Best Gift For High School Graduates

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Do you have some high school graduates this year? I realize we usually send money, which all graduating students can use, but for me, I like to put together an emergency preparedness kit that high school graduates can store and have available when needed. The minute those awesome kids move out and into their own living quarters, some of these items may not be available like they were at mom or dad’s house.

I have had a few grandkids move out and go to school and they quickly learned that those “Bandaids” at moms house are now 300 miles away. It’s the simple things we take for granted that a young adult who is moving out of the nest needs in their own apartment, rental home or student housing.

High School Graduates
It’s almost like they need a “graduation shower,” with items they will need if they become sick, hungry if the power goes out, or an unforeseen emergency happens. I will add the items you suggest, so bring it to me, my friends, let’s send these young adults off with the stuff they need.

Here’s the deal, I made a first aid kit for college: First Aid Kit For College  It’s definitely a good start, but they need even more now that our country and the world are so unsettled.

Gift Ideas-High School Graduates

Cash

Everyone can use cash, right? I would recommend some ones and fives in an envelope for an emergency cash stash.

First Aid Kit

Please start with fever reducers, cough syrup, silver solution, cough drops, Ibuprofen, Tylenol, or whatever your young adult uses for over the counter drugs. I highly recommend this medical book and other items for every member of the family, and yes, even students:

I love essential oils, but I have to be careful or the FDA will shut down my website. Yes, it has been done to other bloggers. I will not say essential oils or a silver solution will cure anything, please use your own judgment when it comes to natural remedies. I rarely go to the doctor and my entire family is the same way. I have 17 grandchildren, so you know I have a large family.

We have learned to heal our bodies naturally, it’s not for everyone. Oh yes, we go to the doctor if there is any question. We are medical savvy, so to speak. I have had my grandchildren say, “grandma I need some silver or Breathe essential oils.” It’s how we roll, you must do what is right for you and your family.

Flashlight

If you want to give a flashlight, please throw in a few extra batteries, the high school graduates will thank you! I gifted a solar one to my granddaughter that is hand crank, USB charger, or solar. This is the one I buy for all family members: Goal Zero Flashlight

Water Storage

Here’s the deal with water storage. Yes, we can give a few cases of water from the grocery store, that’s awesome. But, for the long-term please consider these BlueCans. I know they are expensive, but all my grandkids will be getting these. Some already have them for emergencies. Think disaster, these will store in temperatures up to 145-150 degrees. They come 24 cans to a box. Skip a few sodas or eating out and you can afford these.

If you live near one of their distributors you can pick them up and save on shipping. This is all I wanted for Christmas last year, BlueCans. I can sleep at night. Like a baby.

Food Storage

It would be really nice to give pantry size containers like these for emergencies. I purchased these through Thrive Life. These could be freeze-dried and will keep for their entire college period if stored in a dark cool place.

High School Graduates

These are freeze-dried packages from Thrive Life that are great for couples for wedding gifts and high school graduates. Here is a link if you want to check these out: Thrive Life Food Storage

A few other items that would be awesome would be items to fill a pantry, or at least partially. Please give them a can opener and a pair of scissors. They will be opening packages of pasta, beans, rice and cans of just about any food to fill their bellies. I picture ramen noodles being a favorite. I know, I can hear some people say, “but that’s processed food.” Well, it’s also called starving students, I know, because I was there once.

Cell phone charger

Who wouldn’t love an extra cell phone charger, right?

72-Hour Kit

I’m sure you know what can go in a student 72-hour kit: toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, menstrual supplies, etc. The list is endless. I would just think to yourself: “what would I need for the next three days?”

Emergency Car Kit

The best place I have found for a fairly cheap emergency car kit would be Costco or Sam’s club. They have them once a year around Christmas time for under $35.00, typically. It’s a start, but a very good bag filled with car items for a student.

Tool Kit

You know we take for granted that we have a screwdriver, hammer, pliers, etc. A small tool kit for a student would be awesome. I have seen some really nice ones at IKEA. Or you can put together a tool kit bag for your student on your own.

Pans-Dishes-Silverware

If your student is lucky enough to have a food card, woohoo! If not, just think of any extra kitchen utensils like plates, cups, silverware, etc. They will gladly take them. I promise.

I hope this post today gives you several ideas for your high school graduate’s gift ideas. I will add others as I think of them. May God bless you and your family. Thanks for being prepared NOW for the unexpected.

Copyright Photo:

Graduation Cap: AdobeStock_63395468 by Ktsdesign

First Aid Kit by Linda

The post Best Gift For High School Graduates appeared first on Food Storage Moms.

TGN Team Favorites: Unique Valentine’s Day Gifts

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Gifting can be hard—am I right? Especially with the high-pressure, romantic holidays like Valentines Day! Not to worry, we’re here to help….

The TGN team thought it would be fun to look beyond the cliché of teddy bears and a dozen roses and really think outside of the chocolate box. We came up with a few unique Valentine’s Day gifts that keep on giving, all year long! 


Unique Valentine’s Day Gifts

What better way to show your Valentine how much you love them than with a thoughtful gift—that keeps on giving? Let’s take a closer look at some truly unique Valentine’s Day gift ideas.

Dry Farm Wines

Dry Farm Wine | http://dryfarmwines.com/thegrownetwork

Dry Farm Wines curates only the highest quality natural wines from small, organic family farms, which is quite the contrast to today’s commercialized and processed wines. Dry Farm Wines is just real wine like you’ve never tasted before!

These wines are not only organic, but also sugar free—making them perfect for the waistline! If you follow a paleo or keto lifestyle, then this is the wine for you. 

We don’t just love that these wines are organic and sugar freewe love the monthly (or bi-monthly) subscription. You can sign up for the Friends of the Farm Wine & Social Club and choose whether you want to receive your delivery monthly or every other month. And shipping is always free! 

Dry Farm Wines originate with natural farming and traditional winemaking practices, including:

  • Natural, organic or bio-dynamic viticulture/farming
  • Dry farming (no use of irrigation)
  • Old-growth vines, generally 35-100 years
  • Hand-harvested fruit from low yields
  • Minimal intervention in the vinification and aging
  • Wild native yeast in fermentation
  • No commercial yeast for flavor alteration
  • No or minimal filtering/fining
  • No or minimal use of new oak
  • No or minimal addition of sulfites
  • No chaptalization (adding sugar to the grape to aid fermentation)
  • No chemical additives for aroma, color, flavor, or texture enhancement

Sharon Says: “I love Dry Farm Wines because they taste fantastic, with deep, rich flavor profiles.  And they don’t wreck my blood sugar because they are certified ketogenic … meaning the have essentially no sugar content. I also feel really good about how they demonstrate environmental stewardship because they are farmed using old-world, sustainable farming techniques.  And, every batch is tested and certified to be free of any glyphosate, pesticides, herbicides, etc.  I LOVE Dry Farm Wines!”

Dry Farm Wines | http://dryfarmwines.com/thegrownetwork


Butcher Box

Butcher Box - Monthly Meat Delivery

Butcher Box provides monthly or bi-monthly delivery of thoughtfully sourced and ethically raised meat directly to your door! Grass-fed and -finished beef, free-range organic chicken, and heritage-breed pork are humanely raised without the use of antibiotics or hormones, ever.

Here’s how it works: You simply choose a curated box or build your own, and it’s shipped directly to your door! Easy! You can choose a large or small shipment depending on the size of your family, as well as choose a monthly or bi-monthly subscription. And the best part is that you can update the contents each month to spice things up! 

We love Butcher Box not only because of the quality of the humanely raised meat it provides, but also because the subscription makes putting highly nutritious meats on the table easy and convenient.

Ruth Says: “I love Butcher Box because not everyone has access to local grass-fed ranches. They make it accessible to everyone and deliver it right to your doorstep. This is meat that you can truly feel good about feeding to your family.”Butcher Box


Amazon Fresh

Amazon Fresh | http://amzn.to/2Fj8POn

Amazon Fresh is an unlimited grocery delivery service provided by Amazon that you can add to your Prime membership. While this may not be for everyone, it could be a great alternative to weekly grocery runs if you have a large family or a busy schedule. It’s like giving the gift of time for Valentine’s Day!

Amazon Fresh will add an additional $14.99 per month on top of the cost of your annual Prime membership—but you will get unlimited delivery. Each order must total at least $50, however many of us already spend more than that on our weekly grocery trips.

The service offers a really impressive array (thousands!) of fresh and boxed organic, non-gmo options. And now that Amazon owns Whole Foods, you can even have their house brand, 365, delivered right to your door!

Amazon Fresh | http://amzn.to/2Fj8POn


Thrive Market

Thrive Market | Organic, Non-Gmo brands you love - for less!

Thrive Market is an online shopping club that offers organic and non-gmo products at 25% to 50% below retail prices! There is $59.95 annual membership fee, and all orders of $49 or more ship free. Thrive says their members usually make back the cost of membership in the first two orders. 

The best part about this company is that for every new paid member, they donate a free membership to a family in need! 

We love Thrive Market because they provide easy and affordable access to a large variety of organic non-gmo groceries, nontoxic cleaning products, organic beauty products, and so much more!

Thrive Market


Raw Spice Bar

RawSpiceBar | Monthly Spice Subscription

Raw Spice Bar is an inexpensive monthly subscription that delivers fresh and flavorful ready-to-use spice kits to your door. What better way to supplement your Butcher Box and Amazon Fresh service than with clean, healthy spices?

Raw Spice BAR


Well, what do you think? Will you be thinking outside the chocolate box this Valentine’s Day and giving a gift (or two) that keeps on giving?



Please note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. The Grow Network is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program designed to provide a means for TGN to earn fees for recommending our favorite products! We may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you, should you purchase an item after clicking one of our links. Thanks for supporting TGN!


 

 

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Creating On a Budget; Living Simple!

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Creating On a Budget; Living Simple!

Creating On a Budget; Living Simple!
Contributed by “Dakota”

Being rich is a state of mind, mostly. I’ve never had a lot of money, but I’ve enjoyed the riches of others through my culinary career. I have work, good health, love, friends, live among nature, and a spiritual path. To me that’s riches. I’ve never felt poor.

We talked about gman’s office in the last article, he made me a work desk too, so now we call the office the hobby room.

Continue reading Creating On a Budget; Living Simple! at Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

The Ultimate Holiday Prepper Gift Buying Guide

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The Ultimate Holiday Prepper Gift Buying Guide Do you have a special prepper in your life? What about someone in your life who has no idea what to buy you for the holiday. Maybe you are struggling with what you want to burn your holiday family ration on. You get one shot at this holiday …

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Top 10 Gifts for the Homesteader Wife

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Top 10 Gifts for the Homesteader Wife Let’s give a round of applause for good wives. They deserve great gifts and the homeschooling, homesteading wife is no exception. Now I wouldn’t recommend making any of these the sole gift that you give but anyone will be something a homesteading wife would appreciate. There are very …

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Five Great Preparedness Gifts for Under $20

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The Christmas season is here once again and, like most things, that got me to thinking about preparedness.  Whether it’s Christmas, birthdays, or any other reason you may need a gift for a special someone, finding for a quality gift for the preparedness-minded person in their life that won’t break the bank is always a priority.  Here is a quick list of useful and affordable that any prepper would be thankful to receive!

 

 

Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System or the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

 

 

Regardless of which one you choose, you can trust both of these lifesaving water filters with your life.

 

 

Strikeforce Fire Starter

 

 

 

Durable and dependable, this is the only fire starter I will carry in my kit.

 

Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife with Sandvik Stainless Steel Blade, 4.1-Inch

 

 

 

Affordable enough to buy several to spread throughout various packs, this reliable survival knife is always a winner.

 

resqme The Original Keychain Car Escape Tool, Made in USA (Red) – Pack of 2

 

 

 

 This lifesaving tool is small and lightweight, but it packs a powerful punch!

 

Shemagh

 

 

 

Endlessly useful and easily affordable, finding a couple of these in your stocking Christmas morning is guaranteed to bring a smile to any prepper’s face.

 

BONUS ITEMS!

 

Practical Prepping:   No Apocalypse Required

 

 

 

A relaxed look at how anyone can quickly go from scared to prepared without taking on a second mortgage.

 

Practical Tactical Quick Start Guide

 

 

 

Exactly what it says.  A practical, jump start for the preparedness novice, or a fast-access reminder for the more seasoned prepper in your life.

 

Nation Makers tactical morale patch

No all heroes wear a cape.  Say “Thank you.” and recognize the every day heroes in your community by giving the Nation Makers patch.

 

 

If you want to better understand my thoughts on personal preparedness, please check out my books HERE and HERE, or wander deeper into this blog.  I hope this website will help you along your way, especially if you’re just getting started.  Keep up with everything Practical Tactical by subscribing to our mailing list and be sure to LIKE, SHARE and FOLLOW us across all of our social media platforms as well.

www.practicaltactical4you.com

Practical Tactical

Prepper Gift Guide!

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Prepper Gift Guide!

Prepper Gift Guide
Host: James Walton “I Am Liberty” Audio player below!

Whether you find yourself here because you are a prepper yourself or, maybe, you are doing some intel for that special survivalist in your life, you have come to the right place. What I am looking to achieve is the ultimate guide to 2017 gifts for the prepper. Now, this is going to be much more than simply lists of items that are prepper centric.

Continue reading Prepper Gift Guide! at Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Skill-Based Gift Ideas to Suit Every Survival Kid

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gifts for adventurous kids

My kids were raised in an adventurous family. We live to swim against the stream and take on challenges of all kinds. At times, it seemed as though I was raising feral children, but now in their teen years, they’ve turned out okay after all! Adventure is good for kids because it developed self-confidence and an “I can do it attitude.”

Over the years on this blog, we’ve posted lists of skills kids should have and it occurred to me that kids who learn these skills are leading lives of adventure, filled with challenges

On this blog, I have several lists of skills kids should know — many are skills that will lead kids into new Browsing through the lists of skills kids should know and have, it occurred to me that those lists are excellent resources for gift ideas! Here are just a few gift suggestions from each list.

What’s extra tricky about these lists and gift suggestions is that they make learning a new survival skill fun and will most likely involve everyone in the family. It’s hard to beat that combination.

From our original, classic list, “32 Survival Skills Your Child Should Know and Be Able to Do ASAP!”

SKILL: Grow vegetables from seeds.

GIFT: A Grow Bottle from SeedsNow.com. I love the idea of giving a gift that is an all-in-one kit for growing a practical and edible plant. Just for fun, check out these holiday ornaments that contain seeds for plants like Dog Grass, Catnip, and Wintergreen.

SKILL: Know basic first aid.

GIFT:very kid-friendly first aid kit, the medibag.

SKILL: How to read a map and use a compass.

GIFT: A copy of Survivor Kid and a good quality compass.

To see the complete list of these skills and, hopefully, generate some gift ideas for the young ones in your life, click here.

From our list, “32 Basic Survival Skills Kids”

SKILL: Pack your own survival pack.

GIFT: One of the very nice, quality packs from Flying Circle Bags. Include some basic supplies, like a LED flashlight or UV Paqlite, some high calorie “survival bars”, a roll of duct tape, and some paracord.

SKILL: Follow a recipe.

GIFT: A fun kids recipe book, measuring spoons, and other basic kitchen supplies.

SKILL: Make a meal without power.

GIFT: Materials to make a solar cooker, instructions, and the promise to work on this project together. The Solar Cooking Science Kit is a good place to start. I’d suggest the Sun Oven, but that’s a little pricey for a kid’s gift!

SKILL: Know and use home and natural remedies.

GIFT: A basket of mild essential oils (lavender and lemon, for example), seeds for an herb garden, and a copy of A Kid’s Herb Book. Buy the book ahead of time to get more ideas of what to include in that basket! We reviewed the book here.

Read the entire list of skills here.

Suburban and urban kids need plenty of skills, too! Here are gift ideas from “32 Mental and Urban Survival Skills for Kids”

SKILL: Know how to manage money and set a budget.

GIFT: Financial Peace Junior and a small stash of Christmas gift cash to get the budget/savings process started.

SKILL: Self-defense.

GIFT: A series of lessons at a good, local martial arts school.

SKILL: Shoot a gun, including the use of eye and ear protection.

GIFT: An air-soft rifle, BB gun or .22 rifle. Include goggles and good quality ear protection.

To review the entire list of mental and urban survival skills, click here.

Finally, wilderness survival skills from our list, “32 Wilderness Survival Skills for Kids”

SKILL: Tie different types of knots.

GIFT: A roll of paracord and knot-tying instructions. This game, Knot So Fast, combines knot tying with some fun competition.

SKILL: Dutch oven cooking.

GIFT: Their own Dutch oven, a Dutch oven cookbook, heat-safe mitts, and a chimney charcoal starter. Boys and girls alike will love learning this skill!

SKILL: Identify and understand animal tracks and scat.

GIFT: The Who Pooped…? series of books features animal scat information for different parts of the country, including the Black Hills and a few other National Parks. A book my kids thoroughly enjoyed is Tracks, Scats and Signs.

Our entire list of wilderness skills can be found here.

 

Enjoy these gift suggestions now in the holiday season and for every special occasion throughout the year!

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Handmade Holiday!

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Handmade Holiday!

Handmade Holiday
Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Audio player below!

On this episode of Herbal Prepper Live, we’re talking about handmade herbal and natural gifts for the holidays. If you’re like me, you probably shun the stores between the Thanksgiving to Christmas shopping frenzy. But, I still like to give gifts people will actually want- gifts that make people feel better, gifts that help make the home cozy during the winter, and gifts that help people be more prepared.

