Showing posts with label preparedness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label preparedness. Show all posts

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Five Prepping Things To Accomplish In January


January can be a slow month in the prepping world. The weather is usually less than ideal to be outside. The desire to work on the New Year's resolutions is strong and you need to take advantage of that! Did you make any prepping goals for the year?

I didn't, but I have a list of things that I want to accomplish. I thought I would share a monthly list of prepping things you can do in January to get the year kicked off right.

Five Prepping Things To Accomplish In January:

1. Start working out. You want to be inside anyway so it is time to get moving. Join a gym, get out those exercise videos, find an exercise video on YouTube, and/or find a workout you enjoy. You can also go outside and get a brisk walk in. Just get moving! Prepping does involve your physical health and now is the time to take care of it!

If you are afraid you can't stick with an exercise plan, set up an alarm in your phone to remind you. Also remember, it takes 21 days of practice to make a habit stick. Nothing is different for keeping in shape.

2. Since winter is a good time for soups and casseroles, now is a good time to clean out the food storage. Find the out of date and soon to expire foods in your food storage. You can set them in a basket or on a special shelf so you remember to get them used up! Make these foods apart of your menu plan in January and February if need be.

3. Make out a list of projects you want to accomplish this year and set up a timeline for getting them done. I have a lot of indoor projects to do and I set up a plan to get 1-2 of them done a month. I already started with getting an indoor bedroom painted and stripping the floor. In prepping, keeping your home in good shape is very important especially if you want to bug in instead of bug out.

4. Start a home emergency cash fund. Having a stash of cash at home is very important in case debit/credit cards don't work. It also comes in handy if you need to pay someone at the door. I recommend having a variety of denominations in dollars and a jar of change.

5. Read some good prepping books. I like to curl up with a good book and now is good time to learn more about prepping. Whether you are looking to learn more about food storage, water needs, or survival living, now is good time to glean some knowledge.  I recommend these books:


It is a very simple list and I think you can get it done! Let me know what you did and what you got accomplished!

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Thursday, December 22, 2016

My Mind Is Literally Going In A Hundred Directions...


I haven't done a post like this in a long time, but the end of the year is coming. This post may be a little long, but I want to explain where I am at right now, what I am interested in now, and where I am at in life. I haven't even looked at my goals for this year in about six months. I know some have been accomplished, but not all of them. I don't think, as of right now, I will set specific goals for next year.

I am okay with that.

Because my mind is going in a hundred directions. Literally.

My life this year has been crazy. In January, Rob and I started living together and there continues to be a lot of adjustments for both of us as well as the kids. The kids at home are busy and continuing to live the life of a 16 year old and a 12 year old. Although I do have to say having a 12 year old boy after three girls is quite different. Not always in a good way either.

However, my interests are the same and different. This is where my mind is going right now.

I still love and am interested in what this blog is about: prepping, homesteading, and frugality. I struggle to separate the three of them in my mind most days. I wonder how much more I can do and what I should do. I always plan to be more frugal in the next year even though I can't always figure out how to be even more frugal than I already am. However, there is always more to be done.

Our finances are going to change in January a bit and that will be an interesting challenge. As for many people, health insurance rates are going to rise for us too. We are also taking on a couple bills that the landlords had paid for in the past which will need to be added in the budget. We have separate accounts and separate budgets, but we usually discuss and decide how joint bills will be paid.

I am going to try to participate in the Uber Frugal Month Challenge by The Frugalwoods. I adore their blog! I saw their post about this challenge and knew I should participate. I love a good challenge once I have my mind convinced to do it.

We are also looking at ways to lose some, if not all, of our dependence on electricity. We have been talking about and researching solar and wind energy to either power some of our things like the well pump or to be a back-up when the power goes out. We have some ways to heat the house if we lose power. However, the whole house is electric so we need to figure out something different. We are just a little leery about the power grid and its stability...

I am now finding myself passionately interested in minimalism, zero waste lifestyle, living with less, decluttering, and methods of  organization. I have been decluttering a lot more this last year because nothing says you have too much stuff than moving in with someone! The organizing needed to happen because I was, and sometimes still am, the only person who can find things. That does not work when you really do not want the other people in your life dependent upon you!

Why such the interest in these things? I see them as an extension of prepping, homesteading, and frugality. I think they fit hand in hand. Too much stuff and too much waste can clutter up your efforts in prepping and homesteading. Not being organized means you spend precious time finding your stuff and/or buying replacements when you can't find them. Both of those things can thwart your frugal ways by spending your time and money when you didn't need to. Having order can be benefit to every area of your life.

It also can be a vicious circle which is why I spend more time studying more of these things. I want to break the cycle.

Speaking of breaking the cycle, I need to do so on my health too. I thought my yearly doctor's visit would be the wake-up call I needed. It wasn't. My blood tests and my screens all came back nearly perfect. Cholesterol was a little high. The doctor mentioned I should lose weight, but was pleased because my weight had not increased.  She still thinks I need to be on a low carb diet because she thinks everyone should be. I do agree with her on that.

So now I research and try to implement methods, meals, and snacks that are low carb. This is so hard! I have a heck of a sweet tooth when it comes to chocolate, caramel, and a certain company's oatmeal cream pies. None of which are mentioned on the various low carb plans! Right now, my research keeps leading me to the Ketogenic diet and the Trim Healthy Mama diet. I have mostly converted my sugar usage to sugar substitutes like Stevia, Erythritol, and Xylitol or combination of them. The rest of my diet needs work.

