52 Weeks Savings Plan: Watch for these February bargains

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If you’ve been following the 52 Week Savings Plan, you should have a whopping $10 set aside. Don’t worry, that little bundle of money will continue to grow! Each month I’ll be sharing tips for making the most of the money you have to enable that nest egg to grow and grow and grow. If […]

Gift Ideas: TGN’s 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

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As the holiday season approaches, we thought it would be fun to poll our TGN team members about what gifts they’re hoping to receive or planning to give (or buy for themselves! 😉 ) this season.

As you know, all of us here at The Grow Network share our Community’s values and produce at least some of our food and medicine—more and more as we experiment, learn, and “grow” in gardening and homesteading wisdom! And since it’s not always easy to know what to buy for those special people in your life, we thought we’d share our own lists of gift ideas in hopes of making your holiday shopping a little simpler!


Gifts Under $25



Merin Says: I’m currently using locking carabiners to secure the hasps on my chicken coop’s nest boxes, but they take extra time to open and I’m concerned they’ll freeze up when they get wet in winter. I’ve been looking for a quicker, better solution, and I think these are it. Raccoons have a hard time with these; they don’t lock, which means less trouble opening them when everything is frozen; and they’re brightly colored so I don’t lose them when one inevitably falls into my heavily mulched garden (which is right next to the chicken coop). In addition to the two orange carabiners, you get two black ones in this pack, which is fine by me. (Because when is it NOT awesome to have a couple of extra, super-strong carabiners handy?)

Buy on Amazon (Price at Publication: $9.95)



Ruth Says: Gardening is a huge part of my life, and I find that wearing T-shirts about it is a great way to meet other people who share that passion. Plus, as much hard work as we do on our property, I seem to go through T-shirts faster than people with less … interesting … lives. I constantly seem to be tearing holes in my shirts or getting paint or grease on them. I can always use another T!

Buy on Amazon (Price at Publication: $16.99)



Ruth Says: I already own EarlyGrow’s Large-Domed Propagator, and I use it to start all of my seeds indoors. I need a second propagator because my garden is just too big! I use the high-dome version for taller plants like tomatoes and peppers, and I’ll use this medium-dome propagator for lettuce and herbs. I like that EarlyGrow’s propagators have little vents on the top that allow oxygen in and help prevent molding of the soil. And they’re reusable!

Buy on Amazon (Price at Publication: $16.99)



Merin Says: I generally don’t wash my chickens’ eggs, so I keep them in cartons on the kitchen counter. When I use eggs, I pull from the front of the top carton and move all the other eggs forward one by one so that I can remember which are freshest and use those first. Honestly, it’s a pain. Enter the egg skelter. I debated between this one and a version that holds two dozen eggs, but I get enough eggs every day (and my family of five eats enough eggs every week!) to justify the larger version.

Buy on Amazon (Price at Publication: $17.99)



Merin Says: These people are geniuses. How many times have I gone out to the coop, grabbed some eggs, thought about another thing I should really get done while I’m out there, and had to make a special trip to the house to store the eggs before I can work on something else? This thing would totally solve that problem. It’s denim, so it would work for men and women. And if you’re sending your young kids or grandkids out to collect eggs, smaller versions of egg-collecting aprons (like this adorable one for $19.00) are available to help them get the eggs back to the house in one piece.

Buy on Amazon (Price at Publication: $19.99)


Marjory Says: A bit pricey at $20 each, but irrigation and hoses are a big part of my life. I have destroyed all of the plastic stuff in short order. These are super-long-lasting, well-built valves that I can depend on to work properly. The big handle has lots of leverage to open and close for when my hands are wet or covered with soil. You can send me a half dozen for Christmas. 😉

Buy on Amazon (Price at Publication: $20.98)

Gifts Under $50



Anthony Says: The Hori-Hori is my all-time favorite gardening tool. Pretty much anything you need to do in the garden, this Japanese soil knife will help make easier.

Buy on Amazon (Price at Publication: $26.95)



Jimerson Says: Winter is coming, and I can’t have enough warm (or at least not frozen) water for the chickens and bunnies!

Buy on Amazon (Price at Publication: $39.99)



Jimerson Says: I’d love a good case for storing and drying herbs that also looks nice!

Buy on Amazon (Price at Publication: $39.99)



Merin Says: We live at altitude, and we have short-haired dogs who need a little help staying warm outside when it’s super cold. These coats are warm, waterproof, and reflective. Plus, they’re super tough, which is a huge plus for durability if you hike with your dogs. WeatherBeeta has a reputation for quality, so these coats should last a while.

Buy on Amazon (Price at Publication: $44.95)


Ruth Says: I already have a very well-loved one of these, and it’s time for another one! This is a fantastic garden seat. I like that I don’t have to kneel in the garden. I’m able to sit on the stool and keep my back straight when planting seeds or transplanting seedlings. It’s also quite nice that it rocks, as I’m able to easily reach to the side or behind me to grab whatever I need. And it’s an ab workout! 🙂

Buy on Amazon (Price at Publication: $49.88)


Jimerson Says: I’ve found that, around the homestead, cheap hoses don’t last. All the dragging around and such . . . it’s industrial strength or nothing!

Buy on Amazon (Price at Publication: $49.98)

Gifts Under $80



Marjory Says: In keeping with the saying that “cotton kills” (or basically that cotton is a terrible cold-weather clothing), I am almost never warm in jeans. But flannel-lined jeans . . . now that is something else. Stretch jeans are a sign that civilization really does have some merit. And you can’t go wrong with Carhartt’s toughness.

Buy on Amazon (Price at Publication: $54.99)


Ruth Says: Every year, I try to invest in sturdy, reusable tools for the garden. I’ve had my eye on this hand tool set for a while now. I love that the handles are orange, which makes the tools hard to lose when you set them down for a second in the garden. And how neat is it that they come in their own case to help keep them organized?

Buy on Amazon (Price at Publication: $56.98)



Jimerson Says: I tried a homemade, DIY worm farm and, well, it turned out to be a mess. This worm farm is well-reviewed; small and odorless enough to be kept indoors; and it has a cool spigot feature on the bottom tray so you can easily drain off the “worm tea.”

Buy on Amazon (Price at Publication: $68.95)



Merin Says: This thing is a beast. I bought one for my husband last Christmas, and everyone is totally amazed by how bright it is. We live in the country, so there are no street lights and it’s really dark here at night. If we need to go grab firewood, or I need to check on the chickens after dark, we can just put this thing on, see enormously well, and still have our hands free. All that to say, I’d like one of my own!

Buy on Amazon (Price at Publication: $79.95)

Gifts Over $100



Ruth Says: Okay, full disclosure here: I already have one of these. But I love it so much, I want another one! One of the many things I make in my Instant Pot is yogurt, and it’s an hours-long process. It would be so nice to be able to pull out a second Instant Pot so I could keep pressure cooking while the yogurt ferments!

Buy on Amazon (Price at Publication: $129.95)



Ruth Says: The water where we live isn’t great, and whole house filtration can get expensive fast. This seems like a great, affordable way to have lots of purified water on hand—without having to constantly refill my water-filter pitcher.

Buy on Amazon (Price at Publication: $138.90)



Marjory Says: This pressure canner is solid enough for a lifetime. And since it doesn’t use a gasket, I’m expecting to pass mine down to the kids and grandkids.

