The Survival Mom » Moms http://thesurvivalmom.com Helping moms worry less & enjoy life! Wed, 26 Nov 2014 21:17:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Fast, Free Survival Mom Maintenance http://thesurvivalmom.com/fast-free-survival-mom-maintenance/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/fast-free-survival-mom-maintenance/#comments Sun, 28 Sep 2014 06:00:47 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=18145  Pin this —> Taking care of the mom who takes care of everyone else! The most important thing you can do for your children? Take care of their mother! You’ve heard that if the momma isn’t happy, nobody’s happy.  You Read More

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mom maintenance

 Pin this —> Taking care of the mom who takes care of everyone else!

The most important thing you can do for your children? Take care of their mother!

You’ve heard that if the momma isn’t happy, nobody’s happy.  You need to take care of yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually to be at the top of your game so you can be the mom your kids deserve every day—including in times of crisis.

But with both time and money in short supply, what’s a survival mom to do? It’s surprising what fast, free actions can help you be better prepared.

Take care of your body

Eat in the morning

If you’re still having aspirin and coffee for breakfast, you need to rethink your routine! You’d never send your kids to face a full day on an empty stomach. You shouldn’t, either. Even if you mix up a quick protein shake the night before and down it in the car, you’re less likely to experience low blood sugar and that irritable, panicky, I’m-late-again tantrum. (‘Cause that’s not just me, right?) You’ve prepared for having to make it home without your car, deal with ugly weather conditions, and countless other unpredictable emergencies. Will you really be able to do it on an empty stomach?

Drink water

Years ago I read a book called You’re Not Sick, You’re Thirsty.  It makes for pretty dry reading, no pun intended, but you can glean much from just the summary.  While recent research indicates that forcing gallons of water down your gullet isn’t necessarily beneficial, Mother Nature never intended you to drink a 2-liter of soda a day, either.

Staying hydrated boosts your energy and helps fill your tummy, too. If you’re one of the handful of women who doesn’t have to diligently watch her waistline, well, I’ll keep my snarky comments to myself. But for the rest of us, water may be our diet’s best friend.

Stretch 

You know you’re supposed to exercise at least 3 times a week; it’s not news.  But I promised free and QUICK strategies, so try this one! Find 30 seconds in your day—especially when you feel a bit sluggish—to stretch your back, arms, and legs. Touch your toes. Take a deep breath. You’ll feel energized instantly.

Floss 

Statistically, most of us don’t floss our teeth regularly. Your oral health provides a window to your overall health, according to the Mayo Clinic.  You probably have imagined a scenario where dental care could be unavailable or unaffordable.  A 2-minute date each day with some dollar-store floss seems like a pretty cheap insurance policy.

Stop smoking, already!

This is beyond free, because you’re actually saving money. And your health, and your kids’ health. If it hits the fan, you’ll have to go cold turkey, anyway, so you might as well get ahead of the game and put that money to better use now.

I know, I know, it’s easy for me to say because I’ve never been addicted. So I’ll tell you what I tell my kids: If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way.  If not, you’ll find an excuse. Breathing is kind of essential to survival—more than any food stores or silver stash. Give your lungs the priority they deserve.

Get some sleep!

Seriously—your mind and body need rest.  Limit your late nights to just a couple a week.  The laundry will still be there in the morning, I promise. But if you drive to school groggy, snap at your kids unnecessarily, or slog through your day doing everything at half speed, you’d be better off getting that extra hour of zzz’s.

Keep your mind sharp

Read!

Download a free kindle app. Then, download some free kindle books. Even without a kindle, you can find enough to keep your brain engaged. Read short articles while you’re at the doctor’s office. Read The Survival Mom on your lunch break. Read to your kids before bed! Keep that tradition going even when your kids can read on their own. Current research indicates that it’s even good for teenagers! Read a book together (or at least talk about it when you’re both done).

Journal

Neurosurgeon Dr. Paul Nussbaum has laid out a prescription for keeping the brain so healthy that the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease can be delayed until death—even when physiological changes consistent with the disease are already present. His recommendations include reading and writing just a little bit every day. Don’t bog yourself down wallowing in only survivalist reading. A cheesy romance novel can be good for the brain and spirit, too.  Still no time? Read on your treadmill. Surely multitasking can help you justify 30 minutes to yourself. (I like to read the kindle and walk the track while the kids play at the playground.)

Nurture your spirit

Develop an attitude of gratitude

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your lists of things to do/buy/learn before everything hits the fan, make a mental list of all the things you have to celebrate. It’s impossible to wallow in the doom and gloom of internet news when you ‘re picturing the faces of your smiling kiddos or grandkids! Even in the midst of divorce, illness, financial difficulty, or multiple loads of unfolded laundry, you have lots to be thankful for. If you’re not dealing with any of those issues, you know where to start your list.

Pray or meditate daily

Even if you’re not religious per se, Dr. Nussbaum says daily time in quiet contemplation (maybe making that gratitude list?) has powerful effects on the brain and body. I know it’s tough to find quiet time.  Might I suggest the minutes between “snooze” hits on your morning alarm? Works for me.  I find I can be very contemplative on Monday mornings.

