How Homesteading Has Made Me A Better Wife

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How Homesteading Has Made Me A Better Wife Sometimes its a title that makes the whole thing go. This article has one such article. If you have gone through the adversity of starting and running a homestead you know it changes you. Most of the time it changes you for the better. This author has …

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Parched Corn, The No-Meat Survival Food Pt. 2

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In last weeks episode we demonstrate several methods for preparing parched corn. Today is all about preparing our corn to eat in the easiest and most palatable ways.

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Parched Corn, The No-Meat Survival Food Pt. 1

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In today’s episode we demonstrate several methods for preparing parched corn, including methods from a pamphlet on maize written by Benjamin Franklin.

Another super food that predates early American history, parched corn was considered the original trail food by the pioneers. … Using dried corn kernels, parched corn is prepared in a skillet on the stove top much in the way that pop corn was prepared in the old days.

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Summer PREP School: 48 Survival Skills for Kids to Learn This Summer!

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About the only survival skills kids seem to have these days is how fast they can text on their phones, so why not broaden their horizons and send them to PREP School this Summer? There are dozens of survival skills for kids and summertime is the perfect time to learn them.

As tempting as it might be to have the I-Pad babysit your kids, why don’t you print off the list below and have them learn some Survival Skills?

If they learn and cross off 4 skills a week during the 12 weeks they are off from school, they will complete the entire list before school starts back up. You can even give incentives for each one they master and hold your own graduation at the end!

Some of these survival skills you might think your child isn’t ready for (which may be true), but you also might not be giving your child enough credit. My 5 year old can do each of these to some extent. So depending on how old your child, is you can make these more or less challenging. Plus, who knows? You might learn a few new skills yourself!

Some of these 48 Survival Skills Kids Can Learn are around-the-house skills, others are knowledge, and still others are actually making things. You can download the list here.

Around the House

  1. Cook and Feed Themselves – Depending on your child’s age, they should be able to cook a basic meal using ingredients from the pantry. Find opportunities to have your kids in the kitchen cooking with you! They can help stir, dump ingredients in a mixing bowl, and find the correct measuring spoon.
  2. Make a Meal Plan – Who says this is just Mom’s job? Let your kids have a crack at putting together a menu. You can even let them experience the joys of grocery shopping and coupon clipping, too. If nothing else, this will help them appreciate Mom more, and this article about meal planning
  3. Money Management – Too bad most adults don’t know anything about this skill – some still use their parents as a personal ATM. If your kids learn this skill while they are young, just imagine the impact on the rest of their lives (and yours)!
  4. Basic Hygiene (w/o running water) – If you really want to put survival to the test, turn off the water and find other ways to brush your teeth, take a shower, or even go potty.
  5. Wash Clothes – Bonus points if they do it by hand on a washboard, but every kid should at least learn how to spot their clothes, wash, dry, hang-up, and the hardest part, put them back in their closets and drawers!
  6. Memorize Contact Info – Do your kids know their address, phone number, parent’s name, or even their last name? This is something they need to know, because you never know when your family might become separated. If they are too young to learn them, consider putting contact info on a bracelet or necklace they can wear.
  7. Get a Job – Nothing teaches kids a work ethic and responsibility faster then getting their own job. They don’t have to drive or be 16 for this survival skill either. They can mow lawns, pet sit, babysit, do odd jobs for neighbors, or even work for Mom or Dad.
  8. Non-Electric Alternatives – I never realized how practically EVERYTHING I use requires electricity in some form until the power went out for 3 days in our area. Make a list of all the things you use on daily a basis that require electricity and find an alternative for each. Make a game out of it and have a No-Electricity Day and see if you have major withdrawals.
  9. Operate a Generator – If you have a generator, have the kids learn how to properly care for and operate it. It’s good to make sure HENgetbusylivingarticleit’s working properly BEFORE you need it.
  10. Take Care of Animals – Taking care of animals can teach children a lot – responsibility, compassion, and even where food comes from. Kids can pet sit, visit a farm, or even have an animal of their own. (Chickens, anyone?)
  11. Escape From a Window – Maybe this isn’t exactly a skill you want your kids to master, but it’s an important fire safety skill. They should know how to escape safely and without breaking any bones, especially from a 2nd story window. Be sure to add a couple of practice sessions for something this important.
  12. Learn Car Maintenance – It doesn’t matter if your kid is driving yet. I hand mine the mini vacuum and make them clean all the snacks they crush into the seats. You don’t have to be a mechanic to help your child learn how to check the tire pressure and put air in them, check the oil, or even how to ask for help in AutoZone. In the long run, properly maintained vehicles save you money, and doing it yourself saves even more.
  13. Have Chores – Just like mom and dad have jobs, kids need to have some everyday responsibility within the family. Moms shouldn’t be the maid (I tell mine that on a daily basis). Kids can help pull their weight by doing dishes, taking care of the lawn, picking-up their rooms, and so much more. Don’t take away the sense of accomplishment your kids will get from having chores.
  14. Decide on a Code Word – Does your family have a code word for – “please help now” or “someone is threatening me but I can’t say anything with them standing right here?” If not, take some time to come up with a code word, or a even a few with different meanings in case you ever find yourself in a sticky situation!

Outside & Physical Fitness Survival Skills for Kids

  1. Learn Archery – I didn’t realize at what a young age kids could pick up archery, but our kids recently got bows and are already better than I am (which doesn’t say much). They enjoy it and it’s a skill that could really come in handy if you’re ever abandoned in the woods.
  2. Explore Nature – It’s embarrassing to admit, but some days we don’t step outside once. Kids can’t learn about their surroundings if they never have a chance to explore them. If you need ideas on exploring nature take a loot at these 31 Ways to Help Your Child Get Outdoors!
  3. Split Wood – If you need a fire to cook food  or to help you stay warm, you’re going to need some wood! Learn how to split wood properly before the kids sneak an ax and try doing it themselves.
  4. Defend & Protect Themselves – I have small kids and I constantly worry about them getting picked-on at school, so teaching them when and how they can protect themselves is a must. Find a self-defense class, sign them up for karate or another martial art, or discuss with them what they should do if caught in a bad situation.
  5. Ride a Bike – Take some opportunities to help your child learn to ride a bike if they haven’t already. Take them to an open parking lot, work on pedaling, or even get a fun glider bike if they need help learning how to balance. Not only is this great exercise, but it helps your kids realize there are other ways to get around without Mom’s taxi service!
  6. Start a Fire – Knowing how to start a fire is a must in any survival handbook. Go ahead and teach your kids the proper ways to start fires before they attempt to do this unsupervised in your back yard (like mine)!
  7. Go Camping – Even if you just go camping in your backyard, their are numerous survival skills you can learn. Camping requires you to have food, ways of cooking it, somewhere to sleep, and so much more. It’s a great way to practice and see how ready you really are.
  8. Grow a Plant – Last year we planted a watermelon seed my child brought back from school and I was a little surprised how well it actually grew.  The day we were able to eat the watermelon he had taken care of was priceless. Since then our children have gotten more into gardening and they take so much pride in growing and eating their own food.
  9. Stage a Mock Evacuation – What is a real threat in your area? Tornados, fires, hurricanes, floods, or something else? Go ahead and stage a mock evacuation where your family has to get ready to leave in a hurry! You might learn a lot about your family and what they value.
  10. Fitness – Being fit is much more than looking good, it’s having the endurance to walk or hike long distances. Try planning a hike for your child while they carry their own bug out bag or emergency kit. This is good training to see how much they can handle, or if you need to lighten their load.
  11. Learn to Swim – With swimming season approaching water safety is a must! The best way to feel comfortable around or near water is to learn how to swim. There are even classes for babies that will help them know how to float on their backs until help arrives, and once your child is old enough, sign him or her up for swim team. Help your child be a strong swimmer. This is a skill they will use their entire life.
  12. Know How to Hunt & Fish – Being able to get your own meat by hunting or fishing is one of the ultimate survival skills. Sometimes it’s difficult to find places to hunt, but you can usually find a lake or pond nearby to at least go fish. Give your child some opportunities and help them process the meat afterwards.
  13. Purify a Glass of Water – Do you have any filters and purifiers? Have you ever put them to the test? Try actually getting water from a different source other than the home faucet and see if you can properly filter and purify a glass of water.
  14. Navigate Surroundings – We are so accustomed to just asking our phone to navigate us where we want to go, does your child even know how to use a map? Better yet, do you even own a map of your area? It might come in handy when power is down and you need to get around. If you’re really fancy, practice using a compass or even the stars to navigate.

Actually Make Things

  1. Make an Every Day Carry (EDC) BagEDC bags aren’t just for adults. Kids can fill their pockets or carry a bag with important essentials too. If you need ideas for putting one together, you can find tips for creating one here.
  2. Make Their Own Emergency Binder – Kids are never too young to start preparing for the future and make their own grown-up Grab-n-Go Binder! They can start filling it with recipes they enjoy, survival skills they are learning (or want to learn), important documentation and more.
  3. image by andy coan

    debris hut – image by Andy Coan

    Make a Paracord Survival Bracelet – Having 8-10 feet of  colorful paracord with you at all times could really come in handy, especially in a survival situation. Go ahead and help your child make their own Paracord Survival Bracelet this Summer as well as other paracord projects.