Buy on Amazon (Price at Publication: $273.43)


Jimerson Says: Pardon the pun, but Goodland Bee Supply’s Complete Beekeeper Starter Kit is pretty much the bee’s knees. It’s got every high-quality item a beginning beekeeper needs to get started, including two complete honey supers, a highly rated extractor, and a well-stocked tool kit. I mostly want one to give bees a good home . . .  but also for that delicious honey!

Buy on Amazon (Price at Publication: $445.99)


(Please note that the listed prices were valid at the time of publication, but … you know how that goes!)

The post Gift Ideas: TGN’s 2017 Holiday Gift Guide appeared first on The Grow Network.

2017 Stocking Stuffers For Preppers

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Now that Thanksgiving is past, Christmas lights are starting to go up, and the Christmas music is blaring in all of the places that we shop. Thankfully, Amazon doesn’t blare Christmas carols at you when you shop on their site, parking isn’t a problem, and you don’t have to deal with crowds. Let’s look at some Amazon products that would make great 2017 stocking stuffers for preppers.

ESEE Izula Knife

ESEE Izula Knife

A good knife is always a gift that will be appreciated. The ESEE Izula is a very light knife. Great for wearing on the belt or hanging around the neck.

The locals in Peru call the meanest, nastiest ant of the jungle by the name “Isula”. We know it as the Bullet Ant. The Bullet Ant is known to be independent, tough, light on its feet, and a real aggressive survivor – the IZULA knife is built the same way. – Esee Knives

Gerber Center-Drive Multi-Tool

Gerber Center-Drive Multi-Tool

A multi-tool is a must have for every prepper. They may already have one. But this new Gerber Center-Drive Multi-Tool is spectacular. It is a well designed tool that will put a smile on any prepper face.

Gerber’s new multi-tool offers uncompromising performance through revolutionary design. The innovative center-axis driver opens to align like a real screw driver, yielding maximum torque and rotation. No productivity is sacrificed with the addition of a 30% longer outboard blade and one-thumb opening sliding jaws. Full size, real tools – the multi-tool just got a reality check. – Gerber

TACT Bivvy Emergency Survival Sleeping Bag

TACT Bivvy Emergency Survival Sleeping Bag

A full size sleeping bag take a lot of room. But the TACT Bivvy is small and able to be stuffed into a glove compartment or into a Bug Out Bag.

The TACT Bivvy Emergency Sleeping Bag is an amazing survival tool to add to your survival kit or camping gear. This light weight sleeping bag can be used by itself, or act as a sleeping bag liner to keep you sound asleep. The TACT Bivvy is made from our HeatEcho™ thermal reflective material for heat retention and is also waterproof, windproof, and reinforced at the seams for added strength and durability.

Tesla Coil Lighter

Tesla Coil Lighters

One of the more popular products talked about this year is the Tesla Coil Lighters. Where there is an electric arc that is used to light things on fire as opposed to a actual flame. The advantage to this is that you do not have to add fuel to a lighter to maintain it and never have to add lighter fluid to your preps. You can use a USB charger to keep this lighter charged. In last years stocking stuffer post we included a hand-cranked USB charger.

Take charge with the Tesla Coil Lighters, a rechargeable electric lighter that requires no flame, no butane, no hassle! This innovative lighter works by creating an electric arc with one press of a button. Simply charge up via USB and you’re ready to go — Anytime, anywhere. – Tesla Lighters

CHANGKU Emergency Survival Kits

CHANGKU Emergency Survival Kits

The CHANGKU Emergency Survival Kit is a really great little product. Perfect to add to a vehicle or a Bug Out Bag.

The 11 in 1 survival tactics kit will be a necessary tools for emergencies and wild adventure, it can meet all your needs. – CHANGKU

Unique Swiss Card – Credit card sized, easily fits inside your wallet, pocket, or purse. 11 Functions: Can Opener, Bottle Cap Opener, 4-Position Wrench, 2-Position Wrench, Butterfly Screw Wrench, Direction Ancillary Wrench, Screwdriver, Knife Edge, Saw Blade, Ruler, Key chain Hole.

Flintstones Fire Starter – Made from magnesium and iron, 5000-12000 times to flint fire. Lightweight, space-saving and easy to carry, with Flint /Bottle Opener/Scraper 3 functions. Applicable at anywhere, anytime, under any weather conditions.

Emergency Survival Pen – Made From tungsten steel For Superior Strength & Portability, break a window/ glass, escape in an emergency situation. The perfect pen for anyone who is into survival, hunting or outdoors as well as Military or Emergency Services Personnel.

Tactical Torch Flashlight – With zoomable design, heavy duty, compact handheld flashlights, zoom in for an intense beam or out for wider illumination. 3 light modes like High / Low / Strobe. With its ultra-bright LED light, and ability to run for hours of just a single AA Battery (Not Included).

Kit also contents: Emergency thermal blanket, Multi-function compass, Portable mini light, Tactical Military Knife, Saber card, Whistle, and Shockproof case.

These 2017 stocking stuffers for preppers need to be ordered quick. Last thing you want is to disappoint a prepper.

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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.

The Simple Life

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The Simple Life

The Simple Life

Thoughts and recipe contributed by Dakota

The stove crackles, the coffee pot gurgles. The herd of deer have been fed, the wild barn cats as well. Quiet time in the cabin, nestled in a grove of majestic cedars and snow frosted hills……Its chilly this morning. I sigh with gratitude and contentment for our simple life without excessive needs. To sit and ponder, to let the day unfold, unscheduled.

Continue reading The Simple Life at Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

The High Cost of Cheap Turkey

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Is Pastured Turkey Worth the Cost?

Here in Virginia, a regular fifteen-pound turkey at the supermarket will cost you about $30 or less. But if you want a local, traditional turkey like a Bourbon Red, raised on pasture—expect to pay anywhere from $60–$90.

That’s a lot of money! Is it really worth it?

I saw some turkeys a while ago that definitely answered that question for me. These turkeys were probably around five months old, in a truck, on their way to slaughter.

A “normal” turkey’s life span is about 7–10 years. But these turkeys wouldn’t make it to see their first birthday. If they weren’t slaughtered for Thanksgiving, most of them would die of heart disease and organ failure by Christmas.

In fact, statistically speaking, 20 percent of their turkey buddies already died before they got to this truck. Around 6 percent of them had their heart give out within just one or two months of birth.

Why Are These Turkeys So Different?

In order to maximize profits, these turkeys were selectively bred to have incredibly large breasts—so large that the birds have trouble standing up. And forget about flying! Their legs often bow and sometimes spontaneously fracture under the weight.

Heritage breeds like the Bourbon Red that are raised on pasture are incredibly athletic and free. They run up to 25 miles per hour, fly, and often roost in the trees. (If you want to see something funny, watch a farmer try to catch his or her Bourbon Red turkeys!)

And Ben Franklin is reported to have wanted our national bird to be the fierce turkey rather than the bald eagle.

Turkeys on Antibiotics

Given a choice, turkeys aren’t vegetarians. They eat lots of greens, bugs, and rodents.

The turkeys I saw on that truck, on the other hand, were fed a vegetarian diet of GMO grains like soy and corn.

And now, an important note about antibiotics: You may have heard about the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Veterinary Feed Directive Final Rule, which went into effect on January 1, 2017.

The rule aims to reduce antibiotic resistance by eliminating the common practice of using “medically important” antibiotics to promote animal growth and feed efficiency. However, with the approval of a veterinarian, turkey producers may still feed these antibiotics in therapeutic dosages to prevent the illnesses fostered by the living conditions often found in commercial operations—dark, overcrowded barns packed with other turkeys, walking and living in their own feces.

