PrepWise Wednesday: Stocking the Freezer

I took a look in the freezer and just about fainted. We had just almost no meat in the there. I checked the prices and sales and headed to our new Wegman’s. They have the meats we use for $1.99 a pound. So now the freezer is stocked with meats packaged up for our family’s meals, all for under $150.00.

I purchased 4 whole pork loins at $1.99/lb and had the butcher cut them for me. When I came home I packaged them into roasts and boneless pork chops. Most of the chicken packages will give us two meals since the breasts are so large, a half breast counts as a serving. I will use the remaining breasts the next day in a recipe that calls for cooked chicken.

I am feeling much more comfortable about feeding the family now with a well stocked freezer. Here is what I have now have in my freezer. Clearly enough for at least two months worth of dinner entrees and a month’s worth of frozen vegetables.

10 packages of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
10 packages of 80/20 ground beef
10 packages of chicken legs
2 packages boneless, skinless chicken thighs
4 packages of mild Italian sausages
5 packages of pork chops
4 pork roasts

These have been added to the meats  and veggies already in the freezer:
2 packages of flash frozen salmon
1 large bag of meatballs
6 rolls Bob Evans Sausage (takes 2 for a meal here)
1 large box of breaded chicken breast patties
1 large bag of tortellini
1 large bag of ravioli
1 large bag of pirogi
1 large bag of fish fillets
1 large bag of fish sticks
1 box of pepperoni pizza rolls
1 box of cheese pizza rolls
5 large bags of broccoli
5 large bags of yellow corn
5 large bags of white corn
3 bags of green beans
2 bags of carrots
2 bags of zucchini
2 bags of yellow squash

Since the freezer is very full, I need to give some serious consideration to aquiring a second freezer.  This would allow me to stock even more frozen foods for the family.  My goal is to get down to a once a month shopping trip for restocking the “dry supplies” with a weekly trip for fresh produce and milk.  Plus I could consider doing more of the once a month cooking since I would have a place to store the finished items.
You should consider stocking your freezer and using it an extension of your pantry. What do you have in your freezer right now, and would you be able to feed your family from it for an extended period of time?  I am off to check Craigslist for freezers.  🙂

Pax Christi!

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

PrepWise Wednesday: Stocking the Medicine Cabine

When you think about stocking up, you should also consider adding over the counter medicines to your preps. Think about what type of illnesses you and your family has over the course of year and then plan accordingly.

In my family alone we have had the following in the past year: headaches, muscle soreness, sprains, stains, menstrual cramps, tummy issues, allergies, yeast infections, jock itch, athlete’s foot, colds and flu. Most of these can be treated relatively inexpensively with over the counter medications.

Here is what I have in my over the counter medication preps. You should look them over and considering adding them to your preps too.

Ibuprofen — I pick up the 750 caplet bottle at the local warehouse club for about $10.00. That is 7.5 cents a capsule. And you can take prescription strength dosing by using 3 or 4 caplets. You can also watch for sales and coupons and get these inexpensively.

Acetaminophen — Again I pick up the 500 extra strength tablet bottle at the warehouse club for about $7.00. Again right around 7 cents a pill.

Aspirin — 81 mg dose. Daily dose for those with heart issues or a family history of the them. Once again a warehouse club pick up. Large bottles for little cost.

Aspirin — 325 mg pills. Good to have on hand for those aches and pains that the Motrin and Tylenol aren’t kicking alone. Also wonder to have on hand if you think someone is having a heart attack. Have them chew an aspirin to help block the clotting factors as you get them to the hospital.

Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) — A wonderful antihistamine. Good for block allergic reactions and nasal allergies. It can be uses in a pinch as a sleep aid, if it makes you sleepy.

Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) — Get the good stuff behind the counter. It helps to relieve the congestion in both the head and chest. I have everyone over the age of 18 grab the largest box possible about every 2 months.

Plain Robutussin — Good to help with check congestion and coughs.