  4. Make a Powerless Cooker (& try cooking on it) – Help teach your kids there are other ways to cook your food besides the microwave by making an alternative cooking method. They get bonus points if they actually make a meal with it afterwards!
  5. Have Basic Sewing Skills – How about learning some basic sewing skills so if your child ever had to make their own poo wipes or needed a wonder oven they could sew it? Sewing skills come in handy for much more then mending clothes.
  6. Use Hand Tools –  Does your child know how to use any of the countless tools lying around in the garage, or even better do you? How about dusting them off, or getting them their own small set of tools? They can learn how to do basic repairs, hang pictures on their wall, or if they really want a challenge, they can build their own bow!
  7. Entertain Themselves without Electricity – I’m not sure if they have labeled a disease yet for kids who are addicted to iPads, phones, TV, & electronics, but about 90% of kids I know seem to suffer from it. Challenge your children to learn how to play a game (or more) that requires NO Electricity!
  8. Make an Emergency Kit for School – When summer vacation is almost over, you might want to consider making an emergency survival kit for school. Depending on where you live, your child might be stuck at school during a snowstorm, tornado, or another situation where it might come in handy.
  9. Forage for Food – This is something I want to learn how to do! Maybe doing it with my kids will give me a chance to finally learn about the different edible (and not so edible) foods in our area. If your kids know how to forage for food you can literally send them out to the backyard for dinner!


  1. Knowledge – This is one skill that takes time, but it’s also something you don’t have to worry about losing or getting stolen. Check-out books on survival topics your child is interested in at the library.
  2. Know How to Keep Cool or Stay Warm – Depending on where you live and the season, these survival skills can be the difference between life and death. We had to do an ER visit last year when my sister got severe heat stroke, and I’ve had friends almost lose finger and toes from not keeping them dry in freezing temperatures.
  3. Learn Some Common Sense – Basic common sense seems to be diminishing with each generation, but it doesn’t mean your child has to suffer from the disease too! Raising competent kids in today’s world can be a true challenge when they are being spoon-fed constantly, but there is hope. Take an honest look at your children and see if there are areas where you can help prepare them for real-life.
  4. Practice Calling for Help – What if you were in trouble and the only one that could help is your toddler? Would they know how to call 911, ask someone for help, or go to a neighbor? Go ahead and practice different situations or scenarios to see if they could help, if they had to.
  5. Safely Use a Pocket Knife – Little boys (and big ones too) are just drawn to anything that is dangerous and could possible harm them, so why not go ahead and teach them how to safely use and maintain their own pocket knife? This way, they won’t secretly steal and stash your kitchen knives!
  6. red crossLearn Basic First Aid – I have to be CPR certified & have basic first aid knowledge for my job, but these are skills that kids can learn too. Once they get down how to put a Band-Aid on, consider signing your kids up for a first aid class or similar age-appropriate class. Older kids can even train as EMTs and ask to volunteer with the fire department.
  7. Gun Safety – Even if you do not now and will never own a gun, kids need to know what to do if they are ever in a situation where there is one. My friends and family have had incidents because kids didn’t know how to properly handle firearms! So whatever you do – at least teach them to not touch, never point them at anyone, and never put your finger on the trigger!
  8. Be Able to Ask for Help – I never realized what a true survival skill this was until recently when I applied my child to a special needs school. The director said they know when a child is ready to leave their school when they can ask for help on their own. Do your children know how (or even who) to ask for help…or do you always do it for them? Do they even place their own order at a restaurant?
  9. Learn History – It’s hard to prepare for the future if you haven’t learned from the past.  Have your child hit the library (or even appropriate websites), visit National Parks, talk to older people (grandparents perhaps)…. There are lots of ways to give kids an opportunity to learn to enjoy real history!
  10. Download a Survival App – I had to throw in at least one thing kids could do with their phones and tablets. Not all disasters will mean you’re losing cell coverage, so downloading emergency apps for your child could really make a difference.

Spiritual preparedness

  1. Have a strong faith in God/appreciation for spiritual things – Whether or not your own family is religious, kids should be taught about faith — what it is and how it’s important in their lives. As a Christian, our children have learned that there is a presence and a power greater than themselves. We all reach a point in life when our own strength, knowledge, and self-confidence reach an end. Kids need to know — what do I do when that happens? In our case, we’ve taught our kids to pray and they’ve learned Bible verses that teach the power of prayer and the power of belief and faith. One book they have read is Case for Faith by Lee Strobel.

Want to print out this list to keep track of your kids’ skills? Click here!

So Will Your Child be Attending PREP School?

Let me know if your child participates in PREP school this Summer and what survival skills you plan on teaching them. I would love to hear what they learn or if there are any other survival skills I should add to my list!

Guest post by Jamie Smith. Updated by Lisa Bedford.




MASSH, the tool you need, to Survive

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The MASSH is created out of a solid piece of 3/16 mild steel, heat treated with a Rockwell between 48-52. The tool is 22 inches long and two pounds in weight. The MASSH is a fixed blade with no moving parts. It has a Machete Edge, Axe Edge, Shovel Edge with a convenient boot notch, Hammer head, Cross hatch saw that doubles as a rasp for making saw dust/wood shavings for ease of fire starting. This Survival Tool also has a Fire barring, for easier mechanical fire starting. A quick clip Carebeaner hole and the handle is wrapped with 550 parachute cord and includes a thumb grip for ease of use.

The MASSH is a great all around tool for hunting, camping, hiking, any out door activities including the dooms day preppers. Keep this survival tool on your back pack, in your camper, strapped to your side and it will replace your axe, hatchet, shovel & machete etc.

The MASSH is a great tool for a survival situation. It will handle all of your needs such as cutting, chopping, digging, making traps, constructing shelters, building fires, creating tinder, & splitting wood etc.

What can you use the MASSH for:

Using the shovel to dig your car out from snow.
Start a fire.
Create a snow shelter.
Dig a cat hole.
Divert water
Clear brush
Cut down trees
Secure your tie off
Create wood shavings to make a fire
Dig a hole
Making a Dead Fall trap
Create notches for any type of trap.
Grappling hook
When your up the creek without a paddle, use the MASSH
Brush hook
Home gardening
Removing roots
Tying up a boat
Creating a clothes line
Binding meat to a back rack pack
Fishing line
Prying tool
Construct a floating raft
Build a shelter

Mild steel was used in creation of the tool to bend and reduce chipping. It’s the same reason you don’t hit two hammers together. I provided 550 parachute cord for the handle for multiple functions.

What can you use parachute cord for?

Strip it down, take small cords for fishing line
Mending clothing
Quick build for shelters
Tying boats or rafts
Anchor line
Clothes line

Contact Jackly Gear
To contact Jackyl Gear please go to

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Are “Long-Term” Storage Foods That Important?

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This is going to fly in the face of a lot of what you’ve likely read or heard with regards to food storage but here goes: You don’t need to invest a ton of money into buying special “long-term” foods. Seriously, you really don’t. In fact, for many people doing so is just a bad idea all the way around.

A common prepper question is some variation of, “What foods store the longest?” There are some foods, such as dried rice, honey, salt, and sugar, which will last essentially forever as long as they are protected from critters and the elements. They’ve found jars of honey, still perfectly preserved, sitting next to mummies several thousands of years old. That said, kinda hard to survive on just rice and honey.

Here’s the thing, folks. Shelf life, while important, falls far behind a few other considerations when choosing what to store. First and foremost is taste and personal preference. It makes absolutely ZERO sense to store food you don’t like to eat. I don’t care if you found it at an incredible price. If you don’t want to eat it now, you aren’t going to want to eat it later. Choose food items that you enjoy. Honestly, there is such a variety out there today, it would be foolish to do otherwise.

I often hear comments like, “If I get hungry enough, I’ll eat it, even if I don’t like it.” That’s all fine and dandy but why in the hell would you voluntarily store foods you don’t like now? I mean, that just sounds asinine. You have a relatively free and open choice of what foods to store. Take advantage of that fact and store things you know you’ll actually want to eat.

Many of the foods we eat regularly also happen to have long shelf lives. The aforementioned rice is a great example. Dried beans and canned goods are also commonly found in kitchens and pantries from coast to coast. These types of foods will last a long time and you’re already accustomed to eating them. Add a few extra bags or cans to your cart each time you go shopping and build up the supply slowly.

Second, choose foods that agree with you. We all have things we dearly love to eat but we pay for later, right? I mean, I love bananas but even just a few bites of one will give me stomach pains. If you’re considering adding a new food to your storage plan, try it first. Make sure it doesn’t give you indigestion. Disaster recovery is stressful enough without adding tummy troubles to the mix.

Another thing to keep in mind is that many, though certainly not all, of these special “long-term” foods require water to prepare. Water might be in limited supply, depending upon the nature of the disaster. Do you really want to be forced to choose between drinking the water and using it to prepare the only food you have on hand? If you’re going to invest in these long-term foods, plan ahead and be sure to store extra water as well.