In fact, a 2013 study showed turkey meat to be the dirtiest of all meats, with nine of ten samples containing dangerous fecal bacteria including E. coli.

As we’ve learned, humans aren’t the only ones harmed by commercial animal-raising systems.

The animals I was looking at on that truck were incredibly sick—the natural result of a commercial farming revolution that has rejected the wisdom of nature. Farming has gone industrial, so that the largest U.S. turkey farms produce well over a million turkeys a month.

The entire commercial turkey industry has learned to hijack modern science to breed and raise a turkey that gets as large as possible as quickly and inexpensively as possible. Plus, by the time you buy the turkey, it’s been so filled with salt water that this solution accounts for up to 40 percent of the turkey’s final weight.

So What Can I Do?

The farmers who embrace the wisdom of nature, the traditions of our ancestors, and the facts of modern science all agree: Raising a turkey on pasture so that it can eat its natural diet is the best way to optimize the health of farms, turkeys—and you, the customer.

Turkeys raised on pasture live healthier, happier lives; are healthy when they are slaughtered; and make you healthier, too. Their meat contains more anti-inflammatory fats like Omega-3s and conjugated linoleic acid (another essential fat that is scarce in the modern diet).

Farming practices that embrace Mother Nature’s wisdom preserve the land, support the soil, and create far less pollution.

These are just a few reasons to choose a pastured turkey this Thanksgiving.

Three Questions for Your Farmer

If you truly want to do your part to help preserve our beautiful planet and your health, you need to ask three questions of your farmer:

  1. What did this turkey eat? You’re looking for a bird that lived on mostly foraged grasses and greens, wild animals, and only a small amount of organic grains and feeds.
  2. How did this turkey live? Happy turkeys move around from pasture to pasture and enjoy lots of sunlight.
  3. What drugs was this turkey given? Ideally, none—or only some medicines if they were sick.

You should know that the terms “cage free” and “free range” are virtually meaningless in that they make very little difference in the actual life or treatment of the turkey you are purchasing. If you see these terms, know that you are often no better off buying one of these than you would be buying an industrially raised turkey.

If you see “vegetarian fed,” know that turkeys are not vegetarians.

If you see “organic,” that’s a little better—at least you know they are hormone- and antibiotic-free, for the most part. But they still may have led lives of confinement indoors, eating grains, and living in cramped and unsanitary spaces.

Where Should I Start?

You can start by looking for a local farm that uses traditional farming practices. If you’re unsure, ask them the three questions above.

You can also talk to a practitioner who is listed on PrimalDocs.com. Most of them know where to get local traditionally raised animals.

Also check out LocalHarvest.org and EatWellGuide.org. Last, you can look up your local chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation for help finding great farms and resources near you.

TGN Bi-Weekly Newsletter

(This is an updated version of a post that was originally published in October 2014.) 


  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6721797
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1480912/pdf/canvetj00082-0039.pdf
  3. https://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/DevelopmentApprovalProcess/ucm449019.htm
  4. https://www.peta.org/living/food/turkey-factory-farm-slaughter
  5. https://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/AntimicrobialResistance/NationalAntimicrobialResistanceMonitoringSystem/ucm059103.htm
  6. http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/05/01/180045788/antibiotic-resistant-bugs-turn-up-again-in-turkey-meat
  7. http://ncifap.org/_images/PCIFAPFin.pdf
  8. http://extension.psu.edu/animals/poultry/topics/general-educational-material/the-chicken/modern-turkey-industry
  9. http://www.eatwild.com/healthbenefits.htm
  10. http://www.cooperfarms.com/OurCompany/MediaCenter/News/tabid/147/ArticleId/61/One-of-Americas-biggest-turkey-farms-is-in-NW-Ohio.aspx
  11. http://www.ibtimes.com/brine-injected-meat-40-percent-salt-water-usda-300969

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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!

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Slow and Steady Prepping

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This time of year everyone is talking about their New Year’s Resolutions. The gyms are full of people wanting to get into shape. Coworkers are brainstorming ways to spend less money because the holiday spending has really put a strain on finances. Smokers are vaping or chewing nicotine gum in an effort to quit smoking. The first of a new year is when we resolve to make huge changes in our lives. But does it work? No, it really doesn’t. Go to the gym in mid-February and there are no longer crowds of people there. Check out your coworkers in March and you will see that they are wearing new expensive clothes as Spring fashions come out. Walk by the smoking area and all of the smokers are done with trying to quit. New Year’s Resolutions are tough to keep because they put a lot of pressure on you to change something big in your life. Big changes, big moves, with the hope of big results almost immediately. That’s just setting yourself up for failure. In my experience making small changes over a longer period of time is more effective. It is the same with prepping. Often, when people first start prepping, they try to do too much too quickly and end up feeling overwhelmed, then discouraged, then losing interest. If you really want to succeed at prepping (or New Year’s Resolutions) then think of the tortoise and the hare; slow and steady wins the race. Let’s look at a few areas of slow and steady prepping.


Part of the prepping process is stockpiling items that will be required or useful in the future. That means food, water, ammo and many other things. I guess it’s possible to do this quickly if you have plenty of money to burn on immediate stockpiling and storage. But that isn’t reality for most folks. Most of us need to prioritize and make a plan for gradual accumulation of supplies. Try to plan on a special shopping trip every paycheck or once a month to get the things you need.

Slow and steady prepping purchases of canned goods

Think long term. What food items will stay fresh (or at least edible) the longest? Safe bets are canned goods, grains, beans, and pasta. You can buy all of these in your local grocery store, often as “loss leaders” at reduced prices meant to lure you into the store so watch for sales. Build a food rotating system and use your stockpile as a resource in your family meal planning. This will make cooking easier because you always have plenty of supplies on hand, and it will keep your stockpile from getting too old because you are consistently consuming and replenishing the food.

Once you have stocked up on grocery store items, the next food prep is to start looking at freeze dried food. These have a much longer shelf life and are a must for serious prepping. There’s really no need to rotate these items, since they have an extremely long shelf life, are prohibitively expensive for routine meal planning, and probably aren’t a food type that you’d ever choose over fresh or canned or frozen foods. This is a purely prepper (or hiking) supply type. Thrive or Mountain House are the two big freeze dried distributors. They have just about everything you can imagine or need in a freeze dried package. If you would like to just try things out, Food4Patriots has a 72 hour starter package which is really well priced. Slow and steady prepping purchases of food is the way to go.

Sawyer Mini water filter

Water is a little harder to stockpile. You need about one gallon per person per day, which takes up a lot of space. My suggestion is to invest in filtering products, instead. First look at personal fitering products like the Sawyer Mini water filtration system for each individual in your family. Then as funds allow, step up to a larger volume filter like the SweetWater water filter system. The next big step would be a Crown Berkey Water Filter system. Step up slowly.

Ammo is kind of a no brainer. Buy a box or two of it as often as possible. If you practice regularly (like you should) you need to buy a little more. Quantity is not always better than quality. Buy the cheaper ball ammo for practice when you are shooting at targets. But for your long term stash and for hunting you need to buy a bit better quality ammo.

