The Threats We Face! Host: James Walton “I Am Liberty” Audio in player below! The threats that face the average American family are many. They are part of a list that seems to be ever growing. Outside of the very real social and environmental risks there are true physical threats to our family. These threats … Continue reading The Threats We Face!
50 Survival Items to Put in Your Kids Backpacks If you’re in a survival situation and you’re on foot, your own bug out bag is going to be all you can manage. If you’re a parent or grandparent responsible for children in a survival situation, you can’t possibly carry everything they will need. It’s going … Continue reading 50 Survival Items to Put in Your Kids Backpacks
Horehound (Marrubium vulgare L. ),
commonly known as white horehound, is a European native of the Lamiaceae or mint family. Other names for this ancient remedy include hounds bane, marrubium, eye of the star, a seed of Horus, marvel, bulls’ blood, and hounds bane.
Horehound is a garden mint with green and white leaves and a distinctively bitter taste. It is native to Asia and Europe. Horehound is a hardy perennial that has naturalized in North America. Although the herb grows in a wide range of climates, the best quality is grown in desert heat, but it may be found in sunny, wayside places, thriving even in poor, dry soil.
The common name horehound comes from the Old English words har and hune, meaning downy plant. This descriptive name refers to the white hairs that give this herb its distinctive hoary appearance.
Another suggested derivation is the name of the Egyptian god of sky and light, Horus. Horehound is one of the oldest known cough remedies. It was one of the herbs in the medicine chests of the Egyptian pharaohs. In Roman times, Caesar’s antidote for poison included horehound. The generic name is believed to be derived from the Hebrew word marrob, meaning bitter juice. Horehound is one of the bitter herbs used in the Jewish Passover rites. Throughout its long history, white horehound has been valued not only as a folk remedy for coughs and congested lungs.
Recorded mention of horehound began in the first century in ancient Rome. In his manual of medicine, Roman medical writer A. Cornelius Celsus, described antiseptic uses as well as treatments for respiratory ailments using horehound juice. In his book, “On Agriculture,” first-century agriculturist Lucius Columella detailed how to use of horehound for various farm animal ailments such as ulcers, worms, and scabs. In the second century, the noted physician Galen also recommended using horehound to relieve coughing and to support respiratory health.
In his 1597 book on the history of plants and their uses, the respected British herbalist John Gerard recommended horehound as an antidote to poison and a syrup of horehound for those with respiratory problems. English physician Nicholas Culpeper echoed Gerard’s promotion of horehound in his 1652 book for physicians, stating, “There is a syrup made of this plant which I would recommend as an excellent help to evacuate tough phlegm and cold rheum from the lungs of aged persons, especially those who are asthmatic and short-winded.”
White horehound is used for digestion problems including loss of appetite, indigestion, bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, and liver and gallbladder complaints. It is also used for lung and breathing problems including a cough, whooping cough, asthma, tuberculosis, bronchitis, and swollen breathing passages.
Women use white horehound for painful menstrual periods.
People also use it for yellowed skin (jaundice), to kill parasitic worms, to cause sweating, and to increase urine production.
White horehound is sometimes applied to the skin for skin damage, ulcers, and wounds.
In manufacturing, the extracts of white horehound are used as a flavoring in foods and beverages, and as expectorant in cough syrups and lozenges. Expectorants are ingredients that make it easier to cough up phlegm.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It’s LIKELY UNSAFE to take white horehound by mouth during pregnancy. It might start menstruation and could cause a miscarriage.
If you are breastfeeding stick to food amounts of white horehound. There isn’t enough information about the safety of medicinal amounts.
Don’t use white horehound on the skin if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Not enough is known about the safety of topical use.
Diabetes: White horehound might lower blood sugar. Taking white horehound along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely.
Heart conditions: There is some concern that white horehound might cause irregular heartbeat in people with heart problems. It’s best not to use it.
Low blood pressure: White horehound might lower blood pressure. This could cause blood pressure to go to low. White horehound should be used cautiously in people with low blood pressure or those taking medications that lower blood pressure.
Surgery: White horehound might lower blood sugar. This might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop taking white horehound at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Preparations of Horehound are still largely used as expectorant and tonics. It may, indeed, be considered one of the most popular pectoral remedies, being given with benefit for a chronic cough, asthma, and some cases of consumption.
Horehound is sometimes combined with Hyssop, Rue, Liquorice root and Marshmallow root, 1/2 oz. of each boiled in 2 pints of water, to 1 1/2 pint, strained and given in 1/2 teacupful doses, every two to three hours.
For children’s coughs and croup, it is given to advantage in the form of syrup and is a most useful medicine for children, not only for the complaints mentioned but as a tonic and a corrective of the stomach. It has quite a pleasant taste.
Taken in large doses, it acts as a gentle purgative.
The powdered leaves have also been employed as a vermifuge and the green leaves, bruised and boiled in lard, are made into an ointment which is good for wounds.
For ordinary cold, a simple infusion of Horehound (Horehound Tea) is generally sufficient in itself. The tea may be made by pouring boiling water on the fresh or dried leaves, 1 OZ. of the herb to the pint. A wineglassful may be taken three or four times a day.
Candied Horehound is best made from the fresh plant by boiling it down until the juice is extracted, then adding sugar before boiling this again, until it has become thick enough in consistency to pour into a paper case and be cut into squares when cool.
Two or three teaspoonful of the expressed juice of the herb may also be given as a dose in severe colds.
—Preparations and Dosages–fluid extract, 1/2 to 1 drachm. Syrup, 2 to 4 drachms. Solid extract, 5 to 15 grains.
Written by Rich, for AroundTheCabin.com
They say that every survival scenario defines a case of survival of the fittest. You might think you can make it, regardless of what the world throws at you, but what if you’re not alone? If you have loved ones depending on you, family survival becomes your main priority. That being said, sometimes a group … Read more…
Be Your Best During the Worst Helping Others Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Audio in player below! Will you be a “helper” when the worst happens? In response to a question about how to handle troubling images in the news, children’s television icon, Fred Rogers said, “When I was a boy and I would see … Continue reading Be Your Best During the Worst Helping Others!
So lately I see a lot of post on people talking about stopping prepping or doubling up on your preps. My question is why for either choice.
So let’s look at the word prepping. Prepping is nothing more than preparing for a bad time.
We as human beings have been preparing for problems, before recorded time. Putting back quantities of food and materials to either make tools, clothing or other useful items is ingrained in our very nature.
In modern day we have prepared for everything from earthquakes and floods, to super volcanoes and nuclear weapons. The host of problems that people prepare for could be anything from a simple loss of income, to the end of the world.
In reality we prepare ourselves for things every day that we don’t even think about. We put gas in our vehicles today, so we don’t have to walk tomorrow. We buy groceries so we don’t have to go out and forage for food. We buy insurance just in case. Every day we do “prepping”, and don’t realize that we are doing so.
So why is it that some people think that you need to either stop altogether, or speed things up?
Doubling up on your preparations may not be advisable. You may not have the luxury of the finances needed to achieve the outlay at one time. You may not have the space to store double your quantity at this time. The items you are looking for may not be available all at one time.
Stopping your preparations doesn’t sound like a good idea either. Would you stop paying car insurance because you haven’t had an accident in the last five years? You would not put off buying groceries because you hope you can catch food tomorrow, would you?
In reality, we are not in a race or in some sort of competition with each other. Preparing your self and your family for times of need is the responsibility of being an adult. What you prepare for is your choice. It is also up to your family how much of an investment you put into preparing, as well as the extent you’re going to go into preparations.
Preparing for your future, should be something you do while levelheaded, calm and with your immediate family. Preparations such as putting food, water and materials back is an investment. You need to have a plan and you need to think about what you’re going to be preparing for. Think of it as insurance, that you will have necessary items at times when you may not be able to gather them.
Keep your chin up!
The sky hasn’t fallen yet, the end has been near for a long time, and every generation feels like it will be the last on this planet.
So far everyone’s been wrong.
Written by Rich, for AroundTheCabin.com
Friday night’s show is done…news of the day, homesteading tips, frugality, home security, and brain science…understanding how your brain responds to danger…and how to make it better. SurvivalRing Radio…we’re gonna make it out alive….catch the podcast here… http://www.freedomizerradio.com/blog/2017/01/survivalring-radio-01202016/ As always, you are invited to be part of the show every week, either calling in, emailing […]
The post SurvivalRing Radio Podcast – Show 103 – Jan. 20th, 2017 appeared first on SurvivalRing.
Sesame seeds are a high energy food that help to provide optimum health and wellness. They are an excellent source of high-quality protein which is most beneficial for growth, especially in children. Sesame seeds are also high in minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, selenium, and copper. In fact, did you know that just a 1/4 cup of sesame seeds provides MORE calcium than 1 cup of milk?
And calcium is not only vital to bone strength, it is also known to help ease the affects of migraines, aid in weight loss, and provide relief from PMS. The copper in sesame seeds offers anti-inflammatory benefits which can help to relieve swelling in auto-immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.
Sesame seeds are rich in Vitamin E, Folic acid and B-complex vitamins such as niacin which enhances GABA activity in the brain, reduces anxiety, and provides for a better night’s sleep. They also contain a special element called “sesame-lignin”, a potent antioxidant, which is an active free-radical scavenger that can also aid in lowering cholesterol and preventing high blood pressure.
Sesame seeds have the unique ability to nourish the nervous system, strengthen hormone production, support the cardiovascular system, benefit the digestive system, and reduce fatigue. The high Vitamin E content in sesame seeds has been highly prized as an ancient beauty treatment for healthy skin, hair, and nails.
Sesame seeds can be sprinkled on salads, vegetables or rice, mixed with dates or honey, or used as a delicious spread known as tahini. Tahini (sesame butter) is creamy, rich, and satisfying and can be used as a savory base to salad dressings, dips, sauces or hummus, or used as a sweet treat when mixed with honey and nuts.
The 2017 Prepper Community James Walton “I Am Liberty” Audio in player below! As we head into another year it’s my duty to batter you with ideas about engaging your community. I truly believe that this is the way to liberation. I think if we can build sustainable and powerful communities across the nation we … Continue reading The 2017 Prepper Community
Getting Your Family on Board! Forrest & Kyle “The Prepping Academy” Audio in player below! It’s that time of the year again. Your holiday shopping is finished, there’s nutmeg in the fridge, pies on the cooling rack, and presents to wrap. Your family has come in to town, or maybe you’ve driven 13 hours to … Continue reading Getting Your Family on Board!
Meerrrrry Chrisssssttttmmmmmmmasass!!! To all my friends, family, coworkers, and compradres…thank you for your friendship, fun, laughter, tears, and smiles. I hope the holidays bring you joy, laughter, sadness, and peace. Remember those who aren’t here anymore, those who can be here but won’t, those who may be away fighting for our right to exist, or […]
This is going to be a very personal post. Thirty years ago today, I married the man God had planned for me. I had just about given up that there could be such a man, having learned from my mistakes in other relationships that I would not settle for less than I deserved. I will admit that I didn’t truly know my Lord at that time in my life. I mean, I knew He was real, and I had internalized all the basic Church knowledge of Him; but I didn’t know Him as my Savior. But He was knocking on the door of my heart, and I was on the verge of answering His call on my life.
Nearly simultaneously, my future husband entered my life. A genuine friendship would be established before any thoughts of romance or marriage surfaced. By that time, I was seeking God, and I instinctively knew that this young man was going to be a good and Godly man. His faith was rock solid, and we both wanted a deeper and committed relationship with God. We may have been taking baby steps, but we were on our way!
We had a lovely, small wedding, in a friend’s home before their fireplace. We both knew we wanted to be married in the eyes of God, but since we didn’t belong to a church, we weren’t sure how to make that happen. After several disappointing phone calls to various churches whose pastors refused to marry us because we weren’t regular members of any church, I remembered a new church being pastored by a young minister I had liked in college. That church would receive us and we soon became members, following the traditional path of Believers — church every Sunday, joining a Sunday School class, and emerging ourselves in the social life of the congregation.
But that’s when God got ahold of us and began to show us that “traditional” and “conventional” was not the path He had planned for us. And that’s when He began transforming my husband from an exemplary man into a Godly man. Let me try to explain what that looked like…
I can remember deciding that the one real way to get to know who my God is, was to read His Word. I began a diligent study of the Bible and wondered why, when my husband grew up in the Church more than I did, that he didn’t have a hunger to read and study the Bible, too. I asked him that question once, and although he couldn’t really give me an answer, it wasn’t long before I noticed him beginning his own study, and in a manner that told me he was sincere. Although initially following our own individual paths, we soon began pursuing our Lord diligently, conscientiously, and together. And that’s when my husband began his journey as a Godly man.
He took the lead and assumed his Biblical role as head of our home. He began challenging his own belief system, and where it was incompatible with the Bible, he wasn’t afraid to dig in to try and discover God’s will in the matter, rather than man’s interpretation. He was not passive in questioning church doctrine, nor was he too prideful or stubborn. Through “iron sharpening iron”, he was open to changing his opinion; all he wanted was God’s Truth.
And, of course, a Godly man is not afraid to speak out. It is my husband’s sincere belief that to be silent in covering up sin, is a sin in itself. And when the Holy Spirit began convicting us that our beloved church of 20 years was compromising in their duties as God’s instrument on earth, he was courageous in speaking up and demanding accountability. He was beginning to live out his fear of God, rather than fearing his reputation among men.
As anyone who has stood up to centuries of Church Doctrine knows, it can be a lonely position. But my husband has stood strong in defense of God’s Word and has not backed down when attacked, criticized, challenged, or ostracized. A Godly man knows that his path may be a solitary one; yet he is willing to undergo abuse for the sake of the Truth — even from fellow Believers.
But perhaps one of the things I admire and respect most about this man who has shared my life for 30 years is that he has made it his goal to live a truly righteous and humble life. He has battled those things in his spirit and soul that he knows separates him from his God. He is diligent in his confession and repentance of those sins, and views his service to others for the Kingdom of God as his priority in life. The business of earning a living, and meeting the obligations of his life here on earth will be taken care of by the God whom He seeks first. I must admit that he often shames me how easily he puts his trust and confidence in God.
These are the main characteristics of a Godly man, but a life lived fully in service to our God manifests itself in all areas of our existence. A Godly man is aware of what he lets into his mind; he is careful to avoid stimuli that lead to sin. Instead he seeks to discipline his mind, in an earnest desire to possess the mind of Christ. A Godly man knows that you can never have a Christian mind without reading the Scriptures regularly, because you cannot be influenced by that which you do not know.
Relationships in a Godly man’s life are lived according to Biblical instruction; as a husband, he loves his wife as God loves His church; as a father, he does not provoke his children to anger, but brings them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
A Godly man has integrity; nearly a lost concept in today’s world of selfish manipulation and compromise. But a man’s character, conscience, and deep intimacy with God are hallmarks of a man who has the courage to keep his word and stand up for his convictions.
A Godly man recognizes that the vocation he has chosen is an opportunity to glorify his God. I am proud to say that my husband’s creativeness and talent speak volumes of the discipline and honor he bestows on each painting he creates. He has always said that it is his job to get up each morning and paint the best he can, and the Lord will take care of providing everything else.
I know there are some who will say that a Godly man is a man who enjoys good standing in a Church; a man who gives of his time, talent and treasure for the Lord. But I don’t see where the Bible instructs a man to be in a church building every Sunday as part of his commission for Christ. My husband lives by the Scripture that says where two or more are gathered, the Lord is there — and he never forsakes the assembling together with other Christians to study, worship, and build relationship with his Savior. Every day is an opportunity to meet with the Lord, every open door is an opportunity to fellowship with Believers and nonbelievers alike; all for the sake of telling others of the glorious salvation through Christ!
Those are the characteristics of a Godly man … and I’m more than blessed to see them in the person of the man I married 30 years ago today. He has given me his love, support, and encouragement. He has made me laugh when I wanted to express anger; and his pure and humble love of my Lord and Savior has made me cry. His honesty has given me the precious gift of trusting him; his strength has made me feel secure; and his compassion for others has allowed me to see his pure heart. We have grown a lot in the last 30 years — from two individuals who barely knew the Lord to a couple who has grown, as one, into a new creation. I know we are not unique or better than the millions of other couples the Lord has brought together unto His service. I just know how incredibly blessed we are, and I do not take it for granted. But I am excited to begin the 31st year together with this incredible man who has taught me the meaning of unselfish devotion and never-ending love. Happy Anniversary, to the best husband God could have given me! And thank you, Father God, for the blessing of this divine union of spirits and flesh!
Song of Songs 5:16 This is my beloved. This is my friend…
Published on Dec 12, 2016
A simple, delicious recipe from The Art Of Cookery by Hannah Glasse
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Christmas never seems as big and grand as it does when you’re a child. For weeks prior to the big day, their wide eyes see lights go up and they watch a thousand or so TV commercials advertising the latest and greatest “must have” toys. Anticipation grows and grows, and it’s really amazing their little bodies can contain it all!
Once the 26th arrives and all the presents have been opened and the relatives have gone home, there’s a natural feeling of a let down. “Is that all there is?”
Enter: after Christmas surprises!
I love having one last holiday surprise for my kids in the form of a fun Christmas outing that takes place a few days after Christmas. One year it was attending The Nutcracker. Once we drove up north to play in the snow and anther year, we drove over to Disneyland for a quick trip to catch their spectacular holiday displays. Whatever it is, it’s fun for the entire family to have one last “something” to look forward to, even a pre-planned family game and pizza night. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just something special enough to look forward to.
After the flurry, focus on friends
If you can, grab your calendar right now and schedule 1 or 2 simple get-togethers with friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, and any other group you’re a part of, post-Christmas. By “simple”, I mean, no stressing over the house looking “perfect”. If your friends come over to critique your home, you seriously need to get new friends. Don’t stress over the menu, either. It’s the conversations, the laughs, the shared memories and building of bonds that will be remembered, not that your party was catered by Chef Frou-Frou.
Very simple menu ideas?
- DIY sandwiches, burgers, or hot dogs
- Baked potato bar
- Soup or chili with salad and bread
- A big pot of spaghetti or baked rigatoni
- Pizza from the cheapest place in town
- Frozen lasagna (Don’t judge!)
For entertainment? How about…nothing! Nothing but talk with some music playing in the background. If the weather is cool, a fire in the fireplace cozies up the house and even a couple lighted candles add atmosphere. Your house is already decorated and is at its prettiest.
Have kids? Turn off the lights and let them play “Midnight” Hide and Seek. Adults can either sit in the dark or move to a lighted area somewhere else in the house. Card games and board games, allow for conversation — TV and video games do not! I recommend arranging an activity for the kids that won’t require a lot of supervision, or maybe pay a teenager to babysit the kids right there in your home as a way to diminish interruptions.
This year, my family fell in love with the dice game, Tenzi. It’s suitable for players of all levels and combines a very simple concept (tossing dice) with lots of competition and racing against time. I highly recommend it!
I probably don’t need to remind you, but banish all political talk for the night. Even if you’re among 100% likeminded people, you don’t need the stress or elevated blood pressure!
Whatever you plan for your post-Christmas event, don’t keep this a secret. Anticipation is part of the fun, and I always let my kids know ahead of time about our plans. How could you extend your Christmas just a wee bit longer this year?
For too long, this blessed holiday season has been focused primarily on spending money. (If you don’t believe me, listen to my podcast, “The Parable of Fall Decor & Prepping“.) We spend money to decorate our homes, inside and out, spend it on new clothes for holiday photos, over-spend on gifts, and then there’s the expense of traveling to see relatives or hosting them. It’s not unusual for families to spend a couple thousand dollars or more between Thanksgiving and Christmas. But what if your spending was also a way to give back? What if some of your purchases benefited others in a way that went beyond dollars and cents?
One group that does that is The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Children’s Art Project that provides therapy through art classes. A cancer diagnosis is life-altering. My brother was diagnosed with Hodgkin Disease when he was young and its impact lasted a lifetime. As a way to help children cope with the fear, the pain, and spending long periods of time away from home and friends, the Children’s Art Project provides not only a distraction but a means for children to express emotions and reduce stress.
The Children’s Art Project takes the artwork of many children and features it on products, such as holiday and note cards, Radko ornaments, kitchen accessories, mugs, umbrellas, scarves, ties, and tote bags. When these are purchased, the proceeds return to MD Anderson to fund additional art classes, as well as camps and support groups.
Ksenia, now 16, traveled from her native Russia to Houston for cancer treatment at MD Anderson. While she was there, The Children’s Art Project classes gave her an outlet to illustrate small little worlds that are often overlooked in today’s busy world. You can see a few of her designs in this photo.
There are many similar gift ideas you’ll discover over the holidays that return a portion of the proceeds to organizations that care for the homeless, abused women and children, animal shelters, and veterans. Keep an eye out for opportunities to make those purchases as gifts, either to others or yourself. While you’re at it, be sure to tell your kids and grandkids the story behind the purchase. It’s a great way to help them develop empathy and the desire to help others.
Be sure to check out more from the Children’s Art Project and get 20% off by using the coupons code ESB20 at checkout!
This content was sponsored by MD Anderson Cancer Center. I was given samples of products and compensated for my time and research.
Today I’m going to share with you my little secret for staying healthy through the winter months. Last year, I was in a community theater play and my friend, who is a voice coach, told me to drink hot honey lemon water to help my throat and keep my voice healthy with all the singing […]
I was never an avid Oprah fan, but every year I looked forward to her holiday episode, “Oprah’s Favorite Things.” If you haven’t seen one of these episodes, they were pretty spectacular. Oprah would present about a dozen or so products that she fell in love with that particular year. She raved about it, would sometimes interviews the inventor or designer, and then with a big fanfare, Oprah employees walked in with that particular gift for everyone in the audience. You couldn’t help but wish you were sitting there!
Even now that her show is over, she is still showcasing her favorite things on Amazon. You can see them all here.
Several years ago, I decided to replicate this concept. It’s so much fun to put together this budget-friendly gift. Throughout the year, I pay attention to anything our family especially enjoys and then put all those items together in a collection of “Our Family’s Favorite Things.” It’s a fun process because it brings back so many great memories of the year gone by. Sometimes these things are favorite foods we’ve discovered, a gift card to a favorite restaurant, photos of some of your family’s favorite memories for the year, a favorite CD or DVD or a product you’ve fallen in love with.
Past boxes from my family have included:
- A box of Kodiak Cakes mix
- Patriots by James Wesley Rawles
- Photos of my kids on their sports teams
- Waterproof matches. Sounds silly, but the kids and I tested them, and they really work! Most people have heard of them but have never actully used them.
- A pillowcase sewn by my daughter. She learned how to sew one year and these were her contribution to the basket.
- Gift cards to a bowling alley (We re-discovered this fun sport just recently.)
- Half-pound of See’s California Brittle
- A copy of The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. Our family has loved the entire Percy Jackson series and I ended up reading aloud all 5 books.
- Recipes for two favorite main dishes I discovered this year
- Seasoning mixes
- A favorite nail polish color or,
- A favorite essential oil
- Knork flatware. We’ll never use another brand. I’ve even purchased a set for my daughter when she someday moves out. Get on their mailing list and you’ll receive notices of really good discounts during the year.
- Key West salted caramels made in a tiny candy shop we discovered.
- Daim candy, another sweet indulgence we purchased in Iceland
- Tiny bottles of local wine and liquor from travel destinations
- Boxes of Texas-shaped crackers, now that we live in Texas
- A CD of the songs we fell in love with during the year
Get the idea? This can be a whole family project with each person contributing and there’s no limit when it comes to creativity. The gifts can be handmade or homemade and don’t have to cost a dime, and if you’ll be mailing this across the miles, it’s possible to put everything in a flat-rate envelope. Plus, deciding what to include brings back lots of fond memories.
There’s still time to put this together. It might be the best gift your family has given!
The stocking are hung by the chimney with care.
The tree is adorned with ornaments, tinsel, and lights.
The house smells of warm, home-baked goodies.
As Survival Moms, we spend a lot of time creating the Christmas, or Hanukkah, of our children’s dreams and our own. It’s possible, though, for the beauty of the holidays to pass us by, and too often, it does. This year, don’t let that happen. Purposefully, set aside a block of time to enjoy all you’ve done and include at least one thing that will fill your heart with the spirit of the season. A peaceful Christmas doesn’t have to be at odds with one that is filled with fun activities.
