The Survival Mom » More http://thesurvivalmom.com Helping moms worry less & enjoy life! Thu, 28 May 2015 07:00:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Conserving Resources in a Survival Situation http://thesurvivalmom.com/%ef%bb%bfconserving-survival-resources/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/%ef%bb%bfconserving-survival-resources/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 13:50:13 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=22988 Whether we’re talking about being lost in the woods or recovering from a tornado that hit your neighborhood, you’ll most likely be dealing with very limited resources in those scenarios and, as a result, you need to be smart about how you use them. Conserving survival resources takes some planning and learning multiple, alternative skills. Gear, supplies, tools, […]

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conserving survival resourcesWhether we’re talking about being lost in the woods or recovering from a tornado that hit your neighborhood, you’ll most likely be dealing with very limited resources in those scenarios and, as a result, you need to be smart about how you use them. Conserving survival resources takes some planning and learning multiple, alternative skills.

Gear, supplies, tools, food, water, and even physical energy should all be conserved.

Let’s take a look at a wilderness survival situation as an example. Being a prepper, you (hopefully) have a small kit with you any time you hit the trail. The kit, of course, contains a variety of different ready-to-light tinders, such as WetFire Cubes or tinder tabs. The smart move, though, when you go to make your fire is to use natural sources of tinder if they can be easily found. Cattail fluff, seed pods, and dry grass should be used first, before tapping into your store-bought tinders. Using these types of tinder conserves your commercial tinder for when you might really need it. While hopefully it will only be a single night out in the field, one never knows what the future might hold.

Another resource to conserve are your tools. You’ll probably have to process firewood, but rather than use your knife to chop through long pieces, wedge the wood between two trees and break it using a levering action. Or, don’t worry about breaking it all and just feed it into the fire a little at a time as it burns down. Every time you use your knife, axe, or hatchet, you are going to dull the edge, even if just a little bit. Limit your uses of the blade to when you truly need to cut something.

Your survival kit, or Bug Out Bag, probably contains items useful for constructing an emergency shelter, but before you haul those out, look for naturally occurring options for emergency shelter, such as a downed tree that forms a natural lean-to. The less work you need to do and the fewer supplies you use, the better off you’ll be. Obviously, common sense plays a role in survival. Don’t bed down in a cave unless you’re certain you’re the only thing in it.

Energy is resource, too, of course. When it comes to food gathering, you should never expend more energy than you will receive from the food you obtain. For example, it makes very little sense to burn calories by going on a lengthy track, stalk, and hunt if you aren’t certain to harvest the animal. A far better option is to concentrate on acquiring food through more passive means, such as fishing and trapping, as well as harvesting wild edibles.

If you’re truly lost, staying put is a much better option than rambling around for hours on end. Searchers will have more luck if you’re not a moving target, plus you won’t get tired and make stupid mistakes.

Get into the habit of conserving your resources on a regular basis. Doing so now will make it second nature to you when it truly counts.

conserving survival resources

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15 Ways to Celebrate Good Times in Tight Times http://thesurvivalmom.com/15-ways-to-celebrate-good-times-in-tight-times/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/15-ways-to-celebrate-good-times-in-tight-times/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 07:00:24 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=7894 It’s been said that the first casualty of war is truth. That may be true, but right on the heels of truth are holidays and celebrations. In the middle of war or other crisis, who has the time to bake a birthday cake or hang Christmas lights, and yet, nothing else brings a sense of […]

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celebrate good times in tight timesIt’s been said that the first casualty of war is truth. That may be true, but right on the heels of truth are holidays and celebrations. In the middle of war or other crisis, who has the time to bake a birthday cake or hang Christmas lights, and yet, nothing else brings a sense of normalcy than celebrating long-standing family holiday traditions.

In a post-SHTF world, how can a family continue celebrating special days when the world as they knew it has come to an end. Depending on circumstances, here are a few ideas to help you begin planning and preparing for right now.

1.  Know how to bake a cake from scratch, beginning with grinding your own flour from wheat.  Remember that wheat can have a shelf life of 20 years or more, white flour less than 2 years. Along with the recipe and skill, make sure you have all the ingredients for the cake and the frosting. Most of them will be quite inexpensive.

2.  Begin selecting recipes for special days that require inexpensive ingredients. Sounds silly maybe, but one of our favorite Christmas treats of chocolate mint bars ends up costing about $12 for a single batch! I know we can do better with a treat we’ll love just as much but will be easier on the wallet.

3.  Use the inexpensive to create special moments and settings.  I’ve always loved the look of twinkling white lights, and, surprise! they aren’t just for Christmas anymore!  Why not hang a string of lights in your child’s bedroom the morning of their birthday or use them to decorate the backyard or patio for Independence Day.  Look for them in the after-Christmas sales. Solar powered lights are even nicer, since they don’t require electricity and would be a great item to have on hand for power outages.

4.  Many holidays have a signature food or dish that helps make the day special.  For an inexpensive tradition that would be easy to continue through almost any hardship, assign a special recipe for holidays, making sure most of its ingredients can be stored in your long-term pantry.  A Dutch Baby pancake is special and doesn’t require any “fancy” ingredients.  Use your imagination and make sure everyone knows that this recipe will now be served every year on this special day.

5.  Another food related treat is to allow the birthday girl or boy to choose their favorite recipes for their special day.  If that’s too risky, then you prepare a menu making foods you know they love and you just happen to have all the right ingredients for!

