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Monday, November 30, 2009

Make Your Own Dishwasher Powder

One week I decided to see if I could make my own dishwasher powder. I've always used the Shaklee Basic D and have been very pleased with it. But, I also think it is fun to try something you can make at home that costs less and turn it into a homeschool lesson at the same time!

I looked across the internet and would you believe how simple the recipe is??? Equal portions of Baking Soda and Borax. That's it. Easy as pie - and how inexpensive are these ingredients!!! I use 1-2 Tablespoons per load depending on how dirty the dishes are and if they've been sitting there for a while.

If you want specific measurements, you can start with 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of borax. This should make enough for you to try it and see how you like it!

I also put white distilled vinegar in the rinse compartment - this will keep your glasses shiny and without spots - and doesn't cost as much as those expensive rinse solutions you buy!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Recipe: Anyone For Scones?

Here's a recipe you might want to try for your family this weekend. One of the all-time favorite things my family likes to have for breakfast would be scones. These are right up there with homemade blueberry pancakes and waffles. They really are very easy to make and can be made in so many varieties. We sometimes have them several times a week!

For breakfast, my husband likes them best with dried cranberries, walnuts and orange zest. We dip these hot out of the oven into local honey. Yum. The girls' favorite is chocolate chip, which I sometimes make for breakfast for them, but most often as an afternoon snack. They also make a great dinner bread with sun-dried tomatoes and parmesan cheese. Makes my mouth water just writing about them!

Here's our basic recipe:

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar (can be decreased or omitted, depending on variety you make)
4 Tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
3/4 cup milk (can use cream for added richness if desired)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. (This picture show the dough after incorporating the butter. I added chocolate chips to these and am about to lightly mix them in with a fork).Add milk and blend well; the finished dough should be sticky. Flour a flat work space and knead the dough for about 1/2 minute. Press out to about 1/2 inch or less thickness ~ and cut into any shape desired. Triangles are traditional. Transfer to a baking sheet. (Be wary of little hands trying to snatch them before they are even cooked yet!)
Bake for 15 minutes and immediately remove from baking pan to cooling rack. Yield is about 12 depending on shape and size.

Varieties:

Cranberry Orange: After cutting in butter and before adding milk, stir in with a fork about 1/2 cup dried cranberries and orange zest to taste. You can also stir in some chopped walnuts. Proceed with the rest of the recipe as written. Finish the top with demerara sugar before baking if desired.

Citrus: After cutting in butter and before adding milk, stir in with a fork lemon and orange zest to taste. You can also stir in some chopped walnuts. Another breakfast favorite here with local honey!

Chocolate Chip: After cutting in butter and before adding milk, stir in with a fork about 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips and proceed with the recipe as written. For these, you want to be sure to add the 1/4 cup of sugar. These will hardly last the afternoon at our house!

NOTE: I always use a pastry cloth when working with doughs instead of putting my flour on the countertop or on waxed paper. When you lightly flour your pastry cloth, it will keep the dough from sticking to the surface without incorporating extra flour into the dough you are working.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Kitchen Knives and Cutting Boards

Here are 13 tips when buying kitchen knives and cutting boards:

Kitchen Knives:

  1. You can get by in the kitchen with just 3 really good knives~ Chef, Serrated and Paring.
  2. Chef knife is usually 8 to 10 inches long.
  3. Serrated knife is for soft foods, cold cuts, bread and tomatoes.
  4. Paring knife is usually 3 to 4 inches long.
  5. Look for knives that will hold an edge - no knife can be "ever sharp".
  6. Bolster is what provides balance during use.
  7. A full tang means the blade goes all the way through to the end of the handle. Some knives have an enclosed handle and some have handles where you can see if the tang goes to the end or not.
  8. Professional sharpening is usually needed about once a year. The "sharpening steel" is not for sharpening, but to keep the edge on the knife. You should use the steel on your knives every time you get ready to use the knife.

Cutting Boards:

  1. Should be wood or plastic. Glass boards will ruin your knife edge. You want them sturdy and thick, not thin and flimsy.
  2. I use plastic for RAW MEAT, because they can go right into the dishwasher. I use wood for everything else, including cooked meat.
  3. What to look for in a wooden cutting board: Maple is the best for care and ease on your knives. Get one that is as big as you can afford. You really only need one, as it will last a lifetime with proper care.
  4. Features to look for include a carving well, juice trough and finger wells.
  5. Be sure to use food safe mineral oil on the wood when it looks thirsty to keep it from splitting or cracking. Never put it in the dishwasher. Hand wash with soap and water then dry immediately.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Cast Iron Cookware Care

I really love to cook with my cast iron cookware. My favorite skillet is one that belonged to my grandmother - it is so seasoned that it cooks like you wouldn't believe and nothing sticks to it! Here is some information that I've learned along the way about caring for cast iron.