This is a switch for me honestly. I am still very interested in natural health and eating naturally. I still think some of the foods I am not suppose to have are still very healthy for me. I have a tough time giving up legumes, some grains, honey, bread, and jams made from scratch. Fruit hasn't been a huge deal for me because I can't digest a lot of it. I like strawberries and blueberries in season so I am fine with those being a treat.

I also still want to grow most of my own food. I miss my garden now that winter is here and I am thinking about getting a greenhouse. It would be nice to keep growing more cold tolerant crops in the winter. I miss having chickens, but they are coming back this Spring. I want fresh eggs again! We are planting more fruit trees next year also. My interest in being self-sustainable will never go away. 

This seems like a lot of directions for the mind to go. I get so interested in so many things! The mind is going crazy with all this information and decisions to be made!

But, as always, I am still interested in writing, blogging, and vlogging. The more I see the connections in everything I am interested in, the more I want to talk about it. This blog will probably expand more into all these areas as I learn more and experience more of what I am interested in. I think prepping, homesteading, and being frugal can and does encompass all these things.

All this has made making goals for next year very difficult. I will probably do monthly goals and make the changes a bit more bite-size. I want to learn more, do more, be more, and have enough to live life.

Where is your mind going? What is your next year going to look like?

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Thursday, December 15, 2016

20 Tips For Surviving Winter in the Midwest (or Anywhere!)


Winter can be brutal in the Midwest. The wind blows like crazy, the temperature drops with only an overnight notice, and the snow can really mess things up! 

For example, this is today's and this weekend's forecast:




Just lovely, eh?

However, I am here to help you stay warm, dry, and hopefully safe. Winter can catch people off guard. They aren't dressed properly, do not have the right gear with them, and can totally underestimate how cold they can get. Some people can get caught in these conditions by taking going in the ditch during bad road conditions, having a vehicle break down on the side of the road, or having a car not even start due to the cold conditions. 

20 Tips For Surviving Winter in the Midwest (or Anywhere):

1. Always have and wear insulated gloves, a hat that covers your ears, and a scarf. These three things go a long ways towards staying warm.

2. Wear a good heavy coat. This should go without saying, but I see so many people without them!

3. Wear layers. It is easier to peel off layers when you are warm then to put them on when you have to in an emergency. Today I am wearing a tank top under a long sleeve shirt with a fleece vest over the top. I am pretty cozy right now. Think about adding a thermal, another long sleeve shirt, or a sweatshirt would work too. 

4. Wear good, warm, heavy socks. Warm socks can make all the difference in keeping your feet warm and keeping your body temperature up. What kind of socks you wear is your choice. I like a good cotton pair, but wool is also very good. If your feet are still cold, there is no shame to wearing two pairs of socks. 

5. Wear a good pair of boots or insulated shoes. Really, warm feet help keep the rest of your body warm!

6. Take care of your skin. This might sound girly, but dry, cracked lips, hands, and feet are no fun in the winter. You feel even more miserable and the cold will just makes things worse. Use a good lip balm, thick lotion for the hands, and petroleum jelly or heavy foot cream for your feet. Taking care of your feet will also make your socks last longer! 

7. Use flannel sheets on the beds. Trust me on this one. A warm bed is great in the winter! You can turn down the thermostat at night and everyone can stay toasty warm. If people are getting cold, add blankets to the beds and tell them to wear more layers!

8. Use blankets. To keep the thermostat at a reasonable temperature, get out the blankets. Have 1-2 blankets on every piece of furniture that can be sat on or laid on so people can cover up. Also, put on some layers of clothes. Winter is not the time to run around wearing shorts in the house!

9. Have a vehicle emergency kit in the car. Weatherize it for winter. Always keep a blanket (or 3) in the car. Be prepared in case you are stranded anywhere. Always carry water and snacks with you. 

10. Keep an eye on the fluid levels in your vehicle. Use windshield wiper fluid designed for freezing temperatures. Do not ever let your anti-freeze get low. Get regular on the oil changes. By keeping the fluid levels in your vehicle up, your vehicle will run better and your risk of being stranded goes down considerably.

11. Develop some indoor hobbies and tackle the indoor DIYs. Really, for me, winter is the most boring time of the year. So I tackle the indoor stuff. By keeping busy, time goes faster, your mood will be better, and you will feel great getting some stuff accomplished!

12. Know where your indoor emergency supplies are and how to use them. We rarely lose power for longer than eight hours, but some people can lose power for days. Knowing where our heater is, keeping the propane cylinders full,  and being able to use our camp stove for cooking helps make life more comfortable when we do lose power. 

13. Keep some containers filled with water. The last thing you want to do is to melt snow for water if the power goes out. I keep 2-3 five gallon containers filled with water. I also keep some miscellaneous containers filled for flushing toilets and whatnot. Just remember to check the containers and refresh the water every year. 

14. Always let someone know where you are going and how long you plan to be gone. Cell phones are a wonderful thing until they run out of battery. If you are going shopping an hour away, let someone know. If you get stranded, someone will know because they will realize you aren't back yet. 

15. Now is the time for hot, hearty meals and drinks. Coffee, tea, and hot chocolate are always good warmers. Beef stew, chili, and casseroles make good, filling meals that will keep you warm inside. Prop the oven door open when you are done cooking to add heat to the house while the oven is cooling.

16. Keep up on the vitamins. Keeping up on the vitamins and supplements in the winter will be very beneficial to you. For example, Vitamin D helps the immune system, helps with winter blues, and keeps your body strong and healthy. Vitamin C helps the immune system and keeps your body healthy also. 

17. Pay attention to the weather forecasts. I know there are wrong sometimes, but they can be scarily accurate too. People can be so brave and say things like "it's just a little snow" or "the weatherman never gets anything right". However, there is nothing worse than being stranded on the side of the highway or in a ditch because you are stuck and there is a towing ban until morning. Pay attention to the forecast and give it the caution it deserves. 