Continue reading Handmade Holiday! at Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Prepper Gift List – Get Them What They Really Want!

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I hate coming up with gift ideas.  I also don’t like getting gifts.  I always seem to get presents that I don’t really need or want.  So, I want to help my fellow Preppers or their significant others, with some great ideas.  This is my Prepper Gift List. 

HINT: If your significant other doesn’t know what to get you, send them a link to this article.

Below you will find some DIY gift ideas as well as gifts for those who just don’t have the time to make something.


DIY Food Bucket – This one is easy and well, it will help the giftee survive in case of an emergency.  Grab a bucket and lid from Home Depot or Lowes.  Fill the bucket with canned food for an emergency.  You should throw in a good can opener too. If the foods aren’t ready to eat like soups, etc…, make sure you throw in some easy to make recipes with the canned food storage your placing in the bucket.

You can also use this same premise to make a Hygiene bucket or Sanitation bucket of supplies.

BLACK FRIDAY DEAL ALERT – If you don’t want to waste time making your own food bucket, pick one up from Legacy Foods.  They have great food buckets that will last many years – CLICK HERE.

An Altoids Tin Survival/Boo-Boo/Urban Kit is another great DIY gift.  I’m very partial to the Boo-Boo Kits myself.  This small kit can be kept at the office in a desk drawer, in a vehicle, purse, backpack or even on you, in a pocket.  This is easy to assemble and the giftee will always remember you when they open up and use their kit!

My experience with Hurrican Harvey proved this little flashlight’s worth to me over and over.  The Outlite A100 Portable Ultra Bright Handheld LED Flashlight is a powerful light that anyone would love you for giving it to them when they are in need of a light.  You can also purchase two rechargeable batteries that will give you a lot of light when you need it!

BLACK FRIDAY DEAL ALERTHydroBlu Jerry Can – You’re going to hear a lot about this one in the near future! This Jerry Can is a water filter that anyone can use.  It will hold 5 gallons of water and filter it out as you pump it.  This is a must for any survival enthusiast or anyone who thinks they might go through a disaster or crisis situation.

If your giftee is getting serious about their preparedness, then they are going to need to learn how to cook over an open flame.  The Stove in a Can is an easy way to make that happen.  The stove comes with fuel and is easy enough for anyone to use.  It is another means to cook food and heat water during an emergency situation.  

 

Are you Conflicted? – If you’re looking for an unusual gift, maybe for a stocking stuffer, office party or even a white elephant gift, this will be the “Talk of the Presents.”   Conflicted is a card game with survival scenarios on the back of each card.  You or the person responding to the scenario will be “conflicted” on how to answer it.  These aren’t easy scenarios. There is a lot to consider here!  Check out Conflicted Cards Here!

Amazon Prime – a gift that would “keep on giving” all year long is giving someone Amazon Prime.  There are so many items that you can purchase from Amazon, the list is crazy huge! 

Everybody purchases on Amazon.  But when you give someone the gift of Prime, they get their purchases in 2 days AND it’s FREE shipping!  Anyone with Prime also has access to FREE Movies, TV Shows, and Music!  It is a great deal! Click on the banner below to check out Amazon Prime!

 

Of course, you could always buy a gift from Amazon’s Survival or Outdoor section.  And then there are all the survival books to choose from.  I would suggest that EVERY Prepper have Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy’s Survival Medicine Handbook in their library!

DIY Fire Kit – Another great DIY gift item would be a fire kit.  You could purchase small plastic bags and put cotton balls and vaseline inside and smash it to get the vaseline all over the cotton.  You can add a Ferro Rod, lighter, waterproof matches, some lint from the dryer and maybe a few tea lights.  

I tried to provide some different gifts rather than the usual “Prepper Gift List.”  I hope you find something the Prepper in your life loves!

Peace,
Todd

Herbal Gifts Handmade!

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Herbal Gifts Handmade! Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Listen in player below! Calling all DIYers! Want some ideas for frugal, quick-to-make holiday gifts? You still have time to to make loads of handmade, natural, herbal gifts. Be sure to listen to Herbal Prepper Live this Sunday to learn how. Listen to this broadcast or download “Herbal … Continue reading Herbal Gifts Handmade!

The post Herbal Gifts Handmade! appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Celebrating During Times Crises

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celebrate in a crisisMy family lived in Northern Alabama and experienced the April 2011 Tornado Outbreak. We saw one of the tornadoes from our front window. I worked clean up and recovery after the storms and the damage and loss was devastating for so many people. Even those of us that were spared direct damage still had to deal with days (and for some, weeks) of no power.

So, while we of course were thankful for being spared, there could have been a “mini-disaster” of our own because the day after the storms was my daughter’s 9th birthday. We were stuck at home and unable to go out for birthday fun as planned. Thankfully, I had already purchased her presents and had a dessert mix on hand so we were able to plan a last minute family celebration at home.

Now, please don’t misunderstand, missing out on a planned birthday party in NO WAY compares to the loss of property and life that was experienced due to these storms. My daughter understood what was happening and was not upset in the least by changing plans. But it made me think about a long term disaster or TEOTWAWKI event. It will be important to celebrate birthdays and holidays even in the midst of a crisis when at all possible.

My daughter’s 9th birthday is what triggered my desire to add holidays to our family preparedness plan.

Celebrate in a crisis

If we find ourselves in the midst of a pandemic, for example, and have to shelter-in-place for weeks or months, I am now prepared to still celebrate with my family on our special occasions.

  • Greeting cards for each birthday, anniversary and holiday
  • A small gift for each birthday, anniversary and holiday. Books, Mad Libs, card games, drawing books, and craft kits are great options.
  • Candy or other shelf stable treats related to each holiday
  • Stocking stuffers for Christmas. In my family that means scented hand sanitizers or lip gloss, little stuffed animals, mini Lego kits, and fun gadgets.

Rotation of these items is easy! When the birthday or holiday comes around, use what you have set aside and then buy something for the next year. I buy a bag of Halloween Candy on November 1st on sale and add it to the stash. After Valentines Day, I purchase a box of Valentine’s Cards with the candy included. Not only will my kids enjoy these, but they will have them to share with others in the neighborhood that might not have planned to celebrate.

If you find yourself in the midst of a shelter-in-place and haven’t planned ahead for some of these events, look around the house for something you can make. If you know how to knit or crochet, draw or paint, weave, make jewelry, etc, you can have supplies on hand to create a nice gift. The ability to bake cakes, cookies, or brownies and a few balloons or streamers will help create a festive occasion.  Be sure to have craft items for children so they can get involved in decorating and by making gifts for each other.

Think about the emotional boost that your family would get during a TEOTWAWKI event by doing something as simple as celebrating a birthday or having presents to open on Christmas morning. Hard times have a way of putting things into perspective and the celebrations don’t have to be huge, but taking the time to honor the person or the day can lift spirits, increase resilience, bond family members, and just produce some smiles.

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52 Weeks Savings: June brings sunshine and summer deals

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52 weeks savings challengeIn June, we celebrate summer, Father’s, graduations, weddings and Flag Day. It marks the halfway point of the year and on the 25th, it will only be six months until Christmas! Maybe this is the month to start making a holiday gift list and begin looking for bargain-priced gifts, well before the shopping rush begins.

There are loads of great June sales and bargains. Here’s what we’ve tracked down for you.

Food sales

June is National Dairy Month, which means there will be sales on ice cream, cheese, butter, milk, cream cheese, yogurt and popsicles. Most of these freeze very well, so it is an easy thing to stock up on. June is Turkey Lovers Month, so there should be sales on turkey deli meat (whole turkeys are cheapest to buy around Thanksgiving).

Cookout supplies are also on sale, such as hot dogs, hamburgers, buns and charcoal. If a charcoal grill is one of your alternate cooking options, it would be a good time to stock up on it. Soda, iced tea and bottled water also go on sale. Bottled water is a great thing to have on hand for almost every emergency. I keep a case in our vehicle during the summer months for when we are out and about.

Watermelon goes on sale during June, and there will be good deals on lots of seasonal produce. Consider going to farmer’s markets or researching what u-pick farms are near you to stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables. It can be preserved by canning, freezing or dehydrating.

TIP: Think about what desserts you might want to have in the winter months and get the fruit for it now.

Here is what is usually in season in June:

June Household Sales and Bargains

Tools, tools and more tools: with Father’s Day, the typical gifts for dad are on sale. Cologne and menswear will also be on sale for this occasion. Dishes and kitchen appliances should be on sale to coincide with wedding season. Graduations start winding down in June, so the party supplies will be on sale, which can be used for future parties or for food storage supplies.

TIP: Paper plates are a very handy items in an emergency. They don’t need to washed, so you avoid wasting valuable time and water, and you can either shred and compost them or burn them in a campfire. The best thing is that paper plates from any past holiday or birthday party work just fine for this purpose!

For household items, some small electronics like camcorders and computers should be on sale. Both are good items to have on hand for keeping track of inventory for personal and insurance purposes. Carpeting and indoor furniture are usually on sale in June.

Women’s underwear, bras and lingerie are a hot item in June, since Victoria’s Secret holds its semi-annual sale in June.

And, as always, be on the lookout for gifts! Sooner or later, a birthday, bridal/baby shower, wedding, or some other holiday will surprise you, and when that happens, most of us usually go into the panic-shopping mode! That’s the mode where we don’t care how much something costs — we just need to get that gift today! Don’t be that crazy-eyed lady at the mall! Shop ahead and look for the bargains posted here in this article as well as the entire, monthly 52 Weeks Savings series on this blog.

Outside the home

Gardening items start going on sale in June. It is never too early to start planning next year’s garden. Stock up on seeds and gardening tools. Seed planters are handy along with organic fertilizer. June is Rose Month, since most are in bloom. This can mean lower prices for roses and rose bushes in June.

Sports and Fitness

Summer sports gear and swim gear go on sale in June. Many people tend to focus their exercise outside in June, so indoor exercise equipment goes on sale and some gyms may offer discounted memberships. June is hosts National Fishing & Boating Week and National Get Outdoors Day, so local parks and recreation departments may offer special and possibly free activities for those days.

Events                  

Taking a staycation this year? Check out this link for a list of blogs for fun things to do in different states: .

June is also National Aquarium Month, so if you have a local aquarium, they may offer deals.

Some stores and restaurants like to participate in specific special days, so keep an eye out for deals on the following days:

June 5 – National Doughnut Day

June 7 – National Chocolate Ice Cream Day

June 10 – Iced Tea Day

June 18 – Go Fishing Day

June 20 – Ice Cream Soda Day

June 27 – Sunglasses Day

Flea markets and yard sales gear up this month and are a great way to find deals on almost any item. Here’s a list of 21 things to always be on the lookout for.

Activities for Children

Summer reading programs are in full gear in June as schools let out for the summer. Check your local library and local bookstores to see what they offer. For a list of stores, theaters and online programs, visit http://savingdollarsandsense.com/free-summer-reading-programs/.

Several stores also offer children freebies as a reward for a good report card. Ask your local stores if they do anything for report cards or, for a list, visit http://savingdollarsandsense.com/good-report-card-freebies/.

Check local hardware and craft stores for children’s make-and-take events.

Register at www.kidsbowlfree.com to get children up to 2 free games of bowling a day at your local bowling alley.

Some movie theaters offer discount movies during the summer. Check your local theater for prices and movie listings.

Money saving tips

In the summer, close blinds and curtains to keep sun out on hot days to reduce cooling costs. If possible, dry clothes outside on a clothesline to avoid running the dryer. Take a different approach to summer meal planning and incorporate meals that are light, such as salads that incorporate fresh ingredients, or that involve cooking outside on the grill or over a fire pit.

If you have a solar oven, Sun Oven, or want to make a DIY solar cooker, this is prime season and a great time to learn this skill before a power outage or some other disaster happens. Using a solar oven will help keep your kitchen cooler and you won’t be using any electricity at all.

By the end of June, you should have $325 saved if you’re following the weekly savings plan (25 weeks). If you have extra right now, perhaps going to a higher week in the chart and putting that money away would be a smart thing to do. Take things one day at a time and focus on what you can do and what you can enjoy.

If you’re on Facebook, it’s not too late to join our very active 52 Weeks Savings Club for tips and encouragement.

Saving money is a daily lifestyle and the key is having a good attitude. Take pride in what you have already saved up and learn from any mistakes.

Take advantage of June’s deals and start looking forward to a fun summer. Come back next month to see what deals July offers to help you save AND prepare!

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3 Old-Fashioned Christmas Gifts Our Ancestors Crafted By Hand

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3 Old-Fashioned Christmas Gifts Our Ancestors Crafted By Hand

Artist: Alan Maley

 

Americans love to shop for holiday gifts, but what if there were no stores, sales or affordable goods? Our homesteading ancestors often had to deal with this reality and they did what they were good at: They improvised.

Creativity is at the heart of the pioneer spirit, and we’re going to cover some gifts you can make for kids, friends and family that everyone will remember.

  • We’re going to start with the fundamental concept of the Christmas wreath. They’re easy to make.
  • We’re also going to explore a simple way to make a log-cabin dollhouse. It takes time, but the result will be appreciated for years if not generations.
  • Finally, we’re going to explore a simple baking gift. It’s a harvest bread in the shape of a wreath that can be filled with anything you like or simply enjoyed as a symbol of the season.

1. Wreaths

3 Old-Fashioned Christmas Gifts Our Ancestors Crafted By Hand

Photo by Steve Nubie

Wreaths as a concept emerged during a Scandinavian festival called “Jool.” The English pronunciation is “Yule,” and this season and festival – which takes place around the winter solstice — became known as “Yuletide.”

The wreaths were often worn as crowns improvised from pine, herbs and other plants around a circle of woven vines. Eventually the wreath became a symbol and the circle of branches, herbs and fruits evolved into a decoration we still pursue today.

Our ancestors appreciated a wreath hanging on a wall not only to represent the celebration of the season, but the aromatic sprigs, branches and berries provided an aroma to offset the smell of wood smoke, body odor and mildew that sometimes permeated cabins long ago and still today.

Wreath 101

A wreath is a circle that can be any diameter, and the fundamental foundation is an intertwined circle of vines. Grape vines work great for a larger wreath, but any plant with a long stem, from grasses to tall weeds, can do the trick. The key is to bind them together so they make a circle as a base for the branches, stems, trimmings or other items you want to incorporate into your wreath.

Wreath Ingredients

3 Old-Fashioned Christmas Gifts Our Ancestors Crafted By Hand

Photo by Steve Nubie

What’s great about vines is that they are very long and make it easy to wrap in a circle to create a good foundation for a wreath, I’ll usually wrap the vines in some twine to keep them together and retain a circular shape. Once this is done you can easily insert branches from trees, shrubs and plants to hold them in place and use either wire or more twine to keep them there. Sometimes just pushing the branch into the bundle of vines will do the job.

Christian Heroes For Christian Kids: These Amazing Stories Are Putting God Back Into History!

Given the season and time of year in most of North America, pines or other evergreens make good material for a wreath. I like juniper, balsam and Scotch pine. They’re pliable, durable and easy to find, depending on where you live.

Holly and other sturdy plants are also good options but remember: Holly berries are poisonous. You also can make a wreath out of corn husks that have been dried and dyed. I’d use traditional dyes like onion skins, blueberries or beets to get a variety of colors and then weave them into my vine circle once they’re dried.

2. A log cabin dollhouse

3 Old-Fashioned Christmas Gifts Our Ancestors Crafted By Hand

Photo by Steve Nubie

This is surprisingly easy to make but it does take some time. You have to gather materials, cut them to shape and then build the house and the roof. The roof is usually a separate construction, so it can be removed to allow a child access to the interior.

It’s also easy to craft rustic furnishings from benches to tables and beds, and if you like you can visit a hobby store like Hobby Lobby and find rustic dollhouse furnishings.

It’s Not Just A Little Girl Thing

3 Old-Fashioned Christmas Gifts Our Ancestors Crafted By Hand

Photo by Steve Nubie

I built a log cabin miniature for my daughter and another for my son. Both loved to fantasize about living in their little log cabins, and they spent hours moving things around and adding details, like more firewood in the fireplace or the dried minnow my son hung on the side of his little cabin.

Gathering Materials

On one occasion, I gathered small sticks about an inch in diameter and shaved them to build a cabin. I chinked the cabin with caulk. I built the roof separately and used bark as shingles. I used small rocks to build the fireplace and placed it all on a board that I detailed using sand and railroad modeling grass to create a feeling of a place. I surrounded it with fences built from small sticks and the general clutter that surrounds a homestead. Use your imagination. What would your son or daughter like to see?

Measuring And Cutting

For my young son’s cabin, I gathered reeds that resembled wood and stocked and glued them in pace. I cut smaller lengths and glued them in between the spaces. Our ancestors would have used pine sap, but I used carpenter’s glue. I also used moss to chink the cabin walls, which is still a common form of chinking used to this day.

The Interior

3 Old-Fashioned Christmas Gifts Our Ancestors Crafted By Hand

Photo by Steve Nubie

Like many rustic cabins, this is a one-room setup. There’s a fireplace, bed, table, shelf and the other things you would expect to see in a one-room cabin. Here again, use your imagination. If you and your son or daughter were going to live in this imaginary place, what would you want to have?
Small sticks can easily be made into furniture, and I used paint-stirring sticks to make a bench and table. Be creative.