  • Cast iron is very cost effective. It is so durable that it will last a lifetime or longer with proper care. It is an excellent heat conductor - can go from stove top to oven - it is very versatile. It isn't used by as many people today mainly because it is heavy and a lot of people don't know how to properly season it.

  • Seasoning cast iron is done so the pan will become non-stick and to seal the pores so there will be no odor retention. Here's how you do it:
  1. Lightly oil the pan with vegetable oil. If it has a lid, oil it as well.
  2. Place the pan (and lid) in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour.
  3. Make sure the pan is placed in upside down - this is essential or the oil will bake in the pan and leave a sticky residue.
  4. It might take 2-3 times of doing this before it is seasoned well for the first use.
  • If you store your cast iron with paper towels between the pans, the towels will absorb any moisture and prevent rusting.
  • If the pan has been seasoned improperly and is already sticky, you can remove this residue with LOTS of elbow grease using steel wool with no detergent and hot water. After it is clean, re-season it.
  • If there is rust, you must scrub it and then re-season it. For severe rust, you can put the pan in your oven on the self-cleaning setting, then wash the pan and re-season it.
  • I rarely wash my cast iron skillets with detergent, just a rinse and wipe dry seems to keep them clean and rust free.
  • If you cook anything with a tomato or very acid sauce in your cast iron, you might need to re-season it.

If you've never cooked with cast iron, I really encourage you to give it a try! We haven't used non-stick cookware in our house for years - I rely solely on my cast iron and my stainless steel cookware that has copper bottoms.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!


I hope this day finds you all in good health, good spirits and hopefully enjoying at least one delicious holiday meal with family and friends.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

7 Best First Aid Kits For Any Situation

Here's another great article from Popular Mechanics that I thought I'd share with you all:

The 7 Best First Aid Kits For Any Situation

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hardship Drill - Could You?

Guest post from Ohio Preppers Network.

Hardship drill

Fire drills. Hurricane/tornado evacuation drills. Home intruder drills. Bug-out drills. All essential activities to engage in as part of your and your families preps. However, these address preparing for more or less single isolated events-- although you should also prepare for the aftermath. But what about preparing for hardships like job loss? Sure, you have a cache of food stores, hopefully of cash on hand, etc. What more can you do?

I'd like to suggest the "Hardship Drill." A Hardship Drill is a longer-term prepping activity designed to help you and your family learn how to deal with deprivation. Here's what I have in mind, but each family could tailor this to their own situation and habits.

I'm suggesting that each family member give up something for a week. That something should now be a regular item in the family's budget, and preferably one that ain't cheap. It could be a service like home internet, cable TV (hey Dad, can you live for a week without NFL ticket?), or cell phone service (or maybe just the texting feature). Whatever it is, it should be something you are now spending money on that might find itself on the chopping block if you are forced to cut expenses. Alternatively, the entire family could give up the same thing and go through withdrawl together!

I know some of you are living a real Hardship Drill that's lasting longer than a week. What do you think? Is it worth preparing for the psychological effects of "downsizing" a household?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Ideas for Saving on Your Electric Bill

Saving on your electric bill

If you're a frugal prepper then you want to save money everywhere you can. You're electric bill is probably the easiest place to find waste that you can start to cut out. I'll tell you a little bit about what we've done to kill the watts in our Bug-In-Location. (I call it that, because we've always lived in areas that we would want to be if things ever get real bad...if the SHTF, we're bugging in, not out)

Our first choice was location. If you have a choice on where to live and want to focus on reduced energy costs, then choose a place in the northern states, preferably where firewood is accessible. I'll get into firewood more in a bit, because the focus right now is how my wife got our electric bill down to $51 in the month of July and about $60 in the month of August.

By living up north the need for air conditioning is minimal...Even if it's what we'd consider hot, it's not like you're going to die if you don't have air conditioning. Yes we do have one small window mounted unit, but it's rarely ever used and only as an amenity.

Here are some more tips:
*Insulation: If you are looking for a home, then get one with thick walls and adequate insulation. Our home is built with 2x6 exterior walls. Now I'm not a building expert but I do know the better the R value the better insulated your home is. This is even good to pay attention to in hot climates as you want to keep the heat out and the cool in. Make sure you have proper vapor barriers, and have sealed all drafts and that the attic and floor are also well insulated. Solid Core wood doors and double pane insulated windows are also a must. Wood transfers less heat than metal.

