The Survival Mom » Featured http://thesurvivalmom.com Helping moms worry less & enjoy life! Tue, 03 Mar 2015 23:46:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 March Skill of the Month: Learn a new handicraft http://thesurvivalmom.com/popular-handicrafts/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/popular-handicrafts/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 16:00:00 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21993 Now that we are in our third month of Skill of the Month, I probably shouldn’t be surprised that I get all giddy and excited with each new skill! Right now I can barely contain my excitement because this month we’re Read More

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Learn new, popular handicrafts: knit, crochet, sew, & quilt.

Now that we are in our third month of Skill of the Month, I probably shouldn’t be surprised that I get all giddy and excited with each new skill!

Right now I can barely contain my excitement because this month we’re focusing on 4 popular handicrafts: knitting, crochet, sewing and quilting. A handicraft is,

“An activity that involves making something in a skillful way by  using your hands.”

I love that definition because, to me, it implies that those skilled hands are producing something of significance for her, or his, family. A useful product to make life better or more beautiful, perhaps.

All four of these skills do just that.

My Knitting Story

I taught myself to knit many years ago when I was living in Germany. I rode the bus in to town every so often, and I noticed that many German girls and women always had their hands busy with a knitting project.  Soon, my own hands itched to get a hold of a skein of yarn and a pair of knitting needles.

At the time I had no income whatsoever, so I checked out a couple of books from a library, found some extremely inexpensive yarn in mossy green and dusty rose, and began knitting a scarf. What else? A scarf is the ideal project for a beginner because it gives you hours and hours of practice getting used to handling the needles, getting just the right tension, and learning how to fix dropped stitches.

I was dismayed that my scarf rolled in on the edges,  leaving me with basically a tube to wear around my neck, but I was still thrilled that I had produced this with my previously unskilled hands.

Since then, I’ve knitted a number of sweaters, ponchos, a few purses, dozens of cotton washcloths, and just last week picked up a project that had been sitting in my yarn stash for at least 4 years: a large tote bag that I will felt when it’s finished. See this pretty example of a felted bag.

If you’ve ever accidentally washed in hot water a 100% wool sweater, then you have a pretty good idea of what felting is! I did that once with a beautiful kelly green cardigan. When it came out of the dryer, it was just the right size for a toddler! This time, I’m going to felt my wool project on purpose, and I’ll be sharing the results here on the blog.

There’s something satisfying about finishing a project, large or small. It’s a feeling of completeness and competency.

Later this week I’ll be sharing with you 2 knitting projects to choose from, if you want to jump in with the rest of us. One will be a project for beginners, and the other will be a little more challenging, after all, there’s no fun at all in knitting scarves, year after year!

At the bottom of this article I’ve listed the books and websites that I’ve relied on the most to learn the basics of knitting and more advanced skills.

The Crochet Chapter

For anyone who is a little leery of tackling the skill of managing 2 sharp knitting needles, there’s always crochet. All you need is a very safe-looking hook and a ball of yarn!

My crochet skills aren’t as honed as my knitting skills, but I can still wield a crochet  hook just a bit! One year when I was shopping for a new knitting project, I noticed that everything I wanted to make was crochet! All the cute patterns were for the crochet crowd, or so it seemed.

Crochet is faster than knitting and, for that reason, it might appeal to the more impatient moms in the crowd. It’s also easier to just rip out a few crochet stitches, or rows, than it is to do the same with knitting. Knitters have even come up with a term for the fairly complex task of un-doing their knitting — it’s TINK 0r, “knit” backwards, something I’ve done dozens and dozens of times!

I’ve found that most people either love knitting or they love crochet, but rarely do they love both. I think it’s a matter of whichever skill you learned and mastered first. You feel more comfortable with that skill and, in an odd way, more bonded to it.

Watch for 2 crochet projects coming up, one for beginners and one advanced.

And Then There’s Machine Sewing

I don’t like to brag, but I’m a pretty mean sewer. My favorite sewing story is the 2 days I spent with 102 degree fever, sewing a pioneer outfit for my daughter.

That’s a mom’s devotion for her kid, right?

She sallied off on her field trip wearing a darling Laura Ingalls Wilder get-up, complete with a sun bonnet and apron, and I collapsed in bed for a couple of days.

See, I learned how to machine sew back in junior high. Once a week, all the girls in my class went to Home Ec, a subject that doesn’t exist anymore in public schools, but should. I learned  how to thread a bobbin and needle, and made several small projects that led to much bigger, more complicated projects down the road.

Like the $60 sundress for my daughter. One spring I decided that I could just whip up a series of cute little sundresses for her at maybe ten, fifteen dollars a pop and went off to the nearest fabric store with stars in my eyes. That first trip wasn’t too pricey, the thread and fabric cost maybe twenty bucks or so. But then I realized the fabric needed a lining, and I had bought the wrong size buttons, and then I needed an additional yard of fabric. When I went back for that extra yard, they didn’t have the exact same design so I had to buy a completely different fabric pattern to match the lining fabric I had previously purchased. Before I knew it, I might as well have bought that sundress at Saks Fifth Avenue.

In spite of these, and many more, mishaps, I still love to machine sew. Other than hiring a seamstress, it’s the only way to have a truly one-of-a-kind project and there are so many different things you can make, from super easy pillowcases to wedding dresses and Halloween costumes.

It’s empowering to browse through a massive pattern book, looking for something that appeals to you, knowing that it’s in your power to make it happen. Dr. Frankenstein probably felt that way when he pieced together his monster!

If you’ve never used a sewing machine before and want to learn to machine sew, you’ll need to track down a sewing machine. Try Craigslist, eBay, or even Freecyle to get a used machine. Bring some thread and fabric so you can make sure the machine works. New machines can be purchased for as little as $80 or so, like this top-rated sewing machine by Brother. Or, you could borrow one.

About 7 or 8 years ago I borrowed an older machine from my mother-in-law. She never used it and said I could keep it for as long as I needed to. When we moved in 2013, I offered to give it back and she said, “That doesn’t belong to me!” So, I now own it. I guess.