6.  Be on the lookout all year long for incredible bargains on large quantities of something or another.  Sounds vague, I know, but here’s how it worked out for me.  One year I was able to buy a massive amount of pink tulle at an unbelievable price.  When it was time for my daughter’s 5th birthday, we strung swathes of tulle from the center chandelier in the dining room to each corner of the room and let them drape to the ground.  It was an amazing setting for her little-girl tea party.  If you see something on sale and you can’t believe the price, snatch it up.  You never know when it will come in handy. By the way, if you’re into frugal living and want a support group, join my 52 Weeks Savings Club on Facebook!

7.  When my son was 7, he decided he was manly enough to use Axe shower gel and shampoo!  So, on Christmas morning he woke up to find sample bottles of Axe products in his stocking, along with a well-wrapped piece of the Limburger cheese he had always wanted to try!  Gifts can be practical, fun, and don’t have to cost an arm and a leg.  Pay attention to what people casually mention in conversations for inexpensive gift ideas.

8.  Make it a habit to buy a few holiday decorations, including paper plates and napkins, when they show up in the discount bin at the store.  Sometimes all it takes to make a meal or holiday special is eating it on Christmas Barbie paper plates!

9.  Begin giving the gift of experiences, rather than things.  I learned this a few years ago when my sister-in-law and her partner treated my husband and I to a magical dinner at The Melting Pot.  I’ll never forget the evening but so often I forget gifts and who gave them.  I’ll bet it’s the same for you and your family.  A gift of a “girls day out” is something your mom, sister, or daughter will remember forever, or a “guys day only” for father and son.  This is a gift of time and attention, things we all too often do not give to our loved ones in this fast-paced world.

10. Have special read-aloud books that are only read on certain holidays.  We’ve always had a book basket filled with Christmas books that is pulled out only in the month of December.

11. Set special dates and traditions of your own.  Families with adopted kids often celebrate “Gotcha! Day”, the day their child officially joined the family.  Or make it a family “rule” that, “We don’t listen to Christmas music until December 1,” or “Our family always has a family bike ride to the park on Mother’s Day.”  Dates and simple traditions give kids something to look forward to and help bond the family together. It also establishes what makes your family unique, as in,  “Our family only eats pizza on Fridays!”

12. Stock up on candles and enjoy a family candlelight dinner on birthdays or Valentine’s Day.  Any holiday, really.  Kids have seen candlelight dinners in TV shows and movies, but to have one in their own home??? Wow!  And, the nice thing for Mom is that it doesn’t even matter what’s on the plate!

13. In truly hard times, sacrifice a little bit each day in order to provide something special later.  I’ll never forget learning about one of the moms in the ill-fated Donner party, who was stranded in a tiny cabin surrounded by snow that came up to the rooftop.  She set aside tiny bits of food for weeks at a time just so she could tell her kids on Christmas morning, “Today you can eat all you want!”  Even nickels and dimes add up when saved over a period of months.

14. Plan for attrition now.  Sooner or later your stash of wrapping paper and ribbon will run out.  How could you creatively wrap presents in the future?  Christmas ornaments will eventually break, fade, or become otherwise unusable.  How could you decorate a Christmas tree when your stash of ornaments dwindles?  The products we normally use to make holidays special may not be as easily accessible in the future, so it would be smart to stock up on your favorite items now and plan for alternatives down the road.

15. Remember that your attitude sets the stage for any event.  If you’re feeling depressed because the money isn’t there for expensive family traditions, the whole family will feel the loss instead of looking forward to a fun, new tradition.

Moms are wired to give and to want to give the best they possibly can to their kids, but consider this.  Is it possible that we’ve put too much emphasis on things and other material distractions and have forgotten that we are what our loved ones want more than anything?  I’ve seen parents sitting with their kids at expensive birthday parties, immersed in their iPhones or trying to impress the other adults by showing off their own new “toys”.

A difficult future is going to be made easier if family bonds are tight and the love is strong.  There’s nothing quite like traditions and holidays to establish and reinforce those bonds, and tight times shouldn’t mean the end to these celebrations.  Survival Moms are creative enough to overcome anything!

celebrate good times in tight times

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Campfire Cooking: A Skill to Practice Now! http://thesurvivalmom.com/campfire-cooking-skill-practice-now/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/campfire-cooking-skill-practice-now/#respond Sat, 25 Apr 2015 07:00:03 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=22508 I’d be willing to bet that most of you reading this have at least made s’mores, perhaps even heated up a hot dog or two, around a campfire. Fun stuff, no doubt about it. But, there’s a whole lot more involved if you need to make an actual meal over an open flame. One of […]

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campfire cookingI’d be willing to bet that most of you reading this have at least made s’mores, perhaps even heated up a hot dog or two, around a campfire. Fun stuff, no doubt about it. But, there’s a whole lot more involved if you need to make an actual meal over an open flame.

One of the first things that goes away in a disaster is usually electricity. If you have an electric stove top, you won’t be using it for much of anything. Same goes for your microwave oven. Patio grills are great, as are camp stoves, provided you remembered to stock up on fuel.

In the last few years, patio fire pits have become all the rage. Whether it is a brick lined hole in the ground or a metal standalone model, these work quite well for cooking. In fact, if you have a grill, you can often use the grate from it when cooking over your patio fire pit. Just lay the grate over the pit and away you go. Of course, it depends upon the size of the grate and the fire pit, but more often than not, you’ll be able to make it work.