Many long-term foods aren’t the healthiest things on the planet, either. Frequently they are loaded with sodium, which not only isn’t very good for you but will make you thirsty, causing you to consume more water. Now, I will freely admit I’m far from the healthiest eater on the planet so don’t take this as a pot meet kettle situation. But, you need to go into a food storage plan with both eyes wide open. If you’re going to rely upon these long-term foods as a primary source of sustenance, you’re going to suffer from some nutritional deficiencies unless you also stock up on vitamins and such.

A lot of these products are also fairly expensive. For the cost of one case (12 units) of MREs (Meals Ready to Eat), I could feed my family of five for several days. The food would be healthier, too.

Here’s one of my big issues with these special long-term storage foods. A proper food storage plan will incorporate regular rotation. Meaning, you use the food and replenish it as you go along. However, these long-term foods don’t encourage that practice. In fact, the whole point is that you can buy a few cases and they’ll be good for 25 years or more, right? This, to my mind, is the lazy man’s way to preparedness.

Now, with all of that said, I’m not suggesting you abandon any plans of buying these products. They have their place in some scenarios. You just need to determine for yourself if the long-term food option is right for you. What I suggest to most people is to concentrate their food storage plan on the things they already eat regularly but also have a stable shelf life, such as rice, dried beans, dried pasta, and canned goods. Then, add some long-term storage foods as a backup.


By Jim Cobb
You can find more from Jim at

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You’re A Pepper. Your Family’s Not. What Should You Do?

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You’re A Pepper. Your Family’s Not. What Should You Do?

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Perhaps one of the hardest things to do when prepping is convincing family and friends to join you.

Ask any long-time prepper, and they’re likely to have had trouble discussing the topic with loved ones. Prepping isn’t something you can hide from immediate family, either.  A basement full of food supplies would be hard to keep a secret, as would a cabinet stocked with guns and ammo.

Need help? You definitely can win people to your side, even through small, incremental ways.

1. Find examples of people and situations they can relate to. All of us know people who’ve suffered through a disaster, a sudden job loss, a health crisis or something that’s drastically disruptive of normal life. This is where facts and history can be your best resource. Whether they be calamitous events from recent history (Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, the 2008 economic crisis) or those from decades past (World War II, The Great Depression), there always will be real-life devastations to discuss. If you stick to news and factual events, there’s a higher chance you’ll get people to seriously consider preparing for a disaster.

2. Use the government’s own advice. FEMA and DHS advice the public to be ready to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours in the event of a natural or man-made disaster. This means one should be able to provide for one’s own shelter, first aid, food, water and sanitation for three days. This is because local responders may not be able to reach calamity victims immediately, or they may need to focus their efforts elsewhere.

3. Books, TV and movies might help. Hollywood never runs out of apocalyptic films to titillate people into thinking the end of the world can and will happen within our lifetime. World War Z. 2012. The Day After Tomorrow. If fiction won’t get your friends thinking, there are loads of non-fiction material they can peruse. Nat Geo documentaries like American Blackout and The Next Mega Tsunami point to the probability of a grid-down scenario and a devastating tsunami. Science-based books like Our Final Hour:  A Scientist’s Warning – How Terror, Error and Environmental Disaster Threaten Humankind’s Future in this Century (Martin Rees), The Coming Plague:  Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance (Laurie Garett) and Cyberwar:  The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About it (Richard Clarke) explain just how fragile and vulnerable our world is to different kinds of calamities.

4. No date-setting. Don’t prognosticate that the world as we know it is sure to end next month, next quarter or next year. Even the best or most-followed financial analysts, geo-scientists, astrophysicists and prophetic preachers have made wrong predictions about when the dollar would collapse, when Planet X would do a fly-by or when the Lord’s return will be.

Are Your Prepared For Blackouts? Get Backup Electricity Today!

Again, just stick to realistic data about natural disasters, unemployment, soaring food prices and the closure of stores. They’ll get your drift.

5. Understand the diversity of people’s backgrounds and opinions – and be patient. Most people have not gone through any life-threatening crisis, so they’ll have a hard time relating to your concern. A great majority of the populace are too busy, distracted or simply too stressed from the regular demands of daily life. So, the concept of societal collapse may not only be foreign to them, but also a bit too far-fetched.

You’re A Pepper. Your Family’s Not. What Should You Do?

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6. Pitch it on grounds of pragmatism and concern, not fear and paranoia. Tell loved ones you want them to prep out of genuine concern for their welfare, not just because hundreds of families are doing it on Doomsday Preppers. Pitch it as a smart, practical thing to do to provide for one’s family in cases of emergency. It’s not very different from taking out a health, accident or life insurance policy.

7. Go easy with the gals. Most women don’t take to guns and ammo as quickly as men do. There’s certainly a place and a time for learning to shoot and stockpiling weapons, but don’t let it be the start of a prepping discussion with the ladies. A better area to start on would be food security, such as gardening and food storage.

8. Wait. Once you’ve delivered your message, let it sink in. People take time to process surprising new concepts, and a doomsday situation is certainly a big one for them. Let them chew on it first, hoping they’ll come around to the wisdom of prepping, in due time. But give them leeway to approach the subject at their own pace.

9. Lead by example. When people see how serious you are in prepping, they just might see the value in it, too, on their own. Be the example of preparedness that they need. Once you’ve finished trying to convince them, you’ve done your part. People have the freedom to agree with you or not, anyway. If and when things do start to unravel, then you’d be in a great position to help them. Lastly, don’t give in to the temptation to say “I told you so.” That’s the last thing people want to hear when they’re suffering.

What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:

You’re A Prepper. Your Family’s Not. What Should You Do?

Click here to view the original post.
You’re A Pepper. Your Family’s Not. What Should You Do?

Image source:

Perhaps one of the hardest things to do when prepping is convincing family and friends to join you.

Ask any long-time prepper, and they’re likely to have had trouble discussing the topic with loved ones. Prepping isn’t something you can hide from immediate family, either.  A basement full of food supplies would be hard to keep a secret, as would a cabinet stocked with guns and ammo.

Need help? You definitely can win people to your side, even through small, incremental ways.

1. Find examples of people and situations they can relate to. All of us know people who’ve suffered through a disaster, a sudden job loss, a health crisis or something that’s drastically disruptive of normal life. This is where facts and history can be your best resource. Whether they be calamitous events from recent history (Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, the 2008 economic crisis) or those from decades past (World War II, The Great Depression), there always will be real-life devastations to discuss. If you stick to news and factual events, there’s a higher chance you’ll get people to seriously consider preparing for a disaster.

2. Use the government’s own advice. FEMA and DHS advice the public to be ready to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours in the event of a natural or man-made disaster. This means one should be able to provide for one’s own shelter, first aid, food, water and sanitation for three days. This is because local responders may not be able to reach calamity victims immediately, or they may need to focus their efforts elsewhere.

3. Books, TV and movies might help. Hollywood never runs out of apocalyptic films to titillate people into thinking the end of the world can and will happen within our lifetime. World War Z. 2012. The Day After Tomorrow. If fiction won’t get your friends thinking, there are loads of non-fiction material they can peruse. Nat Geo documentaries like American Blackout and The Next Mega Tsunami point to the probability of a grid-down scenario and a devastating tsunami. Science-based books like Our Final Hour:  A Scientist’s Warning – How Terror, Error and Environmental Disaster Threaten Humankind’s Future in this Century (Martin Rees), The Coming Plague:  Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance (Laurie Garett) and Cyberwar:  The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About it (Richard Clarke) explain just how fragile and vulnerable our world is to different kinds of calamities.

4. No date-setting. Don’t prognosticate that the world as we know it is sure to end next month, next quarter or next year. Even the best or most-followed financial analysts, geo-scientists, astrophysicists and prophetic preachers have made wrong predictions about when the dollar would collapse, when Planet X would do a fly-by or when the Lord’s return will be.

Are Your Prepared For Blackouts? Get Backup Electricity Today!

Again, just stick to realistic data about natural disasters, unemployment, soaring food prices and the closure of stores. They’ll get your drift.

5. Understand the diversity of people’s backgrounds and opinions – and be patient. Most people have not gone through any life-threatening crisis, so they’ll have a hard time relating to your concern. A great majority of the populace are too busy, distracted or simply too stressed from the regular demands of daily life. So, the concept of societal collapse may not only be foreign to them, but also a bit too far-fetched.

You’re A Pepper. Your Family’s Not. What Should You Do?

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6. Pitch it on grounds of pragmatism and concern, not fear and paranoia. Tell loved ones you want them to prep out of genuine concern for their welfare, not just because hundreds of families are doing it on Doomsday Preppers. Pitch it as a smart, practical thing to do to provide for one’s family in cases of emergency. It’s not very different from taking out a health, accident or life insurance policy.

7. Go easy with the gals. Most women don’t take to guns and ammo as quickly as men do. There’s certainly a place and a time for learning to shoot and stockpiling weapons, but don’t let it be the start of a prepping discussion with the ladies. A better area to start on would be food security, such as gardening and food storage.