18. Keep the house stocked up on food. So many people make last minute runs to the grocery store before a big storm. While it is good to get a few essentials, keeping the house stocked on food means you don't need to run to the store. You are ready to be stuck at home for a few days or weeks without having to go anywhere. Another tip: keep easily re-heatable food on hand like canned soup. 

19. Keep the vehicle's gas tank full. Do not let your gas tank get less than half. If you are stuck anywhere, then you should have enough gas to run the vehicle until help arrives. 

20. Spend time with others. Seriously, the winter seems never ending in the Midwest. We know Spring is coming, but in December that seems a long ways off. Spend time with friends and family. The conversation and the laughter is a very good mood booster which will help greatly with the Winter blues. 

What do you do to cope with the Winter? How do you survive the Winter?

Thank for reading,
Erica


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Is Prepping Dead?


A lot of news I have been seeing lately is about how we do not need to worry about anything since the new president-elect is going to smooth away our problems. According to many sources, prepping should be on a decline because many of the issues facing us will be gone soon.

Do you all really believe that?

Do you believe that prepping is dead or on a decline?

Please tell me you don't believe that our problems are solved. Please tell me you don't believe that prepping is dead! Because, seriously, you should be prepping the same as you were before the elections if not more. 

I know people were panicked before the elections. They were scared the lady was going to get elected and we would going to war. They were scared she was going to take away everything we had left for freedoms and liberties. How do I know this? I read it. I saw it for myself. My daily views for this blog doubled for the week leading up to the election.

Prepping was definitely on an upswing then. Prepping should still be the same now. I mean, I know a lot of you took a huge relieved breath with the election results. I understand that. However, really, nothing has changed. 

We could still be looking at war.
We could still be looking at an economic collapse.
We could still be looking at at CME or an EMP.
We could still be looking at a natural disaster.
We could still be looking at a power grid down situation.

And more importantly, we could be looking at a personal crisis of our own!

Prepping is not and should never be dead! Why? The new president-elect is not going to solve all our problems. We cannot control other countries attacking us because of something stupid our country said or did. We cannot control the personal ideologies of other people. We cannot control the agendas of the power hungry. We cannot control nature. We cannot control companies closing or moving due to the economy. 

The only thing we can control is ourselves and our reaction to these situations. We prep in order to be ready for things like this happening. We prep to take care of ourselves and our families. We prep to give us a peace of mind. We prep so others do not have to worry about us! 

Why would people think prepping is dead or preppers would stop prepping? Because the media told us everything would be hunky-dory? Because the Republicans control the presidency and both houses? The same two houses where Republicans proved they were nothing but weak-spine pansies who gave the Democrats whatever they wanted anyway? 

No, prepping should not be dead by a long shot. We still have a lot to worry about and a lot to consider before we can say we do not need to prep anymore. 

Thanks for reading,
Erica



Sunday, November 20, 2016

What Does Your Prepper Want For Christmas? This Prepper's Top 10 Christmas Wishlist!


Christmas is a hard time for me. People ask me what I want for Christmas and I have a tough time telling them what I want! Of course, I have an Amazon wishlist and a mental wishlist. However, I still am not sure what to tell my loved ones what I want.

Then there is also the small problem of that I tell them some things I want, but they won't buy them anyway! Anyhoo...

The special prepper in your life can be hard to shop for. You know they love gadgets, but they have so many already! You know all about the "two is one and one is none" theory, but how many of one thing do they really need? Is a bucket of emergency storage food really a gift (yes, it is!)?

I am here to help! I have complied a list of things I want or have gotten that I think would make great gifts. I have picked all prices ranges for those with a smaller and bigger holiday budget,

In no particular order or priority is This Prepper's Top 10 Christmas Wishlist:

1. A Generator! I prefer to have smaller generators that I can move around myself (although I wouldn't turn down a big one!). This WEN Gas Powered Generator would be perfect for the prepper in your life. It can be used for camping, home, and emergencies.

2. Books! All preppers need a good reference library. I prefer my reference library to be in print versus electronic. Some good book suggestions would be:


3. Pressure Canner and/or a Water Canner! Actually, I have a water canner because I got that for Christmas just a few years ago! However, I would love another pressure canner! This is the pressure canner that has sitting on my wishlist for awhile. If you are in the market for a water canner, this canner is the one I have and love!

4. Lights. Nothing is more important than good lighting when you are trying to see in the dark. Whether you choose a flashlight, a LED lantern, or an oil lamp, lighting can make a situation a lot less important. A good prepper knows you cannot have too many sources of lights.

5. Solar anything! I would love solar chargers of any sort! Most preppers do because it is a vital source of charging when the power is out or you want to be off-grid even more. Some of the things are:


6. Two Way Radios! Communication will always be important in an emergency or when needing to protect your property. Cell phones are not always reliable or may not work. These Baofeng two-way radios have been on my list for quite a while!

7. A Personal Water Filter! I actually have two Lifestraws, but I couldn't think of a better gift to give or receive! There are other options out there for personal water filters, but I think it is important to have one in the car and in your go-to bag.

8. Alternative forms of cooking! When the power goes out or you want to be off-grid a little more, having non-electrical forms of cooking is the ticket! I have had this Eco-Zoom Rocket Stove on my list for awhile and I love what I have heard about it!

9. An emergency and weather radio! I do have a couple, but my favorite is this Kaito 5 Way Powered Emergency and Weather Radio with Flashlight, Reading Lamp and Charger. This is a great tool to have when the power goes out and you need to know what is going on!

