Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hurricane Irene: Lessons Learned

I love that you can learn lessons all the time.  Some lessons though you don't necessarily want to learn by living them, but I feel like this hurricane taught many people many things. I for one, learned a few, others that I already knew were just confirmed.

1. Preparation - when this storm was approaching there were some forecasters that were telling us to get ready and get ready early.  Others were telling us it wasn't going to be so bad.  Some still were telling us, we weren't going to get anything really where we lived.  I am glad that I prepared and prepared early.  This storm gave us time.  Some storms won't.  When I went through what I already had and made a list of what I needed to prepared, there wasn't much on the list other than a regularly scheduled grocery shopping trip.  I made a point though to only pick up items that could keep in the space we had in coolers (in case of power outages) and items that I could cook on my grill, and items that would keep on the counter for a few days (like fruits and veggies).  I also made sure I picked up an extra couple cases of water.  This way I wouldn't go through my already stored water, I could rotate my stock and already have enough to replenish it.

2. Stay or Go??? - we have a travel trailer that has a generator and we are very comfortable living in it for long periods of time.  When we got to the two day out (before the storm) mark my husband and I discussed again the idea of leaving and moving out of the storm's path.  We decided that we should leave.  Now, I have to tell you that many thought we were pretty crazy for leaving including family members.  We left and headed 4 1/2 hours away from our town.  We figured that there was nothing that we could do during the storm if our house got hit by a tree or with power outages, etc.  We figured that we could come back and assess the damage after the storm and deal with it then.  Nothing lost except a dark windy night at our house without power.  We packed up the trailer with all the food and meats from the freezer that I could pack into our freezer in the trailer. We loaded up a few extra pair of clothes, not knowing what we might come back to and headed on our way.  Our decision to go put us in a quaint town and a campground on a beautiful lake.  We swam in the lake while our home town was being pummeled by falling trees, 90mph winds, and rains, not to mention the fact that our neighborhood lost power about 1 pm the day of the storm, pretty early for the rest of the city.  That evening we enjoyed hot dogs on the grill, a campfire, and a nice bed with air conditioning.  The next morning we awoke and had our coffee overlooking the lake through the beautiful forest listening to the locusts chirp.  My neighbors and other family members awoke to damage, debris, and no hot coffee because their coffee makers did not work on battery power.

3.  Stay put after the storm - If you prepared correctly then you have enough food to last you a few days and a cooking source to cook your meals.  You really should stay put.  I followed this storm via Facebook through my friends, neighbors and family who stayed home.  I received this one post that cracked me up.  It said something to the point of "The storm is over. I am off to find a cup of coffee with the rest of the city."  I giggled thinking of our last big storm in 2003 where we did the same thing.  We got up the next morning and packed the kids in the car to go find breakfast somewhere along with 10,000 other people.  We learned then that everyone else will be out doing just that and we don't have to be a part of it.  If you prepare correctly you don't have to get into those crowds.  You can sustain yourself and your coffee habit right at home. (PS if you boil water on your camp stove and then pour it slowly into your coffee maker filter with the pot underneath it makes just as good a coffee as if your coffee maker had perked it with electricity).

4.  Be Patient - We are currently on day 4 of no power.  I don't expect it to come on today or tomorrow either.  I know that the electric company is working hard to get power restored, and I keep checking on the big tree that took down the electric line.  The tree is still there along with a bunch of other trees in other places.  I am patient.  This clean up takes time.  No matter how much we yell, call the electric company, and complain to others I am only getting myself worked up and in the end they will fix my power in due time.  Right now, I have a pretty good set up.  I have the trailer in the driveway with our food in the fridge and the generator running.  We use the house toilets and the sinks for water and washing.  Cooking, TV watching, and sleeping are done in the trailer. I have a pile of clothes that will eventually need to be washed. I will find a laundromat in a day or two.  I have cleaned out our house refrigerators and freezers and packed as much as possible in coolers and in the trailer refrigerator and freezer.  The house freezers and refrigerators needed to be cleaned out anyway.  We also have internet.  We plugged up an extension cord to the internet router and have wifi in the trailer.  I am getting close to empty on gas and will need to fill up the gas tank soon for the generator but other than that we are getting along fine.  Showers on the other hand are getting chilly and we will need to find a new place for a shower soon.  But we can get by on a shower every other day.  I am being patient.

Even if we didn't have a generator, I know we would be okay.

Oh, and guess what???? Another hurricane is looming in our future.  I just heard that Katia may be knocking on our doors in another week or so.  Am I prepared for that one???  You Betcha!!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

First 100 Items to Disappear in an Emergency Situation

I found this post from Carolyn Barber on BlogHer.  I thought it was a pretty good and comprehensive list of items that we should have on hand because others will be wanting them.

Just yesterday in preparing for the Hurricane that is coming to our area my husband was telling me that he was a hardware store (not big box) and the cashier was saying that they had sold 80 generators in the past 2 days and they had another 80 coming in the next day on a truck.  I am sure that they were gone in no time!

Check out her blog too.  I found a bunch of great information there.