3. Christmas bread

3 Old-Fashioned Christmas Gifts Our Ancestors Crafted By Hand

Photo by Steve Nubie

This is a simple recipe with a simple idea. You knead the dough, let it rise and then make it in the shape of a wreath. You can serve it plain or fill it with a dip if you like. This was often a Christmas gift because it was simple to make with some flour and other ingredients and could be enjoyed by all. Here’s the recipe and some photos to guide you through the process.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons water (70 to 80 degrees)
  • 1 egg (room temperature)
  • 3 tbsp. butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of allspice
  • 3 3/4 cups plus 1 tbsp. of bread flour
  • 2 tbsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 cup dried fruit that could include dried cherries, cranberries and raisins, depending on your preference
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans

Directions

3 Old-Fashioned Christmas Gifts Our Ancestors Crafted By Hand

Photo by Steve Nubie

Knead for 20 minutes or add to a mixer with a dough hook for 15 minutes. Let rise for 30 minutes. Cut half of the dough ball into chunks and use the other half to roll a rope of dough that you make into a circle. Do this on a buttered baking sheet.

Surround the circle of dough with the dough chunks and let it rise again.

Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 minutes or until browned. Fill with a fruit sauce like cranberries or a cheese mix if you like.

Final Thoughts

Christmas gifts don’t have to be something you buy. In fact, a handmade and homemade gift is often more appreciated because it demonstrates the love and attention of the person giving the gift. I still try to make gifts from scratch and by hand and am always grateful when I see my old gift still on display or talked about years after the holidays are over. Give it a try if you have the time this Christmas season.

What are your favorite homemade or old-time gifts? Share your tips in the section below:

Harness The Power Of Nature’s Most Remarkable Healer: Vinegar

Handmade Herbal Gifts: Part Two

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Handmade Herbal Gifts: Part Two Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Audio in player below! This week, we are continuing with part two of the 3-part handmade Herbal Gifts series that begun last week. (See last week’s description below.) Tonight I’m sharing ideas for salves, lotions, aftershave, beard oil, bath salts, and magnesium oil. From last … Continue reading Handmade Herbal Gifts: Part Two

The post Handmade Herbal Gifts: Part Two appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

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.

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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

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…http://www.silverfire.us/stoves-backpack-stove-fixed-chimney-gasifier-rocke

The Dragon Pot

In a former life, I was quite the expert when it came to cookware. I tested multiple types and even sold high end cookware. When I first tried the Dragon Pot, though, I wasn’t prepared for a pot that heated up so quickly, easily faster than my non-stick, stainless steel, and cast iron pots and pans. I love this pot and use it every time I cook a pot of soup, beans, or need to boil water quickly. The one caveat I would mention is that the entire pot, including the handles, gets very hot, very fast, so be sure to have potholders handy. This page gives an extensive explanation for the design and functionality of this versatile pot. Shipping is included in the price of the stove when you order it from SurvivalMomStore.com

th_p-486-1-dragon_pot01_b

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.

pu-newsletter-header

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 @thesurvivalmom.com) Thanks! (I receive a $15 gift card for each referral subscription.)

Lightweight fleece sleeping bag

I know everyone thinks the really cool, heavy duty sleeping bags are the bomb, but over the years, and on many camping trips, we discovered that our heavy bags were too much. So, one day while camping in northern Utah, we came across something wondrous at their local Walmart: fleece sleeping bags. They were just the right weight for so many nights and have been used for Civil Air Patrol camp-outs and sleepovers. I even packed them when we went to Iceland, and boy, were we glad. They added a welcome layer inside our heavier bags on cold nights as we slept in our camper van. This particular bag in the photo isn’t the exact brand we own, that would be Ozark Trail, but it appears to be very similar, although in a rather oddly arranged position.

I told you this was quite a mixed bag of gift suggestions, but this is kind of the year I had. A mash-up of family travel, trying new things, and making a point to be more hospitable. The busier we get, it seems, the less time we have for forming friendships, and that’s no way to live.

I may be adding more suggestions to this list over the next 72 hours or so and, as you can see, this list is appropriate any time of the year. For many more family and budget-friendly holiday ideas, be sure to check out my series, “12 Days of Christmas.

survival mom gifts

Handmade Herbal Gifts

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Handmade Herbal Gifts Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Listen in player below! Calling all DIYers! Want some ideas for frugal, quick-to-make holiday gifts? You still have time to to make loads of handmade, natural, herbal gifts. Be sure to listen to Herbal Prepper Live this Sunday to learn how. The herbal crafts I’m covering require … Continue reading Handmade Herbal Gifts

The post Handmade Herbal Gifts appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Top Prepper Gadget Christmas Gifts

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Top Prepper Gadget Christmas Gifts Highlander “Survival & Tech Preps” Audio in player below! Are you a technology nut like me? If so this is the show for you! I will be giving the best list of pepper type gadgets that would make the perfect gifts. These are gifts for those like minded individuals that … Continue reading Top Prepper Gadget Christmas Gifts

The post Top Prepper Gadget Christmas Gifts appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Raspberry Jam made with Clear Jel….

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#amatterofprep
Yes, it is glorious Raspberry season again.  I look forward to fresh Raspberries to eat in salads, alone, and certainly in Jam!  Don’t you just love fresh Raspberries?

Making Raspberry Jam with Clear Jel:

I have many folks visit my blog to learn more about using Clear Jel.  I wrote a post about making many different Jams using Clear Jel a few years ago.  Even now, this post gets a great deal of attention this time of year.  I have used it to make Salsa as well.    Additionally, I have used it in canning Pie Fillings  because unlike cornstarch, it does not separate and break down the gel portion of the pie filling.
Well, Rooster Senior likes Raspberry jam a whole lot. So, I got busy and made some Raspberry Jam:
#amatterofprep

The recipe calls for crushed berries. I use my potato masher/ricer.

#amatterofprep

Instead of using the standard Pectin products that require copious amounts of sugar, you will use less sugar when you use a recipe that requires Clear Jel.  The secret to success is to mix your Clear Jel to the dry ingredients first.

#amatterofprep

Although the recipe that will appear at the bottom of this post does not call for Koolaid (per the author), please consider adding a packet to each batch.  It really enhances the flavor.
#amatterofprep

Mix the dry ingredients to the heated berry mixture slowly.  Bring to a boil.

#amatterofprep
Ladle your mixture into clean/sterilized jars.  There is some discussion about whether jars need to be sterilized.  I choose to error on the side of caution. Process per the directions in a Hot Water Bath. 

Would you like the Recipe?

Berry Jam4 cups crushed berries or juiced
1/4 cup lemon juice
7 tablespoons Clear Jel®
Sugar to taste (approximately 1 1/2 cup)
Add lemon juice to berries. Combine Clear Jel® with 1/4 cup of the sugar. Add to berries. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add rest of sugar. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Pour into jars, leaving 1/4” headspace. Process 10 minutes in boiling water bath or freeze.

(Don’t forget to add the Koolaid, it is really delicious!)

Take Home Points:

  • Clear Jel is shelf stable and according to my research lasts indefinitely.  Compare that with traditional products that are used to make jam. 
  • Jam recipes calling for Clear Jel often use nearly half of the sugar that traditional jam recipes call for.  
  • When added to dry ingredients, it mixes well and give the jam a wonderful consistency.
  • This is a simple recipe that does not take a lot of time.  
  • Rooster Senior has already polished off one jar. Rooster Junior took a jar, and I have 2 to the neighbors already.  The magic or jam brings smiles to all those who receive it!

Where do you purchase Clear Jel?

If you use a Search Engine like Google/Chrome to find Clear Jel, be sure to click on the “Shopping” option at the top of the page. You should see many options to purchase this product.  I have purchased mine locally from a little shop in South Salt Lake that declines to get a website.  Alas I would give you a link but there is none.

Try it!


Top-10 Survival Gift Ideas for Father’s Day

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Top-10 Survival Gift Ideas for Father's DayFather’s Day is close at hand. How about getting the old man something a little different this year? Something he can use—that might even help him survive the unexpected.

Here are 10 survival gift ideas for Father’s Day that I think any man would relish. Whether Dad is a camper, fisherman, hunter, hiker, prepper, DIYer, homesteader, or even a traveling businessman, there’s something in this list for him. And I bet he doesn’t already have everything on it.

Full disclosure: Most of these links are Amazon affiliate links. But the products are simply examples, not meant as specific recommendations. Short on time? Sign up for a free trial of Amazon Prime, and you can get many of these gifts within a couple of days.

9 Reasons Why Every Prepper Should Have a Stash of Alcohol (Even if you don’t drink)

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prepper stash alcoholBottles of wine, beer, vodka and rum aren’t exactly what first comes to mind when preparing for emergencies, but there are several reasons preppers should consider having a stash of alcohol on hand, even if you don’t drink.

For those who do drink, that purpose is obvious. Yet, alcohol also has value and uses that go beyond personal enjoyment. Here are nine reasons why every Survival Mom should consider having a stash of alcohol.

1. Disinfectants in your stash of alcohol

Alcohol that is higher than 35 percent ABV (alcohol by volume), or 70 proof, can disinfect, but not sterilize, wounds and tools. Disinfecting an item eliminates many or all pathogenic microorganisms, except bacterial spores. Sterilization eliminates all forms of microbial life. To disinfect, you’ll have to look at having vodka, brandy, rum, gin or pure vanilla extract on hand. However, if a wound is disinfected with alcohol, it can also kill the good tissue around the wound, so it should be used as a last resort. You could also use this kind of alcohol to wash your hands to disinfect them, and in the absence of other cleaners, you could use them to clean surfaces, cooking tools and dishes. Surgery and childbirth are two scenarios in which medical tools need to be as disinfected as the situation will allow. In a pinch, alcohol could be the best way to minimize the possibility of infections.

2. Medicinal uses

In addition to the medical uses mentioned above, tinctures are created using an alcohol base. Tinctures are herbal remedies where herbs are concentrated in an alcohol and water mixture. For example, a cough suppressant can be made using whiskey, honey and lemon.

Alcohol does not help with hypothermia. You often see in movies and on TV a person who has come in from the cold get offered a stiff drink to help warm them up. They may feel warmer afterward, but ultimately, that drink will serve to lower the person’s core temperature because alcohol causes blood vessels to dilate.

Alcohol can also help calm an upset stomach, temporarily help with tooth pain, and help calm an anxious person. A little bit can help a person fall asleep faster. Poison ivy and bug bites can also be relieved by rubbing some alcohol on the affected area. Alcohol can be a muscle relaxant, too.

3. Barter 

Some people value alcohol more than others and it will fly off the shelves in several emergency scenarios (riots, power outages, impending snowstorms or hurricanes). Having some on hand might give you the upper hand when trading for food or household supplies. Consider stocking up on both large bottles as well as the tiny “airplane” sizes.

INTERESTED IN BARTERING? Barter may not be the simple transaction many preppers envision. Here’s what you need to know about bartering before planning on it becoming your survival solution.

Bottles of highly prized brands of alcohol have also come in handy as bribes. Not recommending this. Just making note of it!

4. Celebrations

Despite the situation or emergency, life will continue – babies will be born, people will marry and funerals will take place. Many of these occasions bring people together to celebrate or remember. Wine or champagne can add to the celebration and help give people a sense of “normalcy,” which can be a powerful element in who thrives during difficult circumstances and who doesn’t.

5. Religious

Some religions use alcohol as part of a religious ceremony or rite. Continuing these traditions can mean a lot to people of those faiths. During Prohibition, one of the only ways for a winery to stay in business was to make wine for religious reasons.

6. Fire and defense

As with wound care, alcohol is not the first choice in sustaining a fire, but it does work if needed. Much care should be used if using alcohol around any kind of fire. Do not pour alcohol on an active fire, but soak something and put it in the kindling/coals before setting the fire.

If you find yourself in a situation where your home or family needs to be defended, you could create a fire bomb using alcohol. Extreme care needs to be taken if alcohol is used in this manner and in no way are we recommending this!

LEARN MORE WITH THIS DIY PROJECT: Make a mini-stove with Altoids in alcohol.

7. Cooking/preservation

There are plenty of recipes that call for wine and other forms of alcohol, but one of the best reasons to have alcohol around is to preserve items from the garden. Soaking herbs or plants in vodka makes extracts, like vanilla, peppermint, and lemon. Fruit can be preserved in alcohol for long-term storage. Ginger and turmeric can be preserved in alcohol, too.

8. Stress relief

Alcohol can help a person relax a bit or “take the edge off.” There will be a lot of stress in most survival situations and having a small vice is one way humans deal with stress. The social aspect of having a drink at the end of a long day is often what helps people deal with stress the most.

9. Everyday emergencies (cooking/gifts)

Sometimes the emergency isn’t dire but is still stressful. Having a few bottles of wine on hand for recipes or for a hostess gift when you’re invited to a dinner party is a good idea. Even if the hosts are non-drinkers, they can still put the bottle to good use.

Tips for storage

Alcohol needs to be stored in a cool, dark place. As a liquid, it can evaporate if the bottle has been opened. The shelf life varies depending on the type of alcohol. Beer and wine will generally last about six months to two years depending on the way it was made. Liquors vary widely, but also tend to break down by the two-year mark. Spirits and moonshines do not expire due to their high alcohol content.

Learn To Make  Your Own Prepper Stash of Alcohol

Another option to having alcohol on hand is learning to make your own. Home beer brewing and winemaking are becoming the new fad hobbies with supply stores showing up in many cities, as well as online. Many of these stores offer classes and will help you on your brewing journey. You can also use a still to make distilled water, spirits and alcohol that can be used for fuel. State laws vary on home brewing and distilling so make sure to check what is allowed where you live.

MAKING HOMEMADE WINE: This is a handy skill and not as difficult as you might think. Your final product may not win the blue ribbon in a wine competition but can still be enjoyed for what it is — a DIY project you can drink!

Preppers with a stash of alcohol can only benefit in the long run. If you’re not sure about how much and exactly what you want to have on hand, start with a variety of small bottles. Make sure to keep them out of the reach of children or possibly hidden or locked up if you have teenagers. It’s an item that can have a multitude of uses and doesn’t cost a whole lot of money.

STOCKING UP TIP: You’ll often see grocery carts filled with bottles of alcohol in the liquor department of your grocery store. Browse through those and, if you aren’t sure where to start, pick up vodka, rum, gin, or whisky, as they have many multiple uses and longer shelf lives.

Want to learn more about prepping?

prepper stash alcohol

 

Small Space Prepper Must Haves

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Small Space prepperMany of us either live in a small space, or have run out of room in a larger space. These small space prepper must haves each help you fit more into the space you have and improve your preparedness. While none of these will break the bank, they were chosen for quality, not based on which one was cheapest. Cost was, of course, considered, but it was tertiary after quality and size. Any of these should last, and last, and last.

Of course these also make great gifts for any occasion from birthday to graduation, wedding, and more. (But you should probably ask before giving one as an anniversary gift.)

Small Antenna for HAM Radio – Getting reception can be tricky. If you need better reception for your HAM Radio hobby but don’t have a lot of space, this may be just the ticket for you.

Gossamar Gear Backpack – These ultra-light backpacking backpacks are in the same price range as regular backpacks, but take far – FAR – less space to store, and they weigh less. Double win!

Multiport USB Charger – Technically, this may not be a prepper item, but the reality is that most of us have a lot of items that can be charged via a USB port that we won’t want to be without. This reduces the number of charging cubes needed for that.

Chemex Coffee Maker and bleached filters – Chemex coffee makers don’t use any electricity and make really good coffee, once you know how to use it. They are particularly good for cold-brew coffee. (The bleached filters are better than the brown ones in this particular case because the brown ones can leave behind a bit of a brown-paper-bag taste, or so I’m told.) The Chemex actually takes a bit less space than most coffee makers because it is really just the specially designed borosilicate pot.

Compass – Different compasses are useful in different areas. This style is really good to use with paper maps and in areas without a lot of long-distance visibility to keep track of a single landmark, like the woods or a city.

SWLing Blog or Baofeng HAM Radio – This is not a hobby that needs to take a lot of space, and the uses of HAM for preppers are many, varied, and impossible to deny. Either of these is a great choice.

External Hard Drive – This is a great way to save all your favorite movies and music in a small space. Copy them all onto here, then store, sell, or otherwise dispose of your collection, which is now easy to pick up and carry with you.

Kindle Paperwhite – I own and use a standard Kindle. My husband has a paperwhite. Only one is easily usable when there is no light, and it’s not mine. Kindles are, hands-down, the best way to store large amounts of reading and visual reference materials in one place. (In case you wondered, I am recommending the regular Kindle over the Fire simply because the battery life is so very long on a Kindle.)

Tesla Coil Lighter – This is a windproof, USB rechargeable, arc lighter. No need to keep extra lighter fluid on hand or as many methods for lighting a fire if you have this lighter.

Mixing tools: Pastry Blender, Whisk, and (possibly) Dutch-Style Dough Mixer – Stand mixers are great, but they can take up a lot of space. I have found that a pastry blender and whisk can do almost everything most people use a stand mixer for in a fraction of the space – and with no electricity required. For anyone who makes a lot of bread or other very heavy doughs, a Dutch-style dough mixer is another hand-powered device that would be a great addition.

Stovehinge: The Collapsible Rocket Stove – This small stove is extremely small, and very heavy. It is most decidedly not a backpacking stove! If you remove it from the case it ships in, you may be able to store it in an even smaller space.

Small Drawer Safe – This model is designed for hand guns but can, of course, be used for any valuables. Because of its small size and weight, it’s easy to bolt into a piece of furniture, such as a dresser drawer, or even into a closet shelf or other part of your home.