Campfire cooking skills improve with practice

Cooking over an open flame is as much art as it is science. If you haven’t done it much at all, I highly recommend you practice it from time to time. One common mistake is to try cooking directly over roaring flames. For most things, you’re far better off cooking over glowing coals. You won’t scorch the food and the temperature will be much more stable.

It is a relatively straightforward process to heat up a can of soup or stew, of course. Just dump the contents into a pot and place it over the fire. Keep in mind, though, that the standard cookware in most homes is ill-suited for open fire cooking. Plastic handles can melt and thin aluminum can warp. What you might want to do is invest in either camp cookware or a few cast iron pots and pans. I prefer the latter but will admit they are heavy and kind of pricey.

Try expanding your horizons, too, and go beyond simply heating up canned food. For example, if you have a box of “just add water” biscuit or muffin mix, you can make them without needing a working oven. One way is to use orange peels as muffin cups. Cut an orange in half and use a spoon to scoop out the insides, leaving you with two nifty orange peel cups. Prepare the mix according to the directions and pour it into the peel cups, to about a half inch from the top. Cover them with aluminum foil, poke a few holes in the foil, then set them on a grate above the fire. As the dough bakes, a little bit will squeeze up through the holes in the foil. When that stuff looks done, stick a toothpick down into the muffin. If it comes out clean, they’re done.

Another method is to make a stiff dough using biscuit mix, then loop it around a clean and shaved stick. Hold the stick over the fire and turn it from time to time to cook the dough evenly. Try a Dutch oven cobbler for an amazing campfire dessert.

Take the time now to play around with campfire cooking. Try out different recipes and techniques, learn what works best for you. While a meal of fire-warmed hot dogs and s’mores might not be the worst thing in the world, you probably won’t want to eat it repeatedly.

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How Many Off-Grid Cooking Methods Do You Have? http://thesurvivalmom.com/off-grid-cooking-methods/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/off-grid-cooking-methods/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 15:10:34 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=22416 When you buy, or otherwise acquire, preparedness supplies, do you practice with them or are you a prep hoarder? I think I’ve been guilty of both, especially with off-grid cooking methods. Maybe you know what I mean. Preppers are notorious for wanting every new survival gadget that comes out. We’ve got no less than 10 […]

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off grid cooking methods

When you buy, or otherwise acquire, preparedness supplies, do you practice with them or are you a prep hoarder? I think I’ve been guilty of both, especially with off-grid cooking methods.

Maybe you know what I mean. Preppers are notorious for wanting every new survival gadget that comes out. We’ve got no less than 10 ways to cook that aren’t tied to the power grid, yet when another new off-grid cooker comes out, we simply must have it to add to the stash in the storage room.

And there they sit, safe for when we need them, gathering dust and maybe spiders,

Do you ever try them out when they come in the mail or do we add them, still in the package, to the ‘cooking shelf’ in our bug-out trailer?

I can say that I have used each of my off-grid cooking methods several times. Some had a learning curve that I’ve mastered and with others, I’m still climbing that curve. Some are easier to clean and store than others.  Fuels differ, conditions they can be used in differ, set-up,  clean-up and storage instructions are not the same, but we need to learn how they work.

In a major crisis, when emotions are high and everything and everyone is confused is not the time to try and figure out how to put that HERC stove together!

My family’s off-grid cooking methods

For my family, my list of methods looks like this:

First of all, how many different cooking methods do you have for when the power goes out? You really do need at least 2 of them, making sure those 2 do not rely on the same type of fuel. Are you familiar with how to use all of the different methods you have? Are your children? What if you, THE MASTER OF ALL THINGS PREP in your home are not around or are injured or ill? Who is going to do the cooking then?

Spring and Summer are a GREAT time to get out the different tools/toys you have for cooking meals off-grid and practice, practice, practice.

Pick one night per week and make it an adventure. Have a cook-out in the back yard.  Learn all about that method and gather some recipes to try it out.

I know of a woman who wanted to learn how to use her Dutch oven, so she committed to cooking something in it every day for a YEAR.  She blogged about the experience and shared what she learned online.  I dare say that she is now a Dutch oven expert.  I think she’s also super tired of using her Dutch oven because she hasn’t updated her blog in a while, but her adventure is documented for the world to learn from.  You can read about it and get some great new dutch oven recipe ideas for yourself, be warned though, you might not surface for days.  Toni’s Dutch Oven adventure. 

Do you have any/all of the methods I listed? I’d love to hear about your favorite off-grid cooking methods.

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Your SHTF Dental Plan: Supplies to stock up on, skills to learn http://thesurvivalmom.com/shtf-dental-plan-supplies-to-stock-up-on-skills-to-learn/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/shtf-dental-plan-supplies-to-stock-up-on-skills-to-learn/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 07:00:00 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21594 I didn’t get my first cavity until I was 27 years old. Honest. My teeth were in absolute perfect condition for almost 3 decades. I didn’t even need to wear braces. Survival dental health wasn’t even on my radar. So, I took dental health for granted. I forgot to floss, at times drank too much […]

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Survival dental health. Supplies and skills for dental emergencies.

I didn’t get my first cavity until I was 27 years old. Honest. My teeth were in absolute perfect condition for almost 3 decades. I didn’t even need to wear braces. Survival dental health wasn’t even on my radar.

So, I took dental health for granted. I forgot to floss, at times drank too much soda, and sure enough, moving into my 30’s, cavities began popping up here and there and my dentist warned me about tooth decay and gum disease and their affect on my overall health.

