Saturday, July 19, 2014

Car Emergency Kit (Survival Series Part III)

In this Survival Series post, I will walk you through the items in my Car Emergency Kit.
My Emergency Kit in the trunk of my car!

I have always had an emergency kit in my car, thanks in large part to over-protective parents!  The basics that everyone needs to have in their emergency kit are:
  • small first aid kit 
  • food 
  • candle and/or flashlight (test the batteries)
  • jumper cables
  • basic hygiene items (tampons, baby wipes and/or toilet paper)
  • kitty litter 
  • shovel 
  • water
  • change of clothes
  • a blanket 
I know there are several more items in most emergency kits, but these are the basics.  I will walk you through the how/why below: 

Here is my Emergency Kit - The whole thing fits in a Large Utility Tote from Thirty-one Gifts, mine is embroidered with the word "EMERGENCY" in big pink letters, so that anyone will know what it is (if god-forbid I was incapacitated, someone else would know exactly what this bag contains).
 The Kitty Litter & Shovel sit outside of the bag, and for good reason: if you are stuck in a ditch in the snow; you will need to be able to get to these items first!  The shovel helps you to dig out around the wheel wells quickly, and the kitty litter will be poured behind each tire for traction!  If you live anywhere where snow falls in the winter, I highly encourage you to place a $3 bag of this life-saver in your trunk! 

Now for the inside of the kit: 


As you can see, a blanket and change of clothes are easily accessible.  This is for 2 reasons: again, winter - if you are cold and bordering hypothermia, you will not be able to handle an emergency well; second, if someone else is hurt in a car crash, a blanket will help keep them from going into shock! 




I have chains for my tires, jumper cables, a flashlight, a roadside emergency vest (in the paper towel tube), and emergency road-side flares in my kit, for those just-in-case car trouble moments. 

I also have 2 hang-up bathroom-organizer bags with clear pockets with all of my emergency supplies in them.  Because of the clear pockets, I am able to keep everything organized while still being able to see what is inside!  Shop similar here & here & here
Pocket contents starting from the top left: Small First Aid Kit; Fire Stuff; Ponchos; Tools, Duct Tape & Bungees
top right:  Food: tuna, high calorie backpacking bars & can opener; fruit leather & crackers; Personal Care items (tampons Toilet Paper); Baby Wipes
 NOT PICTURED - a large bottle of water inside a gallon ziplock bag  (DO NOT FORGET WATER!!)
These two roll up bags contain just about everything that you would need to survive for 24-48 hours in your car if the worst case scenario came true.   The food is all high calorie/high nutritional value food for the sake of a survival situation - two people could survive 2 days on this amount of food.   Water is really important in a survival situation, and I do not have enough water in this kit - I only have a 1.5 liter bottle, which would be barely enough to survive 1 day.   Another important thing to note, if you have canned tuna in your kit; please remember a can opener!

Now for packing the kit:

1. Put the heaviest items (and the ones that take up the most space) into your kit  first.
tire chains, water, & kits go in first!

2. Place everything else into the kit, paying careful attention to what you will need first in an emergency


3.  Finally, place the blanket on top of everything and leave it in the trunk of your car
                         (and hope you'll never need it) 




See Part I - Introduction
Part II - $20 Dollar Store Survival Kit Start
Everything In Place Please

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Thursday Tech Tip -- Snipping Tool

It's time for another Tech Tip Thursday!

Today I will share with you one of the most used tools in my tech toolkit the Snipping Tool!  I love this particular snipping tool because it is so user friendly and self-explanitory.

A view of the Snipping Tool

Because I use a PC, and use lots of Microsoft products, using this tool made perfect sense for me and my operating system.  This tool is automatically a part of Windows 7; in any of these capacities Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise & Ultimate.   Read More about it here

There are several snipping tools available on the internet, and most of them are free -   I use them to create pictures from photos I've already taken for my blog - see two examples below of photos I uploaded & modified, then used the snipping tool to save them as jpg photo files:

Another useful thing about the snipping tool, is you can use it when you are not hooked up to a printer to save important documents right from your computer screen.   The most recent use that I have found for this snipping tool was when I was not able to print a flight confirmation during a last-minute airport fiasco, but I was able to save the snip to my desktop for proof of purchase! 