Ask for help

It’s not against the rules.  It doesn’t make you a bad mom. It just means you’re human, and you’ve accepted it. That can be really powerful! Showing your kids how to take care of simple chores, meal prep, and organization can be empowering for them and liberating for you. And if we’re being honest, go ahead and admit that you don’t ask your husband for help because you hate admitting you need it, not because he won’t do it. Mine started snapping beans with the ballgame on and worked his way up to slap-chopping vegetables with the kids (it’s hilarious to see them all lined up and pounding their way toward homemade salsa!). Now he’s an expert tomato skinner, pear peeler, and taste-tester. Plus we get to spend time together instead of me busy in the kitchen while he does…well, whatever he does out in the workshop.  I have found he’ll help with pretty much anything if I ask. But expecting him to notice a sticky hand print and attack it without prompting is unrealistic. I don’t get too worked up about it—especially now that I feel like I’m not doing it all on my own. (Again, that’s not just me, right?) Asking for help will also allow you to make time to exercise, read, and get enough sleep.  I bet your husband will agree that you deserve those things! Give yourself permission.

You’re too important to your family to neglect yourself. They need your “A” game every day. And because you never know when emergencies—major or minor—could require peak physical, mental, and emotional performance, taking care of the mom who takes care of everyone else may be the most important preparation you’ll ever make.

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A Breast Lump Led Me to Homemade Deodorant http://thesurvivalmom.com/breast-lump-led-homemade-deodorant/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/breast-lump-led-homemade-deodorant/#comments Sun, 21 Sep 2014 06:00:02 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=17874 Timing is everything, and I found this particular lump in my armpit the same month a friend died of breast cancer. So, I visited my doctor. One of the questions my doctor had asked was if I changed to a Read More

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homemade deodorantTiming is everything, and I found this particular lump in my armpit the same month a friend died of breast cancer. So, I visited my doctor.

One of the questions my doctor had asked was if I changed to a new deodorant, and I had recently started using the Famous Brand SUPER STRONG deodorant. It worked really well, but…. Not worth the risk if it was giving me who-knows-what in my armpits.

Naturally, I had a mammogram and an ultrasound to check. The result: benign / nothing. Now, I don’t know about you, but those are two different results. Nothing means nothing, as in, not a thing. Benign means nothing to worry about, as in, something is there, but don’t worry. But I digress. (In case you are wondering, I ultimately had it removed and it was breast tissue in the “wrong place”, truly nothing to worry about.)

I changed to Amazon-bought natural deodorants. We finally found one with colloidial silver in it that works well, but I still wasn’t 100% sold. This is something I will use daily, potentially for decades. I don’t want to turn blue!

My Lucky Discovery

I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for “spa products” on sale, especially a nice sugar or salt scrub. I often even use them before they dry out completely. At some point in the summer when my pits were particularly stinky, I decided to try a sugar scrub on them. Miraculous! So much less stinky!

When I ran out of my purchased sugar and salt scrubs, I decided to try making them with my son, who loves mucking about mixing things together. While we were at it, I figured we might as well try homemade deodorant. I used the emptied containers from my store-bought spa products, and also an empty vaseline container for some leftovers.

Both were as easy as can be to make! I needed coconut oil (solid at room temp), which I found at a local grocery store. The deodorant also calls for Arrowroot Powder, which we had on hand courtesy of a recent attempt to eat healthier.

After I started using these, I stopped having problems with stinky pits, even on super-hot days when sweat was pouring off me. Woo hoo! It’s really a blessing for the whole family.

There were a few days when I wasn’t as hot that I did notice a bit of stinkyness at the end of the day. I realized that on those days, I hadn’t used the sugar scrub at the end of my shower.

So, from my experiences, I recommend using a sugar or salt scrub on your pits in the shower, then using homemade deodorant. Both are so simple to make that  I do it with my 8 yr old for fun. He gets to choose the essential oils and put them in, with supervision. We have fun together.

I was able to buy all the ingredients from my local health-conscious grocery store, no special orders required.

Deodorant:

This recipe originally came from the website Passionate Homemaking.

Mix dry ingredients. Add coconut oil gradually until it is smooth and well blended. The texture should be similar to commercial deodorant, soft enough to go on easily but firm enough to hold its shape.

You can put it into an empty deodorant container (an old one will do) or any other sealable container.

I recommend making sure the container has a good seal because this does have a low melting point. Left in a tent at Scout camp, it liquified when the temp was “only” in the low 90s. If it hadn’t had a good seal, that would have been quite the mess to clean up.

Vanilla / Brown Sugar Scrub:

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 cup sunflower oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Mix the sugars together until there are no lumps. Add sunflower oil and vanilla. (Sunflower oil does not carry the strong scent that Olive Oil does.) Store in a sealed glass container until ready to use.

Salt scrubs will work as well, they just might sting if you nick yourself while shaving.

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REVIEW: ESSIO Aromatherapy Shower http://thesurvivalmom.com/review-essio-aromatherapy-shower/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/review-essio-aromatherapy-shower/#comments Sun, 07 Sep 2014 16:00:00 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=17932 I have become a big fan of essential oils over the last few years, so I was curious when I had the chance to review the ESSIO Aromatherapy Shower kit. The kit includes a plastic arm that clips onto to Read More

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aromatherapy showerI have become a big fan of essential oils over the last few years, so I was curious when I had the chance to review the ESSIO Aromatherapy Shower kit. The kit includes a plastic arm that clips onto to the showerhead pipe, three types of oils, and a plastic tray to hold the oils.

