Sleep is Important to Moms and Preppers

Truth.

Truth.

With my son starting school this week, I have become painfully aware of how important sleep is.  I nearly always go to bed much later than I should, and with two young children, there’s no such thing as sleeping in.  To complicate matters further, I must once again set the alarm clock and rise on schedule.

When Mamma doesn’t get enough sleep, she becomes forgetful, irritable, unmotivated… basically, not a very likable person.  General tiredness can throw off your entire day.  It can also seriously affect your health.

I came across this article, which gives some insight into how lack of sleep affects brain function.  It’s more geared towards insomnia, because really, who in their right mind would ever not get enough sleep on purpose?  Oh, right…

Sadly, if this article is to be believed, I should be getting somewhere between 10-12 hours of sleep per night.  At least that’s how I feel much of the time.  Seriously, right now I could curl up into a ball on the sofa and sleep.  After downing an entire pot of coffee, no less.  I’m sure I get that from my mother.

See? Drool.

The problem, aside from general crankiness and lack of motivation, is that lack of sleep can also impair our ability to act quickly in an emergency situation.  If you’ve been getting fewer than 6 hours of sleep a night for the last few weeks (or months… or 6 years, in my case) and suddenly had to think quick on your feet, you may suffer a brainfart and not know what to do next.

The really idiotic thing about all this is that no one is keeping me up but me.  I’m not suffering from insomnia (though I did for quite a long time, the second my head hits my pillow these days I’m out like a light), I’m just too tired to get myself to bed.  So, from now on I shall be getting myself to bed earlier.  By 11, latest.  I’ve been saying this to my husband for months (possibly years… I forget.  I blame lack of sleep.  I blame lack of sleep for pretty much everything, really.)  But not tonight, because last night I became addicted to Sherlock, and I lack willpower.  For that, I blame K who’s been telling me for months now “You’ve got to watch Sherlock! You’ll love it!”  So… starting Sunday night.  Honest. (Starting tonight would be like trying to start a diet in October.  Completely useless.  Never attempt a diet until after New Years, and plan on a break for Easter.  Solid advice.)

Well-rested = Better prepared.🙂

Be well,

Just a Mom

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Ditching the Disposable Lifestyle

A lot of paper towelsI posted a few days ago about our need to cut down on paper towel use.  I think I’ve been making some progress.  When you get used to using convenience products, you just don’t realize how much you use them until you try to cut back or stop.

I could not drink coffee out of this mug.  Unless, of course, it was the only one I had.

I’m on the fence about drinking my coffee out of this mug.

I’ve started using flour sack dish towels to dry fruits, veggies, and lettuce after washing.  I’ve started using a small lid to set my spoon down on when I make coffee (I was using a paper towel, of course).

The one thing I gave in on was the cat barf.  Paper towels for that.

microfiber dish cloths

I bought two packs of these to replace the disposable scrubber sponges I use to wash dishes.

I was wrong about something, however… I said that it would be hard to get away from disposables.  Once I started paying attention to how much paper towels were being used, I started noticing other things.  I could easily replace the scrubber sponges I used to wash dishes and clean the kitchen.   I could buy or make fabric napkins.  I have a bag of towels and blankets designated “hairy beast things”, and I could use some of those towels to clean up Ms. Cat’s occasional messes.  I also realized what a slave I am to disinfecting wipes, which are probably not that good to have around the house anyway.  Time to research natural disinfecting cleaner recipes.

Ditching all the disposables is probably one of the most money-saving things that we can do.  Stocking up on kitchen towels is much more efficient than stocking up on paper towels.  It can’t hurt to have some paper towels available, just in case clean water becomes scarce for a time, but it would be smart to reserve those for emergencies.

Does anyone have more ideas for ditching reliance on disposable products?

Be well,

Just a Mom

Posted in Disposable Lifestyle, Ditching Disposables, Money Saving Tips | 2 Comments

One Thing Per Week…

A lot of paper towelsI’ve realized lately that we’ve been going through a lot more paper towels in my house than I’m really comfortable with.  This isn’t the only convenience product that we use regularly, either.