Ignore the pile of laundry for just a few minutes. The dishes in the sink can wait, or better yet, be delegated to one of the kids. Turn off all the lights tonight and enjoy some quiet moments in front of the Christmas tree. You’ve done so much to create holiday magic that it only seems fair that some of the magic should be yours!
What will make this holiday time special and memorable for you? A phone call to an old friend? Lunch or dinner at a special restaurant or continuing a generations-old tradition with your own kids or grandkids? Schedule those special moments on your calendar and enjoy counting down the moments or days until they arrive. Who said Christmas giddiness is just for kids?
One more thing, Mom! You know your loved ones and close friends are going to ask, “What do you want for Christmas?” It’s a sincere question and you can alleviate a lot of their stress by having a few suggestions. A weekly date with hubby? A Vera Bradley throw? Something shiny from James Avery? A mother-daughter night out? It’s not self-centered or greedy to actually tell someone when they ask “The Gift Question”!
This year, my list of recommended holiday gifts is quite a collection. A bit of an odd lot, if I say so myself. However, I’ve used every single item on the list and have provided brand names and links so you can track them down yourself. There is, truly, something here for everyone.
SilverFire Survivor Rocket Stove
I’ve used other brands of rocket stoves and even made one by hand, but this one is the best. It’s highly efficient, using only small amounts of dry biomass and produces very little char. Rather than chunks of charred wood, it produces only a fine ash. Heavy-duty, it’s something you can rely on as a long-term investment. I’ve met with the inventor, Todd Albi, and he knows more about heat and cooking than most everyone else on the planet. A few companies have copied his design but haven’t come close to the efficiency of the Survivor Rocket Stove. He has also invented the Dragon Pot…
The Dragon Pot
In a former life, I was quite the expert when it came to cookware. I tested multiple types and even sold high end cookware. When I first tried the Dragon Pot, though, I wasn’t prepared for a pot that heated up so quickly, easily faster than my non-stick, stainless steel, and cast iron pots and pans. I love this pot and use it every time I cook a pot of soup, beans, or need to boil water quickly. The one caveat I would mention is that the entire pot, including the handles, gets very hot, very fast, so be sure to have potholders handy. This page gives an extensive explanation for the design and functionality of this versatile pot. Shipping is included in the price of the stove when you order it from SurvivalMomStore.com
Pelican LED flashlight
I own many, many! flashlights, but when we were in Iceland this fall, my handy Pelican LED flashight outshone them all. A few late nights when I had to make my way to the campground bathroom, I couldn’t believe the broad spread of light from this tiny unit. It’s solid, sturdy, and would make a great stocking stuffer. Priced right around $27.
Fleece lined tights
I said this list was a little crazy and now I’m proving it with the inclusion of tights, of all things! Getting ready for Iceland, I was terrified that we wouldn’t be warmly dressed. This comes from a long-time resident of Phoenix and now Texas. I heard about fleece lined tights through the grapevine, and let me tell you, when I put them on for the first time, I was in cozy-cuddle heaven! If you live in cold weather or will be spending time in chilly weather, YOU NEED THESE!! My husband wouldn’t admit it, but I think he was jealous!!
Membership to Preppers University
One of the projects I’m most proud of is the multi-week, small group classes in Preppers University. These classes are called “Intensives” because they are so very, very intense. They are perfect for the beginning prepper, a prepper who has reached a decent level of being ready for emergencies but wants to become even more self-reliant, and even very advanced preppers. The classes are all live with some of the best-known names in the prepper and survival world and come with assignments, reading resources, printables, exclusive Facebook groups for networking, exclusive podcasts and video classes, and so much more. Tuition for each course is $139, the 8-week Prepping Intensive and the 6-week Advanced Prepping Intensive. As I wrote here, this is the absolute best I can offer you in the way of helping you get prepared.
Swedish Fire Knife
Here’s a great gift that is 2 products in 1, both an excellent knife and a firesteel fire starter. My family has had these in our emergency kits and camping gear for many years. They come in different colors, which makes them either easy to spot in a kit or bag (bright pink or orange, for example) or blend in with your regular, nondescript gear (black). The Swedish Fire Knife has a good quality, fixed steel blade.
Family mess kits
Another product made by the Swedish Fire Knife folks is this mess kit. Its 8 pieces includes a small cutting board, a spork, and a “harness” that holds the entire kit together. When I saw that it came in 7 different colors, I knew I had a winner. I let each kid pick their own favorite color and now that’s one less argument!
Vera Bradley fleece blankets
I bought one of these about 4 years ago and was hooked. They run a little on the expensive side, usually round $48-50, but they are wondrously lush with vibrant colors. And, they match absolutely nothing in y my house, but with this level of coziness, who cares? Here’s what’s funny: my teenage son loves them. He was even fine taking one with him on a recent Civil Air Patrol training school — but I talked him off that , ledge. This is a fantastic gift for just about anyone on your list. We keep ours rolled up and in little cubbies in the family room. We have other fleece blankets, but these are our favorites. You can buy Vera Bradley on Amazon, the prices are about the same as retail stores, but I always look for discounted blankets when I go to the Vera Bradley section of a local boutique. Oh, if you see very expensive prices on Amazon, it’s probably because that particular design is discontinued. Here’s the link to a few blankets on Amazon and the official Vera Bradley website with all the new colors and designs. (They come in 2 different sizes, so check for measurements.)
Socks and underwear for Christmas. Not much better than a lump of coal, right? Well, the right pair of wool socks will rock your world and change your mind about getting “just socks” for Christmas. Being a desert gal for most of my life, flip-flops were the name of the game when it came to footwear. However, when you’re out hiking or just wearing most any type of closed-toe footwear, wool socks are far more comfortable and absorbent than cotton. A nice bonus is that they don’t absorb odors. When we’re out in the wilderness, doing our primitive camping, and with no access to laundry facilities, we just hang our socks around the tent or draped over branches and let them air out overnight. I own wool products from both Smartwool and the REI brand and can recommend both.
Solavore Sport Oven or the All-American Sun Oven
Speaking of surviving in the great outdoors, one cooking method that requires no fuel other than the sun is solar. With a solar oven, the oven’s design and the sun do all the work, leaving you free for other activities. I have used and recommend the Solavore Sport Oven and the All American Sun Oven. They are both effective for cooking food and sanitizing water — they just have different designs. I compare and contrast both in this article. With either one, you get an excellent backup to your home’s stove/oven should the power go out and a portable oven for camping or picknicking. Both ovens come packaged with other products, so be sure to read the details carefully if you’re considering both.
Try the World subscription
I’m not an official paid rep for this company, but I really should be! These boxes of curated treats from all over the world are a monthly highlight for my family. We loved the box with treats from Italy (the chewy amaretto cookies were amazing!) and fell in love with chutneys and other condiments from places as varied as France, Morocco, and Brazil. Each box comes with recipes and a dozen or so full-size packages of foods and beverages. This year, Try the World was my go-to when it came time for business gifts. Check out the subscription options here. Receive 2 additional boxes for free by letting me refer to you Try the World! Just email to me your email address and I’ll make sure Try the World gets in touch with this special offer. (Send email to admin @thesurvivalmom.com) Thanks! (I receive a $15 gift card for each referral subscription.)
Lightweight fleece sleeping bag
I know everyone thinks the really cool, heavy duty sleeping bags are the bomb, but over the years, and on many camping trips, we discovered that our heavy bags were too much. So, one day while camping in northern Utah, we came across something wondrous at their local Walmart: fleece sleeping bags. They were just the right weight for so many nights and have been used for Civil Air Patrol camp-outs and sleepovers. I even packed them when we went to Iceland, and boy, were we glad. They added a welcome layer inside our heavier bags on cold nights as we slept in our camper van. This particular bag in the photo isn’t the exact brand we own, that would be Ozark Trail, but it appears to be very similar, although in a rather oddly arranged position.
I told you this was quite a mixed bag of gift suggestions, but this is kind of the year I had. A mash-up of family travel, trying new things, and making a point to be more hospitable. The busier we get, it seems, the less time we have for forming friendships, and that’s no way to live.
I may be adding more suggestions to this list over the next 72 hours or so and, as you can see, this list is appropriate any time of the year. For many more family and budget-friendly holiday ideas, be sure to check out my series, “12 Days of Christmas.”
So is your gift shopping all finished? If not, this year spread the message of preparedness with a plethora of thoughtful gift ideas that carry with them the underlying purpose of preparing your loved ones for emergencies. One of these just might put a huge, satisfied smile on the face of even the pickiest person on your list, and many of these are very budget friendly. Christmas gifts for preppers and non-preppers alike.
For the skeptic in your life
For the prepper who seems to have everything
Give them a 6-week Advanced Prepping Intensive course with Preppers University. As one of the founders and an instructor, I can promise you, they will be challenged in ways they can’t imagine. From learning about how to plant and grow camouflaged gardens to setting up a communication schedule with timetables and codes — this course really does cover “advanced” prepping. Here’s a link with information about the course. (The 3 payment plan is a nice feature.)
For the road warrior
Put together a customized survival kit for their vehicle. Think combo 72 Hour Kit/Road Emergency Kit. You can find what you need in your own stash of supplies, sporting goods stores, and automotive stores. Customize it with gear and other supplies unique to their circumstances, such as needed OTC medications (see this list for suggestions). If you’re short on time, a ready-made kit is a good substitute, and if you order online, shipping to another address is easy.
For the beginning prepper
Nothing says, “I love you and want you to survive TEOTWAWKI,” like a 5-gallon food grade bucket filled with packets of freeze dried or dehydrated foods, a portable water filter, a gift certificate for range time at a local shooting range, and a copy of my family survival book, Survival Mom. It’s very easy and fun to read with over 300 pages of helpful info, family activities, and checklists. I recommend Mountain House meals.
For the overwhelmed mom
A “Mom’s Survival Kit” filled with small snacks, coloring and activity books and small toys may be her only link to sanity someday as she and her brood hunker down in a bomb shelter or, more likely, are stranded on the side of the road. Add a gourmet chocolate bar and a fun magazine or novel, and she’ll weep tears of joy.
For someone who needs a new hobby
A gift certificate for shooting lessons, a canning course, hunting skills and safety, a craft class at a store like Jo-Anne, a master gardener course, and so on. In one fell swoop, you’ll have that gift checked off on your list and will have opened the door to a new hobby that could last a lifetime.
And, finally, ultimate survival gifts for the King or Queen of Preppers
I have a fun list of 23 gifts that may seem extreme, or not, but for sure, they are the ultimate when it comes to gift-giving in this category. You’ll find that list here.
Although prepping is seen more as an “activity for old-timers” I believe that everyone should stand prepared, regardless of age. If you are preparedness likeminded, you should teach your children about emergency preparedness from a young age as it will help them become more self-reliant. With all the distractions available in this modern world of … Read more…
The post How to teach your children about emergency preparedness was written by Rhonda Owen and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.
Here’s an idea for something even the youngest members of your family will enjoy making and receiving: their own collection of photo memories. When my daughter was three years-old, I made a photo collage for her room. I combined small photos of family members and close friends, a pic or two from recent vacations, and a few of her and put them in a store-bought collage frame. Even though she was just a preschooler, she loved having her own collage of memories and the people she loved.
This year she placed about a dozen photos from past family vacations in our Christmas tree. Once sentimental, always sentimental, I guess, but I realized how inexpensive photos can decorate for the holidays and throughout the year.
Our tree has ornaments made of tiny photo collages and photos inside clear glass balls. Add some shiny tinsel to that glass ornament, and you have something that is both memorable and beautiful. These make great gifts for teachers, friends, and even your kids’ friends. At barely over $1 each, they are gifts manageable for even tight budgets.
Another very inexpensive tree ornament are plastic sparkling snowflakes, like these. For years we’ve nestled these in the branches of our Christmas trees, but with a little hot glue, you can easily personalize them with family photos. What a great family project to select photos from this year’s best memories and create a scrapbook of sorts you can enjoy all season long. Be sure to store these in a cool location during the rest of the year in order to preserve the photos.
Take this idea a little farther by making photo ornaments that feature old photos from past decades. What a treat for a grandparent to receive a collection of ornaments with photos from her past and of her kids and grandkids as they grew through the years!
In today’s age of digital photographs, it’s easier than ever to compile incredible memories from months and even years gone by. You can store thousands of them in the cloud, on a flash drive, or your computer’s hard drive, and then quickly sort through to find the best photos to keep when the holidays arrive. There are so many different gift options beyond tree ornaments.
For gift-giving, consider sorting your photos in different categories, depending on who the gift is for. Once you’ve selected the best of the best, you might find that some are best suited for different people:
- Grandparents on each side of the family
- Long-distance relatives on each side of the family
- Grown kids who have left the nest
- Close family friends
These very simple craft foam photo frames can be decorated by even the youngest family member. Online sites like Canva and Pic Monkey allow you to edit photos, add captions, and create collages, all for free. Add a frame and you have a gift.
For the past two years I’ve taken this idea and applied it to wall calendars using Shutterfly and Snapfish. Sadly, I’m not a scrapbooking queen, but even I was able to make beautiful digital collages for each month of the year. In addition to the photos, there is space on each calendar page for a few words. I included favorite Bible verses one year, and this year, phrases from favorite songs.
One year I created a hard-cover book for my parents. It was a collection of the many “mom and dad” type sayings they were famous for over the years and placed a few photos of us kids and the grandkids on each page. Are your parents or some other family member famous for certain sayings? This is a fun way to remember their words and add corresponding photos. Here’s a sample from the book I created:
Putting together photo memories is do-able on any budget, and the finished product is priceless. Online companies like Shutterfly make it possible to have your photos printed on calendars, mugs, fleece blankets, canvas wall hangings, note cards, and so much more. Printing digital photos at home or through an online service like COSTCO or Walgreens has never been cheaper or easier. Even when Christmas is only days away, it’s possible to print photos at home or through a one-hour service. One year, with my back to the wall, I was able to design our annual photo Christmas card, get it printed at Walgreens and then sent out the same day. Whew!
If you’re an Amazon Prime customer, and I highly recommend becoming one, in 2 short days you can have answers to your gift giving dilemmas. This cute clothesline-of-photos caught my eye because the photos can be changed and you can add other mementos, including your child’s artwork.
If you’ve ever doubted the value of photographs, then imagine what it would be like 10 years from now to have no images at all of precious moments like birthdays, holidays, or just hanging out as a family. When you give the gift of memories, you give not only a gift but something far more precious.
Have you noticed that the most memorable moments in life are often the simplest? Children, in particular, are happy with simple, basic pleasures. Life is too complicated all by itself, and at Christmas time, it gets even worse! Aim for a simple Christmas this year.
Focus on simple activities that make the most of family time together. To make sure they actually happen, the key is scheduling. In my life, if it goes on the calendar, it gets done. If it floats around in my head, it will almost always be forgotten. So grab that December calendar, think about what your family would enjoy, and then make a date! Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Family game night — card games, board games, teach the kids how to play backgammon. One of our new favorites is Tenzi, a fun dice game you can play just about anywhere.
- Family baking night. If funds are low, put your food storage to good use! From-scratch goodies can be very frugal when you’re talking about snickerdoodless, sugar cookies, caramel popcorn, oatmeal cookies, gingerbred, and brownies. See what you already have the ingredients for and try not to run out to get anything else. For sure, if your plan is to just buy one ingredient, say chocolate chips, you’ll end up spending fifty bucks. That’s the way these things work!
- Set out a Christmas jigsaw puzzle and spend time working on it throughout the month. You can probably find one at a thrift store.
- Family talent night. No talent? No problem! This is for pure entertainment, and a few laughs!
- Walk around the neighborhood to look at the lights, or become impromptu Christmas decoration judges and actually award prizes houses with the most outstanding light displays.
- A family craft night, making ornaments or gifts. I list numerous possible crafts in this article that ar suitable for gifts but also as a family hobby.
- Invite a few friends over for a holiday goodie potluck, hot chocolate, and reading the real Christmas story
- Hot chocolate. Tonight my son came home drenched from an icy rainstorm and hubby walked in minutes later, chilled. I whipped up some homemade hot chocolate from scratch and we enjoyed the hot drink together before getting back into the busyness of our day.
- Churches in your area will be holding festivities of all kinds and all will be free.
- Check out your library’s event calendar. There will be holiday story hours and activities and maybe craft hours.
I’ll bet you could add a half dozen or more suggestions to this list. Keep it simple and inexpensive. Your aim is a peaceful holiday with memorable moments — not mom with a migraine, stressed hubby, grumpy kids, and an emptied bank account.
If we say that spending time with our family and friends is the most important part of the holidays, then doesn’t it make sense to do just that? Simple times spent together make memories and build relationships.
Years ago, friends gave us tickets to see “The Christmas Sweater” with Glenn Beck. I’ll never forget a comment he made — what he wants most for Christmas is time. We can make more money, we can buy more food, we can get more stuff, but the one thing we can’t make more of is time. Make the most of the time that is still left of this beautiful holiday season by scheduling simple, fun activities with the ones you love. Ultimately, those are the moments that make forever memories.
Christmas is coming, and my wallet isn’t nearly as fat as it was last year. This year some real creativity is called for if I’m going to have gifts for everyone on my list. That’s what I was thinking about last week when out of the blue, my awesome sister-in-law unknowingly provided the answer: gifts of service.
You see, the Paranoid Dad is extremely proficient when it comes to everything electrical. His sister has been longing for outdoor lights on their patio, and when he drew her name in the family gift drawing, she said, “What I really want for Christmas is for you to put up those lights for me!” This started me thinking about giving in a whole new way.
Unlike a new tie, a gift card, bedroom slippers or just about any other gift you can think of, a gift of service is primarily given with the needs of the recipient in mind. Stay-at-home moms with young children and homeschooling moms would love nothing more than to have a couple of free hours every now and then to themselves. How about offering a, “Mom’s Day Out” coupon to provide free childcare once a month? Any working mom would likely cry at the offer of half a dozen frozen homemade dinners, and a dad too busy working long hours to tend to his backyard would love having an extra pair of hands, or two, or three, to help pull weeds and mow.
See what I mean? A gift of service comes directly from your heart to touch the heart of someone in need. The gift is unique and unforgettable and can be given as often during the year as you like. What talents or skills do you have that might fulfill a need in the life of a friend or family member?
It may take some time, observations, and some clever conversations on your part to figure out what service you could provide.
This time next year my sister-in-law won’t remember who gave her which gift twelve months earlier, but she’ll never forget who installed her patio lights.
Every year about this time, our kids always look forward to unpacking our collection of holiday books. During the month of December, we keep them in a basket in the family room, ready for a read-aloud or a quiet read-alone. This is the season to enjoy some really terrific books as a family. Trust me. Your kids will love a nightly reading time as they cuddle up in blankets, nibble on popcorn or cookies and listen to Mom or Dad read.
If you don’t have many, or any, holiday books, you can visit the library, borrow from friends, download on Kindle, or purchase. Any day now, your library’s shelves will be emptied of every book related to Hanukkah and Christmas, so don’t wait! Grab your library card and make a book run! Not surprisingly, Amazon has a huge selection with prices generally lower than bookstores. This can be a very budget-friendly tradition, and once you have your collection of books, you store them away with your other holiday decorations and pull the out each year.
One more way to enjoy these books for free is to use your library’s electronic audiobooks. Depending on the book, you can either download it onto your computer or other electronic device, turn up the volume, and listen.
The nice thing about these books is that they never get old. We read them only during the month of December, and pack them away until next year. Here are a few books my kids have been enjoying for years.
- The Christmas Crocodile by Bonnie Becker
- The Polar Express by Chris van Allsburg (The movie creeped them out, but we watched it anyway.)
- The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
- The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg
- Who is Coming to Our House? by Joseph Slate
- Louisa May Alcott’s Christmas Treasury
- The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski
- Bah! Humbug? by Lorna Balian
- The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry — This story will stick with your kids for the rest of their lives.
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
- The Story of Hanukkah by David A. Adler
- The Night Before Hanukkah by Natasha Wing
If you gather together 31 Christmas/Hanukkah themed books, you can create your own Advent calendar of sorts, presenting a new book to the kids each night.
Maybe your kids are fascinated by other countries and cultures around the world. It’s easy to combine a little geography with stories about international Christmas festivities.
- The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola (Mexico)
- Lucia Morning in Sweden by Ewa Rydaker (Sweden)
- How the Russian Snow Maiden Helped Santa Claus by Gail Buyske (Russia)
- Christmas Around the World by Mary D. Lankford (International)
One of the best bonding times you can have as a family, with kids or grandkids, is a read-aloud time. When we went to Iceland this fall, I read Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne, which, coincidentally, begins in Iceland. Even though my kids are now teenagers, they still enjoyed the story and when there were still a few chapters to go by the time we returned home, they bugged me to continue reading.
There’s something about the read-aloud experience that is positively addicting.
Any of the above titles would be suitable for read-alouds, but if you’d like a longer, chapter book, check these out:
- The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
- Letters From Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien
- The Last Holiday Concert by Andrew Clements
- When Santa Fell to Earth by Cornelia Funke
It wouldn’t be hard to stage the “perfect family Christmas evening” with a read-aloud, hot chocolate and everyone in pajamas. I think kids instinctively love being cozy, and this has all the necessary ingredients.
Enjoy your family time this year, and if family is scarce this year, here is a list of children’s hospitals around the country in need of volunteers.
For the last 20 years I have been working on my genealogy. The research is fascinating to me. Old certificates and wills captivate me and the search for my ancestors is like a treasure hunt. One part of genealogy that I have found most valuable are their personal journals. Their stories of survival and endurance have always left me in awe and reminded me that I have life pretty easy. I have done my best to apply their wisdom to my family and learn from their life experiences. I want to share some of the lessons we can all learn from the branches, twigs and occasional nuts in our family tree.
1. Eat real food.
Whole grains, milk, eggs, cream, butter, seasonal fruits and vegetables, along with fresh eggs, seafood and other meat. My ancestors, and yours, ate them usually in the form closest to how God made them. They used herbal remedies as medicine. Nowadays, we have to seek out information in books like this one (something for beginners!), because we probably won’t learn it from our own parents and other family members. They also grew and preserved herbs to season food. Many of these foods were home grown or found out in the wild and were full of vitamins and minerals. Could you forage for food? Most people nowadays cannot and would walk right by edible foods and herbs. This foraging for beginners book has been helpful to me in learning the potentially life-saving skill of foraging.
Real food is better for you and tastes so much better than the processed food at the grocery store. There are not words that describe the difference between a store bought tomato and one that is picked right from the vine in a garden.
2. Grow a garden and raise animals.
There is something to be said for planting, caring for, harvesting, and eating your own food. It helps you appreciate the food on your table each day. Not only is the food you eat full of more nutrients, but you are healthier for working in the garden. It counts as exercise and gives you your needed sunshine. Being outdoors and listening to nature is good for the mind. Spending time away from any screen and being with yourself can be therapeutic. Having your hands in the dirt and caring for your plants helps connect you to Earth. A reverence and feeling of gratitude for nature and animals can be felt.
An old farmer once told me, “It takes 10 years to really get to know your land.” Even if your land is just a backyard, this is still true. Think about it. You plant a few things one spring…and nothing grows, or only the mint grows and ends up taking over your entire garden plot. Well, that’s Year #1. Next year, you know you need to better amend the soil, move some of your plants elsewhere in the yard, keep your mint in a pot!, b or maybe even move the entire garden to a sunnier/shadier spot. This time around, your garden still experiences successes and failures. That’s Year #2!! (I know experienced gardeners out there are nodding their heads!)
This is why you need to start growing something right now, even if it’s just a windowsill herb garden. The learning curve for growing anything successfully is surprisingly steep.
3. Notice your surroundings.
Our ancestors went outside and paid attention to nature. The migration of animals and the life cycles of certain vegetation let our forefathers know of the changes in seasons. Specific species of animals are sensitive to changes in the atmosphere. Farmers were able to pick up on the behavioral changes in these animals and know what weather may be coming their way. Understanding how to read the sky above and the ground below was once a skill passed down throughout the generations. They knew their environment and were sensitive to its fluctuations. Observation skills are something we can learn and teach our children. This article gives a few tips about what to look for when you’re observing nature.