Once you have enough supplies to make it through the emergency phase of a SHTF scenario, it’s a good idea to think about other long term food and convenience items.
Fishing Lures

  • Fruit/Nut trees – Find out what grows well in your area and plant as many as you have space to grow. Most trees take four to five years to mature before they have plenty of fruit, and they usually just fruit one time of year, but it will be an annual resource that is there long term.
  • Berries/Grapes – these grow fast and multiply quickly. Plant differing varieties that fruit and ripen at different times to maximize harvest season.
  • Fishing line – Buy large rolls at different strengths. I prefer non braided types. Fishing line is strong and light and, depending on its rated strength, it can be used over over the homestead as a measuring tool, in setting lures, as rope to bind/lift/carry objects, in hanging food to dry… the range of uses for fishing line is boundless.
  • Fishing lures – You don’t need expensive lures to catch fish, but they’re small and could be a real lifesaver in an emergency situation.
  • Paracord – Another multi-functional workhorse that is invaluable in a survival situation. Plan to have plenty of extra.
  • Canning jars – Aside from their obvious uses in storing food, canning jars have many, many uses on the homestead. Lighting is one of my favorites. Canning jars are perfect for making poured candles and oil lamps.
  • Homestead/Kitchen Hand Tools – If you have already taken care of the emergency supplies on your list, then it’s a good idea to invest in tools that don’t rely on electricity. Start with the basics like hand saws, axes, hammers, and maybe even a good wheel barrow. Those are all necessary tools to have on the homestead. But don’t forget tools for the kitchen. Think about all the extra work and time you’ll be spending in the kitchen when take-out, delivery, and restaurants are no longer an option. After the initial emergency phase of a SHTF scenario, you’ll (hopefully) have your own food production going with farm animals, gardening, and fruit trees. Bringing those food sources from field to table takes a lot of work. Superior quality knives (and the knowledge about how to sharpen them) are a must. Adding a hand operated meat grinder, food mill, grain mill, blender, and a stove top steam juicer will really increase your productivity in a homestead kitchen. Growing enough food to feed your family through the winter means large harvests and countless hours of canning and dehydrating on top of the days’ routine meal prep. Kitchen hand tools will make a world of difference when it comes to the amount of food you are capable of preserving. Invest in hand-powered kitchen tools, and take time to learn how to use them before the SHTF. Working with human power instead of electricity can be surprisingly satisfying. You might  even decide to incorporate these old fashioned tools into your normal food preparation routine today instead of stashing them away for a post-apocalyptic tomorrow that (we hope) may never come.

Slow and steady prepping purchases are the way to go.

Learning New Skills

It doesn’t matter how much stuff you own, if you don’t know how to use an item, than it is a waste of space to keep it. For example, if you own a nice axe but have never felled a tree then you need to learn that skill. The most important part of prepping is to train your brain. Check out our Prepper and Homesteading Skills page and look at a list of possible choices. Shooting, fishing and hunting should be a priority. Find a friend or a family member to teach you what you do not know. If none are available then hire someone. See if there is a local club where you could be exposed to other people who can teach you more. If a person is passionate about a topic, they want to teach others. Find these people and you will learn quickly. Ask lots of questions. Spend your whole life learning. The old saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is a lie!

Slow and Steady Prepping Resolution

Understand that prepping is a way of life. It takes time (years) and it takes money. It really can’t happen fast. Think long term and don’t stop. Chip away slowly at your overall goal.


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Great Start to a New Year 2017 is here

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New Year 2017

The calendar has turned and the New Year Eve parties are over. It is time for New Year 2017! Whether you were ready or not it is here. Good or bad 2016 is behind us.

I have mentioned the history of Auld Lang Syne before and you can bet it will be played in my house today. We will be eating black eyed peas, collards, and cornbread today. It is tradition to have those on this day for luck, money, and gold. Also the first day will be profitable today so perhaps the rest of the year will match as well.

I hope you enjoy the master James Taylor and his rendition of Auld Lang Syne. It is a great way to start the New Year!

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne

And surely ye’ll be your pint stowp!
And surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne

We twa hae run about the braes,
An pou’d the gowans fine
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fitt,
Sin’ auld lang syne

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne

We twa hae paidl’d in the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d,
Sin auld lang syne

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right gude-willie waught,
For auld lang syne

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne

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

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Meerrrrry Chrisssssttttmmmmmmmasass!!! To all my friends, family, coworkers, and compradres…thank you for your friendship, fun, laughter, tears, and smiles. I hope the holidays bring you joy, laughter, sadness, and peace. Remember those who aren’t here anymore, those who can be here but won’t, those who may be away fighting for our right to exist, or […]

Christmas 2016

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Christmas 2016

Today the world celebrates Christmas 2016! Our Savior was born back in Bethlehem back when the calendar changed from Before Christ (BC) to Anno Domini (AD). Whether you are a believer or follower or even a doubter think what that means.

Jesus Christ had such an impact on the world that the calendar notates the year he was born. His birth in a manger is an epoch that will forever be known to man. Hopefully you have heard the Christmas story and know there was no Room at the Inn for Baby Jesus.

The family of course has to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the census decreed by Herod. This undoubtedly was an anxious time for the family. I can only imagine the angel surrounded by the heavenly host praising God.

Christmas 2016 let there be peace on earth and goodwill to all men. We celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and remember why. Since it is a holiday we will remember loved ones that are no longer here or ones we can not join with. Treasure the ones you can spend time with.

My family will know doubt be listening to Christmas music as we celebrate Christmas 2016 and what a beautiful rendition of Silent Night below. I have mentioned before how that is my favorite song.

The Night Before Christmas

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The Night Before Christmas

Today it Christmas Eve and that means Santa will do his thing tonight. The night before Christmas is always a special time and you can track Santa as he makes his trip around the globe. It is also full of traditions.

One of those traditions is reading ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. While the author may be in debate there is no doubt it has been a part of my life. We always gathered around to hear the poem below.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

“Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

That is always one we enjoy along with the Christmas Story from the Bible. For a different take on the poem straight out of West Monroe, Lousiania let us here Uncle Si tell about his version of the night before Christmas.

Festivus 2016

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Festivus 2016

In this great time of holidays I would be remiss if I did not remind those that today is Festivus 2016! It may be made up in some people’s mind, but for some of us it time to celebrate. If you want a further break down we discussed it last year.

picture of a festivus 2016 poleI especially like the “Airing of Grievances” and let me tell you there are some to be aired. I will be contacting those loved ones that have disappointed me this year. Be warned it is coming.

Is there a better line then “stop crying and fight your father”? For some reason I am not sure I want to be fighting with the children when they grow up, but heh you never know. I also have not been buying dolls for my son, but the daughter gets her fair share.

No matter what you do in life you should remember to smile and have fun. Festivus 2016 is a grand time to get together with family and friends and enjoy some good memories.

I do not plan on participating in the feast of strengths, however after the “Airing of Grievances” I just might have to as that street goes both ways. I sincerely hope that each and everyone of you has a Happy Holiday season!

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.


  • 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


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

Holiday Herbal Gifts Part 3 “Salts”

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Holiday Herbal Gifts Part 3 “Salts” Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Audio in player below! Wrapping up this series on herbal gifts, the focus is on salts. Salts of various types make great, quick, natural, and non-toxic, handmade gifts. Best of all, they are easy. By definition, a salt any chemical compound formed from the … Continue reading Holiday Herbal Gifts Part 3 “Salts”

The post Holiday Herbal Gifts Part 3 “Salts” appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Christmas in Dixie

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Christmas in Dixie

We have a great Christmas song today in Christmas in Dixie. I remember this becoming a favorite of mine as soon as I heard it. I talked previously about how I purchase at least one album of Christmas music a year.

Christmas in Dixie

a snowy picture for Tonight is Christmas

You can see in the picture above that occasionally here in North Carolina we can get some snow in the pines. That snowfall, which is the last good one we got, happened on December 26, 2010. This is the time of the year we celebrate Christmas in Dixie.