Collapsible Solar Oven – The solar oven I have is great, but it definitely takes a lot of space to store. This version is completely collapsible and can store easily behind a piece of furniture.

Sweeper – Instead of a large vacuum cleaner, many small spaces (especially those without plush carpet) can get by with a small sweeper similar to the ones used in restaurants.

Thumb Drive – Everyone should have a reliable thumb drive with copies of their important documents. This particular model includes security, password protection, and a back-up to the Cloud.

Vertical Wall Garden – It is really just like it sounds. This is a way to plant a garden so it will grow along a wall (vertically) instead of on the ground, making it much easier to grow some of your own food even in a small space, like a balcony.

Clothes Washer – This reminds me a lot of a toilet plunger, but it is specifically designed for washing clothing. This is far smaller than most other off-grid options and has great reviews

Sawyer Mini Personal Water Filter – If you only need a water filter for one person, this is a solid choice and takes very little space. (The LifeStraw is another great choice.)

LifeStraw Mission Water Purifier – This is a great choice for small spaces because most of it is flexible. There is a section about the size of a foot long hot dog made of hard plastic, tubing, and a bag to hold the water being purified. All of this fits inside a storage bag and takes about the space of Sunday paper. While this is much larger than some other purifiers, it can provide an average family of five with clean water for up to three years of daily use!

Small Space prepper

It’s a Matter of an Easy Neighbor Gift!

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Are you finalizing your Christmas plans only to find a few friends who may not have made the list?  If so, here is a fun and easy gift you can put together rather quickly!

Making a Treat Bag from a Dish Towel:

I saw this gift option at my local sewing store.
The instructions are published by Brother.
I am blessed enough to have a  sewing machine that can do Machine Embroidery.  The Instructions from Brother direct you to embroider your design near your hem border.  If you do not have such a machine, you could cut a square of holiday fabric and applique it to the towel.  The design that I chose is an “Anita Goodesign” entitle “Christmas Pot Holders”.
Fold up each edge and sew along the sides (at the 8″ mark) with “Water Soluble Thread” in the needle and traditional thread in the bobbin. 
Next, open the corner of the towel and sew across it to form the corner (at 3 and 1/2 “). Press.
Using Safety pins, secure them from the inside of your Treat bag on the back and sides.  Turn the bag inside out and thread your ribbon through the ‘loops’. 
Place all your fun goodies in the bag. I am including Bread (made from my Bread maker), Hot cocoa packets and a couple of ornaments for the recipients.
Bring the flap down over your treats and tie it up with the ribbon you have threaded through the safety pin loops.
The Instructions from Brother included a poem that should be attached. I didn’t particularly care for their version so I decided to get poetic and write poem. 
“As we celebrate this Christmas Season
Let’s remember that He is the reason.
He gave us life and the gift of choice.
He gave us redemption that we may hear his voice.
Like the gift of forgiveness, this bag can transform 
Just wet the seams to give it a new purpose to perform.
A towel will emerge where a treat bag once was
To serve you and yours, have a  Merry Christmas!”
Merry Christmas From Our Family To Yours. 

8 Unique Christians Gifts For The Gardener Who Has Everything

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8 Unique Christians Gifts For The Gardener Who Has Everything

Ho-Mi. Image source: johnnystooldude.blogspot.com

Christmas is quickly approaching and if you haven’t done so, it is time to think of what gift the gardeners in your life will receive this year.

There are many great tool options for every kind of gardener whether they be young, old, beginner or experienced. How do you know which ones to pick — and what do all of those tools do? Of course, there’s the staples like spades, hoes and shovels, but chances are the gardener in your life already has their fair share of those. This year, look for something different.

You will want to get tools that help make the job easier and don’t strain or hurt your back, hands and knees. Find easy-grip tools, knee savers and compact hoses. Compression gloves help, too, as well as a stand-up trimmer that is lightweight.

Price ranges vary with make, size and company. If you are ready to pay a bit for top quality, you can find tools that will survive the wear and tear of regular heavy use. Most good tools come with a warranty against breakage.

The Best Deals On Non-GMO Heirloom Seeds Are Right Here!

Take a look at a few of these top-tool favorites for gardening, and it may make the choices a little easier to make.

For the Outdoors Gardener

For someone who likes to garden outdoors, there are always a certain set of tools they need. Here are some tools that are handy, but not always first on the mind of gift-givers.

1. Hori-Hori knife. This knife is a traditional Japanese tool used for the digging of Bonsai trees. Hori-Hori is actually Japanese for the words “digging, digging.” The knife has a sharp, straight blade, and can be used for multiple tasks like weeding, planting and cutting roots. It is a light, ergonomic tool, with a blade made of stainless steel or carbon steel.

2. Compost and mulch fork. It is more than just a garden fork. With a long handle and 10 tines strategically placed close together, you can flip and turn mulch or compost easily with this fork. You can also use it to pick up large or awkwardly shaped stones, as well as wood chips and leaves.

3. Ho-Mi. From South Korea, the Ho-Mi is a versatile gardening tool. Ho-Mi means “little ground spear.” It has a sharp, scythe-like curved blade. The Ho-Mi is a multi-task tool. You can use it to dig, weed and transplant seedlings, and also loosen soil around your vegetable plants.

4. Power rake. This tool is a must-have for those with sore backs. It looks similar to the mulch fork, but with a few differences which make it unique. It has 25 arched tines with a handle reaching up to five feet in length. You can spread mulch, rake leaves and rake soil. It can be pushed or pulled with little effort. The design of the curved tines prevents what you are raking from spilling up over the top of the rake.

8 Unique Christians Gifts For The Gardener Who Has Everything

Woodsman’s pal. Image source: Tumblr

5. Woodman’s pal. Look like the ultimate woodsman with this US Army tool. It is a sturdy combination of an axe and machete, creating a long blade for cutting, with a hooked tip for clearing and removing roots. It can easily be used for hacking overgrown weeds, trees or other tough-to-clear vegetation.

For the Greenhouse Gardener

For the greenhouse gardener, you should check out a greenhouse fan heater, gardening tool bags and seats, as well as a thermometer and hydrometer. All are handy, and pretty “nifty” to have around.

This New All-Natural Fertilizer Doubles Garden Production!

6. Gardening bags. These bags help prevent stress on your back and knees. They can save wear on your tools as well. Gardening bags can usually be adjusted so you can sit down while you weed the garden, and your tools are always nearby.

7. Fan heaters. Efficiently moves the warm air of the greenhouse around to keep the temperature steady. It also helps control the energy bill. You can use this device all year round as a heater or as a fan.

8. Thermometers and hydrometer. We all know the importance and benefit of a thermometer and hydrometer. They monitor and keep track of both the heat and the humidity. These devices will help you keep your plants away from temperature damage.

Tool Care Tips

When giving tools as gifts, it is always helpful to send some pointers on how to care for the new tool:

  • Always clean your tools after you use them. This will keep the tools in the best condition possible.
  • Clean any sap off of shears and other blades and spray with WD40 or similar product.
  • Use an oil like linseed to rub into wood handles. This will prevent any cracks and keep wood supple.

Gardening is one of the healthiest activities around. You can enjoy it all year round — and having the right tools can make it all the more enjoyable. So if you’ve got some holiday shopping for your green-thumbed friends and family, consider putting a new gardening toy under the tree.

What tools would you add to the list? Share your suggestions in the section below:

Every Year Gardeners Make This Avoidable Mistake — But You Don’t Have To. Read More Here.

8 Unique Christmas Gifts For The Gardener Who Has Everything

Click here to view the original post.
8 Unique Christmas Gifts For The Gardener Who Has Everything

Ho-Mi. Image source: johnnystooldude.blogspot.com

Christmas is quickly approaching and if you haven’t done so, it is time to think of what gift the gardeners in your life will receive this year.

There are many great tool options for every kind of gardener whether they be young, old, beginner or experienced. How do you know which ones to pick — and what do all of those tools do? Of course, there’s the staples like spades, hoes and shovels, but chances are the gardener in your life already has their fair share of those. This year, look for something different.

You will want to get tools that help make the job easier and don’t strain or hurt your back, hands and knees. Find easy-grip tools, knee savers and compact hoses. Compression gloves help, too, as well as a stand-up trimmer that is lightweight.

Price ranges vary with make, size and company. If you are ready to pay a bit for top quality, you can find tools that will survive the wear and tear of regular heavy use. Most good tools come with a warranty against breakage.

The Best Deals On Non-GMO Heirloom Seeds Are Right Here!

Take a look at a few of these top-tool favorites for gardening, and it may make the choices a little easier to make.

For the Outdoors Gardener

For someone who likes to garden outdoors, there are always a certain set of tools they need. Here are some tools that are handy, but not always first on the mind of gift-givers.

1. Hori-Hori knife. This knife is a traditional Japanese tool used for the digging of Bonsai trees. Hori-Hori is actually Japanese for the words “digging, digging.” The knife has a sharp, straight blade, and can be used for multiple tasks like weeding, planting and cutting roots. It is a light, ergonomic tool, with a blade made of stainless steel or carbon steel.

2. Compost and mulch fork. It is more than just a garden fork. With a long handle and 10 tines strategically placed close together, you can flip and turn mulch or compost easily with this fork. You can also use it to pick up large or awkwardly shaped stones, as well as wood chips and leaves.

3. Ho-Mi. From South Korea, the Ho-Mi is a versatile gardening tool. Ho-Mi means “little ground spear.” It has a sharp, scythe-like curved blade. The Ho-Mi is a multi-task tool. You can use it to dig, weed and transplant seedlings, and also loosen soil around your vegetable plants.

4. Power rake. This tool is a must-have for those with sore backs. It looks similar to the mulch fork, but with a few differences which make it unique. It has 25 arched tines with a handle reaching up to five feet in length. You can spread mulch, rake leaves and rake soil. It can be pushed or pulled with little effort. The design of the curved tines prevents what you are raking from spilling up over the top of the rake.

8 Unique Christmas Gifts For The Gardener Who Has Everything

Woodsman’s pal. Image source: Tumblr

5. Woodman’s pal. Look like the ultimate woodsman with this US Army tool. It is a sturdy combination of an axe and machete, creating a long blade for cutting, with a hooked tip for clearing and removing roots. It can easily be used for hacking overgrown weeds, trees or other tough-to-clear vegetation.

For the Greenhouse Gardener

For the greenhouse gardener, you should check out a greenhouse fan heater, gardening tool bags and seats, as well as a thermometer and hydrometer. All are handy, and pretty “nifty” to have around.

This New All-Natural Fertilizer Doubles Garden Production!

6. Gardening bags. These bags help prevent stress on your back and knees. They can save wear on your tools as well. Gardening bags can usually be adjusted so you can sit down while you weed the garden, and your tools are always nearby.

7. Fan heaters. Efficiently moves the warm air of the greenhouse around to keep the temperature steady. It also helps control the energy bill. You can use this device all year round as a heater or as a fan.

8. Thermometers and hydrometer. We all know the importance and benefit of a thermometer and hydrometer. They monitor and keep track of both the heat and the humidity. These devices will help you keep your plants away from temperature damage.

Tool Care Tips

When giving tools as gifts, it is always helpful to send some pointers on how to care for the new tool:

  • Always clean your tools after you use them. This will keep the tools in the best condition possible.
  • Clean any sap off of shears and other blades and spray with WD40 or similar product.
  • Use an oil like linseed to rub into wood handles. This will prevent any cracks and keep wood supple.

Gardening is one of the healthiest activities around. You can enjoy it all year round — and having the right tools can make it all the more enjoyable. So if you’ve got some holiday shopping for your green-thumbed friends and family, consider putting a new gardening toy under the tree.

What tools would you add to the list? Share your suggestions in the section below:

Every Year Gardeners Make This Avoidable Mistake — But You Don’t Have To. Read More Here.

Christmas Gift Picks

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Christmas Gift Picks

I’ve seen a few of the other Survival blogs put out some Christmas gift posts. I thought about doing one of similar items with amazon links. The more I thought about it though I decided that was not punk. I wanted to find small companies with unusual items. Granted some items are available on Amazon and if you buy it from there I make a few pennies that I use to buy gear for review.

I had a hard time finding great new survival products. I asked around and was told about a few. I searched on Kickstarter for more. Also things that I want or like are listed

 

550 Fire Cord christmas gift picks

550 Fire Cord

550 Fire Cord

550 fire cord  is your standard 550 cord we all trust but with an inner strand of a fire starting material. I really want some of this to play with.

 

Modern Homesteading: Rediscovering the American Dream

Modern Homesteading: Rediscovering the American Dream

Modern Homesteading: Rediscovering the American Dream

Modern Homesteading: Rediscovering the American Dream this is the new book out by Youtube star Wranglerstar. I enjoy his videos and bet this book is packed with great pictures. 

Dragon Fire Tinder Box

Dragon Fire Tinder Box

Dragon Fire Tinderbox

Dragon Fire Tinder box is a small box of tinder. Its from a small company and seems to work great. I’ll be picking some up for review soon.

Survival Laces

Survival Laces

SURVIVAL LACES

SURVIVAL LACES I found on kickstarter. They are shoe laces with a water resistant tinder in the middle and ferro rod. What prepper would not love this for a christmas gift?

Sharktooth Pendant

Sharktooth Pendant

Sharktooth – 12-in-1 Tactical Utility Pendant

I found this sharktooth pendant that still has time to go. It has already fully funded. It is one of those tools with multiple functions. But it is also an arrowhead that flys great.

 

Tactful Pen

Tactful Pen

The Tactful Pen and Tool

One last one. The Tactful Pen and tool from Jp Tac. This is a sweet pen that is a multi tool as well. It has a lot of great tools in it. A carbide window breaker, whistle, ferro rod and scrapper and more. It would be an excellent christmas gift.

 

 

If you have any more suggestions or are a company leave a comment or email me.

 

 

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30 Ways to Have Yourself a Thrifty Little Christmas

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By Daisy Luther – The Organic Prepper

There are a lot of reasons that sensible people want to step off  of the materialistic rocket ride that is the standard North American Christmas and focus on traditions instead.

  • They may be tired of spending the entire following year working overtime because they are deep in debt for having produced a spectacular Christmas morning that was the stuff of storybooks.
  • Maybe they don’t want to create children who are never satisfied and always want more, who always yearn for that next edition of the iGadget of the year.
  • Perhaps they have suffered their own personal economic collapse and just can’t afford it this year.  They might just want a sense of peace and contentment that you can never buy from a store.
  • They might just want a sense of peace and contentment that you can never buy from a store.

When I was a little girl, I remember reading Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Laura’s description of the family’s Christmas celebration seemed to me the most magical day I could ever imagine. I could almost taste that exotic orange and the peppermint melting on my tongue. In our consumerized world, most kids just don’t get to experience that same magic. I try to create magic for my kids by living more simply, focusing on experiences, and giving from the heart instead of the wallet.

Whatever your reason, this year, set your sights on having a “Thrifty Little Christmas”. Many of these ideas don’t cost a penny, and others are so low-cost that they will let you face the new year without being mired in debt.

The Holiday Budget

First of all, you have to create a budget.  It’s easy if you have been putting aside money and saving up for the big event.  Otherwise, see what amount you can spare, and then stick to it.  Never, never, never put Christmas gifts on a credit card!  I can think of no more horrible way to start a new year than opening astronomical bills that are incurring 18% interest.  Here are a few tips to help you stick to the budget:

1.) Figure out what you can truly afford. Many of us don’t have the means for a financial free-for-all with the justification that “Christmas only comes once a year!”  Christmas might just come once but those credit card bills will keep on coming, every single month until they’re paid off, accumulating interest long after the gift has lost its charm.  Make sure you pay your bills first, put aside a little money for an unexpected emergency, and have a stocked pantry of food before you go and spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars to fuel a 15 minute paper-tearing frenzy on Christmas morning.
2.) Use the envelope method.  To do this, write the names of your gift recipients on envelopes. You can also include envelopes for groceries, decorations, and charitable giving.  Into each envelope, place the designated amount of cash you intend to spend on each person or item.  When you purchase something, place the receipt and the change into the envelope from whence the money came.  The most important thing: When the money is gone, it’s gone!  You don’t get to top it up or buy one more thing.  This is your limit.
3.) Let the kids know what to expect.  Ever since my kids were old enough to understand it, I’ve told them what the Christmas gift budget was for that particular year.  If it is $50 each or $200 each, they have known in advance and have made their lists accordingly.  I’ve been told that this is “mean” and it “takes the magic out of Christmas”.  Honestly, I think it is kinder to let them know what to expect, particularly if it’s a tight year, than to allow them to expect a room full of expensive presents that just magically appeared.  The girls nearly always get what they want for Christmas because they keep their wishes within a budget – they don’t ask for iPads and XBoxes because those are purchases that exceed the amount we are spending.  Because they know what to expect, they’ve never been disappointed on Christmas morning, and I’ve never been stressed and worried that they’ll be unhappy.

Frugal Decorations

Are you sitting down?  In 2011, Americans spent $6 billion on Christmas decorations.  SIX BILLION DOLLARS.  $6,000,000,000.

Decorating doesn’t have to be something from Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.  Here are some ways to pare down your decorating costs and still be festive.