*Color: For siding, go with light colors rather than dark. Light colors reflect heat better and will actually reduce heat build up by several degrees. Do this with the roof also as that is where the direct exposure to the sun is. Now if you live in an area that is normally cool in the summer and very cold in the winter you may just want to do the opposite to absorb as much heat as possible.

*Shade Trees: we have tall trees and mountains where we live so our home receives a substantial amount of shade keeping it cool even in the summer months

*Windows: In the summer, when it's cool outside at night open your windows to cool the inside, then close them during the day. Keep the curtains closed to keep the sunlight out. In the winter, keep the windows closed and curtains open to draw in the sunlight for natural warmth

*Appliances and electronics: Keep them unplugged when not using them. Yes, most appliances and electronics still continue to consume energy even when they are turned off

*Hot Water Heater: We use this as a convenience...Really, do you need hot water to survive? If we did away with this amenity I'm sure we would have had a $25 electric bill rather than a $51 bill. But if you must use it, then turn the temperature down so that it's bearable to run your hand in the hot water even with the cold water turned off.

*Dryer: This is probably the next biggest loser of electricity next to hot water heaters....Come on now, use a clothes line! This one isn't rocket science.

*Turn out the lights: We see no need to have the lights on during the day, and go to bed when it's dark. Do you have kids and find this to be a tough rule to enforce? Then swap out your switches with switches that have motion detectors, light sensors, and timers. They can be set to only come on when it's dark and when someone moves in the room, this also makes for a great safety feature. When no one is moving in the room they will shut off automatically. We're staying with the incandescents because while they may use more watts they are dirt cheap to buy compared to the CFL's and are non-toxic. We plan to stock up on them before 2010 when they will no longer be sold in stores...If you rarely use them to begin with, then why not? I'd almost bet that I have incandescents that are used so rarely that they'll last longer than a CFL bulb that gets used constantly.

*Buy Energy Star Appliances: All of our appliances are new...Our newest addition is a Kenmore Energy Star freezer and is said to only use about $35 worth of electricity per year. Got more time on your hands, then can your food...Who says you have to have a freezer to store food anyway? If the grid goes down your freezer will only work as a box to store dry goods in anyway. This is another amenity.

And lastly, my favorite, Wood Stoves:

It's easier and cheaper to keep a home warm than it is to keep it cool if you have access to firewood. We live in Northern Idaho on acreage so wood is basically free. Despite what environmentalists say, it's good to burn firewood if you have an efficient wood stove. A dead tree is breeding grounds for beetles that kill more trees and adds to the danger of forest fires if not removed. Do the forest and your neighbors a favor and remove the dead trees, check local laws first. If it's gonna burn, might as well be inside your fireplace keeping your house warm and reducing the strain on the grid rather becoming a danger to the forest. If the dead tree rots, termites and other insects that devour it will release methane into the atmosphere adding to the infamous "Global Warming"...LOL...If Environmentalists had any sense they would be proponents of efficient wood stoves for heating homes....A wood stove can also be used to cook your food, heat water, and dry your clothes (No, don't put your clothes on the stove, hang them a safe distance well away from the stove so they don't catch on fire.) Always consult with a professional and follow proper instructions on the usage of wood stoves. Our Wood stove is installed in the basement which is common practice where we live. Heat rises, therefore the whole house is heated more uniformly, again, check local laws and codes and seek professional advice before installing a wood stove.

I have several more tips about saving on power, just cant seem to think of any more off the top of my head at the moment. The most important thing to remember is every little bit helps. If it wasn't for "wanting" the amenities like the hot water, computer, and freezer, we could go off grid tomorrow, and use a generator when we really need power.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

8 Tools and Gadgets for Any Disaster

Here's great list over at Popular Mechanics that you should check out:

8 Tools and Gadgets to Prepare Your Home For Any Disaster

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Micro Greenhouse Idea

Ultra Micro Greenhouse


This was just an experiment and it worked great for me. I took a plastic juice jug which I have plenty of and made a Ultra Mirco Greenhouse. I just cut the jug in two, placed some compost inside and planted my seeds. Add a little water and put the top half back on, be sure to replace the lid this also it helps to keep the heat and the water inside. I only watered them when I first planted them and that's it. Seeds sprouted in just a few days. Set them in the window sill so they can get some sun and watch them grow. After your sprouts get a few inches high move them into a larger container.

This is a great idea to get a jump start on your Victory Garden. Raising food is a must for any long term survival situation or self sufficent life.