The recent cold reminds us that it is windy in Chicago. I have spent holidays in California, Indiana, Florida, Virginia, and North Carolina. I will take Christmas in Dixie every time. I look forward to North Carolina and a peaceful time.

By now in New York City.
There’s snow on the ground.
And out in California.
The sunshines’ falling down.
And maybe down in Memphis, Graceland’s all in lights.
And in Atlanta, Georgia, there’s peace on earth tonight.

Christmas in Dixie, it’s snowing in the pines.
Merry Christmas from Dixie to everyone tonight.

It’s windy in Chicago.
The kids are out of school.
There’s magic in Motown.
The city’s on the move.
In Jackson, Mississippi to Charlotte, Caroline.
And all across the Nation, it’s a peaceful Christmas time.

Christmas in Dixie, it’s snowing in the pines.
Merry Christmas from Dixie, to everyone tonight.
And from Fort Payne, Alabama.

God bless you all, We love ya,
Happy New Year, Good night, Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas tonight…


Allegiance Footwear Making America Great Again

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Allegiance Footwear

I have discussed them here before, however I still love Allegiance Footwear. They are making America great again and have been at it for a while now. Just look at the logo below and you can see the pride and statement jump out!

Allegiance Footwear LogoI am still very happy with my boots and they are the best purchase that I have made for work boots. I expect them to continue to last and will buy a new pair from this USA based company.

Once again I was having to buy new shoes as the boy continues to grow up. Now that he is getting older he needs more options like when he has grown up work to do. If he is going to learn the value of hard work and how to accomplish things with his hands he needed more than tennis shoes.

Picture of Allegiance Boots Made in USA in natural leatherI decided to see what the fine folks at Allegiance Footwear had for a growing boy. They checked the table and gave me some options for factory seconds. While they were purchased at a discount we could not tell why there were considered a factory second. The picture above is after several months.

A growing boy can be rough on any clothing. Camping trips and time spent working in constructions type environments can be detrimental to any boots. Allegiance Footwear offers a great boot at a great price. They continue to hold up and look good.

I asked my son if he likes his boots and of course he said they were very comfortable and his go to choice. In this day and age it is hard to find something made in the USA. These boots are a perfect example of Americans getting it done.

They did not ask for this article and they have not compensated me in any way. I am just glad to have companies like Allegiance Footwear and encourage anyone that is looking for quality and comfort in a pair boots to order from http://www.afboots.com.

2016 Stocking Stuffers For Preppers

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As the gift-giving part of the Christmas holiday gets closer, it is time to freak out a little. Have you bought your favorite prepper enough? If not, check out these five great products and add to their 2016 stocking stuffers!

Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System First the Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System This little bad boy can filter up to 100,000 gallons and removes 99.99999% of all bacteria, completely out performing the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter. The size, convenience, and performance of the Sawyer Mini filter make it perfect for bug-out-bag, vehicle or home. For under $20, this is a bargain!!!

Click for more information..

Survival Seed Vault Non-GMO Hardy Heirloom Seeds for Long-Term Emergency Storage – 20 Variety Pack in a Sturdy CanSecond is a Survival Seed Vault of Heirloom Seeds. These are a must for any self-respecting prepper! Twenty easy to grow 100% heirloom Seeds, non-hybrid and non-GMO fruits and vegetables. Perfect to start a killer life saving garden in the post-apocalyptic world! If your favorite prepper doesn’t have a green thumb? Don’t worry these are simple to grow and the seed vault comes with instructions.

Click for more information..

Eton BoostTurbine 2000mAh Portable Backup Battery Pack with Hand Crank Back-Up PowerNext is the Eton BoostTurbine 2000mAh Portable Battery Pack with Hand Crank. What a great idea!! This device is great for charging all of those electronic devices that your favorite prepper (or their kids) think is important in their life. Whether it is your smart phone, tablet or your laptop. It can charge them all with no electric socket needed. Use this hand cranked battery charger enough and they can drop your gym membership too!!

Click for more information..

Gerber GDC Zip BladeNext is the Gerber GDC Zip Blade. Whoa talk about a little sneaky ninja blade! Attach this to your favorite prepper’s coat zipper, jeans belt loop, bug-out-bag zipper, or even their hiking boots and they will always have a sharp little blade. Worried about them being held hostage by a fanatical terrorist or a crazy ex-wife? No worries now they can cut their bonds with this little knife and escape easily!

Click for more information..

Last but not least is a really cool Pocket Chainsaw. Your favorite prepper will never have to worry about forgetting their trusty axe at home. Now they can pull out this 36″ chainsaw and bring down the trees to build a survival shelter. Plus it comes with a great fire starter too. Your favorite prepper is will love it.

Click for more information..

These 2016 stocking stuffers need to be ordered quick. Last thing you want is to disappoint a prepper. You know they can be crazy at times; and they like guns. 🙂

Oh and if your favorite prepper doesn’t have a cool stocking to stuff?! Get them a nice tactical stocking like this:


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Matthew West Unto Us

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Matthew West Unto Us

We have been busy and while we have been listening to Christmas music we have posted none. Can not think of a better one to start with then Matthew West Unto Us.

As you listen to the music and take in the lyrics you will be blessed with a reminder of the Christmas story. We are blessed that God sent his only son and Matthew West Unto Us reminds of that.

Who are we that a King would trade heaven’s riches
For a stable and a manger low
Can it be Great I Am bending down to reach us
Morning star let this dark world know

Here is our promised One
Jesus our hope has come

Unto us, unto us a child is born
Unto us, unto us a Son is given
Glory to God in the highest
Wonderful Prince of Peace
Emmanuel has come to set captives free
With the angels we sing
Glory to God in the highest
He has brought this great love
Unto us

Who are we that a King would still walk among us
Knowing He would only live to die
Cross of shame, crown of thorns He still chose to carry
Beauty broken breathing us new life

Emmanuel (x3)
Love has come

God with us, You are God
You are God with us

The 12 Days of Christmas: Day 3, Light Up Someone’s Holiday

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charitable christmas giving

Do you ever get tired of all the beautiful, sparkling lights decorating trees and homes at this time of year?  I never do.  I love watching the faces of our kids when they spy yet another home all lit up for Christmas.  We’re keeping a list, and checking it twice, of all the homes on our block that are lit up! One year every house but 2 were lit up, and it was a special treat.

Most of us say that our homes are at their most beautiful during this time of year, but not everyone has the means or ability to decorate. Charitable Christmas giving can go beyond a bag of groceries or a donation to the Salvation Army. Is there a senior citizen in your neighborhood or a family struggling to make ends meet who would love a strand or two of lights scattered around their front yard?  An inexpensive wreath and window decals can add a touch of extra Christmas spirit to a hospital room or the smallest apartment. You might even have an unwanted artificial tree sitting in the garage or attic that might be an appreciated gift to someone who won’t be able to afford a real one.

A couple of years ago, my daughter got together with a group of friends and they made beautiful holiday cards, ending up with 70 or 80. The following day, one of the moms took the kids around to a few nursing homes where they delivered the cards to the residents there. So many of these elderly folks have been forgotten by family and rarely, if ever, get a visitor. If there’s just one thing I could urge you to do this Christmas, it would be to find a way to reach out to these lonely hearts.

And don’t forget families who celebrate Hanukkah.  Blue and white lights, a box of Hanukkah candles, and, of course, a plate of homebaked goodies spread the real meaning of the season.

