Prepping: 10 “Little Things” for a Holiday

OK, the turkey is done, in the fridge, and now you have a nice weekend to begin frittering-away time until you can put on the yoke of capitalist oppression again Monday…

Rather than waste time – the one truly limited supply item in Life – might we offer a sampling of really useful prepping ideas to help fill the day?

1. Run your first pass through 2018 Taxes

Amazon started shipping “TurboTax Home & Business + State 2018 Fed Efile PC/MAC Disc [Amazon Exclusive]” on November 12.  However, make sure to update the program as last week they were still working on the property taxes and sales tax cap portions so that may drift a bit.  Update!

That point aside, we like to have our taxes filled out and the refund coming around the first of March.  Any financial planner worth their salt will tell you only send it an honest “estimated taxes” check if you are paying quarterly.

Honestly, though, overpaying a little bit and then getting a “surprise” refund is better than having the wrong-way surprise hit along with late winter bills.  So, we’ve already made a workable first cut through our 2018 and now we can spend the rest of the holiday season figuring out what to do with a couple of grand coming back.

2. Precook Some Meals

If you don’t have one, consider putting something like the $160 FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer FM5200 2-in-1 System Plus Starter Kit on your shopping list for Santa.

Thing is, once you have a FoodSaver, you can make up really tasty meals in advance and that frees up time down the road.  Important because what “Time is the one truly limited supply item in Life!”  (Hmmm…what genius told you that?)

One of my daughters – the Chef School Grad – regularly cooks only once a week.  But during that spree, OMG does she put out the food.  There’s baking going on, maybe a pot of spaghetti sauce, several main dishes, and when its over?  Everything into the dishwasher and done.

I figure in her ultra-high intensity burst of cooking, she’s freeing up 4 or 5 nights a week.  Which gives her time to do things with the hubby other than shop, do food prep, and cook every night.

PLUS – the added bonus – things don’t “go bad” in the fridge because of a change in meal plans.  Can’t tell you how many ties in my life, the lowly one pound of hamburger ended up going bad because I used to keep “too much ready to cook” and didn’t spend enough time with “something on the fire.”

3.  Even if You Cook – Concentrate Prep Time

Back in Ure’s (now long-ago) single days, I would keep about a dozen Tupperware containers in my fridge.  There was one with sliced mushrooms, while others held assorted meats, veggies, and what-have-yous.  (Chinese-style quarter-sliced)

As a result, when I came home and wanted a meal, I would fire a wok, pour a large glass of Cribari (Vino Biano if you can find it) and whip up a quick stir-fry.  One night was pork, another night was chicken, then beef, and then whatever was left at the end of the week of cooking became a kind of bastardized fajita.  That also cleaned up the unused onions, the celery, and mushrooms.  See how it works?

Simple.  Four containers of pre-cut meats (cut up top sirloin on sale for your beef, slice up chicken breasts, lean pork, shrimp, and such) into bite-sized pieces.  Shrimp’s only good for a couple of days, mind you.

Traditional Chinese (which I happen to adore) is usually just three main ingredients.  A meat and two accompaniments.  Oyster sauce beef broccoli, for example. Only other ingredient is onions and it’s a 3-minute meal.  Chicken with snow peas and cauliflower…OMG, what fun, huh?

Thing is, people buy a lot of prepared foods – and while that may be good for portion control, there’s also a lot of stuff in premade food that you’d never ingest if you thought about it.  I mean, when you go to Safeway, do they have an “artificial flavors” department?  Hell no.

A collection of Asian sauces:  Hot Thai tomato-garlic sauce, Chinese oyster sauce, some teriyaki sauce, Hoisin…pretty quick in makes sense to get a rice cooker and there goes Ure wheat belly…  At least till you come down with…

4. Bread-making Disease

I have no idea how many families in America have started to prep in a serious way (climate change, maybe?) but who have no idea how to actually make bread.

It’s an art.

You can tell Santa if you don’t have one that a giant KitchenAid KSM75WH Classic Plus Series 4.5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer, White is just the ticket – for $190 bucks, or so.  Check the details and make sure you get one with a dough hook.