I used what I had on hand at the time which must be practiced in these situations.

for more great articles visit: prepperbook.blogspot.com

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dogs as Part of Personal Security

Before you get a dog

Before you get a dog, planning and research are in order. After all, this dog will become a member of your family and survival group. As in all things, the 5 P’s prevail: Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

First, list what you want from the dog. Is the dog expected to protect people, protect property, give alarm, reduce vermin (rats and such), hunt, raise morale, more? Put those characteristics in order of priority. Most breeds of dog are specialized. They will do some things superbly, and others not at all. Hunting dogs are further specialized into hunting by sight (grayhounds, etc) and by scent (most hounds, among others). Only one breed of dog has been successful at both guarding and hunting as far as I know, that would be the Rhodesian Ridgeback. Hunting dogs generally will protect the person and family, but will not protect property – my neighbor’s Golden Retriever ignored the people that ransacked his house while he was working. Guard dogs are normally hopeless at hunting – my herding dog simply doesn’t understand fetch, let alone hunting.

Next, list your care constraints. How much room do you have? How much can you apply to purchase, training and continuing care? How much time will you give to the dog? Larger dogs need more room, some breeds need room to run. Walking and grooming the dog are continuing needs that take up different amounts of time depending on the dog and breed. Long-hair breeds need lots of combing, but handle cold weather well. Short-hair breeds don’t need as much grooming and are better in warm weather (but they still shed lots of fur, it just comes off easier). If there are allergies to consider, a poodle may be the only choice. Because of their hair, poodles can be kept by people that are allergic to dogs.

Once you have your two lists, research to find the best fit. http://www.justdogbreeds.com/ is a good place to start. Settle on the breed(s) that will work for you.



for more great articles visit: prepperbook.blogspot.com

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Why We Should Store Food

The Basics of Being Prepared with Food & Why We Should Do It

In this country, we have become used to a certain way of living. We don’t have to hunt for food any more, our time is taken up with making or spending money and we have time for leisure activities and hobbies. Time for household chores has been cut dramatically, and cooking can be as quick as you want it. You can “drive thru”, go to a restaurant, cook on the bbq, create a home made masterpiece or “nuke” a hot pocket. Your local grocer has everything you could ever want to feed your family.

There are several problems with this.

The first is especially obvious in these current times, and that is the economy. Food prices are rising, nothing goes down…well, unless you believe in Wal Mart’s “roll back” pricing signs! Our very paycheck is at risk these days with such high unemployment. The prices go up even more when gas prices increase, which brings us to reason #2.

Our lovely, fully stocked grocer is only 3-7 days away from being almost empty! Your grocer (drug store, gas station, home depot) depends on a delivery to remain stocked. Raise the price of transport, raise the price of groceries. Stop the transport (due to a flu pandemic, an electrical outage, a natural disaster etc) and stop the groceries.

Nasty stuff is out there…we’ve heard of the poisonings and illnesses created by eating contaminated food. The government has the controls in place to prevent much of that, but they’d rather create more restrictive bills that will have us relying on big agribusiness. (another rant and a debate for another time lol). However, from time to time, things will slip by FDA and inspectors. Much of the problem is because we are spoiled and continue to demand food from other countries, out of season. We can add to that, our needs are so great that farms use chemicals to ensure the demand is met. This all can be solved by following what is called “The Hundred Mile Diet”. Eat food that is locally grown! Not only are you supporting local economy, you are eating food that is better adapted to your body. It’s also more likely to be less contaminated with harsh chemicals. Better yet, grow your own! A by-product of our eating habits is that we don’t always make meals that were once considered wholesome, hearty and healthy. We view them as too plain or fattening. This need not be true! All we need to do is make appropriate substitutions. But by fixing your own food from scratch, you definitely help with a variety of issues. Not to mention that your family will be very happy.

So, what does this have to do with Being Prepared? Well, the first thing that you need if something goes wrong, is food. FEMA, Homeland Security, Ready.gov, every state in the country, and even the White House suggest that every family be prepared for an emergency/interruption of services with food and water for 72 hours. However, that wouldn’t have done the people stranded in Katrina much good! The NEW suggestion is that you have at least 2 weeks worth of food, if not 30 days. That is the beginning of your basic food “preps” (preparations/emergency supplies).

So, how do you go about getting 2 weeks to 30 days worth of food? Do you have to resort to buying MRE’s (meals ready to eat like Army rations)? Are you going to turn into one of those wierdo’s that lives in a bunker with a thousand cans of Spam? Of course not, and it’s easy to do!

I follow the principle of “storing what I eat and eating what I store”. It’s kind of like having my own grocery store. It’s what used to be known as a full pantry in the old days.