4. Use it up, do not waste anything — Another survival lesson from old-timers.
Old-timers didn’t spend money freely and, often, there was nowhere to shop! Clothes were worn, handed down to the next child, and then the next. When it was not able to be worn, the article of clothing was then taken apart and reused, often for quilt squares, patches for other clothes or a dust or dish cloth. There was so much wisdom our ancestors had, and this list is just a partial collection of what we can learn from them.
Last year’s new shoes became “new” shoes for the younger sibling or old work shoes for this year. In fact, back in the 1930’s a product that used beeswax to seal shoes was invented! Sno-Seal is still a popular product today and something that can extend the use of our own, modern-day shoes!
Scraps of leftover food went into a soup later or they were used to feed the animals. My grandfather could extend the life of ordinary items with odd stuff he had in the garage. Any lumber or hardware was stored away for future needs. An old paper bag could be found filled with bolts, nuts, washers and nails. Over the years he learned to fix and maintain cars, appliances, and homes. It kept him out of my grandmother’s hair, saved money but also kept his mind and body active.
5. Be dependable and helpful.
Many of my ancestors were farmers. When harvest time came, everyone chipped in. It required many people with a variety of skills to get the job done. Harvesting from the fields, cleaning the produce, getting it ready to sell or for preservation was a big job that needed everyone to help. My great grandmother Nelson lived on the same block as her 2 daughters, 2 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. This arrangement allowed her to stay in her home. There was always someone around to drive her where ever she needed to go, to help with the avocado tree or move something heavy.
Now that she has passed, those simple tasks are beautiful memories for our family. It has also served as an example to the future generations about caring for your elders. There were other times when someone was sick or had a baby, the neighborhood women would get together and help. Between caring for the sick, cooking, cleaning or tending children, the job got done. Friendships and a sense of community grew from service towards another. Pitching in and assisting those around you benefits everyone.
6. Plan ahead and prepare for the unknown.
Our ancestors’ lives depended on being prepared. Food needed to be preserved in the fall so they had something to eat in the winter and spring. Wood needed to be cut and stacked during the summer months, and food for livestock and the family needed to constantly be stored up.
Life was more unpredictable for them. Disease could come and take out their livestock or family in a matter of hours. Injury required more time to heal, death was more of a possibility. My third great aunt buried more babies than anyone should ever have to. With every pregnancy, she knew there was a chance that her baby may not survive. So in her mind, she mentally prepared for a possible burial.
For some ancestors, one snow storm could keep them homebound for weeks. We may not need a winter’s supply of hay for livestock, but being prepared and having a backup is wise. Having additional light sources, additional food, water and medical supplies, fuel and money set aside is a good idea. Check your life, health and other insurance plans. Maintain your physical, mental and emotional health. Set money aside for a rainy day, because it rains in all of our lives at one time or another. Do not assume the worst will happen, prepare for it in case it does. Survival Mom’s family preparedness manual is the best one around for getting started on all this, which can be overwhelming!
7. Have hope, maybe rebel a little.
America would not be the great country that it is if it were not for those who were willing to rebel against the King of England all those years ago. Others left behind their homeland and risked their lives to come to America. Many of my ancestors came over on the Mayflower in search of religious freedom. My Irish family traveled to America because of the potato famine. Others came with the simple hope that things will be better, if not for them, then for their descendants. They had a hope and perseverance that carried them through obstacles in life.
Most of us have not had to leave behind family, learn a new language and culture and try to assimilate to a new life. Our ancestors did it for us. What we can do is follow their example of hard work, hope and maybe rebel a little. Stand up in our communities when an injustice is done. Or get involved in our local government. Be the kind of citizen that stands up for their rights, and give a hand up to someone in need.
8. Be a thankful and happy person.
Our society bombards us with advertisements for all of the things we do not have. Some have the pressure of keeping up with the Joneses. Most of my ancestors were not rich. They had what they needed and were content with that. There was not the desire to have excess that is in today’s culture. Everything they worked hard for, they appreciated and took care of. They blessed the food before they ate, just content to have a good meal. The Bible was read after dinner and children were taught to acknowledging their blessings. We forget to look at what we have and be thankful for the blessings in our life.
This is all part of being a survival, both mentally and emotionally. It’s surprising how often people who have everything, both for everyday life and survival, often do not thrive and may even perish. This article explains why that sometimes happens.
9. Have a hobby and laugh.
In my home I have a christening dresses made by a talented great grandmother. Every tiny pleat and gather is pure perfection. On a shelf I have wood animals, hand carved without a detail left out. These items were not necessary to my ancestors or my survival, but it is a reminder for me. To slow down, to take the time to develop a talent, do something new. It is a reminder that life is not all about a “to do” list, it is also about doing things you enjoy. Nowadays, we have to really seek out time for hobbies and then, once we have a bit of time on our hands, it’s not easy to decide what to do with it! Check out the Survival Mom Skill of the Month for a ton of ideas to keep your hands busy and productive.
10. Develop a sense of humor.
Tough times come to all of us at one time or another. It is better to laugh during some of these times. My great grandparents had their car break down on them 3 times during a road trip in the 1930’s. Money was tight and they were hoping to drive from California to Colorado to buy a chicken farm, to provide income for the family. When the car broke down 2 hours from home, they just laughed about it. The family camped on the side of the road until they could get the part they needed to repair the car. Even now, my older relatives get together and laugh about all of the things that happened in their younger years. They learned to have a logical perspective during those difficult moments.
11. Learn more than one skill.
My husband’s 2nd great grandfather, old-timer Noah, was a great example of this. He farmed and raised pigs to sell. He learned how to become a blacksmith, which came in handy when the water and grain mill burnt down. When family needed a place to live, he was able to clear trees and build a home on his land. If something broke, he fixed it himself. If he wanted to learn something, he worked for someone who would teach him. He was never a rich man, but had learned a variety of skills that he was able to take care of his family.
His wife, Leona, was able to use their resources wisely. She knew how to prepare healthy meals with whatever they harvested. She made and mended clothes for the family, made sure the kids went to school and she helped with the crops and animals. They were able to give their newly married children a better start in life by helping them build a home, giving them land and learning a trade. Between Noah and Leona, they were able to do just about anything. Being educated in one thing is good. Knowing you have other skills to fall back on is better. Think about learning about home/car maintenance and repair or other employment skills.
We begin each day with the opportunity to learn from the lessons of those that have gone before us. Their sense of family, traditions and faith is something that can be shared with future generations. In us we can carry their bravery, dreams, beliefs and the lessons learned from their life.
Sometimes while doing research for 18th Century Cooking we run into a recipe that is a little confusing and sometimes controversial. Kevin joins Jon in the kitchen today to make a Crumpet recipe from 1769. This recipe could easily be mistaken for other “biscuit” dishes, but we assure you, this is a Crumpet. A very delicious Crumpet!
Barm Playlist – http://bit.ly/2ftLWzg
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A Preppers Thanksgiving James Walton “I Am Liberty” Audio in player below! You call me Hallmark or call me whatever you want. These days make the Winter worth living through. The holy days across the nation and the holiday season. The gathering of family around flame to either fight or laugh about the radical turns … Continue reading A Preppers Thanksgiving
We have a very special episode today! Deanna Berkemeier, from Genesee Country Village & Museum in Mumford, NY, walks us through the process of making cheese from scratch. Deanna is a master at the art of Cheesemaking. We hope you enjoy this! If you’re ever in the Rochester, NY, area, be sure to put Genesee Country Village & Museum on your itinerary! You won’t regret it!
Genesee Country Village and Museum – https://www.gcv.org/
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Garlic contained many vital nutrients including vitamins, amino acids, and enzymes. On top of that garlic is also delicious and very healthy, for internal and external use.
Garlic contains the amino acid Allicin, that gives Garlic that potent smell from the sulfur compounds. Allicin is one of the primary components of garlic that gives it its healthy benefits.
Eating garlic raw is more beneficial than cooking garlic, if you can get past the taste. When garlic is cut or chewed and allowed exposure to the air for at least 5 to 10 minutes, the compound Allicin to fully activated. However when garlic is cooked the Allicin is inactivated and not able to produce.
Garlic contains high amounts of antioxidants
Garlic helps lower your cholesterol
Garlic is antibacterial
Garlic is antifungal
Garlic helps thin the blood
Garlic boost your immune system
Study suggests that garlic may help prevent blood clots
Garlic help lower your blood pressure
Garlic helps with joint pain, and osteoporosis
Garlic help prevents some cancer
Garlic is both immune boosting and antimicrobial meaning it can fight viral and bacterial infections. The best way to use garlic is to put it into your diet either cooked or eaten raw, garlic benefits are numerous.
Garlic used for many conditions related to the heart and blood system. Garlic has also been used to prevent certain cancers: rectal, stomach, breast, prostate, and bladder.
Garlic has also used for earaches, menstrual disorders, hepatitis, shortness of breath, liver disease, fighting numerous infections, and many skin conditions (ringworm, jock itch, athlete’s foot)
Other uses for garlic include fighting fevers, coughs, headaches, stomachache, sinus congestion, gout, joint pain, hemorrhoids, asthma, bronchitis, and a host of other treatments.
Word of warning on garlic
Check with your doctor to see if it affects any of your medications.
Do not take garlic if you have bleeding disorders, stomach or digestive problems, low blood pressure or getting ready for surgery.
Women who are breast-feeding may want to stay away from garlic as it may change the flavor of the milk they produce.
Possibly unsafe when applying garlic to your skin may cause skin irritation and some people.
Birth control pills, taking garlic along with birth-control pills may decrease the effectiveness.
Liver medications, check with your doctor.
Medications for blood clotting, check with your doctor
Heart medications, check with your doctor
Whether store-bought or harvested from the wild, garlic is a wonderful herb for us to explore and use. The culinary uses and the health benefits are astounding. I implore you to add garlic to your healthful herbs, and learn more on its benefits and uses, on your own.
And hey, it also fight against vampires!
Written by Rich, for aroundthecabin.com
A lot of people ask about removing toxins from their bodies or a body cleanse. One of the best things you can to to help your body out is to eat foods and herbs, that are in season.
Here in the United States, we are lucky enough to receive foods from all over the world. Food is shipped in from the southern hemisphere and Europe, from Asia and the Middle East. What I try to eat is food that has been grown local, raised local, or harvested locally.
So my suggestion is to eat local and eat what is in season.
Most people also need to concentrate on drinking more water. Drinking more water helps increase blood volume, and helps to get the lymphatic fluids throughout the body moving. This will help wash your cells and clean fluids, that have built up, and aid in the removal of waste from the body. Basically, a “super flush” going on through your body.
We also want to focus on the gallbladder and the liver cleansing both of them.
Herbs that we can use to clean up the gallbladder and liver are:
These herbs are common throughout most United States and available for most of the year. There are more out there but these are the basics.
Using these herbs in teas, and leave or roots in foods, will help your body to get your blood flowing and your digestive juices moving.
Here we should also mention that you need to have your bowels moving at least once a day. Also check with your doctor before taking any of these herbs if you’re not already taking them, to check that they do not cause problems with any of your medications. (safety first)
If after all this you are still having problems check with your local natural foods store, and/or Dr. They may have a mild laxative formula that will aid you.
Written by Rich, for aroundthecabin.com
In this video, we talk about the pack.
The Elite Ready Pack is a high quality emergency pack equipped with all of the essential gear you will need to protect yourself and your family in a major disaster or survival situation. It’s also great for camping with friends and family.
Me after no sleep after surgery…19 hours later…Advertisements I wrote the below about 6 hours ago while trying to find some semblance of sleep. Considered it a brain dump towards that goal, and found I needed to thank a lot of folks on Facebook who knew this surgery was hard-fought for, difficult to reach, and […]
Last picture before pre-surgery haircut and lifestyle change. The beard is two years old…only one I have ever had. I’m not shaving it off…just trimming it into something other than Bushman. OK with my manliness level, the beard is simply frosting.Advertisements Anyone that can do 8 years of prison administration, managing up to 75 inmates […]
Update: In case you don’t know, I’m going under the knife next week. T minus 2 workdays until *New Knee Day*… As before, the pain level escalates. Had to use the cane today at work, and had to explain to most coworkers why the cane…because my meds are not helping with pain management, since I’m […]
A few months ago we prepared a summertime succotash using fresh corn and beans. Today’s recipe is for a harvest version that uses dried ingredients instead. It’s a much heartier dish than its sweet-corn cousin, but that heartiness is balanced well with the addition of squash. Corn, beans, and squash were often referred to as the “three sisters” by early Native American peoples, and were often cooked together in stews and soups. Historic journals tell us this dish was also popular among early settlers. The corn we’re using is a hominy corn made with Iroquois white corn, a special flint variety that can be traced back thousands of years. You can buy the quality product from the kind folks at Iroquois White Corn Project at the link below.
Iroquois White Corn Project – http://www.iroquoiswhitecorn.org/
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Ivy and Jon head to the kitchen with a basket of ripe paw paws! This exotic North American fruit is native to nearly every state east of the Mississippi, but we have yet to find them in any recipes from the 18th century. So what do they do with no recipe to follow? They improvise!
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Well, it’s been a minute since I’ve posted here on the blog of SurvivalRing, and I do apologize. Life has been rather full outside the front door, and the moments in front of my computer (normally plural…the laptop is still down with a *Windows 10* infection) have been focused on research, online radio work, and […]
17 Things to Do or Check before Bugging Out The Internet is filled with various lists of what to pack in your bug out bag, what kind of bug out bag to buy, how to pick a bug out location, how to choose a bug out vehicle, and what to pack in that vehicle. It … Continue reading 17 Things to Do or Check before Bugging Out!
In recognition of National Preparedness Month and to allow me a bit of vacation time, I’m pulling from the archives the most popular blog posts, ever. This one has been read over half a million times!
Knowledge is something that takes time to develop, so we need to start teaching the next generation now. In case God forbid, our children are left to fend for themselves or we are injured or even just to make your family more apt to survive, every child must learn these survival skills so they can pull their own weight and contribute as much as they can.
It’s not just physical survival we need to teach them but mental, emotional, and spiritual survival as well. If your family learns now to be a well oiled machine, you will be more likely to survive any type of collapse.
- Grow vegetables from seeds. This isn’t the easiest skill to master and you’ll need expert advice.
- Have local edible and medicinal plant foraging skills. This book is a must-have for foraging beginners.
- Knowledge of dietary needs and how to meet them using wild plants and game
- Make a fire and know fire safety
- Cook on an open fire
- Open a can of food with and without can opener (rub can lid ridge on cement and then pry open with knife)
- Be able to tell if food is too spoiled to eat
- How to safely use a knife
- How to shoot a sling shot
- How to hunt small game with snares, traps and sling shot
- How to fish and hunt, using a bow and gun when old enough
- How to clean fish and wild game
- Find water and identify if it’s safe to drink
- Filter and boil water to drink
- Basic first aid
- Basic hygiene practices
- Find or build a shelter in the wilderness
- How to stay warm, cool, and dry in the elements
- How, why and when to stay hidden
- Self defense
- How to make a basic weapon and how to use it
- Be able to run and walk a good distance and be in generally good shape
- How to climb a tree to get away from predators, get directional bearings, and hunt
- How to read a map and use a compass
- How to read the sky for directions, time and approaching bad weather
- Know where family and friends live if they need to find them
- How to sew so they can mend clothing or any fabric and even make things such as bags or scrap quilts
- How to barter and trade (Kids naturally do this with their toys so teach them at garage sales.)
- How to be responsible for themselves and to be aware of their surroundings at all times
- Have a natural curiosity and good problem solving skills
- Be hard working and a self starter and a family helper not a complainer!
- Have a strong faith in God (morals, memorize Bible verses, prayers, songs, and have a hope for heaven). Ultimately, everyone reaches a point in which their physical, mental, and emotional abilities are completely taxed. Spiritual survival can make the difference between giving up and finding strength from somewhere to hang in there, just one day at a time.
How do your kids stack up? For more kid-friendly skills lists, check these out:
- 32 Basic Survival Skills for Kids
- 32 Mental and Urban Survival Skills for Kids
- 32 Wilderness Survival Skills for Kids
How To Transfer Photo’s onto Fabric at Home:
“Print on treated Fabric and let sit 30 minutes. Take a flat pan or bowl with one gallon of cold water (add 4 caps of Bubble Jet Rinse/gallon). Wash printed fabric by hand for at least 2 minutes. Allow fabric to drip dry or lay flat on a towel”
Take Home Points:
- This can be easily done at home.
- It is very cost effective to do. When I took my photos to the Mom and Pop shop 10 years ago, it cost over $125.00 to do this. Also, 10 years ago, the printed fabric was only the size of the photo. With this system, I could re-size the photo and crop it to fit before printing on the fabric.
- Cut your Freezer Paper to an 8×11 size and reuse the sheets.
- I learned that cutting your fabric closer to the 8″ width allowed you to cut the square to fit inside the quilt square in a way that looks the best.
- Sometimes photos that are in landscape are difficult to crop or resize. In that case, I left strips of ‘white’ above and below the photos after cutting it for my quilting square. It really looked fine in the finished product.
- It’s just amazing!
- This project will hopefully bring joy to my family member for many years to come.
Over the summer of 2016, certain websites forecasted a string of protests around the United States. As it turned out, these protests often lead to riots. In most cases, there is no warning for such events, but this time, we were paying attention to the news and knew where and when many of these protests would take place.
I was chatting with 3 of my friends, also Survival Moms, and we reviewed our situations. Not knowing if any of these protests would turn violent, we needed a guide for preparing for civil unrest. Each of us came up with a game plan.
One of us was going on a family road trip and would be making stops in three of the cities listed as protest sites. Another was home alone with her children with a husband away on a business trip, and I had a long-awaited date night scheduled that was an hour drive away from the children to a city not on the list.
Meanwhile, headlines from around the world reported civil wars, acts of terrorism, political coups, and hyperinflation. Thanks to this family survival manual, I know how to prepare for civil unrest as well as these other events. Here is a guide for how 3 different moms in 3 very different circumstances prepared for civil unrest. The best thing about this? We are now ready for other emergencies as well.
On a road trip — Anita
Our family was in the middle of a 4,000-mile road trip when the possibility of spreading civil unrest became a concern in the cities on our route. We had prepared for a number of common situations on our trip, such as vehicle breakdown with a family emergency kit like this one, but we hadn’t even thought that we might have to deal with protests or riots along the way. Yet, being prepared for a few other situations served us well when confronted with this additional possibility. For example, we had already been collecting highway maps at rest stations along our way, plus we had an outdated road atlas in the vehicle. A good road atlas is one of the best tools to have for planning alternate routes, even if GPS wasn’t available in remote areas. It would also come in handy if communications were interrupted.
Along with emergency supplies and maps, we also had extra food just in case we weren’t able to stop and eat at restaurants as planned, like if we got into a destination too late. Of course, that would also be helpful if we were stuck somewhere for longer periods than we expected, such as having to shelter in a hotel. In a time of civil unrest, hunkering down for the duration is often the best and safest choice. We had prepared some self-defense options, too, in the event of attempted mugging. While avoiding civil unrest is always better than fighting back, at least we weren’t completely defenseless if we did find ourselves in a scary mob situation. We also considered the possibility of unwittingly driving into a mob scene and how we might handle that situation.
We weren’t finished with our preparing for civil unrest There were a few more steps we decided to take:
- We found local news sites for each location, and monitored local social media trends. We figured this would give us some advanced warning of anything unusual, although sometimes you may find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time and will just have to deal with it on the spot.
- We agreed to keep the gas tank at least half full, even if that meant more stops. In the event that we had to leave a situation quickly, that would allow us to put more miles between us and any immediate danger before stopping. It would also help if we ran into unexpected obstructions and used more gas than anticipated.
- We re-evaluated our route, and decided to stay at smaller towns in between large cities.
- We stopped at a Walmart on our way and bought a tarp and some bungee cords. Although the plan for our trip included hotel stays, we could make a roadside shelter if needed with those. We also grabbed extra water. Being able to put up an impromptu shelter might make the difference between roughing it for a night in a safe place and having to slog through a panicky crowd just to get to our hotel.
- We snagged the extra toilet paper roll from our hotel room. Maybe we should have already had one in the car (we had baby wipes) but now we felt more prepared to camp wilderness style, if necessary. Emergency toilet supplies in the back of your vehicle is a must, especially if you have kids.
- And just in case we would need to shelter in place immediately when we got home, we caught up on laundry at the hotel. We also stopped and got a few household groceries, in addition to the snacks and food already in the car.
Some of the lessons I took away from this experience are if you’re prepared for one situation, even if you can’t think of every possibility, you are still better off than doing nothing. Flexibility is key. And really you can’t stay home for the rest of your life. Even as a survival mom you still need to plan vacations and times away from home and out of your comfort zone. Whatever happens, just deal with it when it does.
Home alone with the kids — Monica
When rumors of protests in our city began to circulate, my husband was working 9 ½ hours away and wasn’t due to get home for another three days. News reports of other protests having gone terribly wrong added to my uneasiness. Being home alone meant I needed to take full responsibility for our well-being.
As a mom, my mind immediately went to the mundane, yet important details of maintaining a house in the midst of a chaotic event. My washer had been out of commission for a while, so the first thing I did was go to the laundromat to get all the clothes washed at once. Next was making sure the car was filled with gas, and that I had all the basic, perishable groceries needed to get us through for a week and a half. It was a good feeling when I got home that day and knew we could be at home for many days with no need to go out.
This is actually key when you’re expecting an event that might make it more dangerous to leave your home than to stay put. Make sure you have all of life’s essentials right there with you — think of things like baby food, diapers, toilet paper, prescription medications, over the counter meds (here’s a list of suggested OTC meds to have on hand), and so on. The type of things that, when you run out, you need to quickly replenish. That’s what you stock up on!
I called my husband to make sure we were still on the same page as to decisions about when we stay at home, when to pack up the child and animals and head to friends on the edge of the city, and at what point we go to rural acquaintances. If we were unable to communicate, he would know where to find us. I planned several different routes to get to each location and made sure an atlas was still in the car. This is where, again, having very good maps and a GPS can help. A survival manual that focuses only on emergency evacuations, like this one, is a must.
Then I made popcorn and spend the rest of the evening watching Netflix shows.
I learned a few things from this experience:
- I am better prepared than I thought I might be.
- Making sure camping gear and stocked backpacks are stored neatly and are easily accessible is worth your time.
- Having plans for various scenarios meant I could go to bed and sleep well.
Date night — Sarah Anne
It sometimes takes a miracle to have a successful date night out as parents. The schedules of every person involved — wife, husband, kids, babysitter — all have to align like the planets in the night sky. We finally had one of those nights planned and to top it off, it coincided with a fun event in a nearby city. We were very excited.
Then we saw the news about the possible protests and riots. The city we were planning to go to wasn’t on the list, but I glanced through news sites, Twitter, and Craigslist the two days prior and day of to make sure other people weren’t planning something there. The event we were going to was on the far side of the city closest to us, so we wouldn’t have to drive through downtown.
Just in case we found ourselves unable to reach our destination or unable to get back home quickly, we made sure to have water, some food, good walking shoes, fully charged cell phones, a full tank of gas and an atlas (in case we needed to take some back roads home). We discussed how to effectively use our concealed carry licenses, although that was something neither of us relished. Doing all of this gave us peace of mind and we decided to go ahead and go on our date. We were prepared, and we ended up having fun.
It also helped knowing that our babysitter’s family lives across the street from us, and knows where our shelter area and supplies are located. She also knows where the fire extinguishers are located. For more about preparing a babysitter, read about creating a babysitter folder with vital information.
The overall lessons that were reinforced by preparing for this possible event were:
- Bring the babysitter on your preparedness team.
- Know how to check Twitter and Craigslist for news trends.
- Keep an atlas in the car (and walking shoes).
Anything can happen at any time – with or without warning. But that’s what being a survival mom is all about – being prepared for anything, wherever you are, and with whatever you have. What unusual situations are you prepared for?
All of us have dealt with a backpack at some point in our lives. Remember loading up that crisp new back pack in fall, with anticipation for another school year. Backpacks are used to pack up emergency supplies as demonstrated in this article, camping gear and they are even popular to use as a diaper bag.