One of these days, I will pass along Pappy Ure’s Cuban Bread recipe because with the exception of the old Seattle Gai’s Bakery hard rolls, there was NOTHING on earth that could compare.  Fresh Cuban bread out of the over, cooled about 20 minutes, but served still warm-enough to melt ice cold butter…yes, coronary confessions, I suppose, but unbeatable.

5.  Look for Useful Kitchen Doo-Dads

Last month, Elaine was  out shopping and noticed one of those little handheld dish washers – the kind with a detergent reservoir in the handle.

Turns out it has been ridiculously popular with both of us.  Since we’re only two – and two meals a day usually – it doesn’t make sense unless we’re doing “real cooking” to run the dishwasher very often.  Glasses and plates get rinsed and get in line for later-on.

This little guy gets things like the Teflon plans back in their proper pew in no time since it’s not right to put them in a dishwasher.

One quirk with it: If full of soap, it will leak out, so we put it in the bottom of the sink (scrub head up) and that ends the dripping of soap.  We both enjoy the kitchen looking strack…

6. Get Off Mailing Lists

My life-long bud, the Major – and I got talking last week about catalogs coming in the mail.  He’s gotten up to his elbows in their over the years.

I found a couple of web sites where I could managed the problem down,” he told me:  Here are his suggestions…

7.  Build Your Own “Information/News”  Budget

We have been into this more deeply on the subscriber side ( is still just $40-bucks a year and a steal, at that).  But since it’s the holiday season, try one some of these:

  • The New York Times offers 65 emailed newsletter you can sign up for.  All, except for the daily news summaries, are free.
  • The old Peoplenomics article on how to build your own “Home Intelligence Platform” is still valid:  Use Google news alerts to keep you posted on professional developments that are pertinent to your life.  Set up alerts for key competitor websites if you’re a business owner.

8.  Freshen Up Your Resume

Opportunity doesn’t knock twice…or, stand around the door waiting.  So, if you have a little time to burn this weekend, you can always put it to good use by tuning up the resume and making sure you have current references (who will still say good things about you, lol) at the ready, too.

9. Keep an Eye on National Job Openings

Sure, you love where you live, but what’s going on in other parts of the country?

In counseling our kids, we like to use  Its a big, clean interface.  We used to be fans of but it got too busy for us.  Try Indeed and shove some resumes out the door.

Like fishing, you never know what will bite.  Rule of thumb:  If you can get 10-15 percent more (locally) it’s a move worth marking.

Also never under-estimate the value of time off.  The different between a three week vacation versus two weeks, is 2 percent.  Working conditions and play time matter.

10.  Have a Heart-to-Heart

Whether you’re a single parent, married, or have friends, take some down time to have a heart-to-heart with someone. Always peak the Truth as you Know It.

Emotions are easy to get ‘wrapped around the axle” so speak plainly and express your deepest-held feelings.

When you get things “in alignment” – that is, the inner feelings and voice is aligned with the outer expressions of self – things will roll much more smoothly.

As my late friend Robert O. Smith used to admonish his listeners: “You can’t turn your back on your face…

Bonus Round:  Fix Something

This week, I put on my “The Electric Detective”  hat and got after a non-functions Heathkit SB-303 receive.

The problem turned out to be the wrong polarity of the AC line cord someone before me had wired.  Thus, the arcane bit of electronic knowledge:  When there is Y-bypassing only on one leg of an AC circuit, make sure the polarity follows all the way through the radio correctly or things won’t work and there will be oodles of hum.  Flipped polarity and it rocked!

Who’d have thought?  Learn something new every day – even at this age.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled holiday, though do…

Write when you get rich,

13 thoughts on “Prepping: 10 “Little Things” for a Holiday”

  1. Knock,knock,knock

    Booboo Bear: “Yogi, someone is at the door”

    Yogi Bear: “It cant be opportunity Booboo my boy, cause opportunity only knocks once”.

    George when U are done messing with the ole brute this weekend, the below may be of interest..

    Antigrav..Piekara and Kielich in late 50’s..circularly polarized electromagnetic radiation can magnetize objects exposed to this type of polarized radiation – I.E. light or photons.
    This means circularly polarized laser radiation can act as optical magnet. Not only magnetize and demagnetize an object w/polarized laser light, but U can push objects around ..transporter beam anyone?
    Yep, this is how the lil green bastards from Mars use very bright white light to pick up and steal our cows.
    It can also produce measurable shifts in nuclear magnetic resonance..transmutation..already used in classified uranium enrichment programs around world.