Everything In Place Please

Sunday, July 13, 2014

$20 Survival Start Dollar Store - (Survival Series Part II)

For today's Deals & Steals post, I am going to begin the second post in my Survival Series.

As I've mentioned before, we are on a budget, and preparing for an emergency is going to have to be done $20 at a time.   I have committed to setting aside $20 in my monthly budget for stocking up on our emergency kit items.  For this first month, I decided to go to the dollar store and get some of the basic necessities: (20 items for $20)
Not bad for my first haul, huh?

 For the sake of storage, we will be keeping our supplies in these under-bed plastic storage boxes.  (these were left-over from our bedroom reorganization around the new year) For now, I have decided that one will have food supplies, and the other will contain everything non-food.  We have a separate small plastic bin for medicines and medical supplies.

As you can see, so far the food container only has noodle-meals (just add water, and they keep forever) and granola bars (I chose the ones with peanut butter since they had the highest calorie count which is important in a survival situation).



The supply bin has a few more items of interest:
  • knives
  • strong plastic silverware 
  • rope
  • lighters & matches 
  • plastic bags 
  • can openers
  • vegetable peelers 
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Duct Tape 
  • clothes pins 
  • notebooks (leftovers from college classes, just tore out the used pages and put the remainder in here)
I  will be storing them in the empty space behind our pantry in the entryway of our barn-style home.
They are behind the laundry hamper (you can just see the lid)

All of these items cost only $1, and are a wonderful addition to our emergency supply kit/survival kit.  I will update you all soon as we continue to make a plan for the worst-case-scenario. 

View part 1 (Introduction) here
Everything in Place Please

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Apocalypse Preparedness! (Survival Series Part I, Intro)

Alright, admittedly  there is no foreboding apocalypse around the corner, but my new favorite TV show (The Walking Dead) has gotten H & I thinking about the worst case scenario.   (Yes, we are late to this game ... Netflix is something we use & don't usually watch shows during the current season)
I love the photos I find on Microsoft's Copyright Free image search - don't you? 

We have the basic supplies necessary to survive a short time, but in a long term or worst-case scenario, we would be in a lot of trouble!

As most of you know, we are on a budget, so this Survival series isn't going to be an expensive tour through how to prepare yourselves.  This series will be a simple tour through what we are doing ($20 at a time!) to prepare ourselves for the worst case scenario.

I will walk you through:


  • The tools that we already have at our disposal: including basic camping/winter gear, and hunting basics.   
  • Several $20 trips to stock up on things that we hope we'll never need.  
  • Some of the bigger ticket (expensive) items that we will be purchasing slowly over time.  
  • Last, but not least, I will show you the best plans we have for both:
    •  "bugging in" (more likely since we are in rural Montana)  or 
    • "bugging out" (which may be more useful in an urban environment).


I look forward to sharing our successes with you over the next few months as we get ready for a worst-case scenario - ** I hope we never have to use these skills/supplies**

Everything In Place Please

Friday, June 6, 2014

Easy Creamy White Chicken Enchiladas


Fridays are usually my day to share some of my favorite things with you  - Here is a Friday Favorite Recipe -  (not like Friday needed another reason to be the best day of the week)

I found this recipe on Pinterest - and it is really fabulous! 

6-8 Tortillas (enchilada size)
3-4 cups Pre-cooked and shredded chicken (lightly salt & pepper the chicken)
1 cup sweet corn
4 cups shredded cheese (I like the Mexican blend)

Sauce:
3Tbs butter
3Tbs flour
1 1/4 c chicken broth
10 oz can cram of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt


    1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
    1. Place chicken in the middle of tortilla
    1. Top with a light sprinkling of corn
    2. Top with cheese (about 1/3 cup)
    1. Roll-up and place in oven safe baking dish
    1. Repeat 1-4 with all tortillas
    1. Mix all sauce ingredients together in small bowl
    1. Cover the tortillas with Sauce
    1. Top sauce with the remainder of the cheese
    1. Cook for 25-30 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted

Easy Peasy!  This is actually really delicious - thank you again to pinterest! 