While convenience products do save time, and are… well… convenient, they are also very often heavily laden with chemicals that could be harmful to people, animals, and the environment in general.  They also cost a lot of money that would definitely be better spent on other things… like getting that canning kit or the vacuum sealer I’ve really been wanting to get.   Things that could save us money in the long run, help us be prepared in case of an emergency, and help us to get used to a more healthy diet and lifestyle in general.

I’ve been wanting to change these habits for a very long time, but as anyone who has made these sorts of changes can tell you, it can be extremely overwhelming.  So I’ve decided that I’m going to make just one change per week.  It may be something very simple, or something more difficult, but I’ll make every effort to explain all the ways in which these changes are helping my family, and how these things tie into preparedness.

Some recent changes that I’ve made include finding an alternative to those amazingly convenient Swiffer wet sweepers.  Rather than continue purchasing the disposable wet “cloths”, I realized last week that it was the perfect solution for what to do with those prefolded cloth diapers that we have left over from when the boys were babies.  (OK, I’m going to admit now that we only used them for a month or so for Stormageddon, then they became changing pads.  We never did use them as diapers for The Master of Disaster.  The whole thing was too overwhelming, and serious props to the folks who do it and stick with it.)  I shouldn’t have been surprised when I read a comment earlier today in another blog by someone who was doing the same thing.  I also decided to do away with the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Sponges this past week.  Very convenient, but what are they made of?  And baking soda can clean anything the Magic Erasers can clean.  Fact.

My change for this week is to find all the ways in which I can avoid using paper towels.  We currently have 3 very large packages of them in the basement, and my goal is to make them last through the end of the year.  Even better, I’m going to shoot for one of those packages lasting through the end of the year.  If I can do that, I’ll bet I could make the other two last through all of 2014.  I know it doesn’t seem like a huge deal, but if I can get us out of the paper towel habit, it could potentially save us quite a bit in the long run.

Flour sack towels - so many uses.

Flour sack towels – so many uses.

I have used the flour sack dish towels for things like drying off lettuce for sandwiches.  I don’t bother with drying dishes.  If they can’t go into the dishwasher, I hand-wash and put in the dish drainer.  I think that the two things I’ll miss most if the power grid goes down, maybe even more than easy access to hot water, is having a dishwasher and a washing machine.)  Lately, I’ve been using paper towels for that.

I can get a 12 roll package of paper towels at the warehouse store for around $15-20 (depending on the brand and how many sheets-per-roll).  I can get a 12 pack of flour sack towels for under $15, and a 24 pack for under $21.  The difference being that the flour sack can be used over and over.

We have an over abundance of rags we can use to wipe up floor spills and other messy messes that I would normally whip out paper towels for.  Newspaper works wonders on glass.

Does anyone have any suggestions for paper towel replacement?  Any ideas for future changes?

Be Well.

~ Just a Mom

Posted in Disposable Lifestyle, Ditching Disposables, Money Saving Tips | 1 Comment

Blogs, Websites, and Articles That I Like

OK, I skipped a day… I’m just trying to get back on this, though, so I’m allowed a slip-up now and then, right?  Anyway, while I’m working out the next steps to take with this, I thought I’d plug a few favorites.  Aside from giving me a place to go back and find them (rather than making the sad attempts at sorting through my “favorites” and bookmarks… again…), it might send one or two others their way.

Here’s my newest favorite, Almost Exactly.  AlexRaye proves that you can use all natural, home-made beauty products and still look fabulous.  Also, her bubbly personality comes through in her writing, and sometimes that’s just what a mom needs to read while drinking her morning (or afternoon) coffee to help her perk up.  (No pressure to keep that up or anything, AlexRaye, but it is a nice change from a lot of the doom and gloom I’ve been seeing lately.🙂 )

I like this blog because I’ve heard so many people say “I can’t afford to stock up”, or “I can’t afford the cost of getting prepared”.   Anyone who can read this and still say that is just looking for excuses.