Charitable “Holiday Buckets” can include simple decorations for doors, windows, and mantles, as well as groceries, baked goodies, and small gifts. Over the years I’ve donated dozens of Christmas decor items to Goodwill and other organizations, so I’m certain you could find holiday decorations at thrift stores at very low prices. Just make sure they are operating, in the case of lights or music, and in near-new condition.

Another way to enjoy the holiday lights is to give a homemade certificate to the “First Place Winner” among all the homes decorated in your neighborhood.  Last year we handed out two certificates, left them by the front doors, actually, to the two homes we thought had the best light displays. It was fun biking around our neighborhood late at night, and then having a family pow-wow in the freezing temperatures to make our final choices!

This season can be one of beauty, warm memories, and there are thousands of newly unemployed people, and more families than ever who won’t have money for gifts and all the other holiday traditions of the past.  This Christmas, more than ever, let’s all look for ways to light up someone’s holiday.

charitable christmas giving

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.

Cast Iron Skillet Gingerbread

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Cast Iron Skillet Gingerbread recipe is a hot and spicy holiday treat | PreparednessMama

Yearning for a taste of the holidays. I walked into my daughter’s house a few days ago with the scent of the holidays whisping around me. The smells of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger were front and center. I thought she was baking gingerbread, just for me. Nope, I was fooled! It was only a […]

The post Cast Iron Skillet Gingerbread appeared first on PreparednessMama.

Off grid 4th of July

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This year,  we had the best 4th of July celebration,  the SkyCastle has become quite the destination spot for our friends,  so PB (Primitive Bob) created a party spot down by the road.  A few years back when my son came out for a visit,  he and PB built what was supposed to be a garage…  Well you know what garages are for,  not for vehicles,  they become a place to store junk…


Over the last few months,  PB has transformed the garage/junk room into a clubhouse.  He installed a small solar system,  a few solar panels,  charge controller, an older (but still good) deep cycle battery, and an inverter.  With this,  PB was able to string some white LED Christmas lights and a radio for music. Add in some chairs and we have ourselves a fun spot for our friends to drop by and hang out.


As with everything else in our lives,  this is a work in progress,  I’d like to have a small cooler to keep drinks cold in the summer,  maybe even a way to have ice and a bit of running water.


PB did take our propane grill down,  we had hotdogs and sausages. It was quite the fun day. We chose not to go into town,  it was much better to stay home :),  I certainly hope you had a great holiday.

Images courtesy of my friend Laurie.

The post Off grid 4th of July appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Memorial Day 2016

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Memorial Day 2016

Today is a day we honor those who paid the price for freedom. It is Memorial Day 2016 and it is so much more than a cook out or a weekend at the beach. There is no doubt that freedom is not free and many brave men and women have paid the price for our freedom. Today let us honor those on Memorial Day 2016.

I know for me I will never forget or honor them. The President can go on his apology tour and that will not change anything for me. The tradition of celebrating those that died fighting for our honor started as a celebration for those brave men that died during the War of Northern Aggression. We shall never forget those that fought in that war.

Many folks were impacted by World War II and the brutality that brought the United States into the fray on that day that will live in Infamy. What brave men and women we had that went ashore on D-Day or waded through the Pacific surf as they took the fight to the Japanese.

The war to end all wars did not last and we lost more men and women on the frozen grounds in Korea or in the jungles of Vietnam. Lately our battles have been waged in the mountains of Afghanistan or the sand in the Middle East.

No matter where they died or what war they were fighting our brave men and women deserve the recognition. Without their sacrifice we would not see the Stars and Stripes waving in a gentle breeze. There is no greater symbol of freedom and only one place on earth that is a shining example.

Thank you to all the men and women that sacrificed so we can enjoy our freedom. May we honor them with our choices and not casually accept future sacrifices that our made!

Mother’s Day 2016

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Mother’s Day 2016

Picture of flowers for Mother's DaySundays are always a special day for many reasons but today it takes on an extra importance as it is Mother’s Day. We all know that one day is not enough for the most important women in our lives. My children are blessed to have a wonderful Mother and she does a fantastic job with my children. She blesses me everyday by being my wife.

I was also blessed to have such a wonderful Mother. There was never a doubt I was loved and my Mother gave me a very firm foundation. There is nothing I could type or do to pay her enough respect in the job she did. I just hope one day she realizes exactly how much she meant to me!

I hope you enjoy the video below and the blessing of a praying Mother on this Mother’s Day. The world would be a much darker place without the Mother’s.

James Taylor Auld Lang Syne

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Time to turn it over to one of the masters and James Taylor Auld Lang Syne is proof that he is considered one.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne

And surely ye’ll be your pint stowp!
And surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne

We twa hae run about the braes,
An pou’d the gowans fine
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fitt,
Sin’ auld lang syne

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne

We twa hae paidl’d in the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d,
Sin auld lang syne

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right gude-willie waught,
For auld lang syne

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne

Merry Christmas 2015

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Merry Christmas 2015

Today is the day Christians celebrate the birth of our Savior. Today is Jesus Christ Birthday! A day the Lord sent his only son to live on Earth. Merry Christmas 2015.

Giotto - Scrovegni - -18- - Adoration of the Magi" by Giotto - http://www.scienceblogs.de/astrodicticum-simplex/2008/12/der-stern-von-bethlehem.php. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Giotto_-_Scrovegni_-_-18-_-_Adoration_of_the_Magi.jpg#/media/File:Giotto_-_Scrovegni_-_-18-_-_Adoration_of_the_Magi.jpgWe gather and pray for peace on Earth and goodwill to all men. This glorious day was announced to all and left little doubt that something special has happened. I always enjoy the story from Luke shown below.

Luke 2 King James Version (KJV)

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Tracking Santa 2015

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Tracking Santa 2015

This is the day the Big Guy in the Red sleigh is flown around the world by eight reindeer! Thanks to NORAD we are Tracking Santa 2015. This has been a tradition in our household watching Santa make his deliveries around the world.

No matter where you are or what you believe in this is a great story. Sixty years ago an ad in a newspaper made a mistake on the phone number. It published the phone number to NORAD and since that time they have been tracking Santa.

Make sure you enjoy the day and evening! May God bless us all today on this Christmas eve!

Festivus 2015

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Today is the Festivus for the rest of us! All Seinfeld fans rejoice. The show that was about nothing taught the world about a special tradition. I especially like the “Airing of Grievances” as that will certainly set the tone for the Family portion of the upcoming Christmas get together.

FestivusYou have to admire the simplicity of the Festivus Pole. It carries a “high strength to weight ratio” and certainly does not require much decoration. I think we all can agree the pole should have no grease applied and please do not put the pole outside in freezing conditions and test sticking your tongue to it.

The one Festivus tradition I want no part is the the “Feats of Strength”. That just has bad endings written all over it. There may be a trip to the hospital after that particular event.

I certainly hope that you have a great Festivus today. It was a great episode and even saw Kramer to go back on strike. Sometimes you have to smile and make a donation to the Human Fund!

Old North State Christmas

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Old North State Christmas

The weather outside is looking more like a California holiday, however we are getting ready to celebrate an Old North State Christmas. This year the children will be able to play with any new toys in shorts it appears. Anyone that has lived here can tell you that some years it may be warm and some years it will be cold. Occasionally we even have a white Christmas.

Ocracoke Lighthouse Decorated for ChristmasNo matter where you spend Christmas it is a time for family and reflection. Hopefully you remember the real reason for the celebration. We have always tried to make sure that we keep Jesus front and center. How humbling is it to remember that there was no room in the inn.