To start, if I didn’t make every possible mistake with the first pod, I’m not sure which one I missed. This is good for you, since I can tell you what to watch out for.

After I got all my mistakes out of the way, it was easy to use.

The First Pod: Breathe

They clearly state that these aren’t designed for use with a hand-held shower. The master bath shower was in the middle of being recaulked, so I tried it in the kids shower. Naturally, it has a hand-held shower. (If I wasn’t writing a review, I would have waited, but I thought it might be helpful for readers to know how it worked out – I’m thoughtful that way.)

The short answer: It wasn’t terrible, but the oil pod wasn’t directly in the water as is intended. It might actually have made it, if I had realized that the plastic arm the pod attaches to telescopes out to become longer. My user errors didn’t stop it from filling the room with a lovely scent, but it just didn’t seem quite as effective.

When I pulled out the pod, there was a plastic cover on it. The instructions didn’t mention removing anything before attaching it to the plastic arm, so I thought it was paper that would be punched through. It does not punch through, it twists off – and you’ll need to put it back on when you’re done, so don’t throw it away.

Even after I removed the plastic cover, I had a difficult time getting the pod attached and dropped it a couple times, once into running water. The instructions warn you it will dilute the oil if you get water into it by putting the entire pod under the water flow.

When I finally attached it, I wasn’t careful and managed to ram the tip that is supposed to go into the water flow back inside the pod. Between dropping it, ramming the tip inside, and other user-errors, I used up all the “Relax” oil in the first usage.

I did find that it made me more relaxed, even with the problems getting started, and both my boys enjoyed the scent when they took showers a little later in the evening.

The Second Pod: Passion

I used it in the master bath and it went far more smoothly. The plastic arm easily attached to the pipe in both bathrooms, and I was able to attach the pod easily now that I knew what not to do.

The pod easily reached the water flow. Flipping it up to reduce usage and back down to add more aroma was a piece of cake. The “lid” went back on the pod for storage without any challenges.

I used very little of the oil this time and have more than enough for several more showers, and I really enjoyed the smell.

The Third Pod: Breathe

I can’t testify as to whether this helps on a stuffy head since I don’t have one right now, but it smells nice and like something that would help, if I was stuffy.

I had a little more trouble attaching this one than the second, but nowhere near the difficulty I had the first time, and I still had it attached in well under thirty seconds. As with any product that requires a tight fit (you don’t want the pod dropping off mid-shower), sometimes the fit is simply a little tighter than others.

While my kids aren’t tall enough to tilt the pods up and down, the youngest loves the idea and the eldest is willing to give it a try. The next time they have a cold, we’ll use this. I may even buy the “Night” pods for nights he’s not very sleepy at bedtime.

Overall

aromatherapy nightI could understand readers thinking that putting oils in your shower could make the shower slippery or leave your hair or body oily or greasy. The truth is, as with all things essential oil, we’re talking about drops of oil, not cups of it. In addition, it’s not dripping on you. The drops of oil are delivered through a specialized tip that diffuses them in the shower water.

Even when I dropped the pod directly on the tub floor, it wasn’t oily. And even with using an entire pod in one shower, I didn’t feel any residue on my skin or hair. The whole family could, however, smell the oil throughout the upstairs for quite awhile after my shower.

As I said, I’m a big fan of essential oils. These are a fun, easy way to get aromatherapy benefits – and an excuse to take a little extra time both in the shower and in the bathroom afterwards, pampering yourself a bit and enjoying the lingering aroma.

The Actual Pods

Since you are probably wondering, while a refillable pod that you can put your own scents into would be great, they don’t offer those. They do have a nice selection that covers what are probably the most-often-wanted uses for for aromatherapy including the three discussed, Night, Wisdom, and Clear.

We’ve all seen McCormick’s little oval squeeze containers of dye for coloring food. Each oil pod is approximately the same size (and shape) as those dye containers, but they aren’t squeezable. They also aren’t refillable, but you can buy replacement packs of 4 or 8 pods for $19.99 or $29.99. Given that they are 100% certified organic oils with no chemicals or synthetics added, that price seems reasonable.

If each pod lasts for 4 showers, that works out to about $1.25 or $0.94 (plus shipping ad handling) per shower for a home-spa experience. (They are actually offered at my favorite day spa!) I’ll take that deal.

Giveaway

ESSIO is running a giveaway from now through September 25th. Five lucky winners will receive a free Shower Kit.

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End of Summer and Back to School Essential Oils Tips for Kids and Moms http://thesurvivalmom.com/end-summer-back-school-essential-oils-tips-kids-moms/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/end-summer-back-school-essential-oils-tips-kids-moms/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 06:00:14 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=17090 Disclaimer: Before we get started, I need to provide you with a legal disclaimer on these essential oil tips: Please do not discontinue prescriptions or a medical professionals advice who is treating you without consulting with them first. I am Read More

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doTERRA Playdough The Survival MOM Essential Oil Tips

Disclaimer:

Before we get started, I need to provide you with a legal disclaimer on these essential oil tips: Please do not discontinue prescriptions or a medical professionals advice who is treating you without consulting with them first. I am not a medical professional, nutritionists, food scientists, or expert in anything other than living the “Simple Life” the way we chose to live it.

