The Survival Mom » Featured http://thesurvivalmom.com Helping moms worry less & enjoy life! Fri, 29 Aug 2014 06:00:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 If You Just Moved Here… Living in Tornado Country http://thesurvivalmom.com/just-moved-living-tornado-country/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=just-moved-living-tornado-country http://thesurvivalmom.com/just-moved-living-tornado-country/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 06:00:51 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=17123 Where exactly IS “tornado country?” Most people know about Tornado Alley which includes northern Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska at its core (though the boundaries are not completely defined).  Some may even know about Dixie Alley, the Southeast’s tornado corridor Read More

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AVR Living in Tornado CountryWhere exactly IS “tornado country?”

Most people know about Tornado Alley which includes northern Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska at its core (though the boundaries are not completely defined). 

Some may even know about Dixie Alley, the Southeast’s tornado corridor that encompasses much of the lower Mississippi Valley, including parts of Texas and Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and parts of both North and South Carolina. Tornadoes are less frequent in numbers in Dixie Alley but often are stronger and have longer tracks. They also cause more damage because of greater population density than in much of the Tornado Alley region.

Here are some facts that many people DON’T know… 

The United States has more tornadoes than any other country, averaging about 1,200 per year.

EVERY state has had tornadoes. Most occur east of the Rocky Mountains. Florida has the most per year per square mile but they are typically small. Oklahoma has the most violent tornadoes per year per square mile. Alaska has only had two tornadoes since 1950. Texas. Mississippi and Alabama have had the greatest number of tornado deaths.

Tornadoes have occurred in EVERY month of the year. The main “season” is March through August but different areas have their own “peak” months. For example, historically Alabama sees more tornadoes in April and November than any other month.

Tornadoes have happened at EVERY hour of day and night, but are most common between 2 and 8 pm.

So, if you’ve moved into a more tornado prone area, here’s what you need to know.

Understand the Terminology

Tornado Classification

Tornadoes are classified using the EF (Enhanced Fujita) Scale from weak EF-0 tornadoes to a catastrophic EF-5s. The scale is based on wind speed and expected damage to certain types of buildings and vegetation.

AVR EF Table

Watch-Warning-Emergency

You may hear the weatherman giving you information about tornado watches, warnings, and emergencies. Here’s what each means and what actions you should take.

  • Tornado Watch – Conditions are favorable for thunderstorms that can produce tornadoes. Prepare your safe place if it is not already set up.
  • Tornado Warning – A funnel cloud has been reported, a tornado has been sighted, rotation is seen on weather radar, or a waterspout is headed toward land. If this is in your area, you need to be waiting it out in your safe place.
  • Tornado Emergency – A strong or violent tornado is on the ground and significant, widespread damage, injuries, and loss of life is expected. If a tornado emergency is declared and you are in the path of the storm, you must be taking shelter, preferably underground, and bracing for impact.

Watch the Weather!

While you can learn a lot and get broad information from a source like The Weather Channel, nothing beats your local weather forecasters. They know the specific meteorological history, topography, and unique characteristics of the areas they cover. With the advanced weather forecasting technology available today, forecasters can sometimes give several days “heads up” to potentially tornadic weather.

One of the best ways, besides watching local news, to keep on top of impending weather is to have a weather radio in your home. It can be programmed for your specific location and will run on batteries during power outages. Most can even be customized to only alert you to certain information. Mine is set up to sound for warnings and emergencies, not for watches.

Determine if your neighborhood has tornado sirens. If it does, find out what each warning sound  means to you. Some only have one sound. Others have multiple sounds depending on what they are warning for. For example, on or near military bases, there may be different sounds for weather, for general shelter in place order, and for hazardous materials issues.

Remember, tornado sirens are really intended to warn people who are outside of their homes when impending weather approaches. You may not hear it from inside your house during the day. During the relative quiet of the overnight hours, the tornado sirens might be more clear inside, but do not depend on them to wake you up. (But your weather radio will!) If you do hear a siren, be sure to move indoors and turn on your television or radio for more information.

There’s an App for That

You can still get warnings even if you aren’t at home as a storm approaches. There are plenty of weather apps available for your phone. The American Red Cross has a tornado app and many news stations have their own specific weather app.

Like your weather radio, you can often customize the warnings based on your address, current location, and/or type of warning you prefer. A benefit of many of the weather apps is that you can put in other addresses besides your home and receive alerts for all of them. You can include the address for your work or a family member’s home, or even your child’s school or college.

Stay Safe

A lot of articles have already been written about how to stay safe in a tornado. I encourage you to start by reading these:

Shelters are your best option during a tornado, but what if you don’t have one? Click here to read “No Shelter, No Basement, No Problem.

Want even more tips? Read “23 Tips to Help You Prepare for Tornado Season.” 

Don’t be scared! Be Prepared!

Even in more tornado prone areas of the country, the odds of a twister hitting your home are slim. But it does happen. Be as prepared as possible, stay informed, and be alert.

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Prepping for Back to School http://thesurvivalmom.com/prepping-back-school/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=prepping-back-school http://thesurvivalmom.com/prepping-back-school/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 06:00:49 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=17118   Amidst the joy of summer time swims, cold Popsicles, and sleeping in, the new school year sneaks up on us. I dread the whirlwind back to school shopping as advertisements plague the airways, and other media. I feel my Read More

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Prep_Backtoschool

 

Amidst the joy of summer time swims, cold Popsicles, and sleeping in, the new school year sneaks up on us. I dread the whirlwind back to school shopping as advertisements plague the airways, and other media. I feel my wallet emptying before I even make the shopping list. Not to mention the kids exclaiming, “I must have this one!”