One backpack we may not realize we carry is an emotional backpack. What is an emotional backpack? Picture yourself carrying around an invisible backpack, every day. Inside that backpack are all of your life’s experiences. Some of these items are positive and light, while others are negative and heavy. What is in your backpack and how heavy is it? This is a particularly important consideration when it comes to survival, since a big percentage of surviving is mental. This lesson really hits home in one of my favorite survival books, The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes — and Why.
If you picture life as a long journey, your emotional backpack is right there, hanging off the back of your shoulders every day, no matter where you go. Your responsibility is to keep the backpack light enough for you to keep moving and progressing. Easy enough right? Not always so. We encounter personal setbacks, illness and death of loved ones, difficult co-workers, rude neighbors, unforeseen disasters and struggles in relationships. These things tend to weigh us down if we do not handle them when they happen, as my family did a number of years ago when we hit rock bottom. It seems easier to stuff them down in the backpack and worry about them later. This makes our packs heavy and our journey slow and miserable. We are not able to help ourselves or others if we are overloaded and miss out on the everyday joys of life.
To keep moving and be prepared for anything life throws at you, a light backpack is a must. Let’s look at what you should have in your emotional backpack.
- A good support system. Friends, a spouse, family or pastor. Surround yourself with people that share the same values that you do. These people should be someone you can confide in when needed. Their advice would aligned with your beliefs and they would have your back in a crisis. If you have a hard time making and keeping friends, this book by one of my favorite psychologist authors, John Townsend, may help. Making close friends isn’t an easy thing for most adults.
- Healthy habits. Getting proper sleep and nutrition keep your body and your mind running in top shape. Find an exercise or activity that you enjoy doing. Some examples could be nature walks, biking or yoga. This will clear your mind and give you energybut are also vital components of being a prepared person. Get as healthy as you can and as quickly as you can before any type of disaster strikes. By the way, a sound night’s sleep is a vastly under-appreciated component of being survival-ready.
- Uplifting books and music. Have some reading that is positive, educational, and enjoyable — not just survival and prepper manuals! Reading can be a healthy escape from the stressors of life. Science has proven that music can alter our moods and brain activity. Upbeat music can give motivation and momentum, tranquil music can calm when anxiety creeps up and the simple act of singing will lower blood pressure, reduce pain and give a boost to the immune system.
- Develop an attitude of hope, in all things. Life may not work out the way you wanted it to, but it will work out and will get better. Many find hope in God and through prayer. Go back to the basics of your belief. Lean on your faith. Look at the positive things working around you. Focus on what is going right and the opportunities that are around, then build your hope on that. One wise pastor said, “When nothing in your life is making sense, go back to what you know for sure.” Is that the love of your husband or wife? The close relationship you have with a friend? The fact that God loves you? Whatever it is, go back to what you DO know for certain and spend time deeply appreciating those facts in order to get grounded so you can move on. Spiritual resiliency is a huge factor in who survives and who doesn’t.
- Have hobbies. Whether it is cooking, crocheting, shooting or fishing. Discovery an activity that relaxes you and makes you feel a sense of accomplishment. Not only will you have a skill to lean on, but you can teach others. Invite family, friends to do the hobby with you or join a group that participates in the same activity. The Survival Mom Skill of the Month page will give you dozens of ideas, if you’re not sure where to start with choosing a hobby that is both fun and practical.
You cannot avoid heavy items in your backpack from past, deep hurts, rejection, and traumatic events. They are a fact of life and will be dropped into your backpack, sometimes when you are least prepared for them. If you do not put them there, someone or something else will. The goal is to not let them stay there.
- Take any heavy item you are dragging around and analyze it. What do you need to do to make this light? Some things we have control over, others we do not. Be careful to only invest emotion and time in something you have some control over. After Hurricane Katrina, thousands of families moved to other states. Many of these families embraced this move as an opportunity to go back to school, learn a new trade, create a new start or be closer to extended family. In one instance, a refugee from Katrina founded an incredibly successful business in Houston, his new home. They could not control the hurricane, they could control how they viewed their opportunities. Show kindness to those who offer help you. Teach your family to look and acknowledge the good that is around.
- Accept and adapt. Be willing to take a look around at your new reality and just accept it for what it is. This is where you are now. How can you make the best of it? Survival Mom liked this saying so much that she created a t-shirt just to remind herself how to handle tough situations!
- Bless and release. There will be people and situations that bog you down because of a past experience. In one case, a former friend suddenly cut off her contact with me. I never knew what had happened, reached out once or twice but got very curt responses. So, I played and replayed in my head what I wanted to say to her and how I would defend whatever it was that had caused the distance. After a few months, I decided enough was enough. I wrote a short email, wishing her the best and letting her know, nicely, that I was moving on, and guess what? She hasn’t crossed my mind since — until I was writing this article! We can bless and release those in our lives who bring nothing but negativityand pain. We no longer have to be the monkey in their circus.
- Dumping a heavy item might require you to mend a relationship, apologize or forgive someone. The relationship may not be as it was, but you have done your part to make it better. Just forgiving a person, even if it just in your heart, is healing. Sometimes the heavy item that needs to get dumped is a person. Toxic and negative people can be one of the heaviest items you drag behind you. They have little regard to your emotions and their influence in your life. In fact, one author calls them “emotional vampires.” If a person is continually causing emotional turmoil, it may be time to decide if that person should be in your life.
- Bad experiences. We have all laid in bed at the end of the day and played out in our mind what we would do or say differently, if given another chance. Unfortunately we cannot go back in time, but we can learn. To lighten your load, take tough experiences and make it your best teacher. Learn everything you can from trials and stumbling blocks. Journal about it, share what you learned with a close friend, glean as much knowledge as you can from the experience. Try to compare it to other times in life where you have been given a lesson and did not learn it the first time. It is so much easier to learn from the mistakes of others, but if you are going to make your own, and you will, you might as well learn all you can from it. The knowledge you gain will be beneficial in your future, and you can pass it on to your kids. Maybe they’ll listen!!
- We are all subject to stress, it is the overwhelming stress that does us in. Learn how to recognize it when it shows itself. Note the physical reactions you have and pay attention to the thoughts that go through your mind. Some people carry stress in their lower backs, some in their necks, shoulders, or stomachs. Most daily stress can be worked off at the gym or by other means. It is the larger stressors and circumstances in life that require more effort. When the big stuff happens, you will need to rely on the positive items in your emotional backpack. They are what is going to get you through. Call a friend that you feel comfortable talking with or read about people that have gone through a similar circumstance. Have your backpack full of “tools” to help you deal with the big pressures of life.
- Develop a list of personal priorities. Determine what is important to you. Picture yourself on your death bed. What would your thoughts be about? Who or what would you want to be surrounded by? That is your priority list! If something isn’t on your list, it is probably not that significant. This list is a guideline for your and where your priorities are. The items on the list are where you put your time and energy. Don’t spend your effort on things that don’t give enjoyment or benefit back to you.
Remember, this backpack is yours, not anyone else’s. Protect yourself by protecting your pack. Do not allow anyone else to dump their anger or nastiness into it. Handle issues when they first happen. Look to others for help if needed. As you travel through life, if you keep your backpack light and care for it, you will develop self-reliance and a resiliency that will help you with the heavy items that will certainly come along.
Today’s recipe is for a traditional “Pound Cake.” This comes from Amelia Simmons’s 1796 cookbook, “American Cookery.” While it’s called a cake, there are clues in the text that this was intended to be made into something more like a cookie or even a cupcake. This is a delicious dish — one we highly recommend it!
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Are you Ready?
Be sure you have a supply of the following:
Necessary prescription medications
Food and an off grid way to cook it
Or food that requires no cooking
First aid supplies
Lighting in the event of a power outage
Sanitation supplies (in the event that the municipal water system is unusuable, this would include cleaning supplies and toilet supplies)
A way to stay warm in harsh winter weather
Over-the-counter medications and/or herbal remedies to treat illnesses at home
Survival and first aid manuals (hard copies in case the internet and power grid are down)
Alternative communications devices (such as a hand-crank radio) so that you can get updates about the outside world
Off-grid entertainment: arts and craft supplies, puzzles, games, books, crossword or word search puzzles, needlework, ect.
Now, according to some, being in a large city might not be the best thing during a disaster scenario. So if something happens that requires evacuation, you’ll want to be the first out, which means you will want to have your emergency gear easy to pack and haul out to the car without wasting time.
We will go over more details in the next video coming on Civil Unrest ….. Stay tuned!
Family Emergency Planning Forrest Garvin “The Prepping Academy” In today’s world we are always connected. Cell phones, computers, and social media are almost always within our reach. This ease of access also comes with ease of mind. With a few swipes you can see where your children, wife, and even friends are. It’s not hard … Continue reading Family Emergency Planning!
According to the American Bar Association, about 55 percent of Americans die without a will – the essential document that protects your family from the legal complications and in-fighting that can follow a death.
But even a will may not encompass all the information you need to impart to your family. It is easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of paperwork used to track your existence. Even as you move to a more self-sufficient lifestyle, a paper trail will follow you; it’s a feature of the modern age.
Don’t be the only member of your family who knows how to keep your home and lifestyle operating, your wishes in case of death, or where the family jewels are hidden. Prepare a spreadsheet with the following information, and store it in a fireproof safe or other secure location (making sure everyone knows where to find it).
1. Family identification. Document the location of the birth certificates and passports for all members of the family, as well as Social Security numbers, medical information, adoption records, marriage and death certificates, birth dates and legal names.
2. Contacts. Make a contact page for family members and close friends, legal professionals, insurance companies, financial advisors, and anyone else who has been responsible for maintaining your records.
3. Assets. Detail all assets, such as real estate, vehicles and valuable items. Be sure to list specific information as appropriate, such as serial numbers, Vehicle Identification Numbers and the location of deeds for property. Don’t forget to list financial assets, including bank accounts, investments, stocks and bonds.
4. Liabilities. Maintain updated records for loan information and amounts, credit cards, mortgage and personal lending. Be sure to include specific information about agreements as well as the location of documentation.
5. Insurance. Quick access to personal, medical and property insurance policy numbers can speed the company’s ability to provide you with the insurance payments needed to quickly bounce back in an emergency. Make sure you, your spouse, and your next of kin all know the location of and value on insurance policies.
6. Bills. After an emergency or death, bills for items and services purchased earlier will still be owed. Include the account numbers for utility companies, payment information as well as frequency of billing, and the details of any agreements. Contact numbers for billing companies can help your family stop unwanted services before becoming inundated with bills.
7. Emergency plan. Make an account of your family’s plans in case of emergency, upheaval or accident. Determine a meeting place and detail the location of emergency supplies. Make sure even the youngest children have been prepared to find shelter, basic supplies and the rest of the family so they will know how to react if things become chaotic, and practice relevant drills at least once per year.
8. Final arrangements. A will and living trust are necessary for helping your family make decisions in case of your death or incapacitation. All adult family members should have a legal will, as well as written instructions for any actions desired in case of death. This is particularly important in families with children or other dependents, in order to provide for their future and indicate who should be responsible for their safety. Be certain to discuss your plans and desires with close family members and entrust them with your wishes.
9. Homestead journal. Update regular seasonal logs about what you do to your property, how the homestead is made to be productive, plans for future development, and the location of needed equipment and supplies. Enter relevant information about livestock and pets, as well, including veterinary records, pedigrees and directives for ensuring their health. If you do not plan to have your next of kin run your homestead in the event of your death, a detailed plan about how to divide and liquidate assets should be included in your will.
There are many resources available online to help you prepare your “in case of emergency” document. The US Department of Health and Human Services provides a list as a jumping-off point.
Prepare and store the document digitally and in hard-copy, talk over your plans, and make sure everyone understands where to find the information. Providing your family with the tools to pick up the pieces in a worst-case scenario is a realistic approach to guaranteeing their continued prosperity and safety. Don’t leave them stranded.
What would you add to our list? Share your tips in the section below:
You are probably planning your vacation right now just to get away from it all and enjoy some well-deserved rest. Unfortunately disaster doesn’t take a holiday and you should be prepared to handle any emergencies that may arise while you’re vacationing outside of your home country. During this time of the year, a lot of … Read more…
Emergency Preparedness for You and Your Family It would take an ambulance or emergency workers to help take care of any harmful or havoc situation which may happen on a street or in a community. What will you do if God forbid anything happens in your own home? Should you be prepared for any emergency … Continue reading Emergency Preparedness for You and Your Family
Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12)
But learn that he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come. (Doctrine and Covenants 59:23)
Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life. (2 Nephi 31:20)
The Lord has given us a reassuring message of hope: “Fear not, little flock.” God will wait with “open arms to receive”those who give away their sins and continue in faith, hope, and charity.
And to all who suffer—to all who feel discouraged, worried, or lonely—I say with love and deep concern for you, never give in.
Never allow despair to overcome your spirit.
Embrace and rely upon the Hope of Israel, for the love of the Son of God pierces all darkness, softens all sorrow, and gladdens every heart.
(President Dieter F. Uchtdorf)
Killing, Working, and Achieving! James Walto “I Am Liberty” I slaughtered a chicken for the first time this weekend. Processed and ate the little guy and ya know I learned a lot. There was a big part of me that told me I shouldn’t. There was a huge part of me that spoke to me and … Continue reading Killing, Working, and Achieving!
If you are considering becoming a homesteader, you know the prospect can be pretty daunting. Among all the other questions and considerations which must be asked and evaluated—such as how it will impact employment, children, extended family, social involvement and finances—the concern about suitability for such a demanding lifestyle looms large.
Do I have what it takes to become a homesteader?
If you are asking yourself that question and wondering whether you and your resources and skill are a good fit for living a sustainable and independent lifestyle, read on for the five homesteader attributes I have found to be most important.
1. Intentionality. Homesteaders need to do what we do with a sense of purpose. It is not a lifestyle which one might just tumble into, and with the exception of being raised in that environment it is not likely to happen without intentionality.
Self-reliance may have been the default way of life in generations past, but society has shifted to a place where a person or family must step off the beaten track to follow the path of homesteading.
In order to make it work, homesteaders need to make a deliberate, focused choice. We need to do it like we mean it.
2. Commitment. A full-scale homesteading operation is not something you dabble in, like trying out audiobooks or a different brand of cordless drill. My dictionary lists synonyms for the word “commitment” as “dedicated, devotion and loyal.” Those are good words to keep in mind when entering into homesteading.
This is not to say that it is not possible to try before you buy. There are many ways to try out homesteading activities beforehand, from container crops on your back deck in the city to volunteering on existing farms.
I once knew a young woman who was in love with the idea of homesteading and accepted an apprenticeship on her dream farm. It was all she had thought it would be, but her loyalty lay elsewhere. She soon realized that she was more dedicated and committed to friends and fun in town than to raising crops and tending animals, and was not ready for the commitment that homesteading demands. Fortunately for all involved, the young woman who turned out to be in love with her social life was able to walk away with no hardship on anyone.
But when you do go into homesteading for real, go all in.
3. Optimism. When your livelihood is dependent upon the natural world, optimism is an absolute necessity. There is always next season to look forward to—more rain, a later fall frost, or the maple sap running better. Homesteaders live in perpetual surety that things would have been perfect, and will be next time, without that one unfortunate anomaly.
Homesteaders need to carry an eternal sense of optimism that makes us plant greens when there is still danger of snow, try our hand at cordwood masonry without any prior knowledge of the craft, and let the six-year-old milk the cow. And we need to pick ourselves up and keep moving forward when things don’t work out quite as planned.
Without this glass-half-full outlook on life, the looming possibilities of hurricanes, Japanese beetles, sick lambs, Lyme disease, broken fences and chimney fires would be too much, and we would decide to move back to the city at the first sign of trouble.
4. Courage. Things can get scary on occasion. Most of us were raised in a very different way—food came from the grocery store and farmers’ market, heat materialized from the nudge of the thermostat, lights popped on and off with the flip of a switch, and water ran hot and cold out of the faucet. Sources for some or all of these amenities are different on the homestead, and many come with at least some level of inherent risk, either real or perceived.
Kids in the city don’t have to sneak past the butty goat buck on the path to their favorite fishing hole, and urban moms don’t leave their bread-making to go shoo cows out of the flower garden or deal with snakes between them and morning chores. Homesteaders handle it all, from inclement weather to grouchy 1,100-pound animals to long walks down a wilderness road to rats in the grain bin.
5. Support. Homesteading is tough single-handed. A single person or couple will face a lot of challenges on their own. Extended family, friends, like-minded neighbors, church community or farm partners make all the difference. Let me say that again for emphasis: all the difference. I will not go so far as to say one or two individuals cannot thrive in a completely isolated homesteading endeavor, and I am certain it has been accomplished many times over. But I will say that it is a hard row to hoe, and lack of support will make it all that much more difficult to create and maintain the first four characteristics.
When my husband badly injured his hand while building raised beds for spring planting, our entire season of homesteading was hugely impacted. Garden beds, getting vegetables in the ground, building and installing trellises and cages, fencing, haying, and firewood processing—not getting it done then meant not having the results later.
My time and focus went to caring for him first, and then having to pick up his tasks on top of my own. At one of our busiest times of the year, it was too much. Without family and friends who came alongside us and freely gave of their time and skills and even money—planting and building and shoveling and mowing and chain-sawing and splitting and cleaning and animal-tending—we could have been done for.
If you are feeling a bit skittish about homesteading after reading this list of important traits, do not worry. Nobody possesses all of these all the time. Nobody. But what we all aspire to have is as many of them as we can, as much as we can, as often as we can.
Attributes can be built and learned, and the five on this list tend to feed off one another. Support builds courage, courage solidifies commitment, and optimism enhances intentionality. The needs for these traits vary greatly. In some situations, homesteaders need all the optimism they can muster and get by with only minimal support. Other times, courage and commitment are the fingers in the dam.
The biggest takeaway is that if you want to build enough of these traits in yourself to succeed at homesteading, you can. You will have to work harder at some on this list than others do, and that is perfectly acceptable and is to be expected.
Homesteading is not for the faint of heart, but it is worth the journey. Develop these five traits along the way, and you will come to realize that you have always had what it takes.
What traits would you add to this list? Share your suggestions in the section below:
We don’t believe in waiting until our kids are “old enough” to camp.
My first child was 6 months old when we set up the tent in the back yard and spent the night. My second child was 10 months old when we managed to pick the hottest weekend of the entire year to go to a campground. And my youngest was a co-sleeping, nursing infant when we packed her off to the campground with her siblings.
Camping with kids is not easy. But it’s also fun and probably not as hard as most people think. Camping is a sure-fire way to find quality family time. It’s a chance to really put your skills to the test, like fire starting and plant identification, and teach those skills to your kids. And it can be a chance for character-building, too, as you solve problems together, engage in campsite diplomacy, and make do with what you have with you.
Anyway, I’ve learned a few things over the last decade of tent camping with children. Maybe my trial and error method can give you a head start with your learning curve.
- Use disposable everything! Even if you use cloth diapers, washcloths, and real plates at home, camping with kids is the time to go disposable. Pack paper towels, disposable diapers, plastic grocery sacks (for trash or wet clothes), and paper plates with plastic utensils. You’ll have enough to do without washing extra camp dishes or trying to haul home extra laundry.
- Pack extra clothes. Pack even more clothes per child than you think you’ll need. If you do this camping thing right, they’ll need them!
- Keep a change of shoes and clothes in the car. Reserve at least an extra pair of shoes and a full change of clothes for each member of the family in your vehicle. More than once, we’ve had the unexpected rain storm, or discovered a new leak in our tent. If nothing else happens, at least you’ll have clean clothes for the ride home. And you avoid a major car cleaning chore after your adventure, too!
- Familiarize your children with your tent ahead of time. Each year before the first camping trip, we set up the tents in the front yard to play in them, or even have at least one nap time in the tents. If you’re planning to use a Pack N Play for an infant or toddler, make sure they’re used to sleeping in it, too.
- Do a backyard trial run. If it’s the first time camping for your family, or for the newest famiy members, consider “camping” in your own backyard for a night or two before hitting the actual campground. This will give you an even better idea of what to pack and plan for.
- Plan familiar foods. Camping with kids is probably not the time to try that fancy 17-ingredient recipe. Stick with hot dogs and hamburgers or something equally easy. If you’d like to expand your camping menu, try to add just 1 new recipe each trip.
- Go with a group. If you can, coordinate your camping experience with another family, or several! We’ve found that having lots of adults around makes it very easy to keep track of all the kids, share meal responsibility, and even give each mom and dad a bit of time together. For example, each family could take a meal to cook and host for the entire group. Camping with a group also helps to keep the kids occupied—they have friends to go bike riding or exploring together.
- Pack a battery-powered fan. If you choose to ignore all the rest of the list, at least pack a fan! Not only will it help keep the hot summer air moving, it can also help mask some unfamiliar night noises. A better nights’ sleep will make all your day time experiences much more pleasant.
- Give them a gift– to use while camping. Depending on your child’s maturity level, consider giving them a tool to use while camping. Even a younger child could probably handle a very small pocket knife. Older children could learn to use fire-starters, tent peg mallets, or even hatchets. And if they own it, they’re much more excited about using it to help out.
- Establish clear rules around the fire. This is the one area where we are very strict. No running around the fire. No lighting sticks on fire and waving them. And have a containment plan for any mobile infants or toddlers. To date, we’ve never had any serious fire-related injuries, and we plan to keep it that way.
- Have a wide-ranging first aid kit. We use a plastic tackle box as our camp first aid kit. If you un-package items, you can easily fit everything you need for burns, bug bites, scrapes, upset tummies, and allergies. Placing items in zip top baggies will keep them organized and water proof.
- Don’t do everything. Don’t send the kids off to play while you set up the tent and start the dinner fire. Give everyone a task, such as holding tent poles, or collecting a certain size stick. They won’t learn unless they’re involved, and in the long run, your job gets easier. Just imagine 5 years from now, sitting in your camp chair while the kids set up and get dinner on the fire.
- Let the kids get dirty and give them the freedom to explore. Camping puts you directly in contact with nature, and nature is messy. If the kids are sweaty and muddy at the end of the day, you’ve probably done things right.
- Teach respect for others campers. Camping etiquette means going around, not through, someone else’s campsite. It also means being aware when riding bikes or playing catch in the road and observing quiet hours at night. And when you’re by the water, be aware of people fishing.
- Don’t be afraid to pack up early. Last summer, there was a severe line of thunderstorms moving in on our last night. It was just me and 3 kids, so I made the decision to pack it up early and head home. Good thing, because we had severe weather all night long—one of the worst storm systems of the season. You don’t have to prove anything—there’s always next time.
Camping teaches kids survival skills in a fun way. It builds their confidence as they realize how much they know and can do. It gets them away from screens and in touch with nature. And it creates family bonds and life-long memories.
Camping in general gets easier with experience. People give all sorts of excuses why they can’t take kids camping. “Oh, I’d love to take my kids camping, but not while they’re in diapers!” But if not now, when? What if you find yourself “camping” someday after an unexpected event? You’ll be glad you practiced now! Besides, it’s rewarding to hear your kids telling their friends, “We had the BEST time ever camping!”
To paraphrase Terry Prachett, the author of the popular Discworld series, taking care of a baby is the easiest part. There’s none of those crazy child-rearing garbage to put up with – just put milk in one end, and keep the other end as clean as possible. Works for me!
On an ordinary day, the first part – putting milk in one end of the baby – is something we take for granted in developed countries. Even if you are not a breastfeeding mom, the ease with which can can obtain formula would make our ancestors weep with envy. Before formula became widely available, women who were unable to breastfeed because of medical issues would be forced to find alternate means of feeding her infant. Many of these milk substitutes were incredibly unhealthy, and were ultimately a leading cause of infant mortality. One of the few ways a woman could keep her child alive if she couldn’t feed it herself was to make some kind of agreement with another woman who could nurse the baby for her.
All of this begs the question – what if, Heaven forbid, something were to happen that would send us back in time to this situation, whether it be permanently or on a temporary basis? Even if you have stash of formula in your long-term food supply, what if your water source is contaminated? It’s not difficult to imagine a worst-case scenario that involves a hungry baby, but no way to feed him or her. Aside from stocking up on formula (which is a perfectly legitimate option for feeding infants) what can be done?