Everything In Place Please 


The original pinterest pin was credited to http://pin2fun6451.blogspot.com/  - an account that has since been disabled, if anyone knows where the credit for this fabulous photo and recipe should go - please comment below!   Thanks.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Thursday Tech Tip - Easy Background Removal

For today's Thursday Tech Tip,  I am going to share with you one of the best tips I've found for background removal on an image.   You can use Photoshop for a more precise result,  but it takes at least 4x as long to get the image clean.

Microsoft Word has an amazing feature (starting with the version released in 2010) for the removal of backgrounds - check out their step-by-step tutorial here.

Instead of replicating their tutorial, I thought I would show you some of the images that I have changed using this simple tool.


One of my trombone students (although I had to take off the slide to make it fit on the poster)
Just to show how quick this tool really is, I am going to take a picture of my dog and remove the background for you - Here is the picture before:
And this is the picture halfway:
This is the screenshot with the in-process background removal

This is the final product: 

This only took me 5 minutes, and that included selecting a photo that wasn't blurry from Lucky moving too much!  

I'd love to see what you can do with this simple tool!  

Everything In Place Please

Friday, May 30, 2014

Breakfast Burritos

For this week's favorite recipe - I'm going to share with you what I did over the Memorial Day Holiday!   Having Monday off from work offered some time at home, and  I recreated my Breakfast Burritos!


 This allows me time in the morning, especially if I bring the burrito with me to work! These take some prep-time, but they are an easy go-to breakfast.   The original idea came from Pinterest (of course!) although I can't find the original pin right now.  I will link to it later if I come across it again!  This one is similar


I've made these burritos before using sausage, and bacon, this time decided to try using thick cut pepper bacon!  I like this version better, but it really is a personal preference.

I use smaller 8" tortillas that you can buy at the local supermarket or Wal-Mart for about $5 per 48 shells.  These shells are not whole wheat like the ones that we use for tacos in our home, but they work well for reheating as they are just a little thicker.  I have found that freezing tortillas works best with flour based ones, but feel free to do what works best for your family.


Since I had some spare time on Memorial Day that I did not have to work (thank you Holidays!), I cooked all of these in the morning while H was at the gym and I had the house to myself.   I personally prefer to cook all of the ingredients first and place them in mixing bowls on the counter before assembling them.   I tend to do 2 or 3 different "sets" as I go, so that I can cook the bacon and hash-browns a little slower.

my messy (in process) kitchen!
Here is what you will need for approximately 30 burritos:
  • tortilla shells 
  • 1 large package of hash-browns
  • a dozen eggs 
  • 2 lb package of bacon (I prefer thick-cut pepper)
  • *cheese*  (I forgot this step, so I've been adding it in as I microwave them)
Step 1:  Cook hash-browns, eggs, & bacon 

Step 2:  As you finish small batches of each type of breakfast food, place them in mixing bowls
(I used layers of paper towel to drain excess oil/water from the foods in between my small batches) 

Step 3:  Lay out Saran-wrap (plastic wrap) on the counter, then place a tortilla on top
 (don't do this until you are ready to wrap them, or the tortillas get dried out and don't close as nicely)

Step 4:  Add a small amount of each ingredient to the shells - (and DON'T forget the cheese like I did)

Step 5: Wrap & repeat

After everything was wrapped, I put the burritos into freezer bags and placed them in the freezer.  

When you are ready to eat them, I suggest taking them out of the plastic wrap and wrapping them in a paper towel, putting them in the microwave for approximately 1 minute on each side.  Since the ingredients are already completely cooked, you just have to heat them until warmed through.   Because I forgot to add in cheese (oops) I have to put the cheese in each time I microwave them... DARN! 

Everything in Place Please