Old North State Christmas NativityWe are blessed and an Old North State Christmas is memorable and we are not having to hang out in the stable. I remember spending Christmas on Ocracoke Island as a child and that was certainly different. There are many traditions and we should all make it unique.

No matter what you do during the Holiday season there is plenty to do here in North Carolina. The month starts with the Holiday Flotilla in New Bern and various events can be enjoyed by all. We tend to end the year with the Pickle Drop in Mt. Olive or the Acorn drop in Raleigh.

No matter where you spend you Holidays make sure that you make it the best. We look forward to an Old North State Christmas every year and treasure it because you never know when it may be someones last. From my family to yours Merry Christmas and may you all be blessed.

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.


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

Wishing you a Hairy Christmas

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It is that time of the year. Not all Christmas Music needs to be serious. This one puts a smile on my face. Wishing you and yours a Hairy Christmas!

Santa’s sleigh might fly right on past
With all the camouflage around this place

So, we bought every string of lights Wal-Mart had
Now he can see the house from outer space
Shot down some ducks and some mistletoe
A lot of love and a pot of gumboHunt you down a Christmas tree
Thank god mama’s cookin’ is free
Round up your redneck family
And watch Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer
Like Jesus and Santa Clause
We got love behind these beards
Wishin’ you a hairy Christmas
And a happy, happy, happy New year

Buy the kids a big trampoline
Everybody gets a new shotgun
We’re a camel short of a manger scene
But there’s a guy in Texas who’ll rent us one
Duck season and holiday cheer
There’s nothing like this time of year

We got the pig, we got the turkey, we got the chicken, got the duck
Miss Kay’s in the kitchen, gonna light it up

So, hunt you down a Christmas tree
And blow it up for New Year’s Eve
Round up your redneck family
And watch Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer
Like Jesus and Santa Clause
We got love behind these beards
Wishin’ you a hairy Christmas
And a happy, happy, happy New Year

Do You Remember When Black Friday Actually Still Mattered In America?

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Bored - Public Domain

By Michael Snyder – The Economic Collapse Blog

Once upon a time, “Black Friday” was a major event in the United States.  Yes, the mainstream media is still endlessly hyping it up, and major retailers are still rolling out their “incredible deals”, but it appears that most Americans are tiring of this particular gimmick.  Or perhaps it is just that U.S. consumers don’t have as much discretionary income as they once did.  As you will see below, retail traffic this Black Friday was “much, much slower” than anticipated.  And expectations were not great anyway – the number of shoppers was down last year, and it was being projected that there would be another decline in 2015.  Yes, there were still a few fights on Black Friday, but mostly the “holiday” was marked by giant piles of unsold merchandise sitting around collecting dust.  The inventory to sales ratio in the U.S. has surged to levels not seen since the last recession, and so the truth is that most retailers were hoping for much more contrived chaos on Black Friday than we actually witnessed.

Personally, I wish that this whole phenomenon would just simply disappear, because it definitely doesn’t bring out the best in the American people.

Who wants to see fellow citizens trampling one another and fighting with one another for cheaply made electronics that aren’t even manufactured in this country anyway?

Black Friday was always a disgusting spectacle, and now it appear to be fading.

Let’s start with Thanksgiving sales.  More stores than ever are opening on Thanksgiving Day itself, and according to SunTrust that was a total “bust” this year…

Continue reading at The Economic Collapse Blog: Do You Remember When Black Friday Actually Still Mattered In America?

About the author:

Michael T. Snyder is a graduate of the University of Florida law school and he worked as an attorney in the heart of Washington D.C. for a number of years.

Today, Michael is best known for his work as the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog and The American Dream

Read his new book The Beginning of the End

Filed under: Economy, News/ Current Events

Angels We Have Heard On High for KING & COUNTRY

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It is time to start getting ready for the big Birthday Celebration. A new King was born! Angels we have heard on high is a great start to the celebration!

Angels we have heard on high
sweetly singing o’er the plains
and the mountains in reply
echoing their joyous strains

Shepherds why this jubilee
Why your joyous strains prolong
What the gladsome tidings be,
Which inspire your heavenly song?

Gloria In Excelsius Deo [2x]

See Him in a manger lay,
Whom the choirs of angels praise
Mary, Joseph lend your aid
While our hearts in love we raise

Gloria In Excelsius Deo [2x]

Come adore on bended knee
Christ our Lord, the new born King

Black Friday Boycott 2015

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As usual we are opting to not join in the sadness and are participating in a Black Friday Boycott! Fortunately it appears the trend is starting to reverse itself and more and more stores are seeing the light.

I believe REI has done a great job in espousing their values and have closed all their stores for today. Instead they are encouraging their employee’s and customers instead to opt for outside activities. That is a beautiful thing. More and more stores are opening up the shopping on e-commerce and less on a brick and mortar store.

cliffsoftheneuse_riverI will take it one step further and say stop buying so much crap and engage in life. No one needs a discount smart television or another game system no matter the cost savings. Instead follow the steps that we have presented before.

  1. Do not do any shopping at all.
  2. Watch or attend a sporting event or go hunting
  3. Spend time with your family and friends

Now excuse me I have some leftover ham and turkey sandwiches to make a snack during the hike. Join us on our Black Friday Boycott. Enjoy the day outside doing whatever makes you happy!

Thanksgiving 2015

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Thanksgiving 2015

Wow has someone been marking two days off the calendar for each day this year! It seems incredibly early to be celebrating Thanksgiving 2015! Today is the day the United States give Thanks for our many blessings.

One of the many things we are very thankful for is the US Military. For those Soldiers and Sailors that are deployed please remember them. The 82nd Airborne nearby had Thanksgiving on Post this week and many are home with family and friends. We wish all of them a Happy Thanksgiving 2015.

BlackKnightsYou can see in the picture above that they are training hard to stay ready. We also can give thanks that our Law Enforcement, Fire, and EMT professionals and volunteers are ready and willing to serve. They never can stand down fully as there are people to serve. Thank you for all that you do!

pumpkinpieWe are very blessed this year and every year! God does provide and we continue to try and make him the center point of everything we do. While we will not be able to spend our Thanksgiving with all our Family and Friends that we would like we certainly feel blessed to have them. We will also be eating fairly well and that is a testament to what God provides. Happy Thanksgiving 2015! May we all recognize how truly blessed we are!

Cook the Perfect Ballpark Hotdog

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ball park hotdogIt only takes a few minutes to Cook the Perfect Ballpark Hotdog!

Cook the Perfect Ballpark Hotdog

For this Labor Day weekend, I thought I’d take a quick break from the preparedness blogging and share my secret for making the perfect hotdog at home.

I’ve seen hotdogs boiled, grilled, baked and microwaved, but if you really want to reproduce the ballpark hodog, then steaming is the method of choice!

Steaming your Hotdogs

To steam at home, use a Dutch oven fitted with a steamer rack, or a bamboo steamer, or if you’re like me find a pan with a lid and a metal strainer basket.

hot dog cooking gear

Fill the pan with enough water to reach just below the steamer rack or strainer basket. Make sure that you don’t overfill, you  really don’t want liquid bubbling up onto your hot dogs or worse, your rolls.

Bring your liquid to a boil, reduce heat to low, add hot dogs to the strainer or steamer basket. Cover tightly and steam 5-7 minutes or until hot dogs are heated through.

To steam your rolls, stack them on top of the dogs in the last two minutes of cooking.

I know this sounds simple, but trust me, this is as close as you can get to hot dog perfection without buying a hot dog cooker. To be honest this method does beat the pants off many of so-called hot dog cooking devices!