The first 100 items to disappear in an emergency, disaster type situation:
1. Generators
2. Water Filters/Purifiers
3. Portable Toilets
4. Seasoned Firewood. Wood takes about 6 – 12 months to become dried, for home use
5. Lamp Oil, Wicks, Lamps (First Choice: Buy CLEAR oil. If scarce, stockpile ANY!)
6. Coleman Fuel. Impossible to stockpile too much.
7. Guns, Ammunition, Pepper Spray, Knives, Clubs, Bats & Slingshots.
8. Hand-can openers, & hand egg beaters, whisks.
9. Honey/Syrups/white, brown sugar
10. Rice – Beans – Wheat
11. Vegetable Oil (for cooking) Without it food burns/must be boiled etc.
12. Charcoal, Lighter Fluid (Will become scarce suddenly)
13. Water Containers (Urgent Item to obtain.) Any size. Small: HARD CLEAR PLASTIC ONLY – note – food grade if for drinking.
16. Propane Cylinders (Urgent: Definite shortages will occur).
17. Survival Guide Book.
18. Mantles: Aladdin, Coleman, etc. (Without this item, longer-term lighting is difficult.)
19. Baby Supplies: Diapers/formula. ointments/aspirin, etc.
20. Washboards, Mop Bucket w/wringer (for Laundry)
21. Cook stoves (Propane, Coleman & Kerosene)
22. Vitamins
23. Propane Cylinder Handle-Holder (Urgent: Small canister use is dangerous without this item
24. Feminine Hygiene/Haircare/Skin products
25. Thermal underwear (Tops & Bottoms)
26. Bow saws, axes and hatchets, Wedges (also, honing oil
27. Aluminum Foil Reg. & Heavy Duty (Great Cooking and Barter Item)
28. Gasoline Containers (Plastic & Metal)
29. Garbage Bags (Impossible To Have Too Many).
30. Toilet Paper, Kleenex, Paper Towels
31. Milk – Powdered & Condensed (Shake Liquid every 3 to 4 months)
32. Garden Seeds (Non-Hybrid) (A MUST)
33. Clothes pins/line/hangers (A MUST)
34. Coleman’s Pump Repair Kit
35. Tuna Fish (in oil)
36. Fire Extinguishers (or..large box of Baking Soda in every room)
37. First aid kits
38. Batteries (all sizes…buy furthest-out for Expiration Dates)
39. Garlic, spices & vinegar, baking supplies
40. Big Dogs (and plenty of dog food)
41. Flour, yeast & salt
42. Matches. Boxed, wooden matches will go first
43. Writing paper/pads/pencils, solar calculator
44. Insulated ice chests (good for keeping items from freezing in Wintertime.)
45. Work boots, belts, Levis & durable shirts
46. Flashlights/LIGHT STICKS & torches, “No. 76 Dietz” Lanterns
47. Journals, Diaries & Scrapbooks (jot down ideas, feelings, experience; Historic Times)
48. Garbage cans Plastic (great for storage, water, transporting – if with wheels)
49. Men’s Hygiene: Shampoo, Toothbrush/paste, Mouthwash/floss, nail clippers, etc
50. Cast iron cookware (sturdy, efficient)
51. Fishing supplies/tools
52. Mosquito coils/repellent, sprays/creams
53. Duct Tape
54. Tarps/stakes/twine/nails/rope/spikes
55. Candles
56. Laundry Detergent (liquid)
57. Backpacks, Duffel Bags
58. Garden tools & supplies
59. Scissors, fabrics & sewing supplies
60. Canned Fruits, Veggies, Soups, stews, etc.
61. Bleach (plain, NOT scented)
62. Canning supplies, (Jars/lids/wax)
63. Knives & Sharpening tools: files, stones, steel
64. Bicycles…Tires/tubes/pumps/chains, etc
65. Sleeping Bags & blankets/pillows/mats
66. Carbon Monoxide Alarm (battery powered)
67. Board Games, Cards, Dice
68. d-con Rat poison, MOUSE PRUFE II, Roach Killer
69. Mousetraps, Ant traps & roach magnets
70. Paper plates/cups/utensils
71. Baby wipes, oils, waterless & Antibacterial soap
72. Rain gear, rubberized boots, etc.
73. Shaving supplies (razors & creams, talc, after shave)
74. Hand pumps & siphons (for water and for fuels)
75. Soy sauce, vinegar, bullion/gravy/soup base
76. Reading glasses
77. Chocolate/Cocoa/Tang/Punch (water enhancers)
78. “Survival-in-a-Can”
79. Woolen clothing, scarves/ear-muffs/mittens
80. Boy Scout Handbook
81. Roll-on Window Insulation Kit
82. Graham crackers, saltines, pretzels, Trail mix/Jerky
83. Popcorn, Peanut Butter, Nuts
84. Socks, Underwear, T-shirts, etc. (extras)
85. Lumber (all types)
86. Wagons & carts (for transport to and from)
87. Cots & Inflatable mattress’s
88. Gloves: Work/warming/gardening, etc.
89. Lantern Hangers
90. Screen Patches, glue, nails, screws, nuts & bolts
91. Teas
92. Coffee
93. Cigarettes
94. Wine/Liquors (for bribes, medicinal, etc,)
95. Paraffin wax
96. Glue, nails, nuts, bolts, screws, etc.
97. Chewing gum/candies
98. Atomizers (for cooling/bathing)
99. Hats & cotton neckerchiefs
100. Goats/chickens