Loperamide (Imodium) — Best over the counter medicine for diarrhea. I get liquid and tablets.

Meclizine (Dramamine) — Anti-nausea medicine. Helps relieve nausea, vomiting, motion sickness, and vertigo-like dizziness.

Calcium Carbonate (Tums) — Anti-acid and calcium supplement. Helps relieve temporary heartburn.

Mylanta — Liquid anti-acid/anti-gas to help with tummy issues.

Rantidine (Zantac) – another anti-acid, relatively inexpensive and can help with hives and migraines too. Liz’s over the counter migraine “cocktail” is a zantac, a benedryll and 600 mg of Advil.

Hydrocortisone Cream – the 1% version is the strongest OTC available. Good for adults and children with rashes, eczema, poison ivy, and diaper rash.

Bacitracin Ointment — good topical antibiotic ointment for skin broken by bumps, scratches, bug bites.

Clotrimazole (Gyne-Lotrimin) — Same anti-fungal medication as in lotrimin. This medicine can be used to treat female yeast infections, jock itch, athlete’s foot, ring worm and yeasty diaper rashes.

Zinc Oxide (Desitin) — excellent protection for skin irritations, a heavy duty sunscreen if necessary.

Having a good supply of these medications will allow you to mix and match to treat a wide variety of ailments in an emergency.

Like mentioned above, you can have an effective migraine cocktail. You can mix sudafed, Robitussin, a pain killer and benedryll and have a cold medication. You can mix the mylanta, hydro-cortisone, gyne-lotrimin and the zinc oxide and have an effective diaper cream for bad diaper rashes.

In addition to these OTC medications, having a good basic knowledge in herbal medications would be a help also.

So think about your family and what you would need to survive during a time of emergency if some one became ill with a minor illness. Then make a plan to build up your stores of those medications throughout the year. You do not want to purchase them all at once, you want to spread the acquisition of them throughout the year so they do not all expire at the same time.

Pax Christi!

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

PrepWise Wednesday Challenge

It you all have been following my blog for a while, you know I like to keep a large pantry and storage of daily use products. Since we have a large family, I prefer to shop out of my pantry for the week and restock when items go on that once every two month sale.

Over the past 20 months or so, the pantry took a major hit. I praise God that I had the provisions in the house to help us get through the leaner and more turbulent times. Now that things have settled down, it is time to rebuild the pantry and other provisions.

The first thing I am going to do is take a physical inventory of the items I have in the house right now. Then I am going compare what I have on hand with what I need to get the stores back up to at least a three month level. Then I will make my plan for restocking.

After I complete my plan, I need to have my husband build better storage shelves for the food items. The ones I have now are plastic shelves and they are showing signs of age. One even collapsed a month or so ago. Thankfully there were no glass jars on it so nothing was lost. I want to avoid having that happen in the future.

For the next week I am going to work on my inventory, research plans for shelves and start a plan for restocking.

For this week I encourage you to start your prepping plan. Post here with your prepping plans.

Pax Christi,

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

A Master Shopping List

How do you shop? Do you wing it? Do you make a list each time you go to the store?

Since I try to shop from my pantry and restock the shelves, I shop with a list. I have even made master shopping lists for each store that I frequent. And these lists are set up by store lay out. I know how geeky. But I am able to get into the stores, shop and check out rather quickly. Most of my time is spent waiting to check out.

Oh the looks I get when I am doing a major restocking trip and have 2, 3 or even 4 carts that are full. I try to go on off hours for these types of trips, it can take an hour or more to check out and going on a busy weekend morning tends to make the store managers cranky. I like to stay on their good sides. I often will have them waive the sales limit requirement for me. Of course it helps when you get Christmas cards from the managers because you are on a first name basis with them.

Right now, I need to recreate my lists; one store where I used to shop has closed. We also now have a Wegman’s. I have had many people tell me that they have good prices on the basics. I am placing that on my To Do list for Thursday since today’s list is already full.