For a bigger project, try quilting

I’ll admit here and now that quilting  has never been my thing. I made a couple of small quilted projects when I was in high school, but haven’t done much with it since. However, nothing says “Love” quite like a hand-made quilt. My sister-in-law made quilts for both of my kids, and to this day, they love and use them.

A quilt is a great way to use up scraps of fabric from sewing projects or recycle your children’s favorite clothes as they outgrow them. I’ve even seen beautiful quilts that incorporate fabric from a wedding dress. This is the perfect skill for a sentimental person.

Ready to get started?

This month watch for articles about spinning wool, projects for beginners and beyond, and a place for you to post photos of your own projects.

Check out the forum and other attractions at Ravelry AND mark on your calendar, Saturday, March 14, 3 p.m. CT when our monthly webinar will feature expert knitter and spinner, Beth Buck. Beth will be sharing with us live how she spins wool to make her own yarns. I’ve seen some of her finished projects, and her skills are amazing.

So, grab that yarn, fabric, hook, needles, and whatever else you need and accept my challenge to learn a new skill this month! And while you’re at it, drag the kids into this, too! The schools may not be teaching these skills anymore, so if you don’t, then who will?

Helpful Resources

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Wet Nursing: Time to review an old tradition? http://thesurvivalmom.com/wet-nursing-time-review-old-tradition/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/wet-nursing-time-review-old-tradition/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 08:00:41 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21607 I have thought for some time about how formula fed babies will fare in a SHTF scenario. What if formula has already been looted from the store or destroyed by fire or a major natural disaster? In a time of Read More

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Wet nursing as an option in a time of chaos and collapse.  www.TheSurvivalMom.comI have thought for some time about how formula fed babies will fare in a SHTF scenario. What if formula has already been looted from the store or destroyed by fire or a major natural disaster? In a time of chaos and collapse, infants are already vulnerable, and especially so without a reliable source of nutrition.

Maybe it’s time we rethink an old custom, wet nursing, or breast feeding another’s child.

Yep, I went there.

This age-old practice may be the best way for a new generation to survive in a worst case scenario.

In the “olden” days (until the late 1800’s), wealthy families often employed a wet nurse, or lactating mother, to nurse their children in place of themselves. In high society, they left the child raising to others. The child went from the wet nurse to the nanny, the tutor, and then on to boarding school.

Sometimes (many times), women of all social classes died during childbirth or shortly thereafter, leaving a hungry baby who needed to be fed. A lactating family member would step up and take the infant to her own breast. If family wasn’t an option, someone else would step in to be the wet nurse.

Wet Nursing in Modern Times

I saw a friend of mine do this about 20 years ago. I will call her “Jane”, as in Jane Doe. Needless to say, at that time I was shocked to see her nursing a child that wasn’t her own! Jane was on maternity leave and she was helping out a colleague who recently went back to work part time. The colleague’s baby was also being breastfed, but mom was detained at work, so Jane asked for permission to nurse her friend’s child, and permission was granted. The result was a happy, comforted baby and a happy mom.

Wow. That opened my eyes. It’s actually a good idea. If women chose to do this, their schedules could be more flexible. If you are a working mom, but don’t want a sitter to formula-feed your baby, you might try to find someone willing to be a wet nurse.

Benefits

You probably already know at least some of this, but here are a few benefits of breastfeeding/wet nursing over formula.

1. Your baby gets high quality human milk meant for a human baby.

2. It’s the perfect temperature, no risk of scalding with hot formula.

3. It hasn’t been “tainted” at a factory or on the store shelf, although you will need to be sure the wet nurse doesn’t eat or drink anything your baby can’t have. (Some babies get colicky if mom has too much dairy, etc.)

4. Shelf products are subject to “recall” if an ingredient was missing or the nutrient proportions were incorrect, among other things.

5. It’s easily digestible.

6. Moms can pump and save their own milk, so as not to lose their own supply.

Concerns with Wet Nursing

There are concerns I have with this as well. First and foremost, how well can you really know a person? Do you know their health history? Any recent blood tests?  Do they have any communicable diseases? How can you be sure YOUR child is adequately fed? There’s no empty formula cans to prove it. What about cleanliness? Is the wet nurse cleaning herself between feeding babies? If one child has a cold, the other may get it too. What kind of compensation are you willing to pay for this service?

But what if there wasn’t a choice? Perhaps a new mom has no choice but to return to work and pumping and storing milk at work isn’t practical. Or perhaps a mom is having difficulty producing enough milk to sustain her baby and now has to use formula. Then, the unthinkable happens: a major catastrophic event, the infant needs formula, and there is none to be had. Heaven forbid it requires a special-ordered one! If your baby relies on formula and you are unable to get more for any reason, you could be in real trouble.

Both nursing and non-nursing moms need to be prepared if this happens. Nursing moms need to be willing to help out others, and non-nursing moms need to be willing to accept that help – and both sides need to be gracious about it. It will undoubtedly be a difficult and potentially uncomfortable situation, at least initially, for everyone.

The Potential Wet Nurse’s Point of View

The following comment is from a woman who always felt she was “designed” (for lack of a better word) to be a wet nurse:

I know many women have difficulty producing enough milk, and I’m sure that’s always been the case, so I’m going to explain more from my side – having TONS of milk! If you never had enough milk, then the idea of women being wet nurses – producing enough milk to feed MORE than one child – could seem absurd to you.

When my son was in the NICU, he needed 20 ccs of milk each time he nursed. I was told to pump for 20 minutes each side, so I did, but I could easily have pumped for longer. After a few days, I realized the length of time was to help stimulate milk flow because most moms needed it. I certainly didn’t! I pumped 12 ounces every 2-3 hours (my son needed 20 ccs) and was never empty! At one point, I hand expressed the 20 ccs he needed into a bottle because it was faster and easier than going somewhere to pump. I ended up donating 150 ounces to a milk bank.

