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Food Storage from Costco

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Posted on : 10:20 AM | By : Nic | In : , ,

We're on a pretty strict budget at the moment while we pay for the repair of the Range Rover and the purchase of the RV, but we are still setting aside a small bit for our food storage. This was partly why I got a surprise bread machine for my birthday... we go through about 4 loaves a week, and we hate the 99 cent bread from the store, and frankly I stink at bread. I can make some awesome whole wheat rolls but my adventures in sandwich bread are pretty sad (just search bread on this blog to see). What an amazing invention a bread machine is! And it's so worth it to get one that does 3 pound loaves.

Anyway, every time we go to Costco we buy extra stuff and put it in storage. Here's my Costco plan for 4 people and a baby:

Flour: two 50 pound bags
Corn Meal: 4 bags
Rice: two 50 pound bags
Pasta: 6 large bags

Vegetable oil: 16 large bottles
Shortening: 16 big containers
Mayonnaise: 8 large jars
Salad dressing: five 1 quart bottles
Peanut butter: 30 big jars

Honey: 10 big bottles
Sugar: eight 20 pound bags
Brown sugar: two 5 pound bags
Jam: 12 big jars
Powdered fruit drink: 12 big cans

Dry milk: 20 big bags
Baking powder: six 2-jar packs
Baking soda: 12 bulk packs
Yeast: 12 large vacuum-packed
Salt: ten 2 pound boxes
Vinegar - 3 gallons

Crushed tomatoes: 10 flats
Tomato paste: 12 flats
Canned fruit: 15 flats
Canned soup: 15 flats
#10 cans beans: 20 cans

Bleach: 5 gallons

When camping gear is in you may also find a heavy duty water purifier, which makes way more sense than storing water for the long term, unless you live in the desert. They also have good first aid kits, tea-tree oil, toilet paper, diapers, wipes and vitamins that also need to be stocked up.

By the way, I was trying to find a picture of Costco for this post and came across The Amazing Trips, which I though was already amazing because she has triplets, but no! THIS i why they are amazing! This was particularly inspiring because I had just recently balled my eyes out when I read the story about the little girl with cancer who wanted to see the movie Up (have your hankie ready and don't say I didn't warn you). I think it's time I started running.

Bread Machine Birthday

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Posted on : 7:39 AM | By : Nic | In :



It's my birthday. I am 28 years old, and I don't feel a day over 10! This is a picture of me when I was around four years old, on some hiking trip in Arizona. I have to give my parents credit... they took me out in nature from the time I was a baby and probably bestowed me with this love of the outdoors that I have. It's amazing how much has changed in the short life I've been privileged to live... even that photo was taken with a camera that used film and was developed into slides. Then we would put it into a slide projector. My kids won't have any idea what those things are (or were). Home video cameras using tapes and VCR's were invented, and people were just starting to pay an arm and a leg for home computers. Amazing.

Today my gift from John is a bread machine. It's a big Black & Decker machine that makes 3 pound loaves so it has two mixing arms. Very nifty. Why, back when I was a kid, bread had to be baked in an oven! How obscene! Oh wait we still do that.

I should go one to do some things today... the baby is asleep on my lap and the rest are sleeping with Dad upstairs so I will go take advantage of the quiet.

Introducing the Deliberate Life Footprint Calculator!

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Posted on : 4:14 PM | By : Nic | In : , ,

So the more I do these ecological footprint calculators the less satisfied I am with them. One of the things I have learned about how to effectively help the environment is that living sustainably is almost just as much about how content you are with your life in general than it is about purchases. It is about well-being, because if you feel happy and have a purpose, you don't fill that hole with consumerism. So I've created a way to measure my own progress that makes more sense to me. If you've ever done one of those footprint calculators, they take your choices based on averages and figure out how many acres it takes to sustain your lifestyle. You eat vegetarian? Then they subtract some acres.

I like to think of it in reverse. For example, when I go through our stuff, instead of asking, "What can I throw out?" I ask myself, "What is necessary to live?" and then I throw away anything that doesn't fall into that category. lol it's a bit of an exaggeration but much to my family's chagrin, not that much. "Honey, where's that extra cord for the camera?" "Did you need it to live?" "No" "Then it's gone now. Better let it go." That's how this works... and it's just a point system instead of acres.