10. A Foodsaver! Yes, a Foodsaver. I use this for storing food in the freezer and for being able to store more in my 72 hour kit and go-to bags. I use this to store my dehydrated goods, seeds, and grains. This Foodsaver has a lot more uses besides storing food!

I didn't include any knives or personal protection items. I think this is a personal choice and I am not the best one to give advice on that. However, if that special prepper in your life gives you a specific idea of what they want, GO FOR IT! 

What would you add to this list? What is on your Christmas prepping wishlist?

(Yes, this post contains a lot of affiliate links. They do not cost you anything if you should decide to buy something. I do receive a small commission that will help my family out greatly! Thanks!)

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Birth and Baby Preparedness: 20 Things You Need To Have!


Getting ready for a baby can be difficult in normal circumstances. Add in a crisis or a disaster and you have to be even more ready! Even if you don't have a baby in the house, I recommend having a basic birth kit and a baby kit just in case. You never know who could be coming over or stranded at your home and will need these items!

Most of this list is very basic. I recommend keeping, if not all, most of this on hand. However, I can understand not wanting to keep a breast pump or a car seat in your storage. I had no use for a breast pump, but you never know. If a new mother has trouble with breast feeding, you might want one on hand and/or keep a small can of formula to help supplement.


20 Things You Need To Have To Be Ready For The Baby! 


1. A Birth Kit. I would specifically look for a home birth kit so you can have the basics on hand. A tape measure and a hanging weight scale would also be handy for getting the baby's measurements and to keep track of the weight for the first few weeks. I would also keep some sanitary pads and some pain reliever for the new mother. 

2. Diapers - cloth or disposable. A small pack of newborn and size 1 diapers should be fine.

3. Breast Pump and Pads.

4. Formula and Bottles. I recommend keeping a small can and a pack of bottles. 

5. Blankets. 3-4 receiving blankets and 2-3 warm blankets work great. 

6. Baby Food and/or a Food Mill. Babies typically do not start eating food until six months, but I still recommend having some in your food storage

7. Baby Wipes. A box or two will suffice although these are great to have on hand if the power goes out and you need to clean your face and hands.

8. Clothing Including Hats. 1-2 hats, a package of onesies, 3-4 sleepers, and a few socks will keep the baby warm and toasty. A sleep sack will also help at bedtime and naptime.

9. Soap to Wash and Sanitize.

10. Baby pain reliever and fever reducer.

11. Teething rings. Again, this will not be needed for a few months, but they are handy to have on hand when the baby is teething or needing to gum something to death.

12. Bibs and Burping Cloths.

13. Diaper Rash Ointment and/or Baby Powder.

14. Crib or someplace for a baby to sleep.

15. Car Seat.

16. Toys and Books.

17. Baby Fingernail Clippers.

18. Nose Syringe.


20. Digital Thermometer designed for babies.

Other ideas to make a new mother's life easier:

1. Some form of baby wearing carrier - sometimes it is handy to have a way to be hands free while still holding the baby.

2. Pacifiers or something for self soothing

3. A bouncy seat or someplace safe for a baby to stay and be entertained.

4. Dreft or a gentle laundry detergent that can be used on babies

You don't need a lot to be ready for a baby, but these essentials will make welcoming the baby easier on you and the new parents! In case of emergency, you will be ready for it anytime. I recommend storing these essentials (except the crib and car seat) in a five gallon bucket or a storage tote. You can find many of these things at garage sales and thrift shops, making your cost for this low. 

What would you add to this list? 

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Want to Make America Great Again? Here Are 12 Ways You Can Do Just That!


A lot of my Facebook news feed this morning has been how the country has been let down by our newly elected President. This is a guy who promised to make America great again. However, he is not who is going to make America great again. You know who is going to make America great again? 

You and I are. 

The American people are what make America great. However, we have forgotten this. We have forgotten that we, the people, are the ones who make this great country what it is. Our elected leaders set the policies and laws for which we live under and follow, but they are not entirely responsible for making America great. We, however, are the representatives of this country and we are the ones responsible for making America great. 

So how can we make America great again?

1. Treat others how you would like to be treated. 

2. Smile at everyone and say hello to all you meet.

3. Be polite to everyone even if they do not deserve it.

4. Offer to help your family, friends, and neighbors. Take care of each other. Take a meal to the sick. Mow the lawn for the injured. Take care of our military families and veterans. Feed the homeless. 

5. Take care of your surroundings. Do not litter. Recycle.

6. Learn to rely on yourself to take care of yourself. Do not depend upon the government or other agencies to save you. While help is great, sometimes you will not get help. 

7. Raise your children to honor and respect our flag, say the Pledge of Allegiance, sing The Star Spangled Banner, and to be proud to be an American. 

8. Remember that no one is better than you and you are not better than anyone else regardless of anything. 

9. Take care of the elderly, learn from them, and treat them like your grandparents. 

10. Honor and respect our traditions, our Constitution, our Declaration of Independence, and our history. 

11. Show respect for our military, veterans, and police officers who work diligently every day to protect you. 

12. Follow and obey the laws of our land. If you disagree, then respectfully disagree without causing a riot or massive damage to other peoples' properties and businesses. 

Seems pretty simple, right? Be a good citizen and ambassador of this great country and we will make America great again!

Thanks for reading, 
Erica


Saturday, November 5, 2016

20 Common Sense Things You Can Do TODAY To Prepare For Tomorrow


Every day, we all just live to get through the day. Some of us think about tomorrow. Some of us think about "what if?" Some of us are so worried about tomorrow that we forget to live today. No matter what, we should all live for today while thinking about how to make tomorrow easier.