Preparedness and Breastfeeding
If you are a breastfeeding mom, you’ll need to add the following to your emergency preparedness plans:
- Extra water. The rule of thumb for non-pregnant adults is one gallon per person per day. A breastfeeding woman should store half again as much, or more. You can read just about everything you need to know in this book about water storage.
- Extra food. A lactating woman needs extra calories. One medical professional explained to me that a breastfeeding mom should be eating the equivalent of an additional peanut butter and jelly sandwich every day. That’s not much, but if you already have very little extra food on hand, storing high protein and high calorie foods, such as nut butters and fruit jam, would be a good idea.
- A good hand pump. I have a Medela Harmony in addition to my electric one, and I like it a lot. You might need to pump for any number of reasons. If you don’t have electricity, having a manual back-up is essential. This particular model is also extremely portable, so it can fit easily in your 72-hour kit.
- Some formula, as a last resort. Stress and anxiety can cause your supply to drop. There is wisdom in having an alternative on hand. The danger in using formula in this situation, if you have your heart set on breastfeeding exclusively, is that you could cause your supply to drop even further. Milk supply is tied to demand, and use of formula decreases demand. That said, you gotta do what you gotta do.
Milk Donation for Feeding Babies
For every woman who has trouble with her supply, there’s one who self-identifies as a jersey cow. Overabundance of milk is a problem that I’m sure many people would like to have. I don’t have to describe what that’s like – if you are one of these people, you already know. If you know that you have more milk than your baby needs, you can use it as a valuable resource that will benefit your whole community. Essentially what donation does is to connect women with low supply and women with high supply, so everyone is happy, especially the babies.
In healthy babies, it doesn’t matter a ton in the long run whether they are fed formula or breastmilk. For sickly babies, however, the difference is much greater. Hospitals often refer to human colostrum and breastmilk as “white gold,” because they see the difference it can make in the health of preemies. Medical centers regularly request donations on behalf of infants in the NICU. There are usually some health and quantity requirements. Milk banks put the milk through tests to make sure it is safe to distribute. To make it worth their while, they won’t take less than 100 ounces at one time.
For more information, you can go to the websites of La Leche League, National Milk Bank, and the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. Information about the proper care and storage of breastmilk can be found here.
Of course, donating privately is as easy as handing off a bottle of expressed milk to a friend. It’s not uncommon in my town for a woman with a baby in the NICU to ask friends and family for donated breastmilk. Another option, should the situation arise, is to use breastmilk as a commodity for bartering.
Cross-nursing (occasional nursing another woman’s child while also nursing her own) and wet-nursing (complete nursing of another woman’s child, often for pay) are generally frowned upon in most modern circles. The La Leche League actively discourages these practices for multiple reasons. However, it can be done. I have cross nursed two babies in my day – the first was my niece, and it didn’t feel weird at all (it was an emergency). The second instance, though, was the daughter of an acquaintance and that was so weird I will probably never do it again.
For Formula-Fed Babies
Not everyone is willing or able to breastfeed, and there’s no shame in that. Most women I know would really like to, but have been hampered by some health issue or other. The answer here is twofold:
1) stockpile formula like there is no tomorrow (babies always seem to need more of everything than you expect)
2) in case there really isn’t a tomorrow make friends with a lady in your neighborhood who might be able to spot you the odd bottle of milk should the need arise.
Be sure that you are also storing an adequate amount of clean water with which to mix the formula. Most infant deaths related to formula feeding in the third world are caused by a contaminated water supply, or adding inappropriate amounts of water. If you can, develop a system for sterilizing bottles and other feeding equipment that does not require electricity. A solar oven, such as the Solavore or Sun Oven, can cook food at temperatures in the 300-350 degree range, which is plenty hot for sterilizing baby bottles.
There is much more that could be written, of course, about “putting milk in one end” of a baby. For more information about keeping the other end as clean as possible in an emergency, try this article about cloth diapers.
I remember the night so clearly. It was the end of an emotionally exhausting day. My husband and I were lying in bed, holding hands, feeling like it was the only thing we had to hold on to. He sighed and said, “The life that I am living doesn’t seem like mine. Everything we are going through seems like something that happens to someone else, not us.” I could not argue with him, he was right. We were watching much of our life around us crumble and there was not much we could do to prevent it. We had to wait until the crumbling stopped and we could re-build.
Our family was experiencing hardships of almost every kind. We had to move from our home, close a business, and we had nowhere to live. The foster child we were in the process of adopting mentally went off the deep end. For the physical safety of our family, we immediately moved him out, and this caused more legal and emotional trauma than we could have imagined.
One of our cars died; it was not worth fixing. A friend loaned us an extra vehicle he had. We stayed at my sister’s home until we could find a place to rent. Moving to a new area where we didn’t know anyone was just another stress. Our other car was beginning to have problems. Our savings were low. We were living paycheck to paycheck and our food storage was almost depleted.
Some of the chaos was our fault. We did not prepare as much as we thought we had or think some decisions through completely. The other chaos was called life. We had no control over the economy, other people and their actions, nature, or health issues. Even thinking about that time brings back some of the overwhelming feelings we had. Our family was working on getting our footing first, then rebuilding our emergency supplies. We learned many difficult and painful lessons along the way, and we came out of it much smarter and stronger than we could have imagined. Life will always throw us curve balls, but we are more prepared to handle them now. As a family we have become the “better prepper”.
How to start prepping from scratch
1) You can never have too much money saved.
There will always be something unexpected come up, and it will come up at the worst time, always. We kept a mason jar around for loose change. I remember using it to buy $85 of groceries. As things got better, we worked our way up to a dollar jar. We were surprised to see how fast the jars filled up. Those jars were what helped us build up our emergency money. They are still in use and are a reminder to keep change and cash on hand. Not only in our home, but also in our bug out bags and cars.
To raise additional funds, we sold items we did not need. We started cleaning out what we had and decided what we could live without. At the time, it was difficult to see some things go. Knowing that we were doing everything we could eased some of the pain. It was a few years later that I heard Dave Ramsey on the radio. Being prepared means having a healthy savings account and we decided to try his baby steps plan. That was the beginning of the way we now handle our finances. Go over your finances and make certain you have enough to get you through an emergency.
Here are a few Survival Mom resources for you:
- Check out my monthly series of past articles, “52 Weeks Savings”, with discounts, bargains, and deals for each month of the year. Here’s a sample month for June’s best bargains.
- Learn more about the 52 Weeks Savings Challenge here and customize it to your own income and circumstances with these tips.
- Print out my collection of tracking charts at this link.
- Join Survival Mom’s 52 Weeks Savings Club on Facebook. We’re over 3600 members and going strong!
- Dave Ramsey has solid advice for taking control of your finances. I recommend his basic book, The Total Money Makeover for an easy-to-follow plan and a quick, motivational read.
2) Have 3 months of food stored.
Money was tight and we ate our food storage. Our meals were inexpensive and home-cooked. Everything was used, nothing was thrown out. Soups were made with left over vegetables, meat was stretched by putting it in casseroles and salads. Knowing how to prepare nutritious meals from scratch was a skill I possessed, but had taken for granted.
To supplement our food storage, I took advantage of additional opportunities. Many communities have some type of food co-op program where food is exchanged for volunteering hours or food is deeply discounted. The local university offered in-season produce grown by the students at $90 a year. My husband put in a small garden of tomatoes, lettuce, squash and bell peppers. Our neighbor was more than happy to give us oranges and lemons from her trees. Lemons were prepped and kept in the freezer for future meals.
DON’T MISS THIS: Survival Mom’s guide, “Simple Food Storage Meals“.
As things improved and finances allowed, we purchased meat and canned goods that were on sale. Our 3 month food supply of food, water, and everyday living supplies was built up a few items at a time. Nothing causes you to evaluate your food storage than having to use it. Store food you are going to eat and enjoy. This includes cake mix!
3) Education: I attended the local adult education school.
After only a few months I was employed as a certified nursing assistant. A few months later I was a certified EKG technician. This experience slowly morphed into a small business. Being self-employed allowed me to make good money and go back to school for my BA. I knew I did not want to do this type of work as a career, but I do not regret the certifications.
Being a prepper, I understood that it was an education that could someday benefit my family and others. Always look for ways to increase your education and preparation. It could be an Amateur Radio license class, CERT classes, and local adult education or community classes. Adding other streams of income is the key.
4) If full time employment is not possible, look for a short term solution.
Something as simple as a dog-walking, house-sitting, substitute teaching, or other temporary jobs can get you through a rough patch. If you already have a full time job, look for other part time income streams. Is there a skill or hobby that you teach to others? What knowledge or experiences do you possess that can be turned into a small business?
5) Physical and Mental Health
Even though we did not go through a natural disaster or suffer extreme trauma, we still experienced a large amount of stress. Stress takes a great toll on your body. Glucose levels and blood pressure can increase. Our immune systems can take a hit, making you at risk for auto-immune and cardiac disorders. To off-set the negative impact of the stress, our family focused on cutting out processed foods and switched to a whole food diet. We spent time walking, swimming and hiking outdoors.
Mental health is sometimes overlooked in the prepper world. The pressure of trying to put life back together can be overwhelming. The effort used to get through or get by can push aside feelings of anxiety or depression. Sundays have always been used as a day to decompress for our family. When there were times of difficulty, we focused even more on keeping Sunday low-key. We attended church and did not obligate ourselves to anything else. We read books, watched uplifting movies, played games together and rested. This down time allowed us to face the next week with a renewed attitude.
Along with family time, my husband and I continued to have our weekly date night. Since there was not much money, we could often be found having a picnic at a park or attending free activities in town. Maintaining strong and healthy relationships is part of being prepared. Two people, or a family of more, can work together and get through trying times if their family has trust and communication between each other.
We are a religious family, it is part of who we are and it is our family culture’s main ingredient. During the good and bad times, we pray. This simple act has sustained us, and has given us the strength to get through difficult times. It has also given us hope that things will get better and that we are not alone in this journey. Prayer holds us accountable. When I pray for guidance, I am reminded that I need to be doing my part. Am I a wise steward with my money, time and resources? Prayer helps put things in their proper prospective and reminds us of the blessings we have been given.
For those who are not religious, it is important to take time meditate or connect with one’s self. There is much to be thankful for, even in trying times. Center yourself and be open to opportunities and possibilities. Great ideas and solutions can come when the world is quiet and we are alone. Write down any ideas, even if they sound a bit crazy. They can transform into brilliant ideas.
Life Always Happens
Through all of this, we were able rebuild our food storage, savings and emergency supplies. Our financial situation was good, and education and jobs were going well. Life was to be going great! And then another curve ball was thrown. My husband’s employer was replacing all management employees. We had a little bit of notice, but not as much as one would hope. After a brief moment of panic, we realized that we were going to be okay. Together we had been through such challenging times, this did not seem as difficult. Because of the experiences we had many years earlier, we were better prepared. During those four months of unemployment, we adopted a daughter, celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas, witnessed our son’s wedding, had a beautiful reception on a shoestring budget, and prepped two kids leaving for college. We were able to enjoy all of the happy family events because we were prepared.
Summer is upon us, and that usually means more time spent together as a family as kids are out of school. Even homeschool moms take a few breaks in the summer. This time of year is a great time to hone your family’s survival skills. I’ve put together a summer bucket list for the prepper family. See how many things your family can check off this summer. Have fun with it and get your family involved!
- Identify and forage for wild edibles in your yard. (Have any dandelions?)
- Garden but be sure to grow at least one new-to-your-family plant.
- Cook a meal over a fire.
- Give your food storage a once over for expiration dates and damage. Restock to desired supply levels.
- Have children cook a meal by themselves in the house, with supervision.
- Have children cook a meal by themselves on the grill. Supervise!
- Have children cook a meal by themselves over the fire with plenty of adult supervision.
- Make and eat your own MREs (Meals-Ready-to-Eat) from food storage (Freeze-dried food is great for this.)
- Use your personal water filters at a local park.
- Visit several local farmer’s markets to find local food sources.
- When you start to get low on groceries, wait an extra day before shopping and eat from what is on hand.
- Start a compost bin.
- Put in a rain barrel.
- Dehydrate a fruit, a vegetable, an herb, and some meat.
- Can a fruit, vegetable, herb and some meat. Zaycon Foods delivers fresh chicken and other products around the country, making it easy to buy in bulk for a major day of canning.
- Visit a local u-pick farm.
- Have a day with zero food waste.
- Grind wheat and make your own bread from it. (Extra points if you cook it over a fire.)
- Rotate your water storage.
- Only cook with cast iron for a week.
- Sprout seeds
- Tornado drill
- Fire drill (Check the batteries in smoke and CO detectors.)
- Evacuation drill (Do 1-hour, 30-minute and 15-minute notice evacuation drills.)
- No power for a full day and night.
- Only use generator power for 6 hours.
- “There’s no toilet paper!” (Cloth wipes, anyone?)
- No running water for a full day and night. (Do not skip bathing or washing dishes!)
- Minimize water down the drain for a day – reuse dish/bath/pool water in garden or for plants
- Robbery/home invasion drill (Do several with the intruder coming in different doors/windows.)
- Spend a day unplugged from electronic devices (no internet connection).
Put your supplies to work
- Update your emergency binder. (Ask kids what important papers or pictures they might want to put in the binder.)
- Check clothing and shoe sizes in vehicles, bug-out-bags and tornado/storm shelter.
- Review your home library.
- Add money to your cash stash by holding a yard sale.
- Buy a tarp if you don’t have one, and then brainstorm all they ways they could be useful.
- Rotate any gas/diesel you have stored and refill right away.
- Check expiration dates on any bleach/sanitation supplies and restock.
- Reorganize garden tools.
Learn or improve upon skills
- Go camping. (Can your family live together for long in one tent? Reorganize the gear when you get home.)
- Go hiking. (Figure out what weight each family member can comfortably carry in a backpack.)
- Go fishing. (Try finding your own bait rather than buying any.)
- Go biking. (Do your children know how to patch a bike tire?)
- Have children start a fire from scratch.
- Wash clothes by hand.
- Go geocaching.
- Have the kids use a paper map to get from point A to point B. (If you’re ambitious, create your own family Amazing Race.)
- Build something functional from scratch with wood, a handsaw, nails and a hammer.
- Make your own bug spray.
- Make your own sunscreen.
- Make homemade laundry soap.
- Hone shooting skills at the range (Make sure to keep ammo stocked up.)
- Sew something simple without using a sewing machine. (Learn a new stitch if you already know how to sew.)
- Buy a new piece of cast iron and learn how to season it.
- Identify 10 local birds.
- Identify 10 local insects or small animals.
- Identify at least 10 different trees that grow in your area.
- Sharpen tools and knives.
- Earn certifications in first aid and CPR. (Discuss defibrillators and epi pens, too.)
- Have everyone try out a fire extinguisher.
- Try starting a fire without a lighter or match.
- Learn to tie 5 different knots.
- Plan evacuation routes on a map and then actually drive those routes to become familiar with them.
Practice skills in different scenarios
- Spend a day living out of your car. (Take notes on what you wish you had.)
- Walk home from work. Bonus points if you can ably carry your emergency kit/bug out bag.
- Show the kids how to walk home from school safely.
- Do some summer school. (If you don’t homeschool, consider it a practice run if you should ever need to.)
- Play the “What If …” game.
- Discuss social media safety rules.
Fun and educational activities for your family summer bucket list
- Go scavenging for supplies at garage sales (Among other things, look for reference books, camping gear, cast iron.)
- Play board games, so you know the rules before you lose power and those games become a major form of entertainment.
- Learn new card games. (Is there a deck of cards in your vehicle or bug-out-bag?)
- Work on a family history tree and talk about family medical history.
- Learn to play chess.
- Do craft time using supplies from the recycle bin.
- Read classic literature.
- Make paracord bracelets.
- See how many ways you can use a kiddie pool.
- Find a local history or reenactment group and attend one of their events. (Get tips from the actors on how life was lived before electricity.)
- Visit a local history museum or county historical society to see how people grew food by hand in your area.
- Practice memorization with children — stories, emergency addresses and numbers, directions, songs.
- Relax and go on a day trip or vacation. Discuss how you would handle some emergency situations en route and at your destination.
- Write letters. Can your children read and write in cursive? Can they address an envelope and put a stamp in the correct corner?
- Start learning a foreign language as a family. DuoLingo and Mango Languages are 2 free websites that teach foreign languages. Get their apps on your phones, too!
- Get to know your neighbors. Take them cookies or host a neighborhood cookout.
- Perform random acts of kindness.
After you check each item off your list, make sure to talk about what you learned as a family. Take notes on what worked, lessons learned, things to do better next time, and if there is anything to add to your survival supplies. Take pictures and create a photo book of the summer adventures as something you can look back on as a family. Creating a summer bucket list could be the start of a new family tradition. Don’t forget to add your own items to the list.
Want even more ideas for a fun summer?
- 7 Summer Children’s Activities for Sowing Survivalist Seeds
- 9 Tips to Avoid the Summertime Prepping Slump
- Camp MAMA — Summer Camp Ideas for Moms
- Make This Summer a Family Camping Summer
- Summer Camp Prep
- Summer Jobs for Teenagers: Responsibility & Dedication Building Blocks
- Summer PREP School: 48 Survival Skills for Kids to Learn This Summer
- Summertime Survival Skills for Young Girls
We have all known people who save everything. My grandmother is one of them. If there are four green beans left in the pot, she puts them in the freezer. I remember one specific visit with her, 27 years ago, where she asked me to get her a bowl of ice cream. What I thought was the container of vanilla ice cream was actually a container of saved bacon grease.
Fast forward to today. She is now 96 years old, and still saving every last morsel and dollar. Grandma grew up during the Great Depression; those habits, ingrained in her when young, are still manifest today. The family snickers a little bit about it, but we know she will not outlive her money or her things. Isn’t there something reassuring about that? She has always worked hard at being self-reliant. Will our children be able to do the same?
As I watch the news and look around me, I wonder if another Depression wouldn’t do us some good. It wasn’t too long ago when life wasn’t so convenient. Many in our society have lost the mindset that our grandparents had. We have instant and immediate food, entertainment, communication, and information. Many feel that things will always be as good as they are now, but history does repeat itself. Perhaps one of the most important things we can do is prepare the next generation for whatever may arise.
Like those who have habits from the depression, you can make self-reliance and preparedness a part of your family culture. One of the most effective ways to do this is to live it every day. Whether we have children of our own or are involved in an organization such as a church or school, we have the power to instill preparedness values. Now is the time for us to equip the younger generation with skills that will help them be confident and prepared for anything life may throw at them.
If you have children I recommend that you have a weekly family council. Along with normal family business, make goals on implementing these principles of preparedness into your family. If you are part of another organization, teach classes or organize projects that encourage preparedness. Set the example by your actions.
Five Preparedness Principles
There are five principles that can generate a preparedness mindset:
Thriftiness and frugality
The longstanding adage “Eat it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without”, still holds true today. The importance of being thrifty and frugal is often forgotten. Clothes can be mended, altered and remade into other items. I have seen curtains reused to cover chairs, a table cloth became pillow covers and adult size clothes were remade into clothes for a younger child. Learn ways to take other household items and re-purpose them.
Another way to pinch pennies is to find out where all of your pennies are going. There are many forms online that can be used to assist in budgeting. Record your family’s expenses for one month and then gather together to review them. Are there any non-essentials that can be eliminated? Involve family members in creating a budget. Teach them to differentiate between wants and needs and set financial goals together. Save money for a vacation or purchase that the whole family can enjoy. Budget additional funds to be set aside for large purchases and for emergencies. Teach your kids now that it is not worth “keeping up with the Joneses”.
For more ideas:
- “16 Super-Frugal Tips to Save Loads of Money on Entertainment & Holidays“
- “18 Tips for Enjoying a Frugal Lifestyle“
- “31 Super-Frugal Tips for Saving Money on Food“
- “43 Super-Frugal Tips For Cutting Down on Household Expenses“
Strive for independence
This would include independence from anything that prevents us from living to our full potential. Avoid any habits or addictions that restrict your body and mind. Eat healthy, exercise, surround yourself with good friends, and strengthen yourself spiritually and mentally.
Look at your finances. What can you do to be financially independent? Do not get into the habit of using credit for purchases. Many people look at the monthly payment amount versus the real amount of an item. If you have debt, pay it down now. There are many websites available to help accomplish this.
Time is another area where you can be independent. Choose how to prioritize and use it wisely, which would include helping others. Teach this next generation the importance of being kind and charitable. Donate money and time to projects you feel are worthwhile. There are many opportunities available in your own community or help out with a need on the other side of the world. Either way, you will develop a deeper empathy towards others and an appreciation for what you have.
It sounds odd to tell someone to work at being industrious, but it does require energy to be creative and find balance in life. Look at your life and see what circumstances are around you. Search for ways to be resourceful. You may discover talents you did not know you had.
Are there any enterprising opportunities available that you could take advantage of? Another source of income could benefit you and those around you. Find ways to increase your marketability in the workplace. It may be finishing that degree, taking community classes or a free online classes (many are available). Look in your community. See if there is a need that could be filled by a skill that you possess. Teach those around you the importance of an honest work ethic.While industriousness is good, remember that wherever you are at in life, be there completely. When you are at work, work. When you are at home, leave work alone and enjoy your time with family and friends. If you need down time, take it.
READ MORE: How did people earn money during the Great Depression? You might be surprised by their creativity and industriousness!
Strive for self-reliance
I am sure you know people who seem to be able to do, make, or fix anything. Chances are, they had to work on those skills often before they mastered it. Like them, you need to continue to learn and put what you learn into practice. The internet is a great resource. We can learn how to do basic car maintenance, repairs on our home, first aid, and taking care of what we already own. Not only can you save money by doing these things yourself, you are free from depending on others to do them for you. There is a sense of pride and accomplishment that comes from doing and mastering new tasks. Planting a garden is another way of developing self-reliance. Not only will you save money on groceries and enjoy fresh produce, there are benefits much greater. Gardening, along with other tasks, allow you to spend time with those close to you. Working together as a group builds stronger relationships, whether it is between parent and child, as friends, or in a community setting. There is a sense of togetherness and learning that you cannot get anywhere else. If you do not teach those around you how to work, who will?
Aim towards having a year’s supply of clothing and food
Don’t let this overwhelm you. Take baby steps. Make a list of the amounts of food and commodities that your family normally consumes in one day. Take that list and multiply it by 7. That is your one week supply. When you have a one week supply stored, continue until you have three months supply. Use and rotate your 3 month supply. Then focus on long term storage.
Many foods, such as grains, beans, and pasta can have a shelf life of 30+ years. Clothing can be a bit of a challenge if you have growing kids. Looking at clearance racks and thrift stores can be an inexpensive way to work on storing clothes and shoes. If you sew, fabric is also be a great addition to your years supply. Do not forget to include any notions you may need.
GET STARTED: Read this comprehensive list of food storage basics.
As you begin to create a culture of self-reliance, you will feel more confident about your ability to withstand almost any hardship. We cannot depend on the government or charities to provide services and care for the millions of people across the nation when a disaster happens. It is essential that each individual and family do all they can to be responsible for themselves when needed. If we are wise and careful with our resources, we will be able to sustain ourselves through difficult times.
Learn more about Great Depression survival
- 25 Ways People Earned Money During the Great Depression
- Clara’s Kitchen: Wisdom, Memories, and Recipes from the Great Depression by Clara Cannucciari and Christopher Cannucciari
- Could You Stomach These Great Depression Meals?
- Stories and Recipes of the Great Depression by Janet Van Amber Paske
- The Forgotten Man by Amity Shales
- The Great Depression: A Diary by Benjamin Roth
- The Great Depression: A History Just For Kids by KidsCap
- The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan
- We Had Everything But Money
On this day 10 years ago, I received this recruiting letter from Columbia University. It was just one of several such letters I received from Ivy League colleges, after becoming the recipient of the 2006 All-USA Academic Team community college award. Even more came when I became the New Century Scholar for Wyoming for having […]
For many of us, it’s hard to ask for help. We pride ourselves in our preparedness for emergencies; in many cases we are the go-to people in our social circle for what to do in case of…fill in the blank. Or at least we know who to ask or where to look up the answer. But as strong as we are, there are many things in nature and in our industrialized world that are much stronger. In some cases, we need to call for help…for backup.