Make your own clothes - 10 points
Wear all organic clothes - 10 points
Wear used clothes - 5 points
Make your own cloth - 20 points

Make your own soap - 10 points
Make your own lye - 20 points

Build your own furniture - 20 points
Buy everything used - 10 points
Have no debt - 20 points
Work from home - 20 points
Have no unnatural materials or liquids in your home - 10 points

Have no car - 20 points
Have an electric car - 10 points
Have a 50 mpg + car - 10 points
Make your own car fuel - 10 points

Grow 100% of your food organically - 20 points
Get all your food locally and organic - 10 points
Get 75% organic food - 5 points
Get 50% locally grown food - 5 points
Be vegetarian - 10 points
Be vegetarian without relying on soy - 20 points
Save your seeds and use heirloom varieties - 20 points

Get 100% of your energy from renewables - 20 points
Get 50% of your energy from renewables - 10 points

Create no trash and recycle everything yourself - 20 points
Compost food waste and send the rest to recycling - 10 points
Make one bag of trash a week - 5 points
Have a composting toilet - 20 points
Eliminate disposable items from use (diapers, plastic wrap...) - 10 points

Have a one year food storage - 20 points
Have water filtration devices and other emergency items - 10 points
Have herbal remedies on hand - 10 points

So according to this I get 90 points. If I were living sustainably to the max, I would have around 350 points. What did you get? Do you have any suggestions? I find this list to be a good guide and gets you thinking about whether something really is sustainable. For example maybe you make soap, but do you make the lye and get the goat's milk or grow the lavender? At 350 points you could be confident you were only using one earth. Actually at 250 I think you could be too. If you want to promote this alternative sustainability measure, you can use this little image to link back:

Home documentary - watch the devastation and weep

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Posted on : 1:25 PM | By : Nic | In : ,



This is the documentary Home, which I've embedded here but please click it and watch the HD version instead. It's a fascinating visual journey of humanity's impact on the earth by the lifestyles of the world's richest people (i.e. the people who are able to read this blog - you and me!). The entire film production was carbon offset, and it is also distributed for free and made to be shared. It was shot in 54 countries and edited down from 488 hours of spectacular footage. The weirdest part of this is that it was paid for by PPR, the company that owns Gucci, it was that company's CEO's that insisted that the film be given away for free. Which seems to me like an interesting conflict of interest, lol.

The reason I say watch and weep is that no matter if you 'believe' in climate change or not, the images of beautiful areas just totally trashed and the sweeping shots of masses of suffering humanity are just incredibly sad. At the end you'll feel a little bit down and very helpless as you realize that nothing is going to change and things are only going to get worse unless most people change their attitude and make some major lifestyle changes. Unfortunately my little vegetable garden isn't going to change anything.

Bug Out Vehicle

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Posted on : 9:34 AM | By : Nic | In : , ,

Things are busy as usual, but I'm really excited because we found a really, REALLY good deal on an RV! We are selling Marshmallow so we have the money to fix the Ranger Rover, and it will also allow us to purchase an older, 24' motor home. It's a self-contained thing with a shower and a toilet and all that good stuff and while everything in it is that sick brown color from 20 years ago, it is in good shape.

Remember that post I made about retrofitting an RV for cold weather and sustainability? It also makes camping with a baby way easier. Anyway, I haven't got much time to write but over time I will document the bug-out retrofitting. Now with a Ranger Rover and a portable house I feel like we could be ready for just about anything.

Delayed Vaccination

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Posted on : 9:35 AM | By : Nic | In : ,

Kirsten left a comment on another post asking my experience with delayed vaccination, so I thought I would make a post about it. We decided to vaccinate our kids after lots of thought and research. This isn't to say I'm completely happy doing this since I know what goes into immunizations, but in Canada the ingredients are marginally better - at least without the mercury. Surprisingly, however, most of the people I know with kids the same ages as my own kids did not vaccinate. I am not sure that this represents the general population, but many people where I live have chosen not to.

