family member through tough times. For instance, if a couple of elderly friends are having a tough time, knowing that you have a couple of cans of food that you can share, or even a prepared meal that you can walk over to them, is worth way more than the price of the food.

We’re here to help. Have a specific question? Give us a shout. Send us a message on FB if you like. But get started!

NOTE: If you enjoy our life hacks and simple common-sense approaches to sustainability and everyday life, please spread the word. Visit and like our youtube channel and our Facebook page. Sign up for our newsletter  – the form’s on the HOME page. Share your thoughts with us on youtube or FB. And, please, share us with your friends. Here’s to your peace of mind because you’re prepared!

Between us, we have over 100 years of experience, and Sam’s only 40!
If you enjoy our life hacks and simple common-sense approaches to
sustainability and everyday life, please spread the word.

Go-Bag Show and Tell

Go-Bag Show and Tell

If You Need to Leave in a Hurry!

frog carrying 2 suitcases - time to go!

A Go-Bag is a duffel bag or backpack that has essentials if you need to leave in a hurry. With fires, floods, and hurricanes as just a few examples, a Go-Bag will help you be prepared if you get that knock-on-the-door that says you have 2 minutes to get out of your house!

A Go-Bag is considered when you have to quickly leave and get to a temporary location – a shelter, a friend’s or relative’s home, etc. A Bug-Out bag is often considered if you would be gone for a longer time, possibly living in a wooded area, etc.

In our Sunday Snacks with Sam and Ellie today, we do something Sam loves: show and tell. Ellie will share a few of the items she has for her Go-Bag. Ideally, each member of the family would have their own. Some of the items you would want to include:

  • important papers: ID, insurance info, medical info, etc.
  • meds: any prescriptions you’ll need and probably a few items like generic Benedryl, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, etc.
  • basic first aid kit
  • flashlight/batteries
  • radio – one that cranks, though a slow process, will help if your batteries run out – also be sure it gets basic NOAA info
  • fire starter – matches kept in a waterproof tin, an electric one like Ellie shows us, and there are plenty of other choices
  • a tarp that can be used to keep dry or create a makeshift shelter
  • at least one change of clothes
  • items needed if you’re taking a pet – possibly a Go-Bag just for them
  • family photo with names (possibly each person having one)

These are a just few of the items necessary if you have to leave quickly. Every few months, double-check the contents to be sure batteries are good, etc.

If you like, you can read the transcript by CLICKING HERE.

As Always – Do Your Homework!

Encourage each member of the family to take care of his/her Go-Bag. Check that all is well every few months. Take what you NEED – not everything but the kitchen sink! The kids might want to pack a small stuffed animal and/or a game or activity that can entertain them when there’s nothing to do but wait. SMALL is the active word here.

Be sure everyone old enough to understand knows what to do and why. Remember fear is when we feel helpless. If we each have tasks and know what to do, taking action will help to alleviate fear!

Be sure you actually know how to use everything in your pack. Be sure your kids have IDs on them and in their bags with contact info and any pertinent information: like allergies etc.

As always, we encourage you to take a day – or a weekend – to practice using your Go-Bag and have NO electricity. Make it fun – like a camp-out.  Be sure everyone knows their tasks.

Sam and Ellie encourage you to ‘be prepared.’ If you never have to use your Go-Bag, well, that’s awesome! If you DO have to grab those Go-Bags and leave in a hurry, you’ll be ready!

Join us next week for Sunday Snacks with Sam and Ellie

NOTE: If you enjoy our life hacks and simple common-sense approaches to sustainability and everyday life, please spread the word. Visit and like our youtube channel and our Facebook page. Sign up for our newsletter  – the form’s on the HOME page. Share your thoughts with us on youtube or FB. And, please, share us with your friends. Here’s to your peace of mind because you’re prepared!

Between us, we have over 100 years of experience, and Sam’s only 40!
If you enjoy our life hacks and simple common-sense approaches to
sustainability and everyday life, please spread the word.


Read – Read – Read!

Read – Read – Read!

photo of reddish colored dog with glasses on and a magazine in front of him

We want to discuss something that might irk a few of you. We hope not. But today we were chatting and realized that …

… ‘folks just don’t read.’

The discussion started when Ellie noticed how many folks on social media will be looking at an image, but instead of clicking on it to see the entire thing, they’ll simply comment “What date is it?” or “Where is this?” In this case, it was a poster for an event that unless you clicked to enlarge it, you couldn’t see all of it. If they don’t click on a pic, do they bother to click on a link, visit a website, actively research, etc? With so much info available at our fingertips (or even just talking into our phones), the huge majority of people will instead ‘just ask,’ never check a website, or even go to a favorite’s page.

When we get that lazy, we’re in BIG trouble. We love to share tidbits of info, ‘quickie lists,’ helpful guides and videos. But if you want to be truly successful, you must research what you need to do for your family and your situation. Reading, researching, and practicing will put you way ahead of the rest of your neighbors.

While watching the video, you can read the transcript by CLICKING HERE.

On top of reading and research, you must also ‘practice.’

We encourage you to include the entire family in the planning and the practice.

telephone pole cracked and leaning with dozens of various wires attached - following a fast and furious storm in Havre de Grace

Following the recent fast and furious storm, broken pole with telephone, electric, and maybe even cable wires attached!

Small Practice Sessions 

Just this past week our area was hit by a fast-moving storm that took out trees, some crashing on cars and houses, and, of course, the power was out. Some areas had it restored in 5-6 hours, while others have waited a couple of days.

I (Ellie) realized that this event was a perfect time to figure out what I had AND what I knew how to use. It also showed me where I wasn’t prepared or had no plan of action.

It was also a small example of what happens when our society feels inconvenienced – even when it’s Mother Nature! I saw a post where someone commented that they’d just arrived home from work and wanted to know “what restaurants were open!!!” No power – restaurants don’t fare well either!

Anyway, reading, learning, and practicing are KEY to your preparedness. Practice so that everyone’s comfortable and knows what to do.

These ‘inconvenient’ moments are a perfect opportunity to practice. If you found a hole in your preparedness, give each family member something to research. Then come back together and make a plan.

Read – Research – Plan – Pratice

You’ve got this. Sam and I believe in you. Start small and with each step you’ll become more proficient. You can do this! Think a weekend of ‘inconvenience.’ Then work toward 30-days! You’ll be surprised how easy it can be – one step at a time!

See you next Sunday Snacks with Sam and Ellie!

NOTE: If you enjoy our life hacks and simple common-sense approaches to sustainability and everyday life, please spread the word. Visit and like our youtube channel and our Facebook page. Sign up for our newsletter  – the form’s on the HOME page. Share your thoughts with us on youtube or FB. And, please, share us with your friends. Here’s to your peace of mind because you’re prepared!

Between us, we have over 100 years of experience, and Sam’s only 40!
If you enjoy our life hacks and simple common-sense approaches to
sustainability and everyday life, please spread the word.