Thursday, August 25, 2011

New Forecast for Hurricane Irene

I was at the grocery store this afternoon and it was more crowded than usual.  Also I noticed that most everyone had a case of water bottles in the bottom of their carts.  I also heard several people talking to others they knew and saying things like, "I ran out of milk this morning and needed it anyway." and "I needed batteries for my kid's toy".  I spoke with a worker there in a friendly way said, "have you all been busy today?" and he said "Yeah with all the crazies stocking up for the end of the world. ha ha ha. With all the talk on the TV scaring everyone".

I thought it was really interesting that so many are embarrassed to say they are buying supplies for the storm.  They say they are buying things because they need it or ran out or whatever.  Why can't we tell others proudly that we are just stocking up for the storm.  Just in case, you know.  I don't understand why we have to be embarrassed about it.  Why are we trying to belittle the warnings that are given by the authorities or better yet, why are we trying to convince people that is really won't happen? Honestly I don't know what will or will not happen.  I am not thinking that we will necessarily have an "end of the world" situation, but I do think that we can be prepared for weather emergencies, economic downfall, and other financial emergencies in our homes due to loss of job or illness.  It just makes sense.

So next time you are in the store and you are stocking up on milk, bread, eggs, butter, or like me extra batteries, yeast, and chocolate cupcakes (because that is what we are low in) and someone says, "ah preparing for the big storm, huh?"  Smile at that person and say "Yup, you never know!!!" :)

Saving Money While Stocking Up

Many blogs and other sites talk about stocking up your food storage and other emergency supplies slowly so you don't go into debt doing it.  They talk about waiting for items to go on sale and then stocking up.

This can be a daunting task for someone like me who wants to get prepared NOW, and not wait for items to go on sale.  It can also me daunting to try to figure out what a "rock bottom" price is for an item and if you have never really used coupons for items before either. 

However, I have decided to not stress out about this.  I decided to use the coupons that I have and not search too hard for other coupons on the internet and other places.  I DO have a life you know.  One can spend hours collecting and clipping coupons for one shopping trip.  This doesn't seem time efficient to me and if I spend a bit more money on an item because I didn't spend an extra hour getting that $0.25 coupon for it then it is worth the extra quarter to me.  In the end if I feel like I got a good deal on something even if it wasn't the rock bottom price then I have won.

This past weekend I glanced through the ads in the Sunday paper.  I noticed that CVS had a sale on paper products.  Buy $25 in paper products, get $10 back.  Then they also had a deal on cleaning supplies like bleach, 409, and Tilex.  This deal was spend $30 in product, get a $10 gift card for gas.

So here is what I bought:
First Transaction:
4 boxes of Puffs Plus tissue (sale price - saved $0.99 each)
1 16 double rolls of Charmin toilet tissue(sale price - saved $6.00)
1 12 rolls of Bounty paper towels(sale price - saved $5.00)
Total with tax $27.98
Got back $10 in Extra Bucks

Second Transaction:
2 bottles of 32 oz Formula 409 (sale price - saved $2.49 each)
2 bottles of 32 oz Clorox Cleanup (sale price - saved $2.29 each)
5 bottles of 10 oz Palmolive Dish Soap (sale price - saved $0.98 each)
2 bottles of 96 oz Clorox Bleach (sale price - saved 1.00 each)
3 Oral B toothbrushes (sale price - saved $0.38 each)
2 boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios (sale price - saved $1.69 each)
2 jars of Planters Mixed Nuts (Buy one get one free - saved $5.79)

1 composition book (for daughter for school)

Used $2.25 in manufacturers coupons
Used $10 extra bucks from first transaction

Total spent with tax $27.57
Got $10 gas gift card back. 

In all I saved 50% off the total nonsale prices not including getting the gas for FREE!!!  The gas will go in my tank for my generator.

In the end, I can't worry about "rock bottom" prices, spending a zillion hours clipping coupons and I have to remember to take this prepping in baby steps.  But if I feel like I got a good deal in the end then I am happy.  I buy things on sale, clip coupons when I see them and use them when I remember to, and will keep my lists of items I need for food storage and emergency supplies.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Easy Baking Bread

I found this recipe on line but I don't bake it exactly the way they say to.  If we are going to store wheat and flour then we need to learn to bake bread.  I don't know about you but I have always been afraid of baking bread because I thought it took so much time kneading the dough and so much room on your counter.

This bread couldn't be easier and it is so delicious.


6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (white or whole wheat or a combo of the two)
1 1/2 TBS dry active yeast
1 1/2 TBS course Kosher salt
3 cups warm water

Mix flour, yeast and salt together and add the water slowly until all is mixed and wet.  It doesn't have to be soaking wet, you want a dough.  On more humid days I use a bit less water, on drier days I use a bit more water.  Mix in a bowl with a fork until all wet.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 2 hours.  Once it has risen to double its size cut into thirds and form a loaf.  You can put it in a greased loaf pan or just leave it on a cooking stone or a cookie sheet.  Let it rise for another 15-20 minutes while your oven is heating up.  Pre-heat your oven at 400 degrees.  Slice the top of the loaf about 1/2 inch into the dough all the way across length-wise or do a couple slices width-wise.  Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is golden brown.