Feeding an extra infant (or two) would have been easy as can be, and (truthfully) a physical relief for me.

Skills and Assets

In survival groups, members are asked what skills they possess. I would ask what skills or services can they offer? A lactating mother is an asset. She can make the difference between life and death.

Children are a precious commodity. We need them to replenish our numbers, give us joy, and assist us in our latter years. If someone has a child that needs a wet nurse, that is a job only a lactating mother can do. Formula may not be available at any price. It’s also something a lactating mother can barter for money, supplies, or trade.

In our modern, high-tech society, the relative sterility of formula seems “safe” while the relative messiness of a wet nurse seems, well, messy and unsanitary. The benefits of breast milk/nursing over formula have been discussed a lot in recent years, but we haven’t quite reached the point that we have re-embraced wet nurses as a valid part of child-rearing.

Perhaps this is because it is something that simply feels like a historic relic of an upper class that didn’t want to raise their own children, but I encourage you to keep an open mind about this. Weigh the pros and cons for yourself.

As for me, I think it’s an idea whose time has come…again. And this time, it’s not just for the rich, and it’s definitely not for those who want to outsource raising their child.

Resources mentioned in this article

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52 Weeks Savings Plan: Watch for these March sales! http://thesurvivalmom.com/march-sales-discounts/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/march-sales-discounts/#comments Mon, 02 Mar 2015 18:00:19 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21772 March brings with it the promise of spring and some special March sales on purchases that can help you both prepare and save money. Two holidays that will generate some special savings are St. Patrick’s Day on March 17, and Read More

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What to buy in March -- deals and steals to help you stay on your budget. www.TheSurvivalMom.comMarch brings with it the promise of spring and some special March sales on purchases that can help you both prepare and save money. Two holidays that will generate some special savings are St. Patrick’s Day on March 17, and Palm Sunday, on March 28. We have a late Easter this year, but retail stores will still be pushing Easter related discounts.

Food sales to watch for

You may still be able to find some Valentine’s candy and decorations tucked away in stores. Remember to store them in airtight containers, away from light and heat. Mason jars work very well for candy and can be sealed with a jar attachment for Food Saver machines. I prefer the wide mouth attachment and using wide mouth jars, just because they are easier to fill.

With St. Patricks’ Day on March 17, you will find corned beef and cabbage, carrots and eggs on sale March 18. You can buy at least two corned beefs and have one for dinner and freeze one or more for later. Cabbage is good to make and can sauerkraut and there will be some really great discounts on cabbage and potatoes. There may also be St. Patrick’s Day treats, baked goods and alcohol sets on sale.

Stocking up on alcohol, even if you’re a teetotaler, can be helpful for making things like tinctures. I’ve stocked up on vodka, in particular, because of its many non-martini uses.

March is also National Frozen Food Month. There will be deals on all varieties of frozen foods and coupons in the newspapers and online for these items. With proper storage, frozen food can last a very long time. You may want to vacuum seal items that you plan to keep for more than 6 months. Some fruits and vegetables are even fresher when they have been frozen at their peak.

And, dehydrating frozen food is the easiest thing ever. You’ll need a food dehydrator, it can be inexpensive or top of the line, and bags of frozen fruits and veggies. Here are details for drying that food. Be sure to store it in either vacuum sealed canning jars or vacuum sealer bags, and keep in a dark, dry, and cool location.

Some good online coupon sites are:

Fish and seafood will also be on sale this month as it’s the Lenten season. These can be canned using a pressure canner. Follow the safest canning instructions.

According to Premeditated Leftovers, these produce items often go on sale in March:

  • asparagus
  • avocado
  • artichokes
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • Brussels sprouts
  • cabbages
  • chard
  • celery
  • leeks
  • collard/mustard greens
  • fava beans
  • chicories-radicchio
  • sunchokes
  • spring garlic
  • spring onion
  • lemon
  • blood oranges
  • red grapefruit
  • tangerines
  • navel oranges
  • kiwi
  • d’anjou pears
  • strawberries

Produce in season are the following according to Premeditated Leftovers. You might be able to buy them in bulk from food co-ops, such as Bountiful Baskets, and at farmers markets.

  • apricots
  • bitter melon
  • honeydew
  • limes
  • mango
  • oranges
  • pineapple
  • strawberries
  • broccoli
  • lettuce
  • zucchini
  • rhubarb
  • artichokes
  • asparagus
  • okra
  • spring peas
  • yellow, white and red onions

Household bargains in March

Winter gear may still be on sale in some places, but you will start to see the spring and summer gear taking their place. Linens and blankets may also be on clearance. Calendars and planners should be leaving the shelves this month, so look for deep discounts on those items.

With spring around the corner, people will start thinking about spring cleaning. Cleaning supplies, as well as home fragrance supplies, will go on sale. Fragrance items will include candles, diffusers and sprays. These make great gifts, so stock up on a few for early Christmas shopping.

Humidifiers will still be on sale this month, too. If you have ever been congested, you know how handy humidifiers can be. If you find a good deal, it wouldn’t hurt to have one as a back-up.

Jewelry can often be found on sale in March because there is not an occasion like Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day creating a demand. If you can find a deal, you can stock up on future gifts or stash things away for bartering purposes.

St. Patrick’s Day is another good time to find plates, napkins, tablecloths and decorations. Think ahead to Easter and see if any of the toys could be used in Easter baskets. Green tissue paper could be cut up and used as Easter grass or saved for Christmas.

Electronics

Digital cameras and small consumer electronics (MP3 players, DVD and Blu-ray players, etc.) should be on sale this month, along with TVs, to make room for new models. These items can be used for entertainment and for documenting household inventory. Most digital cameras also have video recorders on them. Having an MP3 player and/or portable DVD player in your shelter area or bug out bag could provide comfort (or distraction) for children during an emergency situation.

Video games might also be on sale this month as the holiday sales have started to wind down and the games are now considered “old.” You might also be able to find used copies of recently released games in stores. Video game systems and accessories may also be on sale, too.

