This post was most recently updated on June 19th, 2018
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When you’re a mom, even the most well-planned days can go sideways without warning. On the blog, I’ve offered various tips and ideas to help keep things running smoothly on a regular type day basis. But sometimes, it all goes south and you just need an Emergency Plan B. I have a list of essential items that I keep stocked in my pantry, freezer, and around the house at all times. And when life gets crazy, I depend on them to save the day and keep my family fed, healthy, happy, and organized. Stock this list of must have items in your home, and be prepared for even the wildest days!
Having a Rescue Plan
A sick child, an unexpected appointment, or a phone call that goes on longer than expected can create chaos in your day. If you’re a busy Mama (and I know you are!), the smallest thing can sometimes spiral into a huge disruption of your schedule. Rolling with the flow is a lot easier when you have backup. And planning ahead is key.
Must Have Items In Your Home
In the Pantry
It doesn’t matter what kind of pasta you keep in your pantry, but you need to have at least one box or bag there all the time. And have your family’s favorite pasta recipe handy. I like to keep spaghetti noodles on hand because my family loves it. Pasta is a super quick, easy meal that comes together in minutes. So on those days when even your menu plan has failed to keep you on track, you’re prepared to put a solid meal on the table. This will save you immeasurable stress, not to mention money! No more desperate trips through the drive-thru for pricey junk food.
Canned Crushed Tomatoes & Tomato Paste
I like to make my own spaghetti and pasta sauce. But you can easily replace these canned tomato products with your favorite jarred sauce. Knowing I have the ingredients to make this meal on hand gives me real peace of mind. Depending on my mood and what other ingredients I have around at the time, I may make a fancier dish. But I always keep the canned tomatoes in stock, so I can make a delicious sauce on short notice.
Chicken Broth and Bouillon
Having a box or two of chicken broth & bouillon in my pantry is essential. It’s something I can use to quickly pull together a light, nourishing soup for a sick kid, or a hearty meal for the entire family. Adding a bouillon cube or two to plain rice creates a simple, but flavorful and fast side dish. Also, broth can be used to create many ‘one-pot’ meals, which are amazing time & money-savers.
In the Freezer
Ground beef is something I keep in my freezer at all times. Sometimes I only have one pound, but that’s all I need in an emergency situation. Because one pound of ground beef can make so many quick, easy meals! One of my family’s favorites is goulash – a one pot meal that comes together in no time and satisfies everyone. Hamburger gravy over toast or quick drop biscuits is another fast meal that brings smiles in my house. In addition, you could do a quick ‘poor-man’s’ ground beef stew, taco salad, or chili with ground beef.
One Freezer Meal
Having at least one meal in your freezer is a must! In fact, I recommend having more than one. But the truth is, something as simple as leftovers from a previous meal that have been labeled and frozen can be used later as a busy day rescue meal. For example, freeze leftover chili or soup in a container and tuck it away, knowing you’ll have a quick meal at the ready when you need it most. If you’re unsure what you can freeze safely – walk down the freezer aisle at the grocery store and take a look at what’s there! A collection of several meals’ worth of frozen leftovers can be thawed out and used to feed your family on a particularly busy day.
Around the House
I have essential oils in my house and on my person at. all. times. They are so handy for all sorts of issues! We use them to treat cuts, scrapes, bug bites, sore muscles, upset tummies, stuffy noses, seasonal allergy symptoms, and so much more. I purchased an inexpensive hard-sided makeup case to store them in, which keeps them organized and out of the heat and light. (That’s important, as heat and light exposure can alter the therapeutic properties of the oils.) I created a ‘Cheat Sheet’ to put in our household binder, and everyone in the house knows where that is located. That way, all the members of my family know which oils to use, and how to use them safely and appropriately.
There are, literally, 20 flash drives in my desk right now. In my opinion, you can never have too many. They aren’t terribly expensive, and are a great way to store & organize all kinds of digital information safely, conveniently, and in a small space. I use them to keep photographs, financial documents, and home school curriculum. One thing I like to do is to scan my kids artwork, poems, essays, etc. into my computer and then move to a flash drive. Then I don’t feel guilty about not being able to ‘keep’ everything they create, but I don’t have to find space for it all, either.
Additionally, I routinely back up important information from my desktop computer to a flash drive, so I don’t lose anything important in the event of a crash situation. Heaven forbid I need to leave my home in a hurry, I can easily grab my flash drives and know that I have all the important information our family might need.
Vinegar is an absolute, cannot do without, must have item in my house. In fact, you might be surprised at all you can do with a gallon of regular white vinegar!
– Combined with essential oils, vinegar makes an amazingly effective, multi-surface cleaner. It deodorizes, kills germs, and doesn’t leave behind any chemical residue. Add a little baking soda & vinegar to your toilet bowl for easy cleaning & disinfecting.
– It can be used to make salad dressings and side dishes. And if necessary, you can add white vinegar to plain milk to create buttermilk. This is especially helpful when throwing together a quick ‘breakfast-for-supper’ meal like waffles or pancakes and scrambled eggs.
– Add vinegar to your laundry to deodorize extra stinky clothing. Also, restore fluffiness and absorbency to bath towels by adding vinegar to the load, as well.
– Mix vinegar & peppermint essential oil together in a spray bottle and use around doors and windows to keep spiders and mice out of the house.
There is a lot more I could say about vinegar – and I might in some future post. But I think I have given you a pretty good set of reasons why it’s on my list of ‘Essential Eight’ items.
Hope for the Best, and Plan for the Worst
It seems like that could be a motto for motherhood and raising a family, doesn’t it? But I think it just makes good sense to be as prepared as possible for as many problems as you can. Having these items in your house can greatly decrease the amount of stress caused when life’s hiccups come along. Simply knowing you’re prepared, with easy and inexpensive solutions is empowering!
How do you handle crazy, chaotic days that don’t go according to plan? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below! Also, be sure to follow That Farm Mama’s Facebook page, as well as on Instagram and Pinterest. I would love to know what are your essential items? Do you agree with any of mine?
I hope this list has given you some ideas on how you can better prepare for unexpected moments in your day. And I hope that you will be inspired and encouraged by using them to make your own life a little more stress-free!
Love & Blessings,