The beauty is that you don't have to bake all three loaves at the same time.  You can just do one and then store the rest of the dough covered in your refrigerator for a couple days until you use it.  When you do this, after you take the dough out of the fridge form your loaf and let sit for 30-45 minutes.  Then bake.

I like a softer crust.  If you want a harder crust, put a metal cake pan in the oven  on the lower shelf while preheating and preheat to 450.  Once your oven is ready, pour about 2 cups of water into the pan to make steam and bake your bread on a cookie sheet or preferably a stone.  The steam with make your bread more crusty.

If you want rolls then form little rolls on a cookie sheet and let rise the second time.  Bake at 400 for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown on top.  Check them at 15 minutes.

If you want to make freezer rolls form the rolls and bake like above but bake for only about 12 minutes, when they are not quite done yet and not golden brown on top.  Then take them out and let them cool.  Put in freezer Ziploc bags and freeze until you are ready to eat them.  When you take them out of the freezer bake them frozen at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes.  Yum!!!

This bread is delicious with white flour.  I also love it in whole wheat.  I mix half white and half whole wheat flour and increase the yeast to 2 TBS yeast.  This gives it a bit more fluffiness and it won't be so dense.

The bread should last 3-4 days on your counter covered or in a Ziploc bag.  Great for toast in the morning or sandwiches, as well as a wonderful loaf at dinner.  Oh and it makes your house smell so good!!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Great blog post on Hurricane Preparedness

I came across this post on Totally Ready blog tonight.  It is awesome.  It asks 21 questions that you should ask yourself when preparing for a hurricane.  Go there and check it out.


Things I learned today with the earthquake

I learned two things today.

 No damage occurred to me or my family or my property, but one interesting thing to note was that in the next two hours after the quake it was difficult to use your cell phone or land line phones. Everyone was calling people and it was bogging down the phone system.
Another thing to note was that in the couple hours after the quake people were not driving safely. They were one their cell phones in their cars and they were driving carelessly. This caused a bunch of unnecessary accidents in the area. While there wasn’t much damage in the surrounding areas (most damage was at the epicenter) people were “excited” to talk about it and to find out if their family and friends felt it. It happened just before I got off of work and the drive home was more dangerous than the event itself.
I learned two things today: 1. phones shouldn’t be used to contact others right away, only for emergencies. Use other forms of communication or wait to contact friends to chat. Facebook and email were great for this. 2. if at all possible don’t get in your car right after an event like this. Stay put for a while to let others calm down.

How did I forget???


I was at Cosco this evening picking up another case of water bottles and a few other items I needed and I picked up a big package of paper plates.  It occurred to me, well more like a slap in the face moment, that these can be essential in an emergency.  Everyone will still eat and it is so much easier to eat on paper plates when your power is out.  That way you don't have to worry so much about cleaning the dishes you use.  I always try to have these on hand anyway but in an emergency they can be a stress-freeing item.  Who wants to wash a bunch of dirty plates when you have no electricity and have to hand wash your dishes??? Not me, that's for sure!!

So add them to your list and keep a supply on hand for those times you are feeling lazy emergencies.

Being Prepared for Everything

This afternoon an earthquake occurred in Virginia.  It affected much of the entire eastern seaboard, as far north as Rhode Island and Massachusetts and as far south as northern Georgia.  This was the largest earthquake on this side of the US since the late 1890s.  That means that this was a "once in a hundred years" events.  While the damage was minor even in the epicenter we all need to be prepared for anything.

This area was warned a few days ago to start preparing for a hurricane.  No one said anything about preparing for an earthquake.  

How does one prepare for an earthquake?

1.  Bug out Bag and car kits. This is important so you can grab and go and have supplies ready for you in case you can't return to your home due to damage.

2.  Have a plan and a place to go.

3.  Have a contact not in the area to contact and check on other loved ones in the area but that you can't reach.

4.  Have an adequate supply of water in case your water supply is compromised.

5.  Have a supply of food, batteries, and an alternate cooking source in case your power goes out.

After the quake occurs:

1.  Check your home for structural damage and other damage.

2.  Check for gas leaks both in your home and outside as gas lines may have been damaged and gas might be leaking up from the ground.

3.  Check for water main leaks and other pipe leaks.

4.  Turn on your radio or TV (if you have power) and follow the advised directions from officials.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hurricane Readiness

The news is calling for a possible CAT 3 hurricane to hit the southern east coast in 5-6 days.  Where we are we won't have a direct hit but will most likely deal with the aftermath of this storm coming on land.  They are expecting heavy winds, lots of rain, and possible flooding.