The post Cook the Perfect Ballpark Hotdog appeared first on Geek Prepper.

Holiday Prepping in a Can

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Prepping for Holidays in a CanWe want to wish all our readers a very Merry Christmas. We pray that you will find the joy in the season – knowing Christ and being known by Him.

Being in the holiday spirit reminds me how important celebrations and traditions can be. Even those who adamantly declare that they avoid traditions are, in effect, implementing them – that is, their avoidance of tradition is, in fact, their tradition. I know, it sounds strange, but it’s true.

Traditions ground us they define who we are and connect us to community. The community may be present or may be miles away, and it may be large or small. Growing up, we always baked Christmas cookies the day after Thanksgiving. Now as an adult, when I bake cookies on that day – even if I am baking alone – I feel connected to those I baked with, and even the people  they baked with before I was born.

Traditions can be reassuring and calming. When the world changes dramatically, I can’t think of anything we’ll need more! What a better way to prepare for such a time, than to create “Holidays in a Can.” Or a six-gallon pail. Phil describes the contents of holiday cans as “the saved of the saved.” In other words, we’re prepping for the holidays, not just for survival. We’re purposefully storing special food and other items with our preps that we won’t touch until the holiday comes around so that our holiday will be special even when times are tough.

What holidays should you plan for? Any days that are special to you – birthdays, anniversaries, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s Eve or Day, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, and Independence Day come to mind. In our house, only a few of those are important days – you identify the ones that are important to you. (Phil is a peculiar fan of Groundhog Day. Go figure.)

What should be in the holiday cans? Now there’s a question that will have a unique answer for each of us. Ask yourself this:

What makes the holiday special to me and my family? Is it smells or activities or sights or sounds?

Your answer to that question will help you identify what should go into your can. Here are some ideas.

  • A card (birthday, anniversary, etc.)
  • A decoration or two
  • Ingredients for a prepper version of a favorite or special food (or just include a fruitcake!)
  • A gift – something special to share with others
  • Something frivolous or fancy
  • Something that evokes memories of the holiday – perhaps a picture or ornament or piece of clothing (an ugly Christmas sweater comes to mind)
  • Candles. Fancy ones since you might be using candles more in TEOTWAWKI and we want the can to hold special things. Don’t forget birthday candles if it’s a birthday can – and if you’re one of those people who always puts trick candles on the cake, be sure to include them.)
  • Spray scent (I hate it, but if I was desperate, I might really enjoy the Christmas feel of it – or it might just remind me of why I always hated it – which is a part of Christmas, too!)
  • Photos
  • A game
  • A special drink (every year at Christmas I have a glass of Crown Royale because it’s what my dad gave me for Christmas every year)

The key is to pare the items down to just a few that will bring the essence of your holiday into a time of crisis.

The Alternative Holiday Can

Having written all that I just did about the importance of traditions – and believing every word of it – I’ve also experienced times when it was important to break with tradition to make the holiday livable. For example, the year Phil’s mom died I specifically planned a non-traditional Christmas for us. I knew that the holiday memories would be too difficult the first year, so instead of focusing on the holiday, we remodeled our living room and dining room over Christmas week. Yes, we took a short break to join family for dinner, but then we returned home to finish painting.

So another approach to your holiday cans (or perhaps just some of them) is an alternative holiday can. Instead of filling it with things that remind you of former holidays, use it as a starting place for igniting new traditions or simply having a fun day. Here are some ideas:

  • A new game
  • Supplies to make a new scrapbook or cards
  • Treat food that isn’t reminiscent of your holidays. I’m loving Auguson Farms Blueberry Muffins these days. A couple batches of that in my birthday can would be a new tradition I’d enjoy!
  • An IOU for a day of rest and pampering – in whatever form that would take in TEOTWAWKI. Massage oils would probably have a very long shelf life.
  • A letter that you write now that would still be applicable then
  • One thing that reminds you of and connects you with the traditional holiday. Just a small thing. Don’t make it the centerpiece of the can.

Remember, your holidays in cans are the “saved of the saved.” They’re in the secret vault not to be opened until the holiday arrives. That’s what holiday prepping is all about.

What are your ideas? How are you including the holidays in your prepping? Comment below or add your comments on Facebook.

And again, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a blessed and prosperous New Year.

The post Holiday Prepping in a Can appeared first on The Approaching Day Prepper.

Dreaming of a Green Holiday Season

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It pays to be prepared for Christmas. Most people have a certain set of rituals for the holidays. This usually includes buying and wrapping gifts, decorating and buying a Christmas tree. These are time honored traditions, and they’re fun, but they can also be hard on the environment. Fortunately, there are many fun ways to celebrate a “Green Christmas” — one that is both environmentally friendly and joyful. Let’s look at some of the best ways to prepare for a green holiday season.

Send Emails Rather Than Paper Cards

While Christmas cards are a tradition, they also waste quite a bit of paper between the card and envelope. Emails are not only more environmentally friendly, they save you postage. You can get creative in your emails and include nice holiday themed graphics or links to e-cards.

Gift Wrap Using Recycled Paper

You can either buy recycled gift wrapping paper or repurpose paper you already have. You can make your gift wrapping even greener by also using recycled bows, ribbons and other decorative items. Another option is to wrap gifts in decorative gift bags that can be reused.

Use a Live Christmas Tree

It may come as a surprise to some, but live Christmas trees are better for the environment than plastic ones. Plastic consumes many resources and creates quite a bit of waste and pollution. The most sustainable type of tree is a live one in a pot. You can either keep the tree in its pot or replant it after the Christmas season.

Use LED Lights on the Tree

When lighting up your Christmas tree, use LED lights, which are far more energy efficient than other kinds. LED lights can last as long as 100,000 hours, which will get you through many holiday seasons! You should also remember to turn the lights off while everyone is asleep. Christmas tree lights, even LEDs, can actually hike up your monthly energy bill in December, so this might also be a good time of year to look into whether or not you can reduce your monthly energy costs by changing service providers (see this website for more details).

Give Creative Gifts

There are many alternatives to buying gifts at the mall or ordering them online. You could make gifts for people. If you are artistic you could create paintings, sculptures or collages for people. If you are handy, you could make items out of wood, metal or other materials. If you are good at sewing or needlepoint, clothing, rugs or blankets all make great gifts. Another option is to give experiences rather than physical objects. This might include yoga classes, massages, spa treatments or gift certificates for a nice restaurant.

Buy “Green” Gifts

There are now many companies that make eco-friendly gifts, whether clothing, jewelry, toys or home decor. You can also find creative and green gifts at antique shops. Most of all, try to avoid toys and gadgets that require batteries, which are an environmental hazard when discarded.

Reduce HolidayDriving

It’s easy to get into the habit of driving everywhere during the holiday season. Between shopping, holiday parties and visits, people often consume extra fuel during this time of year. Try to minimize this by doing more carpooling. If you have friends, co-workers or family members attending the same events, arrange to go together.

Buy in Bulk

It’s typical for people to stock up on food for holiday parties and meals. When you go to the store, buy as many items in bulk as you can. This includes not only food but also paper items such as paper towels and napkins. This will save you money and cut down on the packaging used.

These are just a few of the ways that you can have a “Green Christmas” this year. When you start thinking this way, you will probably come up with more ideas of your own. It’s often more fun to have environmentally friendly holidays, as you have to think creatively rather than simply do everything the same old way.

Thanks to Beth for a great guest post.

Staying above the water line!