Those same warnings are given to millions of people every year by earnest dentists and dental hygienists, but not everyone heeds them.

In a worst case scenario, visits to the dentist may become a luxury no longer available, or at least, not available to the majority of people. Even now there are millions of families who can no longer afford teeth cleanings, braces, and other expensive forms of dental care.

It makes sense, then, to learn as many alternative ways as possible to take good care of your teeth and gums and begin stocking up on the supplies you’ll need. In no way does this advice replace visits to the dentist. Please don’t use it as an excuse to avoid unpleasant dental work! Rather, I want to give you some ideas for taking extra good care of your teeth and gums in a worst case scenario and give you a list of supplies so you can begin stocking up for your own SHTF Dental Plan!

Toothpaste options for your survival dental health

It’s pretty easy to stock up on large amounts of toothpaste and toothbrushes using coupons. But if you’d like other options, here are a couple of recipes for homemade toothpaste and a tooth powder using ingredients that can easily be stocked up and stored long-term.

For these recipes, you’ll need Bentonite clay. I’ve been using the Earth’s Living brand, which originates in Death Valley. It’s a very fine powder that hasn’t been irradiated and contains calcium, magnesium, and other trace minerals. It can be stored indefinitely, which makes it a terrific product for stocking up! Just buying one jar of Bentonite clay every couple of months will give you a sizable stockpile pretty quickly.

You’ll also want to stock up on essential oils, such as peppermint, spearmint, or cinnamon, baking soda, and calcium powder. If you don’t want fluoride in your store-bought toothpaste or have other concerns with their ingredients, stock up instead on ingredients to make homemade toothpaste or tooth powder. These ingredients can last for years, if not indefinitely.

Remineralizing Tooth Powder 

Homemade Clay Toothpaste

Want something even easier than this? Make a paste of baking soda and water, or hydrogen peroxide, for getting your teeth clean. Dentists warn that using baking soda over a long period of time can weaken tooth enamel, so you may want to use this with other toothpaste recipes.

My favorite alternative toothbrush

Several years ago I spent some time with Marjorie Wildcraft. She had just finished filming a DVD with herbal expert, Doug Simons, called “Alternatives to Dentists.” During our conversation, she urged me to try brushing my teeth with a willow twig.

“You’ll love the way your teeth feel and it actually makes them stronger,” she claimed.

So, on a family camping trip through Colorado, I tracked down a willow tree, snipped a small twig, and began using it to clean my teeth. I loved being able to scrub each tooth, front and back and into the gum line. My teeth felt very smooth and clean, similar to that after-the-dentist feeling. The twig doesn’t have to be from a willow tree, by the way.

If you’re skeptical of the willow twig toothbrush and don’t have a toothbrush handy, soft strips of cloth can be used to rub against teeth to get them clean.

Dentists and dental hygienists alike strongly recommend using the softest toothbrushes, not a firm toothbrush, which can damage teeth and gums. If you’re stocking up on toothbrushes, always get the softest brushes possible.

Homemade mouthwash for another alternative dental product

If, after using homemade toothpaste and a willow twig, you still feel the need for even fresher teeth, you can easily mix up a batch of homemade mouthwash. Again, great news! These recipes call for ingredients that are shelf stable and can be stored for very long periods of time. To maximize that shelf life, always store in the darkest, coolest, and driest spot in the house.

Hydrogen Peroxide Mouthwash

Easy peasy. Combine equal parts 3% hydrogen peroxide and water, just enough for one swish. Hydrogen peroxide doesn’t have an indefinite shelf life and it should be stored in a very cool location, even in the refrigerator. However, this is a very easy item to store and as a mouthwash, it couldn’t get any easier than this.

Minty Essential Oil Mouthwash

Combine together a cup of water and 10-20 drops of an essential oil. Do test the flavor of the mouthwash at 10 drops before adding any more, since some oils are much stronger tasting than others. Cinnamon essential oil is a good choice because it may have antifungal and antibacterial properties. Peppermint and spearmint are also very good choices for dental health.

Salt Water Mouthwash

Not glamorous, and if anything, a salt water mouthwash is boring, but the fact is, this continues to be recommended by dentists worldwide for its effectiveness as a natural disinfectant. It can help heal sores as well. Combine 1 teaspoon salt with 1 cup water. As effective as this is, short term, it shouldn’t be used long term because the acidity could soften tooth enamel over time. Use this option only occasionally.

Colloidal silver

While colloidal silver isn’t a mouthwash exactly, its proponents claim that it is effective against periodontal disease. Whether you stock up on store-bought or make your own homemade colloidal silver, this is another option for maintaining good dental health in a worst case scenario.

Dental floss, or “It’s time for your biannual flossing lecture.”

When my trusty assistant, Bethanne, informed me that she had a dentist appointment, she ended our conversation with, “It’s time for my biannual flossing lecture.”

Her comment made me laugh because I, too, was familiar with that spiel. I’m proud to say that I floss my teeth much more often now than I used to, but probably not as often as my hygienist would like. The main purpose of using floss is to break the contact point between teeth and loosen debris. Brushing alone doesn’t usually accomplish this.

The really great news for your SHTF Dental Plan is that just about anything can be used in place of dental floss, although before resorting to this list, use coupons and grocery store sales to stock up on plenty of floss.

Per a few dental hygienists that I know, you can use these in place of floss:

  • Thread
  • Embroidery floss (use a single strand at a time)
  • Fishing line
  • Pipe cleaners — This comes in varying sizes. Get the smaller sizes to use in between your teeth.