4.) Use items from year to year.  Artificial trees, lights, ornaments and wreaths can all be reused for decades if they are stored away carefully each year at the end of the season.  In fact, the tradition of pulling out the same ornaments and telling the same stories each year can become a cherished one that is passed down for generations to come.
5.) Find inspiration in nature.  Found objects can look lovely with a coating of white glue and granulated sugar.  Sparkly spray paint can make nearly anything beautiful. Decorate using pinecones, branches, stones, and sprigs from evergreen trees.  Add some glittery ribbons and a few inexpensive Christmas ornaments and you have uniquely beautiful decorations at a fraction of the cost of store-bought.
6.) Spend time together making decorations.  With some simple craft supplies, you can combine the holiday decorating with quality time.  Make and paint salt dough ornaments, string popcorn, and stud oranges with cloves.  Use tissue paper, pipe cleaners and recycled household items to get creative with your kids.
7.) Make-over thrift store items.  You can often pick up a huge stash of ornaments from a thrift store or yard sale for little more than a song.  Don’t worry if they aren’t the right colors, either. The kids will have a great time dip-painting them, splattering them, or applying fake snow to them.

Making Gifts

There is nothing I love more than gifts that someone has made for me.  I get almost teary-eyed thinking about the time and effort that went into a present that is homemade.  Every year a percentage of our gifts to one another are made by us, and we also like to give these kinds of gifts to neighbors, friends, and loved ones.  Here are a few ideas for making presents:

8.)  Cookies and baked goods.  Whether it’s cliche or not, who doesn’t love to get a basket of homemade cookies, a tin of brownies, or a little box of candy straight from the kitchen.  Aside from sweets, you can also give jams, salsas, and home-canned treats. You can also mail these little tastes of home to friends and family who are far away. It’s like opening a box full of hugs.
9.) Bath and body products.  These are really easy to make and can often be done completely with items from the pantry.  Scented salts, body butters, and exfoliating scrubs are quick, easy, and very appreciated.
10.) Needlework.  If you like to knit, sew, or crochet, make use of the time you spend watching Christmas movies to whip up some scarves or mittens.  If you have cotton thread you can make lovely dishcloths and washcloths too.  Other household items include holders for those plastic grocery bags, rag rugs, quilts, and embroidered pillowcases.
11.) Other crafts.  Depending on your skillset and available supplies, the variety here is limitless.  Consider woodwork, decoratively painted items, handcrafted jewelry, a piece of art, a framed photograph of a beloved place, little wee handprints in plaster…the list could go on infinitely.
12.) Coupon books.  This is a family favorite.  Write up coupons for different services that you can offer the recipient.  Some ideas might be a night of babysitting, a homemade dinner, or painting the fence.  Children can give ‘be quiet’ coupons, chore coupons, and hug coupons.
13.) Home-canned goodies. Every year I make extra jam preserved in small beautiful jars for gift-giving.
14. ) Liquor. This year I also made fruit-infused liquors that will soon get the addition of a simple syrup, then will be decanted into fancy thrift store bottles and topped with  flouncy bow. Some people brew wine and beer.

Helping Others

In our family, we make a point of spending an equal amount of money helping others.This is as important to us as the exchange of gifts between us. One particularly memorable year, when money was extremely tight, my daughters insisted that part of their very small gift budgets go to buy a gift for a child that might not get any other presents.  The ranks of the less fortunate are increasing on a daily basis as the economy crumbles. There are many ways that you can give to others.

15.) Donate to a food bank.
16.) Serve at a soup kitchen.
17.) Become Secret Santas for a family that you know is struggling.
18.) Fill Christmas stockings for people at the local homeless shelter.
19.) Buy gifts for children who are at a domestic violence shelter.
20.) Find out how your church is helping the community this year and pitch in.
21.) Invite a lonely neighbor to celebrate the holiday with you.

Create Christmas Memories

Don’t let the mainstream media and the advertisers tell you what the perfect Christmas is.  Don’t allow yourself to be pushed into spending money you don’t have because the big corporations are telling you what you need or what material objects your children require to be happy. Make the holidays your own by creating memories, not debt.

Think about the traditions that are the most important in your family.  When your kids are grown and have children of their own, I guarantee you that they won’t look back to Christmas 2014 and be able to list off all of the gifts that they did or did not receive. But they’ll remember :

22.) The bundled-up outing to choose the perfect Christmas tree
23.) Decorating that fresh, fragrant tree while the needles still feel cold, while listening to the Christmas carol CD for the first time this year
24.) The annual hot-chocolate fueled drive to look at Christmas lights
25.) Caroling at the nursing home or veteran’s hospital 
26.) Curling up together to watch a Christmas movie marathon, complete with popcorn, eggnog, and cookies
27.) Those cinnamon rolls that you make every Christmas morning
28.) The Christmas Eve church service in their fanciest clothing and the hymns sung in the crowded church
29.) The traditional dish that you make every year without fail.
30.) The two-day cookie baking marathon that makes the house smell better than any scented candle or spray ever could

The real memories are not things that can be wrapped in paper.  The one thing that people always remember is how they feel.  Don’t make that feeling all about, “Hey, look what I got!” Embrace those who are dear to you and make that feeling love, peace, and joy, and you will have a better Christmas than any wealthy person sitting in a mansion surrounded by gifts he didn’t need given by people he doesn’t love.

No matter how tight your money is this year (or if it isn’t tight at all and you’ve just opted for simplicity) with an attitude of joy, the simplest of things can become magical.

There are some lovely homemade gift ideas in these books:

The Organic Canner

Gifts from the Heart: Simple Ways to Make Your Family’s Christmas More Meaningful

Creative Cookie Swap Cookbook

My Little House Crafts Book: 18 Projects from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House Stories

Martha Stewart’s Cookies: The Very Best Treats to Bake and to Share

This article first appeared at The Organic Prepper: 30 Ways to Have Yourself a Thrifty Little Christmas

About the author:

Daisy Luther lives on a small organic homestead in Northern California.  She is the author of The Organic Canner,  The Pantry Primer: A Prepper’s Guide to Whole Food on a Half-Price Budget, and The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource. On her website, The Organic Prepper, Daisy uses her background in alternative journalism to provide a unique perspective on health and preparedness, and offers a path of rational anarchy against a system that will leave us broke, unhealthy, and enslaved if we comply.  Daisy’s articles are widely republished throughout alternative media. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest,  and Twitter,.

Filed under: Prepping

20 Quality Prepper Gifts Under $20

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20 Prepper Gifts under $20Most preppers have so many things on their wishlist that it may seem like only those with a lot of spare money can manage it. Starting out, most of us have bought cheap items, not realizing just how low-quality they really were.

You don’t have to be a victim of cheap and poor quality survival gear and supplies — not when your life could depend on it!

Each of these prepper gifts is under $20, but the are still solid quality items, not cheap dime-store items.

These items are a solid foundation of items to get started, or a great round of upgrades for anyone who has been preparing just a bit longer. They are also a great place to get kids started. I still remember getting my first pocket knife (a knife I still own) as a kid, and my eldest loves his new mess kit.

Food and Water

1. Herb Terrarium Small, portable, easy to use, and herbs are good for both cooking and (sometimes) herbal medicine. What’s not to love?

2. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter – The LifeStraw is only for one person, but provides water immediately, no fire or anything else needed. It’s easy enough that even very young children can safely use one.

3. Mess kit – In addition to the standard bowl, cup, and utensils, this kit has a small cutting board and container for spices. My teenage Scout loves having the spice shaker.

4. Pie Iron Sandwich Cooker – I’ll admit it. I just like hot sandwiches. This makes it easy to make them over a campfire. It’s just like when I went camping as a little girl.

5. WAPI (WAter Pasteurization Indicator) – Tiny, effective,  and a great way to purify water, the WAPI makes a great addition to any emergency kit. It is roughly the same amount of work for a cup of water or a big pot full of water.

Basics

6. Dryer balls and / or soapnuts – Dryer balls last for years. Once you have a set, you don’t need to buy dryer sheets again. Soapnuts don’t last nearly that long, but they are an all-natural, easily portable alternative to “regular” laundry detergent.

7. (Small) Emergency kit: mylar blanket, meds from home (small container with six to ten tablets each of ibuprofin, headache tablets, and antihistimine), water bottle, food, water tablets, trash bag, fleece blanket – This combination covers the most basic immediate needs in an emergency. Having a mylar and fleece blanket may seem redundant, but it will be softer and warmer than either one alone possibly could be.
(Note: Some items are in a multi-pack but you only need to include one in the kit.)

8. Flash drive – Use one just to store copies of all your critical documents (that’s a plural you – everyone you are responsible for, whether that’s your family or another group) and any other important files you need, such as .pdfs or even copies of e-books.

9. Solar flashlight or UVPaqlite – Batteries die, and we run out of them. Everyone, prepper or not, should have at least one flashlight (prefably a few) that does not rely on batteries. These are both great options.
(Note: The solar flashlight here is over $20, but it’s for a two pack, making each one under $20.)

10. Crackle Finish Zippo Lighter – Sure, you can buy a lighter for $0.99 in the check out line, but can you rely on it? When it counts? This is the classic Zippo lighter. It’s refillable, with a lifetime “fix it free” warranty, and Made in the USA.

11. Paracord belt or bracelet – It’s no secret that paracord has a ton of uses, so a paracord bracelet or belt is a natural gift. You can even make one yourself, if you want.

12. Work gloves – Inexpensive leather or disposable gloves have their place, but higher quality gloves that fit are just so much nicer to wear.

Health and First Aid

13. Breathe Healthy Face Mask – Face masks can be hard to breathe in, but the Breathe Healthy face mask is different. The fabric (tons of fun choices for kids and adults) has an anti-microbial coating that kills germs, but it still breathes well.  I have personally worn them for four hours straight on multiple occasions with no difficulty.

14. Essential Oils – This is a huge, potentially complicated topic, but it’s easy to get started with a few essential oils. Four Thieves is a popular choice for fighting off illnesses. Depending on personal needs, Muscle Relief, Anxiety Ease, or Breathe Easier might be good choices. Lavender and Tea Tree are also popular first choices. (I used Young Living oils for years and recommend them. However, I’ve recently discovered Edens Garden and they are excellent with lower prices.)

15. QuikClot – It’s small, unlikely to ever be needed, but if it is, it could save a life. Isn’t that worth under $20 and a little space in the glove compartment?

Camping and Outdoors

16. 2 Pack Edible Wilderness and Wilderness Survival Playing Cards – It’s easy to overlook the importance of entertainment, but a good set of playing cards can be a sanity-saver in an emergency of any size, even if it’s just to distract you while you wait to be seen in an emergency room. Having all those tips and that information just makes it that much easier to survive and thrive in a real wilderness survival situation.

17. Fixed Blade and whetstone – As great as pocket knives are, a longer fixed blade is better for some tasks. For example, a pocket knife is great for whittling the point on a stick for campfire cooking, but food can get stuck in the folding hinge and that’s potentially just all kinds of bad news. But a dull knife can be a danger and a frustration, so add a good whetstone or sharpening kit to help you sharpen it. (Pocket knives need one too.)

18. Pocket knife and sheath – A good pocket knife can help with cooking (sticks for food), entertainment (whittling), medicine (cauterizing – OK, I wouldn’t really recommend that), and all kinds of things. Fixed blades come with sheathes. Pocket knives don’t, but you still need one. It makes it easier and safer to carry one.

19. Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest SOLite Sleeping Pad (Small, Silver/Sage) – This is a definite upgrade from the cheap big box store sleeping pads, but is not prohibitively expensive.

20. Wood splitting wedge – A simple tool, a solid wood splitting wedge massively speeds up splitting wood for fires or drying out (to use later for fires).

20 Prepper Gifts under $20

Rourke’s Weekly “Prepper Christmas Gift” Recommendations

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Every week I throw out a few recommendations on things such as movies, books, knives, flashlights – all kinds of stuff. Some of these are not related to preparedness whatsoever – rather, just stuff I like. Most are available on Amazon but not all. I have a particular fondness for movies as one of my favorite things to do is to sit back and watch a good one.

So – for this week……here is my list:

 

Portable Backup Power Banks/Chargers

Lumsing 10400mAh Backup Battery Bank-Charger

Mini 3200mAh Backup Charger

Amazon 16,100mAh Portable Power Bank – high capacity

 

Flashlights

Olight S1 500 Lumen Baton Flashlight

Helotex G2 CREE LED Flashlight

UltraFire Mini LED Flashlight – inexpensive & runs on 1 AA battery

 

Radio’s – the gift of communication

Kiato AM/FM Portable Pocket Radio

Kiato V1R Emergency Solar Radio

Eton FRX5 Emergency Hand Crank Radio

 

First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit with Hard Case – 326 pieces

Medique Basic FIrst Aid Kit – 61 pieces

Ever Ready First Responders First Aid Kit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17+ Crazy Survival Gifts, Gadgets and Gear – Volume #2

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COVER-best-survival-gear-gadgets-survival-camping-gifts-christmas-ultimate-gear-knife-gadget-best

IF you’re looking for MORE crazy, cool and downright useful NEW gear for everyday carry, survival, prepping, bushcraft, bug out or as a gift for someone on your list, who likes to be prepared… you’ve come to the right place.  Here are 10+ survival gadgets, gizmos, gifts and gear…

Gizmos-2-1

Swiss Card Lite – Includes 13 EDC Tools

     13 Emergency Tools – In a Credit Card Sized Pocket Tool
A credit card slot in your wallet, pack or purse is a great place to everyday carry the Victorniox Swiss Card Lite Pocket Tool. Made in Switzerland… the 13-Tool Swisscard Lite includes a small knife, scissors, rulers, tweezers, a straight pin, micro pen, a magnifying glass, 4-function screw driver, and an emergency LED light. Cost is around $30 US.

Swiss Card Lite: http://amzn.to/1PFQtdk

For a Survival Credit Card Tool… check out the Tool Logic Survival Card 2 with a cool knife, firesteel, emergency whistle, light and more… Cost is around $19 US.

Survival Card II: http://amzn.to/1O8jBE5

Shower-hand

Small and Lightweight

Sea Shower-2

Take a 7 Minute Shower Anywhere…

Ultra Light 4 Oz. Emergency / Camping / Bug Out Bag Shower
If you or your better half hate the idea of getting dirty, stinky and otherwise totally disgusting during an emergency, bug out or camping trip… consider the Sea to Summit Pocket Shower. This little beauty is super small, weights just 4 ounces (or 114 grams), holds 10 liters of water, and gives you about a 7 minute shower. In full sun, the black bag will heat up the water it contains – so you don’t freeze your butt off. AND the 10 liter bag doubles as a water container in a pinch. Cost is around $35 US.

Pocket Shower: http://amzn.to/1O8jJmW

Gizmos-2-2

26 Survival Items for $13

Best $13 UltraLight Survival Kit
If $13 dollars US sounds about what your budget can handle for a basic, ready-made survival kit… You’re pretty cheap… but all hope is NOT lost. The LifeLine 26-Piece Ultralight Survival Kit comes to your rescue with some shelter, fire, water, food, navigation and first aid basics… It’s not perfect, but then again you don’t have a lot of money for a survival kit… But if you want a bit more in a on a pre-made kit – and have a few more bucks to invest… I recommend the Best Glide Be Prepared Pocket Tin, the Best Glide Adventurer Survival Kit or the Gear Pods Wilderness Kit – I’ve done full reviews (on YouTube) of all 3.

Gizmos-2-2b

3 Other Awesome Pre-Made Survival Kits…

LifeLine Pocket Survival Kit:
http://amzn.to/1O8kTz0

Best Glide – Be Prepared Pocket Survival Kit:
http://amzn.to/1O8kZXg

Best Glide Adventurer:
http://amzn.to/1O8l3X8

Gear Pods Wilderness Kit:
http://amzn.to/1O8lgcL

Gizmos-2-3

ETON Scorpion II – Charges by Hand Crank, Sun or Outlet…

Bug Out Bag / Emergency Radio
If you’re looking for a durable, compact Bug Out Bag or emergency radio that is NOT dependent on batteries or the grid? Look no further. The ETON Scorpion II has a footprint about the size of my iPhone 6 (although it’s quite a bit fatter) and charges using USB, solar or it’s built-in hand crank. It sports a digital clock, AM, FM and Weather Band Radio, built in speaker, headphone jack, LED flashlight, carabiner (for hanging it on stuff) and a bottle opener (Hey, why not). AND it can even charge your smart phone – Cost is around $50 US.

Emergency Solar Radio: http://amzn.to/1O8lkJD

And for a rugged bear bones, hand crank and solar radio with AM/FM and weather band… I’m pretty attached to my Ambient Weather Solar radio. Cost is around $15 US.

Mini-Solar Radio: http://amzn.to/1O8loZZ

Gizmos-2-4

Ultimate Zombie Survival Kit

VSSL Ultimate Zombie Weapon Kit
Meet the Ultimate Zombie Weapon Kit by VSSL Gear. On the cap ends of the daunting black aluminum case there is a 3 mode LED light on one side and large compass on the other… that when replaced with the high tensile aluminum spike (found inside)…  transforms the otherwise harmless VSSL into a worthy Zombie eliminating tool. There’s also a medical mask to help protect you from whatever Zombified the Zombie in the first place. Cost is around $60 US.

Zombie Weapon Kit: http://amzn.to/1O8mzIG

Gizmos-2-4b

VSSL First Aid and Supplies Survival Kits…

Although the Zombie Weapon Kit is a novelty item… VSSL also makes an innovative and legit first aid kit and a survival kit called VSSL Supplies – Check out my full review on YouTube.