The news caster just announced that people should start to prepare for this now, just in case it hits us.  These preparations should include:
1. an emergency evacuation plan for those along the coastal areas, low lying areas and in the path of the storm.
2. have at least a 3 day supply of food and water for each member of your family including medications, and pets.
3. update and confirm your homeowners insurance policy, car insurance policy, and medical plans.
4. have candles, flashlights, battery operated/hand crank radio and weather radio ready and in working order as well as extra batteries or each item.
5. have a back up plan for cooking, heating water, etc.
6. if the power is expected to go out and you are sheltering at home, prior to the storm buy some bags of ice and put them in your freezer to help keep your refrigerated and freezer items from spoiling. I put them in a Rubbermaid bin like a dishpan so that if they melt then they don't flood all over the place.  Also take out items that you will most likely need from the refrigerator and put it in a cooler.  This way you don't have to open the refrigerator and freezer while the power is out.  The less you open the doors the more time you have before items begin to spoil.  As a bonus, eat the ice cream.  That will be the first to go anyway. :)
7.  have at least three days of water on hand.  If the local water gets contaminated you have water on hand.
8. tarps and duct tape are good things to have on hand.  These items are good for emergencies.
9. have a back up plan.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Very Useful Information

In blog hopping I came across this awesome website.


There is a whole Preppers Network for all the states.  Each state has their own.  This is super cool because you can scan down on this page, (the Colorado site) and on the left hand side you will see a window where you can click on your own state and find pertinent information specific to your state.

I think this is so awesome because not everyone has to deal with winter blizzards or horrific heat waves or earthquakes.  This way you can prep according to your locality.  How awesome is that???

I also found that the Prepper's Network has a huge resource of e-books and e-pamphlets. Here is the direct link.


Want to shout out to my new readers.  Please think about "following" me.  I would love to connect with others who are just starting out like me so we can share our experiences and what we have learned.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Love this Poster

Isn't it pretty cool??  I love it and would love to have one framed in my house, maybe in my pantry, just for motivation.

I am working on a budget for food storage and emergency supplies.

Over the next week my husband and I will have many conversations about prepping, emergency preparedness, family preparedness and food storage.  Our kids will be away with their grandparents so this it the time that we can have extended, uninterrupted conversations about this stuff.

I want to get a plan together for gathering the needed supplies. I have already started a list of things I want to accomplish.  Here are a few things on the list.

  1. car emergency kits - water, food, blanket, first aid kit, flashlight, batteries, light sticks, etc.
  2. 72 hour grab and go back packs - 
  3. update my purse with items for emergencies
  4. food storage plan.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Prepping on a Small Budget

I came across this article this evening and it is exactly everything that I was compiling for a post here.  I couldn't have said it better than this blogger.


I love all the suggestions in this article.  I use many of these suggestions as I prep.

Head on over and read it today.

Our First Aid Kit

I need to take a photo of this for you all.  I got this idea from a blog Prepared LDS Family who got the idea from somewhere else.  I love this and it has really helped us keep our supplies together. Plus this is easily transportable.

We keep our first aid kit in a tool box now.  Actually ours is probably an art box.  There is a removable tray on the top so we have two layers for items.  In the bottom we store various boxes of bandaids of different sizes, shapes and materials.  We have waterproof ones, fabric ones, regular ones, big ones, little ones, ones that go over your knee, around your knuckle, you get the idea.  We also have a box of alcohol wipes, anti itch cream and an ace bandage.  I also keep a clean cotton cloth in there.  The top layer is for smaller items like loose bandaids, tweezers, scissors, and medications like Tylenol, Advil, Neosporin, etc.  I love that it is all in one place and it is organized.  Prior to this method we had a haphazzard first aid kit in a small box under the sink in the bathroom.  Some of our items were scattered through the house too.  So you had to hunt for what you were looking for.  Now it is all in one place and if we go camping, we grab the box and go.  If we need to evacuate quickly we can grab the box and go.  So easy.

About first aid supplies:  I also keep a small first aid kit in my purse.  I used to keep a first aid kit in the car too.  It was really handy when the kids were really small and they would fall and bump their knees.  I need to get a first aid kit for the car back in the car, well one for each of our cars would be nice.  I also have a small first aid kit for my 72 hour grab and go bag (bug out bag).  In it is the basics - bandaids, hand sanitizer, first aid spray (like Bactine).  Not much.  Ideally it would be good to grab our big kit to go with us.

We purchased the bulk of these items when I needed to spend some money in my flex benifits plan from work.  It was getting late in the year and I some money left over.  Our plan at the time allowed for first aid supplies and over the counter medications.  I stocked up on these items.  Now our plan doesn't allow for them so I pick them up as I see them on clearance or on sale in the grocery stores or pharmacies.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Like Grandparents-Like Grandchild

Years ago, like 20 years ago my grandfather died.  My father and I went to his house a few months later to clean out some of his items.  My grandmother had died several years before my grandfather.  We were in the basement and I noticed a stash of canned goods.  I was young and not of the mind I am today.  I mentioned to my dad that they had a lot of food stored in the basement (when I mean a lot it was maybe 40-50 cans).  My dad said yes that they always kept a bit extra food just in case they couldn't get to the store or in case of a winter storm.  Made sense to me and nothing more was said.  My dad was the cook in our house and he always kept a stocked pantry too.