Oil pulling for cleaner, healthier teeth and gums

When I first heard of oil pulling, I thought it was related to an obscure beauty regimen. I was a little shocked to learn that, instead, it involved swishing oil around in one’s mouth for 15-20 minutes at a time. Incredibly, I learned that this ancient process has received approval by many in the medical and dental communities.

One dentist, Jessica T. Emery of Sugar Fix Dental Loft in Chicago explains,

“Most microorganisms inhabiting the mouth consist of a single cell,” Emery says. “Cells are covered with a lipid, or fatty, membrane, which is the cell’s skin. When these cells come into contact with oil, a fat, they naturally adhere to each other.”

Oil pulling, therefore, can help fight gingivitis, plaque, bad breath, tooth decay, and some regular users swear it has made their teeth whiter.

The process is very simple:

1. Put a tablespoon of oil in your mouth.

2. Swish it around, gently, for 15-20 minutes. If you’re just getting started with this process, start with 5 minutes, and then gradually increase the time. I usually put the oil in my mouth and swish while I’m getting ready for the day.

3. Spit out the oil and brush your teeth.

As part of your SHTF Dental Plan, stock up on coconut oil, which already has anti-bacterial properties. Olive oil and sunflower oil are also good choices. One oil that I tried, designed specifically for oil pulling, is Pulling Oil by GuruNanda. I really liked the fact that it remained in a liquid form, unlike my coconut oil that is usually solid due to the cooler temps of my home and Texas climate. The GuruNanda brand contains a mixture of sesame, sunflower, coconut, and peppermint oils and was very easy to use.

Finally, an herb that may strengthen and repair teeth enamel

Once tooth enamel has been damaged or has decayed, the general consensus is that the damage is done and cannot be repaired. Many in the alternative health fields, however, beg to differ. One of those is Doug Simon, co-creator of the Alternatives to Dentists DVD I mentioned earlier. When I interviewed Doug a few years back, he claimed that ingesting dried horsetail is effective against tooth decay and can actually heal cavities.

Why might horsetail be effective against tooth decay? Horsetail is a natural source of silica and may be able to re-mineralize teeth.

I have a couple of small cavities and began taking horsetail capsules daily about 4 months ago. My next dentist appointment isn’t until early summer, but I’m hoping that these small cavities have, indeed, healed. In the past, I’ve also taken 1 teaspoon of dried, ground horsetail in a smoothie or mixed with a glass of water, and Doug recommended 1/2 teaspoon of horsetail in a glass of water for my children when they were ages 9 and 11.

A word of warning about horsetail and any other herbal remedy. In a true SHTF scenario, you might not be able to, “Ask your medical practitioner for advice before consuming…” The time to do your research into herbal remedies and other alternative medicines is right now while doctors, medical facilities, and mountains of information are available. Additionally, learn a bit about herbalism yourself.

Mountain Rose Herbs has a list of schools with herbalist training. I’ve interviewed Sam Coffman of The Human Path several times, and he offers multiple classes, both on site and online.

Some common sense tips for healthy teeth and gums

You may be sitting in the middle of a worst case scenario and have all your supplies ready to maintain strong and healthy teeth and gums. Those supplies, along with your best intentions for survival dental health, won’t get you very far if you include a large amount of sugar in your diet and spend the day sipping sweet tea or juice! Just because the world has gone sideways doesn’t mean all the normal, boring advice you’ve heard for many years is suddenly ineffective.

In fact, if there was ever a time to adhere to best dental practices, that time is now.

DO avoid foods with refined sugars.

DO floss your teeth daily and brush them twice.

DON’T neglect your teeth and gums, especially in a worst case scenario. Their care should become a priority.

DO insist that every member of the family brush, floss, and otherwise take good care of their teeth.

DO rinse mouth with water (rinse, swish, and spit) after each meal.

Printable resource for you

Click here to get a free, printable resource with all the SHTF Dental Plan supplies listed in this article.

Helpful resources mentioned in this article

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A Classic Piece of Outdoor Gear: The Walking Stick http://thesurvivalmom.com/walking-stick-uses/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/walking-stick-uses/#comments Fri, 13 Mar 2015 07:00:14 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21927 When venturing into the wilderness, a constant companion for many is a walking stick, but most people don’t realize the potential for walking stick uses. Some folks just pick up a new stick each time they head down the trail, discarding it at the end of the hike. Others head to the store and buy […]

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A walking stick has many different uses. www.TheSurvivalMom.comWhen venturing into the wilderness, a constant companion for many is a walking stick, but most people don’t realize the potential for walking stick uses.

Some folks just pick up a new stick each time they head down the trail, discarding it at the end of the hike. Others head to the store and buy a fancy adjustable aluminum staff, complete with rubber or foam hand grip.

Walking stick uses for every outdoorsman/woman

If you think about it, the walking stick might be the original multi-tool! They serve a variety of purposes, each with the intent of keeping you safe while on the trail.

If you come across a stream or river, the stick can be used to gauge the depth, letting you know if it is safe to cross or not. It can also find sudden drop-offs or holes before you end up going for a swim.

When traveling through dense underbrush, or even a lightly forested area, the stick can be held in front of you to brush branches and such aside. It can also help alert snakes and other small animals of your approach.

A walking stick can extend your reach, allowing you to snag something floating away from you in a stream or knocking something down from a high branch.

