The Smart Mama: Preparations Matter in an Emergency ~ Communications Plan

News reports of shortages in supplies in advance of the ice storm now hitting the southeast underscore the need to prepare for emergencies in advance – and not 24 hours in advance. Yes, you can plan on being able to go buy food, toilet paper, dog food, formula, shovels, generators, whatever before a storm hits… [Continue Reading]

TheSmartMama’s Guide to Surviving an Emergency – Packing a Get Home Bag for Work

To adequately prepare for an emergency situation, you have to know for what sort of emergency you are preparing.  I live in Southern California, and work outside the home.  The most likely emergency situations I will face are earthquakes and wildfires.  And, it is quite possible that these situations could occur while I am at… [Continue Reading]

TheSmartMama’s Guide to Surviving an Emergency – Turning off the Gas

So we have now lived at the Land of Fruits and Nuts for a year.  Moving to the Land of Fruits and Nuts has resulted in a drastic change in my outlook.  Just dealing with the abundant harvest on 6 acres has driven me to learn to preserve the harvest – pickling, canning, dehydrating and… [Continue Reading]

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Land of Fruits and Nuts – Day 9 – What the heck am I doing and cookbook porn

Okay, so today I woke up and wondered what the heck am I doing with 6 acres of land covered with fruit trees and vegetables and other stuff. How am I going to do something with the bounty? The avocados hanging on the trees mock me. We can’t sell them at a Farmer’s Market unless… [Continue Reading]

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Land of Fruits and Nuts – Day 8 – Sweet Marmalade

I’m still trying to use the oranges that are hanging on – the end of the season’s crop. I’ve got fresh blooms and new fruit starting, but we haven’t harvested all of this year’s crop. Mostly because it is all just a little too overwhelming here on our farm. I mean really, I’m a suburban… [Continue Reading]

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Land of Fruits and Nuts – Preserving the Harvest – Day 5 – Loquats & Loquat Jelly

It is May 6, 2013, and loquat trees hang heavy with fruit in Southern California. Driving home from picking up my kids from after school care, we pass 6 or 7 trees in our relatively short drive just covered with fruit – trees that are in the area between a house and the sidewalk. It [...]

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Land of Fruits and Nuts – Preserving the Harvest – Day 3 – Elder

So, my third day of preserving the harvest at the Land of Fruits and Nuts found me too exhausted to think of canning. For the record, for the past two days, I’d been canning after the kiddos went to sleep, which meant that I was up pretty late.  Plus, I had to tend to the [...]

Land of Fruits and Nuts – Joining Team ENERGY STAR

So, in the Land of Fruits and Nuts, we have to remodel the home. “Have to” is an understatement – the home’s major systems are failing – we’ve had the sewer pipe burst underneath the house, the water pipes have failed in 2 separate locations, the furnace broke down completely, and electrical panel is shot. [...]

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Land of Fruits and Nuts – Preserving the Harvest – Day 2 – Orange & Whiskey Marmalade

So, having successfully made and canned strawberry jam (see my blog post on Day 1), I was ready to move on and try something to preserve the actual harvest. And boy do we have oranges. There are many mature orange trees on the Land of Fruits and Nuts. I don’t know what kind of oranges, [...]

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Land of Fruits and Nuts – Preserving the Harvest – Day 1 – Strawberry Jam

Well, we’ve finally reached the beginning of the harvest so to speak here at the aptly named Land of Fruits and Nuts. Yep, we’ve named the “farm” the Land of Fruits and Nuts . . . we actually went through a bunch of names, the top runner being 1 Bullet, 2 Squirrels after my sister-in-law’s [...]

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Wild Edibles – Foraging for Dinner

So the other night I didn’t have any veggies or greens to add to our dinner. I had fruit and I had potatoes, but nothing green and bright. So I did a quick foraging expedition in our backyard – choosing both some so called weeds and some components from the garden. And I thought I [...]

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Los Angeles with Kids – Archery Adventure

I love how much there is to do and experience in the greater Los Angeles area. You want the beach – great. You want to go skiing – it is a relatively short drive up to the mountains. You want Hollywood,  you got it. Disneyland, we got that too. Not to mention Knott’s Berry Farm, [...]