Saturday, April 21, 2012


I found these two quiz websites, Sporcle and Jet Punk, when I was looking for a US map quiz. (For some crazy reason I wanted to learn where all of our states are located.) DH and I found ourselves addicted; it's like taking bar trivia quizzes without the bar! We go through spurts where we can't get enough. We'll sit and answer trivia questions for an hour or so, easy. I've added several of the map quizzes to my links list, and finally decided to set up a separate section for them and add a bunch more. Thanks to these quizzes I can now tell you where any state is in the US and where any country is in Europe. (Although I'm still a little shaky on Europe; that's new.) I want to master all of the other maps I've listed over there as well. It's only a matter of practice, after all. When I first start taking any of the quizzes I am TERRIBLE!! My base knowledge of geography is, I'm ashamed to admit, absolutely dismal. But no more! I shall practice, I shall learn, and I shall still fail all the PRI geo quizzes! Huzzah!

Give some of the quizzes a try; how do you stack up?

Thursday, April 19, 2012


So all of a sudden prepping is cool! Well, OK, that might be stretching it a little bit, but there are at least a couple of TV shows dedicated to people who prepare for emergencies. I've been watching "Doomsday Preppers" on National Geographic and I now know I'm in the bush leagues when it comes to preparing for disasters. I only prepare for the aftermath of a major hurricane, following the guidelines (plus a little extra) suggested by government emergency planning web sites. (For the record, that's 72 hours on your own with no power, electricity, water, or other services.) I maintain an emergency food supply kit during hurricane season then when the season is over I donate the food to a Thanksgiving food drive.

I did a thorough clean out of my food kit last November, even down to the spices, so I started from scratch again this year. I usually wait until closer to June (the start of hurricane season) but I got a bee in my bonnet about it this time and started a little early. I start out with shopping, using my inventory list. I generated the inventory list several years ago based on my 10 meal strategy. I have 5 recipes that all use non-perishable ingredients; I buy enough to make each recipe twice, which gives us 5 lunches and 5 dinners. I rely pretty heavily on "Apocalypse Chow", now re-named "Vegan Unplugged", for both advice and recipes. The book suggests the emergency meal kit and gives a lot of ideas for how to stock up and cook in a no-power situation. I have a single butane burner (like chefs use for demonstrations, according to the book) that will get a lot of use if we don't have power. (I also have a metal garbage pail full of charcoal should we need it for grilling.)

In addition to the 10 meal kit, I also have items for snacks and breakfasts. I've put some hot chocolate in there too, although without power it will probably be too hot for hot chocolate, but then again, hurricane Wilma hit in October and it was pretty chilly afterwards. There's tea for DH. Boxes of mac and cheese and oodles of noodles for the kids. Organic popcorn and oil, since I have a popper for use with a campfire.

I have a dilemma about all of this stuff, though. I had everything in big plastic bins with lids but they were too heavy to lift. I found some slightly smaller clear plastic bins and I've put the food items in those. (Clear bins, as in I can see in them, which is very handy!) All of the food, but just the food, is in these clear bins, but now I have to do something with the cookware, the butane burner and butane, and all of the kitchen gadgets required to prepare all of these wonderful meals. I have a large stash of cookware for camping; should I plan to use that, or should I put together another kit with a pot, a frying pan, utensils, etc., that can stay closer to the bins with the food in them??? There's limited space where I want to store the food, though. (Heck, there's limited space throughout the house.) Is it even necessary to put everything together? If we're in a "bug out" situation (as in SUPER POWERFUL CATEGORY 5 HURRICANE AIMING RIGHT FOR US) then I doubt we'll take the emergency food supply. (Yes, I have bug out bags, but I still have to update those. They currently contain outdated protein bars and clothes the kids have outgrown, among other things.) We would grab the bug out bags and head out, although now that's a little more complicated with the dogs. But that's an issue for another post!

This is going to require more thought and planning, for sure.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Menu

I am absolutely STUFFED! We had an amazingly yummy Easter feast; here's the menu plan:

Deviled Eggs by Martha, Jr.

Main Dishes:
For the meat eaters: Ham
For the veg heads: Mac and Cheese using the cheese sauce from the "Vegetarian Times" magazine cauliflower and cheese recipe. (I'd post the link directly to the recipe but it's from the latest issue so the recipes aren't up yet; it's the cover recipe.)

Side Dishes:
Green Salad (with cherry tomatoes from our garden!!!)
Carrot Salad
Steamed Green Beans
Glazed Asparagus Tips (DH's own recipe; I have no idea how he does it, but it involves honey and red pepper flakes and it is delish!)

European Ciabatta fresh out of the oven from Whole Foods with Irish butter

Who has room for dessert after all that food?*

*The kids pigged out on Easter basket candy