My posts are intended as my opinion and my way of doing things. All opinions and advice offered in this post are merely that of a mother, woman, and wife sharing my knowledge drawn from my own experiences and research. Remember to always do your own research when it comes to the safety, health and well-being of your family.

Essential Oil Projects with Kids

There are many disasters and situations that we share knowledge and preparedness for here at The Survival Mom, but survival for some moms could just be surviving the summer or homework at the end of the day. Children can get a little tired by the end of summer. Those long summer days drag on in the heat.

I am going to share some really cool ideas and projects that you can do with your children using essential oils . As an added bonus, they also receive a form of aromatherapy while they are playing!

When people think of essential oils they think natural healing, cleaning the kitchen, and maybe even bug spray. I bet you didn’t think you could help yourself and your children’s health while having fun and being creative!

These projects I am going to share can also be used during the school year to help your child if they are struggling with their school day. You may wish to pass these recipes along to your new teachers this year. These are also great for after school play, just before doing homework.

The first project is for the younger children, but sometimes even us moms allow our inner child to escape.

Essential Oil Play Dough Anyone?

This is an easy recipe and you can use varying essential oils to gain varying effects.

  • 2 cups flour (substitute Better Batter Gluten Free Flour)
  • 2 cups colored water (you can use spices and natural coloring)
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 drops essential oil

Combine all the ingredients, except for the essential oils, in a large sauce pan and stir until combined. Place the pan over medium heat while stirring with a spatula until the ingredients form a ball.   Be careful not to overcook or you will have dry play dough.

Remove from heat and allow to cool on parchment paper.

Once your dough is cool, add 5 drops of your chosen essential oil and knead until thoroughly combined.

Recommended Essential Oils

NOTE: Be sure to never leave children alone with essential oils.   They are extremely concentrated and could be harmful to them in large doses.

Wild Orange essential oil will wake up those tired students and is great for those unfortunate bad days.

Peppermint essential oil will aid in poor concentration and is invigorating.

Lemon essential oil is a wonderful detoxing oil that awakens your senses.

Lavender essential oil is calming and may be a great choice at nap time.

Balance essential oil blend by doTERRA is one of my favorite oils for my autistic son because it is grounding, but awakening at the same time. This is a great one to choose right after school and just before homework is to begin.

Vetiver essential oil blend by doTERRA is another one of my favorites. This is a great oil for those over active children. It has a unique smell reminding me of “dirt” and it is a very calming and relaxing oil which is great for children with autism, ADHD, ADD, and those that are absentminded.

How About Some Aromatherapy Slime?doTERRA Slime TheSurvivalMom

  • 2 cups of arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  • 1 to 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 tsp dried herbs for color (optional)
  • 3 drops of your favorite essential oil

Combine dry ingredients. You can use spirulina powder for green slime or beet root powder for red slime. Add your essential oil and then slowly add water until it becomes the consistency of slime. You want it to feel hard or solid while in the dish and liquidy when picked up. See above for some of my oil suggestions.

Although you must take caution with the Aromatherapy Slime and wear old clothing, it it is another great opportunity to have fun making something unique with your child and provide them with some memory making moments. By choosing the right essential oil, you can even brighten or calm their day – and your own – as needed.

Something as simple as playing with aromatherapy dough can help your child while doing school work or homework or calm them down when overexcited. It can even help your special needs child in a very non-invasive, fun and therapeutic way!

The other benefit is that Mom can get the same calming or awakening affects at the same time! Win win!

What is your favorite essential oil and why?

 

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Subway Safety with Kids http://thesurvivalmom.com/subway-safety-kids/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/subway-safety-kids/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 06:48:59 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=16763 Living in a big city, I have learned to rely on public transportation. Parking spots are limited and often too narrow to fit my big jeep in. Not to mention the crazy, fast paced, and often mentally exhausting traffic here Read More

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Subway_Safety_WKidsLiving in a big city, I have learned to rely on public transportation. Parking spots are limited and often too narrow to fit my big jeep in. Not to mention the crazy, fast paced, and often mentally exhausting traffic here in Seoul, South Korea.

It is easier and more cost effective to just walk a few blocks to the subway station. Besides, my kids love to ride the subway.

After the first few trips on the subway with my children, and playing out the “What If?” scenarios in my mind, I compiled a few tips to aid in safely traveling with kids on the subway.

Preparing for the Trip

Since both my children are younger, they each wear a lanyard with an I.D. holder on it. I place a card with my name and phone number on it, as well as an alternate emergency point of contact.

When we travel, I also include our hotel name and phone number. If something happens, they don’t have to struggle to remember phone numbers. It also gives them a place to put their subway card.

Entering the Subway Station

Subway stations can be very busy places at times, crowded, and face paced. There are many moving components: automatic doors, escalators, elevators, turnstiles, and moving sidewalks.

