We’ve survived through Days 25-29 of the challenge, with only a few bumps in the road.

Something I haven’t mentioned yet is that we had planned a homeschool field trip for the 26-27th to Jefferson’s home, Monticello, in Virginia.

Taking to the road and being away for two days suddenly made this challenge much trickier.

If I’d had time to plan better I could have put together more meals. But I didn’t.

The situation reminded me of what it would be like if we suddenly had to evacuate our home. What if stopping for food along the way wasn’t an option? What would we eat? How would we prepare it?

I looked through our bug out bags to see what we had in there to eat. It’s about time to rotate that stuff out anyways. Here’s what we had…

Not a huge selection by any means. And definitely not enough calories to sustain us for more than a day. I’m gonna have to re-think our quick on-the-go snacks and meals. The kids would starve the first day if this was all they had to eat.

Fortunately for them, they didn’t have to starve. Since they’re off the hook for the last week of the challenge we stocked them up with plenty of travel friendly snacks and munchies.

My husband and kids in front of Jefferson’s Monticello.

I tried my best to soldier through while we were traveling, but eventually I wanted a real meal (other than soup). And I was craving fresh fruit like crazy. It was so stinking hot outside!! Canned fruit would have been really good to have packed.

This road trip really opened my eyes as to how lacking our bug out bags are in adequate nutrition and variety. Time to re-stock and be better prepared to hit the road on a moment’s notice!

By the way, Jefferson’s garden is AMAZING. I cannot believe how much stuff they still have coming in there!! Makes me wanna re-do our entire garden.

The rest of this week has pretty much been same ol’ same ol’ as far as meals go. I feel like there are so many creative dishes I could be making with the freeze dried ingredients I have on hand, and yet I simply haven’t had the time (or spare energy) to put them together.

To be honest, I’m kinda disappointed with my lack of creativity in the kitchen. We’ve just been so darned swamped with things going on I’ve found myself falling back on the basic staple meals that we’re used to eating. Like spaghetti. And tacos.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I don’t know how we would survive if we had to do everything ourselves. There just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day to cook three meals from scratch, work in the garden, preserve the foods that are coming in, school the children, and get the many projects done around the home. It would take many hands in order to get it all done.

As I listened to the guide at Monticello talking about life back in the 1800s I realized that Jefferson depended heavily on his slaves for survival. Without so many hands in the kitchens and gardens, there’s no way he would have been able to grow enough food, preserve it, and stay well fed.

I actually learned a lot at Monticello about self-sufficiency and off-grid living as it was 200 years ago. Those who were thriving during these times weren’t “self-sufficient” at all. Many, many people were working together in order to survive.

I think my biggest take away from this trip is reiterating the importance of building a community of able-bodied, hard working, like-minded folks, and living close enough to them that it would be possible to help each other in times of need.

I often daydream about buying a hundred acres of mountain land and creating a community there of people who think like we do. An intentional community of sorts. With enough privacy that families have their own acreage and can do their own thing without neighbors watching their every move, but close enough together that resources can be shared and help is just a call away.

Maybe one day.

As we sit now on our one acre of land in the country, we’d have a darned hard time surviving alone.


Here’s the breakdown of Days 25-29 challenge meals:

Eggs and grits
Baked oatmeal
Free breakfast at the hotel
Pancakes and homemade syrup
Fried potatoes and onions

Thrive apples
Thrive corn
Dried fruit and nuts
Bread and honey butter

Squash and potatoes
Chicken salad on bread (eaten several days)
Tuna salad and crackers, dried fruits

Dinner on the road while we traveled
Tacos with Thrive TVP Taco “Meat”
Homemade pizza
Spaghetti and garlic bread


Do you have bug out bags stocked and ready to grab in an emergency? What are your thoughts on surviving alone vs. building a community of homesteaders?