Here are a few things I have learned to prep for back to school season. It will help save money, time, and some sanity.

School Supplies

Every year, we use the same basic school supplies. Most stores overstock these items. I’ve learned to wait until the end of the back to school rush, when the stores mark the items for clearance, then I stockpile crayons, ruled paper, printer paper, composition books, pencils, glue, etc.

Also, the teachers will love you in the middle of the year when they run out of some supplies. With the low cost, I never mind sharing from my stockpile.

My ongoing school supply stockpile also saves us a bit of money each year. With the savings, each child can pick out a few of their “must have” items without breaking the bank.

When picking out a back pack, I spend a little bit more money for one with a lifetime warranty. That way if it gets over filled and breaks a seam, I simply return it for a new one.

School Clothes

One way I save on school clothes is not to buy them only at the back to school sales. Instead I buy clothing year round. At the end of the seasons, when items are on clearance, I try to buy the next size up for the following year. This especially great for basic items like jeans, socks, undergarments, etc. (Side note on underwear: all tightie whities look the same; if you buy every male in the house a different brand, sorting laundry goes sooo much faster.)

On gift giving holidays, I buy each child a new outfit and shoes. I work it into the gift buying budget. This helps balance out the cost of clothing my ever growing brood during the year. Plus, it freshens up their wardrobe.

Online Shopping

Skip all the driving around and shop online. Scoping out deals is a click of the mouse and most websites offer free shipping over a certain amount spent.

I highly recommend Amazon Student. I sit down at the beginning of my college semester, and put in one big order for the kids and myself. With the student discounts and Amazon Prime shipping it is a double win. (Living overseas as a military wife, Amazon Prime has been a true life saver.) Another plus: I can find all my college books used and sell them back later, or I can simply rent and return books.

While online shopping I also use MyPoints.com, a free online points system resulting in gift cards, and RetailMeNot.com. You can look up any website you are shopping at and get online coupon codes. Both of these web sites yield a good return, $5-$25 on average.

Setting a Budget

The most important part of school shopping is setting a budget. Even more important is including the kids. I sit down with them, show them how a budget works, and what our plan of attack is.

They help me compile our supply list. When it comes to the actual shopping part, I usually give them a small budget of their own to buy their wants. The catch is they do the math, and I help them make conscious decisions on quality and usefulness. The rest of the list, which is mostly basics, comes from the stockpile.

Prepping for the school year can be a tedious repetitive task. Enter the new school year fully prepared by creating a small stock pile of the basic necessities. This will save you time, money, and some sanity.

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Organizing the Bug Out Bag http://thesurvivalmom.com/organizing-bug-bag/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=organizing-bug-bag http://thesurvivalmom.com/organizing-bug-bag/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 06:00:54 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=16712 An important consideration when assembling your bug out bag is how it should be organized. There are two elements at work here–containers and packing order. The only thing worse than just tossing everything into a sack without forethought is not Read More

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elastic storageAn important consideration when assembling your bug out bag is how it should be organized. There are two elements at work here–containers and packing order.

The only thing worse than just tossing everything into a sack without forethought is not packing the bag at all. It makes little sense to go to all the trouble and expense of putting together a bug out bag if you can’t find what you need when you need it.

Containers

One of my preferred methods for packing items is to use small containers to keep like things together and organized. Often, this involves simply using ziploc plastic bags. One bag contains my Altoids Tin Alcohol Stove and fuel, another has food items. I don’t go to the trouble of labeling these bags because, well, they’re clear so it isn’t a mystery as to what’s inside. Using these bags also keeps the contents from getting wet.

100_6405Though they can be pricey, I also like using hard plastic cases, such as those made by Pelican. These types of cases are available in a wide range of sizes and colors and work very well at keeping your gear both dry and protected from being crushed. I use one such case for my primary fire starting kit.

Another product I dearly love and heartily endorse is the Grid-It Organizer. It consists of a hard, flat board of sorts covered with a mesh of elastic bands of varying lengths.

This is a truly awesome solution for organizing little odds and ends in your bag, keeping them secure and within easy reach. Many backpacks today are equipped with a flat pocket for use with tablets or small laptops. Those pockets are great places for a Grid-It Organizer.

Whatever tools you decide to use for organizing your gear, the overall idea here is to keep things from just floating around in your pack. You want to know where everything is so you can find it easily, even under stress.

Packing Order

This, of course, leads us to packing order. Give some serious thought as to which items in your pack you’ll likely use most often and items that you’ll need first when stopping for the night. These are the things you’re going to want readily available, either in side pockets or at the top of your pack.

You shouldn’t have to dump out your entire pack just to get to your first aid kit. Your fire starting gear, too, should be easy to access.

Now, that said, it is best to keep the heaviest items close to your spine and/or towards the top of the pack. Keep those items centered as best you can, so as to not adversely affect your center of gravity.

If you keep the heavy stuff too low in the pack, it will feel like the pack sags. Too high and you’ll feel off balance. Ideally, if packed correctly, the bug out bag will feel balanced and stable.