Every time I go grocery shopping, when something I use is on sale, I get as many of that item as I can afford. For instance, we eat spaghetti often. When pasta is on sale, I pick up 10 boxes instead of two. When spaghetti sauce is on sale, I pick up 10 cans/jars. The shelf life of pasta (properly stored) is about 10 years. The shelf life of your canned/jarred sauce is about 5 years. I know that I have enough food for 10 meals without my family noticing that I haven’t been to the store! Of course, I do the same with tuna and mayo, flour and sugar and many other things. Make a menu for three meals a day for a week. All the stuff you would normally make, include comfort foods like brownie stuff) and then multiply the ingredients by 4 and then as the items go on sale, you can purchase enough. Soon, you will have enough to feed the family for a month with no hassles.

Consider why this might come in handy:
Economic/unemployment
Flu/quarantine (yes, the government CAN quarantine you for 2 weeks! NO trips to the store)
Natural disaster (hurricane, earthquake, fire)
Civil unrest (probably due to unemployment and high taxes lol)
Martial Law
Terror Attack

Your first responsibility to yourself and your family is to feed them, then defend them…can’t defend, can’t start a new life, can’t wait till the problem is solved if you starve to death!) You can’t be a Patriot and fight the government when they have food and you don’t.

Author: HerbalPagan
Visit: GreenSurviving.blogspot.com
Massachusettspreppersnetwork.blogspot.com


for more great articles visit: prepperbook.blogspot.com

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fire Starters

Gear Review: Fire Starters

Author: Mathiasj


Making a fire is the most important thing in a survival situation. It can provide you with warmth, food, and a huge moral booster. Fire is also useful when camping and for fellowship of friends and family. There are many different ways to start a fire and knowing different ways to start a fire is important whether you're in a survival situation or not. A fire needs 3 elements to burn (fire triangle) heat, fuel, and oxygen. Sufficient heat is needed to start any fire, and the proper fuel to oxygen ratio is needed to keep a fire going.

First off is the trusty lighter or matches. Every prepper should have a few packs of quality Bic lighters put back, and a few thousand matches. This is the easiest way to start a fire. When starting any fire you will need something to burn to get the wood going. Newspaper is good to use to start a fire, and those free want ad papers at gas stations are great to have on hand. You want to stay away from using fuels to light a fire, especially if you plan on cooking over the fire. You run the risk of getting those chemicals on your food.

The next best thing to a lighter or matches is a firesteel. A firesteel should be part of every preppers survival kit. Whether it's your get home bag, everyday carry, bug out bag, or camping supplies; a firesteel is invaluable. If you're lighter runs out, or your matches get wet, your fire steel is your last line of defense so to speak. A firesteel works by moving a metal blade across a magnesium alloy to create sparks that can get up to 5,500°F. Those hot sparks can be thrown on a number of different types of tinder to start a flame that will light your fire. Firesteels can even be used in the rain or snow and will last for around 12,000 strikes.

Here are some ideas for tinder:
-Vaseline Soaked Cotton Balls
-Hand Sanitizer Soaked Cotton Balls
-Dryer Lint
-Pine Needles
-Dried Grass
-Unraveled twine

There are a lot of ways to start fires in the wilderness if you don't have a lighter or firesteel. I will do a part 2 to this post detailing some ways to start a fire without them. This post is to show that you need to have these things on hand so you don't have to rub sticks together to try to keep yourself warm at night. A firesteel can fit in your pocket and is a crucial part of your everyday carry.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Budget Prepping

4 Super-Cheap Prepping Resources

Author: The Survival Mom
TheSurvivalMom.com

Our family is simultaneously trying to become debt-free, save as much money as we can, have at least six months of food on hand, and take care of some badly needed DIY home projects. Believe me, I need every cheap resource I can possibly find to help me toward my prepping goals! The four cheapest resources I have found are all available to you, too!

1. Garage and Estate Sales

Been there, done that? Aren’t thrilled about buying other people’s junk? When you’re prepping, your shopping will have a focus, and I think you’ll find these sales a useful resource. Keep a list of items still needed for your 72 Hour Kit or general preparedness. This list will help you visit more garage and estate sales in less time because usually, with a quick glance, you can tell if a sale has what you need.

Even better, use online garage sale locators. Google “local garage sales” or something similar. You’ll be surprised at what pops up! Often, these sites will list items at the sale, and this can help you choose which sales to visit. You can also find estate sales in your area here. I prefer estate sales since everything in the house will be sold, down to half used bottles of Windex. Here are a few things I’ve been looking for:

* tools — I don’t want to count on, “Made in China” if we’re ever truly in a bind. Tools made decades ago will be high quality with lots of years still left in them.
* backpacks, gym bags — I need two more backpacks for our personal 72 Hour Kits and miscellaneous gym-size bags are great for holding all kinds of gear to take camping.
* camping equipment — we have a tent but nothing else. My husband is hardly Grizzly Adams! I would especially like an outdoor cook stove.

