Saturday, July 23, 2016

Simple Saturdays Blog Link Party 7/23


Welcome to Simple Saturdays Blog Hop!

This blog hop is brought to you by a group of wonderful co-hosts committed to the Simple way of Life and learning to be Self Reliant.  Simple Saturdays Blog Hop is a way for each of us to share the various ways we are learning to be more Self Reliant in our homes and on our land. This is all about building community, learning new skills and growing more self-sufficient!

Please join us, submit YOUR Self-Reliant post (maybe even 2 or 3), browse around, visit a site or two and learn some new Simple tips or Self Reliant How'To's!


This Blog Hop is being hosted by:


What Can I Post?

Anything and everything related to a more Simple way of life OR Self Reliance....
Homesteading, Prepping, Gardening, Cooking/recipes/food, Livestock of all varieties, Off-grid, Natural Living, Wellness/wholeness and Healthcare, Herbal, DIY & MYO!

**Please note: By linking to this Blog Hop you are giving us permission to link back to your post if you are featured. We will also include 1 photo from your post in the interest of sending visitors your way. **

Congratulations to our Featured Bloggers this week

Most View

Seeking Joyful Simplicity

Hosts' Choice

Farm Fit Living - County Fair Exhibitor Guide
Simply Stacie - Homemade Lemon Curd
Medium Sized Family - Cheap Dinner Ideas That Fit the Budget

Ready to get to the hop?  Add your link below:


Monday, July 18, 2016

Plastic Silverware Organizing Idea for RV, Camping, Picnics

I have a super easy and cheap plastic silverware organizing idea for RV, camping, picnic or just for an easy home storage idea.

Right now all the school supplies are out and these little plastic pencil cases make great holders for plastic forks, knives and spoons for camping, outdoors, BBQ or just to keep them organized in your home.

RV tip, organization, camping supplies

Plastic Cutlery Organizing Idea

  • I bought my plastic silverware holder, aka school supply boxes, at Walmart for .97 a piece.
  • Washed and dried thoroughly.
  • Used a sharpie and mark forks, knives and spoons.

camping organization, repurpose, school supplies

You can see my video on this RV organization and storage tip here:

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Scratch vs. Homemade Debate

Cooking From Scratch Vs. Buying Premade

The debate about cooking from scratch compared to buying pre-made items is complicated and in some ways unique to every situation. Cooking from scratch is often touted as healthier, cheaper and more "authentic" than buying premade foods. On the other hand, there are only so many hours in the day and the thought of making every single item of food from scratch can be overwhelming. It's often difficult to figure out which option is best.
Ultimately, there isn't really a unilateral "best" answer that applies to everyone. There are too many factors and extenuating circumstances so it's better to focus on figuring out which option is best for your life and your family. If you take the time to consider a few specific topics, you should be able to determine which foods are best for you to cook yourself and which are better to buy from the store.


One of the most common themes in the conversation about cooking from scratch vs. buying pre-made is the cost. Nearly every article out there suggests that cooking from scratch is always less expensive. However, this is not universally true. It largely depends on what you are comparing. For example, boxed macaroni and cheese is usually going to be cheaper than making a fancy version with organic cream and several types of gourmet cheese. On the other hand, store-bought granola is usually far more expensive than if you make it from scratch, especially if you can buy the ingredients in bulk.
In order to figure out if you should buy or make, it's best to consider your normal shopping list. Look at the things you buy most often and do a quick calculation on the cost of the individual ingredients if you were to make it from scratch. If you don't want to go that in-depth, just look up lists of foods that are generally cheaper when made from scratch. It can also be helpful to divide your list into things you will always make at home, versus things you will only cook from scratch when you have the time.


Another aspect to consider is the taste. Some foods are vastly better when made from scratch, whereas with others, there isn't much of a difference between homemade and store bought. A good rule to use is how much of the recipe is fresh ingredients. Recipes that call for lots of fresh produce, herbs and seasoning are usually better when made from scratch. Another indicator is the ingredient list of the pre-made version. If it's a high-quality brand with a few real, pronounceable ingredients, you may not gain much from cooking it yourself.

Time Commitment

Some advocates of always cooking from scratch don't address the time commitment required for all that homemade food. But it isn't something that should be ignored. Depending on your schedule and your family's commitments, it may not be possible to commit the time necessary to make everything from scratch. For example, nearly everyone agrees that homemade bread tastes better and is healthier than store bought. However, making bread from scratch is a large time commitment, and depending on how many people are in your family, you may need to make bread several times a week.


Health is another important consideration when deciding what you buy and what to make from scratch. Again, the health difference between homemade and store-bought depends heavily on what the food actually is. Especially nowadays, there are more healthy and fresh options available at the store than ever before. For example, Hampton Creek makes vegan mayo in several different flavors with a healthy list of ingredients. It's also affordable, so compared to the time and expertise required to make homemade mayo, it's probably more practical for most people to buy it.
If anyone in your family has food allergies or specific restrictions requiring a modified diet, it's important to consider that as well. There may not be as many healthy store-bought options for foods that fit a restricted diet, so you may need to find the time to make those things from scratch.
The homemade vs. store bought debate isn't likely to be settled anytime soon. The good news is that you only have to figure out the solutions for your own life and family. Once you take into consideration cost, taste, time commitment and health, you can determine which foods you want to buy, and which you want to make yourself. You can feel good about making the best choices for your family everyday.

My family loves all the spicy mayos now available. I stock up when they are on sale.