Fast forward many years and I am having a conversation with my mother about emergencies and disaster, in general terms this conversation was.  Nothing serious and nothing alerting.  She told me that my uncle had gone to my grandparents and told them that in case of a nuclear attack that they needed to have extra food and supplies ready for them to survive.  So he convinced them (she said) to buy all this extra food and it sat for years for the nuclear attack to never come.  She said it was such a waste of money and she was so glad that my dad and her weren't sucked in to spending a ton of money on needless food for an attack that would never happen.  Oh, I remember now, we were talking about bomb shelters back in the 50's and 60's.  This purchase of the stock of food was in the 70's apparently.  I remember when we were talking about it that it made sense to me to be prepared and I remember thinking that my mom was so reckless in her opinions and her idea that nothing will happen and she will be fine.

I know that my dad was a smart man, and I know that my dad enjoyed having a variety of items on hand at any given time.  He loved his stocked freezers and his stocked pantry.  I can only wonder if he was storing food for the "just in case" too.  Even if my mom thought it was foolish to stockpile food I wonder if he did anyway, secretly by just keeping our pantry full.

And now today, as I stock my pantry, purchase extra supplies for first aid kits, 72 hour bug out bags, and stock our trailer for the "just in case", I know I can't tell my mother about it.  I know that if I did she would think of me as being foolish, wasteful, and worrying about something that will never happen.

I keep this all a secret.  This blog. My pantry. My prepping.  It protects me and keeps me safe.

Disaster Preparedness Brochure

AMAZING AGAIN!  Today I was at an expo at my county.  There were lots of booths there that had to do with new technology the county is using or thinking of using, local businesses and banks, and other vendors.  I walked past this one county service that is a medical volunteer group.  They are a group of volunteers and they go out and help with flu vaccines, medical clinics, and such.  This volunteer was very nice and before we left his booth he handed me a brochure.  I thanked him and went on my way.  I looked at the brochure and lo and behold it is a brochure on disaster preparedness!  God works in great ways.  I think I was supposed to start this blog and blog about all things preparedness.

The brochure does a really good job of covering the basics.  It has three simple steps:
1.  Get a kit.
2. Make a plan,
3. Stay informed.

The kit they are talking about is a 3-Day kit.
You should include the following for each member of your family to last three days.

  • food that won't spoil, such as canned goods and packaged foods 
  • water, one gallon per person per day
  • a working battery-operated radio and extra batteries
  • a written family emergency plan
Once you have those items you are to add:
  • flashlights and extra batteries
  • first aid kit including a list of allergies and extra contact lenses or glasses
  • a written list of your prescriptions and the prescribing doctor(s) and at least a week's supply of medications
  • Sanitation supplies: toilet paper, soap, plastic garbage bags, and personal hygiene items
  • change of clothing, sturdy shoes and a blanket or sleeping bag.
  • food and water for your pets
  • special items for infant, elderly or disabled family members
Once you have the kit you are to make a plan:
  • discuss with your family the types of possible emergencies and disasters that threaten the area you live in and what to do in each case.
  • Talk with school personnel to learn how they handle emergencies and how you will be informed if an emergency occurs.
  • Know where you will go if you have to evacuate your home and how you can take your pets.
  • Decide on a meeting place, and choose an out of town friend or family member to be a contact person.
  • Keep all important phone numbers with you at all times, just in case.
Now your job is to stay informed:
  • You should keep up with local up to date information before, during and after a disaster.
  • Follow any orders to evacuate or remain in your home.
  • Keep informed of weather watches and warnings and educate yourself on what to do in these times
  • Keep your battery-powered radio in working condition and make sure you have extra batteries in case the electricity goes out.
Here are a few links that I have found to help with preparing an emergency kit.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pending Doom: A Skill Set for Success

Over the last several years whenever I take up a new craft or attempt to learn a new skill by husband will tease me about "preparing for pending doom".  Or "PD" as we call it in our home.

This evening I was quilting and started thinking about our conversations and the various skills I have taught myself over the years that would be helpful in a pending doom situation. I can make quilts and I quilt by hand.  I can knit and crochet and I have knitted sweaters, hats, socks, mittens, scarves and bags.  I can sew with a sewing machine and by hand.  I can cook and bake from scratch.  I can bake bread.  I can cook over hot coals if need be.  I can cook using my grill as a "stove".  I can can foods.  I make a great jam and canned pickles and other foods. I can re-purpose items.  I can garden and grow all sorts of produce including fruit.

I never took home economics in school so many of these skills were learned as an adult.

There are a few skills though that I would like to learn how to do.

I want to learn how to shoot a gun.  A handgun and a shotgun or rifle.  I think this is an important skill.
I want to take a refresher course in first aid.
I want to learn how to identify and use edible plants in the wild.

We own a few books that also help us with other skills that we don't necessarily need to learn now but to be able to do if needed.

My husband has a pretty wide skill set for PD as well.  He can fix just about anything. He can build simple structures.  He can cut firewood, create a good fire, and he knows how to shoot a gun.

We also have the Army Survival Manual.  

What other skills do you think I need?