8. Wait. Once you’ve delivered your message, let it sink in. People take time to process surprising new concepts, and a doomsday situation is certainly a big one for them. Let them chew on it first, hoping they’ll come around to the wisdom of prepping, in due time. But give them leeway to approach the subject at their own pace.

9. Lead by example. When people see how serious you are in prepping, they just might see the value in it, too, on their own. Be the example of preparedness that they need. Once you’ve finished trying to convince them, you’ve done your part. People have the freedom to agree with you or not, anyway. If and when things do start to unravel, then you’d be in a great position to help them. Lastly, don’t give in to the temptation to say “I told you so.” That’s the last thing people want to hear when they’re suffering.

What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:

Children’s Activities That Develop Self-Reliance

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Summer activities can be a fun and creative way to introduce your children to basic concepts of self-reliance and survival. These, in turn, boost self-confidence in a way that no video game or TV show ever will. In this book about wilderness survival skills, for example, kids gain competence in things that are authentic and have real-life applications.

Here are a few very simple activities, most cost nothing at all, but they have an underlying purpose to encourage kids to learn skills that apply to the real world.

1. Building Forts

A childhood favorite both indoors and out is building forts. Whether it be a table and blanket fort inside or a more complex structure in the backyard, allowing children to use their creativity to build these small getaways can help teach them early on about what works and what does not.

Very few of us will ever become an award winning architect or cutting edge engineer, but the trial and error process of building those wobbly but fun hideaways with friends can aid in constructing a more serious shelter later. If your family is city-bound and building a shelter of branches and  leaves is out of the question, I found this kit online that gives kids a chance to configure a fort in different designs and only requires bedsheets. Pretty creative! You could also provide something similar with PVC pipes.

2. Swimming

Swimming or splashing around in cool, refreshing water is a summer favorite on those hot, humid (or arid) days. Learning how to swim and water safety is something every child should experience early on. What seems like water fun can really be a subliminal survivalist skill that could save his or her life later on.

Excellent swimming skills can lead to jobs as a lifeguard, swim teacher, swim team coach, and possibly open doors for college scholarships. See how easy it is to find real-world purpose to even fun, summertime sports?

3. Fishing

As the old saying goes, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.” Spend those lazy summer evenings on a riverbank with your little one and teach them the ins and outs of fishing. Be sure to teach them how to properly set up their pole and bait the hook. Kids typically think of nonstop casting and reeling when it comes time to fish, but teach them the basics and patience so if the occasion ever calls for it, they can catch their own dinner!

4. Outdoor Sports

In the midst of an electronic age, it is important for children (and the rest of us) to get unplugged and outside. Putting down the PSP, DS, tablet, etc., and getting active outside helps children become more resilient to natural environmental conditions such as prolonged sun exposure and lack of a constant stimulant. In other words, kids are forced to entertain themselves in the summer heat.

TIP: Use these natural remedies for sunburn, which is hard to avoid with all that outdoor fun!

This may sound like a no-brainer but when kids spend most of their time inactively indoors playing video games or watching television in climate controlled conditions, making the transition to moving about in the heat and humidity of summer can be tough. Encourage your children to play outside to build stamina so if an occasion occurs where moving about outside is necessary, they will be conditioned and ready.

Some active outdoor summer favorites include baseball/whiffle ball, basketball, flag football, tag, catch, jumping on trampolines, jumping rope, mastering the hula hoop, hopscotch and kickball.

5. Hiking

Pack a bag, grab a walking stick and hit the trail! Hiking can certainly help condition the body for long hours outside and help teach little ones forest safety. Many state parks have hiking trails for all levels so if you are new to hiking, talk with a park ranger or other official about which trails are best for beginners.

Some state parks and campgrounds may even offer guided hikes which generally include basic lessons on the area’s wildlife, plant life and environment. Be sure your children know what plants are dangerous to touch and eat and how to respond to wild animal encounters. What is a fun day in the woods now can be a ticket for survival later.

At the same time, hiking teaches observation skills, navigation, plant and animal identification, foraging (this book is the #1 book on foraging and is highly recommended), independence/”I can do it”!, appreciation of nature, and so much more.

6. Target Shooting

Water guns are a summertime blast. Children giggle and scream as they run barefoot around the yard trying to blast their siblings and friends with that ice cold stream of water. What they generally do not realize is that they are building their hand-eye coordination as they practice zoning in on their targets. Another target shooting favorite is shooting aluminum cans with bb guns or air rifles.

Try setting cans up in different formations and teach your kids how to use the basic sight feature that is standard on most bb guns. If your child decides to take up hunting for sport or necessity later, he or she will have a comfortable edge hitting their target.

Your kids might be ready to handle “real” guns, and if so, you need to read my series of articles, “Common Sense Strategies For Teaching Gun Safety“.

7. Campfire Fun

Summertime campfires are a must for childhood nostalgia! Roasting hotdogs on a stick, making ooey, gooey s’mores, and sharing ghost stories are childhood campfire traditions for a reason! Teach your children how to make a campfire, introduce them to primitive cooking over the fire, and then how to properly and safely extinguish a fire. Check out these kids friendly campfire roasting sticks.

Get unplugged and outdoors!





JOBS: Preparing for Job Loss…steps to move onward & upward.

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Yes, I am living it right now. I made a decision, and quit a job with the state of Wyoming, moved to Nashville with everything I owned (that I hadn’t sold or gotten rid of) and started from scratch again. Had a job building corporate Dell PCs for two weeks, but after knee surgery 6 months […]

The post JOBS: Preparing for Job Loss…steps to move onward & upward. appeared first on SurvivalRing.

Rich gets a new job in Nashville…

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Ok folks. Here’s the skinny. My New Job, by Rich Fleetwood…for inquiring minds. I now am a contract employee for a recruiting company that has offices all over the world, including an office here in downtown Nashville. This local recruiter got me a job with FedEx Supply Chain, in late April. Job was prepping new […]

The post Rich gets a new job in Nashville… appeared first on SurvivalRing.

Rich gets a new job in Nashville…or two.

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Ok folks. Here’s the skinny. My New Job, by Rich Fleetwood…for inquiring minds. I now am a contract employee for a recruiting company that has offices all over the world, including an office here in downtown Nashville. This local recruiter got me a job with FedEx Supply Chain, in late April. Job was prepping new […]

The post Rich gets a new job in Nashville…or two. appeared first on SurvivalRing.

Spring into summer preparedness

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Each season brings with it its own optimal timing for certain aspects of preparedness. With summer a few weeks away, it’s time to take full advantage of the warm, sunny days ahead.

Plant something!

A garden is the obvious choice, but what about shrubs and trees planted in strategic locations? The longest growing days are ahead, and now is the time to think ahead two or three years in your planning.

· Where do you need thorny bushes and other plants to create a natural barrier for a more secure home and property?

· Where might shade trees come in handy for helping to keep your home cool and power bills down during the summer?

· Which herbs do you use most often in your cooking? Plant them now and dehydrate your harvest throughout the summer for fresh-tasting home-grown herbs throughout the year.

De-clutter something!

I can’t over-emphasize the importance of de-cluttering your living space. We think that things bring us comfort, but the opposite is true. We can get easily overwhelmed by our belongings and their maintenance, and soon they own us! Have you ever wondered why a stay at a hotel or resort is always so relaxing? One reason is that we’re not surrounded by things we have to clean, dust, arrange, insure, secure, fix, and worry about.

Start with the room or part of the house you use the least. Even if it’s a closet or a set of cupboards, if you rarely access them, chances are their contents have little importance to your day-to-day life. Here’s a free preview of a great online book to get you going, The Get Organized Answer Book.


Clean something!

Since it’s time for spring cleaning anyway, why not begin using all-natural, homemade cleaning products? It’s much safer, easier, and cheaper to stock up on ingredients like vinegar, lemon juice (or lemon powder), dish soap, and baking soda. A few essential oils, such as teatree oil or orange blossom, will make your new solutions fragrant and pleasant to use. Check out these websites for some great recipes:  How to make a non-toxic cleaning kit and Recipes for natural cleaning products.

Motivate someone!

Kids will soon be out of school with lots of spare time on their hands.  This is the best time of year, then, to introduce them to a new skill or hobby.  If it’s a practical skill that could become important to your family’s preparedness, so much the better.  Even little ones can have their own gardens, with each plant and herb labeled.  Older kids can help with canning, pickling, and jelly making.  (Pickling cucumbers are in season right about now.)  Think about all the skills you wish you knew.  Now, why can’t your family and friends learn them together?  If you need suggestions, check out my past Skill of the Month list.

Get outdoors!

image by paala

Nothing teaches the importance of self-reliance and outdoor skills quite like a camping trip, even if it’s just over-nighting it in the backyard!  Everyone quickly learns the importance of water, food, shelter, and how to solve problems creatively.  I also believe it’s important to get kids outside and away from constantly being inside.   A day hike through a park, a visit to a State or National Park, even a picnic where kids learn they have to pack everything they’ll need and then pack out all their trash, teach important concepts.