    How does this arcane madness work,Bear?
    Simple. We know if U hit a molecule that is rich in hydrogen atoms w/external magnetic field, it flips its magnetic field by 90 degrees. This is Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, been around since 60’s – old school.
    Now if we hit it with the CORRECT amount of magnetic energy then even more interesting stuff happens. 1st flip it a full 180 degree, and U get an ANTI-MATTER and a ANTI-GRAVITY effect. What goes up, must come down now becomes what goes down must now come up.
    Now when U hit a molecule rich in hydrogen atoms with a polarized laser light U can not only magnetize the atom but you can push or pull it with a polarized beam of U know WHY we have high and low tides.
    Part of the effect of moonlight is that it is polarized at the correct wavelength to magnetize the sea water and it creates a pulling effect on oceans surface due optically induced magnetism..another form of GRAVITY. ????

    • Fascinating! I’m actually studying NMRI, among other things, so I get part of what you’re saying. The rest is worth exploring. You never know what you’ll find in these comments!

      Lots of things, such as LENR, have been sensationalized and then dropped out of plain sight. They’re always worth a second look. There’s physics that we peons don’t yet understand, and I’m sure there’s physics that nobody yet understands.

      Here’s an interesting video hosted by a really cute girl:

      The links associated with that page lead into some mind expanding ideas.

  2. Re: looking at the tax situation

    Getting a refund basically means you’ve made Uncle Sam an interest-free loan. There’s also the lost opportunity to invest or do other good things with the money.

    Why not spend some of your time tweaking your 4th Quarter estimate to something closer to break even?


    • Yes…and No.
      Ure figured out long ago that to keep the BP low I needed to evolve a way of living that is as near totally stress free as I can make it.
      Since I have multiple income steams, I never want to EVER worry about having to come up with money in uncertain times (like now through Jan, lol).
      Ergo, by prepaying (yes, over paying) I don’t mind not having more stuff I don’t need in the meanwhile.

      Now, contrast this with the higher stress position. Take someone who made a million bucks in BTCs and cashed it in, bought a home and figured to pay the taxes owed this year.
      Say the person cashed in a LOT of BTC but – back in the early part of this year, figured that BTC would ALWAYS be worth $15,000 each….so just set aside xxx and sell at the end of 2018 or early 2019 to pay the tax bill.

      Except, as Ure correctly forecast, BTC is in the ol’ dumper and make bust into the $3,000’s this weekend or next week. Which leaves the person with “lots of money” and “not loaning a dime to uncle sam” where exactly?

      In a word? Stressed. How do you cover a short-term cap gain on a couple of million and then find that your tax bill will be on the order of what…$300K and only have $100K (or less) worth of BTC stashed to cover it?

      So the point of this drivel?

      Sometimes in life (as in business) it is better to have a little something booked under the “prepaid expense” column because that reduces the forward operating cash required by whatever the disaster is that’s coming.

      Or, as I discussed in the “Portrait of a Tax Bomb” recently on the PN side, what are the young rich and newly over-extended going to do when the reality of the $750K mortgage deductibility and the $10,000 cap on local, state, and state income taxes smacks them early in 2019?

      Again, let me repeat: No stress comes from no surprises. For surprises we have both cash, investments, and oh yeah…some prepaid expense items!

      Or simply visualized: Want to be a feather or an iceberg?

      • The prophet you rate from Bitcoin you always set aside 50% of it just in case there’s a tax law changed with them the perimeter of time when that happens in the meantime you take the other 50% and you can reinvest it in Bitcoin or digibyte again and if you need any of that for your personal growth you take that also so unless you’re one of those people who bet the whole enchilada on the digibyte it’s gone up and gone down with the feature aspects that the next run will be even higher then you have a big chance of losing but you know if you’re dead doesn’t matter does it haha that’s the way to go to make a billion instead of a million the stakes are higher

      • I am also into low stress. All I’m sayin’ is to pare back a bit – expecting a tax refund of a couple of grand sounds like too much to me. But of course, maybe in your tax bracket…. lol

      • I always get $5-6k back. Every year. Last year I got $6800.