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The Four Organizations Preppers Need Now http://thesurvivalmom.com/four-organizations-preppers-need-now/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=four-organizations-preppers-need-now http://thesurvivalmom.com/four-organizations-preppers-need-now/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 06:00:42 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=16941 Preppers should always be learning and increasing their knowledge base. I believe they should also always be helping others prepare for or respond to disasters. Here are four great organizations that you need to enhance your levels of preparedness… and Read More

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AVR Four Organziations Final TitlePreppers should always be learning and increasing their knowledge base. I believe they should also always be helping others prepare for or respond to disasters. Here are four great organizations that you need to enhance your levels of preparedness… and who also need YOU to share your time and talents with them!

Project Appleseed

What They Do:

Project Appleseed is a non-profit organization that runs Marksmanship and Heritage events all around the country. The all-volunteer instructor corps is dedicated to teaching every American our shared heritage and history, while also teaching traditional rifle marksmanship skills.

What Instruction You’ll Receive:

Appleseed Instructors are passionate historians that bring alive the history of the Battles of Lexington and Concord that took place on April 19, 1775. Attendees will better understand the choices and sacrifices made by American Patriots that ultimately led to the creation of an independent United States not under British rule. Just the history is enough to make the weekend worth your time, but added to the marksmanship training, it makes for a perfect weekend.

AVR 4 Orgs - Appleseed Photo 2 - If you only use one photo, I like the other one better Attendees will learn how to accurately shoot a rifle using proven marksmanship skills to hit targets out to 400 yards. I attended my first event with zero rifle experience and ended the weekend with a full understanding of how my rifle worked and consistent accuracy to 200 yards. Each subsequent weekend has given me a deeper understanding of the history and greatly increased my skills as a shooter. I have attended clinics alongside men and women who have been hunting and shooting their whole lives and even they come away with greatly increased skill and accuracy.

Almost everyone can participate in Project Appleseed events. Children and teens are encouraged and happily welcomed as long as they are mature enough to safely handle a rifle. (I have been on the shooting line with a child as young as 10.) There is no upper age limit and no shooting experience required. Most physical challenges can be worked around to make sure you can still get time on the shooting line. Contact an Appleseed representative in your state to discuss any challenges you may have and how they can be accommodated.

Also, you may not have to own your own rifle. Most events will have some “loaner rifles” available. Again, contacting a representative ahead of time will ensure you’ll have everything you need. Active Duty military, Reservists and National Guardsmen, peace officers, and elected officials can attend free of charge as guests of the program (bring current identification).

Why You Should Be Involved:

Becoming better marksmen with our rifles is always a good prepper skill. Even if you neither own a rifle nor intend to get one, learning how one works and how to effectively fire it may turn out to be good information to have one day.

Further, more people need to truly understand our shared heritage and the establishment of Liberty in America. We need to get more plugged into what’s happening in our country and work to make it better. If you have your own large group (approximately 15-30 people depending on the range location) you may be able to set up your own private event. Groups can be family, friends, church groups or civic organizations, homeschool or scout groups, or even your prepper group. I promise you, a weekend at a Project Appleseed event will be one of the most worthwhile things you will ever do.

Contact Information:

You can read more about the program and check the schedule in your state by going to the Project Appleseed website. When you check the schedule, be sure to consider events in surrounding states. Depending on where you are, your closest event might be across a state line. Also consider looking up state level Facebook pages, like this Alabama Appleseed page.

Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)

AVR 4 Orgs - CERTWhat They Do:

We must remember that in an emergency, it can take a significant amount of time for a first responder to arrive, especially in a large scale event. The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training goal is to teach participants how to be an “immediate responder” and safely bridge the gap between when the emergency happens and when the first responders arrive.

What Instruction You’ll Receive:

How the classes are taught varies somewhat from place to place but typically take place for a couple hours one night a week for eight weeks. You learn basic preparedness, first aid, light search and rescue, fire suppression, disaster psychology, terrorism basics, and more. On the last night you will be “tested” in a mock disaster scenario.

Classes are generally free of charge or have a small fee for equipment and supplies that you get to keep.

Why You Should Be Involved:

CERT classes are chock full of information and practical skills that are good for not only individuals and families, but also ideal for a group of neighbors or neighborhood watch groups and small teams at your business or place of worship. CERT groups often gather after a disaster to help support local response and recovery efforts, which allows you to help your community in its time of need.

Contact Information:

Learn more about CERT by visiting the FEMA webpage. You can also locate a CERT in your area by searching by state here.

American Red Cross Disaster Action Team

What They Do:

AVR 4 Orgs - DAT PhotoYour American Red Cross chapter has a team of volunteers who provide on-the-scene service and support to both the victims of disasters and first responders. These are called Disaster Action Teams or DATs.

Teams are on call 24-hours a day for a one week period about every two months. You don’t have to be on call the entire time! Team members coordinate their schedules to allow for full coverage.

The most common call for a DAT is the house fire. My local chapter responds to more than 200 house fires each year and provides families in need with temporary shelter, food, clothing and prescription medication replacement as needed. DATs can also be called out to respond after larger disasters to go into affected areas to distribute food and water and assess damaged neighborhoods.

What Instruction You’ll Receive:

As an American Red Cross volunteer you must go through an initial one day training course to introduce you to the organization and its mission and values. That course can then be followed by a number of disaster services courses, including Disaster Services, Client Casework, Shelter Operations, Disaster Assessment, and more. All courses are free of charge to the volunteer.