While The Survival Mom isn’t a huge fan of video games and reliance on electronics, they can make our lives easier in many ways. If you find a really good bargain on these, consider buying them to store in a Faraday cage.

Sports and fitness gear for the

Gym memberships and workout equipment will go on sale in March as people start going outdoors more. Getting in your best physical shape possible is an important part of being prepared.

Winter sports gear, including ski and snowboard equipment, will be on sale since it’s the end of the season, but in many parts of the country, it’s going to be a while before the snow melts!

Travel Bargains

Luggage goes on sale in March since it is not considered a big travel month. A new set of luggage is a great wedding or graduation gift, and if you find a really sturdy suitcase on heavy-duty wheels, consider it for an emergency kit/bug out bag option.

March can be the best time to find a weekend getaway deal or cash in miles for an airline ticket. Since it’s the end of the ski season, you can find deals on lift tickets and at ski resorts. Again, these are fun excursions for anyone, but for the penny-pincher, they make great gifts AND you’ll be saving money.

By the end of March, you should have $78 saved if you’re following the weekly savings plan. If you have extra right now, perhaps going to a higher week in the chart and putting that money away would be a smart thing to do. You can  make the 52 Weeks Savings Plan work for you with a little customizing!

The key to being a winner when it comes to saving money is to pinch pennies wherever you can with purchases and then put even small amounts saved in your savings stash.

TIP: Now is the time to start thinking how you would use any tax refunds you may receive.

Enjoy March and its deals, but look forward to April when we’ll see some great bargains tied to Easter (April 5) and spring to help you save AND prepare!

Resources mentioned in this article

 

 

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Tight Space Prepping: Preparedness for power outages http://thesurvivalmom.com/preparedness-for-power-outages/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/preparedness-for-power-outages/#comments Mon, 02 Mar 2015 08:00:51 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21609 Going without electricity for a few days can throw off the whole balance of a family. When living in an apartment or condo there are simple ways to keep the family in clean clothes, power electronics and provide decent cooking Read More

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Preparedness for power outages. www.TheSurvivalMom.com

Going without electricity for a few days can throw off the whole balance of a family. When living in an apartment or condo there are simple ways to keep the family in clean clothes, power electronics and provide decent cooking options. You just have to know a few things about preparedness for power outages.

Power Sources

Most apartments or condos don’t come with an emergency power generator. Not only are most generators are  expensive to buy (portable or not) but they also require fuel. Between the two, that’s a good deal of resources and space used up in your home. Luckily there are other ways around a generator.

Car Battery

car battery adapter for power outage

This, along with a car battery, could be your emergency power supply.

I have seen so many things that can be run on a car battery. I have even been able to find an adapter that has electric sockets so items can be plugged in. If you have access to your car battery you can run anything from a shower to a stove. With the above mentioned adapter you could even run an electric fan if you needed to.

When you choose to use a car battery as a power source, you have the ability to use the item you are powering without needing to keep a generator running. This is particularly helpful if you have built your own generator. Best of all, a car battery can be charged and used again.

Solar Power

Solar power can be useful for charging those little things we have trouble living without in our lives. Depending on the size of the solar charger you can power anything from a phone to a laptop. Some solar chargers are also made to be mobile. They come in the form of a pad you can roll up and take with you or are small enough to store in a purse. If you rely on electronic devices to stay in touch with people, organize your schedule, pay bills, or for your livelihood, this is an important part of preparedness for power outages.

Exercise Powered Generator

YoutTube has a large number of creative ways to produce power using treadmills, exercise bikes and mountain bikes. Rather than chemical energy (in the form of fuel) you are using kinetic energy (in the form of body movement) to power a device or to charge a car battery (a car battery is fully charged around 12.6 volts).

Building these generators may require other components such as energy adapters, alternators and serpentine belts depending on which type of generator you choose to build. It’s important to use a video, book, or website that shows very detailed instructions with regard to building your generator.

Doing Laundry

Being without power or stuck in our homes for a while doesn’t suddenly make us happy to wear dirty clothes. There are some options available to help us get our clothes clean.

Hand Cranked Machines

I have seen a couple models of hand cranked washers. They usually cost some where between fifty and one hundred dollars. There are even models that have a built in spin dryer. The Wonderwash is one that we reviewed, and a simple plunger-and-bucket method is described in The Survival Mom:

My recommendation is a child-powered washing system. This can
be as simple as two 5-gallon buckets with lids, two new toilet plungers,
and round holes cut in the center of both lids for the handles of the
plungers. Fill the first bucket with water, a little soap, and a few pieces
of dirty clothing and put that kid to work! You can explain that the
process is the same as for churning butter. Boys, in particular, might
be enticed to work harder if they realize it’s a great exercise for building
their biceps. Either way, in a few minutes you’ll have clothes that are
ready to be rinsed in clean water in the second bucket, wrung out, and hung on a clothesline.

If you don’t have laundry facilities (or don’t want to shell out five dollars per load) these sweet little machines also reduce the amount of laundry that you will need to take to the laundry mat when there isn’t an emergency. If you have a larger family they are great for keeping up with socks and under garments. Smaller families can just keep up with clothes daily.

When using these items it’s important to consider:

  • Upper body strength,
  • The amount of soap you plan to use and
  • Load size

Over loading a hand cranked washer may not break it, but your clothes won’t agitate well and will remain dirty.

In a long-term power  outage, you’ll want to completely re-think the way you and your family dress. There’s a reason why, for many decades, women wore aprons and pinafores. They protected the clothing underneath, which stayed clean-ish for weeks, if necessary. Made of lightweight cotton, aprons were much easier to wash and quicker to dry than heavier pieces of clothing.

Drying Racks

Believe it or not, the type of drying rack you choose matters a great deal. You want to make sure to choose one that has a good solid base or can hang from the ceiling. Also, make sure that you can space your clothes far enough apart to maintain air flow. Without air flow to help your clothing dry they may just mildew on the rack.