It’s OK to need some backup!
Remember that every day, police and fire departments send their people out to dangerous situations. In most cases, one unit (police car, fire truck, ambulance) can handle the situation by themselves with little problem. If you think you have a hard time asking for help, just imagine the egos needed by cops who respond to an armed robbery, or firefighters entering a burning building. In those lines of work, you only ask for help if you really need it: ask for it too often or unnecessarily, and you get a bad reputation.
But when they do really need it, calling for backup allows that first responding unit to stay at the scene and finish the job…with a little help (sometimes with a lot of help). In some cases, that first unit can anticipate trouble before it actually happens and ask for backup as a precaution. For instance, a cop might pull over the car of a known felon, on parole for assaulting a police officer. Common sense would be to call for backup, knowing this person is a high-risk contact.
In a different case, back in the day when I was a street cop I was driving through town on a two-lane road when an old El Camino heading toward me in the other direction suddenly lost its load of furniture into the road right as I passed them. I turned on my red and blue lights and did a U-turn, pulling in behind them where they had already pulled over on the shoulder. I called in the license plate and location to my dispatcher and got out of my car to talk to the occupants, a couple in their 30’s. Having moved many times in my life, I wasn’t in an enforcement frame of mind; I just wanted to make sure they could safely load their cargo back in the car. Our conversation was friendly and light.
Just about the time that I looked in the car and saw the screwdriver sticking out of the steering column, my dispatcher notified me that it was a stolen vehicle and sent another unit toward my location for backup. With a smile on my face, I quickly handcuffed the male and sat him on the curb about the time that the backup car arrived. In this case, a seemingly innocent contact unexpectedly became potentially dangerous, justifying the backup.
Not Just for Cops and Firefighters
Now that you understand what I mean by “backup,” let’s apply the concept to surviving disasters. Most preparedness advice treats each family as an individual unit, but the truth is that most of us have a network of neighbors, friends, and relatives that could potentially help us in various ways in a disaster. And each of us can make a real difference providing backup to our social circle when they are jeopardy.
RELATED ARTICLE: “Where Do You Start When Everything Has Been Lost?“
In general, there are two categories of disasters:
- No-notice disasters like earthquakes and train derailments
- Prior-notice disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and wildfires
There are some calamities like floods that can fit in both categories (i.e. flash floods vs. slow-rise floods), but those tend to be location-specific. You generally have one or the other in a particular place.
Let’s talk about prior-notice incidents first, because planning a backup strategy for them will yield an easy approach to no-notice backup. We want our backup to be able to provide help when we need:
- Sandbagging to keep water out from a flood
- Flammable items removed from around the house as a fire approaches
- Hurricane shutters put up
- Babysitting, so parents can do important tasks
- Supplies or messages delivered when phone service is out
- Water removed from a flooded basement
The preparation that you put in place for prior-notice emergencies will really pay off for no-notice incidents. No-notice events will often cause communications difficulty when they suddenly occur, because the natural reaction of most people is to immediately call their kids or other loved ones. Cellular networks quickly become overloaded with voice traffic, but they can often still accommodate text messages. With a critical contacts list, your group should be able to gain awareness of everyone’s circumstances, and learn who needs help.
Before a disaster strikes, put a critical contacts list together.
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The Critical Contacts List
This contact list is simply a list of who you might want to call on to help in an emergency, but it’s not enough to just put these names and phone numbers on paper. It’s very important to have a conversation with each individual. Once you have a fairly solid list of people you think would be willing to help in a disaster, host a dinner party or potluck (at least with those within a reasonable distance) where you can not only continue the conversation with individuals, but foster connections among the group.
As a personal example, I had no idea that my second cousin was a fairly serious ham radio enthusiast. I found out by chance at a family get-together. Talk about a valuable skill set in a disaster! This would be a great resource to foster communications within the family during an emergency and to keep tabs on info from other hams. The point is that you won’t know if you never ask.
The Agenda, and the List
Before the main course is served at your dinner party, make sure you give each of your guests an agenda of what you hope to accomplish, and a list of contact info for all of your guests. It may seem over the top, but it will focus the group and show them what you want to do. Keep it short and to the point. You can joke with the group that you’re holding dinner hostage until the task is complete. The most important thing is to state your interest in helping organize your neighbors, family and friends to be able to help each other in emergencies.
The contact list is a critical part of your effort; even if an attendee doesn’t enthusiastically buy in to your suggestions, chances are they will hang on to the contact list. If you put forth a little more effort and make it into a laminated card, those odds go way up, as do the odds that the list will be available to each member of your group when it hits the fan. A laminated card, small enough to fit inside a wallet, helps insures that everyone has those important contacts no matter where they are.
One Last Thought
Just as my dispatcher sent backup to me whenever I was anticipating problems, you can anticipate many problems yourself (or even as a group). Most weather-related problems have some warning time, and with all of the warnings available from the National Weather Service and various phone apps, you should have time to alert your people. Think you’ll need backup? Time for a slumber party at your place. Get your crew together, make a plan, and you’ll be more ready than 99% of your neighbors.
A few more resources for disaster survival
- Emergency Evacuations: Get out fast when it matters most by Lisa Bedford
- Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness by Arthur T. Bradley
- Practical Preppers Complete Guide to Disaster Prepareness by Scott Hunt
- The Preppers Blueprint by Tess Pennington
- The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide by Daisy Luther
- Sawyer Complete Water Filtration Kit — one of the best brands
- Sawyer Mini Water Filter — a good size for emergency kits. I keep one in my suitcase for family travel.
- Survival Mom: How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Disasters and Worst Case Scenarios by Lisa Bedford
- Survival Still – a water distillation kit
Are you thinking of starting a homestead? Does the thought of growing food, tending animals and living independently sound attractive to you? If so, then you are not alone, as each year thousands of Americans discover the joy of the self-sufficient life.
But if you are on the fence, here are six reasons why you may want to get going on your homesteading plans:
1. You want to provide food for your family.
Many people who start a homestead do so because they are sick of being reliant on their local grocery store for food. Food prices are skyrocketing, quality is diminishing, and you never know exactly where your food is coming from. When you start your homestead, you will raise the majority of your own food, ensuring it is healthy and nutritious. Also, once your homestead is up and running, you can build a stockpile of healthy food for times of need.
2. You want to simplify your life.
Living in an urban area can be tough: The hustle and bustle of daily life, the fast food and the reliance on technology all eat away at your mental and physical health. If your desire is for fresh air and a good hard day’s work outside, then it may be time to begin your homestead.
People who have left their city ways and embraced all homesteading has to offer report feeling and looking better almost immediately. Their stress level drops, they sleep better, they eat better and they have an overall awareness for the world around them that they have never had before. This promotes a great sense of overall well-being.
3. You want your family to be close.
Modern living has shot a bullet through family life. We are so busy with social distractions, work, sports, school, etc., that we have forgotten what it looks like to be a real family. Few families share a meal together even once a week. The family table has become nothing short of a gathering place for mail and other junk — or a place to do homework. If your desire is to gather your flock together and promote teamwork and unity, nothing will do it faster than starting a homestead. That’s because running a homestead efficiently takes teamwork, and lots of it. Your children will learn the true value of physical labor, and you can enjoy shared meals that you have grown yourself and with less access to the hectic life of the past. You will learn again to have fun together as a family.
4. You want to learn new skills.
Homesteading requires that you learn new skills, and, of course, you need to learn skills to be independent and keep your homestead thriving. There is no better feeling than to be able to manage your own life and property without needing assistance. Learning new skills improves your confidence and also allows you to be a blessing to others in need.
5. You want to be self-sufficient.
Whether you move off grid or even partially off the grid, you will be more self-sufficient than about 90 percent of the population. Think about it: Most people rely daily on everything from the power company to the water company to the grocery store.
Reducing your independence on these services is the first step to becoming self-sufficient. Homesteading offers the chance to live independently, and this provides a strong sense of security.
6. You want to save money.
For many people, the initial cost of starting a homestead and going off grid can be scary. But over time, you will save money. Becoming less dependent on others by raising your own food, learning new skills, utilizing alternative energy sources, etc., will result in substantial cost savings. Take the time to compare your current budget with a proposed budget about one year into your homestead. You will see, pretty quickly, that you can save quite a bit of money.
Of course, homesteading is not for everyone. Always take the time to do your research before purchasing a property and starting a homestead. If you do decide it is for you, then you will need to do even more research to determine things like location and property size. This will help ensure that your journey into homesteading is a rewarding one.
What would you add to this list? Share your additions in the section below:
When it comes to prepping, age-related needs come at both ends of the spectrum. Small children and elderly parents can have very specific needs because their bodies just aren’t able to self-regulate the way a healthy adult in the prime of their life does. Elderly preppers have unique needs to take into consideration.
Even when the needs are the same, such as pureed food or diapering, they have to be approached differently when it’s an elderly person with a lifetime of being independent, or even an adult who has been dependent their entire life. They either have memories of not being this way, or they know other adults are not like this. It’s important to never make them feel like they are being made fun of for something that is beyond their control, whether that is a physical or mental attribute.
First Steps for Elderly Preppers
Most people can retire when they are sixty or sixty-five and that’s a reasonable time to start asking more questions and thinking about putting some preps in place for your parents and other older relatives, although many are still quite healthy and spry well into their 60’s and beyond. Initially, simple steps like having a copy of their will, medical Advance Directives, such as a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate), and other basic forms and information is probably sufficient. As time goes on and takes more and more of a toll, you will need to take more steps to help them, but this is normally a gradual process over a period of a decade or more.
The key items to do in advance are primarily paperwork. In addition to a will and DNR, try to have copies of these documents:
- Medical and financial powers of attorney
- The front page of their passport
- Copies of drivers licenses, insurance, and other basic IDs
The truth is, that these are good to have on hand largely in case something happens and they lose their wallet or purse, especially while traveling. (It would be a good idea for you to leave a complete set of all your IDS and basic legal documents with them for the same reason.)
In addition to Advanced Directives/DNR for the state they live in, it’s a good idea to have one for any state you reasonably expect the to visit or travel through. (DNRs are different in different states and specify what should be done in a medical emergency in terms of pain medication, feeding, and life-extending measures.) Of course, also have copies of any prescriptions and diagnoses they have, and a complete list of all their doctors’ names, addresses, emails, and phone numbers.
A HELPFUL TIP: Create a Grab-n-Go Binder for your elderly loved one. It should be stored in an easy-to-find location and you should have copies of its contents scanned and stored in the Cloud or on a thumb drive OR have hard copies in your own binder.
Single family home
Just because your elderly prepper is well enough to stay in their own home, doesn’t mean they will take care of emergency preparedness items. After all, most young people don’t either. Even small amounts of mental deterioration may make it hard for them to realize how dangerous certain situations are and what they need to do to be prepared, and sheer stubbornness may lead them to deny obvious danger signs.
There are certain emergencies most people are prepared for. Almost everyone knows the importance of smoke detectors and being prepared for a fire. Depending on the location, preparing for earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and other natural hazards may be nearly as common place. These familiar events are a good place to start if the idea of prepping is new to them. Let’s face it. It’s a lot easier to talk about preparing for a tornado than bringing up topics like bug out bags and how they can handle two weeks without access to medical care or their prescriptions.
Smoke detectors are very nearly universal in all homes. Some, like the one linked in the last sentence, play a recorded message so you can direct family members what to do and where to go in a fire. Forgetting to check batteries in smoke detectors is almost as universal as owning them, so go ahead and do this when you visit elderly loved ones. They may find them hard to reach on their own, and testing the detector is also a good way to be sure they can still hear it. If they can’t, it’s time to switch to one with a strobe light.
We have emergency ladders to get out of every bedroom in our house in a fire. If your parents have one, can they still safely climb down it? If they fall, how hard is the surface they will land on? Even if they can still safely climb down, you need to make sure they have a safe area under their window in case they fall to minimize the chance of breaking a hip or other bones.
Once you have reviewed the preps that are in place, talk to them about any improvements you think they could use. As dull as it sounds, those might make a good gift. (Do you think they really want another coffee mug or dust collector?) A few suggestions for those are:
- A bucket of just-add-water meals to provide food for a week or more. These meals are very lightweight and as long as your loved one can heat water to boiling, this food will provide the nourishment they need.
- Large print road map. If the are still able to drive, this will be a huge help.
- A “Panic Alert” emergency dialer
- Waist pack, formerly “fanny pack”, to make sure they always have certain items with them, no matter what.
- Small LED flashlights in each room. Velcro these to tabletops or other handy locations to make sure they don’t easily get lost.
- Fashionable reading glasses, for the ladies.
- A Kindle loaded with books, both for entertainment and reference. It’s easy to change the font size, so this really is a must-have for anyone with vision issues.
You can also talk about the need to improve their tornado/hurricane/earthquake/whatever preps. Even if they aren’t open to all your suggestions, they are still adults and you need to respect their choices, even ones you know aren’t smart, as long as they aren’t endangering anyone else.
Once your relatives can no longer care for a yard or remove snow from the driveway and sidewalk, it is probably time for them to move into a senior apartment, particularly if no one lives close enough to help. Their emergency preparedness needs will change when this happens. For example, even if they can still use an emergency ladder, it is time to replace it with something less physically taxing.
Part of moving from a home to an apartment is downsizing. They will have to get rid of a lot of stuff, some of which may be useful to you in your preps. Items I bought from an elderly woman moving into assisted living included wool throw blankets, high-quality hand-powered kitchen gadgets, cigarette lighters from back when they were daily use items, and really good gardening tools.
We all collect more stuff than we need, and your loved one may need help in sorting through their own household goods. If possible, and if there’s an urgent need for cash, help them organize and hold a yard sale.
With downsizing, it’s a good time to review their paperwork. Some of their doctors may change when they move, so be sure to check their list of doctors both right after they move and a few months later, when they have settled in a bit more. It’s possible you may be the one to seek out new doctors, so be ready to ask for referrals and do some research in order to find the best care in this new location. Sometimes transportation can become an issue at this stage, and that is something to keep in mind as new doctors are found.
In an emergency, elderly loved ones who are living on their own, should be able to pack for an evacuation, but will almost certainly need a list to work from. Create a list with them (in a large font!), post 1 or 2 copies in handy locations, then review it with them every six months or so to keep up with their health. You don’t want to have their cane on the packing list, only to end up at your destination and find that they are struggling without their walker. Put the list inside a plastic sheet protector with a dry erase pen and a facial tissue. The dry erase pen can write on the sheet protector, and the tissue can be used to wipe it off, making the packing list reusable.
TIP: The Survival Mom has written an entire, easy to read manual on the subject of Emergency Evacuations.
When their condition deteriorates to the point that they can’t live on their own any more, they will need to move into assisted living. This option is for people with most of their abilities to live independently intact, just not enough to be on their own, to those with no ability to care for their daily needs. This move will also lead to another round of down-sizing.
Whatever their condition, an elderly person should be able to pack their own bag, or direct someone else to pack it. Some may need to have a very detailed checklist to follow while others may only need to be told “pack enough clothing for at least a week” and they will have everything they need, including toiletries, spare shoes, and sunscreen. You need to evaluate your loved one’s condition and give them the support they need to successfully pack themselves.
You should already have copies of all their prescriptions and diagnoses. Now it’s time to find out what medical equipment, if any, they will need. In this move, they shouldn’t need anything too large or expensive. The largest thing someone in assisted living is likely to need is an oxygen tank or wheelchair and keeping one or two spare tanks of oxygen handy. These don’t take a lot of space. Honestly, I have that much space dedicated to shoes I rarely wear.
Assisted living residents can also have their own bug out bags assembled and ready to go. These should contain copies of all the paperwork discussed in the last paragraph.
By the time your elderly loved one is in a nursing home, you can’t count on them doing anything to help themselves in an emergency. At most, they will be able to pick up and carry their own emergency bag. Realistically, most people in a nursing home will be hard pressed to hold onto a bag while someone else pushes their wheelchair to the exit. You will need to have everything ready for them.
Unlike a person in their own home, their room will contain very few personal items. They will have downsized as much as they possibly can and are unlikely to have anything substantial beyond clothing, toiletries, and a few small items. You won’t need to have clothing pre-packed because you can take a bag and empty their drawers/closet into that bag as you are getting ready to leave. You can clear out the medicine cabinet/bathroom sink into a toiletries bag, making sure you have all their key medicines. The upside of having few belongings is that it takes only a few minutes to pack them up.
TIP: Prior to this move, be sure you have had discussions regarding personal belongings, real estate, and finances.
You should already have copies of their key paperwork and medications (discussed above). At this stage in their lives, you should ask their doctors and the nurses who oversee them on a day-to-day basis to find out what else they need. Will they need a bedpan, catheters, IVs, or other medical equipment? If so, you can buy those and have them ready in an emergency or at least be prepared to make arrangements as soon as possible after leaving the facility. Check frequently with facility administrators, nurses, and orderlies to keep up with any deterioration in their condition.
An elderly woman I help care for complained of “some leaking” when she woke up in the mornings. When we eventually moved her out of her apartment, her mattress showed how much she had been in denial about her incontinence problems. This is something no adult wants to admit, but it’s all too common among the elderly. If there is a chance you will be evacuating or otherwise in the car for a long time, you should pack disposable incontinence underwear for them, especially if there won’t be easy access to bathrooms.
Incontinence issues affect many people of all ages.
Before an emergency evacuation, tell the truth: You will be in the car for a long time and may not be able to get to a bathroom quickly. You have Depends, or some other brand, handy and let them make the choice whether or not to use them. If they are having problems, they will probably go ahead and use the Depends IF they can do it without being made to feel embarrassed or shamed. If they won’t do it for this reason, they probably won’t wear one for any other reason.
If you are concerned about a possible incontinence problem and they won’t use Depends, cover your seats with bed sheeting fabric. It’s about $4/yard at the fabric store, is waterproof, and feels like flannel. (It’s also great as a diaper changing pad for toddlers.)
“Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.”
Special Needs Preppers is a complete series of articles for every family with loved ones whose needs have been overlooked by most other survival and prepper blogs and websites. Most of us can’t fathom leaving behind a pet — how much more important is a grandmother, autistic child, or a bed-ridden loved one?
If you have other, helpful suggestions for any of these special needs preppers, please leave your comments.
- Mental Health Challenges
- Physical & Medical Challenges
- Pregnancy, Babies & Toddlers
- Severe Disabilities
- Single Moms
An evacuation can be pretty scary, even for adults. Just as there are all kinds of reasons to evacuate, there are all kinds of unknowns.
- Do you know where you will be evacuating to?
- How long will you be gone?
- What do you need? What don’t you need?
- Do you even know where your shoes are?
Running around gathering up all your stuff is pretty hectic, even when you have all the answers. From a little kid’s perspective, all that chaos can be overwhelming. You can easily diminish the stress of the event by holding regular evacuation drills with your family.
Practice is the part of emergency evacuation that is least exercised but arguably most important. It’s easy enough to buy a 72-hour kit and explain to the kids what it’s for, but it’s less easy to set aside the time for an evacuation drill. For some reason, this part of preparedness often takes a backseat. This is especially true if you live in an area that hasn’t experienced a natural disaster in some time.
Our First Evacuation Drill
In the spirit of research, (and also in the spirit of practicing what I preach) we finally set aside the time to actually, in real life, do a trial run of our evacuation plan. Here’s what our trial run looked like:
Before our drill, my husband and I sat down with the kids (ages 6, 4, 2, and 2 months) and planned out what we would be doing and who was responsible for what. Each child capable of walking would be responsible for his or her own emergency kit, comfort items, and shoes. Mom (that’s me!) would take charge of the baby and make sure we had all of her relevant supplies. Dad would grab some extra containers of water, and any handy snacks that happened to be in the pantry.
We made excellent time – all four kids were buckled in the minivan along with our 72 hour kits in 4 minutes, 55 seconds. We congratulated ourselves and took a victory lap around the block. It wasn’t until after we unloaded and put everything away that we realized we had forgotten a lot of stuff:
- We didn’t turn off the main water line.
- The clothes dryer was still running.
- We forgot to lock the front door (but not the back).
- Only my husband remembered to bring a coat.
- I remembered my cell phone, but not the charger.
My youngest was born with a cleft palate, and I remembered to grab all her taping supplies for her face, but didn’t realize until after our drill was complete that her dental appliance had fallen out and was left behind in her baby swing. If our evacuation had been for real, that would have been an absolute disaster.
We learned some other things, too. Even though everyone knew this was for practice and we weren’t actually in any danger of zombie attack, my two-year-old panicked. “I can’t find my blankie! Where’s my other shoe?” I told her, as I was packing up the baby’s things, that she should check upstairs in her room, but for some reason she could only walk around in circles in the living room worrying herself sick. In contrast, my oldest had his shoes, socks, favorite toy, and 72 hour kit in hand and was the first one to be buckled into the car. The four-year-old cheated and found his own favorite toy and blanket long before I started the stop watch, the second I announced the evacuation drill.
READ MORE: Do most people think clearly and rationally when under the gun with a real life emergency evacuation? Read this.
We experienced a slight hiccup when the 2-year-old was unable to lift her own 72-hour kit. She struggled along with it out to the car for about five feet before collapsing into a puddle of toddler frustration. Only later did we realize that she had been trying to lift her older brother’s kit – the two kits are in identical bags.
My husband, whose brain switched into autopilot when we began our drill, briefly forgot that we had a fourth child. Not until we unpacked the car did he turn to me and ask, “Oh, no! Did we forget the baby?” (No.) In his defense, she was in a really quiet mood at the time.
- EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW: My book, Emergency Evacuations, is your handbook for planning and carrying out quick and safe evacuations. Add it to your family’s survival library today! (Kindle and paperback)
What We Will Do Differently In The Future
So knowing how our trial run went – the good and the bad – how will this impact our future drills, or even a real evacuation?
- We’ll be more likely to remember everything. Even though we had forgotten those crucial items in our drill, knowing what we forgot will mean that we’re less likely to forget those same things in the future. Our focus this first time was on speed. While speed is important, thoroughness is also necessary. With a lightning-fast time of 4:55, we know we can afford to slow down just a tiny bit to take a deep breath while looking around the living room for forgotten cell phone chargers and unlocked doors.
- We restructured some responsibilities. Our oldest was perfectly fine taking care of himself, and was the first one ready to go. The two-year-old, though, needed some extra help, so the logical course of action was to give the oldest an extra assignment to help his sister. Next time, he is to gather all of his things and put them by the door, and then offer whatever assistance he can to his younger siblings. My husband and I talked about re-doing our own assignments as well, with my focus being more on the kids (since, you know, I didn’t forget about any of them) while he concentrates on packing up the car.
- Identical bags is not a good thing. A four-year-old is capable of lifting a much heavier bag than a two-year-old. We need to get a different backpack for one child, or do something else to differentiate between the two so this mistake doesn’t happen again.
- Practice means less likelihood of panic next time. Everyone will know what to expect, what to do, where to go, and who will need extra help. The next drill will happen soon, probably within the next few months, to keep it fresh in everyone’s memory.
What Else Should Be Practiced?
Evacuations aren’t the only thing that we need to drill with our kids. Schools, businesses, and military bases around the world participate in fire and earthquake drills. If it’s good enough for Amelia Earhart Elementary down the street, it’s probably good enough for all of us.
In my neck of the woods, the local government sponsors annual earthquake drills. I’ve taken the opportunity to participate in them with my kids when I can (it usually involves hiding under the kitchen table), and I’ve found this to be very helpful. When the recent earthquake in Ecuador came up as a topic of conversation, my 4-year-old interrupted to say exactly what he would do if we experienced one at home. His personal emergency plan was exactly the one we had discussed and practiced as a family. That’s my boy!
Fire drills, admittedly, can be a little tricky because they often involve climbing out windows. All the more reason to practice! Invest in a decent fire escape ladder, and help your kids become comfortable climbing down them. If you have very young children who cannot climb on their own, then I encourage you, the parent, to become proficient at using a rope ladder while carrying a kid with one arm. I confess this is a skill that I have not yet mastered, but it’s one that I know will be really good to have.