Why You Should Be Involved:

I have been a team member and a team captain for my local Red Cross chapter. The Red Cross is a well known and respected organization that makes a huge difference for those who find themselves in need after a disaster. The training received can be beneficial to you and your own family, but being trained and willing to help others in their time of need is an important and effective way to “give back” to the community.

Contact Information:

Contact your local American Red Cross Chapter and ask them about opportunities for training and serving in disaster services.

Local Prepper Groups

What They Do:

AVR 4 Orgs - MCP1 Photo - Fire Starting ContestLocal prepper groups vary greatly and therefore some are “better” than others. It depends on the specific group of people involved as to what will be offered. Some groups are focused on combining knowledge and resources and setting up a joint bug-out location. Others meet to learn from each other by teaching their own area of expertise or bringing in experts to teach their group. Still others tend to be more social in nature.

What Instruction You’ll Receive:

Again, this depends on your local group, their interests, and who they have in the area to help teach. With the Madison County Prepper group in Northern Alabama, we learned things like food preservation, first aid and suturing, ham radio, self defense, gardening, water filtration, bug out bags, precious metals, and more.

We have “Dungeons and Dragons for Preppers” nights where one person leads a scenario and we, as a group, determine what we would do in each situation as the disaster progressed. We have also gone camping together to try out our gear and learn wilderness skills.

Why You Should Be Involved:

I don’t advocate the “lone wolf” preparedness plan. I believe it is important to find a group of like-minded individuals that have skill sets different than yours to both learn from and teach to. IAVR 4 Orgs - MCP2 Photo - Teaching How to Clean Fish encourage you to check out a group and “go slowly” to get to know people before sharing too much personal information.

Once those relationships are formed and trust is established, the benefits can be huge. I have made lifelong friends in my prepper group, including people that I know without a doubt I can count on in times of trouble.

Contact Information:

It can be difficult to find a local prepper group. You can use websites like Prepper Groups, American Prepper Network, and Prepper Meetups. You can also just do generic Google and Facebook searches for groups in your location. But as mentioned above, you’ll want to be cautious. Can’t find a group in your area? Start one yourself!

So when you are trying to figure out your next steps, contact one of these four organizations and get active!

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Social Survey: What is Your Biggest Prepper Failing? http://thesurvivalmom.com/social-survey-biggest-prepper-failing/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=social-survey-biggest-prepper-failing http://thesurvivalmom.com/social-survey-biggest-prepper-failing/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 06:00:52 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=17687 There are things we all know we should do for preparedness, such as having food and water on hand, taking care for our pets, and learning first aid. The reality is that we all have things we are better at, Read More

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Social Survey: What is Your Biggest Prepper Failing? (From the Library of Congress Highsmith Archives) There are things we all know we should do for preparedness, such as having food and water on hand, taking care for our pets, and learning first aid. The reality is that we all have things we are better at, and things we are worse at.

Personally, I’m just dreadful at filling up my gas tank before that little low fuel light starts glowing. In the last 25,000+ miles, less than five fill-ups have been of less than half a tank of gas. Yikes! And, honestly, I’m just not eating as healthily as I should.

So what is it that you know you should be doing (or not doing) to be better prepared? Or what is it that you really wish you were doing (or not doing)?

What do you think is your biggest prepper failing?

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Smart Survival Strategies for Kids: Forbidden Items at School http://thesurvivalmom.com/finding-forbidden-item-in-school/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=finding-forbidden-item-in-school http://thesurvivalmom.com/finding-forbidden-item-in-school/#comments Sun, 24 Aug 2014 20:00:00 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=14349 It may not be every parent’s very worst nightmare, but it certainly ranks up there if your kids are in public school. What if your kid has a forbidden item in school? It could be an accident, or something they Read More

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what to do if your kid forgets and takes a forbidden item in school

If your kid forgot a pocketknife and accidentally took it to school, what would they do?

It may not be every parent’s very worst nightmare, but it certainly ranks up there if your kids are in public school. What if your kid has a forbidden item in school? It could be an accident, or something they found that wasn’t originally theirs, especially for older kids who find something in their car or truck.

What should they do if they reach in a pocket and realize that a shell casing (garbage, to anyone who knows anything about firearms) is still there from their last hunting trip? What if, God forbid, they have a pocket knife in their backpack after a camping trip?

Medical and First Aid Supplies

One of the more popular articles on the blog recently was this one, Backpack First Aid Kit for Kids. The author listed a number of tiny, handy items that could all be contained in a small plastic container. When this was posted on The Survival Mom Facebook page, the results were shocking:

In schools around here, this would get the kid an out of school suspension. Over the counter medication of any kind has to be accompanied by a doctor’s note etc.”

Can’t do this any more. It would be taken from your child and you would go to jail for pushing drugs. We have become a stupid society.

You might be able to sneak a Band-Aid into the backpack, but nothing else. Our school district here in north Texas wouldn’t allow any of that stuff.

“It’s a great idea but it would be taken from my girls first thing. Our school doesn’t even allow the kids to bring in cough drops.

Harmless items, such as eye drops and Neosporin, may be considered illegal contraband in public schools these days, apparently! So what if your child does have one of these in a pocket, purse, or backpack, innocently and unintentionally? I’ve been known to tuck a couple of ibuprofen in a pocket, just in case.

The news is full of incidents in which kids have been suspended or expelled just for something this simple.

How should they handle this?

So, what would be a smart strategy if this happens with one of your kids?