Unplug something!

I admit this next suggestion isn’t for the faint of heart, but what could your family accomplish if the TV and video games were unplugged for a week?  It’s a scary thought because parents have to set the example, but when my family did this for two weeks (the TV was turned off every night), we re-discovered Family Reading Night.  You’ll discover lost hours that can be used to organize, de-clutter, clean, play, plan, read, and have fun!

Update something!

This is the season to update all your emergency kits.  The Bug Out Bags, the 72 Hour Kits, the Get Home Kit…they all need to be updated twice a year, and now is the time to do it.  Check to make sure that food hasn’t spoiled and that liquids haven’t leaked.  Are all the shoes and clothes still the right size?  Can you reorganize anything to make the kit a little neater?  How about adding an inventory sheet to the Kit, or add to your Survival Mom binder, so you’ll always know what is supposed to be in each kit?

Summer will be over before you know it.  Hard to believe, but every year it seems to get shorter and shorter.  Jump into action this week and make the most of these long days that seem to never end.









Essential Survival Skills That Kids Should Know ASAP

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How safe are our kids today? Isn’t it a very valid question? It’s quite natural that we, as parents become so protective and in this blind love, we end up doing everything for them. We are proud of the fact that our kids are 100 % dependent on us. But is that fair? Think about, … Read more…

The post Essential Survival Skills That Kids Should Know ASAP was written by Bob Rodgers and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

Spring Family Prepping Activities

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Spring Family Prepping Activities Each season offers unique opportunities for learning and practicing survival skills. Prepping activities is something that can be done by the whole family and easily turned into a game. The children may not understand that having a race to break down your tent and get it stowed away is actually practicing …

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The post Spring Family Prepping Activities appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

10 Prepper Actions You Must Do After A Big Move

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Our family was not planning on moving so far away from California. The West Coast had been our home for almost 3 decades. It did not take long before we found ourselves in the deep south of Georgia. Good bye salty air, hello bugs!

As we were adjusting to the new culture, unpacking and getting settled in our home, my thinking was still in California mode. Pictures and shelves were not being hung over beds, fragile items were placed in enclosed cabinets and my thoughts keep going back to earthquakes. In California I had things strategically placed and tacked down. Mentally, I was still thinking of “the big one”. I obviously had to think about prepping after a big move. Now that we are in Georgia, we have some great art work hanging in places we never would have before. I needed to learn about the types of disasters that occur in my new area and how to best prepare for them.

10 Easy Steps To Help You Prepare

  • Each city has its own set of hazards. Gather those that you may live with and make a list of the disaster risks that you are aware of. First list the ones that are most probable. Think of the places that you will be going to on a regular basis. These would include places of employment, worship, schools, and shopping centers. Spend the next month observing your new area. As you drive around, notice any tunnels, rivers, bridges, power lines, railroads, trucking routes, chemical plants or refineries. Look for alternate routes to work and ways out of town. It does take a while, but learn your way around your new city without needing GPS. Have a paper map of your area in each car and at home.

  TIP: You can read about 5 steps to making a personalized threat analysis here.

  • Locate where the closest CERT class is in your area. You can find classes on the FEMA’s website. If you have already taken CERT classes, but it was quite a while ago, a refresher would not hurt. You can learn, in the classes, what the major risks are in your area, how to prepare yourself and how your community is prepared to handle emergencies. CERT classes are the perfect opportunity to ask questions and be with people, like yourself, that want to learn more about preparing. It is a great place to connect with others and you may find yourself happy to be a volunteer for your new town.
  • Your local city and county web sites may have an emergency preparedness section. Some cities allow their residents see the Emergency Operations Plan (EOP). The EOP lists any risk assessment, available resources, continuity of government, and mutual agreements with other agencies. You will learn how your city responds to emergency and disaster situations related to national security, technological incidents, and natural disasters. The local city and county web sites also have information about local utilities, phone numbers, evacuation places, and emergency instructions.
  • Start connecting with neighbors, people at your church and coworkers. Those that have lived in your area for a while can be a wealth of information. They have an in depth knowledge of the town and its history. These are the people you may be depending on if something happens in the near future. They may also know places to shop to get any preparedness items you may need.
  • Local prepper groups are another way to get information about your city’s hazards., and are sites you can go to in your search for a group to belong to. Some of these groups vary in their purpose. If there is not a group nearby, there are many sites that help you form a prepper group in your town. Chances are, there are others who are prepared or want to be and would love to join other like minded people.
  • One of my favorite places to go is Just enter your zip code and you have a ton of information about your new town. On the left side you can click on “Natural Disasters and Extremes”. There is a 60 year history of the disasters in your area and how often they occur.
  • As important as it is to know the potential dangers in your area, there are the hazards that can happen anywhere you move to. Check your new home for any fire hazards, have carbon monoxide and smoke detectors installed and/or checked. Inspect the area around your home. Trim any trees in areas where they could cause problems or call to have the utility company trim them. Check your home for good security, maybe an alarm system or additional locks. Learn what the laws are concerning firearms in your state. Have adequate home, life, and auto insurance to help you get through a disaster.

TIP: Keep your family safe by creating a fire escape plan.

  • Check social media! The Red Cross and other government agencies have a presence on social media. There are more people than you realize who are reaching out to others through Facebook and other sites. I have chosen to receive updates from our local county emergency management office and the US National Weather Service on my Facebook. My phone alerts me about any upcoming storms headed my way.
  • Evaluate your primary risks and see if there is a secondary risk that could affect your family. You may not experience the earthquake, but you may be in the line of the tsunami. The fire did not get to your home, but the coming rains could cause a mud slide in your neighborhood. Think about the disasters that could happen and look for the secondary risk. If you are a business owner, there are also first and secondary risks that may abruptly slow or stop your livelihood. Gauge what options you have to minimize the effects a disaster could have to your employment.
  • Civil disturbances are more than the rioting in big cities that we see on the evening news. It also includes acts of war and terrorist attacks. While some civil disturbances are out of our control and unpredictable, being prepared is still necessary. No one saw the attacks in San Bernardino or Orlando coming. Again, look at what is probable for your area and do your best to have a plan. You can educate yourself about civil unrest and how to stay save with this Survival Mom article.

Moving is stressful, don’t make prepping after a big move add to your stress. Unpack, find the lamps and register the cars first. Work on this project in baby steps if needed. Do your best to not become overwhelmed. Look around and make decisions based on what is truly probable. Remember that you are prepping for you and your family. Though there may be some similarities with others in your area, you have to tailor prepping to your needs.



Taking Care of Elderly during SHTF

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Taking Care of Elderly during SHTF Highlander “Survival & Tech Preps“ Audio in player below! I’ve listened to the debates on taking care of the elderly and it never seems to end on a good note. The main argument being that you are fast as your slowest link. This is being quite frank and it … Continue reading Taking Care of Elderly during SHTF

The post Taking Care of Elderly during SHTF appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Personal and Family Preparedness.

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Personal and Family Preparedness.

Personally I don’t see one thing as being more important than another. There is no point in prioritising shelter if you are unable to protect & defend. But for the purpose of this article, I will start with my home & work my way through other priorities.

We have two dwellings, a main house & an old cottage. Both are situated in a forest that we own. We do have fire breaks, but this winter we will be widening those breaks because of the new threat posed by global warming. On the main house we have two 5000 gallon cement water tanks, plus another 1000 gallons in a polly tank for the garden. We have two fire pumps, one on the lower cement tank, & one down at Cattail Pond. The Cattail Pond pump can pump water up to the main house & the cottage for gardens & fire fighting. The gardens supply us with all our vegetable needs for the house & the chooks, but we also keep on hand a good supply of dried, bottled & canned foods. The chooks are kept mainly for eggs.

The main house & the cottage are both off grid & self-sustainable with grey water systems & composting toilets. The cottage has two 1000 gallon water tanks but we will be adding another larger tank soon. Heating of both houses & hot water is provided by wood burning stoves, plus a wood heater in the main house & a large open fire in the cottage. Cooking of course is also done on the wood burning stoves & the forest supplies all our firewood. 240 volt Electricity is supplied by solar panels & batteries.

We have four 4WDs, The Lada is only used on the property, but the Hilux & Triton diesels are registered for the road, as is the X-Trail SUV. If we ever have to leave here, the whole family can just fit in the Hilux & the two Tritons with all our equipment. Every family member that is able to carry has their own pack & arms. I am a primitive skills instructor & I have passed my skills on to my three sons. Arms are a mixture of modern breech-loaders, muzzle-loaders & traditional bows. Our equipment is all 18thcentury except for medical supplies & some of the water containers. We do not expect to have to leave our forest home as we have plenty of people & arms to protect what we have, but we are prepared to leave if we consider it necessary.

Individual equipment is much the same for everyone with a few exceptions including arms, types of packs, clothing. & personal items.

Equipment List:

.62 cal/20 gauge flintlock fusil. 42 inch barrel.

.70 caliber smoothbore flintlock pistol.