When traveling on uneven terrain, a walking stick can be a tremendous help in keeping your balance, even for the most experienced and confident hiker.

A walking stick can also serve as a fairly decent weapon, whether the threat is on four legs or just two. While perhaps not ideal, it is certainly better than nothing.

There are also a few true survival uses for a walking stick, should you end up having to unexpectedly spend a night or two out in the wild. The stick can be used to help craft together an expedient shelter, such as being used as a ridgepole.

Many a fish has been caught using a simple pole with line and hook tied to the end. Most of us already carry some amount of fishing gear in our survival kits.

If you need a way to carry supplies, go the hobo route and use your shemagh to make a bindle to tie to the end of the walking stick. By the way, a shemagh scarf has many, many uses and should be a part of your outdoor gear.

How to choose a walking stick

There are three basic considerations when choosing a walking stick. The first is length. For most people, a stick that reaches from the ground to about their sternum works well. You want something that is long enough that when you’re traveling downhill you won’t be slumped over.

Next is thickness. This is largely a matter of personal preference and comfort. I have fairly large hands and prefer a walking stick that is about 1.5″ thick.

Finally, material. I much prefer a wooden walking stick, ideally made from something I’ve found in one of my travels. It just seems quite fitting to use a natural material when I’m in the wilderness. Others, though, prefer aluminum or even PVC. Again, this is a personal choice.

I recommend a good wrist strap, too. Using the strap will help to prevent your hand from becoming fatigued over long hikes.

Some people prefer to use pairs of trekking poles. Personally, I’m not sold on them as I like to have at least one hand free at all times. Many people, though, swear by these sets of poles so you might consider trying that option and seeing if it works for you.

A walking stick is more useful and versatile than most people realize.

Resources mentioned in this article:

 

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Happy, Healthy, & Prepared — A FREE Ebook For You! http://thesurvivalmom.com/survival-mom-book/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/survival-mom-book/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 19:00:01 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=22091 The Survival Mom Radio Network produced over 700 shows during its very successful run. We aren’t producing new episodes now, but together, the hosts contributed to a handy ebook with tips for homesteading, survival, family life, and more. That book is completely FREE! Here’s the link for the Kindle version of Happy, Healthy & Prepared, and […]

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Happy Healthy and Prepared ebook  www.TheSurvivalMom.com

Click to download from Kindle.

The Survival Mom Radio Network produced over 700 shows during its very successful run. We aren’t producing new episodes now, but together, the hosts contributed to a handy ebook with tips for homesteading, survival, family life, and more.

That book is completely FREE!

Here’s the link for the Kindle version of Happy, Healthy & Preparedand you don’t need to have a Kindle in order to read it. Here are complete instructions for reading Kindle books from your computer!

 

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The 3 Food Storage Companies I Recommend and Why — Important Update http://thesurvivalmom.com/best-food-storage-company/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/best-food-storage-company/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 15:30:50 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19494 A few weeks ago I wrote an article about the 3 food storage companies that I purchase from the most and sent it to my newsletter subscribers. Since then, I’ve received numerous questions about my selections and the best food storage company to use, so I wanted to address those here on the blog. Sign […]

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Survival Mom recommended food storage companies.A few weeks ago I wrote an article about the 3 food storage companies that I purchase from the most and sent it to my newsletter subscribers. Since then, I’ve received numerous questions about my selections and the best food storage company to use, so I wanted to address those here on the blog.

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Briefly, the companies that I use most often are Thrive Life*, Ready Reserve Foods, and Augason Farms. Here are my reasons:

  • Thrive Life* has an outstanding, user-friendly website, and a huge array of mostly freeze-dried foods that can be incorporated in thousands of recipes. This is my recommended form of food storage. Just-add-water meals, not so much, although I do have some of those as well for urgent emergencies. Thrive Life offers the opportunity to earn money and have foods auto-shipped, which helps stay on track with food storage goals. In short, they have some unique features similar companies do not offer. I’ve been a Thrive Life consultant for 4 years.
  • Ready Reserve Foods is a smaller, family-owned company in southern Idaho who sells mostly dehydrated, not freeze dried, fruits and vegetables, as well as many other food and survival products. They are one of the very few companies in the country who use nitrogen to package their food, which is far superior to the use of an oxygen absorber. They carry peanut butter powder and parboiled rice, which I love and have plenty of in my pantry. Their products are also competitively priced. I’ve visited their facilities and they have worked with me on and off over the years.
  • Augason Farms has been a long-time sponsor of my blog, but that isn’t why I selected them. Although many other companies carry similar products, Augason Farms foods can be found in stores across the country, like Sam’s Club, Winco, and Walmart. This is important because it makes “survival food” available to everyone who may not be able to order online. Their food is consistently good, their website immense with both products and information.

The Best Food Storage Company?

So what about other companies such as Emergency Essentials, Walton Feed, The Ready Store, and Honeyville?


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None of these companies are inferior, they just don’t rise to the top in the various categories that I specified — best website, dehydrated food options and nitrogen packing, and products readily available without having to place a mail order.

I’ve visited the main Emergency Essentials store in Salt Lake City and found the manager there to be friendly and helpful. The survival products they carry are priced well and I ended up buying quite a few MREs.


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For a year or so I taught classes at the Honeyville Farms retail store in Phoenix and bought quite a few food items each time. One thing I noticed was that the food purchased in the store was very nicely priced but the price increased dramatically online. They advertise their low shipping cost, but obviously, the price of shipping has to be made up elsewhere, thus the increase in their online prices. This made it difficult for me to determine which of their products were priced well and which might be more expensive than other brands, whose shipping charges were higher.