One high school kid realized that he had left a pocket knife in his pocket after a Scout camping trip. The panicked kid faked sickness and went to the nurse saying he had to go home. His mom picked him up and took him home early and the problem was solved.

In another incident, a high school student grabbed what he thought was a can of soda on his way out the door. When he got to school, he realized it was beer and immediately turned it over to his teacher. The teacher turned him in to the principal, and the boy was suspended for 3 days and had to attend an “alternative” school for 3 months. His mother claimed he was just being honest and was punished in return.

If your child finds himself or herself in a situation like this, what would you advise them to do? Do they know how to handle it?

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A Famine Menu — A Bare-Bones Food Storage Plan http://thesurvivalmom.com/famine-menu-food-storage/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=famine-menu-food-storage http://thesurvivalmom.com/famine-menu-food-storage/#comments Fri, 22 Aug 2014 15:47:38 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=17695   I found this “famine menu” on a political forum, of all things, several years ago. There was no link to an original post nor was any author listed. I liked the plan and wanted to share it because too Read More

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famine menu food storage

You may want to pin this one! Click on the image to go to Pinterest.

 

I found this “famine menu” on a political forum, of all things, several years ago. There was no link to an original post nor was any author listed. I liked the plan and wanted to share it because too many Americans see the need to prepare but can’t. The paycheck, if there is one, doesn’t come anywhere near to meeting the necessities.

On this famine menu food storage plan you’ll find very basic foods that are available anywhere. If you’re using an EBT card currently, buying a few of these items each month will barely make a dent. Once you have these items in place, you can always begin to add additional foods that you and your family enjoy. I’d recommend adding additional meat and chicken, either freeze dried or home canned. (Read this article on home canning meats. When you can buy meat or chicken cheaply enough, this is a great way to stash some away for emergencies.)

Keep in mind that every food storage plan must be customized to your own circumstances. If someone in your family is allergic to one of the items on the list, buy less or substitute something else. Stock up on the spices you use most. Those vary from family to family.

If you’d like a printable of this list, click here.

The Famine Menu Food Storage Plan

Per day for one person

3 slices of whole wheat bread (lunch and dinner)

1 pot of oatmeal (breakfast, vary with spices and fruit from the orchard or dehydrated or nuts)

1 pot of rice (dinner)

1 pot of beans (dinner, vary with spices and vegetables from the garden)

1 glass of milk

In addition per week

1 pint of jam

1 jar of peanut butter

1 spaghetti dinner with hamburger

4 pots of soup (From leftovers and Soup for A Year)

7 jar sprouting seeds rotation

In addition per month

1/2 -#10 can popcorn

1 can potato flakes

1 can refried Beans

1 can white flour

Shopping list: Amounts to store for one Person, two persons, three persons, four persons

Grains

Wheat:  90 lbs, 168 lbs, 252 lbs, 366 lbs

Rolled oats:  24 lbs, 48 lbs, 72 lbs, 96 lbs

Rice:  60 lbs, 120 lbs, 180 lbs, 240 lbs

Proteins

Dry beans:  60 lbs, 120 lbs, 180 lbs, 240 lbs

Refried beans:  24 lbs, 48 lbs, 72 lbs, 96 lbs

Peanut butter: 17 lbs,34 lbs, 52-16 oz, 52-16 oz jars

Canned hamburger and other meats:  52 pints

Staples

White flour:  48 lbs, 96 lbs, 144 lbs, 192 lbs

Granulated sugar:  40 lbs, 80 lbs, 120 lbs, 160 lbs

Oil:  9 Quarts (See Bread for a Year), 18 Qts, 18 Qts, 18 Qts

Yeast:  (See Bread for a Year) 2 lbs, 4 lbs, 8 lbs, 8 lbs

Salt:  8 lbs (See Bread for a Year)

Honey:  18 lbs (see Bread for a Year), 36 lbs, 57 lbs, 57 lbs

Powdered milk: 16 lbs (kids 32 lbs), 32 lbs, 48 lbs, 64 lbs

Miscellaneous

Potato flakes: 18 lbs, 36 lbs, 54 lbs, 72 lbs

Spaghetti sauce:  52 Quarts

Spaghetti noodles;  60 lbs, 120 lbs, 180 lbs, 240 lbs

Spices

Multi-vitamins:  365, 730, 1095, 1460

Popcorn:  #10 cans, 6

Fruit jam:  52 Pints (one per week)

Sprouting seeds (Wheat, beans, seeds), 40 lbs, 80 lbs, 120 lbs, 160 lbs

In a dire emergency, you may not have electricity, or it could be subject to black-outs. In that case, start your famine menu using lesser amounts of food than you’ll need, since you won’t be able to refrigerate the leftovers. With each meal, add a little more food until you’re consuming everything within one day and tummies are all fairly satisfied.

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Keeping Your Cool – When There’s No Air Conditioning. http://thesurvivalmom.com/keeping-cool-theres-air-conditioning/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=keeping-cool-theres-air-conditioning http://thesurvivalmom.com/keeping-cool-theres-air-conditioning/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 16:00:29 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=16308 It was a record breaking 114 degrees in West Texas, and as luck would have it, our air conditioner broke! Pregnant, and living paycheck to paycheck, I had to find ways to cool down and QUICK! What I remember the Read More

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Keeping Your Cool When There's No Air Conditioning

It was a record breaking 114 degrees in West Texas, and as luck would have it, our air conditioner broke! Pregnant, and living paycheck to paycheck, I had to find ways to cool down and QUICK!