Those that prep think about tomorrow, but sometimes life is so chaotic that we forget to stay ahead of the game. We want to prep harder and do more, but we find we don't have the time. However, you are prepping. Every day. We don't always think about being ready for tomorrow as prepping, but it is. We get ready for tomorrow to make that day easier.

Here are 20 Common Sense Things You Can Do TODAY To Prepare For Tomorrow:

1. Fill the car with gas. Every two days, make a habit of looking at your gas gauge and fill it when it is half empty. Grab your gas cans and fill them too.

2. Fill some extra containers with water. Have some pitchers of water in the fridge or an bucket with a lid full of water in the basement.

3. Do the dishes every night.

4. Do the laundry.

5. Set your keys, phone, shoes, purse/wallet, and coat by the door you use the most.

6. Take a shower at night.

7. Keep a running grocery list so you can get everything you need on your next trip to the store. This includes your food pantry.

8. Get some cash. Having some cash on hand is never a bad thing, especially if ATMs and credit cards machines are not working.

9. Sell off things you don't need. First of all, it is a great money maker, aka more cash on hand. Secondly, it is less stuff you have to protect or move if that becomes necessary.

10. Pick up some extra food and pet food to have in storage.

11. Pick up a couple of cases of water to have in storage too.

12. Make sure your vehicle is loaded and ready for emergencies. Check your fluids in your vehicle. Get some food and water stashed in a protected spot in the car.

13. Write a to-do and to-remember list with the day's activities written down.

14. Write out your meal plan for the week and post it on the fridge. If you can't make dinner, some one can or at least get it started.

15. Fill out or update your In Case of Emergency (ICE) numbers on your phone. List them in order of importance.

16. Fill out or update your Family Preparedness Planner and you Family Personal Information sheets. Make copies of the personal information sheets and keep close by.

17. Have everything ready for the next day the night before. Have clothes laid out, bags packed. lunches ready, and #5 done the next before. If you have an emergency, everything will be ready to go for you to get out the door faster.

18. Plug your electronics in every night. No matter what, your electronics will be fully charged in the morning. A fully charged phone and laptop could be a lifesaver.

19. Take a walk or workout. The better shape you can get into today will only benefit you for tomorrow. Being in shape and working on your endurance will help make that walk home when your car is unusable.

20. Do not put off for tomorrow what you can do today. I mean that for everything and anything. If you have a project that you can tackle today, do that instead of vegging in front of the television. If you need to tidy up your house, get it done. If you need to respond to texts and emails, do it now.

If you aren't doing these things almost every day, you will wish you had. Think about this:

  • You wake up in the morning and the power is out.
  • A boil water order is announced because of contamination that has happened.
  • You haven't been watching the gas gauge and you are on empty.
  • A blizzard is happening tomorrow, but you haven't done anything about it.
  • An ice storm has hit unexpectedly and you are stranded away from home.
  • Your checking account has been compromised and you can't use your debit card for a week.
  • You end up in the hospital and your family is left to cope while you are gone.
  • The power goes out while you are at work.

Do you want to be caught in those situations without being prepared? I don't think so.

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Thursday, October 13, 2016

10 More Preparedness Items You Should Be Buying Every Month


In 10 Preparedness Items You Should Be Buying Every Month, I focused on items you needed to have on hand now just in case something happened. It is a pretty great list and I was very happy with the list. However, you all had some great suggestions in the comments about what else you felt people needed to buy.

Thank you for your ideas! I actually read them and came up with a secondary list for the first list. I added some of my own because these are things I do pick up on a regular basis. I try for once a month depending on my budget and how many I have already in stock.

Just like the first list, these are items I think every prepper should have on hand. These are items you should never be low on. We still need to have stuff on hand when SHTF happens.

10 More Preparedness Items You Should Be Buying Every Month

1. Toothbrushes and Toothpaste: Your oral health can really impact your overall health. Having good teeth means you can eat whatever you want without having to worry about how hard something is to chew. In addition to toothbrushes and toothpaste, I would get floss and mouthwash. I also keep a dental cleaning kit on hand.


2. Feminine hygiene products: Whether you use pads, tampons, or menstrual cups, these are important to have on hand. If you have wives, daughters, sisters, mothers, girlfriends, friends, aunts, and/or cousins who may be staying with you when something happens, you need to have this stuff on hand. I would also stock up on liners, douches, and wipes to stay clean and healthy.

3. Fire starting materials: I buy lighters every time I go to the dollar store. I keep waterproof, long stick, and regular matches on hand. I have a magnesium starter and a flint in my preps too. You will have to light candles and lanterns, burn trash, have an outdoor fire for warmth, an indoor fire if you have a wood stove or fireplace, light torches, and anything else you will need a flame for. I keep a myriad of different devices for starting a fire in case of moisture or a faulty lighter.

4. Fuel: We have gas cans we use for the mowers. We have propane cylinders for the camp stove, grill, and heaters. Keep these full at all times. If you worry about how long the gas will last, buy the premium gas and/or use Sta-bil in the gas cans to prolong the life of the gas. Propane and butane will last indefinitely as long as the containers do not leak. I would also stock up on more of the one pound propane cylinders and replacement hoses/regulators. If you can find gas cans and propane cylinders for free or dirt cheap, I would pick them up and keep them full. These are things you don't want to run out of!

5. Batteries: In all sizes and shapes. You need to think outside of the AA and AAA box too (although not too far - you will need plenty of those too!). You will want C and D batteries. You will want 9 volt batteries since that is what a lot of the smoke detectors take. You may want replacement batteries for watches. You may also want to think about batteries for mowers, tools, flashlights, vehicles, and whatever else you have on hand. I would recommend getting rechargeable batteries and a solar powered charger, but get whatever you can that fits in your budget.