Take your time. Don’t get caught up in the rush. Remind the kids to take their time on steps, through the turnstiles, and to be clear of the subway door. In the subway car, I always try to have the kids find a seat. If there are none, be sure they always hang onto a safety rail. Sometimes the trains can have rough starts and stops. It is easy to lose your balance.

Learn the emergency signs together. There are many different signs in the station. Regular signs point you to the bathroom, the platform, transfers to other trains, information kiosks, and standard exits. Then there are the emergency ones: exits, phones, first aid, flash lights, fire extinguishers, and gas masks. I make a game out of it by randomly quizzing them on finding a certain sign, for instance an emergency exit.

I also point out the Information kiosks and station attendants who have special uniforms. In an emergency, the kids know they can ask the attendants for help.

Knowing the Route

Another game we play is knowing our starting and ending points: what station we begin our adventure on and our destination. We also count the stops on the way and discuss what subway line we are on. Here, the lines are distinguished by color and numbers.

By looking at the map, they can tell me how many stops there are before we transfer to next line, and how many total stops to our destination. Both of my children’s navigating skills have amazed me. Sometimes they even beat me to the punch and know how many stops before our station.

Which leads me to our “What happens if we get separated?” plan. If the subway car is crowded or a door closes too fast and we get separated, what do you do? (I have had happen this happen in a Korean elevator, but that is a whole other story for another time.)

If anyone gets stuck on the train, they are supposed to get off at the next stop, take a seat at the first bench they come to on the platform, and wait. If anyone is left at the station, they take a seat on the platform and wait. Either way, someone will be right there to get them.

Other Useful Tidbits

Most subways have a discount child fare, as well as a special gate for stroller friendly access. Some even offer special seating in the subway car.

Some subway systems have cell phone applications for maps. You put in your starting point and destination. From there, it will give you arrival times, stops, and transfers.

Here in Seoul, most subway stations are also fallout shelters equipped with emergency supplies, including gas masks.

No matter where in the world you are, or what subway system you are using, be sure to look up their website for more local tips on traveling and safety. The subway is an easy, fun way to take an adventure in the big city with kids.

Helping them to be prepared in case of an emergency will give you all a peaceful mind.

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When Mom Can’t Help: 3 Things Your Family Should Know http://thesurvivalmom.com/mom-cant-help-3-things-family-know/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/mom-cant-help-3-things-family-know/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 10:00:07 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=15536 Moms do a lot. In fact, I tell my mom all the time that she deceived me growing up! I had NO clue how much Moms really did until I became one. The list never ends, the house is in constant disarray, Read More

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when-mom-can't-help

Moms do a lot. In fact, I tell my mom all the time that she deceived me growing up! I had NO clue how much Moms really did until I became one. The list never ends, the house is in constant disarray, and someone is whining at any given moment (at least in my house).

About the only thing that scares me more than my kids, is the thought of what they would do without me. As much as I hope and pray I will be there for them at any given moment, that may not be the case.

This year I’ve definitely had a rude awakening as I’ve witnessed a teenager lose her mom to cancer, a young mother die after giving birth to her 2nd child, and the most tragic event of all happened in our community last week when a family of 7 was attacked leaving only one survivor.

Fortunately these instances are rare, but at the same time, what if something did happen to me and I couldn’t be there to help my family? What would I want them to know? Be able to do? Or even remember about me?

Here are a few things I thought of, but I would love for you to add to my list and share your thoughts below!

3 Things Your Family Should Know When Mom Can’t Help:

- Where Important Items are Located

Knowing where things are located might seem obvious, but I’m surprised how often my husband can’t find things, usually because I move things around and forget to tell him.

So I encourage you to think of all the important items your family needs to know about and take them on a tour of your house. You can even use inventory sheets or make a map of your house if it helps, just keep it in a safe place.

Here are a few of the items I made sure to point out in our home tour:

- How to do Things for Themselves

Currently my children are fairly useless at doing much, unless it comes to Minecraft where they can manage to build entire cities, make rollercoasters for their animals, and keep away from zombies.

I really am trying to change that and am working on incorporating more real-world skills into their lives, instead of just virtual ones.

I believe one of the greatest gifts moms can give to their children is to teach them how to do things for themselves, especially if you’re not there to do it for them. I know it’s a lot easier said than done, but go ahead and try teaching them how to do a few things, if nothing else hopefully they’ll appreciate you more. Maybe eventually, they will be able to do it all and you can kick back and build a few houses on Minecraft too (ok, maybe I’m dreaming;)

Here are a few things my kids will know how to do (at least in my dreams):

  • Cook (especially with the food I have stored)
  • Garden
  • Pay Bills & Manage Money
  • Clean Anything, especially Toilets
  • Pick-up after themselves
  • Basic Survival Skills (Here’s a list of 48 if you need ideas)

- How Much You Love Them

I know I said earlier it worries me to think of not being there for my kids, but I just thought of something even worse – for them to not realize how much I love them!

Does your family know how much you love them? If today was your last day, what would you want them to remember about you?

Here are a few things I try to keep up with so they can always know how much I love them, especially if I’m not here to tell them myself:

What would you want your family to know if you couldn’t help?