Without A Balcony

When your condo or apartment has a balcony, you can get away with a lot when it comes to laundry. You don’t really need a spin dryer because your clothes can drip dry from racks placed on the balcony. This is particularly true in hot, dry areas.

When you don’t have a balcony or you live in a colder or more humid climate, having a spin dryer is the best way to go with an electric free laundry program. Small spin dryers can be powered by a car battery, although it’s possible to make your own hand-powered version. If you don’t have access to a spin dryer have a hanging drying rack over the tub in your bathroom. This will enable your clothes to drip dry without you needing to put down a tarp. Just make sure that the bathroom has plenty of airflow. Open windows and doors or set up portable fans.

Two more important considerations

There are couple of other items that can be easily stored and be useful in a extended power outage. These items make living conditions more comfortable for your household.

Showers

There are battery powered portable showers on the market, and there are some that run off of a car battery. Just plug it into the cigarette lighter. This is ideal for a camping trip, but can get complicated when you’re indoors.

For indoor showering there is a portable shower that pumps water out of a bucket. The one I found can be recharged from a laptop USB, filters water and has a water filtration system.

Cooking

There are many option for cooking without electricity. A simple one is the BBQ grill, and some apartment complexes provide them in the common areas. The very basic models fit well on a balcony. If you don’t have a balcony there is even a mini BBQ grill that is easier to store indoors. It’s perfect for grilling on a porch.

Watch for sales on charcoal around the major outdoor/picnic holidays, such as Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day. One year I was able to stock up on 8 gigantic bags at a huge discount at Lowe’s.

There are a few varieties of camp stove  that are also an option, such as the dual-fuel EcoZoom stove. Kerosene stoves are a tried and true option, and there is also a stove that will run off a car battery.

If your cooking or heating source uses an open flame, whether with wood, kerosene, or some other fuel, it’s absolutely vital to never leave that fire alone, have at least 2 fire extinguishers in the house (and everyone knows where they are and how to use them, have plenty of ventilation, and a carbon monoxide detector/alarm.

Solar cookers are a long-time favorite of those wanting an alternative way to cook food and heat up water for emergencies. They are also a far safer option than anything that requires a flame. You can make your own, but the Sun Oven is considered to be one of the best.

Whatever you use to cook your food it will need a power source. Determine which fuel or power source works best for your family and with your available storage space and then stock up on that fuel, and lots of it.

Resources mentioned in this article

 

 

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The Colloidal Silver Option for Your Best Health http://thesurvivalmom.com/colloidal-silver/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/colloidal-silver/#comments Sat, 28 Feb 2015 08:00:29 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21343 I’m a registered nurse in the Midwest. I believe in traditional medicine but have become very interested in alternative medicine in case of a TEOTWAWKI event and have been learning more about colloidal silver. If a man-made or natural disaster Read More

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Info about colloidal silver and its benefits. www.TheSurvivalMom.comI’m a registered nurse in the Midwest. I believe in traditional medicine but have become very interested in alternative medicine in case of a TEOTWAWKI event and have been learning more about colloidal silver.

If a man-made or natural disaster occurs, it’s best to learn how to take care of yourself and family, especially if help won’t be readily available. I’m always thinking about the “What ifs?

I became concerned with encountering Ebola patients, as were many other nurses. How could we protect ourselves? Seasoned professionals with the latest and greatest Hazmat suits following WHO policy were still contracting Ebola.

One day, an RN from the Emergency Room was talking to me about the same concerns. She gave me a bottle of commercially made Colloidal Silver (CS) to take, saying it helps fight viruses and bacteria. Not only was she taking it, most of the ER staff was, too! I became intrigued by this, and wanted to know more about it, especially before taking it.

How I learned about colloidal silver

I read the history of how silver was the main antibiotic before the days of Penicillin. People purified their barrels of water by dropping pure silver coins in them. Wealthy people fed their children with sterling silverware, and seemed to have less food borne illness and sickness than the rest of the population. However, some of these people did have a skin discoloration from the combination of salt on the food reacting with the silver utensils. Their skin had a silvery-bluish caste to it. Hence, the term, “bluebloods”.

I began thinking back to the days when I was a student nurse. I had to go to the hospitals for “Clinicals” for hands on experience. One of my rotations was in the Labor & Delivery department. One of the things we did for newborns was to put Silver Nitrate drops in their eyes after birth. It helped prevent blindness from certain bacteria that could be present in the birth canal. (It is actually required by law in most states).

Another rotation brought me to the Med-Surg dept, where I had a patient with terrible bedsores. I had to apply “Silvadene”, a silver based antibiotic ointment, to the open areas that had become infected. Each day, we would measure the wound to see if it was getting larger or smaller in diameter. There are also some hospitals that use special endotracheal tubes and urinary catheters with a silver coating to prevent infection. The patients on ventilators using these tubes had fewer cases of VAP, or ventilator acquired pneumonia.

Dr. Joe Alton, aka “Dr. Bones” recommends colloidal silver foot washes for athletes foot, and the PurifiCup uses nano-silver technology to help purify water.

Other studies I read showed colloidal silver inhibits viral growth, or can slow it down. Sometimes it eradicates it. Bacteria can’t utilize oxygen when a silver ion imbeds itself in the cell wall. So, the bacteria die. Some people take a teaspoon of colloidal silver per day, internally, to prevent illness. Some people take it only when they are sick.

Proper dosage of colloidal silver

 

There are people who have developed a condition called argyria, from taking too much. Remember, everything in moderation! If one teaspoon of 10 ppm (parts per million) is recommended, don’t drink a pint.

Consider the pros and cons of antibiotic use. There are a myriad of side effects, allergic reactions, and the possibility of drug resistant bacteria developing from the overuse of antibiotics. That’s a big problem these days.

So, all things considered, I began taking it myself. I take a teaspoon 2-3 times per week now, as does my husband. He works on airplanes that have passengers from foreign countries known to have Ebola. Even if colloidal silver doesn’t kill Ebola, but, simply slows down viral replication, I can give my body a fighting chance develop its own immunity.