6. Tools, fasteners, glue, and tape: One of these, every month. Good hand tools will make a fix-it or building job go a lot easier. Screws, nails, and whatnot are always needed. Glue and tape will always be needed. I keep wood glue, regular glue, crazy (quick drying) glue, and craft glue on hand for repair jobs. I keep almost every variety of tape you can imagine on hand. I don't think you can have too much of tape or glue on hand! Repair jobs will be easier if you keep these things on hand!


7. Material (Fabric) Goods: Stay on top of your family's and your clothing needs. Anticipate what they might need and buy them in good quality at garage sales and thrift shops. I frequently would buy 1-2 sizes ahead on my kids' clothes when they were little so I wasn't caught unaware. I still buy heavy blankets and quilts for the beds and any guests we might have. I keep a good stash of towels, dishcloths, and rags for personal use and cleaning.

8. Paper products: I know I covered toilet paper in the previous post, but I think it is important to have a good stash. I also like to buy paper plates and bowls, napkins, plastic silverware, paper towels, and paper shop towels (blue kind). I know it is not environmentally friendly, but if the power is out, it would save on water to use these things. You can burn most of it when you are done using them.

9. Trash bags. Trash bags have so many uses besides holding trash. They can be used to line buckets for emergency toilets. They can used to keep you and valuable items dry. They can used to cover broken windows or to black out windows. I get small kitchen, 13 gallon kitchen, 33 gallon black, contractors' heavy black, and lawn and leaf trash bags.

10. Pet food and extra cat litter. Most of us have pets or animals in some form. If you don't, some one who is bugging out to your house might have pets. Some abandoned pets might find their way to your property. I have pets. I like to keep canned food on hand because it lasts longer. I do keep dry food on hand too, but we keep that in metal trash cans and/or five gallon buckets with lids. Canned food will last longer than dry food unless you put the dry food in mylar bags. We also keep extra treats and a bag of cat litter too.

What else would you add to this list?

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Birth Control, Sex, and SHTF: What Should You Do?


One of those areas that most people think will go away in the end times or SHTF is sex. Many people think that they will be too stressed out, too worried, too hungry, and too desperate to worry about sex.

I happen to think they are wrong.

Sex has some benefits that most people do not consider:
  • Sex is a natural stress reliever. 
  • Sex helps people feel closer and more attached when the chips are down. 
  • Sex helps people to relax. 
  • Sex can be a coping agent. 
  • Sex can be used as a way to escape reality for just a little while. 
In other words, sex can and will be a factor when a SHTF happens. People will still have sex. Desperation will drive people to do many things. Many people may turn to sex for financial reasons. Sex can and will be used as a bartering tool or to buy food. Many people will use to just to comfort themselves.

Along with sex though comes some other issues. Many, many people are on birth control or practice some method of birth control for preventing pregnancy as well as addressing medical issues. Unless you stock up on condoms and/or sponge and spermicide, you could lose access to birth control for sex.

Most methods of birth control only last a certain amount of time:
  • The pill, ring, and patch are prescribed for only 30-90 days.
  • The shot only lasts three months.
  • The IUD lasts five years. 
  • The implants last three years.
Many of these will stay in your system for up to six months or possibly a year after ending their use. However, after the time frame for this birth control is over, what happens next? Pregnancy can happen although most women do not get pregnant immediately after stopping birth control. Sexually transmitted diseases can happen and will still happen, but birth control does not prevent most of those. 

Birth control is widely prescribed to control female medical issues. If birth control is used to control female medical issues, those issues will come back in a hurry after discontinuing the use of the birth control. Then what?

Other options must be explored to prevent unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and to control painful female issues like primary dysmenorrhea, severe cramping, excessive bleeding, and more. 

The best idea for preventing unwanted pregnancies and STDs would be to practice abstinence. However, most couples and good deal of people will not consider abstinence purely because they don't want to consider it. As mentioned before, sex will be used to make people feel better, for financial gain, and for bartering purposes. As much as abstinence should be considered and is always an option, many people just won't. 

The Family Planning Method or the Natural Rhythm Method is always good and requires some record keeping on the female's part. However, these still comes with some risk. Unwanted pregnancies may still occur due to inaccurate record keeping and/or stress on a woman's body due to the circumstances they are in. Neither prevents STDs. However, the record keeping that is needed with this method may help women in detecting female health issues and give an accurate idea of when female problems are occurring.

Having a good supply of condoms, sponges, spermicides, and diaphragm on hand would be ideal. Those many run out though eventually or be too expensive to afford. They also will not be any use to anyone in cases of rape or sexual assault where they are not likely to be found. As a preventative measure, if you are done having children, now may be the time to consider having a tubal ligation and/or vasectomy. You would not have to worry about using non-hormonal forms of birth control, but I would still keep a good supply on hand. 

The only surefire way to prevent STDs is to not have sex with someone you do not know. If you do, be sure to have both parties thoroughly clean themselves before and after sex. Also, you should avoid sex with anyone who looks to be infected. You should look for signs such as genital bumps, rashes, and open sores. In cases of rape or sexual assault, you should thoroughly clean yourself afterwards scrubbing with a disinfectant. If medical care is available, you should get checked out and follow the same procedure as above. 

If you are using hormonal birth control for prevention of pregnancy, you need to figure out which options of non-hormonal birth control will work for you and stock up. If you are using it to prevent female issues, you should first ask your doctor if there are other ways to treat your condition or the symptoms of your condition. If there is other options of treatment, especially over the counter treatments, you need to stock up on them and start using them. I would also have a good supply of items like Midol or Pamprin to help with the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. 