Gun tools and spare lock parts.

Shot pouch and contents.

Leather drawstring pouch of .60 caliber ball (in knapsack).

Powder horn.

Ball mould and swan shot mould.

5 Gunpowder wallets

Lead ladle.

Butcher/Hunting knife.

Legging knife.

Clasp knife.


Fire bag.


Belt pouch.

Fishing tackle in brass container.

Two brass snares.

Roll of brass snare wire.



Market Wallet.

Tin Cup.


Water filter bags (cotton & linen bags).

Medical pouch.


Piece of soap and a broken ivory comb.

Dried foods in bags.

Wooden spoon.


Whet stone.

Small metal file.


One blanket (Monmouth cap, spare wool waistcoat and wool shirt rolled inside blanket).

Two glass saddle flasks.

Length of hemp rope.

Bottle of rum.

Basic list of what I carry. This list is made up from items that we know were carried, from items that my research has shown were available, & from items that have been found, such as the brass snare wire. I am not saying every woodsrunner carried all these items, but I am saying that some woodsrunners may have carried all these items. From experimental archaeology results in historical trekking, I think the items I have chosen are a reasonable choice for any woodsrunner that is going to live in the wilderness for a year or more.

Skills: All adult male family members have these skills. The only reason the women don’t have these skills is because they have not shown any interest. Two of the women can use a gun & one of the girls has her own bow. One of our family is a trained nurse & others have skills such as cooking, clothing manufacture, weaving & gardening.

Skills List:

Fire-bow Flint & steel fire lighting

Wet weather fire lighting

fire lighting

Flintlock fire lighting

Flintlock use, service & repair

Marksmanship with either gun or bow.

Field dressing & butchering game

Blade sharpening

Tomahawk throwing

Making rawhide

Brain tanning

Primitive shelter construction

How to stay warm in winter with only one blanket

Cordage manufacture

Moccasin construction and repair


Axe and tomahawk helve making





Reading sign

Woods lore


Primitive trap construction & trapping

Open fire cooking

Fireplace construction

Clothing manufacture

Drying meat & other foods

Knowledge of plant tinders & preparation

Knowledge of native foods & preparation

Knowledge of native plants in the area and their uses for other than tinder and food.


Basic first aid.

Finding and treating water.

General leather work.

Growing Tobacco In Early America

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Growing Tobacco In Early America
Published on Apr 13, 2017

Today Justin Filipowski from George Washington’s Mount Vernon sits down with Jon to talk about the tobacco trade in early America.

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The post Growing Tobacco In Early America appeared first on WWW.AROUNDTHECABIN.COM.

5 Fun Activities To Create A More Prepared Family

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5 Fun Activities To Create A More Prepared Family

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It’s the reason many big companies today are advertising to kids. It’s the reason app developers have stopped pandering to adults as a middleman to the children. It’s in the actions taken by nonprofits and institutions around the nation to create junior ambassadors. The children are the future. Their power simply cannot be denied.

But if we are not growing our own little ambassadors to fight for the cause of liberty and freedom, then how can we expect that heavy torch to be carried into the future? How can we expect the kids to be more self-reliant and independent? The answer is we cannot.

In this age of technological convenience, we must be creative if we hope to grip our children with seemingly ancient ideas of freedom and preparedness. With services like Amazon that deliver anything you ever could want to your doorstep, how can you convince them that doing things the hard way and the old way is needed?

So, what can we do to create a more prepared family?

Are You Prepared For A Lengthy Blackout? Get Backup Electricity Today!

Here’s one solution: Blend their interests and desires into activities that bring them closer to self-reliance and preparedness. You see, to be an effective teacher or parent you must carry at least a bit of deception in your arsenal.

Here are five activities:

1. Geocaching.

If you are looking to get the family outside and hunt for some “buried treasure,” there is really no substitute for geocaching. It’s a game of following coordinates via GPS on your smartphone to a location where someone has hidden a cache.

5 Fun Activities To Create A More Prepared Family

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These caches contain very small items … and sometimes contain nothing. You can trade for items in the cache or just sign the booklet inside to let the next explorer know who was there before them.

Geocaching gets the kids outside and teaches them about the powerful method of hiding survival caches. Your survival caches may be filled with bullets and food storage, but these are a little more kid-friendly.

2. Self-defense.

Gone are the days when martial arts were exclusively for the tough guys. Even MMA gyms have incredible kid’s programs that teach them self-defense, among other great lessons. There is simply no better method than to throw them in a class with people their age who will quickly become their friends.

Spend time teaching your kids the good stuff. There are a lot of martial arts out there, but the fact is some are just more effective than others. Consider getting your kids into the following disciplines:

  • Muay Thai
  • Jiu Jitsu
  • Krav Maga

3. Minecraft.

5 Fun Activities To Create A More Prepared Family

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Minecraft is a totally creative buildable universe where your characters can work together not just to build cool structures but also to craft all the tools you’ll need to do so. This crafting element helps kids understand the manipulation of base materials and how they can be turned into something useful.

Example: If you are going to put glass windows in your home, you must collect sand and place it in your furnace. To power your furnace, you either will have to mine coal or make charcoal from wood.

The survival mode also requires you to hunt or farm to feed yourself. You must build shelter to protect yourself from many of the enemies.

In Minecraft, you also will have an inventory to manage. This means you will only have so much room to keep items that you collect.

The game is a blast with kids, and there is no other outlet where you can combine so many survival principles in a fun and enjoyable night-in. All the while, they will be learning about things like resources, crafting, farming, disaster, recovery and adaptability.

4. Shooting.

If your kids are old enough to shoot, then this is one of the most important things you can do as a family.

Be Prepared! Store An ‘Emergency Seed Bank’ For A Crisis Garden

Our Second Amendment rights are constantly under fire, and we need a generation of responsible gun owners to take our place. If our kids are going to fight for our rights, they must understand the truth about what a gun is, what it’s capable of and — most importantly — how to safely own and use one.

5. Camping.

You can mutate your camping trips into bug-out trips. It’s a very easy scenario to pose to the kids. Make your camping adventures a little more impromptu and try to utilize as little convenience as possible. Take your bug-out bags and use what’s inside of them.

5 Fun Activities To Create A More Prepared Family

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Challenge your kids to leave the electronics at home and bring with them only their wits. Of course, this will put more pressure on you to keep them entertained. Don’t worry; I have answers for that, too.

  • Navigation with a compass.
  • Finding wild edibles.
  • Firecraft.
  • Fishing.
  • Watching wildlife.

Camping is a no-brainer, but you can take it to another level if you are smart about how you spend your time.

There is an old saying: “Bait your hook with your heart and they will always bite.” When it comes to your family, it’s no different. Show them your passion and then compromise to make it fun for them.

What advice would you add? Share your tips in the section below:

Be Prepared For A Downed Grid. Read More Here.

Early American Dairy

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Early American Dairy

Published on Apr 10, 2017

Today Hannah Zimmerman from Historic Locust Grove sits down with Jon to discuss the history of early American dairy, as well as demonstrating the process of making butter.

Locust Grove Website ▶▶

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Another Home Invasion. No Legal Right to Defence in Australia.

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Image supplied By 7 News.
The Australian government doesn’t give a damn about the safety of the public. Gun control has nothing to do with public safety. We are not allowed to own, carry or use anything specifically meant for use in self defence or in the defence of others. Now the government has banned the use of firearms for defence. Australians are left defenceless unless we break the law. We should have the right to defend ourselves and our families in whatever way we consider necessary. Surely this is a human right?! The Australian government is denying us this right!

Sooner or later I think Australian citizens will have to ask themselves this question: Would you rather be judged by 12 or carried by 6 ?!

Family Vacation & Still Prepping

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Family Vacation & Still Prepping Host: James Walton “I Am Liberty” Audio in player below! I know we dedicate a lot of time and money to prepping and survival but I am a firm believer in balance. I think as important as it is to be prepared it’s just as important to hit the road … Continue reading Family Vacation & Still Prepping

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Countdown to The Move from Wyoming to Nashville…One week and counting…plus news from Rich

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What’s in this post… News on Rich, SurvivalRing, Security, my career, local events, latest SurvivalRing Radio Shows, and getting ready to move across the country. Wait an hour and the weather will change Hello again from the middle of nowhere, Wyoming, where one day we have flash floods after chinook winds melts over a foot […]

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‘Gun Violence’ Never Happens in ‘Gun Free’ Australia. Except When it Does.

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Now there’s a scenario for you: an unarmed defenceless father and five teenagers hiding from three intruders who’ve shown that they are ready, willing and able to use deadly force.

Thankfully, the home invaders left. They’re still at large. And Australians are still defenseless against armed criminals. Anyone care to repeat the Australian model of gun control here? The scary part? The answer to that question is yes.

Self Defense Laws in Australia.

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Another Australian citizen is attacked and he has no way to defend himself from these thugs using machetes. It is against the law in Australia to carry anything specifically for use in self defence. We are not allowed to carry guns, knives, batons, pepper sprays, or tasers. Women are getting raped & murdered, men are being attacked and killed, but the Australian government will not do anything to help us protect ourselves, not on the streets, and not even in our own homes.