Interesting tidbits at Geek Prepper.

I came across this post today, and it made me chuckle at first.  A lot.  Then I realized that they’re right.  My husband already keeps a roll of TP in the car for those “I’ve gotta go NOW!” emergencies, but what do you do if it’s just gone?  A few minutes later, I came across this blog post, and it really had me rolling.  All I could think was “Yep, this is how my family would be… I’d say “hey, let’s try this!” and the husband would say “Uh… no.”  When I mentioned these two articles to him, he seemed pretty sure it’d be the other way around.  Because of the washing.  But you know what?  If that’s all we had to use, that’s what we’d be using.

Here’s an article for the mom’s out there, because we could all use a little help around the house, amIright?  I’m sure that a lot of moms out there feel as overwhelmed as I do, are exhausted, and become easily distracted from what they want and need to be focused on.  I think Doctor G’s article can help, at least a little.

Be Well, and Enjoy!

~ Just a Mom

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Money Saving Preparedness Tip of the Day

Baking Soda = Pure Awesome

Baking Soda = Pure Awesome

Stock up on baking soda!

Baking soda is another one of those things, like vinegar, that has a ton of uses and can replace a lot of the more expensive products you already use.  I buy it by the giant bag-full at one of the national warehouse superstore chains.  A quick search of google or Pinterest (yes, I’m on Pinterest, and yes, it’s completely addictive.  This is me.) for “baking soda uses” will pull up so much information that you might not know where to start.

Here are some of the things I’ve used baking soda for that have worked for me…

Insect bits/stings:  A couple of weeks ago, The Master of Disaster was stung by a carpenter bee.  Five times.  It flew up his sleeve and panicked when it couldn’t get away.  Poor little guy.  I made a paste of baking soda, apple cider vinegar that had been steeped in lavender (a couple drops of lavender oil works, too), and a few drops of tincture of nettles, and put a dab of that on each sting.  The swelling went down very quickly.  This also works on mosquito bites and other insect bits and stings.

Oven cleaner: Start with about half a cup of baking soda, add a couple squirts of dish soap (I used Dawn), and slowly mix in enough vinegar to make a thin paste (it will fizz at first).  Spread it on the inside of your oven (avoid the ceiling… if you miss any when wiping clean, it will flake every time you use the oven; try using plain vinegar on the ceiling) and let sit overnight.  Wipe clean in the morning.  If any elbow grease is required, it will be minimal.  If you want to avoid even minimal scrubbing, spread some more on the stuck on spots and let sit for a few more hours.

To clean your smooth cook top:  Spray some of the vinegar kitchen cleaner on the cook top, sprinkle with baking soda (I keep some in a re-purposed spice shaker for cleaning) and let sit for about ten minutes.  Then use a sponge to wipe clean.  You may need a bit of elbow grease for this, too, but not as much as you will for those stinky cleaners they sell for these new-fangled cook tops.  And it works at least as good as they do.

Cleaning pots and pans:  I don’t remember the last time I had to buy steel wool for pots and pans.  I don’t use it anymore.  When I cook bacon and get that greasy, stuck-on layer in the bottom of the pan, I sprinkle baking soda in the pan (using my re-purposed shaker) and let it sit for a bit.  When I’m ready to clean it, it comes right out.  I just rub it around with my fingertips (I wear gloves to clean) and it comes right out.  Rinse with hot water, sprinkle a bit more baking soda, and clean with a sponge and a bit of dish soap just to get the last bit of greasy residue out.  No elbow grease required.