Remember, once you know what you want, the search goes much more quickly!

Oh! BONUS TIP! Retirement communities often run their garage sales Thursday through Saturday.. You can get a jump on all the other bargain hunters by heading to these neighborhoods early on Thursday mornings!

2. Freecycle.org

Freecycle is exactly what it sounds like. Recyling things you own by giving them away for free. Once you’ve signed up with a Freecycle email group in your area, you’ll begin receiving regular notices from other members with offers of free “stuff”.

I’ve seen some great items offered on Freecycle that would help out any prepper. Watch for glass canning jars, camping equipment, water barrels, dog crates, and so much more. Usually what is offered is mentioned in the email’s subject line so you can scan through them quickly. Remember to offer things hanging around your house or garage that you no longer want or need!

3. Dollar Stores

Don’t forget to visit your local dollar store! Apparently, dollar stores are becoming quite trendy. Who would have guessed?

I took a stroll through one near my home last weekend, and here are some of the best bargains I found.

* binders starting at just $2
* a package of 8 small memo books for $2. These are great for keeping in your car, your 72 Hour Kits and your purse.
* vinyl shower curtain, $2 Multiple uses for this including a ground cover and a quickie tent.
* can opener, $1.25
* chess game, $4. Would be useful in providing entertainment during a crisis.
* triple antibiotic cream, $2.30, along with a good variety of other pharmaceuticals
* large bottles of spices for $1
* a can of Quick Flat Fix, $3
* a 6-pack of Top Ramen, $1.10

Not everything is a great bargain, but you won’t know that unless you’re paying attention to prices at regular retail stores. Would you believe, I didn’t think my town even had dollar stores until I checked out these websites. What a find!

* Dollar Tree
* Family Dollar
* Big Lots!

4. Friends, Relatives, Neighbors, Casual Acquaintances…

You get the idea! Every one of us has stuff around the house, in the attic, out in the garage, in a storage unit, etc., etc. that we’ll never use again, and so do your friends, relatives, neighbors, and so on. When you get to the end of your prepping list, and you still have items you need, why not ask around?

Consider a casual barter agreement to get what you want, such as a few hours babysitting in exchange for a tent or a set of sleeping bags. Here’s a great article on the age-old practice of bartering.

We don’t know when an emergency will happen, and it just makes sense to get your preparations in order as quickly as you can. If you’re like me, your don’t have an infinite amount of money to prepare for everything, perfectly, all at once. I decided to jump in and do what I can, when I can, and I’ve been pretty impressed with how quickly my prepping has come together with these four money-savers!

Check out these four cheap resources and see if your dollar doesn’t go a whole lot farther! Soon, you’ll be ready for just about anything!


for more great articles visit: prepperbook.blogspot.com

Monday, November 16, 2009

Survival Literature for Children

INSTANT SURVIVAL TIP: Survival-Savvy Kids Literature

Author: The Survival Mom
TheSurvivalMom.com

Are your kids wondering why, all of a sudden, they’re seeing buckets of wheat around the house, and Mom is reading up on how to can meat? Our kids are already hearing about job losses, families losing their homes, and it’s no wonder that many of them are pretty anxious about current events.

A great way to talk with them about your own plans for being prepared for hard times is to read together, books like Little House on the Prairie, Farmer Boy, Hatchet and My Side of the Mountain.

The Sign of the Beaver is one of my family’s favorites about a boy left on his own in Indian country. Your kids will be impressed with his ingenuity.

These books, along with many others, illustrate people working to be self-sufficient and prepared for the future. Summertime is a great time to spend reading together. Why not choose a book that illustrates your own values and goals and learn together?


for more great articles visit: prepperbook.blogspot.com

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Power Outages

Guest Post

Off Guard and Off Grid

Off grid means many things to many people but for this post we will be addressing off grid as not have any electric power from an outside source, electric power company, ect.. Most of us depend on this outside source to provide all of our electric needs and wants. Many dream of living off grid, I'm one of them, but it's not for everyone I know. But what happens when the electric company is unable to provide you with your electric power for what ever reason? I have, and I'm sure many of you have too, been left in the dark due to a power outage, downed power lines are common during winter storms, even summer storms for that matter. Fire, auto accidents and flooding are just a few of the many other things that can and do interrupt electric service. What I'm saying is that you could be caught off grid unintentionally. But you don't have to be caught off guard during this time. Power outages can last only a few minutes or in some cases a few weeks. You can go here to read one families adventure during a power outage and some of the things they wish they had prepared for. Here are a few things you can do to make this time a little more pleasant or at least comfortable.