 

 

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Book Review: Little Jars, Big Flavors http://thesurvivalmom.com/product-review-little-jars-big-flavors/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/product-review-little-jars-big-flavors/#comments Fri, 04 Jul 2014 20:00:06 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=15765 Not a lot of produce but reluctant to waste? No problem! Southern Living presents a 2013 cookbook with something for everyone! Whether you’re a beginner, a seasoned canner, or a microwave-only cook, you’ll find inspiration in Little Jars, Big Flavors Read More

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Little Jars, Big FlavorsNot a lot of produce but reluctant to waste? No problem!

Southern Living presents a 2013 cookbook with something for everyone! Whether you’re a beginner, a seasoned canner, or a microwave-only cook, you’ll find inspiration in Little Jars, Big Flavors from author/chef Virginia Willis.

Little Jars Big Flavors For Beginners

Detailed instructions with beautiful color photos will walk you through the process. And because there’s no pressure canning (water bath-only recipes), no need to worry that you’ll blow up your kitchen.

Included are helpful tips to prevent messes; what you aren’t allowed to “fudge” in processing and ingredients; and full-color pictures of gel tests. It’s much easier than learning the hard way.

It’s fine if you don’t have a huge garden and tons of produce. Blueberry-lemon jam only calls for 3 cups of blueberries and yields 4 half-pint jars. No worries that you’ll waste a bunch of produce doing it wrong. Even if nothing seals, you only have a few jars to eat and share. Take the kiddos to a local pick-your-own farm and see how much produce makes it home. We only had a few cups left, anyway!

The layout includes at-a-glance references for prep time so you can determine whether you have time to preserve what’s in your refrigerator just before leaving for the weekend.

For Experienced Canners

You’ll love the new twists on old favorites. I still had some strawberry and blackberry jam left from last season and didn’t want to put up more of the same. Soooo…I now have some strawberry-basil and strawberry-port jam, as well as blackberry-black pepper jam. The coolest thing? The time and produce investment is small enough to experiment. If you don’t like the results, you only have half a dozen jars to give away. I plan to try peach-rosemary jam, mimosa marmalade, and double-onion marmalade when the harvest changes.

Experimenting is extra fun because the author includes ideas and even recipes for using your yummy concoctions. Onion marmalade sounded pretty gross—until I read that it can be a quick substitute for carmelized onions in my recipes. What an awesome shortcut!

And for even shorter shortcuts, try some freezer pickles or jams or even microwave nectarine-ginger preserves. The flavor combinations in Little Jars, Big Flavors are different from anything in my Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, my go-to guide in the summer.

Best Value for Purchasing

I ordered my paperback copy for $9.95 plus shipping from the Lakeside Collection online catalog. It lays fairly flat during use, so I’m glad I didn’t pony up for the $32.00+ hardback version from Amazon. Some used paperbacks are just under $9 on Amazon, but for an extra buck, I like the assurance of a pristine book. No kindle version exists at the time of this writing, but for beginners, I think an e-version would be a mistake.

The Very BEST Part

An entire chapter is devoted to what the author calls “Putting-Up Parties”. I LOVE this idea! If you’ve ever thought about starting a prepper’s circle, this is a completely fun and non-threatening way to get started.

Think of it like a “cookie-exchange” party. A few women get to share the work, chat together in the kitchen, share a few snacks, and at the end of the day, everyone has a few different recipes to take home rather than a year’s worth of one item.

Because the recipes require just a little produce, each lady can bring the ingredients for one recipe for very little cost. Go ahead and call up a couple of church ladies, the moms from your homeschool circle, or the parents of your kids’ friends! It’s a great way to get to know each other. And chances are, if some of them are already canners, they may possess other skills you can learn from them. (I’m still hoping someone can show me how to use the sewing machine I got for Christmas!)

I’m planning a “putting-up party with my sisters-in-law who aren’t currently prepping. They’ll walk away with new skills and confidence (and a few jars of awesome goodies). This will definitely open the door to conversations about other food preservation methods I’m trying and other efforts to be prepared.

We’ll only mess up one kitchen. The dads will spend a day herding kiddos, and the cousins will spend some quality time together.

As a side benefit, I’m eager to try out some of my sister’s expensive Pampered Chef gadgets that I haven’t been able to talk myself into. The last time I went on and on about how much I loved my mom’s strawberry huller and my mother-in-law’s apple peeler/corer/slicer, I got one of each as a gift. Just sayin’.

Canning for “Real Women”, not Martha Stewarts

Believe me, I’m no Martha Stewart—but I don’t really have to be. This chapter suggests canning recipes for each season with some overlapping ingredients, snack and beverage suggestions, and lovely ways to decorate those beautiful jars for gift-giving. If you have kids, have them help out with making teacher gifts for Christmas or teacher appreciation.

Even if that’s not really your thing, you can probably pretend for a few hours to make prepper connections in the least awkward way I’ve ever seen. At the very least, you get to walk away with a variety of goodies that you didn’t spend all day doing by yourself.

If a friend shared this post with you via Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, consider yourself invited to her next “Putting-Up Party.” You can host the next one in the fall when you’ll be eager to put big apple, pear, and cranberry flavors into little jars.

*Kris and The Survival Mom team have no affiliation with the author or publisher.