When I had my first baby I assumed I would vaccinate but then I heard all kinds of things about autism and how the MMR could cause it. I believe that this has now been proven to be absolutely false (check out the story about the court case), and from my own experience it has proven to be false as well. My first baby was not what I expected... I wanted to wear her in a sling, keep her close to my body, never let her cry it out, etc. What I got was a baby who screamed every evening for hours but who slept through the night if she was in her own space instead of in our bed. We put a little bassinet in our room and she became very happy. When we held her she pushed away and didn't want to be held close. As it turned out, she was extraordinarily sensitive to touch. She also had some food sensitivities and couldn't have anything with fragrance on her skin - baby wipes, dryer sheets and fabric softener where eliminated from our home. These things continued on as she got older and she's now able to voice these things without screaming, but for many years it was a struggle to understand what was going on. We now realize that she has a sensory integration disorder and possibly mild Aspergers... both which began at birth, and not from any vaccine. Because of her sensitivities we delayed the first immunization until she was 6 months old, and she didn't get the last of them until she was 5. She had a little bit of a reaction, but nothing abnormal - a small fever for a day or so.

The second baby was the opposite. She loved to cuddle, she was not sensitive to anything and was generally happy. We still delayed, but I think it was still at 6 months old for the first shots. She had less of a reaction to them as well.

Now our third baby is one month old. I would not take her at 2 months for the first shots because while she is an extremely cuddly baby, she has a little more skin sensitivities and food sensitivities than my second baby and I simply think waiting a little longer to test her immune system is a wise idea. Six months seems like a good age to me because they are beginning to eat some solid food and are stronger and just able to handle more. Right now she's still learning how to use her digestive system, lol.

The reasons I immunize my kids are:
1. I never believed that they caused autism, and that has now been proven. I won't go into specifics here, but it has been shown that the children used in the studies to prove that vaccines caused autism actually showed signs of it before they ever got vaccinated, just as my own child did.

2. I value herd immunity. When a certain percentage of the population is immunized, it protects the rest of the population that isn't. Some people have immune disorders and organ transplants and cannot be immunized, but are also more susceptible to these terrible illnesses. They can be protected if the rest of the population is immunized.

3. I don't ever want my kids to get measles, polio, pertussis or any of those crazy disease that we don't have to deal with anymore. One hundred years ago three out of 10 babies died before they were a year old and life expectancy was only 40 years old. One of the biggest reasons we now live longer and get to keep all our children is because of vaccines, and I'm very grateful for that.

The Garden is Growing!

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Posted on : 10:40 AM | By : Nic | In : , ,




The garden is growing well, and we've been hit with a week of super-hot summer weather that is making everyone miserable but the garden loves it - except the cucumbers. No matter what we do, we can't get a single cucumber seed to even sprout. But in our friend's garden box that is directly next to ours, the cucumbers love it! Why do the cucumbers hate our box, and love the dirt 2 feet away? Who knows, although probably we just picked the wrong variety. My beefsteak tomatoes are also doing much better than the other, smaller kind I planted, but I doubt I'll get much of any tomato this year... I started them way too late.

Rainn is a month old now, and we're getting closer to summer vacation, which I am really looking forward to. I see lots of time on the beach, homegrown vegetables, camping trips, hiking, bug bites and college classes in my future. Today it's actually too hot to take the baby outside for any length of time because of the balance between keeping her covered to prevent sunburn and having too much clothes on to be comfortable, so I got some movies from my childhood to nap to: Willow, Ghostbusters and Jurassic Park.

Which brings me to my thought of the day... the guilt of sitting still. I get guilty the longer I sit and do nothing. Guiltier and guiltier. I am feeling guilty right now because I am procrastinating other things by making this post longer and longer. But what's wrong with doing nothing?

Carrying body and soul and embracing the one,
Can you avoid separation?
Attending fully and becoming supple,
Can you be as a newborn babe?
Washing and cleansing the primal vision,
Can you be without stain?
Loving all men and ruling the country,
Can you be without cleverness?
Opening and closing the gates of heaven,
Can you play the role of woman?
Understanding and being open to all things,
Are you able to do nothing?
Giving birth and nourishing,
Bearing yet not possessing,
Working yet not taking credit,
Leading yet not dominating,
This is the Primal Virtue.

-Lao Tzu