Why don’t you join me and start a master list. Overall you will have a better shopping experience.

Pax Christi,

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Prep Wise Wednesday


I know this is late, but I have 3 little girls all down with a cold. So my week has been a little nutty.

Last week we talked about BOBs. What happens when you can’t or don’t want to leave your house? I personally am thinking about this coming winter and illnesses. With all my children if this H1N1 flu really takes off I will be staying at home and not risking going out in public.

If are considering this too, now is the time to start laying out your plans. If things were to get bad and you didn’t want to leave your house for a month or two would you be able to stay in and not worry about it. Do you have the supplies in your house? What supplies do you need to make it happen?

First thing you need to do is take an inventory. Look in the pantry, cabinets, and medicine chest. What do you have in there right now. Think about everything your family uses. Toilet paper, paper towels, cold medicines, prescription medicines, food and drinks. Based on what you have in the house right now, how long until you would have to go to the store? Does it provide you peace of mind? If not, you have some work to do.

Next would be to determine how much you would need to have in your house so that you could avoid going out for a month. Based on what you have right now in the house how much and what would you need to purchase?

After you know what you need to purchase, make a plan. So you know you won’t be going out for a month to any store you will need to have canned or frozen fruits and veggies. How far will a can of fruit cocktail go for your family? Will you need one, two or three cans for a meal? How many times can you serve it before the family goes ICK! You need to plan for a variety too. You also need to start serving them now so the family can get used to it or you can find out that they REALLY won’t eat it and plan on other things to make sure the family gets all the nutrients they need. Plan out a month’s worth of meals. Start stocking now from sales.

Also you need to think about medicines. What do you need to keep the family comfortable if they are sick? Think fever reducers/pain killers like Tylenol and Motrin. What forms do you need them in? For my family I need pills, chewables and liquid. If I had everyone sick I would need a lot of them. So I have started purchasing it now. BJs has the huge bottles of the generic tablet forms so I have been purchasing a bottle a month. For the chewable form, I get the Equate brand at Walmart. I don’t need as many of those since I only two of my tweens have a hard time with swallowing pills. I also purchase the liquid Equate Brand. I wish they had it by the gallon. When all three of the girls are sick I can easily go through a bottle within 2 days, probably sooner now that they are older and larger.

How about other cold medicines like sudafed, zycam or occillium? Think about how much you would need and start to pick up them up now. What about prescriptions? How do you purchase them? Are you able to get them mail order, 90 days at a time? See if you have that option and start stocking up.

How about your paper supplies like TP, paper towels, or tissues? How much do you go through in a day? What if people were sick and using more? Would you have enough? Again if you are not brand loyal, start stocking now so you will have enough.

Cleaning supplies? Do you have enough cleaners in the house? Make sure you have enough cleaners in the house. Oh and don’t forget the trash bags too!

Do you know how to make homemade cleaners? Start doing some research on that, it tends to save money and better for everyone in the long run.

Once you have a month’s worth of supplies in the house you need to determine if it is enough for you and your family? If not decide how much you need and make a plan to accomplish it.

To learn more come join us on the PrepWise board.

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Finding Freedom Friday — May 8

Finding Freedom with Freezer Meals/OAMC

Many people find financial freedom when they start batch cooking or once a month a cooking. This can save considerable money and time because you have meals in the freezer so you don’t have to worry about what eat. You are able to shop sales and save money on groceries. However that type of cooking doesn’t really work for our family. Most of the meals are casseroles, which DO NOT go over well here. Not to mention when you have a large family trying to put that much prepared food in a freezer can be a challenge.

So how have I found Financial Freedom without using this valuable tool? I have a pantry and a freezer and plan my meals. I have built up my pantry to the point where I plan my meals from what I have on hand and then look for the sales to replace the used items. I do not buy meats that cost over a $1.99 a pound. I get all of them on sale and buy enough to last the family at least a month.