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Sweet Summer Giveaway: Day 2 — 3 Cool gifts for 1 lucky mom http://thesurvivalmom.com/giveaway-day-2/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/giveaway-day-2/#comments Tue, 27 May 2014 10:00:52 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=14515 This giveaway is now closed and winners have been selected and notified. Today we have a great collection of items that will all go to one lucky winner! If you’ve read my blog for very long, you know that I Read More

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This giveaway is now closed and winners have been selected and notified.

Today we have a great collection of items that will all go to one lucky winner!

Courtesy of Post-it® Brand

If you’ve read my blog for very long, you know that I love Post-it® Brand products. I use them for keeping track of shopping lists, meal planning, storing mementos and important papers, and recently reviewed the Home Collection by Post-it® Brand, Scotch® Brand, and Command™ Brands.

Items from this collection of products will be just one of the prizes in this giveaway! You’ll love it!

The next item is for any woman who has ever struggled to find her keys at the bottom of a purse. That moment when you really, really need to get that car door unlocked but it seems that your keys keep evading you, is when you’ll be glad for the Finders Key Purse. Finders-keepers. Get it?

finders key purseI’ve been using my Finders Key Purse for several weeks. It’s a small, decorative piece that has a clasp on one end that you attach to your key chain. At the other end is a hook that is placed over the edge of a purse or a backpack. Your keys are always handy and who would ever guess that the tiny piece of bling decorating the top of your purse has a very utilitarian purpose?

If you’re the lucky winner of this prize package, you’ll be receiving a Finders Key Purse for your very own! (Design may vary from the one shown.)

And finally, the Bubble Bum. It’s hard to say that name without smiling!

_MG_5352The Bubble Bum is an inflatable, foldable, light, portable, and packable booster seat for kids ages 4-11. It’s so portable that it can be used in rental cars after an airplane trip, car pooling, and any other transportation where a booster seat is needed and/or desirable. It weighs less than a pound and would be super easy to store in a carry on bag, a backpack, or in the glove box of a car.

If you sometimes transport grand kids or an extra kid or two, the Bubble Bum is just what you need!

Winner takes all!

One lucky winner will receive a prize package from Post-it® Brand, a Finders Key Purse key finder, and a Bubble Bum. You just might be that winner!

We’re using Rafflecopter again for this giveaway, and even if you don’t “do” social media, you can still enter by clicking the FREE ENTRY button. You’ll be asked to enter an email address, which we need in order to contact the winner.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Five Ways to Suffer Less with PMS http://thesurvivalmom.com/five-ways-suffer-less-pms/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/five-ways-suffer-less-pms/#comments Sat, 17 May 2014 12:20:47 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=14431 Premenstrual syndrome.  If you’re female, it’s something you wish you’d never been acquainted with. If you’re not female– let’s just say, you’d best just stay out of the way during that time of the month. Unless you want serious trouble Read More

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 Five Ways to get PMS ReliefPremenstrual syndrome.  If you’re female, it’s something you wish you’d never been acquainted with. If you’re not female– let’s just say, you’d best just stay out of the way during that time of the month. Unless you want serious trouble and possibly a minor injury or two!

While it is a perfectly natural event in the female body, it can be far from pleasant. Some women (and girls) experience horrible cramping, pain, and excessive bleeding. I knew someone who actually had black-outs during her period. On the other hand, some ladies are hardly affected by its course at all. (Lucky them!)

There have been days when all I could do was lie on the bed, ‘waiting for the storm to pass’. It was a matter of just surviving. All my plans for the day got put on hold because I just couldn’t operate.

Simply put, PMS has been nothing short of a nightmare for me.

But the thing about life is this, it doesn’t just stop and wait for you to get over your physical discomforts. There’s work to be done, tasks to accomplish, and schedules to follow.

So what can you do to make that time of month less of a pain – literally? Here are some things that really help with me get PMS relief.

Red raspberry leaf

One of the main causes for PMS is hormonal imbalance. The drastic rise and fall of estrogen levels are often what causes cramping and other obnoxious PMS symptoms. Red raspberry leaf is excellent for combating this problem because it supplies calcium and magnesium. A deficiency of either can result in severe leg cramping. (On a side note, it’s interesting that this herb is also great for growing kids, and tweens entering puberty.)

After a bit of research, I decided to conduct an experiment. I read that drinking lots of red raspberry leaf tea before and during your period can alleviate pain and cramping drastically. [1] “It regulates irregular menstrual cycles and decreases heavy periods.”

I wanted to see if this was true. So for a month, I drank a ton of hot red raspberry leaf tea, several cups a day, minimum. And since red raspberry leaf is also a flu/colds combatant, I figured an immune system boost would be icing on the cake.

Well, that time of month rolled around and I waited to see what would happen. Absolutely nothing! No cramps! No excessive bleeding! No pain! It was the easiest period I’ve ever experienced. Ever since then, I’ve been swearing by red raspberry leaf tea.

You can find it in the grocery store or in bulk from suppliers online. (My favorite supplier is BulkHerbStore.com.) The key is to drink it consistently and not just during your period so it can regulate your estrogen levels and keep your magnesium/calcium balances where they should be.

Lavender essential oil

Rubbing a couple drops of lavender essential oil in your abdomen can bring some localized relief to cramping. It’s well known for removing nervous and muscular tension, and brings a soothing presence which is definitely welcome during periods. Hot baths with lavender oil (five to ten drops) can also be helpful, although dropping everything to jump in the bathtub is rarely an option during the day.