Currently, a 50 pound bag of hard white wheat costs $19.99 at a Honeyville Farms store, but it’s $43.99 online. That’s quite a difference and is typical with all their food products. The $4.99 shipping charge becomes meaningless, and it also makes it very difficult to truly compare Honeyville cost and value with other companies.

TIP: Learn about wheat before buying it in quantities!

Walton Feed was the very first food storage company I encountered, and the ordering process, at least back then, was quite confusing and complicated to a newbie. Their products are good quality, we are still using the cocoa powder I bought back, and I have no complaints. If you want to take a look at their products and pricing, it’s best to place a huge order with other people, if possible, in order to save on shipping. When I did this, an 18-wheeler delivered the order to my friend’s house (she was the coordinator), and she divided up the orders for each person.

All that food is surprisingly similar. Here’s why.

One factor many don’t realize is that all this food, whether it be wheat, strawberries, corn, and everything else comes from only so many farms! Just as food processing plants package food and then place different labels on them for different brands, these farms and packing plants do the same thing. So wheat purchased from Emergency Essentials just might come from the exact same farm as Augason Farms wheat, or vice versa. There are very few plants that freeze dry produce, so it’s just logical that the food itself is the same from one company to the next, and only the label and, likely, the packaging process,is different. Exactly where the food comes from is highly confidential, and you will probably only find out the country from which it originated.

When I spoke with Ready Reserve Foods about their parboiled rice, I was informed that it was grown on a farm in Idaho, not too far from their offices. That was nice to hear! Locally grown food, whose practices can be monitored, is always best.

Food  storage mistakes abound!

Before making a large purchase of this food, even if you’re in a huge panic and think that time is running out, please don’t buy anything you aren’t familiar with and may not actually use. I have about a dozen cans of germade. It’s wheat germ, something my kids have never had and of which I only have distant memories. One of these days I’ll crack open a can and serve it to them. If they like it, great! If not, I’ll be looking on Pinterest for other recipes that call for germade!

TIP: Read my Quick Start Guide to getting prepared if you’re panicking, and even if you’re not!

One mistake I’ve made is to buy far more wheat and less rice, which in many ways is more versatile. It’s also advantageous for families dealing with gluten issues. On the upside, I have loads of wheat to barter with, and now I’ve started to look for 50 pound bags of rice that I can repackage.

TIP: If you buy food in large quantities, you’ll probably have to repackage it for the longest shelf life.

Whichever companies you choose, start with buying small quantities. Thrive Life sells small, #2.5 size cans, as well as pouches of their foods. This is a very, very good way to check the quality, taste, and versatility of a food.

This food is for more than just storage

One reader asked me if I ever actually ate this food! Right now in my kitchen, I have opened cans of freeze dried blueberries (used them in a baked oatmeal this morning), freeze dried strawberries (we use them in smoothies), freeze dried cheese (ran out of fresh cheddar one day…), oats, parboiled rice, cocoa powder, bell pepper slices, and instant milk. Although most of my food is specifically for long-term storage, it’s pretty common around here that we have to track down an ingredient that I need.

This is very handy, and in many ways, I have my own grocery store at home! Because dehydrated and freeze dried food stays fresh for months after the container is opened, I just keep it in my kitchen pantry and use it whenever I need that particular ingredient. After a while, you figure out which of these foods you should probably stock up on more than others. For me:

  1. Berries
  2. Freeze dried corn (We use it a lot in chowders.)
  3. Freeze dried sausage crumbles. These are amazing and such a great way to have sausage for pasta meals and pizza.
  4. Instant milk. Good to have on hand when we don’t have any fresh.
  5. Freeze dried bell peppers. Fresh from the store can be pretty expensive, and this is a good way to have peppers when I need them.

The bottom line

Whichever company you purchase from, try to compare prices and quantities. Also pay attention to serving sizes, especially when buying just-add-water meals. Those can be deceiving and are a topic for a separate article!

For your convenience, here are links to some of the major food storage companies:

Augason Farms

Emergency Essentials (You may see the brand name Provident Pantry associated with them.)

Thrive Life*

Honeyville

The Ready Store (Brand name of foods is Saratoga Farms.)

Walton Feed, aka Rainy Day Foods

Ready Reserve Foods

Lindon Farms

Mountain House Foods (Read my Mountain House review.)

Legacy Foods (I tried 3 of their entrees — very good!)

Resources to help you stock up

Survival Mom: How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Disasters and Worst Case Scenarios  (I include 2 very full chapters on getting started with food storage, which foods to buy first, and how to keep your pantry organized.)

Food Saver Vacuum Sealer – this removes oxygen, which will extend the shelf life of your food.

Food Storage for Self-Sufficiency and Survival by Angela Paskett

*This link will take you to my personal Thrive Life website. The lowest prices from this company are reserved for customers purchasing through a consultant. Whether you make your Thrive Life purchase through my website or not, be sure to order through a consultant rather than on the main Thrive Life website where prices will be higher.