What I remember the most about that time is how my family managed to stay comfortable at night. With the fan blowing on high, we’d cover ourselves in our beds with wet bath towels. Unbelievably, we’d wake up cold.

Fast forward 10 years later, and my family is handling another heatwave, this time in central Texas. With more than three months in a row of nonstop 100 degree weather, we were sapped of energy. I call that period in time, “the year I didn’t garden.”

It was the year I also took a good look around me and realized that I did NOT want to be caught unprepared during a heatwave with no power.

We naturally have an air conditioner, and plenty of fans, but I wanted to make sure my family would be able to keep our cool, even if we didn’t have electricity.

Lessons from the Past

While volunteering at Pioneer Farms on sweltering days my family would get asked lots of questions.

“Aren’t you hot in that long dress?” People would ask as they stood around in their tee shirts and shorts.

“How do you stay cool when there’s no air conditioner?” Another asked.

“Where do you get ice?” A child piped.

Those were the types of questions I enjoyed answering the most, as I wasn’t just repeating what our ancestors did, I was actually living through the experience!

I explained that believe it or not, the long cotton dress I wore, actually kept me more comfortable and cool, than if I were wearing shorts. Not to mention, the full skirt and sleeves protected me from sunburn, and bug bites.

Light and loose flowing clothes, in natural fibers like cotton, or linen, will actually draw moisture from the skin, evaporate, and cool a person down.

During extreme hot weather, we’d water the garden, and save the hard work for early in the mornings or late evenings when things cooled down.  We also made sure to check on the animals to see if they had plenty of shade and water.

Cold Beverages versus Room Temp

As for ice, there was no refrigeration. A respite from hot weather would be to walk inside the underground root cellar where temperatures could be 40 degrees or cooler than what is outside. This is where food was stored and preserved. Kept in darkness, the root cellar felt like a cave year round.

At first, I couldn’t imagine drinking room temperature water when my family first started volunteering. I had thought that in order to “cool down” my beverage needed to be cold. I have since learned that staying hydrated with lukewarm water is actually preferable. Not that I don’t enjoy a nice glass of ice cold tea on a hot sizzling day, but it is nice to know that we can survive without ice!

I also find it interesting that some studies have shown that athletes that drink cold water show a decrease in performance in comparison to those who consume room temperature.

Years ago, homes were built with no artificial air conditioning. Back then, people gravitated to their front porch to stay cool, or to enjoy the breezeway. Called a dogtrot, there would be two cabins built side by side, and the connecting hallway between would pull in the air currents, causing a cooler breeze.

Today, as I look at homes, I wonder about the lack of front porches and how families would stay cool during a heatwave with no air conditioning.

Keeping Cool, Without Electricity

Here are a few ideas for keeping your cool when there’s no air conditioning. Coolest of all, no electricity needed.

KEEPINGCOOL(FAN)HelenRuthMy first priority for preparing for hot weather without power, was to purchase plenty of battery operated fans. Just like in my experience in West Texas, I wanted to make sure I had moving air to circulate around wet clothes or towels.

I also make it a priority to have plenty of spare batteries, including batteries that can be recharged by solar power. There are solar powered battery chargers that you can purchase online, as well as pocket sized mini solar panels that you can hook up to battery chargers or cellphones.

Another benefit to moving air is mosquitoes and flies! That’s right, mosquitoes and flies find it hard to zero in for the landing when air is blowing. I learned this first hand while backpacking in Israel.

KEEPINGCOOL(Towel)HelenRuthCooling towels are a wonderful invention! My experience is with the  Frogg Toggs, which come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Initially they feel like cardboard, but once wet, they stay cool and rubbery until they dry again. These towels are perfect for those times when you don’t have moving air.

I keep these in my car for road trips where I could potentially break down during hot weather. Just pour bottled water over the towel, and presto! Instant coolness. One day, I took my Frogg Togg out for a trial run when my air conditioner went out on my Jeep. With suffocating temperatures inside the vehicle, I drove across town with a wet Togg around my neck. Life was bearable!

I’ve touched base on battery operated fans, but there’s also battery operated spray bottles on the market where you can have a fan blowing with water. I especially like using spray bottles, battery operated or not, with essential oils.

Essential oils like mint cool the skin on contact. Another reason I love spray bottles and essential oils is for those high humidity dayKEEPINGCOOL(SPRAY)HelenRuths. Imagine your house baking in extreme heat, with people and pets moving about. My favorite spray is lavender and water. I add about 20 drops to a small spray bottle and spritz the house. This not only makes your home smell wonderful, but the calming blend soothes the nerves and it’s healthy to breathe and natural!

How do You Keep Cool?

Again, these are ideas for keeping your cool when there is no power and air conditioning.

Please keep in mind that the elderly and young are more susceptible to heat injuries and need to be looked after.

Stay hydrated everyone, drink lots of water, wear natural fiber clothes, don’t overwork when it’s hot outside, wear a hat, and if you have any additional COOL ideas, please share here for everyone!

Please comment and share any other products you have used that work!