VSSL First Aid Kit:
http://amzn.to/1THTkBk

VSSL Supplies Survival Kit:
http://amzn.to/1O8mO6L

Gizmos-2-5

Sweet $39 Bushcraft Blade by Condor Knife and Tool

Best $39 Bushcraft Knife?
The Condor Knife and Tool Bushlore is about the best sub $50, full tang, traditional bushcraft knife that I’ve found to date. It’s made in El Salvador from 1075 high carbon steel, has a wicked sharp, and tough, full fine edge drop point, blade, a beautiful hardwood handle and comes with a sweet leather sheath. Cost is… around $39 US.

Bushlore Knife:http://amzn.to/1THTzfH

Mora

Mora Light My Fire

Another Great Choice in Bushcraft Blades is the Mora Light My Fire. Although not full tang, Swedish-made Mora blades are tough for the price and the Light My Fire blade is made from nearly legendary Sandvik Stainless Steel and has a very useful ferro rod built into the handle that can be struck using the spine side of the blade to start a fire. Cost is around $29 US.

Mora Light My Fire: http://amzn.to/1O8mYLc

Phone

The Fre’ Power Protects and Powers My iPhone

How to Waterproof and DOUBLE the Battery Power of Your iPhone
If you’re looking for tough waterproof protection for your iPhone AND would like double your phone’s battery life – check out the LifeProof Fre’ POWER. The LifeProof Fre’ POWER solves some earlier issues that I experienced with the LifeProof FRE case… and has done a great job protecting my iPhone 6… AND doubling it’s run time when shooting videos in the field, or when I’m away from power for a couple of days. Costis around $90 US.

LifeProof Fre’ Power: http://amzn.to/1THU21e

Belt

My Rattlerstrap Belt is Almost 3 Years Old…

BEST Survival Paracord Belt
If you want your belt to be more than a pants holding, gear hanger, and think having over 100 feet of everyday carry 550 Paracord available in an emergency is a pretty keen idea… check out the RattlerStrap Survival Paracord belt.  I’ve been wearing my rattlerstrap belt nearly everyday for about 3 years now. The weave is still tight while it looks and functions like the day I got it. But save up your pennies kids. The cost is around $100 US.

Rattlerstrap Belt: http://amzn.to/1O8njh6

If $100 for a paracord belt is beyond your budget… the next best choice is the Bison designs double cobra, paracord survival belt at around $60 US
Bison Designs Belt: http://amzn.to/1O8noRG

See my full review on YouTube.

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3-Mode – Bear Grylls Micro Torch Can Save the Day

Emergency Light Anywhere, Anytime
For emergency light anywhere, anytime, pack the Bear Grylls Micro Torch in survival kits, hang from zipper pulls or put on your key chain for reliable emergency light in a super small package. I’ve got several of these little gems kicking around and they’ve saved my butt more than once. Cost is around $7 US for this great stocking stuffer. See my full review on YouTube. (63)

BG Micro Torch: http://amzn.to/1O8nGrP

10 Gift Ideas for Sustainable Giving This Holiday Season

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10 Gift Ideas for Sustainable Giving This Holiday Season

Are you in a bit of a pickle, trying to choose the perfect gift for family and friends this year? 

Well, you’re in luck! I’ve done some shopping and I put together a selection of gift ideas for you. All of these gifts would work great for that sustainable-minded someone on your list.

Here’s 10 gift ideas for this holiday season:

1. Basil Grow Pot

BasilGrowPotFinal

In years past, I never knew what to get my girls’ teachers for Christmas. I mean, how many coffee mugs and candles can one person have, right?!  But it’s all changing this year because I found this basil grow pot on Eartheasy.com. The perfect gift to send to each teacher! Everyone can use basil and pretty much everyone can grow it. It’s really not that hard. Plus the packaging is super classy. The pot is handcrafted from sustainable bamboo and the lacquered lid doubles as a saucer. Inside the pot, there are seeds, soil wafers and drainage material. Everything needed to grow the basil. If you don’t have a teacher to buy for, these would make a great hostess gift to bring to all those holiday parties.  

(Basil Grow Pot at Eartheasy.com; $17.95 )

2. Oya by GrowOya

GrowOyaFinal

I saw an oya for the first time at last year’s Mother Earth News fair. I was immediately impressed. An oya is a terracotta vessel that you plant into the ground and fill with water. Then, over the next 5 to 10 days, water seeps through the oya, into the soil, watering the plants planted around it. Oyas save water, reduce time spent watering and grow healthier plants. You can’t go wrong giving this gift to the gardener in your life.

(Oya by GrowOya, available in 3 sizes at GrowOya.com; $24.95 and up)

3. Seeds of the Month Club Membership

SeedsoftheMonthfinal

Imagine opening your mailbox and finding a shipment of seeds inside every month. This is what the Seeds of the Month Club is all about. The first month I signed up, I received 8 packs of seeds in the mail. Then, around the first of every month thereafter, I received 4 packs. All the seeds are 100% non-GMO, open pollinated, heirloom varieties. Gardeners don’t get to choose which seeds they receive, but that’s part of the appeal. (Who doesn’t love a good surprise?!) Rest assured, the varieties each member receives are suitable to their particular growing zone. If you have a hard-to-buy-for gardener in your life, The Seeds of the Month Club is perfect. It’s a fun and useful gift.

(Seeds of The Month Club at AveragePersonGardening.com; $35.52)

4. Wool Dryer Balls with Essential Oil

Wooldryerballs

Recently, I gave up dryer sheets. For two reasons. One, I’m always looking for ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. Dryer sheets are clearly a waste, plus they’re full of chemicals. And two, my dog, Henry. Some dogs chew shoes and socks. Not Henry. He gets his chewing fix from dryer sheets. Every laundry-folding session, without fail, Henry sticks his nose in the laundry basket, by-passing all the socks and goes straight for the dryer sheets. These wool dryer balls from Eartheasy are the solution to wasteful living (and dog addictions). Used in place of dryer sheets, they reduce drying time by 50% and soften clothes. Included are grapefruit and bergamot essential oil to add natural fragrance to laundry. One dryer ball set can be reused over and over until the balls become firm, an indication that it’s time for a new set. Wool dryer balls are useful gift—perfect for the person who has absolutely everything.

(Wool Dry Balls with Essential Oil at Eartheasy.com; $39.95)

5. Abeego Flats Food Wraps

Abeegofinal

Throw out the Glad plastic wrap! This is amazing! A set of three, beeswax-coated, hemp-organic cotton cloths to keep food fresh. Just press and form firmly over dishes or wrap around fresh produce, like you do with plastic wrap. The flexible fabric is slightly adhesive at room temperature and stiffens when cool, holding the shape you created. Rinse clean and use them again. See how it works in the short video below. Cool, right?

(Abeego Flats 3-Pack at Eartheasy.com; $15.95)

6. Recipes & Tips for Sustainable Living by Stacy Harris 

StacyHarrisFinal

Stacy Harris’ Recipes & Tips for Sustainable Living is a book filled with just that…recipes and tips. The book is divided into three parts: The Garden, Beyond the Garden and Woods and Water. Gardening, preserving, beekeeping, foraging, and chicken keeping tips are shared along with Harris family original recipes, like Creamed Brussels Sprouts, Baked Peaches with Honey and Almonds, and Chicken Farmer’s Style. The Woods and Water section of the book has numerous recipes for venison, turkey, duck and fish, which sets it apart from any other cookbook I own. And to top it all off, the cookbook is filled with gorgeous photos of Stacy’s delicious dishes. 

(Recipes & Tips for Sustainable Living at Amazon.com; $25.99)

7. Rada Cutlery Tomato Slicer Knife 

10 Gift Ideas for Sustainable Giving This Holiday Season

Driving back from the bee supply shop this summer, my beekeeping mentor, Miss Luann and I stopped at a local Amish store.  There were lots of interesting things for sale inside but Miss Luann was adamant. I needed to buy this Rada Cutlery tomato slicer because it is “the best tomato knife” she’s ever used. And it’s so inexpensive!  In fact, her words to me were…”This knife would make a great Christmas gift for all your friends.” Now, that I’ve used this knife all summer long, I say Miss Luann was right. (She usually is. 😉 ) This knife slices big, juicy tomatoes with precision and ease. I love it.

(Rada Cutlery Tomato Slicer Knife at Amazon.com; $8.95)

8. MuckBoots Women’s Breezy Mid Boot  

10 Gift Ideas for Sustainable Giving This Holiday Season

MuckBoots are made for messy and tough conditions which means they’re a dream to wear in the garden. These waterproof boots come in several colors. I have the ones pictured above, and every community garden work day, I receive several compliments from lady gardeners who love my boots. I love them, too! Not just because they’re cool looking, durable boots, they’re also lined with moisture-wicking XpressCool fabric. So, unlike those colorful, rubber rain boots that Target sells, these boots don’t cause your feet to sweat. I mean, really, who needs their feet slippin’ and slidin’ around inside their boots on a beautiful, warm, sunny gardening day?!

(MuckBoots Women’s Breezy Mid Boot at Amazon.com; $109.95)

9. Herstera Urban Garden for Kids

HersteraFinal

Do you have a budding gardener in your life? I bet they’d love to have their very own gardening space. Back in March, you got to see my hip, red Herstera grow trolley when I was giving you my 5 Container Gardening Tips for Beginners.  It’s one of my favorite containers.  Herstera makes quality grow tables. They’re made of galvanized steel and are lightweight, easy to assemble. Mine has held up through the torrential rain, severe drought and record-breaking heat and it still looks (and works) fabulous. The Herstera Urban Garden for Kids is pint-size in height (perfect for little ones), but super-size in space for growing veggies, herbs and flowers. 

(Herstera Urban Garden Kids at Eartheasy.com; $169.95)

10. Savannah Bee Company Bee Cause Honey  

BeeCauseHoney

Give a gift that gives back! The Bee Cause Project is an organization started by the Savannah Bee Company. Their mission is to stimulate curiosity in young people about the importance of honey bees in our lives and the need to understand and embrace them and to care about their well-being through the installation of bee hives in 1,000 schools.  It’s also an organization that I love and support! When you buy a bottle of Savannah Bee Company Bee Cause Honey, 100% of the proceeds go directly to The Bee Cause Project. How cool is that?! 

(12 oz Bee Cause Honey at TheBeeCause.org; $15.00)

What gifts do you plan on giving this year? Share your ideas below.

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Preppers Holiday Gift Guide

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preppers holiday gift guideWhat do you buy your favorite preppers for holidays? Our 2015 Prepper Holiday Gift Guide should have enough holiday gift Ideas for preppers to help you out.

Holiday Gift Guide for Preppers

When I buy these items for the Preppers on my list, I like to print out a copy of my blog posts, where I discuss them, and package them up with the item. That way they instantly see how this item can benefit them. I’ve listed the posts where applicable.

Prices are subject to change. It’s the holiday season, so items go up in price or go on sale.

We’ll add to this list throughout the holiday shopping season, so be sure to check back!

Price Ranges:

Under $10

 Brutus the Bull Dog Self Defense Keychain (2 Pack) – Looks like a decoration but gives you the edge if the time comes to defend yourself or your family. Great stocking stuffers. Order early as these ship from Asia and can take a week or 2 to arrive.

  • Impact resistant molded plastic – as strong as metal (but won’t set off metal detectors)
  • Easy to carry, looks like a decoration.
  • Can be attached to your key ring
  • Measures 3.5″ x 2.5″
Jones Stephens Four Way Key – Water is a high priority in most emergency situations; for something as simple as thirst, to decontamination, personal hygiene, or refilling a vehicle’s radiator. There are times that you need access to it, and it’s right there, but you can’t access it. One simple, inexpensive tool can change all that, the 4-way sillcock key.

Tops Knives 5 pack Dog Tag style Signal Mirrors – These dog tag style signal mirrors are a great gift. Add a dog tag bead chain and you have an EDC signal mirror, that goes with you everywhere! Made in the USA.
Mini Cree Led Adjustable Focus Flashlight – Up to 300 Lumen of awesome! Runs on a single AA battery!

  • 7W 300LM Mini CREE LED Flashlight Torch Adjustable Focus Zoom Light Lamp ( Head of the flashlight can be pulled out to focus the beam)
  • Super mini size, bright, blinding effect
  • Skid-proof design & waterproof design.
  • Output brightness can reach up to 300 lumens (MAX).
  • This mini flashlight uses 1 AA size Alkaline, NiMH, or lithium 14500 batteries.
  • POST: http://www.geek-prepper.com/another-edc-budget-tactical-flashlight/
Gerber Shard Keychain Tool – On-board tools include a small and medium flat driver; Philips head driver, wire stripper, pry bar, bottle opener, lanyard hole. Perfect size with the basics to carry anywhere, Lightweight and airline safe!

  • Lightweight and airline safe
  • Titanium nitride coating for corrosion resistance
  • Perfect size with the basics to carry anywhere
  • Includes: small flat driver, medium flat driver, Philips head driver, wire stripper, pry bar, bottle opener, lanyard hole
  • Hangs on your Keychain, so it’s always ready for action!
  • POST: http://www.geek-prepper.com/key-chain-carry/
Paracord – Paracord is the Go-To cordage of Preppers everywhere. Surprise the preppers, who have been good boys and girls, all year with 100′ of paracord in their stocking!

  • Commercial paracord ideal for utility use
  • 7-strand core made to 550-pound test
  • 100-percent nylon construction
  • Made by certified US Government contractor
  • Measures 5/32 inches in diameter
Nite Ize Figure 9 Rope Tightener
No more knots! Eliminates the hassle of tying, adjusting and untying knots. Great for setting up tents and other outdoorsy camp tasks!

  • High quality aluminum
  • No knots! Eliminates the hassle of tying, adjusting and untying knots
  • Figure 9 is laser engraved with instructions for use
  • Pull it tight – keep it tight
Trumark Folding Slingshot – Trumark Slingshots are made in the USA, using quality construction and materials, second to none!

  • Trumark’s FS-1 wrist-braced sling shot folds down to a compact size
  • It’s unique bottom valve “flips” open, to dispense 5/16″, 3/8″ or 1/2″ ammo
  • The wide aluminum forks, with a 4 1/2″ spread between the prongs, increases powerband life
  • The light non-rust aircraft aluminum frame and compact size make the FS-1 sling shot a favorite survival aid for campers, hunters, and backpackers
  • Patented snap-open handle

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Under $20

Exotac polySTRIKER XL Ferrocerium Fire Starter – Made from recyclable ABS plastic, the polySTRIKER XL fills the minimalist niche without sacrificing design or usability. The polySTRIKER XL line features the same innovative tungsten carbide striker design as the nanoSTRIKER. The tungsten carbide insert is built into an easy-to-use striking tool that snaps into the handle.

  • Snap-in striking tool
  • Ultra sharp tungsten carbide striking tool
  • Ferrocerium rod works when wet
  • Up to 10,000 fire-starting strikes
  • Made in the USA
Suunto Clipper Compass – tiny, convenient, accurate

  • Clips to watch strap, sleeve, strap of backpack, side of map etc.
  • Liquid filled jewel bearing compass
  • Cardinal directions in luminous prints on card
  • Direction on rotating bezel in 10 degrees increments
  • A fun, supercompact aid for underwater navigation
MPOWERD Luci Original Inflatable Solar Lantern

  • 3 modes – Bright, Super-Bright, Emergency Flashing
  • Solar powered
  • Rechargeable
  • Holds a charge for up to 12 hours and stays bright all night
  • Inflatable and Packable
  • Lightweight (4 ounces)
  • Waterproof Lantern

 

QuikClot Advanced Clotting Sponge – Quikclot is a chemically inert material that speeds coagulation of blood, resulting in a stable clot that stops bleeding. The quikclot zeolite beads are contained in a sterile, non-adherent mesh bag so that it can be easily applied by anyone and also easily and cleanly removed from the wound by professional medical providers. Quikclot is safe to use and is a low heat formula that will not burn the skin. Leave quikclot in place until more advanced medical help arrives.

  • Stop bleeding fast
  • Keep wounds clean
X-cords Paracord Carabiner – Stainless steel Carabiner multi survival tool with smooth rolling pulley, to get your gear where you need it.

  • Fits all Paracord -550-750-850
  • Smooth roller pulley provides a mechanical advantage
American Red Cross Hand Turbine AM/FM Weather Radio and LED Flashlight – The American Red Cross FRX1 is a rechargeable hand turbine AM, FM and weather radio, complete with LED flashlight and glow-in-the dark lining to easily find at night or during a power outage. There is also an option for AC power with the DC-input (mini-USB) and headphone output for individual listening. Save yourself in times of need with the FRX1.

  • Receives AM/FM/Weather band
  • Hand Turbine power
  • LED flashlight
  • Headphone jack
  • Glow in the dark locator
Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System – The Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System removes a minimum 99.99999% of waterborne bacteria and surpasses EPA standards for water filters. It also removes a minimum 99.9999% of waterborne protozoan parasites and filters to an amazing 0.1 microns.