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Review: Ka-Bar Last Ditch Knife http://thesurvivalmom.com/ka-bar-last-ditch-knife-review/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/ka-bar-last-ditch-knife-review/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 08:00:49 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21424 Ka-Bar’s LDK or “Last Ditch Knife” is a valuable tool for anyone wanting a small, handy blade as part of their everyday carry. The LDK isn’t much larger than a credit card. But, unlike most of those gimmicky credit card knives that seem to be all the rage, this is a very good quality knife, albeit […]

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The Ka-Bar Last Ditch Knife is handy and recommended by The Survival Mom. | www.TheSurvivalMom.comKa-Bar’s LDK or “Last Ditch Knife” is a valuable tool for anyone wanting a small, handy blade as part of their everyday carry.

The LDK isn’t much larger than a credit card. But, unlike most of those gimmicky credit card knives that seem to be all the rage, this is a very good quality knife, albeit in a small package.

Crafted from a single piece of 9cr18 stainless steel, it arrives razor sharp and with a wicked point. Personally, while I like carbon steel in most of my knives, I prefer a stainless steel in a neck knife because, if you wear it around your neck, it will be coming into constant contact with body oils and such. Stainless steel won’t rust under those conditions.


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Because it is so small, the LDK isn’t something you’d consider for a primary blade in a survival kit. But, again because of the size, it works great as an easy-to-carry backup blade. You can toss it into a side pocket in your purse, backpack, or briefcase or, as it is designed, wear it on a chain around your neck. At about 2.5 ounces, you’ll not notice the weight in the least.

The actual blade is 1 5/8” long and the entire knife is 3 5/8”. It comes with a kydex sheath. There is no clasp or snap on the sheath. The knife is secured by friction. I have no concerns about the knife slipping out accidentally as you actually have to give it a pretty good tug to remove it from the sheath. This is a good thing, of course. The last thing you want in a neck knife is for it to come sliding out and be loose inside your shirt as you walk around.

The LDK is exceptionally thin (0.078”), likely the thinnest knife you’ll own outside of your kitchen cutlery. Because of this, it isn’t a tool for prying apart things. But, even at this slim size, the knife is very strong and doesn’t feel flimsy in the least.

Now, the LDK was essentially designed to be a self-defense weapon, albeit one of absolute last resort. Personally, I’m not fond of the idea of an untrained individual using a blade for self-defense. Don’t get me wrong, if that’s all you have to work with, it is certainly better than nothing. But, I think the LDK has a lot more potential for use in small survival kits, such as the ever popular Altoids tin kits, as well as just keeping it handy for opening boxes and such. At a little more than $20 on Amazon, it is worth the small investment.

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7 Tips for Finding Natural Sources of Water http://thesurvivalmom.com/finding-natural-sources-of-water/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/finding-natural-sources-of-water/#comments Sun, 15 Feb 2015 08:00:38 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21426   In a wilderness survival situation, particularly one where you likely aren’t going to be found in the immediate future, locating a source of water can be critical. Sure, having the means to filter and disinfect it is important, too, but you have to find it first, right? Where to Look Here are a few […]

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In a wilderness survival situation, particularly one where you likely aren’t going to be found in the immediate future, locating a source of water can be critical. Sure, having the means to filter and disinfect it is important, too, but you have to find it first, right?

Where to Look

Here are a few tips on finding natural sources of water.

1.  First, if there are animals in the area, and there are almost always critters around, they need water just as much as you do. Let them do the work for you. Follow game trails, if you can find them, as they will almost surely lead to a water source. Generally speaking, trails that lead downhill and/or seem to converge with other trails will lead you to water.

Watch our feathered friends. They will often visit a water source in the morning and in the evening. Keep an eye out for them flying overhead and follow in that direction. Birds heading to a water source tend to fly in a straight line and rather fast. After visiting the water source, they may fly in a more meandering type of way.

2.  Keep in mind that water doesn’t run uphill very well. You’ll have much better luck looking in low spots like valleys than you will by going to the top of a ridge (unless it is just for a higher vantage point).

3.  Look for dry riverbeds and dig down in spots where the river takes a sharp bend, concentrating your efforts on the outside bank of the bend.

4.  You’ll get more bang for your buck, so to speak, by melting ice instead of snow if you have the choice. There is an awful lot of air space in snow and what seems like a lot in the pot ends up being not so much. Either way, avoid just popping the frozen water into your mouth and letting it melt. Doing so cools down your core temperature, which isn’t a good thing. Instead, put the ice or snow into a plastic bag or other container and keep it under your coat, letting your body heat melt it first.

5.  Collect dew in the early morning by tying bandanas or other cloths to your legs and walking through high grass. Pause regularly to wring out the water into a container. If you’re stuck near a vehicle or something along those lines, you can wipe the dew off with a cloth and wring it out, too. You might not get a ton of water with dew collection but every little bit adds up.

6.  If you have a garbage bag or other large plastic bag, tie it over the end of a leafy branch, tossing a small rock into the bag first. The rock will weigh down a corner of the bag. Over the course of several hours, water will condense out from the leaves and drip to the bottom of the bag. Either remove the bag, being careful to not spill any of the water, or cut off the corner and then tie a knot in the bag to keep it working for you.

7.  Despite what you may have read elsewhere, solar stills aren’t usually worth the effort. A solar still consists of a large hole dug in the ground with a plastic sheet stretched over the top. A rock is placed at the center of the plastic and a container placed in the hole directly underneath. Over time, water will condense on the bottom of the plastic and drip down into the container. It is a lot of work to dig that hole and the water you’ll get for your efforts is often minimal. But, it is something to consider if you’ve run out of all other options.

Water is a critical element of survival. While our bodies could last up to a few days without hydration, you really don’t want to be a test case. Any time you’re out in the wild, make note of water sources as you travel.

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