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Personal Protective Equipment http://thesurvivalmom.com/personal-protective-equipment/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=personal-protective-equipment http://thesurvivalmom.com/personal-protective-equipment/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 06:00:33 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=16718 Virtually any natural disaster will entail a fair amount of cleanup. Whether we’re talking about downed trees or mountains of snow to be shoveled, it seems that once the initial crisis has ended, the real work begins. With all that Read More

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Virtually any natural disaster will entail a fair amount of cleanup. Whether we’re talking about downed trees or mountains of snow to be shoveled, it seems that once the initial crisis has ended, the real work begins. With all that work comes no small amount of injury potential, if you’re not careful.

Personal protective equipment goes a long way toward preventing you from getting hurt. Keep in mind that medical attention may not be readily available immediately after a disaster. Therefore, it is imperative you take steps to prevent injuries from happening.

Protecting Your Head

One of the most important pieces of protective equipment is safety glasses or goggles. Your eyes are precious and need to be protected as best you can. Glasses or goggles should be worn any time you’re dealing with the potential for flying debris, such as when using a chainsaw or a snowblower.

Dust masks should be worn when dealing with flying dirt and debris. I prefer to use N95 masks simply because that means I’ll have them on hand in the event of an infectious disease scenario.

Ear protection is important whenever you’re handling or working near loud equipment, from chainsaws to weed whackers to firearms. Ear damage is cumulative and can creep up on you before you realize it. Even disposable ear plugs are beneficial.

As a side note, both ear and eye pro (short for “protection”) are required at many gun ranges. You can use the same ear and eye pro recommended you use on the range in a disaster situation. The ear muffs that blunt the sound of gun shots also blunt the sound of a chainsaw or a generator, if you need to work near one for long.

Protecting Your Extremities

Your hands are typically the body parts closest to the action, so to speak, and should be protected by gloves of some sort. For most chores, I prefer one or another pair made by Mechanix. They are high quality, durable, and long lasting.

For winter work, such as snow removal, I’ll typically just go with whatever warm gloves I have on hand, no pun intended, although they should be waterproof. On top of protecting your hands, gloves also provide you with added grip, helping to prevent things from slipping through your fingers.

Heavy work boots are recommended any time you’re clearing storm debris. The ground may be slippery and you’ll appreciate the heavy boot tread. If possible, spring for the steel toe. More than one person has had their tootsies smashed by a falling log when they’re clearing out downed trees.

The #1 Protection Tool

The absolute best protective tool you can use, though, is that lump residing between your ears. Don’t rush through the cleanup.

Take your time, evaluate the situation, and think through all the steps before lifting or moving anything. Common sense goes a long way toward preventing accidents and injuries.

And don’t forget: kids need safety gear too!

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Five Misconceptions About Herbal Preparedness http://thesurvivalmom.com/five-misconceptions-herbal-preparedness/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=five-misconceptions-herbal-preparedness http://thesurvivalmom.com/five-misconceptions-herbal-preparedness/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 06:00:04 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=16707 As an herbalist and a prepper, I have noticed several common misconceptions people have about using herbs in general, but that especially apply to people interested in learning about herbs for preparedness. These misunderstandings usually come from overly simplified ideas Read More

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5 MisconceptionsAs an herbalist and a prepper, I have noticed several common misconceptions people have about using herbs in general, but that especially apply to people interested in learning about herbs for preparedness.

These misunderstandings usually come from overly simplified ideas about plants and herbalism.

Keeping it simple is good, but oversimplification can get in the way and, in this case, even cause harm. So what’s a would-be herbal prepper to do?

Let’s look at the five most common misconceptions about herbs that seem to affect the prepper community.

Misconception #1: If It’s Natural, It Must Be Safe

Reality: Not necessarily! Most herbs have a high margin of safety, but some are toxic in large amounts or under certain conditions. Some herbs should be avoided during pregnancy because of historical use as abortifacients.

Other herbs that were considered safe traditionally have been found to contain toxic compounds when subjected to modern research. Examples include herbs like Borage and Comfrey, which contain alkaloids that can cause liver problems.

Herbs can also interact with other medications, so make sure you keep your doctor apprised of any herbal supplements you take regularly.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), herbs are classified into three groups: the first level are as safe as foods. The second are more targeted in their effects on the human body and are used safely as needed. The third level are used sparingly, and may contain plants that modern science has identified as toxic.

For example, lobelia is an herb commonly used for lung problems and as a natural aid to stop smoking. Lobeline, part of the plant’s chemical profile, is similiar in structure to nicotine but is non- habit forming. However, in large amounts, lobeline can act as an emetic and cause vomiting.

Misconception#2: Herbs Don’t Really Work – I Tried Them

Reality: You may not have been using the right herb for the job, or used it the right way. Herbs actually have a complex relationship with the human body when used correctly. Because worldwide traditions of herbalism focus on the state of balance within the human body as a whole, rather than the modern, western fascination with disease as a separate entity, it can be difficult to translate the proper use of herbs into a modern context.

Many resources make the mistake of oversimplifying, listing herb after herb under each category with no distinction of the most appropriate situation for use. A great example of this is herbs for coughs. The list typically goes something like this: plantain, coltsfoot, thyme, marshmallow, cherry bark, pleurisy root, elecampane, mullein…and it could go on! Does that mean that all the herbs on the list can be used interchangeably? Far from it!

Plantain and Marshmallow are going to give the most benefit to a dry cough where there is only a little mucus that is hard to bring up. Herbs that can be used when there is lots of mucus that the body is trying to expel include cherry bark and elecampane.