Hurricane Preparedness

Just this evening on the local news they had a story about preparedness.  It is amazing how when you start to think about a subject sometimes information begins to pop out at you everywhere.  Tonight's news article was about being prepared for a hurricane.  Several years back we had a hurricane come this far inland and it devastated the city.  Trees were toppled over, electricity was out for weeks, and for several days our water was compromised.

I remember that time well.  We had been at the beach and we left early because we knew the hurricane was coming.  We came home to our house and when we arrived we found out that the track of the storm would likely go right over where we lived.  Not to worry.  Our house was stable, we were so far inland that we expected the storm to likely weaken, and we had necessary supplies.  We had about 24 hours to prepare for the storm.  We knew we would likely lose power as we often lost power in regular rainstorms and sometimes just with a stiff breeze.  We had plenty of candles, lanterns, and flashlights.  We secured anything not tied down in the yard and we cleaned out our rain gutters. We had plenty of food in the house and had the other essentials (milk, bread, toilet paper).   We woke early the next day (the day the storm was to come) and my husband suggested that he go out and get some ice.  He ran out and bought 80 lbs of ice and loaded it in the freezers.  We lost power early but didn't worry.  That evening we grilled on the screened porch in the pouring down rain.  We could hear tree limbs cracking and falling and we could hear some trees fall too.  We were safe though in our house.

The next morning we went out to inspect the damage.  Fortunately we didn't have much damage at all.  We had a few limbs fall and one cracked the top rung on our fence but that was all.  Our neighbors however fared much worse than we did.  There was significant damage due to downed trees.  There were power lines down everywhere.  Some roads were blocked by the trees and the power lines.  Travel was difficult in some places.  Since we didn't have power we thought we would go out to eat breakfast.  Apparently everyone else in the town had the same idea.  We went to a local grocery store when we realized that what few restaurants that were open were packed.  The grocery store was so crowded and everyone was buying food that was easy to eat or prepackaged meals.  We hadn't thought about everyone going out the day after and buying everything they could.  We weren't panicked and we ended up not buying anything but going back home.  We had food there.

Over then next couple days we learned quickly to cook most everything and anything on the grill.  We had plenty of propane and cast iron skillets and pots.  We cooked pancakes and eggs in the mornings, grilled cheese sandwiches at lunch, soups, spaghetti, and of course grilled meats and veggies for dinners.  We didn't have power for 14 days. In the process that ice that my husband had gotten at the last minute saved much of our food for a few days so we could eat more of it and not have to throw it out.  After 4 days or so we did have to throw out everything left in the freezer.  We then went to buying any refrigerated items on a daily basis.  We learned a lot about this event.

We love our cast iron cookware and while we use it almost daily we love that it can perform double duty and work on the grill in an emergency.

We learned that it is so helpful to have a plan from the start so you don't have to go out in the crowds immediately following a disaster.  We should have stayed home and not left for a few days.  But we were able to see first hand the crowds.  While these crowds on that day were civil with each other in another emergency they may not be so civil.  There could be riots, looting, and violence.  I had my children with me and that could have been a very dangerous situation.

Fast forward to today.  Am I ready for another hurricane?  I am not sure.  I need to work on this idea.

Here are some things I do know:
1. I feel confident that I can handle our basic needs for a few days with our supply of food in our house.  It isn't much, like months worth of food but it will get us through for several days if need be.
2. I feel confident that our supply of flashlights, candles, and lanterns will get us through for several days.  I need to check on our supply of extra batteries.
3.  I feel confident that we would be able to adequately prepare prior to an upcoming storm given a day or two notice that it is coming.
4.  I am not confident that we have additional tarps, plastic, duct tape, and other supplies if damage occurs to our house where we need to do some immediate temporary repairs to it.

The news article talks about stocking up on these items:
1. have at least 3 days of food and water that you can prepare or eat without power to cook it.
2. stock up on tarps, duct tape, plastic, etc for quick repairs.
3. have an emergency plan.
4. have at least 3 days of batteries for flashlights, lanterns, and other lighting sources.
5. have additional personal supplies like toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and hygiene items as well as prescription meds and pet food.

I am going to begin making a list of items that will help us be prepared for this kind of emergency.

A prepared mom purse

Last month I reorganized my purse.  I carry a bunch of junk in there and I wanted to lighten my load so to speak.  With preparedness in mind, I got rid of a bunch of stuff (mainly kids toys and such) and kept the important stuff.  I carry my purse pretty much everywhere I go so having it stocked with the right stuff seems to make sense to me.  Since we are in the height of summer I didn't include an extra pair of mittens or gloves as I would normally have in the winter.  I will add and subtract items as the seasons require.  Where I live we have all four seasons.

Here is what I have currently in my purse:
1. my wallet with emergency info.
2. cell phone with emergency info stored on it.
3. a mini first aid kit (neosporin spray, couple different sized bandaids, chapstick, travel size tube of hand lotion, alcohol pad)
4. Keys with a mini LED red light.
5. Small LED flashlight
6. couple different hair rubberbands
7. two packs of fruit chews (like gummy bears).

I used to have adult Tums and children's Tylenol chewable tabs.  My daughter tends to get headaches a lot and I carry them for her.  However, I have run out of both of these items and need to replace them.