If you want to stock up on lavender oil, be sure to keep it, and all essential oils, stored in a cool, dark location.

Applying heat for PMS relief

Heating pads can bring instant relief for moderate pain and cramping. Just hold it against the area where it hurts the most. Crafting a simple heating pad is super easy. All you need is an old sock and rice! Fill the sock with rice and tie the end securely. Heat in the oven at a low temperature or in the microwave for a few minutes. You can also buy a purpose-made heating pad.

Maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle

The best medicine is the preventative kind. If your internal balances are off, you will feel the consequences. Make sure you’re eating a balanced diet that provides all the nutrients and minerals you need. Vitamin/mineral deficiencies cause all kinds of ailments and directly affect your cycle negatively.

Eat more foods that are high in complex carbohydrates, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. At the same time, reduce or avoid the simple carbs found in sweets and refined foods.[2] Exercise at least three times a week. Do moderate stretching every day to keep the blood flowing and your metabolism awake. Get enough sleep, not just the bare minimum.

Avoid salt

Salt is vital to the human body’s basic functions, but during your period it can aggravate the system and make the situation worse. “Limit your intake of salt, as it aggravates water retention and leads to bloating.” [3]

Every woman’s body is different. What works for me, or your friend, or your mother, might not work for you. It’s vital to pay attention to the signals your own body sends. Connect with how you function, and experiment with different methods and watch how your body responds. Ultimately, only you can determine what works best for you.

References

[1] “Be Your Own Doctor”, Rachel Weaver, M.H.

[2, 3] Home Remedies For You

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Help Wanted! Join our team of writers http://thesurvivalmom.com/help-wanted-join-team-writers/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/help-wanted-join-team-writers/#comments Tue, 08 Apr 2014 08:38:49 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=13482 It’s hard to believe, but on June 1, The Survival Mom blog will celebrate its 4th birthday! All along the way I’ve had so much help, from a great IT guy named Greg to multiple designers, an intern, and an Read More

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It’s hard to believe, but on June 1, The Survival Mom blog will celebrate its 4th birthday!

Writing TeamAll along the way I’ve had so much help, from a great IT guy named Greg to multiple designers, an intern, and an assistant, but what I’m really needing now is to expand my team of writers.

I’m looking for a team of both men and women who are into the whole survival/prepper niche but not necessarily survivalists. These writers can come from any walk of life, can live in an apartment in the biggest cities or wake up when the roosters crow on their farms. What’s most important to me is that they are writers who want to be part of a team and contribute on a regular basis.

Job Description

1.  Title: Contributing writer for The Survival Mom blog. Articles may also be included in The Survival Mom Minute, my newsletter.

2.  Requirements: Contribute 1-2 articles per month by specified deadline. One or two photos or graphics should be included with each article. Additional articles may be accepted, depending on editorial schedule.

3.  Proficient writing skills: Articles should require minimal editing and consistently use correct grammar and spelling. They should also be on topics related to preparedness and/or survival in general.

4.  Consistent communication with editor, Lisa Bedford, via email and shared folders.

Benefits to Survival Mom writing team members

1.  Exposure for your byline and blog/website to nearly 150,000 visitors per month to The Survival Mom blog.

2.  Each team member will be highlighted in a special section of the blog, currently being developed. This will include a brief bio, photo, list of your accomplishments (books authored, etc.), along with a link to your website.

3.  Performance bonuses. Yes, there is cash involved.

4.  Widespread social media for your articles on our blog.

5.  Additional perks as we develop them

My needs and goals

I’m looking to expand the variety of articles here on the blog. The Survival Mom blog was established 4  years ago and has a loyal following, but it’s time to broaden our scope. Some of the topics I’d like to expand upon include:

  • Homesteading
  • Gardening
  • Disaster/emergency preparedness
  • Urban survival
  • Outdoor survival
  • DIY projects related to preparedness and survival
  • Parenting during difficult times
  • Physical fitness as it relates to survival
  • Financial preparedness
  • Ideas and projects for families and kids

Each article needs to include at least one photograph or graphic, and these must be original. All too often, bloggers innocently use licensed photography without permission and end up facing fines. The photographs don’t have to be studio quality but should be clear, well lit, and using good composition. For graphics, I highly recommend PicMonkey.

I’m looking for articles that are interesting, engaging, and reflect your personality.  They also should be well organized and easy to follow. There’s no need to write an encyclopedia-style article when your own style is casual and humorous. However, your style is all your own and will establish your own fan base.

Finally, I need a team of writers that I can depend on. Life happens but, overall, I need writers who can commit to 1 or 2 articles per month and submit them by the established deadline.

Ready to apply?

You likely have questions that haven’t been answered so far, and you’re welcome to send them my way via email at lisa@thesurvivalmom.com.

Click here to access the application form, which will provide a few more details. If I need more information, I’ll be in touch via email. I hope to review all applications and make my final decisions by Monday,  April 28. I will let every applicant know their status by Wednesday, April 30.

Thanks so much for considering sharing your skills and knowledge with us. Feel free to share this information with anyone you know who might be interested and would make a great contributing writer to our team.

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