Replace those Magic Eraser Sponges:  I just realized today that baking soda cleans at least as well, and as easily, as those Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Sponges, and you know exactly what it is that you’re using.  Does anybody know what those Magic Erasers are made of?  I’ve had spots on my living room wall (I suspect it was once inside a bug) that I couldn’t get off with the Magic Eraser sponge, but some baking soda on a regular dampened sponge did the trick.  If it works on metal-rubbing marks (from the boys driving their toy cars on the walls) and those last vestiges of crayon color that the magic erasers won’t quite work on, I’ll be thrilled.  I’ll be trying the baking soda in the tub, too.  I may never buy another Magic Eraser again.

Drain cleaner: Pour half a cup of baking soda into your drain, then pour a cup of vinegar.  Wait 10 minutes, then pour hot water down the drain.
Whenever I have to clean my coffeemaker (just run vinegar through it, then plain water) I use the hot vinegar to clean the drains.  It does seem to work better hot.

Fruit and veggy wash:  A tablespoon of baking soda in a large bowl of cold water makes a great fruit and veggy wash.  I sometimes add a couple of tablespoons of vinegar, but the baking soda works well on its own.

Cat box deodorizer:  I keep another re-purposed shaker of baking soda near the cat’s litter box.  When it gets particularly stinky, I shake some on top.

Some things I’ll be trying:

Jillee says it works wonders for cleaning those greasy stove hood filters.  I love her blog, she always has some good ideas there.

Here are some more random links (some may have duplicates, but there may be some unique ideas in there):

15 uses for baking soda

Home-made deodorant (I’m going to give this a try, but will have to be careful.  That one time I mixed up the corn starch in my bathroom closet with baking soda and put it under my arms I broke out in psoriasis.  It wasn’t pleasant.)

Beauty benefits (A home spa sounds good about now.)

60 more uses

Another 60 uses

Sixty ONE uses

A Hippy mom’s home spa

20 unusual uses

Be well.

~ Just a Mom

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Getting Rid of Fruit Flies

Life cycle of a fruit fly.  And yes, they really do have little beady red eyes.

Life cycle of a fruit fly. And yes, they really do have little beady red eyes.

Every once in a while, I forget to take the food scraps out to the compost bin in the back yard. Since I’m not about to trek out there in the dark through our uneven back yard, I save them for the next day. If I forget to cover the container, we inevitably end up with a few fruit flies in the kitchen.

And then there was that one time we did the indoor composting bins, that stayed indoors for less than a day before we ended up putting them outside to later dump the contents into the big outdoor bin.

This is what works for me when they start showing up in my kitchen:
I use a small, white ceramic dish or tea-cup.  In it, I mix one teaspoon of sugar.  Add a tablespoon of white or apple cider vinegar, and mix well.  Fill it up with tepid water, add a few drops of dish soap (if you have something lemony, that’s ideal.  It always seems to work best for me.)

When I was researching this, I saw recipes calling for organic sugar and organic apple cider vinegar.  That stuff is super expensive, and honestly, the idea is to kill the little buggers, not make them a gourmet meal.  Besides, they really don’t care either way.

When The Indoor Composting Incident happened, this worked extremely well.  I placed a couple of these around the kitchen and dining area, and I had to empty them three times in the first hour.  I then had to empty them three more times during that day, and my house was nearly fly-free by that evening.  Pretty amazing, considering that I couldn’t take a breath without inhaling them earlier that morning.

The next time I have to make one, I’m going to do an experiment to see if putting a funnel on it catches more.  The one to the left is the most amusing one I’ve seen yet.  My dark sense of humor, which apparently Stormageddon has inherited from me.  He’s been begging me for a Venus Fly Trap.

venus-fly-trap1

Of course, this is what pops into my head…

http://science.howstuffworks.com/zoology/insects-arachnids/housefly6.htm

Nomnomnomnom…

.

But I suspect that this is what pops into his head:

The unfortunate truth is that he’s probably got something more like this in mind…

Be Well,

~ Just a Mom

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Worm Bins: Our Second Attempt at Indoor Composting

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As I stated in my update, our first attempt at worm farming was not particularly successful… at least not in the manner in which we intended. We used worms from our back yard compost in our original experiment.  That was … Continue reading

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