Learn to make your own colloidal silver, step by step.
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When we were almost out of our colloidal silver, I began to check out the prices to order it online. Wow, pretty expensive. So, I thought to myself, why not try to make it at home?

Homemade colloidal silver

My husband and I both put this “machine” together. He loves going to Radio Shack anyhow, so he volunteered to get some of the parts. Here is our supply list for making your own Colloidal Silver:

 Instructions

  1. Fill mason jar about 2/3 full with distilled water.
  2. Connect the 3 9-volt batteries in series to each other. When I set this up, it will looks like a pyramid — see photo below.
  3. Connect the snap connector to the empty positive terminal.
  4. Connect another snap connector to the empty negative terminal.
  5. Connect one alligator clip to the positive wire.
  6. Connect one alligator clip to the negative wire.
  7. Add one silver bar to each of the opposite ends of the alligator clips.
  8. Slowly place into distilled water in mason jar, and clip it on with a clothespin.
  9. Place the second silver bar in the distilled water and clip on.
  10. Make sure only the silver is touching the liquid.
  11. Do not let the silver bars touch each other.

After 10 minutes or so, you will notice tiny bubbles coming from the positive anode on the silver bar. The negative anode will become darkened. I let it work its magic for 1-3 hours, but every 30 minutes, I check it with a TDS meter until I a reading of 10-15 PPM. Then, it’s done. (The time can vary depending on how fresh the batteries are).

At this point, the colloidal silver  liquid still looks clear, but it can also change to a pale yellow, dark yellow, or cloudy liquid. I’ve noticed the PPM will decrease by as much as half over the course of a week, but after that, it tends to stabilize. I also filter it through a coffee filter to eliminate any dust or contaminants that may have fallen into the mason jar during processing.

DIY Colloidal Silver Machine

Silver bar immersed in distilled water for DIY colloidal silver  machine.

A close-up of the silver bar immersed in distilled water.

The DIY colloidal silver machine hooked up and operating.To check for a true colloidal silver result, shoot a beam of light through the solution. I use a red laser type beam. The light will look like a thin line which gradually gets wider as it reaches the other side of the jar. It’s called the Tyndall effect. If you have that, you have a true colloidal silver solution.

Once my solution is finished, I put it in a dark glass bottle. I just save old vanilla extract bottles, or even a small Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup bottle would do if you don’t have small, dark bottles.

Disclaimer: Making my own colloidal silver and taking regular doses is what I do for myself. I’m not a medical professional, and in no way can I recommend this to anyone. I’ve written this for your information and entertainment only. Before taking colloidal silver, consult your medical practioner to make sure it is safe for you and doesn’t interfere with any of your medications or current health issues.

Resources mentioned in this article:

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30 Uses for Phone Books http://thesurvivalmom.com/30-uses-for-phone-books/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/30-uses-for-phone-books/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 08:00:56 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21373 We all get them dropped off one (or more) times every year — big, thick phone books. But what to do with them now that we just look up phone numbers on Google or we have them stored in our cell Read More

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Use unwanted phone books in lots of creative ways!  www.TheSurvivalMom.comWe all get them dropped off one (or more) times every year — big, thick phone books. But what to do with them now that we just look up phone numbers on Google or we have them stored in our cell phones?

Here are some creative uses for phone books our readers came up with for phone books – actual, paper phone books.

In the House

Emergency toilet paper (Note: may not be the best for your pipes or septic system.)

Stack them under the table cloth to elevate a nice centerpiece.

Fold pages at angle from top outside corner to mid at center to make a door stop

Bullet-proof your house! Build 6-foot book shelves along all exterior walls within your house and line them with phone books. They make the best bullet stops there is, and it makes you look like an intellectual.when people stop by. Another option to do build these “bookshelves” alongside the front and back doors. It’ll give you something to duck behind when you have unwanted company…with guns.

Stack them to create a make-shift booster seat.

Insulation

Washing windows

Hollow one or two out to make some hidey holes for valuables

Wrap Christmas decorations and other fragile items to protect them in storage or shipment.

Wrap compost in  it to carry to the bin, then just throw the whole thing in so you don’t have to worry about washing a dish or bucket out.

Uses for phone books in arts & crafts

Floor cover for little artists

Tear out the pages and use them for papier mâché

Coat pages in petroleum jelly. Roll them up and dip them in wax. Makes emergency candles that are also waterproof.

As a teenager I would use them as scrap books. Cover them with all kinds of art.

Save them and turn it into paper snow flakes. It’s what I do with my used non returnable textbooks

Pattern paper

Origami practice

Outdoors, Fires, and Animals (Pets)

Firestarters

Target practice

You can pack them in a box or wrap them up together for a safe backstop for dry fire practice with a gun.

Bullet penetration/expansion tests

Mix with ashes and lamp oil or kerosene to make fire logs

Tear out a few pages and stuff them into empty toilet paper tubes. Great firestarter.

Cage liners, especially shredded, for rabbits, birds, feral cats, etc. (better if mixed with hay)

Lay under tomatoes, under the straw for weed help

Tear them up and use them to smother weeds, putting mulch on top. Works better than the black plastic stuff, and the best part is that they degrade completely.

Use with this awesome tool to never run out of seed pots!

Shred for compost (except for the cover, which was probably treated with chemicals)

Worm bin

And the most shocking answer of all:

Using a phone book for its intended purpose is better than a smart phone. The phone book gives you more choices and you’ll always have it handy. Use a PostIt Note to bookmark pages you use most often, and if your eyesight isn’t the best, keep a magnifying glass handy!