51 Items Most Preppers Forget to Add to Their BOBS

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51 Items Most Preppers Forget to Add to Their BOBS If you’re relatively new to prepping and starting to gather supplies, you may be feeling somewhat overwhelmed. Don’t worry you are not alone. For the first two years that I was prepping, I felt like I really didn’t know what I was doing either. Other … Continue reading 51 Items Most Preppers Forget to Add to Their BOBS

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REPOST: SurvivalRing Guide #1: Five Most Important Skills for New Preppers…Set Your Foundation First (plus bonus Bug-out section)

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“Hello…We’re the Preppers…” The “Prepper” movement has grown exponentially in the last few years, thanks to reality TV shows such as “Doomsday Preppers” (aka DDP), and all the knockoff shows and repeats on many other networks, as well as online TV show services like Hulu and NetFlix. Mainstream print and online media is following in […]

The post REPOST: SurvivalRing Guide #1: Five Most Important Skills for New Preppers…Set Your Foundation First (plus bonus Bug-out section) appeared first on SurvivalRing.

Morality in a shtf event.

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Someone recently posed the question ” If you are a person with high moral values, how will these morals be effected by a major shtf event? Will you stick to your high morals, or do you think that such an event will change you and cause you to throw these morals aside?”

I think the best way in which I can answer this, at least for myself, is to show you a video. This movie is based on a true event and to my mind best shows the way that I feel I would have to respond to a clear and present danger to myself, my family and my friends regardless of the survival scenario.

The Threats We Face!

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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!

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50 Survival Items to Put in Your Kids Backpacks

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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

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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

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The 10 principles of effective family survival

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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…

The post The 10 principles of effective family survival was written by Bob Rodgers and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

Be Your Best During the Worst Helping Others!

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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!

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Back to Reality Prepping!

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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

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SurvivalRing Radio Podcast – Show 103 – Jan. 20th, 2017

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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… As always, you are invited to be part of the show every week, either calling in, emailing […]

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Sesame Seeds

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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.

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The 2017 Prepper Community

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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

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Getting Your Family on Board!

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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!

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Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Best wishes for 2017

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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 […]

We Need More Godly Men

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     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…

Breakfast In The 18th Century!

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Published on Dec 12, 2016

A simple, delicious recipe from The Art Of Cookery by Hannah Glasse

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12 Days of Christmas: Day 11, Is That All There Is?

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12 Days of Christmas Day 11 Is That All There Is via The Survival Mom

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?

after Christmas surprises

When You Give This Christmas, It’s Easy to Give Back, Too!

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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?

Radko Christmas ornament from the MD Anderson Children’s Art Project.

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!

childrens art project

This content was sponsored by MD Anderson Cancer Center. I was given samples of products and compensated for my time and research.


The 12 Days of Christmas: Day 9, Our Favorite Things

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creative Christmas gift

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!

creative gift idea

12 Days of Christmas: Day 8, Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labor

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peaceful Christmas

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”!

peaceful Christmas

Survival Mom’s Holiday Shopping Guide

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survival mom giftsThis 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


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!!

fleece lined tights

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.

Buy this as a gift and we’ll send a special “Gift to You” email to the lucky recipient. Learn more about our 2 courses here and register at this link.


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.)

Wool socks

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 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.

survival mom gifts

12 Days of Christmas: Day 7, Give the Gift of Preparedness

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 Christmas gifts for preppers

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

Give Patriots by James Wesley Rawles or One Second After by William Forstchen, and then sit back and wait for a panicked phone call.

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.

Christmas gifts for preppers

How to teach your children about emergency preparedness

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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.

The 12 Days of Christmas: Day 6, The Gift of Memories

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gift of memories

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 51khqdy4culphotos 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.

gift of memories

The 12 Days of Christmas: Day 5, Keep it Simple, Sweetie!

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simple Christmas

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.

simple christmas

The 12 Days of Christmas: Day 4, A gift of service

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12 Days of Christmas Day 4 A Gift of Service via The Survival Mom

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.

12 Days of Christmas Day 4 A Gift of Service via The Survival Mom

The 12 Days of Christmas: Day 2, Read All About It!

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christmas read alouds

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.

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.

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:

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.

12 Days of Christmas Day 2 Read All About It via The Survival Mom

11 Survival Lessons We Can Learn From Old-Timers

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survival lessons old timers

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 51esuyjkd9lfoods 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.

61asijhthl-_sl1200_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.

survival lessons old timers

The Crumpet Controversy

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Published on Nov 28, 2016

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!

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A Preppers Thanksgiving

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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

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Cheesemaking In The Early 19th Century

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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!

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For the love of Garlic

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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

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Herbs for Seasonal Cleanse

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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:
yellow dock
milk thistle

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.

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Ready Network Elite Pack -The Pack

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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.

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He’s alive…and part titanium! Plus, the very core of preparedness

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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 […]

Life changes…as do we. Everyday.

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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 […]

Opinion: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of a healthy future…plus, PODCAST!

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14046128_10153637470286268_6038572892736391891_nUpdate: 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 Harvest Succotash

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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.

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Paw Paw Pudding

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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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Memory Quilt continued, Embroidering Names on Photo Quilt Blocks

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A few posts ago, I introduced you to a Memory Quilt that I recently made for a family member who was celebrating a landmark birthday.  Just as it is important to identify the photos that you take, I felt it was important to machine embroider family names the quilt blocks.  People change over time, and it is helpful to identify who these beloved family members are now.
Those who are familiar with Machine Embroidery, you know that Stabilizer is a required element to embroider anything.  There are many types to choose from, but I find that I am using this type more often with many of my projects :  World Weidner Self-Adhesive Sticky Peel N Stick Tear Away Embroidery Stabilizer Backing 8″x10 Yard Roll.  What I like about this project is that you can readjust your fabric without taking the hoop apart. this is a very important convenience that saves me time and I feel helps me to quickly get my projects ready to start.
You may be wondering why I am being so specific about the type (not the brand) stabilizer.  Well, it is because I tried to use it efficiently when embroidering on my blocks.  Stabilizer can be costly, so being efficient with its use is just smart.  I tried to embroider on the photos before I made the blocks and it was just too difficult for this quilt. I found that it was easier to embroider on the finished blocks. They were easier to position and center using self-adhesive stabilizer.
I started positioning the first block near the top of the hoop. After your embroidery is finished, I folded the bottom of the block upward.
Slide you next block just under the first block.
Your machine most likely came with a grid tool to help you center your project. I used this tool to center and place my next block on the hoop.  Then I used the settings on my machine to show me the size of the name I wanted to embroider. Sometimes I had to adjust the name up or down using the settings on my machine.
Firmly press your blocks on to the self-adhesive stabilizer.  Embroider your names until you have used the full length of your stabilizer contained within your hoop.
After you remove your hoop from you machine, start removing the bottom block from your stabilizer.  
When you have finished removing all the blocks, your stabilizer should look like this.
Soooo, what is the finished project like?  Here it a section of the quilt in all of it’s glory!  My family member states that she has shown this to many friends and neighbors. Reportedly they enjoy it as much as my beloved family member does.

Update, Content, News, and months of podcasts.

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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!

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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!

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32 Survival Skills Your Child Should Know and Be Able to Do ASAP!

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Best Of the survival mom

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!

32 Survival Skills your child should know and be able to do asap. Great list of boredom busters! | via www.TheSurvivalMom.comKnowledge 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.

  1. Grow vegetables from seeds. This isn’t the easiest skill to master and you’ll need expert advice.
  2. Have local edible and medicinal plant foraging skills. This book is a must-have for foraging beginners.
  3. Knowledge of dietary needs and how to meet them using wild plants and game
  4. Make a fire and know fire safety
  5. Cook on an open fire
  6. Open a can of food with and without can opener (rub can lid ridge on cement and then pry open with knife)
  7. Be able to tell if food is too spoiled to eat
  8. How to safely use a knife
  9. How to shoot a sling shot
  10. How to hunt small game with snares, traps and sling shot
  11. How to fish and hunt, using  a bow and gun when old enough
  12. How to clean fish and wild game
  13. Find water and identify if it’s safe to drink
  14. Filter and boil water to drink
  15. Basic first aid
  16. Basic hygiene practices
  17. Find or build a shelter in the wilderness
  18. How to stay warm, cool, and dry in the elements
  19. How, why and when to stay hidden
  20. Self defense
  21. How to make a basic weapon and how to use it
  22. Be able to run and walk a good distance and be in generally good shape
  23. How to climb a tree to get away from predators, get directional bearings, and hunt
  24. How to read a map and use a compass
  25. How to read the sky for directions, time and approaching bad weather
  26. Know where family and friends live if they need to find them
  27. How to sew so they can mend clothing or any fabric and even make things such as bags or scrap quilts
  28. How to barter and trade (Kids naturally do this with their toys so teach them at garage sales.)
  29. How to be responsible for themselves and to be aware of their surroundings at all times
  30. Have a natural curiosity and good problem solving skills
  31. Be hard working and a self starter and a family helper not a complainer!
  32. 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.

