We have had a fabulous year here at AWCOW. A few years ago I started this blog after my husband suggested it to me on a whim, and it’s turned into a pivotal part of our lives. If you are a regular reader of this blog you know my husband, Bill Osuch, is a major contributor and my son, Josh, is a guest poster. Are We Crazy, Or What? has become a family blog. Behind the scenes is no exception. All of my boys help with holding, modeling, tasting and and being all-around guinea pigs when it comes to posts, videos and podcasts. My middle son also sings the theme song on our podcast and the intro to our videos. I am so proud of their contributions and what we as a family have accomplished this year.
As the year draws to a close I wanted to share with you the top 10 posts of 2014 in case you might have missed them. They are in order of popularity. If you are seeing them for the first time I hope you enjoy them, and if you’ve been a long time reader of AWCOW I hope you’ll enjoy them again. Maybe even bookmark them or pin them to add to your list of things you want to accomplish in 2105. We are externally grateful for your support, readership and friendship and hope that you will continue to watch us grow and even become part of our online community. We have a great Facebook Page, I’m on Twitter and Google Plus, and of course we pin extensively to Pinterest. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us and also thank you for sharing what you find here at AWCOW with others!
Top 10 AWCOW Posts of 2014:
Dear Thinking Mom,
I’m writing to let you know you are the best most qualified teacher for your child.
I know, you must be thinking, “Who is this person to tell me they know who the best teacher is for my child? You don’t even know me or my child!” Yes, I admit it’s a pretty bold and presumptuous statement! My apologies if it offends, but bear with me a moment and let me tell you how I know this bold statement to be true!
Recently we purchased a Victorio Steam Juicer, and after making some delicious apple juice, we decided to try our hand at making our own hard cider. It’s very easy to make small batches of 1 to 5 gallons at a time, using ingredients and equipment that should cost under $20 for your first batch (and even less for future batches). Let’s get started.
Dehydrating garlic is simple and completely straight forward. All you need to do is peel the garlic, chop it and then place it in the dehydrator. Let me show you how to dehydrate garlic step by step, give you a few tips and then show you how to make garlic powder, which is also super simple.
This post is a quick follow-up to my previous post on debt snowball: Why Getting Out Of Debt Should Be Your Number One Prep: How To Do It Using The Snowball Method.
I came across a nice little spreadsheet, or debt reduction calculator, with some built-in formulas. It asks for your current debts, balances, interest rates, and minimum payments, and then lets you choose from several different payment strategies. You can compare each strategy to see how long each will take, as well as how much interest you will have paid, and decide which works best for you.
I’ve always had a fondness for small boxes – not plain old cardboard shipping boxes, but sturdy things like wooden cigar boxes, hollowed out books, those little cedar boxes you used to buy at roadside stops, old Band-Aid boxes back when they were still metal, etc. I remember being 8 or 9 and making a survival kit in a Band-Aid tin – I think I put in a fishing hook and a couple feet of line (no sinkers…), a chicken bouillon cube (no cup…) a Band-Aid or two (nothing to clean a wound…), etc. I guess the intention was good, even if it wasn’t terribly practical.
Why Store Food?
To those that get it, this is almost a silly question, and up until about 75 years ago would also be considered a silly question to the average person. The fact is that humans have stored food for thousands of years because their lives would often depend on it.
To some degree we still collectively store food; the U.S. government does have food reserves. However, with growing corporate agriculture, growing government, and growing industry the idea has fallen by the wayside. This is unfortunate because this now archaic practice is still important and can save your butt in a storm, a family or financial crisis, or an emergency.
If your mom was like mine, you probably got an earful when you’d leave the lights or TV on in a room after you’d left (“we’re not made of money”). Once you had to start paying your own bills, did you ever wonder how much extra that wound up costing you on your monthly electric bill? I know that a big chunk of our bill comes from the air conditioning, but how much of the rest of it comes from things like the dishwasher, refrigerator and computer(s), and how much comes from forgetting to turn stuff off when we leave the room? Up until now we had no way of figuring that out, but then we got this little gadget that actually measures this mysterious figure. It’s called the Kill-A-Watt Electricity Usage Monitor.
As a family of five, travelling any distance usually meant a roadtrip – with airlines tickets to most places costing in the neighborhood of $300 (at least!), we were usually looking at $1500 and up to fly anywhere, plus the cost of a rental car when we got there. The driving added a few days to the trip, but it worked fine when our boys were younger. Now that our boys are growing up, and our car isn’t any bigger, we’re still putting three pre-teens into the back seat of a pickup, which is a recipe for a lot of headaches on a long trip.
Remember the video that made the rounds a while back on how you could heat your home using just a flower pot and a tea light? I have yet to find anyone who actually got that to work, so I was a little skeptical when I heard about making a refrigerator from a couple pots and some sand. It was still intriguing though; if it worked it would be a great way to store medications that need to be kept cool (such as insulin) during a grid-down situation, as well as extending the life of fruits and veggies.
With back to school in full swing and tons of articles flying around about back to school lunches, routines and parties (yup, there is such a thing), I’m getting into the back to school spirit. It used to be my favorite time of year, but these days it’s bittersweet because my kids are getting older and really don’t share the same enthusiasm that I do for a new box of crayons. I used to be (and still am to some degree) a school supply hoarder. Let’s just say my kids will never have to buy loose leaf notebook paper again! (I may even have enough for the grand-kids, but that’s a different blog post.)
Exciting Plans For 2015
We are so excited about our plans for the AWCOW in 2015. We are about to launch a members-only section of the website, called Self-Reliant School, where we will teach classes to help you become more self-reliant. The first class will be Dehydrating and will begin in January. We will still continue to post on the blog, make videos for YouTube, and I am planning a new add-on addition to The Preparedness Planner.
Happy New Year to you and your family!