        Now in my line of work (Heavy haul construction) there is about a 90% chance that you will be getting laid off due to lack of work for a few months between last week of December threw to Mid-march. I work at a company that is busy year round. (last 3 years.)

        Point is (not currently but most definitely apt when i was married) should i get the Lay off . I would be recieving the equivalent of a little over 2 months bills, along with my $780 a week max unemployment. I wont be sweating the Tax man, at all, And because im union, so i dont have to actively look for work) you would be finding me snowbaording at Mt Baker or Steves pass, or at Nor Point gun range and definelty playing Mr Mom

        Now, when i was a home owner and i continued to stay busy at work in those months? I would promptly pay my auto insurance for a year (saves ya on average 30%) and 2 extra house payments. You do the math on how much i save on interest in the long run verses how much intrest uncle sam makes off lil old me. Lol

        I get what you are saying and Im sure, that Dave Ramsey would take me out to the wood shed if he could. Like a good wood chuck should.

        However , i have learned by claiming 0! And having them take out an extra $50 weekly out of my paycheck, so that no matter what happens, i will be secure in the coldest winter months. And like George said, piece of mind is worth far more than any money the Government makes in interest off little old me.

        This year because i will actually be working. I will pay my auto insurance for the year. AS well as invest in a new BBQ, a new bed and maybe a new of golf clubs.
        ~stash the rest~

        Besides good shoes/work boots. A really good bed, is the best investment you can make! My daughter is ready for an upgrade and i am too. So she will get my old bed which shee named “the cloud.” Lol

  3. George

    “The problem turned out to be the wrong polarity of the AC line cord ”

    Did that receiver have the neutral wire tied to ground?

    That’s a standard practice in automation engineering. Is it also the practice in radio engineering?

    • Looked to me like one side of the line was bypassed, but not the other. When I finished up, it had a standard NEMA 3 prong computer plug installed (thanks Dremel tool!) and now it’s properly set up…

  4. Good ideas, starting at #8 and beyond. I’ll pass on the food stuff – just reading those things makes me fat. #1 is OK if you have a complex tax situation – otherwise you can spend the extra time fixing stuff. Regarding prepayment – the local real estate tax folks are hawking monthly prepayment of taxes. That’s just too much work. For some of us, it’s better to pay once a year and be done with it. Even twice a year requires wasted time writing checks, etc., and getting proper receipts.

  5. Talking about mailing lists, and reducing them, I read an article some years ago about a guy in the mid-west who went the other route. Big time!
    Signed up for every (free) mailing list he could find.
    The mail came in large bags every day.
    He’d bundle it all up and burn it in a custom made burner, much like a Rocket stove in concept, and heated his water, house and shop with the result.
    If I remember correctly he had mail he cared about delivered to a PO Box.
    Free fuel delivered to his door.
    He loved it, though his mail person was too happy.
    Now that is thinking outside the box!

  6. AC line polarity. When I bought the volcano ranch, the home inspector discovered the outlet in the back bedroom had reversed polarity. As a new homeowner, the first (cheap) upgrade was to replace all the old crusty AC outlets. Going back down the daisy-chain feeder from the back of the house, I found all the outlets on one side of the house had reversed polarity! When I got to the first outlet in the feeder chain, I found some electrical brainiac had crossed the black and white wires at the first outlet. Sheesh! It worked fine for most stuff, but could have been fatal for a hot-chassis.

    • Yeah, there was a fellow with an old SB-303 like the one I just restored that replaced everything in the PS yet wasn’t able to cure the hum. When I was playing around with a cheater cord on mine, I found that if the polarity was wrong, the hum appeared everywhere.
      I know – transformer and bypassing – shouldn’t have happened…yet there it was. Finally, the NEMA cord came in – computer cord and socket – and no more hum issues.
      Yet, I wonder how many people don;t know how cheap it is to make sure your wiring is safe?
      Here’s the goodie from Amazon – and less than $8 bucks, too!
      Sperry Instruments GFI6302 GFCI Outlet / Receptacle Tester, Standard 120V AC Outlets, 7 Visual Indication / Wiring Legend, Home & Professional Use, Yellow & Black

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