I even keep a couple of “convenience” food items like En-Cor entrees (bought on an awesome sale) on hand so if things get totally hectic we can have a meal on the table within an hour. I plan at least one meatless meal a week. We also have breakfast for dinner at least once a month.

So while Freezer Meals and Once a Month Cooking is a wonderful tool and I highly recommend using it, if you find is doesn’t work for your family you can do the same thing by stocking the components of meals so you can make meals at home. Just make sure you include things that can be made quickly so you can resist the urge to do take out on those totally crazy nights that any family can have.

So head on over to Cents to Get Debt to Free to get some other great hints.

How do you do it?

People are always asking many types of the “How do you do it?” type of questions. One of the most frequent is how do we feed the family and not break the bank or have to rob a bank?

When I tell them my food budget is about $700 a month they do not believe it. I am blessed to have a variety of stores around here. They all compete with one another and have great sales. One or the other is always have a 10 for $10 sale on many of the items we use. They also have wonderful sales on meats. I never pay more than $1.99 a pound for meat, usually I pay much less.

Super Walmart is within 20 minutes from my door. A regular Walmart is 10 minutes away. Aldi’s is also 10 minutes from my house. I go there purchase other staples. BJs Wholesale club is within 15 minutes and they still have the best prices on milk, diaper wipes, blocks of cheese, cat litter and gas. So I pay for my annual membership with my first month’s savings.

So with all these great places and sales I have built up a wonderful pantry and freezer stock. I plan my meals from what I have on hand and replenish the pantry when the items go on sale.

I have been asked about my pantry so here are some pictures.

Pantry View 2

This is a good overall shot of the pantry. You can see the baking goods, spices, etc. on the back left shelf. On the back right shelf is overflow from the baking goods and the shelf on against the wall on the right (canned goods).

Panty View 1

These two shelves hold my canned goods — vegetables, fruits, meats and spaghetti sauce.

Pantry View 3

This shelf holds the cereal, canned milks, storage bags, and rice. On the bottom shelf I keep the big bottles of salsa, oil, syrup and ketchup.


This shelf is in a bad place for getting a good picture. It holds our spaghetti, dried fruits, trail mixes, peanut butters and jellys. If you look along the back floor you can see the cleaning items.

Frequent Use Items

This shelf holds out frequent use items. Some of the canned vegetables, egg noodles, side dishes, the children’s spaghetti O’s and ravioli and chips for lunches. Behind the doors on the left shelf are canned meats like tuna, chicken, turkey, beef and salmon.

Some of the things that didn’t make it into the picture is the rolling wire rack that holds the drink mixes that the family uses like pink lemonade and Kool-aid. A bin that is full of pop tarts and a bin that holds the snack items that we keep on hand.

So that is our pantry. Right now we couple eat of what we have on had for three to four months if things got really tight financially for some reason.

I encourage everyone to start to build up a pantry to have a buffer.

Cents To Get Debt Free

This is a great blog that I was led to by several other blogs I read. There are great ideas and tips to help people along the way to get out of debt and become financially free.

There are two things in our house that have been most important for managing the budget. First is menu planning and second is stocking up. These two things go hand in hand.

First you start by planning your meals around all the sales items in the grocery flyers. Then take the savings and purchase more of things that are used frequently to have on hand. Or you save the money to carry over to wait for more sales in the future. Each week stock up on a few items. If you plan on making a recipe and it calls for 1 can of something, buy 2 or 3 cans.

That way over time you build up your pantry and freezer so if necessary you could just plan a meal out of everything you have on hand and not have to worry about shopping. In these times that is a wonderful freedom to have in case of a financial hardship. Start by building an additional week of food,

There are many sites out there that can start you on your way to stocking up. But my number rule of thumb, stock what you eat and eat what you stock! It does no good to have 3 months worth of beans on hand to find out that you can’t stand beans.

Let me know how you are doing with stocking up your food pantry.