Mullein is a wonderful herb for coughs, but it is traditionally used for allergies and asthma rather than an acute respiratory illness. Herbalists observed that it works on the cough reflex, so using it while the body is trying to get rid of lots of mucus is not a good idea! Suppressing the reflex and having the mucus just sit around in the lungs can set the stage for infection.

So, as you can see, all of the above herbs are great for coughs, but it’s important to consider the type of cough for best results.

In addition, some herbs are drunk as a tea, others are inhaled in steam, and still others are applied topically. You can rub chamomile on your tummy all day long, and it still won’t help you sleep the way drinking a cup of chamomile tea does.

Misconception #3: Herbs Don’t Really Work – There’s No Science.

Reality: Much of the current research on herbs has been done overseas, rather than here in the US, but there is actually plenty of literature in medical journals worldwide to explore. Most research focuses on identifying the active constituents in the chemistry of plants. This leads to more information on why a plant traditionally used for a given ailment was effective, and how that can be harnessed for the modern pharmaceutical industry.

Digitoxin is a cardiac drug that is one example of this. It was originally extracted from the herb Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), used by medieval herbalists.

It is interesting to note that many traditions of herbalism rely on taste to group herbs into different useful categories. Before modern chemical analysis emerged, this was a crude way of noticing that the chemical make ups of the plants were different.

Many “bitter” tasting herbs were observed to have a “cooling” effect on the body, and therefore matched with the observation of “heat” in the body. “Heat” conditions in traditional herbalism are a broad category that include cases that would be explained by modern science in terms of bacterial infection. Modern science confirms that many of the bitter principles found in herbs have an antibacterial capacity that makes them suited for use in an infected, or  “hot”, condition.

It’s also important to note, however, that the chemical makeup of plants is complex enough that science is only beginning to scratch the surface of the way they interact with the body. Sometimes reducing the plant down to one or two chemicals that seem to be “active” is actually another oversimplification in itself. But it’s a start.

A great resource on the chemical science behind herbalism is the textbook Medical Herbalism by David Hoffman.

Misconception #4: Animals can tell what plants they need instinctively or by taste. So can I!

Reality: This is a really, really bad idea.

Here’s why:

Yes, herbalists traditionally group herbs for use by taste. Herbs that were sweet, salty, bitter, or sour were believed to have an affinity for different body systems and conditions. (See number three, above.) However, when this myth comes up in the prepper community, people are usually talking about using taste and instinct to IDENTIFY random plants they find growing nearby and make use of them.

This is either used as an excuse to avoid learning how to identify plants safely out of laziness, or for the sake of some weird “I’m Very in Tune with my Body” bragging rights. Either way, considering that cattle poison themselves rather frequently (just ask any experienced rancher), and that most of the people who have this misconception can’t “intuitively” identify poison ivy, it’s safe to say that there is an incredibly dangerous disconnection here.

A great example here is water hemlock, which regularly poisons both people and livestock. It is a common wild plant in the carrot family, but a single bite of the root can kill an adult human, and cattle have died in less than fifteen minutes after ingesting more. The few people who have survived accidental ingestion have remarked that it’s quite pleasant tasting.

Exhibit A: If you don’t know what it is, don’t put it in your mouth. Period.

Misconception #5 I’ll Just Stock up on Field Guides and Books. If SHTF, I can Forage for Everything I Need.

Reality: People who don’t spend a lot of time in nature often don’t realize that it is a far cry from the mythical, unspoiled bounty of the collective imagination. Nature is not a grocery store.

For one thing, just like garden vegetables, wild herbs and plants have an ideal harvesting window that can vary by the length of their life cycle. We don’t experience this in our modern grocery stores because of worldwide shipping and greenhouse growing, but very few plants can be harvested year round. There’s almost nothing available from late fall through mid-spring in most natural settings.

Why do you think canning was invented?

Another problem with relying on books and planning to harvest “as needed” in a SHTF scenario is the potential difficulty in resource management – the threat of over harvesting. Stands of wild plants require special care to avoid wiping them out permanently in a single harvest. In some cases, this means harvesting less than 1/10 of the plants in an area that can be acres in size, and allowing rest years for the population to re-stabilize.

SHTF, you can bet no one is going to be concerned about whether they pick too much. This problem doesn’t even occur to most people now. “Poaching” and over harvesting for the commercial trade is an issue even without the desperation implied by a SHTF scenario.

During a major disruption, it’s possible that many areas would be stripped of available edible and medicinal plants in short order and take years to recover.

The Take- Away

So, considering these five misconceptions, I think there are three very important things the prepper community needs to take into account if we want to consider herbalism as a viable skill for our personal and community toolkits.

For one thing: know thy plants! It’s better to know a few herbs very well than to have had a brush with many. Learn how to identify the herbs which you use the most in every stage of growth, and learn all of the small distinctions in use that set them apart from other herbs in the same category.

For another: get set now. Stock an herbal pantry with your most commonly used herbs in their dried, bulk form and in alcohol extracts. As a minimum, consider four oz of the dried herbs per person, stored in an airtight container away from light and temperature extremes. This will need to be replaced yearly.

Keep a minimum of four oz of each extract per person. These can last much longer (in some cases more than ten years!).

And last, whenever possible, learn to grow your own herbs. Even a small container garden on a patio can be used later to grow a larger garden if it becomes necessary.

By learning from these five misconceptions, not only do you have a much better chance of using herbs safely and effectively for health and well-being now, but also in scenarios where you are down to no other options.

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