  • The Sawyer Mini 128 is ideal for outdoor recreation, hiking, camping, scouting, domestic and international travel and emergency preparedness
  • High performance filter fits in the palm of your hand, weighs 2 ounces and filters up to 100,000 gallons (378,541.00 liters) – 30 times more than comparable filters
  • Attaches to included drinking pouch, standard disposable water bottles, hydration packs, or use the straw to drink directly from your water source
  • Removes 7 log (99.99999%) of all bacteria and 6 log (99.9999%) of all protozoa
  • Sawyer’s certified 0.1 micron absolute filter removes bacteria and protozoa at a higher rate than accepted EPA guidelines

POST: http://www.geekprepper.org/100000-gallons-of-water-for-your-bug-out-bag/

Berkey Sport Bottle Portable Water Purifier – Perfect for the frequent traveler or outdoorsman. Eliminates or Reduces up to 99.9% of:

  • Unpleasant taste and odors,
  • cloudiness, silt, sediment and chlorine
    Toxic chemicals: Trihalomethanes, VOCs, detergents, pesticides, etc
  • Harmful microscopic pathogens: Cryptosporidium, Giardia, E-coli >99.99999% and other pathogenic bacteria
  • Heavy metals: Aluminum, Cadmium, Chromium, Copper, Lead, and Mercury
LifeStraw I’ve bought these for many of the preppers in my family and friends. The LifeStraw Removes a minimum 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria and surpasses EPA standards for water filters. It also removes a minimum 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites and filters to an amazing 0.2 microns. Filters up to 264.172 gallons (1000 liters) of contaminated water WITHOUT iodine, chlorine, or other chemicals. The LifeStraw comes in a sealed bag, perfect for storing for emergencies.

  • Ideal for outdoor recreation, hiking, camping, scouting, domestic and international travel and emergency preparedness
  • High performance filter filters up to 264.172 gallons (1000 liters)
  • Removes a minimum 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria
  • Removes a minimum 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites

POST: http://www.geek-prepper.com/bug-out-bag-1000-liters-of-water/

Book Diversion Safe – Hiding valuables and preparedness supplies in plain site.

  • Diversion Safes are made from the actual cans or books themselves, so they blend in perfectly!
  • Open book to reveal a secret storage compartment
  • Hidden Compartment is 6.5-by-4-by-1-inches deep
  • Perfect for home, office, school, travel, RV’s, and boats
  • Hide your passports, currency, documents, jewelry, account numbers, credit cards, and keepsakes

These are perfect for the preppers, secret agents, or friends on your list!

Liquid Wrench Diversion Can Safe – Hiding valuables and preparedness supplies in plain site.

  • Diversion Safes are typically made from the actual cans or books themselves, so they blend in perfectly!
  • Screw off bottom
  • Practical gift for any occasion
  • Perfect for Home Office School Travel RV’s and Boats
  • The best place to hide anything is in plain sight

These are perfect for the mechanics, handyman, preppers, secret agents, or friends on your list!

Inova Microlight Sts Flashlight aka:(The Nite Ize Micro Light STS)
  • Features dual electrode capacitive sensing technology, which they call “Swipe-To-Shine”. This means that you have to swipe your finger across the capacitive sensor on the Micro light to turn it on or off, or to activate it’s 4 Functions
  • 4 Functions: High Power, Variable Dim, Low Power & Strobe.
Energizer Weatheready 360 Degree LED Area Lantern

  • Three-mode – Modes include 55-lumen white high, 28-lumen white low, and amber nightlight
  • Dual battery options – Runs on three AA or three D batteries (three AA Energizer Max Alkaline batteries included)
  • Glow in the dark push button switch
  • Fold out hanging hook on underside/bottom
  • Waterproof (to one meter)

Run times with three AA Energizer Max Alkaline Batteries: High Mode–29 hours, Low Mode–58 hours
Run times with three D Energizer Max Alkaline batteries: High Mode–195 hours, Low Mode–380 hours

 Pak-Lite 9V LED Flashlight – The Pak-Lite snaps on top of a 9v battery. The two white LED bulbs provide plenty of light to walk and run by at night. When you turn the switch off, the Glow-In-The-Dark plastic cap aids in locating it for the next 6+ hours. The Pak-Lite comes equipped with a 9v Standard Battery, which will give you 20+ hours of light. If you need a longer burn time, simply un-snap the Pak-Lite and snap it onto a Duracell Alkaline or an Ultralife Lithium 9v battery (extra batteries sold separately).

  • Two White LED Bulbs (10,000 hour rating)
  • Burn Time: 20+ hours (Alkaline=30 hours, Lithium=80 hours)
  • Bright & Off Modes
  • 6+ hour Glow-in-the-dark Cap
  • Total Weight: 1.5oz with Battery
  • 9v Standard Battery Included
  • 5-years limited warranty

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Under $50

LuminAID PackLite 16 Inflatable Solar Light – The new PackLite 16 is made out of a thick and durable TPU (PVC-free) material. The PackLite 16 provides up to 16 hours of LED light and can be easily recharged in the sun, ideal for recreational use outdoors or in the home as an extra light source. It has two extra-bright multi-chip LEDs that provide up to 45 lumens of light and a 32+ hour flashing mode. The PackLite 16 folds up into a compact, portable size that is easy to clip to your backpack to charge on-the-go or store in your emergency kit. The durable and weather-resistant TPU material (100% PVC-free) inflates to diffuse the LED light and create a lantern. The PackLite 16 will easily light up a 125 square feet space. Tuck it away in your first-aid kit or hook it on your backpack for your next adventure

  • Updated version of the original LuminAID Solar Light
  • Provides up to 16 hours of light on a single charge
  • 32+ hour emergency flash setting
  • Packs flat for easy storage and charging, weighing 2.9oz
  • Waterproof up to 1 meter deep (FL 1 STANDARD IPX-7) and can float
BaoFeng Dual-Band Ham Two-Way Radio – Awesome multi-purpose radio!

Solar 11-in-1 Battery Charger – This high powered solar charger charges two Rechargeable Batteries of the same type and size (D, C, AA, AAA). This is the most versatile battery charger available on the market today.Its in-built meter shows you the following conditions: strength of the sun, strength of the current out-put from the solar panel, time required to fully charge the different types of batteries

  • Built-in blocking diode to prevent reverse flow of electricity from charged batteries during storage
  • The solar panel is incorporated into the hinged cover which can be angled for maximum sun exposure.
  • Charges “D,” “C,” “AA,” and “AAA” size batteries
  • Polycarbonate transparent cover makes the charger weather resistant
  • environmentally safe, cost efficient and trouble free
  • This charger is an ideal gadget for camping, fishing, boating, and picnics. It is equally suitable for home use.
Exotac nanoSTRIKER Ferrocerium Fire Starter – The nanoSTRIKER is a high quality, ultra-small and completely self-contained waterproof fire starter. Sacrificing neither form nor function, its unique all-in-one design puts all the tools you need to start a fire into one tiny package. To top it off, the rods are replaceable and the striker is ultra-sharp tungsten carbide. Ferrocerium fire starters work best with tinder materials that contain large surface areas: dry grasses, wood shavings, cotton balls, dry leaves, clothing lint, etc. Using a tinder material of your choosing, create a loose tinder bundle to catch the sparks from the ferro rod. Wrap the included lanyard around a few fingers to secure the striker handle. Holding the striking tool at an angle, use moderate pressure to quickly scrape the rod. The striker should be carving material off the ferrocerium rod.

  • Ultra-portable for key ring, pocket and neck carry
  • Replaceable 3/16″ Ferrocerium rod works when wet
  • Up to 1000 fire-starting strikes
  • Collapsible self-contained waterproof fire starter
  • Machined in the USA from 6061 aluminum
Condor Recon Chest Rig (Tan) – The Condor Recon chest rig comes with three BUILT IN stacker Kangaroo-type mag pouch, will hold six M4 mag and six pistol mag. -Swivel Lockster – Swivel Push-Button release buckle. -Padded cross-back shoulder strap with webbing and D-ring. -Additional mesh pocket on the back. -Two open-top mag pouch. (one on each side)

  • Six M4 mag
  • Six pistol mag pouches
  • Swivel Push-Button release buckle
  • Padded cross-back shoulder strap
Estwing E45A Campers Axe Metal Handle – For felling, trimming trees and or splitting wood, notching timbers, driving wooden or plastic stakes. Forged one-piece solid steel construction to eliminate loose heads Nylon vinyl deep cushion grips bonded to steel handle for comfort and durability. Since 1923, the Estwing family and its employees have taken pride in designing and manufacturing the world’s most durable, comfortable and attractive striking and struck tools. All claw hammers, axes, specialty tools and pry bars are manufactured to the highest possible standards and offer a true value to both tradesmen and craftsmen alike.

  • Estwing campers steel axe with metal handle and nylon vinyl shock reduction grip
  • Intended for felling trees, trimming trees, splitting wood, notching timbers and driving wooden or plastic stakes
  • The 4-Inch cutting edge makes deeper faster cuts and easier chopping
  • Includes embossed leather sheath
  • 26-Inch approximate overall length at 4.3-Pound
Cold Steel Special Forces Shovel with Hardwood Handle – A shovel that can be used as a shovel, a hatchet, or a weapon. The Special Forces Shovel is modeled after the original Soviet Spetznaz shovel. The Spetznaz soldiers made up the most elite unit in the Soviet Army (The U.S. equivalent would be our Green Berets).

  • The shovel head and socket are forged from medium carbon steel, then heat treated for maximum strength.
  • The edges come sharpened to a utility/axe edge that can easily be improved to razor sharpness.
  • Handle replacement is simple. The handle is held on with 2 screws. That’s right, screws. not rivets. Since Cold Steel used screws, you can change the handle out with a longer one (or a stick) to compensate for numerous other purposes.
  • POST: http://www.geek-prepper.com/cold-steel-shovel/

The Cold Steel Shovel has so many uses and this is the shovel that lives in my EDC automobile kits, in all my family vehicles! I bought a few of these, last year, for some of my special family members. Over the past year, I’ve seen these shovels in the vehicles, of everyone I gifted them too!

Mr. Beams MB470 UltraBright LED Lantern51e9M2muTVL

  • 260 lumen – Two light modes; Bright and Dim.
  • Powered by 4 D-cell batteries.
  • 30 hrs of light on one set of batteries.
  • USB battery backup charging port allows you to charge a smartphone or mobile device.
  • Auto shut-off feature turns this LED lantern off automatically after 60 minutes.
  • Fold out hanging hook on underside/bottom
  • Cover is removable, to act as a super-bright flashlight (or an overhead light)
  • Weatherproof and water-resistant for use indoors and outdoors.

 

Casio Men’s Solar Sport Combination Watch – Another watch powered by light itself!

  • Never change a battery again (20 years anyway, according to manufacturers sites)!
  • With its solar-power capabilities, multi-lingual day display, and myriad functions, this rugged Casio watch is suited for the world traveler.
  • Features alarm, world time (48 cities), LED light, multi-lingual day display, five alarms, stopwatch, and countdown timers
  • Japanese Quartz movement with analog and digital displays
  • Protective mineral crystal dial window
  • Water resistant to 330 feet (100 M): suitable for snorkeling, as well as swimming, but not diving
  • POST: http://www.geek-prepper.com/watches-clocks-apocalypse/
Casio Women’s Tough Solar Watch – Yet another watch powered by light itself!

  • Never change a battery again (20 years anyway, according to manufacturers sites)!
  • Tough solar powered; LED light; World time
  • 1/100th second stopwatch with 120 lap memory
  • Countdown timer; 12/24 hour formats
  • 5 alarms
  • Water resistant to 165 feet (50 M): suitable for swimming and showering
  • POST: http://www.geek-prepper.com/watches-clocks-apocalypse/
Instapark 10 Watt Solar Panel Portable Solar Charger – This solar charger has Dual USB Ports for iPhone, iPad & all other USB Compatible Devices. It also has handy loops for lashing it to trees or your backpack, while on the go!

  • 10 Watt high-efficiency solar panel with foldable design offers excellent portability, ideal for emergency preparedness, backpacking, camping and other outdoor activities
  • Built-in dual USB charging ports for directly plugging in iPhone, iPad and other USB compatible mobile devices
  • No additional battery needed for charging external devices, 100% green energy with zero carbon footprint
  • handy loops for lashing it to trees or your backpack, while on the go!
  • Measures only 9 X 6 X 2 inches and weighs less than 0.9 lb
Instapark 10W Mono-crystalline Solar Panel with 12V Solar Charge Controller – If you have a prepper who wants to get into solar, this is your starter kit. All you need to add is a 12v battery and an inverter and you have solar power!

  • Power (Pmax) : 10W
  • Maximum power voltage ( Vpm ) : 17.5V ;Maximum Power Current: 0.57A
  • Cable lengths : 3.0′
  • Open circuit voltage ( Voc ) : 21.95V
  • Charge controller prevents overcharging of 12-volt batteries
  • POST: http://www.geek-prepper.com/baby-steps-solar/
 Cold Steel Trench Hawk Axe – The Trench Hawk may well be the perfect antidote to the raw terror of eyeball to eyeball combat in the confined spaces of a trench, bunker, alley or narrow hallway. All it takes is one stroke from either the vicious cutting edge or its brutal wedge shaped spike to end the fight! The handle of the Trench Hawk is highly resistant to shock and impact and will withstand abuse that would easily break even a tough hickory handle. The handle is easily and inexpensively replaced when it’s finally worn out or broken from repeated throwing (NOTE: any handle can, and will, break eventually).

  • Hawk Length: 8 3/4″
  • Handle: Polypropylene
  • Overall Length: 19″
  • Steel: Drop Forged 1055 Carbon
  • Primary Edge: 3 1/2″
  • Break out of confined spaces like a trench, bunker, alley or narrow hallway
  • 3-1/2-inch cutting edge and wedge-shaped spike

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Under $100

Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Campanion Fixed Blade Knife – This is a rugged knife, designed for the challenges of outdoor activities. If I’m camping or hiking, this is the knife I have with me!

  • Fixed blade knife with drop point shape and 20-degree edge angle
  • Blade made of 1095 cro-van steel blade for strength
  • Handle made of Grivory material
  • Blade measures 5.5 inches long; knife measures 10.5 inches long and 1/4″ thick!
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • POST: http://www.geek-prepper.com/becker-bk2-companion-survival-knife/
Voodoo Tactical Tactical Chest Rig (Army Digital)

  • Pistol Mag pouches
  • Rilfe Mag pouches
  • Load bearing design
  • Carry all your tactical gear in easy reach!
Kelly Kettle Small Aluminum Trekker Cook Stove – The Kelly Kettle is a hollow wall volcano stove. Which means that all the water is inside the walls of the stove itself. It’s very efficient because all the heat goes up through the chimney and heats your water, very very quickly. If you’re looking to purify some water by boiling, this model can do 17 oz at a time, very quickly. There are larger models available.

  • Environmentally Friendly
  • Trekker holds 17 fl. oz. of water (2.1 Cups)
  • 12 inches tall, weighs only 1.3 pounds – Comes in a handy carrying bag
  • No need to buy bulky, expensive fuel canisters. Kelly Kettles use natural occuring fuels such as sticks and dry grass etc. Kelly Kettles are Ultra Lite and Ultra Fast for boiling water
  • Can be transported on any airlines
  • POST: http://www.geek-prepper.com/camp-cooking-with-the-kelly-kettle/

There is the Small Trekker model. Kelly Kettles come in various sizes from this small one person Trekker, model all the way up to large family and base camp sizes.

Grand Trunk Single Parachute Nylon Hammock – Parachute Nylon Single Hammock—The grandfather of hammocks! Weighs in at 1lb and provides the ultimate comfort in portable hammocks. At over 10 feet long and 5 feet wide our SH is the portable hammock you’ve been looking for. No other single parachute nylon hammock offers the same amount of bed space as Grand Trunk. Comes complete with everything you need to use and sets up in less than a minute. Holds up to 400 lbs, making the SH one of the biggest, softest and strongest hammocks we offer.

  • Single: Weight: 16 oz.
  • Dimensions: 10.5′ x 5′
  • Weight Capacity 400lbs.
  • Add a tarp or rainfly to create your own comfortable camping shelter.
Grand Trunk Skeeter Beeter Pro Hammock – If you were to wander through the woods near my home, there would be a very good chance that you’d find this setup near my camp. I use this all year round. It’s perfect for “stealth camping” out in the wilds (if you use a natural color tarp or rainfly).

  • 100% Nylon
  • Grey No-See-Um mosquito netting hangs overhead and away from your face so you can still read a book or sip a drink without feeling claustrophobic
  • Just sit in the hammock and zip yourself in with the double-sided zipper
  • If the coast is clear and you dont need the mosquito netting, just flip the hammock over and sit or recline on it as a normal hammock
  • Triple-stitched reinforcements on the mesh and fabric boost the hammocks strength
  • Weight Capacity 400lbs
  • Add a tarp or rainfly to create your own comfortable camping shelter.
 Carson MiniAura Digital Night Vision Monocular (NV-200) – Say goodbye to night vision devices with image intensifier tubes that burnout over time. The Mini Aura is a 100% digital night vision monocular that won’t ever burn out. It boasts a 19-degree angle of view and provides visibility up to 82 feet in total darkness. The Mini Aura is compact and lightweight and can fit in your pocket. It can be used in ambient light or total darkness.

  • Completely Digital (Images appear in a crisp Black and White)
  • 19 Degree Angle of View and See Up to 82 Feet In Total Darkness
  • Extremely Compact – Dimensions: 2.6” x 2.2”x 2.2”
  • Lightweight – Weight: 3.4 oz.
  • Infrared Intensity Can Be Easily Adjusted With the Push Of A Button
  • Included with Carrying Pouch and Wrist Strap
  • Uses 3 AAA Batteries (Not Included)
  • One Year Limited Warranty

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Over $100

StoveTec Deluxe 1 Door Stove (Wood & Biomass Fuel Options) – The StoveTec Deluxe 1 Door Rocket Stove burns wood or biomass. It is durable, easy to operate, safe to use, and long lasting. Stove includes the fuel shelf and upgraded adjustable pot skirt for boiling. These stoves are designed to be used for cooking outdoors.