I also carry my daily medications in my purse.  We were traveling a lot last month and they have just stayed in my purse since then.  I think it is a good idea to at least keep a few pills in there just in case I don't get home for some reason, but I don't think I need to keep the whole prescription in there.

Items I want to add to my purse:
1. kleenex
2. multi-purpose collapsable utility knife set (if anything a swiss army knife)
3. adult tylenol
4. fingernail clippers (I find I need these often and don't have them with me)
5. whistle

Can you think of anything else I need or should have?

Here are some other links I have found:





Tuesday, August 16, 2011

An Argument for Preparedness

Why do I care?  Well, it is really simple.  When I gave birth to my first child, something happened inside of me.  I wanted to make sure that I was able to protect my child and provide for him to the very best of my ability.  I didn't want to be caught out at the mall and not have enough diapers, or an extra set of clothing.  I didn't want to go somewhere for the day and end up spending the night and not have enough food or clothing or blankets for my child.  My diaper bag was packed with everything that I could pretty much possibly need with him, including band-aids, extra washcloth, extra diapers, extra clothing, and more food than he could eat for twice the amount of time we were planning to be out.  Not only that but I tried to have extra items in the car (just in case) too.  My son liked to spit up a lot so I also often had an extra shirt for me in that bag too.

I ended up having three children in three years.  The diaper bag got bigger and with a few in diapers at the same time, I often had enough items in the diaper bag to get us through an entire weekend without worry, just in case...

I liked the feeling of being self-reliant, prepared for anything, and most of all, I loved the fact that when we went to my in-laws house and my child spit up all over themselves, I didn't need to borrow ANYTHING from my mother-in-law who would have LOVED to rub it in that I wasn't a great mom and I wasn't prepared for my children.  I didn't want to borrow one thing from that woman and I didn't want to have to ask her for anything.  (that is also a whole other story for another day.)  Most of all, I loved being ready for just about anything.

Over the years, we didn't need that diaper bag so much and eventually we didn't even need any extra items.  However, I found myself always packing an extra outfit for many outings that my family would take.  You just never know when that child of yours might decide to go into the river or water past their knees even when you told them not to.  You never know when your child might not make it to the bathroom even though they have been potty trained for years.  You never know when that bottle of ketchup in the restaurant might practically explode all over your child's shirt and pants.  So as we ran out the door, I found myself grabbing that extra pair of underwear, shirt and shorts that were sitting in the pile of clean laundry on the dryer. Many times I was so glad I did.

Now as my kids are verging on teenagehood, I want to do what I can to continue to be prepared for what comes down that pike.  I can't control everything but just the feeling of being able to provide for my family and help to keep them as safe as possible makes me feel good.

I know I have gone off topic a bit.  Back to my argument for being prepared.  My husband owns his own business.  In the winter he has a bit of a lull for about two months where he doesn't work hardly at all.  In your own business, no work equals no income.  This happens every month and it happens around and just after the holidays.  We have found that if we stock up when we can prior to the lull time, we can weather this time much better than if we don't.  So for us the economy of our family lends itself well to us having food storage as well as extra storage on items we use everyday.

Then we move to the external forces that surround us.  The American economy is terrible.  People are continuing to lose their jobs every day.  I haven't had a pay raise in 4 years and I actually took a pay cut 2 years ago.  We are living on wages of 2007.  If for some reason I were to lose my job we would be in quite a pickle.  Being prepared would help us out tremendously in those times.  Also there is the unknown.  Our country does a great job with national security but no one can be 100% sure that nothing will happen.  We haven't had war on our soil in a very long time but you never know.

Thus, being prepared is only beneficial.  And that is why I am actively working towards being as prepared as I can be.  I hope that you will too.

An Introduction

Hi, I hope that you happened on my blog because you are someone who is interested in being prepared. Prepared, no matter what.  Prepared for - well, most anything.

A bit about me.  Unfortunately, I am not going to tell you who I am or where I live because I want to keep this blog anonymous.  I have read and been told that once you begin to start preparedness you won't want anyone else to know who you are.  It helps protect you and your family.  I am a mom.  I work outside the house.  I am married and my kids are school-aged.

Several years ago I began to hear things in the news and I felt nervous about the state America is in.  Not only with our economy but also with our safety.  I began talking with my husband about it and he had similar feelings. We began to talk about emergency plans.  This led me to doing more research on the internet and led me to beginning our preparedness "training".  We have always wanted to be more self sufficient and prepared.  We didn't call it "preparedness training" though.  We didn't have those words.  Not yet.  About this time I also had a strange conversation with a friend who told me that Mormon's keep a year's supply of food in their homes "just in case...", she said.  I was very curious about this and did some more research.  I was also able to get my hands on a chart and list and eventually a food storage binder that helped to explain how they go about gathering their food storage.

Then I stopped.  Then I started back up.  Then I stopped again.  Last spring I started up again researching and gathering more information.

I now am at a point where I want to begin documenting my quest toward preparedness.  This blog will be more for me to keep the information that I gather together in one place as well as for others who want to read what it is like to accomplish this task.  Perhaps we can do this together.  Feel free to comment and make suggestions.  I know I need all the help I can get.  :)