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DIY Homemade Seasoning Mixes http://thesurvivalmom.com/seasoning-mix-recipe/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/seasoning-mix-recipe/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 14:28:46 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21645 I felt intimidated at the thought of making my own seasoning mix recipes at first. The little packets you can buy at the store made it so easy, and they made my dinners taste good. Then, there was the night Read More

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DIY homemade seasoning mix recipes. www.TheSurvivalMom.comI felt intimidated at the thought of making my own seasoning mix recipes at first. The little packets you can buy at the store made it so easy, and they made my dinners taste good. Then, there was the night I was making fajitas and realized I did not have a fajita seasoning packet in my pantry. I didn’t even have a taco seasoning packet (it must have been at the end of the month before my major trip to the grocerey store). This was also before I had started building up our food storage.

I opened my trusted Better Homes and Gardens cookbook to see if they had a recipe for seasoning fajitas and there was. It was actually just a few seasonings and it ended up tasting great. I decided then that I could do it. I could start making our own seasoning.If


If I can make my own homemade seasoning mixes, you can, too!
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homemade seasoning mix recipes

Surprisingly, I found seasoning mixes in this cookbook. Who knew?

I wanted to do it for two reasons – to know what was in our food and to make it easier to have seasonings in our food storage. I found out it can also be more economical. Making your own seasoning mixes gives you control over what brand and type of seasoning are in your food. It only takes a few key seasoning to give you a wide range of taste options for your meals.

I would recommend having the following on hand to create your own mixes. I buy the spices I use most in bulk. Here’s a list of the most common ingredients in these mixes.

With these, and some flour and sugar, you should be all set. Below are my favorite recipes, but a quick internet or Pinterest search will give you numerous seasoning mix recipes. You’ll find many of them on The Survival Mom’s board, Switch from Store-Bought to Homemade.

Download the free mini-guide, “Switch from Store-Bought to Homemade.”

Also, save old spice and shaker bottles. You’ll need them for your new, fresh mixes. You can also buy shaker bottles new.

Fried rice

For fried rice seasoning, I just add garlic powder, cumin and cayenne to taste.

Ranch seasoning/dressing

Store in airtight container:

1 T. pepper
3/8 cup parsley
1/8 cup garlic salt
1/2 T. Kosher salt
1 T. garlic powder
3 T. dried minced onion
1/2 T. dill

Keep this mixture in an airtight container. When ready to make salad dressing, whisk together 1 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 cup sour cream and 1 tablespoon mix. Add buttermilk or milk until desired consistency is reached.

Taco seasoning

Store in airtight container:

1 part chili powder
1 part ground cumin
1 part garlic powder
1 part onion powder
1/4-1/2 part crushed red pepper

I use 1 cup of chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder, and 1/4 cup crushed red pepper.

About 1/4 cup of seasoning equals one seasoning packet. You can adjust the seasonings to your taste.

Chili seasoning

Store in airtight container:

1 T. all purpose flour
2 T. dried minced onion
1/2 t. chili powder
1 t. seasoned salt (like Lawrys)
1/2 t. crushed dried red pepper
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. sugar
1/2 t. ground cumin

About 1/4 cup of seasoning equals one seasoning packet

Be sure to download this free mini-guide for more recipes, “Switch from Store-Bought to Homemade.”

Resources mentioned in article:

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5 Reasons Why Normal People Shy Away From the Prepper World http://thesurvivalmom.com/5-reasons-why-normal-people-shy-away-from-the-prepper-world/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/5-reasons-why-normal-people-shy-away-from-the-prepper-world/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 08:00:35 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=12198 I don’t believe I’ve ever started an article with an apology, but before I go any further, my apologies to preppers for this headline! I’ve met hundreds of you over the past few years at expos and other events, and you Read More

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Some folks don't think preppers are quite normal. Here's why...   www.TheSurvivalMom.comI don’t believe I’ve ever started an article with an apology, but before I go any further, my apologies to preppers for this headline! I’ve met hundreds of you over the past few years at expos and other events, and you are all so normal!

I hope my apology is accepted! Now on to my story.

Quite some time ago I recorded an episode of my podcast and included 6 lessons kids should learn from the Trayvon Martin case.  Lesson #6 was, “Be aware of how others perceive you,” and it included some great quotes from a black minister who works with kids of all races.

As I thought about perception, I remembered a conversation with an Oregon woman who displayed a dramatic negative reaction to the term, “bug out bag.”

“Don’t use that term!” she said. “It makes you sound like a crazy survivalist.”

Well, I’m not crazy and I don’t consider myself to be a survivalist in the traditional sense, but if we hope to draw others into the ranks of preparedness, our loved ones in particular, then maybe we should consider how others perceive us.

Here are a few reasons why I think “normal” people shy away from anything related to the prepper world.

1.  Our terminology has negative connotations

Bug out bag” begs the question, “Exactly why do you think you have to bug out? Are you on the lam?”

Bug out location” sounds a lot like a robber’s hideout or the stereotypical 500 square foot log cabin in the wilds of Idaho, home to toothless refugees from “Deliverance”.

Bug out vehicle” — getaway car, anyone?

“C-Day” — Collapse Day, as in the day the United States of America collapses.

See what I mean? And I don’t think it’s a strike against anyone outside the prepper world who hears these terms and thinks, “What the heck??” If you’re not a religious person, this is akin to being around people who talk church-speak all the time. It can be a big turn-off.

2.  Ditto for our acronyms

  • SHTF: Sh*t hits the fan.
  • TEOTWAWKI: The end of the world as we know it.
  • WROL: Without rule of law.
  • GOOD: Get out of Dodge

In the real world, who talks like this?? If your friends need an acronym dictionary to figure out what you’re talking about, they may decide the prepper world is some sort of secret society with “special” handshakes and creepy initiation ceremonies.

3.   They think we’re too negative

When conversations naturally veer toward topics related to preparedness, that’s one thing, but if your stream of emails consist of doomsday alerts from Alex Jones and the like, they will begin to steer clear of you, guaranteed. I get those types of forwarded emails from my aunt, and even I don’t like them!

4.    Negative portrayals on TV

Let’s face it. “Doomsday Preppers” didn’t exactly do any favors for the prepping world. Too many of their preppers aren’t relate-able. Many are downright weird. If this is what your circle of friends and acquaintances see as the norm for preppers, do you blame them for not wanting to join the club?