I love to bring lots of free content to this blog but on occasion this blog may contain affiliate links for which I am compensated. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Walmart Haul - Emergency Preps, Back to School and Coupon Deals

Today I popped into Walmart for some coupon deals, back to school items and some emergency preps.

I have been couponing to save money shopping and using my savings to purchase our emergency preparedness supplies.  I will share what I bought in hopes to help others save money and get prepared for fall and for emergencies.

Walmart Coupon Deals 7/11

  • The Gain Flings are a great deal. A $3 coupon made them a little over a $1 but I read in some stores they are clearanced so with the coupon they are 50 cents. 
  • Other coupon items I felt worth picking up were the organic gummies. With the coupons they were around 50 cents and will be nice to have for camping or for a movie night. 
  • Pretzel crisps
  • Stir Fry Sauce
  • Ban deodorant
Refer to Grocery Smarts for the coupon details

Back to school deals 

Walmart has the best prices for school supplies. I picked up some items and will probably go back for more.
  • Notebooks 17 cents
  • Glue sticks 2-pack 50 cents
  • Dividers
  • Filler paper
I am hoping for some deals on computer paper and scissors as I need to stock up on those.

Emergency supplies from Walmart

  • 6 gallon water container
  • Propane
  • Bleach
  • Canned goods
  • Zote soap (I can make so many cleaners from this bar)
  • Extra toothbrushes
  • Extra OTC meds
  • Plastic school cases will be used for something else I will share later. So many uses for these.
You can see my video of my haul and tips here. You can comment and subscribe there too. I am going to do a couple of videos a week going over new topics as well as videos on some of my post viewed posts.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Stocking The Pantry On A Budget

Whether you live alone or have a large family, stocking a pantry on a budget is one of the biggest money saving moves you can make. Food and paper goods as well as hygiene products are a huge part of every home's budget. Why not save where you can. Here is how I stock the pantry on a budget.

I am going to break down in a series all of the ways we stock our pantry and how we use it and keep it organized and used because there is no point stocking the pantry if you are not going to use it and cook it up before it spoils.

grocery haul, emergency good, shopping  on a budget

You know how I feel about grocery shopping and stocking my pantry. I can care less about clothes or purses but give me a stocked pantry and I get so excited. It means security and plenty for my family. You will want to use some of my tips cause see that basket above? It was jammed full and had steak and chicken breasts as well as craft beers and it was all just over $100. I think $107 to be exact. 82 items for that price is amazing to me.

On average when I coupon and shop the sale cycles I save anywhere from $50 to $70 off of my usual grocery bill. That is at least $200 a month and one benefit of a fully stocked pantry is that if money is tight one week and I don't want to spend money on groceries, I can skip to the following week and cook from what I have.

Amazon prime, k-cups from Amazon, coffee by the case

Budget Friendly Tips For Stocking The Pantry

1. Stock what you will use. Make a list for a couple weeks of what you are cooking with and actually using. That fancy bottle of olives may have looked good but at $8 you could have bought pounds flour.

2. Use coupons. I have started spending time each week planning my shopping list. I stopped couponing for a couple of years but deciding to really get our food storage accomplished as part of our emergency preps made me decide to get back at it so I could save money on groceries and have extra in the budget for long term food. Now when I see how much I am saving, I am so mad at myself for ever stopping.

3. If you don't want to use coupons, then make sure to check out your grocery sale papers when they come and then shop the loss leaders. Loss leaders are the items on special that week that they are selling at great low prices to lure you in and hoping you spend way more. Sometimes I will pop in a store just for those stock up items.

4. Here is the main way you will save big bucks. BUY way more than you need when the price is low. Here is an example. I was in Target, the hand soap I like was marked way low at .69, with a 20% off deal, that made each hand soap .55. Almost half of the usual $1 price. So I bought 20. Stock up on the sale cycles and then wait until they are on sale again before you have to buy them.

Shop at discount grocers or local markets. Our local produce market is such a good bargain and they sell bulk bags of beans and grains as well. You can watch my youtube video of my latest haul here.

5. Consider using subscribe and save from Amazon. We have been ordering groceries and paper goods from Amazon for years now. Once a month my box comes and it has a few regular items like our coffee and toilet paper and then I switch up other items that come every few months and you can't beat the prices if know your price points. I will do a whole post on what I feel is worth order from Amazon to stock your pantry or emergency food storage. And I always make sure I order five items because then you get an extra 15% off the prices. 

Amazon Prime Day is coming up in a few days too, so I am hoping to snag some really good deals. You can find details below.

6. Now cook up what you have and save money eating at home. I am experimenting with good shelf stable foods so I always have what I need beyond just canned soup and beans.

We are now on youtube and am really loving that medium. A new video will be posted tomorrow on how to clean your vacuum and get rid of any smells and make it clean well again. Come subscribe and say hi.

Watch Our Videos On Youtube

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Favorite Garden Finds and A Few Gardening Tips

I am in the garden every day. Always in search of the best garden tools to have or at least inexpensive garden tools. Here are a few favorite garden finds and gardening tips from my own yard.

 I am loving these Printable seed packets. I just printed them up and am saving lots of seeds from our garden. They make nice little gift tags too.

printable seed packets, best garden tools

Monday, June 27, 2016

Free Emergency Water Storage Ideas

How to store water for the long term and without spending any money. Free ways to store water for emergencies using containers you already have.

This last month I have been focusing on emergency water storage because in the case of a natural or man-made disaster, you absolutely cannot live without WATER!

using soda and juice bottles for water storage, prepping