Have you practiced your evacuation plans as a family? If so, we’d love to hear about it in the comments.
Resources to help you prepare
- Countdown to Preparedness by Jim Cobb
- Emergency Evacuations: Get out fast when it matters most by Lisa Bedford
- “Packing Your Pet’s Evacuation Kit“
- The Preppers Blueprint by Tess Pennington
- The Prepper’s Pocket Guide by Bernie Carr
- “2 Types of Emergency Evacuations: Urgent and Planned“
- SAS Survival Handbook by John ‘Lofty’ Wiseman
- Survival Mom: How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Disasters and Worst Case Scenarios by Lisa Bedford
Today I’m sharing with you a cause I feel very passionate about. Part of being prepared is being prepared to help others. Especially those who cannot provide for or protect themselves. The Abolitionists is a documentary that shows how one group is working to do just that by rescuing children around the world who are being held as sex slaves.
Child sex trafficking is one of those topics that is almost too heart wrenching to want to talk about. I hate having to admit that there are people in the world that are so evil that they use children this way. Humanity should be better than that. Yet it is a very real problem, with an estimated 2 million children enslaved world wide. Human trafficking is the third most lucrative crime in the world, with an estimated $32 Billion in annual profits. A child is sold into the sex trade every 30 seconds. And it needs to be stopped.
A few weeks ago I was privileged to be part of a pre-screening for a new documentary called The Abolishionists that will be showing in theaters across the United States ONE NIGHT ONLY on May 16, 2016. I actually tried to avoid it because, like I said, I don’t even want to believe this really happens. Plus I was afraid it would be scary, dark, or leave me feeling helpless, and being a late night screening, I didn’t want to take that feeling and try to sleep on it. But I’m SO GLAD I went! This movie was none of that. Although dealing with a very dark topic, the producers and directors kept the show positive and I actually left the viewing with hope instead of helplessness. So what is The Abolitionists about? And why am I encouraging you to go see it?
“The documentary features undercover footage from rescue operations around the world, including action-packed, high-risk operations and tender moments of liberating at-risk children. THE ABOLITIONISTS takes viewers behind the scenes as Ballard and his team of highly trained operatives risk their own lives to free innocent children from trafficking, an epidemic that has become the world’s fastest growing crime, with over 27 million people enslaved–nearly 2 million of them children.
“On December 10th, 2013, Special Agent Tim Ballard turned in his Homeland Security badge and resigned from his employment with the United States government after spending a decade rescuing children from child sex tourism domestically and overseas. Though his job was difficult, he was proud that his country was one of very few in the world actually doing anything about this problem.
“However, despite the U.S. government’s best efforts, Tim observed that red tape and bureaucracy left many children falling through the cracks. These children constitute over 90% of the children lost to child sex slavery, and Tim could do nothing to help them while in the employment of the US government.
“Now the Founder and CEO of Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.), Ballard and his team investigate and rescue enslaved children from around the world, while undercover film crews posing as traffickers record each of these dangerous rescue operations.
“Utilizing hidden surveillance equipment to capture every moment, the stories of O.U.R. and Ballard’s triumph over evil will leave viewers both disturbed and inspired to join in the fight of THE ABOLITIONISTS.”
This is a high quality documentary produced by Gerald Molen, the producer of Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List. It is well worth your time to go see this show and get educated about what can be done and what is being done to help rescue these kids.
What can You and I do?
- Watch the movie. Right now, it’s one night only–May 16, 2016. Check here for the list of theaters across the US it will be showing at and get your tickets. They will be adding locations right up until the 16th, so check back if you don’t see one near you. It deals with adult topics, but is clean enough your teens could definitely go see it as well.
- Help raise awareness. The goal is to save 2 million, so share any of the links below on social media with the hashtag #Rescue2M
- Get more information:
CBS Evening News (October 15, 2014)
Get to the theater and Watch This Documentary. Get your friends to the theater and Watch This Documentary. We can all help save these kids.
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Please be sure to follow Food Storage and Survival on Facebook which is updated every time there is a new article. You can also find me on Pinterest, and purchase my book, Food Storage for Self Sufficiency and Survival on Amazon.
Navigating Grief D J Cooper “Surviving Dystopia” This week has been a real struggle for me to even write this. My family recently suffered a tragedy that had me literally unable to accomplish things I needed to do. My perspective changed as to what was a priority. School work did not get done, this write … Continue reading Navigating Grief!
My children are big enough to not need many special accommodations, but when they were younger, just keeping their emergency supplies up to date (in other words, clothing that fit and food they would eat) could be a challenge! The truth is that little kids end up with a lot of emergencies, most of the potty, food, and otherwise messy variety. Parents already carry a lot of “emergency supplies” with them!
In a larger disaster, the challenges are determining what you need for a longer period, quite possibly away from home, and ways to keep your little one comfortable and content away from home. If you’re an expectant mother, you have your own set of unique needs.
Emergency needs for pregnant women
Given how swiftly needs change during pregnancy, your Bug Out Bag or emergency kit may not be up to date. You’ll probably want to add a month’s supply of prenatal vitamins, a portable water filter (hydration is extremely important and you may end up in an area with questionable water), a few Mylar pouches of water, high calorie nutrition bars, and antacid tablets. Another good addition is a small bottle of acetaminophen, deemed to be safe for pregnant women, Benadryl (can be helpful as a mild sleep aid, too), a laxative, and any other medications your doctor recommends.
Nutrition will be an extremely important consideration, so carefully consider the emergency food you have on hand. These store especially well:
- Canned or dry beans (naturally high in folate)
- Lentils and lentil soup
- Freeze-dried bananas for potassium and energy
- Freeze-dried and/or canned chicken (quick meals, great protein source)
- Eggs — dried eggs are handy and store well
- Oatmeal — Make your own “instant oatmeal” by briefly processing oats in a blender and adding dried fruit, dried milk, and a little sugar.
- Freeze-dried spinach — a good way to have a leafy green that stores long-term
- Orange drink powder — I don’t love the sugar content, but the Vitamin C is necessary and the sugar can give you a quick energy boost.
- Almonds, walnuts — a healthy source of fat
- Freeze-dried or dehydrated fruit
If you’re pregnant and have strange cravings, it wouldn’t hurt to add a few servings to your kit. If it’s something like Taco Bell Quesaritos, well, I guess you’ll just have to keep on hand a map of all Taco Bells within 100 miles or so!
Whatever you pack, it’s smart to keep a basic list with notations of where to find the items in case someone else needs to pack for you because you either aren’t home or aren’t feeling well. Pregnancy brain is infamous for making women forgetful, and so is sleep deprivation, which continues until at least when they start school. Lists are your friend!
Along with food and water, at a bare minimum, you will need pre-natal vitamins, any other medication, doctors’ diagnosis, and comfortable clothing with room to grow. If you have any kind of sleep or comfort aids, including wedge pillows, belly bands, etc. note it. If you have any medical issues, have up-to-date copies of your prescriptions and medical charts. It’s also a good idea to bring something from your doctor, like an ultrasound picture, that shows your Estimated Delivery Date. There may be restrictions (and extra assistance) once you reach a certain gestational point and the last thing you want is to be unable to prove either that those restrictions don’t apply to you or that you do rate the assistance (if needed) because you don’t “look” the way someone thinks you should.
If you are pregnant, part of your emergency preparedness should also include a “Plan B” for your birth. Few things are as scary to a pregnant woman as the prospect of birthing in unfamiliar or dangerous conditions. Mothers-to-be are busy enough making “Plan A” for their birth, most of us never even consider a “Plan B” that involves giving birth elsewhere because of evacuation or inability to get to a hospital. Even if your “Plan B” isn’t meticulously planned out, it’s helpful to have a general idea. Many birth classes go over what to do if you unexpectedly find yourself in the middle of an unplanned unassisted birth.
Some women have pregnancy-related bladder leakage problems. If you are one of them, pack accordingly. Even if you aren’t, be prepared for your water to break, even if you don’t think you are far enough along. A few extra maxi pads don’t take much space and if you don’t need them, you might help out another woman.
If I could go back in time I might not make the same decision, but I only used disposable diapers. Even so, I kept a pack of cloth diapers on hand, just in case of emergency. We still use them as dust-rags. If you don’t use them, you know they will definitely be in the bag in the event of a true emergency. After all, would you rather use a cloth diaper or dad’s shirt? It’s kind of a no-brainer when you think about it.
READ MORE: Want to learn more about the pros and cons of cloth diapers vs. disposables? Read this.
Diaper wipes and rash ointment are the other obvious needs. Even if your child rarely (or never) gets diaper rash, you could end up in a situation where you aren’t able to change them as often as you normally would or are forced to use a different brand of wipes or diapers, resulting in a rash.
If your little one is in the middle of potty-training, or has recently been potty-trained, the stress may cause them to regress, so be prepared. Bring plenty of diapers, pull-ups, wipes, extra big-kid or training underwear, and resealable bags for soiled clothing. A reusable wet bag is very helpful for containing all types of messes.
THINK ABOUT THIS: Pack a roll of dog waste bags in your emergency kits and diaper bag. One roll usually has 40 to 50 bags and these have infinite uses.
In an evacuation or other emergency situation, accidents can be even more of an issue. No one wants trapped in a car for hours with the smell of poopy diapers or vomit. Kids ‘n’ Pets is a great solution for that. There are foldable travel potty seats, although you may just want to bag the one they are used to and bring it along. Don’t forget a stool to help them reach the seat safely!
Food for infants and toddlers
If you are pregnant and have had cravings, try to plan for that. Some foods are easy to find, like the burritos I craved during one pregnancy. Others, not so much, especially regional or seasonal treats.
I joke that I was designed to be a wet nurse. When my son needed 20 ccs of milk, I was pumping 12 ounces. The amount of leakage was no joke. I was wet and uncomfortable for the first three months of my sons’ lives, then engorged and intermittently uncomfortable for at least another three after that before everything settled down. (For a more in-depth discussion of breast-feeding, keep your eyes out for a forthcoming post on subject.) If you are like me and produce lots of milk, pack lots of both disposable and reusable nursing pads, every bra that fits, and about four times as many shirts as you normally would if you have to evacuate. As long as you can do laundry, that should work out.
READ MORE: In a time of major crisis, the concept of wet-nursing may make a comeback. Read more here.
Whether you produce a lot of a little, definitely pack at least some nursing pads, whatever you use for privacy while nursing, your breast pump, bottles, and a bottle brush. If your breast pump has an option for a car power plug, buy and bring it along. That gives you more choices about when and where to pump, especially if you have a solar power source that has a similar power outlet. For a more portable option, consider a simple hand pump. It’s smaller and requires no electricity, but the trade-off is that it is not as efficient as an electric pump.
Bring two or three times as much as you think you’ll need. It is all too easy to spill or lose items, especially away from home. This is especially important if your child is picky or has dietary restrictions. If they do, make a note of places you can order more online, chains that often carry it
It may sound obvious, but don’t forget water to mix the formula, and a small bottle of dish detergent (with a bottle brush) to clean everything after each feeding. Bonus points if you bring a small dish basin, which can also double as a small toy corral. Double bonus points if water can be heated on that basin to allow warming bottles. (Grills are available at many rest-stops and campsites.) Depending on the situation, you may also need a way to filter and treat the water to make it potable.
READ MORE: Wondering about all the different water filters out there? Read this for more information.
For at-home emergencies, you still need a way to heat water both to warm formula for feedings and to adequately clean and sterilize all parts of the bottles in case there is a power outage. A Sun Oven can heat water to pasteurization temperature and is also helpful for heating and cooking food when the power is out.
First Foods and Snacks
With small children, pickiness definitely comes into play at meal and snack time. If you know your toddler will absolutely melt down if they do not have Honey Nut Cheerios mid-afternoon, be sure to grab an extra two or three boxes as soon as any potential weather disaster enters the forecast. Include these on your packing list because they are as essential as diapers and formula for your sanity and well-being.
Small amounts of snacks can be kept in Ziploc bags or sealed using a Food Saver. Try giving your kids various freeze dried foods, such as freeze-dried yogurt bites and get them accustomed to the taste and texture. When you purchase these in either pouches or the smaller #2.5 size cans, they are lightweight and very packable when it comes to getting an emergency kit ready or having extra food on hand for the duration of an emergency.
If you make your own baby or toddler food, bring the basic equipment you need. Don’t assume it will be available wherever you end up. This may be as simple as a stick blender, scooper (or one of the new “spoonulas” – a great invention in my humble opinion), and a bowl.
Back before most audio music was purely digital, we old-timers listened to our favorites on CDs and owned small carrying cases to hold our favorite disks. These same carrying cases can hold DVDs, and that makes them take less space while still protecting them. As soon as it starts looking like you may need to evacuate, select the DVDs the kids will tantrum without, along with some family favorites to enjoy as “family movie” time. If you have time, a brand new DVD is a great way to provide a fun surprise and a few hours of quiet time for mom and dad.
CHECK THIS OUT: Our list of survival movies with a romantic edge.
Pack a portable DVD player or a laptop with TV connector cables so you can watch them. If you have Amazon Prime, toss in the Fire Stick and remote, but know that you may not be able to access it when you get where you are going. Favorite books (especially for bedtime), read aloud chapter books, coloring books (including adult coloring pages for older kids), and electronic devices also go a long way toward making long trips less unpleasant.
If you have time, create a few new music playlists for the trip – or have the kids do it! Then they’ll have something fun to listen to. You may even want to download some new tunes to surprise them. Perhaps a soundtrack you don’t hate from one of their movies?
Naps for all!
Babies are often quite content to nap either on a blanket or in their car seat. A blanket that blocks out the light and dampens the noise can be thrown over a stroller or car seat in a pinch. I’ve always kept small Gymboree blankets and a few towels rolled up and stored beneath the back seat just for this reason.
If your baby is used to sleeping in a Pack ‘n Play on a regular basis, those are fairly easy to pack and move.
Toddlers may not be quite as easy to put down for a nap as babies. They are infamous for being picky about when and where they nap. In an emergency, there will probably be a lot of commotion and stimulation making napping difficult. At the very least, there will be a new environment, which is not relaxing or safe-feeling for a young child.
The easiest solution is to have a small tent or shelter for them to sleep in. Let them use it at home, too, so it is already familiar. The Privacy Pop is a great solution is you want something that goes over an entire bed, including the mattress. An inexpensive tent or play space works, too.
Bring them. You don’t want to abandon them and the kids will probably flip out if you try. They may even endanger themselves and others by going back into a dangerous situation to rescue their beloved pet. This will require some advanced planning, and is the subject of another post, but a few advance phone calls should help you find a place where your pet is welcome along with the family.
READ MORE: Pets have always been a popular topic on The Survival Mom blog. Here are a few articles that will help you get your beloved pets ready for emergencies:
- Evacuation Time? Don’t Forget Your Pets!
- Have You Thought About Pets in Your Preparedness Planning?
- Put Together an Emergency Kit for Your Pets
Clothing tips for pregnant moms, babies, and toddlers
Finally, remember that babies go through about six to seven outfits per day. Pack your 72 hr kit accordingly. They’ll also need blankets. If you have to bug out on foot, ditch the 40-lb baby carrier/ carseat. Invest in a wrap, or make one yourself. Wraps are more comfortable than other baby carriers because they put the weight of the child onto your hips instead of your shoulders and upper back. Wraps have the added benefit of leaving your hands free and any other adult or older child/teen can also “wear” the baby.
If your toddlers suffer from what we call “sock bump anxiety disorder,” make sure that you have non-bumpy socks in their kids. Whatever their size, check their bug out bags regularly to make sure their clothing, socks, and shoes are a good fit.
For a pregnant mother-to-be, loose clothing, socks, and comfortable shoes are a must. If you find that your feet swell during the day, plan on wearing socks or slippers and bring along a firm pillow or small step stool to elevate your legs. Some pregnant women tend to be cold, no matter where they are. If this describes you, store a sweater or another warm and cozy outer layer with your emergency supplies.
Preppers come in every shape, size, age, and physical condition. It’s smart to consider now, ahead of a crisis, what you will need to prepare so that each of your loved ones is equipped to handle an everyday emergency or a worst case scenario.
Other “Special Needs Preppers” in this series:
Today’s recipe is for and “Onion Pie”. It comes from the Primitive Cookery book and it is absolutely fantastic. It’s very inexpensive and easy but it is perfect for a main dish. Wonderful flavors and textures. You have to try this! ***************************** ***************************** Sign up for our Youtube Newsletter! – http://jas-townsend.com/ytemail.php Standing Crust Video – […]
A Wisconsin family has had to appeal all the way to the United States Supreme Court to get permission to sell or build on property they have paid taxes on for decades.
The family, the Murrs, are trying to get fair compensation on a rural river-front property that government regulators say they cannot sell. The Murrs claim the land along the St. Croix River is valued at $698,000.
The family actually owns two pieces of land along the river: the vacant lot and an adjacent lot where a cabin resides. Although the family long has considered the two pieces of property separate – they pay separate property bills and have considered the vacant lot an investment property – authorities merged the two against the family’s wishes, and then said they could not split them, Watchdog.org reported.
St. Croix County collected taxes on the lots, separately, for years. The Murrs, in fact, say they paid $78,000 more in property taxes than they should have if the county’s $40,000 assessment is correct.
New regulations in the mid-1970s limited construction along the river, but because the properties were bought in the 1960, they were grandfathered, the Leader-Telegram reported. If any other family had owned the plot of land, they could build on it. But because the same family owns both plots, the Murrs are limited in what they can do.
New county regulations that didn’t exist when the property initially was bought say that a plot of land must have one acre of buildable area in order to be sold or developed. The vacant lot is less than that.
The case may seem complicated but involves a simple question: Can the government combine two adjacent lots against a family’s wishes, and then prevent them from selling one of them?
The Supreme Court will hear the case this fall. The Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) is representing the family.
“In short, when [the vacant lot] was created in 1959, and purchased in 1963, it was of sufficient size, width, and zoning to allow development of a single family house. Indeed, that is the use allowed for all the parcels within the St. Croix Cove Subdivision. However, because of the restrictions that came into place … the parcel was now defined as ‘substandard,’” PLF attorneys wrote in a petition to the Supreme Court.
John M. Groen, the principal attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation, said that “everyone who values property rights should welcome the court’s decision to hear this important case,”
“This litigation asks whether government can get away with telling property owners, in essence, ‘The more land you own, the less we’ll allow you to use,’” Groen said. “We’re challenging a practice that is all too common among land use regulators, where they tell a landowner she can’t use her property, based on the excuse that she also happens to own a neighboring parcel.
“In other words, bureaucrats will treat two, legally distinct parcels, as if they were one unified parcel, so they can prohibit all development on one of the parcels without providing compensation as required by the Fifth Amendment,” Groen added. “As we will argue to the Supreme Court, this kind of regulatory sleight of hand cannot be permitted if the Constitution’s Takings Clause is to be respected.”
The takings clause is the portion of the Fifth Amendment that states: “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” The Foundation is arguing that St. Croix County and the state violated the clause by merging the lots and then by not offering just compensation.
Who do you support – the county or the Murrs? Share your views in the section below:
On a warm spring day a young man went on an outing in the majestic mountains near his home. Although he had been there in those same mountains many times he had never been to this particular area before. After several hours of initial exploration he decided to go a little further. The young man […]
Frugal lifestyle tips.
Do any of these words bring to mind a lifestyle full of joy and freedom? Oddly, they don’t. Instead, they bring to mind images of Scrooge and dreary, turn-of-the-century London slums. (Not sure why that last image comes to mind, but it does. Possibly from reading Oliver Twist!)
For those of us who do live lives of frugality, penny-pinching, and, yes, thriftiness, the reality is quite different. My family has been debt free for many years, with only a house payment and utilities as our expenses. While we aren’t exactly rolling in dough, neither are we over-burdened with stuff and all the responsibilities that come from owning too much stuff.
Here are a few tips I’ve learned over the years and a handful on my own To Do list:
- Give yourself a cash allowance every week or month and when the money is gone, it’s gone. Even having $10-20 and knowing you can spend it on ANYTHING YOU LIKE, adds some fun to the month. This will help you avoid those moments of self-pity when it feels like you never get to treat yourself to something special, and then, when you do spend, you know the money is there and there’s no stress about whether or not you can afford it.
- Check your banking account online often. Look for unauthorized expenses and those little expenses that can add up quickly. It helps you feel like you’re in control when you know exactly how much money is in your account and where it’s going and if there are any fraudulent charges, you can contact the bank immediately.
- Find friends who also want to live a frugal lifestyle, rather than with people who have expensive tastes. If you hang out with people who absolutely must have the latest technical gadget the day it comes out and they spend money like it’s water, pretty soon you’ll begin to do the same, or you’ll end up feeling depressed when you don’t spend. Who needs that additional stress?
- Have no spend days. Once you are able to go 1, 2, 3, and 4 days without spending a dime, then challenge yourself and your family to a full week of no spending.
- If one member of the family is more frugal, more of a saver, send THEM to the store with a list. They’ll be more likely to stick to the list and avoid impulse buys. If I run to the store to buy 4 things, you’d better believe I come home with 30 or 40. My penny-pinching daughter? She’ll stick to that list like white on rice!
- Make saving money a game. What are the very cheapest meals you can make? If you spent $500 on groceries this month, can you spend $475 next month and $450 the next?
- On Sundays, sit down with your family and plan your spending for the week. Know what you will need to buy and this helps avoid buying things you don’t need. This will also help surprise expenses that the kids might spring on you at the last moment, such as fees for school activities.
- If possible, have a set amount of money automatically deposited from your paycheck into your savings account. There’s a very good chance you’ll never miss it. If you don’t make a point of saving money on purpose, it will never happen. Use this 52 Weeks Savings Plan, too.
- Carry cash for your spending money. It’s harder to spend it than it is to swipe a card. Those plastic debit and credit card remove you from the actual transition of cash. After all, it’s just a swipe, right?
- Take advantage of pre-tax Health Savings Accounts and employer contributions to a 401K, if those are offered by your job. Every benefit offered by your company, even if it’s just a bag of coffee beans per month as offered by Starbucks to their employees, is there for the taking. (By the way, Starbucks is an excellent employer. Review their benefits here.)
- Keep track of your financial progress: savings, debt repayment, mortgage/car pay offs, etc. This is so motivating — and get the family involved. Right now, my own family is saving up for an extensive vacation, and we have savings goals for each month. Not surprisingly, both kids are eager to get summer jobs, so they can add to the kitty!
- Use tax returns strategically: pay off debt, use it as your emergency fund, divide it by 12 and use it toward a monthly expense, etc. If you normally get this little “windfall” from the IRS, give yourself at least 3-4 weeks before spending it, a “cooling off period,” if you will. That will give you time to prioritize expenses and decide how much you want to set aside in savings.
- Watch your attitude and be grateful for what you have. It’s easy to become discouraged and even depressed when money is tight, but our grandparents and great-grandparents who lived through the Great Depression not only survived but many of them have said those were the best days of their lives. Why? Certainly not because they had every creature comfort and a huge bank balance, but because it was a time of families and communities pulling together, encouraging one another, and finding creative ways to make the most of what they had. If they could do it, you can, too!
- Stay away from malls and stores! You can’t pray, “Lead me not into temptation”, and expect to not be lured by tantalizing merchandise in stores and your favorite mall!
- Do the same for your kids. They are immersed in messages that tell them they must own certain items, dress a certain way, emulate one celebrity or another and spending time at malls and stores will only further drive home the message that happiness and acceptance by others can only come by spending money. Not a good foundation for their adult years.
- Spoil your kids with things that don’t cost much, if any, money – story time with mom, a trip to the dog park, story time at the library, “Hot Chocolate Night”, etc. This is when it really pays to keep track of restaurants and fast food joints that have “kids eat free” days. Combine that with a special night out for just you and one of the kids, and that’s a really inexpensive way to make your kid feel like a million bucks. In our house, we call this, “Girls Night Out” and “Guys Night Out.”
- Know the difference between needs and wants and make sure everyone in the family understands this, adults included! When my son has a long list of things he absolutely must have, I have him list each of them on a separate PostIt note and put them on the fridge. A few days later, I ask, “Is there anything on that list you don’t really want or need, after all?” One by one, the PostIts come off the fridge as he realizes he was just acting on impulse. If there’s something left after 3 or 4 weeks, he then begins saving money to buy it.