5.   Preppers scare them

Nearly every prepper website focuses on topics like pandemics, collapse of civilization, the U.S. becoming just like Somalia, FEMA body bags, guillotines…well, sometimes people just want to think about the fun they’re going to have this weekend at the bowling alley. Who wants to be around people who scare them all the time?

6.   They really don’t see the need to prepare

This one you can’t do anything about. Until a person is motivated by their own observations, they will likely not do anything. People believe their own data and will act accordingly, thus the popularity of Home Depot hours before the arrival of a hurricane! One of the very first YouTube videos I ever made was in response to folks who ask, “How can I get my family/loved ones to prepare?”

Now, in no way am I saying preppers are crazy and that we shouldn’t prepare. My point is to consider how others perceive us. If we come across as scary, obsessed, or weird, then it’s no wonder that they shy away from the prepper world when it’s possible that being prepared has been on their minds!

You can’t do anything about Doomsday Preppers or all the fear-filled websites out there, but you can demonstrate by words and actions what a rational, completely sane prepper looks like!

Resources mentioned:

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Conflict Resolution – An important prepper skill http://thesurvivalmom.com/conflict-resolution-important-prepper-skill/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/conflict-resolution-important-prepper-skill/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 08:00:51 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21422   When do we tend to argue the most with our spouses and other family members? All other things being equal, it is when we’re stressed out about something. One of the most common reasons for marital strife is money Read More

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Conflict resolution for survival and preparedness. It's more important than you might think. www.TheSurvivalMom.comWhen do we tend to argue the most with our spouses and other family members? All other things being equal, it is when we’re stressed out about something. One of the most common reasons for marital strife is money trouble. It isn’t necessarily that money is the cause of the arguments, it is that one or both people are stressing out about the finances and, as a result, they tend to be short-tempered.

Now, if you think life is stressful when you’re a little short on the rent money, imagine how it might be during a life-altering crisis like the aftermath of a hurricane!

In some instances and circumstances, conflict is actually a good thing. That might be hard to believe, but hear me out! Conflict is often one of the primary ways things can change. For example, at work, a conflict between two coworkers, handled properly, can lead to a new way to approach a task or problem, increasing not only productivity but morale.

Even at home, conflict can lead to positive changes. It is all in how the conflict is handled.

Smart conflict resolution

First, no matter who your conflict is with, there are two words that are critically important. “I understand.” Telling the other person that you understand their perspective gives them a sense of validation. You’re not necessarily agreeing with them. All you’re doing is telling them that you get why they are upset.

The most important body part in resolving conflict is not your mouth, nor your fists, but your ears. It is critically important to actually listen to the person so you can work to understand their point of view.

Of course, there may be times when you genuinely have no clue why the person is angry or upset with you. Ask questions, honestly and without sarcasm or innuendo. Keep calm and avoid being defensive. After all, you don’t know at that point if you have anything to be defensive about!

When presenting your side of the story, try to stick with what we call I-statements. “I feel…” or “I think…” goes a lot further than sounding like you’re accusing the person of something they may or may not have done. Remember, the ultimate goal here is to resolve the conflict, preferably in such a manner that both people are reasonably satisfied if that’s possible.

As the full picture comes to light as to what is causing the problem, it is important to try and work together to come to a viable solution. This might involve some negotiation (“Okay, I can work on helping more around the house but I’d appreciate if you could tell me what exactly you want me to do in that regard.”). If the problem is behavioral, don’t expect complete changes overnight.

Sometimes, the person isn’t truly upset with you or about something you did. As I noted at the beginning, many arguments are due to external factors, such as job or money stress. Sometimes, all the person really wants is to vent some steam.

One thing my wife and I have done over the years is to preface these vents by saying, “I’m just venting here.” This lets the other person know there is no actual resolution being sought and takes the pressure off both of us. (Given that I met my wife when I was all of 20 years old and we’ve been together for 20+ years, I’d say we know a thing or two about getting along.)

Remember that our kids and grandkids also need to learn conflict resolution skills for kids. They won’t be learning this in school, but it’s a skill they will need their entire lives.

Resources mentioned in this article

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Free Webinar! Keep your home sparkling with DIY Cleaners! http://thesurvivalmom.com/diy-household-cleaning-products/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/diy-household-cleaning-products/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 19:00:00 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21815 You’ve probably read about and seen various recipes for DIY household cleaning products. They’re on Pinterest, Facebook, and in books. Maybe you’ve tried a few and have wondered how effective and safe they really are. Coming up this Thursday, February 26, Read More

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DIY household cleaning products -- Free webinar!  www.TheSurvivalMom.com

You’ve probably read about and seen various recipes for DIY household cleaning products. They’re on Pinterest, Facebook, and in books. Maybe you’ve tried a few and have wondered how effective and safe they really are.

Coming up this Thursday, February 26, is a FREE webinar with home-DIY expert, Lisa Barthuly. Lisa is a writer for The Survival Mom blog and is the author of A Simply Homemade Clean.

You’ll be able to watch Lisa in action as she talks about the cleaners she makes, and she might even mix up a batch or two to demonstrate. She has a free printable for all participants that includes some of her favorite DIY household cleaners recipes.

Mark this event on your calendar, set an alarm clock so you don’t miss it, and be there on Thursday, February 26, at 11:30 a.m. CENTRAL TIME!

That’s 12:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Mountain, and 9:30 a.m. Pacific! Space is limited in our webinar room, so plan on being there a couple of minutes early to get your spot.

If you can’t make it, take heart! I’ll be recording it for you and will post the recording link here on the blog, in my newsletter, and on my Facebook page.

I know you will enjoy getting to know Lisa Barthuly and learning from her.

Link for the webinar:  http://connectpro19068335.adobeconnect.com/thesurvivalmom/

And be sure to download our free mini-guide with loads of great DIY recipes and links to even more!

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