First, don't panic. It's not the end of the world, you are not going to die. Keeping your head during this time is the most important thing you can do for your safety.

Know where your flashlights are and have fresh batteries in them. You do have a flashlight??

Gather all family members in the same room to make sure all are accounted for and assure them that everything is and will be ok. Give each family member a flashlight to use as necessary. Candles are always important during an emergency, find them and light them to provide light for all to move freely and safely around the house.

I always shut off my main power breaker and you need to make sure any gas appliances are shut off too. Some use an electric thermostat or pilot light and may not perform as they should without electricity. This is for the safety of the whole family.

Check to see if your neighbors or family close by have electricity. You may be on a different power grid than they are and they could have power when you don't. If conditions are favorable you could go to their house and wait out the power outage. If road conditions, the weather or you vehicle is not up to par, STAY PUT !!

Next, if it's a cold weather situation you need to stay warm. Put on your socks and shoes or boots. Layer clothing to stay warm. Put on a jacket or coat, gloves and hat. It's much easier to stay warm than it is to get warm again.

Do you have an alternate heat source? A wood stove or kerosene heater, small propane stove. Any of these will help keep you warm through this outage. Make sure to provide ventilation for any gas burning heater.Once you have a little heat and some light this situation will be feel much better for all.

Do you have some water stored?? I hope so because many times water service will be lost during these times too. You will need water to drink to help keep you hydrated during this outage.

Now, where's that battery operated radio. Listening to the radio will give you some idea of how long this outage may last and inform you of any road conditions as well as provide some form of entertainment.
Speaking of entertainment, how about those board games. This will keep everyone in a little better spirit until things get restored. If this outage doesn't last too long it can be really fun for the whole family. Sort of a camp out of sorts.It's a good idea to keep a note pad and pen or pencil handy too.

This is a good time to make notes of things that you should have had ready for an emergency. You will think of many things that would have made this time much more comfortable for you and your family.

So, let's review the basics that we need to be safe and comfortable.

Light source-- flashlight, candles, battery operated lantern, ect..

Heat- Wood stove, kerosene heater, warm clothes, ect..

Radio-- Weather Radio, AM/FM radio will do fine to keep you informed of the situation.

Batteries, Batteries, Batteries. You can never have too many extra batteries.

Entertainment--board games us no power source at all and are a lot of fun for everyone.

Sit back and relax until the electricity comes back on. With these few simple ideas you can be safe and secure during this time. Get a few preparations in order and don't get caught off Guard and Off Grid.

I know these are not all the things that may be useful during these times. I also know that many readers will have other ideas as to what to do. Let me know your ideas and anything I may have left out of this small list. We would love to hear from you. Be sure to leave us a comment.



for more great articles visit: prepperbook.blogspot.com

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Grab and Go Binder

Over the course of the next several days, I'm going to share some valuable posts that are available across the American Preppers Network that you might not have had the chance to review. I'm still around, just taking a little holiday time with my family and using that time to share some great info with you all that is already out there in the network.

A Prepping Essential: The Grab-n-Go Binder

Author: The Survival Mom
TheSurvivalMom.com

In a panic situation, which happens around my house quite often, actually, people lose their wits. The extra adrenaline produced by the human body at such a moment causes confusion and the sense of events happening in slow motion.

It can even cause some of the same symptoms as a heart attack.

Can you imagine the level of adrenaline in your body if you suddenly got news of a dangerous chemical spill in your area or of a wildfire that had taken an abrupt turn toward your neighborhood?

Officials tell you to evacuate now.

Where on earth do you start??

Being prepared beforehand will calm your nerves and give you focus. A Grab-and-Go Binder is a vital part of your Family Preparedness Plan, and is one of the first things you should put together. This binder will contain all of the most pertinent information in one place for any type emergency.

You can be at least one jump ahead of all that adrenaline because you’ll have your important documents all together in one place. It may take some time to gather all the records you need, but start now with what you have. In my opinion, “prepping” is no time to be a perfectionist. Do what you can, when you can, and you’ll be far more prepared than the average person.

For this project you’ll need a 1-2″ three-ring binder, a set of tabbed dividers, and a copy machine. A box of plastic page protectors will keep your documents clean and unwrinkled. Your binder will be unique to your family, but here are some suggestions to get you started.