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How do your kids stack up? For more kid-friendly skills lists, check these out:


It’s a Matter of making Memories

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Isn’t it cool?  Just like the phrase in the old commercial….”I can’t believe I ate the whole thing….”,  well I can truly say “I can’t believe I made this thing!”.
One of my family members had one of those “Landmark” Birthday’s recently.  I felt that I needed to make something special and memorable for her.  About 10 years ago, I ventured out and made a memory quilt along with photo’s for my In law’s 50th Wedding anniversary.  At that time, I had to trust my photo’s to a little Mom and Pop shop and they transferred the pictures on to fabric.  Fast Forward a few years and you now can do this yourself at home.  Want to learn more?  Let’s do it!

How To Transfer Photo’s onto Fabric at Home:

Before you begin, you will need to purchase 100% white cotton fabric, which needs to be pre-washed before you begin this process.  I took over a bathroom in my house to do this.  I set out a towel to protect my counter, got 2 containers that were not dear to me, and set out the supplies:
  • Clothespins
  • 2 Pie tins
  • Cotton squares
  • Latex gloves
  • ….and the solutions.
This is Bubble Jet Set 2000.  I purchased mine from Amazon. 
Soak the fabric squares in the solution.
Set up a place to hang your squares to dry.  I was able to use yarn and rig this clothesline over a bathtub.
Once the squares are dry, press them flat, then press them onto Freezer Paper.  Now, here is a quick trick that I learned.  I used my paper cutter and cut several sheets of Freezer paper to an 8 x 11 inch size.  I found that I could re-use each sheet of Freezer paper over and over.  
Place your Cloth-Freezer Paper into your printer.  I learned that I needed to slightly curl the edge of the Freezer paper (that was going into the printer) slightly upward so that the printer could grab it and feed it through.  
If you don’t do this, you get the mess on the right!  It bunches up inside of your printer, or gets stuck.  I have to say that I ruined too many pieces of fabric and freezer paper until I figured this out!  
Next, you will need the Bubble Jet Rinse.  FYI, here are the directions on the Bubble Jet set 2000 and they state the following:

“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” 

See how colorful the printed fabric is?
After the squares were dry, I ironed them and made my quilting squares.  Didn’t they turn out wonderfully?  “I can’t believe I did the whole thing!”.

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.

A Mom’s Guide to Preparing For Civil Unrest

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Mom's Guide Civil UnrestOver 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?

Mom's Guide Civil Unrest

What’s In Your Emotional Backpack?

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What's In Your Emotional Backpack via The Survival Mom

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.

What's In Your Emotional Backpack via The Survival Mom

1796 Pound Cakes!

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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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Civil Unrest

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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!

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Family Emergency Planning!

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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!

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The Often-Overlooked Survival Document Every Homesteader Should Store In A Safe

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The Often-Overlooked Survival Document Every Homesteader Should Have In A Safe

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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.

Discover The Secrets Of The Word’s Top Survivalists!

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.

The Often-Overlooked Survival Document Every Homesteader Should Store In A Safe

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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:

Are You Truly Prepared For A Downed Grid? Read More Here.

How to handle emergencies on vacation

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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…

The post How to handle emergencies on vacation was written by Bob Rodgers and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

Emergency Preparedness for You and Your Family

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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

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“No Empty Chairs ……”

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A Matter of Preparedness

I have been heartsick these past few weeks with all the vitriol, anger, and senseless choices of so many.  I am saddened by the loss of life in so many settings despite the circumstances. We certainly live in very troubling times. When this all began, it reminded me of the turmoil that rocked 1968, particularly around the political party conventions.  At that time, there were differing viewpoints on who was justified in their actions and who was not.  This is also the case today.  Folks….no matter what… matter who… matter when…..this senselessness is just that–SENSELESS!.  
I will not engage in a diatribe of who is right and who is wrong….that is a wormhole that many will be willing jump into with you.  Instead, I choose to share or remind, (what ever is the case with you and your family), that your family and family members are more precious than anything you own, do or say or in life.  
This seems so very basic, but as you hear reports from various venues, too many do not appear to put their family as their priority and protect them with all the resources that they may have had at their disposal.  We see family’s outcries when they learn of the death of a loved one in a heated incident, (with too many who are and were so young). We see individuals claiming to have relationships with folks in the news (either dead or alive) to garner favor, funds, or fame.  As noted above….THIS IS SENSELESS….
In talking with colleagues, customers, and friends there is a sense of sadness, despair, and hopelessness.  “How could we be in this position?” “Who finds these terrible outcomes worth the choice?” These and many other questions fall from the lips of concerned citizens, neighbors, friends, and family members.

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12)

When I was very young, my parents moved our family to the Midwest, to a State that had recently experienced rioting and unrest.  My childhood friends, concerned for me, told me that they thought we were all going to be hurt.  Some adults’s opinions and statements including gloomy outcomes for our family in a spiritual sense.   It scared me initially, but because of the choices of my parents, I felt calm and peace even when new situations did arise that I had never been exposed to before.

 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)

There are many categories of ‘preparation’.  One category that I feel often is not even given lip service is Spiritual Preparation.  In my view, this is probably the important and needful area to have incorporated even before attempting educational, professional, and other areas.  It is the all-encompassing umbrella for all the Son’s and Daughter’s of our Heavenly Father, despite the circumstances that we may have been born and raised in.
When my parents made the decision to go, as I indicated before, so may of our neighbors and friends had cautious and discouraging words.  However, my Grandmother looked at our Parents and our family and said “Whatever is best for you is best for us”.  We would no longer be within a 2 hour drive, it would be one or more flights for our Grandparents to see us.  No longer would I be in the majority in my community when it came to religious beliefs.  I personally was challenged, and am now grateful for the test.  Instead of following the majority, I had to learn, pray and decide for myself who our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost were…and if they were real.
Our Family Spiritually prepared with daily prayer held morning and night.  We met as a family each Monday night to spend time together. These evenings often included religious instruction, but many were just doing fun things together. These were spiritual and emotional building experiences.  Scripture study was encouraged, and attendance in a religious class outside of our Sunday Service was also valued.  Each experience, each morsel, each spiritual prompting were the building blocks for me and my siblings to handle the blessings and hardships of life while we were young and well into our adult years.

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)

My Parents, siblings and their spouses recently gathered together to celebrate a major life milestone.  We spend several days together.  One evening, during dinner, I looked around at each face sitting at the table. I reflected upon how much I had admired each one.  My Sisters and Parents have chosen to remain faithful in their religious convictions.  All of my Brother-in-laws had bravely made a decision in their young lives to seek Spiritual guidance and change their lives in order to be in the service of Heavenly Father.  In particular, my husband, at the age of 12 was attending different faiths attempting to feed his Spirit.  I find this so impressive for one so young.
Our Family has endured much. There have been job loses, serious health issues, challenges with family members, and more. But it is just as important to list and count our blessings.  For example, one of my siblings recently emerged from an episode with Cancer.  I am so grateful for these good people.  
I share this with you to help you understand the phrase “No Empty Chairs”.  My Parents (my Father in particular) would often use this phrase. The phrase means that we are so precious to our Parents, that they desire that as a family, we live our lives in such a way that when this life is over, we can live together.  This is a great blessing that is available to all of Heavenly Father’s children.
As a momento of our recent family time together, one of my siblings had both the necklace and engraved pocketknives prepared for each of us. It was one of the culminating events of the time we spent together and a reminder to seek for spiritual things and be sensitive to promptings to serve. 
It is now my charge to continue to love and encourage my children and grandchildren to become increasingly prepared in Spirit. My children have had experienced life-altering challenges. Most have weathered the storm well…some have hidden battle scars (as do we all).  It is my wish that they, and all of us, can be hopeful amidst the chaos of life.  It is my hope and prayer that “There are No Empty Chairs” in my family or in any family when we have all finished our earthly missions.

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 surrender.

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)

“….No Empty Chairs….”

Killing, Working, and Achieving!

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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!

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5 Attributes EVERY Homesteader Must Have To Survive Tough Times

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5 Attributes EVERY Homesteader Must Have To Survive Tough Times

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.

5 Attributes EVERY Homesteader Must Have To Survive Tough TimesThis 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.

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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.

5 Attributes EVERY Homesteader Must Have To Survive Tough Times

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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.

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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.

Final Thoughts

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:

Are You Prepared For A Downed Grid? Read More Here.

15 Ways to Make Camping With Kids Easier Than You Think

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15 Ways to Make Camping With Kids Easier Than You Think via The Survival Mom

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!”

15 Ways to Make Camping With Kids Easier Than You Think via The Survival Mom


Feeding Babies In Times of Trouble

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Feeding Babies times of troubleTo 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Feeding Babies times of trouble

Life Happens: How to Prep Again When You’ve Lost Everything

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When you've lost it all, here's how to begin prepping from scratch.

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.

6) Faith

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.

When you've lost it all, here's how to begin prepping from scratch.