You should also look into alternative treatments for your female issues. Cutting out the processed foods would help greatly, but after a SHTF you might have to eat whatever you have on hand or can find. I would look into essential oils, herbs, tinctures, teas (raspberry leaf), and other holistic treatments that may benefit you greatly. Now would be the time to experiment and seek the advice of an expert to see what will work for you. 

When the SHTF happens, none of this will really go away. If fact, sex will still happen. People will still need ways of preventing pregnancy. Women will still need to deal with their menstrual cycles and female issues. Not being prepared for it is simply sticking your head in the sand to avoid dealing with it. Although this is an unpopular topic, it is one that needs to be addressed by you for yourself and your family.

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Friday, September 16, 2016

Water is a Vital to Your Survival! What is Your Plan for Your Water Needs?


We can't live without water! Whether it is to drink, brush teeth, shower, cook, clean, or provide water to growing things, we can't live without it. An average person cannot live for more than three days without water. 

Water is critical to your survival needs.

Unfortunately, most people do not place water very high in their emergency preparations. They focus on shelter, food, security, and safety before they even began to think about water. Yes, shelter and food are important. However, without water, those things will not matter. 

So...what is your plan for your water needs? 

This will vary from household to household. The experts say to have, at a minimum, one gallon a day per person. One gallon of water multiplied by the number of people you plan to care for times the number of days you plan to be without water. One gallon of water is the minimum you should have, but I think you should have more. 

Why?

Bathing will take at least 3-5 gallons of water per person. I know in a crisis situation, bathing might be the last thing on your mind. However, if you have the potential for unsafe and unsanitary conditions, bathing in some way or form is a must. You can invest in one of these solar showers or whole body disposable wash cloths. Keeping clean will be a top priority to ward off sickness.

Washing clothes using a couple of five gallon buckets and a washer plunger will take at least 10-20 gallons of water for the bare minimum of clothes to be washed. You might have enough clean clothes to last two weeks. That is all well and good until someone gets sick. 

Washing dishes will take 3-6 gallons of water to clean the dishes properly. While it is recommended to have paper plates and plastic utensils on hand, there will always be some dishes dirty. Then you need to add in the water you might need for cooking purposes. 

Safely, you will need at least 3-5 gallons a day per person! How do you plan to store that much water? You can:

  • Store 55 gallon drums of water in a cool, dark place. 
  • Have a rain catchment system with at least 150 gallons of storage.
  • Store one-gallon jugs of water and cases of water bottles for cooking and drinking.
  • Install a hand pump for your well water.
  • Drain the water heater.
  • Fill five-gallon buckets and containers for water needs like flushing toilets and washing clothes. 

I also would recommend having a good filtration system in case you need to use unpurified water. A LifeStraw works great for one person to drink water safely. A Berkey filter system works well for a family. When you are going through an emergency situation, the last thing you need is a sick person or people due to unsafe drinking water. 

I would also be aware of the water sources surrounding your land. Is there a creek or river nearby? Is there an abandoned farm place with a working hand pump and well? Is there a lake that you can pump water from? I keep topographical maps of my area in a file for this information. It may save your life to have this information on hand. 

For more ideas and motivation for storing water for emergency needs, I asked my fellow bloggers for their water articles. Here is some really great information!


How to Can Water for Emergencies by Everything Home With Carol 

Whatever the emergency or crisis is, you cannot live without water. You need to have some on hand, a way to get more, a way to filter for drinking, and be able to do as much as possible to conserve water. Make storing water at the top of your to-do list for prepping!

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Friday, September 9, 2016

4 Reasons Why It Is Time To Talk To Your Friends and Neighbors About Prepping!

It's 5:30 in the afternoon. The power has been out since 6:30 that morning. You are contemplating what to have for supper on the grill since you can still get to the grill. Thank goodness you moved it to the garage yesterday when the weather started getting bad!

Otherwise, everything else is going well. The kids have been playing card games and coloring. The first floor of the house is warm enough from the portable gas heater you bought a year ago. You have good light coming from the windows yet, but the LED lanterns are ready to go. You could fire up the generator if you need to, but all is well yet.

You hear a knock on the door. It is your next door neighbor whom you have been pretty friendly with. He's a good guy who is always willing to lend a hand. However, you know he has almost nothing for emergencies. In fact, he has laughed at you numerous times for your prepping purchases. You wonder what he wants.

You are not very keen on answering the door, but if you don't, one of the kids will. You go out of the garage door to talk to him outside. You know if you let him know that you have a portable gas heater going right now and have started using lanterns, he will be over with his whole family. You could probably handle that if you knew how long the power was going to be out. But you don't.


You know this conversation isn't going to go well, but you will talk to him anyway. You both exchange pleasantries and talk about the power outage. He asks how you all are managing. They are getting cold, but his wife had the good idea to close off a room and get the kids bundled up a bit against the cold. She moved the kids into that room and is keeping it as warm as they can. He saw you move your grill into the garage and had done the same.

However, the kids are afraid of the dark. They only have one flashlight that has dead batteries. They have no practical candles or lanterns. They have no way to heat the room because he didn't listen to you about putting in a gas fireplace and put in an electric one instead. They have some food to get by for a day or two longer. You know the grocery store and gas station is closed due to no power.

What do you do?

This scenario can be all too real and does happen in almost every emergency or disaster. Many people would have a definite answer until faced with that decision. It is hard to watch anyone in need and not want to help. I know I would want to help especially if it is someone I am on good terms with. I do not like to see people suffer.