- Sign up to become a mystery shopper. This is a tricky way to get a nice meal out and be reimbursed. I’ve done mystery shopping for several companies over the years. It’s not the easy, get-rich-quick job that some claim, but once you get in with a few companies, you can pick and choose which jobs to take. Now, I only, and very occasionally, shop my absolute favorite high-end restaurant. For a $45 gift card to that same restaurant, it’s not a bad investment of my time!
How to clean your Patio Seat Pads:
Look how well the pad looks after a trip in the Washing Machine! No more nastiness!
Needless to say, the Cushions smelled clean and fresh. Too often, these cushions smell musty and dusty. (My table and the armrests looked clean and new).
We grilled burgers and made new memories. I am looking forward to more opportunities to use our outdoor kitchen and dining room!
More and more people are choosing to leave everything behind and start a new life off-the grid. There is currently a tiny house movement and many families will downsize and learn how to live simply in small homes. Living in a tiny house means learning to let go and enjoy a new life. One in … Read more…
The post The benefits & challenges of living in a tiny house was written by Bob Rodgers and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.
Ok, so you’re prepping your kids for emergencies. You’ve put together kid-friendly 72-hour kits. The backpack is little Johnny’s favorite color, he got to choose the kinds of granola bars you put in them, and he watched you pack it. Now what?
Now, the next step is to find a way to explain to little Johnny why he now has this cool kit, what it’s for, and when to use it.
How much information should you give your child about what it is they are preparing for? There are certain facts that are easy to explain and will provide information and alleviate stress:
- Yes, all of the family is going.
- Yes, we are going in the car.
These 2 examples provide just enough information, while not going into detailed instructions that could become confusing and stir up anxiety, but when children don’t have enough information, it can undermine the whole point of the exercise.
My kids are still pretty little, so we have to be careful about what we say and be somewhat guarded in our responses, lest we give them nightmares. Anyone who works with kids knows that this is a delicate balance, and a tough one to achieve. At the root of this difficulty is the fact that there are no hard-and-fast rules about what will be too much information or not enough; you have to make that determination on an individual basis.
In this respect, all information given to children can be divided into two groups:
- Information that should be repeated many, many times to make sure it’s understood
- Information that should be screened.
We can further break it down, in the style of a journalist, with the five Ws: Who, What/ Why, When, Where, and How.
Information To Be Repeated when Prepping Your Kids
Any time we leave the house, my two-year-old wants to know who is making the trip. Is Daddy coming? What about her older brothers? What about the baby? She is always concerned about being left alone in the house by herself, which, by the way, has never happened, but she worries about it all the same. Indeed, the possibility of someone left behind in an emergency is every parent’s nightmare.
Most families are separated geographically during the day, with parents at work or at home, and children at school. Sit down with your family and come up with a plan to reunite everyone. Read more about how to organize your emergency evacuation here. The point is for everyone to know where everyone is so all members of the family are accounted for.
Very small kids will want to know every aspect of the “who,” and it will be helpful to repeat it like a litany. “First, we’ll get brother and sister from school. Then, we’ll get Daddy. We won’t forget anyone.” And, whatever you do, don’t forget pets! Pets are an important part of the family, too, and most children will become completely unhinged if their beloved pet is left behind.
When children are given responsibility, it makes them feel as though they have more control over their lives, which is a huge plus during a stressful event. Therefore, everyone should know what they are responsible for.
Ideally, everyone would be able to get their own shoes and socks, their own 72-hour kit, and any comfort object that they own. Younger kids will probably need more help. If you can get the older kids to help the younger ones after they have taken care of their own things, that is even more ideal.
Having a simple, laminated checklist posted somewhere can be very helpful in this step.
READ MORE: What should be included in an evacuation checklist? See our list here.
At what point will your family evacuate? Is your evacuation urgent, or planned? The answer to this question depends on what kind of disaster you are facing. Thanks to weather-tracking technology, we know when to expect a hurricane within several days. Earthquakes or flash floods, not so much.
No matter which kind of evacuation you are experiencing, keep your children in the loop. This way, they’ll know not only what is happening in the present, but also in the immediate future. I find with my kids that it’s helpful to keep a running commentary when things get a little crazy, so they always know what’s going on. “Now we’re going to lock the door to the house. Now we’re putting extra blankets in the car, and then we’ll buckle you in.”
Pick a specific destination for your evacuation. In fact, have several in mind. It could be the home of a relative or a friend (make sure it’s okay with them, first) or a hotel. When I say “a hotel,” I don’t mean, “some hotel in the general vicinity of Amarillo, Texas.” Make a plan to go to a specific hotel in a specific location. “The Motel 6 off of exit 220.” If you are fleeing a hurricane, you may need to drive several hundred miles inland just to be sure of securing a hotel room. For something like flash flooding, a place just a couple miles away out of the floodplain is sufficient.
And, again, if you have pets, make sure these destinations are pet-friendly. Otherwise, your kids may insist on sleeping in the car with Fido.
Let the kids in on your plans. If you have a long drive, you can have them help you watch for the correct exit. Older kids can keep track on a map or the GPS. If they know what to expect and where they are going, a potentially traumatic event will turn into something exciting to look forward to.
It’s a given that most people will be travelling by car, but I include “How?” because of the series of related questions I often hear from my two kids, ages 4 and 2, when we go anywhere. “Are we taking the car or are we walking? Can I take my bike? Are we going to take the blue car that doesn’t have car seats or will we take the minivan?”
My answers usually sound like, “We’re taking the minivan because it’s too far to walk. No, you can’t take your bike. We’re taking the minivan. No, we’re taking the minivan. The minivan. Yes, the minivan is the vehicle that we will be using for this excursion.” They say that all education happens through repetition. I think I have that part down pat.
If your kids are feeling anxious about the flurry of scary events around them, even this simple reassurance will go a long way.
Information To Be Screened when Prepping Your Kids
When it comes to disasters, the “why” of emergency evacuation is also another “what.” Every geographic area has different possible disasters, and your child needs to be aware which ones are within the realm of possibility and which are not. A kid in Kansas does not need to worry about hurricanes or tsunamis, but should know what to do in the event of a tornado.
My neighborhood in the inter-mountain west is near the railroad tracks. Chemical spills due to earthquake or a simple mechanical malfunction, while not a sure thing, are within the realm of possibility. So when we sat down to talk with our 6-year-old about the possibility of evacuation during this sort of event, we told him that we needed to be aware of the trains by our house and that sometimes they carried stuff that would be harmful to little kids if they spilled. We emphasized that this was not something that he needed to worry about during all his waking hours, especially since Mom and Dad had a plan in place should this event come to pass.
We did not give him an exhaustive list of all the many things that could possibly go wrong or a grotesque description of what chlorine gas does to the human body. In our earthquake drills, we have our young kids practice hiding under the kitchen table, and tell them to stay away from things that could fall down (pictures on the walls, bookshelves, etc) but didn’t talk about the possibility of people actually dying.
NEED MORE TIPS? Read, “Preparedness Drills to Do With Your Kids“.
For our two-year-old, we had to be much more basic. “If we ever have to leave our house really fast, we’ll take this stuff and go to [relative’s] house.”
We chose this level of information based on what we thought our kids could handle at their current social and emotional stage. Once they get older we will give them more information.
The education portion of helping children prepare for an emergency is probably the most difficult part of the whole process, because it involves sitting down with your kids and teaching them stuff. The phrase, “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink,” applies here. You can talk to your kids about being prepared and when to use their kits until you are blue in the face, but they won’t internalize it unless you combine information with practice.
Stay tuned for “How to Prep Your Kid For Emergencies: Education”.
Trout Lily grows in huge colonies that can completely cover a forest floor. The colonies can be hundreds of years old and takes a long time to grow to such a size. Its bulbs are sterile up to about the seventh year and then it produces only one leaf and no flowers. When they mature […]
Whenever you may find yourself in a survival situation or choosing to live off the grid or even primitive you will have 5 basic priorities that you must have in order to survive. Most people know this and some do not. Reality personalities categorize these the way they themselves place these in order of importance […]
Today’s recipe is a simple meal meant for cooking while on the march or on the trail. These are “Norfolk Dumplings” and it comes from the Primitive Cookery book. For such a simple recipe, it really is quite delicious. A perfect outdoor recipe! ***************************** On The Trail? A Simple Recipe For You. ***************************** Sign up […]
Being a parent means that your kids are the very first things you worry about. Doubly so when it comes to prepping your kids for emergency situations. Our first thoughts in any emergency are for our children; we want them to be healthy, safe, and not scared. That seems like it could be a tall order in the face of a scary emergency.
The truth is, having a child can seriously complicate one’s plans for emergency preparedness. Everything is always a lot simpler when you only have to worry about yourself and your spouse, without short people getting under foot. Sometimes, even a trip to the grocery store with kids is a major event. I am sure anyone who has ever had children knows what I’m talking about: “I want that! But WHY can’t we get cookies? Can we get this? I want a treat! But I WANT it! I have to go potty!” And then the four-year-old wanders off and the baby’s diaper leaks.
Well, if you have to evacuate or bug out with a young family, multiply that by about thirty times – not because the children are more high-strung, but because YOU, the parent, are so focused on trying to navigate the freeway in traffic that if the kids don’t shut up RIGHT NOW, you’re in danger of running the minivan off the road.
This is why it’s so important to make sure everyone in your family is prepared, not just the parents. Involving your children in your plans will make your evacuation a calm (or, at least calmer) and orderly affair. There’s no yelling or screaming, everyone knows what they have to do, the kids have all their stuff (including blankies), and they know how to use everything in their 72 hour kits. In this scenario, children become active participants in the evacuation instead of additional objects to be buckled into the car.
In order to accomplish this, children need three things:
First let’s talk about the supplies. What does a kid need? What should you pack? What kind of container/backpack should you use?
Prepping Your Kids: Finding the Right Bag
The choices for a bug-out-bag are many and varied. For most people, the backpack is the container of choice, although it may also be good to consider other, non-traditional options. When it comes to prepping your kids, however, I would definitely stick with a backpack. The premise here is that everyone must be able to handle their own bag, and a backpack fits the bill: The weight is carried on the child’s back instead of his or her arms, leaving arms free for balance or for carrying a comfort item.
The ideal backpack will be roomy enough to hold a lot of necessary items, but not so big as to be unwieldy. Many backpacks for children are designed to also be clipped around the waist; this is perfect because it transfers some of the weight onto the child’s hips. If you have the right backpack, even a 2-year-old can be responsible for his or her own kit.
What to Put In It
When it comes time to pack your child’s 72-hour kit, DO make your child help you. The goal here is for your child to know exactly what is in his bag, what everything is for, and how to use it. Most lists of stuff to pack includes both heavy and light things. If your child is particularly young, pack their bag with only light things, and put the heavy things in a parent’s bag. For example, a little kid could carry a large amount of ramen noodles, but pack the cooking gear in with Mom’s or Dad’s stuff.
A list of some basic 72-hour kit items can be found here. To customize your child’s kit to be more kid-friendly, consider adding the following:
This category is especially important for children. Having ways to occupy themselves can help reduce stress and create a sense of normalcy. Happy, non-stressed children means less stress for Mom and Dad.
- A small coloring book. Dover has an extensive line of small activity and coloring books. These measure about 3″ x 4″, perfect for stowing in a bag.
- A small notebook for free drawing or playing games like tic-tac-toe or Pictionary
- A balloon (not blown up, of course), for when you arrive at your destination and have some down time. I have yet to meet a child under the age of nine who has failed to be entertained by a simple balloon. Blow it up, let it loose, watch it race around the room, repeat.
- A small story book. If you have an electronic e-reader, load it with books for your child. Project Gutenburg has a huge collection of children’s classics for free download.
- One pair of dice, for playing a number of dice games
- Lovies/comfort objects/blankies. These often can’t be put in 72-hour kits because they are necessary for every day use. I include them because at my house, they are more precious than gold. If your kid has an emotional attachment to a stuffed animal or blanket, leave it behind at your own peril.
- A family photo, with your contact information (mom’s cellphone number, etc) written on the back. If you become separated from your child, the photo will serve as identification, showing that your child belongs with you.
- Diapers/pull-ups. Even if your child is potty trained, very young children can regress during times of upheaval. This is a case where it is better to be safe than sorry. If you think a child may be offended by the tacit accusation this represents, pack them anyway. Put them in your own bag if you have to.
- Extra(!) wipes.
Involving Your Child
As you put together your child’s bug out bag, make it a priority to involve your child in the process. Tell him or her, “This is for your bag and you’re going to be in charge of it.” Give the child some ownership by allowing input when choices must be made, e.g. in the color of the backpack or the flavor of granola bars.
When the time comes to rotate and update items in the kits, make it a family activity. Go over each item and make sure your child knows what it is for and where it is stored in the backpack. “Granola bars are in this pocket, crackers are in this one. This is your flashlight and this is how you turn it on.” Have your child wear the backpack to check for the fit on their shoulders, and adjust the straps as needed – much better to do this at your leisure now instead of when you have fifteen minutes to leave your home.
Resist the temptation to over-pack a backpack intended for a child. A child younger than 6 can’t be expected to carry very much, probably just a change of clothes, some crayons, and a few snacks.
Hopefully this will give you a starting point for putting together a child-specific 72-hour kit. Part Two of this series will focus on empowering children with necessary information.
For more on prepping your kids, check out these printable lists of kits your kids can use:
Good evening my friends, We all have a lot to deal with in our lives, some good, some bad, some never wanted. Myself, working for the state of Wyoming takes most of my days. Home time is usually unwinding, getting a few chores done, and catching up on emails, with a few social posts here […]
Let’s be honest, when it comes to preparedness matters, most of us tend to gravitate toward those aspects which bring us the most pleasure. In some cases, we neglect to involve our families in our plans and practice. I can tell you that I truly enjoy practicing bushcraft skills, cooking with the bare essentials over […]
Tough love is an important part of society. You succeed, or you deal with the consequences. The idea that everyone deserves their own home is just silly. Just 50 years ago we still had 3-4 generations of family living together. Of course, That was back when the family unit was an important thing in America. Today the idea of an equal partnership in marriage has squashed the family unit all together. It leads to many more issues than it helps, and our kids pay the price. (disposable relationships) I know you are dealing with that issue now, and I’m not saying you are at fault, just that society as a whole has accepted failure as an option in relationships, mainly due to the breakdown of the familial leadership structure.
I agree about tough love and that consequences are an effective motivator. Personally I am pro multi-generational home. I would note that in many poor communities this is much more common both for cultural and economic reasons.
As to my own life. First I don’t take offense at what you said. Second while the marriage was totally broken and needed to end it is very unfortunate that it hurt the kids. That my actions/ decisions (I own my piece of the split) have had negative effects on my children is something that bears heavily on my mind. Third heck if I know what any of the answers are man. I am 0-1 on marriage and not in a hurry to try again. At the end of the day we can’t look back in anger. Oasis said so.
I interested in hearing your thoughts on REALISTIC ways to fix these problems in the short (say under 5 years) to mid (call it a 20 years) range. Emphasis on realistic. Everybody adopting a specific religion, no kids born out of wedlock and no divorces tomorrow would not be realistic.
The poorest have little incentive to live a different way. I’m not saying that those unable to care for themselves should starve, I’m saying that even people with health issues are useful to society in more ways than just receiving benefits. The ticket taker at my local movie theater is a wheelchair bound person with limited hand control, but he can tear tickets and point you in the right direction like a champ. He has a genuine smile that tells me he’s enjoying his job, when 95% of the welfare recipients would refuse to do such a menial task.
This part is complicated because the multi generational poor have an entirely different set of values than the rest of us. The way they look at things like money, relationships and values are totally different, obviously they have totally skewed views/behaviors about work.
I agree with you about working. People should not be starving or homeless in America. (I would prefer a more private model to a government one.) However those people should provide a useful service in exchange. Even if it is half ‘make work’ jobs people would get used to the behaviors of working (get up on time, go somewhere, dress appropriate, work hard or reasonably hard, shut up when the boss is a jerk, etc) to hopefully transition to a more meaningful job.
We must once again look to the past to see how we need to change course or perish. Communities thrived long ago because they knew they were part of something. Today’s neighborhoods are full of strangers.
I do not know the answer but I think the breakdown of community when we changed to patterns of life based on the automobile was a big part of the problem. People used to live and work (mostly) in the same area at much higher ratios. There were businesses on one floor and apartments up top or in the back. In a more rural setting the business might be in the barn/ fields. Work and life were a lot more commingled. Now we work 20 minutes from home and shop 10 minutes away in another direction. That means a lot less time spent with family and around close neighbors.
Sorry if I rambled.
As always the comments section is open.
Published on Feb 29, 2016 Michael joins us in the kitchen again this week! Today he’s brought us a late 17th-century sausage recipe from Martha Washington’s Book of Cookery. This recipe is attributed to a dish from “The Tavern at Oxford Gates” in the city of Oxford, England. These light and savory sausages are so […]
I’m busier as a stay-at-home mom than I ever was when I had a full-time job. From keeping the house fairly clean to homeschooling the kids and trying to figure out what’s for dinner every night, life gets crazy. Add a few extracurricular activities, and there have been days when I thought my head would explode!
If your kids are in sports, clubs, Scouts, and even group activities at church, you know what it’s like to play chauffeur, master coordinator, minor injuries medic, and overall operations engineer! You also know what it’s like to realize how beneficial these activities are to kids. Kids are best prepared for the future when their education includes knowledge and skills they gain from a variety of activities.
My own kids have been busy in various sports over the years, but this year they are both on a rowing team. Three mornings a week, we travel to the shores of Lake Houston, and I drop them off for practice. When we first joined the team, it was a chore keeping track of when it was my turn to bring water, when practice was cancelled due to rain or high winds, and how I could let the coach know if one of my kids couldn’t attend. Emails would arrive too early, too late, or be overlooked altogether. Fortunately, my friend and team mom, Monica, discovered TeamSnap and team life suddenly became easier and less stressful.
I wish there was a TeamSnap to organize everything else in my life!
Easier to use than I thought!
My Android phone is already loaded with apps and I was hesitant to try TeamSnap. What? Another app? Another learning curve? That’s not what this busy mom needs!
I was so grateful to discover that the TeamSnap app is easy to use. It makes my life easier, not more complicated. I click open the app, click on our team name, the name of each of my kids, and then indicate whether or not they’ll be able to attend a practice, regatta, or team party. TeamSnap is how we parents coordinate our monthly parent meetings and how the coach can enter information about each team member, race results, boat assignments, and more.
Our coach now knows ahead of time who will be at any given practice and can plan ahead how to configure the boats among the rowers attending. I’m sure it was no fun at all prior to TeamSnap when an odd number of kids showed up and all his boats require even numbers of rowers!
Now, with TeamSnap, he has the capability to send out emails to the entire group or single out specific team members or parents for individual contact. Instantaneous text alerts are also an option, and so handy when there’s a last minute cancellation or the weather requires rain jackets.
NOTE: TeamSnap offers a free 4-month trial with full access and no need to sign up with a credit card. Check it out in person at this link!
The Tracking feature helps coach keep track of who has brought permission slips, who has finished assignments, paid their dues, picked up their uniforms, or who has taken their turn in a volunteer position. Little details like this can drive a coach, team mom, or coordinator to drink!
Beyond the sports scene
If your kids are more into drama, chess, choir, or band, TeamSnap is still your one-stop shop for staying organized. My daughter is in a girl’s book club with a gaggle of other book-crazy, teenaged, homeschooled girls. Their book choices change each month and different girls are assigned to host the meetings with discussion questions, author interviews, and snacks. TeamSnap is the obvious solution to keeping this group organized and in sync with each other throughout the month.
I decided to set up a TeamSnap account for this club myself, to give it a try as a coordinator, not just a parent. Using TeamSnap’s offer of 4 free months, there was no need to enter my credit card information, which I appreciated!
Set up is a no brainer, with easy to follow instructions. I recommend signing up your group or team, and then taking a few minutes to explore the TeamSnap website. There’s plenty of help available, including a Live Chat option. Katie at Live Chat was prompt and polite in answering my questions.
It’s not just for the kids!
TeamSnap’s capabilities lend themselves well to any group, not just sports and kids. A MeetUp group, for example, could set up an account and use it to keep track of attendance, meeting agendas, guest speakers, food assignments, and a lot more. A PTA group, book club, poker club, and even a direct sales group could utilize the app and TeamSnap website for planning and preparing for their events. Set up automatic reminders so there’s no confusion about meeting dates, times, and location.
There are so many applications for this app (see what I did there?). On an Android or iPhone, it’s user and mobile friendly, and the app is free.
What groups do you belong to that TeamSnap could help coordinate? Four free months of use will give you a better idea of whether or not the app will help organize your group. The basic level is free, which is awesome, but give the free trial period a try so you can explore all the different options. There’s no need to enter credit card information, so you won’t be surprised on Month 5 with a charge you didn’t expect.
Hey, TeamSnap! How about creating a new app, LifeSnap? I could sure use that for everything else in my crazy-busy life!
Disclaimer: I was compensated by TeamSnap for my time and research. Since I already use TeamSnap, I was happy to share this with my readers.
One of the main themes that we promote at Practical Tactical is that personal preparedness should not be restricted to one part of your life, but rather be just one part of an overall lifestyle of preparedness that is dictated by your current situation, by what is happening in your life today.
We try to practice what we preach here at Practical Tactical and the main focus of our lives for the last year has been our beautiful baby girl Riley and this DIY project is dedicated to her. Of course, she is amazing in every way and she keeps us on our toes at all times. Riley was sitting up at three months, pulling up at six months, walking at eight months and running around and talking up a storm at one year old. She loves all of her toys and reading time is her favorite, but she is always challenging herself and looking for new challenges. So with this in mind, I wanted to do something special for my little girl by building her a toy board. In an effort to keep her little mind working and prevent her from quickly becoming bored, I chose to build her toy board using common household hardware that would not only be fun and entertaining for Riley, but also help her work on her motor skills, dexterity and problem solving at the same time.
After a quick visit to my local home superstore, I was ready to get started. Here is a list of the items I picked up for my project during my visit:
One 2 x 2 ft pre-cut panel
One expandable key coil with clip
One LED moon light (touch to activate)
One light duty door stop
One door stop
1 1/2 ft plastic yellow chain
One castor wheel
One spinning castor wheel
One combination lock
One sliding bolt door lock
One sliding bolt gate latch
One eye hook latch
One padlock hasp
Several different key chains / stretch loops in different colors
A little quality time with the power drill and zip-bang-boom, we had ourselves a toy board!
How you want to build your toy board is completely up to you. Just use your imagination and take cues from your child. The items for your board can be picked up inexpensively at any number of locations, so have fun with it. Few projects will ever be more rewarding than building something for your precious one.
I think ours turned out really well and Riley really seems to like it. We decided to mount it on the side of a cabinet in an area that Riley plays in often. You don’t necessarily have to mount your toy board, but we just didn’t want to take the chance that Riley might pull it over on herself and get hurt. Riley is walking everywhere and loves to take her toys with her so we plan to add a velcro patch to the board so she can have a tear away option for a toy or two as well. We also plan to let Riley decorate the board soon. Riley’s hand prints are the leading candidate right now, but we’ll see.
Thanks for stopping by and checking out my daddy DIY adventure with Riley’s toy board. I hope this sparks a few ideas for you. Please let me know what you think in the comments below and be sure to share this post with your friends.
Whatever your future projects may be, just remember that you can absolutely get them done and know that the ones you love will appreciate them and you more than you will ever know.
Even so, self-defence is not accepted by the Firearms Registry as a genuine reason for owning a gun. If you do have a gun in your home you are legally bound to keep it locked in a gun safe!!! And if you do use it to protect your life & that of your family, then you must be ready to face the consequences. The police advise that in a home invasion that you leave by the nearest exit!!!
Michael Dragoo is back in the kitchen and he has brought a wonderful recipe from Martha Washington’s “Booke of Cookery” (annotated by Karen Hess). This “boiled trout” dish is actually poached rather than boiled, so it takes only minutes to prepare. This recipe is so delicious, it will likely find it’s way into our top […]