  • Insulative, abrasion-resistant fire chamber with refractory metal liner to increase durability
  • Thick Cast iron stove top with 6 pot supports
  • Adjustable galvanized steel pot skirt
  • Stick support
  • thick tile floor
  • Heat Resistant Plastic and Steel Handles Model
  • Dimensions: Stove D-11 in H-12 1/2
Chef’s Banquet All-purpose Readiness Kit 1 Month Food Storage Supply (330 Servings) – A bucket of emergency foods. Great gift for your family members who may not prep. If they really don’t prep, you can keep it at your house, so when they show up after SHTF, you’ve got them covered 😉

  • Each ARK contains the following: 330 Total Servings – 2,100 calories/day for 30 days
  • Delicious just-add-water meals
  • Easy to open zip-seal Metalite foil pouches, Oxygen absorber in every pouch
  • Easily Transportable 6 gallon bucket
  • Shelf Life – Up to 20 years – if stored in a dry, cool environment
  • No High Fructose Corn-Syrup
  • Net Weight: 23 lb 13 oz
  • No MSG
Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Canvas Strap Watch – Its a watch powered by light itself!

  • Never change a battery again (20 years anyway, according to manufacturers sites)!
  • Canvas strap with leather lining and metal-lined sizing grommets
  • Japanese quartz movement with analog display
  • Mineral dial window and brushed stainless steel case
  • Charges in natural or indoor light, day and date calendar, and luminous hands and indices
  • Water resistant to 330 feet (100 M): suitable for snorkeling, as well as swimming, but not diving
  • POST: http://www.geek-prepper.com/watches-clocks-apocalypse/
The Kelly Kettle is a hollow wall volcano stove. Which means that all the water is inside the walls of the stove itself. It’s very efficient because all the heat goes up through the chimney and heats your water, very very quickly. If you’re looking to purify some water by boiling, this base camp model can do 50.7 oz at a time, very quickly. This is one of the largest models available.POST: http://www.geek-prepper.com/camp-cooking-with-the-kelly-kettle/
Citizen Women’s Eco-Drive Promaster Diver Watch – A women’s watch powered by light itself!

  • Never change a battery again (20 years anyway, according to manufacturers sites)!
  • Eco-drive
  • Iso certified dive watch
  • Black ion plated stainless steel case with orange rubber strap
  • Mineral glass crystal
  • Water resistant to 990 feet (300 M):suitable for scuba diving to a depth of 30 meters for up to 2 hours
  • POST: http://www.geek-prepper.com/watches-clocks-apocalypse/
Seiko Men’s Adventure-Solar Classic Casual Watch – Its a watch powered by light itself!

  • Never change a battery again (20 years anyway, according to manufacturers sites)!
  • Classic brown leather strap, high-tech solar-powered watch featuring a compass dial and a classic polished stainless steel case.
  • Japanese quartz movement with analog display, LumiBrite watch
  • Protective Hardlex crystal dial window
  • Features include alarm chronograph, curved hardlex crystal with inner rotating ring
  • Water resistant to 330 feet (100 M): suitable for snorkeling, as well as swimming, but not diving
  • POST: http://www.geek-prepper.com/watches-clocks-apocalypse/
Intex Excursion 5 Boat – Bridges are natural choke points. They are the perfect place for bad guys, to ambush families that are heading out of dodge! Help your preppers avoid these choke points in with a boat!

  • 3 air chambers including an auxiliary air chamber in hull for extra buoyancy
  • Boston valve on two main hull chambers for quick-fill & fast-deflate
  • All around grab line
  • Inflatable I-Beam floor for comfort and rigidity
  • Has 2 welded oar locks on each side
  • POST: http://www.geek-prepper.com/bug-out-boat/

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Still no luck? For the prepper who has everything, you can check to see if they need something from our Overlooked Bug Out Bag essentials post.

If you still haven’t found that perfect gift your favorite prepper (or outdoors loving friend), you may want to peruse our shop, the Geek Prepper Bazaar.

Holiday shopping for your Preppers can be fun and educational, read learn and shop. Happy Holidays, Friends!

 

 

The post Preppers Holiday Gift Guide appeared first on Geek Prepper.

How to Get Your Packages Safely Delivered This Holiday Season

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package deliveryI know how you feel. It seems like the holiday season starts a little earlier every year.  Christmas is bearing down on you whether you like it or not, and you’ll have to start getting ready in the weeks ahead. However, this article has nothing to do with buying gifts or figuring out what you’re going to serve for Thanksgiving. It’s about the fine art of getting your packages to their intended recipients during what is arguably the craziest time of year for your delivery man.

The delivery system we use to get our packages from point A to point B is truly a marvel of modern civilization, but it’s also a vast and sophisticated machine that prioritizes speed over everything else. And the people who work in this machine, whether they be your mailman, a UPS driver, or just some anonymous guy sifting through thousands of brown packages on a conveyor belt, all have a thankless and difficult job that is even more challenging during the holidays. It’s safe to say that for these workers, your package is not a special snowflake that deserves their utmost attention and care.

In other words, it’s largely up to you to properly prepare your gifts for their journey, and extra precautions should be taken during the Christmas season if you want your packages to get anywhere in one piece. So here’s a few tips for making sure that these items can safely endure the rigors of our modern delivery system. Some of them aren’t as obvious as you might think:

Choosing the Right Box

You might think that any old box will do, but you need to be very careful about reusing old boxes. The delivery process is built with speed in mind, and your package is going to take a beating. Your box needs to be in excellent condition, especially for heavy items; and every time a box is reused it loses a significant amount of its carrying capacity. More importantly, every box size has a specific weight capacity that should never be exceeded. While at first glance your box appear to be stable, if you overload it the shipping process may very well destroy it.

As a rule of thumb, measure the length, width, and depth of your box, and if the total is less than 75 inches then it shouldn’t be used for any item that weighs more than 30lbs. Take a look at the UPS shipping guidelines for more details. They’re a bit more specific then you probably thought (you’d do well to follow company guidelines, because UPS and FedEx won’t reimburse you for any damages to your package if you don’t follow them). And if you have a really heavy item, consider using a box with double walled cardboard.

Securing Your Package

The guidelines are also pretty strict about how to secure your package, and they’re pretty much the same across all delivery companies. You can’t expect the box to stay closed during a delivery if it’s held together with twine, paper wrap, scotch tape, or cellophane. That may seem obvious, but apparently some people still use those materials. What’s less obvious, is that you shouldn’t use duct tape. For whatever reason the shipping companies hate that stuff. You need to either use packing tape, or nylon filament tape with a minimum tensile strength of 60 lbs per square inch. Either way, the tape shouldn’t be any less than 2 inches wide.

Packing Material

We all know that most items should be cushioned by some kind of packing material, even if they’re not very fragile. But what you need to know is that your item should be at least 2 inches away from the walls of the box, including the top and bottom. Your package will be handled carelessly at some point, and will probably be flipped over even if you label it “this side up.” So make sure the item is protected by a thick layer of packing material on all sides. Before you seal up the box, give it a shake and see if your item slides around a little. If it does, it needs more packing material.

Labels

If you can believe it, a lot of people make the mistake of sending out packages with two shipping labels on them. If you’re reusing a box, make sure you completely cross out the old label. Otherwise the delivery company might not know which label to read. In fact, if somebody reads the wrong label and sends it to the wrong address, while somebody else down the line reads the right label and sends it back, your package could wind up bouncing around the country in limbo for weeks (or until the shipping process completely destroys the box). As an added precaution, you should always write down your contact information and add it to the box in case anything happens.

Also, don’t ever write “fragile” on a package. You’re just asking for trouble. Some carriers like UPS don’t even recognize that label, and won’t treat your package any differently. Or worse, their employees will be even more careless with your package. A few years ago Popular Mechanics shipped a box through several companies with a 3-axis accelerometer inside, to see how the package would be treated under multiple conditions. Unfortunately, they found that if you write “fragile” on the box, it will be treated worse than if you write nothing at all. They also found that packages labeled “this side up” were flipped on their side or upside down more frequently than unlabeled packages.

Waterproofing

Consider waterproofing your package, especially during the winter. Your package isn’t always going to be indoors, and at times, it will be left poorly sheltered from the elements. At the very least you might want to put your item in a plastic bag. However, that won’t prevent soggy cardboard from getting shredded to pieces during shipping. If you’re trying to send something that is really expensive and/or sentimental, stick it in a cheap styrofoam cooler, add another shipping label to it, and put that in a box.

This will also give your package a little extra protection if a heavier box smashes it on a conveyor belt, or if an employee decides to stand on your box while filling up a truck (it happens). And if you want to be really confident that your package reaches its destination, use of one of those cheap plastic Igloo coolers instead of styrofoam. They’re practically indestructible.

How Different Carriers Stack Up

That Popular Mechanics article had a few more interesting tidbits that you might want to know. Each shipping company treats their packages a little differently, so depending on what you’re sending, one carrier may be a better option over another. Consider the following: Popular mechanics found that the Post Office will give your package the gentlest ride, so they’re your best bet for fragile items. FedEx and UPS did the best job of maintaining a stable temperature, so send food stuff through them. And UPS was pretty good about keeping your package upright throughout the trip.

And finally, if you have an envelope to send, big or small, the Post Office should be your first choice. The other companies are capable of sending envelopes, but the machines in their system are designed primarily for packages. whereas the Post Office specializes in envelopes. Your envelope has a much better chance of making it in one piece with the USPS

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Holiday Gifts, Odds and Ends!

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Holiday Gifts, Odds and Ends!

Holiday Gifts, Odds and Ends chocolate-face-alamyI thought instead on one general theme, I would touch on several different things today. It’s fast approaching holiday time and it shows in all the markets. I enjoy baking for the holidays and giving holiday gifts of of food to people. This is a great thing to do and if you think about it, there are very few people who you can’t do this for.

10-22-15 original_Sam-Henderson-orange-marmalade2.jpg.rend.hgtvcom.336.252Baking is one method of gift giving and sharing, but I also make herbal tea gifts and holiday gifts of seasoning blends. Many people make “gifts in a jar”, these last a long time and people can make them after the holidays at their leisure. Consider doing something like this instead of spending money (that most people can’t afford) on traditional gifts. Of course, “traditional gift” is a misnomer, since food gifts are far older than what people have been giving for the last 20 years! Even children can be won over to gifts of food.

10-22-15 Santa+bag+groupWhen my nieces and nephews were young, I couldn’t afford to give them each a bought items as holiday gifts. So, I’d make them each their own “goodie bag”. I would sit and talk to them ahead of time about what their favorite things were…what jam, what pickle, what bread and what cookie. Then I would put together a bag of goodies that were their favorites.

Holiday Gifts, Odds and EndsNow, the one thing that every pre-adolescent and teen loves as holiday gifts is food, but what makes it special is that it is their OWN food. They can eat it in front of anyone and not have to share…they wouldn’t have to share if I’d given them a doll or truck, so I made that rule with the parents…no pinching the kids food! The kids got quite creative, learning what their parents hated (nuts, coconut, raisins etc) and would have me put it in their goodies. Then I would make labels for any jars or bags with “Melissa’s Cookies” or the like on it. Of course, said goodie bag was heavy on the cookies, but they were also personal, personalized and JUST what the kiddo wanted. You can be as creative as you want for all the people you give gifts to, but by making it yourself, you can know that it will be appreciated.

Now is the right time to start making your plans and lists to get the ingredients for the things that you will use for these gifts. It’s also the time that stores put many of the more expensive baking items on sale. I take this time to stock up on all of that stuff, there may come a day when it is hard to get. I know of no cocoa trees or coconut palms planted in the northeast, so I pay particular attention to items like this. Are they necessary to life? Absolutely not, but comfort food is important as well. A holiday should be special if your family celebrates them and will perk everyone up if you can make it special. I have had no problems keeping most baking items for 5 years, if I have vacuum packed them.

Holiday Gifts, Odds and EndsWhile you are searching for nifty gift items to make, check out recipes using dehydrated food, long term storage food and home made mixes. I was thinking that one of the habits I find hardest to shake, is the one where I want a “quick meal”. dehydrate2Store.com, has plenty of mix recipes you can make up. I’m planning on putting together quite a few mix packets for my storage. You take the base ingredients and put them in a vacuum bag. Before sealing the bag, you print out the recipe and put that in. Then you take the seasonings and late addition items and vacuum seal them in a smaller bag and add them to the big bag. Then seal the whole thing and label. You are making “quick meals” using your own stuff and get the best of both worlds!

Now is also a great time to stock up on turkey. Make sure you pick up a couple of extra birds while they are on sale. You can bake them a couple at a time and either freeze or can the meat for later. Don’t forget to cook the carcass down and can up the delicious broth you make from it. Ham too, is usually a bargain at this time and well worth getting more than one. I always wait until a few days before Christmas and pick up lots of hard candy (you can wait until the day after too). Hard candy will seal well and last for a long time. Hard candy is what our mothers and grandmothers gave us when we had a sore throat, instead of fancy cough drops.

Condensed and evaporated milk is also more available this time of the year and has a fairly long shelf life. While not my favorite way to drink milk, it can be done and is certainly good for baking. The cans will last several years on the shelf, so that makes it a good buy to me.

Holiday Gifts, Odds and Ends Christmas+for+Kids+Breakfast+0-1132914226-OTemporarily, prices are down on sugars and flour, these being staples, your should really stock up. Don’t forget the “fancy” sugars like brown and powdered, as they keep well if packaged right. I usually pick up both light brown and dark brown sugar. We use it on oatmeal around here, plus it has many different recipe uses. I know one of the most frustrating things is not to have on hand the one item in a recipe that is vital!

When you are out doing all of this shopping, another thing to look for is flavorings. Vanilla, lemon,raspberry are our favorites, but my mother always kept almond and a few others on hand.
Don’t forget to only shop the sales and use those coupons! As always, I welcome comments and additions to this blog post.
Books on homemade candy recipes HERE!

Original post archived from APN

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It’s a Matter of Raggedy Ann…… and a Sweet Gift for a Precious Little Girl

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A Matter of Preparedness

Aren’t these so sweet?  These were gifts for a sweet little family member who just turned 1! I have always made Raggedy Ann Dolls for my little family members, and hope that they will be a keepsake from the Rooster Senior and I.
When I give these to sweet little family members, the adults often ask me how I made the hair look so good.  
A Matter of Preparedness

How To Sew Hair on a Raggedy Ann Doll….

See how tight and thick it is?  I have never liked the directions that come with the pattern that basically ask you to tie a knot and leave short pieces of yarn to make the hair.  I feel like a Raggedy Ann with hair like that looks like the doll needs a hair transplant.  Sooooo, would you like to see how it’s done?
A Matter of Preparedness
First, I wrap yarn around my hand until I have a ‘clump’ that looks about like this. Clip the clump of yarn from the skein.
A Matter of Preparedness
The pattern that you can purchase comes with an iron-on transfer to help you see the lines the hair should be sewn upon.  Lay the ‘clump across the line and sew a straight stitch through the middle.
A Matter of Preparedness
This is how the hair around the face will look when you have finished sewing around the iron-on transfer line.
A Matter of Preparedness
In order to sew on all the lines on the back of the head, you will need to hold the hard out of the way with your fingers.
A Matter of Preparedness
This is what the back of the head looks like after sewing on all the iron-on transfer lines.  Look how curly and thick it looks.  
A Matter of Preparedness
Now this is where you have to deviate from the pattern’s instructions.  Because of the bulk of the yarn, you will need to pin the back and front pieces together and most likely sew them together by hand.  I use a back-stitch and double-knot it on either end to hold the pieces together.
Next, you turn the head inside out.  Here is the most challenging part of the head and hair.  It will be a little difficult to turn it inside out. I have found starting at one side and carefully turning it inside-out is most helpful.  Halfway through the process, the whole thing will pop around and you will be good to go at that point.
A Matter of Preparedness
Now, you can see that I have two different faces on the dolls in this post.  Most of the dolls I have embroidered by hand.  However, I downloaded the pattern for the face for my Embroidery Machine at the suggestion of my good friend.  I still am undecided which I like better.  As of late, I have been embroidering the name of the little recipient on the Apron as well.
A Matter of Preparedness
I chose to make a little sleeveless dress to match.  This can be worn year-round either as-is in the summer or with a long sleeved blouse in the winter.  I also wanted to point out the flower.  I cut the flower just under the umbel and hand-sewed the flower to the rough side of Velcro.  I sewed the companion smooth side of the Velcro on to the ribbon running across the bodice of the dress.  Sewn this way, the flower is removable for washing.
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Last, but certainly not least, is the headband.  Honestly these are very simple to make but it sure adds another level of cuteness to this outfit.  I used a ladies knee-high and tied the ends together in a knot.  I then hand-sewed the flower on. These are silk flowers so you can push a needle through the silk petals.
A Matter of Preparedness
This is the end result….and aren’t these items just so sweet?  It didn’t take too long and this little one and her Momma seemed to really like the doll (and the dress).

Take Home Points:

  • Sewing is a useful skill.  To purchase a Raggedy Ann doll costs about $30.00 on-line.  A similar dress on-line also runs about $30.00. The fact that they are matching would increase the price as well.  I hate to admit this but I made all of this for under $18.00.
  • The doll only requires straight stitching. The Apron takes some zig-zag stitching for the gathering. These are very, very basic stitches that even the most inexperienced sewer can do.
  • The enjoyment of this little one can not be measured.  It was also very fun to be so creative. 
  • The pattern for the doll can be purchased on Etsy for $4-10.00.

Try it!