Financial Documents:
1. copies of the fronts and backs of debit/credit cards
2. copies of house and car titles
3. copy of your will
4. names, addresses and phone numbers of all our banks
5. other important documents related to employment and/or a family business
6. copies of your insurance policies (life, health, auto, homeowners, etc.)

Personal Documents:
1. names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses of relatives and close friends
2. include copies of:
* marriage license
* birth certificates
* drivers licenses
* CCW permits
* pet vaccine records
3. a list of firearm serial numbers
4. legal documents pertaining to child custody matters
5. recent photos of each family member and each pet
6. color photos of your house and each room in the house
7. photos of anything of particular value
8. passports — put them in a plastic page protector and seal the top with tape

Medical Documents:
1. copy of health insurance cards
2. a list of blood types for each family member
3. names, addresses and phone numbers of all doctors
4. medical histories of each family member
5. immunization records

With your finished Grab-and-Go Binder, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that your family can focus on a quick bug-out, without trying to retrieve important family records.

What’s in your Binder? I’d love to hear of anything unique to your family that you included!

Instant Survival Tip: Grab-n-Go Updates

Author: The Survival Mom
TheSurvivalMom.com

Two of my readers offered excellent tips for the Grab-and-Go Binder. Squantos suggests having more than one copy of the Binder. Keep one copy in a home safe or fireproof lock box. To keep it waterproof, double-bag it in two Zip-Loc style bags or use a SEAL bag for safekeeping.

A second copy of your binder should be kept in a safe deposit box in a location at least 50 miles from your home. I think this is a great idea if you find yourself unable to return home to get your hard copy. Additionally, consider electronic storage of your information on something like a USB Fob (can keep it on a keychain or hang around your neck, example here), a mini disk or other storage device. Thanks, Squantos!

Reader Apple Pan Dowdy reminded me of the need for good maps! I can’t tell you how many times we have been halfway to Disneyland only to realize we don’t have any road maps and we have to guess our way there. Maps are vital to a safe evacuation, and I have much to tell you on the topic, but for now have a good road map of your state and the surrounding states. That would be a very good start.


for more great articles visit: prepperbook.blogspot.com

Friday, November 6, 2009

What to Watch in Ukraine H1N1 Severity

Recombinomics had a good article today detailing that while the WHO is so far indicating they see no "big" mutations or changes in the sampling they've done in the Ukraine so far, Recombinomics reminds us that even "small" changes can lead to dramatic results - quoted below:

However, the changes seen in Ukraine do not require "big" mutations. Small mutations, such as SNP can have profound effects for a virus like pandemic H1N1.

That virus normally circulates in swine, and has recently jumped to humans. It already has many characteristics with the 1918 pandemic strain. Both are swine H1N1 that jumped to humans. Such species jumpers can increase efficiencies with small changes. One good example is position 627 in the PB2 gene. That position comes in two forms. When there is glutamic acid (E) at that position, the PB2 enzyme copies the viral genetic material most efficiently at 41 C, the body temperature of a bird. However, if that position has a lysine (K), the enzyme is most active at 33 C, the temperature of a human nose in the winter. The swine H1N1 has an E, which may be why it goes well in lung, which is 37 C and closer to the optimal replication temperature of 41C. However, a single change that produced the most efficient replication at 37C would lead to even higher levels in the lungs, which could lead to frequent cytokine storms, like those in 1918, instead of the less frequent level seen in Ukraine.
Just in case you haven't been following the severity of H1N1 in the Ukraine, here's today's update from Recombinomics:

Reported Cases in Ukraine Double Again To 871,037
Recombinomics Commentary 22:54
November 6, 2009

871,037 Influenza/ARI Cases

39,603 Hospitalized

135 Deaths

The above numbers from the latest update from Ukraine (see map) continue to alarm. More than half of the Oblasts and cities listed exceed the epidemic threshold, including Kiev and Kiev Oblast, raising concerns that the increase in case numbers will accelerate. Moreover, hospitalization of 39,603 raises concerns that the number of deaths will also accelerate, since 11% of hospitalized cases in California died.
Click the link for more detail about the hemorrhagic pneumonia being seen there. Granted, these people have very sub-standard living and medical care conditions that can cause delayed or non-existent medical care, but we still need to be aware of any mutations or changes in the H1N1 virus if it is found in this region.
Tennessee Preppers Network Est. Jan 17, 2009 All contributed articles owned and protected by their respective authors and protected by their copyright. Tennessee Preppers Network is a trademark protected by American Preppers Network Inc. All rights reserved. No content or articles may be reproduced without explicit written permission.