This is why you need to start talking to your friends and neighbors about prepping for emergencies and disasters. By encouraging others to be prepared, you can hopefully avoid the above scenario. Here are four reasons why you should take the time to talk to your friends and neighbors about prepping:

1. You may be able to help them this time, but next time you might not be available for help. You need to make them realize they need to have their own emergency supplies. The weather could be so bad they can't make it over to your house. You might not have enough to help them and provide for your own family. You should offer to go to the store with them to start an emergency kit. You should also show them how to use it and store it.

2. They need to become more self-reliant. They might move to a new neighborhood where no one cares about them. They might experience something where they can not reach out to friends or neighbors. The weather might be bad enough they can't leave home. They might be caught on the road somewhere. The scenarios are endless, but they need to learn to rely on themselves instead of expecting everyone to save them.

3. The government says so. FEMA celebrates National Preparedness Month and has things for people to do all year round. Red Cross recommends having 3-14 days worth of supplies on hand for emergencies and disasters. While some of you may scoff at this, you may have to use these agencies to help convince people to prepare. Some people like to be told what to do by the government or big powerful agencies. This may work in your favor to convince others to prepare.

4. They can safely protect and care for their families. Being unprepared is the equivalent of neglecting their family's potential needs. They get everything they need to take care of daily life and they need to get everything they need to take care of any emergencies. This is just like having Advil on hand for a headache or a fever. You keep flashlights, batteries, and candles on hand for a power outage.

We as preppers have a duty to encourage others to prepare. Now is the time to start. Some of your friends and neighbors may want to already and don't know where to start! By having them prepared, you can become a true community of preppers who can help yourselves and others too.

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Thursday, September 8, 2016

It's National Preparedness Month! What You Should Do To Celebrate!


National Preparedness Month is a very important month in any prepper's year! Many of the preparedness supply companies run great sales. Many of the prepping sites offer a lot of great advice. FEMA and Red Cross even get in on the action. 

National Preparedness Month is a great time to remind the non-preppers to get a few emergency supplies. You can show them the information that the Red Cross even recommends having 3-14 days worth of supplies on hand. FEMA has on their website that this week is Preparing Family and Friends by making emergency plans. Sometimes non-preppers need evidence that other agencies recommend being prepared. 

You should take inventory of your own preparedness supplies. Is everything still working? Do batteries need to be replaced? Is the food still good or expired? Is your 72 hour kit still relevant or does it need updating? I wrote earlier this year about a checklist for the long-term prepper. It would be a good list for you to go over your preps with! 

Are you talking to your neighbors, family, and friends about prepping? This month is a great time to get started! You might be able to get a good group of trusted people together in case of an emergency or disaster. You might find out your neighbor is just as much of a prepper as you are! You might be able to open someone else's eyes about getting ready their own SHTF situation. Now is the time to address these things.

In the past, I have participated with other bloggers in the 30 Days of Preparedness Round-Up to celebrate National Preparedness Month. Their articles are still very relevant today and are a great read! 



Food Storage

Self-Reliance

72-Hour Kits or Bug Out Bags

Preparedness




Day 1 - Ready, Set, Get Prepared! Welcome to 30 Days of Preparedness from PreparednessMama 
Day 2 - The Family Meeting Place and Escape from Laughingbear Adventures
Day 3 - I'm Safe! How to Communicate with Family in an Emergency from PreparednessMama
Day 4 - Does Your Family Have a Fire Escape Plan? from Home Ready Home
Day 5 - Preparedness For Pets from The Busy B Homemaker
Day 6 - The Escape Exercise from Laughingbear Adventures
Day 7 - It all Falls Apart Without Mental Preparedness from PreparednessMama
Day 8 - It's a Matter of Emergency Kits from A Matter of Preparedness
Day 9 - Nine Great Emergency Light Sources Other Than Flashlights from Food Storage & Survival
Day 10 - Cooking Without Power from Mama Kautz
Day 11 - The Importance of a Shelter & Staying Warm and Dry from Trayer Wilderness
Day 12 - The Importance of Having The Right Tools In Your Pack from Trayer Wilderness
Day 13 - Practice Living Without Electricity from Food Storage Made Easy
Day 14 - How We Choose The Right Gear - (including the MultiFlame Tool) from Trayer Wilderness
Day 15 - Water Storage & Purification from The Busy B Homemaker
Day 16 - Food and Water for a 72 Hour "Go Bag" from Homestead Dreamer
Day 17 - 8 Foods You Should Be Storing and How from Melissa K Norris
Day 18 - Planning Your Pantry from The Organic Prepper
Day 19 - Stocking Up on Non-Food Items from Living in Rural Iowa
Day 20 - Dutch Oven Cooking: Off-Grid Before Off-Grid Was Cool from The Backyard Pioneer
Day 21 - Pressure Canning the Harvest from Timber Creek Farm
Day 22 - Personal Protection & Awareness from Living in Rural Iowa
Day 23 - KISS First Aid from Herbal Prepper
Day 24 - Mommy, I have to go Potty! from Mom With a Prep
Day 25 - Fire Starting 101: The Why and How of Lighting a Fire for Survival from Food Storage & Survival
Day 26 - How to Filter and Purify Water from Prepared Housewives
Day 27 - How To Make A Shelter from Trayer Wilderness
Day 28 - Put Your Preps to the Test with 24 Hours Unplugged from The Organic Prepper
Day 29 - What Is Char and Why You Should Have It To Start A Fire from Trayer Wilderness
Day 30 - How To Utilize Bushcraft Skills and Forage From The Wild from Trayer Wilderness


I hope this helps you to get more prepared during National Preparedness Month and all year round! Celebrate by getting your family and friends ready for anything that may happen! 

Thanks for reading,
Erica


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